Sæterdæg Delvings

—–Dival stepped out of the tree line following the still trodden path towards his destination and stopped to take in his surroundings. In front of Dival rose a building, unlike any other structure he could compare. Even covered in shrub and ivy he could see the two tall spires facing towards him, rising story after story into the foggy mist above with imposingly dark flavored stone that made up the entirety of the structure. Ivy and growth weaved in and out of nearly every window, balcony, and doorway. There was no sound; the air muted even. It was just how things were when life went dark, the buildings abandoned and the entire area was nothing short of a hibernation.
—–The nicknames of, ‘Ice and Sin,’ still dominated the cryptic feel of the area which was two names that permeated storybook tales that some swear were only to scare children back to their beds at night. All stories lead back to a string of truth that most care not to believe. Dival looked to the black still waters of a deep lake to the right of the path towards the mansion. The wet blackness seemed to harbor a dark sense of foreboding merely staring into the water even from this distance.
—–The wind didn’t touch his cheeks, nor did the still water of the lake stir or ripple. There was only the crunch of ice from his steps, but even those seemed to cut off too short. He caught himself having to force away implanted thoughts and not to start to believe the rumors he’d heard and he hadn’t even stepped inside the clearing yet. ‘Projecting on me, those bastards,’ Dival thought as he forced the feelings away.
His breath steamed around him in the frigged morning air. Ice crystallized mud and puddles crunched beneath his feet. The snow stopped at the tree line oddly enough and all throughout the perimeter of the grounds that could only be called dark and obtrusive to the land around it; some had even called evil back in the city of Devuh. Probably all just misunderstandings in all likely hood, he thought. Remembering all the talks of, “The devil lives there,” or, “Death even the bloodsuckers don’t go near.” Words to scare and the chatter of fear-mongering that was most likely all huff and had no bite to it. Well, I’ll find out soon enough, he mused as another iced over puddle crunched beneath his feet.
—–Approaching the front of the building he noticed what resembled a statue on the edge of the deck that surrounded the exterior of the front of the house. Closest to the abode, he saw, what looked to be a cemetery that extended far into the backside of the house and to the dark lake’s edge. The statue looked humanoid of sorts but seemed to have a helmet some of the divers from the city of Amorine would wear. The resemblance stopped there as this helmet had long spikes covering where hair should have been. He could not see a face as the head drooped towards the wood of the decking of which it stood. All for the better, Dival thought, yet still found himself curious. He found his eyes drawn towards the two wide double door entrance of the manor. Vines were crawling their way out from the inside to scale up the thick wooden doors, but he could still see the engravings and wood carving of what Dival could make out to be Dragons. Once more another attributable reference to the city of Amorine. The citizens there are renown for their dislike of, “Those damned lizards,” as was the common consensus. There were dozens of factories there that were famous for their Stells, what the citizens referred to the Steam Hells as, each carrying the same namesake due to the boiling steam that permeates the lower quarters of the factories.
—–There were two of these lizards, one on each door, and they came to meet in the middle of the doorway in more spots than one. Even beneath the overgrowth, it looked to be a battle between the two. One attacking the other from above with long arms and legs with enormous wings, and the other reaching up from the ground with its snake-like body, small arms but large head and jaws. The wood carving was indeed a work of art; Dival would have to see if he could recreate the scene when he returned to his abode. It wasn’t the first time Dival had been in this area, but he had never taken a chance to appreciate the more delicate details. Unlike the last occasion when he had lost so much blood that he wasn’t coherent or aware of his surroundings, this time he was of sound mind and body. He found himself wondering where the occupants had gone. He supposed it could be anything as it had been nearly fifteen years since his last visit.
—–Clearing away some of the growth Dival tried the door to no avail, and he shook his head. Would have been too easy, I suppose, Dival thought. As he turned, a breath of icy air brushed his cheek which caused him to flinch back and look the way he came. At first, there was nothing and only the continued stillness of the area around him. Then a blade of long grass caught his eye as it moved, brushed as if by a soft breeze. His brow furrowed, eyes followed the breeze through the overgrown grass. It weaved back towards the broken headstones near the dark, unmoving waters of the lake before circling a particular tombstone it seemed to have a specific affinity towards, considering its actions. ‘What…,’ Was all Dival had time to think before the wind hit like a clap of thunder.
—–Dival reeled away to put his back to the thick wooden doors. He could see the wind filled with mist and what looked like shapes, but he couldn’t feel anything. At first, it was only the sound of the wind that seemed to circle the manor and the entire grounds itself, but soon the wind turned to howl with echoes of intermittent banshee screams to accentuate the roar of the misty fog now circling just beyond the deck that Dival now found himself trapped. That was when he saw her, at first just a shrouded shape formed into a woman with the visible signs of being with child. She didn’t seem to notice him as she walked away from the stairway of the entrance of the manor and towards the headstone he last saw the circling breath of the wind that kissed his cheek. The wind screamed again, and she was gone but reappeared just as fast crouching on the ground near the shore of the lake. Dival absently noticed the dark waters still did not seem disturbed in all the commotion before his attention came back to the woman as she began screaming. Crouched down low with her head towards the sky, eyes full and shrieking while supporting herself on two broken headstones. Dival watched unable to look away from the woman seemingly in her birthing throes, unsure if he was in shock, scared, or overcome with a fear he could not yet feel. She wailed with endless agony before once again fading away with the mist as the wind gusted with what once again felt as it should have toppled the building; then it was gone, as silent as it was before. The only proof there was any wind at all was the tall blades of grass still slowly waving side to side before those, too, came to rest.

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