VI - The Secrets of the Mountains.   Posted by Marshal.Group: 0
Marshal
 GM, 598 posts
 W0 R0 B0
Thu 17 Oct 2019
at 18:02
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Roberts’ route leads those following him around the Rio Bonito Valley, keeping them high amongst the cool mountain air and the tall pine and piñon trees. The riders steal glimpses of Lincoln as they move past the town in the concealment of the forest, finding its Main Street sleepy, with only a few people and wagons circulating among the stores and saloons. Soon, the buildings have passed from view as the group’s horses splash across the silver expanse of the river.

The trail grows thinner, becoming harder and harder for all but the sharpest eyed among the group to see. The spruce bushes are deep blue beneath the growing shadows from the ancient pine trees that lean across the narrow path, making the ride feel more and more like a passage through a cavern than a forest. Above, crows caw, and a few hummingbirds buzz past with a speed that defies vision. To the east, a lone coyote gives out a lonesome howl.

Suddenly, the trees part, and the riders find themselves in a crescent shaped clearing which is nestled against a sheer rock face, perhaps forty feet high, with a pair of cave openings at its base. The bubbling of a brook can be heard nearby, but not seen. Gathered around a fire are half a dozen Apache warriors, three male, three female, all of whom are involved in preparing a meal. Also seated on a pair of nearby rocks are the Comanche wanderer Kansas Kate knows as Shabbakasha, and the red haired mustanger Aileen Kearney.

One of the Apache warriors approaches the group as they enter the clearing. He nods to Roberts then, looking to the others, gestures to the campfire. ”You’ve probably had a long ride. Sit and eat. We have venison, beans, flatbread. Fresh water from the brook. Feed for the horses too.”
Bryan Lee
 player, 358 posts
 Texas Ranger (8/20 PP)
 P7 T6 W1 F0 W3 R1 B1 L1
Thu 17 Oct 2019
at 18:10
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Before he had a chance to eat, he saw to his horse, then went to see if he could find Tamsin.

"Miss River, if you don't mind, could you fix me up like you did for some of the others?" It was just a minor cut from his altercation with Dolan, along with some swelling and bruising that was already start to show. He could weather it, but the smarter move was getting it seen to - and it seemed like there wasn't much better of a choice than Tamsin River from what he'd heard and seen.
Kansas Kate
 player, 385 posts
 Hot words and cold slabs
 P6 T9 W0 F0 W3 R2 B1 L#
Thu 17 Oct 2019
at 19:24
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Double K wasn't rude to their host, but she only nodded at him.  She preferred her meat a little more rare.

But she lit up at the sight of Shabbakasha.  If that Indian had meant to get his own pet outlaw gunfighter, he had succeeded.

"Hey it's Wolf Who Walks."  Her names for him were as inconsistent as they were wrong, but such it was.
Tamsin River
 player, 171 posts
 Flower Power
 P4 T5 W0 F0 W0 R3 B2 L0
Fri 18 Oct 2019
at 09:46
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
02:43, Today: Tamsin River rolled 2,4 using D8+1,D6+1, rerolling max ((1,3)).

Please ignore that second roll, I hit the back button and it rolled again :P


Tamsin is still with Lydia when Lee approaches. “Of course, Mr. Lee. I’m sorry I didn’t tend to you earlier,” she says. She ushers him closer to the fire so she can see, examining his arms in detail with her hands before going to work. Salve for the bruises, another for the cut and he was good as new.
Albert Cooper
 player, 348 posts
 Gun Wizzerd
 P5 T6 W0 F0 W2 R3 B2 L0
Fri 18 Oct 2019
at 16:20
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Albert was his typical chatty self as they rode, and there was no single target of his chatter. His attempts with Jacinta were more of the 'get to know you' variety, with Kate they were more of the 'how's your mental state' variety, with Bryan it was more 'what's the plan, chief?', with Zeke it was 'what's up, Doc?', and Tamsin it was more assessing how she was after being in a firefight, at he was suspecting she hadn't been in them all that often.

He also again offered to improve some bullets for folk that might want such and otherwise tried to be pleasant company during the ride.

OOC: Let me know who wants special bullets!

Also, how many power points do we recover during the ride (if any?)


Albert dismounted with others, his bulk causing him to do it slightly slower and more deliberately than he did in years past. He led Brandy to the water, but he couldn't make her drink.

After seeing to her needs, the cowboy made sure the other horses seemed properly cared for, then made his way to the food with a nod. "Thankee fer yer hospitality, folks. Appreciate it."
Jacinta Castillo
 player, 225 posts
 Half-breed Scout
 P4 T5 W0 F0 W2 R1 B6 L0
Sat 19 Oct 2019
at 07:08
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Jacinta seemed fairly relaxed on the ride into the mountains, feeling more at ease in the wilderness than she ever did in town.  While she didn't mind chatting with Albert along the way, she still remained watchful as they climbed.  Something about her showdown with Frank Baker had given her a touch more confidence.  She'd gone toe to toe with a feared sniper and lived to tell the tale.  While she hadn't brought him down, she'd kept him out of play during the gunfight and likely saved a few lives in the process.  After nearly being killed by Jim McDaniels, she needed that little victory.

Halting in the clearing, she dismounted and hitched her horse to a tree to browse, intending to lead the mare to water once she'd cooled down.  She gave the natives a cursory glance, but lifted a hand in greeting to Aileen Kearney.  Approaching the mustanger, she tipped her hat.  "Didn't expect to see you here.  How'd you fall in with this lot?"


OOC:  Jacinta is always achin' for some magic bullets.
Lena Bauer
 NPC, 77 posts
Mon 21 Oct 2019
at 21:13
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Bauer dismounts, and after hitching her horse to a nearby tree, accepts a cup of water. She nods at the woman respectfully. ”I ‘preciate the kindness. Thank you for lettin’ us share your camp.”
Shabbakasha
 NPC, 18 posts
 Roving Wolf
Mon 21 Oct 2019
at 21:13
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Shabbakasha smiles, clearly more concerned with the intent behind Kate’s greeting, rather than its correctness. ”It is good to see you again, tuwikáa. I am pleased that you are safe. You have been in battle. You must come and tell me of all that has happened.”

As she draws closer, he tells her quietly, ”I killed a deer with my bow and dressed it. It is east of the camp, just a short walk. I also found a man drunk and snoring by the side of the road to Lincoln with a full bottle of whiskey beside him. It seemed to me that he did not need any more, so I took it for you.”
Andrew Roberts
 NPC, 12 posts
 Buckshot
Mon 21 Oct 2019
at 21:13
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
When Roberts first climbs down from his horse, he steps aside with two of the Apache warriors, a man and a woman. The three of them share a quiet, sober conversation for several moments. Once done, Roberts returns to the campfire, where he approaches Albert Cooper. ”Mr. Cooper, there are several things in my life that I’m not proud of. My temper’s one of ‘em. I ‘preciate what you did back there at Blazer’s Mill, steppin’ in and talk in’ sense to me. I’m afraid things would’ve turned out a damn sight worse if you hadn’t done that. Thank you.”
Aileen Kearney
 NPC, 41 posts
Mon 21 Oct 2019
at 21:13
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Kearney pats the space beside her, inviting Castillo to sit. Her expression holds a hint of regret. ”Here’s the thing: I could tell you a story about how I came to be amongst these good folks, and do my very best to be entertainin’ while avoidin’ bein’ honest, or I can just tell you the truth and hope we’re still friends at the end of it.”

She takes a neatly folded set of papers from the inner pocket of her vest and hands them to the scout. Scanning the first page, Castillo can see that she is holding a warrant, issued by an United States Federal Court for the arrest and detention of one William Preston Longley for train robbery and multiple murders.
Jacinta Castillo
 player, 226 posts
 Half-breed Scout
 P4 T5 W0 F0 W2 R1 B6 L0
Tue 22 Oct 2019
at 04:10
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Jacinta took a seat, propping her knees on her elbows as she read through the papers Kearney handed her.  Cocking her head in mild confusion, she passed the warrant back to the woman.  "So you're a law dog huntin' for this Longley fella?  How's that stop us from being friends?"
Bryan Lee
 player, 359 posts
 Texas Ranger (8/20 PP)
 P7 T6 W1 F0 W3 R1 B1 L1
Tue 22 Oct 2019
at 04:32
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
"Thank you kindly, ma'am," he said to Tamsin. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll need to get about the business we all set on here today."

He made his way over to Cooper and Roberts, who were speaking, enough to catch the last bit.

"Yes, we're all a bit better off thanks to Mr. Cooper's various talents. I've learned that since hangin' with him for a bit. One of these days, I'm gonna have to deputize him for the long haul. But I reckon that if we're stoppin' here, you consider this a safe enough place to share your tale with us. I hate to beat a dead horse, but the House has already tried to stop us from hearing that tale once. In fact, according to this letter I found on Dolan's person they believed it imperative that you not speak with us and that you had some knowledge that could light all their plans on fire."

He brandished the letter, freely offering it to anyone who wanted to take a look.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'd like to find out what in the world is goin' on here."
Albert Cooper
 player, 352 posts
 Gun Wizzerd
 P5 T6 W0 F0 W0 R3 B3 L0
Tue 22 Oct 2019
at 19:15
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Albert nodded appreciatively at Roberts' thanks, bringing a forefinger to the brim of his hat as he did. "You are very welcome. And thank you fer not rippin' me ta shreds. Some folk ain't smart enough ta open their ears an' their mind in that sorta situation. Ya proved better'n that."

He smiled at the suggestion he was worthy of being deputized on a more permanent basis. Truth be told, it was something he'd thought about in recent days and months. "Thanks, general. Might just take ya up on that."

Albert was also curious about Roberts' tale and didn't interrupt any further, so he turned a curious face back toward Buckshot.
Kansas Kate
 player, 387 posts
 Hot words and cold slabs
 P6 T9 W0 F0 W3 R2 B1 L#
Wed 23 Oct 2019
at 00:34
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
In reply to Shabbakasha (msg # 8):

She shook her head.  "They done gone loco.  Evans is dead, via yours truly.  They done grabbed Dolan.  He'll be dead soon enuff, wouldn't worry 'bout that none.  Them Regulators or whatever the hell they call themselves rode in, ah still don't know what in the blue hell they're playin' an' ah don't trust 'em, but ah gots enough irons in th' fire as it is."

Kansas Kate thought for a moment how much more she hated them after Evans had tried to hide behind a boy.  There wasn't a lot of good in Kansas Kate but picking on children just got her fired up, maybe in a bad way.

She smirk-smiled at his preparations.  She'd swiped some from the saloon while she'd been there too, so she had a nice little supply going.

"Well look at you.  I swear if they weren't such God damn inbred wind'er'lickers the people of this county would do well ta boot these stupid sons of bitches like Murphy and just put you in charge.  But we both know they won't."
Shabbakasha
 NPC, 19 posts
 Roving Wolf
Thu 24 Oct 2019
at 15:00
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Roving Wolf chuckles. ”I would make a terrible chief, tuwikáa. I like the company of the forest more than the company of most people.”

“Evans was a cruel man. One who found amusement in harming others. It is good that he is dead.”

Aileen Kearney
 NPC, 42 posts
Thu 24 Oct 2019
at 15:00
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Kearney smiles at Castillo’s response. ”Well, there’s some in these parts that wouldn’t take too kindly to a Union law dog huntin’ a fella in Confederate territory. Truth of the matter is, I wouldn’t be doin’ it but for the fact that what this Longley character pulled was so awful.”

She takes a flask from her hip pocket, sips from it, then offers it to the scout. ”But, way it’s turned out, it looks as though I’m lookin’ for the same man you and your friends are.”
Andrew Roberts
 NPC, 13 posts
 Buckshot
Thu 24 Oct 2019
at 15:00
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Roberts takes a seat by the campfire. Drawing paper and tobacco from the poke on his belt, he begins to build a smoke. ”Long ago, before there were the tribes that we know now...the Apache, Comanche, Navajo, Hopi, and others...those that settled these mountains were just called the people. The Capitan range and the Rio Bonito Valley, they offered all anyone could want for a good and peaceful life. The people lived here for many winters, and they thrived.”

“One winter, something woke. Some say it had burrowed deep into the rocks of the mountains and came up once again when it heard the tread of the people’s feet. Others think it came from elsewhere, that it perched in one of the high passes because the height and the isolation  suited it.”
Roberts gestures to Shabbakasha. ”The Comanche came to call that place the Winter Path, because so few are willing to brave the cold up there to travel it. When the Spaniards came to New Mexico, they termed it el gran vacío, the great emptiness. Settlers now call it High Lonesome.”

“This spirit...this manitou...it consumes living things. You go up the mountain apiece right now, you’ll come to a spot where everythin’ is gray and dead. Just the shell of a pine forest. It’s because she’s woke up, and sucked a lot of it dry. But just the mountain and what’s on it ain’t enough for her.”

“Story goes that she appeared to one of the people. A man who was jealous of another, because of his brother’s prowess as a hunter and the beautiful wife he had. Through him, she divided the people against each other and there was war. The bloodshed...it fed her. Made her strong.”


He fetches a branch from the fire and uses it to light his smoke. ”To many, she seemed to be nothing but shadow. But it’s said that when she truly appeared to people, she looked like she was part human, part owl. The people, and the tribes that came after, came to call her Big Owl or the Owl Witch. When the Spanish settled near the Rio Bonito, they gave her the name La Lechuza. She’s rarely spoken of. Her coming always brings death and misfortune.”

“After many of the people had killed one another, a medicine woman came upon the truth: that the witch from the mountains had poisoned them against one other. The people went up to the Winter Path to fight her. The Owl Witch raised the bodies of all those who had died to serve as her army. The people overcame her...at great cost. Buried her in the rocks. Locked her away.”


He exhales a stream of smoke, the gray fumes mingling with those from the crackling fire. ”Over the years, she’s haunted people here and there. Shown herself to a few that go up in Capitan Pass. But she stayed trapped. Until California fell and the Ghost Rock came, and darkness started runnin’ free over the land. Then she stirred.”

“But she was weak. Starved. ‘Til she convinced someone to bring a wagon train up through High Lonesome.”

Kansas Kate
 player, 388 posts
 Hot words and cold slabs
 P6 T9 W0 F0 W3 R2 B1 L#
Fri 25 Oct 2019
at 00:44
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Kansas Kate lent an ear.  Well, there was one place where she might wind up having to go that perhaps would not be wise for others.  This whole being dead thing for sure had its ups and downs.

When he paused, she was impatient.  "Get a wiggle on, how do ah kill his ass?"
Bryan Lee
 player, 360 posts
 Texas Ranger (11/20 PP)
 P7 T6 W1 F0 W3 R1 B1 L1
Fri 25 Oct 2019
at 04:16
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Kansas Kate had cut to the heart of the matter in a manner of speaking, but he needed to know the whole landscape of the situation.

"So, this Owl Witch...she convinced Murphy to bring a wagon train full of folks up there, and their spectres still haunt Lincoln and maybe Murphy if he gave a damn. You and he were the only ones who made it back. What's the story there? And what's the endgame? I mean, so he goes up there and gets some kinda hoodoo power from the Owl Witch. Why kill Tunstall, and suppress the population?"
Albert Cooper
 player, 353 posts
 Gun Wizzerd
 P5 T6 W0 F0 W0 R3 B3 L0
Fri 25 Oct 2019
at 23:19
VI - The Secrets of the Mountains
Albert nodded at the story and squinted as he tried to see through time and space to the locations and times described by Roberts.

He nodded at the questions from the others, but considered his own knowledge stores on those things that were not as they seemed.

OOC: Occult of 5 provide any additional knowledge or suspicions?

16:19, Today: Albert Cooper rolled 5,3 using d6,d6, rerolling max with rolls of 5,3.  Occult.