Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Romantic Horror, London, circa 1800

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Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:56 am

Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest; Or, The Perils of Valor

After the proper arrangements have been made, the adventurers return to Harcourt House with their new companion, Mister Witherly. It is clear that some tragic event in the past has rendered him a brooding and unconventional man, but subtle questioning has yielded little in the way of specific information.

Upon arrival, inquiries are made as to what may have transpired during the absence of Mister Harcourt's guests and benefactors. Herr Hoffer is able to confirm that Mister Harcourt's condition is directly connected to the phases of the Moon. During the night of the new Moon, he appeared merely to be a very sick and weak man, not the beastly creature he was during the full Moon. It is now a few days after the New Moon, and Mister Harcourt is becoming bestial again, requiring restraint. "I fear that when the Moon is next full," Herr Hoffer says, "we will be unable to prevent his escape and rampage."

Magda is nearly recovered from her injury, although she remains melancholy and subdued, now that her fellows have abandoned her. Mister Dupray's condition is unchanged, as far as the servants of Mister Harcourt are aware. In happier matters, it is evident that Davros and Mary are spending much time together, and seem to have found solace from their painful memories with each other's company.

"I trust that the General and His Grace were of some assistance," Herr Hoffer remarks. "Is there anything we can do for Mister Harcourt before he succumbs once more to his affliction?"

This will, certainly, require much thought and discussion. While the others talk it over, a servant gives a note to Miss Davenport. It is of very fine linen paper, sealed with red wax. Oddly, the wax bears no signet, as if the sender did not wish to be identified. On the outside, in very thin, spidery handwriting, there is only the word DAVENPORT; hardly the polite way to address a lady. When opened, a message in the same handwriting, written in the same peculiar reddish brown ink, is discovered.

DO NOT THWART MY WILL HARCOURT IS MINE FLEE OR PERISH
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:10 am

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"They were indeed helpful, Herr Hoffer," says Henry. "There may be something we can do, but it will not be easy. However, we do have a chance now." He explains what they told him about using base metals or gold to complete the ritual and potentially break the curse, but not without risk.

Henry feels a sort of kinship with Mr. Witherly, having himself been subject to similar moods and reluctant to talk about their cause. He had had moments of excitement in between his own bouts of melancholy, usually when making some scientific discovery, such as when he had perfected the Cauterizer. It had only been after meeting Elizabeth that he had started to come out of his shell somewhat. He does not press Mr. Witherly about his circumstances, leaving the man to his privacy, as Henry would not have wished to be questioned in such a way.
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Rooter » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:19 pm

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Lila reads the note with a shiver of apprehension; it seems that whatever malignant personage threatens Mister Harcourt--whether the masked highwayman or some other as yet unseen antagonist--has singled her out as an enemy. Still, she refuses to be cowed by such threats. She shows the note to Herr Hoffer. "Perhaps our quarry is closer than we think. We must be on our guard at all times."

Having pondered matters during the journey back to Harcourt House, she relates to her companions what she read of Antoine Dupray's visions suggesting a haunting by Phantoms, methods of dismissing them including the use of enchanted or blessed objects, or those made from iron or silver, or, in certain cases, simply through a powerful demonstration of Faith. "I do not know if Monsieur Dupray's condition may be connected to that of our host but I should also like to help the poor man if we can. Do you not agree, Elizabeth?"
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Priest » Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:47 pm

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"My thoughts exactly" says Elizabeth to Lila. "If my presence can be excused whilst the gentlemen prepare the necessary ingredients for their purposes, I shall take the opportunity to call upon Monsieur Dupray and enquire as to his health" She adds almost as if in afterthought "And that of his dear sister too"

Turning to face Lila she whispers almost conspitorial, "It seems we both have secret admirers. Though I like yours not one jot"
Last edited by Priest on Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Rooter » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:11 pm

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Lila is faintly stunned by this declaration. "My dear Elizabeth, such an uncharitable opinion does you a disservice. If you are perhaps referring to Mister Witherly then I beg you to reconsider for I feel certain that he is an honorable gentleman of rare breeding and distinction. And I do not think it safe that any of us should travel alone outside while certain ... unfriendly elements are at large," she adds, thinking of the threatening note. "I shall accompany you to the Dupray residence if you please and perhaps Mister Witherly will be kind enough to escort us there for I should like to introduce him to Monsieur Dupray. I am sure these two poetic souls shall get along famously and you shall come to like him also."

She turns back to the others. "Gentlemen, Miss Carrow and I are making a social call. Mister Witherly, would you care to join us? As Herr Hoffer points out it is a few days past New Moon hence we have just over a week until it is full again. I was going to suggest that a perusal of our host's extensive library might yield some information on the required process. Doctor North, with your expertise in natural philosophy and Mister Rachman's knowledge of the arcane arts I am confident you will be eminently capable in this regard."
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Mr. Handy » Thu Nov 24, 2016 6:58 am

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"Yes, I shall get started on research," says Henry. "If iron has power over malevolent spirits, my lodestone may be of use. Feel free to borrow it."
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:49 pm

Mister Harcourt's library contains a few volumes related to alchemy and the related arts, which Doctor North and Mister Rachman peruse whilst the ladies and Mister Witherly pay their respects to Mister Dupray.

Spoiler:
Doctor North Intelligence = 12 + 1 for Scientific Knowledge = 13

Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
7


A relevant volume provides detailed information on the various effects the metals in question may have on those who come in contact with them.

Copper is the mildest of the base metals, and the safest to use. It has been shown to be of benefit in afflictions concerning the limbs, such as gout. Its use may induce amorousness, either in the form of gentle affection or animal lust.

Iron has a stronger effect. It is helpful in cases involving weakening of the blood. It can induce courage and aggressiveness.

Tin, somewhat surprisingly from its apparent softness compared to other metals, is even more powerful. It has been used to treat those suffering from disorders of the psyche, particularly melancholy. Fittingly, it may lead to changes in the emotional state of the patient, from joy to mania.

Both quicksilver and lead, as Doctor North knows well, can be poisonous even in small amounts. Both have powerful effects, those of quicksilver dealing with movement, vision, and communication, those of lead being nearly opposite to those of tin. It is evident that the use of these dangerous substances be limited to the most desperate circumstances.

The fact that it has sometimes been used to adorn the food of royalty and the very wealthy, with no ill effects, reveals that the noble metal gold is safe to use in reasonable amounts, and almost entirely beneficial. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments, with moderate success, and tends to induce an overall feeling of benevolence, although it can also lead to egoism.

There are also some astrological volumes of interest discovered by Mister Rachman.

Spoiler:
Wisdom = 17 + 1 for Esoteric Knowledge = 18

Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
2


These will enable the materials in question to be used at the proper times of day (or, more likely, night) for the best effect.
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Priest » Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:13 pm

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Elizabeth's cheeks redden at Lila's adminishment, "I do apologise if my words did cause offence. I spoke without in haste without thought and, it would seem, uncharitably. I am sure that Mr Witherley has many admirable qualities which we may yet come to know"
To avoid further uncomfortableness Elizabeth quickly leaves the room in search of a heavy coat suitable for the journey to the Duprays house.

OOC:   Sorry I was referring to the mysterious author of the note. I thought we had all seen it :oops:  
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Fri Nov 25, 2016 4:11 pm

The simple misunderstanding between the two ladies having been cleared up, they remain cordial as they proceed in the company of Mister Witherly to the cottage of Mister Dupray. They are greeted by the single servant, who relates the fact that Mister Dupray does not wish to receive the ladies, although his condition has not changed, as far as the servant knows. He is willing to speak to Mister Witherly briefly. That gentleman goes to Mister Dupray in his chamber.

During his absence it is only natural that he should be the subject of conversation. It is impossible to fail to notice that he has a tendency to stare at Miss Carrow with unusual intensity, but treats her only with cool courtesy, while his behavior is more natural with Miss Davenport. After some time he returns.

"An extraordinary fellow," he says. "He has related the unhappy condition of his sister to me, and asked that I convey the information that she remains at peace in her madness. When I mentioned your name," he continues, with a bow to Miss Carrow, "he expressed some interest, but remained adamant that he is unable to bear the sight of -- you will excuse me -- two lovely young women, who remind him all too well of those who visit him in his sleep each night. I made inquiries as to whether he was, indeed, dreaming of the two of you specifically, and was assured that this was not the case, and that the resemblance was merely superficial, but sufficient to disturb him. I was also allowed to read some of his writings. Well! It is no threat to the memory of the late Mister Pope, although I must admit that his most recent poems are of a more serious and somewhat more artistic nature that the earlier ones, as if the illusory women of his dreams have acted as Muses.

"I am at a loss as to what might be done to relieve his distress. Perhaps you have some suggestion?"
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Rooter » Fri Nov 25, 2016 6:01 pm

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"Indeed, it is most vexing that he will not see us," Lila replies. "But I suppose the poor man must be in a nervous condition. Since we do not know the earthly motivations of these Phantoms it will be difficult to banish them entirely, nor can we rely upon Monsieur Dupray to carry out an act of Faith in his present state. I have had little opportunity to study the phenomenon but one supposes that if objects of iron or silver are to be used to repel Phantoms then they must be of a pure composition, which would rule out Doctor North's lodestone and likely my daggers also. Elizabeth, I note you wear a ring of silver. It is only an idea but perhaps you would consider letting Mister Witherly convey it to Monsieur Dupray to keep under his pillow when he sleeps? Perhaps this will allow him some surcease from these nightly visitations. I am sure the fact that the ring belongs to you in particular will encourage him to act where he might otherwise disregard the notion," she adds.
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Mr. Handy » Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:36 am

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"Using gold is the safest option," Henry says to Mr. Rachman. "It's expensive, but I can afford it. It will take some experimentation to find the proper quantity to use. If that doesn't work, copper is probably our best bet. Or perhaps iron, as Mr. Harcourt does seem anemic, at least around the new moon. Fortunately, I brought plenty of the metals in question with me from London."
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:05 pm

Mister Rachman is able to supply the information that gold is most effective when used in bright sunlight. This will require waiting until tomorrow morning, when the sun will shine directly into Mister Harcourt's bedchamber. Herr Hoffer is very much willing to assist. "In what form will you administer the metal, my Lord?" he inquires.

Of course, Ivan is ready to undertake any task required by his master. It is not generally known, but Mister Rachman also has a servant available at his bidding.

All at Harcourt House retire for the night.

In the morning, it seems that Herr Hoffer cannot be found.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

If Miss Carrow is willing to part with the silver ring temporarily, it would seem wise to remain at the Dupray cottage for the evening. With Miss Dupray away for an indefinite time, her room and a guest room are available for the ladies. Mister Witherly is willing to remain in the main room for the night. "I have often slept in far worse conditions," he says.

Lucky remains with her mistress, regardless of which room she chooses.

Spoiler:
Miss Carrow Wisdom = 8
Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
3


Spoiler:
Miss Davenport Wisdom = 12
Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
12


Spoiler:
Mister Witherly Wisdom = 9
Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
14


In the morning, Mister Witherly reports sleeping like the dead (not the best choice of words, perhaps) without dreams. Oddly, the two ladies have had the same dream. Each had a vision of two young women, strangely translucent in appearance. "Find us," one said. "Give us rest," said the other. Miss Carrow will recognize them as the two women she briefly glimpsed in the mirror. Their expressions spoke of yearning rather than malevolence.
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Priest » Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:14 pm

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Though loathe to be parted from the ring, Elizabeth, still feeling somewhat shamed by her earlier disparagement of Mr Witherley, agrees to Lilas's request, and the small silver ring is duly loaned.
The following morning she ireports the disturbing nature of her own sleep, and the resemblance of those dream phantoms to the females seen in the mirror, causes her to recount the vision to Mr witherley in the hope that it might prove of use in finaly releasing Antoine from the nightmares.
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Rooter » Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:26 pm

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"But of course we must try to find and aid these troubled spirits," Lila says determinedly, perturbed by the experience. "One hesitates to make such accusations, however I cannot help but recall mention of two young women going missing from Mister Harcourt's staff previously. And after Mary's experience at the hands of Violette Dupray we know the madwoman had a ... proclivity for such as they. One is forced to wonder if there were not some less fortunate victims of Madame Dupray. There is that hidden chamber beneath the garden... Still, this is only conjecture on my part and Antoine at least appears none the wiser. Perhaps we had best be returning to Harcourt House for now."
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Mr. Handy » Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:58 am

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"We should add the gold to Mr. Harcourt's food," suggests Henry. "Since morning is the best time, that will be breakfast. If it's good enough for the King, it should be good enough for him."
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:56 pm

By the time the ladies and Mister Witherly return, Mister Harcourt has ingested an appreciable amount of gold in the porridge which forms the bulk of his intake while in his weakened state. Barely able to communicate through a series of grunts and moans, he seems to indicate that his pain is somewhat relieved.

Spoiler:
Effect of the gold treatment, 1 = most 20 = least

Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
17


There is also an noticeable effect on his general condition, although this seems fairly small. Multiple treatments will be necessary, if the substance continues to be tolerable. Alchemical tomes agree that this can only be done once per day.

Spoiler:
chance of developing an allergic reaction each treatment = only if I roll a 20

Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
19


So far it seems that he can continue to ingest the substance.

Spoiler:
Degree of side effects, 1 = most 20 = least

Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
19


The only unintended effect so far is some mild elation, which may be beneficial. What the effects will continue to be is difficult to predict.

Meanwhile, Herr Hoffer is still not to be found. His belongings remain in the room where he has been residing, and all of the estate's horses and carriages are accounted for.
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Rooter » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:42 pm

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"Herr Hoffer cannot have gone far," Lila says, having been pleased to observe the progress made by Mister Harcourt under Doctor North's ministrations. "I will take one of the horses to make a sweep of the grounds and attempt to discern his tracks. Perhaps his unfamiliarity with the English countryside has led him to take a wrong turn somewhere."
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:58 am

Spoiler:
Tracking, for one trained in the art, requires an Ability Check against Wisdom. (No Demon Hunter bonus since it is not a supernatural creature being tracked.)

Wisdom = 12

Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
18


Unfortunately there are no obvious indications as to where Herr Hoffer may have gone. None of the servants know anything about his whereabouts.
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Mr. Handy » Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:24 am

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"I've done all I can for Mr. Harcourt for today," says Henry. "I cannot give him another dose of gold until tomorrow morning. We must make good use of the time until then. Did Herr Hoffer leave a note? It's odd that he would just disappear."
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Re: Chapter the Seventh: A Difficult Quest

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:54 pm

Herr Hoffer has left no written messages, and mentioned nothing about leaving to anyone. The guests are called upon to handle the estate's affairs in his absence.

The night is uneventful. Treatment is resumed.

Spoiler:
Effect:

Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
9


Chance of allergy:

Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
3


Side effects:

Victoria Silverwolf rolled 1d20:
2


Mister Harcourt seems quite a bit less bestial as a result of the gold treatment. He would seem to be about halfway back to full normalcy, and is tolerating the metal well. However, the unintended side effect of levity is quite pronounced. He seems to laugh inappropriately. What little can be made out of his speech seems frivolous and illogical.

Of greater concern, perhaps, is the fact that another note written in peculiar dark reddish ink has been left for Miss Davenport.

ONE GONE THUS ALL WHO OPPOSE ME
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