With their various doings around Lesser Edale complete, the group reunited at the Laughing Horse to share their suspicions, discoveries and a hearty roast beef dinner. As the seemingly perpetual drizzle continued to fall, the group—now reunited with George, who had finally thrown off his life-threatening hangover—talked late into the night.
Off to Castle Plum
On the 23rd, a Monday, after a hearty breakfast, the group set off to Castle Plum to introduce themselves to Lord Arthur Vane and to ask to peruse the castle's library for "antiquarian purposes". Sadly, however, events overcame the party. constable Tumwell appeared with a telegram for Charles Collins from Carlton Ramsey. Reading it, Charles' was aghast; it seemed Thaddeus Washington was once again free and looking for answers about his brother's fate. Charles quickly dashed off a letter of warning to his housekeeper, Alice, who was at that very moment crossing the Atlantic to look after her master's affairs in London.
Worse news was to come. The group did not get past the ruined castle's door to deliver their request in person. The elderly butler, Robert, did take Charles' business card and promised to deliver it to the master, but it seemed not the done thing to burst in on an aristocrat without a prior invitation.
As they left, the group cast a cursory eye around the castle's dank surroundings. The old castle's outer walls were tumbled and ruined, although extensive manicured gardens extended about the place. Dudley spotted what looked like a mausoleum on the grounds, wreathed in ivy, but good manners precluded the group from immediately breaking in.
Wandering the Hills
While they were in the hills above the village, the group decided to search the woods for an ancient escape tunnel that might lead into the castle. Sadly, they had little luck in their endeavour, although Ikil did discover a scrap of white lacy fabric snagged in a bush. The torn cloth was muddy and dirty, but the redoubtable bodyguard thought it might be a critical clue and so shoved it into Dudley's pack.
Wandering the hills, the party discovered little except that it rains a lot in Derbyshire. However, as they swung back toward the village, the party heard distant shouts of Lydia! Lydia!. Investigating, they encountered a slightly deranged man—John Parkins—wandering about with a loaded shotgun. He explained his daughter hadn't come home for weeks and he was looking for her. This struck the group as strange, given she was the Beast of Edale's second victim. Concerned that a deranged farmer was wandering around with a loaded shotgun (not another one, thought Charles), Dudley dropped in to see Constable Tumwell on his return to the village. Tumwell didn't seem much bothered by the report but promised to keep an eye on Parkins.
Returning to the pub for a hearty dinner, the group reflected on the day's events.
It was then that their luck changed for the better. Lawrence Vane entered the pub and joined them for a quiet drink. He delivered welcome news: not only had his father granted the more learned members of the group permission to peruse the castle's library, but he was also looking forward to having them for dinner and had invited them to the castle on the evening of the 25th. Of course, the group accepted both invitations; perhaps now they might start to get some answers!
A Picnic and a Library
The next day, Charles and Jacob, accompanied by the ever-faithful Jeffrey, climbed Mam Tor to enjoy a lovely picnic. Meanwhile, Dudley, George and Ikil visited Castle Plum to peruse the library. None of the Vane family was in evidence, but the butler, Robert, showed them to the library and popped in occasionally to bring them tea, sandwiches and cakes.
It may have been the atmosphere of the ruined castle, or perhaps George still suffered from his hangover, but disappointingly the trio found nothing of interest in the library even though they spent the entire afternoon perusing the dusty shelves.
A Shopping Trip
On the morning of the 25th, the group prepared for the dinner party at Castle Plum. George realised over breakfast that they should probably attend in full formal attire, so the five dashed off to Derby to buy dinner jackets. To do otherwise could start the evening off on the wrong foot and be a Bad Show.
Thus, as yet more drizzle fell over the hills, the five investigators presented themselves at Castle Plum in the early evening. Ushered into the dining room by the ever-attentive Robert, the visitors were introduced to Lord Arthur Vane—one of the most powerful men in the United Kingdom (and perhaps the Empire)—and his daughter Eloise. Lawrence was also present and artfully handled the introductions. As hands were shaken and aperitifs quaffed, Robert again entered the dining room and indicated that dinner was about to be served…
This post is a session summary for my weekly 7th edition Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign.
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