It got to be 1878, and one day O.D. Gass gets warned by the Paiutes that a group of "river indians" were on their way here with murder on their mind. It seemed that the... oh, well "river indians" is what I heard. I think they were supposed to be Mojaves but I'm not sure. Whoever these Indians were, they had some grudge with the Paiutes and were coming to settle the score. So Gass and his family packed up real quick and beat tracks for California for a while, not sure what they'd find when they got back.

The Hierarchy heard this was coming, and, being a bunch of Western morons of the same mindset that would one day credit television as a great invention, a number of their Legionnaires went outside the tent city to watch the fight. Work at the foundry stopped so people could go watch, though a few folks - probably Artificers, as I'm sure that
group were all over the Foundry by then - stuck around to keep an eye on the fire, and they turned the heat down a notch to save fuel.

The legionnaires thought this was going to be a great hoot, you see, and they were all sitting around waiting for these two tribes to whack one another. I'm sure a few of them were calling dibs on the first ones to croak so they could get smelters' rights, too. Kind of reminds me of Bull run during the Civil War: ladies and kids bringing picnic baskets and umbrellas to go watch the firefight like they were watching a parade or something. You'd think they'd have learned from the last time.

But they didn't, and it cost them big. Because right then, from out of nowhere, like avenging angels... ah, smack me, I'm getting flowery and going ahead of myself. It turned out that the Skinlands "river indians" were being ridden to create a distraction. Right behind the puppet show, to the Legionnaires' backs, the real show-stopper leaped out
of the Tempest. It was a whole army of Indian ghosts, from tribes all over the area, and they had bows and arrows and knives and guns and a look in their eyes that could break Stygian Steel into pencil shavings. It was a sneak attack, and it was a damn good one.

Of course, it was doomed, too, and I mean that in every sense of the word. The Indians got entangled with the men watching the wrong show, and while they were slaughtering their prey and getting ready to carry off captives into the Tempest there's this great war-cry. They turn right around and see a single cohort of ready, fully-armed and
Juiced-up Legionnaires of Fate running out of the Citadel. That's Fate for you. They must have seen it coming... well, maybe not. I'll get to that.

The fight gets underway, and it was, from every account I've ever heard, a complete slaughter. It was ten or twenty Doomed Legionnaires against three or four times that number of adversaries, and by the end of it every Indian ghost who'd attacked had either been captured for smelting or had been beaten down into a Harrowing. Not a one
retreated, to their credit, but in a losing war that's also pretty dumb. On our side... well, no one's sure about the exact numbers of fighters on one side or the other but the one thing they are sure about is that not a single Legionnaire of Fate was lost that day. See what I mean about not messing with the Doomed?

But, before you go asking me why the Indians would throw their unlives away for nothing, the answer is... they didn't. The ridden indians were a distraction, and the army that appeared from nowhere was also a distraction. The real objective was discovered only after the Legionnaires were combing the battlefield for plunder - when the
foundry exploded, tossing parts of itself and little pieces and everyone tending it all around for at least a mile.

Yeah! That's right. No one's quite sure what they did it with, but a small group of them must have snuck into the foundry while all the excitement was going on and left a surprise package on the main furnace. Once the fire tenders stoked the fire back up again, BOOM.

Now, apparently whatever they used made the foundry blow up instead of out, so Fort Baker was mostly undamaged. But that was beside the point, really. The largest foundry between LA and the Mississippi River was lying in big pieces all over the ground. It would be days before the debris would be cool enough to even think about seeing if it could be put together again, and by that time how many Caravans would come through expecting speedy service?

And that's why, to this day, no one is sure of why the Legion of Fate were in those tents and ready to fight. If they'd known the attack was coming, why didn't they know that the foundry was the real target? Maybe it was a choice between saving one or the other and they picked the men over the machine, or maybe they don't have any better of a corner on the crystal ball market than any other regular joe hierarch does. Who knows? Yeah... you guessed it. Only Fate. And they aren't talking.

Anyway, O.D. got back into Las Vegas a while later with some tough guys from California and some big guns, not sure who was going to greet him. It turned out he didn't have to worry: the chief of the Paiutes was sitting on his porch as his people were tending the fields and feeding the animals, and everything was just fine.

He said that the River Indians had come, stolen a bunch of wild grapes by the river, and then settled their differences with the Paiutes in a peaceful fashion and left. In fact, once the River Indians had seen what they'd done, they apparently been in a real hurry to leave as they seemed very ashamed of their actions. Of course, since they were ridden all the way upstream I guess they couldn't account for half of them!

So O.D. and the chief had a good laugh about that, O.D.'s wife and their kids came back to the farm, and things got back to normal. But over here it was anything but: the foundry wasn't repairable, and the caravans had to be routed through to Los Angeles. It was a very embarrassing blow to the Hierarchy and I'm sure the people who thought it
up must have congratulated themselves a lot. I can just see them now... dancing and whooping and having a good ol' time for a whole week, and then, on the seventh day, some white-faced scout comes in and gives them the bad news.

Up until then, the Hierarchy had been with this "contain" program where a fight was only kosher if you were attacked first. The foundry was all the excuse the Hierarchy had been waiting for to go to "confront," where no excuse was needed at all. The iron line started moving West, and piece by piece, mile by mile, they started eradicating every Native ghost village they could find. It didn't matter if they had been involved in the fighting or had just been living peaceably. If it wasn't Stygian, it was fair game.

The process was slow, of course, but it was steady, and it marked the beginning of the end of things for the so-called Dark Kingdom of Flint. Ah, Jimmy, refill please? Thank you... down the hatch.