Although they came from diverse and sometimes conflicting backgrounds, Asher Small, Valentina Thorne, Jackson Velan, Jeb “Big Boom” Biggum, Francisco Domingo de Salamanca, and James “Lightning” Pax shared a single common goal; finding the six missing pregnant wives who mysteriously disappeared from Peoria, Illinois. Suspected in the disappearance was the charismatic cultist, Reverend Orin Bowling. One year prior to the women’s disappearance, he had started a revivalist religion known as the Church of Christ’s Passion. Initially popular with the people, as members began to become increasingly obsessed with the obscure and increasingly profane dogmatic practices, other religious leaders began to suspect that Christ’s teachings were not at the core of the Passionites.
In January of 1879, a mob drove the followers of Bowling out of town and the wives of some prominent women were taken back from the arms of the adulterous Reverend. The church was burned to its foundations and Bowling fled with his life.
Lives began to return to normal for the families who had once been members of Church of Christ’s Passion until all six women who had held positions of leadership began to show their pregnancies at approximately the same time. While whispers of infidelity were heard around Peoria, the decent folk believed the husbands had just been eager to show their wives how much they missed them.
In mid-August 1879, six very pregnant women disappeared from their homes in the middle of the night and have not been seen from since. When law enforcement stated they could not stage a search and rescue for so many women, the husbands of the missing women hired bounty hunters to do what no one else was willing to do. The trail has led to Dodge City.
Following leads they found in Peoria regarding the missing women, the group headed north. After consulting with a farmer who had seen their movements, they headed into the wooded hills to the Northwest. While scouting the area, Valentina was captured by the new followers of Bowling. Searching for their missing companion, the group was caught in a ferocious gun battle. Once victorious, they interrogated the lone survivor of the ambush and were informed of their companion’s capture.
Inside the compound of the Passionites, Valentina met the Reverend Bowling in person. She witnessed that the missing wives were no longer pregnant and appeared to be under the sway of their leader. Bowling divulged that he was on the verge of completing a ritual that would transform himself into the new Messiah and would welcome her to his flock. Before leaving the church, sounds of the gun battle with his followers reached the compound. Bowling left with the wives to complete his ritual of transformation.
As the party fought their way through the compound, it became apparent that dark forces were in play as the fallen followers rose from their deaths and began assaulting the party anew. In a failed escape attempt, Valentina was grievously injured before Francisco was able to channel divine forces to rescue her from death.
As the party mopped up the remaining forces, Jackson found his way into the root cellar of the church. There he witnessed a profane ritual were Reverend Bowling channeled eldritch energy into six toddlers. With the missing wives standing behind their progeny, he rightfully ascertained that these toddlers were the children born to the women. Some force had accelerate their growth. As undead began to tear their way out of the dirt walls, Jackson lined up a shot and ended Bowling’s life with a bullet to the head. The undead in the service of their master fell to the ground, and the women appeared to break their trances.
The women and their children were rescued and returned with the group to Dodge City. There they contacted Peoria via telegram and collected their pay for a successful job. Asher knowing that dark forces had been at work on the children of Bowling telegrammed the Agency for instructions. His superiors indicated they would watch the children once they arrived in Peoria and would terminate their lives if corruption of their souls was evident.