November 18th, 1878
We paid a heavy price for it, but the old woman was free and the curse was lifted. Hoo…wah. But it occurred to us that we were knee deep in corpses in the dark of a Kansas Winter’s night.
A search of the farmhouse revealed a lock box full of CSA notes used to pay the men as well as documentation of ghost rock shipments from the farm to parts unknown. Holden also discovered what appeared to be Dane’s original orders, penned in a flowing script, to proceed to the location, dam the river, and secure whatever help was necessary to mine the ghost rock there.
Atta, the Lindsborg prisoner who made a showing for himself during the battle, tacitly joins Onesimus in whatever his next endeavor may be.
Further investigation of the area reveal no clear way the ghost rock was being shipped. Atta informs the party that the prisoners were blindfolded every two weeks, after which point the stored ghost rock would be gone. Ahiga and Holden note a clearing near the barn and postulate that perhaps the ore was being shipped out by some sort of air ship.
With the help of the freed prisoners, the party spent the remainder of the night burning bodies. There was no sign of the men camped across the river, they are assumed to have fled. After the grisly work was done, everyone gathered in the farmhouse, prepared a simple meal from the soldiers’ supplies, and slept.
The next day, the party with Sheriff Dent escorts the prisoners to the Abilene Stockyards and gather in the Drover’s Cottage for the evening. Holden tells the tale of the party’s exploits at the mine…
Well, we found Dane’s camp, and he was working these poor Swedes to the bone, digging in a mine. Onessimus, being a man opposed to such treatment of any fellow human beings, was outraged, as you’d expect any good Christian to be.Despite them having far greater numbers, it was decided we had to do something about this. A plan was quickly developed and put into action.The little girl (motions towards Seri), who is quite brave, stealthily planted some explosives at the dam they used to block the river in order to provide a distraction and throw the camp into confusion.In the meantime, our Indian companion and his Chinese friend snuck nearer to the camp, and used the chaos sown by the explosion to free the prisoners while Onesimus and Mr. Patton took aim with their rifles and began to pick off some of the guards.Doctor Brown, using some of his more exotic inventions also took part in this. For myself… well, all I really did was cover their backs to make sure none of the scoundrels took us by surprise.Miss Olivia, being the sort not prone to violence, could do naught but pray… and yet perhaps that aided us as well, as a great wind began to blow throw the camp, sowing further discord amongst Dane’s men.They were thrown into complete disarray and their morale was quite broken. Some took ineffective shots into the dark, but many fled. By then Chisi, our Indian companion, had freed some of the slaves who proceeded to turn upon their captors with whatever weapons they could lay their hands on. Eventually, those of Dane’s men at the camp were defeated or had fled, and only Dane and a small contingent of his most trusted lackeys were left within a nearby farmhouse. Cowards that they were, they had not come to the aid of their fellows.After taking a short time to collect ourselves, we began to assault the farmhouse. Onesimus, not one to shirk his duty, took charge and attempted to move in, using what cover he could. Although the scoundrels fired upon him, and he was wounded, he would not be deterred.Sheriff Dent had joined us at that time, and I’m sure you’re all too aware of his dedication to Justice and courage. He also aided Onesimus in his attempts to gain a entry.The assault upon the farmhouse was brutal, and several of the former prisoners who were aiding us fell to Dane’s men.Eventually, we were able to force our way in and the fighting was indeed intense then. Dane, being the coward that he is, attempted to take flight at that time.Onesimus, being the hero that he is, gave chase.He followed Dane down into the basement of the farmhouse, where like the rat he was Dane had scurried. He’d taken a prisoner from the Swedes, an old woman, and attempted to hide behind her. Onesimus, one of the most skilled men I have ever seen with a revolver, took careful aim and put a bullet through Dane’s eye, leaving the woman unharmed.The rest… well, there wasn’t much left of Dane’s crew by then, and those that remained took to their heels rather than face our forces.We found the old woman responsible for the curse among the prisoners and, seeing how others had risked themselves to save her kinsmen, was repentant and lifted the curse she’d laid down.And that… is really all there was to it.
During the story, a well-dressed man enters the bar and listens, then gets a plate of food from Al and leaves. Seri follows him to a smaller house next to McCoy’s mansion on the other side of the Stockyards. Chigger identifies the man as T. F. Hersey, the engineer McCoy used to chart the Chisolm trail.
During the ensuing revelry, Seri sells some of her ghost rock from the mine to Al, and attempts to sell some to to Hersey, but chooses not to after he refuses to show her an invention he’s working on.
The next morning, the sun seems a little brighter in Abilene, the people a little less afraid. Dent sets off with the prisoners to escort them back to Lindsborg, and the party puts their mind to what’s next.