Outsider. Unnatural. Heretic.
Bittersweet were the epithets that tripped off the wagging tongues of those who could not appreciate Caeceila Glasmann's affliction. In their unflagging ignorance, the superstitious and the malcontent readily misrepresented Caeceila's motives and branded her with all manner of vulgar misnomers, none of which bear repeating, that overplayed her purported ruthless efficiency and insatiable lust for blood. Of late, Hell's Gate was a cornucopia of such rumors where the nobility was concerned, particularly in drinking establishments frequented by the lower classes. In truth, anyone who was anyone could testify that none of these labels applied to Caeceila, for definitive knowledge of her condition, at least among the powers that be, easily outpaced the gossipmongers' litany. Nevertheless, a convenient lie coupled with Caeceila's newfound notoriety had transformed her into a symbol entities with an agenda could assail. She was much despised by the downtrodden who had lost their livelihoods to astounding advances in industrial automation, marked forever as a noble who cared more for the welfare of strangers than the poignant suffering of her own people, and they sought to vilify her for that injustice whether or not she was a deserving recipient of their rage.
Was it any surprise, then, that drunken rabble had assembled at the gates of the Glasmann Estate, brandishing crude, improvised weaponry, approximately a quarter of an hour before guests were permitted to set foot on the premises? Not at all. Nor was it especially alarming when the mob forced itself past the team of young, well-groomed servants unfurling plush crimson carpets in advance of whatever might constitute the evening's opening ceremony, hellbent on vandalizing Caeceila's property. It was the terror that gripped the intruders in the chaotic retreat that ensued, the sustained shrieking of adult men carted out on stretchers, and the wild-eyed stares of the handful who were silent that caused the local looky-loos to quietly disperse, leaving only the scarce few who weren't so intimidated by Caeceila's show of force that they dare not brave her lair and risk her wrath.
When the servants were recalled and the stout, ebony gate slid aside, its steady, telescoping motions doing much to enrich the pageantry of the reveal, a cavernous expanse illuminated by an artificial star stretched out before the audience. A tremendous collection of life-sized metal soldiers, facing inward toward the crimson finery neatly draped over the mass of platforms spread before a fleet of luxurious hovercraft, chartered for the express purpose of conveying guests from the entrance to the estate to the manor's great hall, scintillated in rays of light cast by the setting "sun," a soft, white orb that engendered no discomfort in the eye when viewed directly. A host of six-legged robots, mobile artillery units, judging by their heavy-duty design and menacing black frames, skittered in the distance, their imposing armaments repurposed for the night's festivities, firing a ceaseless barrage of cylindrical canisters that erupted into fantastical shapes cut from brilliant light into the air above crowd. The air itself was sweet with the amalgamated scent of beds of magnolia and lilac in blossom, courtesy of a microhabitat enabled by the city's world-renowned magitech. Indeed, all kinds of flowering flora dotted the landscape, tended, as they were, by swarms of butterflies so garish their admirers might get the impression that they too dressed their Sunday best for just this occasion. Empty birdcages are suspended from towering trees, implying that the exotic songbirds they once held have been moved elsewhere until the fireworks show concludes.
The palatial structure that serves as the Glasmann residence proudly stands in consummate contrast to the bulk of Hell's Gate. Artistry and craftsmanship adorn every shining facet of the ancient domicile. Each stone bespeaks both the longevity and prosperity of the venerable Glasmann line, as if the fates of House Glasmann and the city of Hell's Gate were inextricably interwoven in days of yore. Much of the central structure, in fact, predates what is now considered the basic infrastructure of Hell's Gate, painstakingly preserved from the first settlement and transferred to the modern age with a profound reverence for tradition that is so very lacking in a great number of Hell's Gate's modern nobility. All of the glasswork in the older sections of the manor has been recently rehabilitated, allowing the throng of onlookers to examine renditions of Caeceila's ancestors and key events in the history of Hell's Gate through various viewscreens in the hovercrafts as they soar toward the newest wing of the manor, a staggeringly advanced wing constructed primarily from concrete, steel, glass, and composite materials. Several other buildings are visible from the hovercraft, including a private airship dock, servants' quarters, and what appears to be a small communications center flying Drow colors, but none can hope to hold a candle to the sprawling behemoth that is the Glasmann manor. Almost universally, the atmosphere is charged with magic and excitement, for this is the maiden unveiling of the Glasmann Estate. The news crews that remain descend into a dizzying spirals of feverish activity as influential and inconsequential members of society alike are whisked, as one, into this veritable wonderland that was hiding beneath their very noses.
Upon disembarking at the great hall and proceeding through its titanic, metal doors, all guests, having checked in with the servants manning the gates prior to their admittance to a hovercraft, are issued a magitech tablet displaying the itinerary for the event and assigned a personal servant who shall see to their needs for the duration of the event. After this, guests are permitted to wander the great hall and the lawn in front of the great hall with the caveat that the uppermost balcony, accessible by both a staircase and an elevator, is a restricted area. For the majority, there is little draw in scaling that cordoned off staircase, for the diversions available on the first floor, mezzanine, and lawn are guaranteed to entertain even the most boorish partygoer. From skeet shooting and dueling with foils to sipping aged Yamazaki whiskey, snacking on hors d'oeuvres prepared by a teppanyaki chef, and chatting about relics, tapestries, and hunting trophies locked in various display cabinets or fixed to the dark purple wall above the handcarved wainscoting before the roaring fire of the great hearth, all ought to find something they can enjoy until the event gets underway.
The organizer of the event, Caeceila Glasmann, is nowhere to be found. As with the interlopers, this is no real cause for alarm...
Except that those sensitive to the paranormal will sense that the veil is especially weak in this manor. Something is amiss, but there's no time to investigate now. A bell rings, signaling that the first round has begun. White leather armchairs, velveteen loungers, mahogany furniture, fur rugs, Byōbu and sundries have been placed on the mezzanine and the first floor to facilitate social interaction with the intent of strengthening Valucre as a whole.