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tshiggins
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« Reply #195 on: September 22, 2011, 09:26:29 PM »

What lies beneath

Herr von Landau spent part of the day arranging for the ship and made an appointment for Tuesday, June 7, to meet with Vinne the Boater. Once complete, the trio and the Scotland Yard man made their way to London's Metropolitan Board of Works, at Spring Gardens. There, they spoke to a civil engineer in the Office of Public Health. Work had apparently come from “on-high” that they were to receive every cooperation, so they found willing assistance.

Despite that, the engineers in charge of London's waste disposal dismissed, outright, any notion that anyone could use the sewer system in the way described. Pressed for an explanation, the supervising engineer coughed with some embarrassment, and explained the history.

London's world-class system for disposing of human waste had resulted from a number of incidents in the early half of the century, as the city began to attract workers by the tens of thousands. The infrastructure of the time proved unable to cope, and Thames River transformed from “rather unpleasant” to “open sewer.” Cholera epidemics raged every summer, because of the filth in the Thames, and the situation came to a head when, in 1855 and 1858, the reek reached such stunning proportions that many members of Parliament fled the city.

Confronted with the reality of a public health problem that had begun to seriously affect business, Parliament authorized creation of the Metropolitan Board of Works to address the infrastructure needs of the rapidly-growing municipality. As his first order of business, the new chairman, Sir John Thwaites, hired the renowned Sir Joseph Bazalgette as chief engineer, to design a build a new sewerage system.

The choice proved a brilliant one, as Sir Joseph had a stroke of genius. The engineer realized that London actually needed two systems – one to divert human waste away from the river until it could be dumped in safely far downstream, and another to divert into the river the (relatively) safe runoff from London's frequent rain.

The system to handle runoff  from storms lay just beneath the city streets, the engineer said, and emptied into the Thames all along the banks, every few hundred yards. While not exactly pleasant (London's streets are  filled with horses to draw everything from carriages and cabriolets to delivery lorries and hansom cabs), they weren't awful, and the grates and manholes provided unfortunately easy access, as the storm system generally followed the layout of the streets.

By contrast, the engineer said, the human waste system lay deeper, and couldn't be reached from the streets, directly. Most of those tunnels ran beneath the blocks, and not the streets, and fed into tunnels that generally followed the riverbeds long-buried beneath London's cobbled streets. To gain access, one first had to enter the storm drains, and then find the portals to the human waste system. Those tended to be covered with heavy iron bars not intended to restrict easy movement, and were usually welded shut.

The group expressed their surprise at that particular intelligence, at which point the chagrined engineer explained. Sir Joseph Bazalgette's design had proved so innovative that it had attracted the attention of a number of dwarfish engineers, who traveled from the Snowdon Enclave, in Wales, to work on it. While not terribly innovative, themselves (as was usual for the Fey), they instantly recognized genius and as technicians and craftsmen, Dwarfs have no rivals.

The Dwarfish engineers made a number of suggestions for improvements, most of which Sir Joseph immediately adopted. However, several dwarfs had brought their wives with them, and that proved problematic, since most of the Fey wives of dwarves are nature fairies. When the wives learned of the plans to dispose of tonnes of untreated waste in the  Thames Estuary, they protested strongly. That nearly panicked Sir John and his human cohorts, and riveted the attentions of the dwarfish associates (less terrified of their wives than the humans, but certainly motivated by the desire for domestic tranquility).

The designers decided that, rather than dump the waste directly into the river, they'd push it through salt fens and mud-flats, where the marshy vegetation could help cleanse the water before it reached the river and was carried out to sea. After some consultation, the Fey wives agreed, with the stipulation that they would “arrange matters” so the marshes continued to thrive and adequately perform the filtering task. So the agreement was struck, and work began.

As a result, the underground portion of London actually lay in four distinct layers. The storm-drains lay directly beneath the streets, above the cut-and-cover tunnels for the tube-trains. Below the tube-train tunnels lay the deeper sewers, followed (in most places) by the train tunnels that led beneath the Thames. However, given that the deep sewerage tunnels actually sloped down and got deeper as the distance increased from the river, the outer sections of the waste system lay below the train tunnels.

Some months after completion of the project, the engineer said, word began to reach the Board of Works about strange... things in those deep sewerage tunnels. Some maintenance parties began to report odd sounds, and one was forced to flee a monstrous attacker.

Subsequent investigation revealed that the Fey wives had used Fairie magick to “enhance” the vegetation of the marshes, and had even retrieved plants and animals from within the Veil. As a result, the boundaries between the Earth and the Fairie Veil had grown thin, around the salt marshes of the Thames Estuary.

At certain times of the year, things managed to wriggle through from beyond the Veil. Some of them inevitably found their way into the deep waste tunnels and, equally inevitably, some of them thrived.

As a result, the engineer explained, maintenance parties sent to the deep sewerage system  traveled in sizable groups. If they needed to spend more than about an hour on a maintenance project, the Metropolitan Board of Works requested assistance from the British Army. Local commanders selected “Tommies” on punishment detail to act as armed guards, and deployed them in support of the maintenance crews. For particularly large projects, the Board of Works sometimes requisitioned labor from Newgate Prison, which provided inmates who volunteered to work in exchange for early parole.

The maintenance crews usually completed the work, without incident, the engineer said. Usually. Especially if the maintenance group was a large one. And heavily armed. As for small groups, well, that was a bit more problematic (really). Under the circumstances, he didn't think a street-gang (no matter how violent) would venture down there without good cause, though some particularly nasty beasties carried a lucrative bounty.

Still, given that they'd have to break through the heavy iron defenses, which would then allow the deeper denizens access to the upper tunnels, the engineer said he believed any interlopers would likely restricted their activities to the much safer storm drains.

Given this intelligence, Sir Angus, Herr von Landau and Herr Weiser felt inclined to agree, but requested a map that showed the entire network of tunnels beneath Blue Gate Fields. The engineers readily supplied one, as well as the equipment (including helmets with head-lamps) and uniforms commonly used by workers with the Board of Works. The group also arranged the loan of one of the board's steam-lighters, used to inspect the storm-drain outlets from the river, and made their way to the docks.
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« Reply #196 on: September 22, 2011, 09:42:07 PM »

Dark passages

As the steam-lighter chugged along the north bank of the Thames, toward the banks of Blue Gate Fields, a supervisor with the Board told the investigating party what to expect.  Soon after construction, the Metropolitan Board of Works had discovered trespassers in the system, and found out they'd gained access via the river-bank outlets. So, the board had put heavy iron gratings over them, with locked gates to keep people out. Most access required a master-key, which most supervisors carried with them, which is why he had come along.

For their part, the group pored over the map, and quickly made some rather interesting discoveries. As they had learned, the two different systems followed different routes beneath the neighborhood, with the storm drains generally following the streets, and the sewerage system generally lying beneath the housing blocks. They also noted the map included access points that connected the two systems where they crossed, and that two of those in Blue Gate Fields lay beneath the Sun Tavern and the Blue Anchor Tavern.

Herr von Landau recalled that, when he'd entered the latrine in the Sun Tavern, he'd marked a strong odor of raw sewage, which he'd found odd. The supervisor agreed that was quite unusual, as the system shouldn't have any large, unblocked pipes that led straight into buildings, that way.

The group also noted access points at several other locations, including one near the intersection of Back Road and Sun Tavern Gap, just north of the one beneath the Sun Tavern; several along Commercial Road, north of Blue Gate Fields proper; a couple on Back Road just east of Charles Street; and a large one  up by the Ratcliff Gaslight and Coke Company gas works between Johnson Street and Harding Street, just down the tracks from Shadwell Station.

The supervisor noted that the gas works actually had a spur from the London and  Blackwall Railway to help them move in colliers that provided the coal for the gasification process. Given the volatile mixture of fire and fuel, the city had granted permission to use the lot to the Ratcliff GLC Co., because it lay above a large cistern that helped regulate the flow of runoff during heavy storms. The cistern had large drains that allowed some of the overflow to exit via the deeper human waste system, as well, and that meant the whole area had a lot of readily-accessible water in case of a mishap at the gasification plant. Additionally, the area between Shadwell Station and Hardinge Street had a sizable network of tunnels, for one thing or another, the supervisor noted.

The lighter slowed as it neared the outlet at the Bell Wharf Stairs, and the crewman brought it to a halt and held it steady with a boat-hook. The supervisor leapt up to the shelf that gave access, inserted the key into the locked gate. He grunted with surprise when it refused to turn.

Cursing, the supervisor tried a different key, to no avail, and then bent down to take a closer look. His head jerked back in surprise, and he turned a puzzled face to the investigators. The lock had been changed to one he didn't recognize, the man said, and not a cheap model, either. He'd received no notification of any work to be done on the gate, he said, and had no idea why nobody had given him a master-key that would work in the new lock.

Sir Angus recommended they try different gates, and soon had his suspicions confirmed. Each of the gates that gave access to the storm-drains from the river-bank had different locks that forbade access, even to employees of the Metropolitan Board of Works. The supervisor, clearly disturbed by this discovery, declared that he would report the matter, but the group prevailed upon him to lead them to a manhole north of Blue Gate Fields that would allow them access. He took them to one on Commercial Road, put up the “Men Working” signs around it, and then headed back to the Works offices to report the problem with the gates.

Sir Angus, Herr von Landau, Herr Weiser and Detective-inspector Bloom donned the waders, heavy rubberized macks and helmets of Works labourers, and then cl;ambered down into the storm-drain system. Initially expecting a dark tunnel, the investigators found a gloomy and dank one, instead. The street-drains let in daylight at reasonably frequent intervals and, since the group wasn't actually there to inspect anything, they decided to leave the helmet lamps off unless they needed to check the map.

Within about 30 minutes, the group felt the rumble of the London & Blackwall Railway line beneath them, and realized they'd crossed into Blue Gate Fields. They began to move cautiously, the ripple and splash of the storm-water helping to mask the slosh of their  passage.

Within another 15 minutes, they heard boyish voices from the gloom ahead, and slowed their advance. Sir Angus slipped up to an intersection of drains, lit by a grate above, and saw two adolescent boys on a shelf above the water, playing mumbly-peg with sharp knives. The investigators rushed out of the tunnel and the boys grabbed the knives and held them low, tips angled up, in stances that indicated dangerous experience.

The boys assessed the situation quickly, and one turned to scamper away from the charging men, while the other came in low and fast. However, the experienced Sir Angus quickly knocked him out, and Herr von Landau splashed past in pursuit of the second youth. The Bavarian clouted him soundly, and the second boy splashed into the main channel, his knife disappearing beneath the murky water.

Herr von Landau grabbed an ear and hauled his squalling charge back to the shelf, where the group quickly bound his hands. Herr Weiser pulled out his magickal implements, drew power successfully, felt his spell of Mental Command execute without difficulty, and aware that it had apparently picked up beneficial harmonics.

The results were profound. The cursing youth, his lips twisted in hate, suddenly transformed into a frightened boy. He began to cry and ask for his mum, and willingly complied when Herr Weiser commanded him to answer questions truthfully.

The boy said he and his companion, as well as several dozen other youths of similar age, worked as watch-dogs and messengers in the storm-drains beneath the streets of Blue Gate Fields. They reported any interlopers, and carried any messages dropped to them through the storm grating. Recruited by the Blue Gate Dogs at ages nine and ten, respectively, they'd spent weeks learning the drain-system while blindfolded, and could navigate them quickly and quietly, even in the blackness of the tunnels at night.

The boy said the Blue Gate Dogs had taken his mum away and he'd never seen her, again. Herr Weiser learned they'd toughened him up, taught him to fight, taught him to navigate the tunnels, kept him angry and frightened all the time, and fed him more than he'd ever had to eat in his life. They'd told him when he was bigger and stronger, they'd put him on the streets, instead of beneath them, and he'd become a shiv or knobbler – a warrior for the gang. It was the best future he could imagine, but deep down, he'd missed his mum terribly and could never, ever say so to anyone.

With that, Herr Weiser gave Sir Angus a nod, and the detective choked the boy out. The sorceror cast his spell of forgetfulness, and the trio untied the watch-dogs. They left the boys lying on the shelf as they quickly and quietly moved past.

About 10  minutes later, they once again heard voices ahead and, checking the map in the light from a storm-grate, realized they approached a larger intersection at Back Road and Sutton Street East, where two major drains came together. The slipped up quietly, once again, and peered into a larger chamber crossed by the Back Road Drain. That wide tunnel apparently had a deep enough channel that a small flat-boat could navigate it, and one bobbed at the east end of the chamber. It was tied to a iron peg stuck into a shelf similar to the one upon which they'd found the boys, and guarded by two of the lean and dangerous Blue Gate Dogs.

Another pair of Dogs stood on another ledge across the channel, along with two of the younger watch-dog/messenger boys. As Sir Angus watched, one of the larger fighters hit one of the younger boys hard enough to knock him flat. The child grunted, but made no other sound as he sprawled on the slimy stone ledge. The man who hit him watched a moment, nodded in approval, and then his partner did the same with the other boy. That boy, too, fell hard, but he also made no other sound.

As the group peered from the gloom, they saw each of Dogs inflict several more blows, including a couple to the faces of the boys. At no point did the children cry or show any indication of pain. As the investigators withdrew, they heard the Dogs laud the boys for their toughness and strength, and hand them several shillings each to buy food, beer and small luxuries.

The investigators quietly moved away from the scene, and backtracked to another cross-tunnel. They worked their way around the intersection, entered the Brook Street drain to the east, and worked their way to the dry side tunnel where Blue Anchor Alley entered from the south.
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« Reply #197 on: September 22, 2011, 09:50:30 PM »

Glyphs in the Gloom

The quartet checked the dark entry-way carefully, and then started to enter. Suddenly, Herr Weiser hissed a warning, and the group froze in place. The Bavarian sorcerer inched forward, and began to inspect walls to the left and right of the entrance to the dry storm drain. He pulled out a lighter to get a closer look at something, and then beckoned the others to see for themselves.

It looked as if someone had carved a thin line of symbols, in the shape of Egyptian hieroglyphs, at one point along the wall. Herr Weiser indicated a second set on the wall opposite, and then two more sets on the ceiling and floor of the tunnel. He told the group that someone, a fellow sorcerer, had raised a lesser ward, probably around the perimeter of the entire block, to warn of any intrusion.

After a quick consultation, the group decided that Herr Weiser should try to dismantle the  ward, without triggering it. They backed away as the Bavarian mage entered a trance, and began to examine the glyphs in detail. After about 10 minutes, he uttered a quiet word of satisfaction, pulled out a notebook, and meticulously copied out one set of glyphs. He then began to speak quietly, and the group watched as he carefully rubbed out that section. What had seemed to be glyphs carved into the brick of the storm-drain walls disappeared beneath his rubbing fingers, to leave the masonry unmarred. Once he completed the task, Herr Weiser entered the drain tunnel beneath Blue Anchor Alley.

The rest of the group followed on his heels, and made their way carefully south until they estimated they'd reached the floor beneath the entrance of the tavern, above. According to their maps, the establishment had not existed at the time of the construction of the drain system, so it ran beneath the floor.

To the left, where the map indicated a connecting shaft should lead down to the deeper waste system, the group saw someone had built a heavy wooden portal, reinforced with iron bands, in place of an iron grate. Whomever had done so had put a heavy bolt on the side upon which they found themselves, to prevent entry from below. In the ceiling above, they saw another such door, which apparently led into the tavern, itself. They saw no bolt and deduced it was secured from inside.

After a quick discussion, the group realized they had neglected to plan for this contingency, and none possessed the mechanical skills needed to jimmy the bolt on the door into the tavern. Herr von Landau decided to confirm that the portal in the wall led nowhere but down, and he carefully drew back the heavy bolt and cracked it open. The damp stench of raw sewage wafted out, and the men quickly covered their mouths and noses with handkerchiefs.

Sir Angus leaned in to take a closer look, and saw a three-foot square shaft leading down into darkness, with a ladder of heavy iron rungs fastened to the far wall. Careful examination of the rungs told him it had been used in the past week, by a small group of people who wore gloves and heavy boots. He glanced upward and saw narrow drain-pipes leading in from the sides, but no portal into the tavern latrine. After a quick discussion, the group realized they didn't want to leave the portal open behind them to indicate their presence below (or allow something to crawl up to the storm system, behind them), and they lacked the means to rig a way to draw the bolt from within.

So, they closed and rebolted the portal, and resolved to return with someone of the appropriate skills. In the meantime, they needed to plan the visit with Vinnie the Boater, and Herr Weiser wanted to consult the library at his chapterhouse to see if he could decipher the hieroglyphs he'd copied.
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« Reply #198 on: September 22, 2011, 09:54:06 PM »

Wheeling and dealing

The group backtracked to the large tunnel beneath Commercial Road East, and exited the storm-drain system and collected the “Men Working” signs. They tossed everything into the back of the borrowed lorry from the Board of Works, and made their way back to the West End. There, they went their separate ways, to bathe and consider their next moves. At Herr Weiser's suggestion, they agreed to meet later to discuss any findings from his research.

The group gathered together again for afternoon tea, and Herr Weiser presented the glyphs he'd copied from the storm-drain walls. He'd apparently done so accurately, he reported, because he'd found them in the reference materials in the chapterhouse library:

*Hieroglyphs*

The symbols referred to a lesser-known Egyptian deity known as “Maahes,” a god of war and protection, known as the “Leonine Lord of Slaughter.” Favored more by members of the ancient Egyptian military caste, as opposed to the pharaohs, the library in the local chapterhouse of his order had little in the way of detail about the god, his priests, or the rituals associated with him. However, the casting sorcerer clearly considered Maahes quite important, as he (or she) had used it as a name of power in the ritual to raise the ward. Herr Weiser said he thought more research might prove productive, but had to give some thought as to how best to continue.

With that, the group broke up and devoted the next several days to more mundane pursuits, such as research (Herr Weiser), writing (Sir Angus) and final arrangements for a small vessel to dock at Shadwell New Basin (Herr von Landau).
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« Reply #199 on: September 22, 2011, 10:04:53 PM »

A friendly conversation

Two days later, the group and Detective-Inspector Bloom found themselves aboard an older schooner that ran mixed cargoes from England to the Inner Sea, and around to various Mediterranean ports for the von Landau family. A tug towed it into Shadwell New Basin, where it tied up at a pre-arranged pier. The group looked ashore, and saw the fence, Vincent Boater, waiting in a carriage, with about a half-dozen toughs standing around.

Herr von Landau debarked as soon as the gang-plank went down, and the carriage door opened to disgorge Boater and his clark, Williams. A pair of burly longshoremen accompanied the pair to the deck, at which point a bosun smoothly intercepted them to discuss lading and stowage. After a brief pause, the fence and clark shrugged and accompanied the Bavarian to the cabin, followed by an apparently amiable Sir Angus.

The amiability continued even after the pair entered the cabin, and saw Herr Weiser's portable altar, with chalice, wand and athame at the ready, the Bavarian sorceror's pentacle amulet prominently displayed on his chest. The faces of Mr. Boater and Mr. Williams paled, they turned hurriedly to leave and drew up short as Sir Angus amiably waved his quietly-unholstered .455 Webley revolver to indicate they should sit at the cabin's small table. Detective-Inspector Bloom politely pulled out the chairs for them.

The unnerved pair seated themselves, as Herr von Landau explained that no harm would come to them, but they'd spend the next little while in a magickal interrogation. With that, Herr Weiser started his ritual casting, as Detective-Inspector Bloom tried to squeeze himself into the furthest corner of the small cabin.

However, the ritual went well and Herr Weiser once again sensed that helpful harmonics accompanied the thaumick energy raised. He released the spell on cue, and everyone in the cabin suddenly felt a strong sense of comfort and well-being. The terror drained from the face of Vinnie the Boater as his shoulders suddenly relaxed as if the weight of the world had lifted from them. Upon Herr Weiser's command to answer any question asked of him, the long-time fence began to chatter, and sipped willingly at the glass of port poured by Herr von Landau.

Mr. Boater readily acknowledged his years as a fence and said he'd been approached late in the previous summer by the head of the Blue Gate Dogs. The fence had previous dealings with the Dogs, who operated in one of the poorest, most destitute neighborhoods of London. He'd listened with considerable skepticism as the gang-leader, Alfie Tarling, claimed his “boyos” would soon need to fence a substantially greater quantity of goods.

As such, the cynical fence said he'd been astonished when the words of Tarling, who now called himself “Jackal,” proved prophetic. The Blue Gate Dogs started to bring in much more swag, most of which consisted of the sort of quality merchandise normally lifted as smash-and-grab thefts in Whitechapel, rather than the sort of buzzing (rolling of drunks) and cly-faking that normally took place in Blue Gate Fields.

Soon, the fence said, he started to see more and more silk handkerchiefs, flash jackets, sliver watch-fobs and other merchandise normally associated with bludging – including a fair amount increasingly stained with blood. At the same time, he heard that the Blue Gate Dogs had begun to engage in more violent activities.

Moreover, he'd noticed that, rather than blow their “earnings” on gin, opium and dollymops, as they'd done in the past, more and more of the Dogs began to eat well, wash more frequently, acquire sturdy boots and warm coats, and equip themselves with tools and weapons of improved quality, which they used with ever-more enthusiasm. He'd found this radical departure from the street-gang norm rather unnerving, the fence declared, and began to question the wisdom of the continued business relationship.

Eventually, Boater said, he'd told Jackal that should the gang's violence continue to intensify, it would bring the coppers down on all of them. To his dismay, the Jackal had laughed aloud at the notion, and informed the fence (in no uncertain terms) that he would continue to handle the gang's proceeds. When Boater objected, the Jackal had replied that the fence now had the choice between an increasingly-prosperous life, or a very short one.

With that, Mr. Boater said he'd realized his predicament and chose to play along as best he could, since he seemed to have no other choice. During the months since, he'd come to realize that Jackal was aptly named, deadly-serious about his threats, and not alone. Apparently, he'd joined forces with a mysterious stranger of deadly intent, who'd taken the Blue Gate Dogs in hand and transformed them from a gang of wasted youths into a deadly menace.

Moreover, Mr. Boater said, this mysterious stranger, whom the Jackal had referred to as “The Lion,” had extended his reach beyond just the street gang. He'd used the same sort of “prosperity or death” message (backed by the Blue Gate Dogs, grown skilled in the arts of mayhem), to recruit as his lieutenants most of the neighborhood's criminal leaders. To each of them the Lion had assigned a moniker, now commonly used by the gang-members. Boater said he now served as one of those lieutenants, and had the nickname, “Birdie.”

Paul LeMat, proprietor of the Sun Tavern and source of most of the opium in the slum, bore the name, “Muddy.” The man was probably one of the Lion's most loyal lieutenants, Boater reported, as the mysterious leader had sent the Dogs against the Chinese in Limehouse. That pleased LeMat immensely, as competition by the Celestials had begun to seriously impinge upon LeMat's opium concerns.

Carl Mooney, the owner of the Blue Anchor, received the nickname, “Moon.” With the help of his large Lascar assistant, Guptan, Moon had his fingers in much of the outbound smuggling traffic, and he and Mr. Boater had a “professional relationship” that went back years. Moon now worked as a “fixer” who used Boater's contacts to arrange for the speedy disposal of hot loot.

Late the previous year, Mr. Boater said he'd learned that the Lion had  recruited the head of Madame of the largest brothel on Glasshouse Lane, Catherine Phelps. Granted the name, “Kitty,” within the organization, her position caused some of the Dogs to murmur resentfully about the ascension of a “cheap whore” to a place of prominence, especially since she specialized in breaking the pride and will of the girls who worked at her “House.” In so doing, “Kitty” destroyed their self-images to such an extent that the girls willingly did anything asked of them, by any client.

However, the complaints had come to a sudden halt a few months ago, when she'd managed to get her hooks into the most recent lieutenant, who went by the name of “Beetle.” Nobody knew “Beetle's” real name, Mr. Boater said, because he apparently held a position of some prominence in the local constabulary. He was a copper, and not just a street bobbie, either.

Apparently, he'd become infatuated with one of “Kitty's” girls, and Phelps had delivered him to the Lion on a silver platter. Beetle had been feeding the Lion information about police activities within Blue Gate Fields, ever since.

With this revelation, Detective-Inspector Bloom's face grew pale, and then flushed red. He sat down heavily, and quietly admitted he'd begun to suspect something of the sort, in the past few months. At first, he simply hadn't wanted to believe that any of his men would betray the force, in such a way.

However, after every effort to initiate a new avenue of investigation had run into the same brick wall, Bloom said he felt he had no choice but to call in independent outsiders. While his judgment had proven sound, the confirmation of corruption gave him no satisfaction.

The interrogators asked a few more questions of the fence, to fill in the details, but soon decided they'd heard enough. Also, more than an hour of spell-driven amicability had passed, and Sir Angus, Herr von Landau and Herr Weiser decided they'd pushed their luck as much as they could. With that, the sorcerer successfully cast his second ritual to wipe the memories of both Mr. Boater and Williams, dropped his tools into a handy bag,  threw a table-cloth over the alter, and sat down next to it with a glass of port.

Within a minute or so, Mr. Boater and Williams came to themselves again, in the cabin with a couple of empty bottles of port, a warm glow inside, and (as a result of the harmonics of the first spell) the sense that Herr von Landau and his companions were "capital chaps" with whom they could do business. As they did so, Herr von Landau refilled their glasses and smoothly shifted to what seemed to be an ongoing discussion of cargoes and trade routes and shipping schedules.

The conversation continued a few minutes more, at which point Mr. Boater thought to check his pocket-watch and squawked at the passage of time. The two men blinked in confusion, firmly pushed the glasses of port aside, checked that the money was safe, and took their leave.

Up on the deck, they found that the dock workers and crew had completed loading the cloth and had nearly finished with the wine casks, as well. The two men staggered down the gang-plank to the waiting (and rather annoyed) driver, who bundled them into the coach and clattered away.

The investigators returned to the cabin to discuss their next move. They concluded that uncovering the mole in Scotland Yard's task force had to take top priority. A visit to the establishment of Madame Phelps seemed in order.
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« Reply #200 on: September 22, 2011, 10:17:16 PM »

Session Quotes:

(Brian, who plays Sir Angus, and Christopher, who plays Herr Johann von Landau, have proven the core members of the campaign, and were joined this time by Lex, who played Herr Heinrich Weiser, once again. As always, quotes attributed to the character were said in-game, while those with the names of the players were said OOC.)

Sir Angus (to Herr von Landau): We could try to talk our way in as thieves, but you wouldn't know anything about that. You're a legitimate businessman.

Brian: It's not really, “shooting a kid in the back.” It's “disabling the alarm system.”

Brian (about the shaft to the deep sewer): So, do we want to go down there?
Lex: Well, “want” to go down is a pretty strong term....

Brian: I had a good story idea. You have a shipping company to run. What are we doing chasing around in the sewer?
Christopher: Adventuring is in the blood!

Brian (upon learning the “noms de guerre” of the crime leaders): So, what we need to do, here, is go to the zoo....
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« Reply #201 on: September 22, 2011, 10:20:01 PM »

Woot! Finally done!

Take a look, everybody. I'll make any changes needed, in the next two days, and I'll post this to the main forum, on Sunday.

Also, I've tentatively reserved Sunday, Oct. 9, for the next session. Empire of Ashes is Oct. 2.
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« Reply #202 on: December 17, 2014, 07:10:30 AM »

While the price isn't something I can justify at the moment, there's actually a Landau carriage miniature on the market now, perfect for Herr von Landau, Jack Lowe (or Jack Lo ... is he British or Asian?), and company.

It's actually Napoleon's landau carriage which was captured at Waterloo!



http://us-store.warlordgames.com/collections/gifts/products/napoleon-s-berlin-carriage
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tshiggins
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« Reply #203 on: December 17, 2014, 07:14:11 AM »

That's just about perfect. You just need two identical footmen, in addition to Jack Lowe, the driver.  Cool

(And, I always envisioned him as a hulking brute of an East London native.)
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"Our problem is, our plans never survive contact with US!" -Christopher Denny, veteran gamer, incorrigible punster.
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