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Hon. Hiram Priest esq.

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About Hon. Hiram Priest esq.

  • Esquire

ID Card

  • Role
    Main Character
  • Playby
    Samual S. Hinds
  • Goes By
  • Profession
    lawyer, judge, politician
  • Position
    Independent means
  • Birth Date
  • Status
  • Height
  • Hair Color
  • Eye Color

Physical Description

Hiram Priest is slender and gaunt.  He dresses in finery:  suit and waistcoat, watch, fob, and top hat.  His complexion is quite pale, some would even say ashen, but it matches his white hair nicely.  He has cunning gray eyes behind wire-rimmed spectacles.  He rarely smiles;  1) because he doesn't have much warmth or empathy, and 2) because even HE is aware of his off-putting, tobacco stained teeth.  Other than looking aged, he is otherwise in good health.

Traits & Characteristics

Priest is very smart.  He always seems to be weighing odds, judging character, or planning his next move, just as a Chess Master would.  He appraises, always with a plug of tobacco nestled against his left cheek.  He can recite legal arguments about cases he learned in Law School -- and do it fluently.  Yet, most times he's laconic and never one who could be described as blabby.


WIP --- He shrewdly saved his money over time, and at the outset of his story here, can self-finance.   His goal is to work his way into the fabric of community leadership and perhaps be appointed or elected as judge.



Hiram is a civic leader (if a crooked one) having been elected as Mayor of Wagon Mound, up in Dakota territory.  Later, he was appointed a Territorial Judge.  Often, he could be seen bearing witness, after intoning, "By the powers invested in me by Statute 83d and all other statues thereto appertatum..." standing solemnly, cheeks loaded with chaw and his hands gripping his lapels, while the condemned fell through a gallows' trapdoor.

Aliases / Nicknames

Judge, Mayor,



Kith & Kin


Life Events


Character Notes


Player Notes


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Recent Posts

  1. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    Caroline's exited put a hoarfrost on the general good feeling emanating from the four men she left behind.
    "Brrrr!" muttered Mason Fink.
    Fortner shook his head.  "She's alright,...just a little on edge lately."
    Priest hooked his thumbs in his suspenders and got down to business.   "They way I see it is we get a banner made "Montana Mining and Mineral Company"   And beneath that, in smaller letters, there's "Stock Sale".  You two gentlemen can set up shop right here.  We'll push a couple of tables together over there in the corner.  You'll be speechifying about the opportunities that abound."  He drew closer and lowered his voice.  "We'll have a couple of plants seated at a table who'll hop up and ask you for more details -- all interested like.  When you're done talkin' to them, they put their money down and you'll congratulate them as you sign the stock certificates in their names."
    "Sounds simple enough," Luther Cadwaller admitted.
    "You bet.  Like takin' candy from babies," Priest assured them.  And just think about how happy our prospective shareholders will be after we find the Kalispell Lode, and they start getting dividends."
    Fortner smiled with great self-satisfaction.  Things were falling into place better than he'd ever imagined, and that's saying something because he had a canine hunger for riches and fame.  He moved closer to the bar and motioned for Ralph to step closer.  "I gotta question for you," he said to the careful barkeep.
  2. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    "No need, boss, I'm right here. Be right with you, Frances, just gimme a minute," Caroline announced. 
    Then Caroline approached the man who had made the  'freak show ' remark  until she stopped just short of him.
    "Now I don't know who you are, mister, but you certainly aren't a gentleman, making fun of a blind person. She's an employee here, she works with me. And if you ever make another crack like that, I will have to forget I'm a lady and you won't like what happens," Caroline spoke calmly and clearly and if the man made eye contact, she did not blink.
    "Well now," Mason Fink said softly.  "That sorta puts me in my place.  Don't it?"
    Fortner stepped forward.  "Leave my crew alone, Mason, or they'll go on strike and leave me high and dry."
    "Ah sure, Frank," Mason said defensively.  "I was just joshin'.  That's all."  He turned to Caroline.  "Sorry miss, I didn't mean no harm."
    By now, Hiram Priest sidled over to the group.
    "You boys look like you're sellin' something," the old codger drawled.  "The last time I saw fellers like you it was at an emporium in Chicago, and they were selling silk ascots."
    "Well," Cadwaller began. "You pegged us right, Mister.  But we aren't selling ascots, silk or otherwise.  We're selling an investment -- a sure thing."
    Hiram nodded.  "Well if you can sell Miss Caroline your sure thing, you can sell it anybody in town.  Cause she's no fool."
    Cadwaller turned to Caroline and removed his hat.  "That right, Miss?"
  3. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    After the Marshall left, things at the Star Dust quieted down a bit.  It was a good opportunity for Hiram Priest to make his way to the bar.
    "Think the Marshall will be any trouble?" Priest whispered in Fortner's ear once Hannaberry left.
    "I don't know.  Seems like he won't make a big case out of it.  Potee is small potatoes; not worth anyone's time.  But who the Hell would have figured his missus would have stretched her own neck?  That's a complication we could have done without."
    Hiram tugged at his chin.  "We can't move too fast on the *you-know-what* or it'll raise suspicions for sure," the wily Priest added.
    Fortner nodded in agreement, then added, "In a couple of weeks we'll send one of our agents to Cheyenne to engage a mining engineer to give us an idea of what it'll cost to get an operation off the ground."
    Priest rolled some chaw from one cheek to another.  "Yep" he finally said.
    "So where the Hell is Arabella?" Fortner asked.  "She is one pain in the ass.  I need to talk to her."
  4. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    Coward that she was, she immediately backed down: and a pathetic sight it was too, she was nearly grovelling on her knees to the mean old man. "Oh! A...A...I wasn't saying nothin' about no-one, honest I wasn't ... and I won't, I mean, I... I'm never ever gonna talk about this to anyone else ever again, mister Priest. You don't have to worry about that! And, 'sides, I 'm just a silly little girl, no one cares what I say anyway." she assured him, eyes saucer wide and brimming with fear. 
    "That's a better attitude," Priest said with a smile.  "Much better." 
    He rummaged in his vest pocket, and as he was rummaging, he said, "I know how this tragedy hurt you, Miss.  You are too young and innocent to worry 'bout such things."   Out came a shiny, newly minted Silver Dollar which he set on the piano, on the wooden edge just to the right of the 8th octave of "C" -- the last key of the keyboard.  "This is for you.  And every time you see it, and hold it, think of that sweet Mrs. Potee and how you loved her.  And also think of our friendly chat about her."
    With that, he ambled over to the bar where Fortner and Hannaberry were drinking.
    "Watch out for that one," he whispered as he walked by.
    Fortner nodded.
  5. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    Mayor Hiram Priest was a politician and he could read people with exacting accuracy.
    "I spect' no one knew anything like this woulda happened today," he ruminated sadly. 
    "Oh, do you think?" she spat, not even turning to look at the man.
    "Sorry you're takin' it all so bad," he said with a certain Grandfatherly sincerity.  "All of us show sadness in different ways.  And if you'd ever like to talk about it, maybe I can help."
    He tugged at his chin sagely.
    "You know, some men are just not suited for being married.  Now take this Potee fella.  Look how he lashed out as his poor, upright, religious wife he had.  You saw how she came in here and begged him to leave the Star Dust and come home with her.  It was a pitiful sight.  Why I had to wipe a tear off my cheek.  He chased her out of here with harsh words, evil words, and you know what they say;  Idle hands are the devil's workshop and his first tool is a vicious tongue."
    He sighed.
    "And what did that poor woman do?  She went back to their place, a place she'd dreamed of making a life in, and hung herself straight away."  He bent a little closer to her and spoke confidentially.  "Seems to me, there's only one person responsible for that tragedy, and it ain't him," he pointed to Fortner at the bar, and it ain't you, and it ain't me.  It's that man sittin' on his porch with his head in his hands and trying to squeeze the liquor out of his brain. --- that's who."
    He got even more confidential.  "And I'd be careful who you start makin' accusations about.  Be real careful.  Real careful."
  6. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    Arabella gulped when she heard the news and, of course, stopped playing the piano. But she didn't move from the piano stool, she was frozen to the spot. And when anyone had flown out of the swing doors who was going to fly out: whether from concern, duty or just plain old curiosity, she started right back in playing. It was a happy, jangling tune that jangled along with her nerves, and every beat of the tempo hammered in heavily her inner resolve to get out of there and out of the entanglements of working along side Mister Franklin and his geriatric henchman 'Judge' Hiram Priest. 
    As if the good Lord could read her thoughts, the venerable, old, Judge, made his way over to the piano.  This, after he stopped by where Lukas had blathered the fate of Maude Potee to every cowpoke and gambler in Kalispell.  He nodded sagely as Franklin suggested some men go out and help with the undertaking, and moved his wad of chaw from one cheek to the other.  "Sounds right," he gurgled through tobacco.
    Once Hiram got over to Arabella, he bent down to her moving head (she sometimes swayed whilst playing tunes, especially those played allegro).  "Why don't you play Amazing Grace?  Wouldn't it be more fittin'?"
    The Judge and mayor had officiated many funerals, weddings, and civic events.
    "I spect' no one knew anything like this woulda happened today," he ruminated sadly.
  7. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    A calm, if temporary, and settled over the Star Dust.  Customers returned to their tables and some sidled up to the bar where Ralph poured liquor.  By then, Caroline, somewhat grudgingly, took the coffee cups back to the kitchen, and Arabella had flown the coop.  As for Fortner, he sat back down at the table and scooped up the winnings.  There was plenty of cash, certainly, but the real prize was the deed to the Potee Homestead.   Fortner held it in his hands and read the property description that he knew included a vein of gold -- just how rich, he would come to find out in the days ahead.  Maybe it would come to be known as the Fortner Strike?
    Hiram Priest sat as his reserved table with its superior view of the entire saloon floor.  His arms were folded and his eyes shut.  He was quite pleased when a plan came together and was executed beautifully.  The only thing that bothered him was the homesteader Potee.  It would be just like him to return with a shotgun and start firing at everyone in sight.
    With eyes shut he thought of his favorite poem:
    "Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!
    Bright and yellow, hard and cold
    Molten, graven, hammered and rolled,
    Heavy to get and light to hold,
    Hoarded, bartered, bought and sold,
    Stolen, borrowed, squandered, doled,
    Spurned by young, but hung by old
    Price of many a crime untold."
    Priest opened his eyes, raised his glass and took a sip of whisky.  He then closed his eyes again.
    "To save - to ruin - to curse - to bless - "
    Soon, Franklin Fortner caught up with Caroline in the Kitchen.
    "Let's head to the office.  There's something I gotta tell ya."
    He bade her follow him.
  8. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    Hiram Priest kept busy with his game of Solitaire, but he also kept an eye on the progression of things a the poker table.  
    At the moment, that irritating gadfly of a girl was getting in the way.  The last thing that they wanted was Horace Potee to lose his concentration on his game with his new-found friends.
    There was something else bothering him.  It was that Ben Simons and his undue interest on the friendly card game that Fortner and Potee were having.  He seemed to view things too keenly and too critically.  Maybe it would be good if he had some liquid refreshment like everyone else was.
    Laying the cards on the table, Hiram stood up and made his way slowly to where Ralph stood behind the bar.
    "Here," stated Hiram Priest, slapping a half dollar on the counter.  "Would you please take a shot of Red Eye over to Mr. Simons and tell him that it's compliments of Judge Priest?  He looks like he could use a friend and also a drink.  I would appreciate it if you could do that for me.  You won't find me ungenerous." 
  9. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    Hiram kept an eye on the unwary Mr. Potee.  It was quite a performance he was putting on for the benefit of Caroline.  "Pathetic" was the word that kept intruding into his thoughts.
    He listened to the description of all that he and his homestead had to offer and, all the while, the poem by Thomas Hood came to mind.
    Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!
    Bright and yellow, hard and cold
    Molten, graven, hammered and rolled,
    Heavy to get and light to hold,
    Hoarded, bartered, bought and sold,
    Stolen, borrowed, squandered, doled.
    Price of many a crime untold.
    Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!
    The erudite and learned, former, Judge was one to reckon with.  There was no telling what he might have achieved in life had it not been for his lecherous heart and averous soul.
    Now their plans were coming into focus - finally, with the loudmouth homesteader walking right into their trap.
    His eyes swept from  right to left and he spotted Ben Simons.  What was on his mind?  What was he after?  He would have to find out more about him once he was elected as Mayor.  He'd have his minions find out about the dandy ... weak spots, maybe.
    But back to Potee.  If they could just swoop him up in a game poker.
  10. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    "Hey!  You Mr. Priest?" Jake asked the dignified sage who was seated at his reserved table.  "We need your help 'bout something."  He held out a rumpled document.
    Hiram looked up at the three toughs while slowly chewing his chaw.  "Sure.  Why don't you fellas sit down so we can talk about it?"  He was thankful for the piano music courtesy of Arabella.  It was sure pretty, plus it supplied some needed background cover.
    The men pulled out chairs and each sat around, planting their elbows on the semi-polished wood. 
    Jim Craven was impatient.  "Well show him the damned thing," he growed at Jake, who slid the document across to Priest.  "These fellas charge by the goddamned minute."
    Once he was ready, Priest held the paper up and read it, silently.   It wasn't a deed or a promissory note, or even a laundry ticket.   It was a narrative of what had happened a few days earlier at the Potee homestead.  One of the men, evidently, had enough schooling to construct a reasonably cogent report.
    "We got to the Potee place bout supper hour.  Their tweren't nobody there cept his wife.  She was a LOOKER so why the  Hell would she be with an idgit like Potee?"  Priest looked up at the three, eager, sets of eyes, and slowly shook his head.  Where did Fortner dig these guys up? 
    The story continued.
    "He came outta his cabin. His wife was standin behind him and they got some little girl who was a'runnin around the place.  Jake told 'em that Potee gotta get off the land before the snow flies, but Potee tweren't having none of it.  He as much told us to go to Hell.  We told him it would be better for his health if'n he left.  No dice.  We told him that we were givin' him fair warning."  Then, on the last line,  "When do we get paid?"
    Priest spoke up in a lawyerish tone of voice.  "You gentlemen have been taken.  This isn't a bonafide  deed.  It's nothing of the sort.  First of all, it hasn't even been notarized."
    The men were slacked-mouthed, and they played their parts well.
    "I told you we couldn't a trusted that slimy varmint!" barked Jake to Jasper.  "Sheeeit!  The best part of you ran down your mamma's leg!"
    Jasper growled, "You leave my mama outta this!"
    "Calm down!  We've had enough of that kind of talk in the past few days to last a year.  Now I'll help you out, so listen."    After that, the men huddled closer because Priest lowered his voice considerably.
    "First thing you're going to do is take this paper and burn the thing, just like you would a worthless piece of paper.  Then camp out to the north of town 'about three miles, and I'll send someone with your money.  But that's just the first part.  Next, you're gonna head back out to Potee's place and rough him up a bit.  Don't, for chrissakes, kill him, just knock his teeth out. Have your horses tear-up his pea-patch or whatever the hell he has growing.  Got it?"
    The men rose and one of them took off his hat and smacked the other with it.  "No goddamn good!  You oughta tell God you need a new brain."
    They then sauntered back to the bar to where Caroline lounged, truly a sight for sore eyes.
    "Another whiskey"  Jake asked  Ralph.

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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