Grizzled but good-hearted tavern keeper
Zeke is a tall, burly Taldan man in his late-forties/early-fifties with graying hair and a set of ferocious mutton chops. His cold, blue eyes see everything that transpires in his tavern. Often sports a gray derby to cover his balding pate.
Ezekiel “Zeke” Hemstead is the owner and proprietor of the Mystery of the Gate, one of the most popular establishments in Riddleport. He tends to be gruff, no-nonsense, and all-business, at first, but can’t help warming up to people over time. No stranger to the rougher side of life, he’ll tolerate most shenanigans with little more than a shake of his head, but there is a line—cross it, and he won’t hesitate to drop-kick you across his threshold personally. He doesn’t like it when seedier folk engage in dark business while under his roof, a fact which is well-known, so his tavern tends to be safer than most. He tolerates gambling up to a point. He grumbles about the “fancy lads and quickwives” of the nearby Silken Veil, but he is careful not to offend them, and will often relax his disapproval to allow them access to his clientele—as long as they behave themselves.
Zeke has lived in Riddleport for a number of years. It is suspected that he was a miner at some point, owing to his knowledge of the trade (though that could just be from talking to so many local miners). Rumor sugggests that Zeke is formerly from somewhere in Taldor or perhaps Andoren, and left ahead of the law to end up in Riddleport, but no one (wisely) cares to ask him to confirm or deny any this.