An Evening of Indelicate Tomfoolery

A letter slips underneath your door one night, bearing an unusual seal that depicts the skull of some long-forgotten beast. Within is a short letter, written in a gentlemanly cursive:

'To the Marvellous Recepient of this note,

If you have received this, it means I have considered you to be a person of some skill in the area of audacious skivving (or for the laymen, pulling pranks).
You are cordially invited to attend a dinner, with a game of a particularly unique and singularly enjoyable nature to follow. If you are interested, you must bring this note, and a special object to my house at the address below. This object must be something that you have obtained through ‘unconventional means’ (you may translate for yourself) from a particularly notable place in Fallen London, so as to prove you have the skill I believe you possess.

The rewards will be great, if you have the stomach for the risk of obtaining them. The choice is yours.

Your cordial Friend,

Dorian Sharpe

p.s. Don’t forget to introduce yourself

[Just a fun RP for any creative minded people! :)]

Jack Owlfisher was a man attracted by chaos. So when he got his invitation, he could not help but be curious. As a budding master theif, he had no trouble interpetting the command “unconventional means” and he was bringing a rather fascianting monocle.

What was unique about it was the lens, which had once been used in an ill-fated microscope used to study the “snow” that falls during winter. Breaking into the museum of mistakes was not easy, his usual strategy with diverting attention using a womens dress would not work here. Instead he had to rely on his criminal connections. It took time to arrange the series of decoy robberies needed to distract the police, but the end result spoke for itself.

The microscope was a mess of corroded copper, but the lens was mostly intact, and just big enough to fashion into a monocle. It had an annoying tendency to show things as slightly closer than it actually was, but it was worth it for fashion. Slightly more troubling however, was its tendency to show things a second or two before it actually happened. Also, if you got too tired, you’d see strange shapes in the edge of the frame, but Jack figure that was just an optical illusion…

(Looking to get about two or three more people? :) )

Oh, yes. Narciso, the Italian Epicene, had just the thing for an evening like this – a single, diamond earring, a memento of passion. It was been tucked in the cushion of the Traitor Empress’s throne, and while that itself would be a remarkable theft, it was the circumstances that were … what did the note say? … unique and singularly enjoyable. One assignation in the Empress’s throne room would be enjoyable enough, but two? At the same time? That was pure decadence. The trip to the colonies was well worth it.

Narciso tucked the jewel away in the ‘bosom’ of his corset. To dinner!

(Righto, we’ll get started so as to not spoil the fun! Anyone else is free to jump in whenever they want)

On the night in question, you leap into the nearest hansom and mention the address to the driver, who with a grim-set face whips his horse into action. A good thirty minutes on the bumpy cobblestone roads reveals that you are heading a fair distance out from the usual hustle and bustle of fallen London, onto far rougher paths that seem to be leading steadily towards the Observatory on Watchmakers Hill.
After a time, the rough stone becomes dirt, and soon enough the occasional crack of the driver’s whip becomes a steady beat as he urges his steed through path overgrown with weeds. Finally, as you lean out of one of the windows, you can see a small set of lights in the darkness ahead. The twisted willows peter out, and as the hansom draws slowly to a stop as you climb out.

You are on one of the small hills west of the Observatory, where strong winds from the Stolen River have left the hillside almost bare of anything save the most stubborn of small plant life. Behind you, the forest of willows surrounding Bugsby’s Marshes. Ahead, the lights of Fallen London seem to illuminate the tall spires of the Bazaar, which dominates almost the entire northern view, save for a small cottage on the hillside. From nowhere, a surprisingly well dressed urchin appears, tossing a purse to the driver, who leaves you behind with no small amount of haste.

‘Welcome Mister’ he says, making a small bow, ‘Jus’ go on down the path and knock on the door’

Before you stands a cottage made of simple weathered stone. Attached on its left is a greenhouse, almost enveloped in some voracious kind of creeper, that seems to halt abruptly before it reaches the house itself. Through the slits of boarded up windows, a deep glow pierces the darkness. As you knock on the door, you are suddenly awash with firelight. A bandaged-man silently beckons you in, sweeping your coat off without asking as you step over the threshold. The inside bears simple, but oddly rich décor: the windows overlooking the bazaar bear silk-curtains, paintings adorn the walls, and a heavy oak table bears a platter of decent fare before several comfortable chairs. The bandaged-man offers you a seat.

“Master Sharpe will join you shortly sir”, he whispers in a voice like crashing waves. He turns back to the door, clearly expecting the next arrival, and leaves you to your own ends…

Jack Owlfisher is found making himself comfortable in a readng-chair, apprently in deep thought. When asked, he replies “I was just thinking, unless our every move is predetermined, something can’t actually see into the future, but what if something could control the present? Then anything could be possible!”

‘Capital idea old man’, remarks Dorian as he steps through the doorway, ‘Now if you could be so clever as to invent a machine that makes time go faster when one is bored I’ll be indebted to you’

Dorian was the sort of fellow that one could almost immediately like; well spoken, clever and reasonably well dressed. Yet, no observer could ever put themselves entirely at ease around him. Whether it was his reputation for less-the-noble pursuits, or the fact that he never seemed to stop for a thing so trivial as sleep, the point remained that his demeanour was at once unsettling. Beneath the casual demeanour lay a deep, seemingly insatiable energy, a dark hunger that showed only when you looked into his eyes.

He extends a gloved hand to Jack,
“Mister Owlfisher, a pleasure. Dorian Sharpe, at your service”

“oh, that may very well be the future, have you heard about the recent advances in Chronophotography? I heard there where an inventor last year that managed to record a garden scene on a piece of celluloid film. Then using a device similar to the laterna magica I use for my university lecture, he cold play that recording as projection. Fashinating stuff, it is not gonig to be more than a scientific curiosity however, unless people start recording something a bit more interesting than garden scenes. I have a few suggestions, but all of them would pretty much guarantee that the celluloid copies will be ceased by the Ministry of public decency…”, Owlfisher paused for a bit to dig trough his pockets, stray coins and spore-toffee wrappers escaped until he found something wrapped in surface silk.
“Anyway”, he continued, “my intention where not to bore you with a science lesson, we’re not at the university after all. Pleased to meet you mr. Sharpe! When preparing for this gathering, it seems I got myself a mystery on my hands, I do wonder what would happen if I used the lens in a laterna magica…” Jack trailed off into thought again.

‘Marvellous’ remarked Dorian thoughtfully as he quietly examined the lens, ‘Quite an effort to get this I must imagine; this is subsequently why I avoid snow down here…’

He withdrew from the pocket of his waistcoat a thin ebony case, sealed tightly with a tiny lock.

‘Feel free to look, sir, but I must advise you not to touch, for your own health as much as mine’ he said, opening it with an equally small key.

Held snugly in the velvet of the case lay a tattered quill. It may have at one timed looked beautiful: the feather carried a deep blue sheen when held to the firelight, as brilliant as the bird it had been stolen from and tipped with a nib of the finest brass. But no longer. Even to look at it gave the strangest feeling that you were reliving a very bad memory. The tattered feather seemed at once to look skeletal, as you noticed with a slight chill that the tip of the nib has been melted…

‘I acquired that when I took brief residence among the artists of the Palace’ said Dorian, with a curious edge to his voice, ‘It’s quite something isn’t it? A man could be fed to the Cantigaster for merely mentioning it’s existence…and yet, I have never been one to simply stop at rumors. It took me a year to bribe, charm and blackmail practically half the Court before I could even envision taking it. But take it I did, while the Empress was distracted with a satire of mine…’

His right hand twitched, almost flinching at a memory. At once he turned away, shaking his head, as he walked over to Narciso.

‘Signore Narciso, a pleasure to meet you’ he said, extending his hand.

“And you,” Narciso sing-songs, taking Dorian’s hand warmly in his own. He’s dressed – as is his freedom to – in a bustled skirt of silk as red as honey, beneath a gentleman’s waistcoat of gleaming gold, and a befanged fedora. All confusion and wonder, he smiles, shines, all the brighter for being a underground. “The things I’ve heard about you – ! I can neither believe nor disbelieve them, as with any good story – only applaud with awe. You’ve a look in your eye not often seen except in devils and seekers … and you …”

He casts a grin towards Owlfisher. “Ever the scholar, aren’t we? I’ve a taste for scholars … this Chronophotography sounds a marvel! To think, one day people might flock to see your celluloid gardens as they flock to honey-dreams … Isn’t it a sort of dream, that you’re describing? But don’t let me chatter away! I was told there’d be mischief to-night.”

Dorian seats himself at the head of the table, casually glancing towards the bandaged man.

“Shanghai, it’ll be better if you stay outside for the discussion. I think we can attend to the meal comfortably, thank you” he says. Shanghai bows silently, closing the door as he departs.

“So!” Dorian continued, clapping his hands as you settle into the meal, “Firstly, allow me to say how very honoured I am to meet you both! When I sent the letters out, I must admit I had not expected to receive much, and yet, I have at my table the very same Misters Owlfisher and Narciso! Individually, your reputations precede you. Together, I hope it can be much more”

He says nothing more for the remainder, focussing on the dinner at hand and casual conversation, particularly on the matter of Chronophotography. As you finish the meal, he sweeps aside the centrepiece, revealing a map of Fallen London concealed beneath. The parchment is stained, marked all over with various symbols and notations. Three red crosses are marked at points around the bazaar.

“Signore Narciso, you were most correct in the assertion of mischief. But what I intend to do far surpasses the sort of childish pranks that you might see with the Young Stags. Oh no, this will earn us the acclaim of many, and the wrath of some of the most powerful figures in the city. This is the type of tomfoolery that would make a Trickster God pale in comparison.

See these three points? The printing presses of Mr Pages, the vault of Mrs Plenty’s Carnival and the first gate of Hell itself. Three of the single most dangerous places to ever cause mischief…and the best part is, if you are as good as you’ve been in the past, nobody will even think to look our way; you can watch London turn into a circus from the comfort of your own home. If we succeed, this may only be part one…”

Dorian leans back in his chair, adopting a more reclined, if slightly tense position.

“Now…I understand if you’re feeling less-than-eager now that I’ve told you what the game is. This is dangerous, no doubt: that we have discussed it at all is tantamount to High Treason. So, before I go on with any plans, I present you with two options. The first is simple: leave and save yourself the potential threat of fates far worse than death. If you do, good luck to you, and no hard feelings on my part, I hope we can be amicable in future…

Or, stay, and the reward for success is twofold: two-hundred echoes, and the ability to call in favours from several very powerful sponsors who shall at this time remain anonymous”

The light gleams off his features, as the blaze grows low in the fireplace. It sets the strange hunger in his eyes into new light, and illuminates the faintest grin of ultimate satisfaction from the sort of rush one gets when about to perform a very, very risky act of pure mischief.


“This is an undertaking beyond even the imagination of a master thief”, Jack said, “and I bet you we could do it twice before breakfast”, he grinned.
“Meow?”, Jacks hat said.
“oh, and I almost forgot to introduce my associate, say hello to Melody!”, with that Jack removes his hat to reveal a rather shabby-looking grey kitten with the unmistakingly dazed look of somebody just waking up from a nap.
“She doesn’t know many secrets, but good ones. She’s part of a litter from a tribe of cats that runs with the urchins. I know more than a couple of them myself, since I work on the side as an assistant teacher of sorts, for the latest generation of Fallen London’s underworld. Perhaps my connections will prove useful in our endeavour?”
Owlfisher studied the map “yes, I know this area well”, he muttered, “I allowed a rather affectionate devil to, ahem, seduce me, and I managed to get a brief but good look at his collection of maps.”, he continued going trough the map and its notes, “oh yes”, he said, “I know just the thing for this kind of occasion. My theory of disguises goes against common wisdom, I maintain that rather to blend in, it is better to clash and confuse. Then even if you ARE seen, all people will remember is a purple ballroom gown…”

“Clash and confuse? Someone’s a dissembler after my own heart,” says Narciso, giddy as a child with the promise of adventure. He reaches over to pet Melody’s head atop Jack’s. “Dorian, you must tell me what we plan to do in the printing presses. You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I’m a bookseller – and the attentions of Mr Pages and the Ministry do get so tedious --”

Dorian laughs, a melodious sort of sound that seems to follow an altogether strange note as it fills the small room. “Excellent!” he says, scratching Melody’s ear as he lays out several more papers, “Before I sent the letters, I managed to call on some old favours for a little information. As far as I can tell, these little acts of chaos are going to require some quick work: if we delay for whatever reason, security will be increased and the risks will be far and beyond anything that even we could safely navigate. So we’ll either have to approach this as a team to mitigate the risks, or split up and handle them single-handedly for speed…that’s a choice for when I conclude. Now, since you asked so nicely Narciso, I do, in fact, have a plan in mind for the printing presses…”

He puts down a slightly out-of-focus photograph of a large three storey building.

“Now, at first I thought of simply blowing up the place. Gunpowder, detonators, et cetera. But, it all seems so pretentiously luddite; even if we did sabotage the entire factory, Mr Pages could have it rebuilt in a number of days, you see? That’s when I came to a rather different conclusion. Broken machines can be replaced. A reputation, however, cannot. It may be possible, with some cunning and a little bit of mechanical savvy, to…alter, what is printed out. Not whole articles, mind. Something a touch more subtle. Mr Pages would know it instantly if we replaced all the books he published with long scripts of blurred letters and nonsense. If, however, we altered just a sentence or two…nobody would notice for weeks, at least until they turned to page 99 to discover the first line of the chapter is ‘Mr Pages is a little piggy’, for instance. There wasn’t much I could discover about the factory layout, I’m afraid. The Masters of the Bazaar have never been ones for leaking their secrets, and Mr Pages has enforced this concept with a legion of neddy men and heaven-knows what else. There are also rumours of a thing, stalking the place at night at the Masters’ behest. It’s more than likely just a rumour though…I think. I’m almost positively sure…

This brings us to target number two: the vaults of the Carnival. This is an apt target; what lies beneath in the vaults is far more than riches. Mrs Plenty keeps a number of official pockets filled in with jade and moon pearls, meaning there are extraordinarily unique and quite dangerous creatures that are being kept from the Labyrinth. She keeps these beasts locked up beneath the carnival, around the treasure rooms. The good news is that these vault systems are connected to the heart of the Carnival by a single tunnel: ‘freeing the beasts’ is going to set them loose in the one place most likely to cause chaos. The bad news is this is far more difficult than it looks, however. For a seemingly amicable woman, the Lady herself is remarkably savvy when it comes to the maintenance of her security. There aren’t any soldiers or neddy men, but aside from the carnival workers themselves, I’ve heard that she keeps a number of mercenaries from the Tomb-Colonies. So aside from getting in, we’ve a number of die-hards that are not likely to simply sit and wait for you to wander through the place.

Finally our last target: the first gate of Hell. You’ve heard the expression ‘the doors of Hell are always open’. As it just so happens, it is absolutely true. The only entrance to the realm of the Damned from the ‘Neath is this one: the Stolen River flows right through this gate, and everything going to and from Hell has to pass through. It’s supposedly never been closed, and the Devils do all they can to suggest that it can’t be. To do so would cause days, even weeks of total chaos as the traffic from the Brass Embassy and the Bazaar would clash. Devils would suddenly be homeless, the Masters would lose a fortune…the list goes on and on. However, I know from my own inquiries that aptly enough, it’s a lie: during the first charge of the Royal Lancers into Hell, some decades ago, Hell was concerned enough that it shut the gate completely, and didn’t open it again for 40 days and 40 nights. Oddly Biblical I know, but I’ve reason to believe it was a matter of ‘can’t’ rather than ‘won’t’. Even if that’s just hearsay, just a day would be enough. Security is fairly predictable: part actual security, part the rumour of what would be done to you for even thinking about causing trouble. There’s an Overgoat watching the Dead Marches, the area between London and the Gate. If you’re not a Devil, an official or a Spirifer, a small squadron of infernal cavalry will appear to escort you off. If you manage to survive that, the Gate itself is simply a giant tower near the River with the mechanism somewhere at the top and who-knows-what in between.”

Dorian takes a deep breath.

“So, that’s what we’ve got between us and the fame of being the greatest tricksters in the ‘Neath: the wrath of the Masters, the wrath of Hell, and the wrath of Mrs. Plenty. Personally I fear the last”

“just imagine”, Jack Owlfisher said " a few smudges on sheets of paper, forming the words of some devestating gossip about some societal fixture, or containing veiled challenges to further personal Vendettas, and we could make half of Fallen London turn against mr. Page and the ministry! Isn’t ink a marvellous substance?"

Brief out of character aside here, what we choose between teaming up and splitting up depends how people would like to write, if we split up, each mission would be kinda like a short story on its own, if we team up, it’d be more of a traditional round-robin. The first option is more labour-intensive, at least in the short run, since each person will have to write more at a time, but I kinda like that option, since it would give each character time to shine.

(ooc: Yeah, thanks Jack. I wanted to ask seeing as how this will be one of those sort of RP’s. Personally I’m with you on the choice, as it’ll give everyone a chance to flex their creative ability)

Theodore dashed into the Salon, gripping at the fork tightly. Oh god, what he had gotten into to get this fork. Lying in that ally, pretending to be a common drunk, hiding that razor claw under the scratchy burlap…But now he had changed, and was finally back in the comforting clothes of high fashion. “I’m so terribly sorry I’m late everyone. The spirifer put up a fight! But I wouldn’t have it any other ways. We are pleased to arrive.” He sat daintilly upon a small, fungal looking cushion. “So, mischief? A prime occupation in a city of endless amusements.” He reached out to the small hours d’ourves platter, and popped a gruyere gouge into his mouth. “Spirifers fork. Taken from the Tyrant Garden Spirifer that Huffman’s been railing about. Hope it’s suitable.” He chewed as he talked, placing it on the table.

Dorian jumped at the sound of the door suddenly opening, his stance half-tensed in anticipation of a raid by the constables,

“Good lord! Ah, Master Theodore, still keeping me on my toes I see!” he says beaming, as he waves off his bandaged-man guardian.
“Welcome to the party, sir! Dorian Sharpe, at your service. And these gentlemen here are Messrs’ Owlfisher and Narciso”

(So, just to catch you up, we’ve got three places so far and we’re just deciding whether to pursue it as a group (round robin) or a one-person-per-mission basis.)

“A familiar face … ! Marvellous to have you aboard,” Narciso sing-songs.