Monday, 24 May 2010

The Ministry of Blades : The Pyramids of Hertfordshire, episode 3

Antonia visits the Manor; Curruthers sends a telegram.

Played

6th May 2010.

Dramatis Personae

Lady Antonia deVore - a Heavily-armed Aristocrat.
Miss Constantina Spit - a Rebellious Debutante.
Captain Benson Curruthers - a Military Policeman.
Jack Prentiss - a Dodgy Pedestrian.
Miss April Sharpe - a Self-taught Inventor.
Rodney Marsh - a Partially-reformed Thief.
Sir Upton Scudamore - a Self-made Eccentric.
Villiers - a Butler of Few Words.
Madamoiselle Melissa D'Arqué - a Governess.
Alice and Peter - Sir Upton's Grandchildren.
Assorted Cooks, Grooms, Groundsmen and Navvies.

Plot

While Miss Sharpe attempted to figure out what had gone wrong with her weapon, Prentiss began to poke through the remains of the formerly-animated mummy. Upon receiving a nasty acid burn, he began poking more carefully, uncovered four bronze statuettes and a number of small clay tablets, all of which he pocketed for later examination.

The group decided that they had done enough for one night and Captain Curruthers confidently led them back towards the Inn. They realised they were lost as they crested a rise, emerging from the trees to gain a moonlit view of their surroundings. The village lay behind them, Avery Manor and its pyramid to their right, and a small, but brightly lit, clearing to the north. Using binoculars, they could see signs of arc floodlights, temporary buildings and a tall mast of some description. Taking their bearings and noting the position of the clearing, they tried again to get back to their beds.

In the meantime, Lady Antonia tried to wake the church verger but had no success, despite pelting his window with gravel. Giving up, she returned to the graveyard and found the group had left. Following them, she discovered the remains of the mummy, then tracked the team up the hill, where they finally reunited.

They returned to the Inn at about four in the morning and got some sleep, before discussing their next steps over breakfast. While Miss Sharpe began repairing her weapon, the remainder of the team set out to try and locate the clearing in daylight. They had little trouble, but as they approached, they were confronted by a hunting-tweeds—clad gamekeeper, armed with a shotgun, who informed them it was private land and asked them to leave immediately. Curruthers noticed odd movements in locations where he would have placed hidden sentries; noting that the gamekeeper seemed familiar, he decided it was advisable to leave. Suspecting some kind of secret government research installation, Curruthers sent a telegram to the Ministry upon their return to ask if they were aware of any such thing.

In the meantime, the team decided a visit to the Manor to investigate the pyramid and its eccentric builder was in order. Using their existing disguise as a group of upper- and middle-class occult enthusiasts, they sent Prentiss, in the guise of a servant, to request permission to visit. Upon arrival, Prentiss encountered the butler, Villiers, then returned with an invitation. The visiting party consisted of Lady Antonia, Curruthers and Miss Spit, with Prentiss as the driver and Miss Sharpe as maid to the ladies. Marsh was to sneak onto the grounds to explore the pyramid building site.

Sir Upton Scudamore turned out to be an aging railway tycoon, working-class in origin, but made a Baronet for his services to the country. He was very welcoming and only too willing to give the ‘enthusiasts’ a personal tour of his extensive Egyptian collection, while describing his interest. Remarking that he was now retired and that his son, Charles, ran the company, Sir Upton explained that he was planning his funeral, hence the pyramid; he didn't believe in any of this nonsense about mystical pyramid powers, just liked the idea of being buried in a pyramid. He was somewhat annoyed about the theft of his latest mummy from the outbuilding where it was being stored while its display case was completed. Prentiss and Miss Sharpe were invited to wait below stairs and took the opportunity to talk to the servants; they found that they knew little more than anyone else about the goings-on in the area, maintaining that Sir Upton was good boss, if a little eccentric.

The team eagerly accepted when their host offered them a tour of the pyramid site and, given the distance, they travelled over by carriage. On the way out through the front doors, they were introduced to Sir Upton's grandchildren and their French governess, Madamoiselle D'Arqué. Marsh had successfully infiltrated the pyramid site, skulking betwen piles of building materials and rubble, but was unable to discover anything more unusual than a pyramid being built on a 19th century English estate. The rest of the team also came to the conclusion that this was just an architectural folly. Casual conversation revealed that Sir Upton knew nothing of the facility in the clearing, even though it was his land.

Discussing what they had learned as they returned to the Hangman's Dance, the group's suspicions turned to Sir Upton's son. They found an answer to their earlier telegram to the Ministry, saying there was no government installation in the area, and sent a further enquiry for more information on Charles Scudamore.

Notes

With the missing players back in town, this session was mostly talk, concentrating on a hitherto ignored branch of the investigation.

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