Cassian Sinclair

"Just get out of my way."

0 · 282 views · located in Steampowered London - 1885

a character in “Death Comes to London”, originally authored by Aethyia, as played by RolePlayGateway

So begins...

Cassian Sinclair's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cassian Sinclair Character Portrait: Amelia Lancaster Character Portrait: Khalil Jaziri

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#, as written by Aethyia

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.

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 - 22:15 p.m - Thunderstorm
Amelia Lancaster

Amelia paid no mind to the rain when she'd heard the scream, and followed behind a pair of footsteps. She knew Jaziri was behind her, and it wasn't until they were outside did she realize that she'd followed the newcomer. When they'd reached the utility house, and the young man opened the door, Amelia allowed her brows to furrow and her lips to purse into a fine line. Lady de Jaager was on the floor, and a man lay next to her. Amelia didn't have to be a doctor to know that Lady de Jaager was dead. She'd seen a enough dead bodies in her line of work, already, that she knew. Jaziri, however, sucked in a breath, and furrowed his brows.

“Shit," he stated, taking in a deep breath through his nose. “Just when I thought this was going to be the day," he continued, causing Amelia to turn in his direction.

“Jaziri, isn't your uncle a doctor?" she asked, watching as he glanced in her direction. Lady de Jaager wouldn't need the services, but the man who lay next to her might. And from her understanding, the man who'd accompanied Jaziri was that very same uncle.

“Yeah, I'll go get him," he stated, but Amelia shook her head.

“No, not yet. We need to make sure no one else comes inside, quite yet," she replied. They needed to preserve as much of the scene as possible. Her attention turned to the young man with crimson hair. Whether he was part of the church or not, there was no telling how he would react, or if he'd interfere in some way. She was distracted from her thoughts, though, when the unconscious man stirred.

The young Church fellow stiffened as the other man moved, looking quite wary but nevertheless crossing the floor carefully to his side. The maintenance box hung open; Amelia noticed though that the power was still turned on. It would have been foolishly-dangerous to attempt maintenance in that case, even if the power was out. It could have come back on at any time, after all.

A soft sound drew her attention back to the center of the room. The redhead had clicked his tongue against this teeth. "Electrocution," he said flatly, his voice surprisingly melodious for someone of his appearance. "He's coming around, though. You should get that doctor, now. And the local constable. He'll want to detain the guests. No one should leave."

Jaziri nodded, surprisingly enough, and went to find the doctor, she supposed. “And notify Lady Kent," she called after him. There was no doubt in her mind that Lady Kent would want to know of her friend's recent death. From the obvious object in her neck, it looked like a straightforward murder. But Amelia knew that no murder was as straightforward and easy. There were layers to go through, people to speak with to see if anyone saw anything, however; that wouldn't be easy. All things considered, her father did not know what she did. And that's to say nothing of the current guest list. For all intents and purposes, Amelia was nobility... and she had to act the part.

The young man was correct, though. No one should leave until everyone's whereabouts were accounted for. Interviewing them, however, was going to be a bit difficult, and Amelia narrowed her eyes and swallowed thickly. She did not like the current predicament she was in, however; she had a job to do. When Jaziri returned, his uncle was with him, and he was holding a bag of sorts. He'd come prepared, apparently, or perhaps it was an old habit. From what she knew of his nephew, Jaziri didn't really require medical attention unless he was injured quite badly.

“He was electrocuted, according to him," she informed the doctor, causing him to nod his head as he kneeled down next to the man's body.

“He might be a little weak depending on how strong the electrical current was when it entered his system. For now, it's best not to move him too much," Dr. Graham spoke, resting two fingers on the inside of the man's wrist. He glanced towards Lady de Jaager's body, and pursed his lips.

There was hardly any light to see by, so a more precise inspection than that would be nearly impossible. Amelia could just barely make out that the clock had stopped—just a minute or two after ten p.m. At least they had an exact time on the power outage, this way. She could see a glint of gold at Lady de Jaager's neck, but getting any closer to a corpse in the dark was definitely going to break her cover.

“We should leave," someone said from behind her. A fair few people had followed them out here at the sound of the scream. “It's not decent, to stay while she's all—"

"The only place any of you are going is back to the house. Now. No one leaves." There was a weightiness in the Church man's command that could hardly be ignored, even despite his youth. He hardly looked young right now anyway; they could all barely see each other.

Someone who knew what to do with that much authority got most of the people heading back towards the house. "You too, doctor. It might not be best to move the patient, but we can't leave him here."

He wasn't wrong to suggest that everyone return to the house, and not leave. Amelia would need to ask the current guests questions, however; she would need to be discreet about it. With everyone back inside, it would be easier to do so under the guise of gossip. She could enlist Miss Vera's help with that, but she turned her attention towards Jaziri and his uncle.

“We can move him inside, but we'll have to be gentle about it. Khalil, it's best if you do it," Dr. Graham spoke, causing Jaziri to nod his head, and moved to stand next to the man.

“We should see about restoring power, as well," Amelia added, her brows furrowing slightly. Jaziri snorted softly, as if he found something amusing, however; he didn't say anything. Luckily for him, he could see in the dark, but Amelia wasn't that lucky. Instead, she took in a soft breath, and turned to leave the area. It was a good thing that everyone was being coralled inside of the house. It meant Lady de Jaager's body would be left undisturbed until the local constable could arrive.

Once everyone was inside, Amelia did her best to seek out Jaziri. Of all the people here, he was going to be the most useful in navigating the dark. At least for the moment, and she only sought one person. “I need you to locate Miss Vera for me," she spoke in a hushed voice, taking the opportunity when it arrived. Jaziri huffed lightly, but grabbed Amelia's wrist in a surprisingly gentle manner. She didn't expect him to do that, but she allowed him to lead her to where Miss Vera was.

“I need you to be my eyes and ears, Jaziri. Go do what I cannot. Ask the more direct questions with some of the people, and ask your uncle to inspect Lady de Jaager's body for anything out of the ordinary. I'd say use your nose for that, but considering the weather..." his nose would be useless.

“You've a point there, Lady Amelia."

“Miss Vera," she called out softly so as to not draw any interest in their direction.

"Ah, Amelia, Mr. Jaziri." In the scant light afforded by the night, her eyes still managed to seem as though they glimmered. Probably a trick of the angle, but it made her look sharper, almost severe. Her voice was anything but. "I've sent Teddy to fetch some candles; he should be back any—"

"Mum." Theodore's voice was surprisingly close. "I got some matches too... at least I think that's what they are." He shook a box, and it did sound right to Amelia.

Within a couple of moments, they had several candles lit between them.

"I do believe passing these out could make us quite popular for a while, no?" Miss Vera ventured, providing a good cover for Amelia's investigation. "Perhaps, Mr. Jaziri, you would not mind if my son accompanied you? He is quite the hand with mechanics, but I would like very much to have him escorted to the right place, so that he does not lose his way." She gave a subtle emphasis to the words, and in so speaking them, gave Mr. Jaziri a cover story of his own.

"Perhaps while you are out, you could make sure that whatever local arrives takes care to summon Mr. Ramsey? Teddy knows the address."

“I can do that, Lady Kent," he replied, flashing a grin in her direction before glancing towards Theodore. “Let's go see what we can find out, hm?" he stated, leading the way as they left. Amelia shook her head and glanced towards Miss Vera.

“Let's go see what we can find out, Miss Vera," she stated. They could pass out the candles and see what the other members knew. The first group they approached consisted of Lady Hayes and another woman Amelia didn't recognize, immediately. She cleared her throat softly so as to not startle either of them, and held out one of the candles.

“Do either of you need some light?" she asked, doing her best to smile while waiting for the opportunity to ask the question she really wanted to.

“I'd appreciate it." Mrs. Hayes was standing next to a woman in a nun's white habit, so stark it almost glowed in the darkness. The woman nodded slightly as well. Both of them looked a touch uneasy; Mrs. Hayes moreso. But then, her sister had just been killed—it was actually a bit unusual that she wasn't reacting more, but perhaps she just had one of those stoic demeanors.

Miss Vera lit a candle, handing it over to Mrs. Hayes, but before she could shake out the match, the nun halted her with a motion. “A moment, if you don't mind." From a pocket in her habit, she withdrew a box, then slid a thin cigarette out of it. “Mind if I smoke? It's been... that kind of night."

Obligingly, Miss Vera held up the match until the end of the woman's cigarette was cherry-red. The nun inhaled deeply, politely exhaling to the side and keeping the direct smoke well away from anyone's face. “I'm Sister Mary Hollis, by the way. I'd say it's a pleasure to meet you, but... I'm not really sure anything's a pleasure right now."

Amelia had to agree with the woman. It wasn't really anyone's pleasure to be meeting with anyone given that they were all potential suspects. That included Amelia as well, even if she knew otherwise. She did allow her lips to purse into a fine line, though. She might not have paid as much attention to the Church as her father did, but she wasn't aware that nuns were allowed to smoke. Wasn't that against some form of the religion? She'd have to look into that at a later time. Now wasn't the time to be curious about other things.

“I am Amelia Lancaster, and I agree. Lady de Jaager's death was most unexpected," she stated, glancing towards Lady Hayes and Sister Hollis. “It was an aweful way to go," she continued, holding the candle closer to her. She was a bit chilly from the rain, but it wasn't anything she couldn't handle. “Lady Hayes, you've my condolences." As Lady de Jaager's only living relative, it would seem that everything that belonged to Lady de Jaager, would now go to Lady Hayes. It was motive and opportunity, but something didn't sit right with Amelia.

“What of you, Sister? Were you close with Lady de Jaager as well?" she asked. It was possible that Sister Hollis was an acquaintance of Lord de Jaager, but Amelia knew very little of her. Information was knowledge collected, and she planned on collecting as much information as she could. It would be helpful to Ramsey, when he arrived.

Sister Mary nodded a little. “She was—I suppose you'd say she was my best friend," she said, almost too quietly to hear over the other people crowded into the room. “I'd known she and his lordship since he was Father de Jaager. They're the reason I asked to be assigned to this parish when I took my assignment. I volunteer at the library still, even though I was reassigned, so we saw each other quite often." She swallowed, thickly enough for the motion to be visible.

“She must have confided in you," Amelia spoke, smiling just soft enough to appear sympathetic. She was, for the most part at least. She took a moment to decide her next question, unsure of how to ask it without seeming too indelicate about the current situation. A thought struck her. “Do you... do you think she was murdered because of her estate?" she asked. By this point, everyone knew Lady de Jaager was murdered.And it was widely known that she was having difficulty selling her estate.

Amelia would have to rely on how people reacted, and their body language if she wanted to learn anything else. She wouldn't be able to read their body language with so little light, though, but she'd at least be able to tell the different cadences in their voices when they spoke.

Mrs. Hayes frowned, stiffening slightly. Perhaps she was preparing to defend herself? It stood to reason that she'd need to, as the person who seemed to be in line to inherit that estate.

But Sister Mary only knitted her brows. “I can't—I hope not," she said after a moment. “There would be something even more senseless about that."

"How do you mean?" Miss Vera asked, the very picture of innocent concern. If Amelia didn't know she was fishing for information, it would have been hard to tell.

“Well, it's..." Sister Mary visibly hesitated, glancing between the three other women and lowering her voice even further. “The estate's nearly bankrupt as it is. It's why poor Anne was trying to sell it off so high. She needed to just to pay the debts she'd accrued. Whoever inherits..." she trailed off, but the conclusion was clear: the heir would inherit the debt as well.

That was interesting. Lady de Jaager had only mentioned that the estate hadn't been doing well, but she didn't mention it not doing that well. Perhaps she didn't want to thwart potential buyers by telling them that? It would make a fair amount of sense; buying an estate at a high price only to accrue its debts wasn't exactly a profitable investment. Even if the estate had, at one point, been highly successful. There had to be something more, something that they knew that they weren't going to say without the proper prodding. She sighed softly before something finally clicked for Amelia.

“Sister Hollis, you're Lord Hollis's sister," it was a more of a statement than a question, however; Amelia shook her head so as to seem like she meant nothing by it. “If you knew this about the estate, why wouldn't you tell your brother about it? I believe Lady de Jaager said he was an interested party," she continued. That didn't make sense to Amelia. If Sister Hollis knew about the state of the property, why wouldn't she warn her brother away from it?

The Sister's brow creased. “I did, actually." She seemed to bristle a bit at the criticism, her eyes narrowing on Amelia. “But Edward likes taking risks, and it's not as though he lacks the funds. I sort of hoped he would buy it, if only to relieve poor Anne of the burden. I was not, however, privy to their negotiations. I find the discussion of such matters to be..." she trailed off, letting the silence sit for a moment.

“A bit uncouth."

Miss Vera cleared her throat slightly, drawing the attention back to herself. "Forgive us," she said quietly. "I think perhaps it's just been a long day, and Lady Amelia is looking for sense wherever it may be found, difficult as that can be in such times."

Sister Mary seemed a touch mollified by this, and nodded faintly. “Then forgive me as well. It is... still sinking in, that Anne is gone. I think perhaps I am not taking it especially well."

Amelia doubted it, but she huffed softly. “Yes, please forgive my forwardness. I'm just trying to make sense of it all," she stated, though she was doing it for a different reason. Who would know, though? For any one else, it would just seem like ladies gossiping with each other.

This was going to be a long night.