December 13, 1pm (Tuesday)
Investigators debate how to deal with the portal. They know how to close it, and have everything they need, but it means that one of them might need to sacrifice themselves – entering the portal to close it from the other side, possibly ending up trapped in some other world. Perhaps, they could get someone else to do it?
- The Shaggai just want to go home, so they probably won’t be willing to help.
- They sufficiently scared Simon and Jennifer to get them to stop messing with Mythos stuff, and they are both weak willed and would likely have difficulty willing it back
- They might be able to talk Clarkson into doing it, but they would need to get him released from the asylum and then hope he is still sane enough to pull it off
In the end, Nikoli convinced the others that he was the best choice. The buttons on his jacket are made of metal from the area, and he has personally been in areas along the ley line. Oh, and his gun was manufactured there, as well.
Douglas spent many hours searching for holly and mistletoe with berries, his progress slowed by his own personal insistence that they could not actually be found in Central Park. In spite of his own negativity, he collected enough to create a whip and sufficiently protect one of them (Nikoli), with a few extra evergreen and berry-covered holly and mistletoe branches left over.
As the investigators head into Central Park and towards Belvedere Castle, a dwarf appears and begins asking where they are going, and why Nikoli is wearing that stuff. Elmer tries to delay the creature, but only succeeds in alarming it to go get others.
Two more dwarves appear in front of them and ask where they are going and what they are doing. Annie and Douglas answer vaguely, throwing the questions back at the dwarves as Nikoli quickens his pace.
As they reach the top of the path just before the front door of the castle, the dwarves become frantic, insisting that the investigators “can’t go in there”. As the investigators push pass them, one runs off saying he’s “going to tell”. Nikoli, Annie, and Douglas head into the castle while Elmer stays outside to try and distract the dwarves and slow down the Krampus, should he appear. As he feared, in the distance he sees a fog bank appear and begin moving quickly towards the castle.
In response, Elmer begins spreading the remaining evergreen, holly, and mistletoe branches across the doorstep, pours lamp oil on the door, and begins trying to light it on fire.
Nikoli races down the stairwell to the basement where the unstable portal hangs in the air. As he descends the stairs, he hears the cracking of a whip, and children crying in pain. He sees the terrible dwarf woman, Belsnickel, standing over 2 young boys and 1 young girl, whipping them mercilessly as they cry out in pain: “Please, mister. Help us. It hurts so bad. Please, make her stop.”
Remembering that the whip should not hurt until the next day, Nikoli ignores them and runs towards the portal to stabilize it with the dagger. The dwarf woman charges at him, tripping him to the ground and wrestling his arms.
Annie runs after Nikoli, but as she approaches the opening to one of the rooms, she hears a dog barking and men laughing and placing bets. The dog sounds very much like Edison, and the men are exclaiming how this is such a cool new place to hold the dog fights. “Yes, and we’ve got that bitch’s dogs, too. Let them go.”
As she runs passed the room, she turns to see a group of men standing around a pit. She can hears Edison growling and Gladstone yelping as the men shout, “Yeh, kill each other.”
Realizing that, not only should her dogs be safe back in the hotel room, there is no way they would just attack each other, she ignores the scene and continues after Nikoli.
Seeing Nikoli on the ground, she races towards him but is blocked by one of the dwarves. Easily pushing passed, she reaches towards the dagger. Nikoli feigns another attempt at stabilizing the portal, instead pushing the dagger towards Annie’s hands. The feint works, and the dwarf woman clutches Nikoli’s arm firmly as Annie stabs the dagger into the ground to stabilize the portal.
Nikoli struggles to push his way forward, but the dwarf woman holds him back. Annie grabs both Nikoli and the dwarf woman clutching his arm, and tosses them both into the now stabilized portal.
Douglas runs after Nikoli and Annie, but upon reaching the stairwell discovers it is covered with crawling insects of all types: beetles, millipedes, roaches. As his momentum carries his foot onto the first step, he hears a disgusting crunching sound and hears shrill screams and sobs of pain. Some of the insects look up, and their faces turn into the faces of his recent associates that have died: Johnny Ruines and Dr. Scott Everest They cry out: “No, Douglas, please. Stop. Oh my God. Stop, you’re crushing us.”
Douglas steps back in horror as the insects begin crawling up his legs. Their faces turn into those of his grandparents, other distant relatives, his brother that rescued him from the river, and childhood friends. “Please, stop. Oh my God. You’ve crushed Auntie Merril.”
Douglas flees back down the hallway, out of the castle, as he tears off his coat and beats at the bugs to knock them off.
Elmer lights the door on fire, and then hears Annie and Douglas pleading with him. He looks up to see them standing just inside the castle: “Calm down, Elmer. We know you’re in there somewhere. You’ve been cursed, but you don’t have to do this. You can fight it. You don’t have to kill us, too.”
Elmer stops, confused and trying to sort things out. Annie continues: “It’s just like at the hotel. Do you remember? When Nikoli calmed you down? You don’t have to do this. Calm down and come back with us. We can help you.”
As Elmer looks down, he sees that his hands have become large, hairy, and clawed – his legs are long and goat-like. He recalls the scene at the hotel where he saw Annie and Douglas from the hall. But then, the image switches to him seeing them from inside the room while Nikoli stands in the hallway. He can hear Nikoli trying to calm him, and there is a terrible taste of blood in his mouth.
“If I’m the Krampus, then I’ll stop myself!” Elmer grabs a handful of holly berries, crushes them, and brings them towards his mouth to swallow them and kill himself. However, the juice does not burn him. As he ponders this, Annie pleads once more: “Please, Elmer. We love you. Calm down and come back to the hotel with us.”
“This is not Annie, and I am not the Krampus,” Elmer concludes. Their images fade as he sees Douglas appear in the hallway, running out of the castle in a panic.
The Krampus-fog draws closer, and Black Pete emerges shouting: “What are you doing?” Elmer and Douglas push the evergreens, holly, and mistletoe into the fire and begin chanting:
May the log burn,
May the wheel turn,
May evil spurn,
May the Sun return.
The fog approaches, but then backs away from the burning door and evergreen smoke. As Black Pete shouts, “You need to stop them,” the fog begins condensing into the Krampus beast.
Time is Up!
Nikoli pulls the gun from his pocket and concentrates on a familiar place near Austria. His confidence increased by the other portals he has closed in the last few days, he finds it easy to focus on pulling the portal back to its original ley line. As he concentrates, he can feel the portal weakening. On the outside, strong winds begin rushing towards the portal, pulling the creatures back along with them.
Annie starts grabbing the dwarves and tossing them back through the portal. One runs up the stairs too quickly, so she heads towards the girl dwarf that seems somewhat oblivious to the chaos around her. “What’s going on?” the girl asks, and then pleads: “No, I want to stay. It’s so much fun here.” Annie likes this girl, thinking she is quite innocent and harmless, and asks: “What’s fun?” The girl replies, “Playing pranks.” Annie responds by letting go and allowing the winds to pull the girl back into the portal.
Douglas sees the Krampus forming and Elmer rushing towards it to attack. “Elmer! No!” he thinks to himself as he runs back inside the castle and pulls the burning door closed with his cane. As he does so, he hears a terrible howl from the Krampus creature, and envisions Elmer being horrible mutilated.
Elmer musters up his courage to confront the materializing beast. He takes a deep breath of the evergreen smoke, and rushes forward. As the Krampus becomes corporeal, he grabs the side of its neck with his holly-berry juice coated hand, pulls the creature’s head towards himself, and exhales the smoke into its mouth. As the Krampus becomes solid, Elmer sees that its eyes are wide as it stumbles backwards. He feels a sizzling, popping sensation on his hand from the berry juice bubbling and caustically burning the Krampus’ neck. The beast lets out a terrible howl which, although terrifying, only serves to strengthen Elmer’s resolve. He charges forward mindlessly for a few steps, and then pulls back to threaten the beast: “That’s right! My blood is toxic to you. I cut myself just before this. And if I grab you again, you’ll die!”
The beast seems quite confused, and somewhat scared. It steps backwards, feints striking with its bundle of ruten, and howls again.
Suddenly, a terrible wind begins rushing towards the interior of the castle. As the Krampus is pulled away, it strikes at Elmer, who drops to the ground, narrowly avoiding the possibly deadly attack.
Nikoli feels the rush of violent winds around him as he concentrates to return the portal to its original location, and eventually passes out. He awakens on a snowy bluff beside a forest. As he tries to regain his bearings, he sees a large black cat approaching, ridden by what appears to be a doll. She asks where her necklace is, who is he, and where is Douglas and Annie.
After his initial shock, Nikoli realizes this is not only just a Mythos creature, but the infamous Frau Trude, otherwise known as Mother Hulda, that the other investigators have told him so much about. He agrees to “ride her cat” to where he can get a boat home, and engages her in conversation along the way.
Historic Timeline – timeline of important events regarding this adventure
New York Times papers – important news articles published after the end of this adventure
Epilogues – general and investigator prologues