Since the fire that raged through Tombstone, the supply of lumber has all but dried up. This has made lumber production quite valuable. This has attracted new companies to the Cochise County to try to fill the need. One of these companies is the Grace- Kitchener Timber Co.
Our heroes had just finished breakfast in the Grand Hotel, when they were approached by two well-dressed men, who introduced themselves as Mr. Grace and Mr. Kitchner, owners of the before mentioned lumber company. They told the posse that they had a sawmill out in the Chiricahua Mountains, near the town of Portal, that was over due to have brought a load of lumber into town. The posse was hired to go out and check on the camp, and if something had happened, determine what/who the cause was. Bonuses would be paid if the cause was resolved.
They were also told they would be accompanied by a blacksmith/inventor by the name of Cooper Grannon. Coop is a strong man of African descent who, for some reason, always referred to himself in the third person.
The posse began heading out to the camp, which was a good 2 day’s ride from Tombstone, escorting Coop’s blacksmith wagon, when they notices a group of riders a quarter mile to their south and riding parallel. The sharp eyes of Birdie and Virgil noticed that they were wearing the red sash of The Cowboys gang, and appeared to be trying to get ahead of their posse. With the reputation of The Cowboys, their intent was probably not hospitable.
A few of the posse broke away from the wagon and tried to approach The Cowboys, who spurred their horses, and started a chase across the desert at full gallop. The Cowboys opened fire on our heroes, but were soon shot from the saddle. Tales of the chase included dramatic leaps over a patch of cactus, skillful marksmanship from the back of galloping horses, and a final 1 in a million shot that took the last one just as he was about to drop down in to a creek bed and get away.
No further encounters were had on the trip to the camp, though a band of Indians (probably Apaches) were spotted to their north, but they were a good 4 miles off, and heading way.
Arriving at the camp, the posse found it deserted. An attempt at tracking showed that whatever had happened, the last time humans and horses were active in the camp was at least 5 days ago. The cabin had a front and back door, and a root cellar door on the back of the house, all of which were closed. When they were tried, the doors proved to be barred from the inside. True to their nature, out posse was not going to let a small thing like a barred door keep them out, and so doors were kicked in, parts of the roof damaged, and entrance to the cabin’s interior was accomplished.
Inside they found only Abner the camp’s cook, who was babbling incoherently about flying monsters with tentacles and claws having killed everyone else, but also that they had all gone to town, and other contradictory tales. It soon became clear that whatever Abner had seen, it had shattered his sanity.
When the root cellar was gotten into, they found a Spanish lumberjack who told the posse that he had been down in the cellar, when something had caused all the others to start screaming in pain an terror, then had come the sounds of bodies being ripped apart. So he had barred the cellar door and hid for the last 4 days.
The posse was a bit stumped as to the cause of what had happened, and a few theories were discussed, but no tracks were found in the area.
At this time a thunderstorm arrived at the cabin drenching the woods, sending the posse into the shelter of the cabin, and erasing further tracking evidence.
Once the storm had passed, our posse resumed the exploration of the area around the cabin. Birdie had climbed up the water tower, when she notice that the nearby oak tree’s branched had large thorns growing out of them, and there seemed to be human bones in their roots. This triggered a recollection by Arty, of a type of Oak tree that grew extremely rapidly by draining the blood of animals and humans. These Blood Oaks, while immobile, could swing their branches to attack prey that got into their range, and if they succeed in impaling and grappling their prey can inflict grievous wounds. If an injured prey then has seeds land on it, a new sapling quickly takes root, and the prey died horribly.
Upon hearing this info, Jason promptly shot one of the larger Blood Oaks, and all Hell broke loose. Gunfire, flame throwers, and dynamite tried to match the furry of thirsty oak branches, an a few close calls were had. The posse had withdrawn from the range of the Blood Oak’s branches to try to determine a course of action, when a gigantic winged form flew over the camp, and the trees were engulfed in flames that burned them to the ground. Some said it was a dragon, others a Quetzalcoatl (more likely seeing as how close to Mexico they were).
The posse returned to Tombstone, and collected their pay.
Rewards: $49 cash, and 2 XP