lent '97 - Session 27

27. The Passage Through Scholarship

--              11.03.97            --

	Allerton's trial was in a day's time, so we had to get back to
Boston quickly. Before departing we decided to give the desolate church
one final look over, hoping for some clue as to the Reverend's health or
whereabouts. John was also at the front of our minds, his recent
disappearance highly disturbing since it was entirely unexplained.

	A book was lying open on the lecturn, its pages slightly rustling
despite the lack of wind. Flicking through the pages Dr Jones noticed that
a note had been written in what seemed like the reverand's own hand:  it
said folio 15. Jeremiah, with his knowledge of books ancient and modern,
quickly turned to the 15th folio of the book. A picture of a well-dressed
gentleman, surrounded by an assortment of antiquities, was embossed upon
the exposed page. There was a noticable look of revulsion on the man's
face, almost as if he'd smelled something foul - Jeremiah's aftershave
perhaps? But there was something more canine in its origin than poultry.
Whoever drew the picture was obviously extremely talented, especially
considering the materials they would have had to work with, given the age
of the book. The figure was almost lifelike; on the edge of perception was
the smell of lilies, apparently emanating from an antique vase to the
man's left. The face was familiar -- the reverend! The figure moved,
making gestures of friendship although no look of recognition crossed his
	(Note: All vaguely canine entities with an associated bakery smell
are now on referred to as Breaounds.)

	We learnt from him that ever since regaining consciousness (same
time as train 'disappearing' along with mask and wand) he has been chased
by a daemon in canine form, heralded by the smell of freshly baked bread.
He was currently in New York, going through past auction records, in an
attempt to track down an antique paper weight. He believed this held the
key to his freedom, the knowledge granted during a dream (note:
similarities to our 'dream' while on the train, just before it disappeared
- leaving nothing but the smell of burnt bread.)

	He was apparently meeting with a wealthy antiques dealer (Marcus
Freeman), after discovering that one of Arkham's ancient families had sold
the weight on. The family crest contained two hounds and two balls,
convincing him of the validity of his dream. 

	An elegantly carved statue caught Dr. Jones' attention -- an
exquisite black stone carved into the shape of a bird, which we later
identified as a phoenix.

	Since smell could pass between these two places, evidently through
the link made by the book, we theorised that other matter may -- the
hypothesis was quickly confirmed when reverend threw his pocket bible
_through_ the book. A trade was made, since there was something unstable
about the contact we had made, something had to be given in return: the
paper weight for the statue. The image started to break up. Gone. 

	Closing the book, it was then realised that this book had not
previously been here. Admittedly we hadn't been here since before our
jaunts in Africa, though we were certain the lecturn had had nothing on it
when we last visited the church. Who could have put it there? Making a
thorough search of the church to see if anything else had miraculously
appeared led us t discover both the mask and the wand, the one tied to the
bell clapper and the other inside the collection bowl. A strange
resemblence with an earlier ruse involving a fruit bowl was noted.

	Little time was availible for pondering, since we were due at
Allerton's trial in a few days; but where was Jon? We travelled swiftly
back to Arkham, to be greeted by the news that Faraday had been injured in
a raid at the 1st National Bank. A professional job resulting in no
arrests, only corpses. 
	Apparently no order to desert us had been given on the night of
the fire, making the disappearance of our police guard extremely
suspicious. The only good news being the possibility that we may be able
to get access to Allerton's belongings, a chance to search for _the_ book?

	Other local news included strange lights spoted out to sea -- 
visible from the strange church spied from Allerton's house.

	Once we arrived back a squabble errupted between Jeremiah and
Jarvis, resulting in the phoenix statue being dropped on the floor and
smashing into a million shards. A wave of calm propagated through the
room, the occupants experiencing a moment of spiritual well-being and
a regaining of mental balance. 

	A message from Faraday was received. A strange corpse had been
washed up on the coast. Could we please ID the body. Could we confirm
that it was Jon! 
	There lying on the slab was a creature recognisible as Jon
Aintree, our dear friend. Clinically dead, but ... his body was cold to
the touch and he lacked all visible signs of life except for an occasional
twitch. The mortician and consulted doctor could not agree on his state
and he was transferred to the intensive care ward of Boston hospital. No
case in recorded medicine comes close to his, except perhaps a few rare
cases of drowning, resulting in a state not unlike hibernation.



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