April 9th, 1925


We are still on safari, skirting the mountains north of Nairobi now. Africa continues to be a multitude of unexpected beauty and challenges.

I do believe Lord Covington has caught some illness or malady. He has become pale and sweaty, and decidedly unwell. Our guides have been every understanding, allowing him to take breaks and providing assistance for him. Covington, bless him, is soldiering on.

I do hope I don't get whatever it is. While I am starting to feel able for our daily treks, no doubt such an illness would finish me.

I saw a pack of hyenas today. The guides warned us it was likely feeding off a dead animal, so I declined to investigate, although they followed us for several hours afterwards. Chilling, really, the look the in their eyes. If I don't make it home, no doubt they will have my body picked clean in moments. I apologize for my morbidity, but it seems to have followed us these last few days.

Love always,


April 7th, 1925


Our gentlemen have had their first taste of the hunt. I hear them talk at night of the "Big 5" so I expect they will want to continue this wretched safari for a time. We came upon a group of water buffalo, who were less than enamored by our presence.

I stepped back with the porters and guides, and watched in abject terror as the bull charged at Louis. It took shots from all three gentlemen to bring it down, but it slid to a stop right in front of Louis, and until that moment, I hadn't actually believed it would stop.  I will admit to briefly being grateful I wouldn't have to tell Mother of his demise, due to her own recent demise, which I felt dreadfully guilty for.

These creatures are massive. We posed for a picture with the dead buffalo, and it was enormous. I will send a copy later if I am able. If the buffalo had still been standing when it hit Louis, I have no doubt I would be burying a second Vanderbilt heir. It is a prospect I don't like to think on.

The walking has become easier, but I am still tired. Violet has made friends with our guide, Sam, although I haven't bothered. Moza at least keeps me company, even when I lag behind. I find his tail swishing ahead of me in the brush to be quite comforting. He has stamina far greater than I would have expected with all his napping.

Yours truly,


April 4th, 1925

Betty dearest,

I am dog tired. We have been walking almost all day, and my feet are dreadfully sore. The charm of the plains evaporated after the first blister appeared. 

Everyone is in great humor. They have laid foods out for us for meals, and tents set up before we reach tonight's rest. I haven't the energy to write more, but nothing much beyond walking has happened. 



PS- Moza, the traitor, seems perfectly fine.

April 3rd, 1925

My darling Betty,

Nairobi is strangely reminiscent of England, except it is hotter and full of coloureds. I find the wide mix of unknown languages spoken in the street to be a surprising delight. It has been such a time since I was somewhere where I knew so little of the language being spoken. There are a surprising number of Hindi speakers, something I noticed in Mumbasa as well, and a goodly number of Indians (the kind I met in India with Searle, not the savages Custer defeated) make up a sizable portion of the workforce here.

The safari is scheduled for tomorrow, so we went to the McMillan Library to search out the location of the Mountain of the Black Wind. Mrs. McMillan was lovely, and helpful, and they have a fabulous collection of maps and photos that we spent time with- and quite a bit about the Carlyle Expedition including a grisly account of finding the massacre. Doctor Webber and I expect the Mountain of the Black Wind is to the north of the Aberdair mountain range near Mount Kenya, which at least gives us a direction to travel. 

We found a picture of the expedition in which Hypatia Masters was clearly pregnant, although I don't recall her being married. The notes we have only indicated her desire to use new lenses on the Nandi Tribe, who are a local tribe from the Kenyan Highlands who worship the sun. At any rate, I doubt her family would like it known she was with child out of wedlock, so I ask you not repeat it.

Despite my desire to stay and read more on local legends and my reservations at going into Blacktown, my companions insisted my translation skills were absolutely necessary and so I accompanied them to meet with a Mr. Kenyatta, who of course, spoke perfect English. I was glad of my heavy netting regardless, as Blacktown has an unsavory nature, although it is clear Mr. Kenyatta and his Kikuyu Central Association are attempting to modernize the populace. I will admit, my attention wandered as he spoke to Doctor Webber.

We were led deeper into Blacktown to a car, a trip that was harrowing and eye opening. Such degredation simply isnt seen back home, thankfully. I admit to clutching Louis' arm rather tightly through that trip as I could not quite feel safe and was apprehensive. He drove us to a village where we were greeted by delightful young black children, the best part of the day.

That is where we met Okumuo, a brusque native, who clearly knew of the cult of e bloody tongue, and very unwilling to speak to us. He warned us off pursuing the cult, going to their mountain, or attempting to cast spells there- something that I dearly hope he was in error about. He drew us a map, and told us of M'weru- their priestess. After some argument with Doctor Webber, he led us to a hut full of protective symbols with an old man.

I remembered the time I spent with that old lady in Egypt who gave me the stone. I suddenly felt better about our trip here, and promptly seated myself close to him and waited. Bundari was old, and Okumuo said he speaks with the Other Side, praying to N'gai to stave off the evil. We waited for hours, but our patience was rewarded.

Bundari told us of the Bloody Tongue, of a man at the railway station planting flowers to guide us, and of the gods work that is moving towards something. M'weru has made a prophecy of a god-child, part human, part not. My mind went to the pregnant Hypatia, and I shuddered. I believe Webber's thoughts were along the same line.

Intriguingly, they knew of the eye of light and dark. Bundari will look for the rest of the sign, and I feel this could be important. Now I wish I had more time in the library in Cairo, although as I recall, I had found as much information as I could there.

Bundari gave Violet a whisk and a wooden cage with a chameleon who will protect us, although not against magic. I will admit I was disappointed they were given to Violet, although I hope it means he does not feel I require help. Surely he knows that Bast will protect me? I did ensure to tell Moza not to eat the poor chamelon upon our return. 

Oh, but our return! The stars here are amazing. It was pitch dark when we left the village, and the car headlights did not interfere with the amazing view that was above us.  I have never seen so many stars all at once. I was tired, but the stars were so beautiful, that I stayed up the whole trip back to Nairobi. Even the chug of the engine couldn't dampen how beautiful the African plains are at night. 

We go on safari tomorrow, although we must find our recommended guide first. I asked Moza if he wanted to come on safari with us as I couldn't decide whether it would be a good idea or not. He was on board, so our party really will be full. I hope he doesn't get lost in the grasses.

I cannot guarantee the regularity of my future correspondence while we are in the bush, but I will try to ensure they make it to you. I admit I am excited and terrified in equal measures. I do wish I had more time to spend in the library before we leave.



April 2nd, 1925 - Late

My dear Betty,

Well, the cat is truly out of the bag now. I apologise for the state of the previous letter, however it fell from my lap when the excitement started and I was only able to retrieve it after much had occurred. I can't sleep from the excitement of the day, and feel quite pleased with myself.

They all know now. Well, I assume Louis will tell Violet if he hasn't already, and Webber certainly knew what I'd done. No doubt Lord Covington suspects as well, so I consider it an open secret now. Its not as if Bast forbid me from speaking of it, indeed, she told me to sing her songs, so I don't imagine she will have a problem with their knowing.

Circumstances being what they are, Louis took the news of my appointment as a priestess of Bast quite well. He seemed slightly worried, but not disbelieving- presumably having witnessed my power call forth a fog to cloak us in. Really, I was impressed myself, I can hardly imagine he wouldn't be. He did not seem too convinced of the talking to cats, though.

At any rate, we have settled into Nairobi and I know the gentlemen wish to be off on safari tomorrow, so I should attempt to sleep again. I just had to pen this quickly to let you know we are currently safe from any flying balls of flame and that I am finally feeling more secure in my new position. I shall tell you of Nairobi later.

Love always,

Priestess Rose
(not sure of that title, yet, though)

April 2nd, 1925

My darling Betty,

I am so concerned for you. On our arrival in Mumbasa, we stopped by the library, which is where I heard the terrible news of the Tri-State Tornado. I do hope it has not affected you or your family. The article was maddeningly unclear in the actual boundaries of the destruction, and I am anxious for word of your safety.

Mumbasa was quaint, if clearly of English control and influence. We were questioned by customs on our arrival, however they were polite and allowed us to continue on. The good planning of Lord Covington and his batsman have no doubt smoothed our entry here. It was a whirlwind stop, as we were to head out to Nairobi on the next train, however enough for some slight excitement.

We naturally found it necessary to visit the market and the library and various other places, and I noticed an Indian man watching us, at least three or four times. Briefly caut his eyes, but he disappeared into the crowd. Certain I saw him in front of the library and in the market. He was surprisingly well dressed for the area, bearded with a turban, which would make him a Sikh. I cannot imagine he was part of the customs department, but I do not know who else would have known we were here in Mumbasa. 

It is a mystery that will no doubt stay unresolved as we are now on a wood-burning train bound for Nairobi (which is why I had you send your telegram response there). It is a rather different experience than trains in America. I managed to get Louis to take this time to write home, although I hardly know who to address it to.

Africa appears to be more beautiful than I expected. We saw Kilamanjaro from the distance earlier this afternoon, quite arresting in its prominence. At one point Moza awoke from one of his long naps to look out the window, pawing insistently. I turned to look and would you believe there was a pride of lions walking past! I watched out the window for as long as I could see them, and Moza lost interest as I did. I do hope this will not be the only time we see such beautiful creatures. I felt quite awed by the experience as Moza curled back up onto the seat beside me.

Louis got himself on top of the train for unknown purposes, and fortunately nothing happened. I am quite relieved that I was preparing for the dining car and unaware of his movements until afterwards. I was mortified as it was, and the smell of the smoke from the engine was dreadful when he appeared. 

He came in for lunch, and became brash and boastful with everyone who passed into his orbit. I recognized his darker side, and stepped in to smooth things over, which soothed a few ruffled feathers. Things became even better once I convinced him to go change his clothes, resulting in less noxious fumes for the rest of us passengers. Honestly, Louis's manners often make me wonder that he and Searle were brought up in the same house. 

I have seen very little of Violet and Doctor Webber on this train. They are in the other compartment, with Louis, and frankly it has been a relief to have an escape from his manners. 

Mary and I spent some time working on her reading this afternoon. She actually has quite the capable mind when she applies herself. She is the second person this trip I have taught as Doctor Webber has recently taken an interest in Arabic. Teaching a language is much more difficult than merely reading, of course, but the good Doctor is much more determined. I imagine I will have him fluent in no time if he keeps up his interest. 

The light is going, but we will arrive in Nairobi later. An odd red and blue light passed-


TO: Mrs Elizabeth Carpenter


1st April, 1925

March 31st, 1925


I feel much better having gotten that off my chest. I don't know why I procrastinated so long in writing it.

We land tomorrow in Mumbasa, where we shall catch a train to Nairobi, still on the trail of Elias and the Carlyle Expedition. I've been reading again, a book called the People of the Monolith, which is practically banal in comparison to others that I have read lately. I do believe it sounds like the author has encountered some of what he writes about and gone soft in head. Mostly it is lots of poetry. Actually, I thought it fairly quaint.

I am also re-reading the Black Rites, that which speaks of my new deity, Bast, although it really misses a lot of the nuances, now that I've been taught more. Doctor Webber and Violet have been reading the Liber Ivonis, and I gather not enjoying it as much.

I do hope you and yours are well. I fear I shall miss your latest missives until they are sent on from Cairo. Hopefully they will land at the Nairobi hotel shortly.

Love always,


April 7th, 1925

Dear Betty,

We had a quiet day yesterday. No major kills for the gentlemen. Today, however, we were able to go by car, blessedly. 

We loaded into the truck, at which point it became obvious they were hoping to take us to where the gentlemen could kill a lion. I stamped my foot down immediately. I can be certain that Bast would not accept excuses on this front. The gentlemen clearly aren't happy with my decision. 

They have taken to speaking in quiet voices outside of my hearing, which concerns me. We didn't happen on a lion, so my resolve has not been fully tested. I hope it isn't fully as I have given an oath and I shall not be persuaded to go back on my promise to Bast. It is unthinkable. Frankly, I don't think  I would survive her wrath if I did.

Good night,


March 30th, 1925


I know, I owe you the rest of this tale. As I said before, I am ashamed for my part, and horrified remembering it. 
As I wrote before, we found Shakti's Cairo business place, and Violet recognised one of the men from our fracas at the pyramid. Louis sits down beside him and puts a gun discreetly in his side and "I think you should take us upstairs." I am beginning to wonder what sort of a man Louis was when he was away with the legion. 

The man led us to the back of the shop and upstairs. Louis sat him down in the chair. The rest of us searched, but there wasn't much beyond clubs and other weaponry stashed about the offices. Then the gentlemen turned to the man in the chair...

He did eventually tell us another way in to the pyramids. Covington, surprisingly, lost his nerve during the interview. I don't like to think of him like that. I don't like to this of any of us as we were that day...

We purchased burkas and rope and headed out to the pyramids, four of us in the native female garb.  Covington was our male escort, and the rest of us were his wife and her sisters who wished to view the pyramids, or at least so we told the police who asked were clearly worried due to the previous night's excitement.

We found the hidden entrance to beneath the pyramid, and slid down the rope to a dark passageway. Once our eyes adjusted, I could see evidence of things, bodies, dropped down into the hole. It occurred to me thst these people we have been dealing with are truly depraved and cruel creatures. I cannot see a glimmer of goodness in those who would dump people into a place like this. 

We followed a passageway, that was altogether frightening. The silence was oppressive in places. Occasionally there were drafts and foul stenches, causing our torches to gutter. It was altogether eerie. Red liquid dripped on my head and I could not bring myself to investigate what exactly it was. I found myself closely crowding to my compatriots. 

The passageway kept branching. At one point, there were drag marks to the right, we went left. We had to cross deep pits, past luminescent fungi. Louis kept a pratter on about inane things, tales when he was young. It reminded me of Searle, which for once I found comforting and a source of strength. If that was his intent, there are surprising depths to my brother-in-law.

Somewhere down there, I found a black flower. A flower, living in the dark! I had never heard of such a thing, so I picked it up and it stung me, like a thorn. I folded it into my robes.

Eventually, we met a dead end covered in heiroglyphs, so Covington went forward to read by the flickering torchlight. It warned of Children of the Sphynx that dismember for their Dark Lord living there. With more trepidation, we back tracked.

Out of nowhere, two things grabbed Covington from behind. He yelled and shot, and I turned to see an ugly, mummified hands gripping his shoulders. Whatever it was seemed to be pulling him away from us, so I dropped my lamp, grabbed his arm, and began hauling on it to keep him from being taken. 

The monsters were hugely tall. Even the gentlemen barely reached their midchest. One looked much like a crane for a head, while the other looked much like a crocodile on a man's body.

Shots rang out, which was deafening in the tunnel. I changed my grip to around Convington's waist as the crocodile's teeth splintered along both sides. He roared in rage which was cut off as Webber stepped up and removed his head. 

I lost my grip as Covington was freed, and fell back into the sand as Covington fired at the ibis looking monster. It rushed at him, stabbing him with its beak. I grabbed my lamp and began crawling to Violet as the men fought on. When all went silence, we were all standing. 

We eventually came to a cavernous room of black marble. Far side was too far for lamp light to reach, but the ceiling was made of stars. We crossed a creepy bridge across a wide expanse, that would no doubt be filled with adoring masses if the chamber was open, to find a vile green throne with a giant hole behind throne, pitch black, ripped open... A mummy on a dais surrounded by canonic jars. Attempts to destroy the mummy were unsuccessful and instead the jars were unceremoniously smashed.

I will admit to being completely terrified. It was a place of dark magics and dark desires. When Louis and Doctor Webber went into a red mist and came back ashen faced, I was too frightened by their fear to ask questions and too petrified to follow in their wake.

In exasperation, I believe, the gentlemen decided to throw the mummy into black emptiness. Webber and Louis lay dynamite at the throne & altar as we left, having never found the girdle of Nidicris. As the explosions went off, I resolutely refused to look back.

It almost sounds benign, writing it like this, but I assure you it was a harrowing experience. I felt ill by the time we were leaving, hours after we had entered. Perhaps it was the exhaustion.

And that was Cairo.



March 29th, 1925 Part 2

Betty dearest,

I think you'd enjoy the travel we have done so far. Excepting the lunacy that seems to occasionally overtake our party, the sheer joy of seeing all the new sights is quite exhilerating. I can't explain how much I love being on the open road again. I had thought my love of travel extinguishing when Searle's life was, but now I believe it has merely been biding its time until opportunity arose. Truly, I should have done more travel after his death, coming to visit you more often. It just felt too difficult.

It is not difficult now. Indeed, as I stand feeling the ocean spray against the side of the ship, I feel at home. I know shortly we will arrive at Nairobi and my daydreams and the comfort of my cabin will be washed away, but there are moments on every journey where simply being in the moment is enough. I hope I will not forget this when I return.

Moza is unhappy with the living arrangement. I almost wish he had stayed in Cairo, he has been so frightened. He has become more used to the sensation of being onboard, although he still wishes he were on land no doubt. I wonder if it is merely because the ship we are taking is much smaller, and therefore is tossed about a good deal more. The larger cruise ships like the Mauretania almost allow you to forget you are at sea until your eyes reach the horizon. Hopefully we can find larger ships to accommodate us in future.

This ship, The Lady's Finger (which I am assured is not a lewd reference), was the only ship leaving for Nairobi that could take a party as large as ours at such short notice. No doubt if we had waited a few days we could have found something more in the pleasure line, but honestly, I find it enjoyable that we have found ourselves a working ship to travel on. They are a shipping crew, ferrying goods and edibles up and down the continent, which explains the excellent food. Incidentally, if you have the chance, turtle soup is quite delectable. The spices were a little hot for my liking, but the overall dish is quite enchanting.

Leaving Cairo happened quickly. On our return, there was both quiet and commotion. Quiet, in that word from Giza had not yet filtered to our circles, and commotion as an attack had happened in another hotel that had left several men brutally murdered. Point of fact, it was Count Kurosov's hotel.

Violet was distraught, and naturally ran immediately to find the fate of her lover. Sadly, he and several of his bodyguards had perished. As he is dead, I can confide this to you now.

Count Kurosov was quite the gentleman, as I am sure I told you. His breeding shone through, even while he denied he was anything special. What I did not tell you was what Violet confessed to me, that he was a member of the butchered Russian royal family. Not immediate family, but family nonetheless. Family enough that when the Bolsheviks were given an anonymous tip as to his whereabouts, they descended upon the hotel and left bodies in their wake. No doubt the rumours will leak as to Kurosov's connections, but we have lost another royal in that massacre.

Poor Violet, though. I am comforting her as best I can, although with Louis in such close proximity it is quite tricky. I am sure Violet wishes she could properly mourn the Count, and I hope she gets the chance to. While I did not wish the man ill, it does tie up some loose ends nicely. We shall see how that pans out in future.

I am aware that I have not reported all that occurred in Cario, but I am finding it difficult to accept the rest of that tale. For my own part, I am ashamed. For now, I shall return to the ship's deck and enjoy sailing down the beautiful Indian Ocean and attempt to put the dark thoughts behind me.

Yours truly,


March 29th, 1925 Part 1

Dear Betty,

Its a good thing I have this time onboard to catch up in my correspondence. Things happened so quickly and chaotically as we attempted to lave Cairo that there was no chance to write anything. Indeed, I still wonder if some of this should be inked out at all lest it be seen as the ramblings of a lunatic.

After the dust-up at the pyramids, we checked out of Shepheard's that morning, as immediately as we could. Or rather, we left Mary, Dr. Webber's secretary, and Lord Covington's valet to sort it all out after booking passage onwards. We had more important things to do, and in any case, did not want to be seen around the place as we looked rather worse for wear after our exciting evening. (Is exciting the right word? I'm not sure. There certainly was excitement, although it wasn't the good feeling I normally associate with it. At any rate, I cannot think of a better.)

Our poor Dr. Webber has a nasty, livid scar across his face, although the rest of us were more or less intact. I was exhausted, as I'm sure Violet was, although she didn't look it. I have always envied her ability to look like nothing could ever bother her, even in the most trying of circumstances.

In spite of our tiredness, we were immediately busy upon our return to Cairo. Dr. Webber consulted with the imam at the temple and we set off almost immediately to Omar Shakti's cotton farm in search of the still-missing Girdle of Nidicris. Driving in there was such an odd experience, knowing the man was dead, and not knowing if those residing knew or not. On the way in I could saw a worker who had burns, and one with a limp. It was only then that I realised that some of these souls might have been at the pyramids the night before, a prospect I dreaded. While I am sure I would not have been seen, how the rest of my party could go without being recognised I couldn't fathom.

Somehow, Louis blustered his way into the house without so much as the batting of an eye, demanding to see Omar Shakti immediately. He even went so far as to claim that Shakti owed him money! Louis proceeded to ransack Shakti's private study, throwing books off the shelves in an awful mess. I immediately sat down to try to sort through them, although it was difficult to concentrate with the shock of his actions. A locked iron safe was found behind the books, which Violet opened with Louis hovering at her shoulder, and no doubt pocketed what they found.

Louis' behaviour eventually Angered the servants who demanded our departure, and I began immediately apologizing for my brother-in-law's behaviour, assisting in re-arranging the books while the others, except Doctor Webber, disappeared deeper into the house. Beefier servants show up, but I plead their forbearance, after all my brother-in-law only gets this way over money and he had a bad night at the tables last night. Baccarat can be so fickle, you know. It was a small lie, but it served us well as I was still apologizing as we left, Louis still blustering away. I honestly hadn't realised he had such deception in him.

I must admit I was rather grateful the good Doctor stayed with me, as those servants were quite imposing, and I have no doubt that they could have wrought certain violence. The sword at his side was almost comforting, although I do wonder how it's kept so sharp. You can never find a good knife for cutting bread, and while I would never ask him to do so, I expect Cook would be jealous of his new acquisition.

Louis had extracted Shakti's town address, so on our return to Cairo we went immediately to the Old City. The address wasn't much a townhouse, more a place of business with a coffee house on the ground floor, but we had no trouble finding it. Even for a place of business, it was uninviting. Violet and I considered purchasing the local women's wear, a burka, a full length cloth that covers all but the eyes. 

Violet stopped us before entering upon recognizing a man she had shot the night before. I began to wonder if there was anywhere we could go without the possibility of being noticed. 

I will write more later. I admit, the rest of this tale I am reticent to put to paper. You'll worry, and I would hate that, but I assure you, we are well. 



March 28th, 1925 Part 2


We have been surprisingly lucky in our transport on this trip I must say. Once again, we've found a ship with an excellent cook. I suppose the fact that we are still trailing the coast has helped as there hasn't been a need for days old food yet, but I imagine that our new chef will be up to the task of providing good food even with that challenge.

Moza joined us as my new companion on this trip, although he is dreadfully unsure of being on ship. He has absolutely refused to leave the cabin, and even though I have tried to feed him, I'm afraid he is finding the sea not to his liking. No doubt he will acclimatise, but I do hope it happens soon. He seems so frightened and has even taken to sleeping nestled up beside me. Anytime I am here in the cabin he insists on being in contact with me, and I write this with him huddled in my lap. I'd love to imagine that it was due to my new found calling, but I imagine he is merely seeking comfort from someone familiar.

At any rate, I am blithering on aimlessly and owe you a real explanation so I shall attempt to somehow relay the rest of the what occurred on the night of the New Moon.

I left off when we were cowled in the robes, pressed in among all sides, and facing the Monolith (well, one of them) at the foot of the Sphinx. A hush had fallen over the masses, and when that many people choose to fall silent it feels dreadfully ominous.

That feeling of dread certainly was not relieved when Omar Shakti and the rest of the Clive Expedition stepped forward to the Monolith. He threw back his hood, and in clear defiance of what he had told us, began speaking what I was told later by Lord Covington was Ancient Egyptian. His words were loud and clear, although I hadn't a clue what was being said. Covington later explained that Shakti had been saying something along the lines of "mighty is the god whose breath brings death and whose form-" He never had the chance to finish it, but it was even not knowing the words you could be certain there was a gravity and weight to them. It carried over the eerily silent crowd, and his voice swelled and rose until Lord Covington made some noise and Louis sprayed the air with bullets.

Instant pandemonium! I now know why Mother always insisted we leave when the suffragette rallies began to fill with common rabble. A frightened crowd with violence occurring is a thoroughly unsafe place to be. And yet that was where we were.

Space materialised surrounding us. Where we had been packed like un-shucked corn, suddenly nobody wanted to be close to the gun-wielding Americans. Lord Covington and Doctor Webber surged forward, as Louis and Violet closed ranks.

Louis kept firing, clearing the crowd in the immediate surroundings. Violet shot a man grabbing for Louis and all of a sudden I could see them, flowing together and working as one. It was beautiful. I mean, I know, it was terrible and awful and violent, but they moved so perfectly in unison, like they knew exactly what the other was thinking. True love in motion. But I digress.

That dreadful Winfield was there, and shot at Covington. Those two became locked in trading bullets and I daresay it would have been quite the standoff had the rest of the ruckus not been going on.
Doctor Webber, meanwhile, was deftly parrying with that blade he was given by the Muslims. Men hacked and slashed at him, but he moved like the wind, closing in on Omar Shakti.

I was still amongst the crowd as it pushed past the fighting, but I turned back to see Shakti's head come off as Webber swung his sword. And then the most extraordinary thing happened. The fluffy white cat that never left Shakti's side mutated onto its hind legs, stood up with tongue lolling, and attacked Doctor Webber. It was a bit of a surprise, and some of the crowd seemed quite disturbed by it.

I will admit I was torn. Was I obligated to protect that cat by my vow to Bast? It no longer resembled the cats you or I would know, nor did it look like the big wild cats of Africa I have yet to encounter. It was a roiling, furry, two legged monster. I sang out, crying to it in Bast's name, but it did not respond. I suppose that was just as well as Doctor Webber then sliced off its tongue.

Lord Covington, good man, was still trading shots with the company. He shot Winfield, and kept trading shots with Professor Clive who certainly resembled nothing like a well-mannered professor anymore with his face purpling in rage.

And then there was a sound unlike I've ever heard. A section of the crowd behind me simply evaporated as dust and smoke and noise exploded. Later I learned Louis had started throwing grenades to keep the crowd back, but really, it is quite the dizzying experience.

When I looked up, things were getting grim for my friends. Violet and Louis were still defending each other, Webber swinging that sword and Covington reloading and shooting. There was good reason for Louis's grenades though, which he was continuing to lob into the crowd.

The crowd was no longer a panicked frightened mass and was starting to turn on my friends. I could see them closing in and searched about for something to help with when my hands found the pouch Louis had given me earlier.

I'll admit, I had not been particularly attentive when he explained the ins and outs of everything that he wanted from me if fighting occurred. I honestly had not thought it would come to this, certainly prayed it wouldn't. But when my hand closed over the cold thick stick of dynamite I suddenly knew exactly what should be done. I pushed out of the crowd and dashed for the monolith.

Suddenly there was another almighty sound, this one much closer, and I was knocked down by the blast. It took a good few moments to understand what had happened and to stop the ringing in my ears, but I got up before I could get caught in the blast of another grenade and ran on as soon as I could.

The monolith, for all its importance, was surprisingly bare. When I reached it, I crouched at the far side, away from the fighting. The crowds on either side were still jostling to escape Louis's grenades, the occasional bullet zinged past me, but I felt this odd sense of peace in the middle of everything.

I drew the dynamite out of the pack and shoved it as close to the base of the monolith as I could. Then I lit the fuse, and ran.

I may have had a better plan than that at some point in time, but it did not survive for long. I paused in my fleeing only long enough to shout that I'd lit the fuse, enabling my compatriots to turn and flee as well. I ran into the crowd, pushing my way as far as possible. Moments passed, and I began to doubt myself. Had I actually lit the fuse? I had almost convinced myself that I had failed and was about to turn back when the explosion occurred.

Louis's grenades were nothing compared to that deep rumble and quake. The monolith did not survive, falling over part of the crowd. I wasn't to see that, as the air was choked with debris and the explosion knocked a large swathe of the crowd, myself included to the ground.

In the chaos that happened, I managed to find my way back to the car. I was exhausted, hacking from all the sand and dust in the air. There was a cut on my cheek that I don't know how I got, and I felt bruised all over. It took me ages to find my way to the car, as I had not exactly been paying attention to where I ran. Fortunately, my compatriots all arrived as well. I stop remembering things that evening after I saw Doctor Webber's face all covered in blood.

It has grown late with these writings, and Moza is begging me to turn out the light and come to bed. I will tell you of our leaving Cairo later, after I have slept.

Good night, my cousin,


March 28th, 1925 Part 1

My dearest Betty,

What you have not yet heard of our tale in Egypt will take some telling. Fortunately, we are now safely ensconced on a cruiser so I may take my time writing. We were rather eager to exit Cairo at haste, although we managed a dignified exit if I do say so myself. Mary is rather resourceful at packing.

On the evening of the 23rd, our merry band went back to Giza. Having obtained rooms at the nearby hotel, we repaired out of doors with lawn chairs, blankets, binoculars, and a cold, but delicious, picnic. I must see if Cook knows how to use dates. They use it to sweeten so many delicious dishes here and I know my table would be the envy of New York if I could replicate some of the fine pastries we have had here.

Ostensibly, and to any prying eyes, we were out to enjoy the evening and watch the stars. (which are magnificent out in the desert. Really, you must visit Egypt if you get the chance.) In reality, we were there to spy on our old friends the Clive Expedition. None of us trusted them at this point, although I do believe that dear batty old woman is being led by the pernicious knaves in their troupe.

We had driven past the Clive Expedition's new encampment on the way in that day and I was quite shocked to see just how much fortification had been done. Lord Covington explained to me that really this was nothing compared to a true military encampment and Louis helpfully pointed out their lack of discipline, but the heavy presence of imposing men and large guns made it quite difficult to ignore the new martial bent of their set up.

As we gazed at the stars and talked, I was quite conscious that things had not settled well between Violet and Louis. There was an unmistakable tension between them that I fretted over. So much so, that when a group of men and a woman walked up to the Monolith in front of the Sphinx I was almost too distracted to see them. They walked up and then somehow disappeared. We waited several minutes, but they did not reappear.

Adamant that I had not missed them, Louis and Violet went down for a closer look. As they were hardly speaking to each other, I was worried about this, but I suppose when you're attempting to be stealthy there isn't a need for words. Anyway, they returned later, having been caught by the guards and somehow talked their way out of it, to report that they had seen footprints, but they weren't sure whether they led into or out of the Monolith.

I tried to stay awake longer, but the excitement of the day was too much for me and I eventually nodded off. Lord Covington said he eventually saw a small group of people walking away much later in the evening.

We slept most of the 24th. With the late night and knowing we would likely be up late that day it seemed the prudent thing to do. I slept for a time, but arose in the early afternoon to supplicate myself to Bast and perform a small ritual that Neris had taught me.

You see, being a Priestess of Bast is not just words and bowing unlike so many other religions. As a Priestess, I am afforded certain abilities that have left the common usage. One such is said to imbue a blessing on a person, or thing. Knowing we faced certain danger, and with Bast's warning that she would not intercede herself on my behalf, I arose in the early afternoon, shuttered my window, put on my flowy robe, lit some candles, and proceeded to make the supplications and chants that would impart to our group a modicum of luck.

It is difficult to know if one has done such things correctly, but after repeating it several times over, I'm sure I must have had an impact for at least some of us.

Heading out that evening with the gentlemen all carrying an unusually large amount of artillery, the streets were unusually busy, much busier than we had seen them before. There were also more guards on the streets who we questioned as to what was going on. He said nothing of interest was happening tonight, but that tomorrow there might be something, some work for the locals to be done on the sights.

It was quite odd actually, as he first said it was a day of rest, which made no sense as it was a Monday, but then explained that the archaeologists did not need workers yesterday, but today which I supposed made some sense. At least a little bit more.

We followed the crowd towards the Sphinx. And what a crowd it was. Even the largest ballroom in New York could not have held the numbers that were there, and they were still coming. At first I thought it was perhaps 150 people, but as we moved further forward and realised how many there was and how packed they were, it was heading well past 500. Honestly, I had not realised there were quite so many locals to be brought together.

With the crush of people all moving towards the face of the Sphinx, a giant monster, I had the distinct impression of gathering fodder. And the oddest part of the crowd was that they were all wearing robes. Not light robes to keep the sun off yourself, but heavy, dark almost monkish robes. We eventually found a vendor with his cart selling them and purchased some for ourselves to better blend in, and even in that time the numbers grew more.

The press of people was becoming cloying. The gentlemen helped us push towards the front of the crowd. We ended up perhaps 10-20 rows away from the front, which was encircling the Monolith we had seen the small group approach the night before. Violet thought she saw some of the Clive Expedition as well as Omar Shakti, but it was a struggle to see anything other than the wave of brown robes. The heat of the day had not fully left yet, and I was sweltering in my robes, hoping that I would not faint, although if I had, I could not have fallen for the crush of people all around me. Eventually a hush fell over the crowd.

Dinner is being called, and I suppose this is a good place to stop for now. I shall continue later, but do not worry, we all left Egypt in mostly one piece.


March 23rd, 1925

Dearest Betty,

I feel fully vindicated. I should warn you, this may grow long, as I've much to tell.

I have followed Thomas Jefferson's advice and determined I shall not be idle. Not that I've been particularly idle with my travels, but primarily when left to myself I've spent it reading rather than doing. This afternoon I resolved I was done with idling. 

Sending Mary on an entirely superflous errand that would keep her from the rooms for several hours, I retraced my drunken tipsy steps last night, donning my night gown again. I lighted candles, read out the words to the "bind cat" spell, and once again, nothing happened. Well, not nothing, as then I conversed with Moza, but no magical sign was given.

You see, I figured if I tried it again while wholly sober in the glare of daylight, then I couldn't possibly be imagining it, and it did so feel true before. Fortunately, I was not losing my mind again. Moza had conversed with Neris who would attend me later that afternoon. We conversed a bit, although his mind seems rather singly attuned to his stomach, so I can't call it particularly witty conversation.

At any rate, then I was terribly excited and spent the rest of the afternoon waiting on Neris's arrival. I half expected her to climb in through the window as a cat and transform before me, but my imagination had once more run wild. At precisely 6:07pm there was a knock on the door and I let her in.

Neris is a beautiful young woman, made even more beautiful I think by the knowledge she carries. Her mind is quick and that olive skin of the natives here gives her exotic features a beautiful glow. Were it not for her abnormally slanted eyes, she would be quite the hit in society.

Neris assured me the scrolls were safe where they once again belonged. I asked for assurances on that, and she confided that she is a Priestess of Bast- an Egyptian goddess. We got to talking and I asked if there was anything that could be done to help myself and companions in the upcoming New Moon. I think that was about when things went beyond the normal. Or perhaps it was what followed.

Regardless, its difficult to recount this part. Before Neris would help me, she insisted that she must get Bast's permission, which apparently, she could do right there in my room. We cleared the room of furniture as best we could and Neris began chanting and then... Then I had a conversation with a goddess.

I realise that when the others said they'd done similar, I scoffed. I even wondered at their sanity. I'm still not convinced at what happened to them, but I will tell you, if you ever have the... pleasure is definitely the wrong word... the experience of meeting a god, you will know it.

It was dark, there were cats, and a mighty presence. I will say I believe I did myself and Searle proud, not simply crumbling at the demands Bast made. I bartered and checked the terms and conditions as he would have done before accepting the mantle she offered/required for her help. She asked if I would sing her songs, but as you know I am not the most accomplished singer by any stretch of the imagination. So we bartered, and I said I would do my best, a certain hedge that I have no doubt will completely ignored should Bast will it.

Bast won't intervene on our behalf directly, although promised Neris would teach me some oblique manners of protection. She cautioned me that we were likely to die in the upcoming New Moon, which chilled my blood, but she made me promise to try to stay alive. In truth, that particular thread did not feel like much a bargain and her words left me shaking. When something larger than yourself expresses the desire to play with your soul, you do not argue too glibly.

In the end, I was relieved when she went, although burdened by my new station in life. I am a Priestess now, can you imagine? I may not have been the most religiously pious before, but I assure you, I will be keeping my obligations to Bast with a fervor I never felt before. Meeting your god will certainly be a converting experience.

I spent the rest of the evening conversing and learning from Neris. In the wee hours of the night, we fell asleep and it was nearly dawn when there was a racket at my door. I will admit to being rather frightened that Bast had returned to tear my throat out, but upon opening the door all I found was a thoroughly intoxicated Louis who stumbled in, made vague noises, and passed out on my floor. I covered him with a blanket and returned to my room in time to catch Neris leaving by the window. The manner in which she escaped made me feel as if we were lovers nearly caught. What an idea! But somehow I'm not ready to confess my new allegiance to those here. Writing it to you doesn't have the finality that saying it outloud would, so I think for now I shall keep it to myself.

Fearing for the state of my carpet, Mary and I dragged Louis to the bathroom, dumped him into the tub, and woke him with a pail of water. He was not impressed, but I did manage to get him cleaned eventually while waiting on breakfast.

Louis had no interest in breakfast, and confessed the result of his evening with Violet to me. It appears he broached the subject of their relationship and she envisaged her life as it is. Violet doesn't feel she can do the society thing, nor did she have any interest in stopping in her current career. To Louis that clearly meant there could be no help but to keep their relationship quiet, and Violet wasn't particularly impressed by that idea either.

Frankly, from the way he said it, I could hardly believe Violet sat through the whole thing without slapping him. Here we are in 1925, women even having the right to vote, and Louis is speaking to her as if he will have full control of her life and she would have to do everything he asks to have a relationship with her. I let him know precisely how badly he'd erred in his discussions with her.

In his defence, I don't believe Louis ever thought that one could have someone who was not merely a society wife. Louis had no idea that Father had been grooming Searle and I to carry on as a couple the way he and Mother had. I've put the notion in his head that she might still find some employment that would be suitable for the family as well as her ambition into his head and hopefully he has not entirely ruined their prospects as a couple.

Nevertheless, I doubt he shall have time to square things with her before we must act on the New Moon. It is tomorrow night, and today we shall travel out to enjoy a late night picnic by the pyramids. The pretense is a complete falsehood, but a necessary deception to confirm our suspicions about the Clive Expedition.

I hope to have more concrete answers on that front soon. In the meantime, I shall be following Moza's lead and spending my afternoon napping.

Your tired friend,


March 22nd, 1925


Perhaps the wine was an error last night, or more likely the brandy was the mistake. My head is less than clear this morning, but I feel obligated to denigrate myself with a tale you shall no doubt find hilarious and entertaining. 

After dinner last night, I was once again left to my own devices. Louis and Violet disappeared, and Lord Covington returned to his books, which left me with three bottles of good wine and some tall tales in books. As has become usual, my only companion was Moza and somewhere through the second bottle, I wished that he could truly keep me company. As if in answer to my desire, I stumbled across a section in Covington's translation that spoke of communicating with cats. I'm sure it was the wine that made me decide to attempt the "bind cat" spell.

This is where the brandy comes in, as I felt it necessary fortification. You'll tell me I'm being silly, but I've been so lonely lately that it somehow made sense.

I tried to remember all the things that I've seen psychics perform before communing with the spirits. I've never seen a sorcerer work, but I presumed it would not go amiss should I dress in my most flowy night gown (it's actually quite stunning, dark burgundy silk with embroidered flowers that Searle bought me for our first anniversary. He brought it back from the trip with his father to China). I also lit a few candles and dowsed the lamps for a more atmospheric feel.

With candles burning, I read out the words and followed the instructions as best I could. I expected some whoosh of the candle flame or a sound or some such, but there I was to be disappointed for nothing happened. Assuming failure, I turned to Moza and exclaimed what a silly girl I was to even think it would work.

"Maybe you just need more fish." I couldn't believe it. It just came right out of his little tiny mouth.

I tell you, I was quite taken aback. Moza has never before replied to anything and certainly not in such insolent manner, although truth be told, that shouldn't have surprised me. I asked after the lady, Neris, and what happened to the scrolls, which Moza assured me were safe. He would check to see if I could talk with Neris and suggested that the outcome might be more favourable if there were offerings of fish. Then he nipped out the window, leaving me alone once again.

I dutifully left a message for Mary to provide anchovies with the morning's breakfast, which was waiting on my waking. Had it not been for that, I might have guessed I'd dreamed the whole incident.

Moza was back from his midnight perambulations, and had the audacity to leap straight onto the breakfast table and start eating the anchovies. I asked Moza wasn't the anchovies for Neris? He gave me a baleful stare. He may even have been laughing at me.

Maybe it was just the wine, but I swear he was talking to me. I can't tell the others, they'd worry I was seeing Searle again and with the New Moon coming up they have too many things on their mind as is. I must find out what happened with Violet and Louis as well.

I will leave you with this tale for now. Do not laugh too heartily at my foolishness.

Your blushing cousin,


March 21st, 1925

My dear Betty,

The word for this week appears to be Temptation. We are swimming in the possibilities of our own vices and falling prey to our own devils, each, I suspect, in our own ways.

For me it has been gossip as you will no doubt have gathered from my last letter.

I finally tracked down Violet over breakfast and we talked long about what was happening between her and Louis. I fear my hopes may not have come off quite as I intended as she was quite stiff.

She cares deeply for Louis. I can see it in the myriad ways that she is attuned to every mention of him. I'm not sure she understood my warning that she might be required to let him down softly. Indeed, I think the depth of her affections is shown in how she was perturbed by such an idea. I was merely trying to inform her that he was doing some thinking on their lives and that it might be best to be prepared if she was not similarly engaged emotionally in their couple hood, but I'm afraid it didn't sound quite so sensible as it came out of my mouth.

She is also thoroughly enjoying the good Count. I don't believe she had really thought beyond what might occur in Cairo, much less in the future beyond it, before I brought the whole thing up. I almost regret doing so now, as I have barely been able to speak to her before now, and if she is worried that I disapprove of their relationship, then I will no doubt see even less of her now. She is happily enjoying "the only uncomplicated part of my life right now" which was enough for me to suddenly realise what we were discussing in the breakfast room and nearly choked on my delightful Eggs Benedict. You wouldn't think it, but The Shepheard's Hotel has some surprisingly excellent Hollandaise sauce.

I've been at a bit of a loss lately, and did not have a companion to accompany me to the Egyptian Museum, so I spent the afternoon and evening reading. Lord Covington was kind enough to lend me the translation he has made of the scrolls Vanheuvelen had worked on, which has not only the translation, but some notes he thought himself. It is fascinating in light of the rest of what I have been reading.

In spite of my exotic surroundings, outside of the gossip I'm afraid my life has become quite staid. I spend so much time reading alone now that I am grateful there is no society to speak of for fear of what might be said. I sit here now, well past midnight, a little maudlin with a book of magical spells in my lap and a stiff brandy in hand.

Do write to me soon and tell me of something fascinating.

Forever yours truly,