The Cockatrice is a small establishment ran by a young Halfling maiden named Elena Gundbruch, situated several hours march away from the provincial capitol of Neureik.
Popular among the province's lawyers and magistrates, as it is in a quieter, out of the way place and serves some of the better food and drink to be had for many miles.
Lawyers will also receive a discount of 15% on all food and drink and are usually given a glass of the finest house wine with their meal, free of charge. They have received this 'special' treatment ever since they saved the inn from being demolished as part a plan to convert the establishment into a permanent country market - they had the plans declared unsafe in court. This was of course completely false, but the lawyers didn't want to have to find a new watering hole and the merchants weren't able to find a single lawyer to represent them.
The Cockatrice is almost unknown to most folk outside of legal circles, but anyone setting up a legal meeting outside of the office (such as clients wanting to make the kind of payments best kept off the ledger) may be told to meet here.
The Cockatrice is a smaller establishment than most, 'normal' folk will have to stoop when they enter and be wary of the low ceiling when moving about inside. The furniture and beds in the upstairs rooms are all 'half size' but the food and drink is 'normal', and then some.
Mounted on the far wall of the inns common room is the head of a cockatrice, the namegiver of the establishment. Above the head, affixed to the wall is a large greyish horn. A large ring hangs from the roof by a thread two yards in front of the head; the patrons play a game called 'Ringing the Cockatrice' by swinging this ring in an arc so that it hooks onto the horn. (This should be made challenging, remember to factor in possible penalties for the amount of alcohol consumed) Each contestant is allowed three tries, with the loser buying the next round. Folk who violate one of the quaint Halfling rules observed in The Cockatrice will be offered a chance to play one of the doormen at ringing the cockatrice, and are only allowed to stay further if they win.
These rules, known by anyone that has had prior contact with the little folk, include:
- Never to wear a hat/helmet when ordering a drink.
- Under no circumstance order a 'tall one'.
- No wiping your glass if is covered in dust or a little grimy.
- Anything you feel like adding to get your players into trouble.
The Cockatrice' owner, Elena Gundbruch is the current proprietor of The Cockatrice. She's traditional minded, old and set in her ways. Being a Halfling, one of those ways involves saying things that would make a 'big fellow' blush. She thinks nothing of prying into the intimate details of her customers love lives and offering the kind of helpful advice someone of her experience could offer, regardless of if they want to hear it or not.
Elena never did get around to marrying, although not for want of offers in her youth. That's all right with her though, she prefers the company of her guests and enjoys her freedom.
Additional Ideas (1)
A short man with a rather large gut, and very little hair left; Bruno is one of the city's oldest Lawyers. Although he no longer practices law, he now works in the archives. Digging out that which may be useful in the days cases and copying some of the older legal proceedings and statements so that they do not fade or fall victim to rot.
He has been a regular of The Cockatrice for many decades now, and has eaten and drank nearly everything there is, both on and off of the menu. In fact he has been spending much of his time in the kitchen, taking great pleasure in aiding Elena in matters culinary and gossip.
Many people wouldn't think that he'd be any good at 'Ringing the Cockatrice', they would be wrong. He may be small and getting on, but his aim is quite good. Something the other patrons have come to respect him greatly for, that, and his help in creating new dishes with Elena.
He is a very busy old man, quite the opposite of most would expect. As such he doesn't have that much time on his hands to socialise as one normally would, but if someone should wish to talk to him about his culinary experiments he will eagerly accept. Providing they can do multiple things at once.