Children of Fear

Session 11

Odorous Attackers

At the breakfast table a brief discussion erupts among the group how to deal with the attack on Moorcroft. While Hans makes a strong argument for leaving town as soon as possible, Yulia pleads to pay Moorcroft a visit in the hospital. While Marta is at the reception to check the train time tables, a runner appears to hand her the envelop with Strudwick’s finished visas. With the train only leaving the next day, Hans, Albert, Tex, Tenzin and Shen decide on acquiring a car ride for an immediate leave. At the taxi stand they pay out 400 US$ for the ride to New Delhi, but the large sum to pay turns out not to be the worst about their interaction: A rotting smell of death wafts around them, yet no source can be found. Tenzin has very little reassurance to offer since he feels reminded of the mythical corpse-eating Pisacha who are said to emanate the stench of decay.

The smaller group meanwhile has found their way to the Lady Reading hospital where they ask around to see Robert Moorcroft. A doctor informs them that the anthropology hobbyist has been attacked and badly injured.
The badly mangled Englishman is barely able to report what has occurred: He came home from the club late the last evening when he surprised two intruders. Apparently they had broke in and scared off the servants. They were looking through study when Robert had run into them. In broken English the tall, heavily wrapped-up intruders demanded to know where the bowls were. Moorcroft is unable to remember too many details about them except for their nauseating stench. He assumes there was possibly a third one who attacked him from behind when the brave secretary refused to tell them anything.
Even though Marta gets the impression he hasn’t told them everything, the group leaves Moorcroft as he weakly sinks back into his pillows.

The group getting ready to leave in the taxi imagine themselves in relative safety when suddenly a figure leaps from a shadowy alley, lunging to grab the ritual bowls. With the sudden attack the bag with the artifacts lands on the floor where a scuffle ensues. When the attacker is joined by two more strange figures the investigators get glimpses of their inhumanly red glowing eyes and sharp features. With jagged moves they claw for the bag but Tex’ fists and a chant from Tenzin keep them at bay just long enough for Hans to draw his pistol. When the gunshot bellows through the marketplace Tex is confronted with a shocking sight: The creature before him has been struck cleanly in the head, but not a single drop of blood is spilling from it! No one can blame the American stuntman when the shock is enough to send him running in panic into the nearby crowd.
Hans has himself better under control and thinks quickly to question the dying creature in the dirt in front of him. He notices the strange pendant all the attackers were wearing – a whirlwind shape, stylized similar to a group’s emblem. Through sharp rugged teeth the monster spits his last words at the group: “Gate must open! Children of Fear command it!”
But with this threat the creature dies and begins decomposing immediately in front of Hans’ eyes. The state of the clearly not fresh body is also what confuses the alerted town guards who come running and question the investigators. But a quick lie about lepers attempting to burgle them is enough to satisfy the confounded policemen

Barnes’ group arrives at Moorcroft’s house to do some detective work. They find it empty with the back door hanging off it’s hinges. A sickening charnel smell permeates the whole place which has been thoroughly trashed by the intruders. Large smudges of mud are dragged across the floor. Within the mud Lord Barnes is able to find some disconcerting tracks: Animal-like hoof prints, yet coming in pairs and unlike any familiar beast.
Outside the tracks lead nowhere, yet the group wanders over to a neighbor. While he has heard noises and found the injured Robert but knows nothing more. And so the investigators waste an afternoon unsuccessfully asking around.

The taxi has reached Lahore and the company seeks quarters for the night. In a small hotel they discuss the events of the day. Tenzin had looked pensive before when the attacking creatures had mentioned the “Children of Fear” and now he shares that this phrase seems to prompt a fuzzy memory in him, yet he is unable to put a finger on it. He feels reminded of the Hindu-named group “Tokabhaya”, which were somehow associated with the kingdom of Agartha. But details seem to elude him for the moment however much he racks his brain.

That night is once again haunted by nightmares:
Lord Barnes and Yulia are surprised to find themselves in bizarre shared experience inside a cavern with an ornate staircase. They have little time to wonder about this shared vision when they become aware of the stench of cadavers and wet slurping noises from just out of sight in the shadows. The two slowly descent the steps and call out into the darkness from where dog-faced creatures emerge. “Humans, this is no place for you!” the nightmarish ghasts hiss at the dreamers and even Lord Barnes’ loud objections fall on deaf ears. The horrid garbled shout of “Go!” jolts them both awake.
Tex meanwhile finds himself all alone on a snowy plateau. When a dark spot in the sky starts growing larger as it sinks closer, Tex suddenly realizes he is being circled by a large flying lizard creature. Just when it’s about to dive for him he screams himself awake in his bed.

The next morning finds Barnaby, Marta and Yulia attempting to board the train for New Delhi, when they run into an unforeseen complication: The names they had given to reserve the train tickets were issued under false names, which now prevents them from boarding. They are in the midst of a dispute about this when suddenly the train conductor’s eyes seem to glaze over and he absent-mindedly ushers them into the carriage. Simultaneously Lord Barnes spots a strange man in the crowd: European-looking, greying hair, bushy mustache, wearing a blue cloak and a whirlwind pendant. He seems to be watching the group and shows a short, cold smile before he disappears into the crowd like an apparition.

Taxi and train arrive in Delhi two days later almost simultaneously and the group reunites at the train station where they share their exciting stories. Tenzin expresses excitement at the prospect of soon visiting Sitavana. He also finally goes into detail about the group’s next goal there – to carve a kangling flute from bone and a damaru drum from a human skull and skin. The creation of the instruments entails finding the appropriate bones from a sacred charnel grounds and a ritual where spiritually inspired music will have to be performed on the instruments.