My Slice of Silverymoon (Part Three)
By Chesmyr Morrowynd (as told to Ed Greenwood)
I've talked about Swordsfall House. Let's start with a recipe and then go elsewhere.
During a recent night of emptying bottles and trading coziness with Ninrae, she showed me how to make thaevor potatoes (which is what she was supposed to be doing whilst she was really entertaining me) . . . so here 'tis.
Peel eight potatoes, and slice thin.
Then take you a pound of mushrooms of all edible sorts, and slice them thin, then do the same to two shallots and to sprigs of parsley and basil. Toss these four things all together.
Grind a generous handful of pepper, grate yourself a cup of thaevor, and procure a cup of cream. Also take a lick of butter.
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Smear that butter around the inside of a deep cooking-pan -- the sort one can cover and bake on racks over a coals-fire.
Spread a layer of potato, then one of the mushroom toss, then grated thaevor, then pepper and cream. Repeat; there should be enough for three layers in all. Then bake over a steady bed of coals until done.
Ammarlath Stoneshar is a kindly old sack of wrinkles, but her shraehouse pales when compared to the superb Swordsfall. It's a place for drinks, thick pipe smoke, and a minimum of food. (Smoked fish on frybread or warmed spinach tarts is about it.) It's very dingy, usually crowded (with folk who couldn't get into Swordsfall), and spartan, with no fancy drinkables and prices flat at 2 sp/all beers, 2 sp/broths and zzar, 3 sp/all wines.
Seek the overhanging boot signboard dangling from the balcony of the second building on the north side of Lavarpard east of its waymoot with Nutting Lane.
Ammarlath's a good listener and will happily talk troubles and gossip with any patron, but beware: Her dumpy build is largely solid muscle, she can throw a skillet with deadly accuracy and doesn't mind wasting a sizzling fry of contents to fell a thief, and she knows her herbs and concoctions, and has been known to serve drinks that bring swift slumber to unruly patrons -- and to those she's been paid a fee to send early to their dreams. A onetime drover and adventurer in the North, she'll occasionally sell secrets (things she knows about city folk and directions to wilderland features in the lands north of Sundabar, as far as the northern Cold Wood, including a few words about Tulrun).
Not my sort of shraehouse. This place is noisy, crowded, run by the young for the young, and is a house where folk talk too loudly and to impress. I couldn't tell you the names of all the long-haired, swaggering, "I'm a dangerous blade so watch out" staff, but if it's swift and cheap drinks you want, or a brawl, this is the place. The only food to be had is "black" (blood and organ meats) sausages, spiced so hot as to force folk to slake their throats with more drink after eating. Otherwise, prices, consumables, and conditions are much the same as Ammarlath's. An evening lass who was in truth a bludgeon-and-rob doppelganger worked Suldanseir's for almost a season before being discovered and slain.
Seek the signboard with the name aglow (a minor magic effect) above a dangling "fall" of strung crystals, on the east side balcony of the second building west of the gateside (northern) mouth of Nutting Lane. It has two staircases, at either end of the balcony; both are apt to be crowded with boldly hopeful escorts after dusk.
Dark My Hand, But Sparkling
This is perhaps the brightest and most glittering storefront balcony in Hollowhar, and 'tis impossible to miss: It looks north up Nutting Lane from the south side of Lavarpard, squarely in line with the waymoot. "The Dark Hand" is what's known in the Sword Coast North as a "gem gaudy" shop: It sells cheap "glitter jewelry," mirrors, plumes of dyed feathers mounted for tiara wear, and so on.
In this case, the "and so on" is a small array of costumes and disguises that'll fit most humans and half-elves without alteration. The proprietor, Raugaere Willowynd, is a limping old adventurer possessed of the ruins of good looks, much sarcasm, and eyes that miss nothing and never forget a face. He has a good reason for his wariness: He's a former fence of stolen goods (hence the shop name), and some say the word "former" is a falsehood. Certainly Raugaere turns away petty thieves nowadays, but he does buy secondhand gaudy jewelry and clothing that can serve to be resold as costumes without any awkward questions -- and he also receives regular "we're keeping an eye on you" visits from the Rods. There are rumors that Raugaere knows the Lady Alustriel well, from past dealings -- and that old Thunderspell knows him all too well as a result.
In recent years, Raugaere has taken to making painted wax masks and half-masks that make the wearer look like a nondescript human . . . a different nondescript human than they normally appear to be, that is. They don't last long, but as several Knights in Silver have been overheard to say grimly, as they investigate crimes in the city, "They last long enough."
This establishment is tucked away behind a closed and barred door (with a peephole that Malaver peers out when would-be clients ring his door-gong) on the south side of the large building in the center of the triangular Wallrun-Nutting-Druinwood block. It can be found easily by the smell, however, and many folk brave the spilled blood, fearsome cleavers, and thick smoke of the smoke-rooms to buy the flavorful wares of Breon Malaver.
Breon's a cadaverously-thin butcher of few and sour words, and there are the inevitable rumors of his chopping up corpses for fees. These are probably the result of his interest in monster-butchering (he's one of the few folk in Silverymoon I've found who'll be eager to carve up anything scaly and long-jawed that's bigger than three men, if I bring such a morsel to him in a rented cart) -- oh, and because of the ghost, of course.
Malaver's smokehouse is haunted by the apparition of a flying, talking severed head. From time to time it fades into view and lunges menacingly at visitors, speaking what might be gibberish and might not (some sages pay to be allowed to come and listen to it, from time to time) in Loross and Thorass. It trails long hair, appears to have belonged in life to a half-elven female, and seems to be enraged at the very sight of human women in armor, or visibly bearing swords.
Malaver ignores this phantom, but it's scared away all the staff he's ever hired (he lives alone). However, Malaver's sausages and smokefish are of the best, but cheaply priced (the former are 2 sp for large links and 1 sp for small, and the latter are 1 cp/fillet). I live on them when in town without time to spare to shoulder my way into Swordsfall -- unless, of course, someone else is buying my feast, in brighter streets than those of Hollowhar.