Abilene Session Notes – 7 February 2015
08
February, 2015
Abilene Session Notes – 7 February 2015

November 17th, 1878

We had no cover but darkness, and even though that diminutive lunatic forced our hand, she did keep us from being flanked.  Our new friends from Lindsborg weren’t experienced in war, and when they tried to charge the farmhouse, they were mowed down.  Even that spook Dent had a hard time of it.  And then…
Once the attackers make it to the farmhouse, the tides begin to turn, especially with the valiant effort of Atta, one of the Lindsborg captives.  Sergeant Caldwell falls to Holden, and Captain Dane flees to the farm’s storm cellar.
When the party enters the cellar, they find the old woman causally eating the heart from the burst chest of Dane.  They wait in horror patiently as she finishes (and as Seri loots a sizable pile of ghost rock from the barn).  Holden attempts to convince her to lift the curse.  During the conversation she mentions that Dane wasn’t working alone, he was delivering the ghost rock to a man, though she never met him or heard his name.  Holden unlocks the manacles binding the woman, taking note of the tiny runes carved into them.
Eventually she leaves the cellar with the sound of the Grinder approaching from the distance.  She stands outside near a small ghost rock fire that Seri had built, and the party waits anxiously as the Grinder appears out of the dark and approaches the old woman, who pats it and treats it like a pet.
She eventually sighs and sends the Grinder padding off into the dark.  She seems to deflate slightly, looking much older, and walks barefoot through the snow in the the dark after it.  As she leaves the farm, she shouts over her shoulder to beware the bodies, the dead are walking after all.
The party looks around at the dozens and dozens of corpses scattered around the farm and nearby camp.
“Oh shit,” mutters Onesimus.
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1 Comment

  1. patricia

    We had to assault the buildings next. They did it very differently from how I would have done it, but I suppose time was a factor as well.

    First, they tried to convince the remaining men to send the woman out to us, but they refused. Maybe they thought the buildings’ cover made them safe. At least we couldn’t burn down the buildings; there was ghost rock in them, and we did, after all, want to free the old woman and whatever other slaves might be in the houses.

    There were two large buildings; one for animals, one for humans. It was a harder fight than the previous, and a lot of the freed slaves who had volunteered to help us died. We did win, though, and none of the others died, only the poor, newly-freed slaves, after a stupid, frontal charge at the house.

    The leader of the enemies fled down into a cellar, and eventually, we followed, though some of the others seemed to have forgotten him, or at least, they were not in a hurry to go after him.

    When we finally did go down into the cellar, I had expected him to be ready for us; perhaps with the old woman as a hostage, or perhaps she was already dead. I had absolutely not expected the sight that met us.

    The old woman was there, chained. Not that it helped him. He was already dead, and she was eating his heart. Their ways must be different from ours; among the Diné, mostly men become ’ánti’įhnii, witches. The only female ’ánti’įhnii are childless. This woman had had a son. It was his death that had provoked the curse we were there to get rid of.

    She made me uneasy enough that I went upstairs again. The others were handling it, and I doubted she would have much to say to me anyway. Instead, I went to keep an eye on Rat Girl. She had built a small fire, using ghost rock as fuel, and was dancing around it. Then she collapsed, seemingly asleep.

    We could hear creature, whatever it was, approach. There wasn’t much I could do, so I readied my bow, waiting for it to appear. We had hurt it before, and I hoped I’d be able to distract it away from Rat Girl until the others got there.

    Then the old woman appeared. She just stood there, waiting, and the creature, when it appeared, headed straight for her, but at a slow pace, not as if it was attacking. She petted it, and seemed to be genuinely fond of it. Then she sent it away. Evil or not, ’ánti’įhnii or not, I got the impression that neither she nor it would be a threat to us anymore. It seemed she appreciated that we had killed as many of the slavers as we had.

    I kept wondering if the creature was, in some way, her dead son. That maybe she had been unable to let him go, maybe she had called him back, and he had somehow taken on a physical form. There is a reason we let the dead alone, after all.

    She watched the creature shamble away, and then she too walked into the darkness. The last thing we heard from her was a warning; that we should get rid of the bodies, as the dead were walking.

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