Thursday, 3 March 2016

J&L: Curse of the Pharaoh (1)

The time was 1893, and the place was The Red Tavern, London. Victorian England, in the grips of an industrial revolution unparalleled in history was a hive of activity: from the countless factory workers to the  thriving criminal classes, the industrial figureheads to the greatest academics and thinkers. London was a city steeped in history, awash with culture, grimed with coal and fog and smog, blood and sweat and tears. A city of a thousand sights, sounds and smells: the flickering of the gaslamps, horses trotting on cobbles, exotic spices arriving at the docks. This was the London seen by most visitors.

There are however a small number of individuals who have seen behind this curtain, to London's true heart. Those who can see the supernatural and the sadistic, the alien and abominable, the infernal and immoral. What most attribute to bad fortune, accident, or superstition, these select few see as malicious malevolent mysteries to be solved. This is the story of one such mystery.

The particular investigators of note in this case are the famed Henry Gordon Jago, and Professor George Litefoot, unofficial sleuths searching for suspicious schemes which threaten the British Empire. This is to distinguish them from the official alien defence sanctioned by the Monarchy, the Torchwood Institute, and the great detective of the Paternoster Gang. Perhaps a brief description of the aforementioned Gentlemen may be in order.

Professor George Litefoot, was employed as a police pathologist, stationed at the mortuary of St. Thomas'. He was a tall thin gentleman, with a face lined by 5 decades of experience, and a thin, trimmed moustache, the same elegant silver as his short, slightly curled hair. As befitting his stature as a Victorian gentleman, he typically wore a top hat and overcoat, and walked with the use of a cane, though it was not a necessary medical aid. Indeed, the handle of the cane concealed a sharp blade. Litefoot was the more serious of the pair, with a more refined air and proper nature than that of his companion.

Henry Gordon Jago, was poles apart. A theatrical impresario of moderate renown, he possessed a particular penchant for prodigious patter, to pack the paying public into his theatre, the New Regency. His talent for making money was matched only by his talent for losing it, be that because of an overindulgence of his libationary lifestyle, or the unfortunate fact that several of the acts on his bill had, over the years, turned out to be villainous coves. Jago could be described equally well as a terrific theatrical talent, a blustering buffoon, a sliver touched soul, a clumsy and clueless cove, or a sharp mind shrouded in silliness. He was the kind of Man about whom you could never quite tell if he was actually a fool, or just acting like one. Jago had a large bulbous nose in the centre of his red and rosy face, framed by a magnificent set of mustache and muttonchops. While the pair may have seemed like unlikely friends, circumstances long ago had pushed them together, forming a bond which would last forever.

With the introductions established, let us return, to the Red Tavern.

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