Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cairo Part 1 Audio

That Girdle Belongs in Either a Museum or My Pocket!

Fresh from battle, our jolly bunch of investigators found it beneficial to come up with a plan. That plan consisted of getting the sam-hill out of dodge. They had delivered a mighty blow to the London chapter of the Cult of the black Pharaoh, but certainly not a fatal one. With injuries and death a-plenty, they headed back to their hotel.

The next morning they awoke to an empty bed with a letter from Horace Scarth, detailing why he chose to depart from the expedition. Frankly, I believe it was primarily due to the giant skeletal bird and the fact that he was almost sucked into a painting with a bunch of lizard people. Whatever the REAL reason, he was gone from their lives for good. Smallhousen, as you know died and Colette wasn't ding so hot. After Regina convinced Inspector Barrington to purchase her a new firearm, the crazy bunch of hooligans headed for the nearest shipyard to catch a ship Cairo.

Once on bored they were introduced to a bevy of fine individuals that were increasingly eager to join in the excitement. Miss Olivia Pendergast was found obsessively re-arranging the ships library when Elly Mists stumbled in and introduced herself. The two talked briefly and found out that they had crossed paths in London. Miss Pendergast was a a curator for the London Museum of Natural history (or something like that).

At dinner, a Fimi Defonce invited herself to the table where she began to inquire about the Carlyle expedition. Her bubbly personality managed to irk no one, surprisingly. She was the daughter of a famous Belgian detective, and was out to prove her chops to the world by solving a long closed mystery.

Conversations continued, and everyone was just charmed with Fimi, until the attention was pulled to their waiter, a man with a thick french accent and shifty eyes. Jock Botam, thief extraordinaire introduced himself. He pegged them right away as a force to be reckoned with, so he dropped the waiter act and offered to assist them on whatever they might be up to.

The rest of the trip consisted of drinks, libraries, healing and sneaking. Then they arrived at Port Siade.

Fimi, Olivia and Jock had no problem getting off the boat. It quickly became apparent to the rest, however, that they should have filed for permits for their firearms before leaving the country. It took the remainder of Regina Shmee's gin rations to bribe the customs officer into allowing them to keep their boomsticks. They then boarded a train, with Yalesha's help, and headed for Cairo.

For those that don't remember, Yalesha was a dancer at the Blue Pyramid in London. The group saved her from becoming a ritual sacrifice, and in return she agreed to be their guide while in her home country of Egypt.

The train ride was, sketchy, to say the least. The train stopped at strange intervals, and there were a group of men keeping tabs on our, primarily female, bunch of travelers. Once in Cairo, Yalesha found a small hovel of a hotel to stay in for cheap. Though tiny, it was clean, much to the relief of Miss Pendergast.

Night fell and with it the investigators. Into sleep, that is. Fimi decided to take the second watch, during which she heard voices arguing outside the door. She quickly woke Yalesha to translate. The men from the train were seeking the westerners. After waking the rest of the group, it was a miracle the arguing voices didn't hear the innumerable guns cocking in the next room. A knock came. Yalesha insisted it was just the inn-keeper. She was correct. He warned them that someone was out to get them (duh) and that they should be very careful. Regina took this opportunity to show off her new necklace which displayed an inverted ankh and asked if they were wearing something similar. This was not appreciated. The inn-keeper told them they could stay the night at no charge, but that they would have to find a new place to stay from then on.

The following morning they hit the streets and found an English Language news paper. It primarily focused on social events, but proved to be a wealth of information. Also the man in charge loved westerners and allowed them to use his telegraph machine for free. Colette immediately sent a wire to Harriet Oslow in New York telling her that the desperately needed money. Discussions were had regarding Omar Shokti, Willem Besart and Faraz Najir. There was an interesting story about a current Penhew Foundation dig in Egypt, the Clive Expedition. Rumor was that they had found the mummy of the evil Queen Niticris, who reigned alongside the Black Pharaoh in the third dynasty. However it had been mysteriously stolen. Also, the found the local favorite restaurant of the Carlyle expedition; The Turf Club.

Hungry and tires our heroes went in search of the upscale dining facility that they had no hopes of affording a real meal at. After finagling their way into the establishment, they met a fine man by the name of Jasper. It brought back painful memories of their beloved Jasper Eagleton, but this man simply wanted to chat and had no real information to offer aside from what was readily available to them. After they decided to split a salad, they questioned the waiter and mater' de. The Carlyle expedition had indeed dined here quite frequently, until they left for Africa, of course. Before leaving, Pendergast and Jock noticed a barely noticeable powdery substance on the rim of their unused drinking glasses. The two began wiping the substance up with their handkerchiefs. Jock did so to inspect the substance later, Olivia just compulsively cleaned them.

One thing they had learned in particular about Mr. Faraz Najir was that he was one of the few people that saw Jackson elias during his time in Egypt. He apparently sold antiquities. After learning that he was a customer of the local shipping house found in a ledger they ransacked from the Penhew Foundation's chairman, they decided to look him up.

Faraz Najir had a shop on the street of the Jackal. That is, he did, what was left of it was simply ash and rubble, with a single necklace with an inverted Ankh in the wreckage. Locals informed the investigators that the shop had been cursed and a supernatural force burned it to the ground. Najir had opened a new shop further down the street.

It has become almost a sacred ritual for this lot to rough up local shop keepers, so they commenced with the usual accusations and threats. Eventually, once Regina showed off her fancy new cultist necklace, he went completely crazy and started waving a scimitar at them. A crowd gathered and a riot almost started, until the group decided to pull out the strongest remedy to a heightened situation they knew of. Cash. Bribing the poor man who had lost almost everything (including his good looks, half his face was scarred from the fire) the got him to agree to a scret meeting the following day at a local mosque.

Calling it a day, they headed to their new digs, a local family that Yalesha knew had offered to house them and keep their belongings secure. At peace, oddly, they all slept wonderfully and headed out to the local importer where they hoped to find out more information about stuff and sundries and ledgers and business and such.

Jock wasted no time in casing out the joint, attempting to see if it had any gaps in security. It did not. A man offered to answer any questions they might hae, though he appeared to be very busy. Hoping to understand just what the contents of the ledger meant, the man was able to trace certain artifacts to Faraz, Shokti and a Willem Besart. Olivia Pendergast posed as a liaison for the Egyptian museum, and in doing so received a small crate that they asked her to deliver. The crate, according to the slip, contained an ancient Egyptian scroll and two stone scarabs. Her creed was, for perhaps the first time, put to the test.

Surprised and relieved, they found Najir still alive and willing to talk. He escorted them his local Mosque and informed them of the dangers surrounding the Brotherhood and how he believed they were attempting to raise the evil Niticris from the dead. He was convinced that they were after something hidden in the Mosque of Ibn-Tulun, also located in Cairo. As for connections with Jackson Elias, he had sold the man a statue of Ra, as well as sundry information about the brotherhood. Roger Carlyle had used his agent to purchase items as well, a Mr. Besart, who still resided in Egypt, as far as Najir knew, though he couldn't say where. Ripe with information and leads, the gang decided there was still enough time to hit the Mosque of Ibn-Tulun.

In-ornate and smaller than expected, the Mosque stood on the edge of Cairo, just on the outskirts of the desert. Jock went in to case everything out and found the place to be of substantial historical importance. Unable to crack the mystery of what they held with a three minute conversation, he reported to the group that the only option was to lay siege to the place under the cover of darkness. This plan was discussed at length, as was the idea of allowing the Brotherhood to steal whatever was hidden within and just steal it back. Ultimately, Elly came up with an idea that was agreed upon. Just tell them that the brotherhood was after something. An enemy of an enemy sort of deal, you know?

In they waltzed and would have gotten no further than Jock had Regina not shown her fancy necklace and explained that they wanted to help. Escorted to a smaller room at the heart of the Mosque (that is to say, it was an  appendage) they met with an older teacher who informed them that the Girdle of Niticris was quite safe. He appreciated their concern and assistance, but he did not believe the brotherhood capable of stealing the artifact necessary to raise the evil queen. Why wasn't the girdle simply destroyed? The man explained that they had tried to destroy it through a number of means, but nothing seemed to work. He then excused them from the Mosque. Or at least he tried, until Regina chimed in that she wanted a go at the girdle. He was reluctant, until she showed him her fancy new silver daggers she had pinched from Gavigan. As he reached for the blades, he felt the remnants of some foreign power stemming from either the daggers or Regina or both. He agreed to give it a shot.

He showed them through several large doors leading well underground where four strong guards and a much older man holding a jeweled scimitar stood guard in front of a gargantuan safe. Once the safe was unlocked Regina was shown the chain mail and jewel encrusted girdle that was the source of a great amount of trouble. With a hack and a slash, the girdle succumbed to the daggers, throwing Regina back and filling the room with light. The guards cheered, and the old man handed Shmee his scimitar as he cried tears of joy. Then the earth trembled, and they were told they were in grave danger.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Masks of Nyralathotep 4: Turkey-holed

Scot-free. That's how our team of intrepid heroes (?) got away with robbing the private collection of a Mr. Gavigan of the Penhew foundation. A night of danger and burglary left the the lot of them huddled in their new hotel room with strange scrolls that and a statue that made you tingly when touched. Scarth, the Pinkerton man, convinced his fellow criminals (?) into dropping of their "finds" at the American embassy . But, before that could happen the phone in their hotel room rang. Regina Shmee answered and was informed that 3 men in suites were there to see a Dick Shmee, that being the name they registered under. With the understanding that a bottle of champagne would be brought up to accompany the men, she allowed them to proceed. In a matter of minutes the bullets started to fly.

Regina went to the door upon hearing the knock and was almost immediately knocked to the floor when the door was kicked in. there were indeed 3 men in suites there to see the party, and they had brought along a welcome gift; large clubs with sharp barbs sticking out of the end. Even in the midst of the attack the investigators joked about the sacred ritualistic weapons resembling turkey legs. This only infuriated the men further. Horace Scarth took a knock to the head that put him out cold. a few more shots were taken, and when all was said and done Collette, Dr. Smallhousen and Regina dispatched all but one of the intruders with ease, subduing the last of them fro questioning. All the while Elly Mists slept in the other room... for the entire week. She was very tired.

In an effort to hide the one living, but very unconscious, assailant from the police before they arrived, Collette attempted to stuff the poor man into a closet. However, the latch on the door was broken and he continued to spill into the hallway. So she decided to put him back where she found him, just as Inspector Barrington entered the room. Perplexed, he simply threw his hands in the air and expected an answer. He was no stranger to these people, especially after some of them were involved with the death of a rather famous painter. With a quick explanation and finding murder weapons matching those in the cases he had been following in the last few years, he decided to take them to a safe house and get the full story. He introduced them to his partner, who had been under cover for the past while; a Mister Jasper Eagleton, whom the investigators assumed to be a victim of the same thievery that befell them at their previous hotel.

Once at the safe house, the gang hunkered down and decided to read some sanity shaking books. Smallhousen insisted on seeing to Scarth's medical care in the hospital. Scarth healed, though never fully. The trip was almost starting to feel like a holiday. New friends in a rent free home in England. So, naturally, Regina and Scarth decided to take a trip to the police station to have a chat with the sole living member of the party that attempted to kill them. While Regina intended to talk to the man, Horace was trying to decide how to inconspicuously torture him. It was a real reversal of roles. The man was a real steel trap, though he became visibly irked when accused of attacking them with a turkey leg. It wasn't until Regina mentioned the spice dealer, Tewfik and showed his inverted ankh necklace (that was looted off of a still living guard at the Penhew foundation just before he was kicked to his presumed death into a sewer). Assuming that Shmee just might be an ally, or know SOMETHING that he didn't. he insisted that they speak to Tewfik and alert him to the current predicament. Also, he said he loved the dark Pharaoh and that all yall were going to die. But that's just cultic talk.

Once back at the safe-house, Collette noticed a strange man in a trench coat that had passed the house several times.  Enlisting the help of Jasper, who seemed up for anything, really, they apprehended the man and brought him in. Barrington walked in demanding to know what was going on. The man then had his flashlight confiscated and the threat having boiling hot water dumped in his lap presented if he didn't tell them what he was up to. Truth be told it was very little. After the ol scare tactics they released him into the night, sans flashlight and with the hopes that he'd run into some killer fog. Jasper was sent to tail him.

With the threat of youths in trench coats thwarted, attention was returned to the spice dealer, Tewfik. Jasper, naturally, agreed to go with our investigators to visit the shop shortly before closing time. Upon entering the shop and scaring off the customers, they decided to have a little chat. Accusations and threats flew as wildly as bullets on a winter day in the basement of a Harlem antique shop. Tewfik denied everything, maintaining that he was simply interested in his culture. That being said, Regina couldn't help but notice a large mob headed for the shop that was supposed to be closing. Tewfik told them it was the afternoon rush. Then he grinned. Jasper burst in and shouted that it was time to leave. "Arrest him!" shouted the investigators. But there was no reason to so Jasper said no. The hopped in the car and went to a new safe house to mull things over. Barrington agreed to hold Tewfik for questioning.

Faster than you can say "Bob's your uncle" a sting operation was set up a the Blue Pyramid. Rumor was that every new moon a van full of people left the Pyramid and most of those that left were never seen again. Jasper borrowed his brother-in-laws new lorry and agreed to drive the investigators to hell and back, if necessary. So they waited. "Oh, by the way" Barrington interjected, "Tewfik escaped somehow." Not to worry, our investigators found him soon enough, as he escorted a batch of fellows from the Blue Pyramid into the back of his own lorry. The game was afoot! The two vehicles ended up in the Essex countryside. Tewfik and his band of brothers easily sifted past the gate and two gaurds. Jasper, on the other hand, had no such luck.

The gang attempted to smooth talk their way past the guards, but were told that unless they had specific approval from Gavigan, the would not be permitted to enter. A scuffle ensued and Barrington ended up punching someone's head clean off....almost anyway. The other one just ended up shot to death. In any case, the gate was open!

The estate itself was quite large, there was a bridge and mist and other scary elements to add flavor. As they pulled up to the mansion, it was evident that the lights were on but no one was home. Fire light and chanting was present, though a ways away over rough terrain not paved for a truck.

Deciding to explore the mansion before saving potential sacrifices, the investigators quickly found a pair of secret doors in the fireplace! One was simply a priest hole, with little interest. The other, however led down to a basement with a series of cells and a hallway leading to a mysterious room. Two of the cells were occupied with none other than Yalesha, the waitress from the Blue Pyramid, and Jezebel Weinstein, the other compatriot that helped kill the painter! Apparently, prisoners were kept here for weeks before being used for ritual sacrifices. After some deliberation, they released both of them.

The hallway led to a door with an odd glow emanating from the jams. A quick peak revealed it to be an absurd amount of loot that Gavigan must have been hoarding for years. There was all kinds of things, including a ledger with a list of shipments sent and received from all over the world, and a note indicating that Jack Brady and Aubrey Penhew just might be alive.

The time came to either rescue a bunch of people or die trying or kill everyone by accident. Slowly but surely they headed toward the giant bonfire and sound of chanting. A bunch of cultists were dancing around the fire, as they're apt to do. Chained to a giant obelisk are a group of frightened individuals who seem like their evening is about to go very poorly, which is saying a lot for someone chained to an obelisk. Gavagin and Tewfik were also there, in priestly robes of white, overseeing the goings on. Oh yes, there was also a giant skeletal bird is pecking the ground.

The plan became to focus fire on Gavigan and Tewfik, which would prove to be difficult. Yalesha informed the policemen what was going on, allowing Barrington time to inform the Yard and Jasper time to drive the lorry off road and meet up with the investigators on the outskirts of the bonfire. It was quickly decided that Jasper would attempt to run over Gavigan and Tewfik, hopefully cutting off the head of the viper and ending this chapter of the Brotherhood of the Black Pharoah. He hit a bump, however, and crashed into the skeletal bird. This did more damage to the lorry and himself than it did to the bird. Jaspers last few moments were spent being devoured.

In the diversion, Gavigan commanded the faithful to scour the estate and find the rest of the intruders. Dressed as cultists, this allowed our heroes to get closer to their targets. Jezebel fought with a Turkey-leg club, while the rest used guns. In a matter of minutes the dust began to settle. Gavigan and Tewfik were dead, but along with that small victory came the sorrow of further loss. Victor Smallhousen was dead, Regina was injured and Scarth was almost completely insane. Some wounds would heal, but not a chicken-hole to the heart. The police arrive just in time to round up as many fleeing cultists as they could then spoke with the living to figure out what on earth happened.

Barrington expressed thanks for saving these innocent lives, but also recommended they leave the country. No amount of good was going to completely pay for the damage this group caused. The dead were buried, the insane sent home, and our investigators headed for the first boat to Cairo, the next step that the Carlysle investigation took on their way to destruction, and another place where their friend Jackson Elias was seen.