Goth's Notebook Entry No. 1 - Recon at the Piper Estate

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The Sewers

Scene 1: 5:30pm - Meeting Mr. Hyde

Below are my notes from our meeting with Mr. Hyde with his conversation as best as memory serves. In this account, I have changed the names of my accomplices, using only their code names, to protect the innocent. - Goth

I am Mr. Hyde. I know that it is not a perfect night for a job. The moon is just past full, although tonight the thieving gods have favored us with an overcast and windy night. It has been raining on and off for several days. However, we have information that the woes of the guilds in London are all tied to this house and certain events which happen here occasionally. Tonight is one of those nights.

One of our operatives is lucky enough to be a member of the Royal Occult Society and has been invited to the gala this evening. To these society types they go by the name Professor Whyte. They are formally dressed and without the protection of even a gun or knife. However, they are watching the proceedings and can be called upon for help, if needed. They have strict orders not to intervene unless you explicitly instruct them to – as this would blow their cover and there was no time for advanced planning. To get Professor Whyte to act, you must give the code, “It’s an odd evening for coat and tails.” Whyte will respond with, “Indeed, I would rather be dressed for action.”

Let me read to you Professor Whyte’s invite:

Thursday, 30 October 1890

Dear Professor Whyte,

I apologize for the short notice and impersonal delivery of this note, but we are calling a special meeting of the London Occult Society for tomorrow evening – Friday, October 31 – All Hallow’s Eve – at sunset at the home of Leonora Piper, the trance mystic. As a long-time member in good standing, you are encouraged to participate in this exciting opportunity to contact the beyond.

Leonora has informed me that she has had a special mystic bond with the recently-sighted ghost of Guy Greville. Tonight is the night that Guy has promised to reveal a great secret, something that alludes to shaking the very foundation of the Empire.

Only fifteen members of the Society have been invited. Regretfully, no guests or latecomers will be welcomed for the evening. The proceedings start promptly at 6:00pm. The Piper mansion is at 6 Bacons Lane, Highgate, adjacent to St. Michael’s Parish Church and the Highgate Cemetery. Dress is formal. RSVP.

Sincerely,

Dr. John Baker President, London Occult Society

We believe the séance is just a cover for another ritual – one which will summon a physical manifestation of the dead sailor to wreak vengeance on our people. You see, the chaos of the past weeks have only one common thread – they have been perpetrated by the dead. Your mission is to break into the mansion and stop Guy’s summoning. Remember, we think the séance is just a cover for the real summoning.

Above us is the Piper Mansion. Leonora Piper is not someone who is well known to us, as she is not a professional charlatan and currently enjoys the favor of the law. In fact, we believe that Scotland Yard supports her recent efforts – as there are officers stationed around the grounds. She has lived here in the house at 6 Bacons Lane for the past 29 years. She and her husband bought it from an ex-naval officer called the Commodore. Her husband, Col. Piper, is deceased – died of a brain hemorrhage in March of this year. They have no children, and Mrs. Piper seems interested only in the occult.

The house is not a fortress but some of our usual routes of entry are not available. The sewers that run under St. Michael’s church, where we are now, do not extend under the streets of Bacons Lane nor into Highgate Cemetery behind the estate. We haven’t been able to find a Mistress Tunnel either – although the house is old enough to have one.

In addition to the Occult Society, there are the police, private guards and staff. We don’t want a bloodbath in there – quietly in and out, if you will. Kill if you need to but we don’t want Scotland Yard making this caper their focus.

Scene 2: 5:45pm - The Sewers

A slight cloaked figure dashed into the room, and a soft child’s voice with a slight lisp whispered to the large bearded man. “The guests are arriving, sir, the game is afoot.”

“Good luck ladies and gentlemen. I’ll meet you back here shortly after midnight – if you are successful in your mission. Remember, success will bring you into the Haunting Hand. Long live the Guild.”

At this Mr. Hyde left the room – and I decided to follow – motioning for the others to do the same. Although he could only be fifty feet ahead of us, we quickly lost Mr. Hyde’s trail. Eventually, we tracked him back to an alcove in the wall flanked by two candles on small ledges – wherein a strange chalk drawing seemed to – and I hate to write this lest my words be considered ramblings – move of its own accord. The drawing was that of a winged serpent coiled upright. Bop touched it and was sickened – although he told later of a vision he had of a room with cages and an altar.

Deciding to leave the sewers which appeared to be unconnected to the main Piper Estate, we avoid a shaft filled with shifting debris – and the animals hidden within – retracing instead our original path into the labyrinth.

Scene 3: 6:00pm - Scouting the Grounds

Before I describe the Estate House, we decided to recon the area – starting with an aerial view provided to us courtesy of St. Michael’s church next door. While the others engaged the local priest who was setting up for an All Saint’s Day service, I made my way up to the roof and then the steeple. The estate, as Mr. Hyde described it, lay at the end of a street backing up to Highgate Cemetery.

The surrounding buildings were dark – their occupants either away or retired for the night. Several outbuildings – three that were visible from my vantage point – were also dark. The graveyard was quiet, although I did spy a small figure sitting atop the stone wall separating the Piper Estate from Highgate. Our first stop.

As I was coming down, Spider returned from her surveillance of the front gate. Here is her description:

"An old beggar sits next to a grand wrought iron gate set into an ancient stone wall which surrounds the property. His white cane is propped against the wall, and he has a tin cup in his hands. He wears a set of dark spectacles. Two large black metal ravens sit atop the wall on either side of the gate. Guests are arriving, as a string of hansom cabs deposit their charges near the front gate. The guests seem to know each other and chat cheerily with amongst themselves. Each is dressed formally – revealing their upper class upbringing. As each guest approaches the front gate, they drop a coin into the beggar’s tin cup. The beggar nods to them. A sergeant stands near the gate checking each guest off a list in a leather book."

"As I was getting ready to leave, the sergeant checks off the last guest, closing the book and tucking it under his arm. He nods to the blind man and turns to walk towards the house. The blind man gets up, revealing a chain and large iron lock that were concealed behind him. He looks around, goes inside the gates, pulls them shut and locks them with the iron lock. He then moves quickly towards the house. Very strange - it certainly seems like a captive audience at the Estate."

Scene 4: 6:15pm - Highgate Cemetery

Although our sniper wanted to kill the cloaked figure, we took Mr. Hyde’s advice of not killing needlessly to heart. Sneaking along the outside of the Piper Estate wall, we approached the Highgate Cemetery. A quick sling shot knocked the figure off the wall – which we discovered to be a boy dressed in a cloak. He was unconscious, so we tied him up and went to investigate the mausoleum. Although the locks appeared to have recently been picked, we could hear guttural sounds and scrabbling of claws on the inside. Just as the discussion was turning to our next course of action, a man with a large cross and a sword appeared over the opposite hill – coming from deep within the cemetery grounds.

Chasing him were a number of badly beat up men – their clothes tattered, soaked, and arms and legs akimbo. Quickly deciding to intervene, we took down the creatures – and I say creatures because the men were fighting appeared to be more corpse than living. An odd exchange told us the man was Nicholas Whitby, Zombie Hunter. The man was clearly mad as he kept babbling about “Green Hags” over the hill by a lake – and creating zombies from a cauldron. I took Mr. Whitby to Highgate’s front entrance and bade him be off to fight another day.

We decided to avoid the mausoleum and break into the Piper Estate the old-fashioned way – via the roof and upper floor windows. The child was awake now. He said that his name was Darius and that he was watching the crypt for a large man – presumably Mr. Hyde – and that if anyone entered, the child was to tell the cook “the Commodore is sinking”. He seemed nervous telling us this because he had been promised a quid if he stood his post all night. We paid him two quid and sent him on his way.

Our final stop was to skirt the outbuildings on our way to the manor house. Three guest houses appeared empty. We picked the locks and checked them out. One appeared to house two women who were away but in the employ of for Mrs. Piper as gamekeepers – an ichor-powered tranquilizer gun and darts were taken. The second was empty. The third held a man who was apparently held prisoner – as his legs and arms were chained to the bedpost. The others didn’t recognize the man, but I knew him as the recently-escaped Nottinghill Slasher (William Piper). We left him sleeping.

Time to climb the roof and break in – a description of Highgate Cemetery and the Piper Estate follows.

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