THE FLESHER FAMILY
An exceptional child, Nox was considerably younger than his siblings. He spent a great deal of time on his own, designing and creating horrific gadgets for the family home. He could be seen as peculiar or sullen, living in his own world. At university, Nox immersed himself in the study of biology, chemistry, physics, and anatomy… studies that he applies to his monstrous experiments.
He met Lilith at school, and it was there he had the horrible accident. They pledged themselves to each other over the mangled remains of his face.
Since then, this unstable genius has continued to grow his knowledge, skills, and ruthlessness in the bowels of Rutherford Manor. He lures unsuspecting victims for his twisted experiments… often, the last thing they see is his distinctive respirator looming over them.
Timid Lilith was an outsider who rarely spoke with people, preferring the company of her plants and animals. At university, she studied botany and agriculture, spending countless hours in the laboratory creating hybrid plants, germinating seeds, and whispering to her lab creations.
Late one evening looking for night-blooming jasmine, Lilith ran into Nox while he sought a nocturnal creature to serve as a specimen. Their mutual interests drew them together. They have been inseparable since that fateful night. Lilith extracts apothecary from her plants for Nox to use on his subjects, wearing her custom beekeeper mask to mix her toxic potions.
Caring and ruthlessness are the duality of Lilith’s personality. She is very protective of her kin and will do anything to protect them, while torturing Nox’s failed experiments for the pleasure it brings to the dark recesses of her soul.
Mallory and Adolf Flesher
Nox and Lilith are only devoted to their experiments and each other. So, when they had children, they hatched a scheme to produce the worst of all possible Fleshers. Provided with only the barest sustenance, Mallory and Adolf were raised in isolation, without attention, discipline or affection. The two learned to fend for themselves while their parents withheld every possible comfort.
Following their lead, the other residents of the Manor are on guard for Mallory and Adolph. Anyone who shows kindness to the two children is immediately set upon by the household, for they all know the long, drawn out and agonizing punishment that Nox and Lilith would inflict.
The youngest Fleshers now roam the Manor, completely insane and free to explore their darkest desires without restraint. They finger paint in the arterial spray they find on the walls. They race freshly decapitated heads down the stairs. The haunting melodies of their singing sometimes linger in the upper galleries for days.
It is not know where they will show up, or what they will do. What sort of creatures will these two lonely, rejected maniacs become?
The local townspeople see Vivian as the crazy lady of Rutherford Manor. She lurks along the twilit streets of town or the graveyard, talking nonsense and pushing a baby buggy laden with disheveled dolls. Many think she belongs in an asylum.
The family of course, knows the truth: Vivian is a medium. Like all women of the Flesher clan, she has a bone-deep connection with the supernatural. In Vivian’s case, it manifests in an emotional sensitivity to the chaotic world around her. Random eddies in this emotional maelstrom can inspire words of amazing wisdom one moment and the next, something ominous or incoherent. But is it truly nonsense?
When in public, people’s secret deceptions or unfulfilled yearnings confuse her. She ends up doing and saying crazy things. However, in the privacy of her home around the predictable emotions of her family, she is calm, collected, and … mostly … sane. She feels calmest around the seething fury of her beloved Billy.
Suffice it to say that you never know will happen when you speak to Vivian.
Billy the Butcher
When he was young, Billy’s tribe saw him as the one to succeed his ailing father as shaman: he showed promise and a connection with the forces of nature. However, Billy’s soul was drawn down into darkness.
Billy’s mother was corrupted by the demon Muunat and died when Billy was a child. He grew vicious, with a passion for the hunt that wasn’t limited to game. His prodigious strength and skill at inflicting brutal, incapacitating wounds to any who crossed him made him a terror among his people. Eventually, Billy’s father cast him out from the tribe on a bitterly cold winter night.
Spalding Savidge, who was returning to the Manor from town, discovered the crumpled figure freezing to death on a dark forested road. Spalding brought him home to be nursed back to health by Vivian, who found the jagged other half to her own fractured soul. When he revived, Billy pledged himself to Vivian and the Flesher Clan, taking on his new role of Billy the Butcher.
One of Nox’s older brothers, Acheron Flesher was never interested in ruling the Rutherford Manor. Nor was he even vaguely suitable. After demonstrating some disturbing traits in his youth that even the Fleshers refuse to talk about, Acheron was sent to live with family in Europe. He was passed around from town to town whenever official interest focused on him or the branch of the family he was staying with started fearing for their lives.
Acheron is only interested in his collections. He is obsessed with the dark beauty he sees in each grisly find: a finger, a scrap of flesh, a lock of hair. Whenever he takes a prize, he commits himself to collecting the rest of the person within the next few days. The body is never found, and the “trinket” is added to his collection.
Nox is the only Flesher to have successfully set limits on Acheron – Rutherford Manor residents have nothing to fear from the obsessed collector, or else Lilith will stop brewing the antidote to the poison that courses through his veins.
THE SAVIDGE FAMILY
As generations of Fleshers embraced their darker obsessions and sourced their meat from… wherever they could, the Savidge family moved quietly behind the scenes to dispose of the evidence of any transgressions. Following every Flesher excess came a calm, cold Savidge to clean up.
Spalding Savidge has assisted the Flesher family all his life, moving easily to support Nox and Lilith’s bloody experiments when they moved home from university. Knowing that Spalding would always serve the family’s interests, Nox arranged a marriage to his niece, Penny “Darling” Flesher.
Spalding is a dedicated father to his twin girls, and plots for the day that they might take over the Rutherford Manor. He teaches them the Savidge skills of murder, mayhem, bribery, evidence tampering, and butchery-slash-inconvenient corpse disposal. They are fast learners.
Penny “Darling” Savidge
Penny Darling’s father split from his terrible Flesher siblings before she was born. When her parents were killed in a suspicious fire, she came under the care of Nox and Lilith.
At first, Penny Darling found her aunt and uncle disturbing. As she learned more about their research, she wondered if she would be among the subjects chosen for… experimentation. When Nox announced that she was to marry the much older Spalding Savidge, she was unhappy but saw the opportunity to get out from under Nox and Lilith.
Penny Darling’s beautiful twin daughters, Lisa and Louise, grew up more violent and sadistic than their peers. One day discovering her girls indulging in the most hideous excesses of Flesher depravity, Penny Darling went wild with grief. She grabbed a knife and carved out both of her eyes in order to unsee the carnage. However, the trauma awoke her ability to see into the horrible hearts around her through her blind, bandaged eyes – and her spirit was shattered.
Now with a dark void within her, Penny Darling seeks bright souls that she can lure into the grasp of her family.
Lisa and Louise Savidge
Far from the innocent twin beauties they seem, Lisa and Louise have had a penchant for the macabre from an early age.
These girls have learned everything about the history of their mixed Flesher and Savidge heritage. They are excited to help Uncle Nox prepare some special experiment, they swap ghost stories with Victoria, and they babysit Aunt Vivian’s “children”. They cook using Aunt Lilith’s special herbs and Uncle Billy’s prime cuts of discretely-sourced meat. They love serving special meals to – and of – their unsuspecting peers.
Lisa and Louise were angry when their mother caught them playing with a classmate, and found Penny Darling’s reaction hopelessly dramatic. At least she doesn’t bother them any more since she gouged out her eyes! These girls represent a new generation of maniacal, sadistic, experimental killers – and they are Fleshers to the core.
RUTHERFORD FIENDS AND FRIENDS
For generations, legends have been told of the Owl Demon Woman, the embodiment of death that has haunted the woods since before recorded history. This creature, sometimes in the form of a woman or huge, black owl, dwells in caves and hollows by day, flying out at night to prey on all manner of creatures – human children in particular. Muunat mimics human speech to lure prey deeper into her killing woods.
The Flesher and Savidge families have caught Muunat’s attention over the past decades. Their savagery, their taste for specially-sourced meat, and their sadistic delight in inflicting agony on others seem to please the mystical creature of the night. The Fleshers and Savidges, the townsfolk whisper, are in league with the demon.
However, think of this: if Muunat’s victims are lured into the darkness, driven mad, and consumed by this force of chaos and evil… what terrible fate awaits Muunat’s Chosen? Muunat bends people to her will by manipulating their darkest natures. What happens when she reaches inside some of the darkest natures to have ever plagued mankind?
Victoria van Drunen was once the envy of the local high society. Men wanted to wed her and women wanted to be her. Victoria was expected to marry for alliance, wealth or power – though sometimes a heart can foil the best-laid plans.
Victoria met Nox Flesher at a university social function and was immediately smitten with the slight, soft-spoken and strange-looking young man with the gaze that seemed fixed on the infinite. Her interest grew into an obsession. Lilith, who was also attending the university and sharing nighttime research projects with Nox, would never permit this. Lilith decided to take matters into her own hands.
Victoria was never seen again in high society. Did she go overseas to study? Did she wed a wealthy foreign scion after a whirlwind romance? Was she spirited away? Only Lilith knows the terrifying truth behind this tragic tale, and the origins of the melancholy, silent new ghost haunting the darkest reaches of the Rutherford Manor.
Dr. Inoxia Strychnine
Dr. Inoxia Strychnine has been dead once before. An errant bolt of lightning struck her as a child, temporarily stopping her heart and leaving her with an electrical burn scar. Since then she has been obsessed with understanding life, death and electricity.
Inoxia got her doctorate in Germany after being kicked out of an American school for “grotesque and morally reprehensible experiments with electricity.” Later, she worked for a number of prominent names in the field, only to be dismissed after jealous co-workers found out about her continued experiments.
After years of correspondence with Lilith, the Fleshers have recently invited Dr. Strychnine to join them at Rutherford Manor. Here she continues her investigation into the boundaries between life and death, sometimes lending a spark of inspiration to the work of Nox and Lilith.
The Historian is an enigma: his background, his early life – even his name – are shrouded in mystery. He arrived on the doorstep of the Rutherford Manor one fateful night, bearing an enormous, leather-bound tome, a silver-tipped quill, and several bottles of dark red ink. Led before Nox and Spalding, he said all he wished to do was observe and chronicle the tales of the dread families.
Nox made him a unique offer: the Historian would be welcome on two conditions. First, he would never be able to show a single soul his work – including the residents themselves – on pain of immediate death. Second, the moment he was finished his work, his heart would cease beating forever.
The Historian immediately agreed. Now, you will find him in the most unexpected places taking down the details of each gruesome excess. Within the walls of the Rutherford Manor, there will always be a tale to scribe – the Historian’s final words will be a long time coming.
Rutherford Manor attracts all sorts of oddities and freaks, and the growing horde of Nox and Lilith’s experiments who live beyond a few days…