Empire Wiki

Chapter Four: A Little Drop of Poison

In which our heroes witness the inner workings of their fellow citizens minds, become embroiled in courtly politics and see the dark underbelly of the Empire.

What the Bloody Hell Just Happened?![]


Mary Bloodletter

Oliver continues to stare at the pictures before realizing that the room is on fire. He runs to the hallway but finds that the doors are blockaded. There are rioters outside burning the house. The Queen of Autumn starts coming down the stairs hurling insults along the lines of “bitch”, “whore”, and “traitor” at Oliver. She begins to grow larger and Oliver wakes up to realize he was only dreaming.


Oliver wakes Perth up because he had “bad dreams”. Perth is understandably annoyed. Oliver can’t sit still so he decides to go talk to his mentor, Mitchell Hitchcock.


Gram wakes up atop a waterbed in a well-appointed hotel room in central London. He collects his clothing from around the room and attempts to leave to find Professor Palindrome, Mrs. George, McKendry Cak, and Prince John having morning tea while a mundane tailor measures Queen Edane for a new green dress. The queen doesn’t even look at him as the collected Spring Courtiers titter with laughter. He sneaks out of the room. He quickly calls Ben Ashmore who says the rumor is the Queen shagged and shamed him to get revenge for Nellie and Gram drawing attention away from the queen at her after-funeral party.


Percy wakes in the Chelsea flat of the Duchess of Music. Her oracular abilities make her somewhat . . . overly familiar. Percy runs like the wind. She insists she’ll see him for breakfast and that “He doesn’t know yet” so his behavior is forgivable.



Gram puts the call out to everyone to meet for breakfast at The Club, as there is much to discuss. Oliver ate breakfast waiting for Hitchcock to show, but he decides to come along.


You all meet at The Club for breakfast. After drinks in the Lounge, you are led into the Club dining room and all order very specific and very large breakfasts (hangover food). You discuss your myriad problems, and Percy sees Astrid Glass, Wes Price, and Lady Donna. Wes and Astrid think the whole thing is darned funny. The group splits after breakfast.


The group handles various problems they have had over the last few weeks. Nellie concentrates on her Magnum Opus, Gram tries to get a sense of the political scene, and Percy goes hunting for materials in the hedge with Perth and Oliver, narrowly dodging Mome Raths to do it.


Night falls on the land and our heroes have troubled dreams.

  • Oliver’s Dream -- Oliver was trapped in the Autumn Cavern, dog collared to a stripper pole as wild animals in cages snarl nearby. The buxom figure of the Queen of Autumn danced around the pole seductively. A filthy, rag-covered girl grabbed him and screams for him to wake up.
  • Gram’s Dream -- Gram was a wild, feral beast hunting another beast through the woods. With a spear he pins the beast down, only to find it’s a small boy in cowboy jammies wearing an animal skin on his back. The air grew cold as Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness, appears carried on a litter by small green imps. Gram runs away and, in his panic, wakes up.
  • Percy’s Dream -- Percy stayed in on a night at home, watching EastEnders on the telly. Large gentlemen came to take the toilet he was sitting on in his living room. The Doctor from Doctor Who burst through his window and gives chase, and Percy shed his flower-print robe and bunny slippers to give chase.
  • Nellie’s Dream -- Nellie cautiously explored a red-and-black tiled hospital with warm red Victorian upholstery. She dreamed of a man with black goggles and a red lab coat with a box of pink hard candies. She dreamed of being forced to take these candies in a most unfortunate way. Choking, she woke up.
  • Perth’s Dream -- Perth was being chased while rowing in a boat made of half an oil drum. He nearly reached an island where he could hide but the boat shrunk and took off one of his feet. He moves around an island fortress filled with empty library shelves and finds a spiral stair leading both up and down. Above light and four shadowy figures, below pitch black. Those hunting Perth appeared to be on their way and even as he tried to climb up he was dragged down to the black.


Everyone awakens in various stages of distress. Percy is not overwhelmingly disturbed until he realizes his dream-guarding dog, Nana, was not present in his dream. Nana apparently was not able to “find” Percy, says there were others, but not Percy inside of Percy’s dream. Despite the unease with which the day starts, everyone has a life and so to work and school they go.


Oliver goes to visit Mitchell Hitchcock to get insight into his dreams. Mitchell tells him that the expert on dreams in the Court is Madeline “Maddie” Worple of The College of Nightmares. Mitchell says he’ll phone ahead for Oliver.


Perth makes a unilateral decision to break one of Mr. Black’s Rules and jog through a small portion of Hyde Park. The portion of the jog inside the park lasts less then 5 minutes and Perth feels no ill effects. He does note that many people out today seem somewhat short tempered, owing, Perth thinks, to the slow rise of The Court of Summer.


Nellie observes people are more agitated then usual at work. She goes to the head of the props department, Alvin Douglas, to see if she can borrow plans for a long bow for Percy, only to find him and his assistants in violent disputes. He calms himself, excusing his behavior as not having a good nights sleep for a week.


Oliver visits The Old Curiosity Shop, an antique store in the heart of the Square Mile. A young mundane asks if she can help him, and he asks to see Miss Worple. Miss Worple (who seems to be in the 60’s in more ways then one) makes a deal with Oliver to monitor his dream in return for a minor favor to be returned later. Oliver agrees and the two swear a 24-hour Pact.


Lecture Hall.jpg

Gram and Nellie attend Professor Palindrome’s class where he gives a very strange lecture on the nature of the “dream sequence” in books and film, noting that they are often overused and add no benefit to the plot. He however notes that dreams can expose the inner desires of characters, their hopes and fears creating a more rich portrait, but they are more commonly used to give over-the-top melodrama and confusing plot-hole filled obscurity. After the class Prof. Palindrome invites Nellie and Gram out to dinner.


Nellie and Gram go to the Eccentric Club with Prof. Palindrome. They talk for a short while about his class and the Empire but Palindrome seems ill at ease. Just as he is apologizing for being such bad company Dr. Glastig throws a bloody awful fit. Gastlig smashes tables and windows, throws plates, and generally screams her head off. Palindrome calmly walks down to the front desk to tell Reg to send up security.


Percy, Perth, and Oliver go hunting for a spider in the Hedge. Despite this being potentially fatal, the hunt goes on. Eventually they manage to buy a small crystalline spider from a roving miniature goblin salesman who goes by The Great Perelli. He warns them against wandering too far into the Hedge. A quick escape is made and they return to the normal world.


Hoping for a little royal advisement the motley arrives at For Get to find it nearly deserted due to the rain. Most people there are simply sitting around tables drinking profusely. A number of Changelings are present, most notably Joshua Wolff, who came to the club because he had a strange dream about it last night. The VIP section is empty. Gram, Nellie, and Percy make a plan to drink heavily (to zonk themselves out so they don’t dream). Oliver plans on being creepy to some of the lovely ladies present to reap some fear.


Perth breaks off from the group to see if his new job as a bouncer at the club has been approved. He finds the business office of George Ethan-Brooks, majority owner of For Get, but no one is answering the door. The Prince of Spring sticks his head out to ask what Perth wants and after popping back in for a short time the Prince reveals that he’s got the job. On the way out, Perth bumps into a frozen elemental dressed to the nines in long sleeved, high-necked proper British attire. She travels with Duke Mortimer and Mr. Black who announce her as Anne Balmoral, Princess Plenipotentiary of Winter. She never addresses Perth directly, referring to him as “it” (like when she told Mortimer to “Note: it is still awake”). She barges into the office with her entourage.


The Royal Family of Spring makes their way to the VIP section. The Motley follows right in behind them. Queen Edane looks very tired and Prince John speaks for her. Nellie references the strange dream they have been having and Prince John is clearly disturbed. He asks her if she has ever dreamed about being in a windowless room sewn with thread. When she responds in the affirmative, John explicitly threatens her not to say what happened in her dreams.


Night falls on the land and our heroes have more troubled dreams.

  • Oliver’s Dream -- Oliver ran and ran but could not get away in the snowy fog that surrounded him. He held close to the hand in front of him, but he tripped and fell. The hand kept running. Mab comes and told Oliver “Sweet Thing, Seamus is never coming back”
  • Gram’s Dream -- Gram dreamed of the Clockwork Palace and the citizens of The Empire. Guns were handed out in an orderly manner so a far younger-looking version of King George can lead everyone in a “Royal Hunt” (that is, hunting Royals). Gram was handed a derringer pistol and is asked by a still younger version of the Duke of Letters if he is “ready to proceed”.
  • Percy’s Dream -- Percy was locked in the library of The House surrounded by Iron Clockwork Guards and Faceless psychiatrists. He could not move as they poked and prodded him and answered his every remark with “How does that make you feel?” As they ask the house slowly burns to the ground.
  • Nellie’s Dream -- Nellie was driving to a Gastroenterology conference despite knowing nothing about gastroenterology. The car lacked a break pedal, but she thought that was okay (if a little nervous-making). She arrived at London’s O2 arena to give her talk in front of thousands and managed to bring the car to a somewhat satisfactory stop. Panic set in just before she got set to take the stage.
  • Perth’s Dream -- Perth strolled on a pleasant spring day outdoors. Children skipped around maypoles and tables of refreshment dotted the landscape. Queen Edane was pushed on a swing by a woman Perth automatically knew as the Empress Victoria (without ever seeing her before). Edane and Victoria went after a small vial in Perth's pocket that he knew he should keep hidden, but they pushed him down, breaking the vial open and releasing bees which attack everyone.



Waking up even more tired then when they went to sleep last night, our heroes start to become very concerned. Maddie Worple clearly did not appear in Oliver’s dream and Nana, the guardian of Percy’s dreams, is still asleep and cannot be roused. Panic starts to set in and the Motley decides to head to The Clockwork Palace after work/class to find out what the heck is going on. The Motley finds that classes are canceled due to intense rain and decide to move up the timetable for going to the Palace.


Pushing through partially (or wholly) soaked tourists, the motley finds themselves in the Clockwork Museum, with The Man for All Seasons and Colin Buress nowhere in sight. They decide to push onward into The Clockwork Palace itself, only to find a row of brass-and-gold clockwork guards protecting the entryway. Accidentally shoving one brings them all down like a set of staggered dominoes. The racket brings the attention of Sir Beryl Whitehall and The Man.


The Clockwork Palace is much more gloomy then usual, seeming to lack its “spark”. The ballroom has been converted to a makeshift shelter, with rows of elegant settees taking the place of rows of cots. The motley interrogates a few other citizens, including the Duke of Letters and Colin Buress in an attempt to discover who owns the dreams they’ve been having (assuming they are someone else’s dreams). Dr. Glastig is in full mental breakdown mode and Dr. Collins sedates her. Her insane screams imply the source of the disturbance is back at Bedlam.


Dr. C lets them know that some members of the Empire are simply not waking up. He agrees to sedate the characters (though, he admits, he was going to do so even if they didn’t ask him to) so they can attempt to “connect” with whatever the source of the scrambled dreams is.


Our heroes take the medication from Dr. Collins and sleep. . . .

  • Oliver’s Dream -- Oliver walked through the British museum taking a baby carriage with him. He was directed to sit down in the main rotunda and get out his number 2 pencils to take a pregnancy test. Professor Palindrome administers the test, waiting impatiently for Oliver to finish.
  • Gram’s Dream -- Gram sat in a breakfast nook in a medium-sized flat looking over the sports page, eating with his beloved Princess Margret when she suddenly threw her entire breakfast plate (followed by pots and pans) at his head. He attempted to follow her as she ran out of the house but was intercepted by King George who wanted him to ride into battle. He got away from King George only to run into Duke Mortimer, who needed to discuss citywide security measures. All the while Princess Margaret got farther and farther away . . .
  • Percy’s Dream -- Percy dreamt he was surrounded by utter blackness being hunted by something. Every turn he made brought him closer to his unseen attacker. Eventually he ran out of places to run and a feral blur of red and white slashed his face to ribbons.
  • Nellie’s Dream -- Nellie sat in a glorious fog as faceless nameless people wander past. She was in Hyde Park, sitting on a bench and enjoying the warm spring air. She could barely make out that the people were all dressed in identical outfits, marching in near-perfect lock-step, till a small nearly-translucent boy in a child’s suit with shorts dropped his ball, and it rolled to Nellie’s feet. She returned it to the perfectly conformed and nearly translucent child.
  • Perth’s Dream -- Perth sat on a hill overlooking a large unidentified park in London. On one side of the park were hordes of goblins, monsters, and dark creatures. At their lead was Mr. In Formation, riding a brown horse and holding a black walking stick. On the other side stood the assembled Courts of the Empire, led by the regents of the season, each on resplendent magical steeds that embody the power of their season. As the two sides charged towards each other and an unrepentant hot rain started, Perth looks to see he is sitting next to a boy wearing green tights, a floating blue woman in a black dress, and a man in a black suit with red and yellow velvet trim and pomp. The blue woman offers Perth a toffee and remarks that this is “all [his] fault”.


Our heroes awaken several hours later to find most of the people in the place are asleep. They decide to break up into two groups -- one (Oliver and Perth) goes to consult the Queen of Autumn as to a course of action and the other (Nellie, Percy, and Gram) decides to go try and beat some answers out of Mr. In Formation.


Oliver and Perth head down to the Autumn Cavern, to find it in very odd condition. The cavern is filled with sleeping Autumn Courtiers and mundanes, and in the center of the room the Queen of Autumn seems to be deep in meditation. According to Lord Vallum she is attempting to sleep (something she has not done in quite some time). Vallum informs them that the dreams are not scrambled: They are being swapped. When you have someone else’s dreams, they are having yours. He also notes that Queen Edane is focused totally on keeping up the torrential rain to keep people indoors and the other royals (other then his glorious dark mistress) are asleep and cannot be roused. The Queen asks if they would go down to Bedlam and “correct” the situation.


Mr. In Formation is easily threatened, but he cannot magically summon information unless he is paid “the correct price” for it; that is the limit of his power. After negotiations over price, he lets them know the source of the Dream Swapping is a girl in Bedlam who has committed a “breach of protocol” that needs to be corrected or “it all comes down”. He also mentions that this is all David Picket-Frost's fault.


Our heroes get on the underground and head down to Bedlam. They discuss the ramifications of what has happened, including the possibility that if Gram had Beryl’s dream (about Maggie) then Beryl had Gram's. . . .


The group is met by Edward Rothko, governmental liaison with the NHS. He has received notice that the motley was to arrive and is under the impression they are from the NHS and the hospital board. He remarks how sad everyone at the hospital was to learn of Mr. Picket-Frost’s death and wonders aloud if any of them would be his full-time replacement.



Mr. Rothko passes the motley off to Mr. Bollinger, an Autumnal Ogre who lets them know where the “restricted” section is. He tells them the young lady who is the problem is in “Confinement Area 6” and that he is not allowed on the floor. Mr. Picket-Frost was responsible for authorizing her medication, and without him Bollinger can’t do anything


The motley finds the fairly sunny confinement ward and goes to Area 6. There are two patients in Area 6: One is a Sidhe, whom Gram assumes is Sir Roger Darling. The other is a small girl with an American accent who paints with magic crayons and makes strange and ominous statements. After retrieving more sedatives, they open the girl’s door (with the pass code 111) and, seeing that she’s actually a 16 year old who seems to be clawing at her own IV drip, they up her dosage and put her fully to sleep.


Our heroes return to the Autumn Cavern to discover most of the courtiers of Autumn now awake. After hearing a report from Oliver and Perth (still the only ones willing to enter the Lair of the Autumn Queen, the Queen informs a now-in-control-of-herself Dr. Glastig that she was “correct about Alice” and that the girl should be “exiled” posthaste. Once the doctors from Bedlam depart, Queen Mary insists she owes the motley a “royal favor”, which they immediately cash in for knowledge of who owned The House before they did. The Queen dispatches Lord Vallum to examine the structure.


The motley and Lord Vallum arrive at The House to find it vastly changed from its normal Victorian grandeur to a more simple country cottage. Vallum grumbles that his time has been wasted and departs. As soon as they see Vallum off, The House changes back to its previous Victorian angularness.


The motley is asked by The House to come down to the basement (that they did not know existed). The door is locked tight, but they manage to break it open. The basement conceals a mirror, nearly identical to the one Nellie watched during her Durance, causing her intense distress. The House manifests a physical appearance (like a butler or valet) in the mirror. The House imparts the following information:

  • The House does not know who owned it previously, and it is under the impression the year is 1997. It seems to be appalled at the loss of time it experienced.
  • The House itself is less the structure than it is the mirror. The House was built around the mirror, which is one of the “legendary” magic mirrors.
  • It refers to the Empress as Anne, The King of Autumn as Henry, The Queen of Spring as Victoria, The King of Winter as Albert, and remarks that the Summer courts losses are so great in the Goblin War that he can’t recall who the current ruler is, but he presumes it is George, the Dragon.
  • He used a complex expenditure of Wyrd magic to hide the house because Lord Vallum and his mistress, Mary Bloodletter, the Duchess of Pledges, attempted to burn him to the ground at some point. He cannot recall specifics.
  • Lord Vallum and the Duchess of Pledges are members of a secretive cult within the Autumn court that wishes to become members of the True Fae. They are known as the Conclave of the Wyrd.

The World Famous London Daily Mirror[]

For other articles see- London Daily Mirror

Duke's Driver Dings Damsels Daimler[]

The recent spat of ruinous rain has washed away most of our weekend plans, but it has put the most severe dent in the life of The Duke of Exeter. His Grace was traveling from his solicitors office to a rumored tea with her Majesty when his personal driver apparently fell asleep behind the wheel and hit a comely co-ed from Imperial (not too far from His Grace's London flat in Kensington Gardens).

After His Grace finished giving the driver what our eyewitnesses called "a thrashing" he apparently offered the distressed young lady a ride to class. No news yet on if the young lady plans to pursue legal action.


For other questions see- The Master Question List

  • Why did Oliver start having strange dreams before anyone else?
  • Why did the dreams effect Dr. Glastig in such a bizarre manner?
  • Why didn't Mr. Bollinger just medicate the girl himself? Why was David Picket-Frost in charge of the medication process?
  • How did that girl cause all the members of the Empire to start swapping dreams? Was she also responsible for all the mundanes having irritable attitudes? Were they not sleeping?
  • What is "exile"?
  • Who owned The House before Trouble Ahead did? Why did the Conclave of the Wyrd try and burn it down? Why did you find it? Why can't The House remember the answers to these questions?
  • How would the Conclave "become" True Fae? Is that their actual goal? Who other then the Queen and Lord Vallum are members of the Conclave?
The Books
The Book of Spring: Chapter One: Black Masks and Coronation Cake • Chapter Two: The Illuminated Texts • Chapter Three: The Good Fight • Chapter Four: A Little Drop of Poison • Chapter Five: Games of Fortune • Chapter Six: For Everything
The Book of Summer: Chapter Seven: War Aeterna • Chapter Eight: War Plan Red • Chapter Nine: Trust No One • Chapter Ten: Best Laid Plans • Chapter Eleven: The Quest • Chapter Twelve: The Saber Arch • Chapter Thirteen: The Diary of Prince Martin • Chapter Fourteen: Sacrifices • Chapter Fifteen: There Is A Season
The Meeting
The Book of Autumn: Chapter Sixteen: Black Holes and Revelations • Chapter Seventeen: The Last Magic Mirror • Chapter Eighteen: The Final Terrible Fate of Elizabeth Chandler • Chapter Nineteen: Treason, Sedition, Heresy • Chapter Twenty: Iron Sacrifice of Body, Will and Soul • Chapter Twenty-One: Time For Every Purpose
The Book of Winter: Chapter Twenty-Two: Pax Hiems • Chapter Twenty-Three: The Diary of Mrs. Thistle Sept-Dec 1888 • Chapter Twenty-Four: Choices