Shandor Manor by StyxStream1000 | World Anvil Manuscripts | World Anvil

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Chapter 1: Twilight Chapter 2: Evening Chapter 3: Midnight

In the world of The Barren

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Chapter 3: Midnight

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Clair slips her sickle out of her belt notch, the blade shining a ghostly blue glow as it bathes in the moonlight. Her expression slightly tenses as the creature fully steps out of the dark. Black drips from its long once white nightgown with a sickly sweet stench of rotting flesh drifting off of it.

Never trained for combat, Clair places her feet into a phony stance, positioning her sickle for a swing. The creature steps forward, its feet stiff and blackened, Daniel nearly passes out trying to hold back the disgust of the revealed muscle in between its stretches of withered skin. It gives Clair a smile, mucus dripping from what’s left of its nose. Without any more hesitation, the sickle lashes out at the creature, passing through it as if it were air. It looks at Clair with an even wider smile, but it quickly fades when the line left in the spirit’s form begins to explode into a crackling blue-white flame. It screeches out in pain, Clair then moves her arm in for another strike.

Learning that the sickle is no ordinary weapon, the creature begins to move back, Clair's vicious slicing following it. After waiting for Clair's frenzy to over exasperate her, the creature glides with supernatural speed, curving around Clair's side and leaving deep claw marks in its wake. The excessive swinging stopped as she clutched the injury, feeling the cold absence of life stolen from her body.

Daniel watches the creature turn and dash towards Clair, blinking in and out of the rays of moonlight. He yells out to warn Clair of the charge, provoking her to take a swift one-hundred and eighty-degree turn towards her attacker. She uses all the stamina she could muster to move out of the charge while making a nicely placed swing with her sickle across the creature's throat. A scarf of flame lashes out of it, giving Clair enough time to fix her positioning as best she could.

Once she returned to her made-up stance she was no longer able to spot her enemy, neither could Daniel. He scans the room several times, guessing that it's once again hiding in the shadows. He suddenly stops his scanning when he hears a precarious noise in Clair's direction. She's grasping her neck. Daniel pieces it together when he notices her feet levitating a half-inch off the ground.

Finally obtaining enough courage, Daniel stands up with his blade beginning a charge towards the creature's approximate location. The pain in his leg worsens with each step, but he still trudges on trying to forget the injury. When he places his last step down, he uses all his rage and pain to slash down through the air in front of Clair, the creature reappearing as the slice continued. Daniel's eyes widen, no flame or damage came upon the creature. He tries to take a step back but is too late, the creature frees one of its hands to fling Daniel across the room into one of its bookshelves. He lands back in the spot he previously was bleeding out in, books falling upon him.

The distraction, though minor, was enough for Clair to regain enough energy to commit to her final stand. She dips her left middle finger into a bottle of oil tied to her belt, moving her arm towards the creature's face. It sensing the attack uses its free hand to stab her abdomen like a dagger. The pain caused Clair to act early, snapping her fingers together to create a massive abundance of light.

Daniel, now blinded, could hear the horrid screech of the creature and Clair's back thumping onto the floorboards. His vision returns once he gets into a standing position. He looks at Clair, seeing blood dripping down from her stomach and pooling on the floor around her. He also saw the creature slowly approaching him with a smile. Not the same smile it gave Clair, no, this smile was sweet and pitiful. She stops face to face with Daniel, placing her cold finger onto his lips, shushing him.

He's frozen in place, nothing he could do no matter how much he wanted to could free him of his mental constraints. She begins to caress Daniel's cheek, placing her hand on his shoulder in the same motion. She gradually moves down his arm, sending chills through his body. Then she placed her hand on his side. Time stopped as Daniel felt the pressure of her thumb on his stomach. He thought that it was the end, he thought he'd end up like Clair.

She moves closer. The thought can't leave his mind, how could this have been the woman he loved? The Mary who was loving, kind, head strong, the woman he loved? He looked back in his memory, the time they spent together walking around the manor. Daniel gave out a soft chuckle when remembering the terrible jokes they’d tell each other on their stroll. He missed those days dearly.

He missed Mary dearly.

He falls out of his mind and back into the reading room, Mary gone. The situation he's in is terrible and he knows it, but he couldn't help but feel some tension leave his conscious.


Clair was alive but unconscious, Daniel had ripped up his overcoat to bandage her abdomen and his leg. He knows that Clair will be fine, but not if he can’t find someone who can heal her, which means he needs to get them out of the mansion and back to the town beyond the surrounding forest. That also means he has to get past Mary, something that Daniel didn't know how to go about. He looks to Clair seeing her bag spilled out next to her along with the sack his belongings were pushed in.

Normally, Daniel would be appalled with even the thought of going through a stranger's personal belongings, but tonight was different. He begins to riffle through her stuff, looking for anything that may help them. There were many vials of various materials, a pouch filled with salt, charms, holy symbols, and a thin book. Daniel, the reader he is picks up the book to examine first, its cover reading “Tearwight’s Spirit Guide Volume 1” with a footnote at the bottom:


“This is one of several volumes transcribed from the original journal of Tobin Tearwight, Necromancer and Summoner of the Living Cliffs.”


Daniel had thought Clair to be a worshipper of the Dawnbringer, but this is the writings of a necromancer! But then again, who would have more knowledge of the dead than a conjurer of the fallen?

Daniel had begun flipping through the pages of the journal finding snips and pieces of information that truly confused him.


“Ghosts and spirits are trapped in an endless loop, usually reliving an experience in their past that either began the chain of events to their death, the moment of their death, or a life changing moment in general.”

The passage continues on the following page.

“Because they’re trapped in these cycles, the dead don’t have the ability to learn or adapt to their new life. They either trick themselves into believing they’re still amongst the living or they enter a confused rage.”


“They can’t learn,” Daniel mumbled. This had been contradictory to what he’s experienced with Mary so far. When the brawl began, she was ambitious and cocky, but after Clair’s first strike Mary learned that she could be damaged in her incorporeal form and had completely changed her demeanor accordingly.

But it wasn’t just that.


“The entity’s form resembles that of their corpse, if the corpse was turned to ash or otherwise destroyed the form resembles them in their prime, the moment in life when they were their happiest and healthiest self.”


Mary had appeared as her corpse even though it was cremated months ago. She even seemed to be more decimated by the disease than when she had passed. Had she chosen to appear as a caricature of her death, if so, why? Had it been an attempt to further unnerve Daniel?

He flipped and read, becoming more and more puzzled as he went. Mary was similar to a ghost but had many differences. Daniel couldn’t help but feel that something was terribly wrong. Was Mary not a ghost?


Confused and scared out of his mind, Daniel had no idea how to proceed. Everything in Tobin's journal had been of no help, he had to go on what he already knew. That she, or it, or whatever it was could only be harmed with Clair's sickle, her symbol of the Dawnbringer.

Daniel knew he needed help, and knew that Orion was still somewhere in the house, he had to be. But as much as he wanted to run out and retrieve him, he'd have to leave Clair defenseless, and moving her was simply out of the question knowing the condition of her injuries. Daniel would need to scream his lungs out to alert him of their predicament. That choice seemed to be the correct one, but it came with its issues. Daniel knew that Mary had been appeased by the fear it struck in him and began prowling the rest of the house for Orion, the only competent person left to silence it. But if Daniel shouts out for his help, he may reignite the anger it making him and Clair targets yet again.

But what other choice did he have?

Daniel lit the reading room's fireplace and prayed that Clair's loose faith in the Dawnbringer was enough for the diety to pity them and keep it aflame in Mary's presence. He then presses his mead-filled waterskin to his lips and takes a swig, pouring the rest on his bandages. It hurt like hell but it gave him the needed courage and volume.

Birds in the nearby forest take flight to escape the painful scream coming from the manor.

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