Trail of Cthulhu: Eternal Lies

Episode 23: The Scuttling

Late July, 1937 . . .

After dealing with the stresses of breaking into the Orne Library at Miskatonic University and dealing with the horrors of the Faceless One, the investigators spent another week gathering their supplies and conducting some important correspondence.

Professor Marvin Derrikson, due to two separate inquiries, received two important pieces of information, both from the staff at Joy Grove in Savannah. First, the receptionist-nurse, Beth, informed Professor Derrikson that a shady character had been seen around Joy Grove, asking about Edgar Job, still a patient at the institute but who seemed to be growing in importance as the investigation went on. When he was rebuffed he later tried to sneak into the grounds, leading to the death of an orderly but being run off by hospital security. The stranger’s description seemed to fit that of the mysterious Luc Fauche (the ‘skin stealer’). Secondly, Dr. Keaton’s letter described that Edgar Job had, indeed, gotten the letter sent by George Ayers. Dr. Keaton felt that the correspondence from his old friend, indeed helped in Mr. Job’s recovery. However, the complex ritual that Professor Derrikson was put away in Dr. Keaton’s safe as he felt such odd things would not be beneficial to the recovery. Professor Derrikson was angered by the impudence of Dr. Keaton but this was the least of his concerns, presently.

The following day was spent with Bethany Tibedeaux teaching Chakar Singh Kalsi the Rituals of Self Denial as the group felt as many people who knew about this the better. This ritual was one of the best tools that the group had in in dealing with the Liar from Beyond. Also, in Bethany’s research, she determined that there was a key tome that could be of assistance – the Key to Glaaki, currently held in the British Museum in London. According to her research, this text could grately add to the understanding of the Revelations of Glaaki, a set of books already in their possession.

The following day the group begin their intercontinental journey with stops in several locations. Professor Michael McKenzie also came aboard as it was felt his expertise could be of some value. Howard Defoe was in charge of the cargo in the back and kept a careful watch over some of their more valuable items.

The final stop before Valletta in Malta was Palermo, Sicily. Frankie Fawn needed to make some final repairs and switch out some engine pieces. The rest of the group went into town for a hotel and some good food, leaving Frankie to work on the plane. It was what happened at the conclusion of dinner that set events in motion at a breakneck pace.

A stranger approached the group after dinner and stated his employer wished to speak with them on an important matter. Intrigued but suspicious, the group agreed but Professor McKenzie and Howard retired to watch over the belongings in their rooms. The rest were taken to a country villa outside of town where they were introduced to the mysterious host who introduced himself as Husain Soliman. He was direct and straightforward with what he wanted. He had a deep interest in some of the artifacts and texts he suspected the investigators had in their possession, specifically, the Warding Stone found in Savannah, as well as the tests Revelations of Glaaki (volume 12) and the Testament of the Dripping Mouths’ Emanates found in Samson Trammel’s estate. The investigators were polite but refused. However, when Professor Derrikson made reference to the terrible Skin Tomes found in Ethiopia, Soliman virtually salivated with desire at the thought of getting his hands on such blasphemous items. But still they refused. It was then that Soliman had one of his underlings bring out a box, covered with a sheet with something perhaps alive inside. Soliman suggested it was some kind of ‘pet’ he would be interested in trading. When asked what it was, Soliman was vague, stating only that the pet had wondrous powers that the mind was unable to truly comprehend without experiencing it one’s self. When again, the investigators declined, he seemed resigned to the decision but also gave them a bit of warning: he was just as interested in seeing to it the investigators did not have these items at all as he was in having them for himself.

As soon as they returned to their hotel, they immediately suspected they were in grave danger and decided to check out and head to the air strip, giving Frankie a little time to make what repairs they needed. Upon arriving, Frankie seemed clean as if she had not done a great deal of work on the plane. When pressed, she admitted to having been out to dinner and met a handsome Frenchman who the investigators suspected may have been Luc Fauche, adding to their desperation to leave. With several of them taking guard positions, Frankie and Bethany made the needed repairs and the group was ready to depart by 1 AM.

The flight, while mostly quiet, quickly changed at close to 5 AM. Chakar was jolted awake on the plane looking at a small white spider, dangling from a strand. he recognized it as a White Hermit which was mostly harmless as its mouth was too tiny to bite. However as the small spider turned around, he realized that this particular one had a much larger, mutated mouth, likely the result of Nectar infusion. This sudden shock caused him to scream out but this was drowned by the screams coming from the cockpit.

Prof Derrikson and Bethany raced to the cockpit to see Frankie panicking as a dozen of these dangerous spiders were crawling throughout the area and Chakar suddenly realized that there were a half a dozen crawling out from the overhead storage area. The plane was infested with scuttling spiders, all mutated and possessed with angry dispositions. This infestation was a sure problem.

As the group in the cockpit worked to fend them off, they all continued to get bit with Frankie losing control of the plane, heading towards the ocean in a dive. Knowing that something had to be done or else they would all die, Bethany and Prof. Derrikson threw together some chemicals and tried to douse the cockpit. But they were too late, Frankie was losing her nerve and as a result, control over the plane.

Meanwhile, Chakar and Prof. McKenzie were dealing with the spiders in the back. When Chakar investigated the storage area, he was shocked to too dozens of these creatures scuttling forth, exploding into the rest of the plane. Things seemed dire and desperate.

Panic was the order of the day but thankfully, Bethany and Prof. Derrikson managed to calm Frankie down and force her to regain her nerve. Prof. McKenzie and Chakar came to the front and began dousing the area with the whiskey that Prof. McKenzie had not yet consumed. Once the onslaught of White Hermits crawled to the front, a full army of close to 50, they drowned them with as much whiskey as they could, killing the vast majority of these terrible insects. Not long after this, they saw land in sight – Valletta, the capital city of Malta.

Upon landing, Chakar dealt with the bites, the poison and the physical ailments of the team. Prof, Derrikson then offered a substantial bribe to the customs agents to falsify a report that their plane had crashed into the ocean and the Royal Navy had been dispatched to look for survivors. This, hopefully, would throw Luc Fauche and Soliman off their trail, buying some time.

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