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Previously On Horror on the Orient Express: Letter From Yuri to Emma

Tyler built a hearty, cosmopolitan boxer, Yuri Nekal, for our pulpy investigations in the Horror on the Orient Express. As the Keeper of the game, I've heartily encouraged players

to correspond with a backstory character--a Pillar of Sanity, in the parlance of Trail of Cthulhu--who can step in if the lead character is killed or driven beyond the brink of sanity over the course of the investigation. Yuri has been writing and collecting letters for his missing sister for a long time, so this is a continuation of a habit as it dips into the Mythos. This doubles as a player's journal of the events, helping them handle the many clues, leads, and red herrings along the journey.

But that's enough of that! Enjoy Yuri's letter to his sister below!

~ Game Master Caleb

Image: Jack Dempse in the Ring

~ ~ ~


It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve written, I didn’t have much to write about until a few days ago and it’s been pretty crazy since then. You wouldn’t believe it but I’m headed for the Orient Express. It’s not all good though, I wish I could say otherwise.

My friend Doctor Smith, yes the same one that helped me get started as a boxer, he invited me to London with some other “friends” of his. We very quickly got caught up is all kinds of mysterious and strange things. When I say strange I really mean Strange.

It started with a fancy gathering and I thought I could find a new sponsor maybe. I remember seeing a group of protesters in the street marching for better wages or a better life in general. There was a homeless man I talked to a bit, and a pretty Roma girl that was enjoying the crisp winter air out side with me. I didn’t know it at the time but she was also invited by Doc Smith. Her name is Myra and she’s something else altogether.

Myra seems to have been adopted, willing or unwilling, by Mable Edwards. Yes, Edwards she is indeed the wife of my former sponsor the late Mr. Edwards. I originally thought that here psychic feats were just for show, I don’t think that anymore.

Our party, I think we need a better name for sure; we started investigating some mysterious happenings that Doc Smith asked us to look into. One of them was a bunch of deaths in this hotel; the victim(s) were Turkish so it made sense for me look into that. Right from the start it was very strange. The victims were all the same person; they all looked alike and had the same names on their passports. There appears to also be an older gentleman that also has the same name but I wasn’t able to locate him yet. The Concierge said the older man was the one that originally checked in. The younger versions had passports with different visa stamps in them. Yes very strange stuff.

During the investigation we discovered something odd in a ledger book at the missing, older man’s, antique store. It was a sale of a model train; it just wasn’t something that you would see in an antique store. It was modeled after a train that derailed in England and some of the cars were never recovered. While we were there some very strange fellows attacked Myra and Mable, I didn’t see how it started but Myra and Mable were out in the ally for some fresh air and unprovoked these guys just started trying to kill them. It ended pretty fast once the rest of The Party showed up, I’m not going to say that I saved the day; it was obviously a team effort. The Party captured a couple of the attackers alive and they were also looking for the Antiques guy, and the train.

We tracked down the guy the train was sold to only to find out that he was missing and that his apartment caught fire. The police had confiscated the train; their reasoning was that it was the only possible source of the fire. Which I thought was a very strange since the train didn’t have any smoke or fire damage. Luck would have it that they brought it to a train enthusiast for inspection. We met him at his apartment and he let us check out the model train.

We started it up and everything seemed normal right up till Myra started saying that the real train was coming. We had seen her do her Psychic thing a couple times by now and so out of caution we stopped the model and she said it was safe. We decided to box it up and run it at a safer location. Which turned out to be some rarely used rail lines outside of Paris.

So Nils Redinger one of the other members of The Party works on the Orient Express and a problem solver of sorts. This has been very helpful to The Party already and I imagine even more so along our journey. Well Nils was able to arrange for us to use the train yard for a bit. We setup the Model and let it start running and sure enough a couple minutes later there was a real life ghost train coming out of literal nowhere. It scared the heck out of me; it’s also the moment that I decided not to question Myra’s abilities again.

The train’s occupants wanted us to get onboard. That however seemed like a real bad idea. I wasn’t given much choice though. I was quickly surrounded by the ghostly haunted occupants and ended up trying to make my escape by running through the train car to the other door. It was locked though and while I was fighting to get it open one of Robin, The Party’s resident motor head, showed up and did something to the outside of the door and we were able to get away. We managed to save they guy that bought the train from the Antique store though so that was good.

I use to think that whatever happened to you and our parents was crazy, I’m just starting to realize that there’s a lot more frightening stuff out there then I could have ever imagined. I really miss you Emma you were always my light house on a dark and stormy night. When Dad decided that I needed toughening up and Mom let him. You were always the one that fixed me up and comforted me. I realize that our parents probably brought whatever misery that befell them on themselves. If I could I would find you and destroy anyone or anything that got in my way. I’m starting to realize that I’m not the week little boy that ran away for Paris after you were taken. I’ve changed and I don’t think Dad would try to toughen me up any more, although I would love to see him try. As much anger as I feel toward them I would really like to see them to. Is that sad? Yes I would probably break Dad’s jaw, but it would happen after I wept with relief.

Your Brother,

Yuri Nekal

Image: Islington Antique Shop from Horror on the Orient Express (Chaosium)

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