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The Alexandrian

I Could Be Kinda Human If I Only Had A [REDACTED]

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Oh?  You're dead already?

In incontrovertible affirmation, her gruesome canvas, a pair of glassy eyes bulging lifelessly out of their sockets amid a jumble of shallow incisions weeping tepid blood, solemnly slumps forward.  She steps backward twice, distributes her weight over her heels, leans against a hot pink acoustic panel, folds her arms over her chest, and inspects her latest masterpiece in the dim light of the blood-speckled chamber with the analytical gaze of an anesthesiologist measuring barbiturates in preparation for invasive surgery.  Soon after, she tuts in disapproval.  Her victim was frail.  Her victim was spineless.  Though she had expertly scraped out her victim's tongue and inhumed it in a bed of salt to dry cure, her victim shrieked and sobbed and plead incoherently in its drug-induced lucidity as she worked her gentle ministrations on it with the utmost patience and precision.  It survived her affections for twenty-two days, three hours, thirty-seven minutes, and fourteen seconds.  Camelia had devoted in excess of twenty-six hours of her life to carving intricate runes into its host.  In the end, what good would it do?  The Enrele are here.  The Enrele are everywhere.  Her wards will hold.  Her humanity will wane.


Gabriela's birthday party was a perfect storm.  Gabriela's guests assaulted the birthday girl and were assaulted in turn.  In the crossfire, dozens of civilians, some packed together so closely their corpses could not even fall to the floor, perished.  Explosives detonated, killing several dozen more.  Officially, terrorists were to blame.  Security measures were in place.  It was a party for a fledgling politician.  The chemicals saturating the atmosphere were legal and should have suppressed violent urges in all exposed entities.  In reality, Gabriela was bait, for Gabriela had a habit of hosting parties that spiraled into spectacular exhibitions of violence.  During the commotion, several dozen guests were spirited away to warded cells buried deep beneath the club.

Dougton was a wake up call.  The Enrele were capable of supplanting the Genius Loci and rewriting the laws of magic.  The Enrele aspired to godhood and were so numerous that they could take Lagrimosa by force.  They controlled the bulk of the media.  They controlled several hundred soldiers and statesmen.  Lagrimosa was running out of time, and in desperation, Cammy, Nines, and Caeceila renounced their compunctions and renewed their campaign against the Enrele.

Access to the "Glasmann Zone" was heavily restricted.  House Glasmann, the Hermetic Order of the Twilit Wedjat, and the Drow House Thal'krotr practically annexed the Glasmann Estate and adjacent Glasmann-allied districts and erected, in under twelve hours, a durable, steel wall around this property.  Soldiers and war machines patrolled the streets, arcane watchtowers glowed ominously through perpetual darkness, and House Glasmann Silver Eyes kept vigil over Caeceila's domain.  A battalion of lawyers scattered local law enforcement and repelled the delegates ordered to parley.  Terrenus Military officials rarely approached the boundary, but the Hell's Gate Tribune, a House Glasmann sponsored media outlet, reported that a handful of military officers were admitted on at least one occasion.


Guarded checkpoints, mandatory searches, mandatory medical screening, laws altered and enforced by private armies, shocking privacy violations, and an unshakable sense of dread motivate all but the most loyal customers of Club Tablillas to seek less fortified venues to blow off steam.

Club Tablillas is a cross between a firebase, a club, and an arena.  Tucked away in a lot formerly occupied by a warehouse two blocks from the reinforced black gate shrouding the Glasmann estate from prying eyes, Club Tablillas is, ostensibly, a newcomer to Hell's Gate's club scene.  Anyone in the know, in fact, insists Club Tablillas must be a hole in the wall because, to the world at large, Club Tablillas simply did not exist.  Your average civilian hasn't seen or heard hide 'r hair of it.  Most citizens, people who had served in the Terrenus Military and were honorably discharged, were altogether oblivious to its presence, as though information concerning the club's existence had escaped the notice of all but, perhaps, Victory itself.  It was almost as if all information apropos the club's operation was actively suppressed, but it didn't take long for a keen observer, once there, to ferret out the reason for Club Tablillas's utter obscurity.

From the slinky forms of driders and drow, silhouetted in the pulsing neon light animating the street in front of the building, to the fierce beauty of catpeople and weretigers, clad in spikes and leather, bouncing through the door at a whim and even to the more exotic clientele, scintillating reptile-folk, sultry demons, and a fair number of lesser known species, the club reeks of misfits.  Yes, the club caters to misfits exclusively - if the signage does not exaggerate.

The guileful owner of Club Tablillas had not left the security of her business up to chance.  On top of miraculously controlling the information available about the club, the club is fortified like a military outpost.  The bouncers are armed-to-the-teeth and wear military-grade exosuits that are eerily similar to the set Caeceila modeled at the tail end of Dredge's ill-begotten invasion of Last Chance.  More shockingly, every guard is outfitted with a weapon manufactured by House Glasmann Arsenal, a subsidiary of House Glasmann that, apparently, has refused to advertise or offer its products to any entities that are not allied with House Glasmann.  Packing serious firepower and bearing symbols of House Glasmann's approval would to do a fine job of warding off miscreants and vagrants if any were present.  Given the state of the Glasmann Zone, however, it should be no surprise that the current customers are primarily off-duty House-Glasmann-allied security forces and locals residing within the Glasmann Zone.

Edited by The Alexandrian

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One such misfit arrives at the club, clad in a set of black studded leather armour and a hood on his head. He's a shadar-kai, appearing as a tall blighted elf with a slender build, scarred dusky grey skin, black eyes and a bald head hidden by the hood he's wearing. On his arms are gal-ralan bracers made of cold iron, long needles on the interior.

His quest to find his long-lost twin sister from back when he was a drow male has led him to this location. Displays of his former house's heraldry in the area merely confirmed to him that he had come to the right place. Those bastards had tricked her into torturing him to death for hours on end, and merely for his seditious remarks on the rampant gender inequality of drow society. Even now, the look of horror on her face as the mask was removed is etched in his memory, the last he saw of her before his past life ended. That experience had taught him several lessons, most of all: never trust a drow, especially a drow female.

With a deep breath, the shadar-kai enters the club. If he is let in, he finds a seat, orders a drink and scans the area, looking for someone he can grill for information.

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Description of the Subbasement:

When Mal opens the door to Club Tablillas, his world pounds to the rhythm of experimental music.  The Stygian expanse unfurling before him bleeds ghostly shadows that claw at the glowing, runed doorframe trapping them within.  A dozen wisps of light dance in the shade, beacons of warmth and comfort beckoning to him.  Their numbers swell in the nucleus of the expanse.  Trepidation, if not fear, claims this tenebrous sanctum.

When Mal steps through the portal, for this is a portal if ever there was one, he too may find himself a source of transcendent light.  The atmosphere is saturated with magic.  Here, every breath is an enchantment and every movement is an exhibition of power.  The owner would boast there is nowhere else, within Hell's Gate, where the spirit realm imposes upon the material with such energy as Club Tablillas.

Other fantastical sources of light flit past the shadar-kai as he attempts to locate a sitting area.  When he acclimates to the club, he will discover that he is hemmed in by a collection of bizarre works of art.  The walls are uncanny statues that move as though they have lives of their own.  Pools of metallic liquid to the beside ever-changing murals react to his light and his will, sculpting unconventional furniture to satisfy his intent.  Strong emotions propagate through the ether, shockwaves emanating from beacons adrift in the distance.  Alien doesn't even begin to describe the interior of Club Tablillas.

Description of the Bartender (Raisa):

Mal wanders blindly for a time before chancing upon the bar.  Through a shroud of animate shadows, a bartender stalks, amber eyes hungrily picking over the motley assemblage as though hunting for a prize to sate her beastly appetites.  She feigns disinterest in all she observes.  Deception, disrupted solely by the predatory smile settling upon her lips, adorns her from head to toe.  This woman, Camelia's kin, shares her curse.  Though petite, she stands tall.  Though humanoid, her fashionable outfit accentuates the feline ears that crown her and the well-groomed tail that succeeds her.  Raisa wears a black graphic tank top depicting the goddess Sekhmet viciously dismembering Gaian clerics and chugging their blood, a bandanna bearing an uncanny rendition of a tiger's maw signaling her gang affiliation, an orange "distressed" short-sleeved zip-up hoodie with black stripes, black jeggings with black stripes supported by a black leather belt with a golden plate-style buckle in the shape of an ankh, a black knit cap with Club Tablillas's logo stitched onto it and slots fitted to her ears, fingerless gloves with white palms and orange backing, and white and orange leather thigh-high boots with black stripes.  To her, it matters little, for her winsome features, enthralling eyes, fulsome lips, well-toned body, thuggish attitude, and definitive style have endeared her to Club Tablillas's regulars.  Her history is as checkered as the owner's, and she offers special services that may or may not have something to do with organized crime to select clientele - purely off-the-books, of course.

Although the establishment of the Glasmann Zone took a heavy toll on Club Tablillas, Raisa is as busy as ever.  As Mal approaches, she places a bubbling beverage on a coaster in front of something faintly resembling a wendigo before sliding over to address Mal.

New here, huh?  Need a menu?  We serve all sorts of food and drink, but if you're looking for something containing blood, the remains of sentient creatures, etc., you're out of luck.  We don't serve anything borderline illegal here.  Don't want Gaians kicking in the front door - not that they'd make it much further.

Raisa chuckles darkly as she sets a colorful menu in front of Mal.

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Mal walks straight to the bar with a singleminded focus, knowing what he came here for... and it ain't for pleasure. Of course, he does have to survey his surroundings with a critical eye, thus the alien nature of the place doesn't escape his notice. If he's honest, the club's alien nature is rather fascinating... but as always, it doesn't reflect on his face one bit. No, he retains that stone-faced demeanour.

He's here for a reason, and that reason has nothing to do with pleasure.

Upon arriving at the bar, he takes his seat and looks around, taking notice of the approaching bartender. A catgirl, much like the slave girl waiting for him back at his place. He briefly wonders what this woman would say to his keeping a feline woman trapped in indentured servitude as his pet, before deciding that he doesn't care.

Finally, she arrives and presents him with a menu, which he briefly scans. "A mug of light beer will do." He simply says, his voice a deep baritone. "I have questions about this establishment, especially of the owner. House Thal'krotr, by any chance?"

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Talk about a ho-hum beverage!  A mug of light beer indeed.  Why not take a bus to a corner store and purchase a six-pack to drink in the alley with your mates?  Plebeian, wasting her time with an order for light beer!

Raisa, a flair bartender, produces a sparkling glass mug from beneath the counter, slides to her left, and fills the mug with frothy beer from a tap.  That done, she plunks the mug on the counter in front of Mal.  She appears utterly unimpressed by his life choices.  Were Raisa a patron rather than a bartender, she would call him milquetoast right to his stony-face and leave it at that.  Not even an imported dark, aromatic beer.  A light beer.

No.  Nuh-uh.  Wrong.  False.  Negative.

Raisa answers, shaking her head more in disapproval of his tastes than in response to his erroneous assumptions.  She isn't interested in discussing this topic, and she wears her disinterest openly.  For one, she is no longer smiling.  She repeatedly glances at patrons with exotic, mixed drinks, ready to abandon Mal to his own devices as soon as one signals her.

The owner is a weretiger, and you clearly have no business with her.  You're also new, so you aren't allowed above or below.  You're on probation, bub, like all of the other newbies.  If you have questions about this level, I might answer them, but where's the fun in that?

As Raisa ducks to retrieve something from a low shelf, the wendigo regards Mal with a hollow-eyed stare.  In unsettling tones, it rasps.

If you piss Raisa off, she will kill you.

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Malediction duly notes her disapproval, and clearly doesn't care. He's here for business and not pleasure, and thus has no desire to get inebriated. If he cared to, he'd tell her he shares her disdain for the stuff, but anything to keep from getting too drunk, and thus, less alert. Not that he cannot hold his liquor, oh no, he's just a very cautious man.

He takes a sip of the fluid and grimaces a little, the phrase 'tankard of moose piss' coming to mind. Maybe he should have ordered something stronger, after all. He decides he will... after he's done with his business.

He notes Raisa's response, both verbal and non-verbal. Why she would be so bothered by his ordering a light beer eludes him. While he doesn't care too much for what she thinks, he decides he'd probably be able to coax more information out of her if he ordered something more to her liking.

Malediction downs his beer-flavoured water (for that is what light beer is to him) while the wendigo rasps at him. "I do not fear death, for I have experienced it once before." He simply replies, and signals the bartender once more. "Do you have any night whisky? If not, a whisky cocktail shot will do."

He can stand to be a little less cautious, if it'll get him the information he wants. "I've seen the heraldry of House Thal'krotr around the area, and am quite curious about them. I have heard of the Rav'naggaath family, as well. Is there a member here I can meet?" He asks, taking the direct approach.

Edited by Purple Eagle

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Raisa stares at Mal and silently judges him.

You want Night Whiskey or a whiskey cocktail shot...

Raisa sighs dejectedly but maintains eye contact with Mal.

You don't drink much, do you?

Rather than perform tricks for Mal, who doesn't appear to be interested in any of the fun parts of her job, Raisa grabs a crystal shot glass from behind the bar and a bottle of Ol' Dan Haze's Bourbon Whiskey from a tidy, metal shelf.  She plunks the shot glass in front of Mal and pours a shot of whiskey into it.

Try this on for size.  It's 8-Year-Old ODH Bourbon Whiskey - smooth and full-bodied with a hint - and just a hint - of cinnamon.  It's a very popular entry-level whiskey, and has won multiple awards for its rich qualities.  Unlike shots of - lets call it economical whiskey - you should take time to savor the flavor instead of downing it outright.

Her lecture complete, Raisa starts tending to miscellaneous work - cleaning and logging her activities in a journal - as she half-asses makes a genuine attempt to answer his incessant questions about subjects she has a net total of zero interest in.

Yeah, I just so happen to have a member of the Rav- Rav- the family you mentioned in a bottle back here somewhere.

She chuckles and shakes her head.

Listen, I don't know about any Rav-whatsit family, and House Thal'krotr - the Drow - yeah, I don't meddle in their affairs and they don't meddle in mine.  It's a kind of - ah - truce.  There are a couple of them here right now, but if they haven't approached you, you probably won't find them.  You probably won't find them without help, that is, but capable help is pretty hard to come by around here.

Raisa has Mal right where she wants him.  She moves in for the kill.

But I'll tell you what.  You make it worth my while and I'll send a message to your Drow pals for you.  If the message is good enough, maybe they'll even come down here to see you.

Grinning like the cat that ate the canary, Raisa leans against the back counter.

So lets hear your message and your offer.  And don't cheap out on me.  We both know if you're looking for Drow, you have problems money won't buy you out of and seven times out of ten, someone important who wants you dead.  If I'm going to chance getting involved in all that, I want fair compensation.

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Malediction looks back at Raisa. Quite unpleasable, this one. Here is a bartender more concerned with showing off than she is serving drinks. There's a reason he prefers the quiet ones, who know they're there to serve you drinks and provide whatever information they can. This woman seems more willing to enforce upon him her beliefs on what a good patron is like, rather than adapt to him.

Thankfully, she pours him a shot without much ceremony. He downs the shot before she gets halfway through her lecture. Savouring the taste on his tongue for a few moments, he nods in approval and swallows the whiskey. "Yes. Yes I do. Some of us prefer our drink straight." He simply replies to her first question, choosing this moment to drive home the fact that he's no newbie at drinking. 

Back to the matter at hand! After her little attempt at a joke - no doubt her way of saying she cares more about drinks - she reveals enough about House Thal'krotr to pique his interest. His lead was right, and the woman he's looking for is here! If not her, then someone who can lead him to her, or at least pass the message along.

And then Raisa makes her offer, which he saw coming. Nothing goes for nothing, after all. He could probably find them if he used his powers to scan for them, but it's highly unlikely that the one he's looking for is in this space, something Raisa herself confirms.

Once she's done, he stares back at her, then cracks a smile for the first time since his arrival. "Very well." He pulls out a small pouch of money he'd prepared for such a time as this, setting it in front of Raisa, with his hand still covering the pouch. "I have a message for Ruvallah Rav'naggaath in particular. Tell her that Ryril has returned. She'll understand."

He takes his hand off the bag. "I shall be here, waiting."

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Posted (edited)

Ruvallah Rav'naggaath...

How do you even spell a name like that?  Damn, it auto-corrects to Raving Ray'Nugget.  That's not helpful.

Raisa casually taps the screen of an enchanted slate she fishes out of one of her pockets.  She enters her password and types up a text to an employee on another floor.  She eyes her fee, but she doesn't touch it.  Not yet.  Not until someone texts back.  Then, she pockets her slate and her coinpurse.  She opens the bar flap and motions for Mal to follow her.

Y'know, you could have just said you were looking for Nines,  Well, come on!  I can't be away from the bar for long.

If Mal follows, Raisa leads him through a storeroom and up several flights of stairs to an unmarked door.  It opens inward revealing a remarkably plain break room.  Every piece of furniture is clean, comfortable, and well-used.  From the center of a cotton rug, a catgirl waitress lazes in a beanbag chair watching a comedy.  A pouch of catnip rests in her lap.

Nines was always a lithe creature, muscular only in comparison to other members of the elven race, and she is pleased that her curse has yet to strip her of her natural grace and the myriad opportunities it affords her.  For her kind, she is neither short nor tall, and were it not for the spindly spider-legs jutting from her spine and encasing her torso, she would be the archetypal drow, exuding dark beauty born not of dreams but of lucid nightmares tearing at a mind.  Sections of her obsidian skin are horribly scarred, and a shallow gash extends from the right edge of her eyebrow down to her cheek.  Ashen hair, silky and braided, sweeps down to the nape of her neck.  Her ears are longer than they are wide and taper to a point, as is typical of her kind.  The little finger of her left hand is conspicuously absent, but this is no great handicap considering the number of appendages at her disposal.  Her eyes are red searchlights staring at the screen from her spot on an old couch.  When she opens her mouth to laugh, Mal will, in all likelihood, observe that her fangs are quite unlike those of a vampire.  These retractile needles supplement rather than replace her canines, which have also been honed to a point from her many mutations. 

Nines still wears her cut-off vest adorned with official patches from her favorite bands.  The gas mask stored in a transparent satchel slung across her torso resembles the ShMS gas mask coated in silver film.  In addition to her iconic attire, Nines sports a black A-shirt, woven from strands of spider silk, solid black jeans, black combat boots, and a duty belt featuring a push knife, a dozen unmarked metal canisters, and a multi-tool.

Nines appears to pay Mal no heed as he enters the room.  Instead, she chuckles as a bald man on the television is hit in the face with three pies.  Mal might recognize the movie as a bootleg of Target Costco Nvidia's, latest masterpiece: The Three Brothers Costello.  It isn't even in theaters yet!

A tub of buttery popcorn sits on the seat beside Nines.  She holds a cup of red soda and sips from it occasionally.  Raisa rolls her eyes in exasperation.  This again?

Edited by The Alexandrian

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Posted (edited)

Malediction enjoys his drink whilst watching Raisa's actions closely. Once it's time for her to lead him to the woman he seeks, he downs the rest of his drink and follows her. "Nines...?" Is that what she calls herself now? That name had come up during his investigation, but now he makes the connection to his long-lost twin. It makes sense, too, for he doesn't go around calling himself Ryril Rav'naggaath, or Xadal Drinn.

"Nines..." He says again, testing the nickname. She's obviously taking him to see this Nines she speaks of, meaning he's about to be face-to-face with his long-lost sister. As he approaches the unmarked door, he takes a deep breath before it is opened.

He soon finds himself face-to-face with her indeed: a mutated adult version of the person he once shared a bunk bed with, watching something of the sort they once enjoyed together, an age ago. However, he can foresee that she'll pay no direct attention to him unless she has reason to, and thus chooses the direct route.

"Nines? You are Ruvallah Rav'naggaath?" A pause, perhaps for effect. "I am Malediction, a shadar-kai who wasn't always one. I started life as a male drow, until unfortunate circumstances led to the loss of my life. The Raven Queen granted me a new life, away from the Underdark, and thus I was resurrected as a shadar-kai. I had no intention of returning to my old life, until I saw the House's heraldry and got curious about what my long-lost twin sister might be up to. The kind of woman she might have become." Another pause for effect. "That's right, Ruvi. It's me, Ryril. Ryril Rav'naggaath."

Indeed, if she looks closely at his face, she'll be able to see the resemblance. He got to keep his original facial  structure (among other things), just not his race.

Edited by Purple Eagle

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