VI - The Secrets of the Mountains.   Posted by Marshal.Group: 0
Andrew Roberts
 NPC, 14 posts
 Buckshot
Mon 28 Oct 2019
at 03:04
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
”What does he want at the end? Well, I figure that part’s pretty plain, Ranger. It’s just as when the witch set the people against one another. Murphy’s whole aim is to start a war. Set folks at each other’s throats. That thing on the mountain feeds on bloodshed every time it wakes. Blood and terror. All the discontent he’s started here. People feelin’ trapped in their own homes, cornered on how they can afford the things they need. It’s all bread and butter to the manitou. It thrives on fear.”

Roberts puffs on his smoke. ”You’ve actually done more damage today to his plan than anyone has. They don’t know it, but I figure those Regulators were Murphy’s best hope of creatin’ the kind of conflict he wanted. Half those boys are on a hair trigger. They were inches away from throwin’ down on Sheriff Brady. They were convinced that he’d had a hand in Tunstall’s murder, or at least in coverin’ it up. But now, you and this group of folks have Billy Bonney listening to reason. Hell, you got me to listen to reason when I almost stepped in it and became part of the problem.”

He shakes his head. ”Since Murphy came down from that mountain, it seems like it’s been easier and easier to give into anger. I’m sure it’s her. Every shooting, every tragedy...it makes her stronger.”

“I ain’t gonna lie to any of you. When I first come to New Mexico, I’d been up in the Capitan Mountains to hide out from some trouble I’d gotten myself into in Texas. I’m not about to claim that I’m a good man, but I will say that I’m better than I was, ever since the Apache found me and took me in. I hired on to help guide that wagon train cause I thought it was easy pay. I was more interested in fillin’ my pockets than in seein’ those families to safety.”

“I didn’t listen, neither. Murphy had just shown up in the valley. Claimed to be a former soldier. Talked the talk well enough that I’m sure he’s served a little time, but...later on, when Renata Montano started to try to find out more about him, some of the stories made her think that Murphy was someone else. That the real Lawrence Murphy never left Antietam alive. But she couldn’t ever prove anything.”


He gazes into the campfire, his eyes narrowing. ”Back then, Murphy wasn’t even interested in cattle. And money? He was already plenty rich. I wasn’t the only one who wondered where it might have come from, but once I got a taste of it I shut up with my questions. But if you ever get curious, take a ride out to his ranch. The steer he has on his range are poor specimens of cattle. I’ve heard tell he’s bought cows from ranchers in Texas, even from John Chisum, to help fulfill the beef contracts he stole from Tunstall. It was never about ranching. About owning the valley. It’s about her

He points to Aileen Kearney. ”Miz Kearney there seems to have the best idea of who Murphy really is. But somehow, in his travels up north, he learned about the witch. And he took that wagon train up there as an offering. To give her enough blood so that she’d wake up. But in the end? Murphy just wants this valley to eat itself. For enough bad blood to take hold that Lincoln’s a shell when it’s all said and done, and the witch can get her fill.”

“It’s worth it to him. La Lechuza has gone and made it so he can’t die. Not like any normal man, anyhow.”

Jacinta Castillo
 player, 227 posts
 Half-breed Scout
 P4 T5 W0 F0 W2 R1 B6 L0
Mon 28 Oct 2019
at 03:35
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Jacinta crossed herself after Roberts finished his telling and glanced back to Aileen.  "You think this Longley is the real identity of the man they call Murphy, chica?"
Kansas Kate
 player, 389 posts
 Hot words and cold slabs
 P6 T9 W0 F0 W3 R2 B1 L#
Tue 29 Oct 2019
at 00:57
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Kansas Kate was impatient, but she was also thinking.  Her thought was, why not kill the thing Murphy was trying to wake up?  It was asleep wasn't it?

Metaphysical vagaries were never her strong suit though, ironic considering her current state.

Then another thought came to her, but she'd wait before voicing that one.
Aileen Kearney
 NPC, 43 posts
Wed 30 Oct 2019
at 02:32
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Kearney nods gravely. ”I do. The story’s a long one, which I won’t go into in great detail, but Murphy’s the right age and appearance to be Bill Longley. Rumor is Longley came from Texas originally, but fled from there because of his involvement in several shootings. Enlisted in the U.S. Cavalry. He and three other soldiers robbed a group of military wagons carrying gold bars out of Wyoming to Denver for transport east. Killed all of their fellow enlisted, and the commanding officer. One by one, the three that were in on it with Longley turned up dead, and he disappeared. With a fortune in gold.”
Albert Cooper
 player, 354 posts
 Gun Wizzerd
 P5 T6 W0 F0 W0 R3 B3 L0
Wed 30 Oct 2019
at 19:29
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Albert leaned back and tipped his face upwards for a bit as he considered what he'd heard. His own experiences in the town hadn't been constant trouble, but now that it was said out loud...there was more than a town of that size ought to have.

"Capitan Pass has been generally avoided since before I ever came here. Some insist that area's haunted, but some that been here a long time, 'specially those of Spanish descent, seem convinced that the area is cursed. Though I ain't never been given a full explanation for the belief."

He frowned for a moment and then offered another nugget. "I also hearda the Big Owl in some Apache stories. Big Owl either takes on some sorta monstrous half-human/half-owl form or is seen as a gigantic owl large enough to fly away a child or a dog. Owl seems almost a bogeyman ta the Apache, though summa them tales are a bit too tall, if ya get my drift. But there seems a thread of truth. Enough ta make me believe in its existence."

He raised an eyebrow at the tale of Longley. "From Texas, eh? Just one more reason a Ranger'd wanna see 'em brought ta justice."
Andrew Roberts
 NPC, 15 posts
 Buckshot
Sun 3 Nov 2019
at 21:59
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
”I don’t rightly know if you can kill La Lechuza. She’s something that is eternal...part of the spirit world. But it’s said that you can imprison her again. Trap her deep in the earth, where she sleeps.”

He tosses his smoke into the fire. ”But I reckon Murphy’s gonna have to be handled one way or another. When anyone climbs up into Capitan Pass, he knows. Last time I’d worked up the courage to go up there, see if I could the place where the Owl Witch came up out of the ground, soon as I started up, one of the warriors found me, told me that that those damned black weeds had started cropping up all over Lincoln. Chokin’ out peoples’ crops.”
Shabbakasha
 NPC, 20 posts
 Roving Wolf
Sun 3 Nov 2019
at 21:59
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
”The Owl Witch’s heart rests in High Lonesome,” Roving Wolf says, ”My people have told tales of her last coming for many winters. It can be found and put to rest. But Murphy...I believe that he did not survive going up into the mountains. He was given life again by the witch, and now he walks the earth without fear of age or disease. But his survival is tied to hers. If she sleeps, he ceases to be.

“He only walks at night now. Like her, he needs blood to remain alive...and powerful.”

Kansas Kate
 player, 390 posts
 Hot words and cold slabs
 P6 T9 W0 F0 W3 R2 B1 L#
Mon 4 Nov 2019
at 02:13
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
"All right, maybe I'm slow on th' draw an' ya already cover'd it, but how do ya send a  critter like that ta sleep?  Ah guess a lully bye won't get 'er done."  Kansas Kate asked, a bit more patient since they had answered her question, in a roundabout way.
Dr. Ezekiel Q. Wayland
 player, 98 posts
 Have Science.Will Travel.
 P4 T5/7 W0 F0 W1 R3 B1 L0
Mon 4 Nov 2019
at 08:18
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
On the ride back, Dr. Wayland was, at first, perfectly willing to chat with Cooper or whomever.  But somewhere along the way he became very distracted.  His conversation faltered as he began thinking of something else.  Whatever it was quickly occupied his full attention.  He began muttering to himself, some of it began to seem almost like a dialogue.  His pocket notebook appeared in his hand and he made notes and sketches in a rather manic fashion.  Somehow, the odd man managed to keep his horse moving along with the others.  Or the horse managed to stay with the rest.

When they reached the camp, the scientist slid ungracefully from the saddle, still looking over his scribbled notes.  He tugged down his bulky saddlebags with a grunt and stumbled over to a spot a bit away from the rest.  Any inquiries about his behavior were summarily ignored.  He settled in to dig out various oddments from his bag and began piecing something together.  As he worked, his muttered dialogue continued.  At least now it seemed positive.  He was smiling at any rate.  A wild and creepy, satisfied looking smile.

"Yes...  Yes... That's /it/...," he tinkered with wires and small mechanisms.  These were fixed to a complex arrangement of thin metal laths, leather buckles, and springs.  He fiddled.  He changed this and that.  There were buzzing sounds.  Clicking sounds.  He was forced to shuck off his coat while he strapped the contraptions onto his legs and fed wires through tubing to a disc shaped clockwork device hanging on his belt.  Very similar to parts of lightning gun.

Dr. Wayland stood suddenly, quickly checking over everything one last time.  He then toggled a switch on the belt device.  With a buzz and a click, the leg contraptions suddenly extended and pushed him up from the ground.  He suddenly stood over a foot taller on springy, curving metal stilts.  He laughed, far too loudly, bouncing from foot to foot for a moment.  He then hit the switch again and the stilts snapped back up along the back of his leg and dropped him back to earth, "Ha!  Electromagnetic activation!  Of course...of course...  It really does solve the storage issue...  Weight seems much better...  No damage to my calf this time, so the angle is finally right...  Almost comfortable!  HA!" The switched was flipped again and the springy stilts pushed him back up again, where he balanced in an odd bent-knee crouch.

He is, of course, oblivious to how this might interrupt the ongoing conversation...
Bryan Lee
 player, 361 posts
 Texas Ranger (11/20 PP)
 P7 T6 W0 F0 W3 R1 B1 L1
Mon 4 Nov 2019
at 20:43
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
He pulled out a copy of Fugitives from Justice in the Confederacy, and nodded as he listened along, closing it back up.

"Putting a stop to Longley, or better yet, bringin' him in would be highly valued by the government of Texas, the Confederacy, and the Rangers organization for certain. Of course, if we can't bring him in, then...I suppose that's that. But I'd glad to be able to report that he's no longer a thorn in my side."

"I suppose that means that the less blood we spill until this is wrapped, the better off we are - and I think if we don't do the putting the Owl Witch heart to sleep part soon, there'll be more blood shed. Just because we took a couple high card outta his deck don't mean Murphy's gonna cash in his chips and turn tail. So to Kansas Kate's question," and he directed his question to both Roberts and the natives gathered there.

"How do we put the Owl Witch to bed?" If they could put her to sleep for now, when they were all done he could maybe get a team out from Roswell to see if they couldn't fix her for good and all.
Shabbakasha
 NPC, 21 posts
 Roving Wolf
Wed 6 Nov 2019
at 02:54
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Shabbakasha takes a carved wooden pipe from a large pouch on his belt. He begins to methodically fill it with tobacco. ”The stories of the last coming of the witch say that those who sent her away did so by going into the earth, into the wound in the mountain that was made when she climbed out into the place of the living.”

“It is said that the braves who reached that place and climbed down into the dark found her heart, wrapped up in the roots of the living earth. It was in that way that she was taking from the land, drawing the life from it. They cut her heart free and her grip on the hills and the mountains became weak, and she fell asleep again.”


He looks from Kate to Lee. ”It is said that many warriors lost their lives making the journey to the witch’s heart. Many that were brave fell to the darkness.”
Kansas Kate
 player, 391 posts
 Hot words and cold slabs
 P6 T9 W0 F0 W3 R2 B1 L#
Wed 6 Nov 2019
at 03:00
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
"Well that's that that then."  Kansas Kate replied laconically, she really had no other questions at the moment, but maybe the others did.  She paused, stared out at the others.
Albert Cooper
 player, 355 posts
 Gun Wizzerd
 P5 T6 W0 F0 W0 R3 B3 L0
Wed 6 Nov 2019
at 13:03
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
"Damn. I was hopin' ya were gonna say ta shoot it with magic bullets." Albert frowned. "When ya say that they fell ta the darkness, do ya know what sorta darkness claimed 'em? Or are there any rumors or legends?"
Bryan Lee
 player, 362 posts
 Texas Ranger (11/20 PP)
 P7 T6 W0 F0 W3 R1 B1 L1
Thu 7 Nov 2019
at 22:06
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
"Well, it sounds like what needs to be done is up on High Lonesome. Only problem is, I'll need someone who knows the terrain as a guide, and maybe some idea of what the Owl Witch's heart looks like. It wouldn't hurt to have a few more folks as crazy as I am, either," he said.

"Roberts, how long do you reckon it'll take to get up there, and could you be the guide?"
Dr. Ezekiel Q. Wayland
 player, 99 posts
 Have Science.Will Travel.
 P4 T5/7 W0 F0 W1 R3 B1 L0
Mon 11 Nov 2019
at 07:17
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains

It slowly dawned on Wayland that they had come here for a purpose....  Discussion...  That discussion.  /That/ discussion.  He flipped the switch again and the stilts sprang away for a final time, dropping him to the ground in a rather ungainly manner.  The scientist began to walk to join the others, stumbled a bit with the new contraptions on his legs, but made it eventually.  By the time he makes it to the firelight, the happy joy of successful creation had left him and he looked altogether morose.  Which, given the subject matter, was not entirely unreasonable.  He offered Lee a wan nod at the need for a few more folks.  Crazy ones preferred.
Shabbakasha
 NPC, 22 posts
 Roving Wolf
Tue 12 Nov 2019
at 03:53
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Roving Wolf smiles at Cooper’s words. ”Young warrior, all that matters is that the heart is freed from the roots it has claimed. How it is done is left up to those brave enough to seek it out.”

His smile fades. ”The witch is not one of the living. She is a spirit of death. Of endless hunger. Her home is with those who were ruled in life by desires that destroyed them...them and others. Those dead, they are hers to call forth. The ones  that know no rest. It is they that the people fought long ago on the mountain.”
Andrew Roberts
 NPC, 16 posts
 Buckshot
Tue 12 Nov 2019
at 03:54
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Despite the gravity of the discussion, some of the Apache warriors that are seated at the campfire find themselves distracted by Dr. Wayland’s newest invention. Some are amazed, others amused. A few exchange whispers as the bounty hunter rejoins the gathering.

”I’ll take you up there,” Roberts tells Lee. ”If this can all be stopped, it’s right that I be part of it. I reckon it’s the least I can do, given how I lived in years past. You and whoever’s goin’ up with you needs to be prepared. It’s two days to reach High Lonesome. More if the snow’s gotten fierce up there. Anyone who comes along needs to be sharp. Once it’s known what we’re about, we’ll have plenty of trouble.”

He grimaces. ”I don’t know what you think about this, Ranger. But you might consider tellin’ those Regulators that you’re tryin’ to shut Murphy down, once and for all. I’m not keen on them goin’ up Capitan, but if they could be convinced to keep an eye on Lincoln, in case that bastard tries to take his fury out on the people there...I figure you could trust those boys to help keep the town safe. They may be hot headed, but they don’t want to see innocent folks hurt.”
Aileen Kearney
 NPC, 44 posts
Tue 12 Nov 2019
at 03:54
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Kearney opens her tobacco poke, then frowns when she finds it empty. Closing it, she says, ”I’d like to ride up there with ya’ll, if no one objects.”
Jacinta Castillo
 player, 228 posts
 Half-breed Scout
 P4 T5 W0 F0 W2 R1 B6 L0
Tue 12 Nov 2019
at 16:02
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Jacinta snorted at Albert's comment, hoping much the same.  Bullets had always solved most of her problems in the past.  As she pulled a small case from her vest, she nodded at Roberts' wisdom.  "A good idea, nagual.  If what you say is true, and there is a connection between Murphy and the Owlwitch, then he'll know that we're after her and will try to make trouble.  We can't leave the citizens unprotected.  They've been through too much already."

Opening the case, she offered one of her cigarillos to Aileen.  "Already seen you handle yourself, so no objections from me, chica," she told the mustanger.
Albert Cooper
 player, 357 posts
 Gun Wizzerd
 P5 T6 W0 F0 W0 R3 B3 L0
Wed 13 Nov 2019
at 01:58
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Albert nodded at the response from Roving Wolf. "So more walkin' dead. And we need ta bring an axe or somethin'." Albert wasn't exactly formulating a plan, per se, but was certainly thinking about the best way to deal with the dedders.

Mostly, he decided to just toss Bryan at the bad guys. Maybe shoot a few of the more ornery ones.

He nodded at the volunteer. "The more of the livin', the merrier."

This message was last edited by the player at 01:59, Wed 13 Nov 2019.

Bryan Lee
 player, 363 posts
 Texas Ranger (11/20 PP)
 P7 T6 W0 F0 W3 R1 B1 L1
Fri 15 Nov 2019
at 17:43
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
"That's not a bad idea. I was hoping our efforts would keep Murphy sufficiently distracted so as to ensure that he didn't get up to any mischief down here, but I suppose it ain't a bad idea to have a backup plan. That said, this ain't my patch, so to speak and I don't want to run completely roughshod over the local law. Most of them may be corrupt, but not all of them. Deputy Bauer, would you approve of this plan, to rely on the Regulators to counter Murphy while we're up on the mountain?"
Aileen Kearney
 NPC, 45 posts
Mon 18 Nov 2019
at 05:24
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
”I appreciate that,” Kearney tells Castillo, gratefully accepting a cigarillo and lighting it with a branch from the fire. As she does, she gives Cooper a nod of thanks.
Lena Bauer
 NPC, 78 posts
Mon 18 Nov 2019
at 05:24
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Bauer grins. ”Well, I can’t rightly promise that the new sheriff would agree with me, but from where I’m sittin’, askin’ a group of men who’ve already been deputized to watch after the people of Lincoln seems like a sensible plan to me. Seein’ as I intend on makin’ that climb with ya’ll, I’m not gonna be there to lend a hand. And knowin’ what I know of some of my fellow deputies, I’d put a lot more faith in Bonney’s bunch.”
Bryan Lee
 player, 365 posts
 Texas Ranger (11/20 PP)
 P7 T6 W0 F0 W3 R1 B1 L1
Tue 19 Nov 2019
at 05:46
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
"Well then, I think we have the makings of our next course of action."

When a moment allowed, he moved to speak to Aileen. "Miss Kearney," he said, tipping his hat respectfully.

"I couldn't help overhear your conversation earlier, and I wanted to set you at ease. There's two sides to this conflict, and it ain't blue and gray. You and I, we're on the side of regular folks and on the other side there's much worse - Longleys and Owl Witches and only God knows what else. Do what you came here to do. You won't face any opposition from me. My mandate is restorin' peace in these parts. We can talk about the jurisdiction Longley gets to hang in when we get to that part, but until then, you don't have to tip toe around me." He extended a hand to her.
Aileen Kearney
 NPC, 46 posts
Fri 22 Nov 2019
at 18:30
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Kearney takes the offered hand, giving Lee a firm shake. ”Thank you, Ranger. I truly appreciate that.”

“For what it’s worth, I don’t give a damn where Longley hangs, just so long as I can say for certain he can’t hurt anyone else. We manage that, I’ll be more than satisfied. I reckon those back east will be to.”