A night of heavy drinking has left Ivy Morgan and Jonas Markham hung over and queasy. Jonas is able to fight back the urge to be sick, though it takes quite an effort before he feels well enough to head downstairs. Ivy, unable to shake the headache and accompanying nausea, vomits vigorously into a pitcher of water on the nightstand. It is nearly ten o’clock when she is able to get dressed and join the other investigators.
Ray Brannigan, seemingly unaffected by the previous evening’s debauchery, wakes up at six o’clock, fresh as a daisy and ready for the day. He sits down in the dining room and is greeted coolly by the landlady, Caroline Wheeden. Suddenly remembering the details of their late-night return to the Shoremist Inn, Ray apologizes profusely to the landlady and she immediately warms to him.
By ten o’clock, Ivy, Jonas, and Ray are all at the dining room table discussing their plans for the day. They agree that a visit to Miskatonic University and the Orne Library is in order. Jonas is hopeful that Dr. Henry Armitage will be able to provide insight into the strange idol Jonas found on his farm. Ray and Ivy are intrigued to see what other tomes reside in the Special Collections section of the library.
The trip to Arkham is uneventful. Guided by Ray, the investigators quickly find the university campus and the Orne Library. Jonas takes the broken idol from the glove compartment, wraps it in some tissue, and hands it to Ivy to put in her bag. Entering the building, the investigators walk to the front desk and ask for Dr. Armitage. While they are waiting, Ivy notices a nattily-attired, bald and bespectacled man looking at her from one of the card catalogs. She returns his polite smile, and he returns to fingering through the card index.
Eventually, an elderly man whom Ray recognizes as Henry Armitage approaches. Ray greets the Head Librarian and introduces Jonas and Ivy. Jonas pulls the letter of introduction written for him by Rudolph Pearson from his pocket and hands it to Dr. Armitage. The group exchanges brief niceties, and then make their way down to the Special Collections area of the library.
Jonas, taking the broken idol from Ivy and handing it to Dr. Armitage, asks him if he has any idea what it may be. Armitage looks over the statuette for a number of moments and says, “Based on what I can see, it seems that Pearson was right – this looks like an idol used in the worship of an ancient god.”
Dr. Armitage walks to the bookshelf and pulls down a stained, leather tome. Bringing it over to a desk at the center of the room, he undoes the clasp (decorated with what appears to be a human eye) and opens it.
“The author, Friedrich Wilhelm Von Junzt, spent decades traveling the world, documenting various cults and their rituals. In the forests of southern France, he encountered the Shubbe-Mig, a cult that worshiped a perverse fertility god, Shub-Niggurath. Von Junzt describes his observations of the cult, along with their worship and rituals, in the second chapter.”
Dr. Armitage takes a deep breath and continues. “But I must give you the same warning I gave your friend – that the study of such tomes has been known to take an awful toll on the minds of the most learned. You must be careful to not become too engrossed – the consequences could be dire!”
With that, Armitage excuses himself and closes the door behind him.
Ivy and Ray huddle closely around Jonas and begin reading. Almost immediately, they have the same feeling of compulsion that they experienced while reading The Ponape Scriptures. Eventually, Ivy is able to wrench herself away from the text, but Ray and Jonas remain engrossed. Jonas comes across a section describing the Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath, and is immediately drawn to a picture of a horrifying creature that looks eerily similar to the idol he found on his farm. He is further alarmed to read, “They are closely connected to her [Shub-Niggurath], and are found only in areas where she is worshiped.”
Shocked, horrified, and dismayed by the thought that someone or something in Byron, Maine could be worshiping Shub-Niggurath, Jonas begins to feel sick. Looking at his watch, he realizes that nearly three hours have passed. Ivy and Ray urge him to stop reading, but he refuses. Ivy suggests that they get something to eat, and goes to find Dr. Armitage. When the head librarian returns, he is able to convince Jonas to walk away from the book, and he locks up the room and shows the investigators out.
After a hastily eaten lunch at a diner close to the campus, Ivy, Jonas, and Ray return to the library. Jonas notices the well-dressed, bespectacled man Ivy saw earlier in the day, sitting at a desk, watching Ivy intently. The investigators find Dr. Armitage at the front desk, and he leads them back down to the Special Collections area. He removes the leather bound tome from the bookshelf, places it on the desk, and excuses himself.
Ray peruses the bookshelves for other unique texts (finding such scintillating reads as Corpus Hermeticorn, Such Sites, and Hitherto Unknown Protozoa of Neglected, Faraway, or Unknown Lands). Jonas tells Ivy about the man in the library that was watching her. Her interest piqued, Ivy excuses herself and heads upstairs.
After a few moments of searching, Ivy sees the well-dressed man sitting at a desk near the front of the library. He gives her another polite smile and she approaches. The man introduces himself as Miles Booth, and asks if he can have a private moment to speak to Ivy. She agrees, and the two make their way to a more private section of the library.
Booth tells Ivy that he has a business proposition to discuss with her. His employer (“who wishes,” he says, “to remain anonymous”) is in Arkham on business, and will be too busy to attend an auction being held at the University Exhibit Museum the following day. The employer would be willing to pay Ivy and her companions $150 to procure an item for him. Booth hands Ivy $30 cash (“in advance, of course”), and a business card, and asks that she come to the address listed on the card at nine o’clock the following morning. Ivy accepts Booth’s offer and the man quickly and cautiously leaves the library.
Ivy returns downstairs and finds Jonas reading and Ray perusing the bookshelves. She recounts her meeting with the stranger and shows them the business card. Ray and Ivy decide to check out the address listed on the business card in advance of the meeting, while Jonas tries to place a call to his wife in Byron, Maine.
Jonas finds a phone booth close to the library, and Ivy and Ray walk down Walnut Street, searching for the address on the card. They arrive in front of a newly constructed, upscale apartment complex. The curtains are drawn and there is no answer when Ray rings the bell. Walking back up the street towards Jonas, Ivy suggests that they see if the university has any information posted about the auction. Near the library, they find the student union and enter. A university employee confirms that an auction is being held in the museum the following day, and hands Ivy a pamphlet. Scanning the pamphlet, Ivy notices twenty-seven items up for auction: mostly mundane paintings, engravings, pottery, and sculptures.
Ray and Ivy walk back to Jonas, who has been able to contact his wife. He tells them that everything is fine, and that his son is proving a capable head-of-house in his absence. Encouraged by the phone call home, Jonas suggests that they stop for a bite to eat before returning to Kingsport. After dinner, the investigators return to the Shoremist Inn and turn in early.