Category Archives: Call of Cthulhu

MASKS OF NYARLATHOTEP – ENGLAND PART FIVE

Somehow the stars aligned and we managed to meetup two weeks after we ran part four, something of a rare event for us. The previous entries for the campaign are on the blog as well.

We rejoin our group as they’re sat in the pub in Lesser Edale having a pint. Nice work if you can get it.

The lesser of two Edales

Friday, February 5th

As they continued to chat to Tumwell about the murders, a voice piped up from over by the fire.

“John Parkins doesn’t think it was that dog. He saw young Lawrence Vane wandering around the night his girl got murdered. I seen him running away from Parkins’ house that night as well. Right worried ‘e looked un all.”

Jeers came from other parts of the pub. “Don’t listen to old Tom. He’d ‘ad a few himself that night.” 

Old Tom, a weathered old man in a chair near the fire looked indigent at this comment. “I knows what I saw! You lot can bugger off. That Lawrence lad was up to something, I’d stake my life on it.”

MacTavish offered to buy Tom a drink and spoke further to the man. Tom said he’d seen the young Vane man running away in a hurry back up towards the castle. 

Realising there was a possible lead there and they they should go up to the castle to speak to the Vanes, they asked Tumwell for directions. Tumwell looked a little shocked at their lack of etiquette. “You can’t just walk up to the front door and expect Lord Vane to see you. You need to get an appointment and be invited up there.”

Tumwell suggested getting one of the village children to run up there with a calling card and ask for a meeting. MacTavish gave Tumwell one of his cards and Tumwell left on his rounds telling them he was find one of the children to take it up.

While they waited for a reply, Bolan and Constanza went back to the rectory to speak to the vicar or try and get a look at his papers which mentioned the Vane family name, while MacTavish and Singh walked around the village and part of the way up to the castle to see where it was.

Knocking on the door of the rectory, Bolan was greeted by the old lady who Singh had seen earlier. She peered out of the doorway and up at Bolan. “Yes deary?” she cooed.

Bolan explained he thought he may have left his wallet in the vicars study. The lady explained she was cleaning and hadn’t seen anything but would look out for it while she was working. Bolan asked if he could come in and look for it but she wouldn’t let him as the vicar was out doing some visits around the village.

“Come back later when he’s in. He’s gone to see poor old Mrs Tweedale with that dodgy hip of hers. Oooo she’s a martyr to that hip. It’s been giving her problems for years.”

While Bolan was distracting the cleaner, Constanza crept round the back of the rectory and tried the door there. It was locked but he saw the window to the study. Climbing over the flower bed he heaved on the window only to find it wasn’t locked and it flew up faster than expected. A loud crack noise, like a rifle shot, came from the glass as it cracked from the impact. Constanza, slightly shocked at this, reached in the window and grabbed a handful of papers from the desk before running off quickly.

At the front of the house the cleaner had heard the noise. “Oh! What was that? It sounded like something fell over” she cried. Bolan said it sounded like it came from inside and followed her inside. She opened the door to the study and a gust of air from the open window blew papers around the room.

“Now how did that happen?” She said as she shuffled over towards the window carefully and pulled it down. 

“It looks like someone tried to break in.” Bolan muttered and quickly left after making sure there was no sign of the burglar.

Out in the village Singh and MacTavish had walked part of the way around and now headed up towards the castle. Once they cleared a small rise above the village, they got a clearer view of Plum Castle. It was a ruined wall surrounding a large keep. The keep itself looked well maintained, if a little weathered. 

MacTavish was admiring the gorse bushes and some heather that was covering the hillside surrounding the castle, Singh on the other hand, was ever alert. He spotted off in the distance a young man, dressed in fine tweed clothing, cycling up a road and towards the castle.

As he was about to point out the figure in the distance to MacTavish, they both heard sounds of running behind him. Turning at the noise, they could see an out of breath Peruvian dashing up the road towards them clutching a handful of paper. 

As he caught his breath and scanned over what he had grabbed, Constanza was able to make out some jumbled notes about the Vane family history. Some of the notes indicate the vicar had traced the family back nearly 700 years and some information about when they had been made lords by Charles II.

One of the papers was also a hand written note describing something the vicar had seen one night.

I only glimpsed it momentarily, when I was walking home after visiting one of my parishioners. It was around 9 o’clock and the moon was full, although a heavy mist had risen. As I was opening the front gate, I heard a heavy breathing a few feet away. Looking up, I saw a huge dark shape, shrouded in mist. While the form was obscured, its burning red eyes filled me with terror. It let out a bloodcurdling cry and I knew it had seen me. Without thought, I bolted into the house and locked the door, thanking God for my safety. 

As Constanza shuffled through the notes, Bolan came walking up the road behind him to meet them. At that time a young boy came trotting down the road from the direction of the castle and met them.

“Are you the gents wot the constable asked me to go up to the castle for?” he asked, carefully eyeing up the strangers while brandishing an envelope in one hand and digging in his nose with the other. MacTavish confirmed it and tossed the boy a couple of coins in exchange for the now crumpled envelope he was grasping.

As the boy scurried off towards the shop to spend his loot, MacTavish opened the envelope and read the letter inside. It was an invitation to dinner that evening at 7:30, formal dress by request.

Realising they had little time, they hiked the 5 miles back to their lodgings in Edale so they could wash and dress in smarter clothing. They also managed to arrange a car to take them back to the castle in the evening.

Arriving back in Lesser Edale just before 6:30 they walked the short distance from where the car dropped them to the church. Constanza wanted to try and commune with the spirits of those buried in the graveyard using his Peruvian mystical knowledge but, as he entered the graveyard, a shout went up telling him to get out. The graveyard keeper was locking his tools up in his shed in the dark and had seen Constanza enter the churchyard. Warning him to keep away, the graveyard keeper yelled that he was keeping an eye on them, someone had been snooping around the rectory earlier and had tried to break in.

He hurriedly left and they walked up the road to the castle. As they approached the keep, they could see it was lit up and it was a cheery sight in the gloom of the cold winter evening.

Bolan strode up to the door and knocked firmly. A butler opened the door and greeted them. He asked them to enter and, after leading them into the entrance, took their coats. He guided them through a side door and into a hall lined with tapestries, paintings of harsh looking moors, stern faced family members and rows of hunting trophies.

Opening a door at one end of the hall, they stepped into a huge library. Asking them to wait here, the butler left the room while Bolan began to twitch at the sight of so many books. A fire was lit in a huge fireplace and a number of high backed leather chairs circled around the fireplace. The walls were lined with floor to ceiling bookcases and the floor was a maze of tables and potted plants. The whole room felt warm and snug after being in the cold night.

While the others wandered around looking at the furniture and contents of the room, Bolan began to pull books off the shelves, flick through them and stuff them back in excitement. Most of the books seemed to be history, classics and world maps but many of them were first editions and quite rare. As he pulled one book out, a small hand written journal fell out from where it had been pushed behind the other books. Bolan flicked through the book which seemed to be dated back to the 16th century which charted the history of the Vane family.

Hearing footsteps from the hall outside, Bolan stuffed it in his jacket pocket and stepped away just as the door opened and the butler announced the arrival of Lord Vane. 

Lord Arthur Vane was a balding, heavy set man with a huge bushy moustache and wearing a very expensive looking tweed suit strode into the room. He was followed closely by the young man that Singh had spotted earlier and a young woman in her late teens or early twenties. She was very pretty with long blond hair and quite tall.

Lord Vane introduced himself and his two children and MacTavish introduced himself and his companions. Vane explained that he wanted to have some work done to the keep and it said that MacTavish was an engineer on his calling card. MacTavish said he would be more than happy to have a look at the keep in the day and help to give some assessments about the work that needed to be done.

Drinks were provided to everyone and they all made polite conversation for a short while before the butler reappeared and announced that dinner was ready to be served. Lord Vane led them through the hall and into a large dining room where places had been set for everyone. After being seated, the butler took orders for the preparations of steaks for the main course. Each of the Vanes ordered their steaks quite rare and Singh asked if he could have fish instead.

After wine had been poured, they had the first course, a fine paté with fresh bread. Much small talk took place with Eloise taking great interest in everything that Singh and Constanza had to say. She said she hadn’t been out of Lesser Edale much and was very interested in hearing all about the exotic locations they had been to.

Lord Vane continued to ask MacTavish about repair work and the recent bad weather which had given the castle a bit of a shake.

After the first course was finished, the staff cleared away the plates and the steak course arrived. They continued to chat through the courses and, after a dessert of plum pudding and then cheeses, Lord Vane invited them to retire with him into the library for cigars and brandy. Eloise said she would leave them to their discussion and retired for the night.

In the library, Lord Vane settled down in a large armchair by the fire and started to work his way through a number of glasses of brandy. He talked at length about his work in the house of lords and continued to talk about how much he had to do around the keep which was keeping him away from London.

The night wore on and Lawrence suggested they all stay the night as it was too late to go back to Edale now. Accepting his offer seemed the sensible thing to do, especially as MacTavish had agreed to look over the keep the next day to assess some of the work. Servants showed each of them to a room and some night clothes provided.

Bolan, alone in his room, spent several hours studying the book he had found in the library. It was hard to understand at first until he got the grasp of the archaic script it was written in. The journal was written by Edgar Vane and dated back to the 16th Century. It had background information about the Vane family which Edgar had pieced together. He had found information about his forebears had practiced devil worship, dedicated to a blasphemous idol named as “Mordee-ganee.” Bolan tried to remember if he had heard that name before but, either due to tiredness or simply not having heard of it before, he couldn’t recall anything about the name.

Saturday, February 6th

Breakfast the next morning was a very lavish spread. Kedgeree, kippers, bacon, eggs, toast, marmalade and more was arranged around the edge of the room in hot pans keeping them warm. Even those that rose early still found Eloise and Lawrence in the dining room eating their breakfast. There was no sign of Lord Vane but Eloise rolled her eyes at the description Lawrence gave of how many drinks he had last night.

“Father won’t be up for some time then.” She chuckled as she munched on a piece of toast.

After morning pleasantries Lawrence offered to show MacTavish the grounds. Bolan slipped out of the dining room and into the library to return the journal to where he had found it. Singh and Constanza stayed in the dining room chatting with Eloise a little longer.

Out in the cold but bright morning sunshine, Lawrence guided MacTavish around the grounds pointing out areas that the keep had been damaged by storms over the winter. MacTavish asked about the foundations as there had been some mention of a wine cellar and a dungeon during the conversation in the evening. Lawrence was hesitant at first but after a couple of moments pause, he finally told MacTavish about a family secret.

For the last few months Eloise had been changing into some form of creature at night. It started around the time of her 21st birthday and lasted for the three nights of the full moon. At first she wasn’t doing much, just lying in her bed and making howling noises but it steadily got worse and worse. After a couple of months she got out and was roaming the hills at night. A few animals were found slaughtered the next day, partly devoured. Because of the fear that she may injure or kill someone in the village, Lord Vane and Lawrence started to lock her in a cell in the dungeon. The staff knew something was happening as well and a few loyal ones had been brought into the secret to help them. Lawrence said that his father would be furious if he found out that Lawrence was asking for help but it was getting too serious to try and handle it themselves. After the deaths a few months ago, Lawrence had been to the vicar to ask for help but he was an old man who wouldn’t be able to do much beyond research. 

MacTavish said they would help how they could and asked to see the dungeon. Lawrence led him down into the cellar and then down into a dungeon below that. A small amount of light filtered in through some small windows while firm iron bars set into the stonework formed the cells that lined the room. Lawrence led him over to one cell in the far corner that looked like it had recently been occupied. Inside there was straw thrown over the floor to give some padding to the bare stonework. Eloise had been kept in here but somehow she had managed to escape three months ago and killed the two in the village.

MacTavish walked around the dungeon examining the bars before stepping into the one that had been used to keep Eloise in. As he examined the bars he noticed a loose stone in the wall which, as he pushed it, slid in with a soft click. A small door opened in the wall much to Lawrences surprise. They ducked through the doorway and walked along the narrow tunnel in the rock wall behind it.

Up in the dining room Lord Vane had arrived for breakfast looking very hungover. Eloise giggled and kissed him on top of his head as she left the room, gently chiding him for his excessive drinking. He mumbled some greetings to Singh and Constanza while trying to eat some food. Asking where the other two investigators were, he was visibly relieved to hear that Bolan was in the library while Lawrence was taking MacTavish round the grounds. 

“Good. I wanted him to see the building in the daylight. The sooner it gets started the better.”

Deep underground, MacTavish and Lawrence entered into a large cloying and damp stone building lined with tombs.

“My god! This is the mausoleum! This is how she was getting out each time!” Lawrence exclaimed. Turning back to the passage they headed back to rejoin the others.

To be continued…

MASKS OF NYARLATHOTEP – ENGLAND PART FOUR

This was our second session of 2020 and the first with all of the party together.

All the previous entries for the campaign are on the blog as well.

Welcome to the Laughing Horse

Tuesday, February 3rd

While MacTavish, Constanza and Singh had explored some of the groups leads, Bolan had spent the day surrounded by his books and trying to come to terms with the events of the last few weeks. His mind reeled at the things he had seen and read in the books they had brought back from America. After a day of trying to mentally piece these events together he felt a little more recovered, but was still unable to find proper peace of mind.

Wednesday, February 4th

Early the next morning the four of them gathered together to plan the groups next move. 

They knew Gavigan had a house called Misr somewhere in Essex, but the van leaving from the club wasn’t due for some time according to the information they had.

The best route seemed to be going to Derby to investigate the factory supplying the strange machine parts to Gavigan. Along the way they would look into the strange murders that had interested Jackson Elias. The newspaper clipping said the attacks had taken place in the village of Lesser Edale, close to the larger village of Edale, which would be their first stop.

After checking that there was an afternoon train stopping at Edale, they spent the rest of the morning hurriedly picking up some extra equipment. This included MacTavish getting some extra firepower in the form of a shotgun and a box of cartridges. Packed for a few days away, they boarded the train and enjoyed a quiet few hours racing through the wintery English countryside.

The afternoon air was crisp and clear as they descended the train in Edale. A station guard bustled past them, whistle blowing and waving his flag for the train to depart. After watching it depart in a cloud of steam, the guard turned and headed for his office. 

Catching the guards attention as he walked past, they explained they would be staying in the area for a few days and wanted to know if there was somewhere nearby to stay. 

Pointing out a nearby pub, the guard also mentioned a few of the sights nearby such as the Blue John mine, some of the local walks and a few of the villages nearby, including Lesser Edale. Asking about Lesser Edale, the guard told them it was about 5 miles further up the valley and a nice place to visit if they get a chance.

Giving them a wave goodbye, the guard wandered off towards his office as they clomped out of the station. The local pub was close by so, not wanting to head to Lesser Edale too late in the day, they chose to try and stay in Edale before heading up to Lesser Edale the next day.

The pub was an old, wooden beamed building that looked well maintained. Stepping into the main bar, they found a few locals sitting around tables chatting and a fire crackling away in a large fireplace. Approaching the bar, the landlord greeted them cordially and asked what he could get them. 

MacTavish told him they wanted some rooms if possible as they planned on staying a couple of nights. He told the landlord that they’re a hunting party on their way up to his lands in Scotland but wanted to visit the area first.

As it was the off season, the landlord said they had plenty of rooms free and told them to take a table while he had them made up ready. Ordering food and drink, they sat and looked around the room a bit more. The bar was quiet with only a handful of patrons chatting and MacTavish, sensing he could make a good impression, ordered a round of drinks for the whole bar. A cheer went up and there was a flurry of toasts to his good health as well as back patting as he paid for the drinks.

Over the next few hours, they managed to speak to a few of the patrons and got further information about the murders. The attacks had taken place three months prior, over the course of a couple of nights and two people, George Osgood and Lydia Parkins, had been violently killed. A third, Harold Short, had barely escaped with his life. The local police officer, Constable Tumwell, had shot and killed the beast after hunting it down. Cheers rang out at Tumwell’s name along with raised glasses and hearty toasts.

Asking where they may be able to find Tumwell to ask about the beast, they were told that he could be often found in the pub in Lesser Edale, either at lunchtime or in the evening.

They spent some more time chatting with the locals before turning in for the night, ready for the next day.

Friday, February 5th

Rising early, they set off along the road towards Lesser Edale in the bright, but cold, February morning. Having been told it was a 5 mile walk they expected a quiet hike along the village lane but shortly after leaving the village, the noise of a tractor could be heard coming up the road behind them. Pulling up next to the group, the driver offered them lift up towards Lesser Edale and they climbed onto the trailer it was pulling. Before long they had bounced their way up the road to the village outskirts.

Strolling into the village, the investigators could see about 20 buildings, most of which looked like houses. Nestled among them was a church with a vicarage opposite a duck pond, while a village shop sat next to a pub. The pub sign showed a horse with flames billowing from its mouth, eyes and nose with the name ‘Laughing Horse’ written in a gothic font above it. 

It was too early for lunch so Tumwell wouldn’t be there yet, they headed to the shop first.

A small bell clattered as they filed inside. A man behind the counter looked up while a woman stacking shelves glanced over before carrying on. Inside the shop, shelves lined with canned food, sweets, postcards and other household goods, filled most of the floor space. Weaving around the shelves, MacTavish greeted the shopkeeper and asked about a map of the area.

“Ah yes, we have maps. Alice, could you bring me one of those hiking maps please?” 

Unfolding the map she brought over, the shopkeeper showed MacTavish a few of the local spots of interest in the area along with some of the walks around the hills. The map clearly showed the village as well as the landscape of cliffs and rolling hills around it.

Idly chatting away, the shopkeeper mentioned a bit about the murders and told them that one had taken place at the Osgood farm, just outside the village, while the Parkins’ house was just nearby, the third attack against Harold Short was also in the village. Harold had been on his way back from the pub when he was attacked. It had raised quite a commotion and the locals thought that was what had driven off the attacker.

Buying the map and thanking the shopkeeper, MacTavish was told that the local vicar was a good person to talk to for history in the area and so they headed to the church.

Approaching the grounds, a groundskeeper could be seen tidying up the bushes around the edge of the graveyard. A couple of the graves looked new, with temporary wooden markers standing out from the rest of the worn stones. On closer examination the markers had the names of the two killed a few months ago, George Osgood and Lydia Parkins carved on the front. A glint of something shiny caught the eye of a couple of the investigators. Both markers had a small silver crucifix hanging over them on a chain. Bolan walked over towards the groundskeeper and gave a friendly greeting. The man tapped the side of his cap and muttered a reply. Bolan asked about the new graves to which the man replied “Local matters don’t concern outsiders.” He threw his tools into his nearby wheelbarrow and stalked off further into the graveyard.

Realising they would get nothing from him Bolan knocked on the door of the vicarage. After a pause, a shuffling sound and a shout of “Just a minute.” came faintly through the door before it opened. A man in his 60s and dressed in vicars garments peered out at Bolan. Giving a brief introduction, Bolan explained they had come to visit the area and wanted to know a little bit more about the history of the village. The vicar frowned for a moment before Bolan carried on his charm offensive. Explaining they thought he would be one of the best sources of information, Bolan managed to win the vicar round. Opening the door to them and inviting them in, he introduced himself as Reverend Jeremy Stratton. He said he was going to be popping over to the church to work on his sermons but could give them a little time before. Ushering them into a small parlour with a fire burning in a fireplace and a desk covered in books and papers he waved at some chairs and settled himself down in a large leather armchair by the fire.

The Reverend told them a few bits about the village before the conversation turned to the recent murders. Pausing and taking a moment to think, a brief frown crossed his face again before continuing. While the Reverend was talking, Constanza glanced around and spotted a number of letters on the desk with the letterhead of the Derwent Valley Order of the Golden Druid. A large primer for Greek to English translations filled a big part of the desk along with an old leather-bound journal with notes scattered around it. The name ‘Vane’ could be seen several times on the loose papers.

MacTavish attempted to distract the vicar by asking if the church steeple was wonky, so someone could have a closer look at the papers, but Stratton wasn’t taking much notice. Either the Scottish accent was too thick or the vicar wasn’t that interested.

After some polite chatting the vicar offered to show them around the church. He led them outside after throwing a cloak over his shoulders and picking up a bunch of keys. Singh excused himself and went to walk around the graveyard to see if he could find anything of interest while the other three were led into the church.

The church itself was quite small inside, with a few pews squashed together in the congregation area facing a lectern. Wandering around there was nothing obviously out of place while Stratton talked at length about how the church was built on a much older foundation. The former church had burned down in 1906 and this newer building had been built in its place. 

Outside Singh was wandering the grounds and looking at the gravestones. Most of them seemed to be quite old and heavily weathered, only the two newer ones stood out. He noticed an old lady walking along the vicarage path carrying a large basket of cleaning goods. She tried to door but, finding it locked, tried to fish a key out of her pocket while holding the heavy basket. Singh walked over and offered to help her get the door open which she gratefully accepted. Taking the basket back from him she thanked him and entered the rectory before closing the door behind her.

After a look around, Stratton said he had work to do, so excused himself and entered a small side room, leaving the three to rejoin Singh outside.

Bolan, thinking he could learn something from one of the silver cross hanging from the grave markers, walked over to one and held it carefully. After a minute he got a brief flash but nothing of interest. The cross was real silver but a new item, nothing that had been owned by the occupier of the grave below.

Walking past the Parkins’ house and seeing smoke rise from the chimney, they paused for a moment before choosing to go to the Osgood farm instead.

The track to the farm led upwards and wound around a small wood, before reaching the main farmyard. In the yard two children were following a woman as she carried a couple of buckets across towards some sheds.

Calling out a greeting, MacTavish introduced himself and the others when she walked over to them. Explaining they’re looking into the recent events, he enquired if they could ask some questions.

She cautiously invited them inside and led them into a kitchen where she stood at one end with her two children, both girls, hiding behind her skirt.

Giving them details through mounting tears, she explained how George, her husband, had heard a noise in the barn one evening so had gone out with his shotgun to investigate. After a pause there was a shout, a scream and then the gun went off. Rushing out to investigate she saw a hairy, hunched over form running off into the woods. 

“As tall as a man and howling, I swear it was a demon.”

Breaking down into sobs, she asked them to leave as she can’t speak of it anymore.

They left, and headed back into the village where they found the pub was now open and serving lunch. Taking a table, they settled down and, after the success of the last time, MacTavish ordered a round of drinks for the bar. After some thanks and cheers they managed to get some more details from the bar patrons, mainly older men who looked as if they whiled away their time drinking.

They managed to chat to a few of the locals and after some idle chatter, turned the conversation to the murders. They managed to get a little more information out of them, mainly around the dog that Tumwell shot. A couple of the men said that it didn’t look that fierce and was more mangy than dangerous. A couple muttered that they’d heard noises out on the moors at night and that they shouldn’t go out when there’s a full moon. When checking on the next full moon they realised it was in a night’s time.

At that moment the door opened and a gust of cold air blew in along with a figure dressed in a police uniform. Making his way to the bar, the officer sat down and dropped his helmet onto the wooden top.

“That’s Tumwell, he’s the man you should ask about that thing.” one of the locals whispered.

Tumwell was a portly man in his 40s with a slightly sheepish look on his face. As if he was embarrassed by all of the attention. Despite some hesitation on his part, once he got chatting, he was open enough about the events around the murders. 

He explained that he had been lucky enough to find the dog when he did before it did any more harm. Singh could tell that he wasn’t convinced by his own story though. 

They settled down to have some lunch while chatting with Tumwell further before they planned their next step.

MASKS OF NYARLATHOTEP – ENGLAND PART THREE

This was our first session of 2020 and this time the player that is Bolan couldn’t make it. I tried keep story moving but not have too much of it given aways as I wanted the whole group to be there for some of the meatier parts.

All the previous entries for the campaign are tucked away on the blog as well.

Things are getting Spicey

Tuesday February 3rd

The next morning, gathered at Bolan’s flat, Singh reported he had dealt with the bodies and painting from the flat. The others told Singh about their break-in and what they had found.

Feeling shaken after the recent traumatic events, Bolan wanted to have some time to try and recover himself a little. He opted to spend the day trying to try and calm down. Singh, Constanza and MacTavish conferred together to figure out what their next steps would be.

They had found a couple of possible leads in the cellar of the Penhew foundation, a warehouse in Limehouse and A shop in Soho. The first to visit the Chaudhary warehouse in Limehouse first, followed by Empire Spices in Soho.  

Limehouse

Situated close to some docks on the Thames, the warehouse was easy to find on Ropemakers fields. Passing by the dock area, there was only one ship nearby, the ‘Ivory Wind’, which was moored up within close range of the warehouse.

Watching the building for a few minutes, they spotted several workers moving around but nothing unusual. Deciding to take a risk, they strode into the front of the warehouse and wandered around as if they should have been there. Workers inside seemed to be too busy to care about a trio of strangers, so ignored them.

After a few minutes searching, they came across a stack of crates, all marked with the Penhew foundation as the point of origin. It was hard to tell exactly how many crates had been arranged here as they had been stacked several deep, but they estimated about 14 or 15.

At that point a shout went up behind them. A burley worker was walking towards with an angry scowl. Trying to stay cool, MacTavish explained they wanted to speak to Chaudhary about a possible shipping contract. The man, not entirely convinced, pointed towards an office on one side of the warehouse and told them to go in there.

The office was cramped, a large desk filling most of the room. Inside was a man in his mid-40s, wearing a suit and pouring over some papers on the desk. He had a bushy moustache and a kind face which broke into a smile as he they walked in. Greeting them warmly, he introduced himself as Puneet Chaudhary and asked what they wanted. MacTavish broke into a bluster, tried to convince Chaudhary that they had a worthwhile business deal that they’d like to discuss with him. He had whiskey he wanted to ship to China but wanted to keep it away from the export office.

For all his attempted charm, MacTavish was unable to convince Chaudhary. The warehouse owners face fell quickly into a deep scowl. He started shouting angrily at them, telling them that he didn’t want to sully his reputable business with such dealings. He turfed them out of the office and watched them closely as they left the warehouse.

Heading away and back into the heart of London, a hiss from a side alleyway drew their attention. A figure lurked at the edge of the alley, beckoning them towards the darkness. Cautiously moving towards the shape, they could see that there was only a single figure. As they approached, it revealed itself to be a man in his 70s cautiously watching the street around the Chaudhary warehouse.

“I know you. You’re that lot that went to see Barrington, he told me to keep a watch out in case you turned up. I’m John Craig, I’ve been keeping an eye on this place.”

He revealed he was an ex-police detective who had overseen the Egyptian murders. He’d been removed from the case and forced to retire early. Barrington was one of his former subordinates and Craig was helping to try and crack the case. Craig explained he suspected there was something going on between the foundation, this warehouse, a spice shop in Soho and the Blue Pyramid club.

After being told they hadn’t found anything useful in the warehouse, Craig told them he would be keeping an eye on the place a bit longer. He also said he would try and let them know if he finds something else out.

They left, heading to Soho, to find the Empire Spices shop.

Empire Spices

The spice shop was on a busy street, but few customers seemed to be going in and out. Waiting until there was a lull, the trio entered to find a myriad of pleasant smells filling the air. Herbs and Spices filled jars and bottles, which lined the walls. Tables around the shop floor had jars neatly arranged on them. From the back of the shop, a slender, incredibly beautiful woman, glided towards them. Greeting them with a delicate smile, she asked how she may assist them.

Singh asked about spices and made small talk with her for a while, trying to tease any information out of her that may be relevant. After a little discussion around popular Egyptian spices, the shopkeeper mentioned she had many contacts around the Mediterranean and the Middle East. She explained she used these contacts to help with gathering produce as well as provide information to expeditions bound for Egypt.

When asked if she remembered the Carlyle Expedition, she frowned for a second in concentration, as if thinking back and then said she did remember. She explained she had assisted the Penhew Foundation with information, guides and contacts to speak to when they got to Egypt. As well, she gave some background information about the region the expedition had been travelling to.

Singh, sensing there was something that she wasn’t telling them, drew himself up and stepped towards her. He growled that he knew she was hiding something, she should tell them quickly before things turned nasty.

Withdrawing from his menacing presence, the woman called out loudly.

“Edjo. EDJO! Come here now!”

A tall figure peeled itself out of the shadows, stepped quickly towards the woman. Placing himself between her and Singh he drew himself to his full height. Although not quite as big as Singh, he was able to still block the investigator from getting too close to the shopkeeper.

As the tension levels reached an almost electric level, the small bell above the door jangled noisily as a man in crisp white chefs clothing came scurrying in. He began to select spices, scooping up jars in his arms with loud clattering noises, hardly glancing at the others in the room but chattering away to himself as he gathered the jars.

Realising now wouldn’t be a good time to cause a scene, Singh stepped back, watching the man carefully. They left the shop with the woman watching them as they left.

The day wore on and by this time it was mid-afternoon. The Blue Pyramid club was a few streets away, so they made that their next stop.

The Blue Pyramid

The club itself was located over a row of shops with the small club doorway next to a greengrocer. After knocking, a smartly dressed doorman opened the door and greeted them politely, asking for their membership cards. Explaining they’re not members but would like to join, the doorman bowed and admitted them. Not being members wasn’t a problem as the club was happy to have new people join, he told them.

After a brief overview of the house rules, they filed up the narrow stairs to the club area. A small corridor with a pair of doors along its length, led to a ballroom. The doors opened to a small coffee room and a drawing room with few members sitting chatting and drinking. The ballroom was much busier. A stage at one end was the main focus of this room. A belly dancer was performing to a small crowd gathered in the room. Wall hangings depicting Egyptian scenes covered most of the walls, while a bar was near the door serving drinks to patrons. 

A heavy-set Egyptian man was wandering the floor and chatting to club members. Glancing over at the investigators, he plodded over and greeted them warmly.

“Hello. You are new here. I am Abdul Nawisha, owner of the Blue Pyramid and I welcome you to my humble club. I am very honoured to have you join us here.”

He chatted amiably with them for a while, discussing the club and how it got its name. When asked about any information about the string of Egyptian murders he politely explained that he knew of them but didn’t have any information about them. Only what he had read in the papers.

“I look forward to seeing you again here but please enjoy your time today.” He said before leaving to chat to others in the room.

Settling down in some chairs to watch the show, the group was surprised to have a round of drinks brought to them. They hadn’t ordered any, but MacTavish found a note saying “Meet me at midnight under the arches outside” written on his napkin.

There was no indication of who sent the note but, glancing round, MacTavish thought he may have caught one of the dancers looking their way.

Waiting in the club until nearly midnight, they left quietly and found a series of stone arches close by, a figure could be seen standing under one of them. When it spotted them, it came forward into the light, they could see it was one of the girls they had seen dancing earlier.

She came towards them with a hurried step and introduced herself as Yalesha. She warned them that they could be attracting attention in the club by asking the wrong questions, especially about the Egyptian murders. A cult used the club as a meeting point and she suspected they had a connection to the murders. Explaining she wanted revenge on the cult because they had murdered her boyfriend, Badru. She asked them if they could help her. He had been killed in retaliation when a member of the cult had made a pass at her. Badru had got involved and then been killed for threatening the man.

When they agreed to assist, she told them more about the cult’s activities at the club. Every month, a truck would arrive and take a large group of Blue Pyramid members to a secret location outside of London. The next meeting was to be soon.

As they talked, Constanza and MacTavish realised that there were a couple of men approaching from the direction of the club. At that point a large black car roared out of a side street and pulled up next to the group. Four men jumped out and the two others ran to join them.

Growling a challenge, five of the men rushed forward while one tried to grab Yalesha and pull her into the car.

Two of them rushed towards Constanza, one missing but the other hitting the Peruvian with a knife, drawing some blood. Constanza retaliated by smashing his club into the man and sending him flying with a sickening crunch.

Singh grappled with one, each man drawing blood from the other, while MacTavish tried to help Yalesha and get her attacker away from her.

Constanza’s blood was on fire now. His club made short work of the next two in his path while MacTavish and Singh finished the rest.

The last of the cultists slipped to the floor with a muffled thud. Despite taking a few wounds, it had been a short fight. Yalesha cautiously looked around for signs of any more attackers. Saying she wouldn’t be going back to the club because they must be onto her, she headed off into the night after leaving them with her contact details.

Gathering up the bodies and putting them into the car, they drove to more secluded area and dumped it along with the corpses.

Limehouse


As they had been curious about the contents of the crates in Chaudhary’s warehouse, they had planned to go back and break in. Arriving back at the address during the night when it was quiet, they carefully approached the front of the building. MacTavish was able to open the lock with only a minor effort and they slipped inside.

Finding the crates in the warehouse was easy as they hadn’t been moved yet. Prying open a couple of the crates was quick work. Inside there was a strange collection of valves, struts, machine parts and radio tubes. MacTavish pocketed one of the more unusual items to try and study it later.

Constanza meanwhile, had found a crate packed with strange statues, knives and what looked like the skin from a pair of feet. This monstrous find was cured and looked as if they could be worn like shoes. Shivering with disgust and carefully putting them back, Constanza closed the lid and they left the warehouse.

As they headed away from the warehouse, they heard a commotion coming from the docks area where a figure could be seen staggering drunkenly towards the ship they had seen earlier. Jeers rang out from the deck of the ship as the man stumbled his way up the gangplank. Everyone was so focused on watching to see if he would fall in or not that they didn’t notice the three of them, slipping away into the night.