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The Swords Meet was an inn located in Voonlar that catered mainly to the Zhentarim and their allies, affiliates, and sympathizers.[1][2][3]

LocationEdit

The Swords Meet faced a northerly direction across Shind Road. Just to the west was the White Stag on one edge of the Stagfoot—an arrowhead-shaped median between Shind Road and another road that met at a sharp angle. The tip of this arrowhead pointed directly at the Meet.[1][2]

StructureEdit

This imposing inn was built with some elements of a fortress style. The outside walls of this large, square building were made completely from dark-colored stone. Its two stories were taller than normally found in human architecture, making it appear to loom over Shind Road and the surrounding grounds. A steep, rusty metal roof capped it off, complete with crenelated fake parapets and gargoyles at the corners that spat runoff from the roof when it rained.[1][2]

On the west side of the inn was a barn and a fenced grazing area used to isolate ill animals from the main stables in the cellar of the larger building.[1][2]

InteriorEdit

The cellar was indeed mainly used as a stable for the guest's horses. Although the Meet boasted it had the largest and best-equipped stables in Voonlar, the Sign of the Shield inn down the road obviously had a bigger stable compound, but the Meet arguably took the title of "best-appointed". Also in the cellar was a separate pantry for food and wine storage and three wood-burning furnaces that kept the entire inn warm and dry.[1][2]

On the ground floor as one entered, the lobby and stairs were to the right, on the western side, and the common room took up a quarter of the floor on the east. The southern half of the floor contained the kitchens and more pantries.[4][5]

The upstairs rooms contained at least two beds to comfortably sleep four people, but were large enough that quite a few more could be accommodated if they didn't mind bunking on the floor.[4][5] Also in each suite was a hip-high bathing tub with scented water and a jakes that could be flushed with a sluice of used bath water.[2][4]

AtmosphereEdit

A superior inn.
  — Helauther Windelgrym, Ordulin wool merchant

The lighting in the Meet could be described as soft, dim, or romantic, depending on the observer's mood. The furniture and decorations were quite luxurious but mismatched, giving an impression of a country estate or a royal hunting lodge. The hallways were covered with rugs and tapestries which served to muffle sounds, especially of the staff as they quickly moved about the inn. Each room was accessed through two lockable doors connected by a passage less than a body-length long which gave guests some warning before a chamberservant entered using his or her passkeys. Scented oils were kept burning in hanging lamps to mask any unpleasant odors wafting up from the stables in the basement.[2][4]

The common room was decorated with many crossed swords and battered battle trophies. It had semi-private booths around a central open area. Minstrels played softly during busy hours (which were almost 'round the clock[5][6]), both for entertainment and to hinder eavesdropping.[4][5]

Whenever it rained or hailed, the metal roof made the Meet a noisy place.[1][2]

ServicesEdit

Rooms for one or two occupants were 3 gp per night and 2 gp for each additional person. This price included stabling for mounts, a meal, and a bottomless tankard of ale. Known Zhents were only charged 2 gp per night. Guests were expected to dine in the common room but for 1 sp they could have drinks or a meal delivered to their room.[4][5]

Swords Meet was known for its locally brewed dark ale called Night ale.[3] Other brews could occasionally be found here, but everyone knew that ordering ale meant Night ale. For visitors off the street, ale was 1 sp a tankard. A meal was 8 sp and included all the ale they desired to drink. Wines were priced separately for guests and visitors alike: from 2 sp to 10 gp a flagon, depending on quality and availability. At a minimum, the wine cellar kept in stock the locally produced mead and clarry; from Arabel, a pleasant dry red wine; and from Saerloon, their famous glowfire, topaz, and special vat vintages.[4][5]

The food at the Meet was plentiful and filling, with common staples dressed up to uncommonly savory heights. At any time of day, sausage and hot buttered rolls were available to paid guests just for the asking. The sausage was served in chunks on a skewer in between fried mushrooms. At mealtimes, the kitchen produced a "remove"—a main dish and side items—served to any table with paying customers. One regularly served remove was seared venison sauteed with mushrooms in red wine, with a plate of Askata cheese—a strong, crumbly, yellow cheese imported from Impiltur—and biscuits made with sugar and spread with blackberry jelly, served warm. Another favorite was goat meat roasted to tender perfection and served over fried slices of potato, parsnip, and radish, with a plate of goat cheese sprinkled with crushed almonds, and a fruit mash to finish. A minty hot pepper sauce turned the goat meat into a mouth-watering delicacy. Regular customers were always on the lookout for a rare treat: pheasant roasted on a spit, served over a plate of apples and mushrooms, and a dessert of hearty applecake, sweet, dark and moist.[5][6]

The owner of the Meet was Aerel Hassammar who drove his staff to perform their duties with lightning efficiency while remaining as silent and unseen as possible. He was a fair man, but not above using the threat of beatings and whippings to motivate them. On the other hand, if guests wanted something beyond the normal service, he encouraged his staff to be friendly and he turned a blind eye to most delays caused by guests wanting a more personal touch.[2][4]

HistoryEdit

The first owner of the Swords Meet was Naskaler Ormith, a retired Zhentil soldier who desired to create a place for Zhents to feel welcome in an otherwise hostile region south of Zhentil Keep.[1][2] He, and perhaps others who followed him, furnished the Meet with purchases of furniture, tapestries, and household items looted from Sembian mansions and hunting lodges during conflicts with that country to the south. As of the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, the owner was Aerel Hassammar.[2][4]

InhabitantsEdit

Gormstadd, the high priest of the local temple to Cyric, regularly came to the common room with his retinue of lesser priests.[3][5][6]

AppendixEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (PDF). Elminster Speaks p. 26. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Ed Greenwood (2001-08-15). Part #21: Where Zhents Feel At Home. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-09-17.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 John Terra (February 1995). The Moonsea (Reference Guide). (TSR, Inc), p. 23. ISBN 978-0786900923.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (PDF). Elminster Speaks p. 27. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Ed Greenwood (2001-08-29). Part #22: Night Ale at the Meet. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2017-01-13.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (PDF). Elminster Speaks p. 28. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.

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