Bard’s Gate notes.

[Working on expanding a setting, just collecting a bunch of bits of description in once place for convenience. Thanks to Carina, for helping me lay the foundation of this city.]

Surrounding the ship are towers of light. Tall buildings, solidly built from stone and amberloc — a thousand thousand windows, each giving a uniform blaze of chilly blue light. Bard’s Gate is reknowned for its tall buildings, Echo can see from her vantage point many other tall buildings, each with different colors of light beaming out into the warm darkness. On the edge of her vision she can see a deeper darkness to the north, the ocean. Her home.

A thousand gems blaze with light, a thousand shattered rainbows held in place by stone and the will of men.

 

“What a delight! You must take the time to take in some shows — the dramatic performances in Sloetown are not to be missed. The dancing halls, the singers, the wandering troupes of tumblers and acrobats. In a city where the sun never shines, there’s plenty of time to have a pleasant evening on the town.” Enton chuckled again, at his weak attempt at humor.

 

The snow-haired mage leads the way down the gangplank, into the hangar proper. The vast iron doors leading to the neon-lit night beyond. Winter makes a beeline for some small vehicles, made from blue steel and fashioned into stylized representations of horses with long legs and fixed wings.

 

The culvert opens up into another world — the darkness gives way to a massive golden light, shot through with orange and purples. A whole street is nestled away down here, a brass band plays on the roof of the building closest to the entrance. Literally, a band made up of brass automatons play trumpets and cornets — reminding Echo eerily of the guardians of the Vault of Flaubert I.

It takes a moment for Echo’s eyes to adjust to the barrage of colors and lights that hit her as they walk inside. The first thing she notices is the sea elves. There are four of them, younger, casually chatting and drinking throughout the bar. It takes her a moment to realize how close this place is to her home city. One of the elves even looks familiar.

The bar is dead center of the relatively small venue. It’s made of reflective material that throws colorful light in all directions. The bars tools seem to be run on some sort of railroad track. She sees a few patrons slide back and forth around the bar. The rest of the tables in the joint are tall, and made of glass. Echo is suddenly glad that none of her shipmates are here—it would be all complaining and bull-in-a-china-shop like behavior.

A stage curls around 3/4ths of the walls, backed by lush curtains and elegant staircases in each corner. There were no performers, but it looked promising.

The walls were perhaps the most fascinating part of the whole place. Atop peeling wallpaper of golden trees, hung skeletons in various pieces. All the bones were decorated with some sort of feminine accoutrement—the skulls wore big, pink bows; the hand bones wore bracelets and rings; even the rib cages were laced with ribbon.

Unknowingly, Winter led the elf through the room, up to the bar. The bartender was nowhere to be found.

[Author – C. McGeehin]

Winter rapped her knuckles on the bar, and looked around.

“Horace? Has he wandered…”

Sliding from around from behind a rack of bottles, an elegant skeleton pirouettes into view holding two cocktail glasses in one bony hand and dark red bottle in the other. He wears no clothing, but his bones give off a faint glow, and show signs of constant cleaning and care. A pinprick of blue light hovers in each eye cavity, and he gives Echo a rakish grin.

“Ah, who’s your friend Winter? A new plaything..or something saucier?”

Winter shrugs and orders another round.

The drinks this time are purple, wreathed with a salt-like mineral that gives off an ethereal green glow. Horace taps a bone finger on the bar next to the glasses, then points towards the stage.

The magenta curtains are being drawn back, revealing a smiling halfing. He has bright green hair, and a tunic embroidered with the sigil of a radish impaled on a lance. A disembodied goblin head droops from the ceiling, and squawks in a squawky sort of voice.

“Creatures and cravens — the Jade Harpy is proud to present, the world-renowned Bard of Wonder, Radd Plateglass!!!”

The bard, Plateglass bows floridly his blue cape billowing. He snaps his fingers, and a viola appears from nowhere. Without further ado, he begins to play. The song is old, but richer for its age — a song that finds its way into the dens and castles of most races on the globe.

The halfling hums, warming the strings of his voice, then sings:

Walk through the sorrows, of coal-black night
sing of the morrows, when all is light.
the gate is closed, and the beast is sleeping
quietly past see my true love creeping.

Winter rolls her eyes.

“I hate this song.”

The two step out into the garish light of Tunneltown. The night is young.

Five minutes and thirteen seconds later, Echo sat on a ledge next to a particularly sad-faced gargoyle. The thousands lights of Bard’s Gate twinkled in the eternal night. The streets were busy with denizens of Forever Night seeking their odd pleasures and secret agendas, all bathed in a rainbow of artificial light.

The druid glanced to the west, seeing the tail feathers of a seagull disappearing behind the curve of the city. Brand hadn’t been particularly thrilled about the animal shape she’d chosen for him, but he hadn’t wasted time arguing. Echo wondered if he’d remember to land before the spell ran its course.

Many stories below she also spotted the bald head of Kit, and his bedraggled performers. Their performance riot had done it’s job, and now they were limping their way to Tunneltown.

“So, why’d you want to meet here?” a voice asked. Echo glanced at the gargoyle, then turned left to see Winter, levitating next to the ledge. The snow-haired mage sat down next to the mage with an inquiring look.

The Sonic Bomb erupted. The 25th Floor erupted outwards, stone and steel flung hundreds of feet. Then, like a felled tree the upper floors slowly spun, then began to topple. The howl of bending girders hang loud in the air.

Seafoam Headquarters goes dark, the lights flickering off as the tower begins its seeming-slow descent into rubble.

Winter watched the carnage wordlessly, then turned back to Echo – hair whipping in the wind. Her hand snakes out and tugs at the druid’s ear. She pulls insistently until the sea elf’s face is inches from her own. The mage plants a chaste kiss on Echo’s brow.

“That was …. impressive. Do you think Seafoam got the message?”

From the outside, it’s hard to tell if the place is a theatre or a strip club. The burnt out light bulbs and neon would suggest a seedy venue. You’d think one would take better care of light sources in the city of eternal night. Perhaps the hooker-vibe is one cause of their financial trouble.

The inside doesn’t look much better than the out. Plaster crumbles above Echo’s head as she steps through the doorway, and the whole place smells musty. A single flickering bulb lights the lobby, throwing just enough light to lead Echo toward the stage.

[Author – C. McGeehin]

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