DrunkDeadlands

To Salt Lake City!
Cecelia can be scary?

After the exciting battle that occurred mere minutes ago, Neil Orton drags the unconscious captive back to the jail with most of the group following close behind. He places the man in a cell, locks it up and starts grumbling about paperwork.

“Maaaan, when I decided to become a sheriff I thought there’d be a lot more like women in various states of undress throwin’ themselves at me…” He sounds legitimately dejected as he rifles through his desk, pulling out the necessary official forms.

“Are you serious?” Kid stares blankly, wishing he was surprised by that statement.

“Well, yeah!”

“Don’t worry, Neil,” Richard says with a chuckle, “that comes later in the job.”

“Oh! Well, alright, ok. As long as it’s comin’…”

Kid shoots Richard a glare, “Don’t. Encourage him. Please.

A couple of hours pass before the man in the cell starts to come around. He looks around, paling visibly when he realizes where he is. Richard’s hand moves towards one of his guns, keeping it at the ready just in case things go sour. Max acts in a similar fashion, keeping his hand on the hilt of his sword. Thankfully, Neil had the brains to keep his hands handcuffed behind his back in order to keep him from pointing his gun arm at everyone and riddling the place full of holes.

“Mornin’” Richard comments, almost casually as the man begins to stir.

The man pulls himself up, carefully considering his options. He quickly finds that they’re rather limited especially considering the fact that he was vastly outnumbered. With a heavy sigh he sits down on the cot near the back of the cell.

Neil looks up from his paperwork for a moment, addressing the group as a whole. “Well, I guess it’s my job as sheriff to get to interrogate him. Unless one of you guys wants to do it.”

Cecelia quickly glances over at Richard expectantly. He gets the hint and steps forward, peering into the cell. “Alright, let’s start with the obvious question. Would you care to explain why you and your buddies came into town and thought it would be a good idea to attack one of our citizens?”

The man sneers derisively, leaning back on the cot with his hands behind his head. “I ain’t gotta tell you guys nothin’.”

Richard leans against the bars of the cell, watching the man out of the corner of his eye. “I don’t think you’re in a position to be withholding information right now.” He nods to the rest of the group. “There’s six of us. Only one of you.”

“So if you’re gonna kill me then kill me, ya stupid, ugly sunnovabitch,” he snaps, but all it manages to do is make Richard chuckle. Max steps forward, seemingly with purpose before stopping suddenly and putting a hand to his chin, the other still holding fast to his sword. His brow furrows and it’s clear he’s trying to remember what he was doing. The man raises an eyebrow. “Is there something wrong with you, son?”

Thus far the interrogation isn’t going very well, so Kid decides to try his hand. “It would be very beneficial for you to answer his questions.”

If anything that seems to downright amuse the prisoner. He snorts, “What, so you guys are gonna let me out of jail if I play along?”

Gabrielle pushes her way to the front of the group and leans down to stare the man in the eye. “Listen, do you really want to spend the rest of your life sitting here in this cell listening to his stories?” She asks, pointing back towards Neil. “We can keep you in this cell for a long, long time and he does not stop.

The crook looks confused for a minute, but then suddenly Neil pipes up from the corner. “Hey, did I ever tell you guys about this one time my brother Francis went to jail? He was in town runnin’ some errands for my big sister, right? Then all of a sudden he saw this reaaaal purdy girl that he wanted to see and probably get t’know in the biblical sense if you know what I mean and whatnot.”

Both the prisoner and Max turn to look at Neil looking a bit dumbfounded as they listened to their first of what could be many stories from Neil.

“Anyway so he really wanted to get with this girl, but he was too afraid to do it so he goes to the bar and—”

“Neil!” Kid shouts, snapping Neil out of his tale tellin’ stupor.

“… Yeah?”

“Not now.”

Neil shrugs. “Oh, alright.”

Warrick address the prisoner and nods over at Kid. “And he’s not going to be here to do that.

The man pales visibly. “Alright, alright, alright! I’ll tell you guys whatever you wanna know!”

Kid smirks, looking over at Neil. “Well done.”

“What I’d do? I was just tellin’ a story,” Neil’s brow furrows, confused.

“I know, I know. Well done,” Kid replies quickly, putting up a hand to stop him from going on. “Good job.”

“Uh… thanks?”

And then everyone realizes that this could work very, very well. Neil’s stories were the perfect scare tactic!

“Alright so how about you answer Richard’s question now? What were you and your friends doing here?” Kid asks, crossing his arms over his chest.

The man answers without hesitation, “Well, we got paid a whole shit ton of money to come and kill some little girl and take her bunny. Which honestly is the weirdest thing I’ve ever been paid to do and I’ve been paid to do some terrible, terrible things.”

“Oh is that so?” Max asks, narrowing his eyes.

The man nods. “You see, there was this one time me and my—”

“Oh no! You stop right now. This is not happening,” Kid exclaims, slightly panicked. He had to listen to Neil’s stories more times than he cared to remember and he was not about to start listening to some criminal’s stories on top of it all. He takes a deep breath, calming himself down. “Now, who hired you?”
“Well, there was this slanty-eyed professor, you know one o’ them Chinese types.”

“Does he have a name?”

“I think it was… uh… Soo-Joo, or Soh-Joe, or… I dunno they all sound alike to me!”

“Charming,” Kid sighs, rubbing his temples. “Can you at least tell me where you picked this job up from?

“I was over in Salt Lake getting’ my arm tuned up.”

“Hm, Salt Lake? Did you accept the job from the professor himself or was it through another source?”

“Ah, there was this ad we saw posted on the wall of the tavern and it looked kinda fishy, but some of us were really hurtin’ for money and you can only suck off so many—”

“Alright, that’s enough of that, thank you.” Kid says quickly.

The man shrugs as Richard takes over. “So how much did they pay you?”

“One grand, cash.”

“Obviously the guy behind this is one rich bastard,” Richard says, pushing himself off the bars and looking over at Cecelia curiously. “Who did you make that mad?”

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Flashback 2: Just a Good Ol' Barfight
So raise your glass!

With Cecelia taking a few moments to tend to the wounded, the journey on foot to Brookstown was far less harrowing than it would have otherwise been. Though they didn’t arrive until sundown, the group made it in one piece and at the behest of the remaining rail workers, their first stop was the local railhouse. There they met the lovely rail worker Jill Stevens, who was more than slightly perplexed at a group of refugees showing up at her doorstep. Once the situation was explained, Jill telegraphed the head rail office to inform them of the situation, then used the railway’s account to secure lodgings for everyone at the local inn. The inn itself was a large, boisterous place, spacious beyond its needs. As they only lively spot they’d seen in town, even the liveliness of the bar and inn seemed strangely muted, as people more or less kept to themselves and individual conversations were murmured at best.

Ferdinand Alvarez, immigrant of Mexican descent and the local innkeeper and barkeep, seemed especially anxious. After some gentle prodding from the group (and one nervous breakdown from The Kid over the state of the glasses atop the bar), he agreed to meet with them and share the source of his troubles. It was then that the budding group caught the eye of one particular local. The four of them, unused to a group dynamic having worked alone for so long, were as obvious as an elephant rampaging down main street as the four simultaneously rose from their table and filed into the establishment’s kitchen. It was hard for one Richard Jackson, or really for anyone with a pulse, to miss it. Jackson, former Sheriff of the area and one old and ugly sonofabitch, was plagued by his own worries but intrigued by this particular group’s apparent inability to leave well enough alone.

In the kitchen, Mr. Alvarez informed the group of a most peculiar and terrifying situation. For the last year and a half, roughly once every four weeks, someone would wind up dead somewhere across town. The bodies found were mangled and mauled, and official word blamed a nearby pack of wild dogs, saying they were coming into town and tearing people apart when prey became scarce and hunger reigned. Through killings and fear, the town emptied out and fell into the state that they had found it. He urged the four to stay inside, keep their heads down, and spread the word to the other travelers to do the same. As the four exited the kitchen, a brief tense exchange followed with Richard who had moved closer to the kitchen to better listen to the proceedings within.

From there the group split up to case out the town. Warrick and Keith went one way, while Gabrielle and Cecelia went another. The two ladies eventually found their way to the local general store, run by one Douglass Johnson. The depressed Johnson began talking with minimal pressing, having already resigned himself to a grizzly fate. The store owner explained that the trouble all started when Mayor Jack Brooks was lost on a hunting expedition, then returned inexplicably several months later, claiming the deputy mayor tried to have him killed. Things were peaceful for a time after the upheaval, but then the killings began. Though they seemed to be at random, Johnson and Richard had deduced that those being found dead were more often than not prominent townsfolk who had publicly and vocally questioned the return of Mayor Brooks. With the next suspected attack date looming, there were only three people left who fit the victim profile: Frank Smith, a local farmer, Mr Johnson, and Richard. Richard, having entered the store to buy ammo mid conversation, confirmed as much to the ladies. It was then that he agreed to meet up with the rest of the group over lunch, as they seemed determined to get to the bottom of the mysterious deaths.

As lunchtime rolled around and the foursome turned fivesome sat down for a delicious meal at the local inn, they were approached by the Mayor’s own Peacekeepers. The Peacekeepers were a group assembled after the death of the last local Sheriff when Mayor Brooks declared martial law. While in name they were a task force dedicated to the eradication of the wild dogs plaguing Brookstown, in actuality they behaved like thugs and ruffians, often extorting the locals and running roughshod over the few people that did remain in the town. Having been made aware of the group’s snooping, they demanded a substantial bribe to make them ‘forget’ they had seen anything. The five adamantly refused, and moments later an intense firefight broke out in the bar. Despite their superior numbers, close quarter fighting vastly favored the group – a fact that Gabrielle proved by caving in a man’s skull with a single punch. The Peacekeepers were quickly dispatched – except for one, who managed to flee from the scene.

The Brookstown Nightmare had officially begun.

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Flashback: Train Ride of Doom!
Your ticket... is only one way.

When four souls boarded a train bound for a small town in Colorado, none of them imagined a simple train ride could set off an unbelievable chain of events. The well dressed but young Keith “The Kid” D’Eath, a hunter of some renown, was only looking to investigate claims of weird happenings out west. The same was true for Warrick Sapseed, intrepid reporter, and Sister Gabrielle, warrior of the cloth. The three, through their various dealings in things supernatural and unbelievable, were already somewhat familiar with each other and their exploits. The stranger was the well dressed and soft spoken Cecelia Wilkenmier, who did her best to keep to herself and avoid attention on the train.

While those on the train were oblivious to her, a group outside of it was not. Unbeknownst to the passengers, the train tracks had been rigged to blow with dynamite. With the conductor unable to stop the train in time, the vehicle went careening off the tracks and onto its side, sending both the passengers and its other contents for a tumble. While the majority of the staff did not survive the crash, the scene was not entirely grisly: many of the passengers and a few of the crew towards the back of the train survived the wreck, including the fated four. Time to tend to their injuries was short, however, as the bandit group responsible for rigging the tracks approached the down train, screaming oddities about ‘finding the girl’ and ‘retrieving the bunny.’ A fierce firefight ensued right outside the downed train, and though the group was ill equipped to deal with foes at long distances, perseverance and a bit of luck eventually won them the day when one bandit shot their leader’s leg clean off with a shotgun.

Once the firefight died down, the group tended to the wounded – both their own and the enemy, and managed to capture two of the attacking bandits. After a bit of ‘interviewing’ from Mr. Sapseed, the bandits became forthcoming with information. The pair revealed that they had been hired by a Mr. Souji located in Salt Lake City to track down a certain well dressed girl and retrieve her of a bunny. While three fourths of the group were perplexed at this revelation, Cecelia appeared completely shaken by the news. With some gentle prodding from The Kid, she explained that she had inherited a mechanical bunny from her father – a bunny who’s workings and behavior simply did not match that of other current automatons. Though the group was eager to pursue this Mr. Souji for his attack on the train, other pressing concerns supplanted it for the time being: mainly that they had a fairly large group of injured people to transport, and their destination was still several hours away by foot.

And so, with civilians and prisoners in tow, the newly formed group set out for their ultimate destination: Brookstown.

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A legion of mechanical spiders!
Enter Sir Maximilian III

The team returns to Brookstone after their adventure in the city of Townsville.

The train ride was relatively uneventful. Colette teaches Kid a new spell. Warrick writes up a rough draft of their last adventure while Gabrielle watches him from the opposite side of the train, shooting him a look that is nothing short of deadly. Cecilia and Royce do what all good mad scientists do — tinker and strike up conversation about various mechanical doodads. Richard is too old for this shit and decides to rest. Two hours later the train pulls to a stop and the group gathers their things, exiting the train and beginning the walk home.

Something still seems to be bothering Richard and he beckons to Gabrielle. She slows to match his pace and the two linger behind the rest of the group for a moment.

“Just so I’m sure, all of that back there did happen. I didn’t hallucinate that, right?” Richard asks, uncertainty and mild disbelief heavy in his voice. After all, he’d seen plenty of strange things in his lifetime, but that? That was something else.

“I’m pretty sure I threw a bed at somebody,” she replies dismissively.

“… You threw a… you threw a be —”

“I was a little upset.”

That’s all Richard needs to hear and he files this away as one more reason he should not get on the nun’s bad side.

Colette manages to overhear the last bit of the conversation and she looks over, eyes wide. “You threw a bed at him?”

Gabrielle looks over, brows furrowed. “Well, it was more like I flipped it, but…” she pauses, trying to remember the details of her encounter. “Well, maybe I threw it. I don’t really remember.”

The lack of clarity doesn’t seem to bother Colette in the least. In fact, she looks downright thrilled to hear that Gabrielle caused physical harm to their captor and a wide grin spreads across her face.

After a few minutes Neil strolls up to Richard, clapping his hands together with a lazy smile on his face. “Well, if I’m gonna be all, you know, law folky in this town I should probably get to the sheriff’s office so I can start settin’ up camp and makin’ myself at home.”

Richard’s still a bit drowsy from the train ride and he takes a moment to get his bearings, but eventually nods and motions for Neil to follow him.

The rest of the group begins to go their separate ways. Kid tucks his book under his arm, calling out to Neil before he heads home. “Try not to break anything.”

The whiny exasperation in Neils voice is painfully obvious as he responds. “Oh come oooon. When have you ever known me to break things?”

“All the time,” Kid snaps back, completely deadpan, without a moments hesitation

“Just because there was one time when I accidentally knocked over one of your candles doesn’t mean — "

“It was a very important candle. They’re all important candles and you can’t just… you can’t just knock one over without telling me!” Kid’s voice began to rise, straining a bit as if the memory was causing him physical pain.

“I apologized like fifty times—”

Warrick looks somewhere between irritated and amused. He appeared to be slightly curious, but there was a lingering smirk in his voice. “… How many candles were there?”

Neil taps his chin in thought. “Well, there were eight.”

“And then there were seven. Seven!” Kid cried.

Richard puts his hand up to keep Kid from continuing his tirade. “Just do me a favor and don’t burn the place down, alright Neil?”

Neil shrugs and nods his head as Richard finally begins to lead him and Mr.Brown down to the sheriff’s office while Colette and the Baron go to the inn to set themselves up there for the time being. Kid is still seething, muttering and whining about how hideous and horrible it was to have only seven candles so Warrick does one of the only things he can do in situations like this — try not to laugh and escort Kid back home.




The next few days pass without incident. Tired of seeing Richard getting positively riddled with bullets, Cecilia takes it upon herself to engineer a bulletproof vest for him. The design is simple and efficient and the finished product is well crafted. She brings it to his house, holding it out in front of her with her eyes cast towards the ground murmuring a quiet little “I made this for you,” before darting off back to her lab once more to begin studying the fungi the group previously discovered in the mines.

Knowing that the fungi was somewhat supernatural in nature, Kid was curious about it too. When Cecilia was nowhere to be found, he asked Gabrielle about her whereabouts. The nun directed him to her lab where Kid found her already hard at work.

He knocks politely before entering and Cecelia looks up sharply at the noise. “Ah! I see you’re already working. You wouldn’t mind if I joined you, would you? I’ve been wondering about that myself.”

Cecilia ducks her head down, a bright blush coloring her cheeks. She mumbles something, stammering meekly as she huddles down into her chair. She’s not quite able to voice a “get out” or a “not at all” or anything in between. Kid assumes she doesn’t mind and takes a seat next to her.

Together they discover that there is nothing particularly out of the ordinary about the mold itself. It’s not a new kind nor does it seem to have any special properties, however Kid notices something that Cecelia does not — it looks just as healthy as it did the day they were in the mine. It hasn’t wilted nor has it lost any of its bright glow. The best he can surmise is that this mold has absorbed energy from the Haunting Grounds which has given this ordinary fungi its permanent glow.

After buying herself a holster for the gun she picked up in Townsville, Gabrielle busies herself by working at the farm — a deed that everyone was grateful for considering it meant she wouldn’t playing harmonica for a few hours. Actually no, not playing, attempting to play. Simply playing would imply that she knew how and if a person were to hear the squealing metallic twangs and breathy twinges she made on the instrument they would certainly not call it playing by any stretch of the means.

As the next few days pass, Richard becomes increasingly concerned about what should be done with the gold bars that the party is now in possession of. He decides to call a meeting at his house to discuss their next course of action. Once everyone arrives everyone does a quick sweep of the surrounding area just to make sure that no one was listening in on the conversation.

“Oh no. This… this is awful,” Kid whispers.

Everyone except Kid, anyway. All he seems to be capable of focusing on is… Richard. It’s clear he’s trying to stay quiet, but the boy seems to be deeply unsettled. His hands start to shake as his anxiety becomes worse, his mouth forming a thin, strained line. He takes a strained breath and bites his lip, trying to stay calm despite everyone ounce of his being telling him to do otherwise.

“Um… are you ok?” Gabrielle asks quietly.

“What are you going on about now? What’s awful?” Richard asks, a little tentatively.

Kid doesn’t say anything. Just keeps staring. His hands are shaking now.

Richard glances around at the group, unsure of what to make of Kid’s strange behavior. Kid’s still staring. Richard stares right back before hesitantly asking, “You’re not drunk, are you?”

It elicits an immediate response from Kid. He straightens up in his chair, shaking his head feverishly. “W-w-what? Oh. Oh, n-no. No. No. I’m not. It’s just—“ He fidgets uncomfortably, eyes darting back and forth between Richard and the floor.. Another tense moment passes and it seems like that’s Kid’s breaking point.

“— Your eyebrows!” He is suddenly at the edge of his seat, eyes wide. “It’s your eyebrows! Do you have any idea—?! Do you even realize?! They’re uneven! Your left brow is far bushier than your right!”

A moment of stunned silence passes, every member of the party has their eyes fixed squarely on Kid. The disbelief on their faces was nearly palpable.

Gabrielle was the first to break the silence, “… What?”

Richard opens his mouth to speak, but once again finds himself at a loss for words. On the other hand Kid seems to have no shortage of them.

“Just… just please let me fix them for you! It won’t take too long and then they’ll be even and everything will be fine. I can fix them, really! If you give me a moment I can run back to my house and get some tweezers and—”

“Keep your hands to yourself or we’re going to have an incident.”

Gabrielle reiterates, “… What?

“But… but you don’t understand! You just…” the horrible sight of Richard’s eyebrows has sent Kid over the edge. He buries his face in his hands, shaking his head. “It’s awful!

“… I feel like I should be offended,” Richard mutters.

Kid sinks down in his chair almost like he was willing it to swallow him whole, desperately trying not to cry.

Richard gives Kid one last look. “Moving along to the reason I called you all here,” he takes a gold bar out of the backpack by the side of his chair and puts it down on the table in front of everyone. “What should we do with these? It’s not like we can just cash these in—”

HOW CAN YOU STAND THOSE EYEBROWS?!

A moment of silence passes. Richard narrows his eyes. “Kid. Shut up. About. The eyebrows.”

Warrick reaches over, patting Kid on the back. “Kid, we’ll get through tonight. It’ll be ok, really.”

Kid’s eyes start to water as he shakes his head. “No! No it won’t, they’re terrible!”

Richard sighs, exasperated. “Then don’t look at them. Just look away.”

“I… I can’t! They’re there! I know they’re there!”

Gabrielle covers her mouth with her hand trying to stifle her laughter, but it’s not working very well.

Richard takes a deep breath. The look on his face is a bit distant. Almost like he’s contemplating how his life turned out this way with some kid in his house screaming about the state of his eyebrows. He shakes his head at Kid. “You are the strangest person I have ever met in my life.”

“And you have the most hideous eyebrows I have ever seen in my life!”

“Ok, ok, calm down. Calm down,” Gabrielle sputters, still laughing. “We can fix his eyebrows later.”

“What no! I can’t calm down! How can I calm down? No, a better question is how can you stand looking at them and be so calm!”

“Did my eyebrows shoot your dog or something?!”

“They might as well have!”

Gabrielle tries to stop snickering. “The gold is a little more important than Richard’s eyebrows right now, Kid.”

“No, this is a much more pressing concern!” He takes a deep breath, trying to calm himself down by thinking of all the wonderful, beautiful, perfectly symmetrical things there are in the world. “Alright, just… can you please just tell me I can fix them later?”

Richard doesn’t give him a chance to take a breath before he answers. “No.”

“Richard, we’re not going to get anywhere if this keeps up. Just tell him he can fix them later,” Gabrielle mutters.

“I can fix them myself.”

The small amount of calm Kid had managed to gather vanishes in an instant, his voice shrill and desperate. “No! You can’t! You’ll make it worse! Just let me do it!”

Richard slumps forward in his chair, rubbing his temples. “Alright, maybe later. Maybe.

That’s enough to calm Kid down a little, but he still looks anxious. Gabrielle takes a moment to covertly examine Richard’s eyebrows herself and sees that Kid was right. The left was bushier than the right. She brings a hand up to her mouth to hide her smile.

The group continues to discuss what to do with the bars and eventually Kid outright asks why anyone would want to get rid of them at all. After all, they are perfectly symmetrical. Ignoring Kid’s question, the group lays out their options. Cecelia suggests cutting up the bars into small pieces and Richard suggests multiple drop offs to make it less suspicious, but in the end they just seem to be going around in circles.

After a few minutes of that, Kid finally speaks up again and suggests going to a large, national bank that wouldn’t have a problem taking the gold bars and cashing them out. Richard looks skeptical and voices his concern, but is quieted when Kid reminds him that it’s a bank and they don’t have to take all they money out at once. After his outburst earlier, everyone seems a bit surprised to hear such a sensible plan of action from Kid, but they all agree that this is the best way to handle the situation.




A few days later the relative peace of the town is broken. Just outside of Gabrielle and Cecelia’s window something can be heard. Cecelia peeks outside only to find that legion of mechanical spiders with flame throwers are quickly approaching their house. The sight renders Cecelia nearly speechless. She ducks down, stammering until she finally manages to whisper, “Flamethrowers!

She finds Gabrielle, grabs her by her collar and drags her to the window whispering, “Flamethrowers!”

Gabrielle can’t seem to hear her though. She furrows her brow, confused. “What?”

“F-Flamethrowers!”

“Cecilia I can’t understand a word you’re—”

FLAMETHROWERS!

Gabrielle’s eyes widen at the sudden outburst, finally looking out the window. She doesn’t seem too bothered by the mechanical death spiders and for a moment she keeps looking between the spiders and Cecelia before finally speaking.

“… What did you do?”

Cecelia shakes her head fervently. “N-No! They’re not mine!”

“They’re not yours?!” A bit of panic seeps into the nuns’ voice as Cecelia keeps shaking her head. “We need to get out of here.”

Cecelia puts up a finger, running downstairs to grab Raphael and a backpack. As soon as she’s back upstairs Gabrielle scoops her up under her arm and jumps out the back window.

Across the street Richard, Warrick, and Kid were already gathered. They were in the middle of a conversation concerning Richard’s eyebrows (well it was more of an argument and Kid was definitely losing) when they saw the two burst out of their back window. Their jaws nearly drop as they watch the two girls approach. Richard automatically pulls out his rifle.

Gabrielle manages a few words, “Mechanicalspiderswithflamethrowers!!”

Kid stares in mild shock, “What?

She repeats herself, slower this time. “Mechanical spiders with flamethrowers!”

Kid gives her a look that makes it seem like he’s wondering what kind of drugs she’s on. However, Richard doesn’t seem too bothered by her statement as evidenced by the crystal clear click coming from his rifle.

Warrick furrows his brow like he’s still trying to make sense of what she said, “ Can you… repeat that?”

Gabrielle turns towards Warrick and starts even slower this time as she carefully puts Cecelia down, “Mechanical. Spiders. With. Flamethrowers are about to burn down the town.”

Automatic gunfire sounds and the group almost immediately springs into action and heads towards the sound of combat. Upon arrival they see an interesting sight. There are the mechanical spiders, but also a group of men, one of whom is dressed in a suit of medieval armor.

The man in the armor turns and plunges his sword into the chest of one of the others near him. It soon becomes clear that it’s not any ordinary sword – oh no, it’s electrified. The man he speared convulses as electricity surges through his body and crumples to the ground in a heap. Between the armored man and the rest of the group, they make quick work of the mechanical spiders and the other group of men.

By the end of it everyone is staring warily at this newcomer who just took down most of the intruders on his own, unsure if they should be worried that he’ll turn on them next. The armored man relaxes now that his enemies have been vanquished just as Neil comes running up them with a huge grin on his face.

“Ho-ly shit, man! I did not think that the bunch of nerds who came into town yesterday were gonna do a bunch o’shit like this! But it’s always the nerds. You never see it comin’.”

Richard and Kid look over at him, speaking in unison, “What?

“Oh yeah! I’ve been keepin’ tabs on who all’s been comin’ in and out of town, right? Well, last night a whole bunch of nerds came into town and I was all like oh well it’s just a bunch of nerds they’re probably just passin’ through or doing nerdy shit. Maybe there was a rock or somethin’ nearby they wanted to study, but all of a sudden it turns out they had death spiders. What the hell was up with that, man?”

“I don’t know, Mr. Sheriff. Why don’t you go ask them?” Kid says a bit sarcastically, nodding to one of the men they managed to capture.

“Oh right! I should probably go arrest him, huh? I’ll be right back!”

The man in armor has been watching them all up until this point and as Neil goes to take the captured man prisoner he slowly approaches the group, hands raised over his head to show that he means them no harm.

Richard narrows his eyes, still suspicious. “You with the sword. Who the hell are you? I’ve never seen anyone fight like that before.”

“Why thank you, my good sir, I do pride myself on my swordsmanship,” the man starts as he puts a hand over his stomach, bowing politely. “I am Sir Maximilian the third, knight errant and scientist.”

Warrick and Kid exchange hesitant pleasantries with Max, everyone else following suit.

“I had assumed the person these men were after were defenseless, but it seems I was mistaken. However, I’m sure this battle would have been much harder for you had I not intervened.”

“Well, considering you offed three people in the same time it took me to take two shots, I’d sure say so,” Richard says as he begins reloading his rifle. “Alright let me get this straight. You said your name is Sir Maximilian the third?”

“That is correct, good sir.”

Gabrielle shakes her head, brows furrowed as she bluntly asks, “Where did you even come from?”

Neil, still busy with the prisoner, shouts over to them. “Oh yeah! That guy was with the bunch of nerds that came in last night!”

Cecelia tilts her head curiously, “You were with these guys?”

“I tagged along with them when I heard they were going to try and capture or kill somebody— a young woman, I believe it was— and it seemed unfair, unfitting and almost devious for them be doing so.”

Max was about to continue, but Cecelia interrupts. “Do you know who they were working for?”

“I do not know his name, but he was a very charming Asian man, I believe.”

A bit more discussion followed as the group learned more about Max. They find out, to Gabrielle’s clear distress, that he is a follower of the Pasta God. A heated conversation of religion erupts between the two. Worried that a legitimate fight was about to break out, Kid convinces Gabrielle to come with him back to his shop to get the custom holster he made for her. Anything to get the two away from each other.

Neil finishes patching up the prisoner and makes it known that he’s headed back to the jail, expecting everyone to follow him. The group, now +1 Max and -1 Gabrielle, trail after him.

TO BE CONTINUED IN THE NEXT INSTALLMENT.
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