The Elias Expedition

8- Forbidden Knowledge

While Handsome and Barry were investigating Fat Maybelle’s, Bonnie visited jade to check up on her. She was a little out of it from her morphine trip, but was coherent enough. Her apartment had been attacked by cultists the night before, but luckily Sgt. Sullivan, one of Poole’s men who had been at the Juju House, was around to fight them off. Assigned as protective detail, he was happy to cooperate with the party’s needs, and after seeing what had happened to Poole and Jackson in the basement of the Juju House, he didn’t care too much about breaking the law to help them (passing flasks to Bonnie, aiding in theft, etc.). Nathaniel came by later to check up on Jade and to share his findings from his research of the Juju House artifacts, most notably the strange mask that gave the wearer visions of gods. They spent the morning at Jade’s preparing for their visit that afternoon with Erica Carlyle.

Meanwhile, Barry and Handsome just committed another fantastic act of arson. As sirens begin to arrive, and Mukunga has not emerged from the building, they decide to duck into an adjacent apartment building. It seems largely evacuated from the threat of fire next door. Going to the top floor, they kick open a door to find an old cat lady who is very confused and runs out screaming. They climb out her window onto the nearby roof of fat Maybelles. Except that Barry accidently falls while lowering Handsome. Each falls about 10 feet. Handsome twists his ankle and dislocates his shoulder. Barry’s knee seems to pop out of place and he breaks a toe. On the roof, they notice a skylight. Attempting to force it open, Barry loses his balance and falls through, getting pieces of glass lodged in his back. Handsome and Barry find themselves in an attic, and find the ladder down. They realize they are on the third floor of apartments above Fat Maybelle’s .Upon finding a bathroom, they attempt to patch each other up, with some success.

Exploring the rooms, they realize that a number of items were recently removed, and that those who live there do so by meager means. They find Mukunga’s room, but it has nothing interesting, to the point of it being unusual. Noticing the burnt hole in the floor and the arson investigators below, they decide to get out before they cause more trouble for themselves, saving the basement for another day. They climb back up to the roof, find a nearby fire escape to another rooftop a block over, and work their way down. Handsome mentions their appointment with Erica Carlyle, so Barry races over to her estate with Handsome.

The split party reunites at the gates of the Carlyle estate. Their calls are answered by a large man in a suit, who Barry knows as Joe Corey. Corey was formerly a mobster, not unlike Barry, who quit the game for a cushy bodyguard gig. Joe and Barry step aside and exchange pleasantries, while lamenting over the fact that Joe doesn’t get to crack skulls like he used to. Seeing how hurt Handsome and Barry are, Joe offers use of the estate physician to them, to which they agree after having their introduction with Erica Carlyle. The party is introduced to her in her vast library, and Joe excuses himself, Handsome, and Barry to the estate physician, who patches them up.

Their interview goes well, and Carlyle reveals that she is most interested in whatever danger the cult poses to her own interests and safety, as clearly they were willing to kill for their beliefs. Sullivan peruses the stacks, and notices a book of Edgar Allan Poe is oddly out of place with the reference books. He also notices a panel behind the book (spot hidden rolls of less than 5 are certainly rewarded!). They find out what she knows, and share with her their discovered artifacts from the Juju House. Carlyle in passing mentions Roger’s old creepy-but-valuable books, and the party asks to see them. Erica asks them to step outside while she retrieves them. As they wait, they hear mechanical movement. When asked to come back inside, Erica produces 3 old creepy books, all in English, with some bound in not-so-traditional binding (human skin, etc. only Sullivan really notices this, but doesn’t say anything). Nathaniel peruses some of them, and realizes that there is potential for learning magic in them. The party tries to convince Erica to lend them the books, but she claims they are far too valuable, and that the cult possibly attacked her estate a few weeks ago just to retrieve them. Sullivan offers to take them into police protective custody, to which she agrees. Sullivan calls Martin Poole to bring an armored vehicle for pickup and prepare a place to hold them, to which he agrees.

While Erica leaves the room to prepare the books for transport, Bonnie, on a tip from Sullivan, checks out the panel behind the Poe book, and finds a button. She presses it, and the shelf moves to reveal a safe. The combo is unknown, but Jade finds it written in the Poe book. Opening the safe, they find one more book, in French, which they retrieve and hide along Nathaniel’s belongings.

Poole arrives, and Erica hands over the books to Sullivan. On the way out, Joe Corey mentions to Barry that he misses action and that if he is ever in a situation where skulls will be cracked to give him a call. Poole recommends the party return to Barry’s place to review the books and update him on the situation, away from police who wouldn’t understand the situation. They agree and return.

As they talk late into the night, there is a crash and screams. The cult is attacking.

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