Frisco crew back at Riverside.
We wait for word of jobs from a Wang, and our intel.
Jake gets letter from Gen. Amos Dundee, of Tx army.
Had run in with him around Fort Griffin in the old days.
Paraphrase: He is now retired. It begs us to come see him on an important matter. During Civil War, he was a union major of prison camp in Tx. He chased an Apache Sierra Churiba into Mexico and defeated his band. But Churiba survived unknown to anyone else. During my famous incursion into Mex. in 1878 I again faced him but he again escaped. It is important he finds someone to go to Mex. and kill him. Were I able, I’d ride with you. I rely on you to end the last of the Chiraqaua Apache. He knows he can not pay a man such as Jake what he deserves, but Churiba has gold hidden in the mts, it will be ours if we can find it. Expedition will depart from El Paso in about 30 days time, preparations are already made.
A visit to the local newspaper tells us a few months ago a house fire in Austin killed his entire family but one son.
Billy “So, we go into Mexico, kill and evil bastard and come back with limitles gold.”
Nick “Sounds perfect.”
Jake sends response that we will be there to see him.
He returns a note: associates of his will join us, they are good men and bad company. Southern Chihuahua is the destination, and feels our expertise is perfect for this ask.
Luke reluctantly decides to accompany us. Jim Beam and crew will remain to start their job when information from Anne funnels in.
We spend weeks looking for Chief and find him!!!
A few weeks later we travel to see Dundee. Jake, Billy and Jesse go to talk to him. A few others are there as well, he introduces:
- Anacelto Bracada, once a Mexican officer but worked with Dundee before as scout, guide, interpreter (speaks Mexican and several Indian languages; fearless follower of Dundee and carries his sword; very badly burned on arm and part of face; does not talk of why.
- Heavy black man John Johnson, once African American manservant of Dundee’s wife; now out for vengeance; has Warren’s back big time; also burned.
- Warren Dundee: his son; he is 19 years old; away at Yale during fire; here to avenge dead mom and sisters; he is out for revenge and its obvious.
- Julius Penn, used to fight apaches as a Tx Ranger; now on ‘leave’; a ‘one riot, one ranger’ type.
- Tsomu Dyo: Jap; one of the 526 japanese who emigrated to TX from Mexico in 1878; one of those that came to Santa Anna’s Mexico, realized the death cult it was really for, and fled to Tx.
First, Jake apologizes for “all the problems I may have caused” him in the past. Though we never met personally, only through actions and rep.
He says “If you manage to pull this off all is forgiven.”
He says one reason he needs us, besides the obvious, is that none of these men are leaders. We are in charge.
Chihuahua is temperate and dry. It pays tribute and manpower to captitol and Deathless Santa Anna. Pretty much run by warlords, especially in wilder part. Churiba is one of them. His 2nd in command is Mexican Major Marcano Chimones.
Sierra Madre del Morte Occidental Mts feared for centuries by locals: rumors of satanists, cultists, and degenerates are rife; lots of disappearances and tragedies long into the past.
And that’s where we are going, Churiba’s territory.
We pack up on ammo, TnT and equipment. Pack mules for the TnT for stability.
1000 rounds of ammo/person on averge. Billy 2 or 3 times that.
We arrive city of Chihuahua same day we leave El Paso, today via train. It will be 50 miles across desert west to San Antonio, Mex. from here.
Stay the night here and leave in morning.
Morning we are about to leave, Bracada introduces 2 mexicans Pedro and Paco, our guides, He knew them in the old days. They know the area in the mts to take us up to.
“Dundee didn’t say anything about this.”
We leave. The 2 guides ride point. About noon, a scream from ahead. 1 of them has fallen off his horse, screaming. The other turns to haul ass to us, gives huge bellow of pain. He burst open, a flame spewing forth from his torso! A writhing lick of flame, free from his body now, comes toward us.
Billy doubletaps and hits true, it flickers. A dart of flame flies past Billy, singing some hair and lightly charring one side of his face.
Jake hits it next, another flicker. Ron, Nick and Dog hit it and it puffs out of existance.
Dog checks the other mexican, who drops his pants. He has 3rd degree burns down the outside of his leg.
We put him on his horse and send him back to town.
So, this is what burned Dundee’s house down. Jake turns and intimidates Bracada. He is here for one reason To kill Marcana Chimones and get rich off the gold. He was aid de camp for Dundee, but there things happening he hasn’t told us. There is a terrible cult in those hills, for some reason Dundee and the cult are at war.
“Why wouldn’t he tell us the specifics.”
He figured none would believe him.
Bracada wants to find out what is going on up there to protect Dundee as well. Chimones used his samurai sword to behead both Bracada’s parents back in the day!! We turn to Johnson, who insists on knowing nothing about any cult. He is only here to make sure Warren gets home to his dad alive after he failed to save the others. The flames did act like the flame we just saw!!
“Thank you, finally. No more bullshit or you can turn around.”
Warren “That is all bullshit.”
Jake “You weren’t even home. Just a bunch of devil worshipers.”
He insists this was a trick of the desert.
We press on.
We arrive tonight in San Antonio. One hotel in town, the dilapidated Colibri. We park our mounts and walk inside. A stout man comes out from around the front desk welcoming us. Jesus Harara, mayor. And owner of hotel.
We get rooms and our horses stabled and fed.
He says North and NW are Menonite settlements, from Canada. Main one is Manitoba. SW and South is the area called Little Nagasaki, the japanese. Otherwise Mexicans. Apache live in mts.
He wishes not to talk about the tales of horror connected to the mts.
Barmaid says Harara is the last survivor of his family. All wiped out, hacienda destroyed by Chiriba and Chimones. Mayor is their avowed enemy.
Jake gets him to open up about the cults. He says trust no one. He sits with us. Devil worshipers, he calls them. Names a place of a big massacre a couple years ago. Most recently they have attacked menonites but leave japanese alone.
Small bands have gone into the hills; they don’t return, or a few do with tales of fire and slaughter. Other than a lot of unexplained fires, no evils come to or around the city really.
There is a trade school in town, agriculture and also steam engines, built on grounds of old spanish mission; also a hospital with a large dedicated burn unit.
Cheif watches until about 1am for anyone leaving town for the mts (informants) but no one does.
Luke and Dog to hospital. He meets a young pretty nurse named Gabriella, happy to tell that whole hospital funded by Menonites. Hospital free for everyone.
Desert in the Menonite area rapidly becoming a paradise. She just doesn’t understand why so many burn patients. Most die, few burn to death on the spot. They all suffer.
Lots of people in town have burns. She finds Mad Dog a somewhat capable medic. She has also heard of the talk of devil worship in the hills, and strange lights in the mts. Some farmers here now, burned in mysterious fires after threatening by Apache. A couple indians with burns who refuse to talk.
One indian willing to talk, she warns he’s a spinner of tall tales. He says he had a pair of fine goats, the apache bandits came for them and everything else they owned. He refused, so their sorcerer burned him with flame from his very hands. The sorcerer was Chimenes. “He comes from an ancient tribe of evil villains, worship a ball of living fire! If you meet a person in the hills named Alma Rodriges, they are a genuine brewhah, powerful, a good person who may help you”. Difficult to find, he may find us. His family still there, but they took the goats. Have nothing but a small corn field left, we’ll likely starve he says.
jake stops at trade school with NIck and Ron. Operator is Herberto Uriarte. Says he was a great man once, had chair of history at Univ. of Mexico; opposed Santa Anna now relegated to teaching farming; its paid for by Menonites who have become very locally popular; still may have to leave thanks to Chiriba, recenlty burned an entire orchard of theirs. His library includes the diary of a General Dundee!! He lets us see it. Jake opens the wooden case, but its empty.
“Impossible! Someone has stolen it, why would someone do that!” No one ever read it.
He can think of no one in town who would want to steal it.
We start asking around, if anyone saw anything concerning the theft and when. About 30 students, plus his 2 or 3 assistants. A couple of students saw someone sneaking in last night. A young man, in dark clothing. He left back up the street to the hotel.
Luke “Dundee’s son.”
Jake “Good call.”
Jake back with professor “If we wanted to talk to these Menonites, who should we speak to?”
“Isaac Dyck, at the main place. Klaas Heide is their border scout leader. They call them rangers.”
Ron and Will learn that Chiriba and Chimones operate out of a ranch north of lake Bustillos; not a secret where they base from then.
There are villages in the hils that may have more info about Dundee’s former ops here; some have been burned out and deserted, others not. Menonites doing rebuilding in some of the ghost town ones.
Dyo has been talking to the beggars, digging for info. We have returned to hotel and Warren denies stealing the book. Dyo said a begger knows thing of interest.
Jake leaves Billy at hotel, round up everyone downstairs and the place is searched. Jake goes to talk to the beggar. Ron joins him, with Jesse. Dyo has to take a huge crap, hating beans, and he takes off fast after introducing us.
The beggar starts to chant, his whole side starts to blister. Jake draws and shoots him between the eyes. Too late, a living flame appears. His hut starts buring down. We run outside. Ron tosses a stick of TnT into the fire on the way out. This thing is easily 3 times bigger than the last.
Jake and Jesse fire revolver and winchester, respectively. Jesse’s gunshot goes through the flame, but knocks a basin of water off a nearby shelf. It falls into the monster. That hurt it pretty good. It goes after Jesse and hits him 18 and 7 fire. It hits Ron as well 12 and 10.
Jake and Jesse hit it twice, Ron once. It goes after Jake miss/11 plus 2.
Ron hits 7, Jake hits 17, Jesse finishes it off!!
His hovel burns to the ground. We find the journal in Dundee’s son’s room. He is not happy that we are reading it. Jake says he’s lucky he’s not getting pistol whipped into the dirt.
It describes a ritual in the mts which Dundee witnessed during the campaign of 1878.
We sit the kid down and question him. Bracada comes forward and tells him to take off his shirt. He refuses, and Bracada says ‘strip him’. Dog strips his shirt off revealing small circular burn scars, like part of a ritual.
The kid says some words and a burn on his skin sizzles. A small lick of fire vampire leaps from his finger and the kid says “Kill it before it attacks”.
Ron grabs a water and dumps it upon it DEAD.
‘Yes, I know the magic" sneering. "You don’t get it do you. My father learned the magic and used it in his campaigns. He thought he had destroyed the fire cult, but Churiba survived and it grew back. His agents killedy my family and I am here to destroy every last member of the cult using their own fire against them; and to protect my father’s secret."
Bracada insists he was burned fighting them, he’s no part of this; and Johnson the same, from trying to rescue the wife and daughter.
Bracada suspected this, but didn’t know. Johnson knew nothing.
Bracada thinks Dundee convinced Churiba he wanted to join the cult, during a period where he disappeared for several days. Returned a changed man. He must have figured it a good idea to use his enemies powers against the same enemy.
A French man named Benjamin, anthropologist, wants to find a lost race in the hills that he wants to find. They are called the Kuuta.
Jake “What makes you think they’re up there?”
“Come with me to the hospital. To the morgue.”
We follow. When we get there the Dr. refuses to show at first, but relents. They show us a body of a man, about 5’ 3"; body feels oddly mushy, has a line runing down the middle of his face like a scar. Down his body to his groin, and wraps back up the other side. No genitals!
Some kind of Edgar Suit. He says this is one of the tribe.
They open the autopsy wounds up. At first it looks like human. There are 2 hearts, 2 livers, 2 of everything. The 2 sides of his face look slightly different. Dog checks his teeth. He says the 2 sides are very close, but no cigar. There is also some kind of a film dividing him inside from front to back.
This reminds us in a way of the Uriel Mad Scientist.
We agree he can come. He shows us under a microscope, the cellular structure looks like a fungus.
Billy says you are not welcome if you are not willing to kill when necessary, or at least not stop us from killing.
We leave for the Menonites, and visit Isaac Dyke, their leader. He welcomes us in a deep voice. Billy ingratiates himself with him by speaking in some PA Dutch.
He calls them the Sha’a cultists, “they come down and burn everything.” They say they sent big balls of fire out of the darkness to burn fields and such. AKA Fire Vampires we assums.
He says if we go to destroy them we will need a guide.
Jake “I guess you have a guide for us?”
He sends for Klaus Heidi. He knows the hills. He thinks Churiba is involved, with the Mexicans, forming the Burning Cult.
Klaus enters and agrees, but warns it will be difficult and dangerous. It is no country for old men. Some, or all, may never return. Says water is scarce, he’ll supply kegs on a mule.
Asked about the Kuuta: never heard of them.
Tomorrow we head out.