So, tonight saw the culmination of the party’s attempts to find the Eye of Shambala, and the start of a new chapter in their adventures.
Having left off in Lhasa, Tibet, the team arrived a day after the Germans, led by Dr. Albert Heiser and Haupsturmfuhrer Werner. A tense dinner for the team is thrown by the village elders, and the Germans are (of course) invited. That evening, everyone has intense dreams — Gould dreams of a faceless creature calling to him, calling him son, and dreams of trackless red desert and lush, improbable jungle landscapes; Zara dreams of a particular encounter in Africa she had; Gus Hassenfeldt of losing him father (for a time) to the Great War…
The next morning, they are taken to meet the 13th Dalai Lama, who is concerned and intrigued by the sudden arrive of people in airplanes, and intent on seeing the Eye — an artifact of great import, but one that has resisted their every effort to unlock its mysteries. Even the purest of heart cannot open the Eye. Gould admits that he did just this think in Africa. Only the Ancients could do this! He is a descendent of the people from the birthplace of the world!
Before they can get much further on this, Gould noticed a strange droning noise no one else does, sees shadows from the windows no one else does. Then all hell breaks loose — the monks warn the Dalai Lama that men have invaded the Potala Palace, and the sound of automatic gunfire comes from the city. It’s not the Nazis, Werner has no automatics! At that moment, an airship — SSSR-V6 — appears out of nowhere! At the same time, strange, ghostly things invade the audience chamber! (All the characters did well enough to sense these invaders, but only Gould could see them for what they were — Russian soliders, and two that held back, a man and a woman. He senses the pull of the man, the attempt to bend Gould’s perception with his will.
After having dropped hints about the Bekterev Brain Institute and Olga’s connection to the same, I thought it was time to up the ante…if you’re going to hint at Russian psychics, you give the audience Russian psychics. (Looking at you, George Lucas and Steven Speilberg!) The man, Arkady Lenshev is known as “the Ghost” and can make people and things disappear with the power of concentration; the girl, Galina Obreva, is a mind reader and mind controller.
Olga recognizes the misty figures and warns them it’s “Section 2!” Then the fight is on — Gus throws a heavy bronze vase at one of the figures and drops it, where it turns into a Russian soldier. Obreva takes over Werner before he can fire his PPK, and makes him take a shot at Gus. Before this can happen, however, Zara throws Rigoletto — her capuchin monkey — at the Nazi and throws off his aim. Hunter attempts to save Gould and gets into a fight with the stereotypical Russian man-mountain and doesn’t do so well.
Gould runs for it, gets out into the hallway only to be squared off with the Ghost, who is impressed — no one has ever seen through his cloak before. Gould fakes a surrender, gets close, and manages to get a knee in Lenshev’s soft and danglies. He’s just getting the Tokarev out of the man’s holster when a half dozen soldiers burst in.
The others are deep in a fight. Other Russian mist figures grab Olga, but Gus manages to get one off of her and choke him out. Olga is taken over by Galina and nearly busts Hunter’s head open with her knout, then is knocked unconscious by the monstrous, Ivan Drago-esque Russian soldier. Hunter struggles out his revolver and is about to take a shot, but is taken over by Galina for a moment (the plaer got an incredible Will roll!) and realizes it’s her trying to take him over. He is able to shoot the big Russian in the back.
The Russian backup arrives just in time to make things more complex. Zara, Gould, Hunter, and Werner gun down a bunch of the bad guys while retreating after the Dalai Lama and his monks. As they are making good their escape, Werner’s German troops show up and a gun fight ensues.
The characters escape, and led by the monks, get to the Dheva Cave where the Eye is held. Gould’s presence opens the eye, and his connection to it is even more powerful with Olga in proximity — it’s the first hint of why the Russians want her back: she is a focus for magic; her presence enhances the connection of magicians and magical objects to their source of power. The sounds of fighting move closer, and Gould grabs Olga and jumps through, with Hunter and the others following close.
On the other side, they arrive in a cave and startle a bunch of bats, which drives them out into the daylight. The characters find themselves in a hot, humid, and mountainous jungle. The air is thick, the sun small and incredibly bright, and around them are the grand ruins of an ancient city…Shambala or Shangri-la!?!
That was where we ended the night, with the characters finally having reached some exotic and unknown locale. The hollow earth? Some jungle on Earth? An alien world?