The story so far: With the Ravager dead and the Necropolis Rail safe, Vi turns her attention to flushing out Thomas Hunt and his remaining minion, the Eviscerator. With Fullerton and Skinner finally stopping the trafficking of young women into Whitechapel, Vi has the Eviscerator in her grasp. Yet the stakes are higher than ever as she confronts the prospect of facing down the exiled British member of the Exalted while protecting Tess Gaunt’s life. One wrong move could mean not just an innocent’s death, but someone close or even herself. Countess Vi must stop Hunt’s cult, once and for all.
Dr. Seymour Lane, the pre-eminent surgeon of the human body in Britain, shook his head in wonder in his vast experimental room, with at least a dozen corpses laid out on benches before him. The stench of rot and open flesh was overwhelming. All of the bodies were stitched together from different parts one way or another, and all of them were once seen wandering the alleyways of Tess’s home, Whitechapel. Standing in the room with Lane, Vi held her nose in revulsion, as did the newspaper editor Skinner, who cowered behind the MP Fullerton. He fainted easily at the sight of blood.
“What can you tell us about the bodies the Countess has collected, good doctor?” asked Fullerton.
The story so far: With all her political pieces in place to draw out the Eviscerator, Vi moves to confront the Ravager first, preparing to board the Necropolis Rail with Tess Gaunt in tow. She has little idea of the horror, however, that awaits her on this train, which is bound for Brookwood Cemetery, the resting place of many of London’s MPs, captains of industry, and other figures of note.
Will she finally be able to confront the Ravager, one of two criminals she’s determined to find? And will they find any clues to the mysterious figure of Thomas Hunt?
It was the dead of night at the Waterloo train terminus. The butt of Vi’s sword stick bashed once, twice, then thrice against the window to one of the carriages, rupturing the glass and sending dangerous shards tinkling all over the train floor. Despite her fragile dark purple dress, she smoothly found a foothold and, in one coordinated move, vaulted and slipped into the carriage without so much as nicking herself from any shattered pieces of glass. Her high heels landed quietly on the creaking floor. She raised her head, looking up at the train’s ornate ceiling. The entire room was suffused in eerie red light. The lacquered walls were festooned with elaborately carved heads depicting Cyclopean, horned, and demonic monstrosities. She wrinkled her nose. How utterly tasteless, typical of cultists trying to impress whatever dark god they’d sold their souls to. She could relate.
She could hear a tooting far up front, and the floor creaked. She swore quietly to herself. The Necropolis Rail was setting off to Brookwood Cemetery, where no doubt more bodies that had been loaded onto the Rail would be somehow acquired by whoever was fusing body parts and reanimating them into horrific monstrosities. Vi, Tess, and their allies in the press and parliament, Skinner and Fullerton, deduced that the Ravager was stealing the corpses of illustrious, recently deceased men and women that could afford to be buried in Brookwood. For their part, the Eviscerator was murdering young women of much less fortunate social standing and economic circumstances in the East End. The four theorized, unpalatable and sinister though it seemed, that it was increasingly likely the reanimated, misshapen lumbering creatures wandering East London were composed of the body parts from both the Ravager’s stolen bodies and the Eviscerator’s victims.
The story so far: Countess Vi has made her move. She has recruited the assistance of Home Secretary David Fullerton and London Age editor Boyle Skinner to pass a bill that would forbid the trafficking of women under eighteen into the East End, disrupting the “supply chain” of human bodies for the Eviscerator and forcing the criminal to strike at her directly. Yet three big questions remain.
How are the Eviscerator and the Ravager, the body snatcher aboard the Necropolis Express, related?
Who is behind them?
And how are they related to the Exalted?
It had become a regular kind of thing. That was, killing demonic creatures sewn together from the body parts of commoners and the illustrious alike.
For the past few weeks, every night at the strike of twelve sharp, Vi would stand guard among the brothels and “fallen houses” of the East End, and somehow they always appeared at the same time, lurching from the shadows of back alleys or emerging from behind decrepit walls. It was the same story for these horrors every evening: slice them apart, ensuring the heads were severed from the bodies. They moved fairly slowly, so unless Vi was careless enough to get caught in their crushing grip, there was little chance they could even touch her. Ever elegant and calm, she always swung her sword stick with gusto, flair, and energy, spilling open the innards of the composite beasts and severing their deformed limbs from their bodies. She painted the streets, brick walls, and alleyways red and green with their gore, but after more than a fortnight of protecting the East End from this never-ending night army, she began to feel her own body straining from eve after eve of combat.
The story so far: Countess Vi and Tess have struck up a bond, with the Arendellian prime minister needing a local pair of eyes and ears and Tess needing a protector. Vi has identified three people that will prove crucial to her forcing the Ravager and Eviscerator into the light: David Fullerton, Britain’s Home Secretary, Boyle Skinner, editor of the London Age, and Dr. Seymour Lane, the Chief Surgeon. But even with these men, the forces behind the unnatural horrors wandering London and disappearing bodies of the well-to-do may well outpace the Countess…
The train that arrived at the station a few yards from Brookwood Cemetery looked like something from a feverish nightmare. Shrouded in shadow, it hissed and groaned, its carriages full of coffins that carried the rich and powerful to what was dubbed “the London Necropolis.” The undertaker, an imposing, pale man that towered over the graves he tended to, was waiting at the head of the train, staring up at its ominous, Cyclopean front. Like a great mechanical psychopomp, a messenger from another world to this one. He waited for several minutes, then began pacing back and forth, wondering what was taking so long. Then a young man of stepped out one of the carriage’s doors, his clothes grimy from hard work and exposure to unclean matter. “We’re in trouble!” he called, jumping down the steps and running to the undertaker, his eyes nervous. “There’s several bodies of lords, ladies, and other respectable names missing. At least four cadavers.”