The BORELLUS CONNECTION manuscript was too nightmarish and vast to be constrained by any binding our printer could conceive; therefore, we were obliged to remove some material from the book. It’s preserved here as a series of Page XX articles. As Orne’s mysterious correspondent in Philadelphia warned us, “no Part must be missing if the finest Effects are to be had”; therefore, we have categorised these cuttings as FINEST EFFECTS.
All materials tagged FINEST EFFECTS are Handler’s Eyes Only – prospective players of the Borellus Connection campaign are instructed not to read these articles.
Operation MISTRAL includes an optional side trek to the marshes of the Camargue to investigate a meeting of the Order of Almousin-Metraton. This cut scene gives added details on the meeting – and its sinister true purpose.
Scene Type: Hazard
Leads-In: Orne’s House, The Order of Almousin-Metraton
Leads-Out: The Tunnels
The Camargue is a marshy region west of Marseille. It’s thinly populated, best known for the wild bulls that roam there and the French cowboys (gardians) who tend to them. It’s a beautiful, desolate place, strange and unearthly.
Orne’s sent one of his acolytes out there to prepare for a ritual. The ritual is a trap both for the Order of Almousin-Metraton and anyone hunting Orne. The acolytes believe they’re going to resurrect a great scholar from essential saltes; in fact, Orne’s doctored the saltes to explode with the force of an artillery blast. Either the explosion kills Orne’s pursuers, or it wipes out the cabal and erases any trace of Orne. Both outcomes are acceptable.
The ritual site marked on the maps in Orne’s House and the Order temple (p. XX) is a crumbling cottage on a hillock in the depths of the marsh. It’s not accessible by road – travellers have to either slog through the mud or ride on horseback. The members of the Marseille temple of Almousin-Metraton are due gather here on the night of the 27thof May. Until then, the only person at the cottage is old Benjamin Monteil, an occultist and acolyte of Orne’s.
Monteil was brought here by Orne’s servant Antonio Gomes, along with an urn containing what Orne told him were essential saltes. Gomes departed back to Marseille after getting old Monteil settled at the camp.
Finding the Site
The maps are not especially precise – a spend of Survivalis required to avoid wasting hours slogging through the mud. The area around the cottage is home to flocks of flamingoes, who fly off if startled by the Agents. The hill itself, though, is oddly barren and silent – anyone with experience of The Unnatural gets the sense that awful things happened here at some point in the distant past.
If the Agents stop to watch the hill, they spot Monteil’s tent, and the old man’s little campsite. Monteil spends his days studying and meditating, and makes astrological observations by night – he thinks that he’s going to be the one who casts the spell and raises up the honoured dead of a past age, and wants to get it right. He doesn’t know that it’s all a cruel trick, that the urn contains a bomb instead of essential saltes.
Orne told Monteil that the specimen in the jar was a great sorcerer, referred to only as ‘Number 118’, who will help them battle the King in Yellow, and that if Monteil was in danger, he should immediately cast the spell and hurl the jar to the ground. Unless the Agents are careful to Reassureor restrain the old man, they’ll end up in a fight with The Custos, below.
After several days of intense ritual preparation and loneliness, Monteil seems eccentric and volatile. Questioning Monteil – either with Interrogation if they’ve captured him, or through some combination of Reassurance or Flattery if they’re lying to him, reveals the following:
- He’s a member of the Order of Almousin-Metraton, a secret society.
- Soon, he’ll be initiated into the next degree, when he masters the power of life and death. He’s nearly ready – he’s studied the spells, watched the stars, made obeisance to Yog-Sothoth.
- He’s an acolyte of the great Brother Troylus, the leader of their coven.
- One of Troylus’ servants – an ill-favoured man named Antonio Gomes – brought Monteil to this place. The rest of the temple will join him in a few days, to assist him in raising the dead!
- If questioned, Monteil can give the address of what he believes to be Troylus’ house – it’s a small basement apartment near the cimitier Saint-Pierre.Why, Monteil helped Troylus purchase it some years ago – Monteil was a bank manager before he set his sights on a more cosmic vocation.
- If the Agents check out this location, the basement house is empty – but there’s a secret passage hidden behind a hinged bookshelf that leads to The Tunnels (p. XX).
- The Order of Almousin-Metraton has wholly beneficent aims; they seek the wisdom of the past to help guard humanity. Why, Sorcerer No. 118 is going to help them bring a malicious demon called the King in Yellow, who has sown chaos across the world these last few months. If the Agents wish, they may remain here to help battle the King in that final confrontation.
Monteil has a well-thumbed copy of Borellus with him; written on the title page is an older version of the resurrection formula (the same outdated version the Agents may have seen in the Prague House on p. XX). A freshly written note adds that the ‘living flame’ must be added to the saltes to ‘awaken the blessing of Almousin-Metraton’.
If the Agents don’t intervene (or if they follow Almousin-Metraton members here on the 27th), here’s what happens. The cabal gathers, minus Orne – he’s told them that he’ll be waiting nearby, gathering his powers, ready to join the fray when Sorcerer 118 appears and they summon the King in Yellow. A few other members are also missing, notably Mayor Defferre. The cult members gather in a circle, chanting. Monteil raises the urn, intones the Resurrection Formula, then hurls the urn to the ground.
Nor Acids Loathe To Burn
The jar of ‘essential saltes’ actually contains an unstable and explosive compound made by Orne. If the jar is dropped, shaken or opened hastily, it explodes with considerable force (treat as an L2* blast, L3* if you’re stupid enough to actually stick a flame in there). Any Agent with Chemistry or Demolitions can identify the distinctive almond smell of plastique, a cousin of Orne’s creation. (Sense Trouble, Difficulty 5 can also tell that the urn’s not what it seems).