As the session opened, our heroes, still unsure where the Woman From Lemb was located or who the mysterious men they encountered at Adam DeLong’s mansion were, decided they needed to do a little more investigating. First, they searched the recorder of deeds and discovered that DeLong owned a pair of investment properties in other Massachusetts towns. Then, they pulled the building permits and learned that DeLong’s mansion and one of the properties were built by the same contractor, DLG Construction. Brian Gall decided to go examine DeLong’s other properties, and Thessaly volunteered to go with him (much to his chagrin). On the way, she began pointedly questioning him about why the group didn’t trust her, and an argument ensued.
Meanwhile, Lance Boone called Nunez and told him that Thessaly had disappeared during their examination of DeLong’s mansion and had then emailed photographs of a strange book, De Vermis Mysteriis, to an unknown email address. Nunez replied that while she hadn’t told the rest of the group, Thessaly had reported her secret photographs to him. She had seen an opportunity to go after the book, and hadn’t told the group because she knew it was dangerous and she didn’t want to expose them to danger. And in any event, it didn’t matter because the photographs were of an inferior translation of a translation and contained little knowledge of use. Checked, if not exactly mollified, Boone concluded that Thessaly was clean, this time at least.
The group then decided to follow one of the delivery trucks they had seen at DeLong’s mansion while Brian Gall and Thessaly were out. Piling into a rental car, they launched Ned Icecave‘s drone and had it follow the truck with its camera, while they drove several blocks behind it. The truck led them to a leased warehouse on the other side of town, but along the way the group realized that they weren’t the only ones following the truck – a mysterious white van was also in pursuit!
When the truck arrived at the warehouse, the workers began unloading some crates, then loaded the truck with new crates, and then they drove away. As soon as the truck was gone, the van pulled up and five armed men in ski masks got out and broke into the warehouse! The PCs called an anonymous tip into the police, and within a ten minutes the warehouse was surrounded by patrol cars. The police breached the front door to the warehouse, but immediately came under heavy fire from inside, and a pitched gunfight ensued. As Boone, Icecave and Mark Hart raced towards the warehouse to help the police officers, they heard a hideous screech and a mass of writhing tentacles burst out of the ground, grabbing a pair of officers and strangling them!
While Boone and Hart were certainly shocked by the tentacles, Icecave lost his shit and began to shiver and hallucinate, being driven temporarily insane by the sight of the arcane monstrosity. Nevertheless, he managed to fight back the hallucinations and join the battle. The police fared poorly, beginning to drop like flies to the onslaught of bullets, tentacles that seemed to burst from the ground at every turn, and a mysterious blast of energy from the leader of the burglars, which stripped the flesh from their bones, leaving a mutilated husk in its wake! A howling, vacuous shriek filled the warehouse, growing louder with every passing moment. To make matters worse, the masked leader of the burglars seemed almost immune to bullets, his wounds healing as quickly as they were inflicted!
Boone took a bullet to the shoulder, but somehow he was able to rally the officers, who pressed the assault and began to gain an edge on their foes despite their magical firepower. The masked leader, sensing the tide of battle turning against him, ordered his remaining two men to the roof, although an ace shot from Hart killed one as he raced for the stairs. The other man made his way onto the warehouse roof, dragging the body of one of his slain comrades with him.
The leader cast a final spell and a screech rang out from the sky above, then charged at the PCs, heedless of his own personal safety! It was then that they discovered the source of the howling sound inside the warehouse – a mysterious aura of airless vacuum surrounding him. Boone and Icecave, who were the closest to the leader as he charged into them, immediately felt their lungs begin to wrench and tear as the pressure difference between the air in their lungs and the vacuum around them threatened to rip them apart. Faced with a choice to hold their breath and risk fatal lung damage, or exhale and risk suffocation, both chose to hold their breath, feeling their lungs lacerating and filling with blood. Icecave was badly wounded, and Boone was nearly killed, falling unconscious and bleeding from his mouth and nose.
Fortunately for the PCs, a winged beast dove out of the sky, slamming into the pavement before the masked leader, who climbed onto its dark-furred back, and it then leapt onto the roof to recover the last burglar and the corpse he carried with him. Together, the men soared into the sky, sparing Boone and Icecave from almost certain death in the vacuum. Icecave managed to stabilize Boone and another police officer, who had nearly died of a gunshot to the heart, and he kept them both alive long enough for paramedics to arrive on the scene.
With the immediate threat vanished, the group decided to search the warehouse, which was full of archaeological artifacts from DeLong’s collection. It appeared that while the burglars had torn through the warehouse, they hadn’t actually taken anything – apparently whatever they were looking for, it wasn’t to be found. However, the PCs did find a book, Archaeological Finds of the Greek Islands, which contained the origin story and some additional information about the Woman From Lemb.
The group showed Thessaly the tape of the gunfight from the police car cameras and Icecave’s drone. She was able to identify the source of the masked leader’s seeming invincibility – a juju bag around his neck, containing his own severed finger together with a mixture of herbs and personal effects,. Part of a powerful voodoo spell, the juju bag holds its wearer’s soul, preventing him from aging normally and making him highly resistant to bodily damage. Thessaly said if the bag were ever destroyed, his true age would catch up with him. She added that given how powerful he appeared, he could have lived for countless decades by now, and destroying the bag may be sufficient to kill him outright. Even if he survived, it would remove his magical protection. Armed with new knowledge of the threat but licking some serious wounds, the group decided to adjourn for the night.