Dec 21, 2012

Here's Charlie!
Sept 15, Z-Day + 286

Bullets flew through the broken windows and doorways and what looked like soldiers ran out of the gift shop.

Outside a gust of wind shakes the building and the first heavy drops of rain can be heard.

2 Gozerians Killed (Michael!)
0 PC’s Killed still

A Desperate Plan
Sept 15, Z-Day + 286

On the western horizon a line of black storm clouds approached.

The megaphone conversation continued. They took advantage of the lull in the gun battle to do some first aid only they had zero first aid supplies – not even water and clean bandages. Marcel located some baby wipes that one of the mothers must have dropped. They used their knives to cut clothing into strips. It was better than nothing. Even with it’s primitive nature, the first aid helped a little.

Meanwhile Wigberto provided them with the gist of the conversation. There was posturing and arguing. Occasionally he was asked to shout something into the conversation to try and steer it in one way or the other. The two sides desired a summit between unarmed representatives at the church on the hill. Michael’s group asked about the gringos and the Mexicans responded that the gringos were their prisoners so they would represent them. An accord was not easily reached however. Each time something derailed the effort. The first time Ximena’s group demanded “the monster” not be present as a representative but Michael’s group refused.

Wigberto shouted that Ximena, the leader, was dead. At first Michael’s speaker did not understand. When he did, he implored Ximena to join together with the Gozerians because as she knew the walking dead were but an instrument of Gozer’s will set upon the unworthy to prepare the Earth for His arrival. Ximena’s speaker dismissed that claim and then Ximena herself shouted into the megaphone and shared her tragic story.

She grew up in a small village in rural Chihuahua. Her mother was a self proclaimed priestess of Santisima Muerte and practitioner of folk magic. Ximena followed in her footsteps up until the children of the Mexica, the new Aztecs, arrived in her village. They rounded everyone up for sacrifice. She screamed when the men stretched her over the stump. She kept screaming as the high priest plunged the knife below her ribs. She screamed as the old man fished around in her chest for her heart. She screamed one last time when he pulled it from her chest. But she did not die. The silence of the crowd was louder than her screams. It was then she knew she was Mictlancihuatl reborn.

The priests released her in shock and then knelt in supplication. The crowded screamed in adoration. Her first command was the sacrifice of the high priest who still held her heart in mute shock. He now serves her in death. She is queen of Mictlan, the Lady of Death. She commands the bones of the dead and searches for her husband, Mictlantecuhtli. If Gozer had something to do with disrupting the journey of the dead to Mictlan then he has put his hands where they do not belong.

The wretched prisoners hatched a desperate plan. When the representatives left for the church, they would shoot Michael’s ambassador while Wigberto shouted ambush. They hoped this would start another firefight that would thin out their opponents.

The storm front was closer now and the wind was picking up. It was blessedly cool. It had been decided that one representative and one guard would walk, unarmed to the church to meet and discuss what to do. A cease fire would be in effect and nobody was to advance their position or otherwise gain advantage.

Dr Graves crawled back through the hole in the wall followed by Trevor, Wigberto, and later by Apestoso. They crouched by the corner windows. Graves spied a figure in the shadowy interior of the building across the street. The person noticed him also. He was a swarthy man in fatigues. He looked like he belonged to Michael’s group and was armed with an AK 47 which he jerked up as he faded back into the darkness.

They finalized their plans and waited for Michael’s picks to leave the safety of the vehicles. It was a long shot with the shotgun and an almost impossible shot with the short barrelled .38. Then a man in an orange prison jumpsuit escorted by a man in full military gear left cover and began walking toward the church. Graves aimed his shotgun.

In the building across from them a man shouted “Gun!” and then burst of AK 47 fire lit up the dark room 4 times. Three of the four struck Grave’s but the Rosicrucian’s Shield left him unscathed and the Shield was hardly the worse for it. Graves and Trevor fired nearly simultaneously. The weak pistol round splashed down early in the dust but he wad of buckshot from Graves shotgun impacted the orange jumpsuit in the chest. The man staggered but didn’t go down. He and his companion turned and ran back to the armored Humvee. Apestoso and Wigberto screamed out the window trying to trick people into firing more. A moment later gunfire erupted from the floor above them and from the upper floor across the way.

They all took cover. Trevor lifted his revolver up and blindly fired a shot out the window. There was a lot of muffled shouting in mostly English from the Gozerians and a little in Spanish from the Mexicans. The shooter above them shot three times and was not answered by return shots from the other building. Had the other shooter been killed? The AK 47 shooter across from them didn’t shoot again either. The shooting stopped.

They were congratulating themselves on killing Charles Manson who they thought might be the one referred to as “the monster”. Then Graves and Milhouse felt a disturbance. Graves explained that a great deal of Essence had been expended but at the same time it felt wrong. Then a lone voice pierced the silence. “Helter Skelter” it screamed.

The next voice on the loudspeak was in English. It screamed at them angrily asking why the hell they did that. Your time is up. Michael’s Army is coming for you so the Mexicans better stay out of the way.

Soon after there was gunfire where the two buildings faced one another. Michael was coming for them and peels of thunder boomed in the distance.

Mexican Standoff
Sept 15, Z-Day + 286

More of them moved through the hole in the wall and into the kitchen. They frantically searched for anything else that could be useful. They could here people talking right outside. The gunfire continued and a long burst of very loud gunshots kicked off. Xanthos moved to the kitchen door and looked through the round window into the dining room. It seemed empty. Behind him, others were checking the walk in cooler and small office. Nothing of use.

There was a lull in the gunfight and the outside door to the restaurant burst open. In came two women holding infants and a wounded man. They were armed and from the Santa Muerte group. Xanthos watched them sit at some tables. It looked like one of the women was going to try some first aid on the wounded man. He had a shotgun, and the woman had a pipe with a 45 degree angle at the end. The other woman had a small black revolver. The group wanted their weapons and began to scheme to get them.

Milhouse still had a few rounds left in the .45 so he took Xanthos’ place. The rest wanted him to shoot the three people in the restaurant so they could take their guns. Milhouse couldn’t bring himself to shoot two young women holding babies though so they called over Dr Graves who also had skill with a pistol but lacked compassion for the young mothers.

Graves took the gun from Xanthos and stepped to the little window. There was shouting outside and the man with the rifle jumped up and ran out before his injuries could be treated. The two women stood up also. Graves aimed at the one with the little revolver. He fired and struck her vitals. She went down. Her baby shrieked as it hit the floor. A second shot critically wounded the other lady but she staggered out the door.

Most of the others left the kitchen and ran into the restaurant. Trevor picked up the revolver and discovered it to be a 5 shot Chiefs Special .38. Milhouse tried to comfort the baby. The others spread out. This was where Ximena had originally questioned Marcel and where her group spent the first night before moving to the house. They had hoped to find some gear inside but that was not going to happen. The dining room was cleared out.

More gunfire rattled outside. Then people began running from the west to the east. It looked like the Santa Muertes were pulling back. Outside though the wounded woman grabbed the injured man from the other runners. She redirected him inside. He kicked open the door and stepped through. The closest person was one of the remaining Mexican prisoners. The short range shotgun blast drove him to the ground lifeless.

The .38 special returned fire and the two shots finished off the already wounded man with the shotgun. He dropped and Graves scooped up his shotgun while the others began scavenging the body. They found more shells and a folding tactical knife. Outside the last of the people ran by the building and there was silence.

A loudspeaker wailed from Michael’s group to the west. It was in Spanish. At first Wigberto had trouble translating but soon he started relaying the conversation. Michael’s group and the Santa Muerte group were talking. Michael’s side was saying that the ritual was over. They weren’t going to let them finish it. They wanted the book. The response from Ximena’s group was that they stopped nothing and that they had them outnumbered.

2 Santa Muerte Followers Killed
1 Santa Muerte Follower Wounded
1 NPC Ally Killed

Lucha a Muerte
Sept 15, Z-Day + 286

The shooting was not as intense as before. Inside the pyramid the prisoners debated what to do. If they waited until one side won they would be at the mercy of the victors. The new arrivals had looked military but didn’t have any obvious markings. The paint job on the HMMWVs and trucks did not match the Mexican Army camouflage they had seen at the resort.

The decision was made to use their combined weight to bust through the south facing doors closest to the buildings. After all they didn’t have to break the chains just the door handles. Then they would make a run for it and hope for the best. Dr. Grave closed his eyes and began gathering Essence. The prisoners rearranged themselves. Wigberto’s group at the door was replaced by the Americanos. After some last minute preparations and the Rosicrucian’s successful focus, the group heaved themselves against the door. On the first try it broke open. The shooting got much louder.

The doors couldn’t open fully because two people were using that area to shoot from. They yelled something in Spanish and motioned at them. The prisoners heaved again and forced the doors open more which squeezed an eagle warrior and a regular Santa Muerte follower between the doors and the structure. There were well armed defenders everywhere shooting from the left to the right and return fire coming from the right toward the left. The prisoners began the 20 foot dash to the space between the two adjacent buildings. Trevor caught a glimpse of a crazy looking old guy in an orange prison jumpsuit among the attackers. Charles Manson! Michael’s Army had found them!

Then they caught some bullets. One of the gun trucks hit them with a burst. The first 50 cal round blew off Marcel’s lower leg and he hit the ground hard. The next two hit Sammy and Graves. Blood sprayed from Sammy who had gotten extremely lucky. He was still on his feet. Graves went down. Behind them Wigberto led the other Mexicans. He took a grazing shot from a rifle as he stepped out of cover.

They crossed the remaining distance to cover but another burst dropped four of Wigberto’s people. Marcel saw the splayed body of one of the priests at the corner of the pyramid. A bunch of other people were taking shelter behind it while they were doing something with the bodies of the dead. He crawled toward them while gathering Essence. Wigberto ran over and grabbed him under the arms. Graves was grabbed by one of the remaining Mexicans on the way and dragged between the buildings out of the line of fire. The fastest of the group made it to the corner of the restaurant and museum building where they stopped and turned around. To run along that side of the building would open them up to the battle going on in the main parking lot. There was another gun truck there.

The Santa Muerte fighters were of course watching all this but concentrating on the main threat. One guy with a pistol was standing out of harms way in the doorway of the museum. He looked like he didn’t know what to do. Milhouse overpowered him and ripped the pistol away. The guy took off and the fleeing prisoners entered the empty museum.

Marcel saw who he was looking for, the undead priest. Using his Vodou necromancy he commanded the undead priest to kill Ximena. He felt his Will overpower the creature but it did nothing besides look at him. Wigberto pulled Marcel toward the rest of the group. The two remaining chained Mexicans made it to safety but they were attached to two lifeless bodies now and were well behind the others.

Shockingly Dr Graves was not injured at all. That was close! He and his Mexican rescuer ran into the museum. The others had already fanned out looking for anything that would help. There was nothing besides a high bar chair that could be used as a club or shield. And the little museum was not connected to the rest of the building with a door.

The man disarmed by Milhouse was now in the opposite doorway with a man armed with an AK. Neither noticed that the gun truck backing out of the main lot now had an angle on them. A burst of machine gun fire made a mess of them. Seeing that and especially the unattended rifle the two chained Mexicans headed to the front door of the gift shop, post office, and museum. They pulled the shot up bodies of their companions behind them.

Xanthos recalled that the restaurant kitchen was on the other side of the wall but there was an exit on the left. He instructed people to start kicking through the drywall there.

Before being pulled through the door Marcel once more tried to command the undead priest. Realizing that the previous failed command could only mean that Ximena was already dead, he commanded the creature to “destroy” her. This time though his Will could not overpower the priest and it raised it’s arm in response, pointing him out and shrieking.

Across the way the two chained Mexicans made to the inset doorway and were not spotted by the gun truck. The AK was there for the taking and the gift shop seemed empty behind them. The eagle warrior at the corner of the building was glancing at them between leaning out to shoot into the overflow lot.

Inside the museum the group had kicked through the interior wall. They were lining up to squeeze between the studs and get into the kitchen. Milhouse checked out his new gun. It was a Spanish model .45 made by Star. They could use it to shoot off the remaining chains.

At the gift shop and post office the two chained Mexicans grabbed the gun plus three spare mags and moved inside. They were able to shoot themselves free of the chains.

Likewise in the museum, the .45 was used to free the last folks still restrained The first half of the group crawled through the wall into the kitchen and began searching. The exit door was right there and they could clearly hear people on the other side. The kitchen didn’t have much but they did find two steak knives and two paring knives. Xanthos also equipped himself with a pot lid buckler and a broomstick.

4 NPC Allies Killed
1 PC amputated leg

A Sacrifice to the Gods
Sept 14 - 15, Z-Day + 285 - 286

Their captors wasted no time in the morning. Not long after sunrise noises could be heard outside the pyramid. The priest began leading them in prayer. He was not able to finish before the doors opened and they were roughly pulled outside.

They were lined up on the southwest side of the pyramid opposite the Santa Muerte followers standing in the restaurant’s shadow. They had a small contingent of guards assigned to them and several others could be seen watching the horizon. The modern Aztecs began chanting and singing. There was dancing by the eagle warriors. The priests were out moving among the faithful. When they ascended the pyramid steps things quieted down.

They were joined by the Most Holy Death herself. Ximena in full Santa Muerte costume joined the priests atop the pyramid and they began praying. The time had come. A group of eagle warriors collected the first chained group of prisoners. They pulled them up the stairs while the Mexicans wailed. The group included the priest who was praying loudly.

The priest was separated from the group and the four priests each grabbed a limb. They bent him over backwards on a stool and Ximena stood over him. She raised her shiny bowie knife and plunged it under his ribcage while he shrieked. After cutting a slit with the knife she reached in with the other hand and fished for his wildly beating heart. When she found it, she ripped it out and held it aloft with a yell of her own. The crowded cheered. The prisoners gasped or cried.

Ximena bit into the heart and then offered it to the undead priest to do the same. The bloody body of the priest was rolled off the platform down the steep steps past the other victims. Then the priests grabbed the next in line and did the same. This was repeated until none remained from the first chained group. Then the warriors grabbed the next string of people.

It was very bloody work and the new structure was glistening red. After the second group was sacrificed several people ran out to the lower steps and collected the congealing blood to pass around as a drink. Then the third and last string of prisoners were pulled up the stairs. This group needed to be hoisted up bodily and brought to the top. Each in turn was sacrificed like the others.

Ximena shouted. In response the roll up doors to two of the box trucks in the parking lot opened. Each was full of people heretofore unseen. Nearly naked men and women jumped down from the trucks and walked slowly to Ximena. Each was armed with a machete. They were dead.

The dead steadily climbed the bloody stairs to the top where Ximena and the undead priest fed them the remains of the hearts. After receiving their share, each zombie descended the stairs and headed back to the trucks. About half of the thirty zombies had eaten when one of the lookouts shouted.

Speeding down I-8 from the west was a convoy of vehicles led by Humvee gun trucks. Their captors moved fast. The remaining prisoners were herded into the pyramid while everyone else scrambled. Many ran up the stairs to the second floor of the two buildings while a large group headed to the east parking lot with the zombies. Still others ran for the west parking lot and the double decker bus. Others stood right were they were. When the doors to the pyramid closed behind them the prisoners took a desperate chance. They could hear the chain being pulled through the outside door handles. Before it could be wrapped and padlocked though, Sammy Whiskers lead the resistance and charged the doors.

The group succeeded in pushing the doors open. There were three of their cudgel armed guards outside. The chain swung from the right door handle and Trevor grabbed it. The prisoners darted back inside and the doors closed. The hope was that there would not be any alternative way in the short term to secure the doors. The keys had never been found.

Gunfire erupted. Through the tiny linear windows the prisoners could see the column of vehicles split into two groups. The first left the highway and began shooting from the west parking area. The remaining vehicles continued to the main driveway for Felicity. A particularily ferocious gunfight broke out there. The guns atop the two gun trucks were much louder than the rest. Inside the pyramid, Xanthos asked Wigberto to collect any hairpins the ladies had.

Once collected Xanthos lead the team in trying to pick the locks. Nobody knew how to pick locks but Xanthos had gotten lucky the day before just pushing it through the cheap lock cylinder and engaging the mechanism directly. The next couple minutes proved surprisingly successful. Using the hairpins as Xanthos did or as shims they were able to free about half their number including the Mexican prisoners. Time was of the essence however as attested by the stray round that passed through the building and killed one of Wigberto’s companions. The Mexican threw themselves at the set of doors facing the other buildings.

15 Innocent Mexican NPCs sacrificed

Building the Pyramid
Sept 13 - 14, Z-Day + 284 - 285

The captives were divided into two groups. This meant that nine of the Mexicans were shifted over to the American side. One of the Mexicans introduced himself as Wigberto Clemente Azaria. He knew a little English and used to be a police officer The Santa Muerte group/modern Aztecs worked them hard throughout the day building the cement staircase up the side of the pyramid. The work was exhausting in the heat and they were worn down. They noticed that both groups were fed from their food on the bus.

Xanthos and Dr Graves suffered immensely tethered naked to the hoods of those trucks. They were dehydrated and severely sunburned. Both were in and out of consciousness and experienced bouts of nonsense raving.

There were two instances of strangers coming near Felicity. The first time they heard motor bikes approaching from Yuma. The bikes slowed down and then could be heard retreating. The next time was a couple of hours later and from the east this time. A modified pickup was cruising down the highway but it slowed down as it approached. Everyone was made to hide but perhaps that was too late. The truck had some sort of frontal protection and a built up bed. At least two people were in the bed observing Felicity through binoculars. It wasn’t too long before the truck turned around and disappeared into the heat waves in the distance.

After the day’s work was done, Xanthos and Graves were removed from the trucks. Prisoners carried them into the pyramid shortly thereafter were joined by all the others. Once more they were stuffed tightly into the building. After some time Graves woke up and had a one sided conversation. Most people just thought he was raving again but his companions realized he was talking to Voorman.

Graves told them that Voorman was on the way and Fecalizer was hiding out in Yuma. They were the ones on the dirt bikes earlier. The Santa Muerte/Aztec group here was the same one that they were avoiding back in town.

The night passed without Voorman rescuing them.

Day two saw the completion of the platform on top of the pyramid. Like the day before, their group led by Sammy Whiskers far out performed the other although this time the Mexicans rallied toward the end. The other group was severely distraught. They did not want to “meet their fate on top of the pyramid”.

2 PCs sunburned
2 PCs with heat exhaustion

Sept 13, Z-Day + 284

During the night Xanthos disassembled his holy symbol necklace into a makeshift lockpick set. The trouble was he didn’t know how to pick locks but he did have a general idea of how locks worked. With some luck he managed to pop open the padlock holding the chain around his neck. Then he tore off a bit of his shirt and blocked the mechanism so he could re-close the lock without it latching shut. He was not able to free anyone else however.

The rest of the night was miserable and very tiring. The pyramid must have been 90+ degrees and filled with the stink of BO, urine, and feces. Occasionally the crowd would surge back and forth as one person struggled and set off a chain reaction. This would squeeze people or crush them against the walls. By the time the doors were opened at day break, the prisoners were more tired than when they entered.

They were dragged into ordered rows next to the little pyramid. Drums began pounding and the Eagle Warriors performed a short dance. Then the doors to the building opened and the rest of the Eagle Warriors exited carrying Ximena on a chair. She was wearing skull makeup again and dressed beautifully. At her side was a shiny bowie knife with a stag horn handle. She held a gleaming chain in one hand. It lead to a spiked dog collar around Joanne’s neck. Joanne walked in her riot armor, but it sported a new paint job. It had been highlighted with red and white stripes.

Ximena began to speak to the assembled crowd. Everyone was in attendance. Most of the speech was translated for them. She introduced herself as Santa Muerte but told them it was not always her name. Before the Christians arrived she was known as Mictēcacihuātl, literally “Lady of the Dead”. She is Queen of Mictlan, the underworld, ruling over the afterlife with Mictlantecuhtli, another deity who is her husband. Her role is to watch over the bones of the dead and preside over the ancient festivals of the dead. The caretakers of Mictlan slumbered for centuries but awoke at the end of the Calendar. There is great distress in the Otherworlds now and the dead lost their way. This turmoil has brought her back to the land of the living. There was a reason each of us arrived in this place.

Her she would raise a pyramid like the ancients did. The modern pyramid here would be transformed into something in line with the Aztec design and the old ceremonies would be held on it’s summit farther north than ever before. She told them it would be their labor that would construct this pyramid and as a mercy to them only the slowest, least effective group of builders would meet their fate on its summit. Then she gave orders to her subordinates. Work groups were organized. The Mexicans were split up. Some stayed at the pyramid and the rest accompanied the group to the east to a dilapidated fence that they disassembled for the boards. A few elderly joined Marcel, the one armed, in carrying water to the workers. Marcel carried the bucket and an old man ladled water out to the sweating obreros.

Xanthos had other plans. After a few minutes he spoke to the foreman and told him that he had some engineering experience and had some ideas to help build the pyramid. He was taken off the line and escorted back where he shared his thoughts with the foreman. The current plan from the Lady of Bones herself was to add a cement staircase to the eastern wall and a flat platform on top. In this way the structure would resemble an aztec pyramid albeit a tiny one. One group of Mexicans were flagging out were the fence boards would go to become cement forms and another group was digging a hole at the base of the future staircase. After a while the foreman became annoyed with Xanthos and assigned him to help dig.

The morning was rapidly heating up and made the work harder. It was going to be an exhausting day and it seemed like the people in charge were deliberately working them hard and being stingy with the water. When they had enough boards they carried them back to the pyramid. All the workers were lined up for a public address. The Aztec group (minus the prisoner guards) stood across from them along side the post office. Soon drums began beating and the eagle warriors present began dancing. Ximena climbed on top of the white suburban.

A truck drove up and parked in the empty space between the Aztecs and the prisoners and guards. Joanne was led to the vehicle and her chain was padlocked to the bumper. Santisima Muerte declared that before construction began there would be a sacrifice to bless the job. They don’t sacrifice lesser animals. Only people are an appropriate sacrifice to the gods and the greatest among people makes the greatest uauantin. Here was a great warrior that would be given a rare opportunity to reenact a famous past sacrifice by combat of a chieftain. Joanne was to fight to the death against the eagle warriors. Of course it would not be fair without weapons, thus Joanne was presented with two macuahuitls shortened to wakizashi size. Where the macuahuitls of the eagle warriors had sharp metal, obsidian, and glass embedded along their sides though, Joanne’s were decorated with feathers. Ximena motioned one of her warriors forward. Let the fight begin!

The warrior stepped forward with his small shield and macuahuitl and initiated the fight with a swing that Joanne easily parried. Then she countered with a quick strike to his chest. He tried again and failed and Joanne smashed him twice. He hit the ground unmoving and apparently unbreathing. Both side roared.

Another warrior stepped up. Xanthos had the idea of using his glasses to reflect light into his eyes. That seemed like a good idea and Dr Graves joined in the attempt. The warrior held his own and the second time Xanthos directed the sun in his eyes, he pointed Xanthos out and shouted something to the guards. While the fight continued, a guard strode up and swung at Xanthos’ hand with an ax handle. It was a near miss. Now there was two fights for the people to watch. Joanne finished hers and her opponent was soon was dragged away unconscious. Xanthos was taken down to the ground by two guards. Marcel tried to calm people down.

Then a third eagle warrior closed for battle. Joanne put him down like the others. Again both crowds roared approval. She was doing fantastic but her luck was running out. Dr. Graves moved up to take on one of the guards attacking Xanthos but another guard came up behind him and broke his leg with a club. Graves was down and Xanthos had one of his arms stretched out on the ground. He was terrified of what they had planned for his offending hand.

For round four the Lady of the Dead motioned two warriors forward. Graves shouted “Bullshit!” Xanthos now had a third guard on him applying a chokehold but had managed to snatch his arm back. Joanne cracked one warrior with her feather club and jumped up on the truck’s hood. The injured warrior dove low and grabbed her chain. The other took a couple of swings which she avoided. Then she changed her mind about fighting from the hood and jumped down slashing at each warrior. The man on the ground received a glancing blow. The other, nothing. Xanthos continued being choked struggling to retain control of his arm.

Then Joanne smashed the prone, injured warrior twice more and he was out of the fight. Now it was just one on one. Trevor joined Marcel in trying to calm everyone down. It did not look like a winnable fight. Milhouse knelt down and let his miraculous healing tears drip onto the broken leg and the doctor was healed. The last warrior held out a little longer but ended up like the rest.

Now the lone jaguar warrior stepped up. He was a hulking man with a two handed macuehuitl. The two sparred briefly neither gaining a hit. Xanthos tried and failed to head butt the man on his back choking him. Graves gingerly stood up and looked for help from the priest and his group but just got a shake of the head. Then Joanne took a solid hit in the side. Her armor was not up to the task of stopping that blow unlike some others. But she kept fighting on. She couldn’t land a blow on the jaguar warrior though.

Then the warrior caved in the side of Joanne’s head. It was hideous. But somehow she was able to keep fighting. It didn’t seem possible. Graves yelled “Fight!” and looped the chain around one of the men on Xanthos. The priest’s group didn’t move. Then the warrior took out her leg with a snap and she fell unmoving. Milhouse howled. The warrior, Timoteo, raised his weapon in triumph before smashing her a couple more times. He stepped back as Trevor’s bae moved up and made an incision under Joanne’s ribcage. The girl pulled out the heart and took a bite. Her people went wild.

Xanthos and Graves were piled on by guards and beaten senseless. Their naked unconscious bodies were lashed spread eagle on the hood of the truck and the suburban. The rest of the group had to watch as Joanne was skinned. Timoteo would wear her skin for the next 21 days as an honor and to acquire some of her power.

Joanne’s body was placed in the hole next to the pyramid with her wakizashis. Ximena next slit the throat of a dog. The corpse was placed next to Joanne. Then the order was given and the hole began to be filled.

1 Eagle Warrior Killed
4 Eagle Warriors Defeated
1 PC Killed

The Aztecs
Sept 13, Z-Day + 284

The night was hot and illuminated by a quarter moon. The desert looked like an alien landscape.

They pulled the bus around to the west side of the museum building, and settled in for an uncomfortably hot night. Dr. Graves received a Sending from the Rosicrucians. He told them that Fecalizer made it through the Tohono O’odham Nation Reservation (not recommended due to unfriendly inhabitants), the Goldwater air force range, and to Yuma where they sheltered. There was a large group they wanted to avoid so they were going to make the rest of the trip at night. They needed to use the bridge on the west side of town, so they didn’t have much choice. First watch was unremarkable. On second watch Milhouse spotted a ghost. Trevor thought it looked like a person in a sheet walking north through the granite displays.

They both ran out of the bus and toward the figure. As they approached it became clear that it was a girl wrapped in a white sheet flapping in the warm breeze. They tried to be quiet but she heard something and turned. It was the Santa Muerte girl.

Trevor semi-successfully communicated with her using gestures and the occasional Spanish word. He introduced them and discovered that her name was Ximena. He cleverly asked whether she could see Milhouse’s ghost cat, and she could but she didn’t much like cats. Denebola the cat didn’t much care for her either. A little hurt, Milhouse left and returned to the bus.

That left Trevor alone to seal the deal. The two continued walking along the stone monuments until they reached the step in front of the church. She was determined to explore further. They both entered the church and began looking around the place. At the altar they paused for a little romance, but before Trevor could get too excited she seemed to have a change of heart and she broke off their tryst. She left with him following and walked back to her people and Trevor to the bus.

Back in the bus he woke everyone up to brag about what had just happened. Nobody really shared his excitement however and he was even told to shut the hell up. The occupants of the bus had barely gotten back to sleep before the watch rotated. Next up were Joanne and Graves.

Graves received another Sending but this time it was from Voorman. His mentor was at Lake Isabella where Michael’s Army was headquartered. He told them that the Gozerians had left. Only a few people remained behind and he had been questioning them. Voorman felt that they were a threat and had some sort of supernatural connection. If you come across them they need to be dealt with. Killed. The Reverend had returned to them and sported a new facial tattoo. He stirred them all up with the need to chase down and stop your group. It was the will of Gozer that you be destroyed. Also they had a Prophet, Charles Manson, that was both crazy and touched by Gozer. He received visions and was going to lead them to you. The group left in a convoy. He was going to finish up there and try to rejoin you as fast as possible unless there was an opportunity to sabotage Michael’s Army.

Everyone else fell back asleep. Unknown to them parked against the west side of the building, was the convoy of vehicles approaching from Yuma in the east. The vehicles arrived with their lights off and rolled into the parking lot. As they did so people jumped off the vehicles and moved quickly in groups toward the guesthouses in the back and another group ran west along the buildings toward the bus. That group was backed up by a Ryder truck.

Both Joanne and Graves spotted the interlopers right away but it was too late. She banged on the bus driver’s window to wake Trevor. Graves called out that a truck was pulling up behind them and flicked off the Winchester’s safety. Armed men were present along side the bus now and one man rapped on the driver’s door. He was a magnificent speciman armed with an AK 47 and bedecked in a revealing feathered costume complete with an eagle headdress. He was motioning to Trevor and the door. Trevor meanwhile shook sleep from his eyes and put his hands on the keys in the ignition. Marcel was trying to reaon with him from one of the windows and Xanthos was shouting facts about Eagle Warriors.

At the last moment he decided not to attempt to flee in the bus. There was just too much risk of getting shot and they had an in with the Santa Muerte contingent. Everyone in the bus gave up and exited. As they came out, their gear was stripped from them. Only full head-to-toe armor and the Mortum Demonto was left with them after some disagreement. They were told they would have a chance to speak with Santisima Muerte.

They were chained up and marched to the pyramid. The priest’s group in the guesthouses was receiving the same treatment. Then suddenly one person broke away. He sprinted into the desert pursued by an eagle warrior with a macuahuitl. The warrior caught up and hit the runner on the leg. The runner went down hard and was carried back by the warrior. The new Mexican group seemed to be lead by Aztec Priests or perhaps Nobles. They were dressed in spectacular traditional Aztec dress. One of them seemed different. He looked dessicated and they took this to mean he was dead. Santisima Muerte was present also. She was walking around with some of her people watching the proceedings. The priest’s group was praying, begging, and crying. The mayor and his wife were not in view.

The White Lady stepped up to Joanne and removed her skull mask. She did not recoil from the disfigured face. Instead she turn her to the crowd so everyone could see. Then she asked one of her people to taker her away and Joanned was escorted into the museum. Ximena spoke with them briefly through a translator but did not show concern about them, a ritual, or their friends that were coming. She ordered the Book seized. Then the translator told them that they could speak more with her tomorrow.

All the prisoners were herded into the pyramid and packed tight. It was standing room only. The doors were chained behind them. There was much wailing and praying. Xanthos asked the priest again whether he had been blessed with any Powers from his God. This time the priest told him that God sends him visions and that he has been granted some power over the dead.

They spent the rest of the night standing uncomfortably except those near the sloped walls who had to sit or lay down.

The eagle warriors were a group of elite infantrymen in the army of the Aztec Empire. Those who belonged in this warrior society were either members of the nobility or commoners who had distinguished themselves on the battlefield. Together with the jaguar warriors, the two warrior societies were collectively known as the cuauhtlocelotl (meaning ‘eagle-jaguar warriors’). The eagle and jaguar warriors are said to have formed the largest elite warrior society in the Aztec army.

In Aztec mythology, the eagle was regarded as a symbol of the sun, hence the eagle warriors were the warriors of the sun. Members of this warrior society dressed like eagles, adorning themselves with eagle feathers, and wearing headgear with an eagle head on it. This headgear had an open beak from which the warrior could look out. Images of eagle warriors can be seen in several artifacts and features, most notably in statues made by the Aztecs and in pictures found inside codices made by the Spanish.

Every Aztec male had to undergo basic military training. The progress of each student was constantly tested by the local temples, and those who displayed exceptional talent were shortlisted to undergo further training that would turn them into eagle warriors. The majority of the boys chosen to be part of this warrior society came from the nobility, though commoners who displayed exceptional talent were also selected.

Spanish Mass
Sept 12, Z-Day + 283

Xanthos accompanied Joanne and Milhouse to The Church on the Hill for Mass. The small church was crowded. Several of the Santa Muerte followers were in attendance also though their leader was conspicuously absent. The mayor and his wife stood in the back.

The chapel was tall and rather plain inside. Xanthos noticed it wasn’t entirely plain however. The exposed timber supports were carved and there some painted ornamental borders. Both the carvings and the paintings contained some unusual depictions for a Catholic church. There were some old English Green Men poking their faces through the carved leaves and a tree that could be interpreted as Yggdrasil with dragons at the base. Still other symbols reminded him of the Order of Solomon’s Temple, better known as the Knight’s Templar. The elements reminded him of those same out of place adornments found in Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland.

The mass was given primarily in Spanish although the priest sometimes made some English translations. At some point toward the end the mayor and his wife slipped out.

Sept 12, Z-Day + 283

Joanne questioned Mayor Jacque-Andres first with Trevor’s help but he was preoccupied with all the fine latina baes walking around. She wanted to know how he has survived and his religious affiliation if any. At that he smiled ruefully and said “We hide a lot.” Basically they don’t try to defend their home against groups. They don’t have anything really to steal anyway. Food is scarce but he knows some desert plants and sometimes brings home fish or small animals. It is enough to get by. He shows you how loose his pants are. “I’m like a young man again!” And he points to the church on the hill, both of which he built. “I’m a Christian. Catholic.” he answers while making the sign of the cross. And what is your story? Who is your leader?

Joanne responded that she is the leader of the group, and tell him that we are waiting for someone to meet us. They were in southern Arizona at last call. In the meantime, we will offer to help out however we can, and Joanne reiterated that she has some medical knowledge and mechanical skill.

Jacques is curious how their group came up with Felicity as a place to meet. After all, it isn’t even listed on maps. And where are you going after meeting your friends? Surely not staying in California or going into Mexico? You know that Las Vegas and the FEMA camp was overrun months and months ago, yes? Wouldn’t you be better off meeting them in AZ?

Joanne’s answer is that our order believes that this place has some spiritual significance or power and we want to know if it is true. Prayer revealed this place to them.

The Mayor arches one of his eyebrows. “What order?”

“The Rosicrucians” She answers.

Xanthos ask’s the Mayor what made him build here. Why did you pick this spot? Why the pyramid?

The answer is that he fell in love with the desert while serving as a Marine. He bought thousands of acres before he know what he would do with it. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that he got the idea. He was retired and thought it would be nice to settle down and leave a permanent impression on the landscape. The pyramid was the wife’s idea. She said this was the desert so why not a pyramid?

And the church? This is so out of the way. Are there regular services?

The Mayor says he had 150,000 tons of earth piled up to create the Hill of Prayer. Upon that was built The Church on the Hill. It was consecrated by a Roman Catholic Priest and Protestant clergy back in 2008. It isn’t a parish with a congregation. They have held weddings there, that sort of thing but people bring their own clergy. Of course tonight there was going to be a mass. The mayor nodded at the priest. Then he told the priest to keep it quiet and not to use lights walking over there. It would be better to not attract unwanted attention although he supposed there were too many people here for a random group of bandits to make a move on them and they don’t get many zombies.

Joanne’s questions for the Priest

  • What is his name? Father Esteban Gutierrez Ramos
  • Where did he and his group come from? All over. Chihuahua, Sonora, Nayarit States. We met on the road.
  • How long are they planning on staying at Felicity? They are leaving in the morning. There is no reason to stay.
  • Where are they headed next? Does he have a plan? It isn’t certain. They don’t really have a plan. (This might not be wholy truthful)
  • Why does he disapprove of the Santa Muerte religion? It is Santeria. The Vatican says “It’s not religion just because it’s dressed up like religion; it’s a blasphemy against religion,” They might see themselves as devout Catholics but they have been led astray.
  • Does he disapprove of all cult/folk religions? Yes, there is but one way. God’s way. And Jesus told us not to worship false idols. It is here that he invites you to celebrate Mass with them.
  • Does he know ancient Sumerian? He blinks his eyes in apparent surprise. “What a strange question. No, I do not.”
  • Has he been granted any powers by his god? You sense he gets a little cagey. He says that God works through him.
  • If there was a ritual to stop the zombies, would he be willing to help? He would have to pray on it. Maybe this is god’s plan

Father Esteban Gutierrez invites them to Mass later that night after everyone has settled in. Joanne and Milhouse at least will go to the mass and talk to the priest afterward. Maybe hearing the mass will give us some answers without asking; at the least it will butter him up a bit.

They excuse themselves and walk over to the pyramid where the Santa Muerte group is talking. One of the followers acts as a translator. Some of her questions he answers himself.

  • What is her name? Call her Niña Blanca or Santisima.
  • Where did she come from? A little village in Sonora State
  • How did she come to the religion of Santa Muerte? She learned from her mama as a child.

Here she interrupts. The translator asks why you wear a skull mask.

Joanne responds by exposing her injury and missing front teeth. “I’ve given up a lot. We’ve all made sacrifices for our survival.” Behind her Trevor motions that he is still good. The Santa Muertes cringe.

  • What are the names of her companions/followers? The translator introduces himself as Eduardo. He doesn’t bother naming anyone else.
  • How did she come to lead them? We came to her. We follow because she leads. She is Santa Muerte. The dead respect her and she keeps us safe. (Although she interjected something the answer comes from Eduardo)
  • Has she heard of the Rosicrucians? Never.

Trevor asks if she is single? Does her religion allow her to date? Before he is interrupted.

“La Santisima is our guide, our protector, our blessing. She plays no favorites and reaps all both young and old, rich or poor, beautiful and ugly. We all have bones.” Then he glares at Trevor. “The White Lady is not interested in stupid boys.”

For her part she looks on with curiosity. Is that a twinkle you detect in her dark eyes?

  • What does their religion think of the zombie apocalypse? There is great trouble in Mictlán. Death takes all. There was always a place for everyone in Mictlán, but now the dead walk. The 4 horsemen of the apocalypse ride among us.
  • Why are they at Felicity? We heard that there was a pyramid here. We did not believe it. Our ancestors built pyramids you know. But this is fake. It was built by that fool.

At this point she says something to her translator and turns away. He tells you that she is going to pray. You can talk again with her in the morning.


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