After taking its cruel, otherworldly revenge on ol’ Chet, our party rode from the haunted cave towards Perdition, a bag of gold nuggets richer and still overseeing their last lone prisoner from the Killers of Carcass Creek ambush. This hombre hadn’t drawn much attention to himself since the capture, keeping his head down and not speaking, but now the party noticed his scruffy and cagey manner, and the fact that he studied his surroundings intently from under brim of his filthy old hat.
They’d been following a peaceful creek towards town for a while, and around a rocky bend, the stream suddenly collected into a sizable pool with an atmosphere that was anything but calming. The muddy clay around the pond was piled with the bones of various animals, human remains among them. A board had been painted with the crude image of a skull and hammered into the mud as a warning.
Also on site was a short but sturdy hill-folk scout, standing with a mule that seemed disinterested in moving any further. The scout studied the grim pond and scratched his grizzled beard, looking like he’d spent the last few weeks outdoors. The party approached cautiously, looking and feeling mostly ready for the grave themselves. Introductions went around, and they established the wary trust of exhausted travellers. Turns out Bulwark Blackcave, that being the hill-folk’s name, and ruffian Bart McArthur had both fought for the North in the war, and they compared battle stories that Tommy soaked up with open-jawed astonishment.
Casual banter done with, they spent a few minutes exploring this morbid wellspring of decay. Po-Po, the strange eastern shaman who was uncommonly sensitive to the spirit world, felt an overwhelming presence of evil here. In his typical manner, both exotic and obscure, he attempted to communicate with the rotting bones, but had no success.
The party’s ragged prisoner, who’d been silently staring at the pond’s edge, suddenly spoke up. “Shiny,” he said without emotion, and gestured with his roped hands towards the bone-strewn bank before him. Bulwark investigated, and sure enough, he found a silver dollar coin half-buried in the clay. Studying the tracks in the clay, they decided there had been Shee in the area recently, and that human-sized bodies had been dragged towards the water for some unknown purpose. Bulwark, pleased that the prisoner’s keen observation had proven profitable for himself, shared some trail rations with the tightly bound man. The others showed little interest in the Killer, only hoping his deliverence to Perdition would bring in a decent bounty.
They were yet a couple hours to town, and the night approached, so they moved on. Being a native of the area, Bulwark Blackcave knew the way. As they trodded onwards upon their weary mounts, both Two Crows Redfang, for that was the prisoner’s name, and Bulwork spotted a figure high upon a nearby hill, who seemed to be observing them. It looked to be a female Shee judging by the silhouette, but she was too far away to speak to or shoot at, so they could do nothing but proceed, now with the uneasy feeling that they were being followed.