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The Dark Thirst, Drinks and Beds

      Ah, you want a story about my favorite house of respite? Well, you're in luck. I don't think there's many living who have spent as much time sleeping under her roof as I have. Or been kicked out on their ass as much after scamming every poor sod who thought they could out gamble me. But, my gambling skills are a story for another day, you want to hear about The Dark Thirst. 

     The Dark Thirst is rife with mysteries and rumors, most of which are so outlandish and unbelievable that you'd laugh them off as something a child would have concocted. That's what drags most people through the door, though. The stories. I'd wager there's one story not told as often as the others, and that would be the strange one about the taverns owner, and how he came to own this little slice of the bed and breakfast market. 

      Back some fifty years ago this tavern was nothing more than that. Actually, it was a bit less than that, it was more of a dive, and not the fun kind you stumble into on an all-night bender. The previous owner managed to just keep the place open by offering piss-poor ale at a piss-poor price. Sure, it wasn't a place you'd tell your friends to meet you at, but for the drunkard and the lone wolf, it was good enough to drop the copper the place needed to keep the lanterns lit at night. 

      Now in those days, the bar didn't see too much out of the ordinary beyond the occasional drifter, or adventurer in-between tombs to raid. In fact, the town didn't really see too much of anything back then. Believe it or not, it wasn't the social hub it's known as now. All of that is thanks in no small part to Lamont Gascar. 

      Lamont Gascar came into town in the dead of night, sometime in winter. I don't know if there was a full moon that night, but I wouldn't be surprised to know that the moon didn't show itself at all when Lamont was about. Lamont had the demeanor of someone who knows what they want, and won't care if you don't like it. He wanted the bar. The owner didn't like it. 

      The way I've heard it, he offered the previous owner some not-so-small sum of gold for the place after only having been in it for less time than it takes to order a pint. The owner refused. Not only did it seem unlikely that anyone would want to buy the place, but if someone you'd never met came up to where you lived and worked and wanted to buy it from you, wouldn't you get suspicious? 

      Lamont was resolute in his want, and told the owner he'd come back every night with the same offer until either he owned the bar, or he found someplace better. The owner kindly told him exactly here he could place his offers, and Lamont left. He returned every night for sixteen days.

      Every night for sixteen days, he would walk through the door, proclaim he wanted to buy the bar, the owner would throw a few choice curses his way, and Lamont would leave. On the seventeenth day, the owner expanded his vocabulary enough to ask why Lamont was so interested. What was it about his bar that made him come back every night? Lamont smiled, and the owner wished he'd never asked. Or so I'm led to believe.

      The figure that Lamont cut is one I'm sure you've heard described before. He dressed smartly, neither rich nor poor, but well off enough to sport colors beyond leather brown and coal black. He was tall, but wouldn't tower over you if you stood to face him. Although if you did, you'd most likely shrink a few inches. Lamont's eyes were a blue so cold you could catch frostbite if you looked at them for too long. Hair flowed from his head down to his collar, black as a raven's feather against the pale moon of his skin. 

      Lamont glided over to the owner like mist on a lake, whispered in his ear, and left. They say the owner didn't speak after that moment, and that's most likely due to the fact that when the sun came up the next morning, he was gone. Packed up his things before dawn and vanished just as suddenly as Lamont had appeared. 

      Over the course of the next week, the bars deed materialized in the hands of Lamont, closed down to the general public, and construction began on the building we know today. It took nearly three full months to build it up from the small shack it was to the two story wonder it is today. Of course, it always takes longer to get things done when you only do them at night. The town was furious with Lamont during all that time. The racket, the noise of it all, and always after the sun had set. But fury is easily stemmed by fear, and by then, the townsfolk had a healthy dose of that when Lamont was concerned. Where did he even go when the sun came up? Most people had a suspicion, but being eccentric fit the bill a lot easier than the supernatural. 

      All of that changed when the newly christened Dark Thirst Bar and Inn finally opened it's doors in late spring. It was magnificent. An inn resting above a bar unlike anything you could find so far away from a major city. A full stable beside it, and a garden in the back. Lamont had spared no expense. And though the rumors abounded on how those bills had all been paid for, everyone seemed to forget when people began to come to town.

      Just as suddenly as Lamont had, people began coming to the town as though the tavern had always existed, like they knew it was there. Adventurers looking for food and beds, traveling merchants dragging their goods through the countryside, and before long all manner of odd folk and creatures. The easy conclusion to draw would be that Lamont advertised the establishment, but no one knew where, or when. Was that where he went during the days? Did the workers pass news along when they weren't hammering away at night? Questions that lead to more questions, and all Lamont would add on the matter was a simple, "Word gets around." 

      I'll give the townsfolk credit, they took it in stride. I've seen some places react badly to rapid change like that. Maybe it was the jobs that Lamont's establishment provided, or the sudden flow of gold the people of the town started to see, but they adapted quick enough to the changes that came their way. The farmer could sell his surplus, the tanner could hire on more hands, and before long, the small town began to grow into a nice little place to visit if you were in the area.

      If you were to ask about Lamont, most folks would swear up and down that he's a good man. Helped turn their town from a smudge on the map to an actual dot, with a name and everything. If you asked about the odd creatures that sometimes wandered into town and stayed at the inn, the goblin traders that rolled through every spring, the elven diplomats, the giant once a few summers back, they'd laugh and tell you that's just part of the allure of Lamont. They'd agree that he has some way about him that attracts some outliers, though never anything dangerous. And, of course, have you seen the place? It's no wonder people come from all over to stay a night or two. Imported liquors from the far reaches, beds so soft you'd think they'd never been slept in, and food far better than anything you've had so far out in the woods, cooked by Lamont himself no less! The man was multitalented, and the town owed him a great debt for all the good fortune he had brought them. 

      But If you asked them more about Lamont, about how he still had the same length black hair, the same young look to his face, the same smile he'd shown the owner that first night some fifty years ago. If you asked about why he never seems to leave the tavern, why you only see him working the bar or the kitchens at night ... Well, I imagine they'd laugh and say you've heard too many stories told over too many cups. 

A Bard's Tale

Hambone, Skeleton Doorman