Party Gnome, Bartender at The Port Authority
Periwinkle has been a fixture around Dock City in Brightwater for as long as anyone can remember – or at least for as long as anyone human can remember. No one knows exactly how old she is (a lady never tells, and with gnomes it’s a little hard to judge) or where she came from, but everyone’s heard the rumor that she originally came to Ashfell to study under the cabal (possibly under duress), and that at some point (either immediately upon hearing the rules for joining the order, or after years of butting heads with the other scholars – depending on who’s telling the story), she kicked down the front door and marched out, middle fingers held aloft, then threw herself a graduation party so wild that three buildings burned down before the city guard could break it up.
Of course, that’s all hearsay. If anyone’s still alive to remember what actually happened, they’re tight-lipped about it. Then again, it’s not all that far-fetched: whatever she might have done in the past, Perry maintains her reputation for knowing how to throw a hell of a kegger, and the experiments she does in the basement lab of her home/tavern/inn aren’t known for being particularly stable. She’s got the curiosity of half a dozen gnomes packed into her tiny 3’7" body, enough skill with mechanical gadgets and alchemy to get herself in trouble, and just a touch of innate magic that keeps things interesting. It’s not unusual to see odd-colored smoke coming out of the building’s chimney, or to catch Perry wandering around town hiccuping bubbles or with bright blue skin or a beard made of feathers. And the bar itself is home to dozens of tiny clockwork creations that are… friendlier and more temperamental than you might expect from bits of machinery.
It was not entirely a coincidence that, when Riley’s mother originally founded her mercenary company, Perry’s inn was the only place that consistently had enough rooms for them all to stay in (and ones they could afford) whenever the crew ventured into Brightwater. But if most people avoided the volatile mystery of Perry’s basement, Joanna and her men were happy to have a place to stay, and had no objection to the paint-stripping but practically-free bathtub moonshine she served them up after a job. Even long after the company could afford better or more permanent lodging, they almost unanimously preferred Periwinkle’s hospitality, and considered the tavern a home away from home while they camped out in Dock City between runs.
Over the years, the company’s presence in the tavern became a well-known constant. By the time Riley started taking over the family business, people were regularly showing up on Perry’s doorstep looking to do business with the caravan. After Riley got The Custom House up and running, Perry sat her down and told her: “If people are gonna keep treating me like your secretary, you’d damn well better start paying me to act the part.” Riley thought it over, said “fair enough,” and held out a hand to shake on it. Six months later, the crew had scrubbed the place clean, redecorated all the rooms, stocked the bar with booze that wouldn’t kill a man, and installed (and tested) magical fire suppressants in the basement. Then they hung a new sign above the door, and re-opened the tavern for business under the name The Port Authority.