After discovering that Prof Smith’s house had burned to the ground with Smith and his butler Beddows missing, the Investigators retired to recover from recent events through rest and prayer. After breakfast at Violet’s they split up to pursue several leads.
Umar showed the ritual knife, mask, and decoding keys to an academic at Oxford. Dr. Baris Gizem was amazed at the idea of secret messages in cuneiform, but explained that the knife was a part of a hoax cult, used by a criminal gang called the Brothers of the Skin to scare and intimidate their victims. Dr. Gizem had also been in contact with the mysterious Edgar Wellington. Wellington had asked him to authenticate some cuneiform engravings – which Dr. Gizem stated were not part of any known style or tradition.
Dr. Wilke went to speak with a young priest of his acquaintance who shared his interest in occult writings, to ask him what he knew of the “ Devil’s Simulare.” The priest knew of the text by reputation, describing it as a collection of satanic rituals to summon the Anti-Christ into a blasphemous icon. A copy of this valuable book may be in Paris, and the priest promised to write a letter to a friend at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris asking him to help Dr. Wilke
The ladies went to look for the missing Smith, with Miss Crispin being a little taken aback by the vagrants, thieves, and working girls that Miss Johnson had some acquaintance with. A second-story man recounted that he’s seen Beddows buying medical supplies from a fence, and after some pressure, gave over the address of a rundown tenement. There they found Smith, badly burned after escaping from the attack on his home. Smith explained that he had been preparing for a mission to recover the fragments of a powerful, but dangerously evil statue known as the Sedefkar Simulacrum. The statue had been broken into fragments before the French Revolution and Smith believes it can only be completely destroyed by assembling all the parts and conducting an as yet undiscovered ritual. Makryat’s men and creatures had tried to steal Smith’s notes, but he had destroyed most of them, since Makryat also seeks the Simulacrum – as does, Smith believes, a third individual known as “The Prince.” With events in motion, Smith asked if the investigators would take up the task of locating the fragments until he can recover from his injuries. He hands over the clues he recalls about possible locations and says he will send what other information he can uncover as he recovers his strength
Back at Violet’s apartment, she explains that she had been making arrangements for Smith and Beddows to travel on the Orient Express. She knew he was planning an important expeditions, but hadn’t known the details. She will now adapt the plans so that the Investigators can use the train to pursue the mission in Smith’s place. The train leaves Sunday, so there are a few days to get ready and make other investigations.
Umar delves into the Reading Room at the British Museum, finding out that 17th Century astronomer and alchemist Robert Fludd wrote a treatise on the Simulacrum]], but then ordered all copies destroyed, stated they were only nonsense written during a fever. There was also a mention of the Sedefkar Scolls which were sent to a museum in Constantinople after the Great War.
Emily Johnson checked in with her controlling officer in the SIS, a Mr. Thames, who sanctioned her taking up the mission since if this artifact exists in could be a threat to the Empire’s security. He mentioned other reports of unusual phenomena from the locations Smith mentioned in his notes.
Miss Johnson, Miss Crispin, and Dr. Wilke went to Islington to check out Makryat’s shop. Finding it closed, with a lookout posted, Emily snuck in the back and found Makryat’s lying dead, apparently after slitting his own throat and scrawling a cuneiform message with his own blood. Examining the body a patch of oddly different skin was found on the body’s leg. When probed, the “Makryat” skin peeled away revealed another man underneath. The blood message appeared to confirm that the Sedefkar Scrolls might be at the Topkapi Museum in Constantinople and that a location called The Shunned Mosque is important to destroying the Simulacrum. Umar went to the Turkish Embassy to inquire into what they knew of Makryat’s status and found they were in an uproar about three more identical “Makryats” had been found dead that night.
The next morning, Sunday January 7th, the Investigators set off, first taking a train to Dover, and then getting on a ferry to cross the English Channel to Calais, where they would board the train to Paris.