Infamous up and down the Sword Coast, the
Blushing Mermaid is known as the best tavern and inn in Baldur’s Gate for those looking
to get their teeth kicked in, or to kick in someone else’s. A meeting place for those
who wish to delve in illicit or dangerous business. A visit to the Mermaid, will present
the prospective patron with an astonishing collection of smooth-tongued, scarred old
sea dogs nursing drinks at all hours. Always one spilled drink away from a brawl, the bar
is the sort of place you don’t visit unless you are well-armed or have a lot of friends,
preferably both. The place takes its moniker from the life-sized
wooden mermaid hanging above the incongruous reception desk. The nearly nude mermaid’s
body is covered with a score or more shrivelled and blackened severed hands. If you make enquiries,
the staff will inform you they were donations from those who accidently forgot to pay their
bill. Rooms at the Mermaid, tend to be furnished
with a mismatched assortment of items. This mixture reflects the loot and salvage origins
of the decor. Beyond the combination lobby and common room,
the Blushing Mermaid is a confusing maze of wings and oddly interconnected floors, hiding
dozens of small and shabby rooms and at least four levels of cellars. It is rumoured that
there are many secret passages, even connections to an underground stream or a sewer connecting
with the harbour. Few people bother to sleep at the Mermaid,
due in part to its operators’ loud pronouncement that they aren’t responsible for any losses,
including those of life and limb. Instead, its plethora of back rooms and antechambers
act as de facto offices for the menagerie of shady characters who spend their days drinking
here. Ostensibly retired sailors, the bar’s regulars are in fact contacts for a variety
of unsavoury organizations, from smugglers and bandits to fences, drug dealers, and panderers.
Some work for the Guild, others for operations all along the Sword Coast.
Those looking to do business with the Gate’s underworld find that a handful of silver in
the Mermaid can open doors, but the wrong word can find you dumped unconscious in the
alley out back. While the Mermaid’s criminal aspects are an open secret, the place is well
connected enough that the Flaming Fist traditionally leaves it alone. The proprietors, who are
unknown, have instructed the staff of the Mermaid to make a neutral ground for patrons,
whatever, their race, past, or profession. As its best for business.
Volothamp Geddarm, better known as Volo, is a legendary traveller, wizard and story teller.
He speaks of the cornucopia of tales of treachery, hidden treasure and secret passages that swirl
around the Blushing Mermaid. It’s impossible to tell how many are pure fabrication or have
grown wildly in the telling.