Sunday, 20 April 2014

P is for the Prince's Rest

Marienburg, like any city, is filled with watering holes and restaurants for all levels of society. And, like any city of the Old World, they have the signature best establishment - however, in Marienburg's case, they have the best the Old World has to offer this side of the Grey Mountains. The object of this praise is, of course, The Prince's Rest.

The Rest's original name has been lost to time, but took on its current one when Grand Prince Rikard of the Reikland decided, some centuries ago, that it would be his favoured spot when in town visiting the then Baron of Marienburg. At first this caused some insult towards the Baron, but after being invited personally to eat and lodge there, the Baron well understood Prince Rikard's preference. This royal patronage brought with it many boons - the signed and sealed decree that the wait-staff could wear purple, the Prince's colours, and also an incredible influx of 'fashionable' Lords and Ladies, all wishing to get closer to their aristocratic rulers.

With the rise of the Middle Class, and the breaking of the barrier between Middle and Upper, many merchants were adding their own names to the growing waiting lists, and were reserving the scant few rooms available in the opulent three-storey abode. Therefore, by the time the aristocracy was ousted from the city, the clientèle had merely shifted to "noble of purse" instead of "noble of blood". I can tell you, Rudolf Aesenberg the current owner of the club, certainly doesn't mind!

Like the cycle of the heavens, the boons and bonuses of the club seem to roll forward - the rich clientèle bring money into the coffers, and the money is spent on the finest of delicacies to treat them, which in turn brings more prestige and more custom. People are known to wait years for a single night of Master Chef August Bardolino's world famous cooking, which was good enough to land him as the personal chef of the Miraglianese royalty. Those who wait are treated to the greatest wine cellar the Old World knows - stocked full of the finest Bretonnian, Estalian and Tilean vintages (note that mention of "Imperial Wines" will result in laughter and a scolding).

If a customer is one of the lucky few to manage to squeeze in on the waiting list for the few rooms offered, they will be met with the finest Bretonnian goose-feather mattresses and pillows, Cathayan silk sheets, and Averlandian lamb's-wool blankets. Each is equipped with a personal footman who is but a bell-chime away, and under each bed is a magically scented bed-pan, paid for at ridiculous expense by the owners.

No, the prestige nor the clientèle is not what is making Rudolf Aesenberg unhappy. What is dampening his spirits is the fact that the Inn is haunted! Should ever this embarrassment be widely known, it could well spell doom for The Prince's Rest!

So, Rudolf is now searching earnestly for a cure to his problem, and all the while, the sounds of tiny feet in the night, and the unsightly and uncharacteristically swift growth of fungus continues to ruin his reputation.