|TIME:||Tuesday – July 01, 1879 – 07:00 AM|
|LOCATION:||New Jerusalem [MAP]|
Allen Jabour with his flock (Ed Green, Nathan Green)
Our game schedule changed to a different night, forcing some of the players to quit the game (hopefully, only temporarily). Therefore, Seamus McNamara and Tobias Rogers will no longer be followed in this narrative. We shall see if they return at some point in the future.
After riding for a little over an hour, Brother Allen, Jonah, Sterling, and the Green brothers discovered a small town in their path. The town itself appeared a bit worse for wear and the surrounding area was rather rugged and sparse for Missouri. Still, the group needed supplies so they rode into town, angling in from the northeast to arrive at the hotel. Reaching a small crossroads, they were greeted by a worn, weather-beaten sign reading “WELCOME TO NEW JERUSALEM.”
The group rode into New Jerusalem and hitched their horses outside the New Jerusalem Hotel. The hotel was a small wooden building of only two stories, with paint peeling on the outside walls. Upon entering this grandiose establishment, the posse encountered a listless clerk sitting in a chair behind the counter. Not only did he have a lackluster demeanor, but his bodily odor almost created a physical wall around him. After spending only a few minutes in conversation with the man, they determined that, at best, his intelligence was only slighter higher than their own horses… at best. Oddly, Sterling recognized him from a picture published in the Tombstone Epitaph, a newspaper whose stories he considered mostly poppycock but occasionally interesting due to reports on New Science. The clerk was Clyde Bolling, a freelance correspondent for the Tombstone Epitaph (if Sterling’s memory was correct). Although a curious mystery, the group accepted Clyde’s current state of idiocy and simply gathered keys to the four guest rooms upstairs. Everyone but the Green brothers would have their own rooms. No signatures in the hotel registry or even payment seemed to be required. (At least, Clyde didn’t ask for any before handing over the keys.)
After settling into the dusty rooms, the posse regrouped in the lobby. Sterling struck up another conversation with Clyde while Brother Allen, Jonah, and the Green brothers left to stable the horses. Bringing up the subject of registration, Sterling signed the registration book (filling most of the page without a reaction from Clyde) and noticed that Clyde’s name was actually the last entry in the book (dated two weeks ago). He also noticed a door behind the counter. Although Clyde told him that guests were not suppose to come behind the counter, Sterling walked over to the door and, claiming to have heard someone beyond, opened it. Opening the door revealed a single room, living area beyond. Sterling walked into the room and began looking behind the sparse furniture and under the bed. He was soon joined by Clyde who followed him around, looking in the same places. Sterling noted that the linen on the bed was quite dirty, implying that Clyde lay on the bed in his dirty clothes. Not finding anything of interest, Sterling tired of his game and left, suggested that he probably only heard a mouse.
Meanwhile at the livery stables, Brother Allen, Jonah, and the Green brothers were left staring at empty stalls. No one appeared to be operating the stables, but when Allen explored the hay loft, he found a large man leaning against a pitchfork and staring at the wall. The man responded to Allen’s simple questions, but was obviously no smarter than Clyde at the hotel. He did not even seem to remember his own name. He confirmed that there were no horses at the stable. Tiring of the conversation, Brother Allen returned to the others below, leaving the man moving hay from one pile to another. (He suspected that the man had been doing this same activity for some time.)
Upon leaving the livery stables, the group ran into none other than Yang Li as he rode into town! Seeing his injuries, Brother Allen called upon the love of God to mend Yang Li’s wounds, completely healing him! Yang Li then explained (in his poor English) what had occurred to him, Tobias, and Seamus. He also wished help in retrieving Tobias and Seamus from the cabin where he had left them.
Sterling arrived from the hotel in time to help determine the group’s next course of action. They decided to first visit the general store in the hopes of finding medical supplies that would be useful for Tobias. The general store was actually well-stocked and contained shelves full of goods. However, the clerk was as useful as everyone else the posse had met in town (although he did remember his name: Leo). The group found no medicines (which was not really unusual) but did notice that a barrel of apples had apparently been allowed to rot. Nearby, a basket labeled strawberries contained blackened, green-furred lumps. Sterling was very pleased to find bags of salt and immediately appropriated a 5-pound bag for his protection against the dreaded Fire People.
Leaving the general store, the posse decided that Jonah, Yang Li, and the Green brothers would take the horses to find Tobias and Seamus. In the meantime, Brother Allen and Sterling would continue to explore New Jerusalem. As the others rode off to the south, Brother Allen followed Sterling into the town bank. Inside, they found two more townsfolk: a large bruiser stood watch by the door and a wizened husk of a man stood at one of the teller windows. A short conversation verified that Clem (the bruiser) and Amos (the withered man) were no smarter than anyone else in New Jerusalem. And that was when Sterling noticed that the door to the closet-sized vault was standing open. He immediately walked around the teller counter and headed straight for the vault. Both Clem and Amos were agitated that he was around the counter, but seemed to accept Sterling’s explanation that he was a vault inspector (or at least, were confused enough by the large words to not interfere). Sitting on the vault shelves were 3 lbs., 2 oz. of gold, 5 lbs. of ghost rock, and $500 in United States currency (odd for Confederate Missouri). This was quickly divided between Sterling and Brother Allen (who could see that it was rather useless to everyone in town in their current states). Allen and Sterling then left the bank to stash their new-found wealth in their rooms at the hotel.
After safely storing the valuables, Brother Allen and Sterling decided to visit the town’s church. On their way, they discovered Jonah and Nathan Green waiting at the crossroads. Jonah quickly explained that he and Nathan were waiting on Yang Li and Ed. When the group had ridden out of town previously, they somehow looped around and ended up at the north end of town. They tried going south again and once again ended up at the north end of town. At that point, Jonah sent Yang Li and Ed back the way they had come and simply waited with Ed. Jonah finished this explanation just in time for Yang Li and Ed to ride up from the south. However it was accomplished, it seemed the posse was stuck in New Jerusalem.
Not knowing what else to do, the posse decided to continue their explorations, heading for the church. One of the first things they did when reaching the church grounds was to examine the small church graveyard. The graveyard was surrounded by a low wrought-iron fence and contained roughly 30 graves. Brother Allen suggested everyone look carefully at the names on the tombstones, comparing them to the names of the townsfolk they had met. None seemed to match. However, the posse did notice that the earth over all the graves had been disturbed, suggesting that they had been dug up. Leaving that mystery behind for the moment, the group entered the church. It was empty and based on the layer of dust, it had obviously not been used in some time.
Brother Allen and Jonah decided to visit some of the homes in the area while Sterling, Yang Li, and the Green brothers did the gruesome job of digging up the graves in the graveyard. Sterling proclaimed himself supervisor and sent Yang Li with the Green brothers to the general store for some shovels. Shovels were procured easily enough, but Yang Li decided to follow one the townsfolk into the Dusty Trail Saloon (telling the brothers that he would join them at the graveyard). Inside, Yang Li found quite a few of the townspeople quietly sipping various drinks. Deciding to join in, he sidled up to the bar and ordered a shot of whiskey. He successfully engaged the man he had followed in conversation, but it proved as fruitless as any other conversation the posse had experienced. Yang Li then decided to test the good nature of these dim-witted inhabitants; he continuously took the drink away from the man at the bar. Although each time the man complained and ordered another drink, he did not attack Yang Li (as would be expected in most saloons). Yang Li eventually tired of this game and left the saloon. However, before returning to the graveyard, he decided to finish exploring the town.
Yang Li found the blacksmith abandoned. The large door was wide open and no fire burned within the forge. His visit to the jail was a bit more fruitful. The jail was a one-story, mud-brick building containing two cramped cells and a marshal’s office. Yang Li’s knock at the office door summoned the town marshal, a shabby man with a leery gaze. Yang Li managed to distract the marshal with the report of a “trouble-maker” at the bank, leaving him the run of the jail. Unfortunately, Yang Li’s quick search of the building did not reveal anything unusual.
After leaving the jail, there was only one other building that had yet to be visited by the posse: the barber shop. The shop was a small, dilapidated storefront with a faded barber’s pole outside. Yang Li entered to find the barber, a portly balding man, shaving a customer. The barber informed Yang Li that he would be with him in a moment in roughly the same slow manner of speaking used by the lack-wits of New Jerusalem; however, his voice did seem to carry a bit more inflection and his eyes appeared more alive. When another patron entered, the barber gave a somewhat worried look at him and Yang Li. Although interested in speaking to the man, Yang Li decided it would be better to wait and told the barber he would return later. The barber, with a touch of feeling in his voice, suggested he do just that.
Meanwhile, Brother Allen and Jonah spent time investigating a couple of the ramshackle homes in the area. Their endeavors proved fruitless. Although they did find occupants, all appeared to suffer the same lack of wit as the townsfolk. Nor was anything worthy of note found.
Allen and Jonah returned to the graveyard at roughly the same time as Yang Li. Sterling and the Green brothers had not started digging. They had been waiting for Yang Li to return and share the work. With everyone together, the digging began at one of the graves and only a few inches of dirt had been dug before human bones were found. Even more disturbingly, the bones were split open, presumably to get to the marrow. To verify that the bones belonged to only one body, the posse kept digging. Once past the level of the initial finds, no more bones were found, although the remains of a coffin were at the bottom of the grave. They had just enough bones for one body. Presumably, all the other graves had been desecrated in a similar manner.
The posse then decided to visit the most interesting man in town: the barber. However, as they passed the hotel, they noticed the town marshal watching them as he leaned against the wall. Brother Allen approached him and began asking about the preacher at the church (since they had not found one). The marshal seemed unable if not unwilling to answer Allen’s questions due to his dull wits, so Allen simply suggested that there was trouble at the church. The marshal immediately left for the jail. A few minutes later he returned wearing a gun belt and pistols. The group followed him all the way to the church. The marshal did not seem pleased that there was no actual disturbance there, but did not take any actions against the posse.
|EXPERIENCE AWARD: 1|