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Author Topic: The Barker Street Irregulars Case 3 The Malicious Book  (Read 3923 times)
Steampunk Away
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« on: January 14, 2016, 02:03:56 pm »

"Sven, we need to talk," said Abraham, walking into his old black market friend's house.

"And what about Abraham."

"I found a book, black, covered in runes and symbols. Inside was some more magic, but it seemed more powerful than what I have encountered before, it seemed like something from my homeland, only much more...sinister."

"A grimoire? Haven't seen one in ages, and they fetch a pretty penny I'll tell you. But where is it now? At your little clubhouse?"

Abraham paced nervously, clenching and unclenching his fists.

"Perhaps it is there, who can say what Celia did, but she did have it."

Sven stood up from his ancient desk, and moving to a book case behind him, pulled a book out and handed it to Abraham.

"Abraham, my friend, I have a fear that you may have bitten off more than you and your friends can chew."

And with a swift motion, Sven pushed Abraham all the way out the door.

"Now go friend, and beware of the crows and rats."
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Stella Gaslight
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2016, 04:40:41 pm »

This was bad.  Celia was utterly cut off from the city and the forest knew it and kept changing the path.  It did not help that deep in her heart she was scared of this strange wild place.  The countryside was better. She could feel man's hand in it but this was nature's own land and it had no place for her.  Trying not to look over her shoulder she spread the breadcrumbs and tried not to notice the crows circling.

Toby was worried.  Mama had been gone longer than he had ever remembered.  If she stayed away too long the city would suffer.  He tried to call up the heart string that connected him to his family but it wouldn't come no matter what he did.  It was all he could do to call on the irregulars and hope one of them could help.  There was the mirror he reminded himself but getting it to work properly was hard for a beginning mage.
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Ranger Reid
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2016, 08:30:55 pm »

Reid slept fitfully.  The nightmare of his reality over the last few weeks kept encroaching on his sleep.  Not even the luxurious bed at Celia's was enough to bring him rest.

Rather than continue tossing, the ranger climbed out of bed quietly, and slipped his weapons out.   The katana was glowing lightly.  Seems the dagger still had some charge left in it.   Absently the man pointed his sword and released a small portion of energy in to the floorboard.    A web of sparkling sticky magic residue spilled on to the wooden floor.

Reid smiled tightly.   He had never seen any of the energy his weapons trapped turn in to anything physical before.  Usually he just got a glowing heat.

"Seems the blade has changed as much as I have" he thought.
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walking stick
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2016, 11:10:50 pm »

Beety woke from a dream of the sound of crows.  Every Raven speaker learns what it means when they hear crows, sometimes it's "A murder of crows." and sometimes it's "A storytelling of crows.", every time it's a warning.
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
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United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2016, 03:48:13 am »

"Allroight, you lot, quit actin' loik this's some kinda 'ard chore, willya?" The cockney voice of the Tower's Second Colour Sergeant rang out over the back paradeground, which had been cordoned off to keep the new Yeoman warders' partisan-wielding practice from the prying eyes of visiting dignitaries and nosey tourists.

"Th' manual o' arms for th' partisan's th' same's it is for the roifles you lollies 'ad in the last war," Colour Sergeant Maseby's stentorian tones rang out across the green expanse. "Now, let's at it! ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR,  no No NO NO Thorndyke, with th' Bloody others, you 'orrible lit'tle man!"

"That Thorndyke's a real blighter, ain't 'e," Bill said in English.

"Would you stop that!" Marley answered; both sat, in raven form, on an iron banister that surrounded a thorn tree adjacent to the parade ground area. "You keep talking in  English and somebody'll notice!" Marley said in precise, incongruously- courtly Ravenish; to human ears it sounded like an ill-tempered series of raven-croaks.

"oOOOooo, listen to 'oighty-toighty Leftenant spraddle-wings, willya."

A sudden crackle of electricity arced from teh lawn to the banister, blasting both birds to teh greensward in a shower of feathers and ravenish curses.

"Call from the..."  Marley panted to catch his breath.

"Yeah. the' Club, I methinks. "wha're you lookin' at, geroff, you!" Bill snapped at a passing private, who stared for a moment and then ran to the barracks shouting for his fellows to come and see the 'weird talking bird on the parade ground.'

"Now you've done it!" Marley said. "Commandant'll  bar you from the grounds this time! Don't you know normal ravens aren't supposed to speak 'uman?

"Mum does i' all th' toime," Bill protested.

"She has the good sense to not speak whole intelligent sentences where people can hear her!" Marley shot back. "Never mind that, are we going to go see what's up, or not?

"You stay 'ere, I'll go, that was nothin' loike Celia," Bill answered. "It packed too much voltage an' I couldn' make out th' message. Must be tha' Toby of 'ers, or maybe 'at Ranger bloke."

"Right, then, but I'll go explain this to the Commandant; I might be having to leave agian. Do tell let me know if there's something Milady needs help with."

"Too roight," Bill said, and flapped off over the wall. He soon arrived on the windowsill of the club's kitchen window, and tapped hard on the glass with his beak - incessantly.

"C'mon, c'mon, open up a'ready," he muttered between taps. "I'm a bloody bird, not a bloody postman, and I dursn't change now when there's people walkin' by out 'ere..."
« Last Edit: January 15, 2016, 03:52:46 am by MWBailey » Logged

Walk softly and carry a big banjo...

""quid statis aspicientes in infernum"
Stella Gaslight
Governor
Time Traveler
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Looking for a few good lobsters.


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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2016, 04:51:04 am »

Toby answered the door and Bill could see tear tracts on his face and the fact he had most likely missed the mighty baths Celia insisted on. "Enter and welcome to this humble house friend." He said formally touching the window.  It popped open letting Bill in with a fizzing of magic. The wards were up at nearly their highest level and that did not bode well.  "Mama's gone Mr Bill!  The forest wont give her back. And the book..." He trailed off in a sob.  Toby had tried to hard to be the man on the house with Mama gone and show Reid he was almost grown up but it had backfired badly when he had the nightmares.

Celia leaned against the run-down hut's wall and slept fitfully unused to the sounds of the wilderness around her. She still had the five gifts of virtue but if she couldn't make it to he heart tree and back in five midnights it would be all for nothing.  Celia would turn to stone for a year and a day and then become the forest's forever.  Somewhere in here was an many times removed aunt that had also tried to get the blessing of the primordial wood. She had never made it out except as pictures in a story book that had passed down in her family ever sense.

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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2016, 05:39:39 am »

"Tha's not good, not a'tall," Bill answered, "Well, cheer up a bit, lad, Marley repaired th' circle wi' copper 'n dubble, er, what'd he corl it, them bird-tails... Dovetails, that wazzit. So, the circle'll 'old fer aught but a magical war, but if 'erself's caught in the wood, that moight jus' be wha'll 'appen. Tell youse what, lad, lemme call Marley." he hopped down on to the floor of the club, and turned around thrice, muttered a few words, and waved a wing. What looked like sheet lightning flashed in teh room, and teh glasses and bottles behind teh bar rattled as if in an earthquake.

Away across the city, in the Tower Commandant's office, Marley was back in Human form in the proper uniform and explaining the events on the back parade ground.

"So that's it, sir. It couldn't have been Celia, but it felt a lot like something Toby'd come up with -!"

There was a flash of green light and a puff of smoke in the middle of the office , and an image of Bill appeared in teh smoke. "Marley," the image said, "Her Ladyship's gone missing, in the Wood; Toby thinks it's got 'er trapped somewheres insoide. He were who sent that message bolt, adn I think you'd better come and help me track 'er. Th' crows there are big as eagles, in some parts, and 'sides two of us'll find 'er quicker than jus' me. If she stays there, she'll turn ta stone an' there'll be Wizard War all over again loike there were fifty year ago when 'er Auntie got disappeared."

"Wizard war?" the Commandant asked, when the sending spell dissipated. "Is that as bad as it sounds?"

"Could be," Marley answered gravely. Sir, this's serious. I'm sorry, but I --!"

"You have to go. I understand. I'll tell yer Grand Master, but please try not to leave any shattered pottery Buddhas in the street again, that thing was bloody hard to explain to the Lord Mayor and Her Majesty, I hear, and they say the shards are still muttering in the basement of Whitehall."

"Right, sir. Well, I'm off." He changed in a green flash and flapped out the window that the Commandant hasily opened just before Marley got there.

After a very fast and crazy flight, Marley landed in the doorstep of the club, and hopped over behind the Rhododendrons to change back. That done, he stepped back out and back to the front steps and knocked on the door. "It's me, Marley," he called.
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Stella Gaslight
Governor
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Looking for a few good lobsters.


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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2016, 06:31:35 am »

Toby solemnly repeated the ritual to let Marley in.  "Mama took the wrong book Mr Marley and it is doing something to the story."  He showed a page with a print of Celia helping shake down apples from an over burdened tree the letters beside it were odd with a few words in red superimposed above the black.  "They just appeared these last night.  the red letters I mean. I should wake Mr. Reid."
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2016, 07:33:22 am »

"That'd be a good idea, I think," Marley said. "Tell him to bring his blades, if you will? Celia's tounched at least the dagger-like one with both hand and will, so we may be able to get a trace working from the residual energy." He knew it was a long shot; it looked like he and Bill were going to have to do an aerial search after all, but if tehy could get a general idea of direction and location...

He looked at the book again. The red letters seemed to be not the Greco-Roman amalgam that formed the English alphabet, but rather something similar, like an old celtic uncial that Marley had read one of Linnaeus' diaries in. "Do you recognize these letters, Bill?" he asked, guessing at he old bard's approximate age and period of orgin.

Bill perched on Marley's shoulder, looking down at the page and humming to himself; it had a weird sound , issuing from the throat and beak of a young raven the way that it did. "Cor, Oi've seen tha' tree afore, it's in the part where that old farm and orchard used tae be," Bteh young raven/old bard muttered. HE suddenly cocked his head to one side so trhat his eye pointe dup at marley, whgen teh Knight growled low in his throat. "Yeah, I know, I know, th' limpin' bleedin' letters. Yeah, they're the old uncial we used back when. One of those red words looks loike herself's name...But tha's a rune where the "C" ought 'a be. Tha's not strictly a C, is what worries me. I can't really recall, but I think it be a bindrune what ever'body liked and used alla toime, and what passed into letter status back around Edward the Worrier's reign. I don't think I've ever seen this book, lad, where'd your mum get...it... Now, where'd he run off to?

"To get Reid, of course," Marley answered shortly.
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Steampunk Away
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Long Live The Icarus!

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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2016, 02:56:05 pm »

Abraham walked up the steps to the clubhouse and tried opening he door, only to be thrown backwards with a magical burst of winds, which sent him flying down the steps.
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Stella Gaslight
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Looking for a few good lobsters.


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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2016, 04:13:58 pm »

Toby knocked on the door.  "Mr Reid Mama is in trouble.  the ravens are here to help and..." He felt something hit the wards and hope bloomed in his heart.  Maybe it was Mama to weak to draw aside the vale herself.  "I have to go Mr Reid but please come downstairs soon."

Toby ran full tilt at the door and parted the vales of protection. The cry of mama died in his throat as he saw Abraham. "Please come in Mr Abraham."
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Steampunk Away
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Long Live The Icarus!

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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2016, 06:23:46 pm »

Abraham quickly passed through the doorway, and putting the new book in the dining room table, gave Toby a treat.

"What has happened, little one?"
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Ranger Reid
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2016, 06:30:33 pm »

On hearing Toby's voice, Reid started awake.  He had slept a little after all, even though it was in the chair while sharpening his katana.

The ranger almost beat Toby down the stairs, throwing on his shirt as he ran.

"What's happened to Celia?"
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Stella Gaslight
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Looking for a few good lobsters.


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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2016, 06:57:51 pm »

Toby wanted to cry but instead he squared his shoulders, his Mama was depending on him and other brother was busy guarding the way into the forest.  "Mama is suposed to go to this big tree and get a gift to shore up the magic that the painting people broke. She told me it was a hard thing and that she would be cone a few days.  Mama packed five magical gifts to get her through what she called the trials of virtue and the storybook that would keep her on the right path.  She said that there were many traps waiting for her but the book would help her figure out what she needed to do.  It was fine for the last two days but then I had a bad nightmare and went in to Mama's room for a charm and found they storybook on her bed. She must have taken the wrong book so the story is going bad."  He opened the page to a picture of what was surely Celia running from what looked like a prince on a white horse.   
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
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United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2016, 02:48:42 am »

Bill and I were thinking we'd go there and try to find her," Marley said. We'd be searching from the air, at least initially. I suppose I could enlist the HMAS Linnaeus if it turns out to be difficult, or some kind of interdiction is in order, but I'd rather avoid getting into a fracas with an eldritch Land Power if we can avoid it; we need their help, contrary to what some hotheads in the Military and Parliament seem to think these days."

"Thgere's sommat odd 'bout this book, though," Bill said, hopping over and nudging the pages with his beak. 'S a lot loik what her Auntie were s'posed t've gone through sixty or more year ago."

"Hold on, I thought you said 'fifty' a moment ago," Marley said

"Did I?"

"You did."

"Well, be that wha' it moight, this still looks more like a tale what's already 'appened than one what's 'appenin'... No, now I see what you mean lad," Bill croaked to Toby. "Th' red letters're writin' themselves over th' black. Tha's disturbin'. Oi think we ourghts tae go ahead an get airborne, Mister Reid. Eh?"
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walking stick
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« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2016, 08:15:22 am »

Verity was practicing being someone else when she entered the bookshop.  Browsing in a second hand bookshop was interesting in it's own right but as magic called her into this one she was glad that they would see an obliviously confident young man and not the frightened magical apprentice.  She had to pick up this book of improving tales but she didn't know why.  She'd read the cheerfully cruel Der Struwwelpeter in her German class as a schoolgirl but this book was several times nastier than that.
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Stella Gaslight
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Looking for a few good lobsters.


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« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2016, 03:44:04 am »

"We should hold on tight to each other and make sure we either have very special things or half useless thing." Toby was worried that he was forgetting something important and he wished his mama was here.  Well he was the man of the house now and had to save her.
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
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United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2016, 06:08:41 am »

Celia's the ballast, Bill, and Toby's her son. Regardless of gender, by right of succession, he's the one in charge. The City will be most likely to support him should something happen to Celia." Marley turned to Toby. "Sorry lad, but it's a possibility that must be faced. I'm sure you can count on Teh ranger and Bill, and Abraham. And myself, of course, for help in such a pass - unlikely as it may be; Milady Celia's a great deal sturdier than most give her credit for." He paused, and then added, "But we need tpo do somethingb soon, if in fact she is in trouble; teh forest can drain a person's stamina very quickly."
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Steampunk Away
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Long Live The Icarus!

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« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2016, 02:57:45 pm »

"Toby, where is your brother guarding the entrance so we can go journeying in ourselves?"

Abraham sat down waiting for an answer, reloading his Colt Dragoon.
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Stella Gaslight
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Looking for a few good lobsters.


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« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2016, 03:54:06 pm »

"The pine downs over where that big abandoned factory is.  Mama said it was the closest entrance still in the sphere of her power."  He hoped she was right and that would give them an advantage.
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Ranger Reid
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« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2016, 04:10:28 pm »

Reid stood up  "Can we send a message for the others to meet us there?"   Driving his blades home, the ranger continued "Either way, let's go."
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Stella Gaslight
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Looking for a few good lobsters.


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« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2016, 01:35:29 am »

"Yes it wont be a subtle invitation but I can."  Toby brightened glad to have something he could do.
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
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United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2016, 01:48:40 am »

"No loightnin' Oi 'ope," Bill said sardonically. "Y' nearly fried me 'n Marley at th' Tower. Try ta relax a bit; yer worry and anger make th' pow'r double isself. 'S a common fing, that."

"Ungrammatical, but true, I'm afraid," Marley added. "Emotion can be useful, but it can be a little unpredictable as an augmenting power supply. Take a calming breath before you send, and then add your emotion into it; you might find it easier to control it that way."
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Steampunk Away
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States


Long Live The Icarus!

https://twitter.com/Steam
WWW
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2016, 02:39:55 pm »

"I don't have time to wait, and neither does Celia."

Abraham stood up, and going to the door, rushed out and started heading to the portal into the other world.
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2016, 03:57:39 pm »

"Words to live by," Marley said. "Bill, shall we fly?"

"In both senses o' th' word," Bill replied. He swooped down from the bust of Pallas, which had become his customary perch when at Celia's house.

Toby, We'll be on our way," Marley said. "Tell the others we're on the wing, will you? We'll make our own sending when we find something useful."

"now, folla me close, Li'l bruvver, the gate's just a'ead..."

"I know, Bill, but take it slow, it'll be only my third time through in raven form, and my first from this gate..."

"Switch to Corvid lingo, Marley, people notice things loik 'at," Bill croaked in that tongue, their voices fading into the distance as they traversed the portal.
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