Cracking Bank Hall - Character Journals [Spoilers]

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ChrisDDickey
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Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Cracking Bank Hall - Character Journals [Spoilers]

Post by ChrisDDickey » Thu May 09, 2019 6:38 pm

After the bizarre attack by the masked highwaymen, we decided Mrs Black, the coachwoman, would drop us off at Mrs Clarke's cottage and then proceed to the constabulary post to report the attack.

Mrs Esme Clarke's grand niece lived with her in a good sized two story cottage with a beautiful and lovingly cared for garden. The niece informed us that her great aunt was resting, but agreed to fetch her. She installed us in the parlor, and, after we declined refreshments, went upstairs where she promptly screamed. Rushing upstairs we found the elderly woman unwakable. What with the niece screaming, it took me way longer than it should have for me to determine that she was irretrievably dead. In fact I was eventually able to determine that she had been dead for between one and two hours before we arrived, and that she had been smothered to death by a pillow left laying on the floor nearby. My companions soothed the niece somewhat, and sent a child passing outside to fetch the constabulary. Investigations of the house and room determined that it would have been fairly easy for somebody to slip in ether from the back door and back stairway, or the window. The window showed signs of having been jimmied. The climb up to the window would not have been difficult, but other than the marks on the window latch, we found no evidence that anybody had done so.

The constables, when they arrived, did not clarify the situation in the time we were there. Some of them spent a good deal of time interrogating Captain Barnes on suspicion of being a Snark with an Attitude. I felt fortunate that they did not hassle me as well, but apparently on that day it fell out that being a British Snark was more suspicious than being a Human Foreigner (for you know I was still base human back then). Other days the peelers were less forgiving of dark skin. The constables barely mentioned the attack on the road, though they did confirm that it had been reported to them.

Reasoning that the spirit of Mrs Clarke might still be lingering about her body, I attempted to bring it forth and speak with it. This was the first time I had ever attempted to contact a human spirit (or at least the first attempt since I had awoken in my powers) and the first time I attempted to contact a human spirit who was not an ancestor of mine. I had mixed results. I was able to establish communication with the spirit, but the spirit was in such a state of uproar that I got little from it. The spirit was continually reviewing her own murder, but with a pillow over her face, she had apparently sensed nothing useful. The only question of mine she answered was one that had apparently vexed her greatly these last few years and caused her to briefly exclaim that "The Arsenic had gone missing! Lord Powys had been in good health. I have treated him since he was a boy and he was in excellent health! And the Arsenic had gone missing!", but then I could feel her returning to reviewing her own murder again, but not speaking any clues. The niece denied that any such suspicions had every been voiced in her hearing. Upon offering our deepest condolences to the grieving niece and taking our leave of her and the police, we returned to the manor.

The theory we were starting to develop, is that 2 years ago, Lord Powys, was murdered by Arsenic poisoning for reasons unknown by persons unknown. The Apothecary suspected it, but did not share her suspicions widely. When we broadcast her name earlier in the day, somebody decided she was a loose end that needed to be tied up, and killed her. The same group, or a different group ambush us on our way to meet her, The ambushers yell incoherent warnings. We still have no idea how any of this ties in with the missing hall of statuary. In short, we know next to nothing.

Before dinner, we briefly discuss what in our investigation to share with Lady Jane and her other guests. We decide that since we have nothing other than a suspicions that her Husband was murdered, and way more new questions than answers, that we will wait until we have more answers. We do mention that we now have a list of engine-run security doors, and that we have only located 6 of the 8 engine-run doors. We ask if anybody knows of the other two, and Lady Jane and Mssr Niece think they can lead us to at least one more. We agree that they shall do so after dinner.

Durring dinner Professor Grundal started acting more and more agitated. He complained that his food tasteless. Finally he made a huge scene by throwing his dishes against the wall and storming out. Everybody was mortified. In hindsight I wish that I had used Astral Sight to view him, for I fear his agitation was not of natural origin.

After dinner, Lady Jane and Mssr Niece lead us, as promised, to a ground floor door with a security terminal that Mrs Montague opened using her new security card. It opened into a Long Hall, but our hope that it contained the missing statuary was dashed as it contained nothing but paintings. I wondered if maybe the statues used to be there, but the dust and decor indicated that it had always been a gallery of paintings. We did however decide that the most likely place for a gallery of statues was ether immediately above, or immediately below this hall. At the other end of long hall was an old abandoned conservatory. Rather than attempt the maze-like qualities of the house, we unlatched the conservatories gardeners entrance and looking immediately above it found a porch. I fetched a ladder from a gardeners shed I had noticed on my initial inspection of the grounds the day previous, and we all climbed onto the porch. There we were confronted by some beautiful french doors. The doors were, alas, locked. Lady Jane kindly gave permission for some moderate breakage, but I decided that the least destructive method was summon a small earth spirit that could manipulate metal to flip the leavers to unlock it. This actually did work, but the spirit manifested inside a bit of decorative grill-work, and when it de-manifested, it chose to leave one section of the grill-work with a different, discordant pattern than the rest. I am afraid it looks quite wrong.

We were all anxious to look inside. The 6 of us (for Lady Jane's Ladies Maid had also accompanied us) entered the dark hall. We all felt great tension and more than one person checked to see that whatever weapons they carried were loose in their scabbards. Those of us with low-light vision saw movement about halfway down the hall. Mssr Niece strode forth boldly, and I decided to keep pace with him. The hall was crowded with statuary, most of it under dust-cover sheets. The dust was thick upon the sheets and other surfaces and the air was musty. Because of the many sheet clad statues, it was not until we were quite close to the center of the hall that the scene there resolved itself.

Two shapes right in the center were not covered with dust-sheets. One was a statue that had one arm held far forward from it's body. From this arm dangled the hung corpse of professor Grundal, whom had stormed out of the dining room less than an hour previously. The other was not a statue per-say, but a huge stone box or sarcophagus. Mssr niece did not hesitate in the slightest but walked right up to the sarcophagus, whipped out a knife and pricked his palm deeply. then held it over the box. I was so shocked by this action that I did nothing but watch amazed as 7 distinct drops of blood fell from his hand into the sarcophagus. After the 7th drop fell he closed his hand upon a handkerchief as he excitedly watched a huge, huge desiccated corpse step from the box!

The corpse could have been nothing but a troll, but it was so old and desiccated that it could not possibly have died after the rabbit hole opened. So what we were seeing could only have been a pre-rabbit-hole troll corpse. But of course there were no pre-rabbit-hole trolls, even as corpses! What we were seeing was impossible, unless of course this sarcophagus was from the OTHER side of the rabbit hole. Could this troll be a Samsut corpse? What was it doing here? The Troll stepped out of it's box and grasped the corpse of the dwarf hanging by his neck next to him. Instantly the corpse of the small spiritualist also began to move, but it did not struggle as someone needing air would struggle if hung, it struggled merely as somebody who wanted down would struggle.

The horrible realization stole upon me that we were facing Samsut zombie magic! And two zombies! And that Mssr Niece was a traitor and a murderer.

ChrisDDickey
Posts: 439
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Cracking Bank Hall - Character Journals [Spoilers]

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sun May 19, 2019 9:38 pm

The ensuing fight was both brutal and confusing. The room was dark and full of statuary. We were libel to loose sight of any opponent or friend that was more than a few arms lengths away. Worst of all, we did not know for sure whom was on whose side. We had entered the room thinking that Mssr Niece was on our side, but his blood magic soon convinced us all otherwise. Mssr Nieces treachery was not be the last surprise of the night! Further, the confusion did not clear up that night. When we eventually returned to London we were still almost totally in the dark about what had happened. It was not until we got Mssr Nieces journal decrypted and translated that we finally figured out some of the mysteries, and some of the events that happened that night remain confounding mysteries even to this day!

I was so young back then, totally untrained in combat, unarmed, unarmored, and without any spells that were of any use (other than the one that was allowing me to see in the dark).. Mssr Niece and myself were up next to the sarcophagus, and therefor the desiccated Troll, while the others had hung back somewhat. I briefly pondered whether the troll could be banished, but reluctantly concluded that whatever the troll now was, it was not a manifesting spirit, nor a strange spirit possessing a body. This was something different, and Banish was not going to work.

As quickly as I could, I summoned an Earth Elemental that manifested within a statue of a young shepherdess, and then an Air Elemental that manifested as a whirlwind of dust within that long closed room. Both of these I sent against Mssr Niece, hoping to remove him from the fight before we were forced to square up against the undead Troll. Not attacking the Troll proved to be better tactic than I had hoped. For Mssr Niece and the troll had started arguing. Niece had apparently given the undead being a command (I could not understand a single word of the language they were speaking - but the tone of voice and gestures of both were eloquent, even if their words were incomprehensible), and the troll had apparently told Niece where his orders could be shoved. They exchanged a number of heated words before starting to exchange blows. In the meantime my summoned spirits were attacking Niece, which the troll apparently took to be an appreciated position.

In the meantime, I could hear that everybody else in the room were fighting someone. There were gunshots, the clash of blades, and bellows of battle. I finally realized they were fighting each other, Miss Montague and Captain Barnes vs Lady Jane and her maid. Later I was told that Lady Jane attacked Miss Montague as soon as the commotion started in front of the sarcophagus. The Maid was particularly deadly as I had occasion to learn to some small measure when she suddenly appeared beside me and stabbed me before vanishing again into the dark confusion. When I later on bandaged all the wounds I had reason to appreciate that my single wound was among the least damaging that she dealt that night, yet it pained me sorely.

I had summoned a 2nd Air spirit, which I had sent out into the garden to bring me back some shrubberies. My other Air spirit had engulfed niece, and was slowly smothering him, when the Troll cast some sort of outlandish spell the likes of which I have never heard of since. A huge gibbering mouth, surrounded by tentacles appeared in the air. I took the first shrubbery the air spirit returned with, cast Entangle upon it, and threw it upon Niece.It was a mostly wasted effort, since a few seconds later the tentacles of the huge mouth grabbed Niece and drug him into the mouth, which then ate him. The mouth was not attached to a throat or head or anything, the eaten man simply disappeared into nothingness. I can only describe the mouth as some sort of horrible Astral Maw, the memory of which disturbed my sleep for years afterwords.

In the meantime the corpse of Professor Grundal had finally freed itself from the noose that had killed him. The corpse, maddened with blood-lust fell upon Lady Jane and tore her limb from limb. Her ladies maid the dwarf Chastity Brown, grappled with the undead and called upon us to slay the abomination. The troll cast a new spell and transformed itself into an 18 inch long flying worm (or maybe snake), and flew out into the garden, leaving us in possession of the battlefield.

I realizing that I had not heard Miss Catherine Montague in quite some time, searched her out, I found her lying in a pool of blood with a very grievous head injury. At first I thought she was dead, it was nothing but the rate that her wound continued to bleed that convinced me that her heart must still be pumping. It took me 40 minutes to get her stabilized, and I regret to say the exterior of her left ear was a total loss. At the end of that surgery, I learned that Captain Barnes had nether slain the animated cadaver, nor the ladies maid, leaving them to their own devises. The ladies maid had destroyed the animated cadaver, but was nearly dead herself from her wounds. I stopped those in the hope that she could explain Lady Jane's actions to us.

There was so much we still did not know. Where had this sarcophagus come from? I had assumed at first it must be Samsut (since it held a long dead troll), but the room it was in had been long sealed, and the sarcophagus was covered in dust, it must have been in that room since before the Rabbit Hole opened. It seemed like it could only have come from the Rabbit Hole, but it also could not possibly have come from the Rabbit Hole! How had Professor Grundal's body gotten hung there? I would swear that Lady Jane did not know where the room was, nor how to get into it, since she was so excited that it was finally found. Niece might have known how to get into the room, and might possibly have killed Grundal (we still did not know why), but we had no idea why he seemed so suicidely quick to take advantage of our entrance. Why not wait until we had gone to try to bring the troll back to life? Or did he know how to get into the room all along, but perhaps was our presence there the whole point? Could he have known that a life would be required and we were there for the sole purpose of providing that life. He obviously did not realize that the troll would insist that the life to be sacrificed would need to be his own. We had those and a hundred other questions remaining.

After I had finished my surgeries on Montague and Brown, the butler tracked us down and telegraphed the constabulary. Before they showed up I barely had time for a quick wash of my hands, then nipped to our rooms to quickly ransack Mssr Nieces and Professor Grundels luggage for any papers or journals that might shed some light on this whole confusing mess.

When talking to the police we managed to piece together a tapestry of truth and omission that explained everybodies injuries, placing the blame solely upon Mssr Niece and the two animated corpses of the troll (which had fled) and Grumble. We stated with perfect truth that the animated corpse of Grumble had killed Lady Jane, and almost killed Chastity Brown. We conveniently omitted any mention of them trying to kill us or visa versa, Once she woke up, and while we were there, Miss Brown, for her own reasons, also felt it wise to gloss over any complicating occurrences that would have detracted from the simple story: "Mad Wizard raises monsters which attack and kill beloved local noble-woman. Her loyal retainers battle the Mad Wizard and the monsters, the Mad Wizard and one of the monsters are slain, one monster escapes to terrorize the countryside. Local residents should beware".

All of which was perfectly true. Or at least true enough. I was using the term Wizard rather loosely. Back then it did not have quite the codified and stringent meaning that it has today. I still feel that the term "Mad" was perfectly accurate. "Beloved" also might have been a bit of a stretch, but the local press reporting on the incident also said Lady Jane was "beloved", so the historical record bares me out. "escapes to terrorize the countryside" was just pure speculation. but I was in the countryside and I was terrified of it. So much so that I left the countryside for London as soon as miss Montague could manage to hobble from a carriage to a train. "Local residents should beware" is always safely prudent. So, all in all, the story was true enough.

In the time it took for us to recover enough to travel back to London I also made some rubbings of the strange engravings upon the sarcophagus. In London, the law office was dismayed to learn that Lady Jane was dead, but did pay us for our investigation.
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Mon May 20, 2019 9:40 am, edited 3 times in total.

Slimcreeper
Posts: 674
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Cracking Bank Hall - Character Journals [Spoilers]

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon May 20, 2019 1:29 am

Mwah hahahah!

Sorry, I had a great deal of fun with all the treachery. Don't get used to it, in the next adventure I'm playing everyone straight. I promise.

You would have discovered that Prof. Grundle had accessed the Legh Keck hall through the Lumber Room, the place where they stored furniture too out-of-style to use but too nice to just get rid of. Also, assuming you find someone to translate at least the French part of Mssr. Níce's papers you will learn more of the story, which future Cusa would know.

But there are lots of questions remaining. Which questions will you explore? Which ones will come back to haunt you?

Mwah hahahah!

Sorry, last time, I promise.

Slimcreeper
Posts: 674
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Cracking Bank Hall - Character Journals [Spoilers]

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon May 20, 2019 1:58 am

Also, my favorite GMC moment was definitely Lady Jane rolling a 38 on a slough blame test to convince Cpt Barnes that she’d had nothing to do with stabbing Ms. Montgomery despite Lady Jane having stabbed Ms. Montgomery less than 6 seconds prior.

ChrisDDickey
Posts: 439
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Cracking Bank Hall - Character Journals [Spoilers]

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon May 20, 2019 9:56 am

I have edited the last three paragraphs of my prior post to include the story that the police were told.

Yes, future storytelling Cusa would know more than I know now, that is why I try so hard to mostly tell what he was thinking at the time and not skip ahead to much except for where it is a pretty safe bet. For example when I say "I still think Niece was Mad". Seems like a safe bet. In the first in the first paragraph I say " It was not until we got Mssr Nieces journal decrypted and translated that we finally figured out some of the mysteries, but some of the events that happened that night remain confounding mysteries even to this day!" Seems like a fairly safe bet. but Cusa is not telling the story as he learned it later, he is telling the story as he thought it was at the time. So any mistaken assumptions he later learns are false are stated as what he thought at the time.

OK, so Grumble got in through the Lumber room. But we still don't know who or what killed him. Cusa will have examined that rope to see if it was magical and/or part of a trap.

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