League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 1766

Chapter 18

Report: Observation Post Providence Rhode Island

After days of watching the inactive Joseph Curwen, this detail went from lazy man's delight to nervous man's horror. It was on a cloudy afternoon that I saw and heard, from my discreet distance, the servants chanting the same two words over and over; Curwen himself actually got up and did the same chanting although he kept his deadpan look. The words repeated in chorus were Yog Sothoth, all other words chanted were foreign and untranscribable.

A grey hue suddenly darkened the clouds, then they got darker, and then almost black rendering the day like night after a fleeting twilight. Wind began to rush through the town and hills as if the air itself was fleeing some oncoming terror.

The wierd hollerin' became louder, it was emanating from all around me, as if the hills themselves were joining in or even worse, many people buried within were the choir for this ancient litany.

This frightful situation lasted a few minutes; the wind settled, clouds brightened up, daylight returned and best of all the hollerin' ceased. Joseph Curwen resumed his seat and morbid inactivity, while the servants went on with their duties.

Darn tootin'. It is time for the next pigeon to fly.

Yours sincerely Rip Van Winkle

Hawkeye read the report and hoped his lazy friend would remain at that post despite the scary happening. Juliette was sitting beside the trapper and matched the reported chanting in Providence with what she heard during her transcendental experience. Since her rescue she had told The League all about her captivity, escape and near mauling by The Beast and a second lupine figure. That was last night, it was morning now and she was refreshed.

She had heard of Jean's encounter with Joseph Curwen, though she wasn't sure how honestly the perfumer told of the meeting. When he got back to the hunting camp he informed The Baron of Juliette's capture; M demanded that he immediately track down Curwen's location with Hawkeye, Chingachook and himself following ready for a desperate rescue effort. Alan Breck was badly wounded during the hunt and was placed on a cart bound for hospital.

Jean had no trouble tracking the warlock's scent and led The League a fair way, but shortly after nightfall the perfumer announced that he had isolated Juliette's scent and it was leading away from Curwen's. M asked the perfumer to zero in on the courtesan's location, he did so, despite the smell of The Beast in the distance. Once they reached her vicinity, musket shot sounds revealed the need for immediate action. The League members closed in on the acoustic source and saw Juliette's desperate flight from the armed wolfmen. Hawkeye and Chingachook aimed their muskets and eliminated one pursuer each.

All that happened throughout the day was told to each other during the trip back to The Chateau de Lune, where they found Redmond Barry battered and bruised after his own encounter with Joseph Curwen. The Chateau staff had taken the Irishman in after a passing coach had driven in and handed him over to the doorman. Redmond explained his mission and its near miss, the sorcerous intervention of the warlock and the misfortune from then on. He also requested to join The Baron's gathering in going after Joseph Curwen. M advised the bruised spy to rest in his newly allotted guest room and await medical treatment.

Dr Benjamin Rathery was the practitioner who arrived to treat Redmond, when he examined the aggregate of his patient's injuries he unpacked a series of salves, bandages and medicines knowing it was going to be a long house call.

Hawkeye began to teach Juliette a few self defense strategies, like what to do when an enemy tackles you from behind. It was an awkward lesson, the courtesan seemed to enjoy being grabbed, she would swoon and gyrate seductively; Hawkeye wondered who was teaching who.

Rip Van Winkle's report was left on the table, M would soon retrieve it place it in his locked desk along with the other documents: police reports, hospital reports, relevant correspondence and civilian tipster reports.

Baron Munchausen was in his upper courtyard having morning tea with an English envoy. After some casual conversation, the Englishman relayed the displeasure his British superiors felt at The Baron's lack of success in hunting The Beast of Gevaudan; a discontent aggravated by the fact that an English lady was a recent victim.

Whatever negativity generated by this drama was offset by the friendly presence of a cat the envoy brought with him from England. The adorable feline brushed itself along side Munchausen's legs and arms then sat in his lap while meowing cheerfully while being patted. The cat was a male and was called Tom.

A casual glance to his right revealed to M the presence of Jean Baptiste Grenouille at the courtyards edge. The perfumer had spent most of the night distilling and mixing various scents and using them to prepare what The Baron could only call strategic concoctions. Jean was too far away to eavesdrop; his interest in the meeting seemed odd. When the meeting was over, the perfumer was not around.

"Thank you Tristam Shandy and good luck with the autobiography." The Baron said his farewell to the envoy who went down the chateau steps and into his coach for a brisk departure.

Chingachook entered Redmond Barry's room to find the Irishman sleeping in his many bandages, plasters and poultices. The doctor found no evidence of fractures, internal bleeding or concussion, which means the rogue's luck is unbelievable considering what happened to him. Benjamin Rathery did state a high doubt that Redmond would be fit for action in the morning.

A Mohican totem was placed at each end of the bed, Chingachook then lightly rattled a gourd while chanting for aid from The Great Spirit. Redmond slept throughout this ritual; to the Indian he was a brave man, selfish but brave; his courage and luck were presently channeled in the same direction as that of The League. When the ritual was over Chingachook removed the totems and left the room.

At The Baron's private armory M presented Juliette with a weapon she had become passionate about, a crossbow; he had to keep it between them to stop her jumping into his arms and smothering him with kisses in gratitude. She handled the weapon like it was a lover, despite it being unloaded she suddenly spun around and aimed it at Jean. Quite baffled, Juliette had sensed Chastity, one of the Seven Virtues behind her, but only saw the perfumer testing one of his latest cosmetics.

Munchausen invited the courtesan down to the firing range for instruction and practice; this went well, she developed a reasonable aim in so short a time; what was odd was the ecstatic moan she would make when firing.

Hawkeye and Chingachook sat down on a balcony seat and viewed the French countryside, though they both found it beautiful they missed the forests of America and the buffalo plains.

The Mohican elder went on to state his opinion of the people. "The folk of this faraway continent kill far more animals than they need; there is little respect for the natural balance they are a part of; they will till the land until it dies, then wonder what they did wrong. There are impractical circular shapes and monstrosities in their long term architecture; animals are enslaved and harvested, there is no spiritual connection with them; there is much looking back to unreal or exaggerated histories to find ones self esteem, most people allow themselves to be lead by silk clad chiefs, and most of these don't have any qualities for the role.

"Candide's warning is becoming ever more real; just by being here I feel like we're in an earthquake; and soon a tidal wave will sweep us away."

"We will not be here much longer." Said Hawkeye. "This mission should be finished today. I have developed a taste for cheese souffle though."

"The Great Spirit called to me." Announced Chingachook. "I tried to get his aid in helping Redmond recover. I did not expect to feel it so far from our homeland, but Great Spirit had something urgent to say and called from across ocean. It said that horrible darkness will storm over plains and forests, it will never end: coyotes will howl in pain; eagles will cringe in rocks never daring to fly; deer will not stop running till they drop dead from exhaustion and gophers will stay underground and starve. All tribes will no longer be one with the land, will forever fear being crushed by eerie darkness. We have been called to service, us and those we fight with have a duty to destroy he who will bring this darkness.

"We have to be here my son, This Joseph Curwen must be dealt with, his wolfskin tribe defeated or no more venison stew or cheese souffle."

Dr Benjamin Rathery returned to the Chateau to check up on last nights patient, after examination he appeared to The Baron dumbfounded.

"Baron." He said. "My medical opinions given last night have been ridiculed. Redmond Barry has made a complete recovery. I was going to recommend hospitalizing for a week but he is fresh as a daisy, the bruises remain visible but no longer hurt him, all infections have gone, his dressings are no longer required. He is fit for action."

Munchausen paid the doctor then visited the Irish Rogue to find him walking quite comfortably.

"Still want to come with us Redmond?" Asked M

"Certainly Baron." He replied. "I feel like I can take on the world."

"Well actually; you will be saving it. Get dressed and I will issue your weapons."

M began to leave the room then turned again to the Irishman.

"Oh. Welcome to The League Redmond Barry."

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