Al-Kubra's Stand Building / Landmark in Zada | World Anvil
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Al-Kubra's Stand

An article from volume 16 of the Rifayef Journal of Frontier Culture

Al-Kubra's Stand is a saloon in Amraat, the capital of the Imperial Region of Touzir. As those sufficiently versed in history will immediately recognise, the establishment is indeed named after the great explorer Aqer Al-Kubra, and his last stand against the traitorous Zelfanite tribesmen that once occupied the Touzir Basin. But what is more remarkable is the claim made by The Stand's proprietor, Mr. Birzal Hakeem, that the building itself was the very one in which Al-Kubra and his band defended themselves from the treasonous frontiersmen. The structure is certainly old enough, and its sandstone walls ridden with enough bullet holes, to be the location of that most heroic event, and any of its many recurring customers will agree with the assesment, so it may well be more than mere folk-tale.   As always, Al-Kubra's Stand shall be judged based on the three critea we use for all such establishments: the quality of its products and services, their cost in relation to their quality, and the loyalty of the business' proprietor and patrons.  


Now, one might think that surely a structure built by the hands of traitors many decades ago, then becoming the scene of a fierce battle, would be some horrid hovel that one might have seen in the days before our mighty World-King descended from the heavenly realm, but I can personally assure you, dear reader, that this is by no means the case. I and my companions spent several nights in Amraat while travelling by rail to distant Abbock, and we were lodged in Al-Kubra's Stand for the entire duration of our visit. The food was excellent and, if I may be so bold, rival even to that of some of the lower-end restaurants in Rifayef itself. There was no sign of the distasteful canned foods or dried camel meat that we had endured on the Trans-Zelfan rail, but rather we enjoyed well-cooked and succulent lamb and beef, with fine Marceddi Garum sauce on many of the meals. The efforts that Mr. Hakeem has taken to refurbish and renovate the structure have paid off quite well, and it is certainly one of the most pleasant buildings in the Old Sector of Amraat.   I must confess that the wine to be found here is of a rather poor quality, not at all up to the standards of civilised society. Though that being said their other alcoholic beverages, the whiskey in particular, was finer than I have seen elsewhere on the frontier, and I hear from locals that the governor of The Gaanheib has been quietly ordering some for himself quite regularly for several years now. While that particular claim may or may not be true - we all know how much the good governor enjoys his drink - I feel that Al-Kubra's Stand is most certainly aimed at a rather less wealthy clientele. Before moving on to the detail of the establishment's affordability, I will state that the lodgings, placed on the upper of the two floors, were reasonably spacious and comfortable, but certainly intended for practicality rather than luxury. This was likely for the purpose of catering mainly to the middle-class merchants and businesspeople that pass through Amraat on the way to and from The Gaanheib.  

Cost and Value

I can say with confidence that none of this journal's readers would have any difficulty at all mustering the funds to purchase products or lodgings from The Stand. It serves a dual-role by my reckoning, firstly to provide a place for the hard-woking fishermen and rail workers to relax and enjoy themselves after an honest day's work in service to the World-King; and secondly to service the middle-class traders, salesmen, and merchants making their way between the two furthest ends of the Empire. As such, no properly well to do Nelkheti would find the pricing at Al-Kubra's Stand to be problematic.   Mr. Hakeem is, of course, a loyal citizen of the Nelkheti Empire, and thus provides food and bevereges in accordance with the prices decreed by the World-King himself in the economic reforms of '92. One can purchase a modest meal of a lower-class standard for a single note, while those that my associates and I purchased cost three to five notes. Amusingly, my associates and I noticed several lower-class pastoralists (or "cow-boys" as they called themselves) trading cartridges for small glasses of drink, which they called "shots". They do this because they often run low on notes between receiving their monthly wages, which I assume is due to their poor spending habits, though I did inform the local authorities of the situation in case their employers have been disobeying the World-King's wage laws.  


As I have previously mentioned, the saloon's owner is a loyal citizen of the Nelkheti Empire and ensures that all of the The Nelkheti Bureaucracy's laws are upheld within his establishment. However, one recurring patron informed me of a controversy from some months ago, wherein Mr. Hakeem's previous security guard (or "bouncer", as the fellow called him) was alleged to have contacts with rebels against the World-King's gracious and magnanimous rule. This naturally surprised and shocked me, and after speaking with Mr. Hakeem about the matter, I was provided with further informaiton.   The old security guard, whom I shall call Igdal for anonymity's sake, was a Zelfanite, though not one descended from the lineage of traitors in Touzir, but rather a more recent immigrant. He had spent much time in the past speaking with patrons of the saloon about the supposed plight of the rebel Zelfanites who we resettled to the outer regions of Touzir after their failed rebellion. As you are no doubt aware, this people is well-cared for by the World-King's servants despite their treasonous actions, and do not suffer from disease, malnutrition, or any other ailment. A concerned guest informed the local constabulary of this, and an Enforcer of Fealty was sent to investigate. Ultimately it was determined that Igdal was simply misinformed, and he was granted free reeducation on historical matters and current goings-on by Touzir's governor, and I am told he is now a proud member of the Imperial Peacekeeping Forces, doing his duty in protecting the World-King's subjects.  

Concluding Remarks

Were Al-Kubra's Stand a business along the streets of Rifayef, it would rot rank exceptionally well, even among those marketed towards the less wealthy. However, when one considers the location of The Stand - in the heart of the great deserts of Zada, one comes to appreciate it far more. Though some may be put off by the allegations against Mr. Hakeem's security guard and the less refined clientele, I find these minor issues to be more than made up for by the quality of the establishment's products and the fascinating history of the structure.
Founding Date
498 (refurbished)
Alternative Names
The Stand
Pub / Tavern / Restaurant
Parent Location
Value for Money

Aqer Al-Kubra

Aqer Al-Kubra was a famous explorer, and relative of the royal line of Rihal. He discovered the Touzir Basin in 479, where he found a large number of Zelfanite tribesmen already living. After discovering that they rejected the World-King's rule, he attempted to flee back to Rihal to inform the king of Rihal and the The Nelkheti Bureaucracy of the traitors.   However, he and his companions were attacked by the Touziri Zelfanites as they tried to leave, in clear violation of the rules of hospitality. Al-Kubra made a last stand in an old two-storey building, and was able to drive off the rebels. He and the survivours of his band escaped to Rihal, where they informed the appropriate authorities. The Imperial Peacekeeping Forces were soon afterwards sent to Touzir to subdue the rebels.    

The Journal

Despite its name, the Rifayef Journal of Frontier Culture is not a formal academic journal, but is rather a review of various locations, landmarks, and businesses throughout the Imperial Regions. It is marketed towards the upper class of Rifayef, the capital of the Nelkheti Empire, catering both to travellers planning to visit the Imperial Regions, and to those who are simply interested in the frontier.


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