The Falling Star
Last Modified: 11/17/04
 Location of the Star (outside Jessup, MD)
 Sign fronting the acreage of The Star.
 The access road leading to The Star.
 The Foundry
 The Foundry (back view)
 Foundry Side Entranceway.
 Behind the Foundry, Docks leading to parking.
 Foundry inside (the equipment is gone; cars park here)
 Stairs heading down
 Top of the stairwell leading down
 Bottom of stairwell leading to underground hallway
 End of first hallway feeding from stairwell.
 Final hallway that leads to the Bar.
 Doors open into the Bar
 Hallway entering the bar
 On a lone, two-lane secondary highway, unconnected to I-95, outside Jessup, Maryland, North of Washington, there is a long series of wooded areas interspersed with random industrial parks, small blue-collar businesses, and the occasional random non-subdivisioned dwelling.
 If you blink, you might overlook a tall but weathered white sign with red lettering at the roadside of one such property, promising that the Baltimore Foundry property was "30 Acres, Zoned Commercial C-1: Build To Suit", and a cross banner, "Coming Soon: Spring 2001", the letters sun-bleached to a dusty, muted brick color now.
 A single, once-cement paved winding access road, cracked with small grasses winking up at random intervals, leads to delivery bays on the side of the factory, the entire property seeming forgotten, abandoned in an unkempt thicket of woods… at least from the highway.
 &  Those in the know, who might venture up the distressed byway, will discover subtle signs of activity in more recent months. Newer tire tracks in the gravel splayed on the small parking lot; a dim single light on from time to time, perhaps not to deter vandals at all - perhaps the sign of a security person maintaining the place until it can be renovated or removed.
 The only sign of anything noteworthy, besides this, is that the side entranceway to the 3-story Foundry is now crowned with a new but discreet cemetery-grade marble insert with an engraved star, inset above the doorway, a utility light the sole beacon illuming stairs up to the single door.
 &  One of the Delivery bay doors is raised, revealing that which the drive-by view does not indicate: the entire ground floor within has been gutted, save load-bearing infrastructure, and is now being used for parking, easily accommodating 50 to 100 cars comfortably.
 Once inside the Foundry’s ground floor, the level is completely open floor-plan, an arch-necked lamp anchored to one wall that spotlights a set of wide, utilitarian greyed cement and rubber traction-ridged stairs, flanked by metal hand-railings heading down, though to where begs asking, as the outside of the building has no basement level windows.
From this point on, leading downward, the facility takes on an entirely different life of its own, alluding to its true purpose, the further one traverses within.
 As the stairs head down below the ground floor level, the walls change texture from sandpapery cement to elegant, smoothed blue-veined marble. At about the half level down, there is a distinct demarcation where the style of architecture shifts, denoting approaching visual wonders of a distinctly non-industrial nature.
 The ceiling and floor widen from each other until the steps bottom out at another door, of more intricate bricking and meticulously hewn, monument quality stonework.
 This opens into a majestic, expansive, hallway, the ceiling 3 stories up, topped in stone cathedral arches, between which appear various sculptures of both secular and Biblical figures and scenes. The ceiling and upper sides glow with a dim, bluish light from well-recessed lighting or some other unknown source.
 This hall ends at another door, which opens into a smaller, brighter gilt hallway, with black-veined white marble flooring, leading to an ornate brass and gilt sculpture in a foyer which leads to the bar area and the heart of The Fallen Star.
 &  You pass through the well-lit round foyer to elaborate carved wood double doors, with brass scrollwork hardware. These open up into a darkened, yet brilliantly colorful room in which the main bar is located.
 Once the doors shut behind you and your eyes can adjust, the elegant room blossoms into view with a garden of living delights, beckoning to be enjoyed as Eden itself come back to life.
 It is difficult to make out the height of the room, though surely it is extensive, the ceiling too dark to discern its end; but from somewhere above, there must be faux starlight winking from between what seems like foliage that creates the effect of a forest ceiling.
 The bar area is very upscale, yet unusual in design. As you step further in, you cross over a section of flooring that has been inlaid with plexiglas and softly backlit to reveal water flowing under your feet in a two foot wide trough. If you visually track the flow of the tiny river, you realize with further study that it disappears and reappears at several points throughout the bar, including a miniature inset waterfall, wall fountains that gently tinkle a relaxing rainfall over colored stones and bits of glass, and a pencil-thin rivulet that travels down a thin but deep groove carved into the heart of the actual rose marbled bartop itself.
 Along the way, at various subtle points around the ballroom-sized lounge, are low dividers in which are set various smaller garden statues; sometimes plants or tiny ornamental trees, and occasionally even an aquarium, or a perch for some manner of live, exotic bird.
 In contrast to the river that flows through the heart of the bar as blood through the body, a length of low-hanging metal half-piping winds along certain edges of the bar, also disappearing and reappearing in view at certain points. In the center of the suspended pipe can be seen, no wider than a ladies’ hand, a dangerously orange-red, burning hot, glowing trickle of what seems like lava or molten steel, also steadily flowing, reminiscent of the building’s original purpose.
 There are no barstools at the bar: patrons are instead seated at one of ten large, round dining tables arranged in two rows somewhat to the right of the bar, and attended to from tableside. As you pass the bar on the way to the tables, flanked by lush red velvet curtains drawn back, you see easily 3-4 rows on the mirrored lit glass barback of every imaginable libation one might wish for, and several mysterious bottles of things that may not be available in a more traditional venue. You may also find that just the right discreet words with the staff can provide access to chemical entertainment of other sorts as well, with equal variety and creativity. There do not seem to be any menus nor prices marked or mentioned; yet whatever people request, so far this place always seems to have on hand. Perhaps what one takes from here is settled in some other coin.
 As you are seated at one of the tables, you will notice surrounding them are numerous life-sized statues. What marks these as unusual compared to the myriad others that are omnipresent in most areas downstairs, is that these statues seem to have been carved in such painstaking detail that they almost seem to be alive, perfectly proportioned, every hair and nail convincingly real to the point of filling the mind with disturbing thoughts of the statues actually being living things.
 In keeping with that theme, however, you note that there are four built-in buffet style tables that jut out from the walls in between dining tables. Each is covered in black velvet, and splayed on top of the table are numerous hors d’oeuvres, canapés, and bits of sweet, exotic fruits and rich cheeses. What is so striking is that there are no serving trays – the delicacies are ingeniously displayed in various artistically arranged patterns and rows along the nude body of a living person, lying absolutely still, save signs of subtle breathing, eyes closed, hands in funereal repose at the breastbone.
 Closer to the entrance of the bar area is an ornate archway that leads to another area next door to the bar and dining. As you pass through the archway, you arrive at what is the top back row, looking down into a tiny arena cum theater, not so much laid out like a Broadway show house but more at a Victorian medical classroom, though the seating is much more sumptuous.
 Rather than the usual stadium or movie house seats, there are overstuffed, adjustable leather row-chairs such as one might find in a home theater setup - quite roomy, with chair arms indented as if intended to hold any leftover refreshments from the room next door. Seven rows of such chairs, over a dozen across, look down to a raised dais in the center, giving a comfortable and unobstructed view of whatever activities may unfold upon the dais, that would appeal to even the most jaded Sybarite.
The walls on either side leading down to the dais are decorated with a series of colorful, detailed murals, depicting a wide variety of pleasures and torments, often mixing the two, from the fairly pedestrian to more exotic, Epicurean and Hedonistic pastimes, to the outright sadistic and cruel. These scenes seem to be primarily historic in depiction, neither the figures nor devices of modern times, all painted in the same style, with every bit as much care to artistic detail as you would see in the finest museum or gallery pieces.
The flooring surrounding the dais is grooved, as if perhaps that one section raises and lowers to swap out something on display. Behind the dais, on the front wall, is a large, blue back-lit statue of an androgynous, angelic being wielding a sword. Currently on the dais is a flat table, about twin bed sized, equipped with cuffs on chains. Stage left of the theater is yet another heavy door, that leads down to another level still - The Chambers of Secrets.
The Chambers of Secrets:
You pass through the stage left doorway, and travel down a winding, dark spiraling staircase to the bottom, emerging at yet an even lower level within the bowels of the structure. There are two rows of seven cells, fourteen altogether, each with different devices from throughout history and diverse cultures, but all with a common theme; to push the limits of those within them. Or perhaps find and break them.
The chambers all seem to be paired with the one facing it, in a duality and dichotomy of theme. Those on the right side, 1-7, each catering to a particular idiom of a specific House, while the darker side of the same motif is expressed in corresponding chambers 8-14, equipped with various accouterments of hard-core bondage play and torture, more at the latter than the former.
 [1 & 8] DEVIL [ PRIDE/VANITY?]
 [2 & 9] SCOURGE
 [3 & 10] MALEFACTOR
 [4 & 11] FIEND
 [5 & 12] DEFILER [LUST?]
 [6 & 13] DEVOURER
 [7 & 14] SLAYER [WRATH?]
SLAYERS ROOM #7: HEATHER's ROOM: (private)
Unlike the majority of the rest of the Star's opulence, the 7th room on the right, in the downstairs "Chambers of Secrets", is quite stark and Spartan, coldly practical. The room is unabashedly windowless; walls and ceiling entirely matte black, the lighting indirect and low, giving a disconcerting feeling of vertigo as the walls, floor and ceiling seem to merge in peripheral vision, from time to time.
On the left wall from the doorway view stands a low, 3-shelf black bookcase, empty, with several candles on top. A double-sized futon, with a black comforter over it, is set along the far back wall, two pillows in black linen cases stacked haphazardly on the left end of it.
Serving as a rudimentary coffee table is a black footlocker trunk with silver fittings, and a matching cube-locker by the pillows serves as night stand cum end table. The floor is covered in coal colored, low-pile industrial-grade carpeting, the overwhelming shadowy hue interrupted by a plush, hand-woven rug in earth tones, showing the image of a lion prowling.
Throughout the room, on every available surface, even on some of the few pieces of furniture, are discreetly pasted glow-in-the-dark stickers, minute and tasteful enough to be subtle in the light; but, when the room is darkened, turns into a dizzying visual illusion of a expanse of starry night sky, even down to painstakingly correct placement of several constellations and planets.
There is a black "boombox" CD player plugged into the wall at the foot of the futon-couch, a zippered case of CD's next to it. From it emits a subtle soundscape of gentle winds, shimmering harp-like bright notes, the echoes of ringing wind chimes, all combining to create a sense of being under the night sky.
The sole oddity standing out amongst the furnishings is a charred wooden and metal table, a classic "rack" used in torture, the head of the table facing along the right wall as you enter; the straps, buckles, and other mechanisms on it either destroyed entirely or showing signs of severe corrosion and damage. It seems to serve no other functional purpose; certainly the restraints are rendered unworkable; it would need restoration to be of any other practical use.
 Garden of Eden Reborn
 Starry Night Bar
 Water in the Bar
 Benches and Divider Seats
 River of Lava
 The Bar: Name Your Poison
 Living Statues (OOC note of interest: all but 1 statue in this montage is NOT a living model (person)!)
 The Star Buffet - Epicurean Delight
 The Theater
 Seating in the Theater