53: The Investigators, the Pharaoh, His Queen and Her Doctor

8th October 1945, Ljubljana, Slovenia, People’s Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

US Military Investigators’ Report by Special Agent XXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX

Following up on a tip by one of the partisan resistance fighters our military investigators located a small apartment in downtown Ljubljana. Partially destroyed by fire (cause unknown) we had no difficulty entering. The two rooms within were sparsely furnished with a bed, a small desk and a cupboard. There were many broken bottles of hooch scattered across the floor. It would appear that the inhabitant had attempted to destroy a large amount of paper including possibly some books with varying degrees of success. The bathroom appeared to have been converted into a temporary darkroom with a red light and a number of unusual negatives discovered amongst the garbage littering the floor. Also some traces of blood. I have attached the negatives to this file but have been unable to examine them myself, except in their current form. To be frank, these appear to be some very unusual pictures that I am at a loss to describe, although I am only able to see them in negative form. Amongst the papers, I was only able to find one scrap of partially burnt hand-written copy written by someone called ‘I. Bloomberg’ that was just about legible. I have transcribed it for you here:

Sucking gouts of foetid mist. Lungs burning…bursting. Dry heaving from the stench of aeons old death and decay.

Legs no longer responding to my brains frantic urgings.

Dreck! I think I’m the last out of that unfathomable, loathsome chamber of horror.

I can hear the vile squalling and bellowing of the Black Sphinx…the sharp fizzing zip of the Yithians’ electric guns still reverberating, out of kilter with the crushing boom of the dynamite.

Then from behind me that fool Fock has stopped to look. He screams ‘It’s not been hurt….run….run! He has witnessed the massive many-mouthed bulk of the true Sphinx and its vast hideous shadow.

The bellowing, raging, incandescent fury of its screams follows us, seeps into us…fear and flash bulb images. Was it hurt by the TNT booby trap?

Natalya and Grand take point looking to retrace our steps back to the secret entrance that brought us here almost unmolested.

Everywhere and nowhere, the muffled sounds and scuffling of unseen movement, our enemies are all around us. When will they strike and avenge their dark master?

We press on.

Natalya propels Gardener forwards, as he stumbles in aimless abject terror writ in his gaunt visage.

Then from the front of our line the confused shouts of Grand and Sprech. A servitor of the outer gods

Myles fires a volley from his M16, he gasps as it causes no harm to the slopping slurping amorphous beast

Trixie draws her lightening weapon, but misses in her excitement.

I Bloomberg hit with a bolt but again nothing…then I remember only magic can stop it.

Myles changes weapon to his death ray and score a hit that halts the creature in it’s tracks, tentacles retract, eyes hood and it starts to retreat. Great work from the new boy.

Natalya steps forwards and unleashes a force of unbridled power as she recites Yog Sothoth’s true name and blasts it back into the stygian gloom of the passageway – unfortunately this is exactly where we must retreat!

She is spent, using every last vestige of her magical power.

Our blood is up and there are many hands willing to administer a coup de grace.

We rush forwards into the inky black, miners helmet lights pick out its obscene form.

Myles shoots his death ray again, but only the impotent click of his weapons is his reward.

Servitor of the Outer Gods cobnfonts the Investigators
Servitor of the Outer Gods: Photo By: Irma Bloomberg

The Journal of Professor Fock

Donelly aims and fires. This time the dark streak of plasma streams into its glutinous target. The vile fiendish servant of the outer gods, whom Nyarlethotep controls, flops noxiously to the floor.

The investigators flee down the tunnel and are confronted by a hideous entity. Blasts from lightning guns don’t affect it, but fist of Yog Sothoth does, as do the death ray weapons – until Myles’ death ray runs out! The being is a Servitor of the Outer Gods: A hideous piping toad-like monstrosity. They are servants of Nyarlathotep. Joe blasts it with his death ray and it rolls over and dies! But it was also Joe’s last shot. No mercury can be seen in the register.

The investigators continue: A distant howling groaning roar resonates throughout the subterranean caverns, no doubt the Black Sphinx in its fury and rage at the thwarting of the summoning.

Investigator Professor Fock Escapes... Just about.

Wes and Irma hear something ominous behind them. Children of the Sphinx? Grenades and conventional weapons are readied while the rest of the party continue down to a T-junction. Natalja throws a grenade at the fast approaching perfidious Children of the Sphinx and the predictable results coat the tunnel walls with an animal/human mix of Sphinx mutant offal. Irma’s follow-up grenade finishes off the rest and any stragglers lingering beyond. Any pursuers might now think twice about getting too close to the investigators…

Reunited, the investigators continue further along the passageway. There is no time to think: Just act. And move. The way back is easy to remember, as if it is etched indelibly on the minds of the investigators who have now passed this way several times. In the distance some shouting in Arabic can be heard. Myles is able to discern them saying “Yalla yalla!” They are waiting.

Turning left at the next junction, the investigators almost begin to lose their discipline as they flee, sensing that they are close to escaping the aberrant claustrophobia of this labyrinthine nightmare. The next turning and they are on the main tunnel: The close proximity to the exit means that they know what to expect. A final assault, a last deranged attempt to inflict baleful misery on the infiltrators, even though there is no way of reversing the terminal damage already done to the aims of the cult.

The tunnel curves to the right, but nothing can be heard ahead. Irma hears running from behind. It would be foolish to really think that the cultists would be anything but be persistent in their pursuit.

Myles: “Irma, Wesley: Keep those Mills bombs handy!”

Simon Grand: “Myles: Can you set a dynamite trap? On a timer?”

Fatigue is taking its toll, Natalja’s terrible gash has reopened and she can feel bones protruding. Gupta has slowed, as has Sprech and Donolly. Another Servitor appears ahead, to the abject horror of the investigators: Donolly blasts it with the death ray and destroys it, just as it is undulating and changing shape.

Simon: “Come on! The guys behind us are closing in!”

Myles: “Time for another Mills, chaps?”

There would have been very little time for the cultists to prepare an elaborate welcome for the investigators at the exit from the tunnels. They have been in and out in less than 30 minutes. The party has arrived at the hidden door and makes its way out. Somehow, even people like Gardener have retained their sanity, despite all he has seen. Footsteps are closing in from behind. Irma throws a grenade and Natalja too, there is screaming and shouting from below the ramp. Some futile random shooting can be heard.

Simon Grand shouts in Arabic in an attempt to sow confusion:

Simon: “Let’s get out of here now!”

An injured cultist emerges from the carnage and Wesley finishes him off with his M16. It was a swift mercy killing. A grenade is suddenly thrown up and lands on the floor between the investigators in the antechamber. Irma casts Fist of Yog Sothoth to blast away the grenade back into the pursuers. The grenade explodes amongst the cultists. The exertion causes Irma’s mind to snap. He collapses to his knees, and saliva begins to slide uncontrolled from his mouth, gaping with an expression of fear and horror frozen in his motionless eyes.

Wesley grabs him and drags him away from the ramp. The investigators emerge from the labyrinth into the night desert air. Their vehicles are still there. Something big and black with a ropy coiling tentacle suddenly attempts to strike Myles: It is the tail of a Hunting Horror! He dodges it like a cricket ball at silly mid-off:

Myles: “I say, that was close old boy!”

Joe: “Throw out your backpack as a decoy!”

Hunting Horror attacks our Investigators
Another Hunting Horror

The Horror completely ignores it and focuses its intent on the investigators. Trixie pushes forward and fires her lightning gun at it at point blank range causing damage before it lashes out with a claw, narrowly missing her. Gupta fires his lightning gun, and despite almost losing his mind at the horror of the thing, slices its head in two, killing it.

Joe: “Myles, with me to the van!”

Gupta and Trixie switch to conventional weapons and make their way towards the trucks past the rapidly dissolving fizzing and bubbling corpse of the hunting horror. A shadow can be seen behind the vehicles: It is another Hunting Horror and rises up, its baleful face betraying nothing but contempt for the hapless investigators.

Myles fires his M16 at it at close range and hits it with several bullets. Simon Grand does the same and hits it with three bullets. Trixie tries to shoot and her M16 abruptly jams. Gupta fires his tommy gun and hits it with a spray of five bullets: only three of them do any damage…

Gardener covers his ears and closes his eyes, whimpering:

Gardener: “Oh god I don’t want anything to do with this!”

Wesley: “Just stay down and out of the way!”

Trixie fires again and finishes the Horror as it tumbles forward onto Joe and Myles. Myles is unable to dodge the dissolving cadaver and is covered in its disgusting goo.

Natalja: “They are servants of Nyarlathotep! Like Russian, they feel no pain or fear. He can summon as many of them as he wants!”

All of the investigators are now out of the tunnel and quickly jump into the trucks. They pull away and a dark form can be seen circling in the sky above – the trucks are able to outpace them: Luckily…

Trixie: “Wesley, what did you see in there?”

Wesley: “It was a horror beyond all I have seen. It was a sphinx, but its face was a featureless hole into another dimension. And it was growing. Enormous! It was damaged by the explosion from Shakti’s body, but normally – and you can remember how much dynamite we packed into his body after removing most of his internal organs – caused it to reel, but it was not the damage you would normally have expected…”

Myles: “I can get you into my club, but Gupta may need to pretend to be my manservant.”

Gupta: “Oh bloody, bloody hell.”

The investigators split into two groups: Those who were at the shoot-out with Shakti in the restaurant (who go to Myles’ apartment) and those who weren’t who go back to the hotel.

At Myles’ apartment, Trixie, Gupta, Myles and Joe attempt to make themselves comfortable.

Myles: “I have a damn fine collection of Scotch if anyone fancies a nip?”

It has been a hard day. There have been similar ones, but there is something particularly tough about trying to unwind after a day like today. What happened? What was this all about? How could it have come to this? The minds of the investigators whirl in a futile search for a single grain of reason in a maelstrom of insanity.

Trixie: “Once we destroyed Nitocris, they had to resort to plan B. Or maybe this was their plan all along?”

Thoughts go back to the notes of Jackson Elias: It is like everything has turned full circle.

Exhaustion sets in, and many of the investigators are ready to sleep. Myles takes first watch, and Simon takes first watch with the group back at the hotel.

As the irresistible clammy fingers of sleep gradually tighten their strangle hold on the consciousness of the investigators, the strangest thing suddenly happens. All of the investigators are together in a darkened corridor, united in a bizarre unreality.

What is this place? The Dreamlands? A hidden chamber with hieroglyphs. Everyone has the standard gear with them as if they weren’t expecting major trouble. Ahead is an asymmetrical arch. The investigators head towards it. A sense of growing trepidation. Entering the chamber they see six 5’ pillars topped with strange alien gems. Strange geology. Wesley’s eyes narrow: “I don’t know what they are… Never seen anything like this before…?”

There is a large star chart depicting astronomical symbols but no one can interpret them. There is also a distorted map of the Earth’s continents. The gems glow and light the room. The eclipse is depicted.

“The Old Ones shall come hence and all shall tremble before their awful might!”

Wes: “Look one of the stars is glowing brightly! It is Formalhaut!”

Sitting on the throne is Nyarlathotep resplendent in the form of the Black Pharaoh.

Nyarlathotep: “So finally you are here at the throne of the Black Pharaoh. Small mortal beings like you are, you think you have won a great victory. You are beginning to get an understanding. Should not the victors have a prize? You are the heroes of your own story. I merely gave you the prompting. It was here that I showed the Carlyle expedition what they wanted and now I will show you the future you have crafted.”

A vision unfolds in the air and the investigators see crowds of people walking, hurrying through New York streets in the direction of Central Park. Their faces contorted in fear and fury in equal measure, a policeman with the sign of a scarab on his arm directs them in the direction of the park, occasionally lashing out at stragglers with a vicious bullwhip. Queen Nitocris’ image hangs from Cyclopean banners in the sky. It is a terrifying future with the Black Pharaoh ruling. The barren Central Park has been transformed into a functional gathering space for hundreds of thousands of people. At its centre, a raised hill with a giant floodlit stage has been erected, upon which a dais stands, surrounded by burning torches. At the back of the stage, some banners feature images of crossed sticks of dynamite and various slogans such as “One Doctor! One Queen! One Pharaoh!” and “The Doctor Commands! We shall follow!” A man steps up to the dais in a black uniform: “The Doctor will speak to you now. Enemies are all around us! What do we do?”

In a single, deafening voice which echoes against the buildings surrounding the park, the crowd responds: “PERIMETER CHECK!”

A man in black steps forward. It is a curiously younger Doctor Yegor Gaidar. His face is the face that the investigators recognize, but the expression is not. The eyes are devoid of humour, which has been replaced by crude fanaticism. These same eyes are fixed coldly upon something in the distance. At first, the investigators strain to discern what they may be searching for, until they realize that the eyes are looking at them, beyond the veil of the vision. Doctor Gaidar holds them in his fixed stare and a deathly malicious silence falls upon the huge gathering. Only the flickering of the torch flames in the wind can be heard. The Doctor takes two steps towards the microphone on the dais and calmly raises a fist into the air before screaming:


Nyarlathotep: “All of your souls are promised to me. They are mine. It is only a matter of time. One of them in a matter of hours.”

Joe: “You fear us!”

Nyarlathotep: “Oh I do not give orders or commands. Just hints to help them on the way.”

Joe: “Our answer to you will always be the same!”

He draws his gun to shoot him but is instantly dissolved by Nyarlathotep! All other investigators do the same! Myles shot hits Nyarlathotep in the head, and out of his body:


Investigators meet Nyarlathotep


It is morning. There is a knock at the door.

Page: “Room service. I have urgent telegram!”




Journal Wesley
Journal Wesley

6 Comments Add yours

  1. El Vikingo says:

    A truly thrilling installment .
    What a fantastic twist.
    What will our brave, fearless and foolish investigators do next?

  2. Wesley Fock says:

    Good question. Perimeter check, perhaps?

  3. Waxahachie says:

    A random Keeper here stopping in to say that I stumbled upon this site in doing some research for my own Masks campaign and think it is fantastic. I haven’t gotten a chance to go through all of your archives, but I am sure this will prove quite an educational read. I’m running a play by post version of the Masks campaign at RPOL, and we’re still in London (though things may be coming to a head soon).

  4. Wesley Fock says:

    Thanks Waxahachie, glad you enjoy reading our journal. It is mostly written by the players (the Keeper generally has enough to do) and we have been playing together for at least twenty -five strange aeons now so there is a lot to read here! Good luck with your Masks campaign!

  5. Antura says:

    What the hell… it’s amazing! Thanks for archiving it.

    1. Hi,
      Always a pleasure.

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