Newly arrived in London, the investigators spent a few days getting their bearings and seeing the city before getting down to business.
The group had several obvious ports of call, and on Monday, the 16th of March, they set about running down their initial leads.
Visiting The Scoop
Charles and Jacob were particularly dynamic, seeing both Mickey Mahoney at The Scoop and, the next day, Inspector Barrington at New Scotland Yard. Meanwhile, Ikil, Dudley and George set about London’s various museums and libraries to research various matters that had escaped them up to now.
Both Mickey Mahoney and Inspector Barrington possessed useful information. Mickey Mahoney was saddened by Jackson’s murder and related that the intrepid author had seemed particularly interested in three stories from The Scoop’s archives. Charles and Jacob even managed to dig out the three stories from The Scoop’s back catalogue. One dealt with an artist renowned for painting strange, unsettling pictures, another with several murders ascribed to some kind of rabid dog in the East Midlands and the third was about the so-called Egyptian Murders.
The third article mentioned Inspector Barrington by name, and Mahoney told the two investigators that Jackson had seen Inspector Barrington before heading back to New York.
Visiting Inspector Barrington
While Ikil, George and Dudley continued their various research, Charles and Jacob went to see Inspector Barrington after first arranging an interview by telephone.
Later that day, the pair met Inspector Barrington in his office. After pleasantries were exchanged, the three got down to business. Barrington filled them in on the bare-bones of the case—how the murders had been going on for about three years and that most of the victims were Egyptian. He mentioned that Jackson had suggested that the Cult of the Black Pharoah was behind the murders. However, Barrington had consulted with Edward Gavigan at the Penhew Foundation and discovered the cult had died out centuries ago. The intrepid inspector confirmed this through another source—the alluring and tremendously attractive Zahra Shafik—the owner of Empire Spices.
Barrington also confided in the pair that he sensed Zahra Shafik had not been completely forthcoming with him. He had her followed for several days by a plainclothes policeman, who started to refer to her as Cleopatra so alluring was she, but other than confirming that she frequented the Blue Pyramid Club (a nightclub that many of the victims had also frequented) in Soho they had turned up nothing else interesting about her.
Later That Night
The group had learnt much over the last few days. While the research at the various libraries had yielded little of import, George had managed to ascertain that the rubbings of the symbols he took from the Ju-Ju House’s cellar were not occult in nature. Neither Dudley or Ikil could identify the sigils either, but both felt uneasy looking at them—this might be, they thought, a result of certain experiences the pair had shared in the closing days of the War To End All Wars.
Conclusions and Plans
The discovery that they may have stumbled across the activities of a second cult concerned the investigators. Just what had Jackson got himself into, and was it a coincidence that the spate of murders in both New York and London seemed to start in the years following the group’s ill-fated Peruvian expedition? What had they done?
In any event, the investigators had to decide which of the three newspaper articles to investigate further. After a brief discussion, the near-unanimous decision was to travel north to the Midlands to investigate the killings in Lesser Edale. While the killings seemed distant, many of the investigators were keen to try out their new shotguns—as such weapons were not deemed to be firearms under British law. They also all felt much safer knowing they had an excuse to carry shotguns around—clearly, they were going hunting and what could survive a blast from a shotgun at close range? In particular, Charles was excited about a jaunt in the country and rushed off to Purdey’s to purchase the finest gear available.
This post is a session summary for my weekly 7th edition Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign.
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