Author Topic: A Hidden Past - (NSFW, in consideration for some of the subject matter)  (Read 1183 times)


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This story was written just before I started my writing blog, and cosplaying in earnest, my good friend and cosplaying colleague Ashley Du provided much of the inspiration for this piece both in comments on my story notes and drafts and bit and pieces that had come up in conversation over the years since we'd first met at a Hamilton Comic Con, in 2014. This story in particular was inspired by a cosplay she had done with distinctively gothic/horror elements, and the character I devised from it to explore the A.A.S.S.I. background of a spot I labelled the Devil's Courtyard, in the East End, London. The result being the story tends to weave steampunk and magic, gothic, horror elements into itself more obviously then some of my other stories. This story is still in the process of being written btw. I have rated this NSFW, per writing guide lines, in the view that it does contain some violent and some suggestive commentary.

A Hidden Past (Part I)

Constable Josephine Rumbleton looked out the soot begrimed window of her small office in Scotland Yard's special investigations annex. The skyline of London was bathed in a deep velvety blue-black tinted with a warm red-orange, the sun was just beginning to creep steadily up and over the horizon. It heralded the beginning  of another morning, a new day was dawning with that warm glow, meaning she had survived yet another night. She looked back absently at the report upon her age and work worn desk, she had spent the last hour recording and indexing. It made grim reading but that was not all that unusual in a police criminal report. Moreover it was all too normal for a night's work in the secretive and quietly dreaded London Metropolitian Police's Dead Watch.

Inspector Sir Nigel Redfern, seated a floor above and two halls away from the room Rumbleton occupied, examined the cluster of official ledgers and police dossiers before him on the interview room table. The young police inspector at his side shifted uneasily in the silenced that seemed to cloak the room. The older man's stern patrician profile was highlighted by  the lights and shadows thrown up by the shrouded lamp that hung over the table. The white haired, clean shaven senior police inspector spoke not a word, merely turning the pages of each document that lay before him then moving to the next when his examination was completed.

"I am not sure, Sir Nigel, if our Constable Rumbleton is the right person for you."

"Hm?" Sir Nigel responded absently as he continued his inspection of the police career dossier in front of him. After another few minutes, Sir Nigel looked up from the papers and fixed the young inspector with a cool, searching gaze.

"Why would you think that, Inspector? Is there something against her? From what I have seen so far, her service with the street patrol and investigations branches seems to have been exemplary." Sir Nigel tapped the dossier in front of him with his folded reading glasses for emphasis.

"Whistler, is.... well... a bit of an odd duck, sir."

"Whistler... " Sir Nigel said flatly, it was not a question, the young inspector coloured briefly and visibly in embarrassment as the older man's gaze settled even more firmly upon him. Sir Nigel as a rule did not altogether approve of nicknames and even less of ones that he surmised were designed to mock of denigrate the person they were applied to.

"Inspector Mathieson, you have some explaining to do."

The Dead Watch was Scotland Yard's oddball division, it was literally the graveyard shift working through the dead of night from dusk till dawn, and all too often got the worst the London police and detectives had to deal with from the merely strange or out of the ordinary criminal cases to the terrifyingly grotesque in occult or paranormal investigations. For someone in the Dead Watch to be referred  to as "odd" was no mean feat considering some of the truly epic characters found within it's ranks.

Inspector Edward Mathieson winced inwardly, he was most definitely not going to enjoy the next few minutes of this conversation.

"How odd?"

"She has an affinity for horror, she does not frighten easily. Hell, she does not frighten at all!" Mathieson said with a trace of bewilderment. "She even appears to enjoy it. Which is probably a good thing I suppose given the horrors we wind up routinely investigating."

"how long has she been with the Police Force?"

"Hm, almost four years now. Two years with the street patrol service, a year with the regular detective branch and then a year with us in the Dead Watch."

"The nickname?"

"That followed her from her time with Street Patrol. Evidently she had a pronounced tendency to whistle when she spoke, particularly the letter 'S' so her fellow constables took to calling her 'Whistler'. I gather she got into a few... well, altercations about it. Several were serious, she was reprimanded for attempting to pummel the stuffings out of at least three of her male comrades in Street Patrol at one time or another."

"Tormentors, more likely, Inspector." Sir Nigel remarked coolly.

"Another thing, she seems to be able to sense death or the supernatural. Several times she's gotten our lads out ofa jam by either turning them clear of potential trouble or at least give them a vital few minutes prior warning that we were going to be hip deep in it!"

"Did Constable Rumbleton, ever explain or account to you or anyone else for this peculiar ability?"

"Not that I know of, for most of us in the Dead Watch teams that worked with her on a regular basis, it was enough that it worked and helped make the difference between life and death quite often literally for us. Come to think of it, it often seemed that her physical senses were even more acute then normal at such times."

"In any event, Inspector Mathieson, I would like to see Constable Rumbleton for a few minutes before I make up my mind."

"Very well, Sir Nigel. I can have her called in, she is still filing a report at the moment, if you would feel comfortable enough to wait a few minutes."

"Thank you, Inspector. I appreciate it."
« Last Edit: May 29, 2021, 01:37:46 am by LordWorthing »
An Age of Steam, Steel and Iron

It is the year 1889 A.D., an age of enlightened discovery, of unrivalled and often fantastic scientific and technological progress: powered by coal, steam and electricity. It is also an age of empires and empire building, of fierce and often complex competition for wealth and material resources by both governments, corporations and private individuals. The Nations of Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia vie for power, prestige and prosperity on the world stage and across the solar system.


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Re: A Hidden Past
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2021, 01:19:37 am »
A Hidden Past (Part II)

Sir Nigel looked at the young woman across the narrow width of the oak interview table. Behind him stood two members of his special investigations team: a man of middle age and a young, demure woman both in civilian dress rather then the formal dark blue and black police uniform that Rumbleton wore. The young woman wore a dress made entirely of black cloths; velvets, stains and laces. The only contrasting colour in her attire was the deep purple silk ribbons that decorated her dress and light brown, heavily curled hair. She possessed an attractive oval face which was at first glance surprisingly pale but had an attractive amber colouring that suggested some foreign or exotic parentage. Wide, sparkling blue eyes took in her surroundings with guarded interest.

Her male companion, by way of contrast could be described as almost nondescript: he wore a dark grey frock coat, black boots and an unadorned tan coloured vest and light grey trousers. His face like his body was lean, narrow almost to the point of gauntness. His hair was the colour of freshly burned ash as were his eyes although they had a suggestion of an almost luminous green tint to them. While the woman was as still as glass, the man moved restlessly even when standing still not even his eyes remained fixed upon anything for more then a few seconds. Rumbleton ignored both of them, her attention rested firmly upon the older, white haired man seated before her.

Sir Nigel mentally ticked off things about Josephine Rumbleton, that he either knew from her records or from simple direct observation. She wore her regulation police constable's uniform as if it was perfectly natural to her to, perhaps with a bit of careful hand tailoring to enhance it for cut and style. She wore her dark brown hair loosely but neatly combed and an artful minimum of makeup. Although this did not distract from the fact she had an attractive face and pleasing deep brown eyes. Her records were remarkably vague to the point of being cryptic regarding her past life, which intrigued Sir Nigel. Take her education for instance, under the entry for her elementary education were the words: School of Hard Knocks and for her higher education were the words: University of Life. Her birthdate and even her exact age was a matter of some interested speculation if not outright conjecture amoung her fellow constables and detectives. In fact there was practically no information regarding her life before joining the London Police other then she had worked by her own admission as a seamstress, although that had not been successfully verified by anyone.

Information concerning other details of her early life were just as maddeningly nonexistent in her professional record, the entries for her parents or siblings if any or extended relatives were mysteriously blank. It was assumed that she was born in London but there was no actual hospital paperwork or local church baptismal certificate to back that assumption up, only her extensive knowledge of the city consistent only with someone who was or had been a long time resident. For some reason the name Rumbleton jogged a warning note in his memory but nothing immediately presented itself to Sir Nigel's mind when he considered it.

Suddenly something in Sir Nigel's memory clicked into place. Rumbleton Alley was a part of what was known to Londoners as the Devil's Courtyard, an ancient, largely derelict and labyrinthine selection of buildings and twisted streets and narrow alleys in the oldest part of East London. A street called Hobb's Lane formed the area's main concourse. Until about five years ago, the place had been a major point of trouble for the London Police in general and the Dead Watch in particular. Around that time a mysterious fire had gutted much of the area, killing many of it's inhabitants, human and otherwise.

The middle aged man behind Sir Nigel suddenly stiffened, his eyes fixed upon Josephine Rumbleton with a terrible clarity, as if he was looking straight through her. Surprisingly, the constable did not react to the scrutiny which typically unnerved most people. In point of fact she seemed to fail to even notice it. Sir Nigel felt his interest pique, something was afoot, his psychic investigator was having one of his clairvoyant episodes. After several moments, the man shook himself then abruptly turned on his heel without a word and left the room, the woman followed him after a nod from Sir Nigel.


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Re: A Hidden Past
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2021, 01:22:06 am »
A Hidden Past (Part III)

Millicent Carmichael followed her fellow investigator swiftly into the hall, jerking him to a sudden and painful stop when she caught up with him. The man seemed momentarily oblivious to both his immediate surroundings and to her all too unladylike steel hard grip on his wrist, his eyes flashing with conflicting emotions as he grappled with whatever vision now had him in it's possession.

"What did you see? Whatever it is has you spooked, Althorpe."

"I... I saw death that walks..." Ebenezer Leighton Althorpe's eyes flickered eerily with luminous witch-fires glowing from their depths, his voice was curiously hushed, laced with deep shock and something rather like fear and yet strangely crisp and detached.

"Do not go cryptic on me, Althorpe. If your vision is important, Sir Nigel needs to know it."

"I am not being cryptic." He retorted with some asperity creeping into his vague but troubled tone. "I am being exact, Josephine Rumbleton, is amoung the dead and yet amoung the living. I saw her past and it terrifies me."

Carmichael looked searchingly into Althorpe's eyes, measuring his agitated expression, she did not like what she was seeing and she understood it even less. Althorpe was typically unflappable in dangerous or strange circumstances, he had a cool, collected calm you could not crack with a pick axe. That customary calm was not in evidence now.

"I... I do not follow you?"

Althorpe nodded absently at the remark and made a serious effort for the first time to pull himself together and give something like a coherent report to his colleague.

"When I looked at her with my mystic sight, her appearance abruptly altered before my eyes. That was not supposed to happen, I was trying a protocol to determine if she possesses any magical ability or hidden items. Suddenly  I was seeing both what she was and what she had been."

"As I watched, her hair shifted... becoming tangled, wild and unkempt. Her skin paled, bruised and in places it rotted while overall her flesh became marked with grime and bloodstains. Her constable's uniform faded away from my sight like smoke and was replaced by more... feminine garments that were as despoiled, bloodied and disheveled as the rest of her rapidly changing appearance."

Althorpe shuddered, ashen faced at the image his excellent memory was again calling forth from his unconscious to his rebelling conscious mind. After a minute he continued, his voice low and strained.

"Her face was the worst of it, her irises had paled from light brown to a ghostly white-grey, her lips and teeth were clotted with blood, while a ragged scar traversed her face from just under her right eye kinking over her nose and angling down her left cheek. She looked a perfect horror and yet... strangely attractive... almost beguiling..." his voice trailed off with the last words, making Carmichael feel like she had abruptly gone deaf.

"Is she some sort of vampire?"

"No, she seems to be or rather at sometime in the past was of the living or walking Dead. A zombie to be precise, rather then one of the vampiric Undead proper."

"When I looked into her eyes, at first they did not appear to notice me. They were vacant, soulless, absolutely blank save for the fact that they were filled with a mindless hunger for the flesh of the Living. Then without warning they shifted and turned upon me. " He paused and swallowed, absolutely chilled by this part of the vision. "You have heard various expressions over the years about gazing into the Abyss?"

Carmichael nodded. She was beginning to get just a little creeped out now, Sir Nigel and his team dealt with some strange and ghastly stuff on a regular basis, but this was definitely out of the ordinary. People did not ever come back from being zombies, even the most accomplished necromancer, skilled in the white or black magics, could not manage it.

"Well, sometimes when you do, the Abyss gazes back at you. There was a terrible will, an intense focus unlike anything I have experienced before, behind those eyes. I am not sure if it was her or that some other power or directing intelligence was looking at me through her."

"Then... it... her... Smiled. She or whatever was looking out of her eyes, knew who and what I was, it was reading me like an open book. Up till then I had merely been scared, now I knew sheer terror. I had to get away from it whatever it was, I broke the mental and mystical link that I had established with her. I could bear no more of it."


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Re: A Hidden Past
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2021, 01:23:58 am »
A Hidden Past (Part IV)

"Constable, I am well satisfied as to your professional conduct and abilities which have won you a deservedly high regard amoungst your peers and superiors. I think you would be a definite asset to my special investigations detachment." Sir Nigel finally said aloud into the silence that had filled the room after his two companions had abruptly left.

Rumbleton, looked surprised and not a little pleased at his remarks, and her gaze briefly dropped to the center of the table top as she gathered her thoughts to make a response.

"Thank you, Sir Nigel. I have heard a great deal about you since joining the Dead Watch, I am honoured and not a little flattered that you would think me worthy of joining your investigations unit."

Sir Nigel smiled at the young woman's candour although she was right very few of the members of his team were mere police constables with only a few years service to their credit. Still, if his suspicions were correct about this young lady before him, she was no mere let alone average constable either.

"I would like you to come down to our offices so you can meet some of the team and they can evaluate you, and we can best decide who to pair you up with." Sir Nigel said crisply as he rose from his seat, extending his hand towards her in welcome. Josephine Rumbleton rose swiftly and clasped the offered hand firmly, she felt an electric thrill go through her. On a professional level, joining Sir Nigel's team enhanced her career prospects although they also enhanced the dangerous situations she was likely to wind up dealing with from now on, but that was par for the course in any of the divisions and bureaus of the Dead Watch. Whatever was going to happen it would be interesting and worth doing, and that mattered to her a great deal.

"There is a test you have to undergo, everyone who joins us does, myself included when I joined." Sir Nigel remarked as he guided Rumbleton to the door. "It's a deuced annoyance really but it has proven useful so it's been retained by every director of my bureau since before I even joined."

"Understood, Sir Nigel. What do I have to do?"

"Basically, sit in a special monitoring chair and answer a flurry of questions, the chair records and makes evaluations of your physical reactions. Its generally more tedious then anything else. It also administers a test for latent or potentially active magical or psionic abilities."

Rumbleton considered that remark for a few paces as they walked down the hall, then nodded to herself in understanding and agreement.

"Given the weirdness I have experienced in my first year with the Dead Watch I am not surprised, Sir Nigel."

Sir Nigel chuckled softly and gave his own nod of agreement and long experience.

"Too true, weird and dangerous, definitely comes with our territory."


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Re: A Hidden Past
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2021, 01:25:17 am »
A Hidden Past (Part V)

Althorpe fell suddenly silent, as Sir Nigel and Josephine Rumbleton appeared in the hall and began to walk towards them. Carmichael smoothed her agitated features into her normal demure expression to betray nothing of her concerns given what Althorpe had just said to her. She would tell Sir Nigel in due course, that Miss Rumbleton worried Althorpe very deeply and the matter needed to be investigated as soon as possible. Carmichael noticed that both of them seemed to be in a relaxed, mildly amused mood, obviously due to some remark that had just passed between then when they had first entered into the hallway.

"Everything all right with you, Althorpe?" Sir Nigel asked in passing as the four of them joined up and began making their way towards the Scotland Yard Annex, where the specialized internal branch of the Dead Watch which Sir Nigel and his team belonged had it's offices. Althorpe gave a brief nod to Sir Nigel, but said nothing more. Josephine Rumbleton noticed the uneasy, almost worried gaze the man gave her for a long moment before withdrawing into silence as they walked.

Millicent Carmichael on learning from Sir Nigel that Josephine was definitely going to be added to the team after taking the required 'examination' became rather more chatty, in fact downright gossipy as she traded high lights of some of the team's less classified investigations. Josephine added some of her own investigations experiences from her time with the street patrol and regular detective force, although she felt compared to Carmichael's commentary that her own experiences were rather less interesting. To her surprise, both Carmichael and Sir Nigel disagreed, to them all investigations had value or merit no matter how common place they might seem, as all too often they found in their own investigations the simplest item could have enormous importance when put in it's proper place in the solutions and operating theory of an investigation.

In many ways the building they were now in referred to by most Londoners as the Old Scotland Yard had become the offices, laboratories and records and evidence collection establishment of the Dead Watch, much of the regular police detectives and street patrol types had moved their offices to the newer and purpose built cluster of  buildings now increasingly called the New Scotland Yard. Technically the Dead Watch was actually called the Special, Paranormal and Occult Investigations and Studies Bureau. Although almost nobody inside or outside the British Police forces called it that, at least not for very long. The Bureau's chief was Sir Duncan Baird, a quiet, hard headed Scot, and an accomplished veteran of British and Imperial police work in all it's varied forms since Prime Minister Robert Banks Jenkinson, the 2nd Earl of Liverpool had set up the new model national British police administration back in 1822 through to 1829 under the guidance of the then Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel .

Originally the whole Special Investigations and Studies Bureau as it had then been called at the time, the Paranormal and Occult being added in much later, confined to the odd cluster of buildings adjacent to Old Scotland Yard, dubbed the Scotland Yard Annex. This had given the old Bureau it's nickname of the Annex Bureau, and this name still clung to the Paranormal and Occult section of the Bureau as it now largely occupied the Annex in its entirety, when the Special Investigations (now referred to by both the public and the regular police and detective force as the Dead Watch) part of the Bureau took over Old Scotland Yard as it's new place of business and operations.


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Re: A Hidden Past
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2021, 01:30:37 am »
A Hidden Past (Part VI)

The examination was as tedious as Sir Nigel had warned her, it lasted for hours, although it was not uninteresting. Josephine answered the various questions to the best of her ability and as truthfully as she could were they touched on the personal. Sir Nigel and Millicent Carmichael handled much of the questioning, while Althorpe stayed in the background and monitored the apparatus that controlled the special monitoring chair she sat in.

At some point in the interview, Josephine lost consciousness and lapsed into a trance like state as the systems of the monitor chair worked softly away on her mind via various means. Sir Nigel, Carmichael and Althorpe were surprised that it had taken so long, most people went into the deep examination trance within an hour or two, she had stayed alert an awake for more then four hours, although the time prior had not been wasted. Josephine had answered a lot of the questions, and her reactions had been instructive and not a little confusing. They would have to examine the transcripts with care with the rest of the team and make some careful evaluations.

Sir Nigel thought carefully then asked the first of the real questions he wanted answers too.

"What is your first memory?"

The question slipped slowly into the tranced stillness of Josephine's mind, slowly her unconscious grasped it and began to answer it, not in words but in fragments of memory.

She stood stock still in a darkness shrouded, derelict cobble stoned street, choked with debris, soot and fog. The abandoned buildings and decrepit houses towered up around her blocking out the moon and stars. The sound and feel of falling rain engulfed her senses, which felt curiously dull and disconnected.

She felt terribly cold, lifeless, soulless and utterly alone. No breath filled her lungs, no blood circulated through her body, no spark of life animated her. She was a bedraggled and blood stained corpse dressed in dirty, torn and much patched clothes.

Other figures moved with disjoined motions around her in the shadows, fog and heavily falling rain. They were no more alive then she was, though they moved. A fierce, unnatural raving hunger drove them forward to seek the living. But today something else drove them, something that they could not comprehend, although when living themselves they might have been able to give name to it. The name was... Fear. They source of that fear was close by, she could sense it's steady, unhurried approach.

Oddly, she felt strangely comforted by that ominous presence and longed to move towards it even as the other dead around her moved instinctively away from it. A pair of white eyes glowed suddenly and sharply through the night and fog, the body they belonged to was a dark shadow enveloped in the night and rain. The eyes looked neither left nor to the right but straight ahead, seemingly untroubled by the walking dead around them. They stopped directly in front of her.

A darkly gloved hand reached out and touched her dead face, ever so gently. A voice echoed suddenly in her mind. Well, Well little seamstress, I have found you at last.

Josephine had not made any sound though it was obvious to her questioner that even unconscious her mind was dwelling on the first question, though it had not formed an answer that she could voice. Sir Nigel decided to try another tack, and so asked his second question.

"Who made you?"

"Schreck." Came the almost unearthly response from her barely parted lips. "He is my master. He called me back from Death's Abyss, from the mindless dead which I was before he came to me." Sir Nigel raised his white eyebrows in surprise, Althorpe flinched violently at the mere mention of the name. Well he should, Sir Nigel thought grimly.

Karl Magnus Schreck, to give the man his full name, was believed to be the oldest known practitioner of necromancy still drawing breath upon the face of the world. Revered and feared in equal measure by all practitioners of white and dark magic alike. They called him the Master of Fear, a play upon what his surname meant in German, meaning roughly fear or terror. Reliable and authenticated accounts of him went back as far as the days of ancient antiquity.

Sir Nigel forced himself to slowly sit back in his chair and think. Why had Schreck been in London? There had been absolutely no word of his coming. The Devil's Courtyard would of course be natural territory for him, the combination of death and vice there would have attracted both his professional interest and readily supplied him with test subjects for his necromantic researches. While at the same time the nature of the place would make hiding said necromantic experiments from the prying eyes of the local or national authorities that much more easy. The periodic plagues and epidemics that hit the area due to the ludicrous and dangerously stupid human overcrowding and the deplorably unsanitary conditions that reigned within the walled off area that was the Devil's Courtyard would also have come to his notice. Had Schreck caused the zombie plague that had decimated the place five years ago?

Probably not, on reflection, it did not fit his previously known modus operandi which was to generally remain quiet, reclusive and as much as possible totally unobserved. Josephine Rumbleton or whatever her name had been before, she had died and been reanimated, had been some sort of experiment for Schreck. Somehow he had found her and he had brought her back fully to life after she had died in the zombie outbreak. Schreck had done something hitherto regarded as absolutely impossible by all serious, respected and eminently established medical practitioners, scientists and magical practitioners alike! Then again, as Charles Babbage had once observed to him, anything can and will happen statistically at least once at any given time or place.

was the fire that had virtually destroyed the Devil's Courtyard, Schreck's design as well? It would have been extremely useful to cover his tracks if he had been prepared to shift his operations to somewhere else. I t would also have dealt with any last elements of the zombie plague still resident in the Devil's Courtyard. Schreck was not one to leave dangerous or inconvenient loose ends unattended too, especially if he had been moving to his own timetable. Too many questions, with no answers, Sir Nigel thought wryly.

Josephine without uttering another word, abruptly slumped forward in the restraints of the chair, like a puppet with it's strings cut. The mechanical monitoring devices built into the chair suddenly, spectacularly shorted out or went inexplicably dark and dead like the occupant of the chair seemed to. The temperature in the room began to drop several degrees each second,  frost began to form both upon the chair and Josephine, the lightening in the room began to bizarrely flicker on and off as if the power supply had suddenly become unstable.

"What on earth...?!" Sir Nigel began to say, puzzlement and a trace of rising suspicion written clearly on his face. He began to rise from his chair not altogether sure what was happening, his instincts and experience warned him whatever was occurring was both out of the ordinary and not at all good.

Suddenly with a bone and tendon snapping crack, Josephine's head came up with an unnatural jerk. Her eyes were wide and staring, her once brown irises had gone an eerie milkly white. A strange death like pallor had seized hold of her skin. The devices in the chair sparkled wildly to life, alarms screamed to life throwing off sudden lights and flashes that weirdly illuminated the darkened room.

With a manic strength not at all native to a human body, Josephine suddenly snapped free of the chair's heavily constructed restraints. Carmichael flung herself at the side table grabbing for her long barreled revolver with blinding speed, swinging the muzzle up, then jerking herself around and levelling the weapon towards the occupant of the chair.

Althorpe nearly froze in place with terrified alarm, that same bone chilling smile that so rattled him before reappeared on Josephine's face. Before either he or Sir Nigel could make a move, she stood up from the chair, scattering broken parts and restraints in crazy parabolic arcs and flew at Carmichael like a rocket, trailing disturbed particles of frost as if they were spider webs.

Carmichael found herself gasping in shock, as icy cold hands tightly clasped her throat and wrist of the hand that held the gun. She felt her airways constrict under the steady, savage pressure even as the bones in her immobilized wrist groaned in protest. Chilling grey white eyes locked gaze with her own sparkling blue eyes. Millicent felt her vision begin to blur and darken, a terrible gasping sound emerged from her throat as her feebly twitching fingers involuntarily loosened their grip on the revolver butt and trigger. All the while, those grey white eyes were inches from her own glittered with an increased cold, harsh brilliance. The terrible frozen smile seemed to widen by increments with an unholy amusement as the life was slowly and smoothly squeezed out of her.

Carmichael frantically felt her consciousness slipping away, the revolver dropped from her nerveless fingers striking the hard stone floor unnoticed disputed it's harsh metallic clang echoing throughout the room. A detached part of Carmichael's mind found time to be surprising that the cocked, hair trigger weapon had not gone off when it struck the floor. She struggled increasingly and desperately to draw a life sustaining breath. A heavy chair abruptly appeared to Millicent's left and came crashing down on Josephine Rumbleton's head and shoulder. The well furnished and reassuringly solid English Oak chair exploded into fragments as it struck, Sir Nigel staggered backwards cursing profusely still grasping the splintered remains in his hands, the shock of the impact had painfully jarred his hands, wrists and arms. Sir Nigel felt liked he had just clubbed a tombstone or a mausoleum wall!

The stunning and bone shattering blow, which by all rights would have felled a normal man or woman and likely left them in a semi-coma, left Josephine absolutely unmoved. Althorpe suddenly recovered himself and muttered an incantation, struck his walking stick to the ground once then twice. The ornate handled stick suddenly glowed with magical power and lengthened in the twinkling of an eye into an ornate staff, sigils and runes blazed along it's entire length. An ornate gemstone, framed by a spearhead shaped lattice work of writhing snakes, in the shape of an opened eye topped the staff. The gem smoked with an unnatural emerald fire like a piece of metal freshly emerged from a forge at white heat.

"Move. The woman dies. Painfully." The flat, harsh voice warning that emerged from Josephine's mouth belonged to no living thing, it seethed with a deadly and frighteningly ancient power and a sheer malevolence that went beyond any trifling concept of mere human malice. Neither man moved an inch but stood their ground in silent defiance.


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Re: A Hidden Past
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2021, 01:34:16 am »
A Hidden Past (Part VII)

Josephine's malice filled expression abruptly froze, her eyes suddenly glazed over rapidly turning completely a pearlescent white. Her features smoothed into a cool, glacial calm. Something else was now in control of Josephine Rumbleton's body. It's aura was different from the previous possessing entity being cooler, more tranquil and more ruthlessly controlled. The strange white eyes examined the room and it's occupants with a detached but curious interest.

As Sir Nigel and Althorpe watched, Josephine's hair and skin began to slowly grow even paler still and to gradually bleach a soft almost bone white to match the pearlescent eyes. Within moments the woman resembled a living statue of white marble or alabaster. The air about her became even more chill, frost and ice particles flowed about her and wove themselves into crazy vortices and patterns with the slightest of movements.

Those curious eyes regarded the dying woman in her grasp for a long moment, a white eyebrow traced upwards in almost sardonic inquiry and not a little surprise. Her deadly grip lessened the merest of a fraction, finally allowing a by now ashen faced Carmichael to draw something like a full breath. Which she did involuntarily and convulsively. Abruptly the pressure on Carmichael's throat relaxed altogether as did the nerve stopping grip on her wrist. Millicent slide bonelessly to the floor, Josephine gave an almost imperceptible but definite nod to Sir Nigel and Althorpe and then took three rapid paces backwards and away from them. They needed no further urging, the two men quickly gathered up the unconscious Millicent Carmichael and transferred her to a nearby reclining arm chair. While Althorpe attended to her, Sir Nigel turned back to the other occupant of the room and incidentally Josephine Rumbleton's body.

The being spoke for the first time, it's tone and expression struck Sir Nigel as mildly rueful.

"My apologies, Master Redfern, the Gestir if not kept on a tight rein either by my will or the Lady's is inclined to get out of hand."

"Gestir?" Sir Nigel and Althorpe echoed. Gestir was an ancient Scandinavian term meaning guest warrior. The halls of the various kings and jarls of Scandinavia were often visited by impoverished and lordless warriors who were maintained by such lords as a sign of their hospitality and wealth. In return, these warriors would accompany their host to war to show their respect for the hospitality shown them. The reference might have been an offhanded or illustrative remark about the other possessing spirit that was obviously bound to Josephine Rumbleton's body or it could have been quite literal, Sir Nigel and Althorpe had no way of knowing.

"A loyal and powerful undead guardian, as you will have perhaps observed, who keeps watch on this lovely lady in my all too frequent absences." Josephine responded with a hint of a wintery, almost languidly amused smile on seeing their vaguely puzzled expressions.

"Whom, am I addressing?" Sir Nigel asked quietly and carefully.

"We have never met, much less been formally introduced, Master Redfern." A white hand flitted lightly towards Josephine's face for a moment to emphasize the point. "This one however has followed your career with much interest for a long time."

Sir Nigel's white eyebrows went up at that last remark in mild surprise. The shining pearlescent eyes regarded him, the eyes seemed to almost sparkle and glow at him with something like detached amusement then slowly Josephine quietly and politely bowed at the waist in the manner of a gentleman.

"Magister Karl Magnus Schreck, at your service."

Oh Hell. Sir Nigel's thoughts slide to a complete and altogether abrupt stop.