Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Romantic Horror, London, circa 1800

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Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:15 pm

Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel; Or, The Haunted Honeymoon

It having been generally agreed that it would be best to present the newly wedded couple as a fait accompli, the pair are presented to the other members of the family, to a wide variety of reactions. The twins are purely delighted, albeit with little knowledge of what is involved in the holy state of matrimony. Lady Highdark scolds her daughter for her impetuousness, but with a smile, obviously not displeased by the match. Lord Highdark, at first taken aback by the situation, and left speechless, is brought to a state of acceptance, by the flattering rhetoric of his wife.

It is Harold alone who is irreconcilable. Holding his temper as best he may, with many a scowl at Henry, whose modest overtures of friendship he ignores, he withdraws with a final statement.

"I go to the cemetery to mourn. My sister is dead."

Despite the tearful protestations of Georgina, he is last seen walking, in his usual limping manner, toward that melancholy place.
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby Mr. Handy » Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:11 am

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"He should not go anywhere alone," says Henry. "Whoever abducted him before may try again. Someone needs to follow him."
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby jp1885 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:47 am

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Lepus twiddles his coat nervously, knowing that cemeteries are not the safest of places for his kind but that he may be best placed to follow the lad.

“Old Lepus will go.”
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby SunlessNick » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:14 pm

William nods in acknowledgment to the Gypsy. Presuming that the remainder of the family will have matters to discuss relating to the new situation which will not include guests, once he is alone with Lord Dunwich and Monsieur Courcelles de Labrousse, he will ask, "Gentlemen. I opined earlier that we may have reached a point where it would require the cooperation of Lord Highdark to investigate further - certainly his or Her Ladyship's authority would be valuable if we seek our miscreant among the servants of the house. I did not wish to mar the news of the wedding, but I believe the time has come to share what we know. Do you concur?"
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby jp1885 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:21 pm

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"Aye. The fine Lord will either believe us or cast us out as lunatics, but the truth needs to be said. Speaking of which, old Lepus would not refuse any company to yon graveyard."
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby SunlessNick » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:35 pm

"Very well, I shall accompany you. I suspect Lord Dunwich would have the best chance of convincing Lord and Lady Highdark of the situation."
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:56 pm

Some time passes before a proper moment for obtaining a private audience with Lord Highdark may be obtained. Somewhat distracted by what has been, certainly, an evening full of unexpected events, that gentleman listens with, as one may say, half an ear, apparently not fully understanding the arcane nature of his heir's transformation. Out of respect for his high position, however, he does not place any doubt upon Doctor North's word.

"Held for ransom, eh? Sad to say, a hazard not uncommon for one destined to come into a title and a not inconsiderable fortune," he remarks, obviously thinking the disappearance an act of a common brigand. "Certainly, my Lord, you have my full co-operation to investigate those employed here in any way you see fit. You will excuse me, of course, if I attend to those matters which fall upon the unprepared head of a new father-in-law," he adds with a chuckle, fully reconciled to what many would think of as an improper match, no doubt his opinion influenced by that of his lady wife. "I shall summon whomsoever you like to answer your questions."

_________________________________________________________________________________________

By the time those in the party who wish to pursue Harold are ready to do so, dusk has yielded to night. It is no difficult task to follow his tracks, the signs of a limping man being distinctive and the fellow having made no secret of his destination, but he does have, as the saying goes, a head start, and arrives quite a bit earlier than those in pursuit.

Spoiler:
Dex 12 and 15 for those following
VictoriaSilverwolf rolled 2d20:
19, 20


The darkness of the night and the rough ground near the cemetery make it impossible to prevent Harold from hearing the two men approaching him.

"Who is there? Be gone," he shouts. "Leave me be in my grief."
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby SunlessNick » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:36 am

William silently gestures that he and Lepus should retreat a way, to give Harold the sense of being alone, while keeping an eye and ear out for trouble.
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby Mr. Handy » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:18 am

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Henry also explains the new science of "finger-marking" he has developed in layman's terms. "If we can get samples of the finger-marks from all of the staff," says Henry, "I can compare them to the unidentified marks on the brandy glass that was used to drug your son. Even if they don't match, that's still useful information, as it tells us who likely did not touch the glass. However, if the culprit knows we are testing everyone, it could alert him or her, so we will need to be subtle. All that's required is to get each of them to touch a different object that will hold a finger-mark. Glass is well-suited to the task."
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby jp1885 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:50 am

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Lepus winces as he and the gallant captain blunder around the gravestones - having stopped to collect his new rune-carved stick, perhaps he rushed a little too much to catch up.

Once challenged by the young master, he gives William an apologetic smile before stepping into Henry's view.

"'tis only your friends my Lord. Thou hast suffered greatly - we merely seek to assuage your sadness." He shows the young heir his stick. "If old Lepus may be so bold; your staff is but a poor copy of the proper thing..."

He holds out is stick, proffering it to Henry.
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:26 pm

Mr. Handy wrote:
Henry also explains the new science of "finger-marking" he has developed in layman's terms. "If we can get samples of the finger-marks from all of the staff," says Henry, "I can compare them to the unidentified marks on the brandy glass that was used to drug your son. Even if they don't match, that's still useful information, as it tells us who likely did not touch the glass. However, if the culprit knows we are testing everyone, it could alert him or her, so we will need to be subtle. All that's required is to get each of them to touch a different object that will hold a finger-mark. Glass is well-suited to the task."


Lord Highdark is intrigued by this method of identification. Over the next several days, he will see that an object that each member of the household has touched -- himself included, as he is most curious to behold these "finger prints" for himself -- will be discretely obtained for Doctor North to examine. This is, of course, a slow and laborious process, given the large number of servants and others residing in Highdark Hall.

Spoiler:
Number of days until the guilty party is identified is a matter of sheer chance. Let's say a week at most.
VictoriaSilverwolf rolled 1d7:
6


In six days, the damning evidence will be discovered!
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:33 pm

jp1885 wrote:
Lepus winces as he and the gallant captain blunder around the gravestones - having stopped to collect his new rune-carved stick, perhaps he rushed a little too much to catch up.

Once challenged by the young master, he gives William an apologetic smile before stepping into Henry's view.

"'tis only your friends my Lord. Thou hast suffered greatly - we merely seek to assuage your sadness." He shows the young heir his stick. "If old Lepus may be so bold; your staff is but a poor copy of the proper thing..."

He holds out is stick, proffering it to Henry.


Henry backs away, holding his walking stick close to his body.

"Nay, I'll not play the fool for your knavish tricks! Bad enough that one of your kind has stolen away the flower of our line, but now you think to gull me with such tricks? I'll have none of it. I may be lame, but may Heaven strike me down if I not give a good thrashing to any who would cheat me so."
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby SunlessNick » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:58 am

William does his best to intercede. "I beg you, Master Altumber, calm yourself. There will be ample opportunity for you to judge his claims in better light and mettle. For now, we do not wish to intrude on your contemplation, only watch over you. You have been the victim of one dastardly scheme - better not to risk another."
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:24 am

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Henry works in the lab, analyzing the fingerprints as they come and showing them to Lord Highdark. "Every person's finger marks are absolutely unique," he explains. "Even your twin daughters, though they be identical in practically every other way, have different marks. I foresee that this new science will be of great use in the future. Crimes that would otherwise go unsolved can be figured out, and the perpetrators brought to justice."
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby jp1885 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:34 am

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Lepus' eyes narrow.

"Thou wouldst threaten old Lepus?" He spits on the ground defiantly. "Knavish tricks indeed! Oh pompous buffoon, better we had left thou cursed or wrapped up for the spider - thou art naught but a spoilt brat!"
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:14 am

Incensed, Henry rises to his full height.

"I know not whereof you speak of spiders and such nonsense," he says, in a cold voice, "but I will not be insulted by one of such low station. It would be best to have the dogs set upon you, that they might feast upon your bones. However," he continues, "as I see that you are accompanied by one who may fairly claim to be a gentleman, I will lower myself far enough to engage you in a fair battle." Brandishing his walking stick, he goes on to say "We are both armed in the same manner, so defend yourself. Unless you are afraid to face one who has been afflicted by Nature as have I."
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby jp1885 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:04 am

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“‘tis not thee who lowers hisself boy.”

Grinning, the wanderer tosses his stick aside.

“There, now ‘tis a fair fight!”

His wiry muscles tense, ready for action.

Spoiler:
Lepus’ aim is to be struck by the boy but not to be badly injured. He intends to wrest the stick off the lad, using a curse if need be (the lad having harmed him).
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby SunlessNick » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:41 pm

A large part of William would smile to see Lepus give a thrashing to the disagreeable boy, but the aftermath would not be good for the Gypsy. He interposes himself between the two and makes one more effort to defuse the situation: "Please, Master Altumber. I know you grieve at the day's news, but there is no honour to be had in assaulting an old man who helped save your life only days past."
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:52 am

Spoiler:
Interesting to have two player's actions at odds with each other . . .

William's CHA = 11
VictoriaSilverwolf rolled 1d20:
12


Showing little interest in William's admonitions, Henry remains intent on proving himself no coward.

"Old he may be," he says, "but without the affliction of body I must endure. Let Heaven favor the better man!"

He carefully places his walking stick behind him, in order that no one should claim that he fights unfairly armed. Approaching his opponent awkwardly, due to his limp, he raises his fists.

"I am no Jack Broughton," he remarks, making reference to that deceased champion of fisticuffs, "but I shall do my best." His mood seems almost a pleasant one, as if the prospect of combat has raised his spirits.

Spoiler:
due to lameness, dex = 6
VictoriaSilverwolf rolled 1d20:
5
damage (nonlethal)
VictoriaSilverwolf rolled 1d6:
1


Somewhat to the surprise of all, including himself, the lad is able to strike a glancing blow against his opponent's cheek; hardly more than the slap a lady might give to one of too amorous a nature; yet it is enough to bring a grin to the fellow's face.
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Re: Book the Second, Chapter the Fourth: A Domestic Quarrel

Postby jp1885 » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:29 am

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"Bravo young sir, thou hast proven thyself. Now there be consequences..."

His objective achieved, Lepus also grins. The lad has harmed a Gypsy, thus allowing the wounded party to seek redress through a curse.

While Lepus' subsequent mutterings may seem dark and dire, he has no real wish to harm the young heir and therefore his curse is merely to put the boy to sleep for a few minutes.

If this is successful, he will swap sticks (using a rag to pick up the boy's, just in case the touch is harmful) before walking away before Henry wakes up (mayhap he will think himself over-exerted following the fisticuffs).
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