PCs Present: Ruby Khan, Father Rienolf, Dr. Alvin Yee, Simon Bailey
Events: Due to increasing paranoia and agoraphobia, Scott Drake elected to remain behind and direct operations from his penthouse. He did take it upon himself to have his redoubtable secretary Ginger write to the publishers of two books linked to the Schwartzvogel investigation of Worlsman. The day before the group was due to head off to the seminar, they received a reply from the publishers: the copies of the manuscripts of both books were destroyed in the 1906 fire. They did find references to the books’ author, Leontov, in another of their books, a journal of an English socialite living in St. Petersburg in the 1830s.
Many interesting details were gleaned from the journals, chief among them that Leontov was close friends with a fellow hussar, one Klaus Wurtzman. Leontov and Wurtzman eventually had a falling-out and Leontov was murdered by a gang of Mongolian toughs many suspected were in the employ of Wurtzman.
Armed with this information, the group headed for the seminar. En route, they made acquaintance of Simon Bailey, young scion of a well-to-do family import-export business. At the two-day seminar, the group heard further elaborations on supposed attempts by Atlantean “Ancient Magi” to contact humanity, and during the overnight everyone experienced visions of a strange creature that looked not unlike a human-sized sea cucumber proclaiming a prophecy. Only Father Rienolf, resisting the narcotic-laced salad dressing from dinner, discerned the creature for what it was: a man in a rubber costume!
Despite Rienolf’s revelations, everyone played it cool and managed to impress Worlsman with tales of their “visions.” They picked up an invite to a follow-up seminar the next week. In the meantime, they were able to successfully coax Professor Niall out to the West Coast with promises of an all-expenses paid trip and lodging in a luxurious suite at the St. Francis. The Professor was due to arrive the day the second seminar wrapped up.
Traveling back to El Profondo, the group found Worlsman and his acolytes in a state of high dudgeon, with much talk of “the stars coming right” for a ceremony to “lift the veil” on the barrier between Earth and the Ancient Magi. Suspicious, the group broke into Worlsman’s private quarters and found evidence that seemed to confirm their worst fears: the Worlsman was Wurtzman, and apparently well over a hundred years old! They then broke into the Worlsman mausoleum located on the ranch grounds and made a startling discovery in one of the coffins: a man-like creature covered with scars, deformed from dozens of injuries, staring at them with pitifully conscious eyes. It was too much for Mr. Bailey and his fragile constitution, and he fainted dead away at the sight. Father Rienolf, meanwhile, reached for his dynamite…
A charge was set and the group ran for it (after reviving Simon, of course). Although they escaped immediate detection, Worlsman obviously knew something was up. That night he led a strange ceremony in the cellar of the ranch house, and the next morning announced a gathering to complete the ritual at the newly-constructed stone tower outside the ranch. There, he accused one of the acolytes of vandalism and desecration of his family tomb. Before the group could react, however, another student stepped forth, condemning Worlsman as a vampire and robber of souls. The student then pulled a gun and fired five shots point blank at Worlsman.
Everyone hit the deck at the sound of gunfire, but when they looked up Worlsman was still standing, smiling serenely, as the student made a run for it.
“The young man was obviously unable to cope with the knowledge to which be was being given the key. Clearly mentally deranged. After all, who but a madman would try to shot someone with a gun full of blanks?”
Rienolf and Bailey exchanged worried looks – as veterans of combat situations, both had seen guns fired in anger before, and neither thought that gun looked or sounded like it was shooting blanks…