The Infernal Crescent City

The Daughter
Part 02 - The Lonely House

En route to New Orleans, Johnny reveals to the Agency visions he had received when holding the single letter Virginia had sent her father. He explained a possible location for her at the Armes d’ Roi hotel and Dr. Cobb’s drinking a strange pink liquid as he sobbed over the letter. The Agents recognized the description but remained silent on the matter, leaving Johnny none the wiser.

After settling in to the Presidential Suite of the premier Grunewald Hotel, thanks to Dr. Cobb, the Agents immediately set out to locate the Armes d’ Roi. A bit underwhelmed by what the rundown tavern and flophouse they found, the Greenhorn retreated from a failed inquiry inside and allowed the veterans to take over the investigation. From the large, scarred bartender, Big Dave, they were able to surmise that Jean Angelo (Virginia Cobb’s tramp of a beau) still dwelt in an upstairs room but that Virginia had abandoned him, leaving with all her things.

The Agents, flashing private investigator badges, were allowed to approach Jean Angelo’s room. Alas, in the stairwell leading up to the second floor, they encountered a greasy-looking fellow the Greenhorn recognized from his vision. It was Jimmy, to whom the letter had been given. Just as attempts were being made to politely allow the little fellow to slip between the crowd of investigators, Jean Angelo appeared at the bottom of the stairwell and shouted threats at Jimmy, believing he had abducted Virginia. Jimmy fled. With jean Angelo struggling to get past the agents in the stairwell, Jimmy leapt from the second floor gallery t the courtyard below but a loud snap and a shriek alerted the Agents to Jimmy’s crumpled body and broken ankle.

As Jean Angelo turned on Jimmy in an attempt to throttle him, Big Dave arrived and yanked his little brother, Jimmy into his arms. that’s when jean Angelo produced a Derringer and the situation grew even more serious. Agents attempted to dissuade Jean Angelo with pleas and the showing of badges but the stalemate was proving too strong. Then a bulging envelope fell from Jimmy’s person and landed hard, scattering bills in a heap at his feet.

“You’ve been holding out on me!” was all Dave growled before dropping his little brother, scooping up the slightly less bulky envelope and dashing from the scene. Less concerned about the money, the Agents remained behind to sort out the trouble between Jimmy and Jean Angelo and, of course, Virginia.

With surprisingly little pressure, Jimmy revealed that he had indeed abducted Virginia, selling her off to a “wealthy fella” in a big black automobile. He had done this a few times over the last couple of years by promising prostitutes a date with a rich man. This time, however, the “wealthy man,” whose face he had never quite seen, needed a girl promptly and offered more money than Jimmy could refuse. So he nabbed Virginia, drugging her and hiring a cabbie who had made this drive for him before, to take them to an old abandoned plantation house in Pearlington, Missisippi.

Off they went, hiring their own cabbie by the name of Bartholemew “Bats” Monjour; a heavyset curmudgeon who talked a lot about his wife and even more about advice his spiritualist gave him. By near-dusk, they had arrived at the Lonely House, which Bats was able to tell them was haunted. he said it was told that during the Civil War, the men of the family left the plantation to go fight, leaving behind a mother and her adult daughter. In this time, the slaves revolted and it was said they cannibalized the women because their bodies were never found. Someone pays the taxes on the place, but no one has ever moved in due to its haunted nature.

Undeterred, the Agents entered the building whose floor was a constant hazard to traverse. the Greenhorn’s psychometry revealed the slave revolt among many other more recent violence moments, mostly perpetrated by a black smudge of nothingness, which the Greenhorn could not perceive. Luckily, by Jimmy’s description, they soon located the old library where Jimmy said the “wealthy man” would take the women. All they found was a hole in the floor, that upon closer inspection was hewn by tools and not worn away. Alas, just as soon as the Irish Sawbones yanked out a handfull of the tormentilla growing out of the hole, the doors slammed shut, the room grew cold and the shadows condensed into one corner of the room. Atop the shroud of shadow was the vague impression of a dog’s skull.

Immediately the thing began to try and overpower the Greenhorn’s mind. Defeated it lashed out by whirling debris about the room. The Agents were unable to harm the thing conventionally, prompting Geneviève to leap out a window. Kitty would attempt to follow but fell through the floor, precariously close to the entity. Futile attempts to attack the thing were made again but then, without warning, the Greenhorn stepped forward and into the shadowy presence. Suddenly, the shadows began siphoning seemingly into the Greenhorn’s person. What little daylight left then shone on the room again and the Creeping horror was gone.

They regrouped, the Greenhorn used his abilities to discover that Virginia, just moments away from bloody sacrifice over the hole, as had been done to five other women, at the hands of the black smudge. But, upon sight of her black velvet choker, she was suddenly reprieved. Left with only more questions, they proceeded to search the house for more signs of Virginia. Alas, all they found was a dog skull and some eerie photos in the ground under the hole, the shirt of one Molly LeBlanc, a priest’s maniple, and psychic impressions of the girls waiting to be slaughtered.

Upstairs, they found a children’s play room strewn with feces and filth. recognizing it as an attempt to corrupt and befoul the area for occult purposes, the Agents began to sprinkle holy water around the room. That is when a bloody apparition appeared, looking much like one figure in the photos they found buried downstairs. In her torment, she seemed grateful and began to lead the Agents into the attic, where, after a life-threatening fall to Dr. McCulkin, they found a trunk stuffed with the still-clothed bones of Mrs. Brooks and her daughter, locked inside and left to starve by the slaves that revolted. The younger ghost appeased her furious mother who then allowed them to remove the trunk for proper burial.

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The Daughter
Part 01 - The Father

The Agency had begun to settle into a world without Jessie. They returned to routine. They played some poker and shared some smiles. It was Kitty’s night to win the bulk of the wagered sweets, it seemed; even as Geneviève dragged a small pile of hard candy in her direction. The sharp clomps of the Agency’s founder preceded him and the office door swung open. Chancy was not alone. So much for routine.

“This is Johnny Alden,” Chancy explained, referring to the young stranger, dressed in spanking new rancher’s attire a few sizes too large for his thin frame. “He was there the night we lost Jessie and he tells me he’d like to help. I, for one, think he can.” Of course the other Agents were suspicious; skin had prickled and hairs were raised when Johnny walked in. There was something particularly out of the ordinary with him. So Chancy explained by picking up a brass lighter from his desk, and tossing it to Johnny. “Tell us what you see,” he said.

Johnny wrapped his fingers over the lighter, closed his eyes and willed it to reveal to him its past; a past soaked in blood and horror. He told them what he saw: a man, more beast truly, slaughtered first Johnny’s mother in her home and then later Jessie, who had chased it into the woods. The Agents arrived. It fled on foot, slowly returning to a state of humanity as it did. Once only a man, nearly naked in the woods, the lighter’s owner heard a twig snap. He looked aside just in time to see a revolver lift in his direction. There was a bang; the same bang the Agents recalled hearing that same night, as they stood over Jessie’s shredded corpse.

As Johnny dropped the lighter, his eyes still moist from tears, Chancy tossed a revolver on the table beside it. “Look familiar?” All eyes on him, Chancy explained that beside the apparent advantage they could gain from Johnny’s extrasensory insight, the Agency, in failing to stop the “wolf man” in time, shared some blame in the death of Johnny’s mother. He said he will add the young man to the payroll, lest an Agent object. None of them did, of course. they can see his value.

“Good ,” said Chancy. “Because I got word from our friend in Clifton, that he requires our services. Gather your gear and get to the wagon, we’re meeting him tonight.”

In Clifton, a suburb of Cincinnati, they met with Dr. Aleister Cobb in his exquisite mansion. It was revealed that his daughter had fled to New Orleans with a vagabond poet and he was hiring the Agency to retrieve her. He had already had one manservant go missing in this duty, so he is particularly concerned as to her safety. Understandably unnerved by turning from otherworldly horrors to hunting down a wayward child, the Agents would soon learn there was more ot this situation that what appeared at first glance. The maid, Aunt Mary whispered to them that when the daughter, Virginia Cobb, had fallen from her horse as a child and nearly lost her head to a tiller blade, it was Dr. Cobb who hauled his daughter into his lab, locked himself inside with her for three days and then reemerged with her still alive but in may ways “different.” For instance, she now wore a black velvet choker to cover the scar that circled her neck.

Before the Agents could actualize their plan to sneak into Virginia’s room for further answers to this weirdness, Chancy emerged from a private conversation with Cobb and announced they would be taking the next train to New Orleans.

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The Daughter
Pt 03 - The Spiritualist

After discovering six shallow graves scattered about the nearby fields of the Lonely House, the Agents located the grave of John Dunn, the cabbie who had driven Jimmy and his prey here so many times, only to be murdered himself after discovering what was truly taking place. Forcing Kitty to go against her dislike of mundane authorities, the Agents located the local sheriff and alerted him to the bodies, asking only to take John Dunn’s wedding ring to bring to his widow.

Once back in New Orleans, the Agents retire to their hotel room, where Johnny reveals to Kitty the book his ancestor hid near Roanoke, Virginia and explains that it enhances his power. Unfortunately, she is unable to penetrate the strange mystical encryption of the book, which makes focusing on the cipher impossible. A call comes in from Dr. Cobb who is disturbed by their findings; he suspects “The Church” and vows to send in reinforcements.Then they slept, finally. Upon waking, they found the central room of the suite vandalized. The couches had been shoved aside, the coffee table turned over and the rug had been urinated upon.

Later, they returned to the Armes d’ Roi to update Jean Angelo and search for Virginia’s things before heading Uptown to visit Bats’ spiritualist and return John Dunn’s wedding ring to his widow. At the armes d’ Roi, however, they manage to locate Virginia’s things stashed away in the attic above the third floor. On their way back down, they hear a struggle coming from Jean Angelo’s room and arrive to find he had just been attacked by the apparition of an angry woman. Throttling him, she had been howling, “Where is she, you fool? You were supposed to be watching over her!”

Convinced his life was in danger, the Agents agreed to take him Uptown where he asked his boss for a place to stay behind the sign-painting shop on Magazine Street. That done, the Agents felt as if they were being watched and noticed a large death’s head moth on a nearby lamp post. Sure that such a moth was not native to the region, the Agents soon left and headed to Dryades Street where they located Madame Ledeu’s shotgun house, where the doors and windows were layered in wards against evil spirits. They were greeted at her door by her strange and silent son, a ten-year old boy named Shade. Inside, they met the spiritualist herself, who, upon examining John Dunn’s ring, held a seance. Possessed by the dead cabbie’s spirit, she revealed that he had hidden a jar of money behind his shed, which he wanted his wife to have. He also described the attack at the Lonely House as being perpetrated by Jimmy but summated by a dark burial ritual performed by a “priest” whose face was always shrouded by shadow, as if they climbed off the walls to cover him. The ghost of Dunn even sang a part of the song to them, which Madame Ledeu was able to translate from Latin.

Convinced they were the real thing, Madame Ledu revealed that she and her son have been a prisoner in their own home for eleven years. She says she was once a member of a death cult called, the Thanatos Society, who worshiped dark monstrosities. Those same monstrosities, she explained, also fathered her son, Shade and so she fled them. As such, she fears should she ever leave the house she will be set upon and she and Shade will fall prey to the cult. She begged the Agents to help her. They agreed though admitted taking on the entire cult might be beyond their means. Thankful enough, Madame Ledeu told them they could find the Society in a brothel in Faubourg Treme called, the Rising Sun.

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Returning the ring to the widow Dunn was an emotional moment. With a babe on her hip and several more at her feet, she appeared doomed without her husband. The Agents told her that Dunn was able to say with his last words that there was money hidden behind the shed and with all hope, what she found there will help her family through its trials to come.

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The Krosses
All the Hunters

Using the psychic’s words, the Agents decide to investigate the Thanatos Society safehouse disguised as a brothel on Esplanade andClaiborne called, Le Maison du Soleil Levant. The Agents devise a plan to infiltrate the whorehouse as customers but just as they cross the street to approach, a young, red-headed girl approaches selling them flowers. As the Agents attempt to buy some flowers nonchalantly, the girl warns them, “Are you mad? Don’t go in there. They’re waiting for you.”

The girl diverts their attention to a shadowy figure standing by a tree in the distance. They approach and discover a grizzled man wearing leather who explains that the brothel is overseen by undead monsters, who know of the Agents’ arrival to the city and of their impending intrusion. Instead, he offers to guide them back to one of his safehouses so he can explain what’s going on.-

He takes them to an abandoned railroad car along the riverfront in the Irish Channel.

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