Chapter 10: Finding the Key.   Posted by Artemis.Group: 0
Artemis
 GM, 1891 posts
Fri 17 Aug 2018
at 16:58
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
The rest of the train ride is fairly uneventful, though it was quite a mess getting the authorities to buy your story. Fortunately they do, and though Jaffers' end is untimely, the rail line is quick to cover it up. Mrs. Turning calms down nicely after Abigail's departure, but from time to time she still says odd things, and once during an otherwise pleasant chat, her eyes glaze over and she turns to Ian and says, I'm so very sorry you lost your wife and children Mr. Shaw. I'm sure you miss them. He quickly excuses himself at this and for days he says very little, avoiding the old woman completely. Fortunately she doesn't stay aboard much longer, her stop is before yours, and she departs with her grateful niece.

Meanwhile Delapore is showing a shy interest in Alice, being less gruff than usual with her and even engaging in conversation from time to time. It's clear he's terrified of women, but Alice has softened him a bit. His stop is also before yours, and he actually gives you the name of the post office in town should you ever wish to "correspond," as he puts it. Surprising indeed.

At last you make it to Maine. It's beautiful and green with trees and blue skies and the ocean just in the distance. Under other circumstances you would enjoy yourself, but you have much to do. Emma claims her contacts are in the city of Portland, and you can only hope she leads you as well as she has so far. In many ways the woman has changed. Softened, even become chatty and friendly, though she avoids talking to Alice, no doubt not forgetting your past encounters. She is clearly fond of Penny though, and is often asking her if she's interested in doing needlepoint, or asking for details about English society and what it all entails.

Finally you reach the train station, which is bustling this time of day, 11:08 a.m. Emma suggests you book a hotel and then see about calling on her friends. They won't be happy to see you I should confess. They aren't the most savory folk. But, if anyone is up to the task, I'm sure you are! she beams with a smile.

ooc: Ok, let me know your plans before you head out. I'll also need search checks and gather information while I'm at it so I can be ready ahead of time. Thanks!
Mary-Alice Reussoe Conner
 player, 251 posts
 HP 111/90
 Pretty but boy's clothes
Mon 20 Aug 2018
at 00:24
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
OOC Waiting for Penny to take the lead.
Penny Dreadful
 player, 1216 posts
 HP 83/83
 Def 17/15/17+1
Mon 20 Aug 2018
at 11:35
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
On the remainder of the train journey, Penny gave Ian both time and space, understanding his need for peace and privacy after both the djinn fantasy and the tragic story of Jaffers and Abigail. She'd certainly abandoned her efforts at courtship, now viewing it as a foolish impulse in imitation of Alice's ways.

Instead, she made small talk with Emma, speaking of England and finding a shared hobby (well, another shared hobby if one included the supernatural) in needlepoint. Penny showed off her cross-stitch, and explained how to stitch a devil's trap and conceal it in a larger work.

She also displayed a few of her souvenir spoons from around Europe. They were common in Europe but still unknown, and even a little bit weird, in the United States, necessitating Penny pinching spoons from hotels and the train's dining car. (Indeed, her asking around for souvenir spoons would help prompt the creation of the first American souvenir spoons, with the George Washington spoon from Washington D.C. in 1890 and the Salem Witch spoon from Salem in 1891.) Such fine spoons were often made of sterling silver, and Penny related a story of how she'd once slain a werewolf with a silver souvenir spoon of Bedburg, Prussia.

Maine, with its pleasant greenery and trees, was much more to Penny's liking than the dry, dusty, deserts of the West. She disembarked from the carriage with relief, glad to be free of the endless rocking and rattling of the train, though she felt dizzy to be standing on still land once more.

'Well, I appreciate your confidence, Emma, but perhaps you should first tell us who, or what, these friends of yours are. With forewarning, we might avoid an unfriendly reception.'
Mary-Alice Reussoe Conner
 player, 252 posts
 HP 111/90
 Pretty but boy's clothes
Mon 20 Aug 2018
at 12:32
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Alice does not rebuff her new suitor, even promising to write him. Otherwise she just watches out for her friends. She is sad that Penny seems to have given up on Ian, but she has not given up on them. She will find a way to get them together...

In any case she is ready for war. She listens to Penny, waiting for a plan.
Artemis
 GM, 1894 posts
Tue 21 Aug 2018
at 13:21
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Emma nods at Penny's question. It would be my old coven. Witches aplenty and none would be happy to have hunters in their midst. They are no lovers of Belial, but that might only take us so far. It's been a while since I've seen them, I don't know how strong our old ties really are. We may be able to divide and conquer, question one at a time, or perhaps your scheming little mind can come up with something appropriate? I'll need to make inquiries but last I heard they were meeting in the woods outside the city, every full moon of course. But I may be able to find one or two of them before that.

As she speaks it occurs to you this would be a good opportunity for her to betray you. A coven of witches would be a terrible thing to confront! But something about the woman does not imply manipulation. Penny, at least, is starting to believe in the woman.
Penny Dreadful
 player, 1217 posts
 HP 83/83
 Def 17/15/17+1
Wed 22 Aug 2018
at 05:54
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Believe and trust her Penny might – but only to a point. Even if Emma Bently spoke truly and did not plan to betray them, they could not depend on any one of the others not to do the same. Nor could they depend on Emma not to feel emboldened by her allies or feel some greater loyalty to her own coven than the new band of hunters. They would need to proceed very carefully.

Then Penny recalled something from the very start of the investigation, the original reason John Westbrook had brought her into the case – the Hand of Baal, the cult of which Emma Bently had been a member, before it had been subverted by Belial to his own ends, it seemed. Then an early clue: Emma had also been a devotee of Hecate, goddess of witchcraft. A witch could not serve three masters – no wonder she'd been torn in twain.

'In the woods, you say? Well, it's been quite a while since I danced skyclad under the full moon, I must say.' Penny began airily, probably in jest. Probably. 'But whom do they hold love for, if not Belial? Is it Baal, or Hecate?' She might as well as be upfront with her knowledge and concerns now, to avoid surprises later and learn what she could ahead of time.
Mary-Alice Reussoe Conner
 player, 253 posts
 HP 111/90
 Pretty but boy's clothes
Wed 22 Aug 2018
at 14:46
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Alice was content to listen to the conversation. This was outside her specialty and therefore she opted for silence rather than proving her ignorance.
Artemis
 GM, 1896 posts
Thu 23 Aug 2018
at 20:25
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
I've always thrown my cap in with whoever suited my purposes for the most part, but a witch's heart, ALL witches' hearts, belong to Hecate. The problem, however, is we fear she is being deceived by Belial. He claims he will share his power with her and whether she believes him or not, he is the more powerful of the two of them. She should never have sided with him in the first place, loyal or not. She's in for it now. I, have wisely decided the best option is to gather any and all against Belial that I can, whether that be the hand of Baal or followers of Hecate or even hunters and men of letters. Unfortunately, some are too blinded by their previous allegiances to see the benefits of the greater goal. My old coven were stubborn back in my days with them. I can't imagine they've improved any. Emma frowns.
Penny Dreadful
 player, 1219 posts
 HP 83/83
 Def 17/15/17+1
Fri 24 Aug 2018
at 05:59
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Penny quickly understood that those assembled allies included herself and the other hunters and Men of Letters. However, it seemed quite an exaggeration to say Emma had gathered them, instead of them stitching her head back on her body and extracting her assistance. Regardless of how, the outcome was the same and it proved Emma's true loyalties, to some disappointment of Penny's.

'Indeed. Perhaps we should meet just one of these witches, the most reasonable and open-minded, one you can trust. That could save us an argument.' And a battle, if it came to it. 'But what do they have to do with the Key of Solomon?'
Mary-Alice Reussoe Conner
 player, 254 posts
 HP 111/90
 Pretty but boy's clothes
Fri 24 Aug 2018
at 18:21
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Alice spoke up, "I'm gonna suggest you meet someplace public. I'll sit back with my Winchester and pop off any of em that tries anything hincky."
Artemis
 GM, 1897 posts
Tue 28 Aug 2018
at 13:05
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Emma regards Penny's question. My coven has long been avid researchers. Indeed you may even consider that our primary interest. We've discovered things lost for centuries, methods and spells and secrets the world has forgotten. It's what drew the coven together in the first place, our mutual interest in research. They have always been fairly hands off in other aspects, content for the most part to study. That's why I left. I felt we were wasting our lives reading about things instead of doing them. I...craved more power, more prestige than the rest of them. When I left thirty odd years ago, I said some rather...impolite things. Not all of them will be happy to see me she sighs. I do have one friend, or at least she was...that I think won't be too unhappy to see me. She was also the wisest of them all so if anyone knows anything it will be her. When I left they were studying the seal of Solomon, I'm sure they must have something by now eh?
Penny Dreadful
 player, 1220 posts
 HP 83/83
 Def 17/15/17+1
Thu 30 Aug 2018
at 12:10
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Research their primary interest might be, but the magical secrets they researched could be dark and foul indeed. And Penny knew from painful experience—her own once withered legs facing Emma herself—that the witches would not hesitate to use them if they felt threatened, or merely inconvenienced.

'Surely they must,' Penny agreed, but Emma's earlier admission made her curious. She asked, less in suspicion and more in concern, 'But what are your thoughts on the pursuit of power and prestige now?' Now she'd been tortured and decapitated by Belial for her troubles was the unspoken remainder of the sentence.
Mary-Alice Reussoe Conner
 player, 255 posts
 HP 111/90
 Pretty but boy's clothes
Fri 31 Aug 2018
at 19:34
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Alice didn't bother trying to add to the discussion again.
Artemis
 GM, 1900 posts
Fri 7 Sep 2018
at 13:23
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Emma looks slightly startled at the question, no doubt realizing exactly what Penny is alluding to. I still have my ambitions. Society would have women such as I be kept down and in our place, and my...pursuits have felt like the only way to counter that. That said, I know more than most the dangers that line the path to power. I think perhaps I shall tread more carefully next time. Though honestly, at this point I'd settle for the world not ending. Worried about my motives are you? she gives a small smile of amusement.
Mary-Alice Reussoe Conner
 player, 256 posts
 HP 111/90
 Pretty but boy's clothes
Fri 7 Sep 2018
at 14:00
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Alice joined in here. "I'm not worried at all. You and I have reached an understanding. As long as you work with us, I won't have to put you down."  Alice said this with a hopeful intonation. She really does not want to kill Emma at this point.
Penny Dreadful
 player, 1221 posts
 HP 83/83
 Def 17/15/17+1
Sat 8 Sep 2018
at 07:28
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Emma had said the right words: enough womanly independence and railing against society to appeal to the suffragist in her; enough contrition and honesty to sound cowed and cooperative, but not so much as to seem false. It might even be true. 'I believe you'd think less of me if I didn't.' Penny answered with a wry smile, deftly sidestepping the question.

'Well. Let us find a room at a hotel first before we contemplate any more such matters.'
Artemis
 GM, 1903 posts
Tue 11 Sep 2018
at 20:01
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Emma looks surprised and then incredibly relieved at Alice's words. You get the feeling the woman makes her nervous and to have an outright declaration of peace is clearly something she's pleased to hear.

I have no intentions of giving you a reason to change your mind she assures her with a nod. Now, let's find accommodations shall we? There is a lovely little hotel on the edge of town that should do nicely. Do you like lobster? It's legendary around here, you really must try some she chatters, already starting down the street in search of a cab. Ian follows behind. Lobster is nothing but a giant sea bug. No thank you! Just give me a whiskey and something with real meat and I'll be fine. He is once again trying to be his old self, shaking off his somber mood along with the train.

You find the hotel easily, but then Emma is an excellent guide. She happily points out buildings and streets as the cab goes by, the excited queen returning to her kingdom. Clearly she loved her home once, and indeed it is a very pretty place with white washed buildings and the roar of the ocean intermingled with the cries of gulls to tickle your ears.

The hotel itself is called The Grey Gull, and is on the smaller side but it has plenty of vacancy at present. Two rooms are procured, a large one for the women and of course Ian gets his own. The innkeep, an old weathered man, squints at Emma for a while before finally getting the guts up to ask if she is who he thinks she is. With a laugh she confirms it, but her face tightens as she asks, Tell me...is Tabitha still around? Ayeh. She's still up at the lighthouse, ornerier than ever too. Doesn't know you're back eh? Uh...not yet no. If we could keep it that way for now? He smiles at the request. Course! Just...be careful if you see her. She's gotten a bit touched over the years. Isn't quite herself sometimes ya know? I think it's from bein alone so much. Alone? Emma blinks in surprise. Yeah. After you left that little women's group of yours kinda fell apart, least judgin by the icy looks the lot of them gave each other. Some kinda feud it sounded like. I dunno, half the women in town hate the other half, but I hear that's normal eh? he laughs at his own joke. Anyway, she keeps herself locked up in that lighthouse like a princess in a tower, well exceptin when she needs flour or somethin, heh, heh. Doesn't have a friend in the world anymore, not that I've seen anyway. Maybe she'll be happy to see you after all eh? She gives a polite smile at this and thanks him for the information but you can tell she's upset. Ian exchanges a wary look with Penny, curious and yet too wise to ask. He knows his way around women well.

Well. Who's hungry? Emma stands up straight, her society smile back in place.
Mary-Alice Reussoe Conner
 player, 257 posts
 HP 111/90
 Pretty but boy's clothes
Wed 12 Sep 2018
at 10:53
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Alice laughed, "I'm with Ian. Lobsters are just cockroaches underwater."

At one ooint in history, Lobster were fed to prisoners exclusively because they were "not fit for consumption by decent people."
Penny Dreadful
 player, 1222 posts
 HP 83/83
 Def 17/15/17+1
Wed 12 Sep 2018
at 11:56
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
'Pshaw! Where's your sense of adventure?' Penny chided Ian and Alice with an eager laugh, forgetting of course that their sense of adventure was adequately exercised in the hunting of the supernatural. 'I'll try anything once. Even peasant fare like lobster!'

She enjoyed Emma's tour of the town, learning what she could of its history and culture, from the mundane to the magical. Just the same, she listened attentively to Emma's conversation with the hotelier, carefully noting the situation between the local witches and wondering if this Tabitha was the one Emma wished to meet. If she didn't leave her lighthouse, then it would be difficult to meet in neutral territory.

She caught Ian's look, but also Emma's tense and upset expression, and her vain effort to hide it. Now was not the time to pry. She would let Emma calm down and contemplate the news first before inquiring. 'Enough to eat a giant sea bug!' she agreed.


OOC: Yep, even right here in Maine maybe 50 years before 1890. Weird. :D
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobster#As_food

This message was last edited by the player at 08:44, Sat 15 Sept 2018.

Artemis
 GM, 1905 posts
Fri 14 Sep 2018
at 14:13
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
ooc: Oh I forgot about the lobster thing! How funny!

Ian is very pleased at Alice's agreement in regard to lobster, and as you all sit down to an early supper, he very much declines to try it, looking at it in horror when it finally does arrive for both Emma and Penny. See! Look at it! What kind of bloody creature is that? He gestures with his fork in disgust. And you have to crack open its claws? Shouldn't they do that for you? Ugggg he shudders, taking a long drink of whiskey and happily going back to his steak. Cows. Chickens. That's food.

Emma rolls her eyes at him and asks Penny what she thinks, looking amusingly hopeful. It would seem that your refined opinion matters to her, but then the woman had come from a simple upbringing and knowing what you do about her ambitions in society, it would make sense she'd want the upper crust to agree with her on such matters. Fortunately you do find the lobster delightful. It has a natural sweetness enhanced by the contrast of the melted butter. It's actually quite magnificent. At least everyone agrees on the matter of dessert, which is a seven layer chocolate cake with creme filling.

As the dining starts to wind down, Emma gives a little sigh and gets down to business, being careful of how she speaks considering you are in public. As you may have surmised, Tabitha was my contact I had hoped to enlist. It would seem things fell apart more than I realized after I left. I...don't know what happened. But Tabitha is still our best option. We could always try the direct approach I suppose. There's no telling how she'll react...or if you have any brilliant ideas she shakes her head.
Mary-Alice Reussoe Conner
 player, 258 posts
 HP 111/90
 Pretty but boy's clothes
Fri 14 Sep 2018
at 14:54
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Alice clinked her glass against Ian's, "Preach on, brother Ian, preach on!"

She is still eating cake when Emma brought things back to business. She tossed a look at Penny, hoping the other woman still had ideas. Alice had given to Penny being their DeFacto leader, now was the time for her to step up.
Penny Dreadful
 player, 1223 posts
 HP 83/83
 Def 17/15/17+1
Sat 15 Sep 2018
at 12:31
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
With her fork, Penny tapped the hard shell of the lobster with a sense of trepidation not seen since the last time she'd gone hunting. This was a fearsome monster of a different kind. 'I must admit, I am somewhat at a loss as to how to get the meat out.' Following Emma's lead, Penny tucked a napkin into her collar then set to work dismantling – for there was no other word for it – her meal. It turned out to involve a surprising amount of work, in wrenching off claws and tail, cracking the shells open with the nutcracker-like tool, and scooping out the flesh, whilst avoiding running juices and splattering bits. At more than one point, Penny regretted not ordering something easier. Still, she persevered, enduring the ordeal with a stiff upper lip and avoiding any indignity with the aplomb of the truly dignified. She ate as she went, making appreciative noises, and was left licking her fingers, which seemed the only reasonable etiquette. 'Mmm, that took quite a bit of time and effort, but it was well worth it. Truly delicious! I daresay the French will steal it soon enough.' she said merrily. She'd not missed Emma's hopeful look, realising she'd desired her approval and validation. Fortunately, Penny was certainly willing to try anything and escape the strictures of high society, as much as Emma sought a way into them.

After washing up, which was quite a necessity, Penny returned to enjoy her dessert. She scooped a piece onto her fork and ate it as she listened carefully when Emma finally broached the subject of the witch Tabitha. 'Perhaps you could first tell us about this Tabitha.' Penny began gently when she'd finished. 'Who is she, what does she do? How was your relationship with her?' She was applying her interviewing skills to the matter, hoping to learn more and, by jogging Emma's memory, help her come up with something.
Artemis
 GM, 1906 posts
Tue 18 Sep 2018
at 13:27
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Emma frowns at the question, thinking how best to respond. Tabitha's family founded this city long ago. Well, helped to found it but the way she talks you'd think they created the fool place out of thin air. Anyway, she comes from proud, stubborn stock. We've been friends since we were girls and for all her stubbornness, I was always the leader. I'm a great deal more ambitious than she. When we joined our...women's group, she says carefully, that was my doing as well. She was reluctant at first to enter into such a thing, but I convinced her. I always convinced her of everything. She took to it well though. Better than myself in some aspects actually, and we were content for many years simply to research, to grow in knowledge as it were. Now, keep in mind for all her spirit and talents, Tabitha has always been awkward socially. She does not do well with others and it takes a patient person to draw her out and keep her there. She never bonded with our...society like I did. She liked the work, but the others were not so big of a draw for her. She liked things her own way, always was very spoiled. At any rate, when I had that falling out with everyone as I've already mentioned, it was Tabitha who took it the worst. At first she begged me not to go. I've always been the only one who could stomach her moods. She had no real friend other than I, and I think she feared my leaving. I told her she could come with me, but she refused. She wanted to stay where she felt comfortable, safe. Like I said, no ambition. Her pleas turned to an argument. Words were exchanged. She said I was wasting my life and that I would never amount to anything. That I would come crawling back here and if I left she'd never take me back. No one would. I told her that she was a coward. A useless waste of a woman who lived off her family's charity because no man would have her and that when I left it would be SHE who would wither and fail. That without my ambition she was nothing and would return to nothing. I admit...I was overly harsh. But I was twenty two, bear that in mind. The young don't think on consequence. I left and never looked back. And now.... she sighs, looking tired. Apparently I was more right than I imagined. That lighthouse was a place we used to play at as girls. Her family owns it. I can't think of why she would choose to live there! I think her solitary nature has consumed her with my absence. I think this will be very  bad indeed.
Mary-Alice Reussoe Conner
 player, 259 posts
 HP 111/90
 Pretty but boy's clothes
Tue 18 Sep 2018
at 14:19
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Alice's biting sarcasm returned in force, "Hey that's just fantastic. Surely there is no possible other way to go about this but to poke the hornet's next of a mentally deranged womam with magical powers."
Penny Dreadful
 player, 1224 posts
 HP 83/83
 Def 17/15/17+1
Wed 19 Sep 2018
at 06:17
Chapter 10: Finding the Key
Sitting back, eating her cake but watching Emma, Penny was more contemplative than Alice. 'So, she only joined and continued in the group because of her friendship with you. Then you left. I suppose she feels you abandoned her.' she summarised, but without judgement. She could certainly emphasise with this Tabitha and understood her social awkwardness and ties to the land, perhaps like herself in earlier years. Betrayed by her one friend, of course Tabitha would withdraw and seek loneliness. Fortunately, if Tabitha no longer had connections to the broken cover, then they wouldn't have to worry about the other witches.

Now, to get the Seal of Solomon, they needed these two women to reconcile. 'Would it be so bad if you did "come crawling back"? It isn't too late to make amends, to resume your friendship.' If witches didn't have a tendency to hold lifelong murderous grudges, that is.