A Shadow Unmasked
“Kneel to your Queen, witch! Kneel! Kneel! Kneel!” The voice in Marie’s head whispered, screeched, and chanted louder and louder. On maimed legs, the spider’s body wildly staggered about, crushing its children’s corpses underfoot. It spun about, spitting webs and acid, but its struggles grew weaker. Marie’s friends continued to shoot, stab, and blast it with sorcery. Inside her head Hecate’s voice screeched, “Submit to your master! You must pay your dues for your magic! Surrender to me!” Marie fell to her knees and felt her soul being pressed out of her body. Hecate sought a new form to possess.
Mary saw the struggle and heard the words of the Witch God in her mind as well. She stretched forth her hand, and power shot forth from her, pushing Hecate back within the dying shell of Atlach Nacha.
“Ungrateful wretch! Nothing can contain my glory! I shall break your strength and take what is rightfully mine!”
Marie, quickly slashed her knife across her throat. “Thanks grande-mére…”
“Traitor, traitor! No escape through painless death!” Hecate leaped over and swallowed her in one gulp. “You fools shall all taste your graves in me! I shall torment you there long after your flesh has been digested, as long as the cosmos lasts in me!” Hecate began skittering around in renewed fury.
Skids O’Toole met her maddened charge. His axe hacked off her front two legs. Hecate slid down in a spray of ichor and grasped him in her mandibles. He screamed as her acid melted through his skin and liquefied his bones. His screams were abruptly silenced as she slurped his melting body down down. The witch’s face pressed itself out of the spider’s mouth, struggling to separate herself from the dying God with renewed strength. Hecate's slimy shoulders slipped out of Atlach’s mouth. She screamed as she continued pulling her way out of the great spider’s fatal convulsions.
Mary walked over and lifted Skids’ fallen axe. “Let’s see if you’ll survive this time.” She split Hecate’s skull in two, then kicked her emerging body back into the spider’s gullet. The mouth closed and the death spasms stopped. The Spider God disintegrated into nothingness along with those trapped within it.
The webs covering the town disappeared. Rumors spoke of a shadowy figure harvesting them. But no one could see his face, or understand how he could have been in so many places at once. No one even knew if it was, in fact, one person, though the descriptions were the same, or, perhaps most importantly, why the webs were gathered.
After the battle, Joe, Roland, and Tony pooled their information about the strangeness underlying recent events in Arkham. Their evidence suggested answers that horrified them. A cult had come from overseas and infiltrated the town at its highest levels. The takeover was far more thorough then they imagined possible. They rushed to warn Charlie of the true nature of the threat.
Settling down in Charlie’s office after they had bolted and barricaded the doors, they told him of the sinister name that appeared again and again, shrieked, muttered, carved in blood on the faces of his worshipers and their sacrifices, Nyarlathotep. Charlie’s expression was one of severe concern. Then he smiled. Charlie’s hands had stabbed through Joe's face and abdomen before he could lift his gun. Roland and Tony fired at him again and again, ripping the skin off his face, ripping the mask from his face, but it was too late; the Skinless One was too fast, there was no where to run.
The Skinless One licked the bloody corpses, savoring their flavor and scents before flaying them. Their souls would be trapped in the web forever. There would be no threat of their return. Perhaps they would be the ones The Maskless desired. By the time the nun realized they were gone, it would be too late, they would be stitched into the fabric of Nyarlathotep’s infinite forms and banished from all worlds. The thread was theirs. Soon all else. The last great weaving would begin.
It came for the others, slashing through Finn’s arm, but retreating when Michael's bullets peppered its raw flesh as he desperately let off round after round from his tommy gun. Several of the bullets slammed into Finn as well. It retreated back into the shadows, too fast for them to follow. Mary, Amanda, and Jenny stared after it in bewilderment, it was gone before they could even draw their weapons. They sought to find their missing friends, but they were no where to be found, not even in other Arkhams.
“That’s it, I quit, this is too dangerous!”
“Finn, no, you mustn’t,” said Mary, “this is too important! We have bandaged your wounds, you will heal in time. You must help us fight through to the end.”
“That thing was hiding behind your friend’s face! Look at me, Sister, I’m cut, I’m bleeding! I could have died! And for who? A bunch of suckers who don’t even give a damn about what’s going on! And what happened to all the others? They’re dead! They’re really dead this time! Or worse! This isn’t a game, and if it was, it’d be time for me to cash out my chips now. Yeah. I take it back. This is a game for fools and suckers! I’m gone. Find some other suckers for your crusade.”
What would they do, Mary wondered. There are too few of us left. But we must do something. Surely someone still lives who can help.
Finn limped into the night, free of that damn bossy nun. He was sick of being told what to do. Sick of sticking his neck into other people’s business. And for what? For who? Nobody. If the monsters ate some worlds, big deal. They fought them off this one. And here’s the world he’d stay on.
Then silence. Beneath its falsely frowning face, now splattered with blood, the Skinless One grinned again, beneath its masks, it always grinned when it worked. It had hoped to get at least one more trophy, to return with one more face, before moving on. And now it had achieved its desire.
Time passed. Arkham festered and rotted in world after world. Then at last came a vision. Mary saw a ship sailing in from Egypt, weird, white, and wondrous, and she knew they would not have to face the threat alone.
Custom components can be found here:
Ancient One: Nyarlathotep
Herald: The Crawling Chaos
Required Investigators: Monterey Jack
Check http://arkhamleague.blogspot.com/2010/03/arkham-horror-fan-creation-league.html for scenarios 13-16.
Monterey Jack begins the game with a Silver Twilight Membership. Only investigators with Silver Twilight Membership may seal gates.
The Mask Pool is not random. It is Shadowy Figure, The Skinless One, The Black Man, The Beast, and Shugeron. Never return them to the box, return them to the Mask Pool. Do not place Masks from the box in the Mask Pool.
The Black Man is a fast stalker. If all Masks are in play, returning him to the Mask Pool immediately awakens Nyarlathotep.