Clockwork-1888

Clockwork 1888 Session 67

Clockwork 1888 Date: Saturday, January 27, through Sunday, January 28, 1889
Archibald had ordered lunch delivered to his room. But, Evgenia and Dracona intercepted the waiter and insisted on taking the meal to their friend and associate. Tipping the waiter generously for his cooperation, they set off with the meal to Archibald’s cabin. “Room service,” Evgenia called out as she knocked on Archibald’s door. Script still in his hand, he opened the cabin door to admit them. “Put it on the table,” he instructed.

“Archibald, we’re glad to see you’re work going so well. We just wanted to bring your lunch to make sure you’re comfortable in your work,” Dracona assured. “I’m fine,” he answered distracted. “Did Fredryck tell you about what he would do when he and Adoline take their first cruise together?” Evgenia asked Dracona aloud. “No, he didn’t,” Dracona said, “What’s he planning? I’m sure it’s romantic.”

“He’s going take her for a stroll, alone with her, on the forecastle,” Evgenia informed. “Oh, an evening stroll on the front of the ship. But passengers aren’t allowed there,” Dracona noted. “He’ll talk to the ship’s captain, get him to allow it for him. His station in life allows him certain benefits,” Evgenia giggled.

“If you two would allow me to get back to work,” Archibald insisted as he showed them out of his cabin and closed the door. “Still,” he thought to himself, “a moonlight walk on the forecastle with a beloved lady would be quite romantic, alone, just the two of us. Leanne would like that. She’s a lady that likes her privacy and prefers to keep our dalliances out of the public eye. One can’t blame her after that lunatic artist Ealadha.” After mulling it over, he decided to try for it.

After supper, Archibald paid a visit to the captain. Of course, the captain’s initial response was that the fore castle is off limits to passengers. It took some negotiation but Archibald was able to convince the captain to allow him and his unnamed guest some private time on the forecastle.

But, the bow couldn’t go unguarded so Archibald convinced the captain to let one of his acquaintances, Bartley, who was an experienced sailor, to provide the needed visual alertness while Archibald spent his time on the bow. The captain insisted that Bartley be in a proper uniform and not be recognizable as a passenger by the crew or other passengers. Archibald convinced the captain that his skill in disguise would make Bartley unrecognizable. Satisfied, the captain approved as long as he had enough notice of when it would occur. Archibald set the romantic liaison for the following evening.

Slipping a note under the cabin 24 door, he somehow knew he would see her at the bow. It was as if he felt it in his mind. His note said for Leanne to meet him at the fore mast at half past 10 that evening and that he’d gotten some secluded time for them in the area that’s normally off limits to regular passengers. With the sails up to help speed their journey to the states, there would be plenty of privacy once the bribed lookout sailor left them alone.

He hurriedly finished his supper and put his writing aside long enough to help Bartley get disguised. Bartley sensed the romantic nature of the Archibald’s plan and gently inquired about whom had caught Archibald’s interest. Archibald diplomatically told him that was private and Bartley pressed no more. Pleased that his dalliance with Leanne was still secret, he sent Bartley off in his disguise and sailor uniform.

Of course, Bartley and the captain had already informed the others of what Archibald was planning. An hour before Archibald’s planned dalliance, they took positions for their confrontation with the predatory fey. Dracona had taken the time to snatch a sailor’s outfit from the laundry room. It wasn’t a good fit but would pass a cursory look if needed.

Dracona and Fredryck decided to wait in fore mast lookout. There was room for two and it provided some shelter from the winter Atlantic winds. As they waited, Fredryck quietly espoused the benefits of collegiate learning to Dracona. Disguised, Bartley replaced the bow lookout on the captain’s orders. The captain had cleared the ship’s bridge of all but himself, claiming to want some one-on-one time with his ship. Evgenia took a seat on a far side deck chair with a magazine and her pipe.

It was a favorable wind and the sails were billowed with the current. Archibald arrived a full five minutes early and went to the fore mast where he was to meet his muse. There he waited. Fashionably late and obviously not wanting to seem anxious to meet him, Leanne walked onto the deck at twenty to eleven. As Leanne crossed the deck, a young man came out behind her.

“You miss,” the young man called. Leanne stopped about middeck and turned to him. Lowering her hood she looked to him. “Do I know you sir?” she questioned as he approached. The lad could see her face in the pale lights near the lifeboats. “Lhiannan-shee,” he called loudly as he approached. “I’m afraid you have me confused with somebody else,” she informed, boldly standing her ground.

From her chair on the deck, Evgenia recognized the young man. He was the friend of the artist, Ealadha, which had mentioned lhiannan-shee. Still, she kept her place and let things play out, as did others. “Aos si, you killed Ealadha, you bloody faery witch,” he hissed as he grabbed her arm. “Arch,” she called, struggling to escape the man’s grasp, “help me!” Archibald wasn’t sure but he’d have sworn he heard her call in his mind and not with his ears.

Archibald had seen her coming from his place by the mast. With her calling for help, however he heard it, he hastened down the stairs from the forecastle to the deck below. Moving over to Leanne’s side, he threatened the chap. “You need to let the lady go,” he demanded, noting that the young man had apparently found the courage for this in a bottle of whiskey.

“She’s an aes sidhe, a fey that steals men’s hearts and lives, lhiannan-shee,” the young man shouted as his free hand went to her waist. Dracona climbed out of the lookout post and hurriedly descended. Evgenia kept a steady watch, hoping to salvage their confrontation but preparing to intercede if necessary. Leanne struggled against the young man’s grasp to no avail. Bartley made his way across the fore castle. “She killed Ealadha. She needs to be killed before she takes another man,” the lad argued as he pulled her close and put his free hand to her waist again.

“I’m going to say this one more time,” Archibald threatened, “Let her go.” The young man swung at Archibald with his free hand and missed. However, it was enough to see that he had a knife in his free hand. Archibald brought his fist down and struck the young man but didn’t break his hold on Leanne. Fredryck got out of the lookout post and made his way down the stairs. Bartley continued down the stairs. Dracona held her ground on the fore castle but was prepared to head down. Noticing the knife, Evgenia sprung out of her chair and drew her gun.

The young man swung wildly at Archibald, again, but kept his grip on Leanne. “That’ll be enough,” Bartley called as he moved up behind Archibald. Leanne looked to the sailor that had arrived. Fredryck didn’t want to be seen by Leanne so he ducked into the stairway that led to the steerage decks. Dracona didn’t want to get too close to Leanne so she stayed by the mast.

Evgenia came up behind the young man, put her gun to the back of his head, cocked her pistol and demanded, “drop the knife.” Leanne still struggled against his grip. “This is over, lad,” Archibald warned. The young man had felt the barrel of Evgenia’s gun at his head and heard the hammer pulled back. Releasing Leanne, he let the knife drop and put his hands up.

Then he looked at Archibald and noticed his knife on the deck. “You’re already under her spell,” he whispered. “She’s lhiannan-shee. I stabbed her twice, I tell you, and she doesn’t bleed,” he said to Archibald as he nodded to his knife. Bartley moved up and put his hands on the young man. “You’ll be taken to the captain to see what to do with you,” he informed. But, Captain Perry stepped out of the wheel house. “Have him taken straight to the brig,” he ordered.

With Evgenia a pace behind and her pistol still trained on him, they led him off the deck. But the young man continued to espouse that Leanne was a lhiannan-shee, how he’d stabbed her and she didn’t bleed, didn’t even flinch. Once inside, Bartley and Evgenia handed their captive over to a few sailors and informed them of the captain’s orders. The sailors gruffly took the young man away.

Archibald turned his attention to Leanne. “Are you hurt? He said he stabbed you. Did he hurt you?” he questioned her with genuine concern. “I’m just shaken up,” she informed. “He was too drunk to hit anything. Thank you for coming to my aid but perhaps we should do this another time.” Archibald looked her over and noticed two cuts in her form fitting coat. They weren’t long slashes and both were the width of the young man’s knife.

Archibald wrapped his arms around her. “It‘ll be all right,” he whispered. After a long moment he suggested, “Let’s take that walk on the fore castle. It might help you to forget this unpleasantness.” It took some time and coaxing but she finally agreed. So, they took the steep stairs up to the fore castle. Dracona, made sure to be up the mast and on her way back to the lookout post when Archibald and Leanne arrived on the fore castle.

Fredryck waited a moment before exiting the stairwell and followed them at a safe distance. By that time, Bartley and Evgenia had returned to the deck. As Archibald and Leanne reached the bow of the ship, she turned to him. “You’ve saved me yet again,” she cooed as she leaned in to kiss him in gratitude.

Archibald turned his face away from her. “What’s wrong,” she seductively whispered. But Bartley, Evgenia, Dracona and Fredryck had approached. Archibald was surprised to see all of them except for Bartley, whom he’d made up to look like a sailor. “What’s going on?”Archibald questioned as they took positions that blocked their egress.

“Archibald,” Fredryck informed, “She’s a lhiannan-shee and you’re under the influence of a fey that drains the life from their victims.” Confused by their accusation of Leanne, Archibald pondered the knife slits in her form fitting coat and what the young man had told him. “You don’t believe the ravings of that drunken fool, do you?” Leanne questioned.
“We believe what we see,” Evgenia informed. “Arch,” Leanne stepped next to him, “do you believe these things? Won’t you protect me?” Archibald didn’t respond. She could tell that he was lost to her. She stepped up to try to find an escape route but there was no path off the fore castle.

Dracona prepared by drawing her flask and flint. Evgenia stepped up and stabbed Leanne with her knife. It landed solid but Leanne was unharmed and didn’t even flinch. “Normal weapons are having a problem,” Evgenia called. Again Leanne called for Archibald, trying to get him to defend her. But he was too confused to act. Bartley retrieved his sword from where he’d stored it by the anchor winches. Fredryck drew his sword as he stepped up and struck the lhiannan-shee. The blow could have slain a mortal. But, although she surely felt the blow, she also resisted some of the damage.

Dracona blasted fire on Leanne. Although she did dodge it, she didn’t even wince at the inferno and not a hair on her head was singed. Evgenia drew her pistol as she stepped back and fired. The fey felt that but, like Fredryck’s sword, again resisted some of it. “Now you’ve angered me,” Leanne warned as four inch claws grew from her fingernails. “And you,” she looked straight at Dracona. “I see the spark of fey in you! How can you betray one of your kind?”

Leanne slashed both claws at Fredryck and, with vengeance, slashed him again. But her fey claws just skittered off his breastplate. Seeing the lessened effect of normal weaponry on the fey creature, Bartley stepped back and cast a spell on his sword, preparing to step up. Fredryck swung and ran the fey through. “Arch,” she called out, a look of surprise on her face. Then, she burst into a spark of light. As the spark faded back to night, her empty clothes fell to the deck. “Because I’m not like you,” Dracona said as she stepped up to the pile of garments.

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Clockwork 1888 Session 66

Clockwork 1888 Date: Wednesday, January 24, through Friday, January 26, 1889
At Queenstown, Bartley disembarked to make an Irish whiskey purchase before returning to the ship. As new passengers boarded, they heard a young man calling out to the ladies. He was probably about 20 years old and he was asking to sketch them for a memento of their journey. For his effort he only wanted 6 pence. He was very complimentary of the beautiful ladies and the fine gentlemen and Evgenia convinced Priscilla to have a portrait sketch made.

“Ah, this fine woman knows a bargain,” the young man said as he dragged his trunk over to them and extracted his sketch pad. Seating himself on his trunk he flipped through his sketch pad. Evgenia noticed that the sketches in his pad were of decent talent but, as he moved further into the sketchbook, the sketches became quite remarkable. Archibald had been observing, too, and noticed numerous drawings of a stunningly beautiful woman. Yes, the young man had plenty of landscapes and still life but he had a lot of a certain woman.

Settling on a blank page, he asked Priscilla to pause in a pose he liked and then, with the pencil held like a gentle friend, he proceeded to feverishly sketch. Simple lines at first but soon the drawing took form and, after 15 minutes of drawing and accurately smudging, he finished with an incredible likeness of Priscilla in pencil. Showing her, she approved and he turned it back to himself. “The last touch,” he said as he put the pencil to the paper, again, “is to sign it. Milady, you have an Ealadha Dallan Doherty original.” He signed it unobtrusively with a stylized “EDD” in the lower right corner of the superb sketch and dated it 24 Jan, 1889.

So impressed was Priscilla that she paid him a shilling for his work instead of the agreed upon 6 pence. “I’ve seen a lot of sketches in your pad of a certain woman,” he inquired. “She’s my muse, my inspiration,” he informed, “but I can’t give you her name. We must keep our involvement a secret but I love her with all my heart.” Some chaps that seemed to know him chided him, “His muse is only in his mind,” they called out and, “We’ve never seen the lady.” “He’s just imagined her.”

Still, the work he did for Priscilla convinced Bartley to have a sketch made for a special lady back in London. Stepping up, he requested a sketch, posed as the artist suggested and stood still while Ealadha worked zealously. After a quarter hour, Ealadha had produced a sketch of Bartley, and his faithful armadillo, suitable for framing. Showing, signing and dating it, he looked exhausted but pleased with his results. Accepting his payment, he informed the onlookers, “I’ll be on the ship in steerage accommodations, if you’d like a drawing or other work.” He seemed to cough and wheeze a little, perhaps a bit sickly due to his station in life. But his drawings undoubtedly were exquisite.

“Do you work in color media?” Bartley inquired. Ever open for new business, Ealadha got up and turned to his trunk. “Of course,” he said popping it open and producing a variety of art in various media from art crayon, chalk, and charcoal, to metal relief engraving, oil and watercolor paintings. “I’d like to commission you to do a color piece for me,” Bartley informed. Ealadha agreed and as he closed up his trunk they set up to meet concerning it once underway. He still had to take his things to his steerage compartment in the bow so he left them wanting more.

With all aboard, the Britannic left port for the United States. That evening, they were again invited to the captain’s table for dinner. Just before dinner, another invitee arrived, looked about and took a seat by Archibald. She was quite a beautiful woman, stunning some might say. With all present, the captain made introductions. She was Leanne Shae. In polite conversation over dinner, they learned that she was heading to the states to visit family that had migrated there some years before. She was considering making the visit more permanent, depending on this visit.

Archibald told about how he was an actor who had recently come into some money and opened a theater in London. She seemed quite pleasantly intrigued by him and hung on his every word. He was equally intrigued by her because he’d seen this woman before. She looked like the woman in the artist’s drawings from earlier. Others had noticed it, too, and joined the conversation.

Fredryck searched his memory and didn’t recall a Shae noble family in the United Kingdom. “Is that a noble name?” he inquired, knowing the answer. “No,” she answered modestly, “my family has money, old money, but we’re not nobility.” With Archibald having caught her interest, he found the opportune time to ask what was on their minds. “Do you know an artist name Doherty?”

Leanne’s face visibly changed at the mention. “Why do you ask?” she inquired. “He did a sketch for Priscilla on the ship …” “He’s on this ship?” Leanne exclaimed in distressed disbelief. “In steerage,” Archibald responded. Leanne looked about to cry as she closed her eyes and put a hand to her face. “You know him,” he knowingly inquired.

“Yes,” she said exasperated, “I met him about a year ago. He did a sketch for me and it was quite good. So, feeling generous, I tipped him a fair amount. But he’s dogged me ever since, tells people I’m his muse, that he loves me and other untruths. This trip was partly to try and get away from him. Some people just don’t understand a kindness that doesn’t want to make anything more of it.”

Feeling her plight, Archibald offered, “If you’d like I could try to make sure he doesn’t bother you.” “Would you,” Leanne inquired almost hopefully. “I wouldn’t want to impose,” she insisted, “but, if he thought that I was with another man perhaps he’d leave me alone, respect another man’s rights more than he respects mine.” “I’ll do whatever I can to make him stop,” Archibald offered.

Walking back to their cabins after dinner, Priscilla left them for her cabin, 38, then Evgenia (36), Dracona (34), Fredryck (32), and Bartley (30) down the same passage. Archibald and Leanne Shae happened to be down the next passage with Archibald in 26, near the main passage, and in Leanne in 24 near the hull. A consummate gentleman, Archibald made sure she got safely inside her cabin before going to his. It was late and everybody turned in. Archibald lay awake, a little bit angry that the artist was forcing himself on Miss Shae. He’s seen the type before. They think they can simply impose their wishes upon a woman and expect her to comply.

He heard a knock … not on his cabin door but it sounded like it was on a door down his passageway. He got up as he heard it again and went to his door to see. Opening his door, he saw Ealadha at Leanne’s open door. She spotted Archibald and seemed to gather the courage to speak up, “Mr. Doherty, can you please just leave. Go back to your bunk and go to sleep.” “But I’m here for you, you wanted,” Ealadha began. “I think you should do as the lady asked,” Archibald suggested aloud as he opened his door fully.

Ealadha turned to see Archibald. “No,” he exclaimed, “you don’t understand. This is my muse,” he indicated Leanne. “She loves me and I her. We’re in love. She’s my inspiration.” Leanne rolled her eyes in exhausted disbelief. “I think the lady wants to get some sleep,” Archibald insisted, “so you should go back to your place in the bow and sleep.” “I can’t sleep. She wants me with her,” Ealadha asserted.

Archibald grabbed his cane. “I’m trying to be civil about this Ealadha. Now let the lady be.” Ealadha turned to her and she closed her eyes. “Please leave,” Leanne said, before opening her eyes. “Please leave.” Confused and exasperated, Ealadha looked at Archibald. Archibald looked sternly at him. “Just go. It’s for the best, now,” he promised.

Dejected, Ealadha sheepishly left the passage to make his way back to steerage. After he cleared their passage, Leanne walked to the end of the passage to make sure that he’d gone. “You should be able to sleep the rest of the evening,” Archibald offered. She turned to him and rested her head on his shoulder.

“Thank you,” she said quietly, comfortably. Then, looking up at him she touched his cheek and kissed him briefly before heading back to her cabin. Archibald watched from his doorway as she closed her door and he heard the lock on her door engage. Closing his door, he returned to his bunk. The excitement had his mind racing so he picked up the script he’d been working on, read through part of it and began to pencil in a few changes.

Fredryck was knocking on the door and Archibald awoke with a start. He sat upright in his bunk and pages of his script fell from his chest and lap to a jumble on the floor. “Rise and shine, hero,” Fredryck called through the door. Archibald ran a comb through his hair and opened the door to him. “There was an incident, late last night,” he explained. “I heard,” Fredryck explained. “But you handled it skillfully so I didn’t have to leave my cabin. “I heard it, too,” Bartley called from around the corner. “I’ll be ready shortly,” Archibald promised.

Making their way to the main deck, they noticed a commotion. As they went to see what was going on, they heard somebody whisper, “He’s dead.” “Let us through,” Fredryck said, his air of nobility clearing the path for them. Getting to the epicenter of the commotion, they found the ship’s doctor near a lifeboat that had its protective tarp pulled back. Two sailors were lifting a body from the lifeboat and laying it on a stretcher. It was Ealadha Doherty, the artist. “Make way for them,” Fredryck instructed the other passengers as they cleared a path for the sailors to take the body back to the doctor’s cabin for examination.

With the doctor leading the way, they went to ship’s infirmary. After examining the body, the doctor could find no reason for death, any indication of poison or marks of a struggle. One of the young man’s friends heard the news and was escorted to the doctor’s office. The friend confirmed that Ealadha was already exhausted and ill. The doctor presumed that the lad was taking a late night walk on the deck, had an attack and felt a need to lie down. So he crawled into a lifeboat to escape the weather and, ironically, died there. It seemed as if his heart simply gave out. So, the doctor ruled it natural causes and a sailor was sent to inform the captain.

“Miss Shea,” Archibald thought aloud as they passed their cabins. “I’m going to check on her,” he said as he bade them continue with the doctor. He turned and went to the cabin at the end of his passage, cabin 24, and knocked lightly. He heard a sniffle from behind the door and then she quietly asked, “Who is it?”

Hearing Archibald’s voice she opened her door and let him in, closing it behind them as she dabbed her eyes with the handkerchief in her hand. “Have you heard,” he asked. She nodded that she had. “After last night,” she said pleading, “you didn’t … to protect me, did you?” “No, I didn’t kill him,” Archibald assured. “He was ill and the doctor believes that he had some kind of attack.” Relief came over her and she embraced him. “I just wanted him to go away,” she whimpered, “I didn’t want him dead.” Archibald comforted her until she calmed. Then, after confirming that she’d be fine, he went back to his cabin.

The script was still haphazardly strewn about his cabin. So, he gathered the pages together into a neat pile. Then he started to put them back in order. But, he started reading through it and the words came to him so easily that he simply had to write the next scene down, then the next one and the next. It had been a while since he’d felt so creative, so inspired. The business of opening his theater had taken its toll on his creative impulses and these days shipboard were probably just what he needed. He had to take advantage of it before his writer’s block returned.

Meanwhile, Evgenia decided that perhaps a little investigation would be in order. Yes, there were plenty of things that could take the life of a young man in his prime. But, with the experiences they’d had over the past nine months, she wanted to make sure it wasn’t something more sinister. So, after checking with Archibald who didn’t want to be disturbed at the time, she went into the bow steerage where all the single men were. Not wishing to have to use her barking irons, she brought Dracona, Fredryck and Bartley to help seek out those who knew Ealadha Doherty.

Ealadha’s friend, one who had seen them when he sketched Priscilla and Bartley, was there. After Fredryck assured them that they were investigating Ealadha’s death, the friend let them into the four bunk cabin to have a look at Ealadha’s belongings. The amount of artwork he’d shown them before was just a small portion of the fine artwork he’d brought with him. Coming to Bartley’s sketch that Ealadha was going to use to make a color portrait, Bartley showed it to the friend. “Yes,” the friend acknowledged, “you should have that.”

“What about a journal,” Bartley inquired. “Most artists keep a journal. Did Ealadha have one?” The friend remembered seeing Ealadha put it under his pillow so he retrieved and handed it to Bartley. “You can read through that if you think it will help. But, he’d probably want that mailed to his mum,” the friend informed. “Thank you,” Bartley replied as he began paging through the journal.

Ealadha had started the journal and wrote daily since he was 17. Luckily, he dated his entries and Bartley quickly made his way past youthful crushes and angst to about a year ago. That’s where he found an entry for when he met Leanne Shae. She’d had a sketch made, paid handsomely and Ealadha wrote that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. As time progressed from that point, Bartley noticed that Ealadha wrote less frequently in his journal. When he did write, it was more labored. The strokes were more forced, the lines deeper in the paper and words seemed more carefully chosen in contrast to the free flowing form it had before. The last entry was almost a month ago.

Asking the steerage passengers for a private moment to discuss, Bartley quietly discussed his finding with the others. “It’s possible that some kind of siren is at work, here,” he mentioned. “Like sirens from lore that lure sailors to their death,” Evgenia confirmed. “Precisely,” Bartley answered.

When done, they spoke with Ealadha’s friends. “Tell us about Ireland,” Evgenia asked. “Lhiannan-Shee,” one young man whispered. The others rebuked him that those were only stories told to frighten children. “What about Lhiannan-Shee,” Fredryck insisted after he hushed them.

“Lhiannan-Shee are fey creatures, beautiful they say,” the lad told. “They’re muses, an inspiration to artistic types. It’s said they suck the life out of men with their kiss. Stories say that although they drain his life, his artistic spirit is freed at the same time. Do you think that’s what killed Ealadha?”

“No,” Dracona stated matter-of-factly, trying to conceal the possibility that such things could be real. “It was just his illness, probably consumption, and exposure to the cold Atlantic winter that killed him,” Evgenia informed. “But we wanted to be prepared to put down any rumors of such nonsense,” Fredryck added. “We don’t need such absurdities causing a shipboard panic.”

Their steerage investigation completed, they headed back to the saloon class accommodations to talk. They stopped at Archibald’s room. “I’m busy,” was the response to their knock on his door. “We were about to discuss the artist’s death,” Fredryck informed through the closed door. “I have full confidence that you can handle it,” Archibald replied. “I have to get this down in writing before I forget it,” he said. “I’ll see you later.” Hearing that, Dracona looked to Evgenia and Fredryck looked to Bartley.

“Is that common for him?” Bartley asked as they stepped into the main passage. “Actually, it isn’t,” Evgenia confirmed. “Is Miss Shae in her cabin?” he continued. “I didn’t see her in the saloon as we passed through,” Fredryck answered. “She wasn’t on deck,” Dracona added. “I wonder if such magical creatures would detect as such. Let me try something,” Bartley requested as he began a spell.

“There’s magic in the area,” he whispered, “a strong aura and weaker ones.” A moment more. “There’s lingering magic, enchantment magic, in cabin 26, Archibald’s room.” Continuing to focus, he homed in on Miss Shae’s cabin. “There’s a strong magical aura at the end of the passage on the left, cabin 24.”

“Not good,” Fredryck surmised. “The faint aura might mean be the residual effects of what she did to Archibald,” Evgenia quietly pointed out. “Let me try something to be sure.” She knocked on Archibald’s door, “Archibald, I’m going to try something to help you work better.” “As long as it doesn’t disturb me,” was Archibald’s answer.

Focusing she touched his mind. She could hear him mentally going through his writing but there was another voice that wasn’t his. It was a feminine voice, encouraging, soothing and seductive. Suddenly the feminine voice ceased, as if it had noticed somebody else touching his mind and retreated to some hidden place. A moment later, the link was lost when Archibald refused to continue it and he called through the door, “Can’t I work in peace?”

They retreated down the passage out of earshot of Archibald. “Somebody is influencing him, a woman,” Evgenia revealed, “and I’d wager on Miss Shae.” “Maybe she can be persuaded to release him,” Bartley wondered aloud. “Through threats or diplomacy,” Fredryck surmised. “But if she releases Archibald, won’t she just feed on somebody else?” Dracona submitted.

“So she has to promise to not feed on anybody else,” Bartley proposed. “Is that like asking a siren to not lure sailors to their death? How long will that last,” Evgenia wondered. “We’ve got to figure out how to break him free of her hold,” Bartley suggested. “The ship has a library,” Fredryck informed. “Let’s see if it has anything useful.”

After researching fairy tales they learned that Archibald could be convinced to give her up but it would be quite difficult. Most such attempts would fail and intimidating the victim was always unsuccessful. It seemed as if the most opportune time to break him out of it would be when she was about to feed on him, again. So, they worked out a plan to ambush the lhiannan-shee in the forecastle of the ship. Archibald will be told about the seclusion of the area and its wonderful ambiance. She may see it as an opportunity to feed on him again. So, they’ll lure her into their trap there with the promise of a secret interlude between them.

But, they may have to kill her to stop her from taking another victim. Because of that, Fredryck went to talk to the captain of the Britannic, Captain Hugh Hamilton Perry. Sea captains, for the most part, were either jolly and genial or silent and almost unsociable. Captain Perry was a little of both but not a great deal of either. Fredryck didn’t know what to expect as he made his way to talk to the captain.

His noble status gave him privileges that others don’t normally get so when he requested to speak with the captain, privately, the captain complied. Fredryck began by explaining that they had been looking into the shipboard death of the young artist. As he began leading up to the suggestion that there may be supernatural elements associated with that death, the captain began to fiddle with his lapel as he listened. At one point, as Fredryck was questioning whether the captain was open to the possibility of such things, the captain turned his lapel to reveal a fellowship pin.

Captain Perry then asked one of the fellowship coded question. Relieved, Fredryck gave the correct response. “I’m just a ship’s captain but I’ve seen a few things in my time,” Perry informed. “We may have to kill it,” Fredryck informed. “If you have to, try to do so with as little gunfire as possible,” he requested. “I’d hate to have to explain bullet holes in my ship. Where are you planning this confrontation?” “Bartley said the forecastle would be best,” Fredryck offered.

“A good place but also in plain view of the bridge and the forward lookouts,” Perry noted. “Let me know when so I can clear the bridge and lookouts of all but myself until it’s over.” “Aye, Captain,” Fredryck answered.

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Clockwork 1888 Session 65

Clockwork 1888 Date: Saturday, December 1, 1888, through Wednesday, January 24, 1889
Archibald had a lot of work to do. He’d bought a theater and had been preparing for its grand opening, just in time for the holiday season. The Sensuous Sophia (Deborah Silberstein, the aspiring actress who used to work with the Amazing Anthony, the hypnotist from The Mind Murders adventure) was in the employ of his theater in whatever capacity she could perform (actress, hostess, etc.). He planned for the theater to cater to the all of the classes with shows covering burlesque, classical concerts and vaudeville with comic, dramatic and Shakespearean theatrical productions in planning.

Dracona signed on as an opening act, to sort of warm up the crowd, and promoted the opening at her street side performances. Fredryck drummed up interest in the upper echelons of society. In preparation, Archibald had Yermak Investigations make background checks on possible employees, which he was sure would save him in theft problems later. Evgenia had additional business investigating husbands and prospective husbands. Word seemed to have gotten around that Yermak Investigations caters to the female populace.

Bartley, from his family experience in theatrical productions, seemed to have a knack for the business end and helped with screening performers and acts. Bartley continued his regular arcane studies with Zhang Chin and he noticed that Zhang’s daughter, Fen, seemed to have taken a liking to his armadillo. He also noticed that perhaps she was even interested in the American Southern gentleman that had recently come into their midst. Of course, it wouldn’t be proper for her to approach him and he could tell that she was waiting, patiently, for him to act first.

As opening day grew closer, Bartley spoke with Zhang about Fen. He first inquired about her age because she looked youthful. Zhang informed him that she looks younger than her 27 years, a trait she inherited from her mother. A 10 year age difference was hardly unheard of in those times so Bartley proceeded to ask if he could take Fen to the theatrical opening. Zhang gave his approval and, later, Fen accepted.

Fredryck got his usual letters from Adoline describing her classes, studies and daily occurrences as well as how much she misses him, her devotion to him, etc. In her latest letter, she informed him that her mother was insisting she spend the holidays and university break with her family in France. She, of course, would comply without too much arguing with her mother, but insisted on seeing Fredryck before she departed for France. And, when Adoline drove up in her Motorwagen, Fredryck could see that she had brought her friend, Brina, from Oxford.

Brina Adalbjorg, unbeknownst to Adoline, had been hired by Fredryck to protect her. In Gibraltar, Edmund Fields had threatened to kill each of them and their families. After Fields escaped the Gibraltar prison, Fredryck refused to take any chances and hired protection for Adoline. Brina is that protection. Brina is a Slovene name meaning “protector” and Adalbjorg is an Icelandic name from the Old Norse elements adal “noble” and björg “protection” to represent “noble protection.” Although the guard came highly recommended, he had not yet met her.

As Adoline introduced Brina to Fredryck, she curtseyed and commented, “It’s nice to finally meet you, Sir Stanley. Adoline’s told me so much about you. I feel I already know you.” As Adoline took Fredryck’s arm, Brina took the other and he could feel the strength of her grip. He was amply satisfied with her in his employ.

It was Brina’s decision to covertly enter Adoline’s life and befriend her charge rather than present herself as her bodyguard. If Adoline was as headstrong as Fredryck had implied, she might find a bodyguard annoying or smothering. But, as a roommate, collegiate and steadfast friend, Brina would have constant access to her charge and possibly be able to dissuade dangerous behavior, as well.

According to Adoline, Brina is recently joined Oxford to study medicine, too, and she shares a dormitory with Adoline. The two are traveling to France for the holidays and because Brina said she has no remaining family, Adoline invited her to spend the holidays with her family. Brina accepted and, although she’s alone, she was left enough finances to more than adequately provide for her needs and leisure. And, as luck would have it, their short visit to London coincided with the grand opening of the theater.

With the grand opening in time for the holidays, Archibald had developed a theatrical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol, to use as his opening show. It got good reviews and was planned to run through the holiday season and well into the New Year if it continued to draw. In the meanwhile, Archibald played the host and continued preparations for the next show on his schedule of events.

Dracona had noticed that the people who she was previously paying the protection money for would close up if they saw her coming. They were apparently afraid of what would happen to them if they were seen dealing with her. It was Friday morning, January 4, 1889, when Dracona got her first visit from Don Marco Marciano since her initial “lesson” in the alleyway.

As usual, he picked her up at Yermak Investigations in his carriage. He greeted her and bade her sit down before they departed. He reminded her that they were going to teach her about how the business runs so that she doesn’t make silly mistakes, again. He had an assignment for her and a mob enforcer was assigned to “help” her, make sure she understands how things are to be done. She wasn’t told of the specific location or date but was told that her “buddy” would know it and that the buddy would contact her, personally. Don Marco dropped her back at Evgenia’s without incident.

“I might need some help,” Dracona informed as she joined others in the breakfast area. She explained her situation and they decided that they’d stealthily follow Dracona around until they determine what was going on. If Dracona deemed the task worthy of stopping, she’d pretend to choke on her flame fluid as a signal for the others to spring the trap. Of course, Dracona was probably already under suspicion by the family so if they interfered they’d have to make it appear as if she was not with them. With as much a plan in place as possible with the limited information, they waited.

Three days later, as Dracona was completing her street performance when a large man dropped a sovereign, wrapped in a paper note, into her donations hat. After finishing the performance, she retrieved the note. It told her to meet him on a specific street corner at midnight that evening and was signed “Buddy”. She told the others and they prepared for the evening.

Meeting her contact, he told her that they have to teach somebody a lesson. Dracona and he walked from the corner, her following Buddy and the others stealthily a safe distance behind. “They’re a troublemaker for the family business,” he said as he turned a corner and then stopped at the rear of a place. A light still shown through the crack under the rear door and Dracona recognized it as the building of the seamstress. From the looks of it, the seamstress was still inside. “The lesson is not for the seamstress,” Buddy informed in a whisper. “The seamstress is the lesson for others. We kill her and burn her business to the ground.”

Buddy quietly explained that he was going to burst through the back door and knock her unconscious. Then, while he cut her throat, Dracona would prepare to set the whole place on fire as they left. Dracona nodded understanding and took a swig from her flask.

Suddenly, she spat it out as if she was gagging on the liquid. “What happened,” he asked in a hushed voice as they stepped away from the door enough to not alert their prey. “It happens once in a while,” Dracona whispered through gasps. “I’ll be fine in a minute.” Buddy waited but prepared to burst through the door.

Unbeknownst to them, Evgenia and Bartley had heard Dracona’s signal. Sending a hand signal to Fredryck and Archibald who were further down the street, they moved up to the front door of the shop. Bartley skillfully unlocked the front door and Evgenia entered, making sure to jingle the door bell as she did. “Hello?” Evgenia called as she entered.

Buddy heard the tinkle of the door bell and looked to Dracona. Dracona shrugged to indicate that she had no idea what was going on in the shop. So, they waited and tried to listen.

The seamstress heard the door bell, got up from her desk and went through the curtained doorway to the front area of the shop. “I’m sorry, miss, but I’m closed,” she said as she spotted Evgenia in the dim light from the gas streetlights. “I just need a drink of water and your door was open,” Evgenia feigned. Bartley came inside. “I’m sorry, I’m closed,” the seamstress repeated. Evgenia put a finger to her lips and whispered to the seamstress. “You’re in danger.” Bartley silently nodded confirmation of that information and pointed toward the back of the building.

The seamstress’s eyes grew wide and she made a questioning gesture as if asking what to do. “If I could have a drink of water I’ll be on my way,” Evgenia repeated. “I’ll get you a glass,” the seamstress answered, still wondering what to do. Bartley moved up to her and removed his coat. “Go with her,” he whispered as he took off his coat to drape around her in the cold outside weather. “I’ll be the decoy,” he informed. The seamstress removed her shawl and exchanged it with Bartley. She poured a bit of water into a glass and Evgenia thanked her aloud. “Have a good evening, now,” the seamstress said. “Thank you for your hospitality,” Evgenia answered.

Evgenia and the seamstress left, letting the door slam closed behind them. Evgenia escorted her down the street a way and had her stay in the doorway of another building. When they were out of sight, Bartley wrapped her shawl around his shoulders and cast a spell to make him look like the seamstress. Then, he went through the curtained doorway and sat down at the desk to feign working on paperwork.

It seemed like a long time but Buddy and Dracona waited until all was quiet, again. They’d heard the seamstress return to her desk and no more interruptions were had. Buddy signaled to Dracona that the time was right and she took out her flask of oil. Buddy burst through the door and into the room. The seamstress shot him from where she was seated but he continued forward and struck her hard. But she didn’t fall and Dracona followed him in.

Archibald moved through an alley to come out near the back of the building. In the dim light he caught a glimpse of men quietly moving forward from a short distance. He noticed that they were policemen but no bobby whistles were sounding. Evgenia and Fredryck moved up to go through the front door. “Help me kill her,” Buddy demanded as he drew a knife and struck the seamstress persona.

Dracona pretended to accidentally blast him with fire but didn’t catch him as off guard as she wanted. Bartley (in the guise of the seamstress) backed up to beside the desk and fired, again. Archibald arrived at the back door, put a gun to Dracona, claimed to be an investigator and demanded she surrender and exit with him. Fredryck got inside and slashed Buddy with his sword, demanding that he surrender. Evgenia arrived and took a shot at Buddy. Bartley the seamstress drew a sword from a cane and swung. Outnumbered and outgunned, Buddy surrendered.

It was only moments before Norrington and the police arrived. They put both Buddy and Dracona in darbies (handcuffs) to keep up appearances and took them into police custody. After the excitement died down and they were alone, Norrington got the story from them. The criminal organization may be unhappy with Dracona so Norrington suggested she stay out of the public eye for a while. He could “lock her up” for her involvement in the recent event, if she felt it necessary.

As far as charges go, he could charge Buddy with breaking and entering, assault, and attempted arson. If he can get a witness to testify that he said he would kill the seamstress, he could add attempted murder. Because it’s Dracona’s first offense, and really because off the record Norrington vouched for her, she’ll have no sentence and eventually, after it blows over, they’ll dismiss the charges.

They asked Norrington how he was in the area so soon. Norrington confided that he tends to follow his hunches and he had a hunch about tonight. But he’d never had a hunch like this before. It was like somebody was whispering in his ear but he’d turn to find nobody there. Like his other hunches, all he had to do was act on it. He had gathered some men and went where his hunch told him to go. Then he waited until his hunch told him another place to go. They ended up nearby when they heard the gunshots. Norrington confided that he’s been under scrutiny due to the frequent gun battles involving people acting on his orders. He was referring to them. Still, with the evenings events concluded they parted ways.

On Sunday, January 20, Norrington called them together for a meeting at Yermak Investigations. “Strange things are afoot in Winslow, Arizona,” he informed. “On January 16th, strange lights and sounds were witnessed by several townsfolk in the vicinity of Coon Butte, a local landmark. One of the witnesses, a Spaniard named Armando Escobar, went to investigate, and did not return. Three days later his friend, Pablo Ramirez, went to look for him. He has not returned."

“Since then, animals in and near the town have been behaving strangely. Domestic animals are skittish and spooked. There’s an unusual amount of birds in the sky, and many more predatory birds than are usually seen. The local telegraph operator, Armin Krantz, reported these strange happenings to the fellowship. We’re sending you to the USA,” he paused before adding, “where gunplay is not so unheard of.”

With that he drew papers from his pocket and distributed them. “You leave on Tuesday, January 22, via train to Liverpool to catch a ship early Wednesday. These are saloon class (first class) tickets on the White Star ship lines SS Britannic. After a stop in Queenstown, Ireland, you’ll go to New York, USA. It’s could be 10 days by ship and you should arrive Saturday, Feb. 2.” They noticed that the SS Britannic was part of the White Star Line and their tickets had a symbol on them of a red flag with a white star, very similar to the fellowship symbol. Fredryck made note of the similarities and Norrington confirmed that the fellowship owns and operates the White Star ship line.

In addition, Norrington provided the British citizens with USA visitation papers (a visa) signed by the British Commander-in-Chief of the Forces (Prince George, 2nd Duke of Cambridge) and some ranking USA official. “You can show these papers if local constabularies wish to know your business,” Norrington said. “They state that you’re to be given the utmost cooperation as you’ve been requested by, and are working for, both the British Empire and the USA.”

After he left, Archibald spoke up, “The SS Britannic has a sister ship, the SS Germanic.” Evgenia chimed in, “both were built to carry 266 Saloon Class Passengers and 1,500 steerage passengers. They’re over 460 feet long, 45 feet wide and 45 feet deep, steam powered, single screw, 4 mast ships with a speed of 15 knots and a crew of150.” “I hear that Britannic’s saloon accommodations have a large, spacious dining saloon and a large number of two and four berth cabins located in the center of the ship on the main deck. The steerage accommodations are divided into two main sections at either end of the ship. Berths for single men are in the bow and berths for single women, married couples and families in the stern,” Frederyck added.

“On June 25, 1874, Britannic made her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York,” Archibald continued. “In the autumn of 1876, she captured the westbound Blue Riband and a month later set the eastbound record as well, becoming the only White Star ship ever to hold both records simultaneously. She lost the westbound record to the Germanic in April 1877 and the eastbound one to the Guion Line’s Arizona in July 1879.” “On July 4, 1881, Britannic ran aground in fog at Kilmore, County Wexford, Ireland, and remained stuck for two days,” Evgenia contributed.

“And,” Fredryck added, “On May 19, 1887, at about 5:25 pm, the White Star liner SS Celtic collided with Britannic in thick fog about 350 miles east of Sandy Hook, New Jersey. The Celtic and 870 passengers were steaming westbound for New York City while the Britannic, with 450 passengers, was on the second day of her eastward journey to Liverpool. The two ships collided at almost right angles with the Celtic burying her prow 10 feet in the aft port side of Britannic. The Celtic rebounded and hit two more times, before sliding past behind Britannic. Britannic was repaired at New York and was out of service for nearly a month.” Satisfied with their knowledge of their coming transportation, they began their preparations for the trip.

The train trip to Liverpool and overnight stay there were uneventful. They boarded in Liverpool without incident, although the captain asked all saloon class passengers to keep any firearms stowed for the journey. He’d tell them if they were needed. With that understanding, they traveled to Queenstown, Ireland, to pick up additional passengers, especially 3rd class passengers immigrating to the USA.

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Clockwork 1888 Session 64

Clockwork 1888 Date: Thursday, November 29, to Friday, November 30, 1888
They took the 17 hour train ride to visit Katherine Miller in Kilburn, North Yorkshire. She was pleasant and offered for them to stay for dinner. Her cat, Lemongrass, curled up for about 5 minutes with each of them. They could tell that, as cats, do, this one was checking to see if they were some kind of threat. Cats can sense those types of things.

When they mentioned the scrolls with the circular rainbow symbol on them, Katherine recalled seeing them but they were packed to be shipped to her son in the states. When they impressed upon her the archaeological and historical significance of the scrolls, she offered to let them have them but it would take her time to find them amongst all the items.

They offered to help her look and as they started through the multitude of boxes, Katherine actually found them. Over dinner Katherine talked about her son, Stanley, and that she is hoping they can some time visit so she can meet her daughter-in-law and their baby. Fredryck offered to pay for her to visit her son in the states in exchange for the three scrolls that they wanted. She was happy that she could finally get to meet her son’s wife and their baby, her grandchild.

Returning to London, they went to Mr. Bloom with the scrolls. They also said that the one scroll actually was stolen from Mr. Hyde. Bloom suggested they return it to the rightful owner rather than keep stolen property. If Hyde wanted payment, the Fellowship would back the purchase.

Visiting Hyde’s gambling house, they gave the scroll to him and showed him the death certificates of the thieves, Emma and Andrew. Satisfied with the return of his property, he stood, tapped his glass and the room went silent, as before. He announced the return of his stolen property and rewarded each of the investigators with one favor from him. The crowd murmured excitedly at that because Hyde simply does not give favors lightly.

Hyde also proclaimed his elation with the services of Yermak Investigations, their integrity and expediency. He didn’t mention that they had worked for no fee. After Hyde returned to his seat, he looked to them, “Cards?” “Actually,” Fredryck began, “I’d like to call in my favor at this time.” “What would you like?” Hyde inquired. “Could I have that scroll?”

With a snap of his fingers, the butler came to his side. Hyde took the scroll from the silver tray. “I did hope to have more of a sport over this,” he said looking at the scroll. “But, yes, you can have this as your favor.” And, he handed the scroll to Fredryck.

With parting pleasantries, they departed and returned the scroll to Bloom. “We’ll put our best people on this,” Bloom promised. “If any of you wanted a copy of these three, we could arrange that they are available to you,” he added.

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Clockwork 1888 Session 63

Clockwork 1888 Date: Wednesday, November 28, 1888
They took the morning train to Ipswitch and arrived before lunch. Inquiring, it seemed as if the possible thieves weren’t trying to hide. Or, if they were, they weren’t very good at it. Asking around they easily located where Emma and Andrew Zimmerman were staying, a little boarding house. They also learned that Andrew is the more approachable one, in spite of his large size and build while Emma is very petite and seemed shy.

By noon they approached the boarding house. It was run by the widow, Bonnie Hoffhine, and housed six people, total. There were three men and three women, which included Emma and Andrew. Bartley made his way around the back of the row house and found the rear door. Stationing himself there, he occasionally peered through the curtained window and waited in case somebody tried to beat a hasty exit via the back door. To make it easier on himself if things went wrong, he even picked and unlocked the back door.

At the front door, Mrs. Hoffhine answered, mentioned that she thought both were upstairs and directed them to the rooms upstairs. Andrew was the first door on the right and Emma the second. Going upstairs, they decided to approach Emma, first. However, listening carefully they found that a woman’s voice was coming from Andrew’s room while there was no sound from Emma’s room.

Fredryck made his way to the end of the hall and looked down the back stairs. Through the back door window he could see Bartley’s form so he motioned to Bartley that they were about to begin. As he did so, Evgenia knocked on the door to Andrew’s room. The man that answered was every bit as large as they had been told. At 6’ 5” and 370 pounds of muscle, Andrew inquired what they wanted. They could sense a German accent in his voice.
Within a few moments, they’d gotten themselves in for tea to discuss Mr. Hyde’s gambling establishment. Andrew introduced Emma as his sister and explained that she didn’t speak the Queen’s English. So he proceeded to say something to her in German. Evgenia, Archibald and Fredryck all understood German but concealed that fact from their hosts.

Andrew explained that his sister has a gambling problem and it was all he could do to get her away from Hyde’s place before she lost everything. They asked about the scrolls and Emma, comfortable that they didn’t understand German, told Andrew get rid of them. She suggested telling them that they had errands to do, work or anything that would make them leave. Andrew lied that she asked him about what they were talking about before he answered her in German that he’d try to persuade them to leave.

Try as he could, their inquiries proceeded and Emma got less patient. When the theft of the scroll was brought up, she figured that they suspected her and Andrew. Finally, Fredryck spoke directly to Emma, in German, “if you give us the scroll, we can do this politely.” Knowing their ruse had failed, Andrew took a swing, brass knuckles whizzing past Fredryck’s face.

With combat afoot, Evgenia wasted no time in stepping into the hallway and firing. That signaled Bartley that things did not go peacefully. Emma and Andrew seemed confident. But, in a short time the tide had turned against them, Andrew fell and Emma sought out the window to escape. But, Bartley had magically reinforced the window and it took Emma extra time to smash it. Before she could make her escape, she was slain.

Unfortunately, neither Emma nor Andrew had survived the assault. The gunfire had the sound of bobby whistles heading quickly to the boarding house. Searching Emma’s body, they found the missing scroll in her bag as well as two letters. One letter was from somebody named Snisky and it spoke of the Scroll Pulviae and somebody named Aleksander who failed in some assignment. There was also mention of some entity known as “They.” The second letter was penned by Emma to “Master Snisky” indicating that she had acquired one of the scrolls and was soon going to retrieve another. She had also found the trail to the other scrolls that leads to North Yorkshire. Emma had promised to not fail Snisky or They.

She was apparently a bit premature in her prediction. But, they prepared their story to explain to the local constabulary. After a telegrams to Hyde to confirm their role in investigating the theft, they were released to conclude their investigation. They caught the soonest train to Kilburn, North Yorkshire, to search for Stanley Miller’s widow.

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Clockwork 1888 Session 62

Clockwork 1888 Date: Wednesday, November 21, through Tuesday, November 27, 1888

On Wednesday, November 21, like so many times before, Don Marco arrived in his carriage at Yermak Investigations. The driver knocked on the door, butler answered, Don Marco’s card was presented, Dracona comes out and gets in the carriage. The carriage left, as usual. But this time, Don Marco was strangely quiet as they rode.

Finally, he spoke. “We assigned you clients that were troublesome with their payments. And, with your tactics, they all seemed to come into line, pay regularly, on time and without trouble. This is good for business. That’s good for the family.” He had another long pause as they continued to ride on. This ride was stretching longer than any previous.

Finally the carriage stopped. She could tell the driver was backing the carriage into someplace. The light outside the curtained windows dimmed before it stopped again and Marco continued. “The family was so impressed that we thought that others could learn from your example, learn your tactics. So, while you were away, on the Rock, we interviewed the clients that you collect from. We hoped to learn the tactics that you use to get their payments so reliably.” Dracona noticed the shadow of the coachman near the door but the door was not yet opened.

“Imagine our displeasure to find that you’ve been paying their fees instead of them. Of course, all of your clients will have their fees collected by others, now.” His mood darkened. “Imagine my disappointment in you. All this time, I liked you, promoted you to the family … and you did this.”

He locked eyes with her. “Some in the family wanted you dead.” He let that sink in before continuing. “But, I like you,” he patted her on the cheek. “I argued that the family lost no money so, although some punishment for deception should be made, death is too extreme. I argued that you could be taught how it’s supposed to go.”

“You’re relatively new to the business so, like a parent that takes a switch to their child to teach them, you just needed to learn a little. Like a parent, it pains me to do this. But, it must be done.” He tapped his walking stick on the side and the driver opened the door.

“They’re just going to rough you up a little bit,” he explained as she saw the three thugs come out from behind crates in the alley where the carriage had parked. “No broken bones,” he promised. “She’s a performer so not her face,” he called to the thugs before turning back to Dracona. “They’ll just give you some bruises to help you remember. It’ll go easier on you if you don’t resist,” he promised.

Dracona stalled for a moment while she decided whether to fight or not. She noticed another three thugs moving toward her from in front of the carriage. The three thugs behind the carriage moved up to her and the one struck her with a sap. Dracona dropped like a sack to the ground, feigning unconsciousness.

The one other thug kicked her in the side while the other smashed his metal baton across her back.. She continued her feint and heard Don Marco call out. “That’s enough. I think she’s learned her lesson.” The thugs complained a little bit but his look sternly reminded them of who was in charge.

Dracona stayed still as the carriage and thugs left the alley. She stayed on the ground to complete her facade and didn’t hear somebody approach. A hand grabbed her shoulder and rolled her onto her back. She continued her charade until the person smacked her cheeks as if trying to revive her.

Dracona opened her eyes to see the mime girl looking at her. “What happened?” the mime inquired. “I saw that big black carriage and waited until they left before I came to see what had happened.” “Just a little lesson from the organization,” Dracona answered. “I was paying the protection money for businesses that I was supposed to be collecting from. They found out and didn’t like it.”

“You didn’t pay my protection money,” the mime noted, “but you still work for them?” “If I didn’t I don’t think I’d be alive to tell you about it.” "They’re bad people, Dracona. You should get away from them,” the mime warned as she got up and left.

On Monday, Nov 26, Norrington asked them to meet with Marcus Bloom. Bloom wants to find scrolls that the Fellowship is looking for. He told them about a Fellowship librarian, Stanley Miller, who was last known to possess the scrolls. Miller and his wife worked at the Knightsbridge orphan asylum until about 5 years ago. They checked out the orphan asylum records and talked to Thomas Jacobs. Thomas told them that he had 2 scrolls that he used for a gambling stake at Hyde’s table. Thomas lost the 2 scrolls to Hyde.

On Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 6 pm. when it opened, they visited Edwin Hyde’s gambling house. After hearing that they were interested in the scrolls in his possession, Edwin set the stakes of the game. This was to be a very high stakes poker game. After each one considered their financial situations, Archibald and Evgenia played in the game to try and get any information and the scrolls.

They won several hands immediately and Hyde disclosed some information that they already had discovered. They won another hand and he disclosed that Emma Zimmerman had tried to win the scrolls from him last week. Surprising Mr. Hyde, they were winning quite readily so he sent his butler for the 2 scrolls.

The butler returned and quietly informed Edwin that somebody had stolen 1 of the scrolls. They could tell that this very much disturbed Mr. Hyde, much more than his present losing streak. Standing and tapping his glass, the entire room went still. With silence, he informed the crowd of the theft. He then offered a reward for the return of his stolen property and the head of the person who took it.

After his announcement, he returned to the game. Archibald and Evgenia won the remaining scroll along with the sizable stake that Edwin had brought to the table. Feeling generous, they offered to investigate the crime, for free. Hyde took them up on their offer and showed them to the back where the scroll had been stored and stolen from.

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Clockwork 1888 Session 61

Clockwork 1888 Date: Friday, November 9, through XXX, November XX, 1888
They healed what wounds they could with the cross and thong and then set about bandaging the wounded. Dr. Jery Hynllek was revived and informed that his wife was dead. Her wounds were not critical enough to kill her but nonetheless, she was dead and Mr. Deehee had died with her.

The doctor was informed that Mr. Deehee, the doctor’s wife Jacqueline, was the killer that had been terrorizing the Whitechapel area as Jack the Ripper. Checking Mr. Deehee’s bag, they found a human heart. They suspected that it came from the Ripper’s latest victim, Mary Kelley, but to turn it over to police would expose the bizarre occurrences related to Jack the Ripper.

Dr. Hynllek admitted that he was experimenting to try and cure his wife, Jacqueline (went by Lynn), of her inability to bear children. He also hoped to remedy the monthly madness that some women go through. In his efforts, he experimented on his wife, unbeknownst to her. He had obtained a powerful blue flower from the Amazon, bought from one Mr. Archer from the adventure “The Price of Immortality.” That was a primary component of the formula he was working on but there was only a few petals left on the flower he had purchased.

Apparently, the concoction caused quite unexpected results as his wife literally changed into Mr. Deehee. At first it was only momentary but, even without further doses, Mr. Deehee quickly became the prominent personality. Lynn’s preoccupation and jealousy with her husband spending time with prostitutes was inherited by Mr. Deehee.

So obsessed with making the prostitutes pay for the time spent with her husband, Mr. Deehee soon started killing the doctor’s regular prostitutes. He had slain Mary Kelley in her room at 13 Miller’s Court when Fredryck spotted him leaving.

The doctor swore that the time he spent with prostitutes was used to obtain blood and other monthly samples for testing. He was trying to reverse the transformation that he had caused in his wife but Mr. Deehee continued to grow more prominent. He was so devastated at his wife’s death that he agreed to confess to killing her in a marital fight. In reality, it was his experimenting that had killed her.

But the papers would have a field day with that type of information. A real incident like the fictional story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that Robert Louis Stevenson published in 1886 would surely bring panic and an inordinate amount of chaos. No, even though Jack the Ripper had been caught and killed, the real story could not actually come out. They decided to report something different in the official reports.

A case of domestic violence, leading to the death of the doctor’s wife, Jacqueline, was to be the official report. It just happened to be the same night that the prostitute Mary Kelley was murdered in her room at 13 Miller’s Court by Jack the Ripper. Officially, the two incidents are totally unrelated and Jack the Ripper is, officially, still out there.

That’s what the bobbies got as the report of what had happened. Fredryck and Evgenia explained that they were in the area when they heard gunshots. Investigating they found the doctor in a domestic dispute with his wife. But they were too late to and the doctor’s abuse ended up killing her. Inspector Norrington quietly got the real story and although the loss of a life was tragic, he seemed a bit easier afterward.

By the time Inspector Norrington was done at the doctor’s place, word had come out that Jack the Ripper had struck, again. Norrington, told to not get involved in the Ripper case, continued about his business filing the domestic violence case that led to the wife’s murder.

On Saturday, November 10, a pardon was offered to “anyone other than the murderer” by the Yard. And newspapers had been offering a reward for information leading to the capture of Jack the Ripper. The bounty of sorts for the capture of Jack the Ripper was sizable enough to generate a lot of stir. They knew that the pardons and bounties would go unanswered because Jack the Ripper was killed on the night of his last murder.

Then, on Nov. 20, Annie Farmer alleged that she was attacked by Jack the Ripper. It didn’t take much to find that she made the claim to earn fame and notoriety. They knew that many more stories might come out but that the real Jack the Ripper was dead.

It was not long before Dracona received a visit from the usual gentleman in the black coach. She got in and they left for their usual ride and conversation.

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Clockwork 1888 Session 60

Clockwork 1888 Date: Thursday, November 1, through Friday, November 9, 1888
After being asked to keep an eye on things in the area that Jack the Ripper has been active, they figured that the murderer was working out of some place in the area of Fashion Street and Flower and Dean Street. Their suspicions lay mostly upon Dr. Hynllek and they followed him, mostly. In their observations, they saw the suspected crime boss, Vernon Culver, conversing with a prostitute. The prostitute actually gave Culver money, however.

Later, the doctor was seen speaking with the same prostitute. Money exchanged hands but to the prostitute, this time. They observed that as the doctor was conversing with the prostitute, Mr. Deehee was observing them.

Later, early in the morning of the 9th, Fredryck saw Mr. Deehee leave a place at 13 Miller’s Court. Investigating, they found the glass pane next to the door broken. It allowed them to trigger the door latch and they entered to find the scene of Jack the Ripper’s latest victim.

Fredryck spotted Mr. Deehee down the street. Deehee saw him and leaped to the rooftops. A chase followed and they found themselves near the doctor’s office on Fashion Street.

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Clockwork 1888 Session 59

Clockwork 1888 Date: Thursday, October 25, through Wednesday, October 31, 1888
Wrap up of Gibraltar adventure. They delivered on what they said they’d try to accomplish, freed 3 ghosts, solved 5 murders, freed an air mephit to return to its home, caught the psycho killer, Edmund Fields, and went back to London with a new FWS member, Bartley.

With the return to London on Wednesday evening, Oct. 31, the Jack the Ripper newspaper sensationalism was in full swing. The police had gotten hundreds of letters claiming to be from Jack the Ripper, all or most of which are probably phony. The newspapers had printed letters purportedly from Jack the Ripper that include the Dear Boss letter, the Saucy Jack postcard and the From Hell letter to Mr. Lusk, the head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, which included a piece of a kidney supposedly from the Ripper’s victim.

In addition to Jack the Ripper running about, there seemed to be another killer on the loose. That killer dismembered their female victims leaving the torso separated from its head and limbs. Although some think it’s Jack the Ripper, others have dubbed this one the Torso Killer.

Bartley had not kept up on the happenings in London so they brought him up to speed on the Jack the Ripper and Torso killer victims. So far:

  • Tue., Aug 7, Martha Tabram, was stabbed 39 times in chest, abdomen, throat, and genitalia with 2 different knives. She was found in George Yard Buildings.
  • Fri., Aug 31, Mary Ann (Polly) Nichols’ body was discovered at about 3:40 a.m. in Buck’s Row, Whitechapel. The throat was severed deeply by two cuts, and the lower part of the abdomen was partly ripped open by a deep, jagged wound. Several other incisions on the abdomen were caused by the same knife.
  • Sat., Sep 8, Annie Chapman was killed similarly to Nichols. Chapman’s body was discovered at about 6 a.m. near a doorway in the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields. As in the case of Mary Ann Nichols, the throat was severed by two cuts. The abdomen was slashed entirely open and it was later discovered that the uterus had been removed.
  • Mon., Sep 17, The first possible letter from Jack the Ripper arrives but was kept away from public knowledge and the media. It talks about people wrongly thinking Jack is Jewish, that he’s right under the nose of Lusk (head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee) and it’s signed “Jack the Ripper.”
  • Thu., Sep 27, the Dear Boss letter was received at the Central News Agency. It was thought by the public to be the first to use the name ‘Jack the Ripper’
    Sun., Sep 30, Elizabeth “Long Liz” Stride and Catherine (Kate) Eddowes are both killed sending London into a panic. Part of Eddowes’ bloodied apron was found at the entrance to a tenement in Goulston Street, Whitechapel.
  • Mon., Oct 1, the Saucy Jack postcard was written and received at the Central News Agency. It talks about a double event. But, it was postmarked after details had already been published in the papers. The morning issue of the Daily News first prints the text of the Dear Boss letter.
  • Tue., Oct 2, “The Whitehall Mystery” was the term coined for the discovery of a headless torso of a woman in the basement of the new Metropolitan Police headquarters being built in Whitehall. An arm belonging to the body was previously discovered floating in the river Thames near Pimlico, and one of the legs was subsequently discovered buried near where the torso was found. The other limbs and head were never recovered and the body was never identified.
  • Mon., Oct 15, the From Hell letter was postmarked and sent with a human female kidney preserved in alcohol to George Lusk, the head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee.
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Clockwork 1888 Session 58

Clockwork 1888 Date: Thursday, October 25, 1888
They went to investigate the death of the seamstress. Melinda Krupt, a 38 year old seamstress had apparently died of natural causes, collapsed on Main Street. Her fiance, Private Dodd Langernesse, was contacted and said that she was in good health the night before when they had dinner. He appeared to be quite distraught over her death. When she collapsed on the street, there was quite a panic as the citizens came to her aid. By the time the authorities arrived, she was found to be quite dead. Doctor Applegate at the fort performed an examination (not an autopsy) due to the number of odd deaths recently and theorized that she died of a heart condition.

They started at the location of Melinda’s collapse and began scouring Main Street looking for shops with EF initials. Fredryck went into a tavern and bought a round. “A round on me and tell me who on Main Street you know with initials EF,” he announced. His round of drinks gained him many thanks and a plethora of names. That included Eulogio Fava on Waterport Street, Emma Ford who runs a small cafe off Main Street on King Street, Ernesto Ferro who works as a bellman at the Royal Hotel, Edmund Fields who runs the Main Street Grocery on the other end of Main Street, Edwin Francis works at the ironmonger at Waterport Street No. 6, Edith Fetherstonhauch is the baby daughter of the Lt-Colonel, Eleanor Freyone is the daughter of A. Freyone of the photographic studio at 99 Waterport Street, Ezra Farquhar is the son of Horace at the Imperial Insurance Co. and Eric Fulton the son of another Lt-Colonel.

Evgenia wanted to take an object reading from Melinda’s personal effects and went to talk to the fiance, Private Dodd Langernesse. With the fiance permission, Evgenia examined her personal effects and quietly did an object reading on the woman’s dress. She’d visited a few shops on her normal errands and nothing seemed out of place, extraordinary or unusual. There seemed to be nothing of apparent importance to her death other than she was coughing, got breathless, fatigued and nauseous before she collapsed.

Coming back together, they decided to check on the latest deaths of John and Matilda Loving and their two children. On Monday, Oct. 15, they died in their sleep. Officials reported that no source of a leak could be found after gas technicians turned off the main, checked everything and turned it back on. Their home was next to the City gates (long in disuse other than as architectural notes). They sent one of their military escorts to secure entry and talked with the locals as they waited.

Talking with the locals, they learned the legend about two ghosts that purportedly have been stuck to the vicinity of the City Gates for almost 200 years. Apparently, in 1727, two Moors, Gildas and Al-Andalus, were caught trying to seize the gates and open them to a Spanish siege force. They were flayed and their skins nailed to the gates.

Their escort returned with access and they entered to investigate while their escorts waited patiently outside. As they went throughout the humble abode, Priscilla, bringing up the rear of the group, heard somebody walking behind her but turned to see nobody. Then, Dracona swore that she saw the eyes blink and head turn slightly on a baby rag doll in the little girl’s room. When examined, the doll has no ability to shut its sewn-on eyes. Then they heard something clatter to the floor in the kitchen.

Getting to the kitchen they found a paring knife on the floor. Evgenia reached out to pick it up. The knife suddenly twitched and turned to point in the direction of the gates. Uneasy, but pressing forward, Evgenia told the others that she would take a reading on the paring knife as she grasped it. She got a vision of a skinless bloodied hand picking up the knife from its place and smashing it to the floor.

Then, she felt a chill in her hand and saw her breath form a small cloud. Caught off guard, she had no choice but to succumb as the cold suddenly coursed throughout her body. The other looked on as Evgenia’s eyes rolled back in their sockets and a strange voice came from her gaping mouth. “Why are you here?” the guttural voice asked as the water in her breath vaporized in the chill that had suddenly formed around her.

“We’re investigating the deaths that occurred here recently,” Fredryck bravely put forth. “Then perhaps we can help each other,” the ghostly voice answered from Evgenia’s lips. It was Gildas that inhabited Evgenia and he promised to leave her unharmed. Both he and Al-Andalus would be grateful if they could be brought to rest. Simply opening the gates and having a squad of Spanish soldiers march through them would be enough to release them. It was their final task in life and they’re not free until it is completed.

The ghosts had watched the recent murder of the Loving family unfold. Gildas promised to leave Evgenia with their images of the murder and murderer if they promised to free them. Gildas possessed Evgenia because she displayed an aptitude with the supernatural. They promised to do all that they could to free the ghosts and suddenly Evgenia’s eyes rolled back in front. As the cold chill left the air, Evgenia informed them that she had the image of the murderer in her mind. The murderer snuck in, turned on the gas lamps but didn’t light them. He left and then, after the family was dead, he returned and turned the gas lamps off, again. Why? Neither she nor the ghosts could tell but, she knows exactly what the man looks like. They do not know his name, but they did know from his garb that he was a merchant of some sort.

Leaving the home, they asked one of their military escorts to see if the governor could procure a squad of Spanish soldiers. One of them went off to ask Commander Niles. They told the exiting guard that they’d be at the barracks of the missing soldier.

On October 9, Private George Eaton went missing and had been presumed a deserter. He was a typical soldier with nothing noteworthy in his files, an absolutely average soldier in all respects. Men he was friends with in the barracks were questioned and he didn’t seem to have any particular complaints and none of them suspected he was planning on deserting.

Searching his footlocker they found nothing unusual and it appeared to be relatively full. That included are items that a man leaving would likely have taken with him, like his shaving kit, a picture of his parents and about 40 pounds in cash and coins. The chest also contained uniforms, extra boots, a heavy coat, a few changes of civilian clothes, a small cheaply made backgammon set, a deck of worn cards, a piece of driftwood that looked like a seagull, two half burned tallow candles, a vesper (match) case with matches, some receipts for mundane goods, etc.

Eaton was last seen heading up the path near where the rock apes abode. With their two escorts, again, they made their way to the rock apes. On the way, their escorts enlightened them. “There are about 200 monkeys on the Island. They’re Barbary Macaques,” Noble informed. “Macaca Sylvanus,” Evgenia added. “They’re originally native to Northern Morocco and Algeria,” she told. “Here,” Undery added, “they’re affectionately referred to as ‘Rock Apes’. There’s a legend that when the monkeys leave the Island, British rule of the Rock will end.” “And,” Evgenia added, “in 1887 Gil Braltar, a satirical novel by Jules Verne, was published where the monkeys attack the fortress.”

“Well,” Noble said, “the monkeys are not overtly hostile unless they’re attacked or approached too closely. If they’re physically attacked, they’ll likely swarm you and then run. Sometimes if approached, they hiss or snap at you. But we locals don’t take well to harming the apes and I’d dare say I’d even go so far as to stand in front of guns aimed at the apes.” “But we know you folks won’t do anything like that,” Undery chimed in, “because it’d be reported and you’d likely be called into the port captain’s office for an explanation.” “We have no intention of harming the apes,” Fredryck assured.

Scouring the area, Fredryck spotted something. An area showed signs of matted grass and even dried blood soaked into the ground – a possible sign of a collapsed body. They also found a rather large rock with more dried blood on it hidden in the brush. In spite of the elapsed time, Fredryck was able to discern tracks of dried blood and heavy footprints that led off toward the caves.

“There are several large linked and extensive caves,” Evgenia informed as they approached. “There are myths that the local monkeys came through the caves that used to connect all the way to Africa,” Undery told. “Some say that these caves may be a gate to hell and the caves are rumored to have inhabitants. Some locals blame the recent events on the mythical cave dwellers,” Noble snickered. “We’ll wait here,” Undery informed as the two of them took positions on either side of the cave opening.

Entering, Dracona lit one of her torches for light as the cave twisted and turned. The passage ended at a remote 60 foot cavern that had a 30 foot pool of water near the center. Around the pool the human shoe prints became mixed with other strange footprints. “There are some man-sized reptile-like footprints all over this part of the cave,” Fredryck informed. “Like crocodile,” Evgenia inquired. “No, something different,” he answered.

Fredryck was checking the area, following minute blood traces when he stopped at the edge of the pool. “We have company,” Priscilla informed quietly as she indicated to a ledge above them in the cave. “I’d agree,” Fredryck said as he noticed two strange eyes peering at him from beneath the water surface.

“No kill,” a raspy voice uncertainly called from the ledge. “No kill,” they answered while still keeping their eyes on them. From the ledge a grey scaled head with yellow vertically slit eyes and a protruding muzzle emerged. They could see its teeth when it spoke, “no kill,” and raised its clawed hand.

The one on the ledge seemed to speak broken English and called themselves Reptoids. Archibald said they were looking for a soldier and the Reptoids seemed to grow more cautious. He assured them that no harm would come to them and the Reptoids told them that they ate the man. Archibald assured them that no harm would come to them and the conversation advanced.

A human had carried another human to the cave and left him there. One of the Reptoids had seen it but they waited until well after the man left before approaching the man left behind. He was already quite dead and they had not eaten in a long time. The Reptoids apologized for eating the man and informed that they don’t normally eat intelligent beings. Occasionally a monkey wanders into the cave that they eat but they are so tired of eating fish.

About a year ago, they awoke from hibernation. Many Reptoids didn’t survive it and, of the 18 that survived revival, only five of them remain in the cave. When they awakened, there was a massive cave-in resulting in a hasty exodus from their lair, leading to the emergency exit which came to the Gibraltar caves. There are two soldiers, two scientists (the one speaking indicated herself) and one infant. The Reptoid paused to think. “We were from a place your kind called … Atlantis.”

They have little of their equipment and have been forced to live through scavenging and avoiding the mammal population at all costs – although they do eat the occasional ape. They fear the mammals and fear that they’ll be hunted and killed if found. So, they asked for a promise of secrecy.

The Reptoid accepted their promise of secrecy and asked if they could also get some food. “Not fish meat,” the female Reptoid requested, “one cow or two pigs or two sheep or 3 goats.” Archibald agreed and requested that in return the Reptoids would turn over the information on the person that left the body and would give them the personal effects of the soldier. The Reptoids agreed and provided the dead soldiers uniform and equipment as well as a description of the mammal that dumped him in their lair.

With them in the open, they could tell that the Reptoids were 6 to 7 feet tall with green, gray, or brown scales. Its tail seemed to be used for balance and was 3 to 4 feet long. They appeared to weigh from 200 to 250 pounds. With negotiations concluded and promises to keep, they were about to leave the cave.

“Wait,” Dracona said as she turned back to the Reptoids. “Could you get a puffer fish bladder?” she inquired of the English speaking Reptoid. “Yes,” the Reptoid looked quizzically at her, “this night?” “The middle of the night is required,” Dracona requested. “We do.”

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