The Harbinger and the Fountain

Turncoat and Templar

Where a letter is planted in a left-behind coat and the mysteries deepen

Later that night after William Barlow is settling nicely into his octopus tank, Father Souisse decides to head back to his chapel and get some rest but is struck with guilt at not fulfilling the task his Church has set before him. He has Mr. Brielle take him to The Rocky Knave again. Father Souisse borrows a cloak that Mr. Brielle has in the back of his coach for cold nights and enters the den of sin. He inquires from a barmaid where Dana Nightingale could be found and the barmaid says she will get her for him and that “she’s popular with all the boys.” Asking the barmaid if there is any port wine she replies to the negative but informs him, “All of our beer comes through ports!”

Souisse sits quietly in the corner, avoiding eye contact and eventually Nightingale sits down and Father Souisse tells her that he is a man with needs and she agrees to tend to them. She suggests her quarters which are around back and offers to meet him in the alleyway. Meeting her there, Father Souisse drops his coin purse “accidentally” and, when she bends to retrieve it he drives a dagger deep into her neck and she drops like a stone. The knife stroke is masterful and is almost painless. He bends next to the nasty work of mimicking the Bethnal Green Butcher, trimming away a piece of her hair and carving out a chunk of her skull. He returns to his quarters at the French Ambassador’s Estate and sleeps the sleep of the righteous.

Meanwhile, Mercair and Yada stake out the London Municipal Water Works. Mercair talks briefly with an Irish worker coming out of the night shift at the Water Works. He doesn’t report that anything strange is going on but that he does have strange dreams of a dark octopus in the cellar of the Water Works. He tells Mercair his wife says that it is a result of him not working hard enough. The man heads off to grab a pint at a pub. The 10 people in the basement do not move. Mercair turns into a rat and enters the building for some snooping. He sees a man, dressed in a manner befitting a doctor, reading a bedtime story to nine young girls who gather around him listening rapturously. There are metal catwalks over channels of filthy water. Large vats of sewage water sit, stewing and decontaminating as much as is possible in such a dank cellar. Yada, through astral traveling, sees the man has a symbol in the back of his head also. The man and his flock of small children seem to live there, rarely venturing forth.

Mercair heads back to the Kerberos Club, dons a Faerie Glamour to look exactly like the man he saw with the children and visits what is left of Mr. William Barlow. Barlow recognizes him instantly as Dr. Morgan Sinclair. Barlow repeats that he does not know about the distribution of the supernatural silk but does mention that the Desusomnia textoralis worm (the missing one from the Arboretum) was freed by him and Dr. Sinclair and they put it down the drain. The group quickly realizes that the worm should, theoretically, circulate through the Municipal Water Works. Barlow states that when it is mature enough it will “make itself known”. Mercairand Yada retire for the evening.

The next morning Father Souisse awakens to find a card awaiting him from a police Inspector downstairs who wishes to speak to him about his coat. Debating quickly about the pros and cons, Father Souisse decides to go downstairs and see what the Inspector wants. The Inspector, a man named Mr. Fleming, is flanked by three constables and wants to know if the coat he has belongs to Father Souisse. Father Souisse nods to the affirmative and thanks the Inspector for returning it. The inspector presents Father Souisse with a letter apparently written to him by a Lord Wadsworth Kenslington, a man that Father Souisse has never heard of. It outlines a plot to kill Queen Victoria, amongst other things. Father Souisse accompanies the man to the police station after dispatching a message to the Kerberos Club and is held, most inappropriately, in an interrogation room. A smart man by the name of Inspector Lionel Fenton interrogates Father Souisse and rapidly determines that Father Souisse is a patsy. He does reveal another item found in Father Souisse’s coat pocket. A drafting compass.

After being released Father Souisse makes his way to the Club and meets up with Mercair and Yada. The accusation has, inexplicably, found its way into the newspapers with the ridiculous headline, “Jesuit Priest Implicated in Assassination Plot to Slay Queen!!!” They decide to use the afternoon to look into the strange letter that appeared in the good Father’s pocket. They find in short order that Lord Wadsworth Kenslington fell ill and died the previous week so they make a journey North to the country estate where his body is lain to rest in a mausoleum. A light rain has begun to fall on the quaint English countryside as they arrive. The graveyard is around the back of the house and nestled in a cradle of trees at the edge of a forest. Some ground keepers are working but rapidly head inside when Mercair Glamours a fog into being. YadYadaa and Mercair investigate the Kenslington mausoleum while Father Souisse speaks with the wife and investigates the house.

Turning to a mist, Mercair enters the mausoleum and, after much squeezing, the tomb that holds Lord Wadsworth Kenslington’s coffin and body. As was the custom with some, a crowbar was left in the tomb in case Kenslington arose from a deep slumber and was not completely dead. Opening the coffin Mercair finds the coffin completely empty.

Father Souisse gains entry to the house and awaits Lady Caroline Kenslington to come down. When she does, she readily speaks of her husband and how vital he was engaging in many athletic and manly pursuits including riding and hunting. She remarks that he fell ill and became very cranky and withdrawn. While she asked him repeatedly to call the doctor he claimed he was on the mend despite his hands being quite cold. Father Souisse, with Lady Kenslington’s permission, gains access to where Kenslington died and finds some peculiar things. Upon the table by the bed are three books, all in French. One, “A Current History of France” (Une histoire actuelle de la France) written by Evrard Pouchard is a book of the history of France that is very unpopular in France for its heavy anti-France sentiment (and therefore a popular read among the English). One of the pages has been ripped out and thrown into the trash. He exits the house, convinced that there is plenty of evidence here of foul play. The butler who escorts him back to the front door informs him that Lady Josephine Lancastor has called upon Lady Kenslington and is downstairs. Not wishing to interrupt, he exits the house discreetly, convinced that there is plenty of evidence here of foul play.

Mercair decides to investigate the office upstairs and sends his two companions back to London. He flies to the roof then turns to a rat and scurries quickly into the house. Reaching the office of Lord Kenslington his eyes immediately fall upon an elegantly bejeweled bible that looks like a genuine antique from the medieval period. He also finds the safe and opens it easily finding several papers. One is a very old paper deeding his family a tract of land in 1327 signed by both the King of England and the Archbishop of the Catholic Church. Another correspondence is from a Lord Henry Tavlin wishing to purchase the exact same tract of land (dated a few months prior). Mercair feels compelled to take the Bible with him and creeps up the hallway to listen to the conversation between Lady Kenslington and Lady Lancastor. Lady Lancastor prods Lady Kenslington gently for information concerning the last few days of her husband’s life. She inquires about the priest that was here (Souisse gave a false name) and asks that she give him her card if he stops by again. With the aid of a Glamour Mercair exits the house and rifles through Lady Lancastor’s belongings (a travel case in the carriage and a suitcase in the back with things necessary to stay overnight in case of inclement weather). He finds a picture of a man named Matthew amidst the clothing. He begins walking back to England and winds up hitchhiking back to London on the back of Lady Lancastor’s coach, again with the aid of Glamour.

As soon as he is back in London Father Souisse checks in at his Chapel, fearful of what his elders will say about him being framed in the murder of the Queen. The Cardinal asks him simply if he has any plans to kill the Queen. Father Souisse replies with a simple “no”. The Cardinal praises him for the work he has done for the Church and says that the power of the Church is behind him always and that he walks in the footsteps of God and that he should fear not the evil words of evil men. Father Souisse thanks the Cardinal and leaves.

Giving the jewel encrusted bible to Father Souisse, he begins flipping through the book and suddenly begins looking for something on the covers. Snapping the red jewel out of place on the front cover he finds the seal of the Templar Knights underneath.

Mercair hunts around down by the East India Docks for any mention of Lord Henry Tavlin’s name. The name is remembered by a dockworker who saw a boat of decidedly Middle Eastern make and crew who brought him a parcel approximately a month ago.

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