The Harbinger and the Fountain

The Shadows Depeen

Where our investigators puzzle over the death of a noblewoman and a note reveals a still deeper plot.

Yada turns his sight on in the church and sees the Cardinal standing in front of a great, shadowy form that locks eyes with Yada and welcomes him to London and thanks him for accepting his invitation. The evil thing laughs so loud it sends Yada’s ears to ringing. He awakens in the gutter with his ears bleeding. He runs off down the street with the church looming ominously over him.

Father Souisse requests a private meeting with the Cardinal after the morning mass and it is granted. Souisse tells the Cardinal he is going on a personal mission to dispatch evil. The Cardinal grants him his blessing and requests (a compel!) that Father Souisse keep him informed of what transpires so that the Cardinal can continue to give him spiritual guidance. Father Souisse agrees and leaves with the Cardinal pledging the full support of the Church to Souisse .

Mearcair spends his Sunday morning teaching street children how to pick pockets. Stony Joe begins the day with his morning constitutional. Dr. Cavindish spends the bulk of Sunday with his family. Everyone meets early Sunday at the Kerberos Club.

The first stop is to visit Vidal Nasseau, the French tobacconist who is examining the silkworms from the Arboretum. He talks about two species of the silkworms, Tyrranathia perrenia, a species that somehow affects time, and Tyrranathia somnium, a species that allows the transfer of thought over a distance. Mearcair steals a bit of Nasseau’s tobacco. Nasseau and Souisse talk much in French about France. Nasseau gives Souissethe best tobacco he has ever tasted.

The next stop is to speak with the unfortunate wretch that was once William Barlow. He pleads with Dr. Cavindish for someone else to be put in with him as he is very lonely. He further informs Dr. Cavindish that the Tyrranathia perrenia fibers, when woven into cloth, allow what is depicted to come true. Yada recoils momentarily recalling the strip of cloth that showed him destroying London. Barlow used several of these to secure funding for further experiments in his nefarious plans. He also mentions that there were several commissions that he and Dr. Sinclair also used these depictions to complete. The other species, Tyrranathia somnium, was the fiber inserted into the heads of people that allowed them to be controlled. He waxes nostalgically about the third species of silkworm, Deusomnia textoralis. He says that the initial species of silkworm, the T. perrenia, was originally thought to be a failure, led to the discovery of the D. textoralis, the first species of silkworm that achieved sentience. Barlow maintains that his fate upon this world was to make and free the D. textoralis.

They adjourn to the sitting room with the omnipresent Wren reading his newspapers from all over the world. Yada prods Souisse slightly about the Cardinal while they all decide which direction to go. A few options seem to stick out: trying to investigate Lord Matthew Lancastor, begin preparations into the Twilight Lands, and speaking with Lord Henry Tavlin (the fellow residing at the Masonic Lodge who attempted to buy the Priory from Lord Wadsworth Kenslington). While they are debating a letter from Lady Josephine Lancastor arrives requesting the presence of the Kerberans at her estate later in the day. Dr. Cavindish launches into a long scientific diatribe on principles obscure and verbose before rubbing the piece of paper retrieved by Mearcair from the office of Lord Matthew Kenslington with carbon revealing the following message:

Dear JW

Our plans move forward with our business with the Templar. They are positively ecstatic with the results I have achieved thus far. The Apocalypse Switch works well, I have tried it on a Carriage that was under someone else’s control. We are moving up production of silk and will have another thirty implanted by the end of the month. I do believe that there is another player out there who is monitoring your actions and I urge discretion in all of your dealings. The Templar will fall at long last. You promised me something in return and I now demand payment. The Phylactery, the Ragnarok Equation, is necessary to take my work to the next level. I simply ask you to honor your promise.

Sincerely,
Dr. Morgan Sinclair

Who could JW be? Could there be a person mentioned so far that has those initials? Father Souisse might recognize them…

Mearcair heads over to the horrific squalor and despair that is known as Jacob’s Island. Populated by the destitute and hopeless, one man wails out his despair when Mearcair gives him some coin. Being of the Fae, Mearcair knows the way to summon the creature known as The Wick, another Fae creature. He lights a candle and places it in the window of a squalid building populated by about 18 people. The people, upon realizing what he is doing move out quickly and silently. Soon there is a knock on the door and The Wick enters, top hat sitting upon a crown of greasy red hair framing a face as cold and bloodless as an alabaster statue. They exchange pleasantries and then get down to business ( The Wick’s face gains some color back as they discuss trade). There are several deals discussed:

  1. The cigarettes taken from Nasseau’s lab at the Kerberos Club for a shovel full of manure from the Twilight Lands (although initially he requests a clock upon the mantle in one of the many rooms of the Kerberos Club).
  2. A drop of Stony Joe Smithson’s blood in exchange for the 3 names of people who have gone to and returned from the Twilight Lands.
  3. A sample of writing from Management in return for a book about the silkworms bred by Barlow and utilized by Dr. Sinclair.

Mearcair secures a shovel full of the Fae manure with which to feed to the mulberry trees upon which the strange silkworms feed. He accepts the deal to bring a drop of blood from Stony Joe back to him in return for the names of those humans who travelled to the Twilight Lands and back. He meets the rest of the players on their way to the Lancastor Estate to meet with Lady Josephine Lancastor.

Lady Lancastor meets with the players and tells them that she is concerned about a large number of people within her circle having succumbed to a similar disease to Lord Kenslington. She has a list of eight other people scattered around London that have died under similar circumstances. They all fall into a malaise with clammy hands and then, after refusing a doctor’s care, die suddenly. She worries about another friend of hers, Lady Emily Hoight, that has fallen ill three days ago and is currently convalescing at her home in London. She is also refusing medical attention. Souisse and Lancastor verbally spar a bit, Souisse mildly insulting the people she associates with and she implies that she knows Cardinal Jurgen Willebrandt and thinks that the idea of Souisse killing the Queen is preposterous with manners as bad as his. She speaks of her husband Matthew and has harsh things to say when the Kerberos Club is mentioned. Her main point is that the Club refuses to discuss her husband’s death with her. Yada bites his tongue about the information that her husband may still be alive and is a heartless monster.

The party moves on to the Hoight Estate within the confines of London proper to follow up on Lady Lancastor’s concerns after stopping at a Barber’s. Dr. Cavindish purchases leaches and Mearcair buys a set of needles. Arriving at the Estate the serving lady is expecting them and shows them in to the Sitting Room and heads upstairs to alert her Lady that they have arrived. Yada sees a flash of spiritual energy abating upstairs but nothing else. The serving lady shows them upstairs to speak with her Lady. The party finds an extremely warm room adequately furnished but lacking any sign of Lady Hoight. The depression in the bed is cool to the touch, the sheets slightly messed as if someone had just been there. There are several books in French (the history book has some derogatory notes in the margins, also written in French). The serving lady is quite taken aback at the lack of her Lady in bed and is instructed to head downstairs and notify Lord Hoight and to put on some tea. The good doctor then leaves some leaches in bed in the hopes that they could collect a blood sample from Lady Hoight when (if) she returned to bed. Yada uses his sight and, much to his discomfort, finds nothing of use. A scream from downstairs sets everyone into a mad dash downstairs. Mearcair manages to slip a leach on Stony Joe prior to heading downstairs. The body of Lady Hoight is found on the floor sprawled out as if she had run down the stairs and tripped. Her body is cold and without a pulse. By all accounts she is dead. Dr. Cavindish sends for a mortician friend of his, Horace Bean, to come retrieve the remains and secret her away for a proper post-mortem examination. A Strange examination by Mearcair manages to retrieve a substance from the neck of Lady Hoight that paralyzes his arm. Mearcair is saved by the speedy ministrations of Dr. Cavindish and Yada. Leaches placed on Mearcair’s arm are retrieved after they fall to the floor apparently paralyzed. Mearcair manages to retrieve the leach placed on Stony Joe. The leach itself has turned to stone. Lord Nathan Hoight returns home and bids the players to let him adjourn. He reiterates the story of his wife falling ill (and becoming slightly distant, though he attributes this to her not wanting him to see her in such disarray) and refusing a doctor’s care. He cannot recall any particular place that she might have caught the illness from but her hands were very clammy.

Horace Bean, Yada and Dr. Cavindish bundle up the remains and place them in a locked coffin and head to the lab where the good doctor aims to plan a covert autopsy to determine a cause of death. The carriage rocks suddenly with a splintering of pine and the back doors of the carriage bust open. The coffin containing the body of Lady Hoight is empty.

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