4. Out of the Ashes

It would be around seven months before there was any indication of life beyond the few Sentries who still clung to the Outpost. In mid-September, Bridget’s website BSeeingU started changing almost daily. Warped images, strange errors, message fragments, Craigslist postings and something called chrysalis.cgi. We can only guess that something strange is happening to Bridget to cause her to psychically link back to her website. We have no idea about what might emerge from the chrysalis, but hope that it’s beneficial.

As The Scream comes and goes on October 31, Bridget’s website suddenly becomes much more stable. The strange images, errors, and fragments give way to Bridget consciously changing the website herself. She updates it to show a conversation she had with a man in the Dreamscape known as The Drummer. In the real world, we know him as eXu – Professor, Council member and Sentry. We’re not entirely sure what their conversation is about (we can’t understand his drumming like Bridget can) but it doesn’t stop us from speculating.

Sploit meanwhile has changed tactics in his effort to get the Dreamers to share what they know with each other. His new website, Nightmare Confessions, allows the Dreamers to call in with their Dreams and the calls will automagically be added to the website. Although there isn’t a high volume of calls, the Dreamers do relate their experiences and the consensus is the Dreamscape is bad shape. The Dreamers are in constant danger from people, monsters, earthquakes and other bad mojo and are constantly looking for safe places to stay while they are there.

After being out of touch since the WV camping trip, Art starts to update his website with a message to the Sentries and a hidden directory (hit ctrl-A to see the text) containing maps of signal points and a note from Peter telling Art to take care of a reporter who was starting to investigate the Chorazos Cult. We now had two new individuals to investigate: Dr. Elizabeth Riley and Eddie Pope.

Dr. Elizabeth Riley was a music Professor at Miskatonic University. Howard, who is still missing since going silent in February, even took one of her classes. After retiring, she started investigating the sources of strange signals and started even started a podcast on her findings. She even employed a Sound Scout, Lillian, who would provide the actual recordings of the Signals.

Eddie Pope is an investigative journalist who is hunting someone he calls The Tarot Killer – an individual who has been leaving bloody crime scenes across the country marked with a Tarot card. Crime scenes that just so happened to be in cities associated with the original Sentry deaths. Although Eddie didn’t know about the connection between the crime scenes, he did manage to come up with a suspect that we knew: Kevin Cosby. Since Eddie’s crack investigative skills somehow missed the fact that Kevin had been dead for over a year, we quickly informed him that Kevin could not possibly be the Tarot Killer. We actually had another suspect in mind: Bryce Droher, who had a mental breakdown and was institutionalized in 2007. As it turns out, Bryce was released from the hospital after just a year when his insurance ran out, and one week before the Tarot Killer was first noticed in San Francisco. It was our theory that Bryce was traveling across the countries performing rituals (with dead birds – no human remains were ever actually found) in an effort to bring back his dead friends.

Bryce didn’t just stop after leaving bloody bird messes in the dead Sentries’ cities, though. Following a combination of clues from Riley’s podcast and Art’s fallout directory he started traveling to Indian Burial Mounds to perform additional rituals. We were following the clues as well, and were able to recover boxes containing personal items of the dead Sentries.

At the final dead drop, everyone seemed to come together at the same time. Eddie and Lillian both watched as Art planted the final box and recovered a metal cylinder from the area. Then they saw Bryce performing his ritual and obtaining a small metal disk at the end of it. Sentry Transtar recovered the last box and we were left to wonder if Bryce would start a third cycle of rituals.

If Bryce was going to, he never got a chance because Art landed himself into a mess of trouble. The Cylinder he recovered turned out to be something from the Dreamscape that got pulled into our world – and it wasn’t supposed to be here. In fact, its disappearance was causing all sorts of problems in the Dreamscape and Bridget was tasked by The Drummer to retrieve it and bring it back to where it belonged. So it was off to NYC to meet with Bridget, Art and any other random people who might show up.

New York City was a nightmare of snow, slush, ice and general wetness. Four Sentries started the day out by meeting Bridget, Art, Bryce and a Forsythe Goon in Central Park. We spent the next seven hours running around the city, performing small sacrifices in order to close off energy points before we ended up at The Cloisters in upper Manhattan. It was from there that the Cylinder could be returned to the Dreamscape – but whomever took it would not come back. Bryce agreed to return the Cylinder, and after an emotional farewell, we watched him walk off into the darkness.

Our day wasn’t over, however, as we met an older gentleman as we left The Cloisters. It was none other than exu a.k.a. The Drummer. He gave us one final task: deliver a letter to Spukhafte Fernwirkung. The letter contained two surprising revelations. The first was that eXu was really Anwell Barierascu and the second was that Spukhafte Fernwirkung was somehow his father. Although at the time we didn’t understand how that was possible, we now believe it involves some sort of mind transfer and/or shapeshifting ability on the part of Spukhafte Fernwirkung.

Missions accomplished, everyone returned back home. The Dreamers start reporting that the Dreamscape has become almost peaceful so on that front we were successful. Then again, perhaps not as Spukhafte Fernwirkung, hardly amused with the reappearance of Anwell, put a price of $10,000 on the heads of anyone who has aided him. There is an unspoken consensus that perhaps everyone should keep a low profile for a few months, and so Sentry Outpost goes dark once again.

Persons of Interest

Persons

  • Anwell Barierascu – Name used by two identical looking men: eXu and Spukhafte Fernwirkung.
  • Bridget Anne Buttermore / B.A. St. Feline – Psychic. One of the few known to have a human avatar in the Dreamscape. Able to communicate psychially with her website despite her severe sensitivity to technology.
  • Kevin Cosby – Sentry who committed suicide in 2007. Accused of being The Tarot Killer by Eddie Pope.
  • Bryce Droher – Sentry who suffered a mental breakdown and was institutionalized in 2007. Released from the institution in 2008 and started performing rituals based upon the dead Sentries, earning him the nickname The Tarot Killer. Presumed dead after returning the Cylinder to the Dreamscape.
  • The Drummer – Avatar of eXu in the Dreamscape.
  • eXu – Sentry, member of The Council, ex-Professor, The Drummer, and Anwell Barierascu. Annoying enigmatic and manipulative, but still somehow trusted.
  • Spukhafte Fernwirkung – Leader of the Chorazos Cult. At one point used the name Anwell Barierascu. Adopted father of eXu.
  • Lillian – Sound Scout for Dr. Elizabeth Riley.
  • Arthur LydneyForsythe Security employee. Recovered a Cylinder that came from the Dreamscape.
  • Howard Phillips (HPhack) – Resident Emo Sentry. Attended Miskatonic University in Arkham, MA. Missing since February 2008.
  • Eddie Pope – Investigative journalist tracking The Tarot Killer on his website Pope Tattles. In dire need of a proof-reader for his website.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Riley – Ex-Professor of Music at Miskatonic University. Runs a podcast on mysterious Signals enimating from Indian Burial Mounds.
  • Peter Severn – CEO of Forsythe Security. Still known to the Sentries as being a prick.
  • sploit – Dreamer. Still has a crush on Bridget. Runs two websites: his own blog and Nightmare Confessions.
  • The Tarot Killer – Nickname of the individual believed to be committing ritualized murders across the country. Later determined to be Bryce Droher. No human murders were ever actually commited.

Organizations

  • Chorazos Cult – Ancient cult who worships Yog-Sothoth. Believed to be responsible for the Miksatonic Massacre, the server infections on Sentry Outpost and for the Lucky 5 malware.
  • The Council – “White hat” organization opposed to the Chorazos Cult.
  • Dreamers – Group of individuals who can access the Dreamscape in the form of cats. All seem to develop an aversion to technology, although they can still use it if they must.
  • Forsythe Security – Threat Assessment company of Peter Severn and Art Lydney. Believed to be the internet watchdog for The Council.
  • Sentries – All of those who post (or posted) at the website Sentry Outpost.