In the week prior to the start of the story, Andre Verreuil, Genevieve “Gene” Moreau, and Phillipe Berard receive invitations to Duke Chretien Wraith’s annual Fall Feast. The feast is a big event every year as it is the main event held by the Duke that is not a family affair. This is the Duke’s opportunity to thank everyone for things they have done for him. Because it’s the Duke’s big gala, there tends to be a lot of nobility and aristocracy from even the surrounding countries that attend this soiree. Many a person has made themselves a reputation at one of these parties, although not all of them made the reputation they wished to.
Phillipe asks Celeste Wraith to accompany him to the gala. Where as Celeste’s father is not comfortable with his daughter attending, he knows this is a big event and eventually relents and allows his daughter to attend. Gene uses the week to design a new hairpiece for herself. The hairpiece is designed to look like a ship, and the ships cannon actually works and is good for one shot.
September 22, 1750
5:10 PM – Phillipe, Celeste, Gene, and Joscelin arrive at Wraith Manor to see a gigantic spectacle. There are valets outside taking care of carriages, and footmen waiting to help the guests unpack themselves to get into the party. They look around and see nobility from all over, as well as some of the more well known figures around the city. Capt. Sabat is there, as well as Cardinal Latourelle and Pere and Soeur Reindeau. As well as the extravagant dresses and hairpieces, there are people there in older, second-hand finery. Where as people tended to stay in class groups around the party, it is amazing to see them together at the same event.
They enter the party and make their way into the reception area to have themselves announced. When they arrive, they see Duke Wraith in deep conversation with three other men. The first they all know as Joscelin’s father Andre Verreuil, the second is a gentleman that Gene has seen before at Le Procope but doesn’t actually know, and the third gentleman is dressed in a decidedly Brittish fashion. As the group approaches the Duke, they overhear the gentleman say in university perfect Parisian French with a London accent, “If you can’t help me with why I’m here, I’ll just ask that you stay out of my way and let me take care of my business.”
The Duke spots the group approaching and breaks up the conversation by turning and introducing the group to his guests. The Brittish gentleman is named Nathanial Hawtry and is a scholar at Oxford University studying electricity in particular, and science in general. The other gentleman is introduced as Athanase Cheuvront. Athanase says very little, merely being very polite while introductions are made.
There is some polite exchange while the Duke tells Nathanial about Gene recreating Ben Franklin’s experiment with the kite and the key. During the conversation, Joscelin and Celeste both notice Nathanial’s walking stick. The stick has been made rather then bought and is slightly gnarled. Carved all over it’s surface are small intricate runes and arcane symbols, but nothing they recognize.
After cocktails are finished, everyone moves into the formal hall for dining. The party are all sat at the main table, near Duke Wraith. Celeste winds up sitting next to one of her cousins, Delphine Lachapelle. Delphine is only 14 years old and is very excited to see her favorite cousin. The whole diner Delphine just talks Celeste’s ear off. Celeste doesn’t pay much attention to Delphine’s chatter, but Curiosity Killed the Cat, and Celeste managed to hear Delphine’s story about a strange cat that had been out on the wall around her house. Delphine remembers the cat because every time she went near a window, she could see the cat watching her. The cat is a fairly normal tabby cat, but has incredible emerald green eyes. She begs Celeste to bring her friends to look into it.
9:00 PM – Other then the request for Celeste’s help, diner is otherwise uneventful. After desert, nearly time for dancing, a servant comes rushing in to speak with Andre Verreuil. After telling Andre what he needs to know, Andre asks Duke Wraith, Nathanial, and Joscelin to accompany him to the drawing room nearby.
He informs them that while he and his three wives enjoyed Duke Wraith’s hospitality, someone stole into the Verreuil camp at Cours La Reine and took the youngest child that was around. Laurent Verreuil is 3 years old and is the youngest member of the family old enough to walk. Andre asks Joscelin to get Gene, Phillipe, and Celeste to go with him to the camp as he has heard that Gene is the best person you can send to a crime scene. He asks Nathanial to accompany them as well. He tells Joscelin that he will go to his contacts and see what he can learn.
Joscelin grabs everyone else, who then ask Duke Wraith if they could possibly borrow some clothes as the formal attire isn’t suited to investigation work. He allows them access to the wardrobes where they are able to find more suitable attire.
9:30 PM – The party finishes changing and heads toward the Verreuil family camp at le cours de la Rhine. On the way, the party tries to learn more about Nathanial, who is not very forthcoming with any knowledge that he might have. They find it quite interesting that Andre would have sent Nathanial with them.
9:45 PM – The party arrives at the Verreuil family camp to find that the only people there are Guy, who had been left in charge while all the adults were at the party, 10 year old Alaina, and 6 year old Frederic. Guy was inside preparing dinner for the younger ones, while he let them go out and play.
Phillipe and Joscelin stay inside to talk to the kids while Gene and Celeste go outside to look for evidence. Nathanial goes outside with the girls.
Phillipe and Joscelin start by talking to Guy. Guy changed to try to find Laurent after he disappeared, but Laurent’s scent just vanished at the place he was playing. He had been inside and didn’t realize that anything had happened till he went to feed the kids. Frederic and Alaina had been playing off in the trees a distance away, but Laurent was scared to go out into the trees, so he stayed by the camp to play. They heard him playing, but then the sound just stopped. They didn’t think anything of it until Guy started calling for them and Laurent wasn’t around.
Gene goes out and investigates where Laurent was playing. His tracks are easily visible around where he was playing, but there are no tracks leaving the area. After a while, she is able to find signs of movement in the grass, but no real tracks. She follows the signs of movement away from the camp and into the woods on the other side of the path. She is able to continue tracking the faint trail all the way to a circle she finds. The circle is approximately 3 feet in diameter. At the north most point inside the circle there is a dead field mouse. Some killed it with a knife. At the west most point is an empty glass jar, with stopper. At the south most point is some very soft padding. At the east most point is a blindfold.
Upon further search of the area with the circle, Gene is able to discover a smudge on the outside of the jar where someone had grabbed it with their bare hands. She also finds a red silk fiber, and a size 8 boot print with a foreign soil sample in it. Gene takes a particular interest in the glass jar. The jar is approx one quart in size. Quality workmanship and the glass is clear and without major imperfections. It appears to be brand new as there are no residues inside the jar at all, or on the stopper. The stopper is made of cork and is unadorned with anything decorative. It is just a piece of cork that fits into the jar. Gene feels confidant that if she found other samples, she cold recognize the workmanship.
Once Phillipe and Joscelin have rejoined Gene, Celeste, and Nathanial at the scene, Phillipe comments that if he didn’t know any better, he would say that this was magic. Nathanial finally decides to tell them why he was sent with them.
“That would be because this was done by magic, and not by someone who is very good at it. The man apparently used a type of spell we refer to as a veil. He apparently used some sort of ritual, suggesting that he isn’t capable of true thamaturgy. I dare say I could have pulled off the same effect with much less effort.”
After this man’s admission that magic is real, and that he himself was capable of magic, Gene immediately starts in with questions. After Nathanial explains to her that magic is highly dependent of the person using it, Gene states that if the effect is repeatable, then magic is just another form of science.
End first session