So Preacher was able to keep the spirit of the ranger he shot in his body, and I healed the damage so he would be ok. Truly this man has some power with the spirits. Beauregard spoke very well to the sheriff and convinced him we did not intend for the rangers to get hurt and he compensated his family for their loss, this was very honorable of him (though what they will do with the paper the Bilagaana use I am not sure). We rode out to find the young girl we search for, heading along the north path. I spoke to the earth and asked it to show me the way to her and she was still far to the north as before. We came to a juncture of two paths, where there was a house. It looked like it had been there a while and was not well kept.
There was another Bilagaana woman there already (her name is Clara), though it does not appear it was her home. She claims to be a scout of some sort, never heard of a woman scout before. We looked around and found some strange thing distilling something in the back room upstairs, it was a thick black oily looking liquid. We looked around some more and discovered a hidden hole in the wall with a container of small rocks in it. The preacher says it is ghost rock. I wish I had been able to get a small sample, though I am not sure it would be safe to carry it around with me. Some things are bad to touch and not sure if this is one, will have to talk to bear about this if I can. We had some daylight left so we decided to do some scouting of the area. I headed east with the preacher and this new woman, looking to see if there was anything nearby. We found nothing and headed back. On our way back we saw this greenish fire burning next to the house. They say it is a ghost rock fire, and that we must flee before it explodes. So we headed north which appears to be where the others went. We caught up with the others in a fairly short time. We were now out in the swamp with no safe place to stay for the night. The towns folk said this was very bad. Belle is not with Wicked but he does not seem worried about this, he has her horse and weapons, I wonder if she is on a spirit journey.
We started to build a small encampment for protection, when a Raven flew down and landed in our camp. I tried to drive off the evil spirit, but Wicked stopped me claiming it was a pet. Only a Bilagaana would take a Raven as a pet. They obviously do not understand the spirit world at all. Strangely the Preacher was able to talk to the Raven, I was not aware that the Bilagaana had this ability, something to talk to the tribal priests about. The Raven told the Preacher that there was a village several hours north of here and that many evil things were rising from the swamp and we needed to flee. I checked the horse over and cleaned the hooves of several of them.
We road hard for the village, the Raven riding with us (very strange). We had to fight off the nasty things that they called Bog Walkers. It was tough going and I feared that we would not make it. For some reason they seemed drawn to the green fire behind us, which probably saved our lives. They were fairly strong but we have many powerful warriors with us. The one known as Mark is a fearsome foe with his guns, if not for this I do not think we would have made it. He killed two or three to every one that the rest of us killed. With the strength of the Bear and my honored war club, I was able to kill several of these things. Wicked had a large gun that caused large groups of these creatures to explode and burst into a green flame similar to the fire at the house. This opened up a path that we were able to take advantage of. There was a large explosion behind me, not sure what caused it but with the aid of Dancing Pony I was able to avoid the worst of it. The preacher wheeled around and picked up the wolf that was following Cher and the Ranger. I think it was Beauregard who threw something into the crowd of creatures ahead of us, clearing another large group, though they did not burst into flame as the ones Wicked killed with his gun. We continued to ride hard, the creatures getting fewer and fewer as we went north.
We finally arrived at this village, the woman Cher said that this was a ghost town, was not sure what she meant at first. I stopped to heal Beauregard who had been injured during our ride. The Preacher was able to heal the woman Clara who had been hurt. Cher said that the sheriff of this village was very strict about weapons, but as it turned out he meant the guns of the Bilagaana. Belle has returned to the group, while I was healing Beauregard, don’t know how she got here, spirit walk is all I can think of. Did not know she had this kind of power, will have to watch and see what else she can do. We entered the town, I took the horses over to the stable and took care of the horses, then went to the saloon to listen to the woman Cher. It appears there are no living people in this town, they are all spirits, though so far I have sensed no ill will from them, this is a sad place to be. She says the scrolls we were asked to find are here, in the Mayors house. She says they were not stolen and have been here a long time and that they are to be used in summoning the Reckoning. We shall have to make sure these are destroyed so this can not happen. It appears the Bilagaana in New Orleans was lying when he said they were stolen from them. Not sure how we can destroy these powerful items, the other said they were not sure how to destroy them, but this also could be a lie. We shall check them out in the morning, before we head off to find the child.
12 July 1868, Elm Run
We got up in the morning and started to check out the town. Cher told us don’t eat the food its not good. Wish she had told us this last night so we could have made sure the grain they fed the horses was better. Doesn’t look like any of them got sick from it, but will have to make sure that does not happen tonight. The Preacher woke us all up ringing the church bell, then came over to the tavern and was lecturing the Bilagaana townsfolk about their deities. Something he said must have gotten to them as a bunch of them collapsed including the Sheriff and the cook. Jake took the sheriffs badge to go talk to his deputies and I handed him his guns, which were very strange.
He went with Preacher, Clara, Mark, and Cher to the Sheriffs office. As we learned later, when he showed them the sheriffs guns and badge they all disappeared. Guess they were bound to the sheriff in some fashion,. They recovered everyone’s weapons and after Wicked came running in grabbed his guns and ran out, they headed towards the mayor’s office.
I went over to the mayor’s house with Belle, Beau, and Wicked to check it out. We searched his office and I found a notation in his book talking about selling a permit to a traveling peddler selling curatives. Turned out he was a charlatan and he ended up poisoning the town. But we did not confirm this till later once Belle and Beau had cracked the safe. We heard a disembodied voice from upstairs and went to investigate. Wicked took off for the sheriffs office to get his weapons.
We went upstairs Belle stepped into the bedroom and stopped dead in her tracks, didn’t understand why, as soon as Beau stepped in she changed. All of the sudden she was dressed all in black like the portrait of the mayors wife and she turned and attacked Beau. The spirit was very powerful and forced us to flee the room. We went down stairs and the others arrived. It was a long drawn out battle but we finally managed to force her out of Belle’s body, leaving Belle extremely hurt. I had used most of my powers healing everyone already so went to light a fire in the fire place to due some burnt offerings. The was no wood handy, so I took to smashing up the chest that Mark and Clara had shot full of holes. Unluckily I broke several bottles of what latter turned out to be the snake oil that we needed to help the town. About this time Sheriff Powers showed up with like 12 deputies and demanded the scroll. Mark grabbed it up and I thought he was going to burn it in my fire when the Sheriff barked something at him and he stopped. That’s when the shooting started. The battle was long and brutal, people were getting torn up with the guns of the Bilagaana. I healed people as much as I could, judiciously spending my gifts as best I could to keep people alive, alas I failed poor Mark. Jake picked up the scroll and threatened to burn it, as he lit the chest on fire. In the middle of the battle with the Sheriffs men, Clara all of a sudden took on the aspect of the Widow and attacked. I guess the Sheriff and his men were expecting this as they had stayed near the door and as soon as it happened they stepped back and closed the door. It appears this was a setup and they sent us here to fight the battle with this poor woman who’s spirit was trapped here by her grief for her murdered family. After she cut Mark down she knelt over his body weeping for him as if one of her own. I tried to appeal to her to let me save him but she ignored my pleas. Jake grabbed her up in his coat, cause every time someone touched her they were burned as if with acid. He had the preacher open the door and we threw her out in the corridor, but before we could close the door she was back in the room and went over to kneel over Marks body again. Jake threw the scroll into the fire and when we looked in it appeared to have burned, Wicked picked up the flaming chest and with the preachers aid threw it out into the hall way with the hope of catching those out there on fire. While we continued to battle the Widow, they put out the flames. Unbeknown to us it was not the scroll we were looking for that burned, they found the correct scroll in the wreckage of the chest. We heard them leaving saying they had found what they wanted. We again captured the Widow, when Belle lassoed her. We tied her to the bed, I gathered some more energy and healed up the most grievous wounds of the party. While I was doing this we heard a large explosion which shook the town, as it turned out, Beau had laid a trap for the Sheriff and his men as they left town damaging one of there wagons and injuring several people, but they climbed aboard they other wagons and continued on. I performed a long dance as the preacher cast prayed over the Clara to lay the spirit to rest that was possessing her. I recharged my necklace and war club as he said this was to be a long ritual he was doing. I went outside and saw the towns Padre walking around outside the church, so I fetched him over to help the Preacher with his ritual. I don’t know why his ritual to remove the spirit takes so long, a medicine man of the spirit would have been able to do this in a little while. I shall have to endeavor to learn this ritual next time I run into another medicine man. Together they were successful in driving the tormented spirit out, but I guess the ritual also effected the spirit of the Padre and sent him on also. From the books we have found, we will have to find this Peddler to get what we need to release the spirits of this town. From the handbills we found it appears that this man is from N’Orleans. Not sure why they keep calling it thus as every map and document I have seen says New Orleans?
I asked the earth and found that the young child has gone back to N’Orleans, which it appears is where we will go next. I laid out Mark’s corpse and this time kept Jake from blowing it up, I wish I had been able to do this for Walking Eagle, had I known he was going to do this I would have explained that the ritual I did would keep his body from getting back up again. From what she has been saying I do not believe that miss Clara has the stomach for dealing with the spirits, she has said she must leave us.