After a brief moment of contemplation, We unanimously agree it is time to rest and do some research. Let us retire and in a few days we can contact one another and regroup.
Boots clicking through the hallway, Watson strode purposefully toward Chief Inspector Shaw’s office. The desk sergeant stood as she blew past him, ignoring him completely.
“You can’t go in there, miss!” she heard the sergeant’s words as she flung open the door to the Inspector’s office.
“Watson!” Shaw barked, “How dare you barge in here! I’m in a meeting with my men!”
Watson’s dark blue eyes narrowed as she looked at the men Shaw was meeting with, all three of them had been in the pub the night before, all three of them had ignored the bounty hunters that had come in and threatened the members of S.T.E.A.M. She sat the bag Moxie was riding in on a chair and stalked across the floor, slamming her palms against the desk, she leaned forward, “these so called men of yours ignored a crime in progress last night. Is that why you’re meeting with them? Making sure they carried out the boss’s orders?” she glared first at Shaw, then at the other men.
“You can’t come in here accusing these fine officers of a crime!” Shaw jumped up from his desk chair.
“I’m accusing all of you of a crime!” she said. “Explain to me how police officers can justify turning their heads and ignoring two mangled, half mechanical bounty hunters calling themselves Spike and Hammer, as they loudly threatened the lives of me and my friends. They informed us that there is a bounty on our heads and they meant to collect it,” she pointed at the three officers, “these three were sitting at the next table and heard everything. They ignored it and even smirked about it.”
“We were off duty,” one of the men said, flashing the same smirk as he had the night before.
Watson saw red when she saw the smirk again, “you son of a b….,” she had crossed the room and before the officer realized it, she had him pinned to the ground. He looked at her wide-eyed with surprise. When the other officers advanced, a fully grown Moxie placed herself between them and Watson and growled loudly. She released her hold on the officer and stood up. She looked at Shaw, “I suggest you get your officers in check, Shaw. I just came from a meeting with the head of the royal guard and he was most distressed by what transpired last night.”
Shaw paled visibly, “why did you have to bring them into it?” he mumbled.
“I didn’t bring them into it. I was summoned to the palace by the head of the royal guard himself. It seems he got word of last night’s misadventure and was most displeased. He was most appalled that no one came to our assistance.”
The officer that she had knocked to the floor had stood back up and was eyeing Moxie with fear, as were the other two officers, “they handled themselves just fine,” he said to Shaw, “we know you and Watson here...well...you don’t always get along.”
“And that’s why you ignored a crime?!” Shaw barked at them, “you do realize that it’s my neck on the line if anything happens! I may not like her, but the Crown does!”
Watson couldn’t keep from laughing, she was sure the Inspector was about to have a heart attack, he had gone from pale as a ghost to as red as a tomato.
Before she could respond, the desk sergeant stepped into the room and cleared his throat, “Chief Inspector Shaw, there is a carriage here for you. It seems your presence is required for a meeting with the head of the royal guard.”
Shaw swore, then waved the desk sergeant away, “I’ll be right there,” he looked at Watson, “this will never happen again, you have my word.”
“I have the Crown’s word too, Inspector. My friends and I will get to the bottom of this, you have my word on that.” Before leaving, she eyed the three officers and was amused to see that none of them could look her in the eyes, “my friends and I are not to be trifled with, this is your only warning,” she turned quickly, snatched up her bag and stalked from the room. Moxie gave the men one last menacing growl before following after Watson.
Thinking about the recent encounter with the bullies and the bounty on our heads. Dr. Ghinton is curious as to who has set this in motion. There wasn’t enough time to determine the benefactor of the bounty from Spike and Hammer. Things escalated far too quickly.
Ms Watson is out to find answers of her own and that will prove to bring about some additional questions, without a doubt. This situation is much higher up the chain of rank than just a local crime boss wishing to hold his turf in tact.
There’s something greater going on here. And to include not only myself and Watson, but also Hugo. This smells of an attack much greater than a single situation.
Dr. Ghinton taps the STEAM badge and speaks aloud “Send telegraph to Mr Hyde - Enquire as to his awareness of anything out of the ordinary in his records or involving the Manor… End of message.”
I’ll do my own digging here at the Consortium to see if there has been anything out of sync in my own corner of this great play.
MEANWHILE AT THE MANOR.
Immediately returning to the manor Hugo retreats to his office and begins the process of attending to the business of the manor. His final bit of business is room 1402. Apparently a guest had scratched up the carpet and chewed up the furniture. Hugo writes out a work order to the elves and sighs to himself those bachelor parties can get out of hand sometimes. He picks up his coffee mug and selects a cream horn made by junior. Hugo giggles as he remembers junior with the frilly apron on presenting him with a tray of cream horns. He turns and looks out the huge window behind his desk. It opened to a view of the garden in all its fall glory. It still amazed him how the window could give him a view of any of the property with just a thought. While he was still looking out the window Hugo noticed that his office suddenly became cold. He was able to see his breath and then he saw the reflection in the glass. It was a tall Jamaican man with dreadlocks and a top hat. There was crude skull painted on his face. Hugo turns to address him. Hello Papa Leva. To what do I owe this pleasure? Normally Papa would terrify Hugo but he knew he was safe inside the manor but even so the being deserved great respect. Papa Leva laughed a hardy, rich laugh and spoke in a thick Jamaican accent. Hugo, halloween will soon be upon us once more and I came to discuss our arrangement. It remains as always. All residents can leave on Halloween from dusk till dawn. They can not interact with anyone and they must return by dawn says Hugo. Of course Hugo. Of course says Papa. You're responsible for them Hugo adds. Yes. Yes. I will be at the main gates at twilight to pick them up. Thank you for your time. Papa tips his hat and exits. Hugo is always relieved to see him leave. Hugo had just settled back into his chair when he receives a message from the doc. He opens it and studies the request.
Hugo makes his way to the ebony manor library. Inside the walls are twenty feet tall and cover from top to bottom with books. There are also rows and rows of other books and several places to relax and read. Bree Hugo calls out. I'm over here Hugo and I'm busy says a warm women's voice with a thick Irish accent. Hugo walks toward the voice and at the far end of a row of books stands a beautiful red haired lady. Beautiful but sometimes looks can be deceiving. Hugo says to the woman, hey Bree, I need you to find something for me. Bee smiles and quietly say to Hugo I said I was... suddenly she was across the room, inches from Hugo's face. She was now completely white. Her jaw has dropped to her chest revealing rows of share teeth. Her red hair is now also white and looks like it's blowing in a hurricane. Her voice now sounds like fingernails on a blackboard. BUSY!!!! Bree screams. Banshee's are so temperamental. It's for Dr. Ghinton Hugo says as he holds out the note. Suddenly she's back to the beautiful Bree. Why didn't you say so. I'd be delighted to help out the good doctor Bree says. I thought you were going to have me track down one of those silly Alfred Hitchcock three investigators books of yours. Tell him I'll get on it right away. Hugo says thank you and turns to leave and at the last second says to Bree they're not silly. Hugo heard her scream from the hallway.
Dr. Ghinton interactions with Bree:
Bree provides some limited insight into the working of the Manor and the Bishop. Much as described by Mr Hyde. There are more secrets associated with the Manor and the Bishop then are recorded facts. It's going to require a direct conversation with the Bishop to obtain the most important details.
While conversing with Bree, the good doctor does impart a gift for her aid. He presents her with a dozen Fully Bloomed White Roses. She graciously accepts the gift and swiftly wafts away to place them in water. As she departs the presence of Dr. Ghinton, she glances over her shoulder and says: "how did you know it was my day of forgiveness?"
While Dr. Ghinton was in the process of some exploration of records and time lines he decides to begin the process of looking more closely at Various aspects related to the Ebony Manor and the dynamics in play.
Mind you, the following notes are purely speculation and are, by far, not a final decision on the subject matter. But are provided to offer points of curiosity and speculation.
The Doctors Journal Entry reads as follows:
The Curiosity of Bishop Twilight
General overview of the circumstances related to my Investigation of Bishop Twilight and the Ebony Manor.
I’ve been spending some time contemplating the situation with Bishop Twilight. His role in the Ebony Manor is essential and yet it also comes with great responsibility. Keeping an organization, such as that, is just as time consuming as my role as head of The Consortium. Both require skill in time management, both of the mundane form as well as other aspects of time, such as dimensional and multidimensional. People skills are also a must, as we deal with many varied personalities and cultural histories. Especially in the sense that the Bishop is in charge of a multitude of culturally different life forms. Fortunately my tasks here in the Consortium is limited to deal with those human forms which slip in and out of time and space. I’ve yet to have a situation I couldn’t think myself through. Negotiating with people is a skill and often one that leads to no true long term solution but offers a working mutual questions that both parties can come to terms with.
My role in the Consortium is also singular. I do not deal with multiple version of The Consortium. It is a singular location spread across many loading points through out time and space. We are stationary in time.
The Ebony Manor and Bishop Twilight seems to have a different movement in time and space. Something which needs to be looked into more closely to fully understand.
Maybe my suspicions of the Bishop are due to the lack of understanding of his impact on the larger picture. Or maybe my suspicion is based in sheer confusion as how he manages to stay on top of the variables in play. Either way, I have concerns.
Bishop Twilight, manages the Ebony Manor, and the occupants there of with an off hands approach. He has provided for staff, which Mr Hyde is in charge of. Mr Hyde also directs and organizes his staff to keep and maintain the grounds and upkeep of the manor. Bishop Twilight is primarily locked away in his chambers and limits his contact to most all who come to the Manor. Only allowing a conference in a most complicated fashion. Seldom being seen directly by a visitor. I’ve asked for a meeting on several occasions, only to be turned away and sent an incomplete response to my query.
His secrecy is something to be concerned about. For that secrecy tells of hidden element, which no one, or at the least, very few are aware outside of the larger Bishops Council.
He associates with a larger group of council persons which my research has found that he is one of many joined together within this council. They together offer management too many such establishment similar to the Ebony Manor. I have limited information as to the nature and location of their council meetings. But I have awareness that the meetings are held often and will alter the course of business as is needed to maintain order in the various Manors and Residences in question. Again from my research, I’ve discovered there are many such Manors in play throughout various degrees of time.
I’m also aware, due to personal documentation that in some cases entire histories have been rewritten to secure the nature of the Bishops business dealings.
So with that in mind I will seek out the background of Bishop Twilight and discover his placement in the larger scheme of things. Maybe to find he is a more grand player than anticipated, or to discover he has been placed on the game field as a pawn more so than a knight.
My thoughts concerning Mr Hugo Hyde.
He’s a gentle soul. A bit witty at times. Can be quite direct in his own way, often masking it behind an attitude of sarcasm or direct humor. He’s not the misguided chap many assume him to be. He’s got a good strong head on his shoulders. He sees much more than he allows to be know, for he’s a very observant fellow indeed.
Proof of his intellect in other arenas is discovered by the number of keys he has in his possession which offers varied levels of access to the Ebony Manor. He has each one memorized and understand their function. Something I have yet to come to understand in all the years I’ve been aware of Hyde and the Manor. I would need a score card to help manage such an awareness. Something that Hyde does out of instinct and true understanding.
I have a fondness for him. He’s a great friend and a partner in adventure. He helps keep my head on straight when things are in chaos.
I find it strange that the Ebony Manor works in the same “between” field as The Consortium.
The Consortium being a location that permits time travelers and dimensional travelers a location to land between jumps and to find those of like mind to converse. A Hidden social construct for the masses, so to speak. Whereas, the Manor is a location in similar form but for those creatures and beasts which either need sanctuary or are in need of housing to prevent chaos or danger, both to themselves as well as others. A secure institution offering safe space, for lack fo better terms.
The Consortium keeps a revolving door for those needing refuge. Not so true with Ebony Manor. Some have access to exits and are free to travel, others are under close observation and not permitted to leave the arena in which the Manor exists
The keys which the Bishop issues and are kept in the careful hands of Mr Hyde are another curiosity. There are many other ways of managing portal rifts between time and space. Maybe, for Hyde and the Bishop, the keys are the best for the awareness of the user, more so than their function? A prop, so to speak. But an important prop. For to be a key bearer does give one a sense of responsibility both is its usage and its safety.
Dr Ghinton to Companions:
Dr. Ghinton calls Ms Watson, Prof Watt and Mr Hyde to his office for a brief conversation about his finding as previously reported. He's concerned that there seems to be an accumulation of too many questions and not enough solid answers.
“We need to be more clear about the various angles of our recent adventures and questions into our history aswell as our future for the betterment of the larger community,” says Dr. Ghinton. “We’ve achieved a great deal in a very short period of time and apparently we have drawn some attention from both sides of the fence. Some of this is good news, some of this is concerning“
About that time, The three visitors to his office, notices that the Doctor gets extremely quiet. Within seconds, he raises his hands quickly to grasp his skull and they know exactly what the matter is. A Vision is effecting the doctor at that very moment.
“tic tok tic tok, is it true that Big Ben is just a clock?
Maybe she is, Maybe She aint, better beware for Jack’s got a pock”
What he sees is a fair young maiden walking alone down an alley way in the shadow of Big Ben. Suddenly in the scene as it plays out in his mind, a shadow in the shape of a man falls over her and she collapses upon the ground. She is Dead. No markings no noticeable cause.
The Doctor reclaims his composure and describes the images and the words he heard in his mind.
“My fellow companions, we have a problem.” he says.
After the brief meeting with the members of steam Hugo decided to go back to the manor while the other members do their investigating. He makes his way to the kitchen and makes himself a sandwich as he picks up his plate and heads to the dining room he hears Ms. Maple shouts bring your plate back. We're not your servants. Yes ma'am Hugo answers but he knows the house fairies will happily clean up his mess. Hugo sits his plate down on the table and walks over to the coffee pot to get himself a cup of coffee. He returns to the table, sits down and then notices half his sandwich is missing. He looks on both sides of the plate, on the floor and under the table. While his head is under the table he hears a voice, hello pork chop, startled Hugo bangs his head against the table. He pulls his head out from under the table, rubbing the back of it, Claude, I should have guessed says Hugo. Really good sandwich pork says Claude. What do you want Claude? asks Hugo. Nothing. I'm here to ask you if you knew why your pal is looking into the manor and more importantly the Bishop. He isn't. If he had any questions he would have just ask me. says Hugo. Really? Why did he ask Bree to research the manor? Rumor has it be has the great hall trying to learn about your home says Claude. Conspiracy theories. Besides you’re a trickster. Hyde says. That's true Hugo, I am. But if I'm telling the truth and I know about it who else knows? Claude says. The other half of his sandwich hangs in the air and Claude speaks, just think about it pork chop. Thanks for the sandwich. Hugo watched his sandwich walk out of the room and he sits back and ponders the conversation he just had.
Dr. Ghinton being concerned about the vision of the young woman’s murder, decides to access the resources of the Consortium to see if he can find a time of the incident predicted or any information pertaining to the situation.
He places a request into the Consortium Time Bureau and within minutes a response is produced. The clerk walks in and says with a concerned look. There is no record of such an event, either past or future.
Immediately Dr. Ghinton assumes his vision was incorrect and lays the incident off to the side. It’s not the first time he’s had a vision in which misunderstood.
He goes about his personal business of research concerning The Ebony Manor. Bree’s information was not exactly helpful in the research. The details she provided simply restated that the Manor was and has always been present in the time line. Uniquely the Bishop too has always remained secluded and out of reach. With that information being brought into the research, He decides to let the research rest for now. “The Manor and the Bishop will come too light in their own time” he says to himself.
The Doctor is still distracted with the vision and lack of information related to the young woman’s demise. Something still feels off about it.
Suddenly another clerk steps through the doorway, “Doctor, we just got this from the Crime Agency, She has been found, murdered only moments ago, in the shadow of Big Ben, as your vision described. She has no markings, no injuries of any kind and no indications as to her cause of death. Matter fo fact, we have a body, but no other information as to whom she is, what so ever. She doesn’t exist.”
“Interesting” says the Doctor.
The Doctor stands up from his desk and reaches for his hat and coat. “I am off to the morgue, thank you for your services” and he steps toward the door.
“Oh, my good man, Please send a note to Ms Watson about the circumstances. She may be intrigued” says Dr. Ghinton as he leaves the room.
Upon arriving at the Morgue, the doctor steps inland finds the morgue attendant completely baffled. He remarks to the doctor, I find nothing. No signs of foul play at all. It’s as if she just stopped. Ceased up and fell over.
The doctor stepping forward takes a closer look. True enough, there are no markings, but there is an odd strong aroma about her. It smells very much like Wolfsbane. Asking the attendant for a swab, he takes a small rubbing from the side of the ladies neckline and walks to the counter. Using just a drop of acid, he soon discovers a reaction, which confirms his suspicion. She was poisoned with her own perfume. Wolfsbane was added to her tincture.
“Now, where on earth could one obtain Wolfsbane in the modern market?” The Doctor postulates. I’ll ask Mr Hyde if he has any insight into this mysterious flower. Its origin may open some insight into the location of Our Jack.
Hugo considers what should his next move be and decide to simple address his concerns directly to the doctor. He informs the staff of his visit with the good doctor and he'll be gone for a while. Junior says wait and quickly goes to the kitchen and returns with a paper bag. Junior hands it to Hugo and whispers in Hugo's ear. Junior then begins to laugh. I promise to tell doc just what you said. Hugo says before leaving for the doctor's.
He knocks on Ghinton's door and is meet with a cheery come in. Upon entering Hugo noticed a strange but familiar scent. Is that wolfsbane doc? Hugo asks.
The doctor looks up from his papers and points at the bag and ask what have we here? Oh, junior made these for you. He called them BS cream horns. He thought it was very funny. Hugo hands them over to the doctor and he takes one out of the bag and sniffs it. It smells like butterscotch. The doctor gets some of the whipped cream on his finger and taste it. The doctor proclaims it's made with schnapps! He's a genius.
Hugo says can we get back to the wolfsbane. I smell thick lavender with a hint of wolfsbane. Good nose Hugo utters the doctor. But that isn't any wolfsbane. Notice how your nose tingles. That's very toxic doc. Nothing to be playing with. Hugo excitedly says.
Do you know where to find it? Ghinton asks.
I only know of two places. We have a patch in the manor's garden and the other is in a hidden valley in Transylvania. It's called the valley of lost souls. It's said to be guarded by a pack of werewolves because it's so deadly. Hugo replies.
Well, that is going to be quite challenging for us isn't it. Ghinton says while finishing the first cream horn. Hugo repeats challenging for us? Dr. Ghinton nods.
Hugo decides to wait till a better time to discuss what's on his mind.
Dr. Ghinton returns to the Great Hall and his Office and indulges in a little time to savor one more of the Butterscotch French Cream Horns gifted to him from the Ebony Manor. “Such an excellent delicacy” the doctor mumbles to himself.
He’s very curious as to what Ms Watson will discover about the maiden resting in the morgue. There’s something unique about her and yet also familiar.
The doctor also makes note of the findings from Mr Hyde. Wolf’s bane is not common and should not be used in perfumes. So this is a clear sign someone needed our fair maiden out of the way.
“I cannot bring myself to think someone associated with the Manor would be so devious or careless to allow the herb to leave that environment, so therefore the mystery directs us toward The treacherous mountains of Transylvania.” Ghinton says to himself.
“Hello, Ms. Watson,” the medical examiner said, “Dr. Ghinton told me that you and your…,” he looked at Moxie, whose little head was sticking out from her carrying bag, “um….friend...would be coming by to check out the body.”
Watson smiled at Mr. Hooper, “thank you for letting me have a look,” she followed him into the examining room. After placing Moxie on the floor, she stepped up closer to the body, “incredible...it looks as though she is only sleeping.”
“It’s the damnedest thing,” he said with a scowl, “looking at her, she seems perfectly healthy. There isn’t even any sign of rigor mortis….yet. What are we dealing with here?”
Jasper Hooper was familiar with the Consortium and their most trusted medical examiner. He had seen things that most doctors would quickly bury under a mountain of lies and denial.
“I’m hoping we can figure it out. Have you taken blood samples?”
“Yes, the slides are next to the microscope,” he pointed to the cabinet to the right of the door, “there are skin and hair samples too.”
“Dr. Ghinton said she tested positive for a lethal dose of wolfsbane.”
“Yes, it was mixed in with her perfume.”
“Hmm,” Watson said with a frown, “curious. Did she have any personal effects?”
“Not a thing on her. Shaw’s men canvassed the grounds in a five mile radius and found nothing.”
“Shaw’s men couldn’t find their asses with both hands, a flashlight, written directions and a guided tour,” she said sarcastically.
Dr. Hooper laughed, “well since you voiced it, I agree completely.”
Watson took out her magnifying glass and carefully lifted one of the corpse’s eyelids. Frowning slightly, she took a swab and pushed gently on the eye, “I thought so,” she said, “we need to remove her eye.”
“What?!” Dr. Hooper exclaimed, “why her eyes?”
“Let me rephrase that,” Watson said with a grin, “she has something covering her true eyes.”
Dr. Hooper assisted her and soon they had what looked like glass eyeballs in a dish next to the other things taken from the body. The eyes that now stared sightlessly at the ceiling revealed the true nature of this being. “Son of a b…,” Dr. Hooper muttered, “I didn’t know there were females of the species.”
“Not much is known of the species at all. The more we find out, the quicker we can eradicate as many of them as we come across,” she moved over to the slides and took some time studying each once carefully. When she was finished, she looked at Dr. Hooper, “did you prepare samples for me to take?”
“Of course,” he handed her a leather bound box.
“I’ll set Professor Watt to studying these. We’ve studied the body of Spring heeled Jack, I imagine he’ll be quite intrigued to study the chemical makeup of Spring heeled Jill.”
“What do I do with the body?”
“Burn it and when it is nothing more than ashes, dissolve those in acid.”
“It will be done. Be safe, Watson.”
“Always,” Watson said as she scooped up Moxie and made her way back to the Consortium.
Dr. Ghinton looks over the report provided by Ms Watson and Dr. Hooper.
Very intriguing says Dr Ghinton to himself.
A female gendered fiend, hell bent to bring havoc to our fair city, I take it. Why the masquerade?
We shall wait for Professor Watts report on his findings.
In the meantime, we should make preparations to travel to Transylvania and seek out the source of the Monkshood/Wolfsbane.
Dr Ghinton prepares a telegraph to be sent to Mr Hyde as Ms Watson, with invitations to meet at the near by coachman’s cottage at 8a on the following Monday, to begin the journey by coach to Bran Castle, Near Basov Transylvania.
Please plan ahead and prepare for the challenge.
The journey by road will take nearly a week of daily travel, with no complications , so we will be expecting to have a layover in several locations along the way. The journey is going to be difficult, but for a good reason.
Dr. Ghinton, then returns to his reading about other disturbances in the area around Brasov. There appears to be a great number of people who come up missing in the area. Especially visitors to the area.
Monday Morning arrives and Dr Ghinton stands waiting at the coachmen's house. Unsure if his companions are on their way or if they are choosing to stay behind.
Hugo packs and unpacks his bag several times trying to decide what would be best for the trip at hand. He decides finally to carry his tools of the trade in his Sling bag and clothes in his actual bag. This would be so much easier if I had one of those magic bags that can hold everything Hugo thinks to himself. He puts on his thickest overcoat. It's a brown plaid with a fur collar and cuffs. He also grabs a fur hat with fur ear flaps. He knows the doc hates them but if the doctor is dragging him into the mountains he's going to stay warm. Hugo rushes down the stairs and says his good-byes to everyone. He steps thru the door and is standing in the coachmen's house. He spots Ghinton and calls out and waves at him. Here we go thinks Hugo even though he doesn't know exactly why they're making this very dangerous trip.
Meanwhile, in the laboratories within the Consortium, Professor Watt studies, and tests samples received from Ms. Watson. Everything came back as hoped. Watt orders his automaton assistant to set up and wind his phonograph in order to make a recorded entry.
“Mr. Barlow, fire up recorder. I have notes.” He said. With the buzzing, clicking and whurring sounds escaping its shell, Barlow shambles about his given task. Click, click here, a crank grind there. Pops, and hisses vail the scratching of the wax template.
“Brrr...kip kip... Ra ra..ready Pra..pra.. professor.. phishhhhhsssssssss....Barlow managed.
“Good”, Watt said. “ Auditory entry on this date of...of.. the 24th. In my studies of some samples provided by Ms. Watson and Doctor Hooper have only revealed that this, this, whatever it is, Series Jack, if you will, since there are multiple, are inter-dimensional creatures that, not unlike a common vampire, feeds off fears, and anxiety in order to not only grow stronger, but to simply survive as a species. Their attacks can vary a hundred different ways. Just as it’s means of distraction. Some can be killed by their own ashes mixed with various chemicals, others, by a more direct means, such as a Death Ray to the face. If someone were to encounter one, it could end quickly for either party depending on what methods are deployed to neutralize the threat. That being said, who knows from where in the multiverse where one will decide to give us a run for our farthings so we must be in constant vigilance.” The Professor ended the recording with a click. It was now time to pack for the trip to what was once known as Wallachia. Filling his trunks with all manor of supplies, from bottles of booze, a whole galaxy of uppers, downers, screamers and laughers. And weapons. All sorts of hardware. Not that they would need all of it for the journey.“Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.” He said to himself. Besides, if what lies in wait is what he think it is, they have to be armed. To the teeth. With the aid of Barlow, the Professor sends his bags ahead to the carriage house where he will meet Dr. Ghinton and company. Draining his glass of wine, and putting out his smoke, Erasmus grabs his coat and makes way to meet the group.
After arriving, Watt sees a few familiar faces, yet he does not believe he had met Mr. Hyde directly.
“Good day Sir, Professor Erasmus Watt at your service.” extending his hand in greeting.
“Doctor...Who?” Hugo asks.
“Oh no, Professor. Who is that Gallifreyan chap.” Watt said.
“Ahh yes, we are well met then.” Hugo smiles.
“Heavens yes, I’m nuts about them!” Erasmus chuckles.
Watson was running late, so she sent Evan ahead to the carriage house with her trunk and to let the others know that she was on her way. As she exited the Consortium she was annoyed to see Shaw standing there, obviously waiting for her.
“Shaw, I’m running late as it is,” she said by way of greeting.
“This was delivered to the Yard sometime in the early hours of the morning,” he held out a piece of paper.
Watson took the paper and read it, a frown settling on her brow:
“She wanted to warn you,
But failed in her quest.
Now she is gone,
Sent to her permanent rest.
You think you can beat me?
Oh surely you jest!
You will never win,
Ol’ Jacky is best!”
She could almost hear Jack’s maniacal cackle as she finished the poem. She looked up and Shaw and was surprised to see what looked like fear in his eyes.
“I’m not equipped to deal with things like this,” he said quietly, “and neither are my men.”
“My team and I are headed to Transylvania, where we hope to get some answers about Jack and his species.”
“Transylvania?! I’ve heard stories about that place and none of them are good stories.”
“Which is why we are headed there,” Watson said.
“What can I do?”
“Find out what you can about who put the contract out on us. Don’t trust the men who were in the office with you when we spoke. Find two of your most trusted, most honest detectives. Find Spike and Hammer and bring them in. We will deal with them when we return.”
“Don’t you mean ‘if’ you return? I know you’ve heard those bad stories as well.”
Watson smiled, “of course I’ve heard those stories and I am most intrigued. When we return, we will interview Spike and Hammer.”
“Assuming we can find them,” Shaw grumbled.
“You’ll find them,” Watson said, “they are bounty hunters looking for what they think will be an easy payday. They haven’t strayed far.”
“Godspeed, Watson. I hope you and your team find what you’re looking for,” he tipped his hat before turning and striding off.
Watson put the poem in her bag to show to the others then made her way to the carriage house. She smiled at the gentlemen who were waiting for the final member of their team, “all right gents, off we go,” Watson said, “the game is afoot!”
We board the carriage and head out on the journey. Dr. Ghinton spends a good amount of time staring at a map as we start off, making plans for each layover and calculating the time it shall take to get to our destination. His original estimate of 8 days soon fades as her determines that their journey shall be closer to 12 days in transit, instead.
"Our first stop shall be Dover, and at that point we shall board a ferry and it shall take us to Calais France. We shall check into an Inn there for an overnight stay and continue our journey the following morning." Says Dr Ghinton to his traveling mates.
The beginning of our adventure is fairly easy going. The country side is beautiful in this season, and yet there is the earliest signs of colder weather setting in. Dr. Ghinton’s concern is that in the mountains of Romania, the weather may already be treacherous and cold. But, we are prepared for our journey. Being prepared is part of the Mandate for STEAM and its members. We look ahead and plan for the unmanageable.
Our conversation then turns to findings concerning Jaqueline (the female version of Spring Heeled Jack) and other discoveries of late, which have not been discussed.
The information about our dear lady is all very interesting. How could we have expected there to be more of these entities roaming the streets. But of course, as many a scoundrel as their is found on the streets of London, why should there not be a few who are of an Unnatural type.
After many hours of travel and a few naps along the way, we arrive at Dover and make ready to board the Ferry. The carriage from London will return to its origination point, but word has been sent ahead of us to have a new means of transport prepared form us at our arrival in Calais, France.
Dr. Ghinton moves to an area near the side of the vessel allowing him to peer out over the water as we travel along. It's going to be an extremely long journey for this one, he thinks to himself.
Hugo finds a bench a removes a book on Transylvanian folklore understanding that often the truth is hidden in plain sight. Hugo is studying the content of the book so much that he fails to notice the female until she sits down beside him. He looks at her and slightly lifts his fur hat. She is a lovely lady with dark slightly curly hair that went past her shoulders. She is dressed in strange garb that he recognizes. She looks at Hyde with her dark eyes and speaks. Your mind is weaker than your comrades. The only thing Hugo can think to say is yeah, I hear that quite often. I was sent by my tribe leader, Maeva, because she saw your journey and it is a very dangerous journey to make. the girl says and then she continues. We were able to find you because your mind is weak. There you go again with the weak mind. Hugo says. She acts like she never heard a word he said. Maeva wanted me to give you this. She reaches in her pocket and puts it in Hugo's hand. It's a small trinket. A coppery brown colored stone in a gold colored setting. It's a moonstone. The creatures that guard what you search wears one. If you make it that far you'll need it. She stands and starts to leave. Wait a minute! I don't even know your name! Hugo shouts after her. She turns back to face him as he continues. Will I see you again? Hugo asks. If necessary, if not my tribe is at the base of the mountain before the valley. We'll be waiting for your arrival. We will be flying a flag of red, gold and green so you'll know us. she says. Can I buy you a cup of coffee and a donut before you go? Hugo asks. She smiles and answers. No thank you. You might be weak minded but you're sweet. She starts to leave but turns back to Hugo one last time. With a smile on her face she says to Hugo, by the way, cute hat. She turns to actually leaves this time. Hugo looks at the trinket and thinks about the woman he has just encountered.
Dr Ghinton notices Mr. Hyde speaking to himself, then suddenly assumes he is receiving another warning from the Mysterious Invisible Claude, which tormented the group in the catacombs.
Ghinton walks over to Mr Hyde and asks if there has been another encounter with the Specter known as Claude. “what has the fiend to say this time?” Dr. Ghinton asks Hyde.
Mr. Hyde looks up at the Doctor with a bit of confusion and a sudden jolt of surprise.
Who? Asks Hyde. Claude the good doctor quickly replies. I haven't seen Claude. Hugo says with a giggle. See what I did there doc? Claude is invisible and I said. The doctor cuts off Hugo with a sharp don't get distracted Hugo? If it wasn't Claude who were you talking to? Looking puzzled, Hugo ask Ghinton, you didn't see the lady I was talking to doc? The doctor shakes his head no. Oh, doc. She was so cute. Hugo says. That's great Hugo but if she was real what did she want with you? the good doctor asks. IF she's real? She said she was sent by someone named Maeva. She gave me something called a moonstone. Hugo said as he hands the moonstone over to Ghinton. Is that real enough for you doc? Hugo says. Ghinton studies the stone that he holds in his hand.
Dr. Ghinton takes the trinket and gazes at it. It’s a unique shade of Moonstone. Unlike anything he has seen before. The setting being of gold is odd for a stone of the moon, most usually they are set with Silver, as silver is associated more closely to the energies and appearance of the Moon. The energy of the stone makes Dr. Ghintons fingers tingle very slightly and leave him with a feeling of peace of mind.
Ghinton continues to listen to Mr Hydes story and finds it intriguing that he was chosen to receive the message. He then hands the stone back to Mr. Hyde. “They chose you to hold this for a reason, my good sir.” Says Dr Ghinton. It’s important that you be the one to carry it. Dr. Ghinton continues to say, “We shall seek these people out once we arrive in Sinca, Romania.” They may have insights into the situation, that we need to solve our dilemma.
The village of Sinca is located at the base of the mountain side in which the Grand Castle resides. “Maybe the tribe is associated with the village, or maybe the villagers can direct us to the tribes camp” Dr Ghinton says. “i’ve also heard stories of a Temple of Wishes in that area.”
Dr. Ghinton sets down abruptly beside Mr Hyde and pulls out his journal to make notes of future questions and locations of interest. “The questions are become many and there are few answers. We mustn’t get distracted.” Says Dr. Ghinton.
Upon arrival in Calais France, the group makes their way to their next house of lodging. There would be another overnight stay in the city, then onward to Brussels, Belgium.
Dr. Ghinton has heard stories of strange lights in triangle formation being seen in the night skies over Brussels. Secretly he has hopes of viewing the event with his own eyes. But, also believes it to be a tiny bit of mass hysteria at work. For what good purpose would these lights serve?
As they walk the docks heading to their destination, a young boy runs past them, suddenly stops just behind them and yells out for no apparent reason, “he’s watching you!” and then runs on about his business.
Dr. Ghinton slows his pace just a few steps as it catches his attention. He wonders if the boy was speaking to his fellow travelers and himself or not. He decides to let the query go and continue on his way to the boarding house.
As they enter the boarding house, the house keeper mentions two burly gents had been round asking questions about the Good Doctor. But she says, “she didn’t mention a thing to them about nothing, cause she didn’t want no trouble in her house.” Dr. Ghinton thanks her for her passing on of the news and hands her an extra 5 shillings for her honesty and services.
The travelers proceed to their rooms.
Dr. Ghinton again wonders about the young boys remarks. “Who is watching?”