Tuesday, June 4, 2024

The Circle of Seven: Session Eight

Content Warning: Descriptions of mental illness. I have tried to be sensitive in portraying the individuals described below, but I may have made mistakes in places.

Wednesday, November 19, 1924

Dr. Miller, Father Wilk, and Dale meet with Dr. Neumann, FMD of Kendrick Sanitarium, in his office. The trio notice that, in addition to the de rigueur brain in a glass jar of formaldehyde, Dr. Neumann has several other grisly medical samples. Most of these are eyes and teeth, preserved in their own glass jars. A few amputated fingers are also visible. 

Dr. Neumann says that he is happy to have Father Wilk pray over the patients while Dr. Miller consults on the more interesting ones for a case study. He says that Dr. Miller will have full run of the hospital except for the more troublesome patients in the High Conflict Ward.

Dr. Miller, assuming that the patients in the High Conflict Ward probably know the most about Mythos goings-on, insists that he and Father Wilk be allowed to see these patients in particular. After a heated discussion, Dr. Neumann agrees, but insists on having three burly orderlies shadow the trio for their safety.

Before the trio are allowed in the locked ward, they are asked to turn out their pockets for anything sharp, pointy, or dangerous. Dr. Miller is given a stick of charcoal to record notes. Dale surrenders all of his belongings and the others are quite surprised to discover that he has been carrying a pistol since his arrival in Port Harbor. After some commentary, the trio’s personal items are locked away and they are escorted onto the ward.


Martin’s aimless, shellshocked wanderings bring him and his horse, Lincoln, to Chester, Connecticut. Despite having sent a letter to the Fresno house explaining his actions, he decides to stop at the post office and asks to use their phone. The desk clerk obliges and Martin calls the house.

Ada answers the phone and is bewildered when she realizes that Martin is on the other end. In the short conversation, Martin explains that Zebulon shot at him first and that he merely defended himself. He also mentions that, where he comes from, when there’s a gunfight, the guy who’s left standing gets the rope. Ada is baffled by this and asks Martin when he’s coming home. Martin replies that he doesn’t know. He just wants to lay low for a while until the heat’s off.

Martin Craven, Who Finally Has Character Art

After Martin hangs up, he notices the postal clerk seems to be paying him an undue amount of attention. He suddenly realizes that the postal clerk likely heard his half of the phone conversation, including the key detail that Martin shot someone. Martin tries to play it cool as he leaves the post office, saddles up Lincoln, and rides out of town.

Fifteen minutes later, he rounds a corner to find a police car waiting for him. He is manhandled, searched, and taken into custody. The cops, upon seeing Martin’s hat and finding his .44 handgun, start calling him Wyatt Earp. They antagonize him, likely in an attempt to get him to do something stupid, but Martin doesn’t fall for it.

The High Conflict Ward

There are perhaps twenty or so patients on the ward, all gathered into a common area that opens out onto a fenced in yard. A phonograph plays classical music to soothe the patients. Its actual effect on the patients is debatable.

They are briefly acquainted with Dr. Samuel Timmons, the police department’s somewhat frantic and unpleasant medical examiner. Dr. Miller dislikes him and his use of pretentious words immediataely.

Father Wilk consults his Bible and says a few prayers for the sick. In between his prayers, he whispers “Hylmunder” and “Tourmaline” to see if they get any response. At least one patient seems to notice this.
The trio meet three patients of particular interest. They are as follows:

Paul Jamison


An excitable man asks Dale for a smoke and a light. Dale apologizes, saying that he left his lighter and his cigarettes at the watch station. The man introduces himself as Paul Jamison and asks Dale if he could maybe go out, grab cigarettes, and come back in again. He becomes increasingly agitated but remains friendly. 

One of the orderlies mentions that Paul isn’t allowed to have cigarettes or lighters. Especially lighters. When Paul starts to whine, Dr. Miller produces a pack of cigarettes and a lighter from his jacket pockets. Dr. Miller suggests that Paul accompany him out to the yard for a smoke and a private chat.

The orderly condemns this in strong terms. Dr. Miller replies that that if the orderly refuses to let him proceed with his therapeutic techniques, he will have the orderly brought to Dr. Neumann’s office to be disciplined. Dr. Miller also mentions the strange “trophies” of eyes and teeth in the FMD’s office.
The orderly immediately backs down, terrified. 

Dr. Miller escorts Paul out into the yard. Dale goes to a barred window to watch the encounter Paul gets his cigarette, but barely smokes it. Instead, he stares into the embers and starts talking to “his friend” that he hasn’t seen in a while. Dr. Miller asks the name of this friend and is told that he is known as “Tiovvoru”. 

Paul encourages Tiovvoru to visit him at the sanitarium, which disturbs Dr. Miller. He says that Paul’s smoke break is over, and that he needs to put out his cigarette. Paul crouches down on all fours to stub out the cigarette, but in doing so, draws a curious sigil in the dirt. As Paul happily heads back inside, Dr. Miller scuffs out the sigil with his heel.

Dale goes outside to confer with Dr. Miller. After hearing about the encounter with Paul, Dale says that “Tiovvoru” is the thing that destroyed the foundry where he used to work. After hearing that Paul drew something on the ground, Dale goes to great lengths to obliterate any possible remnants of the sigil.

Daniel Heideckker


A haggard man hails Dr. Miller and asks for his medical advice. He says that he was once a sailor until midsummer the previous year. One June night, a freak storm blew in out of nowhere, churning up the waters of Long Island Sound. His ship was headed for shore when the Port Harbor lighthouse went out. As Daniel’s ship tried to get its bearings, the crew received a distress call from another ship, the Dionysus

Daniel’s ship sped to the Dionysus’ rescue. They found it half-sunk in the middle of the sound.  Daniel helped with the rescue efforts, he saw what he is sure was a huge creature looming beneath the water, peering up with gigantic, lantern-like eyes. 

He says that, since that day, he has been unable to return to work or even look at sound or sea. He confides that even murky puddles are troublesome for him sometimes.

Dr. Miller asks why Daniel hasn’t discussed this with Dr. Neumann or the other staff. Daniel replies, somewhat obliquely, that he wants to keep all of his teeth. Dr. Miller ignores Daniel’s response and says that he promises to come back to treat Daniel’s phobia with some exposure therapy.

Ellie Dunn


A woman who sits huddled in the corner, with her hands over her ears. She relaxes her posture and removes her hands any time Father Wilk starts praying. Once he stops, she returns to her fugue state. The trio notice that she immediately returns to her fugue state when Father Wilk whispers, “Tourmaline” under his breath. 

They have as private a conversation they can manage with the woman, whose name is Ellie Dunn. She tells them that she hears horrible whispers and secrets all the time, except for when certain music plays or when Father Wilk prays. When asked when this started, she cryptically informs them that it happened, “when I learned too many secrets in the house with the strange angles. One night, I woke up to see a blind woman standing at the foot of my bed. She read secrets of the universe, a list of all my sins, it went on forever. Ever since then, I hear her voice. She never stops.”

This disturbs Father Wilk and Dr. Miller, who both had dreams of a similar experience after reading from the Book of Black Tourmaline. The two men quickly rally, and Dr. Miller asks Ellie for the Queen of Tourmaline’s name. Ellie warns them against learning the Queen’s name, which is hidden in the Book of Black Tourmaline, before immediately regressing into her fugue state.

The Bank

Floor Plan of the 2nd National Bank of Port Harbor

Father Wilk, Dr. Miller, and Dale conclude their business at Kendrick Sanitarium and return home. Ada breathlessly recounts her phone conversation with Martin. After that, Saul says that they all need to go down to the bank to check on their safety deposit box.

At the bank, they meet with Neil Letty, the bank manager. He apologizes for the theft and breach of security and hopes that the thieves left their safety deposit box alone. Despite his hopes, the investigators are not surprised when they open their box and find the Book of Black Tourmaline missing. 

Mr. Letty escorts them to his office so that they can fill out some paperwork for legal and insurance purposes. On the way, Ada overhears a whispered conversation between two bank tellers. One of them insists that they were out sick the previous day. The other insists that they were at work all day. Ada suspects that this may have something to do with the robbery, and files it away.

Dale breaks off from the group and looks over the vault and the bank’s other security measures. Everything seems in order, with no sign of breakage or tampering. It seems to Dale that whoever broke into the bank had all the necessary keys and combinations and did not need to resort to force.

A Busy Afternoon

The investigators return to the Fresno house and share what they have learned. Ada recounts the conversation between the two bank tellers and the investigators begin to wonder if one of the robbers sneaked into the bank disguised as the sick teller.

Dr. Miller has a sudden, very loud, eureka moment and runs upstairs to consult Nicholas Fresno’s journals. He returns triumphant and points out a passage in one of the journals that reads:

“The followers of Adaru are becoming very troublesome. It’s because of all the Masks they wear. I don’t know that I can trust anyone from town anymore. There’s no telling if any of these people are who they say they are. I wish there was a reliable way to tell who is a Mask and who isn’t.”

The investigators discuss the implications of this when the phone rings. The person on the line is Millicent, the secretary from Dr. Williamson’s office in Providence, RI. Millicent isn’t sure why, but Dr. Miller is on Dr. Williamson’s list to cover for him at the hospital during emergencies. Apparently, Dr. Williamson’s home on Cape Cod burned down, and he needs to go out of town to take care of all the paperwork.

Dr. Miller is baffled by this but begins to suspect that Dr. Williamson is one of the doctors in his private network. He suspects that he has just received a coded message telling him that something has happened to Zebulon Davis.

Before he can pursue the matter further, the phone rings again. This time it’s Mabel Ohlmsted from Mr. Sebastian’s office. She’s calling to let the investigators know that Martin has been arrested, and that Mr. Sebastian has gone down to the police station to serve as his counsel. 

Back at the Police Station

Before he can pursue the matter further, the phone rings again. This time it’s Mabel Ohlmsted from Mr. Sebastian’s office. She’s calling to let the investigators know that Martin has been arrested, and that Mr. Sebastian has gone down to the police station to serve as his counsel.

The investigators go to the police station to support Martin. They are met by Mr. Sebastian, who says that the allegation is based on the account of someone overhearing a conversation in which Martin said he shot someone. Since there’s no corroborating evidence (of a shooting or anything else), Mr. Sebastian suspects that Martin will be let go within the hour.

Val pipes up to say that she was the one that Martin shot at. The rest of the investigators, and Mr. Sebastian, watch in confusion as Val goes over to the side table in the police department’s conference room. She laboriously tears most of the paper off of the straw, leaving only the bit at the tip, which she cheekily blows into Mr. Sebastian’s chest.

Mr. Sebastian chuckles and leaves to go inform the police. Martin is released ten minutes later.

Catching Up

The investigators return to the Fresno house, where they learn about Martin’s walkabout and fill him in on what’s been happening while he was away. They once again start to plan their next move, only to be interrupted by a knock on the front door.

This time it is Maude Collins, who has once again come by to ask after Mr. Fresno’s rare book. The investigators tell her that they haven’t found it yet, and Dr. Miller notices that Ms. Collins looks particularly smug as she turns to leave.

Dr. Miller also notices that there is something…oddly familiar…about Ms. Collins. This prompts him to follow her as she walks across the street to a car in which three very large men sit.

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