Saturday, July 6, 2024

The Circle of Seven: Session Ten

Al’s Apartment

The investigators discuss their options over breakfast and decide to investigate “Al,” Maude Collins’ crony who happens to live in Wilton MacKnight’s apartment building. All of them go on this mission apart from Father Wilk, who stays back at the house.

The plan is as follows: Val will dress to the nines and try and sweet talk Al out of his apartment to go on a date. While he’s out, Saul, Ada, and Dr. Miller will sneak into the apartment building and do some poking around. Dale and Martin will park the car near the building and keep an eye out for trouble.

The plan goes surprisingly well, at least at first. Val successfully gets Al to leave the apartment. He briefly makes a call to someone and tells them that he is borrowing the car before driving Val to a nearby restaurant for lunch. Val tries her best to get information out of Al, but he is taciturn and monosyllabic, so this does not pan out.

Dr. Miller, Ada, and Saul enter the apartment. This is facilitated by Val, who was able to tape over the locking mechanism on the front door without Al noticing. The apartment is barely furnished and has no personal touches at all. While this is weird, it does make the apartment easy to search. They find the following:

  • Three bottles of liquid barbiturates, one of which is only partially full.
  • Sets of new clothing and shoes in various sizes and styles.
  • A photo album containing pictures of people that don’t seem to be related to Al. One of these photos is of the fancy woman that the investigators spotted earlier in the week.

Ada suspects that the people in the photos are “masks” and that the clothing that seems to be for other people are to be used when Al changes form.

The Fancy Woman

An Unexpected Visitor

Out on the street, Dale and Martin spot Dr. John Brinkley—their acquaintance from the bank—walking up to the apartment building. Concerned that the doctor is going to foil their plans, Dale gets out of the car and slips into the apartment building by the back door.

Dale wanders up to the third floor, under the pretext of visiting Wilton MacKnight in his apartment. As he arrives, he sees Dr. Brinkly approaching Al’s door.

Dr. Brinkley knocks. The sound terrifies the trio investigating Al’s room. Ada and Saul quietly slip through a window and flee down the fire escape while Dr. Miller hides in the closet.

Dale also knocks on Wilton’s door, all while keeping an eye on Dr. Brinkly. No one answers. When Dr. Brinkley pulls some keys out of his pocket, Dale desperately hails him and draws him away from Al’s apartment.

The two men have an altered and stilted conversation as they leave the building. Dr. Brinkley confesses to not remembering Dale from the bank and seems embarrassed. Dale tells Dr. Brinkley that there was a robbery at the bank, and that the investigators’ safety deposit box was one of the ones robbed. He suggests that Dr. Brinkley contact the bank to make sure his valuables are all in order.

As they step outside, Dale notices Ada and Saul coming around the building. He gestures for them to get back while he makes sure Dr. Brinkley leaves the area.

As Dr. Brinkley departs, he tells Dale that he, “hopes you find your book.”

Dale realizes that he never mentioned the contents of the safety deposit box…

Coming Out of the Closet

Dr. Miller listens to Dale and Dr. Brinkley’s conversation in the hallway and waits, sweating, in the closet, for the two men to go downstairs. Once he can no longer hear their footfalls, he resumes his search.

He discovers an oval wooden picture frame hanging backward on a nail in the wall of the closet. He takes the frame off the wall and turns it over. It is a mirror, not a picture, and the wooden frame is engraved with several curious runes that Dr. Miller suspects are Mythos-adjacent.

He tucks the mirror under his coat and flees the apartment.

Another Worrying Phone Call

The investigators return to the Fresno House to regroup. Upon seeing the mirror, Ada posits that it might be magical, and that it might be what allows the “Masks of Adaru” to change forms.

The investigators do some digging on Dr. Brinkley. No one picks up when they call the number on his business card. He is also not listed in the yellow pages of the Port Harbor phone book.

Speaking of phones, the telephone rings. Dr. Miller answers it. The person on the other end has a soft, raspy, ragged voice and does not identify themselves. They say, “the priestes of the sun plan to kill you tonight. Be ready.” Then they hang up.

Upon hearing this warning, Dale flees upstairs. He searches Fresno’s journals for the ritual to empower the warding circle in the attic and immediately heads there to return the circle to full strength. Nothing anyone else says can convince him to abandon this pursuit. He is certain that the Luminous Church will try to destroy them with magical fire, and he will be ready, damnit.

Val stays in the attic with Dale for company and moral support. She brings the raccoon, who mostly behaves itself.

The rest of the investigators prepare as best as they can. Martin cleans and oils his gun. Saul makes dinner. The others go through the house and scavenge what weapons and supplies they can for the inevitable onslaught. Ada arms herself with a cricket bat that was too nice for the Detherages to take to the dump.

The Attack Begins

Shortly after sunset, Martin, who is keeping watch out of an upstairs window, spots a bright light coming down the street. At first, it looks like it might be a motorcycle headlamp, but Martin soon realizes that the light isn’t attached to anything and doesn’t seem to be produced by anything. It’s just a sphere of independently moving light, about a hand’s width across.

He shouts down a warning to the others as the light veers off the road and travels straight to the Fresno house.

The investigators have only moments to prepare before the light sphere phases through the front door. It glows with a soft, yellowish radiance, and hovers about three feet off the floor.

Ada runs up to the light sphere and takes a swing with her cricket bat. The bat passes through the light sphere seemingly without doing anything to it.

The light sphere’s radiance increases in brightness and intensity until it is blue-white and painful to look at. Ada, who is closest, feels as though she is standing next to a bonfire. Her clothes are hot. Her skin hurts. Behind the light sphere, Ada sees that the wallpaper in the front hall is beginning to smoke…


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