ChapterHouse

From the Journal of James Watie: Time To Go Dungeon Shopping!

Sept. 9th, 1866: We get back to the CH at about the same time as Zoe wakes up. She had been touring London and visiting the other House yesterday, unfortunately. She misses meeting Marcus, who decided to go to Aberdeen with Huxley and company to help protect the altar (and visit another CH). We recant the previous evening’s festivities; Zoe is jealous.

We recuperate at the CH for a day. Sergei could definitely use it, he is healed up but still bruised and battered. Also of note, Prof. Poole takes the girls out to the park. I worry about his ability to protect them if our enemies decide to attack them, but it does him good to get out. I honestly cannot imagine the level of despair that he was under before we came into the CH; through no fault of his own, he had watched his life’s work erode around him, while being incapable of doing anything to stop it.

There is nothing on Earth like Hope. Seeing that old man smile like a cat with a canary makes my day.

Livinia decides (over dinner, with Emily glaring daggers at her) to empty her accounts and head for greener pastures. She believes that she is going to head towards America after a brief trip to Paris (probably to clear out some assets there). I wish I had better contacts for her there; while I do not trust her in the slightest, it would do Sergei well to know that she was choosing to walk a different path.

Sept 10th: We see Livinia off to the train station, then work on what our immediate plans are. Sergei has the pulse of it; he had promised the specter of Uriah’s sister that he would free her from the altar, and that seems like the plan du jour to the group. Of course, this is a delicate affair; we have no idea how to go about this, especially if we want to free selected spirits rather than just crack the thing open and wade in a tide of spirits. Stanica is our local expert in these types of things, so we head to Hyde’s Park to ask her. After another lovely meeting with her, she sends us out to look for a crucial component to our mission, a real spiritual medium (rather than an uncontrolled locus like myself).

Thinking to ask Prof. Poole about mediums within the nearby CHs, we head home. Poole mentions that he knows of a medium who lives at the Madrid CH, and sends a telegraph to that House asking for a bit of assistance. Patti shows up with a letter from our office. It asks for a meeting, and seems likely that it was from the nervous young man (Malachi Spencer) plagued with nightmares. We send a return message stating that we will meet him that evening at 5.

Also of note, we have a note from Erasmus Deen stating that he has a buyer for Emily’s innocence dust at 10 pounds a vial. Nice to see him working to help, but that is up for Emily to decide, not us.

We head to the office for the meeting. Malachi is at the end of his rope; he is sleep deprived and probably starving. Since August 12th, every time he sleeps he has amazingly vivid dreams of carnage. It is hazy to him, and he cannot remember if his victims are human or not. But one thing is certain, the version of him in the dream enjoys his bloody romps, and when he awakens, he is naked, covered in blood, and not where he fell to sleep.

Being particularly well-suited to this kind of thing, we offer to watch over him as he sleeps. We tie him down, to make sure, and let him drift off to dreamland. We know when he is asleep, because he immediately transforms into an 8’ tall blood-red mound of muscle and violent tendencies (snapping the rope we had him held with as he does so). I bring my sword to bear, and the critter he now is decides that discretion is the better part of valor and leaps from the window. On second thought, maybe we should have let Aldo put manacles on him…

NOTE: We need lockable bars in our windows.

I leap from the window as well, followed by everyone else getting down as best they can (mostly using my head as a ladder). Overcome with a bout of altruism, I decide to wrestle the giant, obviously stronger critter down to allow my compatriots the opportunity to have a rational conversation with it (preferably with a brick to the head). Sergei keeps him off-balance by dropping a very flashy kick into his head, which Zoe uses as a targeting marker for a couple of swift raps with her cane. He drops like a very, VERY large sack of potatoes. I carry him back inside, and he slowly transforms back into Malachi. He is, at last, getting a good night’s sleep.

We are now faced with a set of dilemmas. We have a man who, for totally unknown reasons, turns into a monster that may or may not have killed people. We do not have sufficient means to confine him when he sleeps (our dungeon area has been stripped by the Prof. when the CH needs funds). We decide to take him to the other House for safe keeping until we can figure out the next play in this. Huxley oversees the hand-off, and Malachi is amenable to this arrangement.

NOTE: We need to refurbish our dungeon.

At first it was a relief to be rid of a tricky situation, but now I have my doubts. Malachi came to us for help, and although we may not be the best equipped to handle this, I feel as if we might not have tried hard enough on this one. Perhaps when Marcus gets back he can help us on figuring this one out before we head to Aberdeen? We can always ask the Spanish medium to wait a few extra days, as something urgent has come up. I will have to chat with Sergei on this one.

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