Ridgebury Inn is a fun little resting area along the high road between Cailltir and Ostwyc. It has a few rooms to spend the night if you stay too long, a tavern on the ground floor (the main reason for staying too long), a well equipped pantry and a kitchen that's famous for dozens of miles in every direction. Oh, and it serves beer too. Exquisitely exotic beers. Rumour has it the innkeep spent his younger years as a sword for rent fighting wars in faraway places. Which sounds weird if you know he's one of the fattest people in the known world, but his stories are so terribly detailed that you're almost tempted to believe the rumours anyway. And then there's the band of mercenaries who tend to drop by each spring on their way to the summer wars, bringing grim silence to the otherwise pleasant inn, but also, unfailingly, a casket of exotic beer from places so strange that even their names can hardly be pronounced by civilised folk. Although the fat innkeep always manages. And then, on top of all that, there's the scrawny little girl he keeps calling his daughter, even though she was dropped off by the mercenaries only two years ago, incapable of uttering even a single civilised word, her skin several shades darker than his own.
Maybe it's the marvelous food, maybe the exotic beer that draws travelers to Ridgebury Inn from all over the world. But possibly more than all that it's the curious, mysterious atmosphere brought to it by its keeper, the fat but oh so frivolous Sim Castyrio.
Ridgebury Inn is one of many along the High Road, part of a vast network sponsored by the Hansa. The Hansa even has a small, regional Kontor on the grounds of the inn, allowing travelling merchants to buy and sell wares, change currencies, loan and deposit money in their accounts of the HansaBank. Loyal customers can even leave messages to be sent to distant parts of the world, all using the massive infrastructure of the Hansa penetrating almost every segment of society. And all of that at a cost, naturally. The Hansa is by far the most powerful organisation in the known world, counting Kings and Cardinals among its vast collection of debtors. Many believe that the Hansa is the real ruler of the world, richer than the Gods, and twice as powerful.
But all that means nothing to the frivolous innkeep. He just rules his inn, pays his debts (to the Hansa, naturally), and enchants his guests with tales and objects from marvelous places.
All images © copyright Pieter Rottiers or clients. No use permitted.