Monday, 27 August 2007

But what of the house?

This blog was an account of my build until recently. Clearly the ongoing murder investiations have taken a toll and reduced the amount of work I am doing on the house. I had hoped to have the house basically complete by early Sep as this will be the 60th anniversary of Horta's death and a fitting time to open the house and have a party. I will still try to make that.

Since the last building related blog I have travelled to Belgium to collect more resources to assist with my build. The render on the outside is now a more appropriate colour, the white which theRL house was painted in from 1960-recently has been replaced with a more earthy colour in keeping with Horta's original. Inside I am reporducing the silk wall coverings that adorn many walls and the Macintosh wallpaper used in the bedroom. My biggest challenge reamins the efficient use of the building resources (prims) available. I have under 100 left and still have many rooms to do. One aim is to get a structurally complete house and then decide which things I can lose without detracting from the house overall. I want to keep the complexity of the house apparent and to show how advanced the build was for its time.

Theatre under threat.

Well the latest news was that the theatre was to be closed by the new owner an older gentleman who appears to have inherited the estate of Alexander Eliot. I had planned various protests and had a long meeting with Ms. Paine and Prof. Nishi about what we could do to help but it seems that the mayor has stepped in and prevented this.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Chauvanists abound

I showed Mr Sprocket to the shop which was clearly assigned to Mr Moriarty but just as clearly empty. I explained what little I knew, that I had found the shop while searching the arcade that being the only place I remember ever seeing the name Moriarty before recent events. The mayor was clearly thinking over his options, he was planning to way lay the werewolf that was clear, our conversation came to an end the mayor was finished with me. I took the opportunity as we parted to raise the issue of Prof Nishi's treatment asking directly whether, had she been a man she'd have been treated quite so poorly. I put it to him that the Guild of Ladies was here to defend the female citizens and fight for their equal treatment. The mayor fair exploded at this...

Me: "The guild of ladies is here to defend the rights of Women in this society I feel that Ms. Nishi was not treated the same as if she had been a man. A witch hunt almost."
Shaunathan Sprocket: women? rights? what is this colonial mumbo jumbo
Shaunathan Sprocket: I assure you an automaton will have the right to vote before any common maid.
Me: Please sir, yesterdays liberal nonsense is tomorrows right. We will stand our ground sir and be heard.

We exchanged a few more verbal assaults until a sound in the doorway drew us back. Pizzini Mayo, clearly having been summoned by the mayor had appeared in the doorway, with this the mayor left without so much as a goodbye, to view "the blueprints", I presume to the arcade.

I was furious, spitting feathers, I left the arcade and headed back toward the bar. How dare he. The mayor had suggested I move to Caledon "where such tolerance is accepted. At least here you are respected, so long as you keep in line!", his time will come. He should look around, beyond the close knit band of fellows that he holds dear, to the active citizens of Babbage, those who pay his taxes, and bring his tourists to his lands, publish the news and service the airships. We the women folk of Babbage are no common maids. But there was something more in his words, as ever carefully drawn, did he know my past? No I'm paranoid.

I never reached the bar. As I crossed the bridge Prof. Nishi was standing to my left, visibly shaken. I enquired as to her well being. She bid me relay a message to the young boy McKay, "Tell Myrtil not to show him" or some such, the message ambiguous, I relayed it verbatim; the lad understood, but it was apparently too late and "he" had already been shown. The professor had feared as much but seemed somewhat better now. She bid me sit with her by the canal side and we chatted. She expressed her gratitude for my support and seemed to understand my position on her involvement. Miss Paine arrived and we went in side, the gathered crowd had realised that one of the art works was by none other than Mr Moriarty.

On seeing the artwork Prof Nishi wanted to see the arcade shop and it was in the empty shop that we stood when young Jimmy relayed the news that a note had been found. As quick as a flash the Professor and Ms Paine were off, I followed but tripping awkwardly and turning my ankle got to the bar just in time to find them leaving quickly, one of the children running alongside, escorting them, back to the museum. I followed on, unclear now as to what had happened.

Prof. Nishi invited me inside the impressive looking museum. A copy of the aforementioned letter was read out by Ms Paine. It was a letter from Alexander Eliot to Jason Moriarty, begging him to leave New Babbage and warning that the 13 were going to get rid of him, Mr. Moriarty, at all cost. How strange that this should be left for us to find. A clue to what? It mentioned the old gods and destiny. To what did this relate? I parted company with the Professor and her companion and headed back to my home, the party having clearly ended.

I did not yet feel ready to sleep and noticing a light on in Miss Li's row house I knocked at the door. I had called to check that she was Ok, that I had not abandoned her to a bunch of drunken strangers. As it turns out she had had quite a shock herself.

A party, a surprise and a long night.

Loki's party was a great success I hope he made a fair schilling out of it, the drink was certainly running well. Though I fear I had little part in that. I arrived just shortly before 3pm to find the place already quite busy, packed in fact and quite difficult to mingle at times. Mr Dagger had clearly been there for some time and while I appreciate his company I felt he may be best left to his own bottle. Prof Nishi attracted my attention and calle me over, the mayor had just arrived and understandably the lady professor did not care to be too close to him so we retired to the gallery. Shortly after, raised voices were clear. Mr Dagger was being accosted by Mr Sprockett, whoapparently had been defamed by Mr Dagger. A matter of principal and I feared a duel would ensue but it seemed to calm down. Apparently Mr Dagger had made comments as to the competence of the constabulary. I feared that perhaps my own disdain for the peelers of babbage had rubbed off. Still it semed to settle by the ime Prof Nishi and I concluded our chat.

I noticed Miss Indigo Li sat alone in the corner, her normal companion, Mr Zero Qi, noticeably absent, is this how we treat newcomers and strangers now? I made a point of approaching her. She has recently moved in to the rowhouse which backs on to my plot, I bought her an absinthe and settled down to get to know my knew neighbour when I overheard Mayor Sprocket enquiring about the shop that Jason Moriarty had leased in Mr Mayo's arcade, the one I had taken Myrtil to the day before. He asked if I would escort him there.

to be continued...

Friday, 24 August 2007

Of ghosts and werewolves.

I have not yet recorded any of the talk of werewolves and other such creatures. In part this is because I cannot verify any of this for myself. However here is what I have been told and been able to cross verify with at least one other account.

A werewolf has been prowling the streets of New Babbage since early August, perhaps before. One of the earliest sightings seems to have been an attack on a young lady in the row houses but a number of the children have also seen the beast. Myrtil, who seems perhap the most forthcoming of the children, states that she encountered the beast back on Nemo Beach and she was able to name the beast as none other than Jason Moriarty, Mr Eliot's former assistant, had he fallen foul of his own experiments? Is he the murderer? I fear not, why would a werewolf armed with mighty fangs, go to the effort of stabbing his victims. Indeed why would he put his own name on the list pinned to poor Mr Cannings' back? I fear I get more questions than answers.

The latest unworldy encounter though occurred just last night, again not to me. My good friend Anabella Voom who lives across the railway from me has also been out of town for sometime. I took it upon myself to bring her up to speed, she has a keen mind and may spot things I have missed. I took her to the murder scene and while she was looking at the evidence littered around I stared in disbelief at the glass in the book cabinet. Was that dust? Just the poor light? Or was there a ghostly face screaming out at me? I took a photo but as with many the darkness made it hard to tell, I spent some time in my dark room today enhancing the image. I was not mistaken.

No sooner had I developed this photo I received a note from Anabella, she was clearly quite shaken. She had returned to Mr. eliot's room later that evening and while she was staring at the face in the glass she became aware of someone watching her. She turned to be confronted by a ghostly rider on horseback who screamed at her repeatedly. The poor dear understandably fled as fast as she could and did not look back. I hope to catch up with her later and see if we can find any more evidence of this encounter, has anyone else seen this spectre? Was it just someone fooling with a poor young ladie's nerves?

I most go now and get ready for Loki's party. I have submitted two entries to his gallery, I may consider selling them for the children.

some disturbing evidence.

I have spent a few days now hunting around Babbage and beyond, to Nemo Beach, formerly Sunrise Island and to Caledon. This entry briefly summarises my encounters. Most of my sleuthing has been alone but a fair proportion with Mr Dagger. At the very least we meet on a regular basis and share what information we have normally over a few beverages in Loki's. I will be heading there this evening once again as Loki himself has arranged a party to launch his new gallery and to help lift people's minds from the subject of murder. I fear however that though the motive is pure the portent is ill. I hope that nothing bad comes of this.

We spent some early time exploring the hidden parts of Babbage, the underground rooms beneath the mayor's own town hall where Mr. Dagger had seen at least 3 people congregating the night before. These people were, if I recall his notes correctly, Prof Nishi, Ms Paine and one other perhaps more, Mr. Dagger is not blessed with a good memory for names, nor with a notepad indeed! Whether relevent or not to the mystery the mayor has some fine machinery hidden below the ground, the largest analytical engine I have ever seen and a smaller but no less fine version alongside the babbage files and a map of the town plans, present and future. However, whatever the gathering of the previous night had been about there was no apparent evidence of foul play, indeed were we any less supicious ourselves as we searched the deep places?

My investigations later took me to the children's "safe house", the words seem so inappropriate, an attic room hidden high above the old theatre, it is accessed by edging across a precarious board walk high above the streets from the attic room murder scene, though the room may also be accessed through a small hall above the projector and a few other places. In this room behind a cobweb curtain I found a number of disturbing scenes, the images can be found in a special folder in my album. I link but a few here.

These images do not do justice to the ghastly nature of the room, but when later the next day I presented them to Mr Sprockett he was once more both dismissive and disinterested. He had seen it all before, indeed it had predated the murders. One has to ask, why knowledge of this drawing hadn't at least suggested questions to Mr Sprocket as to what might have been happening to these children? Would a timely intervention have changed the events we see today? We will never know. However, the ever knowledgable mayor did assist in one respect, the name Winslow Lewis found on the Masonic dedication related to a Mr./ Lewis who was famed throughout the USA for introducing lighthouses based upon the Lewis lamp that he had designed, though there is some dispute over how much of the design was actually his own. He ventured that there was a lighthouse to be found on Nemo Beach. There is in fact a third piece of evidence in the loft, one that I must admit I overlooked at first though now it stares me in the face as soon as I enter that foreboding room. Just to the right of the image of the child is a circle, a stain that looks like blood, and the shape of a man half in and half out of the circle as if emerging or being drawn in to a hole. He holds something in his hand, a rock? It is not clear, a black shadow or crack emerges from the hole.

Both the original images carry the same masonic style crest, the circle enclosing a pyramid which in turn encloses the seal of the Linden family, the hand and eye. To what do we attribute this connection? Are these mysterious sects masonic lodges? and what of the text behind the images, is that an earlier grafitti? All I can say is that the quote appears to be from the speeches of George Washington.

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation."

How true that is turning out to be, do not trust someone until they have earned that trust.

The next day I was chatting with Ms. Taterbug xxxxxx (her surname escapes me for the present) a visitor to the town who was looking both for the police and the newspaper. As we discussed our own investigations and I gave her directions a small boy with an enormous pack upon his back ran past. It was Wunder, Mr. Eliott's errand boy, I was glad to see him alive but fear I may have scared him as in my eagerness to ask about his absence I persued him across babbage, but of course, these children are both agile and wiley and he gave me the slip on the roof of the lodge and I never caught sight of him again. At least we know that at that time he had not met the same fate as Mr Cannings.

Forgive me if my notes are not in good order here, these events being logged mostly for my own sake are as I recall them and not necessarily in strict chronology.

Of pirates, conspiracy, and exploitation

The events in babbage had intrigued me, I needed to know more, could I perhaps help rid the streets of this murderer. News had spread bringing many more visitors to the town, some not so welcome as others. It has also brought out the better side of many longer term residents.

I undertook to examine the trail of clues if such a thing existed. I headed immedaitely for the roof of Loki's bar to gain accees to the murder scene. As I approached and climbed to the roof tops I saw a man, a pirate is the best that I could assume, perhaps a vulture seeking plunder from the crime scene, perhaps the murderous fiend himself. He flew beneath a pedal powered airship and was scouring the rooftops presumably seeking to land. I hid behind the chimney stack and held my breath. He passed me by. I headed down into the attic room to be greeted by a scene more bloody than I could have dreamed. I'm afraid that this lady for one is not used to such sights and on more than one occasion I had to head outside for the succour of fresh air.

I took note of the letters and artifacts left at the scene, the murderous dagger glimmering in the faint light where it had been thrust into the desktop. I descended back to street level and entered the bar. A man was there moving suspiciously around. Hiding in the doorway I saw the face of the sky pirate once again. I decided to confront the gentleman and greeted him cordially. He claimed to be looking the L'Algiers bar and to not have known of the nurders until shortly before I arrived. Not wishing to be discourteous I concluded our conversation and went on my way. The name of Mr. Skusting Dagger now held within my notepad.

I went home and spent a few hours reading and re-reading the evidence, the news in the Cog including the latest evidence released by the New Babbage Bow Street Police and my own notes. A picture was emerging, an unpleasant scene indeed. I do not believe that Mr Eliot himself was involved but at some stage the orphan children, those poor unfortunates of our society were being preyed upon by at least one of Mr Eliott's assistants, a Mr Moriarty, Jason Moriarty. The letters expanded little upon the secret groups known only as "the 13" and "the Van Greed society" but pointed another location that needed to be examined.

I will not speak for others but what I have discovered since has chilled me to the bone. Under our very noses, our complacent, conservative noses, the poor and underprivilegd were being preyed upon by sinister men in dark secretive societies. It is not without some guilt that I say this, for it is not a month since I was berating young Mckay Beck and his rascally pals for painting on my fresh walls, barely longer since I was asking the mayor whether something could not be done to control the exuberance of these children having been pestered, nagged and insulted while trying to focus on a complicated building problem. Such piffling trifles as these fall away to nothing in the light of what these poor mites have had to suffer. I do not intend to let my patience grow so thin again, I would like to do whatever I can to keep these children safe from the likes of Moriarty, the 13 and any others that come in their stead.

That evening I also happened to meet with Mr Sprocket, our creative if rather overbearing mayor. I ventured to ask him as to when the Bow Street Police office would be open. Rather dismissively he informed me that the police had been a little busy of late with a double murder and other strange occurences. He assured me however that it would be open with a day or so. For all his bluster and bluntness he can at least be taken at his word. He asked me what I had on my mind and I reported my encounter with Mr Skusting Dagger, the mayor assured me that Mr. Dagger was no murderer or indeed pirate to his knowledge and that I should not consider him a risk.

Now I may not have the highly honed detective skills clearly required for a job with the Peelers at Bow Street but I would have thought that any stranger to this town seen lurking without a good alibi at least needed more than a verbal dismissal. Nonetheless, I later encountered said Mr. Dagger and have found him to be a very courteous and knowledgeable fellow. What's more we have agreed to work together and share information both having acquired an interest in this episode. I remain to this day surprised that noone has questioned his motives, and I ask myself, would not a murderer, cunning and manipulative seem courteous?

A long time gone....

Things move fast in Babbage. I have been travelling for almost 3 weeks returning just last week to find mayhem in New Babbage.

Where do I start......Murder, murders in fact. When I arrived back in town the atmosphere seemed different, I grabbed a copy of the Cog and seeing the headlines, hurried home to find out more. It seems a Mr Alexander Eliott, apparently the grandfather of Loki Eliot, a local orphan boy, had been murdered. The exact time of death seems unknown the body had been slumped over the table at the murder scene for some time before it was found. A series of letters were strewn about the scene. Talk of secret groups, conspiracy, catastrophe I won't record it all here, other have done so before, you can check the Cog for more information.

For completeness I should say that Mr Eliot apparently had a device, the Porta Terrarum, which by its name suggests a form of doorway, we can draw more conclusions as I expand this tale. The letters state that the device has been broken in 3 and the 3 pieces distributed to avoid them falling into the wrong hands. 1 is with Mr Eliott's grandson, another given to one of the other street children, who goes by the name Wunder and the 3rd "hidden". Wunder was under instruction to deliver the item in his posession to Mr Eliott's assistant in Caledon. All we knew was that he had a feather in his hat. Shortly before I returned to New Babbage the shock discovery of a second body, not far from the scene of the first crime. this time it was a Mr Giles Cannings, and ... from the photos I have seen, he had a feather in his hat. We can only presume that Mr Cannings was the Caledon connection. This poses another question did Ally Wunder, the messenger, deliver the part of the machine to Mr Cannings before the murder? If so then we can only assume the worst, that one piece of the device is now in the hands of the murderer.

I will leave this post for now. A new entry for my own sleuthing seems in order.