The Blushing Mermaid was a tavern, inn, and festhall in Waterdeep managed by Lady Alathene Moonstar circa the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR.[3] It was well-known for its luxurious atmosphere, privacy, and unique dining with merfolk servers.[1][2]

Location[edit | edit source]

The Blushing Mermaid (labeled D36) circa 1372 DR.

This establishment was located on Net Street in the Dock Ward, just one door up from Dock Street and its intersection with Keel Alley.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

Map showing the Blushing Mermaid on Net Street, circa 1367 DR.

Structure[edit | edit source]

The Blushing Mermaid was a converted villa[12][13][14] that consisted of three two- and three-story connected buildings.[1][3][9] The lowest level was connected to a series of well-secured secret tunnels once used for smuggling. The merfolk staff used these to commute to work, swimming in from the harbor and exiting the same way when their shift was over.[1]

Interior[edit | edit source]

The rooms were luxuriously appointed and each one was a suite composed of a reception area that could also be an office, a private bedroom, and a private bathroom. The common areas were partitioned with thin curtains and had many cushions for comfortable lounging. The carpets were thick and sound-absorbent. The main attraction was a large heated pool filled with scented water where guests could soak while being served food and drink by mermaids and mermen.[1]

It was a well-known fact that the Blushing Mermaid was riddled with secret passages. Nearly every room had a sliding panel in the wall, but they were spell-locked so only Lady Alathene or a trusted staff member carrying one of four enchanted silver hands could operate them. Guests seldom if ever managed to circumvent Lady Alathene's spells.[1]

Atmosphere[edit | edit source]

The Blushing Mermaid was a refuge from the loud and noisome harbor. Many hanging lamps gave off pleasant scents and warm amber glows. The plush carpets and gauzy curtains made cozy nooks for socializing between guests and escorts. All the waitstaff, maids, and escorts (and even Lady Alathene herself[2]) wore black masks made of thin, light metal with black veils to hide their faces, adding an air of mystery.[1] Even more macabre was the spiral staircase that wound from the main dining pool room up to a rooftop greenhouse or garden under a glass cupola. The railings and risers were decorated with human bones affixed by thin wire.[15]

Services[edit | edit source]

As of 1367 DR, a typical room at the Blushing Mermaid rented for 5 gold pieces per night, but the rate varied by size and the distance from the ground floor, ranging from 3 gp for a small upper room to 9 gp for a large room lower down. The tenday rate was anywhere from 10 to 50 gp, but a typical room was 20 gp. For this price, the scents in the room were adjusted to the renter's choice, fresh linens were provided for the asking, and a seemingly unlimited supply of clean, scented bath water was available.[7]

The kitchens specialized in seafood and whole roast pig. Volothamp Geddarm, the author of many guidebooks, noted that the food was too lightly seasoned for his taste and fairly expensive. A meal ran 1 to 3 gp per person and did not include a drink. Beer could be had for 2 copper pieces per tankard, zzar was 1 silver piece per glass, and wine from the extensive cellar ranged from 1 to 22 gp a bottle.[1]

The service at the Blushing Mermaid was excellent. The staff received a percentage of the profits and often gave guests personal attention.[2] Tipping was a common practice here, and individuals got to keep their tips. Some regular customers gave the establishment extra funds (a gold piece per day was typical) and asked that it be shared with all the staff members.[7]

Activities[edit | edit source]

Lady Alathene atop her bone-covered spiral staircase.

The Blushing Mermaid was known for its "Hour of Darkness" when all lights in the common rooms and hallways were extinguished, requiring guests who were still up and about to navigate by feeling their way around. Many pranks, a few frights, and much laughter ensued. This occurred every night in the early morning hours and the only source of illumination outside of private rooms was the soft blue-silver glow given off by the enchanted hands carried by certain staff members.[7][15]

Defenses[edit | edit source]

The flammable fixtures and furnishings were all protected from fire, magical or mundane, by powerful and expensive enchantments.[1] In the 1367 DR, security was provided by a 7‑foot-tall (2.1‑meter) barbarian from the North named Reetha and a Chultan woman covered in oil and tattoos named Leilatha Subraira.[2] The merfolk tunnels were secured with locking gratings and alarms.[1] A 4-person City Watch patrol passed by the establishment about every twenty minutes. A 12-person detachment of the City Guard could be summoned by the Watch using a warning horn and usually arrived in eight minutes or less.[16]

Lady Alathene Moonstar was an archlich masquerading as an elderly human matron that maintained her beauty by magic. Few outside of her family and the Lords of Waterdeep knew her secret. She was a wizard of great accomplishment even before she transformed herself and did not fear the occasional drunken mage or anything else. She did not hesitate to defend her staff and her home with all the spells and magic at her command.[7][15]

History[edit | edit source]

The Blushing Mermaid was originally a villa owned by the Moonstar family. In the Year of the Dusty Throne, 1256 DR, the Moonstar clan joined the growing number of nobility that were constructing bigger and more unique domiciles north of the city. They retained ownership of their first villa through proxies and turned it into an inn, tavern, and festhall under the proprietorship of Lady Alathene.[12]

Rumors & Legends[edit | edit source]

Many stories revolved around a gentleman falling in love with one of the mermaids (or vice versa) and them having to seek out magical assistance in order to live together, either on land or under the waves.[7]

The bone-covered circular staircase in the main dining hall engendered many rumors about guests disappearing and never seen again. These stories had their basis in fact. Lady Alathene's continued existence depended on her using energy drain on two or three people every year. She always chose those whom she judged to be evil (or she strongly disliked), and the Lords of Waterdeep tolerated her survival technique because she occasionally reported details of criminal plots and illegal deals to them.[15]

Inhabitants[edit | edit source]

In addition to the staff of over twenty maids,[2] these individuals were known to frequent the Blushing Mermaid:

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Ed Greenwood (January 1993). Volo's Guide to Waterdeep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 193. ISBN 1-56076-335-3.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Ed Greenwood (January 1993). Volo's Guide to Waterdeep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 194. ISBN 1-56076-335-3.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 106. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  4. Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb (September 1988). City System. Edited by Karen Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 14. ISBN 0-8803-8600-2.
  5. Map 7/10 included in Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb, cartographers Dennis Kauth and Frey Graphics (September 1988). City System. Edited by Karen Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 0-8803-8600-2.
  6. Ed Greenwood (1987). Waterdeep and the North. (TSR, Inc), p. 26. ISBN 0-88038-490-5.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Ed Greenwood (January 1993). Volo's Guide to Waterdeep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 195. ISBN 1-56076-335-3.
  8. Map included in Ed Greenwood (January 1993). Volo's Guide to Waterdeep. (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 1-56076-335-3.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Campaign Guide”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 55. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  10. Map included in Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). City of Splendors. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 978-1560768685.
  11. Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 105. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), p. 156. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
  13. Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 45. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  14. Eric L. Boyd (2005-07-12). Vanrakdoom (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 2. Archived from the original on 2016-08-16. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Ed Greenwood (January 1993). Volo's Guide to Waterdeep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 196. ISBN 1-56076-335-3.
  16. Ed Greenwood (January 1993). Volo's Guide to Waterdeep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 169. ISBN 1-56076-335-3.
  17. Ed Greenwood (1993). The Code of the Harpers. (TSR, Inc), p. 71. ISBN 1-56076-644-1.
  18. Steven E. Schend (November 1994). “"I Sing a Song by the Deep-Water Bay"”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #211 (TSR, Inc.), p. 30.
  19. Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 73. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  20. Anthony Pryor (1994). Marco Volo: Departure. (TSR, Inc.), p. 6. ISBN 1-5607-6848-7.
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