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Baroque Apocolypse: 11pm, 20th April (open)

Guest Arabella Aldwych

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Arabella dashed madly through the labarinthine corridors of Whitehall, a quiver bouncing against her back as she focused on running in her high-heeled court shoes. Nearly rolling on her ankle and gasping for air, she decided that she could afford a moment's rest. Slumping against a wall, Lady Ravenscar desperately peered up and down the hallway, prayer that none of those foul creatures were on their way. If they were, she would likely be cornered, and she was far from a perfect shot with her bow.


None were coming. Arabella sighed with relief and wiped her brow with a handkerchief, only now realising that there was blood smeared across her face. She had been lucky not to have died at the hands of that first undead courtier in the Queen's Presence Room, for her perfume was so pungent that it had masked the smell of rotting flesh until right at the last moment. A blow to the head with a hastily-grabbed statuette and the animated corpse had fallen to the ground, though it continued to writhe towards her, dragging itself across the carpet at the expense of its silk gown, now bloodied and ripped to shreds.


A panicked flight to the armoury later, and Arabella equipped herself with a bow, arrows and a sword in its sheath, which she highly doubted she would be able to use effectively. Still, arms were required, for this seemed to be the apocolypse itself. The Dowager Countess had shot her way through two more undead souls since and was now intent of finding the kitchens, where she could find the provisions necessary to await the arrival of... Someone. The lifeguards? The navy? Whoever was likely to come to the aid of the King and his courtiers.


Having caught her breath, Arabella continued on her journey, hoping to find other souls that had survived this outbreak of flesh eating terror. Lady Mirtel had obviously lied in saying that the London air was safe!

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The library seemed to be as safe a place as any, until the barricade they had erected was toppled. The undead scourge seemed to pour in through the entrance, and the only defenses they had left, apart from the maze of bookshelves, was a series of tables and chairs providing cover. Cadell had crouched down, muttering prayers to himself as his shaking hands tried to aim and fire.


The emerald on his cane was cracked, but that no longer seemed important. More relevant to him, apart from mere survival, was the iron tip on the cane and ivory handle. A sword rested at his side, but it was dull and mostly ceremonial. Never having been trained in its use, Cadell Mortimer was forced to rely on gunpowder and his cane.


"Lord Beverley, I don't think we can get them all!" Cadell interrupted his prayer to call to his erstwhile companion, over the low groans of the monsters and ringing shrieks of their victims. This is the Scourge of God. England is laid low because of her sin. The thought was morbid, but it was the only rational explanation he had. Who else but God would have sent this judgement upon them?


The ammunition pile next to him was dwindling. Enough bullets and shot to fight his way out, but not much more. Continuing to shout at Beverly, his next shot managed to hit one of the undead straight in the forehead. "Ave Maria," he whispered, before calling out again. "There has to be somewhere else! We'll have to fight our way through!"


((OOC: Tag, Beverly))

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Holy Mother of Jesus, he was going to Hell. This was it. His father was right; that he was left here for this just evidence of his sin! He should have listened better! He should have prayed more!


Some luck for this to be his first proper battle. If he somehow miraculously survived the Apocalypse and fought off the demons of Satan, he could finally tell the officers who had been in battle to shove off and stop calling him a quill pusher.


Beverley was in the library with Sir Cadell, a fine time to be with another Catholic, while legions of undead seemed keen on attack.


"Are the armies of Satan supposed to be this limitless?" he called back, wide-eyed after reloading yet again. Some sod of a Life Guard trooper had been one of the first he'd seen die, and Bev had made quick use of taking the weapon. Thankfully, he knew how to shoot and use a sword, but that did not seem to be much of an advantage. He and Mortimer were not exactly big men, and the baronet was a gimp.


"What is that smell?" His stomach lurched and he nearly puked. Blood he could handle, entrails he could handle, but this was not the smell of normal death it was altogether different. Like the privy of Satan. He swallowed the bile in his throat and moved toward Cadell. "We've got to get out of here to where there are more weapons!"


To get to the barracks where there was sure to be arms, they would have to go outside and that might not be wise.


"I think I know where we'll find a lot of weapons!" He suddenly had an idea. He knew where a certain someone had a bunch of weapons hanging all over the damned place.


Aiming another shot, he moved closer to an abandoned pistol and took that up, allowing the musket to sling over his back, emptied. "Let's go," he said, pulling out his sword.


After long, harried moments, they found themselves out in the hallway where an older woman with a bow was looking doe-eyed.


"My Lady, this way," he encouraged, in his now unkempt scarlet uniform. Not that of a Life Guard, but she probably did not know that. Everyone else seemed to mistake him for one when he wore it. With his sword arm, he started waving crosses at all the dead bodies with a quick "Vade cum Deus!"* as they passed.


*Go with God


(Oh Lord, LMFAO! Catholics to save the DAYYYY)

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It was said that Killington’s voodoo woman brought from the Indies that had begun the curse upon London. She brought others to her service, enticing them with song, drums, and ritual. Then too with guile and treachery she brought others to her power. Her love potions at first seemed a libertine’s delight, releasing the imbibers to a heightened revelry. Now Chelsea burns in the madness that followed. Drums beat incessantly into the night. Silent mobs pulled down those in the streets or those foolish enough to open windows or doors. The militia and Guards were beset by great numbers of unholy things creeping through Southwark and now withdrew to hold the bridges and likely Whitehall and The Tower. There was a thankful pause for an hour or two until the fires spread. Whether by accident or set by madmen thinking to purge the City or to demonstrate God’s wrath, he knew not, but the fires gave a hellish glow and not salvation’s light.


Now Owen aboard a ketch moved silently toward the Water Gate of Whitehall. He ordered a cannon to fire in hopes that survivors there might hear it. Perhaps any marooned might find a way to him. Crowded ferries, barges and all manner of rafts floated in London Pool or made upriver for the safety of Windsor or beyond. His vessel in its slow passage was larger and pushed aside the smaller boats. Thankfully the undead fear or loathe running water. The Thames was a salvation for those close to the river. For those untrained in its ways, the rushing waters around the piers of Tower Bridge took many innocents to another doom. God take them all into His Arms. With Owen were a dozen men, armed with boarding pikes or working the rigging. Perhaps his wife and servants had made it to Whitehall. He did not know.

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Arabella rushed round the corner, bow drawn, anticipating the worst. Imagine her relief to see two fresh-faced gentlemen staring at her, instead. One a stranger, the other the familiar Sir Cadell. She lowered her bow and hopped over a corpse to move closer to the pair, quite overwhelmed

"Sir Cadell! Oh, thank the Heavens you are safe!" Arabella exclaimed, quite tearful. "Keep by my side, promise me." She looked directly into his eyes, seeking assurances, fearing that she would not survive this alone. Thoughts of Cadell suddenly brought forth panic in Lady Ravenscar as she fretted about the safety of her family. Was it London alone that was suffering, or was this a plague across the nation?


Looking to the stranger for the first time, Arabella saw no reason not to trust the man as Cadell appeared to do. Hardly the leader, she would follow his word for as long as it seemed reasonable. Yet still, there were introductions to be made. A hasty curtsey and Arabella made herself acquainted.

"Lady Ravenscar, the Dowager Countess Ravenscar." She rushed to announce, finding it necessary to maintain some semblence of propriety, though without the luxury of time on their side. "Lead on, good sir." She urged the man, beginning to flex her bow.


Then, the distant boom of cannon.

"The navy!" Arabella supposed. "Are they under attack?" She gasped, now anxious that this was another French plot she was in the midst of.

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"Look out, behind you, " a cold female voice called. BOOM. SPLAT. THUD. Behind them a zombie that had been lurking behind one of the upholstery curtains fell down.


In the smoky mist Jane stepped forward. The petite blond was wearing black leather tight breeches and a fluffy masculine shirt, with cravat and top two buttons shockingly undone, her blond hairdo uncharacteristically unkempt with several tendrils escaping, and a smudge on her cheek. Was that a splatter of blood over her arm?


She had a pistol in each hand, and girdle with gunpowder slung over her shoulder. Two more pistols rested on her well shaped hips. A large golden cross hung from her neck, now proudly displayed. On this day of the damned, it was the Catholics having the last bitter laugh.


"Did you not smell them this close?" Jane arched a sarcastic eyebrow. The stench of the undead was incredible, worse even than the Thames.


"Here," she handed a pistol to Cadell and Beverley each "Reload them. Try and hit their brains. Where were you heading? Whitehall has been breached. Williamson evacuated the building. The word is to retreat to Windsor, over water." Windsor was always that last bastion of royal power. In the distance, from the Thames, a cannon shot. Jane frowned and turned her head in that direction.

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As per Arabella's request:


She stared in the mirror for a long time. In life she had never let the situation get the best of her. Why should death be any different? It was minutes until she lefted her right arm, sharply pulling the shoulder forwards until it snapped back to more or less whereit had been with a lurch. She studied the mirror reflection for another few minutes before lifting the hand and thoughtfully pulling off the muscle that had been danging out of her maligned right cheek, while the rest of her face was as fine featured and beautiful as it ever had been, if bit a bit paler than usual. Her dress had also ripped, baring one nicely sculpted leg nearly to the hip, while the heel of the other one seemed to be missing with just the bone clicking against the floor as she shifted.


A low growl called for attention and slowly she turned, her attention focusing on the large Leonberger. It took long for the thought, if it even could be called thought, to process but she lifted an arm not even noticing it as two fingers fell off and made a sound. The sound had no meaning, but the splendour of the voice that had once had her titled as the Keeper of Noble Spirits and a Nightingale rang true even now giving the large dog pause. She repeated the sound, the large doog whining uncertainly before edging closer. She bowed closer to the dog and didn’t rise again for a few moments, her lips painted a pretty shade of red as she did with just a hint of the end of one golden-brown ear visible through the hole in her cheek. The dog, what had been a dog, looked up, its eyes dulled but still governed through the one instinct that had led the Leonberger through life and would now lead him through death. Utter loyalty to her mistress.


She turned again, slowly and carefully and started for the door as she moved. Slow at first but gradually picking up speed, the large beast, its fur partially falling off, keeping pace next to her. She was given pause in the middle of the third hallway she was travelling down. A pole of sorts with a tattered cloth hanging from it. A ripped banner perhaps? She stared at it for a long time before picking it up, not evening feeling it’s weight in her hand as she took it with her. “Lady Mirtel! Oh I am so glad to see you ali…” the words of the gentleman died off as she took in the state of the court beauty and tried to back away. But it was already too late. A melodic sound from bloodied lips, but Leo was already jumping. A creature of pure muscle, fangs and claws, a creatures who feared nothing and felt no pain, whose only purpose was to obey its mistress. The man stood no chance. Nor did the two behind him. Leo took out the stomach of the woman, while Mirtel dropped the banner pole and availed herself to a delicate nibble on the other man’s neck. Then the two stood. It took some time. But then there was a scrabble on the floor. The man who had fell first scrabbled over the floor until his hand fell on his eye that he popped back into his head with a growl. The other man was the next, stepping forward with a gurgle of his own as the two living deads stood side by side before Mirtel. The woman was the last to move, swaying for a few long minutes on the spot before stuffing his intestines back into the cavern of what remained of her stomach. A melodious sound from her lips and she moved forward, the huge creature that used to be a dog continuing by her side with what looked like an arm hanging between it’s jaws, while the other three lurched to follow after.

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Samuel was watching it all, transfixed. He would give the world to be able to have such stage effects in his plays. It would be a smash hit, without doubt. The public was tired of all these trivial comedies of manners. The time was ripe for pure gore, and Samuel would be the one to bring it on. So he watched the zombies ravage the corridors of Whitehall, and people running screaming to and fro, and tried to memorize as much as he could for future reference.


If there will be a future, that is - came a quick thought as some horrid creature jumped towards him with a screech. A Whitehall guard probably smashed a portrait on one of the walking dead, for now a lovely semi-nude Diana with a rotting skull sticking out of it lurched towards Samuel with its hands groping forward. The creature's hand reached Samuel's throat and started choking.


"Wait!" Samuel gasped. "I have a deal for you!"


The creature tightened his grasp.


"I will make you a star!" The playwright continued and the hold on his neck grew somewhat weaker. "You will be the sensation of London," Samuel was encouraged to go on. "I guarantee you."


Disturbingly enough, the zombie's hollow eyes twinkled.


"You are what the audience wants. They are craving for you - " Behind the undead's shoulder Samuel could notice what seemed like a lady nibbling a man's neck. "Well, maybe not in exactly the same way you are craving for them - but nonetheless! They will storm the theatres just to see you. No pretty actress could be your rival."


The undead let go of Samuel's throat. "I will make you famous," the playwright smiled at him. "Come with me."

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