Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Romantic Horror, London, circa 1800

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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:48 am

It may be of interest to the party to examine a sketch of Mrs Piper's modest manor home.

Spoiler:
Link given below; I can't make the image anything less than gigantic.

https://www.thewbba.com/wp-content/uplo ... r-plan.jpg


It will be noted that the upper floor, not shown, consists of the guest rooms currently inhabited by the adventurers, as well as servants' quarters. Having been in residence for some time, the party may presume that nothing of particular interest is to be found there. The southeast bedchamber is that of Mrs Piper; note the room connected to it, which serves general purposes, as well as the necessary room adjacent, which is also connected to the hallway. The southwest bedchamber has been used by Mister Crayle since he has been in residence; note a similar room connected to it, as well as the room adjacent, but not connected, which serves for storage. The unlabeled rooms in the northwest corner are the small kitchen and larder. The so-called salon also serves as the dining area; or so it did when Mrs Piper was able to tolerate victuals.
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby SunlessNick » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:15 am

Image

"Could it be concealed within the alcove with the head?" ask Ines. "The thing can at least be counted on to distract the eye."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Mr. Handy » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:50 am

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"It's worth a look," says Henry. "I'd like to try an experiment with the lodestone. If we could catch a mouse, I could try dangling it over the creature to see if it has any effect on its appetite."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:55 am

Close examination of the small alcove wherein the Brazen Head is located reveals nothing else.

Vermin being a universal inhabitant of even the finest estates, experimental mice are easily obtained. Exposure to the lodestone for several hours is observed to induce fatigue, paleness and dryness of skin, labored breathing, difficulty walking, rapid heartbeat, and reduced appetite in the creatures.
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Rooter » Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:55 am

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"Manor houses, even smaller ones such as this, are often known to hold concealed chambers and passages," Lila suggests. "The bedchambers and their connecting rooms seem like a possible place to search for such. Perhaps some false panels or a hidden doorway or the like."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:03 am

It so happens that Mister Crayle will be absent for some hours this day, having been called away on an affair of business which is of no great importance, but requires his presence at another place. This should allow the party sufficient time to search throughout the manor, provided that they engage in this pursuit simultaneously.

It is evident that the more rooms that are searched, per the sketch provided, the more chance of locating anything of interest located in the house; contrariwise, it is equally true that more persons searching one room at the same time increase the probability of discovering something within it, provided that it be there at all.

It is a pretty puzzle to determine which members of the party should search which areas of the manor.
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Mr. Handy » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:25 am

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"As I suspected," says Henry. "The mice shows similar symptoms to Mrs. Piper, and the lodestone is the cause. We need to remove it from the premises. We don't want it to affect us either. After that, I should like to search Mr. Crayle's room while he is absent."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Rooter » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:12 am

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"Very good. Meanwhile, since we must act swiftly before Mr. Crayle returns, I shall go to the north side of the house and search the parlor and drawing room."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:50 am

Spoiler:
Mister Crayle's room searched by Doctor North with, one presumes, Mrs North present to provide a source of inspiration. WISDOM = 11 + 1 TI = 12
VictoriaSilverwolf rolled 1d20:
13


There does not appear to be anything of particular interest within Mister Crayle's bedchamber, or else it cannot be found, despite Doctor North's best efforts. He may choose to search another area whilst Miss Davenport continues her own investigation.

Spoiler:
Parlor: WIS = 12
VictoriaSilverwolf rolled 1d20:
4
Drawing Room:
VictoriaSilverwolf rolled 1d20:
17


The drawing room also proves to be of little interest. However, the parlor, where Mrs Piper often received remarkable guests prior to the time she fell ill, is more intriguing. Half-hidden among scattered pages of sheet music lying upon the spinet is a letter from a local apothecary, describing a method whereby one may prepare a palatable tonic derived from iron ore. It is dated not long after Mrs Piper first succumbed to her current illness, and is addressed to her "in regards to your recent inquiry." It is a notable fact that it was found in such a place, and not among Mrs Piper's other correspondence, which is well-known to be very well organized.
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby SunlessNick » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:14 pm

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That leaves the salon for Ines.
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Mr. Handy » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:47 pm

Image

"So someone other than Mrs. Piper sent to the apothecary for the recipe for this tonic," says Henry. "The iron ore may have similar effects to the lodestone, so she may still be exposed to the cause of her symptoms. I shall search Mrs. Piper's bedroom next. Perhaps there will be some of the tonic there, which I can then test on the mice."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:16 am

Spoiler:
WIS = 11
VictoriaSilverwolf rolled 1d20:
6


Glancing among the many books upon the shelves in the salon, Ines notices that one is out of place. Quite aware that this is a classic hiding place, she procures the book. It proves to be a slender volume, illustrated in a most unusual style by the author, a certain Wm. Blake, and containing poems dealing primarily with themes of childhood and innocence. It appears to have been privately printed by the author, and is no doubt merely meant to delight his own ego. Be that as it may, folded up and secured within its pages is a copy of Mrs Piper's will. Written in the peculiar language of the law, a full understanding of its contents is beyond the wise but poorly educated Gypsy lass. She must, at this moment, decide whether to replace it where it was found, or take the risk of bringing it to one of her fellow adventurers for interpretation, running the risk that person or persons unknown may become aware of its absence.

Spoiler:
WIS = 12 as before
VictoriaSilverwolf rolled 1d20:
12


While Mrs Piper is sound asleep, Doctor North is able to make a thorough search of her bedchamber. A small bottle of dark brown liquid is discovered beneath the bed, as if it had fallen there. It bears a label, lettered in an elegant hand, stating spiritus ferri. It appears to be completely full; upon closer examination, in fact, it can be seen that the wax seal has not been broken. Similar to the dilemma which Ines faces, Doctor North must decide is securing the bottle for his own purposes is worth the risk of someone discovering that it is missing.
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby SunlessNick » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:01 am

Image

For the moment, Ines replaces the will, but proceeds immediately to Miss Davenport to relate what she has found. It occurs to her that one of the adventurers could read the document in the salon itself, since whoever hid it is unlikely to check the hiding place while someone else is there (or look to closely at what that person is reading).
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Mr. Handy » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:24 am

Image

Henry doesn't want to risk breaking the seal yet to do testing, not wishing to alert whoever had put the bottle there. He returns it to its hiding place for now, knowing he can check on it later at any time to see if the seal is broken, and lets the others know what he has discovered.
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Rooter » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:47 am

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"All very mysterious," Lila remarks. "Who apart from the servants and Mr. Crayle could have access to Mrs. Piper's bedchamber? In any case, should we show the will to Mr. Crayle as requested or see if one of us can read it first? It may tell us something but then again doing so may be a breach of Mrs. Piper's wishes."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Mr. Handy » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:50 pm

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"Mr. Crayle has not yet returned," points out Henry. "I hardly think he could fault us for examining the will to...verify its authenticity. I'd be happy to read it. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm well educated enough that I should be able to translate it into understandable English."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:12 am

After some difficulty making their way through the turgid legal language of the will, it becomes clear to the party that the bulk of Mrs Piper's estate, of no great size, is to be divided among several distant relatives, none known to the adventurers nor any living nearby. There are also modest amounts of money to be paid to the servants.

There is nothing out of the ordinary about all this. Two provisions which are of more interest is the fact that, if no relatives care to inhabit the manor, it is to be given into the hands of Mister Crayle, to be disposed of as he sees fit; secondly, that "a metal sculpture, of curious form" (and not otherwise described) is be given to Miss Davenport, "that it might aid her in her pursuits."

The sound of an approaching coach announces the return of Mister Crayle from his errand. The servants light the candles as the sun hangs low in the sky.
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Mr. Handy » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:22 am

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"Odd that Mr. Crayle, who is new to this house, would be named in this will in the event that no relatives surface," says Henry, "and she only recently met Miss Davenport, yet both are mentioned in it. It must have been rewritten recently, and since he stands to benefit, I suspect he may have done it. We may wish to return the will to its hiding place and not yet let him know we've found it until we've had a chance to investigate further."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Rooter » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:10 am

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Lila agrees. "He has given us no reason other than circumstance to suspect him but what do we truly know of Mr. Crayle? Let us inquire as to how his trusting relationship with our host came about. I, too, am no expert in legal matters but perhaps it is the usual thing for a lawyer to handle the estate in this manner, though."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:05 am

As the saying goes, talk of the Devil, and he's presently at your elbow.

Which is as much to say that Mister Crayle enters the manor at this moment, greets the adventurers politely but with few words, and makes inquiry as to the condition of Mrs Piper, or if there is anything else that has occurred during his absence of which he should be aware.

"If not," he continues, "I must make excuse, as my journey has left me somewhat fatigued. I shall direct the servants to prepare a simple repast of bread and cheese for me, than I shall retire. You may, of course, dine as you like."
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