41: A Tunnel to Giza

16th July 1925

One Little, Two Little Dead Chthonians
One Little, Two Little Dead Chthonians

Cairo, Egypt, Africa:

21:21 PM:

“The night before the night when the moon is at it’s thinnest.” (On 20th July) This is when the Cult of the Black Pharaoh will attempt to raise Queen Nitocris.”

What will we do now?

Omar Shakti? Did he steal the Mummy?

The Clive Expedition in Memphis?

Go to the Ibn Tulum mosque? Find and identify the item?

There are no straightforward answers but luckily the investigators know a man who might be able to help. First port of call: The museum and Dr. Ali Kafour.

“Ibn Tulum? Used to be for the mentally unstable, a few months ago it was converted into a mosque. The patients have all been moved out. It is not as old as the Al Azif (The Necronomicon).”

Irma: “Why the mentally afflicted? Abd al-Azrad was also mentally afflicted!”

Dr. Ali Kafour: “Yes but that was during the golden age of Islam in Baghdad. I will look through my archive for anything on Queen Nitocris and the Black Pharaoh and contact you immediately if I find something!”

The Ibn Tulum mosque is nearby. The investigators plan to go there.

Reginald says: “Water, old boy! And lots of it in the morning. That’s the trick for drinking cocktails in the afternoon! When it’s hot you don’t need to pee in any case! You can have that tip for free!”

Back to the hotel, eat and get tooled up.

Reginald: “What the hell have I got myself in to?”

Irma: “It’s an insurgency, I can’t tell you more than that.”

Reginald: “I’m not sure about all of this, maybe I should take a step back.”

Trixie: “Don’t worry, you won’t be on the front line, we’ll make sure you’re okay honey. You’re too pretty to die!”

Reginald: “What are you planning tonight? Are we dealing with smugglers? Racketeers?”

Trixie: “Sweetie, we’ll take care of you.”

Reginald: “I will come because I can’t stand to see a lady in danger. But perhaps it is better the less I know about all this business.”

Natalja: “I have something for you. Vest. You wear and save life!”

Reginald: “Thank you. It will ruin the seersucker. I don’t know if I should be scared or touched!”

23:00 PM:

Thursday evening

At the main entrance to the mosque, the investigators take in the scene. They are armed and ready for trouble. Some electrical lighting around the mosque provides flickering shadows.

Reginald: “What are you after here?”

Joe: “The cult of the Black Pharaoh. You know, the guys with the spiked clubs.”

Reginald: “Are they gangsters?”

Irma: “Kind of.”

We ring the door to the mosque. Natalja hangs back. She is covered.

Simon: “We need to see the Imam.”

Reginald: “The nazeer of the mosque, is who we’ve been told to see.”

Joe: “The sanctity of the mosque is at stake.”

A small “fee” is paid. Eventually, the Nazeer, Achmed Zehavi, appears.

Achmed Zehavi: “What is it? What worries you?”

Natalja: “There is some urgency. We know that something is sought by the cult of the black pharaoh.”

Achmed Zehavi: “Prove it!”

Natalja shows him the Crook and the Ankh.

Simon: “You know what they are looking for, and we are the only ones who can help you.”

Natalja casts levitate and raises his hat.

Reginald : “Oh my good god! There’s no bloody wire!”

Irma: “Reginald sit down and hold your tongue.”

He does and falls very silent.

Achmed Zehavi: “You have knowledge. I am convinced.”

He calls out to a servant and then an old man comes up the stairs with a scimitar with spikes along the handle? It gains its power from the user’s blood?

Achmed Zehavi: “The scimitar is something that can harm Djinn and Efreet. It is not the item that they seek. They seek the girdle. And we guard it. It cannot be destroyed, it comes from hell. It is forged by Shaitan in the forge of hell! The Brotherhood are just men! Come I will show you!”

The elderly guard is mumbling.

Achmed Zehavi: “He wants to know how you know of the Brotherhood.”

Natalja: “We have fought them across the whole world.”

Achmed Zehavi: “As the Black Wind you know him also? Yes?”

The investigators learn from Zehavi that the girdle is part of a set:

Achmed Zehavi: “A crown and a necklace complete the set. Queen Nitocris is evil. The Black Pharaoh has a name: Nyarlathotep! Queen Nitocris can be raised with the girdle, and she can be raised by evil magic. The brotherhood have tried to steal it but we have repulsed them easily. Is Shakti one of them? You speak of the Clive and Carlyle expedition. We felt them doing evil things. The Black Pharaoh traverses this land and Queen Nitocris will rule in his stead. Shaitan (Satan to Christians)  is a deceiver, for men are easily deceived, by sin!”

Irma: “But you can expect more attacks.”

Achmed Zehavi: “Here it is safe. The Girdle is in a well protected location.”

Reginald is clearly still troubled by Natalja’s “conjuring trick” and unable to hold his tongue any longer turns to Professor Fock.

Reginald: “Listen old boy apples from trees and all that? You’re a scientist?”

Wesley: “Listen Reginald, there are some things that are logical and scientific but are beyond the normal realms of human reasoning. This is one of those things.”

Reginald: “You mean like when they thought the world was flat and then it turns out it is round?”

Wes: “A perfect analogy. There is hope for you yet.”

Reginald: “I wish this wasn’t a mosque, I need a drink!”

Wesley, Natalja descend to the cellar. Stairs lead down 25’ to another locked door. Beyond is a bare room with a chest in the middle. 6 Luma (scholars) guard the chest.

Natalja: “Show us!”

Achmed Zehavi: “You wish to see this item of evil power?”

It is a golden chain, with a ruby and it shimmers and shifts. It is unnaturally beautiful and powerful.

Achmed Zehavi: “It can bring her back to life. They will try and steal it for the Black Pharaoh again.”

Wesley tries to persuade them to allow us to take the girdle. They refuse so we decide to stay for the night at the mosque. Watches are set.

There is suddenly a wrenching crumbling sound coming from the cellar, Wesley and Simon wake the others and rush down to the cellar! Cthonians! Terrible death screams from below. We get to the iron door and open it. Beyond the door and down the stairs there is a scene of horror and madness, a Cthonian surrounded by the dead guards is in the room! Simon throws a grenade at it: some damage – Wesley shoots it with the lightning gun AND DESTROYS IT!!! The lightning flashes in through its mouth and splatters a huge part of its head and body. The internal organs begin to flop out and dissolve, a hideous stench emanating from the gaping wounds. Where’s the chest? Not in the room! There is a gaping hole in the floor. The elder guard had severely injured it already but alas died in the attempt.

There is something moving away from here via the recently bored tunnel. It must be another one of these Cyclopean beasts. It has probably got the chest. And the girdle within. Simon grabs the scimitar, and we try to gain access to the tunnel past the stinking carcass.

Trixie is able to get down into the tunnel. She hears something slopping and slipping in distance. Wesley and Simon have managed to squeeze through too, sliding on a wet patch past the dead hideous monstrosity.

Wesley: “They will be slower than bipedal or quadrupedal animals if they are similar to creatures on earth!”

The only hope to retrieve the chest is to run as fast as possible and catch the Chthonian. Ahead of Trixie, Simon and Wesley a grey pulsing bulk can be seen.

Simon whispers: “Get as close as we can!”

We are getting closer. It’s within range. We prepare to attack. Trixie fires: And hits! The whole tunnel is illuminated by the flash and a huge rending injury opens in its rear. Wesley fires and the wound is extended: The lightning has blasted right through it! Light shines through from the other side!

Cthonians cannot be controlled: They do not serve other beings!

Simon realises: “What is going on here? Who can have this power? Shakti? Nyarlathotep? The Black Pharaoh?”

The box is there and has been shattered. A blast mark and scorching. The girdle is still there. We take it out and breath a sigh of relief. The tunnel is going south west towards the river. Descending. Under the Nile? It is going straight to Giza.

Back in the chamber, Achmed Zehavi descends the stairs and enters: He howls in despair. Gupta says: “I think you should have listened to the Professor. Now look what has bloody happened?”

Achmed Zehavi takes in the scene once more and is overwhelmed with horror, depositing the contents of his stomach onto the floor.

Meanwhile the investigators are faced with a dilemma:

Continue along the tunnel to Giza and use the element of surprise? But risk delivering the Girdle into the hands of the cult if we are overpowered?

Or leave back through the mosque and attempt to wait it out until the ritual to raise Nitocris has failed?

Or try to destroy the girdle? But how?

Journal Wesley

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