08 October, 2015

#Drawlloween #Inktober 7 - Haunted House

When most groups become stranded in the Darkhive, they struggle to come to terms with the new environment where they will most likely spend the rest of their days. Some spend the rest of their lives looking for ways to get back home, others try to make a few hive cells look as much like their homes as possible. Gardens are landscaped in the manner of their homelands (though any plants they might possess have a low chance of survival in the dank dark conditions of the hive), and homes approximating their traditional housing styles are built with scavenged parts. When survivors come into contact with other settlements in the hive, they may live out their lives in these clusters of terraformed cells, but their descendants often leave to join the other settlements.

Sometimes in the deepest and most remote parts of the Darkhive, exotic survivors might build houses reminiscent of their homelands, and might never encounter other survivors. Dying alone and cursing the hive until the end of their days, these survivors leave scattered legacies of forgotten houses in exotic architectural styles, surrounded by gardens of dead plants. These houses and cells feel out of place in the Darkhive, surreal and alien, filled with things that don't make sense to the other denizens of the world. In the superstitious they inspire fear, but in explorers and those looking for potential power they inspire desire.

As places combining fear and power, these cells often draw psychics, who in turn draw ghosts...and thus the places of ghostly rumour end up being inhabited by true ghosts when their presence is uncovered.

Some of the most notorious haunted houses across the Darkhive have developed reputations as repositories of vast power and artefacts from cultures considered far more technologically or magically advanced than anything seen in the hive now. Such locations are considered dangerous, as traps and defenses may still defend against potential intruders... but if such traps and defenses are still effective, this also means that anything they might have defended would remain intact somewhere within the house.

Three well known examples of these haunted houses are:

1. The Ebony Teahouse
Built of dark wood that has never been seen elsewhere in the Darkhive, the house known as the Ebony Teahouse is one of the few "haunted houses" that seems to live up to it's name. Whether an ancient holographic technology or an illusionary magic, the Teahouse swarms with insubstantial figures who follow a regular pattern of drinking tea, talking in hushed whispers and engaging in rituals of etiquette unlike any other cultures known in the Hive (but vaguely like the formal rituals of the Khar-Tui). Some of those who have visited the Teahouse claim that the cycle of these holographic/illusionary figures repeats every 3 hours, but may be altered through asking questions of the figures.

2. The Hut of Ferns
The Hut of Ferns exists in a cluster of densely jungled cells known locally as "The Emerald Expanse". Local legends speak of a shaman who became mystically trapped on the hive, this shaman built an elaborate garden of the herbal ferns and plants from his homeland, convinced that these plants would prevent the fungal infections that had started weakening his body. At the centre of these cells he wove together plants into a living dwelling, and there he lived out the remainder of his days (only partially successful in his quest to eliminate the fungal infection). In the generations since his death, a fanatical group of male bandits and revolutionaries have made their home in the expanse, gradually increasing it's size by propagating new plants in neighbouring cells, and stripping away any and all fungus they find (regardless of the type). These bandits live their lives according to the journals kept by the shaman in his last days, the most fanatical of these revolutionaries are said to believe in the ghostly presence of the shaman still living in the Hut, but none outside the group have ever laid eyes on this mythical shaman for generations.

3. Sanctuary Shack
Folklore says that the haunted house known as the Sanctuary Shack appears in different parts of the hive at different times. Early studies suggested that there might be a number of similar houses that might have been mistaken as the same one, but later investigation now suggests that there might be some portal doorways in cells around the Sanctuary Shack, these portals seem to simply connect adjacent cells but actually connect vastly different parts of the hive. It is by accidentally stumbling through these portal doorways that explorers end up at the same Sanctuary Shack. Many explorers have stated that Shellbrood are unable to traverse these portals, hence the name.

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