- The session began with our catching up with Marshall Seymour as he went to meet with the Sheriff. He was asked to help out, in a few days time, with patrolling the town at night. He was also told that there were only a few suspects in the recent murders of native boys around town – the old Akaitchi shaman Catkiller, and the effeminate Dr. Wainwright.
- Seymour went home from the Sheriff’s office to see his mother and father. His mother met him with customary warmth and expressed concern about his continuing adventures. She also regretfully told Seymour that his father would be leaving early the next morning on business back East.
- After dinner and talk with both parents, Seymour’s father retired early while the Marshall joined his mother for a game of chess in the study. Over the game, she tried in a rather oblique fashion to persuade Seymour to give up his military life and seek something greater. He gently evaded his mother’s prodding, and also managed to checkmate her rather handily. After retiring, he was woken in the night by a dream, whereupon he sprang from bed and rushed to a certain spot at the edge of town.
- Fresh from battling the Hatch-beast to a rout, Shoshawna, Lula, and Theo made their way to the edge of the road to meet their savior. It turned out to be the red-headed and freckled Deputy Cody, who had been roused from a night time visit with Cynthia Waites by the noise of the fight with the beast. Just as the Deputy was taking his leave, Seymour arrived on the scene.
- Left alone, the party began filling Seymour in on recent events. They were interrupted, however, by a strange sound of chanting from the direction of town. Cautiously, Seymour, Lula, and Dr. Tang moved into the small grid of Haven’s streets, following the chanting down an alley toward the town square. Shoshawna covered them with her rifle from a perch atop a tree…it was from there that she detected movement in the alley across the square from her companions, just as the chanting died down.
- Following Shoshawna’s direction, the others rushed the opposite alley and pinned the lurking party to the ground. It was the Pastor of the local church, Father Jonas, who claimed to have just been out for a walk – a thin lie that the party saw through immediately. Lula taunted him about his illegitamate parentage of Cynthia Waites, and managed to shame him into saying that he was attracted by the ungodly chanting. The party went their separate ways, to get what sleep they could before the hastening dawn.
- As Dr. Tang emerged from his bedroom the next morning, he was greeted both by Dr. Wainwright and the private detective, Sean McCormick. McCormick asked pointed questions of Dr. Wainwright about the whereabouts of Ken Hatch. Wainwright couldn’t very well tell the detective that Hatch had been transmuted into a monster, but his evasiveness incensed the detective. Nearly shouting, McCormick laid out a theory about Hatch’s disappearance, and revealed that he had spoken to railway and coach personnel in the area who affirmed Hatch hadn’t left town as McCormick claimed. He crowned this tirade by threatening to use what he knew about Hatch’s disappearance to frame him for the other murders in town. At this Theo rose suddenly from his chair at Wainwright’s side and demanded McCormick leave immediately.
- Shoshawna was woken by a heated conversation beneath her window at the Wagon Wheel – the wealthy and usually impeccably composed Leona McCrackin was soliciting a large quantity of morphine from Dirty Sally, in the tones of a cold junkie. She said that she knew Leroy wouldn’t be around to get it for her, and demanded that Sal get it, and quickly too! After getting ready, Shoshawna went downstairs and discussed what she’d overheard with Sal. She told Sal that Leroy had been murdered the night before, and both women were suspicious about how Mrs. McCrackin had seemed to know as much, when so far Deputy Cody was the only person outside of the party who knew.
- Lula woke to the smells of menthol and camphor, and her father’s unsettling moans. She found him receiving an application of ointment from Reginald the butler in the dining room. They made idle conversation, and her father mentioned that her mother, Leona, was in town tending to some last minute preparation for the harvest festival that weekend. Then, as her father rose from the table and turned away from her, Lula noticed something unsettlingly familiar about the way he moved…but she couldn’t quite place it.
- Seymour woke peacefully, dressed, and made to go downstairs, but was arrested at the top of the staircase by the sound of his mother talking in altogether inappropriate tones to a man who was not his father. Striding downstairs and putting on his best stern, government-sponsored-killer face, he introduced himself to the rather homely and common man who was blushingly being seduced by his mother. He was Corman Tibbs, a local mason ostensibly doing some work on the Von Kreators’ family hearth. After thoroughly intimidating the smaller man, Seymour left to meet the party at Winterground. On the way out, he noticed that Tibbs had left a quantity of curious green dust on his hand from their handshake.
- The party came on Solomon Birdseye, seemingly alone at Winterground. He said Catkiller was in the sweat lodge, and invited Shoshawna to join him for a days paying work breaking horses with a local farmer, Pat Klein. She said she might meet him later, after finishing her business, at which Solomon admonished her to stop treating their grandfather ‘like some kind of wizard’. Solomon left, and Catkiller thoroughly snuck up on the rest of the party as they waited. He had them join hands, explaining that they had to cleanse themselves before venturing into the valley. As the old man’s ritual reached its apex, each of the members of our party were assailed by visions.
- As the group collectively recovered, a melodious ‘Helooooo’ rang out over the hilltop clearing where Catkiller made his home. Lena Avondale, all cooing fascination, proceeded to inflict herself on the group, asking/demanding that they take her on their little adventure into the valley – after all, she squeaked, she seemed to be just in time! Catkiller insisted this was a bad idea, and met no resistance from the group, who in every way tried to convey to Lena that they would take her walking in the valley another day…she seemed to understand.
- The group then made their way into the valley, following Catkiller down a path, which became a narrow track, which became nothing but the rocky forest floor. The morning had been a somewhat misty one when the group had set out, but the fog quickly thickened, hindering the party’s visibility and causing Catkiller to worry aloud. Soon, with the fog growing ever thicker, he urged the group into a run. Disturbingly, they could make out shadowy things running along in the fog beside them.
- The group crashed down a cliff that none of them saw coming and landed, with thankfully little injury, in a rocky creek bed. It was then that they heard an all too familiar british scream, followed by Lena crashing hard into the creek herself. Adding exponentially to her unwelcomeness, she whined and held up an obviously broken ankle. The obviously annoyed Dr. Tang remained behind with Lena while the others followed Catkiller into a cave a short ways down the creek bed. Once the party was out of sight, the doctor set Lena’s ankle without anesthetic…then, realizing the utility of having her in an ether-induced stupor, proceeded to administer a knockout dose to her ‘for the pain’. He then rifled through her bag, encountering an array of strange instruments and a copy of the same book that Lula had discovered in her library: Ley Lines and Points of Power Upon the Earth, by one Lord Avondale.
- In the cave, which turned out to be a labyrinth, the others and Catkiller found the chamber that housed the sealing stone. Sure enough, a chunk was missing that corresponded to the size and shape of Pyotte and Catkillers’ necklaces. They also found the dessicated remains of Hatch and Wainwright’s disastrous picnic, and a quantity of green dust in the area. On closer inspection of the sealing stone, they also found traces of clay around the area where the necklace chunk had been chipped off, as if someone had cast a mold of the break’s concavity. As they made ready to leave, both Shoshawna and Seymour noticed a set of tracks on the floor that didn’t belong to any in the party – they tried to trace where these led, but as soon as they left the sealing stone room they discovered that the tracks they were trying to follow blended into a confusion of other tracks, as if a great many people had traveled the tunnels nearby – following a coherent trail proved completely impossible.
- Emerging from the cave the party found the doctor tending to the unconscious brit as the fog in the creekbed grew thicker still. Again, the man-like shapes appeared in the mist, and this time one of them lunged at the doctor! Lula fired a shot or two into the shadow-mist-indian with seemingly no effect while Seymour, his Marshall training seemingly forgotten, fled away from the scene and up out of the creekbed. Seeing the futility of using bullets on the spirit creatures, Shosawna tried to tackle one bodily – she passed right through it, but not without forcing it to release its hold on Dr. Tang. The spirit that Shoshawna hit dissolved entirely, but ranks of similar spirits materialized in the mist before the party. They gritted their teeth in an unsettling manner, spoke in chorus what seemed to be some Indian tongue, and then a single word in English – “Help.”
- The mist dissipated then, and the group found their way back to Winterground with little difficulty. After a bit of discussion they split up – Tang took Lena to recover further at Wainwright’s clinic, Shoshawna went to seek out her twin at the Klein ranch, and Lula and the Marshall went into town to do some shopping and then head to Tibbs’ workshop to learn the provenance of the green dust.
- After laying Lena out in the examination room at Wainwright’s, Tang went looking for his mentor. He found him in his office, contemplating suicide, pistol in hand. Luckily, Tang managed to talk him down and take the pistol from him, convincing him that they would find a way to help Hatch, and that Detective McCormick’s threats that morning were nothing but hot air.
- At Pat Klein’s ranch Shoshawna ran into the rancher’s son, Evan Klein, as he and a friend watched the elder Klein and Solomon deal with the last of the new horses. The boys seemed uncharacteristically sullen, but said that they didn’t want to talk about whatever was bothering them – that Shoshawna wouldn’t believe them anyway…nobody did. Shoshawna then opened up about some of the weirdness she’d witnessed in the last few days, thereby gaining the boys’ trust. They related to her how they had been camping out in Klein’s back acreage, and had heard Shamus Birdseye returning to town the night he was killed. They actually witnessed the murder – by the Hatch creature – but the Sheriff had written their statements off as the product of an over active imagination. They also told her that they knew what cave the thing lived in – that all the kids in town did!
- Arriving at the Waites General Store, Seymour and Lula found Cynthia and Trudy Tang sitting on the steps – Cynthia smoking a cigarette while Trudy looked on with a mix of intensity and reservation. Cynthia remarked that Lula had been right – that her mom, Mrs. Waites, did go for the black dudes – producing a picture of a twenty years younger Caitlyn Waites with her arm around Harlan Pyotte, as they stood next to the lone worker who was minding the mill on the day of the tragedy, when the flood gates burst – the man was known to have had a stroke while on duty that day, which was the commonly held reason for how the thing had happened. Nonetheless, the fact of her mom having relations with a black man was what most impressed Cynthia, as she opined that her mom’s taste in men had taken a turn for the worse – the elder Waites had been spending a lot of nights up on the hill with Old Man Whateley. In fact, she was up getting ready for a date right then, which is why Cynthia was minding the store. She sold Seymour the few items he required, and then Seymour and Lula left to seek out Tibbs at his workshop.
Tygh Valley, 1890
Session 3 Recap
Into the Valley...