The Taikan Solon Memorial Orphanage is a sprawling former manor house. The building is attatched to extensive grounds, although except for a small garden near the kitchens, the grounds have all gone wild. It is very isolated; in fact the aristocrats who originally built it abandoned it because it was just too far away from everything.
The size and the isolation formed an ideal circumstance for Edrea Solon, a wealthy widow who purchased it, ostensibly to turn it into an orphanage. She had the house remodled and put into repair, and in a moment of supreme irony, named it after her dead husband. In reality, she wanted to establish it as a base for her necromantic experiments.
The House and Grounds
The layout of the house itself is fairly simple. It is two stories, three if you count the extensive cellar. One wing has been converted to dormitories, girls on one floor and boys on the other (really, this is just to keep up appearances, as Edrea couldn’t care less about proper sleeping arrangements). The other wing contains Edrea’s rooms, as well as rooms for Kailan, her son. There are two guest rooms (almost always unused), and the rest of the space on the floor is storage. The other floor of that wing is where Edrea forces the children to make various materials and equipment.
The cellar is kept locked, and Edrea has the only key. This is where her necromantic laboratory is located. It is filled with all manner of magical/alchemical equipment (scientific equipment if it fits the setting), unfinished projects, bodies, body parts, and other raw materials, and cages where she keeps some of her harder-to-control projects. It is a ghoulish place, somehow made worse by the way Edrea keeps it clean and rigidly organized.
The kitchen garden is maintained by a few of the children who are good at gardening and is pretty much the only source of fruit and vegetables the orphanage has. Elsewhere on the grounds is a bit of field turning into a swamp, where failed experiments are buried.
At any given time, there could be anywhere from eight to thirty children under Edrea’s "care", although the identities of most change fairly regularly. There is a small group (four to seven) of children Edrea finds useful enough to keep on a fairly permanent basis, mostly those with a particular skill set. The children stay very scared, and avoid strangers as much as possible. If cornered, most of them will refuse to say anything is wrong, for fear of being punished.
Edrea is almost always somewhere around, and will be very gracious, but will keep visitors away from the work area and the cellar. She will also do her best to get any visitors to leave as soon as she can.
Kailan doesn’t leave the grounds either, and is always prowling around, looking for any children who need a bit of "discipline" or any trespassers. He is strong and violent, and doesn’t need much provoking to set him off. He isn’t allowed to kill any of the children (Edrea can use them, after all), but trespassers are another matter entirely.
Occasionally, Edrea’s servant/handyman/whatever Benjamin can be found on the property. His job is to fix anything that one of the children can’t, do any purchasing needed, and sell certain things for Edrea, like the Alu-Dollys. He hates and fears her, and would flee at the earliest opportunity if he was able. Edrea is quite aware of this; his little brother is one of her orphans, and should Benjamin fail to do his job properly or simply leave, she’ll kill his brother. He will do anything to keep his brother safe. When he’s there, he sleeps in the boys’ dorm.
There are mundane dangers here; Kailan could easily kill a man, and if he’s desperate, Benjamin might also be a threat. It’s also entirely possible that wild animals have moved onto the neglected grounds.
However, the truly dangerous aspect is, of course, the numerous undead. Some of Edrea’s lesser experiments sometimes roam around the grounds, and she could easily summon a small army of zombies should the need arise.
There are also some more exotic specimens she releases at night to discourage escape attempts. Some of these were clearly children, but some were also adults who got a little too curious. All of these experiments are fairly wretched monstrosities, and are usually fairly hideous perversions of the human form.
One of Edrea’s prized guardians is something she calls the Hound; this undead monstrosity is only barely recognizable as human. Odd body parts have been grafted to it, and some of the original body parts have been altered in disgusting ways. It runs on all fours, and will make a determined effort to tear any one it encounters to shreds. This is all that is left of Taikan Solon, Edrea’s husband and the orphanage’s namesake.
All of the undead that would be found on the grounds as guards or simply wandering freely are the sort that are decaying and falling apart, and are fairly obviously undead. They do not leave the grounds and are only loose at night, and Edrea makes sure that any who see them die.
However, they are not the only types of undead that Edrea has created. One of her constant and on-going projects are the Empty Children, which are all but indistinguishable from the living. She will try to hold them in reserve, both to keep their existance secret and because they took too much time and effort to create for her to risk them lightly. But they are there, and could be a danger.
Despite the number of deaths that occur at Edrea or Kailan’s hands, there are comparatively few ghosts. This is because Edrea often binds the souls of the deceased into various undead or other necromantic projects. Once so bound, the unfortunate spirits are unable to rise as ghosts. The few that *do* arise are still terrified of Edrea, and avoid her. The orphanage is haunted, yes, but not to an extent that it would become common knowledge. The ghosts can be dangerous, but are more likely to try to distract Kailan from harming a living child or alert any visitors that something is very wrong here.