The Sage of Shadowdale has something to say about pretty much everything. Despite having outlets in Dragon Magazine, Dungeon Adventures, and Polyhedron Newszine, the Old Mage still has more to say about Faerûn. Not wanting to anger an archmage, we decided it would be best to give him a regular column from which to discuss the finer points.
Listen well, young one...
Cheap and Cheerful at the Three Elves
Named for three retired elven warriors who founded it (though they left Voonlar soon after, selling the inn to the first of a succession of human owners), the Elves is the oldest of Voonlar's inns. It stands at the eastern end of town on the north side of Shind Road at its meeting with the Dump Road. (The Elves faces down the Dump Road.) It is a rambling, many-dormered fieldstone building with its upper floor of wood and its roof of thatch. Its two sagging side wings are tile-roofed, but they have an alarming habit of shedding tiles in high winds. The tiles have been cracked under the boots of too many rowdy guests jumping onto them from higher windows, late at night. A distinctive signboard juts out from above the inn's great oval front door: three silver arrows flying in a row, points down diagonally to the sinister, on a field of oak trees whose foliage runs together into an unbroken mass of green.
The Three Elves is by far the most rundown of Voonlarren inns, with creaking, uneven floors (some spring up alarmingly when a foot descends in the wrong place), a large resident population of cats, mice, rats, spiders, roaches, and the like, and old, battered furnishings. However, it remains a longtime favorite of many travelers.
It's known through the Moonsea for its friendly, "you're at home" staff and its kitchens. Guests are expected to sprawl around at ease with their boots up on furniture and devour huge portions of good, filling food. The four fat cooks who jointly own and run the inn -- Jaylee Clammath, the unmarried sisters Ammatha and Baralea Braceryn , and the growling giant Haundrae Duir -- are its strength, and are locally revered. Jaylee is a jovial mountain of a woman (NG female human Exp6); Ammatha and Baralea are flitting birds of breathless flirtation, thoughtfulness, and whirlwind cookery (both CG female human Exp3); and Haundrae is a slow, mighty former soldier who is still handy with a hurled axe (NG male human War5; Str 17). Starving travelers should go nowhere else.
A meal at the Elves is 5 sp for all one can eat and drink. The cellar is deep, but consists of whatever passing merchants sell, plus Haundrae's nut ale (thick, dark, and almost chewy) and a thinner berry beer (nice, but too sweet for some) brewed by the Braceryn sisters. Don't expect reliable supplies of particular vintages here.
A room is 8 sp (food and drink for the day included), with a 2-sp surcharge for those desiring a private room (rather than one shared with other travelers). Stabling for one beast is included, but additional animals are 5 sp each/night.
The Elves is a labyrinth of short flights of steps, odd-shaped rooms, and passages that bend and twist, but guests soon find their ways down to the common room where at all hours food is being prepared. Typical Elves fare is roast boar or old ox'(tough beef marinated for days in a succulent secret sauce of wine and crushed nuts) or a "mess" of partridge, rabbit, or wild turkey, accompanied by dumpling-and-greens or spiced cheese soup, salt fish on melted butter buns, strong cheeses, and dried fruit tarts. (Haundrae is wild about cheese and orders a huge variety from far afield.) Few dine elsewhere often, once they've dined at the Elves.
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