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Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients» Forums » Sessions

Subject: The Tales of U.S. Marshall Bill Derrick rss

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Glenn Manser
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Written here are the histories of one Marshall Bill Derrick, as written by me, Vern Hicks. I have lived in the town of Brimstone for all my life, and have watched it go from a booming town in the west to what it is now...a horror-filled town fighting for its very survival. Where once it was a bustling town full of miners and those who trade with them, now you only find bandits, hunters, and mutants.

But I've come here to hear the stories of Bill, not the ramblings of an old man. U.S. Marshall William Derrick arrived in Tombstone shortly after all the chaos started. He appeared out of one of the many sandstorms that scour this part of the Southwest, riding in alone and stopping at the local saloon, which is where he and I first met. He was a grim man, with little in the way of social graces, and he wanted nothing to do with small talk; until, that is, you get a couple drinks into him; then, he is an open book.

As the local musician I often found myself alone in the bar, playing music only to myself, the young barmaid Alice, and the barkeep/owner Rolf. So it was with great surprise that we found Marshall Derrick back in our bar four days straight, seemingly only there to drown whatever sorrows tore at him. Having seen him dismiss others when they approached him to talk, I knew I would have a hard time getting him to open up, but I also had this gnawing need to write down his story. With that need growing, I finally approached him and asked him if he would mind me writing his story. Looking up from his glass, bloodshot eyes burning into me as though searching for some truth I did not comprehend, the man stared at me for what felt like hours. Finally satisfied that he had found what it was he was looking for, he agreed to speak to me about his past, and what had drawn him to Brimstone.

As it turned out, the Marshall had been living not 30 miles from Brimstone, and had raised his small family there for years. He had never been through Brimstone as it was under another Marshall's territory, but knew of it's existence. He had also heard of the rumours of supernatural troubles assaulting the town. He was away from home two weeks ago, settling a land dispute down along the border, when he was called back home by his superiors. Upon arriving home, he found his house burned to the ground, his wife and two childern taken and presumably dead, with no true indication of what had happened. Although many wanted to blame the local natives, Marshall Derrick knew them and had an excellent relationship with them. He travelled to the closest tribe and sat down with the elders, hoping they could point him in the right direction. The Elder said that those who had taken his family had come from the east, from beneath the ground.

Marshall Derrick immediately set of east, arriving in Brimstone on the trail of his family's abductor. With no true direction other than coming to town, he began searching Brimstone for clues but came up empty at every corner. It was on the fourth day that he met me, and the rest will be written as history.

Marshall Derrick wandered through town, asking everyone he met if they had seen his family, or had heard rumours of what had happened. On the sixth day of his search he ran into a young widower named Elaine Dornell, who lived on and ran a ranch not far out of town, close to the hills. When she heard his tale she immediately offered to help him, as long as he would help her at the same time. With an agreement in place, the two set off towards the hills.

Once in the hills, Elaine told Bill about the strange group of creatures that had come through more than a week ago...described as small gangly creatures with tentacles sprouting from where their mouths were, the group of approximately 15 exited from the local mines and struck off to the west. Three days ago, Elaine witnessed them reenter the mine with six struggling sacks before they disappeared into the darkness. Although she wanted to follow them, she knew it would be too dangerous to go in on her own, so she had been trying to put together a posse since. And this is how our two heroes met.

The next day the two set off towards the mine entrance Elaine knew of. Although neither knew what they would face in the dark, they both cam equipped for a fight. Marshall Derrick carried his government issued shotgun, his marshall’s badge, and something more personal-his journal. Elaine came with her favourite hunting rifle, her adventure boots, and some bandages she had stored at the ranch.

Upon first entering the mine, the pair felt a cold darkness settle over them; a sense of doom and despair that neither could immediately describe. With few clues in the first room, they pushed deeper in, entering the second room and finding scraps of clothing scattered throughout. Only one path led out of this room, with nothing else of interest to be found here. They quickly got to the next room, the darkness closing in around them, pushing down on them with a growing sense of dread.

As they entered the next room, they were shocked to see a large pile of bones stacked up in one corner, cleaner than bones bleached by the desert sun. As they moved across the room towards the only exit, the pile began to shake, as though trying to spawn new life. Immediately, without thought, the Marshall fired his shotgun into the center mass, sending shards of bone flying across the room. Following his lead, Elaine then fired her rifle, reducing the pile of bones to nothing more than shards. At this point, all semblance of life had fled the pile. Searching through the bones for further clues, the two were surprised instead to find a small cache of gold at the bottom of the pile. Pocketing it, the two continued on into the mine.

The next room held no clues either, only another entrance leading deeper into the darkness. At this point, but heroes were shivering in the cold; a cold that seeped deeper into their souls. Somehow, a beam of light shone through the darkness, fighting back against the darkness that threatened to engulf them both. With renewed resolve, the two continued on into the next room.

Upon entering the room, the two were shocked to see a large glowing window shining in the dark. Through the window could be seen shadowy figures who’s shapes could not be made out. Through the portal, Marshall Derrick heard screams, human screams, and he immediately surged toward the portal, hoping to reach his wife and children. AS he approached, several figures stepped through the portal, blocking his advance.

The first of the creatures to step through were small bipedal creatures with large gaping maws and tentacles sprouting from their backs. Their arms ended in razor sharp claws and whipping tails made them even more alien. They advanced quickly through the portal until six of the creatures filled the room. Elaine explained that these were similar to the creatures she had seen the night of Bills’ family’s disappearance, but seemed to move much quicker than she remembered.

Pushing through the portal, two tall bipedal creatures appeared, almost as if leading the smaller beings in the attack. With long fur-covered arms, large bug-shaped eyes, and mouths filled with rows of dagger-like teeth, both heroes definitely felt that these were the true threat.
The small creatures advanced first, but because the heroes filled the doorway, only three could attack. Wildly swinging their arms and tentacles, the sent a barrage of attacks down on the heroes, drawing first blood on Bill. Marshall Derrick was next to attack, firing into the mass of creatures. With a glee he had not thought he would feel, he watched as one of the creatures exploded in a flash of blood and tissue. Immediately, he fired the second barrel, hoping to destroy another of the monstrousities. Unfortunately, the second shot was unable to penetrate the leathery hide, leaving five of the creatures still standing.

Elaine then prepared to fire her weapon, but with a click realized her weapon had jammed. Instead of panicking, she waded into the center of the five Stranglers, and, with a fury unseen up to this point, swung the butt of her rifle in a destructive circle, caving in the skulls of no less than four of the creatures.

Unforunately, stepping forward as she had placed Elaine directly in the path of the two larger creatures, who focused their attention on her. Advancing on the rancher, they both targeted her with their massive clawed hands. With no less than eight strikes heading her way, Elaine somehow managed to dodge out of the way of 5 and shrugged off one that clipped her shoulder. Unfortunately, the last two attacks landed solidly on her back, driving her to her knees. Shaking her head, she struggled back to her feet, ready to attack the next round.

With only one of the small creatures remaining, the Marshall fired his shotgun point blank into its chest, killing it instantly. Unloading the second shot into the first of the two large creatures, the Marshall did a massive amount of damage to it, but with growing horror realized the creature was still standing.

The two Night Terrors then attacked, the damaged one splitting off from Elaine and attacking the Marshall while the second continued to rain down blows on Elaine, connecting one more time and driving our hero back to her knees for a second time. The attacker on the Marshall also attacked in a flurry, connecting once with Bill, driving him backwards up against the wall at his back.

Elaine, seeing Marshall Derrick in peril, unjammed her rifle and fired it into the back of the monster standing over her friend. As brain matter hit the wall behind his head, Marshall Bill Derrick was amazed to see the creature topple over dead, landing at his feet with a loud crash.

Bill, seeing that these creatures could be killed, fired his weapon into the first creature, sending buckshot deep into its body. Undaunted, the creature turned its attention back to Bill, and in one leap had the Marshall in its grasp. Lifting Bill up, the monster threw him against the wall with such force that Elaine believed him to be dead. She rushed over to his side and was gladdened to find him still alive. Saying a prayer to her God, she was relieved when Bill rose up from the ground, with little to show for the wounds he had suffered only moments ago.

Shaking his head to clear the cobwebs, Bill could not clearly make sense of what was going on or where his foes were and stood there stunned. The creature, seeing him apparently defenseless, attacked him again, connecting once on his shoulder and spinning Bill around. Somehow, the Marshall managed to keep on his feet.

Elaine then fired her rifle again, striking the creature in its back where its natural armour seemed weaker. A large portion of its left shoulder disintegrated, causing the creature to turn back to Elaine and reassess the threat she posed.

It was at this point that Bill regained his wits. Sighting down the barrels of his shotgun, the Marshall uttered a curse too foul to repeat, and pulled the trigger. Watching the creature’s head explode in a wave of gore, Bill felt relief that the fight was over. Checking on Elaine to make sure she was okay, and finding that she was, Marshall Derrick turned back to the portal, watching helplessly as it collapsed in on itself and trapping his family on the other side.

The two heroes made their way back to town, already planning their next assault. In their packs the two carried a few items found along the way; namely, an herb found by Elaine and a Dusty Poncho now covering the Marshall. On top of the items found, Elaine had found 450g in the mine, along with one piece of the much-sought after Darkstone. Marshall Derrick walked out with 450g as well, but managed to scrounge up three pieces of Darkstone to bring back to town.
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