Horror On The Orient Express

London 1923, Part One


Shortly after the events of the last session, this story appears in the London Evening News:

Startling Twist in Smuggling Case

Prof. Julius Smith’s reaction to this story is more of concern that relief:

“I hardly know what to make of all this. I am sure it is some mixture of truth and lies; that is always Selim Makryat’s way. Little stands in the way of his hunger for power, be in economic, political, or… for forces beyond mundane concerns. We must all be wary for signs of activity from the Makryats or their agents. I will be sure that others I am in contact with are also on alert.”

The rest of 1922 flowed past with all the involved characters going about their lives. They did not meet up again until a wintery day after Christmas, the funeral of the elderly train conductor, Henri.

Matthew Hemingsworth had an appointment with Duc Jean de Messeraine, a Swedish nobleman and collector who is interested in locating an ancient statue that was broken into fragments before the French Revolution. He wishes to commission Matthew to find these fragments, but is hesitant to say more about them until an agreement has been made.
einstein_lecture_photo.jpgJanuary 3rd, 1923 was the date of Prof. Smith’s lecture at the famous Challenger Institute. The speech went well, with talk of Einstein, Bohr, and higher dimensions. Mehmet Makryat himself was in attendance, and made a few ominous comments remarks about the dangers of powerful relics (such as the Doom Train set) falling into the wrong hands — and implied that his father, Selim, would be the right person to control such things. “My father believes in the Old Ways,” he tells Umar ibn Abu. Makryat also mentioned a “Prince” and warned Smith from having anything to do with him. Smith explained that this Prince was a former associate of Selim, but they are now enemies.

On their way to dinner with Violet Gibbs-Wolf, the Investigators were confronted by Wallis Hilton as he was being chased by a Hambaba. Wallis did not know why he was being targeted, other than it might be related to some research and translation work he was doing for Edgar Wellington. He stated he could explain more if they would meet him at his office in a couple days. Emily Johnson found this suspicious, and through a combination of violence, reassurance, and alcohol it was revealed that he was not truly Wallis, but was hired by Makryat to lead the Investigators into a trap.

The Investigators then split up. Umar slipped away to check out Wallis’s office, where he found Wallis’s notes, the Cuneiform Decoding Keys, and an unposted letter to Edgar Wellington.

Matthew took the fake Wallis back to his townhouse, where the now intoxicated imposter was tied up, after making strange references to his skin as looking “just like the real thing.” Matthew got his shotgun ready.

The others continued to Violet’s where they found a distraught Prof. Smith. He had received word that the real Wallis had been founded, his body flayed, in a storage closet at the British Library. The Investigators hurried drove off to rendezvous with Matthew.

Dr. Wilke performs a little scrying magic and sees that Matthew’s home appears under surveillance from the air. They break in through the servant’s entrance and explain what they have learned.

Umar himself arrives, unaware of any danger and is attacked by a Flesh Kite.

A full scale attack by Makryat’s forces ensues, with the sorceror demanding return of the Decoding Keys, but the Investigators fight them off. The flesh of the false Wallis pulls itself free and issues an ominous: “The Skinless One will not be Denied! Ask Prof. Smith what happens to those that denies Him!”

The Investigators rush off into the night only to find Smith’s home burned to the ground with Smith and his butler missing.



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