Trail of Cthulhu: Eternal Lies

Episode 17: Acuna's Story
Ethiopia reveals interesting tales

Upon an international flight from Boston to the final destination of Massaua in Ethiopia, the investigative team of Prof. Marvin Derrikson, Howard Defoe, Bethany Tibedeaux, Fr. Carl Meinardus and Frankie Fawn arrived, happy to set down on firm land, even if it was the heat of Africa that met them on arrival. Naturally, the point of the Ethiopian investigation was to see what had become of George Ayers and whether the archeologist, Dr. Bartolo Acuna had any information on him.

Upon landing at the Massaua air field, it was evident that the Italian war machine was present, staging for an attack against Ethiopia. As a result, the area was under tight control by civilian customs. After dealing with some bureaucratic entanglements, Bethany and Prof. Derrikson managed to smooth things over with the Italian government with a well placed bottle of wine and some friendly, feminine conversation. After that, the customs official provided the team with proper papers proving they were individuals in good standing with the Italian government and even went so far as to get them passage into the city with a small military truck.

That afternoon the team immediately went to work after checking into the hotel. Fr. Carl explored the city, looking for landmarks or rumors that could be helpful. Howard explored the docks and determined the types of provisions needed for travel in harsh locations. Bethany decided to conduct some research at the French Universite de Artois whereas Prof. Derrikson used his connections to get into the Italian Universite degli Studi di Cagliari.

While at the Uiversite de Artois, Bethany met with Dr. Lamont, director of the library. They discussed the local tribes, especially those in and around the Dallol site. While at the library Bethany also discovered that there were some scant mentions of the mysterious Guardians as well as references to some of the more savage villagers whose primative beliefs were thought of as dangerous (at least dangerous as defined by white Euro-centric professors).

Meanwhile, Prof. Derrikson had a different experience with Dr. Cosimo Avera at the Universite degli Studi di Cagliari across town. Prof. Derrikson discovered, to his delight, that Dr. Acuna had consulted briefly with Dr. Avera as recent as a few weeks ago and that he was ready to travel with a military convoy to Adua, west of Massaua. Dr. Acuna left about two weeks ago in order to secure the Obelisk of Axum for transport back to Rome in order to be the pride of Benito Mussolini’s conquest in Africa.

That night when the investigative team met together for dinner, they shared the details of what they had uncovered and decided that they would see where Dr. Acuna was, perhaps by checking with the military to see how far the military had gotten.

The following day after consulting with their contact in the Italian customs office, they discovered that due to some troubles with military supply lines, Dr. Acuna and the military convoy with which he was traveling was still held up in Adua, about a day’s travel to the west. It appeared as if they were stalled and going nowhere any time soon. So the decision was made to travel with a military supply truck and get out to Adua to interview Dr. Acuna as soon as possible, as it was expected he would have valuable information about the dig site as well as George Ayers.

Within a day’s travel and a long bumper road later, they found themselves at the camp site of the undisciplined military encampment. Dr. Acuna was interested in seeing them as they were some of the few academics he had spoken to in weeks. Whereas it was clear Acuna was slightly inebriated and somewhat brash, he was curious as to what they were in Africa researching. After assuring Dr. Acuna that they were not here to either relieve him of his post or interfere with his work, they brought up the matter of the Dallol site as well as Dr. George Ayers. At this point, in his own crass way, employing the use of flatter on Dr. Acuna, he relayed the following points:

  • The site around Dallol was precisely where the ancient text, the Revelations of Glaaki said it would be.
  • They arrived in 1924 and hired guides and secured the supplies they needed. It only took a few months to find the site.
  • The reliefs on the doors that sealed the inner complex were different from other works from the same period. They were protective. Ayers sent a fragment back to their patron Ramon Echavarria.
  • Acuna believed Ayers was a drunk, a drug addict or both.
  • Problems began shortly after the seal was broken and the careful digging began. Supplies disappeared, people left, contact between Acuna and the CMC broke down.
  • When they finally broke through the inner sanctum in 1926, they discovered the statute of a mouth. It was carved in detail never before seen, quarried in some ancient stone. It was a giant, screaming mouth, all tongues and a dozen kind of teeth and lips that were obscene.
  • When the CMC cut off supplies, Ayers and Acuna traveled back to Mersa Fatma to confront the company (who later said they received word Acuna cancelled the supplies). While they were away an eruption from a volcano destroyed everything, killing most of the laborers and engulfing their equipment. The inner sanctum fell into hot lava. Acuna, despondent over the whole affair left for Spain, vowing never to return. Ayers, slightly more confident, traveled back to Dallol to see for himself, which was the last time the two saw each other.
  • The last people to see Ayers, Acuna believes, are the tribe who travel around the Dallol village. These people worked for the CMC back in the day, mining salt and potash. Acuna suggested that these people, the Diggers, could well be primitive and dangerous people.
  • The entire area is hell on earth with the heat, brutal conditions and unfriendly environmental hazards.

With nothing more to learn from Acuna, the investigators left, returned to Massaua and decided to take one of the boats to Mersa Fatma the following day to investigate the CMC and see if they could secure rail to the area around Dallol.

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Episode 16: A Shadow over Providence
Dangers are not just isolated to the field

When the investigative team returned to Providence in early June of 1937, their benefactor, Janet Winston-Rogers was waiting, curious to know how their travels had been as well as what new information they had. However, she stated that could wait as she wanted to give them the opportunity to get rest. To that end she had gotten hotel rooms for them and had made arrangements for a private dinner at one of her favorite restaurants.

Late that evening at dinner, Janet revealed a variety of interesting and important details about the Ethiopia locale, including details on Dr. Bartolo Acuna. Apparently, Dr. Acuna had been in Ethiopia uncovering artifacts in the 1920’s, where he met up with George Ayers, using funding from Ramon Echavarria to continue various excavation sites. Whereas there was no evidence to suggest that Acuna was part of Echavarria’s cult, the possibility could not be completely ruled out. Further, some reference to a stone was made, as Janet discovered this was something that was referenced in several of Acuna’s letters. Prof. Marvin Derrikson wondered if this was the same Warding Stone that was found in Savannah as it seemed to fit the description.

She produced a letter that Acuna had written in 1924, 18 months before he would be forced to leave Ethiopia (Acuna’s Letter) but also explained that he had recently returned, hired by the Italian Fascist government to help secure valuable relics that were considered spoils of war by the Italians. Of particular note was the Obelisk of Axum that Dr. Acuna was personally overseeing.

Janet suggested that the investigators leave when they needed but also reaffirmed her commitment to the efforts. She also agreed to look into activities in Bangkok and Malta while they were in Ethiopia. The group agreed that their stated goal in Ethiopia was to find what remained of George Ayers, even if he was still there and/or alive and determine what clues he may hold.

The following day, Howard Defoe decided he he would look into what supplies or stories needed to be found about Ethiopia. He found that it was an area in strife. The Fascist Italian government was prosecuting a war there and this put the entire nation into chaos, especially the north, where they were headed. Clearly, they would need to go to the city of Massaua as that was the major hub of activity.

Fr. Carl Meinardus used his time to check church archives for any connection that the Guardians could have had with Church activities.

Meanwhile Prof. Derrikson researched the Warding Stone discovering that it likely was the same stone that Acuna and Ayers had discovered in Ethiopia over a decade ago and was sent back to the United States. It was apparent that this item was part of a greater whole; either a temple or a door, that was intended to keep something out . . . or in.

Bethany Tibedeaux decided to go to Brown University’s library to look into any occult activities she could, specifically the mysterious Guardians. While there, she encountered a mysterious man, Luc Facuhe, who immediately gave her an eerie feeling. Quickly extracting herself from the situation, she felt as if his eyes were penetrating her very soul and even noticed that he was watching her as she moved down the street.

Later, Prof. Derrikson also made his way to Brown University’s library, but he used his strong academic credentials to get into the restricted access area to look at the more forbidden tomes of lore. Researching the Guardians as well as Y’Golonac, Prof. Derrikson confirmed they were on the right track, and confirming that Janet’s prior research was solid.

That night the group met in the hotel bar to review everything that had come up with and Howard explained he had secured a number of supplies they needed for their long trip. Bethany explained the eerie encounter she had with Fuache and Prof. Derrikson had also shared what he learned. When Howard turned in for the evening, he went up to his room to spend time with Elena Acaltruz. But when he went in, he found her casually talking with a Frenchman, clearly Fauche. Immediately, Howard sent Elena to Bethany’s room and Howard spoke with Fauche, learning that Fauche was a cold, soft spoken man with one warning: cease the investigation or there would be reprisals. Fauche’s cold, dead eyes seemed to piece Howard’s very soul, revealing there was something far more unusual with the man.

It was not long before Bethany and Prof. Derrikson came onto the scene with Prof. Derrikson taking a far more direct approach, namely shoving a pair of pistols into Fauche’s face, and accusing him of being part of the conspiracy that ‘murdered innocent nephews in the dead of night’ (a clear reference to the death of Prof. Derrikson’s dead nephew, Lord Edward Homeward). Cooler heads quickly prevailed as Howard pulled the professor off and ordered Fauche to leave. However, Howard followed the mysterious Facuhe and trailed him to an abandoned apartment building on the edge of town. Decided that the apartment complex would still be there in the daylight hours, he decided to later return in the safety of numbers.

The following day the group went to the complex and investigated. They found a chamber of horrors. The basement was set up to contain a generator that keep the temperatures below 30 degrees. One room contained a torture chamber filled with medical devices and other instruments whose purpose was best left unknown. The final room, however, contained several skins, well lubricated, hanging on hooks, kept pristine, as if they were suits. Their purpose, as well unknown, but imagined, was a horrific revelation into the kinds of minds they were dealing with. However, there was no sign of Fauche or anyone else.

A quick anonymous tip to the police had the building raided and then the investigators quickly made arrangements with their pilot, Frankie Fawn, to take them to Massaua, where unknown dangers awaited.

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Episode 15: Audience with a God
Madness is escaped but by the thinnest of margins

Regrouping from their experience with the ambush, the investigators decided what to do next. Bethany Tibedeaux and Prof. Derrikson observed the congregation of the 100 columns to the south of the plaza of Chichen Xoxul while Howard Defoe and Fr. Carl Meinardus collected what supplies they could, with the assistance of their guide, Rick Luke. Seeing as the investigators were naturally suspicious of Francesco de la Vega as it was his hand picked guide, Farza that led the ambush, it was clear they had to tread very carefully in their next actions.

Getting closer to the 100 columns, Pref. Derrikson correctly deduced that it was the site of some kind of trading center where the Xoxul would congregate and socialize. But the mounds of skulls and threatening runes on the columns showed the true nature of the Xoxul, that they were corrupt, depraved and worshiped foul gods, evidently Golxumal. While Prof Derrikson carefully observed the columns, Bethany spotted something in the shadows – a set of threatening eyes. It was clear that whatever she was seeing was something very dangerous, perhaps the Beast of Golxumal. At this point, the group carefully made their way to the temple, determining it would be safer to explore that area.

As Prof. Derrikson examined the temple it was clear that the entire area, including the temple, had changed hands numerous times over the centuries. Ancient Mayans as well as the Xoxul had fought fiercely over the years and Chichen Xoxul had clearly been a focal point as each group had added in their own runes and had the others destroyed, leading to the intermingling of symbols and runes atop the temple. Quickly, they decided to enter the temple by climbing up the steps, getting them further away from the Beast that seemed to roam through the plaza.

Entering the antechamber, the investigators placed enough light around the area to get a good view of the runes and symbols painted everywhere. Prof. Derrikson quickly translated seeing a massive and epic tale unfold. It was revealed that some sorcerer of immense and expansive power built this temple in a day and built a twin temple in a night. These twin temples were to be a testament to his power and meant as a way for Golxumal to look upon his people with more ease and allow him to enter this area when summoned. The glyphs also reiterated how the temple was both old and new at the same time.

Going deeper into the temple, the investigators came across a wall with numerous slits where the viewer could peer through into a room. Then as they proceeded down the hall the slits became much larger, like narrow windows where they could see into a deep, recessed room which was lower in elevation than they were. In the mostly empty room was a disheveled man, Alavar, clearly a member of the original expedition. Ranting and raving and carrying a rifle, he opened fire upon the group when they made their presence known. His bullet which seemed like an on target hit, seemed to phase right through Prof. Derrikson when he was hit. The bullet, upon passing the threshold of the slots, seemed to take on a ghostly form, turning what could have been a potentially deadly strike into something harmless, albeit unusual. It took a very short time to calm Alavar down but it was evident that he was lost, mentally, thinking that only a few hours had passed since he and his group had been ambushed when, in fact, it was clear that over a week had transpired. It was then that the investigators quietly posited the theory that they were dealing with some kind of dimensional and time distortion.

When Prof. Derrikson decided to breach the small window to get into the room with Alavar, his body was racked with pain as his joints began to stretch in and out of socket. This led to more evidence that there could have been a temporal and dimensional distortion. Based upon the damage his body suffered, he was hesitant to go back through even though the only exit to the room seemed to be a ladder which led to the ceiling – to a hatch that Alavar said was locked from the other side. As Prof. Derrikson continued to talk to Alavar, hearing him ramble on about the Beast outside as well as ghosts inside, the rest of the investigators decided to explore the rest of the temple.

As the investigators went through the temple, they found a staircase which led up as well as down. They decided to go up and found themselves faced with a door as well as a darkened hallway. Surmising that the door lead to the room that would have the hatch that would lead them to Prof. Derrikson, they took the door.

The room contained an altar as well as a ghostlike figure that disappeared when confronted. The altar had a puzzle that when solved by pouring liquid into it, removed a hatch that allowed them to access the room with Prof. Derrikson and Alavar. Together, they suspected that the priest would sacrifice a victim and throw them into a pit at which point some entity would arrive and the rest of the Xoxul could watch from the slits to see what would happen. It was both religious ceremony as well as apparent entertainment.

They then decided to go down the darkened hallway. In the large opening where the hallway opened up, there were more glyphs and runes that described that the area they were about to enter was the sacred observatory. The walls were made of red stone – like nothing they had seen before. Prof. Derrikson chiseled out a piece to take with him. This Xoxul Stone was unusual in many ways. The runes on the walls were discovered by Bethany to be some kind of elaborate control spell of mystic and mathematics. She made a point of committing them to memory as she felt this could be beneficial later.

Progressing down the hallway, the group eventually came to the observatory, proper. It was a massive stone structure with a large glass lens that looked out into the sky. The stone dials and switches that adorned the top were somehow intuitive to Bethany who began experimenting, using the mathematical formula she had committed to memory.

Shortly after experimenting with the controls, the mystical device activated sending the landscape they saw into the past, where they could see the ancient Xoxul people in the plaza conducting a ceremony. When the investigators discovered this was a summoning ritual, they quickly tried to move ahead to a new setting, catapulting them to what appeared to be an alien landscape, likely on another planet.

In short time as the investigators looked around they saw a planet, a gas giant, floating in the night’s sky, confirming they were no longer on earth, apparently. It was then that lightning streaked across the sky and they felt some entity trying to communicate with them. Realizing they were communicating with Golxumal, the alien god probed their minds and began to converse with them through a series of images, sounds and mental impressions. The most revealing and important aspect to the conversation was that Liar from Beyond was actually the entity known as Y’Golonac a horrible creature that hid behind the images of other deities. This was extremely offensive to Golxumal who agreed to dispatch Y’Golonac once the investigators found Y’Golonac’s body wherever it laid. Further, Golxumal burned a ritual, the Summon Aspect of Gol-Gorath into their minds that would summon Gulxumal when he was needed. One request Bethany made was to have the infamous book known as ‘The Tome’ destroyed.

After this brief yet horrific encounter, Golxumal sent them back to earth, to their proper time but Alavar had gone mad and subsequently shot himself to end his mental anguish. Within a few days the group had gotten back to Merida and secretly contacted the rest of their group where they readied the DC-3 for a return trip to Providence to discuss matters with Janet Winston-Rogers.

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Episode 14: Into the Jungle Depths
A jungle that threatens to swallow explorers . . .

With final preparations before their trek, into Chichen Xoxul the investigators had everything they needed to set out. Bethany Tibedeaux packed The Tome that she had gotten from the Shabby Purveyor while Fr. Carl Meinardus, Professor Marvin Derrikson and Howard Defoe made sure they had all the supplies they needed. They left the rest of their possessions with Frankie Fawn and in the morning they set out to meet up with Rick Luke.

While in the truck, Bethany could not resist again looking at The Tome as it seemed to call out to her. This filthy, dripping text had secrets that she had to uncover. The chilling revelation came to light, however, that the magic that was found in the book, a spell for contacting and binding the Liar from Beyond was, itself, a lie. Apparently, the spell was closer to an invitation to allow the Liar to inhabit the body of the caster. This also came with the revelation that this horrific entity knew about the investigators and had taken an interest in them and knew about their goals, as well as, presumably, their families and loved ones. The Shabby Purveyor, himself, could well have been some kind of avatar of the Liar.

After meeting Rick, they piled into his truck and set out for the jungle. Driving for close to 8 hours they eventually stopped when they came to a clearing. Rick said that they could drive no further but would have to hike from this point forward. They did notice a truck a few yards away which Rick stated was the truck of Ale Farza. The truck appeared to have been gone through and looted.

Setting out, they investigators were several hours into their hike when they came across a a strange formation, covered in vines. The structure, when uncovered, was a pillar which was very Mayan-like in design. Standing 9 feet tall, the structure depicted warriors, likely the Xoxul, slaying and crushing the Mayans. The top of the structure had a piece that was missing, contributing to the mystery. Professor Derrikson concluded that it was a warning to others they were now entering Xoxul lands. Regardless, both Professor Derrikson and Rick felt these were important finds. Bethany took photos.

The night they spent at camp was uneventful.

As the group progressed, they noticed heavy rains coming their way. As the group climbed up the hill, their footing gave way and Fr. Carl slipped down the hill, tumbling down into mud until he was stopped by another large Xoxul structure. This one, when investigated, did have the top head piece that was some kind of squat, frog like creature with a massive, disgusting tongue. Professor Derrikson suspected this was a depiction of Gol-Gorath, the horrific god of the Xoxul.

That night when they made camp, they were soaking wait from the rain and the mud. The investigators, under the guidance of Rick, went slightly off the same path that the prior expedition had taken in order to find some dry patches. That evening Fr. Carl seemed to test Professor Derrikson by asking him how much he knew about his deceased nephew, Lord Edward Homeward. It seemed that if Professor Derrikson had given answers Fr. Carl did not like, he would have resorted to violence.

Shortly after this tense moment, the rest of the investigators realized that Rick was nowhere around. When Howard and Professor Derrikson went looking for him, penetrating the darkness of the jungle, they came across what seemed like Rick, speaking to some strange disembodied voices in the night, speaking in Mayan. When Rick returned, he was visibly shaken, stating that the individuals – likely bandits – offered up some kind of ancient Mayan threat, that of the ‘vereda’ which was some kind of ‘murder/torture for entertainment.’

Rick stated he wanted to leave but when Howard offered some reassuring words (in his own way) as well as the promise of more money, Rick agreed to press on in the morning.

The following day was an 8 hour hike, interrupted only by the threat of a panther that seemed to be stalking them. As the investigators later closed in on Chicen Xoxul, they were suddenly ambushed by attackers. While the attackers were armed heavily, they managed to miss most of the investigators while Professor Derrikson, Fr. Carl and Howard managed to take a few of them out. While the initial attackers were repelled, it was evident that they would soon be outgunned and reinforcements were coming. The investigators fled into the ruins of Chichen Xoxul (Map) but the attackers did not follow.

Once the investigators regrouped at the Ball Court, they looked at their wounds which were mostly superficial, surprisingly. Rick mentioned that the leader of the attackers was actually Ale Farza, the guide that took the original expedition into the jungle. Something had happened that had driven him to attack. Perhaps it was he who was responsible for the failure of the original expedition’s return.

They then discovered the remains of the original expedition. Their tents and other items were strewn about, with many of the victims missing their heads. Also, many of the victims were pieced with arrows and spears. When examined, the arrows and spears were clearly of archaic design, either due to a modern redesign or items that were kept around for 500 years. Looking through the journals of the expedition leader, Dominguez, it did state how they came to Merida and met with Don Francesco de la Vega who suggested using Ale Farza as a guide (immediately bringing some suspicion to Don Francesco’s motives). Also found among their bodies were several large does of Nectar.

The most disturbing thing that was discovered was when Professor Derrikson examined some of the bodies more closer. Some of them were attacked by some savage creature with jaws that were large enough to swallow the bottom half of the victims, whole. There was some caustic substance that had caused the flesh to slide off the bone. Professor Derrikson knew of no creature that was capable of doing this.

At least no creature on earth.

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Episode 13: Professor Derrikson
A New Investigator Arrives

May 20th 1937

As the investigative team rested for over a week in Guanajuato, Mexico, far enough away from Mexico City, they recovered from their wounds as well as the loss of Lord Edward Homeward, a dear friend and colleague. Knowing that they had to continue to Merida in the Yucatan, Frankie Fawn and Javier Luna, made some plans. In order to mount a trip to Chichen Xoxul, they had to first fly to Merida. And with others still with them, such as Elena Alcatruz and Victor Cortz, it would certainly be a journey. Further, with the change in Fr. Carl Meinardus’ personality, things were morose and tense.

In a meeting with Frankie, Howard Defoe and Bethany Tibedeaux, Frankie had mentioned a telegram she had gotten from Janet Winston-Rogers. Apparently, Lord Edward’s uncle, Professor Marvin Derrikson was in the United States and was on his way to speak to Lord Edward. Prof. Derrikson, a noted Oxford instructor, was curious as to what his nephew had gotten involved with. Frankie picked him up from the train station when he came into town.

The group carefully explained to Professor Derrikson that Lord Edward was a good friend and a hero and that they, collectively, had stumbled on a massive world-wide conspiracy of drugs, cultists and those who wanted to bring about some sort of apocalypse. Professor Derrikson reflected on this and whereas he did not fully understand or even believe, he agreed to help – if it was important enough for his nephew to have given his life for this, then it would be important for him to at least entertain.

Before departing, Bethany scoured the local library and discovered that there was an interesting book with a chapter on Chichen Xoxul. Into the Yucatan Peninsula was written by Dr. Arthur Cartwright in 1850 and provided some insight into the mysterious temple ruins. Further, Bethany discovered that Dr. Cartwright moved back to England after his studies on Chichen Xoxul but eventually moved back to Merida and eventually died there.

The following day the entire group boarded the DC-3 and flew toward Merida. Upon arriving, they noticed the city was vibrant and uplifting, despite the heavy rains. The fairly modern location was economically healthy and inviting. However, it was likely a bad omen when they found lodging at the Hotel Luz, not exactly a name they wished to recall any time soon.

That night, while most of the group rested, Professor Derrikson went out and tried to scour the area for information. Interviewing a young street boy, Professor Derrikson discovered that there was a hunting lodge outside of town where guides and hunters gathered. Specifically one man was a key person to speak to, Homer Navidad.

The following day Howard, Bethany and Professor Derrikson made their way through the mud and rain out to the lodge. In meeting Navidad, they found he was a mountain of a man as well as serious and intense in his conversation. He agreed to be their guide if they needed him but upon mentioning they wanted to travel to Chichen Xoxul, he became more cautious and a hush came over the room as if something sinister was said. Navidad explained that they would need to get permission from Francesco de la Vega, as much of the land that would be traveled across was his land and it was customary to gain his permission. More unusual was the fact that group had traveled to Chichen Xoxul a week and a half ago. However, this was not news to the investigators as they knewJonathan Brooks had dispatched a team there. What was surprising is that they had not returned, now had their guide, Farza. Regardless, the investigators agreed to speak with Don de la Vega.

Later the afternoon, upon returning to their hotel, they planned as much as they could regarding their trip. In the mid afternoon a representative from Don de la Vega arrived, inviting them to dinner as word had gotten around that they were planning a trip to Chichen Xoxul. Mysterious as this was, the group agreed to dine with Don de la Vega that evening.

Upon arriving and meeting Don de la Vega, it was clear he was a man of culture and wealth, enjoying history, literature and the finer things in life. he and Professor Derrikson connected on their mutual interest in archeology and anthropology, especially that of the Myan culture. Eventually, Don de la Vega did grant his permission to go across his land to Chichen Xoxul but not without expressing strong hesitation and fears for their safety as there were dangerous animals as well as bandits. He did mention that as far as guides were concerned, he would suggest that Hernando Garcia would be the best guide in the area since Nando Farza had gone missing with the last group. He mentioned he did not think much of Homer Navidad.

The following day Bethany and Howard were getting some food in the hotel lobby when they were approached by an American, Rick Luke. Luke, brash and cocky, suggested he was the best guide in the area and since he had heard they were looking for a guide, he would be the best option for them. They agreed to speak with him at length later even though his personality was somewhat brash.

The rest of the day was spent interviewing Navidad, Luke and Garcia and eventually settling on Luke as Garcia gave off a dishonest impression. They then decided to spread word around town they were leaving in a few days but secretly leave first thing in the morning to throw off any strange attacks or dangerous encounters. However, it was Bethany who ended up having the most unusual encounter.

Approaching her as she left a shop, Bethany was accosted by a man best described as a Shabby Purveyor. This grotesque individual wanted to offer her a book, The Tome. All he wanted was either a kiss from her, a watch her grandfather had given her before he died or some of the money given to them by Janet. As the encounter continued the Shabby Purveyor became more and more grotesque, hiding his hands as there were clear marks on them and constantly hacking up strange phlegm. Eventually Bethany realized there was something surreal happening as people would pass them by, simply ignoring them both as if they were not there.

Bethany decided to give him a kiss for the book and upon taking it could not help herself from looking at it, realizing that there was some kind of potent magic in it up she was clearly shaken by the experiencing, not really moving until Howard and Professor Derrikson found her hours later. After explaining her story, Professor Derrikson was not sure what exactly he was getting into but since they were leaving first thing in the morning, he found it was too late to back out now.

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Episode 12: The End of the First Estate

Working together, Lord Edward Homeward, Bethany Tibedeaux and Howard Defoe came up with a plan on how to access the cult headquarters that Javier Luna had told them about. Fr. Carl Meinardus and Javier Solis sat by, awaiting their instructions. The group knew that penetrating the headquarters would not be easy but the sinister and evil actions that were taking place there had to be stopped. The group decided that the best plan would be for Frankie Fawn to take Elena Alcatruz, Victor Cortez and Javier to the airport and wait, while the others went to the headquarters, but not before constructing some explosive materials for an unpleasant surprise.

Arriving early to survey the situations, the investigators noticed the yellow and blue house they were told about as well as the small hacienda that was nearby that supposedly had a connecting basement. However, there were two other structures nearby with presumably innocents living in them. They quickly decided to provide a distraction by rolling one of the neighbor’s cars down the street, setting it afire, watching it explode right in front of the yellow and blue house. This was enough of a distraction for the group to sneak into the back, seeing a home caked with gore, fluids and suffering from a foul odor. They did quickly find a metal door with a padlock that they picked, seeing a passage that went into the depths of the earth.

Upon descending, they came to a passage that lead to an underground recording studio. There was another passage out that presumably led to the hacienda. Lord Edward immediately went about setting some of the explosives to blow the room if need be. But as he was setting them, he noticed a small false door that lead to a further chamber below. Just as he was ready to inform the others of his discovery, a shot rang out for the unexplored corridor, as the cultists had found them!

While the others went to the secret door Lord Edward had found, Lord Edward went to the passage with the oncoming cultists and decided to throw some of the explosives down the passage. The resulting explosion that went off likely killed the cultists but, at the very least, but more importantly, sealed off the passage. The investigators were free to further navigate the depths.

Emerging at the next lowest level, they entered a room filled with crates and boxes with two exists from the room, both dark passages. Shortly after entering, one of the passages had noise coming from it, likely more cultists and one of the voices had a Russian accent. No doubt this was the mysterious Kirill Konovalov, the brutal bodyguard to Jonathan Brooks. At this point, Lord Edward dispatched Julian and Bethany to investigate the other passageway while he threw some of the remaining explosives into the passage with the oncoming cultists.

As Bethany and Julian fled into the darkness, they found themselves falling into a deep pit, suffering minor bruises and scrapes when they fell. But this was nothing compared to what they discovered in the pit – rotting corpses and walls and floors comprised of one Minor Mouth after another, all beginning to whine and scream for blood. This was too much for Javier who broke with reality and began to hallucinate. Bethany, however, set out to climb the wall while trying to avoid the attacks from the mouths. But at that instant, the strange and haunting music began, that got into the minds of the investigators, starting to drive them mad.

Back in the main passageway, Howard, Fr. Carl and Lord Edward began to negotiate with Konovalov, who agreed to bring in Brooks to talk. Brooks, staying in the passage spoke with Lord Edward and admitted that his expedition, while in the Yucatan, would eventually return with the evidence from Chichen Xoxul that would show that the entity the cult worshiped was, indeed, Gol-Gorath, something that the investigators were certain was incorrect. Further, he stated that the music was just the start. It would be a sound that would usher in a new age of their foul deity. When Lord Edward tried to reason with Brooks, it clearly did not work as Brooks ordered his men to attack right about the time the foul and insane music started.

Bethany, with the help of Howard who had just arrived, got out of the pit but when Julian took a shot at Howard, Bethany suspected Julian had gone insane and lit the pit up with her explosive fire, killing Julian and many of the minor mouths. Upon returning to the chamber with Lord Edward and Fr. Carl, that is when Brooks ordered the attack. But the situation was more dire than they had expected as cultists were coming down the stairs, trapping the investigators!

As the Luz Recording began to play in their heads, the only thing that saved them was the Ghost of the Wolf, the song taught to them by Elena Alcatruz. (The song sounded similar to this.)

The firefight that broke out between angry cultists and the investigators, resulted in several serious wounds, but the investigators managed to reach the top of the stairs, but not before Lord Edward took a fatal head shot from one of the cultists. This broke Howard’s nerve and he grabbed Fr. Carl and fled with Bethany in tow. Whether or not Konovalov and Brooks gave chase after them was unknown as they went straight to their car and sped to the airport where Frankie was waiting. Wasting no time, they boarded the DC-3 and fled to Fresnillo, Mexico where they intended to lay low for a few days.

While there, they tended to their wounds, mourned the loss of their friends Lord Edward and Julian and planned their next move.

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Episode 11: Elena

Reviewing the leads that were found at Brooks’ Penthouse, Lord Edward Homeward recounted what he had Howard Defoe had discovered, sparing to detail from Bethany Tibedeaux. Whereas there were certainly plenty of physical clues to discover and review, the two most shattering details were the Minor Mouth they had discovered as well as what could only be described as Hellbirds, or at least the evidence of them.

The following day, Bethany went to the library to investigate what she could on Merida, a location that Brooks seemed to dispatch some of his men. She discovered that the most likely place they were heading towards was Chichen Xoxul, an ancient temple, hidden in the jungle. Likely it was something related to Gol-Gorath.

Meanwhile, Lord Edward went to visit the university and spoke to an ornithologist about the grackles. The only useful information seemed to revolve around the idea that grackles and crows could be trained for small and simple tasks.

While Bethany and Lord Edward were off investigating their own trails, Howard took Julian Solis out to the whorehouse where they were keeping Victor Cortez. Checking on him to ensure he was safe, they told him they were still looking into things. Victor seemed concerned when Howard mentioned they may leave town and still feared for his safety.

That evening, on the way to La Paz, the cantina where Victor said that Javier Luna’s band often played, Lord Edward was convinced they were being watched or followed. Howard made the determination it was likely the same car they had encountered outside of Leticia La Luz’s apartment.

Upon arriving, Lord Edward decided that the best way to make friends was buy numerous rounds of drinks, thus impressing the bartender, Tonio (a tactical decision which would bear fruit later). Upon meeting scouting the place and waiting for a glimpse of the band, they did come across a mysterious young lady with a book by H.L. Mencken. Introducing themselves to her, they found her name was Elena Alcatruz, and was a young, vibrant, poet, photographer, drinker and lover of Americans. More importantly, she not only spoke English well but also knew Javier, admitting to once having been in a relationship with him.

She did tell the group that she knew Javier was working with La Luz, as well as her husband, Jonathan Brooks. Whereas the money seemed good at the time, she suspected he was afraid as many of the people associated with Brooks and La Luz were involved in some kind of cult, as well as the awful drug Nectar. Whereas she was not entirely sure what the role of the investigators was, she suspected they were not record producers. But she seemed to place her trust in them, suspecting that whatever they were, they were ‘good guys.’ She even went so far as to invite them to a party the next night, where she was certain Luna and the band would be. Further, she seemed interested Howard, finding the rough Texan to be attractive and dashing. The connection was so strong that Howard decided to stay with Elena when the others left. But this romantic moment was short lived.

As Lord Edward and Bethany exited with Fr. Carl Meinardus and Julian, they were stunned at what they saw. Birds, perhaps 100 of them, were all perched on their car, silently staring at them. When Lord Edward and Julian suffered instant mental shocked and ran back to La Paz, they needed to be cajoled to go back out, even after the flock flew away. Lord Edward’s nerves were shaken to the core as he knew these had to be the Hellbirds.

The following day, when they met up in the lobby of the Del Buena Vista Motel, they planned what they would do, working the angle to follow Elena to the party and try and ask Luna and the band some questions, getting them closer to Brooks and La Luz. Frankie Fawn was consulted about how long of a trip a flight to Merida would be, and Lord Edward reviewed some material from his Uncle Marvin. When Howard returned to his room, he was assaulted by a horrific, Nectar-inspired vision of Elena, naked on his bed, but a Minor Mouth in place of a vagina. This vision, playing havoc on his mind, was quickly shaken away but served as a reminder of his interest in Nectar.

That night the group met back at La Paz with the intent to head out to Elena’s party. As Lord Edward and Howard went inside, Elena remained outside with Bethany. They spoke about the music that La Luz sang and how much Elena hated it and how it made her uneasy. She said that she had her own song she used to drown out the eerie song each time she heard it – an old folk song called Ghost of the Wolf. Teaching it to Bethany, she was fascinated at how beautiful the song was in its simplicity and comforting melody. After the gentlemen purchased more alcohol from Tonio, the group made their way about 8 blocks north until they came to an abandoned house with music and people clearly having a good time. Entering, Elena was greeted warmly and she introduced her new friends.

Waiting around for the band, they eventually did arrive. Javier Luna as well as his other band mates, Castillo, Garzo and Oro. When the investigators approached them with Elena, Elena was able to make a smooth transition to the topic of Brooks and La Luz. Upon questioning Luna, the investigators discovered:

  • Brooks is obsessed with the next album.
  • Luna and the band wanted out of the deal as they felt Brooks and his wife were unhinged and perhaps evil.
  • Brooks’ people are like a cult around him and his wife La Luz.
  • They play for a few hours but the singing gets piped in from a different room.
  • La Luz is calling many of the shots even though there is something ‘wrong’ with her.
  • Konovalov, the Russian threatened them against revealing too much but they have an idea where the hidden studio is. Revealing that the location is likely under the old colonial villa not from where the party was, they record in old, carved out cellars from the Aztec period.

Shortly after Luna revealed this, several shadowy figures arrived at the party. Recognizing the bandanas around their mouths as the same kind that were worn by their attackers at Victor’s house, Howard managed to push Luna out of the way but the other members of the band were not so lucky. The attackers revealed their faces which were a hyperextended mouths, jaws that hung down far lower than should have been and a mess of teeth that likely made it impossible for them to talk. They began opening fire with shotguns, quickly killing the band members. But the investigators were able to escape with Luna in tow.

Throwing out the idea of returning fire, the group had to make it out of there quickly, knowing the closest, safest place was back at La Paz. Upon arriving, Tonio hid everyone in a cellar and helped them make contact with Frankie back at the motel. They gave her specific instructions to gather up the most important items from the rooms and hide out at the whorehouse where Victor was staying.

But knowing where the hidden studio was, the investigators had another option at their disposal and one final location to breech.

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Episode 10: Birds
Numerous Clues Revealed

Upon returning to the Del Buena Vista Motel with Victor Cortez in tow, the manager of the motel stopped Lord Edward Homeward and Howard Defoe, explaining that he had found the guide they were so interested in finding. Introducing them to Julian Solis, they negotiated a price and then took him upstairs to meet Victor, Fr. Carl Meinardus and Bethany Tibedeaux.

The first concern was what to do with Victor. Julian suggested a whorehouse on the edge of town which had once acted as a convent, suggesting they could hide Victor there and that the cult would likely not find him in such a remote location. Julian also suggested that a friend of his on the police force, Det. Xavier Gomez, would be another place to start. So while Fr. Carl and Bethany prepared for investigating la Luz’s apartment, Lord Edward, Howard and Julian dropped off Victor in the hands of the whorehouse staff and then went downtown to meet Det. Gomez. The group, however, kept many of the sordid details of their investigation secret from Solis for the time being.

Meeting with Det Gomez, they learned he was involved in the arson investigation that killed Jorge Nova and that any information they had would be helpful. Clues the police had gathered indicated that a car was spotted near the location shortly before the fire started and that someone speaking Russian was present. This made the investigators think of Kirill Konovalov, the Russian bodyguard of Jonathan Brooks. Gomez admitted to not having much in the way of leads at this point (unaware that the investigators were sitting on Victor Cortez, who could be a witness) but offered up Officer Joe Blanco as a possible ally. Telling them the bar they could find Officer Blanco, the investigators agreed to work with him on their investigation.

Returning to the motel, they collected Bethany and Fr. Carl and went to the location they were given for la Luz’s apartment. Prior to gaining access they did get the nervous feeling something was not right but could not put their finger on it. After gaining access to la Luz’s apartment, they put together that she left in a hurry as it was currently unoccupied. However, the numerous pictures of la Luz around the apartment were marred, the face destroyed in a fit of anger or rage. And putting together the story of her life, she seemed like a woman who had a promising and gentle life as a singer before crossing paths with Brooks. The terrible group with whom she became connected, likely poisoned her with insane theories and drugs like Nectar. The shattered remains of her life were telling as to her present mental, and physical state. There were no clues suggested where she had gone but the apartment certainly provided insight.

As the investigators were preparing to leave, Howard looked outside and noticed a car that quickly sped away once it seemed like they had been spotted.

Closing in on 5 PM, the investigators then decided to go to Maria’s, a cantina that catered to cops in hopes of meeting Officer Blanco. Formal introductions were made and Officer Blanco agreed to help, as Det. Gomez had asked. The only clue of significance he was able to provide was that Brooks was a very elusive gentleman who had been wanted in questioning with an unrelated incident about a year ago but his address was unknown by all. But Blanco promised to help where he could.

Leaving Blanco, the investigators decided to go to Cortez’s home in hopes of finding the matchbook Cortzez said he had written down Brooks’ address. The Cortez home was in a residential area that Julian was quickly able to navigate towards and upon reaching there it was close to 8 PM.

Arriving at the home of Victor Cortez, it appeared to be a quiet neighborhood with several construction projects going on in the neighborhood. There was no sign of anything sinister or untoward so it was a simple matter of going to the house, albeit carefully and with some stealth, and gaining access. Upon entering, it was clear this home had been ransacked and that a threat, written on the wall, in Nectar, was intended to scare off Cortez. As Lord Edward went to the kitchen to look for the matchbook which would have had Brooks’ address, a shot rang out, narrowly missing Lord Edward. The shot came from across the street from the homes being built and then all hell broke loose.

The sniper continued to fire for a few moments as the other investigators took defensive positions. Fr. Carl, who was still waiting outside in the car almost was killed when the sniper took a shot at him. As Julian went outside to bring the car closer, he was hit, but still managed to move the car. It was then that Julian noticed a car screeching down the road, with several men inside. How they knew when to arrive was unclear but the least of their concerns at the moment.

Julian took offensive maneuvers to strike the car as the attackers were getting out, buying time for those inside to find the matchbook. As Bethany found the matchbook, the others prepared to leave but more gunshots were exchanged, resulting in several people being hit. When one assailant was about to kill Julian, Fr. Carl grabbed a shotgun and blew him away, causing instant grief to Fr Carl. Narrowly escaping, all the investigators got into the car and escaped, with the matchbook, with Julian parking in a safe area as the cultists were no doubt looking for them. They tended to their wounds but realized they were not as bad as once thought. The plan was immediately made to drop Fr. Carl and Bethany off while julian, Howard and Lord Edward went to the downtown apartment.

Arriving at the downtown complex, they were greeted by an edifice of glass and steel, a modern, towering building where Brooks had supposedly been living for well over a year. Unsure whether to expect a cult enclave or an empty abode or something in between, the investigators pressed on. Noticing that a desk guard was stationed in the lobby, Julian threw together some minor explosives and caused a distraction that allowed them to sneak past and then get into the elevator and go up. What they found was Brooks’ Penthouse.

Gaining entry when Howard used his lockpicking skills, they found a quiet, yet opulent home with high end, art deco items around the penthouse, as well as a massive photo of Leticia de la Luz on the wall. A fully stocked bar and modern radio completed the picture. Searching around showed no signs of life, nor the signs that anyone had been here in over a week. Julian searched the bedroom and found some recreational drugs as well as a potent Mexican sleeping aid as well as Nectar stains on the carpet. The others kept their activities to the first floor and Lord Edward searched the massive patio, in particular.

On the patio he discovered large cages, enough to hold over 100 birds, none of which were present at the moment. Examining the cages he discovered that the feathers indicated they were a combination of a species of grackle as well as some kind of Mexican blackbird. However, that is not all he found: in the cages there were signs that Brooks had been feeding the birds Nectar, but also human body parts. Horrified at this, he continued to try to make sense of it but was further disturbed to discover that there were occult symbols throughout the cages and that Brooks had cast some kind of dark, arcane ritual that transformed the birds into something terrible, such as avatars of a Major Mouth. These Hellbirds were somewhere on the loose and upon realizing this, Lord Edward quickly ran back inside and barred the patio door, fearful for his life that these Hellbirds would be somewhere nearby.

Finally, as the investigators looked further, they discovered that there was a hidden door within one of the cages. As they went in, they discovered that the room housed an alter, books and disturbing artwork on the walls. Horrifically, there was a sound of a moaning mouth underneath a tarp on the wall. When Julian pulled it back, they saw a large Minor Mouth on the wall, shocking everyone present.

After finding enough poison to destroy (or at least weaken) the Minor Mouth, the investigators found clues such as Letter from Brooks, Letter from Brooks to SS, Letter from Brooks to Trammel, Brooks’ List and a reference to the Yucatan Expedition. Most importantly, there was a location referenced as Mt Kailash which holds some clear significance to the cult, but the specifics were unclear.

Finally, with all these clues, the investigators left the Penthouse and returned to the motel to plan their next steps after the horrific discoveries of the evening.

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Episode 9: Haunted Music

Leaving Milwaukee, headed towards Mexico City Frankie Fawn flew the DC-3 with her passengers, Lord Edward Homeward, Howard Defoe and Bethany Tibedeaux. They were to meet Fr. Carl Meinardus when they landed in Mexico City. All they had to go on, currently, was a post office box, the initials ‘J.B.’ as well as the name ‘La Luz’ on the mysterious copy of the Luz Recording they found in Los Angeles. As the group arrived in Mexico City on May fourth, they were taken in by the beauty and splendor that the city had to offer, only distantly aware of the dangers the city hid.

Renting a noisy Ford at Balbuena Airport, they drove to where Fr. Carl was staying, Del Buena Vista Motel outside the main part of the city. Fr. Carl mentioned he had done some preliminary research and discovered the location of the post office box they were seeking and that it was back in the main downtown area of the city.

Lord Edward spent time with the motel manager, asking him a variety of things – flavor for the city, what neighborhoods artists could be found in and if he was aware of the music scene, specifically record shops or studios. The manager was blissfully unaware of most but did inform Lord Edward of the Coyoacan district which was home to Bohemians and other artists and poets. But he mentioned that the band that plays at his cantina may know more. Upon interviewing them that evening, they learned about Don Goya, the influential record producer in Mexico City. Don Goya could be a possible lead.

The following morning Howard Defoe decided to forge a letter to ‘J.B.’ from Samson Trammel hoping to arrange a meeting between Trammel and ‘J.B.’ as a means of either trapping him or at the very least, a way to follow whomever picked up the letter from the PO box. Mailing the letter at the central post office, Howard and Fr. Carl waited and watched while Lord Edward and Bethany investigated the Coyoacan district.

Nothing panned out at the post office and in Coyoacan, very little new was learned. Fr. Carl and Howard eventually left the post office when it closed and went to Coyoacan, looking to meet up with Lord Edward and Bethany. Howard met Jorge Arnes, a street artist who may have had some connections with the Nectar industry. But more importantly, Howard discovered that not only was Nectar unpopular in Mexico City but also hard to get a hold of, in direct opposition to how the drug was viewed in Los Angeles.

As the investigators found one another again, they wandered through Coyoacan until they found a small cantina that seemed to have live music that reminded them of the Luz Recording. Entering, the small pub had few patrons as it was early, but a lovely woman singing a melody that sounded as if it was highly inspired by the cursed and sinister music. The bartender explained that the band was called ‘Santa Maria’ and that the lead singer, Valentina Diego, was a beautiful singer. During a break, Lord Edward and Howard spoke to her about her music. While flirting with Howard, she explained that the music was, indeed, inspired by the Luz Recording and she provided the address to their offices. That night, she invited Howard back to her apartment, where they shared a night of unbridled passion.

The following day Fr. Carl when back to the post office while the rest paid a visit to La Luz Records and found it was locked. Breaking in, the place was empty and it was clear it had been empty for at least a couple of weeks. The only clue that remained was an invoice for a post production studio called Estudio del Manana. They decided they would pay it a visit later that night. However, as they also interviewed some of the other tenants in the building, they discovered that an American man was highly involved as well as a pretty young female singer and occasional band members. But nobody knew a great deal about them.

Heading to Estudio del Manana, in hopes for more clues, they were confident they could break in and search as nobody would be around. As Bethany attempted to pick the lock in the back of the building, she made an awful racket which alerted someone inside with a gun. They fled and came back the following day.

The building was still locked but it was clear someone was inside. When they tried to gain entry, the same voice from before threaten them. However, reassuring the individual inside that they meant no harm, they carefully entered after he unlocked it. They then met the disheveled Victor Cortez who gave them an amazing story about ‘J.B.’ who he identified as Jonathan Brooks as well as his wife, Leticia de la Luz and how they were not only extremely dangerous but how he feared for his life for what they would do to him. He ended up revealing the following to them:

  • Jorge Nova, the manufacturer of the Luz Recording, was murdered by Brooks when he wanted to no longer do business with Brooks. The arson that burned down his business was likely done by Kirill Konovalov, Brooks’ Russian thug. Nova thought the Luz Recording was ‘unwholesome’ and ‘evil.’
  • Leticia de la Luz kept a nice apartment in Coyoacan and provided the address.
  • Cortez has Brooks’ penthouse address written down in a matchbook at his house. However, he is too afraid to return as he is convinced that Konovalov and his thugs are watching the place, ready to pounce.
  • The musicians hired by brooks to do the instruments play at a variety of pubs and cantinas around Coyoacan and may have more details. The band leader, Javier Luna, may be able to provide more information.
  • Brooks and de la Luz bought some recording equipment from him a few weeks ago, when they were still on good terms. Cortez noticed that de la Luz seemed somehow . . . disfigured.

It was evident that Cortez was not only agitated and paranoid but clearly feared for his life over what these dangerous people would do for him. The investigators were deceptive about who they were but gave Cortez the impression they were interested in helping or figuring out what they could do. With the new details provided by Cortez, they snuck him out to their car and took him back to their motel and would follow up on several of the leads the following day.

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Episode 8: The Artist
A side trip to Milwaukee reveals more clues

Upon leaving Los Angeles, the investigators felt it was important to get back to Providence as soon as possible. They had a number of clues, a number of items and the strong desire to recover from the events at Trammel’s Mansion.

As the DC-3 left Los Angeles, Lord Edward Homeward began working on Bethany Tibedeaux, who had been critically injured by a Major Mouth at Trammel’s Manstion, not to mention the gunshot wound she had recovered. Howard Defoe tried to look after Olivia Clarendon, the actress they had spared from the clutches of Trammel’s cult operatives and Fr. Carl Meinardus began to arrange some of the items they had recovered. Though, there was one thing that they regretted – not securing the painting they saw in Trammel’s Mansion, ‘The Gazer’s Perspective.’ Who was the artist? Where did it come from? Why was it in some of the old photos that were taken in Ramon Echavarria’s house as well as in Trammel’s?

When they landed in Providence, on April 28th, their pilot, Frankie Fawn, immediately began working on the plane. They were met by Janet Winston-Rogers, as well as her servant, Edward Keane, as well as Lord Edward’s steward, William Steadford. Janet was very interested in what they had done, what they had uncovered and what their next steps were. The group wasted no time in retelling the fantastic story of a potential worldwide cult that was involved in depraved acts such as killing, drug dealing and infiltrating society. This is supposedly what Walter Winston and his associates were trying to stop and whereas they seemed to deliver a serious blow to the cult in 1924, their work was not finished. Ramon Echavarria seemed to have summoned something but it was not dismissed and it was roaming the earth, using avatars such as the Minor Mouth and the Major Mouth that the group had encountered on several occasions. As to the next steps, there were several pieces of information and clues they had to go through, specifcally the texts they had gotten from Trammel’s Mansion, namely Samson Trammel’s strange text, the Testament of the Dripping Mouths’ Emanates. So it was settled that the investigators would uncover what they could with the clues they had gathered and meet back at Janet’s estate in a couple of days. In the meantime, Janet took Olivia back to her estate so she could rest and try and forget what had happened to her in Los Angeles.

The following day Bethany began reading the Testament, attempting to go through it and decipher what clues it hid. Howard investigated the Luz Recording which was the haunting record they had found in Trammel’s Mansion, while Lord Edward wanted to find what he could on the artist of the Gazer’s Perspective, the painting that still seemed to haunt him.

Howard listened to the Luz Recording and did discover that the B-side listed a PO Box in Mexico City. While listening to it several times, he recognized a few voices in Spanish that seemed to repeat certain phrases over and over again: my heart, my love, my name, my mouth. Howard determined that the record, while haunting, beautiful and disturbing all at the same time, would be made much more potent if he were under the effects of Nectar.

Lord Edward did find the name of the man who was the artist for ‘The Gazer’s Perspective.’ He was Klaus Numan, a fairly obscure artist with several other strange pieces to his credit. Knowing that his friend, Phillip Astor Winston, was a noted art collector (and Janet’s cousin), he contacted Phillip who agreed to come to Providence straight away to consult on the matter.

Bethany spent the next two days reviewing the Testament and what she uncovered what simply horrific, shaking her very sanity. While the book was a collection of correspondence, mad raving and various pictures drawn throughout, it was covered in various fluids on various pages, best left to the imagination. But what she discovered, while a threat to her very stability, was of critical importance:

  • Trammel believed that the Gol-Gorath angle was a hoax, perpetrated by Echavarria, for some unknown reason, as a smokescreen to fool most cult members.
  • Trammel claims that Nyarlathotep was the true patron of the cult and that Nyralathotep had come to him, declaring Trammel to be the new cult leader.
  • Correspondence from a mysterious ‘S.S.’ from an address in Bangkok suggested that S.S. was an equal of Trammel’s in the cult and that Trammel and his followers should come to Bangkok and participate in their fights. The location to get to the fights involved some kind of orchid shop with the code words: I’m looking for the Fights.
  • Correspondence from someone in Malta, suggesting that an agent there, Montgomery Donovan, was overseeing Nectar production. This production seemed to be tripled overnight due to certain sacrifices that were made due to activities that seemed ‘pleasing to the Most Holy of Orifices.’
  • Correspondence from someone in Mexico City that discusses how the Mouth can be used in song. Speculation, by someone with the initials ‘J.B.’ wanted to spend more time and money investigating the possibility of sound recording. However, Trammel seemed quite dubious of this possibility and both seemed increasingly fed up with one another.

Upon reviewing all of these clues, the investigators went to Janet’s estate for lunch where they met up with Phillip, who told them all about the strange artist, Klaus Numan. He explained that while Numan was a brilliant and eccentric artist, he lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and rarely left the area. If he were to be interviewed, the investigators would have to go to Milwaukee. They decided this was a route they wanted to go down. That said, they summarized their possible next steps for Janet:

  • Mexico City
  • Bangkok
  • Malta
  • Ethiopia

These were the locations of either cult activity or where they felt they could uncover some further clues, in the case of Ethiopia, with regards to the missing cult member, George Ayers. It was decided that the following day they would head to Mexico City with a short stop in Milwaukee.

Arriving in Milwaukee, the investigators wasted no time in seeking out Numan at his apartment. What they found was far more disturbing that they had possibly imagine. While friendly, in his own way, Numan showed what he was working on, describing his visions as those that came to him while in dreams. He would immerse himself in water, sleep in his bathtub for a few hours per night and dreams and visions would come to him as to what he should paint next. The paintings that were produced from his imagination were simply disturbing.

When Numan was asked how he created the Gazer’s Perspective, he stated it was a collaborative effort between he and Echavarria. It was quickly determined that whereas Numan was not a member of the cult, he was a disturbing character, perhaps a ‘lone wolf’ of the macabre. The less time spent around him, the better. Lord Edward did purchase two paintings, The Maw and The Sunken City. The Maw was subsequently burned as it depicted a Major Mouth. As it burned, the screams of some other worldly creature seemed to be heard. The Sunken City, however, was kept, with a warning by Numan not to hang it in a seaside location.

With that, the investigators boarded their plane and headed to Mexico City to continue their fight against the cult.

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