Lausanne: Nocturne
January 18 - 19, 1923

The Orient Express pulled into Lausanne, Switzerland at 6:30 AM, depositing you and your luggage on the platform. A nearby cafe provided you with much needed coffee and croissants as you waited for the town to awaken. Around 9:00 you found a hotel near the center of town, then stashed your belongings, and found that 50 Rue St. Etienne, the address of Edgar Wellington (the man whom sent the letter inquiring about the Sedefkar Simulicrum to Chez Lorien), was nearby. At 10:00 you set off to find Mr. Wellington.

A sign next to the door at 50 Rue St. Etienne proclaimed "Wellington Fils/ Taxidermie", and the man who answered the door appeared to be a slight, balding man in his mid fifties. He was delighted when he found you spoke English, as he was an English citizen, and eagerly invited you upstairs for a chat when you told him you had recently been in London.

As you began to ask him about his letter concerning the Sedefkar Simulicrum, and the scroll referenced therein, another man entered the room, and with stiff, almost zombie-like motions, sat down and stared at each of you. Edgar introduced the man as his brother William, and explained that head injuries during the Great War had left him mute.

Back on the subject of the scroll, Edgar told you he had acquired it during the war, trading it from a Frenchman in exchange for cigarettes and rations. Edgar stated that the scroll was a mixture of Turkish words written in Arabic letters, thus he had only been able to translate a small portion of it. The scroll referred to an artifact known as the Sedefkar Simulacrum, a human sized statue found in the rubble of Byzantium. The last owner of the Simulicrum was a French Nobleman named Conte Fenalik, who lost it just prior to the French Revolution. Edgar had tried to trace the presence of this artifact, but his research had run into a dead end, and he was now looking to sell the scroll for 250 pounds sterling.

As you asked to see the scroll, there was a knock at the shop door downstairs, and Edgar left you for some time with William, who scribbled witty notes to help pass the time. When Edgar returned, he was accompanied by a dapper, rotund middle-aged Frenchman: his hair dark and well groomed, his mustaches tastefully waxed. This stranger was introduced as the Duc des Esseintes, who was also interested in purchasing the scroll.

Both you and the Duke asked to see the scroll, which Edgar said was kept in a bank vault. Edgar suggested that he bring the scroll to the meeting of the 7:30 Club that evening, where you and the Duke could bid for it. Edgar then bid you farewell, as he had many errands to run that day, but as you left the shop, he asked the Duke to give you a tour of Lausanne. The Duke agreed and led you to the first stop of this impromptu tour.

The Lausanne Cathedral is a classic example of Gothic construction, built from 1235 to 1275, the cathedral was consecrated by Pope Gregory X. Situated upon a terrace, you had to climb 160 steps to reach it. Within you found amazing walls of stained glass, and various monuments and statuary, including one of Otho Grandson, who was killed in 1398 in a judicial duel. The statue is quite ancient, and both hands are missing.

Next on the tour was the Cantonal Museum and Library, an Italian Renaissance style building containing vast collections of freshwater conchylia, Roman antiquities, and an impressive library. After touring the library, Mac Cochran and Miranda Marabou expressed concern (privately) that the Duke may be distracting your team, while Wellington or some other henchman went to your hotel rooms to steal the left arm of the Simulicrum. Even though you had left the arm packaged and locked in the hotel safe, and had not told either the Duke or Wellington about it, Mac and Miranda scurried back to the hotel, after making an implausible excuse to the Duke.

With only Zelda, Professor Vaughan, and Ian in tow, the Duke continued his tour of Lausanne by taking you on a hike up to Le Signal, a marvelous belvedere overlooking all of Lake Geneva, with alpine vistas stretching in every direction.

The Duke completed his tour by dropping Ian, Zelda, and the Professor off at Le Chat Noir, a French cafe near the Musee Arlaud where the 7:30 Club meeting would take place that night. The Duke then bid the group a farewell, promising to arrange a more detailed tour of the city for the following day.

The trio of investigators returned to their hotel to find Miranda and Mac doing the dirty deed in the lobby... um, safe along with the left arm of the Simulicrum. Several members of the group then wired back home for extra cash, because purchasing the scroll from Edgar Wellington would seriously deplete the funds provided by Professor Smith. You then waited in the hotel until that evening.

At 7:30, you arrived at the Le Chat Noir, and were seated in a booth reserved for the 7:30 Club meeting. Neither the Duke or Edgar were present, and around 8:00 a well groomed Prussian arrived and apologized for his missing friends. He introduced himself as Maximillian von Wurtheim, the third member of the 7:30 Club, and said both Edgar and the Duke were tied up with other business, but would no doubt show up in a short time. Maximillian then launched into a fascinating tale of his youth: how he was the heir of an ancestral fortune, which was taken by his illegitimate half-brother. You found the story fascinating, and Max rambled on for hours, introducing one implausible plot twist after another. With some effort, Ian managed to pull his mind away from the tall tale, and wondered what was keeping the Duke and Wellington. Edgar's taxidermy shop was nearby, so Ian excused himself and walked to the shop, through the rain drenched night.

Ian found Wellington's shop door slightly ajar and entered cautiously. After stumbling past stuffed animals, and groping wildly in the dark interior of the shop, Ian found the light switch. The shop front was empty, so Ian made his way upstairs to the kitchen, where he found William's body lying in a pool of blood, and signs of a frantic search. In the front bedroom, Ian found Edgar apparently sleeping on his bed. Edgar was quite pale, and refused to be awaken, so with much trepidation, Ian felt for a pulse... and found none!

Ian found a phone and directory next to the bed and called Le Chat Noir, and somehow he managed to convince the French speaking employee to put Mac on the line. Ian quickly filled Mac in on the details of his search, and Mac returned to the table and informed the rest of you (and Max) what Ian had found. Max quickly left the restaurant and vanished in the night. The rest of you made your way to Wellington's shop.

At the shop, you found that a large patch of skin was missing from William's chest. In the bedroom, Miranda found many needle marks in Edgar's left arm, and one recent mark on his right. A bottle of morphine, and another bottle of a peculiar liquid, labeled "Dream Lausanne" were on the night-stand, from which Miranda concluded that Edgar must have been a morphine addict, but the single needle mark on his right arm must have been made by someone else.

Within the bedroom you found a receipt for writing supplies, and an old scroll of parchment tied with a worn leather strap. Professor Vaughan and Mac studied the scroll, and found it to be a recent forgery, aged by heating it in an oven. Indeed, only the first few inches of the scroll held any writing at all - obviously it was either incomplete, or not intended to fool anyone for any length of time.

On the floor, next to Edgar's bed was his diary, opened to the last entry. Scanning through the diary, you found that Edgar and William had suffered horribly during the Great War, and afterwards had settled in Lausanne, away from family and friends so they could forget about their past. Other entries mentioned Edgar's morphine addiction, and that the Duke supplied both his morphine, and another drug, which apparently induced sleep and took the dreamer to a pseudo-place which he called Dream Lausanne. Edgar also mentioned his fear of the Duke, and of the Duke's alliance with a Turk named Selim and a mysterious organization referred to by Edgar as the "brotherhood".

Strangely enough, Edgar said he had hidden the scroll in his shop in Dream Lausanne, which caused much consternation and confusion amongst you, but not for long, because a police officer found the shop's door open, and entered, calling out for the Wellingtons. Much panic ensued, and the policeman found you scurrying down the stairs, babbling gibberish about mutilated bodies and foul play. The policeman rushed upstairs and after finding the remains of the Wellingtons, ordered you to stay, while he called in back-ups.

Fortunately, the coroner determined that the time of death for Edgar and William was while all of you were in Le Chat Noir, so the police let you go, ordering you to remain in Lausanne until further notice.

Early the next morning you quickly packed and crept to the station, where you took the 6:45 AM east-bound Orient Express, ignoring the conditions the police made on your stay in Lausanne, and hoping they hadn't notified the Swiss border patrol in Brigue (or more than likely, it never occurred to you).

As the train left the station, you gathered in Miranda Marabou's compartment and decided which of you would take the dream drug. Professor Vaughan, Mac, and Zelda decided to try it, with Ian and Dr. Marabou cowardly abstaining. Dr. Marabou injected the three volunteers with a small dosage of the dream drug, and after a moment, each collapsed onto the floor of the train. Miranda and Ian had nothing to do but watch over their companions, and hope and wait for them to return to consciousness.

Mac, the Professor, and Zelda awoke alone in the same compartment where they had collapsed. A harsh white light glared in from around the edges of the drawn window blind, which they were unable to open. Leaving the compartment, they walked from door to door, finding all the other compartments in the car in the same state as theirs. One other car appeared to be a part of the train, but appeared to be the same as the other car, except that the door of one compartment, was locked shut, and the investigators were unable to open it. From beyond the closed door wafted the odor of rotting flesh. Soon the train came to a slow stop, and the doors on the cars opened onto a platform set in a bright limitless plane of ash. The air smelled bitter and metallic, and the only sound was the breathing of the three, whom disembarked. Thirty yards from the train was a free standing doorway, which the investigators advanced towards and passed through.

On the other side of the door was a dark, disheveled room light by torch light. The investigators recognized the room as the Wellingtons' workroom- yet it seemed different than they remembered. Slowly, the three searched the shop, looking for the scroll which Edgar said was hid there. After much time, the trio decided to seek aid - perhaps Edgar's spirit remained in the dream land, they reasoned, because he was dreaming when he was murdered. Stepping out of the shop's front door onto the cobblestone street they found the surrounding town familiar, yet different. People dressed in medieval costume rushed to and fro, and an air of decay enshrouded many of the buildings. The sky had a purple tint, like a permanent dusk, and many of the street intersections were adorned with gibbets. This Lausanne seemed more like a Gothic nightmare than a dream.

Wandering aimlessly, the investigators stumbled across odd sites, which left distinctive impressions upon their minds. Dark alleys from which frigid winds blast, sweet smelling flowers blooming in the middle of a street with no shadows, a hag brewing a stew of human remains, a street magician with self destructive tendencies howling at them with hysterical laughter, bizarre forms filing past, shedding tears of blood, a real-life chess game that became a board of carnage, and a singing statue of wire and scraps of flesh.

After hours, or perhaps days of endless wandering, the investigators heard a bell tolling in the distance, as the people of Dream Lausanne rushed towards the center of town. Following the throng, Mac, Zelda, and the Professor entered the town square, where a large platform had been erected. Upon the platform were three figures: a bronze statue (which Mac recognized as Otho Grandson, from the Cathedral), a hooded, robed figure, and Edgar Wellington, hands bound in chains. Soon the square was filled with people, and the robed figure threw back his hood and began to speak.

It was the Duke.

The Duke, calling himself a "Prince", launched into a long diatribe against Edgar Wellington, wildly accusing him of trying to usurp the Prince's power and authority, and of withholding an object that rightfully belonged to the Prince. Wellington needed only to hand the scroll over to the Prince, and he'd be free. The Prince asked if anyone in the crowd would represent Wellington, in a mocking voice, and was quite shocked when Mac spoke out and said that he would. The Prince scowled at the investigators, but granted them a few moments alone with Wellington.

Wellington was quite shaken, and said he had been dragged from his shop earlier that day and locked in chains. The Duke, whom Wellington said is called the "Jigsaw Prince" in Dream Lausanne because his body was composed of parts from many humans - this was how the Duke had been able to live so long in the real world (he as already over 200!), had already told Edgar he'd be killed whether or not the Prince got the scroll, so he had no intention of telling the Prince where it was hidden. Edgar then turned to the investigators and pleaded that they help him - he even promised he'd give them the scroll and a translation he had made if they could free him. Alas, the only way to free Wellington was to prove him innocent of the Prince's charges in the upcoming trial.

After a few minutes, the Prince declared that the investigators had enough time to confer with the criminal, and that the trial would begin. The Prince turned to the crowd and asked if anyone would offer himself to justice. The entire crowd surged forward, begging to be chosen, from which the Prince selected a young man, whom the crowd jumped upon, skinned alive, and passed his skin up to the Prince. The Prince then placed the skin over the statue, which fused with the skin, and lurched to life.

This scene proved to be too much for Zelda, who plopped down on her ample bottom and began to drool upon the platform in a daze.

The Prince then addressed the statue, demanding that it be an impartial judge for the trial, and determine the guilt or innocence of the accused at its conclusion. The statue simply stared ahead, breathing with a raspy, asthmatic sound.

The Prince then presented three charges against Wellington, after each Mac was allowed to give a rebuttal, with the aid of the Professor (and from Zelda, after she recovered from her shock and regained her feet and composure). All of the Prince's charges were hollow, and designed to force Wellington to give him the scroll. Even so, with the crowd of the Prince's jeering supporters looking on, and the Prince's own bloated, lumpy form standing nearby, it was all Mac and company could do to mount what they hoped was an adequate defense.

After the last charge had been made and refuted (or so the investigators hoped), the Prince, exuding an air of supreme confidence, demanded that the statue make its decision. The judge stood motionless for a moment longer, wheezing loudly, then it turned slowly towards the investigators and raised a handless arm towards them. Edgar Wellington's chains vanished, and the Prince, quite shocked, angrily stomped around the platform, glaring at the investigators and Wellington. Edgar urged that the investigators follow him back to his shop as fast as possible.

As they left the square with Edgar, the investigators could hear the Jigsaw Prince screaming with rage, and calling on the crowd to find Wellington and his cohorts and to bring them back to him, dead or alive. The crowd roared in response, and began to chase the investigators. At Edgar's shop, the trio closed, locked, and barricaded the door as the mob beat against it. Meanwhile Edgar took the scroll and translation from its hiding place and handed it to Mac. Edgar felt that they were now trapped in his shop, but the investigators pointed out they had entered Dream Lausanne from the back door, through which they and Edgar quickly fled, as the sound of breaking wood came from the front room.

Back in the featureless plane, the investigators and Wellington quickly scrambled aboard the waiting train as it pulled away from the station, leaving the angry mob behind on the platform. Back in their compartment with Edgar, the investigators soon fell asleep.

While Mac, Professor Vaughan, and Zelda had been dreaming, the Orient Express had been forced to stop just prior to Brigue until a snow bank was cleared from the track. Dr. Marabou and Ian waited anxiously, and when the train finally pulled into Brigue, it was a full two hours behind schedule. At the station, Swiss customs agents boarded the train and checked the passports of the passengers, which the train's conducteurs and controleur held. All documents were in order (fortunately the Lausanne police had not yet found that the investigators had fled the city), and the train was allowed to pass into the Alps, on to the Simplon tunnel with all passengers aboard.

Just before the tunnel, the Doctor and Ian saw a piece of parchment materialize in Mac's hand, and most strange of all, another figure materialized in the compartment at the same time - the figure was Edgar Wellington! Soon the three investigators and Edgar woke up, and told Miranda and Ian what had happened in the dream world. Edgar was confused why he woke up on the train rather than in his bed, where he fell asleep - he was certain the investigators must have carried him onto the train in his sleep. When informed that his dead body had been found back in his shop, Edgar refused to believe you, pointing out that he was standing in the train now, so he could not possibly be dead. Becoming frustrated with this conversation, Edgar left the compartment to eat lunch in the dining car.

As Edgar left the compartment, he began to fade from view... looking at his fading form, Edgar realized that you had been correct, but his screams of terror were drowned out by the shrill cries of Orient Express' whistle. Shocked by what you had seen, the rest of you went on to the dining car for lunch without Edgar (apparently you weren't all that shocked). As you sat down for lunch, you heard a familiar voice behind you tell the maitre d' that he would be joining you for lunch.

It was the Duke.

The Duke quite calmly demanded that you hand him the scroll. He was quite impatient, and insisted that you hand it over now. After many delays and several foolish discussions about attacking the Duke, you agreed to hand the scroll over to him. Miranda Marabou went back to your compartments, and when she returned she handed the Duke a scroll - the fake scroll Edgar had created - which the Duke glanced at, stuffed into a valise, grinned evilly at you, and vanished along with the dining car chair in which he had been sitting.

The train rolled through the Simplon tunnel, and on to Italy, where Milan and Caterina Cavollaro were waiting.

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