The chaos around him was maddening. The screaming horses and gunshots made the bear angrier. He had long since forgotten any fear that he may have once had of humans. The bear's fevered brain was driving him into a frenzy. It also affected his judgment and balance. Most of his attempted strikes went awry. In a fury, the massive grizzly charged at another of the terrified horses only to pull up short as the animals scattered.
The sound of the human's weapons was even more deafening than the noise from the horses. Most of the shots went wild, but some hit their mark without doing significant damage. Still, the pain was driving the bear away from reason, such as it was in any animal. In the past, it would have only taken the sound of one shot to send him running. Now, he just wanted to get close enough to rip one of his tormenters to shreds.
The great Kodiak bear shuddered as another round hit him, tearing through tender flesh and vital organs. He was dying but that had not registered in his fevered brain. As pain ripped through his powerful body, he roared and rose up on his hind legs in an attempt to make himself look more frightening. Another shot rang out as the grizzly dropped back to all four feet.
Roaring again, the bear charged at the human that had fired his weapon last. It did not matter that that was not the one that was killing him. All that mattered was the sweet taste of human blood. Amazingly, he picked up speed...
Then his great old heart exploded. The bullet that had torn through his organs had lodged in his heart. The next rush of adrenaline and his attempt to charge, to run, finally took its toll. He fell to the ground almost at the man's feet. The bear gave a shuddering sigh and died.
At long last, Old Satan, the terror of Montana's northwest territory, was dead.
The bear was angry, and pain made him less fearful of humans, his one true nemesis. He had been injured after attacking the man a few days ago. The bullet that grazed his skull near the missing eye was not large enough to do serious damage. However, the bear was old, and the wound had festered. The pain was driving him insane and made him throw caution to the wind.
The humans could not know that this was an alien world to him. He had adapted, mainly living high in the mountains. Age had driven him to the lowlands to hunt for easier prey. Although humans were not on his usual menu, he no longer had any qualms about making a meal of them.
The bear had been born far away on an island. Mostly, humans hunted the massive island bears for their fur, meat, and grease. In his case though, a burly Russian had found him next to his mother's stripped carcass. He had taken the cub back to the settlement and tamed him. The cub had been nearly two years old when the man was offered a large amount of money for him by the owner of a traveling Russian circus.
For several years, life had not been too horrible. He performed tricks and danced for crowds of people. Then, his handler had been killed in a shooting over a woman. The man that took over was cruel. Instead of continuing to work with the bear, he had sought to dominate the animal through fear and pain. This was how he had lost his eye, and his face had been horribly disfigured when his trainer had waved a torch too close. His eye and face had been burned. In the aftermath, he had become virtually unmanageable. They had put him in a cage too small for his bulk, rarely fed him and he was virtually forgotten.
The bear's captivity had come to an abrupt end when a fire ravaged the traveling circus. The few remaining animals had been set free or had escaped. Instinct had driven the bear toward the higher ground of the Chogun Mountain range. Periodically, over the years, he had returned to the lowlands to raid for livestock and terrorize the humans that he hated with a passion. In fact, his hatred often overcame his fear. These forays had earned him the name of Ole Satan.
The massive bear was now in the middle of the humans and horses. He roared his rage, his fevered mind driving him beyond fear. He rose up on his hind legs. Standing over nine feet tall, he was a magnificent and terrifying sight. Roaring again, the bear dropped to all fours and turned back toward the human that was laying up against a rockfall of large boulders...
Leah breakfasted in the dining room, a small meal with a cup of tea, as corsets have a way of limiting the amount our ingests. Learning to dress herself came early for her. Her mother had taught her how to apply the corset by herself, how to don the the bustle skirt or dress, and the blouse and all the underpinnings without any help at all.
Of course she didn't wear a bustle dress everyday, far from it, Split skirts and blouses were generally the order of the day, but when in Kalispel she dressed to the nines for two reasons, first for the envy of the ladies and second, for the looks from the men.
She left the the dining room of the Belle-St. Regis Hotel , stepping out onto the boardwalk in the morning sunlight. Now to the bank and Stanley Croft with reports on her investments. Again, her mother had taught her to become self sufficient, relying o no man, including her father and brothers. She made her way along the street to the bank, stepping inside and up to the cage. Luke Johnson smiled at her.
Looking at Wentworth and seeing his disdain for her, or possibly her family in general, she smiled . "Thank you, sir. That would be much appreciated as I have several things to accomplish this morning, a visit to him is high on that list. And might I add, the service here has always been splendid and continues to be so."
Leah Steelgrave knew how she looked and was aware of the looks from men. She dressed appropriately, always. Clothes they say make the man, but clothes certainly enhanced the allure of the woman. Always tastefully attired, Leah Steelgrave was the paragon of current fashion. She smiled, "good day to you sir."
With: Leah Steelgrave, Matthew Wentworth, Jonah Danforth and Location: In town. When: 1875 Time of Day: Mid Morning
Leah came down the stairs looking elegant, as she always did when she was in Kalispel, which she preferred of the rowdier Whitefish. Their hotel could not compare to Kalispel’s Belle-St. Regis Hotel. As she reach the lobby she noticed Matthew Wentworth behind the desk and simply could not resist, after all he was quite good looking.
She glided effortlessly town the front desk with just a hint of sway, enough to move her day dress somewhat seductively, yet with an air of innocence, which she was far from. “Mister Wentworth, would you know if the good Doctor Danforth is in town?” She asked demurely.
Billy Holcombe was just shy of his nineteenth birthday when he mounted up to find the tracks of the man Robbins had shot. He thundered out of the cap in the direction Robbins gave him. He was young, but tracking had come natural to him at the age of ten when he was sole support for his mother and sisters.
He topped out on the hill and looked down to where Robbins said he saw the man and fired on him, so Billy eased down the embankment noting that there were no tracks following the line of fire, if Robbins said he followed, he was a liar.
The hoof prints were fairly clear in the grass as he had expected and he saw where they were deeper where the animal had bunched up when the riders weight shifted from the bullets impact. Billy stepped down, crouching and touching the nearest indentation, then looking above it where the other tracks led down into the trees, at a walk. That meant the rider would have been easy pickin’s had Robbins stuck around to finish the job.
The trail came out of one stand of trees to a small meadow. There were flecks of dried blood almost indistinguishable from the rich soil, but clearly evident to the lad. He stepped down, trailing the reins to examine the ground. He saw where the horses hoof had struck a stone and for some reason turned onto the rocky ground, the man was alive!
In a matter of seconds, Billy’s horse bolted and headed into the trees below at a dead run. He sprang to his feet as a crashing sound from behind made him turn...a good six and a half feet on it’s hind legs, maybe 600 pounds of raw fury!
The giant paw came out of nowhere as Billy reached for his Colt. The last thing he ever saw or did.
Once she was settled in, clothes hung in the armoire, which her father had imported from France, along with the bed, she seated herself in the chair by the window absently gazing at the traffic, both human and vehicular below. Now, the trick would be to locate this Pike fellow, well perhaps it may not be as hard as she initially believed. How many men could there be that appeared to be a gunman in town, not many she expected.
It would be easy enough she thought, men, where would his type frequent? The saloon of course. And just where would he be staying? That was a question she didn't have an answer to, at the moment. 'All in good time.' She thought, 'All in good time." There were a couple of other things she needed to do, one was to see the doctor and after that the bank and her investments. 'Wouldn't father be exasperated!' But there was plenty of time.
Meanwhile, out in the street, a somewhat a familiar sight appeared, the unmistakable Steelgrave surrey and two riders, one to a side making their way toward the hotel when they pulled up. the driver got out and helped Leah Steelgrave down, then took up her luggage, a pair of carpet bags and followed her inside. The two men on horseback dismounted, returning their Winchesters to their saddle scabbards, then grabbing hold of the trunk and following the others inside.
The question of course, 'why was she in town?' Followed quickly by 'how long will she stay?'
The merchants loved her visits as she stayed in the Steelgrave suite, spent a lot of money in town. And then there were the two riders, also birthed at the hotel, as was the driver, she paid their way as well. The men would cause no trouble, they knew better. The lesson had been learned long ago that you behaved when you accompanied Leah Steelgrave.
Now Robbins, who wasn't the smartest of the bunch, and some nervous, took his own trail to get to where he figured on meetin' up with the boss. It was a bit longer, but more protected than the straight ride to meet up with Marshal Steelgrave. He figured that it would take him a few minutes longer to reach the destination, but he also believed he had plenty of time.
Loping along at a trot he cleared the trees when to his surprise, he spotted someone other than his boss, a stranger on a roan horse he also didn't recognize, well, to Robbins, he could only mean trouble so he drew his Winchester out of the saddle scabbard, levered in a shell into the breach, and took careful aim. His finger tightened on the trigger as he let his breath out when the rifle exploded with the intended shot.
“Gawddammitt Robbins will you quit that infernal pacin! Lite an’ set fer Chrissake.” Toole ordered, “oughtta smack ya with this here runnin’ iron!”
David Lander Robbins hadn’t started out to become what he was, a gunman and rustler. He had a nervous condition whenever he was without purpose and at present there was precious little for him to do.
“Yeah well, hell,! I’m goin’ down’t the herd give Slone a break. Wish ta hell the boss’d ride in an we could get this drive goin’.” He shook his head. “Damned posse could ride in here any time an’ we be caught with, whot, a hunderd head of stole beef?”
“Git! An’ tell Slone to get up the end of the valley and let Larson come in!” Toole ordered. He was no boss, but he was pretty close as his talent was respected. “Tell ‘im Guthrie’ll relieve him in a couple hours.” There was always a guard, but Toole was getting nervours, Case was supposed to be there by now, or so he thought.
Robbins nodded and stepped aboard his horse trotting off toward the herd. Toole, his work done, looked around and suddenly said; “Larson, ride for town see what’s up with the boss.
John Larson swung into the saddle, being the only other rider saddled up, and with a wave took off at a gallop.
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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