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Deadlands again,

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Deadlands again,

Post  AllHailZod on Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:57 am

A new day dawns on a new place in the Weird West. The unnamed horrors of the night fade away into with the exception of...

Wild Jack, scourge of the Pink Maiden cat-house, revenant of the Joss Whedon brewery stumbles awkwardly against a tombstone to catch his balance. His expression twisted in an uncharacteristic emotion of uncertainty, he's tryin' to remember an important event that happened not too long ago. There's something not quite right, a writhing in his guts he's not familiar with, his body feels too stiff and a bit numb around the edges. Someone's stuffed him into a fancy, clean suit. Cleaner than his normal clothes at least despite the fresh dirt hangin' on it… and under his nails.
There's a town just ahead though, even though it's still way early there seems to be a loud party goin' on. Jack smacks his lips together, a drink would go a long way towards clearing the cobwebs outta his head. With a renewed lurch of strength Wild Jack enters the light, and the screams of disbelief and fear are quick to follow his return.

Caiden Harlowe mounts up and winces at the effort, then winces again; his side an aching, fiery mass of protestin' innards and too freshly healed ribs, the side of his face is a gameboard of still-pink claw marks. Somethin's been chewing on this hombre something fierce but gave up on a job half done out of frustration' at the toughness of the meat.
Caiden cusses at the weakness of his arms and the cough that has been plaguing him for days, angry at hisself for these displays of weakness that he would have shrugged off a year ago. If only he hadn't been fool enough to listen to that Nathaniel Craw, Texas Ranger and bastard of the first degree. Things at the time seemed pretty straightforward; some folks had skills needed to be used, some critters just needed to be put down. Need to know was all well and good but tell that to his ribs, tell that to his face, tell that to the gaping hole in his memory where all kinds of things were missin'.
No sooner had Caiden been able to walk without grabbin' onto everything to stop fallin', Craw was back. Had sniffed him out somehow like a bloodhound. Talked of jobs half-done, of debts to be payed. That's as well as may be true but Caiden will be damned before they pull him from his sick-bed without a fight. The thought that he's most like damned anyway tickles through his mind but is angrily squashed immediately. Taking nothing that he cain't carry, Caiden lights his cigar, savors the taste for a blissful moment, then throws the match into his ramshackle hut and rides off as the place starts to smoke and burn.

Wild Jack and Caiden are joined by Father Bob, the preacher and Jack Janz, a river-boat gambler. I never received detailed back-stories from their players hence the abrupt introduction.
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Re: Deadlands again,

Post  AllHailZod on Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:57 am

The scene opens as the posse arrives at the end of the line for the Denver-Pacific Railroad at Johnson’s Trading Post. End of the line in the most accurate and truthful interpretation of the phrase as the rail abruptly ends, obviously uncompleted with the way ahead cleared for extension only to some extent.
The owner of the trading post, a gentleman by the name of Joshua Johnson, welcomes the group warmly as they explain that they have been sent by the Denver-Pacific Railroad to provide relief to the line-workers who are six days overdue from reporting back.
As he prepares the mule train, Joshua Johnson recounts the history of the pass and the grim tragedy that occurred 30 years ago;

A fellow by the name of George Donner, inspired by the Lansford Hastings’ ‘The Emigrant’s Guide to Oregon and California,’ set up an expedition to investigate the account of the book. Hastings had described a route through the Sierra Nevada mountains which if exploited could reduce travel time along this route by up to 4 months. The pass (then titled Truckee Pass) turned out to be a nightmare disaster; encountering unforeseen harsh weather soon forced the expedition to take refuge and with no way to send word back of their predicament they rapidly ran out of supplies. Rescue finally came but not before the survivors had been forced to resort to fortifying themselves with their fallen companions, stories were whispered of the grisly remains of those who had died, of bones stripped bare and cracked of marrow. Of the original 84 men who went up Truckee Pass, only 30 returned. Ever since then the pass has been called Donner Pass in remembrance of the event.
It hasn’t been until now, 30 years after the event, that a new expedition has been mounted; the Denver-Pacific Railroad company is taking the gamble that developing this route will enable them to become a major player in the corporate wars of transcontinental rail. The new surveyors have been gone for a while, reporting back every three days or so of their progress. It has been a week now, the party has missed two deadlines and the company is worried. Taking no chances, they have employed our heroes to take supplies to the missing party at Donner’s Lake in case history repeats itself.

The collected group blink several times as the flashback ends, shaking themselves out the trance that exposition always brings. As Joshua finishes up on the line, the group double-checks their equipment and supplies. Reckoning that frostbite is well and good for them that like it, the group make sure to dress warmly.
Everyone notices something unusual; Joshua has strung a number of empty bottle up on his porch, the wind making them moan, Jack’s eye twitches at the sound, reckoning something uncomfortable about the *other* moans that’re coming from it. Joshua Johnson, noticing the interest his decoration inspires, informs everyone that it is a ghost trap; there being few things worse than spirits roaming around unchecked. An inquisitive Caiden sets the bottles to clinking, making Jack scowl. Noticing Jack’s reaction, face deadpan, Caiden does it again

The group finally gets underway, experiencing delay as the mules are spooked by Jack and need to be forced to advance with him nearby. The weather soon turns mean, snow begins to fall and Caiden takes up a shovel to try and clear the way somewhat, his wasted muscles struggling but prevailing to clear the way until he relinquishes the shovel to Bob then Jack.
Though it has every right to be cold, the weather is now painfully cold, Jack Janz shivers uncontrollably on his mount as the others take the exposure with greater fortitude; Bob in particular hardly seems to notice the icy wind on his leathery hide. Caiden, though tired, likewise seems none too fussed.
Bob’s ears twitch as they catch the tell-tale, chilling howl of something a fair bit more substantial than wind and snow. Warning the rest of the group about the threat of wolf-attack, Caiden laughs and dismisses the howling as mere coyotes but nevertheless readies his rifle and keeps a beady eye scanning the surroundings. The warning is well placed as suddenly the group is ambushed by a pack of huge, white wolves, their eyes gleaming with unnatural and malevolent intent. Understanding the fatal danger they are in, the posse immediately start unloading their guns into the vicious creatures, hoping to take them down before they are set upon and mauled to death. Bob and Janz narrowly avoid being seriously injured as the desperately wheel their mounts around to keep the wolves off balance; Caiden is more fortunate though his focus on defense tells as his companions each score a tail each. Although he wields a derringer, Jack Janz proves that it isn’t the size of the gun that counts, sometimes all you need is one bullet. At the front of the train Jack, shooting the wolves with one hand fends them off with the other; throwing them back like the misbegotten whelps that they are.

We end the episode with the surviving five wolves still assaulting our three heroes and Jack.
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Re: Deadlands again,

Post  AllHailZod on Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:58 am

The once pure snow was now spattered with blood, three of the massive wolves lay unmoving in the drifts, their white hides stained a shocking crimson from their fatal wounds. The remaining five wolves were still alive, still very eager for human flesh.

Caiden shouted hoarsely as one of the man-eaters leaped onto his frantic mount's flank, bearing him down with it's fangs at his throat, the raised collar on his leather jack saving him from a grisly death. At the front of the line, Wild Jack and Father Bob were holding their own; Jack laughing like a maniac at the beast's attempts to take him down, Bob admonishing the beasts for their unnatural hungers. Rather than launch themselves at their foes, the wolves hunkered down for a moment, snarling like demons.
"Return to the pit whence ye came, hell-hound!" Father Bob aimed for a split second and unloaded his peacemaker into his foes guts, the bullet passing through the beast's mid-section, sending a fresh ruby-red benediction onto the snow beyond. Jack proved his infamous skill with his ornate peacemaker, blowing a hole through his quarry's ribcage tearing something vital inside the beast but the critically wounded wolf refused to die!
Acting on feral instinct, the wolves abandoned Bob and Wild Jack, their lithe forms dodging around the men to launch themselves at the beleaguered Caiden. It was all the sorry man could do to protect himself with one arm as the beasts took turns worrying at his face and neck, one had to be satisfied by snapping desperately at his guts; the jacket tearing open revealing the flannel shirt beneath. Firing desperately, Caiden managed to injure one of his attackers on a hind-leg. Things were starting to look very grim indeed for the grizzled gunslinger. (Apologies, as always for alliteration - Goss)
Jack Jans was in strange company, but the Jack was always in one situation or another; ever since he had been struck by wanderlust he had tried his hand at everything, everywhere. He usually spent enough time learning just enough at anything to be danger to himself and those around him; he was a fair shot with a pistol when he chose to be, he could ride well enough when it suited him but ask for anything involving long-term commitment and he usually would pull up his roots and blow out of town like a tumbleweed, letting the wind choose his next location. Having a naturally jittery disposition wasn't helping his current situation, what with having a vicious creature snapping at his heels. Screaming defiance in the face of this incarnation of nature's wrath, the derringer in his hand seemed a pitifully small ward against such a certain, painful death. Steadying his aim, he unloaded another precious bullet into the unruly varmint, wondering just why in all the name of what was good he was doing in this forsaken ass-end of the world. But the answer was always the same, it had seemed such a good idea at the time.
Caiden was having similar thoughts, or would if he had the mind to think of anything at all in the brutal melee that was his own personal hell. Battered and bloodstained, only ingrained reflexes coupled with a steely determination kept him on his feet as he reloaded another round into his trusty rifle and put down one of his white-furred demons for good. The victory was short lived however as another wolf sank its teeth deeply into his side pulling out a chunk of meat and causing the man to scream despite himself.
Advancing on the swirling forms around Caiden, Bob unloaded his pistol again into the wolf he had already shot with teeth bared in a snarl of his own. Under his assault, what chance was there of survival, the beast fell as it surely must!
Jack Jans shook himself, drawing on his inner reserves of fortitude to shake off the fatigue that was making his eyes droop, a wasted effort as suddenly his foot was engulfed in a fanged maw and savaged fiercely. Just as the creature was about to gnaw off his favorite toes, he put his gun against his attackers flank and finally ended the battle.
In the aftermath, 8 wolves lay bloodied and misbegotten. Lying among them, Caiden was deathly pale, the wounds to his guts seeping into his clothes darkening them and the snow he had collapsed into. Striding over to the man, Father Bob placed his hand on the wound and looked up to the sky, "Oh, Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Spare this damned, whoreson sinner so that, with some gentle persuadin' on the part of yours truly, he can finally do your good work on this earth. Amen."
Gritting his teeth suddenly, the preacher tensed forwards as if gripped by an intense pain himself before a gentle light washed over the wound, when the light faded the injury had completely healed. Caiden opened his eyes and looked incredulously down at where the injury had been just a second before. As Father Bob moved to examine Jack Jans' leg, Caiden broke his silence with a gruff thanks.
"Don't mention it, you can help me build a church when we're done."
"Sorry to break it to you, Father, but I don't intend to stay in one place long enough to build anything."
"Better build it quicker then, son!"
Wild Jack rolled his eyes disparagingly and spat a long stream of fetid phlegm into the snow beside him.
"Bah, greenhorns!"
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Re: Deadlands again,

Post  AllHailZod on Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:59 am

Continuing their interrupted trek, the posse suddenly come to the realisation that they are not merely hungry but quickly growing *ravenous!* Exploration into satiating this appetite with jerky and dry-rations reveals this to be a futile exercise; this hunger will not hush up despite efforts to the contrary. The companionable silence that the group travels in is has become more strained, the gurgling of bellies the only words exchanged. The group isn't alone, spying in the near distance two rabbits nibbling on some red berries, Caiden aims his rifle and takes one down for the stew-pot. Unperturbed by the sudden exchange, the other rabbit begins nuzzling it's now quite dead companion, Caiden shrugs at this good fortune and aims again. Father Bob pushes the rifle's barrel up and away, there's something very peculiar here… As the group approaches cautiously, the rabbit looks up from it's nuzzling and the posse are horrified to see that it's snowy face is daubed with blood, it's been gnawing on not berries but a dead squirrel's gizzards! With a wordless exchange of shared revulsion, Caiden puts the critter down. Feeling the devil of hunger gnawing at his belly, the shooter strings the rabbits together for later eating, Bob demands they leave the tainted animals but Caiden growls a refusal, them still being better than nothing. As he waves the rabbits for the rest of the group to admire, Jack Jans suddenly exclaims that Caiden's fingers are 'lookin' mighty tasty!' Unfortunately, Wild Jack's hungry expression shares the same sentiment, he's starting to look *awfully* peckish.

Night falls and the full moon shines clear and cold on the snow. The posse finally come up to the camp but something is dreadfully wrong; the tents are hanging limp and quiet, there's no light of fire nor voice raised in welcome. Dead silence is the only greeting offered. The wind plays gently with the personal effects of the missing men which are strewn everywhere. The carcasses of several large pack animals lie butchered and gnawed-on. Careful investigation of the abandoned tents reveals good, salted meat untouched and a scrap of a journal which reads "… hunger grows each day… when will relief come?…' dated Oct. 28, 3 days ago. Three days don't hardly seem like long enough for this kind of madness to occur, Father Bob pokes among some piles of bones that are suspiciously human in proportion, no skulls are around for identification. Getting the heebie-jeebies, Caiden grabs his bottle of good stuff, offers a round to everyone then up-ends it onto the snow and ties it to his saddle-horn with a rawhide strap as an impromptu ghost-trap, a feeble hope perhaps given the devastation surrounding the group.
Calling out into the night, Caiden offers anyone within earshot to come on down for a bit of food, them being the hungry souls they are and immediately regrets his choice of words in the current climate. Fortunately, the only body to respond is a single, desperate looking man who slinks in warily. His clothes are ragged, his ribs emaciated but for all this he is still rational, to a point; feller is mumbling to himself and sucking on the heel of his hand. When questioned, the poor man says it weren't their fault, that there's a real nasty spook at the cabin ahead and the others have given into their hunger and he's survived so far by being smart and not being where they are. He advises the posse to follow his lead on that respect. The group mount him on a mule, offering him food and cigars to bite back his hunger. He nibbles half-halfheartedly on the offerings before going back to gnawing on his own hand. As the group deliberate over the course of action, Caiden watches in horrified fascination as the survivor bites so deep into his own hand that he draws blood, wincing at the pain then smacking his lips over the blood. When moving to restrain him, the man freaks out and runs into the night claiming that they won't eat him! Father Bob aims at the man's retreating back, looking to put him out of his obvious madness but loses his chance as the man vanishes into the thick forest on either side of the path.

Further realizing that they are in the middle of nowhere surrounded by crazed men who would most like rather eat their faces then say 'how'd ya do.' Caiden is set on going to this cabin and ventilatin' the spook while Father Bob wants to go back to Johnson's and report the situation. There's every chance that whatever is making them hungry enough to eat their parents isn't going to let up until either it or they are dead and the group choose the latter option.
Heading further west, using the remaining mule as a rear guard/distraction, the group pass by two ruined buildings. the roofs collapsed into the decrepit stone walls a very long time ago. There's nothing inside but remains of the ancient hides that had been used for roofs. Somewhere not too distant, Jack hears the familiar sound of bottles clinking together further west. Lighting his lantern for illumination, Caiden and the group discover that they are being watched from the treeline by several pairs of hungry eyes; the survivors, if they could still be called that, follow them with vacant and hungry eyes. Riding on, their weapons cautiously trained on the surrounding terrain, the inevitable occurs and five starving men step forwards raising shotguns at the group. These men a re a world apart from the coherent survivor; their clothes torn to ribbons, frost bite chewing on their exposed fingers and faces, eyes empty but for the hunger inside them and drool running unchecked down their chins.

A desperate gunfight opens up, Jack taking the initiative and shooting first, questions be damned. A responding shotgun blast hits him in the leg, fate reducing it to a survivable injury, his horse not liking the attention much at all. Whipping his rifle around with deadly precision, Caiden plugs two men, Wild Jack scowling at having his target stolen from him. As yet another possessed man lowers his shotgun at Wild Jack, the curry consuming hombre reacts with lightening speed and puts a round in his shoulder, throwing his aim off wide. Another blast from Caiden blows an assailant's arm off at the elbow, forcing him to drop his shotgun.
On the other flank, Jack Jans and Father Bob unload their own weapons into their foes, their souls long since past redemption. The highlight of the battles must be when the rear zombie, after having seriously injured the decoy mule, accidentally discharges his gun into his own leg.
Mindful of the fact it cain't draw a bead anymore, the armless zombie rushes Caiden and tries to chew on his leg, condiments be damned. Unable to bring his dread rifle to bear, Caiden's eyes unfocus for a heartbeat and his hands flicker strangely before the poor wretch is thrown back as if struck by a great force. Now free to do as he pleases, he spins in the saddle and finishes the zombies already wounded by Jans and Bob.
In the silence the group loot the corpses, finding nothing more of value than the double action shotguns they were wielding and 65 shells between them. Dividing up these potentially life saving spoils, (Wild Jack takes two) the posse move onwards, abandoning the injured mule as a distraction.

Looming out of the dark appears the cabin, unlike the abandoned buildings this one shows clear sign of habitation. Outside and in front, a large tree is festooned with empty bottles, each one moaning and clinking against its brothers regardless of the presence of wind.
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Re: Deadlands again,

Post  AllHailZod on Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:59 am

The ramshackle cabin hunched behind its collapsed porch, like a thing ready to pounce. The darkened windows revealing nothing but darkness within. Caiden stepped forward, his rifle leading the way and cautiously nudged the door open with the barrel. Crossing himself and uttering a soft prayer, Father Robert followed close behind. Watching their backs, a hungry glint in his eye, Wild Jack turned from his fantasizing of red-bloody meat and forced himself to keep his attention scanning the nearby forest line for movement. He pulled his heavy Sharp's Big 50 rifle from its holster on his horse's saddle and, spitting down the breach, giving it a quick clean with a rag-ended wire.

Holding his lantern in his rifle-supporting arm, Caiden feels his gorge rise as he beholds the interior of the cabin. In the darkness, harsh beams of moonlight fall through great holes in the ceiling making the interior a nightmare hell of severed limbs, mauled torsos and bloody interior decorations strewn around. A single word has been gouged into the wall with what must have been a monstrous claw; 'HUNGER', not the most warming of sights, perhaps.
Caiden and Bob search among the carnage, after 20 minutes they have discovered a copy of Lansford Hastings' very fine book 'The Emmigrant's Guide,' this particular specimen was once owned by George A. Donner the doomed expedition's leader. Riffling to the entry for Hasting's Cut-off, Donner's shortcut, is marked in Donner's handwriting as 'trap.'
Hmm…
Under a loose floorboard is a rotting journal, owned by Louis Kesseberg (the last survivor to be rescued of the Donner party) only the last few pages are barely legible. The handwriting steadily degenerating over the course of the journal from a neat hand to a spidery scrawl hinting at the madness occuring. The final entry is dated April 8th, 1847. In appalling handwriting it tells of the group's decent into madness and cannibalism, that he had beheld a pale man in the woods that he recognised as being Lansford. In the exchange, Lansford had laughed and said that the last survivors were his now and that where once he was a man, now he is so much more. If Kesseberg had not been so weak from hunger, he would have shot Hastings on the spot but through his weakness he succumbed.
Caiden and Bob are interrupted in these grim musings by Jack's call of warning; he has spotted a figure moving towards the house. Not an emaciated and shivering madman this time, something a bit worse on the 'Ohshit!' meter.
Rejoining Jack, the rifleman and preacher follow Jack's speculative gaze as the gunman calmly loads his huge rifle with an unusual red-tipped bullet. The figure that approaches is anything but human, once most certainly, but far too gone to be mistaken for one now. Standing 8' high, a man-shaped meat-puppet stuffed so full to bursting point with a manitou that its pallid flesh tears in places from the strain of holding the evil in. Black snake-like veins bulge obscenely under corpse-white skin, the only colour on the bloated abomination is the rust-red of old blood on it's hands, the fresh and dripping red around cracked and enlarged teeth and the burning embers glaring out from coal-black eyes. Noticing the posse eyeing it off in its domain, the beast pauses and bellows at them, its mouth opening impossibly wide, stretching its split-cracked frostbitten black lips so far we can see that they are merely tatters surrounding an insatiable maw. Over one shoulder is slung a limp figure, Elias, the crazed survivor the group lost in the woods back in the camp. There isn't any way to tell if he's still alive at this point. Taking a moment to appreciate the horror of this creature, Caiden recognises certainly that this was once Lansford Hastings from the author's mug shot in the guide.
"Lansford!"
The only answer an inarticulate roar of rage.
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Re: Deadlands again,

Post  AllHailZod on Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:00 am

Bob shoots Lansford, the bullet glancing off steel-hard hide with no effect at all. Jack's Sharp booms, the burning trail of a 50 cal bezelbaum round takes the best in the gizzard, causing some damage but Lansford treats it as little more than a wasp sting.
Seeing that Bob's round had no discernible effect and Jack's shot that should have reduced the creature into a smear, sheaths his rifle and backs up towards the tree, aiming his shotgun at the swinging bottles to gauge the wendigo's reaction. Whatever else, Lansford is not pleased with this at all and seems to be working himself up into an incandescent rage.
Holding its filthy claws out in a commanding gesture, lumps and bumps under the snow burst upwards in a shower of snow revealing 4 animated corpses which must have been laying there for the past 30 odd years, Lansford has an army at his call and the posse are standing in the middle of it! One of the zombies has animated near Caiden, not enjoying the attention too much he puts a shotgun blast into the corpse at point-blank range, the shot tearing through its corpus but not putting it down, resilient abomination that it is. A zombie lurches towards jack and tries to gnaw on him, the wily gunslinger is too experienced at close range fighting and in retaliation blows its head to frozen chunks of meat with his revolver. Bob, knowing that the bottles mean something to Lansford, unloads several rounds from his rifle into the branches, the echoing shots are rewarded with two explosions of shattering glass and an almost invisible wreath of ecto-matter wafts away from its prison.
Underneath the tree, peppered with falling glass, Caiden curses as his zombie rushes him, unloading the last chamber of the shotgun into his assailant, the weapon blows another killing wound into the deathless creature which tries to nom him regardless but it is more hampered from its wounds than it lets on. Bob has his own hands full as he fends off the zombie which would have dealt him a life-threatening blow had fate not been with the preacher. Lansford, knowing that if you have a party then invite everyone, raises his arms again and this time his call is answered by a handful of limbs, two arms and two legs flop out of the snow and drag themselves/hop towards the posse. Pushing his zombie back, Bob unloads his rifle into the things face, blowing its jaw off and causing its tongue to flap down like a meaty tie.
Caiden manages to fend off his zombie again without suffering damage. Jack suddenly growls in anger as he feels the icy cold hand of a severed arm grab him from behind, the blackened finger digging into the meat of his back and tickling his spine.
His eyes narrowed in anger, Caiden's hands flicker and the sound of a riffled deck of cards whispers out before his zombie is suddenly thrown into the air by invisible forces and slammed with inhuman force into the tree above, being used as a stick to the tree's pinata with the bottles as the tasty, tasty candy. Jack and Bob's eyes open wide as the zombie is alternately spun and careened off the old tree's cracked branches as a chorus of exploding bottles tell of the path of destruction the meatsicle has taken. The corpse never touches the ground again, it's head impaled on a branch high up in darkness.
At this unexpected attack, Lansford steps back uncertainly suddenly unsure.
Unloading his rifle again, Bob finishes off his zombie. Caiden turns his attention to Lansford and the same force which threw the zombie into the tree grips the wendigo as well, pulling the abomination into the tree's waiting embrace. Elias slips off Lansford's shoulder and hits the soft snow without a murmer. Despite the ferocity of the attack, Lansford is unhurt, his iron-hard hide causing far more damage to the tree itself. With a final, almost gentle pop, Lansford's spinning head destroys the final moaning bottle and all hell breaks loose!
Finally freed from their prison, the trapped spirits of the Donner party tear into the real world and into Lansford, each indistinct ghostly figure, some little more than skeletons, some almost entirely human in form, force their way down Lansford's cavernous gullet. The beast tries to retch them out without success, as the final wraith forces its way down the wendigo's throat the abomination bulges horrifically, tears at the seams with a meaty shredding sound then explodes in a shower of steaming gore. Without the beast animating them, the remaining zombies and limbs quiver then fall like the dead meat they are. With the passing Lansford, the ravening hunger that was gnawing on the posse is finally lifted and they all breathe a big sigh of relief.
Noticing Jack and Bob's stern gaze on him, and the shattered remains if the tree, the bottles and Lansford himself, Caiden throws his hands into the air and cheers,
"Hallelujah, boys! Preacher shot them bottles and saved us all!" Bob seems unconvinced that Caiden is innocent in the whole affair but seems willing to go along with the line.
"The lord does work in mysterious ways."
"Amen to that!"
Wild Jack still looks a bit taken aback by the whole affair, a first for the jaded 'slinger.

Elias is fine, the posse round up the survivors, none willing to look any other in the eyes. Bob goes from man to man, healing their frost bite and offering to receive confession for the poor souls. The preacher wants to sanctify the camp, it being a site of hellish nightmares and all, Caiden advises that they'll need to come back with more supplies as the donkeys have been reduced to carcasses by either wolves, the survivors or vorpal rabbits. Jack heads back to Johnson's trading post, just plain not giving a rats ass about anyone else.

Back at Johnson's trading post, the posse regale the Denver Pacific officials with the full horrific detail of the event, the men go alternately ash grey and lime green. They take the group aside and quietly offer them an additional $100 a man to keep the goings on to themselves, cannibalism being hard to explain to their shareholders. The group give a mutual shrug deciding that $100 is worth a little peace and quiet. Their job done, hopefully a little wiser for the whole shin-dig, they head off for the next adventure!
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