"Oh magus, you have begun thy journey. Your master's temple has fallen but his work is not yet finished…" - Orrin Oscar Lutwidge
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- “There are those who do not want the truth of the Vanishing to be discovered, ever. And so they cloak the truth in shadows. They plant false truths while they follow your steps, to see what you have learned. There is no end to this but madness and death. And if these fates may be avoided then--fear. Fear, in the end, will find you.”
- ― Céleste Roget[src]
Céleste Roget is a wealthy French heiress who lived in Paris and was one of Mark Meltzer's primary contacts during There's Something in the Sea. She is the daughter of Jean Louis Roget, an engineer that disappeared during the Vanishing.
Céleste Roget was one of the most vocal researchers of the Vanishing after her father disappeared in 1946. Despite assurances that the large amount of disappearances was normal post-war attrition, she began to publicly advance the theory that many of the people who had vanished, including her father, were called to a utopian city in the Himalayas called "Shambhala". During this time Céleste began corresponding with Orrin Oscar Lutwidge. Lutwidge, fearful that she might be getting too close the truth about Rapture, fed her intentional disinformation to lead her astray. He enlisted the help of the "Red Pawn" to create forgeries and plant them for Céleste to find. It is unknown to what extent Lutwidge influenced her thinking, whether he invented Shambahla himself or simply supported her existing theories.
In any event, in 1957 Céleste, along with seven other people who lost friends or family members to the Vanishing, organized an expedition to the Himalayas. Céleste received widespread criticism for organizing this expedition, including comments from the U.S. ambassador who referred to her as "dangerously deluded," calling on the French government to step in and "stop this madwoman before she gets somebody killed." Unfortunately, these words proved to be prophetic. Céleste's expedition was caught in an avalanche, leaving her the sole survivor. After this ill-fated journey, she spent a long time recovering in a hospital. Eventually she returned to Paris only to find that all of the evidence and forgeries that had led her astray had been destroyed in a fire.
Céleste retired from the public eye and shunned questions about her expedition. However, this was not the last of her troubles. After her return from Paris she received a taunting letter, seemingly from Lutwidge. This was another forgery by the Red pawn, but it caused her to hire Auger Detection to monitor Lutwidge in New York.
Soon after, Lutwidge disappeared, but Céleste's team of private-eyes continued to keep watch over Lutwidge's old properties and look out for his potential return. When Lutwidge finally returned from Rapture Céleste's private-eyes caught sight of him and reported to her. She immediately took a flight from Paris to New York, and when she arrived she caught a glimpse of Lutwidge working on his Utropolis manuscript in his basement workshop. Lutwidge seemed to glance "an inhuman glare" at Céleste as she looked on, and she ran off completely terrified, returning to Paris. Later, when Lutwidge was put in Tollevue Hospital, she bribed the necessary authorities to make sure that he was never released.
Contact with Mark Edit
Céleste first came into contact with Mark Meltzer when he phoned her with questions about the Vanishing. Céleste was reluctant to answer him at first, not wanting to relive that terrible period in her past. However, her sympathy for Mark and his kidnapped daughter Cindy got the better of her and she eventually became one of his main contacts.
Céleste often warned Mark of the danger in believing anything Lutwidge said or left behind. They had a brief falling out when Roscoe Inman planted a seed of doubt in Mark's mind, saying that her story could not be trusted since she was the only surviving witness. However, the two reconciled shortly afterword.
Céleste became increasingly nervous when Mark started inquiring about Lutwidge. She made the mistake of suggesting that Lutwidge had planted the bottles on the August 8th beaches, leading Mark to question whether Lutwidge was still alive. When Mark questioned her unease, she finally came clean about her history with Lutwidge and how she had him institutionalized at Tollevue. Mark used this information to fake a mental illness and have himself committed to the same hospital to get information from him.
Unfortunately, after this the "Red Pawn" became involved again. He sent Céleste a threatening letter that stirred up her paranoia again, causing her to go into hiding. She dropped contact with Mark and her Agent Dash Carmady, traveling to various remote cottages in France and Switzerland to avoid surveillance. Mark felt guilty for her disappearance and attempted to find her while the ship he was traveling on, the Nellie Bly, was stopped in Paris. However, Céleste sent Mark a radio transmission warning that the Red Pawn was only trying to lure him in by writing a forged note from her. She warned Mark to stay away and focus on finding Cindy instead.
Disregarding her warning, Mark traveled to find Céleste in Valais, Switzerland. She was not pleased to see him at first, but Mark promised to protect her, and together with Dash Carmady they set up a plan to make Jeremiah Lynch (the Red Pawn) think she had gone to Cefalu, Italy. Céleste and Mark continued to Meringen and visited the Reichenbach Falls where, as the picture signed by her suggests, she expressed romantic feelings for Mark. Unfortunately, it was there that Lynch caught up with them. Mark attempted to protect her by charging at him, using his book, The Spectral Sea, as a shield. The bullet tore Mark's shoulder, and the gun slid to Céleste after Lynch was knocked down by Mark's charge. She shot Lynch, hesitant at first, and then ran off.
Later, she revealed that Lynch had been threatening her the entire time, and that since the first time Mark contacted her, she had been unwillingly collaborating with Lynch. She is wrecked with guilt, and has no wish to know what ever happened to her father - for he would never forgive what she had done. Though she begs Mark to keep going for his own reasons.
Selected Writings Edit
Letter 1 Edit
M. Mark G. Meltzer
P.O. Bow 4668 #32890
New York, N.Y. 10163
Dear M. Meltzer:
Despite my better thinking, I am writing you a reply, if only
to warn you.
There are those who do not want the truth of the Vanishing to
be discovered, ever. And so they cloak the truth in shadows.
They plant false truths while they follow your steps, to see
what you have learned. There is no end to this but madness and
death. And if these fates may be avoided then - fear. Fear,
in the end, will find you.
Despite the deaths of many that I counted as my friends, I
escaped the Himalayas. In this, at least, I defeated the
masters of lies. Nothing would serve them better than for me
to be silenced beneath a drift of snow. Nothing would please
them more than for my expedition to become a sacrifice to the
myth of Shamballa. For this place is thousands of miles from -
and thousands of feet above - where the truth lies.
I have said too much already. I know, despite my silence, they
listen to my telephone and read my mail. You have caught me in
a moment of weakness. I, too, followed the tale of Camille
Dumas, and of Ulrike Moeller, and of all the beautiful little
children who were last year spirited away to a purpose unknown
I beg of you, Mr. Meltzer, do not become lost in the labyrinth
of shadows - as I have been - and still am - lost.
Yours, in the spirit of Truth,
UD FR183 38 EUX PARIS 12
MR MARK MELTZER
- =NEW YORK NY=
RECEIVED YOUR MESSAGE RE LUTWIDGE. WAS IN CONTACT PRIOR TO
DISSAPPEARANCE. LUTWIDGE INSANE. LITTLE TO BE GAINED MUCH
TO BE LOST.
- CELESTE ROGET
Mark G. Meltzer
P.O. Box 4668 32890
New York, N.Y. 10163
Your apology is accepted; I was angry, but I should not have
reacted as I did. I know how it is, to be cast in a sea of
confusion — chasing the hope that your missing loved one still
You asked exactly how Lutwidge set me astray. At first, he cast
out hints — of the lost city Shamballah, tucked among the
icebound peaks; tales of the Nine Unknown, the immortal masters
who plot the fate of all mankind. Yes, it sounds absurd now. But
all paths connected to these strands; I was caught in his web.
Later, I would suspect he had gone to great effort to plant
clues in remote places: in Bombay, the Gobi desert. I would
become paranoid regarding all I read - I would discover that
newspapers that crossed my path contained articles printed in no
other edition. When I began to suspect him, Lutwidge clouded my
mind with fear. He advised me to watch for shadowy "Interfer-
ers" who wished to obscure all investigation of the Vanishing.
He speculated fabulously as to their origins - CIA or KGB one
day; occult assassins the next. I would see their shadows
everywhere. But his most unforgivable deceit was to send me a
false message written in my father's hand - an elaborate
forgery. With such "evidence," I would journey to Hell itself.
Very little of this can I prove now. A convenient fire raged in
Paris, destroying all my papers while I lay in the crude
hospital in Nepal. As I hovered near death, haunted by night-
mares of slow starvation - of the icy avalanche that buried me
alive — in this dark hour he sent me a final childish taunt
confirming that he had duped me. I enclose it so you may take
the measure of his madness for yourself.
Yours, in the spirit of Truth,
Letter 3 Edit
Mark G. Meltzer
P.O. Bow 4668 #32890
New York, N.Y. 10163
I can no longer lie to you. Please know that my untruths were
intended for you own protection. Lutwidge is alive - or he was,
at least, sometime in 1960. How do I know? I have seen him -
with my own eyes.
After the games that Lutwidge played - I lived in fear. I squan-
dered much of my father's wealth in a vain attempt to protect
myself. I kept on retainer private investigators in New York
City - to watch for Lutwidge or any of his schemes. One night -
they telegraphed me. There was activity in one of Lutwidge's
laboratories. The lights had gone on. And they believed it was
him - but they could not be sure. He looked somehow - different.
I took the next flight from Paris to New York and made my inves-
tigators show me the spot. I peered through the grimy window to see
Lutwidge - hunched over a typewriter - naked - hammering the keys
with inhuman focus - pages churning out in a growing stack. And I
glimpsed his face - distorted - uneven - sleepless -- as if the
seed of madness in his mind had taken root within the flesh.
Outside the window, we were silent; this I know. But for one
brief moment, he turned from his work - his eyes piercing in my
direction -- as if he sensed me. I reeled back. I have never run
so fast since I was a girl. I ran all the way to Paris - terri-
fied even to read the reports from my investigators... They told
me that Lutwidge, or whatever he called himself, had been com-
mitted to an asylum. I begged my men to pay the necessary bribes
- so Lutwidge would never get out.
Do not ask me the particulars. I burned the papers - and wiped
it all from my memory. All except that inhuman glare.
Do not look for him, Mark. Whatever he found - you do not wish
Yours, in the spirit of truth,
I know that I begged you not to come - and protested when you
arrived. But it is so hard for me to say the things I truly
feel. And so I write.
Walking with you along the falls yesterday - talking to you
about the strange abyss, of not knowing what happened to the one
you love - how this becomes the center of a life, this emptiness
in the heart. No one has ever understood these things as you do.
I have never realized how alone I have felt these many years. We
are together in our solitude, in our loss - in this maelstrom of
Whatever is to come - let us make the best of things in the
time we have.
- Celeste Roget
OUT AGAINST ROGET HEIRESS
PARIS - As heiress Celeste Roget prepares for an eccentric Himalayan
expedition, the U.S. Ambassador to France incited controversy when he
decried her actions.
- For months, Paris has been abuzz with report describing preparations
for Roget's planned expedition to the Himalayass. Following the 1946 dis-
appearance of celebrated architectural engineer Jean Louis Roget, Celeste
Roget became obsessed with the idea that he had been "called" to a
utopian city in the mountains. She gathered together a small band of
several other missing individuals who share her beliefs.
- Last week, she attempted to enlist official support of the journey.
Roget's theories were greeted with widespread doubt - but the loudest
criticism came from an international figure normally celebrated for his
- During an interview with the French newspaper La Journée,the
American Ambassador to France responded to a question about Roget.
- "I can't bite my tongue anymore," said the Ambassador. "Celeste Roget
is dangerously deluded and this amateur expedition is doomed. The
French government needs to step in and stop this madwoman before she
gets somebody killed."
- The Ambassador went onto explain that the disappearances of Roget's
father and others was no mystery. "Much of the world was in upheaval
following World War II," he said. "In 1946 and 1947, we saw the
rebuilding of Western Europe, a series of Communist takeovers, the
Chinese civil war, the partition of India and conflicts in the Middle East.
It's amazing more people didn't vanish in all that chaos."
- A handful of French newspaper editorials have demanded an apology,
though most have applauded his candor.
"Mister... Meltzer? I'm not sure how you found this number, but... I hope you will please stop calling. I do not talk about my father anymore. At least not in public. And if you are what you say you are, I would advise you... do not speak anymore either... or... do not bother to look, it will only lead to misery. But - if you are what you say, then - (sigh) - my heart goes out to you and to your daughter as well - wherever she may be. I'm so sorry for you. Good night and... please do not call here anymore, thank you."
"Mark? Uh... this is Celeste Roget. After our last conversation... I cannot sleep. I'm trying to save you from what happened to me ten years ago. Please... listen to me. This Lutwidge... If this was even his name. He was like... a demented child. Playing games with other people's lives. Three days I spent digging out of an avalanche with my bare hands. Because of him! My friends died because of him, because of his lies. Mark, do not go down this road. Do not trust Lutwidge or any of the foolish games he left behind. Call me back. Au revoir."
"Mark? Mark, I know you are there, pick up the phone. I should have known you for a coward. How dare you make such accusations and then hang up on me. You demand me for proof, when you have come to me first!? You suggest I am the liar when I have done nothing but try to help you from the start!? C'est des conneries ça ("This is bullshit" in French). Go ahead, go play in the little maze that Lutwidge builds. Go see the little traps he made for you. If you are lucky, it will kill you quickly. It is all that you deserve. Casse toi connard ("Buzz off")."
"Mark, if this is truly what you wish, then I will go to the French beach you mentioned on the morning of the eighth, and I will tell you what I see. But... do not be convinced you will find the proof you expect, or that any proof can be trusted. Ten years ago, I followed my own trail of clues, false clues, and they lead me very nearly to my death! Do not expect too much, and please Mark, be on guard., please. Merci, au revoir."
"Mark, uh, this is Celeste. Yes, obviously I too have seen the bottles and papers that washed up on the beach. Or did they? Are you so sure? Might they not have been buried there, planted for us to find, by Lutwidge or his hired help? Do not be so certain that this so-called evidence means anything at all, Mark. It could just be another ruse, luring you into some kind of trap. They could be watching us even now. Oh...we will speak..uh..later, I..I must go."
"Mark... Mark, *hurried breathing* I received your letter and I don't quite... what do you mean Lutwidge... alive? Of course he's dead! Or at the very least he's long gone! I merely meant, perhaps these bottles and papers from the beach, perhaps he buried them long ago only to be discovered now. Perhaps there is no Rapture and never was, except in the twisted mind of Orrin Lutwidge. Be well Mark, uh, I will be thinking of you tomorrow, and of Cindy, also."
"Mark? Mark... I have tried to talk to you of reason; but the only thing you listen to is madness. I swear I do not remember where my investigators found Orrin Lutwidge. But they are still in my employ. I have asked them to contact you. If you insist on going down this road, eh... who am I to stop you? Au revoir."
"Mark...ah..uh... 'ello this is uh Celeste. So you have spoken to my private investigators. I understand that they may be helping you to find the basement where we discovered Lutwidge hiding in 1960. But, before you go there, I am, uh, wondering Mark, if you think it is truly necessary. By then Lutwidge was quite insane; I doubt that you will find anything of use. And...um..well...this will sound a little bit silly, but, I have been receiving these phone calls in the middle of the night, no one there and...ah...I'm sure it's nothing. Call me when you can, Mark, please? Goodnight."
"Mark, I have received a threatening letter! This is precisely what I fear. After 10 years - 10 YEARS - They're after me again! Because of you, because you have stirred up all of this once again! I cannot stay here! They may be watching, they may be listening! I-I must go, I must hide. Do not look for me and leave me out of this! This suicidal quest of yours, I'm done with it! Do you hear!? DONE!"
"Mark, um... this is uhhh...you know who this is. Mark, I know you have been in touch with Dash Carmady, but please I beg you, do not come to me. We are a danger to each other, your "Red Pawn" has been using me as a lure to draw you, do you not see? I gave up all hope long ago, but you have yet to find your daughter. Stay away, stay away so we both may live, but most of all so you may find your darling Cindy. There is no hope for me, but for her perhaps there is still a way. Au revoir, Mark, and bonne chance."
"Mark, *sigh* I am so sorry for the role I played in the Red Pawn's game. He has been threatening me, dogging my steps from the very first moment you first contacted me. In my own way, I tried to warn you but you would not listen. I tried to run, but in the end he found me and I was weak. The explosion in Strasbourg, the letter in Paris: these all happened because I collaborated with Jeremiah Lynch. I helped to lure you close to him, I thought the only way to be rid of him forever was for him to get whatever it is he wants from you. *sigh* You did not fail me, it was I who failed you."
Run, Mark, run to Cindy; and if by some miracle you ever encounter the truth of whatever became of my father do not tell me, I do not wish to know. He would never forgive me for the way I have treated you. Ad... adieu, Mark Meltzer. Adieu."