Waking up in the basement shelter of The Tower, the Survivors quickly gathered their things and headed off towards the village their map told them was only a day’s travel north-east. A terrible breakfast composed entirely of biscuits and hard tack provided ample motivation, along with the fact there they were running low on even that tasteless crap, to find somewhere new with something different to add to their travel larder.
Around midday a curious phenomenon was encountered. The ashen, dead grey grass which had become very familiar since first coming down from The Sheared Mountain into the dead forest surrounding The House very suddenly. As if encountering a border on a map made real, the dead grey grass gave way to what must have been very lush, very green grass after having been exposed to a couple of days of bleachy rain. This border seemed to extend left and right to the horizon, forming a loose circular area around the village, which they could now just barely see in the far distance.
Eventually they stopped to eat another dull dinner as dusk came, sitting down on the grass maybe a couple of hundred feet from the edge of the town. It was a small town suited to late 1600’s colonial New England with pilgrims in black clothes and belt buckle hats to boot – not that the Survivors had any of the cultural or historical reference to understand all that. They just saw a bunch of modest buildings with stone bases, very tiny windows and most every other part built from soggy wood. Eating their biscuits, they could even spot the occasional inhabitant scuttling from one building to another – that they wore all black with little decoration seemed perfectly normal to the Survivors.
Soon after, they approached the town and were swiftly greeted by a dozen gawping villagers. A few moments more and the Governor with his six Personal Guard. Wisely, all of the Survivors except Brittomart removed their masks. Fearing great discomfort, she chose to pull her cloak up and wear it as a hood so that her headdress wouldn’t make her too intimidating.
Unfortunately the Pilgrim’s late 1600’s English is very much not the language of the Survivors. Thus it was purely from body language, tone and rhythm of voice that they had to infer a lot of what came next. The Governor seemed skeptical and might have told the Survivors to piss off, if not for the good deed they had done back at The House. A man who they’d later work out was called “”/characters/gregory-stanfield-the-pilgrim-scout" class=“wiki-content-link”>Gregory" spoke up for them, leading the Governor to cautiously allow entry – provided they surrendered all their weapons and be escorted.
The Survivors went along with this and were quickly brought to the center of the town where a handful of the more important looking structures stood. They were brought inside what they wouldn’t recognize as a relatively humble church, the only structure in town which could hold the entire population of approximately fifty people. Seated at the very front of the pews, they were introduced to the priest. He quickly won them over by bringing a chicken and vegetable soup, easily the most nutritious and flavorful thing The Survivors had seen in all the days they could remember.
Just destroying two servings of this, the Survivors didn’t fully appreciate that the entire town was slowly filling up the church while leaving a single line of pews between them and these strange newcomers. What followed were some spirited discussions between the priest, the governor and Gregory the one legged pilgrim. As night fell, a conclusion was reached and the townspeople were dismissed to their homes while four of the six personal guard were also sent off.
It took a lot of miming, but eventually it was conveyed that Gregory had managed to convince the Governor to take a chance on The Survivors. They, along with Gregory, were to explore areas near the village to the North, East and South where – presumably – others like Gregory had been sent to explore and never heard from again. Upon their return they would be given further food, a place to sleep and possibly language lessons from the beautiful red headed lady pilgrim who seemed to live in the adjacent school house.
With that agreed upon, the priest fetched water from the well for the town’s new guests and they all soon put to bed in the priest’s living area at the back of the church. He’d set up humble cots which, like the chicken vegetable soup, were quite humble but were the finest sleeping arrangements The Survivors could remember ever having come across.
Waking up in the back area of the pilgrim’s church, the priest snoring away in a corner, was a bit strange for everyone. After breakfast they were escorted to the Northern edge of town, Gregory making it clear that he wanted them to first go north, then to the east distance from town and then south of the village. It took some further debating in their strange language, but Gregory convinced the Governor to provide them all with some supplies. Again, some humble bread, cheeses and apples wrapped in cloth blew away The Survivors. What luxurious lives these “pilgrims” seemed to live!
Slowed by Gregory and his missing leg, the group were only able to travel half the distance they usually did and eventually set up camp not far north of where they encountered that same grass/dead grass border where it wrapped around this side of the village outskirts.
Somewhere in the dead of night, Rydell was taking his turn on watch and spotted the silhouette of someone heading north and then turning west towards the mountain range where The Sheared Mountain could be found. The figure quickly vanished on the horizon and Rydell, understandably excited by this, woke up Roland to see if his keen eyes could find the figure again. They did, if only for a moment.
But that moment was what Roland needed to be able to begin tracking the figure. Charging off with minimal equipment, the two male survivors successfully found the figure’s original, arcing trail. Frustratingly they were only able to follow it a short distance before finding evidence of the trail being intentionally wiped out. Whomever it was had spotted them and possessed significant tracking abilities of their own, enough to disguise their tracks well enough to stump Roland.
Deciding not to tell Gregory about this, the two R’s found their way back to camp.
Waking up in the middle of the open, grey plain was something of a deja vu experience for the Survivors, especially as they didn’t have far to go before encountering different yet very familiar round hilltops sloping up to become mountains. With Rydell marching a reasonable distance ahead of the main group, they quickly found a worn trail with increasingly high sides to it and decided to go that way.
Around noon Rydell stumbled across possibly the strangest sight he’d encountered since waking up in the Lighthouse. There was a depression in the group that carved out the high sides of the trail as if a large, perfect circle of nothingness had opened up and obliterated everything contained within it’s volume. On the right side of the trail this revealed only more granite-looking stone.
On the left side were two pilgrims kneeling and praying before something for which The Survivors had little or no context. Embedded deeply within a semi-transparent light purple rockface was an eight foot tall giant of a man wearing what Shiva recognized as powered armor, albeit no model of power armor she remembered. Attached to this armor were many religious looking icons and even scriptures, with a golden eagle dominating the broad breastplate.
Rydell came back to the others and they decided to see what would happen if Gregory witnessed this, so they all came up to it together. Visibly shaken from the first second, Gregory clutched at a small piece of wood he wore around his neck on a cord. He then stamped in front of the two praying pilgrims and hysterically yelled at them for a while, but they took no notice. Shiva then hefted the leg of the living metal statue they encountered at The Sheared Mountain and took a whack at the purple rockface with all her considerable might.
A paper thin slice with diameter of a quarter slowly came off. Obviously this wasn’t the way to do it, but with enough time, manpower and the correct tools…it could be done. Whether this strange figure was dead or alive (or even a man or a woman, this was hard to tell due to the armor and the strange wires & tubes connected to the person’s skull), they could possibly unlock an incredible defensive tool – something you might want if you were being hunted.
But the effect it had on the pilgrims had to be considered as well. After a long discussion while Gregory just tried not to look at the damn thing, The Survivors agreed that they needed to complete the survey circuit if only to earn the trust of the pilgrim village and be given the food they so badly needed.
Minds ticking over with all the variables in play, they turned around and began the south-eastern trek to the second spot Gregory had pointed to on the map.