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.