3 min read

MoN 046: "Investigating" Empire Spices

However, the danger was not over.

There was no time like the present. As thick mist coiled through London's streets, Ikil, Dudley and Charles, accompanied by his faithful manservant Jeffrey, made their way to Warbour Street and Empire Spices. 

First, they wisely loitered about the area, casually drinking in the local pubs and bars—keeping an eye on the comings and goings at Empire Spice. The shop shut at 5 pm, and a few hours later, Zahra Shafik emerged and walked off in the direction of the Blue Pyramid Club. With infinite patience, the group waited for another hour until they judged the coast was clear. Then, they leapt into decisive action.

Sauntering through the foggy, emptying streets, they reached the closed shop. Ikil easily defeated the lock on the side gate. The group darted into the private alley beyond and hid. Bravely, Ikil pushed on alone. He picked the lock of the gate leading into the shop's backyard and, after briefly searching it, picked the lock on the shop's back door. 

After returning to the group to relate matters to date. Ikil—accompanied by his friends—entered the shop through the back door. All was quiet and dark within. 

It wouldn't be for long. 

After briefly scouting a hallway, Ikil tried the first door on the left. It opened into a storeroom filled with shelves, boxes and barrels. Resting on the floor, on a pallet of old sacks and so on, was one of the most muscular men Ikil had ever seen. He told the man to surrender, but the swarthy foreign type was having none of it. He lunged at Ikil and stabbed him, dropping the surprised bodyguard to the ground. As Jeffrey leapt forward, the man struck again, and Jeffrey collapsed—also a victim of the man's keenly wielded knife. Charles and Dudley moved to engage the man in combat, and a hard-fought—if brief—fight ensued. Luckily—for luck it clearly was—the two subdued the man who had almost killed Ikil and Jeffrey.

However, the danger was not over. Shouts emanated from the end of the corridor, and the sounds of people running up a flight of wooden stairs heralded the arrival of two more men clutching large knives. A vicious fight broke out, and at the end, only Dudley remained standing—Charles had been felled by a single vicious stab which had just narrowly missed an artery. 

Dudley quickly stabilised the brave antique dealer and then quickly worked to bring Jeffrey and Ikil around. As the dedicated doctor worked feverishly to save Charles—for the antique dealer yet hovered a death's ebon door—things went from bad to worse.

Ikil heard someone in the front of the shop. Thinking quickly, he wedged the door shut with a chair and then killed the three men the party had subdued—he didn't want to worry about them identifying the group later. The door rattled and shivered but did not open as someone tried it from the other side. It then went quiet.

As Dudley continued to work on Charles, Ikil—realising that the Blue Pyramid Club was not too far away and that a gang of cultists could be here at any moment—quickly searched the shop's office. Meanwhile, Jeffrey covered the door with a borrowed automatic.

Ikil had barely finished his search when the sounds of a large band of men approaching the shop reached the group's ears. Quickly the men were in the shop and battering down the inner door Ikil had wedged shut. As it gave way, Ikil and Jeffrey opened fire with their pistols, shooting dead several swarthy men of middle eastern appearance as they tried to swarm inside. 

The rest of the group remained busy. Dudley dashed into the cellar to see if Yalesha, her mother and Mrs Miggins were down there. He found nothing and barely made it back up the stairs before Charles finally found the opportunity he had been long waiting for to use his beloved flared pistol.

As the magnesium flare set fire to a pile of papers and sacks Jeffrey had previously piled by the inner door, Ikil saw a familiar figure—Zahra Shafik—at the back of the seething crowd of men trying to break in. Cooly, he took aim and shot her twice. Bafflingly while both shots seemed to hit their target, neither did any damage whatsoever. Ikil then seemed to go mad. Screaming, he fled the shop out of the back door, threw his pistol away and jumped over the back wall screeching about "the war" and "the cave". Taking this as their cue, the rest of the group fled in a similar manner. Of course, heroic Dudley was last to leave—hurling a bottle of rubbing alcohol into the flames that had now taken hold in the downstairs hallway.

An hour or so later, the friends—battered, bruised, smelling of smoke and three of them sporting large bloodstains on their clothes—made it back to their hotels. Last to arrive was Ikil, who would offer little explanation for his behaviour.

Now, it seemed, the group was in a bind. The Grand Rite (whatever that might be) started in two days' time, and three of the group—Ikil, Jeffrey and particularly Charles—were in no state to intervene. What should they do?

This post is a session summary for my weekly 7th edition Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign.

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