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Blackfriars' Redux

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Discerning patrons discuss neither the meaning nor the provenance of the sign hanging from the exterior of the establishment, as they know all too well the dreadful penalties that the answer will inevitably entail.

The Blackfriars' Redux, established 1687 AN, is a fortified public house located in the International Settlement of Tiegang that has been built up within the ruins of a 16th century Antican angle bastion. Situated on the interchange of Mabutingti Avenue and Commerce Street, the establishment's proprietor is a disgraced former civil servant from Albion who found his way into the International Mandate amongst those displaced by the Sylvanian National Awakening.

Located approximately midway between Camp Gloucester and the pier for the boat to Residency Isle, The Blackfriars' Redux is frequented by both the Honoured Sons and personnel from the SSIDF contingent of the International Mandate Peace and Stability Force, as well as by a conspicuous group of Babkhan exiles who, by custom and cudgel practice, monopolise the far corner of the Lounge Bar. In view of its position a considerable distance out of town the Blackfriars redeveloped an adjacent magazine building, formerly use for the storage of munitions, into a hotel, and provides an armoured battlewagon escorted bus service to Camp Gloucester and to the main settlement.

The immediate vicinity of the establishment has in recent years become known as the Blackfriars district and is host to a number of notable businesses and institutions, most having relations of one form or another with the pub.


The interior of the Blackfriars' Redux was designed by Frederick Fuller-Poole Sahib, who had trained with the Design Bureau of the Honourable Company during the 1670's, learning his craft at the Marcellus Paixhans School of Design in Lindström (Natopia). The work was executed by forty craftsmen imported from Eura and Nova England and paid at fourteen Alduro-Wechua écu per hour and a monthly stipend of beer and opium. The opium allocation was phased out as the realisation dawned that corrections to works undertaken at the end of month were delaying the completion of the project.

The decorations took the form of a series of larger copper relief scenes depicting the exploits of the Blackfriars of Old Babkha, the honest traders who had plied the seas - waylaying unwary cargo haulers - in the aftermath of Eura's atomic immolation, and uplifting scenes of those same traders selling their newly acquired wares to appreciative Jing merchants along the quayside of Tiegang.


Lounge Bar

The Lounge Bar is decorated in bands of alternating Baatharzi marble, the entrance to which being located to the right of the main atrium via three rounded horse shoe arches. Above these three entrances is an improving copper relief scene depicting the Blackfriars in the foreground examining their wares and preparing a light breakfast of fried eggs, ham cut from the joint, and frothing mugs of beer, whilst in the background a sinking ship burns upon the ocean, illuminated by the beams of the radiant sun.

Within the rectangular lounge area the eponymous bar, formed of solid polished cedar wood and walnut, takes up two thirds of the far wall to the viewers right. In the remaining third of this section may be found the Babkhans who have claimed the area for their own and watch with wary suspicion any who enter into the lounge. The barman may be frequently found in conversation with these gentlemen.

Seating, both bar-stools and reclining chairs with walnut arms, are covered with an aged leather of indeterminate origin, and arranged around low tables of mahogany, which are carved with ornate geometric patterns of Euran provenance, are positioned in such a way as to be companionable rather than snug.

Air conditioning is provided by a pair of renegade Jing positioned in a recessed ceiling alcove. Customer discretion is however assured as these Jing were purchased from a Silver Yak Horde trader in a singular condition - their eyes having put out, their eardrums punctured, and their tongues surgically removed. For these Jing however, who presumably fell afoul of the natives during the evacuation of Leylstadt, their present employment, no matter how monotonous and humdrum, must be considered an improvement upon the frightful conditions of the continental interior.

Positioned between the three archways permitting access into the lounge area may be found two mahogany bookshelves, extending from floor to ceiling, filled with an eclectic variety of books and board games. The reading matter available to patrons being of a diverse nature, encompassing engineering, military history, politics, psychology, sociology, religious tracts that verge on the heretical, and a considerable number of trashy and well thumbed paperback novels. Copies of The Aldurian Sun, the Daily Lightbringer[1], and the ESB Intelligencer, are available from a rack hung close by the bar, which can be accessed without difficulty once the Babkhans seated in the corner are convinced that they can abide your presence.

Beers, on tap and bottled, are, for reasons of convenience, sourced from the Leylstadter Bieren brewery within the city. Wine and spirits meanwhile tend to be drawn from further afield, particularly from Constancia and Nouvelle Alexandrie.

Eating at the bar is very much an experience determined by the vagaries of the day's menu; consisting of grilled and roasted meats, such as are available, fried tendrils sourced from what is euphemistically described as the pub garden, and all accompanied by the ubiquitous bread which is delivered to the pub fresh daily from Nikola's Bakery - the premiere bakery of the Blackfriars District following the mysterious fire and disappearance of the old master baker in 1694 AN.

The coffee served up until midday has been, from time to time, compared in its texture, consistency and taste, to effluent drained from the radiators. Nonetheless its potency is remarked upon, and there are patrons who will swear by the steaming black tar in a mug as a sovereign remedy for even the worst of hangovers.

There is sometimes musical accompaniment in the evenings, with playing bands being tolerated on Friday and Saturday, but unsolicited performers on any other day be fed head first into the tendril pits which may be encountered out behind the urinals.

Amongst the other more enduring features of the bar may be counted Vinegar Tom: the Barman's aged white cat. Though Mister Underscore assures the patrons that it is a feline, those who behold Vinegar Tom cannot help but note that, with the head of a miniature deformed calf and the body of an emaciated whippet, the creature more closely resembles the demonic familiars once shown in antique woodcut images than any known breed of cat. Mister Underscore also keeps an unnamed Barn Owl caged on the counter towards one end of the bar. It is occasionally fed partially digested door mice and leftover nuts from the bar, however it is reported that occasionally it is released to flush out any unwanted patrons who may have overstayed their welcome. Though some find its presence disconcerting, the Owl mainly remains calm, content with its life of mice and mangled marauders, though stories of it pecking the eyes of its victims prevents many a patron from interacting with it, beyond the occasional glance.



In recent times the veranda has been noted to have fallen into a state of disrepair, with one of the wooden posts supporting the structure having decayed significantly. This led to the wobbly post being graffitied with the word "AWFUL", written in red spray paint by hands unknown. The Landlord, being apprised of the condition of the veranda, which is somewhat at odds with his stated desire for it to be the "respectable front" on the pub, has, as of 1697 AN, commissioned a full refurbishment, for which he has purchased from the near-adjacent school a number of work-experience students supplemented by some of the more functional inhabitants of another nearby institution with a resident population.

On days when the weather is to his liking the Landlord has been observed to have taken up residence under the shade of an overgrown rose bush, sat in a deckchair beside a table with a tray of chilled drinks, supervising the restoration work from an appropriate distance - occasionally offering advice and motivational suggestions to his co-opted workforce. On other days when it is not to his liking, or he has other matters to attend to, the Landlord has been known to delegate the task of keeping work on track to one or more of the Babkhans who occupy the corner of the lounge bar – they, in return for a modest amount of drinking money, can be relied upon to supervise the band of children and the cognitively deficient with their customary tact and sensitivity.

Salt cellar

The salt cellar, so named for the thickly-veined deposits of saltpetre encrusted upon its walls, is accessible via a trapdoor from the Lounge Bar. Formerly a gunpowder magazine in the subterranean layers of the old Antican fort, the cellar fell into dereliction after the abandonment of the site circa 1596 AN and was subsequently used by the original Blackfriars for the storage of contraband. It now houses the pub's first experimental microbrewery. Whilst normally padlocked, patrons may sometimes, at the insistence of the Landlord, be invited to repair down into the salt cellar to continue their conversation if he feels the subject too disreputable to be heard in polite company.

With the pub's normal brewer of choice, the Leylstadter Bieren, facing an interruption of supply during 1696 AN–, as a consequence of problems in Jingdao, it was perhaps inevitable that the much harried staff of the Blackfriars would turn their hand to home brewing in an attempt to quench their patrons insatiable thirst. Operated by the Landlord and the Barman under conditions of greatest secrecy outside of normal opening hours, the pub was able to present its first offering - a porter ale quixotically named "Tendril Mush" - to the waiting patrons. The first patron to sample the broached barrel, a miscreant known to posterity as George, described Tendril Mush thusly:

It's like bread flavoured rubbing alcohol that had something die in it – three more pints! Damn you. I'm not done yet!
—"George", as recounted by Mister Underscore, Barman, 1697 AN or thereabouts

On 7.X.1697 AN, the Blackfriars received a surprise inspection, perhaps the first instance in the establishment's history, by the Trading Standards Office of the International Mandate. The cause of their unannounced visit being a portion of text purportedly recounting the method employed in the preparation of the Tendril Mush:

In a gallon plastic bucket, add one shovel-load of whatever can be dug up from the patch of earth and tendrils beside the urinals. Fill the rest with surgical spirit, or failing that mineral spirit. Then add a half kilo of the secret ingredient. Leave uncovered in the hot sun, until flies are no longer interested in it. Strain and decant liquid into fermentation jars for storage and return the residual organic matter to the tendril pits.

By a great deal of good fortune, and a small amount of paid consideration, the inspectors were led on a tour of some copper stills, and brass piping, housed in one of the abandoned corridors behind the bar. While this tour was given, a rug and chair were hurriedly placed over the salt cellar's trapdoor and a layer of noisome night soil shovelled over the tendril pits. Satisfied, and compensated, for their tour of the pub, the inspection had concluded with a bottle of Krasnocorian Rakija shared on the Veranda and the dispensation of a stamped certificate of conformity.

Somewhere in the salt cellar is rumoured to be a crude printing press dedicated to producing a genre of "inspiraporn" that has gained inexplicable popularity amongst the denizens of Work homes in Hurmu.

Slavery controversy

In 1691, during a police raid on the pub, it was discovered that a human being was allegedly being held captive in the basement of the pub. This human, of Zeedic-Norse extraction , explained (unprompted) to the police that he was in no way a slave, rather, he held slaves himself and regarded one of the patrons upstairs as his slave, and he himself was a naval officer. When the police questioned the patron in question, the patron explained that he himself was no slave, rather, the human held captive downstairs was his slave and was neither a slaveowner nor a naval officer. With no evidence of any enslavement having actually taken place, the police left.

A few nights later, police returned to investigate the matter further, it was discovered that the Zeedic-Norse human was no longer there. The patron, who claimed to have owned the captive, told the police that his slave had run away, and if found, he asked the police to kindly return his property.

In 1700 AN the landlord and a porter from Saint Richard's Asylum agreed a pact with an apprentice constable from Hurmu to dispose of junior cadets whom the constable had failed to enrol in the School of the High Inquisitor of Tiegang. By night the ten boys would assist the porter in his more noisome duties, whilst during the daylight hours the boys would hide in the cellars of the pub and the landlord would affect to ignore their presence in return for their tidying up the detritus left by the patrons and by carrying on the ceaseless struggle against the invasive tendrils which had colonised the urinals. In return the landlord and the porter would work to cajole some of the inmates of the asylum, whose peculiar mania had led them to be proficient in creating formal looking but meaningless documents, into forging the certificates that would eventually be required on the occasion of the youths "graduation" and return to Hurmu.


Weekday Evenings (Victory Menu)

The Victory Menu is inspired by the cuisine of the Unified Governorates of Benacia. The Benacian rationing system is utilised for this dining experience, with digital tokens purchasable at the bar.


  • Toad in the Hole (Pork Sausage), for Regulars - 75 points
  • Toad in the Hole (Meat Substitute: Corned Beef), for Patrons - 50 points
  • Toad in the Hole (Meat Substitute: Tofu sausage), for Children & Vegans - 25 points
  • Toad in the Hole (Meat Substitute: Mealworm sausage), for serviles - 15 points (to be consumed off premises)
  • Sides: Fried Tendril, Mushrooms
  • Complementary Drinks: Clove Gin, Coffee

Notes and references

  1. ^ Obtained second hand from the Jingdaoese Mandate Regiment in return for a pack of Florian cigarettes proffered to the duty officer of their barracks.