Vat:12 Grave Consequences
Amiri: I finally arrived in this podunk town to notice that the only bridge leading into and out of town is down. The map didn't show any other way in, so I decided to run up and down the river until I found a shallow spot. It is about two miles up stream, right next to the big fallen oak.
The town looked deserted. It was late afternoon and everything was closed up and no one was on the streets. Jorgan was right! There really must be some trouble brewing.
I drive through the neighborhood until I spot the VAT van. In the distance I spot Koz climbing out a window, stopping, and pulling himself back in. I assume it is an escape attempt gone bad. I make my way to the window and notice the three of them sitting around, watching The A-team on a black and white TV. I ge the all clear, and Pauline has their host let me inside.
We find that their neighbors were interested in the rock that their new barn was built over once removed. They said it was some rock that had something to do with football players that went back in time and a water lady give a sword to. I don't know, it's really confusing. Some King Arthur stuff or something like that. I smile and nod.
What is interesting is that these nosy neighbors are the Mennonites we encountered origionally. We don't let it be known that we are keen on how dangerous they are. We offer to talk to them to get to the bottom of it. We are warned to keep it civil, and if we want, there will be a 4AM wake-up tomorrow. This, at least, explained why the town was empty at around 6:30.
They also mentioned something about a bloodline being researched. Jorgan never informed me of this, and little was said among the group, so I guess it is a thin line that the rest of the group is following.
Joseph: We arrive at the Clingensmiths home whilst one of their young'uns was having their birthday party. While we waited fer the festivities to wrap up, Amiri shows outta nowhere. We talk a while and are offered respite for the night and a tour in the wee hours of the mornin'.
Before dawn we rise and are shown our ways about. When the chance presents itself I start to suss out what might be happenin' on the Mennonite farm. From a few failed attempts to look inside the house, I start to reckon that it be warded. I was able to confirm that the sorcerer who was throwin' ice and weather at us on the road, was indeed on the farm.
I also spend a majority of da mornin' in the Clingensmith's barn, sussing out the rock situation. After I spend the right amount of time figuring out how to properly merge the rituals of earth and communion, the few magic rocks that remain give off far less death but they are there, though none of 'em much bigger than a pebble.
Pauline: The Klingensmiths are a lovely family, with a lovely home. Since we're imposing, I did my best to be a good guest, but Mrs. Klingensmith is quite the hostess. In the morning, we take a look around the property, and get to spend a little of that time spying on the Mennonites. It's easy enough to see their farm from the property line. There's a big open field between us and them.
Meet the Neighbors
Amiri: The day started early by making a drive into town to check on the records. We didn't get very far with this and decided questioning the neighbors would be the next best step. We got a welcoming gift of some ice cream and made our way there.
There was an old woman that answered the door. She was none too kind to me, so I decided to not worsen the situation by talking. Pauline took the lead and kept things as plesant as possible. Joseph seemed to tire of the indirectness of it all and got to the heart of the matter. The old woman didn't like that very much and began yelling that I was hitting her. Really now!?!
Koz and Joseph bolted, but Pauline stayed behind. I had to stay with her. Her idea to diffuse the situation was to smack the lady when her grandson's were in line of sight and yell, "He didn't slap you, but I sure did!" She began to walk away once there was a man in window with a shotgun. I interposed myself between her and the gun and we slowly made our way back into the car.
This being a wash, we headed back into town. We went to down to the giant sycamore tree for lunch. I informed the people there of the bridge being out, and offered to take my Jeep into the next town for supplies and anything else. They are going to work on a list and get back to me.
After lunch, we were able to get the records after searching through a huge stack. It took a good while, and by the time we were done it was dinner time.
Joseph: We tried our hand at diplomacy and the woman was stallin'. I decide to git direct and try to cut to the heart of the matter, to have an honest conversation. As soon as I do, she starts yellin' "RAPE", over and over again, claimin' that Amiri was doin' her harm.
I'm seen angry family farm hands gather to hang a man once and before my mind has caught up to my thoughts, I was outside the door, fast as the wind.
Pauline: We paid a visit to the Mennonites, and met the matron of the house. So long as the subject kept to smalltalk, she was gracious if cold. I steered things around for a bit, but when I wasn't getting anywhere, I decided to let Joseph drive the conversation. That went about as well as letting Joseph drive a car.
Once we got to the direct questions, she started hitting herself and screaming that Amiri was doing it. A big black man beating her is one thing, but little old me smacking her a good one is a little less likely to get us shot. I wait until they can see me do it, and take a swing at her.
We're escorted off the property with shotguns, and despite my better nature, I toss a butt onto their property as we go. I shouldn't have, but I don't like that kind of cold-hearted malice and lies.
Was the Old Man Named Bernie?
Amiri: We had dinner by the sycamore tree again. While eating, there was a horse drawn carriage that strolled into the square. It was the Mennonites, and they announced that they were going to have a funeral open to everyone to attend.
This felt fishy, so we broke into teams. Joseph and Pauline would attend the funeral, Koz would be on the edge of their farmland while watching with binoculars, while I would hide at our barn to make sure it wasn't a ploy to get at the little bit of the stone that remained.
From the chatter, most of the night went without incident. The barn was safe, and most people were accounted for. The ward on the house could still not be pierced by Joseph. At the end of the night, when things quickly quieted down, things got really weird. Murders of crows were seen on the roof of the Mennonite's barn and house, and Joseph was able to get a peek inside the barn. By his description, there were zombies.
We all met back at the van and pulled out the satalite phone. After dealing with JJ's curiosity, we got ahold of Paddy. He told us that the funeral was used to gather a large amount of essence for a ritual, one most likely used to create the zombies. There are evidently many types of zombies, of which the kind we are dealing with is unknown.
We are now left to gear up and clear out the farmstead to be able to deal with the zombies with minimal casualities. Koz is putting a thrasher on a tractor while we convince everyone that it is in their best interest to get off the farmland.
Once cleared, we decide to have me in the jeep while the others ride on the tractor. It's going to be a long night, since once we deal with the with the zombie we will have the Mennonites to deal with.
Joseph: We attend the funeral of young Zackaria Ewing, where the eulogy was in low German. I recognize it as the same language that Gotthold Hellner used when he would swear at me while teaching me how to shield myself, mystically and materially. There is no easy way to learn this, and I still have a few scars from some sharp and shiny that got through. Anyway. The eulogy is dark, and low German was the right language for that.
During the wake I sneak off to the outhouse, where I'm both comfortable (because it is familiar) and not, because I like indoor outhouses. While obscured, I tried to commune with the land to pierce the house's ward but I not successful. Changin' tactics, I drop my eyes into the barn.
I shouldn'a done that. I start to quake wit a bit of fear. There is a poundin' on the door and an angry voice. I pull the door open quickly, and standing before me is a child, doing the "pee pee dance" as Amiri calls it.
I move to Pauline and suggest that now would be a great time to leave. I don't tell her that animated corpses are in the barn, but she agrees to leave, prolly deciding that the look on my face was grave.
We try to rally the VAT and are told that it is up to us. We ride out to the edge of the property, and there they are, a mass of shambling, walking dead. Quaking, I decide to up the ante on my shielding. Haunted by what I saw in the barn I fail to coalesce the shield. I remember again and as I mutter in low German, as I was taught, I was reminded of the dark eulogy and dammit, I freaked myself out again and lost my concentration.
So there I sat, in the auto-carriage, near defenseless as the zombies got closer.
Pauline: The last time I was at a country funeral was when my cousin, out in Shade Gap, PA, died. The entire town turned out, much like this one. What else is there to do? And everybody did more or less the same stuff- eating and dancing. That funeral had a bit more drinking, but I couldn't have enjoyed it anyway.
The whole thing was hinky. Crows blanketed the roofs. Eventually, Joseph got a vision and it was bad, so we scooted. Once we're clear, he says it's zombies.
We know they're coming for us. VAT has nothing they can bring into the area, so we're it. Mr. Klingensmith wants to stay and fight, but this isn't his fight and I remind him that he's got a family to take care of. Especially if they bump into any of the undead on the road.
While the boys run around fueling up tractors and laying traps, I spend a moment praying. This doesn't look good, but with the strength of my goddess, we'll stop these bastards, one way or another.