Session 8 | New York | Funeral

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Party like it’s 1925!

Game system: Call of Cthulhu 6th ed

Dramatis personae

Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondent | 31 yrs | Martin

Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

Absent this session

H.P Rennfarth | NYPD Forensics specialist | 27 yrs | Mats

Slim Shady | Attorney | 46 yrs | Djuro

Link to background stories and portraits


Par-tay!

New York, Monday January 19th, 1925 | about 6.30 p.m

A ride, good idea!

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Fancy car for fancy people

At 6.30 pm, the fancy car from Carlyle’s arrives to pick up the PCs. Carl, Edward and Slim steps into the jet black speed-monster as the uniformed driver holds the door for them, barely containing a sneer looking at their in his view not-up-to-par tuxedos.

The ride goes up north along the Hudson river, passing such sites as the Sing-Sing prison and the infamous little community of Sleepy Hollow. (No headless riders are to be spotted though… This time at least…). After some 30 minutes, the car arrives at the gates of the estate, the magnificent and brightly lit mansion visible in the midst of a park-like garden. Many expensive cars are parked in front of the entrance, drivers standing talking and smoking in their fancy uniforms.

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The Carlyle mansion

At the large entrance doors, two big men take their names and check against a list, then the PCs are let into a great hall and is immediately offered a glass of excellent champagne by one of the many servitors. After some socializing, a man comes up to Shady, introducing himself as Mr. Grey.

-“Business first”, he says and leads the PCs into to a quieter part of the house. He opens a set of double doors leading into a magnificent library, where Ms. Carlyle is waiting, accompanied by a huge man in a too-tight suit, introducing himself as Mr. Corey. The man has the predatory stance of a professional soldier.

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The library

Erica Carlyle

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Ms. Erica Carlyle

After some pleasantries, the PCs are invited to sit down and offered an expensive drink. Ms. Carlyle then goes straight to the point, asking what they want from her.

Edward takes the lead, stating that he and his associates has been contracted by some wealthy investors (that wishes to be incognito) in Kenya to look into the recent rumours about Roger Carlyle being alive, as they are concerned of the consequences regarding their business deals with the Carlyle business empire if this should be true. If Roger should be alive, that would mean that he could come back as leader of the Carlyle business empire, which would be a bad scenario for them. The reason for them coming here is to ask if Erica can shed some more light on this rumor and if she would know anything that could help with the ongoing investigation.

If the news startles the young heiress, she hides it well, but she explains that she would be very interested in knowing more about theses rumors. Edward also insinuates that if they should find Roger alive, there is a possibility that he could “disappear” again, should she wish so. Erica looks appalled and says that she naturally wants her brother back, but that she doubts that the rumors are correct. Anyway, she says that she would be happy to be of assistance.

In the continued interview with Erica they learn:

  • Erica thinks that Roger had some secret that worried him
  • Roger had a depraved sexual relation with an African woman (which Erica refers to as “that N-o woman”).
  • However, she has never met her and doesn’t know her name.
  • She also thinks that his relation with the African woman was what triggered Roger’s obsession with Africa and also his nightmares and ultimately pushing him to lose his grasp on reality.
  • It was Erica who coerced Roger to go see the jet-set psychiatrist, Dr. Huston.

Keeper note: This was an excellent lie by Edward, where we role-played the conversation with just a few Fast Talk, Persuade and Psychology rolls.

Edward also asks about her brother’s diary, that he has heard of. Erica answers that there is no diary, but some rubbish old occult books that her brother had bought for a lesser fortune and used to obsess over. She even glanced through one of them, “Pankotic Manuscripts” or some such nonsense and became even more worried as the content of that book seemed to substantiate Roger’s developing insanity. However, she says, those books are soon gone as she is in the process of selling them.

The PCs manage to persuade Erica to name the buyer – a certain book collector named Aloysius Marlower – and the price he has offered. The PCs even manages to outbid the man and the meeting concludes with the PCs buying the books for the neat sum of 2800 dollars! Erica is glad to be rid of them and if they can assist in finding out what happened to him, so much better.

The books they purchase are:

  • The Pnakotic Manuscripts (English)
  • Selections de Livre d’Ivon (French)
  • People of the Monolith (English)
  • Life as a God (English)

After getting the books from a hidden safe, the meeting is concluded and the PCs are invited to party, which they do with a vengeance!

A most deadly funeral

New York, Tuesday January 20th, 1925 | about 11.00 a.m

Edward, Carl, and Slim wake up, the sour aftertaste of too much to drink in their mouths and concrete caps on their heads. After some freshening up and a rudimentary breakfast, they drive through the snow to Brooklyn to attend Jackson Elias’ funeral. Edward insists on bringing his scope equipped M98 Mauser jagdgewehr, “just in case”. Upon arrival at the church, Edward gets out of the car and takes post on a small knoll overlooking the church grounds. In silence, he makes himself comfortable in the snow while Carl joins the congregation in the church.

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The Evergreen Cemetery

The funeral service is kept at the Evergreens Cemetery by Reverend Lawrence T. O’Dell, Jr., who was appointed by Kensington. The service in solemn and sincere and the few people attending seem genuinely interested in being there. Kensington holds a short but affectionate speech, leaving no hearts untouched.

On the snowy knoll, Edwards spots nothing unusual, other than a late attendee to the service. Looking in his scope, he sees that the man is sweating profusely despite the cold. Inside, Carl also notices the late guest who arrives just before the end of the service, taking his seat in the last row of the pews.

When the sermon ends, the man exits the church first of all. The other guests gather in the weapons room greeting and talking about their common friend Elias and about the service.

Outside, Edward has made a circular maneuver, placing him near the entrance. When the sweaty man exit the church, Edward approaches him from the side, gun pointed at his face, demanding that the man tells his name and business here.

Upon closer inspection, the man looks quite underdressed for the occasion. With the gun in his face, he’s frozen still, stuttering some lame story about being early for the next funeral. Suddenly, he turns around and makes a run for it. Edward aims at his lower leg and pulls the trigger, but misjudges the moving man and hits him in the upper thigh, point blank. The man stumbles and falls, coloring the snow red, bleeding profusely from a ruptured femoral artery. Edward runs over, trying to get some info from the man before he passes out. At the same time, he sees a black sedan some 100 yards away revving its engine, driving off at top speed. Before reaching the shot man, the big game hunter takes aim for the driver’s head and squeezes the trigger again…

In the scope, he sees the back window shatter and the driver slumps over the wheel, sending the car skidding into a tree. All is still for a few seconds, then the car explodes in a sea of flames. The back door opens, two human torches straggling out, screaming, but falling to the ground after just a few steps, consumed by the flames.

Turning his attention the leg-shot man, he sees that the man has been trying to crawl away but he’s now collapsed, breathing heavily. Drawing his blade, Edward kneels by the mortally wounded man, demanding to know who sent them here. After some threats and pressing of the wounded leg, the man squeals that they were sent by a man named Jim Flynn with the mission to oversee the funeral, taking note of the attendees. He can be found in the Lower West Side harbor district, Warehouse 17. After this, the man passes out from blood loss.

Simultaneously, the church door opens, spilling out church goers. Edward plants his own pistol on the man and throws the Mauser into a bush, screaming:

-“Help! This man has been shot by some thugs in the car over there! There was a firefight and they managed to hit each other!

People run over to help the man, while others run for the burning car. In the distance, police sirens can be heard… It is soon evident that the shot man is dead and efforts are redirected at the people by the car. Someone remarks that these guys must be remarkable shots, hitting each other with pistols at 100 yards…

The driver of the car is burnt to a crisp as well as one of the people in the back seat, but the last one is still alive. Police and ambulance arrive, taking care of the wounded man and taking up witness statements. After a while, an officer finds the stashed Mauser as well. It is concluded that the man outside the church shot at the car that returned fire, killing him with a lucky pistol shot. Edward and the rest of the church attendees are noted for later questioning if needed, and let go. The police label the whole incident as gang-related violence, probably some kind of turf dispute or act of vengeance…

Gun shopping (again…)

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Edward’s favorite store!

On the way home, Edward insists on stopping by his favorite gun shop, getting himself a new Mauser M98 with a sniper scope… And lots of ammo of course…

West Side Story

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The docks

Back at the Harlem laundry shop, Carl and Edward change back to more inconspicuous attire and load up the car for a mission to the harbor district around West Street. They drive downtown to Lower West Side asking around for warehouse 17. After some wrong turns, they find the place all down by the waterfront. Cautious as they are, they park the car a block away and approaches the warehouse on foot. It’s an old wooden structure, painted in chipped light blue color and surrounded by a 6-foot high wooden plank fence with a padlocked gate. The place seems deserted. Outside, they encounter an unwashed old sailor wino who reeks of booze and urine. Old Jim tells them (for a quarter) that yes, this is the place of Jim Flynn and his crew of Irish dockworker thugs. For another quarter, he also informs them that Flynn usually hangs out at the local sailor bar – the Blue Oyster – the next street away. Walking towards the Blue Oyster, Carl and Edward become aware that five sailor type thugs are following them, throwing insults at them, promising the “snobs” a thorough ass whooping, brandishing blackjacks and short blades. Edward resolutely draws his gun, pointing it at them. The thugs back off, and start running in the other direction…

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After work at the Blue Oyster

The Blue Oyster is a rowdy dock bar, situated a half stair down in a dingy basement. Edward and Carl try to look “sailor-ish” and sit down at a table near the entrance, ordering cheap watered beer. The place is full of seamen, dock workers, and winos. A few working girls are working their trade as well.

In the back of the room, there’s a raised wooden dais, surrounded by a low railing. Despite the crowded place, there are only a few tables there, surrounded by stuffed chairs and a sofa. A red-haired man in a finer suit sits there, surrounded by a few rough looking men. The PCs deduce that this must be Mr. Flynn. They discuss ways to approach Flynn but are interrupted when a fat African lady accompanied by two large brutish men come down the stairs and walk straight up to the dais, where they are welcomed. It’s Fat Maybelle! Carl and Edward try to hide their faces to avoid her from recognizing them, putting their snouts far down their glasses.

Flynn and Fat Maybelle have an animated discussion, then she hastily rises up and leaves the place with her entourage. The PCs think that they avoided being spotted… Flynn looks furious and starts yelling at one of his men, waving fists in the air…

Carl and Edwards deduce that Fat Maybelle has somehow teamed up with what seems to be Irish mobsters after having her illegal booze business crushed by the police (and the PCs). Maybe she’s looking for vengeance against them?

Edward decides to try their luck again, walking up to the ruffian guarding the dais, demanding to see Mr. Flynn. Flynn accepts and lets them through. He doesn’t invite them to sit down. The PCs give up false names and offer their services. Flynn downs a whiskey laughs and tells them to sod off. He’s already got all the losers he needs for his little operation. The PCs sense that they should leave and get out of the Blue Oyster, hustling back to the car which incredibly enough still has all its wheels and hubcaps in place.

Columbia University

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East view of Columbia University

On their way back, they stop by Columbia University to pick up the black sphinx. Dr. Brantenberger thinks it is from the Egyptian 4th dynasty of pharaoh Sneferu. It’s very atypical however and he hasn’t been able to translate the glyphs yet, but he suspects that it’s some kind of sect symbols or a cipher of some kind. He also says that the statuette is either a very well made replica or a genuine artifact, in which case it would be quite unique and valuable. The PCs thank the good scholar and take the sphinx with them when they leave.

Plans, plans, plans

It’s late afternoon when they finally come home. Over a baloney sandwich and luke-warm beer, the group assesses the situation:

  • The police are after them
  • The Cult of the Bloody Tongue are after them
  • The Harlem African gang are after them
  • The Irish gang will soon be after them
  • The Italian mobsters want to use them for their own nefarious needs

It is concluded that it is time to leave the city and even the country. Tentatively, England and London seem like the logical choice now.

But first, they decide to go to Arkham to see Professor Cowles, who they talked briefly with after his lecture at New York University, the day of Elias’ murder, to see what he knows.

Next session will start the day after (Wednesday the 21st), on the train between New York and Arkham.


Here we had to conclude the session for the evening. To be continued…

 

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