The party enters the town of Blue Ridge during a particularly strong thunderstorm. Tobias asks Catherine and John to get them rooms at the famed Blue Ridge Villa. The party gets the rooms and meets the other lodgers but during dinner are given the worst news a party of adventurers could hear. Tobias and all the party’s gear is on the other side of a flooded river with the bridge washed away.
They were stuck.
Not only were they stuck in the mansion with no cool gear, Catherine changed out of her clothes first thing and didn’t have any real clothes to change into afterward. The maids had to get her some clothing that would actually fit because she couldn’t just wander about in her slip. So she jury rigged a corset, man’s shirt and skirt. Unfortunately, shoes just weren’t in the cards for her.
The pair mixed and mingled with the other lodgers and befriended a young man with a vary strange way of speaking. His colloquialisms made no sense 11 out of 10 times. There was a séance that failed miserably and the “mystic” was made fun of. There were stories and humor and then piercing the smiles and the laughter, there was a scream.
Someone was poisoned.
The boy was given a pretty good dose of cyanide. There was a murderer among the lodgers. A disgraced sheriff took charge and started a basic investigation. People were rounded up, a search was made to see if there was anyone else in the mansion. In their search, Catherine and John took their friend with a way with words to the basement. Down in the basement, John and the smooth talking cowboy went on a search that came up empty. In the meantime, Catherine saw claw-marks with no claws, footsteps with no feet and then finally a little girl appeared far too close. The little girl merely said “he’s not what he seems” in the wonderfully creepy way that little girl-ghosts like to.
There was a commotion upstairs where the clean cut kid had been found out as a thief in league with the mystic. The searching had found him out to have snatched all manner of valuables while the mystic attempted (and failed) to amaze. Catherine and John ran up to find what the issue was and defuse the situation. Learning of the theft, Catherine attempted to point out how little that matters when a murderer is on the loose. While everyone was upstairs, the Silly sounding cowboy was found stabbed in the back. Another victim.
Eventually everyone was rounded up in the smaller great-room where they were questioned and blame was thrown around back and forth. Eventually all hell broke loose when the lights went out due to a door flying open. The fake mystic got possessed and seemed to warn the crowd “she will not stop”. A guy got his throat slit and the body count continued to rise.
Lights came back on and calm tried to be reestablished. Catherine quickly came up with an idea to make the catatonic landowner speak. Alcohol! Her idea was if they could get the landowner drunk, he could loosen up and speak of what he saw in his room. With a bit of disbelief, the ex-sheriff and John agree to recover some wine from the dinning room. The search for the wine was pretty uneventful, they did manage to find a table with many knives on top. So, John did what anyone would do if they saw that many knives, he takes one for his own and hides the others. While John and the ex-sheriff collected the boozes for the catatonic landowner, Catherine had a dangerous encounter with a Jerky Cowboy.
The encounter was simple, during Catherine’s continue investigation of the visitors and staffs, she had an apprehensive artist who refused to show her painting to anyone. At first Catherine tried to assure her that she (Catherine) would be the only one to see the painting. With these words, the Jerky Cowboy protested and demanded that everyone get a chance to see the painting. Catherine had zero tolerance for protests, so she let her anger get the best of her. She made a quick dash and carefully cuts the Jerky cowboy’s arm…a little. This clearly angers the Jerky cowboy but proves to shut him and other protesters up. Frightened by the act of violence, the artist shows Catherine the painting privately. The painting is of a man raising the spirits of the dead. Catherine becomes convinced that this is the reason for all the murders and offers to buy the painting from the artist. The artist devastated of Catherine’s plans to destroy the painting agrees to sell the painting but only because she really needed the money. Catherine takes the painting, shows the rest, they gasp, and all agree in destroying the painting. Catherine throws the painting into the fire but nothing happens. John and the ex-sheriff return with the wine. Before they can follow with the alcohol plan, a tree comes crashing through the window.
The killer wasn’t playing this time.
An enormous bookshelf fell over, killing many people. In the rush to get out of the room, Another person was murdered. The survivors gathered in the dining while Catherine followed john’s compulsion to go to the stairs. In the stairs he saw a woman’s ghost flee into the basement. The ex-sheriff and a jerk with a cowboy hat went downstairs to the basement to find out what was down there after John let slip something about weirdness downstairs following a strange banging on the cellar door.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Six shots echo out of the dining room where the survivors had holed up. When Catherine and john arrived, they were there in time to see the pretty blond maid reloading her revolver. She cheerfully let them know that it’ll be there turn soon. They ran off dodging bullets the whole time. They ran upstairs and hid just in time for the ex-sheriff and jerky cowboy to return from their basement excursion. The blond murderess pinned it on the party members holed upstairs but when the two turned their back, she shot them.
John brought the dying cowboy in and put him on the bed. His thigh had been hit and he was loosing blood really fast. They patched him up the best they could and made a break for it. Running off into the hedge maze, they braved the rain and thunder and unwieldy terrain. The blond killer gave chase.
They ran through the hedge maze with the killer in tow until she lost it. She began shooting at a different direction and yelling at the spirits of her mother and sister. She was distraught that she couldn’t hear her father anymore. John and Catherine tackled her, john saw the mother who then disappeared and Catherine knocked the killer out.
The haunted house adventure wrapped up neatly with the sheriff and the shot up cowboy still breathing, the killer tied to a chair and our heroes triumphant. The story wasn’t done though, the sheriff and Tobias returned to find a little bit of hell. Winding down, the party gathered themselves, shopped for a few things, john went to the execution of the crazed murderess, telegrams were sent to Pinkerton and even more bad news came.
The Civil War had begun.
The battle at Fort Sumter had been fought, the south had seceded and the union had begun it’s march toward Louisiana. Louisiana is where Catherine’s family and home and her whole life actually was based. Preparations were made to ride there as fast as they could. Come hell or high water, they would blaze through enemy territory to protect Catherine’s family.