A Tale of a Tavern
by Ariadne Jaelithe in Dark Ages
Standing proud but lonely in the center of the quiet town of Rucesion is an empty building. Though few may guess to look at it now, this site was once the location of a bustling tavern, The Dancing Dubhamid, and was owned by my father, Radnor Jaelithe. My father had a thriving business sevicing travellers passing to and fro the Isle of Dawn and the occaisonal wandering Wizards who still grace our town with their presence.
One of the halmarks of the Dancing Dubhamid was my father's excellent cooking. He was the man who taught me all I know today and set in me the passions to learn all of what Temuair had to offer the discerning palate. Although, to my father's great disappointment I would spend more of my time (after having every pot scrubbed spotless!) after hours hanging out with the Higgler Huberto in his shop, watching him make smokey spheres and doing tailor work. He was always patient with me and never kicked me out of his shop, except when he heard my father calling.
Radnor Jaelithe was well regarded throughout the isle. If I was to pick any particular part of him to praise, it would be his generous spirit. Many a poor traveller was able to leave the Dancing Dubhamid with a free bottle of wine or a hot meal, if needed. Once, Cyril of Loures (long before his councilor days, when he was still a captain of the guard) made a trip just to see my father while he was on our isle. I still remember how my father introduced me to Cyril on that visit and how he beamed with pride as he showed off his little girl. As important as he has become today, I am sure this meeting proved more memorable to me than it did for Cyril.
Alas, as the day must eventually fade into the darkness, so my father fell into misfortune. My mother Swanlithe had passed away giving birth to me, but my father had found a renewed love in the barmaid Luana. However, out of respect for my mother and his friendship with Eduardo, who loved Luana also, he did nothing about these feelings. Luana herself also shared affection for my father but knew of his feelings and never pushed him on them. Radnor and Eduardo had been good friends for many moons. Most of the wine sold by my father at the tavern was provided by Eduardo's merchant consortium, and once, when a fire started by a careless patron nearly burned our tavern to the ground it was Eduardo who had provided the funds to repair the building, as an interest free loan with no immediate demands for repayment. This had been a great boon to my father, as his generous nature had precluded him from making large profits from his business. All this was soon to change.
Eduardo, fast rising to the heights of power in Rucesion due to his wealth and powerful merchant friends, began to seek a bride to make his life complete. Luana, being the most beautiful lady in the town (sadly, due to my youth at the time I was excluded from this title) became his target. Night after night he would return to the Dancing Dubhamid and make awkward attempts to court her, but was rebuffed at every turn. Out of his friendship and sense of debt, my father did nothing despite the fact that Luana began to become distressed every time Eduardo even set foot in the tavern.
One night, Eduardo and several of his merchant friends held a large party to celebrate a new trading agreemet with Loures. Amid the feasting and drinking, he decided to make one more play for the fair Luana. He grabbed her and attempted to lavish her with kisses, but she slapped him and stormed out of the tavern crying. At this my father could take no more. He summoned Eduardo for a private chat in the kitchen (after ejecting me from there) and I could sense that their friendship may soon reach an end. It is unclear to those who were present what may have passed between them that night (and most look back from the haze of a drunken stupor), but we all heard yelling, and after what seemed like an eternity an enraged Eduardo left the tavern, his cheeks flushed with anger, never to set foot inside again. My father made no comments on the situation and we ushered the rest of the merchants out and proceeded to clean our establishment.
The following morning, my father noticed a purse full of gold coins that had been left behind by one of the merchants from the pervious night's gala. He recognized the markings on the purse and knew exactly who it belonged to. However, knowing that the man was one of the town's wealthiest citizens and seeing that this purse had apparently not been missed, my father made a momentous decision. Instead of returning the money to the owner, he took it instead to a destitute family that lived in a hovel at the edge of town. The father in this family had died trying to earn money fighting Dubhamid so he could provide for his family of a wife and six children. Since then, my father had been quietly trying to support this family on his own whenever he could. No one else in all of Rucesion would. My father had ordered me to stay at home while he made this visit, but I had waited for him to leave and slipped quietly after him, curious as to what he was up to. I am glad I did, for if I had not I would derive no solace from what transpired next.
Nothing more happened that week. With Eduardo no longer visiting the tavern Luana became her old self, and it seemed the events of that horrible night were to be forgotten. But it was not to be so. One day, a Guard Captain knocked on our door and served my father with a summons to court. He was accused of stealing the merchant's money. At court, Eduardo also brought up the matter of my father's old debt to him and the current lack of repayment. My father tried to defend himself by saying he had only done what he thought was right, but in the eyes of the law he had no defense. At the trial none of the many people my father had helped along the years came forward to try and help him in his time of need. Eduardo had worked to cow them all. The mother of the family he had given the merchant's money to was not allowed into the trial... due to her unreliability as a witness, was the official reason.
My father was convicted, but had no money to pay his debts. The Dancing Dubhamid was reposessed by the town of Rucesion and my father forbidden entry. Town officials claimed the kitchens were infested with rats (having cleaned that kitchen many times myself, I can assure you there was never such a creature to be found there!) and the tavern was closed as a public health hazard. Now outcasts in our own town, neither Luana, my father, or myself were ever able to find work in Rucesion. I decided to become a Rogue to try and earn the money to support my father. However, my efforts were to no avail. Radnor Jaelithe passed away shortly after the doors were shut on his beloved tavern, dead from a broken heart. Totally destitute, the poor Luana finally agreed to wed Eduardo. He had finally acheived his goals of wealth and station in Rucesion, but at what price? I can never forgive him for what he did, but only strive to see that justice never fails to look after our citizens, no matter how great or small. I thank ye for hearing my tale, and may hope that one day the Dancing Dubhamid may open its doors once more.
Rogue of Rucesion