What follows are genuine entries from the Journal of Peregrine, 22nd Duke of Earl:
Thank God for Francisca !
Her plan is so simple, yet shot through with genius. Only she could have thought of it.
All this day was spent in preparation - a visit to the Crypt, a quick call at the butchers, a letter to Digglesworth...
I live yet, and the tables may still be turned.
Tomorrow night shall be the end of days, or the Genesis of Gedditon.
IT IS OVER.
I sit in Alice's bedchamber, and relate to her the story.
Were it not for Francisca, I am sure that all would have been lost. It was she who spotted the dread Mole's one weakness.
Finding me prone on the Crook'd Stair, her first thought was to see to my care. When she had me safely tucked up in my bed, she began to clear up the mess which had been left by my sudden collapse. She picked up the candle, and the plover eggs, the remains of which would have been my supper; the latter objects she brought to me, knowing how fond I am of them.
'Eggs... eggs!' I cried, 'But who has nibbled them! I shan't eat nibbled eggs!'
Dear Francisca assumed that I was still in delirium, and putting the eggs aside, went to fetch some beef tea.
Later that morning, somewhat restored, I related to Francisca the terrible events of the previous night. Suddenly she became quite excited.
'Do you mean to say, Your Grace, that you had not touched the plover eggs before the... thing appeared?' she interjected.
'Well of course not, dear child,' I responded, somewhat mystified.
Francisca's green eyes lit up.
'Then who has nibbled them, for it wasn't me!'
Many accounts exist of the circumstances surrounding the appearance of the Mole of Woe. Some are quite clearly not contemporaneous, and are unworthy of further mention. Most however, have the ring of truth about them, having being written by the deceased's closest vassals, often under extreme tortures.
Reviewing these accounts took me the better part of three hours. This exercise confirmed to me what I had all along suspected - there was no written evidence that the Mole consumed physical matter of any type.
But I knew better. None but the Mole could have feasted upon my supper. The servants had long before retired to bed, and there are no animals of any type within these walls. It was the Mole, and no doubt of it!
But to what end could this knowledge be used?
I turned to the Library's vast collection of works dealing with the Supernatural. I leafed through tome after tome; should I have wished to kill any number of vampires, werewolves, or mummies, then most assuredly I could have, many times over. Of the Mole of Woe, and suggested methods of dispatch, the books were strangely silent.
I would have to improvise.
I dispatched Francisca to Holcold's, the local butcher with whom I have a close relationship, with a very specific order.
I then made my way out to the grounds, and set off for the Crypt.
The Crypt is an eerie place at the best of times. Towering grey among the oak trees in the dying light of a cold and blustery February evening, it is not the spot for a picnic. But I had not come to eat, I had come to harvest.
All the Karstein-Schmidts rest there. Some occupy hefty stone edifices, some rest in niches in the dripping walls, some, alas, lie scattered higgledy-piggledy on the mossy floor. It is these latter inhabitants that are most likely to perturb the casual visitor - a torch's flame will pick out a femur here, a ribcage there, a shattered skull girning by one's foot. Lost glories, abandoned souls...
It took me some time to find what I was looking for. As I picked it up, the empty sockets seemed to glare balefully at me. I quickly deposited the item in my bag, and fled.
My letter to Inspector Digglesworth went out at around 8pm on that Friday night. A desperate gambit yes, but now I was a desperate man.
Francisca had returned from Holcolds some time earlier, and all was ready on the culinary front.
Before retiring, I took a walk to the door of the Keep, and looked around me. All was quiet, the lawns spread out in the gloom across the moat; the moon was full, and would remain so for at least one more night. All was ready...
Next Week: REVELATIONS!!!