Located in BrineWater Market, on the western edge of Wobble Grass Swamp, the UpWater Inn is a three-story marvel of engineering. Except for the stone hearth, the building is made entirely of cedar and cypress. The ground floor is triple-layered, with sealed timbers creating air spaces. The building is tethered between four ancient cypress trees and when the waters rise, so does the inn, and so it was named The UpWater.
Alfar Tree-shapers keep the cypress trees healthy and strong, and oversee the planting and growth of replacement trees. Even so, the inn has been rebuilt twice in the last one hundred years, once after a devastating storm, and once after a young sorcerer accidentally burned down part of the inn and one of the anchor trees.
The first floor has a large common room, the kitchen and storage room, and the innkeepers’ residence. The stone hearth is used almost exclusively for cooking. The fire is kept burning for heat during the coldest days of the year, which is usually only a couple of weeks.
The second floor has four large rooms, each with half a dozen beds and small chests for the guests. The third floor has several small private rooms with one or two beds, and one large suite.
The roof is a living roof with the broad leaves of vines and creepers carefully overlapped to keep out rain. Flowers attract bees, and carnivorous plants catch nuisances like mosquitoes and flies.
Like the UpWater, the community hall and the Healers’ Hall are tethered to strong cypress trees, and rise with rising waters. These three buildings serve as emergency shelters during severe storms.
The UpWater Inn is owned and operated by the halfling goodman Garen Tangletoes, his gnomish goodwife Hibiscus Marshmerrow (Hibbie), and their dearest friend, a swamp goblin witch named Uxa. Because they can’t have children of their own, the three of them adopt orphaned or lost children. Sometimes they take in troubled children, such as the sorcerer called Scorch, who destroyed the inn. They have raised eight children who have moved on to their own homes and given them five grandchildren. They are currently raising four more: a human boy named Ketch; two halfling sisters named Primrose and Platterwort, and a Dokkalfar girl named Moonbeam who simply showed up on their doorstep one night.
Garen is getting up there in years and there is much gray in his dark hair. Hibbie and Uxa dread the day he finally leaves them.
This work by Jean Headley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.