NOTE: this journal contains massive spoilers. If you plan on participating in Beyond the Mountains of Madness as a player in the future, i encourage you to stop reading now. Otherwise, you will completely spoil the campaign for yourself. You have been warned.
I received your package yesterday; thank you for the socks, I'm sure they will come in handy on my journeys. I am glad to hear that your recuperation is going well, though slower than I know you'd like. I know you are eager to hear the latest news on my end, so here goes:/
We went to our usual breakfast meeting the next morning, somewhat worn-out from all of our recent events. Starkweather and Moore talked about commander Douglas' murder, how sad they all are, and gave us the information for the funeral time. It will be tomorrow morning at 9:30 am at Our Lady of Holy Trinity, and all of us are expected to attend. We also observed a moment of silence. After that, he introduced our newest member, Captain Vredenburgh, a tall gentleman in his early 50's or so, salt and pepper hair. No real feeling on what sort of person he is yet.
Starkweather told us that in no uncertain terms are we to discuss anything with the press. If they approach us for information, as they surely will continue to until we leave, we are to refer them to Starkweather and Moore. He then pulled us aside and gave us a news clipping to read. It was about the goings-on of the Willis house in Boston. Evidently the officer that was in hospital with the critical wounds has died from them, bringing the death toll to two. The clipping also stated that Willis had hired a few people from our expedition to investigate the house and the strange and deadly events that it has had in recent past. So far our names have been kept out of it, but there are no guarantees that that will continue, though we have not been ourselves implicated in the murders. Starkweather was quite upset with it all, and spent a minute yelling at us about the implications of our actions on the expedition. He also made us aware that he suspects Ms. Lexington of being behind some of the current events in the form of sabotage. He expressed a desire for us to "stake out" her residence for a day and keep tabs on her comings and goings. He has excused us from our ship duties for the day to do so. Also, he told us that as far as the commander's murder, the only viable suspect the police have is Sothcott, who is currently at large.
After that, we were introduced to a young lady by the name of Charlene Whiston, a photographer who was there to take all of our pictures for the National Geographic. I got the distinct impression that she was attracted to me, not knowing the gender, though I of course did nothing to encourage her, to the dismay and confusion of Trash...Oleg did not want his picture taken, which caused a short-lived bit of strife between him and Worthington, who initially called him a primitive because of it. Bit of a snobby blow-hard, that one...
We then went to see Sykes back on the ship for our final fittings for our gear. It is all heavy, but warm, as our greatest fear is frostbite. Most of it is trimmed or lined with reindeer fur, which I find rather itchy but tolerable. After that, we decided to split up; Worthington, Mawson and Lucky to the appointment with the lawyer Brackman. They did the best they could there, but in the end were able to receive very little information.
Meanwhile, myself, Oleg and Trash went to the first shift of our stake-out at the Lexington estate. It was very large and well-manicured, obviously belonging to a family with plenty of money. I had brought along the journals that we had found, thinking that I would have some time to peruse them. I started by putting them in chronological order, after which I realized that the missing ones, dated from about September 1930 to March 1931 were missing. I also realized that those were written during the time of the last Miskatonic expedition. Strange, yes?!
After sitting there for about twenty minutes or so, we see a small car pull up and park near the front gate. A small, well-dressed man in his late 50's or so gets out, carrying a briefcase and walks in through the gate and out of our sight. About thirty seconds later he came back out, accompanied by another man, younger, wearing a long coat and hat. It occurred to me that second man fit the description of the man seen running from the Douglas murder scene, though it could also fit any number of men. As soon as they reach the gate, a car pulled up and they got in. We all got the distinct impression that the larger guy was forcing the first, smaller guy to get in. He also kept one hand in his pocket throughout, which seemed very suspicious to me. The car left, and after a quick discussion, we followed in our car.
We followed them into Manhattan, where Trash - who was driving - lost them, but then ( ROLLED A 1 ON LUCK) managed to find them again, heading to the northern end of the city, towards the warehouse district. They stopped in front of an old warehouse with two large double-doors in front. The doors were opened, the car drove through, and the doors were immediately closed. The warehouse itself was two stories high, with an alley on each side. To the right was a single small door, the windows being too dirty to see through, the same on the left. The top story had four windows which were also too dirty or taped over to see through. We devised a plan for Oleg and I to climb the fire escape to see if we could gain entrance through the skylight, or at least see what was going on inside, while at the same time Trash would knock on the front door to distract them with some phony story about our car breaking down or something.
So, Oleg and I went around to the fire escape, easily climbing it up to the skylight, which we fortunately were able to open quietly. We appeared to be looking down into a large loft, with floor to ceiling steel pillars, and a large pile of what appeared to be cloths to cover crates, also covering some of the windows. In the northwest corner were four people, three men standing, a fourth sitting in a chair, heavily bound with a bag over his head, which we took for the small man we saw at the Lexington estate. One of the men standing appeared to be the big "thug" type, who had taken his jacket off and was in the process of rolling up his sleeves to, we assumed, "work him over". We could just distinguish their voices, which seemed to have very distinct German accents. They asked the bound man about various things, something about a "Pym book", "Danforth", and a "Professor Dyer" whom I remembered was the man that led the first Miskatonic expedition. The bound man in the chair was addressed as "Herr Nicolas Roerich". They also asked him what his business with Ms. Lexington was, to which he replied that he was trying to dissuade her from going on any expedition to the Antarctic.
Just then, we heard the sound of a knock coming from the ground level on the other side of the building. One of the men told the others to wait and keep quiet while he dealt with it. We heard Trash's voice, talking on and on about how his car had broken down and could he use the phone, and by the way, could he also use any aluminum siding at a great price?! Oleg jumped down to the floor, impressively quiet, and began to work his way toward the man nearest to him. At that time, having my gun with me (you know the one, Unc, that used to be dad's favorite?) I fired a single warning shot up into the ceiling to get the attention of the two remaining men. They looked up immediately as I yelled for them to lie facedown on the floor, which, to my surprise, they did. As I jumped down, Oleg used some rope to tie them up. Trash yelled up that he had successfully restrained his man downstairs and had him handcuffed. We then untied poor Nicolas who thanked us profusely for coming to his rescue. We all went downstairs and outside, putting the three criminals in the trunk. Mr. Roerich asked to be taken to the hospital, which we did immediately, as he had been beaten quite badly before we had gotten to him. On the way, we did get some important information from him. Namely, that a Professor Dyer had deliberately sent him to New York to stop Starkweather and Moore from undertaking this expedition. We asked him if he had been the one to send us the threatening notes and he denied it, seemingly to be telling the truth. He also told us that he had been unsuccessful in getting to Starkweather and Moore, so he had taken it upon himself to go to Ms. Lexington and see if he could dissuade her from going, as he had known her father.
We arrived at Mercy hospital and I took Nicolas in, as he asked me to stay with him for a while. Oleg and Trash went to get our other three cohorts and tell them what had transpired, and then to come and get me. Evidently, on their way back to pick me up, Trash called Detective Hansen and asked him to meet them immediately. When he arrived, Trash informed him that he had his suspects in the trunk of our car. Sceptical at first, he was amazed to discover it was true. Being the honest cop that he was, however, he did take them all back to the station to check out the story. He then came to the hospital with them and verified the story with Nicolas Roerich and myself. He told us he was not sure he could keep us out of the papers, but he did agree to try to keep it out until our expedition departure, which is in only two more days.
We arrived back at the hotel even more tired than the previous night. We decided to tell Starkweather all that had happened. We knew he would rather hear it from us first, and anyway, he sent us out to the damn house in the first place...oh Uncle, I cannot believe all that has happened this past week, and we haven't even left yet.
Well, I shall post this and then off to bed. Remember to let the nurses take care of you and don't run over them with that endearingly picky behavior you have. I shall, as always, keep you well informed as to my continued adventures. I miss you terribly and wish you were here.
All my love,
My Dear Uncle,
Brace yourself, uncle, it's gotten worse. In retrospect, I'm glad you were prevented from accompanying me on this voyage; you might have gotten seriously hurt by now...let me pick up the threads...
Worthington informed Starkweather about everything that had happened; Starkweather was understandably distressed but also pleased at the same time about the "foiling" of the kidnapping of Roerich. He actually dropped some rather obvious hints that he would like the story "leaked" to the papers. He thinks that it would bring some more positively-oriented publicity to the expedition for a change. Quite a bad attitude that man has regarding the Germans. Since the story will be told to the papers, Trash called Detective Hansen and told him that there was no longer any need to hold onto the details until we leave.
Not too much was new at our usual breakfast meeting the next morning, other than kind words for our little group regarding the Roerich rescue, and reminders to attend the funeral later that morning, which we of course did. The ceremony itself was rather brief, with only a prayer and some tributes to the Commander's rich and varied career, with a few words by his brother Philip. It was quite sparsely attended, with our little group, Starkweather and Moore, and three other men we did not recognize, two of which looked like your typical sea men and the third apparently taking notes.
Directly after the service, Worthington and myself approached Philip and introduced ourselves, asking if he would like to join us for coffee at a nearby cafe, which he agreed to. Meanwhile, Mawson and Lucky were talking to the two sea men who were at the service. Their names were Hart and Sudwell, and they were quite sad, having served with Douglas in the Merchant Marines. They expressed a considerable amount of dismay and confusion about the murder, not knowing who would have wanted him dead. Mawson, seeing how capable and experienced they were, offered to put in a word for them regarding joining us on the expedition. They declined, saying that their "sailing days were over".
Trash and Oleg approached the third man who had been taking notes; turns out he was a reporter for the Times by the name of Hawkes, there to do a story on Commander Douglas. Nice chap, fairly reputable and reasonably honest, as reporters go...Trash and Oleg decided to give him some information on the Douglas story, in return for Hawkes owing them "a favor" to be redeemed at some future date. They invited him out for coffee, which, ironically, is why we all ended up at the same place, The Last Cup. Great place, Uncle Larry, you would love the deco. Remember that cafe we used to frequent in Istanbul? The Twisted Sheep? A lot like that...only the customers aren't in robes and turbans...
Anyway, Philip seemed a nice man, tall and thin, with a rather quiet-seeming disposition. We talked briefly about the story that had come out in the paper about the Roerich incident, explaining how we fit in with the whole mess. We asked how much he knew about his brother's experiences with the first Miskatonic expedition. Philip said that Douglas had been understandably reticent about sharing very much of it, but he did know a little. The Commander had lost two of his fingers to frostbite and was quite a changed man when he returned home, quiet and withdrawn, eventually turning to alcohol as a means of dealing with his memories. We asked if Philip was at all familiar with Danforth and Dyer of the first expedition. Philip said that one night when his brother was drunk and rambling on about the journey he let loose some bits of information. That three of the men on the expedition went "snow-crazy", two of which were restrained and then later recovered, with the third man running off into the Antarctic. He was never seen again, the body never recovered. Douglas had also rambled on about finding "black stones" and how cold they were. Philip also mentioned that -though he could not confirm it- he suspected that the loss of two of his brother's fingers were not due to frostbite but by something altogether different. Regarding Danforth, Philip only remembered that his brother talked over and over about how much Danforth screamed. As to Dyer, he also survived the expedition, only to eventually drop out of existence, or so it seemed, with no word on where or how he is currently.
A shame, really, as we would dearly love to talk with them. Due to general mental health after the expedition, there might be a good chance that they might have been admitted into an asylum. We will have to do some checking around, if we have time. I wonder if one of them could be the one sending us warning/threatening notes about not going on this expedition. If so, they might be closer than we think. I shall have to run that one past my fellow cohorts...
Worthington and I gave the photos back to Philip and asked his permission to keep the letters and journals until we had finished reading them and then send them back. Philip graciously agreed to. Philip denies ever having recieved anything by rail from his brother, specifically not the missing set of journals. He seemed to be telling the truth. After some congenial banalities and our condolences we all leave. Worthington and myself to make some calls to see if we could locate Paul Danforth at any local or surrounding asylums, and everyone else went shopping. Oleg was actually looking for some kind of...bird bone, to make a spear with! He also ran into Moore later at the ship, who told him that we would be attending a departure dinner that night.
After spending much time working the phones, Worthington and myself talked to a doctor at the Arkham asylum who told us that Danforth had been there in 1931, but had escaped about six months later. No information regarding Dyer. We later checked on Mr. Roerich, who says he is feeling sore and rather battered, but better and recovering, again thanking us effusively for our help in rescuing him. We then dispersed back to the ship to attend to some final preparations before our departure, agreeing to all meet at the official departure dinner later that evening.
The dinner itself was quite nice, drinks and fine food all around. There were the usual speeches, Moore going on about our departure the next morning, with everyone actually boarding tonight. He informed us that after we stowed our belongings on ship, we were free to have one final night on the town. So, after dinner, we assembled all of our gear and personal items and went to the docks. The Gabriel was brightly lit, a noisy hub of activity with people running all around, the clang of drums and the hammering and grinding of winches...quite an overload of the senses, to be honest! We were given our cabin assignments, mine being #18, and off we went to stow our belongings. I will be sharing with one other gentleman. Yes, I can see you laughing, Uncle dearest, I shall have to be excruciatingly careful not to reveal my gender at this early date! After that, I headed for Starkweather's cabin for drinks, arranged earlier with Worthington. We raised glasses and toasted to the success of the expedition.
After about a half hour, we heard a very loud explosion! We all ran outside into utter chaos, the whoosh of flames shooting high into the sky, accompanied by screams and the crashing of broken glass - utter pandemonium! A fire had somehow broken out (started by someone, as we later found out) in the big dock shed, with the fuel drums exploding, spraying a fine mist of fuel everywhere; we knew it would soon spread to the ship itself. Starkweather joined us a moment later, swearing fit to kill. Trash, Lucky and Worthington pitched in to try to put out the fire and move the fuel drums that had not yet been reached by the flames. Mawson, Oleg and myself ran to the shed where we could see three human forms on the floor just inside. The whole interior was ablaze! Mawson helped drag the men out of the shed, where I treated them for burns and smoke inhalation, and then Oleg took over carrying them to the dock. Meanwhile, Worthington and Nelson were struggling with the winch, trying desperately to move the remaining fuel drums over to the ship, which they were eventually successful with. Probably saved the fire from spreading more than it had, along with Trash and Starkweather, who were manfully helping out with the firehoses.
As we were working on the men being pulled from the blazing shed, Mawson spotted a form inside the shed by the door at the opposite end, carrying what appeared to be some sort of can. Mawson immediately took off after him. He told us later that he could just make out the man by the light of the fire; a large and heavy man, with wild hair and beard wearing a red handkerchief around his face. The man reached the fence at the far end which apparently was locked. Mawson then drew his .38 and yelled "Freeze"! The man responded with a "fuck you, buddy", to which Mawson fired a warning shot. The man ran; Mawson fired three more times, missing each time until the man disappeared from sight.
We heard the high, shrill sound of the sirens coming closer to us. In short order, the place was full of police, firemen and a whole host of reporters. Mawson gave a description of the man to the police, and then we were all working frantically for the next half hour or so dealing with the remnants of the fire, which was successfully put out. We all noticed the lights of a departing ship down river. Starkweather took out his binoculars to have a look, Worthington, a pair of opera glasses! and then Starkweather lets out this scream, "that cunning witch!" Evidently the ship was the one Ms. Lexington was on, the Tallahassee. Interesting...after about an hour, the Gabriel was towed down to Pier 66, somewhat charred and blackened, for evaluation and hopefully, any repairs that are needed.
The next morning, today, the papers have been full of the fire, listing myself, Mawson and Oleg as heroes, apparently. Probably due to the rescue of the three men inside the shed. I have enclosed the relevant clippings for you to add to our scrapbook. Sadly, though, three other men were killed inside the shed during the initial blast, too late for us to help them by the time we arrived there.
So, Uncle, I'm not sure what that does to our departure date. I suppose we shall find out when we go down for breakfast this morning. I will post this at the desk before I go in, and, as always, will write when I know more. Please continue to take care of yourself and wait for further news from me.
Your Loving Niece As Always,
I hope your recovery continues to be uneventful, though I cannot say the same for my adventure thus far! I continue where I left off...
We all went back to the hotel to get what sleep we could before the breakfast meeting. Upon waking up, I went downstairs to join our group for some much-needed coffee and discussion. Trash and Lucky were conspicuously absent, which was rather strange, but we were soon to find out why. The morning papers were of course full of news about the explosion, fire and deaths, though the details were brief, fortunately. I found it rather interesting that the news regarding Lexington's departure on her expedition were even briefer and relegated to one of the back pages. Funny feeling about that...and absolutely no mention whatsoever about the kidnapping/beating of Roerich.
At the morning meeting, Starkweather made a speech about his gratitude to us in helping out with the fire the previous night, and expressed sadness at the tragic deaths that occurred. It will only delay our departure by two days, however, from the 9th to the 11th. We also found out what happened to Trash and Lucky. Evidently Lucky felt that a "run of bad luck" that he had been suffering had followed him to this expedition and he felt that he was partially to blame and so was withdrawing from the trip. Sad news, especially since he was our pilot. Fortunately, he has been replaced by another pilot, a gentleman by the name of Scott Legunne. Scott is around 5'8", with very short, dark hair that smells of the military. He has rather strange topaz eyes and a very broad, muscular stature, appears to be somewhere in his thirties, wearing what seems to be the typical pilot outfit. Trash has also withdrawn from the expedition due to some sort of previous "dealings" with the police and is being currently detained for questioning. Two in one day...sigh.
Directly after the meeting, those of us in our little group that remained went up to introduce ourselves to our new member Scott. Seems a strong, capable sort, which we are much in need of here. In the middle of the introductions, Sykes came running up to Scott, babbling in his typical 90-miles-an-hour way about last minute fittings, measurements, classes, etc. I swear that man needs to drink less coffee! Scott did mention something about calling home to his butler or tailor about his measurements, so he must come from a moneyed background...I wonder what his motivations for coming on the trip are. I shall have to do some querying, if he's open to it.
Starkweather came up and shook our hands all around, again expressing his gratitude about our help and inviting us for a drink at a later date. He also stated that we did not have much to do in the couple of days left before our departure and suggested we "lay low and try to stay out of trouble"...easier said than done!
We filled Scott in to the best of our ability on our adventures thus far. Since we were all a bit curious about how Roerich was doing, I decided to call Detective Hansen and ask, since we had no contact information for him. Hansen said that he was doing alright and was currently back at his hotel, The Netherlands, a very posh hotel downtown. The detective also wanted to question me about some of Trash's activities and contacts, in particular a man by the name of Arthur Jackson. I feigned ignorance, not entirely false, and got off the phone as soon as possible.
As we headed back into the lobby, the clerk Smitty had messages for all of us. They all turned out to be from Roerich, all identical. The message read 'Dear Friend, I would very much like to speak to you at your earliest convenience regarding your voyage to the south. I shall be en suite this evening and all day tomorrow should you find it possible to call. Blah, blah, Suite 410.' Quite providential, considering we really wanted to speak to him anyway. We decided to go down later this evening. Being curious about this Arthur Jackson that Hansen wanted to know about, we decided the best place to get any information would be the Purple Cup, as we had some luck there previously. So, we all piled into a couple of cabs and took off.
Being fairly early in the morning, there were only 8 or 9 people there. I did spot Orry, that ugly little dwarf of a man that I had spoken to on our previous trip. I decided to go talk to him, accompanied by Worthington, while Mawson, Oleg and Scott went to try the bartender.
Orry was well in his cups even at that early hour, waxing philosophically about a wide range of metaphysical theories. Worthington had better luck than I in speaking to him only because withholding his beverages seemed to motivate him better than simple questioning! In asking about where one might "get rid" of "questionable" artifacts, he came up with the name John Spellman, who hangs out at another wharf-front bar by the name of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. (Interesting names they have for places here.) This Arthur Jackson was apparently a friend of Spellman, but that he had recently run into some "trouble" with some kind of "learned guy". It became quickly apparent that we were not going to get any more out of either Orry or the bartender, so we decided to go across town the this other place to see if we could track down this John Spellman.
It was a place very similar to the Purple Cup, except that it was much smaller. The variety of life within was much the same, however. Worthington asked the waitress about Spellman and discovered that he was sitting at the bar. We sat at the bar as well. Spellman was a small, thin, shabby-looking man who looked as if he had fallen on hard times recently. We got him a drink and question him about Jackson. As it turns out, Arthur Jackson is in jail, which I might have known if I had bothered to ask Detective Hansen about. Sometimes the old brain cells just don't work very well...Spellman was not very cooperative, so we went back to the hotel to freshen up and have dinner before heading over to see Roerich.
Very posh hotel, the Netherlands...much like our Claridges in London, except a bit more blatantly ostentatious. Marbled floors, fountains, flowers everywhere, mirrored elevator and the like...we were expected, as it turns out, and were shown up to the fourth floor. When we knocked on the door, we were greeted by a short, dark-haired man who introduced himself as George, Roerich's son. We were shown into a very plush parlor room where Roerich was sitting at a table with a large coffee service, having obviously expected us to show up this evening. There were two easels standing nearby, one with a painting that was obviously not finished, and the other was complete. The completed one was of a rather strange landscape, a dark and rather foreboding collection of what seemed to be stone buildings on dark hills in front of a vista of snow-covered mountains.
We exchanged greetings and inquiries about Roerich's health, which seemed to be fine. He asked about the news in the paper about the fire and we explained in brief detail. He then began to talk.
It seems he came to New York on charitable business not related to our expedition, during which he recieved a package and letter from Professor Dyer who urged him to talk to Starkweather and Moore regarding their expedition. As it seemed urgent, he agreed to do so. The professor's letter stated that the manuscript in the package was the true account of the previous Antarctic expedition, and that due to those experiences that he wanted Roerich to attempt to dissuade Starkweather and Moore from returning. Roerich's attempts to contack either of them were of no avail, as his messages were not responded to. As he had also been a long-time friend of the Lexington family, he also tried to persuade Ms. Lexington not to go on her expedition to the Antarctic as well. When he went to the Lexington house, he was kidnapped, as you know, Uncle, from previous letters, and the manuscript was taken by some men he believed to be German, possibly connected with the German expedition. He does not believe that Ms. Lexington was to blame for the kidnapping, but does believe that she is involved in some way. He is quite concerned about her getting further involved in such dealings with such unscrupulous and criminal people. Roerich also stated that he did not feel that these were "ordinary thugs", as they were very well organized and seemed to only want information regarding the manuscript and the location of Professor Dyer, as well as the location of the "Pym" book. Evidently this book was a rare manuscript by Edgar Allen Poe regarding Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, supposedly believed to be the real account of an earlier Antarctic expedition.
Ms. Lexington's father Percival, in the time before his "suicide" had many rumors abounding about shading dealings with unsavory characters, though they were never proven. His suicide was rumoured to have been a murder, brought about by the fact that he was auctioning off some items at the time of his death, among them this Pym book. The conclusion to this book was never published. Lexington's version varied in that it had four additional chapters which had never previously been printed and were thought to never have been written at all. After Percival Lexington's supposed suicide, the book could not be found. In discussing searching for some connection with Acacia, Roerich warned us that Ms. Lexington had previously been known to be involved with some rather extreme fringe movement/groups. He also said that Professor Dyer had made it very clear that the manuscript that he had sent was never to be made public. Ever.
Roerich also asked for our help since the expedition was clearly going forward and the Ms. Lexington had indeed already left on hers. He asked us to try to find out what her connections to the Germans might possibly be, to be his "eyes and ears", so to speak. Evidently Professor Dyer and Moore were good friends before the previous Antarctic expedition, but had a rather violent falling out directly after their return. Professor Dyer never spoke or speaks of that expedition. Roerich obviously does not want to think ill of Acacia, but is determined to know the truth. He assured us that this conversation and ensuing information will be kept private.
We agreed to do what we could, and ended the meeting. We went back to the hotel for the evening where I am writing to you now. I will go down to post this to you this evening. I hope the next two days before our departure are quiet, Uncle dear...I will write more later. All my love,