Journal of Dr. Clive James No. 1 - Murder at Monkshood - 9 January 1892
Scene 1. Monkshood Estate
Monkshood Estate (Current head of household, William Monkshood IV; granddaughter, Lyla Monkshood - mother died in childbirth, father disappeared mysteriously)
Apparently summoned, all the party members arrive predetermined at 5:00 pm at the estate. The guests see an older estate hand move behind the manor pushing a wheelbarrow. One of the party members knocks on the front door and Graves opens the door for the party to enter. While he gathers the guests into an antechamber, he gathers their calling cards and tells guests he will notify Mr. Monkshood that they are there, he is expecting them.
To Graves (and the waiting guests) surprise, he receives no answer to his knock upon the door, which is locked from within. "He never locks the door," mutters Graves, surprised. One of the guests asks Graves about another entrance to the room, and Graves describes it. The guest leaves the party to find his way to the other door. Meanwhile, a cook, Mrs. Grace Hooper, peaks in on the scene and then returns to her kitchen. Georgina follows Mrs. Hooper to the kitchen to ask her questions and set a query for tea for the party.
The Vicar leaves the party to look around the house for a window into the Masters study. Once outside, he sees and well-groomed hound, tied to a stake. The dog sounds a loud alarm, and then Jeeves, a stableman (who was pushing the wheelbarrow earlier) comes out of one of the smaller buildings to ask what the Vicar wants (besides donations to the Church). Jeeves, who is clearly an early drinker, (forcefully) directs the Vicar to go see Mrs. Hooper in the Big House to get set right with the property and grounds.
Scene 2. Monkshood Estate
The Colonel and Adventurer, having forced open the door (after multiple attempts), are the first to learn that William Monkshood IV is dead. The other guests enter from the forced door. Dr. James, through his medical training notes the man has been dead less than a few hours and that he died of poison. Apparently the last activity of William Monkshood was to arrange the chess pieces in three specific batches (like puzzles). White rook, 1 black pawn, 2 white pawns, a dead white queen; White bishop, 1 black pawn, a dead white king; Knight, 2 black pawns, 1 white pawn.
Dr. James also found that he was clutching a chess piece in his hand when he died. Additionally, William Monkshood was wearing a ring on his hand with the Monkshood Estate crest.
Mrs. Hooper alerts Jeeves and the staff to come to the manor. Upon questioning, there are 8 who make the household. Mr. Monkshood and 7 staff. Jeeves notes that two newer staff, recently hired hands (Gregson and Culverson) are absent. Jeeves seems to look askance at Mrs. Hooper, as if distrusting the two. A Ms. Julia Haringford (nanny to the sleeping grand daughter of William Monkshood, Lyla) rather insists on notifying the police immediately, and she wants to be the one to do so. Robert tries to prevent her from leaving the house and begins to try to verbally persuade her, in the hallway.
During this time, remaining in the study with the body of William, Georgina has chosen to perform a psychometry experiment upon the chess piece, the last focal point of William Monkshood's thoughts, before he died. She agrees to do this experiment if Dr. James will stay along her side in attendance, due to the possible loss of sanity. In her experimental trance, Georgina lives through the final moments of William's life, learning what William knew as he died. At great risk to herself, she holds onto the chess piece, gaining more of William's last thoughts. When it seems she is becoming rigid and non-responsive to communication, Dr. James forces open Georgina's hand, and when she drops the chess piece she shouts "Haringford!"
Georgina is very incapacitated by this experience, immediately afterward, and Dr. James attends to her. Although he can't quite replace her sanity yet, he does in a few minutes bring her back to physical health and comfort. They discuss a knowledge transfer of her experiential knowledge.
Meanwhile, out in the hallway, near the stairs, is heard Robert's shouted interrogative, "why are pointing that gun at me, Ms. Haringford?!?!" After some more attempts at verbal persuasion, Robert attempts a blow to her head with his gun butt… and misses. Ms. Haringford is off up the stairs like a rabbit, with the Colonel and Robert soon giving chase. She is ahead of them and runs into (presumably) her own room. The Colonel and Robert enter the room behind her almost immediately, to see her legs disappearing beneath her bed.
Robert tries to grab Ms. Haringford from under the bed, but he can't seem to find her. The two men move the bed aside, and she is not there. Noticing that there is no trap door… there is only a mystery. The two search mattress, and see chalk mark outline that would have been above the floor space below the bed. Robert believes she may have disappeared into or through the mattress, so he sticks his head into Ms. Haringford's mattress. The experience for Robert seems to continue for much to long and the Colonel removes the mattress from around Robert's head, and he is clearly suffering from some loss with reality… mattress portals have a price on sanity.
Meanwhile, as soon as Ms. Haringford popped into her mattress portal, she emerged elsewhere, popping out from beneath the pool table in the study/murder scene of William Monkshood. Still discussing, and recovering and healing from, the results of Georgina's pscyhometric trance, both Georgina and Dr. James couldn't help but notice when Ms. Haringford did a drop-roll from beneath the pool table. Dr. James grabbed and held her, while Georgina pulled out her pistol and point-blank shot her in the thigh with am alarming quickness that would have embarrassed the gun-totin' Vicar, had he seen it. Dr. James checked Ms. Haringford for the poison she used on William. While it wasn't the poison used to kill William, he finds on her person a vial of Oil of Taggit, which is useful to render someone unconscious.
Scene 3. Monkshood Estate
The Colonel checks in on Lyla by entering her room. By now she is fearful and screams. The Colonel tells her to "be calm… stay the course," to little avail.
Upon interrogation by Robert and the Colonel, Ms. Haringford begins some seemingly fearful warnings (inane gibberish?) along the following lines:
"There is no way you can stop us! We are already here. We don't need the girl. He's coming tonight. It will be glorious when the keys are together and he is summoned! The dark (one) will eat you and devour your soul." … pleasant thoughts along those lines… then some of the party noticed movement from outside the window. Upon closer inspection by the windows, shots come from outside. Robert quickly moves upstairs for better angle of view and attack.
The two figures, who the party assumes to be Gregson and Culverson, move toward the manor's abandoned churchyard. Other than Dr. James and Georgina, the party gives pursuit out into the grounds. Of note, the church is boarded up, not used of late, and the belfry is boarded too. Approaching the churchyard fence from its outside, the party sees 9 shambling mounds within the churchyard fence, moving toward them.
Notes of the battle with the undead: stabbing sword wounds have little effect, bullets have little effect, dynamite has impressive effect (Colonel took time to place stick of dynamite inside an undead being, thereby giving his dynamite… legs.), clubs have better effect than stabbing swords, shotgun blasts have some useful effect, the Vicar's blessing has a slightly useful effect.
Well, with sounds of gunshot and explosions, it seemed well and good to stay within doors to Georgina and Dr. James. They gathered the staff, usefully, away from windows. Then they sent Jeeves off for the police and authorities… he was "happy to do so." Eventually the undead are destroyed.
Scene 4. Monkshood Estate
Now that the undead are removed, the party can resume its original hunt for the two hired hands who had shot at them. The doors of the church ajar hey enter.
It is in ruin, within... dusty, but within a storage room they find black candles. Upon seeing the chalk-drawn pentagram, Robert wipes it away. And they find a trail of fresh blood (from one of the two wounded hired hands). For a moment the Vicar thinks he saws something fluttering on the space above the entrance doors. Pistols drawn, he goes up the ladder into that space, but he doesn't remember that it seemed important at the time he arrives there. He withdraws from that space, and the party resumes together.
Following the trail of blood to a lecturn, party realizes it is a moving trapdoor to down below. Gregson and Culverson have escaped through this trapdoor. They are traveling a tunnel to a mausoleum on the grounds.
The colonel decides to walk the grounds a bit, and when beside the mausoleum, he hears Gregson and Culverson approaching it for their escape. He jauntily meanders back over to the church, where all the windows are broken, and gets the attention of the rest of the party there… and… when Gregson and Culverson emerge from the mausoleum, the party shoots them dead.
Upon examination on one of the two bodies is a note, hastily scrawled: "Tutbury Stone Circle… So now." And there is a key on the body also, which we take. Eventually the party finds a tunnel from the basement of the church to the manor's root cellar. Dinner is had.
Next come the police OR authorities. We must consider this before they arrive… quickly.