London Underground

An Inheritance

Steve, Noah and Jenni continue conversing over tea, and consider whether other dead people in their lives may be used against them. Imogen comes down to join in and they bring her up to speed with the recent events.

Down below Patrick continues to argue with all his parents. Getting through to them that they’re dead is not the easiest, but Patrick perseveres. Exasperated, Patrick tries to demonstrate the situation by driving the fireaxe through his throat. He successfully kills himself. Steve, Noah and Jenni hear the screaming of the parents up in the flat and Noah rushes down. Patrick’s adoptive mother is clamping down on Patrick’s gurgling throat while the other two scream and sob in the corner.

Noah rushes to help and try and stop/delay Patrick’s death, asking Mrs Baines what happened. Imogen grabs the fireaxe and attempts to console Patrick’s birth mother.

Jenni arrives shortly and sees the scene laid out before her. Imogen explains what they’ve seen and Jenni takes the axe off her and chucks it behind her.

Patrick’s adoptive mother explains, calmly, that Patrick used the axe on himself to tear his throat out. Jenni goes to hold Patrick’s hand as he expires.

In the Underworld, Patrick is desperately navigating the place, finding his way back. He feels that he is being pursued and ducks into an alley to try and see who it was. He hears the pat pat pat of an animal and a doberman comes across the opening to the corridor. It opens its mouth and from inside Old Pissan’t voice calls to Patrick. He says they’re coming for Patrick and the doberman pads on. Patrick takes a few minutes and gets back to the path home.

Noah sits there over Patrick’s dead body and Patrick’s adoptive mother goes to check on her husband. Imogen and Jenni discuss what to do with Patrick’s body and what to do with Patrick’s parents. Pan pipes play. Imogen quickly suggest everyone leaves. Imogen, Jenni, Patrick’s birth modern and Patrick’s body take the lift, but Noah and his adoptive parents have to go another way. They go up the role ladder to Flat 1 (Alice helpfully pushes it down) but while Noah gets up, the Baines try but the place is overtaken with an impenetrable darkness and a faint luminescence.

Imogen and Jenni resolve to move Patrick’s body while Steven looks after Betty. Steven consoles her and gently breaks to her the extent to which she is dead, helps her get cleaned up. Noah bumps into Amadia, who says freaky shit is going down and someone had just tried to play a duet with her (an oboe). She says she’ll make upgrades to the lift (including adding an old-style cage around it) while he find the others.

Patrick comes up to the basement and then up to the boiler room and via Alice. Noah explains to Patrick that his parents might be gone. Patrick and Jenni try to work out how to kill Patrick A permanently.

Imogen takes over looking after Betty and getting the skinny on Patrick’s young life.

Noah and Amadia go down to check on the stat of the basement. Everything appears cleaned up, but the electricity metre is at 113,000-odd. The basement is completely sterile – it is not sterile because everything has been killed, but because everything living in it just gone. They discuss the advances and acceleration of the basement opening up. There is a theory that Adam Pennyside and Paul Broxton may still be around and involved, and Amadia suggests that there may be a connection to The New IT (if you were a merchant, that might be your method to approach things if you were an undead agent of the Dead Gods etc.).

Jenni goes to Mary to inquire about Mr Dirt, but Mary explains that he may be indisposed. But Mary offers to help dispose of the bodies (nom nom).

Next day at the London City Airport, the group goes to meet The Bad Man. The meeting is in one of the hired-out business lounges. The Bad Man is a black man with neat round glasses. Jenni asks about the deal she did with him and her lack of memory of it, and that she would like to remember what happened before. The man begins to sweat, there seems to be a physical pain passing across him. He gets out a ledger and passes it to ledger to look at a specific set of pages. The Bad Man asks how Jenni came to learn of the deal. She gets to it. The Bad Man is getting a nose-bleed. Jenni photographs it and reads it.

It appears Jenni engaged in three separate contracts with The Bad Man. At the end of each there is a payment of one silver coin. The first agreement is Jenni ensuring she would have a place to securely hide the coins that the Bad Man would procure. The second agreement states that the Bad Man will by all means necessary procure the memories from specific dates from her association with Mary through to after the Hand being stolen such as necessary to secure Jenni’s safety from the Kray Twins. The Bad Man has been getting progressively worse but now he is nervous. The third contract is about the Bad Man not harming her or causing harm to come to her through his actions etc.

The Bad Man explains that there was a difficulty involved because the payments were not payments and yet he had to take them. This has caused him difficulty. Jenni clarifies she doesn’t want to involve a deal with the coins. Jenni pays him £1 to arrange a return of the memories without breaching the earlier contracts. They leave.

On the way back, there are a lot of sirens. More and more sirens. It seems all the trains were being stopped at Embankment. Patrick checks the news – there was an attack at Elephant & Castle. As they get home, more and more sirens seem to be in effect. Twitter rumours suggest that there was a mix of people in business suits carrying swords and people in togas.

The group resolves to go and have a look, going via the basement (and gearing up). At the passage to Elephant & Castle there is a tube train stopped in the way. It is lit inside and outside. While they stand in the corridor nobody seems to be paying any attention to the. There are a lot of crime scene investigation people around the carriage (of the modern train). Looks like multiple fatalities, but no real damage to the carriage (except for the like of cracked glass).

Jenni sneaks in getting to a tunnel section taped with “unstable”. It seems to be an area of no interest to anyone else. Jenni goes in past the tape – she gets to Mr Dirt’s entrance wall, seeing the holes blasted into it. She call out and Sir Anthony answers, identifying her as Lady Sparks and calls her to come forward. When Jenni starts running back she is chased by a bullet, thankfully missing her.

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Digging up the Dirt

Patrick and Noah spend some time reviewing what evidence and knowledge you have already acquired, especially concentrating on the historical connections. Some investigations at Channing Bros, an accountancy firm occupying the site of the last regular meeting spot of the descendants of the original Great Fire starters.

They learn the following:

Part 2

A few days pass. The Wych House Underworld Working Group meet to decide what to do. Patrick has been researching the financial side of the Broxtons. The New IT connection gets a look in.

Jenni gets a phone call from Kelly Laboso who reveals that the Bad Man is flying in to London City Airport for a meeting with Jenni the next day. They’re there for a 1 and a half hour window. This is mildly surprising. Immediately after hanging up she gets call from Pest, who asks to book Jenni for a big gig, apparently the extra detail is ‘Pied Piper’ themed. Creepy. The other thing he wants – he says Patrick is reneging on the detail regarding Mary and wants to know if Jenni can arrange a chat with her. This is framed as ‘helping Patrick’. There are definitely light threats and references to what the Court can do.

Jenni lets the others know about the meeting with the Bad Man; there is a brief debate about whether the group summons the Scholae members that evening. The meeting for that night is arranged.

Dr Parcelsus talks to Steven about his understanding of some complicated theory regarding the White Hart etc. Apparently it is able to enter the Underworld at will. Steven hasn’t seen or pursued the White Hart yet (though Dr Parcelsus seems to expect he should have). There is a clonk from the basement. Steven goes down via the hole in Flat 1 and hears a chair being knocked over and a phone rolling across the floor. Steven asks who it is and they are revealed to be a shop assistant from the Co-op. The guy is called Alan and he can’t seem to make his way back. Steven takes charge and mildly confounds him (claiming Alan was on drugs) – takes him to Noah who helps add to the confusion, recommending he needs to see his GP and treat it as a personal health issue. Downstairs they are met by Mrs. Jennings (Alan’s supervisor who he had called). She has a strangely German accent, but after exchanging Alan and them leaving. Noah tries to metaphysically close the fire door to the co-op. (HE ROLLS A 100 AGAIN THE STUPID IDIOT; Steve also gets a matched failure determining whether it is closed or not.)

That night, the Underworld Working Group prepare to receive guests. There is a discussion about whether Amadia should join. They agree to disagree. They aim to to call up Pennyside first. On the meeting minutes there is a note that Pennyside and Paul Broxton a little note “not dead”. It doesn’t work to get the, but Fanny Broxton comes in. She is more whole than Quincy at least, in that entire sections of her are present (with discreet bits missing). She has blurred eyes. After everyone introducing themselves, Fanny seems to relax and take things in stride. She helps with some understanding, suggesting that there may be time to deal with this. Apparently Pennyside went to the other side and brought back wisdom. She suggests that too much time on the other side leaves you too open to the influence of [the Cruel Ones]. Overuse of particular terms or words or names also gives power to them. Dead languages, invisible ink etc. also seems to help. She is concerned that an ‘Ambassador’ is through. ‘They’ are not the worst horrors, they are the Ambassadors of those. They are able to gain or send through servants.

Apparently before the Mt Etna incident, paradoxes did not happen. Now paradoxes have always been. She talks of the ‘Eater’ which sought to come through, they stopped it but some part managed to come through. There is suggestion that Mr Dirt might be this appendix left over. The Fire was necessary to finish the sealing (blew up the cavern; burnt the infection away). There is the suggestion that if servants on the topside are left but cut-off, that’s where it’ll stop, but stopping the servants probably helps. Paul ended up being changed. Distinction between someone corrupted from the top world, very different from one who comes from within the Labyrinth. They are the more dangerous.

Amadia prompts the discussion on whether the music could close things on its own, but the music was only involved after. ‘Cutting off the worm’ with gunpowder and cleansing the infection was what worked. The Cruel Ones serve the Dead Gods – that which sought to come through was one of the Dead Gods. Then they hear footsteps and the group decides to close off the meeting.

They return topside and the metre is at 62,456.67 (23k higher than 2 weeks ago). The footsteps keep going and a voice calls out to Patrick. There is a woman in a dowdy dress and apron and has a hole in her head. Patrick tries to leave quickly via the elevator. Steven remains to talk to the woman who claims to be Patrick’s mum. She is very excited that Patrick made it to London (she thinks to become a poet – all he’s dreamed about).

Steven comes up to discuss what to do about her. Patrick ventures that this will be what the Cruel Ones are going to be doing. And they need to somehow deal with her.

There is some discussions of theories on how this all forms together and how the influence of the Cruel Ones and their servants may be relevant.

While talking Patrick notices that the balcony door to their flat is open. The group goes to investigate. There are two people sitting on the sofa. A gentleman and a lady who call Patrick. They are his adoptive parents and Patrick gets the sense that they are in fact dead. It seems like Patrick A may have come to their house and killed them and told them to come here… Jenni puts the kettle on. Patrick meanwhile books a reservation at a fancy restaurant at the Shard. Patrick takes his dead parents out… not for dinner but leading them back into the Labyrinth (adoptive parents and birth mother) after telling them they’re all dead.

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Lift to Hell

Jenni, seeing spider-Audrey, immediately presses the ground floor button in the elevator. She comes up and tells the rest what she saw. Imogen wants to go down but the others dissuade her. Amadia is further chastised about excessive underworld-entrance opening. There is a discussion of whether to follow spider-Audrey. They decide to head down with bleach and fireaxe, going via Flat 1 instead of the lift. Setting out through the basement they follow the path which becomes a red-brick tunnel. This seems to lead to the Fitzwilliam library stacks. There is no sign of Audrey or her passing through, so it’s not clear whether she did come here or the vagaries of basement pathing took them elsewhere. They go up to the reading room – Jenni goes first and spots motion detectors in the room. Instead of going onwards they decide to take photos of the new notes on the Traventine Codex.

Everyone returns and as its late night/early morning, goes to sleep.

Steven is up early in case Dr Parcelsus arrives ahead of schedule and prepares the flat. Imogen slept on Amadia and Noah’s couch but in the morning goes to check the penthouse flat. Windows are blown out, no intact furniture, the carpets are scorched and burned and the garden outside is in serious disrepair. Out in the garden Imogen sees the Immaculate Man and as she approaches he gets up and bows. He talks about an agreement that seems to have been made with Imogen – but she knows nothing of this and the Immaculate Man says she is not Imogen, not the Ambassador. He apologises for the mistake and makes to walk out. She tries to stop him, but staring at him her world goes upside-down with a flash-back to explosions. Through this she snaps back and tries to push him towards the balcony (she seems to easily have the upper hand). Holding him at the edge, she asks who he made a deal with – he claims it was with an Ambassador of the “Piebold Piper, the Pan, Life, Life Finds a Way”. They continue to tussle as Patrick hears the commotion and comes to his balcony to observe and then get up to help. Imogen tries to pull the Immaculate Man back up and he tries to get away unsuccessfully. Patrick comes up and discusses with Imogen what to do with the man.

While Imogen keeps the Immaculate Man in control, Patrick gets something to tie him up with (and a chair). They bring up Noah and then Steven. They discuss the Immaculate Man’s situation further and speak to him – he speak in Pashtun to all but Imogen. He asks to be released as he serves a power beyond their comprehension. Imogen reveals a little of her past of knowing/seeing him back from Afghanistan and back here. Questioning him doesn’t reveal much beyond megalomaniacal statements. There is a question of whether to just throw him over the balcony. Patrick and Imogen argue for using bleach as the Piper-related stuff didn’t seem to like it. Noah suggests that he’s just goading everyone to try and get himself killed? He seems to get more and more agitated as Patrick comes back with the bleach and puts some on him. Then Noah sees a black ball with a line and numbers come up out through his jaw. It’s a grenade and Imogen throws it out to the balcony. It explodes outside of George and Ben’s apartment. The Immaculate Man’s jaw is broken and the bleach seems to have a fairly normal effect on him.

Meanwhile, Mary calls Jenni and she goes to George and Ben’s flat and inside finds Mary with a wound to her leg and head. She claims that people in bandages came for Mr Dirt. The others tried to stop them, but the bandaged people came with swords and guns. As she goes to get Clonah, she sees a shape fall outside the window and the grenade explodes. Jenni is far enough away she’s not in the immediate radius and she shields Mary. There’s a lot of glass.

Noah is coming down to check if anyone was injured and sees Jenni staggering out. He takes her into George and Ben’s flat and on the kitchen table. He’s able to get her treated and wounds cared for before turning to Mary. He looks at her wounds and does a little more to patch her up and advise she has to go to hospital. He notices her irregular teeth.

Patrick wonders down after a while. Imogen stays talking to the Immaculate Man who suggest Imogen could merge back with the other Imogen and be together with Audrey and Damocles. Imogen drags him by the collar to the balcony. She says she doesn’t like serving people and tosses him over the edge. Patrick is meanwhile downstairs and walks in on Noah operating on Jenni’s back. They see the Immaculate Man fall past.

As Imogen watches him fall, immediately after the impact there is an uprush of air and smoke and the aftermath looks like a column of smoke, as if after an explosion. Imogen grabs the heavier sledgehammer and goes down to the Basement. On the way she walks in to see Jenni being patched up. Imogen stays to chat with Jenni and drink whisky. Noah tells Mary she really needs to go to the hospital and get scans.

Imogen continues down to the basement (briefly bumping into Steven). Noah finishes up and, though he notes Mary looks hungry, doesn’t broach the subject. He goes home to launder and wash – Amadia notes she’s been making progress with the lift. She has made it armoured, and working on having it lockable (and mutters something about teeth).

Imogen tries to go in Mr Dirt’s direction. In the area near the tunnels to Mr Dirt’s place it looks like explosions have torn into the wall with ladders leading up to the holes. Imogen calls for Mr Dirt. A presence appears in one of the blast holes – they claim to be the “Sentinel at the Gate” or ‘Sir Anthony’. Tells her to fuck off. He says he works for the Duke of Hazel.

Patrick’s phone has a few text messages. One text is from Pest with a threat for Patrick to complete his end of the deal. Patrick sends and insulting brush-off back.

Steven gets a phone call from James (another Joyguard lackey) claiming Doctor Parcelsus is inbound. He gives directions where to meet him and request to escort him in. Steven goes to Noah to see if they can bring him in via the basement. (Noah roles a 55 matched failure. Ouch) They travel through the basement with the path becoming a boxy concrete corridor quite quickly. There is a fire door they go through into an underground storeroom. They are in a Co-Op storeroom and exit via the stairs. They go round the corner and meet an elderly man with a travelling chest. He does not look particularly capable of carrying it himself. He recognizes Steven and introduces himself. They go to bring him back, explaining the esoteric approach necessary to get into the Wych House. They notice that the fire door is left open. They bring Dr Parcelsus to the Wych house up via the lift. There are some teeth on the floor.

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Digging Deeper

The group speak to Lady Y who expresses hope that the Regent’s Council might return and he Duke of Hazel won’t get the upper hand. Jenni and Noah question her on the possible consequences and the current situation (her followers have greatly dwindled) – she fears what the Duke might do with the resources of the Court and her own fate (the possibility of being exiled to Section 7 seems terrifying).

One of the Duke’s lackeys insults Patrick (and the others) but Lady Y cautions Patrick not to return insult an open hostilities. The Duke motions the lackey to back down. They call on the Knights to swear allegiance to the Duke, but this is politely declined as Noah moves to stall for time. They ask various questions of the Duke, who once again calls for them to support his obviously superior claim.

Back at the Wych House Old Pissant knocks on Imogen’s door and she invites him in. He eats some eggs. He says he’s come to speak about the Red Piper, that they should go to make the Ambassadorship official. Down past the basement and into the Labyrinth, or else she suggests we can summon the Red Piper. Old Pissant suggests that they should all go, Audrey and Damocles included. Imogen searches for weaponry or any leftover explosives, but only the sledgehammer is available. She asks Old Pissant if the guards outside take notice of him – he says they don’t really see him and that he goes about his business. Imogen agrees to go into the Labyrinth if he lends her his clothing. Old Pissant agrees and undresses (Imogen gives him a clean pair of boxer shorts). Imogen bandages and tapes half her body – it’s not perfect, but at a distance passable and the added benefit of Damocles having pissed on the clothes. She hides her sledgehammer in the trench coat, tells Old Pissant there’s alcohol in the fridge and heads downstairs.

She looks for one of the unassuming, lone security guard near the ‘line of obfuscation/exclusion’. There’s nobody too close, but some are in isolated positions. Imogen lurches over to one of the guards, muttering under her breath. The guard spots and challenges her, radios in and goes to investigate. Imogen tries to lure him to the corner, out of view, and as she tries to attack him, the guard reacts quickly to block her off and go for the radio. Imogen’s struggle goes badly as the guard has time to call for backup, so Imogen has to get the sledgehammer out. It catches him on the chin knocking him out (dead). She grabs the baton and tazer and sprints back towards the Wych House, returning to the flat. She can now go down more armed to the Labyrinth.

Meanwhile… Noah continues to stall for time, carefully selecting the right phrases to not escalate the situation. There are multiple attempts to entrap Noah in a disrespectful statement, but with Jenni’s help, it is possible to react and keep going. Steven goes to stand behind Joyguard’s chair and then gets a guitar case down from a shelf.

At Euston Square, Kelly Laboso gets on, and to astounded faces, goes to sit at her council chair. Jenni asks Kelly about helping get and introduction to The Bad Man. Laboso knowns the name, but doesn’t feel confident in setting up a contact herself, but has contacts and will look into the options and pricing available. At Aldgate, Joyguard gets on and takes his seat. The Regent’s Council is declared quorate and Joyguard inquires as to what all this business about people eating people is. The Duke of Hazel states that he is merely ‘hungry’ to make his rightful claim to the throne and there is no devouring going on. Jenni asks if Mr Dirt knows what’s going on here, but the Duke claims Mr Dirt doesn’t matter as he’s not of the Court. Lady Y claims that the nature of the Duke’s increased authority is by questionable means and has curtailed her rightful claim. The Duke asks if any can attest to any questionable means – nobody steps forward. Steven and Noah try to call anyone forward, but still no response and Steven goes in to goad and subtly insult the Duke. Joyguard requests that the Duke uncovers his face and the Duke nods. He begins to peel away the bandages and beneath it is just a normal face. (GASP!) The train pulls into Tower Hill and the Duke of Hazel’s faction as one turn and leave.

In the Basement Imogen, Audrey, Damocles and Old Pissant prepare to go down, first moving to the mystical side of the Basement and then down the corridors. They follow Old Pissant, who keeps away from anything more interesting, keeping to the dark and shadows and away from coming footsteps. Old Pissant tells Imogen that Patrick sent him here (giving him money to go away), explaining his knowledge of down here. Imogen has a conversation about Old Pissant’s situation (and if getting torn in half hurt – duh) – the Red Piper saved him after he was torn in half, and he is now ‘like Imogen’. They travel for an indeterminate amount of time and eventually the Labyrinth changes, becoming older and less solid. Then it becomes ‘less’ and there is a detectable smell of musky growth, the decay of an autumnal wood, the air becoming thick with spores. When it opens up, it is full of growing life into and out of one another. It’s kinda creepy. In a clearing, whittling a pair of long pipes, is the Red Piper. Imogen goes closer and he looks up.

In the Carriage, the Knights seek to be released from service, having fulfilled their Quest. Joyguard sees no further hold he has over the, but asks if Steven has anything to stay. Steven confirms he believes all duties have been discharged. Patrick is generally sceptical of the whole situation. Joyguard suggest the Knights will want to align themselves soon – the Duke’s claim is indeed likely to solidify soon. Navigating the conversation of ‘indebtedness’ is difficult but eventually a sort of equilibrium seems to be reached. He suggests that some sort of alignment would be necessary to stay safe – there are veiled threats. Talk turns to the ‘Parcel’ or ‘Dr Parcelsus’ as Joyguard clarifies. This opens up a can of worm of threats until Joyguard outright spells out that he’ll just kill everyone unless we get out of the way.

Steven explains that Mr Joyguard is very much a force of nature, and Steven’s engagement with Mr Joyguard is his sort of calling, as a way to manage his purpose so it goes along without too many people’s heads being chopped off. Mr Joyguard’s quest seems to have diminished his concern for human life. There’s a discussion of Dr Pacelsus and how to handle him while Jenni, Patrick, Noah and Steven return home. Coming to the Wych House they find the area cordoned off, huge numbers and the Police involved. The group is ignored as they return home, Noah looks into the tent to see the dead security guard. Jenni listens in to a witness statement describing Imogen’s antics (as Old Pissant). As they get into the lobby, they are met by an excited Amadia.

She claims to have got the lift working – it ping and opens. Unexpectedly to Amadia, there is a person lying curled up on the floor of the lift. She is clothed in burn tatters. Noah goes to check – it’s Imogen. She asks who Noah and Steven is. The last thing she seems to remember is the explosion of her apartment. To try clear things up, Jenni suggest going to Noah and Amadia’s apartment to make use of the Board. Steven suggests it is worth checking if other Imogen can be found. Jenni and co try to explain the situation to Imogen using the board. Patrick (taking a fireaxe) and Noah go to check if they can find other Imogen.

Patrick knocks on Flat 5. No answer. He calls for Damocles – no noise. Imogen comes up to whistle for Damocles. Nothing. Jenni picks the lock. They enter and see the strange flesh-pod attached to the ceiling. There is a debate whether to take an axe to it… (Peter grosses himself out with all the sea-life imagery here, it’s great). Patrck hacks it off the ceiling and Imogen takes a kitchen knife to open it up. She sees within it a part of shoulder and torso, growing within the pod. Imogen drags it out onto the balcony, douses it in bleach, and sets it on fire. It’s like in the Thing. It’s great.

They ask Amadia how she got the lift working – she says in the same way she’s moved the other entrances to the Basement. She thought it would be convenient to have an easy way down. There is some discussion of afterlife experiences between Imogen, Noah and Patrick and Steven notes it is curious that we haven’t seen a Labirinth/Basement-spawned version of Noah. There is a question of whether certain influences had an effect on how people came back. Amadia is questioned on the exact nature of the lift, and it seems her intention was to have the lift go a bit deeper than just the physical basement, maybe straight to the metaphysical basement. Patrick asks “Why did you make a lift, that goes, to Hell?”

During the discussion, Jenni goes into the elevator and presses to go down to the basement. She goes down. The door opens and she sees the path out and an old woman, mottled skin, naked with eight spider’s legs. She turns to look and it is Audrey.

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Cryptic Clues

Everyone rests overnight, though Jenni and Patrick discuss Patrick’s findings about TNI and their global fingers in pies. This requires further discussion with the larger group and Jenni sends out a text for a meeting in the morning.

The night passes uneventfully. Apparently.

The non-supernatural meeting with a discussion of how TNI-related security is now manning the cordon around the Wych House. They all look fairly ready for violence and are probably not to be trifled with. Patrick proposes that it would be best to steal the Pieces of Silver in order to acquire the company (or a large chunk of it?). Steve wonders how the group would actually acquire the Silver. Jenni suggests using the basement while enhanced by the mystical vision provided by a potion from the Parfumier. Noah suggests that even if it’s morning, it’s best if they flex their basement skills and try going now and see if it helps with the time of day too. The conversation turns also to Lance Joyguard and exactly what he is (Steve says “he’s very Enduring”) and just how much worry there should be about wrapping up the Kelly Laboso business. Steven explains that Lance wanted to get this whole thing wrapped up before parcel arrives. There is some concern about the cryptic nature of all this.

The group get through to the Pluto Club, where it is dark and empty. Jenni discovers a safe behind the bar (next to a baseball bat and shotgun). She is able to unlock the safe and within discovers a little brown book labeled “Emergency Contact Details”. Within are contact details for Le Parfumier and photos are taken of the pages. This includes someone called ‘Legs’.

Jenni texts the number, arranges a meeting and goes there accompanied by Patrick. The exchange is made in the toilet stalls of a Debenhams and Jenni returns to take the drugs and go on her dream journey. Or whatever it happens with these mystery drugs.

Meanwhile Steven goes to his pre-arranged meeting with Laboso. Amadia decides to go with him (despite Noah’s protests and entreaties to stay here, stay safe). Jenni is on a metaphysical trip, so Steve takes Patrick. They got to Elephant and Castle and mill about on the platform waiting for it to clear. When Steve goes to get better signal up the stairs, he hears the busking music better (“I just can’t wait to be king”) and comes upon Kelly Laboso as the voice behind the song. She seems amused by Joyguard’s concern for her and asks his purpose (which Steve does not possess). She explains that if she wished to be contacted by Joyguard, she would have been, and she also feels that Joyguard would not be satisfied by being rebuffed again. There is a stand-off. Steve offers a polite threat which Laboso very much brushes off, but Steve continues less politely along the same lines. Laboso gives theatrical pretext as way of her ‘protest’ at being ‘forced’ to go with them. The group frog-marches her upstairs to a phone booth and Steve dials a number where he puts her on for Joyguard. Laboso is convinced of a need for a meeting and after the group declines to rough her up, suggests that the Quest is discharged but Joyguard expects Steve to further ‘entrap’ them.

Jenni stands upon a great cream-white plain. The area around is largely lifeless, with no plant or animal life. There are great blue-black gouges around the land as a song plays in the air – “Sympathy for the Devil” and the sun blinds. Basically a pretty intense trip-dream-quest. Jenni sees a book, a ledger, upon which she reads words of a contract about the Kray Twins and “the Bad Man”.which is a pre-arranged memory removal (removing their memories). One of the signatures Jenni recognises as her own, suggesting it was brokered between her and “The Bad Man” (and that he wouldn’t look for the revenge on her). Then Jenni stands in a cavern (mouth), and from within it she sees a large sack approach and giant silver coins wash down. She passes down but not into a stomach but into a space where the coins have gone. When she comes to on the sofa, she finds herself to have thrown up violently, which includes an untarnished silver coin.

On the way back from the meeting Patrick stops by St. Thomas’ to have a look at what’s going on. Patients are clearly being moved out and Patrick learns a little of what is going on – a gas leak according to some nurses.

The group (sans Steve) discuss the collective findings, and after deciding to see if they can find out more about the ‘Bad Man’ to see if Jenni can get her memories back. They decide to get Steve up (who reported back to Joyguard and received instructions to stay put and ensure continued access to the PORTAL). According to Steve, the Bad Man is a big name, works out of New York, who trades in ‘things’, including things which are… on a more intangible level. Getting a meeting seems like it would require a top-end introduction (e.g. Joyguard). The group decides on a visit to the Queenless Court to see if they could find Laboso.

Patrick brings up his concern that Patrick A wasn’t quite as dead as hoped and he has a bad feeling this is connected with St. Thomas’. Speculation abounds about what happened at St. Thomas’ when a “shouldn’t be dying” Patrick seems to have died there and Bad Patrick came instead. Steven suggests that Joyguard is exceptionally good at getting things killed, so might be a good way to deal with Bad Patrick.

The group ventures through to the Queenless Court via the basement. The train arrives and the group enters. There are fewer people in the lowest carriage and they look scared as a foreboding atmosphere is apparent. By the third carriage it seems everyone is drawn up but no factions are apparent and everyone looks sickened. Someone is called in by the Duke of Hazel and goes in, scared. Duke of Hazel and Lady Y appear to be still in contention while the regent’s council remains missing. The Duke of Hazel appears to be in ascendency.

The group is invited into the final carriage. Lady Y’s court is much-depleted and looking embattled while the Duke of Hazel’s court much larger than it ever was and includes even some who had previously been aligned with the Lady Y. The Duke of Hazel’s side is, like the Duke, half-swathed in bandages…

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Music to buried under

The door to the warren opens and Noah exchanges words with one of the yoofs who calls for Mother Jones. Once she determines that this is real Noah she calls LeFarge (the lawyer?) to assist her and the pair agree to go with Noah to a meeting at a coffee shop.

Noah expresses a limited willingness to work with the TNI and LeFarge hands him a small notebook whilst saying little of use himself. Noah fills them in a bit on some of the horrors that have resulted from Shirin’s death….and then succumbs to a poison they put in his drink.

Back at the Wych House Jenni and Amadia haul a groaning Patrick up to flat 6 and try to make him comfortable. Steve fetches CloNoah and he diagnoses the radiation burns as almost certainly fatal. Despite Patrick’s weak protestations and CloNoah’s last minute change of heart Jenni stabs a morphine filled syringe into Patrick’s side and eventually he succumbs. Shortly afterwards he makes his way back to the house and dumps his body in the next room’s bathtub.

The next morning Noah has still not returned and the residents are starting to grow concerned. Jenni takes some time to emerge from her room, with Patrick standing watch against various visitors.

Steve gets a message from Joyguard informing him that speed is of the essence as a parcel is coming [GM: Cannot recall if message was written or spoken – will add clarification if written]. He meets with Mother Jones, providing some upfront info and a promise of more in exchange for a meeting with Kelly.

The group heads off to find Noah and make their way to the Warren. Jenni breaks in and manages to break Noah out just as Mother Jones gets back.

Amadia reveals to Noah that she was worked out how to shift the doors around the Wych House.

Patrick researches TNIT and finds that they are owned by global plutarch Alex Abel and that the good family institute seems to be just one item in the portfolio of evil. He also notes that St Thomas’ just apparently had to shut down several wards due to an outbreak originating in the morgue. He then has a brief flash of Patrick B’s rows of screaming faces before hie collapses.

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Death Rights

Jenni arranges another emergency meeting, inviting the PCs plus the mysterious Cretan (who we’re hoping isn’t a Cruel One). She goes up to speak with Imogen who is just emerged from a dangling slime pod, and brings her up to speed on developments.

Noah senses a tremor from the basement. It is ominous.

Everyone goes to bed and awakens in the basement. We move on to the guest speaker and the absence of a person appears. [A man arrived who wasn’t there]
It claims that to decrypt the unreadable codex you need to read the first page. [The codex is unreadable, therefore begin by reading the first page]
It claims that no translation of ‘layer by layer the city was built’ was possible. [The original text of ‘layer by layer the City was built’ cannot be translated]
It claims that John Quincy could read it but can’t now. [John Quincy deciphered the text, but would not be able to read it]
It claims to be the author of the codex but not the writer.
It claims the codex was not written at all. [The codex is a lettered work of authorship, but was not written]
‘I was born as I was destroyed, so too the book’
Everything I said was a lie.

In Other Business Jenni summons John Quincy. His form is faded and patchy.
He read it using the reason of another world. Somewhere that existed beyond the labyrinth.
It is a city unknown to the living, and known to only some of the dead.
It may be possible to read the book simple by being near the portal.
He burned London along with Fanny, Adam, – Broxston in order to stop the Eater of the Dead entering the world. Then they used music to control it.

Steve encourages the group to try to call Shirin back but she doesn’t comes when called and instead a bioluminescent glow and strange fungal smell creep in. We adjourn and the meter starts to tick up. A spot of red mold is present on the plastic table. Imogen sticks her finger in and then another finger emerges and starts tapping on the table, spreading mold further. Patrick hits it with a pipe and then a hand grows out of the pipe and when Patrick drops it in flees off into the dark.

Jenni grabs some chemicals and these are used to battle the horrible mold limbs. A brief conversation follows in which becomes clear that any reference to the Red Piper causes the metre to tick up.
The metre is up to about 35k.

Steve arranges to meet Mother jones at Trafalgar Square the next noon.

Imogen and Jenni get Noah to help them take some blood in order to pay La Perfumier.

Steven goes to speak with the librarian and invites her over to the Wych House to try to read the Codex. Nothing happens in Room 2 but when they get down to the basement it becomes more comprehensible. Noah and Patrick put their heads together and are able to divine more meaning, learning much about the layers of the city- the wormtomb, the blightwood.
The metre continues to slowly tick upwards.
Patrick gets impatient about wrapping up and despite Steve’s warning attempts to force the prof. to leave. She goes nuclear. Noah flees in a panic and Jenni is forced to tend to a very nearly re-dead Patrick whilst Steve bluffs her into leaving with a threat against the library.

Noah has fled down the tunnels of the basement and finds himself knocking on the doors of the Warren.

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Pay the Piper

Jenni catches real Noah up to speed and they go down to see Steve and check up on other Noah- the fake attempts to kill him until he is assured that Noah is already dead and his work is done, whereupon he calms down.
Both Noah’s put their heads together and determine that TNI/The Warren are trying to gain control over the Underworld and that the relationship with Kelly is likely to have been set up when she was trying to integrate with the existing London power structures. It is not clear why Shirin was killed when she was- likely due to timelines brought down from on high.

Seeking accomodation for false-Noah they speak with Jacob’s wife, Alice, in flat 1 and learn that the wierd entities of the labyrinth were once dead people but have been transformed into servants of something. She agrees to take in not-Noah as a lodger.

The group takes the Basement to the stacks of the Fitzwilliam Library and find themselves next to the library’s vault. Going up to the appointment they find that they possess the ‘Travertine codex’ and ask to see it. Jenni sneaks after the librarian, Dr Alexander, and sees her do something a bit weird with the codex and a notebook- she takes a gander and sees that it is vol 18 of a translation effort.
As we look at the codex Noah flicks through the pages and he and Patrick pass out. In their minds they hear ‘And thus layer by layer was the city built’ as they come around.
Dr Alexander returns with some notes that appear to have been made by Shirin. We speak with her privately and she explains that the manuscript appears to describe (in an unhelpful fashion) impossible architecture. She suggests that the book might be related to a city of the dead. She also reveals that the author was ‘The Cretan’ and is very excited at the possibility of speaking with them.

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Dead Reckoning

Patrick is forced to leave the bathroom to give a speech to the assembled businessfolk. Having determined that his double is inconveniently absent he rails against his former peers and turns the whole room against him. An elderly gentleman chastises him for his crimes against the privileged and starts to advance upon him with a spatha he’s pulled from somewhere. Patrick grabs a poker from the fireplace and lays about the old man. They tussle as below Eviller-Patrick arrives and starts boisterously expressing his confusion. He is promptly assaulted by a couple of knifemen (one of whom he starts to consume) before a fellow in a tricorn and frockcoat arrives and looses his hounds on the murderous banker.

The elderly gent pitches Patrick off the balcony but landing well he is able to make a get away, his last glance showing him Patrick-A on the floor being savaged by a pair of massive dogs. He hails an Uber and heads off to St Thomas for treatment.

Jenni gets a call from the hospital and after alerting Steve heads off to St Thomas herself. She is let in to see Patrick who is babbling incoherently in a drug-addled state. She provides what information she can to a number of police offers.

That evening calls a meeting of a subcommitee comprising herself, Noah, Amadia and Steve. All are present bar Noah who has left a note saying that he can’t attend due to reality being unsure who he is. Kelly Loboso cannot attend but a Harry Lime-like individual enters the basement. ‘Harry’ reveals that he and Kelly are just personas of the same individual and that he was shed after an encounter with the Duke of Hazel brought them too close to the basement. It seems that they cannot be too close to those of the basement lest the Cruel Ones reach for them. Apparently the Ambassador is another member of their cluster but was safer for rarely being in the area.

Harry suggests that Plague, Death and ‘something that shouldn’t be named’ or the Traventine Codex could tell more of the past opening of the basement and its future.
He says that in extremity it will be better to let the ‘pressure’ out then in, and that they won’t let fire deal with them again…

Jenni phones the number provided by Harry and Mother Jones answers. She agrees to conduct messages to Kelly Loboso if Noah is brought back to her.

Steve goes through Mother Jone’s phone and emails and learns that her London operations have been going on for about a year. They are responsible for placing Amadia with Shirin and then later killing her with the Rite of Ash Kente. They ( a lunatic going by ‘L’) created a flesh-puppet Noah to handle things and then somehow fucked up and actual Noah got placed here instead due to a reality glitch.

Jenni and Amadia look into the Codex and find that it was lost in the Great Fire of London having been the property of a noble named John Quincy. They decide they need to get back to the music library where some of the man’s collection ended up.

Amadia goes to Steve’s flat and makes sure that doppel-Noah is comfortable. An armchair is duly shifted into the bathroom.

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Face Off

Imogen is awakened by Damocles who insists that more dog food be obtained for Audrey. On the way out she hear’s a noise from upstairs and goes to investigate. Up in her old flat she finds that dust is billowing as if some sort of blast had occured and there is a smell of cordite. She encounters The Immaculate Man who tells her it is time to ‘pay her debt’ and to give life to the two dozen she has wronged. She smashes his head in with her sledgehammer. They retreat back down to flat 5 and Damocles fills Audrey in on what has occurred. She politely brushes off the old woman’s attempts to comfort her and heads off to the Pluto club.

At the club Imogen agrees to hand Mary over to Pest within the next 3 days. After several hours of drinking the group staggers home, discussing their current plans and objectives.

The next morning Patrick dyes his hair and makes arrangements for the hitter to follow him to the evening’s reception and take out his brunette double. Steve recieves a delivery of the translated music pages and hands them over to Noah after having a quick look himself.

Imogen and Jenni speak with Mary who says that she took the Hand from the Twins and someone else took the Silver. So far as she knows they never had the Noose.

Steven speaks with other Noah and determines that he appears to have been programmed to kill by a Dr Andrew Langstrom on behalf of Mother Jones and TNI.

Noah reads through the papers and makes an appointment with the Fitzwilliam library to take Amadia to search for more relevant music/texts.

That evening Patrick is picked up by Valentina’s limo and they head off to the Mithraem. They are followed by Pest in his Morris Minor. He brazens his way into the event and then conceals himself in the bathroom.

Back at the Wych House at 6pm, the residents are called to the EGM. Everyone is present except blonde-Patrick. Jenni goes through her revised agenda and the Duke of Hazel attempts to have Old Pissant expelled but the motion is voted down.

At the Mithraem someone is knocking on Patrick’s stall telling him that he needs to give a speech.

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