The Temple Vampire, episode 5

Marsh tracks a vam­pire; Cur­ruthers sets it alight.

Played

8th Octo­ber 2009.

Dramatis Personae

  • Doc­tor Hilary Crabb – an Army Sur­geon.
  • Pro­fes­sor Augus­tus Wyn­ter­mere – a Back­room Bof­fin.
  • Cap­tain Ben­son Cur­ruthersa Mil­i­tary Police­man.
  • Rod­ney Marsha Par­tial­ly-reformed Thief.
  • Edie – a Lady of Ill-repute.
  • Peter Hawkins – a Pale Youth.
  • A small num­ber of oth­er Pale Youths.
  • Assort­ed Local Res­i­dents.

Plot

Fol­low­ing their some­what-alarm­ing encounter with a fast, appar­ent­ly invul­ner­a­ble being, the team escaped from the tav­ern, con­stant­ly check­ing behind them and prepar­ing to fight if it proved nec­es­sary. As it hap­pened, they made it to the street before the enraged Hawkins caught them. Hail­ing a cab, they retreat­ed towards Shaftes­bury Avenue, leav­ing their pur­suer to decide not to fol­low them.

Enter­ing the Min­istry, they began to com­pare notes, decide what they were deal­ing with and dis­cuss how to pro­ceed. They rapid­ly came to the con­clu­sion that they were deal­ing with a vam­pire, based on its prowess and appar­ent invul­ner­a­bil­i­ty to Lady Anto­ni­a’s guns. They then began to research the records on these mon­sters. Sur­pris­ing­ly, for such a well-known crea­ture, there was very lit­tle in the way of infor­ma­tion, as it seemed Min­istry agents had encoun­tered very few. What lit­tle doc­u­men­ta­tion they had was culled from pop­u­lar lit­er­a­ture and third-hand reports from Europe – not very reli­able sources.

They decid­ed to pre­pare them­selves for the pop­u­lar­ly-known pow­ers and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties and armed them­selves accord­ing­ly. Aim­ing to catch him as soon as pos­si­ble, they ignored the option to get mil­i­tary sup­port and head­ed back into the dense fog of the night, accom­pa­nied by Cap­tain Cur­ruthers, hop­ing to catch him at the tavern.

As it hap­pened, Hawkins and his gang had already left, head­ing else­where in town. The group split up, the major­i­ty work­ing their way towards the East End by fol­low­ing some obvi­ous tracks in the mud and ask­ing bystanders for help, while Marsh once more used his rat tal­is­man to track them by scent. Los­ing the trail, the main group met up with Marsh who had tracked the vam­pire to a Dock­lands broth­el before being forced to revert to his nor­mal shape. They began to stake out the build­ing, iden­ti­fy­ing sev­er­al mem­bers of the vam­pire’s gang, but Cur­ruthers spot­ted a pair of fig­ures leav­ing the back of the build­ing and head­ing out into the fog.

Marsh con­firmed it was Hawkins, accom­pa­nied by Edie, the pros­ti­tute he had befriend­ed ear­li­er. Assum­ing that the vam­pire intend­ed to feed on her, the team sped into action, Crabbe and Lady Anto­nia tak­ing (inef­fec­tu­al) pis­tol shots at Hawkins, while Wyn­ter­mere closed to use his entan­gle­ment weapon. Cur­ruthers and Marsh closed in to take on the (hope­ful­ly) immo­bilised vam­pire. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, Hawkins was not secure­ly caught in the foam, although Edie was, and broke free eas­i­ly. Marsh and Cur­ruthers launched a phys­i­cal assault, the lat­ter man­ag­ing to grab hold of the mon­ster’s head. Shak­ing them off, Hawkins fled and they pur­sued, Marsh suc­ceed­ing in set­ting fire to his coat with a torch.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the damp air put the fire out with­in a few hun­dred yards, but the team dogged­ly pur­sued the vam­pire into North Lon­don, using a vari­ety of tech­niques to keep the trail. Sev­er­al hours lat­er, drenched and exhaust­ed, they reached High­gate Ceme­tery and final­ly cor­nered their quar­ry in an opened vault near day­light. When they enered the bur­ial cham­ber, they found a cof­fin on a bier and, open­ing it, found the charred corpse of Peter Hawkins. As they pre­pared to dri­ve a stake into his chest, the vam­pire woke up and attempt­ed to fight back. Using torch­es, they backed it into a cor­ner and final­ly set it alight. Although the thick, black smoke drove them back out into the dawn air, they returned once it had cleared to dis­cov­er a pile of black­ened bones.

The vam­pire was dead.

The inquiry into their tak­ing action with­out author­i­ty would take a lit­tle longer…

Notes

The orig­i­nal idea for this ses­sion involved them call­ing on the ser­vices of the Roy­al Eso­teric Guard to help them take out the vam­pire, lead­ing to a pitched bat­tle amongst the grave­stones between the sol­diers and the vam­pire’s gang. Alas, this was not to be!

What the team nev­er dis­cov­ered was that the death of Simon Barch­ester was a case of mis­tak­en iden­ti­ty – he was an inno­cent stock­bro­ker with the secret of eter­nal life who had noth­ing to do with vam­pires. There’s also the small mat­ter of a num­ber of oth­er poten­tial­ly-infect­ed youths run­ning around the East End (Hawkins’ gang) and who exact­ly was respon­si­ble for the vam­pire’s con­di­tion? I intend to return to these mat­ters at a lat­er date!

This marked the end of the first arc of the tales of the Min­istry of Blades, but the inten­tion is to return to the char­ac­ters and set­ting for a fur­ther arc soon.