A spooky story

24 October 2019


Ever since Kvasir's tavern was open in the Castle, it was never quiet. The tavern became a spot for both common people and Heroes, and everyday tales mingled with stories about battles, travels, and other interesting events. Every time a Hero decided to narrate a story, people in the tavern ceased talking and became all ears.

Today unusually quiet Shadow — who was always fond of making some noise in the tavern — silently took the narrator's place which was a large carved chair in the middle of the room. The night was late and her face looked too pale in the dark. Other Heroes and common people gathered around her… But something was wrong. Somehow her smile looked weird: it was too unusual, too nervous. But after all, Halloween is near so Shadow might just be whipping up tension…

In a low, slightly husky voice she began her story: there was once a family in one Castle who used to give masquerades right at that season of the year. The tradition was passed on from generation to generation, and even members of the family themselves were happy to disguise in some terrible costumes and amuse themselves side by side with common people. The rich couple had a son, and it was the only day of the year when he went out — no one knew how he looked and what he was like. For people in the Castle it was a real mystery — to guess who among the disguised was the noble heir.

Many tried to solve this mystery since there was a reward for the right answer. Some guests arranged groups and made up insidious plans on how to unmask the odd heir. But the longstanding amusement was destined to end unpredictably.

The honorable family's son was a… weird fellow. Talking to him was a tough task because all he could think about was mischief, even when he became adult. And this mischief was not humorous and harmless, but dangerous and mad at times. One of such tricks cost him his human face — his skin turned unpleasantly green like that of a toad while his eyes became bloodshot. The servants were indignant that their masters still hadn't given up their unwise son. It was rumored that when the mischievous boy was little, the duchess accidentally dropped him. She felt guilty ever since and could not turn her back on the child. Others said the kid had a true gift for alchemy and healing and despite all his quirks, he made quite a few useful discoveries.

Everything could remain a secret but fate brought together the trickster and a mysterious girl who had a task to steal his secrets — the secret of his personality as well as scientific research. It's hard to call the story of their friendship ordinary. The troublemaker almost killed the poor girl but timely realized what he had done and rescued her through a hazardous experiment. And so in the dungeon, among deposits of Prime, Trickster and Cutie Zombie came into the world.

Once in several years they "brought" a new "friend" from the masquerade: Shriveled was the first, Calavera the second… Then Transylvanian learned their secret but he had no intention to give them away. He found Trickster's experiments fascinating, and the company of such queer creatures — just like himself — pleased him.

A few years ago under cover of night the extraordinary party finally left the Castle to make a journey around the world. They say Trickster's gloves were stained with blood that night. No one wished to know who it belonged to.

Shadow sighed and gave a somewhat unpleasant laugh. Then she came forward, the light of the only lamp illuminating her face… and people realized it was Cutie Zombie.

Nobody was sure if the Heroine made the story up but they all ran off to their homes shrieking in terror — no one wished to become the queer maid's victim. Cutie Zombie laughed for a while and decided that the local Lord should hear the story too. She wondered if you take it at face value or try to get at the truth…