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Eternal Lies – Session 25

JANUARY 1, 1935, TUESDAY: Amid the bloody chaos at the Mercy Hill Mental Institution, the Investigators convinced their former guide ABAI to travel to London. Once there, he would wait for them to get him out of the country. James “Tick Tock” Cohan expressed hope for and disappointment in Abai.

At the hotel, Dorothy perused the comic she purchased at Yellowtree Books and was drawn into a state of heightened arousal. Chantelle Perreault kept watch over Dorothy, while Luke Davis and James meditated in their room. In the morning, the group met PROFESSOR ORWELL SANGSTER at Brichester University. They headed into the countryside to find Deepfall Lake, the center of a dense body of local legend. The lake was lined with trees, and on one side, six houses stood. These were built in the 18th century by the followers of a strange pastor named THOMAS LEE. They came seeking something called GLA’AKI, which they venerated, but they soon disappeared. The houses were also the site of a series of disappearances happened in the area in the 1890s, and the houses have been abandoned ever since. Their last owner, GILBERT CELESTE, was accused of murdering the missing people. He was dubbed “The Ripper of the Lake,” and was executed in 1893.

As they approached, Sangster lectured them about the history of the area. He and James parked the car up the road from the houses and kept watch, as the party had noted strange, human-shaped forms moving in the trees across the lake. James noticed the water stirring and smelled a terrible odor coming from the lake. Beneath its surface, he saw the outlines of strange buildings, but these disappeared. Later, a large eye stalk emerged from the water to look at him. The human-shaped figures moved closer. One of them appeared to be missing archaeologist HUSAIN SOLIMAN still strangely transformed.Orwell Sangster fired his gun at Soliman, who appeared to catch a bullet and flick it aside. Soliman told them to leave.

Meanwhile, Dorothy, Luke, and Chantelle went about exploring the derelict houses. Aside from dust and an air of abandonment, they found a scrap of paper wedged between some floorboards. It mentioned “the green decay” and warned its reader to leave. The group also found the remnants of a base camp, probably belong to the Emporium of Bangkok Antiquities. It appeared that a scene of violence had occurred, leaving an outer wall and one of the bedrooms badly damaged. Strange writing lined the walls and stairs. Words had been spread around in a strange green and silver medium: THEY HAVE STOLEN THE BOOKS LAUGHTON SAW THE HELIX TRUTH. In another house, new furnishings had been installed, but peculiarly organized. A neatly made bed was in the kitchen, while an unplugged refrigerator with rotting food rested in a bath tub.

Hearing gunshots, Dorothy, Luke, and Chantelle emerged to find Sangster and James engaged with Soliman and the other strange forms. Terrified, the group got to their car and fled. Suddenly they found themselves driving in a different area, near Brichester and several miles away from Deepfall Lake.

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Eternal Lies – Session 19

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24: In a salt block building, in the settlement of Dallol, Ethiopia, the Investigators were interviewed by the leader of a strange group of local Afar. She was a striking and intense woman named TSHOMBE. She spoke to the Investigators through a translator, an elderly man. She told them the whispers of the Agony on the Wind had told her they would come. She believes they are pilgrims, seeking communion with the Agony. She asked if they were carrying any relics sacred to the Agony and was disappointed to find that they had only the book, The Cults of the Aksumite Empire.

Tshombe offered her blessings to the party. James “Tick Tock” Cohan had already received a small benediction, which had led to the loss of part of a finger to something within the cloth wrapped around Tshombe’s upper body. The rest of the group demurred, which drew some suspicious glances from the Afar, who look at Tshombe in an almost worshipful manner.

Though Tshombe seemed benevolently disposed toward the Investigators, she showed antipathy toward their guides. While she allowed OGHAI and YONAS to live, she had the head of LAZARE delivered in a canvas sack. She allowed it to roll across the floor so that the Investigators could see that the flesh around Lazare’s mouth had been cut away, exposing his teeth. Dorothy Howard, who’d developed an attachment to Lazare was particularly horrified.

Hole in the salt crust – Dallol – photo credit:197travelstamps.com

The Investigators were asked if they wished to venerate the Agony on the Wind. They were pointed toward a room in the back of the salt block building. They could hear moaning coming from inside. James was allowed to remain with Tshombe outside the room, while the rest of the Investigators reluctantly agreed to offer obeisance to the Agony. They were escorted into an unfinished space with a dirt floor. In it, a trough had been dug out by people crawling on hands and knees. The Investigators and their guides were expected to contribute, and so they rooted around in the dirt.

Yonas was outraged and horrified and made to throw a stick of dynamite, but the Investigators intervened, attempting to save their own lives and convince the Dallolites that they were not in league with Tshombe’s enemies. Their efforts were successful, but Yonas was executed in front of them.

The Investigators were taken to a small salt block building so that they could rest before being escorted to the dig site. Because James had earned Tshombe’s approval, they were allowed to keep Oghai with them, but they were told they were responsible for his conduct. Once the group was alone, Luke Davis told them that he had discovered a means of invoking powerful magic to carry them away from their current circumstances. Unfortunately, doing so would require the sacrifice of a life.

Oghai was appalled that the Investigators were capitulating to Tshombe and possibly to other dark forces. He attempted to shoot Luke, but missed. A stray bullet struck Dorothy and nearly killed her. Chantelle Perreault disarmed and subdued Oghai. Guards were drawn by the gunshots. Despite the Investigators’ inability to keep Oghai under control, Tshombe was won over by their disavowal of Oghai and by their request that they be allowed to tend to Dorothy’s injuries themselves.

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