The Quiet House - (updated)

In Event Art ・ By teadino
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The Quiet House

"Sure is empty in here.", Aiza remarked, biting a baked sweetgrass wrap as she looked at Seren. The large vespire sat across from her, at a dinner table the size of a boat. The candles at the centerpiece flickered, the light dancing off the old Victorian styled walls of the dining room, casting sharp shadows around the two. Tall, arched, dirty windows peered high over the table. At the end of the room, a marbled doorway sat, opening into a dark hallway.

"It's too bad St. Asphodel couldn't take this job." 

Aiza continued, chewing.

"She is a busy spirit ambassador after all. But hmph.. Why did it have to be a ghost?" Seren grumbled, scribbling down her observations from earlier. She had been writing since they entered the house; note-taking was always her first step in investigations.

"So you believe in them?" Aiza perked up.

"Yes."

Aiza casted a mischievous glance. "Are you afraid of 'em?"

"No." 

"Uh huh.. sure." Aiza grinned, and the vespire groaned, her golden eyes rolling upwards.

"Don't get any ideas, Aiza…" 

A jolly voice interrupted the two, and a tap on the window pane outside. A gray, handsome adult vespire smiled kindly at them from outside, their light gray eyes soft with worry. He wore a battered but elegant ruffled shirt with frayed cuffs. His hair was tucked back into a neat long ponytail.

"Will you ladies be fine tonight?... I know it can be daunting to stay in my old house overnight… If you want, we can call this off."

Aiza confidently shook her head. "We'll be fine, Wesmond! It's our job to free the spirit trapped in this house!"

"Yes… Begrudgingly. You'd be surprised how many calls I'd get to do spirit faring. Ghosts are in some way magical anomalies… So I can't exactly decline."

Seren added, puffing a trail of smoke, shuffling her notes.

"We'll find the 'spirit' and get it what it wants and free it from this plane of reality. Pain-free."

Wesmond blinked, surprised of their nonchalance and then nodded. "Ah.. I see. I greatly appreciate your help. I really do wish I could go back in… But you know, with the spirit and all…."

He motioned with his claw.  "I hope you understand." The two nodded.

He then gave a sad, nostalgic look at the house. The three storied place creaked and swayed slightly in the wind. Its Victorian complexion pointed outwards like stretched arms. The head of the house rose above the trees and its windows were boarded up haphazardly. It was caked in old, rotting wood and moss. Wesmond's eyes embraced the house's features, casting a fond look. "...This house means a lot to me. I don't live in it anymore but… I remember playing around it with… "

He stopped and shook his head, his eyes looking down. Then he gave them a smile and then turned to leave. "Ah, look at me, chatting away. Well, I will leave you two to it. I won't bother you with an old vespire's tale. Good luck!"

Before Aiza could ask him to stay and tell him the tale, he was already gone. The orange pouflon blinked, tilting her head. 

"He didn't look that old."

"Hm. Don't underestimate how long some vespires can live." Seren shrugged.

 

...

 

Hours had passed since their supper. The two walked down a dusty, web riddled hall, barely lit by the two lanterns they each carried. Deep shadows laced from the gothic ceiling awnings and wall columns as they slowly passed. 

"Anything yet?" Aiza asked wearily, inspecting the floorboards.

"No."

"Think the empty attic is where the spirit hung out? It's creepy up there."

"Searched thoroughly. Nothing."

"Maaaybe we can try the dining room again?"

"Shh. Quiet now." 

The vespire's ear twitched, picking up a light sound somewhere.

"..."

"..."

"...Man this is tedious!"

Seren lost the sound, and she gave Aiza an irritated grumble.

"SHUSH!" 

"Woops.. Sorry."

"..."

Aiza looked away. Then, boredom spread across her face again, and she opened her mouth.

"So what do you think is up with the smoky smell in the house?"

The vespire groaned, tail and ear twitching in annoyance. 

"I'm going to patrol alone. One last time", the black vespire stated.  The two entered an empty room, and she pointed to the middle of the room. "Stay in there and wait for me. Try to find clues in it."

"But--." Aiza protested. "Nothing is here."

She glanced at Seren. "Are you sure you'll find anything out there alone? We patrolled the entire house like three times already. It's like nothing is here."

"You're disappointed?"

"A little."

"This is a ghost. A trapped spirit. It doesn't show when you want it to."

"Maybe it just wants a chat? It could be lonely here."

"Aiza.. It's not like a pippet or person. It's a thing." Seren sighed.

"Hey, you never know!…" Aiza began to wave at the walls of the room, circling around. "Yoo hoo, spirit! How's the weather?"

"We're inside."

"Oh no! How is it going to get it's vitamin D?!"

"It's dead."

"I'll help by opening this window!"

"Aiza, it's nighttime!!"

Seren facepalmed, giving a side glance at Aiza. She threw a pouch of salt at the pouflon. "Draw a circle around the room and stay here. Perhaps if I go alone, I will draw the spirit out and we can see what it wants."

She also narrowed her eyes.

"And stay quiet."

"Aww.. Okay.." Aiza pouted.

 

The large vespire trailed down the dark, creaky hallways of the house, almost blending in with the deep shadows of the wooden walls. It was silent, save for her heavy steps, and she breathed an air of calm. It was the first time she had a moment to herself since they entered-- and while she was usually fond of Aiza's accompaniment, she was beginning to become irritated from all her chatter. They had circled the house thrice, all the while with idle talk, despite her shushing the pouflon constantly. It made it extremely hard for her to get any sound--or any clues as to the spirit's presence. Most of these "ghost calls", ended up in very mundane solutions, and she often found the "ghost" to be cinnawyrms in the wall or hyperactive chiropons. Going alone and being silent was the way to go with these calls, as the pippets were very shy. Aiza's incessant chit chat seemed to drive whatever was here away, and Seren was finally relieved to get back to the quiet.

Alone, she trailed along the staircase, gently making her way downwards, looking at the ashen walls, which seemed constricted. They were barren, and she made out where picture frames used to hang, now just dark circular spots.

The house itself seemed normal enough, though extremely old and weathered from existence, and if anything, it felt lonely. It was an empty place. Most rooms had nothing, no paintings or pictures placed anywhere, no coats hanging, no logs left over in the fireplace…. nothing. The house was even in a secluded forest, a little ways off from the road, its closest neighbor being a farm in the distance.

Seren pitied it, really. But she felt a strange kinship with the house, having been a lone traveler herself for a decade or so.

She too had been secluded, seeing the world with no one beside her, in her carriage, often hearing only the quiet of nature, and rarely, the chatter of passing strangers. The wind whistle, the rivers splashing, the carriage creaking... It suited her, she thought. The quiet, the nothing. 

Of course, everything had changed once Aiza joined her on her journey. Gone were the peaceful days and nights of hearing dancing trees and soft riverflow-- all replaced with the high pitched, talkative pouflon's voice. Asking her this, and that. Redundant, boring, basic questions on how things worked. Since then she still struggled to get used to the replacement, and often missed her lone travels. Seren sighed, taking in the sweet soundlessness around her. 

Silence…. 

...

A skittering sound crossed the floor.

Seren smirked. Ah, there was the culprit. She knew there was no trapped spirit. Again it was a trapped little critter.

This was why she hated ghosts. It should have been called pest control, really.

She followed the skittering, making her footsteps lighter, slowly inching after the scuffling noise in the wall.

They got louder, more scratch like, as if trying to break through plaster.

She hovered her claw over where the sound was, and prepared to breach the wall.

But the sound stopped, and she froze. It was silent now. Seren pressed closer to the wall, ear almost touching it. 

Her breath was the only sound.

Silence. 

Then, something scratched her back, something sharp. She jerked away, eyes wide, heart thumping.

A roar erupted next to her ear. She jumped, and swiveled around. 

 

"AIZA!" 

She glared at the orange pouf, who stuck a tongue out cheekily from behind, illuminated by the lantern.

"Boooo! Heh!"

Seren stepped back, heart still thumping. Her eyes shot daggers at Aiza. "Asphodel's spirits! I told you to stay in the room!"

"I got ya good didn't I? Hehe!" 

"Hilarious. Now go back. This could be dangerous!"

"Nothing's happen yet, are you sure? I can just tail behind and see if I catch anythin'!"

"I'm serious."

The vespire turned around, sighing at where she last heard the critter. She was so close. Her tail twitched in annoyance, her eyes narrowed.

"Geez alright, I'll go if it makes ya happy! No need to grump it up." 

Seren turned slightly, enough to see the pouflon go back up the stairs. Aiza waved casually, giving a cautious, guilty smile. 

"Sorry, I was just bored.. I'll go back and try to find clues in the room or somethin."

Then, she was gone, and silence returned to the area. Seren let her shoulders sag when she let her breath out. Her heart slowed again, but she groaned with heavy annoyance. Now she'll have to find that critter again…

But the soundlessness returned. No more chatter, just the house breathing and creaking ever so softly. 

A relieved smile crept across her face.

Silence….

Again, how she missed it.

 

She scaled along the hallway wall, savoring the light creaks of her footsteps and the gentle whistle of the winds outside. The lantern gave a tiny squeak as it tilted in place while she went along, and the fire on the candle gave a slight crackle. She could almost hear her own heartbeat, and she closed her eyes, enjoying the moment.

 

Then, the skitter sounded again, this time farther up ahead, and the vespire whipped her head towards it.

Aha! She tailed after the sound, as quietly and as swiftly as she could, her shadows leaking into the dining room, where it fled to...

 

Seren entered the dark dining room, where they had sat in earlier. The table felt longer than ever, extending into the darkness that was the other side of the room. A faint smell of singe floated in there, and light squeaks of the floorboards bent from her steps. Outside, the forest's branches clawed at the house, making gentle scuffles. Seren's ears trained onto the skittering, which became louder as she bent down to the floor.

Finally, it stopped at where a grandfather clock used to live, and the scratching sound began again. It seemed to hit an obstacle in the wall. Seren set the lantern on the table, and hovered her claw over the spot. The scritching was loud now. 

Swiftly, the vespire surgically tore into the wall, her large claws reaching into it. She grabbed her prize and heard a tiny "eep!" 

Her claws pulled it out, the light hitting the culprit, and Seren gave a chuckle, looking pleased. "Got you!"

A maizard, a yellow lizard, squirmed in her palm, trying to free itself, making alarmed squeaking noises. 

"Apologies, little one. You are coming with me now. I'll get you out of this maze in no time." Seren cooed softly, placing a bag over it.

She gently slid it into a tweed bag, and it seemed to calm down, preferring the darkness and warmth of the thing. It gave a soft "eee…" from within.

The vespire then grabbed the lantern.

"Suppose I should get back to Aiza." 

But then she smirked. Orrrr…. she could continue exploring… Now that she found the "spirit", she wanted to enjoy the silence of the night more. Perhaps even find a treasure in this house... Maybe the owners left something behind? Someone always did. It would beat going back to Aiza's irritating  chatter.

The vespire gave a happy sigh… 

She wished she could stay in this silence forever…

 

Just as she thought that, she saw an orange blur at the corner of her eye at the end of the room, escaping behind the doorframe, into the darkness.

Seren gave a slight jolt.

"Aiza?"  

Dammit, did the pouflon come down again? She dreaded the end of her quiet adventure. The vespire slinked towards the doorway where she saw the pouflon, and peered out.

Again, the pouflon appeared at the edge of her vision, disappearing behind another doorway down the darkened hall.

"Some sneak you are. Come back." She commanded.

No response.

Typical, sometimes Aiza ignored her calls. But even then, she would at least have responded in a sassy way.

Confused, Seren followed the path the pouflon took, weaving through the dreary, dusty hallway. She turned the corner to where she last saw the pouf, and was met with a dead end. 

A chill ran down her spine. 

She shook her head, looking around the empty corner, hair raised.

"Very funny. I know you're there." 

She looked up, guessing that the pouf was hovering above. 

Nothing. 

She touched the wall, inspecting for any hidden doors… 

Nothing.

That was odd. She knew Aiza wasn't capable of just… disappearing. Even odder was her not blabbing her mouth. No jump scare… No silly remarks this time. Just quiet. 

The wind outside began to flick the branches against the house, and a repetitive scratching noise touched her ear. The house moaned softly, and then an eerie silence dropped around her. Her breath once again became the only noise. Seren suddenly had a feeling of escaping to the outside...

 

She heard a creak behind her, and turned. Aiza's back disappeared into a room, and the door was left ajar slightly, pitch blackness peeking from  beyond. 

The vespire approached it. Her lantern squeaked as it bounced, and her claws scraped against the wooden floorboards. She could hear her heartbeat thumping against her chest now, her breath rising in speed, as she neared the door.

The doorknob cast a gritty shine as her light neared it, and Seren nervously pulled it open.

She entered a dark room with a single chair in the corner. A boarded up window sat on the opposite side with barren walls. Again, the orange pouf was nowhere to be seen. Her eyes slowly scanned the room, a bead of sweat rolling down her brow. 

"Cut it out, Aiza.." She managed, nervously.

Then, she heard a click. She looked back, her gut twisting. The door was closed.

Seren tried the door handle, but it was locked tight. 

She heard the chair make a scuffling noise behind her, and the vespire slowly turned her head, the whites of her eyes wide.

 

Aiza sat in the chair. Her face had black holes instead of eyes, and her mouth was missing. She..no… It stared blankly at Seren. It muffled a soft noise.

Seren stepped back, eyes wide and transfixed on the wrongness of her assistant's face. Her breathing hastened, and she felt a knot in her throat.

That wasn't Aiza-- it had to be the spirit.

"What did you do to her?!" She screamed, voice almost breaking, at the invisible entity.

But strangely, despite screaming, she heard nothing come out of her mouth.  Her lips and throat moved to form words, but she picked up only silence. Surprised, the vespire dropped her lantern, claws reaching up to her mouth.

The lantern shattered, and she watched the glass pieces bounce about soundlessly. Her heartbeats were gone, as were any of her footsteps as she stepped away. The vespire fell backwards, scratching her ears, hoping to pick up her movements or the crackle of the embers on the floor. But there was nothing.

She was surrounded by silence.

Darkness swarmed around her, and she tried to scream. Her throat reverberated, but again, her ears heard nothing.

Panicking, she began to rampage around the room, slamming around blindly in the darkness, trying to pick up noises--any scratch, creak... anything!

The fake Aiza evaporated into a white corporeal cloud, its black hole eyes watching Seren, almost as if gleefully enjoying her suffering.

A fire began to pool around Seren in the room, and a sickly orange glow illuminated her terrified face. The flames consumed the chair and crawled over the walls and ceiling. Blackness swirled at the top, and everything was coated red and orange.

The quiet fire licked her side, and she bellowed silently, trying to break through the door. No sound. Not even when she pounded the door using her fists. Not even when the raging fire was behind her and splinters flew. Not even when she roared.

Silence.

The door wouldn't budge.

She had the sense that no one could hear her, and she began to cough from the smoke rising in the orange room. She heaved and hacked, feeling her lungs burst notelessly. Her breaths became short, and her vision blurred. The vespire felt herself kneel against the thick door, rolls of sweat building around her mouth as she mixed yelling and breathing. She clawed weakly at the door, the heat now watering her eyes and grilling her legs.

 

In desperation she called for Aiza. She knew she didn't like the pouflon's blabber, but the opposite was too much. This blazing silence was too lonely. Too suffocating. She sorely wished to hear Aiza's yelling on the other side of the door. She could barely even imagine it. All memories of the talks they had and her very own thoughts were muffled in her brain, like dying whispers. 

Her heart felt a choke, realizing she could even lose hearing her own thoughts.

No… She had to keep them!

Her mind snapped to the loudest sounds she could remember. The memories came in foggily. Fireworks... Thunder… Aiza's biggest sneeze… her enthusiastic chatter about opening the window….

Her eyes widened, watery.

The window…!

Using the last of her energy, the vespire heaved herself towards the boarded up window, fire eating at her body. She felt the heat cook her flesh as she trudged through the room, smoke stinging her eyes and nostrils-- but she grit her teeth and with a powerful thrust, body slammed the window with all her might.

 

She couldn't hear it, but she felt it. Broken wood and glass splintered about as she dropped downwards. She softened her fall from the three storied house with her pneumir, and she rolled out onto the grass below.

Above her, a white ethereal cloud wafted from the broken window. Its black eyes bore down at Seren for a second, as if confused, before looking upwards. Then, in seconds, it evaporated into the atmosphere…

The orange glow in the room above disappeared. An empty black window sat in its place. Seren stared up at the house,  breathing heavily, trying to discern any movement. But there was nothing.

 

"Are you alright?!"

Seren leapt up, ears twitching from the sudden burst of sound. She touched her ears, and heard a flurry of footsteps. Relief washed over her entire face as she watched Aiza rush towards her. 

The pouf worriedly helped the vespire up.

"I heard a loud crash and saw you fall from the top! What in blazes happened?!"

"The spirit…", The vespire coughed, eyes  soft at Aiza.

"You saw it?! What did it look like?"

"White. Black eyes… I think it left." 

The two gazed upwards. Pink clouds were beginning to form dawn, and the stars glimmered above them. The wind rushed through them, throwing tree branches into a scuffle. 

Something yellow shot out of Seren's bag. The maizard skittered frantically around them, giving both of them a jump. It squeaked angrily at them. Aiza pointed at it and began to ask a million questions.  Seren, pelted by Aiza's banter and the maizard screeching, sighed gratefully and melted into the grass.

 

...

 

"Thanks for everything." Wesmond gave them a bow, his gray hair flipping over. A kind smile plastered his face. 

"Now he can truly rest…"

The vespire gestured towards a gilded chest on Seren's carriage. "I hope you enjoy my family's treasures. I won't be needing them now that this is over."

Aiza excitedly hopped around the chest, oogling at it. "Are you sure?! It looks worth a million crowns!"

"Trust me, Money has no value to me anymore." 

Seren politely bowed back. "Thank you for your generosity. Please, let us transport you home."

"I appreciate it… but I will be fine from here" Wesmond gave a sad smile.

"Awwe, okay! I guess this is goodbye." Aiza waved, sitting on Seren's carriage as it began to levitate upwards.

The grey vespire blinked as if remembering something, and raised an arm at the two.

"Oh, one last thing. Can you tell the kind farmer down the road to be careful next week? A freak wildfire is coming, have him cut the weeds before then." Wesmond smiled. "Wouldn't want another accident."

Aiza nodded enthusiastically. "Sure!"

"Farewell. Take care." Seren lastly said, raising her claws at Wesmond for a final wave, her wings beating hard as she led the front charge of the carriage.

The carriage craned upwards into the sky, golden smoke clouds puffing from its underside. The old thing raised itself away, following Seren's lead, and disappeared over the forest's treetops. 

 

Thirty minutes later, the carriage stopped mid flight over the nearby farmer's field, hovering just above the farmer himself. The golden fields rolled slightly as Seren's wings threw a gust at them. She flapped slowly and kept the wagon in place, gazing north. Beyond the wheat lie the Redwick forest, where they had just flown from. Its autumn treeline sprawled out over the hills, giving it a fuzzy appearance in the distance. Gray clouds loomed behind the colorful trees and cyan skies. Far away, an ever so faint thunder snapped.

The tawny, red farmer pouflon gazed upwards, curiously watching Aiza drop down from above. He tipped his sunhat politely at her, and the pouf happily waved back.

"Heya good sir! I've got a message from Wesmond who used to live in the forest down the road! Says you should cut your weeds before next week, something about a freak wildfire?"

She smiled, pointing to the forest in the far distance.

The farmer scratched his head, giving a perplexed look. "Wesmond--who?"

"Grey vespire. Looks very prim and proper… used to live in a mansion in the forest?" Aiza gestured a vague outline of a house shape.

"Er… Sorry lady I dunno who youse talking about. But its odd you mention a mansion. Used to be a mansion in that there forest. But it burned down decades ago. Entire family went down with it."

He gave a concerned look. 

"Sad really. Heard it was parents and their two sons. No one heard them cry for help, no one lived around 'ere back then."

Aiza blinked. "H-huh?!"

She felt extremely cold all of a sudden. She shuddered, staring back at the forest, eyes fixated on where the house was. She couldn't see anything but trees. 

"Oy.. Are you ok? Youse looking a bit pale there."

"F-fine!-- I'm fine." Aiza lied. 

The farmer scratched his chin, giving a bright smile. "Tis' a good idea to cut the weeds though. Wildfires are common in this area. 'Specially around this season. Thanks lil lady."

….

….

Aiza returned to the floating carriage up above, looking despondent. Seren hovered in the air, glancing back at her, noticing her paleness. "You're looking quite shaken."

The pouf opened her mouth, waving her arms frantically. "Yyeah. The house.. Wesmond… it.. both--" But she stopped. She remembered that Seren hated ghosts… and she just had a battle with the spirit yesterday. It clearly shook and exhausted Seren. Aiza didn't want to further worry the vespire. "Nevermind. It's nothing."

"Huh. Well, get comfortable. We're travelling to Citremery next."

"Woah! That's gonna be one long ride. … It's gonna be boring… Oh! I know, want to do some pippet trivia?!" Aiza grinned, head raised up.

Seren gave a grumpy look at her. The pouf lowered her ears. "Ok geez, I get it. You want some peace and quiet. I'll go back into the carriage…" 

Just as she slumped away towards the back, the vespire gave a big fake cough. 

"I don't mind." Seren said, looking away and ahead.

The pouf came back around, grinning broadly. "Really?"

"Yes. Get back to the front seat before I change my mind."

"Awww yeah!"

Aiza zipped right on over and began to gesture and point at the horizon, pointing at birds that began to fly overhead. 

"So toucanas right? What color are they in the south?! Actually that's a hard one. I can explain it if you don't know…"

The pouf went on to blabber. The wind rustled the fields below them, and a slight whistle blew around them. The river nearby sloshed and gurgled. The birds tweeted. Seren heard it all, but now they were all secondary sounds to her. Her ears picked up Aiza's banter first and foremost, with the music of nature being the backdrop. This soothed her, and she gave a slight smile, as she propelled the carriage forward and towards the horizon.

 

[End]

teadino
The Quiet House - (updated)
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In Event Art ・ By teadino

Giving up the ghost event quest! Seren and Aiza investigate a house where a trapped spirit lies.... 


Submitted By teadino
Submitted: 1 month agoLast Updated: 1 month ago

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