After reaching the London Docks early in the morning most of our party goes to sleep with the one exception of Dr. Cavindish who remains engrossed by the incredible physiology of the reptilian creatures retrieved from the bellies of the two pregnant woman aboard the Crimson Grail. He makes some startling discoveries that will likely come into play when the group meets Le Cameleon in real life. There were large numbers of eggs in the fetal structures indicating a high inclination for procreation (Aspect discovered: Be Fruitful And Multiply) and an inability to regulate their own body temperature like most other reptiles (Aspect discovered: Cold Blooded). He also thoroughly mapped their anatomies (Advantage: Anatomy Mapped) and began synthesizing the Distinctive Pheromones necessary to draw Le Cameleon near. Using his knowledge of the physiology of Le Cameleon he was able to craft a helmet out of a giant bat skull that could detect both pheromones and could also utilize sonar imaging in case Le Cameleon decided to shed a disguise and blend in to the surroundings. Cavindish loaded up on drugs to prevent him from being sleepy for the rest of the day.
Thursday, September 21st, 1815
Mearcair awakens the next morning and decides to go visit the Wick in an effort to gather more information about what is going on. He uses the syringe filled with the paralyzing toxin of Le Cameleon retrieved from what they thought was the body of Lady Hoight. Le Cameleon gives him a letter written by the same mysterious person that sends Mearcair’s weekly letter and signs it merely “D.H.” While talking with Mearcair, the Wick casually gives a dry leaf to the woman bustling about the filthy house that is flooded with Thames water and feces. The woman brews the leaf into a tea and begins crying. He leaps up and begins catching the tears in pot. When Mearcair asks him what the tears are for The Wick tells him that he can give him that information for a thread taken off the cloak of Yada. Mearcair then asks if the woman will recover as she seems to shrivel up slightly when The Wick gathers her tears. Always one for a deal, The Wick says that she will recover in time, but will likely not notice. Mearcair trades a half string of Lady Lancaster’s pearls for the information.
Heading back to the Club the strange old man, Arcabius Wren is queried about the names upon the list. Wren, who seems able to query all the newspapers that have ever been written upon the Earth, says that he finds no connections between the people but that there are a single man (Samuel Bashcroft) and a single woman (Lara Nightingale) who are not of noble descent. Lara Nightingale has a star by her name indicating that she will “not likely be able to attend” the party mentioned in the letter given to Mearcair by The Wick. Wren mentions that the property the bookstore is located upon in Bermandsey is under legal review and is being kept safe for the time being by the barrister employed by The Kerberos Club for when Mr. Bashcroft returns.
The group decides to head down to Bashcroft’s Books and Bindings and finds the store obviously abandoned. One of the store owners across the street, a metalworker, says that a man named Terrence Vanburen was trying to buy out Bashcroft but that Bashcroft refused to sell. Looking over the bookstore with his sight Yada discovers what appears to be a very large seal that is covered with strange writings. The writing appears to have been written in twelve different tongues by twelve different hands. A bevy of interesting books are to be had thankfully undisturbed by looters and prowlers with perhaps alternative motives to theft. Dr. Cavindish discovers anatomy books (some so unusual that they seem to document the anatomy of mythological creatures like centaurs). There are also quite a few anatomy books on the reptilian species. He takes those as well. An exceptionally large tome is entitled, “The Geneology of the English Nobility”. Yada discovers a book entitled, “The Monastery and the Stream” that appears to be written in a language no one has seen before. The apartment above the bookstore has been relatively undisturbed for the simple fact it appears to be a monk’s cell and has very little in it. Heading downstairs, Stony Joe drops a book and, when he bends to pick it up his flaming fists burn right through a ward easily which is strange because it looks relatively undamaged from someone striking it with a sledgehammer repeatedly. Mearcair tries unsuccessfully to take a tread unnoticed off Yada’s cloak but Yada sees and offers him another. The books are all returned to the safe keeping of the Club. Yada passes the book about the Monastery to Wren.
The group decide to head to Le Cameleon’s flat in a rustic building in Old London. The building itself is located at the dead end of Guild St. just East of the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. There are a series of narrow alleyways that start out from behind the house. A small, overgrown pond lies out back of Le Cameleon’s apartment. A large swath of reptilian skin is found submerged underneath the water. Mearcair gets a Lay of the Land and our Kerberans head back to the Club. Yada passes the book about the Monastery to Wren. Wren looks in exasperation at the symbols in the book and appears slightly incredulous that Yada found it at all. He mentions that he must speak to Management but that the language the book is written in is not a language spoken on Earth.
They prepare for an assault on Le Cameleon’s home.
The two men sat across from each other, their eyes searching for any signs of betrayal. “I assume the other items on the list shall not be a problem, Dr. Sinclair?” the first man says, his voice strained with exhaustion.
“It depends on whether my demands have been met,” Sinclair replies evenly. “You have written the letter?”
“Yes, he is on his way and shall be arriving shortly. Though I don’t see why you would want him back. Best left wherever he is, the ungrateful cur.”
“I think we are not so different you and I. We are both men of science. We are both misunderstood by the common men. We…” began Sinclair.
“We lack peers,” the other man interjected curtly.
“Indeed,” Sinclair agreed, “But I am hoping that we can benefit each other, yes? I think we have tremendous potential.”
“I agree,” says the other man. “I do still need Alahzhi Root.” The man leans forward into the dim lighting, his hands and face covered in chancres. “My condition is deteriorating. I assume Arthur is to blame.”
“Almost certainly,” Sinclair replied. “It is an odd state of things where you are now. What do I call you, Doctor?” The syphilitic man across from him pauses for a moment, a slight tremor in his hands indicating the syphilis has infected his nervous system.
“Call Me Walter Cavindish. We have much work to do, Dr. Sinclair. We should begin as soon as possible. It will be nice to have a laboratory again.”
“Anything,” Sinclair says with a smile while raising his glass, “for the sake of Science.”
Elsewhere, two creatures take shelter from the fell wind beneath the skeleton of what was once a tree. A single, beautiful white bud awaits unopened on one of the lower branches. “Will they be coming soon, Honess? I do so tire of wandering alone.” Honess nods his bony head thoughtfully.
“The Wick has sent word, as has Ming. They will come soon, my dear Wender. They come for the boy. Has Peritor completed his task? He works among the Lottery Men now, yes?”
“I believe so,” replies Wender in a hissing, snakelike voice. “He bragged about it for several days. He is a braggart.”
“Indeed. But the pieces are lining up very nicely now. Soon the way shall be open and we shall have more toys then we thought possible. Mearcair has chosen to live amongst the humans. He will not see what is coming. His eyes have dulled to our playing. His ears plugged. He fancies himself better than us all,” whispers Honess, almost as if afraid to be overheard.
“Why so important that Peritor of all creatures be with the Lottery?” Wender asks, huddlng against the cold breeze.
“Because, my most lovely Wender, it means that Mearcair will draw what I want him to draw out of the Lottery Hat.”
“What name is that, oh wisest Honess?” pleads Wender, salivating slightly at the whiff of a story of intrigue and drama.
“Of our kind and thoughtful Lord Pinekiller, no doubt!” whispers Honess, breaking out into peals of laughter. Wender joins in and they laugh and dance around the tree forgetting the cold breeze that blows around them for it bears a slight warmth now. The immaculate white bud on the lower branch of the dead tree opens slightly to taste the promise of warmer days ahead.
As the two skeletal creatures dance away, their joy wrapping around them like a garland of roses, the dead tree sits alone. Then suddenly a pair of large red eyes open upon the trunk and look off in the direction of the two creatures. The anemic bark of the trunk curls upward into a grisly smile. The eyes close and all that marks the tree now is a slight curve in the bark that looks like a grin. More buds begin opening as a shaft of golden sunlight breaks out from behind the clouds. The land stirs. Spring is coming.