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Sweet Death

Sweet Death isn’t the only coffee house in Vikaureh, but it is most certainly the one that is most often referred to when asked for an establishment to visit. It is one of the buildings on the side of Egelbrug, the third biggest bridge in Vikaureh. From most of the windows one can see the crow temple in the distance, which has influenced the name of the coffee house as well as some of the served delicacies.   As most buildings that line the bridge, the coffeehouse has one part, that stays always above water and one part, that often gets submerged in the green tides of the river after a particular rainy day. It is, however, one of the very few houses that still has windows on the lower walls, so that guests may gaze into the water and watch fish swim by.      
tavern.jpg
by MadHatterine
   

Upper Level – The bakery

  The door to Sweet Death opens with the chime of a bell and more often than not a cough. The ovens and work spaces of the bakery are located in the big upper room and guests may watch pastries be made or purchase some sweet buns or a little bag of pralines. There is always someone singing and there is almost always a little bit of flower in the air, whitening everything and making breathing hard for the uninitiated. At the end of the room, steep stairs lead down to the coffee shop. Above the stairs, prominent enough, so every visitor has to see it, is a portrait of Sad King Marke.  

Merel van Kraai

Merel is the owner of Sweet Death, even though one wouldn’t think so when first stepping inside. She is always busy and dirty, having smudges of chocolate on her cheek and flower in her hair. She has the muscular arms of someone who is wisping eggs every day, the humor and temperament of a hardened dock worker and the delicacy of an artist. She is a 47 year old woman who probably has a dwarf somewhere in her family tree. She is stocky and has thick, red hair, that she tries to tame with braids. Her eyebrows are thick and give off the impression, that she is always angry. (To be fair: This impression does not often lead one astray.) It is an interesting juxtaposition to her habit to sing sweet love ballads while working. She normally has two to three assistants to help her bake. They never last long but after a few weeks under her tutelage they are ready for pretty much every other establishment.  

Friedrich Briest

Merels son-in-law originated in Himmelswacht. He has kept the accent and the straight back from his home country, but not much else. He is the one manning the counter, decked out in a livre that is sometimes green, sometimes blue, but always bright and friendly. He is the sweetheart of every old lady in Vikaureh, knows the favorite chocolate of each merchant’s wife (and mistress) and speaks four languages well enough to sell a lost tourist half the shop. His brown hair is kept in a loose pony tail and his hairline has already started to recede, even though he just turned 23. Sadly, he can’t stand sweets himself, which is why he is as thin as a stick.  

Lower Level - The Coffee House

 
by MadHatterine
  Downstairs, the smell of Coffee permeates everything. The room itself is dark, the wooden floors painted a in a deep blue and the walls white, but filled with dark scribles. Each morning Friedrich washes the writing from the prior day off and then renews it – mercantile news in one corner, poetry in another. It is not uncommon to change your seating should you stay for a while. The place is filled with big armchairs and soft couches. Each has a small table in front of it with drawer in which are little spoons and jars filled with cinnamon and sugar. There are candles on each table to lighten the space, should the room be under water. Their smoke smells of pine and dark cherries. It’s a special creation that Merel gets from a local candle maker. Close to the stairs is the bar, where Eleen prepares coffee and display cakes. She takes the orders, arranges the pastries on little plates, the drinks in cups and glasses and brings them then to the waiting customers.  

Eleen Briest

Merels daughter is 25 years old and inherited her mothers thick, red hair. She wears it cropped, only a few centimeters long. It isn’t a very traditional look, but most of the patrons have forgiven her that excentricity. They really do not have much of a choice, should they wish to keep being patrons. She wears the traditional trousers and tunics of Vikaureh’s mercantile upper class though and is highly regarded for her insight in the political gossip of the week. It is said that she has an ongoing affair with General van Web, which gains her admiration and calculating looks. Some young woman has already tried to snap Friedrich away with this knowledge. There has never been any success, because everyone in the family knows the truth: The General is being very affairless – and deeply in love with the queen. His wife, however, is keeping a lively liaison with Eleens mother Merel. The General is happy enough with that arrangement.      

Visitors

The Sweet Death is not only the best address for delicious, sugary perfections, but also for gossip und information. It is well known when certain people visit the coffee room and the armchairs have more than once been place for an impromptu conference. Amongst the most prestigious of guests are:  

General van Web, the leader of the Knights of the Green Waters

The General (his first name is Gerd, but if anyone has called him that in the last 20 years, it hasn’t been in Sweet Death) is a very effeminate man, who enjoys parfum, extravagant clothes and each and every new creation, Merel comes up with. Everyone in Vikaureh knows better than to enrage him, but at least once a month a tourist manages to get into an argument with him and the following smirk of the General is like a bell for everyone in the know. Armchairs will be turned around to watch the ensuing smack down and more often than not the poor tourist will leave Sweet Death with red cheeks and without his shoes. (The General would never take someones trousers or coat, but shoes are fair game in his mind.)  

Neven Wispelwey, the master of the Guild of Poets

Wispelwey is a very earnest man in his late fifties, who is often find studying the daily poetry on the walls of the coffee room. He has been known to work on his newest anthology for close to a decade now and it is his typical reply to any inquiries, that he is finding inspiration in the guests and conversation. Merel has often told him, that he is also finding forgiveness for being unproductive on the bottom of way too many glasses of cherry wine.  

Griet Keppel

You need something? A very rare wine? A contact with the queen’s dressmaker? A piece of jewelry, that sadly belongs to someone else? Say no more, Miss Keppel will be able to help. She knows everyone and everyone knows her and still she manages to go unnoticed wherever she wishes. She is a woman in her late twenties, early thirties with short nose and piercing eyes.

Menu

   

Coffee

  The coffee is black and rich, served in big, blue cups that have been handmade for Sweet Death.  

Hot Chocolate

The chocolate is served in red mugs, with sprinkles of white chocolate on top.  

Tea

The tea is served in delicate yellow cups. It is greenish-white, bitter and served with a splash of milk.  

Crow’s Tower

This pastry is made to look like the crow temple. It is a hand tall and covered in cherry infused chocolate that seems black. The inside is made of a dozen thin layers of moist cake. If cut in halves, the pastry shows a gradient from the black chocolate to the red of cherry, that is baked into the middle.  

Jetzel

The patron goddess of Vikaureh – the hedgehog goddess Jetzel – is the inspiration for this pastry. It has the size and form of a small fist. The outside is a flaky, brown crust that tastes of hazelnuts. The crust is filled with a white cream, that is slightly alcoholic and tastes either of peaches or pears.   Apart from these two pastries one can be served an assortment of daily changing cakes, that range from traditional to deeply experimental. (There have been moments when guests have claimed to have been traumatized by certain creations. Merel has laughed at each and every one of them and made it a point to put the offending cakes on the menu for weeks.)

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Comments

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20 Mar, 2022 16:05

Hey! I saw your global post, and since I joined in and did my own competition page, I figured I'd check in to see yours, and WOW! Is this really your first? Your writing itself is very appealing. I often find I get lost in physical descriptions, but your words laid everything out very vividly. The menu is well done, I do love the artwork, even being fairly simplistic, gave me an understanding for what you were trying to show.   Well done!

21 Mar, 2022 08:17

Thank you so much, especially for the comment on my prose! English isn't my first language, so I do struggle with nervousness regarding that.

Check out my entry to the tavern challenge: Sweet Death
20 Mar, 2022 16:23

Very nicely done! I adore your descriptions, they really gave me a nice vision of the place and what's there! Great work!

21 Mar, 2022 08:18

Thank you so much! I was very glad to be able to hone in on descriptions and it's nice to know that they managed to come out alright. :)

Check out my entry to the tavern challenge: Sweet Death
20 Mar, 2022 19:07

I really enjoy the hand drawned picture and i enjoy the map you have. I also enjoy the details you went into with the menu!, an overall good article and how you talked about the staff as well!, So overall a good article!   Well done

21 Mar, 2022 08:19

Thank you so much!

Check out my entry to the tavern challenge: Sweet Death
21 Mar, 2022 20:39

Experimental cupcakes combined with an underwater view for a short period every year? Sounds like heaven. Sign me up, please.

24 Mar, 2022 04:14

This sounds really homey and cute. I like the picture of the building. The menu sounds really yummy and I wish I had some, hehe. The staff / family sound interesting. If this place were real I'd definitely stop by. Who doesn't love bakeries and coffee shops? Nice job. c :

24 Mar, 2022 16:51

I love this! I especially love adding a bit on the prestigious guests that visit. I also love that you included a menu, and I'm sold on Jetzel. I would also love to know the creations that traumatized some patrons simply because I think it's hilarious Merel puts it on the menu for longer!