|TIME:||Monday – June 30, 1879 – 04:00 AM|
|LOCATION:||St. Louis, MO [MAP]|
|POSSE ROLE-CALL:||Allen Jabour with his flock (Ed Green, Nathan Green)|
Sterling Simms (a.k.a. Jimmy Llewellyn a.k.a. John Smith a.k.a. David Davidson a.k.a. Jack Johnson)
On their way to the railyard, Seamus managed to stealthily separate himself from Sterling and Jonah… but that is a tale for another day. Sterling and Jonah did not notice his disappearance until reaching the others at the yard. Once together, the posse members shared stories of the night’s escapades with each other.
Elsewhere, Yang Li groggily regained consciousness from a deep blackness. The first thing he noticed was the throbbing pain over his right eye. The next was the wave of nausea that sent him rolling over and expelling the remains of his dinner. Yang Li took a moment to center himself and regain his composure before looking around. He was lying near the street that ran along Austin King’s employee compound, his lower body covered with a singed blanket. There was a heavy layer of smoke in the air and a bucket brigade had formed, leading to the converted warehouse where a large fire blazed. The last thing Yang Li remembered was lying in his bunk, massaging his right calf muscle. Checking himself, he determined his calf no longer ached, but he found a large, sensitive bump on his forehead. He carefully rose to his feet, and although confronted with a slight wave of nausea, he felt no other ill effects.
Recognizing Bill, one of Mr. King‘s men, in the bucket line, he walked over and asked what happened. Between handing buckets, Bill explained that there was an explosion in the middle of the night, right in the rooms next to Yang Li’s room. These rooms belonged to Lucius and Jonah who were currently missing. Yang Li had been found unconscious in his bunk under several boards from his room’s wall. Thankfully, no one in the warehouse had been severely injured. Bill also mentioned that he had never seen Joe, Mr. King’s right-hand man, so angry. Yang Li thanked Bill and told him he was going to find a doctor for his head. He then wandered away into the smoke choking the street and headed straight for the railyard, where he knew the posse were working tonight.
Upon arriving at the railyard, Yang Li was relieved to find both Lucius and Jonah were unharmed. Lucius, Jonah, and Sterling all explained what had transpired earlier that night. Lucius was planning on purchasing a train ticket and leaving St. Louis that morning. (The ticket office opened daily at 6:00 AM and the first train left for Kansas City at 7:00 AM.) However, after a discussion with the group, he decided to first help Yang Li before leaving town. Yang Li had explained why he had journeyed from his home in China: his brother, Yang Meng, had brought shame to their family by stealing an ancestral artifact and then fleeing China. Yang Li had vowed to find him and the artifact, returning honor to his family. Yang Meng’s trail had led Yang Li to St. Louis, where it had gone dry. During his stay in town, Mr. King learned of Yang Li’s search as well as his fighting prowess. Mr. King promised to use his resources to find Yang Meng as long as Yang Li fought in his boxing matches. However, that agreement was now months old, and Yang Li had a growing suspicion that Mr. King was keeping information from him in order to insure he remained in St. Louis. Yang Li wanted to at least search Mr. King’s office for information, with the possibility of confronting Mr. King as well. The posse planned to claim their payment from Richard Barney, get the information for Yang Li, and leave town by lunch. Unfortunately, this was not to be.
Around 6:30 AM, the posse were surprised to see Hiram and Jeb, men who worked for Mr. King, walking toward the railyard. Both men seemed just as surprised to see the posse members. After a quick conversation, Jeb walked over and leaned against a building across the street (obviously watching the group) while Hiram began briskly walking back the way they had come. Believing that Hiram was leaving to bring more men, Brother Allen, followed by the Green brothers, and Jonah quickly walked after Hiram. Thinking quickly, Brother Allen shouted for the others in the street to stop Hiram; he had dropped his wallet. This ploy slowed Hiram enough to allow Brother Allen and the others to close with him. Meanwhile, Sterling began walking toward the confrontation with Hiram, and Tobias along with Yang Li and Lucius approached Jeb. Seeing the posse approaching, both of Mr. King’s men placed their hands on their holstered pistols, but did not draw.
Allen offered Hiram double what he received from Mr. King, but Hiram refused. Brother Allen and Jonah then tried to convince Hiram to take them to see Mr. King to work out any “issues” with him, but Hiram refused unless the posse went unarmed. They were unwilling to turn over their weapons so a stand-off quickly formed in the street… which drove the wise pedestrians of St. Louis to safer streets or behind various store walls.
At the same time, Tobias and Lucius were keeping Jeb occupied. Jeb was surprised to see Yang Li with them and asked which side he was on. This led to a confusing conversation as Jeb explained what he meant to Yang Li. When Yang Li finally told Jeb that he was still working with Mr. King, Jeb told him to return to the employee compound. Yang Li began walking down the street to the compound, and coincidentally, Hiram. As he walked, he mentally began focusing upon the speed of the striking viper and the grace of the tiger to meld his mind and body for the battle ahead. (That’s the armor spell for you non-Kung Fu types.)
Seeing no way to avoid blood-shed with Hiram, Brother Allen began praying in a loud voice (with amens provided by the Green brothers) for the Lord to lead him along the true path with the speed of angels (calling upon the quickness miracle). As Allen prayed, Jonah serendipitously found himself with Allen and the Green brothers between him and Hiram. When Allen finished his prayer and felt the Lord’s blessing, he tried one last time to convince Hiram (with Sterling’s assistance) to simply take the group to see Mr. King to work everything out without being forced to leave their weapons. Hiram refused… and was blown several feet back by the shotgun blast from Allen’s LeMat revolver. Allen had drawn and fired as quick as a angry rattler!
Seeing Hiram fall to Brother Allen’s attack, Yang Li spun around and raced up to strike Jeb low. However, Jeb was ready for an attack and managed to dodge most of the blow, but Yang Li was still able to clip him hard enough to leave him slightly dazed. A dazed Jeb was easy pickings for the bolt summoned by Tobias, which slammed into his head and left a large splatter of blood on the nearby wall.
With no more of Mr. King’s men left standing, Jonah checked Hiram and was surprised to find a pulse. Although Jonah billed himself as a doctor, he was really more familiar with medical theory than practice… which did not end well for Hiram. He died as Jonah tried to pack his wound.
It was at this point that Lucius heard the tramp of boots approaching from a side street. Shouting a warning to the others, he raced back into the railyard. The rest of the posse attempted to follow. Unfortunately, a squad of Confederate soldiers entered the street before Jonah had made it to the safety of the yard. Seeing a man fleeing two bodies and refusing to stop to their demands, the squad opened fire with their rifles. Luckily, only a single round grazed the good doctor.
Meanwhile, Brother Allen ran up to the guard for Mr. Dillenger‘s train. He explained to the guard that the approaching soldiers had been arranged by Mr. King (an assumption on Allen’s part) and tried to bribe the guard to help the posse escape on the train. The guard was confused by all the commotion, but did explain to Allen that the locomotive had not built up any pressure: the boiler had been shut down. The train could not go anywhere at the moment, even if he wanted to do so.
The guard’s explanation led Allen to race over to the train bound for Kansas City at 7:00 AM. It obviously had a full head of steam. He jumped into the locomotive and held the crew at gunpoint, explaining that once his friends were loaded, they would leave St. Louis as fast as possible. Just a few minutes later, he was joined by the Green brothers as well as Sterling.
At the railyard gate, things were not looking too good. Jonah still had the full attention of the soldiers as he tried to follow the others. Knowing Jonah was no gun-fighter, Lucius pulled his two pistols and decided to run toward the trouble instead of from it. The gun battle between the soldiers and Lucius allowed Jonah to reach the locomotive. Instead of joining the others in the engine, Tobias actually slipped through the cars and out the loose board in the railyard fence. He didn’t want to lose his new-found items in his hotel room and believed he could meet up with the others in Kansas City. He was followed by Yang Li, who was not yet ready to leave town without knowing what information Mr. King had about his brother.
Brother Allen, the Green brothers, Sterling, and Jonah all waited with barely held nervous energy for Lucius to rejoin them. The gunshots had died down, but it was unclear who had won. It was with great relief that the group saw Lucius stagger up to the engine. His shirt was soaked with blood and had several holes. Lucius managed to say, “Preacher, I don’t think I’m gonna make it,” before collapsing to the ground. Brother Allen and Nathan Green quickly loaded Lucius onto the floor of the engine and demanded the engineer start the train. As the train slowly gained speed, Lucius whispered, “But Preacher… I don’t have… a ticket…” and closed his eyes for the last time.
|EXPERIENCE AWARD: 2|