"They Rode to Perdition" starring Arcade's Gang (D&D/Boot Hill)

Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 48, “The Answer”, December 6th, 1881:

Morgana does not respond to Arcade’s question. Qualtaqa asks, “Can’t a ship Captain perform marriages?” Hank says, “I tell you what, I think yer right about that.” Louie interjects, “Hey, look, she’s speechless.” Hank says, “That she is, I didn’t think that was possible! Hey Arcade, you should ask her to marry you more often.”

She finally regains her composure and points to the ring saying, “Where did this come from?” He replies, “I bought it a couple of days ago in New York.” She asks, “Did you buy it for me or for that other fiancée of yours?” Hank says, “Well, we’re all waiting for an answer?” Arcade says, “Why don’t you guys run along.” Louie says, “Yeah. We go find ship Captain to marry you.” Arcade replies, “On second thought, why don’t you guys stay.”

Arcade says to her “I bought it for you! Well? Are you going to answer my question” She asks, “What’s wrong with the type of relationship that we have now?” Hank whispers to Qualtaqa, “That’s a man’s line. Are you sure she’s not a guy?” The Indian replies, “Pretty sure, but to prove I guess you have to ask Arcade.” She looks Arcade squarely in the eyes and says, “Look. If you’re only doing this to get out of the situation with your family…” A shocked look crosses his face and he interrupts with, “Do you really think so little of me?” She replies, “Well, okay then.” “Okay?” he states. She answers, “Yes. I’ll marry you.”

Hank says, “Well don’t that beat all. Two druids decided to get married, and on a ship in the middle of the ocean! There ain’t no trees for hundreds of miles.” “So you going to stay in England?” Louie asks the couple. Morgana replies, “If Arcade wants to leave we will. Even if we have to carve Sam into a boat to row back across the Atlantic.” Sam spits out his drink at that comment. Hank says, “I can’t image living anywhere other than Texas.” Morgana comments, “Hank, you live in Arizona!” “But I’m going back to Texas at some point,” he replies.

Arcade says to her, “So, where would be the ideal place to have the proper ceremony?” “Why wait?” she replies. Hank, Louie and Qualtaqa get up and Hank says, “Great. We’ll go find the Captain. Sam, you keep an eye on them.” “Or maybe a gun,” Louie adds. “This was sudden” she comments. He answers, “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.”

The three are unsuccessful at meeting the Captain, being stopped when they try to head up to the First Class section. They then send the Captain a note asking to speak with him later. “Ship people strict about keeping people separate,” Qualtaqa adds. Louie adds, “At least they didn’t shoot at us.” The DM interjects, “Actually, the White Star Line really should take up the practice of shooting anyone who attempts to sneak into First Class, especially if they look like Leonardo DiCaprio.”

“I guess they will have to wait,” Qualtaqa says. Louie comments, “Hope they no change mind.” Hank replies, “Yeah, well why do we really care anyway?” The three return and tell the couple that the Captain is unavailable. “Must be busy, owning ship this big,” Louie states. “The Captain doesn’t own it!” Arcade comments. Hank says, “Why not. If I was the owner of the ship I’d name myself Captain.” “The owner has several ships,” Arcade replies. “That works for me too,” Hank replies. Morgana says, “Great. Now Hank wants to be a shipping magnate.” Arcade comments, “Him? He’s barely qualified to guard a mine shaft.”

Getting back to the topic at hand, Morgana tells Arcade that they don’t need the Captain, that they can declare themselves married on their own. Qualtaqa asks, “Don’t you need druid priest to do that?” Arcade replies, “No, we’re reformed.” Hank says, “I should write a song for you guys.” The DM comments, “You can’t. They don’t have Country and Western songs yet because trucks haven’t been invented.”

Arcade says, “Well, you decide what you want to do. It’s your wedding ceremony.” Morgana answers, “We don’t even need a ceremony. You asked me and I said yes. That’s all there is to it.” Hank whispers back, “Are you sure she’s not a guy? I’ve never known of a dame who didn’t want a big wedding.”

“There isn’t anything more than that?” Arcade asks. She replies, “Sure there’s a lot more. What I expect from you is a lifetime of fidelity. You don’t ever sleep with another woman, and you don’t ever mistreat either the children or me. Do that and I won’t leave you.” “So you get to decide when we are or aren’t married?” he comments. “That deal don’t sound all that fair to him,” Hank comments. She answers, “Sure it’s fair. Family and lineage always works through the woman. The mother is the only constant, since you can never guarantee who the father is.”

“I don’t know that I take to that interpretation,” Hank comments. Morgana replies, “You don’t have to. I married him, not you.” Louie says, “Hope not, the bed wouldn’t be big enough for all of us.” Arcade comments, “Especially Hank, since most Texans sleep alongside their horse.” Hank replies, “What’s wrong with that?”

Arcade turns back to Morgana and asks, “Any more rules that I should know about?” She replies, “Yes, you’re not allowed to intentionally kill any of my relatives.” He mutters softly, “Note to self. Make it look like an accident.” She adds, “And in time of famine you don’t choose yourself over the children.” Hank mutters to Sam, “The guy’s a English Lord, and she’s worried that there won’t be enough food for everyone?” Louie comments to Sam, “See what happen if you get married.”

The newlyweds get up to retire for the evening. Hank says, “Hey, we sent the Captain a note, what do we tell him if he shows up?” Arcade replies, “Tell him you want to marry Sam.”
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Game #5 - 3/21/04

Chapter 49, “Arrival in England”, December 7th, 1881:

Breakfast conversation is a continuation of the nights before. Morgana continues to anticipate problems from Arcade’s family. Arcade says, “You’ll do fine, just be on your best behavior.” Louie tells Morgana, “That mean you should not toss tomahawk into people’s privates.” Morgana asks Arcade, “What exactly is your mother like?” He replies, “I’m not really sure.” Hank interjects, “What are you talkin’ about, she’s yer Ma.” He replies, “I was raised in an English manor house, so we didn’t mix very much. I was actually raised by a nanny.”

Arcade again suggests that they skip visiting his family. Louie objects, stating, “I spend money on new fancy clothes. Want to wear them.” Qualtaqa again reminds Arcade that he accepted money for this trip so therefore has an obligation to fulfill and that anything short of that would be dishonorable.” Arcade looks him squarely in the eye and says, “I don’t understand? The guy offered to give me money so I took it. I never said I’d actually go.” Qualtaqa says, “You gave him the impression you would.” Arcade answers, “And I meant it at the time. I’ve just changed my mind since then.”

Morgana again asks, “So, what exactly is your family like?” Arcade replies, “I can’t really say.” “Well, damn it, could you at least take a guess?” Hank exclaims. Arcade answers, “Well, I haven’t seen any of them for the past ten years. And before that I went from a private nanny to boarding school and then off to college. I’ve spent maybe an-hour-and-a-half of my life with them, so how would I know?” Hank says, “Well that nanny shouldn’t have been raising you, that’s yer mother’s responsibility.” Arcade answers, “And why don’t you tell her that when you meet her.” Hank replies, “I tell you what, I believe that I might.” “Yeah, that’ll go over well,” Arcade replies.

Hank says, “Well okay, so if you won’t talk about yer family what can you tell us about the English in general?” Arcade replies, “They keep to themselves. They don’t like strangers. And they shoot at the their neighbors.” “Sounds a lot like Texans,” Hank replies. Morgana asks, “Are there any druids?” Arcade replies, “Hell no, they burned most of them centuries ago.” She next asks, “What are their attitudes towards sex?” He replies, “The English consider it fun, even the way they do it, so like everything else fun in Victorian England it isn’t allowed except for when absolutely necessary.” Hank slaps Sam on the back and says, “Dang son, looks like you’ll have to go without for a while.”

Hank turns back to Arcade and says, “I wish you weren’t bein so secretive about this family of yours.” Louie interjects, “Sounds fair to me. He surprising his family with us, so he surprise us with family.” Hank asks, “Well, will be meeting any of your family’s friends?” Arcade answers, “The English don’t have friends.” “The just have tea,” Morgana adds. “Any basic rules we should know?” Hank asks. Arcade answers, “Yes. First, don’t shoot people indiscriminately. Second, don’t be a foreigner. Third, don’t be a member of the lower classes. “Looks like we lose on all counts,” Morgana states. Arcade replies, “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you!”

“When we get there?” Louie asks. Arcade replies, “We should dock in Liverpool in another ten days or so.” “Ship stop in a pool of liver? Ugghh!” Louie comments. Louie expresses some concern about going to an upper class home. Arcade replies, “Relax, I’ll show you the ropes.” Louie replies, “Last time someone try to show me a rope it was tossed over a tree limb.” Hank decides to go play cards again with his friend ‘Reggie’. Arcade advises against it, saying that he wouldn’t trust a down-on-his luck English Lord, adding “And I ought to know.”

December 8th to 16th, 1881:

Nine uneventful days of sailing across the ocean pass by. The party members spend most of this in either the smoking lounge or library. Morgana entertains those in the lounge at the piano. Aiden spends the entire voyage in the cabin with extreme motion sickness.

December 17th, 1881:

The ship arrives at Liverpool, England. Surprisingly, no ‘Beatles’ jokes are made, despite several fans of the lads from Liverpool being around the table. Arcade tells the party that he is in charge. Hank (whose player is the party leader in our other campaigns) comments, “Yeah, I’ve been wondering about that. Why do you get to be the leader of this gang?” Another player replies, “Because you missed the first three game nights of this campaign!”

They no sooner leave the ship when a man who says that he works for Lord Arcadium and has been awaiting him confronts Arcade. He has a carriage parked nearby, and the party heads over towards it with their bags. In the process of exiting the ship Aiden gets separated from the others and wanders off (his player having now missed several consecutive games). They decide not to bother looking for him.

Hank offers to “Ride shotgun up top to protect against bandits” but his offer is rebuffed. At the command of the household servant several porters assist the party with their luggage. “My, these folks are mighty neighborly,” Hank comments. “Perhaps you and your Stetson hat may wish to enter and sit down,” the servant states. He does so, Louie commenting, “He likes your hat.” “Maybe I should buy him one,” Hank comments. Hank bangs on the carriage roof and yells up “Hey, ain’t it about time that you yelled Giddy-up?” Arcade sarcastically mutters, “Oh yes, he’ll fit in just fine here.”

In the carriage ride Hank suggests that after they finish this trip they should visit his family in Texas. Arcade doesn’t respond, being heavily in thought. Hank tells Louie, “I’m starting to worry about that boy.” Louie replies, “Me too. What should we do to make better.”? Qualtaqa suggests that they get him drunk.” Louie says, “If he relax maybe he no longer act like stick up his butt.” Arcade blurts out, “Hey! How big do you think this carriage is? I’m sitting right here!”

They travel for several miles before the carriage pulls into a train station. Arcade tells them that his family home is still a long way off, and they will have to take the overnight train to get there. Several more porters assist with the bags and the party climbs onto a fancy passenger car of the British Rail Line. Louie comments, “Me like to ride choo choo.”

They settle down in the club car for supper. Sam begins to have second thoughts about this visit. Hank says, “Look kid, we didn’t come all this way just to turn around and go home.” Arcade says, “Well don’t blame me. I wanted to turn around back in New York. My home is a trap” Hank says, “Well, better to be there than being shot at by the James Gang, the Clantons and the Earps.” Arcade replies, “Ask me that again in a week.”

Morgana again brings up his mother, asking what she is like. Arcade replies, “Just a typical mother. I’m sure she does things that your mother did.” Morgana says, “Really? She dances naked around a fire?” Hank and Sam both spit out their drinks at hearing that. Hank comments, “He was probably thinking more along the line of baking cookies.” “Mine did that too,” Morgana adds. Arcade keeps watching the exits, and seems anxious to run every time the train slows. As an extra precaution she casts a Sleep spell onto him, and then has the others help carry him back to their sleeping berth.

December 18th, 1881:

The group gets back together for breakfast. Arcade looks like he’s going to be ill. Hank says, “After all this acting up yer doin, I tell you what. If we get there and this family of yours isn’t so bad I’m gonna kick yer ass.” Arcade replies, “Well, it’s not like we’re going to find them eating babies or anything like that.” Louie interjects, “They should be proud of you. You lead respectable gang.” “Ixnay on the Anggay” Arcade comments.

Hank says, “Don’t worry boss. If they bug you and you find that need a good belt I’ve got my hip flask handy.” Arcade say, “Don’t call me boss! You don’t work for me!” “Then why did you hire me?” Hank replies. Arcade answers, “I didn’t hire any of you? Didn’t you notice that none of you got any six-month performance appraisals.” Louie interjects, “That just cause if you say something bad about Sam he shoot you.”

The train ride continues, with the group looking out at the pastoral fields and rolling hills. Hank says, “You got some good lookin’ country here. A mite green, but looks like a good place to ride. When we get to yer home I’ll have to borrow me one of yer horses.” Arcade and Morgana joke about how funny it would be to watch Hank participate on a fox hunt. She concludes that it wouldn’t last long, as he’d probably shoot the fox dead just as soon as it was released. “And then complain about the lack of meat on it,” Arcade adds.

They exit the train and get into another carriage on this cold windy damp day. It rides along for another hour, with more picturesque hills in the background. “When we get to you place?” Louie asks. Arcade replies, “We’ve been on my family estate for quite some time, and are almost to the manor house.” The carriage pulls up in front of a large three-story manor house made of dark stone. Louie looks at the building and says, “You people make ugly castles.” Hank says, “They have to build them tough over here to hold up to the lousy weather.”

The servants unload the bags, with Hank’s making a loud crash on the ground. “What’s in there?” Louie asks. Hank replies, “My traveling things. Shotgun, pistols, ammunition.” “What about clean clothes?” Arcade asks. “I’ll buy ‘em if I find I need any,” Hank replies. “Do you really think you’ll need those firearms?” Arcade comments. Louie interjects, “From way you talk sound like we may need to shoot our way out of here.”

They reach the door, which is opened by an older man wearing a suit. Hank thrusts out his hand and says, “Pleased to meet ya! You must be Arcade’s Pa!” The man makes no attempt to shake his hand and replies, “I am the butler.” Louie says, “We go in now? Want out of wet weather.” Arcade leads the group into the building. The butler asks Arcade “Will you be needing quarters for these servants of yours?” Arcade squirms and says, “They are actually my associates.”

The man eyes them suspiciously and says, “I see. And will they be joining us for dinner?” Hank blurts out, “Danged right we will! I’m starved! Where’s the grub!” “I’m sure that the cook could put together something to your liking.” Qualtaqa says, “Don’t care what it is just so it’s food.” The butler states, “Ah yes, it is good to have such true connoisseurs under our roof.”
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Our DM just sent out the following email:

"Just in case you're not grateful enough for a dull ocean passage, here's a sample of the kind of fun one could have on a White Star ship in the 19th Century..."

1 April 1873: Off course and steaming at full speed, Atlantic runs aground on Golden Rule Rock, off Mars Head, Nova Scotia, at 3:15 a.m. Her stern is fully submerged and her hull is ripped open by high seas; many drown, many more are swept out to sea. The only survivors are crew members, unaccompanied men and one child; every woman, every married couple, and all the other children are among the 562 or more dead. Those who survive do so by climbing the rigging or traveling across lines which have been secured to nearby rocks by the third officer and two quartermasters. (Sources: The New-York Times,various dates in April 1873)

Game #6 of the module resumes tomorrow and I should have the next chapter up by Monday.
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Game #6 - 4/04/04

Chapter 50, “Dinner Preparations”, December 18th, 1881:

Arcade heads off to go see his father, leaving the rest of the gang standing in the lobby. The uppity butler continues to be snotty with the party. Morgana makes a reference to her husband and the butler interprets her to be referring to Louie. She corrects him, saying that she is the bride of young Lord Arkadiam. The butler’s face takes on a surprised expression and he sarcastically comments, “It is nice to see that Josiah’s tromp through the hinterlands has paid off.” Louie asks Hank, “Did he just call her Josiah’s tramp?” Hank replies, “I think he said he likes her hinterlands.”

The gang complains again about being hungry so the butler brings them into a parlor and has the cook bring out a plate of cold mutton which the men tear into using their hands rather than utensils. The butler watches this with a look of revulsion and says to Morgana, “And these people live with Josiah?” With a large piece of mutton hanging from his front fangs, Louie replies, “We part of his respectable gang.”

The butler asks her, “How many rooms will you…people be requiring?” Hank says, “Give us each one.” “Except the honeymooners,” Sam interjects. Hank adds, “But if you all are short on space I guess Sam and I could bunk together.” The butler shows them to their rooms. Louie asks if he can break up some of the furniture to get a fire going in the fireplace to cook rice. The butler says, “Sir, I will send one of the house boys up with some firewood to make you a fire if you wish one. As for the cooking, I am sure that the cooks will be more than willing to meet your culinary wishes.” “Like to cook own rice,” Louie replies.

Arcade soon joins Morgana in their room. “Well, how is your father?” she asks. He replies, “Confined to his bed. And other than being totally insane he seems to be fine.” “So he’d fit right in with our group,” she jokes. He answers, “No, I mean it. He’s crazy. He’s in a good mood, but he keeps spurting off nonsense." “And your brother?” she asks. He replies, “Still in London. He’s expected back for the weekend. I surmise that he’s probably off spending away the family fortune.”

There is a knock on the door, which Morgana opens to find the other four gang members standing there. Hank is looking on the wall at a framed map of Great Britain and comments, “No wonder there aren’t many places in England with the letter L in the name, this Wales place has them all.” “Get in here,” Morgana comments. They come inside and the door is shut.

“What’s the low-down?” Hank asks. Arcade replies, “My father is totally nuts, as in crazy.” Louie quips, “I thought that was just part of being English?” “Was he happy to see you?” Qualtaqa asks. “He was happy, but he didn’t know who I was,” Arcade replies. Hank says, “That makes sense. I’d be happier if I didn’t know you.”

“That butler no like us,” Louie states. “Yeah, not exactly being welcomed with open arms,” Sam mutters. Hank replies, “Still better than our usual reception of being met by people carrying arms.” “So, should we try to fix the guy?” Louie asks. Morgana comments, “He might have just gone on a wind walk and can’t find his way back.” “A what?” Arcade comments. Not wanting to hear the long explanation from Morgana that will follow, Hank interjects, “How’s yer Ma?”

Arcade replies, “She was present in the room but she didn’t speak. We will be joining her in the main dining room for supper.” Morgana comments, “Dinner would be formal. We should probably all wash up and change first.” “I’ll go change,” Hank comments. “I thought you only had the one set of clothes?” Arcade replies. Morgana interjects, “I sewed him a new suit to wear on the ocean voyage.” Arcade mutters, “We should probably burn the old ones once they are off of him.” Hank replies, “I was just gonna put the new ones on over the old ones.”

Arcade looks to Morgana and says, “I’m telling my mother that he’s one of your friends, not mine.” “Hey, I have my uses,” Hank comments. “Name one?” Arcade replies. Hank answers, “Well, if you ever need someone to call somebody a mangy sidewinder then I’m your guy.” Arcade replies, “If I ever decide to call somebody that I can guarantee that you’ll be present in the room.” “Good”, Hank replies, not realizing that Arcade was referring to him. Arcade says, “Listen. We need to get to the bottom of what’s going on before my no account brother shows up tomorrow.” Hank replies, “You mean there’s someone in the family who’s worse than you?”

The conversation drifts back to how to handle Arcade’s dilemma. Morgana suggests, “Well, if your brother isn’t competent why don’t we just tell them that Sam is a son who you fathered in America and leave him here to run things.” Arcade replies, “That’s a hard sell. He’s fifteen and I’ve only been away a decade.” Hank says, “So what? We told the newspapers he was twenty-two and they believed it. If we can add seven years why can’t be subtract five and say he’s ten.” “We’ll just say they grow’em big in America,” Qualtaqa jokes.

Qualtaqa asks, “So, will this Queen of yours be joining us for dinner?” Arcade says, “I doubt she’s in the neighborhood and I’m sure that she has made other arrangements.” Hank says, “Dagnabit, I was hoping to meet the dame. See if you can set that up before we go.” Arcade just rolls his eyes. Sam says, “I’m not too sure about formal dinners. What are we supposed to do.” Arcade decides to gear his reply to his audience and says, “There will be lots of silverware. Just approach it like you would eating a buffalo, start on the outside and work your way in.”

Looking at the rest of the party, Arcade tells Morgana “Maybe we should just lock all of them in their rooms, and slip them some food later." Qualtaqa says, “I’ve been to formal dinners before. I dined with President Grant at the White House.” This surprises them all and Hank says, “You’re just making that up!” Qualtaqa replies, “No. I serve as Ambassador for Comanche. I bring Chief there to sign treaty. We signed treaty, eat dinner, then leave.” Arcade says, “If he’s been around civilized society before why is he such a mutton-head?” Louie adds, “He eat mutton hour ago, maybe that why.”

Arcade calls one of the servants and instructs them to “Have the butler find appropriate clothing for my friends for dinner.” He instructs the gang to “Let the servants help dress you. They know what they’re doing.” The group each goes back to their respective rooms. Morgana, Arcade and Hank change into their formal clothes. The butlers soon arrive at the rooms of Sam, Louie and Qualtaqa with the clothing that consists of starched shirts, pleated vests, wool pants and suit jackets with long tails. Louie is
disappointed that he wouldn't be able to wear his new (Chinese-style) clothes that he bought in New York. Both Louie and Qualtaqa look surprisingly comfortable in this attire, but Sam’s ill-fitting suit makes him looks like a fish-out-of-water.

Everyone arrives in the dining room. Once they are all present the butler enters, gestures to the main doorway to the room, and announces “I present to you Lady Willamena Arkadiam.”
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 51, “The Formal Dinner”, December 18th, 1881:

“Darling, it is so nice that you could join us this evening,” Lady Arkadiam greets Arcade with, in such a casual manner that one would think he had been away for a day rather than a decade. Louie interjects, “We make sure he come. We help.” Arcade gives Louie a dirty look for that comment. Qualtaqua rises and tells her how her son is a great man in America. She thanks him for his kind words, and then asks, “So, who exactly are you?”

Arcade handles the introductions, beginning with Qualtaqa and Sam. When he gets to Hank Arcade cannot remember his full name, but Hank covers by rather eloquently stating, “Henry J. Hill Madam, and I am grateful for all of your hospitality.” Similarly, Arcade does not remember Louie’s full name and just calls him Louie. The half-orc corrects him by stating “My name Yee Lui-Buliang. I travel from China to gang up with your son.”

Arcade then introduces the young lady at his side, stating “And this is Morgana Walks-with-trees….”, he doesn’t finish, as he is concerned that if he mentions her last name of ‘O’Shea’ it will cause problems, as his mother is not fond of the Irish. That becomes a moot point however when Morgana concludes the sentence by stating “Arkadiam,” and Arcade sheepishly adds, “my new wife.” His mother has no reaction at all to this, turning instead to the butler and asking that the first course be served.

A multi-course meal follows, with most of the cuisine being rather bland, comprised primarily of boiled food. Louie blurts out “Why your food not taste like anything?” She ignores that comment, and then asks Sam, “Where is it that you come from young man?”. He replies, “Yosemite California, Madam.” She replies, “California. The place where they have all the gold. Do you have a lot of gold?” Sam is hesitant to answer and Qualtaqa says, “We are not preoccupied with worldly treasures.” To that Hank adds, “In other words we’re poor.” Louie interjects, “We involved with silver mine.” She replies, “Why would anyone care about silver when all that gold is just lying around.”

Addressing Qualtaqa she then asks, “And you are from where?” He replies, “Oklahoma.” She comments, “Oh yes, I’ve heard of that place. Now are you from the mountains of Oklahoma or from along the ocean?” Rather than correcting her he says, “I can show you around if you ever come to visit.” “And you race?” she asks. He replies, “Indian. I serve as an ambassador for the Indian people. I have served as ambassador for the Apache, Comanche and Hekawi Tribes. I once dine with President Grant at White House.” She answers, “How nice. Is that where you met my son?” Qualtaqa answers, “No, we meet in Arizona. Your son great man. Him kill lots of people.” Arcade clears his throat at that and glares at the Indian. In a weak attempt to salvage that, Qualtaqa adds, “But they were all very bad men.”

She turns to Hank and asks “And where are you from?” He answers, “Texas, Madam.” She says, “Oh yes. I remember reading about that place. That’s where that awful Mr. San Antonio killed Jim Crockett and David Bowie at that fortress.”

She then asks Louie a few questions about China and if he is a soldier. He replies, “No, I build choo-choo.” She asks, “So, have you been to that British island we have there? I think it’s called Bing Bong.” He answers, “If you mean Hong Kong, no I haven’t been there. I am from Shandong Province and sailed to America out of Shanghai.” She replies, “Oh, I understand. You were shanghaied to America?” She then goes back to eating without any more conversation. Arcade whispers to Morgana, “She’s totally ignoring both of us. She must really be furious about our marriage.” Morgana replies, “Then we’ll have to make it a point to be very loud tonight to embarrass her further.”

After a very long period of silence Louie asks Arcade’s mother, “So why you call for Arcade to come home?” She replies, “To assist my husband with the family business.” Hank asks, “What type of business is it you do?” She states, “My husband is a magnate.” Hank, thinking she said magnet, quips, “I can see the attraction of that job.” She goes on to describe several of the businesses they have interests in. Hank says, “Sounds like you have your fingers in various pots.” Louie says to Hank, “No, she using silverware.” Hank asks her if she knows of a Lord Reginald, stating that they met him on the ocean voyage. Qualtaqa also mentions the English Duke who is part owner of the Silver Mine. She indicates that she if familiar with who both of those men are, but doesn’t actually know either of them.

Arcade states, “Mother this was a fine meal. Thank you so much for preparing such a warm welcome for my associates and I.” Acknowledging his presence again she asks, “So, is everyone in America as colorful as your companions?” He replies, “Yes, they have this whole melting pot thing going on there.” She states, “Well, I don’t know how you are able to deal with a place filled with people who have no class….I mean a classless society.” Morgana jumps into the conversation, and speaks of the merits of America. The mother asks her, “So, how exactly did you two meet?” Louie states, “Me go by rice. Get beat up. They help.” She is confused by that answer, but just passes it off and calls for dessert. The meal finally ends and she departs.

Arcade leads the gang into a sitting room and offers them cigars and brandy. “That seemed to go pretty well,” Hank comments. “You’re kidding, right?” Arcade replies. Louie says, “What you mean. She like us.” “Except Morgana,” Sam adds. Arcade replies, “She was only being polite. The two types of people that English aristocrats hate most are foreigners and poor people, and you’ve just established that you’re both. She can’t stand any of you, especially Morgana.” Morgana says, “She might change her mind when she finds out my Grandparents are wealthy Bostonian.” Arcade replies, “But that’ll be negated once she finds out that they’re also Irish.” Louie gestures to the newlyweds and says to Sam, “How come they rich and not us?”

Hank asks Arcade about the family business. He says that the family has interests into several things including manufacturing, mining, transportation and the import and export of merchandise. He concludes by saying, “That plus the inheritance is how they can afford such a place as this.” “How big is this place?” Qualtaqa asks. Arcade replies, “The main building here has over 200 rooms. There are many more rooms in the various outbuildings.” Louie whispers to Sam, “Did he say the outhouses have several rooms?” “Think so,” Sam replies.

They then discuss Arcade’s brother William, who Arcade says is worthless. “You want us to shoot him?” Louie asks. Arcade answers, “Hell no!” “Him really love his brother,” Qualtaqa states. Arcade answers, “Not at all, but if he’s dead they’d make me stay here forever.”

Qualtaqa suggests that Arcade could decide to head back to America to manage the family’s business interests there. Hank says, “So, should we head over to this London place to see this useless brother of yours?” Arcade replies, “No need. He’s coming home tomorrow." “Is there any way of finding out what he’s done with the family business interests?” Morgana asks. Arcade suggests checking in his father’s office later that evening after the house has gone to bed.

December 19th, 1881:

Shortly after midnight the gang sneaks down to the office. The doors to the room are locked, but Louie has no difficulty picking it. The gang heads inside and lights a lantern. They begin searching, finding the room covered in dust and the last recorded document being in the handwriting of Arcade’s father and dated the previous June. Arcade is checking a desk on the side wall, so is out of sight of the doorway when a voice exclaims, “What are you people doing in my father’s office?”

They rest of the gang looks up at this well-dressed young human male who bears some resemblance to Arcade. “You must be William,” Sam states. “You haven’t answered my question!” he exclaims. Qualtaqa says, “We are your brother’s accountants. We do business for him.” William replies, “If our business is so important to him then he’d be here.” Morgana says, “We came here at the request of my mother-in-law.” William looks confused until Sam explains, “This is Josiah’s bride.” William uses that opportunity to make a rude and sexist remark about women in general. Hank steps between the two of them to prevent Morgana from physically attacking the young man. Before she can respond some other way Arcade speaks up saying, “Well, well, it seems some people never change,” as he walks into his brother’s line of vision.

William states, “So you were hiding in there. I didn’t think you’d bother showing up at all.” The tension is thick enough to cut with a knife, and Qualtaqa tries to ease things by suggesting that they all go riding together in the morning. William says to his older brother, “Who are these people?” Louie interjects, “We his respectable gang.” “We kill many outlaws,” Qualtaqa adds. “Is there much money in that?” William asks. Hank answers, “Not as much as I’d like.” Sam says, “We’re are involved in law enforcement in the United States.”

“That’s where you are all from?” William asks. “Yes, we live in Arizona,” Morgana states. “Isn’t that where England ships all its criminals to?” William asks. “I think that you’re thinking of Australia,” Arcade states. Hank interjects, “Yeah, Arizona attracts enough criminals from the United States, we don’t need more from other places.”

William just shakes his head and tells Arcade, “Well, it seems like you’ve decided to bring the retched refuse of America with you.” Louie whispers to Sam, “I told you English were all stuck up.” Hank says to William, “Son, there’s no need for insults here, but you seem a might peeved that your brother is back.” William totally ignores Hank and says to Arcade, “It’s late. If your ‘accountants’ are done here I would suggest that you all turn in. I for one am very tired.” Arcade adds, “And drunk too from the smell of it.” The brother walks away.

The office door is shut up and everyone heads off to his or her respective room. Qualtaqa says to Arcade, “You had bad opinion of brother and we now all agree.” Arcade says, “He was a fool before and still is now.” Qualtaqa says, “I think we should bring him back to Promise City.” Hank replies, “He wouldn’t last an hour there!” “I think that’s the idea,” Sam comments. Morgana says, “No need to go that far. Just ship him up to Ireland. He wouldn’t last ten minutes there with his attitude.”
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Game #7 - 4/18/04

Chapter 52, “Lord Arkadiam's Health”, December 19th, 1881:

Everyone returns to each of his or her respective rooms. Arcade and Morgana decide to work off some of their frustrations, after which she suggests that since the whole house is asleep it would be a good time to go and check in on his father. “Fine let’s go,” he states, stepping out of bed. As she slips into her clothes she suggests, “Shouldn’t you put something on? It wouldn’t be appropriate for the young Lord of the manor to walk down the hallway naked.” He replies, “You’re right. I’m an English Gentleman. I should be wearing a hat.”

Once attired they quietly make their way down the hallway and to the room. Arcade’s father is sleeping very restlessly as they enter and shut the door behind them. They approach the bed and the Lord calls out “Come back for more?” He does not appear to be talking to them, and Morgana softly asks, “Sir. To whom do you speak?” He continues to ramble on an assortment of phrases, none of which make up coherent sentences. She asks “Are you traveling or are you here?” He starts to call out about “Danger.” “Be calm, you’re safe with us,” she says in a soothing voice, which appears to have a relaxing effect on him. She also casts her healing spells onto him, with no discernable differences.

“I don’t like it here,” he exclaims to her “Where are you?” she asks. He replies, “Damn it, can’t you see? Another one who doesn’t know what’s going on.” She replies, “I see that you are lying in the bed in your room at the manor house. Is that what you see?” He answers, “No, it’s much brighter and much louder than that?” One player quips “Maybe he’s at a Rolling Stones concert.” Another player retorts, “Maybe. Mick Jagger’s old enough to have been around in 1881.”

Morgana tells Arcade, “I think we should try something.” He answers, “Right here? In front of my father?” She explains that she wishes to follow his soul-thread, which anchors his spirit to his physical body. She will need Arcade to act as her own anchor. He does not fully understand what she is talking about but agrees (a sign of a good husband). She casts a spell incantations and her body appears to go limp in his arms. A conversation then begins between Morgana and Lord Arcadiam, with Arcade hearing what is said even though neither of them is moving their lips. She is able to derive that something is seriously wrong and that the Lord blames his son William for the problem. She then returns to her physical body and they go back to their own room.

At 7:00 A.M. the gang meet for breakfast in the formal dining room. Morgana explains to the others about the visit and what she discovered. Qualtaqa suggests that it sounds like William may have given his father some type of narcotic, and suggests that she cast a Neutralize Poison spell onto him. Before they can plan further Lady Arcadiam joins them. While continuing to ignore Morgana she gives a friendly greeting to the other members of the gang.

Hank asks about borrowing horse to take a ride around the estate. She says, “What a lovely idea. Perhaps I’ll join you.” “That would be wonderful” Qualtaqa replies. Arcade whispers to Sam, “Yeah, right. I doubt she even knows where on the grounds the stables are located.” Qualtaqa continues to try to impress her with flowery language and courtesy. He goes on at length about Arcade’s keen business sense and leadership qualities. Arcade whispers to Hank, “If Newlegs keeps up with this B.S. I suggest that we have him run for Parliament.”

Morgana decides to take advantage of being totally overlooked by excusing herself from the table and heading back upstairs. She heads directly to the father’s room, finding the bed empty, unmade and not even warm. She checks the adjacent rooms and bath facility, but he is in none of those places. She returns to the dining room, whispering this information to Arcade. He suggests that the group go for a stroll around the gardens. They head outside.

He leads them directly to the duck pond, Morgana filling them in about the missing father. Arcade says that he will cast a Reflecting Pool onto the pond. He starts the spell, seeing his father sitting at a desk and reading a book in a brightly lit room. Morgana suggests, “Pull back on your focus”.

The image zooms out, to reveal the desk is located in a vast room filled with machinery. He continues to pull back and up, in order to locate where the room might be. They discover that it is deep underground, heading up several stone staircase. They eventually reach the surface. As he pulls up higher they find themselves looking at a part of a city near a river. Arcade pulls up even further and announces, “That’s London and I recognize the Parliament Building.”

They then see William approaching and Arcade ceases the spell before his brother sees what they were up to. “What are you doing over he?” he exclaims in an accusatory manner. Qualtaqa decides to cover for the party by taking advantage of the fact that William already views him as an uncivilized savage, stating “Saw you had pond with ducks so wanted to throttle one and then eat it.” William is appalled, and lectures them about leaving the birds on the estate alone. Louie interjects, “What? You no like to eat duck? I have good recipe for Peking Duck.” Qualtaqa gives the young Lord assurances that they will leave the birds alone.

Morgana then comments about wanting to go shopping in London. They invite William to show them around the city. He becomes very suspicious. “You can show us the sights,” Sam states. William replies, “That won’t be necessary. I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding people who will tell you where to go.”

Qualtaqa suggests that they spend the day riding around the estate. William exclaims, “Planning to ride all the way to London?” Arcade says, “Not at all. We’ll tour the estate today and go to London tomorrow.” They invite William to join them but he declines, making a derogatory comment about his brother’s companions. Louie corrects him, declaring “We be respectable gang, on both sides of ocean.”

They reach the stables and start to pick out horses. Qualtaqa comments that he and Louie will wait there, as neither of them knows how to ride. “What? You were a horse!” Hank exclaims. Qualtaqa replies that while he is personally familiar with how a horse travels he has no experience with sitting atop one or how to command it to move. Arcade states,” Well then it’s high time that you learned. You too Louie, each of you grab a horse.”

It takes quite a while to teach the two new riders the basic mechanics, although the one who seems to have the hardest adjustment is Hank as the English saddles are different from the Western version that he is used to. They ride off, with both Qualtaqa and Louie each thrilled at acquired a new skill. “They seem mighty proud of themselves,” Hank comments. Arcade replies, “Sure do, let’s slap their horse’s butts and see how they react.” Morgana exclaims “Don’t you dare! I’ve already used up all of my healing spells today on your father.”

They spend the next hour riding around the estate. From a frozen hilltop Morgana spots a group of buildings in the far distance and asks her husband about it. Arcade says, “That’s the local village. The tenant farmers that tend my father’s lands live there.” She says, “Then we need to go check it out. They may know what has been going on.” “Is there a tavern in the village?” Hank asks. Arcade replies, “Yes, and they call them ‘pubs’ over here.” Hank replies, “I don’t care what they call it as long as I can get me a drink.” They ride on in the direction of the village.
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Game #8 - 4/25/04

Chapter 53, “The Local Pub”, December 19th, 1881:

The gang ties up their horses outside of the pub and head into the building. It has a relaxed atmosphere to it, with a dozen tables with two-to-six chairs at each, six barstools along the bar, a piano sitting in the corner and a dartboard on the wall. As Arcade is the only one of the group who can speak with an English accent they decide to let him initiate the conversation. He gives the barkeep a warm hello and says that there are six in the party. They are gestured to sit at one of the larger tables in a corner of the room. A round of the local beer is ordered up for the table.

“Nobody seems to know you,” Qualtaqa observes. Arcade replies, “Not surprised. I've been gone a long time and my parents also never allowed me to come to this pub when I was younger.” When the bartender comes back they order some food and a second round of drinks. They then engage him in conversation about the local happenings. The man replies, “Strange things ‘ave been ‘appening ‘ere as o’late. It’s not right. Don’t like it, don’t like it at all. I ‘eard that the Lord’s eldest is coming ‘ome. Maybe ‘ell put things to rights.”

They press him for more detail as to these strange happenings, but he doesn't state anything specific, saying that it is just a bad feeling and there have been an eerie sting of bad happenings. Morgana inquires as to when these things began and are told, “Seems to me ‘bout last summer.” When he goes to get the food they discuss this, noting the time coincides with when Arcade’s father took ill.

The man returns with a platter of mutton. They ask him to speculate about the cause of the disturbances. He chocks it all up to progress, blaming the railroads and the influx of new people to the district. Morgana inquires about magic being the source of the problems but he dismisses it. He then says, “Some o’you talk odd. Where be you from?” Hank replies, “America”. “Ah, Colonists! What are you doing ’ere?” the man exclaims. “Just came for a visit,” Morgana states. Hank adds, “Yeah, I wanted to visit that Queen of yours. I heard that she’s a mighty fine lady.” The man laughs and tells him, “I’m afraid she doesn’t frequent me pub.” Louie interjects, “She should. The food and beer good here.”

They ask about the Lord’s son William and the response and tone of voice used makes it obvious that the barkeep doesn’t hold him in very high regard. The man repeats that it is a good thing that the elder son will soon be returning. Morgana engages the man in a debate about the hierarchy of English society and how in America everyone has a chance to succeed. Louie adds, “Me start as poor laborer but now have interests in silver mine and laundry.” The man states that he is happy being a barkeep, just as his father and grandfather both were. Hank says, “Well, it is an honorable profession.”

They finish up the meal and Arcade pays the tab, leaving a generous tip. The barkeep invites them to come back in the evening, stating that there will be some entertainment. “What entertainment?” Morgana asks. The man replies, “A local troubadour.” Hank says, “I think we might just do that.”

They approach the door and Arcade holds it open for Morgana to exit. She steps into the doorway and almost collides with a well-dressed handsome young man with a lute strapped onto his back. He apologizes, stating the he would never wish to cause any harm to one as beautiful as she. She smiles back, commenting about the lute and asking if he is the performer that she heard would be playing there that evening. He smiles and confirms that he is, saying “I work the boards here.” Louie softly says to his companions, “He a carpenter?” Arcade replies, “I think he means the floor boards of the stage.”

Morgana tells him that she is also a bard and asks if he might be interested in performing a duet. They both continue to stand in the doorway conversing, blocking the doorway. He introduces himself as John Wesley of Harding, and that he has just returned to the community after a long absence. “And why did you come back here?” she asks. He answers, “I heard that an old friend of mine will be returning and wanted to be here to greet him.” Hank turns to Arcade and softly says, “Does he mean you?” Arcade replies, “Yeah, he and I go way back.” Qualtaqa says, “He’s only standing ten feet away. Why hasn’t he recognized you?” Arcade replies to him, “If you just met a beautiful young woman, who shares the same hobbies as you, would you notice anybody else in the room?”

The five men decide to make their way back to the corner with Arcade sitting so that his back is to the adjacent tables. Picking up on their movement back into the tavern, Morgana directs the bard over to a small table next to them. Rounds of beer are soon ordered up for each tables.

She tells him that she is from America, originally from Boston but has also spent a lot of time in the Midwest. He says that his family are English nobles from the area. He says that he has traveled abroad, and has spent a considerable amount of time in America, mostly in San Francisco and New York City. “That true?” Louie asks Arcade. He replies, “Yes. He’s from the neighboring estate to ours. We were childhood friends and traveled together to America ten years ago. I was the quiet one and he was the troublemaker.” “Looks like some of him rubbed off onto you,” Hank comments.

Morgana and John continue to talk about musical instruments and songs. He implies that there is something magical about the lute that he uses. She indicates that she doesn’t have an aversion to using magic. He answers, “Well, being as close as we are to France some of their magic does tend to filter through this area.” She asks, “So are you here now to work?” He replies, “Later on tonight. I just stopped in now for a drink, and am so glad that I did. It’s not often I get to spend time with another from our profession.” She smiles and says, “Maybe we’ll get a chance to see which of us is the better performer.” He replies, “We could do that, although I’ve never performed before in a competition.” Arcade spits out his drink upon hearing that mistruth.

John then says, “I’m sure that we will perform very well together. I have many talents to share with you. Although some of those talents are much better suited for a private setting.” Hank whispers to Sam, “Is this where somebody gets himself shot?” Morgana replies to the proposition, “I think that my husband might have something to say about that.” The man’s jaw drops in shock, as she then raises her voice and asks, “What do you think dear?” The surprised troubadour hears a chair move immediatley behind him and then hears a voice from long ago state, “Well John, I see that you’re still the ladies man.” The man’s head jerks around and exclaims “Josiah!”
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 54, “Reunion”, December 19th, 1881:

Arcade says, “Why don’t you join us. I see that you’ve already met my bride.” The bard glances at Morgana and laughs, “Yes, and I see you were both having some fun at my expense.” She smiles and replies, “It wasn’t hard John.” “I beg to differ. And please call me Wes” is his answer. Looking back at Arcade, the bard says, “I own you one.”

Wes slides his chair around as Morgana walks over to the other table, sitting beside her husband. Looking back at Morgana he comments “So, you two are married?” Arcade replies, “For a while now.” “At least a week,” Qualtaqa interjects. Morgana adds, “His mother isn’t too happy about it.” “I can imagine,” Wes replies, adding “Well I for one think you’ve made a good choice Josiah. So Morgana, would you happen to have any sisters?” She replies that she does not. Wes asks, “So, how did you meet?” “I buy rice,” Louie comments. “These are my business associates,” Arcade comments, gesturing to the others.

The bard takes a quick glance around the table and smiles, amused that his friend is now keeping company with an elf and a half-orc. Arcade says, “Louie is correct, we met in America when he was buying some food and some local hoodlums decided to beat him up. Morgana and I both intervened to help him out.” “Me too,” Sam comments. “Always the do-gooder,” Wes replies.

“And what have you been doing with yourself for the last decade?” Arcade asks. Wes tells them about his travels across America and Europe, making his way through life using his gift of song. “Uh huh, with an occasional influx of family resources,” Arcade comments. Wes replies, “You know me too well. Yes, unlike you, I have made it back here from time to time. I heard you were coming back now so decided to come see you again. But tell me, exactly what have you been up to.”

Arcade answers, “This and that.” Qualtaqa says, “We’ve become a respectable gang.” “Hey, that my line!” Louie interjects. Wes replies, “Seriously, what have you been doing in America?” Morgana says, “Well, a while back I attacked Billy the Kid.” Wes laughs and says, “Sure you did! You can always count on a bard to spin up a tall tale. I guess anybody can claim to have shot at him now that he’s dead, so he can’t refute it.” Morgana says, “I did not shoot at him, I killed him with my tomahawk.” Louie says, “It was when we fight James Gang.” A surprised look crosses the bard’s face as he puts the pieces together, commenting “We? Hold on….Arkadiam…Arcade…you’re Arcade’s Gang?” “Lock, stock and barrel,” Hank replies. “Make that double-barreled,” Sam adds.

The bard laughs and says, “And you used to say that I was the one who always caused trouble!” Arcade replies, “Wes, please keep that information under your hat. We’re trying to keep a low profile over here.” He replies “And who would I tell that would actually believe me? So, what brings you home?” Louie says, “Big boat.” Wes says, “No, I mean, why did you come home Josiah.” Louie interjects, “He try not to but we make him.”

Arcade states, “My father is in poor health. But it’s more than that.” Morgana says, “Something magical seems to have poisoned him. It seems to have started around five months ago.” Arcade adds, “We think that William has something to do with it.” Wes replies, “Wouldn’t surprise me.” Qualtaqa says, “William has had direct access to the family fortune for five months now.” Wes replies, “I’m surprised there is anything left.” Arcade answers, “There may not be, that’s one of the things we’re tying to find out.”

Morgana then begins discussing music with Wes and Qualtaqa whispers to Arcade “Do you trust him?” Arcade replies, “With my life. Why?” Qualtaqa replies, “Because he’s a bard who has been in the country recently, and probably knows his way around London much better than you do.” Arcade replies, “I get it. And he would also know of places for us to hide out if we run into trouble.” Qualtaqa answers, “If?, I’d make that ‘when’.” They invite Wes to accompany them to London the following morning, to which he graciously accepts. He in turn invites them to hear his performance at the pub that evening, to which they graciously accept, with Morgana again agreeing to perform a duet or two.

The group says their good-byes to Wes and ride back to the Arkadiam Estate. Arcade’s father is back in his bed and rather incoherent. The group dress for a formal dinner, at which Arcade’s mother is pleasant but the conversation remains at a superficial level. Following the dinner the group change back into their comfortable clothes and take a pair of carriages back to town. They find a nice table in the far corner of the pub and settle in for a pleasant evening, with Morgana joining Wes on the stage for several folk songs. They head back late in the evening.

December 20th, 1881:

The group meets for breakfast and Morgana slips away to check on the father, who is fast asleep and does not wake when she attempts to make him. After breakfast they then pack for their trip. Most decide to leave behind their western-style clothing as well as their larger weapons, such as rifles and the long spear. They get one of the servants to drive them to the train station. They make a detour over to Wes’s home and Hank comments that he’s seen towns that are closer together than these two neighboring estates. The main manor house is elaborate but not quite as ostentatious as the Arkandiam’s. Sam asks “Will he be sober enough? He was drinking all night long.” Qualtaqa replies, “We won’t need him to be sober until we reach London. He can sleep it off on the train.”

Morgana heads up to the door and knocks. A butler arrives and she asks for “Young Lord John.” The man replies, “I believe that the master is still abed.” She says, “Well go wake him. Tell him that Lady Arkadiam is waiting to go to London with him.” The butler gives her a quick visual appraisal, and walks away muttering “I guess the rich can marry as many times as they want.”

Wes eventually makes his way downstairs, and says to her “I didn’t think you meant today and I certainly didn’t think you meant in the morning.” She replies, “We’re going now. Get your things.” He replies, “I’m an artist. I need my sleep.” She answers, “You can sleep on the train. Hurry up.” Realizing that he isn’t going to win this one, he gathers up a few belongings and follows her outside. Before the carriage even leaves the front walk he is already curled up on the seat and fast asleep again. “Wish I could do that,” Louie comments. Qualtaqa says, “They say that bards and soldiers can learn how to sleep any where at any time.” “And in his case, with any one,” Arcade adds.

They arrive at the train station and only have a short wait until the next train to London. Along the way they discuss how the following evening is the Winter Solstice, a high holy day for both the Celtic and Roman deities, which are the two main pantheons worshipped in England. They decide that could work to their advantage, as the evening of the 21st will be very busy with holiday celebrations that might work as a distraction. It might also help with a cover story, Morgana being a Celtic priestess. The train stops at several towns along the way, arriving in the city approximately two hours after
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Game #9 - 5/02/04

Chapter 55, “The London Shopkeeper”, December 20th, 1881:

They shake Wes awake. He grumbles and comments that he is hungry. Louie offers him a rice ball, to which the bard replies, “Never show me anything that disgusting again this early in the day. I need a bard’s breakfast.” Morgana states, “He wants a beer.” “Or at least a bottle of wine,” he replies.

They exit the train station and the gang asks Arcade if he knows exactly where the scry appeared to reach the surface. He says, “I think the docklands, but could have come up at an angle, so it might be further away.” “Let’s try to find the spot we saw,” Qualtaqa states. Wes says, “Well, if we’re heading to that part of town we’d better get there now. I wouldn’t want to be in that part of the city after dark.” Hank says, “What are you worried about? You’re with Arcade’s gang.” Wes replies, “Well, don’t take offense at this, but I’ve actually gotten to know you guys a bit now. Your group is more impressive as a concept.”

They head through the crowded city in the direction of the docks. They pass many people selling their wares along the street. Wes goes to a street vendor and purchases a meat-filled roll, which he then consumes. Along the way Morgana notices a curio shop with several items in the window that hint of French design. She says, “Hold on a minute. I want to check out this store.” Hank exclaims, “We don’t have time to go shopping.” She replies, “If this shop is what I suspect it might be it going here could actually save us a lot of time.”

They enter the building and Morgana approaches the proprietor, an elderly woman standing behind the main counter. They exchange small talk for several minutes. Morgana has been busy looking around the room and makes mention of her interest in viewing unusual tomes. The woman says, “We don’t have much interest in books, but I might have a few.” She leads her into a back room, moving a glass with a dead fly inside it off of a pile of dusty books, revealing some magical tomes beneath.

Morgana smiles and says to her in an archaic version of French, “Your ruse is impressive. A non-wizard would not suspect you use these daily.” The woman replies in the same version of French (and language that of her companions, only Wes can deduce the occasional word of) “Yes, you’ve passed the test. I personally like the dead fly detail myself. He’s actually just playing dead, being a personal friend of my familiar.” Morgana says, “I’m glad you decided that you can trust us.” The woman replies, “And can I trust your companions?” Morgana replies, “Yes, I trust them all with my life. They’re very easy to underestimate, but are all people of good character.” “Then you will be trusting them with my life as well,” the woman replies.

The older woman then changes to the English language and says, “I may be able to help you find that which you seek.” Arcade says, “That would be appreciated. I need to locate where my father is.” The woman replies, “What can you tell me about where he has been?” Morgana says, “It’s as though he were simultaneously here and on another world.” Arcade describes the large room he saw his father inside and the tome that he was reading. Morgana adds that “Even when he was home he was not really there. We don’t know how to combat this,” The woman replies, “Your suspicion that he is linked to the tome is probably correct. You must separate him from it.”

Morgana says, “And I’m uncertain how it is that he appears to travel the fifty-mile distance in a very short time?” The woman replies, “And you mean to tell me that you can’t?” Morgana answers, “No. I’m afraid that I’m still a novice at using magic. But I do have other talents which I have made good use of.” Arcade says, “We think that this location is near the docklands.” The woman replies, “That is not what I sense, but the docks do have the most open space in the city, and I believe the place you seek is in a open space.”

The woman’s gaze then turns to Qualtaqa and she asks Morgana “Do you want me to fix him?” Morgana replies, “No, we needed him in this form.” She replies, “Why? It is not his destiny.” Louie interjects, “But it easier for him to ride on boat and train like this.” Qualataqa asks the woman, “You can tell people’s destiny?” She replies, “Yes. I can read their auras.” It is obvious that Qualtaqa wishes to asks something else, but hesitates. Morgana says, “Go ahead. You want to ask her.” Much to her surprise however, rather than asking about himself he asks about what is in store for Morgana. The woman replies “She is destined for greatness as well as happiness.” Qualtaqa says, “And the Elvan people?” “As you believe,” is her reply.

Hank gestures to Sam and says, “And what can you say about his destiny.” The woman smiles and tells the boy, “You may find some who will do if for free. You just need to know where to look.” Arcade comments, “You appear to know much of us.” The woman replies, “I should. I have been expecting all of you.” “Do you have anything else to tells us?” Morgana asks. The woman says, “There are things you know and things you do and sometimes the things you know interfere with the things you do so you need to take that into perspective.” Louie mutters to himself in his native tongue “And they say that Chinese philosophy speaks in riddles.”

Louie asks about purchasing an item for his girlfriend and is shown a number of items selling for the British equivalent of $ 5.00 to $ 10.00. Hank points out that even if he goes for the cheapest it will still be the most expensive gift that Mary Wong ever received. Louie buys a cameo with gold plated edging.

Morgana thanks the woman for her assistance and asks if they can come back if necessary. The woman tells her that she is always welcome to return. “Even if it is decades from now?” Wes comments. She replies, “Yes, the shop will remain here until the war.” “War?” Arcade asks. She replies, “Another third of a century from now. Most of you will know of it.” Gesturing to Sam she says, “The young one will play a key part of it.” Arcade thanks her for her advice, while Sam just looks very confused.

As they leave she whispers something into Qualtaqa’s ear. Morgana looks back and gives her a puzzled look. The woman’s last comment to them is, “Zero is your friend. Look low.”

The group exit the building and head in the direction of Tower Bridge. This is not the best part of town and Wes acts uncomfortable. Aracade asks him “What’s the problem?” The bard replies, “This intrigue thing just isn’t my style. I feel exposed the way we are proceeding. I prefer buying people drinks and then outsmarting them.” Morgana comments, “Like you outwitted me.” Wes replies, “You two set me up.” Arcade says, “No, you did that to yourself. But don’t worry. We have you covered. You’ve saved my butt often enough, let me return the favor.” Wes glances back at Morgana, wanting to make a comment, but Sam laughs and stops him with “Don’t even try. You’re not going to win with her.” He appears to take that as a challenge, thinking up a smart comment to make to her, but stops when Louie says, “Give it up. When even Sam laughs at you there no hope.”
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 56, “Greenwich”, December 20th, 1881:

They cross tower bridge, a large stone structure lined with buildings. They reach the other end, and are continuing through a poorer section of the city. Hank comments about the smell. Arcade replies, "You're one to talk about a smell, Mr. I-only-change-clothes-and-bathe-once-a-year."

Morgana notices that they are beginning to get noticed by some of the people in this district, including many low-lifes who are eyeing the nicer clothes worn by Arcade, Wes and herself and comments about that to the others. Wes starts to sing a bardic tune, adding the magical 'Suggestion' to his lyrics of "Don't look at us. We're not really here." To that another player suggests, "They're not the droids you're looking for." The people start to ignore them. "It worked," Sam comments. Wes replies, "Magic tends to work well in London."

That comment gets Morgana thinking, and she says how through her combined Indian and druidic heritage she has been taught to detect the magical ley-lines through the earth. She casts a spell to detect this, a variation on Detect Magic and is almost overwhelmed by then seeing before her one of the strongest magical earth ley-lines that she has ever seen. Furthermore, she begins to notice that it appears to intersect with a second equally stong line a few miles ahead. Arcade comments, "That's Greenwich. Where the Royal Observatory is located."

Since they know know where they are going to Wes flags down and hires a hansom cab to take them the remainder of the four miles downstream from Tower Bridge along the banks of the River Thames to the Royal Observatory. Once they escape the main part of the city, the land opens up to a park, which makes most of the group feel more comfortable, especially the druids.

Nearby is the Royal Naval College with its great baroque architecture; Arcade explains that this had been the Greenwich Hospital designed by the great architect Sir Christopher Wren and that other famous British architects contributed to its buildings. Louie mutters, "Still too square, no Feng Shui in these people..." Arcade ignores him and talks about how the Hospital was closed in 1869 and that it was being turned into the Royal Naval College just about the time he left Britain.

Sam and Hank are just gawking at the cluster of huge buildings. Qualtaqa compares it to Washington, DC, calling on his recollections of the White House and other buildings there. Arcade asks, "Didn't we burn that town in 1812?" Hank and Sam each give him a whack while Morgana just rolls her eyes. Louie looks puzzled, so Morgana gives him a quick history of the War of 1812 as they near the observatory building. When the Royal Observatory comes into view, Louie says, "Well, at least this one has some round parts!" (See http://www.nmm.ac.uk/uploads//jpg/PU2226.jpg for a picture.)

Morgana becomes quiet, feeling the power of the ley lines that go through the area. Hank asks, "Why's this place so all-fired important?" Arcade tells him how important navigation is to sea-faring peoples like the British, and how they needed to find their east-west position accurately. So they established this location as the Prime Meridian, measured as 0 degrees longitude. From there, using accurate clocks invented by clockmaker John Harrison, they could measure their position. Wes comments, "That strange woman did tell us that "Zero is your friend."

Hank still looks a bit puzzled, and Arcade has to remind him there are no landmarks at sea. Sam asks if he can explain it without all those fancy words. Arcade gives up... Louie complains that the British had to make themselves important again by picking a spot in their country, to which Morgana reminds him that there are some of the strongest ley lines in the world intersecting here.

Arcade points out the domed Meridian Building behind the main part of the Observatory. "That's where the new telescope sits," he comments, "Its location marks the exact Prime Meridian." (This was erected in 1850, so it is pretty new! Especially by British standards.) "Measure, measure, measure - science and technology!" mutters Morgana, "I hope they haven't ruined the magic!" Hank tries to tell her, "Well, little lady, progress marches on!" She says, "Things have worked just fine for a long time!" Arcade tries to distract her, pointing out how the building is built so nicely into the landscape, and pointing out the many old trees around. This helps get the group back on track as they prepare to enter the building.

They enter the building and trying to find their way around. They ask a receptionist if they can look around. She says that they are welcome to but reminding them that it is nearly 4:00 P.M. which is traditonally "tea time."

As they make their way through the building, they go past a room with several timepieces in it (the Harrison gallery). Louie pokes his head in and says, "Fancy clocks!" Afraid that Louie is sizing them up for their street value, Arcade explains that they are national treasures, the original Harrison clocks. "They were the first truly accurate timepieces that could be used to determine your east-west position when navigating around the world." Hank says, "I tell you what, I can tell time close enough by looking at the sun!" Qualtaqa concurs, but Sam asks, "What do you do on a cloudy day?" Morgana interjects, "There are plenty of magical ways to tell time accurately - you shouldn't need machines to do it!" Arcade shushes her, reminding her of the local views about magic. The group actually manages to move quietly for a while after this!

Qualtaqa reminds them of the woman's other clue of looking low, and suggests that they find a way to get into the basement. Morgana says, "Yes, the ley-lines will be even stronger as we get deeper into the earth." "Plus we know the book is underground," Sam comments. Qualtaqa warns, "Yes, but we may not want to actually go there and take on this foe until we have a better idea of who they are and what they are capable of."


Special thanks to CelticWolf for his assistance in writing this chapter (and for pointing out edits now made to prior chapters).
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Game #10 - 5/16/04

Chapter 57, “Confrontation with Evil”, December 20th , 1881:

The evening’s game begins with CelticWolf commenting that “I saw a special on the History Channel about Billy the Kid and they got it all wrong! They didn’t say anything about Arcade’s Gang, Promise City, or any of the stuff that actually happened."


Back in the basement of the Royal Observatory the group continue to look for but not find any entrance to underground chambers. Morgana sings and keeps looking for patterns in the ley-lines on the floor. Hank suggests that they just stop and head back into London to question William. Morgana insists that the answer must lie where they are and how she can tap into the energy focus of the Earth itself. Hank replies, “Well I’ll leave that up to you little lady. I ain’t getting involved in any of that peculiar stuff.”

She isn’t able to come up with anything more definite. Arcade points out that the original scry did not show an actual entrance, so even though they may be above the cavern, the door may be elsewhere. He then says, “For all we know, this place is just where the local astrology nuts go.”

Morgana wants to try one more thing, and explains how she needs to locate the ley-line in the earth that reaches to North America to talk to her ancestors. “Can it work from this distance?” Qualtaqa asks. She replies, “Distance should not matter if I can find the right line.” She attempts this, locating it, and asks it how they should proceed. A voice says to her in a Yiddish accent “What, you want that I should tell you everything?” Morgana’s player protests “Hold on, what’s with the accent? Morgana is Irish and Indian!” The DM replies, “You don’t get to pick your spirits.” The conversation continues, but she doesn’t get told anything useful.

They decide that they need to return to London. Before leaving Morgana suggests that they may want to hire a student at the University to do some research for them in the event that they have to return. Arcade says, “I don’t think that we want to involve any schoolboys in this mess.” Wes points out that most of the students are sons of Lords and other wealthy individuals, so wouldn’t really need extra money.

Next she suggests that they maybe should leave Sam behind to look around, as he could blend into the University pretending to be a student. “Like Sam would really fit in here,” Hank comments. “Like Sam can even write,” Arcade quips. Sam doesn’t like the idea either so they abandon it.

They hire a hansom cab to take them back to London. Arcade gives the drivers directions to the business district where the Arkadiam business office is situated. They arrive at a large multi-story building and exit the carriage. They pass by the door of a ground floor counting house with a weathered old sign reading “Scrooge and Marley”, a lone clerk inside the main room working at a ledger well into the evening hours.

Arcade leads the group through a door with a number of brass plates mounted to the wall beside it, one of which reads “Arkadiam World Headquarters”. They take the staircase up several floors, finally stopping on the fifth floor. They approach a door, where light is seen coming from under the door. “That’s it,” Arcade whispers. Louie observes, “Light under door steady, not a fire.” Qualtaqa replies, “True, but my guess is that the office may be on fire by the time we leave.” Morgana approaches the door and listens at it. She comments that she hears William’s voice inside and it sounds like he is casting spells.

Louie and Morgana both get their throwing daggers ready. Arcade, Hank, Sam and Qualtaqa all get out their guns. Wes unstraps his lute from his back, to which Hank asks “You planning to hit him with that thing?” Wes replies, “You fight your way, I’ll fight mine.” Wes suggests to Arcade, “Maybe you should go in first. He’s your brother.” Hank says, “Yeah, and at the first sign of trouble we’ll come in shooting.”

Louie checks the door, finding it locked. He starts to reach for his lock picks when Arcade says, “Don’t bother. I have a key.” He uses the key to open the door and enter the room. The others follow. The office is comprised of a single room with filled bookcases running the long walls to both sides. William is sitting at the far end of the room, behind a large desk with a large glass window behind him. The rooms is lit by gaslights on the walls and William has three books open in front of him on the desk. The books all appear to be ledgers with accounting notes.

William looks to his brother and exclaims, “Why are you here.” Arcade replies, “What are you up to.” He states, “Managing the family business. Somebody had to after you ran off.” The party all move forward, the gunfighters all holstering their firearms. Morgana and Louie continue to keep their daggers up their sleeves within easy reach. Qualtaqa and Sam approach the right side of the desk while Morgana move up along the left side. Arcade marches right up to the center of the desk directly across from William.

“What do you people want?” William states. “To audit the books,” Qualtaqa replies. Hank draws his gun again and says, “It’s time for you to come clean. We know you’ve been up to no good with the business and with your father.” Ignoring the Indian and the gunslinger, William tells Arcade “Why are these….people here?” Hank yells to Arcade, “Make him tell you what is going on.” Something about the way he says that catches Morgana’s notice, and she begins to hum a native song that is the incantation to a detection cantrip. She notices a wavy aura superimposed over William and tells Arcade “Something else is here, masking itself as William.”

Hank points the gun in William’s direction and says, “She’s got a strange way of looking at things but she’s usually right. What type of weird supernatural stuff are you up to boy?” William glares at Hank and says, “You should have come earlier when I was handling snakes.” “I want to know what you’re up to now!” Hank exclaims. “Just reading my books,” William replies.

Morgana takes a good look at the books, changing her lowly stated song to a blessing and she suddenly sees through the illusion covering the books, revealing them to be magical tomes. She glances at the books in the bookcase, but they all appear to be just ledgers. She tells the others what the books really are. “You’re spoiling all my plans,” William states. Arcade says, “Get used to it. That’s what sisters-in-law do.” She says to William, “Are these books what you are using to bind your Father’s will?”

Sam reaches out to grab one of the books but Qualtaqa stops him.
Morgana continue to disbelieve the illusions and sees a larger image of pure evil superimposed over William. “It’s here. The evil behind this is in front of us,” she states. William’s voice deepens and he exclaims “Damn you!” He slides his chair back, closer to the window. Morgana pulls out one of her two vials of holy water, but instead of tossing it at William she pours it onto the books, and they burst into flame. Qualtaqa mutters to Sam, “Guess I was right about the fire.”

William is enraged and yells at her “You fouled up everything! But I will still prevail. You mortals are now all stuck.” “Mortals?” Wes comments. Morgana replies, “That’s not really William.” He gives an evil laugh and replies, “William is in here too.” She blurts out, “And we will separate the two of you.” “Why don’t we just kill him,” Hank comments as he raises his gun. “Not sure how I feel about that. Not really opposed,” Arcade comments. Morgana says, “No, you would just kill William and the evil would then inhabit one of us.”

William backs towards the window and Morgana now notices something out of phase about it, realizing that it is really a portal. She tosses up a Web spell to prevent him from going through it. William curses. “Grab him,” Arcade yells. Hank does as instructed and Arcade gives his brother a solid punch across the face, knocking him unconscious. Sam uses his cowboy skills to hog-tie William. They drag him to the other side of the room and away from the portal. Hank says, “And where were you planning to go in such a hurry?” The evil one smiles and says, “To be with my father.” Morgana states, “I think he’s telling the truth, but I don’t trust him not to call out for help.” Wes assists and a Silence spell is then cast upon William.

The group discusses going and finding a cleric or high priest to assist them with this, but conclude that might take too long and the father needs rescued immediately. Qualtaqa agrees, stating that “Now is the time to free him from the book.” They decide to leave Wes behind to guard William while they head through the portal. Morgana casts a “Protection from Evil-10-foot-radius” spell onto herself. Despite being unconscious, William's body recoils and rolls out of the effect of the spell. "Guess the creature didn't like that," Hank mutters.

Morgana kisses Wes on the cheek and says, “We’ll be back, and if not, they you’ll have quite a story to tell.” She dispels the web and the six then enter through the portal.



[Next Chapter: The long awaited combat encounter.]
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 58, “Battle against the Evil”, December 20th , 1881:

The group land on the other side of the portal, landing in a large underground room. The room is lit by gaslights along the walls. Arcades father is sitting behind a desk reading from a large tome. Behind him are large pieces of machinery, with various gears, pulleys and cranks. The gears are all moving and slowly turning in a counter-clockwise direction. The men in the group withdraw their firearms and the party begins to move closer to Arcade’s father.

As they near Morgana comments “He’s totally oblivious to us.” Arcade states, “Yes, he is mesmerized by that book.” Morgana moves in close enough for the protection aura to surround Lord Arcadiam but there is no discernable effect. Louie starts to grab for the book, but is stopped by Qualtaqa. Lord Arcadiam continues to stare blankly at the book, muttering odd words to himself. “We need to stop him,” Sam states. Hank says, “I’m not sure, seventy-year-old men reading books aren’t my usual foe.” Louie comments “He afraid of old men?” Sam states, “No, he’s afraid of books.”

Gesturing to the moving gears Hank asks, “What’s with all the machinery?” Arcade comments, “I don’t know but it can’t be good.” They are unsure of what to do next, but that decision solves itself when Wes’s body goes flying through the portal and lands in a heap at their feet. Morgana notes that he is still breathing, so is unconscious rather than dead. They look to the portal and see that William has crossed through, standing there with his arms hands on his sides and leans his head back and lets out an evil laugh. He then states “We Elders are not to be underestimated.”

“Elders?” Hank asks. Louie says, “I thought his father was old one.” William then bellows “Chumagohta is not to be taken lightly.” Morgana tosses holy water onto the book in front of Lord Arcadiam and the water steams instantly away, leaving the book intact. William says, “You’ll have to do better than that.” Hank grabs Lord Arcadiam and pulls him out of the chair and away from the book. The old man collapses into a heap on the floor. Louie uses his dagger to push the book off of the desk. It lands on the floor and closes shut, with the party seeing the title spelled out on the cover, which reads “Necronomicon”.

William continues to laugh and a mystical opening begins to appear beside the machinery. Qualtaqa tells Louie, “I have an idea. Grab the other end of the desk.” The two of them lift up the large oaken desk and then hurl it into the machinery, causing considerable damage At the sight of the machinery being harmed William yells out “NO!” and begins to undergo a transformation. The machinery continues to turn, although the damage causes many of the gears to screech and grind, with several of the metal pieces banging against each other.

William continues to polymorph, becoming a large green creature, presumably Chumagohta. He is approximately ten-feet in diameter, with over a dozen eyeballs floating around in his protoplasm form. He also has several dozen tentacles, grouped together from several points along the body. At the sight of this creature Arcade, Hank, Louie, Qualtaqa and Sam all have the same idea, drawing their handguns and commencing to fire into the creature. Morgana begins to chant.

A deep voice bellows from the creature yelling out, “The difference engine was only to control the device. The portal will open regardless.” The group sees that the inter-dimensional rift behind them, with it expanding by several feet every minute. A structure made of white marble begins to form inside of the rift.

Qualtaqa stops Louie from shooting and has the two of them kick the desk further into the machinery, this time causing the gears to slow their turn to a crawl to the sound of grinding metal, as smoke and sparks appear in several places. The creature yells “Even if you stop the dark ones from coming the portal will stay open.” The rift continues to grow, the building now appearing to be a small Greco-Roman temple with a marble floor and ceiling and supported by marble pillars.

Arcade, Hank and Sam have scored over a dozen shots into the creature that is slowly making its way across the room towards them. A few eyeballs have been shot out and parts of tentacles have been shot off, but the creature still appears to be primarily intact and relatively unhurt. The creature retaliates, targeting Arcade, who is overwhelmed with fear. He drops his gun and runs back towards the portal to the office in London. Morgana attempts to stop him and is then targeted by the creature as well. She is also overcome with fear and runs towards the entranceway alongside her husband.

Qualtaqa decides that desperate measures are needed and fires his gun directly into the Necronomicon at point blank range. The bullet makes a hole into the book. The book then heals over almost instantaneously, expelling the spent lead, the cover sealing up to look as it had been. Qualtaqa decides to try something else and pulls off his jacket, using it to wrap up the book without having to touch it directly. Hank and Sam continue to fill the creature with lead, having inflicted in excess of 100 points of damage at this point. Several stalks of tentacles have drooped or fallen off although the creature continues its forward progress towards the party.

The creature yells “Yogoroth and The Dark One will still rise from the Ocean’s Depths!” Hank bellows back, “Oh, shut the hell up!” as he fires two perfectly fired shots point blank into two of the creature’s eyes. Louie comments, “That building now here,” the marble temple now standing in the room where the machinery had been.

Louie joins the other men in shooting at the creatue, scoring a few shots. Qualtaqa charges towards the side wall with the book, cursing the fact that he no longer has horses legs to carry him. The creature stops and begins to change direction towards Qualtaqa and the book. Qualtaqa in turn changes his direction too, charging towards the entranceway, as Morgana and Arcade reach that location.

The creature also moves back in that direction, although his movement is greatly slowed by the ever-decreasing number of tentacles falling off of it, as Sam and Hank reload their guns and commence firing again. Tentacles lash out at Qualtaqa, almost grabbing him. He starts to call out to Arcade and Morgana to “Catch the book” but they have already exited the room. With his last ounce of strength the centaur turned half-elf dives through the portal with the book, the doorway closing up behind him. Hank mutters an expletive as the creature turns around and continues to move towards him, Louie and Sam, now trapped inside the room with it.
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Game #11 - 5/23/04

Chapter 59, “Looking for a Book Depository ”, December 20th, 1881:

Arcade and Morgana find the fear dispelled from them as they look around the room of the office. Qualtaqa is still carrying the tome, which he sets onto the floor and tells them what has transpired. Concerned about the other members of the party, they attempt to locate the portal, but find that it no longer exists. They discuss what to do next.

Back in the underground cavern Hank says, “I don’t care what this thing is, let’s kill it!” He charges towards it, firing as quickly as he can. Louie and Sam take that as a cue and do likewise. Clusters of tentacles are blasted to bits and fall off of the creature. It begins to move away from them, which only prompts the trio to quickly reload and commence firing into it again. The last of the tentacles slump to the ground and nearly all of the eyes have been destroyed. All three gunslingers then score perfect hits with their next shots and the gelatinous creature explodes, leaving behind an unconscious slime-covered William lying face down on the floor.

The three of them notice that the machinery has completely stopped but that the temple building is now totally inside the room. “What the hell is that thing?” Hank asks. “No idea,” Louie comments. “Maybe he’ll know,” Sam says while gesturing to Wes. Hank takes out his flask of whiskey and pours some into the bard’s mouth. It has the desired effect with the bard regaining consciousness. They quickly bring him up to speed as to what has happened.

Wes is in awe of the stone temple, saying to the others that he thinks he knows what it is. He tells them of legends that describe such a structure as being the Portal of the Planes. “So it’s evil?” Sam asks. Wes replies, “No, it is a mystical device. Think of it as a doorway to anywhere and everywhere.” Louie exclaims, “Great, we can use it to get out of here.” Wes replies, “Yes. It works for those who are pure of heart and noble of purpose.” Hank exclaims, “Pure? Noble? I’m screwed!” Wes says, “I think it will work. You just need to have clear intentions of where you want to go.”

They discuss what to use for a destination. Sam suggests they go back to Promise City. Louie suggests they go to the Arkadiam Estate. Wes says, “We should join up with the others. Wouldn’t they have gone to that French witch-woman to have her look at the book?” Hank says, “They just left here a few minutes ago. They’d still be back in the office.” “Let’s go there then,” Wes comments. Louie picks up William and Sam takes Lord Arkadiam. They each then walk into the portal while visualizing the office in their minds.

Arcade is still discussing what to do next with his two companions when a gate of light appears in the room and the others mysteriously walk through it. Both groups give a brief recap. William begins to regain consciousness, not knowing who any of the people are except for Wes and his brother. Arcade slugs William back into unconsciousness “Just in case.”

Morgana points out that they can’t bring William anywhere until they find some clothing for him. A coat is found on a nearby coat rack which they put on him. Sam asks, “Won’t it look odd us carrying around two unconscious guys?” Wes replies, “Not around here at this hour of the night, if anyone asks we’ll just say that they are drunk.” Hank adds to this cover by pouring some whiskey onto William’s coat.

They decide to head back to the magic shop, so head downstairs and flag down a pair of hansom cabs to take them. It is late and the shop is closed up but there is a light on in a second floor window. The party knocks loudly at the door. Eventually the woman is seen coming near it. Hank says, “I have a pretty good sense about people. I suppose that I can do the talking.” Morgana disagrees and moves to the front of the line.

“What do you want?” the woman asks. Morgana states, “I need some healing magic for two associates.” She opens the door and begins to let them in, but stops as soon as Qualtaqa reaches the doorway holding the draped tome. The woman points to him and says, “You and your bad book go away!” She is adamant that the evil thing isn’t coming into her shop.

The party discusses what to do with the book. Wes suggests that they bring it to France. Hank exclaims, “We ain’t going to any foreign country.” Louie says, “If we go there on boat we can throw it into ocean. Ocean very deep.” Morgana points out that one of the creature’s comments referenced monsters rising from the deep, so tossing it directly to them might be a bad idea. Hank reiterates, “We ain’t going to France.” The French shopkeeper says, “Yes. Keep that evil away from France!” She then forces the party out of her shop slams the door shut in their faces. Hank mutters, “I hope the boys back in Texas don’t get wind of my being involved with a book.” Arcade says, “I’m sure nobody would ever associate you with any books.”

Hank gestures to the very incoherent Lord Arcadiam and says, “Forget about the book, we need to get this babbling idiot taken care of.” Arcade does not like Hank’s description of his father but says that he agrees with that course of action. Morgana looks to her husband and says, “I’m starting to worry about you. You’re now taking advice from Hank." Qualtaqa says they should all return to the Arcadiam Estate. Sam asks, “Why?” Hank interjects, “Because it isn’t France.” Louie says, “We could get rid of father and brother there.” Qualtaqa says, “Oh yeah, that too. I just wanted to pick up our other weapons.” Arcade says, “We can’t bring them back like this. That monster might just get hold of them again." Morgana suggests that they go find a Celtic church to heal both men.

With Wes’s assistance they find the largest Celtic church in the London area. It is late getting late in the evening and all appears quiet. Qualtaqa comments, “I would have thought there would be more night-time activity here?” Morgana says, “Think of this as the calm before the storm. The Winter Solstice holiday is tomorrow night.” The see a long rope attached to a bell and ring it a few times. A window is thrust open and a man wearing green clothing pokes his head out and yells down to them “Who rang that bell?” Morgana states that she is a follower of his religion and that she seeks healing for two of her associates.

The man soon lets them into the large cathedral-like building filled with various potted trees and other assorted flora. There is a large opening in the center of the roof and the stars can be seen above. Despite the opening directly to the outside, the building appears to be rather warm inside, with a large fire pit with fire in the middle of the floor. As Qualtaqa approaches carrying the book the man’s eyes flare and he steps back. Morgana gestures to Lord Arcadiam and William, telling the Celtic druid “It was that which has corrupted the minds and souls of the two who I seek healing for. Both have been touched by the great evil.”

The priest has the two men placed upon benches and examines them why still paying close attention to where the book is. Taking that as a cue, Qualtaqa asks, “Would you know of a good way for us to get rid of this thing.” The druid says, “Yes, throw it into the fire.” Qualtaqa does so. The fire immediately blazes up then just as quickly becomes completely extinguished, the fire pit area now radiating cold instead of heat. Qualtaqa comments, “The book....it’s gone!”

The priest replies, “Yes, an evil artifact of its powerful can never be destroyed. The holy flames of my church were anathema to it, and it fled to another location far from here.” Louie comments, “Just so it not come back to us.” The priest casts various healing spells on the Lord and his son, saying that it will take some time for the magics to work. He offers to let the group spend the night at the church, which they accept. He also offers to let them join him in a ritual, which all but Morgana decline. They then discover that the drinking of alcoholic beverages is involved in these rituals and reconsider.

The fire is relit and the priest and Morgana each dance around it while the others drink. “What are they doing?” Hank asks. Wes comments, “I believe it is a fertility rite.” Louie asks, “Dancing causes that?” Wes replies, “Well, the more Puritanical religions think so. The Queen believes so too.”

This leads into a debate about monarchies. Hank comments about how the people should be allowed to vote for their leader and how he doesn’t believe in Kings.” Arcade replies, “Well in that card game last week I remember you praying for Kings, Queens and one-eyed Jacks.” The debate rages on with Wes pointing out the advantages of England being a monarchy. Sam comments “I didn't know they had a king here? I thought it was an autonomous collective.”
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Game #12 - 6/06/04

Chapter 60, “Back to Hastings”, December 21st, 1881:

The group awakens in the Celtic church in various states of disarray with only vague recollections of what may have transpired during the night. Hank comments that he is in desperate need of black coffee. The druid priest says, “I don’t have any of that but we have other stimulants that I can offer you.” Hank chooses to pass.

Lord Arcadiam and his son William are still unconscious but their coloring is much better and they look to finally be sleeping peacefully. “They look much better” Morgana comments. The priest says, “Yes. They had been possessed by great evil but with the departure of the book that seems to have passed.” Hank comments, “We know, we ran smack up against some of that evil.” The druid exclaims, “You fought that evil? Tell me about it!” Hank replies, “Well, it was real scary like so we whooped it.” “Ah, such detail,” the priest sarcastically replies.

Arcade tells the man, “We thank you for helping us out in our time of need.” The priest answers, “We’re Celtic, we live to help others in need.” Hank says, “Well, what can we do to repay you for your hospitality?” The man answers, “Speak well of us. Tell the world of our assistance.” Hank answers, “I ain’t go not problem with speaking well of folks who help us.”

The priest then approaches Qualtaqa and says, “Are you comfortable in that form? It is unnatural to you.” He replies, “Yes, but the others find it more convenient in the city.” The priest replies, “Perhaps I can help.” He hands Qualtaqa an amulet and casts a spell. He then instructs Qualtaqa to remove his pants and touch the amulet and his true form will return. The party insists on draping a blanket over him first and he does as instructed, returning to his centaur form. “We’ll never get him on the train that way,” Arcade mutters. “Touch it again,” the priest states. He does so, and transforms back into the two-legged elvan form. Hank comments “Quick let’s get him onto the train before he changes again.”

They head to the train station and board the train, arriving back in the Hastings area by late morning. A messenger is sent to the Arcadian Estate to get the coach and they arrive home shortly after lunch has been cleared. William and his father are still barely conscious and are taken up to their respective rooms by the servants. Hank tells Arcade, “The first thing you have to do when your brother wakes up is give him a good ass-whooping.”

Lady Arcadiam makes a grand entrance into the room. “Did you have a good trip to London?” she asks. Hank replies, “Yep, and a successful one too. Your boy was in a mess of trouble but we got him out of it.” She replies, “Oh? You managed to get his marriage annulled?” Hank says, “Pull up a chair and I’ll tell ya’ all about it?” She states, “In your profane vernacular?” Louie mutters, “She use too many big words.” Hank says, “Ma’am, I’m well educated. I’ll have you know that I went to the Sam Houston Grade School. And you should be thanking us. We’ve been very busy helping out your husband with his illness?” She replies, “Oh, so now you’re a doctor?” Morgana says, “No, that’s me, but that’s another story entirely.”

Hank says, “Ma’am, this was your son’s fault. He got involved with undesirables.” She replies, “I know. He married one.” Hank says, “No, I mean your other son.” Lady Arcadiam has no interest in hearing anything further and leaves, heading back upstairs. Hank says, “I’m beginning to think that everyone here is nuts.” Louie comments, “No, just English.”

They head upstairs and stop in at William’s room, where his mother is doting over her son. Hank starts to tell her that he was the cause of all the trouble. She replies, “Oh, you must be mistaken. William is a good boy. He cares deeply for his parents and would never abandon them or break their hearts by marrying below his station.” Hank decides to quit while they are behind and the group head back to their rooms.

Morgana suggests that they gather more information from the servants. Qualtaqa suggests that they start with the Butler, as he is the head of the household staff and may have been involved. The DM comments, “Oh yeah, the butler did it! Give me a little more credit than that!” Morgana says that the kitchen staff is the place to start, as they interact with everyone in the household. She heads downstairs to the kitchen.

The only one currently working in the kitchen turns out to be the main person she was looking for, the head chef. He is French and she begins a causal conversation with him in his native tongue, eventually getting to the subject of Lady Arkadiam. He indicates that her demeanor changed shortly after her husband took ill, how she was generally unpleasant prior to that but now had a happy almost rosy disposition. “Yeah, except for when she’s dealing with me,” Morgana comments. She also discovers that for the last several months Lady Arkadiam spends a great deal of time alone in the gardens outside, which is now seen as rather strange behavior for cold December days.

She then asks about William and a look of utter disgust crosses his face and he spits into a bucket on the floor. He says that the “Young Master” doesn’t do any work and now acts as though he was the Lord of the Manor. She then asks about how the household was prior to Lord Arkadiam taking ill.

Following the conversation she heads back upstairs and fills in the others. Qualtaqa comes up with a bizarre conspiracy theory about how William and his mother may have had their personalities magically shifted into each other’s bodies. Hank says, “I think you’ve been smoking too many peace-pipes.” They discuss Lady Arkadiam’s visits to the gardens. Louie suggests that he use his thieving skills to do surveillance there.

He has to wait over an hour in the cold before she arrives but the time pays off, as once she is alone she removes a small glass marble from a hidden pocket in her dress and begins holding and caressing it. When he relates this to the others they conclude that it is a magical device that is controlling her and suggest that Louie attempt to pick her pocket to get it away from her. Arcade is less than thrilled with that idea and sarcastically comments, “And what exactly is the proper etiquette for feeling up a seventy-year-old woman? They collectively decide to have him attempt it just before dinner in another hour or so.

Most of the party gathers for dinner with Louie waiting patiently by the staircase for the Lady’s arrival. As she approaches he tells her “May I have the honor of escorting you to the dining room and try to prove that we are not all savages?” He is less than convincing, as his smile as he states that clearly displays his fangs. He brushes against her but is unsuccessful at obtaining the marble.

Qualtaqa gets the Lady to spend much of the meal in conversation by asking her about William and having then talk incessantly about her favored son. Hank mutters, “My, you sure are proud of that boy.” She turns to him and says, “And are your parents proud of what you do. What is it? A poker of cows?” He replies, “Just plain poker is my preference.” Louie chuckles and earns her attention, with her asking him “And what do your parents think of you?” He replies, “I eighth of twelve children. They barely noticed me.” She comments, “Eighth? Your poor mother. Having children must have been like firing them out of a cannon.” He replies, “That how I was born. That why my name means Bad Thunder.”

During all this Qualtaqa keeps refilling her wineglass but this seems to have no effect on her, which he whispers to Hank. Hank mutters back, “No surprise there, she probably has a high tolerance to alcohol. These folks don’t work and don’t believe in sex so all they have to do is drink.” The Lady starts to get up to leave. Qualtaqa suggest to Morgana that she attempt to obtain the marble. She reluctantly does so and is successful, Lady Arkadiam collapsing onto the floor as soon as the marble leaves her person. Servants rush to the Lady and Hank says, “She had too much to drink.” “Again?” the butler mutters and orders her brought upstairs.

Arcade tells Morgana, “Good job.” She looks at him with a vacuous expression on her face and says in a chipper voice, “Anything to please you dear!” “Uh oh,” Sam comments. Morgana says, “My what a happy day this is. Whatever should we do?.” Arcade says, “What would you like to do?” She replies, “Whatever you wish to do is fine with me dear, your opinion is all that matters.”

Qualtaqa pulls Arcade and Hank aside and starts to discuss ways to get the marble away from her. Arcade says, “You actually expect me to conspire to take a device away from my wife that makes her blissful and obedient?” Qualtaqa says, “This is not the woman you chose to marry.” Hank replies, “No, she’s better.” Qualtaqa says, “You’ll get tired of her acting like this.” Hank says, “Yeah, after a couple of decades.” Arcade says, “Perhaps we can move to Stepfordshire. I hear that all the women act like this there.”

Next: The Conclusion
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 61, “Conclusion”, December 21st, 1881:

Arcade reconsiders his current situation and says, “Maybe we should get that thing away from her. It will happen eventually and the longer we leave her like this the angrier she’ll be with me.” Hank replies, “Well, whatever you do you know it will wind up being your fault.” Sam comments, “Maybe she like’s this way better. How are you feeling Morgana?” She answers, “I feel fine. I was thinking, maybe I should start knitting some baby booties.” Arcade exclaims, “Get that thing away from her NOW!” Hank laughs and comments, “What’s the matter? Don’t want the pitter-patter of little feet around the hacienda?”

Hank retrieves his leather gloves while the rest of the gang lures her out into the garden and away from Arcade’s family and servants. Arcade grabs her while Hank reaches into her pocket and pulls out the marble. He then grabs the hat off of Sam’s head and drops the marble into it. “Okay, you can let her go now,” Hank states. Arcade does so, and she appears to have returned to normal. Arcade asks Hank, “Is that thing affecting you any?” Hank replies, “Not at all, Sam has it.” Louie asks, “It affect Sam?” “Who could tell,” Arcade comments. Qualtaqa want to destroy the marble but Morgana insists on putting it inside of a small wooden chest instead.

Morgana says, “Well, it looks like Lady Arkadiam is better, let’s go check on her husband.” The group of Hank, Louie, Morgana and Qualtaqa head upstairs and the Lord is still sound asleep. Hank removes his flask and puts it to the man’s lips. With the taste of the whiskey the man awakens and sits up yelling, “Gads, that tastes awful! Where’s the good stuff.” “Sir, do you know we are?” Qualtaqa asks. Looking around the room and recognizing he is in his bedroom he says, “No, and I really don’t care.”

“Sir, what is the last thing that you remember?” Qualtaqa inquires. He replies, “I was having drinks with a couple of friends at the Hellfire Club.” “The what?” Hank asks. The Lord replies, “A private gentleman’s club in London.” Hank says, “We think you got poisoned there. You’ve been in bed here for a long time.” “Tonight is the night of the Winter Solstice,” Morgana adds. “You mean Summer Solstice,” he replies. She answers, “No. Winter. You’ve been incoherent for the last half year. By the way, I’m your son’s wife.” The man looks her over and nods his approval.

Louie says, “Your wife seem to want to keep you asleep.” “My wife is a pain in the butt,” he replies. Morgana says, “She’s better now. She was under the influence of a magic spell but we healed her.” The Lord replies, “But she’s probably still dangerous. She has a tongue that can cut through any decent folk.” Morgana adds, “Yes, I’ve been on the receiving end of that.” The Lord says, “Oh just ignore her. We’ll it’s nice to see that William has finally settled down.” Hank starts to correct him but Morgana stops him, whispering to him, “Not yet, he’s had enough shocks for just now.”

Not having heard that comment, Qualtaqa then tells Lord Arkadiam, “Your son William has been in charge of the family funds for the last half year.” The Lord exclaims, “WHAT, Get me out of this bed.” Hank says, “Your son Josiah will fill you in on what has been happening.” “Josiah?” the man exclaims. Morgana says, “Yes, he’s here. I’m Josiah’s bride, not Williams.” He turns back to Hank and says, “Maybe you should give that flask back to me, I think I’m going to need it.”

They asks for some more information about this Hellfire Club. He says that it is a private establishment with a limited membership that has been in existence since the mid-1700’s. The group try to persuade him to not go there again. They decide to let him rest and depart. They find Arcade and fill him in on his father’s condition. Arcade and Morgana then decide to head outside for a private Solstice ceremony.

December 22nd, 1881:

Arcade and Morgana make their way back inside a few hours after dawn. Morgana comments to him, “If your mother was that nasty to me when under the influence of the marble how mean will she be to me normally?” “Let’s find out, here she comes,” he comments. She is surprisingly pleasant to both of them and escorts them to the breakfast table. The others soon join them.

During the mean conversation she asks about the actual wedding ceremony. Morgana is rather vague, but Louie blurts out that it was on the journey from America, aboard the ship. “What type of ship?” she asks. Louie describing to her the liner Oceanic. She is impressed that they booked passage of such a fine ship, commenting about the ship’s Captain performed the wedding ceremony, with nobody correcting her.

The meal is interrupted by the arrival of Lord Arkadiam, who yells to his wife “Damn and Blast it Woman! Why didn’t you wake me up earlier! I have lots of business dealings to check on.” Hank says, “Howdy, pull up a chair and get yourself some grub first.” He gives Hank an odd look and says, “Who are you and where the hell did you come from?” The reply is, “Name’s Hank and I’m from Texas. My old man fought at the Alamo.” Arcade mutters to Morgana, “He actually has parents? I just assumed he congealed inside of that 10-gallon hat of his.”

After the meal Arcade’s parents each go off their separate ways. Morgana suggest that they all go check on William. They arrive in his room to find him sleeping. Hank shakes him and says, “Wake up you mangy sidewinder.” William wakes with a start and exclaims, “Who are you?” “I’m your sister-in-law,” Morgana blurts out. He exclaims, “My what? I’m not married so I don’t have a bride with any siblings.” She replies, “No, I’m married to your brother Josiah.” “And we’re Josiah’s associates,” Qualtaqa adds.

William exclaims, “I need a good stiff drink.” Hank says, “Not until you answer a few questions. You got yourself into a mite bit of trouble there and we had to bail you out.” William says, “I can explain. I told him that if he just gave me another few weeks I would pay him in full!” Qualtaqa says, “That’s all taken care of.” “It is?” Sam whispers to him. Qualtaqa whispers back, “It had to have been. It’s been half a year, so they would have collected by now.”

Morgana asks him, “What do you know about your father getting sick?” “Father is sick?” he asks. Hank says, “Let’s cut to the chase. Have you been to the Hellfire Club?” He replies, “Yeah, that’s where I ran up the debt.” “How much?” Morgana presses. He replies, “I couple of pounds.” She stares intently at him and he corrects it with “Okay, a couple of hundred pounds.” She continues to stare and he finally says, “Okay fine, it was a hundred-thousand pounds.” Hank asks her, “How much is that in real money?” “A lot” she replies.

Morgana says, “And what were the terms for the repayment of this?” William replies, “He gave me a few weeks and asked me to run a few errands for him in the meantime.” “What errands?” she asks. He replies, “Well, he wanted me to deliver a book for him.” She replies, “And you looked at this book?” He answers, “Well, I was curious what it was.” Louie interjects, “Know anything about a magic marble?” William says, “Yes, he gave me one of those two. It’s here on my nightstand in this small lead box.” He opens the box and is surprised to find it empty. “I’ll take that,” Hank says, grabbing the box out of William’s hands and handing it to Morgana. She examines the various runes carved onto it.

Hank says, “So what’s the name of this varmint how made you his errand boy.” William replies, “One of the Hellfire Club leaders. His name is Alister Crowley.” Morgana exclaims, “Uh oh. Not good. I’ve heard of him. He’s a powerful wizard.” Hank says, “Then it’s best that we don’t tackle him ourselves. We’ll turn this over to the local sheriff.” William is still confused. Morgana tells him, “I believe that your debt is paid, but I’d suggest that you stay away from the Hellfire Club just in case.”

The group return to their rooms and fill in Arcade. He comments, “Well, that Crowley guy will probably not be happy about our taking away his toys, but I’m glad my family is back to normal. Now we can leave.” Qualtaqa says, “We should probably stick around a few more days just to make sure.” Sam says, “Sure, why not. It’s the middle of the winter back home. I’m sure that things have quieted down after we left.” Hank comments, "Yeah, I'm looking forward to getting back."

Meanwhile, back in Promise City, Arizona a worker from the Silver Belle Mine named Arthur “Bullhead” MacGinnley has just been shot dead and is lying face down on the floor of the Long Branch Saloon. The patrons of the establishment all stare at the man who fired the shot, the newly appointed Town Marshall Wyatt Earp. Marshall Earp casually steps over the body without even looking at it and heads out the door. The gambler Conrad Booth comments to Hamilton Fisk “If Arcade and his gang have any brains they won’t be come back here anytime soon.”
 


Silver Moon

Adventurer
Module 126 - Game 1 - 6/13/04

Chapter 62,"Hogmany", December 29th, 1881:

The Gang has remained at the Arcadiam Estate for a week, with Louie commenting that it is nice to have servants waiting on him instead of him having to serve. The formerly possessed members of his family have gone back to their former personalities which is not quite ‘normal’. However, Arcade point out that “We’re rich, so we are allowed to be eccentric. We’re not even the most eccentric family in the district – that would be the Greystrokes.”

Wes comes by and invites the gang to join him for a short trip. He planning to head up to the city of Dunedin in Scotland for a New Year’s Eve celebration known as Hogmanay. This causes a debate as to when the “New Year” starts, with Morgana insisting that Spring Solstice makes the date and Louie insisting on the Chinese calendar. Wes ends the argument by saying, “Look, it’s a fun party. Do you want to go or not?”

Arcade, Louie, Morgana and Sam decide to join him. Qualtaqa opts to remain behind, as he has been enjoying his private runs around the estate in centaur form (plus the fact that his player is the DM for this module). They take the train up to Scotland, discovering that the English refer to the city as Edinburgh. Morgana comments, “I don’t understand why these English insist on changing the names of everything. They did the same thing in America.”

December 31st, 1881:

The group arrive in Dunedin just as the celebrations are beginning. Wes explains how Hogmany is basically a city-wide open house, with people wandering from house-to-house being invited in for food and drink. Wes and Morgana both offer up song to reciprocate their hosts, and their voices soon attract others to join the group. By dawn they have acquired fifteen others to their group. One of these is a dwarven cleric of Odin, named Angus McDuff, who invites them to accompany him back to his village. He had accompanied his neice Meagan to the celebrations. Wes however has other ideas, as a lovely young human Lass who joined the party has taken an interest in him, so he says he will be spending time with her instead.

January 1st to 15th, 1882:

They take a carriage of Angus’s north to the other side of the bay, to the area of land known as West Fife, travelling until the reach the village of Culross. Culross is home to the MacDuff Clan of dwarves, although around half of the village’s population is human. Angus introduces the party to his brother, Meagan’s father Donald. Donald says he has been looking after the home of some friends who had gone off to fight in a Clan Skirmish in the Highlands, and that the gang can lodge there. “How long have these friends been away?” Morgana asks. “Oh, three, maybe four years,” Angus replies.

The village of Culross is quiet and pleasant and the party soon find themselves falling into the peaceful and rather simple life of the village, staying for two weeks. Morgana gets involved with using her druid skills to help with the livestock, casting “Fertility” spells onto the sheep and goats to increase the flock. Louie finds that he gets along surprisingly well with the dwarves, as the antipathy between his and their race never made it as far as Scotland. Sam spends most of the time flirting with the young ladies of the village. Arcade just enjoys the break from his parents and brother.

January 16th, 1882:

The gang’s respite comes to an abrupt end with the arrival of an English gentleman in the village. He is a very large human man with wide shoulders and a muscular build. He is a man of his early twenties, with a neatly trimmed dark beard and mustache. He is attired in find woolen clothing and riding a large horse. The man is directed to the cottage the party is staying at and knocks on the door. The gang opens the door and eyes the man with suspicion. “Who are you and at do you want?” Arcade states. The gentleman replies, “Please allow me to introduce myself. The name is Bond, Campion Bond.”
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 63, “Your Mission, If you Choose to Accept it”, January 16th, 1882:

Morgana asks, “And what can we do for you Mr. Bond.” He replies, “Actually, I believe that we might be of mutual assistance to each other. May I come in?” She gestures for him to enter and the door is then shut. He has a satchel hung over his shoulder from which he extracts a large envelope sealed with wax and hands it to her, stating, “Here is a letter of introduction.” She very carefully breaks the seal, then removes a piece of parched paper from inside and starts to read:

“To whom it may concern.” “What,” Arcade exclaims, “It’s not even addressed to us? Just some general form letter!” Morgana gives her husband a look that silences him and she resumes reading. “Please allow this letter to serve as an introduction to Mr. Campion Bond and for me to request that you afford him every courtesy. Mr. Bond is a civilian in the employ of Her Majesty’s military. Your assistance in helping him would be greatly appreciated.” She then adds, “It’s signed Willaim Ewart Gladstone, Prime Minister of Great Britain, and is marked with his official seal.” Arcade casually tells him, “If you’re expecting us to be impressed you’ve found the wrong people.”

Bond says, “Actually, I came here to offer you some assistance and to see if you might also do something for me in return for some monetary compensation.” “What can you do for us?” Sam asks. Bond states, “It has come to my attention that you’ve recently run up against one Allistar Crowley.” Arcade exclaims, “What do you know about Crowley?” Bond replies, “Quite a bit actually. My operatives have been watching him for quite some time.” Morgana says, “Ah, I get it. You’re a spy.”

He replies, “My associates and I gather information that is important to protect the British Empire.” She says, “Right, a spy. So since Crowley uses wizard magics that automatically makes him an evil person in the eyes of your government.” Bond says, “Actually, I personally take a far more enlightened view towards magic than many of my associates. I see it not as good or evil, but rather an instrument that could be used by both. In Crowley’s case, he uses magic in such a way that potentially causes further harm.”

Arcade interrupts, “Yeah, but back to her original question. What do you know about Crowley?” Bond replies, “He is an ambitious man who craves power and has manipulated the Hellfire Club to be the primary base for his power. Rumors have it that he is in league with demons and devils and that he spent most of his youth residing on an evil dimension. I tend to believe those rumors, as he now has the appearance of a man in his early to mid twenties and yet it is documented that he was actually born on October 12th, 1875, a mere six years ago.”

“And you think he’s after us?” Arcade comments. Bond replies, “I know it for a fact. Two of his operatives followed you to Edinburgh. And they are waiting for you there now for when you to return to it. I, however, have the means to transport you away from this village undetected and return you safely to your family estate in Southern England.” Louie says, “These guys waiting for us? They’re wizards?” Bond replies, “Yes, but at very low power levels. It is safe to assume that Crowley is unaware that you are also the group of American vigilantes known as Arcade’s Gang, otherwise he would have sent a more formidable group to deal with you.”

“So we could easily take these guys?” Arcade comments. Bond answers, “Yes, but that would also draw attention to yourselves and raise Crowley’s suspicions. You’ve done a fine job of keeping a low profile during your British journey until this point. In fact, I would not have been aware of who you really are if my people hadn’t also been trailing the lawyer that first sought you out in America.”

Louie says, “So, if you get us out of here what do we have to do in return.” Bond replies, “I have an associate who is currently in a prison on an island off the coast of France. I would like for your group to rescue him.” “Why is he in prison?” Morgana asks. Bond replies, “My associate is a physician named Dr. Henry Jeckel. He is also an alchemist, but since the majority of magical-based plants in Britain have been outlawed and destroyed he needs to go to the Continent to gather components for his various magical potions. He was on one of these gathering expeditions in France last month when he was captured and imprisoned, accused of being a British spy.” Morgana says, “Well, they’re right. He works for you, so he is a spy.”

Bond replies, “No, he is not in the employ of my Government at all. I have secretly been sponsoring his work without the direct knowledge of any of my superiors.” “Why?” Sam asks. Bond replies “I expect to have need of him in the future. I have a vision of one-day gathering together a group of gentlemen who can put wizard magic and magical abilities to work for the protection of the Empire.” Arcade exclaims, “Extraordinary!” “Indeed,” Bond states, “But until magic is more readily accepted I must do these activities in secret. My superiors do allow me a wide degree of latitude as my results warrant it and it still maintains a level of plausible deniability for them.”

Arcade says, “Well look, I have no problem with killing Frenchmen for you, in fact it sounds like fun, but what’s in it for the rest of the gang?” Bond states, “I am prepared to remunerate you a thousand pounds.” Sam says “A thousand pounds of what?” Morgana says, “British money Sam.” Louie inquires “How much is that in real money?” Bond replies, “The current exchange rate is two-point-one American dollars to the pound, so that would be approximately $ 2,100.” Louie is very interested in the sound of that but Morgana shakes her head no and says, “That’s all? It hardly seems worth the risk. A prison will be very well guarded.” Bond replies, “This one has primarily political prisoners and is rather lightly guarded.” She responds, “I still don’t feel motivated to do this.”

Bond smiles and says, “Ah, but there’s something else in this for you. Dr. Jeckel isn’t the only prisoner being held at this prison. Have you ever heard of a woman named Louise Michel?” Morgana says, “The name sounds familiar, but I can’t place it.” Bond says, “She is a French author, poet, revolutionary and anarchist. She was born in 1830 and has had a very colorful life. She was a French patriot who helped fight in the wars against Germany. When Paris surrendered to the Prussian Army in 1871 she helped to lead the insurgency against the occupying army. After the war she was a founder of the French Commune, which strongly opposed the Versailles Government that then took power. Most of the leaders of the Commune were executed and she was sent into exile. However, she recently returned to France and was captured. She is now being held prisoner and you can free her at the same time that you rescue Jeckel.”

Morgana says, “Why would I care about rescuing her?” Bond replies, “Because she is also a high-level druid, in fact, she is one of the most powerful druids in all of Europe. You’ve made an enemy of a powerful wizard. Having a powerful druid as your friend can only be of help.” “Why come to us?” Sam asks. Bond replies, “My using the British military for this mission could not only spark another war, but would also bring Dr. Jeckel’s work to the attention of my superiors. Using your group will not, plus at least two of your group apparently know druidic spells. If some witnesses are left alive at the prison that see you tossing druidic spells and speaking phrases in French they will just assume that you are all French followers of Louise Michel.”

Louie says, “Okay, so Arcade gets to kill some Frenchmen, Morgana gets to free a druid and I’m in it for the money, but what does Sam get out of it?” “I’ll take money too!” Sam exclaims. “We all will,” Morgana adds. “Where exactly is this prison?” Arcade asks. Bond replies, “It is called the Chateau d’If, and is located a mile off the coast of Marseilles, France’s second largest city.” Arcade exclaims, “That’s not on the Atlantic! It’s on the Mediterranean Sea!” Bond replies, “Yes, but I have the means to get you there both quickly and stealthily. You could be there in a matter of days” “That must be some fast ship,” Arcade comments. Bond smiles and replies, “Indeed it is.”

The gang briefly discuss the situation and agree to undertake the mission. Bond says, “Splendid. I will speak to your host about getting you to a rendezvous point tonight while I will go make the arrangements for your passage. Expect to see me again around midnight.” He exits, speaks briefly to Donald MacDuff and then hands the dwarf what appears to be a pouch of coins. Bond then mounts his horse and rides out of town.

The Gang spends the next several hours packing up provisions. As night falls they climb into the back of the MacDuff’s wagon, and are driven by Donald and Angus several miles from town, to a quiet spot along the coast at a long deep inlet. They stop where a good-sized rowboat is sitting along the shore. They put the provisions into the boat and all climb in.

The two dwarves handle the rowing out into the bay. A nearly full moon lights the sky, and they row until they are a far distance from shore. The MacDuffs then stop rowing, letting the boat drift softly in the waves. Sam comments, “Why did you stop? There’s nothing around here.” Donald replies, “The big man told us to wait here. He paid me enough to keep my family fed for a year, so I’m doing exactly what he told me to.”

Ten minutes later Morgana says, “Wait, something’s wrong. I’m not sure exactly what.” Louie points a short distance off of the bow and says, “Over there.” They notice a disturbance in the water, as hundreds of air bubbles now break as they reach the surface. A faint red glow is then seen rising up from the deep. The boat shakes as a crimson-colored hundred-foot-long giant squid brakes the surface of the water, its tentacles stretching towards them and its large glowing eye clearly visible.
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 64, “The Nautilus”, January 17th , 1882:

Both Sam and Louie draw their pistols and fire at the crimson beast as it rises to the surface, creating a wave that pushes the rowboat back. “I thought these things were all in Loch Ness,” Angus exclaims.
The bullets bounce off of the creature with a distinct sound of metal striking metal and Arcade orders them to cease firing. He states, “It’s not a sea monster! It’s some type of ship.” Taking a closer look, they notice that the tentacles are all firmly mounted to the side of the craft and that the squid’s glowing eyes in the front appear to be made of opaque glass, with people underneath.

Angus comments, “If you ignore the beastie decoration on it looks to have a cylindrical hull. I’d guess that it’s around two-hundred feet long and twenty-five feet wide. It looks like it is tapered at both ends, like a cigar.” A doorway at the side of the craft then opens up. Standing inside the lit doorway is Campion Bond, who gestures for Angus and Donald to row over to him.

Campion helps the party off of the rowboat and through the doorway. Much to their surprise Angus joins them, with Donald then rowing back to shore alone. “You’re coming?” Louie asks. Angus replies, “It sounds like a fun adventure. I was getting bored back in the village.” Arcade says, “I can see that. Taking care of sheep was about the most exciting thing going on there.”

“Welcome to the Nautilus,” Campion states. Morgana acts very apprehensive about this ship and gets nervous when the doors shut behind them. They are then approached by a tall man wearing what appears to be a naval officer’s uniform, but not from any Navy that they are familiar with. He has a neatly cropped beard and mustache of a tannish-blond color and appears to be in his fourties.

Bond gestures to the man and says, “Allow me to introduce you to Captain Andre Nemo. He is a scientist, mechanic, engineer, inventor, freedom fighter, and to some a pirate. He is also the creator of this wonderful craft that you are riding in. The Nautilus, otherwise known as the Sword of the Ocean.”
Captain Nemo greets his guests and noting Morgana’s discomfort assures her that the vessel is safe. He states that from the Nautilus he has seen the world over and over, from above and below. Louie is also concerned about the vessel’s safety and Arcade says to him, “Louie, I’m sure it’s far safer than the vessel that you crossed the Pacific Ocean in.”

Nemo takes them on a tour of the vessel. They head down a metal ladder to the level below. The first room reached is a combination drawing room/salon/museum, that is thirty-feet long, eighteen-feet wide, and fifteen-feet high. This incredible room contained an organ, an art collection of great value and very large number of marine specimens. There was also a fountain made from a shell about six-feet across. Finally, the salon had two large oblong windows protected by sliding panels.

Louie mutters, “These Englishmen just get weirder and weirder.” Angus whispers to him, “Nemo’s first name is Andre, so he is probably from either Belgium or France.” Nemo turns to Morgana and gestures to the large pipe organ and states, “I was told that you are a musican. Please feel free to utilize this instrument at your leisure.” Louie mutters to Sam, “Yep, he’s a sailor alright. He just invited her to have some fun with his organ.”

Morgana becomes concerned at seeing fish swimming outside the window and yells out “The ship is sinking. We’re all going to drown!” Nemo assures her the vessel is seaworthy, but also pulls on a lever that lowers metal screens outside of the window, which causes her to relax somewhat. Nemo speaks to one of his crewmembers and the man goes on ahead and lowers the screens on other windows prior to the group’s arrival.

Moving aft through watertight bulkheads, the next room is the library. Nemo states that it has over 12,000 volumes, which they are free to read any of during the journey. The room has several nice and comfortable pieces of furniture in the room. Next they arrive at the captain's dining room, with a long oak table and fine chairs. Nemo says that they will be taking all of their meals in this room.. Both of these rooms were exquisitely furnished. They pass a central staircase leading to the deck platform. Nemo tells them that they will take the stairs to go topside when it is safe to do so. He states “Further back are the galley and storerooms.” He then cautions them to avoid traveling the front of the ship, stating that the wheelhouse and Captain’s quarters will be off limits to them.

Next he has them take a ladder another level down, leading to an underwater airlock for ocean access. Morgana becomes hysterical at seeing that, yelling out “There is a hole in the bottom of your boat! We’re all going to drown.” Nemo assures her it is safe and shows her various pieces of diving gear that they use when venturing outside. She is unconvinced. He calls over a crewmember and asks the man to show them up to their quarters. She keeps muttering, “There’s a hole in the boat.”

Morgana and Arcade are given one room, Louie and Sam another, Angus and Campion are each shown their own rooms. The beds are comprised of bunks built upon a type of gyroscope mechanism, to keep them level and still even when the ship is moving at steep angles. The rooms are state-of-the art and include hot and cold water taps and also flush toilets. The group sleeps for the remainder of the night, being woken by the sound of a crewmember knocking on their doors to escort them to breakfast.

Breakfast is comprised of a combination of both familiar and unfamilar foods. Nemo explains that he and the crew eat primarily food harvested from deep in the ocean but that he made sure that “surface” foods were also brought on board for this journey for the comfort of his guests. Following the meal the Captain excuses himself, and heads off to the front of the vessel. Campion asks the party to join him in the library.

Campion states, “Our voyage will take eight days. Your time would probably be best spent reading the books that I have set out for you.” He gestures to a desk, with half-a-dozen books on it, one in Chinese, one in Dwarven, one in French and three in English. Campion says, “These are all translations of the same book, The Count of Monte Cristo written by the French biographer Alexander Dumas. “I’ve read it before,” Morgana states. Bond replies, “Yes, but you’ll want to read it again now for different reasons. The book tells of the Count’s imprisonment at your destination, Le Chateau D’If. The details described in the book about the cells, layout of the prison and daily routine of the guards are apparantely still quite accurate. You won’t find a better reference source than that to prepare for this mission."

He then shows them a panting of the Marsailles side of the Chateau D’If, pointing out that the dock and exterior doorway is the only entrance into the building. “Then we should probably come in from the other side,” Arcade comments. Louie adds, “Yeah, those walls look easy enough to climb.” “Well, we have a week to plan this,” Bond replies.

“Do you know this Captain Nemo very well?” Morgana asks. Bond replies, “Not really, but I know of him. Andre Nemo was born in Nantes, France, a childhood friend of the French biographer and novelist Jules Verne. Nemo's career as a worldwide adventurer began at a young age, when he left the comfort of his shipbuilding father to journey into the great sea of mystery. In his career, Nemo has seen wonders that have been hidden to all other eyes, fought creatures long thought imaginary, and transported himself in ways previously thought impossible. He enlisted to fight in the Crimean War. Nemo was captured by an Ottoman caliph and ordered to turn his genius towards the eventual creation of this great sub-marine boat, The Nautilus. This tremendous vehicle is much like its creator - fast, elegant, and deadly.”

“Why is he working for you?” Arcade asks. Bond replies, “He is a true enemy to oppression, Nemo has often waged a personal war against war itself, claiming affiliation to no soverign natiion. He is often considered a pirate. Nemo is in fact a freedom fighter, dedicated to bringing down injustice in all countres. His interest in this mission is the rescue of the French Druidess Louise Michel whose writings he knows and admires.” The gang begin their readings.

January 17th to 23rd:

The journey continues. At no point during the trip does Morgana become comfortable with this mode of transportation. A couple of times during the voyage, while the vessel is out of sight of both land and the main shippings lanes, it surfaces and rides atop the waves. The party are envited to climb up to the topdeck and outside during these times, and Morgana is releaved to see the open skies and breathe in fresh air again. She is still bothered by the fact that when riding at its highest point 90% of the vessel is still beneath the waves.

Angus is fascinated at the mechanics behind the construction of the vessel. He spends much time with the ship’s engineer down in the engine room. He also regales the party with much of his newfound knowledge, but they have little interest in hearing about propellers, watertight bulkheads and diving planes.

During the passage through the Straight of Gibraltar the Gang are asked to remain totally silent, as magical devices being are used by the Spanish and Portuguese to guard the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. Nemo explains that they are “crawling slowly near the bottom” during this time so as not to draw the attention of the forces above, who would drop bombs upon them from magically-created winged mounts if they were detected. Once into the Mediterranean the remainder of the journey is uneventful.

On the afternoon of the 23rd they arrive at a point a few miles southwest of Le Chateau D’If. For the first time the Gang are escorted to the main bridge of the Nautilis. Nemo lets them each peer through the periscope at the island. He explains that they are still a good distance off, that the periscope also utilizes magnifying glasses for better viewing. Arcade comments, “I get it. Objects in Mirror are larger than they appear.”

They decide to wait until after midnight to mount the attack. Nemo offers the gang use of his underwater geer, but Morgana flatly refuses. They plan to use the longboat instead, with Nemo agreeing to get as close to the Island as he feels is safe before releasing the boat. He agrees to keep watch on the island. It is decided that if they send up a signal he will bring the ship up to the dock and doorway alongside the prison.




Source Material: The exterior design of the Nautilus was derived from Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; The interior of the Nautilus was taken nearly verbatim from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; The life story of Captain Andre Nemo was derived from Kevin J. Anderson’s novel Captain Nemo.
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Module #126 - Game #2 - 7/11/04

Chapter 65, “Le Chateau d’If”, January 17th, 1882:

The five gang members climb up to the surface of the submarine and make their way to the longboat that is uncoupled but still tied to the ship. The ship dives lower to where the waves wash up alongside the large rowboat as it nears the island. While around 500 feet out the submarine dives deeper as the ropes are released, the Gang rowing to the island from that point. They manage to make it to the rocks undetected and quickly exit the boat, pulling it up onto shore and hiding it from sight behind an outcropping of rocks.

They cautiously make their way to the outer wall, the full moon shining the cloudy skies above. They make their way around the main tower and down across the sidewall of the fortress. The only illumination other than the moon is from magical red lights at the distant guard barracks. Louie successfully scales the wall despite the annoyance of the extra layer of clothing worn atop his regular clothes, worn to give them the appearance of being French druids.

No guards are on this level of the wall but he spots the back of a guard’s head in the uppermost level of the adjacent tower. He also sees more guards in an open courtyard area two levels below him. He makes his way carefully over to the tower itself, so he will not be seen unless the guard looks directly down the side of the building. Louie then lowers a rope down and helps to pull up his four comrades, motioning for them to be very quiet.

They decide to use the tower itself to get out of sight and travel, with Louie unlocking and opening the doorway at this level. They head down instead of up and are disappointed that it only descends one level. From there they have a better view of the three guards in the courtyard now immediately below them. The area is partially lit by two more of the magical red lights, but Louie believes he can move low on stairs side ramps alongside the walls and not be seen. The group is in agreement not to use firearms at this point, with Arcade and Morgana positioning themselves with throwing knives as Louie’s backup. Angus stands ready to cast either a Silence or Hold Person spell if needed. Sam plans to charge back up the tower to the top if the guards there begin firing.

Louie manages to successfully get to the lower level and makes his way up to the first of the three guards. The second and third guards don’t realize anything is wrong until after Louie has slit the throat of their ally. The third guard falls from a combined knife attack from the two druids above. The final guard raises his rifle towards Louie, but the half-orc is upon him before he can fire and stabs the dagger into the man’s heart.

Much to the party’s surprise (and also the DM’s) the two guards in the tower did not hear any of the commotion below. Louie pulls the three bodies back and out-of-sight as his friends carefully make their way down to that level. They decide to continue downward.

A staircase goes down from that point and they descend. The next level appears to be fifty-foot square, the southern two-thirds of it are comprised of cells with stonewalls on three sides and iron bars in between. There are no guards or prisoners seen on this level. The northern third of the level is only accessible through a locked iron door, which Louie is unable to open. As there are no sounds from behind that door and no light from under the door crack they decide to just continue further down.

The next level is identical to the on above it, with Louie again unable to pick the lock on the iron door. They see a faint amount of light coming from the bottom of the stairs and the next level down, which appears to be the lowest level of the structure. They very carefully make their way down. The layout of this level is similar to the two above, except the hallways and cells appear to make a square shape around the entire 50-foot square instead of having the separate northern section. As such, the hallway goes both directions and turns from the staircase bottom in the middle of the western wall, with the light coming from around both the northern and southern hallways.

Louie very carefully moves forward and peers around both way hallways. He finds the place symmetrical with both halls running to the far eastern wall, with another hallway connecting them thirty feet beyond the bend. The light appears to be coming from someway along this eastern hallway and there are armed guards standing at the intersections. The guard at the “T” intersection of the southern and eastern hallways is holding a shotgun. The guard at the “X” intersection of the northern and eastern hallways has a revolver sticking from an unfastened holster on his belt.

The party pulls back and plans their next move. The three spellcasters all run through their current spells and the Gang all review what they have for weapons. The group brainstorms about a number of strategies using various spells and maneuvers after which Arcade states “Or we could just shoot them.” They conclude that they are deep enough underground that the sound of gunfire is unlikely to be heard by the guards at the top of the tower.

They discuss using a Silence spell to further help muffle the sounds. Morgana suggests that they use the spell to keep one guard from noticing anything while they deal with the other. Angus is sent back upstairs to cast the spell onto a coin. Once he’s gone Arcade comments, “There’s a major flaw to this plan. It’s dependent upon a Scotsman voluntarily giving up a coin.”

Angus soon returns, the coin bringing the Silence to them and preventing any further verbal plans. Morgana moves to the southwestern corner while Angus and Louie go to the northwestern one. Arcade decides to stick with his wife and Sam follows the other two. The Silence is now away from the two druids, allowing them the possibility of spell use. Morgana spots a prisoner in the cell halfway down, around ten feet from the guard, and points this out to her husband. She says, “Be ready to shoot him.” “The prisoner?” Arcade comments. “No, the guard. I’m going to distract him once they toss the coin.”

At the other corner Angus rolls the coin down the hallway, the spell on it preventing any sound from coming from the metal striking the stones. It rolls for around fifteen feet before hitting the bars to a cell, which then deflects the coin into the cell. “Damn,” Louie mutters. Angus whispers back, “No, it’s still okay. The radius will still cover the guard and is far enough away for me to cast a Hold spell.

Morgana steps out into the hallway and catches the guards’ attention, calling out “Bonjour”. She then attempts to talk to him in a fake French accent as he raises his shotgun in her direction. Angus notices that while the coin prevented sound from coming from the northern hallway, the guard before him still heard Morgana’s voice from the southeast and also saw his friend move. The man begins to draw his gun as Angus tosses the Hold Person spell, which successfully freezes the man. Meanwhile, Morgana continues to try to talk to the man, trying to act friendly and non-threatening. The man however, says nothing in reply as he takes aims and then fires his shotgun.
 

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