Reporting on The Flood

Out of the Past

Limbo

  • Following their deaths at the hands of Grimme, Abigale and Ray find themselves in a pit of tarlike substance and Anafiel with them.
  • Abigale and Ray swiftly back away from the person who triggers bad memories. After a few tense moments and explanation they relax and attempt to understand where they are.
  • The heroes climb out of the pit and find themselves in a closed, dark cavern, the floor covered with pools of blood. They catch a glimpse of a creature, hunched over, with yellow eyes, that dashes away through a portal, covered with a thin film of glowing mist, rising from the floor.
  • Approaching the portal is painful for Abigale, Anafiel, and Ray and they notice that each of them is slightly translucent to the other. Also, physical things in the room are very hard to touch and move.
  • Ray fixes the Motorola found in the pit and the heroes hear what sounds like a battle through the receiver. Just then a man with a prosthetic eye runs out of the portal and does not seem to notice them before he exits the same way.
  • The heroes notice that the ground around the portal is marked with rock salt. With some difficulty they brush some of the salt away and the portal turns into a passageway.

Somewhere in Time

  • Down the hallway they start opening doors and looking through rooms, and discover books on the subjects of The Reckoners, Grimme, Raven, and Stone. With some difficulty they open the reference on Grimme and see that an alliance from Europe wrote the book in the year 2098.
  • Once the shock of their displacement passes the heroes read, starting from the narration of their own search for the glyphs. The book chronicles how after their deaths Grimme’s pact with the earth spirits shattered the North American continent in 1881, transforming the entire area into a Deadlands. Since then, Grimme, the Servitor of the Reckoner Famine, has brought ruin to Europe and other nations. Almost the entire world is now a Hell on Earth. The four Reckoners, Death, Pestilence, War, and Famine have descended on the physical plane, Famine holding the most prominence.
  • Reeling from the knowledge of the state of things resulting from their deaths the heroes hear soldiers coming down the hallway. Abigale throws the book on Grimme to grab their attention and turns to the pages discussing themselves, underlining their names. The soldiers become excited and send for two people, Wemutai and Hollister.
  • Hollister is the man with the prosthetic eye and several other gizmos connected to the eye and head. Wemutai is an older and Harrowed version of the sweet, young Indian woman who Abigale and Anafiel met while rescuing Born in a Bowl. She wears the Aztec medallion and wields the staff of Ezekiah Grimme, the man.
  • Hollister uses one of his devices to make the heroes visible to the living and he and Wemutai explain how they arrived here. The year is now 2111 and the human alliances are losing badly against the Reckoners and their spawn, with the false Grimme leading the charge. Eli, Max, and Will continued to search for the glyphs, but they had no knowledge of Grimme’s deceit through the body of Anafiel and were consumed by Grimme’s staff. Lacy O’Malley was the human sacrifice used to trigger the breakup of America and The Elders were sealed away in The Hunting Grounds to ensure Grimme’s immortality.
  • In order to avert the apocalyptic state of the world, the present resistance groups have wanted to alter the past, but it proved impossible to send a living human back using their current understanding of time travel. They could, however, send a ghost back to the time of its death. To get intact, sane ghosts from before armageddon, they sent back “ghost traps” thought time. They were disguised as walkie talkies, advanced technology which would hopefully be useful enough to be picked up by heroes, but not potent enough to change history in an uncontrolled way. The walkie talkies were sent back to where they’d be found by the Twilight Legion. These “Motorolas” are what the heroes found, captured their souls when they died, and delivered them through the centuries to the current time.
  • Now Hollister wants to send the heroes back to their own time to avert the disaster. There is a portal to The Hunting Grounds located in The Forest, just outside the fort in The Great Maze where they are at now. Running calibrations from inside the fort, Hollister believes he can send the heroes back in the window of time between when Grimme triggered the glyph on the Isle of Ghost Tears and Abigale and Ray died. The heroes will need to navigate their way through The Hunting Grounds to their own time, which will be treacherous since the Reckoners now dominate this realm of the afterlife. A path of some sort should appear to guid them to their own time though.
  • A few moments later news arrives reporting that Grimme’s forces have advanced and The Forest has been taken. The only way for the heroes to reach the portal is for the army to launch an attack from the fort against Grimme and his hordes of faminites. The attack is a suicide run, but Hollister and Wemutai say that everyone is dead either way.
  • As they prepare for battle the heroes meet one of the most powerful allies of the defenders, Malachi, the eerie creature they saw when they first emerged from the pit. It specifically addresses Abigale and she recognizes that it is The Child. His power and assistance comes at a cost however; Malachi must consume a human soul once a month. Abigale shares a few moments with the strange being and asks him what she should do if they ever meet again in the past. Malachi asks her to kill him.

The Last Battle

The gates of the fort open and scores of Templars, led by Wemutai and Malachi, march ahead of you. The dust in the air feels thick and you don’t know if it is because you are incorporeal or a sign of the times, but the darkness seems to seep into the very center of your being. A crescent moon hangs low above the cliffs revealing swarms of faminites in the faint white glow. As far as the eye can see the parched earth churns with these emancipated abominations.

Approaching the front of the fort is the image straight out of Anafiel’s vision; Grimme leads the charge in Anafiel’s distorted body, yellow eyes glowing malevolently, and swinging Lu Dongbin’s sword and the cursed hickory staff.

You break into an all out run. The Templars raise their guns and mow down the advancing faminites, but as soon as one goes down another appears to emerge right out of the earth. Weematai and Malachi cut down swathes of the hell spawn left and right as they and Grimme draw closer together.

You and the others run through the carnage of the battle. There is a very disconcerting feeling every time you pass through a faminite, but you push on, attempting to keep as much space between you and Grimme as possible and still advance towards the canyon leading to the forest.

Weematai, Malachi, and Grimme collide on the battlefield. You keep running, but Anafiel pauses, turns, and raises up his hands. A bright, crystal-like sheen appears around Weematai and Grimme’s next strike misses. Not even a moment later Anafiel turns again and folds his hands in prayer. You begin to call out to him, but then Weematai’s arms and the staff glow a dazzling gold and her next two strikes both make brutal contact with Grimme’s face. Malachi pounces and Grimme falls to the ground.

He cries out. “Help me master!”

You hear a chilling neigh in the far off distance on the other side of the dark cliffs. After a moment of silence the crescent moon turn a sickly shade of green and a howling noise echoes through the canyon. Green, ghastly spirits swirl about and rush past and you begin to hear cries of agony coming from the soldiers behind you. You don’t turn to look back anymore; you won’t gaze upon the ravages of Famine if you can help it. This all must change.

You keep running. The dark copse of trees is ahead, drawing closer, but not nearly fast enough (Why do ghosts get tired?).

In the forest each tree casts long shadows, but after just a few moments you see the portal to The Hunting Grounds, a large glowing distortion against the background of the undergrowth. There is only a brief moment of understanding shared between all of you and without another second of hesitation or regard you leap into the rift.

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The Tragic Revelation

The Isle of Ghost Tears

  • The night before they plan to investigate the haunted island Shu Lu gives the two living heroes a small glass ball filled with liquid. The liquid will change color if Anafiel ever loses control of the Manitou.
  • When they come to the island the first thing the heroes see is a crazy old man, named Genja. Traveling into the island, they take a picture with the spirit camera from the top of a hill and then walk towards a beam of light coming from the center of the island.
  • They find a pagoda with inscriptions that detail the tragedy of a Chinese woman who was scorned by her fiancé and died in The Great Quake, and now haunts the pagoda. The harrowed Anafiel recalls the legend of the Chinese crying ghost, and informs the other members of the posse that they are nocturnal.
  • The heroes continue to a copse of trees where one of the unhappy spirits throws rocks at the heroes. They run after the spirit and encounter several other ghosts that charge at the heroes. Abigale tries to call out to them, but when the ghosts descend Anafiel attacks. After a few blows the ghosts retreat and the posse leaves the forest.
  • They continue to look around the island, but find no sign of the glyph. They decide to return to the pagoda at night to meet the spirit of the tragic woman.
  • Abigale and Ray talk to the ghost who reveals that she knows where the glyph is, although it is not accessible to the living. The ghost promises to reveal the location and allow access if the heroes find what has been killing off the restless spirits on the island.
  • Anafiel deduces that the cause of the disappearances could be that of a sin eater. The heroes draw a connection between the behavior of the sin eater and the old man on the island and decide to confront him the next day.
  • The heroes find the sin eater, armed with a shotgun and hiding among the graves on the island. They successfully strike it down and the captured spirits escape. The posse bring the body back to Shan Fan and bury it in hallowed ground in a Christian cemetery to insure that the sin eater will not return.
  • Back on the island the ghost leads the heroes to a cliff side and the water subsides, allowing them to reach the glyph in the sea cave. Anafiel marks the symbol with his blood and triggers the glyph.
  • On the way back up the cliff side the water rushes back in. Ray uses one of her devices and creates portals to transport the posse back up to the top.

The End

They lie by the edge of the cliff, Ray and Abigale gasping for air, as the ocean waves spray a light mist over them.

After a few moments, Ray speaks up. “S-sorry about… I’ve never tried that with so many people at once… it tends to…”

“That’s all right.” Abigale sighs as she sits up. “It’s a good thing you brought all those gadgets with you.”

“And you’ll never use them again.”

Abigale and Ray turn their faces towards Anafiel, but what they see brings a chilling disquiet that erases all the previous joy. On Anafiel’s usually kind face, there is an unfamiliar, murderous expression with a sadistic pair of eyes. A glint bolts outward.

Rays stumbles to her feet, but the katana catches her above the shoulder. She raises her other arm sporting the telekinesis device and fires, but the device only vibrates on her wrist, sending her feedback that it is overloaded.

Abigale raises her own katana and strikes wildly at the attacker, who neatly pivots, deftly parries the strike, and returns the blow a split second later to slice through her arm. She backs up, fear spreading outward from her very core, her entire visage frozen in alarm.

“It’s a good thing I didn’t tell you how the medallion works!” She shouts.

“I’ll eat it out of you,” says a voice no human could possibly utter in ones imagination. Anafiel would never utter such words together. The attacker lunges at Abigale and attempts to bite savagely into her already wounded arm, but she scrambles out of the way.

Both women struggle to stay standing; their legs feel like lead. Ray holds out her telekinesis device, Abigale plants her feet into the earth.

Suddenly, a wave of nausea washes over them. Their stomachs wrench in the most horrible hunger pains they have ever felt and they double over. The feeling rushes to Ray’s head and she collapses. Abigale pushes hard to keep the pain in her stomach and looks up at her attacker in horrifying realization. She looks for a split second at Ray, motionless, and turns in flight.

She stumbles and claws at the rocky earth as she struggles to move her aching legs, her entire left arm now soaked with blood. The attacker reaches out, slashes the katana across her back and she falls to the ground, now crawling away. It casually walks over, violently grabs her and flips her over.

“Abigale, Abigale…so naïve, so trusting.”

She looks right back at the thing, death hovering above. “Face stealer,” she hisses between labored breaths, her face wet.

“Face stealer? He stole my face. I stole his.”

“The earth spirits will never let you trigger The Flood.”

It smiles. “Oh, the Flood. Thanks for that by the way.” It leans closer towards her. “You always were the one I hated the most, this nobody who, for no reason at all, decided to be good. The words you spoke to me when you foolishly thought I was your tragic friend Anafiel; I wanted to rip your tongue out and eat it. Tell you what, I’ll give you a chance to say some more words, to deliver a soliloquy for your death. Go ahead.”

She closes her eyes and slowly breaths in and out her last breathes. The face stealer raises its sword.

Suddenly, she rolls over the side of the cliff, offering her body as sustenance for the fish of the sea. But her descent is cut short and she opens her eyes to find herself hovering high above the surf, the face stealer’s arm outstretched.

It raises its sword again, aiming for her head, but she rolls again and the strike falls short. With a snarl it waves its arm and she resumes her fall into the sea.

Salt-water rushes into her mouth and nose and the waves thrash her about. She struggles to move, but her injured and fatigued arms will not rise above her head and a few seconds later she is thrown against the rocky cliff side. Flesh bruises, bones fracture and break, but pain does not follow, there has already been enough pain. Now there is peace that only the darkness of permanent sleep can bring.

Back up on the cliff, the abomination that emerged from The Great Quake, first bearing Ezekiah Grimme’s face, now possessing Anafiel’s dead body, returns to Ray’s body and ruthlessly punches her in the face several times. Then it removes every gadget and gizmo from her arms. One of them gives off a whizzing noise as it comes off. Before the abomination can do anything the gadget gives a ping followed by a burst of steam that sends it careening off the cliff and into the sea as well.

Epilogue

Darkness was what came immediately before, then…

Gasp! You push yourself upward, up, up out of the viscous substance that surrounds you, until you feel air and take a deep, desperate breath to fill your lungs.

You take a moment to gather your bearings and find yourself standing waist deep in what looks like tar, in the bottom of a large pit. Above glows an ambient red light, but nothing else hints as to what could be up there. You see Abigale and Ray with you, dripping with black liquid, looking the same as you remember, but for some reason Ray is wearing a lab coat along with all her gadgets.

Down at your feet is a Motorola, but this one is open at the back, a glow emanating from inside. You remember your curiosity about the workings of the strange devices, but never could find a reason to justify opening them up against the risk of damage.

Just then the liquid near you begins to churn and you move out of the way. Another human figure bursts out, giving a similar, gasping breath.

After a moment the person stands, coming into the light, and you see…

Anafiel.

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Old and New Friends

Election Day

  • In the last few days leading up to the election our heroes continue to monitor the situation. Max does not find enough evidence to secure a jail cell for Kurtz, but she does find documentation on his bribery of the local paper. As this and more of Kurtz’s deeds become public, the townsfolk stage protests outside the residency that the sheriff subsequently controls.
  • February 24 is Election Day and Watson wins by a landslide. There is celebration all over town.
  • The next morning Roger Monroe finds our heroes. He says that he has reestablished contact with The Church of Lost Angels and they have asked him to remain in Quarrytown and establish a church. Monroe believes he should go along with their request and the heroes agree.
  • Monroe also tells them that the only other survivor of Garret Black’s entourage, the Guardian Angel Kate, died last night.
  • At the hospital Kate’s doctor explains to the posse that she lost her leg, but was expected to make a full recovery. There are no external signs for suspicion and the posse ask for an autopsy.
  • At noon Abigale swears in the new mayor, Luke Watson. He approaches Max after the ceremony to ask her if she would continue as sheriff and she does not decline.
  • Later the posse receives a visitor, Max’s quirky cousin and mad scientist, Ray. Despite her odd behavior the heroes trust her and accept her into their fold. Max decides to stay in Quarrytown as sheriff.
  • Disturbing results from the autopsy come in and show that Kate’s heart is now a lump of flaky coal. The heroes convey the news to Monroe, but he is equally baffled.
  • The next morning Jo, Abigale, and Max leave for Shan Fan to trigger the third glyph on the Isle of Ghost Tears. Things are coming back to normal since The Child incident, but some areas still lack the former rowdy and dangerous atmosphere. Abigale guides the others to The White Lotus Society.

Not Quite At Rest

Pennington-Smythe leads Abigale, Jo, and Ray to a small, back room. There are no windows, the only light comes from a couple of oil lamps in the room that cast long shadows around the bits of furniture and other articles.

“While you were in Quarrytown-“ Pennington-Smythe begins, but Abigale holds up her hand to silence him. Her face has turned the color of dry milk and her eyes are wide open, fixed on the person seated in the room.

Jo and Ray look perplexed at first and then slightly wary. The seated man stares straight-ahead, motionless, eyes open. He has short hair and a face covered with painful looking red blisters, but the shadows conceal most of his appearance.

Pennington-Smythe walks over next to Abigale who is shaking slightly. “It’s all right. He’s just coming out of it-“ At that moment the seated man jerks upright. Abigale jumps as well.

The man turns and looks straight at her. “Abigale!” His voice is slightly hoarse, but articulate.

She takes an inadvertent step back and continues to stare straight at him. After a moment of silence she speaks. “Who…who are you?”

“I’m Anafiel.”

  • Pennington-Smythe explains the shock of Abigale’s life and clarifies the situation for the rest of the heroes. They were about to burn Anafiel’s body when suddenly his eyes opened. What has happened is called “harrowing”. Anafiel’s body is still dead, but the person’s spirit continues to posses the body due to the power of an evil spirit called a Manitou that shares the body with the person.
  • Anafiel explains what happened after his death from his point of view. As he felt himself rise out of his body he saw the soul of the Grimme’s doppelganger go to the south. Then a Manitou appeared and offered Anafiel an opportunity to return to his body. Anafiel considered what is left to be done in the world and agreed to use the borrowed time offered to him. He says that he has considerable control over the Manitou at this time.
  • Jo accepts a proposition from Pennington-Smythe to join the Necessity Alliance in order to search for the locations of the remaining glyphs. After moving past her shock Abigale catches Anafiel up on recent events and they make plans to investigate the Isle of Ghost Tears the following day.
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The Spirit of Competition
  • After the heroes finish speaking with Monroe about his plan they continue to work towards a fair election in Quarrytown. Their biggest concern is dealing with Kurtz’s methods of intimidation.
  • That evening the posse stake out the candidate’s residence. Jo acts as a lookout for the hired thugs and uses the Motorola to alert Max and Abigale.
  • The later two enter the residence and meet with Kurtz under pretense before the group of thugs arrive, lead by a tall, tough woman named Lucy who has a mechanical arm. They eavesdrop on the conversation and hear Kurtz tell Lucy and her entourage that the Stetsons have been speaking out against him. Kurtz also pays additional damage fees to give the mayor and sheriff a “warning.”
  • The posse runs ahead to the Stetson carpentry shop to warn the businessman. Jo hires a young boy and aspiring pilot to alert Lacy O’Malley and they all wait in hiding.
  • Late in the evening Lucy and about a dozen thugs arrive. They start harassing Mr. Stetson and when the threats become physical the heroes emerge and start fighting. They see a stick of dynamite taped around Stetson’s mouth, which Lucy subsequently lights.
  • Max dodges and ducks several attacks as she runs towards Stetson and neatly strikes off the fiery end of the dynamite fuse with her sword.
  • Jo and Max deliver deadly blows against Lucy. The remaining thugs surrender and the posse take them to jail.
  • Lacy agrees to publish a story in the paper and make Kurtz’s dealings public. The posse also decides that Max should investigate Kurtz although they decide not to arrest him for the time being.
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Monroe's Plan

Trouble Out of Mexico

  • Searching around the ship and talking to the crew the posse find a translator to look at Captain Blood’s journal. Out of the many things written, the most disturbing describe an upcoming invasion of California by Santa Anna in the coming months. From what they can gather from the journal, the captive Aztec sorcerer, and what they have seen onboard, the army will consist of undead, under the control of an odd plantlike substance, all orchestrated by Santa Anna and another Aztec sorcerer named Xitlan, who unfortunately is also an “advisor” to the European ruler of Mexico, Maxmillian.
  • In secret, Max contacts the captain of the super ferry and they execute the captive Aztec soldier, against the arrangement for the Aztec’s release in exchange for information. No great strife comes out of the incident, however, when the rest of the posse hears of it.

He’s Gone

  • The two ships arrive in Quarrytown to much excitement and soon several boats surround the ferry to unload the cargo. Abigale scans the docks for her brother, but does not see him.
  • She does not find him at town hall either and nothing gives her a clue about where his is until the secretary gives her a note. Her brother writes to her about a plan that Roger Monroe has for defeating Grimme. Feeling inadequate, Eli has decided to leave in order to play a part to bring Monroe’s plan to fruition.
  • Abigale is stunned, but there is nothing that she or the rest of the posse can do to find him and mend bridges, they do not know where he is. In the meantime there is an election to prepare for.
  • Sentries posted outside the homes of the candidates report that thugs have been seen coming and going from the Kurtz residency late at night. The posse plans to track them the following evening.
  • Abigale successfully moves the voting location to the mining lifts while Jo talks to one of the two candidates, Luke Watson, about writing up a profile for distribution among the miners.
  • Jo goes to the Tombstone Epitaph office to talk to Lacy about publishing Watson’s profile. There he sees Lacy talking to Roger Monroe.

You stare for a few moments, forgetting all manners.

Is this really the same cowed and beaten elderly man you met just a few days ago? You can’t believe your eyes! He looks ten years younger, his back straight, eyes bright, and power behind each stride as he walks in front of you. Vigor practically emanates off of him as he eagerly invites you all to take a seat with him at the bar.

Everyone opens his or her mouth at once, but Monroe speaks first, addressing Abigale.

“Abigale, I’m sorry. You’re brother was going to be here when you got back, but complications came up and we couldn’t wait.”

“What did he get involved in? What is this plan he mentioned?” The lines of worry on her face run deep.

“Well, shortly after you left we met at this very bar, talked together, and I told him about this idea I was mulling through.” Monroe begins to talk faster and there are a few moments where he almost runs out of breath. “Now, I have researched stories and legends of a powerful Aztec medallion, an artifact that has power over the realm of death. Seeing that Grimme-“

“Don’t call that thing Grimme,” Abigale says flatly. “Grimme was a decent man who died a tragic death.”

“Ah, yes, slip of the tongue, I agree… What should we call…it?”

“Anything but Grimme. I call it the face-stealer.”

“Yes, well, seeing how “not Grimme” is some sort of undead, I believe we can use this medallion to defeat him. Maybe even bring back the real Grimme.”

None of you speak for a moment as you let the shock wash over. Another way to end the threat of the Church of Lost Angels…is that even possible? Your current plan sounds complicated and farfetched enough to account for all of The Elder’s safeguards.

“Where is this medallion?” Max asks.

“That’s where Eli came in. He offered to retrieve it himself and he sounded very adamant that he be the one to do so, so I allowed it. I don’t know where the medallion is, but I am certain that it does exist. A lesser spirit and servant of the locust god I’ve spoken of is guiding him to it as we speak. I was able to procure this spirit’s service after meeting its payment. We were going to have it wait for your return, but the spirit was very insistent and we did not want to lose it, so Eli left a few days ago. Don’t worry, it has agreed to stop long enough for periods of rest.”

Everything he has just said is astounding, but one thing has caught your attention. “When you say payment, what do you mean?”

“The spirit requires payment in return for its services, so I gave a year of my life. In other words I will die a year earlier then fate originally designed.”

At this a few of you exchange uncomfortable glances and Max speaks. “What are you going to be doing?”

“While Eli is looking for the medallion I will be in the City of Lost Angels.”

“You’re going back to that place?” Abigale sounds shocked, almost horrified and she conveys all of your reactions to Monroe’s latest words.

“Yes. I can do the most good there. The Elders trust me. This way we can keep up to date on their plans. We’ll need to keep in contact periodically, so I think we should meet in Perdition. It is still not affiliated with the Church as far as I know and it’s far enough away to avoid attracting attention.”

No one looks like they envy the Reverend. Abigale’s face falls, but she only sighs and says, “So this is the penance you’ve chosen. God forbid I take it away from you.”

Jo frowns and looks skeptical. “How are you going to keep your cover? Certainly Lost Angels has ways of detecting infiltrators.”

“Ah, that’s the thing. I designed the method of detection myself. It’s a soup that causes severe indigestion in people who harbor ill will towards the Church. I know ways around it.”

Your stomach churns for more reasons then one. You already have a bad feeling about this plan; so many things could go wrong. Monroe is going back to the bowels of hell itself and he does not even know exactly what this medallion does. Meanwhile, you all have been keeping a secret from Monroe; you already have a way to take out Grimme. But a backup plan makes sense and what Monroe has in mind is just as much as dangerous and unknown as The Flood.

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The Battle's Outcome

Wrenches Thrown In the Mix

  • While both sides are exchanging more fire Will suddenly appears, having teleported from Quarrytown. Shortly after he joins the fight, panicked men come from the engine room, reporting monstrosities down below. Jo and Will leave to investigate.
  • Meanwhile, Max fights under the guise of the necklace onboard The Conquistador when the ghost appears again, demanding the necklace. Max avoids her and ambushes Captain Blood, killing him.
  • Down in the engine room Jo and Will find several seawater soaked zombies lead by an Aztec sorcerer. They eliminate the undead and incapacitate the sorcerer.
  • Back on the two ships, Abigale and the sailors drive back the boarding party. Soldiers and pirates flee as they see Captain Blood suddenly fall dead. Max takes off the necklace, but the ghost does not disappear, instead she appears increasingly corporal and threatening.

The battle on the ferry is winding down; some soldiers flee the way they came, others give up their weapons.

You cannot see the deck of the battleship from here and that is troubling. You still hear a ruckus from the boarding ship, although the noises sound strange. Max is over there and you begin to feel worried. Jo and Will are still not back from down below, but you go with Abigale towards the boarding plank and finally see the activity on the opposite ship.

Soldiers and pirates are fleeing frantically from the bow of the ship, but their flight cannot be because of the fighting. What on earth would cause them to react this way?

You can see Max, visible now, as well as the thing that answers your question. A woman, dressed in a ballroom gown, flies just above the deck and you immediately realize she is the ghost affiliated with the necklace, although you have never seen her quite like this. Instead of a grey, misty appearance now she looks very solid. Her eyes are dark, and her body flares bright yellow and orange, as though it is wreathed in flames.

She stabs with a dagger and Max barely dodges the blow with a swift roll and pivot. With the ghost momentarily distracted she runs for cover. All the while you and Abigale are dashing towards the fight, although you have no idea what either of you can do against a ghost. Abigale shouts out to distract it while you glance behind and see Jo and Will emerging from below decks, just now seeing the rapidly devolving situation.

The ghost ignores you and Abigale; all her rage is directed at Max. “GIVE ME BACK MY NECKLACE!” She grasps an abandoned gatling gun turret, wrenches it out of the base, and throws it overhead, the metal glowing red-hot.

Max dives out of the way just as the gatling gun crashes into the deck behind her, leaving a large dent and splintered wood. The ghost’s face is even more distorted with rage and she charges after Max who breaks off into a run. Your friend’s situation looks dire.

Abigale dashes after them and opens her canteen. She flings the contents up onto the ghost.

On contact, the ghost’s fiery back dies down and with a cry she immediately falls onto the deck. The respite is brief however, Max only has enough time to find cover before the ghost flares up and charges again.

Max takes a step back and kicks over a barrel between her and the ghost. The top comes off and a gush of water floods over the ghost who screams as she appears to dissolve into the water and the soaked deck.

The Dust Settles

  • After witnessing the posse take down the terrifying ghost the pirate ship formally surrenders. Some of the more nefarious pirates are taken to the brig, but most of the men are given a reprieve. A mix of pirates and sailors man The Conquistador.
  • On Captain Blood’s body the heroes find a note from Santa Anna. Apparently, the goal of the attack was to capture the super ferry and use the state of the art ship to assist the land war in the Great Maze.
  • The posse interrogates the psychopathic Aztec sorcerer. After the posse promise to release him he reveals troubling affairs coming out of Mexico. The Aztecs are planning to drive out all whites living in Mexico. He also speaks of a terrible Aztec god by the name Cipatli.
  • He reveals Jane Juno is being tracked because in the past she banished someone powerful to the spirit world. Her blood is the ingredient in a ritual to retrieve this person.
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The Battle at Dead Man's Point

The Battle Begins…

  • Emerging from the mines after the successful rescue and discovery of the glyph, our heroes plan more details for the defense against Captain Blood’s attack on the supply ferry in three days time. They send messages to the volunteers to prepare to leave early the following morning. The general goal is to intercept the supply ferry before the pirate ambush, position fighters on deck, allow the pirates to board before springing the trap, and have the other boats fire on Captain Blood’s vessel. Meanwhile, Max will sneak onboard under the influence of the necklace of invisibility.
  • Elijah Lewis expresses the desire to join his sister and the rest of the posse on the mission, even though Abigale prefers that he not do so. When they gather early the next morning she pricks him with the plant sprig from the White Lotus Society, knocking him unconscious, much to Max’s irritation.
  • At the docks the posse meet a man named Captain Garfield from the gunboat. They account for two additional mazerunners, Lacy O’Malley, and eight mercenaries before setting off.
  • On the way the posse inform Lacy and the captain about their plans to general agreement. At Dead Man’s Point, the rumored location of the attack, the sailors and the posse scout out areas looking for narrow channels for escape and shallow areas for scuttling vessels. The area is generally full of sharp rocks and prone to thick fog, warranting a lighthouse on a nearby mesa.
  • After hearing an unholy racket in the distant, the posse sails out to meet the supper ferry. It is the strangest boat they have ever seen and definitely the largest, over seven hundred yards in length and almost as tall as it is long. The whole boat is such a mishmash of steel parts that it rather resembles a building under construction, although everything seems to function together and create a very efficient vessel.
  • On board the ferry, the posse meets Captain Yolanda Ortega. Her face turns pale when they tell her what lies ahead and she orders full stop. Then she turns to the posse and says that her orders are to take an alternate route that will add weeks on the voyage to Quarrytown.
  • The heroes convince her of their capabilities and responsibility and she entrusts them with the safety of the vessel and her crew. After setting people and things in place the ferry continues to steam forward.
  • As they pass the lighthouse the posse hear an explosion. Rocks cascade down from the mesa blocking the channel ahead. Captain Blood’s ship, The Conquistador, appears behind them.
  • Over a loudspeaker Blood calls for the surrender of the ferry. Over the Motorola Jo tells Lacy and Captain Garfield about the drastic change and they move towards the other side of the blocked channel. The crew of the ferry and the posse agree to feign surrender.

The channel is too narrow for the ship of the line to broadside you, but that is little comfort as the massive battle ship draws closer and you see a few cannons on the bow and two mounted gatling guns.

Through the spyglass you catch sight of the crew massing on deck. Most of them look like the general ragtag, loose pirates of the Maze, but there are also about a dozen men in uniform that must be the Mexican marines Lacy spoke of.

Then there is Captain Blood standing before them, wearing a crisp uniform in the Mexican colors, scabbard lifted in air, rallying the men. As they draw ever closer you see that he is a tall man with a full head of hair elegantly slicked back and chiseled good looks.

At that moment Jo stands up and pulls a sailor aside. You can’t hear him from where you are, but Abigale’s face brightens up, so you guess he must have said something good. You also can’t see or hear Max, located closest to the stern, but you know she has the necklace in hand and several ideas of her own.

A large plank made of ghost steel swings out from The Conquistador, slamming into the stern of the ferry and pinching into the deck. Grappling hooks with chains swing outwards. Two by two, the marines begin to cross. You give an encouraging nod to the volunteer soldiers near you and look down the barrel of your gun.

BOOM!

A shower of rocks rain down from the mesa where the cannons of your gunboat impacted. Immediately the men on the plank are in disarray. You fire at one of them and level your sight on another. The deafening sounds of heavy gunfire seem to come from everywhere as the gatling guns start up, but you chose a spot with good cover.

Suddenly the entire ferry begins to rock back and forth along its length. As you gather your bearings and see a man fall off the plank into the water you realize the nature of Jo’s idea. You steady yourself as you prepare to fire again. Thus begins the Battle at Dead Man’s Point.

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The Spirit of Quarrytown

Ashes to Ashes

  • The posse frees the prisoners in Black’s hideout, the four missing men from a previous search party. Black and his cohorts were experimenting on them in order to discover how to harness the powers that gave the previous civilization in the tunnels dominion over the dragons.
  • The posse and the former Lost Angels priest have a conversation. Among other things, Roger Monroe explains that the altar at the Cathedral at Lost Angels and fragments of that altar work to disguise dark magic as heavenly signs. However, the posse continues the ruse of Will’s disguise as Anafiel and lie to Monroe, telling him they do not know what happened to Grimme.
  • Searching Black’s hideout, the posse finds an incomplete gatling gun and a detailed map of the caverns. Max finds an intricate medallion that also appears to be some kind of puzzle. The posse leaves and takes Black’s body with them.
  • As they navigate the eerie tunnels Abigale sees Black’s head appear to move independent of the motion of the cart. She flips her Winchester off her shoulder and levels the sight point blank on Black’s covered face. A scream is uttered a second before Black’s head explodes. For the rest of the journey the body is still.
  • When the posse and their companions return to the surface it is early morning; no one is active. Max leaves to get Lacy O’Malley and together they break into a church to retrieve some holy water while the other members of the posse return to town hall to prepare to burn the body.
  • After sprinkling the body with holy water the posse build a fire near the docks and burn Black’s body. When the flesh and bone are consumed they shovel the ashes into the ocean surf. A picture of the body taken with the spirit camera shows a faint pair of severed and broken wings. Whatever the posse did, it worked. The Angel of Death has finally been laid to rest.
  • By noon news of the serial killer brought to justice reaches most of the town and our heroes, lead by the mayor Abigale, publically recount the events. Suddenly the sun breaks out of the fog of what had been, up to that moment, a very gloomy, cloudy day.

A Bright Reunion

  • The town has overwhelming gratitude for the heroes, but they soon leave the crowds to make an appointment to resolve a conflict between a group of Indians and the miners.
  • The Indians claim that they are Maze Indians who trace their ancestral home to Quarrytown, but none of the posse is familiar with their tribal name and their attire. When the heroes refuse to accept their claims the Indians leave in disgust.
  • The next day Abigale, Jo, and Max wake up early to gather the sonic earmuffs. Along with Lacy O’Malley they journey down to the caverns to rescue Eli and reach the second glyph. After navigating through several flooded tunnels they reach an overhanging from which they look down and see the glyph on an island. Curled around the island is an enormous maze dragon, smaller then the one summoned by Kang in Shan Fan, but larger than any others they have encountered and fought in Quarrytown.
  • Abigale aims at its eye, fires, and the dragon roars in pain. It sprays the posse with water pushing them backwards. After several attacks that simply bounce off the dragon’s armor and close calls with the dragon’s jaws, Jo stabs the dragon in the head through its other eye and it falls over dead.

Lacy O’Malley tentatively steps forward, holding out his cut and bleeding hand palm in the hopes that he can join you in playing a part in the ritual to destroy the Elders and their abomination that stole the face of Grimme. He gives you a glance and with a nod of encouragement he places the palm of his hand on the surface of the rock.

For a brief moment you see his bloody handprint before the blood seeps into the stone. Then the glyph begins to glow, at first faintly, then subsequently brighter and brighter.

You take a few steps back. This is not what happened last time.

Jo notes your confusion and hastily cuts his own hand open and touches the glyph. He instantly draws it back, however, and you see that the skin not concealed by blood is bright red.

Suddenly a bolt of lightning arcs from above and strikes the glyph. At this you all move quickly off the island and splash through the water to the opposite ladder. More bolts of light fills the enormous cavern and the sounds of lightning and moving rock echo all around. You can’t imagine hearing the person right next to you, even if anyone could find words to say.

By the time you climb to the top of the opposite rocky outcropping the glyph glows so brightly that you can no longer see it. The next moment the blaze shoots upward in the form of a column of blue light.

The very next moment you are blinded; columns of bright white light shine from the stone corridor opposite. Once you catch your bearing you see the path behind you also shining brightly and the chamber now looks as though it is bathed in uniform daylight, save for the vertical column of blue light. You look down and the glyph, along with the rocky island, has vanished.

  • The heroes continue down the tunnels a short distance until they reach a wide, open chamber containing another one of the ancient villages. The cooking fire at the center does not go unnoticed and Abigale Lewis calls out for her brother. He emerges from one of the huts and the two of them embrace.
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Death Come Calling

The Plan

  • Still distracted by the portal, the posse is taken by total surprise when Will emerges from the shadows, having teleported by his huckster powers in conjuncture with a powerful spirit.
  • The heroes explain their latest discovery to Will and show him the midair doorway over Quarrytown. Then they see a large explosion below and a winged figure fly past and vanish into the clouds.
  • Deciding they need to do something quickly to stop Garret Black from terrorizing the entire town, they plan to use Black’s obsession with the “false priest”, meaning Anafiel, to lure him out and finish him. The posse rushes back up the surface.

You must be getting close to the lift now; this upcoming merger of tracks looks familiar. In fact, you see another series of mining carts approaching the juncture right now.

But there is something else sickly familiar. As the occupants of the speeding carts come into view you catch glimpses of red cloth draped over shoulders and billowing in the air currents, the crimson robes of several Guardian Angels.

You turn to give your friends a warning, but you never get a chance or reason to even open your mouth. Will is already fanning cards and Abigale wordlessly presses the rear of the Winchester into her shoulder and squeezes the trigger.

A distinctly familiar bolt of light streaks from Will’s hand of cards and strikes the rails directly in front of the moving carts filled with foot soldiers of Lost Angels. Upon impacting the deformed rails the engine appears to hit an invisible wall, it bucks upward, and veers off, impacting the side of the tunnel. All the carts after it would crash into each other and fall off the rails, but the sight is consumed in the following massive explosion.

You duck down into the cart and cover you ears as the shrill, horribly loud sounds of the exploding ghost rock boiler wail all around you and hot air swirls above. The sound is so loud that you fail to notice the cart slowing down until you look up to see Jo and Abigale working on the brakes.

Even before the cart comes to a complete stop you leap out to survey the damage. Most of the wreckage and any people that might still be alive are engulfed in flames. Anyone worth saving is going to be at the rear.

You all run down to the far end of the wreck and catch sight of a woman, wearing red robes, pinned up against the tunnel wall under the remains of a cart, just conscious and breathing heavily. Max pushes the cart out of the way and Abigale grabs a hold of the woman, but she does not move her far and you soon see why. Blood oozes from several spots on the woman’s crushed and bent right leg. You know that if she does not get good treatment soon she will never be able to walk on it again.

Abigale pours out some water from her canteen and wraps the wounded leg in layers of bandages, but in short time blood starts to show through the cloth. She sighs and pulls out what looks like a short belt and pulls it tight around the leg, just above the woman’s knee.

For the first time the woman cries out in serious pain. Otherwise she has given you all an intense glare.

”Hold still please. I need to make one more adjustment.” The woman grimaces in pain again. Abigale pulls the makeshift tourniquet one last inch tighter and places a gentle hand on the injured leg. “My name is Abigale. What is your name?”

“I know who you all are,” The woman nearly spits out with as much venom as she can muster in her state.

Jo looks the Guardian Angel over. “Why were all of you here? We heard an explosion.”

The woman clenches her jaw. “I will tell you sinners and heretics nothing! I am ready to die a martyr!”

“The Bible says that we die at the hour that God determines, not at the time of our choosing,” Abigale replies as she adjusts the bandages. “We already know that you’re with Garret Black and he’s been killing innocent people in this town. We need to find him and stop him. Where is he?”

The woman laughs at Abigale and her healing hands. At this Will turns for the first time to look at you.

“I wonder what Anafiel would say about this.”

At these words the woman’s face turns white. “The French priest? The soul eater? He’s here?”

“Why are you asking about him? Why is Black so interested in this French priest?” You reply.

“He…he killed God’s prophet! But the Angel of Death will strike down this antichrist and when that happens Grimme will rise again as Jesus did before him.”

You open your mouth to speak reason, but realize that you would be wasting your breath on an extremely brainwashed mind. Will has the better course of ideas in this matter.

“Maybe that’s just what Black will do. But Anafiel needs to find him first and we don’t know where he is right now. I bet you do though. Tell us where Black is, and if you’re right, the Angel of Death will be victorious and deliver his heavenly justice. Otherwise, we’ll just take you to the French priest and he’ll find out the truth from you anyway.”

The woman’s eyes widen. “All right, all right!”

  • The wounded Guardian Angel, Kate, gives the heroes directions and descriptions about Black’s lair located in the caverns.
  • When they reach the lifts, volunteers responding to the explosion train their guns on Kate, but Abigale delivers a cover story and the volunteers take her to the hospital.
  • On the surface the posse see that Black’s latest attack targeted a brothel and killed several prostitutes. Subsequent damage seriously disabled the lift into the mines. The posse also notices that the stars in the night sky appear dimmer and even look slightly red.

The Ambush

  • Will dresses himself in Anafiel’s cassock and the heroes return to the mines, following the wounded Guardian Angel’s directions. When they see an orange glow ahead Max sneaks forward and sees an underground river running through a vast chamber. She also catches a glint of light coming from one of the several ancient dwellings in the chamber.
  • Will teleports to the suspected sniper position and takes out the guard. The heroes quietly make their way to the only other lit house.
  • Jo dons the red robes of the sniper and runs up to the door while the other heroes wait in the shadows. A tired, elderly man responds. Jo reports the accident on the tracks and pleads for Garret Black’s assistance. When Black and three other armed Guardian Angels approach the door the heroes attack.
  • Abigale is seriously wounded in the fight, but the collective attacks of Will, Jo, and Max force Black to make a retreat. Curiously, the elderly man does not join in the fighting.

You run out the doors, back out into the chamber, following the fleeing Black while fumbling to reload your gun. The rush of panic is reaching you head, Black is going to escape again!

Just now Max blazes past you, both tonfas spinning in her hands and a determined look on her face. She swings at Black and the end of her blunt tonfa strikes his jaw, bending it sideways. She swings again and again and for a brief moment Black, for the first time, looks genuinely frightened. Then he steps back and raises his decorated pistol, nothing between Max and flying lead but air.

Then you hear the sound of paper flourish and see Will drawing Anafiel’s sword. A shower of cards wraps around the hilt and the sword streaks forward, its razor edge glinting in the ambient blue light. There is a flash, Black stumbles backwards, looks down, and sees the blade deep in his chest.

He gasps for a moment, almost in disbelief. “Wha…wha…what the fuck…” His curses abruptly stop and he finally falls to his knees.

But no giant pool of blood forms, Black doesn’t moan in pain, he just lies there, motionless. You stand still for a moment, uncertain, and the expression on Max’s face indicates that she also is none the wiser. She raises her unbladed tonfa and strikes Black once, twice, three times now. You hears bones crack, but he doesn’t respond in any way.

  • In the aftermath of their latest overwhelming battle the heroes discuss what to do with Black’s body and speak with the elderly man. He gives his name, Roger Monroe, and he does not make eye contact with the heroes as he explains that he knew Reverend Grimme even before the Great Quake and has been a very reluctant servant of the Church of Lost Angels.
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A Vanished Civilization

Return to the Depths

  • The posse brings Lacy O’Malley up to date with their current knowledge of Garret Black and the truth about the Church of Lost Angels. Lacy promises to publish a story the next day in Quarrytown exposing Black’s deeds.
  • In the meantime, the heroes coordinate with the secretary to send bodyguards to the scientist’s shop and get the ships and soldiers ready to protect the supply ferry.
  • The posse begins to sense strained emotions and heightened fears in Quarrytown due to the food shortage and rumors of Captain Blood’s attack.
  • Hoping to find some more clues, our heroes return to where they left off in the tunnels.
  • Jo and Abigale begin to notice that their lanterns now barely penetrate the darkness and indiscernible faces appear and disappear in the shadows like flickering flames.
  • They arrive back at the planetarium. Upon further examination they realize that the star coordinates respond to their thoughts and decide to focus on significant dates. On the day of the Great Quake some of the stars glow red and form a pattern that Abigale copies down on paper.
  • After clearing a blocked passage leading away from the planetarium the posse discover what looks like an ancient village complete with side rooms and a fire pit with cool, blue glowing stones. A set of spiraling stairs leads up and down from the room.
  • The top of the stairwell ends at a dark corridor. With the aid of lanterns and the glowing stones our heroes see shapes protruding from the walls, ceiling, and floor. They turn out to be humanoid skeletons partially embedded in the rock and contorted in positions indicating violent and painful deaths.
  • As they carefully make their way down the corridor they also notice weapons and alcoves with opening in the rock similar to arrowslits, indicating that the former residents were a warlike people.
  • In the corridor, our heroes hear whispers; voices that sound similar to the language in the mysterious recording heard the previous day.
  • The corridor leads to a large circular chamber with a twenty-foot tall obelisk in the center. Along the wall of the chamber are several mummified humanlike beings adorned with metal armor and weapons, unheard of for Native Americans.
  • Next to the platform they see flashing symbols embedded in a large stone raised on a short pedestal. Jo presses on one of the symbols, which glows even brighter while the other symbols fade.

You feel a gust of wind and the air brightens slightly, which is strange, seeing that you are all in an underground cavern. You turn towards what feels like the source of the change and see…stars, trees, fences, a guard tower, and the Union flag fluttering in the breeze, all framed in the shape of the former obelisk. However, you are only allowed a split second of surprise and wonder, for at the sight of the image in the foreground, your blood runs cold. The perfect stone columns of Devil’s Postpiles glow that eerie, familiar blue, and bolts of lighting begin to arch from the pinnacle of the columns. Wisps of light travel outwards, towards you, and past you. Your eyes follow their path as they move through the chamber and dread fills your chest.

Jo may not have shared in your experience at the Postpiles, but the look on your face says it all. He quickly presses down on a random symbol on the pedestal and colder air and mist now emerge from the obelisk.

But the damage is done. You hear movement and the sounds of shifting metal outside your small halo of light. You steady the quivering hand that reaches for your choice weapon.

  • Sure enough, several of the dead warriors reanimate and attack the posse. A few ethereal forms wielding spears emerge from the corridor of skeletons to battle against the undead while ignoring the posse.

The Portal

  • The heroes turn their attention to the obelisk, now offering a bird’s eye view of Quarrytown, the ocean, and the surrounding mesa, a doorway hundreds of feet in the air.
  • The stone pedestal has six symbols: a cross, a circle with a scribble through the center, four lines, a triangle, three crossing squiggles, and a scribble with a slash through the center.
  • The heroes press each of the symbols, one by one. The next location is the room of a man wearing a purple suit named Thacker. He recovers rather quickly for a man suddenly seeing a doorway appear in his room showing three people. As he starts to have a conversation with the posse he reveals that he is location is Dragonhold, a place in the vicinity of Lost Angels. He becomes very curious about what the posse has discovered and its possible usage.
  • Abigale shows Thacker a drawing of the symbol of the petroglyph and he tells the posse that he has seen this marking somewhere nearby. Wary about the stranger and his increasing interest in portal the posse has discovered, Abigale tells him that they think the glyph has something to do with how the device works. Thacker immediately tells the posse that he will look for the glyph and they all agree to stay in touch.
  • The next symbol the posse presses delivers a rush of dry heat and reveals a vast desert, the Egyptian pyramids in the distance.
  • Upon pressing the next symbol the image shimmers for a brief moment before a rush of water begins to engulf the posse. For a brief moment before quickly pressing the next symbol they see what looks like an underwater palace.
  • When they press the next symbol the pedestal opens up revealing a complicated network of controls that could be used to adjust the coordinates.
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