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Clara Redmond

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About Clara Redmond

  • Rank
    Redmond Homestead

Character Info

  • Status
  • DOB
  • Age Range
  • Height
    5' 2"
  • Hair color
    Dark Brown
  • Eye Color
  • Playby
    Hailee Steinfeld
  • OOC Alias

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  1. Clara Redmond

    Complete A Working Proposition

    She liked what he said, well except for that nonsense about 'little'uns', she firmly believed she was much an adult as many folk quite older. Even her father admitted he didn't know how he could manage their homestead without her hard work and varied skills. It came as no surprise to her that he too missed his mother, seemed the natural way of things. But all those thoughts evaporated when he made a sudden job offer. "A job? At the ranch? Surely you do not wish me to be one of your cowpokes? I am but fifteen years old and a gi...lady," she was confused. Shade laughed, his eyes glinting with humor, "No, but I will be happy to teach you the skills. Mrs. Hale is one of the best wranglers I've ever met." The image of Clara dealing with a recalcitrant steer still made his eyes dance though. "We'd like for you to take care of the twins for one or two days a week to give Miss Josephine days off. What do you think?" "I have no desire to wrangle cows or anything else for that matter," she made that perfectly clear then considered the actual offer. Babysitting....that she could certainly do. "Well..............will I get paid for this?" She was not about to squander her precious time (she had a farm to help her father manage) for some volunteer job. "Well yes," Shade drawled, "I thought we'd pay you a fair rate for your time. Due to the distance from Blackbird Lodge - the main house - to your ranch, my suggestion was that you stay over at the ranch for your two days." "It is a farm, Shade, my father is not going to dabble with cattle. We are farmers," Clara corrected him but in an informational tone of voice, not like some of her more typical irritated corrections. "Two days ....so one night there. And my father is aware of this?" Clara was unsure of how she felt about this. A part of her was excited and happy to be able to earn money for the family, money her father could desperately use. But another part of her was nervous. She had never spent a night apart from her father......well excepting the few weeks she had been in bed at the doctor's place recovering from that arrow in the chest but most of that she barely recalled being unconscious for a good portion of it. "Farm," Shade echoed her in a good-natured tone. "Yes, your father is aware of it. I asked him before talking to you. Despite your obvious maturity, you are still technically underage. Depending on how the mechanics of getting back and forth are arranged, either one or two nights and you get a ride home at shift change with Mr. and Mrs. Miller - our night foreman and his wife." "Well, it sounds interesting but I do not know..." she didn't finish her sentence as she wondered how she might handle being away from her family for the first time in her life. Shade decided to press his advantage while the spark of interest and excitement showed in Clara's eyes, "I did the math earlier. We pay a top hand forty dollars a month plus room and board. Rounded up, that works out to about two dollars a day. I'm offering you the same rate which will come to about sixteen dollars a month plus room and board." Clara's eyes got big, "Sixteen dollars? That is indeed a lot of money." Her doubts and nerves were instantly dismissed as he considered how much the family could use that money. "Very well, Shade, I believe we have ourselves a deal. Shall we seal the contract with a handshake?" she held out one hand, she had seen her father do the same after a few of his business agreements over the years. Shade solemnly took Clara's hand in a firm grip and shook it. "After you talk with your father, let me know what days work out best for you. We'll make travel arrangements with Sage and his wife." As he finished speaking, the band struck up another square dance. Shade's eyes sparkled, "Let's see if we can figure this square dance thing out."
  2. Clara Redmond

    Complete A Working Proposition

    Clara did know how to dance this sort of thing and, as was her perfectionist nature, she did not make any blunders though maybe she was a bit mechanical in her movements as she thought on each one. Still after a few moments, it all just came naturally enough as they danced as if they had done this many times before. Clara was lost in her own little world, she could never have even imagined this glorious evening a month ago or even a week ago. She was still a realist and knew this was not anything romantic and they were not going to get married or any such foolishness. But she was - despite all her logic - very fond of him and though she probably would not admit it the fact she had a girl's crush on him. For now, she just wanted to enjoy this magical moment. Tomorrow it could go back to reality. Shade found himself enjoying the dance. Clara was surprisingly good and he was no slouch himself. He wanted to make sure that Clara had a good time and that the Redmonds realized not everyone in the region were like the Steelgraves and their ilk. He needed to talk to her about the job at the ranch too. However, right now, it was about making sure she enjoyed herself. He needn't worry about that, the girl was smiling and enjoying every moment. And to think her father had to convince her to actually show up tonight. Knowing what she knew now, she would not have missed it for the world! The band played two more waltzes and a lively country dance. When they started forming up for another square dance, Shade led Clara off the floor and to a table set a little way away from the others. "I'll get us something to drink." "Very well," Clara nodded, content to sit and just enjoy the whole atmosphere. He headed to the water barrel, found a couple of clean glasses and carried them back full of clear, clean icy cold water. Clara took the glass offered her, "Thank you, kind sir." Taking a sip she then offered, "I would have much preferred the punch. I can have water every day of the week but..." She ended with a shrug then another sip of water. He sat down in the chair opposite Clara and smiled, "You're a very accomplished dancer. Your mother teach you?" "Yes, she was a splendid dancer. Father has two left feet and no ear for music. Hearing him sing at church can be a pain," she smiled. The smile faded though quickly as she went on, "My mother taught me so much. She was an excellent mother and I dearly miss her. I am only here now because she shielded me when that......Indian fired a second arrow to finish me off...." Clara stared for a moment at the floor, "She should have kept running. After I got hit I mean. Then Wyatt would still have a mother and Father....well, I know he misses her every single day. He is just not much of a talker." Shade's voice was kind when he spoke, "I cannot imagine how hard that's been on your family, Clara, especially you little'uns. I wasn't able to get home and see my mother before she died, so maybe I understand a little." Reaching out, he gave her hand a gentle squeeze. "You are doing a great job with Wyatt and the homestead. So much so, in fact, that we would like to offer you a job at the ranch. I've talked to your father and he is okay with me offering you the job."
  3. Clara Redmond

    Open Tags Could I Have This Dance?

    Clare stood ramrod straight as she gazed around at the crowd, indeed there were a few boys who just might be in her age range but they weren't paying any attention to her and giving them a second look, they weren't all that grand a sight. Granted, they'd probably think the same of her. Least that thief, Billy, wasn't present. Besides, her father had absolutely forbidden her to start anything with anybody. She was decked out in her brand new dress, well meaning the dress she had quickly sewed together from some nice material she had purchased. Absolutely nothing fancy, no frills, if one looked careful enough not all the buttons even matched but at least it fit. It was a sober darker color, maroon, she thought it went well with her brunette hair. She had polished her shoes but nothing could make them new, she'd had these far too long for that. It took some convincing for her father to get her to even come to this thing. She had never actually danced with anyone before, unless you counted when her mother had showed her the basic waltz steps, and was quite certain she wouldn't be dancing this night either. It all was a lot of foolishness anyhow. But there was to be a big meal and that meant one less meal she had to cook plus it saved them their foodstocks. So not a complete waste. "I do not care about boys, father. And I am confident they will be suitably unimpressed with me also," she sighed. "Just try, Clara, to relax and enjoy yourself. Be friendly, mix with people, you might surprise yourself what a good time you will have then, " her father offered her unsolicited advice. "Right," was her reluctant agreement.
  4. Clara Redmond

    Complete Let Me At 'em !

    While Quentin and Harriet were having their little conversation amongst the mayhem, suddenly Clara went charging right past the pair of them hurtling herself at a gangly young cowpoke who had been an act of trying to worm his way past the fighting toward the exit. She gave no warning but tackled him from behind around his waist, and the two of them crashed onto the tent floor. "Dammit girl, yer tetched! Get offa me, I don' wanna hit ya!" Billy squawked as he struggled to get her off him but she having none of it. "You stole my stuff!" Clara verbally accosted him even as she flailed wild punches toward his face, forcing the young man to block them with his arms. She didn't tag him with any good shots, but on the other hand, he wasn't getting her off of him either. Quentin heard the squawking by the young man on the floor and then saw Clara on top of him. He stepped over and bent down, catching Billy under his armpits and dragging him up to his feet, catching a handful of his shirt to keep him from running while keeping himself between Clara and her target. He looked over at Harriet. "Grab her!" Harriet looked at the angry face of the teenager and was on the verge of declining Quentin's order when Shade brushed past her. Once again, he grasped the girl by the waist and firmly set her on a table out of harm's way. In a move almost too fast for Harriet's eyes to follow, Shade then whirled around and took advantage of Quentin holding onto Billy to lay into him with a backhanded blow that rocked the man backward. Shade was beyond enraged, "You...will...hand...the...girl's things...over." This was said in a guttural snarl and punctuated by blows. Backing closer to the table where Clara was, Harriet watched in fascinated horror as Shade worked the man over. It seemed that he intended to beat the confession out of him. There was another flurry of movement, and Hannah threw herself into the mix, trying to catch Shade's arm and stop him, only to be shaken off. She looked at Quentin and Aurelian for help.
  5. Clara Redmond

    Complete Let Me At 'em !

    Finally help arrived and they wasted no time with such niceties as reasoned discussion but charged right in. Billy was shoved aside and Clara was at last free of his grip. Lucky for him too as she had fixing to kick him right between the legs, see how he liked that, might erase that smile from his face. Just then Shade literally picked her up much to her surprise and deposited her onto a table top with a very clear and simple command. "Umm, Shade," she started as one of those cowboys was coming at him from the side. "Stay there!" Shade demanded but then got punched a good one from the man she had been trying to warn him about. Clara was not about to listen to Shade anyhow, despite the fact he only meant the best for her. She wasn't done yet with that beanpole Billy. But first she launched a hard kick at the very man who had punched Shade. She landed a glancing blow on the man's hip enough to jolt him and get his attention. With a growl he grabbed for her leg and yanked her right off the table landing onto the floor on her butt with a thud.
  6. Clara Redmond

    Complete Let Me At 'em !

    Perhaps with a moment of calm reflection the girl might have decided to go summon the authorities or at the very least her father or somebody she knew would see it her way like Shade, but Clara's temper got the best of her. She had been humiliated that day at the lake, she had robbed of her clothing and her father's Colt Dragoon. It had festered ever since especially since none of the authorities had been able to locate the malefactors. Well right here they were, right in front of her grinning and drinking. Without hesitation she marched straight up to those two scum. "You! Where is my clothing and my gun?" she demanded, hands on hips, glaring at the pair who turned to see what this was all about. Billy blinked in surprise but then chuckled at the sight of her, "Oh lordy, you're the lake girl." The other one, a good deal older and looking rough for wear, did not smile though it was plain to Clara the man recognized her, she could see it in his eyes and the way he tensed. "And you are a thief and a bounder," she addressed the younger amused one, she had been right when she had guessed him to be close to her age back when she had only saw him at a distance. Did not excuse his behavior in the slightest though. "And you are rather full of wild accusations I'd say. We didn't take nothin of yers, girl," Billy denied everything suddenly and with a smirk of a smile too, it was infuriating. "Liar! I will take this up with the local law," Clara declared as she now clenched her fists at her side in a bid for self control. The older cowboy glanced around, this confrontation had drawn the attention of half the tent, staring at this scene with mixed looks of confusion, amusement, and also disapproval. At the mere mention of authorities though, he grew angry and reached out to grab the girl by one of her upper arms. "You'll do no such thing, girl. Don't go makin' trouble here!" he snarled. Clara was not about to be manhandled by this odorous cur and with her free hand, she swung hard and smacked the man right in his face. That caused a reaction both in the crowd and from the man. He now held onto her arm all the more tightly and then grabbed her by her hair, easy enough with those pigtails of hers and the struggle was on. "I've half a mind ta give you a spankin'!" he threatened, smarting from the blow but also upset at this brat's resistance. "You are a half wit!" Clara tried pulling away and flailing with her free hand too then it came to her, she had another weapon at her availability. She gave him a swift kick right in his shin, "Let me go!" "Owww! You little bitch!" the man lost his temper and punched her right in the face hard then threw her to the floor. That brought a mixed reaction alright from the assembled onlookers, there were a bunch of Evergreen hands there, the two cowpokes Clara had approached worked for that ranch but there were others too and at least some of them were quite conflicted or even uncomfortable with the way the man had roughed up a girl of all things. If Clara was hurt, and it did sting alright, she did not let on but scrambled to her feet and launched herself toward her attacker. Billy stepped in the way this time. "Hey now! Calm down, you wildcat! You don' wanna git hurt here," he now tried to hold her back.
  7. Clara Redmond

    Complete Let Me At 'em !

    Clara had good reason to be very happy with the town festival thus far. She had won the baking contest and with Shade finished second in the three legged race whereupon the man generously bestowed upon her those winnings. So it had not only been a fun day but a profitable one and the Redmond family could certainly use the money. So it was that she could hardly say 'no' when she was asked if she could watch the Thornton twins, Cody and Nettie. She was used to taking care of Wyatt sometimes much to his chagrin so what was a couple more? Clara was not always so sober and even grim, she softened her personality when dealing with young ones such as these children and soon had the pair of them following her about easily enough, the little girl at least chattering like a magpie. With Wyatt along too, the foursome wandered about the grounds watching various goings on of interest. Late July and sunny so the heat wore down on everyone and soon the twins expressed an interest in getting something to drink, Wyatt jumped on that bandwagon immediately also. "Fair enough, let us see what we can find," Clara agreed finding their requests quite reasonable, she herself could do with something to quench her own now dry throat. There did not seem to be a well on the property, least not on the festival grounds but her eyes came upon the large tent erected to serve drinks for the adults, beer naturally enough though no doubt liquor too. Now Clara had tasted beer and, for the life of her, wondered why anyone could like that swill but menfolk it seemed never tired of it. Even her father enjoyed it on occasion, not that he was a saloon going man. Still they would have glasses in there and maybe water too? Or even better, just maybe they were serving sarsaparilla? She could splurge, just a little and buy the children a round of that carbonated beverage. "Hold up," she stopped their progress as she faced the tent, "You three stay here and don't go anywhere. I will march in there and see what I can get for you that's wet." "You mean whiskey?" Wyatt was wide eyed, this was a totally new Clara. "Of course not," Clara rolled her eyes, "Just leave it to me. I shall be back forthwith." Eying the twins first and seeing them both nod in agreement she poked Wyatt, "You're in charge. Do as I said. Wait." ***** In a moment Clara was poking her head inside the big tent, the place was already fairly crowded with an almost completely male population milling about talking, laughing, and of course drinking. There was a homemade bar stretching almost the length of the tent made of long flat boards placed upon an impressive row of barrels. Some gents were serving drinks from behind that and looked quite busy. No matter, Clara ignored what looks she did get, many paid no attention to the girl, and she approached the so called bar, silently rehearsing her order. She never quite got there. Clare came to a sudden halt as if she had run full tilt into some invisible barrier, her eyes widened first in surprise but then narrowed as it sunk in exactly what...or rather WHO she was looking it. She had no doubt whatsoever, it was THEM! Surprise faded, became anger. Sarsparilla was instantly forgotten replaced by a real thirst for justice.
  8. Clara Redmond

    Complete Three Legs Are Better Than Two!

    The festival was going full tilt by afternoon, and now plenty of games and events were underway, for all ages. The Redmond children were among the many young people trying various activities for fun. Wyatt participated in the bobbing for apples but didn't win. He told his father he didn't mind none as it was a good excuse to get all wet on this warm summer day. Clara fretted about when the pie baking contest winner would be announced and was at first in no mood for childish games, seeing herself as an adult now. However, one event did look intriguing alright - the three-legged race. The rules announced that all contestants would be mixed - in that one male and one female must be partners. It would not do to have two strong young men partnered up, for competition sake. Aurelian waved off his participation though when Clara asked him to partner up with her, citing his old Civil War leg wound. It was more an excuse than the truth though. Undaunted (for it look a LOT to daunt this girl) Clara now spotted none other than Shade Thornton among the waiting bystanders as contestants signed up. Without hesitation, she marched right up to the man. "Excuse me, I hope I am not interrupting anything," she duly announced as all eyes went to her. "Mr. Thornton, might I have a moment with you?" was her immediate solemn request. Gabe, the young ranch hand that Shade had been speaking to, grinned, "No problem, Miss. Annie and I have to get ready for the race." He nodded to the pretty blond beside him. Shade gave the young man a friendly slap on the shoulder, "Good luck," he tipped his hat to the blond, "Ma'am." As Gabe Boone and his wife walked off, Shade gave Clara his full attention. "What can I help you with, Miss Clara?" He pushed his hat back a bit and stretched. He'd managed to win a couple of the stock horse events that morning but had not fared as well in the bull riding and bronc busting. Clara rather wished he had not wished the couple good luck as - if she had her way - he and she were going to be the competition and in all things, Clara dearly loved to win. She looked up at him then as he now faced her, obviously wondering what this was all about. "Good day, Mr. Thornton. I know you do not particularly like me but be that as it may , I am wondering if you would be willing to go in with me in this three legged race? Given the nature of the race I can hardly enter without a partner and you seem to be standing around available. I can almost guarantee you that we should be able to surpass your rather dreadful performance on that bull that I witnessed earlier," she got right to the point. A derisive snort of laughter at the young lady's reference to the bull riding contest earlier that morning caused Shade to glance over his shoulder with a narrow-eyed look just as Quentin turned his back, shoulders shaking. Shade returned his attention to Clara, "First, young lady, I do not dislike you. I find you...challenging." "You are being diplomatic, Mr. Thornton," Clara sounded very doubtful of the sincerity of the man's statement. Shade glanced at the registration booth a few feet away. There were not many in line for the three-legged race, and he was free until the horse race later in the day. "Sure, but if we're gonna run a race together, maybe you should call me Shade?" "Very well then, Shade. I would prefer then to be called Clara...without the Miss," the girl nodded. Quentin leaned in a bit from behind. "Whatever she is, she's a good judge of bull riding ability..." He said quietly. Clara smiled up at the man then remarked, "Not much talent was required to judge the obvious." Though getting her digs in was admittedly rather enjoyable, she had gotten her wish, and now all that remained was to sign up for the event before it was closed. She gestured to her new partner with a wave of her hand to follow her and headed straight for the booth. "Hello, we would like to enter the race....myself and this..............gentleman," she indicated her fellow constant with a glance next to her. It was a simple enough procedure, and the only necessary equipment issued a length of strong cord handed to them and directions to tie their legs together with it around their ankles or lower legs. They were warned to make it secure too as it would be inspected by the event judge prior to running and also immediate cause for disqualification if the legs become untied. That only sounded fair to Clara who turned and handed over the cord to Shade. "I trust you are capable of making the proper knot?" Shade finished signing the entry form, writing his name in a flowing, easily legible script. Taking the cord that Clara handed to him, he tested it by snapping it sharply. It was flexible enough but not to the point of being stretchable. He would need to tie it so that it was secure without cutting off their circulation. Years of hobbling horses would come in handy. "Yes, I can tie the proper knots. Don't worry." He was competitive enough himself that he was beginning to look forward to the race. Quentin stood watching the entry with obvious enjoyment. "I need to go fetch Ezra and the others in case they weren't planning to watch the race..." His grin widened, "...This is going to be great!" Clara turned to look at the man, he was thinking that Thornton and her would make fools of themselves, she was sure of it and frowned. Shade slanted a glance at Quentin. He had taken the ribbing about the rodeo events with good grace. Truthfully, he could not offer much in the way of self-defense when it came to his loss in that event. However, he could not resist the veiled challenge he felt he was getting from Quentin. "Why not put your money where your mouth is," Shade said to Quentin, his deep blue eyes narrowed. "Join the race, and I'll wager you five dollars that Clara and I beat you with ease." "Five dollars? I do not have any money, that must be your wager alone," Clara whispered to Shade but he was preoccupied listening to his friend. Quentin blinked. "Well, as nice as it would be to take your money, I have no one to be my partner, so I will just have to satisfy myself with watching you..." Quentin's words trailed off as his gaze moved past Shade. "...Just a moment..." Quentin jogged over to a nearby table and reached, dropping a hand onto a shoulder. "Just the person I was loo..." The hand on Harriet's shoulder startled her. Having not immediately recognized the voice, she reacted on instinct. Reaching up, she grabbed the hand, stepped back to provide additional leverage and twisted in a throwing motion. Harriet was not a large woman, but Fang had taught her well and she rarely missed working out each day. Following up the throw, she knelt on the man's chest, her right hand drawn back, ready to strike at his throat. Fortunately, she recognized the man before she could lash out with the tiny, barely seen push-style knife. Clara blinked, she had never seen anything like that before. Harriet had moved so fast it had been impossible for Shade to follow the action. In almost an instant, Quentin had gone from reaching for their attorney's shoulders to laying on his back in the grass with Harriet poised to strike. As soon as he realized his friend was not in serious danger, he grinned. He couldn't wait to see Quentin's response. "Quentin!" Harriet's gray eyes registered the identity of her opponent. Quentin's arms had come up in an X in front of his face. After a few moments he peeked over the junction of his arms at Harriet. "Good Lord, woman..." He said around a cough. "...What the Hell was that?" Quentin grunted a bit as the ground reminded him of how hard it was. He was still a little hazy on how he got from on his feet to flat on his back but he was fairly sure Harriet had done it. His current emotions ran from surprised to angry to impressed. Somehow embarrassment had gotten lost in that particular race. Unintentionally, Harriet kneed Quentin in the chest as she moved to stand up. Her expression was calm and her voice was cool as she responded to his question, "You startled me." With the onlookers staring at them, she chose not to explain why someone's hand landing on her shoulder might startle her into such a reaction. "What is it that you needed me for? I assume you cannot have gotten entangled in something here that requires my legal expertise?" Quentin slowly got to his feet. "No, just your running expertise..." He saw her expression and held up his hands. "Easy...I challenged Shade to the Three-Legged Race but without a partner. I was hoping you might be willing to enter the race with me." Quentin paused then grinned wider. "You can beat Shade at something that won't get you in trouble." Harriet narrowed her eyes. She knew that the two men had probably wagered on the race which she totally disapproved of them doing. She considered declining but her sense of fun exerted itself and she smiled. "At least it is something that is unlikely to get me shot," Harriet stated, a sardonic note to her voice. "Very well. Let's sign up. If we win, I expect you to buy me lunch." Quentin nodded and gestured toward the sign up table. "I will buy you lunch either way, but I'll spend more if we win." Quentin grinned leaving out that he planned to spend Shade's money on their lunch if he won their bet.
  9. Clara Redmond

    Complete A Fair to Remember

    THE BAKING CONTEST Earlier that morning, Clara had dutifully dropped off her entry, a laboriously prepared apple pie, at the baking event stand. An elderly woman greeted her with a smile and took down all the necessary information about entry and contestant. Clara made it a point to insist that if her entry did not win she expected to be able to reclaim the remains of it so that it would not simply be tossed away. Food was precious and the woman actually agreed with her on that matter. Both of them had no doubt gone thru some hard times to gain that realization. Clara was there at noon when the announcement was to be made about the winners of the various baking events, Aurelian accompanied her but Wyatt was off somewhere else with a few boys he had met. Neither Redmond begrudged him a chance to mix with boys his own age group. Aury actually wished Clara would find a few girls her age too but Clara seemed to have zero interest in such social things. The two stood right up in the front row of the small crowd assembled to hear the announcements. First off was bread baking, the Redmonds clapped politely at the declaration of the winner and a stout middle aged woman proudly stepped forward to claim her prize. Next was cakes.....Clara was beside herself with impatient nervousness. Then came the pie contest. "First place in the pie baking contest goes to a......Clara Redmond!" the tall well dressed announcer boomed out in a stentorian tone of voice that all might hear. Clara did not cry out or squeal but the grin on her youthful features said it all as she then gave her father a quick embrace. Soaking in the applause, Clara took the few steps forward needed to be handed a small envelope with the cash prize within, $5! "Congratulations, young lady. You're new to Kalispell are you not?" the man smiled as he handed it over. "Thank you!" Clara snatched it perhaps a bit too forcefully, "Yes, we are. Thank you." Triumphantly she returned to her doting father then held it out to him, "Here." "Clara, it's your victory, your money," Aurelian pointed out, yes the family could use it but Clara hadn't had a lot of good things happen to her at all these past couple of years and yet never complained but soldiered on. "No, it is for all of us. We have much we can spend on it........I insist," she declared solemnly holding it in front of him til he accepted it. "I'm so proud of you, Clara," Aurelian once again gave her a fatherly hug. They did not do that much, mostly Clara's preference, she wasn't that sort of a person even though the two of them were close.
  10. Clara Redmond

    Neighbors: The Good and the Bad - Pt. 2

    Clara had said her piece, so she felt it only proper to hear them out now too as Quentin spoke first. She frowned a bit as he said he could be from the moon, well that was rather silly wasn't it, of course, no one would believe him. She felt this incident was quite different. As for her insinuating that this Ezra Hale fellow was a liar - well she never said that. On second reflection, it could have been interpreted that way, but her anger had been focused on Shade's convenient arrival right after his cows caused their damage. She kept silent, but her father did not. "I have no reason to doubt Mr. Hale, and in fact, I was greatly impressed with Mrs. Hale when we met at the general store. It was kind of your wife to send the basket, sir," he addressed. Ezra nodded and smiled at the other man, now that he was not worried about a gunfight breaking out, "Kate mentioned meeting you, sir. She likes to know our neighbors. Always good to know who a person can rely on." Clara couldn't disagree with that. Besides, now Shade was starting to speak up, and he looked very angry. Nonetheless, Clara Redmond was not one to be buffaloed easily, and she braced for it, standing her ground with her typical stubbornness as she listened. She had an immediate comeback though, "As your friend just said you could say you were from the moon, does not make it so. You may be lying here too." Aurelian nudged her daughter, "Clara, uncalled for unless you have proof and frankly, your issue was with those two men, not Mr. Thornton here. Don't let your temper get the best of you." Clara took a deep breath, he DID sound convincing. But he had been convincing the first day too and then this happened. Still....maybe she was jumping the gun? If only they could find those two men, she could confront them? This was not easy....it was frustrating and hard to decide just what to believe. She eyed Shade again then sighed. "I may possibly have jumped to conclusions." Lord, that was so hard to say! Quentin smiled a bit. "Miss Redmond, I have just met you, but I understand how hard it is to have to admit something like that...I am not a fan of doing it myself..." Clara nodded, nice of him to say that. Aurelian smiled, things seemed to have calmed down a bit. By now he was rather certain none of these men had anything to do with Clara's incident though he also knew she had not made it up. Quentin turned and indicated the table. "...now please...everyone have a seat, something to drink, and we can wait for the nighthawks to get back. I want you to see every man working here." Aurelian nodded to his daughter and the two of them made for the table, they would fools to turn down a free meal given their current situation. Food was at a premium. "Thank you, don't mind if we do," he smiled. Ezra signaled the cook to bring more coffee and hot water for tea. He again gestured at the table, "There's plenty of food. We make plenty for the nighthawks coming in off a night's work. It's their dinner," he explained. "We'd be right honored if you'd share our meal." Shade stepped around the table to see Clara seated and waited for Hannah to have a seat before resuming his own and pouring a fresh cup of coffee. Clara noted his act of courtesy and nodded, "Thank you." He looked over at the girl, "Sorry I haven't gotten back to pick up the accounting for the damages. The boss has kept me a bit busy," he said and rolled his eyes in Ezra's direction. "It is alright. I was unfortunately rather occupied myself," she replied dryly then went wide eyed at the sight of the platters of food the cook was bringing in. My goodness, bacon and biscuits, and scrambled eggs. Her mouth watered as she watched the man set the plates down. "Everyone, help yourselves," Ezra said kindly as Shade resumed his seat. "We do not stand on ceremony here." He had said the blessing earlier and would do so again when the next shift arrived for their meal. Once seated, Aurelian let Clara help herself first but, typically for the girl, she first dished out a heaping helping of eggs onto his plate then two biscuits and a small heap of bacon slices. He almost said that perhaps she was a bit too generous with other people's food but then realized the cook was used to serving a large number of hungry men and was no doubt preparing even more for the next shift. Clara then did her own plate and did not stint on the amounts. A meal this good and large was too good an opportunity to let slide. Soon both of them were eating. Both had table manners of course but it was pretty obvious they were rather hungry as they dug in. Aurelian paused to say, "Thank you, Mr. Hale, again....for your kindess. This really hits the spot......and I believe I can speak for my unusually quiet daughter too." Mouth full Clara nodded. After allowing a few moments for Redmond and his daughter to get settled, Ezra asked the girl, "Can you describe the two men who accosted you in detail? Draw them maybe? If you cannot draw, Hannah used to be a pretty good sketch artist. Maybe you could describe them and she could draw them?" Hannah looked startled. She used the skill so rarely that she often forgot about it entirely. She paused in the act of buttering her biscuit, "I've done a few sketches for complainants before. Mind you, I'm not an artist, but could probably get the idea down on paper." She shrugged and looked at Aurelian and Clara, "I'm sorry. I do it so seldom, I forgot all about it." Clara swallowed to clear her mouth to speak, "I can describe them in quite detail. Unfortunately I cannot draw, no. I am very good at reading, writing, and arithmetic but God did not see fit to bless me with any artistic gifts." "Good!" Shade said, catching Hannah's eyes with a slightly challenging stare of his own, "When the two men are not identified with our nighthawks, you will be able to put a flyer out on them." "If the two men are not identified!" Hannah snapped in response and would have added more, but a commotion in the bunkhouse heralded the arrival of the nighthawks.
  11. Clara Redmond

    Neighbors: The Good and the Bad - Pt. 2

    The family got up early normally anyhow as animals needing tending and one always wanted to take best advantage of the long daylight hours of summer but on this morning Clara had been wide awake before even rising and dressing. Yes, she also had to dress in some of her father's things too, trousers too long for her stuffed into boots too big for her also. Even the man's belt was far too big for her wrapped about her oversized man's coat. She missed her dress, her shoes...well everything that was stolen including her father's Dragoon Colt. Today though maybe they would get some justice. And also her things back. Before Deputy Cory showed up, Aurelian had sat down with his daughter and together they went over once more what had happened, the ground rules over how she should act once they arrived at the ranch, and the importance of not losing one's temper. This was a legal matter not revenge, he pointed out. Clara assured her father she would keep her emotions and temper in check. The trip to the ranch was not a short one but it did allow the trio to see all the natural beauty of the area. Clara still could not quite get over how much more impressive Montana looked than Pennsylvania. Upon arrival at the ranch, both Redmonds were also impressed with the place. The buildings were more than just big, they were sprawling and everything looked kept up and organized. The ranch obviously employed a lot of men. Aurelian silently hoped that not all the cowboys were the low caliber of the pair who harassed his daughter. Otherwise they were going into a hornet's nest but he had to trust the local deputy's assessment and his own impressions of the Hales, Mrs. Hale anyhow. The Redmonds parked the wagon and clambered off then followed Hannah who made her way for the bunkhouse door, knocking they received no answer but that didn't stop the woman who then opened it and continued on leading them right on out again to where a good dozen men were having morning breakfast at a large table outside. Well, that drew everyone's eyes to them. Clara instantly was scanning the faces, eagerly expecting to see that Billy and the other older ruffian. Yes, she recognized Shade Thornton alright but while she was angry with him, he was not her current target. A man, he introduced himself as Ezra Hale the manager invited them to sit to join them in their breakfast. Hannah declined and ushered Clara forward to get a nice hard look at the assemblage. Aurelian glanced over to the deputy, he had expected her to explain this to these men. Or was he to? The whole situation was uncomfortable enough. Fortunately Clara did not take long at all. "They are not among these men. Are there any others about the place?" Clara's answer was laced with disappointment, frustration.
  12. Clara Redmond

    Neighbors: The Good and the Bad

    Those men were long gone, well at least that was both her assessment and fervent hope so finally, Clara made her way out of the lake and onto solid ground. It was strange to feel the breeze all over but she at least could take comfort in the fact it was a hot summer day so she wouldn't freeze to death before she reached home. It felt different of course being naked, a real helpless feeling, a realization how vulnerable human beings really were. Enough of such thoughts, it was time to work her way back to the cabin, she already was considering how to do it too. Stick close to any bushes or trees for as long as she could and when she had to cross in the open go low and fast, always ready to dive to the ground. Although...that indeed might hurt. Well, turned out she didn't get twenty yards when she heard something? Not those men again! Spinning about she raced full tilt into the water once more and didn't stop til she was neck deep and turned around. How long she waited to see anything...she wasn't really sure. It might have only been a few moments but it felt like two hours. And that's when a stupid deer wandered on out of the closest tree line and jaunted on past her, plainly either not noticing the human in the lake or just not caring as there was no threat. Clara breathed deeply and once more began to go for the shore. Only this time she didn't even clear the water, there was sound again, definitely a horse's snort. She'd been around enough horses in her life to know that sound. Oh lordy, back she went yet again until only her head and tops of her shoulders were visible. This time is was indeed a horse but importantly a rider too. A woman at that. Better than a man as far as the embarrassment angle...well somewhat but still what if she was from the Thornton ranch. Ranches had womenfolk too. Clara remained still well except for treading water and watched. The horse was spooked first and that signaled the rider who then spotted her and called out. "Are you alright?" Hannah called out. "Who are you and what are doing around here?" Clara had her own questions and maybe then she MIGHT just answer the woman's. Right now the jury was certainly out on that matter. "Deputy Marshal Hannah Cory," Hannah answered affably. "Do the Sidwells know you're swimmin' in their waterin' hole?" She pushed her hat back so that it dropped and fell against her back. She eyed the teenager curiously, "I don't see your clothing." Surely, the girl had not walked to the lake in her underthings or naked. A deputy? They got women deputies? Surprised and not quite certain she even believed this person, Clara settled for answering her inquiries. "They do not, the Sidwells have departed for their original home back East and sold the property to my father, Aurelian Redmond," Clara called out. "And I do not have my clothing because two louts rode up and stole all of it....plus my father's Colt Dragoon," she declared with more than a touch of anger in that voice. Hannah tilted her head. The girl's explanation sounded plausible. Both Sidwells had mentioned they were weary of the work and of dealing with the big ranches that resented homesteaders. Right now, it was more important to address the girl's predicament. She couldn't walk all the way home naked. She twisted around to rifle through each of her saddlebags. She usually carried a spare set of clothing when she went hunting in case she wanted to spend the night away from town. "I have a spare shirt, trousers, and socks. No towel, but you could use my blanket to dry off," Hannah called out to her. "We can ride double back to your house. Right now, we need to get you dried off and dressed." Clara heard her but still hesitated, "That is kind of you, Deputy Cory. Before I come out of here though, would you be willing to turn around so I may have a bit of privacy?" Yes, they were both females of course but still.....she was reluctant to show herself to anyone like this. She had her dignity. Hannah considered the girl's request, "I'll hang the blanket on that branch there so you can towel off and dress. I need to loosen Jingo's girth and let him drink. I'll be just over there." She pointed to a spot where the land sloped to a gravelly beach. "I'll keep my back to ya." She untied the straps holding her bedroll across the rear of the bareback rig, pulled the blanket free and then retrieved the clothing from her saddlebag. Carrying all of the items over to a small, scraggly pine, Hannah draped the blanket over a low-hanging limb and laid the shirt and trousers on a rock. "There ya go," Hannah called out to the girl. Keeping her promise, she returned to Jingo and loosened his girth before leading him over to the lake a few feet away to let the horse have a drink. While he filled his belly with the cool, clear water, she pulled a curry brush from her saddlebags and began currying the horse's mottled coat. "Can you identify the men who took your things?" Hannah asked, raising her voice slightly to make up for the distance between them. The woman probably was legitimate, Clara decided and she certainly was being very nice and helpful, a true Good Samaritan like the Bible talked about. Given how embarrassed and angry she was about her current circumstances, Clara would not describe herself in a Samaritan mood. More in an Old Testament mood, 'eye for eye, tooth for tooth'. The girl swam out and hastened behind the cover of the tree and spread out blanket. Of course she had to lunge for that and use it to towel off but as she did so the deputy asked her a question. "Oh I saw their faces. My eyesight is fine, I have no need of spectacles. I would know them anywhere. One of them called the other 'Billy'," Clara answered, their faces etched in her memory. "Did they mention where they were from?" Hannah asked idly. It was probably just some drifters looking for trouble. However, if they were the type to harass a teenaged girl, the incident needed reported so alerts could go out. "They most certainly did. The Thornton ranch. And I know this Thornton also. His cattle stampeded our garden the other day then he came riding on in too. It was fortunate for him my father showed up right about then," Clara gave her version of the event, leaving out some very big details though. Omission was not lying though, she was pretty sure of that.
  13. Clara Redmond

    Neighbors: The Good and the Bad

    Clara had, of course, neatly stacked her various items of clothing next to her pair of shoes, each shoe with a stocking stuffed inside it, then tiptoed into the water until she got used to the water for a moment. It was cooler than the air temperature on this July day it was actually refreshing as opposed to chill. Soon she was deeper into the water, head above the surface and legs kicking below. She dunked her head a few times too, it felt good to wet her hair and scalp. Suddenly it came to her, she would have to remind her father to buy some cheap whiskey to use as shampoo. Many folk out on the frontier utilized the strong liquor to cleanse the scalp and it was easier on hair and skin than lye alright. Her enjoyment of the water and her privacy were suddenly interrupted by sounds coming from the shoreline. Her eyes narrowed at the sight of two men on horseback pulling up on the reins as they also had obviously spotted her. Cowboys, their clothing told her that much, and strangers too of course. Why the Redmonds barely knew anyone as they were such new arrivals. It definitely was not Shade Thornton who had barged in on her earlier at the cabin. This was even more an unwelcome intrusion though as when Thornton came by she had two important things going for her she did not now possess, clothing and the Dragoon Colt. She debated going under in the hope they may not have yet seen her, maybe they would just move on? "Hey there, girl! What you doin' 'round here anyhow?" called out one of them, both were grinning like the cat who ate the canary. Clara thought it a foolish question, wasn't it obvious? She fought back a sarcastic reply but the one she settled on wasn't far from it. "Swimming....by myself." Instantly after saying it, she wondered if she shouldn't have thrown in the admission she was out here all alone so she added, "My family is real close by. Just so you know." That only brought a chuckle. "If you mean that fella splitting wood we saw a little bit ago, he ain't all that close," one smirked. The other now spoke up, he was the younger of the two, closer to her age she guessed though a mite older if she had to narrow it down some. "No, we mean what are you doing here? This is private property and afraid yer trespassin'." "A lake isn't private property, it borders on my father's homestead though which IS private property and you and your horses are on it now. You should leave," Clara countered with her usual spunk. "Who's gonna make us? You? Well....come on outta there then and make us, sweetie!" that was the older one, he had a rough look about him, unkempt hair under that hat and needing a proper shave. She did not like the way he was staring at her either. "Yeah, miss, come on out and give us a look at ya," the younger one joined in then pointed down a few feet from his horse's hooves, "Those all yer clothes? What if we were to take those and present them to our boss? Must belong to some trespassers alright." Clara was alarmed now but tried not to sound it as she snapped back, "Those are mine and I am not trespassing. And secondly, I am not coming on out while the likes of you are around. You leave right now, have you no decency to you?" Her attempt to shame them failed miserably, rather they were entertained by it given the laughter. "Decency? Yer the one who is nekked, girl. But we ain't gonna do anythin' to ya. Just you come onta the shore and let us have a quick see and tell ya what....I'll hand ya yer clothes right back myself, bein' the gentleman I am," even as he made his offer the cowpoke dismounted and reached for the girl's hat. "I think not. I have no faith in the word of someone who obviously is getting such enjoyment out of tormenting a lady," Clara kept treading water. If they wanted her, they were going to have to come in after her. "What's yer issue, girl? Me n' Billy here have seen nekked wimmen before...in the town whorehouse. Billy has it right, we ain't meanin' you no harm, just a look at the goods is all we're askin' for," the veteran cowboy pressured. "Then ride on into town and look at those ...............ladies," Clare snapped back angrily, not that she for one minute thought women like that qualified as ladies, disgusting! "Awwww, darlin'....that costs money and yer right here," Billy grinned holding her hat then glancing downward once more, "Well, I'll be damned! Trespassin' and totin' a gun?" He reached down then to take hold of the Dragoon, admiring it, "So you can even hold this big ol' iron?" "If I had it in my possession right now, you would certainly find out!" Clare snarled, "Will you two please just leave me be and be on your way. In return I will not report you to either my father or the local law." More laughter. "We ain't afraid a neither, girl. In fact the sheriff will see it our way. Law don't take kindly to trespassers," the older cowboy argued. Clara could have contended - yet again - she was not a trespasser but this was getting them nowhere, apparently she was just going to have to wait them out. Unless her father showed up or Wyatt. Wait! No, she didn't want Wyatt to appear, these two might turn their nastiness on him? Wait, what were they doing now? Billy, being younger and more impatient, was tired too of the stand off. He had considered wading in after the girl but that might only cause her to swim out deeper and truth was he couldn't swim. He decided to see if he could force the issue and get her on out. Bending down he began collecting her clothing and then turned to begin stuffing it into his saddlebags. While he did so he continued this forced conversation. "Very well, sweetheart. Since you won't be nice and cooperate, we are going to take your clothes and go on our way." "You leave my clothes alone! That is theft!" Clara protested loudly but made no move to head ashore. "It's not theft if yer breakin' the law, yer trespassin'! We're gonna present these to our boss and let him know we got us illegal squatters out here," Billy announced, pleased with himself over all this. "Who is this boss of yours? So I might know who I can report to the town sheriff," Clara was near tears by now but still refusing to take the risk of cooperating. Coming out of the lake might be even more than embarrassing, it might be dangerous. Who knew what these two might do to her? Once he finished packing up her things, some of it hanging out the saddlebags, Billy turned to face her, he had a brilliant idea, sure his partner would find it clever also. "We work on the LLC....that's the Thorntons Ranch. And told ya, the sheriff ain't gonna care about some prissy little bitch's clothing. Last chance...come on out or we're leavin'." Clara just knew it! That two faced lying ex-outlaw...well probably once an outlaw always an outlaw! Pretend to be all nice and gentlemanly and then sic these thugs on them. That Thornton would no doubt get a good laugh out of this. She had been way too nice, she should have shot the man right from the moment he rode onto their property. "I told you, I am not coming out. Steal everything. You both are ruffians, bullies. I assure you, you leave with my belongings and you will regret it!" Clara raged, all the while feeling more than just helpless but betrayed. And to think, she liked Shade Thornton....sort of...maybe. Not any more. Her eyes were opened. "Yer scarin' us, girl. And yeah, this is just the beginning. If you and your Pa don't clear on out, it's only going to be a lot worse for ya'all," the older cowboy yelled back. And with that the two of them yanked on the reins to turn about their mounts and galloped on off. Clara waited until they disappeared out of sight and even then she waited, eyes straining to see if she might spot them lurking on the ridgeline or in some of the trees. It didn't seem like it though she could never be sure. And her problems weren't over yet either. She still had a long walk back to the cabin. Her father would have to be informed. Well another issue too, she was in her birthday suit now for the whole walk back. What if someone else came along? It would be just her bad luck. Though she was a God fearing young lady, damn that Shade Thornton!
  14. Clara Redmond

    Neighbors: The Good and the Bad

    It was mid-afternoon and already the Redmond family had put in a hard day of chores, there was so much to do on their new homestead. The weather was fine, hot with lots of sunshine but not too humid and a welcome breeze helped. Aurelian was chopping wood again, this time for material for the property fence line but had told his children they could take a well deserved break. Neither of them were lazy but they were still not adults, despite what Clara might think and he sometimes felt guilty working them too hard. Wyatt begged to be allowed to go swimming for a bit in the small lake on the edge of their property. He and Clara had discovered it the very first few days of their arrival. Now though it wasn't exactly common in society, Aurelian had insisted his offspring know how to swim. He'd seen soldiers drown in the war, such a waste when swimming was not that hard to learn in his opinion. Clara sat with her back to a thick tree trunk and read another chapter in her book while Wyatt took to the water first. When they were both younger, Clara had swam with Wyatt at the same time, both of them naked as when they were born. But now that she was a young lady, she was reluctant to continue such carefree but bold exposure, not that Wyatt cared. So as the young lady waited her turn, she buried herself in the novel while Wyatt splashed about by himself. Maybe once he began school, he'd meet some boys his own age or close and make some friends. Clara hoped so. As for herself, she was too old for school. Besides, she didn't need friends, she was fine without the company of girls her own age. Now as for a teenage boy, well .....no, that wasn't going to happen either, of that she was quite confident. Her attention was drawn from the pages when Wyatt left the water to pad on up to her, his clothing and boots piled up safe and dry next to the girl. Again Wyatt was not the slightest bit bashful, it was just his sister anyhow. "The water was great, Clara! I could live in there ya know," he grinned. "Sometimes I think you have the brain of a frog so I believe you," Clara shut her book as she looked up to him. "You think you're funny," he frowned as he reached for some clothes. "It is called sarcasm, Wyatt," she just rolled her eyes then set the book aside then waited patiently while her little brother dressed again. "Think Pa is back yet?" he wondered aloud. "I do not know. You know Father when he puts his mind to something," Clara remarked as she now began to untie her shoes. "You gonna be safe with me not around?" Wyatt asked as he finished buttoning his shirt, hair still dripping. "I will be fine," she replied, left unsaid was she had her father's Colt Dragoon revolver, that had come in very handy when that Thornton cowpoke came charging up like he owned the place. "What if Indians come?" Wyatt wondered aloud. "No Indians around here, I will be fine," she pulled off one shoe. "Well could be a big ol bear?" Wyatt persisted. "There are no big bears around here either, you worry too much. Now go, go so I can undress myself," Clara insisted. Wyatt just sighed, he didn't see the big deal of her being so shy to take her clothes off anyhow. She never used to be like that. Oh well, who could understand girls anyhow? With a dismissal wave the boy then tromped on off to head back to their cabin home and wait for his father to show up. Besides there was still one molasses cookie left and Pa said he could have it then today sometime. That time was now!
  15. Clara Redmond

    Welcome Basket with Cattle

    Wait a minute! That face seemed sort of familiar, like she'd seen him or a close likeness anyhow previously? Then it hit her. He sure looked like a particular wanted poster she had once gazed at in some Dakota town they had been traveling through. The face on that poster belonged to a man wanted for armed robbery or murder or something of that ilk. Yes, that man would fetch reward money. Here her father was desperate for any money he could lay his hands on, and this could be the ticket right here in front of her! "Hey, slow down, mister! I think I know you....I mean I've seen your face before......you're wanted by the law!" Up went the pistol again as she took a few steps to keep abreast of him, she was close enough even a half blind person would fail to miss this point blank shot. "You stop, or I'll shoot you, I mean it!" she assured him with deadly serious intent. Shade had had about enough of the stray cattle, the girl, her gun and ferrying welcome baskets for a decidedly ungrateful recipient. He made as if to pull rein, but at the last minute, he launched himself in a dive off the horse. His body slammed into the girl's, his momentum carrying them both to the ground. So it seemed like she had him pegged alright and also he was fixing to cooperate too, Clara relaxed ever so slightly. Big mistake! Suddenly it all happened before she could react, his adult-sized self hurled down upon her from above and hit her harder than she had ever been tackled before. Of course, her previous melee experience was her little brother's playful wrestling when she was younger. Down she went hard onto her back and butt, she lost the grip on the heavy Dragoon which clattered on the ground a few feet away, fortunately unfired. Shade rolled to get his weight off the girl, trying to pin her flailing arms and kick the heavy pistol further away all at the same time. A couple of her blows managed to land, giving him a bit of a cuff to the head. He grunted, "Settle down, you little wildcat. I'm not gonna hurt you." Clara was having none of it, flailing away with both fists as she tried to prevent him from pinning her arms because then she would be doomed. She also made one last appeal to reason, "Lemme go! If you surrender now, I promise you I will put in a good word to the law, and they might not hang you." Though she highly doubted, this one was a ruthless blackheart. "Owww! Now, just stop it," Shade said, his eyes watering a bit where the girl had managed to land a blow to his nose. He was hampered by not wanting to hurt her and wanting to keep her hands away from his gun or the one she had dropped. Finally, he caught her wrists and pinned them firmly to the ground. "Quit, and I'll ease up...that's gotta hurt, and I don't like hurtin' little girls." Clara struggled until the last second, but she found herself pinned to the ground. If he thought his tight grip might be hurting her the man had no idea of the sort of pain this girl had endured the last time she was attacked. A couple of last grunts and gasps to free herself failed miserably before she stopped then, glaring up at him as she took a few heavy breaths. "I am NOT a little girl, mister," she wanted him to know then sighed, "I will stop." She hated that word 'quit', no sir, she didn't quit on anything. "I'm gonna let you go, and we're gonna get to our feet," Shade said, still glaring a bit. He kept a good grip on her, as he climbed to his feet and pulled her up with him. Moving fast, he reached out to scoop up the Dragoon and tuck it in his belt. "Now, I ain't sayin' you didn't see a wanted poster on me. But I was cleared of those charges in Willow, Colorado." He was dictating the terms now as he got up and pulled her up next to him, Clara did not resist as she had given her word. Her father had taught her it was very important in this world to keep your word when you give it. She watched as he deftly stole her pistol even as he tried to explain to her the circumstances of that poster. She huffed in derision at his story. "I hardly imagine no one but an idiot would admit his guilt and while I am certain you are quite the lout, you do not seem slow-witted," she replied, quite the concession actually, coming from someone like her. Shade stepped carefully away from her and out of range, leaning down in a smooth motion to pick up his hat and replace it on his head. "Well, your opinion on my guilt or innocence ain't gonna lose me any sleep." He paused, "I didn't hurt you, did I?" Clara watched him pick up his hat then glanced at her own still on the ground as she responded to his question, "I am a good deal more sturdy than you appear to imagine me. So....no, you did not hurt me." She crossed her arms then and threw in a comment, "A gentleman would pick up a lady's hat you know." "A lady wouldn't try to shoot a man who was just payin' a neighborly call," Shade shot back at her. Still, he admired her grit so leaned down and picked up her hat, offering it to her. "I could hardly be expected to believe such a story coming from a man whose cattle were trampling my garden and whose past had earned him a wanted poster for his misdeeds," Clara smirked, with her sharp tongue she actually enjoyed a good argument as she then waited for him to extend her hat. "Thank you," she had been taught her manners. "You're welcome. Why not go see what Mrs. Hale sent you and I'll get the cattle out of your garden?" Shade offered with a smile. "Then, if you don't mind, I could use a drink of water. It's hot work wrangling a teenaged girl, even one as slight as you are." Slight? Was he saying she was scrawny? Clara was rather touchy about her womanly frame or rather lack of thus far, she was sadly flat as a board but had her hopes for the future. Other than that thinly disguised insult of his, the man was willing to help with one big issue, removing those disgusting steers. Plus, indeed she was curious about what that Mrs. Hale had brought them....well, unless the man was lying, and there some big rattlesnake in there or something? She doubted it though. "Very well, wrangle something other than a young lady, and I will allow you a drink from our well. Your fine horse too if you wish." She could be nice............sometimes. Shade risked turning his back on the girl, then turned around again, "Hey, tigress, what's your name?" Tigress? Clara blinked. A second to consider though and she decided that really wasn't an insult though. As she plopped her hat back on, she answered, "Clara...Clara Redmond, daughter of Aurelian Redmond." "Howdy, Miss Redmond," Shade tipped his hat to her and leaned down to pick up his lariat. Grabbing Lakota's reins, he grabbed the horn, gave a slight hop and pulled himself up, expertly sliding his foot into the stirrup. Coiling his rope, he held it by the loops, shaking them out just enough so he could use it to move the cows away. Lakota needed only a slight signal for him to go to work, pushing the recalcitrant creatures out and away from the Redmonds' house and garden. Once the steers were well away and actually meandering off into the meadow, Shade turned his horse and cantered back. Clara watched him for a moment, it was quite amazing how the cattle responded to him and his well-trained horse. One thing he definitely hadn't been lying about, he was a ranch hand alright. Of course, that didn't mean he couldn't be an outlaw to boot. And a liar...of course. Still, there was enough doubt now that Clara's temper was cooling a bit. But her curiosity remained so she went over to the basket he had set onto the ground, kneeling she opened it. It was filled with lots of niceties from soap to food both dried and jarred. It had been a very nice thing for that Mrs. Hale to do and though the cowpoke might not agree, Clara was not an ungrateful person. He was riding back then, his mission accomplished and the cattle off in a nearby meadow. She took the basket by its handle and met him at the well. Reining in, he dropped to the ground near the well. "If you promise to not try and shoot me again, I'll give you back your pistol," Shade told Clara as he availed himself of a dipper of water, enjoying its cool sweetness.

About Sagas

Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.

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