In this delightful vignette, we are priviledged to witness the arrival of Ephesus Tanktop, an unrepentant conspirator, alchemical apologist,1 and cabalist of darkest ilk. He is the head of the team brought in to investigate a series of property disappearances in the house. The group's findings are presented at a party whose guests include Reggie Bottles, Countess DeWinter, Maz Overdrive ( distant cousin and periodic suitor of DeWinter), and eventually Useless.

Portions of the discussion were transcribed independently by various elements of Tanktop's Counterbalcony Intelligence Unit. These scribes/bodyguards/operaticmadmen were stationed throughout the house during the investigation and subsequent debriefings. Each of the following is an excerpt from the 6 hour discussion. They have been chosen to impart the spirit of the group's findings, rather than provide a verbatim account of the events during the meal.

1 2 3
Recorded by Agent February, who hid on the table and escaped detection by disuising himself as a gravy barge. Recorded by Agent Half-Past-Nine-at-Night, who listened intently from behind the drapes--a technique he picked up from mystery novels, to which he was addicted. Transcription of this segment performed by unidentified operative. The team found it on the floor in the pantry after the guests had moved on to other festivities.

1 He began his career as a scholarly disciple of Dramatum Fistandantilus. Tanktop's translation of On the Dilution of Essence by Evaporative Humours remains his most controversial work to date. Most of Tanktop's work has been banned in one way or another from every major literary market. The only of his text's freely available in the open bibliophilic marketplace is a comprehensive study of occult activity in London at the turn of the 20th century, called Secret Societies and Occult Groups of London.