The Last Hurrah

Changing of the Guard
Act 1 Intermission

September 16th 1914

During a visit to the Hale family estate, the question is raised as to why the house is so empty when it has so much space for displays. Later, it comes to light that the collections were largely gutted in the wake of New Year’s Eve 1882, and a furious battle. Meanwhile, Nathaniel makes a friend in the estate’s groundskeeper.

September 17th 1916

In Bjorn’s quest for a steady and reliable source of mead, Captainess Shandy places a call to her father and organises a hunt for a dragon which has been menacing shipping across the North Sea. The opening shot of combat, however, hits an unexpeted target. Still a dragon, but clearly little more than a hatchling, it was wounded badly, and it seemed that the hunt was coming to an abrupt end, before the mother arrived, swiftly followed by another dragon, presumably the father. A fierce battle ensued, with all members of the party playing their part, even Erwin taking the role of a machine, throwing harpoons mindlessly, thanks to a bargain from his demonic friend. The fight was valiant, but it was unclear which way things would go. But then, the artifact of Loki finally showed its power. In a whirl, Lovi was transformed into a grinning green monstrosity, and put the dragons through a madcap and thoroughly improbable thrashing, before being pulled overboard and finally being separated from the cursed mask. Despite Captain Shandy’s crew being predictably shaken, all retired in high spirits to the pubs of London. But the Norse gods are a careful lot, and this outburst of chaos in the midst of what promised to be one of the most dangerous conflicts in history proved too much for their patience. The leader of the Midgardar Einherjar, Magnus, appeared and told them that they were no longer prepared to take the risk of having Lovi as part of the group. Her powers had been revoked, and her family sent to live with her in England for the duration of the war.

September 18th 1916

Following the events of the previous night, the members of Operation Lark spend a day in London, consoling the depressed Lovi. It’s an uneventful day altogether, but one which the crew are unlikely to forget soon.

September 19th 1916

Having lost the one member of the party, Captainess Shandy, sepite some protestations on the part of Nathaniel, diverts The Lark to Egypt, so that the soldier can visit with his common law family. A night visit to Cairo lets Harriet reconnect with some old friends, and gives Bjorn and Erwin a chance to go drinking and narrowly avoid a fight, but Akilah was nowhere to be found. After following the trail of friends she left behind, Nathaniel tracked her to the town of Ismailia, nearby an RFC base. She volunteered for the war effort, and is helping to manage some of the shipments of oil coming in from the oil fields. After a long talk that lasted into the early hours of the morning, the two agreed to let her stay and do her duty

September 20th 1916

The day would have been little more than another stop-over, time for Nathaniel to spend with Akilah and their daughter. But trouble had simmered over a fight the previous night with Erwin and the other members of the party. Erwin had been concerned over the usage of their time on personal errands, and seemed unconvinced by any of the rationales offere. Another conversation over potions he had brewed lead to Harriet striking him. He stewed in his cabin all day, and when the time came to leave, there was a great sound of crackling and a sharp smell coming from his room. When the party rushed to see him, he was clearly different, and was placing a book on the cabinet. He simply said “It took me some time to realise, but I regretted not saying goodbye properly. Goodbye.” And promptly disappeared.

September 21st 1916

Two members left in four days, Operation Lark was in dire straits, when the message came from England of a potential new recruit. Ex-Witchfinder General Harold Williams had promised to Harriet that he would do some searching through his personal records, to find someone else. The name he apparently turned up was Glynn Owain, member of the Oxford Round Table. He approached him personally and explained to him that same thing he’d sent in a message to The Lark, that he had suspicions over a factory in Wales which had seen a remarkable increase in productivity. The young man joined the party near the factory, and a brief investigation turned out a community of Brownies working at the factory, planted by General Melchett. One confrontation later, he agreed, perhaps more amicably than the rest of the party felt was appropriate, to stop this ‘little bit of mischief’ as he put it.

Bjørn Järvinen

Harriet Hale

Nathanial Blake

It has been a trying time, these last few days. The loss of Lovi was a bitter blow to us all. Magnus will not be a popular name amongst us for a long while.
Erwin’s loss was also bitter, though less so. On my part, his aspersions on Akilah and Abilya have coloured my view of him. But he was right, and I wish him well and Godspeed, wherever he may be. Our personal errands are much outweighed by our duty. But all the same, his tone and attitude were not the best for telling us this. I was desperate to save Akilah and Abilya, both of whom have suffered for their association with me. I wished to return them to safety. I know it was a selfish use of the Lark. But what else are we to do?
We are prisoners, trapped between duty on the one hand, and fear on the other. We cannot act to save lives in this war, for fear of escalation. Yet we are part of it, bound by duty to stop its escalation. We are caught between what is right and what should be right. We cannot act as we should, for we are damned either way; by conscience or nation.
Only Glynn’s arrival has had our spirits up, and the browbeating we gave Melchett. Now we head to Africa. I have a bad feeling about what he might find there; If there is one thing I have learnt over the last few months, is that the world is full of as many demons and devils as it is of heroes and saints.

Professor Erwin Schönhausen-Shloka

Lovi Malikdotter

Glynn Owain

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This is Serbia!
Act 1 Scene 2 - 14th September 1914

After a brief shore leave in London, a distress call from Serbia by way of the Russian intelligence station, Station Alexander, alerted the members of Operation Lark to the unusual events taking place in the cell of Gavrillo Princip. Upon investigating, the party found an ocean on the other side of the cell door, and a boat, ready to ferry them across. At the behest of the rather nervous Serbian official Radic, they embarked and set out across the interior ocean, swiftly coming to rest at a jetty, where they were met by what appeared to be Gavrilo himself.
It quickly became apparent though, that it was nowhere near that simple. Every person they could see in this small city had the face of Gavrilo, and none of them seemed to notice, though they could tell that the party were outsiders. They offered to let them prove themselves worthy Serbians, by presenting themselves to the great statue of the Serbian eagle, posed as Gavrilo, killing the Austrian Archduke. However, with Professor Erwin being the first to speak, their judge attacked them. After a fierce battle which saw much of the town square burned down, the party was forced onwards, though one of their number had been separated from them. They ventured through the countryside to find a cave where many of the Gavrilos were leaving food and other goods. Inside, they found the great Zmaj, Bogdan, guarding the roots of the world tree. He told them the nature of the land they explored, this idealised Serbia, and promised them safe passage to the top of the tree, if they left behind a woman for company. Harriet volunteered, and so they made their way to the top.
Finally, they reached the top, where Gavrilo, wearing the clothes of Prince Marko, and sitting in his throne, assured them that he would proudly stand trial when the time came. That he was Serbia, and he would not be ashamed of his blow for freedom. With that, the party were let free of this small world, and of the cell, Gavrilo left inside, waiting patiently.

Bjørn Järvinen

Harriet Hale

Lovi Malikdotter

This island and this trip, what amusements occurred here. With the language barrier in place Lovi could not use her talents to trick her way through this. No, out came her hidden side here. The side she kept closed off from the world, the one that wants to see the world burn (literally). Her pyromaniac side. The damage this caused was great, the entire market destroyed.

As much as she will never admit it, she was grateful that the professor briefly removed her firepower, as who knows how much of the city would still be standing.

The fact this side of her has come out though is troubling. This Pandora’s box has been opened and is not easily shut…..

Nathanial Blake
Today was odd. Very odd. Fucking weird really. But fun, in a physical sense. I have come to relish martial exercises, probably a bad sign, and the fight with a living statue embodiment of Bosnia/Serbia was one of the best I have had. Unfortunately, I believe my comrades may have seen more than I meant them too. The climb up the World-Tree though, was one of my worst. I must continue to try and get better at mastering my fears.

But the worst thing was Gavrilo Princip himself.

I have never been a hateful man. At least I believe so. But never have I hated a man as much as Gavrilo Princip. His ego and mania made a realm that echoed his face and form, and he knows the slaughter that is coming, but clearly doesn’t care. Millions of men will die, towns will burn and an entire generation will bleed because of him and his fellows.
I can sympathize with what he did. I don’t know enough about the Austro-Hungarian Empire, so perhaps their rule was as terrible as he believes. But did he really think that killing the heir and his wife would lead to Bosnia being free? The fact that i can see why he may have done it makes it worse. He chose this. Millions are about to die and he is just sitting there, and at will, he can escape into a literal paradise of his own making.
There is no place in Hell deep enough for him.

The professor tried to explain things to me, to let me see Princep’s side of things. But his noble intentions failed. Gavrilo is a fool, and a monster.

Professor Erwin Schönhausen-Shloka

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Mythologie Sans Frontieres
Act 1 Scene 1 - 22nd August 1914

The party has received their first mission without support. Responding to the rumors of a fight between mythological figures from both Germany and France, Operation Lark set down just outside of the Belgian town of Rossignol. There they met with the fox Reynard, and made their way to the site of battle. With two mortal armies approaching each other, La Bete, Chanticleer and Roland faced off against Siegfried, two dwarves and a wizard. The argument grew more and more heated, until a fight broke out, and despite that party’s repeated attempts at peacemaking, Roland and Siegfried would not back down. Not until they came across the slaughter that was the battlefield. With an unbroken carpet of dead soldiers massacred, seemingly without effort, both warriors stopped their struggle, and Siegfried seems to have given up on fighting completely, throwing his sword away.
The war seems to promise less adventure than before. Perhaps it will turn around, and still be done by christmas, but if the rate of death stays like this, that may not be a good thing.

Bjørn Järvinen

Harriet Hale

Lovi Malikdotter

The satisfaction of almost convincing Demi Gods that the plank that Loki had bestowed upon her had truth telling properties was not as overshadowed by the interruptions of the professor as she let on. Whether or not Loki had indeed given her an artifact or a piece of wood did not matter. It was all in the presentation. If she could impress people like this, imagine what she could do on mere mortals.

Luckily she was too deep in thought from this that she missed the horror of the aftermath of the battle below, barely believing it when later on her crewmates told her what she had missed.

Professor Erwin Schönhausen-Shloka

The confessory mirror is dark. Schloka sits on the floor of the cabin, back against the bed, staring at a tiny Ouija board, whose letters spell out the words ‘Lovi Malikdotter’.

‘Interesting use of what is a Diät, diety, God.’

He sits in quietly without moving for some time.

‘Using without malice that which is unearned. A lesson for the aristocrats.’

The letters move on their own accord, vibrating crazily against the grain, chattering like skeletal teeth. They spell the words ’toilet break?.

He sits in quietly without moving for some time.

‘Alright.’

Professor Erwin Schönhausen-Shloka sits hunched on the blimp’s toilet, tufts of his hair and pale face refracted and reflected around the numerous surface’s of the lavatory’s decorative bronze. From the sink a gurgling voice babbles a name, as if from a larynx slowly filling with blood. Bjørn Järvinen.

‘Reflexes were right. Barbarity breeds barbarity until no one can read, no one can write in the sands and ashes that remain. Hopefully he is the last to have to attack this German renaissance of savagery. Siegfried! A fitting symbol of the law’s recourse to violence, pellets in his venerated face.’

This continues for some time. He passes brief reflections of each of the others in turn, before leaving the toilet to return to his temporary lodgings, where the Ouija tiles are dancing merrily on the floor, spelling various German obscenities. A sharp cough sends them flat on their backs.

‘War then – the worst of each race’s national values laid bare. What are we to assume agency of this purging, precisely? I mean linguistically also. It is indeed something that the communists have not yet succeeded in their constructed society upon Russia – this must not happen while conflict is still so ominous.’

Nathanial Blake

It has been a hard day. Not physically, but spiritually. While i would have desired to go down and aid the others, but my fears and unease aboard ship prevented me from leaving. My room needs a good airing. Thank God for the Servants and the bucket they brought.
But i did look out the window. I have seen war, and have seen the charnel house the battlefield becomes after the fight ends. But i have never seen the carnage, the rank slaughter, the like of which I saw today. The generals are wrong.
We will be lucky if it ends before 1920.

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One Last Ride
Prologue - 20th August 1914

Having shipped in together from across Europe to meet at RFC Folkestone, our party has had their first taste of action. An unexpected outing, to say the least, a kraken attack off the east coast of England spurred the venerable Captain Shandy to take his old ship out for one last spin. The party has defeated the kraken, saved most of the ship’s crew, and what remains of the ship is now being repaired and captained by Captain Blackfield Shandy.
Along the way, the party also met with the blustering General Melchett; the rather quiet, if curious, Wolfgang Mann; the ancient and slightly grouchy, Ex-Witchfinder Harold Williams. Onboard ship, the crew seems to comprise only of one taciturn fellow called Smith; a dependable, if old, Engineer Jenkins; several pairs of disembodied hands called Servant; and last, but by no means least, the daughter of the Captain, pilot of The Lark, Captainess Mary Shandy.
Now, on their way into the air, they have been bid farewell in many ways, with varying degrees of sincerity and tact. The adventure awaits!

Lovi Malikdotter

Even after working with the gods for a time before, Lovi was still in awe of the great flying machine in front of her. She was first wary of how it stayed up as her self taught knowledge of chemistry led her to believe it may be Hydrogen based ,which is extremely flammable, and her newly ignited love of fire would not mix well with that.

Bemused by servant and enjoying her drinks she explored the ship and discovered the parlour, which she had to refrain from instantly burning to a crisp due to the sheer horror she had at the room.

Once the new mission was suddenly commenced her first priority was to save as many as the sailors as possible, as she truly believes that no one should ever be left out or behind. Luckily after securing the first rope ladder she did not observe the barbaric way the sailors clambered over each other to get out first, else would have broken her heart.

She did not have long to wait though until her heart was really broken, as a visit from one of Odin’s ravens revealed that until the war (or this mission) was over, she could not return home. This being literally her greatest fear, she ended the day, and probably a few days after, sobbing uncontrollably in her room. She is currently inconsolable.

Harriet Hale

My Dearest Edwin,

I am writing this diary to you, in the hopes that when you are old enough to understand it, that you might get an insight into why I have done some of the things I did. And that if the worst comes to the worst, you may at least know the kind of woman I was. I want you to understand I’ve done this for you, with the hopes you can grow up in peaceful times.

The 20th of August 1914.

I am writing this aboard the Lark, after a rough start on our nebulously defined mission.

Where do I begin. Our multi national party was first gathered together at Folkestone airbase, and consisted of myself, Nathaniel Blake, a member of the Oxford Round Table, Lovi Malikdotter, and Bjorn Jarvinen, from the Norse equivalent to the Cambridge Classical society, and Professor Erwin Schonhausen-Shloka, who as far as I’m aware is some sort of free agent.

After being blustered at by that buffoon Melchett and that drunk Captain Shandy, we were let aboard the Lark itself, an impressing piece of engineering, and introduced further to Servant, some sort of magical butler, and the engineering crew, including Jenkins, an old friend of Barnabus’ who I could scarely believe was still alive.

During this time, a lot of “you look so much like your father”s were passed around, and I must remark that it left a sour taste in my mouth. (It would come as a suprise later when Williams the elder would agree with me and call him an asshole, which raises my estimation of him considerably)

Our inspection of the ship was cut short however, when the Babbage machine, an updated one compared to the one in the Cambridge Classical Society spit out news of a Kraken attack off the coast of Norfolk. Wasting no time and likely probably damaging the ship, Blackfield Shandy took off to save the lot of them. I must confess that Melchett did at least help with the loading of the guns, while Servant helped the others. Together with Bjorn and Nathaniel, we saw the beast of while Lovi attempted to save the crew of the ship. What the professor was doing, I can’t say, as he dissapeared with some high moral ideals about the monster not being at fault and how it should not be harmed which frankly struck me as the words of a man who had never been challenged by physical concerns for his entire life and now saw himself as above them. The fool.

With the Kraken seen away, and the remaining crew saved, we headed back to folkestone and I sat down to write this.

Nathanial Blake

Today was full of surprises. As soon as we got aboard the flying coffin, we received our first mission. While i am glad that we reached the Wincester in time to save the poor souls aboard, the fact that the mad former captain decided to drive was rather unpleasant. I don’t think he understands the concept of mortality.

The Kraken itself was a mighty beast, but that is hardly surprising. Having read on them a little more since the battle, I am lucky we didn’t meet the kraken of Moby-Dick or the old stories, beasts as large as islands. The Servant was damn handy too, though i may need to train them up a little for those guns, seeing as it is a little vague on how large the actual crew may be.

As for the team, i think we will do fine. Madam Hale was damn fine on the gun, keeping her cool all the while. Ms Malikdotter has her heart in the right place, and seems a brave girl. As for Bjorn, well, I am happy to have him here; he can shoot, hit, and is a brave man. But the Professor…He seems too sheltered. Putting aside the whole bargains with the powers of Hell, he seems too idealistic. Hypocritical of me, yes, but he seems to not understand that sometimes not everything is worthy of compassion, nor does he seem the sort who knows hardship, and how to overcome it. It may end up killing him.

Still, a fine team, and I am proud to fight alongside them, and die for them if need be.

All in all, not the worst operation i have been a part of.

Professor Erwin Schönhausen-Shloka

Erwin stands facing a small mirror in his cabin. Hunched over a notepad with an odd looking stylus at rest on a sheet of paper, his reflection looks up expectantly for the dictation.

“Wie Haben …. Wie geghe – —”

He coughs. Muted cackling sounds can be heard echoing in his throat.

“WE WENT on a luft-schiffe, remarkable was it quite. The companions for journey very ungebildet actually, adjective, educated. Participle Adjective.”

The reflection looks up at the Professor and shrugs.

“SOWIESO. Pretty cocky for a Fälschung with his organs backwards. I think I’m getting zurück zum Norma – better. Stay simple and don’t leave anything aus. Two women. Rich man’s daughter – unmagical, das ist, totaller banal. Some devil spawn channelling Loki, didn’t, catch phrasal verb, catch much of her. Spectre of Finnish policeman, something about Heimdall. How we say a Söldner, kills for money. Managed basic instructions. Other, very straight backed English, Cambridge went to, apparently not to study? Stinking pipe. Leader typical English Schläger shame. Ruling class something Keiser similar, mustachioed Abschaum get everyone killed.

Don’t trust Wolfgang. Throw overboard?"

The reflection gestures with its right ‘hand’, and proceeds to change nibs.

“Wann … wenn … when you are ready quite!”

It hurriedly fixes the back on the pen and looks up slightly sheepishly.

“All over not a disaster. Few dead men and one dead animal. Creature motivation mystery, unfortunate. Where from, why, who etzetera. Probably innocent. Might survive. Despite verzögern komrads can shoot without killing self. Very useful.”

The reflection looks at the mirrored clock on its side. It shakes its head in irritation and instead peers through at the unreversed clock on Erwin’s side.

“Alright, we’ll get to the important stuff! (That war gut English). That fraud Van Bommel’s so-called refuation of my drei punkte analysis der Schopenhauer ist … "

This continues for several hours.

“Get dass everything then?”

Mirror-Erwin shuffles the papers on the desk, and pats the top leaf satisfactorily. Turning to Erwin, he opens his mouth and emits a series of a Dolphin’s high pitched clicks and trills.

Erwin’s left eyebrow arches, tightly curvex.

“Sehr interessant.”

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