Saturday October 1st, 1892 - The Challenge of Challenger
The group as a whole go to see Professor Challenger, who insults his way through the conversation. It is only when he agrees to visit their facilities and is attacked that be believes in the threat of the Night Watch. Rig, as per usual, is injured in the fight against the Night Watch agents, who also have one of the strange transforming creatures that were fought all those months ago in Hyde Park. Garvin discovers the joys of combat on Morphine, and Belladonna loses her medical bag in a carriage chase.
Sunday October 2nd, 1892
Challenger is taken around the lodge, spending a lot of the time in the visit complaining about the level of facilities and generally making himself unpleasant. He agrees, however, that he will join the lodge on the provisio that he gets to design his workshop himself, and can secure a £100 per month stipend, in addition to any parts that are required for the contraptions that he will build.
Rig and Garvin begin to rest and recuperate from the injuries they recieved in the battle outside Challenger's house.
Wednesday October 5th, 1892
Challenger's services are officially secured. As news of this circulates through the Rippers network, the acquisition of such a famous Scientist increases the Influence of the Southend lodge. The improved influence also brings with it an increase in responsibility, however - the lodge is now responsible for all points on the coast of England between Margate and Felixtow, including the London Docklands area.
Carstairs is put in charge of equiping Challenger's Workshop.
Friday October 7th, 1892 - The Circus of the Damned
The Reverend Steele recieves a letter from Jonathan Harker which sparks the lodge to begin preparing for a journey. Sir Robert is contacted and secures passage to Paris and a private carriage on the Orient Express.
Belladonna, Bonita and Mrs MacTannon arrange for new weapons and heavy, warm coats.
Garvin visits Challenger in an attempt to get him to join them with his experimental Rumkopfs Apparatus, he fails to gain Challenger's attendance, but secures the use of the experimental apparatus.
Tuesday 11th - Friday 14th October, 1892
Travel to Bucharest, and meed with Wilhemina Harker. She requests that The Reverend and his companions travel to Brasov to meet with a Father Anton Borescu, of the Reverend's acquaintance, to recover an ancient diary believed to be an early record written by Count Dracula. The Harkers have their own business to attend to, and members of their lodge travelling through Dracula's Domain are more likely to be noticed than these new champions amongst the Rippers.
Sunday 23rd October, 1892
Arrive in Brasov and discover that Father Borescu has travelled up into the mountains to hear the last confession of one of his elderly parishoners. His Curate, Marku, reccommends that they wait in the Black Knight Inn, and perhaps enjoy the Circus that is in town.
They hear a child scream as they walk around the town, and see a HUGE man with a young girl over his shoulder. They begin to intervene, but then are interrupted by the Ringmaster of the Circus Fabulosus. It transpires that the huge man is Atlas, the Strongman with the Circus, and the child was helping him put up posters advertising the Circus.
That night after Midnight, Bonnie is awakened by a mysterious young girl in rags, who sings a part of a rhyme to her, talking of Seven children, one of whom is killed. They follow the girl through the streets, and are led to a dead body. They report the death to the Police.
Monday 24th October, 1892
They investigate the Murders, using the Church Records and the Guildhall records, discovering that 51 years ago, and every 51 years before that seven children died. Every time this happened the Circus was in town, as were a band of Gypsies.
Garvin heads out to the Circus during the day, discovering that it will be set up and 'open' at 6pm.
The girl in rags 'visits' them again, singing a rhyme about six children, one of whom is killed, and leads them to a body that has been torn limb from limb. This disturbs Bonnie, Bella and Mrs MacTannon.
They attend the Circus in the Evening, and Rig wins £1 for Garvin in a boxing match, Bella wins a carved brooch 'hooking a duck' and Mrs MacTannon is scared of the Elephants.
The big show begins, and they all go in to watch. Garvin sees the girl in rags again - and he, Rig, Bella and The Reverend leave the show to find a dead Gypsy girl. They ask about the closest group of Gypsies and gain directions to find them.
Meeting with the Gypsies they are told that it is not the Gypsies that have killed any children, either now, or in the past, and a fortune teller "Grandmother" tells of a man that is not a man, that may only be killed with a Cold Iron Knife that has been drenched in the blood of an innocent.
Returning back to town, with a mind to investigate further later, Rig sees the girl in rags again, who leads them into a clearing where they are attacked by Clowns!
The battle done, and minds shaken, some of the group opiate themselves while the Reverend and Garvin burn the corpses of the Clowns.
Tuesday 25th October, 1892
Both the Town and the Circus are investigated, in that order, with a side-trip to find the Gypsies, who have moved their camp. When this is discovered and the Reverend's horse goes out of control, he Mrs. MacTannon and Bonnie decide to return to town. It appears that not much more can be learnt from the town at the moment and so the Circus is the only recourse to more information.
Infiltrating the circus during the early evening after enjoying the sideshows in the afternoon (and Garvin enjoying Lydia, the Tattooed Lady), the Rippers knock out a pair of bearded ladies, and then break into some of the circus caravans. In a caravan assumed to belong to the Ringmaster, Belladonna finds a large chest marked with the head of a Stag . "The Horned One" perhaps? The Reverend narrowly avoids getting his head knocked off by a trap within the chest - a spiked gauntlett on a spring. Belladonna finds a hidden compartment in the bottom of the chest, and in that is a diary, detailing several sets of seven deaths, every 51 years, along with an address in Brasov that no longer exists (it was burnt away in the fire of 1688) and the mention of a ritual of some kind.
Bonnie is disturbed by some clowns, approaching the caravans and manages to warn Garvin (who is searching a different caravan) to get out, while Rig distracts the Clowns. Eventually, the group leave the circus unharmed, and Garvin cops a feel of Bonnie.
Returning to town the Diary is read and it becomes apparent that the Ringmaster is behind the murders, every one of them since 1688, and that the original ritual was performed in a basement beneath a manorhouse in the middle of the town. The site has since been built over again. Much discussion occurs about whether to break into the houses now, or wait until morning and ask the inhabitants for access. Cooler heads win the day.
The girl visits again, leading to an alleyway filled with sticky pink goo, and a dissolving girl! Rig wets himself, several others are equally shaken. The Candyman is slain by Garvin.
Garvin and Rig (in clean trousers) patrol the town (and look for back ways into the houses where the mansion once stood) while the rest continue to read the diary.
Garvin sees the girl again (the sixth murder!) and catches the sword swallower from the circus in the act of devouring a child whole, like some kind of venus fly-trap. Both he and Rig are stunned enough that the sword swallower gets away.
Those reading the diary notice that there are two pages torn out. A further investigation of the binding reveals the two missing pages and it is discovered that the nature of the ritual and contract mean that the Ringmaster himself need not kill six of the seven victims each year, only the last must be his. All the Victims must come from Brasov, and be killed on the three nights of the full moon in October. The knife from the original ritual is not needed any more, and it appears he did, indeed, leave it in the cellar as he fled when the ritual ended and the great fire began.
Wednesday 26th October, 1892
Belladonna, Mrs. MacTannon and Rig go hunting for the Gypsies again. They find them and secure the aid of 4 Gypsies in the upcoming fight at the Circus.
The Reverend, Garvin and Bonnie go first to the church, where they discover the catacombs link to the town well, but not to the basement of the former mansion. They then go door-to-door and find one of the householders willing to allow his floor to be dug up. For a price.
Returning from their trip to the gypsies, Belladonna discovered the 'hole in the well' to the church catacombs from the other side and is excited, until the Reverend explains what it is. Mrs MacTannon forces here way into the Cellar of the Inn and discovers a 200 year old cask of whisky that she REALLY wants. It has no relation to the task at hand, but she attempts to persuade Sir Robert to buy it for her anyway. He refuses.
With the floor of the house dug out, the cellar of the former mansion can be investigated. It is massive, with the ceiling above held up by five massive pillars, a Pentagram drawn between them. There are seven dust covered skeletons down here, along with a dagger, which itself is in the middle of the pentagram.
Garvin steps up to take the dagger and a 'guardian' of sorts appears - a Horned Deamon, much like Baphomet. A mighty battle ensues, and Belladonna and Mrs. MacTannon both find the stress a little too much and suffer heart attacks!
With the beast defeated, and Garvin and the Reverend hearing a peculiar message ... The Reverend discovers a Copper 'head' much like the silver one found near Baphomet .. it is taken for later study. Sir Robert takes the Sacrificial dagger.
They move swiftly to the Circus, where once again they see the girl, who enters into the Circus ring. As they enter, the crowd of folks from Brasov are cheering as if they are seeing a Circus show - but instead there is a circle of freaks, clowns and bearded ladies, around the Ringmaster, the Strongman and the Sword Swallower, the little girl walking into the centre in a daze.
The Reverend rallies the people of Brasov, reading excerpts from the Ringmaster's Diary, while the others move into position to either save the girl, or attack the foe.
A mighty battle ensues. The men of Brasov (some of them at least) fight bravely. Garvin is briefly controlled by the Ringmaster and his Whip. Several times the Ringmaster comes close to striking the girl, but never quite gets in a telling blow - at one point Belladonna shields the girl with her body and is heavily damaged. Sir Robert is held up by the sword swallower, and is almost consumed more than once, as is Garvin. Rig, after a blow from Atlas loses his composure and eventually destroys the Giant in his berserk rage, tearing out the fiends eye!
After an epic conflict Sir Robert gets a telling blow into the Ringmaster with the sacrificial dagger, and all goes silent. The demons are defeated!
The reverend recruits the four men of Brasov that survived the battle to join their cause!
Transport is arranged for the various demonic corpses, so they may be sent to Castle Buda.
Thursday 27th October, 1892
Father Borescu returns to Brasov, and enquires how the group have amused themselves in "his quiet little town". He is both shocked and surprised at the answer, and gives each member his blessing before they leave the town with Dracula's Diary. As they leave, they see the girl again. This time she leads them to a grave, the inscriptions detailing that these are the graves of those that died 51 years ago. One of the graves has a rag-doll lying on the earth. A dove settles on the gravestone as they leave.