Christian Kløve
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The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed
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Previously: Chapter 1: In which friends are made, allies are lost and property is put to the torch

Darkness was falling. I was standing before the smoldering remnant of what had been my home until a few short hours ago. Policemen in uniforms and city officials were bustling around like bees in a nest, which had been stirred. I felt someone tugging my arm - the red haired woman, beckoning me to follow, away from my house and from prying eyes and curious ears. I motioned to Mr. O'Toole to follow us.

The woman introduced herself as Lita Chandler - she did not divulge her occupation, though I made sure to ask. She proceeded to tell us a story so incredible, that had I not seen with my very eyes, what I had seen, I would have laughed and proclaimed her a lunatic. Now I had no choice but to believe her.

Arkham, she said, was home to a group of individuals, a cult of sort, who worshipped old and evil powers, and who fed and fostered the wretched, wicked creatures, who had invaded my house. Tonight was a special night, she said, since Pluto was aligned with a mysterious unseen celestial body, providing the mystical energies needed for the cult to fulfill ... a plan of sort. What exactly Lita was unsure of. What she was sure of was, that we only had until midnight to find out what the cult was planning. That, however, would be difficult, as we did not know, who was part of the cult. So, she said, we needed to spend the rest of the night talking to whoever we knew to locate any members of this cult that we were able to. After that, we would figure out what to do to stop them from what we were trying the achieve.

"I must go," she said, "I have some leads, that I need to follow up on, but I will try to find you later tonight, if at all possible." With that she turn and stalked into the darkness, leaving us speechless but resolved.

I looked at Mr. O'Toole and was about to speak, when a figure approached. "Dr. Christopher! You did make it. I am ever so pleased to see you, sir!" He apologised profusely for his sudden disappearance, which he attributed to a sudden lack of nerves. I told him not to apologise, for this night was certainly unlike any, I had experienced before, but that I would love his company in the coming hours. He accepted, and we soon found ourselves comparing notes. It turned out, he had grabbed the tome of folk lore, that I had had in my study, and we began looking into these ghoul creatures to prepare for whatever lay ahead.

Mr. O'Toole meanwhile told me, that he had friends in the southern part of the town, who he would seek out, to find any information, he could.
Dr. Christopher and I had indexed the available information and were ready to move on, when a shadow crossed the moon. I felt a chill in my bones, but the shadow flew over us, towards Southside - the direction Mr. O'Toole had just gone!

We hurried after him, stopping briefly the talk to a group of university students, who recanted, that they had seen lights in the archeology department. One of them said, that she had heard singing of sorts from behind the old oak doors. We made a mental note to perhaps seek out the old archeology professor, one Peter Warren, later, but first we needed to catch up to Mr. O'Toole.

He did seem as if the ground had swallowed him. Now I had no reservations when it came to Mr. O'Toole, and I knew that he was perfectly capable of eluding those, he did not want to meet. I wondered, was I amongst those?

We went back into Rivertown, and I spent some minutes reading a passage in my book regarding an arcane ritual, which if performed correctly could rend the flesh off the bones of living creatures - according those this book of lore, of course. But, I wondered, having seen what we had seen, could there be a grain of truth in the old tales?

I steadied myself mentally and crossed into the university grounds. Most buildings were dark, mirroring the sky, but a few lights were burning, among these those in the archeology department. With ever so slight hesitation, I knocked on the old door, but instead of Peter Warren's voice prompting me to enter, I heard something else. A low chanting, rhythmic and steady, almost hypnotic. I shook my head and tried the door knob, opening the door. A man clad in a blue cape stood before me, holding an ancient tome, his eyes malevolent, dark and piercing. He strode towards me, and in an instant grabbed my throat. I struggled against his attack, and remembered the spell, the shrivelling spell. I focused and the world grew dimmer. Something flowed through me into the air and caught the man. He screamed, and I focused again. His face ... I can only describe it like this: it melted like wax before a fireplace. His flesh ran like a molten candle, and he fell to the floor.

I was horrified, both with what I done, but also with ... with everything. I felt like crying, but steeled myself. "Peter," I called, "are you here?"

Peter Warren stepped out from behind a curtain. He looked different from the jovial man, I used to know. His eyes gleamed with hatred and disgust.

"You," he said, "of course it is you. I regret this, Daisy, you must know." He started towards me, intent on finishing, what the robed figure had begun. I had but moments before he would be upon me. I glanced at the book, the fallen man grasped in his hand, and with a sudden hunch, shifted his robe to unveil the name of the book. Unaussprechlichen Kulten!

"Peter, this man was not doing what you think he was doing. Look! The books, it is Unaussprechlichen Kulten. Remember our discussions on the sections dedicated to the manipulation of people of achademia? How we swore, we would never be led astray by such powers? Look at you! You have become just that, Peter, their puppet!"

He stopped. Something shifted behind his eyes, what I could not tell you. He sighed. "Daisy, you do not know, what you are up against. The thing in the woods... " He cut himself off, looked at me, then turned and ran back behind the curtain. I heard a door slamming, then a key turning. He was gone.

I turned to Dr. Chistopher. "Let's see what we can find here, shall we?" We looked through the discarded books, and found some vague references to ghouls and cults, but nothing definitive. I did notice, that crypts and tombs were heavily referenced. Perhaps a visit to the graveyard might prove fruitful?

I was contemplating these things, when the night grew silent, cold and dark, and something landed before me, something with no face at all to smile with, but only a suggestive blackness where a face ought to be. Dr. Christopher, bless him, took a step forward to shield me. As the creature assaulted him, I heard a familiar voice. "Ms. Walker." It was Lita. Again I felt that strange humming sensation of some unearthly power from her. She stepped towards the creature, giving me a few moments to consult an old book, an arcane encyclopedia, desparately trying to find anything that could help us.

Then I do not know what happended, but I came to myself standing over, or rather on top of, the creature, my hands drenched in its blood, its body twisted and mangled before me. Lita looked at me with part admiration, and perhaps a hint of fear.

I relaxed. The worst was over, I had somehow bested a beast with my own two fists.

Then it happened. A man, who had been watching us from underneath a nearby tree, emerged and approached us. Even in the darkness, I saw the gleam of steel, for he was carrying a blade not unlike that Mr. O'Toole had wielded with such brutal elegance just a few hours earlier. He was tall and muscular, and his face was covered by a mask, a mask showing terrible unhuman features of ghoul, goat and gruesomeness.

His intent was clear as he started to run towards me. I briefly recall another passage from the old arcane tome, which allowed the strong of will to harness the light of a thunderstrike. I spoke words, I did not understand, in a tongue no living creature knew, and a blazing light, stronger than a thousand lanterns shone from my hands directly into the face and eyes of the man. He stopped and growled in wrath, but I did not hesitate, I ran, north.

Stopping to catch my breath, I felt someone near me, and sprung up, startled and ready to fight or to flee. It was Mr. O'Toole. I breathed a sigh of relief.

"Ms. Walker? What has happened?"

"Quickly, Mr. O'Toole, a man assaulted me, us, in the univeristy garden."

Rarely have I seen such a change in demeanor. Mr. O'Toole's eyes went as dark as midnight in a tar pit, and his jaw clenched.

"Assaulted you, now, did he? Well, let us see how he likes this."

Mr. O'Toole drew out something cylindrical from his pocket, along with a match.

"Stay here, for you safety," he said disappearing into the night.

Silence.
Then...
The city shook as if an earthquake had struck. Windows cracked and dog howled. Not an earthquake. An explosion.

I gathered myself, and followed Mr. O'Toole. I found him in the unversity garden, locked in combat with assailant.

I gathered my will, focused on the spell and unleashed the frightening power within me. The masked man howled, then fell, silent. Mr. O'Toole winked back at me, seemingly undisturbed by the situation.

Lita tugged at me. "We need to move on. Mr. O'Toole can handle himself."
I sighed. "Mr. O'Toole, perhaps a visit to the cemetary could prove helpful?"

"Sure. I have heard rumblings and grunts about that meself as well. I'll head over there. You'll go back to Northside?"

"Yes, I believe so. We know that something is happening in the woods, but not what."

"Ok, but Ms. Walker? Be careful"

I nodded and followed Lita back to Northside.

The people of Northside were friendly, especially towards those whose purse were filled and loose. I am not a wealthy woman, and I spent more money than I would have normally, but the situation being what it were, I feared more for my sanity and for the wellbeing of Arkham than for my bank account. After all, if there is no tomorrow, what good is earthly wealth?

The people we met in smoky rooms and luxorious bars were of little help, save one, a small man of middle age and lower income, who told us, that he had on occasion seen strange gatherings at the hospital, where parties of strangely clad persons would meet near the morticians office. I thanked him, just as I heard the clock strike once. Half past eleven. Not much time left before midnight.

Lita and I agreed, that we would see, what we could find in the hospital before locating Mr. O'Toole and going to the woods, which seemed to be where the plan would resolve.

We stalked the night, fearful and cautious, but with purpose. The hospital, with its large buildings soon loomed over us, menacing and cold. There were people here. I suppose there would always be people in need of help. Little did they know, that the true help, the one they really needed hinged upon us, me, Mr. O'Toole, Dr. Christopher, and Lita.

I approached the door to the mortician's office and felt a strong sense of deja vu. Chanting, low, steady, insistant from within. My eyes stung with sweaty tears and I felt naseuos. This was all in wain. We couldn't do it, whatever it is. The door swung open, and two figures emerged. One clad in a blue cape. One dreseed in doctor's whites. They approached.

I ran.
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David Jensen
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League City
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Excellent. Well done.
 
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Bobby Marino
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That's the sealiest thing I've ever heard!
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Good stuff, I do suggest you post all of them in the same thread though, this way if someone subscribes to your story, they don't miss any pieces of it.
 
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Christian Kløve
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The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed
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Thank you for the kind words, both of you.

I have added a reply in the first session report with a link to this one. I prefer to have the different Chapters in separate threads, but this way, people subscribed will get a notification.
 
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orlando lopes de sa
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Really good stuff! One of the best session reports I've ever read!
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Christian Kløve
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orlopesdesa wrote:
Really good stuff! One of the best session reports I've ever read!


Thank you so much!
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Sitting Duck
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As a point of interest, Pluto wasn't discovered and named until 1931. I bring this up as the default year in Arkham Files games is 1926. Obviously, you could just say that the scenario takes place in the Thirties and leave it at that.
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Christian Kløve
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The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed
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sittingduck1313 wrote:
As a point of interest, Pluto wasn't discovered and named until 1931. I bring this up as the default year in Arkham Files games is 1926. Obviously, you could just say that the scenario takes place in the Thirties and leave it at that.


Heh. I was actually considering if Pluto had been discovered but frankly I was too lazy to look it up. Thanks though.
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Benjamin Tieman
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Excellent!!! Keep it up!
 
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MC Shudde M'ell
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Kløve wrote:
sittingduck1313 wrote:
As a point of interest, Pluto wasn't discovered and named until 1931. I bring this up as the default year in Arkham Files games is 1926. Obviously, you could just say that the scenario takes place in the Thirties and leave it at that.


Heh. I was actually considering if Pluto had been discovered but frankly I was too lazy to look it up. Thanks though.


Norman Withers discovered Pluto in 1923, at considerable cost to his mental well-being, as the experimental chronosynclastic infundibulum he designed revealed not only that celestial body, but hints of a more disturbing nature.
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