Clockwork 1888 Session 37

Clockwork 1888 Date: Friday, July 27, through Friday, August 17, 1888
They arrived at the London docks and Norrington was waiting for them.

Visit from the mob.

Asylum fund raising parade. As the “parade” neared Dracona, one of the caged girls called to her, “188! W15S! Carmine!” Dracona recognized the woman in the cage as Victoria, a woman who had entered the asylum about the same time that Dracona did. Trying to avoid notice, Dracona made her way farther down the alley where she performs with the inmate calling after her. “188, things are bad, worse than ever, at the asylum; girls dying; lots of girls dying. Help us …”

The leader paused along the way, whispering and passing business cards to gentlemen or ladies that seem to show an interest. As the leader neared Fredryck, he held out a card to him. “You, sir, seem a man of wealth. If you’d have any special requests,” he winked at Fredryck, “I’m certain we can accommodate a man of your stature. We’ve our regular fund raiser coming up. I’m certain that we can find something that would be to your distinguished tastes.”

Fredryck abhorred the manner in which the women were caged and paraded about for entertainment. Mentally, he vowed to look into such tactics as he took the card. “I presume you have a permit for this charade,” he inquired. "But of course, the parade leader answered as he pulled folded documents from his pocket and showed them to Fredryck. Fredryck made note of the authorizing persons before letting the man continue. “There’s a donor banquet coming up. Details are on your card,” the man informed before moving on and handing a card to Archibald. The back of the card had an invitation to a night at the asylum for … whatever one desired for entertainment.

Fredryck was meeting with Prince George to ask about the state of asylums in the empire. Prince George looked at the card. “This place,” he said, “we’ve had an M operative go missing that was investigating this place,” he informed. “I’d ask that you attend their donor banquet, see what you can learn about this place, and if possible investigate the disappearance of our Dept. M operative that was working at the asylum. She went by the name of Rosetta Stone. She worked as a nurse aide at the asylum.”

The night at the asylum starts with dinner.

Clockwork 1888 Session 36

Clockwork 1888 Date: Thursday, July 12, through Friday, July 27, 1888
Luc was handcuffed behind his back and laid on the floor of the room while the other police proceeded around the next corner in the hallway. “Haut les mains,” [hands up] the French police shouted as they saw the two remaining Les Guerriers. The Les Guerriers surrendered and the police rounded the corner to find Dracona and Evgenia. “Levez les mains en l’air,” [put your hands up, in the air] the officer shouted, seeing Evgenia with her gun out.

Dracona didn’t understand so she dropped to the floor. Evgenia laid her gun down and put her hands up as she told them that she was on the rescue team. Adoline came around the corner and talked to the French officers a moment. “Vous pouvez obtenir jusqu’à,” the one officer indicated. “You can get up,” Adoline and Evgenia translated for Dracona.

On the stage, Archibald. Priscilla, Remy and Fredryck finished off the ghouls as they heard the police shouting from down the hallway. Remy gathered them together around the woman in the chair. “I don’t know who you are, but thank you,” she said as Priscilla checked the bound woman. “Your friend, Inspector Norrington of Scotland Yard, sent us to find you,” Fredryck answered. “She’s dead,” Priscilla announced, “but not from her wounds. I think she died of heart failure.” “So, she won’t become one of these creatures,” Remy said, indicating the dead ghouls.

“These creatures,” Remy continued, “the police shouldn’t be told what they really are. All they should know is that they’re sick, twisted humans from some cult, Culte des Ghoules. They live underground and pretend to be ghoulish undead, eating the flesh of the living in evil rituals like what was going on tonight. The police have to believe that they’re really not ghouls – undead abominations that crave living flesh – even if we know different.”

“We’ve encountered unnatural things, before,” Fredryck informed. “We know that the general population needs some kind of logical explanation,” Priscilla added. “Good,” Remy acknowledged. “I’m going to go let Manon and the other women out,” Archibald said as he exited the stage.

Archibald was cleared by police as Adoline informed them that he was with the rescuers. He unlocked the door to the cell that housed Manon and the other women. Police moved in to assist the women at the orders of the obvious ranking officer. Evgenia told the ranking officer about the audience that had exited via the back of the seating area. The ranking officer sent two men to check it out.

Fredryck, Priscilla and Remy joined the others just as the two officers were leaving. Adoline vouched for them with the police as she rushed to Fredryck to make sure he was okay. One of the two policemen saw the carved up woman on the table in front of the stage and moved closer to it. He vomited before he pulled himself together enough to continue with his orders. Priscilla said about the deceased on the stage and the ranking officer had them lead him there.

They spent some time on the stage, explaining what had occurred there and how they rescued Remy from the cultists. Priscilla gave her preliminary findings on the dead woman. The ranking officer cut the bonds of woman’s body and Fredryck reverently let her slip gently to the stage floor. The ranking officer examined one of the ghoul bodies. “These fanatics sharpen their teeth and live underground,” Remy explained. “Lunatics,” the ranking officer said, shaking his head.

As the ranking officer was examining the ghoul bodies, Fredryck noticed some fine lines in the wall. The fine lines were a secret door that opened to a tunnel sloping downward. The ranking officer joined in checking the tunnel. It ended in the ghoul’s lair, complete with human bones and skulls from uncounted lost souls.

A thorough search of the entire area turned up a trove of francs and jewelry. The jewelry was most likely from the victims and Manon and Remy identified some of the pieces that were their belongings. But, some of the coins, some silver Ecu, dated back to the 17th century, when no denominations were struck on the coins. “Rumors of this cult date back to 1648,” Remy informed.

Still, after taking the time to heal and give the story to the French police, they finally finished. “I’d like to speak to your people,” Remy informed when she was alone with Fredrcyk, “about possibly joining the Fellowship of the White Star.” Remy indicated Adoline, “is she with you?” “I’m courting her,” Fredryck informed, “but she can’t get involved in things like this. She’s going to Oxford in September.” “I understand,” Remy answered.

“When the rest of you get some time, do visit me at my place of business. Olivier Lacroix, the man who portrays me to outsiders that I’m certain you’ve met, knows nothing of the Fellowship. Still, I can induct you into the Fellowship. It’s quite hush-hush because the unnatural forces we oppose should not know too much about us.” “I understand,” Fredryck nodded. “I do think you people will make fine additions to the Fellowship, though.”

Adoline insisted they stay at the manor. She’d already instructed the staff to make up rooms for them. Arriving at that late hour, they found Lady Clemenceau waiting for them in an irked mood. But, Adoline calmed her down, explained that they had important business that ran late and that all was well.

Adoline insisted on taking them all to the Louvre for a quiet day. After all, they were visiting France and the art there was something that nobody should miss. After spending a day at the Louvre, they decided to stop and get something to eat at a restaurant. Adoline had just the place in mind so they headed out in the L’Obeissant.

“Oh,” Adoline suddenly exclaimed as she veered the L’Obeissante off the road and into a vacant place near a large wagon with men preparing to roll a strange three-wheeled carriage into the nearby building. Leaping from the L’Obeissante, she ran up to the three-wheeled carriage. “It’s beautiful!” Adoline exclaimed, “what is it?” One of the men stepped up to her, “Please, miss, allow us to work. I’ll discuss this with you as soon as we’re finished here.” A woman who had been standing near the large door to the building came to Adoline. “Come with me, dear. We’ll wait over here.” The woman guided Adoline to where she was near the large door.

“Bertha Benz,” the beautiful woman, probably near 40 years old, introduced herself with a definite German accent to her French. “That man,” she pointed to one man, “is my husband, Karl, and the other is Emile Roger.” “That’s the Benz Patent Motorwagen,” she explained, “and Emile will be selling it, here, in Paris.” “Adoline Clemenceau,” Adoline introduced. “Related to the politician?” Bertha questioned. “My father,” Adoline answered. “Can it be driven by only one operator? I’m looking for a mode of transport that doesn’t need so much assistance to drive,” she indicated the L’Obeissante with its driver and steamer.

“Ah,” Bertha answered, “the Benz Patent Motorwagen is what you seek, then. What do you plan to use it for?” “Well,” Adoline beamed and motioned for Fredryck to come over to her, “Sir Fredryck Stanley, this is Bertha Benz,” she introduced. Proper pleasantries were exchanged before she continued. “We’re courting,” she informed Bertha. “He’s from England and I’ll be attending Oxford starting September. I wanted some kind of transport that would allow me to regularly visit with him in London.”

Bertha thought for a moment. “That’s quite a journey, isn’t it?” “About 57 miles,” Adoline answered, “I think that’s about 92 kilometers.” Bertha thought more. “I’m certain this vehicle can do that. But we’ve not tested it, yet,” Bertha answered. “I’ll let my father know about this. Can I get one by September?” Adoline questioned with anticipation. “Emile can answer that but I don’t see why not,” Bertha answered. (Side Note: On August 5, 1888, Bertha Benz and her two sons set out on a 104 km journey from Mannheim to Pforzheim to visit her mother. They returned via a 90 km route. Bertha’s goal was to show that the Benz Patent Motorwagen III could make such a long journey.)

Clockwork 1888 Session 35

Clockwork 1888 Date: Thursday, July 12, 1888
The scene of a pair of hooded figures carving up and serving a nubile young woman’s remains to two dozen people watching half a dozen ghoulish beings torturing and biting two other women as a stage performance for entertainment was enough to turn the stomach of even the most iron-willed of humanity. A feeling of disgust mixed with horror came over them. But, their troubles had not yet started as Fredryck and Priscilla heard a voice from the narrow hallway behind them. “I think Luc and the Les Guerriers are approaching,” Priscilla whispered. “Do you think they’ll help us?”

“I think they’re here to ensure their livelihood,” Evgenia whispered back. Fighting on two fronts is never a good thing. Doing so in a narrow hallway could be even worse. But, they had to rescue Remy and they’d promised Manan that they’d get her out of there. So, Fredryck charged up the stairs and onto the stage to attack the ghoulish beings that were torturing the woman bound to the chair.

“I’ll hold them back, here, as long as I can,” Dracona said as she moved up to block the hallway, withdrawing her matches and flask of flammable liquid. Archibald gave some inspiring words and stepped into the cell with the four captives. “It’s going to get bad out here so I need to lock you inside for your own safety,” he informed the women. Manan’s eyes met his and she nodded acknowledgement before continuing to administer food and water to the other three women. Evgenia moved up to the opening to the orchestra pit and fired at the butcher carving up the dead woman. Priscilla joined her, firing at the butcher.

The hooded butcher moved up to Evgenia while the other one apparently ushered out the first of the cloaked and masked audience. The ghoulish figures were apparently stunned by Fredryck’s rush on stage from backstage. The ghouls didn’t seem to notice Fredryck as they kept at the girl in the chair and the other three kept toying with Remy in the corner. Luc got into the hallway, saw Dracona and moved back around the corner, sending his goons through. Les Guerriers moved around the corner into the hallway where Dracona was waiting. One went into melee with her while two others in that hall and one around the corner fired at her.

Archibald came out of the cell, locked the women inside and prepared to fire his crossbow. Fredryck was able to cleave two of the ghouls before they could react. The stench of the other one was quite strong but he steeled himself against it and moved around the chair bound woman for his next attack. Dracona unleashed a blast of fire at the three Les Guerriers in the hallway. Evgenia used her knife against the butcher in her face and Priscilla shot at him and stepped back to give Evgenia room to back up.

The hooded butcher struck at Evgenia. With the audience was now leaving on its own, the other hooded figure joined the battle at the pit entrance and attacked. The three ghoulish figures by Remy left her to join the remaining one in attacking Fredryck, flanking him as possible. Les Guerriers focused their attacks on Dracona, trying to clear the hallway.

Remy composed herself to some extent and noticed that the man attacking the ghouls wielded a sword but also carried a rifle. She could see that the girl in the chair was motionless. Even her breathing was still. Death was a fate that awaited her unless this stranger and she could defeat the ghouls. So, she called out to the attacker of the ghouls, “Throw me your gun!”

Fredryck gagged at the stench of the other ghouls but overcame it and shifted toward Remy. Drawing his rifle as he moved, he dropped it and kicked the rifle across the floor to Remy before striking at the ghouls, again, with his sword. He targeted the last one of the trio from the woman in the chair. This one seemed considerably tougher than the other two that he’d already felled.

Dracona blasted fiery rain upon Les Guerriers, again, dropping the one in front of her. She considered moving up but held her ground, preparing for the next wave of Les Guerriers that Luc would undoubtedly send in. Archibald fired his crossbow at Les Guerriers. Evgenia backed up and shot the hooded butcher. Priscilla shot, too, and stepped back again.

The hooded figures advanced down the hall but only one could attack Evgenia, now. Still, the butcher hit Evgenia and she was considerably injured. “Going to need help, here,” Evgenia called. Dracona’s fire dropped a second one of the Les Guerriers so Luc sent three more Les Guerriers to replace them. The ghouls focused on Fredryck, shifting to flank him as possible. Remy’s shots were wide, as she was still retching from the ghoul stench.

Archibald moved closer to Evgenia and Priscilla, pulled the Reliquary Cross of St. Andrew and prepared to use it on Evgenia. Fredryck struck and shifted to the back wall of the stage to keep some of the ghouls from flanking him. Dracona blasted the new Les Guerriers and Evgenia moved to Archibald where he used the healing power of the cross on her. Priscilla fired and dropped the hooded butcher. The next hooded figure advanced and struck at Priscilla. Les Guerriers struck and shot at Dracona and the ghouls were wearing down Fredryck. Remy was still ineffective with the rifle.

Then they heard it; the sound of voices from farther down the hall; around the corners; the sound of men coming, directed by a French female voice. Adoline. She’d apparently spotted the Les Guerriers coming into the tunnels and gotten the police. Reinforcements had arrived.

Archibald returned to firing at Les Guerriers. Fredryck finally killed the tough ghoul but the other three ghouls were still on him. Dracona continued her fiery assault on Les Guerriers, who were about to be fighting on two fronts, too. Evgenia and Priscilla fired at the remaining cloaked figure and downed him. Priscilla ran up the stairs to see about helping Fredryck. The ghouls were still upon Fredryck, focused on bringing down their biggest threat. Luc sent two Les Guerriers to shoot at the coming police while he directed things from the corner where he was safely out of sight of either enemy.

Archibald continued helping Dracona and Evgenia joined the battle with Les Guerriers, shrinking their numbers again. Fredryck continued to battle the ghouls and had apparently chosen the toughest one as his target, again. But Priscilla and Remy made an impact on the others two and before long, the ghouls were dead. The police dropped the Les Guerriers in their gun battle and advanced down the hallway. Coming to the first room, the police opened the door to find Luc. “Haut les mains,” [hands up] they shouted, guns pointed at him. Luc surrendered immediately.

Clockwork 1888 Session 34

Clockwork 1888 Date: Thursday, July 12, 1888
After surveying the scene through the La Gargouille windows on Rue Pernety, they figured there were seven Les Guerriers members inside. Fredryck, Dracona, Priscilla and Archibald went inside and up to the bar while Evgenia stayed near the door and Adoline stayed about 20 feet down the street with the L’Obeissante, its driver and its steamer. “We’re looking for some information,” Fredryck announced to the bartender, “and we’ll pay for it.”

He said it loud enough for Les Guerriers to hear and put some francs on the bar. The bartender looked fearfully at Les Guerriers and then to Fredryck. “I know nothing,” he said with a waiver of dread in his voice. Fredryck picked up his money, turned and approached the table where the young man had the waitress on his lap. “Perhaps you’d have some information,” he said as he put his hand down with the money on the table. The waitress nuzzled against the man’s neck.

“Bon nuit,” the man said as he sized them up like a wolf sizes up its prey. “My name is Luc. How may I be of assistance?” he asked in a mocking tone which brought a suppressed laugh from the other Les Guerriers.

Fredryck proceeded to describe Manon and asked if they’d seen a woman fitting that description. “Perhaps I have. I don’t know. I’ve seen many women. They can’t seem to get enough of me,” he grins while the others laughed. It was obvious that he knew something. “Would you know anything about the disappearances of other women in this area,” Fredryck inquired.

“Of course not, we’re upstanding members of the community,” he answered to unrestrained laughter from Les Guerriers. “Well,” Fredryck answered, “perhaps I’ll look elsewhere for somebody that knows something.” He went to lift his hand, and the money, from the table but Luc reached out and grabbed the money. “For the right price, I have the information you want,” Luc said with a grip on the money.

“I want the information first,” Fredryck answered. “Oh, but this is for what I’ve already told you,” Luc countered, “and I have all the information you need.” Fredryck released the funds and Luc counted them before pocketing the ten francs. “This is only half of what it will cost you,” Luc said. Fredryck got another ten francs out but held onto them.

“Oui, I know this woman. We were told she would be walking down Rue Edouard Jacques one night, and we got paid to make sure she never reached her destination. General Boulanger pays us to rough people up every once in a while. He hired us to kill her, but we had our own ideas. We sold her just like we did the whores. Since none of them ever turn up again, it was as good as killing her ourselves.” He held out his hand.

Fredryck let him grasp the money but didn’t let it go. “Who did you sell her to?” “I don’t know their names. They live below the city, in the catacombs. When we have woman to sell, we knock on their door," he answered. “What about another woman,” Fredryck asked, describing Remy Loisel. “A few days after we kidnapped the one, a lone woman comes into La Gargouille and starts asking questions about her. She was a scrappy little fighter, but no match for all of us. She wouldn’t tell us anything about herself, so we decided to sell her as well.”

“Show us where you sell them,” Fredryck insisted. “Of course,” Luc agreed. “Arnaud, escort them to where we sell the women,” he answered with a tug on the money. Arnaud stepped forward and Fredryck released his hold on the funds. “This way,” Arnaud instructed as he left La Gargouille. Outside, Evgenia had motioned for the L’Obeissante to come forward and they got into the vehicle. “I was prepared to go as high as 100 francs,” Fredryck quietly whispered to Archibald as they left. “20 francs was a real bargain, then,” Archibald quietly commented.

Heading down Rue Pernety, he had them turn left at Rue Raymond Losserand, went to Rue de Gergovie, turned right, and continued until reaching Rue Vercingetorix. It only took a few minutes before he gestured to a copse of trees and bushes dominating the eastern corner of the intersection. “That’s where we need to go.”

In the center of the foliage, set in the ground, was a circular stone the size of a manhole. Fredryck tried to lift the stone but it took two people to lift it. Beneath was a stone shaft leading down with sturdy iron rungs attached to its side. After the twenty-foot descent was a low-ceilinged stone passage leading into the dark, obviously one of the many underground quarry tunnels running beneath Paris. Adoline offered one of the lanterns from the L’Obeissante.

Once the way was lit, the apache led them forward. The passage twisted and turned, while the ceiling rose to seven feet. Three times during the trek, they arrived at a T intersection, and at each point, the guide motioned them to the right. The apache finally turned into a small alcove, and a few feet within was a door of iron bars with a padlocked chain. Beyond the alcove, the passage continued into darkness. A rope, which disappeared into the ceiling, hung in front of the door. “This is it. When we had a girl to sell, we pulled on this rope, and somebody came to buy her.”

Arnaud turned to Fredryck and held out his hand, “I can negotiate this for you for a small fee.” “Go,” Fredryck refused the offer, “we’ll handle it from here.” Arnaud looked at them, shrugged and went back through the catacombs the way they had come. Archibald donned an outfit that made him seem a woman and they tied him so that he could easily slip the bonds off before they put a bag over his head. They pulled the rope as Evgenia and Priscilla went out of sight down the passage. There was the faint, muffled sound of a bell in the distance.

A heavy door opened in the darkness of the passage beyond the alcove and soon a dark robed man came into the light of their lantern. Staying back from the iron door, he questioned them. “Who are you? What do you want?” Fredryck answered, “Luc sent us with a woman to sell to you,” he answered. “You are not who we usually do business with.” “He was busy getting more women. We’re supposed to sell this one and go back for more,” Fredryck lied. It took some convincing but eventually the man moved up and opened the barred door.

Gruffly he pulled the “woman” to the other side and went to close the door. “Our payment,” Fredryck insisted, stepping into the alcove. “You get paid after I close the door. Did Luc not inform you of this?” he questioned warily. Fredryck gave him no time to close the door as he rushed forward, pushing the man back. The battle was brief and soon they had him unconscious, taking the ring of keys they found on his person. After 40 feet of moving downward through the sloping narrow corridor, they passed the heavy door they’d heard open.

Rounding the corner, they found a small, empty chamber, its door open and a bell on the wall with a rope attached. It was obviously the guard’s room with a bed, writing desk and a table. Continuing, they found the privy and then a larger room with two beds, a small table and a desk. On the table was a journal written by somebody named Serenus Tullus. It detailed his time with the Culte des Ghoules, specifically his sixteen years as caretaker for the Theatre de la Mort. It gave accounts of many women procured for the theater, as well as memorable performances in days past. He identified someone named Nelek Nequam as the current grandmaster of the cabal.

Taking the journal as evidence, they moved on to find the empty kitchen and then a locked door farther down the corridor. They could hear weak moaning coming from the other side. One of the keys on the key ring opened the door and inside was a grim sight. Four females in tattered rags lie on the floor, their hands in manacles tethered to chains anchored halfway up the wall. Overflowing chamber pots add to the smell of sweat and desperation. The women barely opened their eyes when they entered, and none of them attempted to rise.

The one woman matched the description of Manon Chastel, now a shadow of her former self. She was starving and dehydrated and could not talk. Prisciall and Evgenia administered to her and soon she regained her senses. They asked about Remy and Manon said “She and another girl, Iphigenie, were taken out before. I couldn’t tell you how long ago, I’ve lost all track of time.” They unlocked all of the manacles and left water and food with Manon to administer to the other women. “We’ll be back for you,” Fredryck promised as he closed the door.

Continuing on, they could see light ahead, from around another door. Carefully opening the door, the sounds of movement and shouting could be heard. To the left, a stairway led up to a dark area. Ahead it seemed to open up and they crept forward until they could see. The corridor opened into what was like an orchestra pit between a lamp-lit theater stage above on the left and audience to the right.

Unlike a normal theater, however, unspeakable horror and utter banality united to assault them. Upon the stage, two women were slowly tortured by shambling parodies of humanity. The first woman, at stage right, was tied to a chair, while three decaying humanoids hovered around her. While one chewed on her lower leg, ripping off a piece of muscle, another tightened the tourniquet just below her knee; the third caressed and pinched her cheek, making sure she remained awake. The woman looked as if she wanted to scream, but seemed unable to do so. Tears spilled from eyes filled with terror.

At stage left, a woman fitting Remy’s description was not faring much better. Corralled by three more of the foul creatures, they played with her the way cat’s toy with a mouse. She had several cuts on her body, and while she was able to move, she appeared nauseated. Watching the proceedings in rapt attention were a number of people sitting in viewing boxes. Each one sported a black cloak and domino mask. As they observed, they dined on wine and cuts of a cadaver being served by two monks operating out of the orchestral pit. Half of the night’s meal, a nubile young woman, still resided among a fruit garnish on a ten-foot table.

Clockwork 1888 Session 32

Clockwork 1888 Date: Saturday, June 16, through Wednesday, July 11, 1888
Evgenia scheduled to get the new communication device, the telephone, installed and hooked up to the London Exchange. It also appeared that electric lights would soon replace the familiar gaslights. But, the time wasn’t right for that, just yet. For a moment she marveled at the conveniences of the modern world.

“Show him in,” Evgenia answered the butler. James brought Sir Marc du Locque into the parlor where Evgenia was waiting. “How is the Temple of Oriental Esoteric Wisdom,” she inquired. “It does well, thank you,” he answered, “but I’m here on behalf of somebody not from there. Do you know Lady Anca Catargiu?”

Evgenia thought a moment before answering, “No.” “She said she’d not met you before,” he informed. “Still, she wants to meet with you.” “About what,” Evgenia questioned. “I can’t be certain but she’d gotten permission to access the temple’s library. When she examined a book, one you’d used in researching that vengeance demon, she came to me and asked to see you, by name.” “Where and when did she want to meet me?”

Evgenia visited the Temple of Oriental Esoteric Wisdom. Sir Marc du Locque was waiting for her and they left to elsewhere in London. At a small place, he introduced her to Lady Anca Catargiu, who Marc said has ‘gifts.’ Once introductions were made, Marc made his leave and Evgenia talked with Anca.

A few days later, Mrs. Lynn Hynllek called at Yermak Investigations for a second check on her husband. The faint smell of alcohol was on her but she seemed lucid enough. She’d confronted him about his whoring but he seemed to be spending even more of his time away from home. He told her that he’s not cheating and that he’d do anything for her but she simply cannot believe him.

Investigating Dr. Hynllek found that he’s added others to his list of body part suppliers. That includes a woman known locally in Whitechapel as “the Ripper” that performs abortions for prostitutes, Mrs. Mary Pearcey. She apparently provides the doctor with aborted fetuses. The doctor still pays regular visits to prostitutes, though. Another striking man in his early 30s, named Mr. Deehee , has been seen at the doctor’s business on occasion and seems to also be in the employ of the doctor, possibly for picking up required parts.

Dracona, now boarding at the Yermak manor in London, received her usual morning caller, Don Marco. “I think the Duffy family is going to think twice about hitting us, again,” Don said pulling his usual compensation and handing it to Dracona as they rode along. “You’ve done some really tough jobs for us so I figured you’d need some light work.”

“There’s a dress shop on Savile Row in Mayfair that seems to think they don’t need our … fire insurance. They’ve refused to pay and it’s time to make an example of them, show them how dangerous it is to not have fire insurance, if you know what I mean.” “What if I get them to pay? How much is it?” Dracona questioned. “If you think they can be convinced to pay the 5 pounds they owe, do what you have to. But, we want it by this Wednesday. If they still refuse, pay them a late night visit and breathe on their fine establishment.”

Dracona visited the dress shop and tried to convince them to pay the insurance. The owner still refused, saying she wouldn’t submit to criminal threats and she’d tell the Yard. Dracona purchased a bolt of material and ordered some simple underclothes before she left. With the bolt of fabric, she scorched it with her breath and waited for a visit from Don Marco.

When he arrived, she handed him the money as she got in his carriage. “How did you convince them to pay?” he asked. Dracona produced a piece of the scorched fabric. “I just gave them a sample of how the insurance would protect their business and they paid,” she answered. “They can’t pay anything if they have no business to make the money to pay the insurance.” “Smart,” Don said. “I trust we won’t have any more problems collecting from them.” “I’ll collect the monthly insurance money,” Dracona replied. Don Marco smiled and patted her on the cheek. “A fine addition to the family,” he said as he let her out.

Fredryck spent the rest of Adoline’s weeklong visit showing her the sights of London and the surrounding areas, Priscilla tagging along as the chaperone. After Adoline and her mother left, Fredryck quickly made plans to visit France for the formal request to court Adoline. Upon his arrival, he was met at the train station by Adoline in a horseless carriage of some sort. She excitedly informed him that it was L’Obeissante, a steam vehicle from the Bollee company, that her father had acquired a few years ago.

She was seated in the driver’s seat and bade Fredryck sit next to her so she could show him how it operated. She told how her father was going to purchase her a new carriage, La Rapide, for her to take with on her studies in Britain. She had learned to drive on the L’Obeissante and drove them to the manor with the driver grumbling about his job.

After Fredryck’s formal request, both Mr. and Mrs. Clemenceau agreed to allow Fredryck to court Adoline. Mr. Clemenceau was jovial and accommodating and insisted Fredryck join him in a celebration of ‘the manly’ type that evening. As is common, Fredryck graciously accepted the offer and they soon departed the Clemenceau manor.

Moulin Rouge was their first stop where they took in the risqué show of ladies flashing their underthings or drawing their cleavage to view. After the main show, some of the showgirls offered ‘companionship’ for the rest of the show. Fredryck declined the show girl offers but bade Mr. Clemenceau to partake of what he cared. Fredryck understood, without offense, that the wealthy and nobility partake in such things but he’d decided different for himself.

Mr. Clemenceau apparently accepted Fredryck’s decision to not partake too vigorously of the evening’s events. But, when Fredryck arrived the next day, Adoline and Mrs. Clemenceau met Fredryck. “Adoline’s father told me where you two went last night,” Mary began sternly. “He grumbled about how you British just don’t know how to relax and have fun. I’d dare say he’ll not invite you again,” she bluntly informed.

“I pressed him for details of the evening and I must say, Monsieur Stanley, that in spite of your deeds last night, he’s still enamored with your British nobility. I, on the other hand,” her eyes narrowed at him, “must say that your behavior last night makes me think that Adoline has chosen wisely. Now, I’ll go get Adoline’s handmaid so you two can continue to see the other parts of Paris.” She smiled at Fredryck, turned and left.

Adoline waited until her mother had left the room and then approached Fredryck. Running a finger through his hair and looking into his eyes she whispered, “I think Mother is really getting to like you. Today, we stop at a tailor and go to the tour Eiffel,” she promised. “It’s a bit farther along than the last time you were here and I’m bringing a Kodak to capture us there.”

On his last full day in Paris, Fredryck again met with Adoline and her parents. “You’re in the British Grenadier Guards,” Mr. Clemenceau began, “an infantry regiment.” Fredryck acknowledged the correctness of the statement. “Infantry is dangerous work and it would please my daughter if you had the highest possible chance of surviving in such a position.” With a motion of his hand, a servant brought in a large box and placed it in front of Fredryck. “Two years ago a Frenchman, Paul Héroult, discovered how to separate a special material from others. Open it,” he instructed.

Fredryck opened the box to reveal a shining breastplate. “_Aluminium_,” Clemenceau announced. “It’s one-and-a-half times thicker than your steel breastplate but it’s half the weight and just as strong. You can consider it part of Adoline’s dowry but it’s merely an investment in her happiness and in your survival. Wear it for good health, sir.” Fredryck properly thanked them for the gift. After his week cementing his courtship with Adoline in Paris, Fredryck returned to London, the memory of her parting embrace and kiss still fresh in his mind.

Upon his return to the Grenadier Guards, his commanding officer called him into his office. “As your C.O. all your leave requests go through me. You’ve been taking a lot of leave, of late. I might question that but I’ve gotten orders,” he holds a paper up to show Fredryck, “from higher up than I care to acknowledge, to approve any leave you request. He wants to see you, the Commander–in-Chief of the Forces, so you need to go to his office, now.”

Fredryck made haste to the commander’s office and the assistant ushered him into the office. His Royal Highness Prince George, 2nd Duke of Cambridge, with all the medals on his sash and chest, was sitting behind the desk. “Grenadier Guardsman Fredryck Stanley reporting as ordered, sir.” The Duke of Cambridge didn’t look up from the papers he was reviewing. “Sit down, guardsman,” he instructed, still not looking up. Fredryck obeyed as he continued.

“You’ve been doing a few things about the world,” he noted as he paged through the file, “discovering the St. Andrew tomb in Greece,” he said as he examined a newspaper story in the file. “I was awarded the Knight of the Order of St. Andrew, the Apostle the First-Called, for outstanding service to the Russian Federation in 1874,” he informed putting his hand to a medal on his sash before continuing to page through the file. “You recovered stolen artifacts in Crete and stopped the anarchist’s attempt to destroy the Acropolis.”

“Yes, sir,” Fredryck answered although he didn’t know that the Greek government had informed his commander of the anarchist’s attack. After all, the Greek government had requested it remain a secret. “Your actions reflect well on the Grenadier Guards and on Britain. I’ve instructed your commanding officer to approve any leave requests you may have. You’re to follow up on any such incidents that you deem. The guard can cover related expenses and the only requirement is that you report the events and results directly to me.” “Yes, sir,” Fredryck answered.

Prince George studied a paper for a moment. “Adoline Clemenceau,” he announced as he finally looked at Fredryck, “daughter of a powerful French politician. You’re courting this young lady?” “Yes, sir,” Fredryck answered. “You’re from a noble family. Did your parents arrange this pairing or did this young lady and you choose this?” “We decided, sir,” he responded, “although we have the permission and blessing of both our families.” “Good,” the commander huffed, “arranged marriages are doomed to failure. Well, it seems like things are in order. I’ll be talking to you Sir Stanley. You’re dismissed.” “Thank you, sir,” Fredryck replied as he rose saluted and left.

Archibald had gotten the Sensuous Sophia a job in the chorus line at St. Clement’s Theatre, showing the latest Rupert and Finnegan production about the life of a woman in prison. She decided to use Debbie Silvers as her new stage name, a variation of her real name (Deborah Silberstein), to distance herself from the Amazing Anthony.

It was July 11th when Archibald and Priscilla stopped at Evgenia’s. Fredryck had returned from France and they were all anxious to hear of his visit. It was that night when James came with a calling card. Chief Detective Norrington was in the parlor, hoping to talk with them. “What is going o at the Yard,” Evgenia asked. “Nothing that requires your talents. I’m here on personal business,” he informed. Evgenia looked at the others.

“I have an associate in France, Remy Loisel, and they missed an important meeting. All attempts to contact them have gone unanswered and it’s most unlike them. I fear something has happened and I’d like you to investigate as quickly as possible. Remy Loisel has an investigation business at 41 Monsieur le Prince in Paris, France. If you’ll take this, I can have transportation arranged for arrival tomorrow, July 12th." “I’ll wire Adoline that I’ll be seeing her sooner than anticipated,” Fredryck answered.

They agreed to find Remy and Norrington continued. “Thank you. I’ll pay any expenses and fees, not the Yard. Telegraph me when you find Remy, dead or alive. You’ll recognize Remy in various ways.” He turned his lapel over to reveal a white, star-shaped pin. “They’ll usually have this pin somewhere on their person,” he instructed. Fredryck had seen that pin before. Prince George, the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, had one near his St. Andrew medal, mixed in with all the other medals on his chest. But, Fredryck kept that information to himself.

“The other way to recognize Remy is through a passphrase,” Norrington continued. He gave them the passphrase they should use and the required response to make sure it was Remy. “The third way is via handshake, in case verbal communication is unwise or you want to make absolutely sure,” he explained showing the intricate required routine. “Your ship to Calais leaves before first light. Godspeed and good luck,” he concluded.

Clockwork 1888 Session 30

Clockwork 1888 Date: Friday, June 15, 1888
It took some convincing but Archibald finally convinced Sophia that Anthony had not hypnotized her and that he had to hypnotize her to learn what was going on. Consenting, it took a little time for her to calm enough that Anthony could hypnotize her. When she was under, he started with what she told the audience participant by explaining that they had just finished with the hypnotism part of the act and she had to escort the participant back to his seat. He gave her Fredryck’s arm and she walked him to the chair in the dressing room. She whispered, “Thank you for your participation,” and then added, “midnight, City Hotel, Room 410,” with a seductive smile before returning to Anthony and posing as she does at the end of their show.

Anthony complemented her on her performance and then had her rest a moment. “What else did you want to know?” he asked. “Take her back to her date with Fred Martin,” Evgenia suggested. “Why?” Anthony protested. “I have a hunch,” she answered. So, Anthony did as asked and they learned that her date with Fred Martin didn’t go as she had explained, earlier.

Under hypnosis, Sophia remembered being wooed back to Fred’s hotel after dinner. When he opened the door to his room, other men with guns were there and they subjected her to some kind of machine that they had in a large suitcase. That is when they put it into her mind to tell choose suitable audience participants and tell them to meet her at midnight in that hotel room. They surmised that whatever the machine was, it was making killers out of the audience participants that went to the hotel room. Anthony had her describe the men that were in the room and she even described an older one that the others called Dr. Hypnos.

“Should I break this hypnotist’s hold over her,” Anthony inquired. They wanted him to try but Dr. Hypnos did an in-depth job of it and Anthony’s first attempt failed. He told them what they could do to help break the hypnosis she was under and they assisted. This time, Anthony was able to break the hypnosis hold over her. He told her to remember all that had happened and brought her safely out of the trance.

They convinced Sophia to not leave the show, yet, if she still wanted to. They told her it would help to keep the fact that they were on to Dr. Hypnos a secret, perhaps give them an element of surprise. Checking the time, they saw that they could just make it to the City Hotel before midnight. So, into the carriages they went.

They arrived at the City Hotel at 11:45 pm. The desk clerk gave them the name of the person renting room 410, a Stanly Wilde. As they were at the desk, they saw Gerald Marino enter the hotel lobby. Dracona stopped him and informed him that he was in danger if he kept the date with the Sensuous Sohpia. After some conversation, Gerald handed over his flowers and left.

Up to room 410 they went. Archibald decided to play Gerald Marino and knocked on the door while the others lay in wait around the hallway corners. The door opened and Archibald found himself with a pistol in his face. “I’m here to see the Sensuous Sophia,” he said, “perhaps I have the wrong room?”

The man behind the door grabbed Archibald’s shirt and pulled him into the room, closing the door behind him. “I believe you may have me mistaken for somebody else,” Archibald said. “I was to meet a fine young woman here. I may just have the wrong room. Is this 410?” He counted 5 thugs in the room but didn’t see a suitcase of any kind.

“Be quiet,” the thug at the door said as he motioned for Archibald to move over to where two of his cohorts were. Then, there was another knock at the door. “Sophia,” Fredryck called through the door, “I have flowers for you, my sweet. It’s Gerald Marino, my dear. We met at your show.” The thug looked at Archibald and then at the door. He moved to the door and two other thugs joined him nearby, guns pulled.

Clockwork 1888 Session 29

Clockwork 1888 Date: Friday, June 15, 1888
The bobbies arrived and kept everybody as they were until Detective O’Connor showed up. After discussions with him about your being attacked because of your involvement in the restaurant shooting investigation, he was ready to dismiss you. Adoline insisted on changing before going to the theater to take in the Amazing Anthony’s show at the Starlight Theater. So, they dropped her at the suite and went to freshen up themselves before the show.

They arrived an hour early and asked about seeing the Amazing Anthony before the show. They were told that he doesn’t accept visitors before the show and that he doesn’t arrive until a half hour before the show. So, they purchased tickets and went to wait in a nearby chippie. Before they entered the restaurant, a fine black carriage pulled up next to them and the driver indicated that somebody wanted to talk to Dracona. Fredryck looked cross at her as she indicated that she’d catch up with them in the chippie. Dracona recognized the fine carriage. It belonged to Don Marco, who was waiting inside.

“I like the work you’re doing for the family,” he began. “Taking out that Duffy gun carriage was no small feat,” he said reaching carefully for his billfold. “In the future I’m sure we can have you do some … light work for us,” he smiled as he withdrew 100 pounds. “You know, heating things up for the local businesses that don’t feel the need for our fire insurance,” he handed the notes to her. Dracona took the money and stuffed it into her purse. Don Marco patted her on the cheek, “keep up the good work for the family.”

The carriage stopped and let her out before it moved on. Dracona went into the chippie and ordered a round of drinks for everybody, on her. A half hour before the show, Fredryck spotted a man that arrived in a hansom, exited and entered the theater. He guessed that the man was the Amazing Anthony but the man was inside before he could even get out of his seat. So, they went to the show, on schedule.

The show began with your typical lead in acts, not worthy of mention. Finally, the Amazing Anthony came on stage. He was dressed in a tuxedo adorned with a cape and turban with heavy makeup around his eyes and a goatee that gave him a sinister look. The Sensuous Sophia, his assistant, was in a colorful costume, one that would be considered quite scandalous for the time. The Amazing Anthony had an incredible stage presence, entertaining the crowd with feats of illusion until, for his climax, he sent the Sensuous Sophia to get an audience participant.

The Sensuous Sophia noticed Archibald and Fredryck but still chose another man, a slight man of obedient demeanor. Between them, they determined that the man selected was Gerald Marino, a bank teller that handled most of Al Cantalupo’s business. Cantalupo is a lieutenant in charge of the Marciano smuggling operations. Still, the Amazing Anthony ran through his bit, hypnotizing the volunteer into first believing it is very cold (he had coats and blankets on stage) and then believing it’s very warm. Of course, as the man started to shed blankets and clothes, the Amazing Anthony stopped the volunteer before he compromised his modesty.

When the Amazing Anthony released the volunteer from his hypnotic trance, the Sensuous Sophia escorted him back to his seat. She whispered something in the volunteer’s ear, which garnered a smile from him, before returning to the stage. It was obvious to Evgenia that it was more than a “thank you” but nobody could hear what else the Sensuous Sophia had told the man. But, with the show concluded, the Amazing Anthony and Sensuous Sophia graciously took their bows and then vanished from the stage in a billow of glittering smoke.

The gaslights of the Starlight Theater came up and the crowd started funneling out. Evgenia and the others made their way to the doors to get back stage. They were met by the stage manager, “what do you want?” “We need to speak with the Amazing Anthony,” they informed. “Wait here,” the stage manager informed them. “I’ll see if the Amazing Anthony wants to speak to anybody,” he said stepping back behind the door. It was not loud but they heard the Amazing Anthony’s response, “I don’t want to talk to anybody except news reporters.”

The stage manager came back to the door. “He doesn’t want to see anybody,” he informed. Archibald stepped forward and Evgenia pulled her Kodak Brownie camera, moving up next to him. “The Times, London Times,” he said flipping open a notepad he’d been his writing story ideas into. “I’ve been sent to get an in depth interview,” he said. Evgenia nudged him. “And photograph,” he added as he pulled and flashed a copy of the London Times, tapping his finger to it as if the story on the front were his byline.

“Come in, then. They’re all with you?” the stage manager questioned as he opened the door for them to pass. “Of course,” Archibald answered. “My photographer,” he indicated Evgenia, “photographer’s equipment man,” Fredryck, “my date,” he put a tender hand to Dracona as she walked through the door, “my journalist apprentice,” Adoline, “and driver,” he indicated Priscilla as he made his way past the stage manager. “The first door on the right,” the stage manager indicated. “Journalist,” he called out, “London Times.”

In the dressing room, the Amazing Anthony had just finished removing the dark eye makeup and stood as Archibald entered with his entourage. “The Amazing Anthony,” the magician said as he bowed flamboyantly and then rose to greet them, “welcome. How can I assist you?” They wasted no time with their charade and got right into the connection between Anthony’s hypnotism and the recent murders.

Anthony picked up that they weren’t actually a journalistic team but indicated no desire to hinder police investigations, either. So, he told them that he believed that he had nothing to do with the recent murders. They could tell that he was being truthful about it but then he said that his hypnotism is purely for show, that he doesn’t really hypnotize people, that the audience participant is planted there and paid well for going along with it.

They sensed that he was not totally truthful about that and pushed him, indicating that if he didn’t tell all he knew, they could remand him to the police. “Look,” he said, “I’m Anthony “Tony” Archer from the United States. I was a small time magician that could barely pay for food and a room. I was playing at a dive in San Francisco and I’d left one rainy evening when I rescued an elderly Asian man from being hit by a runaway carriage. The old man repaid me the best way he could; he taught me the secret of mesmerism. The Amazing Anthony was born that night and I’ve never looked back. Yeah, maybe I should do something more heroic with this ability, but there are lots of people willing to pay to see me perform.”

“I’m telling you that I had nothing to do with those murders. My mesmerism only lasts a few minutes. For me to be involved in those murders I’d have had to be real close at the time they were done. I can’t set somebody to kill days later,” he explained. They could tell he was truthful but then who was involved if not him? “What can you tell us about the Sensuous Sophia?”
“She’s the perfect complement to the act, wouldn’t you say?” he quipped. “We’re purely professional, though. Nothing going on other than performing the show,” he answered. They could tell he had more on that topic so they pulled it out of him that he’s had designs on Sophia from the start but she simply doesn’t see it. After his admission, they requested and he told them where Sophia’s dressing room could be found.

They knocked and, after a short time as she called that she needed to get “decent,” she let them into the dressing room. “I can’t tell you any of the magician’s trade secrets,” she warned. Her fake European accent was immediately picked up on and Evgenia questioned her about it. Indeed, Sophia was not her real name. She’s Deborah Silberstein and she was an aspiring actress, waiting tables while she looked for her big break into theater. She’d met the Amazing Anthony after he performed at the club in San Francisco. He was instantly smitten with her but she didn’t feel the same for him. Still, when he offered to make her his full time assistant, she took it hoping for better exposure. Anthony suggested ‘the Sensuous Sophia’ as her stage name and taught her how to fake an Italian accent.

She’s enjoyed her time with the Amazing Anthony, but she is a little bothered by his jealous nature whenever she gets “a little attention.” Anthony’s latest jealous rage occurred about two weeks ago, when he realized the same person, Fred Martin, sent Sophia a bouquet of flowers three days in a row, pleading with her for a dinner date. Partly out of spite, Sophia did accept the invitation, but Fred Martin turned out to be a boring conversationalist and not all that interesting. Sophia decided not to see him again, much to the Amazing Anthony’s delight.

But, Sophia’s body language told another story so they pressed her. “Okay,” she started, “he seemed like a really nice guy, rich and all. We went out that one time and he’s never called on me again. “What did you tell the gentleman at the show, tonight?” Evgenia asked. “I said, ‘thank you for participating in the show,’” the Sensuous Sophia answered. “You said something else, too,” Evgenia pressed. Sophia seemed to get glassy eyed, “_I only thanked them for participating in the show_,” she answered monotonously. Evgenia pulled Fredryck and Dracona aside while Archibald talked to Sophia about possible local acting jobs in London. “I think she’s under some sort of hypnosis,” Evgenia informed.

Returning to Sophia they asked, “Has the Amazing Anthony ever hypnotized you?” “No, why?” Sophia inquired. “Well,” Evgenia tried to break it gently, “I believe that you’re under the influence of some sort of hypnosis.” “What?” Sophia questioned. “You’re saying something else to the men who participate in the show but you obviously don’t remember doing it. We suspect that the men who participate in the show are then going out and killing people.”

“That bastard!” The Sensuous Sophia’s fake Italian seductress voice quickly went to a New Jersey girl accent as she got up and stormed past them. Out of her dressing room and into the Amazing Anthony’s room the tempestuous woman went. He turned as she entered. “How can I help …” he started to ask. She slapped him as hard as she could across his face. “You bastard,” she screamed closing her hands and pounding upon him. “How dare you!” Anthony put his arms up to shield himself from her rampage, calling out, “what? What did I do?” “I’ll never work with you, again! I quit! Do you hear me, you jealous bastard! I’m done! Find some other girl to mesmerize!” she screamed at him as she pummeled him.

It took Evgenia, Dracona and Priscilla to pull the turbulent Sophia away from the Amazing Anthony. Fredryck and Archibald moved in to question him, “Did you hypnotize her?” “What?” the Amazing Anthony seemed confused, “No! I’d never hypnotize her. She’s too important to the show. I’d never!” “It’s over, you bastard,” Sophia interjected. “Not even to gain her affections,” Archibald questioned. “I quit, you bastard,” Sophia interposed. “No … I mean I’d like to gain her affection but, but not that way!” Anthony answered.

“I’ll never set foot on stage with you, again,” Sophia threw in, spitting at him in a most unladylike fashion. “I would never,” Anthony said, again, defeated. Evgenia put her hand on Fredryck’s shoulder. “He’s telling the truth,” she informed. “If he didn’t hypnotize her, then who?” Archibald asked. “If we could hypnotize her, perhaps we can find out,” Evgenia noted as she looked at the Amazing Anthony.

Clockwork 1888 Session 28

Clockwork 1888 Date: Friday, June 15, 1888
The morning brought a gentleman caller to Evgenia’s business. The butler handed her the calling card. “Dr. Ross Mitchell,” it read. A relative of the Fiore Restaurant shooter’s, Evgenia guessed. It was the boy’s father and he wanted Yermak Investigations to investigate the killing. “I have no idea why Robert would have done such a thing. He was a great student, making the Dean’s list at the university and he’s never wanted for anything as our family has … adequate wealth. Investigative costs are not an issue,” he informed. Evgenia assured him that Yermak Investigations would do all they could to determine why it happened.

Not long after Dr. Mitchell left, a large black carriage pulled up in front of Yermak Investigations. A fine-dressed man exited the carriage and came to the door. The Yermak butler answered the door. “Mr. Marciano would speak with Lady Dracona in his carriage,” the man said as he handed the butler a calling card. The calling card listed only the name, Don Marco Marciano. “Let me check to see if Lady Dracona is in,” the butler answered, closing the door and going to get Dracona. Dracona was already dressed for breakfast so she picked up her flask of liquid fire, made sure it was full, grabbed several matches and went to the door.

The fine-dressed man ushered her to the carriage, opened the door and helped her to a seat inside the ornate and comfortable carriage before closing the door. The dim light inside revealed a small, unassuming man with a pleasant demeanor sitting across from her. But, even she could sense the underlying menace as the carriage started moving away from her residence at Yermak Investigations.

“It’s my understanding that you ran into some of the Duffy gang last night,” he continued. “Word travels fast,” Dracona noted. “I pride myself on keeping up on current events,” he cordially answered, “it’s good for business. Next time, try not to let any get away. Still, I knew that bringing you into the family was a good idea,” the man stated with a smile. He put his one hand up and showed her. “If I may,” he asked. “I know how jumpy you can be,” he said, gingerly opening his coat with two fingers and taking out his billfold. He handed her another ten ponds before putting it away.

“Seamus Duffy seems to have some new muscle that he’s used to take down some of my … associates. I need you to find out who this enforcer is and how much he’s paying people to knock off our family. I’m sure it’ll be worth your time,” he promised. “I already have a lead,” she informed. He smiled and patted her lightly on the cheek. “It’s good to have you in the family.” He tapped the ceiling with the handle of his gold adorned mahogany cane.

“I’ll not be dropping you at your door,” he informed. “A man in my position has to take precautions. I’m sure you understand.” The carriage stopped and the fine-dressed man opened the door. Mr. Marciano tipped his top hat to Dracona, “until next time,” he said as she exited. Dracona stepped out into the brightness of the morning. She was only a few blocks from Yermak Investigations and walked toward it as the carriage sped away.

Fredryck picked up Adoline early on Friday. Madame Clemenceau had business to attend to and Adoline was as anxious to see Fredryck as he was to see her. Priscilla continued her role as chaperone and they swung by Archibald’s to pick him up. Arriving at Yermak Investigations, they picked up Dracona and Evgenia. Evgenia had until about 6 pm. when Gilbert Jeffries got off work and she’d follow him. Dracona informed them that she’d be performing at her usual location at 2 pm and that the mime usually performs before her on the nearby corner. So, Fredryck took Adoline to see some of the sights of London, with Priscilla, Evgenia, Dracona and Archibald in tow. After a luncheon near Dracona’s public performance location, they went to see the mime while Dracona set up for her show.

Dracona noticed that Freddy Fingers, the local street magician was back in his spot a few blocks away. That’s when she remembered where she’d heard the name of the prostitute that was the first one that the Duffy gang had attacked. Emma Elizabeth Smith was beaten by a gang of men and died shortly after from her injuries. She was also frequently at Freddy Fingers’ shows. Dracona suspected that Emma was probably trying to pick people’s pockets while their attention was focused on Freddy. She’d seen Emma and Freddy getting together after his show to exchange their ill-gotten “earnings.”

When the mime had finished her show, she didn’t direct her crowd to Dracona, like she had been doing. Instead she simply bowed and pointed graciously to her donation box. Dracona caught her eye and the mime mouthed the word “traitor” before gathering her earnings and props and going down the alley. Even without the mime’s introduction, Dracona had a reasonable crowd and finished her performance with her typical flair. As her crowd was dispersing, a large black carriage turned a corner and started down the street.

Something caught Fredryck’s eye and he looked at the carriage. Its drape-free windows were dull black, as if they were painted on the outside, and the carriage was very plain, in spite of its size. The large horse labored to pull the carriage and it accelerated down the street toward them at the driver’s subtle urging. The door toward the walkway flung open and two doors on the roof of the carriage opened. A man with a rifle emerged from each of the roof doors. From the door that had opened in the side of the carriage, the muzzle of a Gatling gun became apparent. Adoline was conversing with Dracona as Dracona cleaned up.

“Get down!” Fredryck called as he nearly tackled Adoline, dragging her toward the mime’s alley, away from Dracona. Priscilla must have seen it, too, because she helped Fredryck drag the unaware Adoline away. Evgenia had spotted the trouble and had headed the opposite direction down the street to take cover in the next alley that way. Archibald had reacted by diving toward Dracona and knocking her to the ground down the alley as he hit the ground just inside the alley. The men with rifles fired at Dracona and the Gatling gun sprayed bullets into the area that she and Archibald were in.

Adoline cowered in the alley, praying she lived, covering her ears with her back to Priscilla and Fredryck. Evgenia took a shot at the nearest rifle man. Archibald crawled out of the alley where Dracona was. Wild with adrenaline, Dracona got up, moved to the carriage drawing her flask and a match, took a swig, struck the match to the side of the flask and blasted the interior with fire. The rifle men shot at Dracona. Priscilla drew the rifle from her back holster and shot as Fredryck charged the carriage and climbed onto the empty rack on the back. With determination, the Gatling gunner fired at Dracona, in spite of being aflame.

Adoline felt somebody put a hand to her, coaxing her further down the alley. She saw it was the mime girl and, her ears still covered, she moved a little further down the alley and away from the gunfight. Evgenia shot the lead rifle man again, gaining his attention. Archibald shouted helpful information to Fredryck about what he could see happening. Dracona moved with the carriage and blasted the interior, again. The front rifle man shot Evgenia. The other one took a shot at Dracona but Fredryck slashed into him from his position on the back of the carriage and called, “you shot at my girlfriend!” Priscilla shot the rear rifle man and the Gatling gunner did his best to blast Dracona, again.

Still cowering from the gunfight, Adoline crouched in the alley with the mime. Evgenia shot the lead rifle man, again, but he was still alive and she became his main target. Archibald, shouted to Dracona about how to shield herself from the gunfire and Dracona continued her fiery assault on the carriage occupants. The lead rifle man hit Evgenia with a near fatal shot and she fell. The rear rifle man used his rifle butt to try and knock Fredryck off the carriage but slammed into his breastplate, instead. Fredryck swung and killed the rear rifle man and then climbed up onto the top of the carriage to strike the other one. Priscilla took careful aim and fired at the driver, his head barely visible above the carriage. The driver slumped forward and the horse stopped its laboring. The Gatling gunner fired again, determined to finish what he was sent to do and ignoring the fire that was burning his person from the first.

Evgenia’s life was fading but Archibald got up and ran to her, pulling the reliquary cross as he approached. Dracona enflamed the interior, again, and the remaining rifle man used his rifle butt against Fredryck. Fredryck slew the last rifle man, dropped into the cabin and ran his sword through the Gatling gunner.

The gunfire stopped and Adoline turned around to see that Fredryck wasn’t in the alley. Desperation overtook her and she ran from the alley to find him nowhere in sight. “Fredryck,” she eked, fearing the worst as she looked around the scene for his bloodied body on the ground. The sound of approaching bobby whistles was in the air and Fredryck emerged from the now stationary carriage, his bloodied sword still in his hand. Adoline ran to him and hugged him.

“I thought they killed you,” she cried, not caring about the blood on him staining her dress. Taking his face in her hands, she stared wildly through her tearful eyes and into his eyes. She pulled his face to hers and kissed him, long and passionately. Dracona’s adrenaline subsided and she sat down on the edge of the carriage doorway surveying her multiple gunshot wounds but ceding that Evgenia required aid before she. Archibald used the reliquary cross, saying an appropriate prayer that almost fully healed Evgenia.

The bobby whistles were close when Adoline broke her kiss and returned her gaze to Fredryck’s eyes. “Know that you’ll miss that and more if you get yourself killed, Sir Fredryck Stanley,” she promised. Fredryck took a deep breath as she released her embrace and he turned to put the cord of St. Andrew on Dracona. Then, they turned to address the approaching bobby whistles.

Clockwork 1888 Session 26

Clockwork 1888 Date: Monday, June 11, 1888
As the train approached the station, Dracona (who was looking at the fine curtains on the window) and Evgenia noticed a figure leap from the train. It landed hard on the ground but got up and ran off, holding the hat on its head while its overcoat flowed behind it in the wind. It was gone before they could react. Arriving at the station, they requisitioned a carriage to take them to the Ashton estate.

At the estate, they were asked to wait in a parlor before they were escorted to a study where Rebecca and de Vreis were waiting. Both appeared concerned, cautious, even scared. Through poking and prodding they convinced Rebecca to show them the artifacts that Ainsworth had given her, so that they could at least account for them on the museum list.

Rebecca believes that the mummy is after her and that de Vreis is the only one that can stop it. She noted that Ainsworth had given her many items but that he had told her to never part with the Anubis statuette. While examining the statuette of Anubis, Dracona noticed a set of very fine lines on the base (Megan was rolling awesome spot checks). Evgenia figured out how to open the secret compartment which revealed a scroll tube with hieroglyphs on it.

None of them could read it but de Vreis indicated that he could read ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. The scroll tube showed Anubis performing the measurement that determined the worthiness of Tuthret to enter the realm of the dead (the underworld, known as Duat). The New Kingdom tomb-seals on the scroll tube depicted Anubis sitting atop the nine bows that symbolize his domination over the enemies of Egypt.

After examining it, de Vreis informed that he only knows how to read hieroglyphics, not really speak the ancient language. Inside the tube was a scroll. Tuthret counseled the queen in matters of defense and offense, as well as enforcing her will … he was the queen’s assassin. But, de Vreis was able to determine that the scroll details the incantation of an Egyptian vengeance curse that mentions Queen Hatshepsut’s counselor, Tuthret, the mummy, by name, as well as Anapa (Anubis). De Vreis heard Ainsworth recite the words from this scroll in the storeroom. After de Vreis recited a few words that he heard Ainsworth say, Rebecca said that she’d heard Ainsworth practicing it while they were together. Apparently, Ainsworth had memorized the incantation.

It was then that they learned that de Vreis did indeed sneak back into the museum, later, on the night of the reception. He was there to steal some artifacts and try to discredit Ainsworth. But he found Ainsworth admiring the mummy as it lay in the sarcophagus. They argued about de Vreis’ exclusion from the expedition and Ainsworth giving artifacts to Rebecca. Enraged, de Vreis taunted Ainsworth about dating Rebecca while Ainsworth was away. Ainsworth and de Vreis began fighting and de Vreis, being the stronger, was winning. But, Ainsworth began reciting the curse. Not knowing what was going on, but enraged still, de Vreis grabbed Ainsworth by the throat and strangled him to death. But, not before Ainsworth completed the curse.

De Vreis realized what he had done and was stealing some artifacts so he could escape when the mummy came to life. De Vreis escaped out a back door with the mummy after him. He’d been hiding since then, constantly moving to try and stay ahead of the mummy. He convinced Rebecca that the mummy was after her, too, and that they’d buy some time if they took a train to her family estate. They brought all of the artifacts that they could in hopes that de Vreis could find a way to stop the mummy.

At that moment, the mummy crashed through the French doors from the patio area near Fredryck (Dracona had been watching the other doors). Fredryck was paralyzed with the appearance of the 3000 year old living mummy (failed the will save vs. despair), as were Dracona, Rebecca and de Vreis. Archibald, Evgenia and Priscilla shot at it. It shoved Rebecca aside, knocking her to the floor, and grabbed de Vreis by the throat. Archibald, Evgenia and Priscilla shot, again, but Dracona came out of her stupor and, as it already had de Vreis limp body in its grasp, blasted it with fire. In spite of it being aflame, the mummy crushed the neck of de Vreis with an audible crack. More gunshots and another blast from Dracona felled the undead thing. Was that a smile on its face as it died?

With the mummy battle ended, there was a knock at the door of the Ashton estate and the servants admitted the police. Chief Detective Norrington and Detective Mike O’Connor arrived with a contingent of local bobbies. Norrington had them escorted to the parlor and closed the door where he convinced them to tell him the real story, in private. He looked blankly at them as they recounted the events. You weren’t sure whether he believed the tale or not. When he had the whole story, he informed Rebecca that de Vreis killed her fiancé and that’s all she should say lest people think her a loon. He called Detective O’Connor and had him usher her out before closing the door, again. Once O’Connor was gone, Norrington explained a few things. He had inquired about the condition of Ahmed Said from the Egyptian officials. Said had the same advanced decomposition that was later seen on the tramp that was murdered in London. But, Ainsworth’s body showed no signs the decay so it actually was de Vreis that killed Ainsworth.

“But, surely, I must provide plausible explanations for the recent events,” Norrington explained. “Trying to blame a 3000 year old mummy that seems to still be quite dead would surely get me locked up in an asylum for the rest of my life. No, Dr. de Vreis killed Ainsworth in a jealous fit of rage,” he explained. “He used the mummy curse story, carrying it off and hiding it, to try and cover his crime. And, when tracked down by police agents … that would be you, de Vreis was killed in the confrontation as he was destroying the mummy.”

Rebecca had mumbled something about the scroll with the curse and Norrington asked for the scroll. Dracona reluctantly turned it over. “This should not be in the hands of those that might abuse it,” he noted as he returned it to the scroll tube and put it in an internal pocket of his overcoat. “Although, from the looks of the mummy, I doubt he’ll be coming back again. Still, I’ll make sure this gets put away safely.” Norrington offered a +1 wealth bonus to have your compliance with the sequence of events that he outlined. Any questions about Dept. M went unanswered or were answered with, “you know all you need to know at this time.”

Clockwork 1888 Session 25

Clockwork 1888 Date: Monday, June 11, 1888
The next day, they went to the museum. Robert Dunham and Meredith Long had completed the inventory of the artifacts and had completed a list of the missing artifacts with their descriptions. They learned out that Robert Dunham was promoted to the position formerly held by Ainsworth. Further questioning of Dunham and others led nowhere. The expedition photographer continued insisting that the expedition was cursed for taking the mummy.

But, with the leads at the museum exhausted, they decided to follow up on another lead … Dr. de Vreis. To gain access to his residence, though, would require more than a piece of paper from the museum. They went by Scotland Yard to see if Detective Mike O’Connor would help them to gain access.

But, the detective was smug, saying the case was solved and closed. Willy had tried to sell some of the missing artifacts at a pawn shop. Hearing about the museum events from the London Times, the owner turned his purchases in to the police and informed them of the seller. The police found Willy in his flat in London and took him in for questioning. Willy had used the funds to pay his gambling debt to Tony Galioto. With motive and opportunity (his girlfriend obviously lied for him), O’Connor accused and is holding Willy for the murder of Ainsworth. Rebecca had apparently left town, as she had indicated yesterday, to return to their family estate in the country.

Not agreeing with O’Connor, they pleaded their case with the chief detective, Norrington. Convinced that all the suspects had not been properly accounted for, Norrington agreed to have O’Connor accompany them to the de Vreis residence. Willy would still be held, though, as he’s still the most likely suspect at the time.

At de Vreis’ place, the doorman indicated that he had seen de Vreis return on the night of the reception but has not seen him leave since then. With the detective in tow, they gained access to his flat. Inside they found that de Vreis was not there but that he had hastily gone through his clothes. Consulting the doorman, one of de Vreis’ luggage bags was missing. He’d apparently packed a bag and took it with him. A window was found unlocked that led to the fire escape stairs on the outside of the building. It seemed apparent that de Vreis left in a hurry and preferred to do so undetected.

The party is on a train to the small town near the Ashton estate. They’re catching up to Dr. de Vreis and Rebecca Ashton. Rebecca seemed quite concerned, worried and scared even, when they got their tickets and boarded the train at the station. Then, some vagabond ran up to the train, smashed the window of the cabin that de Vreis and Rebecca were in. The vagabond seemed to try to climb in through the window but then fell off the train on the side of the tracks, got up and ran off. You are on the later train headed that way and presently enjoying the rhythmic noise of the wheels on the rails. What will you find at the Ashton manor?


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