Friday, June 29, 2012

Deadlands, Part XVIII

When last we left our heroes, they found a blasphemous work by Leonardo da Vinci, were contacted to recover the Doomsday Clock by the Catholic church, and were threatened by an unknown entity (possibly the serial killer known as the Angel of Death).

Having recovered somewhat, Ruby agrees to go with the group to investigate the Peerless and its model.  David Hood, Father Seward, Jake, Jeb, Ruby O'Flahertie, and Rufina get ready and hail a carriage.  David has the model ship while Seward still has the ship's wheel in his pocket.

The group goes on a carriage ride.

All is well until a black, clawed hand clothed in a grey sleeve reaches through the window and grabs Father Seward, pulling him out of the moving carriage.  Perched atop the carriage is a malformed, black-skinned humanoid with bat wings.  It wears a Confederate uniform.

Father Seward's revolver is in his hand and firing shots within seconds.  Two hit and one misses, although they do not stop the thing — they merely prompt the creature to drop Seward.  He lands hard and strains his left ankle, but is otherwise okay.  While he keeps firing shots at the thing, it grabs David Hood from the carriage, prompting him to send the model ship spiraling from his grasp and onto the road, where it splinters.  Rufina leaps from the carriage and grabs onto the thing's arm in an attempt to pull it from the carriage; the creature stays put, and starts slamming her and Hood against the carriage wheels.  When it finally drops them, it swoops off the carriage and into the street — Rufina tears after it while David runs in a panic.  It manages to grab the largest remaining chunk of the model ship and fly away — Seward lodges a bullet in the back of its skull, but it doesn't stop the creature, which finally disappears over the buildings.

Meanwhile, the carriage picks up speed and goes around the corner.  Ruby is cowering in the cab this whole time.  Jeb asks the driver to stop, and before he has a chance to respond, Jeb smashes him in the face with his rifle butt.  Jake casts a quick hex and electrocutes the driver with black lightning.  The driver finally has a chance to react and abandons the carriage as it stops, running into a nearby alley.

While the group is dusting themselves off in the street, Jeb comes around with the carriage (driven rather poorly, as he's hardly a teamster).  Father Seward asks where the driver went, and when he gets the story, starts yelling at Jake and Jeb for assaulting the driver.  He then stalks off to find the man.

Jake, Jeb, and Ruby leave the carriage and start to gather everyone to leave.  They plan on leaving the carriage behind, and so that the police are less likely to listen to the driver's story, Jeb soaks the seat in whiskey.

Father Seward finds the shattered driver whimpering in an alley.  He prays over the man and lays on hands.  The man says that Seward should be careful as some of Seward's companions are apparently bandits, and that Seward should follow the man to the police.  Seward hesitates and thinks a moment, but in that moment, the man stands and runs.  Seward sighs and returns to the rest of the group.

The group finds itself on the street again (sans David Hood, who tore down the alley and has not yet returned), and decides to return to the hotel.  Father Seward says he's going to stay behind for a moment to look after Rufina, and he'll catch up with them.  Jake and Ruby start walking back to the hotel.  Jeb lingers for a moment, but when he's convinced that Father Seward has things well in hand, he makes his way back to the hotel.  Father Seward prays over Rufina and lays on hands.  While he's making certain she is all right, David returns, and Father Seward performs his third miracle for the night, healing David's wounds.

As Rufina has gathered what chunks of the ship she could, the trio of David Hood, Father Seward, and Rufina decide to wander down to the docks and investigate the wreck of the Peerless.  As police arrive to investigate the gunshots, the three duck into alleyways to make their way to the port.

When Jake returns to the hotel, he orders some liquor and tea (containing opium) to calm Ruby's nerves.  When Jeb returns, he starts playing the mandolin.

Meanwhile, the three emerge from another alleyway and see the wreck of the Peerless.  It looks as though it lies where it ran aground, with support beams built to keep it from collapsing.  David Hood notices a few unmoving bodies of policemen in the shadows, and he points them out to Rufina and Seward.  Rufina maintains a lookout while Hood and Seward go to look; they find the corpses of police officers, apparently having been killed by heavy sword blows.  Father Seward notes that to be a little refreshing — swords mean that whatever they're about to face is human — but that unfortunately means that someone is on the ship.  Right now.

Spotting a living police man, David Hood gets his attention.  The officer comes over and taps a buddy on the shoulder — revealing that the man is just slumped against the wall, dead.  David Hood shows the officer what he found, and after a little discussion, we learn that this man is an officer O'Malley (in fact, a relative of the detective from St. Louis) and that he is willing to look the other way if we help him investigate the ship.

We walk.

When we hit the deck and peer into belowdecks, we can already smell the kerosene.  Guns are out of the question.  Even so, we climb the ladder to the hold — first O'Malley, then Hood and Seward.  Rufina waits behind for a moment to ensure there's no ambush, and then starts climbing.

Kerosene is soaking the floor.  When O'Malley, Hood, and Seward round a corner, the source becomes obvious — several barrels have been overturned in the room with a large, open crate.  The crate contains a large, ornate clock matching the one seen in da Vinci's tome, The Fall of Man.  A man stands in front of the box with a broken saber.  David Hood recognizes him as his brother, Abraham.

Abraham looks sick.  Crazed.  David says he knows he can't destroy the thing, right?  Abraham says he knows that now, but he suspects he can get rid of it by sending it back.  Before anyone can react, Abraham starts the weight.  Father Seward falls to his knees and begins praying.  O'Malley, oblivious to the enormity of what just transpired, takes a board he found to Abraham's head, killing him instantly.  A wave of energy issues forth from the clock and passes through all present.

Back at the hotel, Jake, Jeb, and Ruby are still drinking and relaxing.  Suddenly, they spit out their drinks.

The liquid has turned to blood.

**********************************

I'm fairly certain the Doomsday Clock was unleashed solely because the group forgot its guns-and-politeness, strictly gunteel ethic.

As Nicole mentioned, it was humorous that some of the group catered to their baser instincts in the same session that a Hell-artifact was activated.  That couldn't have been more perfect if it were planned.

2 comments:

  1. I'm blaming the Father for abandoning Jake in the carriage. With no moral compass around, he's obviously backslid. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. As an important fact to note, Rufina snapped off the creature's left arm.

    ReplyDelete

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