Chapter 1: Baltimore
by Alexandria Knight
The events that occurred in the House of Usher are extremely alarming and foreign to me. I will, however, share with you what I saw that night in the hope that it will help the investigations of La Lumiere.
I was invited to the masquerade ball by a former client of mine. I do not remember much about arriving at the ball. The first thing that stands out in my mind is waking in a golden room. I searching the room led me to the conclusion that a man lived in the house alone. I set off to figure out what was going on and met with John and Elise. Elise was quite hysterical and led us to what I can only describe as a ghost. The figure stood in the bathtub. He looked like a man but he was covered in blood. He told us his name was Prospero and he shared a tragic story of his past. His love for a women had led him to be cursed and it seemed we all would be joining him in the curse.
You must understand, I was quite annoyed by this realization. As I have no time for such frivolous things as "love" the idea that someone else's shortcomings could lead to my demise was unacceptable. If we all could just realize that a relationship between a man and a woman should be based on the fulfillment of needs and not on feelings life would be easier and more profitable for everyone. Certainly all of the men who partook in my services understood this.
But I digress, at this point my only goal was to find a way out of the house. I managed to break open a window but was convinced by the others that running off into a winter night might be a disastrous idea. I decided to stay and help break the curse.
We returned to the ballroom where we met a few of the other guests. One of the women had died by sweating blood. We believed the red cloud that had put us all to sleep had killed her but I do not understand why it would have been fatal for her and not the rest of us. I suppose we are the lucky ones. A gunshot led us to another guest - a priest who appeared to have shot a man. As I pondered how many insane priests I would meet in my lifetime we began to work on the clues we had amassed thus far. The hardest one for us to decipher were the letters on the ceiling. We knew now that we must search out and destroy a clock.
Together we headed downstairs to explore the cellar. It was here that we encountered yet another ghostly figure. This time he was wearing all red. John managed to push him off the stairs. A few bullets finished him off and we were able to find on him a red key which fit the mysterious red door. Whatever was behind this door was the only part of the house we had yet to enter and since our search so far had not been fruitful I had hope it would lead to a solution.
Behind the door was a man named Roderick Usher. He was most certainly mad. He told us he wanted to see the curse till it's end knowing he could meet the Red Death and become more powerful. I honestly did not understand the nonsense he was spouting but after all I had seen that day I suppose it wasn't that odd. I faintly heard the ticking of a clock and motioned to Elise where it was. The chest was locked but after a scuffle that resulted in the death of Usher we were able to procure the golden bug/key that hung around his neck.
Time seemed to be running out for us. I am not afraid of anything but the idea of dying from a curse I had no understanding of or attachment to seems ridiculous to me. I began to beat the clock mercilessly with a shovel. It was certainly not one of my most composed moments. I am neither ashamed nor proud of my actions.
With the clock destroyed we all made our way out of the house. Our path was blocked, however, by a giant spider. I would not expect you to believe all of this, Auguste, if you had not shown up shortly afterward! Amazingly it was the nun who ended up killing the spider. I have no fighting abilities to speak of so it was quite impressive. And, trust me, I am not impressed easily.
I hope that you can understand my hesitancy to join your group. Some of the others have a vested interest in the supernatural but these things seem like nothing but trouble to me. Yet, I feel the Red Death has effected me somehow and what I have seen can not be unseen. Hopefully the future will bring me some sort of explanation.