Madness at Arkham

On to Easter Island

Upon arriving in Arkham, the group stored Madame Fri Fri’s corpse in an outdoor ice-box and began learning the resurrection spell. They also retrieved Professor Woodhouse and Vincent from the asylum. After several tries and a near-nervous breakdown for Alistair, the group was able to bring Madame Fri Fri back from the dead. Badly shaken and with a shock of gray hair.

They received a telegram from David Lee, who had gone on to Chile on the trail of Stanford and informed them that Stanford had been implicated in a string of disappearances in Valparaiso. Also, Stanford had apparently secured several large ships and a crew of locals for some kind of deep-sea expedition. Lee agreed to meet the group on Easter Island when he was able.

The investigators accelerated their preparations for the Easter Island journey. Alistair secured a large ship and crew and they brought crates of food, weapons and explosives with them. On Easter Island, they were greeted by an armed Chilean military party and escorted to see Captain Pereira, the commanding military authority on the island. After he had checked their credentials, he secured quarters for them in an empty barracks building.

At dinner, they met Father Jorge, who opened several bottles of excellent Chilean wine for their meal of mutton and fish. They also met Professor Methridge, who talked with them about the recent rash of missing person cases on the island, including several members of his archaelogical team. He related the following story to them

“We landed as a team on the island three months ago, after gaining full permission from the Chilean government to conduct excavations. We then surveyed the island, a large job that took about six weeks. After that, exploratory trenches were dug in likely spots, including an old funeral monument and an abandoned village.

“At two locations we made most interesting finds. At the site of the abandoned village, east of the Katiki volcano, we found a layer of burned material two feet under the surface. This evidence of a large fire there several thousand years ago is noteworthy because there is little vegetation on the island. That may eliminate a forest or brush fire as a cause.

“The greater find took place at the funeral structures, about three miles north of Hanga-Roa. The structures are each a ramp made of stone, with a platform at the high end of the ramp holding three of the strange stone statues for which the island is famous. The natives call the structures Ahu-moai. The particular Ahu-moai we were working on was in total fifty yards long, forty-three yards wide, and seven yards high. Each individual statue of the Ahumoai was about twenty feet tall.

“In measuring the site, one of our graduate students stumbled upon a hidden crack, which had
opened to reveal a hollow interior, a sort of catacomb. This catacomb contained sixteen mummified bodies standing in niches. A vase and three statuettes were also discovered here. A few hours after this discovery, the kidnappings began.

“Those who disappeared include six members of the university archaeological team, three native
islanders, two shepherds, and two sailors from the Chilean military garrison.

“These seemingly random disappearances occurred the night after the discovery of the several
statuettes and the clay vase. Those finds had ‘fishman’ motifs and similar graphical references, a theme unknown before on Easter Island."

That night, the investigators attended a native “singsong” and spoke with a village elder, who directed them to a “birdman priest” who lived in a secret cave in the side of Rano Kao and said that he might be able to help.

The next day, they traveled to Rano Kao and climbed the mountain path until they discovered the hidden cave. There they met the “birdman priest,” whom they were surprised to learn spoke perfect English. He welcomed them into his home

“The islanders were not the first people on Easter Island. The Hanau-Eepe, the Long Ears, were here first. The Long Ears changed from fish to men in ten generations. They were not like us.

“They built the moai and the place of star-watching which is on this mountain. They told the first of our people who came to the island that the island was sacred to their priest, who lives below the water. When our people first came they welcomed us, but then they killed some of us most horribly, as food for the moai. The moai are somehow alive, but this is not really understood.

The first Tangata-Manu prayed to the old gods of the sky for aid and was answered by the god Noa.
With the knowledge given to him and the Crystal of Noa, we destroyed the Hanau-Eepe in a great war and burned their bodies."

The priest then gave them a mask that he claimed would enable the wearer to breathe underwater and a magical spear “that always flies true.” In exchange, he asked that the investigators purchase enough clothing and shoes for all the islanders. He gave them instructions on how to locate an underwater cave in which the investigators could find the Crystal of Noa, which can be used to destroy great demonic spirits.

They thanked the priest and then made their way by small boat to the island that held the Crystal of Noa. Professor Woodhouse donned the mask and swam down to find the cave opening. He was surprised when he came upon three horrid fishmen with rusted tridents who swam to attack immediately. The Professor swam to the surface and was pulled into the boat moments before the fishmen attacked

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Meeting Lee in Maine

Upon returning to Arkham, the group discovered that they had a letter waiting for them in care of Professor Peale.

*Salk Harbour, Maine
Friends:

I do not know of your current whereabouts, so I have sent this letter to your contact at Miskatonic and asked him to forward it to you. I apologize that I have not contacted you directly since the dreadful and bloody affair at the Look to the Future event in New York. I have been reading of your exploits in the newspapers and wish intently to see you.

As you know, I have some slight occult knowledge myself, and am aware of the danger that you are all in from the Silver Twilight. Please: accept the enclosed train tickets to come and meet me immediately in Salk Harbour, Maine. I would be very happy to lend my considerable resources to help defend the world against the monstrous evil of the Elder Ones. I expect you shortly.

Your friend,

David Lee*

The group took the train up to Salk Harbor, where they disembarked, rented a large car and drove the short distance to David Lee’s house. David and his housekeeper welcomed them and over dinner, David came to the purpose of his invitation"

“Fifty years ago, a man named Clarence Woodie lived north of town. He had a reputation for being an evil and vengeful man. He would kick dogs to death for snapping at him. He would poison a neighbor’s sheep if it stepped onto his land. He never married, but adopted three boys from the county orphanage. He raised them in his evil ways, and they were as wicked as he, I
dare say. “When he suddenly died, the boys found a tin box stuffed with money under his bed. They
claimed that they came upon it by accident. The townsfolk did not believe this story, and neither
did the police, who arrested the lads on a charge of smothering their foster father for his money. All three were hanged — they were in their early twenties by then — and they were buried in unmarked graves. Then a strange thing happened. The person who bought the Woodie house was found dead with a rope burn about his throat, as if he had been hung! Only he was found lying in his bed, with no rope at hand.

“Later on, several other people, including two tramps, also died in that house, their throats mysteriously marked by rope as though from a hangman’s knot. I think, and I feel you may
agree with me, that the damned spirits of Woodie’s boys lingered about that house, murdering
whoever stayed there too long.

“Finally, no one would enter that house, and it fell into disrepair. Thus it remained for over forty years. But last year a person came to town who had once belonged to the Silver Twilight and he bought the land on which the old house stood. He did not sleep in the place, but villagers whispered that he performed strange acts there, and that he was trying to invoke or tame the haunts that lived there. His name was Malcolm Smith. In any case, I spied on him trying to
converse with the house’s ghosts. When I saw the wraiths themselves speak with him, I fainted
dead away!

“I contacted you because I’ve guessed what Mr. Smith was trying to do. He realized that the haunts had a powerful magical aura, and he was trying to tap it for some magical act He was actually weakening the ghosts — not to destroy them, but to steal their energy to perform magic. Smith disappeared just before I fell ill. Even though weakened, the specters managed to
destroy the man who was vampirizing them. When I listened to their conversation, this is what
I heard:

“‘Ye fiends of night! Ye ghosts of the damned
dead! Ye spirits of evil and sin! Come! Come!
Come and yield up your criminal power to me!
Free your weakening resolve from this place of
your crimes, and release your energy! Reinforce
me with the magic and power of your being! I
must wax and you must wane! Strengthen me at
your despair!’

“That’s what Malcolm Smith chanted. Then, the faint ghost of a man, its head lolling at one side as though the neck was cracked, appeared. “‘Depart from us,’ said the ghost. ‘Leave us be
. . . cease tormenting our pains and anguish . . . leave us or let us feast upon your fear, as we
have done to others . . . sacrifice yourself to our hunger or depart from our horror . . . .’

“At this point Malcolm suddenly turned away, the ghost gave a mournful wail, and I fainted.
Would you please take up where I left off? The ghosts are weaker now; not even the villagers at
their most superstitious now feel that they are active. They still may be able to harm you, so
take care. If Malcolm Smith did indeed die in that haunted house, he may have left interesting manuscripts or incriminating data about the organization he devoted his life to — the Silver Twilight.

“I found out about his membership in the Silver Twilight when I saw Carl Stanford speaking with him three weeks before Smith disappeared. We need to stop whatever it is they are doing here before it’s too late!"

The next morning, the investigators split into two groups, with one researching the murder and the others scouting out the cabin in the woods. The researchers to their surprise were not able to locate any information at all on the murder. The scouting group, on the other hand, was ambushed by gunmen as it stepped out the car and walked towards the cabin. One man fired at them from the roof and the other from behind a tree. They scattered for cover, but Little Orchid was hit by gunfire and crawled towards the house to avoid the gunman’s line of sight. Alistair ran for cover behind the car and the Professor opened fire from behind a tree, hitting and killing the second man on the ground. Alistair jumped into the car as the man on the roof blew out the windshield with a .45 caliber slug. He began driving towards the house to retrieve Little Orchid while the Professor ran to the car while shooting towards the roof. In a series of comic mishaps, the car hit the Professor and dragged her and then almost ran into the cabin. Alistair regained control of the car, pulled Little Orchid and the Professor to safety and sped off while several .45 slugs slammed into the car.

Meanwhile, back in town, the pilot Robbie had developed a dreadful stomach flu and was very ill. The other investigators searched through the house while David Lee was in town on business and found a letter from Karl Stanford hidden in a desk in the attic. Beginning to suspect that something was seriously amiss with David Lee, they searched the rest of the house and discovered a gaunt David Lee hidden in a sea-chest in the basement! The knew they had to act fast: whoever (or whatever) the David Lee impostor was, he would be back any minute. They decided to ambush him as soon as he stepped out of his car to enter the house. Madame Fri Fri positioned herself in a nearby tree and the rest of the group secreted themselves in the foyer.

“David Lee” returned to the house and true to plan, Madame Fri Fri opened fire on him as soon as he neared the porch. She struck him in the shoulder and at that moment Lee’s face melted away and was replaced by that of Max Reed, Karl Stanford’s bodyguard. Reed drew his gun quickly while another shot whizzed by. He took aim and shot Madame Fri Fri, killing her. Alistair and Robbie opened fire with shotguns, blowing apart the porch and killing Max Reed.

They decided to ship Madame Fri Fri’s body back to Arkham and put it on deep freeze until they could spring Professor Woodhouse from the Arkham Asylum or learn the resurrect spell themselves.

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The Arc of Vlactos Recovered

February 1929. Winter in Arkham. The group had taken a month to recuperate after the Scotland episode. They decided to hide the two parts of the R’Lyeh Disk in Arkham Federal Bank and in the vaults below the Miskatonic library. They had spent several weeks delving into the archives at Miskatonic with the help of Professor Peale when they received a telegram:

GENTLEMEN YESTERDAY I MET WITH JACOB HANCOCK STOP HE
RELATED YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS IN SCOTLAND STOP PLEASE ADVISE
YOUR PRESENT AVAILABILITY BY RETURN WIRE STOP I WISH YOU
TO INVESTIGATE THE DEATH OF ERIC VON VARNSTEIN STOP I
BELIEVE HE DIED VIA SUPERNATURAL AGENCY STOP FEES AND
TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS FOLLOW AT YOUR AGREEMENT STOP IF
AVAILABLE I HAVE CHARTERED A FLIGHT FOR YOU FROM BOSTON
SIGNED WINWOOD END

Their independent investigations had indicated that the Arc of Vlactos might be found somewhere in California, so they decided to accept the offer of the movie mogul Grant Winwood and headed out to Hollywood. After a bumpy flight, they arrived in Hollywood and were chauffeured to the Winwood mansion in Belair, where they were treated to a lavish dinner with drinks afterward in a large sitting room.

Winwood related the following information to the group:
The famous director Von Varnstein handpicked his cast and began filming in 1928. Everything was under his traditional veil of secrecy. He built elaborate Babylonian sets costing about half a million dollars, a stupendous cost for that era. He erected the sets — along with temporary quarters for cast and crew — on a strip of rented land in a remote area of the Mojave. The choice of Devil’s Canyon seems to have been a fatal mistake, as a series of very strange mishaps in the desert led to the madness of several members of the crew and the bizarre suicide of von Varnstein himself.

Winwood said that he expected the investigators to stay in Hollywood for about a week, collecting information, preparing any equipment, and generally living at his expense. After a week or so, he wanted them to go to Devil’s Canyon and gather data for another week. Along with supplies, he provided a key to the cast’s quarters on the deserted set in Devil’s Canyon.

The group made inquiries in Hollywood and learned that von Varstein had been experimenting with some cutting-edge camera lenses and that he had taken to wandering about the desert with his camera and special lenses. They found the strange lenses and decided to project the remaining outtake reels for von Varnstein’s epic film Prince of Babylon through the lenses. They were quite disgusted to see that when viewed through the lenses, several horrible creatures could be seen in the background, sometimes rubbing their loathsome claws on the actors’ bodies in a perverse and lewd fashion.

Further research revealed that a vanished native tribe called the Hohtek had once inhabited Devil’s canyon and had been led into the worship of Shub-Niggurath by a degenerate missionary named Whateley. They reasoned that the Hohtek left guardians in desert and that these creatures, which they had seen on the film, were intended to protect the Arc of Vlactos from prying eyes.

The pilot Robbie took his plane ahead and landed in the canyon while the group drove in two large cars accompanied by two stagehands from the studio. While waiting for the rest of the group, Robbie poked around the abandoned set of Prince of Babylon and heard a series of strange noises around the set. When he emerged, he was dismayed to discover that the engine of the plane had been neatly removed and left on top. The group arrived some time later and they set up camp on the set.

The next day, they explored the canyon and discovered a path leading up to an abandoned cliff town of the Hohtek. While making their way up the path to the town, they suffered a rock slide that seriously injured Madame Fri Fri and one of the stagehands. These two made their way back to the set accompanied by the other stagehand. Looking through the lens, the group saw several of the guardian creatures on the cliff overlooking the path. They hurried up to the cliffside pueblo and began searching it, whereupon they found a large sunken space with an ancient firepit. Arranged around the pit were several native cachina dolls, which they deduced served as the vessels containing the spirits of the guardian things. They searched the pit and discovered the Arc of Vlactos, buried under stone and ash. As they set fire to the cachina dolls, the creatures suddenly attacked from all sides. They were visible through the lenses. The group had become quite deadly at this range with firearms and dispatched their foes with only minor injuries.

They then repaired the plane and took the Arc of Vlactos back with them to Los Angeles. They spent two weeks resting and recuperating in Los Angeles while Madame Fri Fri recovered from her injuries and then flew back to Boston.

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A last stand

Tommy Hayes led the way into the tunnels. The Constable carried the bandaged and groaning Maeve on a makeshift gurney. They were surprised and relieved to see that the tunnels were illuminated by lamps, suggesting that they were frequently used. The group paused to rest for a moment and reload their weapons. The elephant guns were running low on ammunition….

The group made its way slowly forward, with Vincent and Clint serving as forward scouts. After walking for ten minutes through the damp tunnels, Vincent heard some noise up ahead. He scouted it out and saw three of what must have been the “cross ’tween a viper and a Chinamen” standing in the shadows in a cave filled with large stalagmites. They were holding objects made of glass and some kind of metal. There was no way back, so the group decided to use the element of surprise—-and the elephant guns—-to make short work of the lizard men. Clint, Madame Fri Fri and Alistair burst into the room and opened fire, killing two of the creatures and wounding the third, who pointed the glass object at them and hissed as a flash of intense light shot forward, missing the three, but hitting the Professor who was standing behind them. A .45 caliber slug silenced the snake man forever.

Suddenly three armed men emerged from behind stalagmites. It was a trap! Seeing that they were in a deadly field of fire, the group retreated quickly through the door as Fergus and Alistair opened fire, while an old man that they surmised was Duncan MacBain began to chant and gesticulate.

After several false starts and some confusion, the group decided that the only way through would be to risk being shot as they crossed the ground between the cave opening and the stalagmites. They hurled in a lantern as a distraction and then charged into the cave, blazing away. In the confusion, they were able to close the distance and take cover behind the stalagmites that the men were using as cover. The Professor prepared a spell as the group prepared to jump over the stalagmites and fight the three men hand to hand. As the group spun around to fight, the Professor finished his short chant and pointed at Fergus, who blackened and fell to the floor. The other two men were brought down with gunfire.

They moved forward through the tunnels until they reached a large cavern with several entrances. Two large slimy holes bracketed the cavern on two sides. The ground rumbled and the place stank of earth and rotting meat. As the group moved through the tunnels, they discovered that there was a door in the outer wall that led to Duncan MacBain’s shack. They heard a woman’s voice from behind them “Protect the Disk!” At that moment, the ground erupted and they saw a huge, hideous Thing, with a mass of ropey tentacles spilling from its front. It looked to be the size of several subway cars. The Professor raised the cane and began to intone his spell, while the group escaped through the door to the outside world. The spell had no effect on the creature, but the Professor began screaming and clawing at his head. The investigators grabbed him and they fled out the door.

They stood outside MacBain’s shack for a minute, drinking scotch from a bottle they found in the shack. Alistair was commenting on the scotch’s surprisingly high quality when the shack exploded in a shower of wood and dirt. The Thing had burrowed beneath the ground to find them! They began to run, as it rumbled and slithered towards them. The Professor said “we must stop it!” and turned towards the creature, intoning a spell. The rest of the group unslung their weapons and started emptying clips into the creature while the Professor finished his spell. They brought it down, but couldn’t stop themselves from continuing to shoot the thing after it had stopped moving. They stood for a moment, clutching their weapons. Then, as if they all knew what they had to do, they ran to Cannich, commandeered several vehicles and fled for their lives to Inverness.


Two days later they left Inverness with their two pieces of the R’lyeh Disk and headed back to the US. They left Maeve in the hospital to recover from her gunshot wound. Tommy Hayes filed a report with Scotland Yard that laid blame for the carnage in Cannich on the Order of the Silver Twilight, whose ranks he had infiltrated. There was no mention of magic or strange creatures. Because of their role in bringing down the coven, the investigators were cleared of any wrongdoing.

Their minds badly battered, they boarded a liner back to the States. Upon reaching Arkham, they brought Vincent and the Professor to the Arkham Asylum for a period of rest. The Professor wailed piteously as the orderlies took his cane from him for his own safety. He kept shouting that he must be allowed to visit with his son. They had a lot of catching up to do…

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Two out of three

That night, after the MacNair fainting episode, the group returned to the bar to plot their next course of action. Clint hauled two pieces of the R’lyeh Disk up to his room, each piece covered by a large canvas bag. The Inn was packed that night: Wally MacMurdo, Sandy MacBean, Father MacBride, Dr. Kennedy, Fergus MacInnes, Alistair MacGilliverny, Constable Sandy MacNeil and Tommy Hayes all sat eating and drinking in the smokey room. Fergus and Alistair eyed eyed Clint with great interest. Alistair left the Inn to “stretch his legs.” Two fires roared at either end of the Inn. The group sat with Father MacBride and Dr. Kennedy to relate the day’s events.

About twenty minutes later, as the group sat talking to Kennedy and Father MacBride, they noticed Alistair MacGilliverny, the schoolteacher, re-enter the Inn and take his seat by the bar. A minute or so later, a rock shattered a window, startling everyone in the room. Amid the shouts and stammers, Alistair, Fergus and Wally MacMurdo made their way over to the group, with concealed butcher’s knife and billy clubs. Wally clumsily kicked over a chair and alerted the group that they were about to be ambushed. Without blinking, and to remarkable effect, the now-seasoned investigators grabbed heavy crockery from their table and hurled it at their assailants. A heavy mug shattered on Fergus’s head, knocking him out cold. Two plates and another mug struck Alistair, who went spilling ass-backwards into a table full of haggis, scotch pie and piping hot “Scotch broth.” He lay still, groaning under the table. Not to be outdone, Madame Fri Fri hurled a sharp meat knife at Wally, striking him square in the chest. Sir Alistair Falconer shouted, leaped over the table and kicked Wally, who collapsed on the knife protruding from his chest and expired. These three men were not the first—-and would not be the last—-to pay dearly for underestimating the firm of Falconer and Associates.

Gunfire erupted outside, shattering several windows. Mr. Hayes identified himself as Scotland Yard and ordered the Constable to restrain Fergus and Alistair. He then directed the investigators to push the large tables up against the door and windows and to bar the door. The back door was also secured. The gunfire stopped and they heard a voice outside: “Give us the disk and we will let you live!” It was the arrogant bastard Ian MacLennan. The Professor began to speak with Ian while several other members went upstairs in case of an attempt on the R’lyeh disk. Their suspicions were confirmed as four Byakhee smashed through the windows on the top floor. With some skillful gunplay, the Byakhee were killed. Minutes later, a Hunting Horror slithered and winged its way into the upper floor. This servant of Nyarlathotep proved much more difficult to dispatch, requiring six shots from the elephant gun.

In a panic, Little Orchid ran into their room and attempted to escape through Karl Stanford’s gate box——but it no longer worked! Now they truly were trapped….

Downstairs, Fergus and Alistair escaped in the chaos and confusion. Tommy Hayes then remembered that there was a room in the basement that the coven used for rituals. This room also had a trap door in the floor through which they might be able to escape. They decided to head off that way with the Disk, but not before Maeve was shot in the chest, nearly killing her. Her life was saved by skillful medical attention. The group headed into the basement, carrying a badly injured Maeve and two of the three pieces of the R’lyeh Disk. For good measure, Vincent doused the bar with alcohol and set it ablaze to slow any pursuers. They lifted the trap door and entered the tunnels beneath Cannich….

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The Highlands

In early December, Professor Woodhouse received a telephone call from Professor Peale at Miskatonic. The group had been staying at Peale’s safehouse in Arkham, planning their next move. Vincent’s reconnaissance revealed that the group’s Arkham offices were being watched by several men. Or so it seemed.

Peale informed Woodhouse that he had received a letter and package of urgent interest related to the group’s recent adventures. The letter was from Jacob Hancock, an associate of Professor Peale’s, who wanted help in locating his Uncle Henry, an archaeologist living and working in the Scottish Highlands who had gone missing. Jacob had sent along several letters that he received from his uncle that indicated that he was in some kind of serious danger. After reading the letters, the group agreed that this was just the break they needed to turn the tides on the Silver Twilight. They agreed to search for Uncle Henry and left the next morning for the Scottish Highlands.

In the package were several newspaper clippings related to Henry Hancock and three letters from uncle to nephew, with handwritten notes from nephew Jacob at the bottom of each:


Member Returns from Congo Basin

Henry M. Hancock disembarked at Southampton recently
after a two month expedition somewhere along the Congo
River ’s drainage.

The accomplished archaeologist indicated that he and Dr. Adam Chisholm had some success in locating evidence connected to an unnamed place termed by Dr. Chisholm as “a semi-mythic location”. Owing to Dr. Chisholm’s unfortunate illness their expedition was interrupted, and publication of their findings must await a fresh trip into the canyons of the Iturikendi. The partners plan a new expedition next year. Meanwhile they look for ward to the bracing air and sturdy virtues of Scotland, as they rest near Inverness.

Mr. Hancock would not comment upon a recent lurid article appearing in a London daily, The Scoop, except to castigate “whoever is responsible” for attributing feverish
dreams to his stricken friend and partner, Dr. Chisholm.

— Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society.
-————————————————————————————————————————————-
Excerpt from the
London Scoop

Dr. Chisholm: The rain forests there are absolutely trackless. It would take an army to hack their way through directly. One must approach circuitously, to the north, and then all the way round down from the top of the watershed, taking advantage of the river flow to be carried into the canyons.

The Scoop: It was in the unexplored canyons that you found a new danger, was it not, sir?

Dr. Chisholm: (visibly shuddering) Yes. The experience nearly drove me
mad. Being forced to run the gauntlet of the river-borne dingi-dingi
was utterly terrifying. The things are like motile leeches, but much
larger, the size of horses. Lord! And they are very good swimmers. One
of them can exsanguinate a man as quickly as you or I might skin a rabbit.

The Scoop: Dreadful! Yet you plan to go back there?

Dr. Chisholm: My good friend Hancock is keen on it, and I have learned to trust his judgment utterly. By next year my hands will be steady enough for anything.

— From “Terror on the
Edge of the World”,
London Scoop.
-—————————————————————————————————————————————-
H. M. Hancock
Hancock House
Cannich, Scotland
November 20, 1928

Dear Jacob,

My greetings to you, Jacob, and fondest regards to your father. I hope to
join you this fall if They do not find me before I am able to leave Scotland.
I realize that neither you nor your father have ever believed any of the strange legends which I have related to you, but I can turn to no one else. If my life is of any value to you, please look into this matter for me. I am in desperate need of an artifact which I believe may be found in a museum at Miskatonic University, in Arkham, Massachusetts. The object is a small greyish-green stone, shaped like a five-pointed star. I had hoped to find one at the dig, but I fear that work there is not going fast enough and that They will get their supernatural aid before I find the star-stone.

Please make every effort to obtain the star-stone, but if word should reach you that something has happened to me, obtain the star-stone for yourself, for They will be on your trail soon thereafter.

Your Uncle,

Henry Hancock

N.B — My father died ten years before the date of this letter. The reference to my father is a code between Henry and myself indicating authenticity and urgency of the message. — Jacob Hancock.
-—————————————————————————————————————————————-

H. M. Hancock
*Hancock House
Cannich, Scotland
November 24, 1928
Dear Jacob,
I fear that this message will be the last you get from me for some time. Unless I flee this area, the Sons of Yog-Sothoth will be upon me. Lorne discovered that Belphegor is a leader of the group and he fears that They are aware of our discoveries.

Margaret brought me a star-stone, but try to find more, for I need all I can get.

The first piece was stolen from the dig site last night, but They did not get the second piece. I have it well-hidden now and They will not get it from me. We do not know what They want the pieces for, but we think there are three altogether. Adam disappeared today. He stopped-by yesterday evening, but this morning Fergus says Adam checked out and left late last night. Adam has been afraid of the dark since the African episode last year. Consequently, he would not have left at night. I fear that he has run afoul of Belphegor’s people. Lorne does not know about Adam’s disappearance yet and I fear that telling him would be too much for the old man.

All of these problems started with the arrival of the French woman. I will confront her in the morning.

Make sure that you obtain a star-stone for yourself as soon as possible and keep it with you always.

Give my greetings to your father.

Your Uncle,

Henry Hancock

N.B. I do not recognize the “Sons of Yog-Sothoth” nor does “Belphegor” or
“the French woman” make any sense to me. I would investigate this myself,
were it not for my infernal gout. — Jacob Hancock.


The authenticity of the final letter is in serious doubt:

Henry Hancock
Hancock House
Cannich, Scotland
26 November 1928
My Dearest Jacob,

All of my fears have proved to be unfounded. If my letters of late have seemed to indicate trouble I hope that you will forgive me. I realize that my imagination had run wild. There never was any danger.

Adam and I are going to head back to Africa in the morning and we will be out of touch for some time, but there is no cause for alarm. We can take care of ourselves. We stumbled across an amazing find, but must re-check our previous work.

Give my greetings to the rest of the family.

With fondest regards,

Henry M. Hancock

N.B. This letter is not really from Henry. My concern for my uncle’s safety
is based on the obvious falseness of this letter, for Adam was frightened by
something they discovered in Africa and could not be persuaded to return to the
continent, let alone to their dig site.— Jacob Hancock.
-————————————————————————————————————————————-

The group arrived in London aboard the Atlantic liner “Ceres” and made their way to Inverness by train. Before leaving London, Sir Alistair secured some pistols and shotguns from agents of his family’s. Upon arriving in Inverness, the group spent a day doing some research on Belphegor, the “French woman” (whom they believed to be Anne Chantraine, mentioned in Karl Stanford’s letters) and the activities of the Silver Twilight in Scotland. They located two references to a person named “Anne de Chantraine”:

“There are almost no instances of witchcraft reported in the Western Highlands in the last 400 years. In March of 1620 Anne de Chantraine was arrested and charged with witchcraft in the town of Inverness. She was 17 years old, lively, intelligent, and unusually pretty.

“Anne de Chantraine was held in prison for a year before being tortured three times. All three interrogations were made after she fully confessed her evil acts. She was held in prison for another year and burned at the stake on October 18, 1622. The priest present at the execution wrote that ‘the prisoner was stupid, and did not understand what she said, though sometimes
she seemed quite right in her mind. Such an ugly wicked girl deserved to die. Her pretense of insanity did not fool me for a moment ’.”

— Excerpt from Great Witches of Britain,
Alphonse Debeers, 1912.


“In Edinburgh in 1745 Anne de Chantraine, a young girl in her late teens, was arrested on charges of witchcraft. She was released later that year upon order of a local justice, a peer.”
— Excerpt from Occult Brethren, Clive Waite Jr., 1902.


While in Inverness, they spoke with Inspector MacDougell, who was in charge of the Henry Hancock missing persons case. Upon learning that they were agents of the Hancock family, the Inspector handed over the key to Hancock’s house in Cannich. He also gave the following statement:

“Well, no, we’ve not been able to locate Mr. Hancock nor Dr. Chisholm. They fired their help at where they were digging up at Loch Mullardoch. The house is closed up. The car is on blocks. There are reports that they had a change of plan and returned to Africa, and it does look that way. Changes of plans often occur. But we admit we’ve found nary other traces so far, such as them purchasing steamship tickets or having registered at hotels. They are missing persons, but we have no leads. If your search turns up anything significant, call me immediately.”

The group hired two cars in Inverness and made the thirty-mile drive to Cannich. Clint and Rod stayed stayed behind in Inverness to continue the search for possible leads.

In Cannich, they rented rooms in the King’s Head Inn, which seemed to be the focus of most social life in Cannich. They saw several strange-looking characters there: a man named Wully MacMurdo, a brutish, taciturn man who sat sullenly at the bar, staring ahead blankly and two men named Andrew and Jamie MacQuarrie, who left soon after the group settled in. They also met a teacher on holiday named Alistair MacGillivray and an associate of Hancock’s named Dr. Andrew Kennedy, an archaeologist also known to Professor Woodhouse.

They learned that Andrew Kennedy was working with Adam Chisholm and Henry Hancock on a dig site here in Cannich, on the north shore of Loch Mullardoch. Hancock and Chisholm were led to look there by a Latin manuscript that Kennedy reluctantly shows the group relating the story of a Roman expedition to Loch Mullardoch. He also directed the group to Ian MacDonald, who knew the way to the dig site. Henry Hancock believed that the dig site contained the “Temple of Aesathog” mentioned in the translated Latin manuscript. Kennedy, Chisholm and Hancock found traces of Pictish inhabitants at the site, but found nothing definite until a few days before their disappearances. That day they unearthed two human skeletons with Roman weapons and bits of Roman armor. They also discovered skeletons of a large reptile with which they were totally unfamiliar. That night they saw a huge creature like a slimy kraken near the shore of the loch. Kennedy’s friends were troubled enough by this vision that Hancock sent a letter to his nephew in the United States, and suspended work at the site. That same night he uncrated his two elephant guns. Hancock offered one to Kennedy, who chose instead to move into the village. A few days later Hancock and Chisholm disappeared.

After breakfast, the group decided to pay a visit to Ian MacDonald’s farm at Cozae Lodge to see if he could point out the way to the dig site. After some lubrication with scotch, Mr. MacDonald pointed out the path to the dig site. he also said that he had seen a local crank named Duncan MacBain talking with “a foreign woman and a Sassenach [Englishman]” near the shore of the loch. He has often seen Duncan and the MacQuarrie brothers doing strange things near some standing stones adjacent to the loch. After another tumbler of scotch, MacDonald also claimed to be the “only living expert” on Cannich and its environs and also that he has often seen creatures in the forest or near MacBain’s house that “looked like a cross ‘tween a Chinaman and a great viper.”

The group headed off to the Hancock dig site where they found the body of Adam Chisholm buried among the rubble. They also found Roman armor and equipment and what looked to be the site of the battle between the Roman expedition and some others, perhaps Pictish warriors. At the site, they also discovered some strange, non-Roman and non-Pictish statuary a large fragment of the golden R’Lyeh Disk. They packed up the Disk and drove off to check on Henry Hancock’s nearby house.

At the house, they were ambushed by the MacQuarrie brothers, one of whom was wielding an elephant gun and blew the front door off its hinges as the party approached. The group scattered, with Madame Frifri and Little Orchid taking cover behind the car and the rest taking cover around the side of the house and out back. Vincent and the others crept in the back door and began searching the bottom floor. Just at that moment, Madame Frifri and Little Orchid saw the MacQuarrie brothers jump out of a second-story window. Madame Frifri took quick aim with her Webley revolver and squeezed off a shot, taking off the top of poor Andrew MacQuarrie’s skull. Simulateously, Little Orchid grazed Jamie with a shot just as he ran towards the car, red with rage and fired the elephant gun. The car absorbed much of the damage, but the shell continued on to graze Little Orchid’s shoulder. Both Madame and Orchid fired again, mortally wounding Jamie. Lord Alistair once-more performed a coup de grace with his sword cane.

Shaken, the group entered and searched the house, locating the corpse of Henry Hancock and a cleverly-hidden fragment of the R’Lyeh Disk. In order to avoid any complications with the authorities, they dragged the corpses into Karl Stanford’s gate box and then hid the bodies and the box on the other side in the woods near the isolated cabin.

They decided to make one last stop before retiring for the evening at Ian MacLennan’s farm house. There they were treated quite rudely by MacLennan and before leaving thought that they spied an attractive young woman peering out from behind some curtains in the house.

They then headed back to the Inn to rest and have a few well-earned drinks. Before heading off to sleep, they decided to chat with the locals. Both the innkeeper and the school teacher Alistair MacGillivray were very talkative, but always moved the conversation back to what the group was doing here in Cannich.

Meanwhile, feeling rakish, Lord Alistair began chatting up the attractive barmaid, Miss MacNair and invited her up to bring some ale up to his room. In his room, Alistair began talking to the smitten Miss MacNair and asked her if she knew Henry Hancock, whereupon she fainted straight away and was taken to her brother’s house to recuperate.

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Arkham Interlude

Late November, 1928. The group had gone into hiding in Arkham after its daring raid on the Look to the Future headquarters in New York. Bryan Slim had been killed and the group had come face to face with one of the thousand forms of the Crawling Chaos, Nyarlathotep. It called itself Lostalus Black this time and it had taken human form. The Professor’s friend David Lee had fled the scene before the encounter. It was time to regroup, rest and retool for whatever would come next.

The raid revealed several key pieces of information. First, they recovered written instructions for some sort of mass ritual. The group deduced that this ritual, which would take place somewhere near Easter Island, was intended to accelerate the rise of Great Cthulhu from the sunken city of R’lyeh, to once again establish the dominion of the Great Old Ones over a subjugated Earth. Second, the Silver Twilight was looking for several objects that play a central role in this obscene ritual: the Arc of Vlactos, which was purported to be somewhere in California, and the R’lyeh Disk, which the Order was searching for in Scotland. “Belphegor” and “Anne Chantraine” were somehow involved with the operations in Scotland. The Silver Twilight’s larger plan was coming into focus.

The group decided to use their time to study several of their arcane tomes. They would need more than guns to prevail against the machinations of the global Order…

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Blood in the Cellar

The group spent the month of November 1928 hiding in Arkham, studying the dread Necronomicon and contemplating their next move. They had destroyed the Silver Twilight’s headquarters in Boston and had reduced the wizard John Scott to dust. All this came at a steep price: several members had nearly died in the assault and all were badly shaken by the experience. The Professor had begun keeping strange hours and could often be heard speaking or chanting nonsense through the locked door of his room. Everyone was on edge.

Near Thanksgiving, the Professor received a letter from David Lee, an old friend from New York. Lee related that he had joined the group Look to the Future in New York and hoped that his old friend would help him to understand the strange goings-on there. Of course, the group already knew of the Silver Twilight’s connection to Lostalus Black and Look to the Future. They gathered the group together, fetched Vincent and Little Orchid from their respective hospital rooms, packed their tomes, weapons and equipment and headed off to New York.

When the arrived in New York to meet Lee in the restaurant of a mid-town hotel, a light snow was falling. They had already decided that they would infiltrate Look to the Future the next day to see what dirt they could dig up on the organization’s motives and goals. Although they were no longer being paid to investigate the case, they now believed their lives to be in serious danger. They would need to go on the offensive against a shadowy group with half-guessed motives and unknown strength. The Professor clutched the cursed Necronomicon wrapped in an unassuming leather bag, to his chest. There was no going back now.

The next evening they attended Look to the Future’s monthly meeting and were cordially welcomed by a man named Bryan Slim. In the corner of the crowded room, they saw Karl Sanford chatting amiably with some businessmen. The group tried to avoid his gaze and waited for the evening’s events to begin. Soon, a man that Lee identified as Lostalus Black entered the room, which all at once fell silent. He stepped up to the podium. “Tonight, we focus all our psychic energies on one task: to propel our brethren to the future!” The group clapped loudly. “Who will step forward to claim this honor?” Alistair and Little Orchid stepped forward to the stage and as instructed, the crowd continued the same repetitive chant for over half an hour until there was a sudden pop and Alistair and Little Orchid disappeared from view.

Alistair and Orchid found themselves in Manhattan, but they soon learned that it was the year 1994! The pair entered a large department store and stole a small device with buttons and some sort of screen to bring back with them. They were suddenly transported back to 1928 to the amazement of the crowd. Everyone in the room was slightly dizzy, but this soon passed.

At this point, the group spied Lostalus Black and Bryan Slim disappear behind a curtain on the stage and decided to follow them. The Professor approached the guard onstage and made a few gestures and said the word “Kyiarcho” three times rapidly. He then asked the guard to look the other way for a moment while he and his friends walked through the door behind the curtain. The group descended to the basement. David Lee said he would meet them back at their hotel later…

They sneaked along a corridor and stopped when they heard chatter in Arabic around the corner. The Professor boldly stepped around the corner and repeated the word Kyiarcho as before and commanded a guard to shoot his partner. He did as commanded. The rifle report echoed into the hallway beyond and suddenly an alarm sounded. The group could hear boots coming from both ends of the hallway. An intense melee ensued, leaving a number of guards dead after a brief standoff.

The group knew they had only moments before their escape would be cut off, but they pressed on into the compound, locating a room housing a large machine of some kind. Slaying the guard in the room, the group spotted a sheet of paper on a table with the following message:

REPORTING.
BELPHEGOR REPORTS NO SUCCESS
IN FINDING THE DISK IN
SCOTLAND. HE AND THE KNIGHTS
OF THE OUTER VOID MAY BE
FORCED TO SLAY MORE INTRUDERS.
INFORMATION RECEIVED INDICATES
THAT THE ARC OF VLACTOS MAY BE
FOUND IN CALIFORNIA. STILL NO
FULL RESULTS FROM EASTER
ISLAND.
FINISH.

Although the Professor had used his “Kyiarcho” spell to trick the reinforcements that everything was under control, they knew this subterfuge would only buy them a few minutes at most. They decided to run for the exit…but not before stopping by the only corridor they hadn’t checked. Pausing at the door, the heard Bryan Slim speaking in Arabic with several men. The Professor confirmed that Slim had ordered the men to remain at their post and kill anyone entering the door. The group in turn ordered their own mind-controlled guard to enter the room blasting, which he did. The group stood outside and covered their ears. When the shooting stopped, they opened the door and saw that all the guards were killed in the melee. They entered the blood-spattered room and headed for the door on the other side, which opened onto a hallway with three doors. They could detect a powerful, organic stench wafting from the first and decided not to enter. The second room had the words “E.Coli” stenciled on the door and they bypassed that one, too. They entered the final door. Inside, they saw Bryan Slim, surrounded by a swirl of intense purplish light, shouting “Nyarlathotep! Nyarlathotep! Sernomai Kaos! Sernomai Kaos!” Behind him, they saw a row of the same futuristic rifles that the guards carried. They paused briefly and then opened fire, emptying their clips in terror and killing Slim instantly. At that moment, the figure of Lostalus Black emerged from the swirl of shimmering light and smiled.

The group slammed the steel door behind them and ran. Each one heard his or her name whispered in Lostalus Black’s voice before they escaped to the rooms above, to light and sanity.

The meeting room above was cold and empty. David Lee was nowhere to be seen. Inside the podium on the stage, they found a sheaf of papers. One set was made up of pages torn from a book called “In Old California.” The following passage was underlined:

A renegade missionary named Whateley visited
and remained with a small tribe of Indians
known as the Hotethk from 1837 to 1843,
when he disappeared. Shortly thereafter, the
Hotethk tribe itself disbanded, its elders evidently
having vanished or died. This tribe was
notable for its especially savage pagan rites,
which Whateley seems to have encouraged. He
either brought to or found with the Indians a
peculiar structure which he called the Arc of
Vlactos, and which he believed had connections
to non-Christian sky demons. The only other
known facts about the Hotethk are that they
practiced the creation of Kachina dolls to house
demons’ souls, and that they worshiped gods not
mentioned elsewhere in California, such as the
serpent-god Yigg and the horned god Shoob
Niggeratt. The Hotethk dwelt in Devil’s
Canyon, in the Mojave Desert.
— Excerpt from In Old California, by A. Smith,
no publisher, foreword dated 1884.

The other sheaf of papers included what appear to be a set of instructions for using objects called the “Rlyeh Disk” and the “Arc of Vlactos” to invoke some major magical ritual, perhaps designed to wake the demon-god Cthulhu from his slumbers. Research would be needed.

The group stumbled into the New York evening, covered in blood….

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An Explosion in Boston!

By the early afternoon of the encounter with Stanford and Max Reed, a plan was taking shape. They decided that they would neither return the dread Necronomicon nor meet with Stanford. Instead, they would buy time by telling Stanford that they had secreted the book in a bank and that he could retrieve it tomorrow. Then, they would head to Boston to attack the Hermetic Order lodge house directly. By the mid afternoon, they had decided to head to Boston and contact Stanford there. They took several rooms at the Omni Parker House, the poshest hotel in Boston. After all, they might not live out the night….

Vincent and Clint headed over to scout out the Hermetic Order later that afternoon and overheard several kitchen workers discussing the menu for the party later that evening. Vincent kicked over several garbage cans behind the house while they were sneaking out, but they were not detected. While they were sneaking back through the woods, they looked back and saw Karl Stanford and Max Reed exit the front door, enter a luxury Model L Lincoln auto. At the same time, two delivery trucks entered the rear gate and ten tough looking gentlemen entered the lodge house from the back.

Soon thereafter, the group decided to execute their attack on the Hermetic Order immediately. With Stanford and Reed gone, and Scott presumably on the premises, they might not get another opportunity like this. They armed themselves——including a Thompson submachine gun and ten sticks of dynamite——and positioned themselves around the house. The idea was to start a fire to empty the workers out of the house, fight it out with the thugs, track down Scott and dissolve him to blue dust via the Resurrection spell. Rod, Alistair and the Madame positioned themselves in the woods with line of sight to the large front entrance. Clint and Vincent positioned themselves near the rear door. The Professor cowered behind one of the cars, clutching the briefcase with the odious Necronomicon. If things went wrong, as they likely would, surely nobody would suspect an old man with an unassuming briefcase?

Clint began the attack by hurling several Molotov cocktails through the kitchen and side windows, hoping to herd people through the front doors. Workers scurried about to douse the flames, but only a few stumbled out the back door. At that point, Clint decided to hurl a stick of dynamite through a side window to achieve the desired effect. Moments after the explosion, the remaining workers spilled out the back and began to flee. The front doors of the lodge suddenly opened and the ten thugs poured out, with one group of five heading left and the others right. With a grim smile, Rod stepped into the clearing with the Thompson and without hesitation opened fire, cutting down all five men and wounding a sixth from the other group. At the same moment, Madame Frifri brought down another man with her .38 pistol while Alistair did the same with his .45. The last two men returned fire, missed and were gunned down in the deadly crossfire. Ten men, dead or wounded lay on the ground. Alistair slew the remaining wounded men with his sword cane and took a swig from his flask of gin.

Each group ran into the house and they ran upstairs to track down Scott. On their way up, they encountered three of Scott’s undead servants, smelling of formaldehyde like their master. Rod gleefully mowed them down with the Tommy gun and they ran upstairs to the top floor. They quickly searched the rooms, one by one, until they reached a locked door at the very end—-Scott’s summoning room! Clint kicked the door in and saw Scott, chanting and gesticulating, with three more of his undead minions before him. At that moment, a wave of energy struck Clint, who was burned badly and sent flying into the hallway. Rod stepped up and emptied the Thompson clip into the room, killing the minions. The Professor began chanting the reverse resurrection spell, while Scott stood transfixed and looked down the hallway behind the group. There, Alistair and the others heard a strange, wet, tittering sound, like a hundred mouths gasping for air, but they saw nothing, until Alistair felt something strike him, tearing his clothes and Vincent was grabbed and lifted off the floor. The invisible creature began filling with Vincent’s blood, as he screamed helplessly. The sight of the hideous creature paralyzed the group with fear. Meanwhile, the Professor finished the spell and Scott screamed and was returned to bluish dust. The Professor turned and beheld the thing that was exsanguinating poor Vincent, turned apoplectic with rage and rushed forward. Madame Frifri shot the thing, and, seeing that it was freed from Scott’s bondage it tossed Vincent to the floor and fled.

The still sane and unwounded members of the group moved (or carried) the others down the stairs. They stumbled into their cars. The Professor, still in the grips of homicidal mania, grabbed a bundle of five sticks of dynamite, lit it and ran into the burning house. He hurled the dynamite and was pulled out of the collapsing house by Alistair. The group sped off into the night, seeing a massive fireball and a shower of glass, wood and stone fall all around them. They dropped off Clint and Vince at the local hospital, slept at the Omni Parker House and headed back to Arkham in the morning.

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A deal is proposed

After they had brought Clark to safety at Boston Memorial, the group retired to its hotel to sleep. Professor Woodhouse remained awake skimming through the purloined Necronomicon and muttering to himself. For an old man, he had remarkable stamina. The group awoke in the early afternoon and headed over to Boston Memorial to interview James Clark, who had regained consciousness. Under hypnosis, he recounted how he had taken a bus to the Hermetic Order late one night to be inducted to the upper echelons of the order. His memory was hazy, but he recalled a group of robed figures softly chanting what sounded like a medieval monastic hymn. He remembers being touched by Karl Stanford’s silver-tipped cane and then…At this point in the story, he began screaming “It’s outside! It’s outside the window! The wings!” and then could remember no more.

They spied Sergeant Logan Terry lurking outside the hospital room. He gave a transparently false reason for being there and hurried away. Vincent followed him down the hallway where he overheard him speaking on a payphone: “Yeah, they’re here. Yeah, he’s here too. Relax, I’ll take care of everything.” Vincent followed him back to the Hermetic Order lodge and searched his car, where he found a shotgun and some cocaine in a small pouch. He took the shotgun, found a payphone and informed the police that he had seen a police officer consuming what looked like drugs outside the Hermetic Order lodge. They then reunited James Clark with his family and advised them to leave town for a while——advice that they eagerly accepted.

Back in Arkham, they decided to meet with Professor Ambrose Peale at Miskatonic to inform him that they had solved the case. He revealed that he belonged to the group “The Order of the Templars at Miskatonic” referred to in the Scottish letter the group had found in the Order’s basement yesterday. The Professor said that they were all in grave danger and that the only thing they could do would be to go on the offensive against the Hermetic Order and that bringing down John Scott would be the key. Peale offered all the resources the Templars could muster and agreed to give the group the evening to consider their options before meeting tomorrow to come up with a plan.

A few blocks away at the Firm’s Arkham headquarters, the group sat around the meeting room’s large mahogany table, a family heirloom shipped to Arkham at great expense by Alistair Falconer. They each had a drink in hand and sat silently. The steady sound of rain was disturbed by a knock at the door. Outside, through the window, they saw Karl Stanford and Max Reed waiting on the landing! A sudden panic set in as the group retrieved its handguns, sat back at the table while Vincent admitted both men. Stanford walked in an said in a soft voice: “Please remain outside, Max.” Stanford walked in and sat at the table. “So, it is something of a disappointment to meet you all again under these circumstances. I very much admire your reckless courage! I am astounded, and I do not astound easily. I do hope I can convince you to take me into your confidence. But first we must settle our accounts. To be blunt: I will require you to return the item you stole from me. In exchange, I will let you live. Please let me know if this deal is satisfactory to you by 8 o’clock this evening. And let us not have any heroics, or I may need to call upon…outside aid.” He quickly rose and walked out the door. The group sat in shocked silence before Rod Hardin said: “So what do we do now?”

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