Tales from the Beowulf Saloon

The Johnson Family Massacre

"I'm calling him 'Boxes with Wolves'", Hawkeye

Returning from the Robineau Mine, the group had to decide what to do with the remains of the giant bug they had brought back. Various ideas were pitched, including selling it to the curio shop (they really didn’t want it), nailing it to the signboard for the Beowulf itself (nixed by Sorrenson) and dissecting it for Science! The last was Dr Dupre’s idea and was pretty much what happened: she established that it would have injected eggs rather than poison into its victims, which turned certain members of the group green for some reason. She initially planned to experiment with the eggs, implanting them into a chicken to see how long they would take to grow, but then decided that wasn’t really a nice or safe thing to do. She decided to destroy them instead.

While all this was going on, Law and Hampden were distracted by activity further up the street, where the Johnson family was loading up a Conestoga wagon with all their worldly goods. The husband and wife were arguing about the speed of the loading.

Law approached to find out what they were doing and was informed that they had failed to establish themselves in Deadwood properly and had decided to return to Illinois. When asked why they were using a wagon and not the train, Mr Johnson replied that they no longer had the cash to buy a ticket out of town. Hampden nodded knowingly at this, the Black Dragon Railroad Company charged much more for outbound tickets than it did for inbound, knowing that the Sioux Nations had banned overland travel for non-natives.

Marshal Bullock had arrived at this point and resumed what was apparently a well-established argument by waving a handful of bills at them and demanding to buy them tickets. At this point, Mrs Johnson replied that, as good Christian people, they would accept no charity. Bullock pointed out that he would not be able to protect them outside of Deadwood, and they accepted this.

Law said that he thought this was a really bad idea, but Hawkeye indicated that he thought the local Indians would let a family obviously leaving the area through unmolested. As they left town, he remotely followed them borrowing the eyes of a local hawk to make sure they would be ok, giving up only as his hawk became tired at sundown.

Law was planning to begin his mission in the town with a good-old-fashioned Revival-esque service at the site of the church the following day. He wrote up a small number of flyers and headed across town to post them in various places, while also looking for potential paying jobs. He managed to find places to post the flyers and, while he was unable to find any kind of regular-paying job, he did discover that there was a shortage of sufficiently-educated people to handle clerical jobs around town, including notary work and contract-writing, on a per-job basis. He made some good contacts for later jobs.

Meanwhile, the saloon was starting to fill up for the evening rush, and Folden had to get to work manning the door. He became more alert as a known troublemaker arrived at the saloon. The gentleman in question was known to be a mite difficult when losing games, so it was a concern when he approached Hampden’s gaming table, where they were currently playing Faro, which the gambler found tedious but profitable. As more players arrived though, he was happy to get a poker game going.

It was at this point that a newcomer arrived, nearly 7 feet tall and built like a grizzly bear, demanding access to the poker game. Hampden let him in and they played a few hands, then the troublemaker accused the big man of cheating. Hampden tried to calm them down, but when Folden ordered them outside, they had a shootout in the street. The troublemaker was killed, prompting the appearance of the local undertaker, while his opponent was shot in the shoulder. Dr Dupre treated him, but demanded immediate payment, being thwarted only when it was discovered all of the man’s money was in the poker pot, forcing her to wait.

Later that evening, a local trapper (or vagrant, depending on who you asked) showed up, saying he had seen the remains of a family in a conestoga, massacred a few miles along the trail out of Deadwood. He said he had seen four bodies and that it looked like the “Injuns” had done it. He was quizzed on whether there was a fifth corpse (“thar mite have bin, too many pieces t’be sure”), but the group decided to put off any investigation until the morning as it was too dangerous.

They were up early the following morning, and Burton turned up to tell them the location, but refused to come along. Once again, they hired a cart and headed north out of town.

Before long, they realised they were being paced by a pack of wolves. Rather than risk being worn down by a pursuit, they decided to take a stand. Law went to calm the horses down, while Hawkeye attempted to make contact with the leader to drive it off and the others readied their weapons. NIne wolves attacked: Law was flattened almost immediately and Hawkeye was injured, then the posse got to retaliate. The most damage was done by Folden who demonstrated an interesting technique of beating the beasts to death with his bare fists (albeit aided by knuckledusters). Hawkeye managed to establish contact with the leader, which seemed somewhat brighter and bigger than he expected, and managed to turn it against the others, which resulted in it throwing the one next to it into the clearing with its back broken. The beast bounded across the clearing a moment later, paralysing Dr Dupre with fright – she was not ready for its sheer size! By this point, most of the attackers were dead and the leader was wreaking havoc among the survivors, so the fight was over. Dupre was able to help Law, but Hawkeye refused all but the most basic attention from her modern medicine,

An hour later, they arrived at the site of the alleged massacre, discovering that it was definitely not “alleged”. There were body parts strewn everywhere and everybody had a bad reaction to the sight. Once they were able, they counted body parts and decided that one of the family was definitely missing. Hawkeye was of the opinion it was not an Indian attack. Hampden went hunting and found the youngest girl in a hollow near a rock, scared out of her wits. Law managed to calm her down, but before they could get any useful information out of her, a voice from across the clearing said “I’m glad you found her, I was getting hungry!”

It turned out to be Burton, accompanied by two other individuals. A moment later, all three had changed appearance to look more gaunt, showing vicious fangs, and were charging the group.

As it transpired, the battle was over very quickly. Burton attacked and injured Hawkeye, but Folden began to beat him to a pulp. Hawkeye transformed into a hawk, looking out for more attackers and maybe getting some help from the remaining wolves! Hampden was confronted by one of the others and Dealt with the Devil in order to take it down with an overcharged bolt spell. Dupre and Law were attacked by the third, and Dupre showed that these creatures were difficult to kill without magic, as it took a full shotgun blast in the face without flinching. Law blessed his own weapon, The Word, and unleashed an enhanced blast on the thing, disintegrating it in a burst of light. Hampden was in a small spot of trouble, he’d used two jokers in his poker hand for the Deal and was being attacked by a manitou. He beat it, but it exhausted him.

They decided they needed to get the girl home, and would send people to pick up the bodies later, so they used the remains of the wagon to cover them up. On the way back to Deadwood, they were confronted by a group of Sioux braves, but Hawkeye spoke directly to their shaman, warning them of the presence of the creatures. The Indians heeded the warning and granted them safe passage back and to recover the bodies.

On returning to the town, Dupre took care of the girl and a posse was organised to recover the bodies for burial, accompanied by Hawkeye as the guide.

Law held his service on the grounds designated for the church at around noon. He got about 20 attendees and proceed to give them a bible-thumping sermon using the Temptation of Christ to warn against those bringing false miracles, a not-too-subtle first shot against his nemesis, Ezekiah Grimme of the City of Lost Angels.


Astronut Astronut

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