November 17th, 1878
If things couldn’t get weirder, now we have a cursed bar and some ex-soldiers up to who-knows-what. And hey, where there’s a curse terrifying a whole trading post, there’s a crazy kid and her rat willing to ignore it…
Chigger woke Seri from her sleep in the hayloft of the barn. He told her a brief tale about an immortal goddess in the Nevernever who had five generals, one of whom was Joshua. These generals, he continued, were nearly immortal themselves, but every once in a while a series of fortunate events leaves them vulnerable, and occasionally the right people come together at the right time to make a difference.
He then scolded her for tempting fate by sleeping in the barn seconds before the Grinder tore the door from the hinges.
The Grinder, a huge creature of rock, charged into the barn and attacked Seri, killing a few horses in the process. After a prolonged battle in which the party’s attacks were mostly impotent against the creature, Jacob got some well-placed shots with his Ghost Rock Blaster and the creature drove into the ground and escaped.
The party lights a small fire near the tents to help wind down and keep watch. Chigger points out that the Grinder is either a creature of spirit, in which it will likely return for Seri, or a creature of nature, in which it will likely return for Jacob. He has a conversation in Navajo with Ahiga after which she seems extremely disturbed. He also appears to create strange patterns in the dust with a stick as he’s chatting with the party.
The party eventually decides they must deal with the curse, and choose to go north after the soldiers and their captives to find the witch who laid the curse upon the stockyards.