The Harbinger and the Fountain

Out to Sea
Where our group forms an uneasy alliance with Le Cameleon and the young couple are kidnapped...

We open at the old Bethlem Hospital. Dr. Cavindish absconds with his daughter in tow and Stony Joe accompanies him to ensure that he and Victoria remain safe. Standing at the door to the Nursery the group sees a horrific site. Hospital beds, a dozen of them, all occupied by French women in various states of mutilation. Most of them have no legs and a few still have arms (those whose handwriting Le Cameleon appreciated) but all are maimed in some way and therefore destined to be an outcast in Victorian society. From the shadows, Le Cameleon makes a move for parley which is accepted. Le Cameleon makes an entrance with a flourish and a cloud of smoke, taking on the appearance of another Father Souisse. He sits down and offers what he knows for his freedom on the condition that he leaves England. He accepts and begins to tell the players what he knows.
He is a mercenary that works for the Templar. While working for the Templar Le Cameleon investigated them. He is dismissive of them, saying that they are fanatics and intent on taking over the world by acquiring the Phylactery (also known as the Ragnarok Equation). When Le Cameleon is speaking, Father Souisse suddenly realizes that the Phylactery and Ragnarok Equation (Phylactery being a container filled with fluid and Ragnarok being Armageddon) he realizes it is a reference to the seven vials of Revelations within the Bible. Le Cameleon says that the Templar think that the Phylactery resides within the list of people given to Le Cameleon to steal. He says they seek only to possess the Pylactery, not to use it to end the world.
He says that Dr. Morgan Sinclair is the lynchpin of what is going on. Morgan Sinclair is very close to the Cardinal Willebrandt and they have had extensive dealings. Le Cameleon says that the Templar purchased his mind controlling technology in the hopes of creating an army and paid him dearly for it. He says that Sinclair is currently setting up laboratories with Walter Lyons, the escaped mental patient who has a copy of Cavindish’s mind. He has used Walter Lyons to write a letter to Cavindish’s son, Art, luring him to London for an as yet undiscovered reason.
Le Cameleon also mentions that he knows who the mysterious D.H. is. It is a man by the name of David Housesparrow and though he is thought to be here in England somewhere he is operating under an alias and he claims not to know what the alias is (he is lying!).
The players then ask him about ways to attack the Templar. For Morgan Sinclair, he mentions the fact Sinclair and Lyons are setting up a laboratory. For Henry Tavlin Le Cameleon mentions that he knew a sorcerer in France who could step out of time for 2-3 seconds. He used him to conduct experiments (small things like teacups falling) and found that he could surprise him slightly.
Le Cameleon makes the suggestion that in the future at their various meetings he be scanned by Mr. Devlin to ensure it is him. Mentally, Le Cameleon has Devlin insert a post-hypnotic suggestion that, when a particular phrase is thought (“I’ve got my Peridot Amulet”) that Devlin will recognize the person as Le Cameleon. Because Devlin still had the loyalty from the female attacker in the Asylum (her name was Le Chat Noir, “the Black Cat”) he agrees and plants the seed within his own mind and erasing the trail leading to it.
When asked about the army of the dead Le Cameleon mentions that he doesn’t know what it is for but is likely drawn by the power of the Phylactery. He says that the Lamplighters are involved in this (Yada remembers the Clockwork man, Soloman Boothe had mentioned something about the Lamplighters that light the lamps in a different sequence every night).
Finally, he makes a counteroffer to the group. Instead of heading back to France he offers to stay in London and be a double agent feeding them information about the Templar. Mearcair makes a counteroffer himself. He knows Le Cameleon has a network in the underworld and hears rumors on the streets of London. He asks that if Le Cameleon hears anything creeping up against the players that he should let them know. As he is leaving, Le Cameleon lets the group know that the Police have witnesses that put Dr. Cavindish and Stony Joe at the scenes of two of the Churchkiller bombings. They will likely be coming for them soon.
All of the group has been awake for well over 24 hours they retire to their respective residences. Father Souisse heads back to the French Ambassador’s chapel to his cell. He goes to sleep but is awoken in the early hours by the Cardinal at the end of his bed. The Cardinal feels that Father Souisse is amidst a crisis of faith ant wishes to bring him back in the fold. He offers to tell Father Souisse answers to any questions he has. Father Souisse confronts the Cardinal about his apparently extraordinary long life. Convinced the Cardinal is a demon. The Cardinal responds that the way that one follows God’s plan sometimes requires doing things that are not considered just. He says, implying a similarity between his and Father Souisse’s situation, that often times the Shepherd of the flock will not be allowed to follow. That though he and Father Souisse are tasked with the protection of mankind’s grace that he and Father Souisse will likely not partake of Paradise.

He makes a reference to Genesis 6:3: “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”

The Cardinal tells Father Souisse that the quote indicates that mankind’s period of Grace with God is limited and goes on to explain that the end of the world may come AFTER mankind’s grace is removed. It is his charge, as he sees it, to usher the end of the world before mankind loses its grace. He tells Souisse that the reason the Church sent him to the Kerberos Club was that it is a group of powerful people that must be stopped if the plan of the Church is to continue. He gives Souisse an assignment to bring a letter to Rupert, the servant at the Kerberos Club. He agrees to the Cardinal’s mission. He sleeps for a little while longer then makes his way to the Club.

Upon reaching the Club, Father Souisse delivers his letter to Rupert. Rupert’s wobbly eye steadies for a moment then the paper drops from his hand, an angelic rune fading from sight as it falls. The young couple are in the entry room with Arcabius Wren. Father Souisse busies himself around the club until the other members awaken. Mearcair searches out the young couple, Lady Broderick and Julius Hadley and finds, to his immense discomfort, that they have both been taken out of the club! Rupert, slightly evasive, mentions that they were taken out approximately 45 minutes before. Devlin had the presence to give Lady Broderick a brooch that he could track her with. Sure enough, Devlin activates the brooch and finds that Lady Broderick (or at least the brooch) is on the Thames sailing Eastward out to the ocean. Grabbing Lucien (who looks slightly less chipper than he did the night before), they utilize his rapid transit ability to race east along the northern bank of the Thames until they reach Canvey Island where Mearcair knows an “associate” with a fast ship (aka Pirate Ship). Preparations are hastily made and the group is off after the kidnapped young couple in a race out into the English Channel. Dark storm clouds gather on the horizon and the water becomes choppy. Mearcair, hair pushed back from an icy wind picks out a shape in the distance. Shifting his eyes to that of a bird he sees the written on the boat bedecked with kelp. The Crimson Grail. The crewmembers move about the deck with bright red shining eyes. They turn toward the ship our group is on as if sniffing something on the wind and let out a roar that seems part lion’s roar and part pig screaming.

They have returned for vengeance.

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Raiding the Nursery
Having found the Nursery our group sets about to rid the world of a Lizard

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Saturday September 23rd, 1815
Standing in the destruction of what used to be the entryway to Devlin’s family estate. Stony Joe removes his large foot from the floor where it broke through. Under the floor a lockbox is found. Within the box an old book is found titled The Pole Archus. Wanting to get going back to London with all possible dispatch, Father Souisse signals for Lucien but Lucien doesn’t come. When they go investigate they find Lucien in respiratory paralysis. Dr. Cavindish opens his bag and with the speed of one of the greatest doctors in the world, manages to bring Lucien back from the brink of death. Unfortunately, the damage to Lucien’s nervous system is significant and he requires several weeks of recovery. Loading everyone into two carriages they all head back to London. Reading the highlights of the book (written in Latin) Dr. Cavindish discovers the book is about the Pole Archus, a group of people within the Catholic church responsible for investigating and, when necessary, sequestering mystical items that were making their way back to Europe after the First Crusade ends. The founding members, all Catholic priests, are listed as Jurgen Willebrandt, Herschel Gloeckner, Father Brian O’Leary, and Raymonde de la Montez.

While Dr. Cavindish is reading from this old tome Yada has a discussion with the little girl that has haunted him since his crossing through the fountain. She encourages him to heal Lucien with his power. He talks with her and, ultimately, reaches his hand out and, with a blinding flash of light (flecked with bits of jagged darkness). It is a miracle! Lucien is healed! Unfortunately, all of the plant and animals within 100 yards have been drained of their life force. It is found that the horses that pull Lucien’s carriage are a special breed that are raised at the Broderick estate.

Sunday September 24th, 1815

A brief scramble for horses later, the group reassembles and drops Lady Broderick and Sir Julius Hadley at the Club before rushing to the old Bethlem Hospital, now abandoned.

Entering through the door to which Cavindish has a key (he reminisces about his younger days briefly), opens the front door. Heading into the depths of the old hospital they enter a large room with a great round glass window in the ceiling that looks much like an eye. Victoria Cavindish is in a chair in the middle of the room wired to explode. Nearby is large and apparently deep sinkhole. Stepping forward into the room, Dr. Cavindish steps upon a pressure plate trap that threatens to blow his daughter to bits. A French Assassin with her crafty minions comes flying down from the balcony above, smacking Stony Joe repeatedly. A sound of machinery starts up, a hissing of steam and the pounding of gears. A man dressed in an iron steam-powered suit. A raging battle ensued with Le Cameleon using his paralyzing neurotoxin on the party as well. Stony Joe, enraged, sets fire to the floor, and the odd wind blowing through the area swirls the flames into a raging inferno threatening to detonate the dynamite prematurely! Cavindish races to deactivate the dynamite and rescues his daughter at the last minute while Stony Joe kicks the barrels of dynamite down the sinkhole. Yada uses every trick he can to locate Le Cameleon and (with a compel on “Inch of Dust Everywhere”) hurls a rock through his chest cavity. Le Cameleon retreats back into the shadows and regenerates swiftly. Devlin reaches into the mind of the French woman and bends her will to his own, but not before her undying loyalty to Le Cameleon makes its way into her mind as well! Realizing that the woman and the man in the iron suit were husband and wife, she uses the woman to break off their attack and they make a break for it. Devlin then orders the minions to rescue the poor, unfortunate souls in the Nursery. Mearcair sheds the neurotoxic saliva by becoming smoke, narrowly missing a trap of daggers that shoots toward him. The group makes its way toward the trapped women, hoping to pull Le Cameleon in for the coup de grace…

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The Davids Slay a Goliath
Where our players best the Triumvirate.

Saturday 23rd, 1815

After retrieving the young couple, Lady Gwendolyn Broderick and Sir Julius Hadley, the bulk of the party heads to the estate owned by Mr. Devlin (inherited from an uncle, Thaddeus Porter, who died while Devlin was overseas in the Americas), Longshadow Glen. They send Lucien to bring word back to the Kerberos Club for Dr. Cavindish and Stony Joe to head out to Longshadow Glen. Cavindish replenishes his bag (Lucien replenishes the coach’s brandy supply) and brings the captive woman with him back out to the estate via Lucien’s special way. Lucien is then told to be ready to leave quickly out by the servant’s quarters.
Playing the civil gentleman with the woman, Dr. Cavindish tries to pry information out of her but she is too slippery. Calling in Devlin, he approaches her from behind and touches her but before he can read her she dislocates his shoulder. Cavindish begins his kind of interrogation by dosing himself with a pheromone that causes horrific fear and she tells them all of the location of the Nursery before passing out, blood streaming from her eyes and nose. Stony Joe aids in the woman’s restraint while Dr. Cavindish attends to Devlin’s wound.
Downstairs Father Souisse chaperones the young couple and gives Lady Broderick the cold shoulder for her uppity nature in defense of her use of sorcery. He takes leave of the young couple momentarily to investigate the library and finds a beautiful calf skin bible almost 300 years old. Yada, using the sight on the house, sees two very interesting things. The first is that there appears to be spirits in the stained glass windows of the Library and there appears to be a door guarded by gargoyles with ruby red glowing eyes in what appeared to be the private study. Devlin touches Yada while his sight is on and gets a sudden vision of Yada at the bottom of a black pit. At the top of the pit is a small girl smiling and laughing and throwing flowers down to him. The blackened pit is the man that walks around. Investigating further he finds the door behind a bookshelf. He looks in detail at the creatures held in the stained glass prisons and sees all manner of inhuman creatures although one seems humanlike and repeatedly flips a coin sinisterly. Then he sees the Triumvirate outside and rushes to tell everyone of their arrival.
Preparations are made quickly and a knock on the front door sounds the arrival of the Triumvirate. Yada opens the door and sees the woman standing there, her two associates no doubt close by. She demands the two young lovers, Sir Hadley and Lady Broderick. Yada inquires as to the reason why they need the people but the woman shuts him down severely, reiterating her demand. Father Souisse, in typical French fashion, begins mouthing off to her and brings the sudden realization that she “Hates to be Teased” (aspect discovered!). She lurches at him to attack and Yada manages to bring his staff up to shield the Frenchman.
What ensues is a pitched battle between the Triumvirate (and Le Cameleon too!). Stony Joe draws first blood on the leader of the Triumvirate, swinging her up into the ceiling. Seeing Stony Joe as the primary risk, the Triumvirate and Le Cameleon focus their attacks upon him. Father Souisse manages to overcome his fealty to the Church and blesses Yada with a power that flows from…elsewhere. Finally, a group effort spearheaded by Yada lays the leader of the Triumvirate low. Having jumped into the next room accidentally after having trouble adjusting to Dr. Cavindish’s superhuman speed and strength concoction, Yada leaps back into the room, throwing stones blazing with chemical fire, surrounded by faerie fire and blessed by Saint Vlad, Yada lets out a cry that shatters the crystal chandelier hanging above raining down broken glass down like rain. His fists move so fast they pulverize the shards of glass that get in the way. The blow sounds like a thunderclap and hits the woman with such force it separates her spirit from her body severing the tie with her two associates and blunting their power. Stony Joe manages to break through the floor. As Stony Joe pulls his gigantic foot up from the floor he catches sight of something in a small cubby under the floorboards…

Epilogue
He nipped a small sip of the brandy he always kept under the seat of his coach. Just enough to keep away the chill but not enough to make him sluggish or slow for he had long ago realized if he was to lead an honorable life that he must strive to serve the best he possibly could. The people he felt truly sorry for were those that didn’t know whether they should rule or serve. To not know what one should strive for, to reach perfection in was a hell on earth that Lucien hoped he would never know. It had been a strange few weeks with this group of gentlemen to be sure. He was sure about the good Father but not of some of the others. Some of them made him nervous but he felt that they were all men striving for a goodness even if he didn’t understand exactly what that was. Understanding was not always required of a servant. Only obedience. If only he had known that when he was younger and he might have been able to save…
A boom rang out from the house as the sounds of a violent fight were heard. He knew not what sort of creature would survive against these men he carried in his carriage but had no desire to find out. The horses reared up slightly, sweat suddenly giving sheen to their matte black coats that glittered silver in the moonlight. He readied himself for flight, steadied his nerves and told himself that much might depend on him following the orders he was given. Be prepared for flight, Father Souisse had told him. And prepared he was. Every iota of his attention was focused on the house. Every muscle in his body was like a coiled spring. With his attention drawn so wholly toward the house and the violence within he failed to notice the man-sized lizard motionless behind him on top of the carriage almost invisible in the moonlight.

Elsewhere in darkened places away from genteel eyes a man walks up the center of a church of sorts. Instead of pews there are piles of flesh that were once people but are now only husks writhing in the very ecstasy that consumed them. He approaches a large, wooden door with rusting iron reinforcements. He waits for a moment and the door begins to open. The man lowers his eyes, unwilling to meet the prophet’s face. “The Godweaver has spun us the vision!” the prophet says, its voice the sound of a thousand scuttling insect legs. The writhing mass of people stop and look up dreamily at the prophet their eyes both distant and entreating. “What sign does the Wyrm see?” the people utter in unison. The prophet takes a single step down on the stairs, his naked feet moist and glistening with slime, his flesh smacking the stone with a wet splash. “The Godweaver does not see the signs, it makes them. It is the guide post and the North Star. It is the rising sun and it is the compass. It makes the sign for others to follow.” The prophet unrolls the swath of silk above his eyeless head. There, above eye sockets occupied by silkworm larvae, the prophet shows the swath to the Faithful. It is a terrible scene where the oceans turn to blood and a great storm washes clean man from the Earth. Demons walk the land in the guise of man and harries the dwindling armies of the righteous. Great terrors swell up from deep and dark places and the sun is eclipsed by a shroud of darkness. “The End, my dears, is Nigh.” The mass of people who have merged into a carpet of man and woman, a miasma of body and flesh weep rapturously. The man raises his head to the Prophet. “I am the Demon Scorn. I will see it done.”

I am adding a new campaign aspect, “The End is Nigh”.

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The Storm Gathers
Where the group attempts to step outside Le Cameleon's plans laid out for them

Saturday, September 23rd, 1815

Foiled again on the outskirts of the Tavlin Estate the group decides to head back to the club and deliberate on their next move. They decide to step out of the plans made for them and initiate their own action. Looking around the club for any additional help, Arcabius Wren points them in the direction of a new pledge member, a man simply named Devlin. They decide to kidnap the two noble people, Lady Gwendolyn Broderick and Sir Julius Hadley, that remain on Le Cameleon’s list. A contingent of our group, Dr. Cavindish, Mearcair and the newly acquired Club member, Devlin, head to Sir Hadley’s residence and find him there preparing for his appearance at the Winter Ball. His mother entertains the group politely. It is found that Sir Hadley is in love with Lady Gwendolyn. He has trophies of big game that he has hunted around the world and very much likes to talk about himself. It is easy, therefore, to convince Sir Hadley to come help the group rescue Lady Gwendolyn.

Stony Joe, Yada, and Father Souisse are out with Lucien destroying bridges that lead to the Tavlin estate hoping to slow down traffic to the party that will likely end with much death. Stony Joe makes quick work of the bridges and the two return. When finished, they meet up with the other group at Hadley’s estate. Yada spots one of the Triumverate watching Hadley’s estate. Father Souisse steps outside to taunt them and is answered by a knife bisecting his priceless bible in twain. He retreats to the interior of the carriage, sullen and French.

Dr. Cavindish and Stony Joe peel off to investigate the appointment at 5pm at Christ Church. They meet Rector Terrence Lee there who is an older man who prattles on, keeping Cavindish and Stony Joe busy until, with a mighty explosion, a bomb destroys Christ Church next door. The Rector tells Cavindish that a letter arrived for him and Stony Joe retrieves it:

Dearest Arthur,
I apologize for my familiarity but after the time I have spent with your daughter I feel as though I know you. She is a beautiful girl who will one day bloom into a woman who may warrant further attentions. But enough with you, on to business. It seems that there have been some very evil men who resent the Church of England. These evil men have left a little present for the penitent at Christ Church. Perhaps you should swoop in to save the day? If you are compliant your daughter will be returned to you intact. If not…perhaps you will be able to put her together again. Perhaps not.

Retrieving a metal compartment near the center of the bomb from Christ Church, a simple note contained within, “St. Anne’s, 6pm”. Another bomb! Realizing that the order of the churches is similar to the sequence detected by the Pigeon Boy used by Cavindish to try and detect his daughter, they skip ahead to St. Paul after loading Rector Terrence Lee into the carriage (with lots of grisly plans for his flesh). One of the younger priests sees Cavindish loading the Rector’s body into a carriage. Once at St. Paul, they see a carriage heading out with Le Cameleon’s “cleaning woman” who evaded Father Souisse in a carriage earlier. Cavindish heads off after the carriage (giving the horse a major stimulant resulting in it turning into a burning carcass) while Stony Joe remains behind at the Church itself trying to save those people heading in (a child’s choir is heading in to practice!). The bomb at St. Anne’s explodes with a dull boom. Stony Joe sees Cavindish squaring off against the carriage full of Le Cameleon’s people and when he has trouble keeping people from entering back into St. Paul Cathedral he KNOCKS IT DOWN! Stony Joe runs up the street and brings the melee between Cavindish (and his creepy lizard fetus minions) and the squad of people setting the bomb in St. Paul. After a protracted melee, Stony Joe brings it to a rapid closure resulting in the woman taken hostage.

Out on a remote country road the group arranges a glamoured scene of highwaymen attempting to kidnap Lady Gwendolyn. Sir Hadley is set up to ride to his fair Lady’s rescue. With the aid of Devlin and Sir Hadley’s romantic heart they retreat to a country estate owned by Devlin to arrange a makeshift marriage between the two young lovers and to dig in to await for whatever will come.

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Dark Passages, Dark Connections
Where Le Cameleon's mechanations begin to be revealed.

Friday, September 22nd, 1815
Later in the evening, Father Souisse falls asleep in Cavindish’s waiting room after realizing that he cannot escape. He falls asleep and sees himself on a hillside, sunlight bathing the heath in a golden light. To his left is a cabin with the door ajar. Inside the cabin he feels his greatest desire is there and it scares him terribly. He reaches for his crucifix which he sees is black and twisted, then enters the cabin and is embraced in utter ecstasy and darkness. Behind him a faceless man stitches something into his head. He awakens, screaming and rushes to the mirror to find that into the back of his head an angelic rune was inscribed. He panics and calls for Rupert who arrives promptly. Rupert extends out his hand and for a moment Father Souisse feels that he is burning. Opening his eyes he sees, just for a moment the same angelic symbol in Rupert’s pupils. Then they fade away. Souisse moves to the cafeteria and begins drinking heavily. He meets Yada there who has been having a difficult day as well. Yada awoke with a blackened lotus symbol manifesting on his face like a tattoo. The little girl he saw at the fountain was there in his room and began pouting when he meditated. As his center began to return the mark faded from his face and the little girl withdrew. After the two talked and Father Souisse became thoroughly drunk and makes quite a scene but is put to bed by Yada who accosted Rupert and demanded answers, and if not answers he wants to speak to Management. Distracted by a whistling coming down the stairs he turns to find Hanli Barber dressed in travel clothes with a suitcase. He laughs at Yada trying to talk to Rupert. He tells Yada that Rupert is very much a part of the building and goes where the building goes. Yada asks Hanli where he is going and Hanli replies that he is travelling on to find the next place the Club will be in case this Club falls. When he finds the place he lights the way for the others to follow. He says Rupert is a Construct. He talked about Rupert being like a small breeze over a large meadow that, when gathered and bottled becomes a hurricane. Rupert is extremely powerful, but only within the confines of the Club itself. Hanli wishes Yada well and tells him not to travel too far from home (an obvious reference to the distances that Yada travelled in the spirit world out of his body). Hanli passes Stony Joe heading in to the club after having the same eerie dream of the cabin on the hillside. Stony Joe does not enter the cabin and watches as his hands burn themselves to ash and fall away.

Mearcair heads down to the docks and begins poking around for anything out of the ordinary. He stumbles upon a few sailors talking about a large shipment of saltpeter, a primary constituent of gunpowder, that was delivered to the Tavlin estate. Mearcair decides to head up to the Tavlin estate to poke around. He finds a few crates of saltpeter in a storage area out in the servant’s quarters. As if on cue, two armed men arrive at the servant’s quarters armed with pistols. They tell Mearcair that Lord Tavlin sent them to hunt a bird with a large scar. They see Mearcair with the scar and bring him back to be questioned by their Master. Bringing him into the house, Mearcair notices that there is feverish activity in preparation for the Winter Ball happening the following evening. The men thrust him into a darkened room where they say Lord Tavlin is waiting. Mearcair lights a small flame in the darkness and finds the room is completely covered in wrought iron. He carefully spends the night bending the bars slightly with his flame. Around daybreak, a man (presumably Lord Tavlin) speaks to Mearcair and answers some interesting questions. Tavlin refers to the dreams that are going around and says they are caused by the silkworm that escaped the Arboretum. He tells Mearcair that the undead army is coming to London to destroy the Church because, he says, “In order to rule the world we must have a world to rule.” The Templar are out to destroy the Catholic Church, apparently. The interesting fact is that Barlow and, more importantly, Sinclair, have contact with both the Templar and the Church. Tavlin comments that Morgan Sinclair and William Barlow were “tools that have been discarded.” Tavlin compares Mearcair to a canary in a cage recommending that he and his friends fly off out of London as things are going to get awfully uncomfortable. Mearcair dallies a bit longer trying to abscond with a lovely, shiny lamp that he carries halfway back to London before dropping.

Dr. Cavindish also retires early in the evening, exhausted after his pigeon boy contraption winds down. He has the same dream and, without fear, enters the building on the hillside and awakens to find angelic script carved into the back of his skull. Quickly, he springs into work in his laboratory, removing the section of skull that bears the sigil and transplants it into a laboratory specimen (#1) for further study. Cavindish uses Biopaste to close the hole in the back of his head. He determines that the rune is a “somnambulistic telekinetic phenomenon”, a physical mark placed through dream. The sigil similar to several ceremonial preparations of bodies to allow spirits to enter.

Saturday, September 23rd, 1815

Sitting around the table in the Club the investigators decide on the best strategy to tackle the problems that they will face today. Momentarily confused about the reasons Tavlin (a Templar) would be attending a party that is destined to be destroyed by Le Cameleon (someone thought to be in the Templar’s employ). They come to a realization that Le Cameleon will use the explosion to cover his tracks while making off with the last two names on the list, Lady Gwendolyn Broderick and Sir Julius Hadley. Cavindish receives a short letter from Le Cameleon stating that he would like them at the Christ Church at 5pm. Father Souisse signs the letter authorizing his use of His Majesty’s Private Cab Service. Normally taking almost 3 hours to reach Tavlin’s estate Lucien Brielle mentions that he can get them there in approximately 3 minutes. He is able to move over the entire island of Great Britain at fantastic speeds by moving the cab through an in-between place where white, ashy dust gathers on all non-living things. Father Souisse apologizes for striking Lucien and holding him in ill regard and tells Lucien that he will reward him one day. Lucien replies that he already has by allowing Lucien to serve him. Lucien brings the group within a half mile of the Tavlin Estate and Yada approaches silently. Surprisingly, a small girl approaches him (not seeing him but knowing that he is there), “Little strange man?” she asks. Yada sweeps her into the bushes and converses with her. She was sent out by Lord Tavlin to give him a message that reads, “If you trespass upon my grounds again Cavindish’s daughter will die.” Yada, armed with a Fear Grenade devised by Dr. Cavindish, decides to give the device to the little girl to place in the party area to help clear the people out of the house prior to it exploding that evening. He sees a vision of what will be, people screaming and clawing their eyes out in abject terror. He realizes that he cannot be party to such a heinous act and sends the girl on her way but not before tasking her with leaving an upstairs window open to allow them easy access to the house later if the need arises. Our Kerberans’ attention turns to Christ Church and a meeting with Le Cameleon that is most assuredly a trap.

Fate Points

  • Mearcair, 4
  • Stony Joe, 3
  • Father Souisse, 7
  • Yada, 2
  • Dr. Cavindish, 8
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A Secret Illuminated
Where a Secret of Lucien Brielle's is brought to light.

Thursday, Septemer 21st, 1815
After much planning outside Le Cameleon’s home the party knocks on the front door. Father Souisse manages to distract the woman and abscond with her in a carriage. He berates her and, suddenly, she flicks her fingers across his face, blinding him. She then leaps out of the carriage, evading the well-worn bullwhip of Lucien, and ducks down the alleyway. Lucien leaps after her but comes back limping and says the woman disappeared. The rest of the group enters the house and finds many interesting articles upon searching the house. They find an invitation inviting someone named Leon Davieu (a cover identity for Le Cameleon?) to the Winter Ball at the estate of Lord Henry Tavlin. They find a Letter of Diplomatic Immunity signed by the French Ambassador and the King of France. The letter is addressed for a man, Marcel Caron. There was a copious pile of love letters from many French women. The interior of the apartment is stiflingly hot and steams the windows. A knock on the door disturbs the group searching the house. It is a letter courier who, after tipped copiously in illusionary coin from Mearcair’s purse, delivers a small letter. The letter reads simply, “check the hall closet.” It is unsigned. Stony Joe heads upstairs and, being made of stone, opens the door in case of explosion. There is a black box with a purple bow. Inside the box is a small, porcelain doll that Dr. Cavindish recognizes as his daughter’s.
Leaving abruptly, Dr. Cavindish instructs Lucien Brielle to make for his home with all possible speed. Arriving home his wife, Mary, tells Cavindish that he returned home today and took their daughter, Victoria, with him to work. Almost assuredly, Le Cameleon kidnapped Cavindish’s daughter. Mary, not aware their daughter has been kidnapped, tells Dr. Cavindish of a letter that arrived for him today. The letter was scribbled hastily and appears to be in his own hand. It reads, simply, “Who killed Duchess Peony Newton? Discover Lucien’s secret. It is IMPORTANT. Do it soon.” It was signed with Dr. Cavindish’s initials. Father Souisse heads out to the carriage and confronts Lucien about the secrets that he is keeping. Lucien, wishing greatly to tell Father Souisse everything, refuses to speak of his secret directly but mentions that he knows of a way to inform Souisse of what this secret is. Souisse smacks Lucien for his insolence. Being late in the evening everyone retires.

Friday, September 22nd, 1815
Except for Cavindish. Who pushes on with yet no sleep again. He exchanges his weary humors for a fresh tank of blood that he keeps in his lab. He then uses some extra material in his lab (i.e. a young boy) to fashion a detector for his daughter, Victoria. He replaces the boy’s heart with four pigeon hearts all sensitized with the scent of his daughter. Strangely, the small boy followed a path that led through several churches in this order: Christ Church, St. Anne’s Church, St. Paul, St. James Church, St. Mary Rotherhithe.
Lucien begs Father Souisse to help him clear his name and, reluctantly, Souisse agrees. Lucien tells Father Souisse several rumors that surrounded the murder case of Lady Peony Newton. Her husband, Duke Elijah Newton, was at a party in London on the evening of April 5th, 1813, approximately 100 miles away from his home estate where Duchess Peony was at (she was not feeling well that evening and did not travel with the Duke). One of the house staff swears that she saw the Duke return home just before Lady Peony was killed. He talks of a man who knew the Duke but became estranged from him just after the death of the Duchess. He is a man named Sir Charles Milton. Souisse confronts Sir Milton at his home and demands him to tell what is going on as the good Father is losing patience. Threatening the man with eternal damnation, Sir Milton tells Father Souisse that he will show him some papers that will clear the matter up. Heading to his office he retrieves a paper and hands it to Souisse and promptly drops over dead. Souisse opens the letter just in time to find Sir Milton’s handwriting disappear from the signature line at the bottom of the page. He heads back to the carriage where Lucien is waiting. He tells Father Souisse that he can help him more in his work if he signs the paper. Father Souisse refuses and heads back to the club. He stashes the letter in a book on the shelf in Dr. Cavindish’s waiting room but cannot seem to find his way out again. Thankfully there are cigars and brandy.

Mearcair found that he had to step out to attend to something mentioned in the secretive letters he received at the docks every Tuesday from the mysterious D.H. The boat approaches the dock and people begin disembarking. One of them locks eyes with Mearcair and approaches him and introduces himself as Art, Art Cavindish. Art mentions that he has to make a trip to Holehaven. While travelling, Mearcair talks with him over his life and travels. Art headed East when he left London and wound up circling around to the Americas where he saw the immense evils that slavery can inflict upon a society and the world at large. He mentions that he was brought here by a letter but refuses to disclose the writer of the letter. They stop at Holehaven and he gets out, makes a slow circle around the crater, and then comes back to the carriage relieved that nothing happened and the two head back to London. Art asks Mearcair for a list of all of Arthur Cavindish Sr.’s ships which Mearcair rapidly provides. Mearcair heads back to the Club, unable to mention the identity of his charge to anyone else.

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On the Chameleon 's Tail
Our players begin tracking down the elusive French Spy

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.

Epilogue
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.

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The Grail Emptied
Where the Crimson Grail is assaulted and its grisly contents revealed.

Late Tuesday, September 19th, 1850

Yada wakes up in the Astral plane far away from his body, a silver cord unspooling from over the horizon. Down below there is an old woman next to a beautiful fountain that smiles at him. “We’ve been waiting for you for a long time,” she says, a sadness coloring her words. She tells him that he must travel through to the other side to find his way back. Knowing her words to be true, Yada wades into the fountain and comes out on the other side. The old woman has been replaced with a young child. The cool blue waters of the fountain are now black as night and the shadows of the Astral plane have been replaced by light.

Awakening in the destruction of the Cult of the Maranam’s church, Mearcair throws a glamour over the site that allows the players to abscond back to the Kerberos Club. Rupert, the disconcerting butler, takes a moment (with what seems like gears grinding) to examine Yada, finally deciding to let him in and asking if he would like some lemonade.

Everyone sleeps quite soundly. It was a long day.

Wednesday, September 20th, 1815

Bree, a street urchin under Mearcair’s tutelage describes a bad dream that he is having. He is on a hillside that is doused in golden sunlight. There is a small cabin upon the hillside and the boy says that in the cabin is his true love (he thinks it was his mother) and it terrified him.

Dr. Cavindish begins buying up all the stores of Alahzhi Root in London. Alahzhi root is a key component in the treatment he developed for syphilis. He calls for a meeting of the Royal Society this evening.

Father Souisse, in the midst of early morning prayer, overhears Father Maynard Weiss reciting a poem, “Upon a golden hillside, a cabin sits with my true love inside.” He confronts Father Weiss afterward and reprimands him for not paying more attention to his priestly duties. Father Souisse receives a letter from a handler of the Cardinal’s. It informs him that, should Dr. Morgan Sinclar come into Father Souisse’s custody he is not to let him come to harm. It is a matter of both spiritual and national importance.

The decision is made to hit the Crimson Grail ship out of port to avoid any additional collateral damage. Dr. Cavindish arranges to have one of his ships, The Chaste Maiden, follow the Crimson Grail out to sea but the good Doctor is waylaid by an important meeting of his peers in the Royal Society. Cavindish instructs the captain of The Chaste Maiden, Seamus Duggan, to do the bidding of his fellow Kerberans.

Father Souisse chats with Lucien Brielle about the badge that Yada sees with his vision. Lucien is evasive and says he cannot say what it is but that he does have a way for them to figure it out. He assures them that his loyalty is steadfast.

Mearcair manages to glamour his way onto the Crimson Grail ahead of time as a crew member. He ingratiates himself in with the crew rapidly as he has lived a life upon the seas and knows which salt to rub in which wounds. He hears the crewmembers talk of a man named Malick who rides below with the “cargo”. One of them lets Mearcair know that the cargo eats but “doesn’t move around much”. The crewmember mentions that La Spezia (a small town in Italy) is the first stop on the path to the Ecclesia Occulta.

The players hitch a ride on the ship, the cloying odor of human clinging to it and them. The Chaste Maiden, armed with cannon and greater speed, overtakes the Crimson Grail quickly, firing cannonball chains to take out the sails and rendering the Grail dead in the water. The Captain of the Crimson Grail, Adrian McCormick, scrambles under the deck and with the help of Mearcair’s glamour doesn’t realize he doesn’t have the dynamite before he dives overboard empty-handed to hold The Chaste Maiden hostage. When he reaches the far ship he is blown off the deck by a darkness that arises within Yada folding the captain into a horrific shape and floating him upon the waves like a distorted manta ray for the sharks to feast upon. The crew of the Crimson Grail is put upon rowboats so they will not interfere.

Father Souisse blows the door open, killing Malick and one of the captives. The remaining captive, Dorene Bouvier, is a French woman who is obviously pregnant and has had her arms and legs clumsily removed. She speaks of Marcel Caron, the man who is Le Cameleon. When asked why she was so mangled she replies that she tried to escape. She holds up a stub with her thumb and forefinger still present. “He liked the way I wrote to him,” Dorene says. She tells the group that Marcel only let her and the other women read and speak in French. She speaks of a place she calls the Nursery where other women like her were kept. She doesn’t know the way, however. Father Souisse hears her final confession (she blames herself for all the evil that has befallen her) and begs the group to not bring her back to London like she is. Father Souisse mumbles a prayer before moving in and slicing her cleanly across the throat. Mearcair, noticing the belly of the other woman is shuddering quite horrendously. He rapidly delivers a reptilian form from the killed woman’s belly. The reptilian fetus rapidly dies. Yada goes up to the deck, the darkness within him stirring again and building to a dark and deadly crescendo. Cavindish, aware that Yada means to destroy every last bit of the Crimson Grail, has only enough time to retrieve the other lizard child from the belly of Dorene. At Yada’s coaxing, dark tentacles with molten heads rise up with steam out of the ocean that lay into the crew of the Crimson Grail. Watching from the Chaste Maiden all everyone can hear is the screams of the crew as they merge into a miasma of horror.

Mearcair confronts Yada about what he has become. Though hard fought, Mearcair manages to break through to Yada (our first concession!) and, through an odd fluke of his fae nature, manages to show Yada a universal truth about protecting the meek. Yada calms himself and walks back across the water to the Chaste Maiden which then turns back toward the scar that is London.

Mechanics note: From here on out Mearcair may buy off compels made to Yada’s Chi Master aspect. This is involuntary on the part of Yada who has no say if Mearcair can do this.

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A Light Goes Out
Where the Order of the Maranam is eliminated.

Back at the Club with the captive from the Cult of the Maranam, the players inquire as to what the Cult knows about them. They find that the Cult can only operate on sanctified ground (likely an unsavory ritual!). Yada remembers that the Cult had been linked to a Demon but the name has been lost through time. They decide that now is the time to strike at the Cult as their headquarters cannot be rapidly moved. Dr. Cavindish begins his grisly preparations and implants a plasmic detonator within the Cult member along with a rudimentary control device to pilot him into the building prior to detonation. He is rushed in his preparations and cannot be as thorough as he would like. Father Souisse is called away on urgent Church business and takes Lucien Brielle with him. Recon of the building from the sky and from the Astral Plane shows that there is a bright, red heart in the building. Something dwells there. Across from the building a congregation of ghosts have a dinner party amongst the brightly dyed textiles of the Tenter grounds.

The human bomb is piloted into the building and, at the edge of the control distance malfunctions and the cultist screams in a metallic voice, detonating prematurely but still taking the face of the building with him, along with a great number of the cultists. A blood fog boils angrily out of the building striking at Mearcair who, in the terrifying visage of the phoenix, rains down fire upon those below. The Unspoken attack Mearcair with their vicious daggers on prehensile chains gravely wounding him with their dreaded steel.

The battle raged and began to turn against the players. Mearcair, scorched by the steel of the Unspoken blades, seizes upon his desire for revenge against the Demon of the Air as he retreats from the conflict. Despite their best efforts, Stony Joe, Dr. Cavindish and Yada are beaten back. Discretion (and ambition!) being the better part of valor, Dr. Cavindish also retreats. Yada feels the familiar rise of power within his tan tien and screams at Stony Joe to get away. With a deep inhalation he takes the blood fog into his belly and demolishes the building the Cult of the Maranam inhabits. All who are in it perish. Yada returns to consciousness propelled out of his body in the astral plane, a small silver cord winding out to the horizon connecting him, distantly, with his body. He sees below him the old woman by a fountain looking up at him with a toothless grin. “We’ve been waiting for you for a long time!” she says, laughing, the fountain gleaming beautifully beside her.

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Fallout In Kismet Park
Where our players reel after the destruction caused in Holehaven and they meet a Clockwork Man in Kismet Park

Back in Holehaven after the explosion occurred, the party attempts their best to try and get things put back together although the ranks of dead and wounded weigh heavily on Yada’s conscience. Grabbing a small bit of sustenance (Yada meditates), the party questions briefly whether meeting this Sebastian Boothe (called the “Clockmaker”). Dr. Cavindish sends out a scout to patrol the park before their meeting. Yada uses his sight and sees that the four clockposts on the corners of Kismet Park all have eyes in them and they are all focused on the party. He does notice a small trickle of spiritual energy rising from town that seems to pulsate. With a certain amount of dread he realizes it is likely from the crater.

Mr. Sebastian Boothe is there standing on a small pedestrian bridge over a small, still pond. Before speaking to the players about their questions he brings forth things for each of them to answer, gaining insight into each character in turn. He starts with Father Souisse to whom Mr. Boothe presents a heliograph printed on a wooden backing showing him going into the alleyway with Dana Nightingale. Father Souisse replies that he killed the heretical whore. Moving to Dr. Cavindish Sebastian Boothe has several heliographs of him amidst experiments and gathering materials for experiments. To Mearcair, a heliograph of Mearcair’s meeting with The Wick. After gleaning information from everyone, Sebastian Boothe begins to respond to questions. He starts out with an offering of a picture of a large, 6-foot lizard sitting on top of the carriage that was taking Lady Hoight’s body to the laboratory. Yada, Dr. Cavindish and Horace Bean were all in the picture as well. He has several pictures showing the lizard busting out from the back of the carriage. He tells the players that the lizard is thought to be the famous French spy, Le Cameleon. He has other pictures that show people loading comatose noble people into a carriage. He has pictures of them unloading them onto a ship called the Crimson Grail. He mentions that Captain Adrian McCormick, captain of the Crimson Grail, was the fellow meeting with the three creatures that responded to Yada’s attack with deadly (and unearthly) force. He called them the Triumvirate and said they were working with the Templar. He tells them their names are Genevieve, Alexander and Christopher Duseau and that they run a fencing school in London. He says that Bisan Sitha’s group is not affiliated with the Templar. When asked why they are interested in the Templar Mr. Boothe responds by revealing a jar with a patch of scalp in it with one of the angelic scripts attached to it. He says they were tortured and he saw the Triumvirate several times during his imprisonment. Sebastian Boothe shows the group that he has at least 5 more of him that are identical. One opens a small door in the back of his head showing a mass of spinning gears.

At this point a group of four people approach the park and, turning to one of their own, slit his throat. The body sinks to the ground and turns to embers. The ground beneath the party begins to weep blood as creatures pile up out of the ground. They hurl cruel looking daggers that cut like razors and their eyes have an evil red glow. Mearcair takes to the sky, for the first time bursting forth as the phoenix, and bathes the area in flame. Father Souisse calls upon the full force of his power and destroys many of the undead crawling up from the earth. They are skeletal with seven serpent heads that congeal around their chests. After one of their number falls, the other two try to escape but are thwarted; one lethally by a rock thrown by Stony Joe, the last is taken prisoner. He makes a small slice across his wrist and comes without a fight. He smiles as he shows his tongue removed, a state that the good Dr. Cavindish soon rectifies.

Taking the man back to the Kerberos Club Kavindish bends to his grisly work and soon as the man talking readily (albeit in the voice of an 8 year old boy). He says that he is one of the Unspoken and goes on to tell them that their base of operations is a place over on Snows Field Road on the north side of Tenter’s Ground. He says they are sworn to destroy all Harbingers and that his fellows know that he is here. Thinking the man may be useful down the road, they decide to keep him alive and intact. For now.

Epilogue:
A man in shadow with a cowl drawn over his face looks out over an area covered with brightly colored cloth tied to lines and fluttering in a slight breeze. He is joined by a silent man whose tongue has been cut out. “I see our brothers have failed at Kismet Park, but one remains?” The silent man nods his head. “Failure is not acceptable. Only death. Bahoman was taken by them to the Club, yes?” The silent man nods again. “Perhaps he can still yet be useful to us, then. What of your other task, Nephalu? Have you gotten what I have asked?” The silent man reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small glass far. The shadowed man holds the jar up containing what looks to be a leech but made of stone. The shadowed man exhales gently and continuously but his breath leaves no mist upon the jar. Instead, what look like small rivers within the leech glow a deep, crimson red. “Good work, Nephalu. With this we may yet turn the tide and set the Maranam to his doom.” Nephalu nods slightly then departs like a ghost. “Time to reinforce our stock,” the shadowed man says through a smile.

Elsewhere, in a place unknown, a man named Soloman Boothe talks to another man whose face we cannot see. “It appears the Kerberans are a resourceful bunch,” Boothe says. “Indeed,” croaks the voice from the shadows, “but they draw enemies from the dark like moths to a flame.” Boothe continues, “They seem like a well-intentioned lot, though.” The voice croaks back, “There is a road that leads to hell paved with the very same thing.” “Why didn’t you let me ask them about the lamplighters, then?” Boothe asks. “It’s not yet time,” comes the reply, pausing momentarily to cough. Boothe lingers for a moment longer, discomfort coloring his face and actions. “What troubles you, my son?” the croak asks, now a weak whisper torn from a raspy throat. “I believe I may have had a dream last night,” Boothe replies, “It troubles me.” The raspy voice has an almost conciliatory tone now, “Tell me about it, Soloman.” Soloman sits again and tilts his head to one side as if pondering something. “It was a beautiful, sunny day and I was on a hillside covered with long grass that was golden in the sun. I looked up a beautiful valley with well tended grounds and birds that wheeled overhead. Upon the side of the hill as I turned was a small cabin. It was my cabin, you see, and inside was my truest love. The door to the cabin was slightly ajar and it was dark inside. I felt a fear come over me as I had never known before and…”<skrunk> Boothe was cut off from finishing his sentence by a whirling clockwork machine that had, with a single motion, cleaved him in two with a giant pair of blades. Boothe’s head and torso blinked and twitched momentarily until the clockwork gears became silent and Boothe’s features came to rest with that look of pondering frozen on his face. “It grows,” the raspy voice groans, “It is coming.”

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