The Elias Expedition

6-Horror at the Juju House

Saturday 1/17/1925

While Barry, Handsome, and Nathaniel visit Cowles, Bonnie and Jade return to jade’s speakeasy to attempt to contact Erica Carlyle. They try checking the tabloids for word about Erica’s activities and find a picture of Erica with two men, a professional business-like man named as Bradley Grey, and another large Barry-esque looking man who is unnamed. They are unable to find any information about her upcoming activitis, but imagine she is involved with many charities. Remembering that Erica had help from the Kikuyu tribe in Nigeria during her investigation into Roger’s death, Bonnie posed as a church member soliciting donations to aid the Kikuyu and began calling as many Carlyle industry offices as she could, which range from munitions manufacturing to shipping. As it was a Saturday morning, she was not very successful. She eventually got a hold of one executive who told her to contact Bradley Grey, as he handles most of Caryle’s affairs and is her personal aide. Bonnie calls Grey’s office, lucky to get a receptionist, who unfortunately can’t understand her broken English. Bonnie puts Jade on the phone, who, using the same story as Bonnie, manages to get an appointment set up with Grey the following day. The group decides to meet back up with the others over at Barry’s place to see what the others learned, and if they could get anything more out of their prisoner.

Meanwhile, as Barry, Nathaniel, and Handsome are leaving Cowles, they decide to return to Barry’s to regroup after stopping at the nearest gas station so that Handsome can grab a gallon of gasoline (never leave home without one, kids!). As they walk, however, they realize they are being tailed. Nathaniel recognizes the shadow as Martin Poole, the police detective who interviewed him and Jade at Elias’s murder scene. Poole does not seem to notice that he has been detected. The men decide to split up, with one going down an alley, and the other two going around the block, meeting at the nearest gas station. Poole decides to follow Handsome, but loses him. Upon meeting at the gas station and buying a gallon, Poole manages to run into the group. They confront him, and he revels that he is out of leads on his case, that the cultist he took into custody killed himself at first chance, and that some of his own men have disappeared in researching this case. He implores them for help, promising whatever aid he can in exchange for information. They group revels their plans to investigate the Juju House later that afternoon. Poole promises that he can have himself and two of his guys off duty and nearby in case anything happens. The party agrees that this is sufficient.

After regrouping at Barry’s, the party attempts to interrogate their prisoner. He doesn’t reveal much, only that he is zealous in his worship of the God of the Bloody Tongue, and that in death he may meet his god. The group tries many interrogation techniques, like trying to get him drunk by shoving a funnel down his throat so he can’t drown himself, but they don’t get very far. As the prsioner begins chanting what Nathaniel realizes is some kind of prayer in an unknown language, Handsome finds some piano wire in Barry’s shop and decides to strangle the prisoner. Barry has one of his guys take care of the body. The group then decides to head for the Juju House for more answers.

Upon arriving at the Juju House, the group spies Poole standing on the corner. Nathaniel and Jade approach him, and he tells them that he has two of his Sgts, Jackson and Sullivan in an abandoned pawn shop across the alley courtyard from the front of the Juju House, in case there is any trouble. After Handsome leaves his gallon of gasoline outside, the party enters the Juju House, which sells a number of traditional African objects of religious and cultural significance, but nothing visibly out of the ordinary for a shop of its kind. An old African man, presumably Silas N’Kwane, stands behind the counter. Another man is shopping. N’Kwane offers the party assistance in browsing, but they decline as they investigate the shop. Handsome introduces himself to the other customer, named Richard, who checks out as just a new guy in the neighborhood looking for statues to decorate his apartment. Richard buys a giraffe statue and leaves. As Barry and Handsome talk to N’Kwane and ask about potential cult activity, they spy a key around N’Kwane’s neck. They ask him what it is for, and N’Kwane claims it is for his house. Most of the party can tell this is a lie. Upon being pressed, N’Kwane says, “Fine! Come around the counter! The keys is for down here!” He opens a trap door in the floor and stands by it. “Well, don’t you want to go down?” Handsome then pulls out his shotgun and fires right in N’Kwane’s stomach. The policemen Poole, Jackson, and Sullivan come rushing in, asking what happened. Handsome tries to claim that N’Kwane pulled a gun on him, but is not convincing. Poole orders Sullivan to tend to N’Kwane and get an ambulance called, and orders Jackson to take point down the trap door, while he takes up the rear behind the party.

Jackson finds a lantern at the bottom of the stairs and lights it, revealing a dark stone corridor with strange runes inscribed all around. At the end of the hallway is a wooden door with a large lock. Jackson mentions the door, and Handsome passes up N’Kwane’s key. The door opens into a large chamber with hand drums around the perimeter, a curtained alcove, straps on the walls for holding sacrificial victims, and a large stone slab on the floor attached to a pulley system. Concurrently, the group does the following:
1)Nathaniel examines more runes on the north wall, near some drums.
2)Jackson and Jade investigate the curtained alcove, and encounter 4 standing corpses that turn to face them and begin approaching.
3)Barry and Bonnie decide to turn the crank on the wall, which has so much resistance that both of them have to pull. The stone slab on the floor lifts to reveal a pit in the floor, 15 feet deep, and unleashing terrible human screams, wailing, laughter, crying, and curses. Those near the pit see there is only one creature in the pit, a purplish mass of muscle sprouting tentacles that have human faces, teeth and all, on the end of each tentacle. The faces have the cult symbol on their foreheads, much like Elias did, and Poole mentions that he sees the faces of some of his missing men.
4)Handsome and Poole, taking up the rear, stay near the entrance and watch the horrors unfold.

Jade and Jackson freak out from seeing the zombies, with Jackson emptying a clip in one, and then bashing it more, and Jade fleeing in terror to a corner near Nathaniel and temporarily losing her sight. The group begins attacking the zombies, but their weapons are ineffective. Jackson is nearly eaten, but he manages to dodge just in time. Jade recovers and suggests using the drums to lure the zombies to the pit. A harrowing battle ensues where each zombie is either beaten to a pulp, lured into the pit, or thrown in after losing its balance. Handsome prepares a torch, while Barry and Poole go retrieve the gasoline from outside, and tell Sullivan to come down to help (N’Kwane has gone unconscious but is alive). The party lights the creature in the pit and the zombies on fire, and hopes the fire burns the place down (hopeful thinking, since the chamber is made of stone. Jackson, still an insane frenzy, pisses on the creatures in the pit.

Poole tells the group to get whatever clues they need and leave, since he does not want them involved with the police when they arrive. He believes that the police force as a whole would only get in the way in fighting this threat. Barry gathers all the Juju House ledgers he can, while Nathaniel quickly bundles everything in the curtained alcove to review later. The party jets out as police being to arrive, regrouping at Jade’s speak easy.

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