Cthulhu Redux (Masks of Nyarlathotep)

*After the Telegram arrives, you group investigates several things. Victor personally knows Jackson Elias and Jonah Kensington (Jackson’s publisher). Below is the information you have or are able to uncover:
*

What Victor knows about Jonah Kensington:
Jonah owns and is chief editor for Prospero House, a publisher of books having occult or fantastical themes, fiction and non-fiction alike. The offices of Prospero House are located on Lexington Avenue near 35th street. This modest concern does not aim for best-sellers, an almost unheard-of concept, but rather for books which deserve to be published because they will interest select readers for generations to come. You met Jonah several years ago in tracking down some books for a client. You immediately liked his pursuit of knowledge and he saw in you a young rakish version of himself…and a kindred spirit to Jackson Elias. Suspecting the two of you would hit it off, it was Jonah who introduced you to Jackson Elias

What Victor knows about Jackson Elias:
Jackson ELias is 38, of medium height and build, and dark-complexioned. He has a feisty, friendly, slightly devil-may-care attitude. As an orphan in Stratford, Connecticut, he learned to make his own way early in life. He has no living relatives, and no permanent address.

You like him, and value his friendship, even though months and sometimes years separate one meeting from the next. You’d be upset and probably crave vengeance if anything happened to your friend. The world is better for having Jackson Elias in it.

His writings characterize and analyze death cults. His best-known book is Sons of Death, exposing modern-day Thuggees in India. He speaks several languages fluently and is constantly traveling. He is social and definitely enjoys a drink or two. He smokes a pipe. Elias is tough, stable, punctual, not easily intimidated and not afraid of fisticuffs if it comes to that. He is mostly self-educated. His well-researched works always seem to reflect his first-hand experience. However when working on an active project you have found him to be secretive with most people, and he never discusses a project until he has the final draft in hand…although he does seem to value your advice and has, on occasion, shared some writing with you for an opinion.

The subject matter of his books is not your typical fare but you’ve read some. His books normally illustrate how cults manipulate the fears of their followers and how insanity and feelings of inadequacy characterize death cultists, feelings for which they compensate by slaughtering innocents to make themselves feel powerful or chosen. He goes on to explain how cults draw the weak-minded, though cult leaders are usually clever and manipulative. When fear of the cult stops, the cult tends to diminish or vanish altogether. A skeptic, Elias has never put stock in claims of the supernatural, magic or dark powers that cults leaders claim shall claim the hearts, minds and even the souls of those who oppose them.

Books by J.E. (all of these were published by Prospero Press of New York City and all were edited by owner/editor Johah Kensington. You have copies of all of these books, most are even comically autographed for you by J.E.):
Skulls Along the River (1910) – exposes headhunter cult in the Amazon basin
Masters of the Black Arts (1912) – surveys supposed sorcerous cults throughout history
The Way of Terror (1913) – analyzes systematization of fear through cult organization
The Smoking Heart (1915) – first half discusses historical Mayan death cults. Second half instances present-day Central American death cults
Sons of Death (1918) – modern day Thuggees; Elias infiltrated the cult and wrote of his experiences
Witch Cults of England (1920) – summarizes covens in nine English counties; interviews practicing English witches
The Black Power (1921) – expands on The Way of Terror; includes interviews with several anonymous cult leaders

What is generally known about the Carlyle Expedition:
The Carlyle Expedition was a relatively well publicized event (at least in New York papers, but even in Arkham and Kingsport, articles appeared in local papers), mostly due to the involvement of Roger Carlyle; a New York millionaire playboy who inexplicably turned from the life of wastrel and dilettante to finance and head of an archaeological expedition to Egypt. It seemed more of a social engagement, stories of rich, white Americans jaunting about the globe- then a true scholarly event. That was, until the entire expedition went missing in March of 1920 in Nairobi, Africa. Also publicized was the search party dispatched by Roger’s sister Erica. The search party eventually reported that the entire expedition had been horribly massacred. Blame was quickly pinned on some local tribesmen, resulting in several of them being hanged for the crime. (even if you didn’t know the above, it’s easy to discover with some minor research at the Newspaper, especially with Sandy’s contacts in the press). Additional information you can easily gather with just a day or two of research:
- The expedition left from New York in 1919, went on to London, Cairo, Mombasa and finally onto Nairobi where the entire party disappeared.
- Other members of the expedition included Sir Aubrey Penhew (54, a wealthy and noted Egyptologist), Hypatia Masters (27, a beautiful socialite and accomplished photographer and linguist), Dr. Robert Huston (52, fashionable psychoanalyst and dream interpreter) and Jack “Brass” Brady (36, Carlyle’s bodygaurd).
- There was a rumor of a major archeological find in or near Cairo but the expedition members did not confirm this with reporters.
- The bodies of the massacred expedition were rumored to be pulled apart as if by animals, although the bodies were oddly preserved and showed no signs of animal teeth marks.
- The signs were actually discovered of the whites in the massacre, they were presumed to be carried off by animals.
- The expedition went missing near a high Kenyan peak the locals call the Mountain of the Black Wind
- There was report of involvement of a local pagan cult (called the Bloody Tongue) in the massacre, but officials denied the existence of said cult

With that knowledge you group begins some preliminary investigations, the results of which are below:

JE & JK
1. Victor hasn’t heard from JE in some time, several months in fact.
2. Victor wasn’t certain what JE was working on but assumed it had to do with his usual subject material of death-cults.
3. Victor phone JK and inquires about JE without hinting that he had heard from him. JK tells you he thinks he is currently in London (“you know how hard it is to keep track of that scurvy wastrel”) working on his next book (another book about a death-cult). He does expect him to be arriving in New York relatively soon but does not have any details on exact dates and he thinks he’s managed “to stay out of any damnable mess”. He goes on to say to Victor, he always enjoys his visits and to give him a little notice and he’ll make reservations for some good steaks and better brandy. (Victor gets the impression that he is holding something back but he doesn’t seem to be lying).

Carlyle Expedition
1. Sandy is able to uncover several articles, they are attached (Dave has these via e-mail, I will have hard copies at our session)
2. What you know/can learn of the various people you mention:
a. Roger Carlyle: Millionaire party-boy who turned his life around after the sudden death of his parents in a car accident. Other than several fluff news pieces that detail some of his more wild partying moments, mostly just drunken shenanigans, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information about him. Graduated from Groton University. Has a sister Erica who in addition to being the heir to the Carlyle fortune, is the current head of the Carlyle business holdings.
b. Dr. Robert Huston: Fashionable New York City Psychoanalyst. Dr. Greene knows of him for studying directly with both Freud & Jung in Vienna, and relatively well-known in mental health circles as a proponent of psycho-sexual development (a fairly shocking topic to be discussed at the time). Dr. Schmidt can offer that Dr. Huston is a bit of a socialite himself often seen dining with well-known wealthy clients, especially wealthy women who find the possibility of discussing psycho-sexual theory tantalizingly dangerous (teehee teehee). After the reported massacre of the expedition and Dr. Huston was declared dead there was some minor controversy about his records. Old line physicians argued that they were not medical records and that psychoanalysts were charlatans and con men. The courts eventually decided the records were indeed medical records and as such they were confidential. The records were turned over to the Medical Affairs Board of the State of New York.
c. Miss Hypatia Masters: A wealthy NYC socialite, heiress to the Masters armament fortune. She was known as an excellent photographer and had a few (well-received) showings. Well educated in Europe (at both Swiss and French academies) she spoke several languages. A minor dark social mark, she had a brief relationship with a Raoul Luis Maria Pinera, a know Catholic Marxist but they eventually split. It is rumored she was dating Roger Carlyle, but they mostly just seemed to be friends. Most accounts indicate she was going along on the expedition as the photographer, but it’s not certain.
d. Sir Aubrey Penhew: (this information is provided primarily by Professor Clarke or other British contacts that Victor has) but as he was a decently well-know public figure, none of this is too difficult to discover. It only takes a few days for friends to research your questions and respond) A Lieutenant with the Yorkshire Guards, brevetted as a Colonel in the British Army Intelligence and then retired due to injury. The Penhew family are able to trace their nobility back to William the Conqueror (excerpts from Who’s Who, Burke’s Peerage confirm this. Although it also mentions a previous black sheep many years ago. One Sir Blaize Penhew who was beheaded for treason and black magic whose crimes nearly cost the family it’s lands and title). Graduated with honors in classic studies from Oxford (Prof. Clarke finds no documentation of disciplinary issues and remembrances of any former professors report him to be an excellent student, generally extremely likable and with only a touch of arrogance that often accompanies titled nobility). After graduation he spent several years in Egypt and is credited with several important branches of Egyptology and several important archeological discoveries, particularly at Dhashur. He is responsible for setting up the Penhew Foundation which has underwritten many important researches at home and abroad, and is responsible for the education of several brilliant penniless scholars. He is extremely wealthy (both by birth as well as bushiness ventures such as his very profitable holding company in America) and is known to have several residences, several of them mansions, all over the world. Although he has a fairly well-know public presence, little is know of his personal life. He is a bachelor without known family or heirs other than the Penhew Foundation. There was a general consensus that he was a well-respected and knowledgeable egyptologist and his presence on the expedition would be invaluable to the team. The Penhew Foundation continues to carry out Sir Aubrey’s wishes in his absence.
e. Jack “Brass” Brady: Dr. Schmidt’s mob connections don’t reveal much. He was often seen with Roger Carlyle and most believed him to be Roger’s friend and bodyguard. For the expedition he seemed to be an operations manager of sorts. Dr. Greene, with his military connections, discovers he was a Marine Sergeant who served in China and, eventually, on the Western Front, receiving a bronze star and other commendations. He was eventually honorably discharged
3. Other research
a. Emma Jean (Victors contact at the MU library) reports that they have copies of all of JE’s books. You spend several hours going over the ones you had not read thoroughly already. You find no other mention of “The Mountain of the Black Wind” or “The Bloody Tongue” in JE’s books
b. Emma Jean also reports that she found several references to local names of mountains in Africa with “black” or “wind”, there was one near Nairobi- Mt. Kenya that is said to be know as “The Mountain of the Black Wind” but cautions that many local names exist. She finds no references to “The Bloody Tongue” in African studies literature (although she admits she’s much better with her European studies).
c. The only information you find as to what the expedition did in London was to do some research and meet up with Sir Aubrey Penhew

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