The team goes to work uncovering more clues to feed into Sinder’s investigation.
Heading out with the goat herder Saul has a look around the scene. The area is up further into the hills. Lots of mesas, valleys, and canyons litter the area. The goat herder usually took his goats to a small canyon with a little river to graze and drink. There are lots of hooved tracks in the area, presumably belonging to goats, as well as some big tracks similar to those found down at the bottom of the hills. While there is no evil present now, the whole place does give Saul the deep lingering chill of evil. Something supernaturally evil did pass by the way recently.
Not wanting to disturb the scene, Qooat rolls in from behind on the Q-Mobile. Just driving up to small valley proves to be a difficult task even for the all terrain vehicle. THe paths are narrow, with some steep inclines, and no real roads to speak of. The trails are mostly designed for animals. If the rustlers really were riding big animals like dinosaurs there are only a limited number of paths they could have taken in and out of the valley. Those represent the most likely directions to search in.
Frustrated, Cory doesn’t rely on her own senses but instead on a call for assistance. A pack of bloodhounds appears in the valley and begins to sniff around, checking out the trails that lead into and out of the area. With so many trackers on the case, it isn’t hard to find out which way the goats went, and whatever went with them spooks the dogs enough that they whimper slightly as the start down the path.
Calling in an old friend to help, Drake manages to annoy Cory and take his rightful place as the “new Fell”. Although Cory has no time for Buzz, his insights into what’s happening are useful. The savvy city detective treats it like any other robbery. He goes a little pale when someone tells him the suspects are reptilian aliens who eat people. However, the observation does click and important question in his mind: If these Simvan eat people, what are the heck are they doing with all these goats and cattle? Selling them? Feeding something else?
Merlaggon flies above the valley and does aerial surveillance. The bloodhound trails lead deeper into the mountainous area. The area is full of deep canyons, only a few have water running through them. Assuming the cattle are still alive he follows the water source and sees nothing. That at least narrows the search to the dry canyons and also suggests the animals are not being kept alive.
In town Sparky works the bait angle, he finds most people aren’t willing to put their herd on the line. The Simvan raiders have made supply scarce and are driving up the price of cattle. Even buying bait would be an expensive prospect. In the rough and tumble post-apocalyptic age there’s no such thing as livestock insurance so these thefts are really hurting people’s ability to survive and the city’s ability to feed itself. The points to a few motives - starving out the city, driving up process, or just plain spite.
Summoning a few friends of his own, Sinder pretty much has a whole investigative team at his disposal. The military specialists help him work over all the clues, cross reference information to maps of the area, and indicate potential areas of interest. Working all the clues together Sinder can see the most likely hiding places in the area narrowing it down to those that are large enough to hide the marge monsters the Simvan are riding. One candidate emerges as most likely: Devil’s Canyon.
The goat herder pales when he hears about Devil’s Canyon, “No one goes there. The place radiates evil, gives people the willies.”
The Sheriff is a little more helpful, “Yep. We avoid it. There’s also a nexus in the canyon wall, often brings in critters and creatures that roam the mountains preying on herders. Why the hell anyone would set up shop there is beyond me. But killing livestock near a nexus, smells like a ritual to me.”
Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of magic would concur with the Sheriff observation, but it doesn’t answer why the seem to need a constant supply.
What’s your plan?