[COC7e] S33 | Seven Gates to Heaven or Fong Fung Fang

System: Call of Cthulhu 7e
GM: Michael Mirth

Location: Shanghai, China
Date: March 1928
Quest: Stop 3 of 5 Nyarlathotep rituals

Places of Interest
Ho Fong Imports
Gray Dragon Island (480km South-East of Shanghai via Wampo
Blue Parrot (Dinner with Isoga)
Jack Brady (Doesn’t seem to know Isoga)
Mr. Lung (mentioned in the paper)

Anna (Judy)
Derek (Dwight/Punch)
Penny (Bob - not in attendance)

Irene Adler (some pretentious title; we call her Zu)
Jack Brady (Maven “The Eternal Warrior”)
Isoga (Japanese Spook)

Diary of Derek Reldif

It’s generally believed that our trip to Gray Dragon Island will be the culmination of our visit and not to be rushed. There we will place the Eye of Light & Darkness which Irene knows and Jack has people working on deciphering – thus they will collaborate.

Irene thinks Ho Fong’s house will be very dangerous. I compare it to the Misr house. We’ve passed on entering the warehouse.

I hug Jack again.

We’ll meet him at 4pm in the Blue Parrot prior to seeing Isoga again. Irene suggests we speak to Maven.

Sealing all entries into our rooms as best we can (which isn’t as secure as it may sound since Jack was able to eavesdrop and break in without our knowledge) we head to the Dreamlands.

**Password for Krannon’s is Anemone**

Krannon mentions a message was left for me that ‘someone’ is coming to visit. Sounds like Moriarty.

Krannon finds Maven for us and in our conversation we learn his first name might have been Roland. All of his lives have been intertwined with myths of magic swords. He thinks that his alter ego, Jack will trust us if we show how careful we are.

**Do not tell anyone about the Order of the Bloated Woman.**

Not sure if that was Irene or Maven as at this point Irene makes a point to impress upon Maven that “If anyone will get you killed, it’s Derek,” which just increases the growing distrust I have of her. I suppose she is a necessary evil. It also reaffirms why I don’t share all my thoughts and leanings with everyone. Anna though. I trust Anna. I failed Ginger and will not fail Anna!

Jack’s army is the Firmés Group? Firm Action? Young Chinese?

I talk to Maven about eternal life and he believes it was a curse.

We find a sketch artist through The Professor to draw likenesses of Bancroft and Co. (Some of this info goes back to my diary of S10 which is about 10 months ago although certain encounters with them happened later as well) Jerry in both Human and Wolf form; Sheila the maid; Sonny, Karim Salim, Professor Zaes (whom we know best) and tall thin 50ish Evelyn Bancroft with her silver hair in an updo – a Seal of Solomon in the background.

We leave the sketches with The Professor for now. I encourage him to show'em to those he trusts so people can look out for them however to be somewhat careful as they could be dangerous people.

I ponder a Dream name.

We see Atol who will be there when we need him (he thinks Kenya). They have no love for Nyarlathotep, he and Barzai who was thrown down the mountain by the devil. Atol tells Anna to drop off the Dream Drug she can make to the occult shop in Providence in the past so we aren’t poisoned by Epitaph. Atol and Barzai built the fortress on the dream moon and show us a map with the secret entrance we used in the past. Underwater Nan-Madol is similar to it. We recall this as the place Ginger was sent when I couldn’t be there to save her (S11 ).

I awake and have breakfast at 8am. I linger around until 10am for Chen (our translator – A Methodist). We go off to the Fortune Teller, Mr. Lung. I read a fictional story about a dragon named Lung Arif once.

Chen mentions this is more a convoluted Chinese Astrology called Purple Star. On the front step we see a Siamese cat. I pet it. If it was my own cat, that’s fine but Siamese can be quite a handful to the unprepared. Anna speaks to it and it responds! She does not tell me what it says nor do I press her on it.

Upon entry, Lung is surprised we penetrated his barrier which confuses the two of us. Chen points out the bright red peachwood door and plaques on either side, all of which is protection from demons.

Mr. Lung tries to shoo the cat out but Anna picks it up and sets it on her lap which gives the impression it’s with us.

He has swords made out of coins which apprently can be used as wards. He hands me a peachwood amulet and Anna a bronze one. The room is setup in such a way that you can not walk in a straight line (screens and furniture). Perhaps this is designed to increase magic (OOC Feng Shui).

He hands us some scrolls. I ask him about Elder Signs while we hold the scrolls and he looks incredulous and surprised yet unfinished in testing us. The cat starts howling so Anna sends it away. Lung doesn’t seem to know anything about Elder Signs. Perhaps he’s just learned in the occult and not the Mythos.

He feeds the fire in his brazier some used slippers (Padded Brazier?). “We are not demons,” I say flatly. Anna and Penny start throwing up. Wait... Are they demons?

He burns HellMoney to bribe the demons Anna and Penny not to hurt him.

Hmmmm... I feel like I have more Magic Points than normal.

Anna says she is worried about rivals and would like to peak behind the mask so Lung starts working on her AstroChart as he invites us into his back room. Alarm bells ring in both mine and Anna’s head. Back room? Oh, he still thinks we’re demons. Sigh.

Anna upsets the cat when I wasn’t looking and suddenly it turns into a 600lb demon. I shoot it on reflex. Of course I don’t have any useful weapons against such a thing so it ignores me.

Lung picks up one of his coin swords in a defensive stance and lashes out with a hard impact on the demon. He appears to be forcing it into the back room. Chen and I help shoving it into the curtained area where Lung pulls a cord dropping the curtains to reveal mirrors, trapping the demon.

Anna apologizes for allowing a demon into the house. Lung apologizes for something and they go back and forth a bit. I realize that Anna knew the cat was a demon from her secret conversation but I choose not to point it out. I mean, it happens. It’s not like she’ll read this and be reminded of her folly.

Lung believes it was a rival astrologer who sent it and assumed that was the rival Anna was asking about, which it wasn’t.

*Research demons*

Irene suggests that Anna sever the demon’s link to it’s summoner and make it an ally.

I offer to buy the coin swords from Lung and he gives us each one. I use mine in an attempt to cut the metaphysical cord from the demon and succeed whereupon it turns back into a cat.

Anna expends 20 Luck to chat with the cat again. It will help us with a small task (like killing one person) with his release being in fourteen days if we do not give it the task by then. Anna also offers above and beyond to provide it with fish during it’s service to us. It’s name is Zuzu Petals (Ford Fairlane). Oh no, it needs to pee. Ah, it means that there’s a P before Zuzu. P’Zuzu. Anna's decision may well pay off. It brings a smile to my face thinking back on this moment. I thought folly but trusted her instincts and she rewarded us with a powerful ally. Way to go Anna!

What we learn from Mr. Lung:
Some of us will not survive (unclear if this is just the Island or the whole quest).
A black hat is particularly deadly – pale person – Islander – painted face. Obviously this is Epitaph, disguised and closer than we think. Watch for the black hat.
A Goab holds something aloft?
Something about Seven Gates of Heaven.
Ace of Cups which may mean help and research.

Irene asks if we can come back here and cast spells at a later date. He agrees. We sightsee until our meeting with Jack at the Blue Parrot.

4pm. I try to stop the instant banter and feed Jack the password sign and he countersigns. Hopefully this method offers us some security. Okay, now you can all talk.

Jack seems to trust us a bit more but he’s not at ease. Min is the leader of Firmés. There is some chatter about The Holy Grail. Anna asks for five-way fountains, the hussy. Jack guesses the Ace of Cups which to him means innocent blood. I do an interpretive dance for everyone letting slip a jarring fart of war. Ooops. I’m not used to the food here. Jack slips into the shadows.

We establish a “Jack-Ignorance” for our meeting with Isoga. My idea is if we avoid talking about him, we won’t have to lie or show our full hand to Isoga. Just steer the conversation to other things of mutual benefit. Specifically on whether we know Jack. You see, Isoga is after Jack.

Isoga arrives in a Captain's uniform. I introduce Judy, Bob and Zu. He knows me as Punch. Isoga questions us about Jack and Anna feigns ignorance. I ignore the question and move on to Gray Dragon Island. He thinks it has (or is working on) a weapon pointed at Japan and must stop it at all costs. His people have been unable to get close enough to see much. For example, a skiff that tried was almost capsized by a strange wave on a clear day. They know the island has a crater/volcano type mass.

I continue to point the conversation away from Brady toward purposes for which we are aligned, like taking out the Island. Anna asks him about hot air balloons and the idea of dirigibles intrigues him. I ask him to check out Ho Fang. Anna asks him about a black hat. Apparently there is a Western gentlemen who is new there. I assume it’s Epitaph. I look around knowingly. We’re being overheard by something invisible. Ho Fang’s new ally has kidnapped a girl from the flower house who might be Brady’s girlfriend. As Fang opposes Brady, so Isoga thinks Fang is opposed to the Island. We offer another hypothesis that Fang is in bed with Gray Dragon and Brady opposes them both. The girl is being held hostage at Fang’s house. Isoga needs us to prove a straight line between Fang and Gray Dragon to act against Fang. Ultimately Isoga wants to save Japan and currently it appears to him that Brady is in league with the island with Fang opposing them. I think we've sowed the seed of doubt and have an ally however in reality, we don't really know the truth. We've been burned by allies before.

We leave it that Isoga is hiring a dirigible to inspect the island. We’ll meet again in two days at 5pm. Same Parrot channel, same Parrot time. He slips off into the shadows just as Jack had before.

Jack returns to our table. I catch Anna’s arm and we give the sign. He countersigns. Lin Mei is his girlfriend and we think he should go to the “Flower House” to see if she’s safe. He starts to lose his composure and wants to go after Fang right away. I explain it’s a trap. Anna auggests that he simply verify she’s even missing first. We go and the Madame verifies it. Anna offers Jack our help. It’s clear we can’t let him go anywhere alone or we’ll never see him again.

We will be invisible for the attack. I ask Irene to send Servitors to the island and she agrees. We talk of me learning the spell “Summon Hunting Horror” or Gunofka or other creatures.

Putting together our facts it may well be that Lin Mei is IN the Seven Gates of Heaven which is a glass box surrounding the person with many closed off compartments. Sometimes filled with rats for example, they are opened to nibble and bite at the flesh.

In the downtime, Irene will complete the teaching of Summon Servitor to me. Frankie’s lessons were incomplete due to time. She sends one to the island.

+5 Listen

Most People: Not 100% / Evil
Atol/Gus & Barzai/Jacob: talk about the gear on the carriage / found in the Book of Eibon
Mr. Lung: Ace / of Cups
Jack Brady/Maven: Charlemagne / Roland
Isoga: Son of / the Morning