Ishaela - Parts I & II

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Center of the Action: Hope Company Hall

by S. Robles, B. Kellestine and K. Johnson ©2016

Located near the center of Thereen, a rural town in southeast Sengaard, the Hope Company Hall is the most recent incarnation of a farmhouse that has seen much action in the last two years. Following the death of its family, the property became the hideout for the freedom fighters hoping to resist the tyrannical influence of Sengaard City, with the help of the North Reach Company. The war now concluded, a year later the newly renamed Hope Company, with its Captain Daelidan helping to oversee management took up occupation of the building. With the looming threat of Vakunah, many of its members have been preparing there for what's to come.

The Hall

This renovated farmhouse, which acts as a base of operations for the Hope company, is entered through a solid hardwood door, into a small coat room and foyer. The mudroom of the original farmhouse with a built in bench on which to sit and remove boots and shoes. Beyond is the renovated living and dining rooms, where walls were removed to form an open common area filled with small circular tables and armed chairs. Near the fireplace rests a pair of sofas, and a few plush, wingback chairs, and nearby are a number of paintings, including the painting that leads to the Mirdhalian Mansion.

Central to this common area is a long rectangular banquet table surrounded by padded chairs, the head of which is always left empty, for the absent prior Captain of Hope Company, Jathadrin Blackthorne. This is where Company business is usually discussed, unless a sensitive matter, in which instances one of the upstairs offices is used. Further, there is a counter is found at the far edge of the room, where drinks and food are served from the kitchen beyond.

The kitchen itself has been adjusted quite a bit to accommodate the needs of the swelling Company. Featuring a double-oven, full charcoal grill set under a hood, cooling cabinets and a variety of other useful fixtures and chattels, this now-professional grade kitchen is any Chef's dream to work in. While Xandra still tries to handle all of the booze that comes out of the rather limited (in comparison to her previous positions) bar, the kitchen is run by members of the company.

A window cut out open from the back wall of the kitchen to the Company's game room giving those within access to drinks and food on the counter. The game room accessed via a door at the back of the Hall's main room. Inside features a bookshelf of fiction for casual reading, a few chairs and stools, a pool table, dart boards, a card table, chess table and a number of board games, all available for use by visitors and Company alike. Also off the main hall is a set of stairs, leading to the Company's offices – three in total, plus a small private library for research purposes.

The barn, having been used as a triage camp during the war, has become something of a warehouse for storing equipment and surplus resources for distribution. Not limited to serving only the Company's members though, the Hall also provides services similar to North Reach Community Center, helping to train and rehabilitate the disenfranchised of Sengaard whose families suffered from the legacy of brutality and corruption left behind by many a noble house.

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The Painting

While at a glance unable to house Hope Company's numerous and sometimes quite exotic — or just privileged members — hung within its lobby behind the reception counter is an expansive landscape painting with a gilded frame. Enchanted long ago by a magical painter commissioned by one of the many King-Priests, this masterpiece is actually a boundary marker to give color and shape to a plot within the whorl of Mirdahl and maintain it for eternity…or at least close enough that no one would notice the difference. ‘Donated' to the Company for its use, anyone willing to either fill out the necessary paperwork for identification or vouched for by another member is allowed entry.

Entered by pressing an open palm to the canvas and then passing through, its guests are deposited within a startling likeness to the picture. The sky is a pristine blue filled with perhaps overly fluffy clouds, spreading some distance, maybe a mile or two, before becoming increasingly vague and foggy. Dotting the terrain around the manor are tracts of land for growing crops, and further beyond direction is a dense woodland.

This pocket dimension seems to sprawl outward from the manor at its epicenter: a decadently spacious manse spanning three stratums of Sengaardian architecture, the gated rooftop exposing a triad of tripod star-gazing telescopes. Surrounding the ornate outer wall of the residence are countless bushes, all painstakingly ‘trimmed' into the shape of various extinct and exotic animals, two griffin-esque ones standing proud at either side of the cobblestone pathway leading up to the front entrance.

An open residence to the transient North Reach Company, the ‘pocket dimension' spans roughly two miles in every direction from the manor at its center, blessed by the Spirit of Pleasure and administrated by one of her Mirdahlan Nymphs… and a stray imp. The manor's lobby is something of a reception hall, while one of the corridors on its left lead to a dining room and kitchen often used by the Company's exotic chefs as a way to feed refugees or the homeless, and the upper floors never quite seem to run out of room; it isn't rare to see the disenfranchised staying there to get back on their feet. A corridor off to the reception hall's right likewise arrives at a spacious entertainment room filled with billiard tables, a stage, and a plethora of other interesting objects.

While space is no issue, the pocket dimension isn't infinite in the way of resources. The surrounding cropland is perpetually fertile, somehow even during the simulated cold season, but doesn't grow anything by itself and the woodland's stray fruit trees require manual harvesting. If there's anything to prevent wayfarers from making this place a permanent residence, it's probably the Company's strangeness combined with that of Xandra's.

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