Monday, September 1st, 1924, Labor Day
Sir Kevin O’Reilly, English-born history professor at Arkham’s own Miskatonic University is enjoying an Indian summer morning preparing classes for the soon starting semester, when he hears a gentle knocking on the wooden door frame of his modest apartment in the staff housing building on campus. He looked up from his paperwork to find the tall, imposing figure of Mr. Blair Monroe standing in his doorway, with Mr. Walter Simons behind him. It wasn’t hard to see that Mr. Simons was there reluctantly.
It had been more than a year since Sir Kevin and Mr. Simons had visited Mr. Monroe in New York City, getting permission to peruse his extensive library for the journal of Pavel Dvorak. It had also been more than six months since Mr. Simons and Sir Kevin had come back from Oswego county, after which they had not stayed in touch. Seeing them together standing in the doorway was quite surprising.
It turned out Mr. Simons had been doing some work for Mr. Monroe and that they had stayed in touch. Mr. Monroe informed Sir Kevin of an upcoming auction to be held in Arkham at the end of the week, organised by the renowned Austrian auction house of Ausperg. The closed-door auction would hold many curious items Mr. Monroe assumed would be of interest to Sir Kevin as they pertained to his particular field of expertise, the occult. Having no interest in the subject himself, Mr. Monroe would only be attending because of certain rare books and manuscripts that would be going under the hammer, the acquisition of which would sate his inner bibliophile. He had hoped to get Sir Kevin, Mr. Simons, Mr. Mason and the lovely Ms. Nannetti to come in order to bid against the other attendees in order to deplete their cash reserves, allowing Mr. Monroe less opposition while bidding his items.
Mr. Monroe turned over a small booklet describing the lots that were to be auctioned. Most of them were quite expensive and Sir Kevin wasn’t sure whether he’d be able to put up much of a fight in the auction room so Mr. Monroe offered a budget of £2,000 in order for the investigators to bid against other attendees. The goal was not to buy the items, but if one of the investigators would win a bid, the items could always be sold off at auction. A small loss was acceptable, as long as the investigators would play the bidding game intelligently, Mr. Monroe didn’t worry.
After a handshake and Mr. Monroe’s departure, Sir Kevin and Mr. Simons spent some time talking. Mr. Simons appeared to be in an even more fragile state of mind than when they had returned from Oswego county and Sir Kevin worried about him. Mr. Mason was contacted and brought in on the plan and seemed to be a willing participant in the matter.
In the meantime, Mr. O’Donnell, concierge at the Miskatonic Hotel was arranging for all the necessary preparations for the arrival of Baron von Ausperg and his entourage as well as the arrangements for the auction that would take place on Thursday evening. The owner of the hotel, Mr. Tillinghouse, had used his considerable influence in local politics to arrange for the police to grant a detective and two officers to help secure the hotel. Detective Quinn was a taciturn man, but Mr. O’Donnell eventually broke the ice and the two came to an understanding, even about the champagne the baron demanded to serve at the dinner prior to the auction.
The actual pick up of the baron turned out to be quite the affair. The baron, his wife, his guard, his assistant and four servants arrived in Arkham carrying more luggage than anticipated and the baron seemed keen on sightseeing before heading to the hotel. The items to be auctioned had not arrived yet, but the energetic baron was already a handful.
In the meantime, Detective Quinn worked the grave robbery case he had been assigned and poked his nose into the robbery of the vaults of First National Bank of earlier that month. Sir Kevin and Mr. Mason both spent some time on the shooting range, considering recent developments, as well as in the library reading up on the House von Ausperg and some of the items on sale.
Mr. George O’Donnell
At the same time Mr. O’Donnell, the 6’6″ Irish Giant and concierge at the Miskatonic Hotel started making preparations for the distinguished guests the hotel would receive later that week. Mr. Tillinghouse, the owner of the hotel, had made it very clear to Mr. O’Donnell that the guests were very important to the hotel as well as himself and that they should receive the very best service from him and the rest of the staff. Not wanting to displease Mr. Tillinghouse he set off to work.
Mr. Tillinghouse visited an old friend at the police department and arranged for security at the auction and protection of the auctioned items before and after the auction. Two police officers would provide round-the-clock protection under the supervision of Joseph Quinn, a cantankerous, hard-nose detective with the Arkham police department. He would make sure the items would be protected while stored in the hotel’s basement vault and provide security during the event itself. He was also told to look the other way as champagne, wine and liquor was served during the banquet before the auction.
Detective Joseph Taegan Quinn
In the meantime, Det. Quinn was working on a case of several grave robberies in and around Arkham. Graves were opened, vandalised and sometimes looted. The case was made more difficult by the fact that some of these graves were very, very old and it wasn’t clear if something had been taken or not. People in dark cloaks had ocasionally been seen skulking around the graveyards but none of them was ever apprehended. Det. Quinn was handed this impossible case and he’d put several detectives on patrol at night near the graveyards that were the frequent target of these robberies.
Another case had been on Det. Quinn’s mind; a high profile bank robbery of several weeks prior, where First National Bank in Arkham had been burgled over the weekend and several personal vaults had been looted. There were few leads on that case, but something about it wouldn’t let him go.
Mr. John Horace Mason
Mr. Mason, who had just enjoyed the most successful year of his career. Publishing a new novel which was subject to much praise and critical acclaim. All the while, his wife Martha Mae had fallen ill after the adoption of their young daughter Anne. They had hired a nanny to take care of their daughter and the household as it was obvious that Martha Mae, not a spring chicken even while not ill, had a hard time coping. The nanny, Malia Cazanoux, a young Louisiana Creole woman turned out to be an invaluable help around the house, and generally a positive influence on the ailing Martha Mae.
After discussing the upcoming auction amongst themselves, Mr. Simons, Mr. Mason and Sir Kevin decided they would help Mr. Monroe out and attend the auction. In the meantime, Sir Kevin and Mr. Mason started to research House Von Ausperg and the various items up for auction.
Tuesday, September 2nd, 1924
The Wake Up
When Sir Kevin wakes the following morning, he finds himself several miles outside of Arkham, in a clearing in the woods, surrounded by several large black crows perched up in the trees around him. He scarcely notices the large birds and starts his early morning trek back home while pondering how he arrived there.
Arriving by train, Baron Frederick Albert von Ausperg and his wife Lady Andrea are picked up by Mr. O’Donnell who has arranged for several cars to carry them and their lugguage back to the hotel. The entourage they arrive with is quite significant, including Lord Frederick’s majordomo, Herr Karl Proust, his guard, the impressively built Slovenian Herr Andrej Notranjska and four servants. Instead of going back to the hotel, the Lord Frederick is interested to see some of the sights in Arkham, starting with Independence Square.
Meeting With Monroe
The investigators meet up with Mr. Monroe who is staying at the Miskatonic Hotel. He explains that most guests will come in on Wednesday or Thursday and that the auction is being held on the first floor of the hotel on Thursday evening. He will prepare the introductions with the Baron and have all the letters of credit arranged and filed with the Baron’s staff. Being a bibliophile he expresses his interest in the following lots:
- Lot 2: Manuscript of Beth Elohim
- Lot 6: The Magus
- Lot 11: The Book of Law
- Lot 12: Prodigies in the New-England Canaan
- Lot 14: Dictionnaire Infernal
The Arabian Man
That evening, as Sir Kevin takes Ms. Sophie Maurelle, the university museum caretaker and curator, out for dinner in order to discuss her potentially accompanying him to the auction, Sir Kevin notices the well-dressed, swarthy Arabian man sitting at the back of the restaurant. Always a sign of bad tidings, the two quickly depart the restaurant.
Wednesday, September 3rd, 1924
Another Strange Wake-Up
Sir Kevin wakes up in a strange place, once again. This time it’s the Old Wooded Graveyard on the western part of Arkham. Confused, he starts making his way back to campus as he bumps into Officer Harris, a somewhat dimwitted officer assigned to guard the graveyard due to a string of grave robberies over the last few weeks.
A Dream Remembered
While spending some time with his new daughter, Mr. Mason spots some familiar images in the astonishing picture she’s drawing; a curved sword-wielding Turk, a winged lion and a venetian mask. It brings back memories of a dream he had long ago. The memories were sketchy, but it involved these three things, as well as a train journey and a man made up from puzzle pieces.
Thursday, September 4th, 1924
Concurrently, both Mr. Mason as well as Sir Kevin were woken by a nightly disturbance. Sir Kevin woke to find three dozen large black crows in his apartment, with no clue as to how they got in, while Mr. Mason was woken by his nanny Malia to find that Anna was missing from her room. He eventually found her in the backyard claiming she had heard someone call out her name.
This was the day of the auction, and most of the guests had arrived at the hotel, creation quite a bit of excitement around Arkham. This meant Mr. O’Donnel and Det. Quinn were hard at work, attending to the guests’ needs and guarding the items to be auctioned, respectively.
At 19:00 a social affair starts in the salon of the hotel. The Von Auspergs and their guests are mingling and talking amongst themselves while finger food is served. Many prominent Arkhamites are present, like university and city officials. This is also the moment where Lady Margaret Jameson, an English socialite who features in glossy magazines the world over, makes her grand entrance.
Dinner in the Armitage Room on the first floor of the hotel is announced by Herr Proust a little after eight o’clock and slowly the public part of the evening is concluded and the VIPs are brought upstairs where an ensemble of the Boston Symphonic Orchestra, specially sent in for the occasion to perform a selection of Austrian classical music. The food on offer is magnificent and opulent and the champagne and wine flows freely.
After about an hour and half of dining, the tables are cleared and more time for a more intimate socialising is encouraged. Some people decide to waltz to Strauss’ The Blue Danube. Cigars are available as well as Austrian coffee and several stiffer drinks.
Everything is running quite smoothly under the direction of Herr Proust. Mr. O’Donnell has his hands full making sure all demands of Herr Proust are met and all guests are happy. Det. Quinn thinks he spots an Arabian man looking into the Armitage Room from the balcony at the front of the hotel, but through the rain and heavy thunderstorm outside can’t tell. An inspection of the balcony by Mr. O’Donnell reveals nobody there.
At eleven o’clock, the socialising dies down and the orchestra departs. Comfortable chairs are brought for people to sit in. Several people not directly ready to bid on any of the items remain standing at the back of the room, quietly drinking and talking, while the dedicated bidders each take their place close to the lectern set up for Lord Frederick who will be leading the auction.
The auctioned items are brought up from the vaults in the basement by way of a dumbwaiter and into the Green Room, a smaller room next to the Armitage Room. Their they are prepped to be brought out on silk-drapped carts. Once in the Armitage Room all bidders have a few minutes to inspect the item from up close. Nobody is allowed to touch the objects but a velvet-gloved Von Ausperg servant lifts, turns and tilts the objects upon request.
The first lot, an Egyptian ankh called The Blood Ankh immediately stirs up quite a bit of excitement. The opening bid is £100 and ends up being sold to Count Nicolai Tychevski, a Russian man in his mid-thirties, who claimed to have been a courtier to the Czar before the recent revolution. It’s immediately clear the George Walker, a non-descript man claiming to be a private collector who was rumoured to, in fact, represent the Smithsonian Institute, was not to be trifled with. His bidding style was aggressive but refined. Both Sir Martin Murray and Mr. Klaus Hunderprest also got in on the action.
The second lot, the Manuscript of Beth Elohim, one of the items on Mr. Monroe’s list was also a hotly contested item. The opening bid was £60 and was eventually closed at £725, going to Mr. Monroe. Monsieur Michel de Borsavin, a French medium, Mr. Darnel Kolson and again the eager Count Tychevski drove the price up quite significantly before dropping out of the bidding war.
Third up was a multiple lot of several items, all nineteenth century ritual objects. A magician’s cassock with elaborate embroidery, a decorated hickory wand and a cermonial dagger. The interest for this lot was relatively low, especially compared to some of the earlier action, but Lady Margaret and Mr. Walker duked it out while Mr. Lyzak Cerga, a secretive Hungarian man on retainer to an old Hungarian family was testing the waters. Mr. Walker ended up winning the bid.
Next came the Hand of Glory, a gastly item. A preserved, severed human hand set with five candles, made from rendered human fat, on the tips of each finger. The opening bid was £20 and after an intense round of bidding was sold to Mr. Walker for £225. Lady Margaret was once again fiercly bidding, as did Mr. Darnel Kolson, the young Swedish heir to a vast family fortune.
A short break was introduced for refills, some chatter and further congratulations. The Baron explained that the items were retrieved from the vaults per four lots and to allow them some time to prepare the next four auctions.
The following lot provided both laughs and some dismay. The lot covered multiple African fetishes and it was no secret that Sir Martin Murray, who had developed an interest in the occult while stationed in India, was interested in the items. Mr. Walker once again took an interest, as did Mr. Klaus Hunderprest, a quiet and awkward man with a somewhat ghastly disposition. When it appeared that the auction was over, going to Sir Martin, his good friend Lt. Col. Sir Neville Goodenough started bidding on the items. Sir Martin stood up, exclaimed “You scoundrel!” and proceeded to fiercely contest the items until eventually, seemingly completely disinterested, Sir Neville dropped out with an airy wave. The auction was closed at £450, while the opening bid started at £30.
The next lot pertained another item that held Mr. Monroe’s interest, the first edition copy of Francis Barret’s book The Magus. The opening bid was £50. During the examination period, Mr. Simons had walked up to take a closer look and got quiet pale and had to be escorted back to his seat. He would not say what the matter was. Quite a few bidders joined in for the book, Lady Margaret, Monsieur de Borsavin, Sir Martin and Count Tychevski. Much to the investigator’s surprise, Mr. Mason also started bidding on the book, which went against the subversive arrangements made with Mr. Monroe. Eventually Mr. Monroe outlasted everyone and settled at £750.
The Sword of Paracelsus, a 108cm blade with the word “AZOTH” encraved on the crystal pommel was up next. Both Mr. Kolson and Mr. Cerga fiercely contested the blade. The opening bid stood at £250, by far the highest opening bid that evening and quickly shot up. Mr. Walker and Mr. Hunderprest had some passing interest in the blade, but eventually all fell to the aggressive bidding of the secretive Mr. Cerga. The bidding closed at and astonishing £1150. The current exchange rate being $4.40 to £1, an enormous amount of money was paid that day.
The eighth lot was a human skull, the top half removed and inlaid with silver, forming a cup or chalice. Several garnets surrounded the rim of the challice. Lady Margaret, Monsieur de Borsavin, Count Tychevski and George Walker all contested the skull, and even Mr. Kolson got involved. Eventually, after opening at £100 the skull was sold at £250 to Lady Margaret.
Another break was announced and more congratulations were offered. The break seemed to take a little longer than the first one and eventually the Baron sent Herr Proust to investigate the hold up. Shortly after Herr Proust left the Armitage Room, a bone-chilling scream could be heard coming from the Green Room. Most people were too shocked to respond quickly but both Det. Quinn and Mr. O’Donnell arrived in the corridor between the Armitage and Green rooms to find Herr Proust on the floor, holding his clipboard pointing catatonically into the Green Room.
By studying the splattered mess extending a dozen feet around the ruined corpses, determining that something must have jumped onto their heads from a great height. Twisted fragments of a skulls floated in a slowly congealing pool of blood. The brain looked to have squirted out of the skull and across the room, splattering against the wall and still dripping onto the floor.
The massacre was complete. The two people who had been handling and guarding the items in the Green Room, a police officer and a servant of Von Ausperg, were mutilated beyond recognition. Curious bloody prints could be followed back to the dumbwaiter in the corridor and the door to the dumbwaiter was also smeared with blood. A horrible, sickly-sweet smell of decaying flesh could be smelled all throughout the room, corridor and the dumbwaiter. Downstairs, in the basement, another servant of Von Ausperg lay horribly mutilated in the vaults while the police officer was later found having sex with one of the hotel staff members, a clear dereliction of duties. A large, now caved-in tunnel had been dug underneath the hotel and into the hotel vault.
It was clear that the Rivited Brass Head, lot number nine, was gone.
Friday, September 5th, 1924
In the confusion, Mr. Monroe spoke to Mr. Tillinghouse and the Baron. He recommended the investigators join Det. Quinn and Mr. O’Donnell in the immediate investigation of the crime scene before the police would arrive. They could help, he said, being “gifted amateur investigators who have been successful in several macabre episodes.” Mr. Tillinghouse and the Baron, both desparate to contain the situation and not cause the guests at the party any undue harm or exposure, agreed. Much to the already mounting chagrin of Det. Quinn, they also convinced him to allow for a short while before calling the police so that any evidence of illegal alcohol use on the part of the distinguished guests could be erased.
Before the police arrived, the investigators managed to find that several larger chunks of muscle tissue from around the thigh an pectorals seemed to have gone missing. Also, the bloody prints seemed to be strangely smudged, as if the perpetrators had been wearing strange gloves. Nothing else but the brass head seemed to have gone missing.
When the police arrived, the detective in charge was Det. Pike, a close acquaintance and mentor to Det. Quinn. All the guests were questioned and statements were taking, but as it stood, there were very little clues to go on. The investigators had surmised that someone had dug a tunnel into the vault, killed the first servant, took the dumbwaiter up to the first floor, entered the Green Room, killed the second servant and the police officer, taken the head and come back down, only to collapse the tunnel behind them on their way out. It was a mystery how the tunnel was created, as it didn’t seem to have involved any explosives.
It pained the Baron to admit it, but he said that three people had approached him prior to the auction in the hope of acquiring the brass head; Lady Margaret, Monsieur de Borsavin and Mr. Hunderprest. He suggested the investigation should take that into consideration.
A private investigator, Mr. Paul Lansing, was asked to look into the background of all three of these people. Mr. Simon Dennings, a reporter for the Arkham Advertiser, was willing to trade information on Lady Margaret provided he’d be allowed to bump into her on the elevator at the hotel. The investigators decline.
Doing more research on the brass head, Sir Kevin discovers that similar brass heads are often modelled after famous philosophers like Aristotle and that this one is modelled after Roger Bacon. It’s Asian design doesn’t fit in the historian’s timeline as contact with that part of Asia seemed to have come later than the artifice of the head. Delving deeper into the history of Roger Bacon, Sir Kevin uncovered more curious information. Several years of Bacon’s history has gone unaccounted for, after which he published the formula for gunpowder when he resurfaced, which up until that point had only been known to parts of Asia. Sir Kevin concluded that Roger Bacon may have been in Asia during his absence and that it could explain the Asian design on the head. Then he stumbled upon a curious bit of information, namely that Roger Bacon is sometimes attributed as the author of the mysterious Voynich Manuscript, which Sir Kevin remembered to have been in the private collection of Mr. Monroe.
The investigators also quickly connect the grave robberies to the murders and theft at the auction due to the stench of decayed flesh. They considered it a possibility that the perpetrators may even have tunneled to the hotel from one of the mausoleums or crypts in the Old Arkham Cemetary, not far from the hotel.
Sir Kevin and Mr. O’Donnell investigate the cemetary only to find nothing of interest. When later in the day Mr. Mason and Det. Quinn return to the cemetary, they spot a cloaked figure smelling of decaying flesh. They give chase but lose the cloaked figure when he leaps the seven foot, cast iron fence around the cemetary in a single bound.
Saturday, September 6th, 1924
Sir Kevin, after having a fruitless conversation with Mr. Monroe about the Voynich Manuscript, is approached by a street urchin who hands him a note. The note reads:
Dear Sir, I have your woman and you would well to leave the case alone
The urchin claims the note was given to him by a man he claims not to remember what he looked like. Upon further insistance by Sir Kevin, the urchin recalls the man to be white and wearing a scarf and hat. Sir Kevin investigates Ms. Maurelle’s apartment only to find it untouched. An investigation of the museum finds it closed since Friday, a broken glass and a knocked over chair inside point to a struggle.
The investigators put the current developments to the Baron and inspect the handwriting on the letters of credit received from all the auction attendents and they compare it to the note. None match.
Dr. Nannetti approaches Sir Kevin and Mr. Mason and explains she did the autopsy on the corpses, or at least what was left of them only to find necrotic flesh underneath the fingernails of the victims.
At this point, several guests have already departed, but some still remain at the hotel: Lady Margaret Jameson, Monsieur Michel de Borsavin, Count Tychevski and Professor Julius Smith, an English professor and friendly rival of Monsieur de Borsavin who is quickly becoming acquainted with Mr. O’Donnell.
After being approached by the investigators, Monsieur de Borsavin agrees to do a seance in the Green Room in the hope of contacting the spirits of those who died there, perhaps learning something new about the perpetrators. The seance would take place at midnight on the evening of Sunday to Monday, around the time of the murders.
Sunday, September 7th, 1924
Just after midnight, Det. Quinn and Mr. O’Donnell visit the Old Arkham Cemetary where they encounter a cloaked figure, which they chase and manage to shoot several times. Surprisingly hard to kill, the figure finally goes down. As Det. Quinn approaches the figure rises once again only to hit him across the face. Further chase ensues and eventually the cloaked figure is brought down. Both investigators notice the gaunt, drawn out face on the figure, with dry, leathery, almost green-brown skin, cracked in places to reveal the white bone underneath. In the pursuit Mr. O’Donnell loses his flashlight. The gunfire attracts the police but Mr. O’Donnell manages to leave the cemetary before the arrival of the police, while Det. Quinn approaches the police and takes charge of the search of the cemetary. The body is gone.
The following day a box arrives at the hotel for Mr. O’Donnell containing his flashlight as well as the spent casings of both Mr. O’Donnell and Det. Quinn.
Monday, September 8th, 1924
The seance is performed by Monsieur de Borsavin. Professor Smith is also present. The professor is a well-known debunker of psychics, mystics and mind-readers and has been looking forward to watching his rival, Monsieur de Borsavin, at work. Much to everyone’s surprise, contact is made with the spirit of police officer Flynn, who is unfortunately unaware of his own death. He remembers little of the attack.
When the spirit finally departs, Monsieur de Borsavin doesn’t recall anything of the experience. When the investigators explain what happened, he is visibly shaken and confused, claiming to be a psychic and not a medium, the difference to him being a person who talks with the dead rather than a person through which the dead communicate with others. When he eventually starts rambling maniacally, Mr. O’Donnell sedates him and brings him to his room. Mr. O’Donnell, feeling responsible for what happened to Monsieur de Borsavin stays with him until he wakes up the next morning.
Professor Smith remarks that it could all still be a performance by Monsieur de Borsavin, albeit a very convincing one. Oddly enough, the contact with the spirit started with a curious knocking around the Green Room, which can still be heard after the seance has ended.
When Sir Kevin returns to his apartment, he finds a large, dead crow nailed to the top of his desk.
Waking up the following morning, Mr. Mason finds amsall package of dried flowers, tied together with some dried leather string, tucked underneath the pillow of his wife Martha Mae.
Sir Kevin wakes up in the underground crypt of the old Hartwell family of Arkham. The crypt is located at the Old Arkham Cemetary.
George decides to buy a shotgun, not liking where the entire investigation is leading. When at the pawn shop he bumps into Mr. Hunderprest, who is just on his way out.
Just before the investigators are set the meet at Mr. Mason’s home, Sir Kevin and Mr. Lansing arrive. Mr. Lansing informs that he has found little of interest about Lady Margaret or Monsieur de Borsavin, since that would require more time and travel, most likely outside of the country. He has found out some information about Mr. Hunderprest. He has also been looking into the disappearance of Ms. Maurelle and will have a sit down with one of Danny O’Bannion’s lieutenants that afternoon, but he doesn’t expect much to come out of that meeting.
Born August 17, 1870 in Pfaffikon, Switzerland. Moved to Vienna in 1892 and to Arkham by way of Philadelphia in 1908. He worked as a financial advisor to several religious organisations between 1908 and 1918 when he lost his wife. Heasn’t worked since, with the exception of some negligible compensation for writing poetry for small publications.
He lives alone at 24 Boundary Road, apt. #1 since 1922.
- Apt #2: Arnold Lievermann, retired, owner of the three storey building
- Apt #3: Renfield Horst, Ticket Collector on the railway between Arkham and Boston
- Apt #4: Wolfgang Dornheim, PhD student in Astronomy at the Miskatonic University
Currently the main source of his income is from selling antique jewelry seemingly unconnected to any crimes. Last year he made $5,200.
Ida Hunderprest died at age 38 in 1918. The cause of death were complications due to cancer. She died at St. Mary’s hospital in Arkham. She was brough in at an advanced stage and the tumor had spread throughout her entire bowel system. Several people are said to have come in to consult, mostly a collection of spirit healers and exotic quacks.
The attending doctor was Dr. Gregory Hartwell. After his wife’s death Mr. Hunderprest stalked him and eventually went on to assault the doctor in a drunken rage.
Mr. Hunderprest has had several more alcohol related arrests over the years as well as several assault charges. That behaviour seemed to have ended in 1922.
After reviewing the list of religious organisations Mr. Hunderprest worked for, it turns out that the Starry Wisdom Society was one of them. Things start to fall in place for Mr. Mason and Sir Kevin, but Det. Quinn and Mr. O’Donnell have a hard time catching up. Before his departure, Mr. Lansing explains that Lady Margaret Jameson has 24 Boundary Road under surveillance from one of her handmaidens.
Mr. Mason and Sir Kevin visit Ms. Maurelle’s apartment with the help of the grounds keeper. They find nothing missing, no signs of struggles. They visit Dr. Aram van Doren to check if she took a leave of absence. He says she didn’t, but that they should check with Dr. Armitage, the library directory, who helped Ms. Maurelle curate the museum items from time to time.
Dr. Armitage is visibly concerned at the news of Ms. Maurelle’s disappearance. He also tells the investigators of the disappearance of the Liber Tenebrae, the Book of Shadows. It happened the month before and it describes the ritual needed to unlock the brass head and speak with the demon that’s locked inside it. It’s supposed to answer any question, but Dr. Armitage warns that the demon in the head will ask a terrible price for the answer, likely its freedom. Dr. Armitage also intimates to the investigators that he’s well aware of the goings-on at Ross’ Corners.
Mr. O’Donnell and Det. Quinn decide to stake out Mr. Hunderprest’s apartment. They find out Mr. Hunderprest’s apartment #1 is a basement apartment. They break in and search the place, finding a well-kept apartment. A library shows many curious books on resurrection, and the bedroom is somewhat a mess. The investigators find a skeletal finger on the floor, wearing an old, diamond ring. In a large, built-in closet they find a trap door leading into a dark tunnel beyond. When they open the trap door and see the tunnel leading down, they are assailed with the horrible smell of rotten flesh. They decide to call for backup.
When four police officers arrive, they decend into the dark tunnel. Some twenty yards underground they find a nightmarish room adorned with old tapestries stolen from different graves and crypts. The walls are lined with old coffin-lids. Several coffins are stacked at one end of the room, a large bloodstain spilt out of the bottom of one of them, caked and congealed. In the middle of the room there’s a small table with a silver platter on it. On top of the platter sits the brass head a strange black substance burnt on top of the head like the unlocking ritual supposedly perscribed. The Liber Tenebrae is laying next to it. They also find the eviscerated body of Ms. Maurelle in one of the coffins.
There are two doorways beyond, one of which leads to a small room in which the heavily decayed body of Mrs. Hunderprest is displayed. The other leads to a cavernous tunnel from which three, almost zombie-like creatures emerge to attack the group. After one police officer is brutally killed, the rest of the group tries to flee. Another two police officers are killed and Mr. O’Donnell and Det. Quinn are injured. The run out of the apartment only to be followed by the strange zombies. Mr. Hunderprest has now also arrived at the scene, commanding the two remaining creatures to attack. Mr. O’Donnell and Det. Quinn, both severely injured, manage to escape into a car and race towards the hospital.
Eventually the investigators make it to the hospital and recieve treatment. In the meantime, the gunfire and sirens attract Sir Kevin to the scene of the crime. He arrives when it is overrun and secured by police officers. Mr. Lansing is at the scene and explains that when the other investigators fled, he arrived to find Mr. Hunderprest and Lady Margaret and her handmaidens locked in a fight with one another. He took that opportunity to go into the apartment and retrieve the brass head and the book. He hands them to Sir Kevin and both of them make their way to the hospital to join up with the others. Mr. Mason eventually also finds his way there. Dr. Nannetti helps the investigators to a private room where they can discuss their next course of action. They decide to go to the hotel and talk to the Baron.
Arriving at the hotel, they find Mr. Tillinghouse together with the Baron, the Baron’s wife, Lady Margaret and only one of her handmaidens, Mr. Monroe and the Baron’s guard Andrej and Herr Proust all in the Baron’s large suite. A plan is hatched. Lady Margaret will accompany Lady Andrea out of the country immediately. The brass head will remain at the hotel, as will the Baron, in order to lure Mr. Hunderprest out into the open. Mr. Tillinghouse will make arrangements for the ladies to depart and smooth things over with the police department using his close contacts there.
Tuesday, September 9th, 1924
The investigators set up inside the Armitage Room hoping to draw Mr. Hunderprest out. Mr. Mason, Mr. O’Donnell, Det. Quinn, Mr. Tillinghouse, Mr. Notranjska, Mr. Monroe; most of them armed, are all residing in the room waiting for something to happen. Most of the hotel is empty, with the exception of the night watchman, who occasionally comes up to bring coffee.
It is clear to everyone involved that Mr. Monroe has an almost diseased obsession with the book, the Liber Tenebrae, but when rebuked doesn’t press the issue any further.
After what seems like hours, a muffled cry can be heard. Calling out to the night watchman, Mr. O’Donnell finds nothing out of the ordinary. Another hour goes by and the inactivity sets everyone on edge. When the night watchman comes up for another coffee delivery, Mr. O’Donnell tells him he can go home, afraid that he might get caught in the crossfire. When Mr. O’Donnell makes some disparaging remarks about their adversary, saying that they are all waiting for a insane lunatic to strike, the night watchman turns around and buries a knife deep into his chest, repeating “I am NOT insane! I am NOT insane!” while Mr. O’Donnell sees the face of the night watchman transform from that of the watchman into that of Mr. Hunderprest. At the same time several of Mr. Hunderprest’s minions crash through the large windows and a fight ensues.
Eventually, with overwhelming firepower the creatures and Mr. Hunderprest are killed. Mr. O’Donnell is gravely wounded and is rushed to the hospital. Sir Kevin’s mind collapsed under the weight of everything that happened and he slips in an unfortunately insanity. Mr. Notranjska suffers great injuries and expires under the assault of the creatures.
In the days following the assault on the hotel and the death of Mr. Hunderprest, the Baron leaves Arkham together with the brass head. Mr. O’Donnell receives excellent care from Dr. Nannetti at St. Mary’s hospital and Sir Kevin’s fragile mind is nursed back to health.
Det. Quinn is lauded a hero of Arkham, solving the case of the grave robberies, the theft and murders at the hotel as well as the kidnapping of Ms. Maurelle, though unfortunately too late to save her. Mr. Hunderprest, considered a stain upon Arkham’s history, is dead and nobody seems particularly interested in the details under which it happened.
Several weeks afterwards, each investigator receives a package delivered by courier, containing a letter and a gold ring bearing the seal of House von Ausperg, adorned with rubies and sapphires. The letter is from the Baron, expressing his eternal gratitude to the investigators for helping him maintain the honour of his house and the guests at the auction. He is in their debt and explains that his door will always be open to them should they ever find themselves in Austria. If references in Europe are ever needed, he is happy to provide them.
Cast of Characters
- Sergeant Jerry Colburn; Southside PD desk sergeant.
- Mr. Mark Riggins; Mr. Monroe’s new manservant.
- Mr. Barry Jenkins; Mr. Mason’s agent an publisher.
- Baron Frederick Albert von Ausperg; the head of House Von Ausperg, an Austrian noble family specialising in auctioning rare and precious items.
- Lady Andrea von Ausperg; the wife of Baron Frederick Albert von Ausperg, and well-known, former Austro-Hungarian courtier.
- Herr Karl Proust; Baron von Ausperg’s majordomo and personal assistant.
- Her Andrej Notranjska; Baron von Ausperg’s guard.
- Mr. Blair Monroe; well known bibliophile and collector. He owns and runs Monroe Publishing, a large publishing house out of New York City.
- Mr. Xavier Tillinghouse; the owner of the prestigious Miskatonic Hotel in Arkham. He he’s rich and shrewd with a good eye for people. He’s very well connected in Arkham.
- Ms. Sophie Maurelle; A French national who, before her death at the hands of crazed lunatic Mr. Klaus Hunderprest, worked as the curator for the Miskatonic University museum.
- Officer Samuel Harris; An officer for the Arkham police department, widely understood to have gotten the job because he’s the son of Lt. Harris.
- Lady Margaret Jameson; an English occultist and socialite. The daughter of an English steel magnate.
- Count Nicolai Tychevski; a former courtier of the last Czar before the recent revolution. Currently lives in Greece where he operates a successful import and export business.
- Mr. George Walker; a representative and assistant curator for the Smithsonian Institute.
- Sir Martin Murray; A retired officer in the British Royal Army. Formerly stationed in India and staunch friends with Sir Neville Goodenough.
- Mr. Klaus Hunderprest; An Swiss-born, Austrian national and long time resident of Arkham. Currently deceased by the hands of the investigators after he masterminded the theft of the brass head and the Liber Tenebrae in the hope of learning the secret of bringing people back from the dead.
- Monsieur Michel de Borsavin; a French national and famous psychic specialising in communicating with the dead.
- Mr. Darnel Kolson; A young Swedish man interested in dog racing and the occult. He recently inherited a vast family fortune.
- Mr. Lyzak Cerga; A secretive Hungarian man who is on retainer to an old and important Hungarian family.
- Lt. Col. Sir Neville “Never” Goodenough; a retired officer of the British Royal Engineers. Excentric and boisterous, especially in combination with his good friend Sir Martin, he is known to be loud, drunk and a womaniser. He’s fought in the Anglo-Zulu Wars where he was injured by a spear.
- Mr. Paul Lansing, PI; A dependable Arkham-based private detective, shown to be a great and fearless resource in the investigations.
- Mr. Simon Dennings; a weasely reporter for the Arkham Advertiser and possibly a great source of gossip and information.
- Officer William Flynn; One of the police officers on duty to protect the items to be auctioned only to be murdered in the theft of the brass head.
- Dr. Aram van Doren; the history faculty head of the Miskatonic University.
- Dr. Henry Armitage; the directory of the Miskatonic University library. He seems to know quite a lot of the esoteric and occult and has access to the forbidden collection of books at the library.
- Dr. Carolina “Carly” Nannetti; a resident doctor at St. Mary’s hospital. She’s been party of several investigations together with Sir Kevin.
- Mrs Martha Mae Mason-Donner; the wife of Mr. John Horace Mason. She’s dealing with some lingering health issues.
- Malia Cazanoux; the in-house nanny for Mr. and Mrs. Mason, looking after the house and taking care of their newly adopted daughter.