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Night of the Golden Witch 2.0

Discussion in 'Role-Playing Games' started by TheSequelReturns, Jun 30, 2018.

  1. *Jean Grey*

    *Jean Grey* Night Triumphant

    Alena Leonhart
    Cainhurst Manor


    Ally turned around at the sound of the doors being flung open. She was still dripping wet, but that was frankly the least of her concerns. Lucy entered, her face wearing an expression that was clearly troubled. Her fists were clenched, and her lips were in a tight line. Her eyes were oddly distant, however. Come to think of it, even Ronaldo had a similar look in his eyes, even as she talked to him just moments ago. They didn't match the worried looks on their faces, and while she couldn't fathom why, they only added to the mysterious vibe that surrounded them - one that Ally already noticed since she arrived.

    Lucy's lips moved as her obsidian eyes met Ronaldo's, the latter nodding. Ally saw the pain in the beautiful maid's expression - one that was apparent despite her fathomless, dark gaze. It wasn't one that would just come up overnight. She was certain that this wasn't the first time Lucy felt this way, and for a moment, she just wanted to reassure the maid in some way. Squeeze her shoulders, hug her, perhaps even protect her. Yet, that moment did not come, as before Ally could even take a step forward and reach out, Lucy turned around and swiftly took her leave, as quickly as she had arrived.

    "This job is everything to her. Sometimes, she forgets to take time to just be a person." Ronaldo explained. At this, Ally instinctively clenched her hand into a fist. The statement was disturbing in itself, and suddenly began to make her wonder if her grandfather was so harsh and demanding that he would push poor Lucy into acting that way. The maid was barely older than Ally herself - no more than twenty-seven by her estimates. Her father always taught her and Mira that the staff was also part of the family and should be treated with kindness and compassion, not as if they were less than human. Dragomira was, by far, the more demanding one in fact.

    "Is father really so hard on the poor girl?" Her father asked. Ronaldo's answer sidestepped the question, which only reinforced Ally's beliefs. It was the logical thing. Any sane person would give a straight answer if it wasn't so shameful or reproachable. In that moment, she loved her father even more. He could've turned out very differently, yet even with his scholarly inclinations, he chose to be compassionate and warm-hearted rather than distant. Yet, who was the Kieran who chose to accept her as part of the family instead of simply deeming her unworthy and dissuading his son to leave her alone? He could've chosen differently too, and she would've been stuck behind the Iron Curtain, living a life much more miserable than the one she had now. All these only made her more determined to meet her grandfather, if only to find answers and truths. The inheritance? The gold? It meant nothing to her - she wasn't going to sweat it...she knew she could get by one way or another. There were more important matters than the glitter of gold, and she knew that they were only scratching the surface of something more complicated than it seemed.

    "Ronaldo, why the hell does Gramps-..." Ally began to enquire, but doors to the hallway opened again cutting her off. This time, it was Gregory, Sybil, and Haze who entered the Foyer.

    "Have you found Belle?" Gregory asked. Ronaldo shook his head, and informed them that he hadn't seen Saizo either, and that Lucy had just gone upstairs. Gregory glanced briefly towards the upper level, averting his eyes from the large portrait that hung on the wall, which made Ally take a good look at it once more as the butler asked why they were all wet. Nobody would avoid looking at a portrait just because.

    In the end, it was decided that Gregory, Sybil and Haze would look for Saizo and Belle, while Mira, her father, Ronaldo and herself would keep looking for the family patriarch. First, however, they were led up the stairs to and Ally and Mira were led to one state room, while their father was led to another. Their luggages sat on the floor - Mira's plum velvet luggage set monogrammed with her initials, and Ally's own black leather suitcase adorned with studs and patches of her favourite bands. Ally swiftly opened her luggage and stripped off her wet top, shorts and stockings, shook her leather jacket, gloves and hat to dry them, and stepped out of her boots before taking out another set of clothes and putting them on - tight black leather trousers with sharp spikes on the knees and several rips, a gunmetal bullet belt, and a shredded, black shirt with long, fishnet sleeves and a distressed red pentagram print on its front. Luckily for her, she didn't exactly listen to Mira's insistence that all she needed to bring was a fancy dress. She then took one of the towels laid out for the both of them, hastily dried her wet, silver hair and pulled it back into a messy ponytail.

    "Mira...tell me you brought something a bit more...yeah," she fretted, before shaking her head as though she knew the answer to that. Her little sister was just as stubborn as she was in certain aspects, and the matter of clothes was just one of those. She had watched Mira pack just yesterday - all dresses of silk and velvet, as well as a pair of brand-new high-heeled boots. Still, she unlocked Mira's suitcase and took out said new boots. They still had high heels, but they were slightly lower than the custom-made crystal-adorned velvet Louboutins that Mira was wearing. She then dug through the many dresses Mira had packed, all of them neatly folded, and pulled out the simplest, least constricting one she could find - a short purple velvet babydoll with black lace edging its puffed sleeves and rather low neckline. She handed it to her younger sister, before undoing the elaborate fascinator pinned atop her wavy, snow-white hair, plaiting a couple of sections and fastening them back into a simple braided crown with a black ribbon.

    "The lower the chances we need to see that bastard Yuri, the better. Proper dodgy, that one," she murmured, as she helped Mira into her dress. "I promise, I won't let anything or anyone mess around with you. They're gonna have to go through me first, alright?" She assured as she tugged on her mostly-dry fingerless gloves and checked her leather jacket, which was still damp for the most part. She heard a knock on the door, and saw that it was their father, who had changed into a dry suit, his hair neatly combed. Ally nodded at him, telling him that they were ready.

    "The sooner we get to where Gramps is, the better, Pops. We have to get to him before that ****ing murderous charlatan starts playing those damn games with us and gets to him first," she maintained, unwavering.

    "Ally, just remember...we all have to be careful. This is dangerous. As you said, this seems to be no joke...one wrong move can be costly. We should stick together and watch each other's backs as we head for his chambers...understood?" Her father cautioned.

    "Pops, what is your definition of 'dangerous', anyway? You know that I've got no coward, chicken, pawn or tool in my blood. Plus, don't you think a possible would-be murderer would want just that? For us to be afraid so that they could take advantage of us?" She challenged, standing her ground as she folded her arms. She then allowed her expression to soften a bit. "If this is about Mira, you and I both know that I'd rather die than see her get harmed, or you for that matter...but if we don't get to the bottom of this, find the murderer and the costumed woman before anything stupid happens, it's just like letting them win!" Turning back was the last thing Ally wanted, not only because her need for adventure was calling out to her, but also because nobody, not even herself, signed up for what was to come. She knew how it felt to be manipulated and intoxicated, knew that they were some of the worst things she experienced, and she wasn't going to let manipulation of any sort slide so easily. She wasn't anyone's pawn. None of them were. Magic...it had to be a bunch of tricks that were part of the game the charlatan was playing in order to gain control over everyone else and commit murder. Her father, who had taken in every word she said, placed a firm, yet reassuring hand on her shoulder.

    "Ally, this isn't just about Mira and me. You are my daughter too, don't you ever forget that...and don't you ever think that I love you less. It would kill me to see any one of you come to harm...and I would never forgive myself if anything happens to either of you," his voice was strong, resolute and steady as his eyes met hers, two pairs of purple eyes that mirrored each other. Purple eyes that may or may not have been one of the reasons why her grandfather chose to restore her in the line of succession. "We have to all look out for each other, Ally. Something is at play here, and any of us could be next. We don't know how they strike, or when they will, for that matter, and we can't afford to be reckless. Promise me that we turn back together if it gets too dangerous?" He explained, and Ally was silent for a few moments, before nodding, a lopsided grin on her face. Her father could be protective to a fault, but she knew that at least, it came out of love.

    "Alright. We turn back together...and carry on elsewhere. No sitting around and waiting to get killed. Pops, I know you, and I doubt you'd consider turning away and hiding like a fucking coward the right course of action," she replied, sweeping some of her long, still-damp silver bangs away from her face. "I just want us to prove that what we saw were just distractions. We find Gramps, or at least hunt down that asshole and his costumed accomplice, find out what tricks they've been playing, then we don't have to agree to any of their damn terms!"

    "Shall we take our leave?" Ronaldo's voice cut in as he entered the stateroom, and Ally nodded as she looked over at him. He led them out of the stateroom and down the corridor. An air of silence hung over them as Ally tried to remember anything that stood out to her while they were having dinner.

    "Ronaldo...can you tell us more about Lucy? She did...refuse to let us go to Gramps' room earlier. I want to get to know her, as well as you and the others, better. Gramps too...I never knew him. What the hell is he like, for the most part?"
     
  2. TheSequelReturns

    TheSequelReturns Phantom Thief

    Cainhurst Manor (2nd Floor) - Main Hall -> Kieran's Chambers


    Ronaldo led the small group of Jules, Ally, and Mira out of their assigned staterooms and back out into the main hall. He had always found it peculiar that the manor had its main hall on the second floor, but it was built custom by Master Kieran. Such an eccentric man could hardly be faulted for designing an eccentric house.

    The main hall, like the grand foyer, was decked out far beyond what the other hallways had been. Clearly designed for presentation, no expense was spared in its decor. From the immaculately polished hardwood floors to the velvety rugs to the golden trim and hand-crafted doors, it was almost too much. Six doors lined either side of the hall, each leading to an identical stateroom. At one end, huge double doors led back out into the foyer, while at the far end, the end they were headed to now, rested another pair of huge double doors that led to Kieran's Chambers.

    One of the was slightly ajar.

    Ronaldo raised an eyebrow at the sight. Kieran was usually adamant that his doors remain securely closed. Was Lucy still in there?

    Before he could give it much thought, Ally offered a topic of conversation. "Ronaldo...can you tell us more about Lucy? She did...refuse to let us go to Gramps' room earlier. I want to get to know her, as well as you and the others, better. Gramps too...I never knew him. What the hell is he like, for the most part?"

    The butler nodded dutifully. "Of course. Where to begin..." he pondered the thought for a moment. "About Lucy, she was here before me. Before most of us actually. Gregory, Belle, myself, Ka-" he coughed. "Lucy trained all of us. She takes the job very seriously. Its all she has. I think I can count on one hand the number of genuine smiles I've seen from her. But perhaps that's just her nature. Gregory will talk your ear off, and Belle is kinder than this place deserves, but Lucy has always kept to herself."

    They were close to Kieran's Chamber now, the two large doors looming before them. One of them still ajar.

    Ronaldo stopped. "As for the Master?" he said, his voice low. "You'll see soon enough. Let's head inside."

    The butler started again and pushed the ajar door open fully. Despite its size, the door swung open easily on its masterfully balanced hinges and all four of them entered the room.

    It was a bedroom as eccentric as the rest of the house. One wall was entirely covered with bookshelves. Despite this, not a single book rested on any of them. Instead, they were filled to the brim with bundles and bundles of scrolls, assorted maps, various odd tools like a sextant and an abacus, and other curiosities. Opposite this was a large, ornate, marble stone fireplace with a fire burning brightly inside. The other walls were decorated with paintings. Every one of them a landscape from somewhere in Britannia. One of them even looked like Cainhurst Isle itself.

    Directly in the center of the room sat a King Size canopy bed, perfectly made. Clearly no one had been in it recently. Above the bed was a small chandelier where the room's light was coming from. The only other furniture in the room was a single, oddly plain wardrobe tucked away in the corner, a plain reading chair not unlike the ones Jules had at his home, and a tiny side table with a rotary phone. The rest of the expansive floor space was completely empty. Just barren tile floors.

    As they entered, they could see Lucy standing on the other side of the door, clearly staring at something on the back wall, which was hidden by a wall of thick cream colored curtains. She didn't react to them entering.

    "Lucy?" Ronaldo offered.

    The maid jumped, clearly surprised and turned around to face them. She looked at Ronaldo, her gaze questioning, then turned to look at the others. "You brought them in here?" she asked the butler.

    He shrugged, then gave a polite head bow. "What else could I do?"

    Lucy considered this for a moment then, looking defeated, relented. "Yes, I suppose you're right. We have more pressing matters."

    Ronaldo glanced around the empty room. "Where is Master Kieran?"

    "That's what I mean," Lucy said, turned towards the back of the room. "He's not here."

    Ronaldo followed her gaze to the curtains and a look of unease washed over his face. Clearly written in red across the curtains was a single word. Look!

    -+-+-+


    Cainhurst Manor - Grand Foyer -> West Tower (Hallway)


    "We might as well," Sybil admitted with a small laugh, looking between Gregory and Haze. She looked a little bit longer at her sister. "Unless Haze has any objections, I say we should go and look for them. Whilst we're back here, I want to get a better look at that picture." Sybil gestured with her head toward the painting, before walking closer to it to do just that.

    As Sybil studied the painting it only became clearer that the woman who had appeared in the dining room was indeed the same woman in the painting. They were identical down to the last detail. The cold piercing eyes, the curve of the lips that was both distant and seductive, the elegant dress of red and gold and purple, it was as if the painting itself had come to life and taunted them. There was little else to glean from the painting, only a slight unease as the witch's unblinking gaze followed you around.

    "Are you ready to head out?" Gregory offered, not wanting to waste too much time. After confirming it with the two ladies, the butler led the way out of the grand foyer. First, they entered the side room where the family had waited for dinner when they had first arrived. It was still occupied by trays upon trays of pastries, fruit, and drinks. With everything going on, no one had the chance to clean it.

    "Almost seems like a waste doesn't it." Gregory said, in a very un-butler like tone.

    He led them out the door on the other side and into a hallway that looked like a mirrored version of the one that led to the dining room. A spiral staircase wound up the tower at the end while the hall continued to the left. It was around this corner that Gregory led Sybil and Haze.

    "That parlor Lucy mentioned is at the end of this hall." Gregory said, pointing to a set of double doors at the end of the hall. "Yuri's infirmary is right over-" before he could finish the thought, a door on the right side of the hall creaked open and Belle slid out, closing the door carefully behind her.

    Gregory slapped a hand on her shoulder and she let out a tiny shriek, like a frightened mouse. She turned around, arms raised and face red before realizing it was Gregory, Sybil, and Haze before her and not the witch.

    "Gregory!" she huffed, her voice still low. "This is hardly the time."

    The butler held up his hands defensively. "Sorry, sorry. Where's the old man?"

    Belle glanced at Sybil and Haze, as though expecting them to reprimand Gregory for his behavior, before motioning towards the door she had just exited. "Saizo is resting. You know he's been overworked these past few days." She gently tugged on her ribbon.

    "Havn't we all." Gregory nodded. "Well, ladies, where to?" he offered to Sybil and Haze, "splitting up isn't an option, but I figure we have some time to kill before Lucy wants us in the parlor. And Saizo isn't going anywhere anytime soon."

    -+-+-+-


    Cainhurst Manor - Library



    "Whilst I appreciate the sentiment of the library being somewhere Cal would have liked, the notion that we might have been lead here on purpose unsettles me," Hester admitted, glancing up at her cousin. "Especially after what we witnessed in the dining room with that woman."

    "Oh my dears, this is only the beginning!" a chillingly familiar voice rang out.

    Stepping out of the darkness, not five feet away from them, was the Golden Witch herself, Beatrice. "I told you did I not?" She spread out her arms, a grand gesture made all the more haunting by her inhumanly graceful appearance. "Every precious detail of this night was all set in motion long before any of you arrived. To resit is to defy my reality."

    She stepped closer, as though completely confidant that none of them could lay a finger on her. Without breaking stride, she walked right up to Orianna and stood beside the older woman who, so far, had yet to even react to Beatrice's presence. "Look at this pathetic creature. So easy to control. Like pulling strings on a puppet." The witch tapped Orianna's head and the older woman crumpled to the ground like a discarded doll.

    "Such a boring plaything. Most adults never surprise me." the witch mused. "But you..." Beatrice turned to face to two younger women. "You two are full of surprises. Aren't you?"
     
  3. Monster Guy

    Monster Guy Slurpuff and Alcremie both deserve love

    Bianca Leonhart
    Cainhurst Manor; Library


    Speak of the devil, and she shall appear. As soon as Hester finished speaking, Bianca heard a familiar voice speaking. "Oh my dears, this is only the beginning!" Stepping out of the shadows, spreading her arms in a grand gesture, it was Beatrice. "Every precious detail of this night was all set in motion long before any of you arrived. To resit is to defy my reality."

    "Oh my goodness!" Bianca gasped, and covered her mouth with her hand. The last time she had seen Beatrice, it had been in the dining room with the rest of her family. Now here she was in a small room alone with her, and she hadn't expected it at all. Being up close and personal with the Golden Witch was rather exhilarating really.

    With all the grace and confidence in the world, she moved closer. The Golden Witch stood next to Orianna, who didn't even notice the witch's presence. "Look at this pathetic creature. So easy to control. Like pulling strings on a puppet." She tapped Orianna's head, and her mother fell to the ground.

    Bianca's eyes widened. "Mother!" She then ran over to her side to check if she was ok.

    "Such a boring plaything. Most adults never surprise me." the witch went on. "But you..." Beatrice turned to face to two younger women. "You two are full of surprises. Aren't you?"

    Bianca furrowed her brows. Her mother was certainly not a pathetic creature, nor Beatrice's mere plaything. Of course, after what she had seen the witch do, Bianca knew better than to say that out loud. She also wondered about her question. Full of surprises? What could she possibly mean by that? All they had done was get stuck in a library. Bianca had a lot of other questions she wanted to ask. Where was her brother? Was her mother going to be ok? Were the stories true? What is her connection to her grandfather and her family? She knew she had to choose her words carefully, and it was doubtful the witch would even answer most of these questions. So, Bianca took a breath, and asked what seemed like the most obvious question. "Why have you come to see us?"
     
  4. Tealeaffs

    Tealeaffs ヒマワリ

    Hester Leonhart
    Cainhurst Manor > Library

    No sooner had the young woman, a familiar voice rang out after her. "Oh my dears, this is only the beginning!" Stepping out of the shadows, was the Golden Witch herself, Beatrice. Her arms were spread out in a grand gesture, something that came off rather chillingly, due to the otherworldly aura she seemed to possess. "Every precious detail of this night was all set in motion long before any of you arrived. To resist is to defy my reality."

    Beside her, Bianca gasped, and Hester struggled to tell whether it was out of shock or excitement, either of which seemed plausible due to her fascination with fairy tales and magic. Hester remained silent and did her best to keep her expression neutral, though an unsettled feeling was beginning to bloom within her. With an air of confidence, Beatrice continued to step forward, almost as if she knew all those present were powerless to stop her. Without breaking stride, she walked straight up to her aunt, who had oddly not yet reacted to her presence. "Look at this pathetic creature. So easy to control. Like pulling strings on a puppet." The witch then proceeded to tap her aunt on the forehead and the woman fell to the ground.

    "Mother!" Bianca shouted, before running over to her side. Hester remained rooted to the spot, her eyes widening ever so slightly at what she had just witnessed.

    "Merde!" she cursed in French under her breath, before inching forward to her aunt and cousin.

    "Such a boring plaything. Most adults never surprise me." Beatrice continued. "But you..." And now the woman's gaze turned to Hester and Bianca. "You two are full of surprises. Aren't you?"

    Hester blinked. Full of surprises? What was that supposed to mean? As far as Hester was concerned, she was quite possibly the least surprising person in this family, a model of predictability handcrafted by her parents and those before them. Beside her, Bianca seemed to have been roused from her mother's side. Her cousin took a breath before looking at the witch to ask her a question. "Why have you come to see us?"

    It was a fair question really, but Hester doubted the woman would give them a straight answer, based on prior experience. "Why are you so surprised by us?" Hester inquired, with a slight inclination of her head. "What makes us more intriguing to you compared to my aunt - or even 'other adults' as you so put it yourself."
     
  5. TheSequelReturns

    TheSequelReturns Phantom Thief

    Cainhurst Manor - Library

    Beatrice watched Bianca run over to her unconscious mother the way one might watch a plastic bag tumble by in the wind. A curious thing hardly worth her time.

    "Don't fret over that failure of an heir." the witch gave a dismissive motion with her hand, "Besides, it'd be no fun for me to kill any of you myself. She was simply carrying around something she no longer needed. I've done her a blessing by removing it." That smile graced her face again. A stoic, graceful expression, like a renaissance sculpture come to life.

    Bianca looked up at the witch and asked a simple enough question. "Why have you come to see us?"

    The Golden Witch started back, her piercing blue eyes meeting Bianca's in an unblinking challenge. "Whatever do you mean child?" The witch stepped closer now, within arm's reach of Bianca. "I told you, you're in my reality now. The real question you should be asking is why have you come to see me?"

    "Why are you so surprised by us?" Hester inquired, with a slight inclination of her head. "What makes us more intriguing to you compared to my aunt - or even 'other adults' as you so put it yourself."

    Beatrice turned towards Hester, her face a matronly mask. Like a proud mother. "There it is. That inquiring mind. Asking questions that get to the heart of the matter."

    The witch clapped her hands and the candles went out. Immediately, the library was plunged into darkness. When Beatrice spoke again, her voice came in whispers, coming from everywhere and nowhere.

    "Dear Hester. If anyone can solve tonight's mysteries... If anyone can unravel the twisted history of this island... of your family. It might be you. I'll place my bet on you, at the very least."

    In the darkness, Hester could feel a hand brush her shoulder.

    "The strength of will a woman must have, to face this night when ever her father couldn't be bothered. Men are truly pathetic things."

    A single candle flared to life, right beside Bianca. It illuminated just enough to show Beatrice before her, in the edge of the candle's light. The witch was crouched, eye to eye with Bianca.

    "But you my dear child. You I find the most fascinating. I can see the excitement in your eyes. The hope. You want my magic to be real. You need it to be real, because you have a wish that is precious to you."

    The Golden Witch extended her arm out into the candle's dim light. Her hand was open, as though she were some kind of savior and Bianca her rescuee. "You can get your wish child. You can get so much more than you could ever dream. All you have to do, is desire it above all else." Slowly, Beatrice closed her hand and pulled it back into the shadows. "I look forward to seeing where your desires take you."

    Beatrice pursed her lips and gave a small blow of air and, despite her being several feet away, the candle went out. Then, the lights returned. All of them. The candles, and the overhead lights. And Beatrice was nowhere to be seen.

    Slowly, Orianna pulled herself up. "Oh, I seem to have taken a tumble." She seemed to be in an oddly pleasant mood, despite what had just occurred. "Bianca dear, how did we get into this dusty old room? Where are the others?"
     
    Monster Guy likes this.
  6. Vern

    Vern Why not both?

    Haze Leonhart
    Cainhurst Manor, Dining Hall -> Grand Foyer

    “Makes sense.” Sybil replied, in response to her suggestion about sticking together in groups. "Considering Cal disappeared in a room full of people, and given everything we've seen so far, I would prefer to have somebody with me before we go exploring — I'd suggest we go look for Ally and Mira and let them know what happened here. The others shouldn't be too hard to find afterwards since we know they'll be looking for Saizo and Belle. Besides, it'll give me an excuse to get a better look at that portrait of Beatrice in the foyer.”

    She then asked Gregory to join them, and the butler happily obliged. Haze followed the two of them out of the dining hall and into the Foyer, where Ally, Ronaldo, and Jules were waiting. The three of them were drenched, probably from taking a look outside to see if escape from the island was possible. Judging by the looks on their faces, it was not. Mira was there too, although she seemed less... affected. Ronaldo asked them to look for Belle and Lucy, and Gregory seemed to look to Haze and Sybil, awaiting their decision. Haze, feeling a tad bit uncomfortable, glanced furtively around and gave a small shrug, looking to Sybil for her decision. She wasn’t used to being put in a position of authority, and it unnerved her.

    “We might as well.” Sybil replied with a laugh, looking back and forth between the two of them. She then raised the possibility of getting a better look at the painting before heading on their way, and moved to do just that.

    “I think… it might be best to get going as soon as possible…” Haze murmured, a bit too softly for Sybil or Gregory to hear. When neither responded, she shrugged and fell silent, taking a few steps forward to examine the painting with her sister. As they looked, it became abundantly clear that the… witch woman who had appeared in the dining hall and the one in the painting were one and the same. Even the clothes they wore matched perfectly. The woman’s gaze seemed to follow Haze as she moved, and she quickly looked away, not liking the feeling of being watched.

    "Are you ready to head out?" Gregory offered.

    “Y-yes, let’s.” Haze said, quickly jumping on an opportunity to leave, “We should get to them quick… before... just in case anything happens."

    After Sybil gave her consent, the butler lead them out of the foyer and through the little anteroom they had been in previously. The food and drink were still untouched, and Gregory seemed to let his professional butler act drop for a moment, commenting about what a waste it was, matching Haze’s unvoiced thoughts — and for a second, she almost felt a strange sort of camaraderie with him. Perhaps he’d also come from a background where such things were precious.

    As Gregory pointed out where certain other rooms were located, Belle popped out from a door to their right. He tapped her on the shoulder and she wheeled around in fright, calming down when she realised it was just the three of them. “Saizo is resting.” She said in response to Gregory’s question, tugging on her ribbon, “You know he’s been overworked these past few days.”

    Something about her made it seem like she was expecting Sybil or Haze to reprimand Gregory for… that scare, and Haze glanced at Sybil to see if she had caught it as well. She herself would probably never be comfortable reprimanding anyone, and most definitely not on that vague sort of hunch. Honestly, this whole thing with being served felt odd to her, like she was walking in shoes meant for someone else, and any action could be seen as inappropriate.

    "Haven't we all." Gregory nodded, "Well, ladies, where to? Splitting up isn't an option, but I figure we have some time to kill before Lucy wants us in the parlor. And Saizo isn't going anywhere anytime soon."

    “Is Saizo okay?” Haze asked softly, speaking more to her sister than the two butlers, “Maybe we should check in on him -- Ronaldo did ask us to, after all. Since we're here already, we might as well... right?"
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
  7. Minteh

    Minteh It's so shiny!

    Sybil Leonhart
    Cainhurst Manor - Grand Foyer -> West Tower (Hallway)


    After mentioning her intention to get a better look at the painting, Sybil did just that and took a step forward. Other than being an incredibly beautiful and detailed painting, there was nothing really out of the ordinary that Sybil could discern. The woman who had appeared in the dining room and the woman in the painting were clearly one and the same - or appeared to be at least. The only thing unnerving about it was the sense that she seemed to watch their every move.

    "Are you ready to head out?" Gregory offered.

    "Yes, let's not spend any more time here," Sybil began, answering in a rapid tone. "Lead on Gregory."

    With the consent of both sisters, Gregory led the way back out of the foyer and into the small anteroom they had been in previously. The food and water which had been laid out remained untouched. Gregory's professional butler act slipped for a brief moment, as he commented on what a waste it was. Sybil couldn't help but find herself nod slightly in agreement. Gregory pointed out where some of the other rooms were, and then Belle reappeared from a door on the right. Gregory gently tapped her on the shoulder, and she turned around, letting out a tiny shriek as she did so. Although clearly alarmed, she seemed to calm when she realised it was only the three of them. She quickly reprimanded him, before Gregory asked where Saizo was. “Saizo is resting.” She said in response to Gregory's question, tugging at her ribbon as she did so. “You know he’s been overworked these past few days.”

    The look she gave Sybil and Haze did not go unnoticed by Sybil. Almost as if she expected either of them to have reprimanded him. Although Sybil sympathised with her for being shocked by his touch, she knew it didn't warrant Gregory getting reprimanded. Maybe if he had been more forceful in greeting her she could understand, but it had only been a gentle touch, and punishing him for that just seemed foolish.

    "Haven't we all." Gregory nodded, "Well, ladies, where to? Splitting up isn't an option, but I figure we have some time to kill before Lucy wants us in the parlor. And Saizo isn't going anywhere anytime soon."

    Sybil paused for thought for a moment before she heard Haze's quiet voice cut in. “Is Saizo okay?” She asked, more to Sybil than to the two butlers. “Maybe we should check in on him -- Ronaldo did ask us to, after all. Since we're here already, we might as well... right?"

    Sybil nodded her head before turning back to Gregory. "We would like to speak with Saizo," She told the butler, "Ronaldo asked us to find him, and since we have time to spare, it makes sense." Her purple eyes drifted to Belle for a moment. "I know you mentioned he was resting, but Haze and I shan't keep him for long. Besides, I doubt he'll be sleeping, it hasn't been that long since we saw him last."
     
  8. TheSequelReturns

    TheSequelReturns Phantom Thief

    Cainhurst Manor - West Tower (Hallway) -> Infirmary

    “Is Saizo okay?” Haze asked softly, speaking more to her sister than the two butlers, “Maybe we should check in on him -- Ronaldo did ask us to, after all. Since we're here already, we might as well... right?"

    Belle glanced back at the door she had just left.

    Sybil nodded her head before turning back to Gregory. "We would like to speak with Saizo," She told the butler, "Ronaldo asked us to find him, and since we have time to spare, it makes sense." Her purple eyes drifted to Belle for a moment. "I know you mentioned he was resting, but Haze and I shan't keep him for long. Besides, I doubt he'll be sleeping, it hasn't been that long since we saw him last."

    Gregory shrugged. "As you wish." He turned towards the maid. "Belle, is he okay to chat for a bit?"

    She hesitated for a moment, looking between the door and the other three people a few times before settling on a nod. "I think so. But... I have to warn you two. Yuri's infirmary is a bit... unorthodox." She reached for the door, but paused when her hand touched the knob. "Please don't bother Saizo too much. He pushes himself far too hard for the Master's sake. And he'll do so for you as well."

    Slowly, Belle twisted the knob and opened the door to the infirmary. It was a slightly dim, cluttered space filled with all manner of strange and exotic objects. A literal crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling, stones of all colors and sizes shimmering on its threads. A six foot tall Egyptian statue sat collecting dust in the corner. An odd assortment of jade apothecary tools was sprawled out on a surprisingly clean workbench along with an assortment of herbs. All manner of medical equipment, both modern and antiquated was scattered haphazardly around the space. But the most striking thing was the plants. They were everywhere, from the creeping vines that had taken over a large chunk of the ceiling to the multicolored potted flowers that seemed to fill in every wall space that wasn't already occupied.

    A single rose plant, bearing white roses, sat alone on a shelf by the window, as though in a place of honor.

    Saizo was laying on a small patient bed off to the right side of the room. The head end was raised, so he wasn't laying completely flat. He had a book in his hands, but he set it aside as soon as the group entered. Slowly, and ignoring Belle's protests, Saizo sat up in bed and turned until he was sitting with his legs hanging off the side and facing the group. He gave a polite bow, or at least as close to one as he could given the circumstances. "My apologies young masters, I am not quite the butler I used to be. How may I be of service?"
     
    Minteh likes this.
  9. GoldenHouou

    GoldenHouou your deadman

    Miraela Leonhart
    Cainhurst Manor - Alena & Miraela's State Room


    As Ronaldo begun to lead the trio to their rooms, Miraela grew increasingly aware - and by extension, guilty - of her own relatively dry state. Her father's expensive coat had changed colour from the rain, and her sister's long hair left a wet trail on the small of her back. They must've felt awfully cold. In comparison, all she suffered from was disheveled bangs and a few wet spots on the front of her dress. It did not seem entirely fair. And yet, beyond the thank you she had already offered, words could change nothing now - so she held her peace and convinced herself that she had done well.

    Once the sisters reached their room, Ally dove straight for their luggage. It was a little unsettling how unashamedly she tore off her clothes, but Miraela supposed the sooner she got out of the wet garments, the smaller the chance of catching a cold.

    While her sister rummaged through her belongings in search for new clothes, Miraela sat down on her bed to wait, legs neatly folded to the side, hands resting upon her lap. Ever since young, someone had always helped her get dressed - be it her mother, Alena or a maid. As such, the thought of clothing herself simply did not occur to her. She likely would not have even known how; her dresses were not known for their simplicity.

    "Mira... " she heard her sister lament, "tell me you brought something a bit more... yeah."

    "If the word you're looking for is 'casual', then yes, quite," Mira offered softly, not entirely mindful of the fact that the two's definition of the word differed wildly. "There is a simpler dress at the bottom, in the left corner, under the nightgown. Oh, do be careful, there are silks among that pile, they tear easily."

    She knew Alena would never purposefully do harm to her belongings, but there was no denying she could be rough, at times. And while Ally's own clothes, mostly made of leather, could handle such punishment, her silks and velvets simply could not.

    Thankfully, the dress emerged unharmed. Miraela held onto it as Alena begun work on her hair. She had always enjoyed having someone brush or do her hair; it was relaxing, even in dire circumstances such as this. Unfortunately, her bliss was short-lived. The topic of the doctor, Yuri, tore Miraela from her lull and nearly made her crumple the delicate fabric of her dress.

    "I promise, I won't let anything or anyone mess around with you. They're gonna have to go through me first, alright?"

    "Yes..." she mumbled, twirling a white curl between her fingers. Though Ally's words were no doubt meant as such, they offered her no real comfort. Not if her safety had to come in exchange for her sister's - like it had that one time, long ago. After a moment spent in thought, Miraela let out a quivering exhale and turned to glance behind her. "But Ally, I cannot let--"

    A knock on the door hushed her. Father had come to get them.

    Thankfully, their father seemed to share her sentiments regarding Alena - and he had both the authority and courage to put it into words much better than she could. Miraela found herself a little more at ease as they headed for her grandfather's chambers - yet there was still something heavy weighing her mind, a thought she could neither place into words nor dispel.

    -​

    Cainhurst Manor - Kieran's Chambers

    On the way to Kieran's Chambers, the topic of Lucy was brought up once more. It turned out that she had been in her duty the longest, longer than the other servants they had met - and someone else that Ronaldo seemed unwilling to talk about. It made no matter to Miraela; her thoughts were focused on Lucy anyhow. She sounded like the picture perfect maid, the kind her mother encouraged all of theirs to be. A maid's life should be her duty, she'd always said, and Miraela had never thought to question it. No one questioned Dragomira. But as she thought back on the way Lucy had looked in the foyer, she begun to wonder...

    They met her again upon arrival, seemingly displeased with their presence. That struck Miraela as quite odd - a tad offensive, even. But it was as Lucy said; there was a matter far more pressing. Though the decor of Kieran's room was altogether depressing and shockingly unfit for a man of his status, there were a few things that stood out as particularly worrisome. The bed that did not seem to have been used of late, and---

    Miraela brought a hand to cover her half-opened mouth. At the far back of the room, a single word had been written upon the curtains in vivid, red letters. Red... it must've been related to the red text Beatrice had shown them in the dining hall, the one that could never show a lie. Was this her doing as well? It seemed likely. Miraela brought out her camera and took a quick photograph, still lamenting the fact that she had been too aghast to do so the time prior. Perhaps a second look at the letters captured onto film would reveal something a naked eye could not see.

    With the deed done, she looked up from her camera, head tilted ever so slightly.

    "'Look'... but where? Or as the case may be, at what?" She was mostly thinking aloud. Could the word be a hint as to where their grandfather was? Had the witch done something to him? Or... was this a message Kieran had left them? She took a few curious steps towards the curtains, fully aware that she should not be the one doing so. Carefully, she reached for the fabric to gently brush it aside and peek behind it, as if looking for a child playing hide and seek.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  10. Minteh

    Minteh It's so shiny!

    Sybil Leonhart
    Cainhurst Manor - West Tower (Hallway) -> Infirmary

    Following Sybil and Haze's suggestion that they go looking for Saizo, Gregory merely shrugged in response. "As you wish." He said before turning to Belle. "Belle, is he okay to chat for a bit?"

    She hesitated for a moment, her gaze shifting between the door, and the three people stood before. For a moment, Sybil even thought she would refuse them, and decline them from seeing Saizo. To her relief, Belle finally settled on a small nod. "I think so. But... I have to warn you two. Yuri's infirmary is a bit... unorthodox." Sybil shot a bemused glance in Haze's direction, before turning back to Belle, who moved to open the door, pausing as her hand gripped the handle. "Please don't bother Saizo too much. He pushes himself far too hard for the Master's sake. And he'll do so for you as well."

    Sybil made a note of what the maid had said and was quick to step inside. As she had said previously it was something of an unorthodox infirmary. It was a slightly dim, cluttered space, filled with all manner of strange and exotic objects. Sybil's eyes were almost immediately drawn to the crystal chandelier, stones of all shapes and sizes glittering from its threads. Ironically, though, the most striking thing in this room was not the unusual collection of antiques, but rather the plants, that seemed to fill every other space that wasn't covered. On a windowsill sat a solitary white rose, almost as if it has been put there in pride of honour. Sybil glanced at it for a moment, not thinking anything else about it, but recalling Saizo's descriptions of the other plants that grew on the island. Oh, how she would have loved to see that flower bush in bloom he had pointed out to them.

    Saizo was lay resting on a small bed off to the right side of the room. He had been reading a book, but upon seeing the group enter the room he set it down immediately. Slowly, and ignoring Belle's many protests, he sat up further and turned until his legs were hanging over the side and he could face the group. "My apologies young masters, I am not quite the butler I used to be. How may I be of service?"

    "Don't trouble yourself too much," Sybil was quick to say, with a small smile, thinking back to Belle's earlier request not to trouble him too much. "We simply wanted to check up on you, see how you were doing."

    Sybil then paused, a sudden realization hitting her that Saizo had no idea of what they had seen in the dining room and Cal's subsequent disappearance. "Some things have happened," Sybil began, scratching her head awkwardly. It wasn't so much that she would have difficulty retelling what had happened, but she questioned whether Saizo - and Belle for that matter - would believe it. "It's probably good you're sitting down."

    Sybil then moved on to explain what had happened, giving a brief run through of what had happened in the dining room, with Beatrice appearing to them, and the cryptic message that this night had been in motion for what seemed like years, and that if they wished to escape they needed to "play their part". She briefly referenced the four "choices" of how to go about this but didn't stray into too much detail about what they entailed. Once she finished this, she was quick to add that Cal had disappeared, seemingly having vanished from right in front of them.

    "Did I miss anything?" Sybil questioned with a half-laugh, as she glanced towards Gregory and Haze. As she waited to see if they have anything to add, she turned back to Saizo. "Is there anything you could tell us about these stories surrounding the family? Particularly the ones with Beatrice? I know the gist of them obviously, as do most of us, but father wasn't exactly the most reliable narrator half the time. And as you might imagine my mother's family, didn't exactly speak highly of the Leonhart name."
     
  11. Tealeaffs

    Tealeaffs ヒマワリ

    Hester Leonhart
    Cainhurst Manor > Library

    No sooner had the words fallen out of her mouth, Beatrice turned to look at her, her face a matronly mask. "There it is. That inquiring mind. Asking questions that get to the heart of the matter." She proceeded to clap her hands together and suddenly all the candles went out, plunging the library into complete darkness. Hester had a vague idea of where her aunt and cousin were, but in the darkness, could make out any of her surroundings. When Beatrice next spoke, it was in whispers, eerily sounding as though it came from everywhere and nowhere.

    "Dear Hester. If anyone can solve tonight's mysteries... If anyone can unravel the twisted history of this island... of your family. It might be you. I'll place my bet on you, at the very least."

    Hester wasn't sure whether to feel some sense of relief at that, but before she had a chance to think much more about it, a hand brushed against her shoulder in the darkness. She couldn't see who it was, but even before Beatrice spoke again, she knew it would be her.

    "The strength of will a woman must have, to face this night when ever her father couldn't be bothered. Men are truly pathetic things."

    Suddenly a candle flickered to life, right beside Bianca, and stood beside her was Beatrice. Hester flinched ever so slightly, not expecting the woman to be stood there, having only been speaking to her moments before. The witched crouched so that was eye-to-eye with Bianca. "But you my dear child. You I find the most fascinating. I can see the excitement in your eyes. The hope. You want my magic to be real. You need it to be real, because you have a wish that is precious to you." In the candlelight, Hester watched as Beatrice extended her arm, her hand open as though she were some kind of saviour. "You can get your wish child. You can get so much more than you could ever dream. All you have to do, is desire it above all else." Slowly, she closed her hand and pulled it back into the shadows. "I look forward to seeing where your desires take you."

    And with a puff of air, and despite her being several feet away, the candle went out. Then the lights returned, both the candles and the overhead light too. Beatrice was nowhere to be seen.

    Hester barely had time to process what had happened, before her aunt rose to her feet, commenting on how it appeared she had taken a tumble. As she approached, Hester noted that she seemed to be in an oddly pleasant mood, despite what had happened moments before. "We've been looking for Callaway, aunt," Hester replied when the older woman questioned how they had gotten here. "We came in here looking for him, and the door shut behind us and we were trapped. And then she appeared. The witch." Hester shivered ever so slightly, recalling Beatrice's touch on her shoulder, and how close she had gotten to Bianca.
     
  12. TheSequelReturns

    TheSequelReturns Phantom Thief

    Cainhurst Manor - Library

    "We've been looking for Callaway, aunt," Hester replied when the older woman questioned how they had gotten here. "We came in here looking for him, and the door shut behind us and we were trapped. And then she appeared. The witch." Hester shivered ever so slightly.

    "Oh dear," Orianna said as she shook her head. "The witch was here again? I must have hit my head harder than I thought to have missed that." The older woman rubbed the front of her head, as though nursing a migraine.

    Orianna seemed a bit out of sorts. "But, tell me dears, who is Callaway? Is he one of the butlers?" She shook her head again. "No, the witch was here. She might have even knocked me out." She nodded, as though accepting her own explanation for the past few minutes. "We should find the others and let them know that the witch was here and that one of the staff has gone missing."

    -+-+-+-


    Cainhurst Manor - Infirmary



    "Don't trouble yourself too much," Sybil was quick to say, with a small smile, thinking back to Belle's earlier request not to trouble him too much. "We simply wanted to check up on you, see how you were doing."

    Saizo nodded respectfully. "Thank you madam, your kindness is too much."

    After a pause, Sybil continued. "Some things have happened," Sybil began, scratching her head awkwardly. "It's probably good you're sitting down."

    After that, Sybil gave a summary of the nights events so far. "Did I miss anything?" Sybil questioned with a half-laugh, as she glanced towards Gregory and Haze.

    Gregory scratched his throat with a finger, a nervous gesture that seemed to reference the way Beatrice had muted him. "No, that about covers it."

    Sybil turned back to Saizo. "Is there anything you could tell us about these stories surrounding the family? Particularly the ones with Beatrice? I know the gist of them obviously, as do most of us, but father wasn't exactly the most reliable narrator half the time. And as you might imagine my mother's family, didn't exactly speak highly of the Leonhart name."

    Throughout Sybil's story, Saizo had seemed to go from curiosity, to bemusement, to outright confusion. "You can't have seen Beatrice." he started. "Pardon, but is this a ruse?" But then he glanced at Gregory and Belle and read the serious expressions on their faces and his expression began to crumble into concern.

    "That's impossible." Saizo said. "Beatrice is not real. She is, quite literally, a fairy tale." He looked towards Belle for support.

    The maid hesitantly nodded. "I've read it a few times. Its a very old story book. Master Kieran had a copy of it in the Library, but I moved it to one of the staff rooms so I could read it again." Saizo motioned for her to go on, and Belle blushed slightly as she took a breath to continue.

    "The story goes something like this:" The maid began. "A sailor is lost at sea when a storm hits. It destroys his boat and casts him into the ocean. But the sailor survives and he washes up on the shore of an island. But the island is home to a strange woman named Beatrice who is so beautiful that she captures the sailor's heart at first sight. She wore a dress made of golden thread and all of the flowers and butterflies on the island were her friends. The sailor was thankful for his fortune and tried his best to win the heart of the strange woman but she always turned him down."

    She paused to catch her breath. Gregory offered to fetch her a glass of water and left the room. Belle continued.

    "Beatrice would always come up with a new excuse for why she could not return the sailor's affection. Despite this, she would come and see him every day and talk to him about odd curiosities. Eventually, the sailor relented. Instead, he began to build a boat to return home. On seeing this, Beatrice became greatly distressed. She had come to enjoy the sailor's company and did not want him to leave. On the day that the sailor's boat was complete, Beatrice brought him a gift. A single flower, made from solid gold, and asked him to stay. The sailor asked where she had found such a wonder, and Beatrice admitted her greatest secret. She was not human, but one of the Fair Folk. As such, she could never love a mortal man. But she could grant him an entire field of golden flowers if he would only stay with her forever.

    "The sailor was touched by her honesty, but he declined. He had his own life to live and it would be cruel to them both for him to stay. For the sailor would grow old and die and leave her alone. And Beatrice could never feel for him the way that he felt for her. Instead, he would take her gilded flower as a precious reminder of their time together and cherish it always. And so the sailor left the island with the flower and when he returned home he told everyone he knew of his time on the island, but no one believed him. Even his flower did not convince them. For a time, a few sailors would journey to the island just to see if the story was true. And though they found the island full of flowers and butterflies, Beatrice was never seen again."

    Gregory returned and offered a glass of water to Belle who gladly took it.

    Saizo meanwhile nodded resolutely. "Wonderful storytelling Belle, absolutely splendid." She nodded her thanks and Saizo continued. "But that is the whole of it I'm afraid. I even heard it referenced by Master Kieran himself. The painting in the foyer is supposed to be the same Beatrice from the story." The old butler began to cough. It didn't sound good.

    "Please sir, relax." Gregory offered to help the older man back into a resting position and he reluctantly obliged.

    "Now do you see why this is all so hard to accept?" Saizo said once he had regained his breath. "Beatrice is a storybook character. Even if the Master was infatuated by the tale as a child, it is simply not possible that such a woman actually exists."

    "But we've seen her with our own eyes." Gregory said. Belle simply looked down, an oddly distant expression on her face.

    "An imposter, I'm sure of it." Saizo said with a few more coughs.
     
  13. Monster Guy

    Monster Guy Slurpuff and Alcremie both deserve love

    Bianca Leonhart
    Cainhurst Manor; Library > Hallway


    "Don't fret over that failure of an heir." the witch gave a dismissive motion with her hand, "Besides, it'd be no fun for me to kill any of you myself. She was simply carrying around something she no longer needed. I've done her a blessing by removing it." Beatrice's smile made Bianca cringe. What exactly did she remove from her mother?

    In response to Bianca's question, The Golden Witch just started back at her. "Whatever do you mean child?" The witch stepped closer now, now within arm's reach of Bianca. "I told you, you're in my reality now. The real question you should be asking is why have you come to see me?"

    Before Bianca could figure out any sort of response, Hester asked her exactly what she meant when she said they were full of surprises. Beatrice gave a coy reply, then she clapped her hands and suddenly all the candles went out, plunging the library into pitch black darkness.

    She spoke entirely in whispers, and said some things to Hester. Then, a candle flickered to life, right beside Bianca, and Beatrice was standing right in front of her. The witch's piercing blue eyes looking directly at Bianca's violet ones. "But you my dear child. You I find the most fascinating. I can see the excitement in your eyes. The hope. You want my magic to be real. You need it to be real, because you have a wish that is precious to you." She her hand open as though she were Bianca's saviour, and the young woman was very tempted to take it. It unnerved how accurate she was, but Bianca knew the witch was correct in her statements. Now here was opportunity to possibly have her dreams come true, she wasn't about to stand there and deny it.

    "You can get your wish child. You can get so much more than you could ever dream. All you have to do, is desire it above all else." Slowly, she closed her hand and pulled it back into the shadows. "I look forward to seeing where your desires take you." Then, with a puff of air, and despite her being several feet away, the candle went out. Then the lights returned, both the candles and the overhead light too. Beatrice was gone.

    Then, her mother slowly pulled herself up. "Oh, I seem to have taken a tumble." She seemed to be in an oddly pleasant mood, despite what had just occurred. "Bianca dear, how did we get into this dusty old room? Where are the others?"

    "We've been looking for Callaway, aunt," Hester replied. "We came in here looking for him, and the door shut behind us and we were trapped. And then she appeared. The witch."

    "Oh dear," Her mother said as she shook her head. "The witch was here again? I must have hit my head harder than I thought to have missed that." Her mother shook her head, as if trying to relieve a migraine. "But, tell me dears, who is Callaway? Is he one of the butlers?" She shook her head again. "No, the witch was here. She might have even knocked me out." She nodded, as though accepting her own explanation for the past few minutes. "We should find the others and let them know that the witch was here and that one of the staff has gone missing."

    Bianca's eyes widened, and she bit her bottom lip. Did her mother really just forget about her own son? Did Beatrice have something to do with this? Bianca took a breath, and composed herself. "Yes, we absolutely should let them know. Unfortunately, the door locked behind us and we were trapped." Bianca approached the door, and pulled the handle, expecting it to still be locked. This time though, the door opened with ease. "Oh, look at that. It seems we're free." She held the door open for the other two to go out first. "After you, mother." She let Orianna go out first. Once her mother stepped out, she addressed her cousin. "Hester, can I have a word with you?"

    After all three them were back in the hallway, Bianca took her cousin aside. "Well, that was certainly an experience. It seems that Beatrice likes us..." Bianca said, unsure if she should be flattered, or concerned about that. "Oh my goodness, everything she said about me is true. Magic is real. Beatrice, can make all of our dreams come true if we just believe in it!" Bianca sounded excited for moment, but then she got serious. "On the other hand, she definitely did something to mother, and I'm worried. How on Earth does a mother forget her own son? Not to mention, we still haven't seen any sign of him. I just can't bear to lose another loved one..." Bianca shook her head, and rubbed her temples. "I'm feeling... conflicted about all of this. What about you? What are your thoughts on this situation?"
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  14. Tealeaffs

    Tealeaffs ヒマワリ

    Hester Leonhart
    Cainhurst Manor > Library


    "Oh dear," Orianna said as she shook her head. "The witch was here again? I must have hit my head harder than I thought to have missed that." Her aunt proceeded to rub the front of her head, as though nursing a migraine. "But, tell me dears, who is Callaway? Is he one of the butlers?" She shook her head again. "No, the witch was here. She might have even knocked me out." She nodded, as though accepting her own explanation for the past few minutes. "We should find the others and let them know that the witch was here and that one of the staff has gone missing."

    Much like her cousin, Hester's eyes widened ever so slightly, and she shared a glance with Bianca. Did she hear her aunt correctly? How could she have just forgotten her own son like that? Hester noted she had been acted a little odd since Beatrice had left, and wondered whether this sudden memory loss had anything to do with what Beatrice had done to her aunt. Before Hester could say anything to her aunt, Bianca spoke again. "Yes, we absolutely should let them know. Unfortunately, the door locked behind us and we were trapped." Her cousin approached the door and pulled the handle. Surprisingly, the door was now unlocked.

    "Oh, look at that. It seems we're free." Bianca commented, before holding the door open for them to leave, letting Orianna go first. When her mother stepped out, Bianca paused a moment and turned to address Hester. "Hester, can I have a word with you?"

    Hester nodded briefly, and once all three were stood in the hallway, the two cousins stepped away to talk. "Well, that was certainly an experience. It seems that Beatrice likes us..." Bianca said, causing Hester to frown. She wasn't sure whether to be relieved or terrified that Beatrice might have had an interest in them "Oh my goodness, everything she said about me is true. Magic is real. Beatrice, can make all of our dreams come true if we just believe in it!" Her cousin sounded rather excited about all this but was quick to take a more serious tone. "On the other hand, she definitely did something to mother, and I'm worried. How on Earth does a mother forget her own son? Not to mention, we still haven't seen any sign of him. I just can't bear to lose another loved one...I'm feeling... conflicted about all of this. What about you? What are your thoughts on this situation?"

    "Conflicted, just as you are," Hester said almost immediately after Bianca had finished speaking. "In truth, I'm not sure how to think about any of this. Callaway is missing, your mother seems to have forgotten him; Beatrice appeared again, only this time with a heightened interest in us. This is a lot to process." She raised a handle to her temple and massaged it slightly, before moving her hand so it was cupping her own cheek, the other arm she crossed over her chest. "You know, before we came to the island I never believed in any of this, the magic, the stories about the 'witch'. I always believed there was a certain element of truth to it, at least in regards to the gold, but the magic aspect I've always been more sceptical. However, after what we've seen tonight..." Hester paused, her eyes drifting over to Orianna, where they lingered for a moment before snapping back to Bianca. "Now I'm not so sure."

    Hester let out another, sigh before letting her hands hang loosely at her sides. "I apologise, Bianca, I'm not very good at all of this," She made a vague gesture with her hands, "my mind has a tendency to run away with itself in times like these. Even the slightest negative change has me thinking the worst is bound to happen." Hester made a shrugging motion, before taking a step towards her aunt. "Come on, we should return to the parlour and inform the others of what happened."

    She brushed past Bianca, and moved towards her aunt, tapping her on the shoulder to let her know they'd returned. "Stay close, aunt. We don't want you to go missing too."
     
  15. *Jean Grey*

    *Jean Grey* Night Triumphant

    Alena Leonhart
    Cainhurst Manor


    In response to Ally's question, Ronaldo nodded in deference. "Of course. Where to begin...about Lucy, she was here before me. Before most of us actually. Gregory, Belle, myself, Ka-" the butler then coughed. Ally raised an eyebrow at him, her ears not failing to pick up on the syllable that he had cut off. Ka-...

    "Lucy trained all of us. She takes the job very seriously. Its all she has. I think I can count on one hand the number of genuine smiles I've seen from her. But perhaps that's just her nature. Gregory will talk your ear off, and Belle is kinder than this place deserves, but Lucy has always kept to herself." Ronaldo continued, without any more mention of the name that he had cut off. Ally couldn't get it out of her head, however. It definitely meant he was keeping something from them. What Ronaldo said about Lucy, however, worried her. The job is all she has, as Ronaldo had said more than once. Lucy was not much older than Ally was - from the looks of it, no older than twenty-seven or twenty-eight. If the butler was telling the truth that she had been around longer than the rest of them, and even trained them, then that most likely meant that Lucy had been in service ever since she was barely a teenager. Maybe even younger than that.

    Lucy sounded like the perfect maid, the kind her stepmother would've praised - a maid who kept her head down and stayed devoted to her duty. Then again, none of Dragomira's ideals sat right with Ally to begin with. She never saw the need for formalities, or to put on airs. She preferred treating maids as peers and friends - they already had to dedicate several hours of the day to serving, and it wasn't logical to dedicate all twenty-four hours without time to be themselves. Ally never hesitated to chat and laugh with them whenever she could, always asked them to address her as simply "Ally" or "Alena" without any stuffy titles, and even loaned her record player and albums to them whenever they asked for music recommendations.

    "And she never opened up? Even with some effort from you guys? How long has she been here anyway?" Ally wondered aloud. Of course she knew that some people were simply reserved, but the place and situation weren't what one would call usual. Had something happened to Lucy? Was her grandfather particularly demanding towards her? Before she could press further, however, Ronaldo stopped in front of a pair of grand double doors with a pair of sculpted golden lions perched atop their handles.

    "As for the Master?" he said, his voice low. "You'll see soon enough. Let's head inside." The butler started again and pushed the ajar door open fully. Despite its size, the door swung open easily on its masterfully balanced hinges. At this, Ally followed him, wanting to see her gramps at long last, for the first time in her life.

    She wasn't prepared for what she was about to see inside.

    It was a bedroom as eccentric as the rest of the house. One wall was entirely covered with bookshelves that didn't have a single book in them - rather, they were filled to the brim with stacks and bundles of scrolls, assorted maps, various odd tools like a sextant and an abacus, among other curiosities. On the opposite wall was a large, ornate, marble stone fireplace with a fire burning brightly inside. The other walls were decorated with paintings, each of them depicting a landscape found somewhere in Britannia. One of them even looked like Cainhurst Isle itself.

    Ally turned her gaze towards the four-poster bed in the centre of the room. It was perfectly made, without a single wrinkle marring the royal purple beddings. Aside from this bed, and the small chandelier above it, the room was surprisingly spartan, without much in the way of furniture save for a simple reading chair, a plain wardrobe and a rotary phone. There weren't even any carpets on the tiled floor.

    Just what kind of man was her grandfather, really?

    Nearby, Ronaldo was talking to Lucy, the latter of whom seemed flustered that he had brought them inside, before giving in and pointing out that they had more pressing matters - that Kieran was not inside the room. Ally heard the soft sound of a camera clicking, and she followed Lucy's and Ronaldo's gaze, towards where Mira was facing. The far end of the room, where a single word was written in red across the white curtains.

    LOOK! That was it. The single word in red. From the distance she was standing, Ally couldn't tell if it was merely red ink, or something far more sinister and macabre, such as blood. Look...at what, to begin with? Out the window? Closely at the words? Around the room?

    "'Look'... but where? Or as the case may be, at what?" Mira echoed her thoughts. The younger woman then took a few curious steps towards the curtains. Instinctively, Ally followed her - she wasn't going to let anything happen to Mira. Especially not accidents. As Mira brushed aside the curtains lightly, Ally grabbed one of them and brought the red-stained part towards her nose. She took a few sniffs, trying to discern what kind of substance it was.

    "What the fuck...?!" she cursed before looking over her shoulder, towards her father, Ronaldo and Lucy, before she sniffed the curtain once again.

    "What is this? Blood...or anything mixed with blood?"
     

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