“The spirit of man can endure only so much and when it is broken only a miracle can mend it"
– John Burroughs
On July 1st, tales of a “glowing airship” came from the area south of the San Bernardino National Forest. Reports ranged from 100 miles north of the forest, to the small community of Idyllwild (within the southern forest itself).
Famed naturalist, and member of [The Society] John Burroughs was in the area and reported that he would investigate further and report his findings. Witness statements track his movements as far as Idyllwild on July 5th. He had stated that he planned on hiking south along the airship’s trajectory.
The last reported sighting of Mr. Burroughs was made by a ranger in a fire-watch tower on July 7th, claiming to have seen a man and some children hiking near the Morongo Reservation; roughly 25 miles from Burroughs’ last known whereabouts.
After hiring a local guide, John Clearwaters, The investigators set off into the woods in an attempt to locate the missing author. Finding his trail they soon found signs of pursuit by small, child-sized, assailants. Their guide believed these to be followers of the “Tauquitch”, a demon of local legend. Knowing Burroughs to be in danger, the investigators plunged into the forest, traveling for over a day into the wilderness.
The morning of the second day, the team awoke to find themselves in what appeared to me a more primordial version of the forest. Signs that they too were now being pursued forced them to shelve discussion on this matter. Eventually they came upon a low Indian mound. Tracks showed that Burroughs had been dragged into the mound and so the team gave chase. Carefully avoiding the small residents of the caves, the group found themselves in a large natural cave, in the center of which was a dark pool surrounded by flickering torches and carved stone.
The group took the time to examine the carvings before being interrupted by the approach of several natives, dragging Burroughs towards the room as some sort of offering. A fight broke out in which several of the natives were killed and several of the team were injured. Of special note, one of the natives was a Shaman of some sort and hit Mr. Nightengale with a spell, causing one of his arms to wither to uselessness.
The team managed to escape, collapsing the tunnels of the cave behind them and escaping to the forest. With help from Burroughs, they managed to return to the waking world (for they had been trapped in a world of dreams) and made their way to the ranger station for aid.