The Reckoners Trail

Honouring the Old Ways

Dressed in Sioux clothes and wielding stone knives, bows and arrows the Posse found their horses had been unsaddled and they were forced to ride bareback across the rolling plains towards the badlands.
Escorted by Bearclaw and a few of the other braves the Posse were led for several hours across the unknown wilderness, slowly they could see the grass becoming dryer and sparser until ahead of them stretched an endless dry gulch of desert, littered with withered and twisted trees.
The braves left them there and told them where they could find the Matriarchs lair, they were told to look for a crater where a comet had impacted into the land years past.

The Posse’s horses were far too scared to continue into the badlands, and despite some heavy handed coaxing by Sanchez nothing the group could do would get the horses to step a hoof onto the parched desert.

So they continued on foot, uneasily, surrounded by long shadows and sinister whsipers carried in the wind.
It felt like days as they travelled through the scorched desert with no signs of life anywhere, eventually they saw three jagged rocks which stuck out of the ground, when they reached them they saw a black trail of cracked earth that broke into a rough hewn chasm of burnt rock.

They carefully trekked deeper into the ravine as the light faded around them, scratches and growls could be heard eminating from the darkness and the Posse prepared themselves for a savage fight.
As they continued downwards the growling got louder until they were met with a small pack of the beasts they had previously fought in the Black Hills. These were easily put down by Shen Pao who was in his element whilst everyone else was unarmed.

As the valley floor flattened out the group realised they were crunching across a huge pile of bones that stretched from wall to wall. They crept through it and just as they could make out a cave entrance, the bones began to rumble and move together, forming a huge mass of broken skeletons which turned its attention towards the Posse and swung its huge mace like arms in order to destroy the trespassers.
Shen Pao and Sanchez took heavy blows from the creature and everyones attacks seem to bounce harmlessly off its skeletal hide. Fortunately, Fitzgerald noticed a skull that seemed to be the centre of the creature, and with some very skillful bow work shattered the skull.
As Fitzgerald thought this did indeed destroy the creature, but it exploded outwards showering the party with bones, one of which caused a nasty injury to Fitzgeralds shoulder.

With the last hurdle overcome the Posse moved into the cave to face the Matriarch, a huge creature with six legs and long sharp teeth lining a savage maw, the few pups which remained assailed the Posse, who were firing upon the Matriarch to little effect. It moved forward, its merciless claws, sweeping in giant arcs, threatened to maul Sanchez and Shen Pao.

Calver stepped forward and threw a card through the air like a bullet, it carved into the creatures skull and ended its life, its body slumped to the ground, the evil energy dissipated from its great form, which started to crumple and deflate, its bones and flesh crunching into mush.

Sanchez was able to salvage most of the pelt, with deep slashes and gouges from failed attempts and the Posse were eager to make a retreat. Fitzgerald was last to leave, a large glistening rock in the cave roof had caught his attention, he immediately knew what it was…Ghostrock!

It took a few minutes but eventually Fitzgerald was able to secure his bounty, he hauled it back with him and out of the cragged ravine, where, after a brief search the Posse rounded up the horses and and sped away from the badlands.

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Building Relations...

The Posse spent a few hours trailing across the plains that surround Deadwood, putting a good distance between themselves and the raiding parties that would surely be heading out soon.
Treking through a few patches of dense forest Calver noticed the signs of Natives, waiting in ambush , they all rode slowly forward and true to Calvers word a small party of Sioux Braves appeared, surrounding the Posse with arrows notched and drawn.

The Posse dismounted and Calver presented the Talisman that Garett had given him, explaining that they needed to speak to Soaring Eagle and came in peace. The Braves asked for the guns they could see, and the Posse begrudgingly agreed.

They rode for several more hours and the sun bore down hot and bright overhead, eventually after many twists and turns the Posse were led over a small rise, a small chill of fear ran through the men as they saw the huge camp of Natives in the basin of several hills. At a rough estimate there was at least ten thousand gathered here.
The men were led down into the village and placed into a tent, which was closed and guarded, where they were left to sit for several hours, with no sign or sound of what would happen to them.

Eventually the tent was opened and the party were led into the main tent of the chieftains, inside was lushly decorated with furs and hides, the men were sat down in front of three Sioux wise men. Soaring Eagle, the oldest of the three sat in the middle, with a great fur cloak about his shoulders, he had long grey hair which was untied around his shoulders. To his right sat a younger man with jet black hair and stern features and a Braves build, this was Sitting Bull, an infamous Sioux Chieftain who had beaten General Custer a few years prior at the battle of the little big horn. On his left was a tall wiry brave who showed the signs of a warring life, he was introduced as Runs as Wolf.

Calver did the majority of the talking to the chieftains, and it seemed Soaring Eagle represented the three Chieftains. Calver explained the situation about the raiding parties, the beast that was unleashed in Deadwood and the one they had slain the day before.
Soaring Eagle retorted that the beast that they had killed was very different to the one they had encountered in Deadwood, once again raising suspicion within the group as to the giants wolfs origins.
When asked about why their trinkets were found around the cave where the beast was found, Soaring Eagle explained how it was an evil creature born in the badlands, and they were keeping it sealed in place to stop the evil spreading into the Sioux territory or Deadwood.
Soaring Eagle told them there was greater evil within the town and he would help them route it out and stop it if they would seek out and destroy the matriarch wolf that had spawned the creature they had hunted and killed in the hills.
The Posse agreed, but then Soaring Eagle informed them that they must honour the old ways in this hunt, use hand made stone knives and bows, instead of their mass produced firearms.
Hesitantly the Posse agreed, Soaring Eagle ordered Sitting Bull to go and pull the braves back from the plains, and lead the scalping parties away from the village, Sitting Bull seemed displeased with this curse of action and left the tent with a grim stern look upon his face, Soaring Eagle offered each man a small charm necklace so that the great nature spirit could watch over them in their quest to rid the badlands of a small evil.

Outside Shen Pao was once again called upon to demonstrate his martial skills against one of the Veteran Braves, they started a fist fight in the middle of the camp as sporting competition, a huge crowd of Sioux gathered, hollering and shouting for their Brave to win.
After a few searching punches Shen Pao delivered a devastating punch to the Braves face, then leapt into the air and sent him stumbling backwards to the ground with a spinning back kick.

The Brave was beaten, Shen Pao had earned a warriors respect and discovered the Braves name was Bearclaw.

When the group was led back to their tent, they found piles of SIoux Clothes waiting for them, Sanchez was the only one who eagerly gave up his cheap travel worn dirty clothes for the relative freshness of the animal furs and hide. Reluctantly the rest of the Posse followed suit, and prepared to be led out into the badlands.

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The Story So Far...

It all began in Deadwood…one night in late autumn a chance gathering of people, all connected in some way, stumbled across the starting of something big…something that could endanger the entirety of Deadwood, and the state of Dakota itself.

A local miner, Walter, who had a small stake in the black hills sat around the Deadwood saloon drinking and enjoying the atmosphere.
Calver, a travelling professional gambler, was deftly winning small change at the poker table, his most notable opponent, the beautiful young Lady Beth.
On the run, a Mexican gun slinger, who spoke little English and answered to Sanchez, was working for whiskey and bullets in the beauty mark brothel, a dive in the outskirts of Deadwood.
Fitzgerald, an eccentric scientist and arms dealer, screamed into town aboard a mechanised spider. Startling the locals and stirring rumours like wildfire.

As most stories begin, these men gravitated towards the Saloon, where they realised past meetings with each other. Whiskey got the better of Walter, he staggered onto his donkey for the hike back to his home, built beside his mining claim.

Unfortunately Walter couldn’t quite make it into the dark tunnels in his current state, he blacked out at the entrance, and awoke through different eyes.

Back in the town, screams from china town tore through the town, and the Sheriff, Seth Bullock, having previously disarmed both men claiming it was illegal to carry firearms in the streets of Deadwood, hastily deputised both Fitzgerald and his newly hired bodyguard Sanchez, and they headed into Chinese Alley, moving against the tide of terrified Chinese workers, none of which stopped to answer any questions.

In the centre of the alley ways, it was obvious something had torn its way through the side of a wooden building. Cautiously the three men approached, but a huge beast lunged through the door, casting fear into Bullock and launched a savage attack against him. Luckily the three men survived injury and hailed the beast with gunfire, it ran, but apparently without injury.

Firing up Fitzgerald’s Mechanised Spider, the men gave chase, followed by a rag tag mob of angry townsfolk and miners. They reached the edge of the black hills, the spider unable to traverse further, and thought the chase lost in the darkness of the night. Sanchez fired up the Burst Cannon mounted on the spider and caused a small forest fire, much to the chagrin of both the sheriff and the posse.

They retired for the evening and at day break joined the large mob that had been formed in the centre of town. To encourage the men Fitzgerald offered up a $100 reward for the beasts head.
The group headed deep into the hills and split up into hunting parties. Walter led Fitzgerald, Sanchez, Calver and a young Chinese Worker named Shen Pao who had offered his services in the hunt, seeing how the beast had killed two Chinese labourers on its attack on the town.

They scoured the hills around Walters Claim and came across the remains of his dead mule as well as tracks that looked as though a wolf had walked down one side of a valley to devour a deer, but then a man had walked out on the other side, before the posse could accuse Walter, gunshots were heard nearby. The posse raced through the forest to find the cause of the disturbance, they found one man retreating and firing into the forest. He explained to the posse that they had found the great beast and had it trapped in a cave, it had already killed one of their group and they seemed to scared to be able to take it down. With the posse heading into the fray, the other group of men was resolved, and they stood at the cave entrance providing covering fire.

Shen Pao charged into the cave, unarmoured and carrying a wooden staff, wolf like beasts attacked him, there fur looked as if it had been burnt away and the skin beneath was charred black and stretched taught. With a flurry of fists and kicks, plus some help from the gun men outside, Shen Pao managed to defeat the beasts and push on, swiftly joined by the rest of the posse.

Snarling at the back of the cave was the larger of the beasts, and although sharing the same burnt flesh as its smaller kind, looked similar to the large wolf that had attacked Deadwood the night prior. After a brief fight Fitzgerald landed a fatal shot to the beasts head, bringing it crashing to the ground, and claimed his own $100 as reward.
The two men that they had joined were eager to get the body back to town, upon exiting the cave and small glade outside it the Posse noticed native American charms and trinkets hanging from the trees facing towards the cave. Unfortunately the Gunmen also noticed this and grabbed some to take back to Deadwood with them, placing the blame on the Sioux Natives.

The posse arrived back in town moments after the two gunman, who were busy parading the dead beast as well as the Native trinkets, anger quickly spread through the townsfolk, Bullock spoke to the Town, blaming the natives for unleashing the beast on the town, he offered rewards for scalps which was more than enough incentive to rile large groups of the towns men to arms.

Deadwood stayed lively all night with drunken miners riding off into the darkness in the vain hopes of capturing a scalp, the saloons bustled with patrons who were willing to spend all they had on the faith they would easily reclaim their money within days.
One scalping party leader, a brawny rough looking cow hand with a thick greasy black moustache, introduced himself as Evan Ball and offered the whole posse to ride out with him and his boys on the hunt for Natives the next day.

The posse refused and after some taunting Evan sidled away, believing the posse to be sympathisers to the Natives, throwing insults under his breath.
Having watched the exchange, Garett, Deadwoods Doctor, met the men in the Saloon and asked to speak with them, providing whiskey to make sure they gave him the time.
Garett explained to them that if the cut crews were allowed to go out, it would spark a war which would see Deadwood wiped out by the Soux. He pleaded with the Posse to ride out and meet with the Natives, warn them of the raiding parties and find the truth behind the beast that attacked the town. He firmly believed that the Sioux would not unleash that creature into Deadwood.

Shen Pao, Walter and Calver agreed to go, Fitzgerald and Sanchez were more reserved but eventually reached the same conclusion to ride out, Garett handed Calver an eagles claw talisman, informing him that years ago he had saved the life of one of the Sioux Chieftains sons and the talisman was a gift to mark him out as a friend of the Sioux under Soaring Eagle.
The Doctor offered the Posse boarding and food in his house, which they all accepted and prepared for the next days travels. With Calver retiring for the evening, Walter took it upon himself to start a bet on a fight between Shen Pao and Sanchez.
Having seen Shen Pao’s martial prowess Calver had previously stated he would give 3 to 1 odds on Sanchez, Walter used this has his bench mark and started taking bets as the two men squared up against each other.
Shen Pao looked to be brutally outmatched but as the fight began his fists began flying, he landed several heavy blows on Sanchez, bloodying him and staggering him, a large crowd had formed by this point and was screaming heavily for their chosen man.
With one huge punch and lucky blow Sanchez managed to knock Shen Pao cold and he fell to mud, losing a few teeth in the process.
Sanchez was celebrated by the town who plied him with alcohol and women as a reward, Shen Pao was carried back to the Doctors house by Jane, one of the doctors friends, and the rest of the Posse followed to rest.

In the early hours of the morning the group were awoken by the Doc, their horses were prepared and Jane led them out of the town through fields to mask their leaving. She left them at the borders of the black hills and told them to keep walking. They wouldn’t need to look hard, the Sioux would find them….

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