The Macabre Manor (1 Viewer)

Kronch

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The pull of the place was irresistible, the manor inseparably tethered to the souls of men who had stepped into its domain. Even now, years later, as Alistair pushed through the snaring, grasping foliage and clinging mud of the swamp, he could sense it, waiting, there in the distance.


He recognized the structure almost immediately. Moss hung from the eaves of the manor, the centuries old stone partially sunken into the gaping maw of the swamp’s soft, we soil. For now, however, the estate was yet unconsumed. Alistair could feel it there, the same intoxicating draw beckoning him onward. Had the lords of the manor, too, sensed the call of the abyss when first they settled on this land? Or was it a twist of fate, another tribulation for exiled nobility?


Alistair was a young man, then. He remembered the frail smile of the Lord’s firstborn son, his body weak, but his mind strong. Strong like his father. But behind that keen mind, those sharp eyes, there was always the glimpse of something more, a glimpse of hunger, of need. What twisted parasite, he had wondered as he saw the house he devoted himself to slowly crumble, had latched into the minds of these proud, magnanimous men? Did the sins of the fathers drive them? Or something more?


The former servant strode toward the looming monolith, the cracked cobblestone shifting beneath his feet, sinking ever further into the muck and the mire. Closer and closer. He could feel the prickling on his skin, in his mind. His hair stood on end. In the back of his consciousness, part of him remembered. Laughter. Joy. Duty. Pride. Excess. Envy. Hunger.


The moldered doors opened with a mortified creak, protesting the man’s invasion on the abandoned grounds. Decay assaulted his senses as he passed the threshold, the musty air weighing heavily upon him. Ripped, moldy paintings and shattered, broken furniture littered the first floor, yet somehow the crimson carpet to the grand stairway before him remained as vibrant in his eyes as the day he had left.

Alistair’s old bones creaked as he ascended the stairwell. Somewhere, tucked into the corners of his being, he could feel that same self from back in his youth. It reminded him. It told him to turn away. But, he knew, much like his Master, he could not turn back now. Surely there was meaning to this all? Surely there was purpose. There was something greater here. Something unfathomable, beyond the petty concerns of those that once made this manor their host.


The old man’s musings were cut short as he reached his destination. Beautiful engravings sprawled across the mahogany door, still evident despite the deep layer of dust, mold, and mildew that now called the manor its home. His hand shook as he grasped the silver doorknob, the metal rattling in its socket as he pulled open the door he had opened so many times.


Before him was the same scene he had fled what felt like a lifetime ago. It was though time had failed to find foothold in the chamber. The same large desk, complete with inkwell, pen, and massive tome faced him. And there, as the servant had left him years ago, was the young master, his face staring into nothingness as he loomed over the text. Even his eyes still locked onto the darkened pages, forever examining the multitude of glyphs and inscriptions within the ancient writing.


Alistair could swear he still smelled the metallic scent, could see the glisten of blood upon the thirsting dagger buried deep into the man’s back. The servant paused a moment before his calm voice, distant even to his own ears, echoed inside the otherwise empty room.


“Young Master, I have returned.”
 
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