The Hermetic Order of The Silver Twilight

An Invitation

The Investigators were all invited to dinner on Thursday evening by a mutual acquaintance, Dr Edward Call, who after a rather nice meal accompanied by some excellent drinks which he assured them jovially had been imported prior to the current prohibitions. After the meal, while enjoying cigars in the drawing room, Dr call advised them that as he was aware that as he was aware they all shared an  interested in the mysterious and unusual he had a little matter that he though might intrigue them.

He went on to explain that he was a member of a newish fraternal organisation called The Hermetic Order of the Silver Twilight and although there was nothing he could really put his finger on he felt there was something odd and unusual going on within the Order. If the investigators were willing he proposed to sponsor them for membership and see if they felt similarly. All readily agreed the proposal.

Next worming after agreeing to meet up for lunch on Saturday at Virgil's house, they set off variously to fond out what they could about the Order.   James set himself up to the university library, Virgil went to the Boston Public Library while Daniel went to peruse the archives of the Boston Globe. At lunch on Saturday they shared what they had found.

No “Hermetic Order of the Silver Twilight” appears on a standard list of fraternal organizations. James discovered however an obscure and rather weird book on demonology mentions a group called the “Knights of the Silver Twilight”.

They also discovered that the leader of the Order was someone called John Scott, although researches found little information about Scott, his family appeared to have been in the Boston area for hundreds of years and early ancestor of his had been "a reputed warlock" whose farm had been destroyed by an angry mob back in the late 1700s. Another name that  kept cropping up in connection with the order was on Carl Stanford, who also appeared to be connected to a Mr Stanfordbusinessman's motivational group called "Look To The Future". Stanford's family also seemed to have been in the area quite some time as  Daniel had found an article dated eighty years before saying that a “Karl Stanford” is being sought for questioning in the disappearance of a missing infant.

The Investigators then attempted to attend a meeting of the Look To The Future group scheduled that day but discovered it had been canceled at short notice as Mr Stanford had been called away urgently to deal with a problem in New York.

Sunday was quiet, but on Monday James visited City Hall to see if he could find any more information about Scott. He discovered that there were no land transfers relating to the Scott farm, presumably the land still being in the possession of the Scott family, and also that Lodge of The Order was built on the site of the old farmstead.

On Tuesday evening the Investigators made their way to a reception at the Lodge being held for prospective members. The Lodge itself was an ordinary enough looking large three storey building,John Scott however Daniel noted that, rather oddly, there were no windows other than at the front on the upper storeys. Two doormen, amusingly clad in cowled oriental-style robes of a reddish hue, greeted them at the door, and other servants similarly clad were scattered throughout, including James noted, two posted at the foot of the stairs to the upper levels who gently dissuaded anyone who approached.

The lounge and bar of the Lodge were full of the great and good of the city, they recognised both the Deputy Mayor and the assistant Chief of Police - present despite the freely flowing illicit alcohol proffered by the by the silent servants, or Custodes as they were referred to.  Dr Call rose to greet them from an armchair, introduced them to John Scott, the "Noble Philosopher" as he was titled in the order.Nonetheless, his presence was commanding. When he entered a room, leaning heavily on a silver-topped cane,  all eyes turned to him. He seemed pleasant enough welcoming them, explaining a little about The Order and hoping that they would take up the offer of joining.

Although they were not introduced to Carl Stanford, Virgil spotted him in the bar talking with a man he recognised as the city's Fire Chief. Unlike Mr. Scott, Mr. Stanford was less prepossessing, bespectacled and slightly pudgy. He also spotted another man with a thick mustache standing nearby Stamford, whom he was pretty sure was a bodyguard.

The Lodge Hall

The following week the Investigates were initiated formally into the order as "Neophytes". Apart from themselves only one other neophyte was present a young lawyer called James Clark. Each was blindfolded and given a lecture on the noble purposes of the Order. They were told that they will learn great and mysterious things and that he will be asked to bind themselves with an oath, but that he will not be asked to do or commit to do anything immoral or embarrassing. They were taught the Hermetic Order’s secret handshake, and urged to practice it and use it at every opportunity. They were then led across the hallway to the Lodge Room, where the Noble Philosopher, asked them to kneel and repeat an oath -  to keep the secrets of the Order, to seek after knowledge, and to live according to the principles of the Order. The blindfold was then removed, and they saw the impressive sight of the Lodge Room. The room is richly furnished, and the members wear robes representing their office and standing in the lodge. After the meeting the members remove their robes and go downstairs to the lounge and bar. It quickly became apparent  that for most members feel that this is the best part of the meeting.

Over the next few weeks the Investigators immersed themselves in the social and charitable work of The Order. Although there was nothing obvious, all continued to feel a vague sense of unease. Dan and Virgil also continued their investigations but other than a few pieces of information that backed up what they all ready knew, would little of interest. After sever dinners to discussed progress they eventually decided the only place they were likely to find more information was in the Lodge itself. This seemed to become more pressing when they spotted in a newspaper article that James Clark, the man initiated with them, had gone missing! They discussed several options on how best to gain access to the Lodge outside "social hours", even contemplating the use of Vincente's "family" connections. Eventually they decided that hiding in the building after it closed was probably the simplest solution. They also decided to split up so that if one was discovered the others might still prevail.

Late one evening as things began to wind down in the Lounge and Bar area, Rev. Matther sat reading in the Library when Dan came in and, with a brief nod, ducked under a table in a shadowy corner and hid, pulling the curtains around him. Vincente headed for the Lodge Room and hid behind the large velvet drapes there, discovering as he did a door that led to the stairs to the third floor! Downstairs, Virgil made his way to the Dining Room and, making sure none of the Custodes were around, headed for the storage cupboard there. James meanwhile, balaclava in his pocket and a crowbar stuffed down his trouser leg, made a trip to the rest room and hid in one of the cubicles!  There being no social events that day, the building closed as usual at 11:00 PM. Matthew, was escorted out by one of the Custodes, "inadvertently" taking a book with him which he could use as an excuse to return later.

Round about midnight, the Investigators emerged from their various hiding places into the eerie darkness of the Lodge. Virgil and James met up in the darkened Lounge, using their torches sparingly. They headed to the foyer as stopped suddenly -  one of the custodes was standing silently in the foyer. They quickly rushed him and with a brief struggle managed to subdue him. As Vincente and Dan arrived, drawn by the sounds of a struggle, James finally managed to get a look at one of the Custodes's  -  he was hairless his features somehow seeming "unfinished", with heavy brow ridges. Dan suggested he should take a blood sample and was in the process of doing that when there was a knock at the door. Virgil went to investigate, but it was only Matthewr, coming back to "return" the book.

Once Vincente told them he had discovered the way to the mysterious third floor,. they immediately headed that way. The first room they found there was paneled, carpeted, and the ceilings were plain, painted wood. There were electric sconces on the chair-lined walls, but the Investigators preferred to use their torches. The farthermost wall was covered in black drapes in front of which was an altar about three feet high, a five-pointed star in cross-section. James opened the drapes, exposing a strange mural. The mural is of night on a barren, dead landscape. A door in the centre is framed in silver and had been framed as if to be a magical portal leading out of the barren waste. All of them found the mural strangely disturbing.

They passed through the doorway into another room the mirror of the first except that the altar here was pentagonal in cross-section. The mural behind the black drapes of the far wall was also different. This one showed an apparently normal landscape with hills, valleys, trees, a small stream, etc. A silhouetted human figure in the foreground faced away from the viewer. Something about the mural was somehow  profoundly alien. Looking at it agitated the Investigators even more than the previous one had.

As Above So Below

Exploring the rest of the upper floor of the Lodge, the Investigators found several more strange rooms. In one the corners of the room had bizarrely been rounded off, in two others were more strange an unsettling murals, one of which was so disturbing that even the description of it, relayed by a visibly shaken James,  profoundly affected those in hearing. They also discovered a Library containing more rarefied occult tomes, a few of which Rev. Matther and James removed for future study with strange titles like Entering the Silver GateCatechism of the Knights of the Outer Void Holy Mysteries of the Great Return and  Cultes des Goules.

Eventually, as time was pressing, the decided they needed to find and explore the caverns that Dan had advised apparently lay beneath beneath, as other than some strange occult books they had  not really found anything about what was really going on.

The found the entrance to the cellar behind a locked door near the pantry, but James's crowbar made short work of the lock and he and Rev. Matther led the way down to the bare-earth floored space below. Rev. Matther spend some time poking about in the fire that heather the boiler but, other than ashes, found little of interest. Virgil tried the coal-hatch to see if it might provide a way out, but it appeared to be locked from the outside. Dan meanwhile found an open doorway in a shadowy corner that led though to another room staked with old furniture and boxes. This room also had a heavily padlocked door, though the application of the crowbar soon sorted that! Inside, this room was like the others except that the floor was of five-foot-square stones. James and Dan spotted that one of the flagstones was sightly irregular, and on pushing it a mechanism activated that raised a portion of the floor nearby slightly. Lifting this revealed a spiral stone staircase,Mr Clark carved into the bedrock, leading down.

James and Virgil, followed by Dan led the way down, Vincente and Matthew lagging slightly behind, a hundred feet or so into what was obviously a worked stone cavern. Someone at one point had added interior wooden walls to create several rooms. Unfortunately the first of these rooms that James chose to explore had three custodes in it who immediately attacked. In the struggle that ensued James and Dan were both shot before their assailants were dispatched. Fortunately Dan had though to bring his medical bag and various wounds were quickly bandaged while Matthew administered the last rites to the unfortunate custodes. A large ring of keys was recovered from the room.

James made a bee-line for an alcove containing a stone altar and yet another curtain covering a  disturbing image, a bas-relief this time that seem unutterably ancient. In a room nearby Virgil found a letter on a desk to Mr Stanford from someone in Scotland, referring to some activity there which the Order seemed to have an interest  in. They also found another library behind a locked door, but oddly, this one rather than occult tomes seemed to consist primarily of mathematical, philosophical, and scientific works. The only other thing in the room was an empty wooden box.

Moving forward they found a huge cavern high-ceilinged and echoic. Columns resembling great stone trees held up the roof. The tree branches stretched up and out to blend with the arching ceiling. With the only light being their flash-lights it seemed that the branches more resemble ropy tentacles, and the angled lines sweeping toward the bases of the columns appeared to represent the bodies of enormous squids. James tried to estimate the age of the carvings but found them to be impossibly ancient and unlike anything that should be found in this area.

Another carved stairway led down to a similarly sized cavern, but three of its four walls are lined with cells, a total of twenty-five of them, There are also many pits in the floor of this level — a total of fifty-six, some with metal covers like manholes atop them. James went to investigate the nearest open one, only to be attacked by a hideous misshapen humanoid creature that lashed out at him gibbering incoherent fury. The creature was swiftly dispatched with a couple of shots, falling back in to the pit from whence it came.

Rev. Matther and Dan began investigating the cells  discovering that many contain human remains chained to the walls in various stages of dessication. From one however a tap-tap-tap sound emerged and in this cell the found the unfortunate James Clark, endlessly beating his shackles against the floor. Dan and Matthew quickly freed him, but the unfortunate Mr. Clark was too far gone to even really notice it, despite Dan's ministrations.

James meanwhile had discovered the the two connected alcove rooms. The first  had wooden racks on either side, each rack full of lead bottles sealed with metal stoppers. They bore no visible markings. A sign above the racks to the left reads Custodes, and the sign to the right, Materia. Each bottle contains a bluish grey powder. The second and larger alcove room contained a table with an oil lamp, medieval torture instruments hanging along one wall, and some yellow robes on hooks along another. The floor bore a chiseled pentagram. Chiseled into the walls across from the entrance was an inscription in Latin, seemingly an invocation to  "The Great Old Ones" to restore life to someone. Beneath it was the same inscription reversed.

In a leap of intuition James, went back to the other room, took a bottle off the "custodes" shelf and shaking out the powder within uttered the invocation over it. The dust rose and swirled taking a vaguely man-like form before solidifying into tone of the custodes they were familiar with. He also discovered that reversing the invocation caused the custodes to collapse once more into a pile of dust. Feeling strangely worn, and a little fragile somehow,  he conveyed this information to Virgil and Vincente. Just as Dan and Matthewr, carting Mr. Clark between them, appeared from the far end of the cave, Dan urged everyone that they needed to leave as Mr. Clark needed urgent hospitalisation!


Heading rapidly up the stairway to the upper cavern their escape was abruptly halted when the rough voice of Mr Scott challenged them from the darkness. For a brief second they paused, but abruptly found themselves under attack by shots from the darkness! Extinguishing their torches,  the Investigators took cover behind the large pillars dominating the cave. While shots blazed out in the darkness, Vincente found himself slammed back suddenly as if a large invisible fist had struck him.  Suddenly Virgil went down, hit by a bullet, and Matthew rushed over to administer what aid he could. Edwards stepped out from behind a pillar and turning his torch on shot one of there assailants - a custodes! Unfortunately this action drew the attention of Mr, Scott, who raised his cane and pointed it's head towards Edward, who stiffened as he felt a sudden sharp pain in his chest. Fortunately however,  the pains just as suddenly subsided.

Dan fired at Mr Scott, illuminated as he was by James's torchlight. Mr. Scott retaliated by once again pointing his cane at Dan - seemingly to no effect - who snapped off another shot. As Vincente and Rev. Matther, using a pistol snatched from Virgil's unconscious form downed two more of the custodes and James a third, Mr. Scott strode forward drawing an old dueling pistol,  and took a formal aiming stance. Dan shot at him once more,  noticing the bullet struck soundly in the chest area, but Mr Scott seemed unperturbed as he returned file the ball striking Dan in the shoulder.  Mr. Scott then strode forward to him drawing a sword from his cane and running Dan through! James spotted Dan falling and his friends, those still standing hurrying to his aid,  and having dispatched the lat of the custodes attacking him, fired directly at Mr. Scott, again shooting true, but to seeming no effect. Mr. Scott turned and charged towards him sword-cane raised to strike once more. James backed off briefly regalizing his gun was seemingly  useless, his mind spinning as he considered what they knew of Mr. Scott. Suddenly in a burst of inspiration, recalling that acording to the information they had found concerning Scott's ancestor's death,  he shouted out the reverse-resurrection spell!  For a second Mr. Scott staggered as if struck then crumbled to dust in front of him!

Matthew and Vincente used the contents of Dan's medical bag to tend wounds as bet they could - Dan himself still being unconscious! James picked up Mr Scott's cane but quickly dropped it as he felt an unnatural coldness come over him. He quickly gathered the weapons dropped by the others and went to help move the wounded onwards.

Arriving upstairs, the found the lounge lit and Mr. Stanford seemingly unconcerned waiting for them as if to address them, his bodyguard standing next to him fired into the floor in front of them, seemingly as a warning. James however had seemingly had enough and dashed forward firing one of the guns retrieved for the custodes. The shot  struck the bodyguard square in the forehead slamming him back into the wall in a mess of blood and brains. Mr. Stanford, seemingly unconcerned drew a match from his pocket and with a flick of his thumb ignited it. The Investigators barely had time to wonder what he was about when he blew gently on the match.  Rather than extinguish it, the flame seemingly detached itself from the matchstick and flew towards them, growing into an enormous fireball. Fortunately the Investigators were able to dive for cover and avoid much of the damage, unlike the wall hangings and wood-paneling behind them which was instantly ablaze.

For a split second the Investigators stood stunned as Mr. Stanford took to his heels through the doorway opposite, heading for the stirs up to the upper floor. The flames were spreading rapidly jumping from the wall hangings to the plush furnishings of the lounge and blazing across the varnished wall-paneling. Deciding to leave Mr. Stanford to whatever fate awaited him, they gathered up the wounded and staggered out into the darkness and safety of the night.