Thursday 22 February 2018

Deadlands - Paladins and Patchwork Dogs

We ask around the docks, and there's no rumours of strange happenings on Angelfish Island. A little ball of worry in my stomach eases: it seems the Sin Eater hasn't risen and we successfully defeated it. 

As we head into town for breakfast, Tesla spots fresh-looking graffiti: "Criminals beware the Paladin", in both English and Chinese. No one wants to talk to us about it, but we see more and more of it as we walk around, with a real religious feel to it, too - really biblical (which seems strange in Shan Fan).

We assume the graffiti, this 'Paladin', is in someway related to the Patchwork Man, whether the Patchwork Man himself or his mysterious 'Creator'. Long-Haired Tony isn't interested; the graffiti and the stitched-together creation aren't sufficient threats to his peace.

We head to the Rabbi; he doesn't have any leads either, but offers us tea and a light lunch. We talk a bit, and decide to leave this for now, and head to Whateley Isle instead, where we think there's another Glyph. I'm about to get up to leave, when Carson asks about the Prospector. I'd forgotten about him, someone Born in a Bowl had told us to look out for. The Rabbi's heard of him and describes him as an almost legendary figure among the Explorers; someone who probably does exist, although the Rabbi doesn't know anyone who's ever met him. He tells us there's rumours the Prospector's even gone toe to toe with Raven (I shudder at that, remembering the power of his disciple, Papa Rattlesnake). We ask about Raven; the Rabbi tells us he's said to be over 300 years old. There's not much more he can tell us, and we thank him and leave.

We haven't gone far when Tesla points out 3 guys following us. They vanish as we turn to look - Carson disappears also, and returns soon after to confirm: 3 men and maybe 6 dogs. At that, Chin vanishes. We look around, trying to find him. Tesla heads down an alley, full of confidence, and is attacked by the dogs. I yell to get their attention and they run at me and Carson. Their snarling, rabid forms as as stitched-together as the Patchwork Man. Their howl echoes through me - it'll haunt my dreams forever. Between them, Tesla and Carson manage to kill all of them, then Carson sets to his grisly task of beheading the lot. He's never explained why he does this, but seeing things like we've seen, I'm starting to understand the feeling. Tesla carves a leg off one, and Carson's just finishing the last corpse when Chin appears. He shrugs and evades my questions when I ask where he was, but he seems ok.

Despite looking, we don't find anything else so head back to our boat for the night.

In the morning, Tesla comes out from the boiler room where he usually sleeps with that headdress he made before, to spy on the Patchwork Man, only this time instead of a lock, he's wedged the dog's leg into the crown. He climbs cautiously to the highest point on the point, ignoring (or not noticing) us as we ask what he's up to. I watch him settle on top of the wheelhouse and lower the visor. He's up there less than a minute, then shimmies back down, grinningHe comes skipping over to us.

"We shouldn't go after the Creator."

We stare at him, blinking.

"He's very powerful - he intercepted me!" He beams at us, staring as we remain speechless. That excited smile unnerves me. "He's on our side!" And then he, still grinning, he does something very un-Tesla-like, and pulls the cap from his head tosses it overboard. Still full of all those gears and gadgets that he normally pulls out and reuses. He goes back to the boiler room, humming to himself.

Carson, Chin and I talk about what to do next. The way this person dealt with Tesla makes me feel we should stay and investigate further, but Carson and Chin are worried about our time limit: we need to have activated eight Glyphs and figured out a plan to get into the Lost Angels Cathedral by August. That sounds like plenty of time to me - it's only 28th December, after all - but they're anxious. We're broke again, though, so establish a compromise. We spend the day, Tesla happily tinkering with engines to earn us funds, and the other three of us trying to balance earning money and seeking information. We scrape together a few dollars, but don't learn anything new.

In the morning, we buy supplies and leave a note for the Rabbi, letting him know we're leaving to continue our main task as we've no further leads. I don't feel good about this; we're risking the soul of Shan Fan if we let this terror gain reign, but with nothing to go on and a deadline, I concede we don't really have a choice.  


This is a chapter in our Deadlands game, told from the perspective of my character, Solomon Blackbird. For the story so far, check out the index.

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