Dramatis Personae Alex the Wrench by Catie Teddy & Fink the Terrier by Kelly Simone duBois the Widow by Cindy Big Mitch the Fuse by Ted Izzy the Strange by Rachel and with Keeper of Mysteries Tyler
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They needed a bit of patching up when they came back and I had the downtime between administering what antidote I had to those with the Yellow Death. The poor souls. The aboriginals here in North Borneo were hardest hit, though that Kazin the landowner and his laborers were sick just as well. I tricked the cad into thinking we were giving him a booster when we gave him the cure. No good would come from him losing his head in the midst of everything and then his men were able to help get the treated shuttled out of the camp. This device Mr. Shapiro provided is rather miraculous, too bad all that's left of him are his bones.
So let's get to it, then.
We came back from our safari in the otherworldly jungle to find Quentin Shapiro's bones in a box and the medical device confirmed it was the Yellow Death killing the locals. Alex and I poked about and managed to have it dispense a cure for the condition, though I stayed behind to administer the sick, as previously described. They had a slippery serpent person to track and we were in the suspicion that he might resemble our Mr. Shapiro.
Big Mitch and Alex seemed to be quite the star as they trekked back over the surreal landscape. No more star-face rodents, just the big gorilloid brute we narrowly missed earlier, and this time he had a friend. They're massive frames cannot be of this world as they look vaguely simian, but their arms bisect at the elbow into two forearms and their face opens vertically, revealing a terrible maw of jagged teeth. The bone structure of such creatures would be rather intriguing. But as it was they lobbed their grenades at the beasts while Alex setup her automatic rifle. Mrs. duBois lobbed her own grenade at the first, sending it down mere moments after its attack. The second became subdued briefly by Izzy's increasingly potent sorcery. That gave Alex the opportunity to shoot it while Big Mitch's grenade did the final deed.
Back in New York, the pictures are showing that King Kong. I wonder what the directors would make of this sort of beast.
The jungles that have sprouted up on North Borneo are nightmarish to behold, though beautiful in their way. The fruit is ripe and bright, easily plucked from the trees. (Indeed, I worried the surreal sustenance was responsible for the locals falling ill.) And the beasts are some combination of a pachyderm and the stegosauri they've uncovered in Colorado. The locals attest to the flavorful meat, but none of us have partaken. The blossoms along the trees, however... They seem strange... fleshy even, as if alive in some animalistic way and not simply the blossoming of an orchid. It would pain me to return now. I suppose I'll have to learn what I can from the tentacle-faced rodent we've captured.
They came upon the mountain temple where prior we had turned back. The cordial, hound creatures there offered their rotted meats to them, but they were overjoyed at the notion of gug meat along the trail and they set off for them. The temple itself, they said, was hexagonal in design with a clean, clear hallway leading to a central atrium with a pair of low, parallel barriers, one obviously a control panel, on a central hexagonal dias. While they entered from the northwest, a second hall led off at 120 degrees from which the tittering laughter of the winged, faceless creatures could be heard. A larger entrance opened off of the other wall (another 120 degrees from us or the winged menaces) through which a conversation echoed.
To get a better read on the conversation, Teddy and Izzy furtively scurried in, but neither is quite as nimble as they had hoped as the "Shapiro" character entered the room while Big Mitch, Alex, and Simone kept back; Fink the Terrier stayed back at Teddy's behest. The false Shapiro inquired of Teddy and Izzy, but Teddy had none of it, took aim, and fired! With the blast the others rolled into action as well.
Izzy gestured and intoned fell words in an attempt to control "Shapiro's" confidante, but the snakeperson resisted after a moment of playacting, Teddy was forced to tumble for cover as the snakeperson blasted his flame pistol at her! Then the tittering nightgaunts flew into the hallway, swarming Izzy behind the rear control panel, their wings a leathery cacophony in the maelstrom that Mrs. DuBois fired into from the entrance.
Alex lowered her crosshairs on the faux Shapiro's accomplice and fired, riddling the Inner Night foe with holes just as Big Mitch raised his own firearm and blasted several times, killing one of the faceless abominations. Teddy, in the center of the room along the raised, hexagonal dais fired at the nightgaunts, felling one with a potent, but not lethal shot to its shoulder and it collapsed like a weighty butcher's apron.
The Shapiro lookalike heaved himself over the control panel and pulled against the various strange levers and the floor of the dais itself opened up! They described some ineffable titan writhing through the earth itself and with a blast of ichor Alex feinted as the ichor hardened about her! The others reported looked wild eyed about herself as she seemed lost in time, her pistol weighty in her hand as the ichor solidified around them!
Simone, following her own survival instincts, was the first to wrest herself free and seeing the small, prone figure of Alex in the semi-translucent shell rushed to her aid. Underneath the goo, Simone described Alex's halting breathing on the other side of the goo, but she wasn't moving! Mitch and Teddy pull themselves free of their strange bonds and move to Alex and only with Simone's aid were they able to pry the casing off of her like some eldritch chrysalis.
"Shapiro," seeing his opportunity to escape pushes past Izzy with ease, trying to make way out of the tunnel from which the nightgaunts had come. Simone tries to treat Alex's wounds, but she was only able to wipe away much of the still present and pliant goo. Mitch, angered but clear-headed, raised his revolver against the fleeing Shapiro and fires, the bullet ricocheting for a moment down the stone hallway. Teddy and her trusty terrier Fink move for Shapiro and outpace him as the tunnel opens on a cliffside aerie of the nightgaunts with a maddening drop below! They wrestle the imposter and learn what they can.
At this point, the party fell silent as a group. It was late from a long and challenging day. We had managed to fashion a dirigible from the tent materials and Alex's peculiar jetpack. To this, we attached the "doomsday device" the fools at Caduceus had brought and set it into the air. The plan had been to send it out over the sea, but the winds worked against us and the device contorted toward the stony temple. Its blast was strangely silent, like suction, and many reported their ears popping as if descending from a great height. We instructed everyone to shield their eyes as, from the sound of it, the damnable device would be bright. And it was, casting brilliant orange and yellow lights in waving, serpentine patterns. It had climbed high and far enough to blast clear much of the surreal landscape and whoever else was foolish enough to explore there while it avoided those we were still treating.
We had achieved an incredible level of success in treating our patients. It took us another day and a half to work out other issues, but the Yellow Death could, we learned, be slowed somewhat while the medical device dispensed the treatment. Of the thousand, we were able to save some 690 souls. Many had fallen before us and while we were there, at least a dozen to the guards' volleys when they had tried to escape. The plane had gotten into something like a repaired state and we set off for a proper flight from Jakarta. We had plenty of questions for those in New York. And now there was this letter left in Shapiro's belongings, too...
Image Source, The OSR Library, http://theosrlibrary.blogspot.com/2014/10/lovecraft-dreamlands-creatures.html