Concerning the late Roger Carlyle

A Letter from the office of Dr. Michael Carter

To the recipient of this letter:

I hope this letter finds you in good health and firm of spirit. I am certain you must be confused as to why you would, without any warning, receive a letter from the office of a doctor you have never met, but I must assure you my intentions are pure and my need of the utmost urgency.

My good friend, the author Mr. Jackson Elias of whom I am certain you are acquainted, has requested that I contact you (specifically and by name) in the regards of some information on the ill-fated “Carlyle Expedition” to Egypt, Nairobi, and other parts of what was so recently called the Dark Continent. It is my belief that he intends to organize an expedition of his own concern and funding in hopes of discovering some unearthed knowledge as to the ultimate goal of Roger Carlyle or perhaps the reason for his untimely death.

I understand this may sound overwhelming or even, perhaps, absurd. I will admit that I was given some pause by the tone of the telegram I received from Mr. Elias and took some time to come to the conclusion that I would be willing to help. The urgency of his need is what eventually convinced me, and I hope I have imparted some measure of that urgency in this letter. I must again state that your name was specifically given to me. I have gleaned what little information I could on you from the public record (and I urge you to do the same for me, should you need ease of your misgivings), but in the end I rely on my friend’s judgment that your ability will be sorely needed during the investigation to come.

Mr. Elias’ telegram requests that we make ourselves available at his home in Manhattan on the 15th day of January. I have arranged for a sabbatical from the University so that I may assist my friend in any way I can. I sincerely hope you can find in yourself the sense of adventure, the desire for truth, or at the least the inextinguishable flame of curiosity that will lead you to join me in his assistance.

With sincerity, Dr. Michael Carter

Adventure Summary 01
Wherein the investigators are unwittingly dragged into a plot that threatens to break their bodies and minds

It all started with a telegram sent to Dr. Michael Carter by his friend Jackson Elias. In response to the request for assistance, Carter wrote up a request to each of the investigators requesting your assistance.

On or around January 15th you all arrive at Carter’s beautiful home in Manhattan. It is here you meet for the first time and discuss your memories of your friend. Around 2pm there is a phone call for Carter; it is Elias. The call is short and somewhat odd. It was not like Elias to sound rushed or afraid. Elias’ request was simple: “Meet me at the Chelsea Hotel, Room 410, at 8 pm.” He would not elaborate. Carter would soon realize, these were the last words he and his friend would exchange.

The investigators arrived promptly at 8 pm and headed to the room, where they find that the door is locked. Elias does not reply to persistent knocking, or attempting to call him through the door. Doyle Mentiri reaches down and picked the lock, securing the way in. It was here they encountered the eviscerated body of their friend. On his forehead they discover a symbol of some kind carved into his flesh. Nico Papadakis, hearing someone on the fire escape, gave chase. He was fast, but the men were faster. Only moments too late, the three suspected murders enter their Hudson and flee the scene of the crime.

A cursory search yielded a letter left on the hotel floor, a photograph dropped on the fire escape, and a small business card in Elias’ pocket. Shortly thereafter, the police showed up in a paddy wagon to collect any evidence they could find from the scene. The police, headed by Lt. Martin Poole, questioned Mentiri about the murder. Being an officer himself, the investigators were cleared as suspects. After a few words together, Mentiri headed to the station to search for clues regarding a black Hudson with plates NYL7.

Shortly after 9 pm a call came in to the station. A Mr. Martin Witherspoon had reported his black Hudson stolen. Mentiri gathered up the investigators and paid Witherspoon a visit. Finding no evidence of wrong doing, but having validated information of the killers being two negro men and one white man (all not having yet reached middle age), the group headed to Emerson Imports. With Matthias M. Merryweather III leading them through the tangled streets of Manhattan, they find the warehouse. Leaving Edgar Rowley on watch, the men all enter the warehouse via a back entrance.

It is here they found a ledger that mentioned a name they found scrawled on the back of a business card, a Silas N’Kwane. With a few minutes of further searching, they also located mention of N’Kwane’s shop, the JuJu House. The investigators quickly headed to the JuJu house.

With a stroke of good luck, Papadakis noticed the bumper of what looked to be a black Hudson poking around the corner of an alleyway. Sitting in the front seat is what appears to be some kind of strung out junkie. The investigators quickly subdue him and disarm him of his pranga, and tied him up. Further down the alley, while trying to break into the JuJu House, the investigators were attacked by three men posing as vagrants. With the help of the gun-packing Special Agent Jonathan Scott and Mentiri; the investigators are able to deal with the attackers.

Except from Remy Fedrico's Journal
Written by Randy Smith

Remy Federico’s Journal

On the Way to New York

I had hopped on a train to Manhattan to be there per request of my friend Mr. Elias. The train unfortunately got held up when cattle covered the train tracks in some farm country out here in Philadelphia. At the next stop, I gave a call to my good friend, letting him know of my lateness. All he told me in return was “Meet me at the Chelsea Hotel, Room 410, at 8 pm.” I told him I don’t think I could make it by that time, and he just hung up. So I moved at the speed of steam, but unfortunately I arrived at the station at 8:30. Maneuvering through this city was a little rusty as it’d been a few years, but I managed to make it by 9 pm. The local authorities were swarming the hotel. I managed to sneak up to the room and saw poor Mr. Elias had been murdered. I then went back to the police station and waited around until I overheard some news from a junkie, talking about happenings at some place called the Juju house. He meantioned a car that I had overheard the police mention speeding off from the hotel. I think I managed to get a direction out of him, whether it’s the right one or not, I guess I’ll be finding out in a few minutes.

Adventure Summary 02
Wherein the investigators encounter a sadistic cult and get their first taste of insanity

The men all stood around the back entrance of the JuJu House catching their breath when they heard a faint rustling in the alley besides them. Cautiously, the men all readied themselves and ordered the lurker out. A man steps out of the shadows and introduced himself as Remy Federico and explained how he made his way to find the gentlemen. After some brief introductions, the men made their way into the shop, while Carter stayed outside on watch.

They all made their way around the little shop and helped themselves to the elaborate weaponry. During his inspection, Remy noticed that behind the counter the rug was rolled back revealing a trapdoor. The door was unlocked, so the group followed the stairs down to the rather large hallway below.

Once in the hallway, the sounds of drums in a rhythmic beat became clear. The drums played an accompaniment to the cacophonous sounds of a large crowd in a frenzy. At the end of this stone hewn hallway, the men all stood before a set of massive oak doors. Steeling himself, Merryweather slowly opened the door to look inside.

From his angle of the room, Merryweather was able to make out a rather large underground room filled to capacity with naked writhing bodies. Upon seeing this Rowley undressed and donned his own leather headpiece and ventured into the crowd. From within the room, Rowley was able to make out the naked man leading the ceremony, as well as two unconscious prisoners hanging from a rafter and two zombies flanking the priest. At that sight, Rowley exits the room to inform the others of his findings, while Mentiri went back upstairs to call for backup.

Mentiri and Carter spend a few minutes cleaning up the more incriminating evidence lying around outside and then phone the police. From dispatch he was informed that there was one officer in the area, but backup would take 20+ minutes.

Meanwhile, back inside the JuJu House, the frenzy seems to come to a halt and the priest began to speak. Though they could make out his words, they can tell he is very empassioned by what he is said.

The minutes stretch on for hours, but Officer Hubert Cumberdale shows up on the scene. Mentiri and Merryweather inform him of the happenings inside and they all rush back to the building. Back in the hallway, the group hears the crowd begin to chant “Chakota, Chakota, Chakota!” The sound of a winch being pulled is followed shortly thereafter by a scream the likes of which none of them had ever heard. Peeking back inside, the crowd is gathered around a large hole in the floor that had been previously covered by a tremendous stone. Inside the whole was what could only be described as a giant pulsating worm covered in dozens of faces, all of them writhing in agony. Standing above the whole was the priest, holding a sacrifice.

“Halt!” fills the room and all eyes turn to Rowley. The priest grabs a cultist by the hair and hurls him to the ravenous beast and shouts for his subjects to get the intruders. Papadakis slammed the door shut and deadbolted it as the angry mob beyond began to pound on it. At this point, the group had little choice but to head back upstairs and hope for the best. The shut and locked the trapdoor and pushed a heavy armoire on top for good measure and waited.

Soon the silence was broken by the sounds of gunshots as the trapped cultists began to shoot their way out. On their way out the door, the group grabs Mentiri and Cumberdale and ran.

Everyone went to their respective cars and began as the group of naked cultists poured out of the building armed with African weaponry and gave chase. Once in the cars, everyone made it out without incident, save for Carter and Rowley. Carter had to drop Rowley off at his car and met two cultists on the way. With an expert display of driving, Rowley backed up over one of the and headed off down an alley with the second hanging from the roof. After some weaving and tricky driving, Rowley slammed on the breaks and the cultist toppled off onto the floor. With some glee, Rowley drove over the cultist and headed back to Carter’s.

Back at his home, Carter began to question the junkie trapped in the truck. While searching him, Carter came across a piece of paper folded to hold the junkie’s cocaine. There was no good information to be had from the junkie, so the next morning they dropped him off at the police station for his part in the murder of Jackson Elias.

While writing his report Mentiri noticed a matchbook left on his desk by Poole.

Carter spent the day researching the symbol that had been carved into his friends forehead and found that it thought to have been an offshoot of an unnamed cult driven out of dynastic Egypt. At that same time, everyone else had gone back to the JuJu House only to find it having been burnt down. After some searching the made their way back into the secret room. In the room they encountered a zombie.

Excerpt from Remy Fedrico's Journal

Meeting the Gang

I arrived quickly to the Juju House to find a group of men beating on some other men. It turns out the guys winning were the friends of Mr. Elias. They seemed to be in a hurry and just allowed me to come along since the good doctor knew my name. Though the cop was kind of annoying. Luckily, he left quickly. Once in this weird African tribal store, I found some knives and a secret door. We traveled down and stood in front of a giant stone door for a long time. Occasionally opening it to see a giant orgy. These guys really like to take there time. I heard a shriek that would make a voodoo mama cry while we were down there. Chilled the soul. Rowley did some shouting and we had to high tail it. Of course, knowing how to stall for time helped, even if some of them didn’t like the fire idea, I feel it worked well. Eventually we went to the doctor’s house and as I took in the night, I realized this story might be fruitful for me, and thus the community back home in N’Orleans. While there, it seemed I wasn’t trusted enough to be left alone, yet they trust me to fight with them? The next morning, I went along with the cop and the army vet to see what was left of the Juju house. Maybe get some clues. Nothing there but a zombie. Who knew such legends were real? Makes you wonder, no?

Adventure Summary 03
Wherein the investigators attempt to question Erica Carlyle

Deciding to follow up on a clue , our intrepid adventurers made their way to New York College to visit the lecturer. Upon their arrival, Rowley overheard two young ladies mention that Erica Carlyle would be in town.

The group was directed towards the east side of campus, where Professor Anthony Dimsdale Cowles had taken up residence during his stay in New York. It was here they met the beautiful Miss Ewa Seaward Cowles as well.

Professor Cowles basically explained the entirety of his lecture to them. Cowles had very little knowledge of Jackson Elias, but told them what he knew. Later that evening, after bidding adieu to Cowles, Mentiri, Remy, Nico, and Rowley, all headed to the LeRoy Dance Club to meet up with Carlyle.

Due to their overall lack of money, nice clothes, and general poshness, they were restricted entry. After some clever searching and a bit of breaking and entering, Remmy was able to sneak everyone in through the kitchen door. Once inside, Rowley had attempted to speak with Carlyle but was repeatedly turned away by Joe Corey, Carlyle’s bodyguard.

A scuffle ensued and Rowley was later arrested. Due to quick thinking on Mentiri’s part, he was able to fool the bouncers into releasing Rowley into his care. The group returned to Carter’s place, beaten and bruised, but not broken.

Notes quickly scribbled on a police note pad

It’s a whole new layer I never knew. Thought I was in the best position. Now something beyond my control. I hate it.

Doctor seems to know what he’s doing- might be a future asset. Solider is pushy and carries himself like this is his city… but he’s a long way from the battlefield. The rest are just like him, except without the training.

Man walking with his guts out. Maybe just junkie who didn’t realize he was injured? No. Got to stop thinking it’s the world I thought I knew. Must adapt or I will go under.

None of them will listen to me. Must be patient. Merryweather will get himself killed- this is obviously beyond anything he can handle. The red-eyed freak is too quiet. Must watch him closely. And pretty sure Rowley is completely mad. Still, they’re more bodies that are between me and a bullet. Or a knife. Or whatever these crazy cult fucks are up to.

Club was a disaster. Didn’t know what they were doing. If I wasn’t stuck outside, could have got the information I needed. Hope the chump liked the feeling of a wood plank across the back of his stupid head. But now we’re at another dead end.

Must do more investigating. Need to understand the new threat. Got to find my a better position in this new world.

Then will deal with these minor inconveniences.

Excerpt from Remy Fedrico's Journal

Hitting the Club

Well, that meeting with the Professor was boring! I mean, he was passionate, can’t hate a man for that, but that just led nowhere. Although the Club wasn’t much better. That was a real flat tire if I ever saw one. We need to prepare better next time. That rich dame was real pompous, I should have known how to dealt with her. I tripped up. I didn’t plan things out. I think I’m still freaked out about that zombie. I mean, with stuff like that around, how can I live like normal? That floosey and her torpedo were a hassle. We were just lucky that cop wasn’t inside from the beginning. Though Rowley didn’t do much better. Hopefully he stays locked up so the rest of us can find out what’s going on without him making this a real fake-aloo! This is stressful stuff, I could really go for some Crawfish ‘bout now.

Scrawled halfway through a notebook labeled "ECON 101"

Nico Papadakis, what have you gotten yourself into..?

I need to keep track of what’s going on.  It’s hard to wrap my brain around it all.

This is a mess.  Understatement of the year, but that’s what it is.  Ever since I got back to New York, things just got more and more outta hand.  I shoulda known that telegrams never bring you good news.  Anything that urgent, gotta be bad.  And that’s all this whole mess’s been: bad news.

I never thought I woulda seen what I saw in the trenches again.  Closed that chapter of my life, started over.  But then I saw Jackson Elias, all cut-up and gutted, looking like he just took a dive on a grenade.  So much blood and viscera.. (that’s a good word!)  A man ain’t supposed to see this kinda thing.  I shoulda got out then.  Went back to school.  Pretended like it never happened.

But it did happen.  And it kept happening.  Jackson Elias was a good man, and I couldn’t turn my back on his death.  Especially if the NYPD was as much of a joke as Mentiri says.. (I wonder about that!)  So I went with them to try and solve this case.  It must’ve been the shock- we were possessed!  This was no matter for us, but we had a cop and a special agent with us.  Like we were deputies, or something.  With righteousness on our side, maybe?  Doc Carter prob’ly shoulda kept us even, but that was his friend he saw, splattered on the walls of the hotel room.  I can’t blame him more than I can blame myself, to wanna see some justice in this world.

I don’t even remember the frenzied search of the warehouse, or just what I was looking to find.  I don’t remember what we said to the man who’s Hudson they stole (but I remember his wife- poor Martin!).  But everything that happened at the Ju Ju House, I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

I was hoping to get us in without a fuss.  It was late, after all.  But we were all tired, weren’t thinking straight.  Waltzed up to the back door, like a badge really was a shield, and got jumped for our troubles.  It didn’t seem like a big deal at first- even when the hobo pulled a knife on me.  I grew up in Queens, after all!  And then there were gunshots and screams.  And then a hobo caught a bullet to the brain.  I was afraid to look, at first, thought I’d see Paddy.  But I didn’t, I saw dirt and despair, and blood in spades.  That wasn’t Paddy.

And what the hell was going on in the basement!  People dancing around, with their bits all hanging out?!  Blood sacrifices??  It’s still dizzying.  Even that alone, I’d have a hard time believing.  But I know what I heard, and I KNOW what I SAW!  Coming up from the black like one of those cobras from a basket, screaming like.. like I don’t even know what, nothing on this earth makes that sound.  And FACES, it was covered in FACES!  What the hell is that?!  And he FED someone to it!!  I still have nightmares!!  Chakota…

And I coulda done something, I coulda..  Rowley’s a liability.  I don’t wanna think about that anymore.

That didn’t leave us with anything to go on but the insanity that only two of us saw, and half of us didn’t believe.  Going back was no better, but the creature they left behind..  I don’t wanna say I was glad Mentiri saw it.  It messed him up.  But it was validating.  I’m not crazy, even if I wish I was. 

Adventure Summary 04
Wherein the investigators attend the funeral for a friend and scour the city for information.

The evening came to a conclusion at the home of Dr. Michael Carter where Remy Federico opened the newspaper to discover that the obituary of their late friend, Elias Jackson , which announced that he would be having a funeral the following day. Shortly thereafter the doorbell rang. Standing at the door, looking much worse for wear was Edgar Rowley, alone. Doyle Mentiri had let him out of his cell and stayed behind to clean up the mess Rowley had caused.

The next morning, the team headed to the cemetery to say their goodbyes to their friend. It was here they met Jonah Kensington, a longtime friend of Jackson and an acquaintance of Carter. After the funeral the investigators met with Kensington back at his office. He explained of Jackson’s erratic nature prior to his death as well as some of the more cryptic letters.

First, he gave the investigators a letter , explaining that Jackson felt he had onto something he feared was over Jackson’s head…or his friend was losing his mind. He felt his latter assumption was more accurate, as shortly after he received another letter from Jackson. The second set he gave to the investigators was a series of pages, folded and stitched together to form a small quarto volume of forty pages. Frequently a page or a dozen pages are blank. Sometimes a single word is repeated for several pages. Most entries are written with agitation and can barely be read. The following was an excerpt from these notes (or that made any sense):

Many names, many forms, but all the same and toward one end…Need Help…Too big, too ghastly. These dreams…dreams like Carlyle’s? Check that psychoanalyst’s files…All of them survived! They’ll open the gate. Why? the power and the danger is real. They…many threads beginning…The books are in Carlyle’s safe…Coming for me. Will the ocean protect? Ho Ho no quitters now. Must tell, and make readers Believe. Should I scream for them? Let’s scream together…

He also gave the team two names Jackson had mentioned about his meeting in London: Mickey Mahoney, editor of The Scoop, and Inspector James Barrington of Scottland Yard. He also gave them the business card Jackson had left in his office. With this new information, the team split up and tried to collect more data.

Nico Papadakis phoned the Harvard library and spoke with Miriam Atwright regarding a book Jackson had written her in search of. She reported back that he had looked for the book Africa’s Dark Sects, but they did not have it. Only a month prior, the book had vanished from that section of the library. When pressed further, she reported “There was an unspeakable odor in the collection the day we noticed the book was missing”.

During this time, Carter and Jonathan Scott returned to Emerson Imports to attempt to gleam more information. It was here they met Arthur Emerson, who was eager to help. Unfortunately, he did not have any further information to provide the couple.

Matthias Merryweather, Rowley, and Remy had gone off to find the New York Pillar offices. Here they scoured for information regarding the disappearance of the Carlyle expedition, but came away nearly empty handed. They were able to get the name of Erica Carlyle’s Chief Council, a man named Bradley Grey.

Everyone, with their newfound information reconvened at the Carter house, where they exchanged information and planned their next move.


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