To most, it seems as if Mortis Manor has always been there, growing out of the hillside like a cancerous tumor. It’s hard to imagine it was ever inhabited by mortals, but it was.
James Mortis, a mysterious wealthy man, arrived in town in the mid-1800s. The locals would glance furtively up at his partially-complete hillside manor, as if nervous, while they scurried about their daily errands. Mortis Manor grew by the day, though no one ever saw construction taking place. Some whispered that James Mortis channeled dark arts to conjure his eccentric homestead. When the house was complete, James sent for his two young daughters, Rosa and Lily. There’s something not right about those girls, people said, something wicked.
James Mortis was often seen meeting in the tavern with a man folks heard him call “Doctor.” James would spend long nights away from the manor in The Doctor’s company, leaving Rosa and Lily to fend for themselves. People talked of grave-robbing, of grotesque experiments carried out on cadavers.
Rosa and Lily grew stranger and more bewitchingly attractive by the year. They schemed against each other constantly, vying for their father’s sparse attentions. Lily was taken to the local physician late one night, and gossip-prone neighbors reported Rosa had tried to poison her sister’s tea. But it was Lily who had the last laugh.
Some say it was a tale invented by fear mongers, but one dark hour, Lily pushed Rosa down a forgotten well, deep in the recesses of the Mortis Manor estate. Lily left her sister to die and slept soundly in her bed that night.
The next evening, James returned to find Rosa missing. He extracted a confession from Lily, then sought The Good Doctor’s aid. They retrieved Rosa’s water-bloated body from the well, and The Doctor practiced his craft upon her. Perhaps he brought her back to life; perhaps she was never really dead, but after that, the storytellers agree. Rosa was different.
People now sensed a wrongness in Rosa so stark, they would scurry away at the very sight of her. Her skin, they say, had acquired a greenish hue, and her youthful features were suddenly thinner, sharper and hypnotic in their striking beauty. Trails of tortured, dead animals began to appear along the road to Mortis Manor. Passersby reported maniacal laughter coming from the house — sounds both female and inhuman.
Months after Rosa was resurrected, the Mortis family disappeared from public view. Today, whatever their fates, they would surely be long in their graves, but Mortis Manor still stands. Photos of the manor’s past show the elevations seem to change over time as if turrets migrate of their own accord.
Those who venture near Mortis Manor come back with stories of strange creatures and a young woman given to fits of chilling, unearthly laughter. Sometimes townsfolk disappear without explanation. Occasionally, a thrill-seeker will enter the house. Some of those have never been seen again, while others return, changed forever. Do you have what it takes to survive the curse of Mortis Manor?