The Manor: Part One


Loud bangs and wicked laughter were heard throughout the manor; waking Calix up with a start. Rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, he saw the morning light reach into his room. He wondered what all the commotion was. But nevertheless, it was a fresh day for him to pursue his desire. Also, the fact that he was able to wake up in a bed, allowed Calix to feel rested. 

He reached into his pack and pulled a fresh pair of clothes out. Quickly dressing and cleaning himself up at the sink. He wore regular trousers with a clean black button up tucked in. Leather suspenders around his shoulders and black boots comfortably set on his feet.

Sticking the room key into his pocket and picking up the pile of dirty clothes off the floor, Calix exited the room and made his way down the corridor, back towards the main hall. The laughter and banging were coming from different rooms. Bouncing off the stone walls, causing echoes to travel with him as he proceeded to the staircase.  He followed the instructions that Lady Violet gave him last night and found the room where he was able to wash the clothes he was holding.

A half hour later, he laid them out to dry. Deciding that this would be the best time to see if he could eat breakfast. He leisurely walked towards the main hall. The place looked different during the day. Natural light coming through the windows, giving the manor a fresh look. As he reached the desk, Lady Violet stood behind and perked her head up when he approached.

“Good morning Mr. de Corvus. I hope you slept well last night.” she spook.

“I did, although the ruckus from other guests woke me up.” Calix told her plainly.

“Other guests? There must be a mistake because you’re the only one here, sir.” Lady Violet replied with confusion set on her face.

That couldn’t be true, Calix thought. He heard laughter and muffled voices all around. There’s no way he was the only guest here. Deciding to ignore his thoughts, he shook his head.

“Is there possibly a place where I could eat?” he asked her.

“Of course; just take the right corridor and you’ll end up in the dining hall. Your food is already out for you. Egg with fresh toast and butter. Just the way you like it.” Lady Violet said normally.

Calix furrowed his eyebrows as she said that. How did she know what he prefers, he wondered to himself. Glancing away, he nodded and stepped back slowly before turning and making his way to the dining hall. 

He noticed that the corridors were all the same. Stone walls, with candle lights and odd decorations against them. Paintings, masks, weapons and some hand-made trinkets hung from the walls; diversifying the manor itself. Although he had noticed some interesting decor, he didn’t take the time to stop and observe. 

Finally entering the dining hall, he slowed his pace down and observed the room. Tables and chairs scattered about, with big windows all around, allowing him to look out onto the front courtyard and the forest that lay next to the manor. 

His eyes landed on a table in the middle of the room, with a plate of food and a glass of water set on top. It was the only table with food, so he assumed this was for him. Making his way to the table, he pulled the chair from under and sat down. An egg with fresh toast and butter, just as Lady Violet had stated.

Calix still didn’t understand. Even he didn’t know what he prefered for breakfast or any other meal of the day. All that mattered was the substance that he took in. The energy that he needed. He didn’t fret on that thought though as he started to eat his meal.

“Are you enjoying your food?” a voice spoke next to him.

Startled, Calix dropped his utensil and looked over to see a young woman sitting near him. Her eyes staring into his. There was a pause before she let out a laugh. A small, but amusing one. He stared at her blankly, not sure what to say. 

“You should see your face.” the woman said as she continued to laugh.

She was beautiful. An attractive face, with long curly brown hair draped over her shoulders. She wore a simple outfit; a white shirt with black trousers and brown boots. Nothing flashy, but the attire looked good on her. 

“Well, are you going to say something or are you going to continue staring at me?” she broke his train of thought.

“Uh, I- hello?” Calix said with confusion.

She laughed again, making Calix frown. 

“Hello, my name is Elpis.”

“Calix.” he replied.

“It is nice to meet you, Calix. Sorry for startling you. I was genuinely asking if you were enjoying your food by the way.” Elpis said.

“Oh, it’s okay. Nothing special really, just food.” he stated.

“It does look plain. I got way more. My favorite breakfast meal actually. Lady Violet told me they prepared something I preferred, which I found odd since I never told her or anyone in the manor.” she said as her eyebrows knitted slightly.

“Really? She told me the same thing.” Calix said without hesitation.

Elpis tilted her head as he said that. Placing a finger on her chin as if in thought. 

“That is very odd.” she finally spoke after a moment of silence.

“May I take the seat across?” she asked Calix politely.

He nodded and turned his head back at his half finished food. Taking a sip of water, as Elpis sat across from him. They made eye contact, the hazel color in her irises gleaming with curiosity

“So, Calix, what brings you to Violet Elysium?” she asked him while holding her head up with her hand. 

“I’ve been on the road for the past week. Never finding a place to stay until now. And you?” he returned the question.

“I’m traveling spontaneously around. Not having a destination. Just the road, random manors and strangers.” she answered with a smile.

Calix observed her while she spoke, her beauty radiating from her naturally. He couldn’t help, but to be mesmerized by Elpis. Her elegance and obvious tranquility made her interesting to listen to and look at. He wondered if she were this friendly with everyone or if she only chose certain people.

“You’re a bit dreamy, aren’t you?” breaking his train of thought once again.

“Hm? No, no. Just thinking.” Calix replied.

“Where are you from, Calix?” she asked him calmly.

“Well, I couldn’t really tell you. I’m not sure.”

“Oh my, do you suffer from amnesia?” Elpis quickly asked.

“What? No. Not that I know of.” Calix said defensively.

She furrowed her eyebrows and stared at him questionably. The whole interaction made Calix nervous, but also relaxed at the same time. As if her presence gave him some form of euphoria. He didn’t know what to say though. Answering personal questions wasn’t his strong suit after all.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t pester you with personal topics.” she finally spoke.

Calix simply nodded, while finishing his glass of water and scraping the last bit of food off the plate. He looked around, trying to figure out where to put his plate and glass, but not finding a suitable area.

“You can just leave it on the table.” Elpis said.

Glancing over at her, Calix frowned slightly. He didn’t want to be rude and leave his mess lying around.

“Trust me, I asked earlier and Lady Violet said that it was fine.” she spoke again.

“Oh, if that’s so, then okay.” Calix said as he stood up and pushed the chair in. 

Elpis did the same before interjecting once more.

“May I walk with you?” she asked lightly.

He nodded approval at her and began to walk back towards the main hall. The two proceeded down the corridor in a comfortable silence, but he couldn’t help but wonder about his interaction with Lady Violet. How she said he was the only guest; and yet, walking with him, was another guest of the manor. Had she lied or forgotten, he kept asking himself. Calix let the thoughts die down, not to begin worrying over something trivial. They continued down until they reached the wash room where Calix let his clothes dry. He didn’t ask why she was still with him. Truly not minding her presence. It actually made him more comfortable. Calm and at ease. An odd feeling to have with a complete stranger, of course.

Retrieving his clothes from the room, clean and dry, the two walked together once more to the main hall. 

“Did you get caught in that thunderstorm last evening?” she asked him as they both climbed the staircase. 

“Yes, didn’t arrive here until midnight, so I was out there for the entire duration of the storm.” Calix replied while they both took a right turn at the top of the staircase.

“I’m glad  you found this place then. You could’ve ended up with an illness.”

Calix smiled at that. Not knowing why, but appreciating her sincerity. 

“Your room is also down here?” Calix asked her, giving her a glance.

Elpis nodded and pointed at the door coming up to their right. They stopped once they reached it. He turned to her and gave off a small smile. She returned while pulling out the key to her room.

“Nice meeting you, Calix. I hope we can speak again later today.” she said honestly.

“Me too, Elpis. Until then, I suppose.” he told her as she gave him one last smile before entering her room and closing the door.

He turned and continued down the hallway until he arrived at his room. Before entering, he shot a look back down the corridor to where Elpis’ room was. A smile plastered on his face as he thought of her eyes and elegance. Perfect, he told himself. Erasing the thought of it being odd to feel this comfortable with a stranger. He felt as if he met this person before. Perhaps a long time ago and they just never remembered each other. But her appearance will always be in his head. That, he knew for certain. 

____

The day went by slowly. It was a little after midday, where Calix was sitting at his desk, with a journal open and a silver pen sitting on the pages. He had wrote about Elpis the entire morning. Descriptions of her appearance, the way she spoke, her posture and body language. The thoughts of her never leaving his head. Calix was truly mesmerized. It wasn’t a romantic obsession, but rather simple interest. 

His actual plan was to remember Elpis when they parted ways. Not to forget her. Potentially being a main character in his book. As he picked up his pen to write, the banging and continued wicked laughter that came from other rooms slightly bothered him. Yet, it was easy for him to drown it out, being so caught up in writing the details of Elpis. 

After a few minutes, he dropped the pen and sat back with obvious exhaustion. Calix gripped the journal and started to read what he wrote. His green eyes darting from word to word and line to line. Perfect, he told himself yet again. 

Lightly closing the journal and setting it on the desk, he stood up and grabbed the coat that was draped over the chair. Deciding that this would be the best time to take a break and stroll around the manor. He put the black coat on and exited the room. 

Arriving at the main hall, he saw her; Elpis. She was standing around, admiring the decor that hung from the walls. A particular mask painted white and black had caught her attention. Calix approached and stopped right next to her, taking a look at the mask. Small horns sprouted from the top with the face showing no form of emotion.

“The Algea followers.” Elpis spoke.

Calix turned his head towards her, wondering what she had just said.

“A cult of sorts that follow the spirits of Algea.” she explained further.

“They wore these masks?” Calix asked curiously.

“Sometimes, but not all the time. They’re known to cause suffering across many lands. Their simple presence could possibly bring someone’s mind to despair.” Elpis stated.

He looked the mask over again. This time the feeling of uneasiness rushing through him. Far away, he heard the wicked laughter again.

“Did you hear that?” he asked Elpis as he jerked his head towards the second floor.

“Heard what?” she asked him with her eyes looking over him with concern.

Calix just shook his head. Closing his eyes briefly before looking back at Elpis.

“Nevermind. It was nothing.” he said with a big smile.

“Want to keep me company in the gardens outside?” she asked him.

He nodded and Elpis took his hand, guiding him through the manor.

Going through different stone corridors, making left and right turns, Elpis slowed down when they reached double doors that led outside. Calix hadn’t noticed how vast the manor truly was, but once they stepped outside, he held his breath at the beautiful sight that laid in front of his eyes. 

A massive garden with an assortment of bushes, flowers and small trees scattered all about. Dirt pathways that led around the entirety of the garden. On the other side, a lush field sprawled out. Both the field and the garden were aligned with a forest that went beyond. Calix wasn’t sure if the wooded part was apart of the manor’s property or not.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Elpis asked as she stared out.

“Very, I didn’t know the manor had this.” Calix stated. 

Elpis started down the spiral staircase that went from either side of the patio that they stood on. He followed pursuit, eager to walk with her through the gardens. 

In silence, the two strolled through with leisure. Enjoying the different colors from flower petals and overall scent that bloomed throughout. Calix loved how relaxed he felt around Elpis. As if they connected more through the presence of each other rather than with conversation. 

The quiet crunch from the dirt beneath their boots as they continued to walk the pathways, resonated. Towards the end, next to the field that spread across, the pair sat down on a wooden bench facing the garden.

“Thank you for inviting me to keep you company.” Calix told Elpis.

She smiled brightly and gave a small nod. They both sat in silence, enjoying the nature that lay in front of them. 

“Will this be your last stop?” she asked him after a moment has passed.

“I’m not sure. I don’t really have anything planned out. I honestly don’t know where I would go.” he answered her honestly.

“Well, I do hope this will be your last stop.” she said.

Calix gave her a puzzled look, not sure what she meant by that.

“You need to continue, Calix.” she stated.

He wasn’t sure how to respond.

“What do you mean?” he asked her.

“Do you think you are ready? To fight and move forward?” she spoke, ignoring his question.

“Ready to fight? I’m not sure what to say.”

Elpis pursed her lips, not replying to his second question. Folding her hands above her lap, she let out a quiet sigh.

“You will be ready one day, Calix. I believe in you.” she spoke matter of fact.

Looking away, Calix pondered to himself. Leaving the conversation at that. Ever since he got to the manor, things have been very odd. Lady Violet, the irritating noises around him and Elpis. Although, he did enjoy the time he spent with Elpis. He felt at ease, like massive weight was taken off of his shoulders. That’s when a question crossed his mind.

“Have you been hearing odd noises while in the manor?” he asked openly.

Elpis gave him a look of curiosity. Instantly morphing into concern and worry. 

“No, I haven’t.” Elpis answered.

Calix became confused again. Was he hearing things that weren’t actually there, he wondered. He wasn’t worried, but just confused. The manor made him confused and made him think. While he was on the road, he had only one thought; to find a haven to get his mind straight; to focus.

He brought his head down, eyeing the ground. Not knowing what to think or even say. Calix was puzzled and it started to frustrate him. Without knowing, his leg started bouncing; going faster the more he thought. The touch of Elpis’ hand on his shoulder made him stop and aim his eyes at hers.

“You will be fine, Calix. Trust me, okay?” she said

All the confusion and irritation was replaced by that calm feeling again. He nodded and smiled lightly. Elpis stood up and invited Calix to do the same with her hand.

“Shall we return?” she asked him.

He took her hand and the two returned to the manor.

Elpis and Calix made it back to the main hall. Slowing down in the middle of the room, Elpis stopped abruptly and turned to face Calix. 

“Calix, I need you to answer me this; are you ready to continue?” she asked him once again.

“I’m honestly not sure what you are talking about, Elpis.” Calix replied.

“Those noises you’re hearing, what are they exactly?” she asked him another question.

“Um, laughter and loud banging. Muffled voices everywhere. They’re coming from the different rooms in our corridor.” he responded honestly.

“Do you hear them now?” she continued the questions.

He stood quiet, trying to see if he could hear them in that moment. It was faint, but yet, still there. The laughter, muffled voices and slight banging on the walls.

“Yes, but it’s not as loud. Just listen! You’ll hear it.” Calix finally spoke.

“No, Calix. I can’t hear them. It’s just as I feared. You’re not ready. You’re still too deep in.” she said.

He stared at her, puzzled. Calix wasn’t sure what she meant with all of this, but it freaked him out. Elpis definitely knew him from before, he just can’t remember from where. The fact that she couldn’t hear the laughter, made him uneasy as well. Maybe, she was lying or just couldn’t hear them at the moment, but he really didn’t want it to be true. He wanted her to hear. To reassure him that he wasn’t going mad.

“Goodbye Calix.” Elpis spoke plainly.

She started to walk away and before Calix could call out for her, she disappeared. As if she were never there. He held out his hand, trembling. Tears filling his eyes, he slowly dropped his arm. 

“That’s a shame, Mr. de Corvus. You were so close.” Calix heard Lady Violet speak behind him.

All at once, the laughter, banging and voices became more vibrant. Pounding past his eardrums and into his mind.

Calix ran up the steps and down the corridor. Slamming the door after entering his room and falling onto his bed. The noises still resonating throughout his room. He clamped his ears in frustration and kept his eyes shut tightly, but they surged through him, still vibrant and loud.

With his breathing becoming faster and heavier, he snapped; letting out a scream, wanting everything to stop and give him peace. Nothing stopped. He wasn’t ready, but all he wanted was Elpis to help him be ready. Calix still didn’t know what he had to be ready for, but he knew this for certain, he wanted to be and he wanted Elpis to help him out.


Part two and the epilogue will arrive in the next couple of days. Thank you for reading!

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Cover Photo

Introduction

Part Two and Epilogue

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