When we last left off, our merry band of Rippers was heading to the town of Rosslyn in Scotland to look for Abraham Van Helsing, the head of the London Rippers lodge. His son, Johann, hadn't heard from him for a while and was worried that something bad had happened. He took us to his father's office where we found the clues that would lead us to Rosslyn.
The clues indicated that he was interested in the "Apprentice's Column" located within the Rosslyn Chapel. Abraham believed that the Templar brought back some powerful trophies from the Crusades to their castle in Rosslyn and then worked with the Freemasons to build a chapel in which to hide them. The items were rumored to be the head of a demon named Baphomet and the "Pillars of Atlantis", items the Cabal and Jack would be very interested in. On Abraham's desk was a piece of paper that had six symbols and a note also inferred that great treasure was hidden under the column.
So the Rippers headed to Rosslyn via train with four Whitechapel Irregulars on loan from the London lodge. After arriving, they rented rooms in the local inn and inquired about Abraham. It seems he had arrived two weeks before and had visited the chapel. Later a local Freemason had gathered his belongings from the inn to take them to the senior Van Helsing who was too busy doing rubbings of the carvings in the chapel to return for the items himself. After talking with the locals in the inn, it seems that the town folk did not mix much with the masons, but there was no animosity between them and actually they thought it to be quite normal.
The next morning Sister Margaret, Twitch, and Simon headed to one of the Freemason homes that the locals of the pub indicated was the usual gathering point of the well dressed masons. They we were greeted at the door by Mr. Milburne and he echoed the story that the locals told in the inn. He did mention that Abraham spent a week studying the carvings and after Mr. Milburne delivered the items from the inn to the visitor, Abraham left without mentioning to any of the Freemasons where he was going. Mr. Milburne told us that his organization took care of the Rosslyn Chapel and a Anglican minister performed Sunday services there on a monthly schedule. On the Sundays the minister was not there, the Freemason laymen would hold the services. The Rippers asked if they could get a tour of the chapel in the afternoon, and he agreed without hesitation to a 1 PM meeting time.
The rest of the morning was spent up at the old Rosslyn castle ruins looking for any clues there and came up dry. After a quick lunch the party headed for the chapel where they were met by Mr. Drysdale and three other masons. We were given a tour of the chapel and shown the "Apprentice's Column" which was very beautiful. A very similar story about Van Helsing's visit and departure was told by Mr. Drysdale. Simon pulled out the piece of paper from Abraham's desk and noticed at least two of the symbols on it matched symbols that were on the column. After a quick discussion between the three rippers, Simon showed the note to Mr. Drysdale who did not show any odd reaction and just mention that there were symbols engraved all over the chapel. The three Rippers excused themselves telling Mr. Drysdale that they would return in the morning with rubbing materials to repeat what Abraham had done.
After getting back to the inn, they decide that returning early may shake the unflappable masons into spilling a bit more information, so they returned quickly with rubbing supplies just before the night time closing of the Rosslyn Chapel. The masons did grumble, but they allowed them to examine one of the columns. Simon took rubbings on the "Apprentice's Column" of the symbols that were on Abraham's note in the order that they were drawn. Each one depressed slightly and after pressing the last one, a secret door opened in the wall about forty feet away. Simon quickly dashed for the door only making it as far as the jam, and Sister Margaret quickly made it in the doorway just past Simon. The demeanor of the four masons changed drastically as they pulled cold iron daggers while rushing the Rippers.
At this point Twitch let loose with a volley of bullets, but one of her new gatlin pistols blew up in her hand, this didn't improve the mood of the masons. The points of their blades did not penetrate the think jacket Simon wore, so he and Margaret switched places and she dropped one of the masons with the holy light of God. The good sister then dropped another mason with her blast of holy light and the remaining two mason backed up saying that the three fools were free to go through the door and downstairs. They said that the Rippers were now expected down there and that they had nothing to worry about. Simon dug his gatlin pistol out of his doctor's bag and gave it to Twitch so that she would still have two guns.
Past the secret door a staircase led us down and around in such a way that it led back under the chapel. It then opened into a room in which the more religiously minded realized resembled Solomon's Temple. Twitch's father's teachings turned out even more helpful as she then said that the silver head on the alter was that of John the Baptist. Even Simon noticed that there were eight men, dressed as one would have imagined the Templar would have done, spread throughout the room. One of the Templar at this point siad that newly arrived Rippers had reneged on Van Helsing's promise and that their lives were forfeit. He then placed his hands on the silver head and said a few hush words.
At that point a bunch of things happened very quickly. The Templar organized themselves to attack, drawing cold iron daggers. A large demon appeared on the alter next to the silver head as the Templar that summoned him became very uneasy. Beams of holy energy from the sister tore into the demon as the twin gatlin pistols wounded many of the Templar, and it looked like the doctor would not have to administer to any of his friends. But then the Templar and the demon shook off their stupor and fiercely attacked back with a flaming cone from the demon and the Templar badly wounding Margaret while stunning Twitch. At this point the doctor rushes in to tackle a Templar as the Sister turned her holy power on herself for healing. Twitch quickly broke her stun and emptied the remaining chambers of both her guns into demon, dropping him dead.
The Templar were stunned as they cried out that their lord, the Baphomet, could not have been felled by mere humans just as the Whitechapel Irregulars, who were tailing the Rippers, show up with guns drawn on the four standing Templar. Fighting came to a stop, and the doctor saved the lives of two of the fallen Templar.
After the adrenaline, shock, and blood drained away, the three Rippers discussed many things with the Whitechapel Irregulars and remaining Templar. They learned that the irregulars were standing outside the chapel and when they heard Twitch's gun explode, they ran into the chapel they finding two Freemasons checking the other two that were blasted by the sister's fury. Out numbered, four guns to two cold iron daggers, the masons gave up and were immobilized by methods best left unsaid. The four then went downstairs and did a fine job of quickly bringing the battle to an end. Simon's ears perked up when he heard one make a comment that this location would make a fine lodge.
The Templar's stories were far more interesting. Way back when their ancestors were fighting in the Crusades, the organization came in possession of the silvered head of John the Baptist. They used the holy power of this relic to fight and capture the demon Baphomet during one of their epic battles. The head and another relic, the Pillars of Atlantis, were brought back to Scotland and hid in the very room everyone was standing in. Even though the demon was captured, it could whisper to some of the order, and over the last 500 years convinced the remaining Templar that it was a god and worthy of their devotion. Over time some of the order even learned how to release the demon for shorts periods of time.
The Freemasons, who built the chapel, where allied with the Templar but the two orgaizations usually left each other alone. More recently the Freemasons had also allied themselves the the Cabal. Jack learned of the relics and was able to convince the two organizations that the Pillars of Atlantis would be of better use elsewhere. Jack then took the pillars to a location that was never told to the Templar. Abraham Van Helsing also learned of all this and left Rosslyn to continue his hunt for the pillars.
More discussion occured between the Rippers, and it was decided that the silvered head had to be taken to the Order of St. George for further study and safe keeping. While the Templars had gone down the wrong path, they were redeemable and were asked to join the Rippers and irregulars to rid the town of the masons. When the new group left the chapel, they found the town to be mason free, and many of the locals were worried. Simon calmed them down by telling the that Twitch, Sister Margaret, and he were on a mission for unnamed religious organizations and that the Freemasons were not to be trusted. With the town elders now gone, Simon encouraged the gathering town folk to vote the inn keeper as acting mayor until official elections could be held later. Simon also gave the new mayor ten pounds to continue to maintain the now abandoned Freemason holdings until the Rippers returned.
The new mayor then mentioned that someone had been sent to get the sheriff due to the suspicious activities. The mayor was given the names of the three Rippers, the London address they were going to, and a promise that they would be returning to clear up all the legal and financial issues. The Whitechapel Irregulars were given some working funds and asked to stay behind to watch for Freemasons, to keep the Templar on the straight and narrow, and to tell the sheriff what happened. They understood that no mention of the supernatural was to be made, but instead to say that a church relic had been stolen by the Freemasons and was now on its way back to its proper home.
Twitch, the sister, and the doctor return to London via train where they tell Johann of all that transpired in Rosslyn. He was relieved that his father did not get into trouble in Rosslyn, and he did not have any other leads for the group to track down. The subject of a future Ripper lodge came up, and it was noted that Scotland did not have one yet. So Johann and Simon began working on the legal and financial paper work to buy/lease the necessary properties while Twitch and Sister Margaret tend to the care of the silvered head of John the Baptist.
Next week, Simon and Sister Margaret take time off to heal while Twitch tries to find a vendor of reliable gatlin pistols.
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