3 min read

MoN 062: Into the Secret Cave

As sand—hurled aloft by the explosions—yet drifted through the air and the sound of the explosions gently faded

Fleeing Cuncudgerie, the party escaped into the desert, leaving behind four bullet-riddled corpses and an entire town full of witnesses. Worse news was to come. The next morning, Charles declared he had had enough and was leaving; Alice and Vincenzo were overjoyed with their master’s decision. Taking one of the trucks, Charles bid his farewell to his friends and disappeared toward the coast. He had a long journey ahead of him back to New York, and he was already dreaming of the luxuries he would enjoy on the way home.

Thus diminished, the remaining investigators drove further into the sandy, sun-baked hills to set up camp. Both Orson and Celeste were badly injured and needed to rest if they were to stand any chance of surviving the rigours of the next few weeks.

A Cautious Approach

About a week later, on the 7th of December, both were sufficiently rested and ready to continue the fight. Four days after that, the group—after a tremendously careful approach—were examining the destroyed shed and laughing over the shattered remains of three of the trucks they had boobytrapped. It was obvious, though, that no one had dug their way out of the buried city through the unendingly long stair the group had blown up as they retreated after their last disastrous foray.

It slowly dawned on the group that their secret entrance to the city might not still be secret. However, given they had no other way in, they had little choice but to investigate. Another cautious approach paid dividends.

Gunfight at the Secret Cave

The party’s foes had indeed found the cave, but these guards were keen to parley. One of the guards waved a white flag vigorously as the party approached. It seemed a gunfight might not be inevitable. Tense negotiations followed. It transpired that the “master” wanted to speak with the characters and that they should wait outside until he arrived.

Two hours later, their patience was rewarded. The master arrived. The small, middle-aged man—obviously an academic by his build—who climbed down the dune to meet them was not John Carver as the group had suspected. Instead, they were face to face with Doctor Robert Houston—one of the members of the Carlyle Expeidtion long thought dead in Kenya.

Houston was surprisingly chatty. He asked and answered questions, although several of the group seemed to think he avoided telling the whole truth at various points of the conversation. He seemed particularly keen on locating Ikil Lit and Doctor Dudley—apparently, he did so hate loose ends—and asked the party if they knew where Roger Carlisle and Jack Brady might be. Of Jacob Rossini, Karl Lehmann and James Powell, he would say little except that they had joined the group and now worshipped its master Nyarlathotep. (Although he did add that Jacob Rossini had been particularly chatty.)

The news that their enemies were looking for Roger Carlisle and Jack Brady surprised the group, but they were delighted that Ikil Lit and Doctor Ducley yet remained beyond their enemies’ reach. Houston promised to tell them everything if only they would come into the city unarmed so he could show them around “properly”. The group declined—they weren’t idiots, after all. As Houston walked back up the dune, Kirk Smith decided enough was enough. While he may have approached them under a flag of truce, Houston had to die. A spirited gunbattle broke out. Kirk shot Houston in the head without effect. In return—somehow—Houston sent Kirk mad. While some of his friends tried to subdue the burly man, the rest shot at Houston’s guards, killing several of them. In return, the survivors ducked undercover and threw dynamite down the dune. None of the sticks landed anywhere near the group.

After a few minutes, the dynamite stopped coming, and silence descended over the area. As sand—hurled aloft by the explosions—yet drifted through the air and the sound of the explosions gently faded, several of the party—led by Orson and Celeste—dashed up the dune—keen to take the battle to their enemy; they reached the top of the dune without being shot at. Still, once they crested it and entered the cave mouth, they were perfectly silhouetted against the blue desert sky. A defender lurked in the darkness with a lightning gun. Moments later, one of Kirk’s newly hired bodyguards was nothing more than a smoking corpse, and the man—a rearguard of sorts had fled into the darkness of the deeper passages.

With the cave secured—at least for now—the rest of the party struggled up the dune. It seemed—finally—that they had Houston and his minions on the run and that the advantage was theirs…

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

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