Horror on the Orient Express - Total Recap!

Comte Fenalik - Paris by night

Scenario 4, Fleurs de mal - session 1

Paris, Monday January 15th, 1923

You must go in haste” were the last words passed on by the manservant Beddows to the investigators from the severely burnt and suffering Professor Smith. Comte Fenalik was the last known owner of one of the missing pieces of the statue the Sedefkar Simulacrum. Professor Smith’s instructions were to reassemble the Sedefkar Simulacrum by collecting the six pieces scattered over Europe and then destroy it. The enormous evil power it possessed had to be terminated permanently.

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Above: The Sedefkar Simulacrum

The investigators arrived in Paris late at night and decided to rest for the following days investigations. The task force assembled constituted by Edvard Night and Day, Boris Vasiliskij, Professor Walter Scott JR, and Ian Flenning. The next day promised investigations at the magnifique Biblioteque National, but was thwarted by the administrative rules.

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Above: Biblioteque National

The investigators needed a letter of reference from their embassy and it would take 3 full days. “I will have none of this” proclaimed Edvard Night and Day, 13th in the order of Swedish Nobility, and marched towards the Swedish embassy. Arriving there he and his companions were treated by Swedish Ambassador Silverstråle (Silver Beam) and with a Credit Rating roll of “11” it was a success. The Ambassador and his adjutant Lieutenant Nilsson treated them to a full Swedish breakfast of porridge with blue berry jam and fresh milk, hard boiled eggs, fibre rich dark bread and a single round of aquavit from the rich fields of Southern Sweden.

The Ambassador was befriended by now and wrote a letter to the Director of the Biblioteque National to let the investigators have full access to the library. The investigations could now commence.

The French language was an obstacle with Professor Walter Scott JR being the sole practitioner in the group and at only 30 %. They decided to hire an aide. The librarians suggested a student, Remi Vaugeim, who would be at their service for a daily fee of about 20 to 50 francs. The investigators wanted him in good morale and hence offered 60 francs.

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On the 2nd day they discovered a diary of a certain Mademoiselle De Brienne (Players: see investigator’s diary for reference). She was at the Queen’s court and the diary told of excesses and terrible things happening not too far away… Whispers told of Comte Fenalik.

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With great joy for this initial lead, Boris Vasilji arranged for a loge at the Paris Opera to celebrate the partnership with Remi. Remi, however, seemed agitated and declared that these bourgeois excesses were not for him. Spot Hidden rolls revealed that his starched suit was worn and small holes in the shoes. Proud but poor. The investigators later found out that Remi wrote essays for l’Humanité and that a friend of his was shot in one of the many riots in the streets. Clearly a socialist activist. The investigators sighed of relief that Hermann was not with them at this particular point. Boris instead invited Ambassador Silverstråle and his aide lieutenant Nilsson. The evening was a networking success as the investigators were introduced to the brass and the rich and the famous in Paris.

The investigation continued but grinded somewhat to a halt. Remi suggested that they changed to Biblioteque Arsenal which was specialized on pre-revolutionary events.

After a coupe of days there they found a report from Captain Louis Malon, who on June 1789, shortly before the revolution to come, was the officer in charge of the raid of Comte Fenalik’s mansion in Poissy, outside Paris.

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Apparently Comte Fenalik was a brutal sadist and extravagant sexual orgies and torture took place in his cellar. Captain Malon decided to arrest the fornicating lot and burn the mansion to the ground. At least the investigators had a geographic location now to investigate even though the mansion had been burnt to the ground, perhaps the cellars and other hidden areas could be recovered. They also had more leads to investigate.

The libraries were all closed so the investigators spent the day sightseeing. They went up the Eiffel Tower and Ian took a bird eye view picture of Paris. They also visited the Louvre and as they entered one of the large halls of magnificent art, they heard a cold laughter echoing from the other side of the hall. They approached but no one was to be seen. In that corner was a painting of an unknown man poised majestically holding a cain. Dark hair and with eyes seemingly staring back at them. The investigators interviewed the museum clerks but no one knew more of the painting then that it had been given to the museum by a secret giver and it was a replica of a painting owned by the former Queen Mary of France (Queen Marie Antoinette). Could this be a picture of Comte Fenalik himself? Ian took a photo of the picture for future reference.

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The investigations now moved back to Biblioteque National and with combined skill checks in Library Use and Occult found more traces and leads of the Sedefkar Simulacrum. Apparently there was literature available on this subject, a certain “The Devil’s Simulare” last known to be in Venice in the church San Maria Celeste. Obviously more leads were to be found in that tome.

The continuing investigation was now running almost a full week and more leads were discovered. A doctor’s journal where Dr Lucien Rigault told of Comte Fenalik being a writhing madman, thrown into an asylum called Charenton rather than execution. Why had they kept this a secret pretending to execute him?

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They also found an interesting news article about a Doctor Etienne Delplace, Director of Charenton, recently died in an accident. Could all this just be coincidences? Boris looked skeptical.

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Visiting the Charenton asylum and the new director, Doctor Leroux, the investigators were granted access to archives prior to 1810. After that all files are confidential out of respect for the relatives.

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However, waiting outside Dr Leroux’s office they noticed several boxes with material from the previous director and with a Spot Hidden Edvard identified and knicked the former director’s journal. That journal contained some really astonishing material.

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As the investigators headed back to their Hotel du Rhin, they passed by the German embassy. It was empty and had barbed wire and blocks of beton surrounding it, guarded by French soldiers. The French and Belgian occupation of the German Rhine valley was according to some an act of war and many feared hostilities again. Somewhere in the mountains of Bavaria an Austrian corporal was practicing on his speeches for the Munich beer halls…

Comments

Scenario 4 started as a great contrast to the violent finale of scenario 3, with the bloody battle on the island out in the Sea of Marmara. The investigators showed great competence in handing difficult investigations and research. They are certainly not one-trick-Ponies. Hiring the French student Remi was a smart move and helped out as well, with the French language otherwise being a solid barrier. Only Professor Walter JR knows French and at the limited competence of 30 %. We look forward to the next session come January 17th and I think we have a good chance to complete the scenario 4 during that next session.

Comte Fenalik - Paris by night
 

We will have an extra session tomorrow the 10th so I hope to conclude this scenario 4 before the end of the month.

Comte Fenalik - Paris by night
Caligula_1

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