--- UNEXPECTED TENTACLE SESSION 15 --- --- RITUALIS --- --- (20. 6.96) --- We stood in the cave, Prof Hargreaves running wildly towards us, a great hulking monstrosity charging after him - after a brief consultation we decided to run.. The thing ran passed us, straight towards the only known way out - the bar. 'Perhaps we should try a different passage' We wandered around a few tunnels, obese fish-faced humanoids coming in large numbers from every orifice, but seemingly ignoring us - perhaps they had something larger on their minds. We finally tried the tunnel towards the bar on the pretext that it could have easily already killed us and anyway, a few floor boards probably couldn't have stoppped it. We found John Aintree lying on the floor in the tunnel, we picked him up and fled. The trapdoor opened easily and we were back in the abandoned village - no water or food around. After a running battle with two of Allerton's goons, we started the car and left rapidly - only running out of petrol an hour into the drive. John and William were in a bad state - physically and mentally exhausted, possessing a strange translucency to their skin. We thought it best to keep an eye on them. Arriving back at Arkham, we found our houses had been destroyed in a 'random' spate of arson attacks. Forced to take lodging at the university, we received a telegram from the university librarian saying that, after a recent stock take, an ancient manuscript was missing - presumably taken by Arnold Witticker (and subseqently removed by the maid from the study.) The only other copy of this manuscript resides in the British library. The Prof. quickly used his contacts at Cambridge to secure a viewing and we booked passage to England. A brief bit of research at Arkam UL turned up the fact that the well known authority on Americian-Indian artifacts, William Tattler, had been on an archaeological dig to Africa - only a little bit removed from his field of expertese. We deduced that this is the location of the caves, but why would Tattler have gone to Africa if he claimed he found the 'ritual cave-paintings' by accident during the course of his ordinary work? Having quickly prepared our little expoedition to cope with the notorious climate of England, oh and Africa as well, we boarded a ship bound for Portsmouth - fully expecting plenty of wierd shit to happen, a normal part of traveling for us realy. John noticed some people who, after boarding, disappeared - although he still hadn't recovered and his judgement is probably a bit suspect. Jeremiah decided a doctor was probably required. The ships engines stopped, the mechanics completely flumuxed about the cause - the ship slowly started to spin around. Loud splashes were heard outside, strange 'jelly fish'-like comets were falling alround the ship, quickly sinking out of sight. A wirlpool formed around the ship and it was slowly sucked downwards, a tunnel of air formed in the sea - Moses eat your heart out. We saw other tunnels leading as far down as the eye could see; a worm, approximatly the same dimensions of the rod, but as wide as the ship was long, shot up a nearby tunnel - the braver members of the party looked down to see another worm gaining quite rapidly on the ship. Rev Peters drew his Swiss-army compass and tried to move the ship away. The ship lurched upwards, tipping to one side and finally it was straightened out and placed gentaly back in the water. The ships food was almost uneventful after that. Prof Hargreaves had almost recovered from his earlier anemiam, John on the other hand... We eventual got the faculty of medcine at Cambridge to check him out - no result. Arriving in Portsmouth, we supervised the unloading and storing of our 'equipment' (read shotguns) and took the next train to London. The manuscript had already been checked out, 1.5 million pounds 'for academic research' - an incredibly rare, if not implausible, event. The culprit was one Prof Hargreaves, of Cambridge university - address to be forwarded. After informing the police a national treasure has been stolen, checking ship times and asking round nearby hotels - we finally had the idea of asking the Library for a copy of the passport details used to check out the book. The number matched someone on the ship (name on PP obviously changed) who booked at the same office as us, along with three companians. Informing the police, we were again stuck since the thief had now a days head start. A brain wave - if the manuscript was so valuble, wouldn't the library have made a copy of such a rare book? Censored. Only very few pages remain for public perrusal. Apparently no-one had suceeded in viewing the original manuscript since the copy was censored 50 years ago. Prof Hargreaves got onto the government - 'If I'm eligible to view the original, surely I should be able to see the copy.' Someone loves red tape. We begin to suspect that the book may have been checked out by the government rather than Allerton - this is perhaps too dangerous to assume though. According to the catalog entry the book was written in a combination of Latin, ancient Greek and Sanscrit. Theorising that the ammount of people proficent in those languages is probably quite small, and certainly not in the direct employ of the gvoernment - we immediately took a trip over to Cambridge; learning of an old proffessor, now in a retirement home, who certainly fitted the brief perfectly. We popped along, asking about the book - apparently censored because it contained dangerous knowledge. The government asked this poor man to read the very book which drove Arnold to suicide, since he was an expert on such matters - we felt humbled been in the presence of someone whose Mythos knowledge exceeded the parties combined total. The book 'Lieber Ritualis' is a list of rituals and bits of folk lore about them - apparently useless with the cave paintings, but certainly dangerous in conjuction with them. On two books, he theorised that Allerton would want to make absolutely sure that he had the ritual perfect. On the prof's prompting, he also theorised that maybe there's one ritual running disguised throughout the book - disturbing thought. Deciding the old man could probably look after himself, we warned him against Allerton and departed for Africa - Taking a boat to the northern coast and driving down by truck to the cave's location. Taking watches on the first night, Rev. Peters decided to take the 5am slot - after a round of 'nice knowing you' etc. Jeremiah settled down to read his lovely mythos tome and changed in two hours, little happening. Waking suddenly, Dr Jones realised he'd over slept his watch by 15min and quickly got out to find Father Michael face down in the dirt - heart weakly beating and a massive bite mark right across his shoulder.
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