The Curse of Nineveh

Two different types of Clubs
Contains spoilers for 'The Curse of Nineveh'

Saturday, 12th December, 1925

Around 9.30am, the investigators visit Willard Puncheon’s maisonette in Hardwick Street, Finsbury. Mister Peelman is able to deal with the locked door. On opening the door they notice three rocks arranged in a row – it has the appearance of some sort of occult ward. Miss Sharp carefully disrupts the ward after Miss Gwynne photographs it.

The investigators then search the small but well furnished flat. The most obvious feature of the room is a large blood stain on the carpet presumably marking the place where Puncheon was injured. They do no locate the Scrolls of Endless Shadows but they do find four notebooks that contain the notes Puncheon was making while  translating them. They also find his diary.

The diary reveals that Puncheon has been visiting the British Museum regularly.

 

Puncheon believes that he’s been followed to and from the British Museum, and that someone watches his flat at night. Though he’s never caught a solid glimpse of his shadowy pursuers, his diary entries are increasingly paranoid, culminating in the cryptic phrase: “Could it be that we have attracted the attentions of the mysterious Children of legend? If so, then God help us all.”

 

A week ago, two strange men approached him at the museum. Speaking with French accents, they told Puncheon that their employer (never named) would like to meet with him regarding his translation of the Scrolls of Endless Shadow. No one outside his immediate circle could possibly have known about the scrolls, and so he denied all knowledge. The Frenchmen reacted angrily, and

said threateningly: “Then, monsieur, you will be seeing our employer sooner than you think.”

 

By the end of the diary, Puncheon has become obsessed with translating the scrolls, and is certain that the Curse of Nineveh is real. He writes: “Only by deciphering this fabled curse and its blasphemous rituals can I save us all. The others will not listen to me, and so I must act alone. I will try tonight to enact the ritual of protection, as outlined on the scrolls. Then I shall be safe from harm,

and able to free us all from the grip of Nabu.”

A very old book – Et Fragmenta Sargona - is also located but will require considerable study to make clear what relevance or use it has.

 

During their search, it is realised there is a man of Arabic appearance standing in a small public park opposite Puncheon’s flat. Mister Peelman leaves the flat by the bathroom window and creeps around ambushing and blackjacking the man from behind. He is bundled into the flat and when he recovers from being stunned, he reveals that he was one of the Children of Tranquillity, a very junior member, who was simply tasked with keeping an eye on Puncheon’s flat. He professes to know little of what is going on, and suggests that the investigators contact his superiors if they seek further information.


In the evening, Sir Malcolm invites the investigators to dine with him at the Traveller’s Club, as they have an indication that Campbell Thompson may be staying there. During dinner, they are able to confirm this and find out he is staying in a suite on the fourth floor. When they go upstairs and knock, Carruthers, Campbell Thompson’s valet confirms that his Master is at home, and he agrees to seem them.

There are two main issues discussed. The first is that Campbell Thompson is quite clear that whatever he may have written previously, there is no curse, nothing supernatural involved, and everything that happened on the 1919 Expedition must have a natural explanation. He is quite insistent on this point, but the investigators may well feel that he is simply protecting his reputation, rather than truly believing what he is saying now.

As to the Horn of Alu, he personally packed it into its crate on the steamer the expedition returned to England aboard in 1919, and personally discovered the fact it was missing on arrival in England. He believes it was stolen en route or on the London docks, and has spent years looking for it. He has uncovered rumours that lead him to believe it fell into the hands or at least one dubious ‘collector’ of antiquities as so many other artifacts have. He has also heard rumours that it may be about to resurface at an auction over the next few months and is waiting to see what happens. He agrees to pass on to the investigators any further news he hears.

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A Meeting With the Board, an Interlude, and a Madman is found
Contains spoilers for 'The Curse of Nineveh'

Wednesday, 28th of October, 1925

Sleeping late at the Wentworth Club, after a very hectic night, the investigators are woken by Sykes the butler, informing them that their presence has been requested to meet with a representative of the Board of Trustees of the British Museum at 1pm. The investigators make themselves presentable, have an early lunch and arrive for their meeting.

It is with Sir Arthur Lansdowne, one of the Board, who explains to them that he is one of the Board members appointed because he actually has some idea about running a museum – rather than the vast majority of the large Board who are appointed because of various family or political connections. He tells them that based on the documents presented to him this morning by Sir Malcolm’s lawyer, he has already commenced an investigation into the security situation at the Museum and the initial reports he has received from Mister Ralph Yates, one of the Museum’s senior security guards, and a former police officer, is both discouraging and encouraging. Yates presented him with documents showing that there have been a lot of security problems at the museum and also a detailed plan to address these. Mister Yates has now been officially appointed as Head of Security for the Museum (pending Board approval) so he can put these plans into effect. Sir Arthur is prepared to personally guarantee and oversee these improved security arrangements. He asks that Sir Malcolm give him time to address these issues, and agrees to keep Sir Malcolm informed on the progress.

The investigator’s other requests are more problematic. Changing the structure of the Board of Trustees to one that would be more modern and efficient would be a very complex process as it involves amending Acts of Parliament and would likely be unacceptable to many of the current board members, who are very powerful people – amongst the most powerful in the land. But Sir Arthur agrees to at least do what he can to set the process in motion, knowing this will be a long term process.

The idea of not rebuilding the Temple of Nabu within the Museum is also extremely difficult. Thousands of pounds have already been spent on this project, and it has been announced to other Museums. Not proceeding would be profoundly damaging to the reputation of the British Museum. But Sir Arthur does feel able to reassure the investigators that the rebuilt temple will not be a perfect rebuilding simply by necessity, and he will investigate the possibility of introducing some further deliberate errors to its structure.

During the meeting, Mister Rhodes leaves and goes to see Mister Patrick Langton. He wishes to inquire into whether certain objects he has identified from the Campbell Thompson expeditions journal – are in the Museum’s possession. While asking his questions, he reveals he has the journal, and Langton demands its return, saying that as far as the Museum is concerned the journal is stolen property. Mister Rhodes agrees to return the journal, and Mister Langton then agrees to answer his questions about the artifacts.

There are six principle artifacts mentioned in the journal. Based on the questioning of Mister Langton and previous knowledge, the disposition of these artifacts is as follows.

The Statue of Nabu Incarnate – assumed to have been in Lord Brightman’s possession, and stolen when he was murdered. Current location unknown.

The Eye of Lamashtu – an opal. A large opal matching its description is in the secure vaults of the Museum.

Clay Ritual Tablets – recovered by the investigators and returned to secure storage at the Museum.

The Scrolls of Endless Shadows – not in the Museum’s possession. Last known to be in the possession of Professor Willard Puncheon (location unknown).

The Seal of Nabu – on secure display in the Museum’s Assyrian gallery.

The Horn of Alu – current location unknown.

The investigators now have some time to rest, and await developments. Attempts to locate Reginald Campbell Thompson fail. Some weeks pass.

 

Friday, 11th of December, 1925

An article appears in the London Gazette that reveals that four days ago (so around 7th of December) Willard Puncheon was committed to Bethlem Royal Hospital having suffered some sort of breakdown leading to him injuring himself. The investigators have been trying to find Puncheon for some time, and now they finally have a location for him.

They visit Bethlem and managed to secure an interview with Doctor Alan Laurence, Puncheon’s treating physician. After some persuasion, he reveals that Puncheon was admitted with cuts all over his body – police regard them as self inflicted, Doctor Laurence has some doubts. Reginald Campbell Thompson signed Puncheon’s admission papers, and is paying his bills.  He is able to tell them these bills are being sent to the Traveller’s Club.

Doctor Laurence agrees to allow the investigators to meet with Puncheon, as long as they do not mention his injuries. He hopes that a meeting might lead to Puncheon saying something that will give the Doctor some clues as to the cause of his illness and an avenue of treatment. The investigators are taken to Puncheon’s room – which is shared with another patient named Louis Wain.

Puncheon is covered in bandages. In some cases, blood has soaked through them. What can be seen of his flesh is covered in cuts, that are recognised as cuneiform inscriptions of some sort.

The interview with Puncheon is difficult. The man has clearly lost his mind. But he does say a few things that get special notice from the investigators:

They were watching me, you know. Always watching. They still are – out there, in here, it’s all the same. And they want to kill me. Oh yes, they think I don’t know, but the words speak to me. They’re in me. They tell me… things. They tell me of the watchers, the Children of Tranquillity!”

“Let them take me! Let them kill me! The question isn’t ‘Who are the watchers?’ The question is ‘Who watches the watchers?’ Hmm? Yes, that’s the question. That’s what the words want to know. They’re waiting for the watchers of the watchers.”

“They talk to me, you know. The words talk to me. Inside me. They say I should tell their secret. Tell their secret and then die! The Scroll wants to be read. It wants to be reunited with the others. Statue, Tablet, Scroll, Horn, Eye and Seal. In their unison is Great Nabu revealed.”


He ends by repeating the phrase “It wants to be read” over and over again. He says no more than that.

When informed that the cuts look like cuneiform, Doctor Laurence asks if the investigators will look at them (with Puncheon under sedation) and confirm that there might be some meaning to them. When the investigators inform him that though they cannot translate the text (this will take time and possibly a more skilled expert) it does seem to be coherent and not just random, he agrees to allow Miss Gwynne to photograph the ‘text’ for analysis. This is done late on the evening of 11th December.

Doctor Laurence is also able to give the investigators the address that Puncheon was living at until a few days ago – Hardwick St, Finsbury.

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What Evil Lurks...
Contains spoilers for 'The Curse of Nineveh'

Tuesday, 27th of October, 1925

It is about eleven in the evening when the investigators leave The Fox and Hound public house in Copenhagen Road, Islington, in the company of Bill Lancaster to travel to his home at 1 Carnegie Street, there to meet with Ted Williams who is currently hiding in his attic.

Williams has clearly lost his mind. He is huddled in a corner of the attic hiding under bedsheets and blankets, he has adorned the walls and floor of the room with crucifixes drawn in crayon and constantly recites broken lines of the Twenty Third Psalm. Sir Malcolm is able to calm him somewhat by reciting the Psalm in its entirety. Williams is questioned.

He confesses that he has been stealing and selling items from the British Museum collection, including the tablets from the marble casket. He sold two of them to a man named Baletheus Ginger who  has now been taken by the Devil and who wears his flesh like a shadow. He sold the other two tablets to a Lady Isabella Nichols. He is able to tell the investigators that Ginger lives in Ladbroke Square, and Lady Nichols in Belgrave Mews.

Whatever temporary sanity he had is shattered as he screams and points into a corner of the room, where the investigators see a shadow move away and pass through the crack of the door.

The investigators run down to Sir Malcolm’s car intending to head towards Belgravia. They are surprised to find a well dressed gentleman of somewhat Arabic appearance, sitting in the passenger seat. He says he need to speak to them. Sir Malcolm tells him that he can speak while driving and sets off at high speed westwards. The man names himself as Azhar Udin, and explains that he knows that the investigators are pursuing a man of shadow. They will not be able to stop this man without the help he can offer. He hands a scroll to Miss Sharp and explains that on that scroll is a spell that will contain the man of shadow and hold him in place until he dies – quite quickly – it will be the only way to end the threat he poses. He gives them the scroll as he and his own associates are too busy dealing with other problems to handle this one themselves right now, and the investigators have proven competent in recent months. He says that he will be in touch after the investigators have recovered the tablets in order to see they are placed somewhere safe. At a convenient intersection he leaves the car.

Wednesday, 28th of October, 1925

Reading the scroll, Miss Sharp realises that the spell requires the blood of a crow or raven to succeed. It is now midnight and time seems of the essence. Where can the blood of a crow or raven be found at such a night? The Tower of London seems one possibility but breaking into a Royal Fortress that contains an army barracks seems difficult to say the least. It is also in the wrong direction. The best idea anybody can come up with is for Mister Peelman to take the Rolls and drive to London Zoo after the others get out at Belgrave Mews. Miss Gwynne agrees to accompany him on this nocturnal expedition, and so Sir Malcolm, Mister Rhodes, and Miss Sharp knock on the door Lady Isabella Nichol’s home as the car speeds north.

Sir Malcolm knows the address because he knew Lady Isabella when he was a child and she still sends him Christmas cards, and he must of course send cards in return. She is considerably older than him – a friend of his parents rather than of himself. The Butler opens the door after some minutes of frantic knocking and agrees to summon Lady Nichols when Sir Malcolm tells him that her life is in danger.

At the Zoo, the car is parked in Regent’s Park, and Mister Peelman climbs the wall into the zoo. He has visited in the recent past so knows the rough direction to where the birds are housed but finds a convenient map as he moves through the darkened grounds, eyes and ears alert for watchmen.

Lady Isabella is annoyed at being woken up in the very early hours of the morning and becomes even more annoyed as Sir Malcolm berates her for engaging in the purchase of stolen historical artifacts from the British Museum. She claims to have no knowledge that anything she has purchased has been stolen.

At the zoo, Mister Peelman has located the building in which the birds nest at night. He picks the lock and enters and finds where the crows are kept. He manages to get one of them into a sack without too much trouble, until he is leaving when he walks straight into a watchman. The man is bowled over and Mister Peelman takes the opportunity to run. Whistles break out, and Mister Peelman, decides to climb the wall back into Regent’s Park at the first opportunity. Miss Gwynne sees him climbing over the wall in the distance and drives through the park to meet him, and together they head back to Belgravia.

Lady Nichols has no time for what she terms ‘supernatural nonsense’ but when she understands that Sir Malcolm is telling her somebody may be about to break into her house and steal from her collection and that this person is dangerous, whether shadow or man, she rouses the servants and orders the house to be locked up. She leads the present investigators to the room in which her collection is stored.

And screams as she sees the torn, but obviously man shaped shadow, standing near the mantelpiece holding a clay tablet in each hand.

The shadow seems trapped. The investigators realise that while it can slip through the smallest crack, the objects it is carrying cannot.

Sir Malcolm steps forward and attempts to communicate with the shadow.

Mister Peelman and Miss Gwynne are pulling up outside.

The shadow can speak, and Sir Malcolm tells it that they know what it has done, and that they may be able to help it. That there is a spell that they can cast that may help restore it. The shadow, who names himself as Baletheus Ginger, agrees to let them try.

When all the investigators are together, the crow is killed and its blood is used to draw a circle on the carpet of the room. Lady Isabella Nichols weakly objects from the couch she has slumped in, but nobody is listening to her anymore.

Ginger enters the circle and Miss Sharp begins to read the spell that will trap him and destroy him. It is a horrible experience to watch, as the shadow screams in pain and agony for over a minute before it finally tears apart, leaving the tablets lying on the carpet.

The Butler brings brandy. A considerable amount is consumed before the investigators decide to head to Baletheus Ginger’s home in Ladbroke Square.

There they find a dead body – a man who has been strangled and has had his head bashed in. They do not waste any time. They locate the other two tablets quite easily.

When they leave the house, Azhar Udin is waiting by the car.

There is a discussion. He explains that he is part of a group called the Children of Tranquility and his aim is to ensure the tablets are safe and do not fall into the wrong hands again. He would like them placed in his possession, but when Sir Malcolm proposes a compromise – that they be returned to the British Museum and that Sir Malcolm will undertake to have the Museum’s security improved, Udin agrees to let him try. Making the Museum more secure is in everybody’s interest – and if Sir Malcolm cannot do what he hope to do – well, then the Children can always take advantage of continued lax security to get the tablets later.

Sir Malcolm immediately heads to the home of his lawyer despite the early hour and tells him that he wants to sue the British Museum in order to get them to improve their security. He makes it clear this is something of an ambit claim – the real intent is to secure a meeting with the Board of Trustees to discuss the security situation. Sir Malcolm’s ultimate aim is a seat on the Board himself.

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The Mysterious Casket
Contains spoilers for 'The Curse of Nineveh'

 Tuesday, 27th October, 1925

It is about six o’clock in the evening. The investigators are in Storage Room 11b at the British Museum, looking at an ancient Assyrian casket that should contain four cuneiform tablets. They are in the company of Miss Audrey Leicester, a curator of the museum’s collection. They examine the casket and find it is unsealed in any way, although it does bear the remain of the type of seals that would have been placed on it in Nineveh before it was sent to London. They ask Miss Leicester if she knows who would have examined the casket since its arrival in London. She does not but suggests they consult, Mr Meems, the senior curator who may still be in the building, if he has not left for home yet.

She takes them to his office. Mr Meems is just leaving but agrees to give them a moment of his time. He is familiar with the casket and he opened it himself when it first arrived in London approximately five years ago. It contained four cuneiform tablets as expected. When it is suggested to him that the casket may be in danger of being stolen, he authorises Miss Leicester to have it moved by the porters to a more secure location. He is asked if he knows precisely where the casket came from. He consults a ledger in his office and tells them that there is a bit of a mystery about that. It was found in the tent of Doctor Edward Mulgrave after he was murdered during the 1919 expedition. Mulgrave had left no notes as to its precise location.

The investigators now leave for the Wentworth Club and their dinner with museum porter, Maurice Gibbons. They notice Mr Meems is also present dining with club president, Sir Geoffrey Bluffstone. Once dinner begins, the investigators ask Gibbons about his supposed encounter with the ghost of Tutankhamun and eventually Gibbons agrees that he does not really believe the Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh attacked him. But he was accosted by a dark, shadowy, apparition which spoke to him, and demanded to know who he had sold cuneiform tablets to. When he refused to answer, the apparition punched him, and so he gave it the name of Andrew Noble. The ghostly figure had no accent, but spoke English. Gibbons insists that Noble is the only person he ever sold stolen items to, but when confronted with the evidence that he sold to Stanley Edgerton from Edgerton’s own notebook, he concedes that he did sell to him – and to Matthew Smiley. He has been involved in a racket that he claims was lead by fellow porter Ted Williams for the last six or so years, selling various items from the museum’s stores to collectors. He is familiar with the casket but has had nothing to do with it – but only because he has not found a potential buyer. He confirms that Edwards has not been at work recently. He knows Edwards lives in Putney Street, Islington, and regularly drinks at the nearby Fox and Hound public house in Copenhagen Street.

After the investigators let Gibbons leave, they invite Sir Geoffrey over for port. They ask him about his dinner with Meems. Apparently Sir Geoffrey and Meems were discussing possible plans to borrow – on a proper, official basis – some undisplayed minor artifacts from the British Museum for display in the Wentworth Club. Apparently Mr Meems has been discussing this with a number of clubs, as he thinks it might inspire some club members to become generous donors to the Museum collections. Apparently most of Lord Brightman’s private collection went to the Museum after his death.

The investigators decide they would like to find out if Brightman kept any journals that may be of interest, concerning the Nineveh expedition – or any other subject.

The following morning, Mister Peelman sets out to visit newspaper archives to see if he can find out what happened to Lord Brightman’s effects. After some digging he finds that anything of archeological value was donated to the British Museum, while other private property was auctioned off with the proceeds given to charity.

The other investigators return to the British Museum where Miss Leicester tells them that Mister Meems has told her to cooperate with their investigations. She takes them to the vault where the casket was moved to last night. When they mention Gibbons’ story to her, she reveals that she had a similar encounter with a shadowy apparition in Storage Room 11b. It frightened her quite badly and has left her willing to consider the possibility of something supernatural occurring. After some discussion, it is decided to open the casket for a quick look to see how many tablets are still inside. The answer is none. The four tablets have been removed.

Asking Miss Leicester for any more details she knows about the Nineveh expedition, she mentions that the Museum is preparing a new Assyrian gallery, the centrepiece of which will be the reconstruction of the Temple of Nabu. Stones from the temple are currently stored in a warehouse on the Isle of Dogs. She does not know exactly where, but agrees to find out.

In the evening, the investigators visit the Fox and Hound in Islington, where people are worried about the reappearance of ‘Springheeled Jack’ because somebody who cannot be seen has been attacking people in the nearby streets by night. Miss Gwynne makes the acquaintance of Mister Bill Lancaster, a friend of Ted Williams. Lancaster is worried about Williams. The man seems to him to have gone mad, and become paranoid. He is hiding in Lancaster’s attic. Lancaster welcomes the idea of the investigators speaking to Williams and maybe getting the man some help.

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Two Men and a Museum
Contains spoilers for 'The Curse of Nineveh'

Tuesday, 27th October, 1925

The investigators having spoken to Mister Noble about the ransacking of his collection of historical artifacts have determined that their next step should be to speak to the two gentlemen who they have been told have also experienced a similar misfortune in recent times. To this end, they decide to first of all pay a visit to Mister Matthew Smiley at his home at 41 Montagu Square, Mayfair.

This proves to be a five-storey terrace house in the middle of a row. The door knocker is a modern representation of the Ancient Egyptian God, Anubis. After knocking the investigators are shown into the house by the Butler (Jones) and into the presence of Mister Smiley.

Mister Smiley readily confirms that he had a collection of historical artifacts in a private museum in his home and that they were recently destroyed – more or less in their entirety – in an extremely odd fashion. It happened on the night of 15th to the 16th of October. He retired late on the evening of the 15th, having checked that his museum – which consists of three connected rooms at the front of the first floor of the house – was securely locked as always. In the morning, when he was woken by Jones, they discovered that somebody had been through the room like the proverbial bull in a china shop, smashing almost everything in the collection.

He tells the investigators that his collection was mostly Egyptian in origin, although in recent years he has acquired a number of rare artifacts from Nineveh. The pride of his collection was four fine Cuneiform tablets from the 1919 Campbell Thompson Expedition – of which he is therefore self-evidently aware.

He is perfectly willing to show the investigators what is left of his collection. The rooms are now quite bare, although were clearly designed to hold and display quite a large collection of antiquities. Smiley explains that nearly everything was damaged beyond any hope of repair. He has sent off the paintings (more recent works of no great value) that hung on the walls for restoration, but continues to display the few damaged items from the collection that he considers worth preserving even in their damaged form. These consist of items include three pieces of Assyrian jewellery, (two rings and a chain, all inlaid with precious stones), a gold statuette of Bast; and four Egyptian bowls, all broken, as well as the four aforementioned tablets – all broken into quarters but besides this still reasonably intact. He consents to all this being photographed.

When confronted with the fact that no items from the 1919 Campbell Thompson Expedition have been released for sale to private owners, Smiley becomes agitated and evasive. But under careful questioning, he reluctantly confirms that he purchased the items – he insists in good faith, despite all evidence to the contrary, that he has purchased items on occasion from two men named Gibbons and Williams, who he believes to be employees of the British Museum. He asks for the investigator’s discretion. They give him vague reassurances that will try to avoid causing him any problems with legal authorities.

When leaving, Jones the Butler takes aside one of the investigators and tells them that on the night of the crime, Mister Smiley went to bed in an extremely intoxicated condition – not an uncommon occurrence. Around one in the morning, Jones was woken by crashing sounds from the museum and assumed his master was wandering around drunk. He went to investigate but found everything locked. But he saw and felt a strange dark, phantom like apparition that scared him deeply. It was morning before he was able to finally rouse his master and obtain the key to the museum, when they both discovered the damage.

Their next stop is to visit Mister Stanley Edgerton at his home at 7 Craven Hill Road, Kensington. He proves to not be at home, but they are able to speak to his wife Alice. She tells them her husband is away on business.


When they explain why they are there, Alice becomes quite distressed. She says that they did suffer a break in on 8th October. She and her husband were both home when they heard a crash from his private study. Her husband went to investigate and she was startled when she heard him cry out in anguish. She found him standing amidst a scene of chaos in his normally impeccably neat study. Papers and antiques had been thrown about the room as though a violent wind had passed through. Much of Stanley’s collection of Assyrian antiquities had been totally destroyed. He was beside himself with grief. Alice questioned and then dismissed the servants, and then took Stanley in hand, telling him to pull himself together. Unsure of how this misfortune could have taken place, Alice questioned her husband to discover that when he had gone upstairs the room had been locked. When he unlocked the door was when he claimed to have been attacked by a phantom, which reared out of the darkness and struck him on the head before vanishing.


Alice is at a loss as to what may or may not have actually happened. She fears some disreputable associate of her husband is behind the event; perhaps he owes them money? Alice is aware that he buys his antiques from rough-looking tradesmen, and has been doing so for about a year. Stanley has told Alice he buys the pieces direct from museums and the men are simply delivery men, not criminals at all. Alice does not believe her husband and is desperate for someone to assist her and stop her husband’s criminal dealings, which she fears will land him in gaol.

 

Unlike the other two collectors the investigators have spoken to, the Edgerton’s are not wealthy – they are solidly middle class and hardly struggling, but Stanley has been spending more than he really should on his collection. Alice says it has become almost an obsession.


The investigators examine the study. It has been cleaned but there are still some signs of disturbance.  Some half broken pottery vases and bowls are still present as is one cuneiform tablet that has been broken in half. A search of the room also reveals shards of a clay tablet under a writing desk, and a notebook that details some transactions that Stanley has engaged in. He has been purchasing artifacts from a man named Gibbons, an employee of the British Museum. Once again, photographs are taken before the investigators take their leave of Mrs Edgerton.


The investigators next stop is to visit the British Museum again just near its closing time. Through talking to Patrick Longton and Ralf Yates, they are introduced to Mister Maurice Gibbons, a porter, who they invite to dinner at the Wentworth Club this evening (He accepts), and Miss Audrey Leicester, one of the junior curators. When they show her the photographs of the tablets they have seen, she agrees they do look like they may have come from a particular part of the museums undisplayed collection kept in a room called ‘Storage 11b’. She takes them there. The room contains many clay tablets, but also a marble casket approximately 20” x 14” x 12” and is covered in ornate carvings and cuneiform inscriptions. When asked, she tells them it contains four tablets. The investigators realise there are mystical warding symbols among the cuneiform inscriptions. They ask Audrey is she can translate the inscriptions. She tells them that it will take some time to do that, but gives them a rough idea of what is said.


“Be warned that what is inside is dangerous. Four tablets are inside. Do not touch. Two turn a mans soul black. Two diminish the ritual. Madness comes from delay.”

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Ransack and Murder
Contains spoilers for "The Curse of Nineveh"

Sunday, 25th October, 1925

The investigators are invited to meet for tea with Mister Theodore Rayburn-Price at the Wentworth Club. They attend and over tea and crumpets, Rayburn-Price asks them to undertake a discreet investigation for him or rather, for one of his acquaintances. Two nights ago (around midnight of the night of Friday, 23rd October and Saturday, 24th October) a man named Alan Tilbury-Pine was murdered in North Kensington. Sometime overnight on that same night in the same street, the home of Rayburn-Prices acquaintance was broken into and a valuable collection of antiquities ransacked. Proximity in time and place would suggest a possible connection. Mister Rayburn-Prices acquaintance is a private collector who would not want to involve the police in any investigation as to what happened on his property, hence him asking Rayburn-Price to try and find some investigators who are able to keep secrets when needed. Rayburn-Price also harbour some suspicion that there might possibly be some connection between what has happened in North Kensington and matters the investigators have previously looked into, as his acquaintance does have something of an interest in Assyrian artifacts, among others. Rayburn-Price also mentions that this is not the only such recent break in he is aware of.

Having obtained an assurance from the investigators of their reasonable discretion
as a man has been murdered, all involved except that if a definite link is found between that murder and other crimes, the police may have to become involved, this is merely something to be avoided if at all possible Mister Rayburn-Price gives the name and address of his acquaintance and says the man is expecting to see them at their earliest convenience. His name is Mister Andrew Noble and he resides at 68 Oxford Gardens, North Kensington.

When asked about the second case, he mentioned, Rayburn-Price says he knows little about that one, but gives the investigators the name Mister Matthew Smiley of 4 Montagu Street, Mayfair. He asks that even if the investigators intend to visit Smiley (and he thinks that might be a good idea), they visit Noble first as Noble is expecting them.

The investigators travel to North Kensington and Mister Noble
s valet, Withams, admits them into the house. Noble explains that two nights ago, on the evening of the 23rd October, he dined early and went to bed about nine in the evening he planned to travel to Paris to meet with his wife the following day and wanted an early night. As was his custom, before going to bed in his room on the third floor, he checked that the door to the room which houses his collection of antiquities was locked. Around midnight he was awoken by crashing sounds coming from across the hall his room and the antiquities room face each other across that hall and he jumped up and ran to the door. Finding it still locked, he returned to his room to obtain the only key to that door which is kept on his watch chain.

When he opened the door, he found a scene of destruction and devastation. The two windows into the room were locked, as was the only door which he had just opened. It is completely unclear how whoever caused the damage could have entered the room – or left it.

Noble locked the door, and has left everything as it is until now.

At the request of the investigators he unlocks the door.

What they find is the described scene of devastation. The room shows every sign of being ransacked.
What once were elegant, glass panelled display cabinets are now chipped and splintered as though a hammer had been taken to them their glass smashed and strewn over the expensive carpet. Antiquities once proudly displayed now lie either whole or in pieces on the floor. A broken tablet of clay, torn papyrus, and broken statuettes have been flung at walls, wilfully torn up, and discarded.

And upon a wall, the flock wallpaper has been torn to form words, which read
FREE ME”. Of possible note – all the letters in this are torn as capitals, except for some reason, the “R”, which is instead an enlarged lower case “r”.

Archaeological and historical knowledge leads people to the realization that Noble’s collection is fairly eclectic, but with a focus on
antiquities that are of Egyptian, Assyrian and Chinese origin.

Miss Gwyn takes photographs of the devastation.

As best Mister Noble can tell nothing has been stolen from his room, although it is impossible to be certain that some small items may not be missing, there are no obvious gaps. However, a number of items have been damaged.

When questioned specifically about Assyrian artifacts and whether it is possible any of the items came from Nineveh, Mister Noble admits that his most recent purchase, an Assyrian Cuneiform tablet may have come from there. He completely refuses to give any details about his supplier, but says that they may well have had access to items from that location. On further investigation it is discovered that the tablet seems to have been among the items destroyed in the room – a small fragment of it is found, along with clay dust. Fortunately, Noble did make a rubbing of the tablet and is willing to place this into the hands of the investigators. He agrees to check his collection in more detail and make a list of any missing items. He also suggests the investigators might want to speak to Stanley Edgerton of 7 Craven Hill, Kensington, as he is another collector who has suffered a recent break in. When asked if he knows Mister Smiley, he says that they are acquainted but are certainly not friends.

The investigators leave, Mister Peelman having obtained permission to come back in the morning where a ladder will be available so he can inspect the outside route to the windows. He has already established that there is no sign from the inside that the windows have been opened in years, but he wants to be thorough.

The investigators also examine the location in the street a few doors down where Mister Alan-Tilbury-Pine was murdered. There is no sign of anything at that location but Miss Gwynn photographs it regardless.

Inquiries with the Murder Squad at Scotland Yard, reveal that DI Jack Billington is investigating the murder. He states that Mister Alan Tilbury-Pine’s body was found at 11.55pm on the 23rd October by a beat constable. The man had been attacked sometime between 11.00pm and 11.45pm. He had suffered numerous blows to the head and torso. So far, no firm leads have been discovered but the investigation is barely underway.

Mister Rhodes takes the rubbing of the Assyrian Tablet to Mister Patrick Longton at the British Museum who agrees to produce a translation.

Monday, 26th October, 1925

Mister Peelman’s examination of the walls at Oxford Garden reveal nothing. This is itself interesting as it increases the mystery of how anybody got into the third floor room.

The investigators having heard that Peter Simkin has returned home to his home at Lavender Grove, Hackey, following their previous attempt to question him that lead in his fleeing the scene, return. This time they manage to gain access and speak to him. In between raving, he makes a few lucid statements. He blames Thompson for what has happened to the survivors of the expedition. Stones were brought back by Thompson. Stones from the temple that should have been left in Nineveh.

It is clear the Simpkin is now completely insane. Sir Malcolm makes the decision to take him to Saint Mary’s, Bethlem, for his own safety and wellbeing, and perhaps some hope of some sort of treatment and recovery.

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A New Day Dawns
Contains spoilers for Adventures in Mythos London: The Non-Euclidean Gate

Tuesday, 28th of July, 1925

Sir Malcolm Chandler accompanies the police back to Scotland Yard under arrest for murder. Mister Paul Peelman has vanished – apparently he wants to stay away from the constabulary – but the other investigators head to the Middle Temple where they contact and collect Sir Malcolm Chandler’s lawyer, Mister Benjamin Donovan.

At Scotland Yard, Sir Malcolm is interviewed in connection with the murder of Doctor Terrence McAvoy – his fingerprints having been found at the scene of McAvoy’s death. Detective Inspector Brigalow is obviously handling Sir Malcolm with kid gloves, and the impression is gained that he now regards the issuing of a warrant against Sir Malcolm as something of a mistake, especially after Sir Malcolm tells him to make contact with his colleagues Dis Winslow and Partridge. Sir Malcolm is released with instructions not to leave the country.

The investigators return to the Wentworth Club for dinner. During dinner, they are informed that a young man wants to see them claiming to have a message for Mister Peelman. They agree to meet him outside where the young butcher’s boy, gives them a name – Michael Baxter – telling them that Baxter had red hair which he has recently shaved off. He gives them Baxter’s address in Camden, and the investigators head there. They wait outside for Baxter to return home, shortly before midnight.

Wednesday, 29th of July, 1925

A physical confrontation takes place between Baxter and the investigators, culminating in their subdual of the man. They take him into his home and question him. Initially he denies anything, but when he is told of the death of Randolph Kipps, he falls to pieces. He had robbed Mister Kipps and had hit him but had no idea he had hit him hard enough to kill him. In exchange for a chance to run before the police are called, he reveals he was hired by a Mister Atticus Stamp, who works for the Atlantis Bookshop on occasion, to steal the missing pages. They are now in Mister Stamp’s possession and he gives them his address in Marylebone. The investigators leave, Sir Malcolm immediately telephoning the police, while Baxter tries to run. The investigators head to the Marylebone address.

While pondering breaking in, they make the acquaintance of Mister Smith and Mister Jones who are also about to break in to Atticus Stamp’s home. Mister Jones and Mister Smith reveal they are part of some organisation that intends to take the pages in Mister Stamp’s hands into safekeeping. They tell the investigators that these pages almost certainly contain a lost ritual that will open a mystical gate to another world, from which horrible creatures, called Mi-Go will emerge. They would like the investigators help to stop this happening. The investigators agree on a provisional basis – they agree to help stop Stamp, but will need to be convinced the papers will be safe before handing them over to Mister Smith and Mister Jones. Mister Jones and Mister Smith indicate this is acceptable to them, and rather less professionally than might have been expected, burgle Atticus Stamp’s home in the investigator’s presence and with their help. Papers are found that indicate Stamp believes the ritual will open a gate – but to Avalon, the world and time of King Arthur. A rough sketch map is identified as showing the Church near Mortlake School for Girls, which is one of the supposed possible resting places of John Dee. With haste, the investigators, as well as Mister Smith and Mister Jones (riding in a motorcycle and sidecar) head to the Church.

Inside the find, tied up and very sorry, Miss Eleanor Bennett, a pupil from Mortlake School they met earlier. She reveals that she has been taking money from Mister Stamp, but it’s all gone terribly wrong, as he is obviously mad, and having checked the Church has decided whatever he needs to do actually needs to be done in the cellars of the school, Dee’s former home. The investigators, again accompanied by Mister Jones and Mister Smith head to the school where they find Miss Haversham awake, even though it is the small hours of the morning. She reveals she was woken by Atticus Stamp pounding on the door and that he offered a large amount of money to check the cellar location where the papers were found. He is down there as she speaks.

The investigators plus Mister Smith and Mister Jones head down to find Stamp is just beginning his ritual. He has chalked a circle on the ground and placed the candles at its points… but while the man is mad he seems fairly harmless and he only puts up token resistance as Mister Rhodes extinguishes his candles, and Sir Malcolm takes possession of the papers. Mister Jones and Mister Smith make a citizens arrest of Mister Stamp, and then agree to take the investigators to see somebody who they think will convince them that the organisation Mister Smith and Mister Jones are part of can be trusted. The investigators follow Mister Jones and Mister Smith to a building some of them recognise as Kensington Palace, and which the Guard make obvious is a royal residence even to those who do not immediately recognise it.

They are shown into the presence of His Royal Highness, the Duke of York, the second son of the King. He informs them that they can trust Mister Smith and Mister Jones and the organisation of which they – and he – are part. The papers are put into their care. As the investigators leave, they are told that the organisation in question is the Golden Dawn – which could be a useful contact at some point in the future.

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Another Day, another Murder Scene
Contains spoilers for Adventures in Mythos London: The Non-Euclidean Gate

Tuesday, 28th July, 1925

The investigators ask to speak to Miss Hucknall, a history mistress at the school, and the person who discovered the burglary in progress. She reports that she was Duty Mistress and was woken by two senior girls who reported hearing noises in the night. She went with them towards the source of the noises and realised that they were coming from the school’s old library. When she approached the library, two men – at least two men, although she cannot be absolutely certain there weren’t more – pushed past her and the girls and ran outside. The men had their faces masked by scarves but one of them was a large man, who was either fully or partly bald. They climbed into a black van – not a Ford – with an AB registration (common in London) and a sign painted on its side that had been obscured, perhaps by black paint on its side. The investigators show her the business cards of the book dealers and she says that the pattern on the van’s sign is at least similar to that of Mr Kipps.

The investigators, knowing that Mister Kipps is associated with Watkin’s Rare Books, proceed to that shop where they meet the elder Watkin’s. He confirms that after Miss Haversham contacted him seeking to have the missing pages authenticated, he contracted this task out to Mr Kipps. Kipps sent him a telegram yesterday informing him the pages were Victorian era forgeries. He confirms Mister Kipp’s address, and the investigators proceed to that location in Denbeigh Place, Pimlico. The address given is a small printworks. An archway next to the printworks leads to a back yard area where a black van bearing Kipp’s name on its side, obscured by boot polish is found.

The investigators enter the printshop and are told that Mister Kipps occupies a flat on the first floor. They proceed upstairs and receiving no answer to their knock, effect an entry. Inside, they discover his dead body. He has apparently been clubbed to death with a copy of the Malleus Maleficarum – the Hammer of Witches. On the desk near him are books about John Dee, and in particular a fascsimile copy of the existing pages of one of Dee’s books – the Tuba Veneris, the Trumpet of Venus.

The investigators call the police and a local constable arrives. He then proceeds to contact the Murder Squad at Scotland Yard.

A very senior officer arrivers – Detective Chief Superintendent Murgatroyd who informs Sir Malcolm that he is under arrest, wanted for questioning in relation to a murder. Detective Inspector Brigalow arrives soon after and Sir Malcolm is told he will need to come to Scotland Yard to answer questions concerning the murder of Mister Terrance MacAvoy.

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Back to School
Contains spoilers for Adventures in Mythos London: The Non-Euclidean Gate
Monday, 27th of July, 1925
 
The Evening Gazette carries a story that captures the eye of three of our investigators. The previous night there was a break in at the Mortlake School for Girls (once attended by Miss Elan Gwynne) and a number of antiques were stolen. What the investigators most notice is that the school was once the home of Doctor John Dee – a name that has come up in their previous investigations.

Shortly after reading these articles, the investigators are contacted by telephone and telegram and asked to meet a Mister Leander Grieve at the Wentwoth Club this evening.

They do so and as well as meeting Mister Grieve for the first time, they are introduced to Mister Paul Peelman, an associate of Mister Grieve, who he has asked to be present because the investigators might be able to make use of his skills in the task that Mister Grieve wishes them to undertake.

Mister Grieve is one half of the Grieve Brothers of Pimlico – dealer in esoteric and exotic literature – to be specific, occult literature. He informs the investigators that Miss Wilhelmina Haversham, the Headmistress of Mortlake School for Girls called him in to ask him to authenticate some papers that had recently been found in the school. He was able to do so – and to identify them as seven lost pages from a work by Doctor John Dee. These are the items that were stolen from the school last night.

Mister Grieve wants the investigators to recover the stolen pages, and will pay them ten pounds for each page, or one hundred pounds if all seven are recovered. He will also undertake to pay Miss Haversham any reasonable price for the pages, but clearly feels he will be in a stronger negotiating position if they are already in his possession.

He says the pages are worth more to him than they would be to any other dealer because they will allow him to complete a copy of the work already in his possession, making it the only extant complete copy and therefore extremely valuable. He will therefore be willing to pay more than any other dealer as he has more to gain.

It seems likely to him that the pages were stolen by somebody connected to another dealer – he knows that he was not the only expert consulted by Miss Haversham, although he does not know who else she consulted.

The investigators agree to take on the case, after negotiating a daily fee and expenses in addition to the promised reward.

Tuesday, 28th of July, 1925

The following day they visit the school. Mister Peelman shows off his skills by assessing the likelihood that somebody with nefarious motives might have been hiding in the grounds of the school. The terrain and level of overgrowth would make it fairly easy for somebody to do so.
Miss Gwynne obtains an audience with Miss Haversham for the group. They explain that they have been retained to investigate the break in, and she is delighted to have their assistance. She feels the police are not taking the matter seriously.

She explains that the papers were found by three young girls who were out of bounds in the school cellars. She called in three experts to assess their authenticity – Mister Leander Grieve of Grieve Brothers of Pimlico confirmed they were authentic and offered her a generous price she was considering for the papers. Watkins of Charing Cross sent a Mister Randolph Kipps who informed here that the documents were a hoax. Atlantis Books of Bloomsbury also sent a man who endorsed their authenticity.

Miss Haversham hid the books inside a large atlas in the school's old library.

The burglary on Sunday night (actually early Monday morning) was detected by two older girls who heard noises and told the Duty Mistress, Miss Hucknall, who investigated. As they approached the library two large men, their faces obscured by scarves, forced their way past them and ran outside where they climbed into a black van and drove away.

The papers seem to have been the only things stolen and Miss Haversham does not know how anybody could have known where she had placed them for safekeeping.

She agrees to summon the three girls who originally found the papers so they can be questioned by the investigators in her absence – the girls are likely to be intimidated by her presence.

The three girls are summoned – all are about 14 years old, they are Miss Eleanor Bennett, Miss Sally Woods, and Miss Milicent Majors. When they arrive Miss Woods and Miss Majors are in school uniform, but Eleanor Bennett is dressed in the style of a flapper – and cheekily, almost insolently, informs her Headmistress that she has lost her school uniform. Miss Haversham leaves the girls with the investigators and the use of her office, clearly intending to deal with Eleanor later.

The girls are reluctant to answer questions – in fact, Sally and Milicent won't speak at all. Eleanor seems concerned that she might get into trouble if she talks but also seems to think she should be paid for any information she gives.

Miss Gwynne consults the girls' files – she knows how the school works – and discovers that Eleanor is a known bully who has the two other girls under her thumb. There is also a notation on Milicent Majors file that she will generally tell all if she is removed from Eleanor's presence and promised both leniency and the fact that Eleanor will not find out what she has done.
The girls are separated and Milicent reveals that it was Eleanor who found the papers in a cupboard in the cellar while they were playing a game like hide and seek. She also tells them that Eleanor has been talking to a man and she thinks Eleanor may know something about the burglary.

Questioning of Eleanor resumes and under the pressure of a threat of a spanking if she doesn't answer, and a promise that anything she says will be kept from Miss Haversham as long as it doesn't put anybody in danger, she reveals that she was paid five shillings by a tall red headed man who she met on Saturday afternoon in the school gardens to find out where Miss Haversham had hidden the papers. She delivered this information by placing a note underneath the letter box at the school gate. She thinks the redheaded man had been to see Miss Haversham.

When asked, Miss Haversham confirms she saw the representatives from both Watkins and Atlantis books on Saturday afternoon, but neither of them were red headed men.
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A Quiet Sunday
Contains spoilers for "The Curse of Nineveh"

Sunday, 12th of July, 1925

The investigators have spent the night at Sir Malcolms home, Radnor House. At breakfast, Miss Gwynne and Sir Malcolm both notice the same small notice in the late news column of The Sunday Times last night a man died in police custody at Bethnal Green Police Station.

They phone the police station and after some difficulty, Sir Malcolm manages to convince the Desk Sergeant to confirm that the dead man is Frank Judd, but his cause of death is currently not clear. They are awaiting the report of the police surgeon, but some sort of internal haemorrhage seems likely. This leads to some speculation on the part of the investigators that the strange parasites they learned of a year ago may be involved.

Sir Malcolm and Mister Rhodes attend morning service at Saint Mary with Saint Alban Church, while Miss Gwynne attends the Welsh Chapel in Clapham. Miss Sharp remains at Radnor House. At their service, Sir Malcolm asks the Vicar if he is aware of where Sir Thomas and Lady Boughton worship
the Vicar tells them that this would be at Saint James Church, Hampton Hill. Sir Malcolm and Mister Rhodes collect Miss Gwynne and Miss Sharp and visit the Reverend Bell at Saint James Church. He confirms that the Boughton worship there, and that he conducted the recent funeral of Miss Alice Boughton. He says that in the circumstances, the Boughtons seem to be coping reasonably well.

The investigators travel the short distance to Boughton House, where the Butler shows them into the Drawing Room. Sir Thomas agrees to see them and after proforma condolences are offered, Sir Malcolm leads questioning as to the circumstances surrounding Alice
s death.  Sir Thomas explains that the official verdict is likely to be that she accidentally caught her clothes on fire, but he is aware that something like magic may exist and is open to the idea that there was some mystical cause. He confirms his relationship with Ebenezer Allbright the man has sold him some antiques and that he is aware that the Pinkers know about what they call magic or sorcery. Sir Thomas, himself, has only a very small knowledge of such things. He is able to give the investigators an address for the former housekeeper, Miss Maud Bartram, who was dismissed by his wife, mostly out of concern of a scandal. The investigators then go to visit her at her familys home in Atbara Street, Teddington.

Miss Gwynne and Mister Rhodes masquerade as agents for Sir Malcolm, interested in assessing Miss Bartrams suitability for employment in his household. Miss Bartram reveals that she did cover up for Miss Alice
s absences on occasion, assuming the girl was meeting with friends. She herself had a brief relationship with a man calling himself William Jefferson, who seemed to her to be American. This was the man Miss Selcibuc identified as the Drowned Man. Miss Bartram ended the relationship when she came to suspect that Jefferson (if that was his real name) was simply using her to try to get access to the house. All she knows of him is that he claimed to be a garage mechanic at a village called Heathrow.

A brief visit to Heathrow followed, which ended when it became clear that there was nothing like a garage in that small hamlet.

Around noon, the investigators now elected to return to central London to visit Mister Terrance MacAvoy, a survivor of the 1919 Nineveh Expedition, at his home at 17 Hebron Road, Hammersmith. On arrival at this semi-detached house, Mister Rhodes took up position at the rear door, while the others knocked and attempted to call through the letterbox. Miss Gwynne, in doing the latter, vomited at the stench from within the house. The police were called from a convenient police box, and PC Douglas Heinneman of Hammersmith Police Station forced an entry to the home. On discovering  the body of
it is presumed Terrance MacAvoy in a state of decomposition in the front room, PC Heinneman left the investigators with instructions not to enter the house, while he called for help. In his absence, the investigators carried out a quick search of the house which appeared to have been ransacked, although many small valuable items remained in the house suggesting burglary may not have been a motive. Mister Rhodes located a letter to Mr MacAvoy from Mister Peter Simkin, alluding to events on and since the Nineveh Expedition. MacAvoy appears to have died some time ago, on a slit throat. When PC Heinneman returned, the investigators were back outside the house. The police constable took their details in case they would be needed.

The investigators broke for lunch at a Lyons Corner House, and then Sir Malcolm phoned the Wentworth Club to be told that Mister Theodore Rayburn-Price had returned and would like to see them this evening.

The investigators met with Rayburn-Price and gave him a full description of their activities thus far. Mister Rayburn-Price took note of this and said that he intended to make some inquiries of his own, and would get back to the investigators when he needed their help again
as he fully expected to.

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