9 The Diving Fin

The Diving Fin is something of a curiosity for the Docks. There are plenty of places in this district to get a meal, but few of them offer anything that could come close to fine. However, there is one exception: the Diving Fin. This restaurant owes its success to the culinary expertise of Dreiden Simmerswell, a former adventurer who abandoned his trade in favor of experimenting with wondrous dishes in the kitchens of his burgeoning restaurant.

Years ago, Dreiden Simmerswell settled in Freeport to seek a life of adventure. While not exceptionally talented in this pursuit, Freeport’s promise of easy riches drew him like a moth to a flame. He was quickly disappointed when he arrived. The open chests brimming with gold were nowhere to be found, the locals were smelly and crude, and there wasn’t a decent place to get a meal anywhere within walking distance of the Docks.

While looking for work, he noticed an abandoned warehouse lying in an area that should have been prime real estate. He set aside his ambitions for adventure and used the last of his dwindling fortune to open the best restaurant in Freeport. Unfortunately, he had no idea what he was doing. He had no practical cooking skills and knew next to nothing about running a restaurant. But he focused his creativity and halfling pluck and persevered. He spent most of his energy on perfecting seafood, and through practice and experimentation, his talents increased, allowing the Diving Fin to gain an excellent reputation.

When it first opened, it did poor business, but as Dreiden’s mastery of cooking emerged, so too did the Fin’s reputation. Most folks preferred to keep the place a secret, rather than filling it with those who couldn’t appreciate the delicate fare and complex flavorings Dreiden uses. Word of mouth inevitably spread, and now the Diving Fin is one of Freeport’s most popular restaurants. In fact, they are so busy on most nights you must have a reservation.

The Diving Fin stands on the corner of the Docks, adjacent to both the Warehouse and Merchant districts. The layout of the Diving Fin is rather sparse, as the focus is more on the food than the atmosphere. A single door opens into the main room, which seats about a hundred. The bar is in the rear of the room, directly adjacent to the kitchen entrance. Most times, Gringa, the bartender and bouncer, can be found here, ponderously mixing drinks in glasses that are almost completely engulfed by her hands. Patrons who aren’t half-orcs find her concoctions a bit strong.

Lighting is provided by candelabras dangling from the ceiling and torches hung at varying intervals along the walls. There are a few stabs at a nautical theme, namely some paintings and the occasional stuffed sea creature, but for the most part, the place simply settles for clean and neat. Aside from the general excellence of the food, the sheer variety of available dishes makes the place that much more intriguing. A typical evening will have such delights as soft-shelled crab kebabs, shark sandwiches, kraken steaks, and the occasional appearance of the fabled “Sea God’s Delight,” which is the rather large tail of some sea creature smothered in a tangy whisky sauce. Specials change nightly.

One item that is never on the menu, however, is fighting. Gringa strictly enforces this policy. Patrons are requested to deposit their weapons at the door, and at the first hint of unrest, Gringa calmly makes her way to the boisterous party and slowly raises them up to the ceiling. This is usually all that is required to keep the peace, but Gringa is not above retrieving her axe from above the bar. Since Dreiden still has a lot of room in the cavernous building, he dabbles with running an inn. Upstairs, there are a dozen modest rooms for rent, though each is rather plain and bare. Dreiden and Gringa, as well as a few members of the staff, have rooms here, but their abodes are equally drab.

Prominent Characters
Dreiden Simmerswell: Dreiden (male halfling journeyman) has come a long way from his days as a fresh-faced adventurer. He can’t imagine living any other life than tending his kitchen and producing dishes to please and astound his guests. Over the last few years, Dreiden has put on weight, but his obesity doesn’t slow him down. He still zips around the kitchen, barking orders to his assistants and whipping up a new batch of delights each evening.

Short and fat, Dreiden is a typical halfling. He has a pudgy face and easy smile. He has bright, inquisitive, green eyes, and he always perks up when food is the topic of discussion. He wears a smart white suit and apron and a silly hat on his head.

Those hoping to catch a glimpse of Dreiden will probably leave disappointed. Simmerswell spends most of his time preparing the night’s delicacies in the kitchen. Only toward the end of the evening does he come out to mingle with his customers. It is up to the waiters to inform diners to pass chef compliments to Gringa, who acknowledges them with a single curt nod.

Gringa: Gringa actually knows Simmerswell from his days of adventure seeking, and she enjoyed the halfling’s carefree personality so much she decided to join him in his restaurant venture. Gossip in the Docks suggests Gringa’s relationship with Simmerswell goes beyond simple business dealings, though no one but a suicidal fool would ever say as much in the half-orc’s presence. In spite of the rumors, neither of them has even remotely considered moving beyond
the easy friendship they enjoy. Why mess with success?

Gringa is large, and she wears her orc ancestry with pride and uses her fierce looks to ensure people don’t cause trouble in the place. She has deep green skin and black hair. Her yellow eyes have a jaundiced look, but she’s hale and healthy. She wears a black suit when working but keeps her old adventuring gear handy in case of trouble.

Dimetrios: Dimetrios is well known around Freeport. The common folk know him as a reliable friend and teller of tall tales, merchants know him as the man to see for help in avoiding tariffs, and everyone in the Docks knows him as a prodigious drinker and cheerful brawler.

Dimetrios is a great ugly bear of a man; even his muscles have muscles. His fearsome appearance is mitigated by bright green eyes, and by a wide smile that wreaths his lumpy face and reveals a snaggle of broken teeth. He stands 6'6" and has enough thick black hair covering his head and body to upholster three normal people. He is a man of simple tastes; his idea of a fun evening is to drink, to get into a brawl, drink some more with the guy he just fought, and finally go home with a willing woman.

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