January 16th, 1925
After the excitement of the previous evening, our investigators began their research in earnest. A glance through the newspapers showed scant coverage of Elias’s murder, but Reid did note that Erica Carlyle was planning a benefit at her home to raise money for single mothers and their children. With an entry fee of only $25, the group thought that it might be worth attending … if only to case the joint.
Meanwhile, our group headed down to Emerson Imports to speak with the owner and manager Arthur Emerson. He confirmed that Silas N’Kwane is one of his clients, the proprietor of the Ju-Ju House, a small shop in Harlem.
The team traveled there to ask N’Kwane some questions, but their interrogation was interrupted by the arrival of Mukunga M’Dari, whose presence both disturbed and frightened the team. Retiring to a nearby coffee shop, Reid, Kugler, and Fitzgerald watched the outside, while Morgan tried to get a closer look.
Morgan first checked out an abandoned pawn shop that faced the Ju-Ju House, but found no signs of recent activity. However, while looking around the outside, he noticed a moving curtain in a high window, then saw human shapes moving beyond it. He then saw two shadowy forms cross an alley mouth across from him, followed by footsteps from the other end of the building. He crouched low, fixing a set of brass knuckles to his fist, and waited for the first one to step around the corner. When he did, he saw a flashing blade slicing down towards him, and ducked beneath it, rolling to the side. He stood to throw a punch at his assailant, when the second attacker thrust at him … and then darkness.
Meanwhile, the team in the coffee shop began to get concerned over their partner, and followed his route into the alleyway. They saw the, now opened, pawn shop door, and saw just a hint of red blood splatter against the wall. They knew that the men at the Ju-Ju House had something to do with it. But where was Morgan?
Circling to the rear entrance, Fitzgerald rigged an electric battery to the door handle, then they pounded on the rear door for all it was worth. When one of the cultists came to investigate, he was thrown to the floor by the shock, where he was quickly subdued. The team then headed inwards, and found a trap door that lead to a dark basement. They could just make out the ritual carvings in the walls as they made their way to a stoat oaken door, bound with iron. They opened the door, and were greeted by a nightmarish scene: N’Kwane, M’Dari, and the remaining cultist were marking the corpse of Morgan with ritual cult symbols. A group of walking dead mechanically rotated a winch that was raising up a heavy stone block. And from beneath the block arose an earthly cacophony of moans, screams, and cries.
Gunfire, fisticuffs, eldritch energy, and the cultists lay dead on the floor. Reid sealed the pit shut by cutting the winch line loose, and several new artifacts were discovered…