Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Romantic Horror, London, circa 1800

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Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Sun Jul 31, 2016 6:33 pm

Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride; Or, Encounters by Moonlight

Harcourt's servant girl Mary has remained at the modest home of Miss Carrow and her aunt. She is so respectful, and so helpful, that Miss Carrow's aunt has granted her permission to undertake the journey to Harcourt House.

"This may be your introduction to society, my dear," she whispers to her virtuous niece.

Thursday evening. A moon, nearly full, rises almost at the same moment that the sun sets. One of credulous mind might think it a night when revenants walk the Earth.

Davros arrives soon after sunset. After Mary and Miss Carrow have settled in, he makes his way to the London quarters of Doctor North. Brief introductions are made, establishing that Doctor North is not only a physician of note, but an Earl, with a castle. An observer of their meeting might speculate that Miss Carrow is delighted to be traveling in such distinguished company, but might also wonder if Doctor North's reputation as one who tampers with matters best left alone may have preceded him. For his part, does the company of two such lovely and charming ladies bring a brief smile to his melancholy expression?

After some time spent negotiating the somewhat less respectable streets of London, the coach arrives at the modest home of Mister Rachman. It is evident to all that his features bear the look of the Orient. Whether this makes his meeting with his fellow travelers an awkward one, or whether the fact that he bears the same invitation from their as yet unseen host lends him enough respectability to overcome his origins, is an interesting question.

In any case, once the coach has left London for a highway leading in a southwesterly direction, the ride becomes too wild for such considerations. Davros compels his horses to run at a furious pace. Surely this is madness at night, even with a bright moon to assist the coach's lanterns in lighting the way! Protests are of no avail, presuming that the coachman can even hear them over his shouts and the crack of his whip. Conversation becomes nearly impossible as the coach jostles its passengers this way and that. The surrounding woodland becomes a silvery blur.

"No worries," Mary manages to shout above the din. "Davy's a rare one for drivin', he is." One must hope her confidence is not misplaced.

After an hour or so of this remarkable journey, it is brought to an unexpected halt. With a enormous crash, a dead tree, its mighty bulk twisted into grotesque shapes, falls in front of the coach. Davros pulls back hard on the reins. The passengers collide into each other and into the sides of their compartment. It seems likely that only the coachman's expert skill has prevented any serious injuries. As Davros descends to examine the damage, and the passengers assure themselves that they are still alive, a loud, deep, but strangely muffled voice comes from the woods.

"Stand and deliver!"

Three figures emerge from their hiding place. Front and center stands a tall, broad man dressed entirely in black. A black cloth covers his face, with only small openings over his eyes. An enormous black hat hides the rest of his head. He holds a pistol in his left hand, pointed at the coach.

At his right hand is a short, thin young man, hardly more than a boy, pale of skin and hair. To his left is an older man, entirely bald, with muscular arms. The young man holds a large dagger in his right hand. The older man holds a throwing knife in each hand.

Davros shouts at his horses. They rear and stomp the ground as if they are enraged. This frightful display distracts the highwaymen for a moment; just long enough for you to emerge from the coach and decide what action you will take.

Will you surrender to these bandits, and hope that they will spare your life? If you are armed, will you attack and hope for the advantage of surprise? Will you attempt to run away into the woods, and hope that they will not find you? Or do you have another plan in mind?

You have only enough time to speak a few words to your fellow passengers, if you choose to work together.

What will you do?

MISS CARROW:

Spoiler:
Please roll d20 against your charisma to see if you faint at this terrifying encounter.


MISTER RACHMAN AND DOCTOR NORTH:

Spoiler:
Take whatever action you please, but please keep in mind that, alas, your Perversity is too high to allow you to benefit from the presence of a True Innocent.
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Re: Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Postby Mr. Handy » Mon Aug 01, 2016 1:31 am

Image

Dr. Henry North had indeed smiled for the first time in what seemed like ages when he met Miss Elizabeth Carrow. There was something about her that was inspiring, that made him want to truly live again, for the first time since he had lost his wife. He hoped he wasn't starting to fall in love with her, for he did not know if he could bear the pain that was likely to follow.

When the highwaymen stop them, he thinks quickly. Had it not been for Miss Carrow's presence in the coach, he would have given them his money and valuables. Those could easily be replaced. However, there is no telling what those miscreants would do to the delicate lady, and he does not intend to give them the chance. "Quick," he whispers to the others, "out the other side of the coach and round the back. We can get the drop on them. Miss Carrow, stay behind us."
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Re: Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Postby Priest » Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:59 am

Despite a rising tide of blackness which momentarilly threatened to engulf her senses, Elizabeth nods to her companion who had introduced himself as Dr Henry North. Then pulling the curtains of the coaches windows closed she retakes her seat andd quickly removes her ring, fumblingly hiding it beneath her seat. It is the only thing of value she owns.

Spoiler:
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Re: Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:25 pm

As the passengers scramble to exit the coach and seek cover, Davros runs directly at the bald man, wielding his whip. The burly highwayman tosses one of his knives.

Spoiler:
The knife-thrower, a former circus performer, has a Dexterity of 16.

Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
12


The blade strikes home! The bold coachman is wounded, but fights on.

Spoiler:
Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d6:
2


He strikes at the bandit with his whip.

Spoiler:
Davros has a Dexterity of 12.

Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
4


The whip slashes at the bald man's other arm. The knife falls to the ground.

Spoiler:
Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d6:
3


The bandit is seriously wounded, and chooses to make a hasty retreat, leaving his fellows behind. Truly there is no honor among thieves!

Davros begins to feel the loss of blood, and makes his way behind the horses, where he collapses.

Meanwhile...

The two remaining highwaymen rush to either side of the coach, surrounding their victims. "Do not harm the women!" the man in the black mask shouts. That may suggest some small amount of decency in the rogue's heart; but perhaps his plans for them are nefarious.

During all this confusion, Doctor North has had time to ready his pistol. Strangely, Mister Rachman seems to have been making odd gestures with an unusual dagger of Oriental design. "Fire at who you wish, Doctor," he says. "I will take the other."

DOCTOR NORTH:

Spoiler:
As requested, I will be temporarily taking control of Rachman while maelstrom is away. Choose which of the two highway you will fire upon, or, if you prefer, do something else.


All are aware that the pistol is a most unreliable weapon, subject to misfiring and not always accurate. The young highwayman would seem to be the easier to put out of commission, lowering the odds, but perhaps it would be wiser to attack the leader. Or maybe there is another way to deal with this situation, if one only had time to think!

Meanwhile . . .

The thunder of hooves fills the air. From the direction of London comes a woman on horseback. There is just enough time to note that she is strikingly beautiful, tall and well-figured, with a mane of lovely dark red hair. Yet there is something about her haunted expression which renders her less attractive than one would imagine at first glance. But there is not a moment to spare in wondering who she might be, or whether she be friend or foe. There is Danger!

Spoiler:
Introducing Miss Davenport.
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Re: Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Postby Rooter » Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:06 pm

Image

Lila Davenport tugs hard on the reins, drawing the hired horse to a sharp halt and gazes at the scene of conflict which greets her. She had decided at the last minute to keep the mysterious Mister Harcourt off-guard by not answering his serving-man's call and secretly following on horseback when he departed, no doubt assuming she had backed out on her agreement to attend his master.

Her eyes flick between the two opposing sides, the highwaymen and the travelers, facing-off in the moonlight with weapons drawn. Her silver dagger slides surreptitiously from her sleeve into the palm of her hand. She can likely take down one man with a good throw.

But first she will let them even the odds a little more in her favor. She is a hunter of demons, not men. Dagger poised, she watches, and waits.
Last edited by Rooter on Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Postby Mr. Handy » Tue Aug 02, 2016 4:29 am

Image

Henry leans around the edge of the coach, using it as cover. He takes aim at the highwayman with the knife, reasoning that the leader's pistol only has one shot, and one that could easily miss. While he no doubt has other weapons, it would take time to ready one, and he may flee as well when he sees that his comrades are hors de combat. While he once took an oath to do no harm, he feels that protecting Miss Carrow - not to mention his own life - is more important. He feels that there might be some other way out of this situation, but in the little time he has he cannot think of it. He only has one shot himself, but he can always use his cane afterwards. He squeezes the trigger, hoping for the best.

Spoiler:
Dexterity roll (Ability 10) shooting at the highwayman with the knife:
Mr. Handy rolled 1d20:
9

Damage from pistol shot:
Mr. Handy rolled 1d6:
4
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Re: Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Postby Priest » Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:00 am

Image

"Oh my" whispers a slightly breathless Elizabeth as the echo of gunfire erupts from outside the coach. Her heart beat quickens, probably from fear. Hwever she must confess a modicum of excitement.
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Re: Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:34 pm

Whether it be due to inherent skill, fate, or the whims of fortune, Doctor North's shot is a deadly one. It strikes the young highwayman in the chest, perhaps lodging itself directly in his heart. Be that as it may, he falls dead without a sound.

Meanwhile . . . .

Something about the odd motions that Mister Rachman has been making with his Oriental dagger seems to have distracted the leader of the bandits. A form of animal magnetism, perhaps? No matter. The momentary lapse in his concentration causes him to turn away. When he regains his wits a moment later, he notices the lady on horseback.

"Blast!" he cries. "This is a bad night's work. And who is this vision of loveliness, who glares so frightfully? Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons? Au revoir!"

With that he tosses three small objects on the ground, two in the direction of the coach, one towards the lately arrived horsewoman, and runs into the woods at high speed. Pursuit would seem impossible.

Upon examination, the objects are discovered to be black roses, one for each lady.

In the eerily silent aftermath of battle, broken only by the distant cry of an owl, one man lies dead, one wounded and insensate.
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Re: Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:16 am

Image

It is too late for the man Henry killed - he does not yet have the knowledge necessary to bring the dead back to life - but he can still help Davros. He quickly makes his way to the fallen coachman's side and kneels beside him, where he opens up his black bag and sees to his wounds.
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Re: Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Postby Priest » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:15 am

Image

Emerging, somewhat cautiously, from the coach, Elzabeth surveys the scene. Ignoring the sight of death, she lingers but a moment upon the vision of the kneeling doctor at his administrations. Sparing a longer period in study of the horse borne newcomer.
Elizabeth Carrow thinking:   Surely to be riding unaccompanied so late is hardly the bevaviour expected of a woman, even of the most modern disposition?  

She smiles in a polite gesture of welcome, though a hint of curiosity is visibly apparent. Then, as if to cover any show of confusion or excitement in this nights events, she climbs from the coach and picks one of the three objects, tossed by the departing Highwayman, from the ground.
"A rose...a black rose to be precise, how odd. Do they convey some hidden message of love, or doom?"

Raising it to her nostrils she sniffs for any hint of perfume, while gazing whistfully toward the woods into which the ne'er-do-well had fled.
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Re: Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:04 am

The coachman's wound is serious, if not immediately fatal. The throwing knife remains in his body, the blade deep in his flesh, between two ribs on the left side, just below the heart. Blood leaks along its handle, black in the moonlight. Removing it might cause even more hemorrhaging. Perhaps if one were to act quickly enough, it might be possible to seal the wound without much more loss of blood. Or there might be another way.

The unconscious man's breathing is slow and shallow. There is not much time to save his life. What is to be done?

DOCTOR NORTH:

Spoiler:
You may attempt to save the man's life in one of two ways:

1. Normal medical skills and supplies. Add three to your Intelligence and make an ability check.

However, to make things interesting, due to the proximity of the blade to a vital organ, you must also make an ability check against your Dexterity! You must work quickly and accurately!

2. You may choose to use the Cauterizer. It will work automatically, but it will take a full day and night to prepare it for further use.

And to make things interesting . . .

Mary, if no one else, will witness the Mad Invention in use, since Davros is a special friend to her. Since she is also a little chatterbox, word will spread. If you choose to use the device, I will secretly roll d20. If the result is 20, some time during this adventure, an Angry Mob will take an interest in things! No telling when that might happen, of course.


Meanwhile . . .

A close examination of the black rose, even when held directly in the light of a coach lantern, reveals that it is not simply a very dark red, or any other color which would appear black in moonlight. It is truly black; a thing which, as far as anyone present knows, does not exist in nature.

Its aroma is almost overpowering, a scent which is both sweet and musky, like the most costly and exotic perfumes of Araby (to borrow a phrase from the Bard, from a play whose title is best left unspoken.) Strangely, the scent does not fade with time. One might sink into it forever . . .

Perhaps it would be best to cast the thing away, as Mary does, before she rushes to the side of Davros in tears. Perhaps it would be best to keep it in a secure place, for future study and appreciation. Was it offered to you as a curse or a blessing?

MISS CARROW:

Spoiler:
Please indicate what you will do the mysterious flower.


MISS DAVENPORT:

Spoiler:
Please indicate what you will do with the flower. If you choose to, you may also make add one to your Intelligence because of your Demonology skill and roll a twenty-sided die to see if you know anything about the supernatural aspects of black roses. If you choose to do this, you may not take any other major action for some time, to indicate the time spent contemplating it.

I know you are not used to role playing games, so what you want to do is obtain a random number from 1 to 20. If the number is lower than or equal to than your Intelligence plus one, you succeed, and I will tell you what you know. If it is higher, you do not know anything about it.

To obtain the number, in your post hit the spoiler button, then the dice button, then type in "1d20" (without the quotation marks) in between the "/dice" and "/spoiler" boxes.

Let me know if you have any trouble with this. It can be a little tricky if you are not used to it.


Meanwhile . . .

Mister Rachman seems a bit dazed and exhausted, perhaps because of his odd behavior during the battle, and will not be of much help for a while.
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Re: Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:07 am

Image

Henry acts quickly. Seeing how serious the coachman's wound is, he realizes that the only sure way to save him is to use the Cauteriser. It is precisely for this purpose that he invented it. Taking it from his belt, he quickly flips the switch to allow the chemicals within to mix and react, generating heat from the rod. The rubber grip by which he holds it insulates his hand. He pulls the knife out and applies his invention to the wound in one swift motion, running the rod back and forth over the wound until it closes and the bleeding stops. His normally dark mood lifts, and he feels exultant at having claimed someone back from the very brink of death. "He's alive!" Henry shouts to the heavens. "Alive!"
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Re: Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Postby Priest » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:54 pm

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At Dr North's sudden cry, Elizabeth is whisked back to reality, Her perfume filled dreams banished into the night. She takes in the tableau before her, the coachman laid flat a blood darkened dagger beside him; her maid, Mary, eyes filled with worry close by him; and the doctor hands clasped as if in prayer, a wild look of joy on his face.

With one last, lingering look at the rose, she carefully tucks it inside her purse before rushing back to the coach to reclaim her ring. Later, when alone, she will carefully press the rose between the pages of her illicit letter, for who knows how the two things may be linked.
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Re: Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Postby Rooter » Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:26 pm

Image

Eyeing the gathered travelers in the wake of the stand-off, Lila sheathes her dagger and dismounts. She notes the soppy-looking woman casting a somewhat disapproving gaze in her direction but ignores her, stooping to pick up the object tossed in her direction by the fleeing highwayman. The black rose seems to hold some significance and she ponders for several moments, trying to recall if she has happened across mention of such a sign before.

Spoiler:
Rooter rolled 1d20:
16
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Re: Chapter the Second: A Furious Ride

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:57 pm

If there is something preternatural about the ebony blossom, its meaning escapes Miss Davenport's period of silent meditation. Whether it be a sport of nature, a fraud perpetrated by some trickster, the creation of a highly skilled natural philosopher, or the product of witchery, it remains a mystery.

There are more important concerns. Davros remains unaware of his environment, but his respiration has returned to normal. The gentleman carry him into the coach. Mister Rachman, recovered from his brief episode, volunteers to drive the coach onward. With some effort, he manages to direct the horses around the enormous bulk of the fallen tree. Fortunately, the coach has suffered no serious damage.

The coach proceeds slowly, followed closely by Miss Davenport and her steed. As luck would have it, Harcourt House lies at no great distance from the place where the travelers were accosted.

(Was there a reason that the attack took place so close to the home of the yet unseen host? One can only speculate.)

The house is of modest size for the country manor of a gentleman, solidly built from brick and stone. Candlelight can be observed from some of the windows. Upon arrival, a young groom takes command of the horses and directs the journeyers to the main entrance. He seems startled by the sight of the unconscious Davros, but performs his duties faithfully.

Mary rushes forward to the iron door knocker, which has been cast in the shape of a grinning cherub. Bang! Bang! Bang!. The door is pulled open quickly. The man who stands within does not seem to be a servant.

"Oh, Mister!" Mary cries. "Davy's been hurt!"

"Carry him within, quickly!" The man steps aside, allowing his guests to enter with their burden.

You are about to meet your host for the first time.

Spoiler:
The Patient Reader will soon be offered the opportunity to proceed to Chapter the Third.
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