The Good, The Bad, and The Odd
Little is known of the imposing structure known locally as ‘The Manor.’ Denizens of Northbarley and surroundings tend to avoid the place, believing it to be haunted or otherwise occupied.
The Manor is located in the foothills just north of the hamlet of Northbarley.
Layout and points of interest (map coming)
The interior of the manor is composed of two major floors. For a structure of its immense size, actual rooms for guests seem to be few in number. Well over half of the first floor is taken up between the large tavern and dining area and the spacious, overgrown gardens. And the second floor, with its dusty, antique library and open balconies overlooking the garden from above do not leave much more space for visitors. The large turrets and gables at the corners seem to have served as private studies and luxury accommodations.
Overgrown with time and neglect, the magnificent varieties of plants gathered in the garden have burst their original bounds, and now climb up railings and spill across the floor. A black metal lattice rises from the wall at the garden’s rear, sloping at an angle above to give the plants more sunlight. Any windows are long gone with age, and vines snake their way up above to shade those underneath. Oddly, weeds and more invasive local plants have made little progress into the garden, leaving the makeup of foliage within merely a wilder version of what it must once have been.
Capacious and accommodating, the tavern area contains a dust-covered bar as well as several tables and chairs, many of which are still somehow intact. There is a musty root-cellar smell from the larder, but any rot that might have once attracted predators has long since passed. The stairway to the cellar at the rear of the is met by two doors: one with a bar for the outside, the second locked and magically enchanted against entering.
A variety of books with eclectic, often academic or arcane-sounding titles line the sagging shelves and scatter the tabletops here. Musty sofas and overstuffed chairs for reading await those wishing to spend some time diving into subjects they are unlikely to have heard about, much less have an immediate interest in.
Accessible from the rooftop, the small cupola of the observatory sits recessed a foot or two below the rest of the roof. A similar framework to that in the garden rises at angles, leaving a broad opening above for the see unobstructed. The glass is gone here, as well, and seasons of rain have destroyed the various reference books laying about. The telescope, on the other hand, looks to be in good condition despite a bit of tarnish and thick dust on the lenses. Only the intricate clockwork gears used to drive the scope’s tracking shows much in the way of deterioration.
Without windows and with only one obvious entrance, the cellar is a place of complete darkness. Perhaps a trick of this dark, once within it feels as though the vast space of the cellar is somehow larger even than the manor above. One of the few features found so far in the cellar is a central, polygonal pillar with a variety of dials, switches and levers on every side.
Residents, guests and staff
Caretaker of the Manor, Hume can most often be found at his post in the main foyer. A tall being, Hume is clearly neither human, nor any of the other primary known races of the world, though he looks similar enough to perhaps pass in the right light. His torso and forearms are elongated, his upper arms short and head small and round atop a short neck. His eyes are wide and round, and his mouth purses to an ‘O’ shape at rest, rarely if ever fully closing. When speaking to a guest, Hume will often take an odd posture, his body tilted away and his head rotated at what looks an uncomfortable angle. When he moves, it is often with a series of swift, insectile twitches that some onlookers find unnerving.
Despite his odd appearance, Hume maintains an exceeding politeness with his guests, often proffering upon them honorifics and titles which may or may not be appropriate.
Felicity works in the Manor’s cellar, though when asked what it is, exactly, that she does, she will usually only answer with a rough and dismissive “It’s technical.” Physically, Felicity is enormous and exceedingly ugly by most humanoid standards. Those who have seen her up close say that she most closely resembles an ogre, but that the chances of her actually being an ogre are slim, considering that she does not always, as a rule, attempt to rip these people’s limbs from their bodies as a light snack.
Accustomed to spending most of her time alone, Felicity has been known to be impatient with guests and other staff.
Well-groomed and well-heeled, the foppish Atavist can be found from time to time lounging about the Manor, most often with a book in one hand and a goblet of wine in the other. His clothes are old and overworn, but of such a cut and quality that they add to his air of decadent, fallen splendor. Atavist is a handsome creature, with a long, aquiline profile that rises to a high forehead. Swooping ram-like horns meet his hairline, and both nobly swoop back and downward together. In conversation, he is friendly and cultured, yet evasive, as if he is always keeping some bit of secret just out of reach.
Though Atavist is a guest at the Manor, it is clear that he has been here for a great long time. He does not seem to get along well with Hume.