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Check Mate

1856, Victorian London


a part of Check Mate, by Saviarre.


Saviarre holds sovereignty over 1856, Victorian London, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

195 readers have been here.


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1856, Victorian London is a part of Check Mate.

10 Characters Here

Mr and Mrs Crowley [0] A musician and a glamorous partner, or perhaps simply a crook and a harlot. All depends on perspective, really.
Erin O'Malley [0] "Heartbreak and betrayal are all I've ever known.."
Daniel Whittle Harvey [0] Police Commissioner, convinced that The Rook will cause him to lose his job.
Jacob Hawkins [0] The journalist who wrote most of the articles about "The Rook"
Ann Collins [0] A reluctant prostitute, mourning the past, hoping for a brighter future.
Riley Lucas [0] One of 5 people who were the main reasons the Rook was caught...
Tora Walker [0] "I was to be his that he is loose again, I am sure he will come after me..."
Victoria Hunt [0] "She was my closest friend... and he took her away from me..."
Henry Darlington [0] An Ex-army doctor who was sentenced to hang for a string of bloody murders under the alias "The Rook"

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Henry sauntered down the dark streets of London’s east end, his dark cloak throwing bat like shadows in the soft glow of the gas lights. His footsteps were soft against the cobbles like a hunter stalking a deer through the woods. Except his quarry was not animal in nature. He had seen her in the tavern, drinking with a group of boisterous labourers from the docks. She had smiled at the charming ones and artfully deflected the questing hands of those that wanted her. Her face had a ruddy glow caused by the fire and Henry had felt the heat of that fire burn in his heart. He had wanted her.

Henry had watched her all night. He watched her leave, batting away drunken kisses and staggering out into the street.

It was raining softly, the chill of the winter night heightening Henry’s senses. He watched his quarry disappear down a dark alley as she headed home. He quickened his pace, his feet splashing through the puddles.

The alley cut down between a pawnbrokers and a second tavern, that was spilling drunks from the door. Henry shouldered past one, and entered the alley, hearing the echo of her footsteps. He was just behind her now, he drew the scalpel from his pocket, the blade catching the faint moonlight. He reached out and put a hand over her mouth. She stiffened and tried to call out, but to no avail. Henry slid the blade across her neck, making a new mouth, from ear to ear. The blood gushed out over his arm and hand. her struggles weakened and she sunk to the wet cobble stones, a pool of glistening red spreading out beneath her.

Henry wasted no time in making the kill his own. He picked up one of his limp hands and slashed through the wrist. Blood dripped feebly from the red incision, adding to lake of blood on the ground. Henry repeated the process on the other hand and pulled a butchering knife from beneath his cloak. With a series of swift chops, he had removed her fingers, leaving bloody stumps of flesh and bone.

Leaving the severed digits on the ground, Henry melted softly into the night, the thrill of the kill coursing through his veins.

As the cold winter sunlight kissed the tops of the houses, a passing peddler found her body. As the day progressed a large number of police frequented the taverns and houses around the alley, questioning and hammering posters onto walls. The hunt for the infamous serial killer “The Rook” was back on.

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(almighty, i have an ad in the newspaper so you know for a partner for my investigator, one of the Famous 5 as i think they would probably call it back then. On another note, is anyone else going to be part of the 5 as well that caught the rook?)(oh, and i meant to say in bad habits May THINK aloud (like says what he is thinking when he is busy with thinking about a case))

Riley walked down the hallway of his house, a 3 story complex where his sister and sisters daughter live. He has a servant, who is paid well, and is glad to work for him, as she also lives there. As he walked down the stairs, he grabbed the newspaper. It didn't take him long to get his next case. The title said it all. "Rook escapes, famous five being called to help.

Riley springed from his chair, yelling to them "Ill probably be back late". He took his Cane, his hat, his gun, and his ammo. He put on his coat, and began his investigation to find The Rook once more.

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#, as written by Script
The Previous Day

"Pass us another pipe, Jay darlin'!"

Serena's croaking call broke through the low buzz of the Opium den, as various addicts scattered around the room exchanged garbled anecdotes of better times, stumbling over the simplest of words and choking on their own breath. The degree of senselessness varied from person to person; in those like Serena and her husband the drug was little more than a hobby -- even if one they kept feeling compelled to return to -- and they managed to maintain some self awareness even in the delightful numbness that the smoking gave them. But in some Opium was their entire lives; their eyes were glazed over in bliss and their clothes ragged; their bodies stinking of the gutters. Every scrap of their money went to the dens to get them that 'just one more fix'.

Jacob Crowley grunted from where he sat hunched over his lap with a pipe between his teeth, slowly straightening himself up to nod to his wife. He lifted a hand to wave over one of the staff of the den, who sauntered over with a grin.

"Lookin' for another dose, Crow?" the well dressed man asked, his slightly skewed posture and slouched shoulders betraying his common background -- the only reason he could afford fine clothing was his business, he had nothing of a gentleman about him.

"Not me. Serah." Crowley said, voice dry and low in pitch. Jacob was a man of few words when he wasn't plying his trade, at which point he practically exploded with greasy charm.

"'ey, Serah, Serah - whatever will be will be, eh?"

"Shut y' mouth, Crabbe. Just gimme the pipe." Serah snapped, scowling at the man.

"Comin' right up, darlin'..." The man named Crabbe chuckled, producing a pouch from his pocket and tipping the contents into Serah's pipe carefully. "Have a luvly night, sweets."

That night.

There was a low patter of rain falling as the Crowleys made their way through London's streets. It was late at night, and in the East End, that spelt trouble. At least, it spelt trouble if you weren't the Crowleys. Crow was confident enough in his revolver and his knives -- though even he was wary with the latest news. The Rook at large again? It didn't exactly make for good business. Everyone was more wary with him around, be it of murderers or conmen like himself. Business was hard.

Serah huffed as she walked, umbrella held up pointedly against the rain. "Why the hell did that take so long, eh?" she growled, "Forty minutes 'afore like you said, and it weren't even raining."

"I told you. It was important, a'right? Don't get y'self in a tizz over it, Serah. You've got y' blasted umbrella anyway." Crow muttered.

"What with that Rook out there, y'know every second we spend out 'ere is a second askin' to be done away with!"

"Don't be daft. He's a fat old doctor with a few knives, he shows 'is ugly mug and he'll be leaving with an 'ole in it. Bastard preys on helpless young girls, an' neither of us be one of them."

Serah snorted with laughter. "You ain't 'alf right there darlin'! A pair of right delinquents is we. Soon as gut 'em as look at 'em. Pft..."

The two arrived home shortly after.

The next morning they learned that approximately a street away from where they had held their conversation, the Rook had murdered his latest victim.

The Crowleys sat at their breakfast table in mutually appreciated silence. It made you think, it really did...

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Tora was horrified when she saw the poster. The Rook was back. She absentmindedly traced the thick white scar on the side of her face. It was still painful. She was scared. Would the Rook come after her again? She thought of Riley, the man who had saved her in the nick of time. Mr. Lucas...lost in thought, she went in to her library. Perhaps she would go and see Mr. Lucas after work...he would be able to tell her if the posters were true or not...if they were...he might be able to help her as well...

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Erin ducked out of the brothel quickly, she pulled her slightly frayed shawl around her to protect her from the wind that seemed to always whip through the streets. She stood beside the road, and glanced over her shoulder at the building; it was stately and imposing. As if belying it's shameful interior, filled with luxuries for your enjoyment. Erin knew from experience that each little luxury pulled you further down the path to hell.

Realizing she had tarried outside the building longer than she had intended. However she was unable to resist looking back to the building, it's siren call filling her ears, calling her home. She shivered violently, not from the winds, but from the urge to run back to the warmth of the brothel. Shaking her head as if to clear her mind of errant thoughts she headed through alleys and side lanes till she reached a main road.

She straightened her posture slightly as she stepped out onto the wider cleaner cobbled street, she glanced sideways seeing the grand ladies and gents, she couldn't help but laugh lightly at the baby squirming in the elegant pram. She reached up adjusting her bonnet slightly, she tucked a wayward strand of flaming hair behind her ear and made her way to the mercantile.

Inside the store she gathered the few meager items she'd wanted; looking at her list to double check she spoke quietly to herself. "Thread, needles, new thimble..." and pausing before she read the last one "A Bible.." She nodded with self satisfaction and made her way to the counter. Seeing a portly man with a balding head, round glasses, and the most sour look on her face; she cringed internally.

"Hello sir, I'd like to purchase these here items if ye would kindly ring me up." She said with a fake smile, however to the unknowing eye it would appear flirty, confident and downright attractive.

The proprietor was however not at all interested in this slip of a girl, "Do you have the money on you? Or do you want to start a tab?" he responded gruffly his tone one of irritation. One must forgive him as he did suffer from poor digestion.

Erin tried again to be friendly "Tab.. for now.. I'll get paid end of the week." she murmured her body stiffening as she felt the upcoming 'doom'.

"End of the week?" the man's voice was an outright sneer now. "I knew yer type... a whore aren't yah..." all of a sudden the posh exterior falling away "And an immigrant no doubt!" his voice cracked with disgust and rage.

She sighed trying her best to control her temper "Will ye sell me the damn items or not?" she spoke coolly her eyes flashing with fury. "I am from Ireland yes, but I'm only here because yer damn country taxed us dry... taking every thing we had to feed yerselves and make yerself richer." she never shouted, she never raised her voice, she simply spoke.

The man stomped from behind the counter and grabbed the items from her hands, he threw them at the counter and moved to open the door "Get out of here you blasphemous whore!" he shouted. At his words the people in the street turned to look at the woman being ejected so rudely from the store.

She sighed and began the arduous task of finding a store clerk who didn't know who and what she was.

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“Tell me again, Ann? Tell me about the cottage?”

Ann Collins watched as the blood she’d wiped away with the once pristine white cloth seeped into the warm water as she rinsed it out. With the wet cloth, she continued to tend to the woman’s wounds – the split lip, the gash in her cheek, the swollen and bruised eye. With a small smile, she dabbed at the wounds.

“It’s going to be beautiful,” she said quietly, her voice taking on a dreamy quality that was absent in her normal daily conversation, her words having a spark of life that had been missing from everyday life. “Gray stone. A pretty little walkway lined with daisies. A wrought iron fence. I’m going to plant lavender beneath the windows so that on days like today, when the wind is blowing just right, I can open them and have the scent sweep through the house.” She stopped dabbing at the woman’s wounds as she looked up, staring at the wall but not seeing it. Instead, she gazed upon her dream longingly, seeing the cottage in her mind’s eye as if she were actually standing in front of it rather than sitting in the communal bedroom of the brothel.

“I’m going to have a chicken coop with twenty… no… thirty chickens. Fresh eggs daily, eggs to sell. And a cow. I’m going to have a cow. Fresh milk whenever I want it. And a dog or three. A terrier maybe? It’ll be away from the city, away from all of this.” Her lips curled into a wistful smile as she imagined what she hoped would be her future. “Nobody to ‘entertain.’ Just me. The dogs. Maybe a few birds. I like finches.” Falling silent, she continued to stare off into space for a few moments before almost shaking herself back to reality. Looking back at the woman, she smiled again. “It will be beautiful, and so peaceful. I’ll grow old there, and when I die…” She closed her eyes for a moment, the reality of her situation pressing in on her dream, threatening to pop it. “When I die, I want to be buried there.” Considering her choice in adopting her new profession, Ann knew that being buried in the church yard beside her husband was almost completely out of the question. While she may have once been a noble woman - God-fearing, church-going, honorable – the simple fact was that she was not any longer. Now, according to the church she’d belonged to her entire life, she was nothing but a whore.

When she’d been raised in the church, she hadn’t thought much about sin. Granted, her everyday life was ruled by the fear of sin, but she’d never considered Original Sin and its detrimental effect on souls. At least, not until three months ago when she’d lost nearly everything, forcing her into a life she’d never considered for herself. The church spoke about the evils of sin, about the immorality of vice, almost as if it had forgotten that Jesus Himself accepted the sinners, those that society deemed as shameful. It seemed as if everyone had forgotten that He had accepted prostitutes, the homeless, the weak, the disabled, the criminals. And now, here she was, selling the only thing she had that was able to make money, attempting to get back to a good life. Was she immoral?

Ann wrestled with the concept of morality daily. Certainly, her decision was frowned upon, but what else could she have done? When Samuel died, debt collectors came out of the woodwork, depleting her funds. As she was not a male, she couldn’t own her house, and she was forced to move. High rents, had depleted the remainder of her savings. While there didn’t seem to be much of a shortage of potential suitors that she could marry and save herself from having to make the choice to become a prostitute, Ann couldn’t bring herself to do it. She didn’t love any of them. Her love for her husband had been so deep, so profound, that when he died, she felt as if she died with him – not just a piece of her, but her whole being went into the ground with him. She would not marry another. She vowed to herself that when she could afford it, she would live out the rest of her days alone with her memories because without Samuel, she didn’t think she’d ever find happiness again.

“I’d like to come see it,” the battered woman muttered, her speech slurred around the tongue that had swollen when she’d bit it in surprise at the first blow. “D’ ya think I can someday? Come an’ stay wi’ you on holiday for a couple days?”

Her words brought Ann back to reality and she smiled at the woman, reaching into the porcelain bowl to rinse the blood from the cloth again. “Of course, Gloria. I would enjoy a visit from you.” Gently, she wiped the remainder of the blood from the woman’s face. As she looked at the swollen eye, the raw and battered flesh, she couldn’t help but imagine herself merely a week ago, in nearly the same state. Briefly, Ann wondered if it had been the same offender, but then realized that there were far more than just one man who enjoyed using his fists on a hired woman.

In the three months that she’d been in this career, she’d seen more than she ever would have thought possible. In the three months that she’d been selling herself, the only thing she had, she’d hardened. Although, in comparison to the majority of the other women in the brothel, Ann carried much of her old self. She prayed nightly that she would be able to make the money fast enough to get away from all of this before she became as hardened as them. She prayed fervently that God would help her find happiness again before despair swallowed her whole, as it had many of the women she found herself surrounded with. In her mind, happiness was that gray stone cottage with the lavender beneath the windows. Whether or not God listened, she had yet to discover.

A sudden bustle of activity at the door to the communal bedroom made Ann look up to see Madam Ruth enter, shaking her head and clucking her tongue. “Ah, Ann, why d’ya insist on fillin’ her head wi’ ‘at nonsense? Ya know as well as I ‘at nothin’ o’ th’ sort will ever happen for any o’ ya.”

Ann bristled at the words, standing and carrying the porcelain bowl to the window to dump the water out into the alley. “Madam Ruth, there is nothing wrong with dreams. We should all be able to hold on to our dreams. For some of us, it’s all we have.”

Striding further into the room, picking her way between the six beds that crowded the small room, Madam Ruth clucked her tongue again in disapproval, reaching a hand out to grab Ann by the chin. Squinting, she peered at Ann’s face, tilting her head this way and that, studying the yellowed bruising around the eye, the jaw. “Not all ya got. Ya got yer body too, for now. An’ yours has been requested tonight.” Releasing Ann’s chin with a sigh, she gestured to the table. “Bit o’ powder should cover th’ last o’ that bruise.” Moving off toward the wardrobe, Madam Ruth tilted her head as she studied the clothing inside before selecting a very modest walking dress. “Stay on the edge o’ th’ candle-light, he’ll never notice.” Tossing the dress onto Ann’s bed, Madam Ruth turned to walk from the room. “He’s sendin’ a carriage for ya at seven tonight. Be ready.”

Ann was shocked, standing still, the bowl threatening to fall from hands that seemed to have lost all control. Requested? Someone had requested her? Ann hadn’t been in service long enough to build a base of regular customers, and never had Madam Ruth selected her wardrobe for her. Was it the one from last week? The one with the fists, the flashing gold ring? Closing her eyes, Ann took a deep breath. The cottage, she thought. One step closer to the cottage.

“I was… requested? Personally?” she asked hesitantly.

Madam Ruth turned around and studied Ann for a moment. “Not exactly.” Reaching into a pocket at her hip, she pulled forth a note and handed it to Ann.

With curiosity, Ann unfolded the note and read.

Require nice woman. Will pay handsomely. Will send carriage at 7pm and return in the morning.

Ann read the words to herself again and again. Return in the morning? Unheard of! The money that could be made was astronomical! Mentally calculating this, her potential for profit, how much more substantial her cottage-fund could grow, Ann almost smiled. Looking up to Madam Ruth for clarification, she blinked. “Why me?”

Madam Ruth simply winked slightly before casting a glance to Gloria who was listening intently. Leaning in, she whispered directly into Ann’s ear: “For yer cottage. I want to visit too.” Turning, she left the room leaving an astounded Ann and an intensely curious Gloria.

Seven o’clock. Ann glanced at the clock in the room and bit her lip. She had plenty of time to bathe and dress and prepare herself. Moving over toward her bed, she reached beneath her pillow and pulled out the tattered wedding picture she kept. One step closer to happiness, Sam, she thought. One step closer to you.

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Jacob Hawkins walked solemnly down the streets of London, newspaper in hand. He read the headline over and over again. It was his own words, yet they still seemed so fake. So unbelievable. How could this have happened? All they had to do was bring a single man to another prison and then hang him. A man in his thirties no less! The exasperated journalist sighed, and shook his head. No, this wasn't just any man in his thirties. "The Rook" was a man who knew more about people, about the human body than most doctors. The way this person moves, it could very well be another six months before they even get close to him ever again.

Crumpling up the paper and tossing it in an alley, Jacob continued his way towards the docks. According to the bartender where the latest victim had last been seen, she had been hanging out with a group of workers there. Well, shamelessly flirting with would be more accurate, however he was a newspaper journalist. He didn't want to focus on the girl's night life, he wanted a real story. He wanted The Rook.
The air was pungent with the salty scents of the ocean. The docks were cold and damp, and there was much activity going on all over the place. Jacob went up to one of the workers and asked for a Richard Mason. He was then directed to one of the warehouses, where the workers were taking their break.

Thanking the man, Jacob quietly walked over to the warehouse, and with a hesitant hand, began knocking at the door. Soon, it was answered by a tall, and rather burly looking fellow, and was easily a foot taller than Jacob. "Yeah? An' wha' 'o you want?"

Being careful with his words, Jacob asked, "Lookin' for a 'Richard Mason'."

"Yeah, I'm Richie, an' who da bloody hell are you?" Richie replied in a gruff tone.

"I-I'm a journalist good sir. I wanted to ask you about the night previous. The woman at the tavern." Richie's face was unmoving, but after a while, he motioned Jacob to come in. The inside of the warehouse was dark, and much dryer. There was a furnace inside to keep it warm. Richie moved over to a bench in the corner opposite the furnace, and Jacob took a seat across the old ruddy table in front of Richie.

"So 'o da hell are you?"

"Kyle Kingsley." Jacob said automatically. "My sister was at the tavern last night and hadn't returned since..." He moved around in his chair nervously. "And you see...I'm horribly worried about her. The bartender said that there was a girl he didn't recognize, and that she...flirted...with many of the men, particularly the docks workers." Jacob learned that people aren't very likely to talk to police officers. They are even less likely to talk to a newspaper journalist, so what Jacob usually does is to find a way to make his subjects feel empathetic towards him, and wedge his way into their heads. Once he opens them up, they usually end up telling him more than they realize. "I-I'm not accusing you of anythin' sir, just that I'm worried sick about her..."

Apparently Jacob had put on a good show, for the hardened Richie had seemed to soften his gruff expression. "Wha' abou' da police? Why don' ya go ask them?"

"They won't tell me anythin'!" Jacob said, pathetically. "They say the body hadn't been identified, and that it was all 'inconclusive'! But we all saw the bodies! We know who it is!"

Richie nodded in agreement. "Listen Kyle...I know wha' I'm sayin' isn' very easy ta hear bu'...I don' know who da' woman was." The worker looked towards the door, like he was expecting someone. "An' to tell you da truth...I thin' I might 'ave seen Rook..."

Jacob looked at Richie's eyes in shock. "What?"

"Aye...didn' think much on it at firs'....but there was this lone one...sittin' at a table all by 'imself. Jus' watchin'...somethin'." Richie's voice was lowering, as if to hide some sort of secret. "I'm ashamed boyo...bu' I was drunk as all hell....I jus' let that girl go on her own..." His voice actually cracked slightly. "I swear...if anythin' happened to your sister I..."

Jacob needed to calm him down, tell him more about the lone man. "No no, it's fine...but what of the man by himself? Did he follow her?"

"I dun' know...he disappeared soon after she left...but I dun' know where he wen' off to..."

Jacob knew that there wasn't much else he was going to get from him. After a long silence, he got up to leave. "I'm sorry...for havin' to come bother you sir..." Richie, regaining his composure, led him out. "Good luck with your sister mate..."and shut the door behind Jacob.

Jacob sighed. "Great...another dead end..." He left the docks and headed back into town. "So the Rook is still able to go into public places without being noticed...but how?" He looked up. Posters were indeed posted every few yards, with a photo of Darlington's face. Everyone knew who this man was. Yet he was still able to seamlessly blend in with the others and stalk his prey freely. He could have asked Richie for a description, but drunken resources are horribly unreliable. And it's not like the police would be willing to talk to him. They wanted to try and keep the hype down as much as possible by giving newspapers as little information as possible, in fear of a city wide panic.

And so once again he had just as much information on The Rook as he did six months ago. Nothing.

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Victoria had stepped out from the gates that led up to the large mansion she resided in. She was wearing her blonde hair up under her large black hat, the curls bouncing on her shoulders as she wore a long black shoes and white lace covered parts of it. She was reading the daily newspaper as she walked, tilting her head to the find an interesting article on the man who killed her cousin. She sighed and shut it rather firmly, annoyed she had to see that again. She sighed as she tossed it into the hands of a man walking by her who had been reading yesterday's paper and she winked at him when he glanced at her with an almost angry look but it melted when he saw her blue eyes. She smiled and turned away, her skirts flowing as she sighed again and her mind wandered over to her dead cousin.

She made her way over to the dress shop, where she saw a few other girls shopping for dresses and she raised an eyebrow but she walked inside. She was looking at a long green beautiful dress with black lace and black bows scattered about it, and it made her giggle slightly to think of Ireland for some reason. She would then walk over to where she saw a black corset with white lace and she tilted her head, picking it up and she studied it carefully.

Perhaps she would buy a new corset. Her cousin had loved corsets. They would shop for them all the time. She just wished someone would catch the rook, and catch them soon because if he was back on the streets again, it wasn't good and Victoria knew her brother would be quite angry to hear of this. He would probably lock her up where no one could touch her, and it did make her cringe to think she would once again become the bird in the cage.

She put the corset back. No corsets today.

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It was a sad day when autumn in England felt like the bitterest of winters, so much so that he shivered and shied away from the thought of leaving the relative comfort that was a nest of body-warned bed sheets coiled around him like a protective cocoon against the unfavourable weather. Old Kent road was hidden behind thick curtains, probably illogically sunny despite how unpleasantly wintry it felt within the bedroom of one Horatio Castle, who was currently visible as little more than a huddled mass in bed.

Realistically, he was feeling well (though true good health seemed to have died on the battlefields of India, hacked away like so many damaged limbs and left to bleed out; saturating the leaching sand), but he was chilled to the bone despite his coverings; the fire had gone out sometime during the night. Logically, he knew that he should get up and attempt to reignite it, but the prospect of rising (and in so doing causing his bare feet to touch the wooden boards that made up the floor of his modest abode) was distasteful.

If he allowed himself to pay mind to it, he could realistically have blamed his general feeling of cold on his time in India; the sun was so much more powerful in that part of the world, so cruel. He had never once thought that he would miss the ferocity that was that hellish world of fire and sand, blood and sliver blades reflecting the light in blinding spires, and yet… after it, London seemed grey and bitterly cold.

With a shake of his head he finally stood, more to dispel the thoughts of war before they had chance to take root than because he had decided to brave the floor. It was as chilly as he had predicted and he reached for his robe, pulling it over his frail shoulders to keep out an imaginary draft as he crossed to the hearth. The fire had died, leaving nothing but an expanse of grey-white ash in the grate, but thankfully there was still wood in the basket; enough to throw on top of the cruelly symbolic scene.

His hands shook as he lit the kindling, hampering his progress to an extent; he looked down at them in distaste. “Some surgeon you would make now, Horatio,” he told himself sternly, forcing his tremors to still, “Your hands shake like a leaf in a winter breeze; so much so that you find difficulty in lighting a fire. Oh, you should be ashamed of yourself, man.” Despite his softly scathing tone, there was a smile tilting the corner of one thin lip as he stood, warming himself beside the beginnings of a fire that he would nurture throughout the day and long into the night.

“You are a sinner,” he commented upon seeing himself in the mirror that stood on the mantle, wry humour reflected to form an age-spotted replica of his own greying face. “The Lord condemns you and society have gladly hung those who sin as you sin at the gallows, and yet, you would not change yourself, despite knowing that your deformity forbids you from all that is promised to good Christian men.”

He shook his head, turning away from the man that no longer looked quite like himself; he had never been so thin, so pale; where was the brown cast that had painted his skin for so many years? Lost in the Indian sands, like as not, as he was bleached grey by London’s oppression. “You could still be a good Christian man: atone for your sins and accept your punishment, but you will do nothing of the sort, Horatio, for you seem unable to help yourself- unable to resist when you know what you desire and how to come by such a thing, when it is so very easy to fulfil your most base cravings. That, I think, will be what damns you to Hell, more even than your- deformity.”

A man of great thought that could tell so little of himself to others, Horatio had picked up a rather abnormal talent for speaking to himself during early adulthood, and though such traits had diminished during active service, once alone and without the rigid discipline that was required of a military surgeon, he had found that self-conversation was as soothing as it had always been. “You really are lucky that you were born with some form of inelegance, or your continuing misdeeds would have become known long ago and you would be either imprisoned or hanging.” He was often morbid of a morning, especially when he was cold, though his humour was genuine, if a little twisted.

Once he was done talking to himself, Horatio went about his morning routine quickly and efficiently, though with only a limited amount of motivation given the temperature was far from what he classed as ideal. He was sure to send the telegram that he had been meaning to send to a former client in Oxford and check that the message he had sent to a far less pleasant location had been delivered. Sadly, it appeared to have arrived.

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Riley entered the police building, tipping his hat to many of the people inside. As he approached, the bustling amount of people made it hard to recognize everyone. He heard faint, if not errors, rumors of The Rook. "I heard he killed a man on the beach" one said, another said "i heard he plans to blow up this whole city for the fun of it" she shrieked, and another one said "He killed my girl friend!". He already had their answers, The man took off with the girlfriend and the gun powder....well, he would not mention that one, as it may require some difficult paper work.

He entered the police office, while waiting for the commissioner. He looked around, when he decided to ask around for information.

"So, any new leads on The Rook" he asked one of the secretaries. She smiled at him, brightly saying "Nothing much, but we do have some possible leads for information" she responded. Mr. Lucas looked around, noting down some leads. He began thinking of his own leads...

A bursting of sounds then arose. A police officer ran in with a note. "Read it...sir...." he said, giving it to Riley.

"Relax officer, this note is a fake, just a scare, its not his hand writing even" Riley told him. He hated this, people sending letters to others about The Rook to scare them you of something. It was, or at least should be, against the wall.

Riley threw the fake not in the trash, as some words on it barely read "All Shall Die"

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#, as written by Guest
“I want him found, and I want him dead. Shoot on sight.”

He knew the backlash of this might be worse – antsy officers shooting at anyone who might look like The Rook, anyone who might be mistaken. But at the moment, Daniel didn’t care. The Rook was free and he’d killed again.

“Find him! I want every officer available patrolling the streets. We cannot allow this to happen again! How many more civilians have to die before we bring this bastard to justice? How many people have to lose faith in the police?”

With a salute, the messenger left his office and closed the door quietly behind himself. Daniel lowered his head into his hands and sighed heavily. What now? The citizens had already been close to marching into his office and recalling him, putting another person in his place. When the shit hit the fan, the fan was blamed for the mess.

With shaking hands, Daniel reached into the drawer in his desk, withdrawing a bottle of bourbon and a glass. Pouring a measure into the glass, Daniel swallowed it without hesitating. The people were so close to replacing him when The Rook was caught last time. How fickle, such a thing as public opinion. How very fickle indeed. Helping himself to two more glasses of bourbon, he sighed and replaced the bottle in the drawer. At least his hands had stopped shaking.


Later that evening, he returned home, fumbling with the key in the lock. Opening the door, he entered his house and looked around. Without his job, would they be able to stay here? What would Caroline say? Oh, he knew what Caroline would say. He didn’t want to hear it. Moving immediately to the sideboard, he withdrew a hidden bottle of alcohol and unscrewed the cap, taking a large swig, noting that he would need to get more soon. After putting it away, he turned into the dining room to see Caroline sitting at the table, waiting for him. Moving up behind her, he wrapped his arms around her shoulders and leaned in to embrace her.

Immediately, Caroline was on her feet, whirling to glare at him accusingly. “Just what the hell do you think you’re doing? You missed supper, you stink of alcohol, and how dare you touch me!?”

Daniel merely stood and stared at her, finally saying, quietly, “The Rook is loose. He’s killed another.”

If he’d expected sympathy, comfort, anything, he would have been better off looking elsewhere. Caroline’s expression of anger did not change one bit. “Sounds like you’re going to have a lot of late nights then. If you had been doing your job in the first place, he would have been caught much sooner, and he would never have escaped.”

Angrily, Daniel slammed his hand down on the table. “I will not be talked to this way! Not by my own wife!” He glared at her, furious with her lack of compassion. All he needed at this moment was the tiniest bit of empathy or kindness.

Cold blue eyes stared back at him, devoid of any concern at all. “I will speak to you any way I like.”

Rather than reach out and throttle the woman as was his first instinct, Daniel turned and headed for the front door, his hands balled into fists at his sides.

“”Where are you going? To your whores?” came the shrill accusation from the dining room, followed by the sound of breaking glass.

Opening the door, Daniel closed his eyes. “Yes.” Why lie? Slamming the door behind himself, he walked through the streets angrily, not paying attention to where he was going, just walking in the general direction of the warm houses a few blocks away, where compassion could be bought, where comforting arms could be purchased, where kind words could be acquired for the right price.