Nightmares in Norfolk: Day of Fools (Session 20)
by, 7th January 2013 at 01:13 PM (193 Views)
Boston, Tuesday, 1st April, 1924
Buckingham and O'Malley are going to see Captain Keats at Arkham PD and Wilson wants to take a look at the School of Memoryology while he's there.
The three investigators realise that they need an expert on the occult if they're ever to make any sense of what they've unearthed to date so, first thing in the morning, Wilson makes a call to his former Occult teacher - Professor Rowan Tomasson - and invites him on a trip to Arkham to investigate some curious occult symbols. Fortunately - and conveniently - Professor Tomasson is keen to join the investigation. He also ropes in Mildred Charles. As Smith is driving this gives the three investigators 45 minutes to bring Dr Tomasson up to speed before they get to Arkham.
The Prof asks them why they're looking at symbols in the Mystic House (and is corrected about the School of Memoryology - it must have been a bad line when Wilson called). They show him the eye-within-a-triangle symbol which they've seen (with variations) at the Chapel of Contemplation, in Baltimore and at the School.
He mutters something about triangles or pyramids appearing frequently in occult symbology and that eyes tend to denote wisdom.
Wilson describes how one version of the sign had led him to a mausoleum where he and Mildred found the encoded address of the School of Memoryology and an amusing exchange follows as this is all news to O'Malley (who seems unhappy about not having been told the truth). Polite chit chat establishes that Professor is an expert in many fields but most Anthropology and the Occult.
While Buckingham and O'Malley go to visit Captain Keats, Henry asks whether Mildred would be so kind as to go to Silas's house and move the goat away from the house. Mrs Charles declines the "offer".
In the police station Buckingham asks to see Captain Keats. While the desk sergeant wanders off, Wilson checks that the Order's lapel pin is clearly visible and mutters that he should have brought doughnuts. After a few minutes they're shown into Keats's office.
Wilson explains that he's been given Keats's name by Alan Brunnell in relation to a small problem. He introduces O'Malley and asks Henry explains the situation.
O'Malley does so and eventually Keats realises which case they're referring to. Meanwhile Wilson's keen eye has eventually noticed the "Y" lapel pin on the captain's lapel (which he's fairly sure isn't regulation issue).
O'Malley shows what documentation he has and persuades the captain that the two books recovered from Darcus McCrindle should be released to him. The captain repeats how irregular this all would be and eventually Buckingham casually asks how he might make a donation to Arkham PD's Widows and Orphans Fund (ahem). It is unfortunate that Wilson has little concept of money and so has no idea whether the $63 dollars he offers is appropriate ...
Given the effect on Keats the "donation" would seem to be sufficient and the captain returns with two old tomes - one black cover, heavily moulded with a tarnished bronze clasp and another with plain, brown cover which the fly leaf proclaims to be the Cthaat Aqaudingen.
Sitting quietly while the captain completes the paperwork Wilson becomes convinced that there's a face worked into the moulding on the black book's cover.
For some reason this disconcerts him. O'Malley assumes that Buckingham's sugar levels must be dropping and suggests that they repair to the nearby café where Mildred and the Professor have been waiting and are already on their second round of scones.
Leaving Wilson to snack, O'Malley head off to the Bank of Arkham, arranges a safety deposit box and safely deposits the two tomes before returning to the café.
Return to the School of Memoryology
Once Wilson's cleaned his plate they set off to East College Street and the School of Memoryology. They find the school closed - specialising in evening classes it doesn't open until 1pm. Wilson examines the sturdiness of the door and concludes that he could probably force it open before it's pointed out to him that they're standing on a fairly busy street. It's suggested that they just wait for an hour and a half until the school actually opens.
One thing that Wilson can see through the glass door is the portrait of an avuncular figure above the reception desk. It's a face that looks vaguely familiar - he's sure he's seen that man before, although possibly without the beard. The gentleman seems to bear a striking similarity to the abscondee Robert Lowell whose photo McKenna had shown Wilson and Theo a few weeks earlier.
They find a nearby eatery (the reason for Wilson's paunchiness is certainly no mystery) in which to pass the hour.
An hour or so later and they're back at the school. It's not blonde Stephanie who's at the desk, instead there's a young brunette (whose name is Dorothy but this never comes out). She welcomes them with a big grin.
Wilson says they've heard of the school and asks if they can take a look around. The receptionist ignores the request to look around and asks which of the courses they're interested in - Public Speaking? Memory Improvement?
Buckingham express an interest in improving his memory and asks who the professors are at the school. The receptionist explains that Dr Gough is taking most of the classes at the moment but, in response to a series of questions, Dr Gough is not the chap in the painting (the portrait is of the school's founder, Dr Mason Thurston), Dr Thurston is not at the school but will be back in the fall, the school was founded in 1916 and that Dr Thurston is a simply marvellous man.
Now closer to the picture Buckenham is even more convinced that the portrait's subject is actually Lowell.
Mrs Charles asks whether Dr Thurston is married and The receptionist confirms that his wife and daughter are both in Arkham. Buckingham asks about Memoryology and where Thurston got his qualification in the discipline (the University of Toronto).
The next set of courses will start in May and cost a mere $50 for five months of tuition at the end of which your memory will be superb. Wilson dithers about the cost until it's pointed out that this is less than he bribed the police captain and therefore must represent excellent value for sixteen weeks of lessons. The memory course will be held on Friday evenings with the first meeting on 2nd May.
The receptionist asks whether any of the others would be interested in taking the course - or any other course - and Professor Tomasson signs up too.
When asked is he'd also like to enrol O'Malley says he's more interested in the swirly patterns on the wall upstairs. The receptionist is briefly taken aback until it's explained that O'Malley and Mrs Charles have visited the school beforehand.
Dr Thurston drew the symbols - he's very talented, you know. Wilson chips is that he too is intrigued by what he's heard about the symbol and attempts persuasion-by-wallet, sliding a $10 dollar bill across the counter towards her.
Suddenly the mood changes. The receptionist look directly at Wilson, ignores the bank note and tell him that no, she can't possibly let them in to see the classroom. They'll see the symbols when they return for the class. Her friendliness seems to have suddenly vanished and Wilson wonders whether the change in her demeanour was a result of her having spotted his lapel pin - it seems that the pin may both open doors and close them. How mysterious ...
O'Malley keeps an eye on The receptionist as they leave. The young lady just stands still behind the desk, smiling (at nothing in particular). It strikes O'Malley that Stephanie was very smiley, too, and was also effusive about Dr Thurston. He goes back in (alone). He explains he forgot to ask what happened to the other girl and the receptionist explains that they alternate days - Stephanie doesn't work on Tuesdays.
"You said that Dr Thurston wrote the symbols on the wall ..."
"He's very talented."
"So I've heard."
"So I've heard. I know he won't be back for a while but is there any way to get a hold of him?"
"Oh, do you know Dr Thurston?"
"Why, yes. He's very talented."
"I'm not sure, but maybe Mrs Thurston will know. She's wonderful. If I can take your card then I'll get her to contact you. She'll probably be popping in later after she picks up Damaris from school."
"How old is little Damaris now?"
"She's, um, eleven or twelve."
"Ah yes. As a matter of interest, what's Mrs Thurston's first name?"
"Why it's Abilene, of course."
Although he doesn't seem convinced that it's a good idea, Henry hands over his card and is assured that Mrs Thurston will be in touch. He leaves. He didn't ask but is fairly sure if he had asked that Damaris would also be described as being wonderful.
After retrieving the tomes and dropping in at Silas's house to move the goat Mrs Charles and Professor Tomasson get their first look at the books as they ride back to Boston. Buckingham is relieved that both of them can see the face that disconcerted Wilson so much - O'Malley's the only one who can't see the face.
Wilson proposes they have a book club and that all four read these books together. The first thing to do is check what languages the books are in. The first one, which seems to be called the Necronomicon, is in Latin while the second book is in a very old form of English.
For once (due to our missing a few weeks of gaming over Christmas) the investigators make a note of what they want to do next:
- Read the books [Buckingham]
- Investigate Mason Thurston/Robert Lowell and the School of Memoryology [Buckingham]
- Investigate Thurston's wife [O'Malley]
- Break into the college [Tomasson]
- Take the indecipherable book - or a sample of the text - to the Linguistics Department of the Miskatonic University [O'Malley]
- Stalk the receptionist(!) [Tomasson]Spoiler:
- Nothing in particular [Mildred Charles]