Posts tagged Andrew Hooks

Eternal Lies – Session 23

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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Eternal Lies – Session 21-22

This one covers 2 sessions…investigating is slow work and I’m trying to catch up!

EARLY DECEMBER, 1934: The Investigators decided to leave New York and travel to an area in England called the Severn Valley. They were following leads drawn from their experiences in Ethiopia, including references to an obscure occult text called Revelations of Gla’aki. Spanish archaeologist BARTOLO ACUÑA had said that he’d learned where to dig in Ethiopia by poring over the Revelations. The Investigators were also aware that Oxford educated archaeologist HUSSAIN SOLIMAN was rumored to be traveling to the Severn Valley with the mysterious Emporium of Bangkok Antiquities.

Before they departed, they tended to some other affairs. Chantelle Perreault met with her mother DELPHINE, who’d (perversely?) chosen the Christmas holidays as a time to visit New York. Concerned with the effects that the Nectar trade was having on Murder, Incorporated, James “Tick Tock” Cohan introduced some of his friends to the ascetic meditation techniques he learned from MUHOHO while in Ethiopia.

In hopes of resolving their recent argument, Luke Davis went to meet with his mentor RICHARD NEWMANN at the professor’s Miskatonic University office. Newmann was behaving strangely, and seemed especially agitated by Luke’s associations with Soliman, Acuña, and missing archaeologist GEORGE AYERS. (The latter being a cultist who evaded the 1924 Los Angeles massacre by luck.) Newmann attacked Luke, who escaped unharmed and headed back to New York.

Luke and Dorothy Howard consulted the strange and obscene waterlogged tome that had been given to them at the airport. Once again, their immersion into the outré led Luke and Dorothy to have sex. While Luke felt his knowledge of obscure matters deepen, Dorothy found herself feeling empty and alienated after the sex.

The group departed aboard the Silver Sable for London and then made preparations to travel to the Severn Valley, known to be an area haunted by legends, folktales, and strange occurrences—not to mention an 18th century cult, which worshipped the pagan god Gla’a’ki. When consulting maps of the area, Dorothy noticed that, based on established physical scale and distances, the constituent areas of the Severn Valley could not possibly fit within its geographic confines. She was unable to completely fathom what this might mean, outside of a possible distortion of space and/ or time. None of her companions seemed to understand what was troubling her. To them, there appeared to be no discrepancy.

The Investigators drove through increasingly sullen countryside to the city of Brichester, which lies at the epicenter of the myths and tales that concern the Severn Valley. Also, the university library there is known to be improbably well-stocked with strange texts. It was rumored to hold the original handwritten text of the Revelations of Gla’aki.

No Christmas tree lighting ceremony for our investigators this year

DECEMBER 29, 1934: The Investigators checked into Hotel Victoria, located in Victoria’s sprawl, the red bricked center of the city. They noticed a strange man watching them in the streets, but he disappeared with seemingly unnatural speed. Overnight, Dorothy tried to fathom her strange intuitions about the area by making some sketches. She fell into a trance state, during which she involuntarily scrawled an ominous “message,” apparently channeled by another consciousness.

DECEMBER 30, 1934: The group made its way to nearby Brichester University, easily discerned by its dirty white stone buildings. While Chantelle, Dorothy, and Luke visited the University library, James stopped at the chapel. Despite the fact that it was Sunday, he found an old, cramped space, with only a few parishioners and an apathetic priest. James noticed a dirty hymnal in the back of one of the pews. It appeared to have been amended by hand and was stained with a translucent resin. The pages cut his already mangled finger and ultimately led the opening on it to open, as a mouth might. It seemed to whisper. James took the hymnal with him and fled.

At the library, Luke, Dorothy, and Chantelle delved deeper into the lore of the Severn Valley. They also investigated the whereabouts of the original texts of the Revelations of Gla’aki, which they discovered, were stolen in 1930—possibly by a former faculty member named Arnold Hird. The Investigators also learned that the local shop Yellowtree Books is known to have sold printed editions of the book.

The Investigators found references to several other locations—a partial list of which includes Deepfall Lake, which lies in a wooded area nearby, and was the possible location of the 18th century cult’s activities; the Church in High Street in nearby Temphill, where it’s said a rogue group of Knights Templar settled, and possibly formed a cult, after the Crusades; and the Isle Beyond Severnford, a small scrap of land, nearby, in the Severn River, where it is said that the Knights and/or druidic cults worshipped. The head librarian suggested that they consult with University professor ORWELL SANGSTER, an expert in local myth and history.

Dorothy flirted with a librarian, who invited her to have sex. They went to the librarian’s house. The sex once again left Dorothy feeling empty. The librarian seemed to regard the encounter as utilitarian and suggested that Dorothy leave as soon as possible.

Luke and Chantelle left the library and encountered the same figure they’d noticed watching them before. They gave chase, with Luke falling behind. Chantelle managed to stop the figure for a moment and found that he was a strangely transformed Hussain Soliman. He was coated with a phosphorescent moss-like substance, and his cheeks were horribly sunken. Again, he proved extremely agile, managing to slip away into the alleys of Brichester.

The Investigators reunited at the hotel. Dorothy slept with the strange map she’d found some time ago, hoping for some insight. James and Luke both meditated. The Investigators received a letter from someone named TRICIA PIPER that referred to them all by name. She claimed to have foreseen their coming and to be concerned for them, as they were in danger. It requested theater presence at the nearby Mercy Hill Sanitarium.

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Eternal Lies – Session 20

I’m behind on my updates! Expect a bunch of new posts over the course of this week…

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1934: Overnight, in the settlement of Dallol, Ethiopia, Luke Davis finished his initiation as a ritual magician. A strange rat-like FAMILIAR appeared, grinning, inside Dorothy Howard’s hair, as she lay injured on the floor. The creature approached Luke and suckled blood from his finger tip.

With the help of Chantelle Perreault, Luke began the ritual to open a Hyperspace Gate, a portal that can open on any point in space-time that the caster has seen in the past. The Investigators killed OGHAI, their guide, in the process, but were able to escape to Massaua, Eritrea. By a stroke of good fortune, they soon connected with CARLO SALVATORE, the Italian military officer they’d met shortly after arriving in Eritrea. He was able to have Luke’s and Dorothy’s injuries tended, and to set her up in a clinic to receive ongoing medical care.

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 25: The Investigators recuperated in Eritrea for about a week. In that time, Dorothy was visited by JEROME, the Afar dock- worker the group met shortly after arriving in Massaua. He seemed genuinely concerned about Dorothy, but also more serious than he had before. He revealed that he was in the same “army” with LAZARE, who had died in Dallol—and to whom Dorothy had formed a personal attachment. He also knew Dorothy’s real name. He seemed to know that Lazare was dead, but asked Dorothy to give him details. Dorothy passed along her address in New York. Jerome thanked her and wished her well.

EARLY DECEMBER: Back in New York, the Investigators took some time to personally recover from the shocks that experienced in Abyssinia. James “Tick Tock” Cohan found that the Nectar trade seemed to have spread in New York—or at least in the circles in which he moves. Chantelle was invited to Christmas dinner at Dorothy’s family home. She also received word that her mother was making a surprise stop in America and was hoping to connect with her.

Luke spoke by phone with his mentor, RICHARD NEWMANN. Newmann seemed angry with Luke for delving into the research of BARTOLO ACUÑA. They agreed to meet and speak in Arkham, Massachusetts. Dorothy received word that her father, THOMAS HOWRD, had been behaving in an erratic manner. He had approached her mother’s family, while apparently inebriated, and had requested money to supplement his current allowance. Dorothy went to visit Thomas and found him disheveled and confused. His apartment was dirty and untidy. She picked up after him a bit and warned him not to anger her grandfather, REGINALD SPENCER. Her father hugged her, atypically, and they said goodbye.

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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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Eternal Lies – Session 18

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 1934: Early in the day, the Investigators made ready to leave Kolluli. James “Tick Tock” Cohan spoke some more with MUHOHO, who advised him not to place too much faith in Luke. She said that he might be liberated from evil influences, but ultimately it might not be possible. When pressed, she suggested that Luke might be helped by the same practices she’d taught to James.

She and James spoke about GEORGE AYERS, the archaeologist and former cultist, whom the party seek, near the site of his last dig, in Dallol, Ethiopia. She said that Ayers had been remorseful over the death of the people he hired for his dig. They died when a volcano erupted at Dallol. She revealed that she was part of a group of “guardians,” who had triggered the volcano using ritual magic. They’d hoped to imprison whatever Ayers and BARTOLO ACUÑA had been seeking to excavate.

Taking pity on Ayers, as they found him in the desert, the guardians taught him ascetic practices to silence mouths growing on his body. She told James that he might find Ayers in The Dream Scourged Halls, a set of strange rock formations deep in the desert. She showed him where this area was, but warned him that he might be endangering Ayers if he approached. An evil spirit known as the Agony on the Wind might be seeking Ayers, as might its agents.

The Investigators and their companions departed by camelback for the settlement of Dallol. After several grueling hours in the Danakil Desert, the group stopped to rest. Chantelle Perreault found that the heat and sweat had opened a small wound on her body. The party’s guides set up camp, and everyone rested. Chantelle and Luke Davis took turns keeping watch.

During Chantelle’s shift, a STRANGE FIGURE appeared from out of the desert. It seemed to skip through space in a stuttering way. It resembled the robed figure that Luke had glimpsed from the locomotive, when traveling from Mersa Fatma to Kolluli. It was wrapped in rust colored robes, so that Chantelle could not glimpse its face. It approached and removed the covering from the lower part of its face, revealing an impossibly wide mouth. It moved in toward Chantelle.

The rest of the party awoke, and a fight ensued. Dorothy Howard looked for LAZARE, the young guide with whom she’d bonded. She found that he was in motion, leaping onto the strange figure and attacking it with the knife he’d shown off earlier. Several shots were fired, while some of the Investigators’ group fled in terror. Chantelle was able to shoot and spectacularly kill the injured figure. Most of the men who fled were recovered from the desert. One went missing. Lazare showed look how to better point his gun while Dorothy looked on.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24: Lazare was able to scout out a remarkably expedient short cut through the desert, shaving days off the groups’ travel time. They found themselves near the Dallol settlement, where a group of Afar had taken up residence. Most other Afar the Investigators had encountered avoid this group, as their sedentary lifestyle is viewed as aberrant. They are also feared for their celebration of The Agony On The Wind. It may be related to The Liar From Beyond, the entity the Investigators been seeking in hopes of explaining the 1924 Los Angeles massacre. One of the men the Investigators hired showed them a bite scar. He said he inflicted it on himself, while dreaming under the influence of The Agony on the Wind.

There was a debate as to the group’s next steps. Their taciturn older guide OGHAI suggested that they resupply at Dallol settlement, while Lazare believed they should avoid the place and seek out the dig site directly. He insisted he could find water and food for the group in the desert. Knowing that they would have to pass near the settlement no matter what destination they chose, the Investigators chose to stop at the settlement. They decided to send a small group in to trade, including Oghai, James, and a couple of other men, including YONAS, the nervous demolitions specialist.

Oghai suggested that James follow at a slight distance, but it soon became clear that no one in the settlement was alert to their approach. The area was eerily quiet, with a few people wandering silently about, as if in a trance. One was a teenaged girl, who James saw mutilate herself with a piece of glass. An older woman came and took the glass away and began cutting herself. The girl finger painted with her blood one of the salt block buildings next to her. James also passed a very young boy who was curled up sleeping with a dog. The boy was muttering in his sleep about the New Moon.

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Eternal Lies – Session 17

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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Eternal Lies – Session 16

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 20, 1934: In Axum, Eritrea, the Investigators were standing outside the home in which the body of archaeologist BARTOLO ACUÑA had been discovered. Acuña was hanging from the ceiling by his wrists, and his host lay murdered nearby. A crowd had gathered, and members of the local constabulary were questioning the Investigators about their presence there and about the fact that Chantelle Perreault had visited the house on the previous day. Dorothy Howard pointed out to the officers that trucks had just left town, presumably bearing archaeologist HUSAIN SOLIMAN and his companions.

1934 was a strange time in Ethiopia…the things you learn in these games

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1934: The Investigators made their way back to the home of their own host, DESTA EJIGU. They noticed that the residents of Axum were eying them suspiciously and decided to make arrangements to leave town, as the constables had suggested. Their guide ABAI found them a place on a truck that was leaving town soon. Luke Davis sent a telegram to customs officer CARLO SALVATORE, in which he implicated Soliman and his companions in the murders in Axum. Chantelle sent a telegram to her estranged husband, ALEXANDRE, updating him of her movements and experiences.

The truck carried the group back to the port city of Massaua. During the trip, Abai talked with James “Tick Tock” Cohan. He offered James a job with his employers and expressed concern over the intentions of James’ companions. James declined the offer, which might have taken him to England, and he and Abai wished each other well.

Arriving in Massaua, the Investigators parted with Abai. They noticed a general tension between the Italian military authorities and the indigenous people that had not been there before. The Investigators conferred briefly with Salvatore, who told them that Soliman and his companions were being detained for questioning at the airport, thanks to Luke’s telegram. Salvatore also pointed them to a new guide, OGBAI.

Ogbai is older, more taciturn and commanding, but seems knowledgeable and competent. He speaks English, Italian, and Arabic and knows the area around Dallol, Ethiopia. The Investigators have decided to travel there in search of the remains of the 1924-1926 dig led by Acuña and missing archaeologist/cultist GEORGE AYERS.

According to Ogbai’s suggestions, the Investigators caught a boat from Massaua to the smaller mining town of Mersa Fatma. Here they approached the manager of the Compagnia Mineraria Coloniale, RENZO SEGNI. The company is largely shut down, so Segni agreed to let them use a small locomotive to travel through the harsh Danakil Desert to Iron Point, near the small village of Kolluli. Dorothy and Chantelle joined him for dinner at his home, where he insinuated interest in some sort of engagement involving them and his three wives.

Luke conferred with Segni’s capable assistant, SINUHE DJAU, who warned of bandits and of a group of Afar who have put aside a more traditional nomadic lifestyle. They have inhabited a small villager closer to the Dallol dig site, surrounded by what they call the Agony on the Wind.

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Eternal Lies – Session 15

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 20, 1934: In Axum, Eritrea, Chantelle went to interview BARTOLO ACUÑA for a second time. It was early morning. As she approached the house at which Acuña was staying, Chantelle glanced through a window and saw an old man looking back at her in fear. He was Acuña’s host, whom Chantelle had glimpsed before. He signaled her with his eyes that something was wrong inside the house.

Chantelle stopped to listen. She heard the sounds of angry men speaking English. Only a few words reached her—something about hanging something. Chantelle could not get a good view without exposing herself, but she guessed that there was a small group of people present. She made a hasty exit.

So many TTRPGs…I love the huge variety of settings and styles

Still acting as tour guide, ABAI led Dorothy and James to Cathedral of St. Mary of Zion, (Tsion Maryam). The attached Chapel of the Tablet is rumored to be the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. Virtually no one is allowed access to the Ark, but James’ heartfelt plea allowed him to briefly visit the chapel. (Dorothy’s offer of a sizable donation was declined.) The priest accompanied him, and he found the Ark under armed guard. He witnessed a strange shimmering effect in the air of the chapel.

Chantelle returned to the house at which the group was lodging. Luke had woken just recently to find that the false journal he’d had planted has been stolen. Dorothy told him what she’d witnessed at the house where Acuña was staying. Luke spoke briefly with their host DESTA EJIGU in her garden.

The group shared another meal with Abai, who remained nervous. At night, James made his way to the tents by the Northern Field of stelae. He stole into the large screen tent and found a small typewriter and desk set up near a dinning table. He stole some documents, including an image of a cartouche and a letter from HUSAIN SOLIMAN to SAVITREE SIRIKHAN. James noted that there were other men stationed about, including someone sleeping in the back of the large tent and at least one other man in a small tent. He approached the entrance of an ancient tomb and overheard men talking about leaving Axum.

After James returned to the house, the group compared notes. They heard cries up the street. A crowd was gathering around the house where Acuña had been staying. The archaeologist and his host had been beaten to death. Acuña’s body was left hanging from the ceiling of the house. As local law enforcement agents approached the Investigators, Dorothy saw a few trucks driving away into the night, presumably carrying away Soliman and his companions.

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Eternal Lies – Session 14

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1934: In Axum, Eritrea, James “Tick Tock” Cohan continued to survey the street, while his companions interviewed Spanish archaeologist BARTOLO ACUÑA inside a nearby house. Tick Tock asked the group’s guide ABAI whether he knew of any strangers in town. Abai passed the question to a local woman, who confirmed that there was a group of foreigners in town, including the large angry man Tick Tock had already met.

the Investigators continued to interview Spanish archaeologist BARTOLO ACUÑA. He described the Ethiopian dig that he and missing cultist GEORGE AYERS led from 1924-1926. Their entire crew was lost when a volcano erupted near the ancient chamber they’d unearthed near Dallol. Ayers and Acuña were off site, visiting the Compagnia Mineraria Coloniale (CMC) in Mersa Fatma. Once the dig was halted, Acuña returned to Spain in exasperation, while Ayers headed back to Dallol, only to disappear. Acuña told Luke that the only possible remnants of the ancient chamber would be buried with the workers lost at Dallol.

Acuña said he’d fled Spain recently, as Franco asserted power there. He traveled to Eritrea to help remove one of the ancient obelisks here. When asked about Oxford-educated archaeologist HUSAIN SOLIMON, who also seems to be in Axum, Acuña was dismissive. In particular, he objects to Solimon’s ideas concerning door-like carvings in the bases of the some of the obelisks and the idea that they might open onto actual rooms. Acuña alluded to controversy concerning the deities to which the obelisks are dedicated, as well as the chamber at Dallol. Acuña believes the obelisks to have been associated with something called GOL-GOROTH, while the chamber at Dallol and its mouth-like inscription were emblematic of the unnamed PRISONER OF GLAAKI. Glaaki itself is a monstrous being venerated by medieval cults in England’s Severn Valley.

During this conversation, both Tick Tock and Chantelle noticed a strange man with a walking stick. He was standing across the street from the house where the interview was being held. He seemed to be watching, but was at a distance from which he could not be listening to what Acuña and the Investigators were saying. He noticed Tick Tock watching and turned to walk off. Tick Tock pursued, and the man stumbled, dropping a piece of paper. He made his way toward the field of obelisks on the north side of town, while Tick Tock stopped to examine the paper. It was a telegram from a Daniel Lowman in Bangkok, which mentioned the Severn Valley and a mysterious “she,” who seems to be in charge of the foreign visitors here.

The group made their way back to the house at which they would be bunking to compare notes and to eat. Abai joined them, at Chantelle’s request, though he would be sleeping elsewhere. He seemed nervous. He left after they’d eaten and agreed to return in the morning to show them the local sights. Chantelle followed Abai and noted that he seemed to be following a circuitous route toward the north side of town, where the obelisks stand.

Street scene from the area and time period of our adventure

At the house, the group planned their moves for the following day. Tick Tock and Dorothy prepared to go with Abai to visit local churches and to distract him from the activities of the rest of the group. Luke decided to author a fake journal, which would point possible adversaries toward sites that are not significant to their current investigations. He would work overnight and then sleep during the day while the other Investigators were going about their activities. Chantelle made ready to speak with Acuña further and to possibly feed him false information.

Overnight, an alien mouthlike opening appeared in Dorothy’s midsection. It spoke in her voice, but its words were nonsensical. The mouth disappeared, and Luke and Chantelle moved to comfort Dorothy. Their hostess came to see what was wrong and to insist that the men and women not mingle.

Early in the morning, Dorothy and Tick Tock left with Abai to see the sights. They stopped at the Axum Ministry of Culture to register as visitors. They made their way to the Cathedral of Tsion Maryam (St. Mary of Zion) in hopes of glimpsing the Ark of the Covenant, which is rumored to be here, and to keep Abai distracted.

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Eternal Lies – session 13

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1934: In Massaua, Eritrea, the Investigators returned to the Hotel Internazionale. They left a message for ABAI, the guide they’d obtained, telling him they’d be visiting the Italian customs office. There, they met with CARLO SALVATORE, a somewhat corrupt government official and acquaintance of ELMER WICKER. (Luke’s friend/ dealer back in New York.) Dorothy and Chantelle catered to his ego and wallet. After a generous donation, he provided the Investigators with transit papers to carry them throughout Eritrea. He also answered some questions about the archaeologist BARTOLO ACUÑA, who he said was in transit to Axum (or Aksum) with a group of Italian soldiers. He confirmed that Acuña led a dig with GEORGE AYERS at the desert site of Dallol in Abyssinia, from 1924-26, and that the dig ended due to a volcanic eruption.

The Investigators reconnected with Abai, who got them passage aboard a truck headed to Axum, a quiet, ancient town, which houses the seat of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Axum is also home to an expansive field of standing stones—or stelae—along its northern edge. Most of these were erected between the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D., and they range in height from 3’ to over 100’. (The longer stones have mostly fallen.) Some of the obelisks depict buildings that are 10-13 stories in height.

Abai told the Investigators they would have to bunk with people in town, but said this practice was not highly unusual. There are no hotels in Axum. As the truck arrived in Axum, the Investigators noticed a group of Italian soldiers leaving town. A few stayed behind with a disheveled civilian who turned out to be Bartolo Acuña. He agreed to be interviewed in the home of his host.

Most of the Investigators went to question him, with Tick Tock staying behind to keep an eye on some other strangers in town. Having sized them up, they appeared to be professional muscle. He approached one, who appeared to be the group’s leader. This man was large and unfriendly. He threatened Tick Tock and moved to punch him. He told him to leave town with his friends.

Meanwhile, the other Investigators found Acuña to be a drunk and a boor, but knowledgable concerning many of their questions. He is affiliated with the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, but currently woking for the Italian Cultural Ministry, removing artifacts from Ethiopia. He confirmed that the Dallol dig was cut short by a volcano in 1926. Both he and Ayers avoided the blast, as they were away negotiating with the Compagnia Mineraria Coloniale, (CMC,) an industrial concern that was hauling gear and people for them by train. After the explosion, Acuña returned to Spain, while Ayers lingered in Abyssinia before going missing. Acuña stayed in Spain, until the Civil War drove him out.

Acuña told the Investigators that the Dallol dig had been partially successful. Before the eruption, the archaeologists breached an ancient chamber belonging to an Abyssinian mystery cult, wherein a large, monstrous moth had been impressed in stone. The cult venerated a deity associated with orgiastic rituals. Acuña said he knew were to look, due to a careful reading he made of The Revelations of Glaaki. Acuña said that Ayers had met him through correspondence, after hearing of his ideas concerning the book. The Dallol dig was largely funded by Ayers’ associate RAMON ECHAVARRIA, before his death.

We left off with the Investigators still questioning Acuña.

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