Tomes of Terror

Session Nineteen

Stakeout

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After having spent the previous night reading through Professor Fairbanks’ scribbled notes the two reporters and Tricia leave the motel in Lloyd’s Fiat Panda and head off to Lucerne House which is on the outskirts of town, to the north-west. Travelling further out the houses become less frequent and steadily larger as they drive through vast acreage belonging to Arkham’s wealthier families. When they finally reach the address indicated by the sat-nav they find their sight of the large white mansion obscured by a row of trees.

Pretending to be members of Arkham City Hall the trio boldly walk up to the large weary looking mansion, observing its poorly maintained lawns and a green VW camper van and grey Honda Civic parked in a side garage, and knock on the front door. A short time later a skittish woman answers and asks them their business; they tell her that they a conducting an electoral census to which the woman replies that her brother always handles that sort of thing – she duly fetches him and the irritated middle-aged man, forced from his bed, quickly sends the investigators packing when he instructs them to conduct their business via the post. Returning to their car the team are at a loss as to their next move and drive back into town and into a coffee house. Whilst their Tricia remembers one of her standard PI techniques and calls Bruce Cavendish up – she asks him to use the Eagle Bond system to pay for a cell phone location report on Professor Fairbanks’ cell phone; feeling guilty over having abandoned the case, Cavendish pays for the expedited service and has the report from the phone company within the hour. Calling Tricia back he is able to tell her that the Professor’s phone has been pinging off a tower in the north of Arkham for the last 48 hours, which is at odds with the reports of the Professor being away on conference in Atlanta. Tricia then tries ringing the Professor but only gets his answer phone.

Deducing that the Professor is in Lucerne House they visit a Wal-Mart and buy supplies for a stakeout and drive back out to the mansion and park a mile short. They split up with Tricia taking the rear of the property, Lloyd posting himself in the wood line to the right and Condita concealing herself in a ditch opposite the main entrance. By 1530 everyone is in position and is surveilling the property with binoculars or through camera lenses; looking at the rear of the house and the overgrown garden Tricia is able to easily discern the kitchen and dining room. She also spots that a hole has been dug at the edge of the garden at the foot of a tree – investigating it closer she sees that it too small to be a grave but it about three foot wide in all its dimensions. It takes Condita some time to realise that the VW camper van is missing and at 1600 she observes the skittish woman leave the house and jump into the Honda. Using their walkie-talkies the team is able to communicate the sight of Damon Drake entering the kitchen and an indiscernible man who repeatedly appears in the tower – a man who is sometimes seen holding a large book! They quickly realise that they must be dealing with at least four people inside the house. Tricia risks leopard crawling into the poorly kept garden to get a better view through the French windows – injuring herself on a discarded rake as she does so. Peering through the doors she observes that the interior is unkempt and in need of a good cleaning; there also appears to be a lot of cats on the premises. At 1830 the camper van returns and the investigators see that there are two men in it, one white and one black; the two men jump out of the van carrying boxes and are let into the house by Damon. Tricia sees the three men in the dining room and gets a good look at them – she doesn’t recognise either of the two men; and they seem to be looking at something that Damon is showing them on the dining room table. As it gets darker Lloyd ventures out from the wood line and creeps up to the house; he peers through the basement windows and uses his night vision enabled binoculars to peer inside and discovers more mess and ill-kept rooms. Not to be left out, Condita also risks breaking cover and scuttles onto the property and makes it over to the garage where she discovers a previously unnoticed third vehicle – a VW Polo.

Back in a strange land, Evelyn’s world suddenly turns an all-consuming violet hue as she walks through the sorcerer’s mirror. When her vision returns to her she is suddenly somewhere completely different. She is standing in what she believes to be the summoning circle that was described to her – it is a black stone circle surrounded by four stone pillars. She can see little else of the world she is in as it is night and a thunder storm rages violently in the heavens above – she notices that the air is much thinner and there is a pressure as if someone was pushing down on her shoulders. Wasting no time she sets about completing her new mission and paints out the sorcerer’s sigil within the summoning circle using the stone jars of red and yellow paint; she then uses her mobile phone to illuminate the pages of the book as she reads the Latin incantations. She feels the power building in the air about her as she performs the activation spell and as she reads the final passages the sorcerer’s sigil begins to burn luminous with a violet light. The half-insane FBI agent senses that she has successfully performed her task and waits for something else to happen – which it doesn’t; the sigil remains glowing and the thunder continues to peel mercilessly above. Wondering if she has missed something she reads the spell out again but realises that she has already expended all her magical energies.

There is now nothing left to do but explore her new realm in the hope of discovering the glowing pool that the sorcerer said would take her back to her own world. Stepping out of the summoning circle she finds that the ground consists of a black pumice stone that is covered sparsely with a lichen that is slightly grass like in quality. Pushing out into the blackness for a hundred metres Evelyn suddenly becomes aware of two points of a faint bluish glow which as she nears, reveals itself to belong to a bioluminescent plant that is growing in abundant patches before her. She continues through this mini-jungle of shoulder height plants which is clearly the source of her oxygen and is soon treading through irregular shallow pools of mud and water. As she continues to surveil her alien surroundings she detects something moving low in the near distance – she stops and observes it, but is doesn’t move again; but something else does to her left, closer. She realises with a sharp breath that something or somethings are out there with her and they are near.

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