The sun hovered directly above the city of Doma, though not in its typical way given the late summer timing of the day. It seemed to be hanging... lightly, easily, glowing brightly but not baking the inhabitants of the bustling city market as they went around their noontime rounds of seeking food to eat now, food to eat later, or maybe food just to pick up and throw away without eating at all. All in all, it was an ideal afternoon for the country.
Among the sea of bodies on their lunch break though, milling in, out, and around food stalls, restaurants and taverns as driven by their stomachs, there was a single place that nobody had dared to venture for months, perhaps even years. None were able to recall if it had been abandonned by the former owners and patrons or if some great tragedy had occurred that forced them from its confines. However, it was still a grand shame that an establishment with such a proud history, serving customers hungry for meat and beer day to day as well as ones hungry for justice and vengence during the Malachian War, was now so sadly vacant... At least the last person to leave had locked up when doing so, going so far as to board up the windows and front door, perhaps to provide some semblance of privacy for the tavern's last denizen.
The place in question, of course, was the Ivory Horn. It still was, technically, even if it was closed for business... And though it didn't look like anybody had any known intentions of reopening it for business, one person did have some intentions of opening it up just for the memories.
A young-looking man approached the door, his obsidian-colored hair long but bounded into a single stream behind him in a style traditional to the Lanese, a culture he did not originate from though often associated with. His clothes were of the more modern sort from Valth; black boots, black jeans and a blue shirt, and his choice of armament seemed to speak of Riva; a bladed polearm hanging from his back. Often it seemed that he could appear from no where and he now he wished he could see everywhere... To some, he was a demon, and to others, just a nuisance, but some knew him as a friend, even a brother. A man of many faces and many places...
Taiar Siru Valcrist approached the door, and he sighed. It would've been no trouble at all for the mazoku to vanish and appear on the other side of the wooden boards as if his body had phased right through them, that was indeed something he loved to do quite often, but in this time and place... It felt better doing things the right way. His gloved hands reached back and drew the spear from behind him. The crowd gave him a bit of a wary glance and kept their distance upon their sight of that action; a man drawing a weapon was hardly a good thing. Harmlessly though, at least for any human watchers, Tai just wedged his blade underneath one of the boards in the middle and began wrenching it free...
'Using my powers for something inappropriate and menial again, I see.' A voice rumbled within the mazoku's head, and he responded with an outwardly grin. 'You should be used to it by now. At least be glad that your form is a weapon this time and not a crowbar or something.' The Dragon's Bane remained silent on that matter, perhaps not thankful at all for the blessing. He still did his job though, one board coming loose and clattering to the ground, and then a second.
Soon enough, there was a fair sized gap in the doorway, more than enough for a single human-shaped male to reach the doorknob through. And Taiar did exactly that, pushing open the gateway and stepping over and ducking under the remaining boards into the abandonned building.
... Or mostly abandonned in any case, because while it was true that there were no apparent human occupants, there was at least one living creature still there. Justin rose proudly from the tavern's center as he always had, his carved roots having recovered from their table-like shapes and now digging into Doma's soil thicker and more healthy than ever. The skylights that once brought both him and the Ivory Horn light had long been blocked out by his own flourishing crown of leaves though, casting the entire establishment into the shade. Not dark enough to blinding, but dark enough to be comfortable. This was something Tai appreciated, walking slowly and cautiously as if treading in a cemetary. And after dodging around a few tricky exposed roots and patting Justin's massive trunk as he passed, the mazoku took a seat at the bar.
'... I enjoy this hovel more than when I was here last.' These words rolled about Taiar's mind as he suddenly stood up and vaulted over the ivory bar, sifting through the fine patina of dust, dirt, and the occasional insect for... something. 'This place was almost standing-room only the last time Aya and I met up here. People drinking and laughing and having a generally great time.' Finally the lancer triumphantly held up a still-capped flask of water and a sealed tin of tea leaves. He set the tin down but held onto the flask, his hand beginning to glow slightly red as the search began a new. 'I'm aware. It is better here without all those contented souls... and that meddling Eternal Dragon Warrior. You should feel the same, mazoku."
A part of him did, Taiar admitted to himself although did not wish to admit aloud to his partner... Not that it mattered much. All that he thought, he knew the Dragon's Bane could see as well. Still, silently the young man went about his actions, setting a small ceramic teacup upon the bartop next to his prized tin. A dash of the leaves, a short pour from the now-boiling flask of water, and a perfectly servicable cup of tea was born in a dark place that had not served a hot drink or a hot meal in... who knows how long.
The Infernal Mazoku Warrior sighed again, leaning against the expanse of ivory from the tender's side, staring at the door. At least he still had his memories of the people, of their character and their adventures, even if he no longer saw them.
... But drinking a hot cup of tea, alone in an abandonned bar from his past, Taiar couldn't help but hope that somebody else would wander in.