Trail of Cthulhu: Eternal Lies

Episode 47: Solace and Conclusion

As the investigators looked around the city of Savannah it was clear that this was the epicenter of the doom that had come to the world, with the coming apocalypse starting in this very locale. The ash that had piled up along the streets like snow drifts and several homes smoldering, there was no doubt this is where they had to make their final stand and confront Edgar Job.

Bethany Tibedeaux instantly determined that getting some automobiles in working order was tantamount to their plan while Howard Defoe provided directions on how to get to Joy Grove. However, the group instantly encountered more than one vortex of energy swirling in locations as well as an eerie blue light that seemed to bathe the entire city. Further, lighting bolts seemed to streak from the sky, adding to the danger.

Cars passed with families loaded with their belongings, making their way out of the town, staring at the investigators who traveled the opposite direction – towards the danger of Joy Grove. With Julian Alexander driving one car and Davis Lockhart driving the other, they started their journey. But it was only moments before they were struck by lightning, seemingly directly targeting their approach. The cars were struck but fortunately only Dr. Ju-no Sinn was harmed.

Upon reaching Joy Grove, they saw exactly the dangers they faced. Every tree on the grounds had been felled by lightning, inmates walked freely on the grounds and the west wing of the madhouse had collapsed and was on fire. Carefully they approached the facility with Davis creating a makeshift lightning rod in hopes of avoiding some of the uncanny electrical attacks. Dr. Yuri Ivanov carefully approached one of the inmates that appeared more lucid and asked about Edgar.

The inmate explained that Edgar was seen as a dangerous person. He had been struck by lightning over a dozen times and inmates – as well as staff – tried to kill him but he seemed invulnerable to the attacks. This, clearly, impacted one of their back up plans, which was to kill Edgar if it came to it. Apparently, that was off the table. But the inmate stated that Edgar used to spend a great deal of time on the back lawn which is immediately where the investigators went. But the inmate issued a dire warning – be careful of the shadows as they came alive to attack and seemingly corners and angles were powered by the apocalypse, as well. It was clear that the dangers involved shadows, corners, lighting, radiation and vortices.

They saw the lake which dominated the back, hissing and bubbling which, under the circumstances, was hardly a surprise with everything else they encountered. Inmates casually played croquet on the lawn, oblivious to everything around them. Carefully they approached the remains of Joy Grove, still bathed in a sinister blue light.

They found the inside of Joy Grove actually worse than the outside surroundings. Inmates clattered and screamed, shadows attacked, hurting some of the investigators, as if trying to prevent their approach. The one staff member they found (or at least someone wearing a staff uniform) was clearly a shattered mind and tried to give them instructions to Edgar’s room. But when they found the corridor to Edgar’s room, it was among the area of the asylum that had collapsed.

The strange phenomena they discovered in this area was best left untouched. The doors that bulged and leaked some kind of energy were best left unmolested for they were here for a singular purpose. Eventually they found a door to the basement which seemed to have the heaviest concentration of blue light. Clearly Edgar was down there.

They encountered a massive array of cabinets, boxes, desks and other rubble blocking their way, forming a barricade. Howard tried to move a few pieces to get a better look and when he called out for Edgar, Edgar responded but claimed he wished to be left alone. But Howard’s reassuring voice, wanting to speak with Edgar, clearly got to the inmate and he moved the barricade allowing the familiar face and his friends to come through.

It was one of the operating theaters – a completely round room, safe due to the lack of angles and corners. It was here that Edgar sat, bathed in the blue light and was the center of the gaze of Azathoth himself. The investigators began to explain the situation to Edgar, trying to convince him that he alone could stop the destruction of earth and that Ramon Echavarria had used him back in 1924 as a pawn and sacrifice to the schemes of the Outer God. They mentioned that Edgar friend, George Ayers would want Edgar to do this and that George had overcome the madness and insanity of Echavarria’s insane plot. But just as Edgar was considering his options, another figure appeared in the room, seen only by Julian.

Julian instantly recognized the shawdowy figure as Nyarlathotep, the herald and forerunner to Azathoth as well as his vile messenger. Nyralathotep began whispering his sinister words in Edgar’s ear which seemed to sway Edgar in an opposite direction of trying to save the world.

Bethany explained that opening a Dimensional Gate and asking Edgar to go through was the only hope Earth had from escaping the inevitable destruction Azathoth would bring. Every man, woman and child and beast would be destroyed and all of the great accomplishments that mankind had created would be undone in an instant. Edgar could prevent all of this. As Edgar was being swayed back to the investigators’ position, Nyralathotep revealed himself to the horror of those present and attempted to destroy them, focusing his rage on Bethany. However, Julian, in an act of selflessness, jumped in front of her and was almost killed instantly as the burn of the outer planes rained upon him.

It was at that moment that Bethany knew she had to make the ultimate argument and the ultimate sacrifice. She stated that she would accompany Edgar into the horrors of the void if it meant saving everyone. Edgar quietly agreed, the the rage of Nyarlathotep. Dr. Ivanov quickly formed a gate that opened into an alternate dimension. The good-byes were quick as they knew Azathoth’s messenger would try and stop them. With one final tear in their eyes, Bethany and Edgar departed through the gate, saving humanity.

Then all went quiet. The blue light subsided. Humanity was saved.

For now.

Epilogue 1: Three Weeks Later

The papers were promoting the peace and prosperity and clean up happening in the United States and around the world and President Roosevelt claimed that the crisis had ended. For better or for worse the world was oblivious to the efforts by a small group of people.

At the home of Janet Winston-Rogers, that small group of people had assembled – investigators from the 1937-1938 fight against Y’Golonac and Azathoth had gathered for a bittersweet reunion. For Frankie Fawn, pilot who had taken the team everywhere was on her way home from India. This was to be a joyous time as everyone who had survived would raise a glass to remember fallen friends: Chakar Singh Kalsi, Lord Edward Homeward, Professor Marvin Derrikson, Fr. Carl Meinardus, Warren Barrow, Dr. Nikita Kolokov and a dozen others who had fought against the cult. Most importantly, Bethany Tibedeaux and Edgar Job, whose sacrifices made it possible for humanity to live. Prayers were stated, glasses were raised and memories shared of these great fallen heroes, made complete when Frankie arrived and it was clear that Dr. Ivanov had a special place in his heart for her.

Janet mentioned to Howard that Elena Alcatruz, a woman he had fallen in love with in Mexico City was also arriving as she was excited to see him.

But despite the love in the air, they still dwelt on the sacrifice that others had made, especially Bethany.

Epilogue 2: One Year Later

The weddings between Dr. Ivanov and Frankie as well as Elena and Howard were joint, spectacular affairs, paid for by Janet and again they remembered their friends on this special day.

Epilogue 3: Someplace and Sometime

Bethany and Edgar, from some place beyond, looked down and smiled on their friends, happy for their blessings and Bethany knew they would be fine, loved and appreciated the rest of their days.

Thanks for an awesome campaign everyone!
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Episode 46: Apocalypse

Early January, 1938 . . .

Upon reaching the top of Mt Kailash the investigators took a moment to reflect and rest. The loss of Dr. Nikita Kolokov was devastating, especially to Dr. Yuri Ivanov, but they were able to put it into perspective. Sacrifices that had to be made were understood. However, when they finally reached the top, they looked down upon the whole of the world and were treated to a few moments of respite at he beautiful view that had not been beheld by anyone in, possibly, ever. Once they spent a few moments basking in this delight, they had to move on.

They pulled out their maps and began the task that would take then to the spot where they could open the ravine. However, they soon faced new challenges.

Howard Defoe was the first to notice the tremors. He quickly called out for the others to brace themselves as they prepared for the rocks that would begin sliding as well as the eerie mist that suddenly descended. They were all beset upon by dangers, both physical and psychological as the power of the Liar, Y’Golonac was now trying to come after them. Bethany Tibedeaux thought quickly and helped move several of the others out of the way, but Howard was in his own world, lost in thoughts of the wild and debauched parties that he attended at the home of Colm Soams. Fortunately Bethany was able to get him out of the way before he was killed by his own psyche. Pannu Singh, however, did not handle the situation well, as his psyche was clearly eroding. His alcohol abuse combined with poor life decisions were impacting his ability to handle this crisis.

After this danger had temporarily passed, Bethany decided it would be a good idea to teach everyone a song that might be able to help. She recalled the beautiful song by Elena Alcatruz, the Ghost of the Wolf, that they had learned in Mexico City which they had learned was a way to keep their minds straight in moments of adversity. She was unsure if the song was truly learned by the others but it was certainly a start.

Eventually, they got to the spot that was required to cast the ritual, Open the Sky to darken out the moon. Julian Alexander, Dr. Ivanov, and the Bronze Head all knew the spell but Julian decided he would be the main caster so most of the others would be able to save their strength for what was surely to come. Upon Julian casting the spell, the sky became black as the moon disappeared and the constellation of stars shifted. It was then that they blinked and they were standing before a massive ravine. The opening descended into a murky and filthy mess. A green mist hovered from the crack and they could all hear an infernal hissing that came from the deep hole. They knew the danger before them had to be traversed but they were nervous about descending as only their imagination could tell them what hellish nightmares awaited them below.

Readying themselves to descend into this madness, they decided that once below, they would have Dr. Ivanov cast the ritual to banish Y’Golonac. He Bethany, Howard Julian and Pannu Singh would all lower themselves with their equipment and Dr. Ju-no Sinn, Sir Randolf Michaels, Davis Lockhart and the Bronze Head would remain behind in case something went wrong. They would act as a ‘back up’ team and guard the top.

The group lowered themselves into the pit but were ill prepared for what they were about to encounter. The green mist was a form of Nectar that assaulted their senses and the chasm was deeper and wider than they had suspected, its walls covered in grotesque mouths. Each Minor Mouth they saw screamed and hissed and spat Nectar at them either as a means of defense or some unknowable other reason.

After several near drops and several attacks by the mouths that caused several of them to drop their equipment, they finally lowered themselves to the very bottom of the ravine. They were truly now at the Devouring Mountain, a quest that had taken them months to arrive. All around them they were on the mighty corpus of Y’Golonac, perhaps slumbering, perhaps dreaming, perhaps in some state of being they could not understand. But they were here and it was time for Dr. Ivanov to cast his ritual.

As Dr. Ivanov prepared, the others were ready for an assault or attacks. But none came, either because of the confidence of the god or for some other reason they could not comprehend. Dr. Ivanov gave every ounce of his being to cast the ritual as it began to break apart his body. But he held himself together, physically and psychologically. In the end he was able to cast the ritual to banish or destroy Y’Golonac. When he did, time stopped and everything around them seemed to cease as Dr. Ivanov had a vision of being thrown through space and time. When the darkness came and went, each of them heard a voice in their heads.

“Turn your empty visage upon this rock, then. The human thing’s sacrifice is complete.”

Unsure of what this meant, Dr. Ivanov certainly understood it was the dying words of Y’Golonac suggesting that there was more to happen or that there was some dire clue they had perhaps missed. Regardless, they felt they had little time to think about it as the ravine was closing. They all quickly scrambled up the cliff – which was easier due to the lack of dangers on the walls – but Dr. Ivanov, who was clearly shattered by his experience, needed help in getting up. Howard, unable to climb without falling several times, eventually made it to the top.

Once at the top, reuniting with their friends, they rested, confident that the ordeal with Y’Golonac was finally over. They had defeated the god and basked in their glory for a few moments, their madness fading somewhat. Dr. Ivanov, however, had a nagging feeling something was not right.

Slowly, a snow-like ash began to fall and the sky turned an eerie shade of purple and green with lightning streaking through the clouds in the distance, albeit silently. As the group slowly made the two day trip back down the mountain they were not as concerned with the people of Darchen, determining they would deal with that crisis once they arrived.

However, it was Dr. Ivanov who had some mad insight to what had happened. Mentally piecing together the facts that he had learned from the others, the oral stories that were given as well as the insight of being hurdled through space and time, he realized that they were a part of something even bigger. Dr. Ivanov now understood what Y’Golonac’s final words meant. Azathoth, the blind idiot god, was somehow a part of this. The clues, while hidden, were in plain sight. The text, The Gaze of Azathoth, the painting, The Gazer’s Perspective as well as Ramon Echavarria’s secret agenda were all now coming into focus.

Echaverria’s plan, all along, was to ascend to godhood by summoning Y’Golonac and sacrificing this god to Azathoth.

Their work was not finished as mankind was in even more danger than they realized. For this was the Apocalypse.

The Apocalypse of mankind.

Upon reaching the bottom of the mountain and preparing to explain themselves to the citizens of Darchen, they were shocked to discover the village was empty and devoid of life. No camels. No dogs. No chickens. No people. Not a soul. No sign of having packed up and left. No sign of a struggle. The one truck they had seen in their first pass through the village was still there. But the ash continued to descend from the purple sky.

It was best to not try to think of the origins of the ash.

Upon searching the village for supplies, they eventually came to the one structure that they had heard was being rented out to a foreign stranger. Upon entering they were met with an unsettling sight. Husain Soliman, leader of the Anti-Investigators, was swinging from a noose, apparently a suicide. Whereas the end of Soliman was a welcome sight in and of itself, they were relieved to discover the chest of items that had been stolen from them by Tawny Qualls in Bangkok. There were dozens of reasons why Soliman would have been here but they did not have a great deal of time to consider it. They went through the items, loaded the crate onto the truck and Julian had the good fortune of finding the aforementioned text, The Gaze of Azathoth, which was a way of fortune smiling on them, perhaps.

Using the truck to get to civilization, Julian spent some time researching the Gaze of Azathoth. He uncovered the clues that were hidden in the text, only understood, when placed in the context of what they had experienced. There was apparently a secret series of rituals that involved (1) designating a focus – a human that had insight with mathematics, or physics or some mental comprehension of higher math and (2) summoning a god which would then be sacrificed to Azathoth, bringing Azathoth to earth, following the focus and destroying all of mankind. The focus, suggested Bethany and Howard, was likely the mysterious Edgar Job, last seen at Joy Grove, a mental institution, in Savannah.

As the truck made its way towards Delhi, they stopped in several villages for gas. All were abandoned.

When they finally made it to the urban area, they were shocked to see massive hordes of people, all clamming to get into the town for safety or some way out. It was madness and chaos and stories or looting and rioting abounded. When they managed to get a member of the British army to answer the questions, he was harried and frantic, explaining that in the past week (the time it took for the investigators to descend Mt Kailash and come back to civilization) panic and chaos had broken out with rumors of the end of the world coming. Of course, there were very few who understood the magnitude of the situation as well as the role of an entity named ‘Azathoth’ but it did not matter. The world had gone mad as angels and reality were breaking down in places and mankind was ill prepared for such a calamity. The governments and churches of the world had no answers.

Quickly, they developed a plan. They would need to somehow get to Savannah, and either kill Edgar Job or send him away through a gate to send Azathoth’s attention elsewhere. However, getting from India to America could take six weeks. They panicked, understandably, and bribed a series of boats to take them down the Ganges River to Dhaka where they found a sea worthy ship. Fighting off the mob of people who were too poor to supply their own bribes, they eventually sailed from Dhaka with the city burning behind them as the rioters took over. They were able to flee the city before their ship was taken hostage. Pannu Singh, however, disappeared. They assumed the worst since he had not taken things well. His talk of ending his life likely resulted in just that. They had no time to worry or grieve as the world was plunging into chaos and without acting quickly, the damage was irreversible.

They desperately wanted to get a telegram to Janet Winston-Rogers but they had no opportunity. When they suggested that the captain dock at a port city to send a telegram to her, he said it was possible but they ran the risk of being overrun by mobs and rioters. They decided not to go that course and thought of different options.

It was Bethany who suggested that they had the strength and the power to create a gate, a spell that she, Howard and Julian all knew at this point. They could open a gate on the ship and move through space and time to get to Savannah, a city Bethany was familiar with from her time in the south. From there they could go to Joy Grove and either kill Edgar or send him through a gate to . . . elsewhere. They recalled the painting The Gazer’s Perspective which could be a focus point of where to send Edgar. However, opening a gate for that distance would likely kill the caster and there was no promise that Edgar would go and no promise it would work. But it was the only plan they had and waiting the weeks to get to Savannah could result in running out of time and the situation becoming worse across the globe.

Bethany spent the evening, below deck, creating the gate. When she was finished, they teleported to Savannah at the train station. They were prepared to find rioting and mobs present but they did not. It was worse than they had suspected as Savannah was a wasteland.

Clearly they were at Ground Zero for whatever was happening . . .

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Episode 45: Mt. Kailash

Early January, 1938 . . .

As the investigative team stood around a map in an inn whose name they quickly forgot, Pannu Signh helped construct a route that would get them to Mt Kailash in roughly three weeks by accompanying some pilgrims. The plan involved posing as journalists and historians interested in the Hindu rituals of the pilgrimage to the sacred mountain.

Dr. Yuri Ivanov noticed that Dr. Ju-no Sinn was spending a strange amount of time with the Bronze Head. Realizing that the task at hand may involve more individuals having access to the spell Open the Sky as well as the ritual to dismiss Y’Golonac, Dr. Ivanov wanted to also be able to communicate with the Bronze Head to help learn these secrets. Dr. Sinn agreed to teach Dr. Ivanov how to communicate but warned it would be dangerous to his sanity. Dr. Ivanov grudgingly agreed. It would take a week of communication and attempting to learn as well as then learning the specific spells that the Bronze Head knew.

The next two weeks were slow moving. At the end of the first week, traveling with the pilgrims, they arrived in the town of Burang and refreshed their supplies. It was then that the leader of the pilgrims explained to Singh that they would be be diverting to Lake Manasarovar before reaching the town of Darchen. The lake’s sacred waters were holy and cleansing. The investigators were welcome to come and experience this sacred part of the journey but after some discussion, they felt getting to Darchen was more important. It was during the next leg of the journey that Dr. Ivanov learned the Rituals of Self Denial from the Bronze Head. Meanwhile, Davis Lockhart spent his time ensuring that the ruse they provided to the pilgrims was believed. After all, if they were to scale the sacred mountain – forbidden by the major religions – they would have to be convincing. Julian Alexander, for his part, considered the possibility of using one or more of the pilgrims to enact one of his pacts with entities in the Outer Black.

The night before they would arrive in Darchen, they had to spend a night on the road near a shrine. That evening a mysterious fog rolled in, made even more suspicious due to the cold conditions not being conduce to such a weather pattern. All of the investigators gathered around but none knew what to make of it. In a short amount of time, they could see a pair of outlines, vaguely human in appearance, forming in the fog. Bethany Tibedeaux felt they were were somehow not dangerous and approached into the fog. Within moments, she was face to face with a man she recognized as Walter Winston, the father of Janet Winston-Rogers. He explained that the dangers that lie ahead were great and that there would be challenges on the mountain. Further, the other figure, still obscured by the fog, silently handed Bethany a fast sized stone that Walter explained was protection against the Liar and to use it wisely. When the figure handed the stone to her, she recognized the hand had a ring that belonged to Chakar Singh Kalsi, the lost investigator who died in Malta. Walter went on to ask that Bethany send his regrets to his daughter that they did not have a better relationship prior to his death. Worse, he explained that there were those who died at the hands of the evil forces that lived on in constant torment and to avoid that fate at all costs.

The following evening they arrived in Darchen and did hear of some other foreigners in town. However, Howard Defoe and Bethany both pushed for ignoring this and getting Pannu Singh to get them started as soon as possible. They prepared for a 4 AM departure taking precautions for safety as well as stealth. Then the next day they set out on their trip. Most importantly, Sir Randolf Michaels secured the dynamite as best as he could but warned that the group would have to be very careful.

Fortunately, the ascent of the sacred mountain was as perfect as they could expect. They managed to scale the mountain in darkness, with their preparation techniques, aided by Julian and Pannu. Once they were convinced they were not seen, they went deeper into the mountain. That night, as they rested, however, Julian noticed something high above them, moving either with wings or with great, terrible speed. He gave this warning to the others.

The following day was filled with more climbing and scaling of the mountain, to get to the deepest location at the highest point. However, tragedy struck when Dr. Nikita Kolokov panicked and dropped. He was hurt, badly, but made matters worse when he was being aided and his pulley snapped, sending him plummeting to his death. Fortunately the explosives did not detonate.

It would be the first of several casualties.

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Episode 44: Ambush!

Late December, 1937 . . .

After arriving in India, the investigators gathered a few supplies and left Frankie Fawn behind with the plane as the rest were securing passages on trucks, buses and any other transport they could discover. Davis Lockhart, knowing he had a contact not far off in the village of Vigun, wanted to meet up with Sir Randolf Michaels, a gentleman explorer who he knew would be a great asset. More importantly, Sir Randolf likely knew of a guide they could find who could take them up to Mt Kailash.

After spending a week of traveling from Delhi to towards Thibet, a slight diversion was made to the village of Vigun which was a small, agricultural village with a mining operation. The one welcome sight was a place called ’MacEwan’s Pub,’ an Irish pub in a remote Indian village. It was, naturally, the first place they decided to go.

Upon arriving, Julian Alexander introduced himself to the pub’s owner, Naill MacEwen who immediately set them up with pints of Guinness and Jameson. However, as they sat there and enjoyed some refreshing alcoholic beverages, Dr. Yuri Ivanov felt an uneasy presence. Were they being watched or were they just being sized up by the locals?

When Davis asked Naill whether or not he knew Sir Randolf, Naill stated that he did and went further to say it was not uncommon for him to show up nightly. Dr. Ivanov and Julian excused themselves to look at some hotel rooms across the road and upon their return, Sir Randolf arrived and this led to a warm reunion between Davis and Sir Randolf.

Davis cut right to the chase when he proposed going to the top of Mt Kailash, something most were unwilling to do. However, he did say a guide would be required and he only knew one man crazy or irreverent enough to act as their guide, since ascending the mountain was blasphemous to most of the religions in the area. Among the other interesting facts about Sir Randolf were his wild adventuring stories, as well as his connection with the mining concern he was connected with. To them this meant he was able to collect explosives. Which he agreed to do, much to their pleasure. However, he did suggest that they would have to move quickly as taking the explosives on such a trip would involve taking them without the mining company’s knowledge. As to a guide, he knew a man in a nearby village who may be able to assist them.

As the group spoke until the wee hours of the morning, a shot suddenly rung out and they were under attack in an instant. Cultists loyal to The Thing With a Thousand Mouths struck at the investigators. Led, by Alex Kramer, a man they met in Bangkok, the investigators were in a firefight for their lives. Whereas the investigators were able to repel the attack, Kramer, upon being killed in a hail of fire and Molotov cocktails, transformed into a horrific worm-like creature and struck at the investigators. The creature seemed more dangerous than the gun wielding cultists but in a short amount of time it was dealt with, even though the investigators were slightly worse for wear, not to mention the pub suffering the same fate.

The following day, as the physical and psychological trauma that had been suffered was addressed but Dr. ju-no Sinn slipped away to work on a special project; oen which he was secretive regarding. MacEwen and Sir Randolf smoothed things over with the local authorities, preventing the group from having to wait around and discuss things with the British officials. It seemed that nobody knew who the attackers were, but the investigators certainly were aware of whom they served.

The following day, the group met up and started on their next leg of the journey. Dr. Sinn revealed what he had been working on – he had taken Dr. Arthur Paddington’s head and cast it in bronze, using the materials from the mining company. He claimed that this Bronze Head would be a valuable asset for the coming adventure. The group then moved north, eventually coming to the village of Nagia, where they were searching for Pannu Singh, the guide referenced by Sir Randolf, who they found nearly passed out in a bar, having been drinking all day. Initially, he was hesitant to participate in their project, scaling Mt Kailash, but not because it was a sacred location, it was instead due to his lack of ambition. Eventually, Davis was able to convince the drunken Singh, with the aid of Dr. Ivanov (as well as the promise of money and finer booze).

With the guide decided upon and everything set, the group was now prepared to scale the mountain and attempt to stop a global evil.

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Episode 43: They Saved Paddington's Head!

Early December, 1937 . . .

It was quite the homecoming as the investigators from Bangkok straggled back to Providence somewhat worse for wear. They knew they would be traveling again soon but needed to connect with Janet-Winston Rogers in order to see if she had any contact with Bethany Tibadeaux or Howard Defoe, the research team that, at this point, none of the current investigators had met but had heard plenty about. Upon arriving in the United States and traveling to Janet’s mansion, they were surprised to find not only the aforementioned Howard and Bethany but also Dr. Ju-no Sinn, Dr. Arthur Paddington and Phillip Astor Winston. Somehow the group had not only gotten out of Bangkok but had also arrived back in the United States safely. The field team had also presented Janet with the horrific volume 12 of the Revelations of Glaaki. Regardless, they knew their next – and likely final – stop was Mt Kailash in India. near the Himalayas.

While Bethany retold the group of the harrowing tale that she and Howard had to endure, she mentioned the feeling that they had been followed by some unnatural presence, that seemed to exist in the corner of her eyes and was given away by the strange shimmering of mirrors when she felt the presence stronger. But she had not felt it in some weeks.

Julian Alexander took the opportunity to introduce the newest members of the investigative team, Dr. Yuri Ivanov and Dr. Nikita Kolokov as they had been instrumental in the Bangkok leg of the investigation. Janet welcomed them with open arms as she knew that every dedicated person they could find would be of great assistance.

Once assembled back at Janet’s estate, the investigative team spent a few days introducing themselves to one another and compiling the vast mountains of data that they had put together. The result was the Mt Kailash Dossier. This document, using photos, geological surveys, maps and other historical and paranormal data was the blueprint by which they needed to plan their final assault on the evil that had been festering on earth for far too long. Dr. Paddington, for his efforts, had quickly become an expert on the subject and was willing to train others on their long trip to India that they would soon have to make. Fortunately, Davis Lockhart recalled an associate of his that was in the greater New Delhi area. His friend, Sir Randolph Michaels, was a gentleman explorer who may well know the area they were heading quite well and if he could be contacted, would provide an excellent resource.

While the loss of the compiled clues in Bangkok, at the hands of the counter-investigators, specifically Tawny Qualls, was devastating, Edward Keane, loyal servant to Janet, began compiling a new chest with supplies, useful items and the equipment they would need for their travel to Mt. Kailash. Whereas it would take him a few days to get all the material together, their concern for something along the lines of explosives was alleviated when Davis mentioned his friend, Sir Randolph who may have some experience in that area.

The night before the team would set out on Janet’s new plane, piloted by Frankie Fawn, they decided one last fine meal and a good night’s sleep was in order. However, this was not to be.

Bethany awoke in the middle of the night to a strange noise in the hallway. When she got up to investigate, she noticed one of the hallway mirrors began to shimmer and then that is when she spotted a sinister 8 foot tall figure at the far end, shrouded in darkness, with its hand dripping blood. She panicked and began to wake the others. In short time the rest of the household was up and ready to defend themselves from the dangerous creature that had zeroed in on them, sent, no doubt, by the cult. Worse, the creature had already gotten to Edward Keane and turned him into some kind of slavering servant, akin to a zombie, which shuffled up the stairs to join in the attack.

The creature, dangerous and malevolent, attacked with great claws as well as a bear hug attack. Identified by Julian Alexander as a Dimensional Shambler, he screamed that the creature was certainly dangerous but the most lethal attack involved the ability to shift in and out of reality, with a victim. It took every effort of attack that the investigators possessed to dispatch the evil creature, including Julian’s ability to cast Hands of Power. Further, Edward had to be destroyed as well. However, at the conclusion of the fight, Dr. Sinn noticed that that the creature had first targeted Dr. Paddington, whose body now lay decapitated in his room. Knowing that Paddington was a key asset, Dr. Sinn was not content to let this lay dormant and had a plan, filled with insane bravado: by using an iron pot and casting a spell, he was able to preserve the consciousness of Dr. Paddington as a disembodied head. Dr. Sinn was content with this plan, as blasphemous as it seemed.

After cleaning up the mess and disposing of Paddington’s headless body, the investigators rested for a few more days and began the long journey to India, specifically to Mt. Kailash, to end this evil forever.

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Episode 42: Death Sport

Mid November, 1937 . . .

The situation had become dire.

With Professor Marvin Derrikson having given his life to stop the Major Mouth in Bangkok, the rest of the investigators were left to fend for themselves. Julian Alexander and Davis Lockhart were almost mad from their experience and Dr. Ju-no Sinn was left as the only one to assist them in getting out alive. However, whatever happened involved Julian and Davis being captured by the cult and Thwai Udom.

It seemed the cult had other prisoners as well. Dr. Yuri Ivanov and Dr. Nikita Kolokov had traveled around the world only to be trapped by the cult and taken prisoner as well. The cult decided to round them up and place them on what was identified as a boat. None of the men knew each other and barely were aware of their own proximity to one another as their vision was obscured by hoods. Though they were unaware at the time, the group was being taken to Ko Kruk an island off the coast of Bangkok.

Upon arrival, Thawi Udom mentioned they were here to meet ‘the boss’ which they took to mean Savatree Sirikhan. They were marched along a path and eventually each thrown in a separate pit with a locked cage at the top. The men managed to remove their hoods and break free from the ropes that had bound them but they were still trapped in pits and the situation seemed, indeed, bleak.

Eventually Savatree appeared, looking into the pits and studying her prisoners. She had first aid materials lowered down to ensure that everyone was bandaged properly. However, what fleeting thoughts these were regarding the true well-being of the investigators she may have had were soon short lived and dashed.

For the next several evenings Savatree appeared at the outside prison pits and began casting ritualistic magic. The arcane rituals seemed to target the prisoners for one specific purpose: granting them a Minor Mouth on their bodies, making them true servants of the Liar from Beyond or The Thing With a Thousand Mouths or better known as Y’Golonac.

When Savatree was away, the investigators tried to communicate with one another. Whether they were overheard by their captors or not was unclear as they could not see outside of their own prison. They were too concerned about revealing a plan but the four investigators made some brief and informal introductions. But known each was alive and they had common allies was enough to keep them from going made from isolation.

It was on the fourth night of being held prisoner on Ko Kruk and the situation with the Minor Mouths growing more dire that Julian Alexander decided to act. Finding a mouth growing on his forearm (and suspecting the others of suffering a similar fate) he cast one of the horrible rituals he had memorized, the Hands of Power. This transformed his hand into a giant claw and allowed him to climb the pit and mangle the iron grate at the top, allowing him to escape. As he was confronted by a pair of cultists, he made short work of them and went to freeing the others. They each gathered what equipment they could and made more formalized introductions to one another. However, they were soon faced with Savatree, herself.

Coming from an old mansion further through the jungle, barely visible from their position, Savatree emerged with several other cult members. She calmly explained that she had given them ‘gifts’ (with the Minor Mouth on Julian’s forearm and one on Davis’ hand) and that these would serve them well in the hunt she was about to conduct. The hunt, with the investigators as prey, would begin in one hour, the amount of time she was giving them to flee and prepared themselves.

The group fled into the jungle and before long they discovered there were no boats on the island and that the manor was well protected and guarded by Savatree’s cultists. They passed through the jungle, narrowly avoiding traps and other dangers, with Savatree appearing on several occasions to attack, almost killing Dr. Kolokov. However, when they were able to lure her out, Julian was able to attack her with the claw he possessed, eventually killing her.

As they gathered around her decapitated corpse, Dr. Ivanov explained where he and Kolokov had come from and what they were doing. Julian did the same for their group and commented that the growing Minor Mouths on their bodies had to be dealt with. Fortunately, Ivanov was a doctor and may be able to assist with that.

They approached the mansion and after dispatching the guards and killing Udom, they made their way inside to a home of horrors. Finding several individuals, later identified as members of Savatree’s family, they realized the sheer madness of the woman that they had mercifully killed. Eventually, they ran into the sole survivor, Grandmother Ravee, an elderly blind woman who was Savatree’s maternal grandmother.

They learned, through reassuring the old woman that she was safe, that Savatree had killed the entire family over the years. Grandmother Ravee had her life spared by pretending to be senile and being unable to see anything due to her blindness. The investigators detected a certain purity in the woman and recognized her innate goodness of being and knew this woman had to be saved from this nightmare. But they could not leave yet. They had to find the location of Mt Kailash.

Grandmother Ravee showed the investigators where Savatree spent most of her time – the decaying library on the second floor. Inside was a treasure trove of information and numerous scrolls, documents, books and maps dedicated to trying to understand the entity Savatree and the rest of the cult had been venerating. Knowing that they would need much of this, they spent days trying to discover the most important clues.

One of the most important items was Savatree’s Journal, a book that outlined her madness as well as her crimes. In it, she spoke of her Anti-Investigators, a group of scholars that were in her payroll to help track down artifacts and eliminate her enemies. Mentioning that one of these individuals was Luc Fauche, it also implicated Tawny Qualls as a deep agent, meaning that Ju-no’s dire dreams of a traitor were correct.

Maps showed that Savatree had found the location of The Thing with a Thousand Mouths. Mt. Kailash, the target of the investigation for so long, was located in the Himalayas. Savatree’s Anti-Investigators had found nothing because they were not there at the right time of year, a critical and crucial clue that the investigators alone had in their possession.

Finally, they uncovered the most precious of all treasures. Savatree had a copy of the Revelations of Glaaki, specifically a complete version of Volume 12. This was vital but Julian warned, from his research into Ruminations of the Outer Black that dealing with this was extremely dangerous as even reading some of the names inside would run the risk of bringing them to you. This book, while similar to a copy they already possessed, was complete, thus making it the rarest text in their collection.

Eventually, Dr. Ivanov got around to having an open and frank discussion with Julian and Davis, explaining the sire situation with the Minor Mouths on their bodies. He explained that the surgery he would have to perform was needed, but it was not under ideal conditions and would be, quite frankly, horrific. However, they agreed it had to be done. Dr. Ivanov cut off Davis’ infected hand and then carefully cut out the tissue that had been infected from Julian, leaving his arm mutilated.

They ambushed a group that had come by boat and went back to the mainland. Whereas they met up with Phillip Astor Winston as well as Dr. Arthur Paddington and Frankie Fawn, they found no trace of Ju-no Sinn or of Tawny Qualls. More importantly, the chest they had kept everything in had gone missing, so all their important work was now in the hands of evil forces, most likely the Anti-Investigators.

It would be a long trip back to Providence to meet with Janet Winston-Rogers.

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Episode 41: Interlude in Russia

Late June, 1937 . . .

(This is a flashback and takes place a month after the events in Mexico City.)

In the small fishing village of Gradych, an hour west of Stalingrad, there was something that had gotten the attention of shadowy elements based out of the Soviet Union. Two dedicated men, focused on rooting out unspeakable evils, Dr. Yuri Ivanov and Dr. Nikita Kolokov, were sent by their secret masters to investigate the potential distribution of some narcotic known only as Nectar, a narcotic which was likely the creation of some Western influence. The two men had no idea of the horrors they would uncover in the village of Gradych.

The intelligence they had gathered suggested that there was a connection between whatever was being smuggled and a small in and tavern called the Lonely Bear Inn. They knew that there investigation would have to begin there.

Upon arriving by train and taking a truck into the small village, they noticed several things that immediately got their attention. First, whereas most of the boats around the harbor were small fishing boats, there were presently two larger steamers in the bay, unusual for a village this small that was mostly focused on gathering seafood and sending it to Stalingrad. Second, the old cathedral on top of the mountain that overlooked the town was an ominous sight that was was actually an omen for what would come later.

Upon arriving at the Lonely Bear and talking to the innkeeper, Vassily Sokoloff, Dr. Ivanov knew something was amiss and the innkeeper was clearly hiding something. Part of the deception involved whatever construction project was happening in the cellar of the inn, which certainly required some investigation. Further, in the tavern room, there was a strange man, seemingly out of place for such a village. The man was pouring over some newspapers, finishing his dinner. Shortly after he was finished, he got up and left without paying, simply giving a nod to the man behind the bar. It was clear this individual was not a villager and did not fit in at all with his surroundings. He was instantly a suspect to Ivanov and Kolokov.

The next day the two investigators first investigated the basement of the inn, quietly. They discovered a major construction project happening, which would likely be the secret storage area where they could hide drugs or anything else, assuming that the innkeeper was involved. Later, they went around the village, asking questions of the various individuals who might know something about the ships. Among some of the individuals interviewed were people along the pier as well as the one man who owned the only commercial trucks in town. The investigators learned the following:

  • The ships were mysterious and likely paid off local party officials to dock there.
  • The ships were mostly unloaded at night when the rest of the village was asleep.
  • The destination was from the pier to the old abandoned church on the mountain.
  • The individuals were a Russian, and a handful of westerners.
  • They transported a very large crate that one of the Westerners seemed to be very careful with and insisted on care in moving it.

That evening they decided to follow the mysterious man who left the inn and got on a bicycle, traveling in the direction of the cathedral. It took an hour to get to the top and by then it was dark.

Upon arriving, they saw a mysterious man guarding the outside of the cathedral. They were able to bypass him and get inside where a generator kept a large light on in the church. They could see two men in the back vestibule acting as guards as well. They attempted to distract the guards and subdue them in an effort to get past them to the basement of the church. However, the plan went slightly sideways when their attempts at quick and silent actions were anything but, leading to a firefight between the two groups. In the light, it was noticed that the two guards were deformed and mutated, adding to the shock and horror.

The noise they had made attracted the attention of those in the basement. The large Russian, presumably the man from the docks (later identified as Kirill Konovalov), came to confront them. The fight was bloody and brutal but the investigators came through, killing the Russian thug.

They were ill prepared for what they would encounter as they descended into the church basement. Of course, no man would be. As they descended they heard music, music that was driving them mad as it seemed to piece their very minds with whatever rhythms it was producing. They knew they would have to stop it lest it drive them to madness with its sweet, but horrible sound.

Upon arriving in the basement they noticed white sheets hanging everywhere, preventing them from seeing much other than shadows. The smell of something rotten and profane seemed to flow through the basement as well as a sound, barely audible over the music, of a wet sack ripped open from the weight of something rotten and putrid. Immediately they heard a man’s voice, in English, screaming at them. The man, later identified as Jonathan Brooks from Mexico City, began to assault them with a rifle, fiercely protecting his territory. When Kolokov turned off the generator, stopping the terrible music, they were also plunged into darkness. As Ivanov tried to find the source of the smell, and presumably the other individual in the basement, he came across a sight, in the darkness, too horrible to fathom. Something that had once been a woman lay before him on a table, bloated to over 800 pounds, with mouths ripping through her flesh like some demonic tortured soul from Hell. The mouths weeped and wailed, screaming for blood but singing the sound of the records. It came to him that this is must have been in the crate that was so carefully looked after by the American, Brooks. This was, or had been, his wife, Leticia de la Luz.

She (or it) attacked Ivanov while Kolokov throw a lit bottle of vodka at Brooks. Brooks died almost instantly but the bloated woman struck out at Ivanov. The two did everything in their power to escape as the creatured wailed over her dead husband. As the two got to the top of the stairs they poured down the gasoline from the generator and lit the place on fire, escaping. However, the wounds they had both suffered were critical. It took all the power in Ivanov’s abilities to save them both and it was truly a monumental effort.

Within the hour a fire crew as well as the local militia had come across them, letting them stay with the doctor in town. However, since the two men could not truly explain what had happened, the local party officials had taken a dim view of the events that had transpired. They were ready to ship them back to Moscow, when someone intervened. The man from the tavern who identified himself as Dr. Hugo Skoczony.

Dr. Skoczony explained that he, too, was an investigator of the unknown and was on the trail of this strange drug cult. He wanted to know who they were and what they knew. He then proceeded to explain to them that the worldwide cult had an operation in Bangkok and that they should go there and meet up with a man he knew but they should tell no one as they would not be believed. As Dr. Skoczony left them to heal and said he would tell his contacts to await them, he would see them in Bangkok.

The two doctors returned to health, researched who the people were who they had dispatched and decided that Bangkok would be the next leg in their journey. However, it was too late to realize that Dr, Skoczony was also part of the conspiracy and had sent them into a deadly trap. Upon arriving in Bangkok, there were, indeed, contacts awaiting them but they were sinister members of the cult who immediately captured the two Russians, sending them to an unknown fate.

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Episode 40: Major Mouth of Bangkok

Early November, 1937 . . .

After returning from the death matches in the dangerous slums of Bangkok, the investigators needed time to regroup and plan their next actions. Davis Lockhart, shaken from what he saw, naturally felt the best course of action was to lose himself in his art purchases. He, along with Dr. Arthur Paddington, Tawny Qualls, Phillip Astor Winston and Lydia Gwynn all went out to see what they could find. Meanwhile, however, Julian Alexander, Professor Marvin Derrikson and Dr. Ju-no Sinn, sat down to truly discuss their options.

Dr. Sinn suggested that there several possibilities, wrapped up in their options. They could meet up with Savatree Sirikhan, set up by Thawi Udom, but what if it were a trap? What if it did not go well? Was even meeting up with her the best option? Or were there other options they could exercise, such as infiltrating the fight club and trying to confront the Major Mouth? To complicate matters, Dr. Sinn revealed that he suspected there was a traitor in their midst. This shocking revelation, when pushed, was found to be something that came to him in a dream. Therefore, the evidence was shaky, but based upon what they knew. it was hardly useful information. In the end, it was decided to set up a meeting with Sirikhan. From there they could not attend but view from afar and see what their options were. They would be able to see what the cult was prepared to do. While they waited for word to come back from Udom, Dr. Sinn would perform some reconnaissance to see what he could discover about a possible river entrance into the cult’s fight club.

Dr. Sinn returned the following morning with a report that he felt they could infiltrate the cult’s club and they decided that night they would penetrate the warehouse to discover what they could see. However, they were woefully unprepared for anything beyond simply looking around.

To their surprise, they were able to get access to some deeper levels of the cult’s activities. They found that the storm drains and tunnels got them deep into the lair. But they were unprepared to take physical action against the cultists. They had to return to the hotel and plan for something deeper.

The next day, Julian discovered that the meeting they wanted with Sirikhan was able to happen that very evening. So they decided that they would try the meet up and then try and go into the cult’s lair. But they knew this was something that needed care, discretion and discipline.

The meet up with the cult and Sirikhan felt like it was something bad. Julian and Davis backed out at the last minute, suspecting that it could have been a trap. So rather than go with the cultists in a truck to supposedly meet up with Sirikhan, they carefully left the scene and figured they were safer taking a second approach. So they went back to the hotel, and gathered their supplies and Prof. Derrikson prepared himself with the Rituals of Self Denial as he knew there was the possibility he would have to sacrifice himself.

Upon returning to the cult’s lair, they quickly made their way back to the deeper tunnels that they suspected would lead them to the Major Mouth. When they realized that there were guards posted, they wondered if Dr. Sinn would be able to get rid of them. To their horrified amazement, they watched as Dr. Sinn cast some kind of spell that literally caused the guards to melt before their very eyes. This was horrifying and shocking to them as it seemed to unravel their sanity, wondering what Dr. Sinn could possibly do next or what he must have done to reach this point. Was he insane or simply oblivious to the powers that he possessed?

After dispatching the thugs, the group made their way through the cult’s underground lair. They bypassed a variety of other fanatics and thugs until they spotted a strange fellow poking through the hallways. It appeared as if he was cleaning some mops near a large braced door.

After grabbing the fellow, whose name was Xuc, he revealed he was a simple custodian charged with cleaning up after the Major Mouth which was behind the large braced door. The investigators rendered him unconscious and left him, immediately heading towards the braced door.

They knew what was behind the door but their curiosity and need to stop the cult’s activities had them enter the horrible room. Prof. Derrikson was immediately in shock over the sheer size of the horrible mouth of Bangkok. The creature reacted violently, spewing up its filth from the entire room it took up, creating chunky rivulets of bile and milky white discharge. Derrikson, realizing his compatriots fared far worse than he had, knew he had one precious chance at destroying this mouth that had torn his family asunder. Pushing the others away, leaving them in Dr. Sinn’s care, he wished the rest of them the best of luck and said a brief prayer to whatever entity may have been listening and threw himself into the mouth, using the Rituals of Self Denial that he had used on himself to act as a poison pill. As the mouth began to erupt and attempt to discharge the professor, the others fled, hearing the dying screams of both Derrikson as well as the mouth.

As Dr. Sinn fled with Julian and Davis, unfortunately he was accosted by members of the cult, who apprehended the group in their weakened state.

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Episode 39: Games of Death
An introduction to Bangkok's deadly games

Late October, 1937 . . .

Upon the conclusion of the interview that proved deadly for Daniel Lowman, the investigators returned to their hotel to plan their next moves. Clearly, whatever their plans were, it would include going to the death matches that the Bangkok cult oversaw. They knew a few names but were unsure how they all fit together. Thawi Udom and Savatree Sirikhan both seemed to be involved and Savatree seemed to be in charge of the cult but would she be at the games and would she be under protection? And what about what they assumed would be the Major Mouth? Would it be present or would it be elsewhere?

It was it this point that it was decided to sit down with Davis Lockheart and explain matters to him in further detail. Prof. Marvin Derrikson and Julian Alexander had alluded to some of the activities before but now that more of the unusual aspects of the case had penetrated the dark penumbra of the worldwide cult, it was time to explain how much of it fit together. They explained the drug, Nectar. they explained events in Los Angeles, as well as Mexico City as well as Malta. And they explained some of the entities that the investigators had dealt with. Davis would have been skeptical a mere few days before but now that he had seen some hints of the darkness, he was willing to accept some of the more outlandish tales that Prof. Derrikson allowed to flow off his tongue. Meanwhile, Phillip Astor Winston, Tawny Qualls and Dr. Arthur Paddington went out to see the sights of Bangkok.

When Derrikson proposed the next steps as attending some of the deadly games, he suggested that he might be a liability if he attended. After all, the various cult figures seemed to know who he was as he had been responsible for thwarting several of their plans to this point. It was then that Davis suggested that he could make some calls and find a disguise expert. He knew there was a film production company doing some work, locally, and a friend of his who worked for the studio, Barney, had some pull. In just a few hours, they were talking to Lydia Gwynn, a make-up expert for the film company, Miracle Productions. She agreed to provide a clever disguise for Derrikson to get him past any cult scrutiny. That night, Davis took Lydia out on the town, ending in a a romantic an intimate night of passion with the make-up artist.

The following day, Lydia spent time with Derrikson, making him appear more like an Italian count than an Oxford professor. Once they were satisfied with his disguise, the group, along with Dr. Ju-no Sinn, set out for the location that would take them to the underground death matches.

What followed was a series of steps to get from one location to another. Eventually, they found a warehouse area that gained them access to a shady character that allowed them entrance. He then turned them over to an escort who took them down a labyrinth of passages and hallways, eventually opening up to a massive multi-story room that contained hundreds of screaming gamblers and enthusiasts watching two men fight to the death in a pit. Prof. Derrikson instantly saw the signs of Nectar usage but in this case the effects seemed more violent than sexual as most of the attendees were high on the drug and aggression levels caused the attendees to be just as violent as the drug obsessed participants in the pit. There were some guards present, roaming though the cheering fans as well as some people taking bets. On the first floor appeared to be the boss, Thawi Udom, but there was no sign of Savatree Sirikhan or any female in the area.

As they cautiously watched the death match underway, they took note of the sheer mindless brutality of the sport. Blood and gore was quickly a common sight, and at the end the loser was not only dead but soon hacked apart and fed into a gate in the floor, with their parts going to places unknown. The gruesome sight was unbearable to watch and surreal for those not accustomed to such things. It was evident that the individuals who ran this arena were beyond vile, but were also both deranged and evil to be participants to such activities.

While the investigators took all of this in, they were greeted by the only other Westerner in the building, a man who introduced himself as Alex Kramer. Mr. Kramer was a large, hulking man who said he had previously been in the foreign legion but was now traveling the world. He seemed interested in other Westerners and was curious what brought them to such an establishment. While friendly enough, it was still a sign that he would be in such a place. Meanwhile Prof. Derrikson made a point to place a substantially high bet on the next match as a way of gaining attention. His gamble paid off.

As soon as his fighter was victorious and the establishment was prepared to pay out, the boss of the games, Thawi Udom, himself, came to the group to pay the winnings, personally. He was curious to the foreigners’ interest and even more curious as to the amount of money they seemed to have. It was then that Davis Lockheart made a gamble of his own, suggesting that they were high ranking members of one of the other cells in Los Angeles and that they wanted to speak with Savatree Sirikhan. However, the gamble did not go as expected. Udom, instantly became more menacing at the mention of Sirkihan’s name and became angry and aggressive. The situation soon spiraled, with Udom attacking Davis, biting him with his filed down teeth. Right as things were ready to go past a point where they could be salvaged, Julian pulled out a vial of Nectar from Malta which got Udom’s attention. Prof. Derrikson quickly surmised that whereas Udom was the master of the death fights, he likely was unaware of any cults in other locations and any worldwide conspiracies that existed, so these other names, such as Samson Trammel, and other places like Malta, meant absolutely nothing to him.

Udom agreed to speak with the group in private and as they made their way down a dark hallway, filled with hanging bodies (of past winners?, of past losers?, of those who displeased Udom?) they entered a bloody room where they had some privacy. Dr. Sinn, who had remained strangely calm the whole time, casually mentioned to Derrikson, that he was in complete control of the situation and they were in no real danger as he (Sinn), would be able to destroy these men if it came to it. Derrikson, while hardly shocked at the revelation, did not know how to best respond.

Eventually, the tense negotiations resulted in Udom agreeing to set up a meeting with Sirikhan but he would contact them through one of the fronts the cult had set up. He estimated he would take a few days to do so. It was at this point that they were escorted out and went back to the hotel to contemplate their next moves as well as how close to death they had possibly come.

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Episode 38: The Pact is Sealed

Late October, 1937 . . .

Returning to their hotel, Dr. Ju-no Sinn, Professor Marvin Derrikson and Julian Alexander had a long day of travel and investigation behind them. The last thing they were interested in was a wild party, but that is precisely what they encountered when entering the Grand American Hotel. their accommodations in Bangkok. Apparently, some kind of guest performer was on stage in the restaurant which was causing the disturbance. Just as they were ready for retiring for the evening, Julian spotted his friend Phillip Astor Winston at the lobby desk, complete with not only an entourage but with several large steamer chests.

As introductions were made, Phillip explained that he and this entourage, Davis Lockhart, Dr. Arthur Paddington and Tawny Qualls, had just come on a buying trip from Toyko and thought that they would come by way of Bangkok to see how the team was doing on their mysterious investigation, completely unaware of the danger he and his friends had stumbled upon by merely being here.

As Julian overheard Davis speaking to the hotel manager about securing two specific items, clearly paintings underneath the brown wrapping, Professor Derrikson asked what they were. Davis explained that they were a pair of paintings he had picked up that were done by a German artist named Klaus Numan, a name that was not unknown to Derrikson. This was the German artist that had painted The Gazer’s Perspective, an obscenely horrific painting that hung in the halls of Samson Trammel’s home. Numan, who, according to Lord Edward Homeward’s notes, was a lunatic living in Milwaukee and had clearly seen more horror in his dreams than most men had seen in reality. The two paintings in Davis’ possession, Doom at Mid-Day and Harbinger were wrapped and secure but promised to show the paintings to Professor Derrikson at a later time.

The group decided to celebrate over dinner. Ms. Qualls, who was clearly smitten with Phillip, seated herself next to him (and evidently, they had gotten a room together as Phillip passed her off as his wife to the hotel manager). Over dinner Professor Derrikson and Julian explained what they were doing as well as the danger that was present in Bangkok. Specifically, they discussed the strange and outlandish drug cult they were chasing down, as well as the drug, Nectar, they were following. Dr. Paddington naturally scoffed at such unusual adventures, but Phillip provided some credence to the tale as he knew his cousin, Janet Winston-Rogers, was behind this investigation as it had consumed her father. Davis seemed interested in the adventure aspect of the situation. But when references to some underground fight clubs came up, things turned darker. As Julian explained that one of the cult’s fronts was an illegal fight club, they casually discussed getting someone in as a fighter. Dr. Sinn then rested Davis’ reflexes by throwing a dagger at him which Davis seemed to catch. Dr. Sinn suggested that if they needed a fighter Davis would pass.

As dinner came to an end, David and Prof. Derrikson spoke more in earnest with Prof. Derrikson emphasizing the danger this adventure had, including worldwide implications of doom and disaster as there was some greater evil looming. Derrikson suggested, hesitantly, that Davis read Samson Trammel’s blasphemous text, Testament of the Dripping Mouths’ Emanates in order to get a true sense of what they were dealing with. He read the book and that night dreamed of mouths erupting on his body as well as strange prophetic dreams of numbers, impossible physics and alternate realities.

The following morning, Davis arrived to breakfast disheveled and bedraggled, having spent the evening reading such a horrific and spine-tingling tome but now, at least, he understood the dangers and had a better perspective of the dangers involved. It was then that Derrikson trusted Davis enough to bring him into the fold and ask Davis to accompany he and Sinn and Alexander on their investigation, which was to begin with the mysterious individual that Daniel Lowman had threatened the day before.

When the group set out to find the street thug, they encountered him back at his den of inequity where they approached and quickly learned his name was Sirpong. The investigators were somewhat confused as to Siripong’s role in the affair but eventually they discovered that Siripong, wanting in on some the fight club money had shot his mouth off around town, suggesting that he would open his own competing fight club, that Lowman had to convince him was a very bad idea, lest he bring down the wrath of the rest of the tough criminals involved in the club. He did, however, confirm the way to get to the club and that they were always looking for participants.

It was at that point that the investigators decided to confront Daniel Lowman at his home. They took the long walk back to Lowman’s neighborhood and noticed he was present and quietly reading in his living room. With Dr. Sinn and Alexander going to the back and Lockhart and Prof. Derrikson taking the direct route to the front, they silently entered through the back of the house and knocked at the front of the house.

The conversation with Lowman was long, drawn out and dodgy as Lowman changed his story and suggested, at first, he did not know the mysterious woman in his book and then admitted that he did. He admitted that ‘S.S.’ was a woman named Savatree Sirikhan. She was not only the leader of the cult but the both of them had been lovers back in Los Angeles and both knew not only Samson Trammel but also Ramon Echavarria. Lowman explained that his role was more with the Nectar trade and the fight club than it was with any cult activities (of which he seemed to be ignorant).

During the conversation with Lowman, the same thugs from before showed up demanding money and demanding to talk to Lowman. Dr. Sinn excused himself to deal with them and stated, upon his return, they would never come again. The mood was sinister and dark, as if Dr. Sinn was able to use some kind of power over them.

Upon Dr. Sinn’s return, they again pressed Lowman for what he knew. He explained that his role was to take correspondence for Sirikhan and receive it. He has gotten packages from around the world as well as sent them around the world. A few weeks ago he was approached by a man who fit the description of Luc Fauche, who mentioned the name ‘Derrikson’ and to look out for him. Lowman suspected that Fauche may have actually lived in Bangkok as he referenced places and restaurants which were off the beaten path of the city.

With Julian Alexander satisfied that they had learned everything they could from Lowman and that he woudl be a possible liability to them if he were able to report this conversation back to the cult, he rendered him unconscious and dragged him into the bathroom to conduct the ritual he had found in the Ruminations of the Outer Black. The ritual, which summoned an entity known only as the Dark Bargainer, who was pleased with the offering Julian had provided. In return, the entity offered to Julian a spell, Hands of Power.

When Julian emerged from the bathroom, without Daniel Lowman, there was a silence that fell across the room as everyone had known the darkness that Julian had entered and the dangerous forces he was bargaining with. However, with the actions that would likely come ahead, perhaps skirting the line between monster and humanity was needed. Either way, a pact between Julian and the forces of darkness had now begun.

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