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|Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2003 11:43 am Post subject: 1 May 1941:CHAPTER VI - Tiger's Lair - 'AT MOUNT of MADNESS'
CHAPTER VI "The Tiger's Lair"
=Silent Bird Encoded=
=Keyphrase:'At The Mountains Of Madness'=
After the events of the Grey Summit and the subsequent special operation at St.Augustine's Church, Calitri, there is little time for respite and reflection...
Sunday, 20th to Thursday, 28th April, 1941.
Axis Port City of Salerno, Appannino Lucano Mountains, Italy.
Return from the vigil at St.Augustine's. Injured were placed into care for medical treatment at the nearest military hospital.
Fleischer, the most severely injured of the survivors, found himself at the start of a 10 day hospitalisation for his wounds (and complications).
Peters was admitted for a like period for non-life threatening injuries.
Having found a ritual which appeared to successful isolate the Amulet of Dagon from all who would seek it, DrittesAuge offered to teach the process to any of the team that wanted to understand if function. DrittesAuge backed up the offer by stating that if the team is to keep the Amulet then the team should know how to renew the rite. DrittesAuge also warned that those who have not seen the darker places not take up his offer. He flatly refused to offer the knowledge to Lt.Dreher (and was deeply reserved regarding Cpt.VonLeiben) on the grounds that he (they) may not be able to handle it.
During the these precious few days several containers of Darkwing and Undercrawler matter where sent back to Germany with DrittesAuge. The Versteckt network was accessed via a local contact by Shikelgreube with orders to transport another set of containers to Germany as back-up.
Elementary research was conducted on the history of the mountain region in which the Darkwing Haunt is expected to lie (Monté Cervialto) in preparation for an expedition. Peters and Shikelgreube were able to track down a local climbing club that will have knowledge of the site but it turned out that either the members were in the army, untackable (in the time limit), or dead. Interrogation of local Politzi proved unfruitful.
VonJager, all the way back in Germany, was able to dig up some basic information regarding the site...
i) In the latter stages of the Inquisition a small village located in the valley was burned to the ground, suspected of being a haven of paganists and witches. The village is not listed on any modern maps.
ii) Local mythology does talk of winged vampires that did prey upon the hapless. These 'Vacci' only resemble the Darkwing in that they were said to be wing'ed.
Discussion was also made regarding the expected UJT-IX contributions to PROJEKT KONDOR and PROJEKT EAGLE back in Germany and Czechoslovakia. At this time it was decided that the gash at Monté Cervialto required more immediate attentions. Fleischer is likely to be unfit for the expedition.
Friday, 29th April, 1941.
Monté Cervialto Valleys, Appannino Lucano Mountains, Italy.
Peters, Shikelgreube, Reisse and a detachment of four Mountain Troopers journeyed up the winding valley roads in two Staff cars destined for the site of the gash for a preliminary reconnoitre.
En route the road winds past the site of the dark ages village as discovered by VonJager. The site is heavily overgrown and only shows sign of a ruined church with an earthen depression indicative of the remnants of an undercroft. Without time to excavate properly the team drive on further up the hot valley.
At about midday Peters and a trooper of the name Becker leave the cars and hike up the baking mountainside to recce the gash. Upon arrival Peters discovered an old camp (about 2 weeks old with one, maybe two campers) and a discarded cigarette packet of German branding. Also, Peters found a small length of chalk (which Shikelgreube and Fleischer identify as a ritual chalk composed of ground bone and chalk - often used to mark glyphs and wards).
Peters made tentative progress into the mouth of the gash to examine the cave interior. The main gallery, some 200ft wide, quickly divided up into three smaller, much darker chambers. Peters ventured in to the edge of the penetrating daylight searching for evidence of human presence only to return without success. None know how far the caverns progress into the mountain.
The piece of ritual chalk was sent to Germany for analysis via the Versteckt network c/o Shikelgreube upon return to Salerno.
Sunday, 1st May, 1941.
Monté Cervialto Valleys, Appannino Lucano Mountains, Italy.
The expedition up the valley of Monté Cervialto embarked with two trucks filled with troops (detachment of four German Alpine Troopers and a section of six Italian Regulars for the grunt-work), climbing and diving gear (some of the cave system is reported to be flooded) and two staff cars. En route the team stopped about two thirds of the way up the valley road near the lost dark ages village of Brymm to conduct an excavation of the Undercroft within the ruins of the old Church.
The dig carried on until after dark resulting in no sarcophagi or marked graves of any kind. The floor stones showed signs of heavy burning and small fragments of Human bones were found within the lower layers of the excavated earth. At approximately 2100 that night Shickelgreube proclaimed that the Undercroft had revealed all that it could at this time.
Monday, 2nd May, 1941.
'The Devil's Ear' Cave System, Monté Cervialto Valleys, Appannino Lucano Mountains, Italy.
With camp set up at the cave mouth, and the small group of Italian's left guarding the cars and the trucks back down on the roadside, three teams kitted up and set off to explore the cave with intentions of finding out just how flooded the cave actually is. Turned out that most of the cave was, although very damp, accessible.
Peters and Konig explored the southern gallery, leading them through narrow tunnels and difficult crawlspaces. Konig was less than his usual enthusiastic self with regard to this task.
Lien and two of the German Alpine Troops explored the northern most gallery, eventually locating a large glyph that was drawn upon the wet cave wall with what appeared to be chalk. Lien wasted no time in sending back one of the Troopers to find one of the cameras to record the find properly.
The others took the middle gallery, the largest of all three. Progress was good until Shikelgreube became unsteady with a heavy tumultuous sensation in his gut. A feeling not felt since the vigil at St.Augustine's. The team pressed on.
Peters and Konig were making progress back out of the southern tunnels (having reached a flooded section) where Peters experienced some kind of disorientating hallucination which, fortunately, passed without further incident.
Shikelgreube on the otherhand fell foul of an unseen horror that reduced him to a tightly curled foetal position on the cave floor, digging his fingernails deeply into his forehead. The middle team retreated from the cave with all haste carrying Shikelgreube out with them. Once outside, he regained composure - to a point - and made for the camp.
Peters found Lien, who was taking photographs of the glyph, and then suffered another hallucination. Fortunately, once more, nothing more serious than that occurred.
Once all were out of the cave system Shikelgreube called the team together to tell of what he thought was going on within the cave. By his reckoning, this cave is a 'Stygian Cleft' - a weak point between our world and the greater realms of existence (or so the legends say). Here, the normal laws of reality can be bent a little resulting in this being both a greatly powerful region within which to perform any kind of occult process and a place of great danger for the weak minded. It is believed that those whom have seen the darker places, but have not yet learned to deal with such knowledge, are at the greatest of risk of madness. Those whom are ignorant of such things should be able to breathe a little easier. This places Shikelgreube and Fleischer (if he were present) at the greatest risk as they have seen some of the greater realms of existence, with Peters and Reisse at slightly less (but still considerable) risk.
There is a lighter side to such sites; visions of great insight and clarity can be gleaned simply by being there.
It was at this point that Konig announced that he had experienced a vision of some nature while in the southern crawlways; Something akin to being held under ground by the weight of an entire continent.
There is still the glyph to examine (altho photos do exist - taken at Amateur Photography by Lien under very difficult conditions so do not expect much from said images) and thus far, no evidence of the Darkwing (if there is even going to be any). Who knows what other secrets the 'Devil's Ear' may hold. Shikelgreube was (literally at one point) foaming at the mouth as to the possibilities contained therein...
=End Of Transmission=
Elements of the past and future combining to make something not quite as good as either.
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