Back at the Pension, to hear that Mr. W. has been much in the company of a small green personage, according to Brown, who clearly disapproves. Want to know more but more anxious to try the wall effect again. Went off into the hills with a hired horse, poor thing. Lucky I went so far as the Energies got out of control and I set off a rather large Earthquake before I was really ready for anything to happen. Gave me quite a scare and caused the horse to bolt and injure itself. Got both it and self back eventually. Paid for treatment of poor animal. Taking self to bed now; maybe using Sorcery just for practice is not such a good idea after all.
Still feeling a little shaken first thing, but all thoughts of last night banished by astonishing news in the local Newspaper this morning that a Black Rose is being exhibited here in Trieste by Dr. Du Rivoli. I have heard something of his work but never a Mention of such an Oddity. I cannot believe it to be Genuine. Whilst preparing to pay a Call on the Dr., heard that Mr.W. has been summoned away to sort out a Difficulty with the Patents for M.Matinage's Yoke device. ......
Lady H accompanied me to the Dr.'s where we found the so-called Black Rose in a Conservatory. It is indeed a Weird specimen - modern in form but on an old-fashioned wild-form root stock. I perceived it to be Sorcerous, as I Suspected. This impression was Confirmed when one sniff at its Scent filled my mind with Horrific impressions of Fire, Blood & Chaos - something of the UnSeelie, I expect. Was able to warn Lady H, but she did insist on sampling the perfume herself and was unaffected - a lack of Sensitivity!
Spent some time sketching the plant and attempted to take a petal but was Thwarted. The Dr. spoke at some length with Lady H.; I didn't waste much time on him as he was most Unco-operative about the History and Origins of the Rose, offering only to send me a copy of his Paper when it was sent for Publication, and a faded bloom within a few days. Tiresome man!
Met a large foreign Botanist, Count Zaluziansky von Zaluzian, while viewing the Rose. I have little knowledge of the man beyond his published field work, though he seems expert enough in Wild plants, which he claims to much prefer over Cultivated varieties. He saw nothing Sorcerous about the Black Rose but did agree with my doubts over its Roots. We discussed it over Lunch. Then spent a fascinating afternoon comparing notes with Count Z. on the local flora, on which he does seem to Know something. Lady H. Obligingly took a note on the Black Rose out to Sr. Verbinelli for me. She returned whilst we were taking Tea with a suggestion from Sr.V that the Rose might be old magic and that I should keep an Eye on it, especially when it comes into Full Bloom, which may be a few days away as only one of the many flower buds was open today.
Dinner at the Count's invitation with Lady H. Who took up all the talk on the subject of M.Matinage and his Engines and the crimes of Mlle. Lumiere which I am sure must have bored the Count. He did not recognise the Woman from the sketch we have of her. A Telegram arrived for me in response to my Query on the Dr., sent to Prof.G. at the BotSoc. Which indicated nothing Sinister or Odd to be known of him.
Up early, as usual, my Constitutional took me by Dr. Du R's villa, where I was Astonished to see quite a crowd - not, as I had expected, all come to view the Rose, but there because the Item had been Stolen! The Police were Unco-operative as Usual and would not give me any information nor let me in. Back at the Pension, I found the Count just finished Breakfast, so told him the News. He wanted to see for himself so I went along, assuring him that he would get no Information. Lady H. sent a note to ask the Captain of Police to discuss the Theft, which might work as they do Respect a Lady. ......
No idea why, but Count Z. Managed to gain us admittance to Dr. Du R and some more detail on the missing plant. Seems that the Police are looking for a suspicious robed Arab seen in the vicinity recently. Looked to me like a 2-man job, plus a carriage to convey the large pot away but they wouldn't Listen to my suggestion. At last, we learned that the Rose had been grown from a very old cutting found by the Dr. in the pages of a Book on Ottoman Gardening in their European Territories (Note: look this up next time in Paris). The plant was now in its third year, and flowering for the first time. At earliest opportunity, telegrams to Prof.G to find out anything I can on the Rose and Ottoman involvement in breeding Black varieties.
Very Strange news from Count Z over lunch, that he met one of the Fay in the Pension itself, who urged him to locate and preserve the Black Rose, claiming it to be in the Hands of Humans who intended to destroy it and the Fay! During lunch, the Dr. came in with the local paper, wherein is a Notice to say the Plant will be destroyed in 2 days if the Fay does not present itself to the Captors. So, I went off the Newspaper office directly after the meal; the Count insisted on coming too though I am sure I could have managed perfectly well without him. We now have the original paper with Gothic script, on which the Notice was handed in to the Newspaper. I resolved to consult Sr.V in person on this, and Lady H. Kindly offered to ride out with me.
So here we are, spending the night under Sr.V's roof once again. It has been a Fascinating evening. He has Instructed me on the Correct way to look for signs of Sorcery - almost every thing and every place in his home shows traces though I did find a wine cellar where I could see the effect of not locating any Magick. Sr.V suspects we have an experienced Sorcerer involved with the Rose but cannot, on account of his Elevated position within the Brotherhood, interfere himself in the Matter. He has suggested we may be dealing with a Jinn, an Eastern type of Fay, which Lady H spent some time reading up in the library here whilst I had my Lesson. The script on the note is Germanic, Sr.V. confirmed and we are to hunt out the tall blond Man who walked into the Conservatory while I was sketching but did not linger nor sign the Visitor's Book (which Lady H seems to find significant, though I cannot see why).
A good early start had us back in Trieste well before lunch. Exchanged News with Count Z. (a new acquaintance but so much the Gentleman and tolerably Knowledgeable) who had been looking last night for the Scoundrel who delivered the Advertisement to the Newspaper office and was Set Upon by Ruffians. Fortunately he had defended both himself and his Manservant (who has a Magnificent Black Eye to show for the Encounter). We discussed how to locate the talk Germanic person. Lady H. Suggested a call on Sra.Abalone, which seemed a very round-about way of getting the information but I agreed to go along, if only to enquiry about Mlle. Abalone's health. Count Z. was off to visit the Coffee Houses to do whatever Gentlemen do in such places. ..........
Sra.Abalone's was as Tiresome and Long-winded as I feared but we did obtain News of her Daughter (who is to marry the Poet) and the name of the German (Herr Friedrick Eisenheim), who has been avoiding Society (sensible Man). Count Z. had picked up his address so we went there in the carriage, so I could attempt to locate any Sorcery in the vicinity while Brown pretended to have a problem with the Horses. I easily detected a concentration in the western half of the upper floor which might be the location of the Plant. The Villa is of modest size and stands within its own small grounds. I wanted to explore on foot to see if there was a back way into the Property but the Count insisted he do it himself.
Did not see much of Lady H. after returning to the Pension as a friend of a colleague of her father's or some such was waiting to speak with her. The Count sped away to find a Magistrate to sign a search warrant for the Villa (which I was surprised he got so easily since the Crime of Rose Theft by Herr Eisenheim was unproved). After tea, I went back to the Villa to see the back entrance for myself; the Count's report was in fact quite accurate though he had exaggerated the potential Cover provided by the trees and bushes. While examining the rear of the building, I was accosted by a slight figure swathed in dark Robes, presumably the very same who spoke to Count Zaluzian yesterday. I found him Mysterious but a Direct fellow whocame swiftly to the Point. It was on his advice, that the Police would be no help at all in the matter of recovering the Rose, that I formed my Plan.
It took me longer than I liked to obtain a rope ladder and grappling hooks - one would have thought the man who had sold me so much equipment for my Expedition when I first came to Trieste would have been glad of the Business in spite of the late hour. I shall shop elsewhere next time.
Since the Count said the Police would be arriving to execute the Search Warrant at Dawn, Lady H and I arranged to be concealed in the rear garden of the Villa before sunrise. I checked by Sorcery that the Rose was still there. As soon as the Police started making a Noise at the front of the Villa, I threw up the rope ladder and, when it caught firmly, I climbed up to the Window, Lady H just behind.
The room was mostly bare. The Rose in its pot were on a table in the Centre of the room, directly beneath what appeared to be a Carboy of fluid. A rope held a weight, held back by a string such that, if the string were cut, the weight would swing forward and smash the glass vessel, drenching the Rose. The door into the Room was ajar. As expected, the sash window was firmly fastened but it took no time to break the pane with the handle of my trowel and throw up the lower sash. The noise of our Entrance unfortunately attracted the attention of Herr Eisenheim. As I moved towards the Rose, he stepped into the Room and our eyes met.
I am not entirely sure what happened next. He seemed to be bearing down on my Mind with the Force of his Will and, fired with Anger at his obvious neglect of the Plant (it was bone dry), I Fought to resist his Will and keep his attention from the Rose and Lady H. I was hoping that she might be able to rescue the Rose while I held his gaze. I felt a chill, heard a ghostly wail and it felt as if I had received a sharp blow to the head. I staggered back a pace then noticed Herr Eisenheim drawing the blade from his Swordstick. I shouted to try and regain his attention and poured the full Force of my Will at him. He retreated as I felt an electric tingling. The next thing I knew, I was being helped up from the floor by a policeman, my nose was bleeding and my head was pounding fit to burst.
I gathered afterwards that Lady H had been able to pull the Rose from its pot and fling it out of the window to the Robed Figure, or that was her intention but as she got to the window with it, something flew at the upper pane, smashed it and grabbed the Plant from her and backed away, in mid-air. In a moment, as Herr Eisenheim stopped trying to fight the first Genie, stopped swearing and started tracing magical Outlines on the floor around his feet, there was a huge black female Genie at the window which then Smote the wall of the House until it Fell.
We were all, except Herr Eisenheim, outside the Villa when the wall finally gave way. It seemed to me that it was as more the Magickal Barrier set to ward the Rose that was being destroyed than the physical Wall. A minute or two later, there was an Explosion from inside the Villa and we saw a Vast, Misty figure carrying another move away and upwards through the air, dripping Smoke. I was almost too weak to stand so was grateful when Lady H made sure a local Physician took me in to rest at his home nearly. I slept long.
Later, I have no idea when, I woke to see Lady H. She had been to see Sr. Verbinelli who had kindly sent some herbal preparation which he says will help me recover from what must have been one of those Sorcerous Duels he told me of. The Doctor says I may have to stay here some days. I am too weak and hurt to complain of the confinement to Bed.