4 The Rusty Hook

The Rusty Hook is a freestanding warehouse converted into a tavern and inn by well-known ex-pirate named Karl Wine. Situated near the Merchant District, many well-to-do Freeporters would gladly tear down this eyesore.

The Rusty Hook was once a warehouse, and it shows. Karl Wine, a one-handed ex-pirate, won the crumbling building in a game of cards from some fool years ago. Wine took one look at the place and realized he had no idea what to do with it. Since the only things he knew were drinking, fighting, and wenching, and since the place wasn’t a boat, he decided to set up a tavern instead, naming the dive after his much-neglected prosthesis.

Running a tavern out of a warehouse wasn’t altogether clever; the place was far too big, being one huge room. Wine spent a couple of months thinking and drinking, slowly working out how he could make it work. One morning, after a particularly lewd evening of debauchery, he woke up on his back. He shoved the prostitute off his belly and realized the ceiling was easily forty feet overhead. He had an idea. He’d split the place horizontally with a new, lower ceiling for the main
room, with plenty of space above for the bunkrooms.

Construction began, and a year later, the Rusty Hook opened for business.

Although Wine had a good idea, he was never one to consider his plans—the main floor is still quite large. A shoddy wall runs across the middle, separating the common room from the kitchens in the back. Surprisingly, the food isn’t bad. The seafood is always fresh, if not a bit overcooked. Wine actually has a flair for cooking, but any attempts to bring the quality above its meager standard would be wasted on his rough-and-tumble clientele.

A ladder leads up to the second floor, which is cordoned off into a dozen or so rooms with leaning walls held up by hastily erected supports. Wine claims one of the rooms as his own, and it has a door that leads to another room occupied by his barmaids—all of whom were women of ill repute before getting honest work at the Hook. He rents the other dozen rooms by the month, week, day, or even hour. These are deplorable places, equipped with a foul cot and little else. Wine keeps one large room upstairs for the unconscious drunks, the bouncers depositing them to sleep off their benders—once their purses have been lightened to cover the cost of floor space.

Prominent Characters
Karl Wine: Karl Wine (male human journeyman) is a gambler. He has a hard time saying no to any game of chance. But having uncommonly good luck, few people engage him in cards anymore. He has a foul mouth, wandering eye, and a friendly manner. He knows a lot of the folks in the Docks, as well as his way around the city. People who need to get out of town discreetly go to Wine for help.

Karl’s about forty years old, but he’s not certain of his exact age. He takes his name from his flushed appearance and excitable manner. His once-fit body has gone to fat, which he does his best to hide beneath baggy clothing. Despite his growing girth, he’s never without a lady on his knee—he pays enough for her to endure his sweaty advances.

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