sweet_gardenia (sweet_gardenia) wrote in naked_alchemist,

Chapter 1: Veritas

True, without falsehood, certain, most certain

Clouds gathered at the horizon, sullen and blue and the evening promised to be rainy. The prospect of rain hardly discouraged the group of travelers walking down the oak-heavy path towards the grand manor that sat in miles and miles of rolling golden hills. Some walked in silence, others chattered or laughed in a high-pitched sort of hysteria.

All of them were curious.

The carriages had dropped them off at the crossroads some miles back and legs already ached. Their destination lay in a vast, lonely countryside, a good day's walk from the nearest civilization. Their destination was a mystery though the name was familiar enough to most present: the Musaeum Hermeticum. Twenty-three years ago to this day, in 1885 it had closed without warning, a marvelous cabinent of curiosities in its time, now mostly a hazy memory. Elias Rook had not emerged from it in years, a recluse if indeed he was still alive.

Tucked away in a pocket, a purse or held in a pair of hands to be mused over while walking was a letter addressed to each person in this group. Ten letters in total. Each with specific instructions for the evening, each with a mysterious symbol and each signed " Elias Rook, Esq. "

About the time they passed under the great main gate: a ironwork entanglement with the words SOLVE ET COAGULA across the top, rain had already begun falling in uncertain drops. The gate swung silently closed behind them, which gave some of them a bit of nervous shock but not to those who knew something of the history of the place and guessed (correctly) that the gates were automated. The vast grey Musaeum Hermeticum loomed overhead as they walked up the front steps.

The entrance was the first wonder. A pair of Oriental-style dragons of tarnished silver and enameled in black and white writhed sinuously across the weathered oaken doors in a complicated ouroboros pattern. Their red eyes, alive more than enameled eyes should be, suddenly opened and with a hiss of escaping steam and grinding gears, they langorously untangled themselves to allow the great doors to swing open. The visitors proceeded into the main vestibule and the oaken doors swung shut behind them.

The halls of the vestibule were lined with Greco-style columns of caryatids and telamons All had their hands extended and a small sign by the door informed the visitors that they could hang hats, cloaks and sundry on the hands of the statues. Here was the second wonder. The statues' hands closed obligingly upon all that was offered to them, filling the chamber with small gasps and more nervous laughter and murmurs.

As the visitors proceeded down the vestibule per the instructions of each of their letters, each statues' head turned silently to watch them go. Being studied by so many sightless eyes proved more than a bit unsettling for the visitors.

(OOC: Important info in The Crucible, please read before posting)
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