Chance Encounters: The Intrepid Miss Walker
“I know of books so powerful they can re-write reality itself.”
Professor Armitage had asked for my help – tracking down his colleagues, Dr Rice and Dr Morgan. I knew that Dr Rice was still likely to be on campus at this time of night, working late, so resolved to look for him first. After that unpleasant… business with the Necronomicon, I keep a small cache of supplies, hidden in the back of a drawer: a book where I had scrawled notes on old pieces of lore, even an incantation which claimed to ward off monsters. I had no idea whether they would work, but I wanted to be prepared.
Before I could even set foot outside my office, I felt a shudder in the air outside. I had no doubt that the dark and unknown forces out there would seek to take everything I had, and that if they succeeded, it would be the death of me. Undoubtedly, there were ancient evils at work here, and I did not believe that finding Professor Rice would be a simple, nor a mundane challenge.
The library is my home at the University, the place I feel secure – I decided to spend a few moments here first, before setting out into the rest of campus. The sheer amount of information here, so many things lying around, made it take longer than I would like, but eventually I found it – a list of books that Professor Rice had requested earlier that day, and a definite clue that he would be somewhere within the faculty.
I also found a small box, containing a few vials – some kind of strange solution. Even with Armitage’s words, stressing the urgency of finding Professor Rice, ringing in my ears, I could not shake the sense that it was imperative that I identify this solution. My resolve only strengthened as I watched, eyes wide in wonder as the very fabric of reality seemed to tear, and the first vial disappeared, pushed into the beyond. I would need to look at the solution again. Soon.
Wrapping my overcoat close around me, I headed out into the quad. The air was cold, and as I reached the Humanities building, I was struck by the strange calls of the Whippoorwills who seemed to flock behind me. Strangely angered by their mocking call, I broke stride and turned back to face them, reciting the shroud of banishing that I had read earlier. The air was flat, the wind still cool, and the birds seemed to swoop and circle, like a giant, insubstantial tentacle, their mocking call grown louder. I repeated the incantation, and this time, I felt the air crackle with electricity. Whatever the reason, the birds took flight and I was left alone.
Standing in the doorway to the humanities building, I felt as though I could hear a voice inside my head, an offer of power. I shook my head, a silent refusal of the whispered temptation, and felt the world lurch beneath me, like whatever dark schemes were at work had suddenly leapt forward. Steeling my nerves, I strode into the Humanities building, and it did not take long to exhaust the possibilities – Professor Rice was not here, and I would need to find the Janitor to get into one of the other buildings on campus.
As I returned to the Quad, I heard a great cacophony from the science buildings. It sounded like some kind of deranged beast had broken lose. I had no time to worry about that, nor about the whippoorwills who had returned to circle overhead, and I marched furiously up and down until I found Mulligan, the Janitor. Although we had worked for the same University for years, we had never been close, but I endeavoured to explain quickly and calmly the importance of getting into the rest of the site.
“Not a problem Ma’am. And please, call me Jazz.”
Before we could return to the Humanities Building and investigate Professor Rice’s office, I felt another dark shudder in the Aether, a sure sign of the ancient evils at work here. I heard a scream from the direction of the Science Building, and through the dusk, I thought I could make out a monster heading towards the Dormitories.
I had to think quickly. Professor Rice is a grown man, and more than able to take care of himself, I decided. Many of the students here were little more than children, and if not martialled properly, they could panic, with disastrous consequences.
“Mr Mull… Jazz. To the dormitories!”
I strode purposefully to the dorms, with Jazz scurrying along in my wake. He unlocked the doors, and I started searching the building for the students. As I did, I heard something clink inside my coat pocket – it was more of that strange solution from the lab. With the building now awake, and the students starting to gather in the stairwell, I paused, and took a moment to analyse the solution. I had feared that its scientific nature might prove beyond me, but it turned out that a keen intellect alone was sufficient to identify some key properties, and already hypotheses were starting to form in my head as to purposes to which this could be turned.
The creature crossing the quad was now quite visible – it looked like nothing I had ever seen, an experiment gone wrong. It was still some way distant though, and I felt sure that there was more to be learned here. I could almost hear Armitage’s warning in my head, urging me not to delve too deep, but I resolved to stay a moment or two longer, thumbing through the note-book of lore for some further insight.
Suddenly, the air seemed to shimmer, and a few feet away from me, a creature seemed to materialise out of nothing. It was tall, much taller than a man, and conically shaped, with four things that looked a bit like arms, ending in claws, trumpets, and something which looked like three huge eyes.
Behind me, I heard one of the students vomit, but I steeled my nerve, and stared straight back at it. I recited the words of the incantation, and it reeled back, two of its tentacles shrivelling away. I stepped forward, pressing the advantage, and cleared my throat to chant the final words of the mysterious spell. Before I could finish speaking though, my mind was overtaken by thoughts from somewhere else. Strange words from that damned Necronomicon, a book I wish to God I had never laid eyes upon. My tongue stumbled, and I saw the beast rear up, a strange sound like laughter tooting forth from its trumpets.
Outside, I saw that the creature from the Science building was almost upon us, and I knew that our time was up.
“Run!” I shouted to the students. Fortunately, none of them needed to be told twice.
- Daisy Rescued the Students
- Professor Rice was kidnapped.
- Daisy Identified the Solution.
3 Victory Points: Orne Library, Dormitories. Delve too Deep
This was a bit of a mixed experience, still trying to get my head around what I was aiming for in this activity – ironically, in trying to produce a very narrative-heavy article for you, the reader, I ended up with a very disjointed game-session as I tried to note down every card I drew and every action I performed.
For once, Jazz wasn’t hiding at the bottom of the bag, but drawing a tentacle whilst Shrivelling some Whippoorwills, and then another against the Yithian Observer meant beating a dignified retreat with less XP than I would have liked. I decided to leave deck upgrades until after House Always Wins, to give Daisy some time to reflect on her evening and upgrade with a better sense of what she had to work with.
Extracurricular Activities: Epilogue
The Police had arrived, the strange conical creature had vanished, and Arkham’s Finest were left puzzling at what the fuss was about, and why everyone seemed so spooked, with no sign of any wild animals or other cause of the disturbance remaining at the scene.
I recalled the second part of Professor Armitage’s request – that I find Dr Morgan. I understood that Morgan had been spending a lot of time in a gambling establishment downtown, but I knew nothing of the place myself.
“So,” I said, turning to the caretaker “they call you Jazz because you like the music?” he nodded. “Don’t suppose you could tell me anything about a place called the Clover Club?”
He looked at me thoughtfully for a moment.
“Not really my sort of place” he said thoughtfully, but I think I know a guy…”
read about the next of Daisy’s Adventures in The House Always Wins!