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(M) The Sliding Tavern

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Offline brucedabold

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This is the story of The Sliding Tavern, a magical victorian-style house that moves randomly (or maybe not so randomly) through space and time. But really, this is a story of the denizens who live within.

If you wish to lurk, please do so. If you wish to participate, please go to the Facebook Group, The Sliding Tavern (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1454341244727872), and read the rules and whatnot there. All OOC (Out Of Character) comments and meta-questions about the game and story should be posted there. This thread is intended to be only the story (And yes, this post is the exception to the rule).

Noe: This story will most probably contain mature content.

Thank you,

--Red
Innkeeper


Offline brucedabold

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Red surveys the barroom from behind the old mahogany counter. By her reckoning she’s been the innkeeper for about a year or so. It’s hard to tell with everything shifting every day or two, sometimes several within a few hours. No sundial, calendar, or fancy gadget is going to be of much help. Daytimes, nighttime, a world with two suns, a world underground, they just run one into the other without regard to any circadian rhythm.

She feels like she’s seen it all, and yet keeps finding new surprises. As a fire demoness she’s managed to hold her own when the shits really hit the fan, but she shakes her head that she’s still alive. Idly, she wipes down the counter with a steaming rag. Five foot nine, Red has long wavy red hair, dark green eyes, and a skin tone that can vary from California tan to terra-cotta red, depending on her surface temperature. She wears a black Metallica tank top, no bra, frayed blue jeans, and her feet are bare. If you didn’t know you’d assume she was human.

There’s another slide coming up soon; she can feel it. After all this time she knows the subtle signs, the slight change in air pressure, the odd little breezes, and a slow build of static energy. Soon the fog will rise, obscuring the tavern, a thick grey can-hardly-see-your-hand sort of fog. Then, suddenly, with no lurching, no jolts, just soft as kitten paws, the tavern will be in a new place, a new time, along with its immediate grounds. It’s a sphere, really, that slides, a 117 feet radius sphere centered in the middle of the tavern. Ground, air, building, and everyone within, moves onward. And the tavern has always arrived perfectly in its new location, as if scouted ahead by some unseen surveyor.

“Last call before Slide,” she calls out. “If you’re not coming with, it’s time to bail.”


Offline Aisling

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Aisling sits in a quiet corner of the room with a barely touched tankard of ale on the table in front of her.  She stares blankly ahead of her, eyes half-closed, her dark hair obscuring most of her face.  Her black clothes and her lack of expression does not lead anyone to believe she wants company, so people have left her alone so far.  She's new to the Tavern and hasn't bothered to find her way around. 
« Last Edit: March 21, 2020, 11:07:34 PM by Aisling »


Offline sailmars

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Mars was tired and just wanted a drink, a real drink for once, before calling it a night. Being an angel was tough work, and it'll be even tougher now that he quit. I guess they don't call it quitting when you're an angel. They call it falling. Falling from Grace perhaps? But when it seems saner on the dirt than it does in the clouds, well then maybe it should be called something else. Something like plunging... tumbling... or sliding?

Sliding, that's what attracted Mars to the Sliding Tavern. Maybe he'll call himself a Sliding Angel. He has retained some of his powers. His wings are intact but invisible unless needed and typically hidden under his waistcoat. He no longer has his flaming sword but hasn't used it in so long that it wouldn't have helped him anyways. Angels are gender-less but he has always preferred masculine pronouns even though his style is a bit more androgynous in tailored menswear.

Much like his namesake, Mars was a warrior angel that did the Archangel Michael's bidding. That was all well and good 2,000 years ago when times weren't simpler and answers seemed to be black and white. However now all he could see was the grey, the spectrum between black and white that humans existed in. The only thing Heaven adopted in this brave, new world was the bureaucracy of a DMV. It was no longer about saving souls but getting your numbers up and filling out the right forms.

Either way, Mars was exhausted and wanted to see if alcohol would have an effect on him. What to order though... he's heard of martinis, lagers, and old fashioned before but has no idea what they, or anything else for that matter, tastes like. Maybe he'll ask the bartender for a recommendation. He enters the bar and hears something about Last Call, maybe that's a drink he can order...


Offline Aries Jordan

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Spring Break was over.  Leonie was driving north through the Hudson River Valley along US Route 9, heading back to Brakebills for the last quarter of her Fifth Year.  (She could have taken a portal there, but she was very fond of her fully restored 1968 Ford Mustang.)  Two and a half months, and she'd be a graduate of America's only official school for magicians.  A very exclusive group -- there were only seventeen people left in her class.

It's common for soon-to-be-graduates to feel both impatient and terrified, but for graduates of Brakebills, the problem is especially pronounced.  Unless you want to teach magic, there is no designated career path.  What is a magician to do?  The staff at Brakebills are really unhelpful in answering this question.  They always come back with "Whatever you want to do."  What if you don't know what you want to do?  Leonie was feeling the existential terror of too many choices: what if she made the wrong one?  How could there even be a right one, among so many? 

She didn't have to do anything at all, really.  A good magician could live off the stock market.  But she'd seen classmates go down that path, and where were they now?  Decadent, drug-addicted, alcoholic wreckage, half of them spoiled rotten and the other half suicidal.

The scenery sped by her car, all green fields and farmhouses and pretty tourist towns, patches of snow lingering here and there.  All mundane, all boring.  Until...

She nearly passed it, but it was so weird that she hit the brakes and pulled over fifty feet beyond.  A beautiful old Victorian house -- that in itself was not that strange, but... Leonie had been driving US route 9 back and forth for years and she definitely would have noticed something so striking before...if it had been there before.  It was set on its own, fairly big lot.  The front garden was... well, that was what had really caught her eye.  It was the middle of March in Upstate New York, and the garden was full of flowers -- roses and peonies and things that would never bloom, outside of Brakebills or a hothouse, until June.  An old-fashioned hanging sign said "The Sliding Tavern."  So it was open to the public...

She put the Mustang in reverse and backed up along the shoulder to the garden gate.  There was a man walking up the path toward the front door.  He was tall, slim-hipped, wide-shouldered, his  suit well-tailored -- somehow she knew, even seeing him from the back, that he'd be insanely good-looking.

Leonie parked on the grass border and scrambled out.  Quickly, she ran through a couple of practiced hand gestures and a few words in Sanskrit.  Then she looked through a diamond-shaped lens made by her fingers at the house, and at the man.  Her mouth dropped open.  As he disappeared through the front door, she grabbed the backpack from the passenger seat, slammed the car door and scrambled after him.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2020, 12:07:52 PM by Aries Jordan »


Offline brucedabold

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The demoness appraised the stranger with a slow measured gaze as he entered the tavern. He was tall, beautiful, and confident, to the point of being downright angelic. Amazingly though, her sixth sense picked up no male horniness. She’d bet dollars to donuts that this person was no ordinary man, or man at all. Not that that was unusual for the Sliding Tavern; It had a tendency to draw the extraordinary like moths to the flame.

“Hello, stranger,” called out Red, “and welcome. First drink is on the house.”

The Sliding Tavern looked like a large victorian manor, and the barroom comprised of what was the entrance foyer and living area. Someone with a good eye of space would notice that there was more room to the room than there aught to be, but it was subtle, and unless you really looked, it wasn’t blatant. The whole place was like that, and actually become more noticeable the further one explored. The upper floors in particular had way too many rooms to possibly fit in what could be seen from the outside.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2020, 10:28:35 PM by brucedabold »


Offline Tikkeni

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The cat, a ginger tom slightly on the hefty (ahem big-boned) side, peeked around the trunk of the maple tree.  He didn't quite fit completely behind the trunk, but enough he thought others wouldn't notice him.  He rubbed his head and neck against the bark, the braided leather necklace with the unassuming charms attached tinkling faintly in his ears.  The two small silver trinkets, a cat's head and a cat's-eye encased in silver strands, briefly flashed in the light before he ducked back around the tree.  He was lost, and while the charms would let him speak to a human, he was wary of approaching any. 

He watched first a male go inside then a female human start up the walkway.  He was tired and hungry.  He wasn't even sure where he would ask directions to!  His mistress had died a few months ago and he had been thrown out by some people who had come and taken everything from the house.  He had tried to go back a couple times but been dumped out the door rather unceremoniously.  He had been walking since, well wandering really.  After the female human went up the steps he darted after her, slipping through the door as it closed behind her.


Offline sailmars

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Mars looked confidently around the bar and heard the bartender welcome someone. He looked around and realized she was talking to him. Shit, he thought. He was used to not being seen unless he wanted to be seen. Is this what mortals feel like, exposed and vulnerable all the time? Unable to hide or disappear on a whim.

Like a burst balloon, he felt his confidence slipping away as he started questioning all his life choices. Mars knew there was be some differences when giving up his immorality but he didn't think that he was going to trade it for anxiety! Is this Free Will? Free will, free drink… first drink is free. Damn, mortals are also concerned with currency. He didn't have any money, never needed it before either when he had all of his powers.

Mars looked back at the door he just came through and questioned whether or not he should just leave when someone else came in right after him and essentially blocked his exit.

Now he really needs that drink. He decides to follow the lady behind him to the bar and order a beer. He needs some time to figure out which powers he still has and which ones are gone completely.


Offline Aries Jordan

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Leonie didn't notice the cat until it ran in the door between her legs and made her start.  But it was a cat, so, whatever.  Presumably it belonged here. 

The man who'd gone in ahead was looking back at her, and yes, by damn, he was insanely good-looking.  Well, classically good-looking.  Perfect.  A Michelangelo.  But what was really interesting was his expression.  It was familiar, she'd seen it on the faces of her classmates and her own face in the mirror lately.  He looked lost.  Shell-shocked.  Like he had no more idea what to do with himself than she did.

The Tavern's front room was, as advertised, a tavern.  Really cool old-fashioned mahogany bar, thoroughly Victorian.  The woman behind the bar was...  Leonie found herself blushing, a small voice in her said saying wow. 

And there was, of course, that one person in every bar who has to have his back, or in this case her back, to a corner.  Mysterious and sullen and all in black, like a female Strider.

Leonie herself looked a punk dandelion.  She was skinny and pale and had a shock of white-blonde hair that she had cut medium-short and carefully disheveled so that she could pretend she came from the set of The Labyrinth.  She wore black too: leather jacket and torn jeans and Doc Martins.  It looked pretentious on her -- especially when anyone saw her expensive car -- but it had  heft and was authentically work-worn in places because Leonie maintained that car herself.  Unknown to her, she still had a little smudge of real engine grease on her cheek and a trace of it under her nails from when she'd checked the fluids that morning.

"Uh, hi," she said, closing the door behind her.  Cleared her throat nervously, moved to the bar, and addressed the bartender.  "So... this is, like... real TARDIS shit, right?"


Offline cirdanslongboat

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The figure with an elven build and a silver beard felt the familiar psychic rumble of a coming shift in the space time continuum. He saw a young woman with that familiar air of magic heading toward the front door of a Victorian Tavern and hoped she knew what she was doing and headed quickly after her. This world of concrete and machines had not been kind to him and he had been looking for a way out for awhile. This looked like his best option.

Hurrying through the door, he quickly surveyed the scene, and announced, "Hello. You may call me Longboat. I am looking for a ride."

Longboat looked almost like he was wearing normal business clothes. But the shoes were too soft and pointy. The grey pants were too skinny and the grey overcoat was too big. He was wearing a scarf on his head, had smooth skin, ancient eyes, and was just rough enough around the edges, as though he couldn't decide if he was a fairy, a 19th century magician, or a pirate.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 04:40:02 AM by cirdanslongboat »


Offline Aisling

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Aisling knew from the bartender's call that a slide was happening soon.  That, and the commotion made by several beings suddenly entering the Tavern, distracted her from Dreamwalking.  This stop had been uneventful.  Despite the presence of magical creatures in the world, none of the dreams she quickly skimmed through were those of the Dark Queen's Hunters. 

Stumbling upon this strange Tavern had been a stroke of incredible fortune.  After so long in darkness, after nearly being caught many a time by the relentless servants of the Unseelie Court, it was about time for a sliver of luck in her favor.  Of course, it was possible for Hunters to track her, even to this unusual and far from stationary edifice, or they could just stumble upon it by mischance.  So, without moving, Aisling studied the newcomers through the hair hanging over her face. 

None had the air of Dark Fae, although one looked like he might be fae.  None were non-magical humans.  Perhaps the Tavern didn't attract those without some magic? 

Aisling allowed herself a small sigh of relief.  Her glamour, presenting herself as an anti-social, young, mostly-human (but with small points to her ears) goth/SCA escapee, was firmly in place.  It wouldn't work for any fae or magic user who was more powerful than she was, but she was unusually good at glamours and a few other things.  Hopefully the slide would happen before anyone else entered.  Being in one place too long was never going to be a good thing.

« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 10:27:51 PM by Aisling »


Offline Tikkeni

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Sir Tikk, aka Sir Tikk Tokk Tickles-A-Lot (his mistress had a...odd sense of humor) hoped he hadn't tripped the woman as he darted in.  His mistress thought he did it on purpose at times, but those times he was happy to be near her.  He twined himself among some empty chair legs along the wall and up to where he could do a couple jumps and get on the bar to look around.

Oh my, quite the...well...crowd? Seemed to be gathering.  This was much more interesting than his time with mistress.  His mistress had been older and ill towards the end.  He knew she was dead, but he didn't like admitting it.  She talked a lot about her younger days in a coven, he didn't know really what that was, but he did know it had gifted him the ability to talk with the necklace she gave him as a kitten.  She had died earlier than she was supposed to; she had specifically chosen him because their death dates (a blessing and curse she had said once) were near each other and while ill she had been nowhere near death's door.  No, something else had taken her from him, something that had thankfully not seemed to be interested in him.

Well, this was sure to be interesting!


Offline brucedabold

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Red watches the influx of people with a raised eyebrow. Last call indeed. As the women scoots  past the momentarily dazed stranger and saddles up to the bar, the demoness smiles. This one, this one is definitely a women. Tomboy-ish, but that’s how Red likes them. Truth be told, the women could be the paragon of cupcakes and frilly dresses and Red would think that’s how she likes them, male or female. Anyone who’s willing to stand outside the norm, in whichever direction, is an attraction to the innkeeper.

“There was a lady here a few months ago who kept on and on about a Tardis, but then she jumped off on a world that had a bunch of huge metal discs flying high …”

She’s trails off as a rather odd fellow, or at least oddly dressed fellow, bursts in and introduces himself. Red idly pets the ginger cat that has jumped up on the bar, not quite registering that this is a new cat.

Last call indeed.

Outside, the air begins to cloud, first near the edges of the tavern, then slowly spreading out across the grounds.


Offline cirdanslongboat

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Longboat looked at the young goth female in the corner. She was hiding something. Much of this tavern was not as it appeared, but this made him feel more comfortable. Even if he had lost the ability to perform them, he still understood glamours and illusions better than the mass mechanization and empirical philosophy of the world he had been trapped in for too long.

He walked over toward the goth female and, staying at a respectful distance said, "you look like you need a cheer up. And we can all use some traveling music," he added as he gestured to the rest of the room, and began to recite 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn,' (about the Green Man and sunrise on the Summer Solstice) in a lilting if stilted voice, confident that he would finally find an appreciative audience in this oddball group.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 01:02:08 PM by cirdanslongboat »


Offline Tikkeni

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Sir Tikk pushed his head up against the palm stroking him head.  This was nice, he hadn't been pet in...well a bit now.  As the last man in started telling a story he let out a soft and appreciative meow.  He had enjoyed story time with his mistress.  It had started as a bid to expand his vocabulary but continued well past that need and both had found comfort in the activity.  He generally dozed during them wrapped in a warm blanket, but he could still feel her talking.  Slowly he laid down sphinx style , tucking his paws un der his chest and his eyes slowly closing to slits.