The next day Stefan and Clarisse wasted no time. They met with the posse and they had their morning brunch with Madame Laveaux. The only small trouble was that Iniwa and Ru were missing. What’s more, Eugene was feeling a wee bit nauseous. He was forced to keep a bucket beside him while he looked across the table through hollow, baggy eyes at Min, Laslow, and Felix eating. But he assured them he was well enough to get the show on the road. He had a strong suspicion what it was.
“It’s a reckoning, is what it is. This sort of thing doesn’t clear up easy,” he explained to Felix. Felix offered him a swig of whiskey which was only met with a shudder. “No, I don’t think this is natural. No hair of the dog is gonna help this. It’s an illness of a different sort. Of the soul sort.”
Min and Felix stopped where they were and looked aghast at Eugene. “Yep,” he continued. “I’m pretty sure I’m not gettin’ rid of this until I either die, soulless, or I get to Papa Lavaysse first. It’s a curse.” He explained what Laslow had seen the night before. The posse suspected Iniwa was possibly afflicted with the same illness and he may have taken Ru to look for a way to lift the curse. Afterall, it was Iniwa who diagnosed Felix in Shan Fan with a similar illness, Eugene reminded them. Felix was surprised that Eugene remembered such a small detail in their story, since he hadn’t been there to experience it.
With little choice, they met with Madame Laveaux. Over a pleasant tea that reduced Eugene’s nausea but gave him little strength back, they made their plan. They were infiltrate McCarthy’s new plantation. Stefan and Clarisse were going to take a team of Harrowed and distract the guards and the hell hounds while the posse moved inward to kill McCarthy and Papa Lavaysse. Madame Laveaux took Eugene aside and warned him that he’d need to get the voodoo doll away from Papa Lavaysse and make sure it was purified if he wanted to survive. If it was destroyed or if Papa Lavaysse learned of their attack in time, he could kill Eugene.
Now that put the posse in quite the pickle. Once again, they would not be able to just blow up their problems – unless of course they wanted to blow up Eugene and possibly Iniwa or Ru. So they gathered supplies, Eugene took some alchemical stimulants he picked up, and they made their way to the plantation.
On their way they had to cross a river infested with giant crocodiles. Making short work of them with a deadly firing squad, complete with ethereal silver bolts and smoke, they closed in quickly. The melee outside was furious, but Eugene made sure Clarisse’s back was covered the whole time, running ahead the of the group, throwing his usual caution aside. Inside the building they found a house of horrors. Some of the men they found were easy to dispatch. Still drinking around the table telling bawdy jokes, they hardly had a chance to get up before Min and Laslow shot them full of holes. Other rooms had undead voodoo priests and many-limbed ghoulish horrors, unchained and waiting for careless interlopers, but all of them went down in a matter of a minute. So it was that the posse came up to McCarthy who spat curses at Eugene and shot magnum bullets, one of them finally grazing Eugene. He then went down to the full barrage of her bullets – only to leap up and onto the ceiling, upside down, like some sort of deranged spider. Eugene and Min stood side-by-side and blasted McCarthy, stone-faced.
Gritting their teeth, they ran full tilt around the corner into a study. Scanning quickly, Min found a book slightly out of place at an odd angle, discovered a secret door. Surely Papa Laveysse had heard them. Why then was Eugene still alive?
They discovered the vodoun priest in the middle of ritual, calling something big from the other side, a great shadow growing over him in the cramped room. Min unloaded a full clip to no effect and everyone’s horror. Even Eugene had not heard or read about anything like this. His best guess – something in the room had the key to killing the priest’s manitou protector. Half a dozen silvery bolts flew from his hands sending candles and objects flying in pieces, staggering the priest. Finally, Felix screamed from the edge of the room to try the dagger in Lavaysse’s hands. Eugene grabbed the doll at the man’s waste, relieved, only to turn to the priest exhaling a noxious fume. Laslow coughed and grabbed the dagger to stab the priest in the back, but the priest knocked him back. Min grabbed the dagger and stabbed him in the stomach, watching him stagger and breathe the foul fumes again. Then Eugene, squinting through the poison, holding his breadth this time, tapped Min and took the dagger and stuck it through Lavaysse’s heart. Still he moved, flailing his arms. Clarisse walked in and grabbed the knife. She tore his throat open, spilling his blood, and nearly cutting his head clean off.
They left in a hurry. The candles they’d knocked over lit the dark curtains on fire, and the house was going up quicker than a haystack. They left as the entire plantation manor collapsed in a burning heap. Eugene didn’t look back this time.