Subsubsection: Wednesday 24 September 1930 Up Section: Stratford Subsection: 15 August 2018 (Meeting the Anarchists) 

1 August 2018 (A Hundred Tons of Cordite)

Gertrude immediately takes a bearing; Bessie marks the position of the bulge, then gives Lin Tan a boost to let her look through it. (It’s harder to get through than previous portals have been.) While there are no footprints this time, there’s something that she can only characterise as wing-prints, or a sense of direction, though whether they’re from this portal, to it, or both, is unclear. In that direction, there’s another light, as before, though this one’s rather more white than yellow.
Bessie attaches a rope, and Lin Tan enters fully; Millie follows. Gertrude comes back with more rope borrowed from the General’s gardener; just as she’s helping Bessie into the portal, there’s a loud boom, from somewhere in the distance to the south-west. Gertrude and Audrey decide to stay behind.
Millie finds that she’s able to leave footprints when she sets her mind to it, though this slows her movement, and they start to boil away immediately.
Gertrude and Audrey try to work out the location of the boom, and get somewhere from thirty to sixty miles away. Assuming it’s the same thing as the flare, that would put it somewhere north or west of London.
Lin Tan pushes ahead to the light, dropping the rope when she reaches the end of it. It’s still white with yellow and orange components. When Bessie arrives, she pushes a wand through; it comes back thoroughly burned.
Gertrude and Audrey return to the house with the General; he saw a distortion, much like the heat effects he saw on campaign in Africa, but nothing else. She calls Jameson, waking him; while they’re talking, there’s a heavy police knock on the door. When he comes back, he says “Waltham Abbey, gunpowder mill, must go”. Gertrude and Audrey decide that, since they can’t get far at night, they’ll sleep until morning.
Millie sends Horatio through the portal; he becomes extremely happy and well-fed. It’s hard to tell through his senses, but the area of fire is definitely bigger than a house.
The three try to back-track along the rope (having to guess at the direction); then Millie forms a curtain out of the dream-stuff, and Lin Tan slices through it with the sword. There’s a popping sound and a strong rush of air into the newly-cut hole, which continues after they pass through into a dark field. Lin Tan and Millie do their best to seal it up, though it’s still leaking a little; the sky is overcast, and it’s raining, but there’s a very visible fire-glow about half a mile away.
Bessie marks the ploughed row where the gate arrived, and the three head towards the fire; they find a fence, with warning signs from the War Department. As they move round the fence, they see the main gate, and confirm that it’s the Royal Gunpowder Mill, the largest explosives factory close to London. All the buildings inside the fence are badly damaged.
They continue into the town of Waltham Abbey, where windows are broken and gawkers are coming out. Millie tries to talk her way into a police station to use their phone, but doesn’t get anywhere with it. Staying in sight of the main road through the town is rewarded with two cars containing GRO amulets, heading for the site.
Lin Tan climbs the side of Waltham Abbey Church, the tallest available building, and spots the crater at the centre of the fire (which is being suppressed fairly effectively). There are also some magical impressions: the vague outline of a warehouse-type building, and six upright human shapes in the middle of it.
The three retire to the railway station to get some rest. By the morning, the fire is largely out, but the station is closed to anything except official business; they meet Gertrude and Audrey at Cheshunt, the next stop to the north. Newspapers are talking about “a hundred tons of cordite”, and it’s being assumed that this is an anarchist outrage. Gertrude gets hold of some binoculars in a pawn shop, and the five return to the Abbey Church, where the tower is now in use by reporters and gawkers. They’re able to make out more detail; the magical outline of the walls has six body-shaped gaps corresponding to the six figures. At least two of the figures were probably female; it’s impossible to tell with the others. They’re arranged on six points of a seven-pointed circle, facing inwards, not making any gestures, and the distortion where the dragon presumably came through is somewhere between the centre and the seventh point.
Bessie spots several fire bugs in the wreckage, and Millie sends Horatio in to eat them; she encourages him to pinch one of the GRO men, whose amulet seems to protect him, though he’s startled and looks around.
Millie drops a hint about the house in Bethnal Green to one of the journalists, and then the group leaves. They think about revisiting the portal, but there are two GRO men standing in the field, looking muddy.
 Subsubsection: Wednesday 24 September 1930 Up Section: Stratford Subsection: 15 August 2018 (Meeting the Anarchists)