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Shaking Earth

Modified on 2012/05/31 00:42 by Kerrick Categorized as Books, Deathlands
   A conquering army on the border will not be halted by the power of eloquence.

   - Otto von Bismarck

   As the story opens, the companions are near a redoubt in the Rockies, gutting a deer they just killed. They're only halfway through the task, however, when they're attacked by a horde of bandits. They flee back to the nearby redoubt, and Krysty is shot in the back by a crossbow before they get inside.
   After stabilizing her, they jump to a new redoubt, which they quickly find is located in an active volcano. Luckily, the place is stocked with supplies, including vehicles, so they take a humvee and drive down the road. Along the way, they're attacked by a monstrous mutie rattlesnake, which they lure into a lava flow.
   They make it to the valley floor and find a village that's recently been abandoned. Upon closer inspection, they find that it's also been sacked, and the raiders are still there. The muties chase them around town until the companions take refuge in a stout building formerly used as a garage.
   Things are looking grim for the companions, who are badly outnumbered, when a group of vehicles toting heavy weapons ride up, firing on the muties. The raiders flee, and the leader of the new group tells the companions to surrender. They are just about to do so when a flight of rockets flies into the village, driving off the new group. The companions take advantage of the situation and flee the village as well.
   Not long after, they run into Five Axe, a friendly warrior who lives in the ruins of Mexico City. He says that he and his men saved them from the men in the village and offers to take them back to his ville and meet his leader, Don Tenorio. Since he's the first person who hasn't tried to kill them on sight, they accept.
   The baron welcomes them to his city, such as it is, and wines and dines them. Ryan tells him they're traders from up north seeking to open trade routes; since they're the first northerners to come to the area for quite some time, Tenorio is happy to have them as guests.
   The next day, he takes them on a tour of the ruins. In the afternoon, they're called over to a ruin to help some people in trouble. It turns out to be a trap - some of Hector's people (a rival baron) set an ambush to kidnap Tenorio, but they didn't count on the companions or the tentacled beast in the water inside the building. Most of the would-be kidnappers are killed, but the leader, a woman named Felicidad Mendoza, gets away. Tenorio knows who she is, and knows that her boss sent her. Hector's been trying to unite everyone in the valley to fight the raiders, but he wants to run the show; Tenorio is willing to ally, but doesn't want to bow to Hector, so he asks the companions to convince Hector to come back to the table to discuss alliance terms.
   The next day, Hector sends an envoy to invite the companions to meet with him, so they go. They learn that he's a complete maniac, but they get him to meet with Tenorio again.
   A couple days later, the two leaders, the companions, and assorted guards meet in a large carnival tent. No sooner do they reach an agreement than the tent collapses. The companions fight their way free and take Tenorio to safety.
   Later that day, he shows them the armory his people found in an old federal police station. At the rear of the station is a door the companions know well - it leads to a gateway. When they come back to the surface, there's a message waiting for them - Hector has sent an apology, along with a package. The package turns out to be his sec chief's head in a jar, along with his heart.
   Tenorio knows that the two peoples need to ally to defeat the raiders, so he accepts the apology. He asks Ryan to lead his people into battle, in an alliance with Hector's men. Ryan reluctantly accepts, so they go to war.
   The next day, the combined forces ride north along the road, where they encounter a huge force of the raiders. Many of Hector's men are slaughtered, but thousands of the raiders are killed, and the rest retreat after Ryan shoots and wounds their leader.
   That night, the allied army makes camp not far from the battleground and celebrates its victory. A group of raiders slips into the camp and takes Jak and JB prisoner; Ryan is knocked over the head and left for dead. Doc, wandering around, finds him not long after and wakes him up. Another group slips into the city and grabs Krysty (who is still recovering from the crossbow bolt), and Mildred (who's taking care of her), along with Tenorio.
   Ryan and Doc follow the raiders' trail to a small village, where they find their friends among many other prisoners who are being tortured and killed. The pair infiltrate the village and find the leader's uncle, Howling Wolf. Wolf agrees to help them - he doesn't want war, so they go free their friends. Wolf speaks to his people, but then Nezahualcoyotl (who's been exploiting the leader's mind control abilities) shows up. The people revolt and tear him and his priests apart, and Ryan and the others leave.
   Meanwhile, Mildred, Krysty, and Tenorio are to be sacrificed atop the pyramid of Tenochtitlan by Hector and Felicidad. Krysty taps into the power of Gaia, which is especially strong there, as a strong earthquake hits the area. A huge crevice opens at the foot of the pyramid, and Krysty picks Hector up and throws him into it, whereupon it closes. Mildred, meanwhile, breaks Felicidad's neck.
   The nearby volcano erupts violently, and the companions take this as their cue to leave. They run for the redoubt, barely making it to the gateway chamber before the passage collapses behind them, and jump out.

DEATHLANDS, OUTLANDERS, EARTH BLOOD, and JAMES AXLER are all the property of Gold Eagle / Worldwide Library, and are used here strictly under Fair Use guidelines.
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