CbG

Act One

Scene One

Uncomfortable conversation and luggage

We meet our players on the stage, platform 5 at Twyford railway station, awaiting the ten o'clock train to whisk them to Henley and the regatta. A gentle breeze wafts across the platform, giving welcome relief from the early summer sun. As the time passes, they are joined by a nervous gentleman in the dress of a well to do gentleman from the City, clutching a briefcase. Singen, a man of money with hideous scarring upon his features, joins him and conversation is made, perhaps a little more brusquely than is truly seemly.  The gentleman proves to be Horatio Cartwright, a stockbroker making a visit to one Jeremiah Oldacre to deliver a personal note from his father and an exchange of cards is made. Cartwright's embarrassment at such attention from an aristocrat is relieved by the arrival of a train, on to which much equipment is loaded by Marcus, gentleman's gentleman to Singen.

Scene Two

Murder and picnics

Cartwright cannot escape the courteous conversation of Singen as they settle into one compartment, with Henryetta and Sir Reginald, who are acquainted through Henryettas father, in the forward compartment and Marcus and the luggage to the rear. As the train is prepared to leave, a blind gentleman joins them, his face stiff and his conversation slight to the point of non-existent, despite the efforts of Singen. The train departs in a puff of steam, serenely rolling through the English countryside. Some time later, the train passes through a tunnel and, in the darkness within, a scream rents the air. As daylight once more suffuses the scene, we see Cartwright dead, hanging from the emergency cord, a knife embedded in his chest held by the blind man. As we watch, both slide inelegantly to the floor and the train glides to a halt. Singen promptly acquires the dead mans briefcase after ensuring both parties are deceased, before the guard and driver arrive to check the nature of the emergency and set off to alert the police and set danger signals. As the nature of the tragedy unfolds, Sir Reginald moves away, to await the constabulary, as Singen and Henryetta investigate the scene of the crime. They find little on the blind man, with even his eyes apparently absent but a search of Cartwright is a little more useful, yielding his address as 2 Church Street, Mortlake and revealing the knife to be unusual, cast from a single piece of iron with copper wire wound about the hilt and a relief of a serpent upon the pommel. The police arrive and, despite Henryettas protestations at the lack of first class, a carriage transports them to Henley police station.

Scene Three

In which a policeman is courteously impolite

The five witnesses are questioned, with varying degrees of courtesy by Inspector Longtree, who causes insult by querying some inconsistencies in the evidence of Henryetta and Singen. After what seems an interminable and unconscionable wait, they are free to continue to the Regatta.
REgatta
The regatta proves a fine event, with many canapés, much champagne and possibly slightly too many great aunts. The company is joined by Vernon Bainbridge, an anthropology professor and acquaintance of Sir Reginald, and much fun is had as the afternoon passes into evening. Late on, Vernon visits a gipsy fair opposite but learns little other than it is owned by one Nystor Ferencz. Singen notices a strange newspaper article concerning the discovery of two infants in a parcel at the local sorting office, addressed to one James O'Callaghan.
That evening, they retire to the hotel and open the dead mans briefcase, finding various letters and memoranda, amongst which is a disturbing letter to J. Oldacre with a Henley address, from Elias Cartwright, mentioning that one Nystor Ferencz intends to raise the Dulcarnon, which is assumed to be a ship. Further, the letter mentions the Green Man and some items buried at Robin Hoods Bower, a pre-Christian enclosure a couple of hours walk from Henley.
 

Scene Four

Consternation with the constabulary

The following day, they move as one to visit the Oldacre house but are thwarted by a policeman posted at the door. As they learn from him that Mr. Oldacre has died in dubious circumstances, Singen spots a blind man similar to the one on the train and moves to talk to him. Much to his surprise, the blind man pulls out a dagger similar to that on the train and stabs himself in the chest, leading to much police whistling and a polite request to visit the police station. With as much good grace as he can muster, Singen acquiesces and spends an irritating amount of time dealing with questions while he awaits his brief the next morning. Meanwhile, the others go to lunch and  Reginald then heads for London to check the Lloyd's List for the Dulcarnon, while Vernon visits the local library to do some research. Reginald finds no such ship but does discover some facts regarding the Dulcarnon, which turns out to be an ancient legend of a horned man, or an obscure word for a dilemma as Henry remembers. The next morning, Singen is released due to irregularities with the corpse of the blind man, which appears to have died some days ago.

Scene Five

A Death in the Family

After gathering for a late breakfast, plans are made and Vernon and Harry find themselves on the way to the Cartwright house in Mortlake. As they arrive, two men are seen getting into a hearse (from Rowses undertakers) carrying a large book. Despite the promise of recompense, their cabby refuses to risk his hansom in a madcap pursuit. As they debate options, a lady mount the steps of the house and spills her shopping. Harry helps her and they go inside to have a nice cup of tea and an uncomfortable conversation. In the course of this, they discover that Elias (the elder Cartwright) is dead, having been run over in a carriage accident, and the housekeeper learns of the death of Horatio. She becomes distraught and retires to her rooms, deep in the depths of the labyrinthine mansion. After some searching, they find a niche in the cellar where the book could have been kept but retire without finishing their search out of concern for the poor housekeeper. They return to Henley with their news. Reginald meanwhile, visits the fair but is unable to learn a great deal.
 

Scene Six

Funerals, Books and Candles

They decide to visit Rowses morticians later that evening to attempt to discover more of the plot that seems to be swirling around them. Singen uses a skill with locks to effect entry and a quick search discovers two points of interest - according to the records, two bodies are missing from the mortuary and there is a trapdoor leading to a disused sewer. Following the sewer, they find it leads to a bookshop in Seven Dials. It also leads to a strange and unnerving encounter for Singen, when he climbs a ladder halfway along the sewer. The ladder leads into a building, to a small room with a locked door at the top. Hearing voices, he peers within, to be not a little unnerved by the sight of a man talking to a candle - which appears to be replying to him! They beat their retreat, having heard that the man and his candles plans are being disrupted by a group of meddling persons, possibly themselves.

The next day, they visit the shop to talk to the owner and discover that the younger Cartwright had offered several books to him for sale, some of them very old and many of an occult nature.

Scene Seven

Dowsing and music lessons

Later that day, they felt a picnic at Robin Hoods Bower was called for and, having hired horses, rode out in fine early June weather. As they reached the bower in steadily worsening conditions, they noticed three men were already there - one wandering around with a stick in his hand, followed by two Sikhs. Henry approached this motley crew and engaged them in a lengthy conversation about dowsing (which was apparently what they were doing) and pre-Christian enclosures. The man introduced himself as David Smythe, a stockbroker and two gentlemen he had met in the pub he was staying at who had expressed a careless interest in dowsing. The others wandered around the place looking for disturbed ground while pretending to sight see while Marcus prepared the late lunch in the traditional English rain. They retired to luncheon, leaving the three men to continue combing the field for a hidden water source. After some time, Smythe performed a series of slightly odd gestures in a corner of the field and the men retired to the local hostelry for dinner.

Once they were out of sight, the party went to have a look at what Smythe had been doing, finding three white pebbles newly laid in a neat triangle upon the grass. Vernon used his considerable occult knowledge to surmise that this could be some form of warding spell, so they decided to dig down to see what it was warding, carefully not disturbing the stones. They found a package, which they retrieved and returned to Henley to open it in comfort.

Back in Henley, they discovered the package contained four items: a book, Cornelius Agrippa's Mysteries of the Veil, translated from the Latin by E. Cartwright with a section underlined warning that the Dulcarnon sleeps under Merlyn's Hill, waiting to be awoken by the Tablets of Aelda
a vial, containing a viscous amber liquid a parchment, with a complex musical score written in 11/16 time; a message, with instructions to avert the doom of Dulcarnon using the vial and parchment.

Vernon headed for London the next day to research Merlyn's Hill and the tablets, while Reginald booked music lessons for himself and Henry - Singen decided to have a pleasant relaxing day while the others toiled. Vernon found out that the tablets were an ancient text about the End of Days and that Merlyn was connected with Silbury Hill. Reginald and Henry became adept at playing in 11/16 time, although their teacher could not really see the point.

Scene Eight

The Social Diary

They meet that evening in Claridges, to discuss their findings and possible courses of action. Many paths are discussed and one chosen - to search one last time through the house of Cartwright. Without delay, the house is entered by the wonders of Singens luck with doors via the servants entrance. Inside, the house is labyrinthine but it is swiftly ascertained that the housekeeper has fled. They eventually find the bedrooms of both Cartwright's and take encrypted papers from the fathers room. In the sons room is a diary, of a social, lazy man, with several later entries of interest. His reaction to his fathers death was initially one of irritation, as it interrupted his social life, but soon shifts to confusion over a letter left him.
The letter contained three requests, each more strange than the last:
  • Seek and hide a book in the library - this seems to have been the book they saw stolen
  • Deliver a letter to Oldacre - probably the one recovered from the dead man on the train
  • Go to the Black Lion in Truro, light a candle, mutter some words and leave
They resolve to visit Truro the next day.
 

Act Two

 Scene One

We do love to be beside...

The train ride to Truro was very pleasant, with good scenery and fine cuisine. On arrival, rooms were taken at the Black Lion and the investigationInn of cream teas was undertaken by Henry. They all sought the truth in their various ways and discovered that there had been a mysterious fire at about the time of Cartwrights visit, started by a stranger called John Smith. They assumed this to have been Cartwright, rather than the beer magnate and resolved to delve deeper. Reginald and Singen found that the proprietor, who they met at dinner that evening, had behaved a little oddly when informed of the fire - he had removed something from the basement boiler room rather than helping extinguish the flames and had done so furtively with the aid of the night boilerman. They decided to investigate under cover of darkness.
 

Scene Two

The Green Man

That night, Singen crept into the boiler room, as Reginald kept the night porter asleep by explaining pre-history to him, Henry kept watch and Vernon stood by the coal hole, waiting to help if things went badly with night boilerman. Fortunately, the boilerman proved to be unobservant and was coshed unconscious by Singen, who was quickly joined by Vernon as the others kept watch. In a secret chamber they found a man shaped bundle of twigs and leaves, seated on a chair in the centre of a pentagram. Lighting the candles they found at the stars points, they were shocked when the figure rose and began to suck the essence of life from Singen, saved only by the quick thinking of Vernon who put out a candle. More experiments followed as they sought to destroy the mannequin, to no good effect.

Scene Three

Fire in Truro

Finally, it was decided to follow the original plan and burn the inn to the ground - this time starting the fire where it would have the most effect. Gathering all of the old furniture and bric-a-brac, they added some coal from the store and fired it up. Vacating the premises, taking Ramekin with them, they waited for the fire to take hold. Leaving the boiler man unconscious on the pavement liberally doused with alcohol, they reported the fire and helped in the futile effort to save the building, while the police arrested the obvious suspect and the owner failed to save the effigy. All in all, a satisfying nights work and they retired to another hotel to rest.

The next mornings local papers were full of the fire, with a mention on an inner page of the destruction of the Cartwright house in Mortlake, also by fire. This lead them to decide to go to Silbury and see what they could achieve prior to the raising of the Dulcarnon.
 

Act Three

Scene One

of sheep and solstice celebrations

After checking in to their hotel, they explored the area, learning the history of the hill and local folklore of its building. They also learnt that an event was planned for the solstice in a weeks time, although details were at best sketchy.Silbury
 
The arrival of the fair was met with much local interest, as was the fairs setting of a tent upon the hill, obviously something to do with the coming solstice celebrations. As the solstice approached, Reginald used the time to disguise himself as an itenerant shepherd and attempted to infiltrate the fair. Singen found that the gypsies were digging into the mound inside the tent and surmised that this was not necessarily an archaeological dig. Harry continued to investigate local legend and practice her drumming, while Vernon took the guise of a twitcher and spied on the camp and hill with the aid of a pair of binoculars.
 
As the evening of the solstice finally fell, the diggers left the hill and a single blind man took up guard at the tent.

Scene Two

Whoops apocalypse?

Late in the evening, the gypsies dismantled the tent and began top form a circle around the top of the hill. Reginald, seeing the camp empty, tried visiting Nystor, only to find himself back outside the caravan with a vague memory of a nice, smart old man and no idea how he got to be outside. After reorienting himself, he decided to stop the oncoming ceremony by setting fire to things, which kept him busy as the others prepared themselves with Vernon and Singen now in position on the hill and Henry coming slowly to the conclusion that Elias' spell may be the only way forward. Back in the camp, Reginald was shocked when the caravan began to roll forwards, with no discernable means of propulsion and ran forwards to stick a plank in the wheels. As he did so, a blind man exited the caravan and attacked him, to no avail.
 
Meanwhile, Henry cast the spell, discovering that old man Cartwright was only marginally more useful than his son, as a Yith took over her body, casting her mind into the strange and terrifying expanse of the Yith world. The Yith shouted 'Kill the Sorceror' and made a determined attempt to break through the gypsy lines, soon followed on the other side of the hill by Vernon and Singen, whose use of a double barreled shotgun cleared his path most efficiently. Reginald joined 'Henry' but was cut down in his prime by a gypsy just as a horned figure began to coalesce in the sky above them.

The battle raged on, as the blind men joined in a desperate defense of Nystor as he completed the spell. At this point, he had just realized a fatal flaw in the casting, as it summoned only one half of the deity, sundering its joint nature - this enraged the half that had turned up, as well as causing the other half to turn up deeply offended. Together, they commenced chasing down and destroying all those who had caused them to be summoned, or had not actively tried to stop it. Bemused, the investigators ran back to their hotels, past a trails of eviscerated corpses and fled back to London - the Yith deciding to stay on and learn of this world.

The papers were strangely short of detail of the incident the following day, as the authorities tried to make sense of the evidence before them.

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