Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Romantic Horror, London, circa 1800

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Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:49 am

Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade; Or, Disguises and Deceptions

An alert observer with acute night vision might have noticed two figures removing a large object, covered in a sheet, from an outbuilding after Doctor North and Mister Rachman had returned to Harcourt House. Be that as it may, both the ladies, having retired earlier, and the gentlemen, fatigued from their work, enjoyed a restful night.

The next morning, to the surprise of most, Doctor North already appeared in full array as Sir Isaac Newton, the celebrated natural philosopher of more than half a century ago. He wore an old-fashioned large, high, parted wig, familiar from portraits of the late Master of the Royal Mint. His justaucorps, jacket, and breeches were decades out of style. In one hand held he held a prism, in the other a small reflecting telescope, these odd items no doubt obtained from Mister North's collection of curiosities. It seemed unlike Doctor North, a most sober gentleman, to behave in such a whimsical manner early in the morning.
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Mr. Handy » Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:15 am

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Henry has been in a funk since he had woken up this morning. He had found the masquerade costume laid out for him, but in his mind those were his usual clothes. While he longs to spend the day with Elizabeth, which might snap him out of his foul mood, he feels that his first priority should be to prepare his invention for potential future use in case it is needed. With its chemical reservoirs discharged, it would not be able to save someone's life in the event of an emergency. The new formula he had acquired would have to wait as well.
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Priest » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:16 pm

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Having had a restful night, following a pleasant night of chat and dominoes with their host and the interesting, if reserved, Miss Davenport. Elizabeth takes breakfast with the other guests. For a moment Dr North's odd dress confuses her but she quickly realises he has decided to dress for the masquerade at an early hour. She guesses it is nothing more than an ecentricity of the good doctor.
"Why sir, I see you are ready for the festivities"

She carefuly arranges her napkin,
"I had hoped you would escort me this afternoon to the Dupray house, but I fear you might spoil the suprise of your costume for the evening. Perhaps I could entreate Miss Davenport to accompany me?"
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Rooter » Thu Aug 11, 2016 1:38 pm

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Lila is already feeling somewhat restless and anxious to undertake her nocturnal task, knowing that something strange is afoot. The sight of Doctor North in his finery at the breakfast table, providing an unwelcome reminder of the upcoming masquerade ball, only serves to heighten her tension.

Despite her misgivings she readily agrees to Miss Carrow's request to accompany her to the musical recital, glad of the distraction. Though she attended many such occasions during her previous life as an heiress it has been a number of years since the last time. Who knows, perhaps the music will enable her to relax and to temporarily forget the pain which drives her on.
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Thu Aug 11, 2016 8:33 pm

MISS CARROW AND MISS DAVENPORT:

Spoiler:
The Duprays are aware of the unfortunate circumstances which have deprived Mister Harcourt of his coachman. Davros continues to recover slowly, sustained by broth and brandy, as well as the tender care of Mary. They send a small carriage to conduct the ladies to the salon. They are also well aware of the fact that Mister Harcourt is unable to tolerate daylight and will not be able to attend. (Is this why they chose to conduct the salon in the daytime? One can only speculate.) The fact that Doctor North and Mister Rachman will not be in attendance may not be a matter of concern to them; when the ladies arrive at the home of the Duprays -- a small but elegant cottage in the French style, located at some distance from Harcourt House -- the hosts are already busy with their guests. Introductions are made.

Miss Dupray and Mister Dupray, although English-born, are dressed stylishly in the French manner. They are so much alike in appearance -- brown-haired, dark-eyed, delicate of feature -- that it is evident that they are not only siblings, but twins. There is only a moment for brief conversation before the concert begins.

It is a remarkable fact that there are far more women present than men, and that most of them are young and pretty. In fact, as the salon proceeds, it is evident that all of the performers are such, and the men present are merely there as escorts.

As is inevitable, some of the young ladies, whether they sing or play an instrument, are more proficient than others. There is polite applause and kind words for all, but only a few are taken by the siblings into the garden for special attention, as Mister Harcourt indicated.

At last it is time for Miss Carrow to perform. She is given sheet music for a French song composed by Monsieur Martini a few years ago, and a few minutes to study it. Another young lady plays the opening notes on the harpsichord, and music fills the room.

Plaisir d'amour ne dure
Qu'un moment.
Chagrin d'amour dure
Toute la vie.


As the song continues, it can be seen that Miss Dupray makes certain complicated gestures with her fan, opening and closing it and pointing it in various directions. Her brother notices this and nods to her. Those who have some experience with society may be aware that she is "speaking" in the language of fans. Miss Carrow is innocent of such matters, but Miss Davenport may know something of them.

Miss Carrow, please add 3 to your Constitution (yes, Constitution, since singing requires good, healthy lung power) for your asset of singing ability and make an Ability Check to determine if you have performed exceptionally well.

[As a reminder, if an Ability Roll happens to fail, you may choose to spend your single point of Grace to attempt the roll again. At your level, this can only be done once per adventure, so choose when to use it wisely.]

Miss Davenport, please make TWO Ability Checks against your Intelligence.

You will add 3 to your Intelligence for your gift for languages and see if you can translate the song lyrics.

You will NOT add 3 to your Intelligence to see if you understand the language of fans, as this is more a matter of social customs than a true language.
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Priest » Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:02 pm

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For a heart stopping instant, Elizabeth is convinced she has missed a note. Her blood freezing in her veins she swiftly gazes towards Miss Dupray, in search of a hint of dissapointment. But Miss Dupray's face stays enigmatic, providing no hint as to her feelings.

The moment passes and Elizabeth continues with a burst of sweetness that surely cannot have failed to impress. Although the words of the song, being French, mean little to her, she looks at her companion. Surely Miss Davenport, among her other accomplishments, can speak a few words of the language and therefore translate the piece for her.

Spoiler:
Last edited by Priest on Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Rooter » Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:37 pm

Spoiler:
Intelligence check re lyrics 11+3
Rooter rolled 1d20:
12


Intelligence check re fans 11
Rooter rolled 1d20:
18
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Thu Aug 11, 2016 10:15 pm

Wruter wrote:
Spoiler:
Intelligence check re lyrics 11+3
Original post: Rooter rolled 1d20:
12


Intelligence check re fans 11
Original post: Rooter rolled 1d20:
18


Spoiler:
Miss Davenport is quite familiar with the French language.

The pleasure of love lasts only a moment
The grief of love lasts a lifetime.

You gave me up for the beautiful Sylvia,
She is leaving you for another lover.

The pleasure of love lasts only a moment,
The grief of love lasts a lifetime.

"As long as this water will run gently
Towards this brook which borders the meadow,

I will love you", Sylvia told you repeatedly.
The water still runs, but she has changed.

The pleasure of love lasts only a moment,
The grief of love lasts a lifetime.


Whether this melancholy lyric is meant as an omen for the fate of either of the two ladies is open to interpretation.

Unfortunately, the gestures made by Miss Dupray are unknown to Miss Davenport.
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Thu Aug 11, 2016 10:43 pm

Priest wrote:
Spoiler:
Constitution roll: 12: 1d20 4.
I will use the point of Grace for a reroll, as I think this roll may be critical
Constitution roll: 12: 1d20 3
Blast it seems the fates are against me tonight.



Spoiler:
The Duprays are delighted by your performance. As Mister Harcourt indicated, they lead you to their garden, while the other guests are occupied in conversation.

The garden is extraordinary. Few of the plants are even familiar to you, and must have come from places as exotic as the New World. The Duprays will be a little surprised if you select monk's hood. [You have the option to choose something else if you wish, if you wish to break your word to Mister Harcourt.] Miss Dupray will say "Are you quite sure, ma cherie?" (The use of French is strictly an affectation.)

In any event, no matter what your choice may be, you will be surprised to discover a small note appended to the sheet music that was given to you. It contains this bit of ridiculous doggerel:

My FIRST is what thy lips must be,
If ever they be kissed;
My SECOND thou hast won from me,
But ne'er shall be missed;
My WHOLE I soon will be to thee;
O Love, do not resist!


Can you decipher this riddle?

(You may also ask Miss Davenport if she will translate the lyrics of the French song for you, if you wish.)
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Mr. Handy » Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:07 am

Image

Henry regrets not having gone with Elizabeth, but he knows that his work is important. He resolves to spend more time with her tomorrow. He is confused why she should think his clothing is supposed to be a surprise. This is how he dresses every day.
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Priest » Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:43 am

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Following the performance, which it seems was well received, Elizabeth finds her attention drawn to the strange ryhme added to the sheet of music. She studies it hard, thinks about the possibilities, but finds herself unable to make any sense of it. Perhaps Miss Davenport will be able to assist her with this also?

She makes her way through the small gathering towards her companion, but finds herself led by the Duprays to their garden. It is all that Mr Harcourt had said; surely it is a garden to rival those of Kew, and amidst all the colour and rarity she spies the plant requested by Mr Harcourt. So to her hosts obvious suprise she fulfils the requirement of her mentor.
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Rooter » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:24 pm

Image

Lila has found the recital restful if melancholy at times and was impressed by Miss Carrow's vocal performance. Her attention was momentarily diverted during the song by a surreptitious gesture from Miss Dupray with her fan toward her twin brother. Though aware of the so-called language of fans used in high society, she is unable to grasp its meaning, having been absent from that world for so long.

Upon rejoining her companion before their departure she is pleased to be able to translate the song lyrics for her. The words, when spoken aloud, strike her as foreboding somehow. Are the Duprays more than they seem?

The riddle presents a further mystery. Lila ponders its meaning...

Spoiler:
OOC:   I think I know the answer but I'm not sure if an ability check is required to see if Lila does?  
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Fri Aug 12, 2016 6:44 pm

The ladies have chosen to share their information with each other and, presumably, anyone who might be interested in them.

The French song lyrics:

The pleasure of love lasts only a moment
The grief of love lasts a lifetime.

You gave me up for the beautiful Sylvia,
She is leaving you for another lover.

The pleasure of love lasts only a moment,
The grief of love lasts a lifetime.

"As long as this water will run gently
Towards this brook which borders the meadow,

I will love you", Sylvia told you repeatedly.
The water still runs, but she has changed.

The pleasure of love lasts only a moment,
The grief of love lasts a lifetime.


The riddle:

My FIRST is what thy lips must be,
If ever they be kissed;
My SECOND thou hast won from me,
But ne'er shall be missed;
My WHOLE I soon will be to thee;
O Love, do not resist!


Spoiler:
The riddle is intended as a problem for the players, not the characters. Anyone who wishes to solve it may do so freely.
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Rooter » Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:35 pm

Image

After a moment's consideration Lila glances at Miss Carrow, wondering at such naivete. She finds it difficult to believe anyone could truly be such an innocent. "I believe the intent of this message is one of seduction," she says.

My FIRST is what thy lips must be,
If ever they be kissed;
SWEET

My SECOND thou hast won from me,
But ne'er shall be missed;
HEART

My WHOLE I soon will be to thee;
O Love, do not resist!
SWEETHEART
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:22 am

It is evident that Miss Davenport has correctly deduced the meaning of the puzzling verse, although its author remains unknown. Having safely secured the sprig of monk's hood (which Miss Davenport is more familiar with under the name of wolf's bane,) the visiting ladies are returned to Harcourt House in time to prepare for the masquerade. In contrast to Doctor North, who has been in costume since morning, Mister Rachman has not yet given even a slight hint as to how he will be arrayed.

As the sun sets, and Mister Harcourt emerges from seclusion, Miss Carrow gives over possession of the plant. Mister Harcourt is very thankful, and places it in a safe place.

Guests begin to arrive. Although Miss Davenport nearly fades into the background with her simple domino mask, Miss Carrow is a vision as the ill-fated Anne Boleyn. She is dressed in a kirtle of crimson velvet and a robe of purple velvet, both richly decorated with ermine. On her head is a coronet and a cap festooned with pearls and other precious stones. (Whether these are truly ermine and gems, or clever imitations, would require an expert to determine.) An historian might point out that Anne was dark, and Miss Carrow is fair, but such pedantry would hardly be appropriate on this occasion.

Mister North's recreation of Sir Isaac Newton wins great admiration for its authenticity. Indeed, many remark that he truly seems to be living the part, and would make a fine actor.

Mister Harcourt appears a short time later in a simple chiton, as worn in ancient Greece. A wide swath of cloth is wrapped around his unique spectacles, completely hiding them from view. He wears sandals and carries a lyre. It seems clear that he has come in the guise of the blind poet Homer, with perhaps a bit of sardonic humor directed at his own infirmity. (As a practical matter, no doubt the cloth also protects his eyes from excessive light, as the masquerade requires Harcourt House to be illuminated with a larger number of candles than normal.)

The masquerade is an intimate one, as these affairs go. The guests engage in conversation, with witty remarks and flirtatious compliments exchanged as the common coin of society. There is a little dancing, ranging from the somewhat old-fashioned minuet to the more recent allemande. (The trio of musicians who accompany this activity is, perhaps, more enthusiastic than gifted.)

It is a peculiarity of the acoustics of the hall in which the masquerade takes place that private conversation is difficult, if not impossible. In many places it seems to act almost as a whispering gallery, such as is found in Saint Paul's Cathedral. One might be able to overhear many interesting conversations.

Mister North: I tell you that I invented the method of fluxions, and not that devil Leibniz!

A gentleman dressed as a shepherd: I believe you, my dear sir, I believe you! My word, you do take take your role seriously!


_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Mister Harcourt: You will be ready to perform the ceremony when all the items have been assembled?

Mister Rachman: I will be ready, sir.



_______________________________________________________________________________________________

(Miss Davenport finds herself strangely drawn to a gentleman standing off by himself. His disguise is one which brings a shudder to sensitive souls. He wears simple black clothing which appears to be covered with dust. His skin has been rendered a sickly yellow-gray. Large fangs emerge from his mouth, and his hands bear long, curved claws. He has chosen the guise of a vampyre of the most repulsive type; the nosferatu of Romanian legend. Only after a moment is Miss Davenport absolutely sure that he is not truly one of the undead.)

The "vampyre": We must talk, you and I.

Miss Davenport: Not now! I must be off.


(Miss Davenport attempts to leave quietly.)

Spoiler:
Please make an Ability Check against your Dexterity to see if you escape unnoticed.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

(The Duprays arrive a little later than the other guests. At first it seems that they have neglected to select costumes, and are wearing ordinary evening clothes. Upon closer inspection, it is discovered that the whimsical twins have come en travesti. Miss Dupray is wearing her brother's waistcoat and breeches, and Mister Dupray is wearing his sister's gown. When addressed, Miss Dupray answers in a deep voice, and Mister Dupray responds in falsetto. They approach Miss Carrow.)

"Miss" Dupray: Good evening, ma petite! How delightfully you portray the famous Queen!

Miss Carrow: Thank you, uh, sir, uh, madam, uh---

"Mister" Dupray: Don't lose your head, pretty one. Of course, you already did that, didn't you? To the King. That was some time after you lost your maidenhead to him.


("Miss" Dupray slaps "Mister" Dupray on the head with "her" fan.)

"Miss" Dupray: Wicked, wicked fellow! Please forgive my foul-minded brother, my dear. Come away with me, and we will speak of nicer things.

("Miss" Dupray takes Miss Carrow by the hand. It is a fine point of etiquette as to whether "her" disguise renders this act of intimacy acceptable or not.)

__________________________________________________________________________________

These various encounters are soon interrupted by an unexpected visitor . . .
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Mr. Handy » Sat Aug 13, 2016 3:16 am

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Henry pauses from the tale he is recounting to his fellow guests of his exploits in hunting down counterfeiters as part of his duties while in charge of the Royal Mint and turns to see who this mysterious new arrival is.
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Priest » Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:50 am

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Elizabeth is enjoying the festivities enormously, as it seems are all. The skill that Mary has used in the creation of her costume speaks of a wonderous ability which would not be misplaced amongst the finest dressmakers of the city. She does her best to play the role of the great beauty that not only became wife to King Henry VIII, but the mother of the probably the greatest ruler of England, Queen Eizabeth I herself.

The irony of names does not fail to amuse her, and for a brief moment she thinks perhaps she should have chosen the 'Virgin Queen' instead. However, such musings are quickly disturbed by the arrival of the Duprays, and for a few moment she is confused by the Dupray's choice of costume. Is this a joke? If it is she fails to see the humour.

Across the room she can see Miss Davenport seemingly in conversation with the most oddly dressed fellow, but she is quickly lost to view as the Dupray's descend upon her.

Whilst speaking with the 'reverse' Duprays she ifinds herself slightly alarmed by the overfamiliarity of Mr, or should that be Miss, Duprays touch, but decides that the rules of Maquerade probably permit such departure from social norms. Smiling, her face displaying the excitement of the hour, Elizabeth allows 'Miss' Dupray to escort her...
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Rooter » Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:00 am

Image

Lila is almost beginning to enjoy the ball until she notices the vampyre. For a heart-stopping moment she is transported back to that terrible time and the images of love and hate which still haunt her every night. The realization that the man is simply wearing a costume is only scant relief and, suddenly flustered, she forces her mind toward her impending task. As the rest of the guests' attentions are distracted by a new arrival she takes the opportunity to slip away unnoticed.

Spoiler:
Dexterity check re escape: 18
Rooter rolled 1d20:
4
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby maelstrom » Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:28 am

Image

After spending a restful night, Duncan spends his morning wandering the grounds of Harcourt Hall looking to see if he can find any plants or herbs of interest to his studies.
He finds himself drawn to a beautifully shaped willow tree, in one corner of the garden, by an ornamental pond. Hidden underneath the skirt of the willows fronds, in the dappled light and shade,Duncan feels almost as if he was under the shaded canopy of Home and spends a pleasant hour lost in thoughts of home and meditating on current events.

Feeling more centred after his morning Duncan heads back to his room to prepare for the coming masquerade, not something he has been looking forward to. Never being at his most comfortable in large groups and not being fully conversant with the nuances, by which so many people here, live their lives. But certainly not wishing to give offence to his generous host, he feels he must attend. So deciding to stay, at least on some sort of familiar ground, he will attend as Faust, the man who sold hid Soul to the devil for wisdom and humanly pleasures.

Dressed in a long black cape with a renaissance style flat cap , holding a long stave and a scroll made up to look like his pact with the devil, he enters the ball. To his relief the event does not seem to be of the overwhelming proportions he has heard they can reach. He wanders the room passing brief pleasantries with those he encounters.

He finds Miss Carrow dressed in her finery amidst a crowd, like a lantern drawing moths. He manoeuvres through them bows and takes her hand and kisses the back of it, “ Your Majesty, a consummate pleasure to meet you. I am but your humble servant.” Smiling he stands and after quick introductions to the surrounding guest moves on.

Shortly he comes across Miss Davenport in conversation with someone dressed as a vampyre. It becomes apparent, from her furtive glances,she wishes to be else where. He steps in “ Good evening Miss Carrow, a pleasure as always.” turning to face the creature “ Good evening to you Sir, a most unusual costume you have chosen for yourself, Is it true you vampyres can turn yourselves into bats” he says clasping his cloak and raising his arms like wings, Shielding miss Carrow briefly. “ Ah, my good friend doctor North is over there, please excuse me” he says with a bow and moves off quickly.

Walking over to Dr. North, he finds him in animated discussion with another gentleman. “ Good evening Doctor... I mean Sir isacc. I hope your are enjoying the evening?” Just at that moment there is a whispered murmur around the room and all eyes turn to the door.
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Re: Chapter the Fourth: The Masquerade

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Sat Aug 13, 2016 7:30 pm

MISS DAVENPORT:

Spoiler:
The bold Demon Hunter has successfully made her escape from the masquerade without drawing unwanted attention. In a few minutes she is astride her hired steed, off to the churchyard.

It is a moody place even by day; at night, with the ruins and monuments under moonlight, it is truly eerie. Here and there the rotting remains of a fallen tree are covered with glowing blue-green fungus, resulting in the phenomenon commonly known as fairy fire.

As Miss Davenport alights from the horse, it nickers nervously. There is something about this place which disturbs it. Miss Davenport attempts to calm the beast.

(Please add 3 to your Charisma for your equestrian skills and make an Ability Check to see if you can control the horse. If successful, it will remain. If not, it will suddenly run off, and you will have to walk back to Harcourt House.)

It is fairly easy to locate the unmarked grave which she seeks. It hardly deserves the term at all; it is merely a place where the ground has been dug up and then piled up again. A few minutes of digging unearths a wooden box. Miss Davenport pulls it out of the ground and opens it. Within it is a human hand, preserved against decay in some fashion. The fingers and thumb have been coated with wax, and wicks inserted into them.

(Please add 1 to your Intelligence for your Demonology skill and make an ability check to see what you know about this weird object.)

While busy with this task, Miss Davenport hears a noise from not far away. It seems to be a combination of cracking and sucking sounds. She stands and seeks out the source.

Crouched above a grave, digging into it and pulling out what it finds, is what appears to be a naked woman. Her hair is long and white and matted with dirt. Her skin is gray, dirt-crusted, and covered with multiple blotches of purple, gray, and blue. She gnaws on a human bone she has found, clutching it with hands that possess long, sharp claws. Even at a distance the stench of corruption coming from her is overpowering. She turns from her hideous meal and notices the woman watching her.

(There are several factors to consider here.

First of all, you must make an Ability Check on your Constitution to see if you are overcome with nausea from the smell. If successful, you are able to withstand it. If not, you will have to subtract 3 from all abilities while near the creature.

You may choose to flee. If the horse is still available, mounting it will require enough time to allow the creature one attack. It might attack you or the horse.

If on foot, you will have to match your speed against that of the creature, which you do not yet know.

You may decide to attack with any weapons you possess. During combat you add one to every ability for all checks. If you attack, you may do so right away, or take time to consider what you know about the creature, and its strengths and weaknesses, once again making an ability check on your intelligence plus one. This will allow the creature to attack first. Again, it may attack you or the horse, if it is still present.)

Good luck!
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