Whitby Vandals

Whitby Vandals 35: Yo Ho, Yo Ho! A witch-boy's life for me!

Artie gets woken up by Damien and Bat-Darcy singing Happy Birthday right at the head of his bed

Letting Artie get ready Michael brings Darcy to her dressing room where she is sitting very pensive for a moment before he asks her what is going through her mind

Darcy confesses that she does not want to go with her plan to dress up as Silver’s wife, Michael says that would be a good opportunity to talk to John but Darcy is rather adamant about avoiding that debacle

She wonders if she can’t get a Trelawney outfit together, but Michael, knowing Arthur’s opinion about Trelawney says she should rather go for Smollett, which gets her to pout given that she interprets it as Michael saying she is a bitter overly strict stickler for rules and obedience

Michael defends himself by giving his interpretation of the character and telling her she would look great in Navy uniform which gets her to relinquish her protest and go hunting through her wardrobe after she helps Michael to get his hair down to fit well-behaved Hawkins

Arthur meanwhile is already all made up as the good doctor, with Seward grumbling he should have had that role but quietens down when he gets told he can be the pirate who kills Arrows who is played by Lord Arthur

When Michael appears Lucy is going full on overboard with her role as his mother by fussing over him, getting Darcy to be amused and melancholic over never having had a mother who fusses over her. In typical Lucy fashion she cannot help but flirt with Captain Smollet, embarrassing Seward and getting even Artie to snicker

During the pirate themed breakfast, ship’s tack being strangely honey flavored, John as the ship’s cook is serving the Captain and Darcy is imitating Artie by hiding behind her newspaper and only relaxes once Michael as the ship’s boy takes over

Settling down comfortably the group takes a nap to get into John’s elaborately set up play of the book, once inside the dream Darcy is about ready to strangle Jim who got John to put her in pants and she orders him to her cabin to tell him to go get to John immediately to fix it! Noticing that she really is upset about it Michael rushes to tell John, and only after he left does Darcy realize that part of why she is so upset is not just the inappropriateness of her wearing pants but John, cheered on by Michael, again tried to assert himself over her. She has had it with that human behaviour…

Meanwhile in town Troy is bringing gifts to Brenda: he grabbed the black cult cloak off the little noble to have two for gifts for Brenda, because nothing says “I like you” as slightly soiled and damaged things you take off dead people

Given that the kids are utterly stuffed with the leftover food from the reception Troy and Brenda decide that today is probably not going to be a good day for performing

Tom, a kid from one of the other gangs shows up and warns Troy that the Dockies think Troy killed one of them (Kevin) because he had a tiff with him and then he showed up dead in Troy’s area with a knife that looks like one of the throwing knives from Brenda’s and Troy’s act, and are coming for retribution

Brenda jumps into action and gets all the kids out just in time before the Dockies show up

Robert, leader of the Dockies despite only being 16, and two enforcers stroll into the den as if was theirs

After a bit of tough talk Troy suddenly has a knife sticking out of his back, which he just pulls out with a bit of fire before the wound closes, and Troy tells them coldly that if he had wanted to kill Kevin they wouldn’t have found him, and if they come too close to one his own they won’t be found either

Robert is completely confused as to why Troy is a streetkid since he could own the town with that power but Troy just tells him to be glad that he doesn’t have that ambition and Robert, unable to grasp this, walks off

Making sure that the knife thrower isn’t in the house anymore Troy starts to investigate by checking if any of his actual knives are missing but Brenda took all of them with her

Catching up to Brenda he finds out that all knives are still there, so somebody copied one

Deciding that the kids need to be safe they move to the park area of the castle and Robin helps them set up and tells Troy that the party is still going on even though they seem to be sleeping right now

When Troy sits down in the gazebo Robin offered he suddenly finds himself on a ship talking to Captain John Silver who says he looked like he had something important to talk about so he let him into the dream

Being handed a spyglass Troy can take a look at the group having a fire fight at the stockade

And after Captain Smollet valiantly gets shot and stowed somewhere, John brings Darcy over, which she misinterprets as him using the opportunity to get her alone to force her to have the discussion she keeps fleeing

He graciously informs her that no, Troy needs to talk to her, but yes, he very much wants to talk to her later

Listening to Troy’s concern and making sure that he and the children are safe on the grounds and granting them access to the kitchen (as long as they keep the place clean) she decides that Arthur deserves a day off, so she postpones the investigation until tomorrow

In an unusually sly move on her side she switches to French in the middle of a sentence talking about titles and Troy, caught off guard, responds in French without thinking, confirming her suspicions about his upbringing but she promises that she does not care, and even less does she care if his powers come from the devil or not. Fanatics are silly and if anybody is coming after him and ends up coming after her kitty they will learn why it is silly.

Given that it is time for Captain Smollett to reappear John transports her back into the action and turns Troy into a seagull so he can watch the show

Darcy is everything but happy about how striking John is as Silver so she is rather relieved when the dream ends, while Arthur is having the time of his life, and eager to learn more about his nightmare he goes out for a ride with Damien happily running along

They encounter the little streetkid encampment on the grounds but Troy, keeping his word to grant Arthur one day off, averts all questions

Which means that Arthur happily huddles up in the library reading up on nightmares and perusing his new books

Michael meanwhile has had it with Darcy and basically pulls her in front of John’s door, threatening to get a fan when she tries to flee as a fog bank

Finally seated in John’s room it turns out that Darcy really is not ready for the talk as she does not manage to say what she really feels and gets herself stuck in-between apologizing for pushing herself into John’s life, trying to make it clear to him that she is bad for him and that she does not want to be miserable about the feelings she has because a human is bad for her as well. It all just doesn’t want to come out coherently and him being all nice and concerned does not help. Feeling she did not really resolve anything she eventually leaves with Michael but is rather unhappy with the situation.

That becomes obvious the next morning when she just about manages to exchange some snarky comments with Artie but is still cold and mono-syllabic with John and downright dismissive and flippant about the murder in town.

Whitby Vandals 34: An iron-clad cat-napping!
19th of November

Dr. Strange has Artie help him with a vastly complex ritual that Arthur isn’t entirely sure should work at all, but going by how the room reeks of magic Artie keeps out of the way of the magical eye while taking notes

Returning to the others Strange informs them that Michael and Tony are on the Isle of Lewis in the far North and he can teleport them there but cannot come with them if he does but sees no other way given that Arthur is not trained enough to perform the gate spell… yet
Darcy does not miss a beat and orders Brenda and John to ensure the safety of the guests and Troy and Arthur to grab what they need, they are going in a few minutes

Troy asks if they some way to track the two missing man and since Arthur does not Troy asks if they can’t bring Lady, prompting Darcy to realize that she nearly just walked off in her party dress, all caution thrown to the wind in worry for her husband

Grabbing Arthur she vanishes to her room with him from where he reemerges with Lady on a leash, who then grabs heavy coats for himself and Troy, who shrugs and does carry it instead of wearing it. When Strange sees Lady he looks for a moment and then nods and tells her very quietly to please bring Stark back

Once they step through the portal, ready for an ambush, Arthur notices that he stepped on something and being the only one who does not see well in the dark he lowers his lantern revealing that what he stepped on was a corpse

To Darcy’s and Troy’s eyes the scene is revealed as utter carnage. They are standing in a stone circle amidst over a dozen corpses, some of which are clearly the result of a very angry Damien, some of which bear wounds from some form of energy beam

Looking around Darcy notices a deep hole filled with water in the middle of the circle and her blood runs cold when she realizes that she would have been trapped at the bottom of a muddy pit with fifteen men surrounding her. The carnage suddenly seems like a statement of love because it shows her how angry the thought of her being trapped made Damien and she can’t help a wolf grin.

Troy and Arthur are investigating the bodies, finding that all of them are at least higher middle class, some are nobles. They grab one of the more intact cloaks in case they need to pretend to be with the cult later. The tracks indicate that Michael and Stark were retreating after having wreaked havoc on the field because two new sets of footprints appear.
Between Lady’s and Arthur’s senses of smell they can figure out that one of them has to be Jeeves (Lady totally is just playing in the mud, not writing letters).

Troy notices a sound and alerted to it Lady can smell that the heat signature Troy sees behind one of the menhirs is a very, very afraid man. Not wanting to waste any time before rushing to her husband’s rescue she and Troy move in a pincer maneuver before she pounces and drags a whimpering teenager back in front of Arthur.

After some growls from Lady who is getting impatient with the kid’s incoherent rambling and begging not to kill him it turns out that he is Scott Lister, son to the Baron of Ribblesdale, or given the state of the corpses around, the new Baron Ribblesdale. He does not know why his father insisted on him coming along or why they wanted to capture Darcy but he can confirm that Damien and Tony retreated when two new men appeared, one shooting lightning, the other darkness.

Locking the kid in the carriages, the horses long broken away and fled our Vandals set out after the two missing men but spotting lightning in the distance Lady turns into the giant bat and with Troy sighing grabs both of them to rush off towards the fight

From their high vantage point they can soon see Stark taking cover in some old farm buildings and shooting an occasional energy bolt at Jeeves and the body of Justin, who reeks demon magic to Arthur, and corruption to Troy. Given that Michael is nowhere to be seen Pretty is likely around somewhere invisibly.

For very emotional reasons, that turn out to lead to the correct decision, Arthur concentrates a devastating plasma bolt on Justin, who had blocked Stark’s projectiles with a shield of darkness, but surprised cannot parry and actually crumbles to the floor

Dropping Troy off with Stark, Darcy and Arthur circle around for a second round with Jeeves, who is getting distracted by Troy playing the hero and demanding the villain should surrender. Normally Jeeves would flee but given that Troy just absorbed a full attack with no visible damage apart from his fire aura dimming Jeeves is intrigued. Intrigued enough to stay long enough for another fireball to hit him, damaging nothing but his clothes.

To our Vandal’s relief he decides he’d rather leave now and vanishes in front of their eyes. He is undetectable even to Troy’s infrared vision and Pretty decides that is good enough going by the sudden furball in bat-Darcy’s face. Troy wants to make sure and sets the hilltop on fire but that does not produce any sign of Jeeves either.

Darcy does not want to take any chances and lands next to Justin’s body before ripping his head off, not without some glee. Agreeing with Darcy, both safety and revenge, Arthur decides to start a demon body bonfire and both to Troy’s and Arthur’s senses the demonic presence is gone.

Still cuddling the giant bat Pretty accepts a still wet Tony’s words of praise for the fighting. Troy hands his coat to Tony, who does actually freeze from being wet and on a Northern Isle. Given the circumstances all of them want to leave as soon as possible and Darcy let’s Pretty and Arthur on her back while grabbing Troy (who comments: You get used to it) and Tony

Letting them off in the stone circle she lands on the carriage with the little baron, who screams, and screams again when Arthur opens the door and Darcy sticks her head in upside down

Arthur uses the device he was given by Strange and when they hear that they should step through or wait if they want to meet Captain Britain Darcy (now back in wolf form) does a quick roll and grabs Pretty by the scruff carrying him through the portal while ignoring his protest

Once through he switches to Damien hugging Lady fiercely, and while she wants to cuddle him just as much she wants to preserve the illusion, so she mini-bats out of the room, waits for half a minute and then storms back squealing as Darcy who now can officially hug her rescued husband

With the situation stabilising the guests leave, to Darcy’s relief, and Arthur is sitting in a corner after he noticed that Strange not only left him a book but personally signed it. That made it finally sink in that he spend the evening happily chatting with the Sorcerer Supreme, and Darcy reading the dedication and joking that he made a friend is not helping his sudden panic attack. Although, when Michael points out that she charmed the entire party she realizes what she did and squishes into the corner with Arthur.

To defuse the situation Michael switches the topic, remembering that it is Artie’s birthday. Given that Darcy had made him promise Artie had asked for a horse and Darcy made her biggest cute eyes at Lionell when he told her that the best one would be a nightmare but that it would be difficult to get one in time. When Lionell had managed only yesterday to his never-ending surprise Darcy threw her arms around him and called him awesome.

Artie is somewhat astounded at the massive horse and the fact that Lionel passes him a box with meat to feed to the horse but once he is riding it he knows it is the right gift, and it gets only more awesome as the mane and tail burst into blue flame (not burning him) as he passes outside of the manor’s boundary.

To Michael’s serenades of birthday songs Arthur is enjoying his cake and both Darcy and Michael get hugs for their gifts. Darcy got him a signed copy of Treasure Island and Michael got him a copy of the healing spell book that Arthur painstakingly had to reconstruct because his father’s copy had be filled with edits to pervert the spells into damage dealing instead of healing.

Whitby Vandals 33: A Stark at a wedding - what could go wrong?
19th of November

Arthur and Darcy are discussing the preparations for the hundredth time when Michael strolls in with a cup of tea and one single honey cake, playing up how relaxed he is in his blue smoking jacket while sitting down and nibbling his cake

After a bit he grabs the list out of Arthur’s hand and decides they fussed enough, so he tosses the list into the fireplace. While Arthur is half way in between glaring and screaming Darcy reaches right into the fire and pulls the list back out, not caring about the wounds she’s inflicting on herself

Michael is a bit stunned and rather annoyed while watching Darcy blow on her hand and shaking it while going right back to panicking over the list with Arthur

Michael decides the best way to deal with this is to grab the list again and run off, house shoes flopping, with Darcy asking Arthur if it would be bad to wolf bite her husband in the derriere on the reception day…

Sighing, the two of them just use the list in their heads before Darcy shoos Arthur to his room to get ready, where he finds Michael who confesses to having toyed with the idea of hiding the clothes

When the entity, who now is living in our mirrors, tells them that the house noticed the first coach to arrive belongs to the Duchess and Duke Stark, both Darcy and Arthur are having another hysterical fit, but Michael is graciously receiving them in the entrance hall

Meanwhile, Lucy is putting on the Lynette provided amulet, turning her into Tracy, Darcy’s 12-year-old cousin. Even Artie cannot feel the magic on it. Seward is being treated to some stiff alcohol by Lord Arthur to calm his nerves.

Brenda, in the pretty security dress that was her condition, is marshaling the kids together with Misses Hudsbeth, who morphed into a kitchen general. Noirette, our dragon, is patrolling the outer perimeter, and John and Troy are providing security inside

Hiding half behind Michael, Arthur gets introduced to Dr. Strange who takes an immediate interest in him as he feels the magical potential

When Darcy walks down the stairs in her special dress she gets greeted nearly like family by the Duchess and Duke Stark manages to compliment her in a way that is perfectly proper but would make her blush furiously had she not been around Michael for the last few months

The party sojourns to the main room, with Darcy, the Duchess, and Gwyneviere having an engaged debate about fashion and weapons, Tony, Michael, and Tracy are getting along like a house on fire, and Arthur to his shock finds himself happily nerding out with Dr. Strange and Lynette

The next to arrive are nobles from the neighboring barony who are only here because they cannot not show up to an event with the duchess. Darcy’s competitiveness jumps into full action and she is trying her hardest to amuse the Duchess, who, noticing where Darcy’s gaze is going goes right ahead continuing to laugh and putting a familiar hand on Darcy’s shoulder, getting the fake smiles on the nobles’ faces to freeze in

Spurred on by that Darcy ends up being the darling of the evening, her shyness forgotten with her competition to be the best hostess possible and to parade her flat belly in front of the rumor mongers who derided the wedding for being shotgun

Michael, who was fully prepared to save her from the social event, instead feels proud and answers all the compliments about how lucky he is with a bright smile

Troy, with a very curious Brenda at his shoulder, can listen in on the gossip and is hearing some interesting things as well as some rather pissed off whispers about Darcy actually being a good hostess with little to criticize. Later in the evening the line of attack shifts to criticizing her about the poor breeding of her husband and how she could have done so much better instead of wasting it on Michael. It is for the best Darcy isn’t the one hearing that line…

For the official signing of the marriage contract (Michael trained drawing a signature for weeks) Tony actually pulls Dr. Strange away from where he has quartered himself off at some tables with Arthur, after having commented only a single sentence about his father and about him really needing a mentor not to let such talent go to waste. Arthur is dumbfounded that he was actually enjoying himself, having temporarily forgotten his panic of speaking to the Sorcerer Supreme

Darcy is unbearably smug when she notices that she is getting the witness signatures of not only the Duchess, a Duke and personal friend of the Queen, but also Dr. Strange which Michael cannot help but comment on, grinning when he gets a naughty answer whispered back

With the main event of the evening done everybody but the Duchess’ party is leaving, many of the nobles are too afraid to not be in London for a night, so the festivities are becoming more informal

Seward is fast asleep in a side room as a result of too much alcohol to steady his nerves and too many nerves, to begin with, prompting Lord Arthur to be the very image of innocence while dancing one dance after the other with Tracy

Arthur and Dr. Strange went right back to their mage talk and Darcy is enjoying a short moment of respite as she notices that Colonel Burnside is holding a box and engaging in a seemingly heated debate with Michael

Tony has also noticed and moves in, one hand on Michael’s shoulder to calm him when the box is opened and with a loud bang both Michael and Tony vanish

The Colonel is utterly confused, Darcy is running over while screaming for Arthur, Troy and John are rushing in for safety, and everybody is closing in on the situation

Troy rushes from candle to candle to see if he can locate the two but suddenly gets stopped in a candle next to a mirror when the entity greets him and informs him that the house would like to let them know that Tony and Michael are no longer on the premises but somehow none of the wards got tripped

Slightly perplexed he pulls Arthur to the side to report and when Arthur just nods he goes “Of course this is normal in this household…”

Knowing that this isn’t her strength Darcy is holding back while Arthur and Dr. Strange investigate both the box and interrogate Burnside

It turns out that the box seems to have a similar spell as the book and the Colonel was under both a compulsion and memory altering spell because he is convinced he received the box months ago from the Queen personally to present to Darcy at the wedding. Given that the wedding was not even planned months ago it is clear that something is off. The harsh debate with Michael was about him insisting that no gifts are presented to his wife without a mage checking them over, which the Colonel of course saw as preposterous and near treasonous given that the box was from the queen

Darcy is surrounded by the other ladies, all of which are trying to console her given that only Artie knows her well enough to realize that she is not trembling in shock but anger, which only flares up higher when he tells her that he noticed that the box is adorned with a lion pride

Deciding that they will need to conduct more tests Dr. Strange and Arthur head to the laboratory and Troy sees to the others having rooms since now everybody wants to stay overnight

Whitby Vandals 32.5: Over her dead body!

Realizing that she no longer has a bedroom of her own Darcy stomps off to her sewing room, putting furrows into the carpet with her pacing

Michael takes the grumble he hears when he asks if he might come in as a yes and is immediately stricken by her emotions. He expected the anger and jealousy, is not surprised by the guilt and shame, but what he is most intrigued by is another feeling he cannot place and has never felt before, a feeling that seems utterly inhuman.

He calmly talks to Darcy, not forcing himself close to her until he notices most of her negative emotions fading into the background and she is able and willing to talk it out as rationally as she can manage

She knows and understands that she is being silly, she wants John to be happy, she even wants him to marry (even though she has to force that out through clenched teeth) but at the same time the very thought makes her blood boil and she can’t stop herself from baring fangs and claws

Michael reassures her that jealousy is normal, especially for somebody like her who was brought up by an overprotective but doting father in isolation. She laughs slightly bitter pointing out that there was nothing to share, she was the stereotypical princess in the tower. Sighing she adds that she knows that she can’t have him, either he will marry or even if he doesn’t, he is only human, he will die. Michael is a tad concerned by her long term perspective, especially when she also starts talking about her own death and beyond, which he is happy to shove off for right now.

She has calmed down and Michael notices that she is clearly hungry by her mischievous demeanor and lack of embarrassment, not only about discussing their “third wheel” but even worse, teasing him about knowing full well that he enjoys making her blush and tantalizing her in public. Joking that he better not be under the table when she has to give a speech at the reception and both of them laughing about Artie probably fainting

With her behaviour and her admitting to having been more hungry lately, he finally figures out that she might need more blood now that her powers are growing

Michael is glad to feel her strong emotions subsiding but the strange one he cannot place does not want to budge and together with her still having her fangs out he realizes that this might be a dhampir thing and decides to ask Lucy while Darcy tries to remain calm with some needlework

Lucy, playful as always, in the beginning, grows serious as Michael tells her the situation. She sighs and admits to having been on guard for this and other young vampire problems. Without fully saying it out loud she confesses to her early murders and wanting to make sure that Darcy won’t do anything similar because nobody is helping her with her new self. Lucy comments on how she does not let Darcy and Seward be alone together for too long.

She goes on to explain that vampire hunters call the emotion Michael senses on Darcy “prey obsession” and it happens when a vampire or dhampir feeds off a small number of persons repeatedly. If not kept in check or dealt with it often ends with a dead human because the vampire ends up deciding that “if I can’t have them then no one shall”. She tries to make it easier understandable to Michael by comparing it to predatory animals grabbing more off a kill than they need because other hunters are around.

That’s why vampire hunters tend to feed their “pet dhampirs” through mixed vials. Lucy’s revulsion and anger at both the blood from vials and how dhampirs are treated is clearly showing through. When Michael asks how the obsession can be solved she says there is not much to be done that Darcy would be happy with, she herself just goes off to town when she notices she is getting a bit too attached to either of her men, but that isn’t an option for Darcy of course.

When Michael returns to Darcy she immediately knows that she won’t like the news and he tells her that she has a few choices:
- Have her father and the local doctor procure blood for her, she is about as disgusted with the idea as Lucy is
- She has to get blood from more people, even Ruby is squeamish about that idea
- She has to stop drinking from John, she hates giving up on “toys” (and is shocked that she even had that thought)

Deciding that she isn’t hungry enough to be that mean she sighs and seeing the pain this decision causes her Michael says he can talk to John, maybe he won’t mind, but he knows how happy he is at the thought of now being able to marry and have children… Darcy breaks in grumpily that Lynette did a better job on him there than on her leading Michael to try to console her.

Which dissolves into her trying every single possible distraction to shove off making her decision, including talking about a potential family reunion with Michael’s demon part, a potential extra partner for them while keeping John around, and using either Arthur or Lionel for more blood because Darcy definitely won’t get intimate with either for different reasons.

Still unhappy but realizing there is no putting off the decision Darcy agrees that it is best to for now only feed off Michael and hope that her obsession vanes.

With the decision made Michael is trying to better her mood and sate her hunger by swinging her over his shoulder and carrying her down the stairs to their private room

Whitby Vandals 32: Dollhouse
12th of November

Following the trail into worse parts of town Colonel Burnside’s imposing presence keeps ruffians from harassing the poor defenseless nobles (making Darcy and Artie smirk at each other)

They come past a gentleman who stares at Pretty and questions if the beast has returned to tantalize him more. Despite the side glances the Vandals it’s probably for the best not investigate for once, especially because it would be improper for Darcy to acknowledge him when he bows to her

Eventually, they arrive at a part of the town that clearly burned down a while ago, but to their shock people still seem to live here and those people are determined to beg at least something off the rare noble visitors

Darcy as per usual takes pity and is generously handing money out while Troy goes down on his knees and hands the food he has to the children and asking about the fire

Pretty pokes Arthur into action pointing out that there are no roofs here for the dolls to use so somebody must have seen something

Arthur hones in on a girl that dashed in to get food and then went off to the side, bribing her with a honey cake she is willing to answer a question in exchange and after being a bit reluctant she confirms that the dolls came by here, carrying people and being led by a larger figure, they were heading towards the old church nobody goes into anymore because some people got killed by the collapsing roof

When he tells Darcy she wonders why the dolls were carrying people given that Artie smelled “book magic” earlier, but Pretty confirms that human smell started mixing in here

Sniffing around more closely they find a threadbare cloth that likely was a bag of holding but the magic wore out so the dolls had to carry the humans, which with their strength only took about 3 dolls per person

Debating what to do Darcy brings up that there is no reason to send Michael into danger for scouting, they have Troy after all… he can see through flame

Concentrating he finds himself in a crypt under the church, the vaulted roof illuminated by several clearly stolen lanterns

The scene is surreal and horrifying as Troy watches dolls carrying people to seemingly specific spots and drawing a symbol on their foreheads, with the big doll lying on a sarcophagus slab in the middle of everything mumbling

When he describes the symbol and mumbling to Arthur it becomes clear that the doll is planning an energy transfer and there is not much time left

Darcy is glancing at Burnside and Troy with exasperation which gives Michael the idea to send the Colonel for reinforcements given that as a man of stature he can get through the bad part of town and surely has the best chances of rallying men

Under the guise that a battle field is no place for a lady Darcy pretends to run after the Colonel to “lose her way in the dark alleys” and only emerge after the fight

Confessing that 150 to 3 is a bad ratio even for Damien, Arthur “remembers” that he has the household’s trusty battle rat Rosered in his pocket and together the four come up with a two pronged approach that will take Pretty and Rosered into attack position while Troy brings in Arthur to fireball the big doll

Throughout the planning, Arthur has to suppress a giggle at Rosered’s reactions to Pretty licking her face and her being all indignant

Seeing that they are out of time everybody gets into position and the moment Arthur teleports in he fires off a plasma ball, which unknown to him Troy boosts, resulting in the main doll being nearly instantly incinerated

Before Damien and huge Rosered can spring into action the majority of the other dolls drop allowing the ones closest to the hostages to set themselves up for instant kill

Creepily the voice of the entity comes from all dolls at the same time and threatens to kill the humans if the Vandals don’t desist. It states that this is the law of strength, as it has observed it is common among humans

Arthur debates with entity and together with Michael promises to help it and research how to sustain its life-force as long as it won’t hurt anybody

Seeing how its energy is running out the entity finally agrees when Arthur drops his armour (to very exasperated chittering from Rosered) and approaches, leading to one doll harbouring the entire entity with Arthur halting the energy decay

Damien opens the slap blocking the crypt entry into the church and collapses the precarious walls before beginning to evacuate the hostages

Just when Arthur is walking among them to make sure they are alright Burnside returns with a band of police ready to get into a fight just to find the situation under control

Darcy “reappears” after having dragged Artie behind another crypt and told him that she will be the least suspicious with the doll who she carries around after that once she reassured it that she will honor Arthur’s promise

Given the late hour and Darcy’s incapability to sleep here anyway the Vandals head back home

Back in Whitby Michael notices John out on the town and stops the carriage (also to drop off Troy, who would prefer getting some lazy days now)

Darcy, intrigued by the carriage stopping, glances out and spots John flirting with a town girl, which makes Darcy’s fangs erupt and hiss inhuman, the handle of the carriage in her hand being cleanly ripped off the door

Arthur wakes from the commotion and at first alarmed that there might be danger going by Darcy’s reaction takes a look as well, quickly puts his data points together, and says the one thing that probably can keep Darcy from murder: Reminding her that she would be out in public

Managing to keep herself together, she grinds her teeth together but falls back into the seat, brooding for the rest of the, rather rushed, journey since Michael empathically felt her emotions erupt and was about ready to leap to intercept her

When he opens the carriage door at the castle Darcy wordlessly stomps off, the by now cracked handle still clutched tightly, and Arthur tells him what happened and that fangs were involved, which gets Michael to blush and Artie to get way more information than he wanted

Whitby Vandals 31: A Doll's Dastardly Deeds
11+12th of November

11th November

During breakfast everybody gives the front door a glare but surprisingly nothing happens, leaving them to spend at least one day preparing for the reception in peace

12th November

Troy comes over to discuss the orphanage so it is left to Arthur to open the door when the doorbell does ring in the early afternoon, coming face to face to the Iron Duke who says he needs to talk to young Baroness Rossmore

Arthur says he’ll fetch her but gets directly followed

He knocks and tells Darcy directly who it is, prompting her to go poof into a mist bank right in front of Troy, who thinks she just pulled a magic trick and tries to disperse the fog (which seems to hide under the table) to find where Darcy is hiding

Having heard Troy’s exclamation the Duke allows Arthur to get into the room ahead of him.

While he hasn’t seen Darcy do this before he has read the book and realizes what happened asking Darcy to please turn back because the Duke seems to have something serious to discuss.

She ends up sitting under the table, slightly panicked but trying to pull herself back together. Troy gets send out, with being allowed free access to the kitchen.

Duke Stark enters and is rather polite, firstly thanking them for the wedding invitation, mentioned that Beatrice asked him to get help because her household is good with magic and while he is good with the strange, the mystical eludes him and Darcy is the closest ally who might be able to help

Darcy assures him that she is willing to help and is given a folder with the official seal of the duchess and told to keep this to as confidential as possible

Excusing himself Stark gets escorted out of the door by Arthur and takes off, the incoming dust cloud stops dead in his tracks and looks deeply frustrated that he missed Duke Stark, for which neither Arthur nor Darcy have any empathy

Michael suggests to involve Troy and Darcy reluctantly agrees, still horrified that she fogged out in front of him, so she sends Michael to get him while Artie and her open up the letter:
Seven entire households (families and servants, about 50 all together) in less than 24 hours vanished from forced entry houses in York, one hour before the first disappearance somebody broke into Hamley’s toy store and stole every teddy and doll, first disappearances at about 11

Troy is hesitant because he doesn’t want to leave the kids and Brenda without income, which Michael promptly solves by presenting Lionel as his new understudy (getting Lionel to huff up)

Michael manages to utterly overlook Troy’s negative reaction to Lionel, who once he teleported them over to Brenda quickly convinces her that Troy will be expendable for a bit and then brings Troy back (out the carriage door from the inside) in appropriate clothing and a travel bag

Luckily Troy appeared after Darcy was busy putting kisses on both her husband and John, so the conversation he has with Michael while they are driving the carriage (not killing the horses despite a constant run) revolves around Michael’s past. He also learns that Darcy apparently has a supernatural sense of hearing when it comes to things she probably shouldn’t hear, aptly described by her as “wife ears”

At one sudden bump in the road Darcy’s immediate reaction is to cover Arthur so that the tumbling books don’t hurt her poor, little frail brother, garnering her a rather incredulous look from Arthur

They arrive at a smaller palace in York and are brought in front of Beatrice who hopes that Tony behaved to which Darcy only gives a curt answer prompting Michael to grab the conversation and introducing Troy as a resourceful new arrival to Whitby who already helped them on multiple occasions

Arthur establishes that he needs to investigate the scenes before he can come up with a good theory and Colonel Burnside is delighted to be along for another investigation (annoying Darcy who now has two people she cannot show her actual strength around)

They stop at the toy store first and find the highly distressed manager in an office that held a collection of antiques that got stolen alongside 150 dolls and teddy bears

The only report they have is from a homeless man saying that it sounded like a crowd was in the building

Darcy, at this point rather annoyed by having to play the aloof lady, is more than happy to follow Arthur around on his investigation to provide authority, while Michael is making the others believe they are not being excluded from the investigation

Sniffing his way along Arthur not only discovers a key missing and the backdoor being the escape route but also tracks the magic smell down to a crate in the cellar with a note only to be opened by the manager. As with the witch’s mannequin, the crate is broken open from the inside and Arthur can feel the same magic dispersing with each empty doll stand they come past.

Troy having kept an eye on the two did not count on Arthur noticing him and greeting the lamp. Darcy gets rather indignant about being watched and is giving the lamp a death glare from behind her fan

Once the two return to inform the manager Michael is using his new husband privileges to openly hold Darcy’s hand (knowing how much she dislikes being in social situations) while Arthur asks to have the crate put under lock until he can investigate it more

They then set out to follow the trail while it is fresh enough

The Colonel is entertaining Troy with old war stories when he isn’t asking him about how he fell in with our household

Arthur’s nose leads him up against a wall but Pretty luckily can follow the trail up on the roof tops (while Darcy grumbles silently that she could just have carried Arthur up the wall), so the group gets guided by Pretty mewing adorably to not attract attention to a talking cat and finds themselves in the upperclass quarter of town and at the first crime site

The stationed soldier at first reacts to the Colonel but gets rather flustered when Darcy produces a letter of confidence from the Duchess that also identifies her as a Baroness (Arthur has to hide a smirk at Darcy being smug at startling the poor man)

Inside the empty house Arthur finds that the point of entry was the children’s bedroom and the magic smell reminds him of the book Darcy and him got trapped in, leading him to believe that the families are magically trapped somewhere

Michael asks the children in the area (under a strict eye from their nanny and Darcy providing female legitimacy) and finds out that many of the children did see strange things but decided against opening their windows and thereby saving their families

Whitby Vandals 30: A Whitby Tail

As Michael patrols Whitby the following night, he sees Troy hurrying along with a box. Curious, he turns Pretty and invisible, and follows by means of teleportation. He follows Troy to the street kids’ current hide-out, where Brenda has kept a fire going but would much rather be asleep. Troy explains to her how he had a strange dream in which he woke up as a cat- Miss Snugglepuff to be precise, and he went to take care of her kittens. But as he was on his way through town, he was wrapped into a sack and abducted– which is when he woke up. Since the dream felt so real, he was still worried about the kittens and went to get them, and they certainly exist. Pretty has listened in interestedly, and being invisible, no one hears him coo over the kittens. Troy tells Brenda to keep the fire going, he plans to head to the castle to get the tracking cat to try and find Miss Snugglepuff and her kidnapper. Michael takes that as his cue and heads into a beam of moon light to reveal himself dramatically. Brenda makes a funny little noise as he reveals himself, since she didn’t know that he could talk.

Together, Troy and Michael head off to pick up the trail. They follow it from the location of the kidnapping to a closed pub in the centre of town, where it gets lost among the crowd of people leaving. Michael teleports inside and investigates, but finds nothing but the landlord engaged in private activities with his wife (presumably) and a very well cared-for Persian cat.
Having lost the trail, Michael says they should consult Artie about Troy’s dream, and offers to carry him to the castle. Troy is a little sceptical at first, but has to admit that Damian moves very fast.

Meanwhile, Arthur has a dream in which he finds himself as a hungry, furry creature in a Whitby alley. After a good stretch, he follows the delightful smell of fish to the harbour, where he knows he’ll find the day’s leavings of the fishermen. Half aware that rotting fish guts shouldn’t be very appetizing, he hesitates, but the fact that there are no rivals around to steal his prize and he’s very hungry win out. Then he passes out and wakes up.
To shake the memory of the meal in his dream, he heads to the kitchen for a glass of water, where Michael and Troy find him a little while later, after Michael has checked the library, the lab and his bedroom (in that order).

Hearing of Troy’s dream experience, Arthur asks a few questions to establish that it looks like what happened in the dream was real and happening at the same time. Then, he informs the other boys that another kidnapping might’ve just occurred at the harbour. Damien takes both of them back there, and they exchange stories on the way.

At the harbour, Pretty has no trouble following the smell of fish, and they find the cat unconscious in the boathouse where the fish leavings are. Artie takes the cat and a sample. Michael says he will stay and pretend to be an unconscious cat to trap whoever is behind it. Artie is uncomfortable leaving him alone, despite Michael’s protests. Troy volunteers to keep an eye on Michael through a nearby fire, and it turns out he can also use fire to teleport. So he takes Artie and the cat back to the kitchen fire in the castle– after having seen Lucy and Lord Arthur through the first fire he checked.

Artie employs his forensic skills and the library to determine that the fish guts were drugged with some sort of home-made herbal concoction. Meanwhile, Troy makes the cat comfortable and is astonished by the prompt assistance of the house. He also thinks of some ways he could possibly make the cat vomit up the poison it ate, but as the cat appears to be slowly coming around by itself, they decide to leave it be.

At the docks, Michael chases off one big street tom who tries to challenge him for the fish, (much to Artie’s amusement at the loud cat-fight Troy describes) then goes back to pretending to be unconscious. A dark figure eventually arrives, and on seeing him, immediately declares that he shouldn’t be there and that this is a trap. Pretty promptly turns invisible and teleports to cut off the person’s retreat. Far from being startled, the figure stays put and tries to locate Pretty. Circling it, Pretty sees that it isn’t human, but more like a doll covered in darkness under long dark robes, and it’s human smell is somewhat artificial, like a perfume.

Artie and Troy choose to wait at the castle, Troy watching and narrating, since a flare of light would give their arrival away. Eventually, the figures enters the boathouse– to walk all the way down the pier and into the water, it turns out, to make Pretty lose the trail. Frustrated, Pretty returns outside, visible, and tells Artie and Troy to return. They do, and Artie suggests tracking where the thing came from. This leads the boy to one of the warehouses, where a door is open that should be locked, and to a crate of mannequins on their way from Paris to Edinburgh, which has been broken open from the inside. Artie can smell magic on the shards of the crate, and on the trail of the creature.

Interviewing the night guard on duty at the warehouse doesn’t result in any helpful clues, and investigating any shipping records will have to wait until the harbour master’s office opens in the morning, so Michael says he will stay in town to keep watch, but Artie should return to the castle. He makes him agree to catch some sleep before he starts researching, and after threatening him with Darcy’s ire, Artie confirms his earlier agreement with enough bad grace to be believable. Troy is willing to take Artie back to the kitchen, where Artie thanks him and tells him to help himself to the contents of their pantry for breakfast. Then he heads to his room, where the now awake cat greets him with a hiss from on top of the wardrobe. Artie makes sure the cat has food and water, sets his alarm for 6:30 since he didn’t promise Michael he’d sleep long, and heads back to bed.

Troy finds Brenda asleep, curled up around the box of kittens. He makes sure the kittens are looked after, and then also goes to sleep.

Artie has just about managed to drift off when he’s woken again by loud knocking on his door. To his surprise, he doesn’t find just Darcy, whom he expected, but also John in front of his door, both looking worried. He assures them that Michael is fine, merely stayed in Whitby on watch, but it turns out that that isn’t what brought them– John also had a dream of being a cat, and he was in a box with others and managed to gain a peak as to where they were brought. He’s very upset, because he saw what happened to one of the cats in the hut they were brought to, and doesn’t really want to talk about it.

As they exchange stories, they head out of the castle, after Artie has thrown on some clothes and grabbed his armour. Artie asks Darcy if she can fly them to Whitby, as that would be much faster than taking horses and John is very worried that the cat he accompanied was going to be next. Darcy agrees, but they aren’t sure how to contact Michael. They can swing by Whitby, but it is nearing 5 in the morning and the first people will be around. They settle on blowing a whistle rather than shouting, since it might be a little less likely to make the newspaper the next day. But when they’re almost ready to leave, Darcy mentions something about the fae, and Artie realizes that he wanted to talk to Lionel anyway, and that maybe Lionel can collect Michael. He dashes towards the house, calling for Lionel and Lynette, only to have Lionel step out from behind a tree, complaining about the early hour. He can’t really help on whether the creature Michael encountered was fae or not, but says getting Michael has just turned into a moot point as Damien crossed the wards. He asks if he ought to come along on hunting the witch (the hut John saw was very witch-y), and Artie says that, well, if he wants to, they welcome more back-up. Lionel agrees, and makes sure he’s appropriately dressed with a snip of his fingers.

They intercept Damien before he can rip off the front door in his haste to reach Darcy. He says that when he was in town, he saw the figure again and it told him that “your bat needs you”, which showed an uncomfortable level of knowledge about us, so he rushed back. They all set out, Damien carrying everyone except Lionel, who jogs along. From the harbour, they follow a cliff trail John manages to pick out, though occassionally he has to use his hands to narrow his field of vision to see if it looks like what he saw from the crate. They arrive at a hut tucked under and into a cliff.

Damien points out that they should’ve picked up Troy, and Lionel pops out to take care of it. So Troy wakes up to find Lionel shaking his shoulder. Troy doesn’t get through suggesting he use the fire for faster travel before he finds himself in the middle of the group.

There is a fire in the hut, and Troy sees the remains of a sacrificed cat, as well as the crate with the still living ones. Not taking any time for a subtle approach, Damien stalks over to the hut and rips the door off, triggering a loudly wailing ward. Troy follows him inside, as does Artie, with armour activated. Darcy turns into her wolf form while Troy’s back is turned and follows as well. Damien locates the crate with the cats and brings them outside, then goes back in to give the hut a thorough inspection while Artie heals the cats. Some of them are missing body parts, which Artie can’t fix, but he makes sure none of them will die. Meanwhile, trying to enter the hut, Lionel bounces off a ward. Damien helpfully asks if ripping a hole in the roof for him would help, but Lionel ventures that if the property is warded so thoroughly against fae, it’s unlikely to be just the door frame.

Artie joins the investigation in the hut, and his nose tells him quickly that someone teleported out from the half-attic recently, while Pretty determines that the occupant of the hut was female. Artie poses the theory that maybe the creature they encountered was fae and that it was after the witch and that’s why it told Damien to get to them and why the hut is warded.

Just then they hear Lionel shout outside. Pretty teleports onto the roof while the rest have to reach the door the normal way. Outside, Lionel is talking to a black cat standing on his hind legs, and they don’t seem happy to see each other. Seeing that cat in better light, Pretty realizes that this was the one who sent him back to the castle. The cat introduces himself as the King of Cats (“Tom”, Lionel corrects), and is pleased that they’ve flushed out the witch, whom he has a long-standing feud with. He doesn’t give Pretty good chances at catching her before he does, and takes his leave, after confirming that the doll-thing belonged to the witch and shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

Troy is happy to find Miss Snugglepuff amidst the rescued cats, and takes her home (after having the third cat fight of the day with Lionel.) He re-unites a happy mother with her kittens, and of course the mewing wakes up the kids, so Troy falls asleep amidst a chaos of children and cats.

Lionel takes the others home to the much-quieter castle. Michael thanks him for his help, and after making sure the rest of the cats are looked after, everyone heads back to bed to get a bit more sleep. The cat in Arthur’s room doesn’t even hiss at him anymore, and when Pretty checks in a while later, he finds Arthur asleep with a cat parked on him, giving Michael a territorial hiss.

Whitby Vandals 29: All’s well in Whitby…

Troy and the kids get driven home by John in an overloaded carriage after Darcy reassures Troy that Lionel is trustworthy and that Brenda will be safe with him. Darcy retires, exhausted from all the noise and activity, and falls asleep on her couch. Michael finds her there and tucks her into bed before heading off for a patrol. All is quiet in town, except Michael notices a few more rats around than usual. When he returns home, Darcy is awake again, which leads to them getting up to some things Artie doesn’t want to know about.
The following morning, after Darcy gets scandalized by Michael running around in his hero outfit despite the danger of running into Papa, Artie gets busy researching the Dracula-related events from seventeen years ago, forgetting all about breakfast until Darcy comes to the library to bring him a tray. Artie is a little evasive about telling her what he’s looking into, as he doesn’t want to scare her with what he’s read about her vampire ancestor until he has a better perspective on things. Darcy notices but leaves him to it, promising that she’ll remind him when it’s time for his ride and Romanian lesson with Lord Arthur. Then she heads off to tackle her own paperwork.

In Whitby, Brenda has returned in a very good mood, and she and Troy set off to earn some money, deciding on a knife-throwing performance, while the other street kids head off to do their usual activities. Troy does notice as they move through town that he doesn’t see any cats on the streets at all, the only ones he sees are indoors, and Brenda’s current favourite, Miss Snugglepuff, didn’t show up for her usual morning milk.

Michael heads out on another patrol, swinging by Arthur’s Cove, where he’s welcomed cheerfully and everything is well. The factory is up and running, and the mayor hands Michael some additional paperwork for Darcy concerning the school they want to open. No one’s sure whether there are more rats about than usual, however. On his way back, Michael stops in at Whitby to check up on Troy and everyone to make sure they got home okay. He finds Brenda cheerfully throwing knives at Troy while flirting with Michael (who of course doesn’t flirt back). Troy survives unharmed anyway, and they ask Michael if they need permission to perform on the streets. Michael says he’ll ask Darcy about it, and asks them whether they’ve noticed any extra rats, but Troy only mentions shooing some out of the hide out the evening before, which wasn’t unusual. Troy agrees to keep an eye out for anything unusual, and Michael returns home to present Darcy with the extra paperwork.
During their ride, Artie asks Lord Arthur about the magic book that trapped him and Darcy, finally. Lord Arthur is a little surprised, but says he doesn’t mind the question, he’d just prefer to tell everyone, so a tea-time family meeting is called.

Lord Arthur explains that the books are used to trap vampires and sometimes to recruit new hunters or show “sympathizers” the errors of their way, since a vampire can’t live off of one person long-term. He says the journals aren’t particularly rare, so even if we could find out who made this particular journal, it likely wouldn’t help narrow down the owner. The best way will probably be to look into the names of the last victims recorded in it, but we decide that it might be prudent to wait until after the reception, just in case investigations would draw more attention. Lord Arthur promises to get a start on discreet inquiries, though he cautions that he cannot do too much given the current company he keeps. Seward seems to be the only one hung up by Lord Arthur in a slip of the tongue referring to Darcy as his daughter.

During dinner, there is a knock on the door. Michael goes to answer and finds that it’s Troy, rather than the emergency they half-expected. Michael takes him to the kitchen rather than exposing him to Lucy and tempting her, and starts filling a bag with left-over food from the day before for Troy and the kids. Troy came to ask about whether performing in the street is alright, but Michael says Darcy is still looking into the legal end of things, but that if there’s any trouble with the constabulary, to send them his way. Troy also mentions the lack of cats on the streets all day, but neither know what to make of it, nor do the others when Michael discusses it with Artie and Darcy later on. Artie’s only comment is that no one should follow any strange music, in case there’s a Pied Piper connection with the rats. Part of this is due to even Lord Arthur agreeing that a large gathering of rats has too many possible connotations to make any solid statements.

Whitby Vandals 28: New Vandals, New Challenges ...
10th November

The street kids are surprised but really happy to see Tom come back home riding on a big red dog

Arthur and Darcy are returning back to the castle while Damien delivers the villains to Office 13 (police uniform, silver masks, not apprehending but keeping custody)

Michael then returns right in time for dinner and tells Darcy that if she just builds an orphanage the kids will likely not trust it and stay away, so they should invite them over for food and trust building

Darcy reluctantly agrees and goes to tell the parents, with her “dads” competitively playing Whist while Lucy is bored

Seward immediately offers to check the children for diseases but Darcy and Lucy temper him (while complimenting him) that the children probably don’t trust doctors, while Lord Arthur admits to not being good with children and says he’ll stay away

Lucy asks if she can keep one or two which Darcy snarks back are not walking juice boxes, but she can just about manage to hold back a comment about Lucy being a glutton if Lord Arthur and Seward aren’t enough

Arthur went off to tell John, who is practicing cricket, and immediately gets concerned about the kids nicking stuff so they begin planning to hold it in the great hall

Michael meanwhile goes to the park, bringing food gifts and being challenged on not bringing the cat, to talk to Troy about inviting the kids

Troy quizzes Michael on the rumors about the household and how they haven’t been raided yet but decides to talk to Brenda about it

Brenda, after getting through a sugar coma from a chocolate cake and beginning to flirt with Michael, which Michael cuts off by telling her that he is married and that no, being discrete is not an option, not going to happen, says that free food and a potential dragon are more than enough reason to come tomorrow

The kids are deciding what to bring the lady as a thank you for saving Tom and after some voting it is decided that she deserves to get the dragon ink holder Tom found on the beach several years ago while other kids are braiding bracelets and carving little trinkets

John remembers Darcy’s teasing and shows up at the master bedroom at some point in the evening and only leaves slightly later than Michael on the next morning

When Darcy comes down the house is already busy with preparations, and Arthur is glad when she grabs one of the heavy tapestries and simply walks up the wall to place it

Soon after a horde of children descend on the hall and they are somewhat apprehensive when it seems that Darcy is giving a speech, luckily she listened to Michael, makes a few jokes and then tells them to tug into the food that Misses Hudspeth has prepared

Michael and even Arthur think it is hilarious to see Darcy helplessly gnash her teeth at Brenda flirting with John given that she cannot say anything without compromising her decency

At one point Troy gets up and clinks his (sturdy) glass to call on the two youngest children to present the Lady with her present, and while Darcy is cooing at the children for such a lovely gift, Arthur realizes he has seen that dragon crest before

Soon, Darcy finds herself at the table with the different group leaders and Arthur investigating the inkwell. As Michael tells Darcy to grab the moment to make the suggestion to them Darcy for an instant is utterly baffled because she was still glaring at John and Brenda and misinterpreted his words. With a wide grin Michael leaves her to it once she realizes her mistake

The suggestion to help with an orphanage or way house goes over well for the most part and Troy seems to like her suggestion of having it run primarily by street kids themselves with outside help for education and to keep the townspeople content

When he calls over Brenda, who is the people person between the two, he notices that Darcy’s facial expression hardens and he gets concerned leading him to immediately change his tone of voice when quickly explaining to Brenda what they had discussed. Brenda happily beams at Darcy for the promised help and sends Troy off on a pretext to ask Darcy outright what the problem is. Caught out in a situation with no socially acceptable out Darcy gets rescued by Arthur (who was eavesdropping) by pretending to obliviously bumble into the conversation asking where they got the ink well from

Darcy uses the excuse and rushes off to fetch Lionel, who gets utterly confused at first that she would come to him for a social problem before with very little hint from her, he realizes that she needs to get somebody off John but cannot say that of course. He is happy to help
Brenda meanwhile has managed to get Arthur to blush at calling him out, and he, in turn, needs to be rescued by Michael, who wanders off with Brenda seemingly in control of the situation

Arthur, having heard that the inkwell likely came from the shipwreck, leaves the party to talk to Lord Arthur, who immediately suspects which dragon crest Arthur is talking about and points it out in a book. When Arthur mentions that Darcy just got a statue gift Lord Arthur grows tense but relaxes when being told it came from the wreck. The topic pains him to talk about so he hands Arthur a book on Dracula and Arthur happily wanders off reading, forgetting that he wanted to get back to the party

Darcy wanders back into the party and ends up talking to Troy about weapons, upbringing, the sleeping bat in her hair, and that there is no need to walk over to Brenda who is clearly enjoying her conversation with Lionel

Michael wanders past Darcy and whispers that smug looks good on her… she’ll let it pass this time because she is rather happy about the eliminated “danger”

Noticing that Tom is trying to convince Michael to turn Damien and Michael only just resisting Darcy calls over that if he has to play with the kids he should please not do that inside, they have gardens, which basically leads to Michael being carried off by the kids

Troy starts in talking about him having heard in town… which Darcy interrupts by immediately countering the standard rumor about herself, and Troy finishes his sentence with he heard about the wedding and the upcoming reception. Darcy gets embarrassed but is happy to hear his offer of help even if both of them currently don’t know what the street kids could do

After a bit Darcy excuses herself saying Lady will need to be let out and Troy says he will need to do a head count if all the little rascals are still around

Arthur can see a child on his own height through his upper story window, descending out of sight, and back in repeatedly, when he looks to investigate he sees Damien throwing the kids up in the air and catching them again

Shortly after the kids reverse the play by throwing a laughing Pretty between them
When Lady joins them in the garden she catches Pretty out of the air to loud gasps, but Pretty reassures them that this wolf is fine

Lady throws him up in the air unto her back and Troy, having seen the talking cat riding the wolf, shakes his head and comments: You two would have been great in the circus

Whitby Vandals 27: The Usual Suspects
9th November

Michael leaves a little comic on the bed for Darcy to wake up to so she knows he is only out for superhero business, nothing to worry about. She decides it’s time to start a collection and put the piece of paper into an envelope she labels “Michael’s Progression in Writing”

At the breakfast table Arthur even puts his book down when she comes in

Lord Arthur is the next in the room and given his smug expression Darcy with a deep sigh asks if she needs to send Artie to heal her father (Artie is hiding behind his teacup)

Healing is probably not necessary but she decides she should bring him breakfast, which Lucy is actually receiving at the door which tells Darcy all she needs to know

The Arthurs have struck up a conversation in Romanian meanwhile, because Artie decided to learn the basics last night

Lord Arthur leaves and Michael walks in, seemingly serious despite for a bit heckling Arthur about being a sexual deviant

The good mood does not hold too long because Michael reports that there is a missing street kid in Whitby, leaving Darcy with the difficult task how to dress for that occasion, Arthur is rather baffled when she asks him and pokes fun at him being flustered by reminding him of the cabin

Michael, after laughing, helps her picking out a dress and Lucy stops Seward from commenting as his daughter leaves to investigate crime

Darcy, as per usual competitive with her mother and not to be outdone, waits for Arthur to be in the coach before pressing a kiss on John and hinting about an encore in the evening, Michael grins proudly at Darcy and conspiratorially at John

Arriving in Whitby they go to the Neptune’s Beard inn because the Hudspeths are taking care of the local street kids with left overs and sleeping space in the barn

While Cora at first remembers etiquette the moment Darcy actually sits down to hear the story of Tom going missing from the vis-à-vis roof while watching out for the inn with Lili only being gone for maybe five minutes, Cora stars fussing over her and Darcy happily overlooks the inappropriateness because she never had a mother figure like this

When Arthur asks why Tom was on the lookout the Vandals hear Whitby has seen a string of robberies

After Pretty, to Cora’ astonishment, swipes another honey cake Artie and him go investigate the roof because Darcy said she’ll be out right after them

Unknown to Darcy she is being observed by one of the older street kids who can see through fire

He is suspicious as to her honesty when she hands Cora a purse of money that probably contains a small fortune by her standards to keep helping the street kids until Darcy can manage to build the orphanage

Thinking she cannot help the boys Darcy strikes up a innocent to the beholder conversation with John, telling him that he will need to drive them to a local park where the street kids hang out normally

Arthur walks up the stairs and nearly gets stopped by a large disgruntled man who immediately backs off when being informed that Arthur is there on Lady Rossmore’s business

Trying to figure out more about the noble family sticking their noses into the case now, Troy and Brenda (who still is thinking about how to steal Pretty after being talked out of robbing John) take up position on another roof to watch Arthur apparently sniffing the shingles and talking to the cat

Pretty is telling Arthur that he probably is just too distracted to figure out the exact magic when Arthur kicks a stone and Pretty gives chase, prompting a bout of laughter from Arthur and threats of telling Darcy

Troy takes that event as him being right about the cat not actually being trained, but unknown to him Pretty has already spotted them and told Artie covertly before “vanishing” under the roof to spy on them invisibly while Arthur report back to Darcy and the two of them drive over to the park

Pretty returns back into the coach and tells on the street kids who are going to make sure that Lili is there to talk to the nobles on home turf

Troy and Brenda present a united front up to the point when Pretty reappears on the roof of the broken down gazebo and Brenda melts at getting to pet him

Darcy sees her opening and starts talking about her cat and how much he likes belly rubs, and that was all the two girls needed to start getting along

Troy feels somewhat betrayed but still tries to keep his composure while Arthur does the talking and introduces Darcy

Troy feels very little corruption coming from them, and interestingly mostly from the cat, probably trained to kill mice on command he decides

Through her just being a loveable cat owner and Arthur being an honest scholar they get the street kids to show them something of Tom’s for Pretty to track which starts the least inconspicuous parade of people following Pretty

Pretty notices that and Darcy comes to the rescue by saying her scholar speaks cat and puts Pretty up on his shoulder

The group splits up with Pretty following the trail further, Arthur investigating the robberies and Darcy taking Troy, Brenda, and two young street kids for lunch at The Neptune’s beard
Arthur gets the information from no other police officer than the one Lionel abducted and then is off to a jeweler’s shop, who after initial skepticism about his weird behaviour asks if he might get a slip for his insurance about the robbery being done through magic (Arthur says he will see what he can do with the lady)

Meanwhile Darcy has noticed that Troy unconsciously falls into actual table manners when Misses Hudspeth is in the room but decides to not comment for now

Troy on the other hand notices that Arthur’s food swiping skills definitely are not those of an amateur and he eats with the efficiency of somebody who has known hunger

After Pretty gives his report to Arthur who relays that the trail goes to an abandoned mill Darcy decides that it is time for her to retire because this is going to be a battle and for that her hero and her loyal hound are more suited

After she leaves with Pretty, Arthur can listen in on Troy and Brenda discussing how to follow them and Brenda finally agrees to take the kids while Troy trails the hero

With the usual banter when the collar needs to come on and Darcy joking about it being a tad too suspicious if the carriage is rocking, Chat D’Ore returns to the Neptune’s Beard with Lady where the street kids are just about leaving

Arthur tells them that Troy might become a problem, it seemed as if he might be able to do something to hold his ground but Michael is concerned about a civilian being around, whereas Darcy sees it as not her problem

She suggest that Artie could sniff him to figure out if he has actual magic but of course that would be difficult to do in a non-awkward way

Leaving for the mill Darcy notices Troy after a while and gives a perfect hunting dog impression of pointing him out, Artie spots him as well and tries circling around while Michael is dragged after Darcy who goes for the direct approach

Troy mainly just wants to get going so he does not run and Michael can feel his impatience and annoyance

They debate Troy’s safety and right to help while walking and Darcy after a while decides Michael is inefficient and pounces at Troy who dodges her, confirming to her that he’ll be fine, end of debate

As they get closer Troy asks if Artie is going to keep sneaking after them, which Michael deflects by saying that they all should sneak, looking at Lady and knowing that sneaking is far from her strength he asks her to transform and a rat soon hops on his shoulder

Troy just about manages to not be too astounded, partially because he can feel a fire in the mill and tries to find out what is going on inside, giving Artie more than a whiff of him doing magic right then

Michael notices him slowing down and then a massive feeling of relief that Troy explains comes from him being able to see through the hearth fire and heard the two goons talk about the boss currently giving Tom one last chance to cooperate, meaning the kid is still alive

Discussing how to investigate Michael talks about going inside, with a tiny bat in front of his face protesting and then face bombing him before flying over to Arthur and flying over his outstretched hand and then over to Troy’s face

Arthur gets that she asks if Arthur could put the place to his torch to let Troy see more but that plan doesn’t work sadly, so it’s back to Pretty, ridden by a rat, to go in invisible

They come past some wards and find the room with the stove and the two goons with a hole in the roof

Following a dark corridor they come to a door behind which they can hear a voice threatening a whimpering child, both bare their claws but Darcy makes him wait while she rushes back to the others

The small bat goes unnoticed as she flies out the rafters and Arthur soon has her pull on his shoulder to get closer to Troy, whose first reaction when a suddenly six meter tall bat is grabbing him by the shoulder is worry for his scarf (ignoring the eep about being lifted into the air by a huge bat)

Arthur, playing it cool and having come to trust Darcy, reassures him that this is fine despite him being too far up to actually smell the wards she points out and therefore unable to say if they triggered them

Darcy decides they need to be fast so she directly crashes through the decrepit roof (holding the boys safely behind her body while shielding them with her wings)

Arthur, using the confusion and horror of the goons, fires off a stun spell that nearly does the trick and everything else is quickly solved with two bat wings hitting them over the head

Troy and Arthur are rushing down the corridor toward the obvious villain monologue and Damien rawr, only to be stopped by a door for a moment before Troy masterfully ki blasts his way through

Damien is protectively holding a small child and standing his ground against the sorcerer before Troy shouts: Throw him over, which to Tom’s protest happens an instant later

The sorcerer blasts Damien moments later who crumbles to the floor, prompting Arthur to bring out the bigger guns as the sorcerer is between him and Damien

When Lady rushes into the room and sees Damien on the floor with the sorcerer definitely being fireball singed she has had it with all restraint and a wolf to the throat is something even magic users have to respect

With a sigh Arthur rushes to the bleeding out man while Lady rushes to Damien, who is beginning to wake back up, and fiercely embraces the wolf

Turning back to Michael, in a hilarious reversal it is now him cleaning her snout, whereas in the inn it was her cleaning Pretty

Troy remained outside just in case there is some spell on the door but Arthur, who has by now stabilized, bound, and gagged the sorcerer, confirms that they can leave the room

Tom asks where the cool Tiger who saved him is and Michael tells him that was him, prompting the kid to ask if he can’t turn back. Arthur is flabbergasted that he seems to be the only one who doesn’t find Damien adorable while Lady is on her back wolf laughing

Given that Damien has to carry the two goons and the sorcerer to Whitby for incarceration Tom ends up riding on the big fluffy dog, who has started to forget herself again, which Artie notices in her nearly chasing after Damien when he takes off

Arthur tells Troy that he needs to calm her down, so Tom is left with him, prompting the kid to ask who he actually is, while Arthur leads Darcy into the woods

None of his polite asking and prompting leads anywhere, but luckily for him when he says she needs to turn back, they have a wedding reception to plan the horror of that does the trick and an embarrassed Darcy is sitting on the forest floor

Having regained herself Lady goes back to carrying Tom to town


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