Innocence lost....

The Clockroads
To the shootout at Knauerbach's Station

  We had been traveling for a day or so, I was getting bored and I think the heat was starting to make me smell bad again. The big Russian was sitting in the back of the wagon with me. I was busy sizing him up for parts, but was being somewhat discreet. I like them big and strong, they animate so much easier that way.

         Hayden and Thomas sat up front driving the wagon forward.  I heard them whispering in low tone about the area around us. Thomas was watching for danger. He is the one I rely on most.  I while away the time teasing the big Russian, I enjoy making him talk. His English is a bit off. I do not think he has guessed my nature as of yet, so I play with him. I asked him to smell my arm after I put on some perfume. He called me his "French whore". I could only pretend to be cross with him. I failed and couldn't stop laughing.

             Hayden told me to shut up a tad rudely for my taste, but the wagon had come to a sudden stop. There was a big black rock on the road. As if someone wanted to ensure we saw it. Thomas asked me if I noticed anything. I of course lied, I hate lying to him, but I was not sure how he would take me knowing certain things. It was of small matter. They saw a number "6" I saw a Neverborn rune like my uncle and I used to see marking places we considered a "no-go" zone.  The runes gave a distinct warning. Sadly it would be one we would ignore as Hayden made it plain we had to go that way. With a sigh I climbed back into the wagon.

          The big Russian hit the rock with his massive rail hammer. I was somewhat startled when he discovered some twisted riddle inside.  It was cryptic and not likely for us. It said:

      " The King of Spades, the Queen of Crows, the Knave of Hearts at 10 sharp, the third….." and then nothing. The notes to us from the "Benefactor" are usually signed. This one, well it was not but it was incomplete. I heard them trying to figure out who we may have been. I was called the "Queen of Crows" but that did not seem right. The "Knave" being also called a "Jack". I am not convinced that we are being described. But I have not always been correct. I do trust Thomas judgement.

             I listened closely to the sounds of nature, or more to the point, there were none. I reached out to the grave spirits in the area, again nothing but silence. I was concerned that we were entering the territory of something evil.  We came to a sudden stop yet again. I jumped out the back. I was very concerned. The small stream we stopped at was not the thing that caused my still heart to beat again. We stood within the enclosure of a Neverborn formation. Twelve rocks set in a clock pattern and a tree that should have long been dead standing as if it were a massive sundial.

           I had seen such before. I was concerned now so I kept my mouth shut. I played it as close to the chest as I could. I had hoped they would not notice the coincidence. I sat on a rock, and tried to look deep in thought as my companions went about searching. After a bit we moved on, I was relieved. We did not get far before Thomas figured out exactly what was going on..Hayden had discovered the words "Tik Tok" carved in the tree trunk.  This made me concerned. They sent Hayden towards what was the 3 O'clock stone and he found of course the number 3 on it.

        Vessili went running towards what he was convinced was the number 10 stone. He was correct. I was both thrilled and horrified by the Russians strength. He lifted the rock up with his bare hands and beneath it was a scroll. I kicked off my heels and rushed to get there first. I of course could not resist touching the huge Russians calf muscles (I was now convinced they would be perfect for a flesh construct) and snatched the scrollcase. I recognized the leather as human flesh. Quickly I took the scroll out and secreted the case. This was something for me after all.

           The scroll itself was yet more mystery. It merely stated:

      " Little Sally's breath, lie cold in her chest, the key they will see with the king's hand. With subtle skill in the gentleman's game. The four must fall for Sally's Hope."

         This seemed less a riddle to me, and yet again, no signature. I was concerned greatly with the emphasis and tense on some words. It was a mere few hours till sundown and so I sat back, quietly contemplating what was being thrown at us. When the wagon finally stopped we were at the edge of a ghost town. It was a small burgh off the beaten path. I was still concerned and somewhat anxious. I was quick to get to Thomas side, I would rely on him for protection, despite his dubious past using me as a "meat shield" but then he knows that I am already dead.

          Vessily and Hayden took the right while we approached on the left. The "town" was merely 2 houses, a barn, and the train station. There were a pair of outhouses off to the left of the station and scattered rocks and trees. Near the center was a single gas light and it was lit. I closed my eyes and reached out. There was nothing, though I almost thought I felt an aura of menace. We split up and started to explore the area. Thomas and I checked out the far house and barn. I was absolutely giddy with the barn, there was a perfect skeleton, albeit plaster with a note around its neck saying "I am sorry".

         I did not tell Thomas that it was not real, though I guess he could figure it out since I could not animate it…at all. He left me to it and I sat admiring the craftsmanship, yet pondering the note. As I walked back out of the barn I found myself staring down the barrels of two pistols wielded by the ugliest woman I had ever seen. She said "hands up bitch" and I readily complied. I was not thrilled about being shot. So I had no other real option.

          There was a band of renegades about and they had guns and knives pointed all about us. I was concerned that we were in some serious trouble. Thomas completely blew my mind, as nonchalantly as could be he merely walked about passed by me and sat on a rock. He started chatting with the most vulgar Irishman I had ever heard. The man made several lewd comments about me to Thomas. Vessily and a large dark skinned fellow stared off with each other, it reminded me of two bulls about to charge. Hayden moved almost as in a trance into the station, muttering something about a card game.

          I was not overly concerned of what was going on around me except the two guns pointed at my chest ( I could almost claim three due to one having two barrels) Thomas walked up to the station after bantering with the vulgar Irishman. That was when things became more touchy. Some damn fool with a pair of swords, his name was Draven or Daven or whatever. The man was a complete idiot. He began making taunts at Thomas about his wife. That was a terrible mistake. Thomas gave him an opportunity to walk it back, he did not.

      He made another vile comment, and somehow managed to insult me as well. Thomas warned him again. The fool stepped up into Thomas' face and made the most horrid accusation I had ever heard (I am not at all an innocent, I have done terrible things, but nothing like what this man accused Thomas of). It happened almost to fast to follow. I admit that I hate fighting, and abhor shooting. But there it was. Thomas spun and blasted the man's chest open with a well placed shot from his carbine. That was when everything went to hell.

           I stood in shock as bullets flew. So much happened so fast. The vulgar Irishman attacked me and I was terrified. I called for the grave spirit and made the dead swordsman rise and rush at the vulgar Irishman. He was taken aback but moved swiftly to shoot my new toy in the head. I was initially concerned about revealing myself but what the hell, these bastards will not be walking away from this (unless I animate them and make it happen) The Irishman was half afraid and half enraged with me, he lunged quickly grabbing my throat and hip. He slammed me hard against the wall of the barn. I had no breath to exhale at the time and he squeezed my throat. I saw some confusion in him as he began to realize there was more to me than thought.

          I began to struggle but realized I was hopelessly out matched. I began to panic until I was sprayed with his bone, brains, and blood. Thomas had taken a shot and took his head clean off. I was horrified to be so filthy, grateful to be saved, and annoyed that the corpse was now beyond my use.  I was essentially useless, but that is nothing new for me in most fights. Thomas was bouncing around like a jackalope hopped up on coffee. Vessily and the other enraged bull were in a fierce knife fight. I then found my use. I began knitting Vessily's wounds with my necromantic skills. I was then caught off guard when a bullet tore into my shoulder. I dropped like a stone and played dead.

          Thomas swiftly put down my assailant. The aforementioned ugly woman who had been shooting all over. Thomas had put her down in a bad way. While Vessily finished off his rival. The man's somewhat obese lady friend had taken a whack at the back of Vessily's head with a huge golf driver, nearly taking his head off. Thomas answered swiftly by shooting her in the gut. She fell with a scream and I realized we were all standing alone. Silence reigned. I got up slowly as Hayden, Thomas, and Vessily searched the area. I am not sure what they were finding but I used the opportunity to "clean myself up".

         I was shocked when Thomas asked me to stabilize the wounded. At first I refused. I held no grudge against the dying women other than the hag who shot me (ok, yeah I was a little pissed at her) but then I had revealed myself to obviously be a Ressurectionist right in front of them. I was angry, confused and a little hurt by it, but Thomas has never asked me for anything before. I would not deny him now. We are not "friends" but I am most sympathetic about his situation. I know what it means to lose a loved one.

        That did not mean he was not due for a "bitching" that could strip paint. I took him roughly by the arm ( I am still surprised I did that) and took him in private to let him know how foolish and pig headed I believed him to be. He simply said "I will not compromise on this" I let it go. He is a hard man, but this bit of softness will either bite us in the ass or help us later. I would be grateful to be just forgotten.  I did what he asked, though I was more rough than necessary, especially to the hag who shot me. I considered tossing in a kick (maybe I was jealous she was allowed to live, while I, in that same situation took a bullet to the heart) but decided against it. After all, Thomas had made clear what he wanted.

         I went to check on Vessily, he was injured and I was not happy about the cuts and bruises. I teased him about damaging my future property. He taunted me by saying he would put in his will he wanted to be cremated. Well, I could do something about that, I was eyeballing those calves and biceps again and imagining what kind of golem I could build with his parts.  We were rushed though, there was the chance there could be a small child alive and entombed. We decided to take our fallen foes' horses. 

          It was a mere three miles but none of us were particularly fine equestrians. I rode side saddle in front of Thomas and tried to hold a lantern up, for vision, you know….reasons. It was a mess, but we made good time. I knew my companions were getting tired, I of course was not. I do love to "sleep" so I wanted to get rested. I had already washed the gore off of myself before we left.  The trip was short, thankfully. I dislike horses and they dislike me.  We found the graveyard and I was ecstatic to be among the dead again. We went to the sepulcher where the young lady was supposed to be entombed.

            It was "good" news that I could raise nothing from the sepulcher, it meant whoever was in there was still alive. Hayden and Vessily went about trying to find a way in while Thomas and I stood guard.  Of course with our luck it started to rain on us. It made all my remaining matches wet, and that was irritating. The boys wandering about the sepulcher trying to find a way in. Sadly it appeared that the only way in was to squeeze through a window. I was horrified that yes, again it would be me. I tried to stall and offer other suggestions. I asked for a match, knowing mine were ruined. Thomas made Hayden give me one of his. I lit it and poked my head inside. Yes I could easily fit.

        I stripped my dress and high heels. I was wearing shorts and a light shirt under it. I was not naked, but I still did not want anyone save Thomas (he is a married man and I do not have to worry about him) to help push me through the window. It took me a while to figure out what was going on inside, but I finally deciphered the lock and let my companions inside. It was a tightly cramped place but we figured out how to get inside and find the girl. Only one marble wide sarcophagus was inside…………………………………And they were never seen again in this mortal coil. Months later it was surmised that they met their end in that dark tomb. A young reporter went in search, all he found were the corpses at the old train station and a cryptic message on the tomb, I will not repeat it here, but it was signed…"the benefactor"

Kwan's Emporium
A journey delayed

  So the evening we were supposed to be headed out to "Hayden's House"  we ended up instead at this nasty little saloon run by a foul tempered Turk. I waited patiently for my "friends" to go inside as I had some little surprises to pack away in the wagon. I wanted to make sure I had some toys with me when we went out to lands infested with the neverborn.

      I took the time to apply more perfume, quite liberally in fact. To the point where Thomas refers to me as their French whore. As if I were French indeed! It is difficult to hide some smells. Death being a big one. Well it didn't take Hayden long to want to get away from labor and have a drink. Thomas went with him and I got down to it. I had this wonderful vulture I found poisoned (or it merely ate the wrong carrion) and after a little bit of maintenance I was able to get it into some condition for reanimation. It was quite the foul tempered bird.

         As I was getting finished the largest man I had ever seen came sauntering up to the bar. A quick appraisal and I was absolutely giddy at the thought of being able at some time to reanimate that thug to serve my purposes. He had a thick Russian accent and I was somewhat flummoxed talking to him. To test the musculature I had him harness up our jackasses to the wagon.  I was astounded that he lifted the harness with his hands and easily managed the feat. I would have to consider him more carefully.

    Finished with the tasks and with the night getting colder and darker I figured to go into the bar for a drink and smoke. It would be a long evening if the boys were in their cups already. When I entered I saw Thomas brooding as usual and Hayden off about to start trouble. Considering my options and realizing Thomas is already suspicious of my nature I decided to sit with my brooding friend.

     He had been sitting in the corner ( the spot we affectionately call the "mysterious clown" chair) drinking from some whiskey ( I had not bothered to ask where or how he got it) but since he was inclined to share I was inclined to drink. He can be a true gentlemen in his cups and I was ready to relax a bit. Animating the vulture took a bit out of me, what I really wanted was to animate a true corpse. Instead I sat back drinking whiskey and trying to relax. All was going well, we made a little small talk, but since we have so little in common it was usually awkward.

     When the Russian came over to our table, for some reason I had a chill in my spine and reflexively leaned into Thomas for protection (a somewhat foolish notion considering his penchant for using me as a shield), but he was quite cordial. His name was Vasilli? well it was hard to understand. I was a little light headed at the time anyhow and was not interested in what the men were talking about. I had hit something with my toe (I had of course kicked off my heels in a place like this) and was now extremely curious as to what was under the table.

      I finally could not stand it any more  (curiosity and the cat thing you know) and had to get under the table to find out. Well there seemed to be some wires under the boards. I had to use one of my hair pins to get the right leverage to pry up a board (this had the effect of making my hair an absolute mess). having pried one up I was excited to see there was a strange wire network under the floor, it could go all over! so of course I had to mess with it, and of course it would shock me. It caused me to bump my head on the table bottom, and I hoped I had not spilled any whiskey.

        When I excitedly came up to tell Thomas what I found I saw the barkeep (the sour mannered Turk) looking at me with a look of half disgust, half….well whatever. I later was horrified to hear what it looked like with me under the tablecloth. And of course Thomas had to make it seem far dirtier than merely me grubbing under boards. Apparently I was playing with his wood down there. Ignoring the bawdy behavior I excitedly revealed all I had found. He seemed either distracted or uninterested.

       I went outside to clear my head, I intended to check on my "bird" one last time for the night to make sure the rats weren't nibbling on it. I stopped to smoke and noticed a metallic glint in a window. Now I am not the kind of person to poke my nose where it does not belong, but I can feel when things are not right ( or in my case an opportunity for new specimens) and I had that feeling right then. It may have been foolish or dangerous to stay out in the open but I decided it best to be casual. As I stood there in thought, I had that nauseating feeling like at the saloon where I met my companions. Something was certainly not right. The gunman in the window was clearly not interested in me (or I likely would have already been shot) so I waited a bit.

           Of course Thomas was the first one out. I was not sure if I was happy or frightened that it was him. But I calmly got his attention. He came over to me and I played it off as if I was with him, and whispered in his ear to where the danger lurked. The gun had started moving as Thomas came close to me, I hadn't noticed at the the time, but then he cried out "GUN!" and I was tossed like a potato sack to the ground. That man moves faster than a rattlesnake. I had barely bounced off me arse when he had spun around, drawing his carbine and placed a round through the window. The pistol fell, I heard it hit the ground. I was too dazed from bouncing the back of my head off the cobblestone to do much.

          Vassili and Hayden had run out towards us and Thomas had already approached the house. I tried to remember to act winded when Vassili assisted me to my feet (in truth he lifted me like I was no more than a child) and set me towards the house. I intended to follow my instincts in this. As I entered Hayden was quite reckless in his pursuit and while I and Vassili followed at a safe distance, Hayden carelessly flung the door open to the gunman's room.  I swear if he gets Thomas shot I was animate his corpse and have him tear Hayden apart.

        The family that lived in the house was brutally murdered by the gunman, who turned out to be the gambler at the sour tempered Turk's saloon. I had a good mind to animate them all, they would be great assets in the journey to come.  Thomas of course was having none of it. When I entered the room, the gunman was dying. He was not being very talkative with a hole in his lung. I cheerfully asked "is he mine yet?" which of course did not make the man any more comfortable. Thomas and Hayden tried questioning him more but he was slipping fast. He had a slip of blank paper in his fist that he refused to part with. I believe this was tied to our "benefactor"

      Thomas ended him quickly with a single stab to the heart. I found myself thrilled. I was going to get to have this one. I quickly reanimated the dead gunman. It was hard but so worth it. He was in fairly decent shape. Thomas then took the wind out of my sails by making me use my new toy to bury the family out back in their yard. He is so sentimental. I was of course horrified to waste my new toy in this kind of labor, but we do what we must. It took hours and I was in foul spirit as my zombie came apart with the effort.

           We returned to the saloon and while I helped myself to some more whiskey Thomas had a short, sharp discussion with the sour tempered Turk. He walked outside but handed me the room key. I was ready for bed, I was well bruised up and in fact had been more damaged than I realized. When I got to the room it was small, there was one bed (that looked so comfortable) and a small dresser and finally to my delight … a washtub. Thomas came in after getting Hayden and Vassili settled in and was kind enough to give me the bed. I had him help me reset a dislocated joint (after all the brute had been the one to hurt me in the first place) I crawled into bed and was fast asleep.

          I woke up first and took a nice hot bath. I was no longer careful to hide the killing hole in my chest from Thomas (well I was too comfortable and careless to cover up when he awoke and went outside) I rested a bit longer in the water, I added some oils to help my stench, and of course keep my skin nice. Then I headed down to be ready for our trip to the badlands. Of course I was to be disappointed. It would appear we were going after mister Kwan.  I knew of him as an opium and brothel operator ( my uncle had loaned me to him in the past to handle issues) and I was not looking forward to it. Kwan was a deadly old man. More to the point, he was far stronger in necromancy than I.

            The sour tempered Turk was acting terrified (I thought it was merely the thought of challenging Kwan, but it later turned that "The Benefactor" had sent him a note.) Well nothing for it. I tried to stall for time to convince Thomas it was a bad idea. He had his head set in this and there was no dissuading him. At the least I put on better clothes for a fight (I swapped my nice dress for heavier leathers) and grabbed my bird. I was going to field test him after all.

         We arrived at Kwan's at around 9 a.m. and of course it was closed. When we discovered the door locked I was a bit relieved, we could say "we tried" and get on with our business. Sadly Thomas was able to pick the lock, so in we went. Dammit. Thomas went first, and I followed. The sour tempered Turk came in and finally Vassili and Hayden. Thomas moved as if he was some soldier clearing a building, I was less careful. I would regret that.

        Once we had all entered, the place was gloomy and dark, as it would be in an after hours bordello/opium den. We were not prepared for the door to slam shut behind us and relock. That was a bit of a shock.  We were plunged into darkness. I sent my bird to the upper roof, to get a better look, hoping that the vulture had better night eyes than I did ( a running joke enroute here that my companions kept up was that the poor creatures eye kept popping out and I had to push it back in the socket, for full disclosure that only actually happened twice). It was so quiet we could hear each other breath. I made sure to make breathing noises in case Hayden and Vasilli could count.

      I felt the first knives hit my back shortly after, three in rapid sucession. It hurt like hell. I also heard the sour tempered Turk take a blade to the heart. He grunted and hit the ground. I was shocked as my bird was rudely wrenched from my control. I heard its demise. In the dark the group acted out of instinct with Thomas and Hayden shooting into the dark. Thomas and Hayden fanned the hammer on their pistols with such speed I almost wet myself.  I am truly glad they are on my side…for now?

          I lightly stepped over to Thomas, I had stopped breathing at this point, just in case our mysterious attacker could count in the silence. When I got close he was a bit jumpy. I calmed him by whispering in his ear a decent plan (or so I thought) but only after he pulled the daggers from my back, I had to explain they were poisoned. He put on his glove and pulled them from my body. I then whispered a spell to bind up the holes in my body, other than Thomas the rest would not pay attention to holes in my leathers that weren't bleeding.

            I stepped into the middle of the room as planned and sent up some witch light from my hands ( a little trick when I animate corpses or such to scare the "peasants" so to say,. I do have a flair for showbiz it is after all in my blood) and once the room went bright, my companions sent a wall of lead into the assassin hiding in the rafters. And of course deadly Vasilli had to toss in a throwing knife for good measure. Needless to say the man was dead before he hit the ground. Unfortunately he managed to bury a knife in my gut. Thomas was quick to remove it before anyone else saw. Thankfully I was able to cover it up, but I was starting to feel like a pincusion.

        I was allowed to animate him and the sour tempered Turk. I was positively glowing with delight at the sweet gifts from my friends. I quickly and with flourish animated the dead men to my service. It is almost ecstasy to force the dead to your will. I watched them shamble with pride, my toys. I quickly hid the pleasure at the sight of my companions disgust. I need to be more careful it would seem. They can tolerate my presence and activity but not it would seem if I was enjoying it..too much.

            Thomas pushed us deeper into the bordello and I proudly moved my pawns through the door first. They would bear the brunt of any ambush or surprise. I felt alive again the way I did in my uncle's service. I sent them shambling forward and Thomas stopped at a window. The room itself was likely where whores and opium addicts would lounge about . Thomas was concerned and he put his deadly carbine to his shoulder, took aim, and unleashed death through the window.

     It was Master Kwan. I wish I had known, I would have tried to stop him. But the bullet struck true and Kwan let out a howl. Thomas spun around away from sight and I took the brunt of Master Kwan's wrath. His spell made my insides feel as on fire and began twisted my internal organs all about. I began vomiting black blood and losing my balance. The pain was unbelievable. I quickly lost control of my toy. ( earlier, Thomas tried to use a disguised voice and the puppet of the sour tempered Turk to trick Master Kwan, but it had failed and the Master destroyed my first puppet) I was mostly of little use as apparently a battle broke out around me. I tried to stand, tried to gain some sense other than vertigo. Thomas was trying to pull me to safety (which was nice, I thought he may use me as a shield to get down the hall, but then I was puking far too much to be useful) as we got around the corner, I started to feel a little better.

          Then I felt Master Kwan put forth his will to dominate me. I was near powerless. I tried desperately to resist him, but the call of the grave spirit was too great and I felt myself a prisoner in my own body. He was able to read me like an open book and It was horrifying for him to speak through my lips. It seemed to irritate Thomas as well as he smashed my head with his rifle butt, snapping my neck. I fell limp and lost consciousness.

             He slapped me awake some time later, I had him set my neck so I could heal myself, but the spell was slow and just enough to get me mobile again. I retaliated by wiping my face on his nice shirt. Serves him right. Again, my luck and his assistance held and no one saw how bad of shape I had been in. I stood behind Thomas and Hayden as Master Kwan engaged in "negotiations" with my companions. He seemed to recognize me and I merely stared daggers at the old monster. He did not reveal it though and it appeared he and Thomas came to some accord.  I was beginning to get a sinking feeling in my gut that either me or my uncle or horridly both of us may have had some hand in the loss of Thomas's wife. We had been of use to the Ten Thunders often. I would have to wrack my memory to see if I can come up with anything that might be helpful. As it is, we are now finally going to "Hayden's House" in the badlands. But hopefully first a bath and some rest…………..

A night on Cheshire Street
Prologue: Bad things can happen to good people

The night, dark and rainy, as usual. Here in Malifaux it can often make one depressed. I had long ago stopped fearing the night. I was more intimate with what went bump in it. I had just managed to leave my burnt out wreck of a home and stumbled into the more habitable parts of the city.

     I felt curiously drawn to this seedy little back street. Cheshire street it is called and I was not sure why. Almost as soon as I passed onto its crumbled sidewalks I felt the chill. Looking around I did notice that things watched from the darkness. Fortunately I was not the meat they craved and I was able to pass unmolested down block after block.

     My wanderings left me with no real purpose, but something compelled me onward. I ended up at the "Stoney Street Saloon". This place smelled awful and was full of vermin (mostly of the two legged type). Ducking into a corner, I felt compelled to reapply my "cover".  A more than liberal dose of perfume (bought on the cheap) to cover the smell, and my last mint to cover my breath. Pulling my shawl to cover as much skin as possible I entered and found one of the few empty tables.

     I had the misfortune of sitting between two other tables filled with hooligans. I had unnecessarily concerned myself with my smell, as the locals were far fouler. Unwashed and over active. I had to fend off too many drunken advances. There were whores aplenty in here and I felt insulted that these filth considered themselves worthy to speak to me. I would have to be careful though as some keen eye may pick out my pallid tone.

     I would be fortunate there as well. These men were interested in cards, whiskey, and brawling, not always in that order. I ordered a drink, mostly to fit in, and watched…looking for some sign as to why I was here. I am convinced that nothing in my waking mind brought me here but in deed some subconscious summons. I caught sight of a crazy old man (though he was quite finely dressed, and handsome enough in his own way) who looked at me with triumph in his one good eye. 

     I was beginning to think him a necromancer of far greater strength than I to compel me here from so far away. He leered at me in such a way as to make me quite uncomfortable. As I lit a cigarette I noticed under my glass a strange note, it was not there before and I was now vexed. I could only read the lovely calligraphy "A tall dark stranger will try to steal your heart this night, but the swift shot will be your salvation, yet only moonlight will make it so". Even in my state, I felt the sharp spike of fear. As I looked back up, I noticed my "admirer" had also seen something written (though in truth I had not seen him with a drink earlier).

     I was beginning to get angry at this point. I am no one's toy! I had intended to give him the rough side of my tongue, or perhaps a more lethal retort when a strange man came right up to me and started rambling like a madman. I was certainly well aware of what he was talking about but that was also the kind of talk that prying ears could use greatly against me. I brushed him off as rudely as I was able. It made me cringe about to act in such a boorish manner, but self preservation was necessary.

    I would be saved by a brutish looking beast of a man. Apparently a drunken mountain man had taken either a liking to me, or a great dislike of the well dressed gentleman stranger who had verbally accosted me. It was getting tiresome quick, though I realized they were bringing far too much attention to me. I needed them gone quickly. I was fortunate that the gentleman took his leave. I had initially thought it cowardice, but seeing his well maintained pistol (I was horrified to notice it was a guild peacemaker)I realized he was likely a witch hunter and I was in mortal peril.

     The mountain man likely had not scared him off, more interfered with his investigation. If I could not get out of here quickly perhaps I could divert his attention to the old man. Damn my ill fortune, another tall, dark..( I stifled a gasp, here was a man fitting the very description of my note) he had attempted to make contact with the necromancer, but was being deceived into thinking the man was an idiot. I felt trapped, worse I was being used as a pawn. I had my mind racing when I realized the entire time the mountain man was talking to me.

      I smiled at him and thanked him for the rescue. He moved in to be more "amorous" but fortunately for me, yet another drunken dolt came over and challenged him to a duel. I am ever surprised by the foolishness of these people. I had to be grateful for the reprieve. But now I had other issues to worry about. Namely all my worldly possessions (that being merely two changes of clothes and some assorted toiletries) were now in a hand bag under my table and I may have to bolt and try to outrun a witch hunter.

     I sat back and took another drink of…absinthe? I knew the look, yet I had clearly ordered a white wine, in fact had been sipping on exactly that but a moment before. As this new circumstance added to my mounting frustrations I noticed that the tall dark stranger was now in a conversation with the witch hunter. My heart sank into my stomach *(not literally I think) as I realized I was now likely trapped.  My own senses started to pick up and I noticed the necromancer started staring out the door more intently.

    The piano man picked up a strange (for him ) sonata. It was quite classical and clearly well beyond the means of that drunken sot. It was pleasant to hear though, I would have enjoyed it more had I not an inkling that others were hearing something else entirely. I was now looking for a way out.

    The tall dark stranger was walking towards me and I had foolishly lost track of the witch hunter. I cursed under my breath, as possible doom approached me. He surprised me with his courtesy. He merely asked me to dance ( to be honest I wanted to) and so I took his hand and we danced slowly. I was now keenly aware that my attempts to disguise my nature would be of little use at such close quarters. To my dismay he was also clearly not attracted to me, simply being polite. I had no zombies near enough to aid me if he discovered me.

    I tried a combination of "hard to get" and a bit "easy" to distract him from too much inspection. He was truly a gentleman, but a gnawing unease at the back of my mind made me think of the rest of the warning. I was flummoxed on how to get him outside, where the moonlight should protect me. Unsure of myself, I merely asked him to take me out back, claiming I needed fresh air. The smells of rancid packed humanity in here made my request less suspect than it would be otherwise. I was not sure how he took it. But graciously he led me out.

    I had to ask him to get the door for me, and that made me alarmed, he was not nearly as off guard as I had hoped. I was not now certain that my warning note was so true. He could easily overpower me at this distance (though to be honest the rifle on his back did not give me great prospects for escape) with any luck some vagrant would be dead in the alleyway in case I needed a distraction. It would prove unnecessary as he was still being polite and accommodating. 

      It was cool and wet outside and the rain had kept a steady drizzle. There was a light mist over the ground and I felt strange energies about ( I felt this same way when hunting for parts in old cemeteries) so I resolved to keep he and I out of harms way. I pulled him into a darker corner with me. I was certain he would get the wrong (though admittedly in the circumstanced fully understandable) idea of my intent. As we were again getting off on the wrong foot in our awkward conversations, I noticed what initially I had thought "one of my own" shambling in an alleyway turned out to be to my horror and dismay, another "tall dark stranger" this time he was wielding a pistol and smoking a cheap cigar… but he had the drop on us.

      At this point he started to condescendingly talk to us. He stated in his awful southern colonial drawl that he had come for both my heart and my acquaintances soul.  He set a small cheaply made jewelry box on the ground and kept his pistol trained on us. I admit at this point to being frightened, and somewhat ashamed that I had gotten so much so wrong. The man who had me so terrified for my …life…was actually the one likely to save it.

     Again I was wrong, as he quickly fell backwards and rolled. I was taken off guard and broke the heel on my shoe. That would be the least of my worries as the gunslinger who had so recently had his pistol aimed at my companion fired a single shot into my chest. The pain was excruciating and the force of it slammed me into the wall behind. I slowly slumped down and realized I had neither gasped nor screamed. I would give myself away quite easily!

     Luckily my companion was more interested in getting his rifle to bear, so I clasped my hand over the entry wound.  I was certain there was no exit wound as I could feel the bullet inside me. And again I was not "bleeding" so I thought I could pass it off. Just my luck, the witch hunter had stepped right out the back door and with one shot killed the man. I was horrified at both his speed and accuracy. He hit the man in the head, killing him instantly (and coincidentally destroying the one piece of the corpse I would have needed intact to be useful).

     I was more surprised as I stood up to have that rifle pointed right at me. I could tell he certainly did not trust me. I protested my innocence but he was not having it. It was fortunate for me that he merely suspected me of setting him up to be shot. Being that I am in fact innocent of that at least, I was able to calm him to a degree. I was sure now that I would have to handle him with more care. The "witch hunter" apparently was nothing of the sort. The gun was either stolen or acquired in some other manner. It seems I had fallen in with ordinary mercenary scum.

    I was fairly comfortable with their sort. But I was not prepared to hear the full details they had discovered. They had found that this man was hunting them specifically. But the description was for 2 men and a woman. The description of my companions was spot on. I was concerned greatly when I realized that the description included the clothes they were currently wearing (I am of course assuming they have more than one set).

     I realized now that being more open and truthful would serve me well. They insisted on glad handing and introducing themselves to each other. I was not so eager to give my real name. After all these men could turn on me in a minute. I admitted in good faith about the note I received as well. I would keep the necromancer to myself, I would have to deal with him later I was certain. The men (Thomas and Jack) heard something stalking and went in pursuit. I knew it to be the necromancer, but I also knew he was without any means, before I could yell out they ran off in chase.

      I used that time to fix the hole in my chest ( and cough up and out the bullet). My top was pretty much ruined, but I would make do. I took the time to see if I could salvage anything from the near headless gunslinger. He had some nice things, but I left it. I was really hoping there was enough left to animate, but sadly his carcass resisted all my efforts. I was getting irritated with it when my companions returned. They were unable to catch the old monster, but I was not ready to chase that yet. I did recall that the woman's description was nothing like me, I was about 4 inches shorter and 15 pounds heavier, also her eyes were green, mine are grey (to note my hair is naturally blonde, this woman is clearly bleached, but i digress).

      Why was I targeted or was I a mistake/bystander? the question kept in the back of my mind. It would trouble me greatly. As it grew later it became apparent we were not going to find much out tonight, but eventually they found a key in the box I had nearly forgotten. It was to a safe deposit box in the Schyuester's bank. I also was concerned I had nowhere to go. I coyly asked Thomas if I could stay with him.  I ignored the quips he and Jack mentioned about my nature. I was certain they knew I was "different" but I was not going to admit it. I asked Thomas to go get my bags.

       While he was gone I went over in my head about who or what "the benefactor" was. Whomever he/she is was talented at writing, and must have had some magical skill. Likely a fairly potent arcanist. I shudder to think that the neverborn would be involved. Thomas came back with my bag hanging from the barrel of his rifle. That for some reason angered me. I could not really get to mad at him, he was letting me stay at his place.

      We split up for the night with Jack going home after he and Thomas exchanged addresses. Neither of them owned their place, but it was far better than mine (nothing). I walked hand in hand with him home. He was kind enough to give me the bed. In hindsight I should have paid more attention to his neighbors, I merely assumed they thought me a "lady of the night" and spread fool gossip, I would be wrong again.

      In the morning we got ready quickly, of course he could not resist "you slept like the dead" to me. I let it go. We headed to the saloon to meet with Jack. He was busy questioning patrons and Thomas joined in, I was getting bored. I was also frustrated that things began slipping from my mind. As I was distracted they decided we should finally go to the bank. It was not that bad a trip, really a fairly pleasant walk in a misty grey, cold morning. The drizzle made everything more wet. It was starting to be depressing. I was forced to use more perfume than I had intended. I need to figure out something about the smell.

      We arrived at the bank to discover that there was a guild guard outside and he allowed no weapons inside. I was not surprised, it was a bank after all.  They realized that Jack's gun was a no go, if the guild caught him with that, there would be trouble. So as a compromise, I went inside with the key. The teller was a polite old lady (she must have been 70+) and she ushered me into the back and took me directly to the box, nattering the whole way about kind Mister Follinger and the awful shame (about what I cannot recall, in hindsight I think she also hoodwinked me) but the box was mine.

     I opened it to find merely a map, it led near the town of Innocence out in the badlands. It also was the house that the Follingers owned. I could not get a straight answer from the old teller about them, or maybe I could. I was too befuddled. If I can recall I will tell my companions about the strange sensations. At any rate I dutifully delivered the contents and told my companions what I had learned. They had decided that we needed to get back to Thomas's place. The gossip mongers had him paranoid.

     When we arrived in the neighborhood we needed a plan to "flush out" the watchers without fully revealing all our cards. Well gossip mongers needed something to gossip about. So I took off my outer garments (this had the added effect of me trying to convince them I was alive and well, and not some shambling ghoul) and handed them to Thomas. I then brazenly walked up to his front door and began knocking. I assume that it was effective. Thomas and Jack cornered a man of three kingdoms decent that was certainly interested in me in a purely killer/victim way.

    He turned out to be merely out for Thomas. I was convinced he was a red herring. I then pretended to be cold and embarassed. I was not sure Thomas bought it, but he indulged me and gave me his house key and my clothes. I dressed quickly as he admonished me to be swift as we had a journey ahead. We pooled our meager cash remains and bought a wagon (covered for comfort as we were headed out into the badlands) and some mules. Thomas and Jack were quite thorough in getting us what we needed, though Thomas shamed me by using me as a "damsel in distress" to get us cheaper prices.  I have no way to really "get him" some time he is the model of courtesy and gentlemanly behavior and others quite the rogue. He even admitted to me he was married.  I can imagine his wife will quite despise me if the gossips reach her.

     We decided to soon set out for the Follinger house. A full weeks travel into the badlands. I am not afraid of the trip, but I am sure it will be uncomfortable and dangerous. I am well prepared for that though.  I was the henchman for a powerful necromancer in fact.

Welcome to your campaign!
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1. Invite your players

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2. Edit your home page

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If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.


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