January, Tuesday 8
St. James Park, Hard Rain
Joseph Barker is seen embracing Lucy – then smacks her into unconsciousness and drags her through the shrubbery out of sight. In his place, three hoodlums appear, each armed with dual pistols and bad attitudes. Not content with seeing my true love stolen from me – even if she is suspected of treasonous acts behind my back during the time in which I was courting her – I charge forward. Interestingly enough, Simon charges forward with nearly as much gusto, and with the good doctor Matthew and Viola in tow, a tussle ensues.
Myself and Simon are both struck with wheelock shot, but we give as good as we get and with the doctor and Viola backing us up, the tilt is in full swing. Two of the ruffians are taken down, and the third makes good his escape through the shrubbery. Wounded severely, myself and Simon decided to take a breather, leaving Viola to ensure the other two ruffians would not be causing any further ruckus, and Matthew to give chase through the shrubbery.
When the doctor returns, he informs us of a spectacular sight that he saw, one which defies logic – or belief. A giant bat-like creature was seen by his own eyes ascending westward into the rainy London skies, with Lucy in one talon, and Joseph Barker in the other. At first I believe the doctor to have imbibed a goodly amount of morning-spirits, but he tends to myself and Simon with steady care, and quickly we begin to hobble our way out of the park before we attract attention.
We departed for the nearest safe-haven we could think of, which was Viola’s house. It was dry and warm, thankfully, and her servants dutifully tended to us and served us warm tea. It was a somber rest, my back aching profusely from where I was shot (what sort of man shoots another in the back?). Meanwhile, Matthew tended to Simon’s foot, and gave the good word that it would not need to be amputated. Finally, good luck is on our side.
From there, after a goodly rest, we departed for the bank where Viola usually spends her days. There, she instructed some of the best and brightest of her employees to seek the printer who ended up doing business with Joseph Barker, believing that finding such might lead us to the man’s home. I argued that we should head West, in hopes of catching some sight of Matthew’s “giant bat” creature that stole away with my beloved Lucy and the dastardly Joseph Barker. But alas, my pleas were drowned out by what the others called ‘logic’. I silently hoped that none of my companions ever have to face the trauma of their true love being stolen away in the talons of a giant bat, possibly never to be seen again, for then they would feel my pain and comprehend why my heart went westward at such a time.
In the meantime, we departed for the London Bridge, so that we might again check Van der Wyck’s home and business for recent use. Arriving on the bridge, it looked the same as it had before. Asking about, we were at least able to retrieve a detailed description of what the man looked like, so that we might have a better idea who to keep an eye out for.
The Globe Theater_
From there, we departed for the Globe theater, in hopes of finding Shakespeare so as to warn the man that his life was in danger. Upon arriving, there was already a line of people waiting to get in, and moving up to the front we spoke to another ruffian who refused to let us speak with the artist. After some back and forth, the ruffian was finally convinced to go himself at the end of his shift to bring William to us, and indeed, eventually he did arrive.
William himself seemed unworried about the threats, claiming that he received such threats all the time. From that point on I was prepared to wash my hands of the man (he likely wouldn’t amount to much in the long run any way – a flash in the pan, his name lost to history like the rest of us, no doubt), but alas, my companions seemed very eager to protect him somehow. At the very least, we knew that something wicked would be perpetrated that evening by those with ill-inteent toward the playwright.
We purchased tickets and gained entrance, spreading ourselves around the theater so as to hopefully cover as many angles as possible. When the show eventually began, all of our eyes were keenly focused on the stage, and looking for signs of foul play.
Eventually, from my vantage point on the third level, I could see Shakespeare behind the curtains peeking out – and he looked as if he was in some sort of distress. I began to make my way to find the doctor, as I assumed the doctor would provide the best hope for aid. With my aid, I lowered the doctor from the second level down to the ground floor, bypassing the stairs and foot traffic therein, and the doctor made his way towards the stage.
Pandemonium was born when Shakespeare waddled onto the stage, choking and gagging with darkened veins on his neck, obviously not apart of the play. My companions rushed the stage, joining the actors with concern as they huddled around the fallen bard. When it became obvious something was the matter, many started to file out, as my companions began to tend to Shakespeare as best we could, while searching the crowd for the man who had done this.
Finally, upon the third level, a man was seen holding his hands out toward the stage in a dramatic fashion, and it was assumed that this was not for good will. Several of us began to converge on the man. Through some sort of dark sorcery he was able to… affect me, causing my body to be wracked with pain. I fell to the ground, and felt an unholy suffering the likes of which I had never felt before. At first I thought it might simply be the breaking of my heart upon recalling that I might never see Lucy again, but no – it was the man’s witchcraft, for certain, and for a short amount of time that felt like an eternity, I did despair greatly.
But the man – who we would later identify as Van der Wyck to the best of our knowledge – would eventually take a wheelock shot to the gut, ceasing his dark magic upon my person. Though it stopped, the effects were still there – I felt the pock marks across my body, the weakness in my limbs. It is my deepest hope that such suffering will ebb in time. Perhaps a few good nights sleep might be all that is needed to rid myself of this malaise.
The impending threat eliminated, the folk around me seemed more concerned with tending to Shakespeare than to myself. For his part, it appeared that his state was no longer worsening, so I suppose that was a good thing. I am not sure where he was taken, or by whom, but before I could even draw a breath to collect myself and gather my strength, we were off again, to check in with Viola’s employees to see if the printer of Joseph Barker’s book had been found.
And it was. Turner Printing, one of my rivals, was the business that printed Barker’s book, the one I refused to print because I was booked-up at the time. After consulting with Mr. Turner, he was polite enough to allow us to search his paperwork for the invoice dealing with Mr. Barker’s job, and upon finding it, we drew no detailed location information from it – Barker left no means of contact, sadly. There were two tomes that Turner printed for Mr. Barker in small quantities.
The first was ‘The Fall of the Graces’, a pseudo-Greek myth descriving the fall of the three Greek graces.
The second was ‘Under the Yellow Sign’, a collection of poems detailing various aspects of Barker’s crystal contacts and cult activities and rites. In summary, it looked as if it was written by a madman. There are references to Hastur, the King in Yellow, rituals involving a Crystal, something called a Cthulhu, enchanting blades, and something called a Byakhee.
Could the bat-creature that the doctor swears he saw be this ‘Hastur’ creature? Or Cthulhu? Or perhaps this Byakhee? Or did any of these things actually exist only in the mind of Barker, who has apparently lost his grip on reality? Then again, I trust Matthew’s judgment, and he swears by what he saw – this creature of unknown origin, large enough to convey not one, but TWO fully adult humans… through the sky! Da Vinci would be so jealous!