November 19th, 1878
And so we returned to Abilene and told our tale, and the people were just a little less afraid. Then we had to figure out our next move…
The next morning, Sheriff Dent leaves early with the Lindsborg refugees to escort them back to their homes. Chigger relays that William took his horse and left in the night, leaving behind his belongings that he had loaned to Holden as well as his wagon. According to the quixotic ranch hand, “he had ghosts following him”.
The party resupplies, pays Al for the damage to the stable, and heads for Abilene proper. They arrive at midday to find the town quiet, people bustling from one place to another, heads down, shadows long. Olivia heads directly to St. Mary’s, Holden diverts to commission a suit of clothes, and the rest of the party gathers in a local watering hole called The Saddleback.
Olivia finds out from Beth Farley, a widow who helps keep the church tidy, that Father Patrick O’Connor had left two days prior to Detroit, Ks in response to an urgent letter. Olivia search the rectory for the letter to no avail.
After Holden arrives at The Saddleback, he finds Onesimus attempting to question the bartender, but the party as a whole is a motley lot and are being met with a hostile silence from the bar’s patrons and tender. Holden and Jacob take over and get very little more from the tight-lipped bartender. A short while later, Thomas Heller, the town marshal arrives to “greet” the party (and find out what they’re up to). Onisimus brings up the name “Wu” and Heller becomes extremely agitated and offers to continue the conversation at the town jail across the road. Once there, Onisimus explains that he’s in town to cause Wu quite a bit of trouble. It becomes clear from Heller, who is not in any way interested in helping, that Johnny Wu is some manner of crime lord who essentially runs the region around Abilene and Salina. He also reveals when pressured by Jacob that when Wu is in town, he holds court at The Duchess, an upscale brothel operated by Madame Chen.
Meanwhile, Ahiga and Ed observe the bartender whisper in a patron’s ear and that patron leave in a hurry. Ed casually takes to a nearby alley to observe, and discovers the bar and jail being cased out by a man several doors down across the road. Ed burrows into the earth and springs up behind the man to surprise him, but finds only a mummified corpse leaning against the alley wall.