A very Victorian Grimm

Jack the Ripper was not what he appeared... as are many more creatures that lurk beneath the surface of very human faces...

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2. The Visitor

The Metropolitan Railway was by and large quiet during the late hours, and the familiar and comforting 'chug' of the locomotive was slowly sending Earl Cooper to a gentle slumber. He gave his head a shake to keep his eyes open as the train pulled into Great Portland Street station.

Passing the gas lamps that glowed so softly on the stairs, he yawned. The night's efforts had left him fatigued, and the satisfaction he should have felt at stopping one of London's most terrifying killers was absent. All he cared about was laying his head upon his pillow.

The lamps that lit his path as Earl started north up Albany Street were not only bright but provided a gentle warmth in the cool November air. He rubbed the bridge of his nose and was grateful for the freshness of the night after the warm, smokey train journey.

Almost absentmindedly, he turned his eyes to the passers-by, as and when he came upon them. He spotted a male Seelengut and a female Bauerschwein interloping on a bench and arched a brow - it was especially uncommon for Seelenguts to stray from their own kind.

63 Albany Street. Home sweet home. Earl slid his key into the lock and took in the light of the newly-installed electric light (left on deliberately so as to light his return) as he entered the hallway. Slightly worn red carpet guided him past the coat rack (where hat and coat met their resting places) and Earl turned right into the living room...

... where he froze.

He did not have a lot of possessions - his bookcase was only half-full, and this only due to the books he had inherited from past Grimms - and his coffee table, once firm oak wood, had suffered after a number of spillages. The fireplace had not been properly cleaned out in weeks (I must get around to that), and only his armchair (that lovely, plush, blue armchair that seemed to perfectly fit the contours of his body) was in an especially good state. Even the windows and dark blue curtains (perfect for deflecting prying eyes) needed washing.

But still, what he had was his. So the sight of an interloper, sitting in his chair, and with the audacity to be holding one of his china teacups, was enough to make Earl's blood boil.

"I should warn you at once that I am proficient with hand-to-hand combat and that furthermore, I am armed." Earl slid the dagger from its holster in emphasis. "If you leave my property immediately no harm shall come to you." Earl now realised he had been foolish. The living light had clearly been on yet his brain had somehow not registered this. 

The man in his chair was finely dressed, more so than Earl. The cream cravat and black jacket were clearly finely made, and next to the chair was a cane topped by a gold handle, shaped to resemble a dragon. Short, black hair sat above intelligent brown eyes, though Earl could not help but note the deep purple scar that creased down the man's left cheek, marring what might otherwise have been regarded as a chiseled, handsome face.

Then the man vogged, his features shifting. A thick mane of hair, brown furry face, feline eyes and razor-sharp teeth looked back at him. Earl's grip on the knife tightened.

"So you are the Grimm." The Lowen said. "Good, I am pleased." The voice seemed to rumble, before reverting to human features. "You can relax, I am not here to fight."

"You will forgive me if I do not immediately take you at your word." Earl's voice was tight. "You have after all, broken into my home."

"Apologies. It was necessary to speak to you and at the same time, avoid being seen in the open. I could think of nowhere else to go." The accent was... foreign, perhaps eastern European? Earl was not sure.

"You have traveled far to see me, judging from your accent."

The Lowen smiled. "Yes, I have. My associates smuggled me from Russia." He reached into his jacket pocket, and pulled out an envelope, marked with a red wax seal. "I am to present this to you."

Earl looked hesitant, but stepped forward, only slightly relaxing his grip on the dagger, reaching out with his left hand.

The seal was a large, ornate W. Earl raised an eyebrow quizzically.

"I do not know what it means." Said the Lowen. "Nor do I know what is inside the envelope. It is for your eyes only."

Earl did not look away from the Lowen as he broke the envelope's seal. Slowly, carefully, he slid the letter out and let the envelope fall gently to the carpet.

"Let us see what your associates wish of me." Earl opened out the letter, and began to read.

To Earl Cooper,

Let me begin by stating that I know who you are. You are a Grimm, and as such, I and my associates consider you to be a very dangerous man, yet you are also one of the few I would entrust with this cause. I work for the Resistance - you might have heard of us. We seek to prevent the Families from ever asserting their dangerous and cruel influence over this world ever again, and to that end, I have a favour to ask of you.

The Families need seven keys to unlock a secret that could grant them the power to reshape the world, and it would not benefit any of us, Wesen or Grimm or human. They already possess four of these keys, and must not be allowed to get any more. The Resistance believes that a Grimm already holds one, but we have learned of another, due for auction in Glasgow on December 17th. The Families will almost certain attempt to procure it through any means, and this cannot be permitted. On the back of this letter are the full details of where and when this auction takes place.

Kliment, the one who delivered this letter, will assist you. He is cunning and quick, and a master of thievery, should you have need of such skills. 

We have few agents in Britain, and they are no match for the formidable forces the Families will send. We need a powerful ally, and in you, we believe we might have it.

I implore and beg you to help us. The freedom of the world is at stake. 

The Resistance.

 

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