[Short Story] The Establishment

Thrice the knock-on heavy wood, and thrice more with the brass hammer to signal the hosts of the establishment; it was a common courtesy to do instead of walking in. This establishment was created to host and welcome members of the Gilnean society who fall under the category of having more control of themselves - and their afflictions. Many have turned the nose at how people were treated, and others welcomed a safe house for their kind.

The royal blue painted oaken wood door creaked open upon the sixth knock, its hinges needing maintenance, all guests commented but the owner of the establishment kept it as so, his opinion, a method of knowing if people came or went - and he didn’t consider it as tacky as having a bell on a spring.

A young black-haired woman stood in the door dressed in a gown of average quality, work was put into it but fabrics were saved on. She stood proud, beaming in her dress of the Gilnean colors and curtsied to the guest as they crossed the doorstep, taking them off the busy streets of Stormwind City, and into the comforts of the secured establishment.

With a flourish, the tired guest removed his top hat, revealing a head of well-trimmed auburn hair. He smiled kindly as he by the rules of the house, took off his backpack, storing it in separate built compartments. With three fingers, handing over his weapons as to not appear as a threat. The pistols were stored in a silken-lined box of pinewood and shelved among many other wooden boxes on shelves so large that a ladder is needed to reach the top. Each box is for storing guest’s weapons of choice, then marked to identify for later.

The young miss motioned towards the long corridor lit by gaslight as she stepped down from the ladder. The hallway carpet leading deeper into the house, along the walls between the dark doorframes of various rooms were ornamental weapons, sculptures on pedestals, and paintings salvaged from Gilneas, as well as new ones, among them being the founders of the establishment.

“Welcome. Dinner will be served soon, Mr. Lochton”.

Lochton smiled kindly as he nodded respectfully at the young woman. He adjusted his attire with a few firm tugs before making his way down the corridor to the dining room, the eyes of the paintings looming over him as he passed them. New paint and wooden panels could be spotted along the long corridor, recent repairs after dramatic events within the house - not everyone was as much in control as they claimed.

The woman motioned towards the dining almost empty dining hall, directing him to a vacant table draped in a white cloth, silverware lining up on each side of the porcelain plates with precision. The room was lit in a mixture of candlelight and gaslight which was reflected in the delicate wine glasses. She pulled the second chair away from the table as he took a seat, knowing his preferences. He pulled himself closer to the table.

He smiled as he sat back in his seat, absentmindedly inspecting the silverware, guessing their value out of old habit, knowing well that the staff keeps an eye on all the guests, no matter their rank in reputation or society - and he wasn’t high on the latter. His entrance to the establishment was earned through negotiations and business dealings, making him unpopular with quite a few of the higher members of the society.

“Well, well, well… If it ain’t Jeremy Lochton… Director”

The sarcastic voice was too easy to recognize. Across the dining hall sat a small greasy man in his ruffled grey business suit and white flannel collar, his golden jewelry on display to everyone’s envy. He was part of the high society, doing his dealings with anyone that could supply him cheap at price or quality and selling to everyone no matter their allegiance. Almost all words slithering past his lips are like venom, and most traders would wish they were invisible to his eye.

“I hear you have gotten a new… contract… What… Fired from the other? Was the ‘Nightfall Parade’ not good enough for the scavenger?”

Lochton a well-acted smile, as fake as it could be from the Director before his view was blissfully blocked by the young servant as she poured him a glass of red wine. He closed his eyes to focus on the sound of the dark red liquid being poured into the delicate glass, the wine splashing around creating an idyllic calm just to be threatened to be broken by the cackle of the damned man across the room.

The young woman curtsied before being backed up by another servant, a young gentleman in dark blue attire, pushing a small trolley with an assortment of food ranging from roasted vegetables glazed with oil and honey, potatoes both mashed and roasted, sauteed carrots, green peas, freshly baked wheat bread, churned parsley butter, a small selection of cooked meat, and an assortment of condiments for the meal.

A complaint could easily be heard from the other gentleman, a low grunt as he was trying to push himself out of his chair just to give up and wait for his turn.

“Bloody disgrace leaving me… One of your important customers waiting”

The young gentleman opted to join his colleague in blocking the taunting man across the room, making a display that better manners warrant better service as he pulled his carving knife and fork to serve the Director first, slicing through a flame-grilled beef roast without questions, its juices flowing out on the cutting board as the rare slices of beef is cut off just to be joined with a few slices of honey roasted pork. Meanwhile, the young woman served from the selection of the trolley, making sure the plate was well decorated before the slices of meat joined the meal - it was finished off with a generous pour of gravy.

“There will be served drinks in the upstairs study later in the evening. There will also be a selection of delicious cakes and locally created confectioneries. As always, we offer access to our library among the books we have this week and previous week’s newspapers”.

The two members of staff made a point to thoroughly pack up their trolley, yet leave a selection of condiments and extra bread, leaving the Director to eat his meal with a friendly nod before rolling over to the gentleman across the room, serving him last.

Lochton crossed the doorstep cautiously, the remains of a once beautiful oaken door were scattered across the stone tiles, its glass inserts long shattered as large claw marks run along with the once magnificent carvings, scarring the decades-old craftmanship depicting Gilnean traders working and the sigil of the once glorious bank - the brass door handles and hinges missing, removed with the brute force of greed.

The glass crackled underneath his darkened leather shoes, threatening with taking away his foothold as each step took him deeper within the husk of a once marvelous structure, the tiled floor covered in the debris of wood, stone, and glass making the large banking hall a minefield for the ill-prepared explorers. Above along the wooden roofbeams, some of the original carpentry work was still well preserved - he smiled as he saw the expert carvings of trade- as well as warships, crossing along the waves, bringing glory to Gilneas.

He let a hand run along a pinewood tellers counter situated in the middle of the room as he slowly followed along the length to get around it he noticed that the brass protection had been torn out, leaving holes in the counter where the bars were once mounted. His fingers sometimes bumped into name signs along with the workspaces, freezing in his place for a short moment as he saw his own name; Jeremy S. Lochton, Bank Assistant. A sigh escaped his lips as he re-arranged the sign, tilting it upright, looking reminiscent at the coin counter trays carved into the wood.

With careful steps, he traversed the sea of discarded faded parchments and note papers, most names almost unreadable. Folders lay spread across the backroom tiles most likely by scavengers as they had torn out drawers along the walls in the hope to find valuable information or secret compartments, showing little respect for the caring work of the old archivists, Mrs. Harold - she always brought a cake from the nearby bakery when colleagues had a birthday, the kind heart trying to make sure she would get one that the birthday child enjoyed but for some reason always god his wrong. In his time working there, they have been through five different types of cakes, and the stubborn lady refused to accept hints.

He reached another door as he passed the sea of documents, too tempted to put them all back in their rightful drawers. With his hands clad in a pair of fine brown leather gloves, he would push open the backroom office door; barely holding on to its cheap iron hinges as it was pushed wide open to reveal two desks more. Each of quite heavier quality, barely moveable when they were put in place, these desks were the workplace of the bank security.

His footsteps halted as he reached the heart of the bank, the vault, a door of once polished steel with a deep core of iron, rumored to be enchanted to withstand the more magically attuned members of the criminal community though it was never put to the test. His heart started beating faster and faster, as his steps became more calculated, slowly moving closer to the vault door which seemed untouched still.

As he neared the door, he was able to inspect the once polished steel surface but instead of being met with the handsome face of the auburn-haired man, he was met with the intensity of burning red eyes staring back at him - startled, he quickly looked back, there was only him in the room.

With caution, he turned towards the vault door again. The eyes reflected on the surface had a face forming around it, the characteristics of a Worgen forming out of the shadows, a snarl on its face in an attempt to keep the man away from the door. The clawed hands of the Worgen began doing the same actions as he, grabbing hold on the locking wheel to turn it counterclockwise, the other clawed hand reaching for the handle to pull open the vault door - here, was to hope the vault was not locked.

The large door of steel and iron swung open on its hinges with the strained effort of the little man as he put his weight into pulling it open, revealing to him a new depth of darkness, more consuming than the void. He gazed mesmerized into the darkness as if it was pulling him in, it shouldn’t feel endless, the room wasn’t that big according to his memories.

With a calculated move, he reached for his pistol as well as a small mechanical device which he had tinkered to create illumination in small places. As he was about to set foot inside the darkness of the vault, he hesitated, leaving one step too short for a decision but too close for comfort as a rancid familiar stench escaped the room.

His eyes looked deep into the depth of the vault, pondering but not near a second of thought before a pair of withered hands penetrated the darkness, clawing through the air as something stirred in the core of the vault.

With a shock of horror, he tumbled back, his pistol skittered across the tiles as he fell to the floor, the light source shattering upon impact as a group of undead wandered out of the dark wearing familiar attires. They were heading for the Director, surrounding him, blocking his escape as they towered over him. The light disappeared as the withered figures reached for him. He screamed.


A young woman spoke out loud as she from a distance defended herself behind her serving tray. She looked worried as she was reaching for her own pistol, unsure if to call security or not.

“Director? We heard a commotion coming from the study, are you in distress?”

The younger gentleman from earlier spoke with worry as he without too much rudeness, attempted to wake the slumbering man in his seat.

The auburn-haired gentleman roared out loud in the room, startling the staff of the establishment as he sat up straight in his seat, looking weary and sweaty, bathed in the glow of the fireplace. His left hand in an unwanted condition, as his caucasian arm had transitioned into the grey fur and clawed hand, having scratched up the upholstery of the armrest. He met the eyes of the two servants, offering an apologetic smile as he tried to hide his left hand within his jacket.

“A Nightmare. Pardon me. I will of course cover the expenses.”

Lochton reached for a handkerchief from within the jacket, fighting against the compulsion of wanting to use the left hand as he pulled out an embroidered dark grey cloth, wiping across his forehead and upper lip as he attempted to compose himself once more.

The young lady appeared soon after with a hot towel, as well as a tumbler of their beloved whiskey; the amber liquid glowing in the light of the fireplace, promising a chance to calm his nerves. She curtsied after placing the drink at the Director’s side, smiling calmly as she adjusted her servant’s gown.

“We thought it best to prepare sleeping quarters for you, sir. So you can recover”

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