Tonight is a bad night to live near Pentwaithe Manor in western Buentoille, especially if you need to get some sleep. Tonight the inhabitants of Candlestein House, a sprawling apartment block a few streets away from the Manor, and many of their friends will troupe across to the crumbling ruin of the Manor, their arms laden with fireworks, pots, pans and noisy horns.
The festival started in the mid nineteenth century, when both the House and Manor were owned by Lord Pentwaithe, a wealthy industrialist from an aristocratic background who had an abnormal hatred of loud noise and a rather eccentric reputation, especially in relation to the occult.. At that time the House was built as habitation for the workers who laboured in the adjoining flax mill that used the Moway river to power the (extremely noisy) machinery. The mill ran throughout the day and night, so that those workers who were not currently labouring under the overwhelming noise were subjected to it whilst they tried to sleep.
The Manor, on the other hand, was a palatial construction, and Pentwaithe had hired an architectural acoustician at great expense to design the Manor and it’s environs in such a way as to eliminate any sound coming from the direction of the factory. However, they failed to account for the fact that Manor lay directly in the path of the workers’ (many of whom were essentially deaf) route home from the pub.
Pentwaithe tried a number of different approaches to the issue; he attempted to reprimand the workers who had disturbed his sleep, but with every person he punished, three others would yell and shout outside his house at night. He tried to soundproof his house, but unfortunately to little effect. He attempted to have the road closed off, but the local residents and workers simply tore down the obstructions he placed at night, very noisily. He even tried building another pub on the other side of the factory, but the workers never drank there. Eventually he was driven to do something very strange and stupid.
Workers began to report sightings of a ghost in the streets outside the Manor, a strange spindly white figure clad in wraithlike white robes, with horrible, skeletal hands holding a green oil lantern. As the sightings increased, fewer and fewer workers travelled past the Manor; there were rumours that perhaps the Lord had summoned some kind of terrible spectre with his occult dabblings. However, not all Buentoillitants are afraid of ghosts – a woman called Lily (locally famed for her penchant for bar-fighting; revered for stories of her youth in Strigaxia, the City of Witches) was walking along the road when she saw the ghost, walked up to it, and just punched it in the face. ‘I know a ghost when I see one,’ she said, ‘and that ain’t no ghost.’
When the rest of the workers found out about Pentwaithe’s night-time excursions in his distinctly mundane bedsheets, they turned out in force, banging pots and pans and screaming at the top of their lungs. The workers and their descendants (many of whom still live in the House to this day) have been doing it every year since, despite rumours that Pentwaithe’s real ghost now lurks in the ruins of his ill-fated Manor.
Other festivals happening today:
The Festival of Vipers and Syringes
Dane Harlow’s Festival of Trucks