Character musings, flashbacks, journals and developments.   Posted by Artemis.Group: 0
 GM, 535 posts
Thu 25 Sep 2014
at 14:26
Character musings, flashbacks, journals and developments
This is in case you want to post more about your character's past in the forms of thoughts, flashbacks, letters, whatever floats your boat.
Penny Dreadful
 player, 365 posts
 HP 43/65 AC 16/14/16
Tue 30 Sep 2014
at 13:16
Re: Character musings, flashbacks, journals and developments
Dartmoor, October, 1889

The Hound bayed, baleful and bloody, the howls rolling across the moorland like thunder in the night.

He ran. Desperate and terrified the man ran, his heart beating fit to burst, his lungs breathing such cold air, his legs burning with the effort of slogging across the moor at such a pace. The peaty soil slipped and sucked with every step, slowing him down. From time to time, he stumbled through thick reeds and slimy water-plants, and at others thick mud splattered his trousers and coat. Then he plunged suddenly to his thighs in chill, dark water, felt the grasping mud at his shoes. With the strength of the doomed, he hauled himself out of the quagmire, floundered through the slick, scummy shore and back onto what passed for land.

How had he lost the path? Even with the Hound on his trail, he'd kept an eye on it, knowing a worse fated awaited if he strayed. Even the white fog that lay thickly upon the moor like a shroud had not hidden them. Standing, he cast about for the wands he'd planted in the earth to mark the safe paths through the moor there! The phosphorous still glowed under the half-moon's light. But why so close to the bog? Another nameless dread gripped him by the neck.

'If you're looking for the wands, I'm afraid you'll find I moved them.' came a cold voice through the fog. It approached, slowly, the moon illuminating a woman's silhouette, wreathed in vapours. 'After all, there are some things out here that should never be found...' She turned and slipped away through the fog. 'Good evening, Mister Stapleton.'

Stapleton snarled, as savage and as bestial as the Hound that howled again behind him. No matter, he was master of the moor, he might yet lose the hellhound in the bog, or make it to the old Celtic tin mine tunnelled so deeply into the earth where he might bind it once more. He dragged himself through the mud, after the bitch, noting with grim satisfaction she too was following her wands. He might even make himself a new wife tonight.

To be continued...

This message was last edited by the player at 07:24, Fri 16 Jan 2015.

Penny Dreadful
 player, 383 posts
 HP 43/65 AC 16/14/16
Thu 16 Oct 2014
at 13:28
Re: Character musings, flashbacks, journals and developments
Pursuing his prey along the path, he found the moor grow ever more difficult to negotiate, every hazard concealed by the drifting white fog. Several times he splashed in some swamp, or slid through mud or slime. The plants seemed to grasp and ensnare him and gnarled roots reached up through the ground to catch his boot and cause him to stumble. His clothes were caked in mud, soaked through with cold, stagnant water, and under the autumn night they chilled him to the marrow. Only his rage and his fear kept him warm, kept him moving. At times, as the terrain sloped steeply, he was forced to move on hands and feet, like an animal, and the oaths and curses he spat came like grunts and barks. And so the thin veneer of the gentleman had been stripped away, revealing the beast within.

What had happened? He'd thought himself the master of the moor, but that fool woman had changed the paths, twisted the ways. Now, if he went back for the Hound, he would die. If he got lost in the swamp, he would die. He had to go keep going, after the wench. Damn her. He would have her. Always the hungry bog sucked at his limbs, slowing him down, dragging him down. But always he pulled himself up and pushed himself on, moving like one damned or one hunted. The Hound bayed behind him. It seemed closer now.

And he saw her ahead, so close he could taste her. He glimpsed her through the drifting mists, her flowing white dress luminous under the moon, like a sacrifice of old. There was not a speck of mud on her; she seemed to dance from hummock to shore like an angel or faerie. Surely she was still following the wands, the pickets planted to mark a safe path. Not even she could be fool enough to wander aimless across the moor on a foggy night, where the land could drop so suddenly and break a limb, where the black pits swallowed the unwary, where the bogs could drag even a moor pony to its doom. Then, at last, he paused.

Where were the wands anyway?

This message was last edited by the player at 12:39, Sat 29 Nov 2014.

Penny Dreadful
 player, 482 posts
 HP 51/73 AC 16/14/16
Fri 16 Jan 2015
at 08:10
Re: Character musings, flashbacks, journals and developments
Penny wandered blindly across the moor, her eyes closed tight as if in a dream. What good was sight out here on this night? The dark hid everything and the mist was full of lies. Best to trust to her other senses, best to trust to the moor. She could sense the pressure of mud or water or firm soil under her shoes. She could feel the wind blow down from the tor. She reached out her hands and touched the grasses, sedge, and heath. She could smell the rich peat, the foulness of a mire, the green lushness of the plants. She had her memories of so many pleasant walks and desperate escapes on those days when she could not stand her father. She could hear Stapleton crashing and splashing clumsily behind her. And he'd thought himself master of the moor because he'd stuck some sticks in it.

'I advise you to turn back now, Mister Stapleton. Take your chances with the Hound. Not with the moor.' she called back, feeling obliged to give him a sporting chance. A savage curse was her only answer. Very well. She turned away from a "feather bed", a sheet of sphagnum moss over water that would quake alarmingly under one's feet and drop the unwary traveller in a water-filled hollow. It was not what she was looking for.

Penny walked on, until she could hardly feel anything beneath her feet, almost as if gliding. Behind Stapleton fell, splashed, struggled, stopped moving, cursed. Now he knew dread. Now he came to understand his doom, caught in the bog that slowly but inexorably would suck him down. 'Welcome to the Great Grimpen Mire, Mister Stapleton.' Penny called back.

A pause, as he at last recognised her voice. 'You're the maid.' he said flatly.

'I work for Holmes and Watson. I took the position so I might spy on you a position you entirely overlooked. A useful role, too; I know a devil's trap when I sweep up the chalk.'

'But why come out here? You'll drown too!' he crowed.

Penny had walked back to the shore. It wasn't until she felt land beneath her feet that she opened her eyes. She turned back to her quarry, but the white mists cloaked the mire and mercifully hid the man from sight. 'You should know the moor will not take one of its own.'


This message was last edited by the player at 08:10, Fri 16 Jan 2015.

Penny Dreadful
 player, 636 posts
 HP 77/83 AC 16/14/16+1
Sun 5 Jul 2015
at 05:35
Re: Character musings, flashbacks, journals and developments
'Indeed.' Penny admitted at last, strolling around the shore of the mire, speaking in words tight with suppressed outrage. 'Oh, I know all your crimes, Mister Stapleton or is it Vandeleur? Oh, yes, we also know all about that ghastly business at that school in Yorkshire. You should have stuck to moths...'

'We know you discovered the truth of your heritage as a Baskerville, and though illegitimate, you sought to claim it as your own and plotted to kill your rival family members, using the Hound. I know what you discovered in the ancient Celtic tin-mine in Black Tor. I know you bound the Hound to your will and set it against the legitimate Baskervilles, well before their time.'

Her voice turned cold as ice. 'And I know what you did to Beryl... You cur! Your own sister!'

Penny walked on, circling the man. 'It is time to end the curse, and it might as well end with you. You, who had the temerity to trap and chain the Hound, to use the curse against your own family. You, who so closely takes after the monstrous Hugo Baskerville and is so deserving of his curse. Very fitting.'

'You know, of course, from the later 1742 account, that during the Civil War, Hugo Baskerville and his thirteen wicked companions kidnapped a yeoman's maiden daughter whom he desired, and imprisoned her in the Hall. And while they caroused and prepared themselves to commit their outrages, she escaped through the window, climbed down the ivy, and fled into the moor. Enraged and drunk beyond reason, Hugo declared that he, ah, "would that very night render his body and soul to the Powers of Evil if he might but overtake the wench." Now, you and I know from the darker sources that among his company was a certain black-eyed fiend, who there and then made the deal, and suggested setting the hounds on the poor woman. One Hound in particular.'

'What you don't know is that she was not, in fact, the daughter of Baskerville's yeoman, but actually a daughter of another noble family with whom the Baskervilles often feuded. The Darkmoore family.'

'She fled to a place between two standing stones, and was there found dead of exhaustion and terror, it was thought. Or perhaps she'd made a deal of her own there in that sacred place. And, no sooner had Hugo overtaken her, as he said, then the terms of the deal were met and the Hound seized him to tear out his throat and carry his soul to Hell. That is what the last three companions who followed witnessed and reported, scared out of their wits.'

'And yet the deal did not end there. Instead, it became the Curse of the Baskervilles, for every male lord of the manor to die ten years after taking office. Perhaps young Elizabeth Darkmoore cursed the whole family line in her anguish. You thought you could lift the curse by dealing with the demon and binding the Hound. You could not. This curse must be re-enacted, its terms changed.'
Penny stopped walking, laying a hand on the lichen-encrusted cold surface of the standing stone that marked the Great Grimpen Mire. She traced the spiral design carved into it, all the way to the centre. She turned back to face the middle of the mire, glimpsing the shadowy mist-wreathed form of Stapleton, struggling desperately against its relentless pull.

She shouted into the mire. 'Well, Hugo Baskerville, you have caught me, a Darkmoore maid! By the ancient gods of the moor, I lift the curse on the Baskerville line. I forgive them! Charles is a good man and does not deserve it. Beryl shall be happy with him. There will be no Hound for him and his sons and their sons, not even for you.'

But Stapleton could follow the sound of her voice now, could glimpse her in turn through the mists. He raised his gun, searching for her. Penny raised hers, but lowered her voice sadly. 'But, still, there must be sacrifice, in the old Celtic way of the threefold death.' Stapleton fired, the bullet exploding off the standing stone behind her in a spray of shards. Penny returned the shot automatically, and heard a distant cry.

Then Stapleton was yanked sharply downwards, almost as if pulled from below. He could feel tendrils grasping at his legs, his body, his arms. He shouted desperately, gurgling in the water that lapped at his face. The wet gun clicked uselessly. Penny couldn't leave even him to suffer that fate though, and called frantically 'The mire is hungry, Hugo! Spare yourself! Your pocket! The cyanide for killing moths!' Then Stapleton was gone, pulled below the water. Penny watched the bubbling water until it fell still, then fell back against the standing stone, closing her eyes, shuddering at the chill damp wind, shaking at the horror. Wounding, drowning, poisoning; a sacred threefold death. It was done. She'd saved the Baskervilles.

Then she heard a growl.

Penny opened her eyes, and looked up into the slavering jaws and burning eyes of the Hound. A dry laugh escaped her lips; Stapleton had painted it with phosphorous to make it visible and more terrifying. Long, sharpened fangs gleamed. Claws dug through the soft earth. The mastiff was massive, standing at her height, with powerful muscles rippling visibly. Had the demons really skinned a black dog? The seven bullets fired by Holmes and Watson had scarcely harmed it. Penny quivered, deep within, feeling the standing stone hard against her back. There was no running for her. The jaws opened and a black tongue lolled out.

'You're free now.' she whispered to the hellhound. 'No demons. No curse. Run wild on the moor.' The hellhound padded closer. She growled again. Penny felt hot, infernal, fetid breath on her face. She closed her eyes, shrank back, wishing she could melt into the stone. Let it be quick.

Then the Hound licked her cheek.

She opened her eyes, glimpsing the ghostly dog bounding away over the heath and across the moor. Penny smiled, then set off back for the manor. She would have to think of some way to explain all this to Holmes and Watson for the book.

This message was last edited by the player at 06:33, Sat 07 Nov 2015.