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Another Terrible Tale as Told by a Tapeworm

There was little more one might say on the way out of Shiver’s Inn than a, “A fine evening to you, sir,” and a, “Fine evening to you as well.” Followed by knowing eyes in passing and a devilish grin to bid their farewells as one entered their coach to depart and another came to the door of a very old tavern. Discretion was guaranteed, of course and the wise were quite polite how they kept their secrets quiet.

“A fine evening to you, sir.” Greeted as always by a man at the door and some people might say that he rose from the very floorboards to greet each and every guest, himself. Across the bar, a man might even bend your ear about how that man shivered as though the Hells had frozen around his toes! Tell you he came and greeted as though half afraid and half bored when he turned to you and spun that wirey mustache with one hand held expectantly out.

And every man or woman that dared speak of Shiver beyond his discretionary guarantee would all tell you to cross that hand with a very fine tip. And never to go upstairs with a redhead at Shiver’s Inn.

If you wanted more than that, however, you’d have to delve deeper down the hole and in the very gutters of Gelbet might a shifty man with a twitch in his eye trade you some info on what you want for a little dust. Ought to come prepared if you run looking for answers better left to the dead, he’d say. But he’d make good on his deal once he saw inside the envelope.

Tell you about the speakeasy. Eight sides, like a oblogon. All open tables like an easy lounge. A bar at one side with the usual assortments of fine firewater aged like good vinegar. Gossip room, folks talk in there and you’d think they’d be more quiet about it, yeah? Given what goes on at Shiver’s, but no. All these tables got these beautiful curtains, man. Gorgeous, red, rose and see-through. All enchanted to keep sound inside, man. Discretion guaranteed.

And remember. Always tip Shiver, man. It’s just decency.

Bruiser across the street didn’t look to know much, but if anyone had more answers? The junkie outside said the boss in there might know a thing or two about what goes on beyond the curtains of Shiver’s Inn.

Info? Yeah. Toni’s got info. Though one might have to endure the sight of pantless hobgoblins and their wonkin’, honkin’ willies hangin’ out. Even while Queen of the City, Toni the Pink forced all his hobgoblin shock collars to wear shockingly pink blazers about the size of collars around their hulking shoulders.

Toni, of course, wants what Toni always wants; loving with all the wrong sorts, a hefty bag of pen. He was a fine crime lord and honestly the best thing to happen to Gelbet in twenty years of trading one corrupt mayor for another. A businessman. He could tell you quite a stretch about Shiver’s Inn for say-

A hundred pen?

A little chore to knock off while his pet hobgoblin recharged. Stroke the chicken he cradled in one pygmy sized arm and fluff his pretty pink scarf with the other and even suggest you stay to see the latest theatre production he and his gaggle of hobgoblins had put together starring their latest in a long line of convicted hooligans held hostage to sing under threat of an explosive collar around the neck.

He walks you in, Toni would say. Shows you the whole place; the speakeasy, tells you all about discretion. He guarantees it you know, just like the ice with which your wine will arrived chilled; guaranteed to never once be touched by dirty pygmy hands… My kind of dessert, I think.

For the pygmies often hated pygmies most of all!

And oof! Toni would groan, theatrically if he could act. Their food is just to die for. All locally sourced and fresh and delivered hot, steaming to your table as if they cut the very throats in their kitchen then and there before cleaving it fresh onto a skillet. Their steaks are a must if you go.

And the spa, my one true guilty pleasure for we all tend to vice heavily upon one hearty thing in the roots of our animal instincts, darling. Ask for a red bath. I think you’ll find its warmth intoxicating. And perhaps you’ve had quite enough there? Shame. You’d look good with a whole apple in your mouth.

Don’t forget to tip, darling. Now shoo fly, I’m late for a third helping of bubble butt over here- Rawr!

Inviting though it might seem, no one knew quite how to get there. A secret best kept, perhaps, but if one truly wanted to know what went on beyond the doors of Shiver’s Inn? Knowing eyes and a devilish smile to bid you farewell.

They’d tell you of the skeletons that bus your food; their ears pierced deaf and their eyes wired shut, tongues cut from their mouths sewn closed so as to never speak a word of what goes on at Shiver’s Inn. Talk about the backrooms where pleasures are private, the haunting demon eyes that lure you in passing for times as good as they get be your preference a man, a woman or both. Everything you could ever want, you can have at Shiver’s Inn.

But if you really want to know how to get to Shiver’s Inn, might say a fine red dress at the proper market district where only the richest came to dine and the finest wore red as was only decent for an elf with long ears and stubborn traditions. Perhaps even blue on a fine Siren’s holiday, but the man to ask is a bard.

One they all say is quite the dullard, even a luddite if not quite simple if they say so themselves! You’d more often find him asleep in the gutter, you would hear. Or on the curb performing with his enchanted, floating instruments. Or panhandling on the corner with his very strange hat from which he could pull a piano!

Probably at the bar, most would tell you and if you chose to start there you’d be in luck! Never find him busking his antics or running for his life from another escaped gaggle of angry, flaming imps down the street with a harp in one hand and his best intentions in the other. Instead, find him drinking with an ugly pale girl and her one arm.

Shiver’s? Only way there’s to know the way there, the bard would say. But if you’ve already made the rounds from first hearin’ at the bar to come hearin’ last at the bar from a bard, I can tell ya the way you learn to know. And after a sip of his whiskey, he’d tell you to rent an extra special carriage with extra special horses from a super secret coach service at the far end of the city.

And he’d remind you always to tip.

Because there were some things they couldn’t tell you about Shiver’s Inn. Some things were never seen, of course. Things they could only convey with knowing eyes in passing and devilish grins in farewell. Discretion was guaranteed, of course. And if you forgot to tip the titular innkeep as he spun his spindly mustache and with a hand held out for your generosity, then he might forget to tell you the most important advice of them all which he and any other wise man might tell you with honest conviction.

Always mind your doors.

For that one leads to the kitchen where one might claim the meat is so fresh; they cut the very throats in there and cleave your flesh fresh onto a skillet.

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