Death in Alexandria
Our heroes receive a message from an old acquaintance, Anwar El-Tayeb, concerning the death of an American Professor of Egyptology and asking for their help. Tickets to Alexandria are enclosed. Before setting off, Silas asks for any local contact information via the Chimera Club. He is told to look for a local dragoman, Saleem Naziz, highly recommended and lots of contacts.
The Greco-Roman Museum
They are taken to the local museum to meet up with Anwar and the museum director, Professor F. Breccia. Whilst being lead back to Breccia's office, the heroes notice a wall decorated with scenes of a battle. An army of Egyptian soldiers is being beaten by an army of bipedal figures wearing what looks like fish scales as armour.
The caption below, written in Arabic, French, and English, is titled "Army of Rameses III defeats the invading Sea People". Kitty remarks that it appears to be labeled wrong, clearly the Egyptians seem to be losing in this picture.
Introductions are made in the office, Professor Breccia was an old friend to Proffessor Hutchinson and was saddened to hear of his horrible death. Anwar explains that Hutchinson was conducted one of many of his normal digs but was also working for Anwar. Anwar explains briefly about the Golden Pyramids. He had one being shipped in but unfortunately the boat was sunk during a freakish storm. Hutchinson was using his expedition as a cover to dive in the bay and try and recover the pyramid.
Anwar needs to return to Cairo for pressing business but the heroes have the full confidence and aide of Professor Breccia and his museum services. Anwar leaves the professor to escort the heroes down to the basement, where uncatalogued artifacts are stored as well as the belongings of Professor Hutchinson. During the walk, they ask Breccia about the wall mural and the legends of the Sea People.
"They were a race who came from the western ocean and were amongst the first soldiers to wear what later became known as scale mail armour."
"They are always shown with this armour on, even in scenes that do not involve warfare. There are even rumours or legends that suggest they were survivors from the collapse of Atlantis. Aside from that, they seemed to have been effectively wiped out during a natural cataclysm many millennia ago."
Much of the stuff in here is junk or badly damaged but there are certainly gems to be found among the large unorganized collection. Ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian artifacts lie side by side. A most unique find in the collection is a rather strange-looking fish skull. It is most definitely some sort of fish but it is larger than a man's and an unknown species. Breccia explains it was discovered washed up on the beach of a nearby chain of small islands. Breccia points to a box of Hutchinson's belongings then leaves back to his office, boring clerical work awaits him.
Within the box are pottery shards, ancient coins, and a cloth-covered object. Unwrapping this reveals a Gold Pyramid, like the one seen in Scotland and the missing pyramid lost at sea. There are notes written about the pyramid explaining that the missing pyramid at sea should be of the same shape and size. The outer surfaces are dotted with hieroglyphs. Kitty can read most of it but realizes it is only a portion of a larger message. Without the other pyramids, the entire message is unreadable.
The dragoman, Saleem, is able to arrange a trip to the island where the Fish Skull was discovered. After a 3-hour trip, the boat captain brings them near the shore, pointing to a vague strip on the beach.
"It was found over there. This island is cursed because the people who lived here before turned from Allah and began worshipping the old gods."
"I will wait here offshore, you must get back to the boat before nightfall, I will not remain here after dark…it is evil…I do not wish to die, I have many children and grand-children who depend on me."
The heroes spend several hours searching the island, is isn't very big but overgrown with plants and debris. Kitty finds a portion of large stone sticking from the ground. It looks like it has been worked by man. A few more hours clearing away the dirt reveals some sort of crude altar, weathered from age and adorned with crude carvings across the sides. It is old and weathered, clearly buried here for a long time.
The carvings show men with fish heads dancing around a gigantic man-fish figure. Lee and Silas think it might be a representation of Oannes.
Diving for Clues
The group first meets with William Franklin, an archaeology major in his final year, he was the main assistant to Professor Hutchinson. He is found at the hostel where the remaining members of the dig team reside. They have only a few days left before they return back to the states. After the death, the Smithsonian sees no reason to carry on with the dig. At least for the rest of this year.
William provides little insight beyond what the heroes already know. The professor was liked and well-respected. He was looking forward to this season's work, convinced he had discovered Cleopatra's palace complex under the eastern harbour water.
He accompanied every diving team we sent down. It was…perhaps three weeks into the work that he began to act strangely. He seemed nervous, always looking over his shoulder. If anyone asked, he shrugged it off to just being tired, sleeping poorly he said.
I was working ashore that fateful day. The professor and three others went out as a normal. The next thing I know, the boat has raced home with the professor's body. He was killed by a shark according to the police. The police cleared us off and shut down the dig. So we are finishing up reports and cataloging before heading home.
Silas searches the professor's suitcase, finding nothing of real interest. According to William, the police returned most of the professor's pieces to the museum. Although the professor did sell a few minor pieces to Mr. Schuler, he might know more if you ask him.
The trio then set out on the original boat with the crew from that fatal day. The police may have shut down the dig, but as Saleem points out, the cannot stop tourists from spending a day out on a boat. The Arab crew seems to be enjoying themselves, having quite a laugh at the expense of the local police. Their captain explains there are NO sharks in the Mediterranean. And talk of fish-men make them laugh harder. Silly superstitions he says.
At the sight of the last dive, it is Kitty and Lee who don dive suits and go below. Silas elects to remain on the surface, comfortably aboard the boat. It is murky water they descend into, lots of sand kicked up making visibility difficult under the water. There are clearly signs of some sort of ancient construction buried in the sand. It looks a bit like Greek or late Egyptian. Towards the end of the dive, Kitty notices a strange glint though the murky water. Swimming over, she digs up another Golden Pyramid, perhaps the one lost from the sinking ship. It does look like the remains of a ship can be seen dotting about the area.
As they begin the ascension back up, Lee is startled as he passes over the remains of a toppled pillar, a sea-demon suddenly emerges from the gloom. It stops a few feet short of him, it seems to be as startled of him as he is of it. After a moment, it darts back into the water, lost to sight. Almost like a dream, like it didn't happen.
Safely ashore and back in their room, Kitty studies the two pyramids together. It seems to make a bit more sense to her now. Something about a tomb in the marsh to the west and the Night of Thoth. But without the third piece, she can get anymore specific.