Horror on the Orient Express

Nocturne

"Where the fuck did Nigel Thornberry come from?"

Keeper’s Note: I’m well aware Zach’s character is named Oliver, not Nigel. I just don’t care.

Stopping in Lausenne, Switzerland to investigate Edgar Wellington’s letter, Eugene, Bella, and Nigel all made their way to his taxidermy shop. They were greeting by Edgar Wellington and his brother William. Edgar explained that he had bought the scroll from a Frenchman during the war, and that he was willing to sell the scroll to the group. However, before they could negotiate a price, Duc Jean Floressas des Esseintes interrupted. Duc des Esseintes, a friend of Edgar’s, was also interested in buying the scroll. Edgar told the Duc des Esseintes and the investigators to meet him later, at the 7:30 Club at the local cafe. Edgar had to go about his business, and retrieve the scroll. The Duc offered to show Edgar, Bella, and Nigel around the town, before leaving them at a cafe for lunch.

Edgar, Bella, and Nigel all decided that the Duc was suspicious, and followed him to his house to see if they could learn anything else about him. They managed to break into his house, only to find it totally empty and covered in dust. They followed the tracks to a large wooden door, stained and covered with classical figures returning from a hunt. When touched, the door made each investigator feel an overwhelming sense of depression, to the point of suicide. This made the door tricky to open, but after several attempts, they finally managed. Stepping inside, they found themselves in a completely identical house. Looking outside, however, they saw a strange, strong wind that prevented them from opening the door.

Back in Lausenne, Bella, Eugene, and Nigel hit the library, and discovered that the suicide rate in Lausanne has risen from virtually zero before 1914 to one death every month after 1918. On this piece of pleasant information, they went to dinner together, and were detained by Maximillian von Wurtheim, a friend of the Duc’s. Neither the Duc nor Edgar showed up for dinner, however, and so our intrepid investigators went to check on Edgar. They found the door to his shop slightly ajar, and all the lights out. All of Edgar’s strange taxidermy took on a menacing quality, and things looked slightly out of place. Slowly making their way upstairs, everyone found William dying in the kitchen. He had stab wounds in the belly and back, and a large flap of skin had been cut from his chest. In the bedroom, Edgar was lying dead on his bed, fresh needle marks in his arms. Investigating the room, Eugene and Bella found a green bottle full of a strange, muddy looking concoction labelled ‘Dream Lausenne’, Edgar’s diary, and a fake Sedefkar scroll, hidden underneath his bed. The diary chronicled the pain that Edgar felt in his everyday life, his addiction to morphine, and his discovery of Dream Lausenne through the Duc. The Duc provided him with the dream drug, saying it would combat insomnia, but Edgar quickly discovered that it was another Lausenne, and that anything he held in his hands as he slept would go to Dream Lausenne with him. He hid the scroll in Dream Lausenne.

Eugene, Nigel, and Bella all returned to their hotel room and took the dream drug. They woke up in Dream Lausenne in a place that looked remarkably like their hotel, and managed to get outside. Walking through a strange, free standing door, they found themselves in Dream Lausenne, where they encountered a number of strange occurrences.

Eventually, they made their way to the center of the town. A bound and chained Edgar Wellington was standing on a large platform in the middle of the square, next to a large hooded, robed figure. The Duc revealed himself, proclaimed himself Prince and Protector of Dream Lausenne, and sentenced Edgar to trial for withholding the scroll from him. Eugene volunteered to defend Edgar, and Bella and Nigel followed him up to the platform. Speaking to Edgar, the investigators calmed him down enough to learn that the scroll was hidden in his shop, and that he was taken by the Prince’s men. He had no idea he was dead in the real world, and simply begged over and over to be saved.

The Prince started the trial by accusing Edgar of “failing to cooperate” when his men dragged him away. Why would a guilty man struggle so much? Eugene spoke eloquently to his defense, delivering a beat down of the Prince’s faulty logic – after all, he was dragged away with no knowledge of what was happening. The second charge was that Edgar is a foreigner, who did not belong in Lausenne. Bella did her best to speak on the pointlessness of racism, but in speaking to a crowd of native Lausennes, much was lost. Finally, the Duc started to speak about how Edgar had hidden the scroll, obviously planning some deceit. If he gave up the scroll, then perhaps the Duc would have some reason for clemency — and this is the point where Bella threw the scroll at the Duc. The Duc grabbed the scroll gleefully, and disappeared from the platform. The Judge (a large, armless statue) declared the investigators the winners, and Edgar’s chains vanished. The investigators led him through the angry crowd back to his shop, where he retrieved the scroll for him. All three woke up back in their hotel, plus the Sedefkar Scroll and the spirit of Edgar, who immediately started to fade. The three did their best to calm him and let him fade in peace. Bella, Eugene, and Nigel then quickly packed up and departed for Milan.

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