1999-01-22: Great Horns Being Renovated
Although the news was slow to reach the ears of this intrepid reporter, it was stunning none the less… the Great Horns Tavern of Magincia would be gaining a second floor!
Ben Kahns, the tavernkeeper and principle proprietor of the tavern, was more than happy to indulge my curiousity when I stopped in. Although the construction had not begun quite yet, I could see scaffolds setup outside, and what looks to be supplies being brought in. Stacks of wood smelling lightly of pitch, heavy dull ingots of iron, and most surprisingly of all, several crates of heavy sandstone blocks.
“I commissioned a mason in Minoc, a fine lass named Marissa, to quarry it for me.” The ever-smiling bartender explained, at ease leaning on his bar, as he refilled my glass mug with a generous portion of Ocllo ale.
“Most don’t know it…" he confided to me, a grin on his handsome features, "But this is the first major piece of construction in Magincia in over a century, since the Temple of Pride was built.”
“The Temple of Pride?" I inquired, trying to keep my head clear as I sipped the ale slowly. "On that subject, I was wondering how the native Magincians feel about this.”
Ben shrugged at this. “Well, the tavern profits are up for the first time in a decade. Our usual crowd used to be mages from the Circle Magicka next door, and Parliament members. Not exactly high volume customers." He explained. "Now we’re getting all sorts of new clientele, much from the mainland and other places, and business is booming! As a result, Lord Hobart, the owner, just couldn’t say no to the idea.” he finished, smiling.
The tavern certainly looked good to me, though, and I said as much, ordering a glass of milk along with a plateful of donuts, a delicacy named “The Zerver Specialty”, found only in the Great Horns.
“Ah, well, there’s so much space up there, not being utilized. And while this bar is decent enough…" Ben ran his hands on the smoothly lacquered table… "I have something so much better in mind. And I think everyone will really be pleased with it.”
“Do you plan to offer more to your customers, in terms of services?” I asked, chewing the donut slowly, enjoying the unique flavor.
“Ah, well, as you know, I already have hired two mages, Quenton over there being one of them…" He pointed towards the far corner next to the stove where Quenton stood, reading a book. "They provide transport to Nujel'm and back. I also hired a stable hand, so that my patrons with horses can keep them secure. I’ve had some serious traffic problems in the past.”
I nodded, dunking my last donut in the remainder of my milk. “But with two floors, do you think you can handle all the business yourself?” I asked, my mind was not so dulled as to miss that!
Ben smiled, nodding slightly. “Ah, you’re right. I shall be looking into hiring new help soon. But I have to be selective of course… not just anyone can work here.” He remarked, smiling. I returned the smile, but I had a few cards left to play on the famous Nujel'mite chef.
“And what about Lissa, of the Healers of Britainnia? How does she feel about all this?” A slight jolt showed I’d scored a point on him, and he blushed slightly. More than a few tavern regulars, even Quenton knew of his relationship with the healer.
“Oh, well, she’s very supportive, she even helped me plan the new decorations.” He said finally, his smile returning. I considered inquiring about their possible engagement, but decided to refrain, Ben looked red enough for one day.
“And an architect? I heard you had some trouble locating one.” I inquired, my quill at the ready.
“Ah yes, I think I’ve managed to find one. I recruited some tavern regulars to aid me in transporting the stone here, one of them even owns the Last Hope Tavern." He replied, relaxing as the subject changed. "So I may send some again to haggle on a commission. Once I have one hired, the work shall begin!”
I smiled, and rose from my seat, bidding Ben farewell. But before I could leave, Ben handed me something, a roll of parchment. “Here, for your article. I commissioned a local artist of great skill, Cadre, to draw this.”
I unrolled it, to find a beautiful rendition of Ben and Lissa. Ben then took my hand and kissed it, asking me to return when the renovations were complete for the grand opening party. It was my turn to blush, and a part of me wished the dusky and attractive Ben wasn’t already taken…