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In This Fine Town Of Arkham

A Night At Wilde Hall

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown" - H. P. Lovecraft

Five Hours Till Midnight

Many of those who make the treacherous journey through the Wilde Woods have the fortune, or perhaps the misfortune, of having company during their travel. Morgan Eisenhorn is not afforded that luxury. The invitation, burning a hole in his pocket, is already a mystery to him, and it leads him to wait on a street corner. The streetlight above his head offers some respite from the clawing darkness of the night, but it does nothing to ward off the biting chill in the air, and the diminutive figure pulls his jacket tight around him as he stares off into the shadows. Minutes seem to stretch into hours, Morgan having nothing to do but watch his breath cloud around him, and wait. Wait, and wait. Almost out of frustration, Morgan checks the invitation again, holding it up towards the dim light of the streetlamp, eyes straining. He barely needs to read the words. He has read them before, time and again, since the envelope was slipped under the door of his cramped office. He has committed them to memory, pored over every word, every syllable, every letter, imploring some hidden meaning to burst forth from the ink. He knows he is in the right place, at the right time, and yet, he is still waiting.

Morgan pushes the invitation back into his pocket, trying in vain to push the thought of it out of his mind. For a moment, he begins to question why he is even there, why he is in Arkham, why he followed a tenuous thread thousands of miles, why he endured the long, white-knuckle hours of the rattling cargo plane, and then he hears it. Since he reached the street corner, in fact, since he first stepped out from the ramshackle hotel that he had been staying in since he reached Arkham, the darkness and the chill seemed to muffle any noise, but now, he hears it as clear as day. Hoofbeats. Steel striking stone. Morgan turns, almost managing to forget the cold that is numbing his hands and face, straining against the darkness again, and finally, the shadows take shape. A horse, almost as dark as the night that it emerges from, comes first, then the silhouette of a figure, and then, a carriage, squat and dark. Slowly, painfully slowly, the carriage approaches the corner where Morgan waits, before finally, it slows, coming to a halt a few paces away from Morgan.

It is not just the invitation that Morgan Eisenhorn has pored over, and he recognises the crest that is emblazoned on the side of the carriage. The Wilde crest. It is only that that gives him any indication that the carriage is intended for him, as he is given no greeting from the coach driver, nor are any of his greetings met in turn. A stout figure, wide at the shoulder, face lost in the shadow of a wide-brimmed hat, pulled low, the driver is still and silent. Taking a moment to glance around, perhaps hoping for some like-minded souls to join him, Morgan eventually summons the courage to step forward, clambering into the carriage, and pulling the door closed behind him with a thud. Within, the carriage is functional, if a little sparse, but it offers welcome shelter from the biting chill of the wind, and the lone gaslamp provides precious light. Morgan sits in silence before the carriage lurches forward, and he is on his way, alone, with nothing but his thoughts for company.

The journey through the Wilde Woods is eery, the light within the carriage transforming anything beyond the narrow windows into total darkness, the only sign of the outside world being the occasional twisted tree branch that scratches against the carriage side. The only break in the steady forward progress comes as they pass through heavy-wrought iron gates, and despite the relative shelter of the carriage, and the faint heat of the gaslamp, Morgan feels his blood run cold as he hears those same iron gates swing closed behind him as the continue onwards, deeper into the woods, further from what safety Arkham can offer. And yet, that chill is nothing compared to the ice that grips Morgan's heart as the road swings, and the forest falls away. The lake. For days, for weeks, he has woken in the night, slick with sweat, breathing ragged, haunted by nightmares, and in all of those nightmares, he has seen the lake. He has felt the water around his ankles, pulling at him. He has seen the shape that moves in the depths, black against inky black. He has heard it, whispering his name. And now, now he sees it, really sees it. All at once, pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place, some clues as to why he has come, and all at once, Morgan finds himself deeply, deeply regretting the journey that has brought him to Wilde Hall.

Before he can act, before he can make some desperate bid for escape, to put as much distance between himself and that lake as he can manage, the carriage slows to a halt once again, and Morgan finds himself before Wilde Hall itself, the golden light and jazz music standing in stark, alien contrast with the darkness beyond. Almost in a daze, Morgan pushes open the door, stepping out into the light, the carriage pulling away almost before his feet touch the ground. All at once, after so long in solitary silence, Morgan is surrounded by people, men and women in rich clothes and fanciful masks mill around him, talking and laughing as they make their way into Wilde Hall. In the crowd, Morgan finds his gaze finding an unusual pair. A man and a woman, although by the look of them, both are barely into adulthood. The boy has the lanky build of a teenager, his suit cheaply made and poorly fitted, but it is the girl on his arm that catches Morgan's eye. Petite, her dress royal blue and richly embroidered, but her mask. Her mask was white and gold, almost entirely covering her face, and from either side, there hung a ribbon, as blue as her dress. Almost as soon as Morgan catches sight of the pair, they are gone, stepping into Wilde Hall, and stepping out of view. The crowd continues to flow around Morgan like a river, and almost without realising, he finds himself swept up in it.

@Dark Cloud For future reference, the Character Sheet template, as well as an example Character Sheet, is in the first OOC post. I'm happy to discuss things further in PMs though.
@Dark Cloud Simply for simplicity's sake, I would prefer if we could go through the steps again. The main reason for that is while the second iteration of 'In This Fine Town of Arkham' bears a number of similarities with its predecessor, they are not one and the same. As I said, simply post a Character Sheet, and we can go from there.
@Dark Cloud If you just draw up a Character sheet, using the new template, and post it here, then I'll get in touch to sort out all the steps! Tabletop elements are certainly still an option.
@Dark Cloud Absolutely. Bear in mind that the character application has changed a little from the first iteration, so you won't be able to just port Morgan straight across, but he will be more than welcome.
In This Fine Town Of Arkham

A Night At Wilde Hall

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown" - H. P. Lovecraft

Five Hours Till Midnight

Mister White oozes the kind of privilege and arrogance that Jayce Brennaman is all too familiar with, and as the heir sits back in the plush leather of the automobile, absent-mindedly watching the darkness of the Wilde Woods as they race through the forest, he almost feels at home. After all, evening balls, even masquerade balls, are all just parts of life for the heir to a business empire, and yet, there is something dark, something unsettling, that Jayce just can't shake, no matter how hard he tries to distract himself with his conversation with Mister White. For Mister White's part, the other man seems all too happy to talk of business, of Boston, of grand theatres, lavish ballrooms, and the women who inhabit them. If Mister White feels any sense of unease, if he notices the way the coarse branches of the Wilde Woods seem to reach for the automobile like clutching hands, then he conceals it better than Jayce can hope to.

If Jayce was hoping to find some reassurance from the other occupant of the motorcar, the broad frame of the driver, Adams, then he is out of luck. Adams shares none of the friendly manner that Mister White seems blessed with, and he is silent throughout their journey through the Wilde Woods. Not only silent. Still. At first, Jayce thinks nothing of it, passing it off as the man simply focussing on the winding road ahead, but as he casts more glances towards the front of the motorcar, it becomes increasingly difficult to ignore. Other than the movements strictly necessary to keep the automobile on the road, Adamas is totally, unnervingly, still.

"Ah, finally."

Mister White's voice snapped Jayce's attention away from the unmoving frame of Adams, and as he followed Mister White's gaze, he had his first sight of Wilde Hall. The house was impressive, but then, you could expect little else from a family whose very name was carved into Arkham's foundations, but it was a far cry from the gothic castle that Jayce's imagination had conjured up. In fact, Wilde Hall appeared to be entirely welcoming. A handful of other coaches and automobiles were on the road ahead of them, making their own way towards the light spilling forth from the dozens of windows that made up Wilde Hall's face, and Jayce felt their own motorcar slow. Jayce allowed himself a smile as he took in the scene before him, the jazz music carrying on the air, the light against the darkness, but the sense of unease didn't leave him. It didn't leave him, and he could feel it, at the back of his mind, tugging. For a few brief moments, he tried to ignore it, tried to push it down, but eventually, he couldn't bear to fight it any longer. Inch by inch, his gaze was dragged away from Wilde Hall, until it settled on the darkness. Thornbank Lake.

Some part of Jayce knew that it was Thornbank Lake that he would see. Some part of him knew because he had seen it before, countless times, in his dreams. Ever since the Wilde Ball invitation had arrived at his door, dreams had haunted Jayce, and so often, those dreams had drawn him to the icy waters of the lake that he now saw through the automobile's window. The smile had long faded from Jayce's face, and he couldn't look away. The darkness. The depths...

"Are you ready, friend?"

It was like an echo, a half-remembered memory of another life, but Jayce couldn't look away. It was almost like it was calling to him, like the waters knew him, knew his name.

"I said, are you ready?"

Mister White's hand gripping his shoulder finally pulled Jayce back from the edge, and he turned, wildly, until he found himself looking into the dark eyes of the other man. Was there concern in those eyes, or simply curiosity? Jayce didn't have long enough to decide, the face already moving away. With an almost theatrical flourish, Mister White opened the motorcar door, and Jayce realised that they had arrived at Wilde Hall proper, the main doorway just a few metres beyond the confines of the motorcar. Jayce looked back to Mister White, and did what he could to fit the mark of the charming socialite, opening his mouth to speak.

In This Fine Town Of Arkham

A Night At Wilde Hall

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown" - H. P. Lovecraft

Six Hours Till Midnight

There are many in Arkham who close their shutters and bolt their doors whenever night falls over the haunted city, but there are still those who refuse to allow the darkness to dampen their mood. The foolish, the mad, or the rich. The Excelsior Hotel, in the heart of Arkham, still spills golden light long into the night, frenetic jazz echoing along deserted streets. The foolish, the mad, or the rich, all of them find themselves drawn to the hotel, like moths to a flame, and Jayce Brennaman is no different. Perhaps looking to settle any late nerves with a glass of whiskey, or simply hoping to find some comfort in the familiarity of rubbing shoulders with the social elite, as the clock ticks towards the invitation burning in his pocket, and the shadows over Arkham lengthen, Jayce Brennaman, heir to the Silverhand Chemical empire, sits at the Excelsior Jazz bar, and looks down at his drink. He is not the only guest of the Wildes that is enjoying the light and the noise of the bar, and he has already spotted almost a dozen masked figures, men and women, making their way through the crowded room. From where he is sitting, he has even mused over whether he may know any of the figures, squinting at them through the haze of cigar smoke that hangs in the air, looking to pick up any distinctive features, but he has had no such luck, and no-one has approached him. In fact, the opposite seems to be true. The tide of people and laughter seems to break around Jayce, passers-by casting wary glances towards the mask he wears, their conversation faltering until they are past him. Arkham is a haunted city, and its ghosts seep into every corner. Even in the buzz of the Excelsior, the ghosts remain.

Jayce has his drink half-raised to his lips when he feels a change in their air. He hesitates, and for a brief moment, the superstition that clings to Arkham grips him, his blood running cold, but when he finally wills himself to turn, he does not find himself faced by a ghoul or an apparition, but a man. Dark clothed, broad shouldered, unflinching features, the dark eyes fix on Jayce, and a low voice, rough, almost a growl, reaches through the busy noise of the bar.

"Mister Brennaman?"

Beyond the light and noise of the Excelsior Hotel, the streets of Arkham are dark, a chill wind seeming to have crept into the city since night has fallen. Now, that wind howls through the streets, rattling shutters and causing the temperature to plummet. Those who are unfortunate enough to still be out and at the mercy of the elements pull their coats tighter around them, and hurry their pace. Alistair Truman is no different. The mask that he wears at least offers some protection from the chill, but then, a man such as Alistair is more out of sorts without a mask, than he is with one, physical or not. For that same reason, the shadows that surround him as he walks do not put the same fear into Alistair's heart as they do for other men. He understands that sometimes, shadows are welcome. Perhaps it is that experience with the shadows, or simply years of looking over his shoulder, but Alistair has been painfully aware of the footsteps behind him for several streets now.

At the start, Alistair didn't think too much of them. The streets of Arkham are quiet once night falls, but there are still those who brave the chill in the air, often driven by unsavoury purpose. And yet, with every turn he takes, every new street he walks down, every step he takes that the mysterious follower mirrors has put him more and more on edge. Some part of him hopes that it is still just a coincidence, but another part of him, a part that is increasingly growing, tells him that it is not. Whenever Alistair has turned back, peered through the gloom, he has seen nothing, the footsteps falling silent as quickly as his own, so that he almost believes that he has imagined them, until he starts forward once more, and they ring out behind him again. Attempting to lose this unseen tail, his route has become increasingly erratic, darting into side alleys, losing himself in the winding maze of Arkham's old town, but the footsteps have always stayed with him, so close that he constantly expects a hand to grasp his shoulder, a sharpened point to press against his back. He is almost lost now, but suddenly, he recognises the building on the corner ahead of him, the worn sign of Hutchinson's Goods. The invitation in his pocket lists a number of points that carriages will be available. One of those points is less than a few turns away. As if they can sense how close Alistair suddenly finds himself to be to salvation, or at least relative safety, the footsteps at his back suddenly pick up their pace.
@Rekker @Archangel89 Both of you have created brilliant characters, and ones that I think will really fit in to this Lovecraftian world! I'll be getting in touch with you both shortly in order to talk you through the next steps, but we are off to a great start.
@Archangel89 You are more than welcome to throw a sheet together, and we can go from there. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!
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