- +Paul plays Father Aaron, a Devout. He is a Presbyterian priest, sent to Ebon Eaves for being difficult and asking too many questions. He wears formal vestments, has an open face with bright eyes, and is of slim build.
- +Annette plays Amy Hearst, a Librarian. She's recently come to the town of Ebon Eaves to open a new library. She wears formal garments, has an open face with clever eyes, and has a lithe frame.
As night falls and the light of a fungoid and gibbous moon spills eerily across the town, Amy and Father Aaron consider their options for entering Manley Manor - the nailed-shut front door, the booby-trapped back door, or the grimy and narrow cellar window.
They decide to go search a nearby dilapidated tool-shed, hoping to find something to help them get into the house. Father Aaron digs about inside in the dark, while Amy hovers near the door, somewhat unwilling to enter for fear of spiders and sharp things. Aaron finds a rusted wood-axe with a solid handle, but before they can leave Amy sees a figure approaching the house through the trees. She swiftly ducks into the shed and closes the door. Aaron opens it a crack as a man walks past, and recognises him as the electrician who was fixing the lights outside the tavern in town. The man walks to the back door, activates a hidden mechanism, then unlocks the door and goes inside.
The two go over and look through the window, seeing a shadow moving up the stairs. They decide to go in and try to find the cellar. The back door has been left unlocked, and the hidden switch has turned off the current to the handle, so they enter and begin finding their way through the darkened house. The lights flicker on and off in only a few rooms. In the hallway, Amy finds a bookshelf with only a couple of books on it. One is a leather-bound tome with a seven-pointed star symbol on the cover - a symbol matched by an amulet Father Aaron's mentor gave him before he came to the town. By moonlight they read the cover - "Church of the Seventh Star" - but the scratchy handwriting within is too hard to read in the dim light.
The two of them hear chanting coming from upstairs, and decide now is a good time to find out what's happening downstairs. They find the cellar door somewhat ajar, but it's pitch black within. Father Aaron goes looking for a candle or lamp, while Amy pokes about looking for a light switch. Aaron locates an oil lamp in good condition, and Amy finds the switch for the cellar lights without tumbling down the stairs. She flicks them on and off to confirm they work, but they decide to use the lamp.
They head down the stairs to find a large basement under the house, with a few shadowy alcoves piled with junk. Most of the central area is clear, and a few brick pillars hold up the mansion floor above. In the far corner sits a small new generator, humming away to itself. Nearby there is a stack of gasoline cans, with lids matching the one Father Aaron found outside. At this point, Aaron is convinced it's just someone playing haunted house, and he's willing to forget the whole thing and head back to town. Before they leave, they realise that they now have a light source to read the book by, so they sit down near the generator and leaf through it.
The book appears to be the chronicle of a church or cult, going back nearly a century. It has records of memberships and events, although much of it is in a sort of coded shorthand. Checking the more recent entries from about ten years ago, the "church" had seven members, six of whom were the missing men from the newspaper articles. The only member who didn't go missing was a "C. Lewis."
Suddenly, footsteps on the floor above their heads bring them back to the moment. They douse the lantern and hide under the stairs, witnessing the electrician walk past their hiding spot flanked by two horrific and ghostly apparitions! Amy recognises them from the newspaper clippings as Pope Manley and Vincent Miller. The electrician starts refuelling the generator, and the spectres hover silently in the middle of the cellar. Our investigators take this opportunity to sneak out of hiding and up the stairs; Amy gets away cleanly, surmising that the electrician is the seventh cult member, C. Lewis. Father Aaron, shaken by the ghostly encounter, looks back and is spotted by Lewis. As Aaron flees, Lewis shouts for the ghosts to go after him!
As Amy runs through the corridor, one of the ghosts slowly comes up through the floor in front of her! She tries to leap over it and keep running, but it reaches out and its hand passes through her leg. Her leg turns to ice and she stumbles, dropping the leather-bound tome. She manages to right herself and run for the back door despite her numb and aching leg.
Father Aaron reaches the top of the stairs and is confronted by the fully-emerged ghost of Manley. He wields his cross and smites the unholy entity, causing it to recoil and allowing him to flee past it with only a minor scrape from its flailing arm. As he passes the ghost, it implores him to "free me!"
Both of them make it to the back door and escape the house. Once the door is shut, Amy turns on the switch to electrify the doorknob again. The two of them hurry back to town, where they can recover from their ordeal in the safety of their own beds...
>>> Chapter III