High Adventure in the Steam Age

Farewell
Last known sketch of Dr. Cannaver with Mlle Adélaïde, Mlle Penneg, and Mlle Glass.

Group portrait

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Leaving a Mark...

Adalaide, Summer of 1872 in Vienna, Austria

I'm still feeling the loss of dear Dr. Cannaver, but he was quite a mysterious gentleman. I don't think we've even scratched the surface of his various personalities and disguises. I hope he is well, wherever he has gone and that maybe one day he can settle on personality and really share who he is at the core with someone special. 

I have hardly had any time to ruminate over the loss of companion, however brief our interaction has been in the course of my life; ever since the infamous ball, where my magick (to my horror) backfired magnificently, I have been in constant demand for repeat performances throughout Vienna. Penneg and I have already spent whatever gold we have earned to make new props, costumes, and to purchase some high quality firearms. I realized that I need more than magick to save my hide in combat, as it takes time to draw all the necessary energies from the atmosphere.

I decided that I could accomplish two goals with one pursuit: learning how to improve my marksmanship will enable me to perform the incredibly dangerous bullet catching trick without actually killing my assistant, Pierre. He lands atop a levitating silvery sword and I aim right for his beak. The audience assumes some magick is afoot, but really it his a combination of my target practice and Pierre's quick reflexes.

I have barely had a moment to myself lately, what with all the magick studies, marksmanship training, and going out with an interesting gentleman caller.  His name is John Nevil Maskelyne, he's a most charming English gentleman who happens to be staying a few weeks in Vienna. He came up to me after one of my shows and told me that word of my infamous and dangerous stage show has reached the magicians of London and he had to come see first hand how my "illusions" were performed. Flattery will get you everywhere, I hate to admit that I'm susectible to it.

I wouldn't call him my beau, but I find him very witty and it is quite stimulating to discuss magick with someone other than Penneg for a change, who would much rather be working away at one of the million projects she's always in the midst of. He tells me he has plans to create a professional stage show, much like me, and his agent William Morton says he will be the greatest living magician in all of New Europe if he has his way. We shall see, I may just give him a run for his money. He says he's going back to London soon, but he hopes we will cross paths again. He has sent me his address in London, so I shall keep corresponding with him and see where this relationship shall lead. 
 

 

 

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The Clockwork Lady Incident, Finale

In which four strangers, drawn together by a common desire to help a dwarven master and his clockwork creation, track down a mastermind criminal and attempt to foil his evil plans once and for all.

Please note, the session was recorded in video format. An audio version will be made available as soon as is possible. 

At present, Obsidian Portal seems to be having issues with the embedding of videos. For now, the video of the finale of the Clockwork Lady Incident can be found here.

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The Clockwork Lady Incident, Coda

With Count Cagliostro's plot foiled the summer season continues on. The four Dramatic Characters remain the guests of the von Todesco family. Two weeks after the masquerade ball, the Professor vanished, leaving behind only a note giving his best regards to the others suggesting he felt it was time for him to move on.

Adélaïde

Adélaïde finds herself in demand and performs twice more during the month of August. More than one young gentleman comes calling for her as well. Approximately one week after the masquerade ball a package arrives for the young sorceress. A note reveals it to be from Count Navarre, with his compliments from one practitioner of the Art to another. Inside the package is a thin book entitled "The Skull of Saint Nicholas". A quick read indicates it to be a spell book containing three new spells. Or, rather, four. For scribbled into the margins is another spell: Illusions of the Mind and Body, obviously copied from the Freemason's secret lorebook, "History and Secret Knowledge" (CF pg. 199).

Henri

Henri is not as sought after as Adélaïde but she does have suitors of a different sort. Only a few days after the masquerade ball she is kidnapped off the street and stuffed into a sack (and it took several men to accomplish this task to be sure!). Henri was transported somewhere and, when the sack was removed, found herself in a dark warehouse. A ring had been set in the middle of the empty building and a good two dozen men and women, all quite obviously physically gifted, were present. This, one woman explained, was the Vienna branch of the Pan-Europan Society of Fisticuffs. The rules were quite simple. The society met once per month and were known by the pin of a purple fist they wore somewhere on their person. During the meeting, lots were drawn. The member to draw two highest numbers stepped into the ring and the battle began. When one fighter was rendered unconscious he or she was dragged from the ring and the next highest number entered. The fight continued this way until only one member present was conscious. That night, Henri was inducted.

Penneg

Each night you remained in Vienna, a different song bird came to your window and sang to you. While it is obvious the birds were Glamoured, you have been unable to determine who is sending them to your window or why they might do so.

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Saturday, August 17, 1872 - Fin

“The tactical result of an engagement forms the base for new strategic decisions because victory or defeat in a battle changes the situation to such a degree that no human acumen is able to see beyond the first battle. In this sense one should understand Napoleon's saying: ‘I have never had a plan of operations.’ Therefore no plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force” – Helmut von Moltke the Elder, On Strategy

As much as I loathe letting sleep put distance between events and my recording of them, I had no real choice in the matter, as my constitution insisted that, having poured a great deal of my life’s blood all over Castle Gumpendorf, it was time for a lie-down. I went to bed thinking I had killed two men in one day, though all to a good cause as these things are reckoned. The news this morning informs me that we still did a good deed, but that we may yet be punished for it.

I devised a plan to determine where Lady Cecily was to have been taken, putting one of our captured assailants in a delivery wagon and giving him the impression that Mlle. Bechard and I were there to “help” him escape the long arm of the law, if he would only help us get Lady Cecily to wherever she was supposed to have gone. As it turned out, Count Cagliostro was impersonating Friedrich Von Amerling, a portrait painter of some renown, at the party. It seems that the artist was on vacation with his new bride, and the ruse explained why Mlle. Penneg had smelled machine oil on the painter’s coat during her search of the cloakroom. Mlle. Bechard proved rather surprisingly enthusiastic for inflicting some pain on our songbird, who had had his knee broken by Mlle. Glass earlier in the evening. Horrid pain plus the promise of escape equals a talkative felon, and we learned that the hoodlums had a delivery cart waiting and that the ringleader was the hulking brute Mlle. Bechard had impaled that morning, who went by the name of Adolph. Leaving the ruffians to the tender care of the Vienna Polizei, Mlle. Bechard made use of Lady Cecily’s dress and a hastily-repaired wig, formerly wielded by Mlle. Glass and we were soon on our our way to Castle Gumpendorf, Herr Von Amerling’s home.

Mlles. Penneg and Glass had headed to the estate ahead of us in order to determine Herr Von Amerling’s status (we were, as yet unaware of the Count’s impersonation) and they appear to have gotten very enthusiastic, for they were nowhere to be found when Mlle. Bechard and I arrived at the Castle. I had met the Count before as Jimmy McGillivray, somewhat dangerously close to my real name, but the surname is somewhat common. Affecting my least offensive brogue, I greeted the Count’s guard, who proved swift as dry mud, but inoffensive enough that he took my message to the Count. We were escorted inside, Mlle. Bechard playing the emotionless automaton with perfection. The Count was sitting in the parlor with a Faerie Lord I did not know and one of his clockwork soldiers, done up in Italian Legionary finery.

I spun a story about Count Navarre reaching out to the Professor after the incident on the river and we’d stepped in to ensure delivery when Adolph and his boys had failed. When Cagliostro asked me about the duel with Navarre, I replied that he had annoyed me, but that I was a criminal of my word and would, as per my agreement with a dead man, be trading “Cecily” for Navarre’s husband, Aristotle. It wasn’t my best lie, by far, but it was just confused enough to sound uncontrived. Cagliostro was in the process of agreeing when a sound like a brass band falling down a mountain erupted outside.

Mlles. Penneg and Glass had enthusiastically moved to free the prisoners, which apparently included making a racket to wake the dead. The Count, never a trusting soul, determined that I was deceiving him, which, to be fair, I was, but not about this. Violence ensued. The Count’s clockwork menace took to me with its sword and I attempted to defend myself with a fireplace poker. My skill at swordplay revealed itself rapidly and the clockwork soldier very nearly relieved me of my arm. Blood ran down the length of my coat and got all over my last decent pair of pants. The room swayed in my vision, but I could hardly pass out just then – to do so would have been a death sentence. I drew my pistol, but I reckoned that the clockwork soldier would take more than a single shot to put down and I needed it to stop rather immediately, so I improvised. I pointed the gun at Mlle. Bechard, whom Cagliostro still believed to be Lady Cecily, and threatened to ruin all his plans if he didn’t call off his mechanical monster. He hesitated, which bought me a moment to catch my breath, but called my bluff, pointing his own pistol at me. In theory, had he shot me, my hand would have flinched and fired at “Cecily,” but I was not going to risk Mlle. Bechard on my bluff. Out of tricks, out of time, and running out of blood, I lowered my pistol and awaited the end I most likely deserved…

…and then it didn’t come. What happened instead was rather remarkable. Mlle. Bechard, playing silent all this time, unleased a spell that swapped the clockwork soldier’s sword for the fireplace broom. No longer confronted with steely death, I swept past the soldier in dodging the Count’s deadly bullet. What I did next I can only chalk up to delirium – I picked up the soldier’s sword. Technological advantage saw me through the soldier’s attack – the sword cut through the broom’s handle. I turned to see Cagliostro firing at Mlle. Bechard, who barely dodged out of the way, her gaze clearly unsteady from some side effect of the magic. Not willing to give the Count another shot, I leapt at him with the sword, further proving I was delirious. But like a broken clock, I appeared to have found two moments in the day to be correct, because I ran him through. He looked at me with that mix of shock and betrayal that usually accompanied various protests from those I have swindled, but he barely had time for a half-finished epitaph before collapsing to the floor.

All of this still left the clockwork soldier, who could, no doubt, brain me to death with half a broomstick, were it of a mind to. A sudden and sharp order to “Halt!” stopped the machine cold, however. I turned to the source of the shout – Mlle. Glass had come in search of more malefactors to thrash. Fresh out of enemies, we decided to make our way outside, where Mlle. Penneg, the household staff, and one rather battered Greek bodybuilder, were waiting to accompany us back to the Palais Todesco. I would have tried to ensure that everyone got where they needed to be, but one of the servants tied off the wound to my shoulder and, rather than cry out in agony, I simply decided to pass out.

I awake this morning to discover that all is as well as may be hoped, with one exception – while a great deal of blood was discovered in the parlor where we fought with the Count, Cagliostro himself was nowhere to be found. The Faerie Lord had departed the area when the fracas started, so he may have had a hand in rescuing his accomplice. I have, for the nonce, lost the use of my right arm, but for once I am grateful that I did not remain in the grammar school where they attempted to beat my left-handed writing preference out of me.

The Todescos are over the moon about the success of their party, Herr Clockmaker is delighted that Cagliostro was thwarted, and we are invited to join the master craftsdwarf on the new express train to Paris. I shall have to find other accommodations, I fear. If Cagliostro survived, he may demand of the Professor why I was interfering in his affairs, which will set his hounds on me once more. Such is the life I lead, but not one that my new friends should have inflicted on them. The moment of Kairos has passed and my usefulness is at an end. Time to disappear once again.

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Friday, August 16, 1872- Part III
In which little is as it seems

Is it too terribly selfish of me to confess that my overriding thought at the moment is that I am starving?

Of course, I could be eating instead of writing, but again I may not be back to finish this later, so pen to paper as time allows. We have succeeded in making the Todesco’s Ball quite memorable, though I fear we may be left off the social schedule for the remainder of the summer.

There is a tendency, even among those who think themselves broad-minded, to refer to ladies as “the weaker sex,” even when we do not bar them from most careers. Whether it is swooning or Worth gowns or even vague flutterings about childbirth – a topic that, in my experience, disquiets men far more than those who must undertake the process – we continue to treat ladies as though they are forever one step behind. To such ignorance, may I submit the cure of tonight's adventure and the heroic endeavors of Mlle. Bechard, Mlle. Glass, and Mlle. Penneg.

Dressed in my out-of-fashion French costume, I made my way into the ball as the partygoers were just beginning to gather. Certainly, the Todescos like to draw in the great thinkers and artists within their reach – Anton Bruckner and Frederick Von Emmerling shored up the musical and painting end of the arts community, while Professors Botzmann and Bileroff added an air of impossibly long phrases from physics and the physick to the conversation. Lady Cecily made her own entrance from within the Palais, Herr Clockmaker ever the vigilant guardian. It was only after some mixing that I noted her doppelganger, Mlle. Glass, perched and watchful as a peregrine on an overlooking balcony.

Then it was time for the first entertainment of the evening – Mlle. Bechard’s magic show. Had I not had some time to get to know her and the time to observe some of Mlle. Penneg’s preparations, I should likely have thought her an enchantress of suspicious facility. As it was, I was still as amazed as anyone at the perfect coordination between her and her phoenix, a blaze of color that swirled across the stage and gave the whole affair an extra note of wonder.

As the floor cleared for dancing, I dutifully made my rounds to place my name on a few dance cards. I tire easily, but can keep up a waltz, given sufficient rest periods. The crowd was making it harder to see who was looking at whom, but there were only a handful of ways to circulate through the room. Hence it was time for my first (and last, as it would happen) waltz.

I am delighted to report that Mlle. Glass waltzes with grace and style, and that her perceptive powers rival my own long training. We swirled around the room, looking to see who may be put off or discombobulated by the presence of two Lady Cecilys on the floor. Both of us caught the confused flashes of several of the additional staff hired for the evening, including one rather large fellow favoring his shoulder where Mlle. Bechard had been unkind enough to put a knife in earlier in the day. I began unfurling a plan to put these ruffians aside for later management, but fate was to take matters in hand and sweep us all along for the ride.

Mlle. Bechard, apparently alerted to the presence of magic, had taken a pause from indulging her own vast queue of suitors to search the mystic winds for signs of what may have been afoot. Unfortunately, something went amiss, producing the first shocking scene of the evening as Adelaide collapsed, blood pouring from her nose and ears. Mlle. Glass, Mlle. Penneg, and I worked to reach her, as did Professor Billroth. I was all at sea in my mind when I heard a voice call my name.

I turned to see Count Navarre, still all in black, striding forth and demanding satisfaction for some imagined slight. For a split second, I wondered if he had done something to Adelaide, and my hand drifted toward my drop pistol, prepared to show the man what sort of swift justice my old self was perfectly capable of meting out. But the deductions flew thick and fast to draw me back into the pantomime – he would not present himself in such a way if he had somehow harmed our companion. He had challenged me, knowing that I carry no sword, but giving me the right to choose arms. Finally, the white of his knuckles as he gripped his glove of challenge spoke of a fear that belied the anger of a man wronged or a villain in control of the situation. My conclusion made, I left my pistol in place and got on with matters.

I may have been more offensive than was strictly necessary, given the circumstances, but it was time to put on a show. Choosing Penneg as my second drew a murmur from the crowd, but she dove into the role with the imperious dismissal of my foe for which one can always depend upon the French. I must have appeared mildly comical to make use of my derringer for a pistol duel, but the extra appearance of offense was worth it. As we walked out in front of the Palais, my mind raced for a way to put Adelaide’s prepared button of fake death, which would give the Count the appearance of death without the attendant moldering or inability to recover, onto the Count’s person. Unfortunately, the crowd had separated us. I noted that Mlle. Bechard, despite her earlier injury, was even now endeavoring to put her talisman on our mark by magic, and so I stalled for time, encouraging the Count to do the same. He asked the Baron to inspect our pistols, which was faintly hilarious to me, since I wondered over Baron Todesco’s reaction should he discover that I had overlooked the small matter of bullets in mine. If he did, he said nothing. The Count’s face when he discovered that his pocket had a new and different occupant informed me that it was time for one last magic act.

I have been involved in two duels in my life, both as part of confidence games at the behest of the Professor. It is the strangest thing to march away from another person, your back to them even as you are aware they intend to kill or injure you. My criminal instincts collide most strongly with the rules of “civilized” behavior in these moments. We turned to face one another and the Count hesitated, waiting for me to act. I indulged him. My derringer, for all its deadliness, issues a somewhat insignificant pop when it fires, but the Count triggered Mlle. Bechard’s magic button, setting off an unfortunate flash of eldritch light, and tumbled to the ground. Mlle. Penneg raced forward to inspect my foe, and I started to make some to-do over how he clearly meant to use magic to cheat and won’t you all please look at me while my faerie friend puts fake blood on the Count (Truly, Mlle. Penneg’s collection of oddities on her person beggars the imagination). I need not have bothered, however, for our ruffian friends chose that moment to strike, to their sorrow.

Mlle. Glass, ever diligent to her duties, had placed herself next to Lady Cecily while the Count and I engaged in our duel. The scoundrels, faced with a pair of Lady Cecilys, and lacking sufficient illumination to tell them apart, resolved to make off with both of them. This proved to be their downfall, for as Lady Cecily is retiring and biddable, Mlle. Glass is…not. A fracas exploded in the back of the crowd that turned heads everywhere. Mlle. Bechard momentarily dazed one, which proved more than enough for Mlle. Glass to demonstrate her facility at assault and battery in decisive form. Before they could attack her enough to get themselves killed, the ruffians found themselves restrained by party-goers who thought to “rescue” the lady from assault by hooligans. I suspect they inadvertently accomplished the other way round. Like any good party, the outbreak of broad violence seemed to signal the end of the evening, and the Baroness swiftly and elegantly brought the evening to a close.

I had to inform Professor Billroth that he was correct when he observed Count Navarre’s lack of a mortal wound, but that an explanation would then lead him down a rabbit hole he might care to avoid. We took the Count inside as the guests made their way to their carriages, and the hooligans, one with a broken leg, courtesy Mlle. Glass, had their way made to the wine cellar to await the law.

As the Todescos, Herr Clockmaker, the ladies, and I reviewed events, the catatonic Count Navarre returned to the land of the living. He finally unveiled the missing piece of the puzzle – he had been blackmailed into attempting to kidnap Lady Cecily by none other than Count Iglio Cagliostro.

Bother.

I had encountered the Count in my past life, and his clockwork soldiers were even now making mischief across the continent. Now the unimaginative jobsworth sought to snatch Herr Clockmaker’s masterpiece in order to make what would no doubt be a very fine clockwork assassin, should he be able to puzzle out the dwarf craftsman’s labor. Worse, Cagliostro had seized the Count’s husband as a guarantor of his good behavior, which meant that an innocent was still under threat.

So it is time for one more plan. This one is, interestingly, a bit more straightforward than the caper at the ball. Somewhere in Vienna, either Cagliostro or one his odious minions is waiting for a group of hooligans in rented livery to show up with a captive in tow. I suppose that’s simply what we’ll have to give them.

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The Clockwork Lady Incident, Part 3
A recording of the second session of the campaign.

In which four strangers, drawn together by a common desire to help a dwarven master and his clockwork creation, attend a masquerade ball, engage in a duel, and perpetuate a hoax to save a dashing magician.

Please note, the session was recorded in video format. An audio version will be made available as soon as is possible. 

Sadly, the recording of the second session was lost due to technical error. The events of this session have been summarized at the beginning of the third session.

At present, Obsidian Portal seems to be having issues with the embedding of videos. For now, the video of session 1 of the Clockwork Lady Incident can be found here.

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Friday, August 16, 1872 - Part II
A walk through the Prater opens a Hall of Mirrors

I am only half-dressed for tonight's ball, but I am compelled to make an account of this afternoon's activities before the festivities begin. There is, perhaps, a touch of the maudlin in my sense of the possibility that I may not return to this journal to relate how these events play out, but I cannot but be who I am. Well, after a fashion.

In any event, I am attending a high-level Viennese Ball with two guns, one of which will be legitimately loaded. Survival is not guaranteed

But let us return to where I left off. Having dispatched Master Clockmaker back to the Palais Todesco, we took our own cab to the Wiener Prater, hoping to find Count Navarre and Lady Cecily somewhere among the entertainments of Wurstel Prater Amusement Park. We discussed our options and eliminated some from the list of the possible (Mlle. Bechard does not find people with her particular Art). We arrived to the sounds of laughter and the smell of various treats shared in the open air. Perhaps it was one such sweet that drew Mlle. Penneg haring off on a brief adventure of her own, but she declared that she would return shortly and was then gone into the brush. Mlle. Bechard informed us that she did this sort of thing somewhat frequently, a tendency I confess I might find slightly alarming, like the way cats seem to stare at a space just behind your shoulder. But I digress.

The Prater was filled with people enjoying the weather, and the sounds of a fairground organ could be heard in the background, with people crying in joy and perhaps a bit of alarm on a steam-powered Carousel. We searched frantically amidst the crowd for our quarry, but it was Mlle. Glass who spotted him on a rowboat headed out onto the Danube. As we closed with the small pier for the Prater, we also saw a rough-looking man in a paddleboat coming to meet the Count in the middle of the water. Racing to the shoreline, we saw a number of boats to rent, but none of us were in condition to row ourselves out and catch the Count before he met with his less-genteel comrade mid-river. One of the boats however, was steam-powered, and seemed ideal to out hopes; however, the only one of us competent with machinery had gone galavanting about the Prater with neither explanation nor a predicted time of return.

With all due respect to the many show-offs and high-theater miscreants I have known in my life, no one quite makes an entrance like the fey. Mlle. Penneg came barrelling back to us like a Roman chariot racer, driving some hapless dog before her. What she had been doing, why she had disappeared, or even where this beleaguered hound came from were all questions lost in the needs of the moment to get to the chase. Clearly, we must develop some alternate source of funding, for when it came time to rent the boat, I found myself passing over my funds for next week’s morning papers. This, then, is how I found myself tight on funds (and no prospects), on the river (unable to swim), and chasing after strangers surrounded by women eager for an adventure. I don’t know when precisely I lost control of my circumstances, but it was at this point that I became aware of said loss.

Nevertheless, there was work to be done. The rough-looking scoundrel aboard the paddleboat produced a revolver and took a shot at Mlle. Glass, who had been taunting him with her hat. She very nearly ended up in my lap to avoid the shot, which would likely have put us both in the river. We closed with Count Navarre’s rowboat and I pulled the same strategy which had bought us time with the hooligans that had assaulted Master Clockmaker – I produced my handy derringer, with but a single shot therein. Count Navarre, at least to begin with, seemed to better understand the consequences of gunfire than his brutish minion and raised his hands in surrender. Mlle. Glass instructed the Count’s accomplice to drop his gun, which Mlle. Bechard reinforced with a hurled dagger that pierced the man sharply. Mlle Penneg summoned forth an image of something in the water to menace our opponents (my eyes were focused on Count Navarre, so I shall likely never know of what precisely). It seemed a fracas was to ensue, but the Count had other plans.

Seizing Mlle. Glass by the lapels of her coat, he demonstrated his personal magical skill and seemed to shatter like a mirror, with hundreds of Count Navarres falling this way and that into the river and swimming away for shore. Mlle. Glass, now quite irate at not being able to give someone a proper thrashing, exorcised some of her discomfort on the various images in the water. The gunsel, now absent a master to direct him and with a new and exciting stab wound, found his own way back to shore.

A victory, however odd, is still a victory, and we escorted Lady Cecily back to our own boat and returned to shore, with Mlle. Penneg wondering aloud how we might keep this steam-powered craft forever. Successfully dissuading our faerie friend from high seas burglary, we returned to the cab to get our second mystical surprise from Count Navarre. A button fell from Mlle. Glass’s jacket, though it was not of her jacket. A ghostly image of the Count appeared, warning us of danger to Lady Cecily and, that if we were to see him that night at the ball, we must arrange to pretend to kill him. In the space of a single trip to the Prater, our little adventure had taken a spin on the carousel itself, swirling us into the realm of the bizarre and, quite frankly, the paranoid, as we were left to wonder about unseen threats and the truth of those around us.

In the midst of this chaos, I felt the tug of a thread of a plan. I asked how difficult it might be for Mlle.Penneg to craft a glamour to make one of the ladies in our own company appear to be Lady Cecily. She stated it was possible, but complicated, whereas producing a dress and wig to create the facsimile of the Lady might be simpler. I filed both of these options as we returned to Palais Todesco.

Which brings me here to my desk. I am about half-dressed in a Légion d'Honneur outfit with a comedia dell’arte mask that may bring to mind C. Auguste Dupin, if one does not inspect too closely. My drop pistol is fully loaded for the first time in a week, and I have removed my derringer from its track in my coat and loaded it with two percussion caps, but no bullets. Mlle. Glass is getting herself fitted to playact a Lady of mysterious provenance, and Mlle. Bechard is preparing to present her entertainment.

The sophists had a philosophy called Dissoi Logoi, which encouraged a rhetorician to explore all sides of an issue equally so that, in the moment of kairos, or fortuitousness, they could make the right argument at the right time to the right audience. Without knowing who has fair intentions and who foul, I have engaged on a sort of Dissoi Logoi here, with the possibility of three Lady Cecilys, two harmless pistol shots, eight decidedly non-harmless pistol shots, and enough lies to fill a novel of fiction. I can only hope that we can discover kairos before our enemies do.
 

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Vienna waits for Me...
Diary Entry: Adelaide Bechard

 

 

 

 

 

 


I thought the only thing I'd need to dread this week was whether or not the Todesco's and their guests would enjoy my performance and recommend me to a more fashionable clientele.  I shouldn't have spent so much on my scarlett and violet, sequinned and feather covered headdress, but it will look absolutely beautiful when Pierre flies overhead and swoops around me, the audience will not be able to tell where I end and he begins. Magical theater is just as much about tricking and amazing the eye as it is about using actual magic. I have to save my energies for the larger, more flashy tricks, its true.

I arrived a few days ago and was given the most comfortable and clean quarters with a beautiful view of the fashionable ladies strolling the streets in the most elegant green, pink, and gold silks and ribbons I've ever seen.  For being such a metropolitan area, I couldn't help but be impressed at how clear air feels here, there is something robust and healthy about this city that Paris lacks, but I thought it lacked a bit of mystery and danger that I love about Paris.  

I met a few renowned personages that the lady Todesco must like to collect (including myself). I'm not offended, I'd rather be interesting and infamous than part of noble family that forces me to marry against my will. Money is a necessary evil, but I'd rather be penniless on the street than lose my freedom to choose my own destiny. 

I find that this desire is something I share with Henri Glass; I personally find her trim and fitted male suits alluring and powerful on her, but I know I'm not as brave as her to completely shred my feminine trappings and trimmings. I hate my corset and sometimes wish I could set it afire and have Pierre, my phoenix carry it away for me, but alas I know that I have a hard enough time building my performing reputation after what happened to my mother. She offered to teach me some of her fighting moves if we survive our current adventure. I may just take her up on that, I'm curious about this medicine ball she talks of training with. I do admit I'm a bit intimidated by her prescence but she's definitely a character I want to have on my side. 

Then there is Dr. Cannaver….he is the exact opposite of Henri when it comes to physique and athletic ability. I believe he must have some kind of chronic ailment, he loses his breath through very minimal exertion, but I find he makes up for this with his quick wits and confidence. He proved today when we were stealing the ledger than if you believe in your own performance 100%, you can convince almost anyone of anything. 

Our adventure began this morning over coffee and pastry…the Viennese are renowned for their pastries, an I had the most delectable peach danish this morning. Penneg enjoyed it, but wished that her Brownie cousins had made it instead of human hands. I still am of the opinion that nothing compares to a fresh baked baguette with a cup of hot coffee in the morning. We were all exchanging pleasantries when all of a sudden, walks in the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. Not a single blemish or feature out of place, almost too perfect. 

We heard a man screaming and went to investigate. A dwarf was being beaten by a pack of hoodlums. I was scared, but I forced myself to think on my feet and conjure up a confusion spell while Henri and the Doctor helped to fight the thugs. We managed to stop them from their nefarious intentions on the gentleman, whom we discovered to get a reowned inventor and tinkerer. We found out later (though our own investigations), that his beautiful lady friend was actually a clockwork creation of his that he was to unveil at the Todesco's ball this evening. 

After much coaxing on the part of Penneg and the Dr., we were able to find out that Cecily was taken by a rival mastermine, Count Navarre. I saw him get into a cab with Cecily, he was indeed quite menacing and yet attractive I hate to admit. I do love a man with an elegant cape, probably the theatricality of it reminds me of the male magicians I work with. 

I am writing this currently as we race aross the city and the cobblestone streets, causing my words to be quite messy and shaky. I hope we aren't too late to stop whatever vile intentions he has toward's Cecily. I wonder what happened to her to cause her to willingly go with the count? I wonder if he somehow found a way to alter her inner workings or could she possibly have gone with him of her own will? The craftsman that made her said her mind was that of a child. I hope we will be in time to save this innocent creature, whatever she truly is. I must say I am quite fascinated with the concept of combining magicks with clockwork, the opportunities seems endless. 

I what wonder my father, Louis, god bless his soul, would think of the progress of our age and the ability to transcend the limitations of magic and machinery by combining them both together? The mind boggles, but such queries must wait until we finish our current adventure. 

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The Clockwork Lady Incident, Part 1
A moving picture recording of the first session of the campaign

In which a mysterious academic, an unusual female adventurer, a Magickal performer, and a Brownie spy save a dwarven craftsman from a savage beating and then undertake a quest to rescue a beautiful but unusual lady.

Please note, the session was recorded in video format. An audio version will be made available as soon as is possible. An excellent written summary of the campaign can be found here.

At present, Obsidian Portal seems to be having issues with the embedding of videos. For now, the video of session 1 of the Clockwork Lady Incident can be found here.

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