Cthulhu 100

Case 013 - The Mansion Of Madness

May 1895

Part of the deal brokered between Mycroft Holmes and Nigel Stander in getting the investigators away from the influence of The Freemasons involved the investigators undertaking one final mission for Stander. They were assured that the mission would be a personal one for Stander and would not involve furthering the aims of the Freemasons. Consequently Jonathan Asbatch was summoned by telegram to the office of Nigel Stander.

Jonathan’s appointment with Stander was for 3.30pm on a Friday afternoon, however, he was not seen by Stander until 4.00pm.
Stander took a file out of a top drawer of his desk and handed it to Jonathan. The file contained several sketches of a bust of a lovely young woman.
Stander informed Jonathan that the piece is believed to be a bust of Lady Jane Grey and he checked if Jonathan knew of the story of Lady Jane Grey and her rather short reign as the Queen of England during the 16th Century, which Jonathan did indeed know about. He told Jonathan that his task was to verify that the piece dated from the 16th Century, and to compare it to the sketches that he had provided to make sure that it is the piece that he was seeking.
The piece he told him was currently held by a Bostonian businessman named Andrew Keetling. Stander had wired Keetling about purchasing the bust, and Keetling had accepted his offer 500 Pounds. Business responsibilities however, kept Stander from travelling to Boston himself and so consequently as per the terms of the agreement reached with Holmes he decided to utilise the services of the investigators.
Stander informed Jonathan that he had booked passage for him and any of his colleagues on one of his own ships the Christabel that would be sailing from Liverpool to Boston on the Sunday.

Alastar Maloney, Lilith Harrington, Lord Christopher Chumly and Yumi decided to accompany Jonathan on the journey to the United States. So Sunday morning they caught a train from Paddington Station, arriving in Liverpool in the afternoon, with barely an hour to spare before the Christabel was scheduled to depart.
At Liverpool Station, the investigators hired a taxi to get to the harbour, where they eventually located the Christabel, a wooden three masted brig built in the 1850s. She boasted 1099 tons, a length of 169 feet, a beam of 37 feet and a depth of 21 feet. Owned by Stander’s shipping company, her commander was Captain Dan Holley and the First Mate was Nils Van Owen. The ship had seen a lot of use and was a little worn looking compared to the many steamships standing in the harbour, but was clearly kept in good repair by Holley and his crew.
Captain Dan Holley greeted the investigators gruffly, ordering Hawkins, a grotesquely burn-scarred seaman, to carry their bags to their quarters. Meanwhile other sailors were busy loading the ship and preparing to sail.

The voyage to Boston took about four weeks to complete and was in the main uneventful other than an incidence of food poisoning suffered by most of the crew, meaning that Jonathan, Chumley and Yumi had to help out with the running of the ship for a day and a fight that had broken out between Hawkins and Joe Carr the ship’s cook, which ended with Yumi injuring the cook’s leg and stopping the brawl.

Upon arriving in Boston Holley informed them that the Chrstabel would be leaving in three days and so the investigators booked into The Tea Party hotel and during the early evening of their first day they went out for a guided tour of Boston, taking in the area where Keetling’s residence was.
The following morning, the investigators headed out to the Keetling residence where they were met at the door by Sarah Keetling, Andrew’s sister who welcomed them in.
Sarah, a somewhat plain woman in her mid thirties had the look of someone who had hardly been sleeping for some time. When asked by the investigators if they could talk to Andrew, she informed them that he was missing. She told them that Andrew, had always been a quiet, responsible individual – at least until lately. A few months before, he had begun associating with a group of young artists and before long was spending more and more time with them than he was at home. At first, Sarah thought little of it, expecting her younger brother would soon lose interest in the bohemians and settle back into his normal lifestyle. However, as time went on, Andrew was more and more away from home and Sarah began to suspect that he had fallen in with ‘a bad crowd’.
She had thought that Andrew had been writing some very large cheques to people that she didn’t know and when she confronted him with this he had grown angry and refused to discuss it. Later he apologised and explained that the money had been spent on some paintings with which he intended to decorate his study. When he later brought the three paintings home, Sarah’s suspicions had grown. They were all by an unknown and certainly didn’t warrant the amount of money he had spent on them. According to Sarah the three pieces were quite atrocious , not only were they executed by a complete unknown, the subject matter was quite ghastly. Hardly the type of thing that should be hung in a home or even in a gallery.
She explained that her and Andrew had quite an argument about the paintings, but that Andrew was quite vehement about their quality. He had told Sarah that one day the artist a Josephine Garsetti would be recognised as a modern day master and that the three paintings would be worth a small fortune. A few days later, Andrew went out one evening and never returned. That had been two weeks ago.
Sarah had notified the police, but they had uncovered nothing regarding Keetling’s disappearance. The officer in charge of the investigation was Detective Sergeant Patrick Devlin. Sarah was sure that he was not doing a proper job.
Sarah added that she thought that Andrew had met the creator of the ‘works of art’ at the Boston Museum of Fine Art, where he was quite well known. She knew nothing more about the paintings or the Boston Museum.
The investigators asked Sarah if they could be given entrance to Andrew’s study in order to examine the paintings and to see if they could come up with clues as to the nature of his disappearance, to which she agreed.
Andrew’s study was dominated by three large, expensively framed paintings. They were clearly the focus of interest. One of the painting hung above the desk while another was suspended from the edge of a bookshelf covering most of the books beneath. The third painting hung on the wall opposite the bookshelf.
Each of the three paintings were identified by a small silver plaque engraved with the title of the work. In the lower right hand corner of the paintings the investigators could find the artist’s signature, ‘Garsetti’.
The first painting was entitled ‘The Dweller in the Void’ which depicted a large humanoid figure suspended in a distorted field of colour. The figure was thin, malformed, its features murky. It appeared mummified, decayed. The eye was irresistibly drawn to the hanging figure. As one picked out the details it became obvious that the thing was composed of twisted and tortured faces. The painting was in actuality a picture of The Thing Hanging in the Void.
The second picture was entitled ‘Sylvan Night’. depicted a beautiful blonde headed woman sprawled nude across a great rough hewn stone. In the dark background could be seen pine trees, silhouetted against the sky. Above the treetops, seemingly forming from the very air, was a dark swirling mass. The painting was actually a self portrait of Josephine Garsetti herself.
The third and final painting was entitled ‘The Watching’, and this consisted of a solitary building, a large mansion on the coast. Those viewing the painting were aware of tiny red points of light in each of the buildings numerous windows and cracks. Increasingly, the red points became the most significant feature of the painting. The building in the painting was a nearly identical image of Ezekiel Crater’s dismal mansion.
A thorough search of the rest of the study revealed a few slips of paper sticking out between the pages of a volume of pre-Raphaelite plates. Pressed between pages 22 and 23 of the book were several letters written in a woman’s hand. They were love notes written to Andrew by Josephine Garsetti. None of the letters were dated.

My darling Andrew, please meet me at the Sailor’s Club tonight at eleven. Do not fail. I really must speak to you. An important time for both of us draws near – Love J.G.

It was obvious that Sarah knew nothing about the letters, and was genuinely surprised to learn that Andrew was seeing a woman. She implored the investigators to remember that Andrew was properly retiring and rather shy around members of the opposite sex. She had never heard of the Sailor’s Club.
Most of the drawers of Andrew’s desk were unlocked; they contained stationery and writing supplies, but nothing of interest.
The lower right hand drawer, however, was locked and Sarah did not have the key, but Yumi successfully picked the lock. The drawer contained Keetling’s ledgers and a cursory examination of them revealed that he had been mostly importing Icelandic wool, canned European cuisine and foreign language books. A further investigation the following day revealed that the books appeared to be in order with the exception of several large cheques paid out to a person named ‘Josephine Garsetti’.
Thanking Sarah for her time, the investigators promised her that they would do their utmost to find Andrew.

With the news that Andrew Keetling was missing, the investigators went back to the docks to speak to Captain Holley, asking him to send a message to Stander back in England to inform him as to what had happened.

It was decided that the investigators would split up in order to cover more ground, with Alastar and Chumley heading over to the police station to speak to Detective Sergeant Devlin, Yumi and Jonathan heading over to the Sailor’s Club and Lilith heading to the Boston Museum of Fine Art to see if she could find out anything about Josephine Garsetti.

At the Boston Police station, Chumley and Alastar were shown in to Detective Sergeant Patrick Devlin. Devlin was a harried looking officer in his mid-forties, a big man with a doughy face and thinning hair, his forehead dotted by small beads of sweat. Chumley noticed that the man had a wrapped bandage on his left hand.
It was Devlin’s opinion that Andrew Keetling had finally had enough of life with his domineering sister and ran away from home, reckoning that he would turn up when he wanted to.
Devlin knew that the Sailor’s Club operated some illegal rackets, but also knew that they paid their fees to the department.
He became interested when Alastar mentioned that there was a connection between the disappearance of Andrew Keetling and Josephine Garsetti and Devlin admitted that Garsetti was a person of interest in another matter and had not suspected that the two cases had been linked in any way. He refused to give the two men any more information.
After their visit to the police, Alastar and Chumley headed over to Keetling’s warehouse to find that it was closed, they eventually managed to track down the foreman who explained that the warehouse had closed whilst they were waiting for Keetling to reappear. The foreman could confirm that the Lady Jane Grey statue was indeed in the warehouse.

Meanwhile, Lilith headed over to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, which was founded in 1870. Its most famous works were the Stuart portraits of George and Martha Washington. Besides paintings, the museum also boasted a large number of statues, busts and casts; a very noble tapestry museum; a fine collection of oriental pieces and extensive collections of ceramics and metal work.
After asking around, Lilith was directed to Madeleine DuMort, an exhibit director who worked out of an office near the back of the building.
Madeleine was an attractive woman of medium height. She had red hair and was dressed in a conservative but stylish manner. She was sat behind a desk littered with photographs of paintings, gallery schedules, pen nibs, small objects d’art and several art magazines.
Madeleine was already aware that Andrew was missing and she seemed quite concerned. She told Lilith that she first met Andrew about a year before while he was visiting the Museum. They struck up a conversation when she found him looking with great appreciation at one of her favourite paintings, an Impressionist piece by Degas. After getting to know one another the two, at least once a week, would lunch together then spend the afternoon strolling through the museum. As far as Madeleine knew, these soirees were the only time that Andrew allowed himself away from his work.
When Lilith asked Madeleine about Josephine Garsetti, her demeanor grew colder and she informed Lilith that a couple of months earlier, Andrew began seeing her, a local artist who often visited the museum. Madeleine thought that Andrew had met Josephine one afternoon when she was late for their regular lunch date. Madeleine discovered the two of them chatting together in the main gallery. After that, her meetings with Andrew began to taper off. Madeleine believed Andrew was spending more and more time with Garsetti, Lilith deduced that Madeleine’s feelings for Andrew were deeper than just those of friendship and that she was jealous of the attention that he was spending on Josephine. Madeleine later heard that Andrew and Garsetti had taken to frequenting a disreputable nightclub called the Sailor’s Club, although she did not know where it was located.
Madeleine believed that Josephine was a drug addict and had drawn Andrew into the habit. To Madeleine’s knowledge, Josephine’s paintings had never been shown in Boston and she added that they would never hang in her museum, complaining that they were grotesque and frightening.
Madeleine informed Lilith that Josephine studied painting at Boston University, a fact she learned from the artist’s resume Garsetti had once sent to the museum, but that she had long ago destroyed it.
After bidding farewell to Madeleine, Lilith headed over to Boston University, where she learnt from the admissions office that Josephine Garsetti enrolled there two years previously at the age of 18. She was an Art major and her tuition was paid for by a competitive scholarship she won while living in her home town of Kecksburg, Pennsylvania. The admissions clerk revealed to Lilith that the police had been asking about Garsetti and that she was a person of interest with regards to their investigations.

Meanwhile, both Yumi and Jonathan made their way to the Sailor’s Club which they found was closed, with the opening time being advertised as 8pm and so consequently they went back to the hotel where the investigators compared notes and planned for their strategy for that evening.

Checking with Holley aboard the Christabel, they learnt that Stander had given the captain the order to wait until the investigators had finished their business before setting off back for England, which meant that they were clear to take as long as was needed to complete their investigations.

That evening it was decided that Yumi and Jonathan would head back to the Sailor’s Club, whilst Alastar, Lilith and Chumley would try one of the police bars to see if they could meet up with Devlin again.

That evening, Yumi and Jonathan headed over to the Sailor’s Club located on the shore of Boston Harbour. It was frequented by a wide variety of people from different social circles.
The dark structure housing the club squatted on a muddy bank overlooking the harbour.
The bar and stage area was a broad L-shaped room decorated in a seedy nautical style. The bar, seen immediately upon entering the door was decorated with ancient, torn fishing nets draped with cobwebs. A large ship’s wheel with several missing pins leaned in one corner and the floor was coated with a thick gray-green mulch of beer-soaked sawdust.
Yumi and Jonathan were met at the door by the muscular club bouncer Albert ‘Wriggles’ Pantucci. Wriggles asked the investigators to hand over any weapons that they may be carrying, with Jonathan handing him his revolver.
Tending the bar was Randolph Smith, a young man of medium height with light brown hair, cold dark eyes and a brusque manner. It was noticed that propped up behind the bar he had access to a 12-gauge shotgun.
A band was playing on the stage and they were being watched by three young women sat near to the stage. Also in attendance was two more guys at one table and another shabbily dressed man sat in the corner, who was watching both Yumi and Jonathan.
They asked Smith about Josephine Garsetti and Andrew Keetling and he told them that they should see his boss Zeke Crater. They asked if it was possible to speak to Crater and Smith headed through the door behind the office. Returning a few moments later telling them that Zeke would see them. They headed behind the bar and through an unused kitched full of crates and barrels and into Crater’s office.
Entering the office they found Crater seated behind a large desk covered with scraps of paper and soiled ledgers. He was reading from a large book and hurriedly scratching down notes with a fountain pen.
He wore a wide brimmed hat shadowing his features and an expensive suit barely visible beneath his flowing black cape. He seemed in excellent health, judging by his remarkably smooth, unblemished complexion. What could be seen of Crater’s features were waxen, and oddly immobile. His eyes were unblinking, large and mostly inky black pupils. The skin on his hands was pale in colour, and like his face was also smooth and glossy. His motions were quick, but seemed oddly stiff and a bit clumsy.
As the entered, Crater closed his book and put it away with his notes into a briefcase on the floor. Jonathan managed to discern that the book was in Latin and the title translated as Kingdom of the Shadows, which they suspected to be a Mythos tome. He greeted the investigators civilly but warily, but did not stand. His voice was rich and deep , and his polite style of speaking indicated an intelligent and at least partially educated man. Apparently possessed of great self control, Crater never smiled or frowned.
Once Crater had determined what the investigators were there for he launched into a story concerning an object that Josephine stole from him. He went on to say that for obvious reasons he preferred not to involve the police. The object in question he informed them was The Dark Stone. He offered the investigators a reward of 250 dollars each if they would go to the Garsetti woman and recover the object.
Crater informed them that he knew that Garsetti was hiding out from the police having fled back to her hometown of Kecksburg in Pennsylvania.
They both agreed to head over to Kecksburg for Crater, though they were extremely suspicious of him and had already decided that they would in all likelihood not be handing the stone over to Crater when they recovered it and wanted to investigate him further when they returned to Boston.
Upon returning to the hotel, they found that there were two possible ways to get to Kecksburg. The first involved a journey of two days that would take the investigators by train either to Philadelphia or New York and then catch a train from there heading to Pittsburgh the following morning, getting off at Latrobe. The second involved getting off the train at New York and dashing across the platforms to catch the Pittsburgh train, which would be leaving at about the same time that the Boston train would arrive, then getting off at Latrobe. In both cases they would need to hire a carriage from Latrobe to Kecksburg, but in the first case they would be arriving in the early evening of the second day and in the second case late at night in the first day.

Meanwhile Lilith along with Alastar and Chumley headed to one of the police bars in Boston and luckily encountered Detective Sergeant Devlin there.
As Alastar and Chumley bumbled, Lilith took the lead and spoke to Devlin, getting Chumley to buy Devlin and his friends a round of drinks in the process.
Lilith proceeded to tell Devlin that she had been speaking to Madeleine DuMort at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and had uncovered that she was definitely involved in the disappearance of Andrew Keetling.
As they talked, Devlin opened up somewhat about Josephine Garsetti being the leader of a cult named the Sylvan Night, which was broken up a couple of weeks ago by the police and happened to be where he got the injury to his hand.
Devlin informed them that most of the cultists were killed in the ensuing raid as was their kidnapping victim, a young girl abducted from Chinatown, all details that could be uncovered from reading the newspapers. However, what the newspapers had not informed was that the police actually have a former member of the cult in protective custody.
Lilith asked if it would be possible if on the following day that they went to visit the former cult member and Devlin agreed, suggesting that she meet him at the station at about 10.00am.
On their way back to the hotel, they discovered that they were being followed, though it was impossible to catch a glimpse of their stalker. Suddenly there was a smell of the grave as a hand tapped Alastar on the shoulder. Wheeling round he came face to face with a doglike being and ran in fright around the nearest corner, however, Chumley lost all leave of his senses and fled into the night, with both men leaving Lilith alone with the creature.
Lilith realised that the creature was a ghoul. The ghoul spoke in a confusing manner, telling Lilith that Keetling wanted her help and that the One in the Void wanted her soul and that he didn’t know what he wanted. He also told her that the One in the Void was the One who waits. The One who hungers ever so long. The ghoul also told her that Andrew Keetling was in the dark, thinking of kisses, thinking of death.
After the confusing conversation, the ghoul began to turn pale and silvery and then dropped through the floor, certainly confusing behaviour and certainly not attested top any of the ghouls that the Society had ever encountered before.
Once the ghoul had gone, Alastar returned to Lilith and the two of them caught a carriage and fruitlessly searched for Chumley before heading back to the hotel.
Chumley had in fact ran in a blind panic and had collided with a beat cop, who had taken him in, and thinking that he was drunk had thrown him in the drunk tank to sober up. However, during the night it had become obvious that there was more wrong with him than just drink and so he was sedated and thrown into his own cell.

The following morning, Alastar, Jonathan and Yumi caught the Washington DC train at 6:00 am, with the intention of changing at New York and then heading off on the Pittsburgh train to Latrobe before getting a cab to take them from Latrobe to Kecksburg.
Fortunately, they were successful in catching the New York to Pittsburgh train thanks in the main to Jonathan persuading the guard to hold for a moment as Alastar and Yumi tried to make it across the platforms of Grand Central Station.
On the train ride towards Latrobe, the investigators were attacked in their train carriage by the ghoul. Fortunately it was quickly dispatched by Jonathan and Yumi, disappearing into the floor. Yumi then proceeded to throw a smoke grenade into the carriage, to cover for the sounds of gunfire as the investigators hid in another unoccupied carriage.
Eventually they reached Kecksburg and stayed in a local tavern, deciding to check out the Garsetti house the following morning.

Meanwhile that morning back in Boston, Lilith made her way to the police department to speak to Detective Sergeant Patrick Devlin.
Upon arriving she met up with Devlin and he asked her if she would accompany him down to the cells as he had something of interest to show her.
As they approached a cell there was a sudden flash of light as a press cameraman took a photo of the cell’s occupant, a sedated Lord Christopher Chumley. The man asked Lilith if she was a friend of Chumley’s to which she denied and then he went off on his way to report his scoop. Devlin explained that it wasn’t that unusual for one or two of the beat cops to take backhanders from the press. He also informed her that they wouldn’t be charging Chumley with anything and that what had happened the previous night was that Chumley had collided with a beat cop, who smelling the alcohol on his breath, had brought him in and thrown him in the drunk tank. However it had become apparent that there was something more wrong than just being drunk and so he had been sedated and left to sleep it off in a cell.
After the brief visit to Chumley’s cell, Devlin informed Lilith that they were going to a run-down section of Boston’s waterfront district to speak to an Andrea Pentargon, a former member of the Sylvan Night, who was technically under police protection.
Visiting Andrea’s apartment, they were met by a short dark haired woman in her mid twenties.Her face was finely chiseled and would be beautiful, but for the dark circles under her eyes and the look of wild anxiety along with a number of unpleasant nervous ticks that she displayed.
Devlin asked Andrea to tell Lilith everything that she had told him, informing her that Lilith was a consultant on the case that he was working.
Andrea said that she had been friends with Josephine Garsetti for several years and knew of Garsetti’s occult dealings. Telling Lilith that up until recently her and Josephine had shared an apartment together. They had first met when they had both enrolled at Boston University where they were fellow art students. Both women had shared an interest in the occult and both had led what could politely be described as fast living.
One night, while visiting a club called the Sailor’s Club, Andrea and Josephine met a man named Zeke Crater. Crater invited them both to his house ‘for a party and a good time’. Soon they began attending Crater’s orgies regularly and the two even staged a competition of sorts, both of them attempting to have sexual liaisons with as many of the men as possible. Crater, Andrea said, was a wild man and, at the beginning of the orgies would make a point of killing several chickens and pouring their blood over a small dark stone that he always seemed to keep close to him.
Crater seemed attracted to Josephine and the two began seeing each other away from the regular parties. Then Crater suddenly dropped out of sight. Josephine told Andrea that she wasn’t seeing the man anymore and wanted to start her own club. She asked Andrea to join, which Andrea denied the opportunity and did not attend the early meetings of the Sylvan Night but Josephine eventually convinced her to ‘come along and give it a try’. She and Josephine, along with about a dozen people from Crater’s old group met in a dark wooded area several miles north of the city. Andrea said, she was shocked when, at the height of the festivities, Josephine ruthlessly murdered one of the previous cult’s members. She then used the victim’s blood to wash the small dark stone that had formerly belonged to Crater. Andrea said that all of this horrified her and she quit the group and moved out of the apartment she had been sharing with Garsetti.
Asked about Andrew Keetling, Andrea told Lilith that Keetling was being used as a mark by Josephine, that she was using him to help her fund the cult’s activities and was eventually planning on sacrificing him to open a gate to the Dweller in the Void. Andrea informed Lilith that if any of the members of the cult saw Josephine with Keetling they were to act as if they were strangers as she had not wished to arouse Keetling’s suspicions.
She admitted to Lilith that she was fearful of Garsetti, informing her that she had taken an oath to die for the Sylvan Night rather than ever betray it and that now she was afraid that they were somehow going to kill her, to which Devlin assured her that she was under the police protection and that no harm would come her way.
Having built up Andrea’s trust, she gave Lilith a couple of items. The first was Josephine Garsetti’s diary in which was written how the Dweller in the Void had contacted Josephine through her dreams when she was a teenager, eventually coming to take control of her and set her on the path that she was now on. The second item was a book, Scriptures Of The Riven Valley, this too had belonged to Josephine Garsetti, but Andrea had borrowed it and never returned it to her.
Andrea informed Lilith that Josephine came from a town in Pennsylvania called Kecksburg. She was not aware as to whether Josephine had gone back to Kecksburg to visit her mother at any point during her time in Boston.
Thanking Andrea for her time, Lilith and Devlin headed over to the woods where the cult members had been massacred and from where Garsetti had escaped during the raid, but all that was found was a ring that had been dropped and overlooked by the police. The ring was nothing special, bearing no markings of any interest.
Heading back to the police station, Devlin showed Lilith several pictures of cult victims that had shown up around the city, always left in seemingly random locations. Each victim had had their throats cut and showed signs of postmortem human bitemarks around the face.

After viewing the photographs, Lilith decided to continue her investigations alone and so said farewell to Devlin and headed back to the Keetling house where she met Andrew’s sister, Sarah.
She informed Sarah Keetling that several of her colleagues were pursuing leads with regards to Andrew’s disappearance and had gone out of the Boston area, but in the meantime she wished to examine the three paintings again.
Upon viewing the three paintings, she realised that the second painting, Sylvan Night, which featured a nude blonde headed woman sprawled across a great rough hewn stone in a forest clearing was taken from the clearing that she had just visited with Devlin. Obviously the real clearing did not have a stone, but the treeline was the same.
Studying the third painting The Watching, she struck upon the idea that the mansion depicted was a real one and wondered if it was Zeke Crater’s mansion.
Leaving Sarah Keetling, Lilith headed back to see Devlin to see if he knew Crater’s address, which he duly supplied, then catching a cab, she headed to Crater’s house, which, although in a state of disrepair, was indeed the mansion that was portrayed in Garsetti’s painting. She attempted to get the attention of any residents, but the place seemed to be deserted with no signs of recent habitation other than a carriage with a couple of horses that were kept in a stable.
After this she headed back to the hotel determined to visit Zeke Crater at the Sailor’s Club later that evening.

That evening at the Sailor’s Club she managed to gain a meeting with Crater, but was unable to elicit any information that was of use to her from him and left determined to catch the early train the following morning to try to get to Kecksburg.
The following day, luck was not with Lilith as she was unable to catch the train at New York and so consequently headed down to spend the night in Philadelphia before catching the early Pittsburgh train in the hopes of catching up with the other investigators at Kecksburg.

Meanwhile in Kecksburg, Jonathan, Yumi and Alastar decided to head over to the Garsetti house to see if they could track down Josephine Garsetti.
Not far from the house they discovered two men that were making a poor attempt to hide from them. One was quite average in height with a long nose, the other could only be described as being a shaved gorilla. Upon realising that they’d been seen they headed over to the investigators, introducing themselves as Chuckie the Rat and Big Al, telling them that Crater had sent them and that they had their money.
They refused to aid the investigators in entering the Garsetti house and so the three of them headed past an old brick well, which they realised had an overpowering smell of rotting flesh. The investigators decided to leave it for the time being as they tried to gain entrance into the back of the house. The door of which Yumi realised had been nailed shut.
Changing tack they headed inside through the front door of the house, which was suffering from long neglect, graying under a peeling coat of paint, though was still of sound construction.
The front door opened into a large foyer with several pegs for coats. A woman’s coat was hanging on one of the pegs and they noticed a crushed man’s hat laying in a dark corner.
The rest of the downstairs was coated with a layer of dust except for one place at the table in the dining room, which showed recent use and the kitchen that was quite filthy, but clearly being in recent use also.
Heading upstairs, they heard a female voice chanting from one of the rooms and Yumi attempted to throw a smoke bomb through the door, but failed, releasing smoke onto the landing instead as Josephine Garsetti emerged casting a spell, suddenly a wave of nausea flooded over both Jonathan and Yumi, as Jonathan cast a Mind Blast knocking Josephine Garsetti unconscious, the previously unnoticed small stone dropping from her hand, which was in turn picked up by Jonathan.
Jonathan felt a warm feeling as he picked up the stone and felt it bonding to him. He heard a voice telling him that he was a chosen one.
The investigators checked Garsetti’s bedroom, which was the only room in the house that showed any sign of any regular upkeep. The bed was unmade and there were some fresh apples in a paper bag on the floor. A shallow closet contained attractive and stylish women’s clothing and found underneath the pillow of the bed was another copy of Scriptures of the Riven Valley.
After checking a closet, they opened the door to what at first seemed to be a vacant bedroom, but within seconds of the door being opened the ceiling began to silently quiver and buckle in a wholly unnatural fashion.
An unearthly light spilled down into the room. Looking up they could see a mind wrenching sight. The apparently solid ceiling split open to reveal a field of shifting colours within which a single tiny point of light could be seen, moving closer and closer. Flickering lavender and green witch fire danced upon the surface of the moving thing, obscuring its nature and shape.
Jonathan was spellbound by the sight and Yumi pulled him from the room shutting the door behind them, realising that Jonathan’s actions were being dictated by the small dark stone she tried to get him to hand it over to her, which he refused to do.
Attacking Jonathan she persuaded Alastar to rifle through his pockets as Jonathan attempted to fight back, which Alastar, whilst wearing a glove did, eventually pulling the stone free from a heavily injured Jonathan.
During the scuffle they could hear the sounds of murmuring coming from another of the rooms, however they decided that it would probably be prudent to leave the house at this point with Jonathan in need of some medical attention.
Outside both Chuckie the Rat and Big Al were waiting for them and a standoff occurred with the investigators refusing to hand over the stone. Eventually a gunfight occurred, with Yumi throwing bombs at the two gangsters and Alastar shooting them from the doorway of the house.
At the end of the shootout, both gangsters lay dead, but all three investigators were heavily wounded, with Jonathan lying on the floor bleeding to death.
After first aid was administered the best that they could, Yumi opened the well, where she discovered the body of a woman, presumably the houseowner, and threw both Chuckie the Rat and Big Al down into the well, they then headed back into Kecksburg using the carriage belonging to Chuckie the Rat and Big Al and went to see the doctor, paying him plenty of money to keep quiet regarding the nature of their injuries.

That night, the ghoul paid another visit to Alastar in the night, nearly killing the priest before Jonathan and Yumi were able to stop it, again it disappeared through the floor and a story about a wild dog was issued.

The following morning, Jonathan, Yumi and Alastar headed back to the Garsetti house, where they found in one of the previously unexplored bedrooms, a barely lucid Andrew Keetling bound, gagged and lying in his own filth. They all noticed that Keetling bore an uncanny resemblance to the ghoul that had encountered them over the past three nights.
Taking Keetling back to the inn, they got him cleaned up and ready for travel back to Boston. At the inn they were met by Lilith who had caught the first train from Philadelphia arriving in Kecksburg just in time to turn back around and head off back. The investigators and Lilith filled each other in with what they had managed to find out in their subsequent investigations.
Having contacted Devlin via telegram, it was decided that it would prove to be prudent to leave Josephine Garsetti in the care of the Latrobe police whilst Devlin sorted out the paperwork to have her transported back to Boston.
Once Garsetti was dropped off with the police in Latrobe, the investigators caught the train and headed to Philadelphia with the intention of catching the early train to Boston the following the morning.
The journey to Philadelphia was uneventful, though Alastar, concerned that Keetling may turn into a ghoul, kept an eye on the man, with his hand close to his revolver just in case.
They booked a suite of rooms in a hotel in Philadelphia, but in the night they were attacked.
As they slept, a tall, manlike creature with a narrow and insectile head, with a cluster of large curved mandibles protruding from the snout. Bands of small bulb-like eyes ran from the front to back all along the upper surface of the head. The shintar had delicate-looking wings reminiscent of those found on bats. The membranes were translucent, milky in colour, and supported by long ‘finger bones’ that emerged from the membrane in fine, curved points.
The creature crashed through the window and engaged in melee with Yumi as the rest of the investigators tried to get out of the room, shooting at the creature as they went. Finally Jonathan managed to mind blast it into unconsciousness.
The fracas resulted in a large amount of interest and the police were called, however, fortunately for the investigators, the lead police detective had seen this kind of thing before and he quickly ushered them away from the hotel and out of Philadelphia before too many questions could be asked.

Once back in Boston, the investigators met up with Chumley who had been released from imprisonment and filled him in on what had occurred over the past few days, after which they went to see Devlin.
They informed Devlin that they were going to raid Crater’s mansion, but the detective sergeant was unable to provide them with any more assistance than just himself. This was because Garsetti, the leader of the Sylvan Night cult had been apprehended, Keetling had been found and there was nothing to firmly tie Crater in as being involved in the events in anything more than a circumstantial way. He did however, agree to accompany them himself.
Before going on the raid, Alastar had decided that he would stay on the Christabel rather than being involved with the raid and was persuaded to keep hold of the stone as it was agreed that taking the stone to Crater’s mansion would probably not be in the group’s best interests.

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Case 012 - Plant Y Daer

April 1895

Dr. Arthur Dogget was reading the newspaper when he came across a report of the murder of a Colonel Albert Hardwicke (Ret.). Hardwicke had been the C.O. of both himself and Captain Isaac Fleming (Ret.) whilst they were serving in the Sudan. Hardwicke had been murdered near to the village of Partrishow in Brecknockshire (Breconshire), Wales ten days previously. Hardwicke had been struck in the head with a blunt instrument and then stabbed to death in what had seemed a frenzied attack. Both had fond memories of the man and so consequently went to visit his only surviving heir Nathan Hardwicke in order to pay their respects.

Upon visiting Nathan at Sunderland Terrace in Kensington, they were shown in by Mrs. Jeeter the housekeeper. Nathan, who was sat in his study, was a slim, frail young man with short straight dark hair, and pale dry skin. He was a very nervous and shy young man, rarely making eye contact.
During their conversation with Nathan, the young man revealed that he had no idea that the family had an estate there as it was only during the reading of the will that he discovered its existence. Nathan admitted to Dogget and Isaac that he was curious as to why his uncle had never mentioned the property before.
Nathan Hardwicke related further details of his and his uncle’s life, some of which Dogget and Isaac already knew. He and Albert had lived in Kensington for twenty years, the first several years Albert had still been serving in Africa, but had come home to visit Nathan whenever he could get leave. Nathan’s mother had died giving birth to him, and Albert had adopted him and raised him as his own son, the only remaining family for either of them. Nathan at the time of Albert’s murder was studying history at King’s College (part of the University of London) in the Strand, and had supplemented the Hardwicke’s income tutoring other students.
He was curious to inspect the estate in Wales, but understandably given the circumstances of his uncle’s death he was somewhat cautious about travelling to the estate alone and so both Dogget and Isaac agreed to accompany him, informing him that they would be bringing some others with them that may be of assistance. To this, Nathan was more than happy to agree.
Doggett asked Nathan if he could have the details of Albert’s solicitor so that he could enquire whether he knew any more about the estate and Nathan wrote him a letter of introduction to an Adrian Powers, whose office was located above a tobacconists’ shop on Portman Square in Baker Street.
Just as they were leaving, they encountered another man in his fifties, stoutly built with a ruddy complection. The man introduced himself as Captain Howard Jones (Ret.) an old army comrade of Albert’s, neither Doggett nor Isaac had heard of the man before, but assumed that he could have served with Hardwicke before they had.

After leaving the Hardwicke residence, they decided to call in other members of the society and inform them about what they had stumbled upon and so Edith Wakefield, Jonathan Asbatch and Penelope Hancock all agreed that they would accompany Doggett and Isaac on their trip.

Doggett accompanied by Penelope decided to visit Powers, where they discovered that the will had consisted of a few small trinkets for his former brothers-in-arms, a modest sum for Mrs. Jeeter and the remaining estate going to Nathan. Powers noted that apparently neither Nathan nor Mrs. Jeeter had known of the existence of the Welsh property before the reading of the will. Powers himself had only known of its existence for about a month before Hardwicke’s death, stating that the Colonel had come to him expressing a desire to sell some property in Brecknockshire. He had informed Powers that he would be travelling to the estate to ready it for sale and would contact him upon his return. Powers would then inspect the property himself and draw up the necessary papers. Then a few days before his death Hardwicke sent a letter cancelling his meeting with Powers in Brecknockshire, stating that much had to be done with the property before it could be sold.

Meanwhile Isaac and Jonathan had gone to visit the Army Club of which both Isaac and Hardwicke were members, but they could not learn any more information than that already known by both Isaac and Doggett.

Upon meeting back together, the investigators went to Somerset House to research the background of the Hardwickes, where they found birth certificates for Brian Hardwicke (Albert’s older brother, born 1831), Albert (1834) and Clarissa Hardwicke (1847). Their father was a member of the gentry named Lionel Hardwicke. Their mother, Christine, died giving birth to Clarissa. Death certificates existed for Lionel (1857), Christine (1847) and Brian (1880), all died of natural causes.
The family wills indicated that the estate was left in Brian’s name on Lionel’s death, that they fell to Albert on Brian’s death, and on his death to Nathan.
Albert’s military records showed that he served with distinction in the Crimean in the mid 1850s, rapidly advancing through the ranks. He briefly served in South Africa in 1881 before being reassigned – and promoted to Colonel – in Egypt in 1882. He was wounded in the Sudan in ‘83, but was evacuated before the British and Egyptian forces were wiped out by the Mahdi. Albert retired from Her Majesty’s Army in 1884.

The following day, Doggett received a short handwritten note in the post. It was a note from Howard Jones, asking him to call upon him at 7 pm that evening.
Doggett, accompanied by Isaac, Jonathan, Edith and Penelope called upon Jones at his address in Eagle Street, just north of the Lincoln’s Inn Fields in Holburn. Edith recognised the name of Howard Jones in connection with numerous periodical articles and stories. Jones’ military service in Asia Minor and his travels in West Africa were fodder for his rousing reports of his exploits. His articles were half adventure story, half anthropological study – both with no small degree of exaggeration and prevarication.
Jones, dark haired and bearded, a small bear of a man, dressed in a worn suit of once fine tailoring. He was friendly but outspoken and blunt in conversation and was puffing on a pipeful of noxious tobacco. It was noted that his study consisted of several artifacts, mostly African in origin with numerous books lining the wall shelves, predominant subjects were history, anthropology, archaeology and mythology from a wide variety of cultures.
He informed the investigators that earlier that week he had received a package from Albert. It was heavy and postmarked Brecknockshire, Wales. Inside he found a letter, and something else. He handed the investigators the letter, which referred to a black rock found in the foothills of the Black Mountains with carvings on it that were in no language that Hardwicke understood. Hardwicke had hoped that Jones could make any sense of the carvings and had asked him to mention them to no one, not even his own nephew.
Jones handed over the rock to the investigators, where it was noted that the rock was in fact obsidian, or volcanic glass, which is not found normally in Wales as it tends to be located in areas of recent volcanic activity. The piece was about a foot across, eight inches high and three inches thick, with a flat upper surface and irregular sides. On the surface were six rows of strange wedge-shaped hieroglyphs, about ten per row, each about half an inch in height, running along the long axis of the stone.
Nobody present could translate what the hieroglyphs said, with Jonathan noting that the closest language he could figure out being Sumerian, but they differed somewhat from that language. Jones allowed Jonathan to take a rubbing as he wished to consult Alastar Maloney about the hieroglyphs, but when confronted with the rubbing early the next day Alastar could not figure it out either.
Jones admitted to having made no progress with the markings, but was fairly sure that the black stone had something to do with Hardwicke’s murder. He didn’t know what, but felt obligated to find out and informed them that he too would be travelling to Wales, but would not accompany them. They realised that Jones did not trust Nathan and wondered if Nathan had had something to do with his uncle’s murder.

The next day, after briefly visiting Alastar, the investigators met up with Nathan at London’s Paddington Station in the early morning for the journey to Wales. What followed was a six hour journey on the Great Western Railway, with stops in Reading, Swindon, Newport and Abersyonan (Abergavenny). Throughout the journey, Nathan was very quiet, not initiating any conversations with the investigators, focusing instead on a fat volume of Welsh history. It was mid afternoon when they reached Abersyonan, Monmouthshire, the nearest stop to the Hardwicke estate in neighbouring Brecknockshire.
At Abersyonan, Nathan and the investigators rented a two-horse carriage in order to take them to the village of Partrishow and the nearby Hardwicke estate.
It took them a little over an hour to reach Partrishow and Nathan and the investigators arrived in the late afternoon.

Nestled in the valley of the Grwyne Fechan, Partrishow had a population of only some 400 and was typical of the small villages in the area, populated mostly by farmers and sheepherders. In the village was a secluded 11th Century church, a smithy and stable and a pub called the Black Mountain’s Rest.
As nobody knew the way to the estate, they called in at the pub for directions, where they met the landlord, a thin, mutton-chop-whiskered man named Hugh Jenkins, who greeted them cheerily. However, when they inquired for directions to the estate it was noticeable that his demeanor changed and a sudden silence fell over the pub as the clientele stopped their conversations to listen.
Jenkins informed the investigators that the estate was four miles northeast of the town, on the old track. He then asked why they wanted to know about the place. The investigators informed him that they were accompanying Hardwicke’s nephew, Nathan, to the estate, at which point a couple of the clientele left the pub and there was a palpable sense of fear to be detected.
As Nathan and the investigators were leaving, they caught the twinkling eye of a grim, bearded fellow at a corner table and so Dogget, Isaac and Edith went across to the man, who introduced himself to them as Evans and told them that if they come back down to the pub later he would talk to them.

The Hardwicke estate was located some four miles to the northeast of Partrishow, at the end of an old overgrown track. Along the way, the investigators glimpsed the collapsed, wildly overgrown remains of three long-abandoned farmhouses. It was noticeable that Nathan had become more animated during this part of the trip, setting aside his book and pointing out interesting landmarks.
The manor house lay in an isolated, wooded section of the hills that made up the lower reaches of the Black Mountains. The estate included the manor house, a well, carriage house, stable and two small sheds. All of which were in disrepair, and the surrounding area was overgrown with wildflowers and tall weeds.
Before heading inside the house, the investigators decided to check out the outside, where they found that the well was very deep, some 35 feet down to the water, but that the bucket and rope were missing. The carriage house was empty save for thick cobwebs and stiff, rusted riding harnesses, some rusty tools and a wooden carriage wheel. Rotting scraps of rope hung from the rafters overhead. The stable held stalls for up to eight horses, which were empty save for cobwebs and decayed hay. Hanging from wall pegs were a few tools, coils of rotting twine and rope and an oil lamp. A ladder led to the hayloft above, but it was noticed that the boards in the loft were rotted through and so it was decided not to investigate that area any further. The shed attached to the stable stood with its door ajar. Inside were many rusty tools on a long workbench. The other shed behind the house had a badly sagging roof that collapsed when the door was opened, inside was the remains of rotted cloth bags and barrels.

After securing the horses and carriage and checking on the outside of the manor, the investigators and Nathan headed inside. The inside of the manor was sparsely furnished, but showed signs of recent habitation, with recently-cut firewood. In library on a desk was a sheet of writing paper with the addresses of both Howard Jones and Adrian Powers.
It looked like Albert Hardwicke had been staying in the servant’s quarters and so Nathan decided to set his things up there, inviting the investigators to use whichever rooms they wanted in the house.
On the first floor, Doggett and Isaac shared one of the bedrooms, with Jonathan occupying the one next to theirs. Both Penelope and Edith took the master bedroom just across the corridor from them.
Upon settling in, the women set to work making some food and the men set up a makeshift bucket in order to get water from the well. Throughout the day, Jonathan could not shake the feeling that they were being watched, but couldn’t see anybody.

That evening, Doggett, Isaac and Edith headed back to Partishow to meet up with Evans at the Black Mountain’s Rest.
After plying Evans with several drinks, the old man told them that about twenty years earlier, Albert Hardwicke and his sister Clarissa summered in the manor. He told them that Albert was a likeable man who liked to hunt and tell a good tale and share a few drinks; she was a quiet woman who kept to herself at the estate. One day Albert had stormed into the Black Mountan’s Rest sputtering that someone had attacked his sister in the woods, and that he wanted to gather some men to hunt for the swine who did the deed. A handful of locals aided in the search, but nothing came of it. Clarissa Hardwick was never quite right after that, and nine months later a child was born. Evans then told them that the lady either died giving birth to the child, or became sick or mad and died, or hung herself soon afterward. He advised them that they should talk to Alan and Marie Llewellyn as they were the Hardwicke’s servants back then, or maybe Dr. Rhys-Williams.
Evans continued his tale, informing them that after the woman had died, Albert closed up the place and took the infant with him. Nobody had been out there since, until a couple of weeks earlier when Albert showed up again, saying that he was going to sell the place. He spent several days out at the manor, alone, then came into the village to post a package. It was on his way home from posting that he was killed. Evans had no idea who the murderer was for sure, but after being pressed, he admitted in a conspiratorial tone that it was the Tylwydd Teg (the little people). After this Evans passed out.
After their interview with Evans, the investigators went back to the manor, where the night was peaceful.

The following day, Jonathan went walking with Nathan as the others headed back to Partrishow, with Doggett and Edith heading off to visit Dr. Rhys-Williams and Isaac with Penelope went to visit the Llewellyns.
On their walk, Nathan and Jonathan encountered a woman, a lovely looking person in her twenties, with long dark hair and wearing a plain dress beneath a heavy mantle, with a scarlet handkerchief tied around her neck. She approached them both and introduced herself as Helen. It was quite clear that both Helen and Nathan were quite taken with each other and she practically ignored Jonathan, almost to the point of being rude. A situation that notorious lady’s man Jonathan was very unused to.
Jonathan and Nathan found a small strange structure that had been made from twigs and feathers, neither of them knew what it was, or who had built it.
Upon heading back to the manor, Jonathan saw a sign that had been scrawled about a yard from the ground. He could not make out what the sign was, but when showing it to the others later, Doggett realised that the sign was in Aklo and that it meant ‘home’.

Meanwhile, Doggett and Edith visited Dr. Rhys-Williams whose cottage was in the village. Rhys-Williams was over 70 years of age and although he was somewhat reluctant to talk about the events of the Hardwicke tragedies, Doggett persuaded him to open up as one professional doctor to another.
Rhys-Williams informed them that Albert Hardwicke had been apparently thrown from his horse, then beaten and stabbed several times and that the body had been found by a passing sheepherder. The Colonel’s watch, money and revolver were left behind, untouched by the killer or killers, but his horse had bolted and as far as he was aware the horse had not been recovered. He had no ideas as to who would have killed Hardwicke as the man was well liked in Partrishow.
Regarding the death of Clarissa Hardwicke twenty years earlier, he informed them that Clarissa was indeed ‘attacked’ in the wilderness. When she recovered she seemed to have blocked out what had happened to her, but it turned out that she was pregnant, and soon became a pale shadow of herself, cheerlessly wasting away in the house as the child came to term. Rubbing his eyes, Rhys-Williams stated that when the child was born Clarissa went beserk and tried to kill it. Separated from the infant, she had begged Rhys-Williams and the servants to kill the ‘little monster’. They kept the mother and child apart, and the next day Clarissa asked to see her baby. But when they brought him in she went after him with a table knife. Again they were separated and Clarissa was heavily sedated. The next morning, Mrs. Llewellyn, the servant, had gone into Clarissa’s room and found that she had hung herself from the bedpost. Albert was emotionally destroyed by all this, and promptly shut up the place and moved to London with the boy.
The doctor could think of no reason for the tragedies. The infant Nathan was a normal child, and it was a normal childbirth. He theorised that the attack on Clarissa must have unhinged her mind so much that she blocked it out, and Nathan’s birth must have triggered her to remember it again.
After visiting Rhys-Williams, Doggett and Edith acquired some provisions as well as a bucket for the well and verified that Hardwicke had indeed posted a package out just before his death.

Isaac and Penelope had gone to visit the Llewellyns where they met Marie. Marie’s story echoed that of Rhys-Williams, but she added in hushed tones that it was the Little People that attacked Clarissa twenty years ago and that it may well have been them again that had murdered Albert recently.
During the interview, Alan Llewellyn returned and angrily ordered the investigators off his property, threatening to use his shotgun if they didn’t leave at once.

That day Isaac had the strange feeling that they were being watched and thought he spotted a small figure that darted away.

The evening passed uneventfully and the next day, Doggett encountered Nathan leaving the house quite early, so rousing Isaac, the two of them followed him where they saw him meet up with Helen again. They were listening to their conversation and approached them, when Helen scowled at them and left. They tried to follow, but Doggett tripped badly and she was lost. Again Isaac felt that they were being watched.
The rest of the day was taken up with looking around the area. Some more of the constructions were found, but nobody could determine what they were.

The following day, Doggett and Isaac trailed Nathan again, when he met Helen, but this time when they tried to follow Helen, they were attacked by two small snakelike beings that were later identified as Degenerate Serpent People. They quickly killed the little serpent people and took Nathan back to the house. Meanwhile the investigators decided to look at the abandoned farmhouses where they found more of the constructions as well as a three foot wide hole in the basement of one that led underground.
They also decided at this point to visit the nearby villages to see if anybody had heard of Helen and they found that a couple of men in nearby Llangorse had encountered her before. Nobody knew from where she came from or exactly who she was.
That night, the investigators set up a watch system and hung lanterns from some of the trees as they felt that an attack was imminent.

The following morning Nathan was made to stay at the house for his own safety and both Isaac and Jonathan went to find Helen, informing her that she was welcome to come visit Nathan at the house, but they felt that he would be safer there. Helen agreed to accompany them and she met Nathan in the sitting room, where they were kept under observation by Jonathan and Isaac.
Meanwhile, Doggett and Penelope headed to Partrishow to visit Howard Jones who he reckoned would be staying at the Black Mountain’s Rest. When he got there however, he found out that Jones had been gone since the previous day. Jenkins was not particularly concerned as he knew that Jones had taken some camping gear with him, however he was not prepared to let Doggett and Penelope access Jones’ room, but would pass on a message that they were after him.
Doggett and Penelope returned back at the manor whilst Helen was still there and Doggett tried to cross examine her, but she proved to be too adept to be trapped by his questions and when Edith declared that lunch was ready she left.
After lunch, Doggett and Isaac headed out to try to find Jones, but they were unsuccessful in finding the man. The did however, manage to find the remains of his tent and his belongings and so feared that he may have been captured by Helen’s followers.

That night the watches were resumed. During the first watch there came a hammering on the door, Doggett made sure that Isaac was awake and then went to find out who it was. It was Jones, somewhat bloodied, he informed Doggett that he had been captured by Helen and her followers, but that they had let him go and were on their way. As the rest of the household was raised and readied for the imminent attack, Edith chloroformed Nathan to ensure that he stayed unconscious.
A wave of ten degenerate serpent people attacked the house, Edith was knocked unconscious, but the investigators with the aid of Jones managed to kill all but one of them that had fled.
Regrouping in the library, Doggett brought Edith back around and it was decided that they would prepare themselves for a second attack. They took Nathan down to the basement where they hoped that he would be safe.
Suddenly Jonathan heard a thud on the roof as if something big and heavy had landed on it. Then more of the little creatures swarmed into the house. The investigators were holding them off, but had to regroup in the kitchen, whilst Jonathan drew a protective pentagram on the door to keep them in the corridor.
Meanwhile, whatever had landed on the roof had crashed its way into the first floor and was presently making its way down to the ground floor.
The degenerate serpent people were getting butchered by the investigators and Jones when suddenly the creature burst into the kitchen. Although they did not truly know it at the time, they suspected that it may have been a Star Vampire, which indeed it was. The creature was invisible other than the dust that had covered it from crashing through the wall.
It headed towards Doggett, Jonathan and Jones who were backing away from it, whilst Isaac with Penelope and Edith were around a corner heading back into the corridor outside the kitchen. Jonathan had the idea of getting a bag of flour and throwing it over the creature whilst Doggett and Jones were shooting at it. Isaac was having many problems with his various guns which kept jamming as Penelope used her wand to no avail.
The Star Vampire tore Jones’ leg off and the man lay there bleeding to death as Jonathan proceeded to throw more flour over himself than the creature. Both Jonathan and Doggett fled around the creature to try to regroup with Isaac and the women.
As the investigators regrouped and began to move out of the kitchen into the corridor, Penelope was separated and the Star Vampire turned on her, lashing out with a couple of tentacles and tearing her arm off in a spray of blood, killing her instantly, before turning back to face the rest of the investigators.
After recovering from witnessing Penelope’s death, Doggett, Edith, Jonathan and Isaac fled the house pursued by the slavering Star Vampire. Doggett firmly shut the back door behind him, but then they realised that they were somewhat surrounded by another twenty degenerate serpent people led by Helen, who dropped her human form revealing that of a fully atavistic serpent person, the sight of which sent Edith into a catatonic shock.
Helen offered to let the investigators go, on the condition that they left Nathan behind. She told them that Nathan was one of her race and that no harm would come to him. She allowed the investigators to remove the bodies of Penelope and Jones and then they made the long trek back to Partrishow and civilization, finding a place to bury both Jones and Penelope on the way.

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Case 011.5 - The Rupert Merriweather Letters #1 and The Agents of the Crown

January 1895

In the early hours of the morning of January 2nd 1895, Alastar Maloney, Bob Shire, Captain Isaac Fleming (Ret.), Jonathan Asbatch, Charles Van Winstin Hine, Edith Wakefield and Takeshi Takemori all received telegrams asking them to come to Lloyds Bank that day at 11:00 am sharp.
When they arrived, it was realised that only those investigators that were founding members of the Merriweather Society had been invited and those that had either made the ultimate sacrifice or were missing were remembered.
At the bank, the clerk instructed them to follow him, leading them to the vaults and to a safety deposit box which he then opened and left to their care. Inside the box they found a letter, which they realised had been written at some time in 1890 by Rupert Merriweather.
The [[Rupert Merriweather Letter # 1 (1895) | Rupert Merriweather Letter # 1 (1895)]] served to give the investigators the thoughts of Rupert Merriweather on four different organisations, The Chapel of Contemplation, The Golden Dawn, The Freemasons and most importantly served as an introduction to The Agents Of The Crown.

After reading the letter and leaving the names of other members of the Society, the investigators followed Merriweather’s instructions and set up a meeting with Mycroft Holmes at the Diogenes Club.

During the meeting, Holmes, who was flanked by two Agents who he referred to as Henry Cavendish and Joseph Chapman, had a lot of information that he passed onto the investigators that covered several different topics. He gave them more information about the Agents of the Crown and informed them that one of their agents had already stepped in to save them in one event, he was of course referring to the appearance of Sir Francis Varney during the events of Case 005 – Eyes for the Blind whose appearance ensured that the investigators survived their encounter with David Smythe. Holmes informed the investigators that they could call upon the aid of The Agents whenever their cases involved the security of the Empire or the Royal Family and that it was his intention to have a member of The Agents working as part of their group, to help keep him abreast of developments.

Other information that Holmes passed on to the investigators at this meeting included the knowledge that both Shemus Moriarty and Simon Masters were in fact one and the same person and that he was an agent of Smythe.

Holmes also informed the investigators that Dorian Gray, a member of The Chapel of Contemplation had at one time been a member of The Agents of the Crown, but had defected several years ago and that it was the task of Varney to try to track him down and bring him in.

The investigators showed the Astrological Chart that Alastar had acquired during the Case 001 – The Haunting way back in the early part of 1890. After a diligent perusal of some notes in a file, Holmes informed the investigators that chart showed a convergence of the planets in a great cross and that the date of the cross was due to occur at some point during August 1999, just after a solar eclipse.

The investigators asked Mycroft if he could accede on their behalf to get the The Freemasons to remove their control over them, which Mycroft did, although he informed them that there would be two conditions attached to their emancipation. The first was that they were not to ask Scotland Yard for aid in their endeavours, though Mycroft did inform them that it was still fine to contact both Inspector Giles Lestrade and Inspector Harrison Craddock who were loyal to him. It was noted that the upper echelons of Scotland Yard was effectively controlled by the Masons. The second condition was that Nigel Stander had requested that they perform a service to him at some point in the near future.

A copy of the information that Mycroft held on David Smythe was also requested by the investigators, which was promptly provided by him.

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Case 011 - The Masterwork Of Nicholas Forby

August 1894

It was during the oppressively hot summer of 1895 that Lord Christopher Chumly received a telegram from Mrs. Gertrude Forby, the wife of Harold Forby, an old school chum. Forby was apparently suffering from a relapse of the ‘brain fever’ that he had suffered from as a child after having discovered the suicide of his father Aleister Forby. The telegram asked Chumly if he would head over to the Forby House on the outskirts of South Mimms and so accompanied by Bob Shire, Edith Wakefield and Yumi he headed off immediately to the Forby residence.

The Forby House was in forty acres of rolling grounds, situated unfavourably in a low lying valley, and shielded from the prevailing, arid, west wind by a high bank planted with laurels and yew hedge rows. A carriageway led to the house along an exposed ridge, descending in one final sweep around an ornamental lake, and a formal rose garden, sheltered by the high yew hedges. In the centre of rose garden stood the statue ‘Icarus’. Behind the house the land sloped upward, its sweep interrupted only by the low slung shape of a mausoleum.

At Forby House, the investigators were greeted by the butler, Bates. After a brief introduction, Mrs. Gertrude Forby ushered them upstairs to their rooms so that they could change and wash after their journey, however, Chumly refused to share a room with Bob and so Bob was alternatively given lodging with the Forby groundskeeper Old Fred. Mrs. Forby took the opportunity to explain that Harry was on the verge of a renewed bout of the brain fever he suffered as a child and that he must be shielded from any shocks. She also expressed her warm appreciation for their attendance.

Tea was served in the library, with Harry, Gertrude and Gertrude’s brother James Smedley in attendance. On meeting, Harry immediately launched into old school anecdotes involving himself and Chumly, whilst Gertrude handed round bread and butter and weak tea. Harry explained that as an invalid he was restricted to a bland diet, and added, with a laugh that did not quite conceal the mean-spirited nature of his demands that he did not see why he should suffer alone and so required the entire household to eat the same.
Harry’s eyes were bright with fever and his cheeks were flushed. His conversation was rambling and not always rational. Harry wanted only to talk about the family treasure and directed the attention of the investigators to a portrait of his grandfather, Nicholas Forby, above the fireplace holding an emerald the size of a pheasant’s egg. During the conversation Smedley mentioned the ghost of the green man that haunted the house, at this the conversation fell into a dead silence, Harry shivering and Gertrude glared at her brother, whilst Bates, in discreet attendance, coughed.
After Gertrude had brought the conversation back to the family treasure, Harry stated his belief that his grandfather had hid the emerald somewhere in the grounds, citing the portrait as his most conclusive proof. He begged the investigators for aid in finding it, before complaining of a severe headache and being helped back to bed by Gertrude and Bates.

After the meal, Smedley took the investigators out on a quick tour of the house and its grounds, where they took in the unusual sculptures and designs created by Nicholas Forby. Shortly after the tour, Smedley excused himself informing them that he had business in London to conduct that would see him away for a couple of days.

In the evening, the investigators decided to see what they could find in the library regarding the hidden treasure and they came across the folios of Nicholas Forby, which because there were three of them it was decided that Bob, Chumly and Edith would each take one to read that night, to see if there was anything in them that would help. Yumi also discovered a clue that had been scratched into the frame of the painting that read ‘An Iron Dog with eyes of fire shoots sparks into Apollo’s bower.’

That night as the inhabitants of the household went to sleep, the three began their reading. The earliest volumes were filled with the sketches and plans as the writings and discussions of Nicholas’ philosophy – a passionate blend of atheistic cynicism and fatalism. A mystery malady plagued him as his ceilings became more successful. He complained of ‘painful and desperate’ fits of lethargy, alternating with periods in which he worked in a frenzy, as if possessed. At length, the fits became so bad – almost bringing him to madness – that he was forced to leave off work and retire to the country.
The second set of volumes were also filled with sketches and notes. Nicholas, his wife Alice, and manservant Bains lived quietly at Forby House. Nicholas partly recovered his health. A friend, the artist Christopher Lehmann, was a fequent visitor. Nicholas transferred his ceiling alloy technique to bronze, and created many statues using a casting pit at the back of the house. Nicholas’ health deteriorated again, and he lost the use of his legs. The servant Bains became ‘indispensable’. Nicholas called him ‘my limbs’, and insisted that Bains be included in a portrait of him that Christopher painted. Nicholas sketched the frame he made for the portrait. His philosophy darkened in the face of his persistent pain and disability. It was during these years that Nicholas found a secret passage in the house and used it to spy on his household. The final part of the middle volumes had long ago been cut from them and was missing.
The final set of books picked up some six months after the middle set. Nicholas recorded that he had just recovered from an illness that brought him close to ‘death or madness’ and paid tribute to Bains for having ‘rescued me from the pit of Hell by his constancy and readiness of action in my time of need’. The couple’s only child, Aleister, was born shortly after the diary had recommenced. The statue ‘Icarus’ was now on the front lawn and the casting pit had been filled in. In his last years, Nicholas turned his attention to creating the mausoleum. The books were filled with increasingly grotesque and irreligious sketches. He became obsessed with pain and death. Work on the mausoleum occupied him until he weakened and he could not leave his bed. The final pages of the book were covered in sketches of works he did not live to create.
On the last night of his life, Nicholas had written the following words:

I am tired of life, yet life will not quit me. The hot passions of my youth seem so past, so distant, as if the deeds of another man.
Christopher, I long to see you again. I must have death.

Written beneath this in a heavy, clumsy, irregular hand that differed entirely from that of Nicholas Forby’s own was the following: ‘Did I solicit thee from darkness to promote me?’

It was noticed that there had been no mention of Christopher Lehmann in the final books until the very final entry. Some event – unrecorded – had apparently sundered the friendship.

In the early hours of the morning, Bob was woken by the sound of Old Fred leaving the house. Intrigued he decided to follow, seeing Old Fred along with the family’s two dogs, a red setter and a brindle bull dog, heading south in the grounds. Suddenly, the dogs got a hold of Bob’s scent and turned around, barking, charged at him. At which point, Bob started shooting at the dogs, killing one of them as it headed closer. The noise of the gunshots woke most of the household, except for Chumly, and Yumi came rushing downstairs in time to help Bob as he fired his final shots into the other dog, which was quickly dispatched by Yumi. They all then heard a terrible screaming sound coming from the house, which Edith found to be Harry, having been alarmed by the sounds of gunfire.
Old Fred was dismayed that Bob had killed the dogs, and Bob due to embarrassment decided to sleep in his carriage for the remainder of their stay at Forby House. It was noticed that Forby’s son George had come downstairs and was quite eagerly examining the carcass of one of the dogs before being led away back to his room by Bates.

The following morning, the investigators pooled together their findings from Nicholas Forby’s journals and were informed that Gertrude had sent Old Fred into the village to fetch Dr. Hubert Jeffries to come to see to Harry.
Chumly, Edith and Yumi decided to search the upstairs of the house, where they eventually came upon the secret passage that led into the library. In they library they also found the Diaries of Aleister Forby and the records of his wife, Rhoda Forby. Edith stayed in the library reading Rhoda’s records whilst the others decided to check out the mausoleum.

After eventually picking the lock, the investigators made their way into the mausoleum where they discovered that the central sarcophagus was occupied with the remains of Nicholas Forby and one of the other spaces was occupied with the remains of Aleister. Upon examining the body of Nicholas, they discovered flecks of a greenish substance around the neck and shoulders.

Meanwhile, Edith was making progress with the records kept by Rhoda Forby. The majority of the records were just the day-to-day running of the household, but she discovered that Rhoda evinced a very uncommon tenderness towards the young Dr. Jeffries who had visited many times, particularly when Aleister was laid low with his headaches. She also discovered that it was Harry that had discovered his father’s suicide. Among Aleister’s possessions Rhoda had found a document that she sealed and gave to the man that she claimed to trust more than any other in the world. Harry had been made ill from the heat of the funeral and had been crying about a ‘green man’ that was trying to get into the house. Finally Rhoda had planted the rose garden in memory of her husband.

A telegram was sent to Penelope Hancock in London to help the investigators about the clue that had been scratched into the frame of the painting, Penelope informed them that an Iron Dog could refer to the object that holds logs in the fireplace and that Apollo’s symbol was the laurel tree. This information led the investigators to believe that the treasure could well have been hidden inside Icarus. The telegram led the investigators to check a secret priest hole that was located in the library behind the fireplace. Inside they found the missing pages from Nicholas’ diaries, which gave them the exact directions to find the treasure, confirming their suspicions that the treasure was located inside Icarus.

Chumly had set himself to work on reading the Diaries of Aleister Forby.

That night, Yumi decided to keep watch in the carriage house and was rewarded with the sight of a strange manlike creature heading towards the back door of the house. The creature looked to be covered with vegetation and, after waking Bob headed out to confront the creature. A combat ensued and Chumly hearing it headed downstairs when there was the sound of an explosion as Yumi threw a smoke bomb at the creature. The sound also woke Harold who began screaming again, which promptly woke the rest of the household.
After a brief scuffle, Yumi defeated the creature, which was revealed to be Smedley in a monster costume. Meanwhile Edith, using her chloroform, had put Harold back to sleep and then headed back downstairs to see to the wounds to both Yumi and Smedley. It was decided that Bob and Chumly would take Smedley to see Dr. Jeffries and that the rest of the household would try to get back to sleep.

At Jeffries’ house, the doctor saw to Smedley and was talking to Chumly when Bob decided to abandon him there and headed back to the house, leaving Chumly to spend the night at the doctor’s house.

The following morning, Yumi and Edith informed Gertrude that they were certain of where the treasure was and that after Jeffries had returned to the house with Chumly to see to to Harold, it was decided that the family and servants would watch as Bob, Chumly and Yumi proceeded to search and then try to break the statue open in order to find the treasure.

Suddenly as Icarus was struck with a pick axe he came to life, Edith felt an overriding urge to run and protect George, Harold’s son, as Bob felt an overriding urge to psychotically attack Icarus with the pickaxe. Meanwhile Harold went into a catatonic state in the invalid chair and Bates with Gertrude fled back to the house taking Harold with them. Meanwhile, Old Fred was sent to go fetch the investigators’ weapons from their carriage.
It was clear that not only was Icarus trying to get to Harold as he swept attacks to the side, first hitting Chumly in the groin and sending him straight down onto the floor, but also inside Icarus was the skeleton of Christopher Lehmann. Yumi and Bob were trying to slow Icarus down, but were not having much effect and eventually the statue crashed through the front doors. Edith had taken George and hidden in the secret passageway as Old Fred was returning to the back of the house with the investigators’ weapons.
In the hallway, Icarus took Bob down and continued his pursuit of Harold who was being frantically wheeled away by Gertrude, the cook and the maid. Bates and Old Fred made a stand with revolvers against Icarus as Yumi joined them, but Bates was killed and Old Fred’s arm was destroyed. Meanwhile, Yumi’s armour protected her leg as Icarus hit that and she began blasting away at the statue with Chumly’s shotgun, eventually dislodging the emerald. She thought that maybe the emerald was powering Icarus and so blew into pieces with the shotgun, but it was not. Finally she managed to take Icarus down and Harold had been saved and the mystery had been solved.
Unfortunately even though his life had been saved, Harold had been sent indefinitely insane and Dr. Jeffries had to have him committed.

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Case 010.5 When A God Comes A Calling

1894

After the completion of the previous case, [[Case 010 – The Golden Dawn: Hell Hath No Fury | Case 010 – The Golden Dawn: Hell Hath No Fury]], the investigators settled into their routines. Lilith Harrington read amongst other tomes The Revelations of Glaaki Volume XII, not realising that it was cursed.

One evening when Lord Christopher Chumly was visiting her, there came a knock on the door. Outside was a woman, who Lilith recognised as Lily Allan, the former actress that had been embroiled in the happenings of Case 006 – Bad Company a couple of years before.

Lily was clearly under some sort of possession when she approached Lilith and Chumley and informed them that her master was waiting for them to join him. When asked who her master was, she informed them that it was Y’golonac – Great Old One. She informed Lilith that she had a week to join Y’golonac willingly and that she would return in seven days time.

Fearing for her life, Lilith immediately called a meeting of the other members of the Merriweather Society and it was decided that they would await the arrival of Y’golonac at the old farmhouse that Rupert Merriweather had bequeathed them several years before ( Case 002 – The Edge of Darkness).

Accompanying Lilith at the farmhouse would be Jonathan Asbatch, Edith Wakefield, Yumi, Dr. Arthur Dogget, Captain Isaac Fleming (Ret.) and Chumley. It was decided that Alastar Maloney and Charles Van Winstin Hine would stay away in order that there would definitely be some active members of the society around in case everything went badly, meanwhile both Bob Shire and Penelope Hancock were both still in the asylum.

On the day chosen, the investigators barricaded the farmhouse as well as they possibly could when it was seen that Lily was walking up the path to the house. As she came closer to the house, she was shot down and then the transformation into Y’golonac began.

Y’golonac forced his way into the farmhouse, his target was clearly Lilith as he shrugged off fire from Isaac, Arthur and Chumley. Jonathan managed to get in between Y’golonac and Lilith and was immediately drained as at the same time Y’golonac grabbed Lilith, however fortunately the combined attacks of the other investigators were enough to take Y’golonac out yet again. With the corpse reverting back to that of Lily Allan.

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Case 010 - The Golden Dawn: Hell Hath No Fury

March 1894

In the early evening of Wednesday 14th March, 1894 there was a knock at Penelope Hancock‘s door. When she answered, she discovered it was Dr. William Wynn Westcott, one of the founders of The Golden Dawn’s Isis-Urania temple. He needed to speak with Penelope on an urgent matter.
He handed Penelope a letter from a Mr. Jacob Black, informing her that unfortunately he himself was not able to help Black, however he felt that Penelope and her colleagues may have been in the position to offer him their assistance.
Once she had read the letter, Westcott informed Penelope that he had taken the liberty of sending Black a telegram explaining that his associates would meet Black at the Railway Hotel at 7pm on the evening of 15th March. Westcott knew little of the curse mentioned in the letter other than it dated back several hundred years and that Black was a solicitor based in Matlock in Derbyshire.

The following evening, Penelope was accompanied by Captain Isaac Fleming (Ret.), Dr. Arthur Dogget and Jonathan Asbatch to the Railway Hotel, which was an imposing stone building, its facade covered with a thin layer of grimy soot from the locomotives nearby. The doorman held the double doors open for the investigators and they entered.
The lobby was plushly furnished, with leather armchairs and plants filling the space. In one corner, two elderly gentlemen warmed themselves against a log fire. At the reception desk, Black had left a message for the investigators informing them that he was dining in the hotel’s restaurant and that they could join him there. One of the porters soon appeared and lead them to the first floor dining room.
The restaurant was as plush as the lobby, with much brass and silverware. It was mostly empty, and the porter led them to Black’s table. Black stood up and shook each of the investigators by their hand.
Before starting his story, Black asked if any of the investigators had eaten and he passed them the menu that he had been studying, informing them that it is quite awkward to sit eating whilst people are watching him.
Black explained that his family had a long and proud history that could be traced back to the time of the Norman invasion of 1066. His family had always lived in the Midlands, around Derbyshire. One famous incident, which his family has always regarded with bemused pride, was a curse that was placed on the family in 1584. The curse was placed by Black Annie, a witch sentenced to death by Sir Edward Black, the squire of the parish. The fearful witch had lived in the deeps of a nearby forest known as Wisels Wood prior to her arrest and execution.
Black knew the curse by heart. ‘And ye shall suffer the curse of Black Annie: blood shall flow and the dead shall walk and ye shall be the last of the line’. Sir Edward Black casually dismissed the curse, but two weeks later the Black home, Wisels Wood Manor, burnt to the ground, killing most of the servants and Sir Edward with it.
But the Blacks survived. One of Sir Edward’s sons was abroad, and through him the line continued. Over the years the line has lost much of its prestige, but Jacob considered himself to be a solid pillar of the community and had an influential voice in local affairs.
Black had never given the curse anything more than idle thought, but things had changed recently. Three weeks earlier he had a strange dream – he ‘saw’ the courtroom in which Annie was sentenced. As sentence was passed, Annie’s face screwed up in anger and she spat her curse. Then, he awoke to find himself in an unfamiliar bed. Smoke billowed under a door he didn’t recognise, and flames licked around the windows. Leaping out of bed, Black ran to the window, opened it and braving the flames, leapt out. He woke again – that time for real.
Then two weeks previously his wife miscarried. Five days earlier, he found blood seeping from the walls. The following morning he received news that his father’s brother had been thrown from his horse and had died. The maid had complained of seeing ghosts, and the dog had vanished. Milk was going sour, food was rotting overnight and two days before he met with the investigators an inverted pentagram was carved on a door.
The whole affair was upsetting his wife and Black wanted it stopped. He had heard rumours of the Golden Dawn and required help, he was willing to pay a nominal fee to the Golden Dawn as well as the investigators’ expenses. Unfortunately he only had sleeping quarters for three: a single room and a twin, however, he could arrange for any others to stay at a nearby hotel. He explained that while the investigators would be solving his problem, hi wife had moved to Derby to stay with her mother.
Black requested that the investigators start immediately, and had purchased tickets for them for the following day’s midday train from Euston with a change at Birmingham, announcing that he was catching an earlier train and that he would meet them at Matlock Station at a little after 4pm.

The following day, the investigators caught the midday train from Euston and travelled up to Matlock, having to change trains at Birmingham New Street along the way. True to his word, Jacob Black was waiting for them when they reached Matlock, having hired a cab.
Upon reaching Black’s home, it was decided that both Penelope and Jonathan would stay there that night, with both Arthur and Isaac staying at the nearby Crown Hotel. Both bedrooms had huge, well aired beds, with large wardrobes and chests of drawers that were more than adequate for the needs of the investigators. Both rooms were warm and inviting, with a fire crackling in the hearth and curiously an apple resting on the mantelpiece in each room.
After a hearty meal served by Josephine, who acted as both maid and cook to the Blacks, Jacob Black took the investigators on a tour of the house.
The house was a large property standing in almost a quarter of an acre of tended garden, which Black explained was looked after by a man once per week. The house was relatively new, being just built some twenty years previously and inside it was expensively decorated, ’Victoria’s influence’ according to Black, featuring well-polished furniture, oil paintings of local scenery and expensive rugs.
Black pointed out Black Annie’s curse, reproduced in flowing archaic script on a parchment framed in the hallway, it was his only contribution to the home’s decoration.
The ground floor contained the drawing room and dining room. At the back of the house was a large kitchen, drying room and the maid’s quarters. The first floor had three bedrooms and a bathroom. Finally the second floor was a rambling attic and study, with a desk sat facing a window looking out over Sycamore Crescent and the rest of Matlock beyond.
On the tour of the house, Black pointed out the signs of the manifestation of the curse. The first was the wall in the drying room, although Josephine had scrubbed it, there were still reddish-brown traces in the corners and on the floor. Black informed the investigators that he had the blood analysed by his friend, Doctor Winthrope, who had confirmed that the blood was indeed human.
The second manifestation had been the door with an inverted pentagram scratched into the surface. It had originally been the dining room door, but Black informed them that he had had it replaced, keeping the vandalised door in the drying room for the investigators to inspect. The pentagram was about four inches across, and was crudely scratched into the wood a couple of inches from the floor. The investigators came up with various theories regarding the pentagram, but could not work out how it had got there, as the only people with access would have been the Blacks and Josephine.

Black informed the investigators that he had taken the liberty of borrowing from Old George, the town librarian, all of the information that could be found on Sir Edward Black, Black Annie and the curse and that all of the material could be found on his desk in his study up on the second floor.
It was decided that they would look through the material that Black had collected and also interview Josephine that evening, then the following day they would head into Matlock and visit both Old George and Jonathan Freeman, who was the owner of Matlock Antiques and known throughout the town as something of a local historian.
Looking through the papers in the study, they discovered that Black’s description of the curse was indeed accurate, with two separate sources verifying it.
They also discovered that Black Annie’s real name was Annie Wilcox, she was born in Cornwall and had moved north after her parents’ death in 1580. Four years later, she was convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to death. She was no more than twenty years old when she was burned at the stake and buried in Beck Green. She became known as Black Annie following her celebrated cursing of Sir Edward Black.
Finally, they discovered that Sir Edward Black lived in Wisels Wood Manor, near the village of Beck Green. After the fire shortly after Annie’s death, the manor was never rebuilt and the land was sold. The land was presently in the possession of a Major Randolph Northcote (Ret.), who was living in Hunter’s Lodge, which at one time had been part of the original manor.
An interview with Josephine did not reveal much of interest, other than that she confirmed that she had not seen the ghosts clearly, but had felt their presence and had glimpsed movements out of the corner of her eye. The woman had worked for the Blacks for some twelve years and was very fond of her employers, she had had no history of psychic abilities and her only living relative was an aunt who lived in the centre of Matlock. They could tell that Josephine was quite scared and was concerned both for herself and for her employers.

The night passed without incident, however upon waking up, both Penelope and Jonathan discovered that the apples in their rooms had indeed gone rotten.
Following a large breakfast of eggs and bacon, which Josephine had bought due to all of the food going off each night, Jacob Black headed off to work and both Penelope and Jonathan met up with Arthur and Isaac.
Heading to Matlock Library, the investigators made the acquaintance of Old George Chappel, a white haired, leather skinned sage of a man with a determined stoop and shock of snowy hair. Nobody knew how old George actually was, with guesses being anywhere in between 75 and 110, but whatever his age, George had lived in the same small cottage that he had always lived in and walked the seven miles (each way) between there and the library every day, without missing a day’s work, not for rain nor snow and had even been known to work at weekends.
With Old George’s help, the investigators managed to find several pieces of useful information.
They discovered in the diary of a Samuel Jones, that on 15th July 1584 Annie Wilcox had been burned at the stake and that her remains were buried in an unmarked grave outside the grounds of St. Michael’s Chapel in Beck Green, however they could find no information regarding St. Michael’s Chapel, with Old George himself not ever having heard of it before. He knew that the church in Beck Green was called St. Martin’s Church.
A short article on historical Derbyshire noted that the Five Oaks Inn at Beck Green was originally a farmhouse. The farm (Five Oaks Farm) dated back to before the Norman conquest and had an entry in the Domesday Book. From a book about public houses, the investigators learnt that the Five Oaks got its name from the farm that preceded it and that the farm took its name from several prominent oak trees in the nearby woods.
A small guide detailing several walks in Derbyshire mentioned one around Beck Green. At one point, the walk skirted around the edge of Wisels Wood, and readers were advised against exploring the wood as it contained several treacherous marshes.
The only interesting event in the area during recent years that they could discovered was a series of newspaper articles that shed light on the Wolf Murders that occurred during the winter of 1852. They learnt that over a period of several months farmers were discovering the carcasses of sheep, torn apart by some wild animal. Several hunts were organised, and a number of wild dogs were found and killed, but the killings continued until April 1852 when they mysteriously stopped.

Having exhausted the library, the investigators had lunch at the Crown Hotel and then headed over to Matlock Antiques. Matlock Antiques was a small shop in the centre of town and dealt in old furniture, strange articles, and the sorts of odds and ends people accumulate through years of living. Inside was a treasure trove for those interested in curiosities and trinkets, its shelves overflowing with items for sale. Here could be purchased civil war breastplates, ancient pipes, old muskets, porcelain mugs and all sorts of furniture.
Friendly and likeable, Jonathan Freeman had an obvious flair for history and antiques. He knew little of the Wolf Murders, considering them to have been nothing more than attacks by wild dogs and unfortunately he could not add anything more to their knowledge regarding Black Annie, Sir Edward Black, St. Michael’s Chapel or Beck Green, other than their formidable cricket team.

Consequently the investigators decided to head back to Black’s house where an early night would be in order as it was decided that they would hire a cab the following day and make the ten mile journey to Beck Green in order to see what they could find out regarding St. Michael’s Chapel as well as to examine the ruins of Wisels Wood Manor and to speak to Northcote, the owner of the land that it stood on as well as the resident of Hunter’s Lodge.
It was decided that on the offchance of there being any trouble that Isaac would stay at the house that night, with Jonathan staying at the Crown Hotel along with Arthur.
That night, both Penelope and Arthur had strange realistic dreams, with Penelope dreaming that her bed was on fire and Arthur dreaming of a werewolf crashing through the window and lunging in to attack him.

The next morning, Isaac was alerted to a scream that came from downstairs. Josephine had discovered several inverted pentagrams carved into many surfaces in the dining room and other rooms. It was also noticed that other inverted pentagrams were dotted around the house, with one being carved inches above the headboard over where Penelope had been sleeping.
Josephine was very scared and was seriously considering leaving the house, but Isaac managed to persuade her to stay, telling her that it was in more likelihood safer there, especially as Black was determined that the effects of the curse were not going to force him out of his own home.

Shortly after breakfast, Penelope and Isaac met up with Arthur and Jonathan and the group headed off to Beck Green, a trip that took a couple of hours to complete.
Arriving at Beck Green, a small village some ten miles from Matlock and inside the boundaries of the Peak District, they discovered that the village consisted of a few dozen houses congregating around the village green, a church and a pub. Upon the green was a perfect cricket pitch.
It was noticed that the village had suffered a recent storm, within the past couple of months and that many of the houses had a small recess to the side of the front door, many of which contained a small amount of food and a little milk or beer. They asked the cabbie if he would stay at Beck Green so that he could give them a ride back whilst they went to investigate.

Jonathan and Isaac headed over to St. Martin’s Church, which was set in a small peaceful graveyard dominated by a number of elderly oaks. It was a small stone Anglican church bedecked with leering gargoyles about two hundred years in age. Wandering through the graveyard, they identified several graves belonging to the Blacks, several of which predated the church such as that which belonged to Sir Edward Black.
Heading into the church they were met by Father Martin Allan Green, an Irish immigrant who had been the local parish clergyman for a couple of years. He had never heard of a St. Michael’s Chapel, informing them that before the church was built, there was a St. Martin’s Chapel there. He had heard of Black Annie, but did not believe that she was buried there, but unfortunately the records did not go back that far. He informed them that the best source of knowledge in the village would probably be John Smith, the owner of the Five Oaks Inn. The only other information that Green gave them was that he was the opening batsman for the village cricket team and that with regards to the small recesses by the front doors of the houses, he had been reliably informed that they were for the ‘little people’, something of a rural superstition and that of course he did not subscribe to it, having noticed that local cats looked somewhat plump, he was certain that it wasn’t ‘little people’ feasting.
Heading over to the Five Oaks Inn and ordering a pint each of ‘Five Oaks’ which was brewed on the premises they made the acquaintance of John Smith the local publican and a huge barrel of a man with a booming laugh. He ran the pub almost single-handed, with just the help of his fifteen year old daughter, Emily.
Other than showing them the parts of the inn that dated back to the 11th Century, Smith proved to be not all that knowledgeable, and could add nothing to the knowledge already acquired by the investigators other than informing them that he was one of the cricket team’s top bowlers.

Meanwhile, Arthur and Penelope had headed over to Hunter’s Lodge to meet its owner and resident, Randolph Northcote.
Hunter’s Lodge was once within the original Wisels Wood Manor grounds, and was now the only part still standing. It, and the grounds upon which the manor once stood, were now owned by Major Randolph Northcote (Ret.). Northcote was living comfortably on the land that he rented to local farmers. He also had a number of other businesses, and was known to be a keen historian.
Hunter’s Lodge was a small cottage with ample room for a retired army major living on his own. The lodge sat in a wild, untamed garden where the only victors after ten years of neglect were the brambles and nettles. It was clear that gardening was not one of Northcote’s strengths. Wisels Wood could be seen from the garden, in fact Hunter’s Lodge was the closest intact building to the wood.
Calling upon Northcote, they were shown in and he was found to be amiable host. However, Penelope recognised Northcote as being a member of the Golden Dawn, which he confirmed that he was in fact a former member of the Golden Dawn, having joined in the summer of 1891, but resigned in the autumn of 1893. He had applied for Inner Order membership, but had been rejected, and had apparently resigned in disgust. He openly informed them that it was the Irish Nationalist politics of both Yeats and Mathers that had led to the denial of his application, but he claimed to have held no grudges against them.
Northcote, a stout, garrulous ex-soldier was gruff in his way, but also possessed a very keen intellect. He was portly, redfaced and balding, yet still powerful looking. He wore a flaring moustache and a fine country suit.
Inside the Lodge, the house was almost worse than the garden. Apart from the rooms that Northcote clearly lived in, the house was cluttered, untidy and very dusty. It had suffered the same decade of neglect that the garden had, the drawing room however was a shrine to patriotism, bedecked with souvenirs from his army days. Oil paintings of famous battle scenes hung on the walls and a portrait of Queen Victoria dominated the room, flanked by the Union Jack and his regimental banner. The study contained a single desk that was surrounded by books, which were mostly history books, covering a variety of subjects such as armour, weaponry, castles and archaeology. Curiously there were two large trunks there sitting open on the floor and many books had been removed from the shelves and stacked haphazardly into the trunks. Northcote explained that he was moving some of his books to his London residence on Primrose Hill, but that he was not moving out of the Lodge altogether, however.
Grateful for the intellectual company, Northcote poured brandies for his guests and happily answered their questions.
He knew that Hunter’s Lodge was all that remained of the Black family’s property in Beck Green, with the original Wisels Wood Manor being a burnt ruin elsewhere on his property. He was more than happy for Arthur and Penelope to go and explore the ruins, but he himself was too busy with packing to accompany them. He also knew of the Black Family Curse, but had not paid much attention to it or of the legend of Black Annie, which Arthur was surprised to hear seeing that Northcote had an interest in history. He just informed them that the legend had just held no interest to him.
He claimed to know nothing about St. Michael’s Chapel, but Arthur could tell that he was concealing something, but decided that it would be improper to try to push him on the subject.
He had not heard anything of the Wolf Murders of 1852 and warned them from straying into Wisels Wood due to the many marshes located inside, that were very treacherous.
Upon leaving Northcote, Arthur mused about the possibility of Northcote being a werewolf, possibly the cause of the nightmare that he had had the previous night.
Heading into the overgrown grounds, Arthur and Penelope made their way to the ruins of Wisels Wood Manor. What little was left of Wisels Wood Manor stood alongside a ploughed field, which belonged to Northcote, but was rented out to a nearby farm.
The manor was little more than a gutted, charred ruin, overgrown with ivy and nettles. Beams from the upper stories had plunged down to the ground, making passage through the ruin difficult and dangerous and so it was decided that Arthur would venture inside while Penelope waited for him.
As he made his way inside the ruin, Arthur came across a fairly sturdy looking stone staircase that led to a crumbling upper floor.
Up on the upper floor, Arthur noted that he could clearly see Wisels Wood through a gap in the wall. He could make out a strange thick golden haze hanging over it, somewhat like a heat haze.
In one of the more intact rooms, Arthur found a painted fresco that was adorning a wall. Both the wall and fresco were charred, crumbling and peeling. In fact upon closer inspection the fresco proved to be painted atop a second one, of a very similar scene which was visible where the plaster had fallen away.
The topmost scene depicted a wounded knight cradled in the arms of a priest. Around them other knights fought a pitched battle against classical demon figures with horns, wings and barbed tails before a bright blue sky. In the priest’s hands was a golden chalice that glowed with a saintly aura, healing the unfortunate knight.
The second scene underneath showed that the priest had been replaced by a wizened old man; while frail his eyes were piercing and powerful. The subtle wounds of the wounded knight were gone, replaced by gory slashes of mortal combat: most of one side of his face was missing, the eye dangling free on its stalk. Around these figures the demons were gone, replaced by warriors bearing the heraldry of early Christendom. They were fighting a desperate battle against men who should be dead, with limbs rent from their bodies, their necks broken and their faces shattered by weapons of war.
Arthur led Penelope up to the fresco and the two of them agreed that it may have been some kind of depiction of the legendary King Arthur.

After finishing up at the ruin, Arthur and Penelope met up with Jonathan and Isaac at the Five Oaks Inn and they headed back to Matlock, where it was decided, that after the events of the previous night that they would take it in turns to stay up through part of the night in order to keep watch.
At Black’s home they discovered a telegram waiting for them, having been sent by Alastar Maloney from London. The telegram informed the investigators that he had been unable to meet with Westcott regarding the original star chart that they had picked up back in 1890 during Case 001 – The Haunting and that he was heading up to Matlock on an early morning train, due to arrive at Matlock at just gone 10am.

That night, whilst Penelope and Isaac were on watch, the house was disturbed by the arrival of Jacob Black’s dog. It was quite dead having had its neck broke and it’s innards were hanging outside of the body. Isaac tried to attack it with the use of his sabre, and Penelope shot at it. The sounds of the commotion roused the other members of the household, with both Jonathan and Arthur heading downstairs to help the others.
Eventually the zombie dog was destroyed and the investigators searched around the house trying to figure out how it could have gotten inside as the outside doors had both been locked. However, it was soon found that the house was riddled with many small holes about the size of mouse holes, all approximately 2 to 3 inches in height and about 1 to 2 inches in width and so accordingly they set about blocking as many of these holes as they possibly could.
After some time, it was apparent that they were not having any success in tracking down the creators of the holes and so after disposing of the dog’s carcass, they went back to bed, with Isaac and Penelope being both exceptionally vigilant in case of any further attack.
Suddenly there was the sound of a crashing through one of the downstairs windows and Isaac, followed by both Jonathan and Arthur went to investigate, with Penelope heading over from the kitchen area. At the foot of the stairs they came face to face with a Werewolf, which they quickly dispatched. The dead figure then changed into Northcote, before Arthur woke and realised that it had all been a dream. There had been no werewolf, or a crashing through the windows.
Later that night whilst both Penelope and Isaac slept, Arthur, who was keeping watch on the first floor saw ten little figures open the door to Penelope’s room. Shooting at them with his shotgun, they scattered, with three heading towards him, another three running into Penelope’s room, a further two running into Isaac’s room and a final two heading into Jacob Black’s room.
The figures were identified as Witch-Kin and a major fight erupted, with all of the comabatants finding it exceptionally hard to hit the small creatures as they were extremely fast and agile, but eventually the investigators managed to prevail, having only taken a few minor injuries in the process, which were treated by Arthur.

The rest of the night passed and the following morning it was decided that Jacob Black would catch the train to Derby in order to visit his wife Victoria, who was staying with her mother and that Josephine, the maid, would go to stay with her aunt in the centre of Matlock. In the meantime, the investigators would meet Alastar at the station and then hire the carriage driver again in order to take them back to Beck Green after a detour in order to pick up the necessary supplies that they would need for venturing through Wisels Wood.
Upon reaching Matlock in the morning, Alastar decided that he would stay at the hotel rather than accompanying the others to Wisels Wood, insisting that he would only slow them down, and so it was decided that Isaac, Jonathan, Penelope and Arthur would head over to Beck Green and then make their way into Wisels Wood.

Heading past Hunter’s Lodge, they could tell that it appeared that Northcote had already left. There was no smoke coming from the chimney and the house looked to be somewhat deserted. After deciding against breaking into Northcote’s house they continued onto the forest itself, reaching a small clearing on the edge of the forest, with what appeared to be a recently felled oak tree in the centre. Upon examining the oak, Jonathan found several species of fungi that he was sure were previously unknown and a holy cross was also discovered to have been carved into the trunk of the tree. Looking around, another cross was discovered on another tree and then another and it quickly became apparent that this was some kind of guide, which they decided to follow.
Walking through the forest, following the crosses, they first came upon a stagnant lake, in the middle of which was a strange tree that quivered and shook, reaching out to the investigators. Consequently it was decided to skirt round the edge of the lake.
Continuing on they came across an old ruined house, inside was a man, quite dead, a plantlike substance growing from out of his wide open mouth and a variety of fungus like growths attached to him. The man was wearing clothes that were of a fashion of some hundred years earlier.
As they left the house, a beating could be heard from underneath them, it sounded suspiciously like a heart that was beating. The sound continued for a couple of hours at which point the investigators realised that they had been travelling through the wood for far longer than they should have been.
Coming across a mighty oak in the forest, they discovered that it was covered with a huge red fungus like growth, and that the growth was spreading out to the other nearby trees.
As they moved further along they came across another clearing, this one had a few marshes and individual trees inside it, when suddenly the wind picked up, gathering twigs and other forest debris together and coalescing into the shape of a giant wolf. The wolf began charging at the investigators, making a beeline for Arthur as they all attempted to shoot at it. Penelope realised that it could be what a being that is commonly referred to as the spirit of the forest. Eventually the investigators managed to destroy it, but not before Isaac was trampled and badly injured.
After debating as to whether they should go back or continue, they decided to press on, eventually coming across a small chapel, which they realised must be St. Michael’s Chapel. The first thing that they noticed was that one of the unmarked graves outside had not only been dug the ‘wrong way round’, but had also been dug out from the inside, something had crawled out of it, in all likelihood Black Annie.

Penelope touched the wall of the chapel and was rewarded with a vision of its past.
The vision began with the Norman construction of the chapel, probably during the late 11th or early 12th Century, complete with a sheela na gig over the main entrance. Not long after its construction, a group of monks travel to the chapel and place a shrouded man into the crypt. The only odd thing about the monks was that they did not seem to be carrying any religious symbolism. Each monk touched the sheela na gig.
As the years went on, the chapel was regularly used, though never by many people at any one time.
Penelope next received a vision of the burning and subsequent burial of Black Annie as overseen by Sir Edward Black in 1584. Followed a short time later by a group of witch hunters. The witch hunters had not been in the chapel for long when they were set upon by invisible beasts. The beasts tore through the witch hunters, leaving the body of one still kneeling at a pew, the head taken clean off.
The chapel then fell into disuse, with very no visitors for hundreds of years, curiously though, the amount of decay that it suffers seemed to be minimal.
Finally in recent times, she witnessed Randolph Northcote walk into the chapel and go to the tomb of the original occupant. Then breaking open the tomb and leaving with a long haired and bearded man. The man appeared to be somewhat weak as if he’d been roused from a deep sleep, but Northcote helped him away from the chapel. Penelope was at a loss as to who the man could be.
Not long after Northcote leaving, Black Annie slowly crawled from her grave, she was quite a savage sight, dishevelled, filthy, her skin blackened from the burning and one of her eyes just a swollen mass of puss. She made he way away from the chapel, heading in the opposite direction to that which Northcote had taken.

After Penelope’s vision, both Arthur and Jonathan headed inside and discovered that the chapel was exactly how Penelope had described it. They found the body of one of the witch hunters and just in front of him was a strange looking compass-like device, which they realised was in actual fact a witch-fynder, however it was broken. The witch-fynder had some script on it, but it was not in any language that the investigators knew.
Looking around they found the tomb and Jonathan did some rubbings before they both headed back outside.
After leaving the chapel, it was decided that they would return back to Matlock especially as Isaac was too heavily injured to continue and they did not want to risk encountering Black Annie in such a depleted state. However, as they headed out of the forest they realised that whilst they thought that they had been inside for about six hours, it had in fact been three times as long, suddenly they were beginning to feel hungry, but fortunately they had packed lunches which were promptly consumed.
Understandably the carriage driver from Matlock had left and so they went to Beck Green, where they bought a meal, with lodgings, from the inn and asked if somebody could give them a lift back to Matlock after breakfast.

Upon arriving back at the hotel, Arthur discovered that there was a telegram waiting for him. Reading it, he found out that Jacob Black had been kidnapped from his in-law’s home in Derby in the night. The telegram suggested that some flying creature had borne him away.
Telegrams were sent to London asking other society members if they could lend assistance as they knew that they needed to head back to the forest to take on Black Annie, but Isaac was in no fit state to accompany them. Only Edith Wakefield was available.
In the meantime, another telegram was sent to London, asking Lilith Harrington and Lord Christopher Chumly if they could track down Northcote and find out what he was up to.
In the meantime, whilst the rest of the investigators retired to get some sleep, Alastar headed out into Matlock to pay Jonathan Freeman a visit in order to get his thoughts on the witch-fynder and sword that had been recovered from the chapel.
Freeman was quite excited by the finds that were presented to him and he informed Alastar that he could repair the witch-fynder. The sword he estimated to be from around the 13th Century and to have been a Templar sword, it was in an extremely good state of repair.
Alastar retired to a nearby public house whilst he waited for Freeman to do his work on the witch-fynder, and a few hours later it had been repaired.
Later that day the investigators met Edith and it was decided that Arthur, Jonathan, Penelope and Edith would head back into the forest, armed with the witch-fynder, which was indeed working, and attempt to find and destroy Black Annie as well as rescue Jacob Black. Despite his protestations it was decided that due to his wounds Isaac would stay at the hotel.

Having hired another carriage, the investigators made their way back to Beck Green and decided that they would call on Northcote on the way to the forest, however, it was discovered that Northcote was not at home and so they decided to break into his house.
There was not much to find in his house, however, a painting of St. Michael’s Chapel by an unknown artist named Melinda Pryce was certainly of interest, the painting clearly showed several of the nearby trees marked with crosses. Also of interest they discovered that Northcote was a Freemason, he had left his ring in one of his drawers and consequently this too was taken.
Finding little else of interest, they decided to head off for the forest and followed the same trail to the chapel that they had followed the day before. Fortunately, they did not encounter the Spirit of the Forest again.
Getting their bearing from the chapel, they used the witch-fynder to eventually locate Black Annie’s bower.
The first thing that they saw was a small ramshackle cottage in the centre of the clearing that was little more than a pile of stones, then they saw several human skins attached to trees flapping in the wind and then a terrible squawking was head as they noticed several pheasant heads that had been nailed to posts begin an awful cacophony, clearly meant to be an alarm at the investigators’ approach.
Next they noticed Jacob Black hanging upside down from a tree, blood trickling from several small wounds. They noticed that his feet had been nailed to a branch.
Suddenly a flapping was heard by both Arthur and Penelope as they were set upon by humanoid, birdlike flying creature, that was later identified by Alastar as being a Byakhee. Despite being shot at by both Arthur and Penelope the creature bore down on Edith, severely injuring her and sending her into a state of shock.
The creature was soon dispatched by Arthur just as Annie herself appeared from her cottage, she was muttering and cackling, when suddenly Penelope collapsed onto the floor into a fetal position. Both Jonathan and Arthur charged at the witch and blasting her with their guns. Arthur then proceeding to blow the body into pieces to be sure.
After killing Annie, they managed to lower Jacob from the tree and Arthur set about healing both Edith and Jacob, whilst Jonathan investigated the cottage, in which he found some cauldrons bubbling.
After setting up a campsite a short distance away from Black Annie’s bower, it was decided that they would empty one of the cauldrons and scoop the remains of Annie into it and to take it with them. The logistics however proved to be difficult as they had two people that were incapable of movement and Edith was still severely injured. Consequently it was decided that as Jonathan and Arthur needed to carry the cauldron between them, they would leave Edith to guard both Penelope and Jacob at the campsite whilst they would take the cauldron to the chapel.
In the meantime, back in Matlock, Isaac had become quite concerned that the others were taking a very long time to return and so decided to head off to Beck Green and then on to the forest to see what had become of them. Reaching the forest he made his way to the chapel, but failed to discover any tracks and so consequently waited.
Eventually Arthur and Jonathan made their way back to the chapel where they found Isaac waiting for them, they informed him what had happened and so it was decided that they would leave the cauldron at the chapel with Jonathan whilst Arthur and Isaac headed back to the campsite in order to get the others.
Having retrieved Edith and the others, they all eventually left the forest, where they discovered that the best part of three days had passed since they had entered. Whilst the others succumbed to fatigue. After checking on Annie’s remains and discovering that they had disintegrated into powder and a cloud of smoke had dispersed from them, Arthur headed back to Beck Green and with the help of some of the local villagers fetched the others. They then stayed at the inn for the rest of the day, where it was discovered that Jacob had actually weathered his ordeal fairly well, but Penelope had succumbed to a strange malady where she refused to believe in anything supernatural and so consequently it was decided that upon their return to London, a short stay at St. Luke’s would be in order for her.

Hell Hath No Fury Epilogue

Back in London, Lilith and Chumley had tracked Northcote down to his residence on Primrose Hill and questioned him. The meeting did not go too well and if it hadn’t been for the intervention of Lilith there would in all likelihood been an altercation between Northcote and Chumley.
Northcote refused to inform them of what he had been doing and instead gave Lilith a warning, telling her to be wary of the Golden Dawn.
Lilith headed back to the Golden Dawn and met up with William Butler Yeats, informing him of what Northcote had said. Yeats informed her that it would be difficult to be able to do anything or prove anything, but he would also keep an eye out for Northcote. However, as Northcote was no longer a member of the Golden Dawn and had indeed never been a member of the Inner Order there was very little that could be done.

When the rest of the investigators returned to London they spoke to Westcott, informing him of the success of their investigation. Westcott told them that he had been informed by Yeats about Northcote and that he would try to find out what he could, but feared that there would be little that could be achieved.
The investigators showed Westcott the Astrological Chart that Alastar had drawn from memory from their encounter with Walter Corbitt during the events of Case 001 – The Haunting back in 1890. Westcott was visibly shocked and asked them where they had got it from. He informed them that he knew what it was, but was at this time, due to vows he had taken, unable to reveal its significance to them. He informed them that it was of knowledge that could only be revealed to members of the Golden Dawn of a certain standing. When asked if he minded that they continued their enquiries into the chart, he informed them that they were free to investigate it.

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Case 009 - The Golden Dawn: The Room Beyond

September 1893

It was September 23rd, 1893, the investigators had gathered together along with the rest of the members of The Golden Dawn in celebration of the Autumnal Equinox ritual. It was the first such ritual that the investigators had attended.

When the time to begin the ritual had arrived, the officers appeared in robes while the other members, including the investigators, entered in gowns and took seats according to their grades. Inner Members sat in the East, Philosopji in the South, Practici and Theorici in the West, Zelatores and Neophytes in the North. Initially, the Hierophant was joined by the Hegemon, the Hiereus, the Kerux, the Stolistes and the Dadouchos; the ritual officers of the temple and they led the first part of the ceremony. In addition, the Phylax (a member thus enshrined for this particular ritual) stood outside to guard against intruders.
To start the proceedings, the members went through the opening ritual of the Neophyte grade, which was familiar to all present. The officers then recognised the arrival of the equinox, and also laid the temple’s previous password to rest and announced the new one. In this case, the new password was ‘Vitae’ (Latin for ‘life’). Then, the Praemonstratix announced the new ritual officers of the temple for the next six months. All Outer Order members then exited, leaving only the Inner Order members in the temple for a short time.
The Outer Order members then re-entered the temple where the Hierophant made a declaration of service, and then made official the rest of the ritual officers for the next six months. The ritual closed with the closing ritual of the Neophyte grade. The whole ritual took the better part of an hour.

Following the equinox ritual, the members gathered freely to mingle and chat, however, during the course of this, Bob Shire, Edith, Lilith Harrington and Lord Christopher Chumly were all handed personalised envelopes by Frater DEDI (William Butler Yeats), an Inner Order member and they were all asked by Yeats not to open the envelope until they were alone.

At home that evening, the four investigators opened their envelopes. Within each was a request from Yeats to meet him at Constantine’s, a fashionable restaurant in the Strand, the following evening. The letter stated that a private room had been hired for their meeting and that it was imperative that they mentioned it to nobody, not even fellow Golden Dawn members. It also stated that the request was to be considered a direct order by a member of superior status, in regards to a matter of secret Golden Dawn business.

At Constantine, Yeats greeted the group in his cultured Irish accent and thanked them for coming. He made small talk about the news and weather while the waiter bustled around taking their orders.
Once the waiter had left, the poet’s manner grew serious. He told the investigators that there was a matter worthy of the Golden Dawn’s attention, one that, for reasons he could not divulge, could not go before the membership at large. Therefore, he had selected them to assist him in looking into the matter. He swore them all to secrecy on the spot.
Once an oath had been sworn, Yeats explained the situation. A young man and recent heir to his father’s estate had contacted Yeats through an intermediary. The man, Lord Arthur Pellgraine, desired to be a member of the Golden Dawn. But not just any member, he wanted to start at the grade of Adeptus Minor, the starting grade of the Inner Order! Such a request would normally be an impossibility, save one thing: young Lord Pellgraine had happened upon a family secret, one which he felt sure would provide the Dawn with a substantial body of heretofore unknown occult knowledge. In exchange for revealing this secret, and if indeed it was as significant as he claimed, he would be introduced into the Inner Order.
At this, Lillith was mortified, she had recently failed an exam to progress within the ranks of the Golden Dawn and felt that it would be wrong for someone to gain admittance directly into the Inner Order. A viewpoint that Yeats took note of and informed her that he was looking into the matter with an open mind, informing her that the sensitivity of the situation was what had prompted him to assemble the group. Should Pellgraine’s proposal turn out to be worthless, the Dawn would be spared humiliation and dissension among the membership at even considering such a deal. Should it appeared to have had merit, however, time must have been taken to verify that what Pellgraine were to give them was of value, and to work out how he was to be brought into the Inner Order.
Yeats went on to explain that Pellgraine had requested that he and whomever he chose to accompany him would visit the Pellgraine estate at Loughton the following evening. This established, the group enjoyed a hearty dinner.

The investigators knew a little about the Pellgraine family. The minor family had been among the nobility since the early 1700s. The family was known for its lack of growth in recent years, with two successive generations of sole heirs keeping the fortune consolidated but stagnant. Young Arthur was not well-liked by his elders, although his peers tended to think him a jolly sort and appreciated his loose purse-strings.
It was also known that Arthur was the sole son and heir of the late Reginald Pellgraine, who had perished a few months earlier in a carriage accident. Arthur had a reputation as a rake and a playboy and had been on the hushed-up side of not a few scandals in recent years. The family was reasonably wealthy and old but not well-connected or well-known. It was considered by most to be sliding steadily downhill, especially since Arthur became lord of the manor. It was alos known that Arthur had for the past few years, been one of many social fireflies on the fringes of the London occult societies. He liked to affect a ‘wicked’ air – mostly to feed his ego and impress young women. He was taken seriously by no one, but was tolerated, with some seeing him as a potential source of funding for ‘research’ down the road.

The following evening, Bob drove the investigators along with Yeats to the Pellgraine estate at Loughton, roughly an hour’s drive to the northeast of London. By the time that they had arrived at the roomy manor of late 17th century construction, sunset had only just occurred.
They were greeted warmly by Arthur Pellgraine as the servants took their hats and coats, before showing them into the parlour where refreshments were served. Pellgraine fidgeted while the servants bustled about, responding politely to small talk but obviously anxious to broach the matter at hand. Once the servants had gone he did so.
The story he related was that his grandfather, Thomas Pellgraine, a sorcerer of substantial power, encountered his wife in bed with a servant. Outraged, he called upon his magicks to make the man vanish, and indeed he was never seen again. Thomas told the other servants that the man was caught stealing and fled. This was the most overt use of Thomas’ powers, and it cowed his wife into subservience.
Not long thereafter, Thomas’ experiments with the ‘Outside’ got the better of him. He summoned up a creature of such strength and power that he could not control it, and it tore him to shreds.
At this, Yeats nodded and muttered to himself, whispering a self-admonition, ‘Do not call up any that you cannot put down’.
Arthur then repeated a story heard from a maid as a youth – that the servant who cleaned the room where Thomas was killed worked for a week at the bloodstains but every morning they returned fresh. On discovering this, Thomas’ wife insisted that the study be closed and sealed forevermore. It was this final horror that broke her mind, Arthur confided with not a little relish. She was committed to an asylum shortly thereafter.
This then, was the secret: the late occultist Thomas Pellgraine’s magickal study had remained sealed for more than five decades. Its contents, Arthur was certain, included his grandfather’s grimoires and occult possessions, no doubt including his own personal record of experiments, which in turn no doubt includes the very means by which he dispatched his rival, and brought doom upon himself.
Yeats was visibly excited by the end of the tale. Arthur informed them that his father had burned Thomas’ papers, but that his grandmother Andrea’s diary remained in the library. A servant was sent to retrieve it for later perusal.

The group assembled on the first floor of the mansion in front of a bare wall. Arthur had one of the servants, Steed, present with a sledgehammer. Upon Arthur’s signal, the servant got to work.
It took Steed just three smashes int the plaster to reveal a wooden door beyond, it was immediately apparent that the door was in a different style than the rest of those on the same floor.
On the door rested a large crucifix, apparently cast of solid silver, attached with brackets and nails. Below the crucifix was a hand-scrawled inscription in ink: ‘May the Lord’s good grace watch over this damned room, and may He forgive the folly of those who enter’.
Arthur laughed at the inscription and presently the door was unlocked and opened. As the door swung open, a moist smell emerged, tickling the noses of those assembled. Bringing a lantern into the room, it was immediately visible that there was a patch of fresh blood upon the floor as well as more spatters across the walls. Upon seeing the blood, Arthur, visibly shaken said quietly ‘By God, the bitch told the truth!’.
Other than the fresh blood, it was noted that the room contained a large work-table covered with bottles and jars resembling a primitive chemistry set-up and Thomas Pellgraine’s journal. The only other item of signicance was a sizable bookcase sagging with moldering volumes, all of which predated 1845, which Yeats laid claim to for the Golden Dawn.
Lillith set about skimming the diary of Andrea Pellgraine and the journal of Thomas Pellgraine as the investigators with Yeats and Arthur sat downstairs in the parlour. Arthur quickly poured himself a glass of brandy as he was still visibly shocked from the sight of the fresh blood.

During her perusal of Andrea Pellgraine’s diary, Lillith discovered that the household of Thomas and Andrea Pellgraine was a very unhappy place, with neither being fond of the other. Both Pellgraine’s cultivated their own stable of servants to meet the needs of both the estate as well as their own sexual needs. However, upon hiring Robert, a valet, Andrea had truly fallen in love. Their love affair was doomed however, when during a liason between Andrea and Robert, Thomas appeared out of thin air and made Robert disappear. This event clearly unhinged Andrea and she was convinced that Thomas was invisibly watching her most of the time, with her slipping into his study, when Thomas was drunk, and reading his occult researches in an attempt to bring Robert back. Eventually, she succeeded in bringing back a thing that appeared like Robert but was certainly not her lover. The creature tore through the house, killing Thomas in his study after having killed three of the servants on the way. Andrea did have enough strength of mind to send the creature back, however, she was not convinced that she had done it correctly. Her last diary entry told of how she had ordered a servant to seal up the room for good, whilst she waited to be taken away to the asylum, where she died several months later.

A perusal of the contents of Thomas Pellgraine’s journal, a sheaf of about forty loose sheets of fine writing paper tied between two heavy boards, revealed that Thomas Pellgraine believed another world existed parallel to ours, and that it was from this world that all manifestations of the supernatural originated. His research led him to the astral plane. His notes were not a diary as such, however he did digress over the subject of having sent ‘that bastard Robert’ into the aether where ‘he met with the hungry ones and the thief of form’.

Having settled all of this, the investigators and Yeats, bid Pellgraine farewell and headed back to London and their homes. The night passed without incident, however come dawn, things were somewhat less simple.

Bob awoke to find himself naked and lying under his bed, he figured out that somehow during the night he had passed through his mattress and ended up on the floor underneath the bed. Chumly awoke as per usual and headed downstairs for his breakfast when he was greeted by the screams of the maid, he suddenly realised that he was naked and realised that he had somehow woken up and passed through both his nightshirt and the bedclothes. Lilith awoke to discover that the bed sheets were covered in blood, upon inspection she noticed that the blood was welling up from her skin though no wound was apparent.
Edith however awoke to find that she was in a purplish cloudy environment, with a little concentration she could determine that she was still in her room and that she was naked, having got up from the bed and passed right through her nightclothes. Heading downstairs she tried to attract the attention of her mother, but was unable to do so, eventually deciding to head to the club house and await the other investigators.
Yeats had contacted Bob, Chumly and Lilith, he too had experienced strange effects and had reasoned that it must have been tied in with the visit to the Pellgraine estate the previous night. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to contact Edith, leaving her mother bemused as to where she had gone. They decided to head over to the club house on the off chance that Edith was already there.
At the club house, Edith in astral form tried to contact Lilith but was unable to do so, meanwhile Yeats and the others decided to head over to the Pellgraine estate as quick as possible and so Bob drove there as fast as he could. Bizarrely, Edith found that she could run alongside the carriage at the same speed.

Eventually everybody made it to the Pellgraine estate. From her position on the astral plane, Edith could make out a bright light coming from the estate and reasoned that it may indeed have been a gate, probably based in the previously sealed study.
As the carriage pulled up the drive, the investigators could not fail to notice the body lying in the grass, about fifteen feet away from the front of the house. A window on the first floor was shattered, the curtains billowing in the breeze. Emerging from the carriage, the investigators found that the body was that of a young woman in maid’s clothing, with shards of glass surrounding her. Her face had been bitten dozens of times and the flesh was torn and bleeding, her eyes had been bitten out, and her clothes were bloody and torn from as many as a dozen small wounds, finally her neck had been broken from the fall from the window. Upon seeing this Chumly temporarily broke down into tears, however, he quickly composed himself and the investigators decided to press onwards into the manor.

As they entered the hallway, the investigators witnessed the bizarre sight of a man’s arm emerging from the ceiling and dangling, yet there was no hole in the ceiling. The arm simply protruded as if it was part of the plaster. A ring on the hand identified the owner as Arthur Pellgraine, the fingers were twitching and spasming intermittently.
On their way upstairs, the investigators were first attacked by a strange flying creature formed of numerous flaps and half-circles, something like a flower blossom, or a loosely-connected stack of dark-coloured discs. It drifted through the air, swirling furiously, with the edges of the flaps ridged with sharp points.
After this, they were attacked by a flying serpent-shaped beast, about a foot and a half in length. The beast was fleshy coloured with no visible eyes or other sensory apparatus. One end of its body tapered to a point, while the other was simply a blunt mouth lined with numerous tiny teeth.
The third creature to attack them was a gaggle of spindly legs that ran across the floor. In the centre of the creature was a gooey mass from which the legs protruded.
All three creatures were however, easily dispatched by the investigators, however on the astral plane, Edith had somehow managed to attract the attention of one of the flower blossom creatures and it chased her into the study, where she reappeared on the physical plane. Unfortunately for Edith however, in the study was a strange humanoid creature, whose features kept morphing into those of two men, one of whom was clearly some relation of Arthur Pellgraine’s. The surface of the creature’s flesh displayed a variety of textures and appendages, with its arms ending in ridged surfaces.
Meanwhile, the other investigators and Yeats had found the unfortunate Arthur Pellgraine, lying within the floor of his bedroom, having dropped partway through. His arm protruded into the foyer below, his right leg and torso as well as his right ear were stuck within the thickness of the floor and ceiling and the rest of him was there emerging from the floorboards. His body was a mass of bites and gouges and the floor around him was bloody with spray, his breathing was constrained due to his right lung being intersected by the floor. The room stunk horribly from the voiding of his bowels and the man was completely and hopelessly insane.
The creature was attacking Edith in the study and she was defending herself as best she could, as the rest of the investigators heard the sounds of a fight. They ran to the study and opening the door they could see the naked Edith trying to kick the creature as it lunged at her. Upon seeing this, Chumly collapsed into a fetal position and Bob ran hysterically from the scene, tearing off his clothes as he fled from the house and towards nearby Epping Forest. Meanwhile Lilith, who had retained her senses, began shooting at the creature in the hopes that she could prevent Edith from being killed. Yeats having assessed the situation proceeded to cast a Hexagram Ritual to try to seal the breach and hopefully send the creature back to where it had come from.
Edith gave a good account of herself in battle with the creature, but it was too powerful for her and eventually she was knocked unconscious and was slowly bleeding to death as it turned towards Lilith and Yeats. Yeats however, succeeded in casting the spell and sent the creature back to the astral plane, rushing over to the stricken Edith with Lilith and stopping the bleeding. Lilith then searched the manor for clothes for Edith to wear.

After calling a doctor, it was apparent that there was nothing that could be done for Arthur Pellgraine and he was mercifully put out of his misery. Edith was taken to hospital to recover from her wounds and Chumly was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital to begin his psychiatric recovery as was Bob, once he had been captured by the police in the forest.

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Case 008 - The Return Of The Ripper

September 1893

Only a week earlier, the newspaper headlines had screamed “Brutal Murder in Whitechapel!” and “Ripper Strikes Again – Bloody Jack is Back!” The investigators however, knew that John Bidwell was the Ripper and that his body was certainly dead, his mind probably too (see Case 007 – The Eyes Of A Stranger for more details) and so only took a passing interest in the headlines. As the papers reported, a woman was found brutally murdered and mutilated in an alley off Union Street between Whitechapel and Commercial roads in the East End. The pattern of the killing – slashed throat, abdomen ripped open, and intestines pulled out and draped over the corpse – was almost identical to those attributed to Jack the Ripper back in 1888. The stories noted that other killings of streetwalkers in the Whitechapel area had been discovered since ‘88, but declared that none of these had fit the Ripper’s methods as closely as this one. The papers concluded therefore, that Jack the Ripper was once more at work in the East End.

Subsequent newspaper reports identified the victim of this first killing as a Miss Laura Visemount, a Whitechapel streetwalker known variously on the streets as “Lumpy Laurie”, “Lori Vice” and “Lyin’ Laura”. She was described as a middle-aged woman of loose morals and limited means, who’d lived on and off in a doss house on Bucks Row. She’s last been seen by acquaintances at the Coach and Four, a pub in Commercial Road, at about 11:30 the evening before her body was found. A witness described her as “in a foul mood, and badmouthin’ ever’body, as were usual”. She was apparently very intoxicated and left mumbling about an appointment. No one had reported seeing her again until her mutilated body was found at 3:30 the next morning by Police Constable John Watkins of the Metropolitan Police, while patroling his beat.

PC Watkins reported he’d been by the area half an hour previously and had not noticed anything untoward. A spokesman for Scotland Yard had denied that the murder, as horrible as it was, signalled any new wave of killings similar to those of the Whitechapel killer in ‘88, though there were ’similarities’. The Echo known for its disapproval of Scotland Yard’s handling of the earlier Ripper case, interjected that its reporter on the scene had also witnessed one of the ‘88 murders and that there were more than ’similarities’. It was noted, however, that Inspector George Frederick Abberline, who had been in charge of the investigation into the Ripper murders in ’88 and had left the force in 1892, had been called in from retirement to handle the newest killings. The papers made much of this fact.

By the end of a week after the first murder, the papers had returned to their normal pattern of news stories, with only an occasional mention of the ongoing investigation by the police into the Visemount murder. However, the morning papers on 1st September, 1893, declared “Ripper Strikes Again – Second Murder in Whitechapel”. They reported that a second body of an as-then unidentified woman had been found in the Whitechapel area, this time in an alley off Middlesex Street, behind Aldgate underground station.

The body, discovered by a labourer on his way to work at 4:30 that morning, had been slashed and mutilated in a manner similar to that of the Whitechapel streetwalker found a week before – “and to the original Ripper murders!” The papers seemed to have no doubt the two killings were connected with one another and with the Ripper spree in ’88 as well. They reported that Inspector Abberline of Scotland Yard was on the scene conducting an investigation and that they would keep the public informed as soon as the police made a statement on the killing or further facts came to light.

It was early on the 1st September that Jonathan Asbatch received a telegraph summoning him to the office of Nigel Stander, wealthy shipping magnate and Freemason. At the meeting he was informed by Stander that the Masons wished for the Merriweather Society to look into the new Ripper killings. Like the investigators, they had assumed that John Bidwell had been Jack the Ripper, but wanted to make sure. He informed Jonathan that he was to use Detective Sergeant James Mulverhill as his main contact for the investigation and that he was to inform Mulverhill of any developments as soon as possible. Mulverhill he informed him was also going to be conducting his own investigation into the killings. To this Jonathan agreed, asking Mulverhill if he could supply him with a list of suspects from the original Ripper killings of ’88 (see 1888 Jack the Ripper Suspects.).

Returning back to his home, Jonathan was surprised to find Simon Masters and three other men waiting for him on his doorstep. They were shown inside and Masters introduced the three men as Jake Prescott, Jack Clay and Abraham Silverman of the Whitechapel Merchants Consortium. The men wished to hire the services of the Merriweather Society for the intention of capturing and stopping Jack the Ripper. It was agreed that they would all await the arrival of some of the other members of the society. Consequently Alastar Maloney, Lilith Harrington and Reginald Black all arrived and after introductions were made, the men got down to business.

The men seemed slightly uneasy, but determined in demeanor, as if on a mission that they’d rather have no part of, but knew must be done and so consequently had steeled themselves to carry it out. Masters informed the investigators that he knew the men having had need of their services in the past.

The spokesman of the three was Jake Prescott who announced that they were East End businessmen and that they represented the recently formed Whitechapel Merchants Consortium. Plain and simply they wanted the investigators to find and stop Jack the Ripper.

Prescott explained further. The Consortium was a group of small businessmen in the Whitechapel and Spitalfields areas of the East End. They had pooled their resources in an attempt to find someone to stop the Ripper from embarking on another killing spree in the East End, like he did back in ‘88. In that year, when the Ripper first struck, the merchants in the area experienced the worst drop in business they’d ever known. Several lost their businesses to the bank, as no one wanted to be out in the streets in the East End if they didn’t have to, and the merchants couldn’t sell enough to keep themselves going. And now, with these new killings, it was happening again. The Ripper had to be stopped before they all lost their livelihood.

Not that they didn’t think it was horrible, the killings, Silverman had interjected, but business was business and they all had to make a living so that they could feed their families.

Prescott retook up the discourse again, turning back to the investigators and telling them that the Consortium had got together a few days past, after the first killing had told them that the Ripper was back, and decided to put their money together to hire someone who could stop the monster this time, believing that a private operative could cut corners and go places and do things that the official police couldn’t, and so it was decided that was who they’d approach, asking Masters if he would be so good as to act as their patron. They admitted that they would have tried to hire Sherlock Holmes, but the famous consulting detective had perished in 1891 at the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland.

The investigators agreed to take the case and Prescott immediately began discussing payment and what they expected for their money. The Consortium was willing to pay £500 to find and stop Jack the Ripper on top of any reward that the police may offer.

Prescott continued that he would advance the investigators £50 for expenses and that he would expect regular reports on the progress of the case and that they could report to Prescott at his pawnbroker’s Prescott’s Emporium in Charlotte Street, just off Plumber. He also added that he expected the investigators to be out on the streets of Whitechapel at night.

Silverman interjected again, telling Prescott that he ought to inform the investigators about the vigilantes. Prescott, somewhat annoyed at Silverman’s interruption, informed the investigators that George Lusk and his Vigilance Committee would in all likelihood be patrolling the streets of Whitechapel and Spitalfields every night too, and that they had avowed to catch the Ripper and string him up from a lamppost – after giving him a taste of his own medicine. He warned the investigators to watch out for the vigilantes, as they would be armed – some might even have been carrying handguns.

Prescott and his companions were about ready to wrap things up when Clay mentioned to Prescott that shouldn’t he mention the other one. Prescott reluctantly admitted that the investigators weren’t the first people that they had contacted. They had first gone to a private investigator who operated out of an office above the Elephant and Castle pub, on the Surrey Shore, across the Thames, a fellow by the name of Cyrus Barker, who had been highly recommended to them, but he had turned them down flat. Stating that he would indeed capture Jack the Ripper, but not for them, for his own reasons, so that all of London would know that there was only one real detective of any brilliance left in London – and that man was Cyrus Barker. Prescott feared that Barker would be down in Whitechapel looking for the Ripper himself and that he may get in the way of the investigators. He reminded them that he was paying them to catch the Ripper and that if Barker beat them to it, all he could do was let them keep the advance for their services.

Prescott, Clay, Silverman and Masters then left the investigators, telling them that they would expect to hear about their progress soon. After they had left, Jonathan informed the others that the Masons had also ‘requested’ their assistance in hunting down Jack the Ripper and so it made sense to accept the offer from the Whitechapel Merchants Consortium. Due to the size of the investigation, it was decided that all members of the Merriweather Society would participate in the investigation, with most taking it in turns to actively patrolling the streets of Whitechapel and Spitalfields at night.

The investigators headed over to the scene of that morning’s murder, where they found the police still on the scene, in fact Abberline himself was still there. The area was cordoned off by police constables and a large crowd had gathered beyond the rope barriers as Abberline and his constables were searching the site for clues. They were allowed beyond the barrier by Mulverhill who was also on the scene and they noticed that another investigator was on the scene, who they presumed correctly was none other than Barker.

The investigators could see the chalk outline of the body on the street, along with what looked like, and was, a pool of blood, which was noted to be too small for what was reportedly such a brutal murder. The body itself had already been moved by the police and was on its way to the coroner.

Interviewing a couple of constables PCs Flockhart and McNary confirmed that there was surprisingly little blood on the scene and that the mutilations were especially gruesome, corresponding with previous Ripper murders.

Observing Barker, it was noted that he had bent down and then looking to make sure that Abberline or any of the constables were not watching him, picked up a matchstick that he triumphantly flashed at the investigators before placing it into his pocket. Lilith also took some time out to speak to one of the journalists who was outside of the police boundary and discovered that the man was an American freelance journalist named Edmund Mallory, who was under contract with the Echo and was following the exploits of Cyrus Barker as he hunted down Jack the Ripper.

At this point another inspector arrived, who was recognised as Inspector Edmund Reid, who had previously worked alongside Abberline on the ’88 murders, he went up to Abberline and some of the investigators overheard him tell Abberline that the victim had been identified by a stamp on her petticoat from the Bermondsey Workhouse as a streetwalker named Millicent Marsh, a.k.a. Millicent Marconi, known on the streets as “Macaroni Millie”.

Also at the scene, a series of scratch marks were found by the investigators close to where the body had been. Oddly, these markings were only to be found in an isolated area around the body. The scratches appeared to be made by some kind of large animal and they were traced, as Reginald could not discern what kind of creature could have made them.

At this the investigators launched into a full scale investigation, initially asking Mulverhill about the Mason connections with the original murders, which he informed them of (see Masonic Connections with the 1888 Jack the Ripper Murders).

The investigators decided that it would be prudent to visit Bermondsey Workhouse in southeast London, to learn what they could about Millicent Marsh, where they were informed that Millicent was ‘stuck up and thought herself better than the others there, not wanting to work’. They were also informed that Marsh had come to the workhouse with Visemount and another streetwalker named Katie, who was actually still at the workhouse, but had to be confined to solitary as she was disturbed.

Katie was nicknamed ‘the screamer’ by the staff and inmates of the workhouse. A few shillings to one of the workhouse matrons allowed the investigators to gain full access to the girl. She was kept locked up alone and away from the rest of the workhouse’s ‘guests’ – because of her tendency to spend half of the night screaming as if she were being killed. The matron told the investigators that she responded to the name ‘Katie’ when she responded at all. When they entered her room, she was found cowering in the corner, babbling and muttering ‘The thing, the thing, keep it away, it wants me again, it can’t ‘ave me, I’ll die first, the thing, the thing…’ If touched, she screamed and cowered, her head beneath her arms, crying ‘go away, go away, not again, no, no, go away…’ After seeing Katie, Reginald decided that it would probably be in the girl’s best interest if she were to be transferred from the workhouse to an asylum, where hopefully she may be cured and so he made arrangements for her to be transferred to St. Luke’s Hospital in a couple of days time.

That day they finalised the patrol groups, with the first night being Reginald and Charles Van Winstin Hine in one group and Yumi and Bob Shire being the other group. The second night’s groups would be Captain Isaac Fleming (Ret.) and Takeshi Takemori as one group and Jonathan and Edith as the other group.

That evening the first two groups went out on patrol, with Charles and Reginald narrowly avoiding a fight with half a dozen members of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee and then later in the night Charles heard splashing coming from the sewers. As both he and Reginald climbed into the sewers to investigate they found the remains of a partially eaten man. Blowing his police whistle, Charles summoned several constables and the whistle was heard by both Yumi and Bob, with Yumi joining both Charles and Reginald in the sewer, however Bob refused to enter. The corpse was wearing typical East End attire and had been partially eaten by what appeared to be canine marks.

The following day (2nd September), Jonathan, Edith, Charles, Penelope and Takeshi decided to visit the coroner’s to find out what they could about the body that they had found the previous night as well as to find out what they could about the remains of Millicent Marsh. The coroner, Amos Harkness, informed them that he was inclined to believe that both Laura Visemount and Millicent Marsh had been murdered by the same person and that this person had probably been responsible for the murders in 1888. He was of the opinion that the murderer probably had some medical knowledge or at the very least a very good working knowledge of anatomy (maybe a butcher). There was an absence of defence wounds which was particularly striking. The man in the sewer had been attacked initially with a blunt instrument, maybe a club and then by some kind of large dog, or a pack of them, this led the investigators to wonder whether there was a werewolf on the loose, but there was no full moon. There were also some typical rat bites to the corpse.

The investigators next went to the Zoological Gardens at Regent’s Park where an expert informed them that the bites could have come from a Grey Wolf, but it was somewhat wider. Also it was noted that there were no wild wolves of any kind left in England, with the last being hunted to extinction during the reign of Henry VII in the early 16th Century.

After their visit to the zoo, the investigators then decided to visit the Coach and Four, which was the last place that Laura Visemount had been seen alive. Edith had decided to retire to get some rest as she was due to be on patrol that night and the investigators were accompanied by Alastar. The barman at the Coach and Four was quite friendly, especially after the investigators bought him a drink, and soon got to talking to the investigators. He informed them that Visemount had been a bit of a bad sort, often drunk and trying to get free drinks when she was out of money, which was most of the time, but he wouldn’t wish what had happened to her on anyone. He informed the investigators that both Visemount and Marsh were two of the independent streetwalkers and that a good many of the streetwalkers were paying money to an Irish woman named Colleen McCabe who lived in a flat on the south side of Flower and Dean Street just west of Brick Lane, but he wasn’t sure of which flat it was that she lived in.

Whilst on patrol that evening, Takeshi and Isaac had an encounter with street urchin that was trying to pick Isaac’s pocket. The kid was sent scampering away with a clip round the ear.

In the early hours of the morning of 3rd September whilst on patrol with Edith, Jonathan was propositioned by a youngish (mid 20s) strettwalker named Milly. When questioned by Jonathan and Edith, Mary proved to have known Millicent Marsh, who she told the investigators was an independent streetwalker. She admitted that it was fairly well known that both Laurie Visemount and Millicent Marsh were independents as were the majority of the girls that had gone missing over the past few years. The non independents were under the protection of Colleen McCabe and Mary herself was one of McCabe’s girls. She didn’t know for sure why or how McCabe’s girls were kept safe, she did said that McCabe knew people. Edith and Jonathan asked if it was possible to set up a meeting with McCabe and she told them to come back to the Mitre Tavern the following night.

As daylight came, the investigators, following a hunch that the man in the sewers may have been killed by a werewolf, decided to order some silver bullets. After this, the investigators then decided to pay George Lusk a visit at his home in Mile End. This was to let him, and consequently the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee know that they were also patrolling the area. The need for this had been highlighted by the close shave that Charles and Reginald had had with them a couple of nights beforehand.

After their meeting with Lusk, they decided to ask Mulverhill if he could provide them with any help in locating any of the 1888 Jack the Ripper Suspects, to which Mulverhill informed them not to bother as it was a set of leads that he was following and with the resources at his disposal he could look into it in a much more expedient manner. At this meeting he also gave them the information on 1888 Jack the Ripper Witness Reports, Jack the Ripper 1888 Victims (The Cannonical Five) and the Other Possible Jack the Ripper Victims (Non Canonical), announcing his surprise that they had not already requested that information from him.

That evening whilst on patrol with Yumi, Bob’s pocket was picked, neither Bob nor Yumi noticed the pickpocket. Still on patrol in the early hours of the morning of 4th September, Bob and Yumi met up with Colleen McCabe at the Mitre Tavern. They asked McCabe some questions regarding how she was protecting the girls, but McCabe was somewhat evasive, telling the pair of them that she had wanted to meet and talk to Jonathan alone, as Mary had said he was a rather ‘handsome and rich looking gentleman’. She told them to send Jonathan to the Mitre Tavern on the following evening and that she would meet with him.

Once daylight rolled around, the investigators collected their silver bullets, with Yumi, Takeshi, Isaac and Reginald deciding to head on into the sewers to see if they could track down the ‘werewolf’.

After a few hours of wandering through the sewers, other than a brief encounter with a policeman that saw Isaac through a sewer grating (but proved to know Mulverhill and let him go), the investigators eventually came upon a couple of Ghouls. A fight ensued in which short work was made of the two Ghouls, however, when trying to talk to the one that was not killed outright, he bled out and Isaac was unable to stop him from dying, but not before he informed them that they were the ‘First People’ or Ghouls as humans tend to call them.

Procuring a carriage, the investigators took the two dead Ghouls to Dr. William Wynn Westcott, the head of The Golden Dawn for him, assisted by Edith to examine. Westcott was of the opinion that if man had evolved from a dog-like species as opposed to primate, then the Ghouls are what he would appear to be like.

That evening, whilst Edith and Isaac went on patrol, Takeshi went to the Mitre Tavern ahead of Jonathan in order to act as a lookout in case Jonathan was walking into a trap. He noticed Colleen McCabe sat at a table, casually chatting to other girls which he assumed were some of her whores. About fifteen minutes later Jonathan entered the pub and met up with McCabe. After buying her a drink, the two began chatting about McCabe and how she protected her girls. The chat was very amiable and McCabe was flirting somewhat with Jonathan, who then decided that it might be safer to head to a restaurant away from the Whitechapel area and to continue the chat over a meal.

After they left the Mitre Tavern, Takeshi went off in search of Edith and Isaac as he would be unable to stay inconspicuous following Jonathan and McCabe and Jonathan would in all likelihood be safer away from Whitechapel with the woman, where she was not likely to have any thugs around.

The meal was very pleasant, and McCabe informed Jonathan that she thought that the Ripper may be a spirit that possessed people and so consequently there were several people that may be Jack the Ripper as the murderer was never the same person. Jonathan was trying to get more Rpper information from her, but she was not forthcoming in that respect other than to tell him that he and his companions were not the only ones hunting for the Ripper. She had heard that there were a few detectives out and about such as Cyrus Barker as well as a couple of big game hunters, Lord Roxton the South American hunter was one and that Colonel Sebastian Moran, the Indian tiger killer was another. Jonathan had remembered that Moran had been the right hand man of the late Professor James Moriarty who had died in combat with Sherlock Holmes at the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland in 1891. Moran had briefly taken over Moriarty’s operations in 1891, but had quickly been ousted from power by David Smythe.

After the meal, Jonathan was persuaded by McCabe to accompany her back to her flat for the night. Her flat was on the second floor of a building on the south side of Flower & Dean Street, just west of Brick Lane. A stairway shot up from the first floor to a straight hall on the second floor.

Inside the flat, Jonathan noticed that the furniture appeared to be much nicer than would be expected for a room in the area – the room looked quite clean although it was still a little dingy. The room was dominated by a large, double-canopy bed against the far wall from the door. On one side, under the alley window, was a setee and that corner was a small stove for cooking. On the other side of the bed was a dresser and a chair, with a door next to the dresser, behind which was a small indoor toilet. On the wall to the left was a large bookcase, filled with books – not a sight that Jonathan expected to see in the flat. On the wall to the right was another door, which was locked. In the opposite corner of the room from the stove was a small fireplace.

In the morning, Jonathan awoke to find himself with Colleen in her bed and when she went to the toilet he decided to have a quick look around her room.

Firstly he quickly checked the dresser, which he noticed was backed with a mirror. Looking on top of the dresser itself, he discovered a pitcher and a water bowl as well as several small bottles of perfume and makeup, which were as to be expected. Next to these however, were three small statuettes. The first appeared to be that of a little man with red painted hair and beard and a green painted suit that Jonathan identified as a leprechaun. The second was an image of an ugly toad-like being and the third, which was carved from glass or crystal, appeared to be the image of a human hand, with a gaping toothed mouth in its palm. Also on the dresser was a crystal ball, though Jonathan could not see anything in it.

After quickly checking out the dresser, he had a quick look through the bookcase, the majority of the books were standard novels of no particular interest, however he did find a number of interesting books that dealt with the occult and Cthulhu Mythos.

The first book was Hammer of Witches with copius handwritten notes in the margins. It was later revealed to Jonathan by William Wynn Westcott of The Golden Dawn, that this book was originally known as Malleus Malificarum in its original Latin and had been used as a guidebook for the inquisitors. The second book was Vampyres in Transylvanian Folklore by Dr. Abraham van Helsing. The third book was Countenance of Evil by Philo otherwise known as Baron Adolf Knigge (Adolph Freiherr Knigge). The final book that Jonathan found was The Revelations of Glaaki Volume XII, which he asked McCabe if he could borrow, to which she agreed.

As Jonathan and Colleen talked a little more about Jack the Ripper, she informed him to have a look at the statue of the Ripper that was being exhibited in the chamber of Horrors at Madame Tussaud’s as the face was very realistic and she had wondered whether the sculptor had seen the real Jack the Ripper or not. After leaving Colleen, Jonathan noticed the occupant of the flat below watching him from the doorway, he could tell that the watcher was an old woman who promptly closed her door when she realised that Jonathan had seen her.

Meanwhile, Takeshi had teamed up with Edith and Isaac and after a brief encounter with a group of street urchins that were trying to rob an unconscious drunk, they decided to have a quick rest in the Ten Bells pub in the early hours of the morning of 5th September, they were approached by a small weasely-looking man who introduced himself as Arfer. After chatting for a little while and buying Arfer a drink, he told them what he had heard about the Ripper, telling them that he’d heard that any guys that had given any of McCabe’s girls a difficult time over the past couple of years had disappeared and that he’d heard that the Ripper was a doctor and that the police were covering for him. Edith believed that Arfer was telling them the truth, or at the very least was not trying to con them and so it was agreed that other members of the society would see him the next night at the same place and he would tell them anything else that he’d heard, for the price of a pint of course.

Having deposited the Revelations of Glaaki Volume XII and the rest of their Mythos tomes (excluding the [[Necronomicon (Latin ver.) | Necronomicon (Latin ver.)]] and_ Pnakotic Manuscripts_ which were still being read by Alastar and Penelope) with The Golden Dawn for safekeeping and requested that a copy be made of the Revelations of Glaaki. A plan of action was devised for that evening. As it was reckoned that a discreet investigation needed to be made at Colleen McCabe’s flat by both Yumi and Penelope, with Alastar running interference by distracting the lady that lived beneath Colleen, as part of the plan, Jonathan would ensure that Colleen was away from the flat.

During the day however, Takeshi and Penelope decided to check the resources of the Golden Dawn regarding witchcraft, but did not find out anything that they thought would be of much use.

Edith and Bob meanwhile decided to go and check out Prescott, Clay and Silverman, the leaders of the Whitechapel Merchants Consortium. In their investigations, they found that Clay did not own a fish and chips shop and Silverman was not a Jewish jeweller, there was no record of either in or near to the Whitechapel area. They did however find Prescott’s Emporium, a pwan shop, which they noticed was heavily protected, but had no items in stock that were particularly.

Jonathan and Reginald decided to go and check out the Jack the Ripper statue at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. Madame Tussaud’s located just past the northeast corner of Baker Street in Marylebone Road, next to the Baker Street Underground Station and south of Regent’s Park and the price of admission was 1s. along with an extra 6d. to see the Chamber of Horrors.
Inside the Chamber of Horrors were a number of lifelike wax figures of axe murderers, body snatchers such as Burke and Hare and other figures of infamy, both factual and fictional. The light inside the Chamber was subdued, with highlights on the wax figures, which were backed by black curtains to make them stand out visually.
Upon entering the Chamber they spotted a wax figure labelled as ‘Jack the Ripper’. The figure was dressed in black, with a black silk hat and a black, red lined cape held by the figure so as to obscure his features. In its other hand is a long, thin, sharp-looking knife, coated in blood. At its feet was the wax representation of one of the Ripper’s victims. This was all that could be discerned from a distance. Jonathan got closer and examined the Ripper’s facial features, but did not recognise the face. Asking a guard they were informed that the sculptor was a certain Simon Masters.
Also in the wax museum, they came across a figure listed as a South Seas Demon, which they both recognised to be a likeness of a Dimensional Shamblers. Jonathan checked that the figure was wax and it certainly felt like wax. A plaque in front of the figure stated that it had been donated by a ‘Sir John Danielson’ in October of 1888, who Jonathan knew was a wealthy shipping magnate with interests in Scotland and Sumatra who up until about five years ago was wealthy young socialite, but has become something of a recluse in recent years having spent some time on the continent.

That evening, Jonathan went to the Mitre Tavern and met up with Colleen McCabe again, telling her that he would like to take her out for a meal, to which she was delighted to go to, however, she said that she had a little business to attend to first, but would be back in about fifteen minutes. At this she left the pub and headed off down the street, observed by Yumi, who was hiding outside. True to her word, she came back about fifteen minutes later and accompanied Jonathan as he hailed a carriage.

Having seen Jonathan and Colleen depart, Yumi along with Alastar and Penelope headed to Colleen’s flat. There, Alastar knocked on the door of the first floor and engaged the flat’s owner, an old woman named Emma, in conversation, informing her that he was doing some work in the area and asking her how the area could be improved to which she claimed that they could start by getting rid of all of them whores like ‘that scandalous hussy upstairs’.
Emma declared that McCabe was evil, though she couldn’t really put her finger on why and that she was certain that she was ‘a shameless whore’. She said that most of McCabe’s visitors seemed to be deformed hunchbacks who were always cloaked so she never got a good look at them, however, they did smell really bad, like a graveyard or a half rotted dog. Sometimes they were accompanied by another girl, always a different one, and then the noise would really start, ‘bunch of perverts the lot of them’.
She also said that there were two well dressed gentlemen that had come to visit McCabe, the first one was clearly a description of Jonathan as given by Emma, the second was a stranger, a tall dark haired man with a small mustache and always carrying a red handkerchief, who carried himself well like he was some toff.
Alastar informed Emma that he was going to leave a note for McCabe, which was in order for Yumi and Penelope to be able to sneak upstairs, and Emma closed the door. However, when sneaking Penelope fell over and created much noise and so when Emma opened the door again, Alastar was pretending to have fallen and was thus shown into Emma’s room and given a cup of tea.

Meanwhile after eventually gaining admittance to McCabe’s flat, Penelope investigated the figures on the dresser and looked through the books on the bookcase, but found nothing more than what Jonathan had already discovered. Yumi unlocked a door and found a wardrobe, which had a full sized mirror leaning against the back wall. Behind the mirror was a set of lines drawn in chalk, that neither Yumi nor Penelope could recognise.

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After Penelope had discovered nothing under the bed, Yumi checked and discovered several whips and clamps and other items of McCabe’s profession there, some of which were covered in what Yumi surmised to be dried blood.
Finally both Yumi and Penelope looked through McCabe’s ledgers, but could not find anything of interest and so Yumi took a couple of pages at random to take with them.

Later that night, Yumi and Bob met up with Arfer at the Ten Bells who told them that he’d heard that Lusk and his vigilantes knew who the Ripper was, but that they were just waiting for the police to fail before striking him down. He’d also heard from a friend ‘Jonny’ who’d seen the Ripper that he had eyes that glowed like coals. He also told them that he’d seen some ugly looking tarts hanging around, one of them had a voice as deep as any dockworker who he saw turn a guy down, like she could have her pick of men, she was hanging around the Mitre Tavern. After chatting with Arfer, Bob and Yumi headed over to the Mitre Tavern but the ugly looking streetwalker couldn’t be found and so they decided to resume their patrol.

In the early hours of the morning of 6th September Yumi and Bob encountered two independent streetwalkers named Sal and Lil. After they unsuccessfully propositioned Bob, they managed to persuade them to visit a local pub and get them a drink. Whilst chatting with Sal and Lil, Sal, who was the older of the pair informed them that they knew both Laurie Visemount and Millicent Marsh, informing them that both of them were independents just like Sal and Lil and that both of them had recently turned down offers from McCabe to join her girls. Whilst Laurie had been almost violently opposed to joining McCabe, Millie had in fact been wavering, but had been bullied out of joining her by Laurie.
Lil revealed that she had talked to Millie only a couple of nights before the Ripper got her and that she had been scared to death about Laurie’s death and that she was afraid that the Ripper would get her too if she didn’t have McCabe’s protection and was thinking of joining her if she would still have her and that was the last time that Lil saw her. Both women were scared, although Sal was better at concealing it. Sal also derided McCabe, telling Bob and Yumi that any girl that joins McCabe had to go through some sort of sick ritual beforehand, though she herself didn’t know what it was. Other than that it had only been independent streetwalkers that had been disappearing, although one of McCabe’s girls, her name was Katie, had also disappeared.
Yumi gave the girls enough money to get a safe bed for the night and then both her and Bob resumed their patrol.

Jonathan and Colleen had an enjoyable evening at an Italian restaurant and finally booked a room in a hotel, where Colleen informed him that she could not see him the next evening as she had a prior arrangement with a wealthy toff. She did not offer up any more information on the subject and Jonathan being a gentleman decided not to press the issue.

During the daytime, the group got together to compare notes, it was noted that the Ripper had gone quiet, which in itself was somewhat disturbing. They decided that they had three main leads to pursue: Sir John Danielson who had donated the Dimensional Shambler waxwork to Madame Tussaud’s some five years beforehand; Colleen McCabe’s involvement in everything and finally just who were Prescott, Clay, Silverman and the enigmatic Simon Masters?

It was decided that whilst they would pass the names of Prescott et al onto Mulverhill to see if he could find out anything about them, Reginald, Alastar and Jonathan with Bob driving them would go to pay Danielson a visit at his manor just outside of Barnet, some eleven miles north of London.

As they approached the estate, they could see what appeared to be a middle sized country estate. There was a large front yard and what appeared to be equally sized areas of land to either side and behind. A large stone and ironbar fence ran around the estate, except for the gate, which was all iron and standing open.
The manor house in the middle of the estate faced the east, with a fair-sized stable building to the south.
Bob drove the carriage into the estate and up the carriage path from the road, leading up to the door, past the stable entrance. As they passed the stable entrance they could see several horses in their stalls.
The manor itself appeared to be a typical country estate, not overly large, but enough to show that the family was well-to-do.

Bob elected to stay with the carriage as Alastar, Jonathan and Reginald headed up to the door, which after knocking was answered by a tall, thin middle aged butler. The butler was rather curt in acknowledging the investigators and told them that Sir Danielson did not take visitors. They insisted on giving him their card and asking him as to make sure, at which point he closed the door behind them, returning some ten minutes later where he informed them that Sir John was out, but that his uncle, also named John, would very much like to see them as he did not often have visitors. The butler, whose name was Hirschman, which they learnt from the elder Danielson, informed them that the elder Danielson was not a well man.

Being shown into a lounge, they noticed that not only were the curtains still drawn, but also the gaslights were kept very low. The elder Danielson sat in a wheelchair and greeted them quite warmly. He informed them that he had no idea of the waxwork statue that ‘Johnny’ had donated to Madame Tussaud’s and asked Hirschman if he knew anything about it, to which the reply was no.

During their conversation, they noticed that the man was of a strange gaunt appearance, though he certainly bore a resemblance to some of the paintings that were on display. The gaunt appearance however, was also highlighted by the fact that the man’s gums seemed to have retracted from his teeth, giving him the appearance of almost having fangs and at this point it was noticed that there was a lack of mirrors hanging up led to the possible conclusion that old man Danielson may well be a vampire.

The old man told them that he had fought in the Crimea for Her Majesty, but had been thrown by his horse and lost the use of his legs which had confined him to a wheelchair. He also spoke about the family holdings in Sauchie in Scotland as well as those in Sumatra, telling them that Johnny had visited them both in the past. The old man lamented that he did not get about much anymore, with Hirschman taking him out on occasion for moonlit carriage drives through the streets of London, however there was not much more information that the old man could give them and so they decided to leave, asking if he would pass on their desire to meet with Danielson.

On the way out, Bob stopped the carriage, pretending to have a problem and went into the stables where he discovered a covered carriage and a strange winch contraption, which he surmised was probably for lifting the old man and his wheelchair into the carriage.

Meeting back with the others, it was decided that another expedition to the sewers should be undertaken to see if they could find more Ghouls, but that Charles would accompany Takeshi, Reginald and Isaac instead of Yumi. The trip however, proved to be a bit of a waste, with the group encountering some workers and a pocket of poisonous gas, but nothing else that would lead them onto the Ghouls.

That night Takeshi and Isaac went on patrol as did Jonathan and Edith. Initially Bob had accompanied them with his carriage to the Mitre Tavern and then when McCabe was spotted leaving they followed her to her flat.

At the flat, another carriage pulled up and a well dressed gentleman climbed out and went to meet McCabe who was standing outside. They linked arms and headed inside her flat as the carriage driver pulled away, nodding to Bob as he drove off.

A few hours later police whistles filled the air, with Jonathan and Edith hurriedly making their way to the scene of the commotion. There had been another Ripper victim and a crowd was beginning to grow. Edith examined the body, though she was careful not to touch it. She did notice that there was less blood around than one would expect and she again spotted the odd scratching marks on the floor that had been visible at the scene of Macaroni Millie’s murder. Edith surmised that they may have been made by a bear sized creature or something similar. She also noticed some wax flecks that were close to the body, but was not sure of what type of wax they were from.

As more police along with Abberline arrived, closely followed by Takeshi and Isaac, Jonathan recognised both Mallory and Barker arrive. Mallory was busy interviewing a policeman and Barker was snooping around. Edith noticed a policeman talking to a rather distressed woman and they found out that the victim’s name was Lil, she had been one of the two streetwalkers that had been talking to Bob and Yumi the night before. The other woman was named Sal and she informed the policeman that Lil had been set up for a meeting with some rich toff. It had in fact been one of McCabe’s girls that had set her up, one named Kitty. This instantly aroused the suspicions of the investigators who had now become convinced that McCabe was somehow working alongside the Ripper.

As the investigators went to leave they spotted a piece of black cloth with a red lining that had been torn attached to a fence. Isaac sent urchins to go and fetch Bob, Yumi, Penelope and Mulverhill and to get them to meet them near to McCabe’s flat, whilst Jonathan and Edith would meet Kitty at the Mitre Tavern.

Kitty proved to not particularly know much, though she did recognise Jonathan and told him that McCabe had said that she wasn’t to be interrupted that night and that she was sure that she would meet with him the following night. She confirmed that she had told Lil about the toff, but had just been passing on McCabe’s orders to her. She said that she’d heard that Lil was planning on joining McCabe’s girls. She was shocked to hear that the Ripper’s victim had been Lil as word had not reached the Mitre Tavern at that point as to who the victim was.

Meanwhile the others staked out McCabe’s flat and were joined by Bob, Penelope and Yumi. They decided to keep Bob and Penelope around the corner out of sight, whilst the others would hide and try to keep McCabe’s flat under observation. Mulverhill had still yet to arrive.

As the investigators watched the flat, a carriage pulled up again, the same one as before and the man left the flat and headed towards it, but before he reached the carriage he spotted Yumi.

Yumi cried out that it was the Ripper after seeing his cloak was slightly torn and a battle ensued. Bob drove his carriage forward to block the road as other investigators began shooting at both the man and his carriage driver, who was recognised by Jonathan as being Hirschman, the butler at the Danielson estate. The investigators then rightly assumed that the man that had left McCabe’s apartment was non other than Sir John Danielson and that he was indeed Jack the Ripper.

Danielson appeared to be ignoring the shots that rained about him and it was noted that he was muttering something, in fact as was soon evidenced, he was summoning his Dimensional Shambler, who upon appearing set about attacking the investigators. Hirschman was taken out as the investigators continued shooting at both Danielson and the Dimensional Shambler.

At this point it was noticed that several Ghouls were sneaking along the road, their destination was McCabe’s apartment, however, several of them were shot at by investigators as well as by members of the cavalry in the forms of Abberline, Lusk, their men and both Cyrus Barker and Edmund Mallory as well as the long awaited arrival of Mulverhill.

Those Ghouls that had been shot scrambled to the relative safety of McCabe’s flat as the battle continued to rage in the streets, with the Dimensional Shambler being killed and finally Danielson falling, but not before he had cast a spell of power at Yumi, blackening her skin and almost killing the ninja.

With the death of Danielson it was obvious that the next order of business was to attack McCabe’s flat. They had already heard the scream of an elderly woman and it was feared that some kind of evil had befallen Emma, McCabe’s downstairs neighbour.

It was decided that a party of Takeshi, Edith, Jonathan, Isaac, Mulverhill, Barker, Mallory and Lusk would head into the flat, whilst both Yumi and Penelope would stay outside with Abberline, his police and the members of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. Bob meanwhile had already fled back home with his carriage.

Upon entering the building and heading upstairs they found the remains of Emma, she had been torn apart presumably by one of the Ghouls. As they neared McCabe’s flat, they heard the sounds of more combat in the street and realised that the police and vigilantes were fighting off a group of Ghouls.
Kicking down the door to McCabe’s flat, Takeshi backed up by Barker and Mallory were set upon by Ghouls and they had to fight their way into the room, where it was discovered that there were in fact five Ghouls, two of whom were clearly nursing injuries from earlier. Behind the Ghouls sat on her bed was Colleen McCabe.
During the fight, McCabe cast a spell on Mallory, causing him to curl up in a fetal position, completely unaware of his surroundings and Barker was felled when a Ghoul tore his head from his shoulders. McCabe set about trying to attack Jonathan when she was hit.
Suddenly her body began to morph into the form of Y’golonac – Great Old One.
A battle ensued against the Great Old One, with Takeshi bearing the brunt of the battle, feeling Y’golonac draining him and weakening him with its attacks from the mouth in its palm. Finally, the Old One was defeated and the body morphed back into the form of the unconscious Colleen McCabe, who was quickly dispatched.

A thorough search then commenced, with the investigators getting their hands on the rest of McCabe’s books as well as a jewellery case and the Journal of Colleen McCabe.

After a few words with Abberline, who asked, that whilst he was happy to authorise payment of the reward to the investigators, would they mind letting Scotland Yard receive the credit for the capture of Jack the Ripper, assisted by George Lusk and the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, arguing that it would be beneficial to the security of the nation if some of the public’s faith was restored in the police force. To this they agreed.

Abberline also gave the investigators, accompanied by Mulverhill, a head start in reaching the Danielson Estate in Barnet, claiming that officially the police had not yet been able to ascertain the identity of the Ripper. He asked if they would hand over any evidence that they uncovered at the estate that would be useful in enabling the police to prove that Danielson was indeed Jack the Ripper, to which they agreed.

Mulverhill hired a couple of carriages as he accompanied Takeshi, Penelope, Jonathan, Edith and Isaac to Barnet, with the carriages stopping off to pick up both Reginald and Lilith.

At the estate, they noticed that all of the lights were off, except for one that was the study where Jonathan and Reginald recognised that the elder Danielson had received both them and Charles a couple of days previously.
Isaac climbed quietly into the manor through an open window and quietly opened the door for the rest of the investigators and Mulverhill to enter. Eventually the investigators entered the study and after awhile they ascertained that the elder Danielson was, as he appeared to be, an elderly crippled man. The elder Danielson was horrified, when the investigators revealed to him that his nephew was in fact Jack the Ripper and that his manservant Hirschman was in actuality Danielson’s accomplice.

A search of the ground floor by Penelope and Mulverhill revealed a scrap book in which Hirschman had been tracking the movements of Danielson through the murders of 1888 and then several that had occurred throughout the continent as well as the more recent ones that had occurred earlier in the month. Meanwhile upstairs, Isaac and Edith had found the Journal of Sir John Danielson (Jack the Ripper) in Danielson’s bedroom.

Upon reaching the cellar door, Jonathan and Takeshi heard a snuffling sound and decided to get assistance from the other investigators, with Takeshi remaining in the study to keep an eye on the elder Danielson.
Isaac and Reginald smashed the door to the cellar open and they were horrified to see a giant rat taking a lunge towards them. Despite being shot by Reginald, Isaac and Mulverhill, the rat still savaged Reginald, severing the Scotsman’s leg in its savage attack. It was however then put down by Mulverhill, but unfortunately Reginald could not be saved.

The following day, a recovered Mallory met the investigators and told them that Barker had wanted to inform them that Prescott, Clay and Silverman were all in the employ of David Smythe as presumably was Simon Masters, however, Barker had been disturbed about the fact that he had been unable to find out anything about Masters. Indeed Masters had only seemed to appear in London about one year previously. Mallory informed the investigators that once had written a piece for the Echo and sorted out Barker’s effects he was heading back to New York in the States, having no desire to remain in the UK any longer.

Reginald had received a telegram from St. Luke’s Hospital, asking him to come to the asylum to discuss Katie. Due to Reginald’s death, Jonathan along with Edith went and it was discussed that Katie had a couple of starnge marks on her lower back that appeared to be claw marks. Both Jonathan and Edith knew that these marks had been made by the Ghoul that had presumably raped the woman.

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Case 007.5 The Golden Dawn

Dr. William Wynn Westcott was true to his word and after the business of the Case 007 – The Eyes Of A Stranger was cleared up he invited the members of the society to join his secret society of the Golden Dawn. The investigators were given various ranks in the Outer Order of the society according to their proficiency in the occult and undertook training.

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Case 007 - The Eyes Of A Stranger
Are the mind transferring beings from another planet the start of an invasion?

March 1893

Several of the investigators were invited to a social gathering held by wealthy London entrepreneur John Bidwell. The party was heralded as the social event of the season and there was very little that the investigators knew about Bidwell, other than him being a wealthy entrepreneur involved in shipping and industry in Britain and its colonies. He was something of an adventurer and had visited America, the Orient and Australia. He was a well-educated man, known for his keen mind and sharp wit. Bidwell had many wealthy and powerful friends, including members of the royal family. He was never married and had no family. Bidwell had been conspicuously absent from society for sometime and rumour had it that he was suffering from an exotic illness and was confined to a hospital until just before March 1893, but Jonathan Asbatch knew that he had not been confined in a hospital but in Albrooke Asylum in Mercy Hill, Gloucester. Bidwell’s influential friends had kept his collapse quiet, so nothing more was known.

Jonathan, Edith, Charles Van Winstin Hine and Yumi decided to attend the party, with Yumi attending as Charles’ guest (an event that occurred a loss of some social prestige to Charles).

A light, damp fog had descended on the city the night of Bidwell’s party. The gaslamps flickered along the streets and the clatter of hooves and carriages echoed in the clammy night air. Big Ben chimed ominously in the foggy distance. Several carriages were already standing waiting when the investigators arrived at Bidwell’s residence in Blenheim Terrace in fashionable St. John’s Wood. Groups of hackney-coachmen clustered under gaslamps, their forms silhouetted in the fog. A warm glow eminated from the house where London’s elite had gathered. Upon showing their invitations, a doorman announced each guest and they were shown into the ballroom of Bidwell’s mansion. Men in formal attire passed trays of champagne, while chefs served food from an enormous buffet. The sound of a string quartet hung above the clatter and chatter of the revelers who mingled, ate, drank and danced. Silver trays, champagne glasses and jewelry sparkled in the soothing glow of the gas-lit chandeliers.

The wealthy and influential of London were everywhere, but nowhere was that evening’s host. Mingling with the other guests, the investigators learnt that John Bidwell had yet to appear at his party.

Among the guests were government officials, businessmen and celebrated artists and writers. Also among the guests were numerous members of London’s spiritual and occult community. Identified among the guests were Henry Matthews, the Home Secretary; Major Henry Smith, Commissioner of the City of London Police; Annie Besant of the Theosophical Society; Florence Farr and Dr. William Wynn Westcott of The Golden Dawn; Robert James Lees, official psychic to the court of Queen Victoria; celebrated psychich Godfrey Williamson; wealthy shipping magnate Nigel Stander; the retired Col. Albert Hardwicke; authors Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker and H.G. Wells; actor Henry Irving and his frequent leading lady, Ellen Terry; and artists Walter Sickert and Aubrey Beardsley.

As a clock struck 9:00 PM a gaunt figure entered the ballroom. The man was pale and frail-looking, his black hair and goatee streaked with silver; he was dressed in black formal wear and walked with the aid of a cane. All eyes turned toward the man and the musicians fell silent as one of the servants announced the arrival of the evening’s host, John Bidwell. Most of the guests had not seen Bidwell in a very long time and he appeared in obvious ill health, Bidwell smiled and waved to his guests, the music started up again, and the party continued.

Bidwell spent the next two hours slowly mingling with his guests. Surprisingly, he was lucid and sharp-witted: only his body seemed to have suffered the ravages of disease – his mind was as sharp as ever. It was noted that Bidwell was in full possession of his faculties, although he was somewhat distracted – preoccupied with something.

Bidwell spoke with the investigators for several moments, thanking them for coming and exchanging pleasantries. He was very cordial to the male investigators, however, it was noticed that whilst he was a proper gentleman, he was very cool and distant towards both Edith and Yumi. Finally he turned the conversation to the occult, asking the investigators if they had any interest in such things. When they confirmed that they did indeed hold an interest in the occult, Bidwell invited them to take part in a seance at midnight. The seance was to be held in a room upstairs, and Bidwell asked the investigators to keep the event to themselves.

At 11:00 PM Bidwell thanked his guests for coming, but excused himself, saying that he had grown tired. With the departure of the host, many guests began to leave and by 11:30 only a few revellers remained: those invited to the seance made their way upstairs.

The seance was to be held in Bidwell’s upstairs library. In the centre of the room was a long, heavy table covered with a purple cloth; a large ornate candelabrum rested in the centre of the table. The windows had been drawn closed, and thirteen chairs had been arranged around the table. Other than the investigators, the guests at the seance included the Theosophical Society’s Annie Besant, Florence Farr and Dr. William Wynn Wescott of the Golden Dawn and psychichs Robert James Lees and Godfrey Williamson as well Dr. Peter Begg, Paul Donner and Sir Phillip Knight. Also in attendance was the wealthy dilettant Simon Masters who was there to photograph the event.

Shortly before midnight, Bidwell’s butler Hanson entered the library and closed all the drapes. Hanson, lit the candles, extinguished the gaslamps and asked that everyone take a seat around the table. When everyone was seated, he exited the room, locking the doors behind him. John Bidwell then entered the library from the adjoining den. He was dressed in a black hooded robe and carried a crystalline cube. The clock began to strike midnight.

Bidwell instructed everyone to join hands and close their eyes. As the twelfth chime struck, the seance began, Bidwell began a litany of occult rhetoric, stating over and over that he wished to send his mind out – out to contact ‘the Others’. One word that was picked out by the investigators was Yekub, but they did not at this point understand what it meant.

The seance continued until 12:45, apparently unsuccessful when Bidwell slumped into his chair, breaking contact with those on either side of him. His voice was nearly gone and he was breathing heavily. He wearily declared the seance a failure, then thanked his guests and politely asked them to leave. He said that he would gladly speak with anyone the next day, but that night he must rest.

The following morning Jonathan was awoken by a knocking on his door. It was the police, Inspector Martin Cleveland and Detective Sergeant John Craig who informed him that Bidwell had been found murdered in his study, having been stabbed through the heart with a fireplace poker, the chief suspect being Hanson Bartlet, Bidwell’s butler who at that time was missing. The police asked him and then later each of the other investigators that had attended the seance a barrage of questions, their names having been give to the police by Masters the photographer. The investigators were told by Cleveland to not leave London in case he had any more questions for them.

After being questioned, the investigators made contact with Inspector Harrison Craddock who arranged for them to be able to view the Bidwell house, where they managed to ascertain that the crystal cube that Bidwell was using during the seance was missing, presumably having been taken by Bartlet. It was noted however, that Bartlet had left without taking a coat which would be unusual for the time of year as well as for the time of night in which he would have disappeared, leading them to think that the butler may have been possessed by something. Whilst investigating the house they found Bidwell’s masonic ring along with his journals and a photograph showing him with a youth, who was small, thin and pale, while Bidwell was tanned and healthy looking. All around them was desert and Bidwell was holding the cube from the seance, on the back was scrawled ‘with Mortimer – Cuncudgerie, 30th October 1887’. At this point they heard footsteps heading up the stairs and so hid as a man walked into the room and took the photograph away with him. They never got a clear view of the man, but as he was exiting the house they could tell from his bearing that he was a probably a policeman, though not one in uniform.

After leaving the house, the investigators visited the other participants of the seance to discuss what they knew, some were more helpful than others. Dr. William Wynn Westcott of the Golden Dawn offered them membership of the Golden Dawn, about which he would discuss with them in greater detail after the whole Bidwell matter had been cleared up. Westcott also promised to hold a seance to try and contact Bidwell’s spirit.

When visiting Simon Masters, the dilettante showed them a photograph that he had taken during the seance, where it could be seen that all of the participants had their eyes closed, but that the cube was glowing. Masters claimed that he had not seen the cube glow when he had taken the photograph.

The psychic Godfrey Williamson informed them that he had been having visions ever since the seance and that the name ‘Duncan’ or ‘Duggan’ had something to do with it.

Other members of the seance either had little to add or refused to see the investigators, and so consequently after having read Bidwell’s journal decided to meet up with Nigel Stander, who was one of Bidwell’s business associates and although he had not been part of the seance, he had in fact been at Bidwell’s party.

Stander was quite open with the investigators who realised that he was a Mason. He informed them Bidwell had been placed in the care of Dr. John R. Campbell, a fellow Mason, at Albrooke Asylum, located in the small Gloucestershire county community of Mercy Hill, about 110 miles northwest of London. They asked Stander if he would be so kind as to give them a letter of introduction to Campbell and it was decided that a group consisting of Jonathan, Alastar Maloney, Penelope Hancock and Takeshi Takemori would make the trip to Gloucestershire to visit Campbell and to see if they could find out any more information regarding Bidwell’s stay in the asylum.

During the journey to Gloucestershire, Jonathan read Bidwell’s journal, which told of Bidwell’s business in Australia and of how he was accompanied by the youth Mortimer Wycroft from Cuncudgerie. The journal also told of how Bidwell had forcefully taken the cube from an Aboriginal tribesman, killing several of the natives in the process and the increasing strain upon his relationship with Mortimer. It appeared from his journal that Bidwell had spent most of 1888 in London and that in November he had unpacked the cube. There was then a gap until just a few weeks before the party where he noted that he was intending to use the seance as a means to help him to return to Yekub.

Perched at the highest point of Mercy Hill, Albrooke Asylum was an oppressive structure of red brick. The small private institution held only a handful of patients, under the watchful eye of Dr. John R. Campbell. Those demented souls came from wealthy or influential families as Albrooke was not accessible to the poor or lower class. Despite the small size of the facility and the high cost of commital, many patients still suffered from the poor health and muscle atrophy typically associated with a lengthy incarceration in an asylum. For all its reputation, Albrooke wasn’t much better than most institutions for the mentally ill: it was a dark, hellish place haunted by the screams and moans of the mad.

Campbell informed the investigators that John Bidwell was admitted to Albrooke Asylum at approximately 4:00 AM on the morning of 14th November, 1888. Bidwell was heavily sedated when he arrived at Albrooke in the company of Sir William Withey Gull, another mason, who was the physician-in-ordinary to Her Majesty Queen Victoria until his death in 1890.

When admitted Bidwell exhibited signs of total insanity: he was acting like a savage beast and would not speak more than gutteral growls. Because of his wild state, Bidwell was kept sedated for the protection of himself and the Albrooke staff. For months he did not speak, although he occasionally produced queer clicking noises. On 17th April, 1889, Bidwell fell into a coma. To the surprise of Campbell and his staff, he was awake and totally calm and lucid by the following morning. He displayed no lingering symptoms of mental instability and bestial behaviour, but he seemed genuinely confused as to his whereabouts and the date. From then until his recent release from Albrooke, Bidwell was perfectly behaved and exhibited no more signs of insanity, although he did obsessively speak of vivid dreams of an alien world. Dr. Campbell insisted that Bidwell remain at Albrooke until his release earlier in 1893 to be sure that he was indeed cured. Dr. Campbell was admittedly at a loss to explain John Bidwell’s overnight recovery. There was not much more that Campbell could add other than from observation he had worked out that Bidwell was a misogynist who had a pathological distrust of women. This combined with the dates that Bidwell was in London as well as the date of incarceration and the fact that it was Gull himself that had overseen the incarceration of Bidwell suggested to the investigators that Bidwell just may have been Jack the Ripper himself.

During the interview with Campbell, Takeshi was quite insulting towards him and the Masons and despite Jonathan’s protestations refused to quieten down, this would indeed prove to have ramifications later.

The following day, the investigators were contacted by Craddock, who informed them that the butler’s body had been found in a warehouse in the Limehouse district and that both Cleveland and Craig were already there on the scene.

The warehouse proved to be called Dunnigan’s Warehouse, which it was noted was very close to both ‘Duncan or Duggan’ that had been provided by Williamson. Inside the warehouse, the body of Hanson Bartlet lay crumpled on the dusty floor. Bruises around his throat suggested strangulation as the cause of death. Several books were piled on a nearby crate. The books in the main dealt with world history, industrial and scientific history as well as astronomy. Also in the pile was a copy of The Pnakotic Manuscripts, which was taken by Penelope.

As the investigators left the warehouse, they heard the sounds of a scuffle on a street corner – followed by the unmistakable sound of a police whistle. A Cockney police constable was seen struggling with a Chinese woman, who lay writhing and growling savagely on the floor at his feet. A crowd of Chinese passersby were looking on, shouting and gesticulating. The constable tried to restrain the woman, then staggered backwards almost drunkenly. Then shockingly from out of the mouth of the Chinese woman came a voice crying for help in Cockneyed English. He claimed to be Constable Bill Baker, and that the woman had stolen his body. They learnt from ‘Baker’ that he had seen the Chinese woman watching the warehouse and when she saw him she started to run but fell to the ground convulsing. That’s when the investigators had arrived.

The rest of the day was spent looking for clues, however, in the Pnakotic Manuscripts, Penelope found the following passage that had been bookmarked:

‘There are legends that the primordial cone-beings had encountered a race which, like themselves was capable of psychically hurling itself through time and space; that this race used strange hypnotic devices, crystal cubes of immeasurable age, to cross the gulfs of space; that this alien race was bent upon conquering all the worlds it came in contact with; that even the cone-beings feared the incursions of this race, and thus hid away the crystal device they had found…’

That evening, Jonathan received a visit from Godfrey Williamson telling him that he had had a vision and that they should head over to Bidwell’s house immediately. After picking up Charles, Edith, Penelope and Yumi they made their way to Bidwell’s house, where they could see a light in the upstairs window of the library where the seance had originally been held. Making their way inside to the library they discovered that all of the other attendees of the seance were there, except for Bidwell. The other guests confessed that they had been drawn there by visions or dreams. At this point the doors to the den opened and a robed figure stepped into the library.

‘Welcome. I’m glad you all could come,’ the figure uttered in a familiar voice. Throwing back the hood, the robed figure showed himself to be John Bidwell. ‘There are forces greater than life and death,’ he laughed as his guests stared at him in disbelief. ‘I have summoned you all here to show you the fruits of your labour. The seance you see, was indeed a success.’ He produced the crystal cube from a pocket. The smoke from the candles swirled and thickened, forming a funnel-shaped cloud. Blue flashes sparked through the alien crystal and the smokey funnel twisted, the narrow end pressing against and then through the library wall. The funnel formed an impossibly long, black tunnel that stretched through the wall into infinity.

Bidwell stepped to the wide mouth of the tunnel that had grown to over ten feet across, and displayed the cube in the palm of his hand. ‘This’ he said, ‘this is the key’. At this point it was observed that strange shapes could be seen travelling down through the tunnel, growing larger as they got closer, revealing large multi-legged worm-like creatures. ‘May I present your new masters,’ Bidwell chuckled. Behind him, several of the worm-things crawled out of the smokey tunnel. One of them held a glowing sphere that appeared to be made of metal or energy, yet seemingly sentient. At this point the investigators and other seance members were engaged in a desperate battle against the worm-like Yekubians. The majority were quickly overcome, although it was noticed that both Westcott and Farr had used some type of magical protection to aid them in the battle. Charles was squashed by one Yekubian as others attacked Bidwell, who changed in form to that of Bartlet and then to a Chinese woman and finally to that of Constable Baker. Meanwhile Penelope had tried to get the cube, but her head was torn off by another Yekubian. Yumi tried to destroy the cube but could not and fled the room following both Edith and Jonathan. Outside the library, Edith was chased down by a Yekubian and killed as was Jonathan, but Yumi fled outside the house where she saw hundreds of Yekubians coming down through more funnels, it was a full-scale invasion. Heading back insidce she was quickly killed by the Yekubian that had earlier killed Edith.

At this point all of the investigators woke to find that it had been a dream. All of them except Penelope, as she was not an original member of the seance, could remember what had occurred.

Just after he had woken, there was another knock on Jonathan’s door, it was Godfrey Williamson again. The psychic was pale and unsteady as he recounted to Jonathan the dream of the night before and was shocked to learn that Jonathan had also experienced the dream and he nearly fainted. A glass of brandy later, Williamson offered more. He had had numerous visions of a great yellow dragon, snorting fire, bathed in blinding smoke, and there were also faceless men again watching him. One of the men had blood on his hands, but the others constantly moved to shield him. Jonathan suspected that this may mean the Freemasons and Jack the Ripper. As he was leaving, Williamson was run down and killed by a cab, Jonathan was unable to help the man and could not identify the driver of the cab.

As the investigators got together to discuss the previous night’s dream and Williamson’s vision and subsequent death, they were informed by Craddock that Constable Baker’s body had been fished out of the Thames that morning, the cause of death was drowning.

After another brief, but fruitless, search of Bidwell’s house, they went to speak to Cleveland and from discussing with him, they theorised that Williamson’s vision could have been pointing to a Chinese restaurant in Limehouse called The House of the Yellow Dragon. As well as a restaurant it was known to be an opium den and was suspected of having links to the mysterious Chinese underworld gang known as the Si-Fan.

It was decided that the investigators would scope out the House of the Yellow Dragon, going in initially for a meal, where they were met by Lee Ho Fuk the manager of the restaurant. During the course of the meal it was observed that several of the patrons would disappear off into a certain booth and not return. Yumi was sent to investigate and she discovered that there was a secret panel in the booth that led into a corridor and up some stairs. At the top of the stairs she discovered a huge hulking Chinese man who was clearly on guard. It was correctly suspected that this was the way into the opium den itself. After the meal, it was decided that Jonathan and Charles should attempt to gain access to the opium den whilst the others left and sent word for Bob Shire and Reginald Black to come with a carriage for them.

Access was granted to Jonathan and Charles who were led up to the opium den and given an area to sit and to smoke. Jonathan made sure that he was not getting too stoned, only pretending to smoke, Charles however was as high as a kite. During their stay, Jonathan noticed Chinese men enter and leave the room behind a Buddha statue that moved and crawling over he could see that there was a secret room behind the statue with several Chinese men and a strange machine inside. After this they decided to leave and to plan their next course of action.

The investigators were summoned by Nigel Stander who introduced them to Detective Sergeant James Mulverhill, who had been investigating the matter and had learnt about the House of the Yellow Dragon. It was determined that Mulverhill would become part of Cleveland’s task force along with the investigators and that a raid would be launched upon the House of the Yellow Dragon. The investigators were to wait until Mulverhill summoned them.

The following day the investigators were summoned by Mulverhill to Scotland Yard, where they encountered Cleveland and Craig getting ready to lead a raid on the House of the Yellow Dragon. Also in attendance was Lee Ho Fook who had informed the police that there was something going on at the restaurant that his master would not approve of. A deal had been struck, the police would stop the activity and arrest those involved, but would not look too deeply into the affairs of the restaurant, with Lee Ho Fook and those that were still loyal to the Si-Fan being left alone in exchange for easy passage into the opium den.

The raid went according to plan in the main, however, in the secret room there were several Si-Fan thugs as well as the strange machine that held the cube at its heart and was emitting a strange buzzing and crackling noise. Also in the room a Chinese man named Rathe who seemed to be leading some kind of ceremony as well as a floating sphere of metal or energy that seemed to have some degree of sentience , which was recognisable from the dream. A fight ensued, with the police along with the investigators making relatively light work of the gang members, however, both Mulverhill and Jonathan were struck by some mental attack from the sphere, which they learnt was in actual fact a Great Old One named Juk-Shabb – Great Old One. The touch of Juk-Shabb was not pleasant and those touched are seldomly not affected, with Jonathan being left in a stupefied state for four days. Eventually the machine was destroyed and Juk-Shabb was banished back to Yekub.

Searching the secret room, the investigators found two vials that were later revealed to contain cobra venom, a Chinese puzzle box that when opened was shown to contain another vial, this time of a blue liquid, a series of scrolls that were written in Chinese Mandarin, the title of which was later translated to reveal that they were the Seven Cryptical Books Of Hsan, but none of the investigators could read Chinese Mandarin, and a letter that was also written in Chinese Mandarin.

The investigators took the letter to a contact of Lilith Harrington in The British Museum who translated the following information to them:

‘My most loyal servants I entreat to your care this vial and these scrolls. Protect them with your lives and keep them hidden until I return to England and then give them to no one but me. Failure to do this shall result in the pain of a thousand slow deaths.
- your Master Dr. Fu Manchu.’

After the successful resolution of the case, Jonathan was summoned to Nigel Stander’s office. Stander presented him with the details of how the society and the Freemasons would work together, as can be seen in the letter below:

From: Grand Master
To: Fellow Brother, Nigel Stander

Re: Persons of interest

I have it on very good authority that some of the persons that were forwarded on to Dr. John R. Campbell as requested are indeed the very persons that were involved in an arson attack upon the Black Lion Hotel in Truro, Cornwall. These perpetrators have been positively identified as Mr. Jonathan Asbatch, Mr. Reginald Black, Miss Edith ______ and a Japanese national named Takeshi Tokemori. The police have witness statements placing the four individuals previously named at the said hotel on the night of the attack. They are also wanted with regards to the murder of the owner of the hotel, a certain Mr. Miles Graystone, whose remains were discovered in the basement furnace of the ruins of the building.
We are at present keeping the information that we have on these individuals very quiet for reasons of great importance that I will not divulge in this letter, but please be assured that these reasons come from the highest of authorities and do in fact involve matters of national importance.
We request that both yourself and Mulverhill act in the capacity of contacts to these individuals, we also suggest that you limit your contacts primarily to Asbatch, as a true Englishman he would be more amenable to our requests and less prone to excitement.
Campbell’s communications to me regarding the tone of voice of Tokemori do concern me, please inform Asbatch that he should do all that he can to keep his dog muzzled and kept on a tight leash. Inform him that it would be rather unfortunate if matters in Cornwall were to be made public and it is due to my own actions as well as those of greater importance in the scheme of things that they are not at this time facing the hangman’s rope.
The belief that we have that Bidwell was indeed Jack the Ripper is very well known amongst us all, and strongly suspected by certain non brothers. We are not overly concerned that the public suspect as much, there is no proof that would stand up to anything like close scrutiny and we are content in our knowledge that we have done as much as possible to protect all British subjects, even those who hold low station. As you know from your correspondence with Dr. Campbell the whole Jack the Ripper business has not been adequately explained and it is hoped that the murders of both Bidwell and his butler will finally put the matter to some rest. Of course certain questions do still remain, least of all, the identities and motives of the murderers themselves and so therefore vigilance is required.

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