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Old Dec 21st, 2021, 11:39 PM
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To the Call of Cthulhu:Horror on the Orient Express-Les Fleurs Du Mal

Les Fleurs Du Mal
What Has Gone BeforeThe Oriental Club located in London, England is a group dedicated to fighting the evil creatures in the dark that seek to bring about the destruction of all mankind. One of their member, Professor Julius Smith, invited you to London to enjoy his presentation on appartitions at the Challenger Lecture in the British Museum.

Once there, the assembled team-a new generation of recruits for the Club-were introduced to the Sedefkar Simulacrum, an artifact of tremendous and evil power. They learn of a strange man Mehmet Makryat who died three times in one night and his possible involvement with the Cult of the Skin. James Connell, a research librarian at the British Museum is found completely skinned after trying to assist the investigators.

Despite being deterred, the investigators persist, finding leads at the Professors burned home in St. John's Wood and the British Museum. They have recovered the journal of Professor Smith, which shows how to find the lost parts of the Sedefkar Simulacrum. More importantly, the team finds the recipe to destroy this evil artifact. The Sedefkar Scrolls are a manifesto on how to use-and destroy- the Simulacrum.

The leads lead from London to the northwest to Constantinople to the Southwest. A swath of evil across the Continent opposes the investigators, but the foes arrayed against them must be stopped. The Professor has provided the team with a stack of pounds, information, and tickets to board the most grand train of the day: THE ORIENT EXPRESS.



Calais to Paris
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The death of Ale is still fresh in the minds of the remaining investigators and the trip across the Channel and from You have arrived at Calais. You have made arrangements to meet your reinforcements by telegraph and the small fortune awarded you by Professor Smith has allowed you to have your own first class car.

Porters move your baggage from the ferry to the train station, and in short order your two new associates join you. The veterans are happy to have help, as the investigation so far has proved even more deadly than they imagined. The newcomers, old friends of Lisse Meitner, have assembled outside the station waiting for their companions from London.

Nearby a number of cars block the view of your train.

The Orient Express waits.

The Simulacrum waits.




The KeeperWhat would you like to do?


 

 

 

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Last edited by Bluejack; Jul 19th, 2022 at 03:29 PM.
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Old Jul 19th, 2022, 02:14 PM
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Masataka 'Nikka' Taketsuru
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Nikka could only be happy that he had sent Rita away… away from the death and horror that London had become. He did not know how to express his sadness… the emptiness he felt inside. More than the rest, Nikka had been with both Abraham and Ale as they died. He had watched their deaths with his own eyes… heard their screams with his own ears.

Nikka did not know how to process such things… he wasn’t sure if he should… or could. All Masataka knew is that Ale’s wife and children deserved better and he could not bring himself to be better. As it was… time passed and soon the team was heading to Paris.

Normally Nikka would have been thrilled to travel to the birthplace of the enlightenment. He would have traveled the city, stopping at all of the famous salons while he read Montesquieu on the separation of powers and Voltaire on the freedom of speech. A trip to Paris would have been an awakening for Nikka… but not anymore.

A pall hung over Masataka Taketsuru as he stood at the bow of the ferry as it slowly moved across the English Channel. He silently looked into the dark water, thinking about the thousands who had gone to the deaths in the war due to German submarines. Lurking metal behemoths… silent… only appearing to deal death and then disappearing once again.

Nikka wished a submarine was waiting for him beneath the waves…it would have been a blessing to slip under the cold Atlantic… to escape the horror that existed within him and that he knew still lurked… silently waiting in the future.

Stepping from the ferry, Nikka was more than a little annoyed to hear that Ale and Abraham were being so quickly replaced as if cogs on a wheel. It was a bit callous and Nikka was happy that he did not have any children to leave behind. It was now apparent how cheaply the lives of the investigators were held by Professor Smith.

Standing at the platform to the station, Nikka saw the two individuals forwarded by Ms. Meitner. They were an unlikely pair, a svelte Oriental woman and a possibly infirm Englishman. Nikka rapidly approached the pair, a frown on his face as he looked at the Chinese woman. Relations between Japan and China had been fraught with tension in recent years especially with Japan joining the coalition that crushed the so-called Boxer Rebellion as well as sheltering Sun Yat-Sen and his anti-Qing movement.

“Hello, My name is Masataka Taketsuru. I am sure you have many questions and I assure you they will all be answered soon. However, now is not the time or place. Shall I assume that Ms. Meitner gave you a basic outline of our needs at this time.”

Nikka wasn’t purposefully being rude but as he spoke he noticed that neither of the new recruits had hands that spoke to hard work… not covered in baked in grease and grime like Ale’s.

Ooc

OOC
 

 
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Last edited by Begon Ugo; Jul 19th, 2022 at 06:19 PM.
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Old Jul 20th, 2022, 08:53 AM
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Mei Li

Mei shivered a little in the mid-morning January sunshine, awaiting her new associates outside Calais train station. It was not cold, but memories of the previous month dripped like icy shards down her spine.

After arriving in London on her mission to deliver her message to the family of James Huntingdon, Mei’s life had turned some unexpected corners. The invitation to the British Museum for the archaeological lecture had been but a front for her induction into the Oriental Club. When she was made aware of the dangers that faced all humanity, and with her own knowledge of the diabolical entity that had gone to the bottom of the ocean with the Tigermoth, and James, she felt that she had no choice but to join the fight against evil. It seemed to be her destiny; the honourable thing to do.

Her first mission in Paris, under the tutelage of Remi Vangeim, had exposed her to a new dimension of horror. The visions of the Bailong flickered across her mind and Mei shook her head to clear it.

That business is done. Now I must focus on the Sedefkar Simulacrum.

It was all knowledge outside her particular expertise, but it was uncanny how the patterns and mechanics of the occult remained constant throughout the world.

Her presence at the port station drew looks from passing Europeans. Was it that she was a young woman traveling unaccompanied, or that she was so obviously not from these parts in her traditional qipao? Or something else?

Mei wondered about the associates with whom she must meet. Lisse Meitner had been most mysterious. An Englishman with a pronounced limp loitered at the other end of the platform. Mei watched him for a little while. Some injury – probably from the war – marred his face, no doubt earned at the same time as the problems with his leg. She knew he was English from her familiarity with James. They had such a wonderful eccentric uniqueness. Mei decided he had to be part of the group. She moved closer to him, then enjoyed the tension as the shy gentleman gathered the courage to speak to her.

Presently, another man approached them. Mei frowned. Oh, he is a Jatbunjan.

China and Japan had become rivals in the time since the First World War. China’s internal strife and Japan’s rapid ascension in the world order – as well as their expansion into Manchuria – had completely changed the relationship.

But her father had taught Mei not to accept the general Chinese view that they were backwards barbarians. He had counselled that they were great artisans, even during their time of self-imposed isolation. It was true that she had been picked up by Japanese fishermen after the sinking of the Tigermoth, and even at that time, when she was most vulnerable, they had treated her with honour.

They had adopted Chinese Hanzi, and wrote them well. They cannot be all bad.

And this gentleman, Masataka Taketsuru, spoke excellent English and wore western clothes. He was surely a paragon of the modern, assertive, cultured Japan.

She bowed deeply in return. The gesture was a universal sign of respect across Asia.

“I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Masataka-san. I am Li Ying Mei. Please call me Mei. I indeed have many questions. I was advised we were to gather here before entering the train?”


 

Last edited by Mitsubachi; Jul 20th, 2022 at 09:38 AM. Reason: commas!
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Old Jul 21st, 2022, 09:54 AM
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Henrietta Smythe-Porter – Calais
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The trip across the Channel had been restorative. It’s done, time to move on. Henrietta thought, with a stoicism hard-won from the Great War’s losses.

She’d spent the short trip alone on the deck – the wind a pleasant mask for those last few tears she’d shed for Ale and Lempe. As the sailors manned the ropes and skilfully bound the ship to the quay, her mind turned to the journey ahead.

At least her time with the Professor’s notebook had been profitable. A trail seemingly laid from London to the orient – Istanbul. She gazed southwards, almost willing the Hagia Sophia to peek over the horizon. But they had a long path ahead of them. She looked down to where Nikka and Jimmy were mounting the gangplank to France and wondered if the three of them would make it soundly to Turkey.

”Madam, nous sommes arrives.” a steward said at her elbow.

”Merci, je vais débarquer tout à l'heure.” she replied with her reflex school girl French.

Savouring a last moment of peace amongst the wheeling gulls, she too made he way to the quay.




It was a short walk to the Gare. The Professor had been kind enough to furnish them with a fine carriage on the Orient Express. She’d travelled on it before, on business. But at that time it was with the mercantile class. She’d had some business with some warehouses near the Bosphorus that a desperate merchant had burnt. That journey had been a grim old affair, sharing a middling dining car with the most dull minded characters. Still, needs must.


So it was that Henrietta was late in noticing their new companions. The couple vouchsafed by the Professor.

And there he was, standing behind the other Japanese lady Nikka was talking to – none other than Arthur Millington-Fairbanks.

”Arty?” she said, using his childhood family name ”Arthur Millington-Fairbanks, its you isn’t it?” she crossed quickly, turning the man gently towards her ”Come, let me look at you, you’ve…”

Aged she wanted to say developed a nervous disposition. She’d heard that little Arty had had a difficult War. A touch of the shell-shock Geraldine had said. She could see that now.

”Well its so good to see you. I hope you are prepared for what is ahead of us.” she said enigmatically.

The Professor knows his people, but surely Arty doesn’t have the stomach for what is ahead … the image of the Fire Vampire was still brunt on her retina – a dark smudge that reminded her always that there was more to this world than the normal folk saw.



ooc
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Old Jul 24th, 2022, 10:42 AM
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Calais
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Jimmy Mott
Little Jimmy Mott (aka James Talbot Mott) stepped off of the ship, mere footsteps behind Masataka 'Nikka' Taketsuru, and onto foreign ground for the first time in his life. Before the recent events in London...the fight with Turks, the skinned man, the death of Ale and the fiery, otherworldly abomination that killed him...Jimmy would have been excited to see the port of Calais. He would have thought it victorious that a young man from the slums of London's East End had the opportunity to travel anywhere outside of England. But not now. Now his eyes flitted and jumped to here and there, looking for something hidden, looking for something shocking, deadly. Jimmy Mott was still acting his part, but he now knew that he was in no play. He now knew that he was in a world that did not exist for him before he met Professor Smith. Before he met Nikka and Henrietta and Ale. Things were different now. Very different.

As Nikka walked up to the beautiful, exotic looking young lady who was one of two investigators joining the group on their journey to Paris and beyond, Jimmy stood silently still. He looked at the young lady, who introduced herself as Li Ying Mei, and his mind made no plans to sweet talk her, fool her, convince her of some lie. No, the new Jimmy made no such plans or schemes. He simply stood and looked at her, listened to what she had to say.

Jimmy then felt a warmth come from the inside pocket of his suit jacket. He felt a darkness there, too.

The little black box.

Jimmy reached inside the pocket and lightly touched the box. It was still there, closed, safe.

As Henrietta made conversation with the other new member of the group, an Englishman with the high-bred name of Arthur Millington-Fairbanks, Jimmy closed his eyes and once again saw the melted, twisted, bloodied face of Ale. The Finn was gurgling words at Jimmy, again...just like he did in that dark and foggy London alleyway. Jimmy shook his head slightly, opened his eyes, and wondered when the nightmarish daydreams would stop.



 


 
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Last edited by Warson; Jul 24th, 2022 at 10:43 AM.
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Old Jul 25th, 2022, 03:11 PM
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Arthur Millington-Fairbanks
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Arthur stood patiently at the train station, clutching his copy of Baudelaire's poetical masterpiece - rereading it for the umpteenth time on the boat over from England, he was roughly half way through the second section - Tableaux parisiens, which seemed apt. The poet's exploration of anonymity, alienation, and estrangement sang to Arthur as he set foot on French soil again, the land less familiar than the last time he has set foot here in his crisp new uniform, the hell of war about to meet him. Despite no longer wearing that uniform in a mass of humanity all wearing the same, he felt more anonymous now; just another tourist (or, bearing in mind the French volume he was holding in his slightly sweating hands, perhaps even some provincial visitor from Normandy or Brittany, perhaps, unless his English tweed gave him away).

He allowed his gaze to idly look around him; the letter he received from Fanny was as circumspect as always, but more intriguing than normal - asking Milly to meet up with some acquaintances of a friend of Fanny's, some academic or other and lend a hand as a fluent French speaker and (as Fanny put it) "un homme cultivé" who could offer a distinct perspective said to have been lacking in the group since one of their members had sadly left the employ of Professor Smith (the patron of the group, apparently). Pity, Arthur thought to himself, it sounded like this Abraham chap and myself were quite alike in some ways, it would have been interesting to converse with him.

A little anxious now, Arthur wondered when his contacts here would, well, make contact. He wished Fanny hadn't been quite so circumspect; a description of those he was to meet would have been rather handy, as would a description of exactly what his duties would entail. Still, it would be nice to get away from it all and relax on the Orient Express. Whatever this project was, it shouldn't be too taxing. The most exciting part will probably be reading the shocking revelations of Baudelaire's fourth section (Fleurs du mal). Victor Hugo couldn't have put it any better when describing that section as "un nouveau frisson;" even today Arthur made an involuntary shudder at the thought of the poems in that part of the book.

He could almost be talking of me, Arthur thought, in the prologue where he writes

Si le viol, le poison, le poignard, l'incendie,
N'ont pas encore brodé de leurs plaisants dessins
Le canevas banal de nos piteux destins,
C'est que notre âme, hélas ! n'est pas assez hardie*

"Our soul is not bold enough," though Arthur. Apt, really. He sighed and something in the accent of a passerby brought back a memory of a particular poilu he had fought alongside, Claude, perhaps? No, Jules, with his hair swept back and that easy smile on his full lips. Of course, Jules. It wouldn't have been him on the streets here, of course; he'd died less than 3 feet away from where Arthur was standing almost a decade ago.

Quote:
"Arty? Arthur Millington-Fairbanks, it's you isn’t it? "
The words brought him out of his reverie, and he blinked, registering for the first time the woman in front of him. He stammered a little, as if unsure where he was (Great first impression he thought); the incongruity of the location and the figure before him momentarily confusing him.

"Hetty?" he replied, "What in the blazes are you doing here in Calais?"

Before he even thought of his slightly sweaty palms, he had taken her hands in his. "It's good to see you of course, it must have been..." he let the sentence trail off as he tried to calculate the number of years that had passed since they had last met. Lord Parsonby's ball, perhaps? No, that after he'd gone to Cambridge, he hadn't seen Hetty since...

Aware that he was seemingly lost in his own world, he snapped back to attention. "well, years, anyway. How are you?" He smiled genuinely and broadly, feeling the tugging at the left side of his mouth as the scar tissue tightened a little, before letting it die on his lips in instant recognition and remembrance of his injuries, as if ashamed or guilty about them. "I would offer to take you to tea, but I'm awaiting the arrival of a group I'm to travel with, and I fear that they're already late," he added, apologetically, and all too aware of how it might sound like an excuse to avoid the social niceties that their status should warrant.

Quote:
"Well its so good to see you. I hope you are prepared for what is ahead of us."
Us? What on earth did she mean? "You surely aren't acquainted with a Professor Smith are you?"




OOC* tr.:
If rape, poison, dagger and fire,
Have still not embroidered their pleasant designs
On the banal canvas of our pitiable destinies,
It's because our soul, alas, is not bold enough!


 
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Old Jul 26th, 2022, 12:44 PM
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Les Fleurs Du Mal
Calais to Paris
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Milly knew Calais well as a member of the BEF. The quaint coastal town had been the portal for England to invade or support France more than a score of times throughout history. The housing of troops had created infrastructure that might not otherwise been found in a town of this size. Arthur felt the initial surprise at seeing a childhood friend fade into concern that someone he knew would be involved in the bizarre affairs of Professor Julius Smith. The man was a regular Sun Tzu with his schemes.

Mei was equally as occupied with her assessment of Nikka and the unease was obvious for Jimmy to see. These were complete strangers asking to risk each others lives in the pursuit of the Sedefkar Simulacrum. Trust was not earned at the end of a pen, no matter how exquisite the handwriting of Beddows and the wordsmithing of Professor Smith.

Soon blue uniformed porters from Simplon Orient Express come to take your belongings to the luggage car. Soon the porters got to work, and an older man with a more ornate blue uniform emerged from the pack. He approached and spoke to the assembled investigators. "Hello sir, we can see you to your berth? Or perhaps the dining car? We are at your service, of course.Bonjour monsieur, nous pouvons vous voir à votre poste d'amarrage ? Ou peut-être le wagon-restaurant ? Nous sommes bien sûr à votre service."

The Letter
Dear Mei and Milly,
The time to step forward in our investigation of Compte Fenelik is nigh. That name is closely associated with the S.S. and the other investigators have found new information to help us catch up with the C.otS. Meet them at Port Calais Train Station and board the Orient Express. Tickets are included for This is an open ticket from Calais to Constantinople.full passage.

Your fellow investigators are Nikka, Henrietta, and James. They will be on the lookout for you. I have every faith you will prevail. The C.ot.S. is behind every corner. Be careful!

Your friend,
Professor Julius Smith






The KeeperWhat would you like to do?


 

 

 

 

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Last edited by Bluejack; Jul 26th, 2022 at 12:56 PM.
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Old Jul 28th, 2022, 01:59 PM
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Masataka 'Nikka' Taketsuru
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Li Ying Mei bowed. It was a simple gesture yet it set Masataka back on his heels. In one small gesture Mei had confronted Nikka with his abandonment of his own culture. Nikka had not bowed to Li Ying Mei and his face burned in embarrassment. In Japan, bowing was a fundamental part of social etiquette emphasizing respect and social ranks. While originally a Buddhist religious practice that was then adopted by the Samurai class, bowing was now ubiquitous in Japan.

Nikka had spent many years away from Japan while learning the secrets of the whisky distillation process. Perhaps he had spent too much time away.

Feeling fully chastised, Nikka bowed deeply to Mei and when the porters came to carry the traveler’s bags to the train, he waved them away and took Mei’s bags in his own hands.

Bowing again, Nikka carried Li Ying Mei’s bags to the train. Placing them down, Nikka waited until the head Porter’s words were translated before looking to his fellow investigators. “I believe we should break bread with each other before we move forward. There is considerable danger ahead and we will ask much of each other. I would know who it is I would die with.”

Nikka moved to board the train, handing his ticket to the porter as he gave the man a slight bow. “Please show me to my quarters.”

Ooc

OOC
 

 
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Old Jul 28th, 2022, 07:44 PM
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Henrietta Smythe-Porter – Calais
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”Acquainted?” Henrietta said in answer to Millie’s question about the Professor ”Why Arty, he’s quite turned my world upside down. But if you are a member of the Oriental too, I do not need to tell you the kind of scrapes we’ve had.” she looked back to Nikka and Jimmy and added quietly ”I am afraid we lost a couple of dear friends to the Professor’s enemies, one of them just days ago, and dashed nearly lost the Professor too.” she smiled a smile of concern ”That’s why I asked if you were prepared. I you are to join us in this investigation … well it’s a lot more serious than a game of hide-and-seek in the garden.”

Then she saw the look in Millie’s eye – it was no longer little Arty she was taking to. She took his hand, saying ”But who am I to say that. You served in the War too and that was enough for any man. Now let me put away our childish things. I am sure you no longer go by Arty, what should I call you? Arthur?” she patted his hand.


Next, she brought Millie over to meet Nikka and Jimmy ”Arthur, please meet my companions. This is Masataka Taketsuru, but we call him Nikka, and this is James Mott, Jimmy to his friends. And don’t let appearances deceive you Arthur, there is more to young Jimmy than any of us thought we’d find.”

Henrietta glanced at Li Ying, raised an appreciative eyebrow, then asked Nikka ”And Nikka, who is this elegant lady you have found us. It this the fifth of our little party?”

__________________________________________________ ______________

”Yes …” Henrietta say to the uniformed man, then ” Oui, prenez nos bagages. Peut-être un cocktail avant le souper?”

”Oh, Nikka, you are a one. They have staff for that …” she said noticing her friend carrying Li Ying’s bags ”… do put them down.” then with a jolly voice, she added ”Shall we let them deal with our bags and take a cocktail in the dining car before supper? I can’t think of a better way to get to know each other.”

Then sidling up to Nikka she whispered to him ”Besides Rita will snap that pretty little thing like a twig if you are not careful” she gave him a playful wink.


ooc
 




 
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 10:40 AM
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Mei Li

Mei Li watched as more members of the group assembled on the platform. There was another gentleman, another Englishman if she guessed correctly, lingering behind Mr Masataka. He had a sly, scoundrel kind of demeanour, and Mei caught him looking at her. She lowered her eyes in deferment, so the eye-contact was short-lived. She wondered who he was, what he may be thinking, what his role here may be. She peeked again, surreptitiously, but his eyes were closed, his hands in his pockets, and his mind seemed to suddenly be elsewhere...

Meanwhile, Mr Mastaka had suddenly blushed a deep red. He bowed deeply and sincerely in return, and Mei's heart fluttered at the properly performed gesture. There was a kind of power that westerners did not understand about making the bow at the right angle and with the right gravitas. Mei was instantly impressed by the man.

At the same time a lady - definitely English! - swaggered amongst them all and accosted the enigmatic war-veteran that Mei suspected might the "Milly" from Professor Smith's letter. The lady did not name herself at first, but the gentleman called her "Hetty". They seemed to know each other, perhaps from childhood? Hetty called him "Arty", which confused Mei. But then their manner of speech was all quite confusing. Hetty was an affable, verbose lady and... oh, what was that word James would have used? Robust? Hardy? Stout? Mmmm... Hearty. That was it! She was quite the character and chortled like a goose. She soon had indirectly informed Mei that the scoundrel was called Jimmy, and the Japanese man they called Nikka.

It all fitted neatly into place from Professor Smith's letter: Nikka, James, and she must be Henrietta.

Henrietta then turned her voracious attention upon Mei, who wilted a little.

Quote:
”And Nikka, who is this elegant lady you have found us. It this the fifth of our little party?”
Mei took a breath. This was her moment. She bowed again.

"I am Ying Mei Li. Please call me Mei. Yes, I am recruited by Professor Smith and I am to join this... party."

She stumbled at the last word a little, feeling unsure but using the prompt given by Henrietta.

There was a blast from the train's whistle, and the group became aware it was time to depart. To her great surprise, Nikka collected Mei's bags. She was stunned into paralysis for a moment, then managed to speak, trotting along behind him.

"Oh, thank you. That is very kind of you, Sir."

When they reached the relevant car a porter arrived and Henrietta spoke fluently in French to him. Mei was somewhat apt with languages, but kept quiet and listened carefully. She had always found it useful to not reveal how much she understood. It was then that Nikka turned back to the group.

Quote:
“I believe we should break bread with each other before we move forward. There is considerable danger ahead and we will ask much of each other. I would know who it is I would die with.”
It was an elegantly put proposal, but the final sentence still took her breath away a little. Mei knew that her experiences on the Tigermoth and at the old residence of the Marquis De Sade had put her on the path of joining this mission, and had some perception of the dangers ahead. The final sentence no doubt held truth. But it was such a stark and powerful statement...

Luckily, Henrietta rephrased with a much more jolly emphasis.

Quote:
”Shall we let them deal with our bags and take a cocktail in the dining car before supper? I can’t think of a better way to get to know each other.”
Mei brightened at this suggestion. "Oh yes, I would like that very much."

Henrietta was whispering something to Nikka at that point and Mei frowned.


 

Last edited by Mitsubachi; Jul 29th, 2022 at 10:43 AM. Reason: Statblock added
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 04:32 PM
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Dear Henrietta | Into The Train
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Jimmy Mott
James Talbot Mott was still thinking about his little black box and silent nightmares when Henrietta approached with the highbrow Englishman in tow.

"Arthur, please meet my companions. This is Masataka Taketsuru, but we call him Nikka, and this is James Mott, Jimmy to his friends. And don’t let appearances deceive you Arthur, there is more to young Jimmy than any of us thought we’d find."

Jimmy stood still, shocked at what he had just heard. Thoughts of death and mystery were now gone from his mind. There was only Henrietta now as she filled his rapid thoughts. Her face...even more beautiful than before. Her lovely, irritating voice...now more lovely and less irritating than ever. The lady complimented James, said a nice thing about him for the first time since they had met. There were only a few people who would ever know if that was indeed the truth and Jimmy knew it was true. He knew it and he loved it.

She shows respect for me, Jimmy told himself, because of what happened. Because of what happened with Ale and Nikka and that...that fiery thing. He then cleared his dry, nervous throat and said to Millington-Fairbanks, "Henrietta is too kind, good sir. I am just another in our humble group who is looking for the truth. Looking for the Sedefkar Simulacrum. Looking for what Professor Smith has hired us to find."

A bit of the old Jimmy peeked out from behind his mind's curtain then and he thought about the money that could be had by finding at least a part of the weird artifact that they all sought. The black market spanned the globe and was always available, a fact that even Jimmy knew about.

Soon, a train's porter approached and addressed the group in French. It might as well have been Latin to Jimmy. None of it made any sense. But there was Henrietta's voice once again, interpreting, explaining to Nikka. Thankfully. Jimmy then grinned slightly as Henrietta finished and he began walking towards a now full-handed Nikka.

"She's quite beautiful, yes?" Jimmy asked quietly as his head motioned toward Mei Li. "Quite."

And with those quiet words the group of five made their way into the long train and its dining car. Within minutes, Jimmy and the others were raising their glasses and toasting to an unknown and, most likely, life threatening future.



 


 
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Last edited by Warson; Jul 29th, 2022 at 04:41 PM.
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Old Jul 30th, 2022, 09:28 PM
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Arthur Millington-Fairbanks
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Arthur is a little overwhelmed. he hears the words that Hetty and her friends are saying, but the matter of fact tone in which they communicate these words is at odds to the message they are conveying. It simply makes no sense to the perturbed antiquarian. Lost a couple of friends? What did the woman mean? They were supposed to meet here and haven't yet reached their destination? Other social commitments took precedence, and they were unable to join the trip around Europe? Surely Hetty didn't mean they had died?

And what's this about enemies being responsible? Arthur blanches a little, wondering if this is some elaborate jape that Hetty is playing on Arthur. "But I was told this was to be a jaunt around Europe, deciphering manuscripts, doing research, that sort of thing," he stammers out. "Surely you can't mean there's a possibility of violence?"

As he stands, stunned by this new revelation, Arthur's initial reaction is to leave, to run back to England on the next available packet boat, the retreat from Mons to the Marne all over again. But that would be leaving Hetty - and her friends - just because Arthur was not yet acquainted with them didn't mean he didn't owe a duty to them too - to whatever ghastly fate might await her. Despite his innate sense of self-preservation (cowardice, his inner voice sounded), he couldn't simply leave Hetty to a bad end without trying to do something about it. I mean, who else would defend the women on this excursion?

Arthur looked at the others as Hetty introduced them, their names flying past as he tried to grasp them, to instill some sense of normality to the proceedings, to pretend that this was some dinner party or such (and the talk of cocktails certainly made it seem so). This Nikka chappie seemed somewhat capable - a servant perhaps, since he was carrying the bags of what appeared to be another new entrant into this endeavour, another Oriental whose presence eludes Arthur right now - perhaps a secretary or something? Linguist, perchance? And this Jimmy fellow - Hetty was right, the chap didn't look like much - and thoroughly working class by the look of it. Perhaps another servant?

Arthur sighed internally, and nodded, to no-one in particular, as he made up his mind. It seems that whatever this caper is, Hetty might be in some danger, and I'm not sure these others would be able to protect her - or themselves. If there is any danger to be had on this trip, I suppose it's going to have to be up to me to defend them. Dear God.

The thought fills Arthur with trepidation, and he feels the fear rising within him, but he tries to push it back down. With a curt, military nod to each of his new acquaintances, he announces "I'm very pleased to meet you all, and I look forward to getting to know each of you better. If -" he pauses here, hoping that he's correct in that it won't come to anything - "If there's any danger, you can count on me being by your side." God, I hope that wasn't a lie.


OOCI'm playing Arthur here with initial knee-jerk reactions to the others, particularly his reference to Nikka and Mei as "Orientals" and to some extent disparaging them on the grounds of their race, and on Jimmy on account of his class, but don't worry, I don't intend to keep this up, since Milly does tend to have initial assumptions that are quickly corrected by close proximity to people; he is a quick learner, after all.

Similarly, I'm playing him as a little bewildered by the nature of the group and their aims - the telegram was brief and not entirely forthcoming with information, so he isn't sure what he's gotten himself in for, but his sense of duty will keep him involved, and the threat faced by others in the group will soon make him determined to protect them (whether they need protecting by him is an entirely different matter, of course). If any of that offends, please don't take it as so.


 
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Old Aug 29th, 2022, 01:56 PM
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Les Fleurs Du Mal
Calais to Paris
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The team of porters took the baggage and would not tolerate the guests to take their own possessions. They had a duty to perform and they would do it, by God. The team of investigators moved around the freight train blocking their ride, and when they had a clear view, they all stopped short in awe.

The Simplon Orient Express was a beautiful train-breathtaking. The blue and gold cars were impeccably kept. The craftsmanship and detail of the cars was stunning. Nearby the cars stood the porters, dining car staff, and conductors. Henrietta saw one take out a pocket watch, check the time, then bark a command to the porters. The string of carriers seemed to move a skosh faster, and they gained distance from the investigators who remained stunned by the beauty of the train.


A quick stop at the sleeper car showed continued opulence. Each member of the team had their own car purchased by Dr. Smith, first class. The expense was incredible. The porters placed small bags as instructed by the guests, and the rest were taken to the baggage car. After that stop, the group was led to the dining car while waiting to depart.

The bar and adjoining dining car did not disappoint. They too were colored blue and gold. The upholstery was ornate and elegant, the accents in gold tasteful near the point of excess. The bar car was empty, but beyond the investigators could see workers preparing for guests, and a few other early arrivals eating brunch. One waiter looked through the glass from the dining car and gave a nod. He would be with them shortly, it would seem.

The investigators were alone on the Orient Express. The search for the Simulacrum was on.




The KeeperWhat would you like to do?


 

 

 

 

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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 04:45 PM
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Henrietta Smythe-Porter – The Orient Express
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”Now Mei, dear …” Henrietta took the arm of her new acquaintance ”… come, now let’s show the boys what we are made of heh?” and led her round the freight train that was masking the magnificence of the Orient Express.

”She’s beautiful isn’t she.” Henrietta said at the sight of the gleaming carriages waiting for their passengers. ”You’re in for a treat, not one of our needs will be left unmet …” she continued ”… let’s enjoy the trip to Paris, I’ve got a feeling it will hot up by the time we get there.”


In truth Henrietta was not quite used to the Orient Express’s opulence, not since her father had blown the family fortune. But she’d not show it. She nodded as the stewards showed their services, with a ”Thank you” and a ”Very well.”

Then approaching the bar car, she mimed looking at her watch ”Well it’s always six o‘clock somewhere in the Empire. Shall we?” and she approached the bar. ”Good morning gentlemen we’re not too early are we?”

She turned to her companions and said ”I think a French 75 was a Roaring ’20s classic made with gin, champagne, and lemon.French 75 is in order don’t you think Lady and Gentlemen?”

Then turning back to the barstaff she said again ”Let’s welcome us aboard with a round of French 75s … oh and some olives. We’ll take them over there.” she gestured towards the pair of sofas that faced each other in the prime space of the bar car.



ooc

 




 
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Old Aug 31st, 2022, 01:56 PM
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Masataka 'Nikka' Taketsuru
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Nikka had struggled slightly with the porters over who would have the honor of carrying Mei Li’s luggage, his earlier rudeness making him overcompensate in his attempt at recompense. After a few tugs back and forth, Masataka finally threw his hands up in frustration and then executed a smart bow to the servant before joining back up with his companions.

The opulence of the train itself set Nikka back on his heels. He was in no way a pauper, having made his money through pure grit and determination in the whiskey business, yet the train represented a level of luxury he had never experienced before and he found it at first glance… distasteful.

“All of this space?” he said waving his arms to encompass the individual sleeping arrangements, “That is for us?” Nikka asked, unable to fathom why a regular bunk would not suffice for the trip.

Nikka followed Henrietta into the dining car and towards the bar, accepting the French 75 out of politeness more than desire. He sipped the concoction and smacked his lips slightly at the lemony bite to the drink. In his years in Scotland, Nikka had never learned to enjoy the cocktails of Europe. He enjoyed the simplicity of a neat drink, distilled and aged correctly, poured in a proper glass. Adding different flavors was disrespectful to the distilling craft and could only be a sign of an inferior product in need of flavor masking.

Nikka slid into a nearby seat and raised a toast to his companions. “Let us not forget our fallen companions, Abraham and Ale. They would warn us not to become complacent on our journey. I feel as if this train ride itself may hold dangers and so we should make sure that we are all watching out for each other.”

Ooc

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