Dear Mr. E. O’Dwyer, September 29th, 1902
I write to you in dire need of your help, I know I call upon you during hard times and I know this letter may come to you as a surprise. I have a proposition for you regarding my only daughter, I very much want my little girl to be happy, to settle down and get married and have a family, I believe that you Mr. O’Dwyer would be quite a suitable husband for my daughter. But I must let you know that you are not the only one I believe would be suitable for my daughter, four men will also accompany you while you are in my home. Once you arrive, our head maid, Adaline will tell you any further rules and or instructions.
I request for you to be at Paddington Station on Monday, October the 6th, take the eight o’clock train to Somerset, once you arrive there will be a carriage waiting for you. A man by the name of Crabtree Kinkade will take you to my home where you will be introduced to the others. I would highly recommend you not pass up this offer, I wish you well and it will benefit your family indefinitely. Good luck.
Six men had been sent a proposal, a challenge if it were, to seduce a woman and in return inherit her riches, how hard could it be? All six men had burlap sacks placed over their heads as they were brought into the grand mansion one by one. Elliot was the last to enter the house, a woman removed the burlap sack from his head and gave him a reassuring smile, he looked around at the five men sitting amongst the room, all looking as though they had been waiting for hours and were growing more impatient by the minute. Aside from the men, the house was lavish, furniture treated with the finest silks and adorned with mahogany and gold trim, he felt out of place and some looked at him strangely, others didn’t glance at him at all.
“I believe you all received a letter, stating a challenge, to seduce the lady of the house as it were… Once she chooses one of you, whoever it may be, will inherit her riches and may do with whatever they wish” She said, “Now please, keep fighting to a minimum” She added, “I am head maid, I and the others do not have names nor will we be given them, we are numbered and you shall call my girls by their numbers only” She said sternly.
“Who exactly is the lady of the house?” A man asked as he lit his cigarette, he sat in a large armchair, his voice was deep and raspy when he spoke, he was a well-dressed man and seemed as though he lived in the upper class.
His demeanor, on the other hand, he acted like he owned the place and what he touched was his and nobody else’s. However, the first thing you noticed was his piercing green eyes, his brunette hair that had a slight curl to it, it was well kept but pushed back out of the face.
“You’re not to know her name and I am not to tell you, you will meet her when the time comes, she is also aware of all of you and what you all are… Perhaps I should introduce you all to each other if you haven’t already done so” She said.
“Salem is the pale man hiding in the corner, allow my girls to close the curtains for you,” She said, out of nowhere, two young maids walked into the room and closed all the curtains in the room, the taller than average height man looked up from fiddling with his fingers, his dull, white skin almost made him look sickly and it didn’t help that his black hair was long and almost looked greasy and unkept.
“Oron is the oddly dressed fellow over there,” She said and pointed to the man sitting on the sofa with his legs up, this fellow was strange and looked out of place, his clothes didn’t match, though his curly dark brown hair was well kept and combed back but occasionally would get in the way of his hazel eyes.
“The newest member of the group is Elliot,” She said, he stood out like a sore thumb, his clothes covered in dirt and dust as he wasn’t as well dressed as the others, but he tried to look well-maintained, though his ginger scruff was patchy.
“Lothian is the bearded man standing over there,” She said and pointed to the tall and muscular man, his gaze fell upon Elliot, he swept a strand of his wispy blonde hair out of his face and tucked it behind his ear, his icy blue eyes were as clear as crystal.
“Roland is the beefy fellow sitting in the chair and Demetrius is the one with his feet up, asking all the questions,” She said, with a roll of her eyes as Demetrius quickly put his feet down.
Roland looked as though he did not talk much, he was much taller in stature and had broad shoulders. He was dressed in all black as if attending a funeral, but had warm and inviting brown eyes, his curly black hair curled back out of his face.
“Now I must lay out the rules, no one is to touch any of my girls, and if so, there will be severe consequences… If you need anything, all you must do is ask I or the others” She said, “Which means no one is to feed on my girls” She said sternly, glancing over at Salem, “And no consumption of them either” She said, then glanced over at Elliot.
“What are we supposed to eat?” Demetrius asked, taking a puff of his cigarette.
“Your meals will be brought to you, you will be served breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as an evening snack if you so wish,” She said, “If you require anything, please feel free to ask one of my girls” She offered, “One last thing, and I must make this quite clear, you are all guests in this house and no one is to disrespect the lady of the house,” She said sternly, “If you need to be reminded of these rules, please feel free to ask, dinner will be served shortly, good luck to you all…” She said, “You’ll surely need it…” She whispered, “The lady of the house highly forbids the consumption of such poisonous luxuries, I suggest you put it out before she catches you” She warned Demetrius before walking away.
Oron grinned and looked at everyone and just laughed, “Well this should be interesting” He chuckled, “Does anybody happen to know what this lady of the house looks like?” He asked.
“All I’ve heard is she is a witch and she’s filthy rich…” Demetrius mumbled, taking a puff of his cigarette that gave off the most wretched smell of tobacco.
“Is she one of those witches that wear masks and are all ghastly underneath?” Oron asked, laughing.
Elliot raised a brow at Oron and looked around at the others, “Do we have rooms?” He asked.
“Your room is in the basement along with Oron and Salem, this house is very large and has many hallways and large rooms, so please feel free to ask me or any of the others if any of you are to get lost,” A maid said, “I’m number Six, but you can just call me Six,” She said, this young woman looked as though she was not very old, still in her teen years, her blonde hair was strung up into a bun, though her eyes seemed dull and lifeless.
“Roland’s, Lothian’s, and Demetrius’ rooms are located toward the back of the house, if you have any questions please feel free to ask,” She said, about to walk away when Oron stopped her.
“Where exactly is the lady of the house?” He asked, “I’m sure the rest of us are all wondering too,” Oron said, looking at the others.
“She’s around…” Six said quietly.
“Do we get a name? Age? Anything?” Demetrius asked.
“All I am permitted to tell you is that she is a descendant of the Blackwell Family,” Six said, trying to scurry off but was stopped by Demetrius, who was much taller than her, he towered over her which frightened her in a way.
“You’re joking, right? The Blackwell family died out hundreds if not thousands of years ago…” Demetrius said, looking at everyone else.
“Blackwell?” Elliot asked, he was not good with names and it was certainly one that sounded familiar, somewhere it was in the back of his head, but he could not seem to place it.
“The poor wendigo doesn’t know who the Blackwell’s are” Oron laughed, “He seems a bit young, don’t you think?” He asked.
“You let that thing into this house?” Lothian asked, looking at the maid in disgust, “He should be sleeping with the animals outside, don’t you think?” He asked.
“You’re all violent animals, not me” Oron mumbled, under his breath.
“A vampire, two werewolves, a demon, a shapeshifter, and a wendigo, brilliant idea” Salem commented, with a shake of his head.
“Lady Blackwell does not care what any of you are,” Six told them.
“How many maids are in this place?” Oron asked, raising a brow as he wrapped his arm around her neck.
“About ten or so didn’t Adaline… I mean Three… Tell you?” She asked, correcting herself.
“The letters we received were pretty blunt and to the point, other than that, all we know of is that this lady Blackwell is some powerful witch” Salem mumbled.
“You didn’t hear any of this from me…” Six whispered, “Lady Blackwell is the daughter of Oleus Blackwell, Master Blackwell is very busy but wants his daughter to find a husband, one eventually he can pass his estate onto… Which is why all of you are here” She said, “Master Blackwell loves his daughter more than anything in this world, even more than his wife, who died many years ago…” Six explained.
“Shit!” Oron swore, “We all have to try and seduce a bloody Blackwell… This should be interesting” He laughed
“Number Six!” The elderly lady that had greeted them entered the room, “What have I told you about telling the men more than they need to know?” She asked, “I do apologize on behalf of Six, she can be a little… Unfiltered at times” She scolded her.
“Please forgive me, I do not speak negatively of lady Blackwell,” Six apologized, looking at her nervously.
The woman pulled her aside, “You’re not to speak of lady Blackwell whatsoever to any of the men that enter that door” She said sternly.
“I’m sorry, mouth sealed shut, just please don’t tell, she’ll have my head cut off and placed on top of a post… I promise I will keep my mouth shut… Please Three” Six begged.
“No more talking, enough of you, go and help the others with dinner…” Three said sternly, gently pushing her on her way, “Dinner is ready, please follow me to the dining hall” She said, leading them through a set of doors that led to another lounging area, only to open another set of doors that lead into a large dining hall. The room was large enough to house even the most indulgent of parties, it was open and bright, and the windows stretched from floor to ceiling.
“Master Blackwell was an entertainer,” Oron announced, he looked at Elliot and laughed before dragging him toward the end of the table that could probably seat over a hundred people.
“What’s for din-din?” Oron called as he pulled out a chair and sat down.
“Perhaps they sent the letter to the wrong demon,” Lothian said, looking over at Roland who had not spoken a word since he arrived.
Roland remained silent and gave Lothian a dead stare as he walked to the end of the table and pulled out a chair before taking a seat, he glanced over at Oron who sat next to him.
“Not a talker, I see…” Lothian mumbled, under his breath as he walked over to him and took a seat.
Demetrius and Salem looked at each other and remained silent before walking to the end of the table and taking a seat across from Roland and Oron.
“Will lady Blackwell be joining us for dinner?” Salem asked.
“Lady Blackwell is in her quarters, though I’m sure she’ll join all of you when she is ready,” Three said, with a clap of her hands, several maids walked into the dining hall with cloche’s in hand, they walked up to each of them and place each platter down in front of them before walking away, “Enjoy,” Three said, with a snap of her fingers, all the maids neatly lined up before walking out of the room.
“The anticipation…” Oron chuckled, he removed the dome cover to reveal a platter with a bloody heart on it, his smile soon disappeared, he then looked over at Elliot, “Do you have body parts underneath that one?” He asked.
Elliot looked at Oron nervously and peeked under the cover but quickly closed it, he shook his head and pushed the platter away.
Salem lifted his cover to reveal a goblet full of a thick red liquid, he took a sip only to set it down in disgust, “It’s ice-cold” He said, disgusted.
Roland and Lothian lifted their covers to reveal large raw steaks, Demetrius remained silent and just stared at his cloche.
“What exactly do shapeshifters eat?” Salem asked, taking another sip from his goblet, he had to admit it tasted awful, but he was starving, he had not eaten since breakfast.
“Mortals…” Demetrius replied.
“I heard mortals were rather salty” Oron teased.
They all looked at each other when they heard humming and singing, Roland rolled his eyes and got out of his chair about to walk out of the room when a young woman sped by him, almost knocking him over as she whipped past him.
“Lady Blackwell!” Three called as she rushed pass Roland.
“Did you get a good look at her?” Demetrius asked, getting up out of his chair.
“What does it matter if I got a good look at her?” Roland asked.
“He speaks!” Oron exclaimed, “What the hell does she have on her feet?” He asked, looking at everyone in confusion.
“Is she at least decent looking?” Demetrius asked.
“Is she young?” Lothian asked.
“Does she have brown eyes? Does she have blue?” A young woman’s voice asked.
All of them turned their heads to see a young woman, wearing a white gown that fitted loosely around her small frame, she walked up to Demetrius and looked him in the eyes, “My eyes are green, my hair is blonde and it falls to my hips” She said as she rolled up to Lothian, “I’m much older than all of you, but to be honest I’ve lost count over the years” She said, “I’m lady Blackwell, forgive me for not introducing myself sooner” She atoned.
Oron laughed and pointed at her in a joking matter, “This isn’t her, is it?” He asked, “She has wheels attached to the bottom of her feet…” He said, pointing them out as if to mock her.
“You must be Oron, did you enjoy the human heart I had the maids fetch for you? Or do you prefer livestock?” She asked.
Oron looked at her in shock and quickly looked down at the floor and tried to just laugh it off.
“I’m rather shocked all of you showed up…” She pointed out, “Allow me to make something very clear, you’re not the first group of men that have entered this house and you probably won’t be the last, most of the men that come here are usually just here to take my money, all of you are welcome to stay as long as you’d like…” She said, “I assume that’s why most of you are here…”.
“All of you are permitted to leave the estate, there is a garden, there is a forest that is filled with many animals, though there isn’t a town for hundreds of miles, I will have the maids bring something by later, I don’t like my meals cold either,” She said, about to stride off when she noticed everyone was staring at her in pure awe; “Do any of you wish anything else of me, or may I return to my quarters?” She asked.
“Why do you think we’re all just here for the money?” Elliot finally spoke up.
“Usually when men answer the letters my Father has sent, they just want my money or other things…” She uttered, “Now if you’ll excuse me…” She added, about to roll away only to notice that someone was missing.
She sighed and rolled out of the dining hall and down the hall, toward the library, “The vampires always seem to go missing, then I find one of my maids dead days later…” She muttered to herself, she opened the doors to the library and leaned against the wall as she removed her boots; she was suddenly grabbed from behind by a dark figure before being shoved backward.
Salem quickly grabbed her only to sink his fangs into her neck, she clung to him tightly as she fell to the floor, lightheaded and weak.
“Salem… Salem…” She gasped.
He pulled back to take a breath and looked down at her, “Lucille…?” Salem asked, utterly horrified.
“I didn’t think you would answer my letter…” She uttered, “I’m alright, don’t worry…” She mumbled.
“What are you doing here?” Salem asked, he stared at her only to soon realize who she was, “You’re lady Blackwell?” He asked.
“Where’s Three? Could you have her fetch me a cloth?” She murmured, holding her neck.
“Lucy, I didn’t mean to…” Salem apologized, “I thought you were…”,” One of the maids, I know… It’s all right…” She mumbled, using the sleeve of her gown to wipe the blood off Salem’s mouth and chin.
Roland burst into the library and grabbed Salem, tossing him aside, he gently scooped her up into his arms and set her down in a chair.
“I’m all right, I’ve been bitten before…” She told him.
“Lady Blackwell! Are you all right?!” Three shouted as she rushed into the library, she stopped feet away from her and tried her best to catch her breath, “What happened?” She asked, examining Lucille’s neck before placing a wet cloth on her wound.
“I’m fine, he only took a pint or so…” She mumbled.
“Lucille Blackwell, don’t you dare act like you’re fine, let me gather some of the girls and we can take care of you,” Three said sternly, “Stay here…” She said, “Four… Five!” Three called.
“Lucy… I’m…”, Salem was about to walk over to her when Roland stopped him, “I suggest you leave,” He said sternly, shoving Salem backward.
Salem flashed his fangs angrily at Roland about to pounce when Elliot and Oron grabbed him and pulled him away.
“There is to be no fighting while in this house, so I suggest you separate… Men are never one to follow rules…” Three huffed as two other maids scurried into the library, “Where is lady Blackwell?” Four asked.