A brief account of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, and the inhabitants thereof.
It was in approximately the year 1584 that the Scarlet Devil settled down into the mansion, after forcibly evicting its current occupants, a family of nobility, but rapidly declining wealth and social standing, the Barwicke family, including extended family and their spouses and children. Prior to this, Remilia had been something of a wandering vagrant, along with her mad sister, moving from one castle or dilapidated church to the next, passing through countries as she hunted, keeping herself and her sister fed, and had never truly settled down anywhere. Her doing so is in large part attributed to the Barwickes- while the majority were content to seek fortune and glory for their name elsewhere, some number returned to beg lodgings of Remilia, in return for loyal servitude. It is believed that this was an unexpected offer, as Remilia requested a night to consider it, and in the morning spoke privately with several of the remaining Barwickes before announcing her approval.
Conflicting journal entries of the time both suggest that she was eager to seal the deal, and that she was exceptionally uninterested in it, but was swayed against her better judgement. At the time of this writing, there is no way of determining which is correct through records alone.
The first recorded action taken as head of the household was to order that her new servants re-paint the mansion in shades of red, and rechristen herself as Remilia Scarlet. What her familial name may have been prior to this, or if she had such a name to change, is currently unknown.
For a time, the Scarlet Mansion languished in a state near poverty, at times scarcely managing to afford essential food and drink, or proper upkeep of the mansion. However, in the year 1585, Queen Elizabeth declared war upon Catholic Spain, opening vast opportunity for profit to those unafraid to seek it. Remilia then took all wealth that was not strictly required to keep her servants fed and healthy and sold it, earning enough from the proceeds to commission a Fleut from dutch shipworkers, and a half-dozen young and fearless Barwickes volunteered to man the ship, most bringing a friend or two from the nearby town along on promise of treasure.
It was such, then, that the Scarlet Cross first took to the waters, her red sails soon to strike fear into the hearts of Spanish vessels as she struck, less motivated by love of country than a privateer's love of plunder. The Scarlet Mansion grew wealthy from the proceeds of the attacks, though no less than two more iterations of the Scarlet Cross had to be commissioned, as battle damage rapidly accumulated to the point where she could no longer be considered seaworthy. It is believed that the Scarlet Crosses played a heavy role in weakening the Spanish navy, and hastening the beginning of England's naval rise, as the armada was completely defeated by 1588. Edward Barwicke, acknowledged captain of the vessel, later recieved commendations from the crown for service to country, and it was overlooked that his piracies continued well after the war finally came to an end in 1603, having taken a taste to the life. Equally ignored was the matter that he would on occasion capture an opposing vessel's entire crew as well as their cargo, and transport them back to the Mansion, from which they would never emerge.
The remaining Barwickes returned to the Scarlet Mansion, leaving the Scarlet Cross to be crewed by hired-hands. Along the way, rumors flew regarding them, that they were 'truly devils' to have so delighted in enriching themselves through the slaughter of other men, and that the unseen Lady Remilia they paid respect and homage to 'was the biggest devil of them all'. Appropriately, the Scarlet Mansion soon after came to be called the Scarlet Devil Mansion, a name which remains to this very day.
Interestingly, tithe returned to the mansion plummeted drastically as Edward delighted in the privileges of captaincy, with reduced responsibilities, until his later disappearance in 1613. While there were significant rumors to suggest a mutiny, every member of the crew staunchly insisted that Captain Barwicke had simply taken a drunken walk around the ship, wearing every article of his full regalia save pants, and then slipped and fallen overboard to drown.
The tithe paid to the mansion ceased entirely as the Cross was taken up by independent leadership, and soon disappeared from the face of history entirely. However, this was of little import, as the Mansion had acquired a new source of revenue. In 1607, the first english colony in North America, Jamestown, was built, opening new avenues of wealth to be gained from across the Atlantic. Again, several Barwickes offered to risk their lives in Remilia's service, some having crewed the Cross, and crossed the sea for the sake of profit, as tobacco farmers in the fertile lands of Virginia. Profits dwindled eventually, however, and eventually Remilia sent the order to sell the crop-lands before the soil had entirely worn out and become useless, and return home, as more domestic opportunities came to hand.
Eventually, war broke out anew in England. The first English Civil War began in 1642 and, sensing profit to be made to shore up their coffers, the Scarlet Devil Mansion began to quietly manufacture arms from base stock, which they sold to both the Royalists and the Parliamentarians, profiting enough from the venture over the three-year period of the war that they were able to mostly withdraw into isolation by the time the Parliamentarians won their brief victory, and records indicate that Remilia was vaguely amused when, in 1660, the monarchy was restored with Charles II's return to London.
In 1665, London was struck with a plague, and the Mansion ceased traffic with the capital, for fear of infection. They re-opened their gates after the sickness had left, and it was almost ironic that another disaster struck only months following, the Great Fire of 1666. Although, while records indicate that Remilia herself was rather apathetic about the plague, the same could not be said of this new disaster. All indications, including her foul temper and rush to personally retrieve 'something', when she had not previously left the Mansion for decades, as well as later dire grumblings of 'punishments', seem to suggest that Flandre, Remilia's young sister, was somehow involved with the blaze, if indeed she had not set it herself.
Following this, the Mansion became significantly more insular, and kept almost entirely to themselves as the years passed. During the 1700's, Remilia seemed to begin to succumb to the bored ennui of immortality as the core staff of Barwickes slowly dwindled until, by the early 1800's only a few remained. Whether this was due to, as rumor would have it, Remilia systematically killing off her loyal servants, or having Flandre do so in her stead, or if they simply grew equally bored and chose to leave employment at the Scarlet Devil Mansion of their own volition is unclear. In any case, it was around this time that the Mansion began to hire out for most of their servants and maids, and the turnover of staff was notoriously rapid, such that managing to remain employed within for even a fortnight was a remarkable achievement, and almost certain to guarantee employment wherever such a maid might choose.
Nothing in particular seemed to be capable of catching the Scarlet Devil's interest for more than the briefest of moments, until the year 1888, when a series of brutal serial murders began, and instantly ensnared Remilia's attention. As Britain spoke in hushed whispers about this depraved killer, dubbed 'Jack the Ripper' out of some need for melodrama, Remilia left the Mansion for the first time in over a century, intent on investigating the Whitechapel district of London.
Some time later, she returned with one pale, grey-haired girl in tow, whom she promptly declared to be Sakuya Izayoi, who would immediately begin employment as a maid, completely heedless of the torn, disheveled, and bloodstained state of their clothing. While there is no solid evidence linking her to the rash of murders that were even then still occurring in London, it seems a reasonable conclusion that she may indeed have been involved in at least the five murders widely confirmed to be unmistakeably 'the Ripper's handiwork'.
Staff began to turn over faster than ever, and there were no few unusual disappearances investigated by the police, but Remilia had once more taken an interest in the world. More specifically, she had awoken a desire to see other parts of it than the small chunk of Europe she had occupied. The fact remained, however, that while she was more than capable of behaving appropriately, and not drawing attention to herself, the same could not be said of her younger sister, who she flatly refused to leave unsupervised, fearing, and perhaps rightly, that there would be no mansion to return to should she do so.
Clearly, the solution then was to remain within the mansion, but to move the mansion itself. Such a feat would require significant arcane ability, however, and Remilia herself was no more than a dabbler, despite being the most accomplished in that regard of the household. Once more, she turned towards the outside, seeking a suitable individual to bring into her graces.
The final remaining Barwicke lived long enough to greet the arrival of the sickly magician, Patchouli Knowledge, in the spring of 1928, and assist in the transport of her library before himself dying only months later, of old age. Following this, it becomes difficult to locate suitable records, however as the Scarlet Devil Mansion disappeared entirely from England in the early 1930's, it seems safe to make the assumption that it took no longer than a few years for an appropriate spell to be devised.
From there, sketchy reports detail seeing a 'red mansion' spring up overnight in numerous places around the world, though few were able to overcome their superstitions regarding suddenly-appearing houses in order to investigate in enough detail to confirm if this was the Mansion or not. It is confirmed, however, that at the very least the Mansion came to a rest in each of the inhabited continents at least twice during the decades-long globetrotting.
At the time of this writing, the Scarlet Devil Mansion finds its resting place here in Gensokyo, on the north shore of the lake, and while they seem to have picked up a new pair of inhabitants, Patchouli's assistant Koakuma, and the gateguard Hong Meiling, alias 'China', they have not made a significant impact upon the general populace, aside from the 'Scarlet Mist' incident documented in Bunbunmaru news. Whether they intend to remain permanently, or if not, how long they intend to remain, is uncertain.
This history penned, sealed, and consumed by Kamashirasawa Keine.