Temporal Anomalies in a Dangerously Haunted Castle



Original poster

Why is it always taverns?

Ninety nine out of one hundred odd jobs that involve massive danger and lots of money. It's always gotta start in one a those f***'n taverns.

Morirune Meriweather Marlowe was not looking at a tavern. Not physically. But even after three days' boring, tedious travel, following a map in spite of being no sort of cartographer, acting as a de facto leader for the little group by simple merit of being early, he still could not get the stench of alcohol and smoke out of his nose. Like many werewolves, he was cursed with a keen sense of smell, and he had never really adapted to it. Of course, since quitting his job as a master statistician due to the unique hazards his condition posed him and taking on the work of an itinerant warrior with a broadsword strapped to his back, he had had nothing but terrible smells to look forward to, day after day.

All that could change now. It was one of those jobs that results from a bizarre will, produced from the equally bizarre mind of an eccentric elderly dragon. Of his hoard, he promised a ton of treasure to each person who would go to a particular castle and stay in it for a full week. Said castle, which once belonged to the king of Josperakkio, was said to be cursed in the most horribly vague of ways, but the dragon was absolutely certain that its every curse would dissipate if even one person could survive and persevere in it for the full extent of one hundred and sixty-eight hours. And those were the conditions he presented in his will, witnessed by six djinni and run through the most excellent supercomputer he could find to ensure its condition lacked any loopholes or grammar errors (there were still five or six after all of that, but nothing important).

It was posted as a bill all around the tri-city area: "Stay in a castle for a week and be paid a ton of dragon's treasure for it", and all the other important details after that. Nowhere on the bill did it mention the place was supposedly cursed or haunted. It really didn't have to be specified. Even half-brained malfunctioning cyborgs could tell that this task involved far more danger than the bill implied. And yet in spite of the obvious trap in the offer, Mori and a number of others who fancied themselves brave, and perhaps were unwittingly a touch stupid, showed up to claim it. The dragon's great grand-nephew, a mostly-elf who of course retained a great bit of his uncle's scaly features, explained the situation, making certain everyone knew that each person's share would be equal regardless of how many stayed the whole week, and therefore they were better off cooperating and not trying to kill or scare one another off like mystery novel characters. Then he gave a few of them who seemed relatively intelligent or trustworthy a map, Mori included, to the castle. It was a three-day journey from where they began, and a tedious, uneventful journey at that; there was plenty of time for everyone to introduce themselves to everyone else, and that was just what they did.

Mori was a Blue Moon Werewolf, the very rare kind that changes not under a full moon, but only upon observing (and mentally acknowledging) an event that occurs sufficiently infrequently to say that it might happen "once in a blue moon". Obviously, once he developed this condition he could no longer work as a statistician, since knowledge of how frequently certain events occurred would allow him to observe far more such events, which would severely aggravate his condition. He had to seek his fortune by another route, and like many who were either without a college education or unable to use it for employment, he went into the itinerant quester racket. It quickly became clear that his unusual strength gave him an advantage with swinging large swords, so that is the niche he entered.

While he was considered the leader and stayed in front throughout the trip, it was fortunate Mori was not the only one with a map. If he had been the only one with a map, it probably would have taken them far more than three days to reach their destination, if indeed they had ever found it at all. Suffice to say, Mori was not terrific at navigation or cartography. In any case, here they were now.

It stood, imposing, a grand building of dark stones that nonetheless shone brilliantly in the afternoon sunlight. It rose up on a hill opposite the one they were climbing now, and once he was fairly certain everyone had had a few seconds to look at it, Morirune stopped with his head looking up, put his hands in his jeans pockets, and said, "Welp, looks like we're finally about there." Then he resumed walking, at a slightly faster pace than before, intent on getting everyone in before sunset. After all, sunset one week is not too far from sunset the next week, and it would make a fine marker of time to prove how long they had stayed in the castle. So of course it did not take them long to reach the imposing doors of the castle.

Morirune had received one thing, as the leader, that nobody else had, and now he produced it from a sack he carried around his waist because carrying a sheathed broadsword across one's back does not leave room for a backpack of any sort. It was a key, an unusually large and simplistic stereotypical key, that fit the lock to those huge doors. He put the key in and turned it, his sensitive ears picking up the turning of the tumblers in the lock, and then pushed the door open a little too hard; it hit the wall with a crack that echoed across the vast empty chambers of the castle's antechamber. There were plenty of windows, so there was plenty of light to see the place in: very traditional, very low-tech, a wide, tall hall with the ancient, torn-up banners of Josperakkio (whose royal crest involved a clock and a donkey, if you must know) hanging across its sides. There was a throne of corroded silver with a torn-up red pillow on the seat, and beyond that a semicircular room with two exits on the left and right ends, an exit straight forward, and an exit exactly between each otherwise adjacent pair of the aforementioned exits: five in total.

It was still a little before sunset. Good. Morirune strode into the castle, the others behind him.

4 Things You Should Know Before Joining This RP:
1. This takes place in a Kitchen Sink Universe, which means pretty much anything goes. I strongly encourage you to come up with unusual ideas, or bizarre, unique spins on traditional sorts of sci-fi or fantasy character types.
2. There is a threshold of power to this RP: Simply put, a character who can guarantee (s)he will easily squash 10 average humans in a fight has no reason to be so interested in money. So everyone on this team has weaknesses and flaws, and most importantly, can be killed. (It should go without saying that there will probably be fights with NPCs and might be fights with other player characters along the way)
3. Everyone in the party has properly met all the others, but your fellow RPers have not! Hence, try to introduce your character and describe them with as many helpful details (from a narration standpoint) as you can in your first post.
4. This RP will involve an incomprehensible mess of time paradoxes if I have anything to say about it. It may never get fully sorted out. Just roll with the punches and have fun!
Stir crazy,...stir crazy,..stir crazy, it continued to repeat in the young woman's head as if it was a broken record. Oh how she hated to be stir crazy. It wasn't like she spent all her time locked up in a single place,... well even if she did work at that tavern, every waken moment wasn't spent there. In fact that place brought more entertainment than the rest of the world around. At least there she met the most unusual creatures and personalities. But this dark fairy needed a bit more excitement in her life than drunken conversations and fights. Her heart craved a bit of chaos,..something a bit unexpected, really the young miss wanted to feel her heart pound out of her chest. Thus when the tavern buzzed about a dragons treasure if a certain task was completed, she decided it was just the ticket to relieve the ever bore of stir crazy.

Well at least that's how this all started, and how Fae found herself with an oddly matched group of individuals. It hadn't taken them long to find the destination, which she grateful for. The man who seemed to be "leading " them wasn't all that great at direction or something. And tho she found it very comical, Fae really wanted to reach the building and find out all it had in store. The first sight of it was magical, it was dark, dingy , and all together spooky. One could tell that a fair amount of time had pasted since anyone had truly resided there.

Fae admired the structure as she twirled into the building. The layed triangle pieces to her short, sparkled black dress swirled with and around her body. The small, silver bells that dangled off the ribbons that wrapped around her legs and arms jingled with each step, and was matched by the clicking sound of her black heals on the hard floor. Fae stopped only inches behind the werewolf man, as she erupted into giggles filled with chaos. Her small slender hands quickly covered her lush pink lips and small girlish nose. as Bright ocean blue eyes filled with excitement stared up at the man before her, since she was easily two feet shorter than him. A few moments later, Fae had finally calmed down enough to speak. One hand found its way back down to the side of her short, slender body, as the other quickly drew itself through her very long and lush silver hair. " So,.. what should we check out first" she said in a small, and quiet voice that was filled with sheer joy.
He floated by. He always seemed to be doing just that- floating by. He was a strange thing to behold here, he was sure; a grey cat, about the size of a small human child, with blue stripes. His eyes, which matched his stripes, always large and alert- whether this was a result of his insightful persona or due to other means, no one was ever sure. His grin, he often thought of his grin. Most would recognise him based on that alone. And rightfully so, many times that was all of him that was visible. He was the Cheshire Cat, a 'beloved' resident of Wonderland.

He would often times disappear from the line of persons, only to reappear a few steps ahead of them sitting atop a statue. His grin ever present, the only thing that would linger for a few moments in between his antics. He was never serious, and all together unplayful. He was a deliciously absurd creature- one fraught with contradicting and affirming qualities. What a delightful place this is, he thought as he floated from place to place within the group.

Ah, yes. My presence here? I am here in order to win the prize, of course. What other reason would someone come to a contest, if not to win it? However that does beg the question- why do I want the prize in the first place? Well, what's a prize worth if no one wants it? The prize gives me purpose to be here, and in my wanting of said prize, I give it purpose. If no one wanted it, it wouldn't be much of a prize, now would it? Consequently, if it were not such a grand prize worth wanting, I wouldn't be here. Causality and all that, I'm sure you understand...whoever you are. Why are you reading my mind, by the way?

He smiled and continued along with the group, shaking his head quietly over the funny inter monologue he had just had.
While the giggles of Fae, who had followed most closely behind him, echoed around the cavernous antechamber, and elsewhere, an over-rational, hypersensitive psychic developed a headache he could not quite explain, Morirune approached the throne. (When the sentient cat had first made it clear to the party that he was in fact the famous cat, it had set off Mori's condition, and he'd had to spend the next five hours or so covered in fur. By now traveling with him seemed longer quite such an infrequent occurrence, but merely a fact derived from the past and present. If he really wanted to look like a stupid giant wolf Mori could certainly think 'wow, this is unusual' or such, but he preferred this outlook, and human form with it, far more.)

It sat in the middle of the circular chamber, on an equally circular raised platform, with three shallow steps up to it on concentric circles; doubtless it was intended to portray the elevated stature of the monarch back when Josperakkio was a thriving country. It had a tall, hard back that Mori simply could not imagine anyone leaning back on for very long when there were perfectly serviceable cushions and springs available. When he stepped up to get a closer look at the throne, Mori had to wave his hand in front of his mouth: A strong, unpleasant odor had hit him. "Aaauuugh, what the h---!? Did somethin' crawl under this throne and die?!" He was going to say something else, now moving along the circumference of the lowest step to get a look behind the throne, but was interrupted by a gasp.

Morirune was not normally one to be surprised. He did not usually gasp, either. What he saw was a dead body, leaning with its back against the back side of the back of the throne. And to be sure, in his occupation as a statistician and later a warrior he had encountered plenty of dead bodies, fresh or otherwise. That was not what caused him to gasp in surprise. No, what he was surprised by was the face of the dead man, and the sword lodged in his chest which was likely the cause of death. It was his face, and his sword. Even worse, it was his entire body, complete with the clothing and side-bag he was presently wearing. "What in all of the..I mean, what??? Come, come here and look at this!" he called to the others, waving his arm. He couldn't even articulate a description of what he was seeing, as simple as it seems it should have been.

((Note: No amount of posts makes this RP closed to new-joiners. For at least the first few pages we will assume that your character came with the adventuring party and was simply not active or went elsewhere up until now. Later on, well, we'll work something out.))
Suddenly, the famous cat rolled up into a ball quickly in midair. His size shrank with blinding speed, only to reappear as a human man. He was one hundred and seventy-nine centimetres tall, his eyes were wide but not unusual by human standards. His hair, grey with streaks of blue just as his fur had been, however it did not look anything out of the ordinary (kids these days were colouring their hairs all sorts of odd colours). His skin was an olive-kissed tone, and his eyes were the same blue as before. He was clothed now, however, a grey dress shirt with blue stripes and a pair of khaki coloured slacks. The only thing that stayed similar to his previous appearance was his smile- that ever present smile. He was a shape shifter, after all, and sometimes certain forms became so boring to him. Besides, most people here were anthropomorphic...when in Rome.

He noticed Morirune was having a bit of a problem with something around the throne, across the room from him. Curious...Chesh thought to himself. He walked over, hands in the pockets of his pants, and tilted his head to the side in a gesture that spoke of curiosity. His smile faded slightly, only enough to not confuse anyone about his sincere concern.

"What seems to be the problem?" Chesh asked Mori. His voice was one of smooth, English sophistication. But not the pompous type, a reassuring type. He stared at the area that his very unique werewolf friend was gawking at, only to see...well, the same man. It was Mori, right down to the same accessories and clothing- only this Mori was dead. "Curiouser and curiouser..." he mumbled, pockets still in hand, walking about the area, looking for clues. The smell was overwhelming terrible, of putrefaction. His companions might be surprised to learn that it was nothing he hadn't smelled before- the Cheshire had had a very long life and had worn many hats.

"Well...well...well" he said as he walked around, casually, investigating the area. "Mori...it would appear that we have something of a problem" addressing Mori with a strong, yet calm voice. He poked the sword that was in the mans chest, and realised it was Moris own sword. A simple "Oh" slipped out of his mouth. This certainly did complicate things.
Kate wasn't fond of dungeon crawls and the like. Well, to be fair, this was her first "actual adventure," but one step into the castle and she could tell that the whole experience wasn't for her. To be honest, the castle wasn't that creepy: rather aged, reasonably well-lit, maybe a few more cobwebs than she was comfortable with but all in all the locale would be pretty comfortable after a team of decorators had had their way with it. But no, something was off. She had no reason to feel afraid, but a sudden and persisting feeling of dread hit and refused to dissipate the second she walked in. Oh, well, it was only a week, right? She reached up to nervously twirl her hair, but stopped when she realized she had shorn it completely off the week before. Some habits were hard to break.

She had mainly kept to the back of the group, which is why she at first only heard muffled shouts from the front of the party, near the throne. She shuffled closer, offering an embarrassed apology to a fellow party-member she tripped over along the way, and squinted to get a better look. Augh, she really needed to get a better glasses prescription. That, she noted, would be one of the first things she would be purchasing with her promised share of the loot.

Wait, was that...Morirune? But he was standing a few feet in front of her, exhibiting all of the correct vital signs, per usual. This...was NOT what she signed up for.

Kate sighed, and placed two fingers on the dead man's wrist.
"Well. Um. He--that is you?--hasn't been dead long. The body's still warm, and I don't think rigor mortis has even set in." This had better be worth the money.
"Well it sure smells like me," said Mori--a strange identification, to be sure, but the most certain one he had available. Glaring at the sword in the other him, he unsheathed the one he had carried inside to make sure it was still there, and inspected it to make sure it hadn't changed. Then, on some irrational impulse, he pulled the copy sword out with his free hand (for he was strong enough to carry the large blade in one hand) and weighed them against each other. "Same weight. Ain't illusional." Next, putting both down, he knelt next to himself and rummaged through the pack. He had brought a pen and some stray pieces of paper with him, and found the same inside, the latter a bit more crumpled up. He checked over them and found the paper all blank, then stuffed it in the pack he was carrying. "Seems he didn't have time to write anything down," he commented to nobody in particular. There was no food in the other's pack; Mori had brought a fair amount of rations in case no food presented itself in the castle. "If this was me, he's been here for a while."

Now he was beginning to suspect why he wanted the other's sword. He had the strangest impression that the other him definitely had only one sword, and that as long as he had two swords he should be able to avoid becoming the other him. And he had the very rational desire to not be the other him, who was clearly quite dead. He pulled the sheath, which was slightly bloody, off the other and slung it over the opposite shoulder, and then sheathed both swords, possibly reversing which was in which sheath by accident. "I'm sure he'd want me to have it," he muttered. "I guess it could be a clone, or lost twin or something, but that doesn't explain the sword and all. Anyone else have an idear what the h--- this is?"
Kate shrugged; she certainly didn't. She stepped back from the gruesome display and paused to examine an old mural painted on an eastern section of the wall. She knew almost nothing of art (especially when it came to the "modern" kinds), but it seemed to her rather beautiful, if not a bit disturbing. It was clearly crafted with great skill, but something about the shapes and lines gave her a headache. The geometry just didn't seem right. In some areas, she wasn't exactly sure of what she was looking at.

She turned to examine the other edges of the circular room. Exploration: that WAS what they were here to do, right? She didn't expect them to just sit in one place for a week, though the thought of what vile curses could lie in the many rooms of the building unnerved her. She hated to even think of it, but maybe Morirune's wouldn't be the only body they'd find here. Kate leaned against her spade, her weapon of choice (hey, it was versatile!) and thought for a moment.

"Um," she said, "As...nice as it is to hang around this body, it really isn't that nice to hang around this body." God, was that supposed to be an attempt at humor? That was terrible. "So, uh, what do you suppose we should do now, guys?"
"Well...five ways to go," said Mori, gesturing at the exits leading from the antechamber. All but the one directly behind the throne had doors and the doors were shut, but clearly in various states of rot or disrepair. The doors on the far right looked pristine, but Mori was fairly certain he could knock that one down if he had to. "If we're supposed to be livin' here we might as well find out where the bedrooms are. You think we oughta split up or stick together, given--this?" He made a vague gesture back to the dead Mori. As for the open one, it simply led into another arched hallway, this one with doors at regular intervals on either side. There was a window at the end of the hallway that looked out on some sort of courtyard, but it was too far to be much more than a green blur, really.

An explanation could wait: After all, this certainly was not the sort of thing one should dwell on. Mori had trained himself to dwell in the present, ignoring the past as much as possible, upon discovering that recalling exceedingly rare events, or recalling things in extremely rare ways, also had the effect of aggravating his condition. He didn't bother with the future too much: He would get there when he got there, after all, so long as he guarded his present from ceasing to be. It might also have had something to do with all the plans and future predicting he did as a statistician, and look where that got him--bit by a blue moon werewolf, all plans crashed and all bets off (not that he gambled; he hadn't forgotten that lesson of statistics).

((Note: The castle might not follow proper geometry. Partially because it's more fun that way, but mostly because I'm not good at planning out maps. And, when we start entering doors, feel free to make up what's behind a given door if your character opens it or whatever. If you want to make up some kind of spook or evil monster feel free to do that too. Honestly, I don't have that much of a plan for what happens, but I'm willing to push things along if I need to.))