The Haunted

One Ring - Prologue
with this ring...

Whilst investigating the death of seven gentlemen (the most recent his friend Clancy Donnelly), Investigative Reporter Silas Atwater uncovers a legend about a supernaturally-cursed, old ring circulating throughout London. As soon as anyone uses the ring, he or she has exactly 3 days left to live.

Clancy Donnelly is dead.

The doomed few appear to be ordinary people during day to day life, but when photographed, they look translucent. A marked person also feels like a cold corpse to the touch.

Silas gets hold of the ring, wanting to study the superstition. A collage of images flash into his mind: a scarecrow, an old newspaper headline about a train crash accident, a hooded man ranting about hands and the formula 9+1.

 

When Silas notices his eyes have a glowing blue property in the dark, he realizes that the curse of the old ring is true and calls in his loyal friend, Paranormal Detective Brian Kelly, to help.

 

Brian examines the ring and willingly submits himself to the curse. He finds that the same visions flash before his eyes. He finds the scarecrow image particularly chilling. He joins the queue for a supernatural death.

Silas and Brian pursue a quest to uncover the meaning of the visions, starting with a search for the hooded man. Cousin Kitty will not be left out, although she chastises both for actually trying on the ring. Will they be able to stop the curse before their time is up?



Another adventure begins. Our heroes are on the clock! Will they be on time? Can they break the curse?
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Schtock End
the wrap up

Experience rewarded: 4


The current total is here.

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Taking Schtock...
of the party

A Feast Fit for a Hero

It is quite the celebratory party our heroes attend. Schtock pulls out all stops to impress and wine and dine his guests. The guests are a mix of well-connected wealthy patrons, government officials, entertainers, and foreign dignitaries. Our heroes are almost overwhelmed by sheer magnitude. Brian does his best to appear as a servant and blend into the surroundings, as if a hulking mess like himself could possibly pull that off. Silas realizes his published works have fans at all social levels. Kitty just fends off every possible suitor admiring her in the tight bodice and dress.

The party goes late and our heroes are pleased that Schtock arranged rooms for them ahead of time. They barely make it into their beds before sleep arrives.

Hungover guests and the like are huddled around a splendid breakfast, even if they are unable to put much food away. Schtock has a speech planned at the ribbon cutting at the Tower Bridge, and expects our heroes to join him.

Bridge over Troubled Water

Trouble awaits them at the bridge, in the presence of Inspector Barnes. He pulls the heroes aside to inform that Gustav escaped his prison cell. Some poor young guard was mesmerized by Gustav who then simply walked right out. Due to his hatred towards Schtock, the Inspector has doubled the police presence at this ceremony. He asks aid of the heroes, and they readily agree to help.

Lord Anders Nelson is already up on the podium, rehearsing his speech. He barely acknowledges the presence of Schtock, who wanders to the opposite end of the podium stage for his own speech rehearsing.

For all its grandeur, there is still some scaffolding and work remaining beneath the Tower Bridge. Our heroes are scouting around for a while before noticing several figures near the scaffolding below the bridge. There are about half a dozen small figures and a man-sized one wearing a top hat! Watching a little more closely, it appears that Gustav and his minions are loading a barrel onto the scaffolding. Surmising the worst, the heroes take the battle to Gustav and his minions!

As the heroes arrive for a fight, they realize they are facing over a dozen or more midget fighters under the control of Gustav. Brian rushes in and Kitty goes for her guns. Silas prepares a spell to take out Gustav. The midgets quickly swarm over Brian and Kitty and they find themselves on the worse end of as these swarming midgets have the advantage of sheer numbers.

Gustav lights the fuse to a barrel then calls out to Silas. “The essence of true magic is distraction,” he sneers. “Whilst you have been busy here, Schtock has been making a very interesting speech.” At that point the barrel blows up, but the contents aren’t anywhere near as explosive as the Heroes might have been expecting – it rains confetti down on them. He then cuts a rope by the scaffolding, and, seizing one end of it, flies up in the air. Silas, trusting his companions to eventually win, races after Gustav!

A Revealing Speech

Silas loses sight of Gustav in the crowd but notices several midgets darting about creating panic throughout the crowd. He alerts Barnes to the midget threat before facing the podium and the ensuing chaos up there. Nelson had finished his speech and was standing off to the side as Schtock began his. A few sentences into the speech, Schtock stiffens and says, “but I’m afraid Nelson is a puppet of Baron LeCroix and I cannot abide those who practice the ‘Black Arts’.” At this, Schtock seizes his ceremonial scissors and strikes Nelson over the head, knocking him out. He rears back to strike him more and Silas leaps into action.

He literally leaps across the stage, knocking Schtock off onto the ground away from the panicking crowd. Schtock pummels Silas with his fists, obviously still under the mesmerism of Gustav. Silas does not want to hurt the man and simply tries to dodge and deflect the blows at first, but he quickly realizes this is a man possessed and not going to give in. So Silas lays the man out with a stiff uppercut. Brian would be proud!

He is joined by his battered companions, who felled many of the midgets before the remaining fled. The police have managed to secure the crowd and the errant midgets causing problems. They allow the heroes to take Schtock back to his mansion, well aware he was not in his proper mind. Arriving back at the mansion, they are greeted with the news that Gustav has kidnapped the young niece Susan.

Seven years bad luck

Our heroes are truly angry now and they race off to the circus for the final showdown with the crazy Gustav. It is almost empty, noises coming only from the House of Mirrors. Just inside, from all of the reflections, they can see Susan trapped inside a magician's tank filling with water. A mechanized contraption is turning, drawing the water into the tank. She is trapped! Off to the side is a maniacal Gustav, laughing merrily.

Our heroes' have a plan. Brian and Kitty will make their way from the front, working their way through the mirror maze. Silas rushes around to come in the back way, hoping to save Susan.

Brian is not one for mazes and the cramped passageways and just smashes every mirror he passes, moving forward like a dog on the hunt. Kitty follows close behind, her guns ready. Several times, Gustav somehow uses trick passages to cross behind Kitty, every time slicing at her with a knife. He does no real damage, simply annoying her more than anything.

Silas can be seen coming in from the back, doing his best to stop the water flow. He surmises the mechanism is pulling water through a hose from some outside source. He clambers to the top of the tank and slices the hose. This stops the water from flowing into the tank. It also speeds up Brian's trip through the maze. The water is now flowing freely across the ground from the exit making it easier to follow the trail.

As Brian and Kitty finally make it back to their colleague, there is still no sign of Gustav. Brian rushes and crashes through the glass tank, scooping Susan in his arms and protecting her from the shards of glass. Kitty is walking back to look behind her, seeking for Gustav. But Silas is faster and as soon as he sees Gustav sneak attack Kitty, he blasts one helluva of an electric bolt, bouncing it off the remaining mirrors and blowing a hole clean through Gustav's chest! Scratch one more crazy bad guy.

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Locke, Schtock and...
two smoking barrels

The Daily Telegraph

“With the Special Election, Richard Schtock, owner and operator of the gambling club ‘Schtocks’, has thrown his hat into the ring. Tired of the corruption that has plagued our city Schtock has announced his bid for Parliament Seat as MP. His stand against Lord Anders Nelson, and the other ‘Ineffective Rabble’ who populate the city’s Government has gained him a vast amount of popularity among London’ downtrodden.

“His opinion on political vice notwithstanding, Schtock has gained much more notoriety on his accusations that certain esteemed members of our society are practicing the ‘Black Arts’!

“In an interview Schtock said: ‘The state of affairs in the Governmental ring is atrocious. Powerful men like Baron LaCroix have this city in a strangle hold of fear and his “lackeys” in office will do whatever he bids.’

“It will be interesting to see the outcome of this political race…”

Something wicked this way comes

It is early November across London and the cold can be felt bitterly. A Special Election is to be held and a famous circus has come to the city. The heroes have been drawn into the upcoming drama of the elections and have become known associates to Richard Schtock. He is an honest man who worked his way up from the streets to become a rich and well-respected member of society and proud owner of his own gambling club. He stills remember his time on the streets of London and the early deaths of both his folks from the hard life of lower class working stiffs so he wishes to see changes made at the top levels of government.

The populace is also excited because the World Famous Barnamum Brothers Circus has come to London as part of a special tour. A feeling of revelry can be felt throughout the city.

The Bear Necessities

After a long night {and morning} of hunting down some ninja cultists, our heroes elected to walk off some of the weariness and bruising, they are roused half-way through their stupor to cries of alarm. A dancing bear has broken free of its shackles, stunned its owner and is viciously mauling a man in the street. A crowd is beginning to form, heedless of the danger from a giant bear in the middle of the street.

Before things can get any worse, Brian charges the bear and delivers a vicious upper cut, knocking the bear out cold. The heroes quickly determine the victim is beyond help, with his dying breath he says, "Must stop him." In his hand is clutched a big red clown nose and stuffed into a coat pocket is a flyer advertising the upcoming circus show. Scrawled across the flyer is also the words: "Must stop him."

The victim is Henry Philips, a clown from the circus. He is identified by the other man, Pete Greer, owner and trainer of Bupo the Bear, both also from the circus. He has no idea what happened to Bupo, normally the most peaceful animal in his entourage. One minute he is strolling with the bear when Henry comes dashing down the street, looking back over his shoulder. Suddenly, Bupo rears up in anger and savagely swipes at Henry as he runs by. And they can see the results before them.

The heroes discover a knife almost lost in the snow covering the street. It is a professional well-balanced throwing knife with some sort of viscous fluid on the blade. Kitty determines this is a cocktail of Laudanum and Heroin, a sure fire way to cause a bear to go berserk. They also find a small wound on the bear's back, where a knife was thrown.

Local constables finally arrive, but upon seeing a dead man and a giant bear in the middle of the street they defer to the known heroes for advice. The police secure the crime scene and body, taking it to the morgue and the heroes will accompany Pete and the bear back to the circus. Probably the safest place to lock up the bear. They also want to take a look around, ask some questions about Henry the Clown.

To the big top!

The circus is set up on the Southbank Area of the city. A small fence has been erected around the enclosure and the sole entrance is guarded by two sentries. It is the job of these guardsmen to remove all weapons from anybody entering the compound. Richard Schtock and his niece, Susan, are coming to the show tonight and they don't want any security breaches.

Once inside the Heroes can see that a fair has sprung up around the circus, with a number of stalls, challenging customers to throw three balls and knock down a coconut, test their strength by striking a hammer against a target, etc. Brian is unable to pass by the "test their strength" without giving it a go. With both tries he successfully rings the bell after pounding the target with the big mallet. He wins a stuffed bear for Kitty.

In addition to the stalls there are a number of sideshows, charging for entrance, including a Hall of Mirrors, donkey rides, a Helter-Skelter and the Freak Show {featuring Gunther the Goat Boy}. Hedonistic customers can try these out if they wish, but will have to stand in line to get on ‘em.

After asking about, the heroes are finally directed to the clown tent. A gaggle of half-dressed clowns are lying about, relaxing before the big show tonight. The senior clown steps forward to talk to Silas. None of them were aware that Henry had left the grounds. He was a recent member to the family, only joining within the last year. Like most who join the circus, he never talked about his past or reasons for joining. A search through his footlocker reveals a few changes of clothes, and old worn family bible, and a decent collection of French Porn magazines. On the edges of one of the magazines he has doodled a series of key holes and locks over and over.

The heroes turn over what they have learned to Inspector Barnes and return home for some much needed rest. They are to be guests at the circus that night, guests of Richard Schtock who is bringing his young niece Susan.

Lion Around

A circus at night, lit up, and crowded with customers is an almost magical place. Susan is overwhelmed and and the cotton candy she has eaten isn't helping. She is nearly dragging "Uncle" Ricky from one site to another, before the tome of the big show. Our heroes keep apart, enjoying the revelry but keeping an eye none-the-less. Something doesn't quite feel right to their sense of foreboding.

Eventually they are introduced to a midget dressed in a smart suit who asks if they would accompany him to meet the ringmaster himself, Bailey T. Barnamum. As ringmaster, Bailey has the largest caravan of all the circus staff. The interior is lavish with nick-knacks from all over the known world, wines from France, Spain and Italy; rugs from the Orient; a fine oak desk from Boston and so forth. Upon meeting the Heroes Bailey offers ‘em a large {and rather noxious} cigar and asks why they are questioning the circus folk. He is rather concerned that they will frighten away the public.

When the Heroes mentions Henry, Bailey looks genuinely surprised. He was unaware that Henry had left the encampment, let alone that the unfortunate fellow was killed. He conspiratorially leans forward and asks the Heroes if they can keep a secret. Presuming that they can, he guides the Heroes to a square-shaped tent with hay strewn all over the floor. Bailey enters the tent and bids the Heroes over to some hay bales in the middle of the tent. Behind these hay bales is a human corpse.

"Something evil has befallen our circus," begins Bailey. "I found Conrad, five minutes before you arrived. I believe somebody is trying to murder my comrades and put me out of business. Please good sirs, I implore you, locate the miscreant."

"That won't be necessary," Gustav Locke appears at the doorway of the tent. He pulls a rope and suddenly a cage door slams behind the Heroes. The whole tent is one large cage and the Heroes {and Bailey} have been trapped inside. Before Bailey can bluster a response, Gustav snaps his fingers and Bailey falls asleep at his command.

"I will finally have my vengeance against Richard Schtock!" he bellows. He looks over to the corpse. "And Conrad, the Human Cannon Ball will make his contribution to the show. After all, we needed to fill the cannon with something!" Gustav laughs maniacally as he exits the tent and pulls a switch. He doesn't even notice the knife that Kitty attempted to hit him with, as it bounces harmlessly off the tent.

As the switch activates, a small door opens on the other side of the tent and a number of 4 lions enter the cage. The first leaps across the cage onto Brian, another closely following. Brian is surprised when it manages to hurt him a little. One charges and bites at Silas but misses. The other misses Kitty as it takes a swipe at her.

Kitty is the first to react and pulls out her whip, cracking it like thunder at the lions. Their training kicks in and the two attacking her and Silas immediately withdraw back through the door. Brian snaps the spine of the first one that leaped upon him. The second seems distracted by the whip but perhaps it senses blood and doesn't leave. Silas fires an electric bolt at it which is enough to hurt and frighten it and it flees back through the door as well. Kitty flicks her whip again, catching the lever, and closes the door to the smaller cage with the three lions in it.

Brian grabs the bars and with a mighty pull, separates them enough for everyone to slip through. The heroes make haste to get to the big top, the lunatic Gustav was planning something!

Send in the Clowns!

By the time the Heroes escaped from the cage the big top has already filled up and the show has started. The Great Bombini {Gustav} is leading the show in the absence of Bailey. He has sent some of his goons to check that on the status of the Heroes. As the Heroes escape from the cage they see half a dozen clowns coming towards them with murderous intent in their eyes. They are carrying knives.

Silas yells to his friends, "I don't think they are in their right minds! Gustav has hypnotized them somehow…" Brian has never worried about those he kills while fighting evil, but he knows his friend Silas has great compassion for the innocent. He looks around and spies a big tub of water filled with apples. He races over, hoists the tub above him, and charges back to the crazy clowns. He hurls the water and apples onto the freak force. Some are immediately snapped out of the control and others just stand around looking confused.

But it works and our heroes race pass into the Big Top! The Heroes arrive just as Gustav announces the grand finale. A cannon has been wheeled out and Gustav proudly tells the audience that this human cannonball act will be one that they will remember for the rest of their lives. Suddenly, a willing clown lights the fuse and The Mountain {the strongman} kicks the cannon round to face the audience.

Realizing the crowd is oblivious to the danger, our heroes act. Brian charges into the ring, right into the cannon. Using his strength, he is able to tilt the barrel upwards as the cannon fires confetti and explosives through the roof of the tent, tearing a hole. Gustav screams in frustration. The crowd roars with laughter. The Mountain throws a punch at Brian, starting one helluva of boxing match!

Another clown pushing himself on a red wagon charges at Silas. Silas, steps aside and upends the clown and wagon, sending them tumbling back into the ring. More laughter from the crowd. They are enjoying the show. Kitty tries to climb into the bleachers to get Richard and Susan to safety. But this is a packed audience and the bleachers are crowded! And the clown hanging onto Kitty's foot, forcing her to struggle isn't helping. Again, the crowd thinks it is part of the show and laughing at Kitty's frustrated antics.

A line of clowns stands guard in front of Gustav. The rest of the acts join in the mayhem, trying to attack our heroes. Jobo the Juggler is throwing clubs at Silas and the audience. The Domati Twins leap onto Kitty, taking her down, burying her in a crowd of people who are beginning to panic. But it is Inferno the Fire-Breather who finalizes the panic! He steps up to a set of bleachers and blows flames into the crowd, setting them and the tent afire! Now the mass panic has begun, and a screaming, terrified crowd attempts to clamber out of the tent, all at the same time!

The Mountain and Brian are wailing on each other like professional boxers, oblivious to the chaos surrounding them. Kitty is battling the twins, trying to bring her guns to bear, using them as clubs. Richard has grabbed his niece and dragged her to safety at the edge of the ring. Silas fires a burst of lightning bolts pass the clowns and takes down Gustav! This seems to snap many of the circus folk out of his control and they join the panicked crowd in fleeing the burning tent.

There is an evil laugh and the fleeing clowns reveal a tall man dressed in black robes, swinging a falchion in a dizzying display of sword badassness. He is directing this display at Silas. Silas shakes his head, he has no time for games, he fires a bolt at Dhalsim, Fakir from the Orient, and he falls to the ground.

By now the circus professionals have responded and are attempting to put out the fire. Brian, meanwhile, is still duking it out with the Mountain. It is a close fight but Brian finally lands a left hook that takes down the Mountain. He looks around and sees the blaze. Thinking quickly, he grabs one of the big buckets filled with water and throws the water on the raging fires. Eventually they are able to get the blaze under control and stamped out.

The police arrive to take some of the performers into custody. The heroes also hand off the still unconscious Gustav to Inspector Barnes. Richard is relieved he and his niece are safe, obviously because of the timely intervention of the heroes. He has a grand ball planned for tomorrow night and our heroes will be his guests of honour.

Everyone retires to their various homes for further rest and recuperation. They have a party to go to tomorrow night!

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And I Cried

It was about seven o'clock that night when Jack asked if I wanted to go for a ride. “A ride?” I glanced out of the window. The last rays of the sun were just slipping below the distant mountains. “Isn't it a little late?”

“C'mon, Kitty. It's a full moon tonight.”

Right then, something should have clicked. I'd heard the legends…

“Okay,” I said. “Let me just get ready. Bring Lady for me?”

“Of course. Pack us some supper.”

By the time Jack rode up on his stallion, leading my mare behind him, I not only had some food packed, but was waiting rather impatiently on my front porch for him. The full moon had started to rise, as promised, and a light mist was starting to creep out from the scrub trees in the front yard. Hastings snorted and shook his head as Jack reined him in; Lady gave a low whinny in greeting as I ran out to meet them. He tossed me Lady's reins and then nudged Hastings forward.

The moon continued to rise, turning the lush grass into a gilt-edged wasteland as we rode into the night. Jack led the way, and I was content to follow, listening to the whippoorwills call to one another in the stillness. Everything was darkness and silver.

Pretty soon, I heard another sound rising on the breeze. The river was running high and fast, thanks to the wet spring we'd had, and I could hear it laughing as it rushed along its bed. Weeping willows lined the banks, and in the moonlight, I could almost see the faeries my father had told me stories of riding their horses through the rills of foam. A magical night, this one. Almost anything could happen.

We tethered the horses to one of the trees and Jack spread the blanket out on the ground. The moon drenched the entire area in a pale light as the spray from the river and the fog intertwined incestuously around us. I unpacked our late supper: crackers, brie and smoked sausage, along with strawberries and of course, a bottle of wine. Lying facing one another on the blanket. Time had fallen away, lost in the fog, and we were the center of our own universe.

Afterwards, we lay entangled, in the breeze from the river as the mist crept forward. Jack had brought another blanket and we snuggled together, talking softly of the future as we sipped our glasses of wine.

Which is probably why we didn't hear them. That, and they moved like ghosts, barely touching the ground.

Without warning, they stood above us: four men, silver as the moonlight. The mist had thickened, so I couldn't see their feet; nor did I really care. What I knew was that they were standing, and fully clothed, and we were neither. And Jack's gun belt wasn't close at hand.

They must have been related: as they stared down at us, the same features glowed in the moonlight. Pale faces, with strong, stubborn jaws, a five-o'clock shadow of silky hair, and piercing green eyes. I shivered as they stood there, staring.

Jack recovered first. “What do you want? Money?” His arm tightened around me. “Take my wallet. Take it.”

They didn't respond. Just continued to stare down at us.

“Just leave us alone.” Jack's voice was still calm.

One of them finally shook his head, slowly, deliberately, and I swallowed, the wine turned to dust in my mouth. I knew what was coming next and shrank from the arms that reached down. If only I could reach the guns…

They were faster than I thought: in an instant, I'd been ripped from Jack's protective embrace and hauled to my feet, the blanket falling away from me. Two of them had Jack between them; the third had me. I could feel the heat from his body behind me: a whimper rose in my throat, answered by the leader's growl.

“Tie her. I don't want her involved.”

Within moments, I was tied to one of the willows with the remains of Jack's shirt, my wrists hooked around a branch. I kicked and screamed, knowing there was no one around who could hear. Succeeding in only frightening the horses and getting a gag stuck in my mouth. After that, all I could was watch. And pray.

Once I was out of the picture, they…changed. Shifted. I thought it was the wine, until the first drops of Jack's blood splattered against the ground. Their claws, their teeth – everything savaged him. The more he bled, the more they attacked, rabid dogs with prey in their sights. I couldn't avoid the scene: even when I closed my eyes, I could see, could hear. Jack begged for mercy, begged them to stop…and then begged them to finish him, to kill him. To end it. All he got in response was more cuts, and their growls. Those inhuman growls.

Something wet hit me: the scent of copper hit my nose and I knew it wasn't water. All I could hear was Jack's cries, weaker now and intermixed with the crunch of bone. They weren't just eviscerating him.

They were eating him.

I don't remember when it stopped, or when they left. At some point, everything went quiet again: all I heard was the river, still laughing in its banks. The whippoorwills came back out and started calling. There were hoofbeats in the distance, or possibly thunder. I couldn't tell.

Forcing my eyes open, I immediately gagged at the ruined body near me. What remained of Jack's chest still moved, up and down, somehow. They hadn't killed him. Bastards.

The gag had been simply shoved in my mouth: I turned my head away and spit it out, then looked at the rags holding my hands. I had to get free. I had to finish this. Before the moon dropped below the horizon.

The knots were tight, but fear lent me strength, and my teeth ripped at the knots. They hadn't killed him. But had they left me my guns?

Finally, my hands fell to my lap, my fingers numb. I scrambled to my feet, rushing past Jack to the blanket, to his gun belt…

I grabbed the gun and turned back to the figure on the ground.

Except he wasn't on the ground anymore. He was rising, impossibly, and I struggled to unsnap the strap on the holster as he stumbled, fell and rose again, coming towards me. A steady stream of half-vocalized curses and prayers burst from me. I had to get the gun out…

He lunged forward, reaching for me, and I spun, the gun going off and jerking him backwards. A howl, half-human and half-wolf, ripped the darkening sky to shreds. I had to finish this.

As Jack rose, hair already beginning to darken his torn skin, I raised the gun again and aimed. One sharp retort, two, and he fell. The hole in his head bubbled a little as silver ate into his brain, and his body twitched. Then, as the moon fell into the hills, the corpse crumbled.

And I cried.


Kitty awarded 1 Benny and 1 XP


 

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Interlude - London
returning home

Return to London

Silas and the six henchmen successfully loaded everything from Abelard’s home onto a rented rail-car. Following a 12-hour return trip, the goods are off-loaded and taken to a warehouse in Wapping Harbour. Silas was able to secure premises with the help of Clancy Donnelly. In fact, he now owns the property out right.

By the time Silas, the men, and the goods arrive, Clancy is already there with some laborers who are working on building out some quarters inside the warehouse, along the second floor. The laborers are also contracted to build vaults or anything else Silas requires inside the warehouse.

The henchmen quickly scout around and work on making the premises more secure. They are reaching out via street contacts looking for additional trustworthy men who can be employed as security and additional laborers if the need should arise.

There is also a secure tunnel running from the warehouse out to the Thames. The entrance at the Thames is a secure iron gate with 2 high quality locks. The trap door to the tunnel is also secured the same way.

Meeting with Inspector Barnes

Hearing his friend is back in London, Inspector Barnes visits Silas in his new digs. He understands his friend’s desire to move away from Mrs. Murdock, putting her out of danger. He fills Silas in on some of the other “operators” around this area.

  • The biggest crime syndicate is the Tong of the Black Scorpion. Thought broken up years ago after the death of its leader, it has made a recent comeback and just as powerful and feared as before.
  • The Forty Elephants Gang, operating from the Elephant and Castle district and hitting quality businesses in the West End. They are high-end thieves, perhaps for hire. Not much else is known about them but they are very good at what they do. Well-stocked warehouses have occasionally been a target for them.
  • Jack Moody and his boys are also the king of the docks around here. Meaning, you pay them for protection or bad things coincidentally happen to you or your property.
  • There are also rumours of a new player, a Chinese gang under the control of The Golden Claw having taken over the opium market in the area. Aside from controlling the opium dens and the import of the drug, they have stayed out of other criminal enterprises so far.

Meeting with his Agent

After a few days of ensuring everything is secure and in relatively good hands, Silas secures a cab to visit his publisher. Due to recent events, he has discovered his publisher has collected Silas' works and published them across several countries. This was not approved by Silas (although he does appreciate the notoriety) nor is he getting paid any royalties for this work.


Player can use the "Comments" to write up whatever transpires. The GM will continue the Interlude as needed by replying to the comments.
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Interlude - Glasgow
another big city

Glasgow

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and the third largest in the United Kingdom. Glasgow grew from a small rural settlement on the River Clyde to become one of the largest seaports in Britain. Expanding from the medieval bishopric and royal burgh, and the later establishment of the University of Glasgow in the 15th century, it became a major center of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century. From the 18th century the city also grew as one of Great Britain's main hubs of transatlantic trade with North America and the West Indies.

With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the population and economy of Glasgow and the surrounding region expanded rapidly to become one of the world's pre-eminent centers of chemicals, textiles and engineering; most notably in the shipbuilding and marine engineering industry, which produced many innovative and famous vessels. Glasgow was the "Second City of the British Empire" for much of the Victorian era and Edwardian period.

The Start

It is late in the day when Brian and Kitty arrive in the city. Stepping off the train they are greeted by a city seemingly as large and busy as London. The accents are thicker and it is harder to understand the conversations but eventually are duo find themselves a local hotel with a room. There are still a few hours till supper so they set off on foot searching for Doctor Henry Morgan, the identity supplied by the departed Abelard.

They have little to go on except a clinic he supposedly works at and the fact he is an Englishmen among a city of Scots. And English gentleman no less. Supposedly he comes from a wealthy family but has separated himself from them for some reason. A wire to Inspector Barnes in London confirmed a Doctor Morgan who assisted in the investigation of Jack the Ripper back in 1888. Assuming this is the same man, they are probably looking for someone in his late 40’s perhaps even early 50’s.

Our duo is quite experienced at working the street for contacts and information and within a few hours they have the name of a clinic. Realizing it is late and near supper time, they elect to dine back at their hotel first, then change into clothing appropriate for skulking about without arousing too much suspicion. There are a few things on the menu that Kitty just plain refuses to eat and is somewhat repulsed by some of the items, especially when Brian chows down on a plate of Haggish.

After “retiring” to their rooms, they slip quietly out through a window undetected. Once on the street, they blend in with the late night throng of people still bustling about. It is a 20 minute walk to the clinic and they keep to the streets for now, electing to forgo any cabs. The night is brisk, mid-September in Scotland and there is cool air coming in from the waters. The clinic is down near the docks, one of those “unofficial” clinics that is directed to helping the poor and lesser fortunate.

The Clinic

They position themselves across the street from the clinic entrance, just inside an alley, where they can observe undetected. This late at night, there is a light still burning inside the clinic and a few visitors still stopping by. Eventually the traffic of patients seems to end and the only occupant the doctor. Brian and Kitty slowly cross the street, eyes and ears alert for trouble. They slip into the clinic, Brian grasping the bell before the door clips it, alerting anyone inside to their presence. Once inside, they close and lock the door. Kitty turns the sign to “CLOSED”. Just ahead, light coming from beneath a door can be heard the shuffling of papers and the sounds of someone writing.

They approach quietly, stopping on either side of the door, listening. The sounds within continue, the occupant seems unaware of their presence. Brian takes the door handle, Kitty has her hand poised over a gun, the door is opened quickly and they step into the room.

“Good lord, you scared me!” from the man sitting behind a desk. He looks up startled at the two looming in the entrance. “Haven’t you heard of knocking? That is rather rude you know.”

The gentleman seated appears to be in his 30’s, about 5’11” with dark brown hair. His clothing is a bit disheveled but of nice quality. ‘He is rather handsome’ Kitty thinks to herself.

“Please, at least sit down, my neck is getting sore from staring up at you,” his eyes are directed at Brian. “You are obviously here on some urgent and private manner since you sneaked into my clinic. The big man, you are quick to use your fists, a boxer at some time probably. The young lady, a friend to the gentleman but not related and certainly not involved.” He smiles at that part. “And from your dress and holstered guns, not from around here.”

Kitty smiles “Correct and all accounts, doctor.” She says as they both sit.

The doctor leans back in his chair, “From the accent, I would say American, East Coast, maybe the northern part of the Americas? And quite beautiful I must say. Since you have not introduced yourselves, allow me to go first. I am Doctor Henry Morgan, late of London. And seeing from your reactions, I am who you seek but not what you expected. I get that a lot. Let’s just say I was a brilliant child and began the study of medicine while quite young. Now, how can I help you?”


Players can use the "Comments" to write up whatever answer they wish to give. The GM will continue the Interlude as needed by replying to the comments.
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The Highlands - Finale
the wrap up

Experience rewarded: 3


Our heroes have acquired six new henchmen of questionable repute and certain "skills." They return to London along with Silas. Acquiring a warehouse to store their goods and perhaps turn into a new headquarters.

Kitty joins Brian on a trip to Glasgow, maybe there Brian can get some answers. Maybe there Brian can get healed.

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The Highlands
and a Frenchman

The Hook

Between Silas’ research and quests for books and the failing health of Brian, the group has been actively searching for some means of actually helping Brian heal. Because of all the recent fires across London the last few months, “doctors” that could help Brian have been burned to death or fled ahead of the flames. Silas has been utilizing his book contacts trying to get a lead on help.

A friend of a friend who knows a guy, who has a cousin, who knows of someone puts Silas on the trail to potential help, and a possible source of new volumes of esoteric study (meaning nasty occult stuff). There is an Abelard de Beauchamp with an estate address in Scotland, looks to be 2 hours (by carriage) outside of the city of Aberdeen.

On the surface he appears to be a French noble who has retired to the solitude of Scottish country life. He is a renowned collector of rare books and objects of art from across the globe. Those in the know, claim he is also knowledgeable of the occult world and books and artifacts of that sort can also be found within his collection. After reaching out to him, he sends an invitation asking Silas and company for a visit.

It is a 12 hour train ride from London to Aberdeen. From there, they are met by a coach driver working for Abelard. The carriage ride to the manor house takes another 2 hours.

Beauchamp Manor 

 

It is just off the main road that continues on towards Balmoral Castle. The building is old and looks somewhat decayed from the outside but is quite luxurious inside. An interesting feature is that most rooms are crowded with curiosities from all over the world. Also, most rooms contain at least one bookshelf.

The heroes arrive after nightfall, the servants will have them wait in the smoking room and give them food and drinks. The butler tells them his master has not returned from a trip to purchase a rare book. They don't expect his return until the following day. Rooms have been made up for all of the guests. They will also meet another guest, Anwar, a purchaser of antiquities for the Cairo Museum.

There is pleasant conversations all around and everyone is quite taken with all of the various artifacts and collectibles throughout the home. The library has a vast collection of books that makes poor Silas drool. Silas is quite sure that some of the artifacts are actually true magical artifacts, he can feel their power.

There is one book that Silas discovers under a glass case, the Darkhold! For a moment, a look of dread overcomes the face of Silas but he regains his composure quickly. Using his magics he determines the book to be genuine.

Day Two

After the best nights rest the heroes have had in ages, the arrive down to the dining hall to a wonderful breakfast, Anwar and their host Abelard. It is truly an amazing repast. Abelard apologizes for not greeting his guests when they arrived but his trip for his latest acquisition took longer than he imagined. After breakfast he gives a tour of the manor, pointing out some of the more notable pieces in his collection. While he acknowledges many have supernatural or occult reputations, he dismisses that easily enough, claiming to not really believe in such things.

However, both he and Anwar are fans of Silas' publications and are quite fascinated with his ideas of the occult and the mysteries of the supernatural. They also seem quite enamored of his cousin Kitty. Abelard claims to have traveled to the Americas long ago and found the new country rather amazing and full of life.

He has no major plans for the next few days and asks his guests to simply enjoy themselves and relax in his home. He does invite them out on a hunt later that day. They are accompanied by one of Abelard's menservants. Most of the hunting trip is a bust, they manage to bag a couple of rabbits, but as they turn to head back to the manor, Kitty discovers deer tracks and begins to follow them. About 80 yards out, they spy a grand buck still unaware of their presence. Kitty takes the rifle from Anwar (who seems to have no real skill with the thing), kneels, down, takes aim, breathes out slowly, then drops the buck with one shot. Everyone is quite impressed and it is venison for dinner!

Day Three

It is another amazing nights rest for our group, perhaps the crisp country air is good for them. Just after breakfast, whilst everyone is gathered in the library, an interruption at the door draws everyone's attention. The butler leads three British soldiers into the library to talk with Abelard. One is a Captain in charge and the heroes recognize one of the other two to be their erstwhile friend James (British Agent) in apparent disguise.

The Captain is here about the book, the Darkhold. As per correspondence with the crown, they have stopped by on their way to Balmoral Castle to pick up the book, borrow it as requested. Abelard seems a bit hesitant to lend out the book. The Captain grows quite insistent. Before the discussion grows more heated they are interrupted by King Edward VII himself, who steps into the room. In the presence of the King, Abelard sighs and allows the soldiers to take the book. It is promised to be returned late the following week.

As the King glances about the room and spies the other guests, he smiles wickedly upon laying eyes upon Kitty and steps up to introduce himself personally. He flatters her with compliments regarding her beauty and the wonders of her homeland America, the King just recently returned from a trip across the pond. Upon hearing the name of her cousin Silas, he is over-joyed. The King is a huge fan of his writings. Accepting no answer but yes, he invites Silas and his friends to travel up to the Castle during their visit and join the King for a dinner. Who can turn down a King? And just as quickly as they arrive, the King and his men leave.

Everyone is a bit overwhelmed by the King's visit. Anwar and Silas poor themselves some strong drinks. Abelard appears amused by what transpired. Brian might have been impressed but is hiding it well. Kitty seems to be a bit unsure of how to process everything, it is not often that one is flirted with by a King.

The heroes decide to get out of the house for a bit and visit the nearby town of Ballater. It will prove a nice brisk walk and allow enough time to walk about, meet some locals, chat, and still get back to the manor before dinner. It is a lively town, friendly folk, and bustling about now that the royal family has passed through. A few townsfolk work up at the castle. Realizing the best source of gossip, news and anything else would be the local pub, Silas drags the group within and begins to buy rounds for all the locals, encouraging all to tell stories.

After several stories concerning missing sheep and local shenanigans, one of the old-timers begins to tell them of…

the Legend of Balmoral Castle 

In 1879 Queen Victoria was traveling to Balmoral Castle. The Queen, accompanied by two mysterious travelers, stopped for the night at the Torchwood Estate, home of Sir Robert MacLeish and Lady Isobel. The Queen’s escort was under the command of Captain Reynolds.

A mysterious band of monks from St. Catherine’s Glen had secretly taken control of the estate, threatening the lives of Lady Isobel and the servants. In their possession, was a caged human cursed with lycanthropy. They hoped to infect the Queen and create a new “Empire of the Wolf.”

With the help of the two strangers, the werewolf and the evil monks were destroyed. But there were rumours that her majesty suffered a small cut from the claws of the werewolf. It was only enough to infect her so that the curse would pass down to her descendants.

As the heroes walk about to the manor, they have a lively discussion about what they have learned. Based on Silas' knowledge of the Darkhold, he explains how a possible ritual cure for lycanthropy can be found within. It is a delicate ritual, difficult to render correctly, and the side effects if casting goes wrong could be horrible. Back at the manor, Silas uses his Encyclopedia Occultis to determine the next full moon. It would start on Monday week next through Thursday. Wednesday will have 100% visibility. That would be the ideal night for the ritual.

Day Four

Perhaps the news from the night before plagued their nightmares but everyone's sleep appears to have been troubled and our heroes wake restless (1 point of Fatigue). Later that day, Silas listens in on a private conversation between Anwar and Abelard. They are discussing the Golden Pyramid Anwar wishes to purchase from Abelard. It gets a bit heated. Abelard mentions he knows Anwar's true secret and the reason he wishes to acquire the pyramid. He knows it will not appear on display in the museum in Cairo. He warns Anwar that pursuing this course could end in madness and death. Sometimes that which we desire, in the end, will destroy us!

Anwar threatens back that he is aware of Abelard's secret, why he purchases so many artifacts and how many have not been acquired legally. Abelard appears to be more amused by this threat then frightened. In the end, he chuckles and sells the pyramid to Anwar. The matter settled, Anwar says good-bye to his fellow guests and plans to take a carriage back to Aberdeen to return immediately to Egypt. Desiring more information and another trip, the heroes accompany Anwar. Abelard's driver will allow them some time in the big city then return them to the manor before dinner. Silas uses the travel to try and get some sleep, fighting the fatigue that has overcome him. Unfortunately the sleep seems to not help.

Kitty is suspicious of their symptoms, she is unable to identify what is wrong but they have learned to trust her judgement. She proposes they spend the night together in one room, someone always keeping watch. Silas has the first watch of the night. It is uneventful but gives him time to think about the upcoming ritual, what he can do to assist. It is late into Brian's watch that it happens. In the darkness, he spies two large spiders creeping up the beds of his two sleeping companions. Dashing quickly across the room, he crushes the two spiders with his bear hands.

Day Five

Out of concern for their host, they explain the spiders from the night before and their weakened state. He appears surprised and is quite apologetic that they may have come to some harm under his roof. All is forgiven as the heroes explain they will be leaving for awhile, to visit the King up at the castle. Abelard asks that they bring his book when they return.

A bumpy 3 hour carriage ride brings them to the castle. They are welcomed as guests by the King himself. He is quite overjoyed to have some company. Most of the trip has been focused on business and has proven quite boring, he claims. Brian is posing as Silas' manservant so he is shown to different quarters whilst Silas are Kitty are given rooms fit for a king, literally! They are asked to join the King for dinner. As this is a royal dinner, Silas is adamant Kitty forgo her usual outfit of trousers and shirt and dress like a proper lady. The ladies waiting on her easily find a proper dress and help her dress for the evening.

As Silas settles into his chair for dinner with the King, they are both taken aback by the appearance of Kitty. She appears dressed in a lovely lavender gown, she is radiantly beautiful. The King is obviously smitten. Throughout the dinner he makes many overtures asking her to be his consort. "Please, call me Eddie," he tells her. Kitty deflects much of the flirting and his overtures but she does seem to be considering the offers seriously. How often does a King propose?

After dinner, they retire to the library, there they are joined by James, Brian, and the Royal Physician Sir Henry Thompson. All pretenses of joviality ends as the King, standing at the fireplace, grows somber. Facing the crowd he begins to talk.

"I know that you three are more than meets the eye. I have it from many reliable sources (he glances over to James) that you are aware of the true horrors that haunt the night. That there is war between man and the supernatural. And I can only assume you have already heard the legend about this house and my mother, Victoria. The legend is true I am sad to say. I am indeed cursed with the blood of a wolf. And unless I can be cured, I will pass this curse onto my children and they onto theirs. Much like my mother did."
"I would like your help in saving the throne of England. Four nights hence we will attempt the ceremony to cure me of this affliction. Perhaps it was divine intervention that placed you three along my path. Whatever the reason, you are here now and with your experiences, perhaps you can tip the balance towards the side of good. I have many things to attend to before the first full moon Tuesday, so I will not see you again until after the ceremony, assuming all goes well. So please confer with Sir Henry and James in ensuring all preparations are made and to the best of your knowledge, as good as they can be."

With that, the King bids them good night and leaves them. It is a heavy burden he leaves behind. James confirms that there is chatter of these mysterious monks returning to disrupt the ritual, to finish what was started with Victoria. He is relying on Brian and Kitty to provide aid in that defense, should these monks attack. Silas and Sir Henry will conduct the actual ritual. Silas explains that the ritual will take about an hour. The werewolf King will be trapped inside a circle of power. Whatever happens, that circle must not be broken. Once the ritual begins, it cannot be stopped without dire consequences. For it to succeed Silas and Sir Henry must complete the ritual. Silas and Sir Henry will be bound inside two smaller circles, inside those they must also remain until everything is completed.

Within the secured room will be James, Captain Hodder, Brian and Kitty to defend and protect the circles. Everyone will be locked into the room until the ceremony is completed. The room is over 60 feet tall, smooth walls, rising up to four corner windows and a giant windowed dome, all to let in the light of the full moon.

Day Nine

The ceremony begins. The bestial King is trapped inside his circle and Sir Henry and Silas are within theirs, chanting away. After 30 minutes have passed, everyone begins to relax a little bit. Perhaps James's information was wrong, perhaps no attack will come. At the 40 minute mark all hell breaks loose as monks drop from the ceilings using cloth belts that unfurl. As they drop down to engage, two monks fire blowgun darts at Sir Henry and Silas, attempting to disrupt the chanting. The arrow intended for Sir Henry misses by a wide margin. Silas is hit but barely flinches from the wound. He has grown stronger battling the forces of darkness.

Two monks drop to either side of Kitty in the room corners, she draws both pistols and fires one shot at each. One bullet drills right between the eyes, dropping the first monk. The other bullet slams into his chest, killing him as well. James fires his gun at a monk who leaps in to attack him. He misses! The Captain has engaged the other monk with his saber. They are trading blows, knife versus saber. Neither is giving any quarter.

The monk who fired upon Silas charges, attempting to knock Silas from his circle and break the chant. But Brian is faster and charges catching the monk and snapping his neck.

James is stabbed, a mere flesh wound, but is able to place his gun under the chin of his attacker and blow the top of his head off! The Captain in a fine display of fencing, knocks the dagger from the monk's hand then runs him thru! The last monk, who was tangled in his cloth belt, manages to free himself and charges Sir Henry! But once again Brian is faster and intercepts, driving the monk into the stone wall, crushing him!

It is now quiet except for the chanting and thrashing of the werewolf struggling against the spell to banish the curse. Just outside of the hour, the ritual is complete and successful! Our heroes have cured Edward VII and his family from the curse of the werewolf!

Day Twelve

That Saturday finds our heroes returning to Beauchamp Manor, the Darkhold in tow. Silas knows he is obligated to return the book to their host but he knows the power it contains. Abelard sits alone in the smoking room as the butler escorts them to him. He stands and greets them warmly, thanking them for returning the book. All are poured drinks and asked to sit, Abelard has something to discuss.

“After you first arrived I realized quickly that you were not simple dabblers in the occult. You knew the truth of such things. And that made you a danger to me. And I was prepared to kill you all to protect my secret. But I was also lonely and desired company besides my men. So I kept putting it off, getting to know you better. I liked what I saw.”
“Let me explain. I am a bit older than you think and certainly not what you think.” He loosens the shirt and tie around his neck, revealing a clean cut-mark encircling his entire neck. “My real name is Comte de Beaux-sur-Tombes, a noble quite active on the eve of the French Revolution. I was a cruel and feared man by my servants and the surrounding peasants. I was quite arrogant and superior in my position of nobility.”
“I was executed on the Guillotine and my body thrown into the Seine. The next night, a loyal servant sewed my head back on and I rose as a vampire. This very servant became my first meal as a Vampire. I didn't know then why I was chosen to arise. That came later. You have heard of Dracula, the father of all the current vampires. Dracula sires 6 Vampire Lords and gives them lands to control. They fight among themselves and keep the lesser vampires under control. Dracula pays no real attention to the world anymore, perhaps he grew tired.”
“But the world is changing and science is evolving. Men of science are mixing in rituals of magic. They are creating the supernatural with scientific means. They are creating life that should not exist.” He glances over to Brian. “They made you, something many would call an abomination. Scientists of the Night Guard are creating chemically controlled werewolves. The Cabal pulls the strings of the Night Guard. But does someone pull the strings of the Cabal?”
“Some of the Vampire Lords are openly allying themselves with the Night Guard; they feel they are above mankind. After all, to them, you are simply food. And Dracula hides in his castle, apparently unconcerned, or so the Vampire Lords believe. The covenant of the six cannot be broken, if one lord falls another must take their place. But there can be only six. And then there is me. I wasn’t sired in the normal sense.”
“One should never underestimate Lord Dracula, he plays the long game. Reaching out with his power, he used my servant to remake me, turn me into the equivalent of a Vampire Lord. Perhaps he intended to utilize me as a secret weapon. I know not why. I fled France and escaped here to Scotland. Oh, don’t misunderstand, within me I have a great capacity for evil. But out here I have been able to dig within myself, try to find answers. That is why I began to travel the world and gather my collection. For answers. But I have made mistakes and I have made enemies and the Vampire Lords have learned of me. And I must die. But the war is just beginning.”
“So I sat alone in my room, thinking of ways to kill you. And I realized I could not. You must take part in this war; you must fight on the side of good. And you must face the Night Guard, the Cabal, and perhaps even Dracula himself. For that, I leave you my collection and entrust the safety of the Darkhold. You know its power. You know what it can do. Understand this; it is a book of evil. It can be used for good, but even evil used for good will corrupt. There will be a price!”
“I think I will go West, I will go to America once again. I will get lost in that vast land. Perhaps I will die there. You will take my collection, the book, and my men, and you will return to London. You will gather new allies and you will enter into a new world. This house, and what remains will burn…I will be presumed dead. That should provide me some time.”
“My men may have down wrong in their pasts, but they are loyal to me and they will be loyal to you. They will aid you in this war, that you can count on. And now, I must take my leave. I don’t think we will see each other again, at least, not in this world. Oh, and Brian, you might find some answers in Glasgow, there is a Doctor there, and he has drawn the eye of the Night Guard, find him first, and you might get your answers…”

Abelard stands, bows and walks from the room.

View
In search of a Friend

Waiting, Waiting, I do not like this inaction. I have been here for the last several days questioning and shifting through the rubble of Driscal's burned out shop. Nothing is to be found. The people know nothing or are scared, of them or me I am uncertain. Several of his friends are missing too, their shops burned to the ground also. That it is the rats I am certain. I know I am neglecting the children at the orphanage but I can not concentrate on being a healer while my friend is missing. I will pay a physician to look in on them.

Hours pass, a small boy comes to me bearing a note. I thank him and give him some change for sweets. There is an address on it. 212 Pendelton Way, midnight, Come alone. That is near the docks, a warehouse I believe. Looking at my watch, just a few hours from now. Should I tell the others…. No this is my problem I won't endanger them.

I am here. It is still early. Testing the door it is unlocked. I go inside and shut it behind me. Lots of crates, it appears to have been recently filled with new goods. I find a place to watch unnoticed. Time passes I hear scraping. Looking I see the sewer grate slide aside and those damn foul rat men slinking in. This theft does not appear random. they are taking from particular crates. Not a lot so as to go unnoticed but very particular items. Salt, sulfur, garlic, many herbs and chemical items. I wish Silas were here he would know what it means. Smiling to myself and Kitty would already be picking them off. No I cant become too attached, they will loathe me when they know I am a monster too. They are coming this way, They stop. I think they sense me, good I'm tired of hiding. Rushing forward in a burst of speed I crush two of them before they know what happens. The rest are grabbing their packages and diving back into the sewers. I grab one and choke him. against a crate,

Growling at him "Where is Driscal Chang"

Rat spits upon Brian

Brian "Where is he" slamming rat against the crate cracking it

Through bloody lips It smiles at me "your creators send you greeting"

It's eyes close and it falls limp in my hands, In my anger I squeezed to hard. What does it mean? My creator died. I saw him dead with my own eyes. A shadow blocks the light, spinning I see a figure, Marcus Farr, Enforcer of the Faith's Chosen, they have found me again. I feel something hit me and know no more

I awaken, sore and weak. It is morning a knife is in my chest with a note.

"I thought it was you, We are coming monster. The chosen are coming for you"

The Chosen are coming to London. I must save Mr. Chang and leave before they hurt my companions. Perhaps it is time to see this new America that Kitty talks of. Removing the knife, I leave making my way back to our estate.


Brian awarded 1 Benny and 1 XP


 

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