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15 May 2007 @ 01:43 am
The town had been created as a haven against religious persecution, both from England's intolerance and from the strict Puritanism of the lower colonies. The town founder, Frederick Nelson, made a deal with an ancient spirit to protect the town from outside harm. As part of the deal, a youth had to be sacrificed to the being every 21 years and Frederick had to accept immortality in order to make sure his part of the deal was kept. (The dress that Violet touched still had the impressions of one the girls who tried to escape the sacrifice by fleeing to England, was dragged back and sacrificed.) The mayor and the eldest of the town council are informed of the deal when they take office, and are of course then sworn to secrecy lest one of their children be taken for sacrifice.

The creature in question was a Lost One, an ancient UnSeelie Sidhe known as The Blue Lady, who instead of taking on the Changeling Way, secured herself in her Freehold. Her servants and courtiers, however, did all become kinain in order to serve her outside of the Freehold. The sacrifices were taken into her court as playthings and slaves, until they perished. The Indian Caves marked the trod into her freehold.

As in Dark Ages Fae, both the Kinain and Lost Fae often made oaths with mortals.

Tall tales of pirate treasure were only partially true. Pirates and privateers did frequent Haverton, but none buried any treasure there. There is a hidden store of gold (and dead British soldiers, along with their trapped Wraiths) buried in the oldest mausoleum in the cemetary. They had looted several towns during the British northward retreat, and were struck down by the Changelings in the area who were fulfilling their part of the bargin with Nelson. They were buried by the Changelings, and no one in the town knows of them.

The Girls School was founded outside of the boundries of the town, long after, and therefore was not included in the deal. The curfew rules were orginally enforced for the protection of the girls from those things that might go bump in the night. Several girls died or were otherwise harmed before the school realized there was a problem. The color red was banned not out of supersition, though, but rather because red at the time was considered an immoral color that promoted sinful thoughts.

Dr. Oberhoff from Germany founded the mental asylum on the other side of the town not long after. It, too, was outside of the boundries of the deal. Many patients got worse instead of better, their madnesses ever increasing because of the UnSeelie Changelings antics. The doctor was actually a kind hearted man, doing what he felt was best to try and cure his patients, some of which included girls from the school who would not "settle down." Mind you, he was using the techniques of the time which included what we now view as rather being rather horrid: water torture, extreme temperature therapy, electro-shock, solitary confinement... Some inmates escaped one night and set fire to the Sanitarium, killing themselves, the doctor and everyone else inside. The fire spread and destroyed most of the town only because the youth to be sacrificed to the Blue Lady the year before had killed himself. The Wraith of those who died within the Sanitarium are still there, ready to launch vengence on the town, the school and the world. (the storyline was that the Wraiths would have tried to convince the pcs to help them escape the doctor, who feared what horrors they would unleash upon the world.)

Cut to present day:
- Frederick Nelson is the town bum, Ricky, half mad and barely coherent. He spends most of his time drunk.
- Vincent is a Seelie sluagh who also has the misfortune of being Blue Lady's servant. He has been instructed to find and bring back Hob (see next). Vincent despises his mistress, and seeks anything that might help him get rid of her. He also has a great deal of clout with the town's merchant council.
- Hob, a wandering Seelie skunk pooka that the Blue Lady fell in love with. When Hob realized her true nature, he left. Coming across the lonely and ostracized girls of the book club, he became something of a hidden patron who encouraged the girls in their artistic endeavors. For those who don't know, Hob only speaks in quotes and poetry, having no words of his own.
- Primrose is Vincent's ward, another Sluagh who had the misfortune to fall in love with Thomas. The Blue Lady, lacking amusement, gave her a cruel choice: if Primrose said she loved Thomas, he would be killed immediately. If Primrose said she did not love Thomas, then the Blue Lady would take him for her own as the next sacrifice. Not wishing to see him die, Primrose gave Thomas up.
- Thomas is the sacrfice, and has no real idea what is going on. His memories are messed up between the Mists and the Blue Lady screwing around with his memories. He believes the Blue Lady to be his mother (who is dead, Thomas is currently cared for by his uncle Johnny, local bar owner.) He does not know he is to be sacrificed come May 1. He knows something strange is going on, but he fears to remember due to the horror of it all.
- Professor Masahiro is a Japanese demon who feasts on the souls of young girls, often by getting them to commit suicide. While there has been a rash of suicides at Helen Bachs, the administration has been covering it up. The fact that there is no red on campus, a sacred color that would drive him off, makes his life much easier. Hob knows this, and has been protecting the girls from the book club. One of the girls killed last year was Luke William's gf and Alicia's roommate.
- Luke Williams: upset because his gf died, doesn't know why, and carries a lot of anger about it
- Lou Williams: an opportunity grabbing bastard who thinks females are good for one thing. He is incredibly abusive.
- Larry Williams: openly gay, and frustrated because no one else in town is (or at least will admit to it.)
- Professor Kane is a friend of Violet's grandmother, also into strange things, and agreed to keep an eye on her. He knows what is going on in the town and on campus, but is unable to act due to oaths of his own that he made long ago with other creatures.

Townsfolk who know something weird is happening and is trying to stop it:
- Butcher Owens (a paroled serial killer, who did not get his name from his current occupation)
- Johnny Chandler (runs the local dive)
- Shylock Mercroft (badly stuttering lawyer)
- Martha Bergens (grandmotherly type who runs a bed and breakfast)
They often meet at Johnny's bar.

The general idea was to find a way to save Thomas and free the town from the Blue Lady, while dealing with the Wraiths, Changelings and Masahiro along the way.

Well... it sounded like a good idea at the time. Let me know if I left anything unanswered.
All things are quite silent amidst the tomb and stones. Statues of white marble angels watch over faded pink and grey markers, Victorian obelisks tower over family plots, and urns hold the mortal remains of flowers long turned to dust. The nightly fog that usually hangs in the nighttime air of Haverton has thinned into a mist, followed by light rain. Overcast skies have causes a pre-mature sunset. Shadows have legnthened into night.
The last few girls in town are gathering near the courthouse, waiting for the last bus of the evening. Those who have been there all day look worn and tired, while those who have been in town for a short while are still chatting excitedly. The town itself seems to almost shut down, store by store, as the street lights flicker on. A thin fog start to creep through the streets as the sun sets, and a faint mist hangs in the air.

The three girls from the book club are silent while they wait for the bus. Even the energetic redhead, Jennifer, seems to have exhausted herself.

The white-haired Professor Masahiro stands quietly nearby as well, his handsome expression placid.
English class, first day. Fifeteen girls shoved into a rather small and crowded room, no windows. The light supplied is from a row of flickering flourescent tubes that hang from the ceiling. The walls are a dirty white-cream color, and the floor is a checkerboard pattern of black and white linoleum tiles. There are twenty desks, all wood and metal and all old. The wooden desk arms are scarred and tattooed with the pens of students past. At the front of the classroom, across from the only door, is a massive desk of wood with a wooden lecturn stand upon it. Behind the desk hangs two old fashioned black chalkboards. The smell of the room is part cleaning fluid, part chalkdust.
Instantly noticable to almost any teenager? No clock to foretell impending freedom.

As the next bell to start class rings, a small and frumpled man strides puposefully into the classroom. He drops a load of books onto the desk, next to the half-podium.

"WORDS!" he booms without preamble. "Who can tell me, without hestiation or uncertainty, why words are important?!" As he speaks, he grabs a piece of yellow chalk and scrawls his name across the one board: Professor Kane.
As Lou sleeps that night, he dreams...

In the nothingness of a void, there are voices. Or maybe they are thoughts. Or both. Lou himself does not seem to exist, yet at the same time he stands at the center of the void and is watching it from without, overhearing things that are not said but meant.

A voice/thought like unto musical icicles chimes out. "Does my pretty pet wish to play? I have playthings for you?" Silence. Then the voice seems to pout. "Come now, don't be like that. They are pretty little things. Don't you want to play with pretty little things?"

Then a second voice/thought speaks up after a few more moments of silence. This voice is earthen, dead and so soft that it barely registers on the mind. "Your... pet... does not seem interested. Nor indeed can one lay fault or blame for such apathy." More silence. "Is your intent to provide playmates born of a desire to give your pet amusement, or yourself."

The chiming voice is not amused. "Go. Make yourself useful to me. You have a task that you haven't accomplished. Do not return until it has been taken care of. Either bring me that wretched creature or dispose of him altogether."

"As you command."

The void seems to return to a stillness.

Then, oh-so-softly, the second... thing... speak again, but sotto, as if to Lou alone: "Do not forget."
For whatever reasons, Helen Bach's has encouraged its students to visit the town itself before classes begin on Tuesday. Fliers have been tacked along the walls of almost every hall and tucked under every door, sometimes twice. Included are a bus schedule (which seems to come and go at 1/2 intervals well into the late evening), a list of some site that may be of interest, and a list of places to not-go-into-end-of-story (such as Johnny's Roadhouse.) Students are also encouraged to wear their uniforms so that the town can see how its student take pride in their school. At the bottom of the fliers is reminded to return by curfew for the student's own safety.

Mr. Barley is the driver of the bus, a battered yellow school bus that has seen better days. Oddly enough, the deisel engine makes less noise than might expect. A scowl on his face, he's been ferrying students back and forth since just after breakfast. His one hand dances expertly from steering wheel to gear shift to adjusting his briarwood pipe (unlit).

Girls of all ages, shapes and sizes, seemingly descend upon the town, most in uniform and some not.
Lou Minotti sighed heavily as he swung closed the trunk of his car.  **That's the last suitcase, at least.**    So far, there had been little good news surrounding this "vacation."  After the ... incident ... with his last investigative report - his memory loss, the suspicious death of Mark Gilchrist, the unethical businessman he was investigating - the upper management at the Boston Herald had insisted he take some time off.  

**I spent two hours arguing with my editor, his boss, and the head of Human Resources.  At least I put up a good enough fight that they're giving me the time as 'paid administrative leave.'  Rick, my editor, doesn't want to lose me, but that HR guy Julius was riding me so hard, I'm amazed he gave up anything.  He was more hostile than the cops who interviewed me after they found out I was the last person who saw Gilchrist alive.** Lou walked back from his car back up the steps to the front porch of the near-two-centuries old, lovingly-maintained three-story victorian where he'd be spending the next few months.  He'd been thrilled when Julius' very attractive, very single assistant, Millie, had suggested he come out to Haverton, where her father runs a bed and breakfast.  She'd always been professional - to the point of cold - so when she'd gushed about how much she loved growing up in Haverton, hinted that she might stop in and see him on weekends, and promised she'd talk to her father and get Lou the "Friend of the Family" discount, Lou had been so happy to have gotten her phone number out of the deal that he agreed without even thinking about it.  **No, Lou, you thought about it - but not with your brain.  And, as usual, you've found out too late that God put those two at opposite ends of the body for a reason.**

After hours of driving, he was here; Millie's directions had been flawless, and so was her description of the place.  **Definitely out of the way, but a lot more relaxing than a Boston commute.**  Mr. Holleran had been tinkering with one of the light fixtures on the front porch when Lou arrived, making introductions easy, at least, but the old man was even more of a character than Millie had said.  **Heh, he's either been very lonely since his wife left him, drunk, or half-crazed.  And I thought Millie had been joking when she said the family discount meant I'd be doing my own dishes.**  But Mr. Holleran was definitely a Bob Villa kind of guy; the exterior and interior facades of the house all seemed period-accurate, but everything looked, felt, and sounded perfect.  Lou had grown up in a house like this, and the porch had groaned under your weight when you walked on it, the pipes had shook when you turned on the hot water, there wasn't a grounded outlet in the entire house, and God help you if you thought you were going to keep it warm.  

Lou settled into the room, and started unpacking.  **Hey, he's even got an ethernet jack wired up in the bedroom!  Heh, this place really is just about perfect.  Now all I need is to find something to do with myself so I don't go as batty as Millie's dad.**
17 February 2007 @ 01:23 am
Shylock Mercroft lingers at his outside table, watching others as they finish their lunches and depart for whatever calls to them.. Work, family, hobbies...

He shrugs to himself as he sips his coffee. **Nothing pressing today for me. Just a few clients matters to settle. Three real estate deals, one power-of-attorney matter, and one last testament to be written up. Maybe I'll take a vacation next week.** As he thinks and sips, his free hand gently glides over each brief enclosed within his suitcase. The taste of coffee becomes sour in his mouth as he spies the last one. **Oh. and that one.**

He sets the cup down on its bone-white saucer. **Well... At least I've already been paid for it.**
16 February 2007 @ 02:15 pm
A cool, but bright and clear day. The green of summer is still vivid and vibrant, with the thick and lush forests of New England surrounding the campus walls. From this perch atop the highest hill, one can look down into the town of Haverton. The town is barely twice the size of the land held within the Academy's fortifications. The various dorms and academic buildings circle the quad, giving the impression of military structures giving perimeter to a parade ground. Their dark red and mud colored bricks do not help to soften this feeling.

All morning, cars have been delivering the Academy's latest charges to their residence halls. Girls, most already dressed in uniforms, have been arriving slowly but surely up the long drive. Most parents and guardians do not stay long. The students and their luggage are more often than not left to their own devices outside the residence dorms; perhaps some quick goodbyes, few tearful on the part of the drivers. These arrivals are whisked away by senior girls, adopted and guided towards their new homes with gentle firmness and memories.

Some few girls do linger with their families, chatting excitedly, wondering at the landscape, begging for a last chance... These, too, are met by "Big Sisters." Only now they join in the conversation, encourage the parents and families to look about while they see their "Little Sisters" settled.

Standing at the edge of the drive, three young men with spades and rakes work one of the larger flowerbeds. Sweaty with work, the square-jawed and muscular triplets tend to their chores, while stealing glances at the latest arrivals.