Drolleries, Table of Contents. Saturday in August of 1930.
Sc 1 — Charing Cross, The Drolleries
Saturday morning, Sadie Pensyl after a brief discussion with the group about the previous two days events, leaves the store in the hands of Scooter Applegate and heads over to the British Museum to do some research on the Caedis Urbi Verae Claves .
Bibliography -The looter of the church was Julien de Castries, later Comte. Copy last seen in Rome 1860 in the hands of the Comte’s son, Julien. The book is allegedly cursed, as it was in the possession of an apocalyptic Anabaptist cult in Munster in 1542 (city carried by storm and sacked) and later in Protestant Magdeburg (sieged, plundered and massacred) in 1631 by the Habsburgs, who turned the book over to the Catholic Church.
Library Use – Julien died in Moscow in 1812 ( 3/4 the city was burned to the ground, then a massacre and mass rape). Raymond, son, inherited but was disenfranchised by the Bourbons in 1814. Died in 1871 during the siege of Paris (shelled and starved into surrender), one illegitimate son, Thibaut.
Thibaut joined the Carbonari radicals and fought in Italy under Garibaldi. Thibaut’s current heir is Louis de Castries, currently living in Lyon. Louis is the great-grandson of Raymond’s younger brother Jerome. Louis is an Esoteric (men and women members) Freemason.
Occult – (previously told by Archie) Thibaut de Castries founded the Society of the Onyx Dusk in San Francisco around 1900. The cult was based on “Pythagorean science.” San Francisco was destroyed by an earthquake and fire in 1906.
The truly excellent digging in the stacks takes most of Sadie’s morning and lunch time of her day off. The British Museum yields a 4 point pool once per scenario.
NPC– Scooter Applegate, young go getter bored out of his mind.
Sc 2 — Ten Bells Pub
Michael Jones, Tom Gillan and George Swinton (the Major) head over to Whitechapel, concernedly discussing various ideas, and filling Mike in on events. Mike stops off at the nearest police station for some cop talk.
Cop Talk – Constable Nick Andrews – Hathaway’s & Co. the rival bookseller that employs Aston Drummel has an underworld connection, albeit unproven, to one Compeyson Kane who is a flashy gangster that the Peelers are keeping an eye on. Also, Hathaway’s book scout, “Pockets” Matthews did six months in Wormwood Scrubs for possession of burglar’s tools.
Moving on they take the Underground to Whitechapel, a short 25 minute (two stops) trip. They walk around following Mike who knows where the pub is (The Knowledge). They pass through Bethnal Green, the first council housing established in London.
Shadowing – Mike passes his check and both others fail as they see Drummel walking toward them (difficulty raises by 1 now). Drummel heads into the Ten Bells. Tom goes in behind him while the others loiter outside, taking in the air.
Kids are playing street cricket. A tramp wanders by, saying,” Toads took ‘im, past the stone door. Be at ‘is throat in no time. Snakes for beards.” Tramps, wacky.
Tom sees Drummel with someone else and tries to get closer to her. He needs a six on Shadowing and makes it! Grabbing his Ploughman’s lunch and a pint of bitter he stands unobtrusively nearby, listening.
Drummel, “Listen, Bowers, Your mother stole the book from someone who stole the book who stole it from someone whose father stole it in 1805, right? For all I know you stole it from her. You start getting ideas, and it might get stolen from you.”
Bowers is suffering from some lung ailment. He coughs frequently and wetly. The two leave. Tom grabs Drummel’s untouched pint. Then Tom talks to Terry the Barman (also Irish) who tells him Ambrose Bowers lives over in Wapping with his mum. Bowers is working some deal with a book. He comes in more often though, recently so he may live nearby.
Drummel takes a lingering look at the sewer grate when he leaves the Ten Bells? The Major details an urchin to follow him and looks at the grate. Nothing. Mike catches someone turning away up the street and realizes (Shadowing) that he had seen them earlier. He goes after them, crushing his Shadowing check.
NPCs – Nick Andrews -Constable, Spitalfields Station
Ambrose Bowers, allegedly in possession of the de Castries edition of Caedis Urbi Verae Claves.
Terry Fleyt, Irish barman at the Ten Bells Pub, Commercial Street and Fournier Street in Spitalfields
Sc 3 — The Central Line and Belgravia
The person of interest, a smartly dressed woman, walks to the tube and boards it, Mike follows her all the way west to Hyde Park, she notices him at the station, then walks with him to Belgravia. She is quite curious about his activities.
She is Birgit Von Kant (interrogation spend) a tall, horsey German woman. Her husband is Baron Hermann Kant. She asks Mike a few questions and reveals she is working for the Anenherbe and the Archbishop of Mainz, trying to recover some artifacts stolen from the Branau library in 1805. She leaves Mike’s company at the German Embassy and goes in. Mike takes in the sights a bit and heads back to Drolleries.
Sc 4 — Wapping
The Major and Tom, after realizing Drummel took a cab, decide to tail Bowers. They fail to, and in fact run into some weirdness, a chalked eye and Tom walks into a bricked over doorway that isn’t there again when he shows it to the Major. They decide to go to Wapping instead.
Once in Wapping the two of them go to Bower’s two-room council flat (Credit Rating 1 to the rescue) .
The door is slightly ajar, so naturally they enter. There is a crushed body on a horsehair settee, some bloody bones and crockery scattered about. Also an open escritoire with a book in it. As they gaze upon the mess, a strong odor of sulfur and ozone grows. They both pass a Sense Trouble test and manage to hold their breath. A humanoid entity manifests from the debris and swarms them with poisonous vapors. The Major breaks a window with his cane and choking heavily leaps through the window. Tom grabs the book and a silver bread knife, flailing at the entity. On his way out the door he notices an envelope under the corpse, he grabs it but also stumbles away choking and gasping.
The Major recovers outside and decides to wait for the police to arrive, which they do. Someone heard the commotion and called the Bill. They take their time arriving which allows Tom to remember an urgent appointment elsewhere (Drolleries?). He is bruised, coughing and has bloody flecks on his clothes. I guess he streetwises himself home? Wapping is just south of Whitechapel, near the river.
Major Swinton talks to a Bobby, then a Detective Douglas Blackwall for a bit. The police take him home after getting his particulars. They may have talked to other people on the scene.
NPCs –Douglas Blackwall – Inspector, City of London, Captain, Royal Scots Fusiliers, ret. Calm, methodical and unhurried.
Sc 5— The City
Archie heads over to examine the further adventures of his would be patron, Dives. Near the Pimander Club (28 St James St).
There he sees some bootblacks nearby on a corner and uses a few well placed tips and some Flattery to get the location of a certain place where Dives goes occasionally, Mitre Street (which is vaguely familiar). He takes a cab there, the cabbie has taken Mr. Dives there (more tips) to #84, a non descript Victorian office building.
There are two entrances, a main door which leads upstairs to several offices on a short hallway, and a side entrance reached by a stair. The door reads “Horace & Moore, Arch.” He schmoozes a char woman, Missus Snevellichi , “Lads round here got up to mischief wif some rats I dunno, trying to scare an old woman, no respect,” the rats had been in a “circle wif one dottin’ the middle, like.”
He coaxes her for some tea and into unlocking the front door of A&M. She unlocks the door and heads down to her little char lady room to make some tea.
Archie opens the door and finds a barren, unused outer office – disconnected phone, blank desk, lamp with no bulb. The only item of not is a ledger he finds in a file cabinet showing the rent paid up through the year by a City law firm (the office is just barely inside the City). The door behind the desk is locked and Archie doesn’t want to bust this door in, so he nips round to the side door (crows gyre overhead) and lightly rends his trousers (-1 health) trying to wiggle through the open casement window. A retry succeeds in him getting through ther heavy curtains to the inner… room? The expected maze of smaller offices are instead one large room with a carefully whitewashed floor with a large “vesica piscis” (bladder of a fish) scribed upon it.
Occult knowlege indicates this has many meanings – the meeting of two realms, Heaven/Earth, Heaven/Hell, doorways, the square root of 3 (1.732), a vagina, or divine power. The west wall has a large bulletin board covered with scrawled notes, calculations and pins. A closer examination (Law) shows it to be the sites of all the Ripper’s victims. The symbol on the floor matches the four Whitechapel sites – Hanbury, Berner and Dorset Streets, Buck’s Row and Mitre Square (which is just behind the building he is in).
On the north wall is a bookshelf! A quick look revelas bound copies of all the London news papers from 1888-1891 and about two hundred more other hardbound books – Architecture by Nicholas Hawksmoor, Sociology of the East End, Welsh legends, Geometry and Topology, and many books on the crimes of Jack the Ripper. There is a heavily marked up 1510 Euclid stuffed with calculations and nearby a 1570 English edition of the same with a forward by John Dee. Archie skims the notes very quickly and realizes that Dives thinks the symbol is an eye, not a doorway. One carefully written clean copy presents London as Kaer Lud or Lud Dun, the City of the Welsh God Lludd, alias Nudd or in Irish, Nuada. Nudd is identified with the Abyss, Pan and the God Nodens.
Furthermore along the south wall there is a whole chemistry setup on a long table. Alembics, retorts, gas burners and a box of minutely labled flasks. They appear to be air, water and gas samples from all over Whitechapel labeled in Dives crabbed and minute writing. Another box holds athames, candles, chalk, cords and similar sorcerous impedimentia.
Feeling that time is short, he lets himself out by the previously locked door and has a cuppa with Mrs. Snevellichi. A streetsweeper stares at him when he leaves, the manhas a huge wen under one eye.
Archie walks quickly to an intersection and summons a cab at the same time as another person does. The cabbie wears an eyepatch. The other person and he agree to share the cab. She is Von Kant. Introductions and soon they are chatting in German, as Archie is fluent.
Occult spend– about Kant reveals that her father-in-law was THE Mad Witch Hunter of Westphalia around the turn of the century (passe, even for Westphalia). The Baron went mad claiming a black deity was moving his limbs for him. Her illegitimate brother-in-law is Joachim Feery who defends his notoriously loose translations and excerpts (notes on the Necronomicon, 1901, abridged ed. 1907), Notes on Prinn’s Mysteries (1914), Notes on the Cthaatr Aquadingen (1923), and Notes on the Book of Dsyzan (recently published) which he claimed in Occult circles to have “dreamed the correct version.”
This time, after Kant is revealed to be less than honest about some of her intentions (she is Anenherbe but she is not working for the Archbishop) she tells him that she is looking for the same thing Dives is. Perhaps sensing that Archie might be an opponent, she tells him that “She will get what she is looking for, one way. Or the other, mein herr. Guten abend.” Archie notices that one of her eyes is glass. She exits the cab, and Archie does some thinking on the ride back to Drolleries.
NPCs – Mrs. Snevellichi , char lady, the City
Birgit Von Kant, Anenherbe and occultist collector of books. Belgravia Square.