Monday, November 26, 2012

When life gives you lemons, make Unknown Armies

Here are some random things around the internet.

Windows 95 Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks is a Tumblr depicting a Windows 95 gone horribly wrong.  Subtle occult forces are at work here.  You should read it.

Arashi at The Felling Blade brought "They Cracked This 250-Year-Old Code, and Found a Secret Society Inside" to my attention.  After thirteen years of nothing, computer algorithms managed to crack the code found within an old manuscript — only to raise further questions.  The manuscript evidently discusses a society known as the Oculists, but anecdotal evidence suggests they might be a Freemason front, formed as a layer of deception to prevent persecution.  Or perhaps not.  Scholars aren't precisely certain.

Nicole at A Really Well-Made Buttonhole informed me of The 5 Most Ridiculously Unjust Religious Afterlives.  A standard Cracked.com list, it discusses Zoroastrians, Aztecs, Rastafarians, Ancestor Veneration, and the Ancient Egyptians.  Naturally, it's a little flip and prone to hyperbole, but comparative religion is always of interest.

Nicole further showed me Monster Mummies of Japan, a collection of mummies depicting, unsurprisingly, Japanese monsters.  Oni, mermaids, kappa, tengu, raijū, and self-mummified monks are all displayed and discussed.  Worth a look.

For something a little less occultedSean B at Wine and Savages reposted this Regency Name Generator.  Exactly what it says on the tin.  For all the Algernon Melbournes and Beatrice Prestons of the world, this is for you.

Children of the Night

Deal with it.
(Spoilers for The Giovanni Chronicles ahead.  You have been warned.)

Dig this: I'm back where I started.  This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of stepping back into Vampire: the Masquerade (although as a player this time).  Blake over at Mythology started running The Giovanni Chronicles: The Last Supper (and presumably plans to run the whole saga).

A bit of back story: I own these books.  I haven't read them (as I wasn't planning on running them, I had no reason to look them over, particularly since I always heard someone or other would be keen on running them instead), but I bought them off E. M. Lamb from Malleus Blogstrorum aeons ago.  I've heard good things, but I never had the chance to run or play.

So here we are.

I have the distinction of playing one Sædís Ragnarsdóttir, recently Embraced into Clan Brujah:

Picture Elle Driver, but younger and angrier.  If that's even possible.
She kicks ass.  Earlier in the session, she had to leave her men behind; she told them to memorize the face of the man with whom she was traveling, and if she did not return, they were to kill that man.  If they didn't, she would claw her way from her grave and find them.

They've seen her rage before, so they had no doubt.

The funny part is that she was mortal then, and I wasn't saying that because I was playing Vampire — I said it because she's actually a pagan, her men know this, and it seemed like an effective threat.  (She has one eye out of emulation of old Odin, after all.)

So...now she's a vampire (or as she's been calling it, a draugr).  That will be a funny story when she finds her crew again.

A couple of notes: Blake's running Vampire: the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition.  It's roughly the same as Revised Edition (3e) Vampire, but has a couple of changes ported from new World of Darkness (all physical Disciplines cost Vitae, although in keeping with oWoD sensibilities, each one has a passive effect that works without blood expenditure) and Orpheus (no Dodge skill, just the Athletics talent).  I'm sure I'll pick it up in the not-too-distant future.

On the module itself: We're not terribly far into it because there's a large amount of exposition (I'm pretty sure we're past the bulk of it now, but it's a thing).  The group starts as mortals, goes through a shovelhead Embrace at the hands of Clan Giovanni's conspirators, get snatched by Hardestadt, and are given a reprieve from Final Death due to the intervention of Durga Syn.

The current mission is to train as Cainites until their Giovanni conspirator sires, no doubt determining the group to be alive, decide to Summon the fledgling coterie to the conspiracy's current location.  The coterie will then act as spies from within, informing Hardestadt and his allies of Clan Giovanni's activities.

It was certainly fun.  The module, at least in the early stages (and since there are four books of it, likely throughout) features the favored enemy of the OSR, railroading.  However, I found that this allows a certain amount of drama to come out — as players, we all knew we weren't going to survive the night, so we might as well make the most of it.  (Sædís tried to fight to the vampires, as did her newfound bro, Sir Jacques, to no avail).

Additionally, as I've said before, I don't necessarily mind a poverty of options so long as the cage isn't obvious — our doom was heavily telegraphed, but we theoretically have a choice in cooperating with Hardestadt (the fact that we're going to be Summoned by our sires is probably non-negiotiable, but we can totally betray Hardestadt if we so choose).

And now: quotes.

"Occam's Razor says the easiest solution is to stab them with a razor."

"Tell me, what were you told of your host?"
"He's...an Italian."
"Yes...?"
"They're...not Jews.  Are they?"

"Looking at him, the best way I can describe this, he is so hideous it makes you angry."

"Surrender now and I will spare you.  If you surrender."
"We just woke up, you assholes!"

"Durga Syn looks like a wrinkly scrotum with The Big Book of British Smiles?  Thanks, Blake.  You ruined Vampire for me."

Addendum: Blake wrote up the session over at his blog.  So there's that.

Also, while I talked about my character, I said nothing about the others!  In addition to Sædís the Brujah, we had:

Baron Wolfgang von Schlusselheim, scourge of Bavaria, Embraced into Clan Gangrel.  Played by Nicole.  He's a baron, but there's a strong implication that he stole his title.
Bartolomeo Montalban, Papal Agent, Embraced into Clan Tremere.  Played by TS.  At least I think she was playing Bartolomeo.  As befits a prospective Tremere, the fellow didn't talk much.
Father Niklas von Ausburg, Church Historian, Embraced into Clan Nosferatu.  Played by E. M. Lamb.  A doddering old priest.
Horace Pemperidge, Travelling Minstrel, Embraced into Clan Malkavian.  Played by FS.  A fabulous bard.
Paola di Toscana, Brothel Matron, Embraced into Clan Lasombra.  Played by Tini.  Accompanied by three of her working girls and probably the most social among us.
Sir Jacques Lapideau, Knight of Flowers, Embraced into Clan Toreador.  Played by frankietuesday3.  A French anointed knight, he and Sædís are bros for unlife.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Deadlands, Part XXVII

When last we left our heroes, they were the guests of the esteemed philanthropist, Brent Manning.  They learned a little more of Cobb's affairs, and left for Buena Vista by way of Lynchburg.

The train ride is uneventful.  The group stops in Lynchburg and decides to resupply and rest.  Lynchburg is quite impressive with its electric lighting; Rufina even inquires with one of the security guards at the power plant about how it all works (something about turbines and potential energy; it's all quite modern!).

The group also manages to grab a paper; Sweet Water, Arizona is definitely the city of the future.  Despite the lack of surrounding features for comparison, it features towering skyscrapers made of steel.  (By description, I imagine Lang's Metropolis in terms of architecture.)

After weighing its options, the group decides to hire a carriage for the journey to Buena Vista.  The trip takes a couple of days, and as the carriage finds itself in a mountain pass, the group sees trouble ahead — from their vantage points, Father Seward, Jeb, and Rex see a group of men assaulting a woman.  They appear to be gathered more or less in a circle, and are jeering at her and shoving her.  The woman, for her part, seems to be barely resisting.  All signs suggest it will probably escalate quickly and messily.

The carriage stops.  Everyone prepares their guns.  Jeb and Rex are at the ready.  The group of men have now stopped what they were doing to watch the proceedings.  They have, however, boxed the woman so that she cannot leave.

Father Seward steps out of the carriage, followed by David Hood.  The group's apparent leader rides out of the throng to address them.  He sizes David up, and presumably noting the tinhorn's attire, asks what they're doing in this region.  Father Seward stares him down and replies, "Lookin' fer creeps like you."  The men are admonished to leave the woman behind and go.  David, Jeb, Rex, and Ruby all brandish guns to accentuate the statement; Rufina shows her sword.  Father Seward starts counting down from five.  When he hits zero, he fires in the air.

Despite the protests of the gang, the leader says they're leaving.  They do so.

Rufina approaches the woman as she picks herself up; Father Seward also approaches, but stays back as he's aware he's a bandaged man in a priest's collar.  The woman just keeps walking down the road; even when Rufina grabs her arm, she just tries to pull away and keep walking.

Rufina doesn't get much out of her, but learning that she is headed to Buena Vista, Rufina convinces the woman to agree to ride with the group.  She tries to give her some water, but for the most part, the woman doesn't speak and doesn't really respond.  She just sits quietly with a thousand yard stare.

The carriage approaches Buena Vista as night falls.  It is just a crossroads in the mountains featuring a row of buildings along one side.  The inhabitants wandering the streets appear predominantly Hispanic.  A church sits at the far end.  Off to the side is a large building.  The church and the other building are the only two with lights burning.  As the carriage stops, the woman walks out and starts walking to the other building, which is apparently some manner of brothel, barely tolerated by the locals.

After some debate, the group follows the woman.  The woman wanders up a hill to the brothel, a place called Catalina's Rose, as proclaimed by the sign without.  As the group approaches the building, a bittersweet feeling overwhelms them.  The woman opens the door and the sound of a raucous party emanates from within before she closes the door.  There are windows, but they are frosted as if cold.

Rufina opens the door.  It appears to be some manner of establishment with women dressed as high-class prostitutes.  A lone man plays a piano; the tune is somewhat familiar, but cannot be placed.  Rufina enters.  As Father Seward enters, he starts suffering convulsions, and a sound emanates from his chest like something being shaken in a paper bag.  He manages to uncomfortably drag himself inside.  David, Jeb, Rex, and Ruby all enter; as each person enters, the sense of sadness that overwhelmed them as they approached leaves.

As everyone enters and the door closes behind them, the piano player runs his fingers down the keys and turns around.  He seems to have knowledge of everyone there (he indicates that Rufina is hiding something), and he has some of the ladies fetch a chair for Father Seward as well as food and drink for all.

Introductions are made; the man's name is Silas.  Strangely, the seer with the United States government is also named Silas, and this man indicates that he shares some arcane connection with the seer Silas.  He also explains that he does not know why the group was brought to Catalina's Rose, but perhaps that will become clear during the course of conversation.

Around this time, Jeb goes off with a woman.  It swiftly becomes clear that actual sex is off the table here; she makes Jeb feel welcome and very pleasant, but the line is always drawn at sexual contact.

In fact, even though the women are joyous, many of them have the same thousand yard stare as the woman before.  Of her, there is no sign.

Silas explains that he was an angel who fell in love with a woman; this love trapped him in an in-between place.  This place is Catalina's Rose.  It has not always appeared this way or in this place, but it is usually somewhere, attracting travelers in need.  All the women within have been abused, the victims of violence.  This is an in-between place for them as well, somewhere where they can rest until they feel themselves worthy of God's grace and can enter into Heaven.

Rufina is initially suspicious, but the group is slowly but surely put at ease by Silas' demeanor and responses. Father Seward asks about the Talmud Company and its operations, which causes the building to shake.  Jeb looks distinctly uneasy.  Silas explains that Catalina expressed her displeasure at the mention of that agency for reasons that Silas will not yet reveal.  Silas further explains that Talmud is not only a book, but also means "knowledge."  When the Talmud Company is mentioned again and the building rumbles, Jeb runs out the door and stays out for the rest of the evening.

During the course of the conversation, several things become apparent: primarily, that the group is not well-equipped enough to tackle the Hellgate in Georgia.  Going there will summon all the forces of Hell to deal with the problem, and the group probably does not have what it needs to defend against that.  Likewise, there is probably little reason to investigate the Talmud Company in New Orleans as of yet, for similar reasons.

Silas also indicates that he stabbed Satan at one point when he was a full angel — he recognizes Seward as being around due to Satan's influence.  Silas offers that Seward may be damned, but he is definitely still around for a purpose.  When Rufina asks, however, he says that it is highly unlikely that Seward can be exorcised and still live.  (If Seward dies, however, the evil spirit within him will die also.)

Silas also notes that Satan (or Cobb, if you prefer) is the sort of fellow to play the long con.  "Losing" the gamble that stuck him in mortal form was probably one of his plots, although the ultimate goal of that plot is unknown.

Silas notes Sweet Water, Arizona, and suggests that the architecture there is distinctly demonic.  Fell forces are gathered in Sweet Water for an unknown purpose.

Silas further reveals an ability to know the state of a soul.  Father Seward asks if his daughter, Antonia, has ever come through.  Silas says no; in fact, she still lives, after a fashion.  As Seward nods solemnly, Rufina puts a hand on his shoulder.  Silas does not know where, however.

Rufina also asks obliquely about people close to her, and Silas says they are safe.

Father Seward also asks about the ghostly Gentleman, deigning to describe his history, the woman he killed, and the pregnancy he didn't know she had at the time.  Silas reveals that the Gentleman is not the soul of her child, although he does not clarify the identity of that entity.

Silas cannot answer how Hood and Seward are connected, other than they are from Boston and have both dealt with Cobb in the past.  However, most of those present have dealt with Cobb, and are bound through that means.

Finally, Silas admonishes the group to kill Cobb.  He sees them off, wishing them well; he gives his regards to Ruby, and indicates that it may be possible to save Jake.  Before they leave, Silas indicates that Catalina's Rose is open to them any time, and both Ruby and Rufina may claim a place in it.

The group leaves Catalina's Rose to find Jeb outside, playing the mandolin and weeping.  The group returns to Buena Vista to plan their next move, presumably to Sweet Water.

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

So, a personal anecdote from this session.

I believe it was the first edition Vampire Player's Guide that featured (among other things) an essay by Mark Rein-Hagen.  If my congealing memory serves, he talks about roleplaying being procedural (fighting orcs, saving princesses, and so forth), but players keep coming back for those moments that grab you.  He didn't say it, but I imagine he was talking about immersion — when you're in the game and it just flows.

It doesn't happen to me terribly often, but it happened this session.  Father Seward stepped out of the carriage, and David followed him.  When the GM described the look on the bandit leader's face, I immediately thought, Oh shit.  Conclusions: He was sizing up David and saw a moneyed individual.  Easy prey.  We're going to get robbed and murdered, aren't we?

My initial plan was to overawe the bandits and hope to avoid combat (we're good with our guns, but five on fourteen is still pretty abysmal).  That plan stayed, but when I realized that we might look the least bit weak, I had a moment of panic.  I'm just winging it.

So, the bandit leader asks something to the effect, "What're you folks doin' in a place like this?"  I respond without thinking; my voice drops into a Christian Bale Batman growl as I reply, "Lookin' fer creeps like you."  The table explodes in laughter because nobody knows where in the Hell that response came from.  I roll a 14 on my intimidation roll.  Everybody shows their guns.  Crisis averted.

It was a totally Meisner moment.

Usually, I'm GMing, but I feel like I still have those moments — when I'm exhausted and sweating after running a session, I know it was a good session.  There was a climactic combat, or a tense social scene, or some other memorable event.  I don't play as often, so I don't get it from that side nearly as often.  It's neat.

Also, an aside for dramatic irony purposes: when Seward was in the afterlife and Cobb put the other guy inside him, the man initially asked for him to say, "Hello," to Rufina.  It wasn't until her player and our GM discussed it that they realized the spirit would know her as Henrietta.

So there you go.  Rufina's about the only person whose history is a mystery to us, which is probably why Silas kept stressing that maybe she should share some things.  'Cause, y'know.  We're bound by fate, and apparently have all dealt with the Devil himself at some point.  (For the record, Father Seward knows that she has some familiarity with the spirit inside him, but he doesn't know that she's Henrietta.  Only that she probably knows Henrietta.  He hasn't mentioned that to anybody else yet.)

And now we're onto modernist Babylon.  It's guaranteed to be ridiculous.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

All's Quiet on the Western Front

Real life has overtaken blogging, so consequentially, you'll likely be receiving mostly Deadlands replays for a little bit.

I do have something to share with you, though.  I recently discovered a game produced by Mongoose Publishing called Infernum; my impression is that it's out-of-print, although one can still find the game secondhand.  Additionally, Mongoose has pdfs on DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, and the core book is apparently free-to-download.  It's based on the whole 3.x/OGL thing, and so uses a variation of the D&D 3e ruleset.

The Buzz: This is a sandbox campaign set in the Judeo-Christian Hell (heavily influenced by the Divine Comedy, among other sources).  Lucifer is missing, and the demonic Houses of Hell have settled into an uneasy truce.  Of course, with a truce so uneasy, anything could tip the balance and cause the quiet sniping and cold war to burn into a full-blown war among factions...

Adding to this mess is the fact that angels still occasionally fall into Hell, and humans are there, too.  (How do humans have any power at all in the hierarchy of Hell?  Demons are bound by covenants and human magic.  Humans aren't.  How do you get rid of a sorcerer binding you into service?  Hire another human to stab him in the back.)  In fact, there's an entire order of human paladins called the Knights of the Harrowing; when their citadel fell into Hell during the Crusades, they said, "Well, looks like we have a mission from God," and decided to wage war on Hell itself.

I've only had the chance to skim the first volume, but it gives an overview of Hell as well as three race-as-class options: demons (the default choice), humans, and fallen angels.  Since Hell is fueled by suffering and exists outside of rational time, there's neat stuff, like weird magic and Hell-crafted engines of destruction (mundane guns and such fall into Hell, too).  Later volumes introduce variant rules and such, as they often do — I'm told one of the books features pregenerated characters, and one of those characters is a human marine whose base fell into Hell; he carries a shotgun and a chainsaw.

So far, the concept is pretty neat.  Turning Hell into a sandbox-style hexcrawl would be a huge undertaking (the landscape is pretty big), but certainly not beyond a dedicated GM's scope.  Additionally, while the aspect of levels might be a turn-off to some, the fact that it's OGL means that a whole bunch of resources are out there for GMs to use (and it could be easily used for a FLAILSNAILS-style campaign, too).

Anyway, I recommend checking it out, especially because the first volume is still free.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Deadlands, Part XXVI

When last we left our heroes, they buried their dead, found a mysterious connection to a fallen Union officer, and reunited with Ruby O'Flahertie's estranged (and very drunk) husband, Brent Manning.

She is busy confronting him when he gets woozy and vomits.  After some terse discussion, Brent's solicitor (and  presumed lover) takes him away so he can get cleaned up.  The party — David, Father Seward, Jeb, Rex, Ruby, and Rufina — are invited to stay.  They are led to a sitting room with refreshment for about an hour while the house servants busily clean the aftermath of Brent's rampage.  Given the opportunity to read the paper, there is an article on a Sweetwater, Arizona, which is supposed to be the a model city of the future.  It is apparently about to be opened to the public.

Father Seward is a touch nervous, as he recalls Sweetwater from his dreams in San Francisco.  In his dreams, a man on a sick horse crossed out the "191" on the population sign, replacing it with a big "0."  Did he see the past or the future?  Nobody knows.

There are also some stories on the chaos in Boston and the reclusive actions of philanthropist Brent Manning.

Finally, servants arrive and offer to show everyone to their rooms.  They are welcome to relax until dinnertime.  Most people stay in their rooms and get settled, although Rex goes wandering, much to the consternation of the servants who are still trying to desperately clean.

Eventually, the call to dinner is sounded, and everyone comes down to the dining room.

Brent Manning and his solicitor are present, and after Ruby is seated, everyone sits.  Brent is obviously still a touch unwell, but he apologizes for his earlier behavior.  Father Seward says grace, and everyone starts to eat.  Astute observers might note that Father Seward tends toward the meat dishes and alcohol.

Conversation is relatively light, all things considered, although he does mention to Ruby that he feels the need to atone for many things he has done.  In that vein, he attempted to purchase her family's land.  However, he found he couldn't; a New Orleans-based company  called the Talmud Company (Father Seward informs Mr. Manning of the religious symbolism behind the company) has purchased much of the land in that area.  In fact, through his research and contacts, Manning has determined they're the largest single landowner in the United States.

Brent Manning does note that a single parcel of land is not owned by the Talmud Company; that piece is owned by a Bostonian landowner whom David Hood recognizes as new money who made his money is real estate.  Father Seward, however, notes that Bashiel did take land deeds, among other things, from City Hall in Boston.

Strangely, the purchased land is being guarded by the Union Army.

Brent Manning turns all his papers on the matter over to Ruby for her perusal.

Manning also notes that he wishes them to stay the night as he plans on throwing a party for Ruby's return tomorrow.

After dinner, David, Father Seward, Jeb, Rex, Rufina, and Brent's solicitor Vincent retire to a sitting room for tobacco and drinks.  Brent wishes to speak to Ruby alone.

Conversation in the sitting room is fairly light, although Vincent is obviously uncomfortable among people.  Father Seward determines his accent to be from Connecticut, although Vincent indicates that he is not native; wherever he came before Yale, he has chosen a different destiny and does not speak of his life before.  Jeb asks for help in researching the letter, and he says he will with Brent's blessing.

Meanwhile, Brent speaks to Ruby.  They speak of their marriage, and he again apologizes for what he has done.  He indicates that he does truly love her, but he is concerned that he cannot provide what she needs, particularly since he is a man of certain...appetites.  He does indicate that he misses her, and that they were great lovers together.  He also suggests that, perhaps, if the party goes well, they could be great together again.

Perhaps.

Ruby finally asks about something that's been nagging her — she remembers someone on his side at the wedding, a fellow named Cobb.  Brent says he doesn't know a Cobb, could she offer any details?  She mentions purple gloves, and Brent pales and leaves the room.  Ruby follows, and finds that he is going to his study.  He pulls out a ledger and flips until he finds a page with a photograph.  The photograph depicts Brent's father sitting in a chair.  Cornelius Cobb stands behind him, with a hand upon his shoulder.  Ruby recognizes the fear in Mr. Manning's face.  Brent tells her that his father was found dead, floating in the James River, the day after this photograph was taken.  Police said it was an accident, but he always had a suspicion the man in that photograph was behind the incident, although he never had a name until now.

When their conversation is finished, Brent takes her hand — noting the stuffed glove, he is about to say nothing when he decides to ask her if Cobb was involved; she says no — to lead her back to the sitting room with the others.

Everyone gathers again.  Jeb's request regarding the letter is noted, although he finds he cannot give it to Brent or Vincent — an attempt to do so opens a wound in his leg, like the wound that became infected on Sullivan — so they decide to translate the letter and give them a copy before they leave.  Brent informs Vincent that he does not have to attend the party tomorrow night, much to Vincent's relief.  Finally, vague plans are made for shopping, tailoring suits, and hunting before the party.  Brent then takes his leave to retire to bed, and says he will see everyone for breakfast tomorrow.

Ruby tells everyone of Brent's connection to Cobb, and they look at the ledger.  Strangely, they see what appears to be Jake reflected in Cobb's eyes.  He appears to be silently screaming, beating on the inner surface of Cobb's eyes as if on glass.  After the image disappears, David catches something out of the corner of his eye, almost as if Cobb smirks at him from the photograph.

The group checks the photograph, and finds it dated July 4, 1873.

There is some discussion of future plans at Rex's urging.  Presently, they are to go to Buena Vista; the current plan is to go to Atlanta, barring any particular revelations in Buena Vista.  Other possible areas of interest include New Orleans and Sweetwater, Arizona, although the last will likely wait, at least for a time.

The next day, they awake for breakfast.  When Ruby returns to her room, she finds a love letter from Brent that quietly suggests a place where fancy prosthetics can be purchased.  As planned, they go into town to get evening wear tailored for the party (and Ruby gets an articulated wooden hand), and they go shopping; Rex buys some dime novels, while David and Father Seward go hunting for occult books.  Jeb finds something that he does not describe, but he evidently went searching for the underbelly of Richmond.  Ruby stays at the Manning house to investigate the ledgers, but she finds nothing else of note.

David, Father Seward, Jeb, Rex, and Rufina join Brent Manning to go hunting; David and Rufina aren't terribly good with guns, but Father Seward, Jeb, and Rex haul back roughly twenty turkeys, and are really only stopped when Manning quietly suggests that he is going hunting with the governor next week, and wishes to have turkeys left to shoot.

Everyone retires to the house to prepare for the gathering.  It is a huge soirée; the governor and state senators are in attendance, as well as local and noted socialites.  Ruby is introduced to everyone of note.  David, Jeb, and Rex are all found by lovely young women, while Brent sends a woman Rufina's way, apparently having pegged her as a lesbian.  However, Rufina politely rejects the young woman's advances, even if the woman does steal a kiss before the end of the evening.  Father Seward in evening wear and bandages is quite the life of the party, although he does not attract the attention of young women in the way the other three men do.

Finally, the party winds down.  David, Jeb, and Rex all retire with their paramours.  Ruby slips into Brent's room late, after everyone else retires to bed; he does not comment on her hand, although he does comment on her missing belly button.  Father Seward and Rufina both sleep alone, which likely suits both just fine.

Given his proclivities for light sleeping, coupled with the fact that he only sleeps a couple of hours a night, Father Seward is awake to hear doors quietly open and close in the morning, and the pad of footsteps pass his door.  He chuckles every time.

The next morning, everyone breakfasts together and prepares to leave the Manning estate.  Brent welcomes everyone as family, and tells them they are always welcome in his house.  He offers two last items — train fare to Lynchburg, and two dueling pistols.  They are his father's, and he asks that they be used to kill Cornelius Cobb (and not be used in the defense of a Union soldier).  He gives one to Jeb, and after deliberation, the other goes to Ruby.

After fond farewells, the group makes their way to the train station to depart for Lynchburg.

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