A Shadow Over Arkham

Episode 5

This log was lost to time and space and only recently recovered!

GM: Arriving back at the supposedly haunted house on a hill, the trio were quick to discover a dusty, off-white Rolls Royce sitting in the driveway. Emily, naturally, assumed chicanery had been afoot but as they approached, they found that her driver was dead inside the car, with blood covering the interior, long burnt-out cigarette still within his pale grasp. A cursory examination of the body caused Margaret to discover that the man’s heart had been eaten straight from his chest, and not (it appeared) by any artifice of man. Emily, understandably, had a bit of a problem with this discovery.

Jeremiah: “We should look to see if there is any trace of the attacker. Whatever it may be.”

Margaret: “I don’t see how it could’ve gotten away cleanly…after what it did here.”

GM: The driveway is consisted of gravel, it would be difficult to note any real clues of the attackers.

Emily: “We should have the police bring a game warden as well, I think…”

Jeremiah: Jeremiah nods. " I think they would have to be a very skilled tracker to find anything though." Jeremiah begins to look around for any clues such as drops of blood.

Emily: Emily shivers, stepping away from the car. “I should… go get them, I think. If you want to wait here and look around… maybe stop whatever… did this to James from coming back and, I don’t… eating the rest of the body… that might be a good idea.” She glances at her red mercedes. “But I think it would be safer for you if you came with.”

Margaret: “I don’t think this was the work of an animal. At least, I am unaware of any animal that attacks…in that way. We need to consider the idea that it isn’t an animal at all, and that it may not have gone far.”

GM: There is plenty of drops of blood, primarily on the interior; closer examination of the car reveals splatters on the outside of the windshield and the hood of the car, but there is nothing so much as a trail to follow.

Jeremiah: “I think it’s time to consider the possibility that there is something supernatural in that house. And that it may have been the cause of this… I’ve seen enough to be convinced that there is more to this than meets the eye at least.”

Margaret: “I agree. And if that’s the case, the police can’t help us. We should continue to investigate this ourselves.”

Emily: Emily steadies herself against the hood of her car, watching the others, her gaze carefully avoiding the royce. “If a… a goblin or a ghost or something did this to James, I’d certainly still have the police here with us. And goblin or no, there is… there is still a… body here. We should have the police here for that, if nothing else.”

Margaret: “Do you think the police will even take what you tell them seriously? Its hardly believable. You’re welcome to try. I don’t expect they’ll come.”

Jeremiah: Jeremiah nodded in agreement. “No, I don’t think they would believe you. If anything, they’d send a nice padded wagon to wait for you at home. We need to figure out what is happening here ourselves. We have to go back into the house.”

Emily: Emily pauses for a moment, blinking. “Th… there is a murdered man in the driveway of a house. What… what is hard to believe?”

Margaret: " As I said: you are welcome to go. I prefer to stay and do what we promised to do. We can contact the poilce later."

Emily: “Alright.” Emily says, opening the door of the benz and settling in. “I’ll tell them to expect you here. We should be back in an hour or two.” She glances up at the pair. “…Be careful, please?”

Margaret: Margaret watches Emily get into her car. “Good luck with the police”, she says. She turns to Jeremiah. “I suppose the only thing to do is to go inside.”

Emily: The red mercedes roars for a moment, pulling backwards out of the driveway and gliding off into the distance.

GM: The house stands on the hill, the cloud of dust behind the car shrink and shrinking until the car has vanished from sight.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah looks at the receding car and then nods. “Well let’s see what we can find.” He begins to move up towards the house.

Margaret: Margaret makes her way towards the house and opens the door slowly.

GM: The front door is, I recall, unlocked from the day previously, or someone had the key or something. Either way, it’s only a moment before you’re at the door. And, looking through, there’s nothing to threaten you but for that slightly-off smell and rotten furniture.

Emily: “There doesn’t appear to be anything immediately here. I wonder if whatever was in the attic is still there? We still cannot take care of the other things we need to, as Emily has that journal. I never should have given it to her…”

(( Cue confused conversation trying to remember where the journal was.))

GM: Several entries within the journal refer to the ritual in question: it apparently involves drawing a pentagram ( of course) lighting a ceremonial fire and candles, some dust to toss into the fire to make it turn green. It also requires a two-hour chant in latin. Something called the ‘Dust of Ibn-Ghazi’ is mentioned as well. A later entry states that everything required is within the house, but that the author (Mr. Merriweather) was not strong enough to perform it himself.

Jeremiah: “Ok, so I think we need to see if we can locate the materials mentioned in the journal for the ritual.”

Margaret: “I agree. Let’s look around down here to see if we can find the needed materials. And let’s hope we don’t have to go upstairs.” Margaret begins to look for the materials described in the journal.

GM: It takes about an hour in all to search the house between the dust and the dim lighting. But eventually they discover something: an old cigar box and a sheaf of yellowed papers. Both are liberally covered in dust, and the occupation has obviously not been easy.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah opens the box and examines the contents.

Margaret: Margaret watches as Jeremiah opens the box, interested to see what is inside.

GM: Inside the yellow-paged box lie a small metal canister and a wooden box with a sliding lid. The former is filled with a coarse brownish powder, while the latter has a small amount of silver talc-like powder.

Jeremiah: “This must be the stuff.” Jeremiah looks at the yellowed paper

Margaret: “I think we are meant to draw the pentagram with one, and the other is the dust that is thrown in to the fire. I think we should try this…we did promise, after all.”

Dawn: The texts indicate the pentagram was drawn with chalk. Which you find on the shelf nearby the other two.

Margaret: Margaret references the journal on how and where to draw the pentagram. She also examines the journal again to make sure she understands the procedure. “Are you ready to get started?” She looks at Jeremiah expectantly.

Jeremiah: “Aren’t we supposed to do the ritual backwards or something?”

Margaret: “I believe so. Good thing you caught that. I’m not good with this sort of thing…its hard enough to suspend disbelief long enough to acknowledge what happened out front.”

GM: The ritual has to take placce at midnight. Looking at the sheafs of paper, you see they are all writen in large, flourished hand. Six of the papers are covered in identical writings. Three of the other sheets identify the chant as having been copied from a book called De Vermiis Mysteriis written c. 1542 by Ludwig Prinn. One sheet has a diagram of a specific pentagram. Three other sheets detail the ritual itself: it should begin at midnight, and to drive off the spirit should be chanted backwards.

Jeremiah: “Well it looks like we have some time to kill, should we get things prepared?”

GM: While it can be performed by a single person, the author notes, it is advisable to have more than one as any break in the chanting disrupts the ritual. He further suggests: “that a watcher be posted, lest the sorcerers by disturbed by the nuisances and distractions of malevolent spirits.”

Margaret: “Yes. And we should examine the rest of the house….to see if whatever did THAT is still here. I wonder if we’ll hear from Emily…if the police had listened, you think they’d be here by now. Its been over an hour.”

Jeremiah: Jeremiah looks to see what time it is.

Jeremiah: “Well it looks like we have time, so let’s search the house before we get things prepped.”

Margaret: “Agreed. We need to stick together, though. I won’t be surprised if we come across something dangerous.”

GM: There is nothing really exciting in the house to discover, but you shortly hear the sound of some cars pulling in front of the house.

Margaret: “Maybe the police came after all?”

Jeremiah: Jeremiah looks outside to see if it’s the police. “If it is, we better go out there to greet them.”

GM: There’s a police cruiser, followed by the sporty red car that Emily left in.

Jeremiah: “Alright then, let’s see what happens now.” Jeremiah goes outside, making sure his hands are clearly visible and unthreatening.

Emily: Emily kills the engine, parking at the end of the driveway behind the cruiser.

Jeremiah: Margaret follows Jeremiah outside.

GM: A couple boys in blue step out of their car, starting toward the house. They both glance toward the Royce, and you can see some measure of surprise in their voice, before one makes his way back to the cruiser. The other heads toward the door, glancing to them. “You two the folks who came with her?” he asks, gesturing back to Emily.

Margaret: “Yes”, Margaret responds.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah nods. “We are officer. We’ve been waiting with the body to make sure nothing has been tampered with.”

GM: “Could we step inside for a moment so I could get your statements?” he asks, gesturing toward the door.

Margaret: “If that’s what you’d prefer”.

Emily: Emily exits the mercedes, watching the the police and her two friends, unsure where she should go.

Jeremiah: “Certainly officer.”

GM: The officer heading back to the car glances toward Emily. “You might want to step inside,” he comments to her, softly, sitting into the car. The following hour is filled with police questions about whom the house belongs to, what they’re doing there, and what they know of the crime. But eventually the car is removed, the body bagged, and each of the characters left with a number to call if they ‘remember anything further’.

Emily: Emily stands in the doorway of the house, watching the cruiser and the tow truck leave the driveway and disappear down the dusty road.

“Maudlin.” She says quietly to herself.

Margaret: “Should we go back inside and pick up where we left off?”

Jeremiah: Jeremiah fills Emily in on what they’ve found and what they plan on doing. “So are you in?”

Emily: “I… suppose, yes.” Emily says. “I doubt very much it will do anything, though.”

Margaret: “Neither did the police. There was hardly an investigation…they don’t know WHAT to do. We have the best chance of figuring it out.”

Jeremiah: “Well then, we should make sure things are prepared. And then figure out which one of us has the best latin…”

Emily: “Should we keep with two chanters and a watcher?” Emily asks. “I admit I’m less than thrilled with the idea of chanting a strange cerimony, but… I will if I must.”

Margaret: “I have some latin training, considering my Ph.D. Does anyone else? I can certainly chant.”

Jeremiah: “I never had more than basic latin in grammar school, and I admit I wasn’t a very good student…”

Margaret: “I think it would be best if Jeremiah kept watch, while Emily and I chanted. If that is ok with the both of you, of course.”

Jeremiah: “That works for me.”

GM: Time passes slowly in the old house, and as the sun begins to set Emily finishes teaching the ritual to Margaret, leaving a scant few hours before midnight. Is there anything you do in the interim? Like figure out what the two mystery powders are used for?

Margaret: Margaret looks through the journal for information on the two powders.

Margaret: After coming up empty, Margaret says, “Perhaps we should test the powders first, to see which does what.”

GM: As the light begins to flee the sky, the three light the fire in the fireplace to keep the night at bay.

Emily: “So after the chanting… what do we do with the second powder?” Emily asks, looking over the journal again.

Margaret: “It looks like we are ready for the ritual. Now we only have to wait till the right time to start.”

Jeremiah: Jeremiah closes all the doors leading into the room and keeps lookout near the windows.

Margaret: “Let’s test the powders quickly, to see what does what”.

GM: Tossing a handful of the brown powder makes the fire flash green briefly.

Emily: Emily tosses a pinch of silver powder on the fire as well, just incase both have a smiliar effect.

GM: The fire sputters briefly, putting out an acrid smoke.

Margaret: “Now that we know, let’s review the procedure one more time. To make sure we are prepared.”

Emily: “Looks like the silver makes invisible things invisble, but I’m still not sure what exactly we’re supposed to do with it. The journal entry only mentions chanting the ritual.”

Margaret: “’it might not be meant for the fire at all…it might be meant for us. If something goes wrong.”

Jeremiah: “Perhaps the creature is invisible, and we have to use it to reveal it before we can send it back.”

Jeremiah: “I think Jeremiah is on to something.”

Emily: “It might be used before the ritual… or… during? But we don’t need to see it to banish it, according to the journal.” Emily glances at the pouch of silver powder.

Margaret: “We might need to see it in order to prevent it from ruining the ritual. It might allow us to avoid it, should it appear. I guess we will have to see when the time comes, there is no way to know now”.

Emily: “Better give it to Jermiah, whatever the case ends up being.” Emily says, handing the pouch to the much renouned author.
andromedafire: “I agree. The chanting cannot be disrupted, so he is the obvious choice”.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah takes the powder. “I guess we’ll see if we need it.”

GM: Fair enough. As midnight approaches, everyone gets into position and at the strike of midight, the handful of powder thrown into the fire. As the flames lick up hungrily, their colors changed to a rich green and brown, casting a queer light over the room, the chanting begins. Ominous latin words, with one of the two chanting at each time to allow the other time to catch their breath. It feels… surreal.

Jermiah: Jeremiah prowls around the room trying to pick up any sort of disturbance.

GM: Twenty minutes in to the ritual, a loud thumping sound reverberates from the attic above, flames jumping as they again hear that unnatural snuffling sound. (( Sanity checks! )

(( All pass, no sanity loss ))

Margaret: Mentally, Margaret jumped when the thumping began. She maintained her compsure and kept chanting.

Emily: Emily continues chanting, inwardly startled. A sudden, unshakable sense of dread slowly growing over her as a the hint of a dark reality began to take hold.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah looks up towards the attic when he hears the noise. There’s nothing he can do about noise though. He takes a handful of powder in his hand as he watches the room for any changes, ready to throw it out if needed.

GM: The snuffling continues for a few seconds, the floor creaking above the three. Then, abruptly a harsh howling noise fills the air, followed by foul curses in a harsh, gutteral voice your mind shirks at understanding. The house begins to creak and sway. Objects on shelves and the mantle crash to the floor noisily. (( Sanity check. ))

(( All pass, all lose 1 ))

Margaret: It becomes harder to maintain compusure, but Margaret holds on.

Jeremiah: With the noise now filling the room Jeremiah throws the powder into the air over the pentagram, hoping to make the source visible.

GM: The powder shimmers into the air, catching the queer, unearthly light from the fire, but nothing is revealed. Although some of the dust coats each of the women.

Emily: Emily continues chanting, mildly reassured by the powders lack of reveal.

GM: For the next thirty minutes, the house shakes violently on its foundation, before finally creaking to a silent stop. And that’s when you can smell it. The slightly-off smell from before pervading the house begins to seep through the ceiling, quickly filling the room as you can hear something dripping onto the floor… (( Luck rolls. ))

(( Emily passes ))

GM: The dripping sound begins to come more and more often, and Emily sees some… viscous green fluid begin to drip from the cracks in the ceiling regularly, the smell growing to even more pungent heights. Margaret and Jeremiah see the same thing, but they are distracted by something else: the liquid dripping onto them. For Jeremiah, it falls down the back of his neck, and Margaret, onto her arm, eating through any cloth over it almost immediately. And then pain flashes from the wounds, burning into your skin for 2 damage a piece.

(( 2 Damage to Margaret and Jeremiah ))

Emily: Emily continues chanting, despite her attention being torn between watching for more of the dripping fluid and concern for her fellows.

GM: The furniture around the room is not spared the treatment, the acidic material continuing to eat through the rotten frames.

Emily: Emily contnues chanting, mover her arms abover her head in an attempt to shield herserlf from the noxious fluid if any should fall on her.

Margaret: Margaret is briefly interrupted by pain on her arms, from a disgusting, noxious fluid. It seems to have burned her.

GM: The skin is a dark red, swelling up after the liquid drips off.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah moves out of the way and tries to wipe the burning liquid off of himself.

GM: The liquid continues to drip around, but the three were made wise to the trick, able to dodge the remainder of the painful fluids from the ceiling. And as you approach the bgeinning of the second hour of the ritual, it begins to stop, the house falling silent yet again.

Emily: Emily pauses for breath as Margaret continues, taking advantage of the unnerving calm.

Margaret: Margaret continues chanting, a bit shaken and in pain, but aware that it could be much worse.

GM: The following minutes are tense, each of you waiting for the monster’s next move but not knowing what to expect. Listen checks!

((All fail))

GM: The ritual continues uninterrupted, the tension only growing. ((ANother listen check! ))

GM: Both Emily and Jeremiah hear it, from outside. A soft cry for help from the outside, in a woman’s voice! Someone sounds like they’re in trouble!

Emily: Emily glances at the other two, continuing to chant, unsure if she should advise them at the risk of breaking the ritual.

Margaret: Margaret continues to chant.

Jeremiah: “I think we need to ignore it. There’s no way anyone else is out here at this hour. I think someone, or something is trying to distract us from completing it.”

Emily: Emily nods her head, motion to the window as she continues to chant.

Margaret: Margaret hears jeremiah talking, but she does not know why.

GM: So you ignore the woman’s plaintive cry for help?

Jeremiah: Jeremiah does take a moment to glance out the window.

((Failed Spot Hidden))

GM: You can’t see anything outside.

GM: Turning back to the room from the window, the ritual continues for a minute, before a loud thud comes from the front door.

Emily: Emily continues chanting in a shaken voice, looking at Jermiah and shaking her head, wide eyed.

Margaret: Margaret continues chanting, and also looks toward Jeremiah, worried.

GM: The door shakes under another loud thud. This time, it’s echoed from the back door.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah tries to see if he can see anything but it still looks like nothing is there.

GM: Glancing out the door, Jeremiah can see… a person’s outline, vaguely, but something seems… wrong.

Emily: Emily covers her head with her hands, curling over into a ball and continuing the chant.

Margaret: Margaret continues to focus on the chant. She no longer needs convinced that something supernatural is occuring here, and decides that finishing the ritual is extremely important.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah grabs another handful of powder and puts himself between the door and the two chanting women.

GM: The back door shudders again, but the front door fall silent for a moment before he can make out something shuffling in front of one of the windows.

Emily: Emily continues to chant in her ball, eyes peeled open, unblinking, staring at the pentagram in front of her.

Margaret: Margaret also continues chanting, but shifts her focus to the front windows. She saw something move, but cannot break the chant to investigate.

GM: The shadow in the window shifts… before an arm, encrusted with blood breaks through the window with a loud crashing sound.

Margaret: Margaret jumps at the sound, and then sees the arm. She continues chanting, but looks directly at Jeremiah to see his reaction.

Emily: Emily’s scream is voiced in a raised and vocally wavering continuation of the chant as she scrambles her hands into her purse, searching for the .38 to throw to Jermiah.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah grabs the gun out of the air and clicks the safety off as he swings around to face the broken window.

Jeremiah: He doesn’t shoot yet, but holds the gun steady, trained on the bloody limb.

GM: The limb, unsurprisingly, doesn’t react to a gun being pointed at it, thrashing in the hole in the glass, cutting itself apart while the hole grows larger. It does not bleed, however.

Jeremiah: After a few seconds Jeremiah takes aim and shoots the arm as high up as he can.

GM: The figure stumbles back, before there’s a gutteral gurgling sound, the figure throwing themselves at the window, the damaged window shattering under its weight. And it’s then that those within sees what he’s been firing at. The hobo from before, with a smooth hole in his chest, his face a frozen mask of horror. His clothes, face, and body are covered in congealed blood, clothes torn and ripped, and a fresh hole through his shoulder. (( Sanity check! ))

(( All pass, lose 1 ))

GM: The shot goes wide, shattering another section of the window.

Emily: Emily aims at the horror, still chanting, and fires her saturday night special. With a wild, unholy terror in her eyes.

Margaret: Margaret continues chanting, while trying to figure out what’s going on.

GM: Emily lowers her pistol the ground, breathlessly chanting in a low monotone and staring at the broken window.

GM: Ear ringing, your eyes are drawn toward the middle of the ceiling, where a small wisp of smoke curls from the ceiling, twisting toward the center of the pentagram you all sound around. The pounding on the rear door continues, unnoticed.

Margaret: Margaret notices the odd wisp of smoke. Clearly, the ritual is accomplishing something. She continues to chant. The threat from the front of the house seems to have been neutralized.

GM: The smoke touched the ground in the center of the pentagram and… something… forms from it. The gutteral howling from before repeats, but all you can see is a… blur in the air. (( Sanity rolls! x2! ))

(( All pass first, Emily fails second, loses 1 sanity ))

Emily: Emily continues the chant, instinctively closing her eyes and looking away from the pentagram, but not in time.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah tosses the powder into the smoke that is filling the pentagram

GM: As the dust travels through the air, catching the light and glittering with the verdigris glow from the fire, it appears to strike something where the blur is. And as it comes into view, ‘something’ seems to to be the only word your mind can put to the cthonic entity before you. There is no logic, no reason to the being standing before you. It is a thing of nightmares, an undulating, throbbing mass of maws and talons and unspeakable long appendages. It is something that belongs not in this world, but in the world of night-terrors. And it opens its maw and screams again, forming the most blasphemous of curses it knows to spit at you as it claws and gnashes at the air. Sanity check!

(( Margaret passes, loses 2 sanity. Emily loses 6, Jeremiah 9 ))

Margaret: Margaret looks at the entity in front of her. She is taken aback, but keeps her wits about her. She continues chanting. This was the creature they were meant to banish.

GM: To both Emily and Jeremiah, suddenly what is standing before them is not a cthonic entity from beyond time and space. That would be ridiculous. But it is an absolutely gorgeous specimen humanity, beckoning you toward them with a warm smile.

GM: They both start toward the pentagram, arms wide to embrace the entity! What does Margaret do?!

Emily: Emily falters for a moment, ceasing her chanting. Did they do it? Has the curse or the spell been broken?

Margaret: Margaret continues chanting, but sees her two friends approach the entity. She tries flailing her arms, trying to indicate to them to GET BACK. She moves toward them.

GM: They don’t move back, approaching the circle ever closer… Seconds to minutes left in the ritual. Decisiontime is now. What do you do?

Margaret: Margaret places herself between her friends and the creature, and keeps chanting. She hits them, trying to keep them back. She knows she can’t hold them both back, and they seem insistent.

GM: The creature in the circle continues to gnash its teeth and claw toward them, appearing… eager.

GM: The blow strikes Jeremiah on the side of his head, sending him reeling to the ground momentarily. Emily, however, is not stopped, continuing to the circle…

GM: Margaret grabs onto Emily, determined to stop her from crossing that threshold, but she (inexplicable) pulls herself free, arms wide and smiling triumphantly as she steps across the barrier of the pentagram. With a final screech, the creature lashes out at Emily, but its form is already starting to dissipate into more smoke. With a hellborn screech one of its limbs lashes out at the dilletant, sending her flying across the room, shoulder torn open and bleeding profusely, to slam into the wall. With a final pop sound, the creature is gone, leaving Margaret alone in an empty, abandoned house, both her colleagues passed out and one bleeding profusely.

((Emily takes 8 damage, is knocked unconscious))

Adjustments:
-4 Sanity from Margaret, -9 From Emily, -11 from Jeremiah
-8 HP to Emily, -2 from Margaret and Jeremiah both

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Navilee

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