Alyi Ellnaqua (ˈAhl-Yee Ell-ˈNa-Kwa)
The Jeweled Vine
Few buildings in Pavorno are as beautiful and as striking as the luxurious wineshop known as Alyi Ellnaqua, or The Jeweled Vine, located in the heart of the Flower District. While the establishment is well-known for its expansive wine cellar and sumptuous feasts, its primary reputation is as a place to see and be seen -- or to try not to be seen. The Jeweled Vine has been the site for liaisons both discreet and indiscreet ever since its founding in the early years of the city, and masks are almost a part of the dress code. Alyi Ellnaqua is the exclusive province of the nobility. Grey-clad staff move like ghosts through the crowds, going about their business with lowered eyes, so as not to pry. Discretion and incuriousness are the qualities most looked for in a server, here. Those found trading in information are fired immediately. The customer's privacy is paramount. There is even a private back stairway to the upper floors, available for a price, if one wishes to avoid the crowds downstairs.
Oh, sure, the nobles wear masks, and we're not supposed to stare at them, but it's amazing what you can tell from hands and shoes. People don't think about such things.
StructureBuilt on the site of an old temple to Vidona, the Goddess of Revelry, the wineshop's courtyard still boasts some of the original mosaics. The rest of the three-story building is inlaid with terrazo marble flooring, installed during the last renovation and expansion. Most of the decor, however, is owner Cithrel Wysalar's innovative bottle art. Windows, dividers, and even the walls of the courtyard entryway are comprised of old glass bottles in various shades, embedded in the local limestone plaster. The result is striking, and at night, the building shines like a jewel box. The structure has been expanded and remodelled at least five times during its two hundred and twenty-five year existence. It is U-shaped, with open archways leading into the surrounding courtyard, lit by more colored lights. There are balconies and wide arched windows all along the second floor. The third floor windows are smaller, and often shuttered.
Bottle house (w flash) by copperred
LevelsThe ground floor of The Jeweled Vine is the central location for mingling and people watching. The primary wine stewards are stationed here, as well as one of the wineshop's two kitchens, specializing in appetizers and desserts. The open floorplan is furnished with tables and chairs, as well as platforms with couches to recline on and show off one's wealth and generosity. There is always at least one party in progress on these daises. This is also the primary location for entertainment, with bards playing a tasteful selection of A different sort of challenge can be had on the second floor, where open tables give way to sheltered and screened booths or curtained alcoves, for those who wish more privacy and discretion. Strolling minstrels provide a musical backdrop and the main kitchen is here, for those who wish to dine on the Vine's famous seven-course dinners. Then there is the third floor, comprised entirely of enclosed, private dining rooms. If one has the gold, complete privacy can be had between these walls. Each room is furnished with tables, dining chairs, several couches around the perimeter, and a bell pull for that room's dedicated servant. Over the years, lavish parties have been thrown, bastards conceived, business mergers and rebel uprisings planned, and at least one assassination attempt made in these secluded chambers.
Kallianeira arrived wearing a lacy jeweled mask that did little to hide her face. The gentleman she was with was robed from head to toe in a black, hooded cape and wore a full-face black mask. He had, however, forgotten to remove his signet ring.One can hardly describe an eatery in the Flower District of Pavorno without discussing the courtesans. These beautiful women, entertainers on many levels, ply their trade at Alyi Ellnaqua just as any other wineshop. In fact, The Jeweled Vine is a gem in the diadem of any courtesan. It is the pinnacle of status symbols to be allowed to entertain there. No courtesan has ever become famous without the Alyi Ellnaqua stamp of approval.
Food and DrinkThe wineshop boasts two kitchens, which have their own service stairwell connecting the three floors. The finest chefs in the area have been hired to design mouth-watering main courses, antipasto plates, and desserts, among other dishes. The Jeweled Vine has a rotating menu, with only a few dishes for each course available on a given night. Occasionally, a particularly generous or showy patron will "clear the board" - ordering platters of every dish on the menu for their party to enjoy together. Most patrons are happy with a moderately priced Doval Sec or Quechen Bianco, and there is always a wine steward on hand to assist in choosing an appropriate year. There are also sherries, port, whisky, and more available at the bar and as an addition to a course of one's meal. It has become something of a game among the gentry for the host of a dining party to order food and wine for the entire group's banquet. If he or she can put together a suitable meal with complimentary beverages, then there will be a good rise in status within Pavorno's social scene. If, however, they pair a red wine with fish, they may never live down the shame, and the gods help the poor noble who is forced to consult with the wine steward. Few can remember a time before The Jeweled Vine existed, and it seems that, if Cithrel Wysalar has her way, it will outlast them, as well.
Cithrel Wysalar is an Elf of Glaerhiel, from their capital city of Sela Shaeras. The entrepeneur moved to Pavorno when she was a young woman of 153. She had worked in various smaller wineshops in her home town, and dreamed of opening a place of her own. She chose Pavorno due to its location on several trade routes, and its proximity to the various vineyards of Galieri, Montlimar, and Asnium. She is a strong leader who inspires loyalty in her staff, a shrewd woman who can read people well, and a creative spirit who designs all The Vine's bottle art.
Chief Wine Steward
Jhotrix the Head Waiter is a Lizardfolk raised in Pavorno. His family was one of several from Ochua who were convinced to relocate to work as servants as a novelty for a noble, in exchange for guaranteed food, shelter and clothing. He worked several footman jobs before Cithrel invited him to be her Head Waiter. He is known for his impeccable eye for fashion, and his ice-cold heart, that will turn any not worthy away at the door. It is said that he can count the coppers in your pocket by the cut of your cloak. Jhotrix is also responsible for hiring and disciplining all floor staff, especially ferreting out those who are selling information.
Umber the Chief Wine Steward's polished topaz-like skin proclaims her as an Earth Genasi. She hails from the Aubermasse region of Montlimar, where her family owned a small vineyard. Her innate knowledge of the soil, and how it, weather, and nearby plants can affect the flavor of the grapes makes her the consumate wine steward. The newest member of the senior staff, she simply marched up to Cithrel and presented herself as a wine steward. That was five years ago, and Umber was head of the wine steward staff within three. This makes her responsible with vetting new employees for her department, along with her other duties.
A Pavorno native, Skillful the Tiefling has worked in food service most of her life, starting as a scullery maid at The Blue Oyster. She has been climbing the rungs of the culinary ladder ever since. Determined and focused, her goal has been to become a master chef from the start. Unfortunately, her tiefling heritage often barred the way. She went from place to place, trying to get a little closer to her dream. Cithrel hired her away from the elf's favorite eatery, and never regretted it. Skillful created her first signature dessert within two years, and was the head of the kitchen within ten. The tiefling runs the double kitchens with an iron fist, making it clear that these are her domains. Only kitchen staff are allowed in, and all of them have been personally vetted by Skillful. Serving staff pick up the dishes at long windows along the kitchen wall. Cithrel allows Skillful her little kingdom, so long as the food continues to be superb.
One of the more important positions at Alyi Ellnaqua is guarding the back door and private entry. Despite his well-tailored and well-groomed appearance, Brakamash the Half-Orc is often perceived as someone people do not want to tangle with, and so he can do the job of two. Like Jhotrix, he sizes up would-be patrons and decides who gains entry, but also provides protection when needed. A resident of Fairmouth, across the river, he grew up as the latest in a long line of serving people. Sadly, the lord they work for, and all the other gentry, would not take him on as an employee due to his looks. He was forced to resort to dock work before finding his way to The Jeweled Vine. While he regrets that his appearance forces him to work the back alley and not the floor, he is grateful for the opportunity to use his well-honed skill sets instead of being driven to brute manual labor.
Nylva (pl. Nylvae) is the rage when it comes to appetizers or desserts at Alyi Ellnaqua. A thin, flaky wafer that compliments toppings both savory and sweet, it has become a word synonymous with the wineshop. Owner Cithrel Wysalar brought the recipe with her from Glaerhiel. In the elven country, such wafers are incredibly common, but they were unheard of in Galieri until the opening of The Jeweled Vine. Now, they are the province of Pavorno aristocracy, and a tasty kind of status symbol.
Antipasto and Dessert Platters are available separately for 10 gp each