The Ferry House Inn
A day and a half north of Annan’s Port stands the Ferry House Inn. The inn was built to accommodate traffic between the port and villages built on the north side of the river but the agreements with the Eidechse give them title to everything between the river and the mountains. The Eidechse have so far forbidden humans to settle on their side of the river. The inn has been haphazardly maintained for generations. Lord Markham has been more diligent than most, and happily sold the title when a grumpy gnomish man expressed interest in refurbishing the ferry and opening the inn.
Kimber Boddyknock is a failed bard. He loves music, he loves games, he loves performing, and he hates people. The insightful person will see beyond the frown and the grouchy demeanor to the wounded, nearly broken soul inside. He will not speak of the events that have brought him here. Kimber enjoys the solitude of an inn that is on a scarcely traveled road. He spends much of his time cleaning, and the menial work has become a form of meditation. He will insist any visitors wipe their feet before entering the inn. However, his obsessive cleaning leaves the yard in front a muddy mess. It never has time to dry completely. Between bouts of sweeping and mopping, Kimber writes music and songs. Should visitors request, he will happily get out drums, or his lute, and play his songs for them. He is, in truth, a very good musician.
The Eidechse Village
Taking the ferry across the river leaves a traveler on a rocky path. Another day north brings one to the ruins of a town. Built within the ruins are the above ground huts of the Eidechse. These dome shaped buildings are made of baked mud and stone. To human eyes they are primitive and ugly. However, the construction is sound and the interiors are comfortable and snug. This little village is a deception. Less than a quarter of the Eidechse live here. The rest live in caves beneath the huts.
The caves are a combination of natural sea caves and chambers carved from the rock, lit with bio-luminescent mosses and lichens painted onto the chamber walls in intricate patterns. Each family has its own hearth with private chambers radiating off the common rooms.
The connecting tunnels are maze-like. The Eidechse navigate the tunnels with ease, like a humans with rambling city streets, or Alfar in the deep forest. Visitors, however, would have a difficult time finding the way out, and would have to deal with the natural dangers including flooding chambers, toxic molds and oozes, and predators like the giant centipedes.
The Broken Tower
The road north from Annan’s Port turns west a half day before reaching the river and the Ferry House Inn. Before the cataclysm this road connected half a dozen towns and villages to the port. Now there is only a single small town at the end of the road, and an abandoned wizard’s keep. The town once served the keep. Now they serve only the lord in Annan’s Port and, being a good two days’ ride away, Lord Markham has left them to their own devices.
No one goes near the keep. In truth no one has been able to open the ensorcelled doors. The wails and cries that sometimes emanate from the place have done much to convince the townsfolk that the tower is not only haunted, but evil. The farms that once filled the land between the town and the keep were long ago abandoned. The forest is slowly reclaiming the land.
A mage of sufficient power and training could open the doors. Inside, a visitor would find the tower remarkable preserved. Spells cast to preserve furniture, tableware, and foods are still working, though dust coats everything. If one could find the access to the upper levels one would find the same of the living quarters, the alchemy lab, and the library.
The tower is five stories tall. One the ground floor is the hall, the kitchens, storage rooms, the baths, and servant quarters. On the second floor are bed chambers and private suites. Some of these were reserved for visitors. The third floor belonged to the wizard, lord of the keep. His private chambers were here, including his office, receiving room, private bath, private library, and quarters for his personal servants. The fourth floor was devoted to alchemy. There were several different chambers for research and work, a greenhouse, and storage. The fifth floor was given entirely to a massive library. The wizard collected books and scrolls of all kinds, and had half a dozen apprentices set to making copies. The scriveners’ desks remain. Unfortunately, as the magic in the tower fades, the library was the first area to lose protection. The books have become extremely fragile, and many will crumble to dust at the slightest touch.
On the roof of the tower is an embedded magic circle. The wizard was able to use this circle for various purposes including summoning and safely testing new spells. It also functioned as a teleportation circle with seven destinations permanently inset.
This work by Jean Headley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.