On-Bench2.pdf

The Lost Tiara

By Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin

Illustrated by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin

Part of the Sinclair Narratives

 

 

September 1918~

I walked into the Parker Hotel restaurant and there she was. She stood from her usual booth in the back corner. The jade glass above the bench back casted an alien glow to her auburn hair, stripping the fire from it. As you are forced to stare at the White Mountains once on the Kancamagus, I had to force my attention higher to meet her green eyes that glowed in contrast to her hair. Her skin was like alabaster Irish pottery still hot from the kiln, dappled by red heifers running on the plains seen from the Highlands above. She had moved her head so that it was not being robbed of all its glory from that emerald thief. I was instantly brought back to a time in a rowboat, as I walked the long trail to meet her, on Hood's pond when we got her stocking caught on the oarlocks. Well I...knew her before she was married and I got to know...her again after Jack had passed.

I continued on through time from those days to meet her outstretched arms projecting from her glorious dignant flagpole stature. As I continued on, the appearances of youth that had filled our days in Topsfield were being stripped from my eyes as I got closer to see the matriarch, now in her 70's, that still could on occasion, scandalize Boston. Though as I walked closer I knew I remained the same in her eyes as I did on that pond, with my bemused and helpless smirk feigning to help her remove herself from her predicament as she broke my stare from her rose when the charley horse had, really, settled in.

The advantages and the curses of being an immortal! You could not share all of your gifts with those you loved.

"Henry, It is always a pleasure seeing you my dear friend! I need not tell you that time is kinder to you than most of us who are forced to deal with our creaks and crows feet," she exclaimed.

Isabella then and now was a beauty. She was often captured by the gifted of our day with the old pig hair that slapped back and forth on the old duck. The most famous being John Singer Sargent.

I think she admired anyone she could nickname Jack.

"My dear Izzy, you are always my white rose just budding in the morning dew."

"Sit Henry, and let me lean into you and catch an air of yourself and the journeys you have been on. I always can catch the scent of those bonny heaths you were sired on so long ago."

  I had shared my secrets with her about my immortality and my youth in Roscommon outside of Edinburgh. With her red hair, I don't doubt she could have been that runt a cottage or two down from my parents in one of her past lives.

"You know that is some six hundred years ago and thousands of miles from here. I am amazed that such a smell could last that long."

"Our souls carry imprints that are affected by all of the senses that we carry with us, for the eternity of our lives! I need not tell you this my old friend…" she laughs and continues, "It is not you who is in truth old, but me. Ha!"

"You know that is not true!" I said holding my dear friend's hand and smiling into her eyes. "As I said, I have a few hundred years on you my dear." 

A few hundred years is an understatement, especially if you include all of the lives I still remember through the millenniums...I gave up reincarnation for a while; I had seen my double chins within a few old paintings and decided not to age in this go around. Especially in a painting when I was Rene Anjou at fifty. At that age I don't think I would be able to get Jeanne d'Arc's panties off anymore if she survived the fire.

"Yeah, but you do not have the crows feet to show for it and do not smell of camphor in the morning..." she laughs and squeezes my hand as she looks at the ground and comes back into my eyes with her smile, "Now down to business Hank." I hated when she called me that, nothing good ever happened after that point. "I have a proposition for you."

"I thought you said you were too old!"

"Oh, I am never too old to proposition you my dear Henry!" she said with a knowing smirk as she goosed me and looked the other way. Then she looked back quickly at me, "So Hank, do you want to hear my offer?" I remained quiet and looked at her seriously now. "See Hank, I have this friend of mine who works for the Peabody Museum, a beautiful young lass. She is in the acquisition process of obtaining, as you say, some relic. In my opinion it would be in truth a crowning achievement."

"What would this relic be?"

"Well, lets ignore him for a second. She also has an opportunity to acquire...a Russian diadem," she pauses, "One of those diadems…" she says leaning in so I can only hear.

It had only been two months since the Tzar and his family were assassinated. I was amazed that any of the Royal Jewels could make it this far already. "I know you had collected some scrupulous items in the past…"

"Who said I wanted it…"

"I know you...you are probably trying to figure out some way to extricate this tiara from that young lass. Are you expecting me to seduce her?"

"Well yes, but that is beyond the point," She smirks while grabbing my hand, "I want you to help her get my tiara, as you called it."

She produced a picture of the diadem, "It was worn by Marie Feodorovna, the mother of Tzar Nicholas II. The Kaiser was her nephew. Her sister was the queen of England. Now the German front is falling and the Kaiser is in hiding from his cousins," Isabella stopped to sip her B&B, neat, "You believe Prince Albert ruled England by continually knocking up his wife, Queen Victoria. Marie's sister!

The usurpation by pregnancy did not endear her to her children. She called them all 'toads'. Now because of this dysfunctional family, we find ourselves sending our young men to die because her grandchildren could not get along," She stopped to take another sip, bigger than the last. "You believe it Henry, there is a rumor that the last straw was when the Kaiser reached down during a polo match and loosened King Edward's saddle. Bertie fell into a mud puddle and it cost him the match to the Kaiser."

"The international bankers are not helping things either. Some think they are behind the deaths of two of the Queen's grandchildren, Alexandria and her husband Nicholas." I said.

"Yes, our old friend, Jane, is besides herself with complicity through her Jack," she pauses, "How dare I give that man the same nickname as him? Jack was ten times more of a man than Junior." 

She was speaking about her husband Jack Gardner, the descendant of the founder of the Salem Marine Society. Their headquarters are in the Franklin Building that was deeded to them by Thomas H. Perkins, a grand uncle of Jane's. "Junior" was one John Pierpont Morgan the Second.

In time my friends, the Parker Brothers, would create a banking game centered around building up a monopoly. Its mascot would be based on Junior and feature George Peabody's railroads. Talk about duplicity...

"OK, back to the subject." We could have gone on some amazing tangential roller coasters before we eventually circled back to the snack stand and picked up where we started, but by then we had shared some cotton candy along the way. "This crown? Where is it now?"

"The little I know is that George Frederick Kunz of the United States Geological Survey was over in Russia around the time of the Tzar's family's assassination. He was in contact with a Pyotr Semenov of Russian Geographic Society. Semenov knew Nicholas," Izzy wipes her lips after another bigger sip, this time, "He was friends with members of the Root Commission that Wilson sent over. There is talk that someone within Elihu Root's camp has it now."

She then sat back into the booth with one arm on its narrow back below the jade glass which was casting its glow on her once more. The other was sprawled away on the table holding her drink that just clinked with its ice. Her legs were far apart, stretching the silk of her gown to its fullest. 

"So tomorrow, go meet my young friend at the Peabody, Hank."

"Must you call me that?"

"Yes, and I want you to find this ring too." She handed me a photo.

___

A musty place filled with trinkets brought back by nefarious ship captains that despoiled the lands of savages. These savages had believed in public sanitation centuries before these men who at the time still threw their night soil out the windows every morning.

I walked through this emporium of bones that were wrapped in linen to the sounds of intonations which resonated off some priests' funky bronze beards and the chants and the drums of the red chiefs that placed their bones in circular holes. I ventured past cannibal forks and real Revere ware that sat next to each other under glass as I wondered which of their previous owners were the most civilized. The Revere ware was donated from the church who hung eighteen people in this town. Geisha gowns hung next to the horned Samurai helmets with bushy mustaches of their lovers behind the silk curtains as I rounded the corner and saw some real nice gams.

Peabody found the museum lacking funds and had his name applied some time ago. He was the same man who hired Junior's grandfather to begin the House of Morgan. The same man who anchored our national bank's fate to the Bank of England through the Rothschilds. It was his partner's son, John Pierpont Morgan the First, who created the Federal Reserve. Junior's father made the switch from Peabody & Co. to JP Morgan & Co.

The museum was the creation of the East India Marine Society. Jack Gardner's grandfather created the Salem Marine Society. Later it was headed by Thomas H. Perkins, the scion of the Forbes fortune. Perkins through his nephews controlled Barings & Co. They held two thirds of the Bank of England by controlling Hope & Co. Upon Jane and Junior's marriage they connected the two marine societies, but more importantly, the two national banks.

OK, now for the strange part involving a cat and a toothbrush along with a time machine. Inside the Hoyt Block, built on the ruins of the Kimball that burned in 1899, is a strange shaft in the center of the building lined with windows on three floors. It took me three years of staring at the frosted glass while standing up using the loo to notice something strange. The window was in the middle of the building. Light dawns on Marblehead...Beyond the frosting was a time machine into which I threw a toothbrush, missing Peabody by an inch and spooking a cat to join him inside.

Peabody's knowledge of the future made him and the Rothschilds into the international powers they are today. For Peabody is Junior.

The cat is still walking around Salem. I never found out what happened to my toothbrush…

 The gams.

 As this woman with the light chestnut hair was stretching to look up at some Oceanic war club, a gam was just breaking the fabric of the slit in her couture. There was a figurehead of an old Scotsman that I had caught peering down too. She looked over her shoulder and caught me; I swear the Scotsman looked away.

"You must be Hank."

"I hate that name!"

"Isabella sent her love."

"Any luck finding the tiara?"

"Diadem," she corrected me. "Well I was meeting with the director here; he was informing me that some of the East India Marine Society had travelled with George Frederick Kunz and the Root Commission," She said as she was turning and fixing her dress, "This cute little man was informing me that the Society, since the days of John Andrew's fur Commission and Captain White's days smuggling weapons to support Russia against that tiny Frenchman, during John Quincy's stint drinking водка with Tsar Alexander I (The granduncle of Nicholas II), men of Salem have been manipulating Imperial Russia. You believe that? In fact, some of their members sailed some Russian generals, not favorable to the Tzar, before the war to New York on the Corsair III with Morgan. Then they took that cute train, the Blue Comet, you know, the one that takes the movie stars to Atlantic City and to Manchester Township within the NJ Pine Barrens? Are you listening…?"

"Yes! Go on." I did drift away for a second thinking of what her other leg might look like.

"Well, there under the scrub pines Morgan was providing the funding for some ordinances while Samuel P. Bush of Wilson's War Industries Board was selling them. All last year's models, I hear. Samuel brought his son Prescott, who just graduated from Yale, to help train these cossacks on how to shoot the cannons. I think the grandson of the founder of Yale founded the town named Whiting nearby," she paused, "You think you can look higher than my hem line? Thank you! The funny little man said that was in 1916, right before the war; he hinted to some strange rumors about the site now. But I digress; let me get back to the crown." She was friends with Izzy.

"Diadem."

"Yes diadem. Thank you. I'm sorry, do I know you from somewhere? It's just the way you smirk at me seems familiar. Never mind...the diadem, yes; it's just I get so carried away with the war. Let me ask you," she shifts her contrapposto and points her pearled purse at me in her white gloved hand, "do you believe all of the stories about the sinking of the Lusitania? I mean it was sunk years ago. I always believe there is more to things than you read in the papers.." She definitely was one of Izzy's closest friends, it was proving...

"The diadem?"

"Yes, I am sorry. I seem to have trouble focusing around you. Are you sure we never met?"

She looked real familiar. I mean I would like to get real familiar with her. I would like to know her too… I just shrugged.

"Well the diadem, he says, might have come over on the Corsair, but he knows Charles Crane brought it by train back toward Boston. He says the museum is sending representatives over to his house in Ipswich this week to inquire about it."

We walked about the shelves of stuffed animals under the peers of the stuffed shirts the museum hired as security. We realized some had been listening to us and began to tag along through that gallery to the next one. As we rounded past the turtle that had been dripping oil for a hundred years, we gave them the slip. We ducked and headed for China as the guards headed toward India. We made it pass the gift shop and exited onto Essex Street.

Once out onto the sets, I held her hand and kissed her white glove goodbye. She walked off with her gams pendulating through the slit in her dress. Quite nice…

I headed down Essex towards the Miskatonic University to meet my old friend Professor Wilmarth. I knew Albert could fill me in more on this 'diadem', especially if there is any magic connected to it.

___

Professor Albert in Miskatonic University library

I found Albert outside his book once more floating through the shelves of the basement of the University. Albert's soul was confined many years ago to an ancient tome. One he never discussed with me. It was his secret that he kept for his own security, which was quite safe since this collection held thousands of volumes.

Albert was an old friend I found to be of quintessential origin derived from a family of Sasquatch, with a vestige of those genes explaining his Venus flytrap eyebrows. He had been the professor of ancient lore in this musky university set on the property of the original governor's house facing the lane where Dyer had once streaked down past angry crowds of Puritans. I always thought Dyer may have been the original Dunwich Horror, for she did bear a deformed child who died soon after birth.

Albert was studying the Berlin Codex of the Gospel of Mary when I interrupted him. "Hello Henry, how are you!"

"Great my old friend!" I said, shaking his hand, "I see you are reading her side of the story again…"

"My dear friend, there are two sides to every divorce," Albert said shaking his head at me while peering over his glasses, "I figured I would try to see things from her vantage point from the tower above." 

A long time ago, for a short period, and before Sarah was born, I spent some time with Mary before she took the kid to Egypt and then France as I headed toward Ireland before settling in Japan. That was during the time we tried to start this little commune... 

"Can I ask you about the Feodorovna diadem?"

"Very dark stuff. If not handled right. It is a tiara lined by diamonds charged by the wearers own bioelectricity thus creating a field to catalyst the Qliphoth stones that are set into it, controlled by its wearer," Albert stopped to look up at me with a jeweler's eyepiece still over one of the lenses, making one eye look surreally large, "Local lore says the people of the sea in Innsmouth section of Ipswich came from the Baltic in 861. After resisting Rurik and his band of Swedes in bloody combat for almost a year they took to the sea and followed the cod that they lived upon and settled on Cape Ann.

They were the people of Chud. Linguistically their name means strange or enemy. They were said to have white eyes like fish from the deepest parts of the ocean. Their earliest recording in Slavic annals originally translated to mean wonderful or miraculous; till politics turned against them. Being foreign or different eventually made them  scapegoats for all the evils before Rurik arrived when the Slaves were fighting amongst themselves. It is said they were last seen leaving what is now called Estonia after their defeat by Rurik's forces; they just walked under the sea with their wealth, never to be heard of again.

In old Slavic myths they were said to be the sons of the Jörmungandr born of Angrboðahe, the World Serpent. They received the Qliphoth Gamchicoth which was split into twelve separate stones by Rurik. Rurik kept the stones as the Chud fled. He had them placed in the diadem. In time its origin was lost, but it was secretly kept within the old Slavic and Rus states. Crane's mother is one of the fish folk from Innsmouth; she informed him about the myths of the crown and the desire of the Chud to regain their homeland that once stretched from the Baltic to Kyrgyzstan.

Chud myths said that in the year of the fire serpent a flaming star would be seen in the sky pronouncing the time of the Chud to return home. On February fifth last year, such a meteor was seen during the Chinese Year of the Fire Dragon over Chicago. A month later the Russian Revolution started. Crane had seen the meteor over his home in the city. He then called for a sacrifice to be planned to bless their return home; the Tzar and his family would be killed, the descendants of Rurik. Afterward they would reclaim the diadem with the stones."

"Where is the diadem now?" I asked in a state of excitement, "Does Crane have it?"

"No my dear Henry, we have an agent in play…"

___

When I left the Miskatonic I took a left walking up toward the Common. I figured I would walk to get back to my Packard Electric, instead of taking the trolley that just went past. I gave Louie the day off.

I was parked on the other end of the park near the old Senator Silsbee Mansion. I soon found myself passing the infamous home in which Captain Joseph White was murdered in on my way to the location Ann Pudeator was last seen flying overhead. Funny his nephew, Joseph Jr. White, was seen often flying on wine in his home built on her lot, till he choked on some cork. In the end they both suffocated.

If indeed I had seen her flying past tonight, she would have just ducked behind the Franklin Building. The building which holds the Salem Marine Society of which old Jack, Izzy's husband, was a grand member before his passing. I was just leaving the round partition of sets and I was taking the perimeter path to the right on the crushed pea stone. I could use a little more exercise than I would have received if I had taken the path to the left of the gazebo, which would have taken me directly to my car.

As I passed the old Congressman Jacob Crowninshield's House, a place once occupied by the Miskatonic's most infamous student, I got a chill. Asenath Waite Derby was the first female to be enrolled in that University. A descendant of the fish people of Innsmouth. For years children would run past this home, for fear she might be scowling down from her window, at one time scowling; at another pleading. 

She was alternating in between her body and her husband Edward Pickman Derby's; locking his soul up in the old Reverend Bentley study, within her own skin.

Bentley was the man that warned Salem of the Illuminati threat; who the town was never quite sure if he was in truth a member of...

Edward would be seen looking through her eyes pleading for help from anyone who went past the window of his old study.

Suddenly, I was jumped by five men appearing from behind the various oak and maple trees on my path from the dark. I brandished my cane, side stepped, and with my left hand articulated a movement striking my cane to the back of the neck of the closest attacker, pushing him into my adversary just to my left. Then I swung low to the man charging to my right, now in a crouch I had switched hands and was using my cane to hit him behind the knees to bring him down. As I swung clockwise, about to stand and address the remaining two, a shadowy lithe figure was seen walking back to the University; the remaining men were rendered unconscious. I called after the figure, to give thanks, but she continued on her way.. By her stride and cadence I had figured my savior to be a woman.

___

After my encounter the previous night, I decided to stay in Salem at my old home on English Street. Instead of returning to my rambling manner in Methuen. At this time I was still known as Edward Francis Searles by the public. The heir to the Central Pacific Railroad, inherited from my wife, the elderly widow of the treasurer of that corporation, now deceased many years. This left me with somewhere around the twenty-third largest estate in American history, but my wealth accumulated over the years far outstretched that status. Regardless of this, I still liked my cozy cottage on English Street. I had spent many fine years here with Caroline, until her death.

We had spent many lives together. I first met her in Ireland near an old tin mine my father, Joseph of Arimathea, introduced to me. I was still a little despondent over that failed commune I mentioned earlier.

Why do men need leaders rather than finding their own greatness within themselves? I was the son of man and God at the same time, just like every person on this planet, but little did they see. I could not spend the rest of that lifetime making fish sandwiches for them. Caroline (many lives ago) got me out of my depression then and travelled with me through the British Isles and eventually to Japan where we settled and had many children and grandchildren. Maybe that is why I kept coming back to this house.

A messenger knocked on the door. He handed me a handwritten note sealed in wax asking me to join my new friend from the Peabody at All Oakes for a lunch with Jane and her husband JP.

___

I had Louie pick me up. We were to pick up Teddy, Keno, and Nikola at Teddy's daughter's house in Beverly. Over the years, before Jane married, she was part of the crew that sunned and swam at Rice's beach. Teddy and she almost had a little fling; well that is what he remembers. The act of Jane trying to drown him out in the surf, he had considered an act of affection.

"So what adventure are you bringing us on to today Henry!" the old president had asked as Nikola and Reno proceeded into the car after him.

"We are going to pick JP's ear, with the help of Jane, to find out more about a mysterious Russian tiara," I said looking back over my shoulder.

Recently Teddy was in the habit of wearing his old Rough Rider hat. He has been wearing it ever since we went to war in Europe. If you think you would be sick of all the times he used to say 'Bully!' before, you have no idea. Keno, who charged up San Juan Hill with him (who remembers the charge much differently than Teddy), has had his fill with war. Nikola has been quiet lately, he feels a little uncomfortable being Serbian, even though most people don't know where Serbia is, nerveless that they started the war…

"I just got a new Crane crapper for my wife; you would think that after I got her and the kids such a grand present, she would stop complaining about leaving the seat up!" Louie started looking at me then to the gentlemen in the back (and not on the road),"I mean I installed it, I clean it, I wipe it down (after myself and others), and I lift the seat. All she has to do is look to see if the seat is down! You think she can flip the toilet and retrieve her earnings—she accidentally flushed! NO! In thirty years of my life I have only forgotten to look four times, that is four times, and I never fell in! Is it really that difficult? I ask you…"

In chorus everyone yelled at him to look at the road.

"You think Mr. Crane can help me? Maybe send me a note? An instruction manual?" Louie pleaded.

___

We pulled under the overhang of All Oakes. The Grew's grand mansion in West Manchester near Tucks Point. It stood on the hill at the entrance to Manchester Harbor. The butler came to open our doors. Louie just brushed his hands away and scooted him away. We all got out on our own. Louie kept warding off the butler like he was a vampire.

Inside Jane greeted us, "Henry, have you found anyone special?" Then she greeted Teddy with a raised fist, "Bully!" Last she looked at Keno, "I see you still would fit handsomely in a bathing suit." This comment grew Teddy's ire. She then went on to grasping Nikola's hand, "Henry, who is your distinguished friend!" She was quite enamored.

"This is the eminent inventor Nikola Tesla."

"The man who lit up the Columbian Exposition," said Jane with a leer, looking him up and down like he was a Christmas goose hanging in a shop on Central Street. 

Jane's sister-in-law's father was the president of the organization that put on the world fair in 1893. Florence had kept her up with all of the gossip. Tesla had worked with Moses Farmer of Salem to oversee all the lights for the extravaganza. He was with Farmer when he died of exhaustion soon after opening night.

"Yes madam." Nikola answered as he kissed her hand.

JP and Charles Crane walked in drinking martinis. They were wearing black tuxedos with tails. Crane held a cigarette in a holder. "Jane, my dear. Can you check with staff about dinner?" JP asked with airs.

Jane grabbed the next scotch on the rocks that passed on a tray and said in between sips, "Go check yourself!" Then she grabbed Nikola's arm and walked away. As she trailed off in the distance with him we could hear her ask, "If you tell me your stories of the fair, I will show you mine…"

Inside All Oaks in Manchester by the sea with Tesla and Jane Norton Grew

"So you must be Henry. Your name has been floating around the Fraternity for years," scoffed Crane.

"Anything good?"

"No."

I have to admit, over the years I have proven to be a thorn in the side of the graduates of Skull & Bones, The Hiram Lodge, and the Illuminati. They keep doing the funky chicken dance trying to raise Cthulhu and I keep throwing their rhythm off.

"I hear Wilson sent you along with the Root Commission?" Teddy interjected to defuse the tension in the air.

"Yes. Elihu thought Cyrus and I would be good choices. I happened to be traveling with George Frederick Kunz to Russia for years with the USGS, where we have become quite close with Pyotr Semenov of Russian Geographic Society. We all had become quite familiar with the landscape and the people. Let's say that Root found us an important asset." Crane said nonchalantly.

Teddy had Root appointed 'for him' to Secretary of State by the party. He was a holdover from McKinley, where he moved up from his post as Secretary of War. He never quite liked, or trusted him.

Root feigned support for Wilson's neutrality, but was biting at the bit to enter the war in aid of the British. After the March Revolution in Russia, Root was scared of a communist government, for the people could overthrow the power structure of the world in which the powerful nations controlled the weaker ones.

British and American bankers had manipulated Imperial Russia and their resources for years. They could not have those resources in the hands of the Russian peasant. His mission was to plead for Wilson's support in a propaganda war to overthrow the Provisional Government for the Bolsheviks. Once he was given the go ahead, it only took a month to turn the peasants, with all of this fake news, against the Provisional Government; that was the end of Communism by and for the people. These Americans rigged their election. You would not believe all of the division in the country Root had created. They had the peasants believing the world was flat again.

The international bankers would continue to pull the strings. Cyrus McCormick Jr. was the heir to the International Harvester fortune. They had large contracts with the Bolsheviks to sell them tractors. Cyrus and his family were all a little touched, there was a lot of inbreeding between themselves and the Rockefellers…His grandfather, John D. Rockefeller, had him sent along to protect their interest, in case the Morgan's took too much control.

"So what were your findings?" Teddy probed.

"Ah I was just their tour guide, I left the politics to them. I find myself a bit of rock hound," Crane answered. I think they both were dancing around the issue of the diadem.

"Did I hear someone mention diamonds?" interjected Izzy's friend,"Diamonds are a girl's best friends. What is even better than diamonds are diamonds on a tiara."

"You mean diadem." I said looking in her eyes instead of her gams this time. "I believe I never got your name the other day?"

"Oh my, oh my; where were my manners; it is Jezebel DeWitt, of the Charlotte DeWitts," she said as she extended her white gloved hand to me smelling of rose water. She pulled it away and swung toward Crane before I could kiss it. "Diamonds. The DeWitts found it easy to switch from plantation life to diamonds. We had a long history of working with Africans."

"What brings you here today my dear?" Crane asked as he looked her up and down. Jezebel...just swirled about the room looking at the furnishings, almost knocking over a few.

"Oh me and Jane go back to Finishing School days. You know Endicott and all," she then leaned in and hugged Crane's arm, "You were talking about diamonds?"

"Sorry, there are plenty of diamonds in Russia, but they are not being properly exploited to create a strong market for them," Crane replied enjoying the attention this Jezebel was showing him, "Kunz and I were more interested in metamorphic rock and the geology of the Caucasus and Czechoslovakia, I must admit."

"I hear the blackmarket is hot looking for twelve rare stones in Moscow?" I probed.

With that JP interrupted him and pulled him toward his study. Teddy led me away to find Jane and Nikola, "We should find Jane before she gets too cozy with our Serbian friend."

Keno interrupted us before we could find those two. "I was just talking to Wood and House. You believe that old Yankee House is still kicking. He is still pissed at you for charging up San Juan Hill without his orders. You did almost get us all killed." General Leonard Wood was head of the forces in the Spanish-American War. Keno and Teddy served under him. Col. House was the major financier and advisor of Wilson. Little did Wood know it was House who told Wilson to pick General Pershing over him to lead the American forces in Europe. Wood was removed to Camp Funston which was part of Fort Riley in Kansas.

"You boys moved far," Jane said as she came back into the room with Nikola on her arm quite flushed.

"Lets go, before she moves...any further," as Nikola was saying this, Jane goosed him and he leapt almost spilling the drink he was sipping. It went down the wrong tube and he was trying to recover, as he moved quickly away from Jane's advances. Teddy was getting infuriated.

"Yes, let's leave this place," demanded Teddy. 

Keno was eating prime rib dappled with crème fraîche on a crostini. He still had a few Greek tarts on a napkin in his other hand. "What! We are not staying for dinner?" Tesla was already in the car with Louie

Louie did not join us inside because he was playing craps with his cousin, the gardener of the mansion. By the looks of it, he was winning. He stood up with a smile shaking the dice and his cousin slapped the dust from the steps they were sitting on as Nikola walked past him for the car.

____

We were rounding Ocean Avenue, past Crow's Nest, when I asked Tesla what he had learned. We all decided to take a slow route back to Salem and we were enjoying the salt marsh and river that ran through the u-shaped road to the beach on the other side. We stopped and had a clear view of Boston that day.

"Well, when I was setting up the lights from Westinghouse, after JP blocked us from using Edison bulbs, JP was having a very important meeting at the German Imperial Building at the fair. The fair was a disguise to bring world bankers together to discuss how to split the world's finances. JP was there to ensure the Rothschilds' control.

He was meeting with Adolph von Hansemann who took over the Disconto Gesellschaft of Berlin. The bank was founded after the liquidation of M. A. Rothschild & Sons of Frankfurt am Main, their original bank. Disconto Gesellschaft had floated many loans to the Russian Tzar and for the construction of their railroads in which JP had his hands involved. The Rothschilds were becoming weary of Queen Victoria's grandchildren running Europe. They wanted to remove them.

In that meeting was Prince Maximilian of Baden. He was leading the way for the abdication of the Kaiser and the formation of a new government in Germany. Paul Warburg, who had worked with Nelson Aldrich and JP to create the Federal Reserve, was there as well.. Four years before the war, Warburg was decorated by the Kaiser.

Crane was there too; in that meeting he was formalizing contracts for Westinghouse to electrify Russia after JP left the meeting. I knew that part, but I didn't know that the Disconto Gesellschaft was promising funds at that time for any future Russian revolution with other Germans through Crane. Crane's intermediary was a Czechoslovakian named Thomas Garrigue Masaryk, who got Crane an interview with Wilson," explained Tesla.

"Anything else you learned?" asked Teddy, seeming still frustrated.

"Yes, Jane is really touchy," interjected Nikola.

"There are rumors that House, Root, Morgan, and Warburg had formulated a group back in June to lead America in its foreign affairs. They are calling it the Council of Foreign Relations. 

Nikola, there is good reason that Jane is...touchy. She never was in love with JP. Her grand uncle is the main partner in Baring Brothers & Co.  in England and her marriage was intended to consolidate the remaining controlling third of the Bank of England that the Rothschilds held. Barings also controls Hope & C0. which gave them their second third.

On the flipside...the Rothschilds and the Morgans hope to have their Federal Reserve control the Bank of England. I am not sure who would control who in the end, but it is the first step in consolidating the world banks together.

Hope & Co. , as of recently, has aligned themselves to offer funding with the House of Morgan to develop the train system in Russia, something the Tzar was against. Disconto Gesellschaft will have control through Baden of the Reichsbank; I already mentioned the cartel who control the Bank of England. Soon the world would really be screwed. Especially if they could gain control of the State Bank of Russia. Then again, the Russian bank has been bankrupting the Russian Treasury for a century now," I filled in.

"Plus, Morgan made the first loan of twelve million dollars to Russia at the beginning of the war. He was never sure if that went straight to the State Bank without any diversions. His firm's involvement with British and French interests fueled charges he was maneuvering the US into supporting the Allies in order to protect his and the Rothschild's loans. He is the official purchasing agent for the British government, buying cotton, steel, chemicals, and food; receiving a one percent commission on all purchases. He is also behind the syndicate of about two thousand and two hundred banks that floated a loan of five hundred million dollars to the Allies. The British sold off their holdings of American securities and by late 1916 were dependent on unsecured loans for further purchases," Teddy added as Keno was skipping rocks.

"Did anyone ask Crane about that manual for his crapper?" Louie had asked.

 

___

Opulence. When decadence has gone so far that it has returned from its fifth revolution around the globe and all it brought you back was a T-shirt with the Eiffel Tower on it; that is what you call Opulence. There was nothing else you could call this manor built on the hill of the ancient Chud fortress.

Castle Hill was the shining jewel of Boston's Gold Coast. This was indeed the middle of the Country Place Era in which any person stemming from the Five Points could rob, steal enough to find themselves emblazoned in between the sheets of Whose Who, and still have enough money to stay out of Colonel Mann's tattler.. Equipped with their own stock of poaching Merry Men, they could build their own royal forest. Castle Hill was no less.

Frederick Law Olmsted's, who designed the landscape for Central Park and the Columbian Exposition, sons designed the landscape for the Crane's. Their centerpiece was a one hundred sixty foot wide lawn lined with evergreens and statuary running for a half mile down a hill to the ocean. Halfway was a casino replete with a ballroom, opposite a building filled with guest cabanas and a seawater swimming pool in between both of them. That is where we found ourselves the next day. At the top of the hill was Crane's father's Italianate mansion. A place his mother hated. She hated it so much that his father had to promise he would tear it down if she still hated it in ten years. I got a feeling that it would only be up for another eight years.

In attendance was Teddy talking to Colonel House with his daughter Alice spending most of the time in the ballroom. Keno was going over old times with General Wood along the perimeter of the monstrous pool. Taft was trying to avoid Teddy. A big band played in the arcade that also served as the retaining wall for the hill above, while people started to dance. Louie was in the ballroom at the crap table again with Jezebel on his arm…

I walked up to Louie and the mystery woman. "Are you winning?"

"Lady luck is on my side today," he said jostling his elbow up with Jezebel hugging it. Louie raised the dice and she blew on them, before he gave them another winning toss. "Hot dang!"

"Dear Henry, I find you within the most fabulous of homes," Jezebel said with a seductive leer as she moved to my elbow. She gave Louie one more rub on his head for luck as we walked off.

Mrs. Crane, the Matriarch, walked up, "Hello my dear Jane."

To my surprise, Jezebel answered, "Hello, how was Chicago this winter?"

"It was in the crapper; though it had its ups and downs." This was an old phrase she had been using for years. Her husband owned Crane plumbing and Otis Elevator.

"Another fabulous party, I must say," Jezebel/Jane said. It is strange to have a woman on your arm when you do not know her name, and at the same time feel like you might have known her for a lifetime.

There was something familiar about her. Then the light hit Mrs Crane just right. It was not till that moment did I realize she was wearing the diadem. I looked closer and realized the Gamchicoth stones were missing. From behind her appeared this Russian Starets with a long beard in greasy peasant robes.

Could it be? He was rumored to have died before the war in 1916. He had suffered the three fold death, the death Merlin befell,death by earth (two bullets), water (poison), and air (suffocation from drowning). This was the same ritual Stephen White was trying to use on the Knapp brothers to button up Yog-Sothoth resurrection. Here he was still alive, but how?

 "Madame, you look wonderful in my diadem," the Russian Starets complimented.

"Oh, you are a silver tongue devil," Mrs. Crane said, blushing, as she touched the corner of the tiara.

"I know," said Rasputin as he walked away.

What was going on here? As I was still in shock over seeing a man who the world thought was dead, I noticed Jane/Jezebel had slipped away.

Craps.pdf

___

The party continued. Louie started losing. I decided to walk back up the hill, not directly back toward the house, but toward one of the gardens. I have these hunches; that sometimes pays off.

The music started to fade away as I headed toward the Rose Garden. On approach I could hear chanting intermixed with what seemed to be...whales gargling?

I was approaching from above as the people in their black robes came into sight circling the dormant fountain in the middle; another circle rounded under the pergola, with its decaying roses, held by a series of concrete columns. The two circles spiraled into each other. As the chants increased and the circle dance picked up speed, the fountain sent high intermediate bursts that in time increased in frequency. I was hiding behind the retaining wall on the grass above the garden leaning on one of the cedars.

Round and round they went. Then in the middle, the largest whale of them disrobed and the circle stopped.

Taft had gone into the buff again and looked around at everyone else still robbed with hoods still covering their faces, "What, it is not that type of ritual?" Everyone remained silent and Taft walked off, leaving his robe behind.

The circle began to whirl about once more. At its crescendo, a man walked into the middle and stretched out his arms wide into the sky and gave a loud howl which seemed to make everyone stop and look in his direction. As his head was lifted in mid-howl his hood fell off. There he was again, back from the dead.

The Starets, Rasputin.

"My brethren from the sea! It is time for you to go back and take your ancestral home once again. Rurik's kin is dead. The curse upon us has been lifted. The Chud will walk the strand of our fore-bearers once more. Once more we shall control the land and sea!" pontificated the tall greasy Russian.

I never found these political speeches very interesting…

A woman was now standing by his side. She lifted her hood and she was wearing the diadem. It had the stones in place, except the center one. Rasputin lifted his hand and said, "This stone I will place in the center of the diadem and Vellamo will rise once more and control the Jörmungandr." 

Rasputin.pdf

He placed the stone in the middle and Gamchicoth was made whole again. The twelve stones lit up as the bioelectricity flew out of the woman into the diamonds powering the Gamchicoth. A white film fell from the top of her eye sockets and covered her eyes. She began making sounds of which one would imagine emanating if they had seen whales having sex in the coldest part of the arctic, miles from the sun.

In the distance a rogue wave was forming exposing a mile of ocean floor. As the woman's call continued, the wave, growing in height, was ever approaching. When it reached the point in height of the exposed floor's length, it broke. The wave curled crashing down, stretching a mile, and fell soaking those within the circle. We could hear Taft down by the beach howl like someone just rammed a potato up his ass.

Rasputin then snatched the crown off her head, "That is enough!" and walked away.

I remained dry from my high point and I started to walk back to the casino. As I could hear the music of Duke Ellington grow louder upon my approach, I was confronted by ten men.

As I sidestepped with my left hand on someone's right elbow, just before I could twist his wrist to dislocate his elbow with a continually growing force, I noticed it was Bjorn. One of my third generation Viking reincarnated crew.

"Bjorn?"

"Yes Henry!" Bjorn yelled before I could dislocate his elbow.

"Who else is here?" I had asked.

"Olaf and Magnus." They waved among the group. Bjorn continued, "We were moonlighting for the catering company's security…"

As the Duke began the next song, the four of us started our dance. The secret of fighting is instant reaction to action. Dance teaches you that each note from the band creates a new step. Eventually, starting with the rhythm section, the band incorporates the dancer into the band composing the flow of the music. Indeed, the bassist who was placed off the same plane of the band under the arcade saw us as he stared over the pool. The drummer followed his lead. As the Duke acknowledged how the rhythm had changed, we were full force into the fight.

The movements of dervishes were evident as we lifted legs and whirled upward with wide arcs encircling their arms from above, grasping their elbows and complimenting the movement by placing pressure on their shoulders at the fulcrum point as we lifted their elbows. Then following the movement of the music lower to swipe the next one's legs in one direction and their torsos in another. Then inspired by the ethnic flavor, I rose quickly and dropped with my foot out connecting to one's stomach. As I reached the bottom of my crouch I threw out my arms and rose up again hitting two more.

I at least imagined the four of us within a synchronized battle akin to those swimmers in the cinema, but the other three much preferred brute force. By the end of the battle I had reached the far side of the dance floor opposite from the band across the pool. I was still in motion and I joined the other dancers; only the bassist saw the fight and he gave me a little nod and a smile. Then he shook his head in a silent damn!

As I spun Jane/Jezebel grabbed my hand and I noticed the ring  which Izzy had sent me to find. "Hello Hank!" she said as she placed her other arm around my waist and goosed me. "Izzy sends her love."

The ring, I only caught a glimpse, was strangely familiar. Much of this exploit seemed like déjà vu.

"What is wrong? You don't know how to dance?" she taunted. 

I had stopped to stare at the ring, but now I continued. Although I was not doing any formal dance, I was still that hidden instrument in the band, thanks to the bassist.

She started to follow my lead as we moved in and around the notes. In time, I found the band bringing her under union rates as well. They started following her movements. In time, she was leading the band as it moved from the dancers to every musician in turn and back again in a fluid motion, which was contagious as the rest of the dance floor felt this special movement and swayed with us like a large chorus. After the song she just left again, but everyone else continued to dance through to the sunrise.

"Henry, we need to leave and get some rest for the train tomorrow," Keno had said. "I lubricated the old general and he spilled the proverbial Boston beans; It seems that JP has over-extended in Europe during this last war and America joining has not produced enough liquidity needed for some hush hush plans. He needs to go to his aunt and beg for some funding in the Berkshires."

To Continue...

 

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