Monday 11 December 2017

Deadlands - The Spanish Mission

We left for Lion's Roar the next morning. Walking by necessity: hot, dusty, and tiring because it's hard to find food in this forsaken place.

After a couple of days, a wailing fills our ears. Not the unnatural wail of the cavern we saw by Shan Fan, but someone trapped and calling for help. All the same, Tesla gets out his rubbing of the map we found in the Explorers' Lodge vault and we see there's another of those lightning bolt-shaped symbols here.

The wailing is coming from a narrow hole, going down a long way. Only Chin and I are small enough to squirm down, so we're the ones who find the small boy and bring him to the surface. Can't find any symbols. The boy, Palmer Watson, was playing hide and seek and leads us to his family, who're nearby.

There's a small camp by the ruins of a Spanish mission; our senses are drawn immediately to the fires and the smell of cooking chicken. Palmer's parents - Emma and Junior - are so pleased to have their son back they willingly share some of their food.

There's a couple of families here, miners and prospectors travelling around seeking gold. They'd come to the Mission having heard rumours of dubloons - they've even managed to find one. They think there are more, but aren't sure where.

We look around the ruins. Tesla and I struggle in the rubble, but Carson and Chin leap around like mountain goats and find half a letter and a Bible (both in Spanish), and the corpse of a Father crushed when the building was destroyed (we assume during the Quake). And finally, they find an opening from the building into the hill behind.

They come back to the camp, where Junior translates the letter for us. It tells the chilling tale of a young Native murdered days before the Quake. His body was found in a hole that smelt like brimstone in there; his heart had been cut out and thrown against a lightning-shaped glyph on the wall (our ears all prick at that). They sealed the hole behind them. The dead man was known locally, but another Native had passed through in the days before.

By the time the translation's finished, it's late so we agree to stay the night and explore some more in the morning. The opening leads to catacombs, where there are a few more dubloons (Junior and Emma let us keep some for our help). There's a bricked-up bit at the back, though many of the bricks have already tumbled down. We look at each other: this is likely where the body was found. We clear the passage and enter a chamber. 

The temperature plummets as we see the glyph. I flee the feeling of dread in the air, but once back in the sunlight realise only Tesla has come with me. There's no sounds from within; I whisper a quick prayer and summon my courage to return and make sure Chin and Carson are ok. I get there to see Carson scraping away the blood that made up the glyph. That done, we leave and seal the chamber back up behind us.

We continue to Lion's Roar.

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