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….