18 August 2011

CoC: 18 Aug 2011 [Day 02]

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.

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.

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.

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

- 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...

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