● At the Kingsport Chronicle offices, Stanley Carter took Sam aside to ask him, in addition to covering Barton’s reception, to look into any financial irregularities surrounding the Florentina theater renovations.
● Jacob had a very busy morning researching at various libraries and offices around Kingsport and Arkham. He turned up the following information:
— A trip to the Kingsport Chronicle morgue revealed an increasing number of “police beat” references to acts of vandalism that go back to December 1924. Mapping the pattern of reports shows a cluster around the Italian neighborhoods of Federal and Fisher streets, which is where the Florentina Theater is located. The Florentina broke ground on renovations last October (1924).
— There have been no recent reports of wormy deaths that resemble that of Neil Hazlitt, but a trip to the Miskatonic University library revealed references to a mysterious New England epidemic in 1775-1776 in which tens of thousands died. Some reports describe the bodies with missing parts, “deflated” or hollowed-out chest cavities and other references that might be related to the state Neil ended up in.
— The harbormaster in Marseilles is Francoise Joliette
— The harbormaster in Oran is Hakan Othon
— The name of a reputable private investigator in Marseilles: Fabio Montale, who recently solved a high-profile underworld assassination case.
— Myron T. Herrick is the US Ambassador to France in Paris.
— Julius C. Holmes is US Embassy Vice Consul in Marseilles.
— The Ottoman Orthodox Church: Such a church existed briefly under the Ottoman Empire, but was eventually disbanded as new former Ottoman territories became nations and started their own orthodox churches. Inexplicably, there is an office for the OOC in Boston. It turns out to be a bookshop that is rarely open.
— Chester Noyes Greenough, Harvard University’s Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences did not readily disclose any information about the Lowell expedition or answer questions about donations to the school.
● Sarah discovered a piece of Ward’s journal at the Miskatonic University library relating the confession of Sarah Blaine for witchcraft and outlining (incompletely) a ritual to summon a ratty beast known as “Anderson”.
● Maria, Dorothy and Sarah went shopping to prepare for the evening reception. On the way, they passed by the Florentina and noticed a girl playing in an alley between a rear entrance to the theater and a row of tenement immigrant housing. Broken plates and cups were carefully arranged with scraps of food and tea at the theater door. Asked about the dishes, the girl said they were for her “little friends” who wore “fur coats.” After a few minutes, a woman, likely her mother, called out “Paula!” and ended the interview.
● The reception at the Shoremist Inn was a classy affair with a string quartet, wine (of appropriate vintage) and cheese. Gillian Ashton asked Sarah if she might have a Revolutionary War veteran in her family tree and, if so, would she like to join the Daughters of the Revolution. Barton worked the room, clearly angling for fresh donations for the renovation of the theater. Sam donated $100 to Barton, who made a show of it and tried to leverage the generosity into more contributions.
● After the party, Barton invited the group with a few other guests for an “exclusive” tour of the theater. The group convened for to make sure they were armed and aware that something could be afoot. They arrived at the theater only to find a medium sitting at a table on the stage, ready to hold a séance. The group was somewhat appalled at the show, given their previous experience with Gunter’s séance. Singing could be heard in the distance, and lilac perfume scented the air. But just as everyone sat down, a sandbag fell from the rafters and shattered the table, injuring Sam and Jacob. Maria convinced Barton to follow the other guests out of the building.
● Sarah spotted something moving upstage, darting into a gap in the floorboards. All but Sam rushed to see it, and Maria ended up falling through a trapdoor and catching herself on the edge. Jacob, Sarah, Maria and Dorothy found a ladder down to the basement scene shop, while Sam searched for an office.
● The four in the basement found a film vault and a collapsed portion of the brick floor that led into a tunnel. They all descended, taking a left at a Y and discovering an old room with a printing press, alchemical glassware and empty bookshelves. They also found a typesetting tray with a few letters inside.
● Sam found a locked office on the second floor, and broke in. There, he found a Victrola playing an Aida record. He also found financial records indicating the sale of assorted items and books by Daniel Defoe to the Arkham Auction Block. He also discovered evidence of debt and deep financial trouble in the renovation project. While stepping out of the office, he heard a click and a sound of thunder as hundreds of marbles rolled down the hall, but he managed to maintain his footing.
● Soon after the group filed into the strange underground room, large (but plausibly sized) rats began pouring out of a hole in the corner of the room. Jacob and Maria were both swarmed, but Maria was able to get away and down the tunnel. Jacob was attacked twice, but managed to shoot off rats that were biting into his flesh. Maria paused in the tunnel so Jacob could pass, and used her shotgun twice to stanch the flow of rats with shot, making a bloody mess. Because of this, Maria, Dorothy, Sarah and Jacob were able to scramble up the ladder and out of the theater.
● Sam, seeing the group run out of the theater, went back to the hole down to the basement and poured flaming alcohol on the ladder, burning it so that the rats’ larger relative would not be able to climb up easily. With a bit of luck, he managed not to burn the theater down.
● In the days after, Jacob went back to the hospital for treatment of his severe rat wounds. Dorothy developed her photographs and filed the ones she needed for the story. Sam wrote a story about the reception, and visited with Paul Cook, who pointed out differences between a common first edition of A System of Magick and the one Jacob had delivered. He also conducted a burn test to show that the ink in the inserts of the latter contained a high concentration of iron.
● On Wednesday, rumors indicated that an Italian child from the immigrant neighborhood had gone missing. On Wednesday night, members of the group all had the same dream. They found themselves in a dimly lit room full of garbage: old meat tins and bottles and newspaper. Atop a throne-like perch made out of an apple crate, a simian-looking thing with buck teeth introduced himself as Caliban, and declared that “the skin-ling child” was with them in the dark, and demanded the remains of their “Mother Mayble” to be returned along with a sacred Shakespeare volume and other books that had been taken from them in return for Paula.