Masks Of Nyarlathotep (part 2)

In Cairo is where most of the campaign took place , almost every clue was followed to its conclusion and is alsowhere the first fatalities occurred!

Cairo

Aboard ship on the way to Cairo Fr. Parks recognised a fellow scholar and bibliophile, Dirk Bogard. Over dinner Dirk informed them he was heading to England, after a brief stop in Cairo, to deliver an original bound edition of Emily Dickinson’s poetry purchased by him on behalf of a private collector there. The investigators told him a little of Elias and Ask if he heard any news of him.

They invited Dirk to join them in their investigations in Cairo suggesting there may be obscure and valuable books involved. Dirk agreed, telling the others he had an acquaintance in the Cairo museum of natural history, Ali Khafour, who might be of assistance.

On their arrival in Cairo, they found themselves in need of a guide. Their first choice was a poor one and only a show of force prevented them from being separated from their valuables. Eventually making their way to familiar territory they found a hotel and an apparently reliable guide, the young Ma’muhd.

After a long day travelling they relaxed a little in the hotel. Dr. Caltrow noticed a newspaper office from his balcony. They paid a visit to the offices of the ‘Cairo Bulletin’ and met Nigel Wassif the editor who was extremely helpful and polite. He gave them access to the back issues of the paper and told them he knew of the expedition and its journeys in Africa. He mentioned a local club where high society can be found and that Carlyle attended ‘The Turf Club’. Wassif also commented that Omar Shakti a wealthy cotton farmer from outside of the city dined with Carlyle’s company when they initially arrived in Cairo.

The next morning the investigators visited the shop of Fariz Najir on the street of Jackals with Ma’muhd leading the way. Unfortunately all that remained at the address they had for Fariz Najir’s shop was a burned out shell. After several fruitless attempts at talking to the shopkeepers nearby, the investigators were directed to Kahn el-Khaiii where Najir has a new shop. Again Ma’muhd brought them directly there. Fariz was a short man with a nasty burn on one side of his face. At first he was glad to see the investigators but once they mentioned the expedition he closed up shop and rudely ushered them out , drawing a bit of a crowd in the process.

A little dejected the investigators decided to visit Omar Shakti to see what he knew. They first travelled to his cotton fields where they saw many fellhadin tending the crops. On their arrival at the mansion they were greeted by Omar himself at the front door. He invited them in and offered them tea and honey cakes. As they made Smalltalk Omar’s cat entered the room and stared, somewhat unnervingly, at the investigators.

Dr. Caltrow tried to make Omar reveal his hand by dropping the name of the Cult of the Black Pharoah (mentioned in Jacksons notes). Omar’s lack of reaction is disquietingly unnatural. The others tried to back up Caltrow’s efforts by pressing the issue just short of accusing Omar of membership. But again his face betrayed no feelings. Soon he asked the investigators to leave “as he is a busy man”. The last thing they heard was Omar calling his cat.  “Hetep”.

Back in town the investigators eat at the hotel when Ma’muhd tells them he had seen Fariz downtown at Fishawi’s coffee house and he had learned that Fariz would be attending a mosque later that evening. The group decided to split up. Ms. Beaumont and Mr. August would go to the Turf Club to see whom they could see. Ms. Duville and Mr. Caltrow went to the mosque to try and convince Fariz to talk with them and finally Fr. Parks and Mr. Bogard went to see Ali Khafour at the museum.

While at the turf club Ms. Beaumont mingled with the crowd effortlessly but found little information of any worth. Edwin, however, found a bloated old windbag who bent his ear the entire time they were there without once saying anything of any relevance.

Fariz was at first furious that the investigators had entered the mosque but with some resignation he agreed to talk with them outside. He told them of Carlyle’s agent in Cairo, the Frenchman Warren Besart. He also described the “items of interest”: an ancient scroll detailing the entrance to a hidden room in an unknown tomb, a bust of the Black Pharaoh, a small drum bearing mystic symbols and a strange circlet with a large zircon said to be the crown of the Black Pharaoh and the key to his triumph over death. He also reluctantly revealed that he stole these items from Omar Shakti.

At the museum Khafour told the investigators of the history of the Black Pharaoh Nephren-Ka, his tomb at Meidium which was destroyed and the second tomb, the Bent Pyramid at Dashur.  Ali also told the investigators of some of the tales associated with the Black Pharaoh. He mentioned Queen Nitocris who revived the worship of the Black Pharaoh in a later dynasty. Finally he told them another name for the pharaoh, Nyarlathotep.

The investigators reconvened at the hotel and consolidated their findings. They had a lot of trails to follow.

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