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The Investigators of Down Cthulhu

The Shattering of Temporal Bounds

A foreboding letter of blood and madness is presented to us, with the future Armitage the crazed author

When we returned to Arkam yesterday, the 17th, a card was waiting for us at the desk from a Nathaniel Peasley,PhD. “At the earliest conveniance come to see me at my office”. I knew Peasley to be a professor at Miskatonic, as I had the priviledge of attending classes taught by his father, and know him to be a friend of Armitage. We dropped our things in our rooms and got a carriage to his office at the University. At his office we found him:
“Can I help you gentlemen?”
Myself “Yes. We were told you wanted to see us upon our return to the hotel.”
“What?”
“Are you Nathaniel Peasley?”
“Yes…AH! You’re the detective fellows. Sorry, I just didn’t recognize who you could be.”
I introduced the lot of us, and it being a small office, but we crowded in, only myself and Atwater being seated.
He began “First, I need to talk to you” meaning Atwater. “Wait, let me ask you gentlemen one question. Do you believe in the supernatural?”
Theo “We literally saw a creature named Cthugha about to come out of a hole in the sky. So I would say yes. Though its been much repressed, strangely, by those who citizens in the park who saw it.”
Myself “Yes, we fully believe.”
Now Nathaniel to Atwater “Have you had much experience dealing with the insane?”
Atwater “I have had much as of late. As has Westinghouse.”
Mysef “Yes, I did study the psychology here and make a habit of the criminal mind.”
“I and a group of friends woud like to retain you to investigate…..a document.”
Myself “What sort of document?”
“I’m not sure I am at liberty to tell you as much as I would like about this until I get the go-ahead from some other friends of mine. First let me ask you if you would be forthecoming in telling me if you have had run-ins with the ‘unexplained’?”
Myself “We have”.
Atwater “Many such.”
“And could you give me some details?”
We started with a telling of Bishop and his ghouls, as well as the Cthugha heatwave.
“And you’re convinced that this actually happened?”
Myself “Yes, we were there. That investigation lasted multiple weeks.”
“May I have one of your cards?”
Mysef “Of course,” I handed him one, “I can send you a transcript of my notes if you desire.”
“That won’t be necessary at the moment. Will you be in town for the next day or two?”
Myself “We could be, if not nearby.”
“Ok. I believe that some friends of mine are going ot wish to meet you, and we are going to see if you would be willing to work with us on something. Therefore, if you would stay in town we shall be in touch by tomorrow.”
We agreed, he thanked us and we took our leave.

I suggested we see Wilkerson immediately, so to his department we went and there we found him.
“My good fellows, come in come in.”
Myself “We just had a short talk with a Nathaniel Peasley.”
Wilkinson “Ah, Peasley.”
Myself “Are you and he on friendly terms?”
“Acquaintances, not really friends.”
Myself “Well, he asked us some strange questions about if we had ever been involved in the supernatural.” Here he paused in thought for a second, so I continued further “He wants to retain our services to investigate something, we are not sure exactly what yet. He is to introduce us to some friends of his, likely tomorrow.”
“His friends,” he said with a somber note, “tomorrow, eh?”
Myself “Yes. Something wrong with that? Should we be wary or decline altogether?”
He thought for a few second again before “Frankly, there’s divided opinion on this. I’ll be there tomorrow.”
Myself “You’re a member of this group?”
“I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the President of the US periodically, when he has a difficult negotiation to do with foreign powers, or the like, will form an interdisciplinary group of scholars to advise him. So, he’ll bring in historians, antropologists, um…specialists in…in political science. As kind of a….to act as a braintrust. Well, and I would not tell this to anyone who has not experienced the things you have. A few years ago, Dr. Armitage stumbled upon a book in the locked section of the library.”
Theo “There’s a tough one to crack, Armitage.”
Wilkinson “It is called The Necronomicon. Then he started finding other references that…he thought that it was just an evil piece of fiction. But then several other professors here at Miskatonic have stumbled onto various pieces that seem to fit with it. And we began to be a little scared that there is possibly a hidden dangerous knowledge that the world at large does not know but that is, frankly, older than mankind. So, what Armitage did is, he took those of us who stumbled upon these things, as I did in my linguistics, and formed an inquiry group. Just like the President has. Now, to the outside world we are known as Armitage’s Inquiry Group. But our secret, and formal title, is Armitage’s Inquire Group of the Great Old Ones.” He paused and gave a slight exasperated sigh, then “I think you should not come tomorrow.”
Theo “Why?”
“I fear for your lives and you souls. We are comrades in arms and I don’t want to see something bad happen to you. I fear this is beyond your depth.”
Theo “I think we are already deep into this.”
Wilkerson “NO, this is something much more. And I fear for OUR lives, I think the whole group is at risk right now. But, if we were to die, there has to be someone else out there that knows the truth. Thta knows something of what’s going on. So no, I think if you come we are putting all of our eggs in one basket. So I say don’t show up tomorrow.”
Myself “Is this a secure room?” I whispered.
“Yes.”
I motioned Theolonius, who then explaines his membership in the Illuminati, and his relationship with Archimedes, then briefly told him of Archimedes theories which parellel their own and his search for a group of special men, of which we are supposedly one of them;and that we already work against the forces Armitage first discovered via the Necronomicon.
Wilkinson “We, here at the university, have provided information in the past to some of these groups but are not otherwise connected to them. We have no knowledge of what they are up to outside of that. As a recepticle of knowledge without defense, we are extremely vulnerable and the secrets that we have, being secret, are our only defense. Even Armitage has said that is something we are going to lose if we keep helping these other groups. But, we feel that for the benefit of mankind we must do that.”
Theo then explained more about Archimedes’ knowledge, and the Illuminati’s opposition, on the subject and stressed “This may be the opening we need to get more deep into this rather than the randomness thus far, of taking care of whatever problem falls into our laps. This is getting huge, from what Archimedes says, or will be very soon. A global effect.”
Wilkinson “If this is as big as your Archimedes feels it is, I feel that there are going to be lots and lots of entry points. But it is true that probably no one else could do this investigation as well as you all.”
Theo “You can feel good at the knowledge, at least, that one other sees the bigger picture and is searching for the right men to fight it.”
WIlkinson “I can’t tell you, it’s not my place to tell you what this is about. But if you come tomorrow it will be explained.”
Myself “We will see you tomorrow then.”
Wilkinson “In the meantime, I have some ideas of my own to follow up on, I may have some ideas to tell you tomorrow. If it’s mankind against the screaming horror of chaos, I STAND WITH MAN!”
Myself “As do we.”
Theo “To the end. We have already lost one man, and almost a few others as well, in just one confrontation.”

After breakfast this morning a telegram came for us, to meet Armitage et al at the Orn Library, the main library of the University in which we researched during our first meeting with Armitage. To the meeting we took with us all the forbidden knowledge which we have thus far obtained during our cases. At the scheduled time and place, a group of scholars awaited us. Most looked to be in their 40’s or older, although a few younger. Introductions ensued, and some were smoking cigars already so early in the day:

  1. The obvious head of the group is the 80 year old Armitage, the head librarian of course, specialist in Medieval Apigraphy, occultism and linguistics. His plans are to retire next year and become directore emeritus of the library, so that he can then head the Inquiry full time.
  2. Dr. Ferdinand Ashley: age 44, prof of archaeology, specializing in Egyptology. Participated in an expeditioon towestern australia several years ago. When asked what that was about, his reply was a more respectful version of “none of your business”. He is an associate of Rathbone, who Ashley said was present at the tale end of the Australia expedition.
  3. Dr. William Dire: age 55, prof of geology. Survivor of the first Miskatonic Antarctic Expedition of last year. Believes strongly of secrecy and preventing further expditions there.
  4. Dr. Tyler M. Freeborn: age 29, ass. prof of anthropology. A bit of an oddity as a socialist and radically so. They continuously try to throw him out of the university but his tenure stops it. Also knows Rathbone well, and is on friendly terms despite political views.
  5. Dr. Silas Llanfer: age 64, ass. director of Orn library. Set to become head when Armitage retires. He does not really understand or believe in the Mythos, but is entirely loyal to Armitage and would go to hell with him.
  6. Dr. William Moore: age 49, prof of geology specializing in paleontology. Due to be co-head of a new Antarctic Expedition, causing some heated disagreement with Dire.
  7. Dr. Francis Morgan: age 44, ass prof of archaeology specializing in the American southwest. He has a trip planned at the end of the semester to the region to investigate the potential occcult in a town called Coppertown.
  8. Dr. Nathaniel Peasley: age 35, prof of psychology. His father, prof emeritus Nathaniel Wingate-Peasley has been in the sanitarium since his return from Australia Expedition (I had the man as a professor myself). His son is driven by thoughts of revenge for his father’s current state.
  9. Mrs. Agatha Warren Pickman: age 91. What a surprise this was! I can not verbalize our astonishment. Agatha is the grandmother of Pickman, and the head of the Nathaniel Dirby Pickman Foundation, which provides financial support for Inquiry operations. Named for her deceased Husband. She’s a total pain in the ass, to be crude. She believes her grandson went insane and refuses to acknowledge any supernatural connections attributed to him. She is a fiend for the details of the finances, and while willing to spend the money one better damn well have the receipts to back it up! This one we need to attempt to talk to at length.
  10. Dr. Warren Rice: age 66, prof of classical languages. Specializing in Semitic and Near Eastern tongues. While a pessimistic man, it makes him pragmatic and willing to go to any length, and do what it takes, to succeed.
  11. Dr. Efram Sprague: age 46, Essex County medical examiner and private physician. Not associated with the university but nonetheless useful as a medical doctor, akin to our own Atwater for us. Sprague did not attend this meeting.
  12. Dr. Albert Wilmarth: age 74, prof of English, specialist in NE folkore and Mythos happenings in NE. (He is one to talk to prior to investigations in the area!) He has a delicate condition after something he calls the ‘Vermont Nightmare’, now sends grad students and junior faculty to gather lore firsthand.
  13. Dr. Wilkerson:

The importance of us meeting this Inquiry Group could be of vast importance to our mutual causes, and Archimedes will be notified by Theolonius of this resource of potential allies soon.
Wilkerson was not present at the meeting, though expected. This caused no small amount of consternation but we continued with the meeting nonetheless. Armitage, Rice and Morgan stand out as the 3 most important members, the real heart and soul and sort of an Inner Circle of the group. They also revealed that they have FBI and Secret Servie contacts who believe on their own, and acting on their own accord keep a low profile of their knowledge and alliance with the Inquire. Armitage must trust us enormously, for he came out with their identities without hesitation: Assistant Director Cleveland Drew of the Secret Service, and FBI Special Agent in charge of NY State Albert Ryan (as Rice says, “A man who knows where enough bodies are buried that Hoover does not interfere” with his personal work). They also have a military allie named Joe “Fightin’ Mad” Maines, Col. in the Marine Corps. He has a desk job in Washington, and because of it had the capability to maneuver rescources. After this meeting, Will and I agreed that our first thought of a use for him may be Innsmouth.
First of all, they insisted on swearing us to secrecy, which we all did wholeheartedly. Then “For Dame Pickman’s benefit, we need to know what your rates are.”
Mrs. P “You’d better not try to take me for a fool, young man.”
Myself “We are way too upstanding for that, ma’am. Typically it must cover expenses and travel, all of which are easy to keep receipts for. Over and above that I would ask $30 a day, and that is total and covers all of my investigators.”
Mrs. P “Now, the probem is we think this will be a long investigation. I can not pay for days when you are not working on this case, if you should work simultaneously with other pressing cases while investigating for us in between. This may end up being quite a longterm agreement.”
Armitage “Let me…let Cyrus Llanfer tell you in his own words.”
Cyrus “Four nights ago, I packed my velise with papers I planned to work on late in my own study, just school papers. When I got home and I opened it, there was a smell of burning and smoke. Upon looking inside I found…this.” Here he gave us an envelope, partly burnt but intact otherwise, as was what was inside. “Now the velise never left my person.”
Myself “You’re sure.”
“Completely sure.”
Myself “Have you read it?”
“Yes.”
Myself “Do you have any idea who wrote it, is it signed?”
“It is not signed, but yes we know. We know the handwriting for certain, and there are references in it which cause no doubt. It is Henry (Armitage).” Here we all looked at Armitage.
Armitage “I swear, I didn’t write this.”
Myself “But this is your handwriting?”
“It’s my handwriting.”
Myself “Can you give me some handwriting samples? Just for my own curiosity.”
“Of course.”
Myself “This seems so much insane gibberish.” I said this with no sense of insignificance, but great significance of course, mad gibberish being most meaningful to us. "Quite an odd turn of events.:
Moore “I think it’s the result of a nervous breakdown. I’m afraid Henry has lost it. All this looking into the occult. Somehow he created it and it is a symptom of a mental breakdown.”
Myself to Cyrus “What was the smell, exaclty? Just smoke? No other strange smells?”
“Yes, just like regular smoke, burnt paper.”
Lines and smears of dried blood is all over the of the letter, every page of it, though only completely smudging a word or so here and there. Many instances of scratched out words exist, but many can be deciphered. Much of it makes little sense, or of backwards and forwards trains of thought one after another and so quite confusing. As of yet, we have yet to read it in great detail.
Bill Dire “I think that Armitage is indeed the author, but was possessed or otherwise under some sort of influence.”
Theo “But how d id it get into the satchel?”
Dire “I don’t know. But I think Armitage should be monitored at all times.”
Myself “Did did smell freshly burnt? You did say it was smoking.”
“Yes, almost like maybe getting it there is what caused the burning.”
Myself “Precisely my thought.” It is a poignant example of the territory we are in, when my first hunch is that of transposition of solid objects, and I dared not say yet though I was thinking this as well (as were at some point during the meeting Theolonius and Atwater, both told me later): travel back through time! By means of incantation.
Moore “You know we are all aware of times when strange impulses have awakened in apparently normal men exposed to ancient or inhuman bloodlines. To certain prehistoric races, time may flow in a nonlinear fashion. These files could be authentic! And it could be, yes, that the Armitage of the future is contacting the Armitage of now and causing him to write it.”
Theo “Or the Armitage of the future wrote it, and somehow sent it back.”
Moore “Don’t know.”
Peasley “There is no sign of mental problems with Armitage. That is the reason I was the one to have contacted you and pushed for independant verification of the letters contents. There are people mentioned there, things mentioned…and if you were to go and find out if the people and things really exist and discover their involvement in something, then maybe we can do something to keep whatever is going on from happening.”
Theo “Wow. We are going to have to read this very carefully, without rush.”
Freeborn said he feltit was a human conspiracy, that a forger has set out to subvert the inquiry. “Just because we are facing beings with supernatural agendas does not mean they may not use non-occult means to throw us off track. What if this is a forgery just to get us busy on this instead of things we should be paying attention to.” I assured them that my own test of Armitage’s handwriting and other chemical analysises should easily sniff out such a human conspirator, if indeed he or she does exist. Ashley and Morgan possessed no strong opinions. They were befuddled, as were we all.
Armitage “I would be happy for someone to watch me around the clock, to see if I did write these documents or perform any suspicios actions.”
I asked for use of a lab then and there, which they immediately granted, and I went there with Atwater to accompany me. Everyone waited at the meeting until my analysis was complete:

  • The splotches included hhuman and rat blood, and an unidentifiable substance that resembled blood but contained no cellular material, mathing no known animal phylum
  • The human blood comes from at least 2 individuals, one of which matches Armitage with no doubt
  • Within the general grime and dust, existed evidence of pulverized bone, soot, volcanic ash, soil and pulverized concrete
  • The ink itself was infused with these materials, as written after the dust from the environment had settled on the paper or while it was in the air. It could be simply from the environment, or part of a spell for time travel. Armitage postulated it could be that it was written in a ruin, a city destroyed.

THeo “It’s troubleing having no idea how far in the future this begins.”
Armigate “Well, it must be within 20 years. I’m an 80 year old man! Doubtful I’ll live to 100.”
Peasley “Unless yo travel forward thwrough time.”
Llanfer “Most say time travel is impossible.”
Peasley “Tell that to my father.”
Myself “What do you mean by that?”
Peasley “We don’t speak of it.” Disappointing how much the group still can not bring themselves to share with us.
As if we did not have enough on our plate, I informing them that we will look into any leads in the letter on our own time, as we continue our own investigations.
Armitage “Do what you will, how you see fit.”

The meeting officially ended there, but as our next move could be one of many, I explained our situation with the Silver Twilight to the group, then, as they are knowledgable on the occult and Wilmarth is a regional specialist. He promised to look into the matter “give us a day and come back tomorrow. We will tell you what we found.”

This Armitage case, as said before, seems to be an investigation that, indeed, will take some time. It will be so piecemeal that it shall be done while doing and even finishing other more immediate investigations. However, that is not to underestimate its potential importance. The 6 of us made for a local spot for a few ales, and gave a once over the letter. While there are some specific and general names, their context is unknown to us at this time. A more thourough reading is necessary, yet even then there will be much that is vague and inactionable. Actually, I feel I should start a separate file on this, apart or in conjuction with this narrative A Record of Strange Events. As well as a consilidation of information and mentionings of any names and events of importance. For instance, all mentions of Azathoth in one list.
Atwater ended with “Well, now that I’m thouroughly confused…”
Like Theolonius and Jon, all in Armitage’s group has also heard of The Tears of Azathoth, and like our men none can remember from where, when or whom they had heard of it. And until it was mentioned or they read it, they would never have conciously thought of it on their own. A disconcerting.
Theo “So what to do now?”
Myself “I would like much to investigate Kingsport and the fire cult supposedly there. Because of its possible relation to Pickman. A Nightgaunt may have taken him there, remember.” There is also Martin’s Beach." And so that is our plan for the immediate future. We will visit Kingsport in search of a possible Cthugha cult. This one will be for poor Fava! The Silver Twilight must be dealt with soon, though. At all costs.

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