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Monday, August 31

Gangs of Freeport: Part 4 – Pier Pressure

Freeport certainly had thrice the ambiance and thrice the character of any other city, and that character coagulated in tiny pools of wonder that mere mortals called “taverns.”

The Broken Mug was constructed at the end of an old pier, leaning out over the water like a drunken sailor about to vomit. The planks creaked alarmingly underfoot, though clearly they were sturdy enough to support the establishment. The sign above the door swayed with the rhythm of the tide lapping at the pier. The symbol painted on it in cracked and fading hues—a mug with a huge fault running through it—confirmed that Vlad was in the right place.

The scent of cheap alcohol, wood shavings, saltwater, and sweat assailed him like common muggers before he even opened the door. The interior of the tavern was dim, lit only by a few flickering lanterns and the light that squeezed in through boarded windows. Tables, and barrels served as tables, strewn about the room with no real sense of order. Half were empty, while the other half seated people in various states of inebriation. Most were men, most were human, and most looked quite at home in a cheap tavern. Several women in blouses cut lower than the afternoon tide flitted from table to table, working to part the drunks from their money by any one of a variety of means. A large stone fireplace stood empty, next to a long bar made of wood, behind which stood a gruff-looking female dwarf.

Vlad, magically disguised as a Cutthroat gang member, walked over to the bartender. He plunked down some doubloons. “I’m looking for Sky-High.”

“Who?” asked the bartender. She looked aggravated by the mere fact that Vlad was talking to her.

The patron next to Vlad turned to face him. “We don’t like your kind here,” he snarled.

A few other patrons stood up. One, a twisted gnome, bent and hunched, grabbed a chair. Another fellow had a bottle in his hand.

The bartender reached for something beneath the bar.

Vlad shrugged as if dropping a cloak from his shoulders and the illusion disappeared. “Do you really want to do this?”

The crowd hesitated. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 6:39 AM


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