The Wyvern

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Haven of Kogaion Thomas Wyncham

The highly affluent Marylebone area, just south of Regent's Park, was originally a residential area, filled with fashionable Georgian housing. Gradually, the area became home to a number of highly exclusive and gentrified businesses, particularly private medical clinics.

Park Crescent is no exception to this trend. Converted into offices in the 1960s, it is home to the kind of firms who can afford to pay through the nose for the exorbitant rents.

One of these bears a simple, if highly polished, brass plate beside the door which reads simply, "Van Lutyens". The nature of the company isn't described - no-one visits Van Lutyens' offices unless they already know what he does, and have business to transact with him. Behind the heavy oak door is a luxuriously appointed waiting room with overstuffed green leather armchairs, polished wood floors covered with exquisite Persian rugs, and display cases filled with priceless antiques. Through the double doors at the far end of the room lie the secretary's office, an oak-panelled chamber with Old Masters on the walls, dominated by a large, immaculate desk with nothing but the very latest computer equipment on its surface. Another set of double doors opens into Van Lutyens own office, a surprisingly homely room dominated by his desk and massive chair, and a medieval fireplace (rescued from a decrepit castle), surrounded by more leather armchairs. The place reeks money and respectability, and Van Lutyens goes to great lengths to ensure it stays that way.

A little way down the Thames from St Paul's is the Old Town mall. Formerly a Victorian warehouse complex, it's since been remodeled and extended almost beyond recognition, but it retains a Victorian character - very self-consciously so, in fact. Old Town is rather like some demented Disney producer's idea of what Victorian London looked like, described by one student wag as the love-child of Diagon Alley, Oliver Twist, and a Christmas Carol. Instead of simple glass, the shop-fronts inside are elaborate facades resembling the front of Victorian buildings. The internal lights are designed to look like Victorian gas-lamps, and the glass roof is supported by a masterpiece of black ironwork inspired by the more elaborate railway stations from the heyday of steam.

At the far end of the mall is a circular atrium centered around an artificial oak tree. And against the rear wall of the mall is one of London's most popular student hangouts, the Wyvern pub, where the beer and food are excellent but affordable on a student budget, the live music is great, the service friendly, and the view through the huge floor-to-ceiling windows spectacular, especially at night.

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If the Old Town Mall looks like a Hollywood director's idea of Victorian England, the Wyvern is Hollywood's notion of a medieval tavern. The place is a mass of carved wood, warm and polished. One complete side of the roughly oval bar area is an expanse of floor-to-ceiling windows that look down the Thames towards St Paul's. To the left is an actual minstrel's gallery, with regular live music in a variety of styles from folk to punk rock. To the left,, a lounge area offers the Wyvern's one obvious concession to modernity, a large-screen TV. From the ceiling, black iron chandeliers hold electric lights designed to look like flickering candles.

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The Wyvern has a far darker past than many of its young patrons would ever imagine. In the fourteenth century, the site was a plague pit, and in the nineteenth, a hedge sorcerer who called himself Caspian used the warehouse where it now stands to house a laboratory, where he conducted twisted and homicidal experiments in immortality. By the early twenty-first century, Caspian, preserved in a sort of ghastly mechanical half-life by his experiments, had become a feared gangster, who made the Wyvern his haven and secret base of operations.

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After Caspian committed suicide to escape the vengeance of House Skade, Wyncham took the place over as his primary haven. His preliminary experiments have suggested that the place might be some kind of latent Wyrm's Nest, but if so, he hasn't figured out a way to unlock its potential yet. In the meantime, he's renovated the basement level to serve as his quarters, library, and personal haven, while the upper level has personal quarters for his former ghoul, the Thrysus Mage Nicholae Ioenescu, and the Midnight Garden, a pack of young werewolves who serve both as the pub's house band and Wyncham's personal Herd.