Journal of Virginia Hyde

15th May

Up early and down to see if M.Matinage was around his centipede Device. The officious soldiers on duty there did not want to let me near it, but I Asserted myself. On return to our lodgings, found Lady H. and Mr. W in a state of some Excitement; there was some story of mechanical Birds flying in through windows at the bank. Accompanied Mr. W to see where Lady H. had been the victim of such an attack. Said she was put out by some noxious gas - bystanders report chloroform but Lady H. says it was not.
Mr. W suspected that a certain Sr.Gafanni, local watchmaker and Tinkerer, was maybe involved with these small flying devices. Went to sneak a look through the workshop window while Mr. W. kept the Senor in conversation and sure enough, there were such Devices in his workshop. I could see there were some small cards that seemed to be part of their control system. Fascinating! I must get a closer look.

Tried the pharmacists - a couple had been broken into recently, probably for Ingredients for the gas. Probably also the source of the two strange Bottles I found mixed up with my own equipment; didn't think to look carefully until Mr. W. found someone had placed an incomplete version of the small ornithopters in the back of the wardrobe in his room. And only just in time too as the Soldiers arrived almost at once. Tremendous fuss! We insist on sending for the British Consul and Mr. McB arrived. Poor Lady H. had not had time to check her room and was arrested when a watch was found under her mattress. We must find out who put it there, along with the incriminating items in the other rooms. And who tipped off the Soldiers exactly where to search and what for. Such intrusion into the rooms of a Lady and a Scientist is intolerable. I went straight to the Consul to urge him to have Lady H. released at once. These Foreigners have no sense of what is fitting and how to treat a Lady.

Soon after satisfying myself that as good a Lawyer as we can hope for in these parts has been despatched to negotiate for Lady H., intercepted a message arrived at the Pension for her L'ship. I decided to keep the assignation myself, since she could not. Met a Captain who Lady H. had Interested in our Affair earlier in the day - reported latest goings on and feel sure he will help.

Borrowed Brown and the carriage this evening and hid in it, along with Mr. W. to keep an eye on that watchmaker's place. Saw some men arrive and load packing cases from the workshop onto a donkey cart. We followed into an insalubrious part of the City. Mr. W. went the last part of the way on foot. I went back with Brown in the carriage, leaving Mr. W near the watchmaker's.

16th May

Mr.W. must have had a late night again. I woke him anyway and took the unfinished flying device with me to the Captain of police, and told him of what I had seen the night before. he recognised the warehouse where we saw the crates taken as the HQ of a notorious local Villain, Pietro Solidili. The Police were most Co-operative and took Mr. W. and I with them to Arrest the criminals. First they called on Sr. Gafanni who implied that Lady H. was in league with the crooks - or was it another English Lady, Charlotte Saunders maybe?
We soon got word of another raid, this time on the castle itself, where the taxes and official records were stolen. The Police acted at once, going in some Force to the warehouse and surrounding it. Mr. W. displayed great presence of mind and skill in blocking the road with a cart upon which barrels of turpentine had been brought. Purpose of said Spirits was unclear at first but it turned out to be a way of avoiding being overcome by the gas used by the criminals. Solidini was arrested, attempting to escape by the back door. I located Maria, the daughter of Sr.Gafinni who was being held Hostage. When I had returned her to her father, he showed his appreciation by giving me access to his fascinating Workshop and allowed me to examine the mechanisms of the Flying Devices. Lady H. has made the Soldiers see sense and has been released. I hope there will soon follow an official Apology.

Herr W. reappeared today. He had little to say about the Odd behaviour of the Austro-Hungarian soldiers stationed here, and made various lame excuses about the Rumours abounding that stirred up such trouble between the Soldiers and the Police over the last few days. I feel sure he knows more of this than he lets on.

17th May

Such an exciting day! I feel it has been a turning point in my Life. I have much to consider so will be Brief. This was the night of the Full Moon, and my appointment with a friend of Sr. Verbinelli to learn more of Sorcery. I invited Lady H. to come with me. We went on horseback then on foot, to the appointed place, a glade in woods about an hour's ride away. Fortunately I had read up on the place a little during the day so was not totally unprepared when a Fay creature greeted us and tried to Turn us from the path. I was in a hurry and not to be delayed; it took offence and was quite Nasty with us until it heard me mention the name of Sr.Verbinelli, where upon it became all politeness.

I was greeted by Sr.Verbinelli himself. He spoke of the Druidical Brotherhood and how he saw Abilities within me that might allow of my admittance to this Circle; If I passed the tests. He first created a small flame in his hand, which was a great surprise to me. Then he bid me observe as he did it again, to see if I had the ability to detect the process by which he created it. Much to my surprise and delight, I found that I could do so, though the effort seemed to create small flames around myself at the time. Then he said he would teach me some Magick that I would have need to use in the near future. There followed a series of confusions and incomprehensible instructions which I did my best to take in. I just hope I can remember them aright still. He allowed me one Attempt to see if I had got the Hang of it - it seemed to take an Age but to my utter Amazement, the method he had taught allowed me to create a wall of stone to grow up out of the ground, as if from a small Earthquake. Such powers must be used wisely. I wonder if I shall ever be able to do this again, and what has Sr. Verbinelli foreseen for us? Can he also read the Future? I am instructed to return to him when I have made good use of his lesson. I did think hard on the way home about this gathering of magical energies but it seemed to upset the horses or the weather so I stopped trying so hard. I am exhausted!

18th May

Had just finished telling Mr.W about the Adventure of last night over a very late Breakfast, when a Dwarf arrived to talk to us, sent by Sr.Verbinelli. We now know what the mystery was about - we are to assist this Dwarf and his six brothers in ridding their home and workshop of a Troll. It seems they excavated some iron ore which would have been better left alone, so releasing this Troll. And my task was to rebuild the wall of stone. Herr W. came along with us as we felt his steel sword might be of use, if not his diplomatic skills. It is fortunate he did so. Mr.W.'s plan to create a Net of iron chains with which to entrap and bind the Troll was a good one, and the Dwarfs carried it out with swift skill, but the Creature was too strong and burst its bonds just before the dwarfs had dragged it beyond the vein of iron ore into the cave where I hoped to seal it up. But Herr W. shot at it, as did Lady H. (it seemed badly hurt by her iron bullets). She also shouted something at it - told me afterwards that it spoke and understood some Latin - just shows how long the thing had been walled up. Might have learnt something from it had it not been so Ferocious and determined to take a Bite out of any one of us it could get at. The firing drove it back and I was able to gather just the energy I needed quite quickly. I think I lost Control a bit as the wall came up, and the wall did look rather like Teeth, and I feel sure I heard a giggle from somewhere, but it was only my second attempt and I was very glad to have remembered it well enough and got it right enough at the right time. The Dwarfs were very grateful and made us comfortable for the night. They let us examine some of the Devices they are working with and we discovered that they had been given the plans for the mechanical Yoke to transfer the engine power into a flight motion by Mlle. Lumiere/Miss Saunders. They had made versions both large and small. Mr. W had firm words with them.

19th May

Another special day for me, with gratitude to Sr. Verbinelli. I hope I did remember to thank him. I am in his home for a couple of days while he instructs me a little in the way of the Druidic Order. I came here directly from the Dwarfen caves to report on the use of the wall spell. He has explained to me that the silver brooch given me by the dwarfs is the holly leaf symbol of the order, of which I am now a Novice. That will take a bit of getting used to, being a Novice in anything. He has told me something of the traditions of the Brotherhood - I must say I am glad that they do not usually get involved in the bickerings and rivalry of the other Orders of Sorcery - one gets enough of such Politicking in the Botanical Soc. (I wonder if I could put old Dr. T behind a wall?). He also told me of the Sorcerous battle of Wills; I hope never to have to be involved in one but it can't be a great deal worse than facing down the likes of Mrs. F-R at a Board Meeting in the Bot.Soc. He also warned me against Unravelling, and explained the odd effects of Harmonics which probably explains the way the second wall giggled. Lady H. is kindly staying here until I am ready to leave. Hope she is not too bored.

20th May

Another fascinating day of instruction with the kind Sr. Didn't see anything of Lady H. except at meal times. She seems happy enough in the Library. I am anxious to try out what I have learnt. Seems I was supposed to have done a wall or two before going to help the Dwarfs, for practice. Back to Town tomorrow. My head is so full of new Learning that I need to Digest and Reflect.