Snippet #2769324

located in Steampowered London - 1885, a part of Death Comes to London, one of the many universes on RPG.

Steampowered London - 1885

A metropolis of clockwork and steam.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cassian Sinclair Character Portrait: Amelia Lancaster Character Portrait: Khalil Jaziri
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Outside London - The Former Parish of St. Lukas
July 4, 1885 - 20:53 p.m. - Overcast
Cassian Sinclair

Cassian's fingers tightened on the glass in his hands. The purplish liquid inside was only grape juice—he was not a wine drinker, nor inclined to fuzz his thoughts with alcohol, but he was also aware of the fact that he needed to look at least passably like he was here for the party.

He hadn't missed the whispers that had accompanied his entrance. One look at the militant cut of his uniform and they'd all assumed he was an Inquisitor, as though they'd ever seen one before. Perhaps a few of them had, but if so, they'd misidentified him anyway. It hardly mattered—what he was was close enough for the moment.

Go to the party. Drink. Mingle. Inform Hayes we have no more need of his services. Scare everyone a little, and see what you can see.

Cassian hated it when Father Hadrian was that vague. If he'd just tell him what he wanted this would all be so much easier. But no—apparently the fact that Hayes had been spotted buying an elaborate golden ornament or something with Church money had been enough to inflame his famously-cold mentor into one of those low-energy rages of his, and now here he was, having long done the important part of the job but forced to linger because his instructions specified it.

And he felt like a thing in an alchemist's jar. Put on display for these people to gawk at without the first hint of what it is they were really seeing.

Grimacing, he took a swallow of his drink, resisting the urge to spit it out when it was disgustingly warm. He really needed to get a handle on that. Frowning outright, he looked around, but could find no servant. The gardens had been opened up just a little while ago, but were still sparsely-populated compared to the inside for some reason. Cassian didn't care—in fact he much preferred it. Fewer eyes.

He tracked his way down a picturesque cobblestone path, unsurprised to find he was drawing close to the distillery building. He'd already wandered far enough afield to note that there seemed to be poppies growing down by the river. He didn't know enough about botany to say if it was a natural growth or something decidedly less innocuous, and so while he took note of it to report later, he hadn't cared to spend long investigating.

His foot crunched on something irregular; Cassian grunted, withdrawing his boot and stooping to pick up the object. A letter opener? What the fuck was a letter opener doing out in the garden? It had a golden handle, but he was pretty sure it was only plating. Into the side was inscribed a phrase in swirling, calligraphic script, over the top in its flamboyance:

To Anne, with all my love.

With a small, disgusted noise, Cassian shook his head. Instead of letting the thing drop back to the ground, he set it down on a retaining wall instead, turning back around to head for the main part of the garden again. He hadn't made it more than halfway back before a fat raindrop pattered against the shorn side of his head, and he sighed. Great.

Now he'd have to go back inside with the people.

Once he was back inside, a young woman was standing next to an older man. From the resemblance, they were likely related; a father and daughter, perhaps. The expression on the young woman's face seemed neutral, as if she were as thrilled to be at the party as Cassian, himself, was. The gentleman beside her, though, seemed content enough to be chatting with a woman who was, perhaps, a friend of sorts. The younger woman, however, glanced in Cassian's direction, blinked pale blue eyes in an uninterested fashion, before turning her attention back to the group she was with.

On the other side of the room, a swarthy gentleman was chatting away amicably with a group of women. He seemed deeply interested in what was going on if the large smile on his face was anything to go by. The women also seemed charmed by whatever statements he was making as they were smiling as well. One looked like she was blushing, and trying to hide it behind a fan in her hand.

The Irishman who'd been with that latter group earlier was gone, he noticed—so was Lady de Jaager's sister. Cassian didn't think much of it. People moved around at these things all the time, as far as he knew. Scanning the rest of the room, he made incidental eye contact with a man he knew to be Lord Edward Hollis, who went from looking extremely sour about something to a little panicked. He glanced away, resting his eyes on the flight of brandy glasses on the central table for the later tasting, and then quickly to the wall.

Cassian rolled his eyes. Outside, he could hear the rain picking up quickly until it was a steady downpour. In the distance, thunder rolled, low and rumbling. The hair on the back of his neck stood up, a reflexive reaction to the lightning he could feel in the air, that expectant and heady thing that had called to him for as long as he could remember. Sparks lanced down his spine, but he clamped down on the shudder that threatened.

The group from earlier seemed to be getting a little excited about something since one of the women laughed. Loudly, perhaps for a woman, but the gentleman she was with seemed amused by it. The gentleman's hand moved to a passing tray, picking up a glass of wine, or some other drink, before he raised it in the women's direction. He stated something to one of them before taking a drink from the glass. It resulted in another round of giggles.

The young woman from earlier seemed to glance in that direction, narrowed her eyes, and rolled them. Either the noise was enough to bother her, or she knew one of the party members in the group. From the way her eyes had settled on the gentleman, it was probably his obnoxious laugh that had caused her to roll her eyes.

Cassian took up a spot against the wall, finally finding a spot to set down his glass. He crossed his arms, a much more familiar posture than any of the more open things most of these people assumed around each other. As though they really wanted to be speaking with one another. It even looked genuine, in most cases—if he hadn't known better, he'd have been fooled.

Overhead, the halogen lights flickered, sending a murmur of surprise through the guests. Lighting flashed through the windows; another crack of thunder sounded moments later, louder and sharper. Cassian could taste the storm on the back of his tongue through the open window nearby.

Another strike followed, and then the room went dark.

There were a few gasps, but nothing that sounded too panicked. “How unusual," someone spoke, causing another person to scoff. The voices were loud enough that Cassian could hear them.

“It's not unusual for the lights to go out if there is a storm outside, Jaziri," another voice interjected. A woman from the sounds of it. A soft grunt of agreement was heard, and the shuffling of feet meant people were moving around in the dark.

“Amelia, stay with Lady Kent while I go find some lighting," another voice spoke.

“I'm sure Lady de Jaager has back-up for these kinds of things."

Cassian could hear someone stride past him, followed by a perfumed scent—quite possibly the Lady herself. He remained where he was. He could certainly solve the problem if he so desired, but that was nothing he was going to attempt here. Conversation resumed with the assurance that the problem was about to be solved, and the young monk leaned his head back against the wall, closing his eyes and exhaling heavily while there was no one to see that it was him.

He just wanted to be fucking done with this assignment. He'd warned off Hayes, stayed around long enough to be polite, but no doubt Father Hadrian knew that something in particular would be happening here and wanted Cassian to be around for—

A shrill scream cut through the air. Cassian's eyes snapped open; he immediately headed for the door. Footsteps behind him indicated that others were following, but he paid them no mind, least of all when the scream abruptly cut off. It was coming from one of the outbuildings?

Rain quickly soaked his hair and clothes, but Cassian picked up into a jog, heading for the nearest outbuilding. It was unlikely they could have heard it if it had come from the distillery or one of the further buildings. That left the utility house.

Grabbing the handle, he threw it open. Lightning flashed, illuminating the ground. On the floor lay two bodies: a man, near the wire box, and their hostess, a familiar gold-handled letter opener protruding from her neck.