Joined: 20 Jan 2006
|Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:03 pm Post subject: Horror on the Orient Express - episode 4
|Cancelling the tickets to Lausanne proved a bad idea. Despite managing to talk to a former nurse at Charenton named Mandrin, the gentlemen were unable to uncover anything about the asylum’s secrets and could not trace the mysterious stranger mentioned in the diary of the former director, Dr Delplace. A visit to the asylum by Dr Fellowes revealed only that the stranger’s room was now vacant.
Tickets were booked for the following night’s express. As the departure time loomed, Commander Pembroke had an unnerving experience when he went to fetch his bags. Entering his hotel room he saw a figure lying under his bedclothes. This figure did not respond to the Commander’s calls so he cautiously moved forward to pull the blankets back. As put his hand to the bedclothes they collapsed inwards, as though nothing was there. A yank confirmed that there was no body in the bed, although where the left arm had been seen lay the left arm of the simulacrum.
Commander Pembroke nervously returned the arm to his suitcase, where he was quite convinced he had placed it securely some hours earlier.
The train journey to Lausanne was a most enjoyable one. Despite the late hour the gentlemen all decided to spend some time in the dining car. The presence of the attractive Italian soprano Katarina Cavallaro in this car was a major drawcard.
Doctor Fellowes and Commander Pembroke were delighted at the chance to commend M. Cavallaro on her performance in Aida and they did so both profusely and excessively. M. Cavallaro appeared to adore the attention and she made a gift of tickets to her Milan performance in three days’ time.
The Reverend Fellowes made a relatively early night of it and went to bed shortly after M. Cavallaro retired. His colleagues stayed on and made the acquaintance of a Turkish cards aficionado named Makrat. Commander Pembroke and Professor Sapsford ended up spending the entire voyage playing cards and drinking claret with Makrat and arrived in Lausanne considerably the worse for wear.
The gentlemen breakfasted at a café at the Lausanne railway station and then arranged accommodation at the Le Canton hotel. Commander Pembroke and Professor Sapsford took to their beds immediately to make up for the night’s excesses. While they slept the Reverend Fellowes, M. de Lavier and Professor Carlton-Gore sought out Edgar Wellington – the man who had written a letter about the simulacrum to the doctor in Poissy.
Mr Wellington turned out to be a taxidermist. His shop (which also served as his house) was poorly lit and full of animals which loomed out of the darkness in a menacing and disturbing manner. Mr Wellington was polite enough and willing to discuss his letter, but he claimed a degree of naivety which did not quite ring true. As Mr Wellington made tea for the gentlemen a strange figure entered the shop. This visitor had a misshapen head, staring eyes and appeared completely mute. When Mr Wellington returned he explained that this figure was his brother, who had been wounded – both physically and emotionally – in the Great War.
Once tea had been served Mr Wellington’s motivations became clearer. He wished to sell the gentlemen a scroll he had in his possession that appeared to be his only connection to the simulacrum. Mr Wellington claimed that another visitor to his store, the wax-moustachioed Duke of Assentes, was willing to purchase the scroll for ₤200.
Mr Wellington asked to meet the gentlemen at the Black Cat restaurant for dinner to discuss the sale of the scroll.
Reverend Fellowes, M. de Lavier and Professor Carlton-Gore spent the rest of the morning sight-seeing with the Duke before rejoining their fellow travellers in the afternoon for a touch of studying in the local library. Here a copy of a book named Unausprechlichen Kulten was located and this was found to mention the simulacrum, but only in passing.
At the appointed hour the gentlemen arrived at the Black Cat to meet Mr Wellington for dinner. Mr Wellington was not present, but a man claiming to be his friend was. This friend was a paranoid Austrian named Maximillian and he went to considerable lengths to allay the gentlemen’s concerns about the late arrival of Mr Wellington. Eventually however, the Reverend Fellowes, Professor Sapsford and Commander Pembroke excused themselves and set off to discover what had become of the taxidermist.
At Mr Wellington’s house the gentlemen were extremely upset to find the bodies of Mr Wellington and his brother. They quickly searched the house for the scroll, and came across a recently made fake scroll (a receipt indicating that the materials used to make it having been purchased that same afternoon), a diary and a green bottle marked with the strange words “dream Lausanne”.
My favourite roleplaying memory - "Daisy at Colonus", two drunk cowboys and a pantomime cow in a 'reinterpretation' of Sophocles greatest play.