Deadlands: Return to Manitou Bluff

WIP Session recap #6 "Beardoctor knows"

Nort-west from town of the damned, Manitou Bluff, lies a whirlpool. Water around these parts looks more like circling shadows than water. If one listens carefully, he can almost hear the cries of dead world that echo from the eye of whirlpool. Maybe it’s just the unexplainable nature of this phenomenon, or maybe it truly is the straight portal to deepest levels of hell.

Juan Vargas wasn’t sure about anything anymore, but he knew that things felt wrong here, even more-so than in other parts of this damned mesa of Manitou Bluff. He turned his gaze to three shapes that belonged to his companions. Reynolds and Gao Lin were making sure that the form they had found here wasn’t a lurker in disguise, but truly the gunslinger that still months ago went by the name of Sinfall. This place had played tricks on their eyes and minds before. Juan was quite sure that the man’s suprised acting was genuine, but Gao was his usual self, pushing aggressivly against all threatening things. That temper of his made the Chinaman easy to manipulate if needed Juan thought to himself. It was the agent, that he was more on guard on. Even after these days Juan hadn’t gotten a read on him. Juan quickly turned his eyes away as Reynolds answered his gaze.

On other side of mesa, Agymah opened his eyes and saw a group of mean smiles belonging to undead group of cowboys. He tried to rise up, but hunger in his stomac was too much and so the hougan collapsed again despite his cursed body. As his eyes closed he saw a shadow, closing quickly the group from behind.

Gao finally seemed satisfied and let the gunslinger to stand.
“About goddamn time. Don’t suppose any of you have a spare shooter, seemes that good old union took mine as they gunned me down” Sinfall snarled. Juan took the revolver Callahan had offered him. It was in quite lousy shape and Juan knew that rumors about Ace’s superior skill with gun weren’t exaggerated and Ace could help them, if critters would attack again. Even if Gao wouldn’t trust Ace, Juan was quite sure that this man wouldn’t shoot his companions just out from spite.. well trusted about as much as he could with his history with betrayal.. or with knowledge that this gunslinger should have been dead for quite some time already.

As four of them left towards Manitou Bluff, Juan couldn’t shake the harrowing feeling he had when close to whirlpool. It seemed like the darkness followed them as they returned to Manitou Bluff with new addittion to their group. His mind was at the edge, if there only would be opium or something.. Juan put some chewing tobacco to his mouth and was thankful that at least he didn’t suffer from hallusinations anymore. All thse colors and shapes had almost made him mad during his lowest moments. Still, this place might be worse than dying in one of those tents, surrounded by others that smoked their lives and souls away through the pipes. His growling stomach drawed him back from his thoughts. Good thing that they could already see the Dead Head Saloon, soon they could get something real to eat.

As they entered, went to eat and talk with the other fellows on the bar as Gao and Reynolds lead Ace to meet Callahan. Juan was quite sure that Callahan would keep the same salespeech to Ace that he had told to others too. Juan wanted to make sure these men would know the value of their group anmd told about Sinfalls history and their run-in with monsters around the mesa. The quicker they would get Callahans trust, the quicker they could try to get more food and better gear, and if Bob Drake got some ears here too, it could make future dealings somewhat easier. As he told about killing the monster made from bones, he could see something on these mens’ eyes he hadn’t seen in quite some time: hope. Still it quickly faded as they returned to recount latest events and remembered all that they had lost. As Juan finished his tale and the plate of soup before him, others came down, Callahan shouting for Rex to pour some whiskey. Ace was now one of Callahan’s gang too. With these servings on this sort of place, Juan couldn’t help thinking about what Drake was offering his men to compete with Callahan’s gang.

Agymah couldn’t open his eyes for the fatigue he was under spiritually and physically, but he heard meat ripping, growls of pain, anger and suprise. He heard a slaughter taking place around him..

On Dead Head Saloon, decisions had been made. Agymah and young agent had disappeared to portal that ripped open at Clover Mesa. That should mean that there would be a portal on Manitou Bluff also. Southern woods behind bridge were only place they hadn’t even visited, but before that they should try to gear up. Juan didn’t like re-visiting the townhall, but it was groups decision. As they entered, it felt as ghostly as the last time, so Juan stayed back, close to exit. As he thought, others didn’t find anything, although he could have sweared that Ace seemed bit shaken up afterwards.

Gunsmith was their next destination. It seemed quite untouched and there was a chance that there still was something useful left. Juan carefully opened the door and entered. As he quietly moved deeper, he noticed that this place was quite intact. It seemed a lot like his fathers gunsmith, before he started adding the tools for new science. Before he shut himself inside that shed to work… Before the Angels took notice.

As Juan was looking through drawers on backroom he heard a chilling voice behind him:
“Leave this place at once.”
Shaking he turned slowly around to face the source of voice. It looked like moonlight had taken form of a man. Juan couldn’t move and only stared the ghostly form that slowly came closer, muttering again:
“Leave this place at once.”
It came closer. three steps away. Two steps. It reached its hand towards Juan’s face and…
“What the hell?” Ace shouted and cocked his weapon, pointing it towards the ghost. This snapped Juan back to reality and he ran outside. If he just had made sure if anything was still inside that gunsmith. If only he had knocked or something. Made sure that there wasn’t anyhthing waiting in the shadows. Juan stumpled out from the gunsmith, heart racing and his breath heavy.

Agymah felt his body moving. Something was dragging him. Something powerful. He again tried to open his eyes. Around him, he saw mutilated bodies, limbs and heads chopped off with powerful strikes. He saw young agent, Jack, under pile of bodies.There was no telling if he was alive or dead. Again Agymah felt his power leaving his body as he tried to catch a glimpse of what was dragging him. It looked like a bear.

It was best to leave these haunted buildings of Manitou Bluff until Agymah would show up the group decided. Also if that portal that had opened was still open they might be able to get out to real world. Group headed for the forest that lay behind old bridge.

As they got closer to bridge, a gruesome sight welcomed them. Rotten corpses, hacked to pieces and piled up. Juan quickly slipped to cover and quietly checked his shotgun as others started to investigate the bodies.
“Battle took place recently. Blood is thick but not dried up” Reynolds said, scraping rotten flesh from one of the decapitated heads. “All of them were undead, propably harrowed” he continued rising his gaze to Ace.

“Not all of them.” Gao said and lifted body like a sack of potatoes. Juan had seen that man running away from the monster that had ripped Juan’s spine back in Clover Mesa. It was the young agent Jack. “There’s something else too, youngster is alive.”

Memo:

-Following trail to Bridge and over. Prints leading to forest.
-Beardoctor attacks, angry at Sinfall, calling him an abomination.
-After short fight Indian is pinned down and settled down. Talk
-Beardoctor leads posse to cave with wards watching over it.
-revelations: Manitous are evil, Ace is evil, Agymah trying to fight the darkness inside him.
-Boss Callahan knowing something about this place between real world and hunting grounds
-When Ace, Juan and Jack jr left, Beardoctor told about spirits and garden that should not be, something that interrupted the balance of worlds.
-At same time at bridge manitou took over Ace and Ace shot Juan. Juan then emtied both barrels to Ace’s torso. Sound of shootout rang through the mesa.

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