Part of the deal brokered between Mycroft Holmes and Nigel Stander in getting the investigators away from the influence of The Freemasons involved the investigators undertaking one final mission for Stander. They were assured that the mission would be a personal one for Stander and would not involve furthering the aims of the Freemasons. Consequently Jonathan Asbatch was summoned by telegram to the office of Nigel Stander.
Jonathan’s appointment with Stander was for 3.30pm on a Friday afternoon, however, he was not seen by Stander until 4.00pm.
Stander took a file out of a top drawer of his desk and handed it to Jonathan. The file contained several sketches of a bust of a lovely young woman.
Stander informed Jonathan that the piece is believed to be a bust of Lady Jane Grey and he checked if Jonathan knew of the story of Lady Jane Grey and her rather short reign as the Queen of England during the 16th Century, which Jonathan did indeed know about. He told Jonathan that his task was to verify that the piece dated from the 16th Century, and to compare it to the sketches that he had provided to make sure that it is the piece that he was seeking.
The piece he told him was currently held by a Bostonian businessman named Andrew Keetling. Stander had wired Keetling about purchasing the bust, and Keetling had accepted his offer 500 Pounds. Business responsibilities however, kept Stander from travelling to Boston himself and so consequently as per the terms of the agreement reached with Holmes he decided to utilise the services of the investigators.
Stander informed Jonathan that he had booked passage for him and any of his colleagues on one of his own ships the Christabel that would be sailing from Liverpool to Boston on the Sunday.
Alastar Maloney, Lilith Harrington, Lord Christopher Chumly and Yumi decided to accompany Jonathan on the journey to the United States. So Sunday morning they caught a train from Paddington Station, arriving in Liverpool in the afternoon, with barely an hour to spare before the Christabel was scheduled to depart.
At Liverpool Station, the investigators hired a taxi to get to the harbour, where they eventually located the Christabel, a wooden three masted brig built in the 1850s. She boasted 1099 tons, a length of 169 feet, a beam of 37 feet and a depth of 21 feet. Owned by Stander’s shipping company, her commander was Captain Dan Holley and the First Mate was Nils Van Owen. The ship had seen a lot of use and was a little worn looking compared to the many steamships standing in the harbour, but was clearly kept in good repair by Holley and his crew.
Captain Dan Holley greeted the investigators gruffly, ordering Hawkins, a grotesquely burn-scarred seaman, to carry their bags to their quarters. Meanwhile other sailors were busy loading the ship and preparing to sail.
The voyage to Boston took about four weeks to complete and was in the main uneventful other than an incidence of food poisoning suffered by most of the crew, meaning that Jonathan, Chumley and Yumi had to help out with the running of the ship for a day and a fight that had broken out between Hawkins and Joe Carr the ship’s cook, which ended with Yumi injuring the cook’s leg and stopping the brawl.
Upon arriving in Boston Holley informed them that the Chrstabel would be leaving in three days and so the investigators booked into The Tea Party hotel and during the early evening of their first day they went out for a guided tour of Boston, taking in the area where Keetling’s residence was.
The following morning, the investigators headed out to the Keetling residence where they were met at the door by Sarah Keetling, Andrew’s sister who welcomed them in.
Sarah, a somewhat plain woman in her mid thirties had the look of someone who had hardly been sleeping for some time. When asked by the investigators if they could talk to Andrew, she informed them that he was missing. She told them that Andrew, had always been a quiet, responsible individual – at least until lately. A few months before, he had begun associating with a group of young artists and before long was spending more and more time with them than he was at home. At first, Sarah thought little of it, expecting her younger brother would soon lose interest in the bohemians and settle back into his normal lifestyle. However, as time went on, Andrew was more and more away from home and Sarah began to suspect that he had fallen in with ‘a bad crowd’.
She had thought that Andrew had been writing some very large cheques to people that she didn’t know and when she confronted him with this he had grown angry and refused to discuss it. Later he apologised and explained that the money had been spent on some paintings with which he intended to decorate his study. When he later brought the three paintings home, Sarah’s suspicions had grown. They were all by an unknown and certainly didn’t warrant the amount of money he had spent on them. According to Sarah the three pieces were quite atrocious , not only were they executed by a complete unknown, the subject matter was quite ghastly. Hardly the type of thing that should be hung in a home or even in a gallery.
She explained that her and Andrew had quite an argument about the paintings, but that Andrew was quite vehement about their quality. He had told Sarah that one day the artist a Josephine Garsetti would be recognised as a modern day master and that the three paintings would be worth a small fortune. A few days later, Andrew went out one evening and never returned. That had been two weeks ago.
Sarah had notified the police, but they had uncovered nothing regarding Keetling’s disappearance. The officer in charge of the investigation was Detective Sergeant Patrick Devlin. Sarah was sure that he was not doing a proper job.
Sarah added that she thought that Andrew had met the creator of the ‘works of art’ at the Boston Museum of Fine Art, where he was quite well known. She knew nothing more about the paintings or the Boston Museum.
The investigators asked Sarah if they could be given entrance to Andrew’s study in order to examine the paintings and to see if they could come up with clues as to the nature of his disappearance, to which she agreed.
Andrew’s study was dominated by three large, expensively framed paintings. They were clearly the focus of interest. One of the painting hung above the desk while another was suspended from the edge of a bookshelf covering most of the books beneath. The third painting hung on the wall opposite the bookshelf.
Each of the three paintings were identified by a small silver plaque engraved with the title of the work. In the lower right hand corner of the paintings the investigators could find the artist’s signature, ‘Garsetti’.
The first painting was entitled ‘The Dweller in the Void’ which depicted a large humanoid figure suspended in a distorted field of colour. The figure was thin, malformed, its features murky. It appeared mummified, decayed. The eye was irresistibly drawn to the hanging figure. As one picked out the details it became obvious that the thing was composed of twisted and tortured faces. The painting was in actuality a picture of The Thing Hanging in the Void.
The second picture was entitled ‘Sylvan Night’. depicted a beautiful blonde headed woman sprawled nude across a great rough hewn stone. In the dark background could be seen pine trees, silhouetted against the sky. Above the treetops, seemingly forming from the very air, was a dark swirling mass. The painting was actually a self portrait of Josephine Garsetti herself.
The third and final painting was entitled ‘The Watching’, and this consisted of a solitary building, a large mansion on the coast. Those viewing the painting were aware of tiny red points of light in each of the buildings numerous windows and cracks. Increasingly, the red points became the most significant feature of the painting. The building in the painting was a nearly identical image of Ezekiel Crater’s dismal mansion.
A thorough search of the rest of the study revealed a few slips of paper sticking out between the pages of a volume of pre-Raphaelite plates. Pressed between pages 22 and 23 of the book were several letters written in a woman’s hand. They were love notes written to Andrew by Josephine Garsetti. None of the letters were dated.
My darling Andrew, please meet me at the Sailor’s Club tonight at eleven. Do not fail. I really must speak to you. An important time for both of us draws near – Love J.G.
It was obvious that Sarah knew nothing about the letters, and was genuinely surprised to learn that Andrew was seeing a woman. She implored the investigators to remember that Andrew was properly retiring and rather shy around members of the opposite sex. She had never heard of the Sailor’s Club.
Most of the drawers of Andrew’s desk were unlocked; they contained stationery and writing supplies, but nothing of interest.
The lower right hand drawer, however, was locked and Sarah did not have the key, but Yumi successfully picked the lock. The drawer contained Keetling’s ledgers and a cursory examination of them revealed that he had been mostly importing Icelandic wool, canned European cuisine and foreign language books. A further investigation the following day revealed that the books appeared to be in order with the exception of several large cheques paid out to a person named ‘Josephine Garsetti’.
Thanking Sarah for her time, the investigators promised her that they would do their utmost to find Andrew.
With the news that Andrew Keetling was missing, the investigators went back to the docks to speak to Captain Holley, asking him to send a message to Stander back in England to inform him as to what had happened.
It was decided that the investigators would split up in order to cover more ground, with Alastar and Chumley heading over to the police station to speak to Detective Sergeant Devlin, Yumi and Jonathan heading over to the Sailor’s Club and Lilith heading to the Boston Museum of Fine Art to see if she could find out anything about Josephine Garsetti.
At the Boston Police station, Chumley and Alastar were shown in to Detective Sergeant Patrick Devlin. Devlin was a harried looking officer in his mid-forties, a big man with a doughy face and thinning hair, his forehead dotted by small beads of sweat. Chumley noticed that the man had a wrapped bandage on his left hand.
It was Devlin’s opinion that Andrew Keetling had finally had enough of life with his domineering sister and ran away from home, reckoning that he would turn up when he wanted to.
Devlin knew that the Sailor’s Club operated some illegal rackets, but also knew that they paid their fees to the department.
He became interested when Alastar mentioned that there was a connection between the disappearance of Andrew Keetling and Josephine Garsetti and Devlin admitted that Garsetti was a person of interest in another matter and had not suspected that the two cases had been linked in any way. He refused to give the two men any more information.
After their visit to the police, Alastar and Chumley headed over to Keetling’s warehouse to find that it was closed, they eventually managed to track down the foreman who explained that the warehouse had closed whilst they were waiting for Keetling to reappear. The foreman could confirm that the Lady Jane Grey statue was indeed in the warehouse.
Meanwhile, Lilith headed over to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, which was founded in 1870. Its most famous works were the Stuart portraits of George and Martha Washington. Besides paintings, the museum also boasted a large number of statues, busts and casts; a very noble tapestry museum; a fine collection of oriental pieces and extensive collections of ceramics and metal work.
After asking around, Lilith was directed to Madeleine DuMort, an exhibit director who worked out of an office near the back of the building.
Madeleine was an attractive woman of medium height. She had red hair and was dressed in a conservative but stylish manner. She was sat behind a desk littered with photographs of paintings, gallery schedules, pen nibs, small objects d’art and several art magazines.
Madeleine was already aware that Andrew was missing and she seemed quite concerned. She told Lilith that she first met Andrew about a year before while he was visiting the Museum. They struck up a conversation when she found him looking with great appreciation at one of her favourite paintings, an Impressionist piece by Degas. After getting to know one another the two, at least once a week, would lunch together then spend the afternoon strolling through the museum. As far as Madeleine knew, these soirees were the only time that Andrew allowed himself away from his work.
When Lilith asked Madeleine about Josephine Garsetti, her demeanor grew colder and she informed Lilith that a couple of months earlier, Andrew began seeing her, a local artist who often visited the museum. Madeleine thought that Andrew had met Josephine one afternoon when she was late for their regular lunch date. Madeleine discovered the two of them chatting together in the main gallery. After that, her meetings with Andrew began to taper off. Madeleine believed Andrew was spending more and more time with Garsetti, Lilith deduced that Madeleine’s feelings for Andrew were deeper than just those of friendship and that she was jealous of the attention that he was spending on Josephine. Madeleine later heard that Andrew and Garsetti had taken to frequenting a disreputable nightclub called the Sailor’s Club, although she did not know where it was located.
Madeleine believed that Josephine was a drug addict and had drawn Andrew into the habit. To Madeleine’s knowledge, Josephine’s paintings had never been shown in Boston and she added that they would never hang in her museum, complaining that they were grotesque and frightening.
Madeleine informed Lilith that Josephine studied painting at Boston University, a fact she learned from the artist’s resume Garsetti had once sent to the museum, but that she had long ago destroyed it.
After bidding farewell to Madeleine, Lilith headed over to Boston University, where she learnt from the admissions office that Josephine Garsetti enrolled there two years previously at the age of 18. She was an Art major and her tuition was paid for by a competitive scholarship she won while living in her home town of Kecksburg, Pennsylvania. The admissions clerk revealed to Lilith that the police had been asking about Garsetti and that she was a person of interest with regards to their investigations.
Meanwhile, both Yumi and Jonathan made their way to the Sailor’s Club which they found was closed, with the opening time being advertised as 8pm and so consequently they went back to the hotel where the investigators compared notes and planned for their strategy for that evening.
Checking with Holley aboard the Christabel, they learnt that Stander had given the captain the order to wait until the investigators had finished their business before setting off back for England, which meant that they were clear to take as long as was needed to complete their investigations.
That evening it was decided that Yumi and Jonathan would head back to the Sailor’s Club, whilst Alastar, Lilith and Chumley would try one of the police bars to see if they could meet up with Devlin again.
That evening, Yumi and Jonathan headed over to the Sailor’s Club located on the shore of Boston Harbour. It was frequented by a wide variety of people from different social circles.
The dark structure housing the club squatted on a muddy bank overlooking the harbour.
The bar and stage area was a broad L-shaped room decorated in a seedy nautical style. The bar, seen immediately upon entering the door was decorated with ancient, torn fishing nets draped with cobwebs. A large ship’s wheel with several missing pins leaned in one corner and the floor was coated with a thick gray-green mulch of beer-soaked sawdust.
Yumi and Jonathan were met at the door by the muscular club bouncer Albert ‘Wriggles’ Pantucci. Wriggles asked the investigators to hand over any weapons that they may be carrying, with Jonathan handing him his revolver.
Tending the bar was Randolph Smith, a young man of medium height with light brown hair, cold dark eyes and a brusque manner. It was noticed that propped up behind the bar he had access to a 12-gauge shotgun.
A band was playing on the stage and they were being watched by three young women sat near to the stage. Also in attendance was two more guys at one table and another shabbily dressed man sat in the corner, who was watching both Yumi and Jonathan.
They asked Smith about Josephine Garsetti and Andrew Keetling and he told them that they should see his boss Zeke Crater. They asked if it was possible to speak to Crater and Smith headed through the door behind the office. Returning a few moments later telling them that Zeke would see them. They headed behind the bar and through an unused kitched full of crates and barrels and into Crater’s office.
Entering the office they found Crater seated behind a large desk covered with scraps of paper and soiled ledgers. He was reading from a large book and hurriedly scratching down notes with a fountain pen.
He wore a wide brimmed hat shadowing his features and an expensive suit barely visible beneath his flowing black cape. He seemed in excellent health, judging by his remarkably smooth, unblemished complexion. What could be seen of Crater’s features were waxen, and oddly immobile. His eyes were unblinking, large and mostly inky black pupils. The skin on his hands was pale in colour, and like his face was also smooth and glossy. His motions were quick, but seemed oddly stiff and a bit clumsy.
As the entered, Crater closed his book and put it away with his notes into a briefcase on the floor. Jonathan managed to discern that the book was in Latin and the title translated as Kingdom of the Shadows, which they suspected to be a Mythos tome. He greeted the investigators civilly but warily, but did not stand. His voice was rich and deep , and his polite style of speaking indicated an intelligent and at least partially educated man. Apparently possessed of great self control, Crater never smiled or frowned.
Once Crater had determined what the investigators were there for he launched into a story concerning an object that Josephine stole from him. He went on to say that for obvious reasons he preferred not to involve the police. The object in question he informed them was The Dark Stone. He offered the investigators a reward of 250 dollars each if they would go to the Garsetti woman and recover the object.
Crater informed them that he knew that Garsetti was hiding out from the police having fled back to her hometown of Kecksburg in Pennsylvania.
They both agreed to head over to Kecksburg for Crater, though they were extremely suspicious of him and had already decided that they would in all likelihood not be handing the stone over to Crater when they recovered it and wanted to investigate him further when they returned to Boston.
Upon returning to the hotel, they found that there were two possible ways to get to Kecksburg. The first involved a journey of two days that would take the investigators by train either to Philadelphia or New York and then catch a train from there heading to Pittsburgh the following morning, getting off at Latrobe. The second involved getting off the train at New York and dashing across the platforms to catch the Pittsburgh train, which would be leaving at about the same time that the Boston train would arrive, then getting off at Latrobe. In both cases they would need to hire a carriage from Latrobe to Kecksburg, but in the first case they would be arriving in the early evening of the second day and in the second case late at night in the first day.
Meanwhile Lilith along with Alastar and Chumley headed to one of the police bars in Boston and luckily encountered Detective Sergeant Devlin there.
As Alastar and Chumley bumbled, Lilith took the lead and spoke to Devlin, getting Chumley to buy Devlin and his friends a round of drinks in the process.
Lilith proceeded to tell Devlin that she had been speaking to Madeleine DuMort at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and had uncovered that she was definitely involved in the disappearance of Andrew Keetling.
As they talked, Devlin opened up somewhat about Josephine Garsetti being the leader of a cult named the Sylvan Night, which was broken up a couple of weeks ago by the police and happened to be where he got the injury to his hand.
Devlin informed them that most of the cultists were killed in the ensuing raid as was their kidnapping victim, a young girl abducted from Chinatown, all details that could be uncovered from reading the newspapers. However, what the newspapers had not informed was that the police actually have a former member of the cult in protective custody.
Lilith asked if it would be possible if on the following day that they went to visit the former cult member and Devlin agreed, suggesting that she meet him at the station at about 10.00am.
On their way back to the hotel, they discovered that they were being followed, though it was impossible to catch a glimpse of their stalker. Suddenly there was a smell of the grave as a hand tapped Alastar on the shoulder. Wheeling round he came face to face with a doglike being and ran in fright around the nearest corner, however, Chumley lost all leave of his senses and fled into the night, with both men leaving Lilith alone with the creature.
Lilith realised that the creature was a ghoul. The ghoul spoke in a confusing manner, telling Lilith that Keetling wanted her help and that the One in the Void wanted her soul and that he didn’t know what he wanted. He also told her that the One in the Void was the One who waits. The One who hungers ever so long. The ghoul also told her that Andrew Keetling was in the dark, thinking of kisses, thinking of death.
After the confusing conversation, the ghoul began to turn pale and silvery and then dropped through the floor, certainly confusing behaviour and certainly not attested top any of the ghouls that the Society had ever encountered before.
Once the ghoul had gone, Alastar returned to Lilith and the two of them caught a carriage and fruitlessly searched for Chumley before heading back to the hotel.
Chumley had in fact ran in a blind panic and had collided with a beat cop, who had taken him in, and thinking that he was drunk had thrown him in the drunk tank to sober up. However, during the night it had become obvious that there was more wrong with him than just drink and so he was sedated and thrown into his own cell.
The following morning, Alastar, Jonathan and Yumi caught the Washington DC train at 6:00 am, with the intention of changing at New York and then heading off on the Pittsburgh train to Latrobe before getting a cab to take them from Latrobe to Kecksburg.
Fortunately, they were successful in catching the New York to Pittsburgh train thanks in the main to Jonathan persuading the guard to hold for a moment as Alastar and Yumi tried to make it across the platforms of Grand Central Station.
On the train ride towards Latrobe, the investigators were attacked in their train carriage by the ghoul. Fortunately it was quickly dispatched by Jonathan and Yumi, disappearing into the floor. Yumi then proceeded to throw a smoke grenade into the carriage, to cover for the sounds of gunfire as the investigators hid in another unoccupied carriage.
Eventually they reached Kecksburg and stayed in a local tavern, deciding to check out the Garsetti house the following morning.
Meanwhile that morning back in Boston, Lilith made her way to the police department to speak to Detective Sergeant Patrick Devlin.
Upon arriving she met up with Devlin and he asked her if she would accompany him down to the cells as he had something of interest to show her.
As they approached a cell there was a sudden flash of light as a press cameraman took a photo of the cell’s occupant, a sedated Lord Christopher Chumley. The man asked Lilith if she was a friend of Chumley’s to which she denied and then he went off on his way to report his scoop. Devlin explained that it wasn’t that unusual for one or two of the beat cops to take backhanders from the press. He also informed her that they wouldn’t be charging Chumley with anything and that what had happened the previous night was that Chumley had collided with a beat cop, who smelling the alcohol on his breath, had brought him in and thrown him in the drunk tank. However it had become apparent that there was something more wrong than just being drunk and so he had been sedated and left to sleep it off in a cell.
After the brief visit to Chumley’s cell, Devlin informed Lilith that they were going to a run-down section of Boston’s waterfront district to speak to an Andrea Pentargon, a former member of the Sylvan Night, who was technically under police protection.
Visiting Andrea’s apartment, they were met by a short dark haired woman in her mid twenties.Her face was finely chiseled and would be beautiful, but for the dark circles under her eyes and the look of wild anxiety along with a number of unpleasant nervous ticks that she displayed.
Devlin asked Andrea to tell Lilith everything that she had told him, informing her that Lilith was a consultant on the case that he was working.
Andrea said that she had been friends with Josephine Garsetti for several years and knew of Garsetti’s occult dealings. Telling Lilith that up until recently her and Josephine had shared an apartment together. They had first met when they had both enrolled at Boston University where they were fellow art students. Both women had shared an interest in the occult and both had led what could politely be described as fast living.
One night, while visiting a club called the Sailor’s Club, Andrea and Josephine met a man named Zeke Crater. Crater invited them both to his house ‘for a party and a good time’. Soon they began attending Crater’s orgies regularly and the two even staged a competition of sorts, both of them attempting to have sexual liaisons with as many of the men as possible. Crater, Andrea said, was a wild man and, at the beginning of the orgies would make a point of killing several chickens and pouring their blood over a small dark stone that he always seemed to keep close to him.
Crater seemed attracted to Josephine and the two began seeing each other away from the regular parties. Then Crater suddenly dropped out of sight. Josephine told Andrea that she wasn’t seeing the man anymore and wanted to start her own club. She asked Andrea to join, which Andrea denied the opportunity and did not attend the early meetings of the Sylvan Night but Josephine eventually convinced her to ‘come along and give it a try’. She and Josephine, along with about a dozen people from Crater’s old group met in a dark wooded area several miles north of the city. Andrea said, she was shocked when, at the height of the festivities, Josephine ruthlessly murdered one of the previous cult’s members. She then used the victim’s blood to wash the small dark stone that had formerly belonged to Crater. Andrea said that all of this horrified her and she quit the group and moved out of the apartment she had been sharing with Garsetti.
Asked about Andrew Keetling, Andrea told Lilith that Keetling was being used as a mark by Josephine, that she was using him to help her fund the cult’s activities and was eventually planning on sacrificing him to open a gate to the Dweller in the Void. Andrea informed Lilith that if any of the members of the cult saw Josephine with Keetling they were to act as if they were strangers as she had not wished to arouse Keetling’s suspicions.
She admitted to Lilith that she was fearful of Garsetti, informing her that she had taken an oath to die for the Sylvan Night rather than ever betray it and that now she was afraid that they were somehow going to kill her, to which Devlin assured her that she was under the police protection and that no harm would come her way.
Having built up Andrea’s trust, she gave Lilith a couple of items. The first was Josephine Garsetti’s diary in which was written how the Dweller in the Void had contacted Josephine through her dreams when she was a teenager, eventually coming to take control of her and set her on the path that she was now on. The second item was a book, Scriptures Of The Riven Valley, this too had belonged to Josephine Garsetti, but Andrea had borrowed it and never returned it to her.
Andrea informed Lilith that Josephine came from a town in Pennsylvania called Kecksburg. She was not aware as to whether Josephine had gone back to Kecksburg to visit her mother at any point during her time in Boston.
Thanking Andrea for her time, Lilith and Devlin headed over to the woods where the cult members had been massacred and from where Garsetti had escaped during the raid, but all that was found was a ring that had been dropped and overlooked by the police. The ring was nothing special, bearing no markings of any interest.
Heading back to the police station, Devlin showed Lilith several pictures of cult victims that had shown up around the city, always left in seemingly random locations. Each victim had had their throats cut and showed signs of postmortem human bitemarks around the face.
After viewing the photographs, Lilith decided to continue her investigations alone and so said farewell to Devlin and headed back to the Keetling house where she met Andrew’s sister, Sarah.
She informed Sarah Keetling that several of her colleagues were pursuing leads with regards to Andrew’s disappearance and had gone out of the Boston area, but in the meantime she wished to examine the three paintings again.
Upon viewing the three paintings, she realised that the second painting, Sylvan Night, which featured a nude blonde headed woman sprawled across a great rough hewn stone in a forest clearing was taken from the clearing that she had just visited with Devlin. Obviously the real clearing did not have a stone, but the treeline was the same.
Studying the third painting The Watching, she struck upon the idea that the mansion depicted was a real one and wondered if it was Zeke Crater’s mansion.
Leaving Sarah Keetling, Lilith headed back to see Devlin to see if he knew Crater’s address, which he duly supplied, then catching a cab, she headed to Crater’s house, which, although in a state of disrepair, was indeed the mansion that was portrayed in Garsetti’s painting. She attempted to get the attention of any residents, but the place seemed to be deserted with no signs of recent habitation other than a carriage with a couple of horses that were kept in a stable.
After this she headed back to the hotel determined to visit Zeke Crater at the Sailor’s Club later that evening.
That evening at the Sailor’s Club she managed to gain a meeting with Crater, but was unable to elicit any information that was of use to her from him and left determined to catch the early train the following morning to try to get to Kecksburg.
The following day, luck was not with Lilith as she was unable to catch the train at New York and so consequently headed down to spend the night in Philadelphia before catching the early Pittsburgh train in the hopes of catching up with the other investigators at Kecksburg.
Meanwhile in Kecksburg, Jonathan, Yumi and Alastar decided to head over to the Garsetti house to see if they could track down Josephine Garsetti.
Not far from the house they discovered two men that were making a poor attempt to hide from them. One was quite average in height with a long nose, the other could only be described as being a shaved gorilla. Upon realising that they’d been seen they headed over to the investigators, introducing themselves as Chuckie the Rat and Big Al, telling them that Crater had sent them and that they had their money.
They refused to aid the investigators in entering the Garsetti house and so the three of them headed past an old brick well, which they realised had an overpowering smell of rotting flesh. The investigators decided to leave it for the time being as they tried to gain entrance into the back of the house. The door of which Yumi realised had been nailed shut.
Changing tack they headed inside through the front door of the house, which was suffering from long neglect, graying under a peeling coat of paint, though was still of sound construction.
The front door opened into a large foyer with several pegs for coats. A woman’s coat was hanging on one of the pegs and they noticed a crushed man’s hat laying in a dark corner.
The rest of the downstairs was coated with a layer of dust except for one place at the table in the dining room, which showed recent use and the kitchen that was quite filthy, but clearly being in recent use also.
Heading upstairs, they heard a female voice chanting from one of the rooms and Yumi attempted to throw a smoke bomb through the door, but failed, releasing smoke onto the landing instead as Josephine Garsetti emerged casting a spell, suddenly a wave of nausea flooded over both Jonathan and Yumi, as Jonathan cast a Mind Blast knocking Josephine Garsetti unconscious, the previously unnoticed small stone dropping from her hand, which was in turn picked up by Jonathan.
Jonathan felt a warm feeling as he picked up the stone and felt it bonding to him. He heard a voice telling him that he was a chosen one.
The investigators checked Garsetti’s bedroom, which was the only room in the house that showed any sign of any regular upkeep. The bed was unmade and there were some fresh apples in a paper bag on the floor. A shallow closet contained attractive and stylish women’s clothing and found underneath the pillow of the bed was another copy of Scriptures of the Riven Valley.
After checking a closet, they opened the door to what at first seemed to be a vacant bedroom, but within seconds of the door being opened the ceiling began to silently quiver and buckle in a wholly unnatural fashion.
An unearthly light spilled down into the room. Looking up they could see a mind wrenching sight. The apparently solid ceiling split open to reveal a field of shifting colours within which a single tiny point of light could be seen, moving closer and closer. Flickering lavender and green witch fire danced upon the surface of the moving thing, obscuring its nature and shape.
Jonathan was spellbound by the sight and Yumi pulled him from the room shutting the door behind them, realising that Jonathan’s actions were being dictated by the small dark stone she tried to get him to hand it over to her, which he refused to do.
Attacking Jonathan she persuaded Alastar to rifle through his pockets as Jonathan attempted to fight back, which Alastar, whilst wearing a glove did, eventually pulling the stone free from a heavily injured Jonathan.
During the scuffle they could hear the sounds of murmuring coming from another of the rooms, however they decided that it would probably be prudent to leave the house at this point with Jonathan in need of some medical attention.
Outside both Chuckie the Rat and Big Al were waiting for them and a standoff occurred with the investigators refusing to hand over the stone. Eventually a gunfight occurred, with Yumi throwing bombs at the two gangsters and Alastar shooting them from the doorway of the house.
At the end of the shootout, both gangsters lay dead, but all three investigators were heavily wounded, with Jonathan lying on the floor bleeding to death.
After first aid was administered the best that they could, Yumi opened the well, where she discovered the body of a woman, presumably the houseowner, and threw both Chuckie the Rat and Big Al down into the well, they then headed back into Kecksburg using the carriage belonging to Chuckie the Rat and Big Al and went to see the doctor, paying him plenty of money to keep quiet regarding the nature of their injuries.
That night, the ghoul paid another visit to Alastar in the night, nearly killing the priest before Jonathan and Yumi were able to stop it, again it disappeared through the floor and a story about a wild dog was issued.
The following morning, Jonathan, Yumi and Alastar headed back to the Garsetti house, where they found in one of the previously unexplored bedrooms, a barely lucid Andrew Keetling bound, gagged and lying in his own filth. They all noticed that Keetling bore an uncanny resemblance to the ghoul that had encountered them over the past three nights.
Taking Keetling back to the inn, they got him cleaned up and ready for travel back to Boston. At the inn they were met by Lilith who had caught the first train from Philadelphia arriving in Kecksburg just in time to turn back around and head off back. The investigators and Lilith filled each other in with what they had managed to find out in their subsequent investigations.
Having contacted Devlin via telegram, it was decided that it would prove to be prudent to leave Josephine Garsetti in the care of the Latrobe police whilst Devlin sorted out the paperwork to have her transported back to Boston.
Once Garsetti was dropped off with the police in Latrobe, the investigators caught the train and headed to Philadelphia with the intention of catching the early train to Boston the following the morning.
The journey to Philadelphia was uneventful, though Alastar, concerned that Keetling may turn into a ghoul, kept an eye on the man, with his hand close to his revolver just in case.
They booked a suite of rooms in a hotel in Philadelphia, but in the night they were attacked.
As they slept, a tall, manlike creature with a narrow and insectile head, with a cluster of large curved mandibles protruding from the snout. Bands of small bulb-like eyes ran from the front to back all along the upper surface of the head. The shintar had delicate-looking wings reminiscent of those found on bats. The membranes were translucent, milky in colour, and supported by long ‘finger bones’ that emerged from the membrane in fine, curved points.
The creature crashed through the window and engaged in melee with Yumi as the rest of the investigators tried to get out of the room, shooting at the creature as they went. Finally Jonathan managed to mind blast it into unconsciousness.
The fracas resulted in a large amount of interest and the police were called, however, fortunately for the investigators, the lead police detective had seen this kind of thing before and he quickly ushered them away from the hotel and out of Philadelphia before too many questions could be asked.
Once back in Boston, the investigators met up with Chumley who had been released from imprisonment and filled him in on what had occurred over the past few days, after which they went to see Devlin.
They informed Devlin that they were going to raid Crater’s mansion, but the detective sergeant was unable to provide them with any more assistance than just himself. This was because Garsetti, the leader of the Sylvan Night cult had been apprehended, Keetling had been found and there was nothing to firmly tie Crater in as being involved in the events in anything more than a circumstantial way. He did however, agree to accompany them himself.
Before going on the raid, Alastar had decided that he would stay on the Christabel rather than being involved with the raid and was persuaded to keep hold of the stone as it was agreed that taking the stone to Crater’s mansion would probably not be in the group’s best interests.