Fury on the Orient Express, Pt. 2

TkNyarlathotep
Another week gone by, another session completed, and you know what time it is: Time for Part Two of Fury on the Orient Express, a Feng Shui/Call of Cthulhu pulp mashup! Enjoy.   Fury on the Orient Express Book One: Through the Alps Chapter Two: Dancers in an Evening Fog, Part Two WARNING: This summary contains spoilers for the Chaosium adventure "Horror on the Orient Express", not yet released to the general public as of this writing. If you wish to avoid any spoilers given in the Kickstarter Backer materials for the adventure, please discontinue reading now. The Heroes awoke to a shuffling in the darkness and voices in the black. They shot up and prepared for battle when they were greeted by a familiar sight: Jefferson Lamarr, the Janitor at the University of London. He was following closely behind a friendly-looking man in a mirrored mask and a long white coat, wielding a bizarre pistol in one hand. The man introduced himself as Zam C’tal-tess, Defender of Earth and Champion of the Great Race. He promised the group he meant no harm and, indeed, sought the same thing they did: A way to end this horrible madness.   Their rest was interrupted, however, by horrifying cries in the dark. First a few, then many, then a whole chorus of echoing cries, almost human in nature. In the dark wood, they saw a legion of bright lights, three each. The Soulless had come, and in an immense force. It was time to run.   Fleeing through the clearing, they eventually found themselves facing a tremendous hill. With one another’s help, they managed to ascend the hill and outpace the uncoordinated and clumsy Soulless husks of their former comrades. When they went down the other side, they found themselves facing a sight that drew all but the sturdiest among them to a brief, terrified madness. They saw an immense field of corpses spreading out for miles, endless bodies of every size and shape conceivable, and sleeping atop the endless bodies there lay the mountainous forms of the woman-headed cockroach beings.   Feeling bold, Zam C’taltess approached one of the beings and, drawing on his vast sum of knowledge of the worlds beyond worlds, spoke the profoundly simplistic language of these immense beasts. With precious little pressing, he convinced one to give them safe passage into the heart of Rhylkos, the massive mountain that spewed endless rays of invisible flame far into the distance.   Ascending the mountain in the belly of the beast, they found themselves in an immense, hollow mountain, all black but for the sun above. Scrambling in the dark, they finally began to hear the sounds of chanting, followed by screams of mercy and an occasional command and ominous whisper. They recognized the cries of mercy as the voice of Professor Hite and they doubled their efforts, advancing into the shifting dark maze.   Finally, they found themselves in a large antechamber with a large altar at the far end. Countless Soulless beings chanted praises to the thing against the wall, while a Blasphemy resembling a spiked and eyeless gorilla and another resembling a tarantula with claws drummed on either side of the thing. They looked ahead and were once more driven to madness as they saw the fate of Professor Hite.   He had fused to the wall and his abhorrent machine, His face grown into the wall with the rest of his flesh slowly creeping on and around the device he had repaired. In the center, a two-lidded eye opened and the liquid inside the machine bubbled green. Professor Hite screamed in pain, begging the heroes to save him, until a foul voice spoke. It was the thing that Hite was becoming, Phrek-R’lak, Spawn of Uvhash. It told them that Hite had opened a gate between Uvhash’s dream and their reality, and that soon he could enter and bring the Earth under the thrall of Uvhash. The heroes swore the creature’s defeat and the battle began.   The battle seemed hopeless until Jefferson managed to find a secret weapon Zam had dropped: A jar filled with a dangerous acid found on this planet. He threw it and it shattered against Hite’s face, leaking down his throat and into the body of the machine. The liquid bubbled and raged before finally bursting, slaughtering Phrek-R’lak and bringing an end to Uvhash’s dream of Rhylkos.   The heroes awoke back in the main exhibition hall, with many dead or mad, all seated. They started a thunderous round of applause for Professor Hite’s lecture as his body was carted away to the morgue, its face dissolved and its chest burst open from within. Zam was nowhere to be found.   During the after-party, though it was more a police roundup and emergency medical session, the group began conversing with Professor Smith. Suddenly, an American scientist by the name of Carl Harrison joined the conversation and introduced himself to Smith as a big fan. As the group talked, Tiberius noticed a strange Turkish man spying on them. He attempted to wave the man over, but the Turk became embarrassed, gestured an apology, and wandered away.   Not one to allow a simple exit, Tiberius took his friends to go investigate the strange Turkish man in his white suit and red fez. They found him at the bar and he seemed very nervous, and spoke little English. He admitted his interpreter had died in the initial attack and struggled to answer their questions. It seemed a lost cause, that he was only interested in Professor Smith’s thoughts on the explosion and their review, and that he was very scared and wished to be left alone, when finally they managed an interesting nugget of information. While in Rhylkos, the Turkish man had been chased and attacked by an evil, skinless man. He knew nothing of the man or his origins, only that it pursued him alone and left when it seemed to grow bored or tired of the man.   Days passed until the heroes noticed something peculiar in the newspaper. Three man with the same name, all Turks with identification calling them “Mehmet Makryat”, had been murdered in the same London hotel room. Worse yet, their friend, Professor Smith, had gone missing and his mansion had burned to the ground. Just when hope seemed lost, a letter was delivered to them. It was from Beddows, urging them to find their way to a small residence in the poor part of London as soon as possible.   When they arrived, Beddows seemed nervous, shaking as he opened the door and hesitantly let them in. Inside they found a disturbing sight, the burnt body of their dear friend, Professor Smith. He was wounded horribly, barely able to speak, but he had important information for them all.   He told them that he and Beddows were attacked in their home by Turkish assassins in white suits and red fezzes. While in South America, he had been seeking more information regarding an evil and powerful artifact called the Sedefkar Simulacrum, and that the assassins sought to kill him and take that information. Beddows kept them from entering and, in desperation, they burned the home to the ground. Beddows and Smith barely escaped with their lives, but now they had Smith’s scent. He feared that his notes had burned or, worse, that the assassins had taken them.   He told them the history of the Simulacrum, a statue predating the 18th century when it was taken apart and scattered across Europe. It contained an incredible power that the assassins must not harness, and its parts lined the routes of the Orient Express. Finally, he told them that the only way to destroy it would be to take it to its place of building and perform a powerful ritual to rid the world of its influence.   He grew faint and quiet, and Beddows gave them a note containing all Smith had told them. He knew nothing more than what the Professor said, and urged them to seek passage onto the Orient Express as soon as possible. A new and grander adventure than ever before awaited them...