Scenario Author: Randy McCall (slightly modified by Allan Goodall)
Scenario Publisher: Chaosium, Inc., in The Asylum & Other Tales
Write-up Author: Allan Goodall
Run Date: March 19, 2005
Game System: Chaosium's Basic RolePlaying (BRP)
Keeper: Allan Goodall
Characters: Michel de Borsavin (Jason Gallagher); Agent MORGAN/Kurt Freiburg (Jimmy Pope); Lady Margaret Jameson (Alana Goodall)
Spoiler Warning: This scenario is taken from the Chaosium Call of Cthulhu supplement The Asylum & Other Tales. This is a book of scenarios for the 1920s version of Call of Cthulhu. If you are a Delta Green or Call of Cthulhu player you may wish to ask your Keeper if they intend to run any scenarios in that book before reading this write-up, as pertinent scenario information will be revealed. The scenario was slightly altered by Allan Goodall in order to add Madame Sosostris' Tarot deck.
After the spinning stopped and the swirling mist disappeared, Agent MORGAN found himself before a buffet table in an opulent room filled with fine, late 19th Century furniture. A dozen occupants in evening dress milled about, while several servants brought them champagne and hors d'oeuvres. A string quartet in a corner of the room played Schubert. Cigar and cigarette smoke filled the room with an acrid odor that MORGAN found both repugnant and soothing. The soothing feeling came from the body he now inhabited. Memories that weren't his came to him, unbidden.
MORGAN was in the body of Kurt Freiburg, an antiquarian specializing in occult objet d'art. Freiburg owned an antique shop in a high class commercial district of Vienna, Austria. He was attending an auction late one night in November, 1928. Austria was suffering from the results of The Great War. Inflation had devalued the kroner to the point where the preferred currency was the British pound. This auction was a sign of the times. They included the effects of a once-wealthy Austrians who now had to divest their property for hard cash. The auction was to be conducted in pounds sterling.
The auction was being held at the Auspberg House, a fine, upstanding establishment with impeccable credentials. In his hand was a copy of this evening's Ausperghaus catalog. The catalog listed the event as a "Special Auction of Occult Paraphernalia". There were 17 lots up for bid:
Freiburg had been approached by one Monsieur Pappineau, a Frenchman who came to Austria to acquire a particular Tarot deck, lot 9 in the Ausperghaus auction. He offered Freiburg £100 to purchase the deck for him. Pappineau apparently was not good in stress situations and was afraid he'd end up bidding too much for the deck. Freiburg was well known and well respected in occult auction circles, thus Pappineau approached him to purchase the deck. MORGAN/Freiburg had £600 of Pappineau's money to spend on the deck, plus £850 of his own money to spend on any items he wished.
There was no clue as to how the deck came into the possession of an Austrian in 1928.
His fellow bidders were an eclectic lot. There was the lovely young Englishwoman, Lady Margaret Jameson; the rat-faced French spiritualist Michel de Borsavin, and the dashing English adventurer Sir Martin Murray. There was Russian Count Nicolai Tychevski, Hungarian Lesk Czernin, and American George Walker. Rounding out the bidders was native Austrian Klaus Hunderprest, and Swede Darnel Kolson.
MORGAN/Freiburg walked away from the buffet table and tried to engage the others in conversation. He hoped to find out what they were interested in, to figure out who was going to bid against him for the deck. None of them wanted to show their hand prior to the auction. He had to content himself with small talk until 11 p.m., when the buffet was removed and Herr Auspberg asked the bidders to take their seats.
Frederick Albert Auspberg welcomed everyone to the auction and then introduced the first item. An attendant wearing silk gloves came in from another room holding a silver tray. On the tray was a metal ankh. de Borsavin and Murray both showed an interest in it. MORGAN/Freiburg spent some time inspecting the piece. The initial bid was £100. Both MORGAN/Freiburg and de Borsavin bid on the piece, but they were quickly out bid by Murray and Hunderprest. Eventually Murray won the item for £300. An attendant moved the piece to a side table. A card with Murray's name and the final price was placed beside the ankh. The first lot of the night had been purchased.
The auction continued. Darnel Kolson, the Swede, won the manuscript in lot #2 for £70 against only light opposition. The manuscript was placed beside the ankh on the table. The Magician's cassock, wand and athame were more popular. Lady Jameson, Lesk Czernin, George Walker and MORGAN/Freiburg all bid on the lot. MORGAN/Freiburg ended up winning with a bid of £310. Kolson and Walker bid the Hand of Glory up to £70, with MORGAN/Freiburg jumping in at the last minute and getting it for £80.
When the African fetish lot was brought around for viewing, MORGAN was shocked to recognize the skin and hair of the fetish as belonging to some sort of mystical creature. It may have been the same creature he once encountered in New York. It may have been something else. Either way, it was something strange and otherworldly. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted de Borsavin watching his reaction. He looked away as the attendant walked off with the item. de Borsavin also appeared interested in it. When the bidding started, de Borsavin and MORGAN/Freiburg were joined by Walker and Murray. MORGAN/Freiburg finally won with a bid of £270.
MORGAN/Freiburg had now won three of the first five lots. This wasn't just to furnish Freiburg's shop with new acquisitions. No, MORGAN had other plans for these occult pieces...
After lot #5 was finished, Kolson asked an attendant to take a note up to Auspberg. Auspberg read the note, and then asked if anyone objected to lot #12 being auctioned out of sequence, as one of the bidders had to retire early. It was obvious to MORGAN that the bidder in question was Kolson. Auspberg apologized for the inconvenience and said he would not change the order of the items if anyone objected. Lady Jameson put up her hand and stated her objection. The auction continued as published, much to Kolson's chagrin.
Lady Jameson, Murray, and the Russian bid on lot #6, with the lady winning it for £190. The next item, the sword, saw bidding by Kolson and Lady Jameson. Kolson drove the bidding up to £420, but the lady won the auction for £450. Kolson scribbled a note, handed it to an attendant, and stormed out of the room. The manuscript he purchased remained on the side table; apparently he would pick it up later.
Just as Kolson left, the human skull was brought into the room. de Borsavin and the Russian bid on the skull, with the Russian winning it for £250. Herr Auspberg asked an attendant to bring in the next item, the Tarot deck.
Several minutes passed, with Auspberg filling the time describing the deck. The auction items were in a separate room. An attendant had been bringing the items from the preparation room to the Green Room, where the auction was being held. The auction was run so smoothly that there was only a minute or two's delay from the moment one item was purchased and another appeared.
After several minutes the attendant still hadn't returned with the Tarot deck. MORGAN/Frieburg began to look around, nervously. The other bidders began murmuring to one another. Auspberg motioned for another attendant to find out what was keeping the first one. Auspberg continued to talk.
He was interrupted by a blood-curdling scream.
Several of the bidders stood, including MORGAN/Freiburg. Auspberg asked the bidders to remain seated, then he hustled off to see what happened, leaving two other attendants to watch over the bidders. The string quartet struck up a tune. MORGAN/Freiburg ran after Auspberg.
Auspberg stood in the doorway to prep room. The second attendant lay crumpled on the floor, half in and half out of the room. MORGAN/Freiburg came up beside Auspberg. The auctioneer gave him no notice. The preparation room was a shambles. Auction items were scattered about, some of them broken. Blood pooled on the floor, and splattered the walls. The dismembered remains of what appeared to be the first attendant lay next to a broken table. MORGAN, the 21st Century forensics expert, held his composure. Auspberg did not. The auction house owner leaned out of the room and vomited in the hall.
MORGAN/Freiburg picked his way through the debris. He was looking for the Tarot deck. It took him a few minutes to find the cards as they were scattered with the rest of the items. He found a wooden box the right size to hold the cards. He did a quick count. All of the Minor Arcana was present, but he only had 13 of the Major Arcana cards. While the ashen-faced auctioneer tidied himself up, MORGAN/Freiburg placed the cards in the box and quickly slipped the box into a pocket.
MORGAN's professional curiosity took over as he bent down and studied the attendant's remains. The body had been clawed and chewed. Large sections of muscle mass were missing.
A thick trail of blood led to the dumb waiter. Cautiously, MORGAN/Freiburg opened the door. The dumb waiter was all the way down in the basement. The dumb waiter was electrically powered. He pushed the button, and the enclosure began to rise. MORGAN thought this was the way the assailants had escaped. Perhaps he could take the dumb waiter down to the basement and follow them. The enclosure reached his floor. As it came into view, MORGAN/Freiburg saw the interior was showered in blood. Inside was the dismembered body of the Swede. It, too, appeared to be missing big sections of muscle mass. The Swede's throat had been torn out, and something sharp had pierced either side of the man's mouth. This time MORGAN could not maintain his composure; he ran from the room and threw up.
MORGAN's thoughts turned to the second attendant. He wiped his mouth, and then bent over the man. The attendant had simply, and understandably, passed out. MORGAN/Freiburg went back into the room. The room was sparse enough that it didn't take him long to discover that an item was missing: the brass head. In a corner MORGAN/Freiburg found a short stack of canvas bags. There was blood on the top bag, but the blood didn't cover all of it. Rather, there was an area devoid of blood with clearly defined edges. This suggested that there had been another bag on the top of the stack and that this other bag was now missing.
Auspberg, MORGAN/Freiburg, and the now conscious attendant returned to the Green Room, where the other bidders were anxiously awaiting an explanation. MORGAN/Freiburg described what they saw. The bidders were all aghast. The men all looked at Lady Jameson, worried that her frail female constitution couldn't handle the news. Lady Jameson, though, was made of sterner stuff, and seemed to be less affected than some of the men. MORGAN/Freiburg stated that the brass head and the Tarot deck were missing. Both de Borsavin and Lady Jameson seemed particularly upset that the head and the cards were gone.
As he twirled his pencil-thin moustache, the scrawny Frenchman replied, "Zey took ze head?" Sacre bleu!"
Auspberg left the room to call for the police. The bidders talked among themselves after they had recovered their initial shock. The consensus was that they should pay for their items and claim them as soon as possible. Perhaps they were worried that the items would be taken as evidence. Auspberg returned to the room. The police were on their way, and the items were to remain where they were.
MORGAN/Freiburg suggested that they investigate the basement before the police arrived, and before the trail grew too cold. Auspberg thought it was a wonderful idea and volunteered one of his attendants to go with him. de Borsavin and Lady Jameson agreed to accompany MORGAN/Freiburg.
de Borsavin addressed the other bidders. "Is zere nobody else brave enough to ze basement?" The remaining bidders all shook their heads. de Borsavin shrugged. The attendant led the way to the basement, followed by MORGAN/Freiburg and Lady Jameson, with de Borsavin trailing.
Each of the four auction rooms on the third floor had an associated vault in the basement and a preparation room on the third floor. The preparation rooms were connected to the vaults by dumb waiters. The items remained in a vault in the basement until close to auction time. They were then loaded onto a dumb waiter and lifted to the third floor prep room. They were laid out on a table in the prep room, and then carried one at a time to the auction room. The investigators and the attendant descended into the basement, and stopped when they arrived outside the Green Room's vault. The attendant opened the door with a large key, then stood aside.
The vault was a mess. A set of metal drawers and a wooden table were overturned and ripped apart. The far wall had partially collapsed. MORGAN/Freiburg stepped up to the collapsed wall. Beyond the rubble was a tunnel, which itself had partially collapsed. MORGAN/Freiburg crawled through the rubble and into the tunnel entrance. Near the opening was another Tarot card. This was one of the Major Arcana cards from Madame Sosostris' deck. That left 7 cards unaccounted for. He carefully and quietly slipped this card into his jacket pocket. As he crawled back out he noticed that the opening in the collapsed wall was held up with a pair of hydraulic jacks. Whoever broke in had been well prepared.
MORGAN/Freiburg directed them to the other vaults in the basement. One at a time the attendant opened them. They were untouched. Only the Green Room's vault was broken into. MORGAN/Freiburg went back to that vault and made a note of the direction it faced. He suspected that someone broke into the vault by way of a tunnel from the sewers.
As they climbed back upstairs, MORGAN/Freiburg wondered aloud as to what the Swede was doing in the prep room. de Borsavin and Lady Jameson suggested that perhaps Kolson had heard something when he got into the hallway, and went to investigate. It seemed as good a theory as any.
By this time the police had arrived. They were taking statements from Auspberg and the other bidders. The investigators described what they saw. A police detective sent a patrolman down to take a look.
de Borsavin and Lady Jameson wished to see the room where the men were killed. MORGAN/Freiburg took them there. Lady Jameson gasped, and turned away. At the sight of the dismembered body and all of the blood, de Borsavin immediately threw up. "Mon dieu!" he finally managed to stammer.
MORGAN/Freiburg pointed at the sacks on the floor. "Now, as you can see..."
de Borsavin interrupted him. "Non, please, monsieur. Or I will loose my lunch a second time." The Frenchman looked down. "I have inadvertently soiled ze crime scene."
"And yourself," added MORGAN/Freiburg, helpfully.
"Merde!" replied the Frenchman.
Auspberg appeared beside them, still shaken. de Borsavin turned to him. "Herr Auspberg. May I borrow your handkerchief?" Auspberg handed the cloth to the French spiritualist. de Borsavin carefully bent over and dabbed the cloth in the attendant's blood.
"What is that for?" asked MORGAN/Freiburg.
"I wish to question him," replied de Borsavin, cryptically.
"So, make yourself suspicious by having a bloody handkerchief in your pocket," said Lady Jameson.
They searched the room again. de Borsavin dipped another part of the handkerchief in the blood of the Swede. Meanwhile, Lady Jameson discovered a trail of blood droplets from just outside the door to the Green Room to the room where the bodies were found. She also found spots where something jagged had torn up little holes in the carpet. These holes ran parallel to the droplets. Apparently the Swede was grabbed shortly after he left the room. The holes in the carpet looked to MORGAN like claw marks.
They left the room. A police detective walked up, introduced himself, and began questioning them. While de Borsavin and Lady Jameson answered the detective's questions, MORGAN/Freiburg overheard one patrolman say to another, "...happened near The Gate."
MORGAN/Freiburg went over to the patrolman and asked what they had heard. He reached into his coat for his billfold. The policeman held up his hand in a "stop" gesture. He looked at his partner, then looked around for the detectives. None were within earshot. He whispered to MORGAN/Freiburg to meet him outside the local police station at 4 a.m. That's when his shift ended. MORGAN/Freiburg nodded and said he'd be there. At that moment the detective walked up to MORGAN/Freiburg and began asking him about the murder.
After the police finished questioning them, Herr Auspberg accepted payment from the winning bidders and let them depart with their items. MORGAN/Freiburg, de Borsavin, and Lady Jameson stayed behind.
Auspberg asked the three investigators if they would be able to help him discover what happened. He was worried that the his auction house's reputation would be ruined if the killer remained at large. He also doubted the local police's ability to find the murderer. MORGAN/Freiburg agreed to help on the condition that he be invited to future auctions. Lady Jameson and Michel de Borsavin also agree to help Auspberg under the same conditions. Auspberg happily accepted their terms.
de Borsavin stated that he wished to conduct a seance. He needed a quiet room and some additional participants. Lady Jameson, MORGAN/Freiburg and Auspberg agreed to take part, though Auspberg was somewhat skeptical. As Auspberg led them into a meeting room on the first floor, de Borsavin said, "I ask that you bury any skepticism."
They sat in a circle, around a table. de Borsavin placed the handkerchief with the blood of the Swede and the attendant on the table. They held hands. de Borsavin began by trying to contact Kolson's spirit.
Within about fifteen minutes there was a loud knock that seemed to emanate from the table. de Borsavin implored the participants to sit still. He called for the spirit to answer their questions: two knocks for yes, one for no.
"Do you know who killed you?" asked de Borsavin.
"Was it human?"
"Why were you in ze preparation room? Were you there to steal something?"
"Were you there to save something?"
"Did you hear a noise?"
"Do you know how to knock more than once?"
"Did the thing that killed you try to steal something?"
"Were you bleeding when you entered the room?"
"Were you dragged into the room?"
MORGAN/Freiburg added a question. "Was your attacker man-shaped?"
"Was it a man-fish?" asked Lady Jameson.
Knock. This time the noise was quieter then before.
"He's knocking very faintly," said de Borsavin. "Quick, any more questions?"
MORGAN/Freiburg called out, "Do you know where it went? Was it going to The Gate? Did it have big black eyes?" There was no response.
de Borsavin sighed, and looked up at the seance's participants. The Swede had departed. He would now concentrate on contacting the attendant. They all held hands once more and de Borsavin repeated the ritual. After trying for more than half an hour there was no sound. They could not contact the attendant. The seance was over.
The quartet started discussing the missing items. de Borsavin described the head for MORGAN/Freiburg, who had not heard of it. The artifact was made of riveted brass, formed into the shape of a human head. The eyes and mouth were hinged. The head was purported to have been constructed by a magician, who captured the likeness of Sir Francis Bacon. The head was an item of occult significance. According to occult literature, with the right ritual the head could be made to answer any question put to it.
MORGAN/Freiburg asked if anyone showed a particular interest in the head. Auspberg, sheepishly, mentioned that both de Borsavin and Lady Jameson had offered to purchase the head before it went to auction. The Englishwoman and the Frenchman merely smiled and shrugged. Auspberg said that another had also approached him about the head. Herr Hunderprest, the Austrian, offered to purchase the head a few days before. When Auspberg politely declined, an angry Hunderprest stormed out of the Auspberghaus. The investigators asked for Hunderprest's address. Auspberg checked his files. Hunderprest lived at 324 Vohlstrasse No. 1.
Lady Jameson asked Auspberg if he would be willing to sell the book Darnel Kolson had bid and won, if she paid the same price. Auspberg declined. The book would be put back up for auction. de Borsavin asked if they could purchase the head if they recovered it, but Auspberg insisted that it must go up for auction as well. He explained that he had a responsibility to his client. The three investigators said that they understood and did not press the matter.
It was now almost time for the patrolmen to come off their shift, so the investigators took their leave. They stepped into the cold night air and walked the handful of blocks to the local police precinct. At just a little bit past 4 a.m. the two patrolmen left the building. The investigators greeted them. The police accompanied the investigators around the corner of the building, out of sight from the precinct house.
It was clear from the patrolmen's attitude that they were willing to talk if the price was right. MORGAN/Freiburg gave them £40 to tell him about what they were discussing earlier. The patrolmen eagerly explained that five graves and a mausoleum had been robbed at Das Tor, or The Gate, an old, untended cemetery in a run down section of town. de Borsavin asked if The Gate was anywhere near Vohlstrasse. The patrolmen said that a portion of the street was only a couple of hundred yards away from the cemetery. The investigators thanked the patrolmen. They conferred as the patrolmen went home.
Hunderprest was appearing more suspicious all the time. The investigators decided to meet at the graveyard at noon to search for desecrated graves. They managed to hail taxis, and departed.
MORGAN/Freiburg went straight home. He thought of stopping at Freiburg's store and grabbing a helpful artifact, but when he searched Freiburg's memory he was disappointed to find that there was nothing particularly useful in the shop. Instead of going to bed as soon as he got to the apartment, he turned on a light and examined the artifacts he obtained from the auction. First he pulled out the cards. They were definitely Madame Sosostris' deck, though they looked almost new. There were only 14 Major Arcana cards, meaning that seven were missing.
Next he picked up the fetish and studied it closely. He began to carefully unravel the artifact, taking care not to damage the strange hair and leather that covered it. When he completely unwrapped it, he discovered a small stone in the center, tied to the shaft of the fetish with sinew. On the stone was carved a curious five-pointed star with what appeared to be a crude flame in the middle. Neither MORGAN nor Freiburg had any idea what the item was, though MORGAN was sure it had some occult significance. He carefully re-wrapped the fetish. He disrobed, turned out the light and went to bed.
MORGAN/Freiburg arrived at the graveyard at the appointed time. de Borsavin and Lady Jameson were already there. MORGAN suspected that they had been there for some time, but let it pass without comment.
The investigators searched the graveyard, but they didn't find anything of consequence. None of the graves appeared desecrated. MORGAN guessed that they had been cleaned up by the local ground keepers. He silently cursed Alzis for sending him on this "errand".
The next stop was Hunderprest's apartment. They soon found it, as it was only a short walk from the graveyard. Or, at least 324 Vohlstrasse was easy to find. They walked up to the dilapidated building. The first apartment was listed as "No. 2". There was no sign of "No. 1" along the sort hall.
They knocked on the door to apartment #2. The landlord appeared. They asked if Herr Hunderprest lived there. The landlord said that he did, in the apartment around back.
They asked if they could speak to him. The landlord said that he thought he heard Hunderprest leave earlier that day. He asked what this was about. MORGAN/Freiburg said it had to do with an unfortunate incident in the auction house. They had all been present and they just wanted to ask Hunderprest what he remembered of the evening. The landlord nodded, but apologized, repeating that he didn't believe Hunderprest was home.
MORGAN/Freiburg thanked the landlord. He gave the man his business card and asked that he let Herr Hunderprest know they had been there. They left the landlord's apartment.
The investigators went around to the back of the building, descended a short flight of stairs, and knocked on the door of the basement apartment. There was no answer. The apartment had two windows just above ground level. MORGAN/Freiburg checked one of the windows. It was unlocked.
de Borsavin slipped inside while the other two watched for Hunderprest or nosey neighbors. de Borsavin unlocked the apartment's door and opened it. "Zee coast, she is clear," he said.
Lady Jameson agreed to stand watch outside of the apartment while the two men quickly searched it. The window opened into the living room, which was well appointed with expensive furniture. MORGAN/Freiburg and de Borsavin split up, with de Borsavin checking the rooms on the left side of the hallway and MORGAN/Freiburg checking the rooms on the right.
A short way down the hall, MORGAN/Freiburg noticed a peculiar smell. There was a sickly sweet odor that permeated the house. MORGAN recognized it as the smell of decomposing flesh. He checked the dining room and kitchen, but it wasn't coming from there. He moved across the hall to the master bedroom. The smell was worse in the bedroom.
The bedroom was dishevelled. MORGAN/Freiburg searched it. At the bottom of a pile of clothes on the floor he found a diamond ring... still perched on the skeletal finger of its last owner! He had discovered a direct connection between Hunderprest and the grave robberies.
He found a trap door set into the floor of the closet. Figuring out how to open it took about 10 minutes. When the hidden latch was finally sprung it revealed the rungs of a ladder set into the walls of a deep hole. It also revealed the source of the stench, which was nauseatingly strong. MORGAN/Freiburg closed the door and went back to get de Borsavin.
The Frenchmen had been searching the library where he found several books on resurrecting the dead and reincarnation. MORGAN/Freiburg told him about the hole in the floor. They brought Lady Jameson into the apartment and closed the door after her. de Borsavin jammed a chair under the doorknob while MORGAN/Freiburg locked the windows. de Borsavin searched the kitchen, hoping to find a flashlight. He was in luck. He found one and it worked.
They opened the trap door and shone the light down the hole. It was very deep. Someone had to check it out; MORGAN/Freiburg volunteered. de Borsavin continued to shine the light down the hole while MORGAN/Freiburg climbed down.
MORGAN estimated the hole at around 50 to 60 feet deep. By the time he reached the bottom, the light from above was of little help. He reached into a pocket and pulled out a box of matches. He lit a match and looked around.
The room was square. The walls were made from marble slabs stolen from mausoleums. Hanging on the walls were tapestries made from the shrouds of the dead, with bits and pieces of their former owners woven into them. MORGAN/Freiburg let out a yelp of fright, dropping the match. He lit another. Hanging from the center of the room was a bare light bulb. MORGAN/Freiburg pulled the cord that turned on the light.
He could now see a lot better. This wasn't necessarily a good thing, as the tapestries looked even more ghastly in he swaying light. There were two doors, one in the wall to the left and one in the wall to the right. He was standing beside a table and a chair. On the table was the brass head, sitting on a silver platter. The head was covered in dried blood.
"Mr. Fleabag," called Lady Jameson, "Are you all right?" MORGAN/Freiburg called back that he was fine. He continued to look around.
He moved out of view of the other two investigators. He spotted a canvas bag in a corner. The bag was covered in blood. It looked like it was simply thrown into the corner, discarded. He carefully picked up, opened it, and stuck his hand into the bag. He found seven pieces of laminated cards. He pulled them out and looked at them. They were the missing Major Arcana cards from Madame Sosostris' Tarot deck. When he put them in order, they were numbered 14 to 20 and were named Temperance, Le Diable (The Devil), Le Maison de Dieu (The House of God), L'Etoile (The Circle), La Lune (The Moon), Le Soleil (The Sun), Le Jugement (Judgement), and Le Monde (The World), respectively. MORGAN/Freiburg pocketed the cards, and threw the sack back into the corner. He headed back up the ladder, leaving the light on behind him.
The other two waited anxiously for him. As he climbed out of the hole, he said, "The head's down there. It's covered in blood."
"Why did you not bring the head?" asked Lady Jameson, incredulously.
"Perhaps 'blood' does not translate properly. Blood. Ook, ook, nasty!"
Sighing, de Borsavin grabbed a sheet and proceeded down the hole, taking the flashlight with him. MORGAN/Freiburg said that he would watch out for Hunderprest. Lady Jameson followed the Frenchmen.
Once the Englishwoman was out of sight, MORGAN/Freiburg hurried to the library. He looked over the books and grabbed the oldest and most suspicious looking. He quietly unlocked the door and moved the chair out of the way.
Someone in the hole cried out. There was the sound of someone clambering up the ladder. Something was happening, something MORGAN wanted no part of. He rushed out the door with the books. In his pockets he had the entire Tarot deck, including the 21 Major Arcana cards.
When he got to the street, MORGAN/Freiburg ran down the road until he found a taxi. He jumped in and directed the driver to his apartment. He gave the taxi driver cash and told him to wait in the street. He rushed upstairs to his apartment and quickly packed a bag with a few days worth of clothes. He grabbed a large carpet bag, opened it, and threw in the books he stole from Hunderprest and the items he bought at the auction. He took all the cash in his apartment, which included the £600 Pappineau gave him to buy the Tarot deck and £190 of Freiburg's own money remaining from the auction. MORGAN/Freiburg locked the door after himself, and went back down to the taxi. He told the cab driver to take him to the railway station.
MORGAN/Freiburg sat in a hotel room in Geneva, Switzerland. He had spent much of the last two weeks investigating Swiss banks. He chose the Schwizerische Bankgesellschaft (known as Union de Banques Suisses in French, or the Union Bank of Switzerland in English). He paid in advance to hold a safe deposit box in his name for the next 80 years. He had to transfer some money out of Freiburg's Austrian account to completely pay for it, but the transaction went smoothly. He wrote up a will, had it notarized by a local solicitor, and left it with the bank. In case of Freiburg's death, the contents of the safe deposit box was left to one Joshua Frost. This was an unusual request, but the bank officials accepted it... and MORGAN/Freiburg's money. He spent a great deal of the remainder of the last two weeks memorizing his account number.
He also wrote letters to Pappineau, telling him he had the Tarot deck and where he could be found. Pappineau wrote him back to tell him he would meet Freiburg in his hotel room on December 3. Pappineau expressed no surprise that Freiburg had high-tailed it to Switzerland.
In the early afternoon of December 3, 1928 MORGAN/Freiburg received a note from Pappineau stating that he was in Geneva. He would visit Frieburg in his hotel room there that evening.
There was a knock on the door. MORGAN/Freiburg opened the door. Pappineau stood in the hall. MORGAN/Freiburg invited him in.
Pappineau was all business. He asked for the Tarot deck. MORGAN/Freiburg handed it over. Pappineau took his time going through the cards one-by-one, which wasn't easy because he was wearing gloves.
When he finished his inspection, Pappineau handed MORGAN/Freiburg an envelope. MORGAN/Freiburg opened it. Inside were British pound notes. He pulled them out and leafed through them. The envelope contained £100, as promised.
MORGAN/Freiburg looked at his hands. There was a white powder on them. The white powder was on the money, too. He looked up at Pappineau, but his vision began to blur. It became hard to breathe, and his heart started to race. He stumbled forward, but his legs gave out and he collapsed to the floor. He stared at Pappineau, unable to speak.
The Frenchman turned to look at him. Pappineau's scarf had shifted, revealing a priest's collar. Pappineau sighed, and then left the room, closing the door behind him.
Freiburg's breathing stopped, and darkness descended over MORGAN. Suddenly there was a swirling miasma around him. He began spinning clockwise in the miasma. He started to rise. Apparently he had successfully saved the cards. When he stopped spinning he expected to find himself back in Alzis' office in New York...