Campaign of the Month: July 2008

Beyond the Mountains of Madness

Chapter 14: Mission of Mercy and Chapter 15: Exodus from the Ice

Returning to the camp at the City of the Elder Things, Buffington brought the Weddell down in the main plaza. As they came in for a landing, they spotted someone in a parka waving a piece of red cloth at them from spotted someone waving to them from a tower off the plaza. Buffington and Tanj guarded the plane while Valentine, Carrington, Nordhagen, and Allen headed for the camp. To their shock, they found it empty, except for some blood, some shell casings, and some elder thing ichor. They also found an ote from Moore indicating that the elder things had been attacking them and that they’d moved to the tower from safety. As the group regrouped, they saw the figure in the parka running towards them, yelling at them to make sure they had big guns.

The figure turned out to be Patrick Miles, one of the Starkweather-Moore mechanics. Buffington and Tanj stayed on guard at the plane while the others headed towards the tower. As they ran, Miles explained that he was the last of the group still fully mobile. Professor Moore’s leg and hip had been crushed in one of the Elder Thing attacks. Ralph DeWitt, the other pilot, had a broken arm. Alan Huston, the other mechanic, had mangled hands from a vicious attack. And Halperin was still stark-raving mad. Acacia and her photographer, Priestly, were still off, photographing the landscape to concoct a story of barren wasteland.

The elder things had been attacking with a strange box that caused a blue-purple mist to flow out. This mist ate metal, and they’d used it on the Enderby, apparently unaware that the plane was disabled. The Elder things had been fihgting to maim and capture, not to kill. The investigators guessed why…more heads for the Wall of Skulls. Grimly, they helped Moore onto a makeshift litter, untied Halperin’s legs so that he could run, and then began preparing for a retreat.

As they did, Miles shouted that the elder things were coming, and he ducked into their refuge. They landed on the tower roof, and the others were nervous…this was something new. They turned on their mist machine, and it began to eat at the stone of the roof. That was enough. The expedition began to head out of the tower towards the Weddell. As they did, however, the elder things piped their horrible tongue, and something immense answered from below. They had called a shoggoth!

Halperin made the error of running away from everyone else too far, and he was snatched up by one of the things. As they emerged from the alley the tower was in into the main plaza, Carrington placed the Elder Sign they’d found earlier. This caused the shoggoth to hesitate, but only for a moment as one of the Elder Things swooped down and snatched it away.

A mad, sickening battle began. The elder things were deperate to stop the others from getting away, but they’d learned to avoid rifles. Still, they tried to use their box on the Weddell, only to have the operator shot by the rifles the party brought to bear. In the end, everyone made it to the Weddell...or at least almost everyone. The shoggoth caught up Morgan and Nordhagen and grabbed them. It didn’t try to kill them…they understood they were being collected.

But a well-placed stick of dynamite from Carrington caused the shoggoth to loosen its grip long enough for Nordhagen to wriggle away, and he made it to the plane. Carrington managed to throw his other Elder Sign to Morgan, who was still trapped. While the shoggoth didn’t like the Elder Sign, it would not let go. Nordhagen grimly brought his rifle to bear, ready to kill Morgan rather than let him be taken to the Wall of Skulls. Buffington got the plane ready to fly, and the others shot vainly at the shoggoth, again and again. Finally, as it began to taxi, Morgan managed to irritate the shoggoth with the Elder Sign long enough to break free, and he leapt onto the moving entry hatch as the others hauled him in. The Weddell rose into the air, overloaded and slowed, but bearing the survivors away…until they remembered Lexington and Priestly.

The missing pair were found, and the elder things stalking them were driven off. The Weddell was divested of all non-essential gear, including the seats, and the plane staggered its way across the mountains one last time.

Returning at last to Lake’s Camp, the exhausted explorers were finally away from the influence of the Elder Things. Those who needed medical attention, like Acacia Lexington (in severe shock), Professor Moore, Halperin, Huston, and Dewitt were evacuated by the Germans. Moore sadly bid farewell to his friends, knowing they’d meet again in the U.S.

Valentine and the other investigators took command of the Expedition from a very relieved Professor Charles Myers. Under their attention, gear and personnel, minus all the samples they’d come so far to find, were brought back to the BFE camp, the Tallahassee, and the Gabrielle. Rough weather delayed their way through the ice, but ultimately, they made it away. The Tallahassee headed for Hobart, Australia, while Captain Vredenburgh turned the Gabrielle towards Dundein, New Zealand. The hope was that, barring anything unforeseen, the Gabrielle would be ashore for Christmas, just four days away.

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aethan

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