Constable Rowan to the Dark Tower Came…

The snow that had began as Constable Rowan had left the station earlier had now shrouded the borough in a blanket of white, lending it an almost fairy-tale appearance. Which was appropriate, given where Rowan had to go next.

He had sent Dr. Stone back to his lodgings and returned to the station to file his initial report, then collected his cape and ventured back onto the snowbound streets.

Having safely navigated the icy pavements, he pushed open the gate to the park known as Blackwell Common and trudged beneath the frosted trees towards the carillon at its centre.

It was assumed by most that this was a memorial to one of the innumerable foreign conflicts that Britain had involved itself in during the early part of the Queen’s reign, and, on the surface, this was true. But appearances can be deceptive, as this was also the Dark Tower, seat of power of the Night Mayor. Although given the recent incursions by members of the Court of Shadows, this power appeared to be waning.

Rowan approached the iron doors at the base of the tower, swallowed apprehensively, then raised the knocker.

“First for the princess, in the tower alone,” he murmured under his breath, as the knocker dropped for the first time, “second for the king, on his gilded throne, third for princes, sent on their quest, fourth for the supplicant, who is your guest.”

As the final echo of the fourth knock began to fade, the doors slowly and silently opened. 

“Who seeks audience with the Night Mayor?” Came a sibilnt whisper from within.

“Stanley, scion of the House of Rowan,” stated Rowan.

“Enter and ascend.” Said the voice.

Rowan climbed the internal staircase and reached the upper chamber, dimly illuminated with floating tapers. A tall, angular figure detached itself from the shadows and stepped forward.

“Young master Rowan,” said the Night Mayor, “it has been too long since your last visit. What matter brings you to my court?”

“You know very well why I’m here,” snapped Rowan, “your people have been causing disturbances on the streets – first Jenny and now, if I’m not very much mistaken, the red-legged scissor man. You are supposed to be in control of the Court of Shadows, but I’m not seeing very much of this control being evidenced.”

The Night Mayor turned from Rowan and approached one of the windows. 

“The World is changing, Master Rowan.” Sighed the Night Mayot. “I watch from my tower in my haven of green as the industrious nature of you mortals eats up the world I am familiar with. It is not one I understand and so, when the Court break the accords, I do nothing. I feel my time is past – there is no place for me in your world. The people no longer believe.”

“No,” sad Rowan, “that’s not true. You can adapt and change – embrace the new world and take your part in it. The red-legged scisdor man has changed. He used to punish children, now he’s abducting them. There will always be a place for magic in the world!”

The night Mayor turned and regarded Rowan.

“You truly believe…” he breathed in wonder. He stepped foward haltingly, his fingers questing, as though trying to grasp smoke

“Tell me where I can find him and I’ll share my belief with you,” said Rowan gently.

“He’s in Gimballs department store, with the children. Be gentle with him – he is no longet the avenging tailor of yore.”

Rowan reached out and took the thin, bony hand of the Night Mayor, closed his eyes and let his belief flow. He heard a gasp and felt the hand flex in his, filling out and transforming from cold flesh into warm metal. He opened his eyes and watched as the tattered robe dissolved into moths, which fluttered briefly before being burnt to husks by the heat radiating from the figure before him.

He removed his hand and regarded the transformation. Where once had been a shadowed and gaunt figure, reminiscent of a cowled monk, there now stood an imposing figure of iron and brass, steam leaking from its joints and fire flickering in its eyes. The figure flexed its iron hands and flashed Rowan a grin, illuminated from within as though from a furnace.

“I am reborn!” Boomed the Night Mayor, “a new incarnation for a new century! I thank you, Mastet Rowan, for this gift. I am indebted to you and I always pay my debts. The night wears on, though, so you must hurry – for if you do not secure the children before the break of day, they will be gone from this world.”

Rowan bowed to the Night Mayor and began his descent. He now knew where the children were and who had them. However, he would require some help and, based on the book he had seen in the children’s room, he knew exactly whose help he required…

Advertisements

31 thoughts on “Constable Rowan to the Dark Tower Came…

  1. A VERY nice second part. It feels like a casebook file of a very famous gentleman, combined with the classic style of the iconic hammer horror films of the nostalgic 60 and 70`s.

    By the way, just a blast from the past: the theme music from Tales of the Unexpected. It seemed sweetly appropriate somehow.

    Like

    • Thank you very much. Funnily enough, the piece of music I had playing in my head was the ‘Carol of the Bells’, as I’ve always felt that whilst it is Christmassy, there is also a slightly frantic aspect to it, like the strings from the shower scene in Psycho.

      Of course, now I need a suitable figure for the newly incarnated Night Mayor. I was thinking of the Heroclix “Girder” from the Flash set – big metal chap with a beard.

      Like

  2. What a jolly romp through Olde London Towne, and felt quite like reading a classic… such as Green Tea from my childhood days. I found myself quite carried along with this episode and was sad when it ended.

    Like

  3. Great addition to this tale. I confess, I read neither horror, nor anything else you chaps reference, but the atmosphere and ideas and characters flow and populate my mind from memories not my own as the story grows. I am enthralled. Delighted. Desperate for the next chapter.

    Like

    • Thank you, Harry. I know that the topic may not be to everyone’s tastes, but my hope is that I’ve made it accessible to all. The next chapter (and finale to this particular tale) will appear before next weekend, so you shouldn’t have long to wait.

      Like

      • I check pretty much nightly. Always hoping some new tidbit will be revealed! Very accessible story-telling. It has piqued my interest in a new genre of books. A primer, or short list of books/stories might be helpful for newbies following along.

        Like

        • Oooh, now you’re asking…lol

          There is a LOT of fiction, both period and modern, that covers this genre. Of course, not all of it is good – Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” is rightly regarded as a classic, whereas both “The Jewel of the Seven Stars” and “The Lair of the White Wyrm” are not great. So, I’d suggest reading “Dracula” definitely, the collected ghost stories of M.R. James and anything by Edgar Allan Poe to start with. And watch “Penny Dreadful”, which was a big influence for the more visceral Gothic aspects.

          However, this is leavened with elements of fairy-tales and whimsy, such as Peter Pan (which is a far more interesting book than the sacharine Disney-fied version most are familiar with) and both Alice books by Lewis Caroll. The original Brothers Grimm tales were also an influence.

          And both the Sherlock Holmes and Professor Challenger tales by Arthur Conan Doyle provided additional period flavour.

          That should keep you busy for a while. 😉

          Like

          • Awesome! Thank you so much. I will be book shopping.

            I just painted a first batch of French Resistance figs and I have an idea in my head for a woven tale mixed with some Bolt Action and rpg and some minor Pulp mixed in. You are leading the way CC!

            Like

          • Glad to be of help. If you’re planning on setting your adventure in France, bear in mind that the original Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault was set in France…and what OTHER creature sleeps for an extended period of time without losing their youth? Also see if you can find a copy online of Algernon Blackwood’s “Ancient Sorceries” tale, which depicts a very unusual town in Northern France and look up the legend of the Beast of Gevuadan, which might have been a werewolf. These should give some different takes on the standard pulp WW2 fare, which all seems to be Nazi zombies and vampires.

            Like

    • Ah yes…the Night Mayor. For this fictional world I’m creating, those characters considered ‘nursery bogies’ – Yellowjack, Rawhead-and-Bloody-Bones and Jenny Greenteeth, to name but three – are sustained by the beliefs of the children who are ‘threatened’ with them. So when theses beliefs change, so too do the ‘bogies’ – and sometimes in unexpected ways…as the next instalment will hopefully illustrate.

      Like

  4. {{if you’re planning on setting your adventure in France, bear in mind that the original Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault was set in France}}

    Absolutely correct, but if you are wanting to do WWII French Resistance Harry, you might want to check out Oradour-sur-Glane, where 500 women and children were killed.. locked up in a church intentionally, then the building set on fire by a SS division in 1944. There are a few creepy ghost stories based on that event – mostly in in French, but some have been translated into English.

    https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-06-04/france-ghosts-world-war-ii-are-still-very-much-alive

    Like

  5. Finally a chance to reply.

    Read all the latest posts and am loving them all. *sighs* Got to dash work work work, *squeals* “yeeey, its nearly Christmas wooot!!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.