(Arkham, June 26th 1923)
The next few days were spent deep in further investigations, but little else was learnt. Maurice received the old crime reports and an autopsy report for Marion Allen. The revelations therein revealed that some kind of cult or other sinister organisation may have been at work back in the 1870s, but further investigations proved fruitless.
With few leads to go on, on the evening of June 26th Ikil and Dudley discussed taking a certain terrible, perhaps sanity-shattering, step. Revealing the presence of the golden mask they had recovered in Peru, they explained to their new companions exactly what had happened in the Peruvian highlands during the spring of 1921. Surprisingly, both Maurice and Charles took these revelations in their stride.
Ikil—ever keen to protect Dudley (in this instance, from himself)—took the decision to gaze into the back of the golden mask. Before he did so, however, the group took certain precautions. Ikil disarmed himself and the other three handcuffed him to a chair in case he should “forget himself”.
Ikil examined the front of the mask and then turned it over. Instantly, he felt as if he was falling. He saw an ancient pyramid split open and pallid tentacles dripping with writhing maggots burst forth. He saw thousands of people of every colour, size and shape worshipping before a black mountain, and he saw darkness envelope the sun before ebon tendrils quested forth to consume the world.
Ikil was suddenly back in Dudley’s house. He had wet himself and was somewhat shaken by the event. These visions almost unmanned Dudley and Ikil. They thought they were done with Peru, but both had a sinking feeling that perhaps their destinies—or dooms—lay in South America.
The next day, further research at the Orne library revealed little of import, although the investigators did find all of their good friend Jackson Elias’s books—including the Hungry Dead, which dealt (obliquely and with no reference to the more “fantastical” elements of the case) with certain events in Peru.
With these final avenues explored, it seemed that there was nothing for it but to actually visit the Washington farmhouse.
Ross’s Corner lay but a few miles north of Arkham, and reaching it took under an hour. As they pulled into the dilapidated, rundown spit of a town, Charles’s Bentley drew much attention, for it probably cost more than most of the townsfolk’s’ houses!
Investigation in Ross’s Corner reveals little more of use except that a woman, Maggie McPhirter, had gone missing last night, perhaps in the vicinity of the Washington farmhouse.
The Washington Farmhouse
The farmhouse lay but a mile or so outside town. It was a rundown place with an air of decrepitude and abandonment about it. Weeds and tall grasses grew close to the old house and its attendant part-collapsed barn. It was quiet in the farmhouse’s vicinity. No birds called to one another from the boughs of the forest that fringed the farm, and no sounds of animal life of any kind could be heard.
After some cautious exploration of the exterior, the group split into two pairs and burst into the farmhouse simultaneously through the front and rear doors. Inside, the smell of dampness and decay hung in the air, but it seemed someone had been in the house recently. Meagre possessions—perhaps of a hobo or similar itinerant—were scattered about the back room. As the characters investigated these pitiful possessions, a quiet shuffling or scuffing sound came from the cellar.
Instantly, the characters—already hyper-vigilant due to the alleged demon hiding someone in the house—leapt into action. Various firearms were drawn, and a brief but surprisingly loud conversation was quickly held. After a plan had been laid, Maurice began to descend the steep stairway into the cellar…
This post is a session summary for my weekly 7th edition Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign.
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