Excerpt from ‘The history of the Black Shroud, from Amdapor to Gridania’ by Archon Niniri Niri.
This will not be the first examination of Haukke Manor by a Sharlayan scholar, but whereas pre-calamity accounts were able to study it at first as a symbol of the Elder Seedseer’s excess and prestige, then later as a symbol of the same for the Dartancours family, this author will be cataloguing the now fallen residence as a cautionary tale against consorting with dark powers. The manor had been the residence of the Elder Seedseer for generations, but increasingly incurred the wroth of a discontent populace for its opulence, resulting in the Elder Seedseer before Kan-E-Senna’s predecessor selling the manor to the Dartancours, an ancient and proud Gridanian noble family of wildwood elezen heritage.
The last leader of the clan was Amandine Dartancours, a woman of famed beauty before the brutality of the Seventh Umbral Calamity took so much from so many inhabitants of Eorzea. From Amandine it took her beauty, maiming her horribly and resulting in her self-exile from society out of insecurity. Her fate earned the sympathy of many, unsuspecting of the immense darkness kindled by this tragedy within the young lady. Amandine began to consort with the vile powers of the Void, and kidnapped numerous young women from across the Shroud, their bodies later turning up horribly mutilated. Adventurers of the realm would later solve the mystery by tracking down former servants of the Dartancours family, discovering Ascian involvement in Amandine’s corruption, and granting what was left of Amandine a final, merciful rest.
The foyer was the best preserved area of the manor by the time the research team were able to secure access. It was a beautiful room, to be sure, and ornate decorations of leaves and flowers present within likely date back to the role of the manor as a home for the Elder Seedseers. According to those who secured the manor, the upper reaches were originally sealed by some form of dark void magic, and some wings of the building were blocked off with impromptu barricades of furniture, likely created by either Amandine’s followers to stymie intruders, or by the staff of the estate to escape the predations of their mistress.
The Ground Floor Corridors
The research team found all number of rooms within the manor, first of which was a large office with desks and bookshelves, perhaps belonging to high-ranking employees or relatives, or even Amandine herself. A dining room was also found, or at least what was once a dining room as it now appears to have been taken over as an impromptu armory. Weaponry of all kinds was found here prior to the cataloguing and cleaning up of such dangers by Gridania’s authorities. Most eye-catching was a rifle of some kind, which may have been an artifact from early Allag, or more likely a weapon from Garlemald, Limsa Lominsa’s gunslingers or Ishgard’s weaponsmiths. Further barricades can be found nearby, which coupled with the disruption within the former dining room may imply a struggle between Amandine’s followers and the manor’s saner scions.
The Red Hall
A rather beautiful chamber, the presence of various musical and small lounge areas in the Red Hall cause this author to predict that this was likely a banquet hall, where Amandine or the other leaders of House Dartancours would entertain guests. The doors of the chamber are decorated with roses, tying into the red name of the hall.
It is not until one reaches the cellars of the manor that one truly comes to grips with the horrors of Haukke Manor. When the research team arrived, long-dried blood could be found splattered across the walls here, as well as in patterns on the floor that strongly hinted at the dragging of victims, alive or dead. The basement was accessed by a door painted with a motif of vines. The general structure of the floor was a large square of corridor, with branching off communal cells. Some of these were equipped with beds (doubtless home to Amandine’s victims), some seem to have been used for storage while a few hosted gristly torture devices further testifying to the horrors of the manor.
A small side-chamber of the Cellarage, this room is filled with wine casks and is likely where the Dartancours wines were put through the final stages of production and storage.
The Yellow Hall
At the very center of the Cellarage, the research team found a large chamber behind a door decorated with a yellow carnation. The rear-wall was lined by small cells, likely host to those directly awaiting the horrors of Amandine’s attentions. Oubliettes, cages, pits filled with water and various torture implements litter the room, evidence of the pain and death that plagued Haukke. The purple flames that light the Yellow Hall testify to the dark sorceries of Amandine. A blood seal on parchment found here by adventurers was responsible for diffusing Amandine’s seal on the upper levels.
The Second Floor
By the time that the research team arrived at the manor, the second floor had fallen into quite severe disrepair. The walls had begun to decay and the floor was littered with debris, albeit not so much that it made moving about the area difficult. The windows of this upper floor were boarded up, likely to provide privacy either for Amandine’s deeds or to shelter her maimed visage.
The White Hall
The final room of the manor is Amandine’s bedchamber, a sad testament to her old life. The mirror still found on the dressing table by the research team was shattered by Amandine in a fit of despair after the loss of her beauty in the Seventh Umbral Calamity. The adventurers who cleansed the manor testified that Amandine was lying on the bed when they first entered, before rising to confront them in her corrupted form. The room was in disarray, and a modest desk can be found in the room, likely Amandine’s own.