Recovering Our Stride
Game Date: 13 Nov 2010
Present: Cindy, Kim, Maer, Andy, and Jim
August 18, 1867, Sunday
Offices of Le Surete
Very late in the evening
In the Surete of Paris, Lady Katherine, Flora Spencer, and Dionysius Beignet are being interviewed separately by the Interviewing Magistrates Guillame-François Gervais, Pierre Callier, and François-Joseph Ducoux, respectively.
Meanwhile, Josephine has finally caught up with Ezekiel at the Moulin Rouge and she finds him mopping up the last of the mess. As she pulls off the moustache that’s melting off her face from her exertions, Ezekiel tells her of the fight with the gargoyle, Bertie’s heroism, his own calling down of Prayer to save the bouncers by quelling the fight, and of the gargoyle’s parting words: she must not leave.
Josephine tells him of the situation at the Comedie Francaise: we have Rembecki cornered and we need him to assist. The police arrive to impound Selene and refuse to release her to Ezekiel, not even when he tells them he is a museum trustee tasked to recover Selene as a stolen exhibit belonging to Britain. No, the exhibit is evidence and will be taken forthwith to the Surete’s impound yard. Ezekiel has no choice but to ride along with the wagon and the constables. Josephine vows to get help clearing up this disaster by going to the British Embassy a few blocks away. If her Warrant card is not authority enough to work with the French, surely the diplomatic representatives of the Crown would command more than enough to serve our mission. They part company outside the Moulin, Ezekiel to ride south and a little west, Josephine to the north and the east.
On the way to the Surete, the wagon is attacked by a couple of thugs armed with saps who attempt to take control of the carriage and make off with it. A sniper shoots the driver and wounds the ogre constable riding alongside. Ezekiel is sitting with the driver and tries to render the man aid but the driver is already dead. The horses are nervous but are well trained—they refrain from bolting and the thugs climb aboard. Ezekiel beats them back with fists and sword and cane, takes several blows himself. The sniper strides forward and pumps more bullets into the ogre constable. The constable soaks the damage and fights on, killing one of the thugs and wounding the other. The gargoyle from the Moulin shows up and it’s not entirely clear if it is fighting the sniper to save her from being carried off, fighting the ogre and the Englishman to keep her from leaving Paris, or for other reasons no one knows of. Even so, the sniper wins the day and outfoxes everyone long enough to take control of the carriage. The gargoyle flies off and Ezekiel and the ogre are left in the carriage’s dust as the sniper rides away with Selene.
The ogre slings the body of the driver over his shoulder and together with Ezekiel, they make their way on foot to the Surete to report what happened.
Meanwhile, Josephine has reached the gates of the Embassy and shows her Warrant card to the Scots Guards standing watch. They eye askance her men’s garb and she wearily repeats her request to see the Cultural Attaché. (Ask Ken the proper term for the man) They escort her in, she’s shown to a room, and she sits until the diplomat in question arrives. She explains she’s here with her friends on Sir John’s orders, that she’s chasing down Countess Rembecki to retrieve a kidnapped subject of the Crown, and that said subject is currently impounded by the Surete. Can he help her release the subject? Can he aid her friends in their effort to detain Rembecki?
Are your friends those individuals who caused trouble outside the Comedie—also dangerously close to the Palace—and who were hauled off to jail but a short while ago? Josephine allows they might. Can he get them released? Please? The Attaché tells her to wait, he will see what he can do and oh, perhaps he can find her something more suitable to wear. Josephine thanks him on all counts and when the women’s clothing arrives, she dons it.
The attaché returns and tells her the paperwork is in motion but it would be best if they all left Paris for the next little while. Countess Rembecki is desirous of avoiding scandal—nothing has made the news of the battle and is likely to remain under wraps. The man she was with has powerful connections locally and can suppress the story, so long as further conflict is avoided. Josephine explains they have train tickets to Nurnberg departing Paris that very morning. The Attaché strongly suggests she get herself on it. She tells him they need to have their luggage and belongings transferred to their train—it will be done. Time is of the essence. If madame is ready to retrieve her friends, best she leaves now.
He has also received information that Ezekiel Drake has been attacked en route to the Surete and Selene Dashwood has been abducted by hostile parties unknown. Josephine arranges for him to meet them and together they three go to the jail to take custody of Katherine, Flora, and Dionysius. Of Bertie, there is word he is improving by leaps and bounds with the lovely ladies at the Moulin. Someone is dispatched to retrieve him.
19 August, 1867, Thursday
0800hrs, local time
We get everyone free of the jail and can-can dancers by 8 AM in the morning. Our train leaves promptly at 9. With the Embassy’s help, we make our train and pull away from Paris with the promise the Embassy will do what it can to find Selene.
As the French capital rushes by our windows, we gather to pool our information and draw up our conclusions and our plans. The city slides away behind us and we speed our next destination, Nurnberg, two day’s train journey away.
21 August, 1867, Wednesday
1800hrs, local time
We alight from our train somewhat better rested and eager to hunt down our contacts. Josephine had sent a cable during a stopover to William Phibes, informing him of her destination and her intention to find Clockwork. We have our things sent on to a hotel and take a carriage ride through the city to get the lay of the land. Ezekiel is drawn to a cathedral, St. Lorenz, near the city center. It is a lovely example of gothic architecture but is unfortunately standing empty, gutted by a fire caused by lightning strike. At least, that is what our carriage driver says. It happens some time ago. Freakish thing. They are in the process of building a new cathedral but this one hasn’t been used since. We alight and ask him to wait for us, we’ll only be a minute.
We wrestle open the doors and several bats fly out. Inside it’s dark and grim and right away something doesn’t feel right. On the floor directly under the transcept is a blackened charred spot on the marble—the lightning strike must have hit here. Looking upward, we can see the ruined rafters and the gaping hole in the roof high above. Looking closer we also notice evidence that the blast struck from the inside. The debris from the strike is scattered up and outward, as it would if the lightning originated indoors at the transcept and not from the sky toward the ground as eyewitness accounts claim. We need little additional proof to know it was magic, and foul magic at that, as the cause. Ezekiel finds out from his Host-granted abilities that the church is no longer sacred ground but desecrated. We decide to search the crypt under the floor and the chapels for any clues to Rembecki’s whereabouts and plans. However, we need to come back later to do it. The carriage still waits and to delay any further would looks suspicious. We leave the church as night starts to fall and make our way to our hotel.