Center of the Action: Careb's Hookah Bar and House of Pleasure
By Brad Kellestine v.1.2 2017
Careb's Hookah Bar and House of Pleasure is decadent, if anything. Situated on the North Wall of the Caravansary, facing Mme. Sehellie's Bathhouse, this magnificent three-storey structure features a row of majestic ionic columns supporting the second floor balcony, crafted of polished diorite. An arched double-doorway permits entry to the small lobby and coat check, where guests are greeted by Careb's bouncers. Though the faces of these bouncers have changed over the years, the fact has always remained that Careb hires heavy muscle, whether it Half-Hidulan Giants, less hideous Dracothar or just a brawny, accomplished warrior needing some extra coin. There is a small reception area as well, where Xandra is most often found when she's not goofing off. It is here where customers can purchase keys to rooms about the Caravansary. Rooms are not actually within the House of Pleasure however; they surround the outer wall of the Caravansary, and are designed more like full apartments than hotel rooms.
Beyond this area it opens into a wide room, with a long central island bar surrounded by tall stools with plush seats. A number of low tables with fixed, four-hosed, tri-chambered hookah pipes acting as their centerpiece litter the room, surrounded not by chairs but piles of soft pillows set atop low-sitting, broad-based pews. Booths are arranged within the walls lining the room, carved in quarter-spherical nooks, curtained for privacy, with the same table and pillow setups as the main seating. A small stage is positioned off of the east wall, both for the House of Pleasure's in-house band and for some of the dancing girls that Careb employs. Gambling tables are found at the rear of the room, including those for Blackjack, King's Ransom, and Liar's Dice.
High on the wall of the first floor hangs an old ornate clock, a memento from Careb's deceased grandfather, a clockmaker. Crafted of Olneya wood, a tree that grows exclusively in the Tashri desert, and worked with gold and brass fittings, this clock has a small set of double doors at the front, with gilded scrollwork on the detailing. At each hour, the door pops open and a desert wren emerges to move out halfway along a track to loft out its dusky brown and speckled clockwork wings. A small goldwork beak opens to call the hours, before its wings shutter back to its body and it travels on along the track back into the clock to disappear behind the doors once more. Rumors persist among the House of Pleasure regulars of a man who thought to tinker with the clock's fate. None such stories are pleasant, and all end with the offending man's fingers being crushed one by one by the smith's power-hammer.
The Second floor of the House of Pleasure is accessible via stairs to either side of the main room, and has seating much like the first floor, though is laid out somewhat different, as it is mezzanine to the first, with tables and booths situated around the edge of the room and the center railed and open to the floor below. To accommodate for the loss of space, the restaurant extends to a balcony out a set of four glass doors, overseeing the rest of the Caravansary. This location serves as the Outpost's only restaurant, barring smaller food stands in the courtyard, and Careb makes sure that it remains this way.
Many of the more accomplished chefs from about Tal`Rah have found themselves working here, as Careb offers prime rates of pay for talented kitchen staff. The kitchen itself, as Careb deemed it would break the atmosphere to have the kitchen alongside the restaurant, is situated upstairs on the third floor. A modern marvel of engineering and technomancy, the kitchen boasts all of the appliances, utensils, seasonings and supplies that any chef could ask for.
Careb's Hookah Bar and House of Pleasure is only a portion of the greater Caravansary as a whole, which was contracted for construction by Careb after monitoring the paths of caravan trade routes. Careb observed that trade caravans would stop near the location that would become the Caravansary at the nearby Sasuu oasis, and ever the entrepreneur, procured rights to the land and hired some of the most accomplished engineers he could obtain out of Sundown to design the structure. Shortly after erecting the Caravansary and House of Pleasure, Careb was approached by other businessmen who saw potential in his venture. In no time, Careb's Caravansary featured its own decadent bathhouse, infirmary, taxidermy and cheese shop, smithy, and various other small businesses operating within the walls.
The Caravansary became a busy place that once served to cater to merchants, slowly becoming a trade hub itself. Business became ever better after an agreement was struck with Careb and the Sengaardian Nonnative Allied Infantry Legion that sought to use the desert as a training ground for the ex-criminal legionnaires as of 1365 AC, who serve as a loose private police force for the area under Careb's employ. Business truly began to swell, however, as archeologist Professor Trevin Boyer took interest in the Caravansary as a base of operations in 1370 AC, who took a strong interest in studying the ruins of the old Shar`Vaire Empire within the Burning Lands. Collectively, the barracks, the Caravansary, the oasis, and the archeological encampments outside the Caravansary walls are all known as Ometta Outpost.