Chapter 2: Day One

During a sweltering August in 1881, one of the members of the Seekers of Enlightenment receives a letter from an old friend, requesting help in solving a family mystery. It will soon become a matter of life or death…

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Chapter 2: Day One

Postby HoneyDog » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:59 am

Sunday 7th August, 1881

9am

Waterloo Station


The heat has not abated as the companions meet to take the train to Staines. The station is busy and crowded and tempers are frayed, but with tickets purchased the Society are able to take their seats and the train leaves the station, heading through the south-west suburbs.

As the city is left behind, the effects of the summer drought can be seen in the parched and withered vegetation which lines the route. The train reaches Staines at 10.30, and at 11 they are able to board for Granton’s Bridge.

They arrive at midday in a quiet, picturesque village, consisting of cottages, a church, a doctor’s office, and an impressive looking public house, named ‘The Devil’s Forge’.

A carriage is waiting to take them to Forby House, a ten-minute ride along narrow lanes. The house and grounds are situated in a low-lying valley, the grounds shielded from the wind by a bank of laurels and yew hedgerows. The carriage way, off the lane, leads along an exposed ridge, which affords a view of the house and the rolling grounds; about forty acres of land in total. The carriageway drops down alongside an ornamental lake, and a rose garden, sheltered by high yew hedges, and containing a glimpse of what looks like statues is in front of the house. Behind the house the land slopes upward, its sweep broken by a low-slung shape of a stone building, likely a mausoleum.

Pulling up to the entrance, the companions can see that it is of Greek portico design, popular in the early part of the century. It has Corinthian pillars and a wide veranda. A laurel stands each side of the door.

Waiting to receive them is an elderly man of average appearance dressed in butler’s livery, who introduces himself as Bates.

“Welcome to Forby House”
he announces. He seems reserved, as most butlers are, but is not stern and smiles a welcome. “We received your telegram, Dr. Campbell, and the guest bedrooms have been made up for you.”

Just then a stout, yellow-haired attractive woman in her mid-thirties appears at the door. Her skin is fair and her smile is bright and cheerful, although her blues eyes are sad.

“You’ve arrived!” she cries. “I’m so glad! I’m Gertrude Forby, Harry’s wife”.
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby Mr. Handy » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:10 am

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"Thank you," says Alexander, doffing his hat and holding it in front of him. "It's good to see you, Mrs. Forby, though I wish it were under better circumstances. How is Harry doing? How can we help?"
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby HoneyDog » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:48 am

Gertrude’s face falls.

“He’s not so good, I’m afraid. We fear he’s on the verge of another bout of that brain fever he has suffered with for so long. We wish to shield him from any shocks, so please bear that in mind when you talk to him. He’s waiting in the library for you now and we will have some tea there. First though, perhaps you’d like to wash and refresh yourselves after your trip? It’s a terribly hot day for travelling.”

She leads the way into the house, with Bates staying behind to see to the luggage. The Hall is paneled in dark stained oak, and a seeming endless row of deer skulls adorns the walls. It leads directly to the main stairs. A corridor leads off to the left, and there are double doors on both the left and right. Beyond the staircase is a green baize door.

The ceiling seems to be a pressed mold painted white. Its design is rather outre, in a style which hints at an attempt to be classical. It appears decayed in places, creating a somewhat grotesque affect.

Gertrude indicates the stairs, and smiles at Alexander.

“You must be Dr. Campbell she says. Harry always speaks of you with admiration. He'll explain why he asked you here when you meet him.”
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby Philulhu » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:55 am

Vic followed Mrs Forby and Dr Campbell into the house, looking around as she entered to hall, craning her neck this way and that, looking into rooms even though she hadn’t been invited to do so... ...
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby HoneyDog » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:40 am

Gertrude notices Vic’s antics.

Miss Miller?” she says politely. “My brother John, who is staying with us, has offered to provide you with a tour of the house and grounds.”

The stairs are carpeted in crimson and there is a large window on the landing which provides plenty of light – and heat. In fact the house is rather stuffy.

The upper floor is again lined in dark oak. Various doors lead to other rooms and portraits line the walls.

“We have two bedrooms for you” says Gertrude, indicating a couple of doors opposite. “I hope you don’t mind sharing. The corner room over here is for the ladies. There is clean linen and towels – please do not hesitate to ask for anything you might need. We can join Harry and John in the library as soon as you are ready.”
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby Mr. Handy » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:10 am

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"Aye, that's me, Mrs. Forby," says Alexander as he goes with her. "I'd be pleased to share a room."
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby HoneyDog » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:05 am

As they are talking, Bates appears with some items of luggage. Noticing Alexander’s gun case, Gertrude raises her hand to her mouth in alarm.

“Good heavens!” she exclaims. “Is that what I think it is? Did you bring a gun with you?”
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby Philulhu » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:41 am

”A gun?” thought Vic to herself. She hadn’t been to this part of the world before and so had spent most of the journey down looking out of the window. The subject of the society’s previous adventures hadn’t actually been mentioned and she wondered what she was letting herself in for.
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby Mephistophilis » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:21 am

'Plans for a spot of shooting Dr Campbell? I do hope we'll be able to find the time' laughs Harry Brown wondering what Alexander intends to do with the firearm and feeling his hand close instinctively around the weighted cosh concealed in his overcoat.

Harry introduces himself to Mrs Forby as 'Henry Brown' thinking that it would be better to avoid any confusion around names.
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby HoneyDog » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:45 pm

"There's no shooting to be had around here, Mr. Brown" says Gertrude. She lowers her voice.

"I'm sorry to be alarmist, but I must insist that you don't reveal the presence of any guns to Harry. He has a strict aversion to them since the death of his father. Please promise me, Dr. Campbell."

She fixes Alexander with an intense look.
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby aine » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:34 pm

"I'm sure it is only for pigeons; I hear they can be quite a menace when's there's a drought. Dear Mrs Fornby, I'm Isolde, of The Seekers of Enlightenment." She holds out her hand. "Thank you so much for inviting us to your lovely home; I'm really looking forward to being shown round."
Isolde looks at Alexander, "It might be best if you visit Harry by yourself, it will be less alarming and I'm sure you'll have a lot to catch up on. Maybe we could take tea while we are waiting for you?"
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby HoneyDog » Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:08 am

“That’s considerate of you, Miss Beauchamp says Gertrude, “but Harry would like to meet you all.”
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:48 am

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"Aye, I promise, Mrs. Forby," says Alexander. "It'll stay locked away as long as it's not needed."
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby HoneyDog » Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:09 am

Gertrude looks relieved.

“Thank you so much!” she cries, and gives Alexander a warm smile.

Once the companions have freshened up, Gertrude leads them to the library, located on the same floor on the other side of the stairs.

It is a large room with an extensive collection. Books cover three walls, with a step-ladder needed to reach the upper shelves. The ceiling is the same strange white-painted molded material as the hallway. A large fireplace is on the left wall, flanked by bay windows. Next to one of the windows is an oak desk and chair. A very old invalids chair is next to the door.

A table, with a shaded oil lamp, and chairs are in the centre of the room. Tea with bread and butter are laid out for luncheon. At the table are seated two men, one of who rises as the companions enter. The other remains seated, but cries out a friendly greeting.

Alexander, you old devil!” he chuckles. “Still a skinny wretch, I see! They’re still not feeding you! Come now!”

He leans forward to shake hands with the guests.

“I’m Harold Forby, but everyone calls me Harry”.

Forby has a broad face with strong features. He has sandy-coloured hair and moustache and a ruddy complexion. He wears a dressing gown, and two canes lean against his chair.

He indicates the other man.

“My brother-in-law, John Meddler. He’s staying with us while his regiment decides what to do with him. Eh, Meddler?’

Meddler frowns slightly at this but otherwise shows no other emotion. He bows to the ladies, casting a curious glance at Vic, and shakes hands with the men. He strongly resembles his sister, with the same yellow hair and blue eyes, but he is deeply tanned as opposed to her fair skin. He is tall and broad-shouldered, and stands erect, giving a martial bearing.

“Very good to meet you all” he announces in a deep voice.

After everyone is seated, the tea is served.

“Due to my condition” says Forby, “the doctor has me on a very uninspiring diet.”

He indicates the bread and butter, and laughs, although there is a hint of mean-spiritedness in it.

“However, I don’t see why I should suffer alone, so tuck in!”

He launches into anecdotes about he and Alexander’s school days, mainly reminiscing about the other boys’ and their difficulties, and having a good laugh. Gertrude, looking more subdued than before, dishes out the tea and food. Meddler sits sipping tea, displaying no emotion but having a good look at the new guests.

Spoiler:
You can roll Psychology for an insight into Forby.
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:22 am

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"You know me, Harry," says Alexander with a chuckle. "I never seem to gain any weight no matter how much I eat. It sure is delicious to try, though. Usually." He helps himself to some bread and slathers butter on it.

Spoiler:
Psychology roll (5% base skill) about Harry:
Mr. Handy rolled 1d100:
49
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby Mephistophilis » Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:53 am

Harry Brown sits back a little from proceedings observing the interaction between Alexander and Forby.

Spoiler:
Mephistophilis rolled 1d100:
2
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby Philulhu » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:03 am

Vic looks around the room, studying the books. She hopes she’ll be able to borrow one or two to read. She feels John Meddler’s gaze upon her and wonders why he seems so interested in her.

Spoiler:
Psychology - John Meddler (50%)
Philulhu rolled 1d100:
67


Psychology - Harry Forby (50%)
Philulhu rolled 1d100:
61
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby aine » Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:24 pm

Isolde sits demurely, for once, partakes of the tea and listens.
Spoiler:
53%
aine rolled 1d100:
85
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby HoneyDog » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:36 am

Spoiler:
Forby’s insistence on talking about school days strikes Harry as oddly pathetic – he seems to be retreating into the past to hide from his insecurities, seeking comfort there. He is obviously deeply troubled.


“I suppose I should get to the reason I requested you and your group” Forby finally says. “I think you can find the treasure for me, our family treasure. It’s eluded me for years. I must have it!”

As Forby talks about the treasure his cheeks become flushed and his eyes grow feverish.
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Re: Chapter 2: Day One

Postby Mr. Handy » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:05 am

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"Aye, well, we may be able to help with that," says Alexander. "Why the urgency? The treasure has lain undiscovered for countless years, I'm sure it's not going anywhere."
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