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River Of Shadows (1895)

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:31 am

by Mikey » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:39 am
Robert crossed over to the drink cart and poured himself a red vermouth. He raised his glass toward Isabel, sipped, and said, "Considering how the old guard of Miskatonic has regarded up-and-coming ideology lately, I'm sure a poor reception is an indication of brilliant work." Zelman clucked his annoyance at Robert's tone, but the professor continued, "I'm sorry to have missed it, but I only recently returned from Hawai'i - you've heard of Seneca Lapham's expedition? - to begin the year and compile data and begin some local research, while he's preparing to continue on to Micronesia. He thinks some local lore links to Ponape... I'm of a mind to center on the formation of subcultures right here where Pacific indicators have taken root, but surely there will be some linkages..."

"Surely I'll swallow the barrel o' me Russian if I ha' to listen to this Greek talk much longer!" O'Neill broke in. "Lord above, can we please get to dinner so we can get to the cash an' then to gettin' home?"

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:33 am

by Tsukiyumi » Fri Sep 16, 2011 4:19 pm

September 21, 1895, 8:28 PM EST

The incandescent bulbs in the small chandelier overhead flickered sporadically as the thunder crashed from outside. The old house creaked and moaned as it swayed in the powerful winds. And yet, in the modestly furnished dining area, the guests on either side of the long table were comfortable, still chatting amongst themselves in the warmth of another fireplace. All of the guests had been seated, save for the one absentee, and Ibrahim had brought out freshly-baked bread and wine to hold them over until the main courses were served.

The man was impressive, gliding from one part of the table to another, setting out covered platters before each guest, all the while refilling glasses, and nimbly dodging the odd elbow or chair suddenly leaned back. The first course was a lightly grilled local halibut with fennel, tomatoes, and roasted garlic rouille, garnished with fennel greens. Several approving murmurs greeted the lifting of the covers.

Suddenly, the overhead lights flickered out completely amid the rumble of a massive thunderclap, leaving the room lit only in the dim red glow of the fireplace. Ibrahim continued serving, not even pausing to adjust to the darkness. The murmurs were louder, now, and most sounded a bit nervous.

Just as quickly as the lights had gone out, they came back on with an odd clacking sound from the bowels of the house. At the head of the table, a man had appeared, casually sitting in the high-backed chair.

Even Ibrahim was startled by the sudden appearance of their host, “Ahem… Allow me to present your host for this evening, Doctor Alexander May…” he waited for a nod from the Doctor before resuming his duties.

May was an imposing figure, wide-shouldered and broad across the chest, with a well-manicured gray beard styled similar to President Grant. His jacket wasn’t lavish, but was well-made, and spoke of money. He held a small decanter of golden liquid in his hand, which he swirled as he spoke, “Welcome to May Manor, ladies and gentlemen, and esteemed colleagues. I apologize for the brief outage; the incandescent lights are wired to the house’s electrical grid, and become temperamental during harsh weather.”

He paused to take a bite of the halibut, closing his eyes briefly as he savored the meat, “Exquisite, Ibrahim. I hope the roast came out as delicious,” he glanced around the table and smiled, “I’ve ruined the surprise. The second course is a veal roast with mushrooms and onions in a white wine reduction.”

Ignoring the astounded faces of the guests, he took another bite, and sipped his drink. Willem scowled at him from across the table, before raising his voice to be heard over the great gusts of wind outside, “Good sir, some of us have traveled a significant distance to attend this gathering tonight, and have been waiting several hours for a simple explanation. I do not wish to be rude, but I know most everyone here wishes to know the reason we’ve been summoned.”

May held a hand up in apology, “Forgive me; I don’t often have company, nor excuse for such a lavish meal. I know some of you have discovered the brevity of the Kingsport Philosophical Society’s existence, and have been trying to deduce what the group of you might have in common. Let me be clear: the society is a front. It was merely an excuse to summon you all here without drawing the attention of… certain parties. The money promised is quite real, however, to answer that question before it is asked.”

Curiosity turned to indignation on the faces of many of the guests; May continued before any could speak, “I have selected you, and gathered you here because I need your help. As to the commonality, let me go over the room. Doctor Isabel Hodges, PhD: you have tremendous skill in numerous sciences, extensive knowledge of the occult, talent in multiple languages, and incredible aptitude in research. Your recent paper proved my selection for me.”

Isabel opened her mouth to speak, but May continued, “Professor Robert Wessex: you also have great skill in multiple sciences, talent in multiple languages, and a reputation as a man who can find things long thought lost.” He swiveled his head to the other side of the table, “Miss Sylvia Stanley: while you do not hold a degree, you are the match of any PhD at numerous sciences, speak multiple languages, and have greater knowledge of the occult than anyone in this room, save perhaps for myself.”

The lights overhead flickered again as a great booming thunderclap issued from outside. May turned to Dr. Zelman, seated to his left, “Doctor Bertram Zelman: while we have never met that I can recall, I have admired your work for some time; your skill in medicine and biology rivals my own, and you also speak a number of languages… Susana Smythe,” he began, glancing at the woman at the far end of the table before taking another sip of his drink, “You are a figure of some renown, able to investigate and research better than 99% of undergraduates and a great deal of doctors.”

Ibrahim leaned in close to May’s ear, and whispered something; the Doctor nodded, and gestured at Detective Wessex as Ibrahim left the room, “Misters Charles Wessex and Willem Klein: You both have a preternaturally keen insight, and skill with combat that have proven incredibly useful, in particular on cases involving missing persons… Perhaps you have both begun to notice a trend here?”

Both men nodded, but said nothing. Doctor May waved his arm across the table, “Mister Claude Sydney Adams: you also possess great investigative aptitude, as evidenced by your most recent triumph. Brilliant headline, that one. You are also a skilled fighter, and have a knack for convincing people to cooperate who otherwise wouldn’t. Mrs. Maude Brewster: you are an accomplished hunter and tracker with a talent for solving mysteries and puzzles. Mrs. Fiorina Spencer nee Jean: you are also experienced at tracking, able to speak multiple languages, and your reputation as an accomplished ballerina commands respect, especially from anyone who has had the privilege of watching you dance.”

Newt chimed in, “You’re that Fiorina Jean? I saw you on posters all over New York, couple years back.”

A number of people had a look of recognition on their faces at the connection; Fiorina blushed and cast her eyes at her plate. May nodded, “Indeed. She is a genuine celebrity, and one of the most graceful creatures to ever command a stage. Mister Daryl Chambers, formerly a soldier in the United States Army: you received numerous commendations during your service, and are perhaps the most skilled fighter here tonight. You are not known as a man who shies away from danger.”

May paused, a sliver of fish at the end of his silver fork, “By all means, please eat. The next course will be ready in a few moments.” Several did resume eating, before May resumed talking, “Mister Sandy Walton Dobson: My late father was an acquaintance of your father’s, did you know that? Your knowledge of historical artifacts and talent in various languages is superb.”

Doctor May pointed down the table at Cookie, “My old friend Samuel Bell, known to many as ‘Cookie’ for his time spent out in the west on prairie schooners, and known to some here as the proprietor of the Rock Lobster restaurant in Arkham: I’ve known you for years, and your knowledge of chemistry rivals mine. You’re able to banter and barter with the best, and can outcook anyone I’ve ever met. Nathan Jefferies: your musical skill is most impressive, but it is your extensive knowledge of the occult and skill with mechanical device that made you an obvious choice.”

“Oi, what about me an’ the other fellow?” O’Neill broke in. Newt had a querulous look on his face as well.

“Yes, you may have felt somewhat out of place, my friend,” May began, “But I assure you, you are not. You both have various skills the others lack, and are quite apt at survival. Have you all figured out the connection? It is simple, truly: you are all very talented individuals, far above the average person. It is this talent pool I require to assist me in a task I could not possibly complete alone.”

“And what task is that, Doctor?” Nathan asked cautiously.

“I inherited this house when my father passed away three years ago; he had become somewhat eccentric in his later years, and rarely left the premises. I myself hadn’t seen him in almost three decades. After my mother died when I was a boy, he traveled the world, becoming increasingly obsessed with certain artifacts and tomes of knowledge which he brought home with him. Eventually, he found himself at odds with a local group (some say they’re a cult) for some reason or another, and some in town believe they were involved in his death. At the estate reading, I became acquainted with a relative I’d never met: my sister, Cassandra, ostensibly of another mother, but a blood relative, nonetheless.” At this, he scowled somewhat, then sipped his drink again.

“After settling in here, my sister and I began going through our late father’s research and notes; his library is quite extensive, you’ll find. A few months later, the ‘cult’ made their displeasure known by killing several of my horses in my stables, and left a threatening letter warning the two of us to pack up and leave town. Local law enforcement was rather unhelpful in the matter, but Cassandra and I remained, determined to discover the reason for my father’s erratic, reclusive behavior. For the next two years, we traveled; I left my research at Miskatonic, and she accompanied me, following in our father’s footsteps across the globe while Ibrahim maintained the property.” Another bite of the halibut finished the plate; Ibrahim began wheeling in the serving tray with the next course.

“Six months ago, we returned with what we were certain was the cornerstone of our father’s obsession: a translation of an ancient manuscript. We had been home for merely a week when the ‘cultists’ attacked the manor in the middle of the night. My sister was taken, along with the manuscript, and a priceless heirloom which Ibrahim tells me was my father’s prized possession. I have searched the town top to bottom, I have asked every resident, and all I have found are a few pieces of evidence that my sister is being held somewhere in town. A locket she wore, with a picture of our father as a young man; the dress she wore the night of her abduction, and a note left on my front porch, in her hand, warning me to leave while I still was able. I cannot find her on my own, and I have asked you all here to assist me in locating her, and my missing property; also to help me discover what it was that caused all of these terrible events.” With this, Doctor May nodded to Ibrahim; next to the serving cart was a strongbox which Ibrahim placed on the table. May dialed through the combination, and opened it, grabbing several huge piles of money from within. He placed the great bundle of cash on the table in a pyramidal stack.

“I offer each of you five thousand dollars if you will stay and help me solve this mystery. I will not lie; these cultists may be dangerous, and it may take some time to unravel the web of secrets this town hides, but I cannot do this alone. I beg of you to help me.”

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:42 am

by Lighthawk » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:23 pm
"...my good sir," Claude began after a moment to recover from the shock. "Surely this seems more a matter for..."

"We'll help," Silvia cut across him, and Claude stifled a sigh. He cast her a beseeching look, but she just smiled sweetly. "How could any decent person not do everything in their power to provide aid when a young lady is danger?"

"Ah, bloody hell," Claude muttered and eyed Daryl, who just shrugged apologetically. "Bloody hell," Claude muttered again and moodily stabbed a bit of fish with his knife, stuffing it into his mouth and chewing angrily. He glowered at his plate.

"We'll help," Silvia repeated, smiling at Doctor May. "As I said, no decent person should refuse to come to the aid of one in great need." Her smile turned sharper. "And I must confess, certain elements of your tale intrigue me. I don't think I could walk away from this, even without your poor sister's plight or your money." There was a sudden eagerness in her words. "I must hear more, whatever details you do have."

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:42 am

by Tsukiyumi » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:49 am
“My lady, details are quite lacking in this whole affair; one of the things I needed help with. My family is too well known in Kingsport, as is my father’s feud with many people in positions of local authority. I suspect many of these people are involved with the cult my father ranted about in his journals, and are involved in Cassandra’s abduction, but I need people who can ask questions and investigate the situation without drawing the sort of attention I do in town.” May motioned for Ibrahim to serve the second course, and the man began setting out new covered plates as he scooped up finished ones.

“I have the names of everyone in town my father had dealings with, the names of everyone who helped or hindered me, and a number of leads I was unable to pursue by myself. I also have my father’s journals, notes, and other materials that could shed light on where to look. The library on the second floor is free for perusal by all, and I know of many places in town that other research could be done. I will pay for any expenses required for this endeavor as well.” After lifting the lid from his new plate, May began slicing the veal into thin strips. Again, he closed his eyes as he chewed, enjoying every bite as though it were his last meal.

“Is there anything specific anyone wishes to know?” he asked, pausing for a moment before finishing his drink, and motioning Ibrahim for another.

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:45 am

by Mikey » Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:46 am
O'Neill had, after hastily remembering to remove his hat and then staring blankly at the array of forks for a moment, tucked into his fish with wild avarice. He paused only when he choked slightly at the mention of the sum of $5,000. He muttered something about wearing Cassandra's dresses for that much money, then renewed his attack on his dinner when the veal was brought.

Robert listened quietly, but a strange light came into his eyes at the mention of cults and ancient artifacts. At length he said, "Doctor, this opportunity is too rare and tempting to miss. You have whatever assistance I can provide."

Zelman raised his wine glass toward his host and added, "The whole business just isn't proper. You'll have my help as well."

Charles paused thoughtfully and said, "I'll just need to wire my station house in the morning, but I think you've already known that I'll help. I can't help but wonder, Doctor May, about how well-known your family and apparent assets are in this vicinity. Might these troubles be of a more... ah, prosaic nature? That is, perhaps the person or persons responsible is motivated less by your father's research and more by his wealth?"

Robert nodded at this, then said, "Perhaps after dinner and a smoke we can see your library, any notes you might have retained regarding the stolen manuscript, and any other clues to your father's research. I'm sure we can determine a further course of action from that point. I'd be most interested to see whence this 'cult' - if indeed it is one - is derived and whence its beliefs and ritual have developed."

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:45 am

by Tsukiyumi » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:26 pm
“Of course. Anyone who’s interested may join me in the library to review the information at hand. There is much to discuss.” Ibrahim brought May another drink, and again leaned over to whisper in his ear. May nodded again, dismissing Ibrahim with a wave.

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:47 am

by Uzume » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:27 pm
“Well, old friend, my restaurant has been left in capable hands; a telegraph will be required to notify my staff of my extended stay. I’m in, partner.” Cookie exclaimed in a robust, jocular tone.

Maude had a look of consternation and conflict, “I could use a rousing adventure; however, my ranch hands expect me back in a week. I make all the arrangements and place all of the orders for my stock; the hands simply do as they’re told… Although, one of my favored ranch hands' sons will be returning from university in a couple of days; if I can send word, he’d be quite capable of running the ranch. That is why I sent him to university in the first place. Yet, I will need to keep in touch to make sure things are running smoothly.”

May nodded, “Of course. The telegraph office in town should be able to send message. I, of course, will compensate any fees associated with any of you who need to arrange your affairs.”

Maude nodded thoughtfully in return, “Well, you can count on my trusty irons, then, dear sir.”

Newt listened attentively to the conversation, feeling even less important than before; he had no one to miss his absence, no business to run, or even a job to fret over. He leaned back in his chair, savoring the best meal he’d ever eaten. Rubbing his belly, he interjected, “$5,100 bucks, huh? I got nothin’ to lose; I’m in.”

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:48 am

by Tsukiyumi » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:44 pm
May smiled at Newt, “I’m glad to hear it, son. You’re an important part of this plan.”

Newt smiled uneasily back, “If you say so.”

At this, Ibrahim began refilling drinks around the table. Outside, the storm seemed to somehow be building in strength; the sound of an old tree or two toppling could be heard with increasing regularity.

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:48 am

by Tsukiyumi » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:44 am
After a dessert of Bananas Foster, the group was led back into the den by Ibrahim. May followed with the group like any of the guests, “My friends, any who wish to retire after a trying day may feel free. Any who wish to join me in the library, please follow. I must admit my excitement; I feel as though I may yet see my sister’s sweet face again.”

May headed up the staircase, and into the grand library.

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:49 am

by Mikey » Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:19 pm
Charles walked out of the dining room in step with his uncle and murmured, "He seems very attached to a half-sister of whom he had no notion for 99% of his life."

"Well, the rich and connected often have such affectations," Robert replied. "Good thing there's no such hawsers in our family, eh?"

Charles looked at his uncle sidelong for a moment, then said, "In any event, I think I need to talk to our esteemed host a bit further. You're going to check the library, I trust?"

"Of course," Robert answered, stopping at the drink cart in the parlor. Both men poured themselves a small tawny port, while Dr. Zelman opted for a ruby. The two academics headed up to the library while Charles caught up in stride with Dr. May.

"While everyone's busying themselves with sight-seeing, perhaps I could have a few, more in-depth words, Doctor?" Meanwhile, O'Neill - who had followed the detective out of the dining room - had come to a standstill, busying himself with deliberation over the array of after-dinner drinks.

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:50 am

by Uzume » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:18 pm
While Cookie headed upstairs with the rest of the group headed for the library, Maude hung back, “I’ll go check out the stables, if that is acceptable; you mentioned that the cultists had slaughtered your horses a few years back. I know a lot of time has passed, and I’m sure you inspected them thoroughly, but I’d like to have a look myself.”

May paused on the staircase, “Of course, madam. When you finish, you can join us in the library to look over the evidence I’ve already gathered.”

“Of course, Doctor.” She replied, heading back into the hallway toward the stables.

Once there, she began inspecting the floor, rafters, walls, looking for anything out of place. All she found were seven perfectly groomed and healthy quarter horses and a variety of expensive riding gear. She patted one of the horses on its thick neck, and softly rubbed its velveteen nose. Satisfied at the thoroughness of her investigation, she made her way into the workshop.

***

Newt deliberately loitered in the den as the others headed off. He noticed the dumbwaiter hidden behind the big clock, and artifacts from around the world. One in particular caught his eye, and he moved closer to examine it. The closer he got, the more uneasy he felt; a knot in the pit of his stomach grew stronger. He couldn’t place it, but it seemed familiar.

Ibrahim chimed in from over his shoulder, “That piece is one that Wentworth May picked up on his travels in the South Pacific. Fascinating, isn’t it?”

Startled, Newt shrunk back from both the man and the artifact on its pedestal, “Y-yeah, I guess so.” He stammered.

On a pedestal of solid black marble in the far corner of the den was an icon of some primal culture, a small bas-relief of a creature from mythology unknown to the world at large. About six inches across, it described a creature reminiscent of an octopus, a dragon and a humanoid simultaneously. An odd stirring of emotions followed Newt’s realization of its familiarity. He’d certainly never seen anything like it in New York.

Shaking his head slightly, Newt turned to Ibrahim, “I’m going to hit the sack. I ain’t much for readin.”

“I shall be in the kitchen cleaning up if you require anything, young sir,” Ibrahim bowed, and headed off.

***

As she entered the den, Maude was nearly knocked down by a fleeting blur, “Well!” she exclaimed.

Without slowing toward the stairs, Newt said, “Sorry, ma’am,” and disappeared.

Still a bit frazzled by the spastic child, she decided to head to the kitchens for a cup of tea before joining the others in the library.


Last edited by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:53 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:52 am

by Tsukiyumi » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:31 pm

September 21, 1895, 9:09 PM EST

Outside, the thunderstorm reached its peak; the thunderclaps drew closer together, and lightning arced across the low-hanging clouds. Unseen by all but the bravest in the town that remained outdoors to watch the sky, a series of dark green lightning bolts seemed to leap from the ground in several places, emerald branches spreading across the sky.

Inside the manor, the lights flickered out again, and this time, stayed out.

In the library, Doctor May moved to light candles and oil lanterns, and Ibrahim headed out of the kitchens to light other candles around the manor. Maude followed him upstairs, waiting for a moment to converse.

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:54 am

by Uzume » Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:58 am
Maude cautiously climbed the stairs behind Ibrahim; the man’s frame lit by a halo of candlelight was the only thing guiding her. He paused on occasion to light a candle in a wall sconce, and progressively made his way toward the library.

At the top of the stairs, she gently placed a hand on his shoulder. He turned with a subdued smile, “Ma’am?”

“Yes, Ibrahim. I’ve been meaning to talk with you for a moment, if you can spare one?”

“Of course, my lady.” He paused, placing the tall, pewter candelabra in the crook of his elbow.

“Yes, um, it’s about this house. I’ve noticed since I arrived, and looked about, that the foundation appears much older than the house proper. Is this observation correct?” Maude asked, herself framed momentarily by a green flash from the lightning outside.

“You are very observant, Mrs. Brewster. The house itself was built atop a much older structure by Professor Wentworth May some thirty years ago. The original house was destroyed in a fire a few decades before that.” Ibrahim began slowly ascending the stairs as he spoke.

Maude followed, “When was the original structure built?”

“In the early 1700’s, if I recall correctly. The location was, and still is an excellent one. Do you have any further questions, madam?” Ibrahim paused again, waiting for her reply.

“I’m curious, did you help Professor May with his research? And, why did they leave you here if they wanted everyone out of this house so badly? I mean no disrespect, I’m merely curious.” Maude placed a hand on his forearm to reassure him.

“I did help Professor May, quite often. He was a good friend, as is his son. I.. am not sure why they left me alive after Professor May’s death. Or when they came after his children, for that matter. Perhaps, they thought me unimportant.” He seemed troubled by the question, his brows furrowed in thought.

“Again, Ibrahim, thank you for your time.” She gave him a genuine smile, “I don’t see how anybody could deem you unimportant. The way you singlehandedly run this huge house.”

She then turned towards the library as Ibrahim bowed thanks and headed off to ignite other candles.

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:56 am

by Lighthawk » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:59 pm
“So, we’re really going to do this?” Claude asked in a soft voice. He had delayed in getting up from the table, and Silvia and Daryl had likewise taken their time, leaving the three of them slightly behind the main group.

“Oh yes,” Silvia replied. “I am going to insist upon it I’m afraid.”

“Very well then,” Claude sighed, blowing out his mustache. “However I’m still charging my usual fee on top of what the good doctor is paying.”

Silvia chuckled. “Of course.”

Claude gave a sharp nod, and sped up his pace, maneuvering his way alongside Doctor May, who was talking with Charles, and engaging himself into the conversation. Silvia glanced over her shoulder at Daryl, but the young man had already slipped away unnoticed. She smiled, and promised herself that one time she would manage to catch him in mid-disappearance.

Heading for the library, Silvia passed by Claude and the doctor, catching a piece of their conversation.

“…"Ibrahim put up a fight; knocked two of them out cold, but they were too many in number. They dragged her out the front door, kicking and screaming, while others broke into my office and stole the manuscript and my father's heirloom. I got off a shot at the last fellow, but my flintlock has limited range. I missed, I'm afraid…"

And then she was in the library, a great room with high vaulted ceilings, the bookshelves encircling the entire space. She glided along the shelves, eyes scanning across the volumes, which were in remarkable condition, even though many were quite old. She plucked several out that caught her attention; The Beatus Methodivo, On Alchemy, Gebri Regis Arabum Philisophi Perspicacissimi, Studies of the Indians of the Miskatonic Valley, Visions From Yaddith, and a few others until she was struggling under the weight of her collection, which she tottered on over to a table. Depositing the books with a muffled thud, she seated herself, pulled down the top book on the pile, and began skimming through the pages.

------------

“Right in here sir,” Ibrahim said, showing Claude into an empty room; empty save for the torn and dirty dress hanging on a peg. The dress belonged to the doctor’s sister, the one she had been wearing the night of her abduction. It was one of three important clues the doctor had recovered, and Claude had insisted to check over each. May had suggested that he and some others might begin investigation of the town, particularly the locations he had discovered the clues. Claude had assured him that he intended to do just that, but only after he had looked over the items in question.

“Bring me the locket and letter here, if you would,” he told Ibrahim, who nodded.

“Of course,” the man replied, and headed off to do so.

Alone in the empty room, Claude shuttered, looking at the dress. He pushed his feelings aside, forcing himself to see and think, but not to feel. Right now, dwelling on his feelings would do the poor girl no favors. He could feel pity for her later. He approached the clothing, and bent to examine it in detail.

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:57 am

by Mikey » Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:58 pm
Before Claude slipped away with Ibrahim, Charles held a forestalling finger up to Dr. May. Turning slowly, he said unaffectedly, "When I want you involved in MY conversations, Mr. Adams, I will tell you so. Until then, do NOT eavesdrop on me. Ibrahim," he added more brightly, turning to the valet, "when you are done escorting Mr. Adams, I'd appreciate a word."

Continuing their way up to the library, they came upon Robert bundling an armful of daybooks and loose notes over to a reading desk in the corner and igniting a lamp from a taper. He arranged himself so that his back was between the room and the desk, and half-rose to remove his jacket. "Well, he'll be occupied," Charles commented to May. "For all his bitter ambition, what really drives him is a core of unadulterated academia. I just wish he'd figure that out."

Dr. Zelman, meanwhile, had taken a couple of rather aged-looking tomes over to the central table. He pored through them, absently twirling the waxed ends of his moustache and flipping back and forth as if searching the contents. After a few minutes, O'Neill strolled casually into the room, looked around for a moment, and addressed Dr. May directly. "Oi, now - that dumbwaiter o' yers that ain't a true dumbwaiter... where's it off to, then?"

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:58 am

by Deepcrush » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:54 pm
Joseph Webb sat upon his idle horse, a giant of a man with his bright Indian eyes glaring up the road at the house to which he was told to watch. He suspected the people he was to watch over were no doubt inside, dodging this deluge that he and his partners were sitting in. The rain was beating off his stetson and pouring just over his lit cigarette and down across his duster. His normally dark brown clothing having turned black by the rain and dark of night. Joseph had to be careful to keep his hat tilted enough to keep the rain off his smoke and to keep the light of his smoke covered from the view of the house. "So this here is where the magic starts." Speaking to no one but loud enough for his partners to hear. "A bunch of wide eyed city folk with dreams of greatness."

"Easy on them little brother. We don't really know what kinds of folks these people are. Not until we've shared words with them." Cyrus Webb, the broadly built Scot-American who called Joseph his brother in law. "These people were chosen for a reason."

Joseph scoffed the remark. "White men like to choose by coin and jewels as much as they do for a strong back and stout mind." Tapping his hip, Joseph nodded to the house. "I much rather put my trust to God and my bullets before I lean on their judgments." Lighting a fresh cigarette Joseph shook his head at the situation. "Its a dark rainy night and I'm stuck here."

Cyrus laughed lightly at Joseph while Hanz Gunther, the last member of the party, sat silently upon his horse. The grey toothed stetson and black duster lined with barbed chain a sharp contrast to his partners. A cigar turned in his mouth as he eyed the house with a face that gave no sign of emotion and his fingers itched the fresh scalp in his pocket. The thought of his mission here rolling over and over in his mind. Either they will serve their purpose well, or we will kill them all. That is HER WILL.

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:00 am

by Lighthawk » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:01 pm
Having skimmed and sorted her collection of books, Silvia was just getting started into really reading Studies of the Indians of the Miskatonic Valley when Claude dropped himself into the chair opposite her. He didn't speak, and she didn't look up, not until she had finished her page, marked the spot, and closed the book.

Virtually the instant the pages snapped shut, Claude said, "Not much to go on here, I'm going to have to make a trip into town."

Silvia nodded. "You'll be taking Daryl with you?"

"He...could be useful," Claude hedged. "But I'm not sure if leaving you..."

Silvia waved off the rest of his sentence. "I'll be fine, I think I can remember how to take care of myself," she told him with a small grin. Claude grunted in reply, and stared off across the library. Silvia had her book back open and was about to pick up where she left off, when she suddenly seemed to notice he was still there.

"Was there something else?" she inquired.

"Hmm? Oh, no just...waiting," Claude told her.

"Waiting? For what?"

Claude nodded with his chin, and Silvia glanced over to see Charles discussing something with Ibrahim.

"Just waiting for the pompous ass to finish, less I insult his tender sensitivities again by eavesdropping on his oh so secretive conversations." Claude finished with a roll of his eyes.

Silvia snorted in amusement. "Aw, my poor big grump, did he refuse to be your friend?" Claude glared, sternly, but Silvia only smiled more brightly and returned her attention to her book, leaving Claude to direct his ire out at the room at large while he waited for the opportunity to snag Ibrahim again.

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:03 am

by Tsukiyumi » Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:33 pm

September 21, 1895, 11:13 PM EST

Fiorina found an interesting looking tome in the bookshelf, thumbed through it, and couldn't make any sense of it, "'Night, all. it is growing quite late, and I'd like to start early in town with the leads Doctor May has. She curtsied, and left the library as everyone bade goodnight.

Nathan grabbed the book after she replaced it on the shelf, and began flipping through it. Isabel also pulled a book from the shelves, and skimmed through lightly, "I believe fatigue is taking its toll on me as well. Nathan, shall we retire?"

He looked up, nodded, and replaced the two, before following Isabel to their room.

Willem noticed a frustrated look on detective Wessex's face, and moved to speak with him as he finished interviewing the manservant, Ibrahim.

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:03 am

by Mikey » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:13 pm
Zelman bent over the desk which Robert occupied, their discussion punctuated by their pointing to certain entries and nodding. Just as Charles was wrapping up with Ibrahim, Robert called him over - the timing being a complete accident, as Robert hadn't looked up from the day-books and notes on the desk in at least 15 minutes. Zelman began to point something out to Charles, who proceeded to transcribe in his notebook. Willem made as if to approach the detective, who stiffened as Claude and Silvia conferred. Charles deliberately put away his notebook, turned, and marched up to the couple.

Charles nodded stiffly to Silvia and said, "Please excuse the necessity of this." He turned toward Claude, took a step forward so as to be nose to nose with the man, and said quietly, "Listen to me, Adams - while we are both guests in our host's home, and especially in the company of ladies, I do not expect your prior poor manners to be followed by the even poorer manners of attempting to talk about me behind my back. As an aside, if you're going to to talk clandestinely, try to do it more quietly. Now, I will expect better from you in the future. If you have an issue with this, we can settle it as gentlemen... or I can call this whole thing 'police business' and have you held for interfering until such time as I see fit." He turned and started to walk away, then said over his shoulder, "You purport to have some investigative skill. If that's true - and if you remain so interested in my doings - I have a number of leads to follow in the morning. No, not first thing - I fully expect that our Ibrahim will lay out a more-than-passable breakfast." He turned back and said, "Doctor?"

Zelman turned from the desk, coughed, and said, "Yes, well, I suppose I - and Robert, if he can tear himself away from these hides - will look up this Mr. Hart tomorrow." Charles nodded, but looked curiously at Klein as he did so. At the same time, O'Neill walked into the room and rather forwardly addressed Dr. May directly.

"Here now, doctor," O'Neill piped, "I'm trying to figure this dumbwaiter o' yers, that doen' go through the kitchen. The upstairs door's been plastered over, and I mean to go through and follow where it goes."

"The dumbwaiter shaft of my house is really of no concern to this investigation, Master O'Neill," May replied haughtily.

"In point of fact, doctor, Ibrahim indicates that no tracks or traces were left on the grounds by Cassandra's abductors," Charles broke in. "An alternative point of entry may bear exploration."

"I assure you," May answered rather shortly, "that the structure of my dumbwaiter is of concern only to the machinists and workmen who service the generators and furnace."

"Very well," Charles said. "Perhaps, though, in light of Ibrahim's description, you might have Master O'Neill shown to the root cellar, wine store, or basement."

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:05 am

by Uzume » Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:59 pm
Cookie had been sitting back in one of the high-backed leather chairs in the library, listening to the many conversations in the room. He noticed the young woman sitting at the desk, reading. A book she’d brought down from the shelves had caught his eye. Just as he stood, Maude entered the room, “Doctor May,” she said, acknowledging the other guests with nods, “I do thank you for your hospitality. I shall be retiring for the evening, for there is much to do in the morning.”

Cookie turned to Maude, “Mrs. Brewster, I noticed you have your smoking pouch with you. Would you care to join me for a smoke and a whiskey before you retire?”

She replied, “Most certainly. That’s just what I need.”

Cookie smiled, placing a hand on her shoulder, “Just one moment, I’ll be right back.”
He seemed to cross the large room in three great strides, grabbing one of the tomes, On Alchemy, “I’d like to read this, since no one else seems to be interested in it. Good night, all!”

He turned back to Maude, and headed toward the stairs for a smoke and a nightcap.

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:07 am

by Tsukiyumi » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:08 am

September 21, 1895, 11:26 PM EST

Willem decided to call it a night as Charles confronted Claude. He rose, and excused himself to Doctor May, and then caught up to Maude and Cookie as they left the library, “I’ll join you two for a smoke, if you don’t mind.”

They paused on the staircase, glancing up. Cookie replied, “The more the merrier, my good sir!”

Maude politely smiled in agreement and the group continued down the stairs. In the den, Maude began pouring a whiskey. Willem accepted one, as did Cookie, and the trio sipped their drinks in silence for a moment. It had been a long day.

Willem swirled his glass, “I’m going to enjoy the lightshow outside while I smoke. A storm like this is a rare thing to see.”

In near unison, Maude and Cookie moved to follow, Cookie chiming in, “Sounds like a fine idea, my boy.”

Once outside, Willem lit one of his cigars with a match, and used the same match to light Maude’s pipe. Cookie was already puffing on one of his cigars, and they sat in the wicker chairs on the porch as the wind gusted, and rain continued to pour like a sieve. The sky lit up in brilliant emerald as the strange lightning played across the clouds.

“It’s quite beautiful, isn’t it?” Maude remarked, and the men nodded agreement.

After one particularly bright flash, Cookie and Willem exchanged a glance; they’d both seen what appeared to be a large man, shambling up the front path. Cookie nudged Maude, pointing at the figure.

Maude and Willem instinctively placed hands to their irons.

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:08 am

by Lighthawk » Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:51 pm
Claude took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. It didn't help.

"I'm going to have to take him up on that offer," he growled.

"To meet him in the morning?" Silvia asked, not bothering to hide her amused expression.

"No, to settle this like gentlemen," Claude answered, one hand reaching into his jacket to caress the handle of his revolver.

"Absolutely not," Silvia snapped.

"Sorry ma'am, but my honor is one thing you can't afford of me."

"Oh posh and nonsense on your honor," Silvia said, and met Claude's glare without flinching as he snapped his gaze on her. "I know you better than that, you've never cared all that much about such things, you're just upset that he's treating you like a child with a stolen cookie on your face. That, and that he keeps walking off without giving you a chance to retort. Now leave off it, and act like an adult. We're going to be working with these people for a while, so we might as well cooperate and..."

She cut off as Cookie seemed to appear out of nowhere to snatch one of the books right off the table before her.

“I’d like to read this, since no one else seems to be interested in it. Good night, all!”, he spouted, and then was gone out the door before Silvia had fully processed the encounter.

"Hey!" she called with a complete lack of dignity. "That was mine!" A muffled sort of noise made her glare at Claude, who was doing a poor job of passing off a chuckle as a cough.

"What was that you were saying..." he smirked.

"Shut. Up." Silvia scowled for a moment, before letting out a little "Ooo!", stamping a foot, and heading out the door after the book thief.

Still chuckling to himself, Claude made his way over to where Ibrahim was receiving some whispered order from Doctor May, who headed off before Claude reached the serving man.

"Need a bit of your time," he told Ibrahim.

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:09 am

by Tsukiyumi » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:34 pm
“May I help you, good sir?” Willem called out, shouting over the pouring rain. The large figure continued its approach, dragging what appeared to be a shovel in one massive hand. There was something off about the man’s gait and appearance, but in the darkness and rain, Willem couldn’t quite make out what it was.

Cookie stood, and began moving toward the stairs, “You alright, sir? Have you been accosted?”

A bolt of lightning lit up the entire lawn for an instant, just as Maude turned to put her pipe down. Willem and Cookie saw the “man” plain as day, then, and Cookie yelped and stumbled, falling onto the porch on his back. Willem drew his Peacemaker as the thing lurched forward, raising the shovel to strike at Cookie. It covered the ten yards in a rapid shuffle, which was especially disturbing, as one of the thighbones was poking through near the hip, and the head bobbled and swung at a near 45-degree angle.

“Halt!” Was the only thing Willem could think to say, and when it didn’t, he fired, hitting it dead center in the chest. As it staggered, a second blast issued from Willem’s right, and the top part of the thing’s head exploded in an oily brackish cloud. Maude slowly lowered her Peacemaker as the thing dropped to the ground in a heap, the shovel clattering away on the cobblestones of the path.

Willem and Maude exchanged a glance, and then looked over where Cookie had been. The front door was wide open, and the man could be heard shouting inside, “His head is hangin’! His neck is broke and he’s still walkin’! HIS NECK IS BROKE AND HE’S STILL WALKIN’!

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:11 am

by Mikey » Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:43 am
Even as Cookie was shouting through the foyer, a figure came rushing past him onto the porch. The sight would have been comical if not for the gruesome circumstances. Charles came to halt on the porch, looking around feverishly, in his pajamas, dressing gown, and slippers, hatless and clutching a menacing-looking double-barreled shotgun. Klein said nothing, but set his jaw and nodded in the direction of the mess of a corpse that lay on the lawn.

Charles steeled himself, cinched the belt of his robe, and stepped down of the porch into the rain. He crouched by the pile of dead flesh, looking it up and down, then called over his shoulder, "Can someone get Dr. Zelman down here... and tell him to bring the tools of his trade?"

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

Post by Tsukiyumi on Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:11 am

by Lighthawk » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:19 pm
Silvia let out a string of words a proper lady shouldn't even know, let alone say, as she was nearly bowled over by Cookie's panicked flight. She had almost caught up with the man when there had been some kind of disturbance outside, and he'd come rushing back in.

She was just gathering herself when the peculiar sight of Charles in his slippers and robe, and clutching a shotgun, rushed by her, and the moment took on a surreal air.

Then Claude was by her, one hand on her shoulder, the other gripping his revolver held down by his leg.

"I'm alright," she assured him before he could open his mouth to ask. Instead he just nodded and followed after Charles, and Silvia trailed along.

The weather was still terrible outside, but it didn't do nearly enough to conceal the scene before them. Claude tried for a moment to shield Silvia from the sight by interposing himself between her and the body, but she shot him a warning glare and just moved around him, stepping out into the rain and coming to stand beside Charles.

Claude scowled but didn't waste any more energy on it. Instead he turned to Willem and Maude.

"What happened?" he demanded.

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Re: River Of Shadows (1895)

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