Note: I hadn't realized, prior to writing this story, that there was already a character on the FFNetwork named Abigail. Since neither of us own the characters or the names, I hope that the author of the other work entitled 'The Beginning: Enchanted' by pucktofaerie, will be in no wise hurt that the name was used again. The name means 'father's joy' which would have been something significant to Allan. I encourage everyone to read the other fiction mentioned, as (in my opinion after discovering it) it is a very good read. Please enjoy this story as well, bearing in mind that I neither own nor have created the characters or storyline to 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'. This story also bears many references to the stories from which the characters origninally came, please exercise your freedoms this month and read them as a few were banned! READ BANNED BOOKS!!
The First Adventure of Abigail Quatermain
Abigail Acacia Quatermain finds herself drawn into an amazing adventure when her closest and, in fact, only friend at the Agnes Saint Joseph School for Girls, Dr. Wilhundt Kruschev, is taken captive by a man called the Fantom. Abigail soon learns that her father is also assisting on this task and she sets out to follow his footsteps. Allan and Abigail face the horrors of the past and the dangers of the near future together where they will come to realize that often times what is truly extraordinary are the simple acts of courage one can do for love.
Chapter 1: A Formulated Plan
Abigail was now sure that she was both quite mad and in serious trouble. It had been only ten days since she had decided to take this risk and the days she had spent both planning and gathering supplies had told her that she was doing the right thing. Now she wasn't even sure that she had been doing the wrong thing. She wondered what on earth had been going through her mind when she had concocted this. Loneliness was one of them; desperation and anger tied for second place in her mind, but the most likely emotion that had spurred this was her unnatural obsession with bravery. Abigail knew she did not belong in Cambridge at the stuffy Agnes Saint Joseph School for Girls. She had known from birth that she belonged in the wilds of the African savanna, racing tirelessly across the Serengetti to help animals and people alike as her parents had done. Abigail Acacia Quatermain had been born in the dead of night on the plains of Kenya in a small witch-doctor's hut. Her father, Allan Quatermain, had been overjoyed at having another child. His previous wife had blessed him with a son before being taken by an illness. The boy, Harold 'Harry' Nathan Quatermain, had been only 11 when he had lost his mother and was 13 when his father had remarried. The family was happy and contented, especially with the promise of their new addition. Sarah Clarke-Quatermain, Abigail's mother, had been one of the first outstanding graduates from a school that taught veterinary medicine and zoology to women. It was Quatermain's unspoken respect for the land and its creatures, despite his primal need to hunt, that had drawn the young woman straight into his arms.
Abigail thought back for a moment to how people had described her mother and father; both very free and strong-willed, but absolutely tender beside one another. It had been anything but tender when she and her mother had come to England. Harry had been killed during an expedition that called on him and his father to subdue poachers that were also smuggling precious jewels away from the royal family. Abigail remembered receiving the dreadful news at eight years of age. Her brother had been 23 years of age, but Sarah and Allan both mourned the loss of their child, not their young man. After months of unpredictable bouts of shouting and crying, Sarah informed her husband that Harry was gone and would have been absolutely disgusted to see his father giving up on his calling to aide the empire and the African people. Allan had retorted less than tactfully and made it clear that his days of anything more than hiding from the past entirely were over. Sarah had almost immediately whisked Abigail away to England where they stayed shortly with Sarah's mother; Margaret Anne Clarke. Her grandmother believed firstly, that Sarah had never been truly married and, secondly, was still young enough to accept the hands of suitable bachelors. To appease the beastly mistress of their new home, Sarah agreed to send Abigail to the oversized bird cage for girls until she was of age. In the meantime, Sarah had been bombarded by reprisals from her mother and suitors seeking to claim her hand. Sarah ignored them all, reminding Abigail frequently through letters that this was only temporary and that they would return home to Africa as soon as her father was ready for them.
Abigail had not settled into life at the school at all. She had been given, from the report of her middle names and heritage that her grandmother had given the religious leaders of the school, a dreadful nickname among the students; the wild abomination. Abigail was fairly good at ignoring all of this at the thought that soon her father would send for them and she would be free of the ivy laden prison. Instead, Abigail was forced to face the truth; her father was content being alone now. She had adjusted to that fact quickly enough, and had found herself enjoying fully the company of the only truly enjoyable professor at the school. Abigail received outstanding scores and marks in every class, despite attempts to do the very opposite, but seemed to excel in Professor Wilhundt Kruschev's science class. Abigail was by no means a chemist or physicist and, in fact, would have failed all the tests entirely if she had not spent hours away from class learning about language and culture with him. Kruschev was more than an intriguing professor with a world of knowledge hidden behind a thick accent and bright red beard; he was her only friend. Two weeks before her rash decision that she was wading through now, Dr. Kruschev had been taken prisoner.
Abigail learned the next day that he had been the most recent in a string of kidnapings. She shuddered at remembering the afternoon that had begun it all. He had been in the laboratory showing Abigail the finer points of fun with powdered calcium when strange men had barged in. Dr. Kruschev had hidden the girl quickly in the supply cabinet under the table as he was dragged away. On the table, he had purposely left two folded pieces of paper that he kept in his coat most of the time unless wanting to shout at someone else that his genius was unappreciated by the vast majority of this filthy country. Abigail had taken them quickly and discovered strange formulas for a physics query on both. She had hidden them carefully before being asked to give numerous accounts to the authorities. When no one had made progress in three days to find him, Abigail had reasoned that the best person to find him would have been the closest person to him these past years. Not only was she that very person, but she was also the last person to have seen him. She had quickly devised a plan for leaving the school and had headed toward the enormous British Museum in London, where the men who had come to ask the greatest number of questions had told Vicar Bakersham at the school they were focusing their work, to research something she had heard from one of the men. The thought that weaponry could be powered by something other than fire was terrifying. Upon her sneaky arrival into a subterranean records room, Abigail had caught the tail end of an unthinkable conversation which had briefly mentioned a 'League of Extraordinary Gentleman' attempting to rescue the kidnapped scientists.
"Then they've all agreed?" a somewhat familiar voice said.
"Of course they've all agreed, all but one. I'm sure that just the very sight of Quatermain will convince him whether or not the woman shows herself," a strange man in dark clothes said to the other man in equally bizarre attire. Abigail strained to stay silent and still against a wall of papers as the two men began to saunter slowly toward the stairs at the exit.
"And you really think that tired old bag of wind will be able to restrain that beast?" the first man asked.
"If Allan Quatermain cannot subdue him, then he is of no use to us," the second snorted. "I have every faith that the old white hunter will not fail us in this."
"Won't that mean you'll have a hard time ending him, then?" the first asked again in a softer tone. Abigail felt her heart leap worriedly. Was that man talking about killing her father?
"Leave all of that to me. I think you underestimate how persuasive I can be. He may yet be of use to us after he's taken out the brute," the second had replied with a laugh. The two men had disappeared quickly up the stairway and out of sight. Abigail breathed deeply and raced out of the catacombs to watch for the rest of the goings on here. If her father was nearby, then he would be the perfect person to help her.
No, she thought. I would be the perfect person to help him. He needs to know about those two men, and what they plan to do!
Abigail stayed as still and quiet as possible as she slunk along the passageway that led to the museum's main entrance. It seemed to be taking hours at the rate she was moving. She frowned. If she didn't move more quickly, then Dr. Kruschev would die of old age before she reached him. She furrowed her brow and drew in a deep breath. If she looked casual and confident enough, no one would question the presence of a young school girl in a museum, even a museum like this and at such a late hour. Night was falling rapidly and the already darkened sky was growing more angry by the minute. Rain fell in icy torrents from the iron-like clouds that had sealed themselves over London entirely. She could see the rain and sky from the windows that lined the walls near the front door. The front door! she realized. She was nearly outside and on her way to the docks. Dr. Kruschev's captor had worn a great deal of fur and had spoken with a thick accent. Abigail was sure that he had been from a country far to the northeast of Europe. All she had to do was take a ship to the Russian border and ask questions about suspicious activity from sailors. The man had spoken German with a Russian accent, so it seemed the most plausible course while she had been at the school. It was by no means the best plan, or a fairly good plan, but it was something to follow. Abigail sighed heavily and wished that she not only had more information to go on, but had more help as well. Loud footsteps interrupted her thoughts. She leapt behind a column and watched carefully as a group of people walked towards the exit as quickly as she had hoped to do. Her eyes widened at recognizing something. One of the figures wore a wide-rimmed leather hat common among guides in the dark regions of Africa. That hat had been a source of conversation for much of her childhood. She smiled brightly and felt her heart skip a few beats. Her father was a few steps away from her. Perhaps she should follow him and see what his plan of action was. Her expression fell slightly. Their plan of action; there were three other people with him. One was most definitely an Indian, possibly a nobleman by the colour and look of the turban, one was an undescribably strange man in a long coat, wide hat, and curious white substance covering his face, and one of them was a woman. A small fire began to burn in the pit of her stomach. For her father's sake, that woman needed to be a necessary part of finding Dr. Kruschev and nothing else.
Now Abigail was sure she needed to follow. After the group had left the building, Abigail watched them enter a long buggy without horses to move it forward. She studied it curiously from a distance and marveled at the gorgeous silver decor and the unique design of the contraption. The vehicle moved quickly down the cobbled streets, but not so quickly that the young girl couldn't keep up from a distance. She had learned from birth to run at a pace that was unheard of in polite society. Running made her feel free as if no matter where she was at the moment she was still at one with the plains and sky from home. She began to feel completely exhausted by the time the vehicle stopped near the east London docks. She found a place to hide for a moment and catch her breath near the row of gothic buildings that was the apparent destination for the group her father was leading at the moment. No matter what the rest of the group believed, Abigail knew for a fact that her father would settle for nothing less than leader; her mother had said repeatedly that he had been born the alpha male and would stay at the head of any crowd for all of his natural life. It wasn't until Abigail was about four years old that she had truly understood the phrase and had found it most amusing.
The rain had slowed for the time being as the clouds also seemed to catch their breath. She pulled herself to her feet and walked around the back of the buildings to check for an entrance. A large staircase led up to a doorway leading into one of the flats. Abigail closed her eyes for a moment. This had to be the entrance she needed. The other buildings were far too dilapidated from the front to be as neat as the back of this building appeared. Still, the thought of simply walking through a door that had no known destination to her was frightening. Since Dr. Kruschev had been taken captive, Abigail had felt only three emotions; sadness, fear, and resolve. She could always outweigh the first two with the third. That was exactly what she needed to do at the moment. Pushing every other thought out of her mind, Abigail climbed the staircase and grasped the handle tightly. She slipped through the door as it opened ever so slightly. If resolve had not been at the forefront of her mind, Abigail would have found the fact that the door was left unlocked and opened easily equally as unnerving as simply walking through it. She began to tremble slightly as she found herself making her way through series of shelves and covered portraits. She found another, less cared for, set of iron stairs. These stairs didn't look like they could hold out for much longer, but surely they could handle one more pedestrian especially a comically short school-girl. She sometimes found her size and age to be beneficial and this was one of the rare moments that she was satisfied to be young and unnoticed.
The stairs led to a catwalk that encircled all the other bookcases that surrounded this room. The catwalk allowed guests to reach the higher portions of the bookcases more easily as well as what appeared to be a hallway that led into another portion of the flat. Abigail suddenly heard voices and footsteps entering the room. She smiled at recognizing her father's voice among them. The group must have found their way in only a little after she had. She knelt on the catwalk, watching the group intently. Now there was a handsome young man with them. He must have been the owner of the flat itself. He was dressed in finery that had a timeless fashion to it. He appeared to be the sort of gentleman that grandmother Margaret would have preferred that her mother had married. He carried a smooth polished cane as if it were an extension of his arm. None of them seemed to notice her. She breathed more easily, wondering what on earth they needed from an aristocrat. Could he have information on the man that had taken Dr. Kruschev? Perhaps he was a financier that was going to give monetary assistance to the group. Her father had been well acquainted with wealthy men willing to pay for adventures that they were not at all physically or mentally prepared for. She fixed her eyes on the man more carefully. There was something odd about him. Something that seemed like the other antiquities in this flat. They had outlived their time, but still kept a beauty and dignity that wouldn't easily wear away. Still, no matter how many times either he or the objects could be refreshed or washed, the scent of a thin layer of dust that would be present with them until they withered to nothing, lingered around him giving him an aura of vaporish grey. Abigail couldn't confirm this until she met him much closer, of course, but it was fairly obvious from this distance which meant it would be all the more clear at only a few inches from him.
Just as the group began to settle in to talk among one another, Abigail felt a strong pair of hands seize her from behind. Cold rage overwhelmed her and froze her in place. She gasped as one of the hands clamped down over her mouth and the other wrapped around her waist, dragging her away from the edge. A soft cry finally found its way to her throat, replacing the guttural growl that desperately wanted to escape in its stead. She managed to reach up and firmly grasp the hand over her mouth and begin to pry at it. The figure behind her gripped her tightly and stood perfectly still. Abigail was certain from the shape and tightness of the chest that this was a man, or at the least, a very mature boy. She looked up and noted that either assumption could have been correct. His enormous brown eyes were the only things visible on his face for the moment. His mouth and nose were covered by a black cloth, giving him the look of a bandit from storybooks. She stared at him in confusion as he leaned forward to her ear.
"Don't scream, and don't wiggle. I'm not going to hurt you," he said quietly. Abigail's eyes drew upward in confusion. His accent was so unusual. It was almost, well, American. She relaxed as he looked forward for a moment, scanning something across the way. "You need to hide, right over there." He nodded to an empty portion of one of the bookcases nearby, almost undetectable because of the darkness. He leaned down once again. "I'm going to let go of you; you'll need to stay there until I tell you its safe. There's about to be a big raucous here."
As he released her mouth she carefully pushed his other arm away from her and turned to stare into his face. He was positively the most incredible thing she had ever seen. Forget the ageless beauty that owned the flat, this man was an adonis with a voice to match. She sighed softly and then tried to shake herself free of the infatuation in lieu of the current dangers afoot. He pointed quickly to the empty hiding place once again and then scanned their surroundings more carefully. Abigail scrambled into the small space and watched. He walked over to her and knelt, pulling a small blade from his boot and handing it to her.
"May I have your name so I can tell you when its safe?" he asked.
While Abigail had no way of knowing whether or not this man was dangerous in truth, she was more than willing to give him what he asked for the moment.
"My name is Abigail," she replied quietly.
"Mine's Tom Sawyer," he replied and took one of her hands, quickly placing the knife in it. She shuddered for a moment as his fingers grazed her own. Abigail had never been this close to a young man, at least not since she had left Kenya. This felt dangerous enough by itself. He looked deeply into her face as if saying goodbye before war. Abigail felt cold for a moment. There really was going to be something terrible in a moment. "If someone sees you, don't be a lady."
She nodded once as he turned and raced back to where the two had been standing. Abigail felt the atmosphere of the entire room change in an instant. Guns from several positions in the room cocked and their owners took aim. Abigail could feel the presence of something. . . evil, yet so familiar. She had felt it when Dr. Kruschev had ordered her to hide as well. Nausea washed over her at that memory and at the sudden realization that the same man that took him might have very well been nearby. From below she could hear her father's voice questioning the presence of the weapons and those wielding them.
"Gray?" he asked.
"They are not mine," the antique gentleman replied.
"They are mine," a third voice answered. Abigail felt a swarm of numerous forms of anger and fear suddenly grip her more harshly than Sawyer had. That voice. . . it was his. This was the man that had taken Dr. Kruschev. This was the man that needed to pay.