26 minutes ago
Monday, February 6, 2012
It's most often found at the end of a stretch of dirt road, be it along a lonely bayou in the South, perched precariously on a ridge in the Smaragdines, or rising like a mirage out of the hardpan in the West. Those that seek it seldom find it without magic, but the lost are somehow drawn to it. However visitors arrive, few can forget the sprawling mansion known as the Mystery House.
One story says that Hulysses Mulciber, heir to the Mulciber Repeating Arms Company, was troubled by nightmares of a gaunt gunslinger riding ahead of an army of the ghosts of those who had died due to his family’s rifles. A medium told him that he should build a house designed to confuse and confound the spirits to escape the wrath of the Spectre of the Gun (as she named the gunslinger) and his vengeful army. Another story (more prosaically) holds he began the house as an elaborate gift to his wife who was angry over his philandering. Whatever the reason for its construction, records agree that building originally began in the Smaragdines.
The house even as conceived twisted and turned back on itself--it was almost a maze--and that was before it gained a life of its own. Hulysses didn’t live to see it; he died of blood poisoning following an accidental shooting in a hunting accident. The weapon that did the deed was, of course, one of his own company’s. His wife Ansonia, fervent believer in the reality of the grim Spectre, completed the project and paid numerous thaumaturgists (real and otherwise) to lay all sorts of protections on the house. And construction continued.
Whatever protection conferred to the house didn’t extend to Ansonia. She died of thirst, having gone mad and gotten lost in her own house. It was shortly after her death that the house disappeared from its original lot.
There are some stories of treasures in the house--mostly the mundane riches of the Mulcibers--but most who seek it do so out of curiosity. Most who find it, though, didn’t mean to. Those that have been there and survived report doors to nowhere, hallways that turn back on themselves, and rooms that shift. The stale air is filled with the low, arthritic creaks and groans of the house twisting and rearranging itself, and the distant sound of heavy footsteps--and jangling spurs.