A Choose-your-own-Adventure with an Occult twist
It was a dark evening without stars the night that you received a letter from Inspecteur Général Duplessis asking you to come to France as a personal favor. Enclosed in the letter being airfare as well as various travel expenses – and yet no explanation – for the haste, you nevertheless made arrangements with your business and family, traveling post-haste.
Looking more haggard and care-worn then the last time you saw him, Duplessis greeted you warmly at his small residence in Reims. Never one for wasted words, the Inspecteur sat down by the crackling orange glow of the fire, and spoke animatedly of a raid in amongst the swamps of the American south.
His eyes were flooded by a zeal that made you uncomfortable as he spoke of loathsome cults and unknowable powers – but he did not dwell there for long, instead choosing to beg you with great humility for your aid in a matter that he dared not trust to any of his commissioned officers; for fear that they might somehow be linked to the matter he brought you to his residence to speak of.
Rumours had began to circulate amongst the dockworkers of strange shipments from the port of Calais, being taken to the manor-house of a certain eccentric businessman and expatriate. No proof of wrongdoing has been found, but strange events – disappearances of dockworkers and fieldhands, strange lights and formations of the stars, odd behavior of animals – have caused concern; and that is where you come in.
“Please, my dear friend - “ Duplessis begins, taking your hand in his. “It is not just that I will not investigate this on my own; I cannot. It would be a breach of all the rights vested in me, and a breach of the trust of the people of France. I do not even know if there is anything to investigate. But – I can ask you to go, on my behalf. Everything will be paid for, and credentials have been found so that you may attend a party hosted by the owner of this manor. I ask you with no obligation – only as one friend to another.”
You do not even have to wait to tell Duplessis that you accept, and he falls back into his chair in obvious relief.
“It will be dangerous, I think – there may even be attempts against your life! But you have no idea how much this means to me; for if it is nothing, then I hope merely it is an enjoyable party that you are able to savor for services rendered. And if it is more then that...”
Duplessis frowns imperceptably, then hands you an attache case containing identification, currencies from several countries in generous amounts, and fanciful clothes.
“This soiree has several rules; none of the guests are to be named, even yourself; save for the Host, who knows the names of all. I am able to divine his name, of course – but cannot tell it to you, for that would be criminal in nature. It is enough if you find proof of wrongdoing; then, the full force of the law will be able to act on your call. Despite this secrecy however, I have been able to determine the following information about those invited alongside you...”