The Murder of Safiye Mayer, Ambassador from the Sublime Porte to the Court of St James

Karin Mayer

An extract from the character sheet of Karin Mayer.

Demon on Shoulder “Has taken an interest in this broken person and whispers in her ears frequently amongst other things. She believes him to be a guardian spirit from God who guides her to do the correct thing. After all, in God's name people have been tortured and killed to cleanse their souls - so what she does is God's work and God is helping her with it, that can't be evil, right?”

Turnsheet 2

East India Company Briefing

[…] The Ottoman ambassador [NPC, Ivan] is also expected at Court. He1) may represent a danger to the Company. If the Ottomans reduce the tariffs that goods crossing their borders must pay then this could endanger our prices and our profits. Act accordingly. […]

[…] It would greatly benefit the Company if the Ottoman ambassador were to embarrass himself or create a scene which discredited him. Do not be seen to produce this result. […]

Immediately after Meeting the Ottoman Ambassador for the First Time

Email correspondence between Dame Karin Mayer and Ivan.

You make your way to the Ottoman embassy which is a small building in Westminster, less impressive than many of the other embassies since the English are not a great concern to the Ottomans, but still in the embassy quarter near the palace and richly appointed. The place is still in some confusion, which you recognise as a sign that the ambassador has only recently arrived, and her personal servants and the embassy staff are still getting use to each other and her new ways. Nonetheless as soon as you give your name you are shown to her private quarters. They are a mixture of Ottoman and Western style. In part this reflects the difficulty of furnishing a room in England in the Ottoman style but you can also suspect that it is part of the ambassador's own style.

She will be very formal and terse in her speech - cutting off as much emotion as she can.

The ambassador clearly wants to talk much more than your questions will allow, but doesn't. She seems to be hiding deeper emotions of her own. She does ask you to call her Safiye and not address her so formally. She doesn't push you to call her mother.

If possible she'd like to ask the following questions:

Did she really marry my father?

She certainly believes so. If you allow her she'll describe the beautiful ceremony at one of Istanbul's great mosques, the imam's blessing and the family and friend and members of the Imperial Divan (Court) and Harem who were present.

It's too early for marriage certificates to have been invented or required but if you press her for actual proof she has some of the letters of congratulations. A few are from the Dutch expatriate community in Istanbul and since in 10 years a few of those will have returned home you could in principal check with them.

How long were they married?

They were married only a blissful few weeks before, as arranged, your father returned to the Dutch Republic to collect his first wife and you and bring you all to Istanbul to live together.

Did they every have children?

She cries. She cries for a considerable length of time. Long enough to make you even more uncomfortable than you already were before.

Eventually she stops and tells you that your father never knew it but he had a daughter, conceived after their marriage. She hopes that you and Elif (who is 9 now) can be friends if not si… Would you like to meet her?

When did he convert? (and what made him do so?)

During his last trading visit to Istanbul. The ambassador and he had been friends for a few years and she had been helping him to read the Koran so he could learn Arabic. Both their love and his conversion stemmed from that source.

Is she aware that my Father is dead, probably because of his conversion?

She didn't find out until after Elif was born. Increasingly frantic for news she eventually heard the terrible news from another Dutch trader who used to work with your father. She had to stay strong for the sake of her daughter but she wore mourning dress for the until Elif's second birthday.

She does understand that it was because of your father's conversion. In the Ottoman Empire religion is a matter of private conscience [OOC: largely because non-Muslims pay extra taxes and are thus lucrative] and she had understood from your father's tales of the Dutch Republic that they practiced the same tolerance. She never thought he would die for his faith.

[I've rearranged your last 2 questions since I think IC the last answer might have you storming (or passing!) out.]

What is the meaning of the puzzle box?

Your father used to collect puzzle boxes. The one she gave you was one of the first he acquired, a simple one meant for a child. It was one of his first gifts to her and now she gives it to you as a sign of her affection and as a reminder of your father.

What does she want?

She shows you copies of the letters she sent to the Dutch Republic for you, and presses you to take them. Then she is overcome with emotion and declares that she wants to be your friend at least and your mother if you'll allow it.

I shall then make it very clear that she is not welcome in my family and will never be a part of it. Then I shall express my wish never to speak with her again if i can possibly help it, before leaving.

She starts crying again.

I will say that her arrival has stirred up a lot of painful memories for me that I had kept buried deep for the past ten years. I will consider meeting her daughter once I have come to terms with the situation more, after all if she is my father's child then Elif is my blood relative even if the ambassador is not. I will say I do not know if I will ever be able to call her 'friend' but the existance of a daughter does complicate matters and makes my inital rejection not so easy to do.

She will leave rather awkwardly seeming unnerved by the upset she has caused, her inability to comfort the woman and by her own mixed emotions over the matter. Hopefully leaving the impression that she needs time to go and think about things.

Turnsheet 3


An extract from the turnsheet of Dame Karin Mayer.

I've spoken with [the Ottoman Ambassador] and I know she has a daughter. It is possible I shall want to use the daughter at some point to my advantage but for the moment I will leave the family alone.

Action against the Bishop of York

An extract from the turnsheet response of Karin Mayer. Written by Gareth

[…] You wake up in the morning feeling stronger; you did what you did for God and for the Church. Your sins will be forgiven. You bathe three times a day, and spend the rest of the time in prayer and meditation, praying the Rosary and holding to your beads as if your salvation depends upon it. However, you start breaking out in herpetic sores. This must be part of your penance, sent by God as punishment for your sins. You feel somewhat better for this; you know that justice is being done by the Lord, and you feel once more able to continue God’s work

The Angel Jerahmeel, who has been known to appear to you on occasion (and who regularly exhorts you to greater efforts on behalf of the Lord), appears in front of you whilst you are speaking the Rosary. He is clad in golden light, with a glowing halo and pure white wings. He speaks:

Beloved of god, I weep at your holiness; truly, you are one of the chosen of God, standing above your fellow Humans. But your sins stain your soul. This affliction has been sent to you to test your faith, and to allow you to regain your purity. You must go out into the world once more, and bring back one who should have been pure and bright but has been corrupted with false faith.

I speak of your Sister, who lives among the Heathens of the Ottoman Empire. She must be brought home, brought back to the light of the Lord. She belongs not in the Harem of the Emperor of the Sublime Port. And the woman who was chief corrupter, she who wants you to call Mother – she must be punished for her blasphemy.

I know you can do this, you who glows with Brilliant Light among the dark souls of this land of heretics. Go with the Love of God.

Turnsheet 4

Conversion of Elif and curing the Pox


An extract from the turnsheet of Lady Karin Molyneux, Viscountess of Sefton.

The Lord has spoken to me through his messenger Jerahmeel and shown me my direction. He sees the stain on my soul and knows that I must seek forgiveness and redemption for my soul to be cleansed by our Lords most precious blood. I must earn my purity back through my actions. The way is clear, Elif, young as she is, must at this point be shown the true road to forgiveness and salvation through Christ Jesus. Her mother has agreed that I should spend time with her, so spend time with her I shall. Lots of time. All the time talking with her, getting to know her better, getting her to trust me and (subtly to start with) introduce her to the ways of Christ. I will attempt to use daredevil to boost my doctrine from 2 to 5 to try and use all the skills and knowledge the Lord has given me to convert this poor child so her soul may be saved. I would like the process to be subtle and almost a form of reprogramming (although be it far less traumatic than my own) so that by the time her mother realises how Elif has changed it is too late. I wish to slowly, but surely, bring the girl around to my way of thinking so that eventually she rejects her own mother.

The sins of the mother will not affect the child should the child choose the right path. I hope it will break her heart to see her daughter 'stray' from what she considers righteousness. I hope it hurts her as my father's conversion hurt me. I hope she grieves forever for her lost daughter as I have grieved for my father. This may not be sufficient punishment for her but for the moment it will suffice.

The angel said that I would be made pure again and healed of my affliction. I truly believe that this is the case.


Written by Gareth.

You visit with Elif. She is a pretty young girl, but precocious and obviously very intelligent, with a mathematical bent. She takes to you straight away, and seems pleased that her sister cares about her.

You speak to her of the Catholic faith, its tenets and the truths of Christ's eternal salvation. But even to you, your words seem unconvincing. Everything you try to say comes out wrong, and makes the Catholic church seem inconsistent and petty. Your doctrine fails you. What makes it worse is that Elif seems to pity you for it. And, if even a small child can see the problems in your faith, what does that say about the Catholic Church itself? You leave her company shaken, your previously rock-solid faith shaken.

The Angel Jerahmeel appears before you as you return home, castigating you in caring tones, the poor sheep who has wandered from the flock. He is upset that your are not as pure and your faith is not as strong as he was expecting; he considers leaving you for a time until you have made reparations for your actions, but for now he will stay. However, he demands that you make yourself clean, do penance and confess your sins. You have doubted Christ and the Pope. He tells you that your affliction will not leave until you have completed the task set for you; all is not lost, and you still have a chance to bring Elif to the faith if you can but find the true path again.

However, the sores are itching more and more, punishment for your failures. You have many baths, purifying your body with washing, and spend much time in prayer, purifying your soul. This is something worse than simple physical corruption; your very soul feels tainted. You sleep fitfully, and dream.

[Nightmare redacted.]

When you awake in the morning, it is as if a veil has been removed from your eyes. You see the world with clarity once again. You have not lost your faith, you were merely shaken by the shock of seeing Elif, the memories it brought back.. Yes, you were simply surprised, that's all. Your faith is still strong.

You give thanks to almighty God by spending the day fasting and praying, and are ready once more to attend society. The next day is the meeting of the Court of King Harry; you will not have a chance for Confession until after the meeting.

Turnsheet 5

Conversion of Elif mark 2

An extract from the turnsheet of Lady Karin Molyneux.

Her precosciousness will not deter me and since she seems to like me I shall try and meet with her once again. Again I shall speak with her on matters of religion, but now I know that I should speak as if to an intelligent woman, and not a child. I shall speak from my heart, I am no preacher and my trying to be one failed dismally. I shall speak of what I know and hope that is sufficient to bring her around to thinking about things differently. First we must break down the existing misconceptions. I know, for it was done to me first, the veil was lifted from my eyes and I saw that everything I had believed was a lie. Only then could I begin to see the truth that was being told to me.

Elif must be broken in such a way but whereas I was stubborn and required both physical and mental reconditioning, I hope that Elif, being younger than I was, will be more receptive to talk alone.

I must try and keep her away from her mother’s poisonous lies as much as possible. Make her see the evil that her mother speaks. I do not know how to do this but I will try and undermine her view of her mother as much as I can. Perhaps I shall speak of our father and how his lack of faith, and his false believes, were the cause of his death, and how this was a just punishment from God. Either way, I want to continue to build her trust in me, maybe get her to visit my new home (without her mother) for a few days where my work cannot be immediately undone. This is hopefully building up to her mother having an ‘accident’ and then she can come and stay with me… but that’s for later, not now.


Written by Gareth.

You spend some time visiting Elif once more. It seems she has spent her time recently reading the Catholic bible; your talk made her curious about what the religion was actually about. You talk to her a lot about the flaws in her faith. Her recent reading has made her question what she had originally thought was Truth.

Her mother is very busy with her diplomatic duties, and is happy for Elif to visit you in Sefton; she allows her to visit for a week, in the hope that it will bring you closer to her as well.

Elif is very willing to listen to what you say, and you do in fact manage to convince her that the Qu'ran is not the all-encompassing truth she had seen it as. And as she loses her faith, she is consumed with fear. You harden your heart, knowing that what you are doing is for the good of her soul. When her tears have stopped, you speak to her about how you truly feel about the Catholic faith. How it can bring her salvation and redemption, and bring her immortal soul to god.

In fact, you have done a much better job than you had originally intended. Like many newly converted, Elif refuses to go back to the Ottoman embassy; she wants to stay with you now.

Turnsheet 6

Elif, Archbishop. Archbishop, Elif


An extract from the turnsheet of Lady Karin Molyneux.

I want to continue converting Elif to the true faith. This may require going via the slight corruption of Anglicanism… To this end I have arranged to have her meet with the Archbishop of York. It will hopefully persuade anyone who asks that we are not 'brainwashing' her. I have also agreed for her to meet with her mother while in York. I will beforehand make it quite clear that Elif is welcome to stay as long as she likes and that if she doesn't feel comfortable going back with her mother then she doesn't have to. When we do meet her mother I shall, as always, be very cold and utterly polite.


Written by Gareth.

You take Elif to visit the Archbishop of York, to have a chat about Religion and make it obvious that you’re not brainwashing her (honest). You head to the Archbishop’s palace in York, where you are met by the Archbishop. And with him is the Ottoman Ambassador.

Luckily the Ambassador seems happy to see you – it seems she’s been very busy and hasn’t had time to look after Elif herself. She’s very glad that you are getting on so well with your half-sister.

The Archbishop talks to Elif about her religion, trying to tell her about Anglicanism. However, Elif quickly starts talking about the True Church and the Blessed Father, and is obviously Catholic at the Archbishop. He and Elif talk about religion for a while, and Elif seems to be swayed somewhat by the Archbishop’s arguments, opening her mind somewhat to other Christian religions – she still feels she is a Catholic though.

The Ottoman Ambassador is incensed – she demands that Elif come home with her. Elif refuses to go back to live with ‘heathens’, but wants to convert her mother to save her soul. You let them both know in no uncertain terms that Elif is welcome in your home for as long as she wants to stay, and you will not let her be taken away against her will. Elif herself starts to get quite upset with the whole exchange.

The Archbishop of York tries to calm things down, making little progress. He almost faints, but pulls himself together and starts talking in a voice like ancient stones sliding together, his eyes glazed. He will not see a little girl be pulled one way or another by religious differences; instead he offers Elif the Sanctuary of York Cathedral. Both you and the Ottoman Ambassador try to argue, but York seems to have a Presence to him, and pushes through his decision. Legally he has the right to offer Sanctuary, there is very little either of you can do to stop him – especially as Elif seems happy with this arrangement.

You leave the Cathedral, upset at Elif’s decision to stay in York but glad that she has stayed true to her faith.

On your way out, you bump into Idols Smith [NPC, Fed] accompanying Bete Valen [NPC, Ann], the Dutch girl who came to court. And the one you remember from the brothel when you took on the form of the Archbishop of York a year ago. You walk up to Bete, and coo slightly over your child. Bete seems rather nervous – indeed, she is escorted by two men from the Archbishop of York, who are carefully watching the baby. They seem to be watching for something, and have their hands close to their swords. They seem ready and willing to off the child (and possibly the mother) at a moment's notice. Bete is grateful for your attentions, but still seems scared by the guards.

Angelic Visit

An extract from the turnsheet response of Lady Karin Molyneux. Written by Gareth.

The Angel Jerahmeel appears to you in a vision once you have returned home. He is once again resplendent in white, glowing almost too bright to look at, his enormous wings at once too big for the room but still visible.

You hear his words in your head, though he does not speak.

“Think of your family, child. Your sister is in the House of one who would corrupt her faith, and her mother tries to have her returned home. If she were killed, your sister could be returned home and kept safe from the wiles of the Unrighteous. She is only a child. You must kill Safiye. I will give you the strength to persevere.”

And he vanishes, but some of the light remains in the room; it enters your body, and you feel a strange warm glow. it feels somehow wrong and unholy, but you shake off the feeling – it was granted by an Angel, it must be the unnatural effect of the Djinn's wishes somehow working against this blessing. An new strength of will and purpose comes to you.

Housekeeping - Conversion

An extract from the turnsheet of His Grace William Frewen, Archbishop of York.

Conversion - I believe Molyneux's sister is coming to see me or another priest to try to convert her from Islam. Find a nice frothy priest to help me with this if that looks like a good idea.


Written by Fed.

The plan is that Richard Molyneux and Karin have sent Elif (Karin's half-sister) off to you to be 'Christianised'. She has already been given a good Catholic education by Karin and after having a go at suggesting other values and washing away any remains of heathen beliefs you are sure she's reasonably Christianised, though perhaps a little too Catholic.

Your efforts go towards making her more openminded about religions in general however, considering your good doctrinal education.

The Ottoman Ambassador (Elif's mother) is incensed and demands that Elif comes home… there is a row between Karin and Ottoman, at which point you start to think of ways to reconcile the two parties and somehow protect the child when you have one of those 'York' possessions.

You awake later to discover that the Cathedral (and yourself) have offered Elif sanctuary and protection against both parties within it and Elif is happy with the decision. You groan vaguely at the spirit, but are at least content with the happy resolution.

Turnsheet 7

Elif must live and Safiya must die


An extract from the turnsheet response of Karin Mayer.

As far as Safiya is aware, she and I have put aside our greivences and I have accepted her as mother. This does not mean I will convert and she should be aware of this. If she askes what changed my mind then I shall say that meeting Elif was the turning point.

This is of course all a lie.

I will go with Safiya to York Catherdal and there we will both persuade Elif (doctrine 2) that she should go home with her mother. However it shall be made clear that I will visit as often as I can and speak with her on anything she wants. And I will try and persuade Safiya that her daughter should be allowed to enquire about christianity and not have it beaten out of her etc…

Jeramaheel is correct though, Safiya must die if Elif is to be saved. This must not look like a murder though. I would be a prime suspect. I think perhaps poison should be the way of it - I dont' know if I know of digitalis ([Simony de Vries] did give me an innocuous flower book which might have mentioned foxglove but otherwise I guess I might have heard about it elsewhere). The effects of digitalis should induce a heart attack that will look somewhat natural. With sneaking 4 I should hopefully be able to give it to her in tea or food without too much difficulty. This should be done some weeks after Elif's return to her mother. I shall visit regularly and if possible administer small quantities of any other drug I know of that will produce ill, but not deathly effects, so that when I administer the lethal dose of digitalis it will seem as if it is after some illness.

After Safiye's death, I shall offer Elif a new home with me and my husband, should she wish it.


Written by Gareth.

After your recovery from your ‘ordeal’ at the hand of the Jesuits, you head north to York with Safiye, to persuade Elif to head home with her mother. It is slightly awkward meeting Safiye - you tell her about your kidnapping, and the two of you agree not to let Elif know about it yet to avoid making life harder for the two of you. Safiye is relieved though, to know that you accept her as your mother and that it was a Jesuit who was trying to take her daughter away and convert her.

You meet Elif in the Archbishop’s office in York Cathedral. She is at first surly; she is still upset by the arguments between the two of you last time you were here, although she seems somewhat mollified by your united face this time. She is understandably worried about going back home and risking persecution and attempted conversion. However, Safiye’s promise that she will protect Elif and not use violence to try to convert her back to Islam, along with your and the Archbishop’s she is willing to go home. She still wants to visit you as often as she can.

York suggests you leave very quickly and carefully and ensures you have the necessary documents to pass the cordon that is being set up around Yorkshire to prevent the plague that seems to be afflicting it from spreading.

On the journey home you make sure to keep Elif close to you and spend every opportunity to gain influence and power over her, inch by inch. You also start administering non-lethal doses of various poisons to Safya's meals. Enough to make her ill, but not enough to cause serious damage yet, and certainly not enough for the poison to be noticed. Elif is saddened by her mother's illness, but you do everything you can to comfort her and be there for her…

A week or so after the return to the Embassy, where you visit Elif regularly (and continue making Safya ill), you finally decide upon the necessary action and administer the digitalis. The Ambassador dies of natural causes, and with no other family nearby the embassy is grateful to you for being willing to take Elif into your care.


Safiye Thurman Mayer, the Ottoman Ambassador, has passed away after a short illness, her life ended in her sleep by a heart-attack. She leaves behind her a grieving daughter and step-daughter, both of whom she had recently been reconciled with.

1) EIC intelligence failed to determine the correct gender of the Ottoman Ambassador…
bonus/murder_of_safiye_mayer.txt · Last modified: 2009/03/15 12:42 by ivan