The Oak Hill Gang — Butcher Cole, Louis Toadvine, and Tausin Dice — were holed up in Chao Yin’s Chinese Laundry, along with Marshall Roland Deschain, Security Officer Jack Kollath, and the gambler Shady McCoy. As they debated their options, a knock at the door introduced them to Gracie Law, a Pinkerton Agent and Translator sent by the Union Pacific Railroad to aid Kollath in his operations.
She agreed to examine the ledger Tausin had lifted off of the Smithhall mayor, reporting that the writing appeared to be akin to ancient Sanskrit and that it mentioned three deities in particular — Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, and Hastur.
In the meantime, Shady offered up some of the bounty hunter’s loot, including a pair of spectacles that gave a man perfect vision, but more ominously, seem to reveal the secret faces of some of the denizens of Smithhall. These otherkin were reptilian wearing human skin. Fear swept through the group at this unnatural perversion.
Jack called on the party to join him for a trek out to the Navajo village a half day’s journey west of Smithhall. He hoped the village elders there could shed some mystical light on what they were dealing with, and hoped that his newfound compatriots might get some healing from a Navajo shaman.
Shady sold off the silver spikes that had crucified the bounty hunter to buy everyone a horse and they set out.
The village sat atop a mesa, but was unnaturally lush with grass and crops. A perpetual mist seemed to fall despite their desert surroundings. Tausin and Shady were led off to the shaman’s hut to be looked after, while the rest, sans Law and Toadvine, were ushered into a sweat lodge where the elders told this tribe’s creation tale — of how great titans came from the stars and into the sea and men devolved into serpentine creatures to worship these monstrosities.
The ancient Navajo escaped from the sea to the desert through an underground tunnel that brought them to their current homeland, but not before seals were placed on the Great Old Ones lulling the mightiest of them to sleep.
“If they bleed, they can die,” the Elder said. “Iron is their weakness.”
A scream echoed out and the gang rushed out of the lodge to see that Gracie Law had been snatched by some sort of flying ape like creature, carried off toward the Moorcock Silver Mine, the site where the Navajo had claimed to have come up out of of, from the ancient world to this one.
Learning Toadvine had headed back to town, they saddled up and road after him, finding him nursing a whisky in the Longbranch Saloon and chatting up Sofia Vasquez, one of the women rescued from the Brackett House fire.
Marshall Deschain and Toadvine had an awkward exchange and tempers flared.
Butcher was distracted by one Angus MacLeod, a young gunslinger whose father had crossed paths with the Oak Hill Gang and he was looking for revenge. He and his gang called the boys out, inviting them to settle the score at the O.H. Corral. Butcher agreed.
MacLeod and his fellows made their way across the street while Jack secretly followed, climbing Wellman’s Livery to get a bird’s eye view on the six pistoleers.
Butcher had set out to follow, but suddenly Deschain struck Toadvine a heavy handed blow and Louis responded by drawing his derringer and grazing the lawman’s skull.
Shady fired a warning shot, trying to calm the situation, but things continued to go south. The outlaw made for the doors as the Marshall, dazed, reached out to him saying he was going to let that pass, so Louis drew him in close, and knifed him in the chest.
Butcher, who had tried at first to make peace, saw little recourse. Loyalty demanded he aid his riding partner, so drew his own derringer and capped the lawman then joined the rest outside.
Gravely wounded, Marshall Deschain called on the mayor to rouse the sheriff and his deputies to bring the Oak Hill Gang to justice, then boldly stepped outside, recruiting the Longbranch’s Chinese security to his aid.
The Chinese fired on the gang, but were poor shots, while Deschain severely wounded Toadvine. Tausin returned fire, dropping the Marshall in the Longbranch doorway as the gang hightailed it for the Chinese Laundry, ahead of a growing posse.
The freshly minted Smithhall outlaws stumbled upon Father Jesse Custer, a man of the cloth, hovering outside, and mustered him along inside with them as they all descended through the secret door in Chao Yin’s and into the hidden tunnels beneath.
And thus ended the thrilling and unexpected middle chapter in our Smithhall trilogy, in which the DM planned for a Gunfight at the O.H. Corral, but the Oak Hill Gang saw fit to take things in an altogether different direction.
Tune in next week for the senses-shattering conclusion.