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  1. Leaving is such sweet sorrow We discusses what to do next and after a while a list of sorts is agreed on, first things first we needed to get Inky Pete out of Cow Hill Asylum and get him working on translating that Greek book as we really needed to find out what was contained in that Grimoire . So off we went back to that grim and decaying building which held the mentally ill of Norfolk. We managed to get Inky Pete out but it took mix of persuasion, bare-faced lying and when those failed a huge amount of cash as Bob the orderly double crossed us and even Dr Alan Melrose the asylums administrator demanded a "Donation" So after a large financial outlay a much healed Inky was free but strangely enough the ungrateful swine was still somewhat annoyed with us and didn't want to help us so it was up to the Doctor to persuade him which he managed by appealing to Pete's Parliamentary loyalty and the fact that it would be unfortunate if he was mistaken for say a Royalist spy. Pete was further mollified when he realised his destination was the Nelson mansion and that he could help himself to all that the mansion had to offer including its well stocked cellar. So with Inky Pete safely ensconced in the mansions library and already working on translating the grimoire we moved onto number two on the list the meeting with Doctor Browne. The Party decided that the meeting was important enough for a wash and brush up and the maids had a hell of a time getting all the mud, blood and demon ichor out of various items of clothing they even found enough wood god bless them to heat up several cauldrons of water which were used to fill the large wooden bathing tub (But only once!) The Party was well rested and for a change relatively clean so they wrapped up warmly and headed out into the snow-covered streets of Norwich heading for Denmark Street and the house of Browne. The journey to Dr Browne's was relatively uneventful most of the refugees staying away from such an obviously well armed group. We reached Denmark street and finally saw Browne's house, it was set slightly back from the street and surrounded by a solid stone wall which formed a small courtyard at the front and rear even though the wrought iron gates were open a squad of troopers stood guard nearby. The Party slowed and became slightly hesitant especially certain members who had recently been guests at the castle. Two troopers marched forward covered by the remaining troops who had levelled their muskets at us. The troopers who approached demanded to know what our businesses was after a brief pause and some painful nudging the Doctor stepped forward and stated that they were here to see Doctor Browne on a medical matter, the Doctor also mentioned that it was Guild business and handed over some official looking paperwork. The trooper seemed slightly worried and unsure what to do as this didn't seem to be how things normally worked out so he asked us to wait as he went to get someone of a higher pay grade. After a slightly worrying delay as the Party shuffled around in the cold under the muskets of the remaining guards a Sergeant finally came out led by the trooper the Sergeant was about to say something when the Doctor interrupted him "Is that you sergeant Craig? why Pon my soul it is I haven't seen you since Naseby, how is the leg? I nearly lost you twice on that table you know. It's good to see you up and about and still serving I see" This flummoxed the sergeant somewhat but he recovered quickly "Why its good to see you Doctor Thomas I didn't know you had arrived back home if I had you can be sure I would have called around with the family, but that will have to wait I'm afraid as duty is always first and foremost. Now you say you need to see Dr Browne about an urgent medical matter?" "Yes I know we haven't an appointment and Dr Browne is a very busy man but yes its an urgent matter" Sergeant Craig tugged at his whiskers "Huh normally I would say no and you would have to make an appointment with one of the clerks up at the castle but since it's you......come on then let's see if the Dr is up." The Party are allowed through but they notice that they are still closely escorted and as they enter the impressive hallway they are relieved of any weaponry this takes some time in the case of certain party members. With a final pat down we are finally led into a study and into the presence of Dr Browne himself. Dr Browne was a healthy fellow smartly if soberly dressed and he appeared to be in his early forties he greeted the Party warmly his hand outstretched to shake ours but his brown eyes seemed to suggest a hidden melancholy. "Welcome, welcome you seem to have managed to get past Cerberus here which is no mean feat" he said smiling towards the somewhat embarrassed looking Sergeant. After introductions had been made he bids us to take a seat and explain the purpose of our visit. The Doctor is again pushed forward and he explains that they have a book that whilst in cipher could contain vital information that could help in an urgent medical matter and since we know he is a very learned man and with an interest in puzzles we hoped he could help. Dr Browne asks to see the book and after its handed over to him he glances at the small unadorned book briefly then looks up "I'm afraid gentlemen I will not be able to give this book the attention it deserves but don't look too downhearted I will pass it onto one of my clerks and they will no doubt be able to crack the cipher in no time." This presented a bit of a problem for us and after a pregnant pause the Doctor takes a leap of faith and says "Ah that is a shame my lord as we believe it may contain information about the treatment of alchemical injuries but very well we thank you for your help in this matter, we know you are a very busy man" At the mention of alchemy a change comes over him he leans forward and asks "Alchemical you say? Well in that case maybe I could find the time, leave the book with me for now and can you be contacted at your family home?" The Doctor much relieved replies yes. The Party are hustled out and are escorted to a low building at the back of the property. They had been told that their weapons and equipment had been stored there, the Sergeant chatting happily away with Saul and the Doctor reliving the more happy type of war stories it seems he had even heard of Uncle Norton's petting zoo. As the Party entered the building the troopers who were laying in wait slammed the doors closed behind them and then leapt onto them. Fists flew and kicks landed but the Party were outnumbered and they were soon thrown into two cells. Sergeant Craig looked sheepishly into the Doctors cell "Sorry Sir but we have our orders, Zeal wants a word with you all and I daren't refuse him.........look I can get you a hot meal later so just wait okay Browne's not a bad sort and he will have you out in no time I'm sure" The wait was not too long as Zeal and the other Proctors arrived, Zeal a fierce look upon his narrow face began to question us again it became obvious that he still believed that we were Royalist spies.The Craigh/Saul interrogation was particularly nasty as Saul was most aggrieved by Zeal's foul slanders and it almost ended in blows. We spend three days in those cells and apart from the lengthy interrogations it was quite pleasant it was warm, dry and no one was shooting at us for a change also Sergeant Craig was good to his word and provided more than passable meals instead of the gruel we were expecting. On the morning of the fourth day we were dragged out and after having a cold bucket of water thrown over us we were led back into the house. We were taken into a larger room where a large table took up one end and seated around it were various civil worthies from Councillors to Guild masters. Sat at the middle was Browne, Zeal and looking weak but determined Sir Henry Ireton himself. The Party are lined up in front of this august group and then the questioning began again everything from Mallebeench to Norton was questioned and discussed there was a worried air in the room and weirdly it was coming from some of those sat behind the table and not the slightly soggy men arranged before them. After awhile even Inky Pete was brought in to hand over the Greek book and he too had to answer some questions. Finally Ireton called the meeting to order as it seemed he had almost reached a decision.In a firm strong voice he said,"I've listened to many people today and read many reports over the last three all of which concerns you Gentleman. Some people believe you have served Parliament well after stumbling into a mortal threat, whilst others believe you are Royalist spies or worse who have been sent here to spread enemy propaganda, poison and to offer aid to the man known as Mallebench I believe its time I heard from your lips what you believe is going on and not just your replies to questions and more importantly what you believe your part in all this is. I recommend that you think very carefully about what you are about to say as you are still very much under the shadow of the gallows" One by one the Party explain their actions and what they had accomplished and by silent agreement all of them kept it to the mundane there was no mention of Pale Goddess, Rabbit men or especially *no mention was made of demons made of corpses*.The great and the good listened mostly in silence only occasionally would one would ask for some clarification on a point. After we had finished we were led out into the hallway to await Ireton's judgement. An hour or so passed and finally we were led back into the room which only contained a few people now mainly N.M.A and clerks. Ireton was seemingly in a heated discussion with Zeal but when he noticed we had been brought in he firmly said "Enough Zeal this discussion is at an end you have your orders" whatever the discussion was it was obvious that it had not gone the way Zeal had hoped for Ireton stood shakily up and said "Gentleman we have discussed all that you have told us and compared it to what we all ready knew, the books you have provided have been examined as well as the various buildings and tunnels that you mentioned including the tunnels under the ruined church in Tinker town. Speaking of which we discovered much of interest in those tunnels including demonic creatures which were finally banished at a terrible cost and a chamber filled with damaged Roman urns we believe that Mallebeench was looking for these urns and after taking the ones he wanted tried to destroy those he had to leave behind. We believe he did this to disguise that he had removed some. At the moment we have no idea what these urns may have contained but we have sent to Cambridge for assistance though they may prove reluctant to give it. Now whilst others believe we should place you before the nearest wall and shoot you as Royalist spies or worse......... I on the other hand believe you to have proven your loyalty to the cause if in a somewhat misguided way and so to be of some use yet. And that brings me to your fate, we are hearing worrying reports coming out of Great Yarmouth you may have been aware that the town suffered greatly in the recent storms but now we hear that the harbour and much of the town is frozen over and most disconcertingly it seems that a new landmass has been thrown up from the seas floor causing more flooding and destruction interestingly we also believe that Mallebeench has fled towards Yarmouth and we do not think this is a coincidence" pausing to drink something handed to him by Dr Browne he continued " I task you to continue your hunt for Mallebeench, that you find him and end his plans whatever they may prove to be, but this time you will be working under Parliamentarian control which brings me to your new commanding officer Zeal for the lord Harrison" Zeal stands up and bows slightly to Ireton and gives the Party a strangely sinister smile he then addresses the slightly shocked Party "I look forward to commanding you gentleman and seeing how truly loyal you are" he then returns to his seat still smiling oddly. Ireton coughs "You could of course refuse to serve your country and your god but that will of course lend credence to the theory that you may be indeed enemies and that we would be best served by executing you before you can get up to any more mischief. So gentleman do you accept this singular honour, will you work for the Clockwork underground bureau?" The Party somewhat unsteadily mutter their willingness to do so but with a somewhat mixed enthusiasm. Saul takes a step forward "My Lord Ireton I of course accept this task, I am a loyal soldier to the Parliamentarian cause as I have always been. I had hoped my previous service would have shown you that and that instead of all this suspicion and coercion you could have just asked me to serve once more" "Unfortunately Sir trust is in short supply during these strange days and we had to be sure that the men picked for this important task were men not only blessed with a strong faith but that they were also capable enough to see this task through to the bitter end no matter what they meet, Mallebeench must be stopped for the good of all" There was some more discussion afterwards but the audience was clearly over the Party were taken to some less cell like chambers where they found all the equipment laid up even the items that they had left at Nutleys. Their weapons had been sharpened and oiled and those who had apostles and horns found them full of shot and powder. Doctor Thomas was delighted to see that even his spare clothes had been washed and repaired, his hat was again a thing of wondrous awe. "Well it seems there are some benefits to being back in the army" whispered the Doctor as he placed his hat upon his head "We have been through much you and I" as he adjusted it to fit snugly over his hair. The others were also inspecting their equipment and in the case of Guilio and Craigh they checked over their clockwork arms and began the laborious task of winding the various attachments up. After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast of porridge the Party assembled in the courtyard soon to be joined by some slightly sinister Troopers one of which carried the personal banner of Zeal for the lord Harrison. They were well armed with muskets, pistols and swords there also seemed to be more equipment and supplies contained in the carts behind them soon Dr Browne and Zeal appeared and again they were deep into a hushed conversation which ended as they drew near. "Good morning gentleman your papers of service and of passage are in the safe hands of Harrison just as a precaution and guarantor of your continued loyal service you understand" Browne explained "Now you know what you must do, Find out what is happening in Yarmouth and send word back to us here so we can decide what resources will need to be redeployed, discover what Mallebeench is up to and stop him and finally what does this new island have to do with everything" looking up at the grey clouds forming above the ever-present haze of smoke he finishes "Zeal for the lord Harrison will give you support if he deems it necessary and you should listen to his suggestions he is in command of the soldiers not you, so I wish you well with your labours......now be off with you whilst you still have the weather on your side" and with a final warm wave Dr Browne leaves us with Zeal and the long journey to Great Yarmouth . Leaving Norwich was a lot easier than expected it's amazing what a heavily armed group of soldiers can deter especially this particular group as it seems they carried a fearful reputation before them. Initial progress was good the road cleared by the tramp of hundreds of refugees who had headed for the dubious safety of Norwich as the Blight and floods spread occasionally we had to use the frozen river to bypass certain areas where trees or flooding had blocked or swept away the road but all in all it was a pleasant journey it was still cold but we were wrapped up well and the threatened rain had yet to appear.  We started to meet more and more people on the roads all of them looking fearful and harried we didn't think much of it at first as we had already met plenty of refugees making their sorrowful way to Norwich but this lot soon appeared to be different they appeared more soot stained than normal and more than a few of them seemed to be carrying injuries of various sorts. Zeal a cold look upon his face kept the column moving though the peasants quickly moving to the ditches which ran along the side of the road to avoid our passing. We saw thick black smoke on the horizon and soon discovered the source, a hamlet with a few if its houses well ablaze and on the village green a rough gallows had been thrown up a man dressed in the apparel of a Witch finder stood preaching to a small crowd as three women were led to the gallows by six roughly dressed men. Zeal ordered the column to stop he then ordered the Party and four soldiers to go with him into the hamlet of Badgers drift whilst the rest of the soldiers were left to guard the wagons.Zeal rode into Badgers drift and reigned up before the Witch finder his men close behind.The Witch finders sermon trailed of in the suddenly odd quiet and turned to look up into a horses nostrils he then stepped back and was able to look up to Zeal. Zeal looking straight ahead asked "What are you and your men doing here?" "My lord I am doing Gods work there my men and I have come here to this Gods forsaken place to investigate rumours of witchcraft. And as you see the rumours were true these women have sacrificed a pregnant woman in trying to bring forth the demon she was carrying" Zeal at last looks down "Really and what proof do you have?" We caught them red-handed my Lord the blood you see upon them is not from the pricking but from the woman they killed" Saul then approached after talking to the accused "Sir before you make a judgement may I ask if the Doctor look at the deceased first just to be sure" There was a pause and then Zeal nods "Yes we must be sure that devilry was involved especially given our current task, you don't mind do you?" This last remark was directed at the Witch finder. The Witch finder didn't look to happy but didn't stop the Doctor and Craigh from heading to one if the hovels. The two came across a sad scene a woman lay dead in the front room a large pool of blood on the floor under her waist whilst a man knelt sobbing clutching a bloody bundle to his chest. Between them Craigh and the Doctor managed to piece things together the man was the dead woman's husband and the bloody child was his. The child was examined and appeared to bear no signs of the daemonic it was just so very small. It appears the woman was not due for another three months and the so-called witches were just neighbours trying to help one was known as a midwife which didn't make the Doctor happy but it was not enough of a reason to hang her. The others outside were still questioning the Witch finder as Saul had grown more suspicious after spying several wagons loaded down with what looked like loot and plunder Saul demanded that he hand over his warrants.The Witch finder appeared to lose his patience or maybe he had run out of lies as he went to pull something out of his doublet whilst saying "Look here is my authority, all the authority I need" Saul already suspecting treachery already had his hands resting on his pistols grips and as soon as the Witch finder moved he also pulled out his pistols. Shots were exchanged the Witch finder was hit but so was Saul his breastplate absorbing some of the blow. Even the slightly shocked Zeal pulled out his pistol and fired at the Witch finder but fumbled it the shot striking the gallows much to the concern of the accused stood close by. A whirling combat broke out as Ralph and Craigh rushed forward to back up Saul but they ran into some of the Witch finders men who seemed to have had a similar idea. The mêlée was brutal the henchmen coming off worst as again the Party ended up being covered in gore again Ralph carving a red ruin through anyone foolish enough to approach him. The four soldiers moved to protect Zeal their muskets levelled at anybody who came close. The Doctor meanwhile after awkwardly patting the mourning husband on the back as he handed back the crying child and fast walked (It was icy after all) back towards the main body of soldiers to see if he could get them to help. The Witch finder seeing how things were likely to end ran towards his horse and after avoiding the numerous shots aimed at him managed to mount and began to canter away. Saul calmly took out his last pistol and took aim at the horse he took a breath and fired striking the horse in the flank causing it to stagger and slow. Zeal somewhat panicked ordered the four soldiers to move up and arrest the henchmen by the wagons. Most of them raise their hands but one decides to make a run for it, he doesn't get far as Craigh shoots him in the leg. Ralph meanwhile takes a minor cut to the chest before dispatching his opponent with his return blow he then pulled out one of his hatchets spat at it and threw it at the Witch finder. It sailed straight and true but the since the horse staggered the hatchet ended up missing flying off into the nearby undergrowth. He curses and faces off against another henchman this one wounded but still armed with a dagger. Saul out of pistols unslings his musket fires and hit the Witch finder in the leg causing him to lose control of the already injured horse. He is quickly dragged back to face Zeal's judgement. When the henchman fighting Ralph saw this he turned and starting running Ralph grinned "Oh no you fecking don't" and with a flip threw his hatchet into the back of the mans head, dropping him to the floor he pulled his last hatchet out from his belt and attempted to finish him off but missed the hatchet hitting some plunder that the henchman had stuffed under his jacket the shock causing Ralph to drop the hatchet. "No this won't do" complained Ralph as he shook his hand and he reached down to pull out his previous hatchet which was still stuck in the mans head causing him to cry out. "Here let me ease your pain" and with that Ralph brought the hatchet back down this time striking true. By the time he had collected his hatchets and made his way back to the hamlets green the others had strung up the false Witch finder and were watching him turn an interesting shade of purple whilst voiding his bowels. We leave the Party preparing to head back onto the road to Yarmouth and their date with a frozen island.
  2. Thanks for the reply its helped to clear things up, its s till an awesome option and now feels more in keeping with the weapons and style of the setting if now a little less too handy tactically.
  3. Thank you, that does help a lot I had missed the 100+ skill entry. It hasn't been a problem yet it just seemed a little vague and I didn't want to have any potential arguments about it later.
  4. Any ideas on this guys?
  5. Just a quick one, during an All out Attack can you split the attack? for example if the player is holding a dagger in one hand whilst the other holds his sword could he stab N.P.C 1 with the dagger whilst slashing N.P.C 2 with the sword? The description says its a frenzied attack so I'm thinking its both attacks on one target but just to make sure. Many thanks
  6. The Moppet Show The party decide to briefly return to the nearby house of Nutley to wash up and get a bite to eat before confronting Dr Browne as they realised that turning up at his house covered in gore and demon ichor whilst dragging a half eaten corpse might make Dr Browne jump to the wrong conclusion. So a fire was lit and water boiled and the party began to do some intense laundry. So as the suds began to fly the Doctor meanwhile was answering some intense questions posed by Lesley Smeton the Norton family lawyer as he gathered details in preparation of trying to get a bond of release for the Norton's as it seems that Thomas's father had also been arrested and the lawyer revealed that he feared for Mr Norton's sanity as he was thinking of admitting to being a Satanist which as a long time family friend he knew was plainly insane he added that he thought Nelson was being blackmailed by someone into making this false confession. Thomas agreed and told Leslie that he believed he knew who was pressuring his Father and after further discussion the lawyer said he would arrange another meeting with Nelson and pass on his sons concerns and convince him to remain quiet. The lawyer soon left and worked his magic on Zeal for the lord and managed to get both the Norton's out on bond, there were some restrictions placed onto them though the main one being that they could not go anywhere near the Iron works as it was now under military control. The meeting of the Norton menfolk was brief and bittersweet, Nelson admitted to his son that Mallebench was blackmailing him making him confess to being a Satanist or he would harm Mother in some way and with a shudder he said "Son the man is evil, a sorcerer and he has Mother under his control" Thomas hugged his Father and whispered "I believe you that's why I need you to not confess, we are close to ending this we just need a little more time" his Father broke the hug and looked at his son strangely but with something like hope in his eyes. During the carriage ride back to Nelson mansion there were several hushed conversations and whilst not all were smooth an agreement was reached. The last revelation was that Nelson had given a large share of the families ready finances to Katrina and Jane as they had convinced him that the family had a responsibility to the villagers at Keswick and that he should finance their relief mission, Thomas was not too happy to hear this as he believed that the family needed all the money they could get that hands on to fight any legal challenges that Zeal might attempt. So as the carriage pulled away from Nelson mansion it was agreed that Nelson would delay for as long as he could, a Puritan versed in exorcism would be discreetly sent for and that Mother would be locked into her room for her own safety.....of course. Thomas left leaving his Father to make the arrangements and headed back to Nutleys in an attempt to find the others. After making his way through the narrow snow filled streets averting his eyes from the occasional small snow covered figures which lay across the street every few paces. He also avoided the pleading look of the many starving refugees who looked up from the few pitiful fires they had to warm themselves with. He reaches the house and after entering it finds cousin Ralph stripped to the waist, luckily it was the top half that was missing as he stood in a wooden tub trying to wash demon ichor out of his hair. Cousin Ralph fills in Thomas with the events that took place in the tunnels under the ruined church but Thomas did have to shake him from time to time as Ralph would start to repeat over and over again "The slurping the terrible slurping" every so often. Meeting up with the others and sitting down together for a late lunch it was discovered that the book which detailed the Moppet spell was no longer in our possession as it had been left with Rimehart. So after finishing off the last of the cheese and crackers it was off to Rimeharts to recover the accursed book. The snow was still falling but luckily the wind had dropped somewhat so they made pretty good time possibly due to fact that soldiers were now out in force by this time and they were keeping the main streets clear, the sound of a gun shot in the distance could be heard occasionally in the distance It seemed if Zeal was starting to stamp his authority onto Norwich again. Rimeharts shop was in darkness not even a puff of smoke could be seen coming from his chimney but the party knew he must still be in there for where else would he go. After a lot of knocking and shouting a very nervous Rimehart finally opened the door "Oh its you lot again, for fucks sake get in and stop your shouting I'm a marked man remember" so with that cheerful greeting the party quickly piled in. Rimehart immediately asked if we had brought him any food and after seeing our expressions explained that he hadn't eaten anything since discovering that Mallebench wanted him dead. And that any food he had in his larder may in fact now be poisoned so he dared not touch it but nor did he dare risk leaving the safety of his home to bring in new supplies. What little we had was shared out mainly trail rations but it was better than starving and and Rimehart his mouth full of jerked badger finally asked what we wanted. We explained that we had left a book behind and if we could retrieve it we would be most grateful and wouldn't be forced to chop his head off. A rather hurt Rimehart disappeared round the counter and after a brief search produced the now oddly wrapped book. He did make one demand though before handing it over, he wanted to go with us when we left as he no longer felt safe alone and he also convinced that he was going to starve if he stayed in the shop. We were somewhat hesitant but since Rimehart knew so much about Mallebench he would still prove to be useful so we agreed that he could hang out with us. The book was handed over and examined by the whole group, questions asked, spelling checked and drawings looked at intensely. It was a magic book of sorts but more of a journal of collected rituals that someone thought might be useful one of the spells detailed the making and use of a Moppet made from the victims hair and used to control them. It seemed that the Moppet needed to be fairly close to the intended victim to work fully and that the Moppet could be used to overhear what the cursed person could hear and it could even be used to put words into the victims mouth. Rimehart then mentioned that Mallebench owned a house near the Nelson mansion which seemed to be the perfect place to store and use this abominable doll. Saul then broaches the subject of Ireton and how he to may be under a similar spell especially since all the reports have Ireton as being ill and thus unable to venture out into public this started the others debating again the debate spinning round and around. Thomas though was feeling more and more worried about his mother so decided to mention the rare encyclopedia of St Wikki and what it said about the great Dr Browne about how he seemed to be the perfect ally in our quest to thwart Mallebench and as Iretons doctor wouldn't he also be ideally placed to know about the possibility of Ireton being under a spell or if he really was ill and recovering from wounds received as was the common explanation. The party paused briefly to mull this over and then the debate started all over again various theories and options were discussed and tossed aside, Rimehart was dragged forward and questioned once again about Mallebench and how he acted and more importantly who he knew he was repeatedly asked if Mallebench knew or if he had even mentioned Zeal for the Lord Harrison and it seemed that Mallebench had only mentioned him briefly in passing. Also during this questioning the sexual deviancy of Leven was weirdly brought up. The party broke out into arguing again could Harrison be trusted, was he a dangerous ally or just another catspaw of Mallebench? Thomas and Ralph though had reached the limit of their patience after all they had a Mother to save on one hand whilst the other had an Auntie to protect they finally got off their seats and telling the others what they intended to do made for the door, the others somewhat shocked gathered their equipment and made to follow Rimehart included. Again they made good progress through the snow filled streets of Norwich and only once had to make a slight detour to avoid a particularly hungry looking pack of refugees. The house of Mallebench in his guise of the respectable engineer was a small but well appointed town house near the Norton mansion the doors and windows were well shuttered and no smoke was seen escaping from the chimney. Whilst the others scouted round Thomas knocked at a neighbours and spoke to the servant who answered the door. The Doctor in an amazing display of acting said he was a doctor who had been called out at no great expense to treat a man called Mallebench who he was told lived next door but he had been unable to get a response from his polite knocking and wondered if the servant had seen him. The servant admitted to knowing of Mallebench if only by sight but that he had not seen him for sometime nor had he heard anything from next door. The Doctor then asked somewhat hopefully if Mallebench had perhaps left a spare key here with his master maybe in case of an accident? the servant unfortunately replied "No" The rest of the party had walked around the rest of the property and found out the house had a small walled off yard that backed up onto a small alleyway but again the rear gate was locked. Since time was possibly short Guilio was brought forward and up to the front door the others formed a cordon blocking him from view and started to cough and stamp their feet as if trying to keep warm Guilio then got to work drilling the lock out his clockwork arm making short work of the job. They then entered the cold and darkened house closing the door behind them they paused briefly on the threshold but hearing nothing continued further in. The party spent the next two hours searching the somewhat bleak and spartan home of Mallebench they did eventually find the hair Moppet hidden away in a cupboard it was slightly unnerving finally seeing a baby sized Moppet made of hair to be honest. The Moppet was checked and luckily was still dry so it had only been used for under a week Thomas was still worried about what effect destroying the Moppetnwould have on his Mother so he wanted to go and see his Mother first with the cursed Moppet and run some basic tests. The search also brought to light various plans and books on clockwork engineering but were fairly harmless and just seemed to be part of Mallebench's cover story. When they went to see Mother in her darkened, and oddly warm boudoir they found her laying in bed half buried under a pile of blankets disturbingly she did not acknowledge their presence, she just stared blankly at them and just drooled slightly. After some experimentation it was discovered that she would mouth back whatever was said to the Moppet and that we could hear what was said near her by listening to the Moppet as well just as the book had said. Thomas then brought a candle near to the Moppet to see how his Mother would react and as the candle was brought closer a rash was seen to spread rapidly across her face pustules erupted and started to leak a black milky fluid , Thomas quickly pulled the candle away and the rash settled down and spread no further. The Doctor was very worried and horrified at what this Moppet could do to his Mother and family and decided that both the book and the Moppet needed to be destroyed and the sooner the better. He grabbed up both and told the rest of the party that he was heading out of Norwich to destroy these foul abominations as soon as possible and he would brook no argument even though the others tried to dissuade him claiming that he was destroying evidence but the Doctor would not listen he would not risk his family for anything so he left the others in the Mansion to have a well deserved rest and hiding the Moppet and book under his coat he headed out to the nearest town gate. He walked out of the gate and had no problem leaving as the guards were more concerned with people trying to enter, long lines of refugees still clogged the roads nearest the gates and various temporary campsites also littered the nearby fields. He walked until he could no longer see or smell Norwich he walked until he could no longer see the grey soot filled smudge that hung above the town and then he left the road to make camp, a fire was soon blazing away and with a short prayer he tossed the Hair Moppet into the fires heart where it soon burst into flames a strange meaty smell mixing with the horrible smell of burning hair. After watching the flames for awhile he kicked the fire out and buried the whole lot under the earth. Whilst the Doctor was on this horrifying and emotional journey the others meanwhile were living the high life in Norwich, enjoying all the comforts that the Norton Mansion had to offer. There were tales told long after of strange and disgusting behaviour involving white fluffy bathrobes and we won't talk about what happened to the mug with No 1 Son written on it. During a meal they were deep in their cups when Saul let out a mighty burp and slapped his forehead "What a fool I have been I knew I had come across a mention of this blasted Brotherhood before I bet its the blasted offshoot of the Order" "What are you talking about Saul?" asked a bleary eyed Ralph, Saul stood up and began pacing around the room "Its something I heard of during a job I did a few years back and well lets just say this group calling themselves The Order of Esoteric Discoverie were mentioned a couple of times and like all of these stupid so called secret societies they soon started infighting and so they ended up having a rival offshoot soon enough which called itself The Ptonik Brotherhood or some such, I just know that its these bastards they were all for digging up ancient crap" "Well that's something I guess but where does it leave us, that's what I want to know" said Guilio. "It leaves us where we usually are up a shit creek" said Saul in reply and sat down heavily onto his chair causing it to groan somewhat alarmingly. Ralph also groaned alarmingly as he lifted his head up from a plate of half eaten Jumballs "Hey did you say Ptonik? that sounds Greek don't it and don't we have that Grimoire thingy written in that heathen lingo?" And so a new plan was agreed upon over the detritus of dinner, Inky Pete would be collected from the Asylum and convinced to read and translate the Greek book whilst a meeting with Browne would be arranged and hopefully he then would be asked to work upon the cipher book if the meeting went well that was. Meanwhile out in the dark countryside the other Doctor dusted himself off and made his way back to Norwich the strangely brittle trees playing a eerie tune as the cold wind from the blighted lands blew through them.
  7. Sinister Spelunking The party has made their way back to the shop of Rimehart the dealer in all things fun and festive which is how Mallebench had gotten his claws into him by threatening to expose him to the Puritan authorities if he failed to do as he was instructed. At the moment though Rimehart was still somewhat shell shocked after learning that Mallebench had just tried to have him murdered, poisoned in fact along with the rest of the Collectors as Mallebench obviously considered them a loose end now and so a potential threat to his plans but luckily he had met us. As Rimehart was considering his somewhat bleak future the rest of the party spent their time trying to get warm and dry the Doctor though briefly went outside again to get a bucket of snow in a vain attempt to clean his clothes of some of the rather smelly fluids which were splashed across them. After getting a fire started and helping themselves to Rimeharts cheese collection the party finally get down to discussing what to do next. Turning aside for a moment his mouth full of cheddar Ralph looks around for Rimehart and seeing him crouched in a corner calls out merrily to him " Hey Rimehart you old buzzard have you got something I can stick this in?" and shows Rimehart his new sword Rimehart looks up and is about to say something rude but then seeing what Ralph held in his hands he instead immediately perks up a cold calculating gleam appearing in his eyes. " Ah I see you found that rusty old sword then, you know I could take it off your hands....for a fair price if you liked" his hands extending out as if to caress the blade. Ralph quickly jerks the sword away and firmly tells him that the sword is not for sale and that he just wanted a box or some such to store it in. Rimehart slinking back to his darkened corner throws Ralph a thin wooden box and almost growling says "Here this should do for now.............until your ready to sell that is" The Doctor finally despairing of ever having a clean shirt again decided that enough was enough and they should at least check out the nearby Dangling Slattern especially since it was close by and most of its somewhat troublesome clientele were now either dead, missing or arrested. (There is no evidence to the rumours that the Doctor just wanted a pint) "Right I'm off to the pub the serving wenches might know something about the German, back in a minute" and with that he strides back out into the storm and crosses the courtyard heading towards the inn. The others watched him go and after the briefest of pauses to check that he had closed the back door they returned to discussing plans and strategies. The Doctor makes his way to the inn and finds himself unable to see into the tap room due to a unfortunate lack of windows, he decides to go in anyway as surely there would be only a few drunks left at this early hour and begins to open the door. Unfortunately the Doctors recent run of bad luck continues as the inn seems to have plenty of customers some of which are still very much awake as it seems that this is where all those army patrols had ended up after the incident at Blatters. So the door opens and the Doctor is suddenly aware of a terrible silence as every awake soldier turns to look at him the silence hangs heavy until a large sergeant staggers upright and bellows "In the name of Sir Ireton I demand that you state your name and business Sir' the Doctor being an honest sort if a little prideful replies "Why I'm Doctor Norton of course, how may I be of service?" This was completely the wrong thing to say apparently as some of the more sober soldiers all leap up and start running towards him, the sergeant yelling "Its a Norton grab him" so after a brief and somewhat one sided struggle the Doctor finds himself tied to a chair and guarded by a couple of Redcoats "What is the meaning of this? unhand me you knaves" demanded the somewhat bruised and shocked Doctor. The sergeant walks behind the Doctor and leans forward his beery breath hot upon the Doctors cheek "Demands does one? Huh all you Norton's are the same, its you who will be answering questions my boy not I and your questions will be asked by the very Lord himself" standing upright again he tells some of his men to form an escort and to take the Doctor to the castle. Whilst all this was going on the rest of the party were still at Rimeharts discussing things, luckily Craigh the canny Scot had decided that he needed some fresh air and a good pipe to help clear his head so lighting his pipe he stands up and wonders away from the rest of the party to find somewhere quiet. Finding himself outside under the shops porch he is just in time to see a group of men cross over and head towards the stable. The figures are hard to make out through the driving rain and mist but one does seem to be wearing a very familiar hat which causes Craigh to squint in an attempt to make out who the others are he is just about able to see a bit of uniform here and there and the gleam of a musket and sword. "Och the fool has only gotten himself arrested" He takes one last mournful puff on his pipe before tapping it empty and heads back into the shop to inform the others. The party hearing the news are at a loss to explain why the N.M.A would want to arrest the Doctor as if they were worried about how many patients he had lost they would have arrested him a lot sooner. "Well I've an idea how to find out the inn staff should know you ken? So why don't I just pop over and ask around sneaky like?" Craigh asks (Again there is no truth to the vicious rumors that Craigh only wanted to go to the inn as it was now breakfast time and having missed his tea due to the fight at Blatters he was feeling in the mood for an exotic meat pie with extra wobbly bits) Saul tipping back his hat looks up from the bench which he laid sprawled to the oddly salivating Scot "You sure? that's what the Doctor said as well you know" Craigh laughs "Och nae bother man I know a few tricks, I'll be back in a jiffy" and with a last crooked smile he wraps himself up in a cloak and heads out towards the inn the rest of the party sigh and start to gather their things. So stealing out the back the Scot merges with the shadows and skulks towards the Dangling Slattern the effect is only slightly spoiled by the rumbling of his stomach but to be fair it had been a long night. Reaching the inns door Craigh wraps up his clockwork arm as best he could takes a deep breath and opens the door to the inn. It was much the same as the Doctor had left it just a little emptier, the few soldiers remaining turn to see this new person who had foolishly dared to intrude upon their revelry. The same sergeant looks up with bloodshot eyes from his tankard and yells out "Hey you! you bespawler have ye a name?" Craigh replies as smooth as you like that he is called McAdder and is in Norwich to collect a shipment of fish from Yarmouth but due to the flooding has been somewhat delayed. The sergeant staggers up "What are you going on about I only asked for your bloody name not your whole life story, your in luck my kilted barbarian friend we're not looking for any poxy fish salesman. Though before you go and I think I would like to know how a Scotsman got himself such a fine looking arm?" It seems the sergeant wasn't as drunk as he acted. Craigh smiles "Oh this old thing I got it mining for Haggis in the Highlands" The inn goes silent and apart from a young soldiers whispered question "What's a Haggis?" You could hear s pin drop........then the sergeant let's out a mighty belly laugh " You cheeky bugger not all us English are idiots, Haggis mines indeed. Now get yourself out of here this inn has been commandeered for use by members of the N.M.A which you ain't so shove off now, there's a good gentlemen" Realizing that he could do no more and had already pushed his luck Craigh laughs along with the sergeant and backs out the way he had come "Here's tae ye bonnie men in redcoats" and with a final jaunty wave he leaves and as soon as the door shuts he mutters "Fuck that was a wee bit close" and with a quick glance back recrosses the courtyard and back to the others. "Hullo I'm back but I dinnae ken what happened to the Doctor.....nor dinnae I get a wobbly meat pie" the last he adds under his breath. He leans on one of the pillars by the fire and tells the others what had happened. Saul thinks for a moment then shrugs "The Doctor is on his own for now we have to get Gahwon and those books or we all may end up swinging before the nights over" "So where do we go Saul if not after my cousin?" asked a slightly peevish Ralph. "Where else but back to Tinker town and the ruins, come on let's go daylights burning" and after grabbing their gear they finally leave Rimeharts and head back out into the muddy refugee choked streets of Norwich. The Doctor after a somewhat uncomfortable journey tied to the side of a cart finally reaches the grim castle gates where he is somewhat roughly dragged off the cart and dumped onto the cobbled floor. He is then quickly dragged past the hastily repaired cracked wall and is escorted to the cells beneath. The others reach the Tinker town area and head back into Nutleys house to retrieve the cypher book from where the Doctor hid it and the rest of their gear. After a quick search and finding the house empty of any unwelcome guests Saul finally heads down into the basement only to find that the false wall had been pulled down and the book missing. Storming back up the stairs his face pinched in anger he hisses "That mammering beef witted arse has been here, the book is gone" The others step back in the face of his anger "Look Saul we knew it was always going to be a slim hope that the book would still be here, look he must be in the ruins come on we can still get him" Ralph says pouring calming water onto Sauls blazing anger Saul thrusting his sword back into its sheath with some force wrenches the door open and stomps toward the ruins the others sharing a knowing glance follow closely behind. Back in his cold cell the Doctor receives an unwelcome visitor in the form of Zeal for the Lord Harrison who without much preamble begins his interrogation but the Doctor was at the end of his tether and staggering upright stood up to the screaming madman and calmly said "My name is Doctor Thomas Norton I'm a member of the Medical Guild of Norwich and was a serving soldier on that bloody day at Naseby where I saw a King die and I demand a lawyer as is my right" Zeal looked somewhat shocked stopped shouting and after a menacing pause nodded and said "Well if you insist" and turning swiftly stalks out of the cell the door slamming shut behind him. "Well that went better than expected" said the Doctor just as his legs buckled beneath him and he collapsed back onto the earthen floor in a heap. The others following Saul catch up with him at the ruins "Well let's start looking for that wee skunner Gahwon eh?" Craigh says and so they did. Some of the church though was still standing its broken roof causing weird shadows to twist and twirl onto its few remaining walls as the sun cast its weak rays onto the ruins below. The search didn't uncover much but some tracks were found which led to a shadowy area by the altar poking around they find a hole dug under the few remaining paving slabs. Saul gathering the others together gives a brief speech "Here it is then lads the gates of hell itself and we must go down it seems to face old Nick himself if needed" and with a curt nod starts to climb down, the others loosing their weapons swiftly follow him down. The hole slopes quickly downwards leading under the main body of the church and leads into a network of tunnels the party passes earth and stone which seem to have been melted away as if by a great heat and in some places the stone had been turned into a strange glass like substance. Passing through the narrow confines of the tunnels their armour leaving deep metallic scratches in the walls as they struggle through. After some time the narrow tunnels open up into a larger cavern allowing them to stretch out but only briefly as they were soon interrupted by a familiar chittering sound which echoed strangely in the confines of the cavern. Ralph and Craigh shared a worried glance, could that be the demon Imp again? their answer was soon forthcoming as the cursed creature popped up from behind a stalagmite and began chittering and squeaking loudly at them pointing its tiny furry finger at them and blowing any chance of the party being able to sneak any further. Saul shrugs takes aim and with a crooked smile which threatened to break out on his craggy face as he takes aim and fires just as the Imp pops up again from behind a closer stalagmite to begin screeching again but instead it meets head first Sauls hurtling balls of lead which only slightly slow down as they fly through whatever the Imp was using for a brain spraying tiny Imp brains and pulpy eye bits against the caverns wall. "Come on that blasted creature was the pet of Gahwon so he must be close by" shouted Craigh crossing quickly he heads towards another tunnel on the caverns opposite side the others swiftly following. They plunge back into the narrow confines of the tunnels and struggle through but only for a short time as it opens out again into a wider cavern and they were faced by something that might as well had come from hell itself. Several figures of unwholesome and unnatural aspect were crouched low over what looked like a figure of a man they were gnawing unwholesomely on the figures arms and legs, ripping chunks of red wet flesh away from the figures face, a face that they barely recognized from the fight at Blatters....the figure was the Gahwon! Ralph and of Craigh stopped frozen unable to take in what was before them. Saul the old soldier that he was merely spat on the floor and seeing the signs that his comrades were about to crack and do something foolish swiftly punches them both unconscious and drags them back around the corner and out of sight. After awhile they struggle back to consciousness and rubbing their painful jaws look angrily towards Saul, "Wait! remember what you saw before you do anything rash" this was enough to stop them "What was those things?" whispers Ralph tears springing unbidden from his eyes. "I dinnae noo but they are due a right kicking" replies Craigh readying a pistol Saul nods and gives Ralph a friendly slap on his back "You ready for this?" Ralph pauses wipes the tears from his face and draws his hatchet "Yes! lets purge the unclean in the Lords name" They made their way back to the unwholesome feast and drawing their muskets made ready they find the creatures still eating and so they make their way around the side of the cavern finding a good position behind a stalagmite they raise their guns and on Sauls command let rip the musket balls smashing into the abominations tearing grey corrupted flesh away from them. The creatures let out howls of pain? and turning away from Gahwon begin to lumber toward them leaving a slimy trail of grey pus in their wake the parties muskets spent they are quickly dropped and instead pistols, clockwork powered blades and hatchets are pulled out and made ready and again they let fly a ragged volley, this closer volley does much more damage causing black ichor to spray everywhere and one of the creatures begin to stagger and then falls to the floor Ralph throws his hatchet with all his strength at the last creature just as it rears up in front of him the hatchet hits with a powerful meaty thunk and the creature wavers for a moment lets out a tremendous fart and collapses at Ralphs suspiciously wet boots. Not wanting to risk meeting any more of these foul creatures and not quite believing their luck the party quickly searches the area close by and find the missing books cast onto the cavern floor near the body of Gahwon. They were somewhat damp and covered in a strange salavia type goo but still seemed to be in a good condition so they were quickly thrown into haversacks.They also find another body which whilst partly eaten seemed to match the general description of Tobias the tailor, it seemed we had finally met the party planner. Unfortunately before they could investigate any further the creatures started to writhe and boil as thousands of white maggots appeared and began crawling out of the tainted flesh. The party now began rushing trying to get to get clear but Saul tarried and then decides that the body of Gahwon will provide more evidence of foul sorcery or at least evidence of flesh eating creatures and so begins to drag the corpse back through the tunnels and caverns and after a lot of effort on his part and a few helpful kicks from the others he does manage to get most of it back up to the surface. The party after resting, praying and in one case vomiting decide that the best cause of action after seeing those creatures is to get Henry Iretons doctor involved and on their side so off they head to the home of the great Doctor Thomas Browne to challenge his theories of how the world is really governed in the hope that with all their proof that he will join them in fighting against the foul machinations of Mallebench, oh and to get that other doctor out of the clink.
  8. Cheers, And I hope so as its weird that there seems to be this whole bunch of English Civil War/17th century weapons and tactics which seem to have faded behind all those hedges of Pike and musket smoke. Did these guys volunteer to carry a Fire pike or did they just draw a short straw? Was the job seen as similar to the poor fellows who set Petards or was it just another weapon to use when the situation demanded it? everything is so vague.
  9. Shiver me timbers its available on the Kindle, that's my bedtime reading sorted.
  10. Thank you this is awesome, its one of the great things about this hobby that you can learn about all this cool stuff which otherwise just seems to get forgotten and now I have this other great sounding weapon that I've never heard of before to track down the brilliantly named Slur Bow which fires brass balls of fire! Now if I can just sneak them past the G.M I might be onto a winner so thanks again. Now I wonder if calling my new Pirate character Jerry Lee would be a little too much
  11. I've been reading up on some of the real life battles that took part during the English civil war and I've come across something called Fire pikes and I was wondering if anyone had any more information on them.They seemed to have been used in the Royalist storming of Bristol in mixed groups, some men had the Fire pikes whilst others were issued primitive grenades.Now the mystery is were they just normal pikes with something like pitch and hay tied to the end or something a lot more potent?As one description I read does seem to hint at something a lot more substantial, A Royalist officer Lieutenant-Colonel Littleton galloped along the inside of the Parliamentary line with a fire pike causing panic among the garrison troops who cried out "Wildfire"Any help on this mystery would be gratefully received.
  12. Hi Gary
  13. I would go with your first option but it is a little odd reading it though I guess it makes sense as you get to add all your weight behind the swing and you lose your second reaction due to the follow through.
  14. A terrible tale of domestic chores With the outside door slowly opening Ralph and the Doctor quickly dart into the dining room to prepare an ambush for this late arrival even Saul shakes off his fatigue picks up his musket and makes his way across the dark hallway to provide covering fire if needed. Craigh and Giulio on the other hand being the malingers that they are just drag themselves further down the hallway in an attempt to hide amongst the gathering shadows moaning about little things like blood loss and cracked ribs. The front door finally opens and a rotund and bedraggled man enters he struggles for a moment to close the door behind him fighting against the storm that still rages outside. He eventually manages to close the door and he staggers further into the gloomy house removing his hat and muttering to himself he brushes the snow off it. Getting level with the dining room doorway and finally feeling that something may be wrong he wipes away the rain from his eyes and squints into the darkened room he looks up and then down into the barrel of a fully loaded and operational donderbus which is held in the somewhat shaky Doctors hands. There followed a brief chat which involved a discussion about the merits of bribery on one hand and the demonstration of how exactly a donderbus works on the other the man seeing his limited options reveals that his name is Milton and that he is just a cook. It seems that he had worked for Mallebench in the past and had been instructed to come to this house tonight and prepare a fine meal for four people, set the table but then oddly leave before the guests arrived. Seeing that he was no threat the party regretfully paid him off and suggested that it might be wise for him to have the night off, Milton wisely decided that this was indeed a capital idea and ran back to the front door and quickly left with barely a glance backwards. The Doctor taking a deep steadying breath smiles and then turns and heads into the kitchen to see what was keeping cousin Ralph whilst Saul relocked the front door. Peering through the clouds of flour and steam the doctor found Ralph elbow deep in a goose suddenly assailed by visions of uncle Norton's petting zoo the doctor worriedly asked if Ralph was feeling alright. Ralph a huge grin upon his now grease smeared face laughingly cries out with alarming glee, "I always wanted to be a cook you know Thomas but father forbade it and he wouldn't let me spend any time with Cookie" and with one hand stuffed inside a surprised looking goose whilst the other was resting on a meat cleaver he finally turned to fully face the Doctor "You wouldn't be here to stop me cousin would you? Its fate you see that I cook tonight and thus prove father wrong" the Doctor wisely decided to just nod and back away slowly leaving Ralph alone with his goose and chopper. Craigh, Giulio and Rimehart decide that things are getting too weird for them and finally drag themselves off the hallway floor and shuffle off to find somewhere quiet, safe and preferably far, far away from Ralph. Since the Doctor was backing out of the kitchen he failed to see another man step out of the room with the trapdoor but before this intruder has a chance to capitalize on the situation he steps onto a creaky floorboard causing the now paranoid and scared Doctor to spin quickly around and since he still had the donderbus in his hands he ends up pointing it into the now shocked face of his would be attacker. Regaining his wits quickly the Doctor yells out "Burglar!" which alerts Saul who quickly makes his way back downstairs. Realising that his best option is to try and strike a bargain the stranger tells us that his name is Ezekiel and that he works for the Hand as a trader in information. He tries to get on the parties good side by revealing that a gang member by the name of Jonas has stolen the Hands pay chest and that if we helped him get it back he would split the fortune with us. Unfortunately for him the party has no good side and instead they ask questions about the Hand and Mallebench this makes Ezekiel more and more nervous and he foolishly tries to escape a dagger falling into his hand from a hidden sheath and he slashes wildly at Saul, the Doctor standing behind him tries to hit Ezekiel with a handy jar but Ezekiel twists to the side and easily avoids the clumsy blow the jar shattering its foul contents onto the floor. Saul avoids the dagger blow and in return smashes Ezekiel across the kneecap with the butt of his pistol bringing Ezekiel crashing to the floor and crying out in pain Ezekiel begins to crawl towards the door swearing and foolishly making dire threats against the Doctor and Saul cursing them to hell. The Doctor shrugs and steps heavily onto Ezekiel's back and places his sword against the mans neck being the coward that he is Ezekiel quickly changes his tone going from threats to pleading telling them that he knew things, things about the men coming to dinner, men of quality he claims, men he was sent here to kill and to prove this he produces a small Jack box which holds several glass jacks of powder within. Ezekiel goes on to say that Mallebench was cleaning house and tidying up any loose ends and that we to were on this list. Saul and the Doctor wouldn't be so easily deterred though and they keep pressing him (Quite literally in the Doctor's case) for information about Mallebench. Ezekiel finally reveals more of the Hands relationship with Mallebench and the location of Gahwons house (Oddly enough it was Nutleys) and that there maybe the possibility that Mallebench has something going on in the ruins of the nearby church. He also revealed that due to our recent activities the Hand were starting to regret their deal with Mallebench and arguments were becoming more and more common amongst the rank and file as Mallebench seemed to be losing his grip on things and he was not helped by the death toll of senior gang members which continued to mount thanks to our meddling. As he saw the Doctor and Saul's reaction to this information Ezekiel again started to slyly try to get them on his side promising further help and riches but he soon sees that this wasn't going to work so instead he started to hint that Doctors family might be involved in the whole murky affair and that the Doctors mother was in danger of becoming the plaything of Mallebench. The Doctor having heard enough tries to cut Ezekiel's throat to stop these lies and terrible insinuations. Unfortunately being the Doctor he botches his slash and so was only able to cut into Ezekiel's jacket panicking Ezekiel fights back rolls up and thrusts a thumb into the Doctors bandaged face causing the doctor to yell out in pain and fall backwards. Luckily Saul was still close at hand and with a sigh swings down his mortuary sword causing a mighty wound upon Ezekiel and ending his unworthy life. The Doctor after thanking Saul was told to drag the poor unfortunate Ezekiel to the temple and to clean up the rest of the mess so he headed back to the kitchen for a mop and bucket. He does stop to pick up the Jack box though and smiling remembers what Ralph's plan was earlier regarding the bread. Cousin Ralph was still cooking up a storm and was attacking some poor unfortunate potatoes with the back of his bloodstained hatchet. The Doctor brings Ralph up to speed and after a bit of discussion Ralph agrees to poison the gravy. Saul and the Doctor clean up the ground floor setting everything back to roughly how they had found it before all the bloodshed whilst Ralph finishes off cooking and setting up the meal ready for the honoured guests. Once everyone was more or less happy they split up into their various hiding places to wait for the Collectors to turn up. The Doctor and Ralph eventually decide to hide out in tailor's shop next door whilst Saul decides to stay in the house and waits in Mallebench's bedroom musket loaded and primed. After fifteen or so minutes a carriage is heard pulling up outside the Collectors house and several people are heard getting out and with much stomping of feet to clear them of snow soon enter the house. There follows a very tense time as the party waits to see if their plan works but they are eventually rewarded by the sound of running feet and shouting. It seems that one man at least didn't like the gravy. He is watched by various party members as he runs back outside and jumps into the waiting carriage and shouts out to the driver to go with all haste. The Doctor creeps out, looks around and heads towards the open door of the house of Pus as he enters he calls out pretending to be a somewhat heavily armed but concerned neighbor hearing no reply he heads in further and soon comes across two vomit covered bodies after a quick examination they are found to be both quite dead. One is wearing a fine and expensive looking outfit and also has a fine sword belted at the waist. This sword is a rapier and seems to match the description of the cursed sword of the Order of Kites. The other man is much younger and whilst less well dressed is still obviously a man of means and is found to be in possession of a small ledger which seems to track payments or something similar and the last entry was for 750 pounds. The Doctor makes a copy of the last two pages of this ledger and Ralph takes the rapier bundling it up in some rags from the kitchen. The two men were also found to be wearing similar rings which display two triangles pointing towards each other. So with one last look around and leaving the front door open to encourage someone else to find this grim tableau the party quickly heads back out into the storm and head to Rimeharts. Once back in the relative safety of the shop Rimehart confirms that the two dead men were Cheswick Orb and John Corbett Jr and that the man who escaped via the carriage was indeed Brandon Leven who turns out to be a very wealthy gentlemen farmer who farms land just outside Norwich. And that is where the curtain fell.
  15. Humorous Humors We escaped the house of Blatter via a tunnel guided by Sam Wills the recently captured gang member we quickly made our way through this section of tunnels and back to the surface via an exit leading into a house owned by a group called the Collectors of pus who were involved with the Hand via Malenbench. Sam listed some of the members of this group saying that whilst he had never been inside the house he had been part of the Hand team which had hired as guards for some of the meetings held inside. Ralph after some suitable encouragement finally agreed to climb up the rusting ladder into the house. The room they found themselves in seemed pretty bare just a desk holding a ledger which noted grocery purchases and a tapestry which looked suspiciously French so being a true son of England the doctor immediately started to cut it up to provide bandages for Inky whilst cutting strips off he learnt from Sam that Tobias had given his Mothers shaven hair to Ghwon but he didn't know why, maybe it was for a wig he suggested? Ralph said nasty hurtful things about the doctors mother but the doctor ignored the jibes knowing that Ralph was just jealous that his side of the family had money and could read and besides he knew that Ralph got this way when he was scared. After dismissing the "Cooking them a nice meal" plan they quickly left the house Inky making better progress know that his feet were bandaged and bound he also now didn't leave bloody footprints behind him which was somewhat handy They took this moment to further discuss Sam's story as he had told them he was really a good guy and was only involved in leg breaking and extortion because Mallebench had kidnapped his family and that he could help them more if they saved them this led to more bickering and name calling. The weather was still foul outside and we were soon cold and wet again but the bad weather did work in our favour keeping us concealed from any prying eyes. We kept to the side of the street in an attempt to avoid any military patrols and to be honest away from the worst of the rain. The injured amongst us going silent as they struggled to keep going all their focus turning inward and keeping one foot in front of the other. We encountered a couple of men on the street luckily they turned out to be orderlies from a nearby asylum it seems that they had a breakout earlier and two patients were still unaccounted for and they had been went out in the cold and told not to return without the two missing men and luckily we had two men that we wanted to get somewhere safe and in one case secure so we bribed the orderlies to take Inky Pete and Sam Mills in place of the two missing patients, Sam would be kept secure and Inky would get some medical treatment and perhaps more importantly be safe from any further kidnapping attempts. Neither Pete or Sam were very happy about this but a price was agreed and we told them we would be back in a week to collect them so off they went. There was one worrying thing though it seems one of the escaped inmates was known as the Blood beast of Bodmin but the doctor was sure this was just a nickname to make the man sound scarier than he really was. The party still unnaturally silent apart from the occasional bickering heard from the cousins decided to explore Tobias's tailor shop since it was nearby and they had some time to kill they found it much as they had left it the front door still broken and the shop dusty and unkempt the doctor was less than enthusiastic seeing that they had already searched the shop but Ralph was insistent he thought he could find out why his Auntie had been shaved. Finding nothing new they decided to re-enter the mysterious club house of the Collectors of Pus via a door which led from the store directly into the house. So they eventually found their way into the mysterious house next door again, Rimehart didn't seem too happy about this but after a glare from the recently scarred Giulio he soon fell silent and behaved himself. The house appeared empty and silent as they crept in and the injured collapsed into a heap onto the hallway floor unable to continue further without a rest leaving all the work to the brave and handsome Norton cousins. So after making sure none of them was going to die and Rimehart was secure in their care off went the the rugged and charming Norton's. Cousin Ralph was leading the charge like some kind of over eager hunting dog he searched through bookcases and cupboards, looked behind shelves and knocked on walls looking for more secret doors. All this hard work was rewarded as it seems this was one of the lairs of the arch heretic himself Mallebench! as Ralph soon discovered signs of him in one of the bedrooms. They also discovered that whilst the house was empty and had a slightly abandoned feel it nonetheless boasted a fully provisioned kitchen ready for tonights festivities no doubt. Ralph also discovered a letter and a key, this key was hidden under the desk in Mallebenchs bedroom whilst the letter was from the group calling itself the Brothers it seemed to be demanding a progress report of some kind from a man they call the Black Crow of Norwich, maybe Mallebench wasn't the all powerful puppet master maybe someone was pulling his strings? Ralph soon figured out that the key opened a panel located in the dining room this panel concealed a passage which led further down into a hidden room. Brave cousin Ralph immediately stepped down and through and into the incense filled room his footsteps echoing oddly on the stone flagstones. He quickly discovered that the room had a foul and terrible purpose it served as a some kind of blasphemous church to *SATAN*! The room contained many shelves along its damp walls each one heavy with jars and jacks and each of them was filled with a variety of abominations from strange bubbling fluids to ungodly insects. There were other terrible, darker things floating in these jars but they were either to strange or horrific to name. And where there was no shelving blasphemous idols instead lined the walls casting their evil eye on proceedings. Further parting the thick sweet smelling smoke coming from whatever was in those glowing braziers Ralph came across the final proof of this rooms malign intent, there squatting malevolently at the base of the chambers rear wall was an altar, stained darkly with unknown fluids this dark altar was surrounded by four shallow shafts, one for each corner and each one in turn was covered by a rusting filth encrusted grate. Looking down past these grated covers he gasped in horror as each shaft contained a strangely disfigured corpse. He quickly backs away coughing and calling out for the doctor in panic. The doctor upon hearing the cries rushes out of the library and almost knocks his cousin down in his rush and after recovering he was shocked to see his cousins horrified expression so almost against his will he allowed himself to be dragged into *SATANS* church and soon realised fully what had caused Ralph's horrified expression. He briefly examined some of the jars which seemed to contain humors and other foulness he avoided the blasphemous idols with their dreadful gazes until finally being dragged inexorably to the altar and those unwholesome shafts. The doctor just about managed to examine the burning herbs and found them to be mostly harmless used for their ability to cover up less wholesome smells no doubt before finally ending up at the back wall. The altar was indeed stained deeply with blood as was feared and the bodies in the shafts seemed to have died from a variety of diseases everything from leprosy to the bloody pox. The doctor visibly paler now after his examination of the room turned around to ask Ralph a question only to find himself alone, alone apart from the silent corpses and leering idols that is. The doctor feeling that discretion was indeed the better form of valour made a hasty exit. It turned out that Ralph had left the baleful room, wandered past his groaning comrades who were still malingering in the hallway and had ended up in the kitchen where he was looking very thoughtfully at the bread and wondering if poison was the way to go it certainly would be easier but could it be guaranteed to work? His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the doctor running in the hallway, luckily not with scissors though so no further injuries were sustained. Meeting each other in the hallway again with a crash each was full of questions for the other unfortunately they had to remain unasked for the moment as each slowly turned to face the buildings main door, and both wondered had that been the doors latch they had just heard moving? We ended up with a book describing how to control people via a dolly made from their hair ( Oh Mother what have you done ) Another Pus related group who were making demands A key to the Temple of SATAN! 50 shillings A letter from the Brothers to Mallenbeench Four dead and diseased bodies And a whole load of satanic ritualistic decorations. Bob the Orderly Dr Alan Melrose of the Asylum *Collectors of the Pus*, Cheswick Orb John Corbet Junior Malenbench Brandon Leven Tobias the tailor/barber/party planner and spymaster? And whatever happened to Black Philip the goat?