There is a sleepy little town in a sleepy little corner of the New England states that you can't find on any map made more then a hundred miles away. Forget about Google, or booking your passage there on any major travel provider. You can't find it, but some people want to. Because the countryside is beautiful. Because the people are quiet. Because the reported crime rate has been 0 for more then a century. Because there's something about the place, something special, something old. You can feel the history pressing in on your skin. It's an amazing town, Dunmore.
And on a good year, it actually does have its own website. On a good year, you might stumble across a traveler's anecdote or carefully marked road map just when you're feeling most stressed and in the need of adventure. On a good year, as many as fifty people might find their way to visit mysterious, isolated Dunmore to get away from it all and enjoy the beauty of its natural forests, romantic hills, and sparkling blue bay. On a really good year, most of those people even find their way home again.
This isn't a good year. This year is going to be very, very bad...
Of course, none of THAT concerns YOU. No, all you've got to be concerned about is - well, that weird letter. The one promising you an inheritance beyond your wildest dreams (and at first you doubted; you have some pretty wild dreams) if you'll just show up to claim it...along with six others. Because it's all very complicated, and the details are too hard to explain except in person, only there's a mansion at stake, and a fortune, and some other things that can't really be valued. Joseph Windsor, your distant relative that you've never heard of. An all-expenses-paid trip by train. An offer to accommodate up to three guests each, it sounds...well, fishy. Nuts. Like a prank at best.
Only everything checks out, see, and there's something in there - a throwaway line, almost - about something you need. Need badly. Maybe it's money, or peace of mind, or they mention that they had to talk to your brother to find you, the brother you've been looking for for ten years. Maybe it's not the name of family, but of an enemy - maybe there's no difference. It's clear enough, though. You have to check it out.
Oh, and then there's the seal. Blurred by runny ink and some kind of spill - sea water, you realize later - but unmistakable for all that. The symbol of your Strain. They know.