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Tatters of the King - episode 6

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 11 months ago

Dear Diary,

I am not sure I write these words with a sound mind. The events to date have troubled me greatly and I am unsure whether I can continue my association with Dr Quigley and the others. I have no wish to hang for murder.


But what else am I supposed to do?


I have torn the first line of Mr Gresty’s letter from the page. Though the rest of his letter clearly has some value to us, I could not sleep for fear of someone else seeing words - “I need to thank you for the murder of Bacon”.


I have spent my day in the libraries and public offices, but have found nothing about Gresty, Nug’s farm, Quarry, or Atkinson. Wainwright checked the postmark of Gresty’s letter and found that he sent it from Bethnal Green, but we found no trace of him there.


Tomorrow we depart for Herefordshire. Gresty might be a madman, but he was the one who led us to uncover Bacon’s secret – and now he has told us that Edwards wants Roby we must assume he is telling us the truth. We do not know why Edwards wants Roby, but Gresty tells us that if we fail to stop him then there will be hell to pay or “worse I think, for hell is a weak imagining”.



Dear Diary,

The roads between London and Herefordshire were thick with snow and Winstanley’s driving made us fear for our safety. Eventually were forced to leave the car in a garage outside Bath and take the train the rest of the way.


The asylum where Roby is held is about a mile from the village of Webley. We walked there in the bitter cold only to be turned away by an administrator. Dr Quigley presented his credentials but was told he could not enter until Mr Roby’s psychiatrist, Dr Highsmith, returned. It transpires that Dr Highsmith is in Bristol and no amount of forceful argument could get us inside. Dr Quigley even showed the administrator the letter from Gresty.


We returned to Webley and took rooms in a tavern which overlooks the road from the asylum. Winstanley sat in his room and I watched him load his gun. It was clear he was planning something and that made me uneasy. He told Quigley that he planned to shoot out the tires of any car he sees leave the asylum. I overheard and told Winstanley that I would have no part in such a scheme.


This sparked an argument and I fear I lost my temper. I said things I now regret, accusing the veteran of being blood-thirsty and worse. I cast a slur on Winstanley’s war-service and I doubt he will forgive me for that.


As we argued Keats spotted a car coming slowly down the icy road from the asylum. Quigley and I dashed outside. I was dazzled by the headlights, but Quigley said he saw Roby in the backseat and described the driver as a dark-haired and clean-shaven man. Quigley and I had no wish to cause a scene, so we had little choice but to just watch the car drive by.


After it had gone Winstanley offered the tavern-keeper a substantial reward to find us a car and a driver. Precious minutes were lost as a local man was roused from his bed and informed of our requirements. It was perhaps ten minutes before we were able to leave and although our driver drove as fast as the conditions allowed him, we could not catch Roby and his kidnapper.


We returned to Webley at around 11pm and set off at once for the asylum. The administrator greeted us with obvious distaste and told us that Roby was asleep in his rooms. Quigley told him that we had just seen Roby in the back of a car leaving town and demanded that we be allowed to check his room. The administrator refused, but eventually agreed to check on him himself.


Some minutes later the administrator returned ashen faced to report that Roby had been murdered. We told the shaken official to call the Police and then brushed aside his protests and walked the gloomy corridors to Roby’s cell.


I did not dare look inside the cell, but Winstanley told me that the body inside was not recognisable as human - let alone as Roby. I tried to speak to the man in the next cell and noticed that his cell-door was unlocked and he was freed from his restraints. Winstanley spotted a bloody blade in the corner of his cell, but I am convinced that these things were merely an attempt to frame an innocent lunatic. It is my belief that the corpse in Roby’s cell was disfigured to disguise the fact that it is not Roby.


Dear Diary,

Dr Highsmith rang Quigley as soon as he returned from Bristol. He confided that two nurses were missing and that the Police did not think the body in Roby’s cell was Roby. Quigley pressed Highsmith and the psychiatrist seemed relieved to be sharing his burden. He took us to the dwellings of the two nurses. One house looked like the owner had just popped out for a moment, but the other was stripped bare. This second dwelling contained one single bed and yet letters in the mailbox seemed to indicate that two people lived there – the nurse (Michael Evans) and someone named Montigue Edwards. We instantly surmised that Edwards was Evans and that this was the same Edwards to which Gresty referred.


Keats opened the letter addressed to Edwards and found that it was a reminder to update his membership of the Royal Society. Keats took this letter and we returned to London.


Dear Diary,

We have discovered little since I last wrote. Keats took the letter to Edwards to the Royal Society and attempted to impersonate the occultist, but found nothing.


Winstanley visited Vincent Tuck (the private investigator Mr Roby’s brother had hired to watch Bacon) and handed over a newspaper report of Roby’s “murder” at the asylum. This report inspired Tuck to speak a more freely and he told Winstanley that he had seen Bacon kill a homeless man and drain him to a husk.


Edwards has left few tracks, although we did find that he attended the Slade school of fine art. A chat to his old professor revealed little beyond a slight connection to the mound at Clare Melford. This connection was enough for Keats, Quigley and I to revisit the little town. We found little but an investigation of the mound found the place where surely the “ceremony” took place some years ago. A pond in a crater atop the mound was filled with something black and foul and nine holes surrounded this pond. The holes were about the size to fit the monoliths found on the lower slopes. Quigley said the smell from the pond reminded him of something he had dreamt of recently.


Dear Diary,

I have been reading the book I found at Bacon’s house and believe I might have discovered some information of value! The book claims to be a translation of hieroglyphs found in a Guatemalan ruin and presents a series of prayers, eulogies and libations to entities called The Unspeakable One, Kaiwan and Hastur. Words from a prayer called “Welcome to the Unspeakable One” match those we found carved on the monoliths atop the mound. There are other enchantments in the book that I must study in more detail.


Dear Diary,

Bacon’s body has been discovered! The Police appear to have no leads to the cause of his death (thank goodness!), but an interesting obituary has appeared in Occult Magazine. The obituary was written by none other than Aleister Crowley, the Beast himself. It refers to Montague Edwards “the laird of Mullardoch” as an inseparable friend of Bacon.


Keats approached Crowley and used his magazine as a cover, claiming he wanted an interview with the sorcerer. Crowley disclosed little and a frustrated Winstanley tried to accost him once Keats had reported back to us. Crowley had even less time for Winstanley’s posturing than he did for Keats’ flattery.


We have looked up Mullardoch in the atlas and found it to be a loch near Inverness. We wonder if this is where we must journey to next.


Dear Diary,

We are in Inverness! A note addressed to “Delia” and signed by “Alexander” appeared mysteriously in Winstanley’s letterbox. We assume that “Delia” and “Alexander are Mr Roby and his former lover. Alexander’s note read simply “I am going to Scotland to Edwards’ house on Loch Mullardoch. Please meet me there as soon as you possibly can. Things will move very quickly now. You will see that I was not chasing the devil.”


Winstanley told us of the note at once and we leapt aboard the first train north. On this train we shared a cabin with a nervous man who introduced himself as Henry Lister. Mr Lister carelessly revealed a stone whistle at one point and we convinced him we were fellow cultists by revealing the stone whistle we had taken from Bacon. Lister told us that he was terrified that the “ceremony” at Mullardoch will be “just as disastrous as the one at Clare Melford”. He confided that he was not at Clare Melford but told us that “dozens had died there.” Mr Lister initially agreed to join us as we made our way to Mullardoch, but eventually decided he wanted no part of the enterprise after all and caught the first train back to London.


It is late now, but we have arranged a car for the morning and plan to start early for Mullardoch.


Dear Diary,

Dear God! I am mad! I must be. To admit otherwise to is to admit that I am in another world.


This morning happened a lifetime ago, but I remember the details clearly. The road to Mullardoch was poorly made and covered in thick snow, but Winstanley bought us to the loch safely.


As we came to the water’s edge we found a small path leading to a single monolith. I theorised that there must be nine more of these and that they surround the lake like the monoliths on Springer Mound once surrounded the pond at its peak. I wanted to push the monolith over, but the others would not let me. Instead we got back in the car and drove onwards. At one point the car became stuck in a snow flurry and the axle wedged itself on a boulder, but we managed to drag the car off and drove on.


Oh, how I wish that boulder had snapped the axle in two.


As we approached Mullardoch House, Keats and the others saw something in the woods. A beast the size of a blimp. At the sight of it Winstanley pushed hard on the accelerator and I fell to the floor. I did not see the beast, but I swear I felt one of its tentacles swat the side of the car.


Mullardoch House sits atop a peak above the loch and it was wreathed in a thick early morning mist when we arrived. We parked the car in the driveway and left the car cautiously, but the place seemed empty and silent. Our feet crunched on the snow as we walked and to me the sound seemed deafening. As we drew closer to the house we caught a glimpse of a marble archway through a gap in the mist. The arch stood by itself atop a bank and was quickly swallowed again as the mist closed in.


We moved towards the arch and then the mist began to clear. We began to notice that around us stood vast and ancient stone buildings.


There is no house. There is no loch. And I fear that we are no longer in Scotland.

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