Monday, 14 December 2015

Deadlands Noir - Meeting Mammy Martine

This is really just a continuation of the summary from the last session of Deadlands Noir. Having dispatched Wayne Barbeau and Art Torobelli to New York in the custody of the Black Hand crime syndicate, the detectives returned their focus to the matter of Doc LeBoeuf's missing sister in law, Tammy Portunate.

LeBoeuf decided to send a letter to Mammy Martine, the New Orleans spiritualist and, as they have discovered, a feared bokkor and senior figure in the Red Sect crime organisation.

Mammy duly responded, sending a small boy to visit the detectives in their office. He duly went into a trance and invited them to tea the following day.

The detectives arrived for their date at Mammy's townhouse in the more affluent Uptown district, which they saw was being guarded by some Red Sect goons on the street. These gentlemen allowed the detectives in to see Mammy, although the characters also noted a huge black man on guard in the hallway of the house, who seemed to have no whites to his eyes.

While waiting for their host, De Ville and Gordon noticed an old Victorian era photo in the drawing room of a tall black man in a top hat posing with two small girls, twins, one of whom is obviously an albino. De Ville also saw a painting of a red church on an island in a swamp, under a kaleidoscopic sky. When he turned away from it, he thought he could see the reeds and the water moving, but it was all still once more when he returned his gaze.

Mammy bustled into the room. She comes across as a very refined and polite woman, with a touch of iron to her. She is very genteel, and looks about 55-60 years of age.

Mammy was very affable, asking after the welfare of the Doc's wife but professing no knowledge of the whereabouts of his sister in law Portunate. If she is trapped in the Hunting Grounds, the spirit realm of lost souls and demons, then Mammy reckons her physical form is dormant somewhere on the material plane. She needs to be awoken by locating her in the Hunting Grounds.

When questioned about how to get into the Hunting Grounds, Mammy says the only way she can think of is to use voodoo masks, which have the power to allow the wearer to see into the Hunting Grounds, and possibly even travel there (although she was not sure on the latter point). She summoned her huge bodyguard who showed the detectives an example of the masks. She claimed her family owned a number of them, although following a rift in the family, the rest have disappeared. Should the detectives be able to recover them for her, of course, she would be very grateful and would help them to see into the Hunting Grounds. She does not know where they might be found, but suggests they could still be in New Orleans, hidden from her.

Leaving Mammy's house, the detectives headed over to the Yellow Sign bookstore to consult with its new proprietor, Hetty Sanderson. Prof Gordon stopped on the way to buy her a sign for her shop saying "You don't have to be crazy to work here, but it helps." He is not sure whether this went down well or not.

Sanderson warned the detectives about working with Martine, whom she describes as devious and dangerous. She confirmed she had heard it might be possible to enter the Hunting Grounds using masks like the one they saw, but said the only person known to have achieved this for more than a couple of hours is Baron Simone LeCroix, a very powerful New Orleans bokkor who vanished back in the 1880s. He used some form of exotic tobacco in his ceremonies which she thinks could be part of his secret. She confirmed that Mammy Martine is his daughter.

Sanderson was at a loss regarding where African tribal masks could be found locally, but suggested the detectives check out the Emporium on Bienville Street, which stocks many of the supplies required by practitioners of voodoo in the city.

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