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Shade Harper

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About Shade Harper

  • Rank
    Lost Lake Ranch: Owner, Foreman

Character Info

  • Profession
  • Marital Status
  • Birthdate
    March 13, 1845
  • Age Range
  • Height
    5' 11"
  • Hair color
  • Eye Color
    Dark Blue
  • Playby
    Robert Fuller
  • Player

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  1. A Fair to Remember

    Time: Early Morning, Harper Meadow Place: Vendor's Ally (where the vendor booths are set up) Characters: Shade Harper, Adelaide Chappel, Cody and Nettie Harper It was still very early in the morning. The day's festivities had not been officially kicked-off by the mayor. Shade had ridden down from the ranch with the wagon carrying the ladies and their entries in the various events. He had also helped Ezra and Sage Miller wrangle the livestock that was being entered in the various shows. They also had a group of yearlings and heifers for the sales which was where Ezra Hale would spend the bulk of his day. After helping offload the wagon, Kate implored Shade to take the rambunctious twins for a walk around the meadow to work off some of their energy. They were understandably wildly excited and driving Kate and Mary nuts with their questions and getting into things they had been warned to stay away from. Obligingly, Shade took them out to look at the preparations for the day's rodeo events and to browse the booths that were being set up. He had just bought them both a packet of beef jerky, having been warned by Kate not to buy them sweets as there would be plenty of that sort of thing later when a movement caught his eyes. Without warning and before Shade could catch hold of him, Cody dashed toward where a woman stood looking over the wares displayed by the leather shop. In a few strides, Shade caught up with his nephew, tugging the protesting Nettie along after him. Cody was standing very close to the woman, far closer than usual with strangers. He stared up at her, his small face lit with a smile and his blue eyes sparkling. "Hey, Tiger," Shade dropped his free hand to the boy's shoulder, "don't run off like that." He looked at the woman and said apologetically, "I'm sorry if the boy bothered you, ma'am." While she still had some work to do setting up her quarters in the small shed behind the Milligan Company barn, Addy was going to take advantage of a day off and enjoy the fair. Besides, with all the booths set up, there might be something she needed, so she was more than happy to rummage and have a good time until her next run with the stage. It was shaping up to be a nice day, and Addy had chosen a bluish-grey wool skirt and simple grey cotton shirt, her hat plopped on her head. It was nicer than what she normally wore, practical, but not by any means glamorous. Never in her life had Addy worn hoops, bustles or corsets of any kind, and she planned to keep it that way. She was looking over some jars of preserves and rows of pie when she realized that there boy was beside her, staring up at her, just as a man spoke. Shaking her head, she gave the lad a smile, then looked up at the man. "Nah, ain't no bother. Fine lookin' boy." Familiar...why was the boy familiar? "Ya'll live here in town or just passin' by fer th' festivities?" "We're from Lost Lake Ranch. I'm Shade Harper. This is my nephew and ward, Cody Harper," Shade introduced himself and the boy. Cody continued standing close to the young woman, gazing up at her with a quiet adulation. Shade nodded down at the little girl by his side, "This is my niece and Cody's twin, Nettie." He figured there was no need pointing out that the meadow where the fair events were being held was owned by the ranch. That information was not important and seemed to be very self-serving and somewhat arrogant. Cody...so that was it! While he looked completely different now, she could still see the terrified little boy that she had found among the carnage of an Indian attack. She'd not known his name then, or where he belonged, but had found out some of the details of his life much later from Mr. Millegan. And she had heard that he had kin in the area who had taken him in, but she hadn't expected to see him here. It was a welcome sight, to see that he was being well cared for. Squatting down to the children's level, she smiled and nodded. "Cody, is it? I'm Miss Addy Chappel, good ta meet ya proper." Nodding to the girl, she tipped her hat, then frowned. "Twins, is it? Now, ya don't look nothin' alike!" With a grin, she looked up at the man. "I'm a driver with th' Millegan Stage Company." She wasn't sure he would make the connection, but that was something she wasn't keen to discuss in front of the lad. "Millegan?" The name sounded familiar to Shade. At first, he could not place it. Then, looking down at Cody, it came to him. That was the name of the stage line that ran the route from Missoula to Kalispell. Was this woman the driver that had found the bodies of his brother and his family, saved Cody? For the moment Shade was saved from responding as Nettie spoke up. "It's because I'm a girl and he's a boy," Nettie informed the woman with all the knowledge bequeathed to her five-year-old self. "We was borned at the same time though." "We were born..." Shade corrected automatically. "I think maybe I have you to thank for rescuing my nephew, Miss Chappel?" He tried to bring it up casually and indirectly. He did not want to upset Cody with the memories. After all, it had not been that long ago. "Oh....boy an' gal..." Addy smiled and nodded knowingly as she smiled at the young girl, then looked up as the man asked about finding Cody. "Yes, sir, that'd be me." The question dredged up sore memories, pictures she would just as soon forget, but more than the horrific treatment of the victims had been the terror that had engulfed the boy. No child should be that way, and she was glad she'd had a chance to help him. "He looks good." Smiling, she turned her attention back to Cody. "You been behavin'? Ya know, Mike an' Duke been askin' about ya." The lad had seemed intrigued by the big Belgian draft horses that had been the lead team that day, likely because, as animals, they were 'safe'. "Ya oughta come visit some time." Cody returned Adelaide's smile, "I try to behave, ma'am, but Nettie gets us into trouble." The little boy's voice was quiet and calm. His eyes lit up at her next words and he looked up, "Could we go see Mike and Duke one day, Uncle Shade?" Since the boy rarely asked to leave the ranch, Shade nodded, "Sure. We'll find out when it is convenient for Miss Chappel. You can ride in with me one day when we go to town for supplies." He grinned at the woman, "Truthfully, I'd like to see them for myself. I worked for a stage line in Wyoming for five years - before coming back here this summer. Mainly rode shotgun, but drove a little too. Really enjoyed the work." "Has it's moments," Addy commented with a grin. "Nothin' like bein' out in th' air, so long as it ain't overly hot nor cold...nor wet, fer that matter." She chuckled, then glanced at the kids before squatting again to their level. "So, Master Cody, might I ask a favor of ya? Ya see, I'm here all by myself, an' I was wonderin' if you an' Miz Nettie here might escort me?" She looked up at Shade, "If that's all right with you, sir?" "How about if we all walk together?" Shade suggested affably. He appreciated Miss Chappel's request, and he seriously doubted she was a threat to the children. On the other hand, there were more questions than answers regarding the deaths of the twins' parents and older siblings. It was a good opportunity for Cody to interact with someone that was not related to him or a member of the Harper's extended household. For that matter, it gave Shade the same opportunity as well. "Where should we start?" Shade asked the twins and laughed when both pointed to a sweets vendor several stalls down the row. "Ah, well, that's right after my own heart!" Grinning, Addy started out with the children, then asked, "There gonna be ice cream here, too, do ya think? I had some once in Kansas City, had strawberries on it, real good on a hot day." It was good to see that Cody was acting more like a kid should and that he had someone who was looking out for him, it gave him a far better chance at having a good life than if he'd had to go to an orphanage. "I hope they got peppermints, th' horses like those, an I'm runnin' out." "I believe they are setting up an ice cream tent later in the day," Shade replied with a grin. He was not care for sweets much - beyond the occasional slice of apple pie with melted cheese on it. However, the kids would really enjoy it and it was good seeing Cody more relaxed around people than he had been since Shade arrived home. "How about we stop at the sweets stand and then go look at the list of events at the sign-up booth?" "Sounds like fun." Addy nodded and started walking alongside the man with the kids between them. "But dang, I fergot my famous cherry an' onion pie!" Laughing, she glanced down at the children. "Ya'll got somethin' you can sign up for? I'll root for ya!" Then she looked over at Shade. "They got any horse races or shootin' contests?" @Stormwolfe
  2. All Work and No Play...

    It was hot and bound to get hotter. Already, Shade's work shirt was sticking to him, wet with his sweat. The week had been hectic with all of the preparations for the Kalispell Founder's Day Celebration, but they were finally almost done. Harper Meadow had been transformed into a fairground with the majestic Choguns as its backdrop. Workers were putting the final touches on the booths with their gay banners streaming in the breeze, inviting everyone to stop and look at their wares. A few traveling vendors had already arrived and parked their wagons in the designated area. Kalispell's shopkeepers were setting up select items from their stores, and a few children played nearby. Shade narrowed his eyes against the morning sun's glare as a horseman rode toward the arena where the rodeo events would be held. It was just Ezra, returning to his role of foreman and overseeing all of the preparations. He had forgotten what a taskmaster the older man was, but it was impossible to resent it because Ezra and his wife, Kate, worked as hard as everyone else. Pulling off his bandana, Shade leaned down and soaked it in the icy cold water of the small pool. Several of these little aquifer fed water holes dotted the meadow. Most were only a few feet deep with sandy bottoms. The water came from deep underground which meant the number of pools appeared and disappeared depending on time of year and rainfall. Someone had driven a post into the ground next to the pool with bent nails for holding dippers. After mopping his brow and replacing the bandana around his neck, Shade pulled one of the dippers off its hook, filled it and took a long drink of water. He then filled the two canteens he had carried over from the building site and filled them. Shade was on his way back to the area where they were going to construct the large dance floor for the next night's festivities when a cacophony of shouts got his attention. He grinned as one of the large tents was raised from the ground. These would be used for the livestock displays and shows as well as some of the other events such as the cooking and baking contests. This was his first Founder's Day Celebration and Shade felt a thrill of excitement at the prospect. If nothing else, it meant the end of a grueling work week. "Hey, boy, you're not loitering out here are you?" Ezra's pleasantly deep voice startled Shade. His big mouse-gray gelding's hoofbeats had been muffled in the thick, recently mown grass. "No, sir!" Shade was quick to respond out of habit. He could not quite shake the feeling that Ezra was the boss even though the man made it clear he respected Shade's half-ownership of the ranch. "Just refilling a couple of canteens. We should be finished by dinner time. None too soon either," he chuckled lightly, "my blisters have blisters." "At least the tents will be up soon so the ladies can start preparing the workers' day lunch and dinner," Ezra responded. Although the workers were provided with food as well as pay for the week, there was always banquet held in their honor the night before the celebration. "I'll check back to see if you men need anything." By this point they had reached the area where the dance floor and band's dais would be constructed. Shade gave the gelding a gentle slap on its flank as he passed him and turned to the workers. Signaling to the workers to gather around, he laid out the plans that Ezra had drawn up for them. "We should be able to knock this out by late afternoon, plenty of time for a swim before dinner." He grinned at the men he would be supervising for the day.
  3. Epitaphs

    The stories continue in The Bear
  4. Epitaphs

    Shade knew without looking that only the dates of birth would vary on the next four. There were no remains in the crypt niches although each slot was large enough for a coffin. That was true of his parents' crypts as well. Although not endorsed by the Church, the Harpers had always cremated their dead, spread some of the ashes on the land and interred the remainder. In the case of his brother and his family, it had been only logical as their bodies had been burned beyond recognition already. Shade had seen the charred remains of the wagon where they had been found. William Chance Harper Born: Jan. 05, 1837 Died: June 02, 1875 Chance had been eight years older than Shade and, as Shade got older, a bulwark between him and their father. He did not protect Shade so much as simply talk their father out of lashing out in anger. Chance expected Shade to take his punishment if he had misbehaved, sometimes meting it out himself when necessary instead of reporting it to the sometimes volatile John Caleb. Shade's older brother had been something of an anomaly amongst the hotheaded Harpers. He had inherited some unknown ancestor's cool head and calm demeanor. He preferred talking to fighting although he could do the latter quite well, physically and verbally. Shade had desperately missed his brother when Chance had gone off to college in California. He'd been ecstatic at his return and not only because Chance and his father butted heads so often that it kept John Caleb's focus off of Shade. Although he had advised Shade to honor John Caleb's edict that he be banished from the ranch - in fact, his father had stated that he should never return to Montana - Chance had never cut off communications with his younger brother. Letters had been sporadic, mostly because Shade moved around often. He had even urged him to come home after their father's death. Shade had not been ready. By the time that he was giving thought to visiting, it was too late. For that, there was regret and sorrow amidst the grief over Chance's death. Regina Beth Harper Born: April 05, 1845 Died: June 02, 1875 Regina had been and, even in death, continued to be the blood-tie between Shade and Quentin Cantrell. She had been Cantrell's younger sister. The first thought was not entirely accurate. Her children, the living, and death, also tied Shade and Quentin by blood. Shade had only known Regina briefly, but it seemed like a lifetime. The Cantrells, fearing what would happen if war broke out, had sent her to live with their dear friends, the Harpers. They felt she would be safer in Montana. Regina was his age and had been so much like Shade in many ways, a bit wild, somewhat unconventional, and preferred to be outside no matter the weather. She had taught him to swim and vowed to teach him to sail should she ever be able to wrangle a sailboat for the lake. He had taught her to ride astride rather than sidesaddle and to shoot. When Regina had confided to Shade that she had fallen irrevocably in love with the quiet, somewhat studious Chance, he had been ecstatic. It had meant that she would not return to Charleston if Chance felt the same way. Chance had returned her feelings. After a whirlwind romance, they agreed to marry. Sadly, war prevented her parents from traveling west, but they sent their love and blessings along with a promise to come visit as soon as they could. It had been during Regina's final pre-wedding shopping trip that Shade had gotten into the gunfight with Calvin Steelgrave. It had been self-defense and defense of her. In that respect, his father had been unreasonable. Regina had stood her ground against her future father-in-law when he had banished Shade to no avail. Every letter from Chance had included a separate one written by Regina. She had been his sister more than just by marriage and his friend. He reached out and touched the brass nameplate. The coolness of it shocked him. Somehow he had felt it would be warm like Regina. Using the sleeve of his shirt, he rubbed away the smudge that his fingerprint left behind. Chance and Regina had had four children. The two older ones had died on that windswept meadow south of Flathead Lake. One had escaped the carnage but from all accounts had been forever changed by what he had seen that day. The fourth was his twin. She had not been with the family on that outing due to illness. Josiah Grant Harper Born: May 02, 1865 Died: June 02, 1875 - aged 10 years Lilah Beth Harper Born: March 01, 1867 Died: June 02, 1875 - aged 8 years. Shade had never met his niece and nephew, but he felt he knew them. Chance's and Regina's letters had painted a vivid picture of their children. The descriptions of them and their misadventures had been so detailed that it allowed him to mourn their loss with a palpable ache. A few steps brought him back to his brother's crypt. For the first time since Quentin had brought the news of the deaths to Shade in Wyoming, a tear slipped from the corner of his eye. Three more followed. One for each of those whose ashes were protected by the stone slabs. The anger over the deaths was still there, but it had quieted. Resolve remained, and it now spoke louder than the simmering rage. Shade would find and punish those responsible for the killings. He and Quentin had agreed on that as they listened to the wind in the rocks that stood sentinel over the burned out remains of a family outing. This was not the place to voice the anger or even the resolve. It was a place of peace, of final and eternal rest. It was how Shade's mother had envisioned it, or so she told him when bringing Shade with her to light the candles and say a blessing for Ishmael and Kimi. Shade murmured a promise to protect the family's heritage. That was a fitting thing to do. His stride was firm and strong as he left the mausoleum, pausing only to pick his hat up off the kneeler. Life called. It was time to leave the dead in peace.
  5. Epitaphs

    It was late afternoon when Shade stepped onto the footbridge that spanned one of the many creeks that flowed down from the higher regions of the Choguns. Like most of the many creeks, streams, rills, and small rivers, it was mostly fed by meltwater from glaciers. The water was beautifully clear and frigidly cold. Shade paused, his sharp blue eyes spotting the movement of a lone salamander as it hunted for tadpoles in the eddies and small pools. A breeze stirred the branches of the trees, making the leaves whisper to one another. That and the coolness of the water rushing under the bridge made a welcome relief from the heat of the day. Late July in Montana was hot and dry. Shade was happy to have the afternoon off. Shade stepped off the bridge, noting the wide trail that meandered into the forest. He knew that it led deep into the Chogun mountain range, eventually ending at a high alpine valley where a lone cabin stood beside a small lake. It had once belonged to his grandparents. Now, it was used as a hunting lodge. Instead of the wider trail, he followed a small footpath that also led into the forest, but not higher into the mountains. Just short of a half-mile from the larger stream, he came upon a much smaller rill tumbling in small, sparkling cascades. Much further down the mountain, it would meet up with a larger creek or maybe even spill into the Chogun River. Stepping over the rill, Shade passed a weeping willow tree with a stone bench tucked beneath its branches. Now, along with the sounds of the wind and the tumbling water, he could hear the musical notes of wind chimes. Shade smiled. He remembered his father protesting the expense of the metal wind chimes when his mother had purchased them. He also spotted the carefully made musical chimes set into the tones of the galloping rill. The water hitting the thin metal plates made the sound as it tumbled on its way. He now found himself in a small glade facing the Harper family mausoleum. It was rectangular in shape and built of local granite. The exterior stone was rough and unfinished but not ugly. When the branches overhead shifted to let in rays of sunlight, bits of quartz flashed and sparked giving the building light. Shade fished a key out of his pocket as he approached the edifice. A heavy wrought iron gate barred the entrance, and he had to unlock it. Surprisingly, it swung open easily. Someone was taking the time to see the mausoleum maintained. From the vestibule just inside the gate, you could see through to the far end and another gate. Narrow slits cut into the ceiling let in light although there were also oil lamps set into sconces on the walls. The interior of the building was laid out in the shape of a cross with the vestibule being the short end. Several steps in the arms of the cross branched off to either side. The one on the right held a beautiful oak prie-dieu. Several votive candles burned in holders on the surface and a carved statue of the Virgin looked down on it. The left arm of the cross was a beautiful replica of Michelangelo's Pietá. It had been carved out of the mausoleum's granite walls and polished to a high sheen. Where the quartz sparkled on Mary's face, it looked like tears. Out of a sense of respect and habit, Shade crossed to the prie-dieu and knelt, removed his hat and lay it on the kneeler next to him before sliding his rosary from his pocket. When finished, Shade rose, lit one of the candles and turned toward the building's main corridor. He knew that his father and mother had commissioned the building of the mausoleum shortly after Ishmael Harper, his grandfather, had disappeared. He walked to the end of the row noting that most of the crypts were open and devoid of occupants. That was not surprising. None of old Ishmael's offspring except for Shade's father had been allowed to remain in the area. The farthest slot had a polished gray marble slab covering it. A brass plaque affixed to it was engraved with the names Ishmael and Kimi Harper. There were no urns with their ashes inside. Shade's grandparents had ridden into the mountains and never returned. It had to be assumed that they had died. Shade felt nothing as he stared at the names on the plaque. He had never known his grandparents. He hesitated to turn to the next six niches. The wind increased setting the chimes jangling. It also swirled through the mausoleum bringing with it the fresh scents of the forest. Having the open wrought iron gates at either end and the lighting slits in the ceiling kept the air fresh instead of musty and stale. The next plaque read... John Caleb Harper Born: Dec. 02, 1806 Died: March 02,1868 There was no epitaph. Why bother since it was likely the only family would ever visit this place? Besides, John Caleb Harper was larger than life. What short phrase could adequately describe his life? Loving husband and father? Shade snorted softly. No, that sentiment was not fair. John Caleb had been a good and honorable man. He adored his wife and his sons. Although a stern man who brooked no defiance of his edicts, he was never needlessly cruel or mean. Shade and his brother had felt the sting of his hand or belt more often than he could remember but always after some transgression of the rules on their part. It was only as he reached his teenage years and became more and more defiant that his relationship with his father had disintegrated. It had ended entirely after Shade had been forced, yes forced, to kill Calvin Steelgrave. Instead of receiving a letter from his father telling him it was safe to come home, John Caleb had arrived at the boarding house in Helena. His first action was to knock Shade to the floor. He then informed his son that he had been disowned and was no longer welcome at the ranch. Without giving Shade time to explain or give him a message for Hannah, Caleb walked out. Although he had written to his father over the years, John Caleb never responded. He had never spoken to his father again. Now, he wondered if John Caleb had ever forgiven him. Maybe on his deathbed? Unlikely. John Caleb Harper had not been a forgiving man. Had Shade forgiven his father? He had done that many years before his father's death. Even at his angriest and most hurt, he had never stopped loving and respecting John Caleb Harper for the man he was. Isadora Kiara Harper, born Isadora Kiara de Monserrat y Calderón in Mexico City to Spanish nobility. She had only been seventeen when she and John Caleb met in Charleston, eloped and were married. Shade remembered his mother's warm contralto voice, often singing Spanish ballads as she took care of her home and family. No matter how angry he was with his father, Isadora could calm him, make him smile, even laugh. She had the same effect on her older son and her husband. Shade had some solace in knowing his mother had not shared his father's decree that Shade was no longer their son. She had responded to his letters, encouraging him to stand on his own, to stay strong, stay good. Isadora had not been able to change John Caleb's mind about allowing him to return home. It had been his mother that had written telling him of his father's death and asking him to come home. Fate had kept that letter from finding him before his older brother's missive telling him that their mother and father were both dead. Isadora's letter had reached him two months later. Isadora Kiara Harper Born: July 30, 1814 Died: June 2, 1868
  6. A Hard Day's Work

    Shade's in! Oh, yeah - I asked for the scene! Some of my other characters, including Harriet and Hannah, might drop in to crack the whip! There would have been flyers tacked up stating skilled carpenters would be needed for the week prior to the celebration date (Saturday) and there would have been an ad in the Glacier.
  7. A Hard Day's Work

    Summary The Founder's Day Celebration is being hosted by Lost Lake Ranch. Friday finds the men busy with final preparations (putting up a small enclosure for the rodeo, a dance floor, tents, vendor and fair booths, etc.). Goals This scene's main goal is to allow some preliminary meets and greets. I thought it might be a good time for Robert, if he'd like to pick up some extra money for a day's work, to meet Shade, Aurelian, and Quentin. Our ladies are also welcome to drop by, look things over, etc. This is an open scene. Note @Players
  8. The Steelgraves

    The Steelgraves are the epitomé of the mega-wealthy, villainous family. The characters are being listed below, but the full document on the family can be found HERE. If a character is adopted and successfully app'd and approved, they will be removed from the below list. Although various members of the Steelgrave clan may make friends with other played and non-played characters, in general, they are adversarial and out for themselves. They do not believe there is any such thing as too much power or too much wealth. Make no mistake, while there is a long-held antipathy toward the Harpers, the Steelgraves are not friends to anyone - particularly those that challenge their status. The character playbys shown in this document are there to give an impression of how the character is perceived. They are not mandatory for use. The Steelgraves are adoptable, therefore, the information on each character is vague. Ages are general, but where each falls in the chronological hierarchy is fixed. Elias Steelgrave (Patriarch) Status: Living Age: Late 60s Elias Steelgrave is a financially powerful, fierce old man. He runs Evergreen Ranch, his business holdings, and his family with an iron fist. He assumes he can ride roughshod over anyone that gets in his way. In spite of his domination of his family, Elias indulges his children in their whims and peccadillos, seeing nothing wrong with their behavior. Even though John Caleb Harper died in 1868, Elias’ hatred of the Harpers has not diminished. He is still after the Chogun Valley, but is using more subtle means to try and drive the Harpers out. Elinor Steelgrave (Matriarch) Status: Living Age: Mid-to-Late 60s Elinor Steelgrave is a handsome woman in her sixties. She is very petite, almost delicate looking, but her appearance disguises a spine of steel. In demeanor, she is invariably polite in a condescending manner. She is highly intelligent. Like Elias, Elinor manages the family with an iron fist. This steel is applied in her business dealings as well. While Elias and Elinor maintain a mansion in Missoula, Montana that overlooks the Bitterroot River, they spend a majority of their time at Evergreen, the new ranch near Whitefish. Benjamin Steelgrave (eldest son) Status: Living Age: Late 30s Benjamin Steelgrave is the eldest son and his father’s right-hand man when his mother allows him to be. Along with his wife, Nona, and two young sons, he has moved to the new ranch in Whitefish. Benjamin would be considered a gentleman rancher as he has no inclination to actually work the range. He is a rather handsome and elegant man who, like his mother, has a somewhat condescending air when he speaks. He is not unintelligent, but he is not the brains of the family. James Cassidy "Case" Steelgrave (see Canon Characters List) Case Steelgrave is the next in line of the Steelgrave brothers. He is probably the most intelligent of the siblings and the deadliest. Case is charming and cunning, and only comes truly alive when it is time to kill. However, he manages to goad his target into drawing first, therefore never facing murder charges. He is proud of his legend, but has one goal for the future, goad Shade Harper into a gunfight. For several years, Case made his home base in Texas. He recently moved to Whitefish and is now the town marshal. Clayton Steelgrave Status: Living Age: Mid-30s Clayton is employed as the foreman of Evergreen Ranch, the Steelgraves’ ranch in Whitefish. He is the family member that is least interested in perpetuating the feud with the Harpers. He has longed for a ranch to work and, under other circumstances, would have likely gone on the drift. He is generally good with horses, cattle, and people. He enjoys working and playing hard. Clayton is also good-natured, usually quick to smile and laugh. Despite the fact that Shade Harper killed his younger brother, he would like to see the feud ended. He is married to Janet Redmond and they have four children (two boys, two girls) Zeke Steelgrave Status: Living Age: 30s Zeke has taken over the management of most of the Steelgrave’s non-ranching business interests. Of course, he answers to Elinor when it comes to business decisions, but as he has a very keen business sense, she does not interfere often. Zeke, like his elder sibling and mother, loathes everything Harper and does not bother to disguise it. He is also cunning enough to interfere with the Harpers’ various business interests without being overt or having it easily traced to him. Calvin Steelgrave Status: Deceased (listed here as a place marker). Age: 22 at time of death Calvin “Cal” Steelgrave was spoiled, arrogant, and truly psychotic. He was the family hellion and used to getting what he wanted or taking it if there was resistance, women included. He also considered himself as good a gunfighter as any that’d ever been born. While carousing with his brothers in Missoula, he spotted Regina Cantrell being escorted by her future brother-in-law, seventeen-year-old Shade Harper. He caught her coming out of a store and tried to drag her into an alley and assault her. Shade heard the struggle and beat Calvin severely, even though he was younger and less experienced. A few hours later, Calvin lay in wait, intending to shoot Regina. Instead, Shade killed him. Much to the fury of the Steelgraves, the shooting was ruled self-defense and Shade was not charged. The Steelgraves vowed vengeance leading to Shade leaving home. Leah Steelgrave Status: Living Age: Mid-to-late 20s Leah is a lovely and pampered young woman with a nasty streak where men are concerned. She seems to enjoy luring them into her web and then crying foul, forcing her brothers to send them packing, usually not very gently. Most men call her bewitching. Those that have been caught in her trap, call her a witch.
  9. Neighbors: The Good and the Bad - Pt. 2

    Shade was still on his feet and now flashed a look at Quentin and then to the Redmond girl. He had not mentioned the run-in with Hannah during their arrival in Kalispell. What with settling in at the ranch and preparing for the hearing, he'd actually forgotten all about it. Now, he felt a quiver of anger course through him at being inspected and interrogated in his own home, but he forced himself to remain calm. "There are the nighthawks. They won't come in until they're relieved," Shade answered, his voice slightly terse but calm enough overall. He turned his gaze on Hannah, "I think, Deputy Marshal Cory, it's about time that you explain what's going on here." Hannah locked her gaze with Shade's. She did not flinch or waiver although her eyes flicked to his waist taking note of the gunbelt. Hannah swallowed, realizing that she was counting on the decency of a man that she also believed to be an outlaw. "This is Aurelian Redmond and his daughter, Clara. Two men from this ranch verbally accosted Miss Clara yesterday and stole from her. I am here to recover her belongings and, once she identifies them, to arrest the two men for indecency. Now, how about you tell me which two of your hands you ordered to harass the Redmonds?" By the end of her speech, Hannah had a good head of steam going. She was doing the right thing! "Ordered..." Shade spluttered. His temper had increased the longer Hannah had spoken. Now, he glared at her, lost for words "Careful, Deputy..." Quentin said from where he was still sitting. He wiped his mouth with his napkin and set it aside. "...You're making quite the leap in logic here. First of all, I doubt those two men are even from our ranch, and even if they are, their actions when not here on the job are their own." Clara didn't know the man of course but she glared at his contention - it did so matter! He was no doubt covering up for the miscreants. Quentin stood and rested a hand on Shade's shoulder. "Easy..." He moved around the table to stand in front of the women and the man with them. "Now, my name is Quentin Cantrell. Perhaps we can start this from the beginning instead of barging in here with accusations and start with some questions?" He stuck his hand toward the man by way of introducing himself. Aurelian sidled just barely noticeably as if to shield his daughter but slowly took the man's offered hand and the two exchanged a shake. "The Deputy did not barge in, Mr. Cantrell, we knocked and no one answered. Plus she is here on legal matters, I have registered a written complaint against the two men who robbed her of her belongings and in addition offered threats of further harassment if we did not leave our homestead. I bought the Sidwell's place, I have a legal bill of sale. " Quentin nodded. "Mr. Redmond, I am not saying your daughter is a liar about what happened to her. I am only saying she may be mistaken as to those two men being from our ranch. Either way it's a serious accusation with no evidence to back it up..." He cut a look at Deputy Cory. "...An experienced law officer would know to be careful throwing around words too recklessly." "Clara was found by the deputy and immediately told what had happened to her. I can assure you my daughter is a principled young lady and she would not lie or make up all of this." Off to one side of Aurelian but visible nonetheless, Clara nodded firmly. If any of these people would just let her tell it, she would let them know the particulars, it was as clear in her memory as their faces were also. Quentin nodded and stepped around Aurelian a bit but still stayed back from Clara. "Now ma'am, would you like to run through what happened and what those men looked like? We'll be happy to help with finding out if they actually are from here." He let his eyes go past to Shade with an obvious hint to not lose his temper. "That would be Miss, " Clara primly corrected but then launched into her recounting. "First of all the other day, some of your cattle came onto our property and they trampled a considerable section of our back garden plot. Mr. Harper showed up then ...conveniently with a basket from the Hales. I admit to being startled and perhaps a bit upset as his cows were despoiling our future foodstuffs. I will say this....he did after some discussion round up the animals and I allowed him a drink from our well. Father showed up then. At the time I thought the cattle was just an accident, no accounting for the whims of animals after all. But now I think it was perhaps deliberate." Her deep brown eyes burned into Shade as she spoke. She had liked him there for a bit but now she was onto his tricks! "Kate and our cook, Mary, always try to send welcome baskets to new arrivals in our area," Ezra stated mildly, hopefully putting paid to any suspicion that there had been a nefarious reason for Shade to ride onto the Redmonds' property. He actually caught the younger man's eyes and gave an almost imperceptible nod toward the waiting men. Aurelian thought that sounded most plausible but then he wasn't the suspicious one of the Redmonds, Clara remained dubious. Shade cleared his throat and signaled the hands with a nod at the door, "Head on out and relieve Sage and his nighthawks. Tell him we need to see them here." The men seemed to heave a collected sigh of relief as they began filtering toward the door. Before any of them could leave the courtyard, Hannah stepped in front of Nicholas Hale, Ezra's son who also acted as work foreman for the ranch. "Do not tell them what has transpired here." Nicholas gave her a short, sharp nod and stepped around her. Hannah was still fuming from Quentin Cantrell's insinuation that she was not an experienced officer of the law. She had been on the job for more than five years. Yet, stomping her foot and retaliating at his assumption did not seem appropriate either. Especially since, in this case, she was more like a legal watchdog there to make sure weapons did not get used. Of course, arresting Shade Harper would be a bonus in her books! With the men out of the room, Shade turned his eyes on Clara. He spoke far more calmly than he felt, "Miss Clara, as I told you, Mrs. Hale asked me to bring the basket and goods to you because she could not get away. The mob of cattle that trampled your garden managed to get on your property because the ravine that used to be a natural barrier between has washed down. I found where they crossed. We've since started fencing on our side. It should be complete in another week." He took a deep breath, staring steadily at the young woman and her father, "Now, what happened yesterday that makes you think you are being harassed by riders from this ranch?" "That's why we are here, Clara, not for the cattle in the garden. Tell them what happened to you, dear," Aurelian encouraged her with a supportive smile. Clara nodded, she was more than willing to give them all an earful. "Very well. I was at the lake and decided to take a swim, what with it being so oppressively hot. No one else was around so I removed my clothing then went in. Soon enough two men come riding up and saw me. They accused me of trespassing. I immediately informed them I was certainly not trespassing and that my father was owner of the Sidwell property now. They then told me to get out of the water. I declined and asked them nicely to leave me to my privacy. They thought that was funny. The one of them....he was named Billy. He was the younger of the two....I would hazard a guess at least a few years older than I am. I am fifteen. The other I heard no name for. He had a greying beard, very scruffy. He looked mean but I realize that is mere opinion. Billy then dismounted and started pawing over my clothing and found the Dragoon Colt. They both pestered me to come out of the water. As they said......they wanted to take a look at what I got. I certainly know what that means. I of course refused, I was not about to give them their way in things." A slight pause to take a breath then she continued, "Billy said if I did not come out he was going to take all of my belongings and ride off to present them to his boss. Unless.....I got out of the water and they promised me that they would do nothing to me if I did. I did not believe them for an instant. Of course I refused again, telling them if they wanted me they were going to have to come in after me. At that point he packed up my clothes and the gun into his saddle bags and they rode off but before they did they said that this was just the start. If my father did not leave this property this was only the beginning. I asked them before they left who they worked for and Billy said the Harper ranch. They worked for the Harper ranch." There! Now they knew the cause of her distress and anger, she eyed Shade for a hint that she had struck home? Quentin spoke up. "I am sorry for your experience, Miss Redmond, but I could say I was from the Moon but there is nothing to prove I was except my word..." He raised a hand to forestall their outbursts. "I am fully prepared to let you see every man who works here, I am just saying once we have seen all of them I want you to believe us when we say we have no designs on your land, ranch, or even you, Miss Redmond. You have heard what brought Shade to your farm and even if you don't believe his account, I would think Ezra's word about the matter would be good enough for you. He doesn't lie, and I don't appreciate anyone insinuating that he does." Shade was angrier than he had been in a long time. Of course, there was the seething quiet rage he felt over the death of his brother and his brother's family. The quick flare of temper that was a hallmark of his personality, that had not been triggered in quite a while. Now, hearing of the treatment of the Redmond girl by the strangers ignited that flash of fire that had gotten him into so much trouble over the years. If he ever ran across either man, they would - at the very least - get a beating they wouldn't soon forget! Shade had liked the girl, admired her spirit and fire. On top of that, treating any woman, old or young, to that sort of behavior went against the grain with him. There was never a situation in which that was the right thing to do. Quentin had made the points in favor of why Shade had ridden to the Redmond ranch. Good points too. Ezra did not lie to people. Shade doubted that he was physically capable of lying. He turned his gaze on Clara and said, his voice low and steady, "I would never sanction anyone subjecting a woman to such degradation, no matter her age. No one on this ranch would. If we find that some of our men are engaging in such behavior, they will immediately cease to be employees of Lost Lake Ranch. I won't lie and say that I hold much with homesteadin'. But everyone has the right to make a life for themselves out here. You acquired your place legally and that's all I need to know to respect it and your rights to it and to defend your right to it."
  10. Neighbors: The Good and the Bad - Pt. 2

    Scene Rating: Mature Scene Type: Joint Scene Characters: Aurelian Redmond, Hannah Cory, Shade Harper, Ezra Hale, Quentin Cantrell Location: Lost Lake Ranch, Main Bunkhouse, west of Kalispell, Montana Timeline: The next day, just after sunrise (July 1875) Lost Lake Ranch, also known as the LLR, LLHR, or simply the Double L was vast by any standard. What most people did not realize was that much of the land was mountainous. Its grazing lands and farmland were on par with other large spreads in the region and across the country. Because of the mountains, the main buildings, bunkhouses, barns, sheds, workshops, and cabins for the hands with families were situated in the Chogun Valley section of the ranch. In the summer, the ride down from the main house and through the pass known as Ishmael's Gate was quite pleasant. It would likely be far from fun in the winter. Shade Harper dismounted from his horse, Lakota, and looped the reins over the hitching post in front of the U-shaped bunkhouse. He glanced over to Quentin who had been mostly silent on the ride down from the main house and across the pass. Rides at sunrise were not things that the older man enjoyed. Shade admired his determination to learn the ins-and-outs of ranch life. Quentin did not ride out with the hands every day. He had other work to attend to that involved the running of the various businesses owned by the Harpers. The bunkhouse had started life as a barracks-style building with a little kitchen and dining area at one end. As the ranch grew so had the bunkhouse. A short extension had been added to serve as a kitchen and breakroom for the hands turning it into an L-shaped building. A short time later, another barracks section had been added to provide the single hands more room and more comfortable bunks. The area between the two long buildings was an outdoor courtyard where the men and women of the ranch could relax or take meals outside on pretty days. There were even hooks driven into the ceilings of the beams that held up the veranda roofs so they could string hammocks and sleep outside when it was too hot to sleep inside. Beyond the bunkhouse were the main barns and corrals. Almost all of the buildings lay to the north side of the main trail that snaked through the ranch, sandwiched between the road and the mountains. Shade had made it a point after the hearing to have breakfast two or three times a week with the men at the bunkhouse. He was the acting foreman while learning the ropes of how the LLR operated. Ezra Hale had been moved up to ranch manager. They usually met the night before to discuss work assignments and what needed to be done the following day. Ezra always arrived by the time breakfast ended so that he could relay additional information and wait for the Nighthawks and Sage Miller, the night foreman, to come in off the range. He would get Sage's report and then ride out to oversee the work getting done. His job was to make sure Shade got up to speed on managing all aspects of the ranch as fast as possible, not to undermine his position. To give the hands credit, they had accepted the changes with no sign of grumbling and looked to Shade to run things. It was all working out - more or less. The entrance into the bunkhouse was to the left side of the common room as the hands called it. This kept drafts from blowing through the kitchen while meals were being prepared. Shade could see that most of the hands were already seated at the long table in the courtyard enjoying their coffee while they waited for breakfast to be served. He grabbed a cup of coffee and grinned as the cook's assistant handed Quentin a cup of tea. Surprisingly, Ezra Hale was already at the table also. There were sleepy greetings as the two men settled in their seats, Shade at the end of the table, Quentin to his left and Ezra to his right. As soon as breakfast was served, discussions began on what needed to be done that day. Shade had implemented a routine where the men reported on the progress of their work assignments. He believed that those that worked the range likely saw things that needed to be done. After a couple of mornings of getting reports from the hands, Ezra had implemented it as a permanent routine. It made the riders feel engaged and that their skills and expertise were appreciated. Ezra and Shade made sure that it did not turn into a case of running the ranch by committee. They were still clearly in charge.
  11. Welcome to the White Rose Inn

    Thread has been started HERE
  12. Shade Harper

  13. Welcome to the White Rose Inn

    Summary Shade is trapped in town with his five-year-old niece, Nettie, during a thunderstorm. He seeks refuge at the inn. End Goals Character meeting, start of a friendship, introduce Bess. @Elisabeth Blackburn
  14. Welcome Basket with Cattle

    Shade tensed and let his hand holding the lariat drop although he did not drop the rope. He kept both hands well away from his guns, the six-gun on his hip and the Winchester 1873 in its saddle scabbard. Lakota continued to watch the bellowing cattle but was too well trained to move when his rider was not telegraphing signals with his hands or legs. However, his ears moved back and forth as he sought to catch all the noises in the area. Still wary and not fool enough to assume that just because the girl was young that she had no idea how to use the gun in her hands, Shade nodded toward the milling cattle. "I'm from Lost Lake Ranch. That beef carries our brand. I'm going to get them out of your garden." And, he thought, providing I'm not shot, I'll be telling Kate Hale what she can do with her welcome baskets in the future. "Mrs. Hale asked me to stop by and bring some things for the Redmonds." Hell, Shade thought, the garden utensil brandishing, gun-toting teenage may have already dispatched the Redmonds. Just as she figured, those fourlegged vandals were some of his. He claimed he was going to take care of them too. She almost asked him why then did he allow them here in the first place, but he'd just lie anyhow. He also mentioned Mrs. Hale too. And even more, he knew their family name. That gave her pause, but she did not take her finger off of the trigger, though continuing to hold up the heavy horse pistol level was becoming a bit of a strain. "So you say, mister! Hardly means it is the truth. After all, I could say I know President Grant but doesn't mean I actually do now," she pointed out with what she believed to be firm logic. "Also we did not enter into any bargain or purchase with that woman," she also added, so he would realize she caught him outright in a baldfaced lie. Shade practically snorted his derision at her logic. "Mrs. Hale is a good woman. You did not have to enter into a purchase agreement for her to send what she calls housewarming gifts." That was about as much explaining as Shade was inclined to do at the moment. "Now, you can take a look in the basket and the sack, but unless you plan on shooting me in the back, I'm gonna move that beef away from the back of your house and out to the meadow where I can pick 'em up on my way back to the LLR." Shade shifted his weight and gigged Lakota into a walk, planning on guiding him around the recalcitrant girl. So it was a welcome basket? She had heard of those of course, not that the family had ever been on the receiving end of one but still. Her resolve was weakening, just maybe he wasn't actually the threat she had figured him for. Slowly she began to lower her pistol as she searched for the right words to say next. He was moving closer but intended on going right past her to begin round up the cattle or leastwise that the man's declared intentions. Her keen eyes studied the man's features as he came closer.
  15. Welcome Basket with Cattle

    Shade guided his big smoky dun gelding along the trail toward Kalispell at a slow jog. Every now and then he would twist around in the saddle to make sure a large wicker basket tied precariously behind the saddle was still secure. He was less than thrilled about being given the task of delivering the welcome basket to the homesteader that Kate had met in town, but he was also too well-mannered to argue with the older woman when she set him on the task. A short distance from where Lost Lake Trail intersected the main road to Kalispell, he spotted the trail that angled off in a northerly direction. It would have been a much shorter ride had Shade just cut across Harper's Meadow and followed one of the game paths onto the Redmond farm. Considering that to be very rude, he opted for taking the long way around. It wasn't long before he came to a gate set into a fence across the trail. Leaning down, he caught the lever and sidestepped Lakota through it, making sure to close it behind him. The hinges creaked, and the gate seemed to sag a bit. He wondered if he should ask about sending some of the ranch's men over to help mend it. The trail wound through the rolling meadow, and for a bit, Shade forgot about the onerous task he was on. The day was beautiful, and so was the landscape. As his horse topped a low rise, he spotted the farm and its main outbuildings. As he got closer, a commotion from the rear of the house caused him to slow Lakota to a walk and guide him around the side and to the back. He blinked at the scene of mild chaos. A girl of maybe fifteen years of age was attempting to drive several large, bad-tempered steers out of the garden. The cattle, accustomed to being herded by dogs or riders on horseback, were not cooperating. Shade almost physically moaned as one of the animals broke past where he sat his horse. The brand on its haunch was the distinctive LLbrokenH of Lost Lake Ranch. "Hey!" Shade called to get her attention. At the same time, he pulled the ties loose on the welcome basket, grabbed it and leaned down from the saddle to drop it gently on the ground. This was followed by the canvas sack of items that Kate had sent along with the reusable basket. "Brandishing garden utensils won't get you anywhere." He backed Lakota up and pulled his lariat free of its loop. Already both spooked and angered by this bovine invasion of her lovely garden, the girl practically jumped when a man's voice (a stranger at that) barked out from behind her. Instantly Clara spun about to see some mounted cowpoke no doubt angry that she might actually scare his stupid cows! What was he doing? She couldn't quite tell what sort of equipment he might be dropping onto the ground but no matter, instantly the girl knew she had to spring into action to defend herself. She dropped the hoe at her feet as both hands went for the canvas sack on her hip. Clumsily at first, she struggled to open it enough so she could stick her right inside and get a firm grasp on the heavy pistol within. Then she gave it a tug...got it caught for just a second before the long barreled Colt Dragoon emerged. The cowboy hadn't noticed yet as he was going for his lasso, no doubt he was planning on tossing that over her and dragging her around for his merriment just like that dime novel she had read last year where the villain seized the helpless young miss. Well, she wasn't helpless as this jasper would soon find out! Holding the big gun in both hands now she raised it up and leveled it at the invader, then used her thumb to cock it, so it was ready to fire in case she really had to. "Alright mister, you drop that rope and don't try anything foolish, or I will shoot you off that fine horse of yours!" she shouted, hoping her voice sounded as fierce as her pugnacious spirit.

About Us

Sagas of the Wild West is a roleplaying game set in the American Wild West of the 1870s. It is based on the classic television and movie westerns of the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s.

Sagas originally opened May 20, 2017, site moved to this location in December 2017.

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