A Shadow Over Arkham

Episode 2

In which a library was visited.

GM: The Miskatonic University library is well-known for its collection of rare and unique texts. However, as a professor in the employ of the university, Margaret has had plenty of time to acclimate to the massive building. She is currently sitting at a desk by herself, several of her colleagues or other students present in the building hunched over books, deep in though, or scribbing their own notes. She is carrying the small metal box which houses the strange gifts of the now-comatose Mr. Merriweather: a golden sarcoghogus-shaped box, a black-leather bound journal, and an aged envelope.

Margaret: Margaret was quite overwhelmed by what had happened. She had gathered some books on ancient Egypt, but had managed little else. Her head still felt foggy.

GM: Her solitude is interupted, however, by the author who, presumably, makes his way to the table after arriving and noticing her.

Jeremiah: Having gathered several promising reference books and downing a quick dinner, Jeremiah set out to the University in his car. Arriving in good spirits he heads into the library.

Margaret: Margaret decides to take a closer look at the journal.

GM: The journal appears fairly nonthreatening; are you going to read in detail or skim? Have to look up the times on them both.

Jeremiah: Seeing Margaret engrossed in the journal, Jeremiah takes a seat and pulls out the sarcoghogus shaped box. He decides to try and translate the language using his reference materials and whatever the library may have.

Margaret: Margaret sees that Jeremiah has arrived. She notices that he has taken the sarcophogus. “I’ve gathered what our library has on ancient Egypt. I hope it can be somewhat helpful”.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah nods. “For the heiroglyphs, certainly. I’m not so sure about the inside language though. I’ve only heard of it, so I may need to do more research to translate that.”

GM: As Margaret begins to read the journal, she notes that the journal starts in June 1882; the first few entries are wholly uninteresting, as journals are sometimes wont to be. However, it’s not long before she reaches an intriguing entry.

GM: A group of friends playfully calling themselves the Dark Brotherhood held their first meeting in the early spring of 1881. Rupert Merriweather became the recording secretary. The members numbers six including Marion Allen, the founder and their nominal leader.

GM: The heiroglyphics, in their usual way, look like nothing more than squiggly lines to the Author. Presumably, he dives into the shelves to look for books to help translate, and soon comes back with a number of likely candidates.

Emily: Emily hurries into the library, unwrapping the white scarf around her neck and folding it hastily into her handbag. She spots Margaret and Jeremiah in the distance and rushes to settle in next to them, excusing her lateness and asking if the others have had time to uncover anything.

Margaret: Margaret notes that the journal belonged to Mr. Merriweather, some time ago. Or, at the very least, he had been responsible for it. She continued to read.

Emily: Emily looks in the box to see if there’s anything of interest for her to examine.

GM: There is the envelope, looking abandoned and neglected.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah begins to go through the books and begins the process of translating the outside of the box.

Emily: Emily takes the envelope from the box and holds it up to the light. “Do you mind?” She asks Margaret, assuming the professor was the closest to Mr. Merriweather.

GM: The envelope is heavier on one side: an inspection reveals the outline to look remarkably similar to a heavy key.

GM: Meanwhile, the professor finds another intriguing entry

GM: In June of 1881 they purchased an old farmhouse outside Ross’s Corners, a place where they could conduct their experiments in privacy. Representing themselves as a student literacy fraternity, they cleaned and furnished the place while Marion Allen carved special warding signs over the wooden doors and windows. At the time, the others were amused at such precautions.

Margaret: Margaret looks up to see the young woman standing near her. “Of course not”, she replies. " We can’t know what’s in it unless we open it." She realized this was stupid directly after saying it, but social situations were not her forte.

GM: Jeremiah, however, finds that translating Egypt is a headache in and of itself. He can (he assumes) identify some of the symbols, but they’re nothing coherant. Servant wisdom?

Emily: Emily carefully opens the aging envelope, attempting not to damge it unecessarily.

GM: Inside the yellowed envelope, she can see, indeed, a heavy iron key, along with a folded piece of thich paper looking equally aged as the envelope housing it.

Margaret: Margaret noted that the journal very likely contained information on some kind of secret society that Mr. Merriweather was part of. Intrigued, she read on.

Emily: “I should expect so.” Emily notes idly at the professor’s comment. “Who isn’t part of a secret society anymore?” She removes the key, setting it on the envelope and delicately unfolding the paper.

GM: After a cursory examination, Emily realizes that she’s holding a deed to a house located in Ross’s Corners, a small town just outside of Arkham. It’s not hard to guess the house may be related to the one noted in the journal.

GM: Diving ever-deeper into the manuscript, Margaret comes across the descriptions of several innocent attempts to contact the ‘spirit world’. Naturally, such things failed, but the details are amusing if nothing else.

GM: The Egyptian, an hour in, is looking even more confusing. What does Thoth have to do with servant wisdom?

….what the hell is servant wisdom?

Emily: Emily glances across the table at Jerimiah and his work, attempting to aid him.

Margaret: The journal was quickly becoming boring; it had started out so promising. Evidently mr. Merriweather had been part of a group that fancied themselves capable of contacting supernatural beings. She mentioned this to others, amused.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah continues to work through the reference books, occasionally getting up to look for another book that might help and getting help whenever he can.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah looked at Margaret, not nearly as amused as she was. “Do you not believe in the spirit world? Or dimensions beyond our time and space?”

Margaret: Margaret looks at Jeremiah. “Without evidence? Absolutely not. I’m a scientist. Provide me with proof, and I may yet change my mind”.

Jeremiah: “I’m afraid proof of that sort comes at a high price. Don’t worry though, I think our dear friend was into something deeper than we may want to know. You may get your proof whether you want it or not.”

GM: One of Margaret’s coworkers stops by, glancing askance to the other two. He is easily brushed off, however, and leaves offering to take Margaret out for coffee some night. Turning her attention back to the book, she soon comes upon another interesting entry.

GM: Dated Feb. 1882, it notes Marion Allen’s acquisition of an artifact, purportedly Egyptian, described as a small sarcophagus of gold with a hinged lid. Inside was a large piece of amber entrapping a specimen of some unknown species of arthropod. Allen is excited. The box corresponds to a description he found in an ordinary reference volume n the Miskatonic University library.

Margaret: Margaret gasps. She says to her companions: “the journal mentions the sarcophogus! And its contents!”

GM: The sarcophogus, you recall, was empty when you got it.

Emily: “What does it say?” Emily asks, leaning closer.

Jeremiah: Glancing at the entry Jeremiah asks, “Do you think the reference volume is still here? Does it say what the book was about?”

Margaret: “Apparently, the sarcophogus had contained an insect. I will need to continue reading to determine if the name of the book is there”.

GM: Wait a minute! It’s not servant wisdom at all! It’s seeker of wisdom. The servant is wholly unconnected to the wisdom. The sunlight outside is looking more inviting as the second hour of reading dawns.

Emily: “A… live insect?” Emily asks, double checking the sarcophogus. “Or… some maner of craft?”

Jeremiah: “It appears the creature was encassed in Amber. I don’t think it would be alive in that case, but I’m no expert in that field.”

Margaret: “Perhaps insect was an inappropriate term to use. But I agree with jeremiah, it would not have been alive.”

Margaret: “We need to find the book the journal mentions. Books aren’t often removed permanently from the library. I’m confident its still here, somewhere.”

Emily: “I can look.” Emily says, standing from the table. “You know the library better than I, is there anywhere particular I should begin?”

GM: Abandoning the Egyptian, Jeremiah heads into the stacks where, hopefully, less of a headache awaits.

Margaret: Margaret continued reading the journal. Jeremiah had gone to look for the reference book, and she hoped he found it. This was getting interesting.

GM: The journal, however, continues to drop more interesting tidbits:

GM: Allen says that in another book, a thick Latin tome titled De Vermiis Mysteriis, is an explanation of some purported powers of the box. The small animal trapped in the amber is said to contain a friendly spirit and guide to the spirit world.

GM: Returning from the stacks with arms full of new books (some of which are equally the size of two lesser such tomes), Jeremiah presumably sets about searchnig them for a mention of the sarcophogus.

Emily: After fruitless searching, Emily returns empty handed to the table and asks if anything else has been discovered.

Margaret: Margaret notes that another book is mentioned in the journal. She says to Emily, “A book titled De Vermiis Mysteriis” is also mentioned, and will supposedly give us more information on the box. There is a possibility that the library will have this book as well. I will go look for it."

Emily: “De Vermiis Mytriis?” Emily says with an almost palpable sigh of relief. “I should be able to translate it if the library has it.”

GM: The card catalouge shows that the library does, indeed, have a copy of De Vermiis Mysteriis… unfortunately, it is locked away in a rare book collection. To get access you need the personal permission, a one Dr. Henry Artimage.

GM: You do know him, yes. Not too personally, but you’ve spoken a few times.

Margaret: Margaret notices the book she needs is located in the library’s rare book collection. She needs special permission to get it, but she has met him before. She makes her way to the front and asks to speak to Mr. Armitage.

GM: Mr. Armitage is in his office on weekday mornings, when he’s not preoccupied with sorting and catalouging the constant new arrivals. The librarian on duty does offer to leave a message with him, if it’s important.

Margaret: Margaret becomes frustrated. She wants to access the book now, and finds the wait unacceptable.

GM: Emily is unsure if she’s met him before; she can remember a handful of professors and the dean, but not the Head Librarian.

Emily: Emily attempts to dicipher some more of the egyptian carvings.
andromedafire: Frustrated, Margaret asks that a message be left for Mr. Armitage, including her name and the volume she needs. She plans to return tomorrow to gather the book. She returns to the table and continues to read the journal.

GM: The librarian takes note, before Margaret return to the table judciously covered in enough books that occasional passerby give the three of you an amused look.

GM: Jeremiah finds reference books to be a dull read, but thankfully less of a headache than the Egyptian had been. The only golden sarcophogus he found so far was a box for a corpse, however.

GM: It takes Emily some time to orient herself with Jeremiah’s scribblings on the translation, but before much longer she is continuing the arduous work. Does that mean deliverer?

GM: The journal, after some more reading, gives a short entry:

GM: A date is set to conduct a ceremony intended to summon this spirit creature: a Satuday night in the middle of March.

GM: A solid three hours have passed in the library, many of those who were at work when you entered having left the building.

Margaret: “Interesting”, Margaret says. “They planned to summon the spirit creature that was contained in the sarcophagus. I wonder what came of that?”

Jeremiah: “Nothing good if what our friend told us earlier is any indication.”

Emily: “Nothing at all, I’d suspect.” Emily says, somewhat dully as she continous the laborous translation work.

GM: The book yields yet another entry , while Emily is still trying to discover how one can deliver people, and Jeremiah is still engross in another referance book filled with things that are seeming wholly more entertaining.

(( A link to Player Handout #1 was here))

andromedafire: “They did successfully summon something, although it is not what they anticipated”, Margaret told the group, “From what I can tell, what was summoned was violent. And may still be at that house.”

Jeremiah: Reading through the passage a second time Jeremiah shivered. “It was a dangerous and foolish game they played.”

Emily: “This seems…” Emily paused, attempting to choose one of a multitude of words that came to mind. “…suspicious.”

Jeremiah: “Are you still not convinced? We have the key to the house, first hand knowledge is always best…”

Margaret: “It does seem suspicious. I would like to check it out, if you are willing to come with me. If I recall correctly, we have a key.”

Jeremiah: “Are you willing to go at night?”

Margaret: “I am”.

Emily: “It seems rather like a prank.” Emily says, eyeing the key. “If Merriweather truly believed he had summoned some manner of demon, why would he ask us to banish it instead of a clergyman?”

Jeremiah: "It never said they summoned a demon. The spirit world is vast, greater by far than our own, if some texts can be believed. That creature could be anything.

Margaret: “We should investigate. I have my doubts, but at the very least it will make for a good adventure.”

Emily: “May I?” Emily asks the professor, sliding the journal across the table before her.

Jeremiah: “I think it is worth going to the house, however, I think we should finish looking through the journal and these translations first.”

Margaret: “I agree with Jeremiah. Let’s finish what we have here.”

Emily: Emily begins reading the journal, roughly where she believes the professor left off.
GM: The next handful of entries all have a similarity. They list a name of one of the Dark Brotherhood, followed by the date of their deaths. The handwriting is the same, but the inks vary:

Robert Menkin, March 1882
Harold Coplet, August 1882
Marion Allen, August 1883
Crawford Harris, January 1915
Cecil Jones, March 1924,
Rupert Merriweather

GM: Beside the entry for Marion Allen’s death is a newspaper clipping, carefully pasted into the journal:

Margaret: “What a horrible way to die”, Margaret said. She feels slightly ill. “His tongue was cut out? What is the significance of that?”

Emily: Emily frowns, a sense of unease growing in the pit of her stomach. “That… is concerning.”

Jeremiah: “I don’t know, but if he was being followed, someone, or something, else is involved. I wonder if the artifact is our little box here.”

GM: Following those entries, there is only one final entry in the journal.

(( Player’s Handout #3 ))

Margaret: “This is…interesting. If I read this right, with Mr. Merriweather’s death, the creature they supposedly summoned will be able to leave the house.”.

Emily: “I will admit, this is certainly… intriguing.” Emily says. “Although it would seem we have more to fear from men than summoned ghosts, if Marion’s death is any indication. There may be real danger involved in this.”

GM: Before you can decide if you’re to continue your studies, the librarian comes over toward your table. “I’m afraid the library is closing,” he says, glancing curiously toward the books on the table left open, before looking back up to Jeremiah. “I’m afraid you’re going to have to leave.”

Emily: “We’d like to check out a few books, if there’s time.” Emily says, smiling at the librarian.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah gathers up the most useful of the volumes and gets them checked out. “I’ll put these in my car and we can finish translating later.”

GM: “Only students and faculty are able to check out books,” the Librarian says, placing a hand on the books.

Jeremiah: “Are we going to the house now? Or in the morning, it wouldn’t do to keep you out late.”

Margaret: “I would like to check out these books, please.” Margaret shows her faculty identification card.

GM: “All of these?” The librarian takes the card, glancing pointedly toward the literal pile of books on the table.

Margaret: “Yes, all of them. I’m beginning a new research project, if you must know the details.”

GM: “On…” he picks up a book. “Ancient Egyptial symbology?” A quirked eyebrow toward her, bemused.

Margaret: “Yes. Its a different sort of project, more history based. Psychology is not a new science, you know. It has always been around, in one form or another.”

GM: He continues smirking for a moment before shaking his head. “Whatever you say, doll.” He begins to gather some of the books up. “You can’t check out the referance books, as I am sure you are aware.”

GM: Eventually you three find your way outside (glad to see you waited for him to be sure to remember you before pulling it) burdened by the plethora of books.


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