The Trading Hall
The massive trading hall of Tuskenhall is a wide structure, some two stories in height. Its foundation and lower floor is mostly fieldstone, but its upper reaches are wood. Crossed over the main entrance are a pair of massive mammoths's tusks, each of them some six feet in length.
Against each wall are a number of stalls. These are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis each day. These stalls are the designated trading space, and usually filled with Icewalkers looking to trade or sell their own goods, or outlanders with goods they want to trade or sell to the Icewalkers.
In the center of the structure are several long, narrow stone-lined firepits. It is available for anyone to use in cooking food, if they like, whether for personal consumption or for sale. Small circular pits are built into the edges of these firepits, where coals are scraped into for such culinary endeavors. Between the fire pits and the trading stalls are the walk-way space where those browsing the goods available.
At the far end of the hall, opposite the entrance, is Taserk's mead-hall, with its own massive hearth, and trestle tables and benches for visitors to sit and order the food and drink Taserk's operation offer. There are inevitably a handful of folk here, resting from or preparing for travel, or perhaps talking over the terms of a trade agreement.
Taserk and his family live upstairs, reached by the stairs from the mead-hall.
There are a number of other structures on the small hilltop where Tuskenhall stands, all of them also made of fieldstone.
The Tribe Halls
As a gesture of his good will and desire to bring prosperity to all Icewalker folk, Taserk Sharptine has seen to the construction of five of these "tribe halls," one for each of the major four clans that trade here, as well as a fifth for use for overflow or in the case of a much-further off tribe visiting them for trade (which has only happened a time or two).
These halls are simple, with long firepits down their center, and sleeping platforms along the walls, large enough for a traveling Icewalker to make a pallet and store his goods around him. The master of Tuskenhall has supplied a sturdy chest bolted to the wall for each such sleeping platform, and whoever is given that platform is also given the key to it. Each hall has a dozen such platforms.
At any given time, only about half of these halls are in use.
The stables at Tuskenhall are warm and offer good fodder and clean food. They can also hold over a score of animals, and even have interior space to store smaller carts and the like.
The Guesting House
The guesting house is a moderate-sized one story fieldstone structure. It has several smaller rooms - each with a bed, table, and chest for a single occupant - and a larger common room with cots that can sleep about two dozen or so folk. It has a small tavern space for drink and food for its patrons alone, which is a much quieter affair than the mead-hall in Tuskenhall proper.
This fieldstone building is constructed over a hot springs. Though it smells strongly of sulfur, it is deeply luxurious to submerge in after travel or a long day of trading. It features three baths - two that can easily accommodate twenty people in the various seats and nooks worked into the natural stone structure, and another one that can fit up to eight people, if they are cozy, which is situated over the spring proper.
The baths also have several heated rooms for massages and assignations with any of the body-servants that patrons may employ for an hour or so. These body servants and the twins who manage the bathhouse live in the small apartments in the back of the baths structure.
Master of Tuskenhall
Son of an Icewalker outcast and a Haslanti merchant, Taserk was born when the affection between his parents grew from bodyguard and employer to something else. He spent the first ten years of his life among the Haslanti before his mother died in childbirth. His griefstricken father returned to the snow plains, and found a place among the Icewalkers once more. As a result, Taserk has the trading acumen of a Haslanti and the understanding of the Icewalkers necessary to make something like Tuskenhall work.
Taserk's husband is a hulking Icewalker warrior who fights with a pair of chopping swords made from a metal that has weird frosting crack-marks across it, as though the steel had been shattered but repaired with eternal ice somehow. He has a narrow-eyed scowl for most folk, although children clearly delight him - at any given time, he's got a small posse of children brought by patrons following him around. Not only does he not mind, but he often treats them as his official assistants, marching them in order behind him and sending them on errands. Two of them are his and Taserk's children, a boy of seven named Summer Lynx, and a girl of ten named Fawn.
A woman from the Blessed Isle originally, Diyasei tends to the stables, caring for the horses of Tuskenhall's guests. She is pretty, with dark hair and light olive skin, in the style of those from the Realm, and she mostly keeps to herself. There are a few of the regulars, both among outlanders and Icewalkers, who occasionally share Diyasei's bed, but otherwise she rarely looks at anyone twice. She does, however, always remember a horse, and always seems quite excited for the opportunity to lavish care upon and spoil new horses.
|Roaring Bear Mother|
Guesting House Host
A thick-bodied woman with long blonde-white hair braided down her back, Roaring Bear Mother is the mother of Summer Lynx and Fawn, Taserk and Hiyada's children. Despite her name, she has not particularly maternal instincts, though she does care for the little ones. She and Hiyada have been lovers before - the first time over a cold blizzard when Taserk was away, and the second time because Hiyada and Taserk wanted another little one, and Roaring Bear Mother was happy to give them another. She runs the Guesting House, and brooks no nonsense from outlanders.
|Wistful Star & Joyous Obligation|
No one really knows why the androgynous twins Wistful Star and Joyous Obligation fled Haslanti. There are many stories about them told by regulars, with the most popular being that they are involved in a forbidden, incestuous relationship. They refuse to comment on any of the questions that the indecorous bring them. The twins cultivate their androgyne mystery quite deliberately, dressing similarly so that none of the patrons are even really sure whether they are men, women, or something else - which seems to be just the way they like it.