May 21st, 2004

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Victorian Age Vampire: A Game of Notes (pt 1)

Turn the clocks backward, wind the clockworks and unleash the vortices of imagination. Back to August, 1875. Edinburgh, Scotland. Many faces will take the stage in this drama, but two shall recur:

Young American professor Adamina has come by ship and train from the American Northeast, to explore her family's clan history. Once in Scotland, she met someone who would change her life forever, by ending it. Charlotte Ferguson, an Irish immigrant to Scotland. Though Adamina's heart no longer beats, though her skin is cool to the touch, there is still existence inside her. A ravenous beast, which seeks nothing more noble than immersion into savage barbarism; and a Will which can, for now, stave off the impulses. Adamina has now crossed over into a strange and unique world, one she could never wholey expect or preconfigure, where some of the history she has learned is fabricated. Where the fantastic is very, dangerously real. She has not done this alone, however, for the creature that transformed her, now aids her as mentor and teacher. The professor has become a student, once more.

As a student in the Royal Academy of Dance and Performance, Eleanor met her perverse deliverer. An Uncle's lust for Power placed Eleanor in this perverse fiend's hands, and her descent into darkness was done with glee and vigor that cooled as time passed and interest waned. She is now an actress and an artist, finding herself relegated to secondary roles, when once she was the lead. It appears she has become too familiar and must now retreat, for a time, into the shadow of her own previous glory. But what is time to the immortal?

*

The tale begins proper with an illicit exchange and a shadowy confession.

Upon return from an evening appreciating ancient druidic rites, Adamina discovered her wardrobe disturbed. A faint scent of her subtle perfume in the air, the bottle cracked? And a deposit of four slim strangers: letters she had never seen before. Adamina sat down to read them.

The first was in a foreign script, addressed to Ewan, and signed by a Luisa Maria Llosa-Borgia.

The second, a note in tight script, detailing a the results of an investigation into local politics and incidents of interest. This letter was stamped with a crest for the Muir family.

The third note, a loose and airy piece, thanked an unknown benefactor for assisting in funding the completion of a work of art, and having this art placed in a prominant position, where the true Head of the City, the Prince, would not be able to ignore it, no matter how hard she tried.

The fourth note was at once congratulatory and conspiratorial, welcoming a "brother" into the company of some society called the Scotland Bourne.

Everything strange and certainly private. And only one of them addressed, and that to Ewan, the harpy of the city, the second most important voice in Edinburgh's Undead world -- first would be the Prince (a gender neutral term), Lady Besse Dancourt, who decided the city's fate; second, the harpy, whose voice determines social fates, source for rumors and opinions, whose words are taken quite seriously.

Adamina met the harpy once: upon her formal presentation to the city's undead court, and he was less than impressed with her. Why then should his private letters have ended up in her possession?

*

After a performance of Sir Johnson's *Macbeth* opera, Eleanor entertained two surprise visitors. One, the gallant if monstrous Belmont Turnby, and exemplary speciman of the disfigured clan of the undead known as the Nosferatu, arrived to congratulate her on the performance. After the house's gaslights extinguished, leaving onto the dripping tallow candles in the stage's chandelier, the second visitor arrived, though he did not speak to Eleanor.

Instead, he boasted to Turnby, of committing three burglaries this night: one from the new childe of the rabble, one from the harpy of the city (where he also planted false evidence implicating the new childe), and a third, to plant the stolen goods in the new childe's possession. The rabble's possession was inconsequential, a scented kerchief, easily overlooked by any not searching for clues to a crime. The harpy's possessions, however, were "under lock and key and lock, again", valuable presumably, though they seemed nothing more than mere pages.

Why had he done this? An opening deposit on a debt of vengeance against Turnby, who had glanced too long at the new rabble, upon her presentation, a glance that betrayed (to this shadowy confessor's mind) deep felt emotions.

The confessor fled the scene, then, into the streets, bathed in shadows.

Turnby and Eleanor gave brief chase, but the shadow was gone, swallowed by the night.

Turnby identified the voice, as of an old acquaintance, Thomas Dacre. Eleanor suggested aiding the neonate. Desire to do so, as they may, they had no means by which to reach her, other than knowing her sire, Charlotte Leary, was a teacher thru one of two Universities. Turnby went on to the first of the possibilities; Eleanor would change from her stage clothes, and send word to the second possibility.

*

Thus, began the dangerous "Game of Notes"...
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