Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Romantic Horror, London, circa 1800

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Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:06 pm

Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel; Or, The Mysteries of the Sea

Even in this modern age of swift communication and other wonders of ingenuity, preparing for the short voyage across the English Channel requires a fair amount of time. By the time all is in readiness, autumn has announced its arrival in the form of cooler temperatures, although the weather remains quite dry. (In fact, there is some speculation that fresh water will be in short supply in the near future if winter does not bring rain.)

After much discussion, in person and by letters, it has been determined that Mister Harcourt, his wife, his son, and his daughter-in-law will remain at Harcourt House. Mister Harcourt is recovering from his strange injury slowly but steadily.

Mister Rachman, in pursuit of esoteric knowledge, has business elsewhere in the British Isles, and wishes the adventurers a safe and prosperous voyage. Whether he will be met with again is in the hands of Providence.

Mister Witherly indicates eagerness to accompany the party. One may speculate whether this is entirely out of amity or whether he has some motivation of his own for visiting the Continent.

Miss Davenport, being not unacquainted with the disdain of society, is sympathetic to the plight of the young Gypsy girl, and will not be adverse to supplying her with lodgings while preparations are made for the journey. During this time the new arrival hears of the many strange occurrences witnessed by her hosts.

Spoiler:
As a result of her meeting with these experienced adventurers, Ines will be raised to Level Two. Hit points are now 6+ 1d6.
Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d6:
1
Hit points = 7. Damage Bonus = + 1.


During this time, Doctor North and Miss Carrow often keep company together. The same may be said of Miss Davenport and Mister Witherly.

Spoiler:
If BOTH Doctor North and Miss Carrow wish to declare True Love, this will result in certain advantages and disadvantages. Mister Witherly being still married, as far as anyone knows, Miss Davenport may declare Unrequited Love (the advantages and disadvantages of which I will create from whole cloth.) None of this is mandatory.

The adventurers should state if they are traveling with anything out of the ordinary, keeping in mind the limitations of what may be easily conveyed by horse, ship, et cetera.


Eventually it is determined that a coach from London to Dover, with one night's stay in Rochester, may be arranged at such a time as to allow passage on a packet ship bound to either Calais or Boulogne, the condition of the sea determining the exact place of landing. The sea journey may take as little as two hours, or may last several hours, depending on the whims of the wind and weather.
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby SunlessNick » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:16 pm

Image

Ines has never been to sea before...

OOC:   Constitution = 9
SunlessNick rolled 1D20: 4  


... but manages to avoid seasickness. It will be evident to Miss Davenport that Ines is very grateful for - and not at all accustomed to - her generosity. And that Ines's loyalty has been assured for as long as the company's troubles persist (I hasten to add that this observation is in no way meant to impugn Miss Davenport's character with the suggestion that this might have been her motivation).
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby Mr. Handy » Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:48 am

Spoiler:
I've already made a declaration of True Love, but I'll gladly do it again.
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:01 am

Spoiler:
Note will be taken of the ability of Ines to withstand the vicissitudes of the waves. At this point, however, we remain on dry land.


The journey to Rochester is uneventful. The town itself is a very ancient one, with strong evidence that it has been inhabited since long before the legions of Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (who built the first bridge over the Medway) occupied the area. The noted antiquarian William Stukeley, famous for his investigation of Stonehenge, provided the following description of a notable monument some half a century ago.

Three great stones standing upright and a great round one lying on them, of great bigness, although not so big as those on Salisbury Plain. But certainly it is a thing of great antiquity, and I am mightily glad to see it.

Other places of interest include Rochester Castle and, near it, Rochester Cathedral, both very old; and an unusual institution founded by the beneficence of Richard Watts, a successful businessman and member of Parliament of two centuries past. Among the many other charitable acts of this gentleman, he established a house whose inscription will better explain its purpose than your Presenter could.

RICHARD WATTS, Esq.
by his Will, dated 22 Aug. 1579,
founded this Charity
for Six poor Travellers,
who not being ROGUES, or PROCTORS,
May receive gratis for one Night,
Lodging, Entertainment,
and Fourpence each.


Of course, our adventurers will not require such lodging, there being many an inn available. Good time having been made, the travelers may inspect the environs as they see fit.
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby Wruter » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:28 am

Image

Spoiler:
Lila will declare Unrequited Love.

With a few hours to spare during this last night on England's shores, Lila decides to take the opportunity to visit the ancient standing stones, which she has not seen before, in the company of whomever else in the party might wish to join her.
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby Priest » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:01 am

Image

Elizabeth enjoys the time spent in Henry's company. It might seem to the casual observer that there is more to theim than friendship, and indeed the more time she spends in the company of the gentle, kindly doctor, the more her feelings deepen, So much so that whilst taking their ease within the town square of Rochester she realises that her feelings have turned to love. She now takes every oportunity to take his arm...

Spoiler:
At some stage she will declare the depth of her feelings for the good Doctor.
We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby SunlessNick » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:30 pm

Image

Ines will discreetly allow the couples time to themselves before the darker business is faced, and not wishing to trespass entirely upon Miss Davenport's means, will take the opportunity to perform songs and dances in establishments catering to those pausing in their travels.

OOC:   Charisma = 9, +3 Beautiful, +3 Dancing Ability, +1 Entertaining
SunlessNick rolled 1D20: 3  


... with marked success. No doubt the clientele, tired from their long journeyings, were eager for diversion.
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby Mr. Handy » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:00 pm

Image

Henry smiles at Elizabeth, gazing into her eyes and taking her hands. "Elizabeth, my dear," he says, "I was so worried when those water creatures injured you. I have lost everyone else I have ever loved, and I had been afraid to love again. But you have shown me that I must not be afraid, for it better to experience love, even if loss follows. It is better not to postpone it, but to make use of what time we are given. I love you, Elizabeth, with all my heart."
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:14 pm

Mister Witherly expresses an interest in inspecting the standing stones. The ride to its location, upon a low hill, is a short and pleasant one, during which the pair engage in light conversation.

Spoiler:
Having declared Unrequited Love, Miss Davenport will reduce her Intelligence while in the presence of the Beloved,
Love being famously Blind; however, she will receive a +1 bonus to any Ability when it is Checked during an action which directly benefits the Beloved.


Upon arrival at the site, Mister Witherly is able to create a sketch of the standing stones and the barrow near them.

Image

(It will be noted that the sketch has been provided with explanatory captions, based on the terms used by the local residents, the standing stones known as "Kit's Coty House" [this odd term said to mean something like "Tomb in the Forest"] and the barrow as "the Grave.")

The wind stirs the hair of the the two visitors as they look down upon the town from this elevated site.

"Shall we explore this time-honored ruin further?"

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Word of the lovely and talented Gypsy travels quickly through the area. It is evident that such entertainment is rare and appreciated. The proprietor of the Coopers Arms, a local inn of great age, having witnessed her performance, offers a proposition.

"If you would entertain my guests tonight, I would be willing to offer lodging for you and your companions without cost. However, I have an additional requirement. As an act of charity, I would ask you to display your skills at the Six Poor Travellers House. The wretches who find succor there are in much need of simple merriment, and would no doubt appreciate such kindness."


____________________________________________________________________________________________

The attractions of Rochester seem to be of less interest to Miss Carrow and Doctor North than each other's company, as has often been true since Creation.

Spoiler:
Once True Love is declared, each Lover receives +3 to any Ability when it is Checked during an action directly benefiting the Beloved. If the Beloved is lost, however, permanently or temporarily, all Abilities will be reduced by 3, except for those were are direct attempts to regain the Beloved, which will retain the +3 benefit. (I am adjusting the written rules to some extent to make the Hazards of Lost Love somewhat more in balance with the Benefits of True Love.)
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby Wruter » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:53 pm

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"Indeed, let us explore further," Lila replies to Mister Witherly. "We must hope that the tomb is unoccupied, ha ha."
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby SunlessNick » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:37 pm

Image

Ines eagerly accepts this proposition, and dispatches messengers or leaves word with the coachmen as necessary to alert the rest of the company to this turn of fortune. After that, she makes her way to this Six Poor Travellers House, to perform there in the afternoon before doing so at the Coopers Arms in the evening.

[Do I need to roll again?]
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:25 pm

Miss Davenport and Mister Witherly enter the dark environs of the standing stones. They speak in whispers that echo from the vast walls of rock that surround them. One can almost imagine the shades of the long-vanished people who raised this mysterious monument. Were they Druids, making use of magic? Nephilim, as Scripture relates, of gigantic size and vast strength?

Mister Witherly idly stirs the ground with his walking stick.

Spoiler:
WIS = 9
Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
4


"What is this?" He bends down to pick up a small metal object which had lain under the dust of history. "Can you make anything of it?" He hands it to Miss Davenport.

It appears to be a metal disc, about the size of a farthing, inscribed with writing of some kind, in letters which are not those in common use.

_________________________________________________________________________________

At the Six Poor Travellers House Ines is greeted by the keeper, who introduces her to the current inhabitants.

Spoiler:
Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d6:
3


There are three persons making use of the facility. One is an elderly man who coughs frequently, but whose manners indicate that he has fallen from some higher state; another is a young woman, who seems quiet and timid; and another is a
man of middle years, quite unkempt, who, if truth be told, reeks of an unpleasant odor.

Spoiler:
No die roll required at this point.


The entertainment provided by the charming Gypsy having delighted all, the penniless vagabonds lodged by the House are to be given a simple repast of tea and bread. There are a few bare tables, each able to accommodate two persons. The keeper takes Ines aside.

"If I may impose upon your kindness further," he says, "it would be of great benefit to one of these wretched souls if you were to sit at table with one of them, starved as they are in both spirit and body. If you are willing, you may choose with whom you wish to converse."
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby SunlessNick » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:21 pm

Image

Ines's inclination to approach the woman, but first she tries to discern if there is one of the three unfortunates the inkeeper seems to favour.

OOC:   Wisdom = 11; Intelligence = 9 -3 Dull (not sure which is appropriate)
SunlessNick rolled 1D20: 15 (it makes little difference)  


Unable to determine if the innkeeper is hoping she will approach a particular party, Ines follows her first instinct and approaches the woman with a friendly smile and quiet greeting.
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby Wruter » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:17 pm

Image

At the standing stones:

"Curious," Lila murmurs, studying the object. "Perhaps it is an ancient talisman of some kind. We might ask Doctor North to examine the lettering, for he is the most learned among us. It could prove to be of archaeological value."
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:43 pm

The young woman is at first shy with Ines, but slowly begins to warm to her as it becomes clear that the Gypsy is in no position to judge her. After some conversation, when it becomes clear that Ines is bound for the Continent, the woman says "I believe I can trust you."

She takes a sheet of paper, much folded and worn, from a small bag holding her meager possessions. It appears to be a letter, written in a crabbed hand, the letters much faded. A wax seal is appended.

"I cannot read this myself," the woman says with a sad smile, "but I am assured that it confirms the paternity of my unborn child." She sits up a bit straighter. "I carry the heir of the Chevalier LaMont. If this letter, bearing the seal of the Chevalier -- now, alas, departed from this world before he could see his child born! -- were to be conveyed to his family, I have no doubt that they would accept me as Pierre's bride in all but the eyes of the Church and State. I had abandoned all hope of carrying it myself, fallen as I have upon hard times. But if you, my new and only friend, were to place it within your care, in the hopes that it would reach its destination, all the angels of Heaven would bless you!"

Ines must ponder this strange plea before returning to the Coopers Arms.

__________________________________________________________________________________

"Indeed," Mister Witherly remarks, "the good Doctor is a man of great learning. Having made this interesting discovery, I wonder if it would be profitable to examine the barrow as well before rejoining our companions. It would, of course, be a dirty task, the ground upon this hill being somewhat damp."
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby Wruter » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:33 pm

Image

Though hesitant to disturb even what may be a grave in name only, Lila finds herself still more hesitant to disappoint Mister Witherly, and agrees to an exploration of the barrow.
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby SunlessNick » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:51 pm

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"I too am unable to read this, but have been lucky in my recent acquaintances. If you will allow me to share your story with them, I believe we will be able to carry out your wishes. Where might this family LaMont be found?"
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:33 pm

"Allow me to perform the role of a laborer," Mister Witherly remarks. "It is not proper work for a lady."

Spoiler:
WIS = 9
Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
1


After some time spent digging with his hands hither and yon, he discovers an object within the barrow, nearly hidden among shards of pottery and such refuse.

Spoiler:
Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
2


It is a small bell, apparently made of pure silver, attached to a ring of the same substance, obviously meant to be worn upon one's finger. It seems not to have undergone any degree of tarnishing, despite the fact that its position within the earth gives evidence that it is of great age.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

"I know only that it lies somewhere between Paris and the great palace at Versailles," the young woman replies. "Pierre never dared to allow his family to see me. We met always by night, in secret, to speak of our love where only the trees were witness to our whispers. Oh, Pierre, Pierre!" With that her head sinks to her breast and the room is filled with the sound of quiet weeping.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

The adventurers eventually meet again at the Coopers Arms, gathering under the wooden sign which hangs before the doorway, to discuss their various encounters and to make plans for the evening and the morning, when the coach will take them to Dover. Ines will be expected to perform, of course, and the others will no doubt wish to be witnesses to this entertainment. Beyond that, they may spend the early part of the evening as they see most fit.

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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby SunlessNick » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:17 am

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Ines will perform as agreed, once again including her musical adaptation of some of Mr Shakespeare's sonnets.

OOC:   Charisma = 9, +3 Beautiful, +3 Dancing Ability, +1 Entertaining
SunlessNick rolled 1D20: 2  


Clearly the company's kindness towards Ines has had a salutory effect (and perhaps, the people of Rochester have a less proprietary attitude toward's the Bard's words than those of Stratford itself). She will wait until after to consult Dr North about the letter, and whether its contents indeed match the story told by the unfortunate guest at the Six Poor Travellers.
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Re: Chapter the Eighth: Across the Channel

Postby Wruter » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:33 pm

Image

Lila passes around the objects unearthed from the historic site for inspection. Perhaps a local could help identify their purpose, she speculates. Failing that, the fact of the silver bell remaining untarnished gives cause to wonder if there is not some preternatural origin to them. She has a reference book on Demonology in her luggage and may if needed consult this later for any mention of such items. Until the evening she retires to the inn to rest.
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