Tuesday 1st May, 1894 - Something Rotten in RottingdeanEdit
After a hearty breakfast, and recieving an invitation to dinner with one Mr. Rudyard Kipling, an author who has recently bought 'The Elms' - a manor in Rottingdean - Sir Robert, Jones and Cheng-Lou set out to investigate the Village of Rottingdean further, beginning with the Village Green, where the pond provides the drinking water for the area and four children went missing some three months ago, mirroring similar disappearances some thirty-five years ago.
A set of old cart tracks are found - but once they move out onto the road it is anyone's guess as to where they went to or came from.
The next port of call is the church. Jones picks the lock, but the group are soon run off by a strange, hunchbacked man that appears to speak only in grunts.
Leaving the hunchback seated on the church steps, glaring after them, they go for a walk in the countryside that takes them up to the Windmill. Sir Robert ventures inside and finds the rotten timbers of the floor unable to support his weight. In the cellar, he finds a set of stone stairs, carved down into the hill.
Jones heads back to the hotel to call for Belladonna, so that she might check Sir Robert is allright after his fall, and as the Doctor makes her way to the Mill, the boy notices the hunchback has left the church, and so sneaks back in, and then into the rectory where he makes some disquieting discoveries about the papers that the Priest has been reading. Tomes of Dark Sorcery, detailing the rites of aquatic creatures that walk like men, pictures of disturbing-looking statues, and a list of names - including the names of the missing children, three out of four of which are circled on a paper headed "And The Blood of Their Children Shall Sustain Them". There is also a trapdoor leading into a cellar, but Jones avoids this, instead, tearing some pages from the books to show the adults.
Jones runs up the hill to find the adults, and drags them back to the church. Belladonna is shocked that Jones has defaced the tomes, but soon that shock is superceded by the realisation that the priest may have been involved in the abduction of the missing children.
Deciding it is best to not stay too long in the church where they might be found, they return to the windmill and begin to explore the caverns beneath it - after much wandering around, Sir Robert realises that if they don't return to the hotel soon, there will be no time to dress for dinner, so they make their way back.
Dinner at the Kipling's is pleasant, though the conversation proves problematic for Belldaonna as Mrs Kipling presses her for news of society gossip and fashions in London. Meanwhile, Jones is asked to hold a lantern for one of the servants as they go to fetch wine from the cellar. While down there he spies another trapdoor leading lower still, and learns from the servant that there are tunnels and caves underneath the whole of Rottingdean - in fact, the village was once a centre of smuggling activity and most of the houses have access to the cave system in one way or another. He is spun a ghost story about the dead smugglers, who dissapeared about thirty years ago, coming out to seek revenge against those that stopped their business.
For much of the rest of the day, he continues to mutter under his breath "There's no such thing as Ghosts ..."
After dinner, Sir Robert is stunned to spot a statue on the Kipling's mantle that matches the picture from the book that Jones found in the Church. The Kiplings tell him that they found it in the cellar, shortly after moving into the Elms, and put it on display as a conversation piece, as it reminded them of some of the native carvings from their time in India.
Walking back to the hotel that evening, they are attacked by a stampede of frenzied cows, that appears to be being driven by a hunchbacked figure in a hood, who dissappears when the Rippers get close to him ...
Wednesday 2nd May, 1894Edit
After a hearty breakfast, the group split up, agreeing to meet back at the hotel at mid-day. Garvin, Carl and Tim are still recuperating from the Cow attack the previous night, and St. John maintains his watch over the half-breed boy.
Sir Robert and ChengEdit
After visiting the village store and buying a large amount of rope and candles, telling the shopkeeper that they intend to go Spelunking and refusing any offers of a guide to the caves.
Next, they head up to the Windmill, in the hopes of accessing the cave system underneath Rottingdean without being seen by any of the villagers. They find that the Windmill door has been boarded over.
Not wishing to have to go to the effort to break in, particularly in daylight, they head back into the village and to the church. Hammering on the locked church door elicits no response. So Cheng's monkey picks the lock and they enter cautiously. A shot rings out from within, and Sir Robert is injured. They battle their way into the church, discovering that they are facing the hunchback, wielding a pistol. Father MacDougall makes a run for it, and mounts a horse and rides off, leaving Sir Robert and Cheng stunned in his wake. This allows his hunchbacked aide to escape into the catacombs beneath the church.
Using the lanterns they bought earlier, they follow after him, discovering a wine-press in the cellar, that appears to have been used to crush a child to death - Sir Robert is more than a little disturbed by this, but they press on regardless into the caves below the cellar. Unfortunately they find they are unable to track the hunchback down and return to the church.
Belladonna and JonesEdit
Start out walking in search of a source of fresh water, as Belladonna is certain that the text "And the Blood of their Children Shall Sustain them" infers that the villages water supply has been tainted.
In their travels they see a group of farmers gathered in a lane not far out of town, sneaking closer to find out what has interested them so much, they discover that they are looking at a number of cow corpses. Bella and Jones decide that it is best to leave them well enough alone, and continue on their travels.
Jones spys a dark-cloaked man riding a horse hard up to the Windmill, tethering it out of sight. They make their way up there to see who he is, and find the windmill has been recently boarded over, then broken into. Jones attempts to steal the horse, but is chastised by Bella. Then the boy sets the horse loose instead, positing that whoever the man in black was, must be bad to be going down into the catacombs, and on foot, he'll be easier to find later. Chastised by Bella again, Jones runs off to avoid a clip round the ear, or worse.
Bella returns to the Village and spies Sir Robert and Cheng leaving the church. They call her in to investigate the books and she discovers that the Statue of a Fishman seen in the Kipling's house could be responsible for bringing the fishmen to Rottingdean.
Returning to the hotel they discover that Jones has returned and is spinning a tale to Garvin, Carl and Tim about the 'horse issue'. It results in Jones getting a caning from Sir Robert.
A foray, with all of the present Rippers attending, into the catacombs beneath the church leads them to find a cave where fishmen are stacking eggs in their dozens. The Rippers attack, but are, in the main, captured in mystical columns of water - Tim Simms nearly drowning as a result - while the fishmen flee.
Those that are able, give chase, and find a huge chamber containing a creature of gargantuan proportions that can only be Mother Hydra. One of Sir Robert's Dogs - Gemma - slips and falls to her doom, being devoured by the scores of Fishmen that are tending to their mother. Realising they are up against more than they can safely face, they retreat back to the surface in order to better prepare to destroy Mother Hydra.
The Battle of RottingdeanEdit
Cheng and Belladonna enlist the aid of the villagers, rousing them to battle through showing their injuries and attesting to the fact that the children that went missing three months ago - and indeed thirty years ago - was the doing of the fishmen beneath the village.
Belladonna then requests that Charles Rolls take her as swiftly as possible to Brighton (where she intends to visit the Brighton Lodge and acquire some explosives, the better to deal with Mother Hydra)
While Cheng gathers the villagers together and ensures that they are armed, Sir Robert goes to visit the Kiplings and requests that he take the statue from them. Seeing Sir Robert so heavily armed, Kipling, somewhat bemused, aquieses. The statue is taken to the village green and destroyed with no little ceremony.
Sir Robert then takes charge of the villagers and leads them into the catacombs to take the fight to the fishmen. During the battle, he falls, his eye gouged out by one of the aquatic foes, but it remains attached by the nerve. Cheng-Lou then takes charge, and the fishmen are routed, as Belladonna returns with the explosives that are to be used to bring the cave down on top of Mother Hydra, ending the fishman menace in Rottingdean.
Thursday 3rd May, 1894Edit
The explosives are set and the cave above Mother Hydra is brought down, while Belladonna rushes Sir Robert back to Southend to do what she can for his eye in the Operating Theatre.
Friday 4th May, 1894Edit
Sir Robert undergoes surgery which saves his eye, but leaves him with a scarred face.
Saturday 5th May, 1894Edit
The rest of the Rippers return to Southend and Sir Robert begins treatments with Drs House and Chase for his Night Terrors.
Monday 28th May, 1894Edit
A Fundraising social event is planned, with invitations being sent out to the main benefactors of the Lodge and sundry others, to include an auction of artefacts from Egypt and crafts made by the children of Archway house.
During the gathering Cheng speaks with the General, and after giving him incontrevertible proof that the creatures of the night are real, the former Soldier is recruited into the Rippers as a military advisor.
Sir Robert persuades Percival St. John-Smythe to donate to the lodge, as being seen to give to a charity will help to improve his status.
Jones demonstrates his lessons to a Canon, and the church gives a gift in aid of the House.
Belladonna gets into a long discussion with a gentleman claiming to be a scholar of international myth-cycles, who is also looking for a teaching position - but she catches him out and discovers him to be a fraud!
A Surprise VisitorEdit
The whole party is silenced as two couples enter the room - one is unmistakable - it is the Prince of Wales and his latest paramour, and accompanying him is his son, Prince Albert Leopold (also known to Belladonna as 'Albion' one of the secretive Masked Rippers!).
Albion takes Belladonna aside and during their conversation he discovers that she might have some information that could lead to the finding of Van Helsing, and he presses her to do so a soon as possible.
Jones takes it upon himself to arrange Garvin's Irregulars to perform an impromptu collection after the auction has taken place. He manages to earn as much as the auction itself, and a signet ring bearing the crest of the Prince of Wales himself!