HoWM: Prelude

Created: 9 September 2021, 22:09:51 EDT
Last updated: 10 October 2021, 15:09:34 EDT

Sparkle by BrowbirdPreludeSparkle by Browbird

Whispers when the light fades

There’s a change in the air.

It’s a familiar one to you, that time of year when the warmth of summer starts to wane and a growing snap of cold lingers just enough for you to don a coat or scarf to wear. When the leaves on trees turn different shades of orange, brown and red, and you find yourself looking for the nearest Browbucks to grab a Pumpkin Spice drink of your preference. Autumn is a season you seem to know better than any other, and not just for the delightful seasonal changes, but for an event everyone in Celestial Seas seems to be bubbling about - Candleblight!


Many citizens of Celestial Seas found themselves making time to visit Candletown during this time of year, a growing excitement to see what new celebrations take place in the town that gave birth to the yearly holiday. That same excitement was coursing through your veins as you checked prices for the nearest ship ride, and upon your searches you stumbled upon a flyer for a very odd, yet intriguing, request for work.

It appeared to be some sort of mansion owner in need of help from adventurers to clear out ‘ghosts’ from their ‘haunted house’. The way the text was worded, it was hard to tell whether this was a legitimate ad or an actual cry for help, but you found your excitement for Candleblight only furthered your curiosity for anything spooky and you made a mental note for the time and place listed on the flyer so that you could stop by.

A few ship rides later and you found yourself at the designated location, which actually turns out to be in the plaza of Candletown itself! There are large groups of people migrating throughout, festivities raging on as people laughed and sang and danced together under the countless candle lights illuminating the area. The commotion made it hard to find who or what you were looking for from the flyer, but a few minutes of poking around brought you face to face with a browbird that looked quite equipped to deal with the Paranormal. The two of you make eye contact, and you get a feeling in your gut that this is the person who posted the flyer. They wave a hand, motioning for you to join them and the small group gathered around them that seemed to be talking amongst themselves.

Sparkle by BrowbirdEndehark

Base Expressions Endehark by Browbird

“You here because of the flyer?”

 

They wait for you to nod, and then nod back.

Sparkle by BrowbirdEndehark

“Right. Glad to have you here, I think we’re going to have a pretty solid group for this. My name is Endehark, and I’m a paranormal investigator from New Centuary. The guy I made this flyer for recently posted on Eggslist that they had some sort of ghost infestation and were looking for people to help out with it. The mansion is actually a ways out from town, through some dense woods in a more remote place. From the photos I was sent, it really is a cliche creepy looking mansion, known as 'Manor Withermourn.' I thought the dude might have been pulling my leg at first, but I think this is the real deal. I sure hope so, too. This would be the perfect time to get some ghost activity on my blog.”

 

They ramble for a bit longer before stopping abruptly, pulling out their phone and flipping through a few tabs, then making another nod to themselves.

Sparkle by BrowbirdEndehark

Base Expressions Endehark by Browbird

“I think we’ve got all the people we need for this, so I don’t see a reason to wait any longer. Hope you’re dressed to deal with the cold, it gets chilly out there. And just in case… Take this. I brought a bunch for the group, since the more evidence we have the better.”

 

The browbird opens their bag and pulls out cameras, offering one to everyone in the group. Taking pictures of ghosts couldn’t be that hard... could it? Someone else in the group pulls out flashlights, offering them around to make sure everyone is ready before you all start into the woods.

The lights and sounds of the celebrations fade into the distance, trees growing taller and more and more gnarled the farther you head into the woods. Far in the sky a full moon glows, illuminating the forest in a faint, yet eerie light. The wind rustles leaves and branches crack and creak, only seeming to get more and more intense the closer you get to your destination. And then… it stops.

A large set of iron wrought gates stand before you, and Endehark steps forward, lifting a hand to push them despite the loud screech of protest that lamented through the air. A few members of the group huddled closer together, chattering amongst themselves in what could be read as either fear or excitement. You hoped it was excitement, considering this group came willingly to investigate. Not only that, but ghosts aren’t real, right…?


Sparkle by BrowbirdEndehark

“This is the place. I’ve got a key here to head inside, so just stick close to me and I’ll open the door, alright? No wandering until we make plans of how to split up.”

 

You all agree, and one after the other you cross the empty courtyard and up the steps to the entrance of the mansion. While the place seemed to be high-end and fancy, dusty and cobwebs covered the exterior, and there was a clear decay on the window frames that made you wonder if anyone actually lived here. The grand double doors opened, revealing a massive entrance hall with many doors leading to different parts of the establishment. A large spiral staircase arched on one side of the room, leading up to even more space that eluded what you could see from the ground floor. It was completely furnished, an old victorian style meeting your gaze as you looked around, but unlike the outside everything in here seemed almost immaculately up kept.


There was a moment of silence as you all took in the scene before you, but before anyone could make mention of a game plan the doors behind you slammed shut loudly. You find yourself jumping around, looking behind you, only to find that no one in the group was close enough to close the doors.

Sparkle by BrowbirdEndehark

Surprised Expressions Endehark by Browbird

“...Did anyone see what did that?”

 

Endehark asked, camera already in hand as they turned slowly in a circle. A satyr in the group makes a shout of excitement, pointing up towards the top of the banister of the staircase before you. Atop it stands three shadowy figures, each of them staring down at the group with bright, glowing eyes. Endehark lifts his camera, trying to get a picture as quickly as possible, but before they can even press the button the shadows dart off in different directions. Each one heads for a different door, seeming to phase through it with no problem whatsoever.

Sparkle by BrowbirdEndehark

bummed sad Expressions Endehark by Browbird

“Shoot. Anyone get a picture?”

 

You all shake your heads, not having expected to see what appeared to be three ghosts so suddenly. The browbird sighed, shrugging.

Sparkle by BrowbirdEndehark

“Not a problem. Alright. First we need to know what we’re dealing with. There’s three different places for us to explore, so how about we spread in even groups and follow after them. Keep your camera’s close and take as many pictures as you can. We’re going to have to figure out how to deal with these ghosts, but we won’t be able to figure out what they are unless we can compile enough information.”

 

With that, the group bands together, taking out their cameras as they keep their eyes peeled for anything that might come their way.

Event Hub || Part 1