Travelers in the Jewel City will most likely wander in awe of its gleaming shard-towers and majestic temples, but such wonders soon lose their luster for the haughty magi that stroll its streets. Those who have made the city their home will soon find that its greatest treasures can be found in its farthest reaches.
Turn a corner off of the East Temple District, and you’ll find yourself in Ebonstone Alley, Menethor’s secret treasure. A great rush of color and sound rushes to you, as vendors hawk everything from self-sweeping brooms and crystal scepters to frothing potions and glowing toads, all accompanied by the thrum and beat of the street-bards. Lining the street are dozens of shops - enchanters, sages, alchemists, diviners, clothiers, and everything else in between. And in the center, the crowning hub of the entire menagerie, stands the Foolish Mage and Drunken Wizard Tavern.
But first, a little history. Rolan Harawier first came to the Jewel City when his spark was discovered by a visiting mage-consort, but after several years in the academy, it was quickly discovered that he was not half so strong in the power as the academy would need. After a hearing, it was decided that he should be let off from the academy to seek his own way in the world, and so it was that Rolan Haraweir became Rolan Haraweir, half-mage. For years he traveled the lands, putting his small talents with the power to work among others, but ever did the call of the Jewel City tug at his heart. And he did return to the city, and take up a job as apprentice to an alchemist. But he was not satisfied with his post, and soon moved on from job to job, never staying more than a year, until he fell into Ebonstone Alley. It seemed as much alive as it does on this day, yet at its center stood a burnt carcass of a building, a skeleton of charred timbers and ash. With coin from patrons of the Alley, Rolan set about rebuilding the timbers, repainting the walls, and furnishing its rooms, until at last stood a magnificent tavern, as tall and wide as the nearest merchant-hall, and adorned in gold and worked wood painted in the brightest colors. Yet it had no name, and Rolan did pace the stones of the alley many a week in search of a title for his tavern, until one morn, he tripped upon a stranger’s cane and fell upon the stones, where he did find a scrap of parchment before him. And upon the parchment were written ten words - “Which is worse - a foolish mage or a drunken wizard?”
When one enters the tavern, a curtain of warm air, thick with the scents of smoked meats and strong ales rushes to greet you. An immense fire can be seen roaring in a stone hearth across the room, emblazoned with the crests of the ten merchant-lords. The chairs are thick and sturdy yet gleam with the dark polish of southern woods, and the tables are decked with rich cloths of woven reds and golds. Under the din and clamor of its patrons, the strains of a sweet melody of the harp and fife can be heard drifting across the room. To your left is Rolan himself, a great bear of a man, with a rounded ale-stomach and a short beard, yet quick on his feet for a man of his age. He stands before a great rack hung with a dozen meats, breads and cheeses, and stacked with a score of vintages and ales, attending to his patrons with a fervor as great as the day he first opened his doors.
The patrons of the Foolish Mage and Drunken Wizard tavern are as varied as the streets they come from. A wizard with a beard as long as his flowing, sea-blue robes pores over his cup of wine as a boistrous young mage entertains his female companions as he waves about a baked drumstick as if it were the sword he claims to have held. The regular patrons include such esteemed individuals as the city’s chief architect (a half-mage himself), several high members of the jewel academy, the head of the east watch, and a multitude of high priests from the East Temple district. Among those respected persons mix individuals held in equal regard in Ebonstone, such as Barandar, the bard with but one name, who regals any who wish to listen with tales from across the lands, and Goadric Ironhand, an immense yet gentle guard, who firmly helps those whose business has interfered with the tavern to find their way to the street. Both receive free boarding and meals for their services.
Rolan himself is an immensely satisfied individual, and thanks the gods for his current situation with every free minute. Although unmarried, he has a great fondness for children, and still hopes to find a woman for himself, although he does not believe it to be possible at his age. He is one of the most reliable source of news in the city, as he retains each patron’s tale to pass on to another. However, no matter how profitable his tavern, he is still greatly in debt to the merchant-lords who founded his tavern, and each crest upon the mantle is a burden he wishes to cast off. While he is not desperate, he has made a recent habit out of gambling after-hours, which, although it has won him more gold than he has lost, is a regrettable practice he fears may do him in. He also has a weakness for magic items and gimmicks, and the song you hear is made by a flute that plays itself, and a harp that plucks itself, both costing a considerable amount of coin. Around twenty years ago, a wealthy mage paid Rolan several bags of gold to change the name of his tavern to the “Drunken Mage and Foolish Wizard”, as the mage found it insulting that magi should be foolish and wizards only intoxicated. However, due to the fact that several patrons left the tavern in indignance, upon the mage’s death several years later, the sign was promptly switched back to its original form.
As of now, the tavern remains the most popular frequenting spot of any who wish to enjoy good food, good ale, and good company in Menethor. Knowing a few spells won’t hurt either.
Footnotes and Sidenotes - To avoid confusion, the city in which the tavern is found is Menethor, although in most cases (and often in this post) it is called the Jewel City. To put it simply, Menethor and the Jewel City are one and the same. Secondly, a half-mage is a term used by magi to denote a person with magical powers who left training early, usually because of lack of strength in magic. However, to the common folk, any man who can weave a spell is a mage, as full and proper as any other.