The Masks of Nyarlathotep

Episode 1 - Room 410

New York

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On January, 6th,1925, Helena Hamilton received a telegram from Jackson Elias, sent from the SS Rothgard while at sea. He said that he had information on the ill-fated Carlyle expedition and requested that she gather an investigative team.

The team, comprised of Helena, Beryl, Iris, Archibald, and Cornelius, decided to surprise Jackson as his freighter arrived at 2:30 a.m. on January 14th. Jackson appeared very disheveled, and quickly excused himself after requesting to meet with them at his Chelsea hotel room on the 15th at 8:00 p.m.

The team went to meet Jackson at room 410, but there was no answer at the door. Beryl convinced a housekeeper to unlock his room, and the team quickly stumbled upon the gutted corpse of Jackson. As the team recoiled in horror, several of them noticed a hooded figure disappear behind the window sill. Running to the window, they watched a figure in a dark robe race down the fire escape to join two other hooded men in an idling car which disappeared into the night. Iris recorded the license plate. While searching the room, the team found a box full of evidence from Jackson’s travels. Iris noticed strange marks on his forehead, and drew them.

The police, led by Sgt. Poole, arrived on the scene and questioned the team. He noticed injection marks on Elias’ arms, and concluded that he must be a heroin addict who got mixed up with the wrong crowd. He recorded the team’s names and allowed them to leave.

The following morning, Beryl contacted Erica Carlyle’s assistant to schedule a meeting, but was told that she is too busy. She said that it related to Roger’s disappearance; Erica’s PA told her not to mention that to Erica.

Then, the team decided to split up to follow-up on the evidence.

Iris and Beryl went to the library to follow-up on Jackson’s attempts to obtain a book, which they learned to be Africa’s Dark Sects. While there, the two found information on the symbol carved into Jackson’s forehead; it belonged to The Cult of the Bloody Tongue, a death cult that was banished from Dynastic Egypt.

Helena contacted Prof. Anthony Crowles with Miskatonic University, to request his lecture notes. She then contacted Emmerson Imports to schedule a visit. The staff said that they frequently received shipments for Silas M’Kwane, owner of the Ju-Ju House. They described them as strange cultural artifacts from Africa. She also learned that Jackson Elias had inquired about Silas.

Cornelius used his police contacts and found out that the escape car was reported missing before Jackson’s murder, and was found on 12th street the following morning, unharmed.

The team decided to split up that evening; Helena, Beryl, and Archibald went to investigate the Ju-Ju House, while Cronelius and Iris went to 12th street to search for clues.

The Ju-Ju House was a cramped voodoo shop owned by a seemingly gentle older African man. The team inquired about Jackson, but Silas denied any knowledge of him. He also denied knowing anything about the Cult of the Bloody Tongue or its symbol. However, while discussing his wares, the team noticed a pendant with the emblem carved into Jackson’s forehead around Silas’ neck. They quickly excused themselves.

The trio hid across the street and watched Silas close up for the night, then shortly after put a candle in the window. Slowly, a group of approximately 20 robed figures arrived at the shop and went inside. Beryl phoned the police, stating that she believes there’s a connection. The police arrived and spoke with a stern, 40-something African man, who seemed to stare directly at the investigators in their hiding spot.

Cornelius and Iris found nothing of interest on 12th street.

As the team retired for the night, they found that their homes had been broken into, but nothing of value was taken. They all decided to sleep at Corenlius’ heavily-guarded home. They became paranoid that the police were involved.

The next morning, Sgt. Poole arrived and demanded to speak with the investigators, telling them that Prospero Press had been broken into on the night of Jackson’s murder. He urged them to come forward with any additional information.

Iris and Beryl returned to the library to follow-up on information in Jackson’s Nairobi notes. They learned that the library was expecting a collection of books from Erica Carlyle in several days and arranged a hold on them.

Helena went to see Jonah, editor of Prospero Press. He gave her a letter from Jackson stating that he was investigating the Carlyle massacre and believes that some of the members survived. He also gave her a stack of notes he had written about his investigation, as well as a final note which seemed to reflect Jackson’s slowly unraveling mind. It said that all of the Carlyle primaries had survived and that something unspeakable is coming. He also wrote that he was having dreams, similar to those that Carlyle reportedly had before the expedition. He was determined to find Carlyle’s psychotherapy notes to investigate further. Jonah offered to support the investigators in solving the mystery.

Beryl went to see Olivia, a friend of Hypatia Masters. She learned that, shortly before the expedition, Hypatia had been dating Francisco Rodrigo, a Spanish Marxist, and had become pregnant. Knowing they could never be together, Hypatia had an abortion, but became paranoid that her boyfriend would find out. Shortly after, Carlyle invited her on the expedition and she used it to escape. Olivia confessed her guilt, stating she gave Hypatia the contact information for her abortion doctor, and had encouraged her to go on the expedition. Beryl also pieced together that Olivia is now with Francisco.

Beryl then went to see Erica, and barged into her office. Erica didn’t want to talk about her brother’s expedition and said that she’d sold all of his books to the library after learning that Beryl had been wanting information. She said that she wanted everything connected to the expedition out of her home. She mentioned that, before the expedition, Roger began seeing an African woman named, “Anastasia” (a likely alias), whom she’s convinced talked Roger into the whole mess. She claims this woman went on the expedition, even though she is not mentioned in any reports. Erica also said that Anastasia used Roger’s money to purchase old tomes. Eventually, Erica invited Beryl to her Eclipse galla on January 25th.

Cornelius spoke with Michael Graham, owner of the escape car, and learned that the police had searched it for evidence, but it was otherwise not harmed in any way.

Iris did some further research and determined that the Stumbling Tiger Bar is located in Shanghai.

Helena received Prof. Crowle’s lecture notes, which mention a cult in Australia.

The next day, Carlyle’s books were available at the library. The team spent the day studying, and Helena discovered two spells. Beryl read a diary, Life as a God, which describes the Cult of the Black Pharaoh and contained a cryptic passage about a occult ceremony.

Reviewing the clues, the team decided to retrace Jackson’s steps by going to London, using the assistance of Prospero Press to hide their identities. As they prepared for their journey, Helena went to see Prof. Crowley, who noted some similarities in Jackson’s injuries and the practices of the Australian bat cult. He also offered the full support of the Armitage Trust, a foundation that searches for evidence of the supernatural.

Several days later, as the rest of team boarded a ship bound for London, Beryl called Sgt. Poole and left a cryptic message with all of the information on Jackson’s murder that the team had been able to obtain.

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