Brendon discovers that ‘Soaring Eagle’ Smith is not in attendance at the Railroad camp. Forster and the deputies look pissed off and surprised. Brendon rides out with Harris and Fairlane in pursuit of Smith towards the Wellville mine. Forster declined to accompany, declaring that this particular issue was out of his jurisdiction.
Buck and Rackworth successfully commit Sophia to a private sanatorium where she can be looked after, before acting upon receipt of Brendon’s telegram and following towards Wellville. The heroic party are re-united for a night under the stars before pressing on at first light to Wellville.
Close to twilight, they find Smith’s horse, dying. Tracks of a large man head up and over the hill towards Wellville. The trail continues around the hill and is much more suited to horse-traffic. The party dig their heels in and gallop to the mines incurring varying levels of saddle sores en route.
Once arrived, they deputise the miners at twilight and split sending Rackworth, Colt and Crafts (+ boys) up the hill to the Hole. Brendon, Colt and Buck secure the camp and prepare for shenanigans.
Wolves howl. Strangeness on the hilltop and gunfire in the woods accounts for Riley, and then Bill as they try to marshal their forces and escape back to the rocky outcroppings and better visibility of the summit. Rackworth and Colt shin down the rope ladder and wait in the hole once the screams from the woods die down.
Down at the camp, a couple of miners are shot by large caliber rifles from a fair distance away. The groups take cover in various buildings, or on the roof. Fights break out amongst spooked mining folk as the mist rises around the camp.
Brendon has an odd altercation with a gigantic wolf-thing that leaves him unconscious but not quite dead. Buck gets winged by some stray gunfire from the building he’s atop and then seeks refuge inside.
There are howls from outside, scratchings and sniffings at the walls of various buildings, and finally the sound of a match being struck. Buck and Rackworth and Brendon had arranged themselves a way distant from this threat and were only deafened by the blast of the dynamite at back of the stables.
Rationality prevails and the party set an impromptu ambush around the carefully thrown glowing rock prize of Jed Mitchum. A wolf attempts to move it, but can’t get purchase with its jaws. Brendon readies his dynamite, Buck and Rackworth their guns.
A gigantic wolf-headed thing skulks from the shadows at the edge of the camp and approaches the rock. Buck’s shot seems to take it down, Rackworth’s cutlass bites deep into it’s neck as it lies fallen in the mists and then Brendon throws his dynamite. All that remains are shards of faintly glowing rock, and what looks to be a gigantic paw by moonlight.
Wolves howl in the woods.
Cleaning up by light of day, the survivors head back to town to make reports.
- The giant paw is more easily recognized by day as a large human hand, partially covered by a furred wolf-skin mitt.
- Left to try and work the mine, or further enhance the hole – the workers experience increasing fractiousness and trouble.
- Sheriff Tim of Cañon City warns Buck that Forster has posted a warrant for his arrest for the murder of Weibe. Tim’ll have to come looking as County Sheriff in a day or so, and wanted to do Buck the courtesy of a quiet warning. It seems that Liam and some others were able to shed enough doubt on the story recounted to them.
- With trouble at the mine and trouble in the County, and a successful coal-line serving the Railroad, the Brendons look to relocate to California where a proper school may be found for young Sophia.
- ‘Soaring Eagle’ Smith is not seen again.