Tuesday, September 16, 2014

NYC CoC #20: The Secret of Knossos

August, 1924
The investigators might not be able to determine if love was in the air, but an all-expenses paid trip to Crete to celebrate the wedding of a client's son was good enough for them. Upon rescuing his son, a grateful Alexander Powell provided each of the investigator's with an invitation to his wedding, provided his son recovered from his ordeal, which he did with flying colors.

But first a few affairs at home needed to be tended to.

Dr. Millheim returned from his secret mission in Maine, still unexpectedly refreshed, still a best selling author. Hearing of Dr. Bob Wintermute's acceptance to all things Mythos, he provided him with some light reading on loan, the copy of Thaumaturgical Prodigies in the New-England Canaan and the Fuller diaries from the Maine cabin. A few new notes were scribbled on the back pages by Dr. Millheim.

His writing prowess complicating his schedule, both Millheim and Brian Nichols were too swamped with travelling, meetings, and counting stacks of cash to attend the distant wedding.

The trip via steamship was anti-climatic.  Dr Bob got some "light reading"  done, Dresden worked the shuffleboard court and the trap shooting off the back of the ship, and Jessica got as much sun as her mythos inspired modesty would allow. 

Upon reaching the village, they became an acquaintance of Matthew Piccolo , Canadian Syrup Salesman, and college friend of William Powell.

Once they finally arrived at Crete, they were bused out to the village, where the festivities were already in full swing.  The small winery of family patriarch Grigorios Spazegottos was decorated for such a joyous occasion, and if that didn't raise spirits, the freely flowing wine would ensure it.

The wedding was a solemn ritual as everyone had been warned about, but the reception was a wild, dance filled event that anyone could enjoy.  In the midst of the dancing, however, a disheveled man grabs  hold of the bride, shouts, "She belongs to me!  I am taking her back!  WE WILL ALL BE TAKEN BACK!   FIRE, WALK WITH ME!"  and everything surrounding them burst into flames, setting many of the buildings on fire.  The Investigators did their best to put out the fire near the barn and the gasoline tank, but in the end, dozens were killed, including the bride, groom, and Mr Powell.

Stupid me googled greek dancing fire and was suprised to find this. 

Winning the family's trust with their help containing the fire, Grigorios pleaded for the investigator's help.  The man was Nikolas Eflantinos, a former workhand from a remote fishing village.  At one time he had a relationship with his daughter, but that was years before, yet a week before the wedding, he reappeared to ask her hand in marriage.  Grigorios kicked him off of the property amid most screaming by the man, assuming it was the rantings of a drunk than crazed threats.

Grigorios' wife, Maria, later encountered them in one of the building and gave a darker tale.  Nikolas' village, Pasedaros, was rumored to have sold their soul to the devil hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. Legend had it that fisherman in the village who died while visiting other towns would burst into flame for no reason.

The investigators, along with local archaeologist and translator Arianna Mestopolos, decided to hire a boat to drop them off just east of this mysterious village.  After hiking over the hills, they descended into Pasedaros, a collection of twenty or so decrepit fisherman's huts, and an only slightly better looking inn.  At the inn, they met the proprietor, Tolos.  Tolos warned them not to interfere with the affairs of the town, that outsiders were barely tolerated, if welcomed at all.  He promised safe refuge if they stayed in their rooms until morning. All agreed, some even honored that request.

The investigators noticed a procession of villagers holding leading into the northern mountains, but they lost them somehow.  When they returned they staked out were the packages had emerged from, village elder Setho Kaipholas.  While it appeared that the rest of the village was deserted, Setho's was guarded by one of the larger and stronger villagers.  Jessica tried to distract them while Dresden snuck in.  The guard quickly figured out what was going on, but not before he had been knocked out.  They quickly went through the hut, grabbing some books and scrolls, but the villagers were returning from the mountains and things escalated quickly.  Armed with pistols, the duo was chased around the village by inept villagers before easily escaping into the hills.

Back at the inn, Bob and Arianna attempted to leave, but were met by Tolos, armed with an ancient musket. Matthew decided to escape from his second story room, so he jumped out the window onto the shoddy roof of the hut next to it.  The roof collapsed and he badly hurt himself so badly, that he could no escape.  No one knows his true fate.   Bob distracted Tolos before pulling out his own gun, shooting at Tolos, and also easily escaping into the hills.

The group met up and discovered that the villagers were still attempting to find them, so they continued up the hills, until they reached a fertile plateau with numerous farmers who didn't speak English (and no one asked Arianna to translate).

With no sign of the villagers, the investigators reach a monastary.  Suffering from hunger,thirst, and exhaustion, they plead their case with the Metropolitan, and he provides nourishment and access to the library.  Between reading the scrolls in the library and the ones they stole from the village, they uncover a fire dangerous fire cult that may have been in existence since before King Minos, possibly inspiring the legend of Theseus.  As they are wont to do, the villagers/cultists attack the monastery and set the library ablaze.  However, with a bit of luck, everyone escaped unscathed.

Finally returning to the winery, Grigorios was convinced that this Setho had something to with the calamity.  For the rest, it was a trip to Heraklion for some research, a visit to a dig, and and a desperate search to find where these cultists were, besides that village.

Upon returning to her work at a dig sight, Arianna discovered that five of her diggers stopped showing up a few days ago, and that they had been talking to a crazed old goat herder (Setho?)   Arianna equipped the other investigators with some equipment and they ventured into a portion of the catacombs the diggers were working at.

After some time, they discovered the cultists and their leader digging at an emblem embedded into the stone floor, although the cultists got it loose, the party made quick work of them.  However, the entire enviroment seemed to change.  Any sense of direction underground disappeared as even familiar passageways were corrupted by some alien geometry.  Up was down, Down was left, and Left was diaganol.  Worse yet, something was stirring in the distance... and it was looking for them.

In what felt like an eternity, the entity got closer and closer to the investigators.  Even whiffs of brimstone and waves of heat could be felt  as it went down the wrong corridor mere feet from them.  With the dark, empty entity of fire closing in, and the only option to run or delay,  Dresden pulled out his .45, aimed it straight into the enveloping blackness, and fired.

The single bullet stalled the creature for mere seconds, until it ripped the police detective from limb to limb.

But that sacrifice gave Wintermute and Carson enough time to find an escape of the labyinth.  Carson mourned the loss of her friend to the Minotaur(?), while Wintermute coped with the intimate skills of one Arianna Metopolos before departing back to the States

The Secret of Knossos was the very first adventure in issue #1 of Worlds of Cthulhu Magazine.  It's a bit railroady, but I wanted something that would help ensure the investigators would obtain a legal passport for future endeavours.  Dr Bob continued his quest to be a dirty old man, but a gentleman about it, Dresden died a heroic, but unnecessary death, and the widow Carson would make her last known appearance.    As for the Canadian Syrup Salesman, his demise might not be documented, but his player, Aaron, was already famed for the Turkish Librarian Debacle.  Can't wait to see what he rolls up next.

This concludes the NEPA Coal Cracker tag on these blogs posts.  Next we move onto far bigger fish with our good friend, Jackson Elias.  Time for Masks of Nylarahotep.

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