Dark Sects

Death of a Friend
In which the investigators lose a fast friend

January 15, 1925

A short telegram from an old friend, Jackson Elias, summoned the investigators to New York. Elias claimed to have information on the ill-fated Carlyle Expedition. Elias scheduled a meeting with the investigators at his hotel room, yet when they arrived did not respond to a knock on the door. After hearing noises within the room, Lou expertly picked the lock and opened the door to reveal a horrible tableau. Elias lay dead on the room’s bed; his entrails had been removed and a cryptic sign carved into his forehead. Lou caught a glimpse of one of the killers as he exited through the room window onto the fire escape. Lou and Courvoisier gave chase and wounded the murderer in the shoulder with a pistol shot. Desperate to avoid escape, the culprit leaped from the third floor fire escape to land in the alley below, shattering his leg and dropping a piece of paper. The killer managed to limp his way to a running car where his co-conspirators awaited.

A quick search of Elias’ room yielded several other clues, but the investigators did not remain at the scene of the crime to be interviewed. Instead, Arnold who had been waiting in the lobby below gave a description of the events to a patrolman, conveniently leaving out any investigator involvement. After the evenings traumatic events, the investigators regrouped at their hotel room determined to avenge the death of their friend.

January 16, 1925

The next morning the team split up to track down the leads gathered at the crime scene. A call to the police put them in contact with Lt. Martin Poole, the detective assigned to the murder case. Poole stated that there had been several similar murders in the past two years and chalked them up to cult activity. One half of the team went to Prospero House, the firm that published all of Elias’ books. There they learned from Elias’ editor, Jonah Kensington, that Elias had been crisscrossing the globe to research his latest work on death cults. Along the way, he became convinced that at least some of the principal members of the Carlyle archaeological expedition, previously thought massacred, were alive. Later notes from Elias were disjointed and confused, but indicated that Elias believed himself to have uncovered a global conspiracy.

A business card for Emerson Imports lead the other half of the investigators to a run down warehouse in Hell’s Kitchen. A conversation with the proprietor, Arthur Emerson, revealed that Elias had been there recently asking about importers from Kenya. Emerson told the team that he is the US agent for Mombasan exporter Ahja Singh whose only known American account happens to be Ju-Ju House located in Harlem.

A trip to Ju-Ju House seemed to be a dead end when the owner Silas N’Kwane had nothing of use to tell investigators.

Posing as a police officer, Lou attempted to contact Erica Carlyle, the sister of Carlyle Expedition leader Roger Carlyle. A secretary quickly quashed any hopes of an easy interview with the wealthy, powerful Erica.

January 17, 1925
Another call to Erica Carlyle this time with the implication that her brother may be alive quickly lead her to schedule a meeting with the investigators.

Based on another clue found in Elias’ room, Courvoisier contacted Harvard librarian Miriam Atwright who was able to confirm that Elias had been searching for a book entitled Africa’s Dark Sects. The book had disappeared mysteriously months earlier. Based on Elias’ notes, Courvoisier asked Atwright to search her archives for the cult of the Bloody Tongue. Atwright promises to call the next morning.

Meanwhile, Arnold and Claude decided to revisit Ju-Ju House. While making their way down the narrow street leading to the shop, they spotted a man in a cast with his arm in a sling. Convinced this was the same man who had leaped from the fire escape after killing Elias, Arnold tried to photograph the man so as to provide a lead to police officers. Instead, he was spotted in his attempt and the man made his way into Ju-Ju House. Almost immediately, four burly men exited the shop and smashed Arnold’s camera.

Shortly thereafter, Lou arrived at the scene. He and Claude barge into Ju-Ju House demanding answers for why their friend’s camera was destroyed. The four burly men ignore the pair until Lou pulls out his gun. At that provocation, the four men pull out long knives and attack. Both Lou and Claude flee to Arnold’s awaiting car. Lou has Arnold drop him off around the corner where he reconnoitered the dead end street where Ju-Ju House was located.

As the evening wore on, Lou saw over two dozen people venture into Ju-Ju House. About 1:30 in the morning, Lou heard bone-chilling howls issuing from the store. Lou picked the lock to the store and discovered a trap door leading downwards into a basement where the howls appeared to be emanating from. Lou beat a hasty retreat and returned to his surveillance spot to wait out the strange events.

Dark Deeds in England
In which the investigators commit a gruesome crime

January 18, 1925
Deciding to abandon Ju-Ju House to the degenerate cultists within, Lou and Claude made their way back to the hotel.

That morning Miriam Atwright called the investigators to inform them of what she had learned of the Bloody Tongue cult. Atwright described the cult’s history in Africa and the cult’s rune. The investigators immediately recognized it as the rune carved in Elias’ forehead.

The investigators went to meet Erica Carlyle having led her to believe that her brother may still be alive. Carlyle seemed nonplussed to be meeting with the team, but gave them valuable information about Jack Brady, Roger Carlyle’s confidant; Dr. Robert Huston, Carlyle’s psychoanalyst; and M’Weru, an enigmatic African woman with whom Carlyle was romantically involved. Erica Carlyle surmised that if Jack Brady was still alive (as Jackson Elias had recorded in his notes) then the odds of her brother being alive were high. Erica agreed to underwrite an expedition to Kenya to get to the truth of the matter.

Prior to their departure, the group went to the former offices of Dr. Robert Huston to attempt to see notes of Carlyle’s sessions. Huston’s partner was reluctant to distribute such sensitive information to lay persons, but a letter of introduction from Erica Carlyle and Courvoisier’s medical background eventually led him to relent. The session notes revealed that Roger Carlyle had been plagued by dreams of Egypt and of being drawn into a pulsating ball of energy. Additionally, Carlyle’s devotion to M’Weru bordered on the obsessive. A final cryptic note indicated that Huston was somehow persuaded to join the Carlyle expedition despite having concerns over what his role would be.

January 25, 1925
After traveling first-class on the Laurentides, the team arrived in South Hampton early in the morning. During the three day layover before the Ineluctable departed for Mombasa by way of Port Said, the investigators decided to investigate a clue discovered in Elias’ hotel room: a card for Edward Gavigan, director of the Penhew Foundation.

The team arrived in London in the mid-afternoon and purchased a copy of The Scoop, a lowbrow tabloid. The headline decried the twenty-fourth killing in a string of slayings that had beset London for three years. The victim had been severely beaten, stabbed through the heart, and cast into the Thames.

After catching up on the local news, the group made their way to the Penhew Foundation located in central London. There they introduced themselves to the director Edward Gavigan, a dapper man in his fifties. Once in Gavigan’s office, Claude noticed a floor safe with its door ajar. Gavigan seemed genial although he was unwilling to produce correspondence between Penhew, one of the principals of the Carlyle expedition, and himself claiming that revealed personal information about Carlyle and it would be indelicate to share it with outsiders. A letter of introduction from Erica Carlyle left Gavigan unimpressed. Instead Gavigan showed the team artifacts that the expedition had recovered from the desert. During the endless procession of pottery shards, figurines, and bas-reliefs, Claude snuck off back to Gavigan’s office. Claude rifled through the open safe finding only a packet of five pound notes. After quickly going through the desk and shelves in the room, Claude returns to the group. Unfortunately, Gavigan noticed Claude’s return, cut the tour short, and curtly escorted the investigators to the door.

Determined to smooth over his cohort’s faux pas, Charles re-entered the Penhew Foundation to have a private chat with Gavigan while the rest of the group returned to the hotel to sample the refreshments that non-Prohibition England has to offer. Charles managed to smooth Gavigan’s ruffled feathers, and the two begin a lengthy conversation on Egyptian history. While Gavigan exhibited some artifacts in a storeroom, Charles noticed worn areas on the floor near a dilapidated sarcophagus. After asking several pointed questions about the sarcophagus, which Gavigan dismissed, Charles returned to the hotel.

January 26, 1925
Having related his observations to the team, Charles and the rest decided that Charles should return to the Foundation in the morning and attempt to pose as a cultist. After making his revelation to Gavigan, Charles was lead to the sarcophagus where Gavigan pushed in the two eyes. The sarcophagus moved sideways revealing a staircase leading down into darkness. As the two descended the stairs, Charles heard Gavigan mumbling behind him. Suddenly Charles’ limbs and face began to wither and shrivel. As his internal organs transformed into desiccated husks, Charles let out a groan and passed from this world forever.

As the day wore on, the investigators grew anxious after their friend failed to appear. Courvoisier and Durry decided to confront Gavigan directly while Arnold waited outside. Claude having been seduced by the easy availability of alcohol had begun drinking in the morning and was now thoroughly intoxicated. Gavigan denied any wrong-doing and insisted that Charles had left of his own accord hours ago. Courvoisier deflected this deception when he revealed that the group had been watching the door to the building since morning and had not seen Charles exit. Gavigan stuck to his story and asked the investigators to leave.

Durry extended his hand and when Gavigan took it to shake hands farewell, Durry slammed Gavigan’s face into the desk. While Gavigan was regaining his wits, Durry and Courvoisier both pulled out their weapons and took Gavigan hostage. Hearing all the commotion, the burly secretary/security guard stepped into the room where he quickly lost his stomach for fighting when Courvoisier trained his gun on him.

Demanding to be taken to Charles, Durry followed Gavigan into the storeroom keeping his gun pointed at Gavigan’s head. Gavigan began mumbling again, but before he could finish casting a spell, Durry coshed him on the head with the butt of his pistol and put his hand over Gavigan’s mouth. Gavigan opened the secret passage leading to the basement room, and Courvoisier with his hostage joined them in the storeroom. The two bound and gagged the hostages with some rope they discovered and went to get Arnold to guard the hostages while they explored the basement room.

The room at the end of the stairs contained a large desk with a chest and stone jar on it, a workbench with various glass jars along the back, several open crates and two sealed ones, a large bookcase, and walls covered by terrifying paintings and other perverse objets d’art. In the corner of the room lay the corpse of Charles. Overcome by the sight of his friend dead and the obscene depictions of horror on the walls, Durry momentarily succumbed to madness grabbing his friend’s corpse and sobbing over it.

Courvoisier examined the stone jar on the desk, finding it to contain an unknown sand-like powder. He took the jar, a copy of Liber Ivonis from the bookshelf, and fifteen ancient scrolls. Opening the chest on the desk, he found two ceremonial knives made of silver. Upon seeing the knives, Durry and Courvoisier began to hatch a foul plot. They would kill Gavigan in the manner described in the article they had read yesterday in The Scoop. Then they would kill the secretary and pose the scene to look like a suicide. They would close the corpses up in the secret room giving them time to flee the country before the crime could even be discovered. They could escape the notice of the public by exiting the building via the coal chute into an adjoining alley. Arnold wanted no part of the bloodshed but agreed to deliver fresh clothing to the conspirators after they had crawled up the coal chute.

Once all the details had been covered, it fell to Durry and Courvoisier to execute their dastardly plan. They fell upon Gavigan with clubs, beating him to death, plunged one of the ceremonial daggers into his chest, and carved the rune of the Bloody Tongue into his forehead. They forced the panicked security guard’s mouth open and fired a bullet into his brain. Afterwards they staged scene as they had planned and sat in the basement with their victims’ corpses while they awaited the cover of darkness.

After sundown, they snuck up the coal chute and began changing into the clothes that Arnold had left in the alley. While in the midst of changing, the Penhew Foundation’s night watchman (already on alert due to the absence of his day time counterpart when he arrived that night) rounded the corner to discover the two partially disrobed men. Disturbed by the scene, the watchman ran back into the building to phone the police. With sirens approaching, Durry and Courvoisier finished dressing and casually walked out down the street car as police cars raced by.

January 26, 1925
The next day the cover story in The Scoop held all the lurid details of the Penhew Foundation murders. The investigators remained at the hotel anxiously awaiting the departure of their steamship to Kenya and fearing the knock of the police at their room door.

January 28, 1925
The investigators board the Ineluctable headed to Mombasa by way of Port Said. The enormity of their crimes finally sinks in and both Durry and Courvoisier suffered bouts of madness during the voyage. The rest of the team kept the two confined to quarters.

February 5, 1925
The investigators arrived in Mombasa late in the afternoon.

Fire in the Night
In which the investigators receive a most unwelcome wake up call

February 5, 1925

The team arrived at the Mombasa docks late in the afternoon. Deciding against staying at the lower class lodgings available in the area, they took a taxi to a more upscale hotel. Lou made a brief visit to the bank to exchange currency and then spoke with the concierge to arrange the hiring of a guide and translator.

February 6, 1925
After meeting their guide Zuri, the investigators rented a car and drove back down to the docks to interview Ahja Singh, the exporter of goods to Ju-Ju House of New York City. Claude and Arnold chose to remain outside the shop. While the others were inside, Claude spotted a man seemingly spying on them, but before he could act the man melted away into the crowd.

Inside the shop, a young Indian man behind the counter introduced himself as Vikas Patel. Ahja Singh, he explains, has returned to India for six weeks for family reasons. After asking several pointed questions about the Bloody Tongue, M’Weru, and the Carlyle expedition, the investigators concluded that Patel knew nothing. They did learn, however, that Singh has a cousin named Tandoor Singh who sells tea in Nairobi. With other leads also pointing them to Nairobi, the team booked passage on the Ugandan Railway to take them north into the African interior.

The train left that evening with the investigators at the rear of the train in first class while Zuri was forced to ride the flatcar due to his race.

February 7, 1925
Around 3 am, the group was awoken by cries of astonishment coming from the third-class car. Two clouds of living flame drifted to the outside window of the party’s compartment. The beings were composed of thousands of tiny fires suspended in a cloud of sparks. The creatures reached forward and began burning holes into the side of the railway car. Using the fire extinguishers and ash cans in the car, the team was able to damage the flame beings, but Courvoisier and Lou were injured. Claude fled the first class car, heading to the third class car, convinced that the creatures had been summoned by someone on-board the train and were being controlled remotely. One of the entities gave chase. In a last ditch effort to destroy the first fire creature, Arnold urinated on it and successfully extinguished it. In the third-class car, Claude was unable identify a culprit behind the attacks before the whirlwind of flames attacked and severely wounded him. On his way to help Claude, Lou ran through the first-class car firing his gun into the air to awaken sleeping passengers. Another attack with a fire extinguisher destroyed the final fire creature, but by this time both the first and third class cars were in engulfed in flames.

The party fled the burning cars as the train lurched to a stop. As the crew battled the fire, the investigators tended to their burns. After the flames had been put out, a conductor gave the party a tongue lashing over their carelessness with their cigars. The team spent the rest of the journey to Nairobi on the flatcar with the lowest class of passengers.

Upon arrival, the investigators disembark and head to Hampton House, one of the finer hotels in Nairobi. While eating lunch on the veranda, a newsboy walks by hawking the Nairobi Star. After purchasing a paper and talking with the newsboy, the investigators decided to go to the offices of the Nairobi Star. In the office, they met Natalie Smythe-Forbes, the paper’s publisher, editor, and reporter. After a fruitful conversation with Smthye-Forbes, Lou invited her to dinner. Smythe-Forbes directed the investigators to Lt. Selkirk, the leader of the search party that discovered the Carlyle expedition massacre victims.

As the investigators were about to leave, a large man with a brick-red face and bristling mustache barged into the offices. A heated argument ensued between the man, a Colonel Endicott, and Smythe-Forbes. Endicott accused the Star of being out to ruin him while Smythe-Forbes protested that her paper had only published the facts. Interceding in the dispute, Arnold asked Endicott to explain himself. Endicott identified himself as the proprietor of a luxury game lodge not far from the city. Several of his guests and servants had recently been slain. The consensus is that a rogue lion killed the victims although the bodies bore numerous small-radius bite wounds which suggested that monkeys had be feeding on the corpses. The Star had naturally reported on these deaths, but Endicott perceived the publication as an attack on his livelihood and reputation. After eliciting the details from Endicott, the investigators agree to go to the game lodge the next morning to look into the mysterious deaths.

In the meantime, the party went to interview Lt. Selkirk. Selkirk confirmed much of what the investigators already knew. The Carlyle expedition departed for safari with a large number of hired bearers. After not hearing word for several weeks, the expedition was feared lost. These fears were confirmed when a local man, Sam Mariga, reported the site of a massacre to the authorities. The bodies were found in a clearing torn to shreds, but none of the corpses of the white members of the party were present. Also of note was the fact that no scavengers had touched the bodies despite their long exposure.

The party then sought out Bertram “Nails” Nelson and found him at a local pub arguing with the bartender about his tab. Lou struck up a conversation with Nelson and bought him a stiff drink. Lou questioned Nelson in a circumspect way and got Nelson to reveal that he had seen Jack Brady, Carlyle’s bodyguard, in Shanghai in 1923, three years after his supposed death. The party then hired Nelson to act as extra muscle when they departed for the bush.

At dinner with Smythe-Forbes that night, the investigators gathered a few new leads. While in Nairobi, the Carlyle expedition had had dealings with Dr. Horace Starret, Roger Corydon, and a tea merchant named Tandoor Singh. They also learned that contrary to popular opinion, the Carlyle expedition had ventured into the countryside not for a safari but instead to confirm data gathered in Egypt around followers of an ancient religious leader who migrated southward to Kenya.

The party slept uneasily that night despite the comfort of the hotel. There was no telling what implacable foes or eldritch horrors awaited them in the bush.

Safari of Terror
In which the investigators encounter some unusual wildlife

February 8, 1925
The party awoke to Colonel Endicott’s pounding at their door. After all had gathered their belongings, Endicott drove the investigators to his lodge four hours outside of Nairobi. There they settled in and met Endicott’s manservant Silent Joe. After a late lunch, Endicott, Nails Nelson, and the party ventured out to the night-viewing platform, a large building on stilts for viewing the wildlife during night. The platform overlooked a watering hole in the river. The corpses of the dead lodge guests had all been found within the vicinity of the platform and Endicott surmised that the guests had left the safety of the platform at night and been killed by a leopard. While exploring the area, the group discovered the footprints of a child by the river bank. Claude attempted to climb the ladder leading up to the platform but the ladder became dislodged and Claude suffered a minor injury.

The investigators decided to spend the night at the platform to get to the bottom of the mystery. Wary of threats, they wisely set watches. During the third watch, the attack commenced. A horde of small, gibbering child-sized ghouls assaulted the platform. Arnold shot the first creature ascending the ladder, but the realization of horror overcame him and he cowered in fear. The rest of the party awoke due to the shot and quickly grabbed firearms. The ghouls swarmed into the night platform, slashing and tearing at the investigators in a frenzy. Fortunately, the ghouls teeth and claws were no match for lead bullets.

Seeing the failure of their counterparts, the remainder of the ghoul horde began to attack the legs of the platform. Courvoisier made a crude fire-bomb from a bottle of whiskey and threw it from the window immolating a number of the ghouls. Nails Nelson, already half-drunk from the whiskey supply, pointed his rifle out the window and began picking off the cannibals.

Lou, convinced that the party could not overcome the horde facing them, began to cast a spell to “summon the piping demon.” As the toad-like creature began to phase in, Lou’s fragile mind cracked and he shouted out, “Kill all the children!” before collapsing to a heap. The servitor obeyed its instruction, descended the platform, and began to tear the ghouls to shreds. After disposing of the ghouls, the servitor departed in the direction of the nearest village. Later, during their week-long recovery, reports trickled in of a horrible massacre in which all the children of a village were brutally murdered. Authorities chalked the matter up to tribal warfare.

The remainder of the night was spent binding wounds and attempting to console the babbling Lou.

February 9, 1925
Endicott arrived in the morning and was confronted with the corpses of the ghouls. He proffered his deepest thanks and swore that he would forever be in the investigators debt. The party decided to decline Endicott’s offer of hospitality and instead returned to the relative safety of Nairobi. Claude had suffered serious burns during the attack on the train, so the party chose to rest a week. Lou’s broken mind was beyond help and he was checked into the hospital where the investigators hoped he could someday regain his sanity.

February 15, 1925
Deciding to follow up on earlier leads, the party went to interview Neville Jermyn and Dr. Horace Starret. Jermyn proved of limited use. Jermyn was convinced that a cult was responsible for killing the Carlyle expedition, but blamed the cult of the White Gorilla rather than that of the Bloody Tongue. Jermyn explained that there existed deep in the Congo an ancient city that was in fact the birthplace of all civilization and that present day society was in fact controlled by the White Gorilla cult. The investigators dismissed Jermyn’s theories and bade him good day.

Starret was a participant in the medical examination of the bodies retrieved from the massacre site and was unnerved by the fact that the corpses were seemingly unaffected by decomposition. His personal conclusion was that supernatural powers had killed the expedition members.

An interview with Tandoor Singh had more sinister results. Singh had been a tea seller to the expedition and reportedly had more than casual dealings with Sir Aubrey Penhew. The team elected to accuse Singh of being a cultist and demanded explanations. Singh heatedly denied all such charges and demanded that the team leave his store.

February 16, 1925
Finally, the group went to see Sam Mariga, the man who had originally reported the massacre. Mariga told the group what he knew and suggested that they speak with his friend Johnstone Kenyatta, a Kenyan nationalist and so-called “troublemaker” according to local whites. Kenyatta listened to the investigator’s tale intently and asked them intelligent questions. He finally decided to help the investigators and sent them on their way to meet a powerful ally.

The investigators were driven to a village where they met a young man named Okomu. Okomu questioned them sharply but softened when convinced of the urgency of their mission. Okomu was familiar with the Bloody Tongue and informed them that the cult terrorized the region by kidnapping people and sacrificing them at the Mountain of the Black Wind. Okomu had the group follow him into a hut where a wizened old man lay nearly lifeless on the floor. Okomu explained that the man was Old Bundari, a powerful magician who could leave his body to walk other planes.

After waiting by his side for hours, Old Bundari’s consciousness finally returned to this plane. Bundari seemed to already know much of the investigator’s tale and acknowledged that the team faced a perilous mission. He bestowed upon them two gifts. A fly whisk he claimed could find and resist evil, and a small chameleon named Who-Is-Not-What-She-Seems that Bundari stated would protect the investigators once if ever they were in dire need.

With these gifts the investigators decided to return to Nairobi where they could prepare for an expedition to the Mountain of the Black Wind.

The Bloody Tongue
In which the investigators come face to face with true horror

February 17, 1925
The party spent the day in Nairobi preparing for the formidable journey ahead of them. After stocking up on everything they would need for a trek across the African wilderness, the group departed with Nails Nelson acting as their guide.

February 20, 1925
The group chose to travel along the plains which unfortunately left them vulnerable to the spying eyes of members of the cult of the Bloody Tongue. Midday, the investigators spotted a group of ten armed men with curious red headbands fast approaching them. The group of men signaled their hostile intent when they began throwing spears at the group hitting some of the party. The investigators returned fire. The two groups engaged in a furious fight and the investigators held their ground despite being out-numbered. After seven of the cultists were slain, the other three turned to flee but were killed by the party before they could escape and spread word. Claude suffered a severe wound during the exchange and despite the best efforts of Dr. Courvoisier, Claude bleed to death on the plains of Africa.

February 21, 1925
The investigators began sighting other groups of travelers out on the plains. All the members of these other groups wore the same red headband as the group that ambushed the party earlier. Wisely, the investigators decided to return to the corpses of the slain cult members and don their headbands as a disguise.

February 22, 1925
Large groups of travelers all bearing the headband of the cult were roaming the savannah. All seemed intent on the Mountain of the Black Wind.

February 24, 1925
The party arrives at their destination only to discover a small army of cultists camping at its base. Estimates placed the number of cultists around 10,000. That evening, the evil priestess M’Weru descended from a cave to a bluff overlooking the camp. Overlooking her followers, she shouted, “Tonight is the time of greatness, when our lords sends us his chosen seed! Tonight comes the dread child and its terror to confirm us!” and began to chant strange words in a language unknown to human ears. The multitude quickly picks up the chant and drums begin pounding out the rhythm of the words.

Desperate to halt the ceremony, the group turned to Nails Nelson and trying to persuade him to take a shot with his rifle at the M’Weru. Nelson perceived that any threat of violence against the priestess would result in certain death and declined to fire. Instead he ran. Professor St. Croix cast a spell to summon a servitor of the Outer Gods. The servitor attempted to attack the cultists but was mobbed by hundreds of madmen and torn to shreds before it could do any significant damage.

The casting of the spell incited the crowd so the party split up attempting to melt away into the mass of people. All but Professor St. Croix were successful. St. Croix was seized by the throng of people and beaten to death.

At this point, Courvoisier deemed the situation dire enough to release the chameleon that Old Bundari had gifted them. The chameleon instantly grew to the size of a school bus and began smashing and eating cultists right and left. M’Weru spotted the disturbance and cried out for her followers to destroy the intruders. A horde quickly swarmed over the chameleon stabbing it and firing into it. Unable to withstand such an assault, the chameleon was slain.

Convinced that the interlopers had been dealt with, M’Weru continued the ritual. At this time, the cult began its sacrifices. Dozens of men, women, and children from the surrounding areas were brought forward and brutally dispatched. During this frenzy of bloodshed, the sky began to cloud over and peels of thunder echoed across the plain. Finally, a searing bolt of lighting struck the mountain top and M’Wero shrieked, “He bestrides the mountain as he bestrides the world!” Slowly the hideous god of the Bloody Tongue began to phase in to this reality. The sight was too much for Zuri and Arnold and they were overcome by catatonia, their minds fleeing from the horror that confronted them.

With a wave of his grotesque red tentacle, the avatar of Nyarlathotep caused a stairway to be formed that led up to the temple inside the mountain. The horde surged forward, eager to enter. As the throng rushed beneath Nyarlathotep’s legs, the bloody tentacle scooped up random cultists, smashing those that pleased him and throwing those that did not off the side of the mountain. Only Durry and Courvoisier remained in possession of their faculties, and they bravely ascended the mountain to enter the temple.

Inside another frenzy of bloodletting was occurring. Captives were tossed into pits containing ants that striped the victims of flesh in minutes. At the alter stood M’Weru and a woman with a grotesquely distended stomach lay prone on the alter. The investigators recognized the woman as Hypatia Masters, a member of the Carlyle expedition. At last, M’Weru raised her hands for silence and a deadly stillness filled the temple. Yellow eyes began to glow from within Masters’ stomach. Hypatia let out a scream before exploding into a shower of gore. Masters’ stomach ruptures in a cascade of slime, and the terrifying spawn of Nyarlathotep reached out a tentacle grabbing a cultist and began to feed. After eating, the spawn began to shimmer and slowly transformed into a simulacrum of Hypatia. The crowd grew out of control and began to engage in frenzied singing and dancing until all were exhausted.

February 25, 1925
As the mob exits the temple the next day, the sane investigators lead the still catatonic ones away. Deciding that Zuri’s mind was beyond all help, Durry and Courvoisier cruelly abandoned him to an almost certain death. Arnold was more fortunate and the investigators took him with them on their return journey to Nairobi.

March 1, 1925
Back in Nairobi, Arnold is checked into the same hospital as Lou, and Durry and Courvoisier go to Natalie Smyth-Forbes, the editor of the local newspaper, to inform her of the events they witnessed. Smyth-Forbes listens sympathetically but obviously thought that the group had gone mad.

March 2, 1925
The group returns to Old Bundari to inform him of their failure to stop the ritual. Bundari listened to their tale and informed them that all hope was not lost. The spawn had been born to conduct a gate opening ceremony that would usher Nyarlathotep into this world. There were three wards around the globe (one at the Mountain of the Black Wind, one in China, and one in Australia) that prevented the creation of the gate, but they had been destroyed. Bundari told the investigators that there task was now to find a way to reestablish the wards.

March 3, 1925
The group set sail for Shanghai. During the voyage, Durry is driven mad by his act of abandoning Zuri and he is confined to his quarters.

The Demon Cabinet of Mister Lung
In which the investigators meet a very odd fortuneteller

March 19, 1925
Aboard ship, Courvoisier managed to recruit several others to join him in his quest to stop Nyarlathotep. The group now counted among its members journalist James Johnson, a mysterious African woman named Afaafa, a laconic Nepali known as Mr. Echo, and an soldier of fortune named Jonathan.

The investigators arrive in Shanghai early in the morning. After disembarking, they made a quick trip to the bank and then went looking for The Stumbling Tiger Bar where Nails Nelson had last seen Jack Brady, one of the few Carlyle Expedition members believed to still be alive.

Arriving at the bar, the party met the bartender Fergus Chum. After substantially greasing Chum’s palm, they were told that Brady had fled Shanghai and was now working for an arms dealer named Charles Grey in Rangoon. Crestfallen, the investigators left the bar and James read a newspaper while the rest of the group debated what to do. Their discussion was soon interrupted by Chum who was rousting a drunk who couldn’t pay his bar tab.

James noticed an interesting advertisement in the newspaper for an astrologer promising that he could foretell the future for those beset by dark forces. They persuaded the recently thrown out drunk to lead them to the fortuneteller’s shop.

Outside the shop a grey cat stood mewing at the door. As they entered the shop, Mr. Echo carried the cat inside. They were greeted in the shop by a man who introduced himself as Mr. Lung. The shop was covered in strange bric-a-brac: numerous medallions and amulets hung down from the rafters, scrolls with fierce tigers worked on them hung from the door mantles, and an unlit brazier with a pair of slippers in it rested in the corner.

As Mr. Lung began making smalltalk in Mandarin, Mr. Echo noticed that the drunk had lead them to the shop was across the street smoking a cigarette. Inside the store, Mr. Lung began acting in an increasingly erratic manner. First he attempted to sell each of the investigators one of the necklaces hanging from the ceiling. When the investigators showed little interest, Mr. Lung invited them to sit down and learn their fortunes. Once seated, Mr. Lung attempted to give the group a large pile of fake money. The group showed little interest in the ersatz currency. Mr. Lung then jumped up and offered the group tea; Courvoisier and James chose to indulge. Before bringing the tea to the table, Mr. Lung went and lit the brazier in the corner. The horrible odor of burning shoes began to fill the store. The grey cat attempted to find a place in the room as far from the brazier as possible.

Afaafa decided to covertly explore the living quarters behind the shop and got up to nominally use the bathroom. Mr. Lung then began attempting to tell the party’s fortune. Courvoisier and James began to notice a hint of drowsiness. Meanwhile, Afaafa had gone into the storage room at the top of the stairs. The room contained some old furniture and a large cabinet covered in carvings and lined with mirrors.

Courvoisier and James’ sleepiness turned into unconsciousness. Seeing his friends had obviously been drugged, Mr. Echo leapt up to grab Mr. Lung. But Mr. Lung escaped his grasp and ran up to the storage room. Seeing Afaafa examining the inside of the cabinet, Mr. Lung rushed up behind her and threw her into the cabinet closing the door behind her. Afaafa immediately began to notice a curious sense of diminishing as though her life-force were being drained away. By this time Mr. Echo — with the grey cat behind him — had caught up to Mr. Lung and put a knife to his throat. Mr. Lung began babbling frantically accusing the investigators of being demons sent to destroy him. Lung refused to unlock the cabinet, but a well-placed kick from Mr. Echo changed his mind.

Mr. Echo unlocked the cabinet, released Afaafa, and in a bit of turnabout, threw Mr. Lung into the cabinet. Mr. Lung immediately began banging on the doors, screaming that he would die if left inside. Mr. Echo relented and released Mr. Lung. Everything seemed to be on the road to normalcy when suddenly the grey cat began to metamorphose into a feline demon with gnarled claws and flashing eyes.

Everyone in the storage room attempted to flee. Mr. Echo and Afaafa escaped, but the demon seemed to have business with Mr. Lung. As the party fled the house, with the conscious investigators dragging the unconscious, they heard a series of screams and wails that put their hair on end. A blue flash of light escaped from the window and all was silent.

Tired and frightened, the party headed back to their accommodations.

March 20, 1924
The party returned to Mr. Lung’s shop to see what fate had befallen Mr. Lung. There was no sign of the fortuneteller or the grey cat, but a black scorch mark did feature prominently in the center of the storage room. After rifling through Lung’s belongings, the party concluded that there was little of interest.

March 22, 1924
The party caught a tramp steamer to Rangoon in search of Charles Grey, the man they believed to have see Jack Brady last.

March 31, 1924
Arriving in Rangoon, the investigators immediately sought out Charles Grey. Grey’s office was in a dingy warehouse near the docks. Crates of guns and ammunition were piled high in the warehouse. Grey informed the group that Brady had worked for him as an accountant, but had left several months ago headed to Nicaragua. The party asked for Brady’s address while he was in Rangoon hoping to turn up some more evidence to lead them to Brady.

April 1, 1924
With the aid of a translator, the party went to the boarding house where Grey said Brady had stayed, only to discover that no one at that address had ever seen Brady before. Convinced that Grey was lying, the party began to plot the best way to wring the truth out of Grey.

New Allies
In which the investigators make contact with the man they have been searching for

April 2, 1924
Still desperate to find Jack Brady, the investigators left a letter with Charles Grey and pleaded with him to deliver it to Brady. They then spent the day combing the Rangoon docks searching for anyone who had even seen Brady.

April 3, 1924
Defeated in their search for Brady, the party decided to return to Shanghai.

April 13, 1924
Arriving back in Shanghai, the party decided to place an advertisement in the local English newspaper imploring Brady to contact them. While at the newspaper, Mr. Echo decided to search the archives for any interesting articles. He came across a piece describing a fire at a monastery the killed several. The interesting portion of the article described the flame as almost acting as a living entity following the fleeing victims from structure to structure as well as the fact that a European man was last seen in the vicinity of the fire. The article gave the name and address of a witness so the party decided to contact him.

April 14, 1924
The investigators questioned the witness to the fire who, when shown a photo of Brady, confirmed that Brady was the man he had seen leaving the scene just before the fire broke out. The party then went to the monastery itself and interviewed the head monk. The monk told them that Brady had been to the monastery looking for someone to translate a book titled The Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan, but none of the resident monks had the requisite skill. The group asked the monk who else in Shanghai would be capable of such a translation and received a lengthy list of names.

April 19, 1924
The investigators spend the next five days inquiring after all the names on the list they were given. None of the people on the list will admit to having seen Brady, but Afaafa does notice that she was being followed by a short, squat Chinese man. During the same time, Mr. Echo puts another advertisement in the Shanghai Courier advertising that he has found a copy of The Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan and is seeking to return it to its rightful owner. A few days later, Mr. Echo is contacted by post from one Lin Tang Yu claiming the book is his. Mr. Echo arranges a meeting with Yu in a public area.

April 20, 1924
Mr. Echo and Yu met. Yu quickly found out that the party did not in fact possess his book and he stormed out of the restaurant with his guards in tow. Meanwhile, James had been frequenting The Stumbling Tiger bar hoping to find the drunk who had followed them the last time they had been in Shanghai. James’ hunch paid off and that evening the drunk reappeared at the bar. James buttonholed the man and after some persuading the man revealed himself to be Isoge Taro, an agent of the Japanese Empire sent to Shanghai to investigate rumors of a super-weapon being built by the Communists. Taro told James that Brady had allied himself with a nationalist paramilitary group called New China. Taro believe that New China was training for a conflict with the Communists.

April 21, 1924
James went to the seemingly abandoned warehouse were New China had its headquarters. After a brief discussion with the guard, James was ushered in to meet the leader of New China, Chu Min. James proceeded to tell Chu Min everything that had befallen the party since New York. Chu Min listened to his tale carefully, told him Jack Brady would be in contact, and bid him good day.

April 22, 1924
The party was gathered at The Stumbling Tiger bar. Suddenly, a man in his early 40s strode up to the table and said, “I’m Jack Brady. I hear you’ve been looking for me.” Brady then proceeded to give the party an insider’s report on what actually happened to the Carlyle expedition. Brady described Roger Carlyle’s night climb up the Red Pyramid that resulted in an explosion accompanied by screams and a blinding red flash. According to Brady, Carlyle had broken one of the wards that kept Nyarlathotep from entering this dimension. Brady went on to recount Roger Carlyle, Robert Huston, Aubrey Penhew, and Hypatia Masters’ strange disappearance while they were exploring the Bent Pyramid. Carlyle later claimed to have been visiting ancient Egypt. Brady described an unspeakable rite that occurred shortly thereafter in which a number of the Arab diggers were consumed by creatures emerging from the earth. At that point Brady decided that he must separate Carlyle from the rest of the group. While the party was in Kenya preparing to go into the interior, Brady drugged Carlyle and gave the rest of the expedition the slip. At first Carlyle seemed to return to normal after being separated from the others, but soon he began having terrible nightmares that drove him mad. Brady had no choice but to put Carlyle in an insane asylum in Hong Kong under a false name before continuing to Shanghai.

Brady answered a few questions and informed the investigators that they had six months before the ritual to release Nyarlathotep would be held. Brady then excused himself and disappeared out into the night.

April 24, 1924
Remembering their obligation to Erica Carlyle, the party traveled to Hong Kong to see Roger Carlyle. What they discovered was a broken shell of a man who had long since taken leave of his senses.

The Dark Mistress
In which the investigators become interested in a luxury yacht

April 27, 1924
After seeing how thoroughly mad Roger Carlyle had gone, the party decided to leave him in the care of the asylum. The group then traveled back to Shanghai to continue following leads. A search of the library for information on the half of the strange warding symbol given to the investigators by Jack Brady yielded nothing.

April 28, 1924
Jack Brady had also told the group that The Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan was being translated by a scholar named Mu Hsien. The party went to Hsien to see what information had been revealed to him so far. Hsien was still several weeks away from completing the translation, but he did have some information to impart. The Order of the Bloated Woman, the Chinese arm of the Nyarlathotep cult, was actively working to summon their goddess to Earth, but before the summoning could be successful some sort of poisoning of the sky must occur. Hsien then told the party that it was too dangerous for them to meet him in person anymore and he gave a false name for which the party could leave messages at the Shanghai post office.

The party then decided to investigate Sir Aubry Penhew’s ship the Dark Mistress. At the harbor master’s office they were able to determine the ship had a British registry. Later the party spotted the actual ship tied up by the docks near the warehouse of known cult member Ho Fong. After some careful observation, the investigators determined the ship had six crew members all of whom were wearing the same medallion.

The party then took a trip to the abandoned warehouse where the New China paramilitary organization performed its training and had its weapons cache. Although cautioned by New China’s leader Chu Min, the party decided to attempt to sneak onto the ship that night. Min was able to supply the party with a silencer.

That evening the party decided to split up. James and Afaafa would attempt to keep the captain of the ship, a known alcoholic, busy while the others attempted to sneak onto the ship. As the ship’s captain, Jules Savoyard, stumbled off the ship to head to the nearest bar, Afaafa noticed that the man had visible symptoms of radiation sickness. At the bar, Afaafa plied Savoyard with drinks and attempted to get Savoyard to divulge some interesting information. Savoyard was more interested in Afaafa’s being a woman than in any questions she had to ask.

Afaafa eventually invited Savoyard back to her hotel room but soon came to regret the decision as the captain was deeply intoxicated and extremely unattractive to boot. Desperate to get out of the situation, Afaafa signaled to James who had been watching surreptitiously. James attempted to whisk Afaafa away, but the drunken Savoyard took exception to another man intruding on his private conversation with an attractive woman. Savoyard pulled out his pistol, but James beat him to the punch and fired first. Savoyard was hit and grievously wounded, but before collapsing to the ground managed to return fire and injure James.

Meanwhile, at the Dark Mistress, Courvoisier bungled his attempt to sneak onto the gangway and alerted the crew who came out to give hard looks at the interlopers. Not discouraged by their setback, Jon decided to instead attempt to sneak into Ho Fong’s warehouse. He easily picked the lock and sneaked into the shadows cautiously avoiding the five guards sitting around a table in the middle of the warehouse playing cards. Jon slowly made his way to the offices of Ho Fong. While exploring the first floor portion of the office, Jon discovered a loose stair. Quietly prying the tread from the riser, Jon found himself looking into a storeroom. Jon lowered himself into the storeroom and struck a match to examine its contents. He was able to glimpse several horrifying statues and obscene paintings, but his interest was immediately attracted to several crates marked “A.P.” Despite the risk of alerting the guards, Jon pried open one of the crates and revealed machined parts made of aluminum. Despite his meager knowledge of physics, Jon miraculously recognized the items as being parts to a rocket.

Terror Australis
In which the investigators find a strange device

April 28, 1924
James and Afaafa stood over the body of the wounded sea captain. Realizing that authorities would soon be there, the two ran down an alley, threw the incriminating gun into the river, and took a circuitous route back to the party’s headquarters.

Meanwhile, Jon was exploring the warehouse belonging to cult leader Ho Fong. After looking over the rocket parts found in the hidden storeroom, Jon stealthily crept upstairs to have a look in Ho Fong’s office. Most of the documents were in Chinese, but Jon did encounter some navigational charts of the region surrounding Gray Dragon Island, the headquarters of the Order of the Bloated Woman. Taking the charts with him, Jon slipped out of the warehouse undetected and made his way to rendezvous with the rest of the party.

April 29, 1924
With their additional information, the party decided to talk with the paramilitary group New China and attempt to coordinate plans for foiling the machinations occurring on Gray Dragon Island. The leader of New China, Chu Min, urged patience and told the investigators that they would be ready to assault the island in two months. Rather than wait for that long, the party decided to venture to Australia in hopes of discovering the third summoning site.

April 30, 1924
The investigators board a freighter bound for Darwin.

May 7, 1924
The investigators arrive in Darwin. Shipping labels on the crates in Ho Fong’s warehouse indicated that cargo was being sent to Australia care of the Randolph Shipping Company. The investigators decided to observe the warehouse of Randolph Shipping Company for a couple days before taking action.

May 9, 1924
The investigators learned that the proprietor, Toddy Randolph, unfailingly goes to the local pub at the end of the work day. Afaafa made her way to the pub and struck up a conversation with Toddy Randolph. Beguiled by Afaafa, Randolph readily agreed when she suggested they go back to his home, which happened to be a filthy cot inside the warehouse. Once in the warehouse, Afaafa attempted to fend off Randolph’s advances while clumsily attempting to rifle through his account books. After finding an interesting ledger, Afaafa turned and sprinted out the door. Randolph chased her for half a block before his distinct lack of athleticism caught up to him.

In the ledger, the investigators discovered that Randolph is receiving goods from the cult and forwarding them on to Cuncudgerie deep in the Australian interior. In the book, beside the incriminating shipments the party noticed a symbol that they are unfamiliar with.

May 10, 1924
The next day, the investigators broke into the Randolph Shipping Company during Toddy’s daily trip to the pub. Inside the warehouse, the party encountered several crates marked with the same symbol they found in Randolph’s ledger. Prying open one of the crates, the team found a strange device composed of rods, mirrors, gears, and what appears to be an eye tube. The investigators took the device and quickly departed the premises.

Back at the hotel, Afaafa decided to peer into the eye tube. Suddenly, her face contorted into a series of awful distortions and grimaces. The rest of the team rushed to her aid, but she appeared to be in some sort of coma.

May 11, 1924
Afaafa seemingly awoke from her coma, but did not appear to be herself. She refused to speak to the investigators and instead attempted to read every scrap of printed material that could be found in the hotel room. When she attempted to leave the hotel room, the rest of the party was forced to restrain her.

May 13, 1924
Despite Afaafa’s condition, the investigators decided to take a ship to Port Hedland and then travel overland to Cuncudgerie. Aboard the ship, Afaafa grew increasingly restless and could only be appeased by being brought more reading material. Navigational charts proved especially intriguing to her.

May 15, 1924
Late in the evening, Afaafa suddenly and inexplicably came to her senses. She began to speak again and apparently had no recollection of the past few days. The investigators could only speculate as to who or what had inhabited her body.

Encounter in the Outback
In which the investigators avail themselves of an unusual means of transport

May 16, 1924
While on their voyage, the investigators became acquainted with their fellow passenger, David Dodge. Dodge came to learn that the party has some experience with the unexplained and confides the purpose of his travel. Dodge had come into possession of a field journal belonging to Arthur MacWhirr. MacWhirr had been on a expedition into the Outback in 1921. During the trek, MacWhirr’s group discovered the remains of an ancient city that pre-dated human civilization. The group was driven off from the site by a night time attack on the camp by Aborigines and something else large and shadowy. MacWhirr, now too infirmed to mount a second expedition, gave his notes and journal to Dodge, a professor of archaeology. Dodge proposes that the investigators join his endeavor and the investigators agree.

May 17, 1924
Dodge and the party take the daily train to Cuncudgerie where Dodge plans on outfitting his expedition and hiring on laborers. Dodge stated that outfitting the expedition will take a week, giving the group enough time to search for clues in Cuncudgerie.

That night at the hotel bar, the party overheard two laborers discussing the tale of a seemingly crazy American who hired on two dozen men to travel with him into the bush, dig a shaft thirty feet deep, and then dismissed all the men. Upon questioning the two men believe the American bloke’s name was John Carver and his outfitting was done right in Cuncudgerie by Mortimer Wycroft.

May 18, 1924
The party decided to follow up on the rumor and goes to interview Wycroft. Wycroft’s dilapidated store sits on the outskirts of the town. Upon arriving, the party observe three Aborigines working lackadaisically outside the store and Wycroft inside. Wycroft denied any knowledge of a John Carver and was generally brusque and unhelpful.

Hoping for something more concrete, the investigators go to the assayer’s office concluding that any miner would have passed through the office as some point or another. The assayer told them that he had never heard of John Carver.

Determined that Wycroft knew more than he was letting on, the party returned to the store late that night and broke in. Inside they found a file on John Carver, but with the name in quotations indicating that it was perhaps an alias. On the way out, the party helped themselves to several sticks of dynamite.

May 19, 1924
Having concluded that the investigators were fond of tall tales, the regulars at the hotel bar told them about Mad Ginger Muldoon’s claims of encountering a ghost at Dingo Falls. The party tracked Muldoon to his favorite drinking spot and found him throughly intoxicated but willing to tell his tale.

Muldoon claimed he was camping near Dingo Falls when a figure wreathed in flame, its face in a silent scream, entered his camp and began moving toward him. Muldoon claimed he fought the creature with a stick although more than likely he fled into the night. Muldoon warned the investigators that Dingo Falls near property owned by the Slattery family: a group of degenerate drunkards who wouldn’t hesitate to brandish guns at presumed trespassers.

May 24, 1924
Dodge had successfully outfitted his expedition with two Daimler trucks and all the supplies necessary for an exploratory dig. The group departed that morning into the vast stretches of the Outback.

May 30, 1924
Having spent six days in the Outback, contending with the relentless heat, dust, and ever present mechanical problems, the party was surprised when an astonishingly tall figure stepped out from behind a boulder and raised its hand in greeting. The creature was humanoid, but stood at least seven and a half feet tall. Its fingers were long and spidery and it wore nothing but a loincloth.

The investigators approached the creature who then began drawing rapidly in the sand. It drew a crude diagram depicting a group of people entering some sort of portal. Satisfied that the investigators understood its meaning, it touched a nearby boulder which promptly split in two. A gauzy veil of air hung between the two pieces of the boulder. Anxious at first, the investigators proposed to send some members through and leave others behind, but the creature seemed insistent that all present make their way through the portal. Taking a deep breath, the party stepped through the veil.


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