-- UNEXPECTED TENTACLE SESSION 26 -- -- HAWTHORN'S HOUND -- -- (03/03/97) -- Recovering in Allerton's study, we couldn't think of any feasible way of removing the chess set unnoticed - the set was far too rare for us to purchase a duplicate and walking straight out with it was simply out of the question. It had been a long day, the sun relentlessly beating down on us; I couldn't remember the last time we'd eaten, must have been breakfast. I suggested retiring to a nearby restaurant, as I desperately needed some meat. I don't think that I'd ever had such a strong craving before; something juicy - a nice raw, sorry rare, steak. When we'd finished it was still light outside, so we decided to attend Evensong at the church spied from Allerton's mansion, with a view to gaining access to the spire. We hadn't really attended a church service since the failed exorcism back in French Morocco; perhaps we should have all converted to Roman Catholism: - don't they believe in transubstantiation? [talk about delusions of grandeur... GM] Just imagine taking on the appearence of Our Lord himself... I wondered if I could persuade them to give me enough bread - stale I think, since fresh would bring back too many bad memories. After the service we approached the vicar, Jarvis astounding him with his knowledge of the intricacies of ecclesiastic architecture and demonstrating a worrying interest in the relative dimensions of the spire to the nave of the church. Granted access to the spire, we found our way to the window - situated in what we later found out to be a reading room, a store room being on the floor below. Nobody had apparently used the room for a while, but a lamp was on the floor and the amount of soot on the spire suggested that the lamp had certainly been used here quite often. Before retiring for the night, we rang MU to check if any messages had been left for the Professor, especially regarding the location for our good friend John. There was nothing except a letter of summons from the county court, informing us that Allerton's trial will be in four days and that we should not leave the Boston/Arkham locale. Choosing rooms, the Prof insisted that I sleep in the double room, he seemed to beleive that I might be a danger left on my own. All his talk about me staring at people and the way he kept fingering that tranquiliser gun really made me worry about his sanity - I fear the last few months may have been too much for him. I was glad when Jarvis allowed William the single room, leaving me free to study my book all night without worry - I was itching to find out if the things I had learnt in it would actually work. Filling though the steak was, it hasn't satisfied me; something was missing. Maybe it needed more flavouring. Jarvis seemed quite shocked when the bell boy came up with a large bowl of Mexican sauce. Perhaps it wasn't the sauce that had been lacking after all, so I just left it on the bedside table in case I felt peckish during the night. The Prof thought that I should get this ritual out of my system, an excellent idea in my opinion - but how to choose the right animal. A trip to a large pet shop was on the cards, finally purchasing a large Alsatian and a snake. As I left to acquire a few of the more esoteric items, the Prof had already named the dog Frisky and started playing games. He really can be sick sometimes: he knew its fate - tormenting the condemmed is despicable. It'd be a shame if he got too attached to 'Frisky', I'd have to find someone, sorry something, else for the ritual. We travelled to the dilapidated indifference of Brent, viewing this to be ideal location since none of the inhabitants would care, or even notice, anything. Checking the flowers we laid on Wingate's grave, we noted that several were missing - scratching around in the earth, we found a scrumpled piece of paper from Michael. "Gentlemen, I believe you will be familier with me, though unfortunately I have but little memory of our acquiantance. I am afflicted with an amnesia, a disorder of the mind, though through what traumatic circumstances I cannot guess. I need hardly tell you that we are all in grave danger. In particular, I am being pursued by an enemy that might gravely test your opinion of my mental state if I were to describe it too lucidly; nevertheless, I urge you to keep yourselve away from me for your own safety, and beware the deceptively agreeable odour of fresh-baked bread. If you should wish to contact me, messages may be left under the bush between the two beech trees in St J's Park, opposite MU. I will be most grateful for any intelligence you can provide regarding our past acquiantance and the nature of our mutual foes. Cordially, M.J.P. PS. Regretfully, I misked you. As regards portals, I remain in the dark. MJP 7-29-21" Finding a remote barn, I began chalking out the ellipses as instructed in the book, joining up the intersections and preparing all the other details I would need to have in order for my coming ritual - sleep would be necessary before I commenced. I took a nap, looking forward to seeing if this would work, or whether my mental state would be further tested. I started the chanting, moving slowly into the inner rectangle and entered a trance-like state, focusing only on the ritual, getting all the details right. Placing a candle at one vertex, out of the draft (my very soul could be at risk if it should extinguish before the three days of the for the Prof to bring 'Frisky' to me. He slowly handed over the dog and stood there holding his tranquiliser gun - the fool, he has no idea of the consequences of stopping the ritual at this stage; I secretly hoped Jarvis would turn up soon to restrain him: a man in his state could do anything. Invest in a goat indeed! Luckily he was to travel back to Arkham shortly to contact Faraday and leave the following letter (of which a draft was shown to me after my ritualistic ordeal) for the Rev. pushed inside a packet of cards: "Dear Reverend Peters, We regret to hear of your amnesia. Your foe who is pursuing might have hounded us before. We too have an aversion to the odour of fresh-baked bread! You were bitten by a beast in Africa and fell into a coma. We sent you to a hospital in London to recover. On our journey back we picked up the bread-foe with red eyes. In Europe we had dreams of you, a paperweight and the foe with red eyes. Did you throw the paperweight at your foe? The foe appeared in the train and created a huge explosion. We've acquired your paperweight now; where did it come from? Do you remember images from the past? If so what do you remember? Do you remember a scene in a library, with five of us, because we can't remember much? Can you help? Is there anything else you would like to know? All the best, JJ 8/2/21" The ritual demanded all my powers of concentration now as I entered the second stage; slitting the dog's throat and collecting the blood in a large bowl, I (perhaps inelegantly) skinned the animal and slowly set about removing the bits I needed to devour over the course of the ceremony: the four limbs, its eyes, ears, nose, tongue, brain, liver and tail. Decapitating the snake, I had to outline the inner circle in the reptile's blood, followed by my own, let from my veins with a newly purchased dagger, and the ritual was begun in ernest. I remember little of the rest, being almost completely unaware in my trance, apparently I was chanting a few lines intermittantly for three days while slowly eating the necessary organs and appendages of the beast. As the ritual neared its end, the amount of chanting increased; Jarvis and the Prof became worried and entered the shed in time to see me covered in dog fur, apparently stuck on with partily putrefied blood, and stagger out of the marked domain. As I broke the lines of each enclosure, flames shot up from the blood marking out the boundary lines. Finally I felt myself collapse on the floor, the room looking different as if my perception was radically altered. Exhausted and shocked, I heard the Prof shout something like 'risky' as I lost consciousness. I came round covered in dog fur and a blood. It seemed a bath was in order but I felt satisfied. Somewhere at the back of my mind was the knowledge that this form wasn't the only option, it was all so... obvious.
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