“The hallmark of Lovecraft’s work was the sense that ordinary life was a thin shell over a reality which was so alien and abstract in comparison that merely contemplating it would damage the sanity of the ordinary person.”
THE TERRIBLE TALE OF MISTER VANDERSTOWE
SESSION FIVE: THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL
“CHANGING THE TERMS OF OUR AGREEMENT”
Our Heroes were hired by Seth Applegate to investigate whether or not the Corbitt House, recently owned by the eccentric Mister Vanderstowe, was haunted or not. Although Applegate did not tell them about his true motive, he did explain to them that the house was suspect because of a series of tragic events that have occurred in the residence since it’s construction. Applegate’s true motive was the hopes that investigators like Our Heroes would remove certain interesting artifacts (like the Black Book) from the residence. As it was, Appelgate and his associates from the Starry Wisdom Church were unable to enter the house due to powerful wards and elder signs placed in the foundations and basement of the house.
The House itself was a conduit to the Dreamlands, Lisette discovered that during her investigations. However, not much thought was given to this fact. Our Heroes decided to abandon their investigation of the Corbitt House, and decided to turn their wrath on Applegate for sending them into danger within the house. After all, the man was wealthy and powerful so he must have hired them simply to send them to their doom! Partially fueled by this train of thought, this decision likely was a side effect of the madness inflicted by the Dreamlands. The Dreamlands feed from the primal fears of humans, twisting and shaping reality.
When Helena was released from the DRMC Emergency Room, and she started making her way back to get her car near the Corbitt house. Walking past the house, she saw four people standing on the porch staring at the house. She paid no attention to the vision, fed up with the house and the investigation. Again, the Dreamlands were simply trying to lure her in so that it could feed from her primal emotions. That was her belief.
Meanwhile, Lisette went into hiding because of the reports that she had been involved in the shooting deaths of several people in the DuBois area. She decided to hide out in the old Gibby’s building and began formulating a plan to steal a gas truck and use it to bomb the Corbitt House. She also considered breaking into the local gun shop to steal some bigger guns to use when she confronted Appelgate.
Bigger guns didn’t matter in the end. When it comes to the Great Old Ones, that’s never the solution. The Great Old Ones don’t give a shit about bullets. And most monsters aren’t even hurt by mundane weapons. But humans are humans. Lisette couldn’t know that her enemies were from another dimension. She didn’t want to know. If she did, she’d realize that maybe she couldn’t defend herself against the Things That Go Bump In The Night.
And so, the investigators clung tightly to their human judgement and slowly slipping sanity. They created a plan to lure Applegate and his mend out of hiding and ambush them. Everything seems to be pointing towards Applegate starting some kind of Doomsday event. If Applegate was the enemy, then the enemy needed to be put down.
They hunted down Applegate and his men, ambushing them and trying to gun them down. But any member of Delta Green can tell you that gunning down a Honest-To-God monster is tough. Nearly impossible. And when that monster is actually the avatar of Nyarlathotep, it’s nearly impossible to accomplish.
Nyarlathotep differs from the other Outer Gods in a number of ways. Most of them are exiled to the stars, like Yog-Sothoth and Hastur, or are sleeping and dreaming like Cthulhu; Nyarlathotep, however, is active and frequently walks the Earth in the guise of a human being, usually a tall, slim, joyous man. He has “a thousand” other forms and manifestations, most reputed to be quite horrific and sanity-blasting.
Applegate was simply a mask worn by the Outer God. A suit to fit in among the humans of DuBois so he could rub elbows with the mortals without causing them to fall into gibbering madness as they gazed on his true form.
Our Heroes were taken out one by one by Nyarlathotep‘s ghoulish minions. Beings of the Dreamlands cannot be killed with mortal weapons, so gunning them down was never the solution. Also, the magic from the Black Book was little help against Nyarlathotep himself. In the end, all of our Heroes met their demise, and fell into darkness being bitten and clawed into unconsciousness.
It was never Nyarlathotep‘s scheme to murder the investigators. He simply wanted them to do what they were hired to do: investigate the Corbitt House. In the guise of Applegate, he could not enter the house himself and he could not trust his underlings to be faithful enough to accomplish the deed. Nyarlathotep guessed that some rival entity did remain in that house and he hoped that the investigators could defeat the other being for him. And if they returned with artifacts like the Black Book, all the better.
“If only,” the Great Old One said as he returned to his mortal guise as Applegate. “These mortals has simply done as I asked them. All would be well.”
Awakening some time later, they became aware that they were naked and cold. Each of them became aware that they were in some sort of water-filled containment unit. Within time, each of them realized that they had been added to the Vanderstowe auction, another prized possession to be sold to the highest bidder as a morbid, grotesque form of Art. Living Art.
The Collection, they were being called. The Collection.