DECEMBER 30, 1934, SUNDAY: While visiting the small English city of Brichester, the Investigators received a letter from a woman they’d never met named TRICIA PIPER. In it, she claimed to have psychically glimpsed them. She referred to dangers around them and asked them to come visit her so that she might speak more clearly to them. The Investigators went to find Tricia at her address—a room at the Mercy Hill Mental Institution. The desk staff were not surprised by the Investigators’ arrival. Tricia had said they would be arrive that day.

Ward Attendant TOBY WEAVER escorted the Investigators through the pale green linoleum halls of Mercy Hill’s “new building.” Tricia was waiting for them inter private room. She was a young, pretty woman, serious and preoccupied. She spoke of an intelligence that was using her to communicate with the world. She said it had led her to write down a part of its living testament, but she said that another powerful intelligence was attempting to mislead her. She spoke of how its feral hunger had obscured the hard, clear voice she had heard perviously. She warned the Investigators about the dangers of “the lake.” The Investigators believed that she was most likely referring to Deepfall Lake—a local landmark known to be of interest to the archaeologist HUSAIN SOLIMAN and the EMPORIUM OF BANGKOK ANTIQUITIES, the shadowy institution for which he works. The lake is also rumored to be home to the mythic, inhuman entity known as GLA’AKI. (Presumably related to The Prisoner of Gla’aki—a mysterious force the Investigators have tracked since their stay in Los Angeles.)

The conversation with Tricia was cut short when the injury on James “Tick Tock” Cohan’s finger opened up, revealing a small mouth. The mouth shouted threats and obscenities at Tricia. James and Chantelle Perreault left the room, so Dorothy Howard and Luke Davis could continue the interview, but not much more information was forthcoming. In the hall, James was not himself. His finger was now silent, and to Chantelle, he appeared badly shaken, but otherwise stable. Inwardly, the stress of the last month, combined with the intimate, inexplicable horror he had just experienced, and he seemed, briefly, to lose himself.

Toby Weaver took the Investigators to meet a couple of inmates in the old building as well—one American and one Abyssinian. Both had been committed under strange circumstances. The American was an older, Black woman from Louisiana. Half her hand had been raggedly torn off, and she claimed to be writing a volume under the direction of Gla’aki as well. She expressed contempt for Tricia Piper and warned the Investigators of the dangers seen to be found at the lake. The Abyssinian turned out to be ABAI, the guide the Investigators had hired to take them to Axum. He appealed to James to save him from dark forces, which he said had attacked himself and his employers, members of The Emporium of Bangkok Antiquities.

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