Echoes of a Bygone Era
- The heroes go back down the chasm until they reach the bottom containing a few inches of seawater. They crawl through the only tunnel until they start hearing voices spoken in a language none of them understand.
You inch out to the ledge next to Max and survey the scene down below. Dozens of robed, humanoid figures fill the large chamber around a man standing on a raised dais and speaking the loudest. You are certain that you could not understand anything being said just a moment ago, but now…
“…and we will destroy the necromancers and their oppressive machines! We will bathe in their blood! For we have the power of the dragons!” The man on the dais raises his hand aloft.
Suddenly the head of a full sized maze dragon appears in all its glory, but no one panics and the dragon does not attack. Several smaller dragons emerge from the waters in the chamber and dive in and out around the dais, but do not attack.
You hold your breath. The cheering figures begin to file out of the room and you begin to panic. You have to warn Quarrytown!
But before you can move a muscle the lights in the cavern dim, until there is only an ambient green light in the mist emanating from everywhere. The giant chamber has shrunk and the platform of the ledge has moved to the floor now surrounded by water on all sides except from the way you came.
Why is the room gone?
How did the ledge move?
You see Max carefully lower her head to the water’s edge. You cannot see the bottom.
You try to say something; anything to explain this, this magic, but suddenly the lights in the chamber flair, the ledge moves back up to where you started and you see the chamber expand into the much larger cavern. Robed figures that previously called for your blood file in, but there is no time to hide and you are standing on the edge of the ledge under no subterfuge. But no one looks up and no one seems to notice any of you.
One of the robed figures moves to the dais and begins to shout. You listen.
“…and we will destroy the necromancers and their oppressive machines! We will bathe in their blood! For we have the power of the dragons!” You are sure you heard these exact words before, but why?
To your left Edgar reaches out slowly with his Winchester. You would tell him to stop, but any confusion he adds could not possibly compare to what is going on right now. Then, as he waves the muzzle of his gun left and right, the space in front of him sways and flashes.
You exchange glances with everyone around you, but no one’s bewildered face gives you a clue as to what is going on. Then Max reaches her arm down over the ledge until it disappears into the now rippling image. When she retrieves her hand liquid drips off her fingers and soaked sleeve.
You copy her action and feel you hand, arm, and shoulder make contact with freezing cold water in the same locations where you noticed the water in the smaller chamber. Meanwhile, the scene continues playing in front of you all while moving waves distort the images. This must be some kind of illusion, but you’ve never seen anything so lifelike.
Suddenly, to your left, your hear Abigale cry out. You turn and see a small maze dragon rearing out of the water in front of her and a second one right behind. She reaches for the katana, but the dragon bites viciously into her left arm, lifts her up several feet, and drops her onto the ground with a gut-wrenching thud.
Max and Jo leap between her inert form and the two dragons. Jo whips out a pistol and dazes one dragon with a shot to the side of its head. Max swings both of her tonfas. The first connects in the same spot as Jo’s attack and the dragon slips senselessly back in the water. The other stabs the second dragon in the eye and it howls in agony before it follows the first.
- Abigale survives the attack with no permanent damage, but is seriously injured. The posse decides they are in no condition to continue searching and leave the caves.
Two Kinds of Informants
- Back on the surface Max is called away on urgent business, while the rest of the posse go to town hall and call a doctor for Abigale.
- A man named Fred Laten debriefs Max on a suspicious ghost rock explosion that destroyed valuable food preserves. They discuss how to make the remaining food in Quarrytown last until the next shipment arrives, when a well-dressed older man, Granville Kurtz, arrives.
- Kurtz starts demanding accountability from the new sheriff while denying all the responsibility for the accident involving his ghost rock. Max manages to push him aside for the moment.
- At town hall Abigale recuperates while Max and Jo decide how to address their anonymous informant at the bar.
- The secretary reports on the election meeting and explains that the two mayoral candidates are Kurtz and the late mayor’s son, Luke Watson.
- Right after Jo and Max leave for the bar the secretary tells Abigale that she has a visitor that wishes to speak with her, Garret Black!
- Abigale calls Jo and Max back and they are discussing how to deal with Black when he enters.
“You are going to do what now?”
You recognize that voice.
After half a moment you turn and see him, standing casually in the doorway of the office. He twirls a pistol about the finger of his right hand a few times all while sporting a smile that someone might perceive as pleasant, if you didn’t recognize him from far different circumstances.
He is indeed the same man that cursed the former Reverend on top of that tragic mesa years ago, save for a few nuances. His black hair is longer and his eyes darker. You can’t quite place the feeling that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, but…he appears healthy and yet sickly at the same time. Perhaps it is merely disturbing to see a man you so clearly saw “die” standing blatantly in front of you all.
It takes you more than a moment to clear the lump in your throat, but Abigale speaks up first. “The secretary told me that you have valuable information about the murders.”
Garret begins to stroll around the office. “I’m surprised you didn’t come to me yourselves given my expertise in these matters. But yes, I do have information and I can offer my services…for a price of course. No offense, but few people can afford to be generous.” Your teeth grind as his smug voice echoes in your head.
Max speaks next and she doesn’t hide her distain well. “What sort of information are you talking about?”
“Well, as I mentioned earlier, I have a price, but I can say this… Do you know about the murderer, Elijah Lewis?”
“He is a person of interest, but we’re not performing this investigation with any preconceived notions,” Abigale Lewis replies. This situation cannot not easy for any of you, but it must be especially trying for her.
“Well I don’t think he did it,” Black says. There is a beat of silence. “He and I arrived here on the same boat. We talked and he said he was in the war, but that look in his face…he just struck me as someone who was tired of fighting. And let’s face it, sure he’s a veteran, but he’s still just an ordinary man. The shots were perfect, and in the pitch dark. It can’t be him.” Black makes his way to the secretary’s chair and causally reclines in it, resting his feet on the desk.
- Garret also claims he needs to purchase equipment to get the posse down to where Eli is. He doesn’t say where, but its likely the wailing caverns. He refuses to accompany the heroes and offer the equipment without a healthy sum. The posse refuse Black’s offer.
- All three of them rush over the Red’s Bar to make their meeting. Max sits with a cloaked figure that speaks in a hoarse tone and asks to see his payment, before he speaks.
- The mystery informant tells our heroes that the infamous Mexican pirate Captain Blood is going to attack the supply ferry headed to Quarrytown in six days.
- Max throws off the figure’s cloak revealing Walks on Water. After he explains himself and reveals how he accidently overhead the crucial information the posse lets him go.