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Coldest Winter: An Arkham Horror Session ~The Author M~

September 7, 2010

                It was my first time in the Arkham streets, the winter weather seemed premature and the Icy Winds cut me to the bone, all were eager to get inside, as the nurses from St. Mary’s were picking up those ill that had succumbed to the cold. There were six of us then, though we hadn’t met, all had been drawn to Arkham. I’d heard tales of the dark streets, but Monterey Jack is not a faint hearted man. I had intended on walking, but the cold made the purchase of a motorcycle necessary. My transportation acquired, the old woman of the curiosity shop warned that I ought not be on the streets long, for the chill would suck the soul from my marrow.  I was on my way to the Miskatonic University, but took a moment’s pause in the Merchants District. A dame had been making her way towards the docks from along the street, she carried a glowing piece of machinery with her, she called it a flux stabilizer, called herself Kate Winthrop. She looked cold, so I thought a man might be able to offer her some warmth. Boy was I wrong. A slap across the face, at my first remark, but turned out she could use some help. She had taken some interest in an Unvisited Island across the way, but was in a rush to make her way back the university, fancied herself a scientist. She must have realized around then what was going wrong in that town. Especially since I didn’t make it back.

                There was an old ferry tied up, that I was happy to make the trip for her, but it gets fuzzy after that. I remember the trees, though, moving as if under some ill wind I could neither hear or feel. I blacked out, and when I awoke I was at Arkham Asylum.  They said I’d been found ranting and raving, but I could not recall, the institution had a dark feeling to it, and I got out of there as soon as I could, but not before I heard the awful reports that a salesman had been accosted in the street by some ghoulish creature, and that a private eye had been investigating around the French Hill district, but had disappeared into some shifting otherworldly lights.

                The icy winds whipped around me as I felt my motorcycle rumble below. My mind was racing at the thoughts  of what had happened, how had I ended up at the Asylum, what were these strange reports. I could barely retain my senses when a pair of hooded figures stepped out into the streets, their eyes glowed red, and they hissed angrily. My first instinct was fight, and I rammed my bike into the first one unloading my .38 into his head. I turned to the second, attempting to draw my bullwhip, but soon realized it hadn’t left the Asylum with me.  In my many travels I’d encountered cultists before, cloak and dagger business, and had more than one attempt on my life for rescuing certain relics from their hands. These cultists were different , though, as I slowly realized. The first cultist I had smashed, had cracked and shattered as though he were made of ice, and before I loaded my pistol the second laid his hand on my shoulder. I saw that crazed look in his eye, that slow pleading for death, but his face was wrong, elongated by exposure, the skin cracked and blood frozen into bulging pustules on the skin. The touch was too much for my already straining sanity. I blacked out , and dreamt of other men, other women, out of normal places, being taken by tribes and passing through empty temples. I could grasp their names, and as I awoke once again in Arkham  Asylum, I found a familiar face. A woman author I had met before, Gloria. She asked if I was alright, I told her perhaps I was supposed to be here. Not quite, she said, but that she remembered me, and thought it best if I believed her. She told me what she knew, six of us, all over Arkham, had been attempting to find out what was wrong. She had many clues, and said she was off to fix something that was broken. I spent the night in Arkham, but rushed the next morning by motorcycle, my only remaining possession, to Miskatonic having collected my senses at the price of two dollars.

                I saw many horrid things that whispered in the alleyways off the streets, and my senses collected I ran my bike right over the half frozen creature of a man that had scared my witless. From Miskatonic I tried to raise any contact with the outside world, but the lines were down. I tried my best then to rouse some support from the university itself. Those sallow halls of the administration building heard the pleas to action, and some offered money, but nothing substantial. Perhaps my voice sounded weak and my words insane for trying to express what my eyes had seen, for I soon found myself in the back of a padded van, and as I was carted back to the Arkham Aslyum, I heard the words, over and over again “No One Can Help you Now”.

                Gloria, bless her, met me at the Asylum. She had been deputized in the anarchy that gripped the town, and arranged a meeting of the five of us, the sixth, Katie, that scientist dame I had met apparently was acting from within a witches Sect, the Silver Lodge, after having covertly infiltrated it. Sticking her nose in where it don’t belong I figure was more likely. The cold was deepening,  and three men Bob Jenkins, Joe Diamond, and Darrel Simmons had apparently braved the reaches of nether realms to seal the portal from whence the icy winds seemed coldest. Jenkins was a sober pallor, as he showed me some elder signs he had used to seal the portals, but they no longer functioned. “The gods have left this place, no one can help us now” he declared. It shook me to my core to hear those words. From atop downtown, we could see now plain as day, eldritch portals gaping like holes in the fabric of reality, and creatures lurking the streets.

                Gloria who had seemed so confident now suggested that we would need to slay all the creatures in the street and close the portals through the force of our own will to prevent the coming of a great monster she had seen lurking in the shadows of her dreams. Ithaqua, she named him, a great ghastly shudder ran down my spine at the name, for I too had felt an icy touch in my dreams.

                Yet, I could not fathom the might it would take to fight through the legion of creatures in the streets to brave some portal of madness an unknown number of times. The chill comes from Ithaqua, should we not fight him directly? Gloria shuddered at the suggestion, but my words found root in the others. Ithaqua would not show his face unless the town was completely overrun, but that would give us time to arm ourselves. We scoured Downtown, the Merchant District, and Northside for means to arm ourselves. Our stamina kept up as we watched horror after horror fill the town, townspeople fled en masse, and shops closed fearing the worst. I could feel the temperature drop as I was lucky enough to find a revolver in the snow, sure that it had failed it’s former master.

                Ithaqua came quicker on those icy winds than anyone could have imagined. The beast descended upon an icy wind, it’s cry chilling our hearts. With a clash, I watched my motorcycle and revolver freeze and shatter. The same happened to each weapon we had scrounged up, save for a sword of Simmons that survived the cold, and Gloria’s deputy pistol. The beast was a menace to behold, but all that I had seen and heard had hardened my guts. We flew at the beast in a frenzy. I picked up the largest rock I could find to bash its head in. Ice seemed to be falling from the sky, and the beast yelped a fearful cry. It did not fight back, but rather meant for the falling temperatures to do us in first. Despite my coat, I could feel the sting seep into my bones. Jenkins seemed ready to keel over, his body stiff as a corpse. We saw Katie sneak up from behind the beast, what a doll. She seemed to have learned some magics, and worked some warmth and stamina back into our bones, little by little. The way the beast stood still, infuriated me, mocking us, and I swung my arms until they felt stiff as clubs. That sword Simmons used, seemed to cut into the beast, and it in a deft movement threw him swiftly to the ground. Simmons raise the sword and Ithaqua impaled itself on the blade.  A cheer went up from the investigators, as we believed we had won. But I felt the temperature drop further still. That’s when I saw the sign, posted at the edge of the field, it read it’s doom before us, “When the ancient one awakens, fill it’s doom track entirely regardless of how many doom markers it had previously.” With this news, a colder front drew upon us, and Jenkins fell dead outright, as the beast began to claw again, thrashing. We had gotten him nearly halfway though, so we weren’t about to release him onto the street of Arkham. We clawed and struck at the beast with renewed vigor at the falling of our friend. We were only 5 now, but Katie kept us upright, and Simmons kept the beast at bay. With a resounding shot, Gloria’s pistol rang like the tide of spring. The bullet struck the beast square between the eyes, and it fell dead in a mass of ichorish snow. The portals closed, and the monsters fled, we had defeated the beast, and god damn if I wasn’t ready for spring. Arkham Horror Victory: 6 players, 7 points.

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