Clockwork 1888 Session 47
London Fires 1

Clockwork 1888 Date: Tuesday, August 21, through Tuesday, September 18, 1888
As in his standing orders, Fredryck reported to his commander, Prince George, on the asylum events and the subsequent destruction of the vampires in the traveling troupe. Pleased with his report, the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces dismissed him for the rest of the day. Fredryck returned to the Stanley estate by lunch. In the early afternoon, a telegram arrived for Fredryck. Adoline and her mother would be arriving in London at noon on Friday. He made arrangements to be able to meet them at the docks.

It was Thursday when Fredryck was at Yermak Investigations, telling them that Adoline was coming to London, preparing to start her classes at Oxford. Dracona and Fredryck were discussing arrangements for the staffing and renovations to the asylum. Fredryck was suggesting that Dracona would benefit from education, especially learning to read. As usual, Dracona was resisting his suggestion.

There was a knock at the door and James, the Yermak butler, answered it. “Lady Dracona,” James said as he came to the parlor with a calling card on a silver plate. “Your … usual caller,” he said with a disapproving air as he held the plate out to her. “Thank you, James,” Dracona said as she took the card and got up from her chair. James saw her to the door and closed it behind her.

Outside, Don Marco Marciano’s carriage waited. He smiled at her as she got in. With a tap of his cane on the roof, they were off on whatever route the driver knew he was to take. “I trust your trip to Over Wallop was successful,” he asked politely. “It took longer than expected but it was successful, yes,” she answered as she didn’t remember mentioning anything to him about her trip to the asylum. “Good, good,” he said with a smile and a pat to her hand before he grew silent and somber.

After an uncomfortable silence, he spoke. “It seems as if somebody has been shooing their mouth off about not paying their ‘insurance’ premiums. They supposedly said they haven’t been paying, at all, for a while, now.” He paused, again. “This is stirring up trouble amongst other people who have insurance. Who would be spreading such rumors, rumors that could be bad for business?”

He didn’t wait for her to answer. “Such rumors have to stop. So, I had some boys run it down, find out who could be spreading such … dangerous rumors.” He delayed again before resuming. “They found that this nasty, dangerous rumor came from one of the people that you collect from, Dracona. Because you collect from them, I want you to personally put a stop to it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“I’ll do that,” Dracona answered. “I know you can,” he smiled. “After all, I told those above me that there was no way that you’d deceive your family or even try to maybe set up on your own, right?” “Of course not,” she answered. “Of course not,” he repeated with a smile. “I trust you’ll take care of this little incident.” “It will be dealt with,” she said as they pulled up to near Yermak Investigations. “Enjoy your day,” he said as the carriage stopped and the doorman opened the door to let her out. “You too, sir,” she responded politely as she exited.

As the carriage drove away, she waved to get a hansom. Dracona started questioning the people that she covers the extortion payments for. Eventually, she found that it was the owner of the dress shop on Savile Row, in Mayfair, that let it out that she had not been paying her protection money. Upon learning that and with the hansom waiting for her at each place, she went directly there.

As she opened the door, the familiar jingle of the bell sounded to alert the owner. But the sight inside the dress shop was not familiar. The place had been trashed, everything overturned and tossed about. The owner was tearfully picking up things, trying to put them back in order. Dracona closed the door and helped the woman clean up. Several of the fabric bolts were sliced through in a pattern that said “knife it” indicating for her to be quiet.

“I didn’t mean to say anything,” the seamstress informed as they cleaned. “It just came out over tea. I told her to not tell anybody but now this.” “It’s okay,” Dracona assured, “but you can’t tell anybody. Everybody must know that you pay, just like all the other businesses.” “I will milady,” she promised, “I swear it.”

The events seemed to weigh on Dracona’s mind. She wanted a distraction so she decided that she’d perform that afternoon in her usual location. Arriving, she noticed the mime finishing her routine. As usual, since she was seen taking the money from “the family” that one day, the mime shot her a look of disdain.

Still, Dracona went ahead with her performance and earned a reasonable sum for her efforts. She noticed a man watching, not in the crowd but from about a block away. And, right before her performance ended, the man turned to set up his own display of sorts … just another performer finding the location of value. For a moment, there, she wasn’t so sure of that and she chastised herself for her flash of insecurity.

The next morning, Fredryck arrived early. Evgenia was going over the latest news with him when Dracona came in. “Did you see this?” Fredryck asked, holding the newspaper up to her. “No, what,” she asked nonchalantly. “Oh, that’s right, you can’t read,” Fredryck chastised.

“A revolting murder,” Evgenia read the headline. “Another woman found horribly mutilated in Whitechapel. Ghastly crimes by a maniac,” Evgenia read. “A woman’s body was found in Buck’s Row, Whitechapel, last night,” she summarized. “Apparently she had her throat cut from ear to ear, her abdomen sliced open and disemboweled.” “Gruesome,” Dracona commented.

“Just in time for Adoline’s arrival,” Dracona changed the subject. “Yes,” Fredryck chimed, “coming to the docks to greet her?” “Of course,” they answered.

At the docks it was Mary, Adoline’s mother, which they saw first. Fredryck presented her with the proper things and greetings and asked where Adoline was. “She’ll be along shortly,” Mary informed. And she was but it was not via the passenger gangway.

Then they saw a vehicle traverse over the edge of the ship and make its way down the cargo unloading ramp. Adoline brought her Benz Patent Motorwagen 3 to a stop near them and excitedly jumped out, embracing Fredryck before her mother cleared her throat. Composing herself enough to properly curtsey and greet them, Adoline informed that the vehicles that they had ordered arrived with hers. She insisted on driving as they went to the Stanley estate.

They only had a short time before Adoline would have to go to Oxford. Still, it was only the next morning when Mary called Fredryck aside before breakfast for a private conversation, a London paper in her hand. “Have you seen this?” she inquired of him as her finger pointed to an article on the identification of the woman who had been found butchered the day before.

“Polly Nichols,” Fredryck answered, pulling the name off the printed page. “She was killed in Whitechapel and found yesterday. It’s similar to a murder that occurred earlier in the month in that same area. Your daughter will be far from those things at Oxford,” he promised. Mary smiled. “And I trust you’ll keep her safe if any such things get near her.” “As I’ve promised,” he assured. Satisfied, her demeanor shifted pleasantly and she took his arm to breakfast.

Impetuous as she was, Adoline insisted on driving her vehicle to Oxford. A mechanic had already been arranged and trained in the care and maintenance of the Benz, even though Adoline claimed to possess the required knowledge, as well. Mary insisted on riding in a horse drawn carriage for the trip, though. So, Adoline chatted with Fredryck about his latest investigations as they rode along, the carriage following behind.

With Adoline safely at Oxford, Mary returned to France and things returned to normal. On Tuesday, September 4, the one paper reported on someone named ‘Leather Apron’ that might be responsible for the butchering of Polly Nichols. It took but a few days for somebody to be identified as him. But on September 8, another woman was found butchered in Whitechapel, much the same way as Polly Nichols. She was soon identified as Annie Chapman and the newspapers went bonkers with speculation and theories about who was killing the women. That was especially true of the Star.

A Whitechapel vigilance committee was formed and George Lusk was elected its president. John Pizer was arrested as ‘Leather Apron’ as were other people in connection with the murders. Scotland Yard had already assigned a detective to the case (not Norrington) and other arrests were made. But, none panned out as the killer.

It was the morning of Tuesday, September 18, as they all shared breakfast at Yermak Investigations. “I may need a little help with something,” Dracona informed them. “You want to learn to read, perhaps?” Fredryck asked encouragingly. “No,” Dracona answered, “something serious.” Fredryck put down his silverware. “Do you remember when we went against the Duffy gang,” Dracona inquired. They responded positively. “Well, I got involved with the other people,” she said. “Involved how?” Fredryck inquired.

“Well, I’ve been working with the Marciano family,” she continued. “They were appreciative of the way we handled the Duffy gang trying to take over in London.” “Do you know what they do?” Fredryck asked. “Well, I was helping out the people, keeping them safe from the family. I just thought that it might be handy to keep a close eye on the less desirable of London,” she defended, unsure of herself.

“You thought that it might come in handy so you infiltrated them,” Evgenia surmised. “Yes,” Dracona snatched at the opportunity to make it look right. “I wanted to keep an eye on them,” she continued, “gain their trust.” “I think that Norrington needs to know this,” Fredryck insisted.

Going to Norrington at Scotland Yard, he pulled a few files. “This is your contact, Don Marco,” he informed. “He runs protections and isn’t very high in the organization. But, it’s a good start. Keep with it because we’d really like to get evidence on the people higher in the organization. Particularly, we’d like to get anything on this man.” He put a file on the table. “Vernon Culver?” Fredryck questioned. “He was just some bloke that beat his wife.” “Yeah? He sent some goons after you, didn’t he? We think he’s higher up than it seems. Still, keep your eyes open and see what you can find out.”

Norrington collected the folders. “But, I actually have something else that I’d like you to check on,” he said as he closed the door. “There’s a guardian in the Fellowship that’s been injured in a fire at his residence. I’d like you to investigate the place and then visit with him. His name is Marcus Bloom and he’s at the London hospital.” “You want us to check on a Fellowship person that you know where they are?” Evgenia questioned.

“Well,” Norrington answered, “you see, on September seventh there was a fire at a Fellowship safe house at Queen’s Gate Terrace. A week later, a guardian’s house is set fire. I don’t know if they’re connected but Mr. Bloom has been with the Fellowship for a lot longer than I.” He gave them the address of the Bloom residence on Aubrey Walk and they left to investigate.

Getting to the Bloom residence, they talked with nearby residents and learned that a young homeless man often came by to dig in the garbage. Also, on the night of the fire, a young woman was seen. She was in her early twenties with blonde hair and freckles and clothing of most young women in the local lower class.

Getting into the house, it looked like everything of value was destroyed either in the fire or the subsequent watering that put the fire out. Looters had also already gone through the place. Searching carefully, they found a loose brick in the fireplace chimney. Pulling the brick revealed a small compartment that held a silver pendant of a jagged lightning bolt. With nothing else to find, they headed to the London hospital to talk with Mr. Bloom.

Bloom was in the hospital recovering from burns. He has a wooden leg that was beside his hospital bed. Once alone with Bloom, they showed him their pin and he responded with the proper handshake before they began their hushed discussion. “Two weeks ago, the Fellowship safe house at Queen’s Gate Terrace was attacked. The arsonist is still out there. Originally, I was going to get you to help me establish a new safe house and investigate the arson. But, more pressing matters have come up since my place was burned.”

“You think they’re related,” Evgenia responded. “It’s possible,” he answered. “Seven years ago, I retired as a hunter and became a guardian. I have a briefcase filled with documents that I was keeping safe. I hired a young boy, Thomas Jacobs, to act as my courier if I needed a package transported in secret. He was to check near my house and if he found a package to take it to the safe house.”

He winced a bit before continuing. “When my home was burned, I rescued the documents and tried to get them to safety but it’s possible that Thomas found and took the briefcase to the safe house. The neighbors believe that the family that owns it is currently living in South Africa so be discrete about entering it. If the briefcase isn’t there, Thomas may have it. But, to keep him safe, I kept out of his life as much as possible and don’t know where he lives. When I first hired him, he lived at the Orphan Asylum in Knightsbridge.”

Dracona brought out the silver lightning bolt pendant. “Oh, you found that,” he said. “When I was first recruited, the organization was run by a woman named Rose. When the Six-Fingered Hand assassinated her, our new leaders changed our symbol from a silver rose to a silver lightning bolt. Of course, it’s no longer our symbol but I kept it in its old hiding place, anyway. So, if you could check the safe house, see if the briefcase has been left there or if Thomas is there.”

It was dark by the time they got to Queen’s Gate Terrace. The neighboring row houses were already being repaired but the safe house was only boarded up and left. Again, the neighbors reported seeing a young woman of the same description on the night of the fire.

The brick of the row house didn’t get much damage but the interior walls need replaced and there wasn’t much furniture. The building is in better shape than Bloom’s, perhaps because there was less to burn here. Even without the fire, it looked like the home had not been used in a long time.

Upstairs, the bedrooms were untouched by the fire but smoke damaged the curtains, mattresses and bedclothes. The building itself was still sturdy. In the master bedroom sat a man, crosslegged on the bed, playing cards.

“I knew that if I waited long enough, you’d arrive. I’m Aleksander Matl, of the Order of the Dragon. I’m on a most urgent mission. The Order of the Dragon are old allies of the Vatican. We were founded to defend the Church against heretics. Some have also called us The Order of Saint George. We are to Hungary what the Order of the Garter is to England, or the Order of Saint Patrick in Ireland. Nine years ago, the then-current leader of the Order negotiated an alliance with the Keepers of Lightning. My understanding is that they’ve changed their name, though.”

“Fellowship of the White Star is what they’re called, now, and I’m Sir Fredryck Stanley,” Fredryck informed. “This is Evgenia Yermak, Archibald Barisol, Priscilla Sinnot and,” Dracona shook her head at Fredryck, “my sister.” “Nice,” Matl answered. “Although we’ve had no contact that I know of since our leadership changed, I hope that I can consider you allies. I know, from my investigations, that this house is owned by the Keepers of Lightning … or Fellowship of the White Star. And, you have something that I need. The Keepers have a yellow amulet of Turkish design that the Order gave to them for safe keeping. According to the documents in that case, the amulet is here in London.” He motioned to a briefcase in the closet that matched the description from Bloom.

“For the last 8 years, we were content to let Keepers watch over and protect the amulet. But, we fear that your ability is no longer up to the task. Your fellowship has grown weak over the years. Others now seek the amulet. The Dark Riders of Egypt, The Servants of the Serpent, and even The Six-Fingered Hand have recently begun searching for it. A man named Jack Griffin is in London now, searching, stealing, and even killing for it. For the safety of us all, the Order of the Dragon is reclaiming the Amulet of Galata.”

“I ask you, as one reasonable man to another, to give me the Amulet peaceably. Let us resume the care and guardianship of its power. Meet me here at midnight Thursday with the Amulet, and I will ensure that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.”

“Thursday? Today is already Tuesday, nearly Wednesday,” Fredryck questioned. “We have superiors to report to. We’re not qualified nor authorized to make the decision on whether to give the amulet to you or not. We don’t even know anything about the amulet or its whereabouts. We will need more time.”

“I don’t have much time,” Matl explained. “Every day, enemies grow closer to acquiring the amulet. We’re fortunate that they’ve not discovered it and begun fighting amongst themselves for it. They’re not as subtle as the Keepers, or the Order. I’ll be here at midnight on Thursday. If you can’t make that, I’ll be back at midnight on Friday but that’s all I can give you. If it isn’t on its way to the new location by then it may be too late.”

“We’ll see if we can see you on Friday with the answer from our superiors. If they agree with you we’ll have the amulet, too,” Evgenia responded. “Who are the Dark Riders, serpent servants, Six-Fingered Hand and Jack Griffin that you spoke of?”

“The Dark Riders are an ancient society of lycanthropes. Centuries ago, they sided with the Turks against my people. The Order of the Dragon stand against them no matter what they do.”

“Our reports say that The Servants of the Serpent are a cult of Set, but that they worship other serpent gods as well. Their influence has reached halfway around the world, and they are seeking power wherever they find it. And, they aren’t very particular about the damage they do in their search.”

“The Six-Fingered Hand is a group of human, mortal lunatics who seek to destroy the world. They believe that man has grown too powerful and that eventually nature will create a backlash that will destroy us all. They feel that the only way to prevent natural disaster is to instigate unnatural disaster and hope that whatever survives treats the world better than we have.”

“Jack Griffin is a scientist. It’s claimed that he’s mad. But, I know that he faked his death at the hands of the Shepherds. He was never mad, but incredibly cunning. I would fear him, if I were you.” Matl paused and looked around. “I fear him and I’m not you.”

“The Order is only interested in protecting the amulet from these and other potential threats. Again, we were content to let the Keepers guard it, but now there are too many different organizations with too many different goals to allow you to continue to protect what is rightfully ours. Let us take the responsibility and the risk.” “Do you know who set fire to this place?” Dracona asked.

“I did not burn this establishment. I don’t know who did and I wouldn’t draw attention to myself in that way. But, since it was burned, I saw no reason not to take advantage of it. If you deliver the amulet to me, then I will help you find out who the arsonist is. I understand that you may not feel that you have the authority to return the amulet to the Order. But, the Hand isn’t going to ask you for it. Griffin isn’t going to ask you for it. They’re going to kill you, and anyone around you, and take it from you.”

You see, the amulet is one of a set. If all of the amulets are ever brought together, it will allow the return of a great evil to our world … an evil that only a few are insane, misguided, or greedy enough to work for … an evil that the Order and the Keepers, or Fellowship, as well as other qabals, worked together to banish. I think that I can honestly state that neither of our societies wants that to happen.”

“We’re taking the briefcase,” Fredryck informed as he moved toward it. “Be my guest,” Matl said motioning toward it. “I presumed it belonged to the … Fellowship and you may need it if you don’t already have the amulet. I’ll be here, again, on Thursday, Friday if you can’t make that.”

With the briefcase in hand, they left the former safe house and sought Norrington. Norrington referred them back to Bloom, the senior Fellowship member that he knew of, for a decision. “Alexander Matl,” Bloom acknowledged. “Yes, the Keepers worked with the Order and the amulet was entrusted to us for protection. With the safe house and my fire, something is afoot so it might be better to return it to the Order, for now.” Still, Bloom was concerned about Thomas so they went back out to search for him.

Asking around the lower class areas, they learned that Thomas is a construction worker that does odd jobs for extra money. When he has money, he stays at an apartment in Whitechapel. They also learned that Thomas gambles when he’s sober and owes a considerable sum to a local card shark. The sum seemed to vary based on when the last time the person spoke to him, an increasing debt as time went on. The card shark goes by the name of Edwin Hyde and they learned that Thomas has a girlfriend named Mary Whittaker and an opium drug habit, as well.

Also while in Whitechapel, they notice Vernon Culver out and about, visiting gambling establishments, opium dens, whore houses, and even invited the occasional prostitute into his fancy carriage. They surmised that he’s either spending a lot of dosh or involved in some way with their operations.

And speaking of prostitutes, Dr. Hynllek was seen about Whitechapel, too. He was doing his usual things with the prostitutes, just like he was when his bereft wife had them follow him in past investigations. His associate Mrs. Mary Pearcey, the abortionist known as “the Ripper” in Whitechapel, seemed to still be supplying the doctor with aborted fetuses, and the prostitutes with abortions of unwanted pregnancies.

And, the doctor’s more recent associate, Mr. Deehee, a striking man in his early 30s, was seen coming out of Dr. Hynllek’s office on Whitechapel Street, using local Whitechapel daily rental places, meeting with the doctor in the open where money has changed hands, and from previous investigations also frequents prostitutes, gambling houses, and opium dens.

Clockwork 1888 Session 46
Asylum/Dusk prologue

Clockwork 1888 Date: Saturday, August 18, through Monday, August 20, 1888
The first of the work was to assess the damaged wagons and repair them, if possible. Priscilla was sitting with the freed captives in the carriage, calming them while Evgenia assessed the damage to the wagons. She also bandaged the bite marks on the arms of the two asylum inmates. Fredryck went to the flipped wagon. The one horse was still alive but its breath was labored and shallow.

As he released the horse from its wagon bindings, he could tell that the damage to the horse was extensive. Fredryck knelt beside the injured horse and stroked its neck gently to quiet it. “You’ll be out of your misery soon,” he said as he drew it from his pocket. With a profound, respectful prayer for the poor beast, he held it to its head and triggered it.

The cross’ power coursed through the horse, healing its every wound. Fredryck backed away as the horse righted itself and stood up with a nicker. With another nicker it stepped to Fredryck, exhaled through its nostrils and nuzzled him as if in thanks. It was then that he noticed the white “x” on the sorrel horse’s forehead. Still, it belonged to the troupe and he tied its reins to the wagon to keep it from wandering.

The girl from the evening’s show was pretty much unharmed as the vampires didn’t have time to snack on her. But she kept asking if she’d get to meet Edward Cunning. They had promised that she would meet Edward Cunning. “You’ll meet him when we get back to the camp,” Priscilla said to quiet the girl, although she was unsure if the actor would indeed see the girl. The other two girls were weak from the vampires snacking on their blood in their journeys.

“This wagon has damage to its wheels but it’s repairable with parts from the other wagon,” Evgenia informed as she unhitched the horses to allow them to work on the wagon. As the girls rested in the carriage, they spent the next couple hours repairing the wagon to the point that it could travel back to the troupe. They loaded the slain vampire bodies and any salvageable parts from the destroyed wagon into the repaired wagon. They let the girls stay in the carriage with Priscilla driving it while Fredryck took the reins of the repaired wagon and Archibald the other.

It was after 1 am when they returned to the farm that was hosting the theatrical production. The farmer and his wife were awake, worried about their daughter that they couldn’t locate after the show. When they arrived, the girl ran to them and told them of her rescue. Ecstatic at her return, unharmed, the farmer invited them to spend the rest of the evening at their home.

The troupe was not so pleased. “One of our wagons was destroyed, we have no stage hands and one of our horses is dead! How can I be happy about any of that? Where am I supposed to find more stage hands? Who is going to pay for a new wagon and horse?” the eldest Dwell drunkenly complained.

Fredryck stepped close to him. “I think you need to understand something. Your stage hands were kidnapping girls from your audience. They killed one that was found on the road between here and your prior show place. Now, we can have you all tried as accomplices to such things. We’ll shut this show down and keep the whole lot of you in jail until the local magistrate makes his way over here to sort this all out. We’ll hold all the troupe possessions as evidence until you prove that you and the other actors weren’t involved in these kidnappings and killings.”

“Well, I,” the elder Dwell stammered, “we had nothing to do with those things. We didn’t know what they were doing. I …” he tried to pull his thoughts together. “I … I thank you for catching the evil that was unbeknownst amongst us,” he answered. “We’re much obliged that you brought two of our wagons back to us, too, and that these girls are safe. If there’s anything we can do to help, you just say so.”

“As a matter of fact,” Evgenia spoke up, “this girl was promised a meeting with the actor that plays Edward Cunning. I’d suggest it be a meeting most pleasant for her, too.” “Of course,” the elder Dwell said as he went to inform his son. After the girl concluded her meeting with Durance, they all turned in for the evening.

A noise awakened Fredryck and he went to investigate. Priscilla, Evgenia and Archibald had heard it too. It was one of the girls from the asylum. She was awake and heading for the door of the farmhouse, apparently she’d decided to leave. Fredryck caught her by the arm before she could leave.

“Let me go,” she whispered defiantly. “I’ll not go back to that terrible place,” she whispered as they confronted her. “You don’t know what it’s like. It was bad enough when they showed us off like zoo animals, used us for slave labor, made us dolly mops or patients for their operations and experiments. But lately, so many girls dying, some of them fed to the dogs in the courtyard, others burned. I could hear the screams. I can’t go back to that.”

“We’ve put a stop to that,” Fredryck assured. “When? It was that way when I was taken away two weeks ago.” “Yesterday night,” Priscilla chimed in. All the staff is dead, the doctor, nurse, headmistress, nun …” “Lucky 13,” the patient whispered in wide-eyed horror. “It all started with her,” she said in hushed tones, “and then she replaced Sister Mary Lawrence. She’s evil.” “She’s dead,” Archibald reinforced.

Fredryck considered the possibility that the girl may not actually be insane. But, Evgenia had retrieved the asylum file on the girl. Apparently, the factors that determined the girl as insane included walking the streets of London in inappropriate and insufficient clothing, conspiring with the house maid to harm her guardian, destruction of property of her guardian, attempted suicide by drowning, and willfully attacking her guardian with an iron candlestick. With a bit more convincing, they were able to persuade the patient to return to the asylum, where a caring staff awaited her return. With the girl certain it was in her best interest to return to the asylum, she returned to sleep and so did they.

In the morning, the farmer‘s family served a bountiful breakfast and provided provisions for their return journey. In addition, the farmer gave them a trunk that they attached to the carriage to carry the corpses. The Killin constable had heard of the evening ruckus and visited before they left to get enough of the story for his reporting needs. By ten they were on their way.

They stopped in Moffat on the way back. They needed to pick up the body of the asylum patient that was left on the road. Asking for the man they had met on the road, they learned that he ran the general store. Arriving, he led them to the back where he had her body, already in a pine coffin. In addition, he had secured the coffin to a cart that they could pull with the carriage. Fredryck moved the trunk onto the cart, as well.

“She’ll get a proper burial,” the man inquired as he hooked the cart to their carriage. “I assure you she will,” Fredryck answered. “How do we get the cart back to you?” Evgenia asked. “No need,” he answered. “Why are you doing this,” Dracona asked, “you didn’t even know her.” The man looked at her for a moment. “Do unto others,” he answered. “If this were my daughter or wife, I’d appreciate if they were brought back for proper interment. I don’t know who left her on the side of the road but nobody deserves such. I just hope those responsible have been apprehended.” “They have,” Fredryck added as he secured the trunk with the vampire corpses to the cart.

In addition, the store owner noticed that two ladies (not in the carriage when he initially met them) were poorly attired. He offered them readymade dresses that he’d gotten from New Orleans. He was trying out readymade clothing but the locals didn’t seem to take to the idea. So, he found the sizes for dresses and shoes for them and gave them outfits. Of course, the two asylum patients were quite tickled at having new clothes and readymade didn’t bother them.

Arriving in Penrith, they stopped again at St. Andrew’s Church. The old priest invited them for a meal and wanted to speak with Fredryck. After discussing with Fredryck his interest in religious pursuits, the priest spent some time teaching Fredryck some prayers and devotions.

Returning to the asylum, Dr. Featherby and Norrington were both still there. They had to kill the courtyard wolves because they’d apparently already gotten a taste of human flesh. They found a lot of bones in the courtyard. The staff had apparently been feeding the dead girls to the wolves in the courtyard. There were also bones found in the ashes of the incinerator. There is a graveyard on the asylum grounds where they put the dead inmate to rest. In addition, they were able to determine that a lot of missing girls fell along the travels of the Dwell troupe and those disappearances started over two years ago.

Returning to London, the Times soon reported “Daft staff kills loons in Over Wallop asylum!” The article talked about corrupt asylum staff using inmates in prostitution, experimentation, and even gladiatorial-style fights with rabid dogs and wolves. Apparently, the rabid pack turned on their masters, killing staff, inmates and gamblers. Appalled by the horrid treatment of the patients, a few families of wealth have stepped in to build a quality staff for real treatment of the mentally interred. This includes the Dykens family, a frequent contributor to the asylum, and others that prefer to remain anonymous. Lady Lizbeth Dykens said in a statement that they do so “for the betterment of all Britain.”

Clockwork 1888 Session 45

Clockwork 1888 Date: Saturday, August 18, 1888
The vampire was already on his feet, standing on the ceiling of the overturned wagon. He stepped up to Fredryck , “You must be the ones that killed milady at the asylum,” he said as he struck. The vampire from the last wagon shook his head to clear it and got up from the ground. The vampire from the damaged middle wagon got to his feet and surveyed the situation through the wagon window.

Priscilla shot at the vampire on the ground near Dracona and Archibald retrieved his crossbow and shot but missed. Fredryck was wishing he could use his family sword but he knew it did little to the vampires so he drew a wooden stake and struck with it. Evgenia remembered the remaining acid flasks that she’d brought from the asylum and threw one at the vampire near Dracona. Of course, Dracona blasted the vampire with fiery breath.

The vampire with Fredryck grinned and drew his sword, striking Fredryck again. The vampire from the middle wagon came out to help his kind with Dracona, flanking her so she could only blast one of them. Priscilla followed Evgenia’s lead and pitched a flask of acid at the vampire from the last wagon before moving around the overturned wagon to try and help Fredryck. Archibald inspired Dracona and Evgenia before moving to the stash of flasks. Only five remained.

Fredryck continued to strike with the wooden stake, whittling away at the vampire as it whittled away at him. But with the vampire quickly healing the about half of the damage from his blows, Fredryck was thinking that the vampire would win this battle if nobody came to help him. Evgenia tossed another flask, trying to hit the vampire directly, but missed. Dracona stepped out of flank and blew a long blast that caught both of the vampires, anyway, setting them aflame.

The vampire in the overturned wagon struck Fredryck while the other two put out the fires that harmed them. Priscilla slipped into the overturned wagon and attacked but missed. Still, it was enough to get the vampire’s attention. Whether that was a good thing or not remained to be seen.

Archibald shouted words of encouragement to Fredryck and Priscilla while Fredryck struck the vampire in the overturned wagon, again. Evgenia continued to toss the acid at the vampire and gathered the remaining ones. Dracona blasted only the one vampire with fire because they had learned to stay away from each other with her around. Still, it was enough to ignite him, again.

The vampire in the wagon shifted out of flank, turning his attention to Priscilla. “You killed milady so I’ll return the favor,” he smirked as he struck Priscilla. Outside, the flaming vampire perished and the other vampire vowed to kill Dracona to avenge his fallen comrade. Priscilla had been hit hard but knew that if she fled, Fredryck would most probably be doomed. So she stood her ground and swung her stake but missed.

Archibald took another crossbow shot and finally landed one in the vampire outside. Fredryck struck the vampire attacking Priscilla, trying to return his opponent’s attention to him. Evgenia tossed another flask, and moved closer while Dracona delivered her undivided fire breath to the vampire remaining outside.

The vampire inside struck Priscilla again, practically ignoring Fredryck. The vampire outside had to extinguish himself, again. Priscilla was really not faring well but stayed and missed, again. Archibald inspired Evgenia and Dracona, again. Fredryck tried his best to gain the vampire’s attention as he struck it with the stake. Evgenia pitched the second last flask at the vampire and Dracona caught set him aflame, again.

Inside, the vampire struck Priscilla and she crumpled, unconscious. “Now it’s your turn,” he said turning to Fredryck. The vampire outside put himself out and Archibald encouraged Fredryck because they would soon join him. Fredryck struck with the stake, again. Evgenia threw her last flask, and then moved in, drawing a stake. Dracona, noting that her flask was emptied with that swig, blasted the vampire again, and drew another flask.

The vampire in the overturned wagon was winning. He knew it as he struck Fredryck and Fredryck knew it, too. Outside, the vampire was not faring as well. Still, it continued to slam Dracona. “Fredryck needs help,” Archibald informed as he moved to allow flank with Evgenia, drawing the stake to strike with as he moved. Fredryck held his own, hitting the vampire as best he could with a stake. Evgenia moved into flank, struck the vampire solidly and it expired. Dracona went inside the overturned wagon and set her fiery deluge upon that vampire.

Inside, the fire breather got the vampire’s attention and he struck at Dracona. Archibald took a shot with the crossbow but it went wide. Still, it gave Fredryck an opening and he took it, striking the vampire hard and Dracona blasted him with fire, again. The vampire was not so sure of himself.

Figuring there were enough people inside the overturned wagon, Evgenia went into the damaged wagon, looking for something to use against the vampire. She heard a slight whimpering that sounded as if it came from one of the long benches on either side in the wagon. Searching, she found that the bench seat was hinged and that somebody must be underneath it.

The vampire now seemed determined to kill Fredryck as he swung wildly, missing his target. Archibald dropped his crossbow and stepped in to flank the vampire with Fredryck, drawing a stake as he moved. Fredryck used the advantage and struck the vampire, again, felling the undead menace. “He’s dead,” Dracona shouted to Evgenia as she went to check Priscilla. She was still alive and Fredryck tied the cord of St. Andrew around her arm to heal her.

Taking her knife, Evgenia pried the lock from the bench and opened it. Inside she found one of the missing asylum girls, terrified and whimpering with vampire bite marks along both her arms. “They bit me,” the girl cried as Evgenia calmed her and helped her out of the makeshift prison. “Just wait here and you’ll be fine,” Evgenia assured as she exited the wagon.

With the silence in the overturned wagon, Fredryck heard a girl whimpering as he was using the cross to heal Priscilla. Then, as Dracona pried the lock off the bench and it flung open, Fredryck caught the girl and lowered her slowly to stand on the ground. “It will be okay, now,” they assured the girl.

In the last wagon, they found the girl that had been taken after the evening performance. Each of the wagons used the bench on one side as a prison for the captives. Opening the benches on the other side of the wagons revealed what could only have served as the vampire coffins, complete with dirt that Evgenia informed was most likely from their homeland.

Taking stock of the situation, the one horse from the toppled wagon was already dead. The other horse was quite broken from tumbling with the wagon. The overturned wagon could not be repaired but the wagon that crashed into it might be repaired using parts from the overturned wagon. They planned to return the 2 usable wagons (of the 3) and 4 living horses to the troupe.

Looking over the scene, they noticed the bodies of the three vampires, withered like a very old corpse and burnt but still there. “The nun was the head vampire,” Evgenia surmised. “Her corpse turned to dust while these others did not. She was obviously a very old vampire, the oldest vampire of this group.” They would have to stop in Moffat to pick up the body of the dead inmate and there was still work to be done before they could start on their way back.

Clockwork 1888 Session 44

Clockwork 1888 Date: Saturday, August 18, 1888
Returning from the woods where they fought off the wolf pack, the sun had just set. The door to a few of the wagons opened with gaunt men exiting. The naked actor had made his way to one of the men and was complaining about their interfering with his meditation. Approaching them, the actor slinking behind until he got to his wagon, he called out, “I’m the stage manager. What’s the problem?”

“We’re from the London Times and we’re just trying to get some interviews,” Archibald explained. “Well we’ve a show to put on,” the stage manager answered angrily, “so stay out of our way and get your interviews after the show.” “I guess we’ll wait until after the show,” Fredryck agreed.

The show was a simple story about a vampire that falls in love with a human girl. Based on their experience with vampires, the story was unlikely because the vampire didn’t want to make the girl a vampire. Still, they spent a few hours watching the inane little play, the hundreds of young girls in the audience swooning over the romantic representation of vampires, and endured until it was over.

After the bows, a hoard of young girls gathered to slather their adoration upon the actors. The stage manager and stage hands acted as the only buffer between the young teen girls and their idols. Watching, Evgenia noticed that they were allowing some of the girls past, directing them to places where the girl would wait for their meeting with their idol. But a few of the girls were whispered to and they merrily went off to wait for the idolized actors in unusual places, like the supply wagons.

They confronted the stage manager about where he was sending some of the girls. The stage manager took offense with their accusations and called out, “Girls!” Suddenly, all the young girls quieted and locked their eyes on him. “These people are trying to put a stop to the show,” he claimed in an unnaturally loud voice. His eyes were red as blood and fangs extended from his maw as he pointed out Archibald, Evgenia, Dracona, Fredryck and Priscilla.

In an instant the mob of fanatic girls, seemingly under some strange hypnotic power, surrounded and grabbed them. The stage manager and two red eyed stage hands moved away, leaving them in the grasp of the girls. Struggling to try and free themselves without harming the hapless girls, they could see the men climb aboard a few wagons and hurriedly depart.

Fredryck broke free of the mob but was grabbed by yet another girl, apparently more fanatical than the others as she clawed at his chest. But, when the wagons were out of sight, the girls suddenly snapped out of it, releasing their captives. To their carriage they ran and made haste after the stage manager and his goons. Priscilla had the reins as they sped out of the thespian camp.

Priscilla drove the horses hard to catch up to the three wagons. The country road was relatively narrow so they were single file along it as they approached. They could see that the wagons had no drivers directing the horses that stampeded along. “Vampires can control their horses with the power of their minds,” Evgenia informed as they grew closer. A shot rang out and the wood of the carriage splintered near Evgenia. One of the vampires was inside the wagon and shooting at them.

Gunfire was being exchanged when the wagons turned onto a main road and it widened. Priscilla drove their carriage up next to the rearmost wagon as Archibald encouraged Dracona and Evgenia. Dracona stood up and then leapt to driver’s seat of the rear wagon. The wagon veered as it tried to throw her but she held on and smashed the window to the compartment inside.

Archibald inspired Priscilla and Fredryck. Gunfire continued as Priscilla edged up to the next wagon. They took a few hits and Fredryck decided that the gun battle would not go to their advantage. The vampires were inside closed wagons, receiving much cover as they shot through the wagon windows in addition to their resistance to gunshots and fast recovery. But the carriage was open, leaving them mostly exposed to the vampires’ shots.

“We’ll put a stop to this,” Fredryck said as he grabbed the sniper rifle he’d taken from the asylum. Aiming, he shot one of the lead wagon’s horses. It surely felt the bullet’s impact. But, the horse continued its frantic run at the command of its vampire master. Dracona looked into the compartment of the wagon, didn’t see a young girl inside and blasted it with fire. Evgenia continued to shoot at the wagon occupants and Archibald moved to the front to drive the horses while Priscilla took to shooting.

The front wagon focused his shooting at Fredryck. The red eyed occupant of the rear wagon approached and struck at Dracona while the middle wagon vampire fired at her, too. Dracona breathed fire inside the compartment but he dodged the bulk of the blast. Evgenia and Priscilla continued to shoot at the wagon occupants as Archibald drove the horses. Fredryck’s shot missed its target but he informed the driver what he was planning to do to stop the chase.

Another round of exchanged gunshots and Dracona breathing fire into the rear wagon occurred as Fredryck lined up his shot and the carriage dropped back a little. Squeezing the trigger, the shot found its mark quite adequately. As the horse crumpled, Archibald pulled back hard on the reins.

The weight of the dead horse dragged the wagon sideways, careening out of control, across the width of the roadway. The wheels on one side crumpled sending it rolling top over bottom before coming to rest on its roof. The second wagon veered to the right but struck the tumbling wagon, damaging the wheels on its left side. The vampire in the third wagon was wide-eyed as he saw the carnage unfolding before him. Exerting his mental control over the horses, they stopped short of a collision as the lead wagon came to rest before them. But, the sudden stop threw Dracona and him from the wagon.

Dracona tumbled and came up on her feet but the vampire of the third wagon was not so fortunate. As the carriage veered to the left of the wagon wreck and came to a stop, Fredryck jumped out and climbed through the shattered window of the lead wagon. The vampire within was waiting for him.

Clockwork 1888 Session 43

Clockwork 1888 Date: Friday, August 17, 1888 to Saturday, August 18, 1888
With the vampires destroyed, there were still some things to do before dawn. Fredryck led a prayer and used the last healing of the cross to heal Dracona. Evgenia and Priscilla helped to medically patch people up, too. Lady Dykens emerged from the dining room to see what had happened. Recognizing that all was clear, she coaxed Lady Redwing out. The vampire nurse had killed Judge Fairman, drinking his blood, in front of them. The ladies were certain to be the next victim but Stalkill called her to the hallway.

The chef, still on the floor, readily confessed to poisoning the staff and patrons of the asylum. Locking him in a room, they knew that he’d undoubtedly be tried and convicted but most probably committed to an insane asylum because of his constant rambling about vampires and ghosts. With the two ladies in tow, they went through the asylum and gathered any surviving patients into the south wing. Lady Dykens helped care for the patients while Lady Redwing clung to the men for protection.

Looking through the windows at the pack of canines milling about the courtyard, they could see that three were not simple wolves. Three were frothing at the mouth and had rabid madness in their eyes. Going up to the rooftop, they shot the mad dogs with the pistols and found sniper rifles. Not faulting the wolves, they decided to let animal handlers release the wolves from the courtyard.

Once everything was taken care of, they agreed on what the public should be told. The asylum administration was having dog fights in the courtyard of the asylum and they even subjected patients to oppose the wolves and dogs in pseudo-gladiatorial-style events. Some of the staff had possibly contracted madness from the rabid dogs, causing some rather erratic behavior. But the dogs ended up attacking their masters and patrons during the evening of the patron dinner.

Dawn arrived at 5 am and the artifacts of St. Andrew recharged. Fredryck healed himself fully with one of the cross’ charges. A bell sounded in the receptionist office to indicate that somebody was at the main gate. It was the carriage drivers and the button in the reception room was pushed to open the gates and admit them to the grounds. When the carriages arrived outside, the drivers were quite dismayed to learn of their employer’s demise. They explained to the drivers that a terrible tragedy had occurred and that they would be needed to get appropriate help.

The drivers were sent to fetch various people. Explaining that the local constable, mayor and judge had met their end that evening, Fredryck sent the Fairman carriage to London to bring Chief Detective Norrington and more back from Scotland Yard, an hour and a half away. At Dracona’s suggestion, Lady Dykens’ carriage was sent for suitable asylum personnel from the Institute at Exeter, a little over 2 hours away. Although Lady Redwing wanted to depart immediately, she was detained until the authorities would arrive from London.

With the kitchen and its supplies, Lady Dykens made breakfast for the survivors, omitting any meat of questionable source, poison and poppy tears from the recipes. It seemed as if some of the surviving patients had not had such a meal in a long time. But, it passed the time and gave a much needed respite for those that battle the asylum vampires.

By 9 am, the carriages from Scotland Yard arrived at the asylum. The patron records were handed over to Norrington. Lady Redwing told her story to Norrington and then insisted on being allowed to leave. Norrington let her go, noting that the records contained enough information for her prosecution. Being of wealth, she’d probably not get prison time. But surely her husband would rein her in for her wrongdoings and maybe she’d even be found insane.

Carriages from the Institute at Exeter arrived before 10 am. Dracona greeted a white haired man as if she knew him and introduced him as Dr. Featherby. Dr. Featherby was dismayed at the sight of the patient listed as Rose, informing that she indeed was Rosetta Stone who had been a nurse aide at the Institute before taking a job at the asylum. Featherby and his aides set about getting the patients into clean rooms and clothes and checked their general health.

With the institute personnel to help, they got some alone time with Norrington to discuss the actual events of the evening. When they mentioned the possible connection with the traveling troupe of actors, he suggested that they leave as soon as possible to try and stop them. According to the schedule on the fliers from Stalkill’s office, the troupe was most probably in Killin, Scotland, preparing for their first show there. That would be about 11 hours away, if they could left immediately and didn’t have to stop to rest the horses. Norrington provided a map where he marked their route and where they would stop for fresh horses and a carriage, ready to go, along the way. He’d send telegrams in preparation.

Priscilla was the driver of the horses as they left. After being up all night, most tried to get some sleep on the journey. One location in particular was a small church, St. Andrew’s Church, in Penrith, Cumbria, England. The priest greeted them with a handshake, familiar to them from their meetings with members of the fellowship. The priest noticed that some of them were still injured and proceeded to say prayers over them that healed their wounds. He also made a special blessing to the cross of St. Andrew, informing that it was then replenished. Fredryck seemed quite interested in the priest’s activities but they left soon after with the fresh horses and carriage.

On the way to Killin, just past Moffat, they came upon a man whose carriage was pulled off to the side of the road. He waved for them to stop and showed them the remains of a girl, still lying on the side of the road. “It’s this one,” Evgenia said as she opened a file from the asylum. Even in death they recognized the patient from her photograph. Priscilla examined the girl and could see the twin puncture wounds along the girl’s arms with a single pair on her throat.

Evgenia extracted some funds, “Can you take her body to the nearest town and get a casket for her?” “But of course,” the man answered, “highwaymen, you think?” “Of course,” Evgenia lied. “We’re trying to catch up to them and we’ll collect the body on our way back to return it for proper interment,” she informed as she handed the man adequate funds. The man handed some of the money back to her. “Use it for a proper burial for the poor lass,” he answered.

Evgenia smiled at the generosity of the stranger. “Where can we pick up her body?” “Just ask anyone in town for directions to my place. They all know me,” he said giving his name. “With luck we should be back this way tomorrow or the day after,” Fredryck informed. “She’ll be ready when you return,” he promised as Fredryck lifted her onto the man’s carriage. He wished them god speed as they continued down the road.

They arrived at Killin and asked about where the acting troupe was setting up. With directions from a local, the arrived at the farm at about 7:30 pm, just before the 7:45 pm sunset. They questioned some of the actors in their wagons. The leading man tried to pass himself off as the vampire from the role he played. But, it was easy enough to discern him as truly human. The uppity leading lady was also not an undead creature, and neither was the leader of the traveling troupe, the father of the leading men. The father pointed them to his other son’s wagon, the other leading man.

Getting to that wagon, they noticed tracks that led out into the woods. Finding the wagon empty, they followed the tracks to find the actor, naked and sitting in the middle of a clearing. Annoyed at their interrupting his preparations, he berated them. While the actor chastised them for interrupting, a pack of wolves approached and attacked.

The wolf battle was hard fought and the wolves fought to the death protecting their masters. The pack had a dog with it, a mad dog like they’d seen at the asylum. So, they were surely close to finding the vampires traveling with this band of performers, the ones who had apparently seeded the asylum with a vampire.

Clockwork 1888 Session 42

Clockwork 1888 Date: Friday, August 17, 1888
Examining the now still figure of the young woman, Evgenia noticed the slightest movement of air toward the door. Searching, they found a secret door that opened into a recently and hastily constructed tunnel. Following the tunnel brought them to just outside the walls of the asylum grounds, behind a thatch of bushes. “A convenient egress for the vampires,” Dracona noted. “We should get back and check on the others,” Fredryck informed. Making their way back through the tunnel, they emerged from the coffin room to hear a conversation wafting through the utility tunnels.

“I bore you,” the voice of the headmistress reminded as they crept through the utility tunnels. “I’ve sacrificed my entire life to make sure you got the education and the upbringing that you deserved.” “And you’ve gotten your just rewards for such,” the cool voice of Dr. Stalkill said, “but that life is over now and I’ll live forever.” “I’m your mother and I love you, no matter what your bodily state. Make me like you and I’ll be forever with you,” she insisted. After a long silence she added, “Please.”

“My dear, sweet mother,” Stalkill answered. “You’ve been with me my whole life, at my side, forcing me into what you wanted, imposing your overbearing will upon me and grinding me under your thumb. You’ve controlled my every move, guarded my every breath, and overshadowed my every achievement. What ever made you think I’d want to spend eternity with you?” The headmistress began her reply, “my dearest Mortimer, I did it all for…”

As they neared the end of the utility tunnel, they heard the sickly snap of bone. Rushing forward, they could see Stalkill leave the headmistress’ body fall to the ground in the doorway of the stairwell, her head in an awkward position. Stalkill saw them, turned and rushed up the stairs. “He killed her,” Dracona called out in disbelief, “his own mother.”

“He’s not human. He’s a monster, perhaps he always has been,” Evgenia informed as she and Archibald made for the elevator while Fredryck, Dracona and Priscilla followed Stalkill past the headmistress’ body and up the stairs. “It’s time,” Stalkill called from the tee in the hallway as Dracona and Fredryck emerged from the stairwell. “It’s time to make our final killings and take our leave,” he called again.

From the hallway beyond him, three orderlies emerged, one from each of the rooms that had held Constable Lister, Lady Lister, and their inmate womb. Their eyes were as red as their mouths, bloodied from freshly killing the room inhabitants. Dracona emerged from the stairwell first and through the doorway to the dining hall, noticed Nurse Ratchet suck the last blood out of Judge Fairman before dropping him in preparation to join Stalkill.

Stalkill mesmerized Dracona and commanded her to attack the next one that emerged from the stairwell while he moved down the hall. The bloodthirsty orderlies approached with one preparing to greet whoever was coming up via the elevator lift. Fredryck emerged from the stairwell and Dracona fought the urge to attack him, breaking Stalkill’s willful hold on her. Fredryck charged the closest orderly but his stake blow missed the vampire orderly. He wished the wooden stick was instead his sword but knew his sword was of little use against these vampires.

The elevator doors opened to the first floor hallway and the waiting vampire struck at Archibald as he began encouraging his fellow hunters in their battle. Evgenia stepped to the rear of the lift and pitched a bottle of acid, smashing it to the floor at the vampire’s feet. Priscilla pitched a bottle of acid at one of the vampire orderlies in the hallway intersection where Fredryck and Dracona engaged them. The chapel door burst open and Sister Mary Katrina emerged, throwing a vial at one of the vampire orderlies. Unfortunately, the contents of the nun’s vial did nothing but wet the vampire.

Stalkill tried to dominate Fredryck but he resisted the vampire’s will. Dracona spewed fire upon the vampire orderly in front of her and the one beyond him at the elevator. The orderlies in the hallway struck and the nurse entered the fray. Fredryck struck at the orderly, again, and the vampire nurse tried to dominate him. Again, he resisted the vampire’s will with all he could. Priscilla moved up to between Dracona and Fredryck, to where she could easily strike at the vampires with flung bottles of acid.

The elevator orderly struck at Archibald while Evgenia tossed more acid at it. Archibald stayed in the elevator doorway, blocking the vampire from getting to Evgenia. The nun pitched another vial of holy water, striking her target but causing no damage to the vampire orderly. “Acid,” Dracona called to the nun. “Holy water doesn’t work on them. Use the acid we gave you!” Pulling a bottle of acid from her habit, she looked to Dracona who nodded approval. “Throw that!”

Stalkill dominated Archibald. Dracona unleashed another breath of fire, this time catching the orderly near her afire. The orderly put himself out while the other moved to flank Fredryck with the nurse and struck him. Fredryck swung a stake, again, frustrated in his attempts to kill the vampires but glad they were focusing on him and Dracona. Priscilla purposefully pulled one of the harshest acids and threw it successfully it at the orderly.

The lift orderly attacked Evgenia while the nurse hit Fredryck. Evgenia stepped away from the orderly, selecting a potent acid, and threw it at him. The dominated Archibald turned and struck at Evgenia but missed. The nun pitched the acid bottle into the fray, striking Dracona with its spray. Dracona turned to the nun, about to chastise her for missing when she saw the fanged smile and red eyes of the nun. “Is that better?” the nun called slyly as she threw another acid bottle at Dracona. “The sister is one, too,” Dracona called out.

Stalkill tried to dominate Evgenia but her will was too strong. Dracona blew fire on the two orderlies and the one finally succumbed to the flames. The attacks from the other orderly and the nurse were wearing down Fredryck but he continued to stab at them with wooden stakes. Priscilla turned her focus to throwing acid at the nurse. Evgenia smashed another acid at the orderly and Archibald broke Stalkill’s hold over him. Sister Mary Katrina continued to pitch acid at Dracona.

With the one orderly destroyed, the wolves started their mournful howling outside. Stalkill moved up to Dracona. “You left here once but now you’ll die here,” he informed as he struck her. Dracona blasted him with fire but he was quite agile and dodged the bulk of it. The orderly at the elevator was not as lucky and he caught fire. Fredryck continued his attempts at offense and Priscilla continued to focus on the nurse.

The orderly and nurse finally were able to pummel Fredryck into unconsciousness but the orderly at the elevator died in his flames before he could smother them. With the vampire orderly no longer blocking their egress, Evgenia went to the elevator door and threw a flask of acid at Stalkill. Archibald inspired the remaining combatants and saw that Fredryck would need help. The vampire nun continued her barrage on Dracona. The wolves were now clawing at the doors, trying to get in from both ends of the hall to protect their masters.

Stalkill continued to attack Dracona and she breathed fire upon him, again. She also caught the last orderly and he fell in the inferno. Priscilla tossed her last acid at the nurse, who stepped up and attacked her directly. Fredryck was still unconscious on the floor.

Evgenia, who had exhausted her bottles of acid and had been using Archibald’s acid, threw another one at Stalkill. Archibald moved to Fredryck and revived him with the power of the Cross of St. Andrew. With the fall of the three orderlies, Sister Mary Katrina was a little more concerned but she continued to throw acid on Dracona.

Stalkill was finally felled by Dracona and about the same time the nurse died, too. Dracona was near spent, as was Fredryck, again, but they pressed toward the vampire nun. Sister Mary Katrina stepped away and then moved toward the door, retrieving heer keys and unlocking them when she got there. “My wolves will finish you all,” the vampire nun said as they moved up to her. Dracona and Fredryck followed her up to the door, attacking her on arrival, while the others continued a barrage of acid upon the vampire nun.

The nun swung at Dracona and stepped back through the door into the vestibule. “They’ll tear you to shreds,” she threatened menacingly about her wolves. “At least the wolves will feel my steel,” Fredryck commented as he and Dracona continued to press her with fire and stake, the others still bombarding her with acid. She struck Dracona, again, and stepped back to the main doors.

Dracona and Fredryck, bloodied and nearing unconsciousness, dutifully stepped up, attacked yet again and maintained the front. But they knew that if she opened the door and let the wolves in, it might be the end of them. The barrage of acid flew over their heads to impact on the vampire nun. The nun unlocked and swung the door open, sliding some of the wolves away with the swinging door. “Now you die,” she grinned. “Kill them all!” she commanded the wolves that were clawing to get at them.

But Dracona let out a large blast of fire. The vampire nun screamed in fiery agony as it engulfed and consumed her, leaving only ashes. The wolves’ growls turned to howls of disappointment as she perished in the inferno and they skulked away, masterless. Fredryck closed the door, just in case. “If I never see another vampire,” he said with exhaustion. “Well, I think that traveling troupe of actors has vampires,” Archibald reminded, “we should go after them as soon as we can.”

At that moment, Gaston, the chef, burst through the hallway doors, a pistol in his hand. “I’ll kill you all for what you did to her!” he screamed as he pointed the pistol at them. Surprised by his appearance, they could do little to stop him. Suddenly, the hallway became deftly cold as a pale translucent figure of a woman came through the ceiling and charged at him. Gaston fired instead up into the ghostly figure with a scream.

The bullets passed through the woman and struck the ceiling, raining dust. With a force unseen the woman thrust her hands forward and Gaston was propelled down the hall and slammed against the hallway wall. The gun dropped from his hand and he slumped to the floor, unconscious. The ghostly figure then turned its attention to them.

But instead of a ghastly visage, they could see the face of a smiling woman with red hair, steely blue eyes and a familiar appearance for some reason. “She died in this place,” Fredryck whispered, “Dracona’s mother.” The ghost approached Dracona, reached out and put her hands to Dracona’s face. The ghostly lips moved and it seemed as if the wind quietly whispered, “Carmine,” as tears filled her translucent blue eyes. Then, she floated back from Dracona, spread her arms wide and dispersed in a cloud that almost looked like the shadow of a winged dragon.

Clockwork 1888 Session 41

Clockwork 1888 Date: Friday, August 17, 1888
Just after they opened the secret door to the coffin room, they heard Priscilla’s voice calling them from elsewhere in the utility area. “Wait,” Archibald said as he went to get Priscilla. She had come down the front stairs and was looking down the utility passages. Soon, Archibald and Priscilla rejoined the others. He had given Priscilla the sniper rifle and retrieved a whip from the torture chamber that she now hung over her shoulder.

Moving in with their makeshift torch, they got to the first of the eight coffins. Fredryck stood at the head of the coffin with Priscilla next to him. Evgenia and Dracona were on the side of the coffin, ready to attack. Archibald inspired them with his words while he watched the door from nearby. Fredryck flung open the lid and inside was … dirt.

“Garlic,” Evgenia suggested. “We should put garlic into the coffin so that they can’t rest there.” Fredryck looked at her, disbelieving. “You’re trying to tell me that a spice is going to prevent these things from returning to rest in their coffins?” “Yes,” Evgenia insisted. Fredryck shook his head as she put some garlic cloves in the coffin and sprinkled it with holy water.

They continued to the next coffin, prepared to strike again. But it was empty, too. Evgenia put garlic in each of the empty coffins. But the last coffin was not empty. As Fredryck flipped open the lid, the young woman in her nightgown sprang to her feet. Bared fangs, red eyes and her hissing at them let them know that they had found a vampire. Fredryck struck her hard with his sword but it had no effect.

The vampire struck Evgenia with a clawed hand. Dracona spewed fire at it but it dodged out of the way. Evgenia struck back but missed and Priscilla shot it, with no effect. Archibald moved closer with the light but kept his eyes on the door to the room. Fredryck retrieved a wooden stake and stabbed at the creature but missed.

It clawed at Evgenia, again, but missed. Dracona spewed again and this one caught the creature, setting it aflame. Priscilla dropped the sniper rifle, pulled her whip and tripped the creature. Fredryck tried another thing as he pulled the Cord of St. Andrew and pressed it to the creature with a strong prayer. It had no effect so he struck it with the stake.

The flames burned it and it attacked Fredryck but missed. Dracona spewed again but it dodged the flames and Evgenia planted her stake firmly in the creature. It howled in agony and then went still and quiet. Its fangs retracted and her eyes returned to their natural color as the flames still burned her body. They could hear the wolves outside howling, again.

Fredryck turned to Dracona. “Can I see your flask?” he asked. “Sure,” Dracona said, hesitantly handing it to him. He carefully poured some of her fuel onto his sword. “A match?” he requested. She handed one to him, he struck it and lit the fuel on his sword. “Let’s see how those things like a flaming sword,” he said.

Clockwork 1888 Session 40

Clockwork 1888 Date: Friday, August 17, 1888
Everybody had seen the fangs and red eyes of the orderly. “Vampire,” Evgenia informed, looking at the burnt corpse that lay before them. Now, however, he looked normal, albeit a bit charred from Dracona’s fiery breath. The howling of the wolves outside was from both the enclosed courtyard of the asylum and the exterior around the asylum. The wolves attacked the windows of the dining hall and some of the women let out a scream.

Moving away from the windows, the wolves ceased their siege and Priscilla went to the hallway. “All good here,” she called through the open hall doors. With the way the evening was shaping up, the orderly had seen fit to prop the doors open, in spite of regulations. Evgenia peered around the corner of the hallway to see Priscilla. “The hounds of hell,” Evgenia informed. “They try to protect their masters, the vampires.”

Patient 484, Henrietta, was already dead on the floor, discarded by the now destroyed vampire orderly. The patient the vampire had grabbed next, but was interrupted, had collapsed to the floor. It was Elizabeth, Patient 275, and they bandaged the wounds on her neck as the others dragged the dead vampire and victim into the room across the hall where Hely’s body lay. Per Evgenia’s instructions, Fredryck decapitated the orderly, just to make sure he could not return from the dead.

After a little more discussion, they informed Priscilla that they were going to check the rest of the asylum. Madame Mornington agreed to go along because, being the headmistress, she had the keys to open all of the doors. Starting down the hall, they exited the west wing into the hall between the west and north wings. There was no orderly at the station leading to the north wing and the entire wing was totally empty. Even the orderly at the exit of the north wing was missing.

Mornington seemed genuinely perplexed. She indicated that a year ago the asylum had been quite full. They even had to convert some of the suites into dormitory rooms to make more room for patients. The wing’s present state of vacancy had her as much confused as it did the others.

Checking the orderly station for the East wing, they found the orderly face down, dead, on the table at his post. Two puncture wounds were on his throat and there was little blood at the scene. The orderly for the other end of the east wing and the one at the east end of the south wing were not at their posts. The south wing was as near vacant as the others and when they got back to the main hallway in the front of the building, the south wing orderly didn’t heed their opening of the hallway doors. He, too, was found dead, devoid of his blood.

“We’re going to check the second floor,” Fredryck informed Priscilla. Priscilla acknowledged and they took the stairs up to the second floor. Exiting the stairwell, the doors to the left indicated it was an operating room. They entered but Dracona stayed by the door, as if the place held some unpleasant memories for her.

They found numerous medical apparatus and equipment. “Acid,” Evgenia noted as she pulled some bottles from a shelf. “This can harm vampires,” she said as she checked their stoppers and put some into her handbag. Madame Mornington hesitantly did so, too. “What about this?” Archibald asked picking up a wooden box with a crank.

Evgenia moved to him and opened the wooden lid of the box. Inside was an iron crank handle and two wooden handled copper cylinders attached to the box mechanism with wires. “An electroshock machine,” she informed. “The girls with the burn marks on their temples were probably subjected to this. Still, electricity will probably burn vampires, too.” “I’ll stick with my burn method,” Dracona said from the door.

With the options in the operating room exhausted, they went back into the hallway. “Where’s Stalkill’s office?” Fredryck inquired. “This way,” Mornington said as she led the way down the hall opposite the operating room. She stopped when she arrived at the end of the hall, though. “The administrator’s door is usually closed and locked,” she said, pointing to the door at the end of the hall that was slightly open.

Fredryck led the way into the office. Nobody was inside so they searched through the desk, bookcases and files. The desk drawers were locked but not difficult to force open. Inside were various pamphlets on the variety of “activities” one could partake with the asylum inmates. In addition, there were pamphlets of a traveling troupe of actors that were performing some kind of theatrical play called “Dusk.”

The pad of paper on the desk had pages torn off and Fredryck took a pencil and rubbed over it to see what was previously written on the pad. “188; Dracona – alive? Featherby said she died. Why hide,” the penciling revealed. Fredryck looked at Dracona. She tore the page from the pad and crumpled it up.

Going through the file cabinets, they found numerous files, including one on patient 372, Rose Johnson. It indicated that Rose Johnson was admitted some time ago and the photo in the file matched that of the woman strapped to the bed in the west wing. The file on patients 72 and 188 were conspicuously absent and there was a file on patient 713, Emily Falls, who had been admitted 6 months ago. But, the photo that was glued to the patient’s form had been removed.

Evgenia sat down at the desk and studied the files. The writing in the file on patient 713 had changed from the day of admittance. Initial admittance papers were written by Stalkill but later writing, although obviously still his hand, seemed to be made with heavier hand, more purpose, deeper pen pressure than initially. In addition, the records seemed to indicate a plague of sorts that seemed to sweep through the asylum in the past 6 months. Many patients died from consumption and acute anemia. Studying the files, Evgenia noticed that the patient deaths at the asylum peaked whenever the troupe of performers was nearby. Madame Mornington had no knowledge of the magnitude of the death toll.

Dracona was looking at the paintings on the walls when she noticed that the one seems slightly amiss. Sure enough, the painting was hinged to the wall and behind it was a safe. With considerable effort, they were able to open the safe. Inside the safe were notebooks and files. One was an employee record book. It shows that Rosetta Stone was a nurse aide for the asylum for almost a year and then, one month ago was listed as leaving with “no reason given.” It listed Sister Maria Lawrence as being hired for the asylum chapel when it was made but has no record of Sister Mary Katrina taking over.

Another notebook was a listing of ‘donors’ with their likes, dislikes, their “special needs” and average amount paid to have their special needs met by asylum patients. Dr. Hely’s records went back over 20 years. He frequented intimate encounters with the youngest girls of the asylum. He was married to a woman who had found out about his preference for extremely young girls. She threatened to expose her husband.

Stalkill provided Hely with his own special blend of poppy tears to keep his wife sedated and compliant. Hely eventually turned her over to the asylum after Stalkill deemed her insane. His wife died at the asylum a year later, most probably from an overdose of drugs, but Stalkill listed the cause of death as consumption and Judge Fairman signed off on it. Stalkill has been collecting regular payments from Hely related to the murder of his wife as well as meeting his special needs via asylum girls.

The patient files in the safe included notes that Stalkill was keeping on them. All of the patients were listed in a notebook and each had notes by it concerning their performance in asylum prostitution or other misdeeds. Browsing the names found records of all of the patients in the room where Hely was killed.

The safe contained a file on patient 188 that Fredryck opened and read silently. “Patient 188; Carmine Guynon; born 1/6/1868; red hair and blue eyes with a pale complexion; 5’1” tall; committed at age 12 on 10/21/1880.” Fredryck closed the file and handed it to Dracona. On the paper were some notes in Stalkill’s handwriting, “188 is Dracona – alive? Featherby said she died. Why hide this?”

Safe records for Patient 372 listed the name as Rose Johnson, a patient admitted on 6/3/1877 and born on 11/17/1868. There’s a certificate of death in the file dated 1880 citing the cause of death as infection after a sterilization procedure. If she were alive, today, Rose Johnson would be 21 years old. The patient referred to as Patient 372 is in her mid-30s. Patient 372, Rose Johnson has a death certificate in the safe but not in her file from the file cabinet. Interestingly, a few years after Rose Johnson died, the file in the cabinet indicates that she was given a lobotomy. They had the proof that the patient listed as Rose Johnson was indeed Rosetta Stone, the missing M agent.

Another file in the safe was for patient 72. Fredryck flipped it open to find that she was Delyth Guynon, maiden name Draig, a red haired, blue eyed, pale complexion patient of Dr. Hely. She was the wife of Lord Rhydderch Guynon in Seven Sisters, Wales. Committed in 1869, she died in 1879. He closed the file and handed it to Dracona. “You might want to keep this one, too,” he said quietly as she put it with the file on 188.

They found a secret door in the bookcase. Madame Mornington was surprised at its existence. Investigating, they figured out how to open it and found a light switch. Light revealed a small room with a ladder going up and a railing around a part of the floor that seemed to be detached from the rest of the floor.

Near the top of the ladder, beneath the trap door that opened up, they found a wooden box that had a sniper rifle, 2 magazines of 10 cartridges each and a box with 40 more cartridges. Opening the trap door led to the roof, where one could view the courtyard or the grounds to pick off escaping inmates, if so desired. On the roof, another trap door was located that led down where the main elevator was. It, too, had a sniper rifle near the top of its ladder so Fredryck returned with it.

The railings were a small 1-2 person elevator. They decided to find where the elevator would take them. “Here,” Madame Mornington said as she held out her key rings, her hands shaking. “Investigate without me. I’ll take some of this acid downstairs to the dining room, just in case they need it. I’ll wait with them,” she informed. Archibald took the key rings and nodded acknowledgement. She departed as Fredrcyk and Dracona got onto the elevator platform. Pushing the button on the wall near the platform, they went down into the darkness.

The elevator went down deeper than one would go if going to the first floor of the establishment. It continued down until if finally came to a halt. Feeling the cool walls, they found a switch that barely illuminated the small room that they could step into from the platform. A small hallway led off into darkness. They pushed the button on the wall near the platform and it rose back up to the second floor.

By the time Evgenia and Archibald came down the elevator, Fredryck and Dracona had fashioned a torch, of sort, from one of the stakes from the chairs, some gauze they’d taken from the operating room, and a dose of Dracona’s flask. The four of them made their way down the dark passage until they came to a door whose mechanism seemed to be all on their side. “A secret door, I’d guess,” Evgenia surmised, “from the other side.” Sure enough, opening the door brought them into a utility area underneath the asylum. Closing the door from this side would make it nearly impossible to spot.

They used their torch to find a light switch on the wall near a stairwell that led upstairs. With the lights on, they could see that the main elevator could stop in the utility area. The utility area also had the mechanisms for the dumbwaiters, elevator mechanisms, and three utility tunnels leading off of it. The utility tunnels were 6 feet wide but 3 feet was filled with all sort of ducting, wiring and plumbing lines. Although the utility tunnels weren’t really tight to move through, if combat was going to happen, it would be difficult in those closer quarters. Fredryck searched the floor, found the dust had been more disturbed down the central utility tunnel and led the way.

The dust gathered about half way, indicating that further was not as traveled so they searched and found a secret door in the left side of the utility tunnel wall. Triggering it to open revealed a torture chamber with all manner of devices. Somebody was still in the iron maiden. Opening it, they found a girl, already dead, with chunks of flesh taken from her thighs. “I think we know what some of them had for dinner,” Evgenia informed. “I think this is Redwing’s favorite place,” Archibald chimed in. Exiting, they closed the door and moved on, checking each of the utility tunnels and areas beneath the asylum.

In another utility tunnel they found another secret door. Opening it revealed an even larger room. Buried, but only deep enough to expose their lids, were eight coffins. “Vampires,” Evgenia whispered. “Let’s set the whole room on fire and close the door,” Dracona quietly offered. “Let’s check it, first,” Fredryck insisted.

Clockwork 1888 Session 39

Clockwork 1888 Date: Friday, August 17, 1888
Priscilla and Dracona calmed the frantic Lady Lister. Douglas Winston II was dead in the bed with two gunshot wounds from a jealous husband being the obvious cause of death. Madame Mornington demanded to know how the constable got out of his room and why he brought a gun into the asylum, knowing full well it was against the rules. Fredryck nudged the constable to indicate that he should explain it to the headmistress.

“I’m a constable. I put people away. The last time I was here, I didn’t appreciate being locked in a room. So, I was prepared this time. I slipped a piece of cardboard between the door and the frame when Stalkill closed the door so that the door wouldn’t latch. As far as a pistol, I’m a constable so I’m always armed. You just missed finding it.”

“How did he get the door open to this room?” Fredryck inquired. “We leave the room key in the door when we have these events. It serves as a reminder to what rooms are occupied and allows for us to open the doors quickly in an emergency,” Madame Mornington informed. Sure enough, there was a key in the door to the room where the constable had shot Douglas.

Lucinda Lister was lucid enough to start arguing with her husband. Through that it was learned that Stalkill had been serving as a type of fertility doctor for them. Initially consulted concerning Lady Lister’s mounting reaction to stress, Stalkill learned that her stress was from not being able to give her husband a child. Lady Lister had been coming for consoling when Stalkill suggested a variety of ways for them to have a child. The constable believed that one of the asylum girls would provide the womb for their child.

But, Lady Lister defensively pointed out that Stalkill said that it was the constable who was infertile, not her. So, to bear the constable a child, she consented to Sir Douglas Winston II as a surrogate sire (he has red hair like the constable). The constable was not supposed to find out that the child was not his.

While the constable was attempting to impregnate an inmate, Lady Lister was to secretly rendezvous with Douglas. Unfortunately, the constable slipped out of his room and found his wife with Douglas. To keep either one from killing the other while they looked for the other patrons that had left with Stalkill, they locked the constable and Lady Lister in separate rooms and left Patient 705 in the room she had shared with the constable.

Madame Mornington moved to a door and removed something. Evgenia noticed and inquired. “The key,” Mornington reported, “I’ve removed the key from the door. There’s only the patient in there, now.” “We’d like to check the room,” Evgenia said. Complying, Mornington opened the door to the room where the constable had been.

They found the cardboard on the floor that allowed the constable to open the door. They also found a patient in the room. “Patient 705,” Mornington said. "She was to be the womb for the Lister child … or at least the distraction for Mr. Lister while his wife attempted to get in a family way.” The patient was quietly singing about her lover, Miss Lucy, coming for her that evening.

Going around the corner, they saw a door on the left with a key in its lock. The lights were off but they were able to switch the lights on from the switch next to the door. The richly appointed bedroom looked as if somebody was lying on the bed in the room. Still, it appeared empty from the door window. But, Evgenia heard a quiet whimpering through the door.

Fredryck opened the door and stepped in. “Don’t shoot me,” a woman whispered from behind the door, “I’ll do whatever you want but don’t kill me.” Crouched behind the door, cowering with her hands over her ears was Lady Dykens, quite scared. Calming her, she explained, “I heard the gunshots and screams. I thought that whomever it was had come for me, next.” She latched onto Fredryck’s arm, “You’ll protect me, right? I don’t want to die. You can protect me.”

“I’m a regular patron of the asylum,” Dykens explained. “I provide much of the supplies for their recreation. And, occasionally, I seek some,” she hesitated, “companionship. I was waiting for my evening companion to arrive at my room. Is it so wrong for a lady of means to get a little bit of comfort? I can’t any other way. My family won’t hear of it, calls it scandalous, wants me to marry some stupid man and spew children.”

“I just don’t find men attractive,” Dykens continued, “except for you,” she stroked Fredryck’s arm. “I’d be with you if you’d protect me. Really, I would. Just don’t let me die here. Please.” After convincing Lady Dykens that she’d be safest in the dining room with the others, they had Madame Mornington escort Lady Dykens there.

The woman was in her mid-30s with long brown hair pulled back into a ponytail and hazel eyes and wore a white frock with a maroon corset. She seemed to be singing, “Since I’ve been here for a little stay, aide Rosetta day by day. Aide Rosetta, standing over she, was as helpless as a woman of God could be. And I just can’t sleep at night. Rosetta dressed in white. She’s got the devil’s light shining in her eyes.” A closer examination reveals small scars on her temples and forehead that seem to be about a month old.

When Dracona came in, she started another line of commenting. “Feather girl, she was gone. Went away all better but she’s back. Take us away?” The others noticed the change and Fredryck asked Dracona if she knew the woman. “I think she was a nurse aide at the institute,” Dracona answered. “This asylum?” Fredryck questioned.

“No,” Dracona answered, “the Institute at Exeter. She’s Rosetta Stone and she worked there as an aide. She wasn’t here when I was here.” “Headmistress,” Fredryck called as he went to the door of the small room. “Who is this patient and why is she bound?” “372,” she answered, “That’s Rose Johnson. She’s been a patient here for quite some time. She’s prone to violence even though she doesn’t seem dangerous, now.”

Evgenia and Dracona loosened the straps that bound the woman. As they did so, they noticed that a section of her corset seemed considerably stiffer than the rest of it. Removing and examining the corset revealed a concealed pocket that held a small silver badge with a crown that read “British Empire, M, Rosetta Stone.” The patient saw the badge and added to her rambling, “Shush, don’t tell. Something not right, lots dying. Tell M, tell the feather. No … got me, red eyes and teeth got me. Get feathers for me but, too late, all gone. From the moment that they brought her in, I stared directly in the eyes of sin.”

With little they could do for her, they decided to keep her in the room until she could be removed, later. Another door across the hall still had a key in it. So, they went to investigate. Switching the lights on, they could see many patients huddled around something on the floor, clawing at it, some eating greedily as if they’d been starving. Opening the door, the patients scurried to the corners and walls of the dormitory-sized room where they cowered fearfully.

Their clearing revealed a body, bloody and unmoving, in the middle of the room. The head and face of the person on the floor had been shredded with large pieces of the flesh completely missing. Even with the blood, they could tell that the body was that of Dr. Hely. Hely was the last of the donors that Stalkill had escorted out of the dining room. All of the patients were covered in his blood, some still chewing … something. Still, they seemed in a stupor, almost as if they were … “It’s like they’re hypnotized,” Evgenia realized as she moved to one to try and snap her out of her stupor.

Each of the patients was brought out of their hypnotic stupor, if it was possible. Some of them seemed to recognize Dracona but called her “188” and said that “188 went away” but was back. When asked about the body in the room, “Lucky 13” and “time to eat” were the responses they got from them. The lunatic ravings also included things like, “Hell is empty and all the devils are here,” talk about doing as told to keep from being burned or fed to wolves, and one even warned of a ghost.

The patient known as Victoria claimed to be the Queen of England, wrongly placed in the asylum by Parliament so that a puppet queen would reign. She appears to be at least 10 years too young to be the real queen but she also mentioned a patient 713 arriving before the devils came. Patient 275, Elizabeth, talked of waiting for the red princess to take her that night. One, patient 319 or Sophia, rambled aimlessly but suddenly blurted out, “Where’s Rose? 372 went away but then a new one.”

Others were still in somewhat of a stupor and closer examination revealed circular burn marks or scars on their temples. Evgenia surmised the burns as signs of excessive electroshock and the scars from leucotomy. Mornington dismissed the lunatic girls’ ravings as their fevered imaginings. They left the body of Hely where it lay and escorted the patients into a different dormitory style room in the wing.

Then, two gunshots rang out from the direction of the dining room. Dashing around the corner of the hallway, they ran. The orderly already had the ward doors open as they neared. Coming to the dining room, they found Nurse Ratchet on the floor, cradling Lady Fairman, her head draped in an unnatural way, in one arm and with the revolver in her other hand. Lady Redwing and Dykens were in some kind of hypnotic trance and the judge was unconscious on the floor. Priscilla and Sister Maria Katrina were coming out of the chapel.

“Stalker,” Nurse Ratchet said frantically, “but with fangs, red eyes. The judge passed out. I was tending to him and his wife guarded the door. Priscilla and the sister went to the chapel. Stalker was just suddenly there in the doorway. Grabbed Lady Fairman and bit her. She dropped her gun as he sucked on her throat. I picked it up and shot him, twice. It didn’t even hurt him. But he stopped, snapped her neck like a twig. I could hear it snap and then he was gone as fast as he appeared.”

“We just went for some things from the chapel,” Priscilla explained. “We weren’t gone long when we heard the gunshots.” The sister crossed herself as she saw Lady Fairman. Evgenia checked and she was dead, her neck snapped like a twig. Then she saw the wounds on her neck. “Vampire,” Evgenia explained, “I believe that Stalkill is what would be called a vampire.” Fredryck untied and drew his sword, “I’ve got something for Stalkill.”

“That probably won’t be as good as you might think,” Evgenia warned. “The nurse can attest to how well bullets stopped him,” she said looking at the others. “Vampires resist many things. You need to fight them with fire, wooden stakes, a holy cross, holy water, acid. But these are only based on tales from the old country, Romania.” “I’ve got some fire for them,” Dracona chimed in as she drew her flask and matches. “Where can we get wooden stakes?” Priscilla asked.

“You know, I think I saw some nice wooden chairs in the parlor near the front,” Dracona recalled. “They had some nice spindles that would work well, I think.” Madame Monrington let them into the parlor near the entrance. Sure enough, there were fine hardwood chairs with spindle backs. Fredryck took his sword to them and soon they had a cache of wooden stakes.

Then, they heard the inmates screaming in the room where they’d been locked in. “Just let them scream,” Madame Mornington informed. “They’ll die down in a little while.” Still, they seemed determined to investigate the lunatic ravings so Mornington opened the hall doors and they made their way back to the west wing.

Arriving, they saw through the window that an orderly was in the room with them. He had one of the patients by the shoulders, her head cocked to one side and his head down at her neck. The orderly released her and she collapsed to the floor, blood on her throat. “Open this door,” Fredryck demanded as Mornington fumbled for the right key and the orderly grabbed another patient.

Mornington flung the door open and Dracona spewed fire upon the orderly, setting him aflame. Archibald urged them on with inspiration and Fredryck swung at the red-eyed, fanged orderly but missed. Evgenia struck with one of the makeshift wooden stakes, stabbing him squarely in his back. Releasing the patient, the orderly clutched vainly at the stake in his back. The flames engulfed the orderly and he perished.

Clockwork 1888 Session 38

Clockwork 1888 Date: Friday, August 17, 1888
Meet the asylum staff:

  • Dr. Stalkill, asylum head doctor and lead administrator
  • Madame Mornington, asylum headmistress (Stalkill’s mother)
  • Nurse Ratchet, asylum head nurse
  • Sister Maria Katrina, spiritual guide for the inmates
  • Gaston Vieuxpont, head chef and cook
  • Orderlies

Meet the other guests:

  • The Constable and Lady Lister, who had been trying to have a baby
  • Lady Lizbeth Dyckens, seems to prefer the company of women
  • Sir Douglas Winston II likes women, all kinds
  • Dr. Elwin Hely likes young girls
  • Lady Sephora Redwing likes to torture people
  • Judge & Lady Fairman like executions
  • Mayor Lector Handbill likes to eat people

Dinner was served. As dinner finished, Stalkill called for Sir Douglas Winston II and the constable. He led them out of the dining hall and around the corner into the asylum. Stalkill returned, shortly, for Lady Dykens, Lady Lister and Dr. Hely, and led them out. While they were gone, the chef entered with sherry to distribute to the guests. The mayor grabbed a glass and downed it before grabbing another glass. The chef mumbled disdainfully at the mayor before he distributed some glasses to places at the table for Stalkill, Mornington, and Ratchet. Then, he grabbed another glass from the tray and left via the hallway to take juice to Sister Maria Katrina.

The mayor went for another glass but grabbed his throat, fell to the floor and dragged the table cloth and table contents with him. Nurse Ratchet checked and declared the mayor dead. Checking the glasses indicated a strange substance on some of the glasses. Fredryck and Archibald went directly to the chapel to find Sister Maria Katrina about to take a drink. “You probably shouldn’t drink that,” they interrupted her. She returned with them to the dining room.

Bursting into the kitchen, they cornered the chef and began to question him. The chef informed that he put the usual relaxant into the dinner food and drink but claimed to know nothing about poisoned brandy. He even claimed to have taken a sip of the brandy himself. He indicated that Stalkill had delivered the glasses and brandy to him, directing him on who should get what glass.

Evgenia didn’t believe him and picked up one of the tainted glasses. Focusing her mind, she received an image of the chef swabbing the brandy glass with some substance before adding the brandy. She quietly mentioned her vision to the others. Fredryck and Priscilla took the chef into the dining room while Evgenia, Dracona and Archibald searched the kitchen. The chef continued to claim innocence. Their search found a container of poppy tears, a form of opium, that they suspected was the “relaxant.”

They were still searching the kitchen when a gunshot came from inside the asylum. A woman started screaming and there was another gunshot. Fredryck and Priscilla ran into the hallway from the dining room. Through the side-light windows of the doors leading to the asylum west wing, they could see the constable standing in front of an open door reloading a derringer. “I’ll teach you to mess with another man’s wife,” the constable shouted. The orderlies had come out from their stations to see what was going on.

“Open the door,” Fredryck demanded. “I can only open the doors under orders from asylum staff,” the orderlie answered. Fredryck intimidated him to open the door. As soon as the doors were open, Fredryck ran up and grabbed the constable before he could get off another shot. Priscilla followed him up the hallway. Archibald, Evgenia, and Dracona tried to go through the other door from the kitchen but found it locked. Madame Mornington came to the door and unlocked it to admit them to the west wing.

Fredryck grappled the constable to the ground and the constable released his hold on the derringer. Priscilla entered the room to find a hysterical Lady Lister and a quite dead Douglas Winston II in the bed. Archibald rushed down the hall while Dracona and Evgenia went into the room. “I surrender,” the constable said plainly as Fredryck pushed him against the wall of the hallway opposite the doorway to the room where his wife still screamed.


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