In the clearing is an odd bower or shelter around 8’ high and 12’ long. It’s covered with animal hides, appropriately indiginous for the area. The clearing seems natural, rather than man-made, but Freddie Crafts’ initial analysis of the soil and nearby flora doesn’t suggest why this would be a clearing.
Despite growing apprehension and disquiet, Rackworth decisively strides over and slashes at the hides with his cutlass and obligingly a head falls from within the structure to land on the ground. Suddenly, the growing tension that a number of the party had felt in the area dissipates and all is normal for a spring morning in the woods of Colorado.
Inside the structure on 3 racks are a number of bodies, 13 of caucasian ancestry, 2 of the heathen indian race. All of them are dead, but surprisingly unmolested by beasts or ro. They seem mor dried and desiccated than you might expect given the likely age of abandonment of the Wellville camp. All the bodies are turned on their right sides to face east and a short spear is driven into the back of each through the liver. In some of these bodies, it’s apparent that the spearwound is post-mortem.
Also present in the hut is a variety of Indian talismans or trinketry, the cause of Ayasha’s initial ‘Bad Medicine’ assessment. Some are Cheyenne, Some are Cheyenne but unknown to Ayasha since she’s not done a lot of talismanic occult training. Some are not Cheyenne. Samples of many of these are appropriated by Buck.
Investigating further down the path, they find a privy and a convenient outcrop of rock into the stream for washing clothes. The privy contains newspaper dating to 1861 consistent with the camp being abandoned 12 years ago.
The drift mine slopes shallowly down into the hill. Notably they could do with laying rails to assist the extraction of ore or rubble. Within the mine, there’s an old bloodstain of likely fatal wound and drag marks showing the removal of a body. The surviving nature of the stain indicates that it’s likely not much more excavation was performed after the incident.
There is gold in this hill. Obvious seams within the hillside and the nature of the sediment and creekbed show likely to be a good area for gold. The shaft continues to follow path of lesser resistance in an exploratory fashion while the claim is explored.
At the end of the tunnel there is some slight air movement. Experimentation with some exhaled smoke shows that air is going into a finger-width fissure in the rock. The crack is deep enough and uneven enough that Rackworth’s cutlass won’t penetrate more than a couple of inches though.
A provisional plan is made to light a smoky fire at the tunnel end and then search the slopes of the hillside for some chimney or other entrance where the smoke may issue from. Wood and greener leaves and foliage is gathered for this endeavour. An elk is shot by Liam and the party have a fine dinner. The camp is prepared with lanterns and watches arranged.
Around 2am a couple of the people on watch hear a wolf howl to the north of the camp. Liam starts dynamiting the woods to the south of the camp which brings the sleepers awake (except Rackworth who was resolute in his slumbers until his medical skills were required later on).
Some wandering about and squinting at the darkness occurs with only a couple of cases of nearly mistaken identity in the gloom.
Mist rises, and a number of wolves attack with oddly careful tactics, seeming maybe to lure people from the shelter of buildings and to wait patiently before pressing an advantage. Crafts is bitten badly in the calf and arm, Brendon is bitten and all the visible wolves are slain. Seen close to, it’s apparent to Crafts that there is strangeness as an attacking wolf’s eyes darken and fade somewhat from blue to a more usual brown/hazel.