· Schreibach Estate
The Schreibach Estate
By Kyla Ward
A roleplaying resource for urban horror, using the Unisystem rules from Eden Studios.
The kid hadn't been joking. The double fences he was facing were ten feet of security mesh topped with razor wire, and they ran through the trees with about twice that distance of no-man's-land between them. But fortunately the kid hadn't been joking about the place where the mesh had come away from the metal strut and Alex paid him without demur.The Schreibach Estate is the original landholding of German immigrants who came to this area around 150 years ago. They came to make beer and grow rich, and achieved both objectives triumphantly. Today, Schreibach stout is brewed (by the original method) and sold only as a regional curiosity. The family interests are vast and managed on behalf of the only descendant, Miss Elsa Bornhilde Schreibach. A woman of middle years, she lives on the estate in almost total seclusion. There has never been an interview, no photographs are known and all financial dealings are conducted by Golding Investment Brokers. Her servants--the Schreibach manor is large and presumably opulent--must be well-treated and very well paid to have never spoken to the press. Recently there have been some reports from tradesmen brought onto the estate to conduct repairs and install security devices, but their movements were strictly controlled and none spoke to or even saw the heiress.
Belburg is a pub and post-office town servicing the farms around the estate. The people of Belburg aren't a talkative bunch, but someone who takes the time and effort to win confidences will hear about the towering fences, the razor wire and the night patrols. He will hear how no stray animal is ever seen again; how, on the apocryphal times a young steer or dog has managed to break through the fence, appropriate reimbursement was delivered under letter from some big city firm. He will hear how no person claiming to be a worker on the estate has ever been seen in Belburg, opinions ranging from illegal immigrants to prison labor. He will hear how the only visitor, apart from the monthly trucks that collect the stout and deliver supplies, is some fellow in a flashy car who comes through once a quarter. He will hear all this and more, as long as he doesn't offer to buy a round of Schreibachs.
HistoryHermann Schreibach's first three children were born in the makeshift shack erected on the hill above his fields of hops and barley. They were baptized in the spring from whose crystal-clear waters he hoped to brew his fortune. His fourth child and only daughter was born in the newly-built manor. She was baptized Elsa Bornhilde Schreibach.
In a time and place highly unfavorable to female education, Elsa bore the burden of intelligence. As more sons followed, she was left almost entirely in the care of her nanny. By this time the fields were being worked by less-fortunate German immigrants, but Elsa's nanny was of slave descent. Elsa applied herself to the only studies available; languages, the harpsichord and voodoo.
As she grew, there was no society and no acceptable suitors. Her mother tutted anxiously about her unwed state while imposing behavior that further lessened her chances. Unprotesting, Elsa continued with her strange curriculum, pouring into it all her passion, all her ability, and spending endless hours down by the spring.
Perhaps she discovered something that took her over the edge. Perhaps a suitor did arrive, bringing a dark gift. Whatever the case, Elsa is now around 150 years old.
While outwardly its fortunes prospered, the family decayed under the burden of an ageless "Aunt", who after a few decades was simply the most experienced, the most powerful member. She never killed a relative--her family was very important to her--but she manipulated them to ensure her own survival. Those who knew could not leave, and there could be no newcomers. Her last blood relative died eighty years ago.
By that time she had already placed the bulk of the family's dealings with the city firm that became Golding Investment Brokers. If someone were to gain access to the firm's archives and investigate the Schreibach account, the fact that the family representatives have always been women with the initials "EBS" and strangely similar handwriting would gradually emerge. So too would the fact that these women make all purchases, even clothing, through the medium of the firm, and that their personal adviser, always a Golding, has always visited them at the estate.
The fact is that the entire estate is set up to keep the changes in the outside world at bay. The fields are tended and the beer brewed because that is how things were in Elsa's childhood. Since the extinction of her family she has made no attempt to overcome her isolation, and has instead slipped gradually into a delusion that despite the passing of time, everything is still the same.
In recent years, however, the estate's security system has been completely renewed. The current Golding acquired for Elsa the services of Josephine Laplaisir, Haitian ex-military. Uniquely suited to the position, she now heads the small number of living humans on the staff.
The rest, of course, are zombies.
LocationAn isolated rural area, a good three hours drive from the nearest large town. From Belburg the estate is half an hour's drive over winding, unmarked roads, and one and a half cutting across the fields on foot.
If the campaign is set in Germany, certain alterations will obviously need to be made.
The GroundsThe estate forms a rectangle, roughly 420 x 550 yards for a total of 24 acres. It is flat except for the hillock on which the manor stands and the undulating wooded area behind it. The entire estate is ringed by a pair of 10' high mesh wire fences topped with razor wire. The mesh continues 3' below ground level. The 18' space between the fences is kept totally clear, even when it passes through the woods, because this is the route taken by the patrols. Looking through the mesh at a suitable point will reveal the red-brick manor and brewery across fields dotted with well heads.
Take note of the season. There is a lot of difference cover-wise between fully-grown barley and fallow, between thickly-leafed hops trestles and bare wire. During the day there will be around six zombies working in the fields. From a distance and even through binoculars they will appear to be normal humans, except for the fact that if observed for a time they will never be seen to pause, for so much as a moment. These zombies will attack intruders on sight. An intruder is any living thing that Elsa has not told them is supposed to be there. A stray dog is as much a "threat" as a human being.
There is only one gate through the outer perimeter, on the road. Really it is two, each a frame of mesh wire on wheels. There is an intercom and two security cameras feeding to security headquarters in the brewery. Operation is by remote control, and the two gates can if necessary be operated separately to trap anything the size of a normal car between them.
In the inner fence of the outer perimeter there are two, small gates giving access to the no-man's-land. These gates are quite well concealed, but known to all occupants of the estate including the zombies.
The buildings of the estate; the manor, brewery and workers' quarters, and also the Schreibach family plot, are contained in a rough square. This inner perimeter is fenced by 7' high wire mesh, along the top of which runs an alarm system triggered by blocking an invisible, infra-red beam. The beam is generated in 18' segments, each of which is powered independently via underground cables running along the inner side of the fence. The alarm sounds at security headquarters, which is the only place from which the entire system can be shut down. Cutting the power to any individual segment will also trigger the alarm.
There are two gates in the inner perimeter. The gate on the road is a quite impressive affair of 7' high steel bars; it too opens remotely, operated from security headquarters, and is also covered by security cameras. The other gate gives the zombies passage to and from the fields. It is 7' high steel mesh with an electronic lock. This lock is on an automatic timer for the zombies' dawn and sunset processions. It can be overridden from security headquarters.
The Woods and the Schreibach Family PlotLocal tree varieties grow in wild array, but there are signs of maintenance. Branches that grew out over the no-man's-land have been hacked off. There is no undergrowth, climbing vines or large deadfalls. Walking in this park-like setting might be pleasant were there birdsong, or any other sign of wildlife.
The inner perimeter is as described above. Trees growing close to the fence are pruned or felled. Leaves and falling sticks still set off the alarm on occasion. This is why there are security cameras concealed at 20 yard intervals while the cover lasts.
All the Schreibachs save one lie in a gully close to the back of the house. Simple, weathered stones rise from the mown grass: this place is very well kept. Many of the graves are adorned with fresh flowers. A worn, earth path leads up to the manor.
Grounds Tasks and TestsAll levels assume human characters, who have the correct tools handy!
The BreweryA large, two-story building of red brick with a roof of wooden shingles. From the southwest corner of the roof rises a series of large, circular chimneys, with another huge chimney towards the back. At the southeast corner is a small satellite dish. Winches and barn doors mark the second floor, and deep-set windows can be seen at ground level. If the Cast Members are downwind, they can smell the yeast and malt. Close up, it is almost intoxicating. Inside the building, sun slants through the swirling chaff and steam. Brass fittings glitter. The slow steps of the workers make faint creaks on the wooden floorboards. Unfortunately, this is close enough to realize they are all corpses.
Only certain areas of the brewery will be active at any one time; production occurs in stages. During the day six zombies will be in the brewery, their distribution depending on the stage. Some will always be scattered about cleaning, etcetera. Like their brethren in the fields, they will attack intruders on sight.
First FloorThe steeping tanks are large, stone vats that are filled from the well beside them. The barley is chuted into the tanks from the stores above and left to steep. Next to the tanks, the malting floor is where the steeped grain is raked out across mats and left to sprout.
The kiln is the base of the huge, single chimney, that takes the smoke from the brick-lined fireplaces before which the sprouted (malted) grain is spread to dry on perforated wooden racks. Once dry, the malted grain is winched upstairs to be aged. Any one fireplace is large enough to accommodate an adult human and the single chimney could conceivably be climbed. The wall isolating this section is double brick and the door has an ordinary lock that is seldom used. The key is hanging in the office.
The roller mills are also set below chutes, from which the aged, malted grain is released into huge, hand-operated wooden grinders. The resultant mash is caught in wheeled trolleys, which are run across to the mash kettles. This can be a very dangerous area. Here the mash is boiled in huge, brass kettles in another set of massive fireplaces; the base of the other chimneys. These chimneys are also possibly climbable by someone thin. The 'wort', the liquid resulting from the boiling is strained out into hop kettles where more boiling takes place. Any of these kettles are large enough to accommodate an adult human. Pipes from the kettles run down into the brewing tanks in the cellar, but these are not large enough for anything over the size of a cat to climb down, even if the filtration grids are removed.
In the loading area, stairs run up and down to the second floor and the cellar; there is also a floor trapdoor and a winch used to raise the kegs up from storage. The trapdoor works, as do all winches and chutes in the building, by hauling very hard on a couple of ropes. The two, huge doors stand open during the day, but are barred and padlocked at night after the zombies have left.
The office is completely sectioned off by thick, wooden walls. The door is electronically locked with a key pad on both sides; only Josephine knows the key. The office contains an old key rack, a small motorcycle and fuel tins, and a large metal pipe against one wall that is the cable conduit. The motorcycle is Josephine's, for use in case of emergency, and again she has the key. Stairs lead upwards to security headquarters/Josephine's quarters. At the base of the stairs is an infra-red alarm that sounds above. The stairs are covered by a concealed security camera.
Second FloorThe door to the grain store has an ordinary lock that is seldom used. The key is hanging in the office. The harvested grain and dried hops are brought here via the winches and kept in bins. Same for the malted grain, brought up from the kiln. Neat cords of timber, delivered from outside rather than taken from the estate woods, fill the rest of this area.
The stairs from the office come up into a small, empty landing. In the wall between it and security headquarters is a gun slot that can be used to riddle the entire landing with bullets. The door to security headquarters is deadlocked.
This room is the nerve center for the entire security operation. Its most notable feature is the two-wall desk containing the computer system and the monitors for the security cameras. It also contains monitors for the generator, and a map of the estate. Josephine keeps a loaded handgun taped to the underside of the desk The windows are treated to be one-way, appearing black from the outside.
Josephine's quarters lead off security headquarters. They consist of bedroom, sitting room, kitchen, bathroom and gym, and all stink of cigarettes. She has every modern convenience, including hot, running water and satellite TV. All the windows are one-way. The decor tends to bright--three walls of the sitting room are hot pink, the fourth bright yellow. A board covered with bloodstained camouflage material hangs on the yellow wall above a book shelf, forming a kind of altar. On it is mounted her military badges, including the insignia of the Duvalier secret police, and a machete. On the book shelf a skull sits cushioned by a black felt beret. The cammo and blood are hers. The skull is that of her first kill.
There is a large amount of salt in Josephine's kitchen and bathroom, most of it in brittle, glass containers. Most of the guns are in the bedroom.
Also in the bedroom is a secret door that leads out into the grain store. It is a lightly-latched panel covered by a poster, and Josephine can fling herself through extremely fast. The door of the bedroom has an ordinary lock.
CellarThe door to the cellar has an ordinary lock that is seldom used. The key is hanging in the office. The cellar is lit by electric lights.
The brass brewing tanks dominate the vaulted hall, dimly lit by ground-level windows. Vats set to the side contain the yeast plant. Once brewing is complete, the beer is barreled and placed in the storage area. In the far northeast of the hallway, next to the brick shaft of the well, is a wooden door that has been locked from the inside. On this side there is not even a keyhole. This is an entrance to the passage leading to the true spring. Elsa reserves it for her exclusive use.
The generator that supplies electricity for the security system and Josephine's lifestyle sits behind a steel door with an electronic lock. The key is known to Josephine and a live handyman/electrician (he came to help install the network and never left). In the further room, behind another, padlocked steel door are the drums of fuel.
Brewery Tasks and TestsAll levels assume human characters.
The Workers' QuartersA one-story brick building with a shingled roof, it is completely empty. The zombies return here every evening, which is when and where Elsa and Josephine inspect them and take them off for either ritual maintenance or patrol duty. That there is a building at all is simply pandering to Elsa's delusion.
The ManorTwo stories of red brick with white, shuttered windows, surmounted by lichened tiles. It is a truly beautiful example of period architecture. The graveled driveway sweeps up the hill around a green lawn centered by a classic wishing well. Around the northeast side of the house is a formal garden.
The entrance hall is large and has stairs running up to a gallery above. The overall impression is that the period manor has been turned into a walk-through museum, with white plaster walls and waxed wooden floorboards. Polished wooden furniture, each item a valuable antique. Hand-painted china. Linen with hand-tatted lace on tables and beds. Candles and kerosene lamps. Embroidery samplers and Schreibach portraits.
Elsa's favorite haunt is the Sitting Room. This is where her harpsichord stands under the portrait of her father and she spends her spare hours here, with the shutters thrown open on the garden.
The Library has a wooden door with an ordinary lock, that Elsa is in the habit of using ("to keep the children out"). She carries the key on her at all times. One thing Elsa has not been shy about is extending her collection; although all the books are hardcover without dust jackets, there are many modern works on history and occultism and modern reprints of old titles. Then there are the antiques. Anything the Chronicler wishes can be found here.
On the second floor, the Nursery has a thick, wooden door with a deadlock. Elsa carries one key, Josephine another. The external windows are sealed shut behind their curtains. In short, although still furnished as an nursery with cradles and child-sized furniture, it has been adapted to hold adult prisoners as necessary. Some of the chairs are nailed to the floor and have restraints attached. There are antique toys scattered about, some of which have been damaged by past residents.
At the Chronicler's option, Elsa's bedroom is also on this level.
The functional area of the house is to the back. The Kitchen is period, with brick fireplaces complete with spits, wooden tables and stone sinks that must be filled from the well in the corner. The one thing that won't be found in the kitchen or Storerooms is salt of any kind. This means that certain sacrifices of period authenticity have been made; there are canned goods instead of salted and the old coolroom (in the cellar) now contains a freezer. All the storerooms are lockable with ordinary locks but seldom are, and the keys hang on a board in the kitchen. One storeroom is devoted to the manor's supply of kerosene.
The other sacrifices of authenticity involve security. There are concealed security cameras covering the front and back doors, feeding back to security headquarters. The front and back doors can be deadlocked but seldom are. The keys hang in the kitchen and all the staff know where; Elsa and Josephine also carry keys. All the first floor shutters can be locked, but the keys are generally left sitting in their ordinary locks. There is a sprinkler system installed throughout the first and second floors, but this has to be triggered by buttons located in the kitchen or at the top of the stairs (a smoke detector would simply go off all the time). There are also fire extinguishers in closets in the kitchen, at the top of the stairs and at the bottom of the cellar stairs. As well as the live staff there are 2 zombies, neatly dressed as maid and manservant, which are constantly cleaning. They may be found anywhere, day or night, and will attack as their brethren above.
The CellarThe door to the cellar is lockable with an ordinary lock. Elsa, Josephine and the cook have keys, but frankly it stands open most of the time. The subterranean chambers are vaulted around stone pillars and flagged with stone. There is no natural or electrical light, and lamps or candles must be carried. There are small vents to allow for airflow, but these are scarcely big enough for a rat. At the Chronicler's option, Elsa may sleep down here in a suitably furnished room.
The door to the ritual area is heavy, wooden and usually deadlocked. Elsa, Josephine and a number of servants carry keys. This area is mainly used by Elsa as a workroom, her real rituals taking place at the true spring. But sometimes, when a seasonal sacrifice or other such occasion merits the attendance of the servants, it will be performed here. From the large well set level with the floor can be heard the rush of water.
There is a series of cells here suitable for holding prisoners. The doors are wooden with deadlocks. The keys are hung on the wall outside.
The wooden door to the spring passage runs off from the near southeast corner. It is locked with an ordinary lock to which only Elsa has the key.
Manor Tasks and TestsAll levels assume human characters.
The True SpringThe water from all those wells scattered across the estate is pure, fresh and perfectly ordinary. None of the subterranean streams are traversable by humans and most are rapidly absorbed back into the water table. Cast Members cannot get anywhere by going down a well!
The actual spring, for those who can tap it, is pure power. The head generates 80 points of essence per day. This potency evaporates as the waters run into the earth.
Elsa identified the spring very early on in her career and was responsible for its concealment in the brick-lined passage that runs between the cellars of the brewery and the manor. She carries the only keys to both ends with her at all times. There is no light of any kind supplied in the passage, although ventilation is reasonably good.
Elsa uses the spring to feed her zombies and empower the ritual that creates them and maintains her control. This means that she spends a minimum of an hour every night at the spring, recasting Create Zombie (Abomination Codex, p. 103) and giving them water in a strange, communion-like rite. Three zombies per night are cycled this way and she loses one only rarely. She is a good judge of a zombie's condition and will perform an extra ritual if she thinks it prudent.
The spring chamber is roughly circular. At the center the spring head emerges into a circular pool. A wooden gate prevents the water from reaching the underground streams until released - this is partly how Elsa keeps the essence to herself. Around the pool is inscribed an elaborate vever, which Elsa renews every time she has gone through the complete cycle of 14 zombies. Any Gifted who remains in the chamber for any length of time will start to hear 'voices' in the water. It is impossible to tell what they saying, but the impression of whispering, multitudinous voices is very real.
Patrols and Alarm ResponsesOnce darkness falls, every zombie that is not due for Elsa's attentions is sent on patrol by Josephine. Two groups of three to four are sent in opposite directions around no-man's-land and sometimes she accompanies them to inspect the fences and any developments on the outside. She may inspect the inner perimeter likewise with a zombie escort, following which she will instruct them to wander around the woods till dawn.
Josephine does not have to be constantly monitoring the security cameras, although she is always in position when a visitor or the delivery truck is expected. The computer analyses the camera images for human-sized movement patterns, at which it sounds an alarm. When Josephine is not at security headquarters she carries a buzzer which sounds if any alarm on the estate is tripped and indicates which one.
When Josephine becomes aware of intruders, she has the option of alerting the manor via her buzzer. This alarm sounds in the manor kitchen. This is the signal for the servants to lock all doors and windows on the first floor, taking about five minutes. They then load rifles and station themselves at strategic second floor windows, and alert Elsa.
Elsa has the constant option of mentally commanding her zombies. Zombies in the brewery can be at the manor within minutes if summoned, those in the fields or on patrol will take considerably longer.
Once Josephine or Elsa become aware of the intruders, they order the zombies to capture rather than kill. Josephine has to issue her orders verbally and so may actually find it quicker to go and inform Elsa. Josephine always tries to interrogate any captives before Elsa sees them, as there's no guarantee she will be able to after.
Plot HooksThe trail leads here. Of the kidnappers, of the tome Arcanities sold just a month ago to an agent of the Golding corporation, of the ravening zombies; whatever is happening is centered on this remote and well-guarded location.
If the Cast Members are inclined towards research, it is possible to discover that in the legends of the indigenous inhabitants, this area was once a place of power. It was called in their tongue "The Plain of Living Water". "Schreibach" can be roughly translated as "screaming brook". Even if the Cast Members are aware of nothing else, surely this makes the place worth investigating.
Then there is the possibility that the essentials of the background are given to the Cast Members before they go anywhere near the estate. For whatever reason, whoever does so knows what Elsa is and has to talk to her! Especially in an Armageddon campaign, the years of Elsa's seclusion may be nearing a forcible end. Her resources, whether measured in terms of knowledge, money or essence, are tremendous, and the chance that she is not actually neutral or will not remain so is too great to take. Of course, there's the chance her fortune has already been funding Combine projects for decades...
PersonalitiesElsa Bornhilde Schreibach: The exact nature of Elsa is up to the Chronicler. Clearly she is unusually long-lived and capable of both dominating the living and creating zombie servants. One possibility is detailed below, but no matter her precise nature, Elsa appears as a gravely beautiful middle-aged woman. Her blonde hair is pinned up. Her dress is elegant but old-fashioned. Her voice is well-modulated and every movement displays a calm poise. After a while, this begins to seem odd; a woman of her apparent age should not move and speak like someone's great-grandmother. She should not react as if 'damn' were an unforgivable profanity. She should not behave as if everyone else in the room is a child who has been very, very naughty.
Elsa never leaves the inner perimeter. Her delusion is flexible enough to accommodate the metal fences and modern guns ("such clever smiths") and modern dress ("those city fashions"), but the electric lights are only used where she cannot see them and all truck deliveries carefully scheduled. Maintaining the zombies however, and seeing to her more outlandish personal requirements are just part of the daily routine. To the observer, Elsa slips from exquisitely proper lady to grotesque monster in the blink of an eye.
Cast members will most likely confront Elsa either as captives or invaders. If they have noticed the signs of her delusion and try to play to it, she will respond favorably. Cast Members may be able to talk themselves out of immediate danger, although Elsa still lets no one except Golding leave the Estate once they have entered. If instead the Cast Members confront her delusion, deliberately or through ignorance, Elsa will react violently. It is possible to break her delusion. Her weakest points are motorized transport, especially airborne, and television/video/film. Confronted with such technology she may well freeze, or behave confusedly. Unless a Cast Member with suitable skills can help her through this, she will eventually become violent again, only now it will be directed against everything and everyone within reach, including herself.
Elsa Bornhilde SchreibachAs a blooddrinker, Elsa needs a regular source. This is supplied the same way as everything else; in this case Golding Investment Brokers use their contacts with organized crime to put together deliveries of such people as will not be missed. These victims are sometimes locked in the cellar, sometimes in the nursery where she creates the requisite emotions of fear or love in the context of erring children who must be punished and forgiven. With these methods, Elsa can keep a victim for a long time. Although most end up as new zombies, over the years some have become adoring, lifelong members of the household staff.
She has placed a ward around the true spring to protect it from essence-hungry spirits.
He is 50 now, and Elsa is still the secret mystery of his world. And he has come to appreciate the true extent to which she is the basis of his family's success. She is to be protected, indulged, served in every possible way, and kept a very special secret. When his son is old enough, he too will be introduced and so it shall continue. Or maybe, just maybe, Elsa will reward him so he may serve her forever. The best thing he has ever done for Elsa was find Josephine, and he is proud of this.
His son is the typical product of a typical professional marriage. Harold's home life consists of the society parties his wife arranges at the luxurious suburban mansion he seldom actually inhabits. She has no idea of his secret, although she is aware, as are most of his staff and partners, of his compulsive following of a whole set of superstitions. He will, for instance, toss salt over his shoulder to avert ill fortune and avoid stepping on cracks. He ha also been observed to surreptitiously consult fortunetellers in much the same the way that some other CEO might pop into strip clubs. He never seems to follows their advice, rather to just enjoy the process.
Harold is good at his job. He knows he has to keep sharp, has to keep that edge. Someone has to make the hard decisions and that's what he's here for. Bribery, espionage and the occasional disappearance are all part of the deal. After all, if he couldn't cut it, if he didn't do the things that have to be done, Elsa might have him replaced by someone who would and it's probably best to not walk under that ladder, just to make sure. And maybe, one day, one of the fortune-tellers he consults will see her shadow falling over him. He doesn't know what he will do then.
But he only has the nightmares occasionally now.
Harold GoldingJosephine Laplaisir: There are illegal immigrants, and then there is Josephine Laplaisir. Unlike so many Haitians, Josephine did not flee the Duvalier regime. A young officer in the Tontons Macoutes or "Bogeymen" (the secret police) she fled its collapse with forged papers and vanished as thoroughly as she could. Immigration authorities in a number of nations have her picture on file as a war criminal, and that includes the distinctive shrapnel scarring on her left cheek. All her interaction with the tradesmen brought to modernize the security system was at one remove.
Josephine is now about 40 years old. She is proactive, efficient and knows about most of Elsa's powers and her delusion. She has final authority, under Elsa, over every aspect of the estate's management. Elsa refers to her as "the housekeeper", and on her regular interviews with "the Mistress" she wears a long, linen dress and headscarf over her usual black fatigues. It's really not much stranger or more gruesome than being a Bogeyman--some her commanding officers could raise zombies-- and she's in charge here, all the resources of the estate at her disposal and damn, she is good at her job!
At heart she knows that her favor with Elsa derives not from this, but from Elsa's misconception that she is somehow connected to her old nanny. She knows that the servants defer to her only because of Elsa's favor, and that the zombies only obey her under Elsa's license. But the fact remains that on the estate she has some power and a lifestyle she never dreamed of in Haiti. Off it, she is a wanted criminal.
And then there's the other fact, that forty isn't the same as twenty-five. She knows she's aging, but Elsa isn't. She's really starting to believe that Elsa is everything Harold claims. More precisely, she is starting to wonder whether what Elsa has is something that she could obtain. The others are all willing slaves, probably hoping to end up as zombies. But she still retains her free will. She knows the danger she would run attempting to spy on or otherwise threaten Elsa, but heck, consider the alternative.
A chance will come. She can be patient. But when it comes, she will act.
Josephine LaplaisirHuman Servitors: There are from four to six human servants on the estate--above has been mentioned a caretaker, a cook and a handyman/electrician. They are all devoted to Elsa and will fight to protect her. They wear old-fashioned clothing appropriate to their roles in Elsa's delusion, and live under 19th century conditions in most respects. Children are seldom born on the estate due to Elsa's strict moral code. The following statistics are abbreviated and generic.
Human ServitorFourteen or so Zombies: The zombies are dressed in old-fashioned laborer's clothes, which are kept washed and repaired. They cover a wide variety of racial types. Although the zombies will attack intruders as described above, they will not leave the estate unless;
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