Shattered Temple District, Lower Ward

Few people ever said the Schlacthof was a nice place, and nobody ever said it was safe. In its heyday, if gladiatorial pits can ever be said to have those, the yugoloth-spawn of a variety of Lower Planar pits, as well as mortal scum with an interest in bloodsport crowded this tap- and carnage-house. This was no back alley bub-house, though its location on the fringe of the blasted areas around the Shattered Temple ensured that the only passersby would be people seeking the foulest of jollies or Athar tempting fate to make them really “Lost”.

The dome-like structure lay abandoned for about a decade after a tax-auction in the 120th year since Hashkar’s becoming Factol of the Guvners put the place in the hands of the Fated. The structure, being a squat razorvine-covered dome of the lowest grade of Carceri marble some 130 feet across, with a spacious interior, second floor mezzanine and twisted corroded metal spire seemed just too large to serve as a tavern in the depopulated area around the Temple, without some hook to draw in the sods. The place still has a 60 foot diameter plate of magically reinforced and perfectly transparent quartz crystal dead centre of the floor, where the fighting pit was looked down on from the crowds on the floor and from the all-round balcony of the mezzanine for the wealthier or more intimidating patrons. A sizeable kitchen behind the long bar provided all kinds of culinary horrors, from charred-to-a-cinder varrangoin eggs to poke ’em-and-they-scream dretches.

Two wrought iron spiral staircases are at opposite sides of the Schlacthof, giving access to the upper area as well as to the lower. In the basement, a corridor that hugs a wide perimeter gives access to the six wedge-shaped cell-like rooms provided for the “comfort” of performers of days past, or meals too unruly to stick in the upstairs larder. Corridors at opposite ends of the sub-floor arena end at heavy iron doors through which combatants either strode, scurried, or tumbled at the hands of handlers into fights that the patrons above lusted for.

But the past is the past. In the 20th week of 133 Hashkar a mixed group of bloods, adventurers or plunderers depending on who’s asking, bought their new case. A thoroughly rotten Indep tiefling psionicist named Gwynplane and a skilter rakasta assassin Durron, who’s freer with his katana than compassion for any living being fronted the jink for the purchase. First order of business was setting up a library and lab in the former basement arena for an associate, Krysm, who was under contract to research a counterspell for a curse Durron still labours under. A few friends of Gwynplane and Durron moved into some of the refurbished cells to call the place their kip as well. For the times these landlords or their fellows would be out of town or out of touch, a quartet of freelance bodyguard-types of liberal appetites, moved into far fewer rooms than their numbers and normal decorum would call for. But this is Sigil, after all. Chant goes they’re lying low trying to avoid the leafless tree due to a recent and improbably successful raid on a Harmonium evidence vault that’s still a dark to their employers.

Currently, the research efforts are on hiatus—perhaps permanently. Somebody unknown to the landlords sent out an invitation to a large company of yugoloths on leave from one of the fronts of the Blood War that there was a party at the Schlacthof, and everyone was invited. Fortunately the same individual sent along enough nupperibos and barrels of brew marked “Mungoth Bitters” to keep the crowd sated—except in terms of blood. Fortunately a small Harmonium patrol wandered close enough to the tavern to be snatched up and forced to participate in an impromptu exhibition of Gwynplane’s skill in single combat.

While no evidence seemed uneaten by night’s end, the landlords fled Sigil for parts unknown. Krysm and the bodyguards, who continue to lie low, are stuck entertaining crowds of dangerous fiends nightly, and reaping a huge profit, while they turn to dark channels to see that food, drink, and entertainment are being supplied in abundant quantity. Someone’s obviously advertising that the Schlacthof’s open for business again, and denizens of the Ward are peery of being plucked off the streets to be dragged off to that building where once again the screams of old come from. Perhaps this same someone has been spreading the garnish around the right places, because the place has been in operation for nearly a month without even a polite inquiry from the Hardheads or the Heartless taxmen. Whether this will continue, only time will tell.

Source: Mark Wainman

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