"Welcome to my Inn. As this is your first visit, please be aware that there are a few guidelines to your stay, your health and the well-being of the other guests.You and your possible associates can keep the weapons you are carrying, but it is strictly advised that you don't draw them, not even in anger, rightful or not.Any hostility or grudge you may hold against one of the other guests is not existent in these halls. You may talk, live, laugh, love and be facetious as much as you like unless you are disturbing the peace and the atmosphere. No insults, as minor as they may appear to you.Whatever you do in your Suite - yes Suite, not just a room - is your own business. It is strictly forbidden to enter another guests room when not explicit invited.Please refrain from appearing out of thin air on our mainfloor, use the landing pads. Even the Eternals respect that.If you don't respect these small guidelines then you leave me no choice for the safety and the peace of our beloved guests to remove you from the premises without a chance of amends in the near future.You have a bell on one of your nightstands. Depending on the alignment of the service wheel on top of it you will be directed to me, the kitchen, one of our maids or to the bar. You are encourage to use them as needed.I bid you now welcome and please enjoy your stay to your hearts content."
I bid you welcome, weary traveller
The pots and kettles were releasing a steady stream of white hot steam, dissolving on the way up to the clean white ceiling. The chef - a grumpy sphinx with a mind clear of those damn riddles - walked around the boiling kitchenware, giving small and well directed orders at the ghosts and goblins, buzzing with productivity, cutting meat and vegetables from this or another realm of existence; boiling potatoes and rice and noodles.
"What is that?" The Caretaker asked and pointed at a snake-like bread with small eyes made out of olives, three small bowls with some kind of dip in it resting besides the bread.
"A noodle snoodle.", the Goblin answered on the instant. "Kamhandur asked for it the last time. From another realm, Caretaker. The dips are pretty tastey."
"Tasty." the Caretaker mumbled absentmindedly. Even stripped from their sluggish and not well pronounced babbling, given the ability to speak the language of the Gods, the Goblins still had problems with High Speech.
"Yes, Caretaker." The Goblin bowed, his small hairy ears were twitching, the Caretaker could only assume that the Goblin was nervous. "Hot dips with this bread."
"I can see that. Thank you." The Caretaker spoke a few little words with the Sphinx which appears to be having everything under control and than walked out of the kitchen were all of the food was created and prepared for all of the divine and not-so-divine beings of this and other realms. Some of the gods tied to war and blood-spilling seemed to have ordered a special meal, because there were explosions to hear, located in the far back of the kitchen. The kitchen itself spanned hundreds of meters, divided into sections bound to a specific realm.
Chains rattled as one of the Ogres pulled at them, bringing up fresh water from the Underground to fill huge iron pots. The Caretaker left the kitchen, checked his clothes and took the long walk around the balcony to see if anything has damaged his wonderful refuge.
This was not the case.
After that, he walked down again to see if his fairies did their job. They did, every room of the two hundred luxurious Deity Suites and the two Eternal Suites were clean, not one grain of dust to see. Every room smelled like its designated inhabitant, even when they were not present. They should feel like coming home, and for the most part it was very fitting.
"We need some Erandi." The Caretaker stopped one of the six-winged flying woman with a small gesture with his finger. "Not only the root, but make it three whole plants."
"Three plants of Erandi, Caretaker!", squeaked the fairy delightfully and flew away with the sound of fast flapping wings and in a glittering cloud of golden particles. Legend says that the fairies were the ancestors of the first butterflies, but not even the gods knew the answer to that, and so the Caretaker doesn't know either.
Life support in good hands
He left the Eternal Suite for Life and took the long walk over to the other side of his refuge to the Eternal Suite of Death. The ghosts were busy replacing the lilies with fresh ones; one ghost transmitted greetings from Parloma and the Caretaker wished her well. Poor woman.
Both suites were semicircular with a bed, some cupboards and shelves; each one located on the opposite of the sleeping area with all the other suites, embracing them. Life's suite was a garden with a waterfall and a small pool in it, Death's suite was a dream in white with said lilies, white linen with a canopy bed in white and purple.
"I'll leave you to it." The Caretaker left Death's suite, checked the Deity Suites again, and was satisfied with the work of his helping employees. He ventured one storey up to the life support systems, where Orks took care of the big copper boilers and the water purificator, a complex mechanism of filters, pipes hissing because of heat and moving parts.
"Everything in order? Did you replace the broken pipe?" he asked the chief mechanic, an Ork with greenish blue skin, orange eyes and decorated tusks.
"Yes, boss." grumbled the Ork. "Purrrrs like a kitten." His purr was mostly a deep growl.
"Good. Good work, please ensure that everything will be alright for the next four days."
"Yes, bo... Caretaker."
The Caretaker nodded approvingly, corrected the fit of his vest, and took the stairs up to the heart of his refuge.
From the past to the present
This level was the one which was revised and re-structured the most over the course of the millennia. Originally the storey was a perfect circle with high entrances, supported by circular engraved pillars, so every deity could enter as the deity sees fit. The floor originally had been a dark green like emeralds, with a pool with clear hot water in it. Now there was no pool anymore and the floor is made out of black marble with gems and veins of ores like gold, silver and platinum in it.
Now the entire level was surrounded by the same round pillars with inscriptions, but one third of the level - the north side, to be precise - was now occupied with a bar made out of white marble, housing a few casks of whiskey and beer and thousands of bottles in different shapes, sizes and colours. Most of them filled with liquids, others with some kind of (coloured) mist and some of them with nothing at all. Light from a dozen chandeliers, hanging from the white-marble-ceiling, glittered on the glas and metal of the bottles.
The middle section of this level is now dominated by three round tables in three different sizes, but they are all identical: thousands of years old bog oak, a live map of the world in the middle of it, preserved under a dome of crystal glass. The map was an exact replication of the world beneath them with weather and everything, even clouds and thunderstorms.
There was a small fireplace near the bar with two big armchairs made out of leather and wood. They looked ancient and were designated to Life and Death. Only the two Eternals were allowed to use these armchairs. They used them to discuss things in private. Probably matters of life and death. The Caretaker chuckled as he told himself this very old joke.
"Everything alright?" he asked the three bartenders, two female elfs and one male dwarf. They were enemies in life and now a couple in death. After a few hundreds years they had to get used to each other.
"Ev'rything a'right, ma Caretaker." spoke the dwarf with a voice coming from deep down a barrel. His braided beard was oiled and he grinned with teeth white as ivory.
"We've refreshed the menu with sweets, cakes and some of those bagel-things the humans are so obsessed with." sang Illara, the younger one, with her voice of silver.
"We also got new spirits from other realms." smiled Turia, the older one, giving her wife a short tender kiss on the cheek. "One of them could bring even Death back to life."
"Or to Life." chuckled Xeroth, the dwarf. He got a kiss from both elves and with quick hand movements he produced a drink in a glass for the Caretaker. It smelled like ice and berries and tasted like the kiss of an elf.
"Thank you." The Caretaker nodded to the lightly dressed couple and dug through the list of things they were on the menu without the new additions, wandering through one of the landing pads.
Fresh bread (and noodle snoodles apparently).
All kind of fish and clamps.
Octopus, mostly fried, some alive.
Meat from all species around the realms, four-hundred types to be precise.
Eighthundred types of spices.
Thirty types of water.
Twenty types of apples, pears, berries and fruits, even potatoes.
All types of grain like rye, wheat, oat, barley and rice.
And everything in between in small batches. Even a three-hundred year old whiskey, still untouched.
A flap of wings caught his attention and he looked up as three Shadow Valkyries appeared from far above, gliding in his direction. The Caretaker took a big step to the side and let the messengers of death land. They folded their black wings on their backs, took off their helmets.
"Ladies." The Caretaker bowed his head respectfully half a centimeter to the beautiful Valkyries. Their armor were made out of leather and gold and chainmail; they carried swords and a spear with an armlong head.
"Caretaker." said all three in unison and bowed before him. "We would like to spend two days under your care."
"We have awaited you." said the Caretaker and made a gesture to let them inside. "Your suites are prepared. I bid you welcome, please enjoy your stay."
Two of the Valkyries looked a bit surprised but the leading one - the Caretaker thought she might be much older then the other two - nodded thankfully and led the way, obviously knowing where she had to go.
Enternal Lovers Reunion
"You are early, I didn't expect you for the next two hours." The Caretaker looked at the two figures standing on the other side of the landing pad. They had the possibility to just appear out of thin air in the middle of the room, but after the second time the Caretaker installed a mechanism to prevent that. Everyone was fine with that, so they land or appear on the pads.
"Our business was concluded early." said the skeleton in the black robe with the huge scythe in its deep voice. The maid in the grey robe was barely a woman, only a young girl. Her blue eyes looked around curiously, her hands holding a black leather bag.
"I see. Your rooms are prepared, Eternal." He bowed before the Eternal who emitted small strings of darkness and shadows out of his robe like steam.
"Very well, thank you, Caretaker. We will join you shortly." The huge skeleton took the way to its suite, followed silently by the young girl which looked openly curious at the Caretaker. He smiled and she smiled back.
"Bring Death's favourite drink and a plate of these bagels." ordered the Caretaker his three bartenders and they bursted into coordinated bustle. In this moment he felt a warm embrace of the sun and smelled flowers, heard the rustling of petals and leaves behind him and as he turned around, there she stood on the pad, precisly at the heartbeat she was expected.
A woman, about two meters tall, looked at him with amber eyes and lips red as roses. Her skin were green, brown and red leaves, covering every part of her body, starting at her hair over her small breasts and flat belly to her feet. Hands and feet appears to be oak wood. The Caretaker never touched her or anyone of his guests so he didn't know.
"On time as always, Mother." He bowed before her, the first of the Eternals and first of all deities.
"Please don't call me that." she chuckled with a voice like water from a spring creek, cool and pleasant.
"Only once more as always, Mother." He smiled at her. "Your room is prepared, Eternal Life. The Eternal Death arrived a few brief moments ago and we got you three plants of Erandi from another realm."
"You are sweet as always." the Eternal smiled. "I like to sit down with a decanter of fresh water and maybe some berries?"
"Comin' right up!" shouted Xeroth and Life laughed cheerfully, walked so gentle to the smallest table it looked like she was floating.
The decanter with clear mountain spring water, a clay bowl with berries, a plate full of bagels and a huge mug with purple steam in it were transported over by Xaroth on a silver plate who complimented Life on her colours and her eyes, bowed before her and rushed on his short legs back to his giggling elf wives.
"There you are!" Life darted out of her seat and greeted Death who had changed his ink-black robe to a friendly white robe without the hood. Leaves tumbled to the floor, falling because of the excitement of their mother. He would take care of it.
"Hello, my beautiful end." she whispered as she caressed the white skull of Death, her eyes full of love.
"Hello, my beautiful beginning." he answered in his deep voice, both bony hands on her hips. She was a head taller, so she leaned down and kissed Death. The young woman - the Caretaker assumed she was the apprentice - looked away, her cheeks blushing with a slightly happy & surprised smile on the lips.
Eternal future taken care of
The Caretaker turned away, took the few steps to the next and last level of his own refuge and stepped into the Specularum. It was a dome made out of crystal with a floor of two layers: marble and parquet flooring.
In this moment it was all bright and warm because of the sun sending her light and heat directly into the Specularum. But in the night one could see all the stars and, when one looked closely enough, even other gods, deities, divine beings and the wonders of the Creation.
He chugged down the rest of his drink and walked back onto the mainfloor, where Death and Life had now took seats, the young apprentice next to Death. Life was giggling like a young girl, her petals more red then a few minutes ago, and he was telling a story the Caretaker had heard at least three-hundred times before.
The Caretaker knew that Life and Death would be very satisfied with him and his refuge and the Valkyries would not complain as well. The young apprentice had still to discover her way of being and he was eager to see what a Death she would become.
And for the other things? Well, he will take care of it.
The Caretaker's Inn came to life milennia ago. No-one except Life and Death knows anymore when it happened. The Caretaker stepped into the light and were.
He was tasked with the creation of a refuge; a resting place where gods, deitis, Eternals and other non-mortal beings could take a rest from their daily duties, have a break, a good sleep, fine food and even better drinks.
For this task the Caretaker was given knowledge about nearly everything. He was given abilites to perform his tasks which rendered him god-like. He was given a free will and the Right of Commandment which only excludes both of the Eternals. The Caretaker had the right to struck deals with mortals and sometimes with newly deceased from the Realm of the Dead (all of them) to employ them if they are willing to.
After a few hundred years the platform was finished in an underground facility and the Caretaker used his abilities to get it afloat. Now the gods have a place to take a break from their duties, whatever they were.