Quentin is a tall, well-built man in his mid-thirties. Despite a rather laconic manner in movement and speech, he is quite athletic. He has thick black hair that is kept cut short and rarely sports facial hair. His eyes are green-brown hazel that seem to change color depending on his surroundings and moods. Quentin is normally well-dressed and hates to be dirty.
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Traits & Characteristics
Suave, Charming, Debonair
Calm, cool-headed, especially in a crisis
Strong sense of justice
Doesn't hold a grudge, but will get even.
Quentin Aloysius Cantrell was born into the genteel life of the aristocracy of the Southern United States and a way of life that would all-to-soon come to an end.
Being fair and honorable was more than mere words to the Cantrells, and they imparted both traits to their son. Quentin was also taught that there were very few circumstances that merited being crude or impolite. In all his dealings, Cantrell keeps those two virtues in mind.
Cantrell is seen as a suave, debonair man, much like the stereotypical southern riverboat gambler personality. His genteel manners cover a spine of pure steel marked by never backing down from a confrontation. He also developed a reputation as the quintessential ladies' man.
Although gaining his trust and respect is not easy, once given, Quentin is loyal to a fault. Holding a grudge is not his style, but trailing someone for months to get justice for wrongs to him or those that he calls friends is.
Quentin is calm, cool-headed and very intelligent.
Quentin has a deep voice laced with thick South Carolina accent. His southern drawl seems to add to his ability to attract the ladies.
Employer Name: Thornton Legacy, Lost Lake Ranch
Position: Business Manager, Troubleshooter
Details: Quentin owns a percentage of the Thornton Legacy business assets and is the manager of the assets belonging to his niece and nephew until they come of age.
Highly intelligent and educated
Excellent investigative skills
Good at reading people
Excellent interrogation skills
Excellent observation skills
Gunfighting / Marksmanship
Self Defense: Quentin is good with his fists, and excels at using any weapon handy in a brawl. All skills learned by losing as many fights as he won when he was younger. He is also an excellent marksman and a very fast draw.
Hobbies & Interests
Aliases / Nicknames
Q, Quen, Quent (used mainly by Shade Thornton)
Double L Ranch (Lost Lake Ranch)
Kalispell, Territory of Montana
San Francisco, California
Place of Birth
Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Kith & Kin
Children: Quentin does not have any children of his own. He shares guardianship of his orphaned niece and nephew with their paternal uncle, Shade Thornton.
William Cody Thornton: Nephew, Ward
Birth Parents: Chance and Regina Thornton
DOB: February 11, 1870 (a. 5)
Appearance: Cody has his Uncle Shade's raven black hair and deep blue eyes. His hair is thick and wavy, he also has dark brows and long, thick black eyelashes.
Regina Antoinette Thornton: Niece, Ward
Birth Parents: Chance and Regina Thornton
DOB: February 11, 1870 (a. 5)
Appearance: Nettie has Regina's beautiful, golden brown hair and her father's light-blue eyes. Her eyebrows and lashes are slightly darker than her hair, but golden tipped which matches the natural highlights in her hair. Nettie's hair is thick and wavy, and she prefers to wear it cut short. She hates being forced to stay still for someone to comb, brush and braid her hair for her.
Father: Charles Cantrell (deceased)
Mother: Claire Devereaux Cantrell (deceased)
Sister: Regina Beth Thornton
Husband: William Chance Thornton (m. 06/05/1862)
DOB: 04/05/1845; DOD: 06/02/1875 (a. 30)
Maiden Name: Cantrell
Regina Cantrell was the daughter of a wealthy Charleston, South Carolina family. The Cantrells and Thorntons were long-term business associates and friends with the Thorntons doing most of their east coast shipping business with the Cantrells. In 1861, with the winds of war stirring, Regina's parents sent her to stay with the Thorntons in Montana, hoping to keep her safe from the pending conflict.
She and Chance Thornton fell in love almost at first sight. They were married a year after she came to live with the Thorntons. Reggie also fell in love with the ranch and Montana in equal measure. It was Regina's efforts that took the ranch from a modest paying concern to a one of the best in the country.
William Grant Thornton (Nephew; DOB: 05/02/1865; DOD: 06/02/1875 (a. 10)
ADVERSARIES & ALLIES
Shade Thornton (1875 to Present): Quentin met Shade when he brought him the news of Chance and Regina's death. During their journey to Montana, the two men became friends.
Quentin harbors a deep-seated hatred of whoever was responsible for the death of his sister and her family.
Others to be determined in game play.
May 7, 1839 (a. 0): Quentin Aloysius Cantrell born to Claire and Charles Cantrell.
April 5, 1845 (a. 6): Regina Beth Cantrell (younger sister) born.
1845 to 1856 (a. 6-17): Attends Charleston's Philips' Academy (private school)
Quentin had a childhood typical of a young man born into the upper echelons of Southern society. He learned the etiquette required of all young gentlemen. Quentin attended one of Charleston's premier private schools for young men where he was a good student but easily bored when studying subjects that he had no interest in.
1856 to 1860 (a. 17-21): West Point (4 years) September 1860: Regina sent to live with Thorntons.
Upon graduating from high school, Quentin spent a few months kicking around, trying to decide what he wanted to do. He had no interest in the family's shipping business, prompting his father to put a time limit on him for finding something he wanted to do and making his own way. It was almost by accident that he wound up at West Point when a family friend nominated him.
Although the military was not his first choice, Quentin did surprisingly well, excelling at the challenging curriculum. He graduated in the top one-percent in his class.
With the deterioration of relations between the northern and southern states, Quentin's parents decided to send their daughter to live with family friends in Montana, well out of harm's way.
1861 to 1865 (a. 22-26): The Civil War.
Cantrell heard about a unit being formed called Hampton's Legion. He traveled to Charleston to enlist and due to his West Point Education was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Cavalry that made up part of the Legion. In 1862 the Cavalry was combined with other small units and designated the 2nd South Carolina Cavalry where they served with Hampton for the rest of the war. The Battalion saw action in most of the major actions of the Army of Northern Virginia from Second Manassas through the end of the war. Cantrell showed skill despite his age and ended the war as a Major.
June 5, 1862 (a. 23) Regina marries Chance Thornton (Kalispell, Montana).
May 5, 1865 (a. 26): William Grant Thornton (nephew) born.
1865 (a. 26): Civil War ends, Quentin moves west.
At the end of the Civil War, with his home destroyed and no family left except for Regina, Quentin moves west and settles in San Francisco. California allowed him to be within a respectable distance of Montana for visits home with his sister and her growing family, but still in a city that was a hub of society and culture. Except for modest sums of money ensconced in hidden accounts, the Cantrells had lost everything. One of Quentin's goals was to rebuild the family fortunes.
1866 to 1875 (a. 27-36)
March 1, 1867 (a. 28): Lilah Beth Thornton (niece) born. February 11, 1870 (a. 31): William Cody Thornton (nephew) and Antoinette Regina Thornton (niece) born.
Shortly after settling in San Francisco, Quentin met up with an old friend who had pulled out of the South right before hostilities broke out. He offered Cantrell a generous finder's fee to locate his former partner who had absconded with the bulk of his fortune. Quentin discovered a talent for locating people and things. The military had taught him tactics and persistence. He was also quite skilled with firearms, another major business asset in the West.
Over the next several years, Quentin's reputation for getting jobs done grew. He billed himself as a Troubleshooter. Cantrell's work ranged from prisoner escort to bodyguard.
June 2, 1875 (a. 36): Regina, Chance, Grant, and Beth are allegedly massacred by Indians. Only Cody survives.
Quentin receives word that his sister was killed while returning with her family from Missoula, Montana. She, her husband and their two older children were allegedly killed by Indians. Quentin heads for Montana where he learns that Chance and Regina had named Chance's younger brother, Shade, as the children's guardian in their will, as well as the trustee of their estate. However, the family's attorney was moving for custody of young Cody, citing Shade as not suitable, if even still alive. Quentin manages to get a temporary injunction on the proceedings but has a finite amount of time in which to locate Shade Thornton.
Graduated West Point Military Academy.
Quentin is well read, can write quite eloquently, and is good at math.
English, French (Both Fluent)
Chance and Regina Thornton's Last Will and Testament
Despite a tradition mandated by their great grandfather, Ishmael Thornton, and perpetuated by Caleb Thornton, Chance chose to leave half of the Thornton ranch to his younger brother. Shade was also named as sole guardian and trustee for Chance's children, the only survivor of which were the five-year-old twins, Cody and Nettie. Quentin was left interests in the Thornton Legacy business assets with a stipulation that controlling interest would devolve to Chance's and Regina's children when they reached legal age.
Judge Mandrell's Ruling
In the best interests of the children, Judge Robert Mandrell set aside some of the dictates of the will. He stipulated that the twins' other uncle, Quentin Cantrell, would share guardianship of them and management of their extensive business interests. The judge also added a requirement that the two men hire a suitable woman to help care for the children stating that he would personally review the arrangements in six months' time.
"Maybe you should let the lady know. You might find unexpected joy, if she receives it well. Tonight with the music and drinks is a very good opportunity....oh and sorry for listening. Your conversation was quite loud."
Quentin turned to regard the stranger's words. His mouth opened to respond but he caught himself. It wouldn't be very neighborly to quarrel with someone at the town dance, especially since he wasn't wrong...just butting in. Quentin glanced over at Mike to see his reaction when his eye caught Harriet standing alone looking out across the people at the dance. Quentin straightened and turned to look at the two men. "I suppose both of you are right. Pardon me if I seek out much prettier company." He nodded to both and tossed a smile at Mike before he moved off through the crowd, cutting a beeline for Harriet.
Quentin stopped in front of Harriet and cut a very formal bow. "Now that you are finished with your legion of admirers, what can I interest you in first?"
Harriet smiled, her eyes lighting in response to his presence. She executed a pretty curtsy. She tilted her head up at him, "Admirers? Hardly. How anyone can want to talk of legal matters with all this going on," she waved one lace-gloved hand at the crowd, "is beyond me."
Cutting Quentin a mischievous look, Harriet added, "What you can interest me in first is something cool to drink. Shall we find the refreshments?"
Quentin took her arm and wrapped it around his, they moved through the fringe of the crowd until they reached the tables laid out with food and drink. "Well, let's see...there's lemonade, punch, water...and...cider...and even some beer...root and otherwise." Quentin glanced over at Harriet. "What would be the lady's pleasure?"
"Cider, I think," Harriet replied after studying the selection, "Hopefully, it has not been excessively spiked," she added wryly. "Are you enjoying yourself so far?" Harriet then laughed slightly, "How is that when we are bickering and arguing, I do not feel awkward in the slightest, yet when trying to make small-talk, I stumble all over myself like a schoolgirl? Is it because I hope things keep...changing...for us?"
Quentin finished pouring two glasses of cider and handed one to Harriet. "I am..." He blinked as she laughed then found himself grinning as well once she explained. "I admit I am more used to us throwing verbal knives at each other, so this does feel a little unusual, but I don't mind...you do look lovely tonight Harriet. I...am very glad that things have changed between us." Quentin was blushing himself now as he had tried to explain his feelings at the moment. He then gave a mental shake and held up his glass to hers. "To us..." he said quietly as they clinked lightly.
"Sure is," Mike said as he shook his head slightly, "No thanks. I've never quite got the taste for those things but you go right ahead."
Quentin nodded and put the leather case away. "It's a filthy habit...but it was one of the few things we had plenty of back then."
He took another glance around, "I see both Harriet and Sarah are very popular this evening. I'll probably have to get in line to have a dance with either of them besides, I think my brother, Matt has some ideas about Sarah and I wouldn't like to get in his way. However, Harriet is another matter."
Quentin was in the middle of drawing on the cigarillo when Mike made his comment. Quentin coughed lightly as he realized what Mike was alluding to. Quentin tugged it from his lips and stared at it as if it had suddenly grown horns and a tail while he considered his response.
Glancing sideways at Quentin, Mike wanted to see if there was any reaction from the man. It was no secret that both Quentin and Harriet were showing an interest in each other that was more than friendly. Even though no-one had actually said anything, it was obvious by the way the two of them acted around each other. The long winter had provided plenty of opportunity for the hands to mix with those who lived in the house and a person would have to be blind not to notice.
"You do and I will break your arm..." Quentin said but he was grinning when Mike looked to his face. "...Alright, fine...Harriet and I haven't been as secretive as we thought we were, but nothing has really happened...Yet!" Quentin pointed the cigarillo like a pistol at Mike when he saw the other man's mouth start to open. Quentin realized how he must have looked standing there and he jammed it back into his mouth, giving an exasperated puff.
Looking back in the direction where Harriet was busy talking with a group of people, Mike nodded, "Now, that I think about I just might go and ask Miss Mercer for the next dance...unless you're planning to do so."
Quentin rolled his eyes and he ground the cigarillo out and stuck it back into the case. "Alright, alright!..." He turned to look at Mike, "...You should stick to being ranch foreman...your matchmaking skill needs work." Quentin lightly punched Mike's shoulder. "There's still no use trying to fight my way in there, but I am next."
Quentin wandered along the fringes of the dance. Harriet had been roped into a conversation with several townspeople asking her various legal questions. He had known better than to try and extricate her because they seemed to be actual clients of hers. Quentin figured he would swing back by and drag her away once she had had a chance to put out whatever fires they felt were burning.
Quentin paused to light one of his cigarillos, savoring the warm glow they always gave him. He didn't smoke them constantly but he did indulge in them from time to time. Quentin spotted a conspicuous lack of motion over between a few tables and recognized the Lost Lake foreman. Mike was doing a pretty good job of blending into the background as Quentin walked up beside the other man and leaned against the wall beside him. "Nice spot..." Quentin said by way of greeting. "...kinda peaceful." He reached into his coat and pulled out the leather pouch he carried his cigarillos in. "Smoke?"
Quentin took the whiskey with a nod to Shade and he leaned his head back and threw it down with hardly a breath. He let air hiss back out through his teeth as he set it down on the mantle. "Thanks...I needed that." Quentin then turned at Sarah's words when she approached.
"Looking lovely this evening, Sarah...I doubt you will get much rest at the dance..." Quentin turned as Harriet spoke and he came up short, setting aside his own nervousness as he took in the view of her. "You are simply a vision tonight, Harriet. Between you and Sarah no one will even notice Shade and I walked into the room." Quentin then turned and looked at Shade. "Well, no one but that lady you've been stepping out with..."
Quentin stood in front of the mirror in his room and tugged at the cuffs of his shirt. He had to admit it just felt odd to be dressing up like this. Back when he lived in San Francisco this was his normal day and evening wear. The black pants had a faint shiny black stripe down the outside of each leg to where they draped over his polished black boots. The vest Quentin wore was shinier and a little more showy then the rest of the suit. The starched white dress shirt lacked the ruffle on the front like most fashion of the time. Quentin always thought those ruffles to be a bit foppish.
Quentin moved over and picked the shoulder holster up off the bed and shrugged into it. This was something he had always worn and the weapons it carried had saved his life more than a few times. Quentin rolled his arms and made sure the fit was as comfortable as he remembered. He snapped the end of the holster to his belt and then the other side to keep everything stable under his coat. Quentin then pushed his short compact Colt into the holster under his left arm and then picked up the double edged dagger and slid it into the upside down hanging sheath under his right arm. Quentin smiled at the smooth ivory hand of the dagger. It had been a gift from a gambler friend of his.
"Quentin, always carry a knife...they never expect a knife and a knife never runs outta bullets..." He could still hear the raspy brogue of O'Rourke the day he gave him the dagger. Quentin moved over and picked up the pocket watch. Quentin wound the stem, then looped the chain into his vest and dropped the silver watch into the pocket. He tugged his frock coat off the back of the chair and slid into it, making a few motions to settle it better on his shoulders and arms. He then picked up his hat, a different one than the one he wore most days around the ranch. The shorter brim a nod to the fact it was seldom used to deal with the elements. Quentin looked at the man in the room's mirror and took a breath. It was a different man in a lot of ways, but still a lot of the same man who now lived at Lost Lake ranch. Quentin turned and strode out of his room and out the hallway to the second floor landing and the stairs leading down to the first floor.
Quentin heard voices as he walked down the stairs, Shade and Harriet coming into view as he descended the steps, still holding his hat in his hand. "I think I would like one of those as well..."
Quentin heard snow crunching and turned back from the telescope to see Shade climbing the small knoll to stop beside him. Quentin handed the telescope over to Shade and pointed. "There is the town rescue party. Looks like we timed it about right..." Quentin looked back at the Lost Lake group then to the town group. "I think our mounts are probably fresher. We should get ourselves in front to help clear a path for them to follow. What do you think?" Quentin swore softly and tugged his scarf up over his nose to protect his face from the biting cold. "I forgot how much I hate winter..."
Quentin held the telescope in his gloved hands and squinted through the tube. He picked out the group of wagons and riders in the distance. A tight smile moved across his face as he lowered the telescope and turned in his saddle to look back behind him. A double column of Lost Lake riders were pushing along the road, their horses trudging along, clearing the snow with their legs and chests for the group of ranch wagons that followed. The children and a small skeleton crew had remained back at the ranch to deal with the aftermath of the snowstorm. Quentin watched the town party approaching as he sat Paladin on the small knoll and remembered the events that had transpired...
The snow had finally blown itself out, leaving behind the typical painfully blue skies but icebox frigid temperatures. The snow had been too deep for the children to go out and play so the only outdoor activity had been the ranch chores that could not wait and to check on the ranch livestock. The hands had stayed in the bunkhouse when not doing the necessary work of the ranch. Everyone had shared food, making sure everyone got to enjoy some hot home cooked meals with the weather as opposed to the usual fare.
The first indication to reach Lost Lake of what had befallen Whitefish had come one morning. The house was bustling with typical activity, enhanced by the cabin fever attached to being snowed in by the drifts outside. Quentin at that time was on his hands and knees in the living room, rubbing his chin as he looked over his array of toy soldiers set up before a low table that was currently serving as the fort garrisoned by the soldiers led by Cody, his nephew. "I am pretty sure I regret how much attention you paid to me when I was telling you how to play with your armies..."
The boy grinned widely and then reached, fussing over some last minute positions of his cannon. Quentin's lips quirked up. He had seen that same look of concentration on the faces of young troopers...checking and rechecking tack on their mounts...checking everything from the angle of their hat to the edge on their saber during that time before the bugles blew and none of the details mattered anymore.
Quentin's planning was interrupted by the sound of a horse outside as it galloped up and stopped outside. He was already getting to his feet and moving toward the front door when he heard the fist knocking hard on the wood. Quentin opened the door to see a bundled shape that bustled into the foyer, tugging off his hat as he stood steaming in the warmer air of the house. "Cup of coffee, please!" Quentin called toward the kitchen as he sensed movement at the doorway. He looked the rider over. "You look like you've been riding for hours...where the Hell have you been?"
The rider's face did much to silence the rest of Quentin's question. "I got bored and decided to ride out to the main road...just to see the conditions and maybe...maybe see if the way was clear into town..." Quentin nodded. He knew this hand had recently met a girl in town and had been looking to get back to her as soon as possible. "...I got to the main road and...and...there's bodies, Boss..."
Quentin's jaw dropped. "Bodies? What do you mean...who? How many?"
The rider threw his arms out in anguish. "I don't know! I could see several from where I sat. They were scattered along the road from Whitefish and going towards town. I didn't...I didn't get too close..."
Quentin heard footsteps behind him and watched as the hand took the cup of coffee and drained it quickly, savoring the heat and he handed the cup back for a refill. Quentin stood quietly for a minute before he looked back at the young hand. "I need you to go rouse the bunkhouse. I need you to have the Foreman come up here and you pick someone who can make their way to Kalispell. Make sure they pick a good horse and dress very warm. Tell them to get to town, find out what has happened, and get back as quickly as they can..." The hand turned and dashed back out the door. Quentin closed the door and turned back to the people who had gathered behind him.
@Stormwolfe and anyone I missed (open tags and insert any other characters)
Quentin looked back through the doorway to make sure Harriet was out of earshot before he turned back to Shade. "Oh, right...about that..." Quentin moved around and dropped into one of the chairs opposite Shade's desk. "...Let's see...after all the days on the trail where Harriet showed she isn't a half bad cowhand...not half good, either, but not bad." Quentin's hands batted at his vest until he found the leather holder for his cigarillos and he tugged one out and lit it with a match from the same pouch's holder. He puffed the cigarillo a few times then held it in two fingers while he relaxed in the chair. "Then there was the Indian attack..." Quentin watched Shade's face after that little nugget of information.
"Indian attack!" Shade's head snapped up and he stared at Quentin. He frowned, "Is everyone okay? I mean, obviously you and Harriet are fine, but the other men with you?" What Shade wanted to ask about was the location of the attack. Poison was on a few miles north of where Chance, Regina, and the kids had been killed. He still suspected that their murders were not as simple and straight-up as the authorities wanted them to believe. "And you are sure they were Indians?" Shade had to question that too. Poison was roughly twenty-five miles south of Kalispell and they were not getting many reports of Indian troubles here in the northwest part of the territory.
Quentin blew a gust of smoke at the ceiling then lifted his hand and moved it in a calming gesture. "Easy. Everyone made it. It was a scary situation. The Indians did not want the fort to get that meat. It seems Mackenzie...Colonel Mackenzie that is...has been trying to subdue the Indians in this area with varying degrees of success." Quentin then sat up a little straighter. "You're forgetting one thing, though...Harriet about got her scalp lifted helping you out. Once she's cleaned up she might consider lifting your scalp as repayment."
Mike raised his eyebrow at Quentin's remark about Harriet. It sounded like the woman he had just met was a bit of a curmudgeon. Although she seemed pleasant enough when he met her, he wasn't really sure if that was an act or not.
As for the rest of the conversation, it wasn't a good sign that the Indians were attacking as it meant that it could be the start of something bigger. "Did MacKenzie have any idea of why they have been so restless?"
Quentin shrugged. "He had received orders to do more...I'm sure you have seen how the Government treats Indian tribes all over..." Quentin took another draw from his cigarillo. "...Mackenzie realized that the local tribes weren't going to just accept it...and really...do any of them? So he's going to do his part to make things smoother, and now that they're going to build a new Fort, Mackenzie will have more men to keep the peace, regardless of Indian or White man being the troublemakers." Quentin took another draw and looked at the small part remaining before he mashed it out on an ashtray nearby. "Now...I think that's enough storytelling. I'm going to clean up and go to bed." Quentin stood up with a grunt and nodded to Mike. "A pleasure once again and welcome aboard..." He then looked at Shade as he stopped at the door. "Good luck with Harriet." Quentin nodded and disappeared through the door.
Shade watched the older man leave and leaned back, his mind now occupied with what a new fort might mean. He glanced over at Mike, "We need to consider expanding our contracts with the army. Depending on where they are putting the new fort, we could increase the frequency of our cattle deliveries to them - smaller drives. I can also see MacKenzie about doing more with our contract for supplying mounts." Shade enjoyed the job of wrangling cattle, but his heart lay with the ranch's equine operations. He was a natural horseman and really good with them.
Quentin followed Harriet into the house, his saddlebags hanging on one shoulder. He grinned as she yelled Shade's name. If she thinks Shade will show himself at the sound of her voice, then Harriet doesn't know Shade very well.
Quentin batted at the trail dust on his clothes before finally giving up and hanging his hat on one of the row of hooks on the wall. A look at the hat reminded Quentin that he needed to go to town and buy a new one when he had the chance. Quentin stood, tugging his gloves off each hand in turn as he watched Harriet as she did the same. He found himself smiling to himself as he watched her and wandered how things had changed over the past months since he had first met her. One time he had heard or read "There is a thin line between Love and Hate." Quentin figured that maybe that intensity of dislike had contributed to the way the two of them were feeling about each other now.
Quentin blinked and gave himself a mental shake as he looked around and did not see Shade. "Come on out, Shade!..." Quentin yelled finally. "...Don't make her come looking for you!"
Quentin reined around and swung his rifle back up, firing and levering steadily even as his brain screamed to fire as fast as he could. The dust from the cattle and the terrain masked a lot but he felt pretty confident about some hits on the shapes of mounted Indians. Quentin yanked the reins with his left hand to spin Paladin and he spurred him back into motion, holding the Winchester by the grip as he took off once more. He could see the fort ahead and now a few scattered puffs of white from among the buildings and he thought he could hear a faint bugle sound from that direction.
The mass of cattle, riders, and wagon burst into the central parade ground of the open plan fort. Soldiers were coming out of every building. Some were armed, some were not but all were racing out in response to the bugle sounding "Assembly" over and over. Quentin kicked off the saddle as Paladin slid to a halt and he ran back to the corner of a building. As he reached the corner and looked along his rifle sights, Quentin was surprised to see the Indians had wheeled about and were racing the for the nearest terrain while being chased by random rounds from the soldiers that had been running out from the fort to form a makeshift skirmish line.
Figuring the soldiers had everything well in hand, Quentin turned and walked over to Paladin, catching the reins and began leading him back toward the fort so he could rest. On the far side of the parade ground, he could see a man with a small group of troopers standing beside Harriet as she sat her horse. He was mostly listening to her as his men moved about, chasing down the last of the cattle and keeping an eye out from the fort for any new attacks.
Harriet broke off in mid-sentence as an instinctive awareness made her turn in her saddle. Seeing Quentin leading Paladin prompted her to fling herself off Spirit's back and head at a run in his direction. She stopped just in front of him to peruse him critically searching for bullet holes and blood. Seeing nothing of that kind, she uttered a little cry and flung her arms around him, "Thank God you are safe. I couldn't have..." she buried her face in his shoulder rather than give voice to what she was feeling.
Quentin blinked, rocking back on his heels as Harriet's sudden embrace almost put him on his back. He staggered a step and his hand dropped the reins to wrap around her. Quentin held her tight as he felt her trembling and he smiled as he felt the warm rush inside from the sensation of her concern. He dipped his head a bit to inhale her scent, enjoying it regardless of the trail dust and days without a bath.
After what felt like a while but was probably only a handful of seconds, Quentin opened his eyes and saw several sets of boots. He tilted his head back to see the group of troopers standing behind Harriet on either side of a tall man with blonde hair and a sculpted beard. All were in various degrees of smiling or chuckling. Quentin felt himself flush and nodded. "Thank you for the assistance, Colonel..."
Harriet looked up as Quentin spoke and turned her head to see the group of men gathered around them. She blushed, but only pulled slightly away from him, still keeping close, "Colonel MacKenzie, this is Quentin Cantrell, one of the owners," she explained, her voice sounding far calmer than she actually felt. "I explained that Mr. Thornton was injured and unable to travel," she told Quentin, "and what happened back there with the Indians." Harriet gestured toward the direction they had ridden in from.
The officer smiled wider and extended a hand. "Lieutenant Colonel Wellington MacKenzie...I believe it should be I who is thanking you and your outfit. My men were about to stage an insurrection if they did not get some meat on the table soon..." He glanced past Quentin into the distance. "I will send out a patrol, but I doubt your new friends will stick around for long now that they have failed to take your cattle for themselves." MacKenzie turned his gaze back to the two. "Please allow me to offer you the hospitality of the fort before you have to head back. I suspect you both could use some rest and the chance to clean up."
Harriet glanced up at Quentin and smiled before answering the fort's commander, "Yes, Colonel, thank you. It is far too late to start back for Kalispell today. We could use a chance to rest and let our mounts rest too." It was then that she realized just how incredibly bone-weary she felt. Even so, the hard physical labor of the last few days had felt good. Harriet had thought that doing the routines that Fang had taught her kept her in good shape. The drive had taught her different. Once they got back to Kalispell, she would ask Shade to let her spend some time on the range to stay in practice.
Quentin turned long enough to slide his Winchester back into its saddle scabbard, then he nodded to MacKenzie. "That sounds fine to me, Colonel." He looked over at Harriet and genuinely smiled.
MacKenzie clapped his hands together. "Excellent!..." He turned to an officer beside him. "Maxwell, please show these two to the Executive Officer's house. He and his family are back east visiting relatives. Then detail some men to settle in their riders and mounts so everyone can come to the mess hall tonight for a celebration." Men nodded and scattered in different directions as the young captain gestured to lead them across the parade ground toward a nondescript structure on one edge of the cleared area.
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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