|TIME:||Saturday – June 14, 1879 – 07:00 PM|
|LOCATION:||St. Louis, MO [MAP]|
Sterling Simms – Journal Entry
To speed along the story, the posse choose to “skip” any actions until their next hunt for the Burning Man. However, Lucius did spend the day soaking his gloves in holy water.
As evening approached on Saturday night, Sterling and Tobias visited William Keller Burton at his workshop. Sterling felt somewhat betrayed that Burton had told Lieutenant James of the posse’s encounter with the Burning Man. However, after a short conversation, Burton assured him that he meant no harm and apparently, there had been a bit of a misunderstanding between him and Sterling about the Four Courts Building. He had assumed that Sterling understood that as an army contractor, he would have to report the details to the military authorities. He still planned to join the posse on their hunt, although he had to wait for his assigned squad to arrive.
Instead of waiting at the workshop for the squad, Sterling left Tobias with Burton and visited the Snake’s Den. Once there, he purchased every bottle of Rebel Yell whiskey available, asking the owner to store the bottles he could not carry with him until he could pick them up the next day.
Sterling was not the only one purchasing Rebel Yell whiskey. Both Lucius and Seamus bought several bottles for the Burning Man.
As night set in, the posse along with Burton and his squad met at the site of the Burning Man‘s death, an alley within a few blocks of the Snake’s Den. They placed a bottle of Rebel Yell whiskey at the opposite end of the alley from them and broke a couple of Rebel Yell bottles in the alley. When this did cause not the Burning Man to appear or any returns on Burton’s AERS machine, Lucius began to drink Rebel Yell heavily.
After 15 minutes, Burton reported a return on his sensor (which Sterling, using his goggles, could see as well). It appeared to be coming from the wall near Lucius in the alley. As Lucius looked closer, a spectral hand reached through the wall and grabbed the bottle of Rebel Yell. The hand retreated back into the wall, but smashed the bottle in the process. This brought on an eerie wail of rage as the Burning Man stepped fully from the wall into the alley. He seemed even more terrible than before. His skin was horribly cracked and blackened, while within his eyes and mouth burned the very fires of hell. In fact, at several points of his body, his skin was cracked far enough for small flames from his inner fire to escape. An awful stench of burning meat accompanied the apparition.
Tobias overcame his fear and quickly summoned three bolts of energy which slammed into the Burning Man. Unfortunately at the same time, Lucius, who had come face-to-face with the ghost, could barely bear the terror of its visage. His heart failed him and he tumbled in a heap on the ground*, smashing a second bottle of Rebel Yell as it fell from his hand. The pain from Tobias’ magical bolts as well as the lost of another bottle of Rebel Yell caused the Burning Man to erupt in another roar of rage. In answer to his call, several horribly disfigured men walked from the alley wall. They appeared to be the dead victims of the Burning Man. They shambled for the characters with grasping hands, but none managed to succeed.
While Sterling and the soldiers (except one who ran in terror) tried to mentally deal with the horrors unleashed upon them, Seamus, being a man of drunken action, lit a stick of dynamite and tossed it into the largest crowd of ghostly victims. Although the Burning Man had previously shown a resistance to simple physical attacks, the specters of his victims did not have the same defenses; the dynamite explosion caused most of them to dissipate. Allen destroyed another specter with a blast of his shotgun and the final one was dissipated by a burst from Burton’s Gatling pistol. The Burning Man breathed a cone of fire toward Sterling, but he managed to side-step the flames.
Tobias then attempted to throw a bottle of good whiskey at the Burning Man, but it passed through him harmlessly, smashing against the wall and catching fire from his flames. Seamus noticed that the pool of Rebel Yell whiskey around Lucius extended to the Burning Man and was exposed to his flames, yet somehow, the whiskey did not burn. Using skills developed over hundreds of bar room brawls, Seamus tried to smash a bottle of Rebel Yell whiskey over the Burning Man‘s head… and it worked! Apparently, the Burning Man’s favorite whiskey in life could affect the Burning Man physically! Not only that, but the whiskey actually extinguished some of the Burning Man‘s flames! Seeing Seamus’s success woke Sterling from his horror-induced shock. Sterling grabbed a bottle of Rebel Yell and poured it over the Burning Man. As his flames were extinguished, the Burning Man stumbled to the ground and then dissipated into smoke, apparently destroyed for good.
* While unconscious, Lucius was visited by a being of light who told him that he had a great destiny. This being allowed Lucius to see that Tobias fought the burning man with power from a being in shadows, who the being of light told Lucius was like him. The being of light also told Lucius that if he proved himself worthy, he would receive help from the being. Lucius should continue to hone his skills and he will be contacted again in time.