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 McTavish 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.
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, McTavish 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. McTavish 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, McTavish 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.
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 McTavish 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, McTavish 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 McTavish 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 McTavish 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 McTavish 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.
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. McTavish 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. McTavish 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.