29 August 2011

CoC: 25 Aug 2011 [Day 03]

CHARACTERS
Alexandrite Simon Addison: Parapsychologist, male, age 36. Speaks Latin. Yearly income $7500. Originally from Sheffield, England.
Mimosa MaiXue Mayberry: Police officer in homicide department, female, age 25. Speaks Mandarin. Ambidextrous. Yearly income $5500. Originally from Dahlonega, Georgia.
Ruth Day: Professor of archaeology/anthropology, female, age 34. Speaks Egyptian. Yearly income $3500.
Mabel Agatha Thujone: Waitress at a speakeasy, female, age 19. Left-handed. Yearly income $2500.
Frank Joe Franklin: Farmer/Mechanic, male, age 22. Yearly income $3500.
Saul Gideon: Safecracker, male, age 30. Yearly income $5500. Status at the end of the session: TEMPORARILY INSANE.


TODAY'S SESSION
16 January 1925, Friday

At Alexandrite's flat, as they await the evening party that Ruth will go to, the phone rings around 4pm. The operator voice transfers a call from Miss Ewa Cowles. Anthony Cowles has vanished: he never came home from NYU, where he went after the brunch. The police have been notified. He'd been feeling very paranoid lately and people had been following him around - strange foreigners at the halls of the university, and a black Hudson parked outside of his university.

Keeper-Ad: "I don't want to be here until 11 PM talking about handjobs and how Player-Je's character is a whore who's had more filthy, diseased cocks in her than the Shanghai Hospital."

Mabel goes to meet up with Saul the safecracker.
Ruth and Mimosa go to Emerson Imports.
Alex and Frank go to NYU (where they find nothing).

Emerson Imports is a large warehouse. There's a large, wooden door on the side. It's a run-down neighbourhood on the docks with large windows and lights on inside. The streets are pretty deserted except for a few bums and some cars parked in the road. Emerson runs it. Him and his boys come in late and load things on boats and trucks (according to the bums). A tall man of Eastern European descent. Mr. Emerson is a rather good-looking man. We enter the warehouse through the front door, which was open, because Player-Da and Player-Co mistook the front door for an imports shop of some sort.

According to Emerson, Elias was interested in shipments from Mombasa. They import goods from Kenya and send them to the Ju-Ju House. Silas N'Kwame, who picked up his order that day already, is the owner of the Ju-Ju House, which is open late on Fridays but located in a bad neighbourhood and "his customers are dark-skinned foreigners and awful, mean men to boot." 1 Ransom Court - catch the train two stops over and get there. Emerson gave Jackson the card with Silas' name Tuesday night. Nothing in particular stood out to Emerson about what Jackson was seeking. He doesn't recognize the symbol from the skullcaps. Silas drives a Hudson.

Outside of the warehouse, Ruth and Mimosa run into Mabel and Saul (whom Mabel brought along) and fill them in. Ransom Court is a long, narrow alley surrounded by dilapidated tenements. There's a black Hudson parked in front of a store that says Ju-Ju House next to an abandoned pawn shop.

Player-CH: "Let's go in!"
Player-JP: "Um-- let's maybe... approach cautiously?"
Player-CH: "Oh, I'm not leading the way."

Besides the two presumably homeless black men in an alleyway, there's another black man hunkered down in the doorway of one of the tenements, head down. Mabel winks at the hunkered-down guy. Mabel idles in the car while Mimosa, Saul and Ruth head into the store. The store lacks any real order and everything is covered in very African-looking items. Behind the counter is a short man of African descent who appears to be ancient, his dark skin like old, cracked leather. Bloodshot eyes stare at us and his mouth is missing many, many teeth. Underneath his shirt is a large object hanging around his neck.

Player-Co-as-Ruth: "Mr. N'Kwame?"
Keeper-Ad-as-Silas: "Silas is the name."
Player-Co-as-Ruth: "Nice to meet you, Silas. I am a friend of Elias Jackson."
Keeper-Ad: <stares>
Player-Co: "Does... does he kill me?"

The guy who had winked at Mabel enters the Ju-Ju house, and Mimosa recognizes him as the guy who'd escaped down the ladder at the Chelsea Hotel. When Silas says he does not know Elias Jackson, Mimosa nudges Ruth and says pointedly, "If the man doesn't know Mr. Jackson, we should get. Going." She hears strange whispers and muffled, distant screaming beneath the room. We manage to get to the car just as five black men and one black woman start hurrying toward us. We drive off in the car Mabel had idling and take off. A black Hudson trails us, chasing us as we turn out of Ransom Court; however, Saul shoots them through the windshield, which causes enough distraction for Mabel to shake them.

Mabel (as Mimosa doesn't want to risk her accent being recognized) calls the police to tell them anonymously:
"Trouble at 1 Ransom Court. White hostages being tortured by blacks. Heard screams coming from under the Ju-Ju House. Would have helped but I'm a white woman there for a lark, heard screams, and ran."

Saul gets to the Carlyle house, goes in, gets shot down to 3hp, shoots someone else dead, and manages to flee.

Ruth gets to Suave Hotel at the suave party and enters without obstruction, welcomed by the bouncer and cops. She sees Erica at a back table, talking to a man named Bradley Gray (her confidante who works for a law firm) and approaches. Joe the bodyguard intervenes and urges her to leave. She does (eventually), and she's a block away when she feels a hand on her shoulder. Bradley Gray is there, cautioning her not to talk about Erica's brother, and invites her to a party tomorrow night. He says he will try to arrange a private meeting with Erica, and says she may bring guests. Their exchange ends.

Mimosa does not want to go to the Ju-Ju House. They've reported the screams to the police and know absolutely nothing about the Ju-Ju House. However, Saul wants to go anyway. It's about 10pm now - we arrive, and there are police, ambulances, etc. Of course, we leave. We return later to find most cars gone, but one cop car remains with a lone individual sitting inside. Mimosa saunters up to the car to see if the car's passenger is alive - intending to pretend to be lost - but finds the cop sitting inside, head at a 45 degree angle... sleepin. Saul sneaks into the Ju-Ju House with Mabel's electric torch, with Mimosa standing guard just inside the door. Saul sneaks into the curtained door behind the counter. There's a trap door on the floor with a carpet rolled aside, and another door in the distance. As it would make sense for the far door to lead to the exterior of the building, they go down the trapdoor with Saul sneaking first, then bringing Mimosa down. He gets to a door with warm blood leaking under the doors and on the doorknob, and bullet holes in the walls. The walls are covered in crazy symbols carved into the walls.

And then the trapdoor slams shut.

Mimosa carefully and quietly opens the door enough to peer in. In the center of the room is an African man wearing nothing but a shawl made of flamingo feathers, with his back to the door. Mr. Cowle is hanging off of leather shackles, dangling over a large pit in the ground. The pit lid (about 12" of solid stone with a hellacious heat pouring out of the hole) has been slid open. Two white men stand, one wearing dark blue pants of a cop. Both have their stomachs cut open and their intestines dangling out, but are not acting pained. Meanwhile, concerned, Mabel and Frank enter and find two more zombies guarding the trapdoor. They're drawn into combat.

Saul heads back to the trapdoor and Mimosa fires twice at the flamingo guy, but misses both times. Mimosa's third shot hits the guy. Then, a worm-like creature covered in faces comes out, attacks the flamingo guy, and kills him. Anthony continues to scream, going madder. Mimosa slams the door closed to keep the monster from coming after them - or at the least, slowing it down until they can get out - and rushes down the hall. Saul goes completely mad from the monster (losing 19 points of sanity). As she shoots at the lock on the trapdoor to blow it off, Mimosa hears ever more screaming, so intensely horrid and base that it's beyond human pain. She hesitates, wishing she'd thought to shoot Anthony dead rather than leave him to this horror, but her panic is stronger than her morals at the moment (especially with only four measley bullets left in her gun) and she grabs the debilitated Saul's torch and gun and shoves open the trapdoor to clamber out.

First things first: Mimosa heals Frank, who's now completely fallen and in her way. The remaining zombie (who had been following Mabel) now turns back toward Mimosa and the two intermittently attack each other and fail. Mimosa finally cleaves the last zombie.

Mimosa goes back down to check the now-silent room and finds it empty of bodies but the pit is still open. She sends Mabel back to get Alex, who comes down and helps them pull the stone pit closed. Mabel checks out the curtain on the other side of the chamber and Alex-- who is startled by the blood and two zombies but doesn't know that Anthony was down here-- approaches the lone table with various objects wrapped in zebra pelt. One contains a book called Africa's Dark Sects and the other holds an African devil mask made of some sort of wood. A bowl of a metal, coppery colour (but not actually copper) and a carved African sceptor with Egyptian hieroglyphics on it also rest, along with a headband of unknown metal with strange runes carved on it.

Gathering their strange new items and stealing a few choice objects from the store, the investigators leave to head back to Alex's flat to decide what to do with the objects before parting ways for the night. It's now about 3am on Saturday, January 17th.



NEWLY ACQUIRED ITEMS
- Africa's Dark Sects (book)
- Coppery bowl
- African devil mask
- Carved African sceptor with Egyptian hieroglyphics
- A headband with runes
- The zebra pelt the above five items were wrapped in
- Whatever other items the investigators wanted to steal from Ju-Ju House

18 August 2011

CoC: 18 Aug 2011 [Day 02]

CHARACTERS
Alexandrite Simon Addison: Parapsychologist, male, age 36. Speaks Latin. Yearly income $7500. Originally from Sheffield, England.
Mimosa MaiXue Mayberry: Police officer in homicide department, female, age 25. Speaks Mandarin. Ambidextrous. Yearly income $5500. Originally from Dahlonega, Georgia.
Ruth Day: Professor of archaeology/anthropology, female, age 34. Speaks Egyptian. Yearly income $3500.
Mabel Agatha Thujone: Waitress at a speakeasy, female, age 19. Left-handed. Yearly income $2500.
Frank Joe Franklin: Farmer/Mechanic, male, age 22. Yearly income $3500.



EVENING AFTER THE LAST SESSION
Alex knows Dr. Anthony Cowles and will meet with him for lunch at noon at Grafton Diner with curious friends. Mimosa will be working on Friday, so she will look into available police and public records on Roger Carlyle, Aubrey Penhew, Hypatia Masters, Dr. Robert Huston and Jack Brady. Ruth and Mabel will accompany Alex to the lunch. Frank will go to the lunch and sit outside, watching for anything strange outside.
Prospero House publishes books on curiosities - not bestsellers, but works that will last through the ages.


WEAPONS LAWS IN THE 1920s
From the 1920's to the 80's most of America banned the carrying of concealed guns. Where open carry was "more or less" legal doing so usually brought an arrest for "disturbing the peace" vagrancy, or some other handy charge. In the 20's when gun control laws began to be passed, concealed carry was possible for the wealthy and politically connected via being deputized by a friendly sheriff. Other places like New York had permit systems but again, these were strictly for the politically connected. New York was famed for issuing the most expensive gun permits in the world to Mafia figures who bribed the authorities. Ordinary citizens need not apply.


TODAY'S SESSION
16 January 1925, Friday

In the morning, Ruth calls Miriam Atwright, who did not know Jackson Elias was deceased. She asks about a book Jackson had mentioned recently looking for, and Miriam offers the title Africa's Dark Sects. One day, the book went missing - despite the building being locked - and an indescribably horrible smell remained, still lingering to this day. Miriam offers to let Ruth come down and check out the other books Elias was interested in - an entire collection on death cults and such.

In the papers, there is a suave party that will be taking place tonight at Suave Hotel - which Erica Carlyle will likely be attending.

Grafton Diner is a small diner near the Boston-Maine train station full of people wearing sweaters and long-sleeved jackets - academic types. It's quite easy to find Dr. Cowles, a large, fat, red-headed man laughing jovially to a beautiful young woman (age 20, named Ewa) - incredibly gorgeous, but in a rather fake, overdone way. Cowles is known to believe in the supernatural (rather than specifically study just the human worshippers), although not necessarily the specific deities people worship - but definitely in the fact that something larger is out there. Alex begins talking with Dr. Cowles while Mabel chats up Ewa.

The specifics of Cowles' research are on a death cult in Australia: a bat cult worshipping the Father of All Bats. Sacrifices were clubbed with clubs embedded with the teeth of bats, the teeth coated with a substance derived from rabid bats. The poison was quick-acting, but resulted in madness before death. Cowles believes the cult became dormant/extinct hundreds of years ago, but it was how he became interested in Elias' books. Cowles also had four over-exposed glass slides of men beside enormous blocks of stone.

Jackson Elias was at the lecture for the first part of it (the opening speech and about half an hour). He wasn't taking any notes, he was unshaven, and he'd been out of town for a long time - only very loosely in touch with Cowles for the last four years. He came in 1921 and they discussed notes for his last book Black Power, but haven't been much in contact since then. They've exchanged a few letters and lunches but not like it used to be - he seemed very consumed by whatever his latest project was. He spent some time in Egypt and London, but Cowles is not sure where else.

Ponape Scriptures are a most disgusting tomb from the Polynesian islands with more references to Cthulhu/Sand Bat-type beings that live in another place - in the water, or a faraway island. The cults that worship them are trying to bring them back. We see that in the sand bat cut. The other similar cults are scattered about the world. Cowles will return to Australia in July and offered to allow us to accompany him. We can also head down early - David Dodge is there right now and he'll share information with us (we obtain his contact information). Miskatonic University has the only known copy.

Africa's Dark Sects - Another tome, and one that describes different cults of northern Africa around Egypt and Kenya - including most stomach-churning accounts of sacrifice and blood rituals and summoning. This was at Harvard but went missing (as Miriam recounted).

Cowles had some names of cult leaders but is adamant about not sharing them.

Mabel learns from the daughter (Ewa Cowles) that Roger Carlyle was attractive and friendly but a failure in every way and utterly horrible for the family business. He dropped out of all of the top colleges just in three years, being influenced by some Negro woman - a self-styled poetess named Nichonka Bunay (nom de plume) up in Harlem. He would give thousands of dollars to her to do god-knows-what. The weeks leading up to the expedition, he changed, becoming withdrawn and short. He may have just been maturing, but the goals of the expedition may have been weighing heavily on him. Nobody knows why he went to Egypt, of all places. Erica Carlyle, meanwhile, has saved the textile business and brought the family back to top standing.

After bidding the Cowles farewell, Alex and Mabel meet back up with Frank and Ruth. While they're on the train to the publishing house, they read in the newspaper that an unknown Negro was shot and killed in the library of the Carlyle mansion. He was breaking in through the glass doors of the kitchen. (Maybe Africa's Dark Sects is in there somewhere?)

Mabel enters the publishing house and pisses off the secretary, Miss Stephanie Stacy. Alex enters afterward and introduces himself as a psychologist from Leeds (he doesn't specify where but did get his undergrad at University of Leeds Institute of Psychological Sciences) who is interested in documenting the legends and lore of non-Western cultures, particular through oral tradition, particularly discussing beliefs of spirits and deaths. He's allowed in to speak to Jonah Kensington. Before he can get any further, Jonah Kensington is interrupted by a call from his secretary. "Yes, Miss Stacy. I'm with a - you need me now? Sigh. Alright." He steps out for a moment to see what Miss Stacy needs and Alex begins snooping at the desk while Mabel listens at the door. They find two bound books and a letter that reads:

August 8, 1924, Nairobi
Big news! Possibility that Carlyle Exp. members didn't all die - he has a lead. Blood and kisses, J.

They scramble to gather the materials just as Jonah returns. After a very brief exchange in which Jonah proves entirely unwilling to discuss Elias' work, and then reaches for his desk drawer, Alex and Mabel hastily take their leave - but don't make it out of the building before Jonah realizes what's missing from his desk. He calls for Miss Stacy to stop them from leaving, but Alex and Mabel manage - barely - to scramble out and flee.

Meanwhile, Mimosa has been asking around at work while doing her own stuff and finds the following information:
- Roger Carlyle: No police record/service, neglected by his father, always wealthy, Roger Worthington Kensington. Lawyers evaded paternity suit. Treated for alcoholism at 18, went back at 20. Graduated from one college, although allowed a gentleman's resignation from several others. He started getting more respectability until his sister showed him up, and he fell again. He began being around Nichonka Bunay, but there were no records on her. Began draining great sums of money and prompted great arguments with Erica.
- Dr. Robert Erlington Huston: Gave away his practice, divorced his wife after med school, studied Freud and Jung, considered eccentric and controversial and focused on the mind and sexual behaviour. Enjoyed fame and notoriety, charged exorbitant fees - popular with the women. Carlyle was one of his many patients. Before the Egypt trip, his fiancée committed suicide (Miss Bosh). There were whispered rumours that Carlyle did not want Huston at large while Carlyle was away in Egypt, probably thinking his ethics were not strong enough to resist exposing information about his patient. After Huston was declared dead, his records were turned over to the Medical Affairs Board of NY, the controversy of doing so reaching the newspapers. They haven't been destroyed because nobody has authorization to do so - this is at a time where psychology wasn't considered medicine, so there's debate if patient records were considered public or confidential information.
- Sir Arbray Penhew: Long family history of black magic and treason against the crown of England. Graduated with honours from Oxford, then moved to Egypt performing excavations. Created with founding several important branches of Egyptology and several important archaeological discoveries, particularly in Dashur, Egypt. Very rich and has homes in London, Cogswells, Monica, Alexandria, Rome and Athens. Made much money in the great war. Nobody knows about his private life: no family or heirs. The Egyptologist community holds him in high esteem. (Penhew Foundation, director David Gavigan?)
- Miss Hypatia Masters: Heiress of an armament fortune. Dark family history has been published in the book Masters of Corruption. Sucked in school, but was good at taking photos. Rumoured to be dating Roger Carlyle casually, and a Catholic Marxist. Got pregnant, had an abortion, fled the country so she wouldn't have to tell the Catholic Marxist. Nobody knows why she went on the expedition; she was absolutely useless.
- Jack "Brass" Brady: Long rap sheet: assaults, bar room brawls, petty theft, loitering, gambling, mopery (a bullshit charge to charge you with when you have no other charges to charge you with), public junctionist, and murder charge which got dropped to manslaughter. Was a marine sergeant who earned several awards and commendations and served as a mercenary in the Middle East. In a fight he choked someone to death. He went to jail and the Carlyles got him lawyers to get him out of jail. He became intimate friends with Roger Carlyle after that, and were inseparable. He acted as Carlyle's bodyguard. Called Jack "Brass" Brady because of the strange magical plate over his heart: covered in strange runes and inscriptions that have bounced two bullets off of him. His mother, a witch in Michigan, made it for him.

The bound book stolen from Kensington's desk reads: "Many names, many forms, but all the same and toward one end, need help, too big, to ghastly, dreams like Carlyle's, check his psychoanalysis' files, all of them survived to open a gate, so the power and the danger is real, many threads beginning, books in the Carlyles' safe, coming for him, will the ocean protect, no quitters now, must tell and make readers believe, should I scream for them, let's scream together." - These are probably from his time in London, his last stop before he came back to America.

TO DO in New York:
- Emerson Imports with Silas N'Kwame
- Psychoanalysis papers in the Medical Affairs Board of NY
- Party tonight (Erica Carlyle at Suave Hotel)
- Carlyle library - where a black guy was dead (hire a professional safecracker through Mabel? - according to Adrian, $150)

TO DO in Boston:
- Miskatonic University for the Ponape Scriptures

- Harvard Library for the missing Africa's Dark Sects to check out the noxious odour and examine the other books Elias was looking at


TO DO in London:
- The Penhew Foundation (director David Gavigan)
- The stitched-together book written by Elias was written in London

TO DO in Egypt:
- Kenya and Egypt trips near the Nile
- Faraz Najir - Street of Jackals in the Old Quarter (Cairo, Egypt)
- The Mountain of the Black Winds (massacre site)
- Find info on the Bloody Tongue, who worship a non-African god. "Sam Mariga, rr-sta"
- Nails Nelson in Nairobi @ the Victoria Bar: saw Jack Brady alive in Hong Kong in 1923

TO DO in China:
- Stumbling Tiger Bar
- Photo of a boat with Chinese junks - first three letters "DAR"
- Find Jack Brady

TO DO in Australia:
- Contact Anthony Cowles (if after July) or David Dodge (if before)
- Cult worshipping the Father of All Bats (thought dormant)
- Glass slides of men by blocks of stone
- Tale of the Sand Bat (Father of All Bats) from Arafura Sea in northern Australia


IMPORTANT NOTES & MISTAKES
- David Dodge, contact in Egypt
- Should have had Jonah Kensington escort us out so he couldn't poke around his desk while we were still in there
- We still don't know what the tribal marking carved onto Elias' forehead and worn on the skullcaps represents...

11 August 2011

CoC: 11 Aug 2011 [Day 01]

CHARACTERS
Alexandrite Simon Addison: Parapsychologist, male, age 36. Speaks Latin. Yearly income $7500. Originally from Sheffield, England.
Mimosa MaiXue Mayberry: Police officer in homicide department, female, age 25. Speaks Mandarin. Ambidextrous. Yearly income $5500. Originally from Dahlonega, Georgia.
Ruth Day: Professor of archaeology/anthropology, female, age 34. Speaks Egyptian. Yearly income $3500.
Mabel Agatha Thujone: Waitress at a speakeasy, female, age 19. Left-handed. Yearly income $2500.
Frank Joe Franklin: Farmer, male, age 22. Yearly income $3500.


BACKSTORIES
Ruth and Alex went to the same institution for their undergraduate degrees and remained in loose contact over the years. Alex's academic degree was formally in psychology, but he used the time at uni to to study about folklore, myths and legends around the world, as well as dabbling in Latin and medicine. He'd always intended to go into parapsychology, as nothing fascinated him more than the allegedly unexplainable. Everything had an explanation: it just wasn't always of the mundane human world...
Ruth lived near Frank, who used to come over and help with mechanical problems around her place. Despite their age difference the two came to be on amiable terms, and she knew the brawny man to be solid and reliable.
Ruth met Mabel through a friend of hers who secretly worked at the same speakeasy Mabel was employed at. This mutual friend felt that someone young and clever like Mabel should get out of this shady industry and pursue something proper in the real world, and contacted Ruth-- who, as a professor, worked with people of Mabel's same age-- to see if she might be able to help.
Ruth met Mimosa when there was a domestic squabble near her flat and Mimosa was sent to investigate. This was a few years ago, back when Mimosa was first starting out as a beat cop before transferring to homicide. Like with Alex, Frank and Mabel, Ruth collected Mimosa as well as a casual contact - and because it was never bad to have a cop for an acquaintance...
Ruth met Jackson Elias, writer, researcher and skeptic of death cults, through academic connections. Jackson is a feisty, friendly and self-made intellectual drifter who writes for Prospero Press of NYC, edited by owner/editor Jonah Kensington, who is also a mutual friend.


WEAPONS LAWS IN THE 1920s
From the 1920's to the 80's most of America banned the carrying of concealed guns. Where open carry was "more or less" legal doing so usually brought an arrest for "disturbing the peace" vagrancy, or some other handy charge. In the 20's when gun control laws began to be passed, concealed carry was possible for the wealthy and politically connected via being deputized by a friendly sheriff. Other places like New York had permit systems but again, these were strictly for the politically connected. New York was famed for issuing the most expensive gun permits in the world to Mafia figures who bribed the authorities. Ordinary citizens need not apply.


TODAY'S SESSION
15 January 1925, Thursday

The investigators are gathered at Ruth's flat on her request when the telegraph from Jackon Elias arrives, requesting their company that evening at 8pm in room 410 at the Chelsea Hotel. She informs them of the telegram she has received from her dear friend, eccentric writer Jackson Elias, notable for his works on death cults. It is a mild January, and there is a thin layer of snow on the ground as they head to the Chelsea Hotel. The neighbourhood is one Mimosa is unfortunately well-acquainted with: a sketchy area with ample crime and a history of unsolved homicides. The Chelsea Hotel is also one she is familiar with, having been here just a few months earlier for a homicide case on a young girl.

Outside, the area is quiet of people, although there are a few cars. One-- a common black Hudson-- is idling, but nothing about the area stands out moreso than its usual state of bleak moral decay. In the lobby, front deskman George Ramsey is sitting and reading a paper. The investigators head up to room 410 and find the door cracked open. Ruth, Alex and Mabel hang back while Frank and Mimosa go to investigate. Mimosa hears nothing, but Frank can make out a faint rustling inside. He barges into the room and is immediately attacked from beside the door by a shirtless Caucasian male wearing a skullcap bearing a strange symbol and carrying a long, sharp blade. There's blood on the carpet and a black man out the window, heading down the fire escape.

The Caucasian male attempts to disembowel Frank, who manages to block. Mimosa shoots at the guy who's fleeing, but with the cover afforded by the window, she misses. Another black man-- this one a towering 6' 6" and carrying a knife dripping with blood-- runs out of the bedroom and stabs at Frank. Mimosa grapples with the white male, distracting him briefly but unable to wrest the blade from his grip. Meanwhile, Frank manages to punch the distracted guy before getting badly injured by the new opponent. Mabel clips the 6' 6" giant with an illegal gun from her purse before Mimosa backs up, rearms her .32 automatic, and takes some shots.

When both men are down, Mimosa sends Ruth to go talk to Ramsey so she doesn't have to see what she suspects will be the messy corpse of her friend inside of the room. She enters and finds Jackson Elias brutally murdered, with the same tribal symbol from the skullcaps carved on his chest. Alex-- who has taken the peace to go treat Frank with the first aid kit kept in his ever-present messenger bag with his camera-- takes photos of the symbol and inspects the room.

While Ruth is going downstairs, Frank recovers, and Alex and Mimosa check out the bedroom (carefully not touching anything but with Alex taking pictures), Mabel loots the bodies. She locates an odd assortment of paperwork:
- a card for the Penhew Foundation (director: Edward Gavigan);
- a photograph of a yacht with a name starting with DAR, surrounded by Chinese junks;
- a brochure for a two-hour lecture by Professor Anthony Cowles entitled "The Cult of Darknes" ("tonight only" - brochure not dated - might Ruth or Alex know of this?);
- a matchbox for the Stumbling Tiger Bar (also Chinese);
- A card for Emerson Imports, with "Silas N'Kwane" in Jackson Elias' handwriting;
- A letter to Mr. Carlyle from Faraz Najir for Carlyle's agent to call his shop in the Street of Jackals in the Old Quarter from Cairo, Egypt (dated 3 Jan 1919)
- A letter to Jackson Elias from Miriam Atwright of Propsero House Publishers saying the book he sought is not in their collection
However, as of yet Mabel has not decided to share any of this information with the others...

On Ruth's way down, she is met by four officers on their way up. They ignore her, as a refined, respectable lady obviously would have nothing to do with the shots that had sent them over. The officers arrive at room 410 and Mimosa speaks with them. Lieutenant Martin Poole works with her in homicide, and is a hard-nosed veteran on the force who is known to be honest, by-the-book, upright, but a glory hound-- and this is his case. Poole grumbles that this is the ninth murder just like this in New York in the last few months - but the victims all vary widely. Rich to poor, educated to dunce, any age or gender or profession. Poole tells Mimosa that Dr. Lemming is working with the department on this case. Ruth and Alex recognize the name Dr. Mordecai Lemming from their work: a renowned folklorist, Ruth knows him to be an eccentric Manhattanite total crock. Amongst folklorists he's well-respected but with his own background being grounded in science, Alex has never met the man but is wary of his findings.



MISTAKES
- Should have more closely observed the idling black Hudson, perhaps for a license plate.