Aug. 16, 1866: I have noticed that Sergei and Aldo have not been sleeping well since our encounter with the Bogeyman. Aldo in particular seems to be having a really bad go of it. I hope they are not cracking up; it has been some time since I was a part of a group that was this efficient. I would hate to lose one of them.
We head to Scotland Yard to speak to our friend there. The jailed thug from the failed museum heist is there and has been silent so far. That lead being cold for the time being, we head to the museum for ‘work.’ Dr. Birch is a bit down, as Sophia has moved on to other opportunities (like, for instance, babysitting a mythical creature with ‘alternate moral norms’). We are informed that the transfer of the stones will be at 3PM today, and decide to wait at the museum until then. Willy was able to get some work done, but seemed nervous at my exploration of the storeroom.
On the way to the drop-off, our carriage almost hits a familiar face; the Prostitute-With-A-Watch! She tries to stop us to no avail (the carriage driver is a real professional), and leaves with a couple of thugs in tow. Definitely a player in all of this, no matter how minor.
We drop the stones off at a grand Freemason stronghold. Funnily enough, the person taking possession for Lord Dundas is none other than Brennemen from the First House! Webs layered on webs… unless he is an excellent actor, he was unaware that the box contained fakes. I guess he is not trusted enough with that knowledge. A strike to the ego to a man who seems to need precisely that.
Upon our return to the museum (NOTE: perhaps investigate this carriage driver for later work. He is professional enough to be useful to us), Willy has a note from Eddie la Salle. Great, and invite to the club for drinks after dinner. After another chat about the benefits of just killing this guy (Willy is SO STUBBORN on this!), we headed back to the CH for dinner. Patti is working on the workshop, Jenny is fattening up a bit, and the House is actually beginning to come to life. I leave a letter to be sent to Koenigsman about a possible future meeting (we really need a stocked Armory, and I will bet you he knows just how to fix this issue!).
We head to the Club. Eddie is there, smarmy as usual. He offers to tell us the identities of the person who hunted our House to near-extinction in exchange for the Enochian word for “the place where knowledge is kept.” Library, the very place we are now protecting as a side mission (stop the sacrifice first, then ask Rome if they need our assistance. We are too small to spread thin). Willy tells him to stuff it.
As a note here, it seems that Eddie is getting a bit desperate. He is putting on a good face, but I think his superiors are beginning to get a bit tired of his excuses. We will need to be more careful; desperation in a selfish man breeds irrational behavior. And that can be bad for us.
A hint dropped by Eddie makes us fear for our star witness in Scotland Yard, so we head there to check on him. As feared, the witness has been ‘taken care of.’ But the way it was done is rather elegant; he has been magically mind-wiped! Absolutely terrifying; having all that you are and all you have done, for better or worse, wiped from your mind. Sergei attempted some electric healing on him, and it did help; the man may be able to be retrained to a functional person. But he is useless as a source now. The night watch chief, Davidson, has had his mind similarly muddled.
Looking for a bit of insight on such magics, we head to our gypsy friend in Fitroy. She already had a table ready for us in the restaurant she was dining at (classy!). After a bit of chattery, she told us that our trail would end in blood and death if we got on a boat. Aldo is relieved; any more scares for him might crack him at this point. But going to Richmond (York, not Virginia) would warm our trail a bit. Willy confirms that Earl Dundas lives in that area, and so now we have a lead again.
Of note, I now trust magic more than books. So, in essence, I am reverting to a heavily armed version of a Old Ways Apache.
We trail Willy home (for practice and just in case). No shadows to jump at. When we trail Aldo home, Sergei spots the Timepiece Tart watching our route. He confronts her a bit, but she just stays sassy. Now she knows we are watching her watch us, so that’s good.(?)
At the CH, I have a reply from Koenigsman. He is up for a meeting at my convienance. What a classy guy! Patti agrees to grab us some office furniture; while she is going to be our landlady, I see her as a silent partner when we gain some momentum.
Aug. 17: We wake up for breakfast, then hit the coffee shop to meet with Willy. Willy insists that we set an appointment to meet with him (probably a good idea, which Willy does have a good bit of the time). As he lives near Hyde park, I stay back to case the house and speak to our wayward wards. They are doing well, and already look better fed and stronger. Willy chats with the butler and sets us a meeting in Richmond. Aldo and I head to the First House to meet with Koenigsman, who is punctual as usual. They do not have any spare kit, but he gives me the credentials for an armorer he uses here in town. He also hints that going to Aberdeen to check on the REAL Armory of London (held in trust by Aberdeen because the London houses are filled with children who cannot play well together) may be a good idea.
We get train tickets for Richmond, and Aldo and Willy beg off work. We head off that evening; the train ride is smooth.
Aug. 18: We are staying at a inn called “The Golden Fleece” near the cathedral. That is one SERIOUS church! We get a telegram stating that we are expected on Monday. We have a pleasant conversation on how my people are considered savages, but we do not hunt helpless foxes with packs of dogs and firearms while wearing RIDICULOUS clothing in the name of ‘sport.’
White people make no sense to me.
We meet one Father Farrington at the cathedral, and he takes us to the scriptorium to retrieve a book. He gives us a tour of the place, which is simply breathtaking. The church has a chapter house building on site, which is no longer surprising, but still worth noting.
Aug. 19th: We took in the sights. York is lovely, but could use more drowned udead and topiary assaults.
Aug 20: Took the train to Richmond. MUCH nicer trip than the last time I went to a place of that name! Dundas’s estate is called Aske Hall. It is an impressive edifice, probably full of history, ghosts, and butlers. The doorman leads us to a sitting room where we meet Lady Dundas. An older lady, she is very gracious and genteel. Of particular note, however’ on her pinky, she actually is wearing a Freemason ring. For the most part, Freemason’s do not invite women into their order, so this is a bit of an anomaly. We chit-chat a bit, when Lord Dundas makes his interest.
A born noble, for all the right reasons. He is polite, gracious, and VERY informative. He knows of la Salle, and states that his brother Masons have the ‘real’ stones. I REALLY hope that they do not try to use them! He knows a bit about la Salle’s arm candy gal-pal, who is evidently the money behind his shenanigans. Also of note is that the Archduke that was with Dickens at the auction is a well-know Teutonic Knight who had to make very special effort to make it to the auction. VERY curious. indeed! We leave on good terms, both sides trading a bit of polite information and making no illusions to where our allegiances lie. I really hope that this fella is one of the good ones; it would be nice to have an ally instead of possible enemies in every shadow.
While we were eating afterwards, Sergei keeps hearing the sound of drums. At first I believed he might be suffering a relapse from the Bogeyman, but no, he was astute; we spied a ghost. Specifically the ghost of a drummer boy in the street. We track him on his daily rounds to the entrance of a VERY small tunnel under the keep. A plaque there states that he was sent in to find a possible entrance to the keep and never heard from again. We decide to help, with whatever gremlin that lives in Aldo’s head (WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT) stating that coming back at night would be the best bet.
So, ignoring Aldo’s brain-boggart, we decide to look for an entrance to the keep’s dungeons. The tour of the keep shows that the dungeons are closed to the public (safety reasons), so we decide to track the creek feeding the keep for a possible alternate entrance. While doing so, we met another ghost (NOTE: the entirety of Virginia had fewer ghosts than ANY square yard of English soil) fishing in the creek. Startled that we could see and speak to him, he mentions that this area is haunted by six evil knights who were hanged for atrocities committed here. He was ridden down and beheaded by one of these knights for fishing (because you cannot fish where there are fish without permission, I suppose), and is trapped here. At about that time, a knight appeared and began the scene all over again.
Bugger that! We immediately decided to rescue a ghost!
He charges, getting blasted by WIlly. I miss on a swing, and he nearly cleaves Willy in two. Sergei follows up with a big hit. I leap on the back of the ghost-horse (very fun to do!) and my tomahawk goes right through the knight. No worries, though; Sergei brings down the ice and the knight disappates. The kid realizes that he can do the same, and walks off to his rest.
The kid mentioned that he had spoken to the nice Lady from town, and we deduce that he was speaking of none other than the Lady Dundas. We went back to their estate and had a chat with her. She was thrilled that we freed his spirit, and upon hearing that we planned to fight the other ghost-knights as well, promised to look for weapons for us to do such combat. She also procured rooms at the inn for us as well.
So, while looking for a trail with Dundas, we get to fight more ghosts. A win-win scenario!