4826 Maple Dew
4826 Maple Dew, not to be confused with the nearby Maple Dew Lane or Maple Dew Court, is the address in the north-western quadrant of New Arindell, and eventual home of Scarlet Jusenkyou. It was acquired in N.D. 501 by Royland and Annaria Jusenkyou, who purchased a lien on it to gain legal ownership since the exact nature of of the deed was a bit murky. The house was in need of much work, which Roy bartered for mostly using his fanancial know-how. Scarlet was two years old when the family moved in, and has no memory of living anywhere else.
Outwardly the house does not stand out, though larger than the others on the block. It is notable for the driveway, which slopes down into the garage instead of up, with the garage a few feet lower than the rest of the building. There is a room above the garage with a steep, peaked roof and a single large window.
The house has four bedrooms: one above the garage, the master suite, and two smaller bedrooms at the back, connected by a bathroom. All are clustered in one corner away from the garage, great rooms, and dining room. One of the bedrooms contains a curious sliding book case that provides access to a closet.
The master bedroom is the largest in the house, and despite the southern exposure and long eaves, has only high, narrow windows which do not admit much light. A skylight was added later. The closet was once the size of a bedroom in its own right, but most of it was converted into the master bathroom. In what remains of the closet, resides a staircase, which ends at one wall and into the ceiling. Its purpose is a mystery, as the house is not known to have a full second story.
The house is well-known for intricate, fine woodwork all over the interior. It also has a heavy wooden frame and unusually thick walls, which give the interior a cool, quiet feel. Properly restored and with legal ownership settled, it is quite a valuable house.
Despite its presence on a common suburban lot in a well-defined neighborhood, 4826 Maple Dew has quite a fabulous history of which its later occupants knew nothing. Parts of it, date back to the Age of the Dragon, when the first building was constructed on the site: a three-story, heavy-duty brick edifice, designed to appear on the outside as a mid-range mansion, while the inside was constructed as a fortress. It was made on the order of the Paladins, who had it linked to the network of tunnels beneath the city, and part of a series of defenses built around Valley Gail Keep, and intended as a staging area for a possible battle to be fought over the city of Arindell.
Through the Long Night, it was alternately used as a guard post and cache for the Library of Arindell, with control passed between Paladins, Rangers, and eventually the Craftsmen. Eventually it was buried in a series of mudslides. Only the top floor remained visible, but the insides were kept clear to provide valuable access to the tunnel system. The upper floor was used as an observation post, as it had a good view of the valley floor but looked like any other ruins.
In the Long Night, its use as an observation hut was rendered nil, and the top floor was demolished to give it a much better "ruined" look, and it remained in service as an entry and exit.
When the new city was founded in N.D. 51, the first modern structure was built on the site. The old walls of the third story were turned into a foundation. The building was called a "rest house" for the workers clearing the entryway for the library to be reopened, but in truth the Craftsmen were eager to keep anyone from excavating the site. It was among the few visible remnants of the ancient city.
Initially, the entrance into the tunnels was not sealed, but did fall into disuse. The house had not been built with tunnel access in mind. When real work got underway in restoring the old library, many craftsmen did live there, and quite a bit of work was done on the home. Two floors of the old house and original basement were used as private workshops (as craftsmen did prefer a life underground), but the entrance into the deeper reaches was closed due to continuing issues with undead.
Eventually, the land around the home was parceled off into lots. Rather than demolish a relic of the city's restoration, the work to lay out the suburb was done around the house, with steps taken to ensure it fit neatly on a lot. At that time it went to its first private owner: the son of a craftsman, who left their society. He saw to the house's first modernization, finally closing off the subterranean portions to make more room for his life above ground.
He lived there until his death in N.D. 101, when the house passed to his son, who sold it. The new owner converted the above-ground workshop into a garage, attached it to the house, and added a second story. He was aware a basement existed, but closed it off, as he saw no use for it. The next owner did build an entrance to the basement, but bricked up the door below the uppermost level.
When the house was next sold around N.D. 200, city ordnance dictated that any house with a basement must include certain safety features, which 4826 did not have. The basement was again sealed, and all traces removed. Its presence was disclosed to the next owner, but not the one after that.
Around the early 300s N.D., the house was bought by a group of necromancers, who constructed new entrances into the basement, and converted the house into a temple. 4826 became the center of worship for the cult of the dracolitches, and home to many a dark ritual. The cultists eventually took over the neighborhood, buying up most of the homes until by N.D 399 it was known locally as "that necromancer neighborhood".
In N.D. 401, the activities of the cult finally came to be known to the main-stream necromancer community, who viewed the cult's activities as an anathema. Several high-ranking necromancers infiltrated the cult in secret, and brought proof of their activities to the authorities. Hundreds of cultists were arrested, and nine of them (including the present owner of the house) were executed for their crimes. Since all the necromancers living in the neighborhood were part of the cult, their property was seized and re-sold, with the remaining inhabitants developing a decidedly anti-necromancer slant. It slowly gentrified into an upper-middle-class neighborhood.
The house itself again had its basement closed off. It was bought, sold, and rented, until the latter part of the century. By then, a descendant of the cult leader named Charles Drew had begun legal actions against the Alliance government. He claimed the property had been seized illegally, and while his ancestor was most certainly guilty, said ancestor's legitimate heirs still had a legal right to the property so long as they themselves had committed no crimes (the leader of the cultists, from whom Drew was descended, had a son two years old at the time of his arrest).
Fearing the property would be taken, the then-owner (a woman by the name of Eliza Franklin) defaulted on her mortgage and left the city in N.D. 490. In addition to the unpaid loan, she had commissioned tens of thousands of wingbeats in construction work to renovate and modernize the home, much of which was complete but not paid for. Meanwhile, Drew disappeared mysteriously, leaving his case unsolved. The house was finally foreclosed by High Mountain Bank and Trust in 497, though the foreclosure was regarded as "shakey".
Purchase by Jusenkyou Family
The legal ownership of the house was murky at best. The construction company had a lien on it, but had not been able to claim possession. The last owner had left a clause in his mortgage giving him the legal right to take ownership of the home at any time during the thirty-year term by paying the balance in full in cash, though he could not be reached. The bank had hesitated to foreclose due to uncertainty of the legality of it, and there was still the pending question of Charles Drew. His case was open, but he had not files paperwork to progress it to the next stage before he disappeared.
Enter Royland Jusenkyou, who wanted a house quite badly, but could not afford one. Royland found out about the property through his contacts at the bank. He asked them to look for a foreclosure that might be undesirable for various reasons, to the myriad of house-flippers running the city. He first learned about the 4826 Maple Dew property because it was in foreclosure, did not require a great deal of work, and was listed as a "red" property (to sell immediately under-cost) by the bank. He did some research and discovered the problems with the property, but realized it was worth the risk.
First, Roy tracked down the construction company. Ten years earlier it had been a partnership, and one partner had since died. Now a sole proprietorship, the owner (who went by the name of Bernie) had never been particularly good at managing his finances, and had never recovered from the blow a decade before. Roy struck up a friendship with the man, and helped him work out his books, then assisted with selling off the remaining equity in the company, so Bernie could retire. In exchange, Bernie sold the lien to Roy for a third of its estimated value.
Next, Roy had Eliza Franklin declared legally dead in Arindell, on the grounds she had not set foot in the city or filed taxes in over ten years. Her whereabouts were unknown, but as she no longer had any accounts open, the bank considered this reasonable cause to terminate the agreement of her mortgage, allowing them to sell the house. Since it was still a legal grey-area (and he did not qualify for a mortgage at the time), the bank allowed Roy to assume the responsibility. He bought the house for 1 wingbeat in exchange for taking out a sizable personal loan to pay the balance of the mortgage in cash. He was then able to convert the loan into a mortgage as the legal owner of the house.
As for the mysterious Charles Drew, who had never been a resident of Arindell and could not be located, Roy had him declared dead as well. While both of these declarations were a questionable legal tactic, it had the fortunate side-effect of creating an extra snarl. If either claimant ever resurfaced, they would first need to prove themselves "alive" before they could begin any action. Given that no one besides the bank (happy to be rid of the property) had made any attempts to claim it in ten years, Roy figured the risk was worthwhile. To further cement his claim, he moved his family in immediately, and filed paperwork renting the property to himself. This gave him short-term protection while he worked to improve the property, which would further cement his claim. Over the next few years, he filed every piece of paperwork he could find to prove he owned the house, bartering accounting work for legal work, to ensure that if anyone else did come forward, he would at least create enough roadblocks to make it difficult.
In the end, Roy took possession of the house for a reasonable percentage of its value and at a fantastic interest rate, none of which should have been possible for a 21-year-old junior accountant with two dependents, in the form of wife and daughter.