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  #31  
Old Jun 22nd, 2021, 09:49 AM
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The Challenger LectureAfter the toast to their lost comrade, the tone of a handbell signaled the start of the Challenger lecture. Dr. Smith's was known for his rigorous skepticism and methodical analysis and had earned him high reputation as a debunker of mediums, spiritualists, fortune-tellers, prophets, holy sites, apparitions, and so on. Little did most of the audience know his true predilection, or that Smith had encountered real evidence of such phenomena.

Smith had steadfastly refused to give any hint of his topic for tonight. As he introduced himself and spoke, Smith was droll, an entertaining and precise man who recounted with relish the clever deceits (and his cleverer exposures) of charlatans and pretenders. Laughter was general and ongoing. After mocking the very trade at which he had spent his life, Smith did change his tone:
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"There prove to be, however categories of repetitious phenomenon offering no simple elucidation. I refer to the ‘poltergeist,’ to the ‘traveler’ who suddenly finds himself dozens or thousands of miles or years from where he stood moments before, and to the ‘haunting.’ My presentation tonight concerns the last. I say ‘haunting’ and not ‘ghost’ or ‘spirit’ because alone of such epiphenomena, haunters can be buildings, lanterns, coaches-and-fours, swords, and so on, as well as men, women, dogs, bears, processions, even armies.

World-wide, the store of casual anecdote concerning haunters is enormous. And I say ‘epiphenomena’ because the haunters are not linked with specific observers, and the haunting presumably occurs with or without human witnesses, as we shall see. Thus perception of such an event is secondary to the event itself.

The essential characteristics of haunters are simple: the person or thing must have existed, must have disappeared in some sense and then must reappear once or many times. The location of the phenomenon may stay the same, or may change; that which reappears may be partial and insubstantial, or be as solid and real-seeming as any member of tonight’s illustrious gathering. No other conditions are needed."



Dr. Smith then projects slides of three hauntings in detail—a Breton fishing boat, an American woman in Cvil War era dress, and a London hansom cab. Each incident was studied and photographed simultaneously from at least three positions, allowing accurate scaling of the apparitions. The good doctor is able to demonstrate several characteristics shared by the three. The three apparitions do not coalesce from points, as most tales describe, but slowly emerge whole from invisibleplanes, as if passing through what Smith terms the ‘curtains of perception.’
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Emily

Each was semi-transparent. He traced the clear passage of a wave through the fishing boat, for instance, and showed that the image
causes no froth or ripples: it does not resist the water. In other slides, the audience saw the second or third photographers through the image of the apparition. Each apparition glowed appreciably, as Smith demonstrated by isolating the reflections from nearby objects. Sampling attributes part of the glow to ionization, but not all. Careful indexing of the reflections indicated that the level of ionization varied randomly during each event.

The rate at which these three apparitions manifested motion was in comparison to normal movement slowed by a consistent half in each case. Smith points out a ripple passing across the sail of the fishing boat; when 16mm cinematograph film of it is speeded appreciably, the ripple seems normal while the ocean waves become ridiculous. So does the staircase descent of the American woman seemless unusual when speeded up. The horse drawing the hansom cab switches her tail casually, as if discouraging flies, rather than making seemingly malevolent and mysterious gestures.

Historically, each of these three apparitions was held to have disappeared, not to have been killed or destroyed, though this observation could not be said true of every apparition. Comparatively, instances of touchable, solid apparitions rarely occur. “One might wait many lifetimes for a chance,”Smith speculated as he stared at the investigators assembled at the front table,"to touch a solid apparition; or be touched."

Such apparitions seem not to be uniformly preserved. The south of England, he notes, has been settled by man for many thousands of years, yet the vast majority of haunting seem to have been produced in the past five or six centuries. Only a handful survive from Roman times. Smith concludes by observing that in the past thirty years science has begun to learn about that which cannot be seen or normally sensed, and that some behavior on the atomic level is impossible in the greater world. He has come to think that hauntings offer clues to so-far indefinable ways of arriving at or opening a wayinto other dimensions.

“It is my belief that such hauntings represent clues concerning a natural universe much larger and much stranger than we imagine. The walls of what we perceive as normality have a subtle flexibility. The spectral hauntings I have discussed represent attempts—perhaps random, perhaps purposeful, certainly unsuccessful—to return to this time and space by elements of it somehow removed.

“If we are energetic, and not a little lucky in our observations, students of paraphysicality may one day be able to move up and down time, or to travel globally with minor effort, or to perceive that which at present lies completely beyond our senses. What waits beyond remains the supreme question which, for the present, each must answer for himself."
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  #32  
Old Jun 27th, 2021, 10:23 AM
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Henrietta Smythe-Porter – The lecture
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”So fascinating” Henrietta said, clapping lightly as Dr Smith concluded his lecture.



”We have seen such apparitions with our own eyes …” she commented to Shenandoa and Mott ”In fact, it might be said that we were the haunters, taken from our time and place to trespass in some other … world.” her face was serious ”Dr Smith is making a serious study of such phenomenon – a seriousness on a par with Mr Einstein’s I should say.”

”Those photographs – they say the camera cannot lie …” she held up her hand ”… no I’m not taken in by those Cottingley faeries … but a man of Dr Smith’s scientific rigour is not looking to entertain – he is looking to understand.”

She turned to Ale and Nikka ”And we most certainly have touched, and been touched by the apparition – we know only too well what it means to be touched by such a thing.” She shook her head.



”What can the Doctor have to say to us? Surely it is not unconnected to the truths he has just revealed to us.”


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  #33  
Old Jun 28th, 2021, 08:15 AM
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Finally, an Angle
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Jimmy Mott
As Professor Smith went on and on and on about the unreal, fake supernatural world, Jimmy Mott sat uncomfortably in his seat, fidgeted, sighed quietly out of utter boredom, and tried to occupy his mind on his next steps. He had already committed to being at the lecture. Had already committed to the job, but he still needed to work out the details. He needed to figure out who he could work on and what he could get from them. He wanted no part of the Asian man and his companion. No, they were too smart. The beautiful and uppity Henrietta would not do either. She elicited all kinds of confusing emotions from Jimmy and he wasn't sure if he could sort them all out enough to complete the job. The Finn and the old lady, though...yes, one of them would do. Maybe both. Neither of them seemed too bright to Jimmy. He knew they might be smarter than he was, but he still thought he could work them. Bend them. Fool them.

When Smith began to speak of the Traveler and the Haunting, then began presenting photographs that suggested that there was indeed a real world of the supernatural in between the folds of reality all around everyone, Jimmy simply said one word to himself, quiet enough so that no one around him could hear: "Bullocks."

When the lecture finally concluded, the graceful Henrietta spoke up. "We have seen such apparitions with our own eyes...And we most certainly have touched, and been touched by the apparition – we know only too well what it means to be touched by such a thing."

Wait! Jimmy's mind demanded of itself. That's it. Right here in front of me. It's right here in front of me. These gits will lay down heaps of dosh on anything related to these ghost stories. That's the angle, Jimmy. That's the ticket.

A smile began to appear on Jimmy's face as he finally relaxed, sat back in his chair, and listened to Henrietta and the others continue their conversation about the unreal.



 


 
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  #34  
Old Jun 28th, 2021, 01:01 PM
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Shenandoa Orenda / London, England / Wednesday, 3 January 1923
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The speech was a rather droll affair. Shenandoa sat patiently as the Professor gave his lecture, putting on display images and photographs for everyone to see and laugh at. Shenandoa sat quietly and listened, or at least she appeared to be sitting quietly and listening, though as for what was actually going on within her mind, there was no outward display nor sign of any kind, with which to tell.

Eventually, the Professor finished and the audience began to clap. Shenandoa, however, did not. She looked over towards Henrietta and watched as the posh English lady clapped, politely. For the first time that evening, an appearance of bemusement showed on Shenandoa’s face. "You listen to him?" she asked Henrietta, her voice edging ever so slightly from bemusement to bewilderment.

”We have seen such apparitions with our own eyes …” Henrietta commented back, to both Shenandoa and Mott. ”In fact, it might be said that we were the haunters, taken from our time and place to trespass in some other … world.” Her face was serious as she continued, ”Dr. Smith is making a serious study of such phenomenon – a seriousness on a par with Mr. Einstein’s, I should say.”

"Why do you want to go to other worlds?" Shenandoa asked Henrietta, in response to the latter’s claim. "You trespass in another’s land, that tells them you come to start a war," she cautioned.

As Henrietta continued to discuss photographs, believing that they don’t lie, except for the ones that do, Shenandoa glanced around the table at the others in an attempt to gauge their reaction to the Professor’s speech. She, herself, didn’t put much stock into what he said. He speaks too much, for no good reasons, she thinks to herself. She noticed that Jimmy Mott seemed to take an unhealthy interest in what the Professor said, judging by the smile he was wearing. Shenandoa was curious to know what the others thought of this man, this Dr. Smith, and what he claims to know!


 
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Old Jun 28th, 2021, 05:30 PM
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Masataka 'Nikka' Taketsuru
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Masataka was unimpressed by Smith’s talk… as he was unimpressed by anything the man did or said. He was unsure why he had been invited to this event… the pomp and circumstance meant nothing to him and the contents of the lecture were certainly nothing that Nikka and his companions did not already know.

He nodded politely at Henrietta’s reaction and when she was questioned by Shenandoa, Nikka quickly interjected. “We did not want to go to other worlds… no. We were taken without our permission or desire.”

The small man stared into the older woman’s eyes. “And yes… our presence was a declaration of war. A war that is far from finished. As Henrietta has said… we know full well what the touch of an apparition can do.”

“Pray that you never have the opportunity to find out the truth for yourself,” Nikka said as he tightly squeezed his wife's hand... his eyes staring off into the distance.

OOC
 

 
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Old Jul 2nd, 2021, 02:03 AM
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Professor Smith
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"My, what a grim conversation, Nikka." The Professor moved over to his cherished guests, his butler in tow. The need for the last empty seat at the table was clear, and Smith's manservant pulled out the chair for the portly Professor. Almost immediately, the Challenger Lecturer was brought a dinner plate and a cup of wine by the wait staff.

"I'm sorry I took so long, but one must take questions first before joining friends. A rather insipid set of queries, after the fact." Henrietta looked carefully at the professor and noted his color had returned since Savannah. She had learned that Smith was connected to key movers and shakers in London and the Continent. Oddly she should have run into him before given their overlapping social circles, yet somehow they had never met.

"Welcome our two new friends as well. In time you will see what these fine folks and I have. Indeed we are at war, a war that would make the conflicts of man seem petty and small." The Professor took a drink from his wine, then dabbed the corners of his mouth with a linen napkin. "I wonder if you have heard anything called the Sedefkar Simulacrum?" The Professor looked down at his meal and waited for the group to say something. He nibbled at a roll that made his mustache twitch as he stared down at his plate.
Burrows came over and placed a small stack of photos on the table. "This artifact is immensely powerful. Composed of multiple parts, each capable of unspeakable horrors. Assembled and in the wrong hands, the Simulacrum could bring about the downfall of life as we know it." Smith said this all with a plain tone. This was a matter of fact, not hyperbole. "I have assembled you here to stop whoever is looking for the pieces scattered throughout Europe. My sources tell me someone is making inquiries, even so bold as to inquire at the Oriental Club."

"Me and mine are too old now for this. We have fought for too long. We will lose. You," Professor Smith looked at the table, "will not."



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Old Jul 4th, 2021, 10:55 AM
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Henrietta Smythe-Porter – The lecture
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A war that would make the conflicts of man seem petty and small …

Henrietta’s smile fell at these words.

”Careful Professor – one does not lightly dismiss the horrors of the last decade – those machines or terror that devoured so many of our young.” she was stern, serious.


But the Professor seems no less so – with talk of the Sedefkar Simulcrum and possible traitors probing the intelligence of the Oriental Club. ”… downfall of life as we know it …” he’d said.



”Well Professor – you know our dedication. And I for one am ready to do my part – my sex were denied it in the Great War – I shall stand my part in this war if it is needed.” she sipped her champagne. ”But Professor, pray tell, who is it that is making inquiries of the Club? Who else would be interested in this Simulcrum? To what end?” the business-woman’s brain was snared – already working the problem. ”And we must have access to the Club’s archives – if we are to face this challenge we must be armed with all the knowledge we can muster, Professor.”


She looked to her companions. ”It seems the New Year is offering us new peril – the Professor knows our strengths and believes we are equal to the searchers for the Simulcrum. But we cannot presume. Will you willingly join in the defence of life as we know it?


OOC
Building … we should be planning for some research activity before we wade in.


 
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Old Jul 6th, 2021, 05:25 PM
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Believers
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Jimmy Mott
Jimmy Mott sat at the table and listened to the pompous Professor Smith and watched him eat and eat and eat. "I wonder if you have heard anything called the Sedefkar Simulacrum?" the old, tired looking professor asked before he ate some more.

Sedefkar Simulacrum? Jimmy asked himself. No, not something that he had heard before. He listened to Smith a bit more closely then and to details about the thing with a weird name that was supposedly an artifact and powerful, dangerous. Then the word 'horrors' cut through the air. They're all nutters. The lot of them.

"Assembled and in the wrong hands, the Simulacrum could bring about the downfall of life as we know it." The professor said those words like it was nothing. Like it was some truth that the whole world knew about. "I have assembled you here to stop whoever is looking for the pieces scattered throughout Europe."

Jimmy thought some more then. Tried his best to really think. Even if it's a scam, they all believe it. And if they all believe it, others will, too. Believers will pay. I find a part of this thing...hide it...and I make some quid. Quite a bit if I play my cards right.

Henrietta then spoke up with a voice that both excited and irritated Jimmy. This confused him.

"Will you willingly join in the defence of life as we know it?" the beautiful lady said as she looked around the table.

Jimmy shook off the confusion, stood up quickly, and raised his glass of champagne. "I will," he said strongly, his chin held high as he pointed his glass to all around. I'll...be rich. He smiled outwardly to each nearby, sure that he was playing the proper part without fail, and smiled even further on the inside, sure that he would soon become rich thanks to the many simpletons around him.



 


 
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  #39  
Old Jul 7th, 2021, 04:57 PM
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Masataka 'Nikka' Taketsuru
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Sedefkar Simulacrum… the term was foreign to Masataka… but so was everything that came his way when connected to Professor Smith and the Oriental Club. While he had never heard of the subject, he had no reason to doubt the Professor’s seriousness. Henrietta stepped forward immediately, she may have been denied the chance to be a soldier… but no one could dare question her heart or courage.

“I am not a soldier either, Henrietta. However, and I am sure Professor Smith knows this as well, I am descended from samurai.” He pauses for a moment to make sure that everyone understands the significance of this statement. He looks at the new arrivals and nods his head to each in turn even as he shares a look with his wife.

“We have already lost a friend in this battle… a friend that I made solemn vows to. I will not break those vows. Not now… not ever. I could not live with that shame.”

Rita shakes her head but says nothing as she takes a healthy swig of strong whiskey and stares at a spot on the wall.

“I agree… we need more information. If this Simulacrum is so sought after… that means it has a history. A history worth knowing.”

OocHoly Crap! success History roll. Spent two luck.

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  #40  
Old Jul 12th, 2021, 06:38 AM
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Shenandoa Orenda / London, England / Wednesday, 3 January 1923
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"No," Shenandoa answered the Professor’s question. " I don’t know those fancy names. Seedy Sickum?" Shenandoa glances at the photos that are placed onto the table, all the while keeping one eye on the Professor. "And what would you do with it?" she asks him, in return. "If you had this in your hands, what happens, then?"


The Professor makes his appeal to get the others to find this object, for him. Shenandoa continues to regard his intent with some incredulity. "Hmmmm? Too old? Not too old, maybe too fat and slow," she chastises him with a big grin on her face. "Why you eat so much?" Her smile is intended to take the edge off her words, which remain sharp, regardless.


Suddenly, the others take turns pledging to partake in this War, which the professor seems insistent upon instigating. Even Jimmy stands up and pledges himself with all the bravado and gusto of the young and foolish, complete with a toast of wine. His vow followed that of an enthusiastic, if serious, Henrietta; and, in turn, was followed by a more somber Nikka. Shenandoa regards the young Jimmy Mott with equal suspicion as she does the the Professor. "You too eager to die?" she asks him. "Everyone wants war," she comments under her breath. Turning to Henrietta, she intones, "There is no “Great” War. Only great sorrow and misery, you will find."



 
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Old Jul 12th, 2021, 03:41 PM
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Henrietta Smythe-Porter – baited
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Henrietta’s smile froze on her face as the strange Shenandoa whispered Everyone wants war before throwing out her challenge – ”There is no “Great War”. Only great sorrow and misery, you will find.”


Henrietta set down her glass and turned the to new comer thin-lipped ”Do not presume Miss Orenda” she said shortly ”We know the cost of war only too well – those of us from this continent. To many of our brave men are ploughed into her fields to defend our way of life – brothers – cousins – uncles. They lie dead … “Great” was their sacrifice.

And be glad they took arms to defend our ability to come together like this – outside the yoke of the Kaiser. When his machine thundered to Paris itself, our men stood firm – stood firm and fell.”


Her voice faltered ”So do not presume to teach me of sorrow and misery – we have borne our share.”

She paused some seconds before closing ”Which is why, as a citizen of our empire it is my duty to act where I can – its no great adventure – its no “over by Christmas” – it’s a sacred duty that I take seriously.”



She smiled slightly again ”I trust Shendandoa that we now understand each other and we will find no cause to question our motives as mere folly.”


OOC
Taking the bait!


 
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Old Jul 21st, 2021, 11:56 AM
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Shenandoa Orenda / London, England / Wednesday, 3 January 1923
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A frown clouded the face of Shendoa as she regarded the words of Henrietta. Without sparing a glance to any of the others at the table, Shenandoa was focused solely on the young English woman. The elder Shenandoa witnessed the impassioned arguments of the younger woman, and felt pangs of grief. More than grief, Shenandoa was wracked with disappointment. To see the folly of youth – so stuck in their ways, so firmly believing in what they knew to be “right” – yet, wholly oblivious to the Great Unknown that clouded their eyes to the grander Truth; Shenandoa could only, finally, understand what her own Grandmother had told her in her native land – that the young were destined to make the same mistakes as their fathers and mothers.

"I do not question your motives, Henrietta of the Smyth-Potters," Shenandoa told Henrietta. Now, she did finally look at the others. "Loss…," she said as she looked at Nikka. "Pain…," she added with a glance to Jimmy. "Suffering…," she finished with a pointed look at Ale. "I can see, you do know the horrors of war, and so you know these things. You shall know these things, again. Such is your duty…I understand."

Unlike Henrietta, there was no smile on Shenandoa’s mouth, when she finished speaking, slight or otherwise. She simply cast a side-long glance towards the Professor and asked, "You done eating?"


 
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Old Oct 28th, 2021, 01:45 PM
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Professor Smith
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Jimmy motivations aside, came across as fervently for the cause. He raised a glass of champagne, and when no one met his toast, Beddows dutifully stood up and clinked the mousy man's glass with his high ball glass of brown liquor on the rocks.

Then, of course, it was the patrician Henrietta that spoke up first. " Professor, pray tell, who is it that is making inquiries of the Club? Who else would be interested in this Simulcrum? To what end?”The practical business woman was a problem-solver. Henrietta's control over the insane was logic and overcoming an obstacle. ”We must have access to the Club’s archives – if we are to face this challenge we must be armed with all the knowledge we can muster, Professor.”

"Lady Smythe-Porter, the archives in question are collected at my estate. That is where we can continue our discussion-and where I might reveal the nature of the forces set against us." Smith looks around dramatically, "The Cult of the Skin." The Professor adjusted his monocle, and stared intently at the surrounding guests. They were paying him no mind, laughing, drinking, and carrying on like folk that were celebrating the new year.


“I agree… we need more information. If this Simulacrum is so sought after… that means it has a history. A history worth knowing,” added Nikka. The Professor nodded then spoke to reassure the Japanese man and his wife.

"Mr. Taketsuru, I will give you all I have. The information is safe at my estate as I mentioned. Safe in many different ways. We will meet this Saturday. I will secure the last few documents from Constantinople and Paris by courier between now and then. I will also have money to fund your investigation."



The newcomer then weighed in, attempting to offer some wisdom where likely it was not wanted. Henrietta in particular rankled at the suggestion that the British were unfamiliar with suffering. Ms. Orenda clarified, "I do not question your motives, Henrietta of the Smyth-Potters," Shenandoa told Henrietta. Now, she did finally look at the others. "Loss…, pain…, suffering. I can see, you do know the horrors of war, and so you know these things. You shall know these things, again. Such is your duty…I understand."

"The Great War and more," noted Professor Smith. "These men and women know the true battle that must be fought. A war of attrition and delay. Possibly a losing effort. Yet a war that must be fought nonetheless." The Professor then caught sight of something across the room, shook his head, then took another sip on his drink. He seemed quiet, and now stared at his plate rather than around the room or at his guests. When he spoke, it was leaning close to the table top, his hands pressed on the table cloth and his head peeking up.

"Saturday, three days hence. Come to my estate that burrows has on these cards. I will give you everything I have then. For now," Smith fully dug into his meal, "let us live!"



KeeperWelcome back. RP if you like. Smith will stay tight lipped now.
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Old Oct 30th, 2021, 07:18 AM
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Henrietta Smythe-Porter – an invitation
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”Three days then Professor, we shall be honoured by your invitation to your estate.” Henrietta said as the Professor turned his attention to the plate of food ”There may be more revision we can do to prepare ourselves before we join you – but it would be rude to spoil this lovely meal with business talk.” she took her cue from Professor Smith.


She turned to Jimmy, speaking in a social tone ”Now, James, I think we may have started off on the wrong foot. I see that Professor Smith has welcomed you into our company, and that is as good an introduction as we should need. Tell me then – how did you get drawn into the Professor’s entourage. You must have some tales to tell.”

Then she nodded to Shednandoa ”You too Mrs Orenda surely you too have a story that brought you across the ocean to this evening."


OOC
Just throwing out some hooks to get us warmed up again.


 
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Old Oct 31st, 2021, 10:07 AM
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Masataka 'Nikka' Taketsuru
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Masataka 'Nikka' Taketsuru sat picking at his plate, his posture stiff as he stole glances towards his wife, Rita. The fiery Scotswoman was silent, refusing to make eye contact with her husband as she slowly ate. She maintained a quiet dignity, the model of decorum.

This false modesty was like a knife plunged into Nikka’s heart as his Rita was none of those things. She was not quiet, dignified and with her… decorum was tossed into the rubbish bin.

The small Japanese man reached his hand out to place it upon his wife’s and she instantly smacked it away. That small act was enough to puncture her facade.

You're a real bastard! Your a samurai and I'm the Queen of England!Ye'r a real bas! ye'r a samurai 'n' a'm th' queen o sassenach land!” she said loudly. You made oaths to your friend. You made oaths to me first!Ye made oaths tae yer mukker... Ye made oaths tae me foremaist!”

She shook her finger in Nikka’s face as she threatened, “Three days... Ye hae three days tae mak' it up tae me. Ye best git stairted.”


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