In his Father’s day Temin’s was an excellent inn, widely noted for it’s fine food, comfortable rooms, and well-stocked cellar. Running an inn is pretty much all that Temin has ever done, but growing up around so many loutish, drunken, customers may help explain why he’s never actually liked people very much.
On the other hand, Temin has never encountered a coin that he couldn’t become close personal friends with at a moments notice. Lacking the talent (and desire) to actually run a good inn (or for much of anything else), Temin has settled for running one of the cheapest and most crowded establishments in the city – turning a profit almost entirely on the economies of scale. His taxes would be higher, but – while putting Temin out of business might be a fine service to humanity – he does fill a need of sorts.
These days Temin’s Bed’n’Pottage is a rattling, broken-down, multistory firetrap consisting of an old inn, a dilapidated warehouse, am old stable, and a row of mildewed and collapsing tenements, all tied together by crudely pegged-together bridges, knocked-out walls (sometimes turned into bridges), and a tangle of stairwells, passages, and ladders. Most of the larger rooms are, of course, subdivided into a cramped warren with the cheapest of rush-matting “walls” (through which people who try to lean on them regularly fall). Some customers say there’s a hole in one of the basement rooms where – if you pull away the rotting wooden cover – you will find a pit that drops straight down to the very pits of hell, which is where Temin gets the fire for his stove, since he’s too cheap to burn wood or coal. Most of the other customers say that if there was such a hole, Temin would have run the demons and monsters out long since and would currently be renting out rooms in hell since they couldn’t possibly be any less comfortable than the ones he rents out now!
When it comes to the meals, Temin’s mostly serves “pottage’n’trenchers”. If you have to ask what’s in the pottage, you aren’t hungry enough – but it’s mostly turnips (or whatever vegetable is cheapest this month), peas, butcher’s leavings and overage meat, occasional stray animals, and the cheapest fish from the sea, thickened with the same flour that Temin uses to bake the trencher bread – the cheapest to be found. In general, that’s the stuff that’s sold to the cities poorest – the leavings swept up at the end of the day from the milling room floor; husks, sawdust, spilled grains, the flour-dust from whatever was being ground that day, and assorted bugs and rat hairs.
Temin’s does offer several “security features” of sorts; the groaning, creaking, floors, rustling canvas sheets that serve as the doors to most of the rooms, and horrible tangle of busy unlit near-crawlways make it easy to hide and virtually impossible to sneak up on anyone. If your room doesn’t have a back door, a simple well-placed kick will usually produce one. Attempts to search the place are more likely to stir up a plague or poisonous insect than anything that’s been hidden – and Temin himself is notorious for paying close attention to money and none at all to his customers, making asking him or his staff nosy questions an exercise in futility. Drunken brawls aren’t a big feature either; Temin’s “beer” is too weak to get anyone drunk and brawls burn precious energy that’s better spent on survival. Petty theft is rife of course, but Temin’s is a reasonably effective safehouse if you need one.
Despite whispered rumors of gladiatorial pits in the basement, and assorted unsavory dealings, the most Temin ever provides is quiet little rooms with multiple back exits in which you can conduct whatever dealings take your fancy. That sort of thing is none of his business, although having the occasional body hauled away is.
If you want to go shopping, or sell something, Temin is more than willing to rent nooks and small sets of slightly larger and more comfortable rooms for the day, week, month, or year, so that his residents can run small businesses and exchange “their” (or more often someone else’s) goods – which leads to fixed locations for the kind of businesses that usually operate in alleyways out of the inside of an overcoat. In practice, Temin has managed to cram half the cities slums into a single noxious block.
Gods forbid that the place should ever catch fire though; the death toll would almost certainly be horrendous – and attempting to escape a maze of passages with flame bursting unexpectedly through the floor, collapsing areas, choking smoke, and people screaming, would be almost as bad as an adventurer’s raid on hell itself.
Still, if you’re desperate enough to stay at Temin’s, a half-copper will buy a slab of trencher bread loaded with pottage and a mug of water flavored with the cheapest beer. It isn’t good – or even common – food, but it has a fair amount of calories and even a little nutritional value from all the cheap vegetables. It’s a solid meal for a worker (albeit not enough for a full day of labor) or enough for a hungry child to get through the day. Another half-copper will buy a tolerably warm spot in the main room for a night or a (colder and more cramped, if more private and “secure”) little box of a room for the same period.
A silver will get you both for a week, along with a ragged blanket and breakfast – a small mug of “beer” and a thick slice of bread with something fatty (they call it butter, but it’s usually mostly lard or drippings) smeared on it for breakfast.
If you want someplace to stay out of sight, and where pretty much anything you d
o will be carefully ignored, Temin’s Bed’n’Pottage may fit the bill. If you need minor items under the table, or connections to petty thieves and the rumormill, you can find them here. If you’re not quite dead broke, Temin’s will get you through a cold winter’s night. If you’re a health inspector… well, all your troubles will be over after your head explodes.
- Soup Series Part II: Birthright Lentil Stew (cypressandmyrtlefoods.wordpress.com)