Dateline: Oct. 8th – 11th, 1923
After arriving in Lima, the investigators split up. Kenneth Wells, Everett Harrington and Moishe Abelman went on a mission purchase firearms. Afterward, they visited Fernando Vasquez—a former laborer at the Institute dig site—in a run-down sanitarium on the edge of town. Vasquez huddled in the corner of his cell and muttered gibberish, frequently mentioning “the cathedrals of the devil.” They left him repeating the strange and sinister phrase, “A thousand mouths to feed. A thousand mouths to feed. A thousand mouths to feed…”
Meanwhile Horace Mars took the liberty of booking the most expensive room in the most expensive hotel in all of Lima—the penthouse suite of El Central. After a ($12) night’s sleep that was refreshingly free of French-Canadians, the group awoke ready to travel to the Temple of the Moon.
They met Enrique in the lobby and piled into his rusty old truck for their long drive into the Andes. That night, they slept under the stars. During Kenneth Wells’s watch, Soldado became alarmed at something he heard in the darkness.
There followed another unremarkable day on the mountain road, during which Enrique made awkward agricultural smalltalk and failed to ask the investigators about themselves. That evening, though, Soldado again became alarmed by some sound or smell that only he could perceive. He raced off into the night. There was a gunshot and the poor dog returned, lightly wounded. The investigators piled into the truck, weapons drawn, ready to defend themselves.
A figure approached along the dark road. Wells called out—and was answered with a gunshot! The investigators returned fire, apparently missing their unseen enemy who retreated back the way they had come. The group decided to start the truck and continue driving. Behind them they occasionally saw the headlights of their pursuers.
Just after dawn, they arrived at the dig site: a canyon containing the temple complex and a number of tents for the workers.
A cursory investigation revealed that Professor Dermott, the leader of the dig, was missing. The Quechua-speaking Indians believed that he disappeared. Ticocha, their overseer, repeatedly told the investigators that they had come to a “bad place” that they should leave. Kenneth Wells showed Ticocha a drawing of the tablet and he became agitated.
Four of the group began to investigate the temple itself. On the north side of the complex, they slid aside a suspicious stone slab to reveal a tunnel filled with dirt.
Atop the pyramid they explored a stone building with two chambers. The north chamber contained a wall covered with the familiar black stone amulets. In the center of the wall was a larger copy of the same radial symbol. Moishe Abelman attempted to discretely pull out the tablet here, but Enrique saw him.
The south chamber contained a staircase down to a hidden door, leading into a worship chamber. In it was an empty circular pool with a carved map of the region. A shaft of light shined down from a circular hole in the ceiling. Leading off to the north of this chamber was another collapsed tunnel.
Meanwhile, Mars poured through Dermott’s personal journals. They revealed that good professor was concerned about the valley’s strange nighttime seismic activity and that workers seemed to be disappearing into the temple complex with alarming frequency. Also that he feared the dig site was being watched from above…