With their plan in place, the group observed the Ju-Ju House for over two weeks. Dudley, George and Ikil lurked in the abandoned building adjacent to the shop while Charles kept a watch from atop a nearby tenement. During this time, they got a good feel for the rhythm of the place. Customers came and went, sporadic deliveries arrived and once a week on Fridays, an obviously armed white man visited the shop briefly. Charles was convinced this man was a police officer picking up a bribe but could not corroborate his suspicions.
Finally, the night of February 23rd arrived…
The Dark of the Moon
Late at night—almost an hour past midnight—the Ju-Ju House slowly came to life. In dribs and drabs, people started arriving at the shop. Soon, almost 30 people had arrived. It was obvious there was not enough room in the shop for all those folk. Dr Dudley’s ears were keenest, and he heard the people descending a set of stairs—it seemed the Ju-Ju House had a secret cellar!
But by now, it was obvious that the cult was too numerous for the group to deal with. Sadly, Charles had spotted four cultists dragging what looked suspiciously like two unconscious people into the shop, but it seemed that the pair were doomed.
For several hours, the party lurked, ready for action. Dr Dudley could hear an odd kind of woeful chant at one point, but by about three o’clock in the morning, everything seemed over and—again in dribs and drabs—the cultists left.
What’s in the Cellar?
The party needed to get into that cellar! Knowing Silas’s routine now, they bided their time until the evening when the shop owner shut up for the day and went out for dinner. While George and Dudley kept watch Ikil picked the front door’s lock. Quickly inside, the group swiftly searched the shop. Almost immediately, they found the shop’s ledger and a secret trapdoor hidden under a rug.
Below the trapdoor, a narrow set of stone steps descended deep into the ground. Strange symbols—identified by George as Kenyan tribal sigils—decorated the walls.
A corridor at the bottom of the stairs led to a stout iron-bound door. Again, Ikil defeated the lock, and the party were into a large subterranean chamber. Drums stood about the walls, a circular stone—that looked suspiciously like some kind of capstone—attached to a winch covered much of the floor. A curtained alcove pierced the opposite wall.
Ikil moved across the room to investigate the alcove. Pulling aside the curtain, he was shocked beyond words to see four dead bodies standing against the walls. The unfortunates’ entrails had been pulled from their stomachs, and the cult’s sigil had been carved into their heads. Horrifyingly, the dead creatures—perhaps zombies of some sort—lurched forward to slay Ikil and his companions.
A hail of ineffective gunfire quickly ensued, which was quickly followed by a general retreat to the door and up the stairs.
Reaching the shop, the group slammed the trapdoor shut, grabbed the ledger they had found earlier and departed—but the group’s legendary bad luck struck again. Three cultists had arrived outside the shops mere minutes previous to the group’s retreat, and the trio—alerted by the gunfire and the thud of the trapdoor—boiled into the shop.
Luckily, Charles had followed the trio into Ransom Court, and his hail of ineffective and inaccurate gunfire was enough to give the more skilled members of the group time to gun down their opponents.
The group then split up and made their way back to their hotel. There they gathered to plan their next move.
Ju-Ju House Aflame!
The next morning, the papers were full of the news of a gunfight at the Ju-Ju House and the subsequent fire that devastated the shop and several nearby buildings. At least a dozen people were feared dead from gunfire or smoke inhalation. The police officially put the incident down to rival gangs, but Lieutenant Poole visited the group later that day. The location of the gunfight seemed too coincidental for words. The party evaded his questions but did not assuage his suspicions.
Clearly, New York was getting too hot for them, and with the cult likely gone to ground elsewhere, it seemed it might be time to move on…
This post is a session summary for my weekly 7th edition Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign.
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