Episode One - The Black Sheep

Journey with us to an alternative 1898, where history rubs shoulders with imagination. Where ‘what was’ is replaced by ‘what might have been’. Leagues of Adventures presents, for your edification – ‘The Dreaming Spires, episode one of the Great Game Campaign’.

“... A time when science itself stands poised to usher in a new golden age, or doom the world to terrible war.
In the ancient university of Cambridge, the scion of an aristocratic family has gone missing, unearthing a plot which threatens to plunge the British Empire into chaos.
Can the intrepid globetrotters solve the Cambridge conspiracy before it’s too late? What secrets lie hidden beneath its dreaming spires?”

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Episode One - The Black Sheep

Postby Priest » Fri May 06, 2016 1:12 pm

Episode One - THE BLACK SHEEP


Having successfully negotiated their way through the riotous assemblage, not withstanding a few minor cuts, bruises, and moments of embarrassment, our intrepid adventurers catch the train for the small town of Norton Carchilders in the county of Surrey, where they have an appointment with Sir Reginald and Lady Fenella Ponsonby to discuss the disappearance of their second son, Edward.

Following a comfortable journey (first class of course), you were collected from the small station, little more than a halt, by a rather stern and heavily moustached coachman with instructions to deliver you to the estate to meet with Sir Reginald and Lady Fenella immediately.

The journey from the station to the impressive Georgian building of the Carchilders Estate is mercifully short, for even the well maintained springs of the open trap cannot fully compensate for the ill maintained roads of rural Surrey.

From the taciturn coachman, whose name you manage to discover is Pilkington. You are able to get little information, yet it would seem that Edward’s apparent disappearance is contrary to the boy’s nature.

After the preliminaries you are shown to the library, where it its luxurious splendour you are introduced to Lady Fenella. It is instantly obvious that she is somewhat distraught, red rimmed eyes and the constant attention of a rather fine lace handkerchief point to sadness and concern. Behind her, dressed in a fine tweed suit, a tall distinguished gentleman stands hands linked behind his back. You guess this is Sir Reginald, even his exemplary British stiff upper lipness can’t totally mask the lines of worry upon his face or the occasional twitch of his well groomed mustachios.

As you enter the room Lady Fenella looks towards you, “Thank you for your swift response and punctuality. I hope the journey was not too much of a hardship” it is more of a statement than a question.

“It seems that two days ago our son Edward, currently at his studies at Cambridge, disappeared. According to his tutor, Dr Oswaldtwistle, he had set off for the train station to travel to London on the evening train. However he failed to arrive at his destination, it may even be that he failed to arrive at the station in Cambridge”

A half snort, half throat clearing from Sir Reginald hints to their being more to this tale than a simple disappearance...
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Re: Episode One - The Black Sheep

Postby Mr. Handy » Sun May 08, 2016 3:54 pm

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"You have my deepest sympathies," says Rachel, her voice filled with compassion. "I know what it's like for someone you love to disappear. My husband, explorer Edgar Steele, vanished on an expedition to the Amazon some years back. He still hasn't been found, but I'm hopeful he will be one day. However, young Edward didn't disappear in some trackless jungle, but in civilised England. I'm confident that we can locate him. Anything you can tell us about him might be helpful. Who are his closest friends? Was there anyone who particularly disliked him? Did he leave behind a diary, perhaps?"
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Re: Episode One - The Black Sheep

Postby Priest » Mon May 09, 2016 12:13 pm

Sir Reginald turns and looks out of the window at a distant gardener pushing a barrow filled with some substance, his voice heavy with an imperious tone, but with an underlying hint of sadness, speaks, "We thank you for your words Madam, though I feel that wherever Edward is now there will be some floosy or something involved"

Still focusing on events outside the window he adds, "I see you cut straight to the chase Madam, as Holmes said you would...Edward it seems was being sent down from Trinity for some misdemeanour or other. So he may have taken himself off somewhere to alleviate his shame".

Her ladyship raises her handkerchief to her eyes as if to wipe away a tear, but you can see a flash of anger lurking momentarily, “My husband sees the world in a very stark pattern. To him Edward is but following in his footsteps as he was himself ‘sent down’ from Trinity during his youth. However his wrong doing involved alcohol and a policeman’s helmet, something I am assured was little more than a youthful prank. However Edward is a sensitive child more given to long hours of romantic poetry and a need to assume a mantle of crusader driven to seek to right the wrongs of society. He much admires the writings of the enlightenment and such modern philosophers as Mr Marx and Mr Bakunin. Whether or not, as my husband puts it, a ‘floosy’ is involved I very much doubt it as he has shown no sign of allowing any romantic attachments compromise his education”

She opens a small box on the table before her and retrieves a small card which she passes across the tabletop, “Edward's tutor at Trinity, Dr Henry Oswaldtwistle, will be expecting you to call. No doubt he can fill in the needed details and also inform you as to just what the ‘dishonourable conduct’ Edward may have committed. As for friends and enemies he never spoke of any, and if he kept a diary it was not here”

The card bears the name, Dr Henry Oswaldtwistle Phd, Trinity College, Cambridge University.

During Lady Fenella’s words the tweed clad figure of Sir Reginald had stayed silent, now he cleared his throat, “Haruumph...Mark my words a floosy. Too much lace and not enough steel...Mark my words some damnable strumpet”
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Re: Episode One - The Black Sheep

Postby jaysun81 » Tue May 10, 2016 12:58 am

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Jonathan mindlessly repacks his pipe as he listens intently, pondering the things said by both Sir Reginald and Lady Fenella. Looking up from his pipe he says, "If I may inquiry, what's young Master Edward's course of study?"
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Re: Episode One - The Black Sheep

Postby Mr. Handy » Tue May 10, 2016 4:37 am

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"Thank you," says Rachel, accepting the card. "We'll be sure to pay him a visit. One other thing might be useful: a recent photograph of Edward, one we can show to people anywhere we think he might have gone so we can see if they recognize him."
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Re: Episode One - The Black Sheep

Postby Priest » Tue May 10, 2016 9:48 am

At Jonathan’s question Lady Fenella looks up, watching with a modicum of distaste as the fellow proceeds to fill his pipe, “Edward was studying old buildings and the like, archaeology I think they term it”

Once more Sir Gerald grumbles, “And spent to much time in the company of those whining socialist poets...But mark my words there’s a woman involved somewhere”

Turning away from the pipe filling Jonathan, Lady Fenella once again reaches into the box removing a small tintype of a smiling young man with curled hair who you estimate to be aged somewhere in his late teens or early twenties. As she passes the picture to Rachel she smiles, “A recent image taken during this year’s Henley Regatta” Of course the stock photographic background of ferns and Palm trees means it was taken in a studio which could have been anywhere.
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Re: Episode One - The Black Sheep

Postby Papa Gateau » Tue May 10, 2016 12:35 pm

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Peter Roxborough stops, realising that he has been pacing around the room liked a caged animal. He smiles an apologetic grin to Lady Fenella, clears his throat before saying

In summary then,

Your son Edward was due to take a train to a destination unknown in London. The destination being unknown, we do not know if he has reached the destination but we are working on the assumption that he has not. Indeed we are not even sure that he took the train to London.

He was responsible for some misdemeanour whilst at Cambridge - the nature and severity of said misdemeanour remains a mystery even to his worried parents. It may have a bearing on his disappearance but equally, as no one seems to know what offence has been caused, it may be of no relevance at all.

There is a possibility that there may be a love interest and
he coughs slightly in mild embarrassment err, to be indelicate, he may be quite safe in the tender arms of this belle but again there is nothing corroborative or substantive other than Sir Reginald's feeling.

And we understand that he has become enamoured of the writings and thoughts of Mr Marx and the anarchist Mr Bukanin
he pauses, looking at Sir Reginald and Lady Fenella To be honest, it is this fact that worries me most. These writings, these anti-establishment and anarchist views, are deeply troubling and threaten the very fabric of our society. It is even more concerning that the son of a Lord and Lady of the Realm should give them more than short shrift.

I wonder whether Edward's misdemeanour has anything to do with his reading and perhaps infatuation with these radicals' writings. A long way from home, without the firm but principled and guiding hand of his parents, dangerous ideas are planted in a young mind, they take root and before anyone knows, he has acted with the impetuosity of youth. Acted in a manner that he later will come to regret.
he pauses again, thinking, unsure whether to continue with his line of thought

Perhaps, and I do not wish to sound alarmist, he was travelling to London to seek like minded individuals, to discuss the dangerous doctrines with other's that may have been similarly infatuated. It is certainly a line of inquiry that we should consider.

Or then again - his infatuation may be of the more carnal variety as intimated by Sir Reginald. Edward is comfortably laid up with his strumpet and you, his parents, are worrying needlessly. Such are the joys of parenthood! Or so I'm led to believe


Realising he has said rather more than he intended, he smiles a little awkwardly. Anyway, you have some of the finest of society at your service and I am sure we will find him safe and secure! Hmm...I don't suppose I could trouble you for a little tea? And maybe or scone or two?"
Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

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Re: Episode One - The Black Sheep

Postby Priest » Tue May 10, 2016 3:30 pm

The sudden cessation in the large man’s pacing accompanied as it was by his abrupt, if in some ways savage, summation of the facts, causes a moment of tension within the room. Sir Gerald, his face reddening slightly above his splendidly presented moustache almost the twin of that sported by his Lordship himself, opened his mouth as if about to speak, resisted the urge and ended opening and closing his mouth goldfish like.

Her ladyship, after gazing for a moment at the tall, athletic hunter with his girth held securely by an obvious yet expensive girdle, answered his tirade, “Sir, I can but hold you and your associates in the highest regard. My cousin Mycroft said you represented the finest minds in the Empire and it would seem he did not speak lightly. I...no we, are certain that you will quickly discover the fate of our son and return him to the loving bosom of his family. In the meantime please do take your ease, I will have Mary bring tea and scones”

Reaching forward to the table she picks up a small silver bell and rings it gently...
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Re: Episode One - The Black Sheep

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed May 11, 2016 5:44 am

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"This is perfect," says Rachel, tucking the picture carefully away in her purse. "Thank you, that would be lovely." She takes a seat. "Mycroft and his brother Sherlock have finer minds than myself, Your Ladyship. I daresay Sherlock Holmes would have this case solved already at this point. Still, I shall do what I can."
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Re: Episode One - The Black Sheep

Postby Priest » Wed May 11, 2016 11:18 am

The tea and scones were excellent, obviously the Ponsonby’s employ a good cook. The conversation, despite the underlying anguish, displayed a wide range of knowledge by Lady Fenella and, surprisingly for such a gruff looking fellow, Sir Gerald. Indeed he was able, perhaps not surprisingly, to find much to talk about with Peter and, showing a depth of study on foreign climates, Jonathan.

Perhaps he was not so at ease in conversation with Rachel and the surprisingly quiet Nellie, but that lack was more than compensated by her Ladyship.

However time, as is its wont, flies and before too long you notice that the time of the return train to London approaches. And you begin to think of departing if you are to make the connection necessary to travel on to Cambridge...

OOC:   When you are ready, unless you can think of further relevant questions, we shall move on to Cambridge. You may all take 1 point of style to add to your existing 3 (Do not forget these are to be used not hoarded)  
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Re: Episode One - The Black Sheep

Postby Papa Gateau » Wed May 11, 2016 3:40 pm

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Peter Roxborough licks a small spot of strawberry jam from the end of his finger and looks forlornly at the empty cake stand

My compliments to your cook Lady Fenella, the strawberry jam was delightful, the clotted cream perfectly clotted and the scones as good as I have ever sampled, though don't tell Pierre I said that!

We must take our leave now if we intend to get to Cambridge today. Our return train will depart shortly and we must cross London to King's Cross; there was an awful rabble at Victoria which hopefully the constabulary will have dealt with but if not then I'd rather not risk being delayed by them.

I am sure that the next time we speak, Edward will be with us and we'll all be laughing at the bother his youthful amour has caused us!
he stands, shakes hands with Sir Reginald gives a polite inclination of his head to Lady Fenella and turns to his fellow adventurers

Ladies, Hornsbee, our carriage awaits!
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Re: Episode One - The Black Sheep

Postby jaysun81 » Thu May 12, 2016 12:10 am

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Pocketing his pipe for the moment Jonathan stands and shakes Sir Reginald's hand before saying, "Good day sir." Turning his attention to Lady Fenella he nods and reassures her, "We will find the lad." He then turns to leave.
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Re: Episode One - The Black Sheep

Postby Mr. Handy » Thu May 12, 2016 4:19 am

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"Yes, it has been a delight," says Rachel. "I just wish we could have met under better circumstances. Rest assured that we will do all within our power to find your son. I've thought of one other thing that might be helpful: any letters he has sent you recently. They may give us an insight into things going on in his life and places he may have gone."
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Re: Episode One - The Black Sheep

Postby Priest » Thu May 12, 2016 1:03 pm

In response to Rachel’s query, Lady Fenella quickly disappears into a separate room and remerges seconds later with a collection of envelopes. “I had anticipated your request and found these out in readiness. They are letters written by Edward over the last six months or so”, she hands the stack to you.

A cursory glance at the various contents reveal nothing more than the day to day travails of a normal student. Although several bear statements that would seem to point to the young man’s socialist leanings, you can find nothing that might show that he was concerned about his safety, or anything that shows him to be involved in anything dangerous.

OOC:   When you are ready please proceed to Episode One/b - Cambridge.  
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Re: Episode One - The Black Sheep

Postby carnage_lee » Thu May 12, 2016 8:57 pm

OOC:   if possible, Nellie will hang on to the letters, something to study in depth on the journey.  
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