Week 12, Healing Jonathan Goodhue
It's Friday morning in London, 1894. Cantrel and Daewen have gone off to hell or someplace, and Chris and Sophie are disappointed that there are no good parties in town this weekend.
Someone interrupts breakfast with frantic ringing at the door. Jives the butler announces "a young person." We instruct him to bring this person in. Jives has to do this by hand, since the "person" has fainted on the doorstep by the time he returns. We hear his exclamations of dismay and Chris sends his Second Sight out to investigate. He sees Jives picking up Jonathan Goodhue, who looks pale, disheveled, and muddy. Instantly, we put up the telepathy net.
Chris and Tom join Jives at the entrance and look Goodhue over. Tom X-rays him and finds some internal bleeding. Lorelei comes and practices some Deryni healing on him. He becomes restless. Lorelei probes the wounds to find the cause. It's a puncture. It looks like it was done by a tooth, claw, or horn.
Tom fetches Dr. Wu's medical bag and adds some mundane doctoring to the arcane stuff, which also looks a bit more normal to the staff. Though they would be surprised at the antiseptics and antibiotics we use. Lorelei uses some TK to fish out the mud and grit she finds in the wound.
Goodhue gets restless again. Lorelei drops off the net to read him quietly. She finds extreme delirium, mild physical shock, and worse psychological shock. Lots of incoherent terror. No images.
We take Goodhue up to a bed and check him for clairvoyant and telepathic tracers. None. Chris starts blood-typing him. We notice his amulet is missing. We undress him and find it clutched in his hand, rather bent by his classic death-grip.
Meanwhile, Alag goes out on the steps and tries Retrocognition. Nothing much this time -- mud, flopping, rolling, threshing, a glimpse of a hand or talon. Pfusand pokes around and finds some bloodstains on the walk. Well, let's try mundane tracking.
Back in the bedroom, Goodhue is coughing up blood. Lorelei probes again and finds evidence of rather more internal bleeding, probably caused by a severe beating. His spleen and pancreas look pounded.
Tom goes down to the kitchen and puzzles Mrs. Pemmican very much by first boiling some water (to sterilize it), then adding salt (to make saline solution), then asking if we have an ice cream freezer (to cool it back down to blood temperature). She rummages one up and Chris turns the crank, quietly making sure that the temperature gets right and stays right. He has already mixed up the Ringer's solution. All of this is out of period, but not by much, and besides, we now want to advertise ourselves as mildly weird.
The tweeny, Bridget, presents Lorelei with some of Tom's pajamas with which to garb Mr. Goodhue, since we had to cut his old clothes off with scalpels. We give him the saline and toss in some magic for seasoning, and he is finally out of danger.
Meanwhile, Pfusand has been tracing back on Goodhue's path by the scant blood stains he's left on the pavement. He seems to have come to us from the south, not, as we half expected, from Barrow Hill. Alag sets out after Pfusand, to ride shotgun. He turns on his distraction talent and, now that no one is watching him, vanishes.
Tom, Chris, and Sophie decide there is nothing more to be done for Goodhue at the moment, so the hop a cab for Grovsnor Square, where Tom last divined the presence of the segment. (Remember the segment?) Some subsequent Findings and follow-up Second Sight lead us to a house a block off Grovsnor, of mansion-like dimensions, bearing a brass plate reading "J. M. Braithwaite," followed by a jumble of initials. Meanwhile, it is interesting to note that Pfusand's diligent tracking has brought her to a point only three blocks from Braithwaite's house.
Chris, Sophie, and Tom go off to the library where a check of the social register shows that our J. M. Braithwaite is probably a Jacob in his early thirties, member of an old and wealthy family of lawyers and doctors and such. He could be our magician. Meanwhile, Pfusand and Alag are a block nearer to Braithwaite's house. Around there, the trail fades out.
Back at our house, Lorelei observes Goodhue to toss and moan, gurgling, "No, no! Ghahhh!" and other such useful data. Lorelei tries to calm him with a sleep spell. Usually, they just fall over when she does this, even in the heat of battle. This time, though, Goodhue sits bolt upright and screams: "NO-NO-NO! JACOB! DON'T!!!"
"Jacob"? Well, that settles that. Chris, Tom, and Sophie return home soon thereafter. They examine Goodhue and his effects for traces of psi, especially Shield, as Lorelei is sure that he felt her attempted sleep. Tom finds no Shields, but something subtle and fluttery. Chris finds something similar on the amulet. Tom pokes around on Goodhue psychically, but elicits no further reactions.
Gingerly, Lorelei scrys the amulet. This time, she actually doesn't faint. She must be getting used to this stuff. "This stuff" this time around includes traces of stark terror, and screaming meemies, like unto a feeling of being trapped and sucked in. There's a taste of madness in the air. Is the quicksand just a mental metaphor, or real? There's a faint memory of being trapped while on the way to rescue someone else, for whom Goodhue was desperately afraid.
Chris, Sophie, and Tom set out for Holmes. But we open the door just in time for Holmes himself to nearly rap on Tom's forehead. Being the suave sort, he recovers and takes off his hat to Sophie in a single gesture. "We were just coming to see you," Tom says.
"Ah, been to Grovsnor Square, have you?" inquires the Great Detective.
"Uh... yes," Tom answers, caught flat-footed in the way traditional among the clients of Mr. Holmes. Holmes expected that because there were reports last night of strange manifestations such as seem to follow us around, or that we seem to be following around. People for blocks around complained of hearing screams and strange noises. The noises seemed to have no obvious location, but the center of activity appeared to be the home of a Mister--
"Braithwaite," we all chorus. Well, yes. Holmes is sure now that Braithwaite is our magician. A bobby called at Braithwaite's home, inquiring about noises, but the servant who answered the door said they had heard none there. The bobby went away. That was around 9 PM. This morning, there was a flurry of domestic chaos in the area, as many people were late to work. Their clocks were running slow. Holmes believes that odd things continue to happen there. Suspicious characters have been reported in the area. (Oh. That'd be us and Pfusand, probably.) Holmes went out to look around and found later that his own watch had lost three minutes. (We hastily consult our own watches and find similar time-slips. This is as good as fork-hanging.)
We invite Holmes upstairs to examine Mr. Goodhue and his effects. Chris, Sophie, and Tom head out to Grovsnor Square again while Holmes confers with Lorelei. He is intrigued by our advanced medical methods. He also opines that Braithwaite was, like Goodhue, a member of the Society of St. George. He examines the mud and grit from the wound and pronounces the former to be common London mud, not from Barrow Hill. The grit has mortar in it, and a piece of brick. They suggest that the mishap occurred in a basement. He finds a hair on the clothes. "I'd be willing to say this hair is most exotic and not to be found on any animal common to London." Lorelei can readily believe that.
She describes the wound to him and Holmes agrees that it was inflicted by a talon, spur, or horn. Not by the teeth of a living animal, though, or there would be matching wounds from the opposing fang. However, it might have been inflicted by some such projection mounted in a handle, as are certain ceremonial weapons of Africa. "Odd, how the wound pierced the shirt but not the outer coat."
Lorelei asks if Holmes could have someone watch the house, since she is alone with this wounded man. She's capable in a fight, but not invincible. Holmes takes this highly un-Victorian remark in stride and says there's a boy watching the place. That will be fine.
Meanwhile, Alag and Pfusand have cut a few corners, given the information received over the telepathy net, and have headed straight for Braithwaite's there to await Chris, Sophie, and Tom. Alag invisibly scales the mansion and feels a positive bonfire of psychic activity going on in the basement. He sends his Second Sight through the roof and the house below, but sees nothing out of the ordinary, nor any people. But when he reaches the basement, his viewpoint is deflected. Trying to steer his viewpoint up from below ground is no better. Alag decides to seek physical entry. He descends and picks the lock, all invisibly.
Meanwhile, the others have arrived and joined Pfusand. We enter through the cellar door, which was unlocked. Pfusand has determined that this was the door through which Goodhue exited. Tom tries a Finding, but his mental compass needle spins futilely. Just inside, we see the paved floor rather torn up and bloody. This makes us re-evaluate the situation. Alag retreats from the first floor and the others from the basement. Alag will go back to the roof and stand watch while the others go back for better armor and weaponry.
Meanwhile, Lorelei gets a telegram from Holmes: "Harold Jones can be trusted. He will present himself shortly." Soon after the others leave for Braithwaite's, Harold Jones presents himself, not shortly but at considerably length, for there's a lot of him. Holmes has obviously sent a very sturdy body guard. Excellent. Lorelei makes him comfortable with a heavy-duty chair and some tea in a nearby room, with orders to come running at any unusual noise.
It is just after noon by the time we can settle down to investigating Braithwaite's. We find a great deal of muddy water in the basement, and a shattered stone sink. We also find a long corridor running under the house, with several doors coming off it. The door into the corridor had been wedged and we were obliged to break it in order to enter. The bricks of the corridor floor are buckled up. We locate a laundry niche full of water and mud-soaked clothing.
As people enter the cellar, Lorelei and Alag can feel the telepathic connections grow vague. When Alag joins the others, coming down from the first floor, his connection grows clear again, but he and Lorelei become vague to each other. Obviously, there is a mushy psychic barrier of some sort hereabouts.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.