Wyntermere and Crabb go for a coffee; Marsh meets a lady of the night.
10th September 2009.
- Lady Antonia deVore – a Heavily-armed Aristocrat.
- Doctor Hilary Crabb – an Army Surgeon.
- Professor Augustus Wyntermere * – a Backroom Boffin.
- Reverend Reginald Blackmore – a Turbulent Priest.
- Rodney Marsh – a Partially-reformed Thief.
- Inspector Smythe – of the Yard.
- PC Jackson – a Stalwart Bobby.
- Edie – a Lady of Ill-repute.
- Joseph – a Waiter.
Doctor Crabb rapidly established that there were more peculiar facts about the corpse than its apparent age. The heart had been pierced by a pointed object of circular cross-section (inserted under the ribcage), the skin and other tissues were dry, as if they had been exposed to desert air for several months, and the bones were brittle. What was more, the corpse was deteriorating rapidly. Professor Wyntermere established that the body had been found near the docks by the Inner Temple, and had been dead no more than two days.
Leaving the collapsing corpse, they decided to pursue their investigations at the coffee shop frequented by the deceased. Marsh opted to investigate the waterside taverns…
Wyntermere and Crabb visited Van Hilgers on the Strand and began talking to Joseph, one of the waiters, who knew the victim well. He turned out to have been quiet, successful and utterly without note. He was apparently not married and had picked up his father’s job when the elder had died (as had his father before him). He had a small number of loyal clients.
Marsh was on the verge of giving up on a bad evening when he encountered one of the local streetwalkers, Edie, who knew Barchester. He was well-known in the area, living locally, although no-one knew where. While he never used their services, he seemed to look after the girls, ensuring that their problems “went away”. Meeting up the next day, the team compared notes and began to formulate theories: primarily involving vampires. Researchers were detailed to investigate local church records of births and marriages. Marsh returned to the docks, transformed himself into a rat using a mysterious talisman and began sniffing around the crime scene. He rapidly picked up an older scent of the victim, located an old-fashioned key (flung to one side of the alley) and then found a matching door.
Returning to the others, he told them of his discoveries and they hurriedly prepared for a further investigation. The door lay at the end of a semi-subterranean lane, set into the foundations of a long-vanished church. Using the key, they entered, discovering a small, old-fashioned, but well-furnished apartment. Further in, they discovered what appeared to be an alchemist’s lab and they began to revise their theories. Professor Wyntermere took what appeared to be a journal and they left, locking the door behind them.
Emerging from the alley, they found their way blocked by a dozen angry dockers…
* Players not present.
The unavailability of two of the players, along with the introduction of Professor Wyntermere, led to a more investigation and role-playing oriented session. All of the players present got to show off their specialties and I remember a lot of notes being taken. There’s not much more to say, other than that I began noticeably (and unconsciously) altering London geography, adding warehouses and a run-down dockfront to a generally quite well-off area. Well, this is fantasy!