Raise it Up (Under Expedition part 2)

Sorry for the delay but I’ve had a few days where my ‘illness’ pretty much benched me. All the stresses of trekking through the Under caught up with me I guess. When I last left you Team Remiel and our four local companions had been confronted just outside the corridors of power by Thatch and a group of Ravens under her command.

Meanwhile Icarus had met another group of the Under’s black-clad constabulary. Icarus was running from the Sweeny, having lost his Yardie bodyguards to a surprise attack by these droogs of the Under. This group, it would turn out, was lead by The Smiler. The Smiler… well imagine a man who never stops smiling. Ever. But whatever humor he expresses with his mouth never seems to reach his eyes. He’s like a walking smiley face, only his face isn’t round or yellow. He’s as much a monster as Thatch. Icarus identified himself, asking for sanctuary and an escort to The Detective. Smiler gave him the former but refused him the latter.

Back outside the gates to the Corridors, Brother Luke suggested to Judge that if our presence in the Under was going to be a problem maybe we should go to the White Tower and sort everything out before things got out of hand. After more umming and ahhing Judge asked Fogg to guide us to the White Tower and informed our would-be-captor of our destination. We headed off with Thatch following us close behind.

It took a couple of hours to make our way to the White Tower. These chalk caves date back to prehistory and are located deep beneath the Tower of London. Hence the name. Here can be found Bran the Blessed, the leader of the Ravens and the guardian of both the city of London and some say the British Isles. Well, not all of him, of course; just his head.

We arrived with Thatch still dogging our heels. RSM Dixon met us at the gates. Thatch tried to claim that we were her prisoners but Dixon laughed at us and permitted our entrance. Thatch followed us of course, since she lives there, but Dixon took us off and led us to some well appointed, for the Under, guest quarters. There we found Icarus waiting for us. Seemed that Smiler’s idea of sanctuary was to take Icarus to the White Tower and leave him there. Well it’s one of the safest places in the Under so I suppose it makes a certain amount of sense. Judge asked of Dixon for an audience with Bran. After Dixon had left Judge tore a strip off of Icarus.

Icarus explained that the reason he’d freaked out that first night was because it wasn’t his first encounter with the entity. The entity had been haunting his dreams for over a week, which is why he’d taken to staying awake as much as possible. As to why he hadn’t reported it he said he felt ashamed. I can see his point; he’s a trained Benedanti. We’re powerhouses in the dream lands but the entity had rattled Icarus so much he’d completely lost it; he could no more defend himself while asleep than he could when he encountered the entity that night in the park. Then after Remiel had been formed he started seeing masked figures everywhere he went. Frequently the entity too. That’s why he was trying to get to The Detective. He needed help from outside the department as he didn’t feel we could protect him, despite Sorrow saving his hide.

We were there for over a day by my watch. By the time Dixon came to lead us to meet with Bran we’d argued Judge around to our way of thinking. He agreed to lead us to see the Detective once we’d met with Bran.

I always pictured Bran the Blessed looking like Brian Blessed and, perhaps through dramaturgy or maybe something else, I wasn’t disappointed. Dixon led us into Bran’s throne room. Well I say throne; Bran rested upon a sliver platter which itself rested on a raised plinth carved from the native rock. Despite being only a head Bran’s voice boomed a welcome across the chamber. Dixon introduced us and then Bran asked us our business in his realm. Judge explained that we’d come to recover Icarus and were planning to proceed to the Detective as soon as possible.

“The Detective eh?” Bran grinned and his eyes swiveled in their sockets to regard Dixon, who smiled. “Ring the bell please Dixon there’s a good chap,” Bran said with a hearty chuckle. Dixon pulled on a cord that hung from the wall and a bell rang distantly. A few minutes later the doors to the throne room opened and RSM Dixon entered. Dixon did a double take at his double. Bran gave a mighty belly laugh and the Dixon who had led us into the chamber removed his helmet with a flourish and peeled off his mustache. In his place stood a tall, well I’d be tempted to say “slender”, slim man. The best likeness I could place would be that actor, Benedict Cumberbund, or whatever his name is.

“What seems to be the problem?” The Detective said. Bran had Dixon, the real Dixon, lead us into a side chamber. We spent more than an hour consulting with The Detective before we were finally led out and back to Down Street. The Detective promised to get word to us about whatever the entity was as soon as he had it.

We got back to the surface only to find we’d been gone almost a week. I was half way through my report when my hands started to shake and I began to stammer. I had barely enough time to hit “publish” before the first of a week’s worth of seizures hit. My memory is still like a sieve a week later. Thankfully I made copious notes while Down in the Under.

It looks like Icarus is going to be a full time addition to Team Remiel. So less pressure on me. I have a debrief tomorrow morning so please excuse me.

Good Night.

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