Campaign of the Month: July 2008

Beyond the Mountains of Madness

Chapter 10: City of the Old Ones, Part 2

The Investigators continued their explorations of the City of the Elder Things. Professor Moore seemed edgy, fascinated and disturbed by petrified wood samples that he insists could not have come from trees able to grow on the Antarctic Plateau, even when it was warm, due to the plateau’s height. Later that evening, they grew concerned to hear that Moore had succumed to mild frostbite on his fingers and face.

Mild Frostbite

Some of the finds they made that day included a grand white obelisk, and a triple row of huge dusky rose marble columns that seemed aligned with due north-south. They also made some small headway on translating the symbols of the Elder Things, recognizing symbols that seemed to indicate when the Elder Things first encountered early primates. They have also begun to understand how complex the Elder Thing writing is.

After some small forays over the course of the day, they went back to the central plaza and descended the sloping ramp that went down into the ruins of a tower. On the way down, they were able to examine a profuse amount of Elder Thing script. Down below, they found a chamber with many archways, most blocked by ice and rubble. By one, they found a yellowed piece of notebook paper, and they realized they must be at the point where Dyer’s text indicates he fled and escaped with Danforth after encountering a “shoggoth”. More disturbing, fresh triangular tracks seemed to suggest that there were living Elder Things about, and that they’d been here recently.

The footprints of the Elder Things

Proceeding cautiously, they began to explore, but under the ramp, they made a discovery that caused much alarm and discussion. A mound of snow, shaped roughly like a star, was found under the ramp. Excavating it brought out first one of the green “soapstone” stars, then the body of Gedney, the man who’d been missing from the original expedition. They’d known from the Dyer Text that he was dead, but Dyer’s text had indicated that they’d left his body deep in the tunnels, covered by a tarp.

This caused them to speculate. Did someone return and bury Gedney? If so, why, and why in such an odd manner? They postulated, and their theories did not help to calm their nerves. What if, they said, the bodies of the Elder Things back at Lake’s Camp hadn’t been interred by Dyer? What if the Elder Things had buried their own? And if that were the case, now it seemed they had buried Gedney, a human, in the manner that they used for their own dead. Was it possible, then, that they would be able to be communicated with? Reasoned with? The Investogators were unsure, but they intended to be cautious about using deadly force on their initial encounter with the Things.

Explorations down into the tunnels soon aided them in returning along Dyer’s path. They also began to notice a warmer air and a slightly fetid smell. They were surprised, however, not to encounter any of the giant penguins that Dyer had mentioned. They discovered the hemispherical room Dyer had described, and they worked out which tunnel he had encountered the shoggoth along. They also found several exits back to the surface, including one that emerged from a basalt pyramid.

The Basalt Pyramid

The hour had grown late, so they returned to camp. While unnoticed, somewhere in the darkness behind them…something stirred…



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