November 15-16, 1878
That spooky-assed sheriff probably saved all of our lives, least we could do was help him clean up the mess. As the Pattons boarded up the busted windows, we got to talkin’.
Several discussions and observations happen into the evening:
- Sheriff Dent says that the local Kiowa have a new war chief named Howling Wind and they’ve become increasingly militant. Ahiga takes particular note of the new chief’s name.
- Upon heading out, Sheriff Dent mentions that he’d heard of some disturbances at The Drover’s Cottage at the Abilene Stockyards and he’s headed that way.
- Onesimus identifies himself as a US Agent, though no one’s particularly impressed by the credentials, and inquires after a man named Wu. Chinese Ed takes particular note of the name. After some discussion, William and Olivia both connect the name to The Duchess, a brothel in Abilene. Holden takes particular note of the name of the brothel. After some discussion, William agrees to take Holden and Olivia to Abilene (which happens to be the same direction everyone else is intending to go).
- Ahiga has a vision while watching Seri perform a very peculiar shamanic-like ritual.
- Holden passes out unexpectedly while playing solitaire.
The next morning, the party eats a simple breakfast and heads on their way. The day’s travel across the showy plains goes without incident and late in the afternoon they arrive at The Drover’s Cottage. There appear to be tents pitched near all of the buildings, showing signs of recent use, even though at this time of year the Cottage would have dozens of available rooms.
An injun man is sweeping snow off the porch as they pull up and gives the party a glance.
“Ahh,” he says, “the end of the world has arrived…then again…maybe it was the other way around…”
He goes back to his sweeping and mutters, “Al’s waitin’ for you inside.”
The man from the explosion had done something strange to some of the dolls; he was not using a gun, but there was some kind of light that killed the dolls. He may have been some sort of witch, though it was not a magic I had heard of. And it did help us, so I decided to wait and see.
The dead tribesmen were most likely γát dìndé, of the Cedar People. Even more reason to stay away when they gathered the dead. I would have left, but it was late, and it was getting colder. The cold and dark, I could have handled, but there was another thing as well. The grandfather had told me I would find my guide in Abilene. He mentioned Rat. And he told me to beware of the howling wind.
The girl had a rat with her, and there was something about the two that made me think I might have found my guide, though we were not yet at Abilene. It was only a day’s journey, and they were all headed in that direction, so I decided to wait.
The white man who had arrived late, the one who might have killed the tribesmen, mentioned that the Kiowa, that was what he called them, had been restless lately. They had a new warchief. I had not expected the old Hopi’s words to make sense quite this fast, but the new warchief had his name from the wind that howls.
There was a black man there as well. He claimed to work for the government, though I am not sure what he was doing on a farm outside Abilene. He was looking for someone, a name I had heard before. Several of the other people seemed to at least know something about him, and it seemed almost everyone was going to Abilene in the morning.
Later in the evening, the girl went outside. I followed, half hoping to talk to her, half wanting to make certain she was safe. She started dancing, a ritual of some sort, with her rat. And for a brief moment, I saw something else; it could have been Rat; it looked like Rat, even if he looked different. So, I had found my guide. And they were going to Abilene, the next day. So we decided to wait, and travel with them.
On the way there, one of the white men asked me for my name. I told him Chisi. It was appropriate, and I would not trust the whites, or the black man with my name.
The grandfather said I would find what I was seeking in Abilene. But I kept wondering if he meant I would find my shich’ooní, or the men who had taken her and my sisters. I was hoping, though, that my long journey would soon come to an end, though I was not sure what to do after. If my shich’ooní was alive, we would find a place to settle, perhaps return to my clan. We both had family elsewhere, so we would be able to find a place to live.
And yet… I knew I could not go home until the Chinaman had what he came for. He had not asked, but we had traveled together, and he had said he would help me. So I owed him a debt, even if it was not voiced. I know we are taught to let the dead rest, to forget them, so as not to keep them in our world, but leave them to their journey to the next world. But if he could let his bizhé’é be forgotten, I would do what I could to aid him.
Typically, I loiter the outskirts of everything. The places nobody looks because the light doesn’t stretch that far, but near enough to hear the whoop of someone’s luck at the card table. When the air is swimming with stale alcohol and wood smoke, and the men busy with whores and cards, I am at ease, quiet, and strangely safe. It was on an evening such as this I met Templeton.
At first glance we had an understanding and knew we’d be forever linked. Outcasts shoved about by the same circumstances and brought together by a single goal. Tavern stew. The gnawing hunger, sharper than the incisors on my furry friend, instills desperation. Templeton’s game of rodent run across the bar offered just enough distraction for my procurement of the stew and a bonus slab of bread. It was a feast.
Nothing like curling up in some dry hay with a full belly and a friend. It was a good day.
Dawn November 13, 1878
Templeton and I have a “job.” I let them call it whatever suits their fancy. To us it’s just something to do with perks. It’s part of our work release program, which is simply amusing. Templeton thinks we may accomplish something, meet someone of importance, and perhaps, change this dirty world. I’m skeptical, as anyone would be who communicates with a rat who enjoys sniffing his own bodily gases. So we go, with these two assigned….well sometimes it’s better not to label people. That is all for now.
Adventure is on the horizon.
Dawn November 15th, 1878
Templeton found her, an injun, the injun, and of course the injun can’t talk to Templeton or read a damn word I write. I foresee complications in Templeton’s vision quest.
Exploding people who walk away undamaged were not mentioned as part of this “job.” I may be ignorant of a lot of things, but I know about explosions. Normally, a leg or two are found in a tree or gut splatter will surround at least a twenty foot radius around the detonation site. NO ONE walks away without a scratch. Evil voodoo in our midst. Once again, not part of the “job.”
Happenings have been disturbing.