3 min read

MoN 057: So Old, It Shouldn’t Exist

Now Kirk panicked.

As the talk continued about how to get into the shed, and whatever presumably lay beneath, the group were surprised to hear the sound of another lorry coming up from behind them. The investigators leapt into action and took up firing positions to engage and neutralise this new threat. They needn’t have bothered, however—the truck stopped 200 yards away, and Dr George Burton extricated himself from the cab. George has returned to the party! And—even better—he had brought a new friend with him—an American calling himself James Powell.

Introductions were made when George and James got to the group’s laager, and the group fell again to talking about how to neutralise the rifle-armed guards lurking in the shed’s vicinity.

Eventually, Gilbert wondered out loud if there might be another entrance somewhere. This idea energised the group; it seemed the best place to search for such would be the walls of the escarpment, which lay about four miles away. Examining them with binoculars, it seemed that caves may indeed pierce the cliffs.

Labouriously, they made their way to the cliffs. It was far enough that they felt they had to drive, but progress off the beaten path was slow. By mid-to-late afternoon, though, they had reached the eastern cliffs and begun a comprehensive search. It didn’t take long—they quickly found a massive 50-foot-wide cave mouth piercing the escarpment atop a virgin slope of soft sand. Kirk, obviously, tried to drive up the dune but only managed to get about halfway up before his lorry slid back down. Still, it was a miracle he didn’t roll his truck.

By now, James had trudged slowly up to the top of the dune and found some rather disturbing tracks—sets of five circles about six feet long. Whatever had left the tracks was clearly huge. When Kirk eventually found his way up the dune, he shrieked in terror at the sight of them, fell over and rolled back down the dune, screaming all the way.

By now, most of the group had crested the dune. When Kirk rejoined them, having changed into some clean clothes (a wholly inappropriate suit of impeccable and expensive cut), the group discussed their next move; it seemed that the cave warranted further study. Another dune of soft virgin sand sloped down into the cave. A flare fired by Gilbert revealed the slope was about 30 meters long and ended in a flat piece of floor. Cleverly, the group fixed ropes to some of the stone blocks lying about the dune before descending; several of them were concerned about their ability to climb back up this side of the dune without assistance.

Going Underground

Reaching the bottom of the dune, they discovered the floor was suspiciously flat. Kirk—testing a terrible theory—cleaned some of the floor off to reveal octagonal paving stones. This development unnerved the man intensely. His bemused companions made more discoveries. They seemed to be in a gargantuan corridor sheathed in massive cyclopean stone blocks or unguessable antiquity. Overhead, the ceiling arched fully 30 feet high. Dust lay thickly everywhere, and the air felt stale.

George—skilled archaeologist that he was—could offer no rational explanation. This place seemed so old that it defied explanation or categorisation. It was so old it should not exist.

No matter; there was but one way to go. Creeping forward through the sepulchral darkness, the group quickly discovered massive ten-foot-square doorways piercing the walls of the corridor. None dared explore these looming black portals.

The Shaft of Dread

The corridor ran dead straight and level for about a mile before it began to narrow. Eventually, a pit—or perhaps a shaft—blocked further progress. Kirk viewed this shaft with extreme dread, for he knew death and doom lurked within. A metal box lay on their side of the shaft, and the group ascertained it was actually a lid (or perhaps a bridge). It was heavy, and its mechanism was decidedly queer, but eventually, four of the intrepid explorers managed to unfurl it. It clanged shut over the pit.

Now Kirk panicked. He somehow knew that the loud clang would have awoken something lairing in the pit and that it should not get out. The lid needed to be latched. Feverishly, the burly man worked to secure the lid. He did so just in time for Gilbert, his ear pressed to the ancient metal, heard a shrill piping emanating from below. Just as Kirk latched the lid, something large and supremely powerful slammed into the underside. All the party heard strange slobbering, slopping, glooping sounds coming from below. The lid shuddered under the assault of the unseen and unknown creature. Clearly, tarrying here was foolish.

The party rushed on along a passage that sloped gently downwards. After perhaps another mile, they came to an intersection. To their right, the passageway sloped steeply downwards. Going that way seemed unwise. To their left, at some unmeasurable distance, the sharp-eyed investigators spotted a single glimmering light…

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

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