Hawkeye spent the long winter walking (and flying) around the Black Hills, talking to Indian shamans and trying to find out more about the evil locked under the region. He did not have much luck for most of the season, primarily due to anti-Cheyenne hostility from more traditional practitioners and a lack of knowledge amongst the younger, but eventually he found an aged Blackfoot shaman who was willing to talk. It appeared an evil greater spirit was imprisoned under the hills many centuries ago, before the current crisis began. It had been the centre of a cult that practised human sacrifice, but the cult was stamped out and the spirit imprisoned by an alliance of all the plains tribes.
Hawkeye returned to Deadwood to convey his information, but was distracted by a column of smoke. Investigating, he found it was rising from a burning church in the community of Lead. He investigated, finding the town deserted and then saw an explosion on the plains. He decided not to investigate this as he felt more vulnerable out there.
He headed on to Deadwood and, finding that the rest of the posse were not present, decided to make himself scarce until they reappeared a couple of days later.
Once the initial celebrations over their return with food was over, Hawkeye approached them at the Saloon and explained his discovery. He took in the latest news in turn and began trying to figure out how to locate the naagloshi now that it had presumably moved on.
The group also ran into Eddie Garrett, who told them he was sticking around after all, having just bought a stake in a local mining operation. He’d become partners with Robineau and Swearengen who were reopening the Robineau mine. Their previously-announced partner had disappeared.
Meanwhile, the town council organised an expedition to go and clean-up Lead and search for survivors. As the initial discoverers of the tragedy, the heroes volunteered to go along. The expedition found no survivors, although they did battle a pack of starving wolves.
A few days later, food convoys began to arrive in Deadwood. On the Saturday, the latest train appeared to be bringing in a load of food, missionaries and a revival tent. It appeared that the Reverend Ezekiah Grimme of the City of Lost Angels was trying to expand his influence.
Brother Law made his presence known as soon as they started setting up. The head of the mission recognised him, but didn’t seem too hostile despite the resident pastor’s aggressive attitude. Law decided to attend the meeting that evening to see what was going on.
The meeting was a fairly standard revival meeting and was well attended: It was obvious to the newcomers that the town had abandoned the Lord – so they must repent! Law stood up after the sermon and launched his own tirade on the false government of Grimme. While he got some attention, he loses it as the missionaries revealed a feast laid on at Grimme’s expense.
Meanwhile, Chang had finally challenged Folden to a fight, although the latter was unclear as to why. They went up to Injun Point alone, where Folden, despite getting in the first attack, was unable to take advantage. Chang nearly killed him with his retaliation. Folden was preparing to strike again, aware that Chang was playing for keeps and that he probably wouldn’t survive, when a gunshot interrupted the duel. It was the Hermit and he was not happy about them ruining the local ambience. Chang launched himself into a series of flying leaps and Folden heaved a sigh of relief – the fight had been postponed.
Law decided to spend the night in the church in case of trouble. He awakened in the small hours to find the front door open. There was nobody in the building, but there was a small pile of melting snow on the doormat. Checking the church out thoroughly, he found nothing amiss. The following morning, he gathered the others for a more thorough daylight search and this time they found a small disc of wood stuck to the bottom of the cross. While it could have been part of the structure, it didn’t look necessary. Detaching it, so they could experiment, they realised that it was made of redwood (not easy to get in the Black Hills) and seemed to be carrying a magical enchantment.
Later that morning, one of the missionaries was in the congregation at the church and attempted to harangue Law during the sermon. When he was remarkably unsuccessful in this he looked puzzled and left.
Law took this as evidence of no-good and began planning a massive
retaliation revelation at the next revival meeting…