Horror on the Orient Express


Lausanne, Part 1

The group exited the train into the pale pre-dawn light of Lausanne, 6:45am. Taking only a few essentials, the rest of your luggage continued on to await you in Milan. You were all here to find a certain Edgar Wellington, author of a letter found at the Lorien house that referenced a certain Sedefkar scroll. But first thing’s first: breakfast. You found a small cafe near the station where you dined on crunchy croissants, invigorating coffee, and soothing warm milk sprinkled with chocolate, all of which you enjoyed while reading the newspaper. Jean-Claude the porter advised you to take a room at Le Castille, a very respectable hotel nearby. After heading over there and making the necessary arrangements, the group went in search of Rue St. Etienne to meet this Edgar Wellington. Encounters with the locals proved that the inhabitants of Lausanne are not as inviting as the scenery, and your requests for directions were met with curt responses and cold expressions.

Arriving at Edgar’s home, you read the sign above the door and find that he is a taxidermist. Ringing the bell, Edgar admitted you inside, into a room with a blazing fire keeping things uncomfortably hot. The products of his trade were strewn about the room, animals of all sorts in various poses. Edgar was a bald-headed Englishman with a nasal voice, and he generously invited you all to tea, seeming very personable. For a moment you discussed pleasantries, recent news about England, but soon the conversation turned to the letter, the scroll, and things Sedefkar. Just then Edgar’s brother William entered the room and joined you. Edgar introduces him, saying “please be patient with William, he is mute, a wound from the war.” William sits down and stares at you, as if to say “please continue” in the most unnerving way possible. Returning to the matter of the scroll, Edgar revealed that:

-He acquired the scroll from a Raoul Malon, a Frenchman, who traded it for rations and cigarettes.
-The scroll is a confusing mixture of Turkish words written in Arabic letters, which he has been unable to translate.
-The scroll refers to an artifact known as the Sedefkar Simulacrum, a human-sized statue either made or found in the rubble of Byzantium.
-The last owner of the simulacrum was a certain French nobleman, Comte Fenalik, who lsot it after arrest and imprisonment just prior to the French Revolution. All trace of it has since vanished.

Edgar was ready to sell the scroll, as his research had hit a dead end, and he mentions a price of 250 pounds. Then the bell rang, and Edgar went to answer it, leaving you with William. Taking out a notebook, William began to communicate in writing, with phrases like “A fine day today” and “Welcome to Lausanne.” 10 minutes later Edgar returned with a large Frenchman, who he introduced as “my old friend, the Duc des Esseintes.” He was rotund, middle-aged man with dark hair, waxed mustache, and good grooming. Edgar described him as an amateur Occultist, who also was interested in purchasing the scroll. The Duc expressed a wish to see the scroll, but Edgar replied that he must retrieve it from a bank vault and suggests that they all meet at the “7:30 Club,” an informal discussion group they have that meets at a nearby cafe. But before he leaves, he asks the Duc politely if he had time to give you all a tour of the city. “Yes, yes, dear chap, of course, I do,” the Duc replied in a swarthy Swiss-French accent.

The tour showcased all the breathtaking scenery of Lausanne. The Duc pointed out a handless statue near the main cathedral that he names “Otho of Grandson,” a man killed in a judicial duel in 1398. He showed you the Cantonal Museum and Library, which was very impressive, though no Bibliotheque Nationale. Finally he lead you to Le Chat Noir, the cafe where the meeting would take place that night, before bidding you farewell as he had a business appointment.

[Things are a little fuzzy for me at this point, did you guys follow him? I think you did.]

At 7:30, only one person shows up to the meeting, one Maximillian von Wurtheim. He was a dashing conversationalist, blond hair, blue eyes, six feet tall, though unfortunately he had forgotten his money. “Ach! My friends, I am sorry, I have left my wallet at home, would you be so kind?” Neither the Duc nor Edgar show up. [I am also very confused about this conversation, though I know I played Max as a drunk, though not much of that was acting]

Sensing something amiss, you all decided to return to Edgar’s home, and found the door slightly ajar, though within all was dark. Turning on the light, you make your way upstairs where you find William in the kitchen, dead, stab wounds about his belly and back, a bloody knife beside him. The most horrific thing though, was that his shirt had been ripped open at the front and a large flap of skin cut from his chest. His face was set in an expression of horror.

Edgar’s body you found cold and dead upon his bed. The doctor suspected a drug overdose, finding a needlemark on his left arm, probably made by Edgar, but also one on his right, suggesting a second party was involved. You suspected the Duc. Around the room, you found various clues:

-An empty morphine bottle, and on the floor, an empty syringe.
-A scroll underneath the bed, which is an obvious forgery.
-A receipt for sealing wax and parchment.
-A green bottle containing what looked like muddy water, though light revealed tiny silvery particles floating in the fluid.
-A diary, mostly chronicling Edgar’s insomnia and pain, but also describing a dream drug that allowed Edgar to visit Lausanne in his dreams, and how anything he clutched in his hands as he slept would go into the dream with him.

The priest decided that delay was foolish, and decided to see where this dream drug would take him. Taking a small sip, he had time to say “that tastes awful,” before falling to the floor in heavy slumber. The doctor confirmed that it was only a deep sleep, before the others followed suit.


Prof. von Breisgau approves of this post.


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