Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Its Hour Come Round at Last 2.2

Session played: March 10, 2017

Continued from the previous section, we were still down some (though different) members, so after some personal stories, the team followed up on a different lead.

***

Wednesday, June 15, 1916 - MI 18 research station, Oxford, England

Having remained at Oxford to continue his research, McKinley intended to come down to London on Friday.  However, Wednesday morning he received a telegram from his father, George, a retired physician still residing in York.

The telegram asked him to come quickly, and so Thomas McKinley packed a bag and did so.

Arriving at his parents home later that day, his father explained that Thomas' younger brother, Richard, had for several months been a guest at a sanatorium outside of York because of nerves and that they had not wanted to bother him about it.  However, he recently began asking to speak with Thomas.

Arriving at the sanatorium, McKinley met his brother, Russell, in his room.  Well, dressed, good-mannered, Russell asked after McKinley's health and work.

Then, he took a graphite pencil and began writing: I could not speak, I could not see, I knew nothing

Turning to Thomas, he said.  “His chair was like a burnished throne of glowing marble.”

When Thomas asked whose chair, he replied.  "Why the King, Thomas. I remember the pearls that were his eyes.  I remember his tattered cloak.”

He then wrote: I will show you fear in a handful of dust

Afterwards, McKinley stayed with his parents.

****

Thursday, June 16, 1916 - MI 18 research station, Oxford,  and MI 18 Headquarters, London, England

The next morning, Dr. Thomas McKinley took the early train to London at the request of Dr. Watson, where he met with Alaard Vick and Bertrand Merriweather - the latter having arrived the night before from his home in Shropshire.

There they met with Lady Margaret Jameson for a morning update regarding open issues.  Alaard filled them in on the Silver Gate.  After some debate, they decided to travel for the day to Colchester and follow up on the two missing agents who had investigated the Bourchier family estate.

Alaard's contact informed him that Barnaby Pritcher still lived in West Barnes.  Vick called and made arrangements for a meeting the next day.

A copy of The Daemonic Kultes of London by Herbert Grobenach of Paddinton written in 1735 arrived for Vick from the Oxford Library.  The book discussed different cults of early eighteenth century London and Lady Margaret noted she would have the book copied before returning it.  The information about the Knights of the Silver Gate was slim, but a mention of the Clyde Whipple Narrative.

Regarding Dick Donovan's files, they were stored at Scotland Yard, and Lady Margaret had not been able to obtain them.

Alaard's daughter Viola sent a post saying she and her friend Susan had decided to go interview anyone who might remember the incidents regarding A.L. and the Oxford Hole.

They also had received correspondence from the sanatorium where Fedora Philander had been staying.

  To Whom it may concern,

I regret to inform you that patient Fedora Philander took his on life in a fit of rage last night after many months of delusional psychosis.  He was a difficult case.  And it is to my deep sorrow I was not able to help.  Please contact our office regarding what is to be done with his remains.

  Dr. Ambrose Morven

They decided to put off responding for a few days.


****

Thursday, June 16, 1916 - London to Colchester to Fingrinhoe, England

The trip to Colchester was uneventful and blessedly short.  There they rented a wagon to take them on the short trip to Fingrinhoe.  On hearing their destination, the driver recommended they stop at the The Whalebone for lunch and to speak with the proprietor, Mr. Harry Chapel.

Chapel brought up the issue of the Bourchier estate, as he had seen so many government men from London in these parts lately.  When Vick pried, he learned that the last of the Bourchiers, not counting the new owner living in Bristol, had been seen twenty years ago.

He recommended Vick visit Father George Ketley at the local parish church for more information.   The Father proved helpful and brought out the rolls along with tea and cake.

There they learned that the Bourchiers - an Anglo-Norman family - built the estate in 1712 when they migrated from Clun in Shropshire.  Betrand expressed surprise as his farm was outside Clun.

The last record at the Church was the birth of one Jason Bourchier twenty-two years ago to Priscilla Boucher.  She died three days later from severe lacerations due to dog bites.

***

The estate was an half an hour walk outside of the village.  Though the Bourchiers had arrived in the area two centuries before, it was soon apparent to Allard that the current house was an updated Regency home.  Finding the rusted gate open, the entered the grounds - overgrown to shoulder height brambles from decades of neglect.  They could see the roof of a small stone building through the brambles.

The path to the house had a fresh cut look to it, which - considering the owner, police, and MI-5 had all been to the property recently - was no surprise.

Also, of little surprise, they found the front door to the house unlocked.  The steps up creaked wildly as they mounted the porch.  Bertrand noticed some white powder on the steps, which McKinley declared dried fecal matter.

Rather than entering the house right away, Bertrand decided to follow the trail of fecal matter into the underbrush.  Materializing the sword, he cut his way through the underbrush. The sword whispered to him, it wanted blood, but he ignored the demands.

Soon he found himself at a large hole in the ground that stank of old filth and, despite McKinley's warning, slid into the underground cavern.  Both the Doctor and Alaard held pistols ready and shook their heads.

Underground, Merriweather held his electric torch and sword and glanced about the layers. He saw piles of old bones - dogs, birds, livestock, human - and after some minutes decided to leave.  The sword wailed in his head.

Back inside the house, they split up and searched rooms.  Alaard went upstairs, while Bertrand and Thomas explored the rooms immediately downstairs.  Soon, Alaard called them to a library he had found.  Inside were moldering books and a surprisingly intact painting.  He recognized the artist - one Sabine Landau - as a member of a morbid decadent movement he had witnessed in Paris during the 1890s.

The scene of the painting was one of a woman dressed in an stylized medieval gown and standing in a cold moonlit stone room before an open window where she looked down on a blue countryside.

Touching the painting, Vick fell face first into it.

The woman turned to look at him. He thought she looked French, but when she spoke it was in Afrikaans.  She asked him to bring her art.  And turned back to look out the window.

On the wall behind, he saw a painting of the library he had just left.  Touching that picture, he quickly returned to the Bourchier estate and went to find his companions.

Bertrand and Thomas helped Alaard collected and cover the painting.  As they turned to leave, they were attacked by a strange ape creature.  Bertrand killed it in a lucky hit.  At this point, they decided to go back to town for transportation.  Outside the gate, they found a private car and a man who identified himself as Richard Donovan of Scotland yard.  Showing their MI credentials they had Donovan help with the painting and the ape body.

As they left, they heard loud growling from under the house and fled quickly.  Calling headquarters from the inn in town, they were directed to a farmhouse further east of Colchester.

****

Thursday, June 16, 1916 - Farmhouse in Colchester, early evening

Donovan drove them to a nicely maintained farm in rural England to the east of Colchester.  It appeared to have been a dairy farm at one point, but now the fields only seemed to grow hay.

Packing the car, Donovan prepared to sweep the house when they were greeted by an elderly man who acknowledged their codeword and told them this was Watson's new training facility for MI-18 agents.

McKinley setup in the old milking room and began dissecting the dead ape-man body.  He determined that the creature was actually mostly human with some unknown structural features.

They rested their for the evening.

****

The party is hesitant to enter any kind of combat as injury is possible.  Since Merriweather obtained the Sword Ally he has been more aggressive.  It is a megalomaniac with the ability to take over Merriweather's body if he loses control.  Things will probably go poorly for Bertrand.

The story continues with Its Hour Come Round at Last 2.3







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