One hundred and twenty years ago, the Lord Valence Kallidus was a powerful noble who controlled all of the lands from the Yawning Woods to the Great River.
He enjoyed the very best his frontier lands could provide and levied a heavy tax on travelers along the Wingate Road. Many thought him cruel and strict. His family was seldom seen, hidden behind an army of servants and vassals, but his guards were well known as warriors and champions of the people.
Great value was placed by the common folk in becoming a member of his entourage and those who did were considered better for gaining employment in his service.
Having accumulated so much wealth, the Lord decided he needed a more stately home to keep his treasures safe.
Masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, laborers and sundry artists from all around gathered in such great numbers that a new town had to be founded to house them all. A swathe of the old Yawning Woods was cut down to allow safe passage to Cindersmoke Mountain and its precious stone. In time, the town was named for a local fauna that grew hardy in the wild lands, Rosebyrne.
Construction on the Kallidus home lasted ten long years and during that time many died in the building’s construction, their lives cut short by frequent accidents and various disasters during the years. In its third year, the laborers were decimated by a wasting illness, which took an especially heavy toll on those working underneath the surface. The surviving miners and craftsmen were saved by the healing lore of a nearby elven colony.
As completion neared, Kallidus moved his family in and prepared a grand fete to celebrate the triumph of their home’s culmination. Noblemen from far away were invited. Two dukes of Falcatta and a prince of Mosticarr came, escorted by their household knights and maidens.
Several bishops and cardinals of varied religions and cathedrals came with retinues of clerics and paladins. Even many of the artists, masons and forge-masters were invited so that they may show off their handiwork. The next day all of them were gone.
Not a trace was left. Food was left on plates, drinks sat on counters un-supped and embers glowed in the homes many fireplaces. The superstitious in town all said the ghosts of the dead workers that built the home rose up that night and dragged everyone back to their graves. The skeptical in town said it was a grand trick, mean old Kallidus had planned on disappearing that night and didn’t want to go alone.
The grim in town said that someone in the staff had gone mad that night and killed everyone, burying them in the home’s still unfinished wine cellars. No one actually knows what happened, but all the land’s wealth, vested gentry, the educated, and a significant force of sword-bearing arms disappeared that night.
The house remains and superstitions quickly took hold so that the townsfolk closed up the manor for many years. Some ten or twelve years ago, a battered and bruised stranger came upon Rosebyrne.
Having spied the gigantic manse from the road, he chanced a visit one night and returned to town the next day with his knapsack full of riches. He bought a horse with an enormous ruby the size of a fist and then headed out of town, never to return. His story, spread entirely by mouth, was heard far and wide.
Adventurers now flock to Rosebyrne to take on the challenge of the great, abandoned old manor. Some meet success, some meet disappointment. Others meet something hungry in the dark and never return. Now, something sinister is growing beneath Rosebyrne Manor.
Adventurers are disappearing with greater frequency. Some nights, they say you can see the ghosts of the Kallidus’ party goers dancing in the many ballrooms. In old cellars and stores, sub-human creatures vie with one another for better hunting grounds. Cultists in black robes gather in the building’s catacombs alongside skeletal guardians.
Magic traps and wards that had lain dormant for nearly a century have reactivated or mysteriously moved. A ghostly figure can be seen on clear nights standing atop the Manor, clutching a spire and peering in the night towards the town’s ever-lengthening boundaries.