26th April 1924

Today was, in some ways, far less productive then I had hoped however it did throw up an unexpected potential ally.It was decided that we needed to try again to talk to Mr. Raven, perhaps discover some more about these “friends” he mentioned. Prof. Deveraux excused himself from the group saying that he would go to the LA Public Library to do some research into the Hotehk tribe. Since Prof. Davis was still suffering from his wounds it was decided that he would go with Deveraux.

We made it to Atlas Studios without incident and after only a few minutes looking spotted Mr. Raven lounging in an old director’s chair. Unfortunately he still had possession of the sword that caused so much trouble yesterday. He spotted us as soon as we saw him and tried to slip away. Dr. Ewers, Jack and myself did our best to follow him discreetly but Mr. Raven must have been aware that he was being followed as, once he had gone down a side street, he turned on us brandishing his sword. Dr. Ewers did his best to calm Mr. Raven but the unbalanced actor was having none of it and he advanced threateningly. As before he made comments about us threatening his friends. A delusion on his part or did Raven know more then he should?

I had hoped that I could calm him down and so had been slow to retreat when Raven advanced. Suddenly Raven lunged at me with his sword. I saw the blade coming and knew with cold certainty that I would not be able to throw myself aside in time but suddenly Dr. Ewers cannoned into me, knocking me from the path of danger. Dr. Ewers received a nasty gash along his arm for his chivalry but luckily the wound was not as severe as the one that Prof. Davis had received. The fight turned ugly then. Raven may have had a sword but it is hard to defend yourself from three directions at once. Within seconds first Jack and then myself and Dr. Ewers had launched ourselves on to Raven and dragged him to the ground. More by accident then design I had ended up near his sword arm and was able to prize the blade from Raven’s grip. While Jack and I pinned down Raven, Dr. Ewers was able to fish a syringe full of sedatives out of his bag and inject the struggling actor. Within a few seconds the drugs had done their work and all the fight drained out of Raven.

Quickly I looked around for a less public place we could take Raven and discovered that there seemed to be none. There were a few door off the side street but judging from their red-lights they were to sound stages that were in use.

Our luck continued to get worse and worse; the sedative Dr. Ewers had administered has left him so incoherent that we could not get through to him. I quickly went through his pockets in a hope that there would be something informative there. One of the first things that I found was a bottle of alcohol, which Jack quickly took, other then that all I found of interest was what looked like a hotel key. The key fob had the number 431 but as there seemed to be no sign of the name of the hotel it was pretty much useless.

I had barely finished when a couple of studio security guards put in an appearance. Jack had liberally sprinkled the alcohol over Raven, to disguise his drug induced stupor as drunkenness but then took the ruse too far when he started swigging the stuff himself and acting the drunkard too. The security guards clearly didn’t want us hanging around Raven and latched on to the idea that Jack had got him drunk as a stick to metaphorically beat us with. I seethed inside with frustration but what could I do? Revealing that Jack was only pretending to be drunk would have opened up a can of worms.

While one guard stayed behind to look after Raven the other dragged us off to see the studio manageress.. She was equally incensed and threatened to bring the law down on us but instead settled for just having us throw out of the studio complex and told never to return.

The entire episode was looking to be a complete waste of time when, as we gathered our thoughts on the sidewalk outside the studio, we spotted a guard pointing us out to a woman.

The woman came over, introduced herself as Rosanna Bartlett and asked if she could have a chat with us over some coffee.

Over coffee Miss Bartlett told us that she was something of a freelance investigator and she was interested in the events of The Prince of Babylon film shoot. We stuck to our cover story, that we were investigating on behalf of Mr. Winwood in order to see if he could make back some of his investment. Miss Bartlett clearly guessed that there was more to our involvement then we were letting on and flat-out stated that she believed supernatural forces had been at work. She claimed that she had been close to one of the people who’s life had been ruined by The Babylon Curse. Jack dropped the name James Raven into the conversation and while she clearly knew of the movie star I could not detect any hint of a reaction to his name that would suggest that the two had been involved.

Regrettably we had to turn down her request for aid. When I suggested that we talk to Mr. Winwood about perhaps taking her on she asked that we keep the meeting private as she and Mr. Winwood had clashed in the past about her investigation and that she believed he was trying to hush it all up.

I must admit to have taken a liking to Miss Bartlett; she was clearly a woman of intelligence and resource and I suspect could make a valuable ally. Unfortunately letting her in on our investigation is not a decision to be made unilaterally. However I did ask if there was some way we could get in contact with Miss Bartlett if the situation changed. She suggested that we leave a message with the coffee shop owner, whose name was Benny.

That afternoon, back at Winwood’s, we were rejoined by the two professors. Their researches into The Hotekh tribe had come up with two small snippets. A report in the June 7th 1899 edition of the LA Globe mentioned an incident of four men being killed by a mountain lion in Devil’s Canyon. A search party that set out after the lion had been called off when two dogs and a man had been killed by a landslide. The article mentioned an adobe village some quarter of a mile from the Canyon that was once the home of the Hotekh tribe.

The professors had also found a small report by a Spanish missionary called Friar Josepha, written about one hundred and fifty years ago, that briefly mentions the Hotekh as a tribe who were “hated even by their fellow heathens”


Margo

Topics: Case of the Prince of Babylon |

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