- Our characters arrived at the Tygh Valley train station a little shaken after seeing the mass of dead deer, but nonetheless glad to be home. Before they even made it to the station proper, a uniformed, ginger youth rode up and beckoned to Marshall Von Kreator. He told the Marshall that the town sheriff needed to speak with him, and so they took off, with the Marshall riding awkwardly behind the youth.
- At the station Dr. Wainwright was waiting to meet Theo, and after hugging him proceeded to greet the rest of the party warmly and invite them to dinner. The happy scene was broke up by McCormick the private eye, who reduced Wainwright to stammering with some very direct question about Ken Hatch’s whereabouts. Wainwright manages to compose himself enough to defer any questions until the next morning, and he and Theo take off.
- Lula’s butler Reginald arrived to collect her, brought her to mommy and daddy, while Shoshawna went to obtain lodgings at her usual haunt in the town of Haven, the Wagon Wheel.
- Upon entering the Wagon Wheel Shoshawna ran into her least older brother, Fast Leroy. He told her that he had been doing well, making money selling opium, but that their grandfather Catkiller was doing quite poorly. Then he gave her worse news: their oldest brother Shamus had been killed in the wood nearby, his body mutilated. Shoshawna next went into the saloon’s backroom, seeking her old friend Dirty Sally, the Wagon Wheel’s owner.
- Sally was engaged in a card game with a group of other town biddys, but leapt up to greet Shawney. Shoshawna related the events of the train ride, and Sally recognized Harlan’s name. Said that he used to run around with Wainwright and Hatch. Shoshawna tossed her things into her old room, then headed up to the native settlement, Winter Ground, to speak with her grandfather.
- Lula arrived at her family’s mansion overlooking the town to find her mother waiting to greet her and her father in the steam room (it helps with his skin condition, mother explained). Mother was coldly solicitous over fancy tea, and mentioned that the Purple Plume had been doing well lately. She mentioned the murders of some natives (including Shamus!) and said that as result her and Lula’s father would like her to remain indoors after dark. She asked after Lula’s job prospects cursorily, and gave no reaction to Lula’s announcement that she would seek work with the local paper. Following a reporter’s hunch, she asked her mother about Mr. Hatch, but mother seemed characteristically empty headed about him. Next, Lula asked after her friend Cynthia, and got nothing but classist platitudes back.
- Running upstairs she waved at her father through the sauna door, observed that his skin condition was quite serious…shiny black patches were appearing on his shoulders and back. She retired briefly to her room to wait for her father.
- After arriving at Dr. Wainwright’s home – the house where he grew up – Dr. Tang was greeted by his sister. He asked her after some brief chatter about who Ken Hatch was and Trudy replied that he was a bastard. A heartbreaking bastard! She told him that Ken had lived with the Dr. for six months, and had then just run out…with some other man, she guessed. She said the Dr. was extremely depressed about losing Ken, that he needed someone to talk to desperately: he wouldn’t talk to her, and couldn’t exactly bear his soul to the pastor. She said that Wainwright was so sad that he even sometimes pretended to speak with Ken in his room at night.
- Theo heard Wainwright in the kitchen, so took the opportunity to snoop around the doctor’s study. He quickly found a framed photo of Wainwright, a younger man who must be Hatch, and Harlan Pyotte, arm in arm like the best of friends. Continuing his quick search, he came across a book bound in strange leather with no title or author listed on its spine; it did however have an inscription in the front cover Dearest Cass and Kenny – don’t get into too much trouble with this! -Harlan. The book was handwritten, in a cramped script, with disturbing illustrations throughout.
- Theo then walked brazenly into the kitchen to ask the doctor when dinner would be served and, cleverly covering his tracks, asked to borrow some reading materials from the doctor’s library. He repaired to his room to spend the hour or so before dinner studying the book (foolishly?). He found it full of lurid descriptions of hideous occult rites and shocking illustrations…one in particular stuck in his mind – a sketch of an insectoid creature bearing a horrifying dimensional legend reading: 6 feet – and caused him to drop the book, gasping.
- Shoshawna found her grandfather in his house at Winter Ground, sick and coughing. In the midst of a coughing fit, he beckoned for Shoshawna to bring him a brown sack full of medicine. Taking a pill and, shortly, catching his breath he said under his breath white man’s medicine. Shoshawna confronted her grandfather on taking the white man’s medicines, and he defended his choice by defending the integrity of Dr. Wainwright…said he was a friend, and a capable healer.
- They talked of Leroy, and how Grandfather had kicked him out. Then, they talked of the dead brother Shamus. Grandfather called it an evil act, one that no animal could have perpetrated…they do not know such cruelty. He said that the attack had happened three weeks prior, quite close to Winter Ground, and that all of the remaining brothers were dealing with it in their own way. Shoshawna asked after her twin, Solomon, and found that he got a job as a logger, something that both she and grandfather found repugnant…but nonetheless, an economic necessity.
- Again, Shoshawna related the events of the train ride to Tygh Valley and the town of Haven. When she mentioned the necklace that Harlan lost and reclaimed – the piece of the Akaitchi sealing stone – Grandfather’s eyes went wide. He went to his room and returned with the necklace itself – it was indeed the corner of a sealing stone, which sealed a gate in the depths of the valley and sealed away the evil tribe, the Gadach. Grandfather insisted that the necklace Harlan had on the train must have been just an illusion, a sign sent to Shoshawna…he would not admit the possibility that there was another stone which would open the seal. She took her leave of her Grandfather and went to join the doctors Tang and Wainwright for dinner.
- On her way to the home of the two doctors (and Trudy!), Shoshawna sidetracked a bit to survey the area where her brother had been killed. She found the place easily enough…Shamus’s horse had bled out there as well, and the ground was still dark from it. She found bits of cloth and things yet hanging from a few bushes, and then started looking for the trail of whatever attacked her brother. She could find no tracks on the ground, when some intuition caused her to look up. At semi-regular intervals, 10 to 20 feet above the forest floor, chunks were dug into the trees, as if from a blade or hook. Noting this, shoshawna continued on to Wainwright’s house.
- While waiting to speak with her father, Lula dug through the inherited library which still cluttered the better part of her room. Flipping through old papers and clippings, she came across a sepia tone photo of the mill up the river on opening day – a picture over 40 years old – and Harlan was in it, looking exactly as he did on the day they met him. She then noticed that someone else had been rooting through her books while she was gone, one book in particular: Ley Lines and Points of Power Upon the Earth by Sir Cormack, Lord Avondale.
- Father came in wearing his smoking jacket, which almost completely hid the beetle shell-like patches on his shoulders and neck. He explained it was a hereditary condition called Scleroderma, which seemed to be effecting a handful of people in town. He offered to buy the town paper to get Lula a job, briefly mentioned the murders (Indian troubles), and was the nice old dad that Lula remembered. After taking leave of her father she went to Wainwright’s for dinner.
- The party met up at Wainwright’s and repaired to the study for a drink before dinner. They compared what they had learned that day and concluded a few things: first, whatever was doing the murders in town was neither man nor animal, but something else; and, second, that the seemingly ageless Harlan almost certainly had something to do with the deaths.
- Over dinner, the trio confronted Wainwright about Hatch, demanding to know what had happened to the young man. Wainwright at first tried to be vague, saying that Hatch just ‘left him’ one day in the woods. The party was having none of it, and Shoshawna called Wainwright a liar to his face. Finally, after asking that Trudy leave the room, he broke down and told what had really happened to Ken Hatch.
- Wainwright and Hatch had been dabblers in the occult as well as lovers, and were especially excited to receive the leather bound book from Harlan. One day they conducted one if the rituals that the book described, to terrible effect: Hatch was transformed into a monster! This was 4 weeks ago, just before the murders began. At this point the doctor lapsed into tears. The party got one more piece of information out of the doctor as he leaned on Theo: sometimes Hatch, in his monstrous form, still came to visit Wainwright in the night.
- The party went their separate ways, then: Shoshawna to wait for her twin Solomon at Winter Ground; Theo to bathe and then go to sleep in his childhood room at Wainwright’s house; and Lula to touch base with her best friend Cynthia (they made plans to meet up the next day, and Lula let Cynthia in on the occult secrets she had learned about the murders in town) before going home to bed.
- The party members were each awoken by their own dreams, and somehow converged at the edge of town. In the pitch black night they heard Fast Leroy whistling down the road long before they saw him. Shoshawna first whistled back, and then called out to him, but his answer turned suddenly to a scream and was then cut off. As the moon slid out from behind the clouds, they saw the bloody mess that Leroy had become, and the beast that had made him so – the twin of the heinous sketch in the book pilfered from wainwright’s library.
- Lula spoke the thing’s name – Kenneth! – and it froze for a moment, staring at the party dumbfounded. Unfortunately, this lasted only a moment, then the beast launched itself at the one-eyed young woman. Shoshawna quickly moved to get some distance on the creature, circling around behind. Meanwhile, the creatures claws swept wide of both Lula and Theo. The doctor tried again to speak with the creature, while Lula pulled her pistol and fired a shot into its black, carapace covered analogue of a shoulder.
- The thing shuddered back and then, enraged, swung again. This time its claws found a tree, but failed to hit Theo. The doctor took this as his cue to flee. Lula fired again, but missed, as the monster gave chase. Suddenly, Shoshawna sprang from the undergrowth, thrashing the creature to the ground as it tried to pull itself into the treetops.
- The thing pulled itself up, and pulled back to slash shoshawna apart, but was thrown from it’s feet by a bullet that came from the direction of the road. The thing that was Ken Hatch gave an alien cry and fled. Looking toward the road, the party could see the silhouette of a man on a horse…
Tygh Valley, 1890
Session 2 Recap
“He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home” -Goethe