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|The Great Beast|
Nicholas Longworth was one of America's wealthiest men during the mid-19th century. Longworth had amassed a fortune through ruthless land deals and wine making. He was on track to being just one of the centuries many rapacious profiteering scumbags when he discovered a magical trunk that would change both him and the country forever.
edit Early beginnings
Longworth was born to unassuming (and therefore unnameable) parents in New Jersey in 1783. Longworth had an unremarkable childhood and did little until his early teens. At the age of 14 Longworth became horrifically intoxicated and visited a soothsayer who told young Longworth to head west to make his fortune...oh, and to swear allegiance to Satan. As she pointed out, it never hurts to hedge one's bets.
Longworth arrived in Cincinnati just before it was to take off and boom. Using his shrewd instincts (and his unholy pact with the devil), Longworth began buying up real estate all over the city, driving up prices and selling at a profit.
Longworth eventually purchased all of Mt. Ida and converted it into his private gardens. Longworth's mansion sat at the base of the hill and he had the entire hillside cultivated into vast mazes where he would entertain himself for hours on end by dumping his detractors into it's center, half clothed and starved, to see if they could make it out. After becoming thirsty during one of these events, he began growing grapes for the manufacture of wine, to be mixed with the blood of those who managed to complete the maze, so that he "might gain their strength and maintain his." In fact, Longworth only saw one person totally complete the maze, former U.S. president John Quincy Adams. Adams, who had been lured to Cincinnati for the dedication of an observatory, was one of the strongest and feistiest ever put in the maze. Longworth was so impressed by Adams' effort that he renamed the hill in his honor after consuming his heart.
edit Old Age Comes Upon HimAs Longworth aged he began to fear death and the culmination of his pact with Satan. Longworth looked into the occult extensively to try and find a loophole and found that when Satan had been evicted from the Garden of Eden, he had left a trunk of his shit behind. This trunk was said to grant it's possessor unnatural long life and Longworth spent much of his remaining years and fortune in the pursuit for this magical item. Agents of Longworth eventually located the trunk in a house in Philadelphia, having once belonged to Benjamin Franklin. Longworth learned from Franklin's notes that the trunk did indeed grant long life, but also gave other powers which seemed to come at random. The women who had had the trunk before him simply exploded. Before her, a man had gained the power to predict the size and severity of his own bowel movements. For Franklin it had made him horny as all get out. There was no telling what powers Longworth would gain.
edit The Terror of 1863
When the trunk was delivered to Longworth he immediately succumb to its call. Longworth spent several days inside the trunk, emerging only check the progress of those locked in his death maze. When he finally emerged for good, he had grown a pair of vast wings and super human strength. Longworth felt something else, however; the lust for virgin blood.
Longworth left his mansion and began a reign of terror over the city. He flew to the Wesleyan Female College and demanded a blood sacrifice. The horrified residents eventually obeyed and Longworth began regular feedings upon the local population. Powerless to do anything, the city appealed to the state and federal governments to intervene and help was eventually sent but with the Civil War raging, it would be many weeks before any sort of help arrived.
edit The Army Picks A Fight
When the U.S. Army arrived the situation was desperate. Longworth had enslaved hundreds and turned Mt. Adams and the death maze into a fortress from which he watched over the city and the river. Longworth had seen the army coming up river in steamboats and was fully prepared for them when they arrived. What became known as the Public Landing Debacle, Longworth circled over head the disembarking troops and taunted them, telling them they 'had no power here'.
Troops quickly took cover along the landing and artillery was set up along the river side but to no avail. Longworth simply swooped and dodged everything they could throw at them. With ammunition running low and with night approaching the attack was called off. Troops retreated to the boats and crossed the river to Kentucky to regroup as Longworth had made it clear that he would not suffer them in his city.
edit The Army Seeks Revenge
After Longworth set out for his nightly flight the army sent a detachment with artillery to the rear of Mt. Adams hoping to ambush Longworth upon his return. While the troops were able to gain a decent position, Longworth was able to evade their shots once again, flying low to the river and then around them. The commander of the troops was heard to exclaim "Damn that infernal beast!" and the name stuck. While Longworth did not attack the troops directly, he swore vengeance upon the United States.
edit Longworth Strikes!
The following day nothing was seen of Longworth and rumors began to spread that he had been wounded during the previous nights encounter. By noon there was cautious optimism throughout the city. An hour later, news reached them that put the entire city in a panic. Flying at super speed, Longworth had flown to the coast where he had attacked the U.S. Fleet blockading southern ports. The attack happened so quickly that the men onboard the ship never knew what hit them. As one account stated:
|[...] the sky lit up in a strange fashion, like some sort of storm yet the sea gave no hint of one. Suddenly our boat was rocked as if struck by a wave and flames shrouded the entire main mast. Cries went up throughout the ship and hands rushed about to no avail. The fire spread quickly and the men went into the water.|
Longworth returned to his lair that evening and demanded a larger than usual sacrifice. He gave the troops two days to vacate the area and claimed the entire region for his own.
Having seemingly lost the initiative the Army turned to an experimental program which it hoped could break through Mt. Adams' death maze and allow a direct assault on Longworth's fortress. The new and novel use of War Elephants had swept through Europe following their successful, but somewhat ridiculous use during the Crimean War and army officials felt this was an ideal testing ground for the new technique.
edit War Elephants and an Unlucky EncounterThe elephant, having barely survived the trip to Cincinnati, was offloaded to much fanfare upriver. An officer, Elias Jumpery, was selected to ride the elephant into battle. Jumpery had shown an affinity for doing incredibly stupid things this sort of thing seemed right up his alley.
Jumpery fortified his courage before the assault and shortly after clearly the first part of the death maze became dismounted and was left by the now fast moving elephant. Jumpery tried to catch up with the elephant but only succeeded in becoming entirely lost within the maze. He soon realize the maze was shifting at all times and the hole punched by the elephant was gone. He was now forced to face the perils of the maze. Jumpery did not get far for Longworth had been watching from above and swooped down and confronted Jumpery. Offering him his life in exchange for eternal obedience, Jumpery pulled his gun and shot. Unfazed, Longworth consumed Jumpery and dropped his bones upon waiting U.S. troops. Longworth then went after the elephant. More amused than irritated, he tormented the animal until it finally barreled its way out of the maze and into the river. Troops eventually recaptured the elephant some miles into Kentucky and quietly retired the animal by shooting it.Pittsburgh and sent down river to shell Mt. Adams from the river. Longworth intercepted the fleet well short of its destination and destroyed it. Angry at their continuing meddling, Longworth swore to attack the capital. Word was sent via telegraph to give warning to the capital but few believed that 'the great beast' could be stopped.
Longworth reached the capital later that day and began harassing the population. He threatened to burn the entire city and defecated inside the as yet unfinished capital building. He would have acted upon his threat had Mary Todd Lincoln not come out of the Executive Mansion to find out what was going on. Longworth, seeing Mrs. Lincoln, was unprepared for a higher class demon than himself and fled. Mrs. Lincoln retired to her room, unaware that she had saved the city.
edit A Cunning Plan
While traveling down river, riding a log like a horse, Major Goodlee Wallace had an idea. Given Longworth's clear vampyric tendencies, why not mix some silver into the shot? It couldn't hurt, right? Army officials embraced the idea and commissioned a new super gun with colossal silver laced shot. A plan was hatched to distract Longworth by making a pitched assault on Mt. Adams, blinding him to the party with the vast gun moving up the hills rear. There they hoped to ambush him. The plan would evolve some but the army prepared accordingly, laying siege to the hill and the army of minions Longworth had assembled to defend it. The battle raged on for days with no side gaining a clear advantage. Longworth, for his part, circled over head watching the course of the battle.The group with the gun moved slowly but eventually reached Longworth's fortress. Longworth eventually returned to his fortress where he intended to rest inside the trunk, regenerating his powers. The group of soldiers seized the opportunity. Having hidden themselves amongst Longworth's pile of captured weaponry, they emerged slowly, creeping toward the beast. Deciding that overkill was the best policy, the gun was positioned at near point blank range to the trunk and fired. The shot bounced harmlessly off the trunk and they they could hear Longworth stirring inside. Quickly they reloaded, placing a specially cast shot given to them by the local representatives of the Jesuit order. This time the shot went through, destroying the trunk and mortally wounding Longworth.
As Longworth lay dying, he attempted to make one last pact with Satan. Satan was having none of this since he blamed Longworth for the loss of his trunk. Longworth expired shortly there after and what was left of his corpse was taken out of the fortress and down to the crowds below. Longworth's minions, having been release from their spell, had surrendered and all celebrated the demise of the beast. To ensure that he would never rise again, an angry mob beat his remains with sticks until they felt good about themselves.
Longworth's reign of terror was largely forgotten as the events and deaths connected to him were blamed on the Civil War. For years, Mt. Adams was a cursed place, visited by few. Today, little remains of Longworth's death maze, although the street plan closely follows some of the original paths ensuring a thoroughly confusing legacy.
Remnants of the trunk are said to have survived and have been said to be responsible for some of Cincinnati's more unholy residents. The Taft family, heirs to Longworth's fortune and public legacy, are thought to have gained their political success from a ring containing fragments of the trunk.