Chalice's Shop


From the outside, there is nothing to distinguish Chalice's establishment from hundreds of others like it spread through cities all over Europe. The outer doorway leads to a narrow corridor, with an doorway to the right giving access to a single, long room running almost the entire length of the house. When Chalice first bought the shop, this was in fact two rooms (as it appears in the illustration, above), but she removed the dividing wall to provide herself with more shop space. The room is filled with trestle tables and shelves, all of which groan under the weight of assorted ungents, powders, lotions and ointments. Wooden stairs lead from the main chamber to the bedrooms on the upper level. The room itself stretches up a full two stories - the bedrooms are accessed via a balcony running along its second-floor level.

At the far end of the room is a large, almost throne-like chair from hich Chalice conducts her business. Set into the wall near the chair, opposite the entry corridor, is a small fireplace whose flames are always kept low in deference to the Cainite fear of fire. Sometimes, when she wants to impress a visitor, Chalice will hang a tapestry on the wall behind the chair, a beautiful masterwork crafted by a Toreador who owed her a boon. It depicts a dazzling array of plant and animal life, named in Latin, whose various parts contribute to the cures she sells.



Chalice's ghoul and long-term companion, an old but still spry man named Joshua, keeps the shop during the daylight hours and also lives above it. By night, he tends to keep to his own small parlor to the rear of the main room. His eyes were starting to fail when Chalice found him, and ghouldom hasn't changed that as much as he would like. Consequently, he keeps the fire in his parlor high and bright, so he has light enough to read by. With his vitae-granted vitality, he finds that he needs relatively little sleep.

Stone steps to the rear of the shop lead to a low cellar. Moving aside a couple of the barrels in the cellar reveals an iron trap-door which gives access to Chalice's personal haven, an underground, stone-walled sub-basement. Chalice's resting place is a simple rock bier, like an unfinished tomb, into which she normally sinks during the day using an advanced variation of the Earth Meld power. The only other feature in this room is an elaborately carved magical circle set into the floor, which bears the Hebrew names of several angels. The uninitiated might mistake this for a Hermetic magical work space, for Hermetic magic is known to call upon the names of angels. In fact, Chalice was trained by an Assamite sorcerer in the rudiments of the tradition known as Dur-An-Ki (literally "master of heaven and earth"), which involves making pacts with various types of spiritual beings, much like the Tzimisce art of Koldunism. Although Chalice's own spiritual beliefes are unknown amongst the Cainites of London, the spirits which she calls upon for her (very weak and largerly divinatory) practice of magic manifest the form of Judaeo-Christian angelic beings.

The local people love the shop because Chalice will often sell her wares at low cost - or on occasion, no cost - to those who have a genuine need, but not enough silver to pay. Word of suspicious characters lurking around the shop will reach Chalice's ears quite swiftly. She also customarily has one or two ghouls, usually women who she has trained to fight with a variety of bladed weapons, watching the approach to the place at night.

Although the establishment actually turns a tidy profit, the Chalice has accumulated enough coin and other holdings over her long unlife to run it at a loss if needs be. Profit is not her motive. To her, the point of the shop is that it serves the community, providing much-needed cures to those who are sick or in pain. It is the primary tool through which she walks her chosen Road of Morality, a variant of the Via Humanitas which emphasises redemption of the vampire through good works to the community in which she resides.