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Destroyer of (his own) worlds
Ki'ehr overheard a mention of the Mangled Mermaid as he left the group of officers, and also saw two men who looked an awful lot like the other one who wasn't in uniform. His interest had most certainly been piqued. Perhaps they were undercover guards. He'd heard of cities utilising those. If they actually wanted to stop any crime, though, that man had hardly seemed dressed for the job. He'd barely fit in with a ragtag group of muggers. As Ki'ehr approached the inn, he glanced up at the sign and frowned at its name: the Mangled Mermaid. It seemed that he'd be meeting those who assisted them again, unless he stayed up in his room all day. Ki'ehr looked over the front facade of the building, and then noted a picture drawn on canvas and nailed to a sign. It was, indeed, where the inn had gotten its namesake. Its artist had intended for it to be of a mermaid coiling sensuously around an anchor, yet this painter had no understanding of human anatomy and so the proportions of the woman, who would have otherwise been quite attractive, where all wrong. The cheapness of the painting seemed to fit in with its exterior, and as Ki'ehr walked in through the door, its interior as well.

The candles were running out of wick, and there weren't nearly enough of them to light the place properly. It was dark and run-down and unkempt, and Ki'ehr already felt less at home than when he had walked in. There was a bar, although there wasn't much alcohol. Its top hadn't been cleaned in a while, and Ki'ehr could tell from the smell of the liquids that marked it that they only served watered-down spirits and mead. The tables and chairs weren't faring any better. They were rickety and poorly-put together, and some still even had dust on them. Still, that meant that there was plenty of things that Ki'ehr could do in order to earn a room here. Like any paladin, he stayed firm in the face of hard work. Ki'ehr quickly turned his attention to the innkeeper, and upon seeing him, reluctantly made his way over to him. He was balding, and yet still had shoulder-length, black and grey hair, which was stringy and unwashed. His beard seemed in better shape, but as Ki'ehr drew closer to him, he found there was some crumbs in it. Beyond that, he wore an apron, which had various stains, and underneath he wore a flimsy woollen jacket.

"Hello. I'd like a room and a meal, but I don't have the coin." The innkeeper was already opening his mouth in protest, but Ki'ehr quickly continued. "However, I would be more than willing to work for it. Cleaning, cooking, you name it."

"Firewood." Ki'ehr could only blink, and then looked behind him to see the fireplace. It was sooty and hadn't been used in a long time. Ki'ehr looked back at the man with a confounded look, only to see the innkeeper looking back at him with the most grave seriousness.

"It's hot enough already, don't you think?"

"'S'not 'bou' bein' 'ot. 'S'bou' bein' warm. All th' other inns 'ave got a fire goin', 'at's why they gets all them customers. Firewood for yer room, cleanin' for a meal." The innkeeper nodded, as if rather proud of the deal he had arranged. Ki'ehr could only nod -- it was no place of his to let his own views impede upon those of others, unless, of course, those views conflicted with Levo's. Based on his god's representations of beauty and perfection, though, this inn was practically an affront that needed to be burned to the ground.

"Alright, I'll get right to it. Now, could I have my key, please? As I'm sure you can tell, I'm sweatin' like anything under all this armour and want somewhere safe to put it."

The innkeeper nodded, the expression on his face a little lost, as if he didn't quite know what had just happened, and then handed Ki'ehr a thick, metal cylinder, about the width of his finger, but twice as long. It appeared this inn couldn't even afford proper locks, and had a kind of makeshift bolt system. It would certainly hold if someone tried to break the door down, but it meant his room wouldn't be locked while he was out. This was troubling. Ki'ehr took the 'lock' with a smile and a nod, and then headed upstairs to his room, his smile quickly fading. It was going to be a long day yet.
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Blood in the Jungle · Phenvast City

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