THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 1934: The Investigators borrowed a locomotive from the Compagnia Mineraria Coloniale in Mersa Fatma. They made arrangements to depart for the small village of Kolluli. Before they left, James “Tick Tock” Cohan assembled a small group of local men to act a guards. They were led by a young man named LAZARE. He was Afar and assured James that he and his companions were skilled at traveling in the desert.
The Investigators had been warned about bandits, so they were all wary, as the train traveled away from Mersa Fatma and into the desert. Dorothy Howard talked a bit with Lazare. He showed off his jile, a curved knife his father gave him. Meanwhile James bonded with YONAS, the taciturn demolitions specialist, formerly employed by the CMC. As they moved closer to the Ethiopian border, Luke Davis noticed a robed figure on camel back, watching the train from the horizon. An eerie breeze sprung up, and the man seemed to be aware of Luke’s gaze. He pointed the figure out to Chantelle Perreault. She caught a glimpse of it, but the train was already moving away.
Near evening, the train reached the end of the line, known as Iron Point. At the village nearby village of Kolluli, the Investigators were greeted by curious children, with whom James bonded. The group was also scrutinized by a much respected leader of the local Afar community, MUHOHO. She invited the Investigators to her home for food. The Investigators’ guide, OGHAI, strongly urged them to accept her invitation.
Muhoho talked with the Investigators, who were hungry and tired from they trip through the desert. She seemed to be pumping them for information concerning their deeper reasons for traveling to an old archaeological dig site at the remote point known as Dallol. A strange group of Afar have taken up residence in that area, and Muhoho warned the Investigators to avoid them. She seemed suspicious of Luke, and asked Oghai to remove him briefly, so she could warn the Investigator about her impressions of him. She also gave James some guidance concerning his desire to quit using nectar. He told her about the loss of his mentor, VINCE STACK, who was lost in the 1924 massacre. She showed him some simple meditative practices, and he allowed his one dose of Nectar to be poured out onto the floor.
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