Inside the Ancient Castle

Inside the Ancient Castle

Deep in the forests of the Homeland lies your ancestral home, a castle built in a time before memory. Before history. As far as you know, it has always been there. Each stone laid by hands lost to time. Every feature carved with an artistry that borders on the supernatural. Gargoyles, devils, and creatures more foul adorn the parapets and walls, holding a silent vigil over the grounds. Watching your every move.

The castle has lain abandoned for over a century. Your ancestors fled the place in some sort of crisis, of which you have no record. When the letter came, sealed with the sigil of the Homeland’s monarchy, it shocked you to learn that you and your distant relatives were invited to reclaim the land that was once your family’s. All you need to do was travel to the castle and stay within its walls for ten days. I would grant any member of the family who would stay in the castle for the full duration both land and title, a right to inhabit the massive estate, and a sizeable bounty from the crown.

Ten days ago, you arrived in the dead of night and met your relatives in the massive marble entryway, your path lit by firelight, as the castle is not wired for electricity. The royal representative who greeted you informed you again of the terms of your residency and then showed you to the residential wing of the castle. They had set up each room to your individual preference, while somehow still maintaining the ominous nature of the place. Once you had settled in, they departed with nothing to mark their passage beside the sound of the oversized doors echoing down the empty corridors.

You quickly realized that not only were the doors closed, but they were also barred. Not a problem, you thought. You didn’t plan on leaving this place before the allotted time, anyway. When you awoke the next morning, you reconsidered that decision. You expected to be greeted by the morning sun shining through the stained glass windows of your room, instead you were met by pitch blackness. At first, you thought it was still night, but the clock on your phone clearly showed it was morning. A quick check of the balcony made it clear that the world outside was now nothing but an inky darkness, the air thick like a choking fog. Worse, your phones now had no signal, and there was only one large battery backup on site to charge your devices and flashlights. Good thing you have plenty of candles.

For a few days, you stayed put, hoping that the phenomenon would clear itself up. But five days ago, they appeared. Your distant cousin Filmar was the first to go missing, leaving nothing but a discarded, bloody shoe behind. Ever since then, they have stalked you through the halls, just at the edge of your candlelight. Since then, careless mistakes have taken a few more of your number. They snatched aunt Elda when she let her candle go out with no backup. By your count, it’s less than 24 hours until the deadline, but you’re getting low on supplies now. The battery backup is low on power and you’re down to only a few candles left - you’re not sure that you’ve got enough to last the final day.

Perhaps this is all part of the test? An elaborate joke as part of a reality TV show. Do you try to stick it out? Do you try to escape? Find a way to stop or banish them? The choice is yours. May you choose wisely.

Play Notes: This is a general play on “a group of strangers is summoned to a place” trope. No real modifications, but the setting presumes the characters are relatives (distant or otherwise).

Areas of Note: Guest Wing, The Grand Hall, The Ballroom, Utility Storage, The Cellar, The Void

Goal: Survive for the next 24 hours and pray for rescue, stage a daring escape, or find a way to banish them.