Saturday, May 2nd, continued:
The party returns to their hotel in the Japanese quarter.
Over drinks they debate the merits of various plans of action. “See Allies and inventory”. The next full moons are on May 8th and Jun 7th. The 8th is likely too soon, but they think they might have Brady make ready for the 7th.
They debate travelling to Australia to check out the third point of the map. It’s 3 days from here to Darwin.
Viljoen-Ballard scouts out the roof of the hotel. He finds the stairs up. There is a building across the alley (a 6-7 foot jump) that’s two stories tall. Viljoen-Ballard wedges the roof door shut with a nail, and informs party of how to unblock the door. Now they have one more way to escape if need be.
Sunday, May 3rd 1925:
Nickels and Viljoen-Ballard attempt to find suitable materials for test carving an eye in volcanic rock. Viljoen-Ballard also attempts to make contact with a stone carver through the concierge. Nickels hits up the market districts looking for volcanic rock samples.
At the markets, Nickels observes that he is being watched. Making some appraisals, he makes a ruckus about an overpriced item, and calls out his tail. He is a thick set chinese man in a hood. The man says something in chinese, and Nickels gets a good look at his bulbous face. Nickels tosses his trinkets in the man’s face and starts running. The man gives chase. Nickels throws money into the crowd to try and slow him down, but he vaults another man in his way, clearing him like an olympic hurdler.. After a few blocks of chase, the man catches up, and throws Nickels to the ground as Nickels tries to knife him. Nickels comes up with his wrench and throws it at his head, smashing his face and staggering him to the ground. Nickels retrieves his wrench and runs to a Dim Sum shop (The agreed upon rendezvous point with his counterparts) by a circuitous route.
Viljoen-Ballard makes contact with some stone carvers. While walking down a lonely road, the hairs on his neck stand up. He quickly moves to the main road, and shakes it off. He convinces himself it was nothing. After a few interviews, he finds a carver that he hires for instruction for fair wages, then goes to meet with Nickels at the noodle house.
At the noodle house, Viljoen Ballard cleans off Nickels’ wrench and saves a sample. They debate safety procedures, eat, and then head back to hotel. Nickels watches their back.
Meanwhile, Ernst follows up with Chen Lao at the Jing’an Temple. He asks him for the assistance of his brethren in the chanting to seal away the evil. Through his usual signs and writing, Chen questions the purity of the souls, but thinks he can rally some. Ernst gives him the code phrase “It’s time to set sail” that Ernst’s associates will use to signal him at the appropriate time.
Ernst then travels to St. Cecilia’s to try and engage Sister Anna’s help. In a comfortable sitting room they engage in debates on the merits of such action and the powers behind them. Sister Anna is not convinced… this subject matter is firmly academic to her. However, Ernst displays sufficient prowess to open up a dialogue that may may convince her in time.
Meanwhile, Eastwick follows up on his telegram to the University of Hong Kong concerning the Black Fan Goddess.
Eastwick and Spalding head out to try and research how to make an Elder Sign. They start at the Shanghai museum and reconnect with Mr. Mao. They prime him with description of warding, using the wording from the 7 Cryptical Books. Mao finds examples of the sign after a long conversation. He also shows them a small jar with what looks like a maggot sealed inside, marked with the sign. Mao knows how the signs are physically created, but not any magical augmentations. They do get alternate names for the sign, and leads on a few books they might consult.
Spalding and Eastwick travel to the University Library. Among the stacks they find many references based on Mao’s leads. Eastwick translates and Spalding correlates. They discover descriptions of the Elder signs powers, and references to the 7 Books and the touch points needed to unlock the ritual in that text.
Ernst returns to the hotel. Nickels and Viljoen-Ballard fill him in on their days events.
Viljoen-Ballard calls the hospital to check up on Hansel. He learns that Hansel is healing rapidly, despite the massive damage he sustained, and can be discharged within the week.
Viljoen-Ballard, Ernst, and Nickels go to the hospital in the Japanese quarter. Viljoen-Ballard wants to test the blood taken from Nickel’s wrench. He convinces the administrators to let him use the lab. He discovers human blood, but it is altered by an unknown process. All the regular elements are there, but the quantities are significantly different. Ernst wants to know if it was done by magic, but Viljoen-Ballard doesn’t know. Ernst attributes it to sorcerers. Viljoen-Ballard recommends that Nickels kill them if they cross paths again, because the thing is something besides human.
All return to hotel.
Eastwick transcribes his notes on the Elder sign. One copy is intended for Mu Hsien. Spalding keeps reading her tome. Everyone is on edge, and it is decided that there should be watches set this evening. Ernst is on watch from 10-2, Nickels takes watch from 12 -4, and Viljoen Ballard takes over watch from 2 on.
About 11 o’clock there’s a commotion on the street. Ernst wakes up Nickels to take over the watch while he heads to the roof to check it out. He sees the Japanese constabulary arresting some chinese men in the street. They are hooded and thick set, like the one Nickels saw earlier. Ernst wakes up everyone, and they debate getting out of town. Viljoen-Ballard wants to get into the country, wait a few days, and come back for Hansel, alternatively, they could spend the night in Nickels ambulance. Eastwick debates calling in a favor of a local friend to use their house as a safehouse for now.
Viljoen-Ballard and Eastwick keep watch and pack. Spalding packs and catches a nap. Nickels checks out the ambulance to see if he can get it workable while Ernst keeps watch. Nickels thinks he can get it working within 24 hours with some parts they could buy in the morning. It would be noisy and conspicuous. They concur that it’s too much of a luxury, and unpack it.
Monday May 4th 1925:
Ernst places Isoge’s signal in the window.
Ernst, Spalding, and Viljoen-Ballard leave to make contact with Brady; leaving a message at the tea house. They tell him to meet at a Japanese restaurant in the area, then they wait for him there. It is 2 ½ hours before Brady shows up in a shoulder length wig and false cheekbones and makeup. They bring him up to speed, and say they want to coordinate for a July strike on Gray Dragon Island. Ernst wants his men to be ready, and Mu to find out how to make an Elder sign. They pass along Eastwicks notes. They’ll be leaving for Australia, but will be back. Viljoen asks after his health and Chin. He’s fine, she’s doing a little better, but it will be a long road.
They then go to meet with Isoge. He was just about to leave by the time they arrive at the meeting place. Ernst asks about the arrests of the previous night, implying that he knows that Isoge is police, but Isoge is circumspect. They ask about maps, and Isoge says that the shipping maps are purposefully obfuscated and that the maps available to him are not commonly available.The party indicates that they will be leaving for a time, but will be back in a couple months. Isoge gives them a note to drop in the post when they return.
Meanwhile, Eastwick and Nickels make travel plans, and set arrangements for 3 destinations; Perth, Australia (passing by Darwin), Hawaii, and India. They use 3 different agencies and false names.
Meeting all up together, they head to the docks and buy last minute passage to Egypt, but really use the arrangements for Australia. They are reasonable accommodations on a cargo steamer, the SS Karori, using cash on hand.