The world beyond Darkness

A pillar found...and Zombie Capt Nemo!
A great timefor the rippers

3rd of January, 1894

Our heros find the lava tube that the professor talked about, and descend over 200 feet into the earth. From there, they spent several more days exploring the complex caverns, following a rare marker and descending deeper toward the center of the earth. Eventually, the find signs of habitation as well as some very unusual flora and fauna. They included the undead Dr. V. Frankenstein in this category. From him, they discovered that his abomination guarded the pillar that Dr. Jack brought here at least months ago.

They eventually find the creature, and from him they find a pillar, covered in symbols from many different languages. It appears to be made of white marble, but has a faint glow to it. Remembering what they found in Sosras Tomb, it is decided that it may be glowing due to a proximity of Atlantis! They get it back to London, and speak with Johann about their discoveries, and the state of the rippers. He suggests they will need something to get beneath the waves to reach atlantis and maybe find his Father…Perhaps the Nautilus of the Capt Nemo might be recoverable…it was thought that he scuttled it at Lincoln island, but it might be worth checking.

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From there, they traveled to Cairo, with the pillar hidden in a cargo crate. They are reunited with Mr. Frazer, and discuss a great many things. Through his contacts, they are able to hire a underwater exploration vessel of Her Majesties Society for Exploration, and take that to the remnants of Lincoln Island, which has sank beneath the waves, likely due to volcanic activity. However, several fathoms under the sea, they come upon what can only be the famous ship…but they do face perils in it’s recovery!

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Beneath the Earth
Remind me to thank Prof. Rhumkorpf!

2nd of December, 1893

Following an eventless trip to the glacier, they are happy that their research had been diligent…there are many holes of various sizes in the vicinity. They descend into the gaping maw, finding at the bottom a large chamber.

That chamber leads to others with small anomalous arrow shaped mossy patches in them. For several days they travel this subterranean labyrinth finding more and more curious artifacts.

Somewhere, deep beneath the earth, perhaps near the very center itself, they find Victor Frankenstein, who is, technically, dead…

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A steam voyage undertaken
Situation Reviewed

19th of November, 1893

After the battle at Vignobel, which ended rather anticlimactically, but was followed up by some excitement, they return to the hotel in Paris. There, they discover that an accident occurred at their hotel. Apparently, according to the Gendarme, a gas lamp was left on, and the gas exploded. The resulting explosion and fire killed one of Dirks new found “friends,” Arther Porter.

After this, our heroes return to London and report to Johann what they have found. They have decided that the time is right to head for Iceland to follow up on the only slight lead they have for Doctor Frankenstein. Johann pays a smuggler the rippers have used before to hire him and his steamer to take them to Reykjavík, and one of his rippers provides them with supplies they may need for the 6 day trek to the volcano. During the 4 day journey, with little to do but watch the grey waters and the ever shortening days pass, they gathered down near one of the steam engines, where it was warm and loud enough that they would not be heard, but not so loud that they would need to shout or strain to hear one another. There, they reflected on the progress since they defeated Sosra, not long after Peter joined them, and what set them on this course.

They were summoned to Castle Buda, where they worked with the Harkers again and they interrogated Dr. Jekyll. From him, they learned that Dr. Jack had shown several of his student two pillars that he supposedly obtained in Scotland. He has since entrusted one Dr. Prometheus, while the other was given to Frankenstein, who is believed dead. They also found that Dr. Jack has since disappeared as well, and Jekyll believed it had something to do with the pillars. Since the pillars may be the only link they had to Professor Van Helsing, they started to see what they could find out about Prometheus and the deceased Frankenstein.

They came up with a tentative link to Prometheus, as there was a Prometheus Ltd. a company that deals with pharmaceuticals from Brazil, and they had a cargo steamer called the Omega, which was the name mentioned on a note they took off a defeated Hyde the night they were officially enjoined to the Rippers. While they were dealing with other issues, rippers in Rio attacked a remote location where they defeated Dr. Prometheus. He was carrying on, and had apparently improved the work of his mentor, Dr. Moreau. However, while interrogating him, they found that Dr. Jack had come and taken some sort of pillar away. So, they go to meet a Professor H. O. Lidenbrock, who may have some info on Frankenstein s whereabouts. As, up to this point, the have only found that he died on a ship, and his body was taken away by a very large man. Prof. Lidenbrock confirmed that he had spoken to Frankenstein about an underground world beneath the Snæfellsjökull Glacier. Apparently, Frankenstein and Lidenbrock were to carry out an expedition, but Frankenstein left before the appointed time.

So, now they were aboard the Archangel, captained by Johannes Kamala heading to the Snow-fell glacier, with guides hired by the Rippers. From Reykjavík, they expect about 6 days of sledding to reach the glacier. Fortunately, Iceland does not get far below freezing in November so the trip will be cold, but probably not dangerously so, at least with guides and equipment. Once they arrive, they will descend hopefully finding either a link to Frankenstein or maybe the pillar, or better yet, some definitive link to Professor Van Helsing. Have they missed anything? Are they on the right track?

Either way, they will be leaving in two days, and until then, they will rest and recover in the Hotel Royal, and the exquisite hot springs.

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The Meeting
A trip to Le Vignobel

6th of November, 1893

After meeting Vincent, he discreetly takes them, to an abandon vinyard villa and takes them to a chamber beneath it. There he tells them that this place, Le Vignobel, acts something like a lodge since the Carre Lune had to be abandon. He tells them of an attack by Hydes, as well as Invisible foes. He invites them to return in two days time for a gahering of the local rippers.

They spend the intervening time examing some of the things they have found, which lead them to Eifel’s Tower…After taking care to get to the meeting, they meet several local rippers, many of whom sport Rippertech. They also decide that they may have found one of the weakness of the organization in Paris…and then something happens…

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Apologies to a friend

Oh Anja. I have failed you miserably. I’m so sorry I was so incredibly late and unable to help you. My heart is heavy with the thoughts of the suffering and fear your last days were filled with. Know, my sweet friend, that I will do all I can to put things right and avenge you the horrible deeds brought upon you. I am so sorry.

Sorry, heartsick and confused. There is a stink in the air here in Paris. Something that is rotten and decidedly off. It can be seen in the aether as well, eddying in dank, curls and swirls about the feet of the unsuspecting citizens of this supposedly beautiful city.

In my searchings for you, Anja, I have encountered other Rippers and will be attending a meeting in the hopes of getting their aid and sorting some of this mess out, although I fear the problem is far greater than my intrepid group of friends can handle. I think it might be beyond the scope of the entire of the Rippers community to deal with at this point. Paris could very well be totally lost.

I believe, as I wait for the appointed hour I will allow myself to weep and feel sorry for all that is lost in my life. Over the past year I have not often regretted my choice of joining up with these hunters of all that is monsterous, but I do this night. I just wish to be home once again, in PopPop’s lounge, thumbing through technical manuals and dreaming the silly dreams of young girls… or… perhaps back in Switzerland with the snow falling quietly outside while that strapping fellow from Luxembourg rubs warmth back into my feet and trails kisses up my legs.

So, forgive me the indulgence, dear Anja, and know that I will carry your memory with me until my dying day… and that I am deeply and profoundly sorry.

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Times, they are a' changin'!
Not so Gay Paris

4th of November, 1893

Confronting old ghosts

Upon return to London, DK has an old letter from an old freind arrive, asking her to come to Paris, because of some strange goings on. With the letter in hand, and Johanns concern for the loss of contact with the lodge in Paris, she and Dirk convince Adriana that they should go, even though she is trying to stay away. Johann tells them that the Carre Lune Lodge has not sent a report or responded to telegrams for over 2 months. He had sent two teams. One did not return, and another pair did, but could not find any trace of the lodge.

They travel to Paris, keeping a low profile with Dirk’s new friends in tow as well as Peter. The take rooms at the hotel across the street from the Cafe Carre Lune, where the lodge should be. While watching, they notice some strange activity. And while tracking down her old friend, DK makes a startling discovery…and meets Vincent!

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The Grand Budapest Effect
or Nightguard on a train

I’ve always loved trains. The rhythm of the wheels along the track setting the entire length of cars swaying in an elaborate, stately dance lulliing the passengers into a state of communal well being. People are always nicer on cross country trains. So are the ghosts. Spirits that inhabit trains tend to be wandering souls who are finding peace or solace within the lullying confines of the cars. The longer they ride the more at peace they are. The train between Berlin and Calais had several spirits coexisting very much like a close knit family. They welcomed me and my entourage without so much as a warble. PopPop spent most of the trip playing chess with a grandly mustachioed conductor who had been riding this particular train for over twenty years before he passed. Although relatively new to the spirit world he seemed well adjusted and content and only interrupted the match between gentlemen to make his rounds once every hour. It was after one of these walks to check on the state of his train that the unusually intent passengers in the next cabin came to our notice. Seems the group of severe looking men had been slowly but surely moving from car to car, taking over cabins, quietly but forcibly removing people in order to continue their progress from front to rear.

We had chosen a cabin one car away from both luggage and diner so were very nearly at the end of the train, a fact that had kept us from discovery very nearly the entire journey. I dare say, if the train had been but two cars longer we might have alighted at the ferry terminal without discovery. But. The train was not, and so we were, in fact, discovered.

There were three of them… one for each of us, I suppose, not taking Peter into account, which perhaps was all in our favor. It would have begun with them rudely opening our compartment door. taking us by surprise, but we had warning from Herr Meyer that they were coming so were able to prepare…

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Worlds beneath worlds?
Can an oddball professor lead them to a missing villian?

30th of October, 1893

Tense time in Berlin

Following the only lead to Dr. Frankenstein, our legendary rippers meet Professor Hans Otto Lidenbrock in his tiny office of one of the libraries at the newly formed Royal Polytechnic University. Prior to their visit, they are warned of a strong presence of Night Guard in Berlin, and to exercise caution, because the Guard are apparently hunting them.

They have learned that the professor is considered to be somewhat off his nut, and has many crackpot theories, one of which he regales them with after they mention his acquaintance with Dr. Frankenstein. It seems the last he saw the Verruckt Doctor, they were going to explore a network of underground caves that Lidenbock believes are located beneath the Snæfellsjökull Glacier in Iceland. However, before their expedition, Frankenstien hired a private steamer to take him to Reykjavík, and had not returned any of the letters that Lidenbrock sent. They make a deal with him to take his unpublished manusscript about these caves and explore them, giving him credit for anything they find…including the Dinosaurs he expects…

Our Rippers make their way to the Dunkleturm lodge, which is quite secretive, and they find someone to translate the manuscript. The manuscript is mostly a translation of a haphazard day Journal by someone known as Saknussemm, who was supposedly lost in the caves. There are a few maps and notes as well. However, Lidenbock also claims to have found coded messages in an ancient Norse legend, the Heimskringla, that validates this.

Researching what they can of this new information, they discover that the Snow-fell Glacier (the Snæfell), is about 40 miles from Raykjavik, and it does have several tunnels beneath it. One of which descends over 200 feet, and has never been explored, but that some of the locals claim to have seen lights and heard strange sounds emanating from. While they research, Johann distresses slightly about their delay, as his father has now been missing for over a year! However, he is loathe to interfere with these obviously successful Rippers. He is also upset by the amount of unnatural activity that has been reported as happening in Paris…including the complete loss of communication from the Carré lune lodge.

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A Bright New Day
Pt.1

I have to admit, other than the pain from the gashes, I found that this was much needed down time. Though we are accustomed to frequent lulls in our travels, this is the first time in a very long while that I’ve been able to relax. A truly restful sleep each night and what seemed like an almost endless chain of carefree days. I almost forgot what it was to feel normal. If I’m to be honest though, there is but a single reason for this but let me start at the beginning.

With our time to be spent at the Van Helsing manor in research and recuperation, Johan saw it fit to have our wounds properly tended. In this decision, he chose not only to see our physical wounds cared for but our emotional state as well. I believe there might have been a bit of pity shown to us but I won’t charge him with this as I’ve wisened a large measure from my more youthful days. He saw that even though we had a physical victory, it was a very obvious moral defeat with the loss of a profound Ripper. While the impact of our failure wasn’t brought to bear immediately, it was very clear as we pondered the horrors of that day. The death of the Witch Hunters leader would leave a large hole to be filled and yet another Ripper death is on our hands. Good people don’t become Rippers by droves. I sometimes question if good people ever become Rippers at all. Surely my failures in life pay testament to such a thought. Nevertheless, it was these burdens that weighed on us and forced Johan to take action.

His first course of remedy was our introduction to a nurse. I was in the library researching with DK and Adrianna when they stepped into the room. My jaw was agape when I lazily looked up from my midday nap. As we turned in his direction Johan nodded toward the woman and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Nurse Porter. I’ve secured her services for you during your stay in London.’ He then looked back at the nurse and asked that she ensure we be returned to perfect health.

Now Ms. Lily Porter was tasked with caring for our wounds. I don’t think it was part of Johan’s plan, you see, but the first sight of Ms. Porter’s smile at her introduction reinvigorated my senses. Ms. Porter, at most in her early twenties, holds an exceptional beauty that had to vex every man of her acquaintance. How strange that she wouldn’t be married by this age and is employed in nursing. This sudden thought both gave me a shock as well as hope. One thing was certain though, I had to concentrate on calming my heart because it felt like it would jump from my chest.

Ms. Porter took each of the ladies into another room to speak with them and assess her duties. While she was away with the other, both Adrianna and DK gave me quite an amusing glare in the other’s absence. It appears my self control was bit lacking. I believed their rebuke was due to simple body language until DK gave me a ribbing for not saying a word during our introduction. She seems to believe I didn’t respond at all as we were introducing ourselves to her. I don’t happen to remember personal introductions at all. I have no doubt that DK’s simply poking fun.

On my inspection, she asked that both DK and Adrianna stay present as it was only proper that there be a chaperone. I immediately found it a odd when she stepped directly to me, pulled on my chin to open my mouth and peered while asking, “Mr. Johnson is it? That’s odd, I don’t see anything wrong.” I stepped back confounded and told her that I had no injury in the mouth. My stomach lurched in pure shock when she retorted that she “wasn’t as certain since I was unable to speak until this examination. I was sure that you must be a mute.” I dart my eyes to DK and see both her and Adrianna giggling at the spectacle. At this I stumble for the words to pull myself out of pure embarrassment stuttering, “I uh, well, uh.” My eyes had to be the size of my Stetson when she said, “Oh I see. Not mute. Dumb.” Now without looking I hear the other ladies burst out laughing in hysteria.

The sudden rush of anger flushed rapidly through and brought be back to ground. I asked, albeit a little slow, if she would like to see the actual injuries. I couldn’t help but laugh and wince a little when she replied just as slowly with, “Yes, lets do that.” The other ladies made a spitting sound and started giggling again. I’m obviously quite happy that I could be an amusement show.

I removed my shirt and started to unwrap the bandage across my chest. Ms Porter stopped me and finished the job herself, somehow removing it without pulling the scabs open. Her expression changed when she saw the full extent of my wounds. Her eyes jumped to look at mine then back down to the gashes in my skin. I hear her mutter a question about how could I be mobile in this condition. Adrianna and DK have stopped laughing and have a look of shock on their face. I’m not certain why everyone’s so concerned. We’ve been through this before, though they haven’t seen my wounds when in this condition. I look down and only then do I notice Ms Porter tracing the outline of the gashes and scars on my chest. I realize at that moment why there’s a sudden mood change from the women. Each line is a testament to the luck that I seem to carry by still being alive. Ms. Porter clears her throat, starts pulling bandages from her satchel, and tells me that I haven’t been changing my bandage often enough. 3 times daily, no exceptions. I repeat her last statement, no exceptions while staring at her while she worked. She glanced up at that with the slightest smirk and I knew we would get along very well.

The next couple days seem to pass by exceptionally quick. I, in good spirits, seem to be pressing DK and Adrianna to move quicker and start each day. DK seems the most frustrated at this but she and George have been working long hours at some sketches, apparently to no avail. This is when Johan’s next course of remedy kicked in. He kicked us out. Well sort of. He told us to get fresh air and spend the day out of his library as the books were feeling worn and required a much needed break. This seemed to make DK and George quite happy since they needed to go shopping for some mechanical bits of some type or other. Adrianna had her own excursion planned with Peter which left me to myself. That’s when I decided to put my guts in check.

Ms. Porter seemed shocked that I would dare ask her to accompany me on a trip to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens on the Thames. After our initial encounter, we had gotten along well for the few days we’ve been acquainted. For this request though she rebuffed me quickly with no concern to my feelings. She stated as a matter of fact that it wasn’t proper for a nurse to accompany her charge through gardens. She defiantly added that it isn’t proper to do so unsupervised either. It’s as if she was trying to come up with excuses. She shot me an angry glare when I smiled and pointed out it was an order by Johan that I leave the premises for the day. I then pointed out her medical orders of “3 bandage swaps a day, no exceptions. Now how would I manage my care alone while out in London under the orders of Johan?” She inhaled sharply as her anger started to build but I cut her off to give in a little on the matter by offering her choice of chaperone during our excursion. I should have guessed when her face turned from pure anger to a sly grin. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t notice because I could only think of how beautiful she was, even when angry. She cut in sharply with, “Fine. I’ll send word for my brothers.” She turned on her heals and stormed out of the room.

Since we’ve been spending so much time at the Van Helsing lodge, I’d taken up the habit of dressing the part of a gentleman. This was of course the sole reason for a change in my daily attire, no matter what Adrianna and DK said to the contrary. The wait wasn’t very long considering the impromptu summoning. Maybe an hour and a half had passed before her brothers arrived. I, with nothing else to do during this time, felt like it was an eternity. Luckily I was of sound mind to think ahead and send a messenger to make a reservation for 4 at a local restaurant in the garden’s district. No sense having hunger set in and ruin an outing. It may be a bit over the top and damned more expensive than I’ve learned to be accustomed but this is my first shot at letting Ms. Porter know that I’m interested.

I received word that the Porter family had arrived so I made haste to the side entry that we normally use. I was hoping this bit of protocol wouldn’t darken their first impression. In truth, I possibly introduced myself a bit too eagerly to them in an attempt to make up for it. Well that and my look of surprise when I counted 5 brothers standing in the foyer. For some reason, I assumed two. 5 brothers to placate while entertaining their sister will prove to be quite a task. Maybe even more difficult than swaying her affections.

The introductions could have gone substantially better. I was of course able to speak this time round but it seems that was a problem all on it’s own. As I introduced myself and reached my hand out to shake theirs, Ms. Porter introduced her brothers by name. I was met with a Searing gaze from one. Another scoffed with a huff and a third shook his head while glancing at Ms. Porter. The fourth brother chimed in about me being a bloody Yank colonist and something about American’s being unsatisfactory for any rank of a British bloodline. I could barely understand him as his accent was somehow much thicker than the others. The fifth brother simply said nothing at all. So this is how I met the Porter Brothers. William, Charles, Robert, Arthur, and Lawrence. I look to Ms. Porter with a bit of dismay when she tilted her head slightly with a shrug and a smile. She begged a few moments to prepare and walked out of the foyer with her head held high leaving me to her brothers disposal.

I watch her stroll to the next room then turn back at the brothers who are staring me down like Daniel Boone. Lawrence, who was the silent one, asked directly why I have any interest in Lily. Before I could answer, he asked whom had set me up to this. Taken aback, I told them that I found her whit quite refreshing as she’s kept me on my toes the last several days. I also explained that no one had set me up to this. The outing was purely my device to enjoy her company while taking advantage of a wonderful day.

Charles, the scoffer, scoffed again at my answer while William chuckled. William then chimed in with, “This Yank obviously doesn’t have ‘is ’ed on straight. ’E’s just glutton for punishment. Either from her or by us. Let’s just be done with ’em ’ere Lawrence.”

Lawrence spoke, seemingly to understand what he’s hearing. “You’re standing here in front of the five of us. Trying to tell us that you enjoy her stinging, unrelenting ‘whit’ as you call it? You’re her charge and she didn’t somehow pain you in any way while dealing with your ailments to keep you from trying something like this? You realize she’s only allowed to care for women at the ward now because of the way she handles men. She’s already made up her mind that no man will conquer her as she puts it. She’ll call us in to deal with would be suitors at which point, you gents have backed down from the idea of seeing her again. Just do yourself a favor, call it off now and we won’t have to rough you up to save yourself from her.” At this, the brothers begin to circle me. I stand my ground and start take off my jacket.

At this point the brothers have only taken a few slow steps when Lawrence tells them to wait. He looks me dead in the eye with what would be a devilish poker face. He’s trying to read me. Looking for a tell. When I notice this, I start rolling up my sleeves. He asks, ‘So you’re going to get roughed up by us. Then end up not taking her out?’ Lawrence begins to size me up again trying to read my intentions. This may be the few seconds that make or break my chance at seeing Ms. Porter in anything other than her professional domain. I decide to go for it. I tell him that I haven’t met the woman they’ve described. Ms. Porter has taken exceptional care of me and …’ I’m interrupted by laughter from every brother. I go on louder this time over their laughter, ‘And if this is the price to pay for an innocent stroll through the park with such a remarkable woman then I’m ready when you are.’

By this point, they have me completely surrounded but I take my bare-knuckle stance and ready for the first blow. They all stop laughing, almost in unison. Lawrence starts to call them off and points out that I’m serious. I then hear hear William from behind. " ’E’s a bloody yank ‘E is so that’s good enough for a roughin.’ Lawrence starts to talk him down when from the doorway Ms. Porter speaks up. “If you boys are finished, we must be on our way. There will be time for you to play your games some other time.”

The men in the room don’t move but stare at each other blankly surprised at her reversal when she speaks up again, “Must I repeat myself? Surely you’re not all daft are you? The gardens won’t see themselves now will they?” Lawrence and I quizzically shrug to each other then grab our things. Charles and William start chattering about how that’s not the way this works.

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Witches
Witches, yet another new thing to add to our growing list of encounters. I feel the same way towards them that I do mummies. Would gladly avoid them in the future. I can’t believe they can kill someone just to improve themselves. I just don’t understand it. What did he ever do to them, besides hunt them down and kill them. I wish we could have gotten to them sooner and stopped the sacrifice. But there were just too many of them. The part that I have to concentrate on is that we stopped them from ever doing it again. We were not successful in stopping the ritual but we did kill them. We paid a heavy price as well. We are all injured and need a lot of time to recover. We nearly lost Hunter and Peter, again. This is becoming a problem. I don’t want to lose another person I care about. I’m going to make it my mission to work with Peter once we both recover. I need to make him stronger. I’ll train him to shot better and make better decisions when in battle. I’ll have to train myself as well. I keep saying my attack plan needs to be from afar. My best move is to shot from far away and let Dirk do the up close and personal fighting. I just can’t take a hit from anything without slowing down, or being totally useless. So me and Peter need to surround our opponents and attack together. No more moving in and getting hurt. That has not worked for either of us. We have the permanent injuries and marks to remind us of that all the time. So after relaxing and recovering for awhile, Peter and I spend all our time going over ways to move together. We come up with ways to mirror each other as well as stay out of each others gun fire. We spend a lot of time just firing at targets. Both moving and still. We go over situations we have been in before so we can see where to improve. After many hours together we feel as though we understand each others movements better. We can communicate in battle with each other without having to talk. We will be more like a team and less like individuals. Hopefully this will allow us to face more battles together and come out unharmed. Adrianna Blackburn

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