Deadlands: 1879 Still Search'n

Metal Man

 

Journal entry – Metal Man.

July 8, 1979

                Got a letter from the home office asking for me to look for an automaton. I asked my new friends if they would help. To a bit of talking but they agreed, we headed out to where it was last seen, by night fall we came to a farm. A young boy met us at the gate, he said his name was John. As we talked to him about staying the night his mother had come out. A nice lady by the name of Isabelle. We had learned that the man of the house had gone away on a job 3 months ago and had not returned or sent any letters. She said that that the young lady and kid we have with us can stay in the house, everyone else is welcome to stay in the barn. After thanking Isabelle, we headed to the barn. Half way there we ran into the dam thing; the boy ran to it yelling for it to go back for some odd reason. The Automaton got very defensive. Took a bit of talking to but finally lowered its defenses.  The dam thing can talk, well as well as you would think a machine can talk. After getting a closer look at it I noticed it be shot up a bit. We talked to it a bit, it claims it is johns father, (that can’t be true though it’s a machine). We got it into the barn and I convinced it to let me look at it I opened the chest cavity to check the boilers. HOLY FUCKING SHIT ………………… there are piece of a body in here. Well maybe it/he is telling the truth. I didn’t think it was possible. Who the hell would do this to a person. I mean I know where it was made but I don’t think my father would sign off on something like this if he knew what they were doing. He tells us his name is John Sr. he went to Hellstrome and they did this to him. He ran from them but the only place he thought to go to was home. The dumb fool, thought I don’t blame him. <s>While sitting here chatting with him someone says they see people heading to the farm. They were people from Hellstrome. I convinced them that the Automaton was in here and that I saw tracks heading in a different direction. I asked to go around the farm as to not scare the family with their cannon, they kindly obliged. I headed back to the barn to speak with John SR. while talking to him and telling him how long I think he as to live I let it slip that there where people from Hellstrome outside. He “stormed out side. We all went various places to see what was going on and protect the family. The automaton opened fire on then. The battle was over in the matter of moments. He had gunned them all down. I followed him out to where the bodies where I told him I need to fix his boiler, I mentioned the Isabelle was in the and asked him to wait outside. As soon as I walked away I heard the cannon go off, I cringed. In the end he came into the barn and scared the poor woman. After calming people down, I got a better look inside and patch worked his boiler. Gave him about a month to live. I spent a bit of time talk to him and convinced him to let me well for lack of a batter term shut him down. The Paladin did his god thing and laid him to rest. Still can’t believe he can do shit like that. </s> After all, said and done I have a dead Automaton that I need to get back to Hellstrome, took his head as proof.

View
[Redmark's Log] Entry Four

07/07/79

Old Bill seemed interested in making sure that I was "lernin' somethin'", and proposed a trip to the Chicago Historical Society. It was not open today, though. The trip up into town was not wasted, though, as I saw an entrance to an area underground. Bill explained that this was where the people of Chicago kept the bodies of their Ancestors. This was fascinating to me. Bill seemed to think that it would be dangerous.

Bereft of our intended destination, Bill took me to the work board. While he tried to find gainful employ, I took notice of what all looked interesting. The one that stood out was a playbill. A pair of related and unhappy looking Irishmen frowned back from it. According to it, they were Joey and Billy McCrory. It also said that the pair had a long history of train robbing (whatever that is). The Damn Yankees had put a $5,000.00 bounty on each of them. That is very many cows of money.

While Bill was distracted, I found my way back to the 'necropolis'. I found it in a frightful state of disrepair. There was enough dust to leave marks accumulated on many of the surfaces. I could not stand it. I had to do something about it. It was long and tiring work, but at least one bough was now clean.

As it got to be late in the day, I heard two men approaching before I saw light from their lantern. They must not have been paying much attention, because though they stopped to admire my work, they did not see me. I decided that if people would be walking around at night and not cleaning, then I should leave. Who knows what they might do. Sleep came easily after an honest day of work.

 

 

Redmark wrote this.

View
[Redmark's Log] Entry Three (Concluded)

Some very bad medicine was afoot, because I watched as Lucas' form contorted and warped unnaturally. I stood transfixed with fascination as he suddenly became an amorphous creature of … water?

I had no time to consider how this might have come to be. I was pummeled with a blast of cold fluid that hurt, but did not knock the wind from me. I decided that the prudent thing to do was to take cover behind some rocks. 1

A few forever-moments of avoiding cold blasts later, I reasoned that trying to garner attention might be a good idea. The water above was odd enough by itself. I decided that it might be odd enough that I could shoot an arrow through it. If the Ancestors were with me, someone above would see the arrow and come to lend aid.

I would not be writing this were it not for Bill. I am not certain how this came to be, but Bill jumped through the water and down on into the cave.

What followed was quite grisly, and I had not the time or inclination to take precise notes. Suffice it to say that when the brawl was over, whatever Manitou that had possessed Lucas' form had fled to its' home, Bill looked tuckered, the passel of people following <s>Mr. Hellstromme</s> Xander around showed up, and Lucas was dead on the ground in two pieces.

Never before had I truly understood the admonition 'come back in one piece.' Now, I do.

So, we had found the missing children – more than we were looking for – and the missing ranch hand. Unfortunately, they were also all dead. This was not likely the result that they wanted, but it was also probably the one the ranch expected. While the adults set to moving or melting the ice blocks as they were wont to do, I went back to the ranch – Miss Isabella would be wanting to hear about it all, no doubt.

But, it turns out that I was wrong. By the time I walked back to the house, night had fallen and the common hearth was out. The lady of the house was in her rooms, and it seemed more prudent to get some sleep than to wake up a woman I did not know.

The rug on the floor was made of buffalo-hide, and was nearly as comfortable as grass. I had fallen swiftly asleep. I was awoken far too early. It was the strangest thing – a kraa-bird 2, which usually looks for meals and trinkets to steal during the day, was outside the window nearest me, making quite a racket. I would not be able to get back to sleep with that kind of din.

I emptied my apple-sack and then stood before approaching the offending window. It continued its' commotion unabated. I then opened the window, and it one swift motion, bagged the bird. I was tired still, so it would have to wait until later for me to ask Bill if I could keep it.

But the bird would persist in keeping me from my deserved rest. I had – by chance – noticed something on the bird's leg that … might … be the sort of message that was sometimes attached to the legs of messenger birds. Sure enough, a message (in English) was written on a strip of paper in a small and shaking hand. It asked for the people here at the ranch to come help, and to bring dynamite.

Since Isabella did not respond to knocking at the door, I used alternate means to wake her – specifically by releasing the bag into her room. That worked fairly well.

Once the bird fled out the window and the ruckus died down, I gave the frazzled Isabella the note. She read it swiftly, and seemed surprised that someone would think that the farm would have dynamite. I was then tasked with bringing her to the cave-site immediately. On the way, she explained to me that our information indicating seven children was old. Fourteen were now missing – including one named ‘Lucas’. Had we actually found them all?

In time, we reached the cave. Efforts there were underway to thaw the victims. All manner of methods were being tried. The going was slow, and the work pretty grim. No one really expected survivors.

The nice lady from the auction was apparently the one that sent "Edgar" the kraa-bird. He seemed somewhat upset with the rough handling, but was none the worse for the wear. I should ask her sometime how she learned to catch small birds.

Somebody wanted to blast the cave entrance with . They figured that it would asked the course of the river. It was said that with the way the water was going, it would flood the plain and a settlement below. Not much of any of this made much sense to me. After all, the disappearances had started only weeks ago, and settlements take time to build. How could they have built it if before the water world have washed it away Disaster was avoided by the discovery and use of a dam up river.

Two of the children survived. It was hard to feel like a hero with such loss. At some point someone mentioned Lucas by name. Isabella seemed surprised that we had found the last 'missing child' and not told her. This confirmed that Lucas was the fourteenth.

Now, as I explained before, I thought Lucas was a ranch hand. He was certainly grown up enough to be considered a man. This meant that instead of missing a fourteenth child, we were still missing a lost ranch hand. Privately, I think the water-Manitou got him. The corpses were returned to the ranch house (Bill went back for Lucas) and got put to rest.

Isabella offered to pay each person the promised $25 reward. Most refused it. I think that this was because when she brought the till around, she made sure folks saw that there was not much in it. A popular farm like this with very few supply needs, broke? That stuck with me.

Given the hour, most of us went to bed. I could not sleep, though. I kept thinking about how Lucas died, and the missing hand, and most especially the empty till. I decided that I could do something about at least one of them tonight – and I did.

Burning with curiosity, I went to Isabella's parlor. It was all manner of fancy (of course). It was like her Medicine Bag, but was pictures, and keepsakes, and stuff. Most of it was pretty uninteresting. Some of it was downright disgusting, like the Damn Yankee war memorabilia. I had come  to check the till for a secret compartment, though. I found one. Inside were a map and another document. I seized the former and left the latter.

I tried to wake bill, but that didn't work. I had to consult the adults as to what to do, and I was not sure which of them would pay attention, even at this hour. Mother put up with my sisters no matter what time they had bothered her, so I resolved to try talking to a woman. I could hardly talk to Isabella… I went to the kraa-bird lady from the auction.

Compared to most adults, she woke pretty easily, and was not too surprised to be awoken. Maybe she was still awake when I knocked? I do not know. I explained about my curiosity, and the parlor, and the Damn Yankees, and she was getting that red look when I showed her the map.

After looking at the map, she asked me to go back to get the other paper, so I did. She took a long time then writing stuff, and I fed the bird some of my tallow. I figured that it would only be good to try to make friends after the bad meeting. I even dozed off a bit. When it got light, I went to go help with the chores – another pair of hands could hardly hurt with so many missing.

Mid-morning Edgar (the bird!) brought a message from the lady – she wanted me to put the papers back. So I did. I spent some more time in the parlor looking around. There was (like I said before) lots of old Damn Yankee war stuff for a man. An officer. That got boring, so I went back to doing chores

After a meal, all the adults were finally awake. Bill and all them resolved to go, and we left for Chicago. A five hour ride later, Bill and I arrived at Miss Hattie's. There was a big surprise from Bear waiting for me, though. The lady said that Edgar had brought something back from the plains. It was Boo! She was hurt awful bad, but me looking after her would fix that up! 

I do not remember anything important after that. I was tired, and besides, I had Boo to take care of.


Redmark wrote this.

1 Two 'Wounds' of cold damage, no 'Wind'.
2 A Corvid Corax Principalis. A common Northern Raven.
3 A passenger pigeon.

View
[Redmark's Log] Entry Three (Continued)

The adults burned more than half the morning jawin' about stuff and trying to convince the children to talk with their judge, jury, and executioner standing right there. Needless to say, it took much longer than it should have, but we eventually managed to get out to see the spring creek that the kids were known (by Miss Isabella, anyhow) to use. The creek was cold. In point of fact, it was really cold for July. The cold was more like a March cold snap.


But that wern't the clue-find of the day. I was havin' fun tossing rocks into the creek when the adults started to holler about tracks what led away from the ranch and deeper into the brush. Since they were kid tracks, they became the focus of attention, and everybody forgot the oddly cold creek (for now, anyhow).


The big group of us followed the tracks upriver to a neat little fort that the kids had built for themselves. I was pretty impressed. The fort was sort of a hunting camp with the way it hid itself from adult eyes. It was made out of leftover hay and bits n' bobs seconded from all over the ranch. This was no small endeavor, and would have taken a bunch of kids significant time to build, never mind sneak off to have fun in. I began to wonder how many of the kids were youngin's, and how many were like me. No matter how old, they had not been taught right. A campfire still smouldered from the previous evening and was not cold-out.


I did not have much time to ponder on this, though. A short search of the fort's environs led to another weird clue. It was another set of tracks leading yet further into the wilderness. This time, though, they wern't kid-tracks. Instead, they were long and narrow. Teacher, I admit to never having been especially good at making out the marks of critters and people on the ground, but I can say with conviction that no beast of the plain or of the wood made those marks. Looking at them made me think of steam and steel. I had to know what they were.


Conjectures were made aloud as to what they might be until it was decided to follow these, too. i would have prefered to stay a little longer. Not just because the little fort looked fun, but because we might find more clues there! Maybe?


The plains gave way to a copse of trees which gave way to a small wood. The trees here had been spared the axe and the saw. What we followed was more of a hunter's trail. This led to a sort of crossroads of these paths. We found a surprise here – a ranch hand!


He said that his name was Lucas. He also said that he had been out all night looking for the missing kids. He was also apparently the one who left the fire, because he said he built one when slept at the fort last night. 1


They did not truss him up and leave him for Bear like they should have. Apparently, they did not think that leaving a fire on the plain that way was something that should be punished. City people. Instead, the big group of us continued to follow the tracks. The long, weird, wet, and cold tracks rejoined the river and followed along it until <s>Mr. Hellstrome</s> Xander said that there was a "thermocline" in the water. I guess that's a fancy City way of saying that the water changed back to normal from really, really, cold.


They got boring (again) so i went back to the play-fort. While I was staring out bow-shot ranges to fend off the imaginary Yankees, I found more tracks, and followed them. See? I said that there wrre probably more clues!


Even for a paleface like me, it was easy to see that the tracks changed from the long narrow ones to those of a man in boots. That is to say, I actually tripped in them. I guessed that this meant that the man had taken some sort of long, thin things off his feet.


I gathered myself together and looked around to see if anyone had seen my error. No? Good.
I was surprised to find Lucas in another clearing. After looking at his feet and then seeing that he did not have any sort of sack or pack, I decided to listen to him rather than run. I am proud to say that I surprised him. Even though I could still smell the coke and smoke of the train in my shirt, he seemed as nose-blind as all the other adults I have met since leaving home. Since the usual method of tossing a pebble worked out so poorly last time, I made a bunch of noise to alert him. This worked, and he seemed surprised enough. Heh.


He said that he had been all over these lands since the disappearances began, and that the orthers were probably wasting their time. A bear cave, he said, was the only place left that he had not searched. I excitedly followed him until even I could see the cave, then pelted off at a run inside.


The cave was unnaturally cold, and more than a little damp. There was plenty of light for me to see by, though I am not sure any of the city folk could have. As I worked my way deeper in, I saw an opening in the 'roof' of the cave, which bathed a number of big ice blocks in light.
Confusion led to elation. I had found thirteen missing kids! That was six more than we even had known to look for! But … they were frozen in blocks of ice. The ice chilled my elation to dispair, though. Owl had them all, and even a mighty shaman of the Great Spirit would be unlikely to restore even one of these children.

Defeated, I turned to leave. But my Mustang- ride of emotions was not over yet…

 

 

 

 


1 I really should have noticed that this was out of place. I mean, if Lucas was one of the adults, how did he know about the fort that the rest of them did not seem to know about it?

View
[Redmark's Log] Entry Three
04/07/79

Turbid Waters,

The Chicago stockyards were not nearly as much fun as I'd hoped. For one thing, the animals weren't happy at all. For another, they lived in a very regimented set of pens. There sure were a lot, though. Nearly as many 'thousands' as the dollars from the auction. Not enough hands to watch them all, though.

I could scarcely believe that the city was so hungry as to need so much beef. Mr. Oakes said that it isn't the city, but instead the damn Yankee army what eats most of it. If that's true, I understand now why they war so often for new land – they must need a great amount of lands to satisfy such a need. What great sickness must they have to be so … empty?

Mr. Oakes is nearly dead, so he gets tired easily. We had only been walking a few hours when he obviously needed another rest. Fortunately, he is also easily distracted. I lost him easy and found some interesting rocks and mud to build little villages with. After a while, some rats and frogs came to play, too. No other children, though.

Sometime later, I got bored. As I suspected, Mr. Oakes was still loitering and talking to the hands. As I padded up, I overheard him talking about going back to the Loop and the room he rented there. I don't think he realized that the room was a quarter day's walk away. I reminded him that the hands needed to sleep, too, and that got him to start looking around.

I figured that he'd see Miss Hattie's soon enough, and adults think they know everything, so why disabuse him of the notion? I brushed off the dust and then went through my stuff to make sure Buford the toad was well hidden. He was. The mud in his pouch seemed to be keeping him properly cool and moist, too. Good.

That’s about when I noticed a big community board. It was festooned with bills and messages, along with notices for hired help. I figured that if Mr. Oakes wanted to continue to stay in other people’s houses, he’d need more Federal money. Money means work. In a city like this, there must be loads of ailing and dying people – which is good news for a grave-digger, so long as people know that one is available. I grabbed a mostly-blank sheaf of paper from the board and ripped off the blank part. I then brought the paper and the idea to Mr. Oakes.

This went well, for the most part. After he’d paid Miss Hattie’s manservant for a week ahead, Mr. Oakes took up the notice and scrawled his own message with some of my charcoal. I noticed that there were more than a few ‘demimonde’ types that were kinda paying attention to us, but not really. Maybe these folks make enough jink to not consider five Federal dollars a lot? I dunno. None of this would have mattered enough to tell you about, teacher, but for what happened next.

After putting up his work wanted bill, Mr. Oakes surprised me by suggesting that we spend some time on the town, as the night had not yet fully engulfed the city. I was especially interested in these ‘pool halls’ that the newspapers say are so bad. After all, if the newspaper pans it, it must be good. Mr. Oakes said that he wanted to make up to me the fact that we left New York before being able to go to a pool hall there, and we would be going tonight … just here in Chicago, not in New York. Thoughts of testing my skills against other youths – white youths, no less – at a game of skill and nerve appealed to me mightily.

It was not to be, however. A bill that I had somehow missed earlier now demanded all my attention. It told about a rancher looking for help finding missing kids! It made me wonder: why wasn’t the law handling this?

For once, the old man was shuffling with a purpose. Maybe he liked pool halls more than museums and stockyards and trains? Anyway, he was most of the way to the hall when I tried to get his attention. As he’s old and deaf, he didn’t hear me call. I tossed a small rock at him, and …

Um, Mr. Oakes fell down.

I don’t remember what happened next, precisely. When I came to my senses, a nice woman was telling me not to fidget in a high-backed chair. I was in some sort of weird flophouse. There were beds everywhere, and a smell unlike any other I had experienced. More than the desperation and frustration of the city – this place smelled like people were dead or dying.

But Mr. Oakes wasn’t dead. Too Texan to die from a little rock to the head. Mr. Hellstromme and a foreigner that sounded kind of like Miss Beliveau were talking quietly near him. They seemed more interested in a small thing in the foreigner’s hand, so I figured the old man was okay.

When a (different) nice lady came to inquire as to the missing children, I saw that the Great Spirit had conspired to bring five people who had all been at that odd auction together again. I wanted to help the kids, anyway, but now I was convinced that it was something I had to look in to. They all seemed to agree, then realized that the ranch might be far away.

The nice man running the flophouse for not-quite-dead people was good enough to tell me which way it was to the general store. The (different) nice lady needed a horse, so a livery was our next stop. I didn’t say nothin’, but I knew Mr. Oakes was going to need a horse too, and I couldn’t imagine how he would pay for one.

While the adults were still playing pat-a-cake, I sprinted up the street to the previously mentioned general store. Once there, I had intended to talk to the hands, but the proprietor was available. He told me that (unfortunately) the ranch got its’ supplies once a month, and that last run had gone out only a week ago. Rats.

I asked some more questions, and eventually found out that a supply run was planned for the morning to a ranch that was halfway to this one. This was what I was looking for! With Traveler stabled in Colorado and the rest of these folks not exactly looking like Cow Boys, this supply run might be the only transport what would get us there in a reasonable span of time. I don’t have any Federal money, so I traded the trader for one of the gold necklaces I found in the Missouri. He seemed to think it was a fair trade.

For once, the adults all listened to me. Everybody was ready early in the morning for a journey by wagon to the ranch with missing children. It was a relatively small shipment to my eye, but maybe the ranch was small. After all, they say everything is bigger in Texas. The transit was largely uneventful except for the still skies and lack of wind, and the first stop went off without a hitch.

Our destination was a ranch … with hogs! Big, odd hogs of a sort I had never seen – large as a pony! Apparently, when they tried to start a horse ranch, ten of the dozen horses that they had planned to start with up and died. So, they found a large breed of wild pig in the fields below the ranch-land and switched to hog-farming.

In any case, the place was run by an old man and a younger woman along with a number of their hands and those hands’ families. It was from these families that the (seven!) missing children were drawn. The disappearances had occurred over the last few days, had taken mostly boys.

After jawing a bit with the ranch’s adults, the others started asking the kids questions. The sort of questions that the honest answers to which would get the kids in trouble. Not surprisingly, we didn’t really learn anything there. I wanted to talk to the other kids while there weren’t no adults around, but with the disappearances, Mr. Oakes was keeping a closer eye on me than usual…

View
The Auction

This all started when the little buckaroo, Patrick found a notice in the papers. The notice was for an auction of some ancient door stopper/altar piece, or some such. The little guy seemed wanna see it up close, and such like. Wantin' to give the kid the best education that I could, I'd promised that we could go see it.

It was in New York City, of all horrible places. Still, that's where we went. The train ride wasn't special, but I consider that to a good thing. No threats, so Patrick was safe. That's what matters.

Once we got here, it was only good for doxies and such. The auction house was full of interesting old stuff. I hope that Patrick was learnin' as much as he could.

The old relic that we got to check out was apparently a solid metal mass, with two similar, yet different sets of markings on it. The top and bottom markings were made at different times, the auction lady said. Having looked at it, I believe her.

Afterwards, I found out that the auction site had been moved at the last minute. Typical Yankee B*$t*r&$.Well, I was invested in seein' what was goin' on, so we went to the new site. 

The train ride there was only worth mentionin' cuz some idjot chucked Patrick's helpless Boo off the train, only fer Patrick to boot the jerk off after him. Good fer him, I says! Ya don't get away with traumatizin' kids like that. Kids is sacred. Anyone who hurts or threatens a kid is gettin' a free funeral from me! Especially Patrick. He is like the son I wish I'da had.

We got to the place, and saw the auction, the prices were unbeliveble !

It sold for thousands! The artifact we was look fer sold fer THOUSANDS!

Afterwards, we met some of the others who bid for the thing, including the winner. Some furriner, from France, I think. It's all a mess, as the item turned out to be an ash filled funerary urn, after all. I had though of it before, but was fooled into thinkin' that it was solid. Oh well.

At least everyone is alright.

More later, Bill Oaks.

View
[Redmark's Log] Entry Two

03/07/79

Turbid Waters,

                If I disliked trains before (and I did), I have reason now to loathe them. I know not if he is dead or alive, but I put my faith in Bear that she survived her ordeal and that we shall see one another again while we are still more than spirit. Boo is … gone.

                Mr. Oakes went back to Christie’s to see the not-gold yellow metal box again, and told me not to get into trouble. I climbed up on top of the roof to greet Daystar, caught a jahgowa, and then listened to all of the noise below while it cooked on the bed-warmer. On the roof, it was somewhat easier to stand the lessened stink, so I broke my fast there.

                Again, Mr. Oakes was in a big hurry. For someone who tends to the dead, he seems to always be rushing. This is funny because the dead are usually quite patient. That, and they are often slower moving than people.

                He said that we must go to Chicago. This made me glad. Chicago was a place I had heard of many times, and I wished to visit. He said then that we must go by train there. This I did not like. He said also that we needed to hurry, because the train might leave without us. Privately, I would not have objected to that. I wanted to see all the places I had been told about, like the Damrosch orchestra, the metropolitan museum, and the grand central terminal!

                After some standing with other people and a carriage ride to one of the many rail stations, we began our train journey out of New York. I was fairly upset because I had not seen the Washington’s square park. (Is it truly square? Why would they make a park, square?) I had no idea that something far worse than disappointment awaited me.

                While Mr. Oakes was reading his wrong bible again, I explored around and told Boo she could look around, too. We found lots of crannies and nooks and Boo found more food she liked. But there was one door we couldn't go through. A frowning man was standing in front of it.

                I guess that man was just plain mean, because he picked Boo off the mid-wall hand-hold and threw her off the train. He threw Boo far away, and I couldn't see where she landed. The train was just moving too fast. The man fell off, too, but I saw where he went. He fell under the tracks. I knocked on the door to tell an adult.

                The adult inside turned out to be a youngish man claiming to be Mr. Hellstromme. By the way the other people treated him and the room was appointed, maybe he really did own the train. I don’t know. He didn't seem very bothered that the mean man was no longer on the train.

                The room was very special, though. It was made cold by ice on top, and winds coming down, just like the Sierra Madre. I wasn't sure if I liked it, but I did know that like the train, this was not the right Way.

                He gave me food from a special place that makes cream sweeter, cold, and squishy. It was very good, worthy even. When I realized that, I stopped eating. I had plans for this special stuff.

                Mr. Hellstromme wanted to take me back to Mr. Oakes, then. I knew that the adults would forget about me again when they were talking, so I brought him and introduced them. It didn't take them long to start talking about the not-gold yellow metal box again.

                I stole away then, and got my bowl of iced cream. I added it to the big barrel of the stuff the other people brought in case Mr. Hellstromme wanted more, and rolled it out of the room.

                I told Bear that the iced cream was sweet as honey, and worthy of the appetite of his kin. I told him that I thought it would be good payment for him to watch after Boo, and kicked it off the side. It sure made a nice ‘splat’ sound when it landed, but I still miss my friend.

                I cried a little bit and then slept in the corner. The adults didn't notice that I was gone, so I didn't get into trouble. It was like trying to sleep after drinking coffee. I don’t know if it was the iced cream or missing Boo, but I won’t try that food again for a while.

                Chicago was much like the word-pictures I have heard about it. It was less big than New York, but still had more people and buildings than the plains have buffalo. It also stank slightly less, I guess because of all the cattle and the stockyard.

                I couldn't go have fun there, though. Not yet. Mr. Oakes had to go to Christie’s. Apparently (s)he has a place in Chicago, too. It was mostly the same, but I got to see the auditorium in this one.

                Lots of Union people, Federate people, Texans, Messkins, and even stranger folks were there. All of them were there to agree who could spend the most money to buy things. The person who could, got the thing. Sometimes it was a big box of things, and sometimes it was a picture of a thing, and at the end, there were single things. A cannon, a cavalry sabre, a pair of pistols what they said had belonged to the Regulators’ boss, Billy. That sort of stuff.

                These crazy people paid many, many dollars for these things, and I learned a new word. “Thousands.” A thousand is two hands of two hands of two hands! Not three of two hands, but a much, much bigger number.

                After a long, boring while, it was finally over. Mr. Oakes took me to see the cattle, to which he paid regrettably little attention. This city is also too big to walk out of before sleep. I understand that we are going to hire a room in a place called “the loop”.

Redmark wrote this.

View
[Redmark's Log] Entry One
(In)auspicious Beginnings

01/07/79

Turbid Waters,

                I continue to have hope that most people I meet on this journey will be good ones, but I begin to despair. In the three moons it has been since leaving home, I have found that most people have forgotten the land entirely. They do not treat themselves, their beasts, or each other well. What things they saw as ‘other’ were treated even worse.

                It’s my own fault, really. One day, I found a piece of newsprint nobody wanted, and before I could use it to make bedding out of for Boo, Mr. Oakes saw the photograph on it. He got all fired up about going to New York City, and we had to go now, right now. I almost forgot my bag!

[Place Transcription of NYT article here.]

                Following Mr. Oakes has brought me to the isle of Manhattan. This required many sleeps on the train. I felt that this was unpleasant. Mr. Oakes said that it would be swifter than a wolf. This may be so, but it was noisy and smelled bad. Traveler could rest in Denver after her encounter with the Lakota, though. So, not all bad.

                Mr. Oakes spent his time asleep or hunting squaws. Boo was most impressed by all the crawly holes and discarded food. I threw many shiny and intricate things from the train. This made Bear grumble less and the adults quarrel amongst themselves more. This is good.

                In this place, now called New York, the Union has built an awe-inspiring city. It has people and buildings beyond counting. Among its wonders are a great copper hand bearing a torch, multiple railheads (though no cattle or horses), trains that rode on tracks lain in the sky, great wagons for carrying people called “trolleys”, big schools, bigger libraries, and the place that Mr. Oakes wanted to go.

                I found this place to be unpleasant. It was called “Christie’s”. No one would tell me where Christie was. Nor why I was not allowed to see him or her. Worse, the place was mostly filled with boring people who frowned at me and did not like to answer questions.

                Mr. Oakes was there to see a boring (heavy) not-gold yellow metal box from the byzants. So he did and I helped by not touching anything and keeping Boo in my pocket.

                There was a lady that was trying to talk up the piece, but it sounded to me like she had only read about it. There’s no shame in that, but you should say when you don’t know. For example, I asked her who the byzants were, and she told this long, confusing story about the people who followed Vóhko'xénéhe.

                She seemed to think that he and they lived a long time ago, and this is so … but it was only one and two hands turns ago, not many, many ‘years’. I didn't bother to tell her that she must be wrong – why would the Dog Soldiers make such a useless thing?

                Because I had ‘behaved’, Mr. Oakes took me to see

                When night came, the city was too big to walk out of. Mr. Oakes hired a room for us at a club on the intersection of the fifth avenue and the twenty-first street. After he started to snore, I snuck out of the room and went to the gathering place instead. Even at this late hour, there were many men were smoking the sacred herb. Few of them had pipes, and none of those were the correct kind. Nor were they in all in the same council. Most kept to themselves, and consumed much medicine water. No wonder – they all smelled very sickly.

                I had seen this sort of thing before, so I became curious about the mustachioed man who was using a metal thing and cursing at it. At first, I thought that cursing at it was how he made it worked, but after a time I understood that this was not so. There were … metal fingers that stuck out of the front, which made metal fingers inside strike the paper page fed into it with ink.

                When his paper ran out, he noticed me. I introduced him to Boo, and he did not speak English like a Union. More like Mr. Oakes, but not the same. He was nice, and reminded me of a tale-keeper. His stories were funny, though, and he said that people paid him money to write them on his machine.

                I traded him a hickory stick that I was saving for making a spear with for two books. “Sketches New and Old”, which he wrote himself, and “The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today”, which someone else helped him write some years ago.

                About this time, I felt tired enough to sleep even here, so I fed Boo, wrote this note, and have found a decent place to sleep near the horses.

Redmark wrote this.

View
Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

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.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.