Princes of the Apocalypse
The Helm at Highsun
Right across the Long Road from the Swinging Sword Inn stands a ramshackle two-story tavern. Rusty metal grills cover its small, dirty windows. The tavern’s name is very clearly printed in large, simple letters on both sides of a jutting wooden sign. Atop the sign is a rusting, oversized adornment: a warrior’s bucket helm with two eye slits (actually an upside-down washtub). Inside is a large, dimly lit, wood-paneled taproom. An open-tread wooden staircase climbs to the upper floor, which is just as dim and darkly paneled as the taproom. Across the back of the taproom is a long bar with three copper candle-lanterns hanging over it, and a stair leading down to the cellars. The Helm at Highsun is where locals relax, gossip, flirt, tell jests and “war stories” of their working days, and get drunk. It’s not a place for refined dining. A dozen servers work shifts at the Helm; most nights, two cover the ground floor and one waits on guests on the upper floor. The staff at the Helm don’t gossip, but they direct anyone who questions them to other patrons they think might talk about a particular subject. A gift of a drink loosens most tongues. The Helm gets rowdy from time to time, but the staff is ready for ordinary drunken fisticuffs. Behind the bar are three stout and well-used cudgels, and an old cloak used as an improvised stretcher to lug drunks outside (and sometimes thrown over the heads of brawlers so they can be clubbed down).