Callindra’s heart sank as she realized that none of them really had anything to trade. There were a few useful odds and ends that they’d acquired over their travels, but the reality was much of it was important for their continued survival. While they all dug through packs and pouches hunting for anything that she might take on trade, Connor was staring at the building and fingering something up his sleeve.
“This place used to be beautiful.” He said quietly. When he withdrew his right hand from the sleeve, he had taken his glove and a strangely delicate tattoo made of overlapping geometric shapes spilled out over his wrist. He touched a portion of the railing carved with intricate flowers that had almost been worn completely away.
“I bet you used to look better before all yer hair got burnt too,” Hagar said, obviously upset at the critique of the inn. “Me da built it after he quit bein a shipwright. He did have a hand with a chisel, but times an war ain’t been kind.”
“Maybe I could… fix this for you? In exchange for room and board for myself and my friends?” He was lost staring at the building with a strange look on his face. Callindra tried to catch his attention; she’d seen him ‘fix’ things before and this did not sound like a good way to stay inconspicuous.
“You fix the Fisherman and you cn stay as long as ya want boy!” She laughed, “Drinks onna house and all!”
Connor closed his eyes and to their collective surprise his tattoo writhed off his arm, rivers of ink unfolding and winding about the building. Wood warped and nails shrieked as the ancient boards folded and twisted like a massive blacksmith’s puzzle. After mere minutes, an immaculate four-story structure with bright green painted walls, polished brass trim. Carvings covered almost every exposed surface showing a variety of aquatic scenes.
“How’s that then?” Connor asked, shaking and sweating but with a triumphant smile on his face. “I was fair certain this was old Dimgar’s work; never knew anyone else who would name their daughter Hagar.”
“You knew my father?” She stood, staring at the inn with a stunned expression on her face. “Boyo you and yours cn stay as long as ya want.”
“Nah, but I heard of him from my dad,” Connor said, leaning on the railing and sliding his glove back on.
“So much for keeping a low profile,” Callindra said, giving Connor a look that mixed respect and annoyance. “But at least we gained something from it.”
Connor grinned, “I’ll need the penthouse for my lady.” He declared in a loud voice, “She’s been leading us in battle and on the road for weeks and is a bit worse for wear. Our Callindra always gets a bit testy when she has to sleep in her armor.”
Reed took up the banter, “She’ll want a bath drawn with lavender soap and a silk robe to lounge in.”
“A pipe and tobacco should also be procured,” Holt said, joining in without a hint he was having fun with her. “She prefers Karalan Imperialis if you have it.”
Hagar opened the door with a flourish, “Only th best fer such a fine lass!” She said grandly and then stared in shock.
Inside, the Pickled Fisherman was set up as a hollow box with rooms on all sides that surrounded an open center. A bar stocked with barrels and bottles stood on one side of the bottom floor and was offset by a large stage on the other. The centerpiece of the room was a large dance floor made from mosaic wood tiles.
“It’s all here.” She whispered in amazement. “Down to th food n beer.”
“I’ll bring them to their suite.” A confused looking boy whose dirty face looked very out of place compared with his perfectly pressed and starched uniform.
“Right. Th top floor suite for th Lady.” Hagar said, her voice faint. “Nothin but th best for Connor’s mistress.”
Callindra followed the boy up the stairs, looking at the carved banisters, wood inlaid walls, and rich furnishings. When they reached the top, she paused and looked over the railing to the floor below. The view took her breath away, the gentle light from the lamps made the polished wood glow and silk banners diffused the light in beautiful colors.