The Blind Beak

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Game Date: 28 Aug 2010
Present: Kim, Maer, Andy, and Jim

August 14, 1867, Wednesday
Dorset Square and South toward the Thames
London, England
10:30 P.M.

Countess Rembecki is flying away—literally—with the kidnapped inventor and Selene Dashwood over the rooftops of Dorset Square toward the Thames. Josephine Arceneaux has Nicolai in a submission hold and puts Lt. Gordon in charge of his person as she tries to frisk the prone Bohemian for weapons or intelligence as to his intentions. The man struggles against the indignities to his person and Arceneaux leaves off to pursue the Countess on foot.

Meanwhile, the constable has arrived and is barred at the door by Beignet. Also barred by Beignet is a cab driver who states he is to take Arceneaux to Bow Street. He shows Beignet his credentials and Beignet misinterprets them to be membership of a demonic society and refuses to let the man complete his task. Arceneaux slips past the gentlemen on the threshold and begins pursuit.

Katherine Fleming and Ezekiel Drake have also begun pursuit of Countess Rembecki and they have a considerable lead on Arceneaux, having begun immediately the Countess went out the window, taking the darkness with her. Even so, Arceneaux is able to catch up with them and furthermore has the luck to spot the Countess’s route for the river. The three pursuers change their course slightly and follow their quarry south and east of Dorset Square to the Strand and the Embankment project grounds.

There they lose sight of the Countess and the most probable location she has gone to ground is an old building slated for demolition in the tear-down zone of the project. It is guarded by an ogre, further argument that the building is the place where the Countess has gone. Convinced that there might be a covert route to the Thames and a quick escape by water, Arceneaux attempts to gain entrance to the building by hoodwinking the guard with a story concocted on the spot: that she and her two companions are on a scavenger hunt and they are looking for a competitor team, a woman who is notorious for cheating. In her zeal to rescue Mortimer, however, Arceneaux lets the unfortunate words “cheating Russian spy” pass her lips and the guard is alerted to her true purpose.

The jig is up. Arceneaux draws her revolver and shoots the guard point blank. She hits her target but ogres are tough and hardy. He stays on his feet and swats her to the ground. She is protected somewhat by her corsetry and regains her feet to shoot again. Mr. Drake comes to her aid by drawing his concealed sword from his cane and engaging the guard in sword play. Katherine Fleming likewise engages the ogre but from a distance with an exotic chakram. Both combatants hit their target and both times the ogre soaks the damage dealt and fights on. Arceneaux fires two more shots total and together with her teammates, they manage to bring the guard down.

A quick frisking of the guard turns up three skeleton keys, one of which opens the door to the building. There is no light inside and they improvise torches and set them aflame. The building is revealed to be a former gentleman’s club and one of unsavory practice. Mr. Drake seems to be affected by the atmosphere but he remains with the ladies to protect them. Arceneaux observes the dust on the floor is disturbed and following the marks, takes the middle door of the several leading off the entrance chamber. The party finds itself quickly below grade and in a tunnel-like passage.

It is here that Mr. Drake is overcome by the lingering evil of the place and falls insensible to floor. Arceneaux is able to revive him only by delivering a hard open-handed slap. Mr. Drake comes to his senses and tells the women that this place is very bad, evil, and that they should leave. Arceneaux is not leaving until she has chased her quarry down and retrieved the inventor and his fiancée. She hurries on with her torch and gun, following the trail in the dust.

The dust trail leads to a door and before they can open it, they hear the arrival of the constabulary. Katherine Fleming’s butler, Dionysius Beignet is with them, having commandeered the cab sent for Arceneaux for the purpose of retrieving his charge and taking her home. He calls out for Katherine Fleming, ordering her to come to him.

There being no hope for surprise, Arceneaux calls out their position, opens the door and throws the torch inside, hoping to flummox whoever might be awaiting beyond. Mr. Drake sees the room is empty of people and glimpses the Union Jack, the standard, and some other flags of an origin he cannot discern before the entire room goes up in flames. Arceneaux shuts the door quickly on the conflagration in the vain hope to contain it, shouts out the warning to the men on the floors above and pushes on through the tunnel in the direction of the river, hoping still to catch up with the Countess.

She finds a ladder leading up, away from the growing fire, and she scales it to the surface. It is covered by a metal manhole cover and she manages to push it aside for egress. She looks out and sees it debouches in the Strand. And at that instant is clipped in the head by a passing cab wheel. She does not fall but retains her grip on the ladder. Her hairpiece is ripped off and rides the cab wheel to parts unknown. Arceneaux manages to climb out onto the pavement and Mr. Drake and Katherine Fleming follow.

Arceneaux looks in vain for evidence of the Countess’s progress. She is prevented from investigating wider by the arrival of the cab and driver sent to fetch her to Bow Street and by the constabulary and Beignet. The gentleman’s club is fully engaged and the fire brigade is hosing down the neighboring buildings to prevent them from going up. Arceneaux is ordered into the cab, she demands to see the driver’s papers. She is shown them and she sees they are genuine and from the party she is to obey. She thanks Mr. Drake and Katherine Fleming for their invaluable assistance, apologizes to Beignet for the inconvenience she has caused and boards the cab.

By constabulary order, Mr. Drake, Katherine Fleming, and Beignet are also ordered into the cab and the four are driven to Bow Street. During the ride, Arceneaux mentally reviews the events of the evening and the performance of her duties and frets that she has mismanaged everything. Mr. Drake commends her, encouraging her not to give up hope. Katherine Fleming likewise assures her butler that she has come to no harm. And believing her companions deserving of some measure of information, Arceneaux allows she is an agent of the Crown and the night’s adventure was in service of it. Unsure of what to do next, Arceneaux, Mr. Drake, and Lady Katherine speculate on the kidnapping and its consequences for the remainder of the trip to Bow Street.

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