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To Belgium and Beyond!

Page history last edited by Michael 13 years, 2 months ago

back to The Moon Looms!

 


 

March 22, 1934

 

Our Heroes decide to explore the passage leading away from the Medjai sarcophagii. While Captain Lotta and Fury pry open the second sarcophagus, the rest of the party proceeds for several hundred feet along a thousand-year-old tunnel, decorated with military scenes (warriors, battles, and mythical beasts) and depictions of a strange dragon-headed, human-bodied, cat-legged demigod, seated on a throne.

 

Also in the tunnel are many traps -- some still lethal, some long-deactivated. It also becomes clear that there are ancient levels far, far below the mine. The explorers pass the traps, and come to a room with a strange obelisk, with Arabic writing on two sides, Akkadian (cunieform script, aka Assyrian or Babylonian; or possibly Sumerian) writing on another side, and an entirely unknown script on the fourth side.

 

Another trap strands Delacy in the chamber containing the obelisk, but the other explorers quickly demolish the trap door; Delacy is unconscious, but quickly recovers. While Davis and Ivanov begin breaking through the next trap door, the others (Delacy, Qua Lin Worthington, and Nora Cullin) study the obelisk. None of us can read Arabic, alas. A series of coincidences -- or strange compulsions -- leads to Delacy, Worthington and Cullin being "frozen" onto the base of the obelisk, unable to respond or even move. While Davis and Ivanov consider various rough measures to free their friends, the frozen trio experience Another Time And Place.

 

About when Davis, Ivanov (along with Lotta and Fury now) are considering Heroic Measures, the trapped trio are suddenly freed. Their story of ancient Semites, Nubians, etc. is pretty wild; Delacy copies down the writing on the obelisk. Lotta and Fury report that the second sarcophagus was entirely empty.

 

(Kirk and Lisa:  Remains of a female. If you cut open the wrappings, there is a large yellow stone ring, silver metal <aluminum?> earrings, and a Electrum girdle)

 

Suddenly the obelisk begins to rotate downwards, out of sight into its base. Once it's finished moving, a section of wall opens, revealing a stone map, about 4' wide by 3' high (and a couple of inches thick). The map shows most of a strangely-altered world, perhaps in far ancient times (or in some even stranger alternate dimension). Nineteen diamond-shaped markings appear on the map when it is empowered; roughly (within 50 miles or so) these locations are:

 

  • Alexandria, or the mouth of the Nile, Egypt - grey
  • Ayers Rock, Australia
  • Azores, Eastern Atlantic - blackened
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Carcassone, France
  • Ephesus, Turkey - red
  • Hamilcar’s Refuge, Tunisia - red
  • Khang Rinpoche, Tibet
  • Lake Baikal, Russia
  • Lake Victoria, or the head of the Nile, Africa
  • Luxor, Egypt - blackened
  • Madison, Wisconsin, US – blackened
  • Mohenjo-Daro, India
  • Mexico City, Mexico - blackened
  • Naples, Italy - blackened
  • Nazca, Peru
  • Palenque, Mexico
  • Pyrenees, Spain (the area where they discovered the tomb) - pink
  • Stonehenge, England - grey

 

The locations at Palenque, Lake Victoria, and Tibet are extra-prominently marked.

 

 

These nineteen locations seem possibly to be the wards imprisoning the draco-feline demigod/devil. Note that identification of the places on the map came only after Our Heroes returned to Belgium. Also, due to a strange effect, everyone in the group now has the skill of Crystal Communication at (4 + current Magic Points at that moment)%, to a maximum of 10%.

 

Leaving the old mine and its unpleasant memories behind, Our Heroes return to the small town of Les Galdes de Boi, and sleep deeply.

 


 

26 March, 1934

 

Our Heroes arrive at the Longbow base at Château d'Hougoumont, and report on their findings.  Qua Lin Worthington agrees to undergo an experimental "electrical education" process, which increases her knowledge of archaelogical techniques. The group spends a week at Hougoumont, which is being rapidly abandoned by the Longbow group (due to the number of groups conducting surveillance). 

 

The Longbow authorities promise to look into finding a Portal back to Our Heroes' home world; the group agrees to investigate a German archaeological dig near the Second Cataract of the Nile in the meantime.

 

2 April, 1934

 

An anonymous spaceplane, of Belgian registry, flies Our Heroes non-stop from Hougoument to Alexandria, in ten hours during the night.

 

3 April, 1934

 

The party checks into the Majestic Hotel.

 

4 April, 1934

 

The party travels to Cairo by train, and checks in at Shepheard's Hotel. Miss Worthington does some research on the Germans at the Department of Antiquities; the rest of the group makes purchases for the journey south.

 

5 April, 1934

 

The Sunshine Express takes Our Heroes from Cairo, about dawn, to Luxor, about sunset.

 

 

From the 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica:

 

LUXOR, more properly El-Aksur, "the castles" (plur. of kasr), a town of Upper Egypt, on the east bank of the Nile 450 M. above Cairo by river and 418 by rail. Pop. (1907 census) 12,644. It is the centre for visitors to the ruins of and about Thebes, and is frequented by travellers and invalids in the winter season, several fine hotels having been built for their accommodation. There are Anglican and Roman Catholic churches, and a hospital for natives, opened in 1891. The district is the seat of an extensive manufacture of forged antiques. The temple of Luxor is one of the greatest of the monuments of Thebes (q.v.). It stands near the river bank on the S.W. side of the town and measures nearly 300 yds. from back to front. There may have been an earlier temple here, but the present structure, dedicated to the Theban triad of Ammon, Mut and Khons, was erected by Amenophis III. The great colonnade, which is its most striking feature, was apparently intended for the nave of a hypostyle hall like that of Karnak, but had to be hastily finished without the aisles. After the heresy of Amenophis IV (Akhenaton), the decoration of this incomplete work was taken in hand by Tutenkhamun and Haremhib.

 

The axis of the temple ran from S.W. to N.E.; a long paved road bordered by recumbent rams led from the facade to the temples of Karnak (q.v.) in a somewhat more easterly direction, and Rameses II adopted the line of this avenue in adding an extensive court to the work of Amenophis, producing a curious change of axis. He embellished the walls and pylons of his court with scenes from his victories over Hittites and Syrians, and placed a number of colossal statues within it . In front of the pylon Rameses set up colossi and a pair of obelisks (one of which was taken to Paris in 1831 and re-erected in the Place de la Concorde). A few scenes and inscriptions were added by later kings, but the above is practically the history of the temple until Alexander the Great rebuilt the sanctuary itself. The chief religious festival of Thebes was that of "Southern Opi," the ancient name of Luxor. The sacred barks of the divinities preserved in the sanctuary of Karnak were then conveyed in procession by water to Luxor and back again; a representation of the festal scenes is given on the walls of the great colonnade. The Christians built churches within the temple. The greater part of the old village of Luxor lay inside the courts: it was known also as Abu '1 Haggag from a Moslem saint of the 7th century, whose tomb-mosque, mentioned by Ibn Batuta, stands on a high heap of debris in the court of Rameses. This is the last of the buildings and rubbish which encumbered the temple before the expropriation and clearances by the Service des Antiquites began in 1885. The principal street of Luxor follows the line of the ancient avenue. See G . Daressy, Notice explicative des ruines du temple de Louxor (Cairo, 1893); Baedeker's Egypt.

 

Street scene in Luxor, 1931

 

6 April, 1934

 

Our Heroes visit the museums at Luxor, and tour the various and extensive ruins at Luxor and Karnak. They visit a small Coptic monastery and arrange for a translation

of the arabic script from the obelisk in the medjai tomb.

 

 

Temple of Amonhotep III

 

In the museum are stone fragments with the same cunieform symbols as on the obelisk in Spain. The cunieform writings are shown to monks at a nearby Coptic establishment (the monastery of Saint Isidorus); they say that they may be able to translate them -- come back tomorrow. The party drives, rides and walks to many of the ruins, wastes and prominent features around both sides of the Nile that day (Luxor, Karnak, and Thebes).

 

7 April, 1934

 

The party visits the Coptic monks, they've translated the rocks -- it's part of a story of a demonic invasion apparently from the lost empire of Xichotl, Xachoth, or Xuthal. The final battle between the first Nubian Empire (predating the Nubian Dynasty by more than 60 generations) and the demons took place "in the shadow of Jebel Hadada".

 

 

The Arabic carvings tell of a great battle fought over 150 generations prior to the inscription. The two versions are in different dialects. The story is basically the same in both versions.

 

One comes from the great-grandson of a survivor of the battle. The second was apparently written by a wise or holy man who had the story told to him by his familiar.

 

The battle brought the end of a 50 year war fought across Southern Egypt, the Sudan, and the Eastern Sahara. An invasion of demons poured out of a great and ancient city somewhere in the Sahara.

 

These demons walked, flew, or simply appeared depending on the story. The two versions refer to demons flying and running in vast numbers. The demons had cat-like feet, lizard-like heads, bat-like wings, or all of these. During the course of the war, the Nubian Empire fragmented due to the loss of life and the rise of neighboring empires. During this great battle, Nubia's last great army was destroyed. Survivors, including the one who grandson recorded the tale, went on to serve the early Egyptians as mercenaries.  

 

The holy man convinced one of the Egyptian generals to send medjai fighters to a spot in southern Gaul to find and conceal a great artifact from the Demon War. Among the Medjai were Nubians, Franks, Jews, and White Turks. A protege of the holy man went with the troop to see to the construction of protection and concealment.

 

Thats about all you get from 4 paragraphs.

 

Info found in tourist-y books about Egypt: 

 

"The twenty-fifth or Nubian dynasty originated in Kush (Nubia -- what is now northern Sudan) at the city-state of Napata (ruins near Dongola), whence they invaded and took control of Egypt under Piankhi, circa 752 BC."

 

Our Heroes take the last train of the day south, to Wadi Halfa, and put up at the Railway Hotel there. From the 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica:

 

WADI HALFA, or HAIFA, a town of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, in 21° 55' N., 31° 19' E., on the right bank of the Nile, 5 miles south of the northern frontier of the Sudan. It is the chief town of the Haifa mudiria, is 770 miles south of Cairo by rail and steamer, and 575 miles north-northwest of Khartoum by rail. Some 6 miles above the town is the second cataract, and on the west bank of the Nile opposite Haifa are the ruins of the ancient Egyptian city of Buhen (Bohon). Haifa is the northern terminus of the Sudan railway and the southern terminus of a steamboat service on the Nile, which, running to Shellal (Assuan), connects there with the Egyptian railways. Wadi Haifa is a general designation including the native village of that name, the camp founded by the British in 1884 as their base in the operations for the relief of General Gordon, and the civil cantonment established at the same time. This cantonment occupies the site of a Nubian village, and round it has grown a thriving town, at first named Taufikia, but now called Haifa. It has a population (1907) of about 3000. The military camp has barracks, officers' quarters, railway works, and an esplanade along the river front. The village of Wadi Haifa is 3 miles south of the camp.

 

(Interesting note:  Wadi Halfa and the area around it were all entirely inundated by the Aswan High Dam project). The Egyptian railways run on standard (4' 8-1/2") gauge, the Sudanese railways on 3' 6" gauge -- so a change of trains is required at Wadi Halfa if you wish to proceed southeast to Khartoum (across the Nubian Desert). Another, older, branch of the Sudanese railway follows the east bank of the Nile down to Dongola.

 

Also of note:  the Imperial troops in the Sudan include the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Rifles (less one company at Cyprus), and the 1st Battalion of the Rifle Brigade. The Rifle Brigade battalion is commanded by Lt. Colonel A.A. Tod (a skilled tennis and racquets player), with Major R.L.H. Collins and D.E. Prideaux-Brune also present in the Sudan -- one of them is likely to be at the Wadi Halfa camp.

 

By 1933 there is also an Imperial Airways landing-field, hangar and repair facility at Wadi Haifa.

 

8 April, 1934

 

The adventurers take a tour of the German archaeological dig. The Germans happily display a newly-discovered pyramid, from about 1600 or 2000 BC -- the early (pre-dynastic) period of the Kerman dynasty of the Nubian Empire. Off a few hundred yards away, the Germans are also digging in some tunnels; the guide claims the tunnels are dangerously unstable, not suitable for visitors.

 

That evening, the party watches the Germans with field glasses. A truckloads of 6 to 8 miners enter and leave the tunnels, working around the clock. A couple of armed guards stand at the entrance to the tunnels; the dirt and spoil is taken to a fairly general rubbish pile and disposed of unceremoniously.

 

9 April, 1934

 

The party takes a few walking/driving/riding tours around Wadi Halfa, checking for anything a "sensitive" might notice. In the evening, they creep up near the German tunneling area; while the miners are outside loading their truck with dirt, Our Heroes creep into a secondary entrance.

 

A couple of guards are inside, armed with both standard period weapons and Martian-tech gear; Algy trips, and shots ring out within seconds. Some of the miners rush back to the mine. It turns out the miners are actually well-armed, well-prepared soldiers; a short, deadly firefight erupts. In less than a minute, all but one of the miners are killed or mortally wounded; Lotta and Fury are down with several bullet and fragment wounds each. Miss Worthington's medical skills, and Lotta's natural resilience, prevent any tragic loss of (heroic) lives.

 

The use of the Mandarin language by several of the attackers may confuse the Germans and constabulary.

 

One of the Germans escapes in the truck, heading rapidly towards the town. While Ivanov watches for trouble coming, and Qua Lin Worthington treats the wounded, the others (Davis, Delacy and Cullin) investigate the tunnel.

 

The tunnel is almost entirely level, on the pavement of an ancient plaza or court. Near the front is a statue, partially excavated from the wall of a strange sphinx:  dragon-headed, feline-footed, and with human torso and breasts. A few hundred feet into the tunnels the explorers find a partially exposed metal wall, apparently being probed and banged on by the Germans recently.

 

[Ask Hugh, Sheri and Ken for more info on what they found about the wall]

 

The danger of a well-armed police or military attack prompts the adventurers to retreat into the darkness of the desert, using many of the pathways and rocks in the area to somewhat cover their tracks. Lotta and Fury are on their feet by now, but Qua Lin is looking very weak and emaciated, having lost another ten pounds of weight this evening!

 

A wash-up in a horse trough, and some quick clothing-changes, help to prevent Our Heroes' late, somewhat roughed-up return to the hotel from catching the staff's attention.

 

10 April, 1934

 

In the morning, Our Heroes board the train to Dongola, 300 miles south along the Nile. The not very express-like train doesn't arrive until after sunset; in fact it's mostly empty coal-cars with only a couple of one-class coaches just behind the locomotive. Quite a change from the speedy, cool, first-class trains that run from Cairo to Wadi Halfa!

  

Our Heroes cross the river, and find a guest-house to settle into.

 

11 April, 1934

 

The next morning ...

 


 

the next episode:  Into the Desert

 

 

 

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