“Staffing” – The Grey Wayfarer Pub – Episode 4

Happy Odin’s Day!

Many years ago, I hired my first employee for my old pub. Tequila was her name and she became my first barmaid. This was long before my involvement with the Silver Shields. In the ned, she became a good friend, partner, lover, and wife. When she died at the hands of the last vampires, I lost it. She and my other wife Constance died almost at the exact moment. The Vampires didn’t turn them or even try to turn them, they just straight-up killed them.

This time, hiring the love of my life was probably a remote possibility. Mostly because the whole hiring process this time was a bit of a sham. The Silver Shields were basically screening the personnel. I got to pick my team myself, but there was no one on the list that wasn’t an agent. I felt bad because there were some local applicants, but they had little to no experience so realistically I wouldn’t have hired them anyway.

So I was balancing two things with each applicant. I needed certain things to keep the pub a viable business – a second bartender when I was out, a couple barmaids, and someone to play a regular patron but was also part of the team for the other concern. A team of agents that could investigate and deal with supernatural activity in our little city here. The beauty of this was of course that they didn’t need to be human. The fact is unless you are exposed to the supernatural world or become aware of it, most paranormal people look like humans. Wierd humans, but humans nonetheless. This increased my options.

So after looking through 100s of applicants and interviewing about ten of them via Zoom, I picked my team.

  1. My bartender was going to be an ogre. – he was about a foot taller than me (short for an ogre) but his nature made him a perfect bouncer as well as a bartender. He had both alchemical knowledge and as an Ogre a large amount of resistance to magic, and disease and was tough as steel. He preferred however a submachine gun as a weapon. So I liked him already. My Muscle Agent but not a stupid one.
  2. My acting patron agent was human and female. She however was also a werewolf. She was an interesting case of a woman who was to be blunt as sexy as Miss Wine on my wall. Her dress in most of the photos reminded me of old-time spy thrillers of the pulp variety. It explained her favorite weapons – a Beretta and an old-fashioned dagger. Both strapped to her hips under her dress. Her beast form was savage and if possible sexy as well for a werewolf. My Stealth Agent.
  3. Barmaid One was also female but she was also a Fae. There are a lot of different types of fae. I have personally dealt with a dryad and pixies up close, but this one seemed like she was somewhere in between. She was also an accomplished scholar in science as well as magic. I gathered she had lived a long time. My Knowledge Agent. Actually more like an oracle as if she didn’t know it off the top of her head, she could research it. From computer science to summoning magic. As a fae, she also would be a magic-user.
  4. That left one need – transport and crafting. My Technical Agent. What I found was a human woman to fill Barmaid Two. She also would double as my bar food cook as well. But mostly she was simply resourceful by all accounts. Need a truck – she could find it. Need a howitzer – she would get one. She then had enough knowledge to modify that howitzer so it could fit in the back of the truck. Her red hair of course sealed the deal.

Now all that was left was to wait for their arrival. As each one did both the pub and our operations would start to come to life.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


“Naming Day” – The Grey Wayfarer Pub – Episode 3

Happy Thor’s Day!

It’s been a month since last I wrote. I have been busy and now is the time to journal the results.

First I Had to personally move into the top-floor apartment. It was actually a simple affair with a single bedroom for my king-sized bed with some room to spare and a fairly spacious bathroom next to that. The entire front was an open loft-like arrangement with a kitchen, dining nook, and a living area which I devoted to my books a reading chair, and a sofa for guests. No Television. Comfortable and functional. Honestly, I spend very little time here except to get some sleep, eat, and do some reading at the end of the day.

The basement is more of my second home now. It is my alchemy lab in truth now. Several tables with chemical and alchemical apparatus covering them. One whole wall is now devoted to ingredients for my potions. Part of it though is my brewing equipment for my own alcoholic beverages. In particular, I have chosen to go with Mead. Mead is expensive and for good reason – honey. But I have discovered one thing about it as well. Because the ingredients are in some senses precious – the potions I make with mead have been shall we say more potent.

Now the real trick to alchemy is the magic part. It has to be drawn from your own inner philosophy and inner most beliefs. Theology does not work for me anymore and is quite frankly unstable as nitroglycerin as far as results. It’s the fact that theology is made up for the most part and lives in a double fantasy of sorts. It requires a lot of cheats and leaps of logic to get it to even be usable and even then its effects can be quite weird. It’s why the cure for vampirism eventually failed as theology is my magic force that doesn’t hold the magic that well. The cure had a shelf life and then the magic didn’t work at all once I didn’t believe.

So as I am setting up my lab I was also experimenting with products to sell and I have found that from a physical base form point of view mead is damn good at holding magic and tends to actually act as an enhancer of magical effect. So my mead production began at once. Thankfully the base magic I add to it makes the fermentation process go even faster. The base magic in general is the simple philosophy of living a virtuous life. The basic effect of the mead is that it quickens thought and reflection as well as having enough kick to knock a frost giant on his ass.

The rest of the magic is to take this base mead and add different ingredients and effects to make it more specialized. I have a lot of experimenting to do but the alchemy is working again and for that, I am thankful as I want a local brew to sell.

The bar itself is now nearly complete. Stools are redressed in grey vinal with a silver sheen and the five booths are much the same. The bar is restocked and the small cooking alcove is fixed up and stocked as well. I redid the bathrooms as they were pretty much trashed. I basically made two unisex bathrooms with nice fixtures and set up to do pretty much everything regardless of the sex of the occupant. I am just thinking ahead on that I suppose.

Finally, I added some touches from the old pub. I had my silver shield and shotgun shipped in and placed them under the bar. The painting of Miss Wine from the Pub. Her naked reclining form fits right at home here in the pub. Last I knew she had left the US to take an undisclosed job for the Shields. It must have been pretty hush-hush as even I couldn’t get info on it and I have pretty high clearance. That said, the painting was done by a man who knew his oils and made her beautiful and restful. Last, of all, I put up a small sign next to the painting – “Clothing Optional”. Some things will never change for me.

Outside there now hangs a sign which up to today was covered to prevent it from being read. But today I removed it as it is the official naming day for the pub. Both sides have the same scene of an old man traveling a path. Above him fly two ravens and two wolves are on the path with him. The word along the top and bottom: “The Grey Wayfarer”. Not so coincidentally, this is also the name of my new Mead “Grey Wayfarer Mead”.

I am happy with the place and the grand opening is in two weeks. Now all I need to do is hire some staff.

Author’s Notes:

Starting something new, forward in the timeline, but returning as something low-powered is tough unless there is a good explanation.

In this case, it is the bartender who has changed. He is having to rediscover and rebuild and so his power is diminished and his friends are scattered requiring him to make new ones (although some old characters might make a guest appearance). This means the change is causing a reset.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


“The ‘New’ Pub” – The Grey Wayfarer Pub – Episode 2

Happy Thor’s Day!

I pulled my duster in around me to brace against the colder climate. The city I was now working in was definitely north of the 45th parallel. It was never going to get much above 60 degrees Ferinheight, and that actually suited me fine. Since joining the Shields I was always packing something. In this case, it was my Gladius sword under my left arm, a combat knife in on my belt in the small of my back. Both these weapons were magical in the sense they could actually do damage to creatures with magical protection.

A gust of chill wind hit me as I turned the corner of the street and headed toward my ‘new’ pub. This city was small but well laid out in a nice grid. The streets were named after trees if they headed north and south and were simply numbered if they ran east and west with the 1st Street being in the extreme south and the last street 13th Street being in the far north. 7th Street was also the main street. These true streets too. The city had never evolved into the modern nonsense of trying to hybrid streets and roads like most North American towns.

The only true road (four lanes and limited access) was 1st Street which had limited access to the town on South with exits in the far east and west. The rest of the place was two-lane narrow roads with proper sidewalks everywhere. The town had a good feel from a design point of view and it was possible to work, live and shop in most places within a block of each other. You didn’t need a car to live here. This was good because my work and living space were one and the same. One of the local markets was a short walk away and there were all kinds of shops where the pub was for anything else. If nobody had it, that is what the internet is for.

The pub itself was on the corner of 9th and Oak Streets. Oak Street was slightly West and 9th Street north of the center of the town. Not in the central hub but close to it. Being a corner pub, it had a storefront on one side, and on the other was a solid wall. There were windows, but all of them were high up and only about one foot tall. They let light in but no one could see in or out. Pub patrons tend to value their privacy. The storefront was a single but large door. It had two larger windows but they had curtains on them so you couldn’t see in. There was a place for a sign above the door to hang over the sidewalk but it was empty s the last owners had taken the sign with them. The place had been empty for a couple years now.

The Silver Shields purchased the pub but the deed had my name on it. It was part of a property swap where they got the old pub and I got this ‘new’ one. This had no other conditions as they considered it payment for services rendered and that they still owed me for my various losses. No matter what the new pub was mine to dispose of as I saw fit.

The pub outside brick was your typical red and the long side with the high windows must have once upon a time had the original name but was so faded only the brick red was there. Above the pub was another floor that actually had a few windows. My new apartment. It also had a basement which was currently empty but would soon be my new lab. Next to my storefront, was the storefront of a florist. No problem with me getting flowers.

I pulled my key from my pocket, opened the front door, and stepped in carefully to look carefully around. You never know when you have done the things I have done and made the enemies I have made.

As you entered, you had the bar on the left which had stools in front of it. On the right were booths. At the far end of the bar from the front door was the exit point for the servers to serve the booths beyond it a small kitchenette to prepare bar food. Beyond that behind the kitchenette hidden by a wall was the spiral staircase that went from the basement to the roof levels. Beyond the booths on the right were two restrooms labeled ‘gentlemen’ and ‘ladies’ respectfully. In between the bathrooms and the staircase was a small door to the back alley. Locked most of the time.

While most of the permanent features of the pub were present, it was stripped bare of anything else. NO glasses, bottles of alcohol, etc. The cushions on the stools and booths were old and worn with lots of patches and holes. The place had a thick layer of dust and smelled like it. The one feature that seemed brand new was the wood paneling. Real oak wood paneling and flooring, polished to a shine. It was the feature that not only made the environment pleasant but was also what made this place have magical energy. A sort of minor magical nexus or fortress if you will. I don’t know where the wood came from, but it had magic to it – literally.

The apartment above was floored with the same wood. So when I say the pub was a sort of magical fortress I mean that literally. Any magical being would recognize it and either respect it or try to get around it. Or simply give it a wide berth.

That said, as I looked around at that moment, there was a lot of work to do to make this place come alive again. Thankfully, the Shields had given me a sizable budget.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


“They Call Me ‘The Bartender'” – The Grey Wayfarer Pub – Episode 1

Happy Thor’s Day!

Episode 1 – They Call Me ‘The Bartender’

They call me “The Bartender”

It’s not a title I just have because I have served a few drinks to customers over the years. That’s true, but it is far more than that. It’s also my codename. I earned it by running a cover business for The Silver Shields for roughly five years. I served drinks and provided support for operations in the city I had been residing in at the time. It was a wild time of fighting vampires, werewolves, and any other supernatural thing that crossed my path. I should say ‘our’ path. I wasn’t alone.

The pub was a magical nexus built with its apex at a large tree that happened to be the home of a dryad. I made peace with her and the pub was built up around her. This of course attracted many different entities of a magical nature. Pixies, dwarves, elves, and humans with the magical talent to name just a few. Including my two wives Tequila and Constance.

Tequila was my very first barmaid and eventually, I won her heart (or she mine, I am never sure on that point). I was already married to Constance, but it took her being infected with vampirism and her subsequent cure to start seeing things as they really were. She changed her attitude about Tequila and let me marry her as well. Eventually, Tequila and Constance became a thing as well and we were one happy Trios family.

But the pub was under constant attack, and I moved my family, including the little dog Pint, out of the pub to a house just outside the city, This proved to be a mistake as I found we lost significant magical strength away from the Nexus. What happened after we moved is too horrific for me to recount even now, but in the end, all that matters is I did indeed kill all the bad guys but lost both my wives in the process. Pint was a fine miniature beagle and being magical himself, he was the main reason I was still breathing. He moved back to the pub and I was left in the ashes of my home with two dead wives.

I guess you could say I went nuts after that. I had what could only be described as a nervous breakdown and after a year I got back on my feet and the Shields gave me a further leave of absence. Pint, at that point, went with me and we spent our days lounging and reading and Pint having his bowl of beer three times a day. It’s been a couple more years and I guess the headshrinkers feel I am ready to go back to the war.

The problem is at present the old pub is peaceful as a lamb. There haven’t been any attacks on it for quite some time. It’s like the forces of darkness have conceded that point. If so, then the current staff can handle things and my boss at the Silver Shields offered me an alternative position given my experience and skill set. To start over with a new pub in a new place. I took it without hesitation.

My reasoning was that I don’t know how good it would be for my sanity to go back. Tequila was a part of that place almost from day one. The blood, sweat, and tears I spent in that place connected it to me forever, but I knew going back was impossible. I bent down and scratched Pint’s head. He whined,. The problem for him is that his magic is connected to the old pub. He simply wouldn’t be of use to me in a new place. I hugged him and he licked me sorrowfully.

“It’s OK boy. You are your own dog, and nothing is forever.”

Pint understands me and wagged his tail one more time and then after giving me a parting lick trotted off. I don’t know if I will see him again. I am not sure what his motive for going back is. It could be the desire to have his warm bed back by the fire or he wants to look up the barmaids’ skirts. I know he will miss me, but he was at the old pub long before I arrived and I suspect he will be there long after everyone is gone. I suspect Pint is immortal, but don’t quote me.

My real problem was the fact my trade as the bartender disguised my true skill – alchemy. I was the one that created the cure for vampirism, but it only was a temporary fix. The vampire virus mutated and developed immunity. Science overcame theology as magical biology overcame the faith magic. Now vampirism is back and I am going to be hard-pressed against it. Why? Because I don’t have faith magic anymore to fuel my alchemy. I need something new and right now I have no clue what it could be.

This means several goals are in front of me and I need as soon as possible to get to them. 1) I have to examine the new pub the Silver Shields purchased for me for my base of operations. 2) I have to get at least basic recon and intelligence about the area and what the basic supernatural problems are and 3) I have to meet my contact in the area with the Silver Shields and 4) I need to start experimenting with new forms of magic to fuel my alchemical concoctions. On top of this, I had a new apartment to furnish. Lot’s to do but in truth, there were no time limits as of yet.

Author’s Notes:

It has been a long time since I have taken up a digital pen, dipped it in digital ink, and then put it on digital paper. For the last year or two, I have struggled with inspiration and motivation to write anything. Heartbreak will take you only so far in the writing discipline. Once rage, sorrow, and sadness fade; there is simply no motivation worth writing for. There needs to be something positive to inspiration as a core to writing, or you basically begin to see your writing tapper off with nothing for fuel to feed the furnace. While I search for a love that will inspire me to write out of that love (aka my muse), I simply need to realize that emotionally I am a better human being when I write. Even if I have to force myself to do it.

The inspiration for this series is my old theology pub series on my blog All Things Rabyd. I last wrote on that series on July 15th, 2016. It’s been a long time. The idea was to allegorize concepts into an interesting story. The world was that of urban fantasy with the occasional side trip into horror and science fiction. The pub was a place n my own mind where the characters and plot were free to do anything. It was a long-running drama series that ran from February 7th, 2013 to July 15, 2016.

A lot has changed since that last episode. Mostly Me. I am no longer a believer in Christ having now the opinion that until someone shows me good evidence to believe in anything spiritual I will remain a skeptic and an atheist. That said, the concept of a pub where the characters, places, and events are allegories of thoughts and feelings I am still having still appeals to me. It will also be good practice. The original pub allowed me to explore genres of writing, create new characters, and explore various types of stories. This one will do the same and the fact is without the worry of which Christian sensibilities I might offend, I can explore some genres that were previously unwise to pursue.

But mostly this is the first step to bringing writing back into my sphere. I hope you enjoy it. Without further delay – I present the series – The Grey Wayfarer Pub

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.