"... But more decisive steps were in the air, and it is in the secret assemblages of sworn and tested sailors and faithful old privateersmen in the Brown warehouses by night that we must look ... Slowly and surely a plan of campaign was under development ..." - The case of Charles Dexter Ward

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Day 3
As you emerge from your tent in the morning the sun is already high in the sky and it's hot. A layer of mist has engulfed the floor of the jungle this morning and you’d forgotten how suffocating the air was. It’s grip is like a hand over your mouth and the unsatisfying feeling of a deep breath taken through your nose.
Breakfast is mashed root vegetables with egg. It tastes like rations but at least it isn’t fish!
The bearers have been out scouting for the last two hours and Niguel informs you that they have found a route along the river that should make travelling easier until lunch. The bearers have taken the mules on a longer route earlier in the morning.

After a steep climb up the side of a cliff face, for which Norville had to be hoisted by a rope the route turns out to be a riverbank and you end up frequently walking in thick clay-like mud. Its okay for the mules and those walking barefoot but not for those in cumbersome walking boots. Niguel and Carl slip into the river but following some quick reactions from Jackson he helps them both back up the riverbank.

Three of the bearers went hunting in the late afternoon and returned with three capybara’s. After roasting them over and open fire for dinner the smell gets the attention of a jaguar that stalked them that evening.

After the party had turned in for the night the jaguar struck resulting in the deaths of Wahya and InGwi.

Days travelled: 2.5/40
Bearers alive: 22/24
(Deceased: InGwi, Wahya)
Mule's alive: 10/10
Rations remaining: 55 days
Session: Game Session - Tuesday, Sep 09 2014 from 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM
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Day 2
The next morning you awaken to the smell of frying fish. Outside the bearers are chatting in their native languages. It’s another hot morning and sweat soaks your body.
Hartley warns you to mentally prepare yourself for the jungle. The feeling is like nothing else around.
When the camp is packed up and the mules readied Niguel leads the way with machete in hand.
As the knife comes down across the leaves, progress is now slow. Almost immediately the humidity engulfs you, oppressively trapping your body between the trees that tower 40ft above you. Creepers and vines wrap around the trunks and branches. The smell of mud and rotting vegetation is everywhere, animals whine, chatter and buzz.
It takes you 1 hour to reach the river you had been following yesterday and a rope bridge that Niguel must have been looking for. As the party crosses slowly, the mules cross 1 at a time.
In order to avoid travelling at the hottest time of the day, the bearers set out the canvas awning and the party breaks for a couple hours. More fish and sweet potatoes arrive on a plate for you. Flies swarm around you and the fish. There is a cry from one of the bearers and you see him pointing at the horizontal trunk of a dead tree. You then notice, sitting on the trunk a black and golden tarantula, much larger than your hand. It’s helped itself to the fish entrails and is eating them.
The predatory nature of the jungle comes to life in your mind. Where everything can kill in order to survive. Even the giant leaves attack and many of the bearers arms are bleeding from small cuts caused by inch long barbs on the end of each leaf. You will only be going deeper and deeper into the bowels of the jungle. There will be no quick escape from something trying to kill you. Yes you can shoot it, but what will come next? What will be stalking you from around the next corner?
After the rest you begin to make progress. Some bearers have worked on cutting a path through the plantation and have already moved the mules on. Unfortunately it is only a few minutes until you catch up with them. The flies are itching, landing on you, something bites. Some of you are mentally prepared, but for some of you the jungle is a worse place than you could imagine.

By nightfall, and the time when the camp is set up, your legs are weary, the joints of your arms are tired and bugs are beginning to land on you. As the camp is established you sit down and watch the bearers prepare for the night. Stars are glittering in the sky. Insects are calling.

In the days afterwards you find out that some of the bearers disappeared and swam in the pool beneath a waterfall that night.
Session: Game Session - Tuesday, Sep 09 2014 from 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM
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Tags: Waterfall
Day 1
The first day is spent walking along well worn paths or through grasses that run parallel to a river. You stop around midday and whilst some of the bearers create a shelter using canvas and trees some of the others wade into the river with spears to catch fish.
Besides the unforgiving sun beating down on you and the flies catching the scent of your sweat the day passes with little points to note.
Around 5pm you notice that the path leads into dense shrub land and it is an area outside of here that Hartley decides is the place to camp for the night.
There are four two-man tents which the bearers erect and another awning to shelter whilst eating.
Keeping to themselves Uledi appears to be a favourite amongst the other bearers. He is leading a song by firelight.
Session: Game Session - Tuesday, Sep 09 2014 from 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM
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Tags: Hartley , Uledi
Force march
At any point in time you have the option to Force March. By succeeding in Intimidation or Bargaining by 1 degree plus 1 degree for each investigator that does not want to force march you can cover two days worth of ground in one day.
Each day of forced marching requires a Dodge test from all investigators; each investigator who fails loses 1 point of health.
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Tags: rules
El Dorado
El Dorado is rumoured to be a place in which precious stones are found in fabulous abundance along with gold coins. Over the centuries the place has varied in description and stories translated from one language to another and back again. Eventually the stories included those of a legendary lost city. The resulting El Dorado myth enticed European explorers for centuries. Among the earliest alleged stories was the one told on his death bed by "Martinez", ammunitioner for Spanish adventurer Diego de Ordaz, who claimed to have been rescued from shipwreck, conveyed inland, and entertained by "El Dorado" himself (1531) (El Dorado translates as The Golden One).
During the 16th and 17th centuries, Europeans, were still fascinated by and ignorant of the New World, they believed that hidden cities of immense wealth existed. Many searched for this treasure, in quests that ended in the loss of countless lives and the illustration of El Dorado's location on maps only made matters worse as it made some people think that the city’s existence had been confirmed.
The mythical city of El Dorado on Lake Parime was marked on English and other maps until its existence was disproved by Alexander von Humboldt during his Latin-America expedition that lasted five years between 1799 and 1804.
Prior to the time of the Spanish conquest of the Muisca (Moi-sca) people in 1537 and the discovery of Lake Guatavita, the Spanish conquistadores had noticed the native people's abundance of fine artifacts of gold and silver and a handful of expeditions had set out to explore the lowlands to the east of the mighty Andes in search of said gold, cinnamon, precious stones, and anything else of value. This was long before any legend of "golden men" or "lost cities" had fired the imagination of Spanish kings and commoners alike but the prevalence of such valuable artifacts, and the natives apparent ignorance of their value, inspired speculation as to a plentiful source for them.

During the Klein-Venedig period in Venezuela (1528–1546), agents of the German Welser banking family (who had received a concession from Charles I of Spain), a German conquistador, Ambrosius Ehinger's first expedition in July of 1529, launched repeated expeditions into the interior of the country in search of gold. Another German conquistador Nikolaus Federmann had spent years in the late 1530’s searching the Colombian plateaus, Orinoco Basin and Venezuelan lowlands searching in vain for El Dorado. Then there was Philipp von Hutten (1541–1545), who led an exploring party from Coro on the coast of Venezuela.
Spanish explorer Diego de Ordaz, then governor of the eastern part of Venezuela known as Paria was the first European to explore the Orinoco river in 1531(-32) in search of gold. A veteran of Cortez's campaign in Mexico, Ordaz followed the Orinoco beyond the mouth of the Meta River but was blocked by the rapids at Atures. On his return voyage to Spain, Ortaz he died possibly by poison.

The earliest reference to the name El Dorado was in 1535 when Captain’s Anasco and Ampudia were dispatched by Spanish conquistador Sebastian de Belalcazar to discover the valley of Dorado in pursuit of the splendid riches of the Zaque (Zacky).
After the death of Ordaz, the Crown appointed a new Governor of Paria, Jeronimo Ortal, who carefully explored the interior along the Meta River (between 1532 and 1537). In 1535 he ordered Captain Alonso de Herrera to move inland by the waters of the Uyapari (today known as the town of Barrancas de Orinoco). Herrera, who had accompanied Ordaz three years before, explored the Meta River but was killed by Achagua (ar-char-goo-er) Indians near its banks while waiting out the winter rains in Casanare.
In 1536 Gonzalo Díaz de Pineda led an expedition to the lowlands to the east of Quito and found cinnamon trees but no rich empire.
The Muisca (Moi-sca) towns and their treasures quickly fell to the conquistadores and the following year – in 1537 –the legend of El Dorado was spawned. Captured natives – who were mostly Indians – would speak of El Dorado and of the rites which used to take place at Lake Guatavita. The Spaniards heard the stories and as they had discovered much gold on these natives, they became convinced that El Dorado was near. News of the gold spread and multiplied to the extent that the gold on these natives was seen as proof that there was a kingdom of immense wealth in the New World.
During the same year, the Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada and his army of 800 men diverted from their mission to find an overland route to Peru and travelled up and into the Andean homeland of the Muisca (Moi-sca) for the first time.
Three years later, in September of 1540 and a little further north, the Spanish conquistador Hernán Pérez de Quesada (brother of Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada) set out with a large party of 270 Spaniards and countless Indian porters to explore the Orinoco Basin, but they also found nothing before turning around and returning to Bogotá. Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada would lead a further expedition from Bogotá in 1569 to conquer territory east of the Andes.
In 1545, conquistadores Lázaro Fonte and Hernán Perez de Quesada attempted to drain the lake using a bucket chain of labourers. After 3 months, the water level had been reduced by 3 metres, and only a small amount of gold had been recovered, with a value of 3000–4000 pesos (approx. £1,800 today).
A later more industrious attempt was made in 1580, by Bogotá business entrepreneur Antonio de Sepúlveda. A notch was cut deep into the rim of the lake, which managed to reduce the water level by 20 metres, before collapsing and killing many of the labourers. A share of the findings—consisting of various golden ornaments, jewellery and armour—was sent to King Philip the 2nd of Spain. Sepúlveda's discovery came to approximately 12,000 pesos. He died a poor man, and is buried at the church in the small town of Guatavita.
In 1801, Alexander von Humboldt made a visit to Guatavita, and on his return to Paris, calculated from the findings of Sepúlveda's efforts that Guatavita could offer up as much as £69 million ($300m) worth of gold.

As well as the Spanish, the English had become fascinated by El Dorado and in 1595 Sir Walter Raleigh set sail and following one of many old maps he aimed to reach Lake Parime in the highlands of Guyana which was the supposed location of El Dorado at the time. He had set many goals for his expedition, and believed he had a genuine chance at finding the so-called city of gold.
First, he decided he wanted to find the mythical city of El Dorado which he suspected to be an actual Indian city named Manoa. Second, he hoped to establish an English presence in the Southern Hemisphere that could compete with that of the Spanish. His third goal was to create an English settlement in the land called Guyana, and to try to reduce commerce between the natives and Spaniards.
Though Sir Walter Raleigh never found El Dorado, he was convinced that there was some fantastic city whose riches could be discovered. Finding gold on the riverbanks and in villages only strengthened his resolve.
In 1617, he returned to the New World on a second expedition, this time with his son, Watt Raleigh, to continue his quest for El Dorado. However, Sir Walter Raleigh, was by now an old man and he stayed behind in a camp on the island of Trinidad. Watt Raleigh was killed in a battle with Spaniards and the second expedition turned out to be a disaster as upon Raleigh's return to England, King James ordered for him to be beheaded for disobeying orders to avoid any conflict with the Spanish. He was executed in 1618.
Over the next 280 years there were numerous other unsuccessful expeditions and in 1898 a company, appropriately named 'The Company for the Exploitation of the Lagoon of Guatavita' was formed. It was was subsequently taken over by 'Contractors Ltd' of London, in a deal brokered by British expatriate Mr Hartley Knowles.
He arranged for the lake to be drained by a tunnel that emerged in the centre. It worked, and eventually the water was left at a depth of about 4 feet but it consisted mostly of mud and slime. This made it impossible to explore, and when the mud had dried sitting and being baked by the sun, it had set like concrete. A haul of only £500 was found, and auctioned at Sothebys of London on his return. The company filed for bankruptcy and ceased activities in 1929.
Hartley Knowles is now keen to look for the legendary city and has in his possession a map which he believes shows the real location of La Ciudad Blanca to the South-East of Bogota. La Ciudad Blanca means “The White City” and its name derives from the carved white stones it is said to contain. It is a city of great wealth, and is one of the Lost Seven Cities of Gold. The indigenous people of Columbia talk about a city that cannot be entered and (in some versions) it is the hiding place of their gods who retreated from the Spanish invaders. Finding Ciudad Blanca could mean finding more information on the legend of El Dorado.
Since the demise of Contractors Limited, Hartley Knowles has stayed in London and has started a business trading in gold and jewellery in an attempt to rebuild his financial status. Alas, to this day he has not recovered and works each day on a simple market stall in Covent Garden.
By night he plans an expedition to a remote area of Columbia known as Puinawai National Reserve by researching maps of the area he has sourced from libraries and museums.
Recently he struck a deal with a good friend and suddenly the dream expedition turned into reality. In return, David Herald would receive all of Hartley’s current stock as collateral and in the event that they did find gold, artifacts or anything of any worth then David would be due a substantial percentage.
David had one condition and that was that Zachary Jackson must be part of the expedition party. He knew that Zachary longed to be involved in an expedition of this expense and distance and he was soon introduced to Hartley.
Zachary explained that he had a photographer friend who was currently touring South America and given enough time he was sure that Mr Box would be able to meet them in Bogota.
Indeed Mr Box was keen to be involved and was adamant that he would be there to meet everyone on November 15th. He was also adamant that Constable Blakey should join them, stating “We could use his skills with a gun.”
The Detective Inspector agreed to join and was the last to arrive at Croydon International Airport at 04:20 on Friday November 13th.
You’re sat on the plane flying over the German countryside when all of a sudden the plane plunges into darkness as the descent through the clouds begins. With each flash of the plane’s wing light the clouds turn a dark ominous grey. With no time to focus you would swear you can see the image of a monstrous face and an arm reaching for you through the clouds, but that’s all illusion. Women near the rear of the plane scream each time the plane suddenly drops 10ft. But beneath the clouds the first flakes of snow are falling and with screeching tires the plane touches down in Germany after a noisy 3 hour flight.
You are ushered to a cold but sheltered waiting room and as the wind finds its way through gaps in the thin pre-fabricated walls a short German man wheels a trolley into the room and a long queue forms as he hands out wooden cups of broth.
Shortly after 8pm the four engines of your Focke-Wulf Fw 200 ‘Condor’ whistle up to speed and you soon find yourself on the way to Marrakech. You share the aircraft with 25 passengers and the seats are surprisingly comfortable and upholstered. On this flight there are specially trained stewardesses onboard to look after you.
You barely notice the two hours that you spend in Marrakech as those of you that are not asleep are drowsy, or drunk. But as you fly into the airspace over Rio you are all sober. The smell of diesel hangs in your nostrils and oil seems to cling to your skin. The plane shakes, and as you look out the window at the beach below a flash surrounds the plane and the entire tin cage seems to vibrate. It’s a summer thunderstorm and the waves are battering the beach below. In fact, why is the water so close to the plane? Your metal coffin shakes again and you hear the rain pounding the outside shell. Is the pilot ditching? Landing on the water? The waves are only feet below you. You brace yourself for an impact. There’s the waves. The water. The squealing of tyres. The runway is on the edge of the shore.
As the plane comes to rest you notice the small airport terminal beyond the grass as lightning lights up the sky. Three other planes are sat in front of it.
The flight to your final destination goes by with no delays and you land shortly after 8pm, and 31 hours after you departed London.
Stepping out of the plane onto the steps Norville notices he needs to breathe sharper, the air in this city doesn’t seem as strong as the air in London. For Zachary, it’s been a long time since he enjoyed the freshness of altitude air.
You all walk almost sub-consciously towards the terminal. It’s getting late, and you haven’t had a proper night’s sleep in two days. Beyond the patches of cloud, in the dark sky the stars are out in abundance. The airport doesn’t look as if it has electricity in the terminal as oil lamps are burning either side of an open door where a man greets you, checks the passport of each of you and shows you inside to a small room.
There are two rows of iron chairs and after a short while waiting for your luggage, it arrives. From behind you hear a man’s voice, “Buenas noches, Hartley.” The man, wearing a thick cotton, blue shirt and deep blue tie extends his hand and embraces Hartley.
After quick salutations, Hartley ushers the man towards you and introduces him as Niguel. “He will be our guide and goddamn if he doesn’t know the jungle like the back of his hand then no one does.” The fashion conscious amongst you are immediately drawn to his red corduroy trousers. He is around six-foot tall, perhaps late twenties and behind him three lighter skinned younger men are standing. They have worn shoes, baggy stained shorts and unbuttoned shirts. They are shorter, and much skinner than Niguel.
Niguel offers his hand to both of you in turn. “I’m sure you all want to get to your beds so lets ...” he turns “Qué estás haciendo? Tome su(r)s bolsas.” He turns back to smile at you. “We must get you to a hotel. I can only imagine what being on a plane is like.”
It's only a short walk down a corridor before you’re in the main hall airport and he leads you outside to a horse drawn carriage. The porters sit on the rear step as the carriage moves away.
The deserted streets are not much more than dirt paths. You pass street cleaners with shovels and wooden carts full of horse manure.
“Forgive my broken English. Tomorrow we meet at 3pm which will give you time to sleep. The horses will pick you up and we meet your man at the railway station.”
The cart turns a corner and pulls to a stop on a steep hill. There is quick chatter amongst the porters before things quieten down and a door opens. Niguel shows you through a door and rings a bell on a reception desk. The ceiling is low, and the beams seem uneven, sprouting irregularly from the walls. Your room is equally small though it contains a surprisingly comfortable single bed, wardrobe and a sink with a fresh jug of water. The outhouse you are told, is to the right outside the back door.

You sleep late into the next day and are awoken by braying horses and the sound of their hoofs on the road. When you reach the carriage you notice in one direction the road continuing to wind up the steep Monserrate mountains. In the opposite direction you watch over the rooftops of the city.
Besides the two of you, Hartley and Niguel are also in the carriage. One of Niguel’s porter boys again sits on the rear step as you depart and a few minutes later you arrive at Bogotá La Sabana railway station. A grand building built from European granite and headquarters of the Bogota Savannah railway.
The square outside that station is busy with people avoiding hawkers. Some are selling eggs, or bananas. Others are in front of makeshift stalls that sell a variety of statures or carvings that obviously target the tourists.
“Mr Box, the Doctor and Carl should all be inside. I met him earlier.” Niguel says. In the sunlight you now notice he has a scar on his cheek that consists of three diagonal lines and a mark like a smudge in the corner (Anthropology: These are tribal scars from initiation into manhood).
Inside the main hall is vast, at the far end are the platforms: 4 for the railway lines and another 6 for the trams that serve the city.
Sitting outside of a café you recognise a tanned, slimmer Mr Box and alongside him is Dr Oteker. The porter boy pulls up sufficient chairs for everyone to sit down, mutters something to Niguel and leaves you all.
Hartley explains. Tomorrow morning at 5am we will leave Bogota and travel on horseback to the edge of San José del Guaviare where we’ll meet our expedition party and from there we will travel the next two days by horseback and from then we will be on foot. I have calculated that it will take about 40 days in total to reach Ciudad Blanca. Our bearers and mules will carry plenty of food and supplies. You won’t be able to carry too much so choose what you want to take wisely. One mule carry your luggage plus supplies for the party. The rest of your belongings will stay at the hotel.

The bad news:
There were some scholars in the city recently from Harvard. They have managed to get together their own expedition and unfortunately they have a lead of five or six days on us. This is why leaving tomorrow is so important. I’m worried that if they get to Ciudad Blanca first then there will be no dig for us. Nobody will be able to publish so much as a sketch, or a picture without their approval, and we know what those American nonce’s are like – they’ll want their names on anything.

Further information
It is said that Ciudad Blanca was the second city of the Seven Lost Cities of Gold, after Sarnath. When Sarnath succumbed to its mysterious doom on its ten thousandth anniversary, Ciudad Blanca survived and flourished.
The Papyrus Blanca, in the British Museum, is the source of the occultist legend of Sarnath. It dates the fall of Sarnath to approximately 8000 BC, long before conventional history begins even in Egypt (3100BC).
The papyrus itself is a late copy of a much earlier original; the copy dates from the reign of Necho II (610 BC – 595 BC), who sent out a Phoenician expedition to explore Africa.
No satisfactory origin or dating scheme has yet been proposed for the various anomalous city-sites in tropical Africa, from Bigo in Uganda to Great Zimbabwe; nor in the New World from Georgetown in Guyana to Santiago in Chile. Hence they could be the last remnants of some lost higher civilisation in the interior.
A very few pieces of carved jade have been found in tombs from Zhou Dynasty China, 26th Dynasty Egypt, and Persia. All the tombs date from the 6th century BC, but the jade is much older than that. The motifs of all these jades are very similar, depicting a large, humped lizard and a star-shaped stone.
Africa’s climate shifted radically at the tail end of the last Ice Age. The Sahara was once a grassland dotted with lakes and rivers; the tropical jungles of South America may well have been more temperate for several thousand years during the ice age itself.
Grossularite, a kind of garnet very similar to jadeite, is found in Africa from Kenya to Swaziland. However when the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in the new world, they were staggered to see emeralds larger and more beautiful than they had imagined possible. Montezuma explained to Cortez that these green gems were much more valuable than the gold the Spaniards kept looking for. These vivid green gems of the New World, Colombian emeralds, soon found favor in the old world too, from the Moguls of India, who carved them with intricate designs to the crown jewels of royalty all over Europe and Asia.
Session: Game Session - Tuesday, Sep 09 2014 from 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM
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