Friday, July 2, 2021

The House of Edwin Part 2: June 18, 1926

The Eponymous House

Stephen’s New Fresco

As the group watches, Stephen Clark sketches out an eerie and foreboding tower. A hooded figure stands in the foreground, their back to the group, long tendrils of beard curling out from their hood.

James is overwhelmed by the scene and shuts down, while Angie begs the others to “do something” about Stephen. Ron grabs the artist by the scruff of the neck and hauls him down off of his chair, but Stephen continues to pantomime drawing on the wall and seems completely oblivious to Ron’s attempts to corral him.

The group agrees that Ron should release Stephen. Ron does and then promptly goes back upstairs to put on a pair of pants (he was previously in his undershirt and boxers) and to wake Kane Eastman, who has blissfully slept through the early morning commotion. Meanwhile, Dr. Black takes a bit of charcoal from the cold dining room fireplace and writes, “MAINE” on the wall near Stephen’s drawing.

Stephen ignores the word and continues to draw, incorporating Dr. Black’s word into his new artwork. He finishes shortly after Kane and Ron return to the dining room. At this moment, Stephen’s artistic fugue leaves Stephen, and he collapses in the chair and places his head in his hands.

Dr. Black inspects the finished artwork and sees that numerous robed figures are standing in front of the tower. They are exceptionally well-detailed, despite Stephen’s haste and choice of materials. Two notable figures are a woman holding a rifle and a misshapen man who seems to favor his left side.

Judge Putnam peers at the tower and, ultimately, recognizes it from a diagram that he saw in Johnny’s Mythos notes. After the judge mentions this to the group, Johnny confirms that the tower is, indeed, identical to one that needs to be built in order to Call Yog-Sothoth.

Deeply concerned at the night’s events, the London Group decide it is long past time to warn their host of these new developments. Tommy Hayes tells the group that he knows where Mr. Edwin’s rooms are, as they are next to his rooms on the second floor. Johnny and Judge Putnam accompany him.

The First Floor of the Mansion

The Grim Matter at Hand

Repeated knocks on Mr. Edwin’s bedroom door go unanswered, and so Johnny picks the lock. He, Judge Putnam, and Tommy Hayes enter Mr. Edwin’s bed chamber and find it well-secured from within, with all doors locked and all windows closed and latched. The rooms are well-appointed, but also empty, and the bed does not appear to have been slept in. Most ominously, Christopher Edwin’s wheelchair is tipped on its side and lying next to a hope chest at the foot of the bed.

The three men search the room, finding nothing unusual or untoward until Johnny peeks under the bed. There, he is shocked to discover a dismembered hand, perfectly preserved, but fitted to a plate of bright silver metal at the wrist. On this panel are various levers and switches of curious design. Johnny becomes a bit overwhelmed at the sight of the hand, which the three men are convinced belongs to Christopher Edwin.

They return to the dining room and present the hand to the others. Dr. Black confirms that it is a real hand, perfectly preserved and all but devoid of trauma. He does note that it appears that the hand was severed with a very sharp, very hot blade that cauterized the flesh at the wrist.

Mikhail calls a skittish Pushok over and has the dog take a good whiff of the hand. Mikhail then puts a leash on Pushok and asks him to track the scent. Pushok leads Mikhail on a merry chase all across the first floor of the house, with Dr. Black in hot pursuit. Pushok stops for a while in front of a door before darting back toward the loggia and the terrace in the back of the house. Mikhail, fearful of what might await him in the darkness outside, orders Pushok to a halt and brings him back to the dining room.

At this point, Kane Eastman discovers that moving the switches and levers on the silver base allows him to manipulate the hand in a disturbingly lifelike way. Johnny says that he has read something about this in his occult notes, and suggests that the same beings who built the hand mechanism are also responsible for building the artifact/device that Ron stole from the Miskatonic University Library.

The Second Floor of the Mansion

Fervent Searching

The London Group splits up to search various areas of the house.

Tommy Haynes and Judge Putnam thoroughly search the rooms on the second floor. Tommy points out the suites of rooms that are currently being occupied by himself, the Clarks, Papa Doc Horus, and Brother Theodore. They also find and search a dusty and long-in-disuse nursery, which is filled with ancient children’s toys, cribs, a rocking chair, numerous shelves, and a doll house that appears to be a scale model of the Edwin mansion.

Judge Putnam notices a wedge-shaped disturbance on the floor in front of one of the shelving units, and persuades Tommy Hayes to move it away from the wall. Tommy does so, only to find that the shelves swing back on hidden hinges, revealing a secret crawlspace in the wall. Judge Putnam sends Tommy to fetch a torch.

Meanwhile, Vivian and Ron go to the third floor in a desperate attempt to rouse Ms. Bridger. When she does not answer her knocks, Vivian picks the lock on the door before Ron can smash it open. Inside, they find a very spartan, but extremely tidy, set of rooms. Similar to Mr. Edwin’s room, the bed does not appear to be slept in.

Vivian notes a trickle of black or dark brown liquid on the door that leads into the bathroom. She examines it and discovers that it isn’t blood, but it does have a strong, organic smell.

Ron hears a humming noise from one of the other rooms in the suite, which seems to have been converted to a storeroom and is currently stacked with boxes, old furniture, and the like. Ron enters the room and notices a strange glow coming from the center.

Downstairs, Johnny decides to head upstairs to help Vivian and Ron. Meanwhile, Dr. Black opens the door that Pushok scented on and discovers that it leads into Christopher Edwin’s massive occult library. He sees a cot with several dirty dishes around it, an empty wheelchair, and a writing table in the center of the library. On the table is a cuneiform tablet which Mr. Edwin seemed to have been in the process of studying. A search of the desk’s single drawer holds Mr. Edwin’s incomplete notes on the tablet in exceptionally neat handwriting. It appears that the tablet names the day and the time that the “Isle of the Guardian” last breached the waters, and that Christopher Edwin was attempting to use that date to determine when the stars “would next be right” for the isle to rise.

Ron discovers that the glow and the hum comes from a strange metal cylinder hidden in the storage room. The cylinder appears to have liquid sloshing around inside of it, as well as several attachment ports—as if for hoses or similar—but no obvious way to open it.  Upon seeing the cylinder, Johnny insists that it was made by the same creatures who made the library artifact and the hand attachment.

On a whim, Vivian decides to search the nearby bathroom and, with Ron’s help, removes the mirrored vanity cabinet from its spot over the sink. In the void behind the cabinet, Vivian finds several strange silver devices, some of which look a bit like camera parts, others of which are unidentifiable.

A Curious Cylinder

Secret Passage

Tommy returns with a torch and he and Judge Putnam return to explore the secret passageway. They soon discover that the passage leads into various parts of the house, including Mr. Edwin’s suite and Ms. Bridger’s suite, as well as to an access ladder that leads into the kitchen.

Johnny, who is currently with Ron and Vivian in Ms. Bridger’s room, hears the Judge and Tommy banging around in the walls and abruptly smashes through the plaster, making a hole that connects Ms. Bridger’s room and the secret passageway. They also find a concealed door into the room behind a cabinet, as well as a similar concealed door in Mr. Edwin’s room and the kitchen.

The Third Floor of the Mansion (So Many Bathrooms)

The Dawn of the Longest Day

By this time, the sun is just about to rise on the morning of the Solstice. Emboldened by the coming daylight, the group begins to explore the area immediately around the mansion. Vivian notices that Ms. Bridger’s motorcycle (and side car) is still parked beside the house with all the other vehicles. Mikhail, who is examining the partially flooded backyard through the glass doors leading out to the loggia, sees a hummock of earth that appears to have been freshly turned over.

Expecting the worst, the group acquires shovels, wades out to the hummock, and begins digging. They soon find the withered body of an elderly man, who is missing his face, both his hands, the top of his head, and his brain. Dr. Black suspects that the body belongs to none other than their host, Christopher Edwin, and is baffled by the fact that, based on decomposition, Edwin has been dead for at least two weeks.

Exhausted and bewildered, the London Group decide to bathe, change clothes, eat, and regroup before deciding what to do next. Dr. Black suggests that some of them spend time researching in Christopher Edwin’s library, in the hopes that they might find some answers there.

No comments:

Post a Comment