The Lyceum

An atlas of known places (both within and beyond Rhydin's gates)

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Location: The Lyceum or Kabuki Street, most of the time

The Lyceum

Post by Mallory » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:25 am

The Lyceum is a store for magical supplies and services, owned by a witch named Mallory and a sorceress named Safiya, located somewhere next to but not quite in RhyDin...

The shop's doors appear across the city every day at sunrise, appearing in tunnels, along alleys, and in half-basement stairwells tucked between other shops at the first available moment of the new day when no one is looking. Each door is painted black, with a large copper scroll nailed to the center and a dangling lambda to knock against it, and each knock produces a sharp ringing on the other side of the barrier.

It may take a few moments, and the perceptive may get a feeling of being watched, but assuming open hours and excepting extraordinary circumstances, the doors will open to exactly the same place: a wide chamber with a three-story atrium, with dappled, multi-colored rays of light filtering down from the large smoky crystal embedded in the ceiling.

The main floor appears to be a single open space, though the assortment of chests, trunks, shelves and display tables cluttered with esoteric items lends it a labyrinthine quality. Here one can find vials to breathe water, fire, or venom; scrying bowls, crystal balls, and tarot cards; talismans of wood, paper, and bone; wands that can change the color of your eyes, levitate objects, or focus your power; grimoires covering a wide range of spells, written by hand with enchanted ink; silvered knives to help conjurers ward off unruly spirits; and a vast array of enchanted trinkets, single-use spells, and ritual components.

There is a pentagonal desk in the center, and in the event that the shop's proprietors are busy or absent, it is occupied by nothing more than a shimmering humanoid shape. This magical servant is tasked with carrying out simple transactions, and can converse with customers in an unearthly whisper. The owners never seem to be far, however, and can sometimes be caught emerging from an elaborately adorned trapdoor behind the counter. They are Mallory Maeda and Safiya al-Bahur, and they will often facilitate transactions, provide advice, and offer a wide range of magical services including warding, enchantment, and supervising rituals.

The interior is all brick, save for the ancient timbers that brace the walls and support the upper stories. One timber stands out from the rest, a twisting, blackened trunk that seems to grow out of the floor and stretches up towards the ceiling, with sturdy wooden steps twisting around it to the shop's second and third floors. The upper stories are reserved for the Lyceum's massive book collection, with works on mythology, history, folklore, ancient languages, and theories of magic and the mind lining the overflowing shelves. Each shelf is labeled, with price ranges marked underneath.

After hours on designated nights, a strange door appears in the left-hand wall of the main floor, admitting a trickle of students throughout the evening: covenless young witches wary of the pitfalls of their craft, unapprenticed (but aspiring) wizards without the means for proper schooling, sorcerers who have suddenly stumbled into their talent, and those who have only heard the first whispers of an entity that has chosen to bond with them. Word has traveled around the city, among the younger and less experienced seekers of arcane knowledge and those who have had to hide their gifts from friends and family, that the Lyceum is offering discreet magical instruction at little cost -- in some cases, for nothing at all.

The shop's makeshift classroom has a hard floor covered with an eclectic collection of vividly patterned old pillows and rugs, each of them stitched with the same red thread. While comfortable to sit on, they ARE flammable, but a simple gesture from one of the Lyceum's teachers sends them all soaring into the wardrobe in the corner to account for wayward fireballs. There are no windows in this room, and no other furniture besides the wardrobe and three heavy, copper-banded chests pushed up against the far wall, each marked with a distinct symbol: an eye embedded in an open hand, the eight-pointed star of creation, and three knives forming a triangle.

Whether you are a hapless mageling seeking instruction, an experienced wizard in need of rare components, or simply someone looking to dabble in the arcane arts, the Lyceum has what you need... and its doors are never far.
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