The Dracula Dossier

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...and Doyle gets his ass kicked

Takeaways

  • Aytown’s old flat is there, but empty. The empty basement seems to indicate that his stuff might have been claimed. Given the record of someone having paid his back rent and the case being closed, it seems likely.
  • Pre-Dracula vampires don’t appear in English folklore, so it seems he was Patient 0 for the UK
  • Something troubling took place at Lady Carradine’s house; and she was associated with Robert Parton
  • Doyle’s computers are all fried, although we knew he kept backups elsewhere
  • The guy who beat up Doyle did so with one punch and a long treatment of a stun gun, and then he tossed the apartment and took the forged copy of the Dossier. Me moved inhumanely fast, and drank one of your last beers
  • It seems that Francis Aytown photographed Lucy, Mr. De Vill, and Juliette Parton and they all exhibited the same disturbing ‘skull face’
  • Doyle pointed out that aside from the B&E at Lord Godalming’s estate 8 days ago, all their research has gone into people and places related to a redacted portion of the book – could this be how they were tracked and the safe house found?

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Comments

Drinking our beer was the last straw. After we get done at Godalming’s estate we need to track this guy down.

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In the days after the attack on the safe house and a move to another, farther out from London, Doyle learns via pretty simple Internet research that the Carradine line is extinct, having died out with the 10th Lord Carradine’s death in 1973, of natural causes.

Additionally, some research into the locations of Carfax and Seward’s asylum yields some interesting information. First, the location of Dracula’s London estate is listed as being in Plaistow in the unredacted version, and Purfleet in the published version. Doyle, remarking endlessly about how he prevented his attacker from stealing their computers and doing even more harm, also points out that, in the book, Carfax and the asylum are close to one another, and how that seems pretty important to the story. If they weren’t near one another, there would be a number of things that would have to be changed.

Plaistow, he notes, was rural in the 1890s, and is now a poor, Muslim-heavy neighborhood in East London, consisting mostly of government housing built after WW2, when a great deal of the original structures were destroyed by German bombs. There are, however, other areas within site of the neighborhood that survived.

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So do we still want to go to Godalming or should we go to Plaistow now that we know something is different about carfax in the unredacted version?

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Noemi suspects Godalming is going to be another check box that doesn’t really teach us anything. However, it’s pretty easy/not that risky to do with her skills/charm so she will go along with it if you all want to. She definitely thinks the more major locations that Doyle is picking out is worth digging into if we’re going to go to specific places.

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Following the discrepancies between editions seems like the best use of our time, as there is less to cover than in the entire text of the novel. So, I’m going to agree with Noemi – let’s check out the major locations Doyle’s picked out.

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Doyle points out that in the mass-market edition Carfax – mistakenly called ‘Carfax Abbey’ in a later stage adaptation – is said to be in Purfleet, which is on the east end of London, along the M25 highway. The problem, he points out, is that none of the other references in the book match up with that as being the location, most notably Seward’s asylum. Beyond that, he can find nothing in any old records or maps of a ‘Carfax’ being in Purfleet.

“Aw fink’iss bogus, roit? Roit prawpa makin’fing’sup, they was!” Doyle blurts out, spitting a half-chewed piece of chip across onto his computer screen.

“Is’nawt there, me finks…naw ah awl….in fak, aw fink’iss in Plaistow…place burned down in’a war, en so’iss awl new buildins’n such…but we’ve been findin’ ole basements and wha’not, roit? Roit.”

He shovels another handful of pecans into his mouth before turning back to his keyboard and three-screen display, pulling up old maps of London and digging into address registries.

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“I have another idea, let’s call Taser Lad to come hit Doyle again”

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The furious clicking of keys coming from the other room stops.

“Bugger off, frog princess!,” which is then followed by the sounds of grumbling, keystrokes, and loud chewing.

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This is backtracking a bit, but do you guys think it’s possible the management keeps a log of the items claimed from storage? Maybe Aytown’s belongings were claimed from storage only recently, or perhaps they just keep great records. Might be worth looking into who claimed his stuff. Seems like it may have been stuff worth claiming.

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Noemi’s knowledge of Law is sufficient for her to indicate that possessions were/are routinely seized by landlords when rent is past due and then turned over when the rent is paid. She’s confident that whoever paid his rent also secured the dude’s possessions. Certainly those yuppie shits gentrifying the neighborhood won’t have the information. The irony of Noemi Artaud, daughter of an heiress and a politician, calling someone a “yuppie shit” is left as an exercise for the reader.

A popup on her phone indicates that the auction house she has been leaning on has a collection of Aytown photographs which can be quietly obtained for a large sum of cash. Well, “large”. She gets the cash out of a friend’s couch cushions and goes to fetch them.

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Consider them as fetched. The pictures are in Noemi’s possession, along with a few impromptu shots in an old green envelop. These, having not been framed, have long since deteriorated and are falling apart.

The impromptu shots are all dated “Aug ‘94.” Most of them are of the portrait subjects, although there are also shots of other men, including Quincey Morris. In most cases, the subject is caught in a characteristic moment — reading a book or letter, in animated conversation, loading a gun or brandishing a weapon, or staring out a dark window. The background in most of the photographs appears to be the living room or hallway of a house or flat in London.

Neither Mina Harker nor Lucy Westenra is present in any of the impromptu photographs. A few blurry, dark shots appear to depict the inside of a ruined building, but they are so damaged little can be discerned.

Other photographs from the envelope appear to have been incorrectly developed, and just show strange radiating patterns. One set of blotches eerily resembles a skull. These are dated “Mar ’94.”

Remember that we’re using Investigative abilities mostly online, so let me know what you want to do, and using which abilities.

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I definitely want to review the weird ruin pictures with Architecture and History to determine where it might be located, particularly in areas that we believe the Dossier events took place in and areas where we know Aytown was.

Jeremy, maybe you want to forward the pictures privately to the other players? I was about to post the URL and realized that might not be kosher.

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I just edited the Player Secret to include everyone, so you can all view & download the pictures.

As for Noemi’s use of Architecture and History on the pictures, the mountains and ruins look a lot like the sorts of places described in the book when it’s in Romania. Perhaps, with extensive imagery research, it might be possible to identify some of those locations.

The interiors of buildings are definitely medieval, castle-like, but otherwise nondescript, although they fit into the overall setting established by the book.

The images of people in various indoor settings look like they were taken in England – the ones by desks and whatnot, that is.

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That’s interesting – but it could explain how the tapestries surfaced in England, if Aytown brought them back from a journey of some kind…

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Do any of the photographs have any 1 thing in common? I’ll use my skill in art and notice, I suppose to search the photos for anything similar, or maybe even peculiarly dissimilar that surprises me, like the signature being different or brush strokes going in the same direction, etc. Either way, I think these seem to point us toward checking out what we had decided on.

(FYI – I’m not receiving updates to this thread when anyone (including Jeremy) posts an update or reply. I just so happened to have just checked, and saw that there are a ton of updates I wasn’t notified were posted. )

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Check the settings in your own profile – you can turn on & off notifications.

The pictures are all real. The ones that are framed all seem to have been taken in the same places – outdoors in a rugged, mountainous area, and indoors in what look like Victorian-era upper middle class homes. The deteriorated ones, again, are falling apart. They are all on similar paper and look, to the untrained eye – that is, lacking skill in Photography – to be of the same age, and possibly from the same type of camera, development process, and/or photographer.

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I’m at a standstill on the photos for now, any thoughts from anyone else?

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Does anyone have Photography?

That aside, Research of the mountains and terrain in the photographs looks a lot like that found in Romania, although there are plenty of places in the world with mountains like that. England, however, is not one of them.

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All right – perhaps the photos we currently have obtained are a dead end for now, unless we can trace Aytown’s travels in some other way. There may be other photos still out there (Westenra, etc.) that might be more fruitful eventually.

What are our other current leads we want to work on?

Currently for our next session we have the re-infiltration of the Godalming estate. Anything else?

On the Piastow v. Purfleet situation. Noemi definitely thinks the Piastow direction is valid, but as we’ve learned, we need to be careful in handling the “redacted” clues. Perhaps the first place to check would be back in the police records; Dracula’s presence definitely tends to associate with crop circles and cattle mutilations, perhaps Piastow has some records that weren’t assembled by Stoker.

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Doyle, after demanding more Spotted Dick and Trooper beer in trade for his “good work,” lays out a convincing case for Plaistow as the correct location for both Carfax and Seward’s asylum. In fact, he has found a complex of buildings, the core of which is pre-Victorian era, now home to the National Health Service’s Haematology Research and Treatment Centre.

And there is a newer, post-WW2, neighborhood about 200-meters from the Centre’s cluster of older buildings, “which, innit compellin’at that nutter Renfield wuz’zaulwayz lookin’ out…rawt….rawt…‘is window ata’ cer’n ’ome, rawt?”

He has Google maps to prove his findings.

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To sidetrack back to the photos, I also have photography to add to my art and notice skills to evaluate the photos further.

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The spoiled/damaged pictures appear to have similar light patterns on them. To the untrained eye they might appear to be chemical smears, resultant of a failed development process, but to you they look like radiation, or something like that. Very odd. One of them is of what appears to be a nicely-dressed woman, with a strange skull-like image showing through her face.

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Do we know who the damaged picture is meant to be of? Are we able to date the picture by looking at undamaged pictures in the lot?

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The damaged pictures, or what’s left of them, all appear to be contemporaneous with the framed ones, all take place indoors – looks like the same place, actually, from what little you can see – but you don’t recognize any of the people, and they’re not the same people as in the others.

They appear to be portraits, but again, they are badly decayed – imagine a baggy full of faded, sepia-tone scraps.

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Here’s a thought – perhaps Stoker moved some of the events to Purfleet so that people wouldn’t look for records or information in Plaistow. Would Research, History or Art History make it possible to identify any news articles or police records that correspond to the ones Stoker fictionalized in Dracula, focusing again on Piastow? In particular, any events that Aytown might have been invited to – so things like “an upper middle class couple is really trying to impress people so they’re inviting every B-list artist they can send a train ticket to”, in the time frame of the novel?

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Nothing of that sort turns up from old society pages and other sources that tend to provide such information.

The problem with Plaistow is that the more you look at it and try to find the asylum and estate in it, the more unworkable the geography becomes. It really seems that Purfleet is the far more likely location.

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Lyle

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