The Pyramids of Hertfordshire, episode 3

Anto­nia vis­its the Manor; Cur­ruthers sends a telegram.

Played

6th May 2010.

Dramatis Personae

  • Lady Anto­nia deVorea Heav­i­ly-armed Aris­to­crat.
  • Miss Con­stan­ti­na Spita Rebel­lious Debu­tante.
  • Cap­tain Ben­son Cur­ruthersa Mil­i­tary Police­man.
  • Jack Pren­tiss – a Dodgy Pedes­tri­an.
  • Miss April Sharpea Self-taught Inven­tor.
  • Rod­ney Marsha Par­tial­ly-reformed Thief.
  • Sir Upton Scu­d­amore – a Self-made Eccen­tric.
  • Vil­liers – a But­ler of Few Words.
  • Madamoi­selle Melis­sa D’Ar­qué – a Gov­erness.
  • Alice and Peter – Sir Upton’s Grand­chil­dren.
  • Assort­ed Cooks, Grooms, Grounds­men and Navvies.

Plot

While Miss Sharpe attempt­ed to fig­ure out what had gone wrong with her weapon, Pren­tiss began to poke through the remains of the for­mer­ly-ani­mat­ed mum­my. Upon receiv­ing a nasty acid burn, he began pok­ing more care­ful­ly, uncov­ered four bronze stat­uettes and a num­ber of small clay tablets, all of which he pock­et­ed for lat­er exam­i­na­tion.

The group decid­ed that they had done enough for one night and Cap­tain Cur­ruthers con­fi­dent­ly led them back towards the Inn. They realised they were lost as they crest­ed a rise, emerg­ing from the trees to gain a moon­lit view of their sur­round­ings. The vil­lage lay behind them, Avery Manor and its pyra­mid to their right, and a small, but bright­ly lit, clear­ing to the north. Using binoc­u­lars, they could see signs of arc flood­lights, tem­po­rary build­ings and a tall mast of some descrip­tion. Tak­ing their bear­ings and not­ing the posi­tion of the clear­ing, they tried again to get back to their beds.

In the mean­time, Lady Anto­nia tried to wake the church verg­er but had no suc­cess, despite pelt­ing his win­dow with grav­el. Giv­ing up, she returned to the grave­yard and found the group had left. Fol­low­ing them, she dis­cov­ered the remains of the mum­my, then tracked the team up the hill, where they final­ly reunit­ed.

They returned to the Inn at about four in the morn­ing and got some sleep, before dis­cussing their next steps over break­fast. While Miss Sharpe began repair­ing her weapon, the remain­der of the team set out to try and locate the clear­ing in day­light. They had lit­tle trou­ble, but as they approached, they were con­front­ed by a hunting-tweeds—clad game­keep­er, armed with a shot­gun, who informed them it was pri­vate land and asked them to leave imme­di­ate­ly. Cur­ruthers noticed odd move­ments in loca­tions where he would have placed hid­den sen­tries; not­ing that the game­keep­er seemed famil­iar, he decid­ed it was advis­able to leave. Sus­pect­ing some kind of secret gov­ern­ment research instal­la­tion, Cur­ruthers sent a telegram to the Min­istry upon their return to ask if they were aware of any such thing.

In the mean­time, the team decid­ed a vis­it to the Manor to inves­ti­gate the pyra­mid and its eccen­tric builder was in order. Using their exist­ing dis­guise as a group of upper- and mid­dle-class occult enthu­si­asts, they sent Pren­tiss, in the guise of a ser­vant, to request per­mis­sion to vis­it. Upon arrival, Pren­tiss encoun­tered the but­ler, Vil­liers, then returned with an invi­ta­tion. The vis­it­ing par­ty con­sist­ed of Lady Anto­nia, Cur­ruthers and Miss Spit, with Pren­tiss as the dri­ver and Miss Sharpe as maid to the ladies. Marsh was to sneak onto the grounds to explore the pyra­mid build­ing site.

Sir Upton Scu­d­amore turned out to be an aging rail­way tycoon, work­ing-class in ori­gin, but made a Baronet for his ser­vices to the coun­try. He was very wel­com­ing and only too will­ing to give the ‘enthu­si­asts’ a per­son­al tour of his exten­sive Egypt­ian col­lec­tion, while describ­ing his inter­est. Remark­ing that he was now retired and that his son, Charles, ran the com­pa­ny, Sir Upton explained that he was plan­ning his funer­al, hence the pyra­mid; he did­n’t believe in any of this non­sense about mys­ti­cal pyra­mid pow­ers, just liked the idea of being buried in a pyra­mid. He was some­what annoyed about the theft of his lat­est mum­my from the out­build­ing where it was being stored while its dis­play case was com­plet­ed. Pren­tiss and Miss Sharpe were invit­ed to wait below stairs and took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to talk to the ser­vants; they found that they knew lit­tle more than any­one else about the goings-on in the area, main­tain­ing that Sir Upton was good boss, if a lit­tle eccen­tric.

The team eager­ly accept­ed when their host offered them a tour of the pyra­mid site and, giv­en the dis­tance, they trav­elled over by car­riage. On the way out through the front doors, they were intro­duced to Sir Upton’s grand­chil­dren and their French gov­erness, Madamoi­selle D’Ar­qué. Marsh had suc­cess­ful­ly infil­trat­ed the pyra­mid site, skulk­ing betwen piles of build­ing mate­ri­als and rub­ble, but was unable to dis­cov­er any­thing more unusu­al than a pyra­mid being built on a 19th cen­tu­ry Eng­lish estate. The rest of the team also came to the con­clu­sion that this was just an archi­tec­tur­al fol­ly. Casu­al con­ver­sa­tion revealed that Sir Upton knew noth­ing of the facil­i­ty in the clear­ing, even though it was his land.

Dis­cussing what they had learned as they returned to the Hang­man’s Dance, the group’s sus­pi­cions turned to Sir Upton’s son. They found an answer to their ear­li­er telegram to the Min­istry, say­ing there was no gov­ern­ment instal­la­tion in the area, and sent a fur­ther enquiry for more infor­ma­tion on Charles Scu­d­amore.

Notes

With the miss­ing play­ers back in town, this ses­sion was most­ly talk, con­cen­trat­ing on a hith­er­to ignored branch of the inves­ti­ga­tion.