OOC: Clues thread

A chance occurrence in London's Heathrow Airport leads to a desperate search to find answers to terrible lost knowledge.

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Re: OOC: Clues thread

Postby ghill » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:18 am

Ch2-01 Like a candle in the wind.

The brutal death of Professor Adrian C. Gosshamm, Chair of Eastern European Studies at Brichester University makes national television and newspapers. Several TV News programs show edited CCTV footage of the violent attack. The film footage show a gang of men armed with an assortment of meat cleavers, kitchen knives and machetes approaching the Professor in a pair of cars as he does some lunchtime shopping in Brichester* high street. The men park the cars by the side of the road before getting out and running towards him they do not hesitate but chop the professor down then calmly walking back to their cars and driving away. Both the press and TV talk about the gang members distinctive tattoos which are hauntingly familiar.

But there is no doubt that the leader of the gang is the same old man last scene fleeing from the burning house in Ealing from where the girls were rescued.

You found out the following about Gossham:
He is a prominent anthropologist, linguist and folklorist whose work has “mined the rich, often overlooked territory of the Balkans” specifically Albania."
"Professor Gosshamm states his academic net is cast so wide he does not believe there is a single name for his field of study andhe claims to be a linguist, sociologist, anthropologist and an archaeologists"
As a linguist, studying at Miskatonic University Professor Gosshamm started a long-time interest in the Ur-language, the idea of the hypothetical common ancestor of all the world's spoken languages.
Professor Gosshamm is well known for his preference to carry out his studies in the field where the subjects of his studies are "flesh and blood".
Born on June 24, 1960, in Winchester by the time he was a young man, he was already deeply interested in the Balkans. He earned a bachelor’s degree in literature and anthropology from Kings College in 1981 and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Miskatonic University in 1986.

Before joining the Brichester faculty, Professor Gosshamm taught at Harvard; the University of California, Berkeley; and the University of London. He was a past president of the European Anthropological Association.

A simple library use produces a huge list of articles with regards the professor stretching back nearly 20 years. The vast majority of them relate to Balkans with the last 12-14 years work more focused on Albania. He doesn't look as though he has published anything of any weight in the last two years. Finding and working ones away through this catalogue of work will take a considerable time as very little of it is available online.

You first hear about the Maltese Fragments - Would seem to be related to studies of a Mesolithic people who appeared on the Island of Malta around 9500-5000 BCE. They were known as the Writing People due to their habit of creating tokens in which symbols are impressed or inscribed in clay. Most archaeologists agree that the tokens created by the Writing People are nothing more than decorative patterns, while they are strikingly reminiscent of writing; they cite the brevity of the purported inscriptions and the dearth of repeated symbols in the purported script.
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Re: OOC: Clues thread

Postby ghill » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:40 am

CH2-2 At the University - and associated linked threads while knocking around Brichester U. 2-2a - 2-2g

Jacob: Discovers a the Prof thought there was a link between Verbti tattoos and the designs on the Maltese fragments, he goes onto add that he believes ancient Verbti, might actually be the originators of the Maltese fragments or may even be the source of the Ur language. This is also where you find the first reference to the thesis.

Greg and Liz found: Apparently Gosshamm was receiving funding for his research, but nobody mentions from whom. There were a number of outlandish rumours about his “mysterious benefactor” - MI6, an American treasure hunting company.

Greg and Liz found: Brichester University's Geography and Archaeology Society had had a disastrous summer in Malta.

Liz discovers the Kush nderton, a charity dedicated to preserving Albanian heritage and history was basically funding the prof's research

Greg and Jacob discover the head of the dig "Professor Westerlund has been arrested by the local police out in Malta, they say he's been selling off artefacts from one of the digs. All three of the digs have been suspended, we were all sent home on Saturday. Prof Humphries came out along with a legal bloke for the university and they got the police to release us back to the UK. But all the supervising faculty members are still there being questioned.

Liz and Clay meet Albert at the IT department and get a cloned copy of the Prof's hard drive. They find emails to the mysterious benefactor and an attached draft copy of the thesis as well as a mail to Maria Demarchi explaining he was sending her the "complete package, including a full and final draft. All you need do is insert the completed translations and it is done"

Greg and Jacob - found that the Prof's old house had been subject to a suspicious house fire. Then in storafe they found a number of artefacts (details later)

Liz, using books and references found by the others Liz is able to find that Gossham sent copies of the theis to two other profs:

Professor Charles Grundy - UCL (University College London) School of Slavonic and East European Studies.

Professor Tom Mathers - Chair of Russian, Eurasian and Eastern European Studies, University of Warwick
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Re: OOC: Clues thread

Postby ghill » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:19 pm

Un-titled Thesis - the Draft

The Maltese fragments Fragments were discovered by the archaeologist David Tavernier in 1985, at a dig in the Mgarr region of Malta. Called as such because these engraved stones are thought to be part of a much larger stone-working, the other pieces of which have never been recovered.

They are particularly fine examples of artefacts associated with the people Gosshamm has dubbed 'the Readers', who are thought to be descended from Sicanian stock and arrived on Malta from Sicily around 5200BC. They formed mainly farming and fishing communities, living in caves and open dwellings and predate the island's temple period (3600 BC), by which time they were likely extinct. Artefacts associated with the 'Readers', such as pottery and cave paintings, are recognisable due to being covered in intricate but crudely rendered script, several characters of which are tantalisingly similar to characters found in Archaic and Old Egyptian.

The orthodox view, and the one held by Tavernier and his team, is that the Readers' script is entirely decorative and the resemblance of some characters to characters in written languages is coincidental, or else the artefacts date from a much later period than is generally thought, and are the result of interaction with Egyptian explorers.

Gosshamm disagrees, as do other proponents of progenitor civilization theories. He points to the facts that there is no evidence of any Sicanian tribe practicing this sort of decoration in Sicily, nor of any Egyptian expansion into Malta. He also maintains that whilst the characters are crudely rendered, they are more numerous and distinctive than those of Archaic or even Old Egyptian scripts, suggesting they may form a more sophisticated language.

Grossham's thesis is that when the Readers arrived on Malta they encountered artefacts of a much older civilization - now lost to time all together - and were in some way profoundly affected by them, causing them to endlessly reproduce the mysterious characters they had encountered without understanding them. The Maltese Fragments are of particular interest to Gosshamm as they represent the largest uninterrupted example of Reader script found to date, and using various esoteric and contentious sources, such as past life experiences, psychic readings and the Book of Eibon, Gosshamm claims to have succeeded in translating sections of it.

He claims the translation identifies the text as belonging to the mythical Book of Skelos, and whilst while there are several disparate passages, the longest deals with the history of a nomadic people called the Atahath, who settled for some years in the city of Yb in the Western deserts of Shem before migrating across the Mediterranean - then a desert - to a land Gosshamm identifies as modern-day Albania. It was through his studies of Albanian peoples that might be descended from the Atahath that Gosshamm became aware of the Verbetoi, whose language appeared to be Afro-Asiatic in origin in stark contrast to their neighbors.

The problem with the ideas which form the evidence and arguments for the thesis while coherent are certainly not conclusive, the evidence is also lacking and requires something more incontrovertible. Basically, the thesis doesn't really prove anything and is at best an early draft, its certainly not something to send out to peer review.
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Re: OOC: Clues thread

Postby ghill » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:59 pm

Chapter 2-3a Saving Lives

- in which the group head to Kenilworth to warn Prof Mathers about the risk he's in but finds only his daughter.

They meet Andy (carnage_lee) for the first time a reporter chasing the murder angle up just as they are attacked by a mob of armed men - only one of whom they identify as Verbti, there is a wild running gunfight through the house and across the nearby fields.

The sentient fire is seen again!

Everyone is injured

Fay Mathers is taken to hospital - when she recovers she gushes enthusiastically about the strangers who saved her life

Jacob and Albert become persons of interest due to their cars being at the scene of the crime.

Everyone with the exception of Andy is holed up in a Safe house arranged by Clay for several weeks

CH2-4a Safe House

The incident is top story on the radio and one presumes the newspapers and TV. The incident is described in the news as being a major gun battle, Involving as many as 20 people. The number of fatalities has reached eight, two of whom were found in an abandoned car the day after the shooting, the fatalities include Mr and Mrs Merrit a retired couple living next door. Police are looking for Jacob as owner of a car seen leaving the scene of the crime, and Albert because his car was found at the scene of the crime and because police believe he spoke to Fay before the incident took place. Police have identified the attackers as Albanians, but have not at this point drawn any links (or if they have they aren't talking about them)

With the exception of Andy, everyone winds up in a safe house arranged by Clay.

Andy discovers Mathers and his wife were murdered at their holiday home in Wales.

Liz manages to get the contents of Mathers desktop PC which Albert salvaged from the house:

Liz discovers an email thread in which Professor Gosshamm first lays out his proposition suggesting the Verbetoi are the last remaining elements of a progenitor civilization which existed over 15,000 years ago. He seems to indicate the fragments of the writing people found in Malta are actually copies by later less educated peoples after the Verbetoi moved to the area of ancient Illyria (modern day Albania).

[A word doc is attached to the first email - This paper is a more polished copy of the one Liz saw in Gosshamms office, the ideas are well formed, the evidence and arguments well-structured and well presented, but they are not conclusive. The archaeological evidence particularly is open to a great deal of interpretation, it is probably not ready for peer review.

Mathers come back is to constructively destroy Gosshamm's proposition on the basis that there is not enough supporting evidence and what evidence he does have is open to interpretation.

Gosshamm's response is that there is almost further evidence on Malta, but the authorities have closed down the digs for the foreseeable future

Mathers response is that he should move his search to Albania.

The final post in the thread is a mail from Maria Demachi, in which Maria indicates she is and Gosshamm are heading into the Northern Mountains and that Gosshamm has some clues about where to go from the evidence he gathered in Malta. This last email is only a few days before the Prof's death. - this confirms the prof went to Albania did something with Maria in Northern Albania and came back prior to his death although its not entirely clear from the dates when these events happened

Albert arranges forged passports and credit cards and the group travel to Malta.
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Re: OOC: Clues thread

Postby ghill » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:40 pm

CH2-07 Arrival Malta

Quickly you discover:

About a fortnight before the professor Gossham was murdered, Professor Nils Westerlund, Professor of Archaeology at Brichester was arrested by the Maltese police for the illegal sale of artefacts from one of the University’s digs. As a result the licence for all three of the digs was suspended and the students were sent home in disgrace.

The four supervising faculty members are all being questioned by the Maltese Authorities, but only Westerlund was actually arrested, he was released on bail recently (within the last two days) to appear in court sometime later in the year. Faculty and students interviewed by the newspapers all speak highly of the professor’s work. No details are given about the location of the digs, although it would appear that one or more of the digs is actually on the island of Gozo.

About Prof Westerlund the Digs head of:

"Professor Westerlund has been arrested by the local police out in Malta, they say he's been selling off artefacts from one of the digs. All three of the digs have been suspended, we were all sent home on Saturday. Prof Humphries came out along with a legal bloke for the university and they got the police to release us back to the UK. But all the supervising faculty members are still there being questioned."

"The thing about the digs is they're all neolithic sites, its not as though there is a market for big pieces of rocks and the sort of things which you could sell are ten a penny because you can pick them up in the fields. I reckon someone official has heard some disgruntled local and jumped to conclusions"

"...as artifacts go they aren't exactly culturally significant, hauling everyone off to prison is a massive over reaction to something like that. Its a bit like someone flogging (selling) indian arrowheads or knapped flints"

Basically, to your eyes, it looked like a fit up job to stop the digs.

The group goes to visit the sites in turn:

Site 1 - hardly started on excavation.

Site 2 - Liz is shown around by a representative of Patrimonju Malta (called Matthias Balbi), the agency for museums, conservation practice and preserving Maltese culture - he shows her part of a large statue (the feet only) which he says if it was built at the same time as the temple it would be millennia ahead of its time. This is the sort of site which gives archaeologists nightmares. It is extraordinary! How do you explain a site like this? Publish your findings and you're as likely to be thought as insane as a genius.

Liz also discovers - all the missing artefacts could have been obtained if he'd filled in the proper paperwork and gone through the normal channels and Westerlund kept a villa on the island.

Site 3: stands on a rocky plateau on the South-West coast of Gozo, overlooking the sea. It is considerably bigger than either of the other two sites covering around two acres. At the end of a long dusty dirt track, Site three sits in a natural amphitheatre right on the coast.

Albert Comprehensively photo documents the site.

Liz and Clay point out lots of Verbti symbology - horse stuff, stuff similar to tattoos etc.
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Re: OOC: Clues thread

Postby ghill » Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:06 pm

More polished version of the Thesis

The thesis is that the Verbetoi are the last remaining remnants of a civilisation which predates our own. Gosshamm ballparks this "Hyborian Age" as being around 10,000 B.C. (most archaeologists would mark this as the start of the Neolithic period in the development of human technology) although he later mentions it could be as late as 32,500 B.C. The Verbetoi first appear in Malta when it is a larger mountain chain, some Maltese fragments are examples of their written texts, but many others are from later neolithic cultures who were simply copying the patterns of their texts without understanding. At some point the Verbti (the tribal name is Verbetoi) moved to Illyria (modern day Albania) where they re-established themselves.

They were a nomadic people, their savage forefather's members of wandering clans on the banks of the Nile river. Over millennia the blood of the Verbetois' forefathers was mixed with the blood of more advanced cultures to produce a fierce, hybrid people who established a series of city-states. These proto-Verbetoi served their more powerful neighbours, providing savage mounted warriors to at least one empire of the time to violently suppress domestic disorder in vassal states. Gosshamm described the proto-Verbetoi as being polytheistic in nature, dividing their worship among a number of gods. His most amazing claim, however, was not just that he had identified an ancestor for the modern Verbetoi - the Atahath, a small clan, known for their copper and gold-smithing as well as horse breeding - but the very event that created their tribe.

The Atahath were refugees, seeking a hiding place away from the constant fighting that plagued their existence and chose the haunted ruins of the long-dead city of Yb - also known as Tal'ib, the "city in the waste", and the only source of water to be found in the area of the Western Desert of Shem known as 'The Waste'. Decades later when they left the safety of Tal'ib, they worshipped only one God - 'Verbti' and named themselves after him.

The land the Verbetoi returned to was inhabited only by nomadic tribes. No cities remained; successive barbarian invasions had levelled them, leaving only ruins. The damage wrought by waves of barbarians, however, was as nothing to the terrible convulsions of the Earth that were to come. As the Pleistocene Age gave way to the Holocene, a massive polar shift occurred causing devastating geological upheavals. The Pillars of Hercules were breached and the Atlantic Ocean poured through, flooding the Mediterranean basin and the Verbetoi homelands, forcing them northwards.

Their movement towards Illyria seems to a simple issue of seeking new pastures or better lands for their horses.


History/Archaeology or a Hard Idea success roll: The ideas are well formed, the evidence and arguments well-structured and well presented, but they are not conclusive. The archaeological evidence particularly is open to a great deal of interpretation without specific sites or artefacts he can highlight, the thesis remains unsupported.

Succeed any of the above take 2 SAN loss + History or Arch check and +2 C.Mythos
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Re: OOC: Clues thread

Postby ghill » Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:21 pm

Ch2-08 Malta - in which the group broke into Westerlunds villa on Malta

The prof Westerlund's house is in the village of Zebug just a few minutes drive outside of Valetta (actually almost a the outskirt of Valetta.) It's not really a villa more an old looking town house (old but well cared for) which estate agents would probably describe as having 'bags of Character'.

They break in and find a bag full of artefacts the group decide these have been left in the house as evidence with which to frame Westerlund (Andy and Clay return to the villa later and are told police had an anonymous tip off)

Andy and Greg read the more detailed copy of the Thesis.

When discussing what to do next its decided to look more into Gossham's benefactors the Kush Nderton charity specifically through their contact address a solicitor's firm called Redrupp and Vosper.

The trustees are John Redrupp, Claire Vosper, and Alex Rudaj. ti earned about 500,000 quid from donations and gave almost all of it out for their charitable activities.

Jacob reminds everyone he knows Redrupp and Vosper by reputation. The offices of Redrupp and Vosper advertise themselves as experts in both company and commercial law, as well as advising high net worth individuals on their personal and financial affairs. Basically, if you want to hide your piles of cash from the Inland Revenue they're your man. By reputation, R&V are known to be highly litigious taking people to court if there is even the slightest hint, they or one of their clients has been involved in wrongdoing.
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Re: OOC: Clues thread

Postby ghill » Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:40 pm

CH2-10 Back to the UK.

Its decided to set up a honey pot website and publish some of Gosshams findings. - this takes several days for Liz to set up and then...

With the entire server down LIz's Logs end rather abruptly about sometime during the middle of the night. However, as far as Liz can see there was a what might be considered an unussual increase in traffic considering the sites subject matter. Most of the hits were either anonymised (using things like TOR etc), public (busy internet cafe) or effectively beyond repproach (kids home PC in nice middle class family with no criminal or obvious connections) Phone calls to the hosting company reveals that the website wasn't targeted but the entire server was brought down by a DOS attack which looks like they were trying to access payment data for a online Garden Centre website. The hosting company will keep the server down for a while they beef up the security (back up in around 6-8 hours)

More research is done on the Kush nderton - literrally translated from the Albanian the name means "Those Who build"

The charity’s stated goals are:
1. To preserve Albanian heritage and history wherever it is found, through the provision of grants for archaeological work.
2. Through the provision of grants to encourage the study of Albanian heritage and history.
3. To promote the education of Albanian history and culture.

The Group meets Westerlund - An old man, probably in his late sixties to mid-seventies, with a fringe of grey-white hair around a balding, and sun peeled scalp. He has the resigned look on his face. Westerlund answered the following questions:

Westerlund seems quite amenable, he clearly sees Andy as a member of the friendly press

[*]You have recently arrived back from Malta after being arrested over some irregularities with some finds, can you give us the facts of the case as you see them?

Yes, well the Maltese authorities have charged me under their Antiquities protection act with the theft and illegal sale of artefacts from the digs. I was questioned by the police and released on bail. The case is due to appear in court sometime later in the year, although the colleges brief says its more likely to be sometime in the new year. As I understand it, they had received an anonymous tip off and some artefacts had certainly turned up in the local markets, but they weren't exactly culturally significant by any means, and certainly not as a result of anything I had done. I'm always very thorough about documenting our finds.

[*]My source tells me that the items in question were not related to your area of research on any of the Universities dig-sites can you speculate as to where they came from?

Maltese fragments, no they're not directly related to my own area of research, although there were quite large quantities at all three of the sites. Now, can I just say they are so common that we don't typically bother documenting them, its a bit like finding a flint arrowhead in the states, its nice, its interesting, but under most circumstances its not a significant find.

[*]Were there any previous problems at any of the sites - any harrasment etc?

None at all. Well I say that but the girls sometimes have a bit of harassment from from the Maltese young men, hot blooded Mediterranean's and all that; but that isn't what you mean is it. So I'd have to say no. If anything the sites have been lacking in the normal petty thievery you come to expect.

[*]How does the University plan to deal with the allegations, have any dates been set for any court hearings?

The college is providing a legal brief in this case, so clearly someone at the top is on my side (he says this with a rather weak smile) Not formally no, although as I said probably early next year.

[*]Recently you colleague Professor Gosshamm was brutally murdered and recently Tom Mathers was killed in Wales, can you comment on the hypothesis that these dreadful events are linked?

I'm afraid I don't know Professor Mather's, except by academic reputation The police say its drugs related, but I'd be surprised if that was the case. Personally, I suspect Adrian put his big size 9's where they weren't wanted and put someone's nose out of joint.

[*]I also understand that someone else in a similar field of work was found dead of an apparent overdose, were you aware that Charles Grundy was a drug user? Any comment on a link between all three men?

I've read some of Grundy's papers, he's a fine academic or I should say he was. I met him once or twice when I went for drinks at Adrian's place. Actually, come to think about it Mathers might have been there as well, I think I remember talking to his wife and young daughter about college choices. I'm afraid I didn't know Grundy well enough to say whether he was a drug user, not sure I'd recognise a drug user anyway.

[*]I am led to believe that there is a possible link to Albanian organised crime and the people on CCTV that attacked Prof Gossham, we know that Prof Gossham's area of expertise was the Balkans and Albania and that he recently returned from that country, so you know what Gossham was researching?

Was it one of those bloody stupid pre-historical civilisations things, he was always going on about? Adrian had a bloody fine mind, bloody fine, damn shame it was away with the fairies half the time.

[*]I understand that Gossham's latest research included the work you supervised on Malta, can you tell us anything about that?

Well lets just say over time the two of us have looked at the same evidence and drawn entirely different conclusions. Adrian was clearly looking for something to support his theories. I thought digs one and two were really quite interesting examples of very early Bronze Age architecture, Adrian for one reason or another simply wasn't interested. Whereas the third site which seemed quite a simple early bronze age temple seemed to catch his interest when he did visit, but certainly not for long.

[*]The backers for his research are strongly rumoured to be the Albanian charity 'Kush nderton' have you had any dealings with them, do they support the Universities work in Malta as well?

Oh when you say rumoured, it makes it all sound hush, hush. They're on record with the college as the funding authority for the digs and I know they've helped Adrian out. We can't take money without declaring it, it might make our research questionable if we wanted to publish. It was Adrian who helped me secure my funding with them actually, I couldn't see any connection with Albania, but he must have said something to get them on side, I never asked because to be honest I suspect he must have bent the truth somewhat.

[*]How well did Professor Westerlund know Gossham,

We were good work friends, went for a pint after work or at lunchtime occasionally, went to his place for summer BBQ that sort of thing.

[*]what can he tell us of Maria Demachi?

Never heard the name I'm afraid.

Westerlund goes onto reveal all three sites were on Land owned by the same Property Company Green Meadow Holdings

Albert and Andy break into Gossham's lockup and steal the artefacts stored there (BTW this was really well planned I was well impressed)
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Re: OOC: Clues thread

Postby ghill » Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:41 pm

The Stolen Stuff from Gosshams lockup

Box One
The smallest of the three boxes contains several years’ worth of correspondence, all of which has been carefully tied up with ribbon. There are several hundred letters, some of which are several sides in length. Working carefully through the letters for anything of interest is a day’s work.

Box Two
The second box is full of books .
The Quadripartite, Latin w/English translation, 464pp Ptolemy, Cambridge Press 1923
The Histories – Latin w/English translation, 448pp, Polybius, Cambridge Press 1954
Le Geographica de Strabon, 3 vols, containing Books 1-17, Strabo, translated by Beauvoir Rue de Bremoir 1908
The life and times of Ulpius Crinitus - Latin w/English translation, 640pp London Ancient Historical Societ Press (LAHSP), 1928
The History of Alexander: Bks.V-X v.2: Bks.V-X Vol 2 – Latin w/English translation, 640pp LAHSP, 1946
The History of Alexander: Bks.I-V v.1: Bks.I-V Vol 1 – Latin w/English translation, 500pp LAHSP, 1946
Anabasis of Alexander: Bks.5-7 v. 2 - Latin w/English translation, 604pp LAHSP 1933
The Complete plays of Aeschylus – 400pp Chicago University Press 1966
Baxter’s “Ancient Tribes of the Balkans – 450pp Oxford University Press, 1915.
Pliny’s Natural History – Latin w/English translation 233pp Oxford University Press, 1937

The unloaded contents of box 3

The book - artefact
The Golden Femur - artefact
The Coin necklace - artefact
The faded ceramics - artefacts

Further analysis* of the box's contents indicates it contains several years’ worth of correspondence. There are several hundred letters, some of which are several sides in length.

Many of the letters are to Maria Demachi. The vast majority of these are personal correspondence and it is quite clear the professor and Demachi have/had a long history (on off romantic/physical). The letters cover a variety of topics mainly home and work life, they rarely talk in detail. The exception to this is the most recent letter. Where Demarchi talks about receiving the package and her hopes to continue translating the texts included in the photos (NB there are no images in any of the copies of the thesis which you have seen)

One other letter which seems out of place is from a Mr Alex Avlonyali, an Albanian fixer who Professor Gosshamm has clearly used on several occasions before. Alex’s letter is an apology for not being available to assist the Professor when he next visits the country due to the ill health of a relative. The date for this seems to be just shortly before the professor last went to Albania.

In the top of the smallest box is also a DHL invoice for the delivery of a manuscript and camera memory card to a Ms. Maria Demachi in Tirana Albania (Jacob has a photo of this invoice on his phone)
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Re: OOC: Clues thread

Postby ghill » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:01 pm

CH2-10 Offices of Redrupp & Vosper - In which Clay and Jacob try and find out what they can about the law firm but are largely unsuccessful due to security measures.

The offices of Reddrup and Vosper are on Carter Lane in the shadow of St. Pauls cathedral in the heart of the city, A former town house which has been extensively renovated in a steel and chhrome style (at least downstairs in the rooms visible from the street)

Using Google and checking some legal websites Jacob confirms the following.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Michael Reddrupp embarked on a career as a Solicitor after studying law at Hull University. He joined his father’s firm as a trainee in 1981 qualifying as a Solicitor two years later specialising in commercial law. He was made Partner and Head of Litigation in 1987 in which role he acted principally in commercial litigation matters.

Gemma Vosper is the other senior partner in the law firm. She graduated with a law degree from London University in 1990, following a change of career. She became a Partner in 2003. Gemma specialises in property and employment law.

Observing the offices for a day or so they eventually slip inside after paying off the contract cleaners

They found documents which seemed to indicate that R&V and purchased all the land the dig sites were on either for Green Meadow Holdings or that GMH was a front company for R&Vosper.

They found a letter from Alex Rudaj the only trustee for the “Kush nderton” charity who isn't also a partner in Redrupp and Vosper. The letter seems to be about the administration of cash payments from charitable fund raising events being paid into the charities bank accounts. The letter gives an address in Beaconsfield an affluent market town to the NW of London.

All other documents were in secure document storage safes Clay determined opening these document chests would require the proper tools - we're not talking crowbars, were talking diamond tipped drills, angle grinders and the like. Because who spends big bucks on document safes, which are easily broken into.
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Re: OOC: Clues thread

Postby ghill » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:17 pm

CH2-11 Brichester U in which you went back to see Westerlund and show him the artefacts and Liz went a bit wibbly for the first time.

When Westerlund's analyses the artefacts you are all exposed to the memetic virus that is the writing on the shards

Greg later describes the writing as what is known as a memetic hazard. Memetic information is defined as information with three main attributes. The first attribute is that it spreads from person to person, whether through personal contact or some form of recording. The second attribute is that this information causes some form of distress, whether as benign as mental stress to the individual or as dangerous as societal dysfunction. The third attribute is that it must cause preoccupation–that is to say, it maintains sufficient presence in the host’s mind that either a significant portion of his attention remains focused on it, or it plays a significant part in his decision-making process. Doesn't that describe what we've just seen?"

Subsequently, a much subdued Westerlund agrees to have the artefacts properly analysed

The book
Stored within a small unadorned stoneware box itself placed within a well-made velvet lined wooden box:

A codex with four pages of what appears to be solid gold sheets - The book measures 8 centimetres in length and 4.5 centimetres in width. It is bound together by gold wire.
Each plate is covered in what appears to be a text of some kind. Although the characters are indecipherable at the centre of each page is a single image: they are a horse, a boat, the sun and a knife or possibly a sword. The gold is of high-quality workmanship (it is only 3mm thick). The gold is of an exceptional purity (just under 24 carats) the whole implying a highly developed metallurgical ability.

There's a marked similarity between the script in the book and the as yet un-deciphered 'hieroglyphic' script, Linear A, although the script seems more developed. Noble Gas Analysis of the gold dates the book to around 11,000 BC years old, which pre-dates any similar book by at least 10,000 years and any previously recorded gold artefacts by 5500 years.

The Golden Femur
Wrapped within a velvet cloth and sealed within a hard leather map case:

20 inches in length the two ends of a human femur have been carefully covered and capped the whole thing has an embossed design of a naked male with upraised arms the head however is that of a the sun or more likely a star, the whole thing is covered in flat, thin sheets of gold (2mm thick) which have been carefully beaten around the bone. Analysis of the bone indicates it is that of a human male or of a tall woman. Noble Gas analysis of the gold and/or Carbon dating on the bone will indicate the artefacts age as between 9-10,000 years.

There is a hand written note on the paper here in Westerlunds handwriting says reminder: show them the special!!!

The Coin necklace
Stored in a blue velvet lined box, the necklace consists of 18 ancient coins hanging on a heavy gold 9" chain. The coins have all been crudely struck on fragments of other coins.
Noble gas analysis indicates the gold in the coins to be 12-15,000 years old, although the gold in the chain is around 3000 years old.
Designs on the coins themselves is unrecognisable
The oldest known coins date from 900 BC, whereas the age of the gold would seem to imply these are considerably older examples.
While the gold can be dated, the coins cannot.

The faded ceramics
Wrapped in a yellowed copy of the Times dated 12th October 1913 are three large pieces of ceramic. Two bear heavily worked painted decorations incorporating equine motifs. The third, larger, piece was also decorated, but has been defaced: At some point in time someone has scratched the same pattern of symbols into the pottery over and over again.
The equine motifs are unique and cannot be matched to any known culture. Although they bear a striking resemblance to Palaeolithic cave paintings, they are far more refined.
There are several stylistic connections to cave paintings such as those in Lascaux,
The design of the ceramics itself is more in keeping with the Hellenistic style, which should date them as being from around 323 BC to 146 BC, but the fired glazing would date it much, much later
Thermoluminesence dating of the ceramics confirmed with radiocarbon dating of organic material found in the clay indicates they are around 10,000 years old.
There is a marked similarity between the symbols on the ceramics and those symbols in the Gold book.
Basically, Westerlund says the artefacts seem to be so old as to predate any known civilisation so I have no evidence to point to the contrary. But that isn't the same as me saying that is definitely the case.

He planned to use the various inscriptions on the sceptre to see if he could decipher the script in the 'book'.

You left the artefacts with him before setting off to Albania.

Spoiler:
I don't believe its actively dangerous no...although I may have found the source of the fire0 He lifts a small kitchen fire extinguisher from the bag. says Westerlund. "Although to be honest, I can't guarantee it....Anyway, hold the sceptre and read this." He hands Albert a piece of note paper on which he's scrawled a single sentence. "OK so when I was examining this I had it under a microscope, and it looks as though at some time the sceptre itself had written on it, over time and use the writing was ...for want of a better explanation smoothed out, gold is a soft metal after all. Anyway, it turns out it is some kind of poem. It may also be akin to a key a bit like the Rosetta stone In as much as someone at some time has inscribed what looks to be a Greek translation over the top. Anyway, there is some kind of benediction or prayer at the end which I've transcribed onto this paper.

On the piece of paper is written: ph'nglui mglw'nafh Verbti Fomalhaut n'gha-ghaa naf'lthagn

OOC:   if you want to try and read the prayer then you'll need a POW roll as you struggle to read the strange words. But when you do shit catches fire!!!!  


Transcription, He hangs motionless in black, forbidding sky in the deeps oh gleaming orb which floats before this dreamers vision. Fearsome dark are the marks upon thy dull/dread/fearsome face/surface marked by columns of spinning flame arced uponn thine rim.... [indecipherable] the titan sunspots drift slowly across thine face, you roar your insatiable anger against the chains of the Ancient/Elder/Old Gods which had bound you there for an eternity.... Oh great Verbti we shall free you.
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Re: OOC: Clues thread

Postby ghill » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:43 pm

CH3-01 - Arriving Albania

You fly to Bari (Italy) and then take a ferry to the Port of Durres in Albania.

You meet with Alex Avlonyali the fixer

Even the most unobservant of you realise despite the calm on the streets there is clearly an undercurrent of tension. The streets are unusually quiet, street cafes and restaurants painfully empty. Pedestrians move with unwarranted haste and there seem to be an awful lot of armed police around. Andy asks a waiter about it who says there were a fire bombing and big shoot out in Tirana in the last two days, it's quiet now, From what Andy can decipher from the waiters' several policemen and a handful of bystanders were killed, no one knows what was behind the events.

Alex helps Liz and Jacob find Maria Demarchi's appartment: Stepping inside Andy finds himself in a spacious and well-presented living room (flat screen Sony TV, two couches, love seat, coffee table, work desk) now lies in chaos, every flat surface is hidden beneath page upon page of handwritten notes. At some point, the author of these notes has obviously run out of paper as the notes have been continued on the wall first with a pen, then scratched into the plaster with a knife or something similar.

The group finds a set of Photos:

These photos you now know document the route to the maze and the massive underground mural where you found MAria's body

Photo 1: Gosshamm and a woman (Alex confirms it is Demachi) posing on the bonnet of a Blue Volkswagon, they are outside of small cafe in a town square, apparently somewhere in Albania.
Photo 2: The side of a mountain taken from the roadside.
Photo 3: A very steep sided mountain valley.
Photo 4: Gosshamm on a very narrow trail winding through and over broken rock.
Photo 5 Gosshamm with thumbs up, at the mouth of what looks like a low narrow passage way obviously cut into the cliff face.

A document with detailed descriptions of Two hundred and forty-three photos. The descriptions make for both interesting and disturbing reading it is quite clear that Maria Demachi was becoming increasingly irrational. As the document progresses it becomes more and more off topic including strange poetry, descriptions of familiar dreams (such as those after the events at Heathrow) and observations on the futility of life. The very last bit seems total gibberish (the gibberish is the memetic language - dangerous!!)

A typical description

Photo no 32: The mural depicts a young man surrounded by intense light or fire from above. Wounds are seen along the back of his arms and legs his back and torso is heavily tattooed. He is surrounded by other people they are either bowed in prayer

Then using the marker function additional notes: it’s not prayer, it's fear, they fear him, fear what he’s going to let through.

There are rugged rocks to the left and right and some indication of the sea to the rear of the young man It looks as though there is some kind of tomb behind the man’s right shoulder, is this symbolic?
The mural is painted in very vivid colours but there is clear indication of ageing due to atmospheric change.

Jacob questions a neighbour and determines Maria left on a camping trip to the North - the party follow after,
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Re: OOC: Clues thread

Postby ghill » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:56 pm

CH3-02 Heading North

The group follows Maria into Northern Albania seeing evidence of her passage in Ur language that she has left everywhere she stops.

You arrive in the town of Bajram Curri where after asking the locals questions about Maria you are approached by a young Verbti boy and his minders and told in no uncertain terms to return to Tirana, You ignore his advice and instead by guns and head off into the mountains looking for MAria

CH3-03 Photo Recognition

You find Maria's car at the base of a valley which matches the photos (Jacob gets zapped by the Ur language), around the corner (next valley over) A twenty minute drive sees the cars at the foot of another valley the gated road going up it is in very good condition, there is a sign by the side of the road in the dark blue of the EU and with the familiar ring of stars which reads:

"Verrassa Monastery. The road and monastery have been restored at a cost of EUR 2.5 million provided by the European Commission. The 12th-century monastery is considered one of the most important holy places in Albania. The total cost of the rehabilitation work is EUR 3.3 million. The project is 80% completed and will be finished at the end of this year. Once the project is finalised, facilities will be provided for tourists until then please respect the monk's privacy".

You return to the Valley and start to ascend you see trees of all ages and size which have been ornately carved, Andy is very disturbed by the imagery's bloody and horrific nature as well as the scope and scale of the carvings which depict men women and children's bloody sacrifice typically by being consumed by fire. Andy is in no doubt this tree is a record dating back many hundreds and hundreds of years.

Further up the valley you find what look to be altars in use and see sentient fire

Further up still they meet a man who tells them "Not many people walk on this ground, only the pure are allowed on the holy mountain, those who are not pure the Angels take, and those who get past the angels, it is my punishment to deal with, but your friend is the first 'i madh' I have seen on the mountain in a long time".

When asked what he is punished for he says "As a young man before the war I fell in love with a one of your kind, but she was a belonging in the home of my Pater. She became with child so I chose to leave and take her from my Pater's home. We were found out and in the fight I killed my Pater. For my crimes Arjan, was become I am sek mei kafsh and sentenced to death, the Rit Gërshet now keeps me here for so long as I live."

After a long protracted fight, both Albert and Clay are out of action and clearly critical.

(not really clues just insight into the Verbtoi)

Proceeding you come across the jumbled ruins of some kind of fortification which would have blocked the valley a barely intelligable inscription reads:

"....<unintelligable>The lord Ulpius Crinitus smiling greeted Centurion Flavius in return. We loyal Romans have left this record as witness to all he observed, <unintelligible/>
Here thus are the Verbetoi lost to the love of the gods, for their temples are destroyed and their god speakers dead."

You continue up the valley until finding an entrance into an underground cave complex (caves but clearly ones changed by mankind) the group spent nearly 24 hours underground

Near the bottom they find a room dominated by three large statues. The first a life size statue of a horse, the second smaller statue the sun and the final one of an ancient warrior although he looks distinctly Greek. There are tunnel entrances in the north and south walls.

The 4’ tall statuette of the sun is most impressive of the three glinting in the firelight it looks as though it is made entirely from gold, the larger horse is in marble but with its saddle and tack all made of gold. Perhaps the least impressive but most detailed and technically well-carved statue is that of the man. - Who Greg identifies as Alexander the Great.

Andy finds bullet casings in several locations in the complex

Exiting the statue room the tunnel goes straight for about twenty meters and then starts a very long slow leisurely curve away to the right. This curve seems to go on for several hundred meters before turning back tightly on itself.

With the exception of the floor every available piece of space in the tunnel has been covered either in line drawings in red and black ink and filled in with bright mineral pigments and washes of organic colourants, or with dense writing, the writing is clearly very similar to the script, and while it demands attention, none of you feels any great compulsion to write it out. Unlike the walls elsewhere the walls here have been plastered over with a mixture of what looks like clay, sand, and a plant fibre of some kind. The wall paintings have clearly deteriorated with the passage of time, in some places the paint is flaking away while in others the clay plaster has come away from the wall in large lumps. - Liz photographs it all.

Returning to the statue room Greg realises that among the other languages on the base of the statue is one written in Latin: Which he roughly translates as Alexander 'something' the work for the Verbetoi, for in place of the Apagâni They fight the Apagân’s in the mountain 'something'; there was fire(there was lots of fire); the army didn't die. Alexander gave them? presents of gold and silver and horses. The silver they threw into the river Chopses. The gold they gave to their god and they ate/rode(?) the horses.

At the bottom of the large vent you recover Maria's body

The small green daypack is torn almost in half, much of its contents are scattered over a small field of boulders a quick search reveals the following:

A Ziplock bag jammed full of photos as well as a Camera Memory card. (without going through them they look like high definition photos of the 'maze', you yourselves have just left)
Two separate stacks of papers one tied together with string and a larger bulging folder with a cover page called The Maltese Fragments (sub heading a study of a people from recorded history)

The rest of the story up until this point has involved much running and screaming and the shooting of mainly bad people
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Re: OOC: Clues thread

Postby ghill » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:21 pm

AD 210-14 Ulpius Crinitus the military governor of Illyria and Thrace led not one but three punitive expeditions against the Verbti.

The final and most extensive of Ulpius Crinitus punitive expeditions occurred as a result of Verbti tribesmen burning down the sacred grove of Diana at the town of Apollonia as a “result of a slight suffered by them at the hands of a priestess of that cult”. The Romans efforts in fighting the Verbti were largely unsuccessful; the Verbti lacked any real settlements and resolutely declined to give open battle against the Romans. Instead, the Verbti fought a scorched earth campaign, hoping to deprive the Romans of supplies and force them to leave their lands.

Fighting the Verbti had a lasting effect on Roman soldiers. Despite their unhappiness in fighting what had quickly become a guerrilla war, the harsh military service, and the abuses they suffered in regards to both their pay and conditions, it is perhaps surprising then that it was the common soldier who was most adamant the war should continue until the Verbti were destroyed. When the Roman soldiers heard of the terms of the peace which had been agreed between Ulpius Crinitus and the Verbti elders they staged a mutiny, demanding the war be continued and the Verbti not only be defeated but “treated as were the Carthaginians”. What caused the upsurge among Roman soldiers is unknown but their feelings were so strong the mutiny was not ended until Ulpius Crinitus himself appealed to them in person.
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Re: OOC: Clues thread

Postby ghill » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:13 pm

The “Kush nderton” charity
The name of the charity comes from an abbreviation of the Albanian saying “Kush nderton me djerse, mbron me gjak” - Who builds with sweat, protects with blood.
A registered charity the following details about the charity can be obtained from the Charities Commission’s website:

The charity’s goals are stated as:

1. To preserve Albanian heritage and history wherever it is found, through the provision of grants for archaeological work.
2. Through the provision of grants to encourage the study of Albanian heritage and history.
3. To promote the education of Albanian history and culture.

The charity’s contact address is given as Reddrup and Vosper a firm of solicitors; Mr John Reddrup, Miss Claire Vosper and a Mr Alex Rudaj are named as the charities trustees.
The charity’s finances show approximately £500,000 coming in from charitable donations and nearly all of that going out on charitable activities, although none of these are detailed.
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