Active investigators: Ian Flannigan, Professor Walter Scott, Hermann Müller, Boris Vasilij.
With the confrontation with the Sorcerer just behind them, the Dreamland Express continued onwards through the land of Xura. A twelve hour trip awaited them with just a quick stop in Xura to find any lost dreamers. Henry went through the Salon and pulled all the curtains. “There are things in Xura I cannot allow myself to have you watch. It would be etched into your memories.” He also put out scented candles and torches trying to hide the odor of…. The players rolled for Spot Hidden and it was the odor of human corpses and decay.
Ian and Boris could not resist the temptation of taking a peek behind the curtains when Henry was not there. The land was dark but light from a full moon showed trees and hedges, flowers leaning in towards the train. But something was not right…. The lands… The were full of human bodies, carcasses, and body parts all over. The roses grew out of the eye sockets of skulls and even mountains of human bone piled up together. (Sanity check 0/1d2)
Ian and Boris suddenly heard evill laughter from inside their heads and saw shadows creeping nearer the train. They came out of the trees and out from behind the hedges. Ian and Boris felt a sudden urge to jump off the train and joining those fascinating shadows in the land of death. But Power-rolls saved them both from getting off the train. Professor Scott and Hermann refrained from taking a glance behind the curtains and listened to their friends recollection with interest.
Back in the Padded compartment wagon, the ghoul was kept for safe being of the other passengers. He indeed have a ticket even though he was chewing on it. Henry first did not want to let him onboard, but yielded to the investigators’ wishes (Persuade).
The trip went well through Xura and the investigators had a stern talk with Madame Bruja. They tried to find out about his weaknesses. Fire was his main weakness and the investigators asked Henry to supply them with gasoline and bottles with liquor. They created sixteen molotov-cocktail bottles and geared up for what now seemed as an unavoidable conflict with the Sorcerer. Madame Bruja also informed them that the Sorcerer had great protection powers against conventional attacks only taking minor damage. He has powerful spell-casting possibilities and can dominate people with his powers. Perhaps also his pride was his weakness she rounded up. Madame Bruja ended the night’s conversation by stating that she had to throw the Lovers’ Heart in the Gulf of Noden to destroy it forever. If the Sorcerer would find it he would ascend to immense powers perhaps even threatening the Waking World….
The Dreamland Express entered Aira and Henry and the cats held a remembrance ritual in a lovely meadow lined by beautiful grooves. Birds with pink feathers flew over and it was quite the contrast from Xura the land of death.
Henry read a poem and the cats filed up in two lines walking up to the groove slowly and on arrival dug a pit where Henry placed Black Jack’s body carefully, graciously. Black Jack’s mother was there and she lay beside the grave. Back at Ulthar, Mironim-Mer, the murderer, would be tried and the knowledge of justice being done surely soothed her pain.
Next stop was Sonya-Nul and henry informed the investigators that King Kuranes would enter and there would be a Royal Feast Banquet. After the banquet, the King would call upon the conflicting parties The Beings of Ib and the Saarnathians. The King was interested in the investigators negotiated plan.
Arriving in Sonya-Nul, The Land of Fancy, wherein there is no time nor space, no suffering nor death. The land- scapes are clear and pastoral, the cities gigan- tic and domed in gold. Beyond each vista of beauty arises another even more beautiful. The inhabitants are happy and gifted with unwar- ranted grace. Quaint pagodas and white walls stand amid carefully tended gardens. Those leaving Sona-Nyl invariably suffer great dif- ficulties if they attempt to return. Most never succeed in returning—some say because the gods curse them for rejecting perfection.
The King was escorted by twenty of his finest knights in full armor and on majestic horses. Two of the knights followed the King onto the Dreamland Express. King Kuranes’ knights were named Haragrim and Nadamus. They were powerful warriors with stern gazes. Surely it would not be easy to pass them onto the King.
Henry was at his best, bowing deep to salute the King. Henry introduced him to the other passengers and the King mentioned the investigators and telling them he looked forward to hear their negotiated peace proposal. But first they would feast. Hermann lacked proper fittings and rolled for Dreaming. He failed. A banana popped up in his hand. The others laughed hysterically. Hermann not keen to Anglosachsian humor being a stern Nazi, asked Henry for assistance. Henry manifested a magnificent tuxedo for Hermann crowned with the Iron Cross and the NSDAP-party symbol.
The Royal banquet was a lavish feast and Henry was in terrific mood. The investigators did feel a certain nervousness surrounding the table now that a king was present. Psychology rolls pointed out Zsasza as one of the most nervous ones, keeping all silent far from her regular drama. Boris leaned over and asked her how she was doing. She looked at Boris and smiled. “I do not know whether I should sing and dance now, or later, or not at all. What would the king fancy?”. Boris smiled and talked with a kind, soothing voice. “Dear Miss Zsasza, I have been at many a banquets by the Tsar. It would be most appropriate after the desert when the guests want entertaining.” Zsasza smiled and thanked Boris. He had saved her day.
And what a dance and song she performed after the desert. She dated like a firefly and finished off with a perfect pirouette. Her song cherished brave warriors and the kingdoms nurturing them. The King was happy and applauded loud. Then he broke off: “Now it is time to parlay. I want the Dreamers and their presentation in the Salon car.”
The investigators presented their three points of compromises. The money for war damage was agreed on. The apology would be in written form. The statue would be returned someday, somehow. The King agreed to the deal and called in the disgusting Beings of Ib and the beautiful Saarnathians. They also accepted the deal. The King finished the parley by warning the Saarnathians to not respecting the deal. “There are Gods who will not forget”.
The investigators were awarded immediate +1d4 Sanity Points for brokering the peace.
The Dreamlands Express departed 2 am for Serannian, the last stop before The Gulf of Noden. The beasts of the train took of toward the heavens and the far horizon melted together between the sea and the heaven. The train leaped off and traveled high-up among the stars. The investigators look out thrilled to see this amazing flight over the clear sky.
“_The marble cloud city… that lies in ethereal space between where the sea meets the sky_”. Henry told the investigators before wishing them good night after a long day. “To reach Serannian one sails from Celephaïs to the horizon (the point where the sea meets the sky) then over it and up into the sky. Much of the Cloud City of Serannian is actually a huge castle complex built of pink-veined white marble. The people of Serannian are extremely pale of skin and hair. They are polite to outsiders but very introverted. Serannian is a possession of Celephaïs and King Kuranes rules from it half the time”
Before the investigators went for their last rest before the Gulf of Noden, Professor Scott wanted to ask Henry if they could arrange the tentacles of the beasts to protect all open parts of the Sleeping Compartment where they and Madame Bruja were (Car #5). Only leaving one window open without protection – the one of the investigators’ compartment.
The investigators also discussed who would be the last four of them defending Madame Bruja all the way into the Gulf of Nodens. They knew from earlier that Lord Fyrom Squibb and Colonel Williams had volunteered, and adding to that Edvard Night & Day since he wanted to get rid of his Agoraphobia that he got from the Blood Red Fez ritual. The final fourth slot was between the remaining investigators. Exciting decision to make!
To be continued…