The Mirage Saloon

I couldn't tell if it was my alcoholism, or if I really was seein' it— a saloon suddenly appeared in the distant desert. Maybe I really shoulda quit.
— A wandering drunk
  The Mirage Saloon is a mythical saloon that appears mysteriously within mirages throughout the world— making it, its drinks, and its patrons, elusive— and all the more curious.  

Wavering Walls

From a distance, the Mirage Saloon appears as exactly that— a mirage. Its form is blurry, distorted, and warping in the distant heat. Those who approach the saloon, however, will notice something strange— the saloon's form does not solidify as it gets closer, it simply continues to warp as if the viewer were far from it. In fact, the saloon always appears as if it were a mirage, no matter how close one gets to it. Even when inside, one will note that the wooden walls are distorted and wavering.   The saloon itself is of fairly average size— one can walk across its entire length in a single minute. Its walls are covered in pale-red wallpaper, the pattern upon which cannot be discerned due to their distorted nature. A second floor loft can be accessed by deceptively wobbly stairs, which are actually quite solid upon contact. Despite this, many a drunk patron has tripped and fallen on them— having mentally prepared themselves to balance on precarious steps that were in truth, not precarious at all.  
Th stairs! They's runin' away frum me!
— A drunk
  The saloon's furniture is as distorted as its walls, with myriad round tables taking up the floor— each surrounded by wooden chairs. Those who have sat in these chairs have noted that they are incredibly comfortable, though they could not say how. The bar top is capped by some sort of bright red stone slab, though distorted as it is, none can discern its make. A series of hanging electric lights, shielded by pale-yellow covers, allow patrons to see inside, though it is unknown how the saloon gets electricity— as it appears to lack an ool engine.  

A chance meeting

It is unknown, even to its patrons, why the saloon appears where and when it does. Despite appearing as if it were a mirage, the Mirage Saloon can appear in any climate— even in the cold snow. It always appears somewhere remote, however, and only to small groups of people. Some believe it seeks out specific people, those it deems "worthy." Others attach some religious significance to it, while more attribute it to random chance.  

Watering Hole

The Mirage Saloon is manned by only one staff member— the Barkeep, who simply goes by their job title. They, like the saloon itself, appear distorted and blurry— a dark wavering figure that only gets more difficult to make out as one gets closer. Despite their potentially alarming appearance, however, the Barkeep is beloved by most who take the time to talk with them.   They seem to be knowledgeable about all corners of Umqwam— despite never seeming to leave their post. Most assume that they get their information by speaking with patrons, though they seem to know more than this alone should allow. Often, the Barkeep will tap into some deep-seated concern of their patrons, surprising them with extraordinarily relevant words of support and advice.   The drinks they serve are just as beloved, their tastes and properties are not found in any beverages outside of the Mirage Saloon. Patrons do not request drinks, rather, the Barkeep will present them with something custom-mixed. Each drink contains an emotion— one that the patron has longed to feel. For one, this may be the feeling of coming home after many years, for another this may be that of well earned rest, and yet another may contain the feeling of love. These feelings last as long as the drink does, and then linger for varying amounts of time afterwards. If one were to leave the saloon early, the feeling would immediately dissipate.   The Barkeep accepts just about anything as payment, money— no matter the currency, information, valuables, help cleaning up the saloon, or even a friendly smile. Sometimes, if they're in a good mood— or a patron is in especially dire need of the emotion their drink contains— it'll be on the house.

Legendary Patrons

It's only fitting that a lengendary saloon would have legendary patrons, previous guests have included figures such as the playwright Lasaak Powlaan, Tiyaay, other saawkamut, myriad gunsmiths— who have shared trade secrets within its walls, and even the Tsa of Vitaw— gathering information for their reclusive leader.   Not all patrons are welcomed happily, however. Infamous individuals find their way past the saloon's swinging doors every now and then, one such patron was the saawkamut hunter— Tiil Laaw. At the time of his visit, two other saawkamut were presently drowning their sorrows— making them easy targets. Seeing the opportunity, Tiil Laaw drew his gun— but it never fired. Within an instant, the Barkeep rose— and the hunter found himself miles away from where he entered the saloon.  
As long as I live— and that will be much longer than you think— no one will fight in my saloon.
— The Barkeep


Author's Notes

Feedback is very much welcome! Whether on the content, or the formatting! Please, point out typos if you spot any!

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Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
22 Dec, 2021 22:51

Those quotes are priceless as always. I really like the idea of this wavering saloon though thinking about being inside and the constant wobbling makes me wonder if a side effect of encountering the saloon is a headache... I mean... well hangovers.   I also think that perhaps the saloons wobbling gets easier to handle as one drinks. Maybe it makes one feel sober? Havnt read it all yet. Let's find out lol   I like how theres almost an urban legend around it. It's interesting how it only appears in remote locations. Sounds look a good place for outlaws.   Ahh! It even has a lovable barkeep. This would be an excellent place to start a campaign in an rpg. Just saying!   Woah. The emotion ***tails came out of left field and I love it! Excellent touch.     I loved this one. You cant go wrong with this world my friend. I cant get enough. This place really does sound like a wild expirience to visit. It's nice to know that even the infamous have to behave as well. The barkeep does not play around!

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
22 Dec, 2021 22:53

Oh two things. Sorry to spam you. I dont recall reading about payment. Does the barkeep charge for these drinks?   Also, is there a way to call the saloon to you? Like say if I was a patron, does that make it more likely to appear to me after I leave it?

Sage Timepool
Garrett Grace Lewis
23 Dec, 2021 00:33

Thank you!   I added a little sentence or two about payment, thanks for the suggestion! I'm leaving its appearance mysterious though, perhaps it seeks out past patrons more often?   And you're totally right about it being great for a campaign! As I was writing I had the thought that it'd make a GREAT base of operations for some, and I almost made it so the drinks had physical enhancements (so players could get buffs Monster Hunter style before leaving on their adventures.) Emotional drinks is way better narratively, though! After Qet I do want to look into adapting its system for Umqwam and Heliox as their own games, we'll see!   Unfortunately Umqwam has basically been left in the dust, behind all 3 of my other worlds. It's the second oldest, and as a result has a lot of the same problems early Qet work does. I have to redesign a lot of the art, CSS, and formatting— and then sit down and take a good look at the worldbuilding itself to determine what to tidy up and where to go.   Like Qet (until recently), it, too, lacks recurring characters to help readers relate to it— something I'll also need to work on. It's funny that, despite it being practically abandoned, it's the world my WIP novella is set in! I really need to get back into it next year, here's hoping 2022 sees it return proper!

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
23 Dec, 2021 00:47

I hope so! That's super exciting and I love that idea for the drinks providing buffs. Frist thing that came to mind for me was perk-a-cola from the zombies side of call of duty. Those may be too powerful. Monster hunter is a better comparison.   I finally listened to talk tower at work and that was well done. Your worlds are awesome. whatever you do, itl be amazing. I look forward to it!

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