The Chalk and Cider

The Chalk and Cider is a tavern situated in downtown Koala City that is popular with teachers from Taru International Academy, that is, the teachers who know it exists. Teachers access the tavern through a hidden door made by the talented Professor Nephish who used transportation magic alongside Louis Wright's law magic.   The tavern serves an assortment of alcohol, from an esteemed collection of ciders to whiskey, pálinka and baijiu. While Kin runs the tavern's day to day operations, the owner is the notorious Madamme Tabbetha Tersu, one of the few wealthy Sanguin people. Madamme is infamous for being the person you turn to when all else fails and you have nothing left to lose. Why she might wish to own a small tavern in a quiet part of the city is anyone's guess.

Purpose / Function

The tavern serves light refreshments and drink to its patrons, who tend to visit The Chalk and Cider to get away from the busy, neon lit streets in Koala City. There is an unofficial discretion policy in the tavern, where no ethnicity is favoured upon another, and non-humans such as merfolk are welcomed. Noisy slot machines and gambling is not welcomed however, and patrons gambling discreetly are firmly removed from the premises.   Bartender Kin is very popular for their relaxed and smooth personality. Despite their blindness, Kin can serve complex drinks with ease. The main bar has a holo projector connected to it. Speakers underneath the bar play a particular note when patrons place their hands above the bar, which guides Kin to attend the correct part of the bar despite the noisy chatter.   In the past, Kin tried to serve hearty foods from the Northern Isles, where they were from. The hearty meals were not popular however, and much of the Northern Isles culture is relatively unknown or misunderstood.  
by Sailing Ocelot
  While the food is agreeable to most customers, it is not the primary purpose of the tavern. The biggest draw is the classy retreat the tavern provides away from the busy scrawl of Koala City to overworked colleagues across nearby islands. Many customers arrive to the tavern through opening a door from their workplace and arriving on the first floor corridor. There, the customer makes their way downstairs, towards the bar. Adding additional doors does not appear to be a problem for the tavern, and a skilled Magi will know that clever law and building magic is at play to allow the walk along the corridor to the stairs to be relatively short.   Professor Nephish was hesitant to reveal his secret knowledge of The Chalk and Cider, but law magic is complicated and terribly dangerous when it goes wrong. After a heart to heart with Louis Wright, the two decided to create a link between the academy and the tavern. Despite their best efforts, a few other teachers managed to find the door through guess work, demands and bribery. All teachers who know about the door however have promised that for the sake of this wonderful, blessed retreat, that no one should inform the headmistress Alice Monaghan, or anyone that would cause a fuss or an 'issue' such as Shu Yang, Nekhii, and on Lo Chen request, anyone too loud such as Shui Ling   Now and then, small groups of teachers will meet up at the tavern. Nephish and Louis Wight in particular formed a friendship over it and their little secret from the terrifying headmistress. Lo Chen however, will go to the tavern when the other teachers aren't around, or if they are, will stick to an armchair away from the hustle and bustle, usually with a whiskey.  

Architecture

The Chalk and Cider is on the ground floor of a rundown shopping mall. The front of tavern is open onto the street, with a wide backdoor that allows customers to go straight into the mall. The outside of the tavern is made of dark grey peel brick, which is painted over haphazardly, with bold white lettering 'The Chalk and Cider'.   Along the street there are several street food stalls that offer generous servings of fried noodles or wrapped kebabs, which customers are allowed to take into the tavern should they wish. In turn, the aroma inside the tavern is an eclectic mix of fried (or boiled) food, alcohol and scented candlewax. Hungry guests may sit down on brown square peel brick tables, while others may lounge on plush treeleather green sofas, or hide away from the other patrons on comfortable armchairs nested in corners beside a personal end table and a bookshelf.   While technology such as holo projectors by the bar are prominent, they are not overwhelming, and patrons aren't disturbed by A.I voices up-selling the latest product, or distributing taxi numbers. The jazzy background music is low and presents a comfortable, cosy space without overriding the chatter and laughs from the patrons.

Defenses

Aha! So this is what Loius and Nephish had been hiding. Those two conniving fiends! Lo Chen made his way through the basement of the of the Grand Hall. And right under Alice's nose as well. There was no question that Nephish was capable of such a plan, but Louis? That do-gooder who may as well shine Alice's boots? Without the forbidden eye, Lo Chen would never have guessed. But now Louis, your secret is out, you do have things you keep away from Alice as well... You aren't as uptight nor perfect as you pretend to be...   The hidden door was easy to find, if you knew where exactly Louis and Nephish would potentially place it. It was an old, rustic door but with a certain embroidered flare that Nephish would find charming.   With a wide grin, Lo Chen snatched the handle of the hidden door and pushed it open. With a single step Lo Chen entered the first floor of The Chalk and Cider. He made his way downstairs, where he saw Louis and Nephish gasp at him, white as a sheet.   "Err.... Behold! Our surprise!" Nephish tried, but he was fooling no one.
  Louis and Nephish hadn't intended for anyone else to discover the tavern, but Nephish managed to let slip the secret to a couple of his dates, and when it was found that that Hui Shu's brother was one of the staff members, it was Louis who decided to gently inform him about the hidden door. Anyone who come across the door can go through it if they're a staff member of Taru International Academy, which has increased the staff in the know by a couple more members. But not matter how hard they try, it is absolutely impossible for any student or local of Yoko Island to enter the door, due to the tight law magic that Louis Wright imposed on the door.   Those who know about the secret often venture to The Chalk and Cider on a weekly or biweekly basis, except for Hui Shu. Being a tongueless merfolk, meeting with his brother could cause his sibling to suffer in agony. Most tongueless merfolk avoid others of their own kind because of this. Hui Shu's brother on the other hand, may feel very differently.  
After frightening Louis and Nephish and swinging a few pints, Lo Chen decided to test the other doors in the corridor. It was impossible to open with a steady grip or a heavy shove. What about fire?   Louis Wright held onto Lo Chen's arm. "What are you doing?"   "Testing the security. Otherwise err um yeh, we'll have to tell Nekhii about this risk at the *hic* school."   Louis Wright glanced at Lo Chen for a minute.   "Am serious, so ye should let go."   Louis Wright uttered profanities while casting law magic to create barrier between Lo Chen and the door. "If you must... But it will back fire. And that's your only coat that doesn't yet reek of alcohol." 'Though I suppose that'll change anyway in a few more drinks...'   "Yer right, hold me coat *hic*. Time to test this mother f- door."   After a few hours of Lo Chen flying destruction magic at various doors and getting hit by his own magic reflected back at him. A ragged Lo Chen and a depressed Louis stumbled back down the stairs.   "I need another drink..."   "Me too." Louis muttered.   "I think the door is fine."   "You think?" Louis said bitterly, while raising his hand above the holo projector.   "Aye. No need to tell Nekhii."   Louis breathed a sigh of relief.   "And by the spirits, don't tell Alice."   "I'll cheers to that." Louis said, raising a new glass to Lo Chen's whiskey.
This article contains 2 secrets for Patreon subscribers.
Alternative Names
The Other Place
Type
Pub / Tavern / Restaurant
Madamme Tabbetha Tersu by Sailing Ocelot via Artbreeder
  Madamme Tabbetha Tersu owns The Chalk and Cider, though appears to have no say in the day to day running of the tavern. It is known that Kin seeks to buy the tavern of her, but such a deal has never been accomplished on any of her establishments.      
Kin swaggered towards Lo Chen and leant on the bar, while Lo Chen eyed up the scrawny writing on the menu.   "Struggling to choose?" Kin asked. "There's a lot of choice, don't you agree? Fried food for the Feds, raw and boiled for the Cantaris."   "Hmm?" Lo Chen grumbled. He lazily pushed his chin into his palm and mumbled "Haven't noticed."   "Aha, that's because you're... Taruan?"   "Yeah?"   Kin laughed. "Cheers. Add another one for Kin."   Kin retreated as Mudiwa groaned as she tossed a coin into the jar.   "How do you do that?" Mudiwa asked.   "Trust me, never bet against Kin." Eric said. "You'll never win."
  It was Faara who suggested that guests might want to bring their own food or drink to the tavern, shortly after attempting the menu. Of Northern Isles and Southern Isles descent, the food felt rather lacking for Faara. Kin agreed, and decided to charge for room hire on the third floor of the tavern to make up costs. On the additional suggestion of Mudiwa, there is one karaoke room for hire.    
Mudiwa by Sailing Ocelot, via Artbreeder
Mudiwa is part Edgardian and part Southern Isles. She has a cheerful persona, alongside being very competitive which Kin loves to tease. She is the strongest magi who works at The Chalk and Cider, and if so desired, would likely reach a high position as an entertainer in Koala City. Mudiwa prefers to avoid the glitz and glamour however and aspires to climb the ladder of business, and to run her own tavern one day.   Eric and Kin are not magi, and Faara lacks strong magic capabilities as she had no tutoring when she was young. Without magic, career opportunities in Koala City can be low, and even lower if they lack skills in the latest technology. Eric has some skills in technology and was able to set up the holo projector for Kin. His main skills however, are serving a great drink, calming down drunk patrons and cooking.

Cover image: by Sailing Ocelot
This article has no secrets.

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
12 Mar, 2022 13:50

This sounds exactly like the cozy sort of place I can find in the older parts of my island, Ocelot. You've done a good job of keeping me engaged through breaking up the article with images and bits of prose (I hope thats the word for it). And lemme just mention I love characters Madamme Tabetha Tersu; the people who obviously have great power yet reside in such unremarkable places.

Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
12 Mar, 2022 14:20

Thank you so much Chimera! Madamme Tabetha Tersu might be one to watch out for, though her demeanour often means she is overlooked by those who haven't heard about her past deeds...

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
12 Mar, 2022 14:50

I love the good use of quotes, love the artwork you have and the menu you provided. The css is great as well. A overall amazing article!

Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
12 Mar, 2022 18:15

Cheers Shadow! I'm glad you liked the quotes, I did worry about them being a little dull or whatnot. I used the regular templates for this article! CSS isn't one of my strengths, but I'm glad you like how the article looks! Thanks again!

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
12 Mar, 2022 18:20

That's a fun tavern! I love the idea of the teachers just sneaking out there while nobody is looking XD

To see what I am up to, my latest article is Geography of magic for the River Challenge
Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
13 Mar, 2022 07:10

Thank you for taking a look! I hope players of the visual novel will enjoy the tavern scenes x)

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
13 Mar, 2022 11:34

Very well constructed article! It has a nice mix of out-of-character exposition and in-character stories. I also really like the menu being an image that looks like a chalkboard, it helps sell the atmosphere.

Why not come visit the fantasy realms of Faerûn? Or a familiar future in Earth 2068?
Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
13 Mar, 2022 17:32

Cheers Chips! Thank you for taking a look!

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
15 Mar, 2022 18:05

Break out your jazz hands, we're going to the Chalk & Cider!!! Liking the pictures on this article too.

Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
16 Mar, 2022 19:35

Cheers Darren, thank you for taking a look!

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
15 Mar, 2022 21:08

The secretive teachers are giving me a Discworld vibe, they're hilarious! XD The menu looks great by the way! A shame that the Northern food was a bust. The article looks real nice and easy on the eye.

Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
16 Mar, 2022 19:36

I absolutely love the Discworld stories. Terry Pratchett was a very fun and observant author. I'm glad you like the look of the menu and the layout on the menu! I tend to struggle with making articles stand out, so I appreciate this comment a lot!

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
18 Mar, 2022 20:05

Wow this is really cool! I enjoyed reading about the Kin. Although with the wording, and the picture. I had a hard time understanding if I was reading about a single being named Kin, or if I was reading about a blind race. Maybe this is just how I read and understood this though. I wish I had somewhere nearby that had this menu. Being able to get steamed dumplings and fried "tater"s would make my heart content.

Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
19 Mar, 2022 09:56

Thank you so much for your comment! Kin is non-binary, so I used the 'they' pronoun. However, I am inspired to take another look and see if I can make the paragraphs involving a Kin much more easier to read, thank you for feedback! It's very helpful to continue to improve!   Glad you like the menu, friend!

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
31 Mar, 2022 18:05

Great work! I love the story bits, your characters are so charming! The tavern sounds very cozy, and I like the mystery surrounding its owner as well as the conspiracy among the teachers. The exotic materials - peel brick and treeleather - help a lot with making the setting feel unique. I'm a bit sad that people showed no interest in the hearty meals that Kin tried to serve, but I guess that's life.


Creator of the Kaleidoscope System, an alien star system shaped by a colorful radiation source.   My Pledge for Summer Camp 2022