Oct. 19, 1866: Our new buddy Fritz gets a message about his side profession as a first-rate stage magician and has to dash off. Ms. Jane decides that we are a fun enough band of hooligans to spend time with (evidently her cousin and Fritz are Chaos Embodied) and just has fun chatting and whatnot for the afternoon. At dusk, Marcus takes a reading on his compass, marking the direction by degrees on our various maps. (We will need to get a new journal for those records and be sure to make a few copies.)
Jane stays a bit too late to be gallivanting home, so she instead plans to gallivant to one of the spare rooms at our House for the evening.
We into our home, only to be greeted by a few dozen near-completed doilies strewn around the dining room. Even stranger, these doilies are being hand-crafted by Bia! An aspect of destruction, knitting.
I love my life.
She is working on a magic item, and in order for it to work the primary component, in this case, a doily, must be crafted perfectly. She finally gets one right, and mentions that they are part of how they plan to make new portals to the Library in various areas. Sounds like a good idea; the place will be attacked again, and it is good for them to have areas to move strategically in and out of, to say nothing of calling in allies!
We grab some dinner a bit nervously. Sergei and Jane corner Prof. Poole and give him their best sales pitch. Specifically they both mention that they have a new healing trick each, and that together they can cast said spell ritually to greater success. Poole is hopeful, but reminds us of an angle we did not think about; if he, an ex-Slayer world renowned for being crippled in the line of duty, suddenly can walk again, flags will be raised and questions asked.
Crap. He has a great point. Thanks to Jane, we know that this particular power should be kept hush-hush to all but those we trust implicitly or need something from desperately. He is unwilling to undergo the process unless we cover this. But we put our heads together to make a GREAT cover; the Sphinxes (whom we recruit for this) will claim that they had a scroll that could perform this miracle in the Library. When they ‘asked’ what we wanted, we just wanted our mentor ambulatory. They gave us the scroll, we cast it on Poole and, with the help of some braces for his legs and a bit of therapy (read as: acting by all involved), the Prof. may walk again!
Sounds GREAT! Lets get to the miracleizing!
Sergei and Jane set up again in the actual CH sanctuary and cast away. This wound, being caused by a magical critter known for causing wounds that do not heal (werewolves), is a bit tough to wrangle. But wrangle it they do, and the Prof., for the first time in a good while, is able to stand from his chair. Well, for a few seconds; it wipes him out a bit. Jane and Sergei give him a once-over, and it looks like it is just muscle atrophy; a few months of rehab should have him on his feet! He is thinking about keeping a cane and an affected limp; what anyone else does not know can only hurt THEM.
We discuss our new paradigm, specifically the plans for the House. The Sphinxes are going to use London (our CH in particular) as a base in their Library-Gate-Repopulation mission, so they will be in residence. We are going to travel a bit, visiting other CHs and recruiting from them if possible, and use that as a VERY convenient cover to begin triangulation of Marcus’s quarry. Prof. Poole states that his new ambulatory nature, when it becomes open knowledge in the overall CH hierarchy, will make some powerful people angry (these folks believed that Poole got what he deserved and may or may not have denied him access to the person who could heal him).
If I meet these people, I will have words with them. Sergei will probably have… more than words.
While thinking of such things, we realize that it will probably be good policy to do routine checks on old lairs that we have busted up. It also gives us a chance to show off in front of Jane, which, as men, we are required to do. We decide to do so tomorrow evening and, without further ado, retreat to our rooms for a bit of shuteye.
Oct. 20th: We wake up refreshed and spend the daylight hours training, chatting, and stepping on doilies. That evening, before we head out, the young man from Erasmus Dein’s place brings us a letter. Evidently we have a new offer on the ‘vial of innocence’ we dangled in front of him. 1400 pounds! Someone wants that pretty badly! We decide to swing by there before patrolling; Jane has not met Erasmus yet and we are curious as to his offer.
As always, Erasmus is the consummate middleman. To the point (he cannot reveal who the interested party is) and genteel (he buys the succubus dust I have for 90 pounds in store credit). He also mentions that the ghoul lord finger I have will probably sell better in the Fae Market.
He is a pretty decent guy for someone I ABSOLUTELY do not trust.
We hit Berringer’s place, regaling Jane with the tale of this particular piece of filth and his ultimate fate. It has been scoured clean, physically, spiritually, and magically. After finishing there, we head to the less savory part of town where ‘maniac warehouse’ was located. I say ‘was’ because it has been leveled since we last left it.
(A quick side note: Jane was near PARALYZED by this side-trip. She had never seen this side of her home city before. She braved up like a champ, but I could see it wear a bit on her soul to see people living like this. That is good; it should never be easy to see misery.)
Sergei roots out the door to the underground area and we manage to crawl in. This area is surprisingly well-preserved. The altar room looks a bit… lived in? It has definitely had casual squatters in it. Many of the city’s homeless live underground, so this is not surprising. We canvas the room for hidden passages (we really did not have time on our last visit, what with the exploding minions, giant demon, and evil altar shenanigans) and Jane spots one on the far wall. Sergei picks it open and finds small animal bones in the corridor. Using the scientific idea of ‘toss a rat skull down the hallway’ we find our scavengers of the day; a rather large swarm of rats. We dispatch them with haste (Jane does NOT lose her calm as I feared she would!) and move into exploration mode.
While moving down the hall, we are confronted (rather hesitantly, we managed to sneak up on him a bit) by a rather charming rat-person (oh the people we shall meet!) named Spork. He lives in these tunnels, scavenging what he finds to sell to various people, mostly in the Fae Market. And, to add a bit more convenience to our evening, he knows the way there! On the way we buy a bank deposit box key that he found off of him (MYSTERY!) and Aldo purchases an old broken pocketwatch from him as well (PROJECTS!). Spork, being a bit smitten with Jane’s being totally non-plussed by his appearance (and smell), gives her a rather lovely piece of creamy green jade. He points out a branch of the tunnel that opens into the wine cellar of a pub called The Snake and Whistle (EMERGENCY FREE BOOZE!) and then walks us to the Fae Market (dodging the really disgusting areas on the way, I think. What a classy guy!)
The Fae Market is, without a doubt, the weirdest place I have seen. It is housed in a large underground cavern that may-or-may-not be wholly in this plane. Everywhere we look there is something that stretches one’s sanity; trolls pushing baby strollers. Various types of fae creatures selling exotic cloth/food/bubbling liquids. Color-changing clothes. Everything from meat-on-a-stick to the fanciest of unidentified dishes for grabs. It is noisy, chaotic, and maddening.
I will have to come here far more often!
As Spork shows us around, we bump into (read as: get surprised by) Ms. Stanica. She is in the market buying, no doubt, FORBIDDEN HERETICAL MAGICS (that looked like flowers, a small roll of fine cotton, and some rock candy). She walks with us, saying hello to Spork warmly (classy lady!). We get approached by one Archibald Caning. At first glance, he is a wee person with a HUGE hat. The hat is part of his shtick; he is a haberdasher and, according to Stanica and Spork, one of the finest in the Market. He inquires upon my hat (a stetson “Boss of the Plains”) and, upon further inspection, shows that he has 2’ long rabbit ears covered by said giant hat. Stanica mentions that his fae breed is a ‘pooka.’
Pooka, Eskimo, whatever; the man knows how to make a nice hat.
While Jane is shopping for dresses (because we KNOW that she was not going to resist this!), she gets approached by High Lord Deever? Denver? I missed his name. Well, he just so happens to be the vaunted Vampire Lord of London. You know, the guy that you NEVER tell you name to? He introduces himself to Jane, and she introduces herself…
Having her around must be like riding in an out-of-control carriage ALL THE TIME!
He takes his leave, leaving a slightly jittered Jane to keep shopping. She makes her way to the ‘best’ dress shop in the Market and finds her money is no good; Lord Fangsy has her on his tab. After finally deciding that denying his gift would be more insulting than buying an expensive dress, she chooses the latter. Personally, I would have gotten a few, but she shows restraint.
We chat a bit on how this guy operates and, worse yet, how someone like him becomes the High Lord Vampire of a town as influential as London. Scary stuff. We wash that down with a bit more window-shopping (I show a weaponsmith one of my new custom tomahawks as a down payment of orders for later). With that, we head home.
Prof. Poole states that he has heard back from Malachi Spencer. He has indeed chosen to join the CH, but is going about it his own way. He and his family will be sponsoring both Houses equally, but he is more comfortable in the other House (less aggression to set him off). Totally understandable. Good guy that, due to our real jobs, I feel we let down a bit.
Damn saving the world silliness.
We discussed it at length and now have a plan. We are going to arm up the House, both with weapons and people. Not raw recruits, but trained operatives. We will make it so if any of our adventures costs us our lives, our House will survive and thrive. While doing this, we will continue to take readings on our Demon Compass. When we are finished setting up our House, we will go on our Hunt.
My friends are not Apache, but they know how to Hunt.