Reporting on The Flood

…Another Begins (The Liberation of Shan Fan)
  • The two surviving heroes move Anafiel’s body into a respectful position. Abigale breaks down in tears over the loss of her friend and gives a brief eulogy.
  • Skinny Jim, the man who fired on the guards and helped the posse, walks over to join them. He is a member of the resistance against The Child.
  • Right about now the two guards working to qwell the fire return. Abigale shoots one down while Max knocks out the other.
  • After the fight Anthony, a member of the Twilight Legion on errand to assist the liberation of Shan Fan approaches. After brief introductions the three of them go into the cave together. Inside they see globs of human remains, the remnants of the amulet’s abomination. On the far wall the petroglyph glows.

You take a step forward.

Suddenly all of the fragments move at once. They form one single shape, rear up, and strike down at Max.

She takes a step back and stabs upward at the quickly descending mass, her tonfas wrapped in electric wires.

Sparks fly and the creature gives a violent shudder before all parts separate and rapidly retreat to the walls.

Abigale charges forward with Anthony. She brings the katana against her left hand in midstride, slices, and thrusts her bleeding hand out in front of her. She focuses on nothing else but the glowing glyph just within her reach.

Behind her the fleshy globs coalesce and swarm around Max who holds her tonfas out in front of her.

Thud Abigale slams her hand against the wall.

A split second. Nothing.

The creature swerves and dives toward her.

Splat! All at once a rock from the ceiling collapses on the creature. In a puff of decay and dust it finally dies.

Before you all can fully gather in the details another vision appears before your eyes. The earth spirit stands in front, now visible to all of you. The chains, mail, and ugliness melt away, revealing an awe striking fay with antlers atop its head.

  • The earth spirit thanks the heroes and reaffirms the agreement to trigger The Flood. Any further communication is limited due to the disparity between the spiritual world and the physical and the earth spirit soon vanishes.
  • When the heroes exit they see several fires ablaze in Shan Fan and the sounds of intense fighting. Now that The Child’s influence has ended most of the city is in chaos. The heroes head down to the city and split up, planning to meet up at the estate. Anthony rescues dazed citizens and bolsters people’s spirits, suffering from withdrawals of the euphoric telepathy. Abigale and Max take Anafiel’s body to The White Lotus Society.
  • Once they arrive, Abigale and Max find the book of spells that Anthony told them concerned the operation of the containment around Shan Fan. Pennington-Smythe and Shu Lu had constructed the barrier around the city to prevent The Child’s influence from spreading. The heroes need to follow the written instructions in the book to dismantle the spell that has been laid out in the vault of The Explorers Society.
  • The heroes reunite at the burning estate. Inside they meet the leader of the resistance and Abigale recognizes him as her friend, Liang, a companion from their previous endeavors. They deliver the sad news when Liang asks about Anafiel.
  • He tells them about the latest attack by the resistance. The explosion blasted apart the building where nefarious experiments were taking place to discover a method to liberate The Child from its connection to the cave. There was further struggle and the resistance was about to seize The Child when the caretaker revealed herself to be a witch and attacked, wounding Liang. They would have been finished had not The Child then screamed and slowly begin to shrivel. The witch acted quickly to save his life and fled with him to a point just beyond the barrier. The heroes believe this coincided with their actions at the cave.
  • When the heroes approach the barrier the witch attacks and expresses her hatred for them, especially Abigale. However, Anthony is able to appeal to her concerns for The Child, now an infant. He offers a portion of his blood to strengthen The Child as long as the witch swears by her gods to leave them and the city alone from this day forward. She agrees and drains Anthony’s blood until he is faint, but conscious. She then departs with The Child.
  • They depart for the vault and after careful reading of the book they move a few stones in the configuration. There is a rush of air and they heroes understand they successfully lifted the barrier and revived all the people who were previously comatose.
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One Journey Ends...
  • The heroes decide to start a fire north of the cave to create cover and gain entrance to the enclosure.
  • When the guards start fighting the blaze Anafiel runs towards the ghost rock generator to shut off the power to the flood lights.
  • Guards and martial artists determined to “protect the child” surround Anafiel and wound him. Max puts on the necklace and takes control of one of the Gatling guns in a watchtower. Abigale fires on guards with her pistol.
  • Max sees a ghost appear, wielding a pistol and demanding the return of her necklace. She takes it off and the ghost lingers for a few moments to take another shot before vanishing.
  • Someone from one of the other watchtowers starts to fire on the other guards and aid the posse. As the fight winds down a guard runs into the cave calling out “Take me with you!” A moment later a horrible squelching sound is heard coming from within.
  • A Gatling gun malfunctions and the remaining guards die in the explosion. Anafiel’s wounds become too severe and he passes away.
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The Child
The mystery in Shan Fan begins to unravel…
  • Our four heroes decide to start making sense of the situation by seeing the mysterious child for themselves. Before they leave they try to take a sprig of the plant Ellington used to incapacitate himself. Will accidently pricks himself and falls unconscious.
  • The posse slightly alters their appearances to fit in with the city’s new atmosphere and ask residents how they can see the child. The people say there is a tribute every day where people bring toys and gifts.
  • That afternoon, a large crowd gathers around a stage in the courtyard of Tam’s former estate and presents their gifts for the child while Emperor Norton says platitudes. After some time passes the child does not appear and people begin to disperse.
  • Abigale sees a humanoid figure appear that only she can see, covered in chains, metal plates, and a vine, with maggots and slime emerging from it’s orifices; the figure from her previous visions. It shakes its head at her before vanishing without a word.
  • Abigale and Anafiel find a place removed from the milling crowd to talk through what she has just seen. They realize that it has actually been the earth spirit appearing to her in visions and that something happened to the spirit when Abigale destroyed the Amulet of Rashamir. They also suspect the tentacle monster may have survived.
  • Max climbs up a tree to sneak into the main building for a glimpse of the child.

From behind a sliding door you hear the sounds of sobbing and a woman’s voice. Bending over to look through the space between the door and the floor, you see a large room painted in bright colors and filled with piles of toys. At one side of the room a Caucasian woman in her forties is rocking something back and forth, hidden from your view.

“It’s okay…it’s okay… Tomorrow there will be new toys.”

You hear the sobs of a male child. “I wanted it to be a new one.”

“Here, you got a lot of new books today. I’ll read you one.”

“I don’t want to read anymore stupid books.” The child appears to shove her away and steps into view.

He is the ugliest child you have ever seen. Many parts of his body are grotesque and distorted. The hair on his head grows down his back. One eye is larger than the other and sags down the side of his face. He wears no shoes, not that you image he could; his feet have only three toes each. On a more perplexing note, an inorganic looking cord comes out from under his clothes and coils across the room out of sight.

The “child” rummages through the toys, throwing most of them aside, before turning back to his caretaker.

“Teach me about letters!”

She gets up immediately, walks to a small blackboard, and writes the alphabet, starting with “A”. The child quickly starts fidgeting and grumbles.

“I’m bored.” He stands up and walks to a corner where he forms a fetal position on the floor.

“I’m still having nightmares about those same people, especially that woman who hurt me twice.” He wraps his arms around himself. “I think…I think I might have seen her today.”

  • Max sneaks out of the estate to rejoin the other two and they start walking back to the city. On the way they spot an empty lot with only the foundation and the basement of a former building remaining.
  • At a general store next door the posse asks about the demolished building. The storekeeper says that it was a church that was calling the child a demon. When they investigate the remains the heroes find only a few articles for church services and an unadorned cross.
  • The posse brings each other up to date on all the information they have so far. Abigale suspects that the child referred to her when he talked about his nightmares. After talking to more people they realized that the earth spirit’s petroglyph is within the boundaries of the spell and make their way towards it.
  • A well-marked trail now leads the way to the cave that is surrounded by guard towers and floodlights.
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The Heroes' Mission
Our heroes come to an understanding of the task at hand and face a new mystery…

Meeting Born in a Bowl

  • After caring for the wounded and reviving Born in a Bowl, the posse and Weematai talk with her. She informs them that Papa Rattlesnake is spent from the fight, but they should leave straight away.
  • On the way out the posse are attacked by three giant horned snakes. They bite Abigale, knocking her unconscious. The rest of the posse is able to prevent her from falling through the deadfall and kill the snakes.
  • They reach the boats and submarine outside. Will, the huckster, levitates Abigale into one of the canoes. Born in a Bowl, horrified at his gamble with evil spirits as she says, strikes him.
  • Weematai directs them to a safe grotto nearby. The posse sits down with Born in a Bowl to give her the remains of Sees Far Ahead and explain why they have come to seek her out. Anafiel also explains his personal involvement with Grimme.
  • Born in a Bowl takes the jawbone of Sees Far Ahead and says that his presence lingers and they may be able to communicate with him. While Weematai prepares a sweat lodge for the ritual Born in a Bowl reveals herself to be a powerful shaman and offers to help Anafiel in his struggle with Grimme. She comes away exhausted, but manages to put obstacles in Anafiel’s mind against the evil spirit.
  • While the posse continues to wait, they ask Born in a Bowl how they should return to the Necessity Alliance if Stalks the Night is chief and unlikely to allow her to return. Born in a Bowl says that she will rally other loyal Indians in the Maze to force Stalks the Night to back down and should not need the help of the posse.

The Reverend’s Fate

It is here that the mystery of what you and your friends had been fighting against becomes clear. Up to this point in the journey there have been several clues hinting at the true past of the Church of Lost Angels and you already knew many of their nefarious objectives from your own experience in the Rock Island Prison and Agent Hellman’s testament. But now we are about to understand it’s origin and it’s purpose. We are about to know everything.

When all is ready and warm steam thick in the air you all gather in the makeshift lodge. Born in a Bowl cups the jawbone of Sees Far Ahead in her hands and instructs us to sit with her around the low fire. Then, in a low voice, she begins to chant. You sit still, uncertain what is the proper thing to do in this situation, but a clear mind seems to be the right state to be in.

However, you soon became exhausted. You try to focus on her chanting, but can hardly hear her and keep your eyes open. You must have fallen asleep, because the next thing you know you are waking up. However, you are no longer seated in the lodge, but on top of a mesa, the day warm and the sun already high in the sky.

You rise up slowly, exhausted, and reach over to a pool of seawater to wash out your wounds from the previous night. The saltwater stings horribly, but it is slightly better than letting the dirt fester.

It is at this point that you glance down and inwardly gasp. From the reflection in the water you see that you are not yourself; you are Reverend Ezekiah Grimme, wearing the familiar cassock and collar. But something is different, this is not the “Grimme” you recall that always wore that permanent stern look. This face is gentle and softened, although right now it is etched with fatigue and sadness. You are beginning to understand that this is a vision, a vision of California shortly after the Great Quake.

Suddenly, you hear the sound of arguing and prop yourself up on your staff, sighing at another repeat event. You make your way over to the people, the survivors of your flock. They part, revealing, to your disgust, a corpse cut open and torn apart. The people look up at you and have truly tragic looks in their eyes. They wear mixtures of anger and supplication on their faces, lined with fatigue born from weeks of hunger. You cannot help but feel pity for them and at the same time you are at a loss for a way to help them.

A man, Garret Black, stands over the corpse, making the most noise and arguing that they are all starving without end in sight and that they should eat the man he had killed the other day.

You vehemently refuse and Garret curses your foolish piety, saying you are going to kill them all. He draws his knife. You raise a pistol, fire, and Garret falls.

But the calls for cannibalism do not die down; they only grow in volume and hatred. Some of the survivors rush at you. Others jump into the melee to throw them off, those still loyal and slightly sane. They fight with makeshift weapons and when they do not find those they claw and rip at each others throats.

Horror rises up in you at the sight of the death and madness of all the people you once served. You cry out to the Lord for guidance, for deliverance, but there is only silence. Streams of blood flow over the rocks and turn the ocean red. They all die, you die, until there are only thirteen left alive that proceed to gorge themselves on human flesh and blood, in a rush of madness, hunger, and shame. As you watch now from above you feel profound sorrow and a sense of failure. Andrea Baird abused when she was a young child, James Lewis haunted by his actions in the war. You thought you had helped all of these people.

Night comes. A shadow passes over the crimson moon. It surveys the scene of carnage and for some reason seems pleased to no end. You feel the combined depravity and souls of the thirteen pulled towards your remains and they begin to pulse and accumulate flesh, until your body, Grimme’s body, stands among the thirteen once more. But this thing is not Grimme, it only takes his appearance to corrupt the good he once stood for; the man Ezekiah Grimme is dead. This is an evil being created from the fallen souls of the thirteen that gave up their virtue for survival.

The thirteen all look at their own creation in great shock. Their red faces and flesh encrusted hands tremble and many of them fall to their knees, begging for forgiveness. But it does not bring down wrath upon them; it smiles instead and gives them a blessing. It says it will show them a new way. Thus the Church of Lost Angels is born.

It is here that you emerge from the vision. Your entire body is numb and reeling from the impact of the event you not just witnessed, but were a part of. You felt everything Grimme felt, including his death and then his remorse. Then you felt the intense darkness that was the abomination that followed and felt the intense hatred it felt. All four of you experienced it. It is at this moment that you appreciate how critical it is for you all to stop it, not just for you and your friends, but also for every single person.

The Mandate

  • At this moment Sees Far Ahead speaks through Born in a Bowl. He says that Grimme, The Elders and the Church of Lost Angels must be stopped; they serve the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, namely Famine, and aim to turn the land into hell.
  • He reveals how to destroy Grimme’s doppelganger and the evil powers within the Church of Lost Angels for good. If the heroes can kill all thirteen of the Elders within one hour of each other and destroy the cathedral in the City of Lost Angels in the same hour, the Elders will not be able to regenerate and will die. Since Grimme’s doppelganger is their combined souls he will perish as well.
  • When the heroes ponder how they can destroy the cathedral and kill all the Elders within an hour, since the thirteen are spread out across California, Sees Far Ahead reveals the existence of seven earth spirits. They were imprisoned years ago and if the posse can form a pact with them by smearing the blood of their hands on each symbol of the spirit, the lightning bolt petroglyph, the spirits will be free and trigger The Flood on the next location where the heroes draw their blood.
  • Abigale remembers seeing the symbol from the cave near Shan Fan and two other markings of the spirits on a map at the locations of Quarrytown and Isle of Ghost Tears. Sees Far Ahead warns them that he has not heard from the spirit near Shan Fan for sometime.
  • The posse also recall that on August 23rd there is an annual gathering of the Church of Lost Angels and it is possible that all thirteen Elders will be there.
  • Sees Far Ahead says that Grimme cannot be harmed, “save with his fang’s twin.” The posse takes this to mean the true Grimme’s staff.
  • At this point Sees Far Ahead acknowledges Grimme’s doppelganger in their presence. While he says this set of circumstances may prove useful towards completing the mission it is simultaneously problematic since the evil spirit will be aware of the plan and the details as they unfold.
  • Abigale asks Sees Far Ahead if her brother James is beyond redemption. He says that he does not know, although it would be difficult for someone to break his or her soul free from the amalgamation of the thirteen.
  • Once the posse has no further questions Sees Far Ahead says that the four of them have been appointed the task of freeing the earth spirits and bringing to an end the Church of Lost Angels. He asks the posse if there are committed to seeing it through. They all agree.
  • The vision ends and Born in a Bowl speaks in her normal voice. They discuss amongst themselves the road ahead and decide to head to the first petroglyph at Shan Fan after they secretly return to the Necessity Alliance the next day to retrieve the mazerunner.
  • In order to avoid detection from Stalks the Night’s warriors, Anafiel drives Max and Will over to the mazerunner in the submarine at night. Will creates a distraction while Max starts up the boat. All of the posse leave without incident and say a kind farewell to Weematai and Born in a Bowl.

The Haunting of Shan Fan

  • As the heroes pass through the channel leading into the bay of Shan Fan they pass by a seemingly deserted sampan. When they draw up to the boat they find a man unconscious and all mundane attempts to revive him fail. Many other boats close by are also filled with inert people, while closer to the city things appear as normal.
  • When Anafiel prays over the man he awakes, parched and famished. He has trouble staying awake and only has time to explain that he must have crossed “The Line” and fallen asleep like all other people who stray too far from Shan Fan.
  • When the posse cross the bay and walk through Shan Fan to The White Lotus Society they notice that the place is uncharacteristically clean for Shan Fan, people are happy and oblivious to the point of creepy, and smiley faces are a reoccurring theme. The people praise “Leader Norton” and his pacifist mandate for the city and seem extremely content with their lives as long as they do not leave Shan Fan.
  • When the posse reaches The White Lotus Society they meet Herman Ellington, who is also acting strangely. When questioned, he brings them to Shu Lu’s charred lab where she and Pennington-Smythe are lying on cots unconscious. Ellington explains that they were trying to explain the phenomenon, when they became comatose while trying to leave the city. On the subject of Shan Fan, he says that after the war Kang negotiated for peace and Norton, who Ellington also speaks highly of, was made ruler of Shan Fan and moved into Tam’s Estate.

Even though Ellington is the sanest man you have met so far today, even he sounds disconnected and somewhat loopy. How you can make sense of this, you still have no idea.

“All of this is of course to prepare for the Coming of…” Ellington falters.

“You were saying?” You reply.

“Nothing, nothing. I believe you said you had a report on one of the missions?”

Abigale steps forward. “No, you were about to say something.”

“A slip of the tongue. Now let me see those photos you talked about.” She reluctantly hands over the plates from Fellheimer’s Folly. Ellington merely glances over them. “Yes, yes well done. I’ll look at them later. You may have…five thousand dollars.”

Everyone is taken aback. Does he even have five thousand dollars?

“No, keep your money,” says Anafiel, naturally. “Besides you only asked for a maximum of four hundred.”

“Did I? Well, I suppose…still, what’s mine is yours…”

From the corner of your eye you see Anafiel raise his hand, close his eyes, and whisper something. There is no time to ask him what he is doing because the next moment Ellington is giving a bloodcurdling scream.

He holds his head in his hands and drops to his knees.

“Oh God!”

“It’s all right, it’s all right,” You sooth, and kneel down next to the now quivering man.

“The singing! The singing’s stopped! Why, why has it stopped? The child…it’s voice was so beautiful.”

  • Once Ellington overcomes the withdrawal of euphoria he explains that the strangeness started just over a week ago. Kang had already left and Norton was in charge. Then a “child”, born of the earth, appeared at Norton’s estate. Norton became enamored with it, as did an increasingly number of people and they felt an obligation to protect the child. Eventually the whole of Shan Fan came under its spell. Now everyone is trapped in Shan Fan and cannot leave the city without falling into a coma.
  • Ellington has never seen the child, but he believes it resides with Emperor Norton in the estate. He mentions that fire at the estate is forbidden. The posse guess that the “child” has a weakness or fear of fire.
  • Ellington says that he had a vision of a lightning bolt symbol and the posse wonder if they can reach the petroglyph without crossing “the line” and falling into the same state as Shu Lu and Pennington-Smythe.
  • Ellington warns that previously he was not in control of his thoughts and words and that the child may be able to see through the people in Shan Fan. Furthermore, people usually fall under the spell after falling asleep. The posse understands that they need to solve the case quickly before they are discovered or sleep deprivation sets in.
  • Ellington knocks himself out with one of Shu Lu’s plants before succumbing again to the spell. The posse leave, intending to eventually meet with this child.

“By the way I’m not giving you five thousand dollars!”

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The Necessity Alliance

Clayton’s Landing

  • Agent Call’s directions bring the posse to a mesa town called Clayton’s Landing on the first day of February, 1880.
  • Will, Anafiel, and Max enter the inn of the mining town and see an Indian dwarf passed out on a table. They talk to the young woman serving customers and she says that the Indian’s name is Walks on Water. He is a frequent visitor to the mesa, sells medicines, and is fond of gambling.
  • The posse discovers that the reach of the Church of Lost Angels is longer than they previously thought when they take note of the small church in town. The woman says that all the townsfolk recently converted.
  • Max remains behind and waits for Walks on Water to wake. When he does so she talks to him and he reveals that he is a former member of the Necessity Alliance, but refuses to discuss their location.
  • Eventually the posse reconvene and head over to the church, enter and meet the pastor, Father Abram.
  • Abram explains how Woolbright converted the parish to the Church of Lost Angels five months ago and when the former minister of the church died, Abram accepted assignment to Clayton’s Landing. He talks proudly in length about Grimme and the history of Lost Angels.
  • Anafiel hears chimes coming from the back of the Church that grow steadily louder, but that no one else seems to hear. Then he feels the presence of Grimme’s doppelganger well up inside him, but manages to quell it. The heroes politely excuse themselves when Anafiel appears to sway from nausea.
  • Once outside they discuss amongst themselves what to do about the Church in Clayton’s Landing. Ultimately, they decide that Father Abram and the Church are doing no apparent harm in the area, enough to warrant action, and the people of the town seem respected.
  • The posse returns to the inn and see Walks on Water playing poker. Will enthusiastically jumps in on the action and Anafiel joins a few rounds later. The game is about evenly matched.
  • After a fair amount of money has been exchanged Max notices a card slip up the sleeve of Walks on Water. She seizes his hand, revealing a secret pocket and a poker card.
  • Walks on Water panics and agrees to tell the posse how to travel to the Necessity Alliance once they promise not tell the rest of the mesa about him cheating at poker.

The Necessity Alliance

  • Anafiel continues to struggle with Grimme on random nights and have fleeting dreams of memories that are not his. His companions see him thrash about in his sleep and hover inches over the floor. On this night he wakes up extremely nauseous after an intense battle with Grimme and empties the contents of his stomach onto Abigale and the floor.
  • The next morning the heroes prepare to leave with Walks on Water’s directions and a map to the Necessity Alliance. They take a moment to meet with the innkeeper to purchase some unrefined Ghost Rock for a business deal and discuss more about the Church. The innkeeper seems to approve of the Church, but becomes uncomfortable when discussing the death of the former minister.
  • After about two days of travel the heroes arrive at the mesa that serves as the current location of the Necessity Alliance. They are fairly unsettled when they see a few Indian corpses impaled on vertical poles on the edge of the mesa. The posse approaches the beach cautiously and dons some of their weapons.
  • When they ascend a ways along the path they see a group of Indian warriors and defenses along the trail. Abigale persuades one of the guards to lead them to Born in a Bowl once the heroes leave all their weapons behind.
  • The warriors lead the posse through the village to a tall Indian, wearing a headdress. He gives the posse a hard look and grudgingly listens to them.
  • The Indian is Stalks the Night, the new chief of the Necessity Alliance. He says that Born in a Bowl is no longer there; a few days ago Indians belonging to the evil Rattlesnake Clan kidnapped her. There was a brief civil war at the Necessity Alliance before Stalks the Night restored order. He suspects that she is still alive and being tortured at a place of known dark power nearby in the Maze.
  • When the posse insists on rescuing her, he leaves and returns with a silent Indian man with glowing eyes, Eyes Like Fire, and a young female Indian, Weematai. Stalks the Night says the two of them will guide the heroes to the place where the Rattlesnake Clan took Born in a Bowl.

The Deadfall Cave

After a day and a half of travel you arrive at the place Eyes Like Fire and Weematai talked about. What was once a great forest must have been shattered during the Great Quake when the mesa dislodged from the surrounding land and cracked open in the side. Trees tumbled into the new crevasse and now they grow out of the sides of the earth, crisscrossing in all directions. At sea level there is a tangle of deadfall and only a narrow, dark passage going into the latticework of trees is visible.

Will and Anafiel drive the submarine around the mesa, but report seeing no other way inside. You all gather at the surface near the entrance and take stock of the eerie sight. Ultimately, you all turn to Weematai and Eyes Like Fire.

Eyes Like Fire does not even look at any of you. “We should go now.” And he leads the way.

The passage is narrow and there is much clamoring and climbing. It is easy to slip and twist your ankle. Soon your hands are covered with tiny splinters and the dark stains of rotting wood. Even more unsettling is the dark water lapping below, concealing all sorts of sea monsters conjured by your imagination.

There is a sigh of relief from you once the passageway starts to open up.

Until you see tiny dolls hanging from the limbs, with fruit for heads and swarming with flies.

You keep as much distance between you and the creepy little things as possible and almost feel jubilant to return to the continuing passageway. Then the person in front of you halts. You peer over their shoulder and your stomach churns at the next sight.

Max’s lantern light reveals dark shapes hanging from ropes in the chamber, shapes disturbingly humanoid.

Suddenly, several low moans echo through the chamber. You feel a kick to the chest; you have trouble catching your breath.

You hear someone yell Run! but you don’t know who. You only stumble forward as fast as you can.

The sight of one of the shapes shatters your malaise for a second. It is human hanging by a rope, but stripped of all skin. It doesn’t seem to be dead in the normal sense though because it’s eyes and mouth are wide open, a moan emanating from it.

Tearing your gaze from the sight you run forward, but each step is heavier and your vision grows increasingly cloudy. Just when you are about to give up and collapse, suddenly your lungs fill with air, blessed air! You sway, but one of your friends grasps your shoulder.

  • The heroes arrive at the next open chamber and see a figure prone on the ground, Born in a Bowl. She is naked and pierced with many tiny sticks. When they approach, the Indian Shaman Papa Rattlesnake materializes out of thin air and attacks the posse with magical attacks and conjured snakes.
  • Meanwhile, Weematai and Eyes Like Fire fight each other, both claiming that the other will kill Born in a Bowl. The posse divides their efforts between killing the snakes, battling Papa Rattlesnake, and trying to quell Weematai and Eyes Like Fire. Then, swarms of wooden dolls descend and attack.
  • Papa Rattlesnake seriously injures Will, but the rest of the heroes manage to kill Eyes Like Fire as it becomes apparent that he is the aggressor.
  • Now the heroes focus their attacks on Papa Rattlesnake. Drained from the extended battle, he retreats.
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Fellheimer's Folly
A Tragic Curse...

Visitors to Progress

  • Our heroes plan to leave Perdition shortly, but first they want to discover the consequences of their recent actions in Lost Angels.
  • Lacy O’Malley does some investigation for them. He meets our heroes at the train station and reports that, for the first time, someone other than Grimme or the Elders gave the sermon. The official report is that very dangerous “pirates” attacked the prison. Grimme and the Elders are seriously wounded, but recovering. Once they are lucid they will provide descriptions.
  • Lacy also notes that he could not find anyone to speak to who witnessed the attack against Grimme.
  • The posse takes the train to the town of Progress to purchase a vessel for travel through the Maze. On the way they pour through what looks like prisoner transfers they snatched up during the rescue mission and learn more about the inner workings of the prison. The posse notices an increase in the number of prisoners around the month of July, during the large annual celebration in the Church of Lost Angels.
  • On arrival, the posse finds that the residents are mostly scientists, but that the city is under the protectorate of Lost Angels. All boats are now being built only for Hellstromme’s Wasatch rail-line and the City of Lost Angels.
  • One of the Elders, Horace Mosley, is in the Progress shipyards. The best the posse can hear about the objection for the new boats is that they are for protection of ghost rock.
  • In a bar the posse see a wanted poster for Jane posted by the Mexicans and Santa Anna. The bounty for her capture is $25,000 dollars!
  • Max opens an account with the Lost Angels bank in Progress. The heroes manage to persuade an owner to sell them a maze runner, despite the restrictions.

Fellheimer’s Curse

  • That evening the posse leave to search for the Necessity Alliance. Along the way they stop at Fellheimer’s Folly to complete the last of the White Lotus Society Missions.
  • Anafiel no longer has his normal nightmares, but he has an odd dream in the form of a memory that is not his, of a young boy being bullied.
  • When the heroes arrive they see a gut-wrenching sight. The body of the miner Augustus Fellheimer has been crucified to the side of a spike of rock jutting out of the maze waters. However, Fellheimer does not appear to be dead, the body has not decomposed, even though it has been hanging in the elements for over a year. Before the posse can draw closer, a man in a boat approaches.
  • The heroes explain their mission to Agent Call, who is rather strict at enforcing that they not approach the site, as accidents tend to happen. Abigale offers her experience with such matters and the Agency at Devil’s Postpiles when they try to convince him of their good intentions and capabilities. While he eventually leaves the heroes to their own devices, he regards them and especially her with suspicion.
  • Pictures taken with the spirit camera reveal tendrils of white light streaming from the body downwards along the spike. A close up picture of the body shows a silhouette of Fellheimer’s face contorted in agony.
  • All of the heroes are now determined to find a way to bring the suffering man down from the side of the rock. Will levitates Max up to Fellheimer in attempts to take him down, but his magic always seems to backfire on him.
  • Anafiel notices a hidden door in the rock below the water line. At low tide they open the door and discover a passageway.
  • At this moment the posse sees whirligigs in the air, piloted by what appears to be more agents. Deciding not to take a chance with the agents they go through the door.
  • As the heroes descend through the underground passage they encounter trip traps and magical traps. When they reach a large chamber a man dressed in dark clothes attacks them with bursts of flame.
  • Will incapacitates the man with lightning, but not before he summons a demon.
  • Will taunts the demon regarding its servitude to a mortal and the demon charges. The rest of the posse fight, but mundane attacks do no damage against the spawn from hell.

The demon lunges at Anafiel, gripping him in a pincer-like grasp, then turns and plunges him into the giant vat of water.

The water churns with the struggle of Anafiel beneath the water and the pressures of the demon to keep him submerged. You freeze with helplessness as you fumble to think of a way to free him from the grips of the nightmarish creature.

Suddenly, Max dashes past you, a test tube from the sorcerer’s lab in her hand, and she hurls it onto the demon.

On contact, ice crystals begin to spread rapidly on the demon’s scaly hide. The demon lurches back and howls in pain. Anafiel bursts from the water and scrambles out of the way.

In just a few seconds the entire demon and the liquid filled cauldron ice over.

You dare to draw closer to the demon’s face and you see the fiery eyes dim and then go dark.

The Question of Morality

  • After recovering from the fight, the posse looks through the room and exiting corridor. Some interesting things in the room include a book entitled Necronomicon containing translated spells, the sorcerer’s diary, and a vial with a vaporous substance. At the end of the corridor are a submarine and an underwater entrance.
  • The diary details that the sorcerer, Von Stroessner, held a grudge against Fellheimer, followed him to the Maze from Germany, drained his soul, and planned to merge it with other ingredients, including ghost rock, to conjure a spell to enhance his own life. Fellheimer’s soul is in the vial.
  • The posse, carrying the unconscious Von Stroessner, uses the submarine to return to the surface. Through the periscope they see several agents standing on guard outside the tunnel entrance, guns drawn.
  • The posse drops Von Stroessner on a nearby island and wait for the agents to leave. They attempt to retrieve Fellheimer from the side of the cliff, but fail again.
  • The agents corner the posse and draw their guns on them. To diffuse the situation, our heroes explain their findings in the caverns below and Agent Call agrees to meet at the nearby island with Von Stroessner.
  • Agent Call is still suspicious of the posse, especially Will given his abilities as a huckster and Abigale over her encounter at Devil’s Postpiles. But once Abigale explains the event in detail and mentions that Jane Juno was with her and once Will says he was involved in the rescue of Sam Hellman all of the agents are more cordial.
  • The posse and Agent Clemens interrogate Von Stroessner until he agrees to perform the ritual to release the jinx on Fellheimer. The posse agrees to let Von Stroessner go if he keeps his word.
  • The next morning Von Stroessner kills a chicken and the posse are able to lower Fellheimer from the side of the cliff into their boat.

There is a great sense of accomplishment between everyone. You can hardly image what it must have felt like to be such a man, in constant, agonizing pain, to watch the sun and moon move across the sky day after day, helpless to say or do anything, likely going half insane, now, finally, almost free.

Abigale opens the vial. Immediately a vaguely human shaped essence flies out and settles over Fellheimer.

He gasps, then sighs. His eyes close and his face relaxes into the deepest expression of peace you have ever seen.

After recovering from the shock of the stunning sight, you lean over to check for a pulse of the once again still body. You feel nothing; Fellheimer has finally been given peace.

Every one of you bows their heads. Anafiel makes a sign of the cross.

Suddenly you hear two loud gunshots coming from the island.

  • The heroes race back to find an uncomfortable looking Agent Call and a grim Agent Clemens, his gun out, and standing over a dead Von Stroessner.
  • Agent Clemens explains that he could not let the sorcerer go free. The Agency would have only accepted, at minimum, imprisoning Von Stroessner, but the posse promised to let him go and Clemens knew that he could not take them in a fight. So instead Clemens shot him once it was apparent that the Fellheimer case was resolved and the posse were not present. Abigale and Anafiel still take objection to this, while Max and Will are more agreeable with his decision, but only strong words are exchanged between them.
  • The agents give their word that they will not confront the posse again in the future; in fact the Agency has specific orders in regards to them that they are not willing to disclose.
  • The heroes explain that they are looking for the Necessity Alliance and one of the agents gives them a very strong lead.
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Grimme's Secrets
A night of revelations...

Samuel Hellman’s Tale

  • Having just survived several harrowing battles the heroes and the freed prisoners make their way to the Big M Ranch and rendezvous with Lacy and Hong Fat.
  • Aboard the pirate ship the posse recounts their last encounters to Lacy and attends to Sam Hellman.
  • Sam tells everyone present that Grimme’s church is a cannibalistic cult. The main course of the meal that Grimme feeds the parishioners every Sunday is actually human flesh.
  • Furthermore, Sam tells them about the Indian Shaman and leader of the Necessity Alliance, Sees Far Ahead. He also suggests another Shaman of the Necessity Alliance, Born in a Bowl, might know more useful information about him.

“Sees Far Ahead was the one who told me that Grimme is part of the Reckoning, a name for the state the world is in now. But he said it’s not the end of the world, rather it’s the beginning of the end. Of course, I didn’t believe him, but that was before I watched Grimme barely flinch at bullets fired point blank and discovered the truth about his ‘church’.”

He suppresses a shudder before he continues. “I met Sees Far Ahead for the last time while I was in prison. He told me that he discovered a way that Grimme could die, but I never had a chance to hear more before they killed him and ate his flesh in front of me. Before his death he said that I should keep a part of him, that it was important, so I managed to sneak away this.” You see Hellman hold out a human jawbone.

Anafiel takes the bone and his brows furrow for a moment before he speaks. “There is something you should know. Grimme is dead. I killed him. With this sword.” Anafiel holds out the demon blade.

Hellman’s eyes widen. “What? I watched that man take two bullets in the face and he barely slowed down!”

  • Sam reveals that he is member of the Agency, and they will take the sword for further research.
  • Lacy O’Malley decides to write an article in the Tombstone Epitaph about the recent events in Lost Angels, but with discretion.
  • The heroes have many ideas about how to proceed, but they agree that finding the Necessity Alliance is important and they need a fast boat. They also want to know more about the conditions in Lost Angels after recent events.
  • Abigale tells her brother to leave the area for his own safety and he decides to go to Quarrytown. The rest of them head for Perdition.

Anafiel’s Burden

  • They all stay the night at the Fallen Angels Saloon. Will spends his first night of freedom gambling. Jane takes the first watch and sees Anafiel wake up, telling her he is leaving to take a leak. She notes him with suspicion and wakes Max, telling her to follow Anafiel.
  • Meanwhile, Anafiel is having more nightmares, but this one is particularly vivid. He is barricading a fort against a swarm of faminites.

To his left Anafiel sees a soldier shout into a Motorola. “Air support! We need air support!”

The gates shake and groan as faminites claw and howl behind them. A soldier leans over the top of the gate and fires a machine gun. Suddenly a burst of light decapitates him.

“Grimme’s coming! Grimme’s coming!” A panicked voice screams down from the ramparts.

Bang! The doors burst open, revealing… Anafiel… himself… yellow eyes glowing malevolently and swinging Lu Dongbin’s sword and a hickory staff left and right, as he leads the hordes of faminites forward.

  • Meanwhile, Max sees Anafiel stumble out of the saloon and run to a nearby forest. He snaps off a branch of a hickory tree that forms into a staff. Then Anafiel throws the staff at a wandering deer, striking it down.
  • Back in the dream, just as the sword wielding Anafiel is about to strike him down, the dreaming Anafiel is removed from the battle and finds himself watching from the ramparts. Next to him is Reverend Ezekiah Grimme.
  • This Grimme speaks to Anafiel and asks him if he is going to allow his nightmares to become reality.
  • Anafiel states that he has no intention to be a conqueror and kill anyone, not even Grimme. The vision of Grimme says that he has already been dead for about ten years.
  • Anafiel wakes up and finds himself over the fallen deer. He returns to the saloon, while Max retrieves the hickory staff and follows.
  • Letting Sam and Lacy sleep Anafiel tells the others about his dream. He also states that he believes the Grimme he killed back in Lost Angels was actually a doppelganger and the real Grimme talked to him in his dream.
  • The posse agree that the soul of Grimme’s doppelganger is now battling against Anafiel for possession of his body. Anafiel removes his weapons and pledges himself against violence. He tells the others to take whatever measures necessary to stop him should he lose control again.

Our Heroes Set to Work

  • They take a picture of Anafiel and the staff with the spirit camera. There is a faint image of the deer on the staff and Anafiel is completely saturated in white light and has glowing yellow eyes.
  • Anafiel returns to the forest with Jane and says a prayer over the deer before skinning and cleaning it. The next morning Jane leaves with Sam, taking the sword with them.
  • The remaining three heroes in Perdition decide to destroy the staff at Ghost Town, but Abigale remains outside due to her phobia of spiders and bone fiends. When Max and Anafiel destroy the staff they see a figure in the shape of a deer rise up. They come to the conclusion that the staff actually captures souls and by destroying the staff they set all the souls free.
  • Abigale and Anafiel attempt to discourage a few passersby against going to the feast in the city, but, while they appear uneasy, they continue on their way.
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Escape from the Rock
  • Having just broken into the jail, and all had gone well thus far, the posse decided to risk a bit more and do some reconnaissance.
  • Anafiel and Will headed towards the mark on their sewer map that said “Grimme’s Chambers”. Jane L Juno and Abigale Lewis helped Eli, Sam, and Eddie out of the prison.
    -
  • Anafiel and Will ran into Maxine (or Max), another recent escape.
  • They all entered Grimme’s “Chamber”, which consisted of a bathtub, attached to two cages with corpses in them. It looked like fluids may have been drained down to the bathtub from the cages.
  • Looking into a neighboring chamber, they saw 3 of the thirteen Elders talking. They were under a large statue of an emaciated woman on a horse. Anafiel believes they must worship Famine, the Horseman of the Apocalypse.
  • From the conversation, it is learnd:
    • The Elders don’t know what happened to Grimme, although they’d apparently “know” if he was truly dead
    • They also seem to be able to sense if one of their own is slain (at least one of the 13 elders.
    • There is a brief mention of concern that they might have trouble controlling someone named “Garret” without Grimme.
  • After a hurried discussion, the posse decide to attack the Elders. The battle was more difficult than they expected. All three elders proved to be powerful combatants. One of them (Gabriel Fannon) was an ace gunslinger, and another (Michal Coulter), seemed to be a blessed or wizard, and protected and healed the others. However, in the end, they succeeded and blew up the alter/statue of famine.
    -—-
  • The other party got to the opening. Once Eddie was out in the full moonlight, he transformed into a werewolf!
  • The posse had no silver, and he seemed unharmed by anything else. However, repeatedly being shot eventually caused him to topple into the grimy ocean under the murk. A giant crocodile burst upwards, trying to eat him. The battle between the two was ferocious, but in the end the invincible wolf won.
  • The guards heard the noise, but were still confused from the naval battle. They responded in a few minutes, by which time the posse had left, leaving the wolf to eat his crocodile. The wolf climbed the walls to eat him some guards.
  • They returned to the sewer, picked up Anafiel et. al.
  • The posse was then chased by a flying, dark hooded figure. It shot black lighting at them, and held dual pistols.
  • They shot it, and its wings vanished, and it tumbled into the ocean.
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Into the Fire
A daring rescue...
  • The posse make their way through the fiery ruins to escape. Along the way Jack throws Grimme’s staff into a chasm and there is a burst of flames.
  • They find a passage blocked by zombies and fight their way through. Behind them a bone fiend attacks. Anafiel find the evil creature’s weakness and destroys it.
  • Jack is surrounded by zombies and dies from his multiple burns.

From where you are pined down you see Anafiel, haggard and still pale from the events in Lost Angels, stumble towards the zombies and fiery rubble.

One of the zombies turns towards Anafiel and you hear a chilling voice filled with pleasure.

“Heehehe, you failed!”

“He died well.” Anafiel raises his katana.

  • A man operating a watchtower and running a business of zombie safari-like hunts helps the surviving posse finish the fight.
  • Our heroes carry Jack’s body up to the outskirts of Perdition and create a funeral pyre.
  • After the memorial the posse clean up and heal. They head to the inn to meet with Lacey O’Malley instead of waiting the next day. They tell him of recent events in Lost Angels.
  • Lacy agrees to hide the posse in the basement of the inn before the rescue for Sam Hellman and Abigale’s brother.
  • Anafiel informs them that Lu Dongbin’s Sword is actually a demon possessed sword. When he wielded it and struck Grimme he felt as though the sword was sucking out Grimme’s soul and filling Anafiel with blood-lust.
  • At midnight one of Grimme’s elders searches the inn, but does not discover the posse.
  • The next day the posse meet with Hong Fat and Lacey and organize the rescue plan. Hong Fat agrees to operate a diversion with his ships for up to an hour or until one of his ships sinks.
  • At midnight the posse row over to the island and Hong Fat begins the attack. Anafiel and Lacey keep in contact over the Motorolas.
  • Our heroes navigate the sewers until they arrive at Cellblock C. They subdue a guard and retrieve the keys to free a barely conscious Sam Hellman and two other prisoners, a Huckster named Will and a man named Eddie.
  • Abigale’s brother is missing and the guard reveals that he was taken to the interrogation room. Abigale and Anafiel go there through the sewers and find Elijah West tied to a rack and being tortured.
  • As they work to release him Abigale sees someone coming down the hall, her eldest brother James! Abigale waits for her brother in the chamber while Anafiel and Elijah stay just below in the sewers.

James Lewis steps inside. The years have been much more kind to him than to his younger brother. His hair is neatly parted and he wears crimson robes with a white collar.

“Abigale!” He looks genuinely surprised and pleased to see her. Then he glances over at the rack. “Where’s our brother?”

“I found him here being tortured to death. I got him out of here half an hour ago and then I decided to stay behind and wait for you.”

He has a smile on his face, dripping with falsehood. Abigale continues.

“What are you doing here?”

“I could say the same to you.” He slowly walks over to the grate. “After I deserted the army I wandered out to California hopelessly lost and corrupted by sin. Grimme and the Church of Lost Angels redeemed me and I found a new family. My name is no longer James Lewis, it’s George Washington Woolbright.”

“I didn’t know.”

“Oh Abigale, don’t you realize what you’ve done? I was only trying to help our brother understand the truth and now that you’re here I can help you too. We can be together again.”

  • He walks over to the grate leading to the sewers and attempts to drop in a nefarious item to conjure an enemy. Abigale seizes his hand and then stabs him.
  • Woolbright fights back with magical attacks. Anafiel emerges and joins the fray, blood-lust rising in him. After a few attacks Woolbright flees and Abigale fires her gun, killing him. He erupts into green flames.
  • Our heroes assemble all of the prisoners and split up. Abigale and Jane plan to take the others to the boat while Will and Anafiel go to Grimme’s chambers.
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Return to Lost Angels
A new mystery threatens our heroes...
  • Down in the vault, Pennington-Smythe lays out a few artifacts in front of the posse. One is Lu Dongbin’s Sword, a purported demon-slaying sword. The other is a necklace and pendant, said to make the wearer invisible. The last object is a pair of hand-held devices called Motorolas that make communication over long distances possible. Jane also finds what looks like a map of the Shan Fan area and lightning markings in three locations on the map.
  • The fighting in Shan Fan continues and our heroes take the bodies of the Indian Shaman to Kwan’s encampment.
  • One the way the posse run into a burning house to rescue a trapped women.
  • Kang’s ships arrive in the harbor. An entourage lead by Kang and bearing white flags disembarks. The posse head down towards them.

Kang’s voice calls out, amplified.

“You will all cease this pointless fighting!

Gun shots continue. He holds up what looks like a human heart, motionless, but still oozing crimson blood.

“Kwan is dead! I killed him after he cowardly attempted to assassinate me! You will all put down your weapons and we shall reach a peaceful agreement to end this bloodshed.”

Then Kang waves his hand and there is a burst of water in the bay of Shan Fan. An enormous maze dragon rears up, opens up its’ maw, briefly revealing rows of sawtooth teeth before spraying down water over the city.

After a few moments gun shots and explosions do fade and soldiers in Kwan’s colors and representatives of Tam’s allegiances walk towards Kang.

  • After bearing witness to the end of the Battle of Shan Fan the posse leave in Dillenger’s mazerunner in order to attend Lacey O’Malley’s meeting the coming Saturday.
  • Six days later they all arrive. Dillenger gives the heroes payment for their actions and returns to Shan Fan. The posse decided to enter Lost Angels the next day to learn more about Reverend Grimme and the Church.
  • At the entrance gate the posse meet Andrea Baird who appears to recognize them, but makes no efforts at apprehension.
  • At the sermon in the cathedral Grimme calls out the returning posse to Lost Angels, Jane, Abigale and Jack, while disregarding the new comer, Anafiel. Guards surround the three of them and escort them outside.
  • Before being carted off to prison the posse are asked to strip. Anafiel dons the necklace and the others run to the wagon to escape, but the attacks of Grimme and his soldiers overwhelm them.
  • Anafiel attacks Grimme with Lu Dongbin’s Sword and it causes him to fall. Andrea collapses at the same time.

Grimme faces the wagon, ready to strike it down with his arm outstretched and staff in hand. Suddenly his face contorts in agony and he gives dry, heaving breathes.

There is a glowing, red hole in his chest oozing with blood so dark it looks almost black.

You hear the strike of a familiar blade, Anafiel’s katana, and you can see light through the path the blade makes through the skin and flesh of Grimme’s neck. To your surprise, however, the wound seals itself right behind the blade.

Dark fluid pours out in jets from the wound made by the mysterious sword. Beams of bright, red light shine from Grimme’s horrified mouth and eyes. Then he shudders and collapses. You hear another body fall and see Baird now collapsed as well.

  • An invisible Anafiel hacks at soldiers, killing three in one sweep, and many flee. Jack discovers that Grimme’s body has no bones and takes his staff. Anafiel takes the necklace off and knocks himself unconscious. The rest of the posse suffer multiple wounds, but escape and head for the breach in the wall between Lost Angels and the former Ghost Town.
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