Rising bright an early in the mornin’, the posse gathered their gear and stepped out to face the wonders of the Fourth of July Independence Fair and Poker Tournament, which the town had prepared for some time.
As Jed had Tim and the orphans shill a supposed cure-all elixir, Old Henry rose to the challenge of the log-cutting competition. Having at first no interest, he whipped up a contraption right quickly when he realized that another mad scientist had built a machine to chop those logs faster than a greased hare. While Old Henry’s horse-chompermatic device required gathering some odd components (horse teeth, ghost rock steam engine, and turpentine), his work was at least slightly more stable than that of his German rival, who was disqualified for injuring other contestants, as well as being unable to collect his prize for having exploded himself to death.
Pat then entered the firearms competition, beating out the rest of the shooters simply by sheer skill, taking shots from distances other men couldn’t even match. However, it was clear that he was used to shooting his targets in the ear, as his pistol shots only barely hit his targets.
As the day progressed towards the poker tournament, Tsura finally grasped the cards in her hands…
Only to have a group of bandits break into the tournament hall, demanding that everyone hand over their valuables. Considerin’ that Pat was slightly fond of his six-shooters, Old Henry only gave one end of his ax to people, and Jed usually didn’t have much of anything, this led to a right violent protest, with Tsura having a bit of a fit for someone trying to bust up her poker game.
As the cards finally settled, the bandits lay dead or dying, at which point, as all civilized people do, the tournament resumed, with Tsura being able to clean up the pot. Afterwards, the Independence Railroad Commission thanked them for their efforts in impressing their guests, who had finally approved that a branch of their rail be led down to Independence.
The next day, they were called to the coroner’s office, who asked them for some assistance: it seemed that Jacob Smith, one of the railroad commissioners, had died the night before, under somewhat mysterious circumstances… he was found outside the whore house in a gutter, completely drained of any liquids.
Realizing that there was a whore house, Pat immediately made his way there so that he could get a bath. Seriously, that’s all he wanted. While interviewing the lady he had been with the night before, they noticed that Jacob’s room had a trail of ashes leading from his room, as well as a downturned mirror. From the footprints, the group could identify the size of the shoe, to which the Madam made comment that only three of her girls could wear that size; two of them were out of town on “business”, while the last had died nearly a year ago.
Taking the most logical route, the posse immediately went to the area where the woman had been buried, only to find that a woman’s body was freshly buried in her grave, and had been rooted out by hogs. On top of that, this body showed the same affliction of being drained of any liquids. Realizing that the wrong person was in the grave, they decided to stake the cemetery, getting a decent haul of one feral pig for meat. Oh, and a corpse to bring back.
At the coroner’s again, they found that there was yet a third body that had come up, and found out by way of the town tailor’s inspection of the dress tag that the woman that they had brought back was actually the third stiff’s husband, who had cheated on her some years ago with a blonde-haired harlot… and that a strikingly beautiful blonde woman had recently commissioned two dresses be made.
Trying to find out more about the man who had been killed, and possibly find a motive for a corpse to raise from the dead and kill folk, the group was surprised by a random fistfight in the bar they were in. As shards of the wall-mirror fell, a blonde woman began singing in a manner that shook Pat to the core… but which Old Henry, with his dirty ears, and Tsura, of the feminine persuasion, shook off easily.
As they fought the bar patrons, which seemed to be under the harlot’s spell, the posse was unable to do much to her, as the men would constantly dive into the way of bullets and arcane bolts.
Driving her off, Pat received medical assistance from Jane Samuelson, head of the Independence Railroad Commission, and finally everything came together.
It turned out that the man who was killed first, Johnathan Roberts, had fallen in love with a whore, Lily Turner, and promised to marry her, giving her gift of a silver mirror. However, unknown to her, Johnathan was already married, and when his wife found out about the affair, she and her sewing circle, which Jane had been a part of, publicly shamed her. As she asked Johnathan to confirm his love for her, he took the mirror from her hands and shattered it. She committed suicide shortly thereafter.
Realizing that the reanimated lady of the night was seeking vengeance on anyone she felt was connected to her shaming, the posse high-tailed it to the sewing circle, surely enough finding that Lily was in the process of draining bodies. Using the mirror shards that Jed noticed earlier had caused her to shed ash and avoid stepping on, they were able to finally give her soul rest, but not before some innocents died.
As they stepped out into the open, they were approached by a stranger, who felt that they had handled the situation well, and made them an offer. Should they accept, they would simply need to meet her at the local Ranger station on Saturday morning…