Sunday, 28 November 2010

The Ministry of Blades : The Madness of Angels, episode 1

Marsh follows his nose; Miss Sharpe tries out her new toy.


4th November 2010.

Dramatis Personae

Lady Antonia deVore - a Heavily-armed Aristocrat.
Captain Benson Curruthers - a Military Policeman.
Miss April Sharpe - a Self-taught Inventor.
Jack Prentiss - a Dodgy Pedestrian.
Rodney Marsh - a Partially-reformed Thief.
Mr Erasmus Rooke - the Boss.
The Chief Verger of St Paul’s Cathedral.
A number of Industrious Cleaners.


Shaftesbury Avenue, October 1888.

Returning from Highgate Cemetery with the corpses of the werewolves stowed in the Ministry’s own hansom cab, the group were asked to produce their reports as soon as possible. Once this was completed, they were asked to come into Mr Rooke’s office.

Their superior informed them that he had just heard about the apparent suicide of the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Very Reverend Reginald Green. As the Dean was a good friend of his, he wanted to send his best team to investigate; unfortunately, they were occupied with the Ripper case at the moment, so he was having to send Captain Curruthers’ team instead. Rooke did not believe it was a suicide, so they were to take special care to confirm that this was a murder and find the culprit - starting immediately.

Picking up Marsh outside the Quartermaster’s Office, the team headed for the City. Entering the Cathedral, they were introduced to the hassled-looking Chief Verger, who said he had been expecting them, immediately raising some suspicions given the lack of Police on the scene. The Chief Verger was somewhat surprised when Lady Antonia and Captain Curruthers complained about the removal of the body to the Crypt and subsequent cleaning of the floor. He explained that early services would be starting soon and that this couldn’t be allowed to disturb the congregation.

Curruthers dismissed the cleaners while they attempted to divine what they could from the blood stains between the tiles. The body had landed almost directly beneath the open central occular of the dome: either the Dean had made a prodigious leap from the Whispering Gallery or he had fallen from the walkway around the occular Inspecting the body, they confirmed that he had indeed fallen from a great height (and rather messily). The Dean had been a very tall, thin gentleman in his sixties, bald, with a fringe of white hair. His face appeared to be locked in an expression of extreme fear and there was a fresh, horizontal wound across his forehead, such as might be inflicted by a club.

Proceeding upstairs, they investigated the Whispering Gallery, confirming that there was no evidence of him jumping from there. Curruthers spotted a staff doorway leading to a spiral staircase up into the dome, so they made this their next destination, discovering a five foot wide walkway around the occular at the top of the dome. It was little-used and covered by a thin layer of dust, showing up footprints clearly, and they found a scuff of the right size on the ballustrade, which seemed to indicate he had jumped. Miss Sharpe, meanwhile, decided that this was an ideal opportunity to test her new device, Sharpe’s Detecteronatron, designed to detect spirits and other magical emanations; she did not detect anything, other than an odd glow from Marsh, indicating a need for further tinkering, perhaps? Taking a copy of the footprint, they located more prints on the stairs, indicating someone running up them, a prodigious feat for an elderly minister. Marsh remained on the walkway, planning to shapeshift into his rat form and sniff around. Distracted by a strong smell of cheese and nearly killed by a powerful rat trap, he abandoned this approach rather quickly.

The remainder of the team followed the footprints back out onto one of the walkways above the false ceiling of the Church, winding in and out of a series of low beams and rafters. Locating a bloodstain on one of them, indicating that he may have hit his head, the found that the trail ended at a fenced off area at the far end of the roof. Some maintenance work had been taking place here and stonemason’s tools were scattered around an opening in the facing of the wall, which revealed the rubble infill. They determined that something (a block about 18 inches square) was missing from the infill, but were unable to locate it. Miss Sharpe tried her gadget again and, momentarily, thought she saw a screaming face in the mists inside, but was unable to get it to come back. Shaken, she switched the device off, turning to see Lady Antonia and Marsh extracting what appeared to be a pocket book, complete with a key ring, from under the eaves.

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