About Hearth Tales

For years, I've been travelling around the world, searching for a rare kind of magic. For years, I've been longing for a secret, forgotten and forbidden kind of magic. I've had to follow many rumours, I've had to walk along many paths, but some day, I found it. I went deep, deep in the woods and secluded myself. In the Lost Manor, I gathered followers. It is within this house that the magic takes form. Hindered in the smoke of the fireplace, it obscures our senses, takes over our minds and transposes us far from here, in tales from the old times, in forgotten stories of fantasy forests, unspeakable demons, and fallen empires...

Traveller, if you've been longing for an escape out of the boredom of this world, do not wait any longer, and join us, we're expecting you. If you happen to know friends who share the same wish as you do, invite them over as well, for the most beautiful stories require two dreamers...

You should discover Hearth Tales by yourself before reading any further.

Excuse me, but... what is Hearth Tales exactly?

Sometimes, it feels compelling to give up on the world, to abandon any hopes, and to leave behind both boredom and sorrows. Hearth Tales is the story of those who made this choice. Hearth Tales is about a community secluded from the world, a community dedicated to a vain, selfish but beautiful wish. Escaping through stories. If you ever find your way inside the Lost Manor, if you ever convince the people inside to trust you, maybe you'll become part of their community.

Entering the Lost Manor

Maybe you'll be able to escape, just like them. That's what Hearth Tales is in the first place, a collection of stories. My imagination has always been filled with figures from stories of the past. Fairy tales, with their kings, their wolves and their forests. But also stories of childhood and cruelty, stories of cities and countryside. Many of them, I'm afraid they've disappeared. I have no other claim than the will to rebuild them, for the sole sake of escape. I've built this Manor because I know I'm not the only one. The Lost Manor is a haven for those who regret a time which may never have been. But it doesn't matter. What is, what must or what will be are none of our concerns.

A story, the Soldier and the Prisoner

However, I couldn't rewrite my dear stories as I've known them. Not only because the foolish admirer can only create a lesser form, devoid of any taste. The truth is even more cruel. These stories wouldn't make any sense in our era. Unused to them, we would abandon them and cast them away in the darkness from which they rose. This is why these stories are interactive. Text-based, but interactive. They won't grant any freedom, for such an illusion is doomed to fail, and not worth to pursue. They will, however, make you feel and live as if you were somebody else. They will make you forget who you are, where you come from and send your mind in places far away.

Still the same story

Is escaping a non-choice? Most certainly. Hearth Tales will make you discover what it implies. In the Lost Manor, you will live along with all the people who chose to seclude from the world. You will see them come and leave, have breakfast and dinner with them, listen to their lives.

Living in the Lost Manor

And by these people, I do not only mean fictional people. You may also invite your friends from the outside world in the Lost Manor. If you think they might enjoy stories, entrust them with the secret. In the Lost Manor, two people can share the same story. Who the two of you are will not matter anymore. You will both become characters, and live and act as them. Who knows how you will interact? Who knows what you will be drawn to do? Maybe you'll be friends, lovers or enemies. Anything might happen.

That is, in a few words, what Hearth Tales is about. Please enjoy your stay at the Lost Manor!

Er... I'm afraid I haven't understood anything.

Then maybe you don't need to escape in the first place: the Lost Manor will only reveal itself to those who seek it. But if you ever find your way inside, everything will become clear. The only way to know is to try by yourself.

I've tried to enter... but I've failed.

Oh, did you? Well, can I provide you a few pieces of advice? Try to be mindful of your surroundings. Explore, look around, listen, and you will discover many secrets. And when you're desperately lost, it's always wise to remember the kind of things you can do.

Thanks, I've found my way inside, I now belong to your community. I'd love to know where you're headed from now on, I'd love to know why and how you've created this place.

Welcome among us, newcomer. I will regularly publish some brief news about the Manor and the extension of our collection of stories.

However, if you wish to discover why I've opened the Lost Manor, if you wish to learn more about my plans and the magic of stories, you should head for my atelier. There, I will discuss in-depth the craft of fiction and the lost art of magic. It's still an empty place for now, though... well, you'll find a few thoughts, but they're unrelated to the Lost Manor. I promise you I'll spend more time there in the following weeks.

Fair enough. But from a material point of view, what is the Lost Manor?

The material is trivial. Who cares about the gears behind the illusion? I might discuss them in my atelier sometime, if it may serve anyone. Since you're insisting, I'll leave you with a few words which might enlighten you:

Hearth Tales is a Web application composed of a server deployed on Heroku and of a Javascript client. They both communicate via WebSockets. To power the visual novel engine behind the dialogues, the graphics and the sounds, the client uses Phaser.js, an increasingly popular and ever-evolving HTML5 game framework. On the server side, the requests are processed by Tornado, a robust asynchronous framework which runs with Python. Three Tornado processes are running concurrently behing gunicorn for the load balance. When needed, for instance in multiplayer, they communicate via Redis. The rest of the website is composed of static pages written with Markdown.

There, are you truly satisfied? To me, these words don't even make sense. Why would you study the shape of your quill to write a story? The quill has a sole purpose, which is to inscribe your ideas on a paper. There is nothing else besides that. Once your quill lets you smoothly turn your ideas into ink, you should focus on the craft of your story.

I've come a long way to the Lost Manor riding a Firefox, and he's rather slow...

I know, and I have no idea why. I'll be looking into it. In the meantime, please don't give up. When you arrive, your Firefox will be quite slow for about a minute, but I've found that he gets better the longer you stay. If he still doesn't satisfy you, I suggest you to ride a Chrome instead.

What about you? Who are you, to begin with?

There's not much to say. I'm Lord Rastagong, and for years, I've been looking for a place like the Lost Manor. Therefore, I created it. If you wish to talk with me, please feel free to send me a letter at my address, rastagong [@AT@] rastagong [.DOT.] net.