ChapterHouse

From the Journal of James Watie: Have Gun, Will Travel

July 26th:

I was able to deliver my deceased friend’s final words to his mother, Abigail Westmore. I found her manner quite calming, as she inquired as to her son’s bravery and death in a dignified manner. She invited me in for tea (they do love their tea over here!), and invited me to stay in touch. I believe I shall do just that; you never know when you may need a friendly face.

We boarded the train at Paddington Station for Aberdeen, Scotland. trains are very calming over here, with little of the frontier feel of the American variety. Everywhere we passed through had at least some signs of civilization. While on the train, we noticed a rather lovely lady with two quite well-armed bodyguards. The guards had the demeanor of people who knew what they were doing, and looked to be of Slavic descent. It is funny how one begins to believe that everyone is a part of the plot when one lives in a storybook situation. They stayed on board the train all the way to Aberdeen as well.

The Aberdeen Chapter House is in a very nice brownstone. William was immediately taken by the authentic suit of armor in the entry room. He said it is a suit of Templar armor, having probably been worn by some man of repute in the past. The butler, a Mr. Poe, introduced us to James Hamilton, the head of the Aberdeen Chapter House. This is a very nice establishment, but its aura of comfort seemed off to me. Is this organization dedicated to the destruction of evil, or superior collection and decoration skills?

July 27: We left the Chapter House for the late Prof. Warburton’s estate. It is an old and dignified estate, to be sure. We were met at the door by (another) butler, a Mr. Johnson, and then introduced to Maxwell, Prof. Warburton’s older brother. He was a rather dour fellow, and made no bones about his distaste for his brother’s life and death. He let us go through the things left for our Chapter House.

In the lot, we found another pocketwatch (inscribed with the first line of The Odessey and with a pop out section) and a large silver hand-cross. Both seem to be enchanted, with the cross being a weapon against the walking dead and the watch being somehow activated to enable the user to understand ancient Greek. Sergei found a secret passage in the room that led to the basement of a nearby cottage. Upon reflection, we believe that this passage leads to the groundskeeper’s house (“Old William”).

The church in the area is run by a young priest by the name of Michael. A nice fellow, and the first person in the area who spoke well of the late Prof. Warburton. As we meandered to their family plot, the Professor’s spirit appeared to us. He told us of the innate powers of our new-found silver cross, and that his spirit was trapped here until the hellhound that killed him was destroyed.

Of particular interest is his insights into the large Stone of Dee that was stolen in London earlier. Evidently it is keyed to the Archangel Uriel, who is an angel of knowledge. The idea that ANY mortal, much less a nefarious one, could somehow siphon such power rattles me to my bones! We thanked him for his assistance, and endeavored to go to the quarry north of Aberdeen to confront this hellhound and look for clues.

According to the Professor, this quarry was the abode of a necromancer (a death magician) of some power in ages past, and his presence was said to linger. Regardless of his presence, a hell-hound WAS present to be sure. As we maneuvered into a pit in the quarry to search, we were ambushed (poorly) by the beast. What an unnatural beast! A giant wolf-like creature, leading a pack of pure-bred dogs in the attack. I had loaned Aldo my rifle for this fight, as he is relatively useless in a melee but a pretty solid shot. I figured the dogs would close, and I would draw their attention long enough to let more range attacking happen.

Aldo proved his mettle. I know the Swiss are good at putting holes in cheese, but they must have carried this over to hunting creatures of the night. Aldo cored the hellhound with a shot while we attacked the pack. A large metal spike that had been driven into the center of the clearing shot some sort of unnatural lightning at one of the dogs, changing it instantly into a fresh hellhound! We fought through the pack, killing them quickly and efficiently, and upon finishing up there were none left to become a hellhoound.

Rest in peace, Professor Warburton. I wish I could have met you in life, and look forward to meeting you again when my turn comes.

The metal spike was inscribed in some form of mystic runes, and obviously planted there to trap and kill Professor Warburton. After investigating the spike, William destroyed it with my knife. He meant to merely deface it to render it inoperative, but whatever grim sorcery was infused within exploded outwards. We escaped unscathed from the explosion of power. As we tracked the pack back to its lair, we found the body of a local who had gone in to explore the area, and left said information with the quarry night-watchman.

We returned to the Aberdeen C.H., said our goodbyes, and booked passage to Oslo. Prof. Warburton’s sister is a member of the C.H. there. We were warned that the Oslo Chapter is a secretive lot, and welcomed back to the Aberdeen C.H. whenever we were in town. As I said before, they felt soft, but sometimes it is nice to have something soft to cling to.

Aug. 1: After three days on the water, we entered Oslo. William got us very nice hotel accommodations and sent a letter to Patricia (Prof. Warburton’s sister). A large man identifying himself as police inspector Youst Rhast met us outside, saying that he had intercepted the letter and that Patricia was missing. As we arrived at her abode, we met Inspector Haroldson, who identified this Rhast person as a fake policeman, and likely a plant from one of the many organizations interested in the Warburtons (brother AND sister).

As her house was covered in policemen, we endeavored to go to her office at the local University. Imagine that; a country where a proper lady can become a professor! Her room tested as magical, in specific as magic that countered any casting other than those she knew (or who carried her brother’s or friend’s pocket watches). We found a poorly hidden letter that threatened her with the same fate as her brother, and a key hidden in a picture frame. Leaving before people got too suspicious, we noticed that we were being followed back to the hotel (which we planned beforehand to try and get a glance at our opposition).

Inspector Haroldson met us for drinks that evening. He told us that her house had been tossed and a few things taken. No real signs of struggle could be seen (blood trails or damage to the environment). He gave the address of her local sewing circle, and also mentioned that she enjoyed time at the University library.

Aug. 2: Ms. Warburton’s house on campus was made available for us to search. Inspector Haroldson either has amazing judgment of character or is entirely too trusting. On second thought, I suppose he could also be a plant for any one of the various factions we now firmly believe watch our every move. This must be what it feels like to be an American in Apache territory…

Uriah’s watch was drawn to her shattered grandfather clock. It replayed a message as if the speaker was there, a marvelous piece of magic to be sure! The message was to Uriah (whom she would have still believed to be alive), and said that she was going on the run to avoid those trying to capture her for nefarious ends. After convincing Aldo the officer outside would probably frown on his taking a grandfather clock from the crime scene, we visited Patty’s local sewing circle. They mentioned that she had not been there for some time, and William left a C.H. card with the butler.

As no one responded, we made the assumption that several forces were probably watching us. We therefore told Inspector Haroldson that we were heading to Frogner Park for a late night stroll. As we reckoned, we were jumped. As we did NOT reckon, we were jumped by two topiary animals (Sergei dispatched them handily) and then a pack of ‘drowners’ (the aquatic undead similar to the ones on the ship over from America). An unidentified gunman dispatched one of the drowners and then called out that he would like a meeting tomorrow at a local cafe.

Aug. 2: The man who met us is a tall, Nordic fellow with a nasty facial scar (Abel). He claimed to speak for Patty, and we gave him a bit of information to give to her. About a half hour later, he returned with a calling card to present at the sewing circle. An obivous front by this point, it had a secret entrance leading through tunnels to the actual C.H..

The door guard (Cain, Abel’s twin brother) let us in and led us to Patty in her lab. She is rather more lovely than I pictured a 30s intellectual, but, at this point, what do I know, really? We go over details and ideas with her, and have confirmed much of what we have put together. Patty is a scientist of sorts, combining magic and machinery into amazing contraptions. She crafted both Uriah and Prof. Warburton’s watches. Aldo had a few GREAT opportunities to endear himself to a colleague of spirit, but failed to do so (even with Sergei’s attempts to assist!).

An older gentleman barges in and begins to lambaste Patty on her ‘breach of protocol.’ The two of them leave, arguing all the way. Abel enters and mentions that her letting us in this far into their C.H. is something of a large breach in security, and she may get in some trouble for it. As they argue outside, the Grandmaster of their C.H. enters the scene, sends them to their rooms (like petulant children, no less), and comes to speak to us. His name is Lieffson, and he is a true gentleman, explaining the situation to us without making us feel unwelcome (tho, in many ways, we were exactly that). He offers us any help that he can in our mission.

Patty re-enters, and we begin to develop a plan to make fake stones. I asked Lieffson to speak to the gentleman whom I insulted before (I made a rude hand-gesture at him as he left), and sincerely apologized to the pompous blowhard. Now I have his name (lang) and have him off-balance in future dealings.

If we can somehow track our antagonists, we may be able to get the upper hand on them. They have killed at least two members of my new-found company, and must pay for this in blood.

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