[IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

When the Provost of Britain’s most prestigious college for boys is bequeathed a parcel of land in a rural backwater he’s never even heard of, the venerable old man calls upon a select number of friends to look into the matter.

Why was Dr. Preedy mentioned in the last will and testament of the Squire of Wergyn Hall? Where are the ruins of St. Wergyn’s church, of which he has become the unexpected custodian? What is the truth behind the strange tales and legends that haunt the benighted countryside?

Set in the 1900s, The Provost of Eton’s Inheritance leads the investigators from the rarefied air of the college cloisters to the wilds of the English Marches, in this 7th edition Call of Cthulhu adventure inspired by one of H.P. Lovecraft literary heroes: the master of the ghost story, M.R. James.

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[IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby jp1885 » Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:57 am

The noise and bustle of the railway station might have been jarring following your sojourn at Eton library, had the eerie silence of the place not been shattered by accidental collisions and angry librarians!

Still, that is all behind you now.

As your luggage is efficiently loaded onto the waiting steam train, you are shown to the correct platform. Luckily you spot a vendor selling maps of the Great Western Railway routes at a booth nearby. Soon a couple of maps of the city of Hereford and the incoming line from the east are purchased.

Herefordshire Map.jpg

As you board the train, you realise that the fussy Dr. Preedy is still as sensitive to one’s social class as ever, as he has only obtained first-class tickets for Mr. Tereshchenko and Professor Garrett.

Therefore Mr. Pritchard and Miss Knight, being employees rather than notable gentlemen, must content themselves with a less comfortable third-class carriage.

Thus split into two pairs, you sit back for the long journey westwards. How you will occupy yourselves is up to you: perhaps the injured among you may benefit from a snooze, or maybe a game of cards or a hastily bought newspaper may suffice?
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby speshul » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:24 pm

Tom checks everyones luggage is load carefully before making his way to third class. He looks to finds himself a seat in the corner with his back to a bulkhead able to watch the doors. He is happy here to hide amongst the people, his clothes make him stand out and he switches his jacket and hat from his uniform to a standard working class jacket and hat to blend in.

His arm is still tender from his fall but he tries to not show it.

If he catches Miss Knights eye he says "Miss Knight, I completely understand if you don't want to sit near a hideous old timer like me, and I apologise if you heard anything I said to Mr Lewis, It's not a lady like topic, war that is."

He takes his seat next to the window, keep watching, too wired to sleep properly yet. Should Miss Knight wish to sit next to him, he will make small talk, and attempt to avoid the topic of war but will talk about it in genteel way if pressed.

He will also take the opportunity to bring himself up to speed on all of the research they found, asking questions and clarifying in a matter of fact way. He is practical and reasonably intelligent so does he best to assist with analysis and theory crafting.

OOC:   I assume this will bring him up to speed on the team knowledge.  
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby jp1885 » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:51 pm

OOC:   Yes, it's safe to assume that you've all had time to brief each other, on the way to the station.  
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:58 am

Image

"Oh, I don't mind at all," says Cynthia. "War is truly a terrible thing. You know all too well what it can do to men, and not all the wounds are visible. But it is important that people learn just how awful war is, so that it can be prevented in future. The injuries we suffered today pale in comparison, but I would still like to take the opportunity to have a nap and recover. I would like to talk to you some more once I'm rested, but we should have more time later."
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby jp1885 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:49 am

Spoiler:
As is befitting of the dignity of a first-class carriage, you pass the journey in genial silence. You spend your time watching the grey autumnal countryside barrel past as, eventually, the gentle rocking of the carriage causes you to nod off…

A cold wind whips around the ruins, stirring dark, cobwebbed corners and howling through a star-filled void that was once the church roof.

An icy cold causes you to shiver.

Battered wooden pews creak and the very stones seem to pulse with freezing malice as the walls close in on you.

You turn, desperate for a way out.

And there – warmth! You feel it on your back, freeing up your seized joints as the winter sun melts icicles under frozen gables.

You turn to face a stained-glass window, miraculously intact among the ruins. Suffused with a golden glow you make out the figure of a saint. He smiles down at you as behind him a field burns with life-giving fire.

But then the flames flicker, blown out by the malicious gale that rages around you. The saintly figure raises his hands, imploring you for aid.

But you can do nothing.

The window fades into shadow as darkness engulfs you. From out of the deep blackness something shuffles and you can only look on in horror as-


“Worcester Foregate Street! Change for Malvern, Ledbury, Hereford, Pontrilas!”

You wake with a start as the guard walks along the aisle.

Dazed, you rise automatically and allow yourself to be jostled out of the carriage and onto the platform. You only really come to your senses as you clamber onto the next train, where you find your other companions sitting together in a slightly less salubrious carriage.
Spoiler:
As is befitting of the dignity of a first-class carriage, you pass the journey in genial silence. You spend your time watching the grey autumnal countryside barrel past, before the stuffy warmth of the carriage causes you your eyelids to droop...

There is little sunlight this deep into the woods. Occasionally filtering through the treetops it pierces the darkness here and there, illuminating the path you are following.

Before you an elderly man, clad in a tweed suit and sturdy walking boots, urgently beckons you onwards.

You follow as best you can, stumbling through the undergrowth and tripping over roots and fallen branches.

Ahead of you the man stops. Standing erect with a noble bearing despite his advanced age, he points at something in the woodland gloom.

You squint, eyes more used to reading ancient tomes by candlelight straining to make out the object in front of you. It is large, irregularly shaped and covered in moss – a megalith of some kind perhaps?

Suddenly a strangled cry causes you to turn. The old man falls to the ground, clutching his chest.

A cold wind stirs among the trees, whipping up the leaves as, one by one, the lances of sunlight snap off as if some malign force is slamming the shutters closed.

As the shadows advance you try to run, but your feet are entangled with briar and bramble.

Panicking, you begin to struggle as, deep within the undergrowth, something crawls towards you. You can only look on in helpless horror as-


“Worcester Foregate Street! Change for Malvern, Ledbury, Hereford, Pontrilas!”

You wake with a start as the guard walks along the aisle.

Dazed, you rise automatically and allow yourself to be jostled out of the carriage and onto the platform. You only really come to your senses as you clamber onto the next train, where you find your other companions sitting together in a slightly less salubrious carriage.
Spoiler:
Settling as best you can in your seat,you close your eyes, only to open them again, startled, as something brushes against your cheek.

Your first thought is that Mr. Pritchard is being untoward, but you quickly realise that it is not the disfigured soldier that touches you, but some kind of dirty white thing, flapping in your face.

You wave your hands, frantically trying to brush the thing away from you, but it continues: flap flap flap.

Increasingly panicked, you notice other things closing in around you – the same dirty white sheets, flapping and twisting as if pummelled by a strong current of air.

You step back, staring through the whirling things to focus a dark figure in their midst. Clad in tattered black robes, it waves it’s arms, mimicking the movement of the sheets. Or is it? You get the feeling that he's actually dictating the movement, as if bewitching a ballet somehow with magical choreography.

Suddenly the figure stops and, looking past you, points a trembling bony finger.

You turn to see a wall of inky black shadow moving slowly towards you. As it passes the sheets, they drop lifeless to the ground.

Soon the shadow is nearly upon you. You try to scream but the foetid air makes you gag. You can only look on in helpless horror as-


“Worcester Foregate Street! Change for Malvern, Ledbury, Hereford, Pontrilas!”

You wake with a start as the guard walks along the aisle.

Dazed, you rise automatically and allow yourself to be jostled out of the carriage and onto the platform. You only really come to your senses as you clamber onto the next train, where you find your other companions sitting together in one of the carriages.
Spoiler:
Miss Knight, dozing as she is, makes for poor company. Left to your own thoughts, you spend your time watching the grey autumnal countryside barrel past; before the rocking of the stuffy carriage causes your head to drop...

Fwooom!

You instinctively duck as a bullet fizzes past your head.

Damn Boer snipers!

Crump!

Bent low, you rush forward as a shell bursts behind you.

Another bullet, smacking with a wet crack into someone to your right. You must find cover or you’ll be next!

Fear pushes you on – the glorious charges you dreamed of in your youth have no place in this squalid patch of veldt.

Someone wounded screams nearby.

Suddenly you fall, headfirst into a donga.

Sheltered by the steep walls of the dried-up watercourse, you finally have time to take stock. Bloody Boers! Where did they come from?

There is a groan a little distance away as a bloodied figure stirs. As it crawls along the dusty riverbed you notice that this is no wounded khaki-clad soldier, neither is it a bandoliered Boer commando.

It is Lewis, his lewd face shining through the blood in exultation of his wounds.

With a look of sheer bliss he reaches towards you with the remains of his arms.

No, reaching past you.

You turn to see the water that should be running along this course boiling away, as if it’s journey has been halted by some invisible wall.

Lewis groans again, a moan of pleasure twisting his shattered mouth into a rictus grin.

You can only stare transfixed as his wounds widen, the bloody holes of gore darkening into black voids, out from which billow columns of black smoke.

The man collapses to the ground as the smoke, stinking with the smell of a thousand bloated and flyblown corpses, coalesces into a shape.

You scream and is lunges at you and-


“Worcester Foregate Street! Change for Malvern, Ledbury, Hereford, Pontrilas!”

You wake with a start as the guard walks along the aisle.

Dazed, you rise automatically and allow yourself to be jostled out of the carriage and onto the platform. You only really come to your senses as you clamber onto the next train, where you find your other companions sitting together in one of the carriages.
It will not be long before you arrive at Hereford. If you have dozed at all during your journey (I trust you found it restful?), you may add 1HP if you are not already at maximum.
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby Whitehorse » Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:08 pm

Grigori blows in his hands, and scrummages about in one of his cases for his fur-lined cloak, a momento of winter in St Petersburg.

"Damn it if I don't feel unseasonably chilled Garrett; it's like the devil himself walked over my grave..!

We should reconvene with our companions. I do hope the fragrent Miss Knight has not been too pained by being closetted with the old soldier.

Perhaps the station may offer us some refreshments as a tonic, or I'd be delighted to pour out some warming Russion coffee from my flask..."


OOC:   Edited slightly as I misread my text to imply we were waiting for a connection..  
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby Mr. Handy » Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:11 am

Image

"I feel better after that nap," says Cynthia, "though I had the most disturbing dream."
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby LTD1969 » Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:47 am

"I feel much the same way Mr Tereschenko, despite falling asleep on the train it wasn't a particularly enjoyable nap. I'd certainly be happy to see if Hereford station's facilities run to a reviving tincture, or two."

On reaching our companions I overhear Cynthia, and reply, "As did I Miss Knight, perhaps we should compare notes?" Turning to Grigori and Tom I say, "What about you two chaps Any strange dreams on the way here?"
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby Mr. Handy » Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:08 am

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"I dreamt I was being surrounded by dirty white sheets, of all things," says Cynthia. "There was this figure in black robes that seemed to be controlling them. Then he pointed past me, and when I looked, I saw a wall of darkness approaching. When it touched the sheets, the dropped to the ground motionless. I woke up when it was just about to reach me."
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby speshul » Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:36 pm

Tom has his hat pulled down and a heavy woollen scarf in dark green pulled up over his neck and lower face. Slightly more than is ususal but not so much so to draw attention.

He thanks Miss Knight for her pleasant company and is genuine in it. Upon hearing about the dreams he comments "I had a war dream but that not unusual, shouldn't have spoken about I recon."

He secures their belongings and takes his long bed roll personally and keeps it close.
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby Mr. Handy » Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:34 am

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"You're quite welcome," replies Cynthia. "It was a pleasure. You've lived a very interesting and exciting life, and I don't mind at all hearing about your exploits. My own life is rather dull by comparison, or at least it has been until today."
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby Whitehorse » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:46 am

"I dreamt I was in a ruined church, battered by freezing cold gales, colder even than in my home country... The only light and warmth was the fire emanating from a saint within a stained-glass window, who pleaded for my help... My help!! But I could do nothing, and the cold overcame all..."

"I confess I was quite shaken by the power of the vision and I feel sure that our dreams are not happenstance. Perhaps they are even a spirtual attack by some entity that does not welcome our visit to the Marches. I for one will be sleeping with my rosary wrapped around my hand in the days to come..."

"But please, Miss Knight, gentlemen, allow me to purchase you all some warming food and drink to help dispel such disturbing thoughts."
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:13 am

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"Thank you, I'd like that," says Cynthia. "It does seem frightening...but also exciting, in a way."
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby LTD1969 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:37 am

"I dreamt that I was in a wood, being led towards a standing stone or similar by an old man who suddenly collapsed to the ground choking. Then it started to get dark and it was as if the darkness was alive and intent on pursuing me. All highly disturbing. I wonder if the old man was "JOK" referred to in the squire's papers?"
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby Whitehorse » Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:31 am

Still unnerved, Grigori attempts to regain his composure in his usual fashion, distracting himself with chatter and conversation...

"I think the link you draw with O'Kent is a fair surmise, Garrett. Though my feeling from our readings and these dreams is that O'Kent is the aggressor that must be held in check with some sort of elemental boundary... Perhaps he is the darkness and cold, that must be held back by warmth and light.... Though I am perhaps being fanciful an too influenced by my own vision here..."

"And Tom, you've suffered a lot it's clear, and you say you've had bad dreams before... How do you deal with them? A tot of whisky? Concentrating on the sunnier aspects of life, on a memory of a loved one...? Don't be shy, your stoicism is admirable and something we could all learn from I'm sure..."

"Are you enjoying your tea Miss Knight? My grandmother taught my a very little of the old arts of tasseography, that is interpreting the pattern of the tea leaves... If you like I can see if I can divine anything of your future..."
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby speshul » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:25 am

Tom walks to catch up with the others, carrying most of the bags.

"My dream had the slug Lewis in it, he turned to a smoke monster, rest was standard war fair death blood and misery"

Tom pauses at the questions "How do I cope? Realising I was the one who survived who really shouldn't have" His free hand subconsciously touches the side of his head and a flicker of pain passes across his face "!I guess I keep on living for those that didn't make it, I keep trying to do good helping the next generation learn and invent wonderful things seems a good form of service I'd be dead without science, drinking helps too
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby jp1885 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:10 am

Spoiler:
Interesting idea. If Miss Knight is happy for you to read her tea leaves, please make POW and Occult rolls. If you get a hard result on both, then I’ll call it a success.
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby LTD1969 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:09 pm

"The funny thing is Mr Tereschenko," I say, as we head towards the station tea room. "If the man in my dream was O'Kent, I don't think he was necessarily an evil presence, he was the victim if anything. A guardian whose powers were failing if you will. I rather got the same impression from the old squire's papers."
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby Mr. Handy » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:27 am

Image

"I am indeed," Cynthia says to Grigori with a smile. "It was delicious. I would be delighted to have you read the leaves." She wonders if they will say she will meet a tall, handsome stranger, though looking at him, she can see that this event has already taken place. "I was thinking, that saint in the stained glass window must be St. Wergyn."
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Re: [IC] Chapter 2: Hereford

Postby jp1885 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:09 pm

With the train to Hereford about to depart, it does not do to tarry. Miss Knight finishes her tea in as genteel a manner as possible before handing her cup over to the gallant Russian.

Spoiler:
jp1885 rolled 1d100:
12
Spoiler:
You can't help taking a look at the tea leaves as you pass the cup, but to your untrained eye the whole thing is just a messy collection of splodges. Is that horned thing a cow? Those little blobs footprints? Is that bit a mound of some kind? Let's hope your dark knight can shine some light on this!
Soon the train is rattling through the countryside. Those not engrossed in tasseography contend themselves with looking at the view.

Alas, what is no doubt a bucolic vista of pastoral beauty during the summer is now a dull, wet and rather grey scene. Field after bare, sodden field flies by, bordered by dark, straggling hedges and brooding hills. Now and then a solitary figure can be seen - pitch black against a white, souless sky. A farmer? Scarecrow? Who knows?

The train rumbles on, rattling along the track and shaking your carriage from side to side as it ploughs through mean-looking farmland towards Hereford.

Spoiler:
Luck rolls please.
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