The Post-Modern Masks of Nyarlathotep

Episode III: Night Comes On (Part 5)

Alphonse and Anton set out into the Old City to chase down their two main leads: Faraz Najir, and Warren Besart. On the way, they stop by a contact of Anton’s to pick up some new (illegal) guns—Alphonse’s favorite combination of sawed-off shotgun and heavy pistol.

After some hard searching they locate the Street of the Jackals, last known location of Faraz Najir. They discover the shop burnt out and long-abandoned. Alphonse casts a professional eye on the damage; the fire seems to have been very unusual, appearing to have started around waist-level and to not have burned much of the area around the shop.

Asking around with Anton’s Arabic and Alphonse’s charm results in some people telling them that a demon (spit) attacked the accursed Faraz Najir, but with the help of the Prophet (PBUH), he survived the fire and has moved out to one of the main bazaars in the city.

They find the tired old “Magasin des Antiquities” on a dusty side street. Stepping inside, they see nothing to be impressed with. Faraz hobbles out to the counter—and the brothers note with shock that one side of his face has been horribly burned.

“Yes, yes, I have many fine things. Ancient treasures. This is a papyrus from the Roman period. This, an artifact of Cleopatra…”

“How fascinating.”

“Yes, thank you. You came just in time, soon I will head for the mosque, to thank Allah and the Prophet for sparing my life.”

“Ah, of course. We’re very interested. You were recommended to us…by Roger Carlyle.”

Faraz’s eyes go wide. "Carlyle? Out! Out of my shop! Get out! He begins shouting in Arabic. A listless crowd shows up. Deciding it to be the better part of valor, Alphonse and Anton retreat.

Hanging back in the crowd, they wait until Najir closes up his shop and trail him to the mosque. After the services, he heads for a small teahouse nearby.

The brothers walk in and nonchalantly sit next to Faraz. “Hello, friend Najir.”

“You!” He looks wildly around and starts to stand up.

“Please, why don’t we talk about a few things,” says Alphonse, flashing some cash.

“I…ah…oh, very well. I met this Carlyle. Useless American. He bought some very rare objects that…came into my collection.”

“So you stole them?”

“They came into my collection…from the collection of Omar Shakhti. I may not have paid what they were worth…or anything at all…”

Najir goes into a technical description of how he was able to sneak into Shakhti’s mansion and open the safe (“One of the tumblers on the left was loose…it was easy…”) He chills the two of them with his description of Shakhti as the devil: “It is very dangerous, my friends, to cross Shakhti-Bey. He is a sorcerer, and a monster. Thanks only to the mercy of Allah was I saved…”

Disturbed by this news, the two set out into the deepening night in search of Warren Besart. The police suggest that they check at the House of the Red Door at a nearby street. They stake it out and after a while they notice a stooped white man slipping into the house.

The brothers push open the door and follow. Abou, the owner of the laundry that occupies the building, tries to fob them off, but an intimidating glare and some Egyptian pounds convince him to duck out of the house while they go through a curtain in the back.

The human wreckage once known as Oren Besart, of Lausanne, Switzerland, looks blearily up at them. “Do you have any hashish?”

“Of course,” says Alphonse smoothly, gesturing at his brother. Shrugging, Anton takes out some of the hashish he picked up that morning.

“Ah, messieurs, the things I have seen…you ask about the Carlyles? Yes. I was an agent here. I agreed to handle their affairs. I bought some illegally acquired artifacts from Faraz…Najir…you know him?

“The Carlyles, they dug…by the Sphinx, then at Dhashur, where the Bent Pyramid is…then down the river, near Luxor…they said they found something, a temple of some kind…

“Brady came to me…the American, the foreman…he told me he suspected something horrible was going on…and one day…they all went down into the dig…and did not come back.

“An old woman came to me. She said we were all lost, and if I wanted to see why, I should go to Meidum, the Collapsed Pyramid, at the last night of the moon…and I went…oh, God, I went…

“Do you have any more hashish?”

Alphonse gestures. Throwing up his hands and whispering “you’re ruining me!”, Anton tosses down the rest of his hashish.

“Merci, messieurs…I saw…in the night…obscene rituals. I thought I saw the members of the Carlyle expedition…and then the creatures…oh, they were horrible! Oh, they were all torn apart…

“I fled to the desert…I saw creatures there, such horrible things! Sphinxes! On all sides! And now I smoke, to keep the dreams away…”

As they leave, Besart stops Alphonse. “Nyiti of El Wasta. She and her son helped me. She knows. Good luck, messieurs…”

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