9AM, Feb. 28, 1890
Get off train at Belgrade, papers checked etc. This is a crossroads of the world, many different people.
Following Smith’s instructions we want to start at museum. First, we get a 4 hourse carriage taxi, stop at a market for plenty of garlic to cover the Simulacrum pieces in as well as our hotel windows and doors, and then obtain a hotel. A letter awaits Paul under a Watcher codename of his Mr. Swellingwood.
As we cross the lobby, a shy girl crosses our path. Very pretty.
“Are you Paul Warrington?”
Paul “Earl of Mansauce, yes I am.” Suspecting trouble first, he kisses her hand like a gentleman. Temperature is normal, he signals to the rest. RC thinks to himself ‘maybe she just ate’.
Wants a favor “Would you let me accompany you when you go to visit Mr. Baxter.”
“Yes. It’s very important that I see him. Circumstances are such that it is difficult for me to do so on our own.”
We suspect trouble, and a villain.
Schuyler “What’s your business with Bif?”
“We were acquaintances on the train and I need to see him. At the moment he is a little unhappy with me.”
Paul says we can’t break the gentleman’s code. Schuyler says we can tell him your here, and if he wants to see you he can come down.
“Then, give him this message” hands Paul a note.
Wilhelm checks his small mirror in his pocket watch, and she is visible.
Schuyler “Stay here for a while and we’ll tell him you’re here.”
Schuyler, having become good friends will Bif personally, takes the letter to his room. He is greeted by a great bear hug, but then “I have some bad news (as he tears up”.
He says the opera singer has committed suicide over her voice lost. He tried all he could to keep her cheered up and patient for us to get a remedy.
“I want you to deal me in until we get those bastards!” He has taken this very, very personally as it was his job to watch over her.
Schuyler then gives him the note and explains our meeting with her.
The note calls him darling, and that she knows he needs his help where he is going. He goes storming downstairs, Schuyler following.
She exclaims emotionally “Bif!”
He picks her up, demands to the staff that she and her stuff are shipped to Paris, he’ll buy the ticket. Says he already has the blood of one innocent girl on his conscious, he does not want another.
She protests vigorously, demands to help him in any way she can. He protests, she says “But Bif you love me!” He says that in not the issue, it will be far too dangerous. He takes her to the station, tells a police officer to get her on the train and returns.
Bif “She’s a 22 year old maniac.”
Schuyler “In a good way or a bad way? Eh?”
Bif’s response is a good slug to the jaw. Says she is a Pittsburgh steel family socialite. Bored with that so she decides she wants to hang among the poor. Books 2nd class on OE and travels meeting people. When she meets one whose story touches her heart, she sends them money. Thinks she is doing good.
RC “So she has been taken advantage of.”
Bif “Well, in Venice, I just happened to be walking along and saved her life from a scoundrel. She falls for me, 6 years older than her. I don’;t want some kid hanging around with me. She’s a good egg. Did we get involved a little bit? Yes. Then the suicide happened, and I know I had to find you fella’s to take them on. What does she do? She follows me. I’m not going to watch her get killed.”
Apparently, though she has seen Bif’s movies, she thinks he is a guy who just looks a lot like himself. He told her his name is Gary Cooper.
Schuyler “If she comes back again, it might be better if she stays as close to us as possible.”
Bif “What are we going to do, arm her with a tennis racket!”
Schuyler “No, but she’s better off next to us than constantly following just behind, alone.”
Someone could easily use her against us.
Then we hear a voice “Darling.”
Bif gives in, admits who he really is “and you’re right I look a lot like myself” and she will now stay with us, close to us.
“Things couldn’t be better. Wait until Lucy back at home finds out I’m married to Bif Baxter.”
We separate from Bif to our rooms.
Wilberforce “Do you all want him along, really?”
Of course we do.
We garlic up the rooms first thing.
Wilhelm will get in some therapy with Bif over Brandy, concerning his failure with the singer. He is very broken up by it.
We all get lunch at hotel, Bif’s girl, Daisy, insists on buying. Paul insists she not always insist on paying. He enjoys being the man with the money “Nobody takes on the pocket situation around here.” She apologizes.
Schuyler speaks Turkish a little, so he can at least get us around and find places.
Bunch of young men out front of hotel, various languages. One says hello in English, Peter Richards, works as a guide “Want to see the sights?”
Schuyler “We aren’t here for the sights, on business.”
“Ah, then I can be some assistance. 2 dinars a day.”
He’s hired, and takes us to the Belgrade museum. Tells us little tidbits about the city and its history on the way; royal palace just being built; have cathedral, university, museum.
About 1/4 Turks.
Arrive museum. Paul translates at front desk, we show our creds. We are sent up to see our contact, Dr. Milonav Todorovic, the curator. We find him on a ladder, putting an arm on a large statue of Venus he is attempting to reconstruct.
We ask him about Prof. Smith, he says he has exchanged letters and talked to him in person once or twice. Good man. We mention a statue, in pieces, we look for. He thinks we are black market art dealers or from a competing museum.
Paul’s attempts to convince him otherwise fail, but Jeremy is able to mediate the situation easily.
“So tell me about the piece you’re looking for.”
We tell him more.
“I know a priest, who has had great luck at finding such things.” He can’t tell us where until we get permits to possibly dig and look for artifacts. He tells us where to get them, at The National Treasures.
Peter leads us there, and speaks for us, tell us to see under secretary of antiquities.
A sign on his door says he’s gone for a late lunch.
Paul says we’ll watch out, “Jeremy get to work.” Schuyler has a lock picking tool from the Secret Service and gains him entry. Jeremy finds the paper work in a few minutes.
Outside, Peter is edging away, unprepared for breaking of the law. “Gentlemen, you have to understand, I have a poor ailing mother to take care of. I can’t go to jail.”
Paul give him a tip to at least stay outside and not leave us altogether, he accepts. He says he’ll whistle if there is any trouble on the way.
Soon enough, we find several different papers that could be it, and 3 different seals it could be. Then a whistle from Peter. Putting everything as it was quickly, we get out. The under sec. walks up, Wilhelm introduces himself. He can speak broken English “Come, climb into my office. Take a bed.”
It takes a good bribe and confused conversation, but we get what we need.
We get Pete and move along.
Back to Todoravic to show him our proper papers. Says person we want to see is Father Filopovic, a village in the country of Oraszac . Gives us train schedule that goes nearby.
Back to hotel. Daisy had stayed, but she seems to be missing! Front clerk says she went to bazaar. Just then she walks in: kaki pants, shirt, high boots, pith helmet. She’s playing up the adventure aspect here. Says she found a fortune teller we should all go see. We have until the next afternoon before train leaves.
Bif scolds her for sneaking out by herself.
Fortunes (hard to hear recording here):
Paul: Sees something once whole, now apart; long journey;
Mentions Smith (?) I think she says beware of someone.
Iron, cold iron can save you.
? as old as man. “To beat the 3 you must” She begins to have a heart attack, blood pours from mouth. Writes with blood on tray in front of her: ???? stuff about holy something: water, wafers….
It seems we have been duped by Smith all along! Is he involved with Fenelik? A follower?
Sneak out and into crowds. Daisy points out a vender with statues and pieces, one that looks like what we need!
Shopkeeper lets us see it, an arm, says got it from a source in a ruin around here “Just the sort of thing your one’s mantle.”
It feels like it could be the right weight. Wilhelm buys it, but is suddenly snatched out of his hands by 2 moustachiode men who bolt off. The shopkeeper yells after him and chases, we follow. It’s an Indiana Jones style bazaar chase scene!
Chase pg 19, bottom 2:31
Hire Urduk on after the chase, respects our power and wealth.
Paul “We are willing to hire you on, but your so previous employer were evil and worshiping evil gods.”
Urduk “Urduk only a good Muslim.”
March 1, 1890
We wonder all evening and morning about Smith. Evil? Dominated? A dupe in some way?
About to leave hotel when Paul gets a telegraph from Archie, for Mr. Swellingwood, in code: According to report from Iluminati agent, weird happenings in Mladenovic ?). Please investigate if you have time. A town on the way to Oraszac
Get on train. After a ways, Paul goes to lavatory. Upon his return there is a black rooster on his seat that refuses to move. He tries to pick it up and it remains friendly so he sits with it on his lap.
Paul “This is an omen?”
He relaxes with it.
At the town mentioned by Archie, we have a layover and check the place out, gather info. Assistant mayor is at station when we arrive. Sees our group and introduces self, asks where we are travelling? Doesn’t see a mix of our sort every day.
Learn that some think the Ripper has moved in, series of murders the last few weeks. Seven total.
Schuyler “Too active for Jack.”
Find that many think it is a gang, devil worshippers or pagans. No one drained of blood, people just ripped to pieces. One hut destroyed and the woman found dead and mutilated. That was the first. 2 or 3 people have seen ‘something’. One drew a picture but they feel his mind was affected for it is crazy (we get this from the mayor’s assistant who takes us to the police).
It’s a frightening sight to say the least. The man saw it exit from the sewers, kill one of the victims, and disappear into the sewers again.
A fertility god of pagan times is being worshipped in the rural areas, names Shub Niggurath. Could be followers of his. Soldiers patrol the streets now.
We say we will return soon to assist, as Archie’s note also said take care of our own business first.
The assistant mayor IS the contact of Archie here!! That’s why he met us at the station.
He says be careful in the village we are travelling to. About 1600 people in town and environs. Large church in village. Says priest there is really nice man, married to a younger woman. He is not IN THE KNOW of much of arcana. There is an old woman, very old, who trades in artifacts, lives on the slopes of Mt. Tekulia(?) with her daughter. The townspeople spit 3 times before mentioning her name.
The town performs dated fertility rites. They may just be using words that they know not the meaning of to try to help their crops, not necessarily a real cult.
At last station, 6 1/2 miles on bad roads to village. We get horses for the overland trek. Town is a good size, good country too. People stare, talk to each other of seeing us strangers. We make for the church first and Father Filopovic.
He has room for 4 (Bif, Daisy, Wilhelm, Simon). Later, meet Todar head of village and figure sleeping arrangements.
Spring planting rites are used. Not religious they say. The Father against it.
Gypsies in town.
Rite of the Black Goat. A black goat is a suspected aspect of Shub.
Ask more of the old crone in the woods and artifact we seek. Priest’s wife offers to guide us there.
On the way, notice odd painted piece of wood. Priest wife says to continue but we investigate. It’s a piece of a gypsy wagon. Schuyler finds more, and a smashed horse and a man and wife from the gypsy’s, woman speared to a tree. Their daughter, from the dance the previous night, also dead. Strange circular footprints, Schuyler says looks like elephant but, so strangely, tripedal; and far too large.
Red Cloud and Schuyler track it. Soon, we see something big, black with countless ropey arms. Legs trunklike. Priest’s wife is horrified, a wild rage fills her. Sanity rolls all around for small loss.
Wife whispers “Kill it, kill that evil thing! Are you cowards? Kill it!”
It gigantic, we smartly move on our way having no idea what it is or how powerful.
About 7 hours after leaving town we arrive at a whitewashed cottage.
They are evil through and through, and have been here for ages. NOT old one worshipers though, just evil Hags. They say only leaders of the rites in the village know what they are really doing. They want the worship of Shub gone so that the locals will worship them more again. Shub worship has also been here for centuries. The villagers seek better crops and animals.
The priest’s wife is one of the hags in disguise!
We tell them we want to eliminate the cult too, which will only benefit them. They want us to escort the wife back to the village, kill the head of cult, we get simulacrum piece. “Besides you face a horrible death in that town. We know what is in that town you came from” they refer to the mutilations. “A half human but looks much like its father, unlike its brother who looks like the mother.” She tells all but Wilhelm to go and she will whisper the name of the father in his ear. We agree and she whispers “Azathoth”. Killer is a blob thing.
They try to capture and eat us. Call the monster the ‘Dark Young’ and how foolish the town is for summoning it. We escape with a Simulacrum leg.
Paul says we will eliminate the Shub cult, and come back in a few years when we are stronger and more experienced and then eliminate the hags.
Ride back to village.
Once back, we all take a ride to talk. How to handle this?
We come up with a plan to get Todar’s house empty and spend the day watching and investigating/searching = Shub Niggurath worship!! The real deal!!! Find an idol of the outer god, the reality of the place it was hidden seems to bend as we find it.
Idol feels like slimy rock, only a little bigger than one’s hand, feels like it squirms in hand. Wilhelm says: Even the image of it can’t be still, the essence of creation! The black goat of a thousand young. Opposite of Yog Sothoth, destruction. Between them is the Universe balanced by them. The meaning of the ritual flashes into his mind, a harmless corruption of a ritual to Shub for crop/animal vitality. For most it was just a rite, but made just real enough by someone to summon the Dark Young to make a sacrifice of the gypsy girl.
Find out about ritual at the cave this night and ruin the entire affair: the sacrifice of Father Filopovic!
Sacrifice, as alien and insane as Shub’s reality and her rituals and power are, is actually antithesis to her domain of life giving essence.
Hag arrives at fight as the priest is in serious trouble. She has been married to him for 20 years and does have true feelings for him. The monster throws the priest to the ground and stomps him into a pulp (at least it did not eat his life essence/soul).
Wilhelm toys with taking the idol until we can dispose of it deep in the ocean or something, but in the end is too worried about potential possession and corruption.
Hag takes the body of her husband and leaves.
We have to then explain to Todar how of his sister, wife, and wife’s grandparents were all cultists and now dead. Still has sons, daughters and grandchildren.
Daisy says “I don’t think we can explain, I think we just leave.”
Jeremy “Yeah, I think we just leave town, leave him a note.”
Schuyler “Paul is too known, this is an international incident in the making.”
The hag says she will take care of it for us, she will have to become the new spiritual caretaker here (great! cough).
We mount up and ride over night to the station town.
Get train to Belgrade/other town nearby? Sleep all day in prep for beginning murder investigation here tomorrow, as requested by Archimedes.