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Elminster Speaks - Part 19
By Ed Greenwood
The Shield Staff
The Sign of the Shield, Continued
The Shield is run by Mester Rauvaraudo, a mild-mannered, bustling man with delicate hands and features, deep, mournful brown eyes, and a washed-out, brown moustache and beard. He is a sorcerer (LN male human Sor4), but he keeps his meager sorcery a secret from all but the oldest Voonlarrens, openly using magic only in the direst of emergencies. He does, however, have a wand of hold person and a ring of the ram with which to subdue the very rare brawls or raging guests.
Master Mester (as he's known to all) commands an inside staff of almost forty cooks, footmen, chambermaids, and two chatelaines (one working a day and the other a night shift greeting guests and managing the staff). He has an outside staff of ten ostlers and four groundskeepers. The groundskeepers do all the gardening and mud-raking necessary to keep the inn grounds looking sharp.
The two chatelaines, Amratha Shuldeiroun (CG female human Ftr1) and Maeragra Duskwinter (CG female human Rog2) are legendary in Voonlar for the cutting yet never crude facility of speech they have in governing staff, passersby, and even guests with a velvet-edged, iron-firm demeanor. They are like twin red-haired, petite whirlwinds, and seem like sisters with their similar sharp voices and chiseled, beautiful features, though they're actually unrelated. Amratha is the senior chatelaine and has the day shift. It's said (by no less than Volothamp Geddarm) that "Her wit is like a whip, and her sarcasm can etch glass and blister up blushes."
Maeragra is quieter . She is a retired gem thief who once plundered fine houses in Sembia in during heart of feasts before a divine manifestation changed her views of life. She is still capable of making long leaps and landing deftly on crossbeams, balcony rails, or window sills. More than once she's shocked guests who locked their doors on chambermaids and refused to emerge when it was time to check out by entering their chambers via windows they thought were far out of reach of anyone.
The Bron's deputies go nowhere near the Shield of evenings unless forced to. Maeragra once broke the jaw of one and the arm of another in the space of a few breaths, when they tried to force their way into the inn to search a guest's rooms, and made the mistake of trying to threaten and cuff their way past her.
The head ostler in the stables of the Shield is well known among carters and riders who travel the Shind Road as a good judge and nurse of ailing oxen and horses. Called "Smokethroat" for his raw voice, his proper name is Lanther Maerown (LN male human War6). Smokethroat is a short, stout man with a gray moustache, thinning gray hair, and an impressive collection of ridged white scars crossing his brown and hairy forearms. A retired warrior who fought for hire in the Vilhon, Sembia, and the Stonelands of Cormyr, he has no love for those who bluster and threaten, and once threw a Zhent sword lord -- full armor, drawn sword, and all --bodily out of his stables to bounce in the mud in front of his astonished (and delighted) troops.
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