Mission Recap 4/25/13
Julius, Dr. Summerfield and Eva:
Saturday September 17th, Tremont, Indiana
The sun sets on our investigators as the strange woman, Marla, skips through the house singing snatches of old nursery rhymes. Weigand decides that, despite the failing light that he will attempt to mend the broken axle anyway. During his welding he is attacked by a horrific creature with a selling on its head but with no discernible eyes. The savage, otherworldly creature bites Weigand terribly causing him to run back into the house. Meanwhile, Marla has run upstairs and has gone into one of the bedrooms where a horrible scream is heard, drawing Julius, Eva, and Summerfield to investigate. Where before Marla was a grown woman now she appears as a child and is covered in putrid bits of congealed flesh and ichor that squishes under her small get when she walks. “It is time for me to go home now”, she says, “play time is over.” Being rather creepy and unsettling the party let’s be go without a fuss. She skips down the stairs in time for Weigand slamming the door. She scolds him for “playing with the Reacher”, something her father told her never to do. She heads back into the garage and presumably into the tunnel in the mechanic’s pit and back to the mine. The investigators head back to the study and barricade themselves in. Eva begins poring over the Codex of Assad Agassi retrieved from the safe and finds it to be an original but disguised as a copy. Julius decides to go exploring the house and Weigand goes with him. They see the shade of Robert Freeman at the top of the stairs. The shade is gesticulating wildly but is mute and unable to be heard. A hand with a single darkened nail on the small finger (burnt out or painted it is hard to say) rests on the shade’s shoulder and the ghost of Robert Freeman begins leaking darkness out of his mouth and fades out of sight. Weigand and Julius head back into the study, pale from their interaction with the spirit (although Julius grandly rationalizes it as simply swamp gas).
A buzzing drone comes from the outside and a procession of torchbearers are set in the distance. Weigand attempts to attract their attention by firing his shotgun into the air. He sees several sets of luminescent eyes turn his direction from out of the darkness. He backs slowly indoors and reloads his shotgun. The procession of torches do not deviate from their march. Weigand takes up a defensive position near the window and notices, for a moment only, a bloody scrawl upon the faded picture of Robert Freeman that hangs upon the wall in the study and concealed the safe containing the Codex that says, “Don’t go in the Mine”. It is gone as suddenly as it appeared.
A rock smashes through the window and Weigand shoots back, peppering the vegetation with pellets but does not appear to hit anything. Julius, anger rising at being a captive in such a horrible place, fires into the night and hits one of the creatures in the head. Their strange, primate-like laughter stops suddenly. A window shatters upstairs and the decision is made to move into the garage that is more defensible to the outside, despite it having a tunnel that connects it with the dreaded mine. The garage is barricaded as best as possible and the characters settle in for a long night. Their only hope now is that the torch left under the car outside when Weigand fled is still there come morning…
Saturday, September 10th, 1921
A quiet day in the life of Martha Hopwood, dilettante and occultist. Her cult, the Ordo Templi Orientis (“The Ordo” for short) meets on Saturday night. She travels to the Gottschalk Estate, owned by Maxmilian Diederich Gottschalk II, an occult “barnacle” with no real talent for the occult aside from being a gracious host and having connections to the Ordo faction back in Germany. Martha changes into her ceremonial robes and, via the secret passage hidden behind a shelf of books in the library, heads down into the meeting room and mingles with the other Ordo members:
1) Danielle Godard (D) – The de facto leader of this sect of the Ordo. A socialite and natural leader, she has a desire both to lead and to keep the peace, both of which she does well.
2) Caden Hillman (D) – A relatively spineless man who follows Danielle like a little puppy dog. He has very little respect in the Ordo.
3) Graham Morgan (N) – British man who has eyes for Martha. He has sources of information that he prefers to keep a secret. A charming man with many secrets.
4) Maximilian Diederich Gottschalk II (H), host of the meetings. He is somewhat of a bore and is tolerated because his family is very powerful in the Ordo sect in Germany. He is also a wonderful host. He enjoys pomp and fanfare. He is a squat, fish-faced man with large lips.
5) Hudson Kincaid (H) – A man’s man, very proactive puts Martha off a bit. He chafes somewhat under Danielle’s leadership as he believes a man should be head of the Ordo.
6) Kiera and Tyler Padgett (N) & (D) – A couple who enjoys dabbling in the occult. Kiera is a gifted occultist and will often lead rituals and séances. She is relatively new but shows a great aptitude for the occult, particularly meditation and opening oneself up to spirits.
7) Gretta Spengler (H) – A German noblewoman who relocated to America with her husband, she, like Maxmilian, had deep ties to the German sect of the Ordo. She is very traditional and, though she finds Hudson Kincaid a bit abrasive, she agrees with him that a man should lead the Ordo.
8) Jackson Cahill (N) – A bookish man who very much looks forward to the occult gatherings that give his life a bit of mystery and intrigue. Despite his “deer in the headlights” aspect he does seem to have a natural gift for the occult. Easily swayed he is easily maneuvered away again.
The evening’s schedule is a bit of a secret but Danielle finally reveals to the Ordo what they plan to do that evening. The Ordo has an original copy of Pert Em Hru (translates to “Coming Forth By Day” or “Manifested in the Light”), which describes a particular ritual that demands an animal sacrifice. The specific animal is not specified but refers to a cave painting in the Wadi Maghareh (“Valley of Caves”) that depicts Sekhemkhet, an Egyptian Pharaoh, speaking with a god with the head of an animal. The god has been chiseled out of the cave paintings so Danielle is going to try to summon the spirit of Sekhemkhet and ask him directly what sort of animal the god he spoke with has.
Kiera Padgett begins the Coetus (“The Meeting”), a ritualistic chanting of words that will eventually give clarity and focus. She chooses the phrase, “Sedent ad audiendum. Malum tentum apud sinus” (translating “They sit to hear. Evil held at bay”). Danielle begins the invocation and speaks words in Latin. Kiera has a rushing inhalation of breath and her eyes roll back into her head. Danielle supplicates in front of the spirit inside Kiera and asks the spirit its name. “Albert Walters,” it replies. After some momentary confusion as to the spirit’s identity, Danielle begins questioning it tentatively, with Martha chiming in as well. Albert Walters says that he is an accountant and that the last year he remembers is 1921. He says he lives in Chicago and remembers being on a train heading back toward Chicago and he remembers a place filled with strange people and he was painting lots of pictures. When questioned about if he is Sekhemkhet, Albert laughs and says no but that to summon such a spirit a concoction of redwood bark soaked in ginger mashed together with Oleander blossoms dipped in the blood of the fulcrum (Kiera, in this case). When asked how he got all of this information Albert replies that he learned it and all things from his Master. Before Graham stands and commands the spirit to leave, Albert turns towards Martha and speaks one final time, “I see you in the net of these events now. My master is my enemy’s master. Poor Grace. Pity us all.” Kiera exhales violently and is back, unharmed but exhausted. She enjoys the attention lavished upon her for a job well done. Martha examines the ritual in the Pert Em Hru but finds no deviation that would explain the strange appearance of Albert Walters. Martha suggests they check into both the identity of Albert Walters and the ingredients Walters spoke of to summon the spirit of Sekhemkhet. Graham suggests a wager, where if he finds out about Walters first he gets a kiss and if Martha finds it first he will take Martha to dinner. Martha agrees despite the lopsidedness of the bet. Martha plans on heading to the Library as soon as possible but since it is closed on Sunday she finds other ways to occupy her time.
Monday morning, bright and early, she is over at the Chicago Library which, surprisingly, has a very nice occult section tucked away in the back where most people won’t trip over it accidentally. She spends the majority of the morning reading texts and finds nothing of particular note concerning the components to which Walters spoke of. She suddenly becomes aware that someone is watching her but cannot place where the feelings are coming from. Calling it a day, Martha heads back to her apartment and converses with her Aunt Louise. Louise has not heard of an Albert Walters, but did meet a Cecelia Walters once at a meeting she held with The Crystal Hearth. She did not recall that Cecelia was very nice at all and stopped coming to meetings after only attending a few. Tuesday and much of Wednesday pass in a blur as a potential buyer arises for one of Martha’s paintings.
Wednesday, September 13th, 1921
It is afternoon and a loud knock draws Martha’s attention to the hallway. A trio of men, one of them finely dressed, is knocking on the neighbor’s door, a woman by the name of Grace Perry. The well dressed man leans in and speaks with Grace, and Grace (despite looking fearful), lets them in. About 40 minutes later an almost inhuman shrieking begins and the two men in the suits are restraining Grace who now appears undeniably insane. The well-dressed man comes out of Grace’s apartment after snapping shut what appears to be a case one would use for a typewriter. He addresses the gathering crowd and says that he is a doctor and that this poor, unfortunate soul has had a complete nervous breakdown and she is under his care. Grace, as she is pulled away, claw marks over her eyes screams out about a “purple flame” that burned her mind.
Monday, August 29th, 1921
Richard hears from the rookie journalist, Peter Abbott, that their editor (Peter calls him “God”) is sending them down to Marigold to cover a murder/arson that occurred there in the early hours the previous day. Excited to get out of the office, Peter accompanies Richard south to Marigold, making note of a handy boot pouch he had sewn specifically for a flask to which Peter makes ample use of. The weather gets a little more rainy as the afternoon cools somewhat. They head to the center of town and enter the general store (“Ashcroft’s Odds & Ends”). The man behind the counter, Nicholas Cressac, is undeniably French and manages to get Richard to purchase a jar of an obscure concoction that rankles the stomach just hearing about how it is prepared (something about rotten fish eggs mixed in with curdled milk and then cooked into an omelet). The man seems very helpful in directing them out to the Wilson place. Wilson was a loner of a person who lived out in his cabin and apparently started collecting lots of junk after his wife, Janet, died. Heading out to the Wilson cabin it begins to rain in earnest.
Despite being completely burnt out there are still piles of rubble around, evidence of Tom Wilson’s propensity for collecting things. A strange symbol is seen underneath the flakes of scorched paint in the kitchen, a triangle with a wavy line drawn through it (the symbol of the Ignotus!). Moving back through the cabin taking sketches Richard hears the water dripping from the mantle under the house indicating that there is a cellar. Around the side of the house a storm cellar door is found under a pile of rubbish. Heading down into the cellar the intrepid reporters find a virtual dungeon that reeks of superstitious country magic and, perhaps, something darker. There was a great amount of clutter in the cellar but there were numerous items of interest. There were a great number of liquids with strange ingredients in them, a few in metal containers too. A ceremonial robe in the armoire was hanging under some old books in Latin smell of numerous aromatic compounds. There is a circle drawn in the middle of the floor ringed with symbols. In the center of the circle, badly decomposed, is what looks like the skeleton of a child but has wings coming out of its back. Numerous trinkets such as bits of bone, hair and children’s toys hang from the ceiling on individual strings. While investigating the cellar Richard and Peter hear another car pull up outside. Richard goes out to meet them and there are four men. One of them introduces himself as Professor Lievremont and offers to meet for tea and talk about Tom Wilson. Richard picks up some odd vibes coming from the four men and declines to ride with them and asks to meet them in around 45 minutes in the town square. They go back down and finish off taking pictures of the cellar and they come out to find their car sabotaged. They begin walking back toward town and the Professor and two of his silent companions are seen coming up the road. The two men pull pistols and usher Richard and Peter into the car. They are bound and blindfolded, their ultimate fate a mystery!