Children of Fear

Session 10

Critical Bowl

After they had found their way around Peshawar the investigators had split up:
Lord Barnes is determined to meet the local governor, Lord Gower. The two Englishmen do not seem to see quite eye to eye, yet Barnaby interrupts his hunting anecdotes just long enough to ask for the papers prepared by Mr. Strudwick. Unfortunately he is told the papers will only be ready within the next couple days – apparently Strudwig is not the most organized of benefactors. Yulia meanwhile attempts to distract the governor with small talk while rifling through his papers. When she asks about the mysteries of the area in hopes to hear about the mystical lake she is pointed towards a Mr. Moorcroft: The governor’s private secretary who is an avid amateur archeologist and apparently knowledgeable about any Buddhist sacred bowls.

Meanwhile studying the very bowls themselves, Hans and Albert interrogate Mr. Dhar, the curator and their companion Tenzin. He confirms that these seven bowls are what they will need. They are made of a mysterious “lightning iron”, rock struck by the heavenly fire. And according to the plaque the group will have to come to an agreement with the discoverer of the bowls – Mr. Moorcroft. Looking for the man the group find themselves at the governors mansion, surprisingly meeting up with the other two adventurers. Moorcroft stays elusive for the moment but the group are led to his home by a servant.
Finally meeting Moorcroft he turns out to be a delighted admirer of Albert’s academic work. Prompted to speak about the ritual bowls he reports how he discovered them in a stupa by complete coincidence. However his delight fades quickly when Tenzin reveals the mystical purpose of the group’s journey and their need for the artifacts. The investigators make a passionate argument how the ritual might lead them to further archeological truths until finally Moorcroft agrees to lend them the bowls.
The rest of the evening proceeds uneventful with half the group being invited to Moorcroft’s club and the non-white-male half enjoying their delicious rustic cheser mog in the market place. The peace of the night allows the adventurers to reflect on past events and each one seems to learn and grow from their experiences.

The next day in the museum Moorcroft and Dhar hand over the bowls. Marta has the honor to study the ritual bowls in the reflection of the melong to ascertain their authenticity. She glimpses a vision of lake Danakosha and the mythical Padma Sambhava standing on its shore.
Having obtained the bowls with such relative ease the group seeks to spend a couple of days in Peshawar while waiting for their visa. Hans has an exchange with the legal counselor Moorcroft who sends them to see the scholar Chakravaty at the college. The head of the local archeological department has intimate knowledge about the legendary Buddhist monk Faxian as well as Padma Sambhava. Despite Albert’s patronizing ignorance Chakravaty shares his knowledge freely: He speaks of Padmasambhava’s influence, being the one who carried Buddhism into Tibet. In this he resembles Faxian who brought the Buddhist wisdom to China in the 4th century (and Hiuen Tsang who later brought the religious writing from India back to China). Unfortunately non of these famous legends seem to offer any clue as to why the investigators are haunted by dream visions.

Meanwhile Barns, Shen Chu and Yulia visit the ancient Mughal fort currently inhabited by a British battalion. To everyone’s surprise Lord Barnes manages through sheer privileged stubbornness to get an audience with the local colonel. Yet even his threats of demotion are not sufficient to have the army supply him with horses and men and so the group gives up on their plans to ride out to the ancient lake. Instead they seek out a telegraph office to inform the people at home about the progress of their journey or to fake their acquaintance with British royalty.
The clock tower in the city center turns out to be a faithful replica of London’s St. Stephen’s Tower complete with a Big-Ben-like bell. Tenzin shows himself confused by the concept of a clock. His disinterest might be well-placed since Tex and him walk away just in time. Differently thought for Marta, who sticks around on the tower for just long enough to get thoroughly deafened by the hourly bell clanging.
Albert and Hans decide to pay the discovery site of the bowls at Andan Dheri a visit, employing some of Chakravaty’s students to organize a dig. In preparation they visit the college’s library, reading up on the suspected burial site of Padmasambhava. Everything looks ready for an expedition into the mystical valley.

It comes as a surprise then when the next morning at breakfast the group find a letter from Moorcroft. He has been burgled in the night and now finds himself in the hospital. He warns the investigators that his attackers have been looking for the bowls and will likely seek out the group next …