Upon our return to the office from the Tresk/Arab affair, we found an invitation in the mail to a lecture and gathering at the Gotham Legion Hall of Anthony Fava, a good friend of Will’s, who is a member of Fava’s Hall. Fava had recently returned from Italy and had a lecture to give concerning his trip. The Legion is a very liberal social club focusing on total egalitarianism, fancying itself a ‘secret society’ like the Freemasons, and the tenants of which include the ignoring of social strata in relating to your fellow man. Fava is a nut, as they say, for ancient Rome, and sees their ideals of Roman citizenship for all under the empire as one to emulate in today’s society by way of people of all social, monetary, cultural and racial ranks treating one another as equals. A fine ideal indeed.
Fava runs an import/export business and founded the Legion some 20 years ago. Will says he is “a bit weird but a wonderfully nice man. Though he truly believes the Roman Empire to be grander and greater than both the British Empire and America.” Will explained none of the Legion take the Roman element seriously like Fava, and some not even the egalitarianism outside of the club. They find it quaint and a fun change to interact with lower classes as equals a couple times a month, but most do no such thing in their day to day lives. The lower classes do also enjoy the chance to be on the same level as the rich and powerful, at least for a night here and there. This is all evident in how hall is sparce when he is away, but bustling when he is present.
The upper crust of society tend to dislike Fava for his egalitarian ways, but those who knw him tend to love him. He has a long family history in the area since the Revolutionary War, with a long line of medal-winning family members in the military since. His father was a NYC police commissioner, known for his kindness and for protecting the rights of immigrants. Our entire investigative team joined Will, and it became interesting upon our very first step through the door.
At 6:30 we arrived, the lecture scheduled for eight o’clock. This night would yield a number of surprises and thrust us into a mess of cults and old gods. We were first greeted by one… He is a potent example of those using the Hall simply to be seen, and believes none of the tenants set forth by Fava. Even at the hall he looked down his nose at Theolonius and Jack, wanting only to talk to Will, myself and Atwater. Will took the opportunity to get into his good graces in case it would prove useful later.
Jack, John and Theo went for the library and spoke to several of the serving men including the head named McGillicudy, and it was evident throughout their conversations that they all looked up to Fava like a guru and believe strongly in the Legion.
While in the gathering room, we spotted Cassandra Hargrave across the room. Will immediately made his way toward her, and upon his return said he had an appointment for lunch with her in the next few days. He will have to be watched carefully, but perhaps he can uncover something. I worry, though, that Will is smitten with the lady, and is incapable of thinking properly when it comes to her. We shall see.
Fava spoke of being at an archeological dig in Italy, that of an old Christian church from centuries ago, actually a series of churches built on top of one another. Within it was found evidence of an even older temple preceding the first church, and an ancient well far older than the church itself. In this well, a book was discovered, which Fava was able to procure, written in a Latin shorthand. It was authored by Flavius Rusticus, as Fava explained, an ancient author well respected by his contemporaries, but with no known texts extant. A truly great discovery this should be. The book seemed to be a hisory of the reign of the emperor Nero, but had much to do with cults and secret societies which he was supposedly the head of, strange gods worshipped by him and his followers and speaks of magic being a real phenomenon. I looked to my right, and saw Theolonius and Father John looking at each other with grave faces. This, I thought, did not sound like something Fava should be talking about in public. My suspicion of his foolhardiness became absolute fact in the next few seconds, as Fava told a harrowing account of what followed. He made an appointment to meet with an historian friend to give him the book, for it was written as if by a mad man, making it very difficult to grasp. Beforehand, Fava made a copy of the book for himself. He had several sessions with the historian as they tried to decipher the meanings of the book, until his friend was found murdered and the book missing. Fava, by means of his business, quickly got out of Italy under an assumed name. Yet here he was, speaking of it at a public gathering for all to hear, also announcing that the book was in the library adjacent to this very room. The fool! Father John left upon this remark, heading for the library and the book.
As Fava was wrapping up his talk, I was nudged by Jack and saw Theolonius making his way to the front with intent. Jack pointed out 4 men, Italian looking, glaring sternly at Fava as he spoke at the podium, and making their way toward the front. I alerted Atwater and Will and we all began moving toward them. Atwater soon noticed two of them fingering knives under their jackets, and we knew a battle was about to take place for Fava’s life.
When Fave finished, he stepped down and we were the first to him. One of the Italians began to make his move, and I stepped immediately between Fava and the dirty assassin. A general battle then broke out between ourselves and the assassins, with us proving victorious with aid from Fava himself who joined the battle with a flagpole as a weapon! Brave and foolhardy, this Fava is.
We then heard a scuffle in the library, and Theolonius and Jack made haste. There they found Father John battling 3 more Italians and the book, in a glass case, looking like it had just been burning, though briefly. They dispatched the remaining attackers and got the book, Father John hiding it within his robes.
With the police coming soon, we found one attacker alive. Questioning him was difficult, as he spat gibberish like we are finding insane cultists typically do, but we did get some useful information. He is from the Cult of the Sleeping Spear, who believes “…once again Rome will rule the world”. They worship a being called Great Cthugha, husnand of Isis. The grandfather of their cult, he admits, was Nero himself.
The police appeared and the Captain not only took the Italian into custody, but tried to arrest us as well. Thankfully, Commissioner Roosevelt appeared and was immediately on our side. “Bully” he said, “what fine citizens we are”, and quickly dismissed the Captain to transport the Italian to holding. We told him of the attack on Fava, the murder of his friend in Italy over an ancient artifact, but left out that a copy was here and that they seemed to be members of an ancient cult.
After everyone else was gone, we met with Fava and explained of our own experiences with evil books, and that he should keep it safe and leave it alone. He agreed, and we departed.
This morning, Will and Theolonius were dispathed to the usual spots to research the book, Nero and the Sleeping Spear, while Father John perused the Necronomicon. They all met us for a late lunch and relayed what had been discovered. Other than the known information on Nero (at least to the educated man), like the burning of Rome, he may have sent an expedition up the Nile to discover its source. One which never returned, reminding Atwater and I of the Carlyle Expedition from some time back. Nothing was found concerning Flavius Rusticus at some point going insane, indeed he was well respected and used as a sourced by many later ancient authors. Theolonius could some good infomation on the Sleeping Spear: that it was rumored to have been in Rome since before Christ; it’s temples were destroyed when Christianity became the official religion; it supposedly had something to with fire but failed to contact some sort of god which they worshipped. Father John, in his readings of the Necronomicon, found that Cthugha is a Great Old One, a "being of pure fire, like the heart of a star. Theolonius also recalled the name from Monsters and their Kind, which describes a servitor race of Great Cthugha called Fire Vampires, beings of pure fire “who dwell off in the heavens”. The connection is obvious. Father John says his bishop recommended the Theosophical Society for further assistance.
We went to their headquartes just before dinner and spoke to their head, Annie Bassat. Her greatest interests lie in India and mysticism, and believes it the birthplace of modern civilization. At the mention of spellcasting during the Fava attack, her interest perked up significantly. She did not know much of the Sleeping Spears, to our dismay, but she did mention rumors she had heard of a cult in harlem, the cult of a being named Nyarlethotep. He, or it, is worshipped the world over, she explained, but in many guises. Each of his cults may see him very differently. Some believe him to be Satan himself, others much worse. He is known as the Gatekeeper, but what and where the Gate is none can say. She recommends we speak to the establishments lawyer, William Judge. We explain to him what has been going on, and he insists we undoubtedly encountered Atlantians, the 4th root race. The magic they used against Fava, he says, was Atlantian magic from 850,000 years ago. (This certainly does not mean they were such, for couldn’t this magic have been simply found or transferred down through the ages?) They now exist in the inner world, the hollow center of our Earth! Only a year ago I would have insisted the man be committed, yet with all we now know and have seen with our own eyes, who could claim anything is impossible.
Our fair city is a hotbed of despicable activity, a fact apparent to us all now. We have much to investigate, starting tomorrow.