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  1. I warn you now... This gets quite dark. There was a torn note pinned to the door of Wellington Hall, much to the interest of Barbara Wright. "… For the last time, the extensive ventilation network at Wellington Halls is due to ongoing refurbishment, the paint fumes are being properly vented for the safety of the construction workers. This nonsense about hallucinogenic gas is...." 'Refurbishment?' Barbara wondered, reading it over. '… How wonderful! Always nice to see an upkeep of standards!' Deciding that having a look around would be a spot of jolly good fun, Barbara minced across the threshold and took a breath of the sweetly scented air. The hall was rich and lavish, twin staircases stretched around the outer walls, connecting to upper floors, the walls dressed in white and red silks. People in finery stood sampling slices of pie. 'How quaint! Such a charming place!' In a drawing room, she found a large hound sleeping peacefully on the varnished floors before an unlit fireplace. 'Oh, such a good boy aren't you? Yes... Yes, you are-!' The dog rose sharply as she reached down to pet it, snarling. Then the room was crumbling, ruined, a madman on the floor made a grab for her, his lower half drenched in blood from where his leg bones appeared to have been cut out. 'I'll have your heart, you bastards!' He bellowed, seething. Barbara staggered backwards, gasping in shock. The world was pristine again and she watched the dog lay down to sleep once more. 'Goodness me.. I must be coming down with something....' Fanning herself softly, she minced on. It was in an upper hall that she found a large chamber, well decorated and dedicated to a statue of dear Uncle Jack, surrounded by a circle of candles. 'Ah! Good old Uncle Jack! A-absolutely... spiffing...?' She wobbled slightly, the world fell apart again; walls and floor covered in blood painted symbols and runes, at the center was a statue of some nightmarish sea monster, made by the hands of a mad artist. Looking at it filled her with bad feelings. A sense of familiarity, dread and a headache. Deciding she hated the bad feelings, she found her Joy pill pot. '... Ia.... Zeckul.... Na... Nakul... Ia.... Ia...' She grasped her own jaw, trying to force herself to swallow the pill even as she spoke all too familiar words without realizing- They had taken her only child... Her wonderful little girl... They deserved to face this horror- Barbara gave a delighted sigh as she admired the room and the statue of Uncle Jack, good old- Euphoria came to a sharp end as the eldritch presence broke through her drugged haze once more. She felt it's presence on her, too old, too powerful. They deserved it! They took my child, our children!... The world.... The world did not... The pills and pot clattered to the floor, her shaking would not stop. 'What have we done....? Why... Why were we so foolish....?' Its presence was the weight of the oceans, of the stars and the cold, empty void. She found the wrench in her hands, staring at it. '... Their screams... The horrible things....' She gave a strangled sob. '.....It didn't bring my baby girl back....' Choking back another cry, she gripped the wrench tighter. The first blow made her stagger. The second drew blood. The third blow gave Barbara Wright her escape. A Wellie found her later, drugged and gassed up to his eyeballs, he tutted at the sight. 'Oh my, another glorious day and you're in here, too much red wine? Take your Joy and you'll feel loads better!' Placing a pill in her blouse pocket, he left with a rictus grin carved onto his face. "...This nonsense about hallucinogenic gas is something we're trying to perpetuate, here Angela. I cannot, and will not believe that your "Joy" measure will be enough. You remember it as well as I, the seas boiling and skies warping as that.... thing stretched for miles in the sky. Those poor souls inside Wellington Hall were so badly touched by its presence that they could not function even in your society. So I have no choice but to gas them half to death to keep them in place. With luck they should go into a peaceful trance until they die... If that system breaks they'll likely go feral from withdrawal. If you need me, you'll find in my office, swinging from a noose. Cheery bye, Frank Alderbottom." ---------------- Because Eldritch cults in the Garden District are remnants of something too horrible to speak of?
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