|TIME:||Wednesday – July 02, 1879 – 01:00 AM|
|LOCATION:||New Jerusalem [MAP]|
Allen Jabour with his flock (Ed Green, Nathan Green)
The posse heard buzzing coming from the only unexplored tunnel to the portal room just a split second before two of the alien masters arrived. One was armed with the now familiar electric gun and stopped at the tunnel entrance. Electricity arced from the weapon, narrowly missing Yang Li. The other master flew straight toward Sterling, attempting to snatch him in his claws, but missed. In response, Yang Li moved forward to melee the master by the tunnel. Unfortunately, his kicks were all deflected by the alien’s hard shell. Brother Allen managed to find a clear shot and fire his shotgun into the same master, but the much of the shot bounced off the creature’s shell or passed through fungus-like flesh with little result. With Hildegarde damaged, Sterling was forced to rely upon an electric gun of the masters to save him. He pulled his weapon and fired point-blank into the master confronting him. The beast crumpled to the ground, producing an acrid smoke from its burns. The rest of the posse prepared themselves to assist when an opportunity presented itself.
Yang Li continued to harass the lone master while Brother Allen asked God to protect his faithful and presented his crucifix toward the abomination (calling upon the protection miracle). In reply, the master buzzed its wings and clacked its claws in an odd rhythm that brought a momentary haze into being around everyone but Yang Li. This haze caused the victims to have a momentary glipse of a horrible alien landscape that they all inherently realized was their own world terraformed to please the masters – a future they could not change. (The effects of a fear spell. – Ed.) Everyone but the Green brothers were able to shake off this vision as a lie. The courage of the Green brothers broke under such psychic strain and they fled back up the tunnel from whence the group had arrived.
At this point, Sterling decided to use his hoar tosser. Fortunately for Yang Li, who was still near the master, Sterling’s aim was slightly off and much of the mist cloud billowed into the ceiling. Both Yang Li and the master avoided any true harm. The master once again buzzed and clacked to an odd rythym to bring about another distorted haze, this one centered on its body and only momentarily there. However, Yang Li found it much more difficult to effectively target the master, almost as if the alien slid away at the last instant a kick or punch would connect. (This time it was a deflection spell. – Ed.) Yet it was Yang Li who finally defeated the master. He landed a mighty blow with a roundhouse kick that sent the alien abomination crashing into the rock wall and broke its armored shell. A final stomp on the wounded creature insured that it would not rise again.
Their foes defeated, the posse returned to the destruction of the masters’ strange machines. Once all the alien devices had been severely damaged, Sterling and Yang Li noticed a low vibration through the floor. Once they pointed it out, the others noticed it as well. Soon enough, the vibration became greater, and was accompanied by a low, pulsing thud from the damaged machinery. Scared of what might happen, the group raced back toward the mine entrance. Before leaving, Brother Allen instructed the Green brothers to carry the unconscious form of Oliver Pickman.
As they ran, the posse noticed the glowing fungus on the ceiling began to blink in coordination with the vibrations. By the time they reached the main mining cavern, dust and small rocks were being shaken from the mine’s ceiling. This did not prevent Brother Allen and Sterling from stopping at the pile of collected ghost rock. The rest of the posse ran on, but Brother Allen and Sterling quickly filled Oliver’s satchel with a pound of ghost rock before continuing to race away themselves.
The posse was lucky and managed to make it out of the mine just ahead of collapsing tunnels. As they gathered their breathes just outside the mine, Sterling attempted to awaken Oliver Pickman. After a few light slaps and shouting (Sterling was not a gentle soul), Oliver regained consciousness. Unfortunately, he had no memory of the posse, the masters, or any other problems at New Jerusalem. The group only told him enough to get him moving back toward town (not like he really had any other choice).
Scaling the incline from the mine, the posse found their horses and gear where they had left them. They walked their horses back toward town while Sterling rode ahead as a scout. Sterling did encounter two townspeople whose glowing yellow eyes indicated that they were still affected by the masters’ sickness. Not a proficient horseman, Sterling actually feel off his rearing mount as he turned around and attempted to break into a gallop. The infected set upon him as he lay on the ground, but he managed to fend off one and the other could not penetrate his boot with his teeth. Sterling fought off the townspeople and started running for the rest of the posse. The infected followed. Alerted by Sterling’s shouts, the group was easily able to put down the townspeople. Unfortunately, one did manage to bite a large chunk out of Sterling’s arm before dying. Brother Allen called upon God to heal Sterling’s wounds before the posse continued.
While the group pondered their best course of action, Sterling asked Brother Allen to examine De Vermis Mysteriis for any insights. Brother Allen asked the Lord for understanding (casting the speak language miracle again), and found he could read the book. He discovered it was a book of spells written by Ludwig Prinn in 1542. It described numerous dark rituals. As he and Sterling discussed it, Oliver noticed for the first time that they had his book. He immediately asked for it back, but understandably, both Brother Allen and Sterling were reluctant to hand it over. During their discussion, they learned that Oliver had tried several of the spells from the book (nothing too dark or evil), but they did not work. However, Brother Allen and Sterling were both alarmed to learn that the last spell Oliver attempted was a scrying spell. Even though he claimed that it did not work, they suspected that it was Oliver‘s attempts that brought the masters’ notice to their world. Brother Allen immediately destroyed the remains of the book with an alien sub-sonic mining tool that Sterling had found in Oliver’s satchel.
With their new knowledge that the townspeople were still infected, the group moved onward toward the town very cautiously. They visited a farm house, but found it empty. They then decided to head for the church. When they reached the church, they found the doors battered open, presumably by the townspeople trying to catch the group during the group’s rapid retreat earlier.
Playing it smart, the group formed a semi-circular firing line around the steps leading up to the church’s doors. They then shouted at the church, hoping to draw out any infected. The infected responded to the sounds and began shambling into the moonlight. The posse quickly dispatched the poor townsfolk, with Sterling killing a large group with his hoar tosser.
|EXPERIENCE AWARD: 3|