Trail of Cthulhu: Eternal Lies

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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