The Haunted

The Templar Legacy - Finale
the wrap up

Experience rewarded: 3


View
The Templar Legacy Part 3
the mystery deepens

Scene 11: the Blanchefort Family Church

The church the Doctor was working in is situated roughly three miles from the town of Arques, further up the mountainside. Reaching it takes an hour on foot, slightly less on horseback. They discover a small hut erected over an excavation into a crypt. The entrance is covered by a trapdoor in the floor.

This is the Blanchefort family crypt! Along the walls are some of the artwork the doctor copied. A quick search of each of the tombs discovers a family Great Sword made of Cold Iron. They also detect a slight breeze coming from a crack in a wall. It takes Brian a little over an hour to break through the wall using the excavation tools lying about.

The group enters a 5-foot wide tunnel (not comfortable for Brian) that after a 3-mile walk, opens into the cellar of the tower.

Scene 12: the tower cellar

Discover some clues and attacked by Ghouls. The clues: a small wooden chest containing a small, age-work book, a ceremonial robe, and a small silver dagger – very sharp!

The ghouls, well, they are the remnants of the Blanchefort family and they come stumbling in from various side tunnels in an attempt to kill our heroes (or perhaps eat them). One of the ghouls hangs back, protected by another two, and seems to be attempting to cast magic spells.

It isn't a pretty fight and our heroes are almost killed out right. Brian takes the worst of the damage. He is still standing at the end of the fight, but the nature of his 'being' means he still suffers from the one Wound that got through. Kitty's guns a'blazing and Silas' spell-slinging are able to take down the rest of the ghouls.

Scene 13: the tower

The tower is visible from the villa and in the artwork is actually part of a chateau. The chateau is an imposing structure and a substantial part of the bailey wall and gateway are still intact. It is in the process of being restored. A sign gives an address in Arques for the persons having the work done: Monsieur Hautpol and Sons. A successful Knowledge (History) shows the Hautpol family were once members of the Knights Templar and very influential in the area around Arques.

Scene 14: a break-in

Monsieur Hautpol can be found at his office in Arques during the day and at his house at night. Our intrepid trio elects to wait until night and break into his office whilst he is home with his family. Brian picks the lock like he was blessed by the lord of thieves. An expert locksmith wouldn't even be able to detect the lock had ever been picked. Good job Brian!

Our heroes weren't sure if Hautpol was on the good or bad side but when his guard dogs, actually devil dogs (dogs summoned from Hell) attacked them, it kind of identified which side he was on. That would be the evil side…

Brian bear hugs one dog whilst another attempts to rip out Silas' throat. Kitty felt otherwise and knifed her attacking dog, slicing its head clean off, stabbed the one on Silas dead, then finished off Brian's. They then searched through the offices. What they discovered:

  • In waste bin, crumpled paper referring to the collection of a package Hautpoul had shipped from Arques. The letter is postmarked the same day Doctor White's body was found.
  • In a filing cabinet, under "Private Transactions" is a letter from an antiques dealer in Marseilles, dated two weeks ago.

Scene 15: the antiques dealer

This requires another trip to Marseilles and an overnight stay, train runs only once a morning (10am). It must be said that Silas was really not enjoying these trips back and forth on the rail. Perhaps it was giving him bad memories?

The antique dealer's shop is in one of the quieter districts of Marseilles, situated between a baker (smells real nice) and a bookstore. Inside is a shop stuffed full of curiosities, antiques, and novelties of all types. The owner, Monsieur Gerard eagerly waits on the heroes when they enter.

A bit grumpy from the trip, Silas and Brian cut right to the chase and confront the man about the missing head, the families, the occult, and the upcoming ceremony to open a gate to hell. Gerard denies everything, of course, but is clearly scared of something NOT the heroes. This just makes our heroes angrier and Brian hoists up the storekeeper by his neck and threatens to kill him. Still nothing, except a faint smell now of something unpleasant.

Some constables pop in, alerted by the neighbors, but Gerard is quick to convince them nothing is wrong and they should leave. Following the exiting coppers, our heroes also leave in apparent disgust. But they have frightened Gerard and they hope to follow him to the leader or at least where the ceremony is to take place.

He is easy to follow as the only train back to Arques is the following morning. So our heroes are already aboard to watch the nervous Gerard board.

Scene 16: it all comes together

A flawless plan, the frightened Gerard exits the train and makes a beeline for the shop of Hautpol and Sons. Inisde is excited conversation then Hautpol senior and Gerard hastily leave on a wagon. The two Hautpol sons (giants even next to Brian, but not too bright. Many suspect they share one brain). Rush over to Edith's bookstore. Whilst our heroes wait outside trying to figure out what is going on, Silas wanders to the back of the store just in case.

A crashing sound from within draws in Brian and Kitty. Out back, Silas spies the two brothers exiting quickly, one has Edith bundled up and gagged thrown over his shoulder. Silas reacts quickly and fires a mystical bolt and the son carrying Edith. Maybe he is still cranky from the train ride but his bolt is more powerful than he anticipated and blows a hole clean through the one brother. The other flees in a panic as Brian and Kitty make it out the back. They quickly set off in pursuit.

Brian is a big man but not very fast, but bulky brother, motivated by fear, is hauling ass. Kitty is just able to keep up but she realizes she has only one attempt to fire at the brother before he gets away. Remembering Silas' desire to capture one alive for interrogation, she purposefully hits the brother in the leg. Unfortunately she is just too good a shot and blows the leg clean off and the brother is dead before he hits the ground.

Scene 17: showdown!

The gunfire and shouting have drown out the police and townsfolk. Obviously our heroes are the heroes and Silas is able to convince the police chief that Hautpol senior is bonkers and had his sons attempt to kidnap Edith in a crazy attempt to sacrifice her to some dark god of hell. Silas convinces everyone Hautpol is quite mad but quite dangerous, So our heroes and the police set off in pursuit. Silas reasons they will be at the tower to continue the ceremony.

Fortunately time is on their side, the ceremony cannot occur until midnight and it is early afternoon. So the heroic forces of good arrive near the sight of the ceremony. They can see some 30 or so members hanging out, just waiting for the night. Some are even drinking. Hautpol is alongside an altar with a big brass head on it. He is shadowed by a still frightened Gerard. The police captain orders his men to flank the villains and charge in, arresting all they find. Kitty charges in on horseback, shooting left and right, determined to get the bronze head.

Brian is charging right behind her, his eyes on Hautpol. Silas is bringing up the rear on a wagon. Kitty is able to grab the head but misjudges the weight and falls off her horse. Hautpol flees into the tower, Brian right behind him. Gerard just takes off running, never looking back.

As the police captain and his men round up most of the suspects, they clearly ignore the sounds of strange fighting from within the tower. They have enough arrested to stop and take credit for a great arrest. Hautpol clearly knows some magic and as Kitty and Silas enter the tower they can see the affects on Brian. He is looking rather worse for wear. And Hautpol clearly knows an invisibility spell and disappears in a puff of smoke (cliched, I know). Silas is clearly pissed that he does not know this spell.

Kitty doesn't care one bit and just fires blindly, trying to hit the villain. Luckily she wings him on the second shot. And our villain is soon dead, lying below in the cellar.

Scene 18: the story

Silas writes up a version of the events that cover up the supernatural aspects and makes the local police force look like heroes. And they appreciate it very much. So all ends well. Our heroes make one last train trip to Marseilles and a return boat trip to London.

View
The Templar Legacy Part 2
the investigation begins

Scene 4: the doctor's villa

The doctor's villa is roughly one mile up the mountainside from the town and is fairly isolated. The only other buildings to be seen are a church about a mile up the mountain and an old stone tower wrapped in scaffolding further beyond.

  • It appears deserted, doors are closed, windows shuttered
  • Front door is unlocked
  • Brief search of house reveals no one nor any signs of recent habitation.
  • They do find some clues, however:

    • Business card: Arcanum Books, found stuffed down the side of a sofa cushion.
    • Copies of strange artwork hidden under a carpet. The pictures show scenes of human sacrifice, demons devouring humans, and similar scenes. The heroes also realize that the backgrounds in many of the drawings reflect the local area: the church and tower in many cases. Scribbled notes confirm the work is by the doctor.
    • Doctor's diary hidden inside one of the kitchen drawers. It takes an hour to fully read. There are some details about recent findings at the church, theories about meaning of the artworks, and a fear that someone is stalking him.

Scene 5: Arcanum Books

A bookshop run by little old lady, Madame Edith, who inherited it from her mother, who in turn inherited it from her mother. She is the last of her line, no children to leave the books to.

The shop hours are between 8am and 7pm, Monday through Saturday. The shop is closed for lunch between 12 and 2pm every day when Madame Edith takes her lunch outside of the village church.

She is a sweet old lady and is visibly upset to learn the doctor is missing, They were dear friends. The only thing of note she can remember of his recent visit is this book she ordered for him. She has it on the counter and gives it to the heroes, hoping it will help in the investigation. The book is entitled The True History of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, and is written in Latin. Kitty volunteers to read the book, having studied Latin in school, and the six-hour slog through the hand-written book keeps her up for most of the night.

Scene 6: visiting the police

The local police station is easy to find and is staffed by only five full-time officers. The police know of the good doctor, he is well-liked through-out the community and his discoveries bring in tourists to the local museum. He would always check in with the constables when he was in town, letting them know he would be staying at the villa.

The police show the investigators a report made by the doctor and admit discovering footprints when investigating the area around the villa, but no other clues. The doctor stopped calling them about a week ago so everyone assumed he had returned to England.

Scene 7: an interrupted dinner

After enjoying a nice local supper at their inn, discussing the case and clues over some rather decent local wine, our heroes are politely interrupted by a local who has been dining by himself. He introduces himself as Michel DuPont, curator of the local museum. He couldn't help but overhear much of their conversation, and as the good doctor was a friend, he offers a late night tour of the museum and some privacy to discuss the ongoing investigation.

The town of Arques has as small museum just off of the main square, which is run by the town historian, Michel DuPont. It is open 7 days a week, between the hours of 9am and 5pm. The museum is actually his house converted. It is chock full of all sorts of relics. DuPont gives a long lecture about the history of the area, the rival families, the ties to the Templars and some stories behind some of the discoveries. He personally claims to not believe in the legends about Templar treasures hidden away but does not dissuade others from searching as it is good for business.

Scene 8: a police summons

After leaving the museum, the heroes are approached by two policemen from the local station. They apologize for interrupting the walk but ask if they can take a moment for a private word.

They report on receiving a telegram from the police in Marseille within the last hour informing them of the discovery of Doctor White's body hanging from a hotel room ceiling, a noose made from his belt. The body was identified by his traveling papers, but they would like someone who knew the Doctor to come and identify as soon as possible.

Scene 9: the crime scene

By the time the heroes arrive in Marseilles the police have cleaned up the crime scene. They were convinced the death was suicide so saw no reason for further investigation or delaying cleaning of the room. While looking about the room, a Notice roll discovers traces of fine powder. A Common Knowledge roll reveals this is flash powder from a camera.

When asked, the police admit one of their men photographed the scene. Some details:

  • The police did find a suicide note
  • Why go all the way to Marseilles to kill himself?
  • His diary mentioned a belief he was being stalked.
  • Where are the archeological finds recovered from the church?
  • After obtaining the crime scene photos and spending nearly an hour studying them, our heroes come to this conclusion: There appears to be no means by which the Doctor could have hung himself. There are no nearby stools and the table and bed are too far away.

Scene 10: the body

Brian is able to successfully 'intimidate' the local police into allowing the heroes time to inspect the doctor's body. The most noticeable feature is massive bruising around the ribcage. The police report states the bruising is from the body falling on the ground when the belt was cut from the ceiling. A successful Healing roll determines the bruising is more like that of something being wrapped around his chest and squeezing very hard.

There is also very little bruising around the neck where the belt was tied. A successful Healing check reveals he was dead before he was hanged!

View
The Templar Legacy
the Message

Scene 1: the message

Silas receives a telegram from Dr. Emil White, an old associate and recent corespondent.

Doctor White

Scene 2: the trip

The group travels to the port of Marseilles on the southern coast of France. This is a pleasant six day trip from England. The Doctor's summer retreat is some 300 miles outside of Marseilles. A train runs from Marseilles to the small town of Arques, which lies a few miles from the Doctor's house. It leaves every day at 10:00 am and the trip takes only a few hours.

Port of Marseilles

Scene 3: somewhere to sleep

The town has three establishments:

  1. Farmhouse of Monsieur Pierre de Plantard, local farmer who has converted the upper floor into a guest house. The rooms are spartan but warm, and the food is wholesome and filling rather than fancy. It is essentially two rooms.
  2. Guest house in the heart of town run by Monsieur Louis Gilbert and his family. There are six rooms, all share a common bathroom, are well-decorated, and have large bay windows allowing plenty of sunlight to filter in.
  3. Lastly, the house of Madame Claire Alvar, a known woman of ill-repute. It is a single room :)
View
Interlude - Rest and Recovery
research into the occult

The remainder of the journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway is uneventful. Under the attention of Doctor Wells, Silas recovers quickly. After all, it is 15 days of uninterrupted rest, no supernatural events occurring! From Moscow back to London is many days as well and upon reaching the comfort of Mrs. Murdock's home, Silas is physically fit, no lasting effects. On the surface he appears to be his usual, jovial, dedicated self. But underneath that veneer of coolness, what wounds remain?

His compatriots are unable to draw anything out, and step carefully around him for many days. Silas seems even more dedicated to the cause of stopping the horrors leaking from the darkness. His desk is stacked with old books, manuals, and parchments. He begins a plethora of correspondence with several specialists in the field of the occult. He is searching for books and research on several esoteric subjects, much of which is completely foreign to his allies. Even Brian – who has some experience in this field, barely recognizes the names of ancient Tomes and manuscripts Silas is searching for.

Brian does recognize some of the names Silas is writing to and it is quite a diverse selection:

  • Doctor Emil White: professor of medieval archaeology at Oxford
  • Sir Maurice Newbury: officer of the British Museum, specializing in Anthropology and History
  • Doctor Maxwell Dean: Specialist-Detective
  • Flaxman Low: Specialist-Detective
  • Duke De Richleau: soldier-of-fortune and occult investigator
  • Thomas Carnaki: occult detective
  • Arthur Machen: Welsh author and mystic
  • Pamela Colman Smith: writer, artist and spiritualist

Silas also has the Encyclopedia Occultis gifted to him by Golden Claw. This book seems to be a great starting point for much of Silas’ research and questions concerning the creatures and entities they face.

View
Horror Express - Finale
the wrap up

Experience rewarded: 3


Rewards:


Amazingly, after searching through the wreckage, the authorities recover the above items and they are returned to our heroes. All their other goods were destroyed in the fiery explosions, but not these three gifts.

View
Horror Express - Part Two
...with a devil aboard.

Day 3

A morning autopsy of Natasha reveals the same effect on the brain. Dr. Wells also performs an autopsy on the beast. After everyone has cleared out of the baggage car to join breakfast, except for our heroes of course, Kitty immediately cuts off the beast's head. Paranoid or cautious? In the darkness, she notices the one good of the beast has a faint reddish glow that is fading fast. Satisfied that the decapitation is sufficient, she fails to mention the glowing affect to her compatriots.

After breakfast, Dr. Wells has an idea about the eyes, the creatures does not suffer the same whitish effect of his victims, so they remove the eye and study it under a microscope. Inside the viscous fluid, they see images, the latest being the inspector just before he shoots the beast and the oldest apparently dinosaurs and other ancient creatures. Apparently this ancient yeti is far older than Saxton presumed. The images captured within the eye should still prove valuable enough when brought back to the Royal Society.

They are soon joined by the ever curious Countess and the buzz-kill Pujardov. She finds the whole thing fascinating. Out of curiosity, the party also tested an eye from each of the victims but they did not show the same effect. Pujardov is incensed at the scientific heresy, it is an affront to God he exclaims. During his diatribe he throws one of the eyes across the room and leaves in disgust, dragging the pour countess with him.

Only later do they discover that Pujardov has taken the beast's eye. The group splits up to find the mad monk. Unfortunately, Miss Jones is the one who heads back to the baggage car to search. There she suffers the same fate as the other victims. It is the inspector who discovers the body. It is now clear that somehow the beast or something inhabiting it has escaped, perhaps into a new host. Doctor Wells suggests they search everyone's eyes, which seems to pose some significance to the entity.

The inspector orders all passengers and staff gathered in the dining car and all eyes are investigated, including his own. However, nothing suspicious is discovered. The passengers are pissed off and borderline panicked, but the inspector orders everyone to calm down and go about their business. Silas suggests that at least everyone remain in groups, at least pair up. At no point should anyone be left alone.

Later that evening, the young engineer as playing his usual game of chess, he is sitting with an American woman in the dining car. They are alone. She falls asleep. When she awakes in darkness, after turning up the lamp, her screams alert the players. The engineer is dead, just like the others. She remembers the game, him talking to himself, and she just fell asleep. The light was on when she fell asleep and off when she awoke. She remembers nothing else out of the ordinary.

Day 4

It is now a train full of suspicious and paranoid passengers. And the heroes have no further clues as to may be hosting the entity.

Late during the fourth day, the train comes to an emergency stop at a small way station to take aboard Captain Kazan and his men. He immediately seizes control of the train. He begins by interrogating all of the foreigners first; he suspects one is spy and therefore the killer as well. He does not believe any of the mumbo-jumbo about body swapping entities.

With most gathered once again in the dining car, Kazan harangues the incompetent inspector and taunts the mad monk. Silas has a epiphany, the lights, all the attacks have occurred in darkness. That is why the inspections of the eyes revealed nothing. Using a minor cantrip, he momentarily dims all of the lights in the car. The inspector's eyes glow red, he has been hosting the entity all this time!

Mirov possessed

Panic ensues and Kazan and his men open fire on the fleeing inspector, followed closely by the mad monk. Dr. Wells and Saxton rouse the passengers and heard the back to the safety of the baggage car. Our heroes follow the chaos going the other direction down the train. As they catch up to Kazan, he is standing over the corpse of the deceased inspector. His men throw the body off the moving train. As far is he is concerned, the threat is over. But where is the mad monk? Does he pose a threat?

The large group rushes to the private car of the Count and Countess, too late to discover the darkened room and the now possessed monk with his arm around the Count's throat. Pujardov lost all reason and gave himself voluntarily to the entity. Silas realizes this because now his occult sense can actually feel the overwhelming presence of the entity. It is ancient, evil and very, very powerful.

With a simple twist, Pujardov rips the Count's head clean off then wades into the Cossack soldiers, felling them left and right. His is ripping limbs and bodies apart. In the ensuing darkness and chaos, the heroes lose track of each other. Brian runs out of the room to the telegraph room, he remembers seeing on the map the next station has a second line that ends in a cliff. He sends an emergency message, claiming to be from Kazan, ordering the switch pulled to send the train down the dead-end line and over the cliff. Kitty is running to the back of the train. She will attempt to disconnect the baggage car for the rest, saving everyone.

Meanwhile, Silas has grabbed the Countess, and lead her out of the room, towards the front of the train! He wraps his armored jacket around her and hoists her atop the coal car. He then begins to detach the remainder of the train. His only thought, save the Countess and leave him aboard the remaining cars to battle the evil!

As the cars separate, the Countess riding away to safety, Silas turns to face the devil! The walls of the car around him explode in wooden fragments, revealing the possessed Pujardov. The voice emanating from him is the monk's and all the other victims, and something else. Something evil. The entity waves his hand and all of the deceased soldier behind him spring up as animated zombies. They pursue Brian and Kitty.

It turns its red eyes to Silas.

"You have power, you have strength, I must possess your soul and body. This shell of a priest is nothing compared to you!"

Silas is almost knocked to the ground as the force of the entity tries to invade his mind. Beads of sweat dot his forehead as he resists with all his will. He straightens, spreads his arms and casts a bolt of energy into the creature. The creature fires back with a blast of dark matter, and Silas is hurt badly. But he keeps to his feet and begins another bolt spell.

Kitty has made it to the back and is attempting to detach the baggage car. Brian is battling his way to the back as zombie soldier attempt to repeatedly stab him with their sabers. Realizing he cannot fight them all and still get himself to safety, he rips the gas-line from the wall, as the gas begins to fill the cars, the flames of the lamps begin to flicker. Brian runs as fast as he can to the back, he must get to the safety of the baggage car before it detaches!

Back at the front, the stormy night sky is lit up by the power of the eldritch energies being fired back in forth between Silas and the entity. Both are weakened, near death, but neither will give up. But the entity has millennia of hatred to lend it strength and Silas has spent his last reserves, he falls to his knees, knowing the end was near and he had failed his friends. At least the Countess would be safe.

He screams in agony as he feels the force of the entity invade his mind, attempting to wrest control!

Brian leaps to the baggage car as it separates!

Zombies rush through the detached cars, oblivious to what was happening!

As the darkness fills Silas, he feels his soul slipping away…

Fireballs rip through the night as the gas filled cars explode in a fury! The living flames rush through the cars, destroying the zombies, then explodes onto the car with Silas and the entity. As the flames engulf the body of Pujardov and incinerate it, Silas is blown backwards off the car. His soul is free as the entity dies, fading to nothingness.

 

Silas looks up into the night sky, a smile plays across his face, and he slips into unconsciousness.

Up ahead, the station master has done his duty and followed orders, the switch has been thrown. With visibility poor because of the blizzard, the train engineer does not notice the car slide onto the secondary track. At the last moment, he realizes the danger as he and the two cars go hurtling off the cliff, exploding into the earth far below. Sadly, the Countess is among the victims of this horrific crash.

 

Brian leads Kitty the survivors to the rail station. Along the way, they pick up the battered and near death body of Silas. The good Dr. Wells does what he can to keep Silas alive. It will be a long wait for officials to end another train, investigate the circumstances, and release everyone to continue their journey. Silas will have the time he needs to heal.

But when he awakens and learns the fate of the Countess. What then? What will the guilt do to him?

View
Horror Express - Part One
A long train ride...

A crowded train station in Beijing, the last few passengers boarding the Trans-Siberian Express, a large crate the last item to be loaded into the baggage car. A master thief and pick-pocket working his way through the crowd. A sudden desire to see what is inside the crate. A scream as a young woman discovers the thief's body dead, beside the crate, his eyes milky white, blood bleeding from his eyes and mouth. Professor Saxton ignores the scene of distress and orders the porters to load his crate, the train must leave now.


Day 1

Our hearty band of adventurers, joyous to have their friend Silas back amongst them, check into the room aboard the train, ready to begin a nice, quiet, relaxing 16-day journey from Beijing to Moscow. Brian and Silas share a room and Kitty is roomed with a Miss Jones, assistant to Doctor Wells.

It is late afternoon when the train departs. So it isn't until dinner time that the major travelers come together in the dining car. A few people stand out: the mysterious Natasha, who seems to have her eye on a young Russian engineer. Alas, the young engineer seems more interested in his small chess set then the vivacious Natasha dining with him. Professor Saxton, Doctor Wells, and Miss Jones seem to be having a lively discussion about scientific theories and discoveries, most focused on the theories of evolution. It appears there is a bit of friendly rivalry between Saxton and Wells, both members of the British Royal Society.

A beautiful young woman, the Countess Irina Petrovski catches the eye of Silas. She seems to be flirting with him even though she is accompanied by her much older husband, Count Marion Petrosvski and her dour teacher Father Pujardov. Other than a loud American woman, the only other person of note is the quiet and contemplative Inspector Mirov, dining alone.

Doctor Wells Miss Jones Professor Saxton
Countess Petrovski Count Petrovski Father Pujardov
Inspector Mirov Natasha Yevshenko

Day 2

A curious baggage porter inadvertently springs the beast locked in Saxton's crate. When Inspector Mirov makes his way back to the baggage car on his daily inspection, he discovers the porter is missing. There is no sign of a struggle, just a few screws in the porter's cap, sitting on his desk. The inspector realizes the screws belong to Saxton's crate. He has one of his soldiers bring Saxton and Dr. Wells to the baggage car for questioning. Our curious heroes follow along. Saxton refuses to unlock the chains around the crate, he does not want his archaeological find to be exposed. When pressed by the inspector, he tosses the key out a window. Grabbing a fire ax, the inspector makes quick work of the chain and lock.

The body of the porter is discovered inside the locked crate, his eyes milky white, dried blood around his eyes and mouth. The ancient body of a yeti is missing! Saxton is clearly distraught and Wells offers him whiskey from his flask. The inspector sends his men to search the train, this awakened creature must be found and destroyed. During the search, 1 soldier is killed and a side door is found open, apparently the beast has escaped the train. The dead soldier demonstrates the same effects as the deceased porter. While the inspector believes the beast is gone and the train safe, he orders Dr. Wells and his assistant, Miss Jones, to perform autopsies on the two victims.

Aside from the same opaque eye affect, the autopsy suggests the brains of the victims have been drained of all memories and knowledge. The brains are completely smooth. Like they have been erased of everything.

The horror is soon forgotten by dinner time, maybe a few nightmares for some of the less experienced. After dinner, most passengers retire to their rooms. Our heroes are now suspicious and perhaps a bit paranoid, so while Brian and Kitty sleep, Silas is up standing a watch. Inside his room, he begins his first real study of the tome gifted to him. Later that night, he notices Natasha heading to the water closet. Only after an unreasonable amount of time has past and Natasha has not returned, does SIlas grow worried. He rouses his compatriots and they wander back to investigate. The WC is clearly empty, and since Natasha did not come back this way, that leaves only the baggage car left.

As our heroes investigate the baggage car, they discover the body of Natasha, the same signs as the other dead. Suddenly, the door behind is slammed shut and jammed. Something is running fast to escape. Brian uses his strength to push the door open and Kitty runs past, in pursuit of what they soon realize is the beast. She fires a shot, winging it, just before it runs into the next car. The gunfire has awakened the inspector and leaps into action, pursuing the beast as well. He is ahead of Kitty and is the first to reach the next car. As Kitty is racing to catch up, she hears the inspector emptying his gun into the beast.

the Beast

She catches up and fires one last shot, knocking the beast over the bar. Brian streaks past, leaping across the bar and slamming into the beast. A strong blow and they all gather around the clearly dead beast. The inspector is overwhelmed by the sight of the beast. But he regains his composure and leads the party back to the baggage car. He knows that Natasha is a famous thief, and has been watching her, waiting for her to strike. He discovers she has stolen the jewels and a mysterious steel alloy left by the Count and Countess. After some searching, they discover the bag of loot near the corpse.

View
Interlude - Golden Claw
Saving Silas Atwater

After their last adventure, Silas stood at the brink of the hereafter, hovering between life and death in a deep coma. The tendrils and affects of Baphomet still coursed through his body. Realizing that no medicines found within London, or the West, would be sufficient, Brian reached out through his network of contacts to the Golden Claw. It was only a name, perhaps a myth, but the legends and stories surrounding this mysterious Chinese mystic were enough to give them hope. 

So after a long sea voyage and train-trips, they arrived in Beijing, with a smattering of clues and hints for locating the fabled Golden Claw. The world of the occult is smaller than one would think, and word gets around. After the failed Boxer Rebellion, there was an undercurrent of suspicion and mistrust across the land but the world of the supernatural knows no political boundaries. Silas's stories have proven quite popular here, translated far and wide. And his real skill is also known to many.

On the second day after their arrival, Kitty and Brian are surprised to find a young man in their rooms with a message from the Golden Claw. He wished to meet them, to do what her could to save Silas. Following their last hope, our group is taken in a carriage with blacked windows, they have no idea where they are headed. After an hour of traveling, they are lead into a palatial room, filled with ancient treasures, artifacts, priceless works of art, and yes, items of great power.

Within minutes, they are greeted by their host, the Golden Claw. He speaks softly, never raising his voice, it is an educated voice with a hint of an English education perhaps. He is an engaging host and quite attentive to the needs of his guests. He has rooms secured for them and Silas taken to a well-stocked laboratory.

Golden-Claw-2.jpg

He explains that his servants will provide what they need and to enjoy the luxuries of his home. Alas, he would be unable to spend much time with them as he would need to focus all his effort on bringing their friend Silas back to this world.

Two weeks pass and they see their host only at dinner time. He enjoys discussions of philosophy, the esoteric, politics, history, pretty much anything and seemingly knowledgeable in all. Of their friend, he will only say that all is proceeding well and Silas has a strong will. At this juncture, it is his will that will pull him through the last part of the treatment.

Finally, at the beginning of the third week, at dinner, Brian and Kitty are overjoyed to see Silas joining them. He is quite famished and still weak, needing to build up his strength. But there seems to be no lingering effects of his infliction and he gets on quite well with their host.

A month has passed and sadly, our little group must return to their lives. The Golden Claw prepares one last lavish dinner to celebrate their success, and as a parting gift, bestows to Silas a tome wrapped carefully in leather. To Kitty a gift of a small jade comb and to Brian, a small golden coin.

Once again, they are lead away in secret back to the real world. A train to Moscow awaits them. Their journey home begins.

View
The Devil Rides Forth - Finale
the wrap up

Experience rewarded: 3

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.