The Temple Vampire, episode 4

Crabb con­ducts an inter­view; Marsh plays the mime.

Played

1st Octo­ber 2009.

Dramatis Personae

  • Lady Anto­nia deVorea Heav­i­ly-armed Aris­to­crat.
  • Doc­tor Hilary Crabb – an Army Sur­geon.
  • Pro­fes­sor Augus­tus Wyn­ter­mere – a Back­room Bof­fin.
  • Rod­ney Marsha Par­tial­ly-reformed Thief.
  • Mrs Ellen Hawkins – an Impov­er­ished Wid­ow.
  • Edie – a Lady of Ill-repute.
  • Peter Hawkins – a Pale Youth.
  • A small num­ber of oth­er Pale Youths.

Plot

Hav­ing beat­en off a group of ruf­fi­ans, the inves­ti­ga­tions team had made some progess in their research.

Once again, the group decid­ed to split up to fur­ther their inves­ti­ga­tions. Marsh was to return to the dock­side tav­erns and attempt to iden­ti­fy the mys­te­ri­ous onlook­er and the gang mem­bers; the rest of the team would head back to Barch­ester’s crypt to look for more infor­ma­tion.

Marsh’s enquiries proved to be suc­cess­ful. The gang-leader was iden­ti­fied as Jack “Nodger” Noakes, a for­mer gang lieu­tenant from the Isle of Dogs, pos­si­bly mov­ing into the crime scene in this area. Marsh also man­aged to get a lead on the woman, one Mrs Ellen Hawkins, an impov­er­ished wid­ow, now liv­ing on the roof of one of the local ware­hous­es.

The doc­tor, pro­fes­sor and Lady Anto­nia head­ed back to Barch­ester’s lodg­ings, but after much search­ing they had lit­tle suc­cess, even after attempt­ing to retrieve some infor­ma­tion from the writ­ing pad and blot­ter. The pro­fes­sor came to the con­clu­sion that he may have mem­o­rised all his busi­ness infor­ma­tion (a com­mon skill amongst 16th cen­tu­ry alchemists).

Marsh arrived at the base­ment and they exchanged infor­ma­tion, before he returned to the tav­ern to talk to Edie and try to pick up more infor­ma­tion. The oth­ers decid­ed to look for the mys­te­ri­ous Mrs Hawkins, locat­ing her res­i­dence after a few minor enquiries. Approach­ing the rel­e­vant door of the some­what ram­shackle row of back-to-back struc­tures, Lady Anto­nia rapped on the door and, when it opened, informed the tired-look­ing mid­dle-aged woman who opened it, that they were agents of the crown and want­ed to talk to her. She imme­di­ate­ly slammed the door, break­ing the tip of Lady Anto­ni­a’s para­sol (with which she tried to wedge the door open). A moment lat­er, they heard a door open, fol­lowed by run­ning steps, on the far side of the build­ing and Lady Anto­nia and the pro­fes­sor set off in imme­di­ate pur­suit, leav­ing the par­tial­ly lame doc­tor to wait for them.

A moment lat­er, the door opened and Mrs Hawkins peered out, spot­ting the doc­tor almost imme­di­ate­ly. He took a slight­ly less con­fronta­tion­al approach, assur­ing her that she was not in trou­ble and gained entry. Over the ensu­ing con­ver­sa­tion, he was able to deter­mine that she had a very low opin­ion of Simon Barch­ester, believ­ing he was respon­si­ble for the change in behav­iour of her son, Peter, who had been look­ing to become the stock­bro­ker’s appren­tice. She had lost con­tact with her son, who was asso­ci­at­ing with a strange group of peo­ple and sleep­ing through the day. She was unable to explain the prob­lem fur­ther than that, but point­ed out that they might get a good look at him at the Dog & Duck by the docks.

The doc­tor left the house and met up with the oth­ers, who had been chas­ing an inno­cent stranger, and they decid­ed to vis­it the tav­ern in ques­tion as it was near­ing sun­down. Once they had arrived, they spot­ted Marsh and his “friend” in one cor­ner and took up a table at anoth­er near the door. It was not long before the gen­er­al­ly con­vivial, if uncouth, atmos­phere changed com­plete­ly as a gang of local youths arrived. Gen­er­al­ly pale, not very ani­mat­ed and uni­form­ly dressed in dark clothes, they were led by a rather more sprite­ly indi­vid­ual in fash­ion­able dress. A num­ber of peo­ple dis­ap­peared very quick­ly at this point, includ­ing Edie, leav­ing Marsh on his own.

As the gang approached Marsh’s cor­ner, he decid­ed to get out of their way, attempt­ing to sur­rep­ti­tious­ly sig­nal to the oth­ers that he was mov­ing to anoth­er table. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, he did this just as the gang leader (who matched Mrs Hawkins’ descrip­tion of her way­ward son) swung out into the mid­dle of the room to announce some­thing, stop­ping right in front of him. Hawkins decid­ed to make fun of him and asked the “mime” to per­form for the room at large. Marsh respond­ed by try­ing to get out of the room and his assailant grabbed him.

At this point, the pro­fes­sor let fly with his entan­gling foam, catch­ing Hawkins with it, but the youth proved impos­si­bly fast and strong. He broke free, appeared at the team’s table and attempt­ed to punch the pro­fes­sor, miss­ing and sink­ing his fist into the brick wall. Lady Anto­nia pro­duced her revolvers and let fly with both shot bar­rels into his side, but although the shot pen­e­trat­ed his skin, he did­n’t even flinch, turn­ing to grin at her. The group now decid­ed dis­cre­tion was the bet­ter part of val­our and fled.

Notes

At last, the team meet their neme­sis, the vam­pire Peter Hawkins, and find he’s a lit­tle tougher than they imag­ined.

This ses­sion also marks the first occur­rence of Marsh’s now-clas­sic abil­i­ty to foul things up spec­tac­u­lar­ly in social sit­u­a­tions. All it took was a sim­ple roll of snake eyes…