Tomes of Terror

Epilogue

The Final Settling of Accounts

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In the MU Administration building, Dean Arthur Clements rises from his desk and walks over to his safe and pulls out two large and aged books. With both tomes in his hands he walks over to the window and stares out over the campus as the students below who go about their daily business completely oblivious to their dean’s concerns. He sighs gently as he considers all the events that have occurred over the last five weeks following the break in and theft from the university library. Such a number of strange and chilling events have suddenly transpired all around town that he can’t but suspect that the thefts of the rare occult tomes had something to do with it all. Somehow, he feels in his bones that the locus of all the deaths, injuries, missing persons, abductions and explosions can all be traced back to the schemes of the thief or thieves, not that he’s much the wiser of the crime that occurred on his watch. The private detectives he had hired had skilfully traced one of the books to a local bookseller, but how and why this individual had come by the book in the first place still remains a mystery as the detectives had soon left stating that things had gotten too dangerous for them, whatever that meant. And as for the other recovered book, it was found in the hands of a law enforcement official whom he had never met and who had been driven quite mad by sights and sounds unknown. All the dean knew for sure was that the new security measures being installed in the Jeremiah Orne library would prevent any repeat occurrence of the thefts and that he was glad that he had at least gotten two of the books back – it could have been so much worse, although he can’t shake the feeling that danger still lurks somewhere out there in the form of the most expensive and notorious missing volume.

Elsewhere in the campus the English 301 course begins yet another lecture and Steven Woodman looks about the theatre and the many empty spaces around him. The absences which account for a third of the class include his best friend Chris Henson, who used to sit next to him. Stranger still, Chris is missing, presumed dead, and his weird girlfriend, Eve, and all her silly sorority girls who all recently boasted of being into witchcraft were all gone too. Even the lecturer had changed – Professor Fairbanks and his exuberant tales of banned books had been replaced by the far more sedate and traditional Professor Emery. Carl Munk still creeps around the campus late at night to spy on pretty girls and one day in the near future will be undoubtedly caught by the campus police – it will be the first steps in a tragic life of petty criminality and an eventual fatal encounter with some of Arkham’s inhuman night time denizens. Didier Melville continues to run M.U.C.K and maintains his crown as king of the nerds whilst being blissfully unaware of what has been occurring around town and still spreading utter nonsense about a non-existent Illuminati cult headed by the dean. Luke Dewer still holds his loud dorm parties and still maintains that he runs a satanic cult and boasts that much of what’s been going on about town is in fact his doing – something that always impresses the more gullible freshmen girls. Over in the accounts department Charlotte Spinks continues to embezzle funds from the university unbothered by events around town having never been approached by any of the many investigators, which is perhaps for the best, as she would have undoubtedly introduced them to her biker friends.

Eve Williams sits looking out of her mother’s living room window on a quiet suburban street in Brockton, a few hours away from Arkham. Heavily traumatised by her recent experiences with the dark forces of the mythos her condition will steadily worsen and she will become a recluse and a drop out, completely withdrawn from outside society. Several of her former friends and Kappa Delta Phi sorority girls are also hundreds of miles away from Arkham, cowering in the sanctuary of their family homes, tormented by the horrifying memories of the murder of an innocent business man that they witnessed and the vague shifting memories of summoned things that should not be that will forever haunt their dreams. The sorority house itself will remain boarded up and uninhabited for a couple of years before the university finally returns it to use and another set of unsuspecting girls set up home there.

Deep in the Miskatonic Valley things are looking a little brighter. Thanks to the visit of a Delta Green death squad the withdrawn and suspicious rural denizens of this backwards land no longer need to worry about the troublesome Childs and Dean clans nor do they have to concern themselves with the odious presence of the dire witch, Mother Willow. The plans of the backwater witch to summon a dread ambassador of Shub Niggurath and take over Arkham has been utterly thwarted by her unexpected transportation to a distant world surrounding a distant star.

Ebden Burns transported himself, Mother Willow and Les Cultes Des Goules to a planet orbiting a star in the constellation of Libra. Shortly after casting the spell all three materialised in a massive stone maze under the frozen planet’s surface. It was here that the Great Old One, Eihort, Lord of the Labyrinth, and his brood, have set up home having left the confines of Ebden’s ill-fated Arkham bookshop. Ebden drags a protesting Mother Willow to the centre of the maze where he offers her to his god; unfortunately for Ebden there is no way out of the bargain he has made with the alien god and he is doomed to his fate of madness and death. Mother Willow meanwhile, well versed in the occult and possessing sufficient mythos knowledge, recognises the futility of the offer being made to her by Eihort and refuses, calling on her own god to help her – sadly, the Black Goat of the Woods can do nothing to protect her disciple whilst she is in another god’s realm. Mother Willow meets an unpleasant end under the stumps of Eihort. The stolen book will remain lost in an alien maze for eons. Back on Earth, in Boston, the condition of the once bright and dashing Eagle Bond PI, Carl Paronuzzi, gets steadily worse until his fits of screaming and madness result in him being sectioned by the authorities – a short time after this twenty of Eihort’s brood emerge from within the demented man in a horrific birth that kills their host. His attendants open his cell in the morning to find the strange white creatures running around a pool of blood and pulped bone and gristle; all of these little critters are duly exterminated and several become samples at the CDC in Atlanta where scientists fruitlessly attempt to identify and classify this new species of deadly parasite.

Outside Chris Henson’s devastated house in the north-west of Arkham, Detective John Stubbs watches as two body bags are brought up from the excavated basement – he wonders idly if one of the bodies is that of the missing student. Things have been bizarre and far too busy recently for the seasoned career policeman and he knows well enough that in Arkham it pays not to question things too deeply or go prying into any dark corners; something that the Eagle Bond and the multi-agency task force should both have considered before coming to town and stirring up a such ruckus. Stubbs also knows that he has knowledge of only a portion of what’s been going on but he reasons that it just might be the most held by anyone alive less the perpetrators. The evidence clearly points to Professor Fairbanks having been involved in the theft of valuable and rare books from the university and it would seem that a couple of his students, Chris Henson and Eve Williams were also involved. He muses that at least the three of them were responsible for stealing and selling at least a couple of the books in the local community and that Ebden Burns had subsequently bought one or more of these stolen books. But with the books being worth in excess of half a million dollars it would seem that word of this had reached dangerous criminal elements, undoubtedly mob connected, who had mercilessly sought out to recover the books themselves and had not stopped short of murder and arson to cover their tracks. This theory explains almost everything that has occurred across town over the last five weeks – the two arsons, the storming of the Kappa Delta Phi sorority house and the multiple kidnappings from the hospital, mental health centre and the private residences on South Garrison Street; not to mention the deaths of the task force. He’s not sure exactly how it all ties in with the Drake siblings or the Professor’s violent death, along with a whole police search party, at the scene of some sort of satanic ritual in the hinterlands of New York State – perhaps the gangsters caught up with him out there and relieved him of the remaining books and then run into the boys in blue? Not that he’ll find out anytime soon since the crime scene isn’t in his jurisdiction. One thing Stubbs is completely unaware of however is the eight volumes of The Revelation of Glaaki currently sitting in the Arkham PD Evidence Room, quietly waiting for the day when a bored custody officer will peruse them.

In the land of Hyperborea, millions of years ago in Earth’s distant past, Ul-Hamouth the grand inquisitor of the Elk god Youndeh, enraged by the recent attempt on his life in his own home, arrives at the black tower with an army of over 300 men. They storm the granite structure and spend several hours defeating the golem guards at great loss of life only to find the place devoid of any human inhabitants. Meanwhile, on the distant stormy world of N’kai, the powerful sorcerer Eibon arrives via his summoning circle along with his retinue of faithful monks and his new apprentice, Chris Henson. The old mage smiles to himself; it’s true that he has lost his ancient home to his enemies and has been forced to flee but his plans to build an escape route to the world of his god, the mighty Tsathoggua, has been successfully realised. He is now safe to practice his dark arts unmolested, assisted by his young aide who has all but forgotten about his previous life in a place called Arkham in the 21st century.

As for Eagle Bond, Bryce Cavendish manages to struggle on for a few more months until the trauma of what he saw in the sorority house and guilt over Tricia’s death causes a short breakdown; eventually, after a period of time he commences a new less stressful career as an accountant. Dale Rutherford manages to mentally block all the disturbing occurrences and continues with the firm and buries the memories of Arkham one case at a time. Heather Mosby struggles to do the same and shortly leaves the firm to take up a degree course and is periodically plagued by strange monstrous dreams for the rest of her life. Malcolm Ashford’s widow and family continue to petition the authorities for an enquiry into his mysterious death in an Arkham bookshop basement but this never occurs and their doubts are never resolved.

Similar fates await the loved ones of the Delta Green team. No one in authority seems to know why a disparate collection of law enforcement officers of good standing suddenly converged on Arkham as part of a task force no one has heard of, much less why two of them met a fiery death in the basement of a well-to-do suburban house, or that one went missing from the hospital never to be seen again while a fourth now permanently resides in a mental health centre. No one connects the dots when a senior Treasury Department official, Colin Menthers, aka Bernard, is machine gunned outside his Milwaukee residents by assassins unknown (actually Adolf Lepus of the clandestine government agency, Majestic 12).

The mystery surrounding the Adirondack National Park Massacre will never be satisfactorily explained away and various rumours and conspiracy theories will be spread far and wide to explain the shooting death of a respectable Massachusetts’ University professor and the horribly mangled corpses of over fifteen policemen, their dogs and an Arkham Advertiser reporter at the scene of some sort of Satanic ceremony. Some of the broken remains of Fairbanks’ family and the abducted Brown family will eventually be found scattered wide throughout the dense forests of the park, far from the original scene. Condita manages to leave much of what happened behind her – convincing herself and the police that on that particular night she must have been drugged and hallucinating; and that what she saw and experienced could in no way be real. The three summoned Star-Spawn now quietly meander through the more remote valleys of the national park, far from prying eyes. The Necronomicon is seized from Tricia’s abandoned car and entered into evidence where it remains, forgotten, for years while the authorities fruitlessly try to get to the bottom of things.

Most fortunately for the residents of Arkham is that unbeknownst to them the demented plans of Professor Gregory Fairbanks have been scuttled by two reporters and the only member of Eagle Bond who stuck with the case throughout. The professor had taken his love of the secret and forbidden to a new level and with the assistance of the Drake family and his new followers had sought to revive and build up the extinct Cult of Cthulhu and assume the position of High Priest. Fairbanks was guided by dreams sent from his god who still slumbers beneath the ocean in R’lyeh; he sought to awaken great Cthulhu but fortunately for humanity, the stars are not yet right. Instead, had he not been stopped, he would have conducted a number of abductions and sacrifices resulting in a diminishing number of star spawn being summoned forth in great Cthulhu’s stead and left to loiter the dense and immense forests of the Adirondacks until called upon. A great disaster has been averted and Fairbanks did not have the time to leverage the terrifying power of the Necronomicon to make Arkham a very different place in tone and feel – its population will not suffer a drastic cull and its society will not now be infiltrated by cultists; Arkham will remain a vaguely sinister town with a dark secret at its heart but thanks to the actions of Lloyd, Condita and most of all, Tricia, normal everyday life will continue. For now.

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