Another session of Victoriana, hooray everyone is all here.
I'm in the library researching, preparing for events ahead. Thugs show up. Dan says there aren't any thugs, but I don't believe him.
George Greville, my old friend who is one of the curators at the library, comes up and says he has two things for me.
First, he found a scholar who claims knowledge of Vinotonus. I get an address from him. Also, a message has been delivered to the library for me from Professor Linnaeus. Three of his students have gone missing, and he requests my assistance.
I bring Father Amorth along to talk to Professor Linnaeus. tall, portly, big mustache, short black hair, bald spot He tells me that three of his students have disappeared:
- Roger Brandt, last seen on July 13th
- Sarah Dickinson, last seen on July 24th
- Brandon Gladwin, last seen on August 1st
The police aren't involved, as they don't think it's a serious matter. He's contacted the parents, with mixed reception.
They were all students in his Introduction to Magical Theory, which has about 200 students. Roger is very intelligent, and comes from a well off family. They were all eager students, and had at least passing familiarity with each other. Sarah and Roger seemed to know each other more closely.
I tell Professor Linnaeus that I will look into the matter immediately.
We all meet up at Father Amorth's finally fashionable manor.
Father Amorth starts a seance to summon Roger Brandt's spirit.
The summoned spirit is wearing a school jacket, and he confirms he's the one we're looking for. We ask where he died, and he says he was killed by a man he never saw, who slammed his head into an alley after he took a shortcut through an ally by the quad.
He tells us the only person he knows that could benefit is his younger brother. Also, he knew Sarah, as he was interested to learn more about her grandaunt.
We let the spirit go.
I update Professor Linnaeus, and tell him I have reasons to believe foul play is involved. However, I don't fill him into why I have come to this conclusion.
I tell him that I need to know where their dorm rooms are, and their parents addresses, which he readily provides. I tell him that Lord Gavin will be checking their dorm rooms.
Brenden Cruinn and Sidney investigate the alleyway by the quad.
Sidney pokes around and finds some blood, which with some effort, she psychometrifies.
As she does this, she gets a glimpse of the killer. It's a tall man, extremely muscular and handsome, dressed nicely like a student. He's older than a normal student, in his last 30s or early 40s.
She sees him walk up to Roger from behind, and he bashes his head in. Roger dies quickly, and the killer picks up the body, and throws it into his horse drawn cart at the end of the alleyway.
Lord Gavin joins Brenden Cruinn and Sidney, and they go over to the dorm rooms for the two missing students that did not live with their parents. The RA only lets Lord Gavin in, so Sidney considers doing some thieving.
Roger Brandt's room is completely empty, other than the little bit of opium that Lord Gavin finds.
Lord Gavin checks the room of the other student who lived on campus, Brandon Gladwin. His room actually seems to have some use, and his roommate is present.
Lord Gavin asks him about Brandon, is told that he was last seen a few days ago before he went to class. He's a bit surprised Brandon is still around this year, as he's a bit of a moron. He didn't really fit in. Lord Gavin describes the man from Sidney's vision, and the roommate doesn't recognize him. He had a few loser friends, including a Frank Valdi.
Lord Gavin looks through Brandon's effects, and finds hid daybook, which mentions a pub called the Broken Drag. Most of his clothes seem to be secondhand.
Sidney knows her way around, and after Lord Gavin tells her the name of the pub, she finds it easily. Lord Gavin lends her a few pennies, and Sidney goes in.
Sidney talks to the bartender, and gets a gin. She asks if he knows Frank Valdi or Brandon Gladwin, and the bartender says he knows Bradnon. He died here a few days ago, choking on his stew, over in that corner. Sidney jokes with him, downs her gin, orders another, and takes a look at the table where he died.
Sidney looks around, and then goes over to a rat beastman. He says he saw the guy die, didn't take more than 30 seconds. He knows a Frank Valdi, and says he hangs out by the river swindling people. He likes to impose a toll on people.
Sidney orders another gin form the bartender and leaves.
I visit the Dickinsons house. There's police here, and one of the windows is broken.
Sergeant O'Niel is here, and I ask him what's going on. He tells me simply that someone broke in and kidnapped Sarah Dickinson. She had been getting anonymous flowers for weeks, which seemed to be hand picked.
I go to Brandon Gladwin's parent's house next. I knock, and a portly man opens the door. I tell him I'm investigating his son's disappearance, and he yells at me and slams the door.
How odd. Perhaps my companions have come up with something more useful than I have.
We meet back up at Father Amorth's more fashionable than average manor, and compare notes.
We decide we need to get a hold of this Frank Valdi, so we head down to the docks.
It's getting late. Lord Gavin convinces me to act as bait, but then he decides that perhaps its better if he handles it himself.
Father Amorth and I stay way back, and Sidney and Brenden merge with the shadows, tailing Lord Gavin.
A man with a club steps out, and asks for his toll. Lord Gavin replies, asking if he's with public works.
Lord Gavin declines his toll, and turns away. The man turns back to walk to where he was lurking, running into Sidney, who demands he pay a toll. He is clearly not expecting this, but when Sidney pulls out her dirk, he decides he should probably just pay her 3 pennies as toll.
Sidney and Brenden question him, and find that he does know Brandon Gladwin. Brandon's parents came into money, and sent their son to university. He knows Brandon had a run in with an old guy in glass, when he corrected him. This old man seems to match our description.
We leave, but Sidney leaves, going off in another direction, probably to do something suspicious.
The next morning, I notice an interesting article in the newspaper. Roger Brandt contributed an article that criticize the age of romanticism, especially romantic art. No paintings are mentioned, but several artists are, including William Blake, Francisco Goya, and Paul Dalaroche.
Father Amorth, Brenden Cruinn and I meet up with the professor. On our way there, we notice a roped off area, with a statue covered up, a statue that was not there before. We continue on.
Our timing is bad, as the professor is teaching class, but we wait, and he meets us after. Professor Linnaeus doesn't know about the statue, and I tell him we've made a bit of progress. I ask if he knows the guy sitting in, and the professor remembers him easily. He was in a sit-in, from the administration. I ask if the professor knew his name, but he does not. Probably not really from the administration, so no luck there.
I tell the professor that if he does happen to see the man again, to let me know immediately.
At that moment, we hear several screams from outside. We hurry out.
Brenden Cruinn doesn't have little legs, so he gets to the scene first.
The statue has been uncovered, revealing a grotesque scene. Roger and Sarah's bodies have been embalmed and sewn together in a loving embrace, clad in black robes, their heads decapitated and placed in their arms. At the base, an engraved title labels the piece "The Proliferation of Dark Romanticism".
An older groundskeeper is standing before the bodies, a black cloth still in his hands, mouth agape with horror. Brenden calms him, and gets a few answers out of him. The groundskeeper was given a few shillings and a letter, telling him to uncover this thing at noon. Brenden convinces him to hand the letter over.
We inform the professor of new developments.
We all meet up again. The handwriting is precise, and it says "New art display is put up in quad, please uncover at noon". Sidney inspects the note.
She sees a man, the same man she saw before bashing Roger's head, and he's writing the note with a fountain pen. His room is adorned with various Paul Delaroche romanticism paintings.
Sidney can feel his joy.
Father Amorth séances Sarah Dickenson, but is only able to get vague answers out of her. She remembers two red houses, and a blue one, right next to each other, before she died. It was the man who stared at her during class. He said he loved her, so she tried to run away.
Brenden, Lord Gavin and I take a visit the newspaper. People are running around like crazy.
I managed to get the attention of a receptionist, and she tells me that a special edition is being printed. They got a letter from the same killer, and they're publishing it, along with a painting of the murder.
I get a copy of the newspaper, and they have a sketch of the painting, which is of the grotesque statue we saw in person. A short manifesto is printed below it, and it talks about how art isn't appreciated anymore, and he's not appreciated, and the world doesn't see his genius, and how cruel women reject him, and how youth have no respect for art.
It's signed Brice Delarouche.
A newspaper opinion piece goes on to extol the virtues of using newspaper to arm yourself. It also calls the killer, the "Art Director".
I ask the receptionist for a copy of the newspaper with the original printing of Roger's article, and the receptionist is quite pleased to see the connection between that article and their latest edition. I check it, and there was no rebuttal piece then, so no further clue there about the killer.
I visit George Greville, and ask if he knows any art dealers, especially ones that deal with Paul Delaroche. He gives me two, Albert Marsten and John Wesker.
Albert Marsten would be well described as rugged. He knows the killer I describe, and he bought a few paintings. I try to convince him to part with the address, but he is unwilling. Unfortunately, Brenden isn't able to convince him either.
I visit John Wesker next, who is apparently impressed with my fashionable clothing. This time, I try a slightly different tact, and ask if anyone had any interest in Delaroche paintings, and he describes the individual, same as the one we're searching for. I ask for an address, but he suggests instead that he could send his assistant, to see if he is willing to talk.
I tell Brenden to tail the assistant, which is a task Brenden performs admirably. Sure enough, the assistant goes up to a house on a street with two red houses and a blue house. The assistant knocks on the door, but gets no answers, and Brenden hurries back, arriving back before the assistant.
I leave my name with the art dealer, which he recognizes.
We group up, and we take a visit to the address Brenden procured.
Police are already at the address, and they're ransacking the house.
Sidney sees some ghosts, and one of them tells her Brice Delaroche was seen going to the docks.
We go to the docks, and Lord Gavin takes it on himself to find where Brice Delaroche went. Eventually he finds a man who tells him. Brice Delaroche rented a warehouse.
The warehouse isn't far, and Sidney sneaks around, and finds a few alternate entrances. She also sees and Eldren, a badger beastman, and our killer inside. The Eldren seems to have a rather impressive pistol hidden under his coat.
After considering several ways of getting the drop on them (some quite literal), and even going so far as stealing a latter, Father Amorth decides he wants to just burn the building down. Remember, this is his idea, not mine.
So we burn the warehouse down, and our quarry tries to make a hasty exist.
We shoot Brice. He dies. The beastman is also killed.
The Eldren decides he's willing to surrender, so we let him leave, so long as he doesn't return to London.
The newspaper the next morning says 9 buildings burned down, and four have died. One is suspected to be Brice Delaroche, the grandson of Paul Delaroche.
I write to Axil Schwarzweld, the German scholar who claims knowledge of Venotonus.
He wants to meet us. He has much to discuss.