The posse headed to Castle Dale. Mary, Hank, and Oscar strode up to the gate and were pleaseantly surprised to see Jeff and Bearl guarding the compound gates now too.
Bearl escorted them through the compound towards the large victorian manor at the end of the long walkway. As they walked Bearl didn't say much but the posse noted that the smoke stacks seemed to be coughing and this was maybe a sign of work being dow nto correct to raining ash issue. The ash build up was strongest here and it was like walking through slippery snow. The workers in the compound all seemed rushed and frantic, many were tasked with trying to clean the near constant build up of ash.
When the posse reached the front doors of the manor they seemed to open up as if on their own accord. They were then created by a tall man, clearly a butler, who introduced himself as Alfreed.
The inside of the manor was nothing like the outside. Even though the outside was covered in soot and ash it had the appearence of an old well kept home from days long gone. The inside of the manor looked more like a lab or factory than a home. Machinery was everywhere, pipes and gears jutted out from the walls and ceilings. Once inside Hank noted that the doors were attached to a gear system that allowed them to open automatically via some trigger.
Afreed point the posse to the various rooms of the party and the group began mingling the other guests while they awaited the time for their performance. They noticed that some small mechanical creatures scurried across the floor to clean up any messes nearly as soon as they were made. The creatures would then disappear just as fast as they appeared, not giving anyone much time to study them.
Oscar met with Carl, an old affiliate you claims to be a humble toy maker. He even made the wooden gun that Oscar keeps by his side, although I suspect there's nothing normal abotu that toy gun he carries.
Mary was feeling a little out of place amoung this wealthy and affluent people. But suddenly through the crowd she saw someone very important to her. Congalvo, another of her Mariachi band. He appeared weak and as she went to him he was happy to see her. Most of the other guests seemed to be ignorant of Congalvo's very presense. Congalvo explained that his connection with Death has weakened significantly and in turn his own being has become weak.
Hank was distracted by the a thought that occured to him as he was eating some chips and guavo berry dip. The properties of the guavo berry dip and the way in which it was prepared had he seeking answers from the cooks.
Ai appearing in disguise as a cook walked up to Hank to talk to him. However with his distraction and her disguise he didn't notice her and simply asked to be brought to the kitchen. She brought him and there they talked with the cook named Simon. Simon shared his recipe with Hank but also asked if he knew Oscar and could get Oscar in the kitchen to see him.
Mary was still talking with Congalvo when a random woman who had had a little too much to drink began asking Mary and her little friend too many questions. Mary sent her away with a scowl.
Oscar had begun smoking against a wall when Ai found him and told him Simon wanted to see him in the kitchen. Oscar wasn't surprised and had been expecting to see Simon at some point tonight.
In the kitchen Hank could have sworn he saw an old friend named Thomas Hardy. But Hank was distracted when Simon smashed one of the mechanical creatures to pieces. Explaning that he hates those things, they're too unnatural for his tastes. When Hank turned back Thomas was gone.
Hank went out to find Oscar after that and saw that the cook, who was Ai still in disguise, was bringing him over. Oscar went into the kitchen and Ai dragged Hank into a nearby closet and revealed her identity to him.
In the kitchen Oscar chatted with Simon, an affiliate with Oscar's gang. Simon made sure no one else was currently in the kitchen and showed Oscar to a drawer that had all manner of explosions and weapons that had been smuggled in. Oscar grabbed a large bundle of something an left the kitchen with a nod to Simon.
In the closet Ai was explaining to Hank that she sensed something was wrong with this place and Dr. Bart. Hank noted it was odd that Dr. Bart had yet to make an appearance at the party. Ai said she learned from the crowd that Dr.Bart rarely ever makes an appearance.
After a bit more mingling there was a sudden silence in the room. Rebbecca showed up and with a booming voice announced that it was time for the band to play a song.
Mary, Hank, and Oscar gathered to one side of the room and the guests crowded around them. Most seemed rather uninterested in them, and everyone had an eye out for Dr. Bart. Still no sign.
So the posse began to play. Mary used her anger in her song and scared the crowd into attention. Announcing to them that there was an evil in Castle Dale and she aimed to deal with it. Hank played his device well and Oscar tried his best but after drinking a little too much at the party he fumbled his jug and it smashed on the ground. At least that's what he made it look like.
After the first song everyone's attention was on them. Oscar stepped outside for another smoke. Hank and Mary continued playing away. This time Hank saw an opportunity and tried to use his device to influence the crowd more than just musically. He spun that thing so hard everyone's spirits began to feel lighter. Even those of Dr. Bart, who was listening to the music from his room.
Outside Oscar toko the bundle of explosives he'd gotten from the kitchen and waited for an opportune time. He saw that everyone inside was distracted and then he tossed the bundle into the air and shot it. It created a large but quiet explosion of colour in thenight sky. A signal to his gang.
Dr. Bart finally made an appearance after the song. He looked old and tired, barely able to walk. He claimed the music had a somewhat healing effect on him. Rebbecca looked mortified when he entered the room and she tried desparately to get him to go back to his bedroom.
Oscar's gang then infiltrated the compound and spread out. I'm not clear on their plan but it seemed like a very well organized assault of some kind. Maybe they were looking for something?
The crowd inside was buzzing with excitment, as many here have waited a long time to finally meet the famous Dr. Bart. Bart shrugged Rebbecca aside and told everyone except the posse to leave immediately. Rebbecca was furious and stormed off as Dr. Bart's men removed everyone from the premises. Oscar slipped back inside during the commotion.
Dr. Bart said he saw potential in the posse and led Hank, and Mary down a few flights of stairs into his lab. He had something to show them. Although Dr. Bart was feeling better, Mary could tell something was still plagueing him.
Mary grabbed his face and prayed to her Death spirit. Somehow it worked. She was able to lift some fog from Dr. Bart's mind freeing him of some demons. This freedom came at a cost as he lost some parts of his mind as well. The depth of this loss has yet to be determined.
Dr. Bart's lab was filled with some of the most advanced technology Hank had ever seen and he had a hard time concentrating on Bart's explanations. There were even more of those mechanical creatures, some of which were person sized doing menial tasks in the lab. Dr. Bart also explained that he believes the greatest evil is from the Salt Rattlers, he called them the Worms.
Dr. Bart had a Worm captured somewhere in the lower levels of the labratories and the walls were designed to keep it inside the city as well as keep the others Worms out. They seemed to have a very high intelligence and even some capacity for mind control. Now all this stuff started sounding like mumbo jumbo to me, but so many discoveries have happened since the new science has come about.
Oscar showed up in the lab too and Dr. Bart continued to reveal as much as he could but just as he was getting to the good parts of his explanation. They were interrupted. Rebbecca showed up and she was angry. Dr. Bart told us that she was using his feable state in order to take over Castle Dale for herself and Mary said she'd stop her.
Rebbecca was fast, and took Mary off guard. The mechanical creatures that Dr. Bart called the clanks began to move towards the posse as well. They were slow but the tools attached to them looked mighty dangerous.
Luckily thanks to some quick thinking the posse was able to fend of the mechanical creatures and knock Rebbecca back. Ai appeared suddenly and finished off Rebbecca with a thrown dagger in her back.
Dr. Bart directed everyone to get aboard this contraption he called flying machine. The posse was hesitant but when a massive mechanical spider burst through the walls and began attacking them, they all seemed keen to get out of the cramped lab.
Richard showed up near the very end and jumped to grab onto a rope as the flying machine began it's ascent. He had a guilty look on his face, maybe he had something to do with this mechanical monstrousity.
Looking down they were pretty certain they saw Rebbecca stirring awake. But gettign away seemed to be priority number one for Dr. Bart. The posse followed suit in the face of the current threats.
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