A wistful, frail beauty. Due to an accident as a child, when she was run over by a wagon, her right leg is amputated above the knee, she usually wears a prosthetic wooden leg.
Traits & Characteristics
Bridget is considered simple or 'an innocent' by the people of Kalispell but she really just has a different way of looking at things.
Considered virtually unemployable until 'discovered' by Lorenzo Crabbe and brought to Kalispell to help him in his burgeoning 'entertainment' and other business ventures.
Good at walking very fast, despite her disability.
Aliases / Nicknames
Squeaky, Simple Bridget, various other names called out by nasty people.
The rooms above Mr Crabbe's store.
Kith & Kin
Not exactly an orphan, but abandoned in Helena as a child after her accident. The family, who were passing though on their way west, skipped town to avoid paying the medical bills.
Her chronology is hard to construct as she remembers nothing before the accident, but she is now around 18 or 19. Crabbe discovered her in Helena, Montana Territory a few months ago, took her to Ogallala and started trying to to pimp for her there, but found that she was singularly unfitted for the profession. When he decided that competition in that town was too hot for a single operator, brought her and his Chinese partner, Charlie Fa, along with him to Kalispell to make a killing there.
Friendly but a seemingly a little dopey and quiet, she copes extremely well, both mentally and physically, with her disability.
Bridget was more than pleased to be taken into the diner by the nice, slightly sad, man. She didn’t realize that she was meant to be cowering in fear from the outlaws in there, she was looking forward to a nice slice of Ms. Em’s Apple Pie, and to looking at the pretty menu and pretending she could read it.
"Hurry, come in! Bridget are you alright?" Clare greeted them.
The ginger girl beamed a broad smile to see her friend Clara. She liked the serious dark-haired girl, and not just because she’d saved her from the bullies who had pushed her in the mud, or because she brought her nice things to eat when ever she came into the Diner place. Clara took life seriously and tried to do things right. Bridget trusted and felt close enough to Clara, indeed, to actually speak out loud in her presence, even if it was in halting and uncertain tones.
“Bank’s robbed” she managed, closing her eyes in an act of will to force the words out of her mouth, and then blinking as she squeezed out a supplementary “Got ma pennies.” And she opened the palm of her hand, clad as it was in a fine lace glove to show Clara the two red cents that she was just about to try and deposit in the raided bank.
As for the gentleman, "Doctor I believe...I am Clara Redmond. I know Bridget, we are friends."
The man was a doctor? Bridget’s heart leaped in fright. The only doctor she had ever known had kept her as a virtual slave for years, made her beg for him, treated her like dirt. She instinctively drew back from him: but then looking again at him, decided he wasn’t evil, she just felt he was kindly and nice and wanted to help her.
“Good doctor.” She assured Clara, in case she was worried, too.
"Come, dear." Gently, he took her by the elbow and started to steer her toward the boardwalk. "We need to be out of the way." His calm demeanor belied his racing heart, and it was little consolation to think that some of the Indian populations thought that addled people were blessed by the gods and couldn't be harmed, particularly in battle. Of course, that was absurd, but he at least hoped that they could get to cover before the streets got really crazy!
Bridget took one last look at the exciting bank robbery as she was led away by the gentleman whom she only now turned to regard properly. At first glance, he reminded her of Mr. Crabbe, her guardian. Same sort of age same sort of build and, like Lorenzo, neatly turned out in a suit and cravat. But closer scrutiny revealed a very different character indeed. As a beggar, she had gained a sort of sixth sense about how a person was going to act toward her, based on…, well, she didn’t know how she came up with the feelings. She just knew that if she had been begging, this man would have gone to great pains, not just to throw her a few coppers, but to talk to her, ask her questions, maybe too many questions, and actually try to help her.
People observing his actions would be impressed, they would admire him doing all the right things.
A successful, admirable, happy man. Maybe.
He was close to her, as he guided her to the side of the street. Close enough for her to whisper in his ear.
“Where can… where can we go?” she asked.
Yes, when she had been begging, the men who wanted to talk to her, the ones who wanted to help her, to rescue her, to save her, they were always the lonely ones. The sad ones. Sure, some had wanted bad things, but most had wanted just to talk to someone, just to be with someone, someone they didn’t need to impress or keep up appearances with. Maybe this nice man wanted that.
Bridget felt it in the air even before it happened.
She had been walking to the bank with two cents that had been given to her. People did that now, since it got round about her unusual visits to the bank. Some people did it to make fun of her, others out of a misguided pity for, in truth, the young woman wanted for nothing in the material sense. Others yet gave her dribs and drabs of copper coinage because they figured it would make her happy, which it did. She had no self-pride, and took the meager proffering as readily as she had when she begged for a living.
She knew that her usual ‘teller’, the owner of the bank, the nice Mr Wentworth wasn’t there today, she felt that too. No matter. She was improving and now gave her pennies over freely to the others. Young Mr Johnston had taken her last measly deposit. But when Arabella had bumped into her with an excited “You goin’ to the bank, I’ll come with ya!” she had stayed her friend’s progress, raised her ginger tousled head and sort of sniffed the atmosphere, like she could already smell the acrid tang of cordite and burnt black powder.
Mr Olsen getting shot was a strangely beautiful sight to the girl: the whole thing was a sort of poem about life and death and the thin skein that separates the two. She had watched open mouthed and wide eyed, not in horror, but in awe, as the blood fountained magically out of his chest and the once vibrant human animal collapsed into a pile of meat, offal and bone. Arabella’s reaction was more prosaic and expected: she’d given an ear-splitting scream and run away as fast as her clumpy lace-up boots could carry her. Then again, she’d done exactly the same thing a few days ago when they had both seen an unusually large spider.
Then somebody shot someone else.
Then a wagon turned over.
All these exciting things on one day, it was like being back in Deadwood.
Then a man grabbed her and started to drag her away.
"Miss, we need to get out of the street..." He really did want to get out of the way...quickly!
He seemed to mean well, so she went with him and when they were somewhere the man deemed to consider safe, she whispered to him “It’s a bank robb’ry.” She gave the Doctor a big smile and craned her neck to try and see what would happen next.
She seemed to have to gather herself before answering his question, “Live in old … funeral parlor.”
“Ah, interesting," he nodded with a smile.
Bridget nodded, wide eyed and enthusiastically at this observation.
“Still got coffins!” she confided in his ear. It was true: amongst the other bric-a-brac in the abandoned premises there were two coffins, one very large and one very small, that had never found suitable occupants. As a body who many times during her vagrant childhood, had spent a lot of time feeling empty in side, both emotionally and in purely gastric terms, she had sot of sympathised with them. Mr Fa had made a great fuss about the bad luck that would ensue if they broke them up like Lorenzo wanted to, so they’d kept them. The big one acted as a sort of bench to sit on, and the little one Mr Fa kept the fresh veg in.
A moment later into the dance steps, she decided on a quick question, "You at fort?"
"Yes I do, I live wherever the army assigns me and for now it is at the fort," he immediately answered then thought he would amplify the reply.
Bridget tipped her head with interest. That’s how she felt. Wherever the men in her life had wanted her to go, she had to go with them.
"You see when you sign on to the army, you can expect to move around an awful lot. I have been in many forts and outposts in my military life. You certainly do get to see the country in this career. Though you don't get any choices of destination, you go where they tell you to. It is not a good situation if one has a family especially children which is why many soldiers are not married."
The girl didn’t know much about soldiers, only that they fought Injuns and in some olden days they used to fight each other, and in those days some wore grey uniforms and some wore blue ones and the blue ones won. And what if a soldier did get married; would the Mrs. soldier have to wear a uniform too? She had seen Arabella wearing an army uniform that she had made herself. Maybe she was intending to wed a General.
Well, maybe marrying a soldier wouldn’t be too bad; she wouldn’t mind having to wear a uniform if her husband was as big and handsome as this Captain. Ooops! She’d forgotten all about Brendan for a while there. She felt sort of guilty, even though any loyalty towards the handsome cowboy was completely in her own head ... or heart. She was already finding that Romance was quite a complicated affair when you started paddling in its murky waters: she’d have to ask Arabella for advice on it all: apparently, Ara’ was the biggest expert on affairs of the heart in the whole of unoccupied Virginia.
She swayed happily with the music and enjoyed the strong arms holding her and beamed a pretty smile.
She suddenly inquired in almost a whisper, “You fight injuns?”
"Yes, on occasion. It is part of the job, miss," he nodded but kept his answer simple enough.
Bridget stared up at him in wonderment. Brendan was handsome and fun, but this man was a hero! Fought Injuns, he did. Probably killed them and everything! She tightened her hold on him slightly, got a little closer. There was something safe and dependable about his big strong arms around her as they danced.
He decided to ask her a question then and hope she did not think him prying, "So do you live in town or on one of the ranches, farms?"
She understood the question. She knew what a ranch was. It was where they kept lots of cows and horses and cowboys. She just had to get over her speech impediment. It took her a couple of gulps to get those ever-elusive words to the front of her mouth.
“Live in old … funeral parlor.” She eventually managed to get out. It was hardly the acme of sparkling conversation.
After a few more one-two-three-one-two-threes she stammered out “You at fort?” She took a deep breath, all this talking was a bit exhausting.
Actually, all of a sudden, she felt a little light headed, but she fought through it; she was tough, in her own frilly, lacey way: and this was wonderful, she wouldn't let it end.
"Nice to make your acquaintance, Miss Monahan. We better get on out there then, the musicians aren't waiting for anyone," he smiled and escorted her on out among the other assembling dancers. He could tell she had a bit of a hitch in her walk, maybe a past (or even recent) injury or maybe a birth defect? He would need to be careful.
Bridget bit her bottom lip and smiled as if in wonderment, being led out for the third time that evening for a dance by a handsome man. Well, to be fair, it was wonderment: this was a fantastic, almost dreamlike, climax to what had been, for her, an amazing year. To think, a little more than twelve months ago she had been a virtual slave, unwashed and unkempt, hopping around on one leg and a crude crutch, begging on the streets of some God forsaken mining town, and not even getting to keep what she begged. That she had to turn over to the doctor who, true, had once saved her life, but now said he owned her until she could pay off the medical bill plus the accumulated credit of ten years.
It had been the only life she’d ever known, other than a few vague and scrappy memories from before the accident. The doctor had a dog, whom he treated better than he treated Bridget: and, truth to tell, he didn’t treat the dog particularly well. Thus it had been a surprise when, dirty and unkempt, and sporting a black eye where the drunken, angry doctor had slapped her across the face for not bringing enough money in after a day of begging, the man had tried to do what he did.
That attack had hurt her, terrified her, in ways that made the doctor’s cruelties seem paltry. Furthermore, the man who had saved her from the assault didn’t seem a lot better, he was just after her attacker for some reason: beat him half senseless with a lead-topped walking stick, demanding to know where some other man was, Mercier or something, and had then shot her assailant in cold blood. Hardly a white knight in shining armor, her Mr. Crabbe. But she had followed him anyway, and she had found herself here, in a dreamland called Kalispell, where she had fancy dresses, fancy dolls, fancy new leg, even friends and best of all, she was completely free of grey-backs.
She tried to forget the past, and bask in the wonderful present. She whispered a question in the burly officer’s ear.
Bridget didn’t find anything strange about standing or sitting with someone and not saying anything, they did it all the time at home: the silence only occasionally broken by Mr. Crabbe muttering something to himself or Mr. Fa humming a strange dissonant tune of the orient. She didn’t quite get that it wasn’t the thing to do at a social gathering. She had trouble enough saying out loud things that did interest her, the concept of small talk quite eluded her carrot topped noggin.
Luckily, the gallant Captain was more than capable of saving the day.
"I say ....miss....seems like they are about ready to play another number. May I ask you for a dance?" he suddenly decided.
Bridget nodded enthusiastically, then reached up again to confirm “If is slow.”
"By the way, I am Captain Barlow but you can just call me Benjamin, I'm not on duty right now," he added in that calm relaxed tone of voice of his.
This allowed Bridget to do her party piece and she was getting better at it all the time with the practice she’d been having lately, and she screwed her eyes shut tight and proudly announced out loud, though in a pretty weedy voice “My name is Bridget Monahan!” She opened her eyes again to see if the handsome officer was impressed. She wanted to add that she was off duty, too, but decided to quit while she was ahead.
The band struck up something that was slow enough for her to handle without mishap and they took the floor. Bridget was learning something: men were all very different. Even in a slow waltz, Brendan had felt light, young, effusive and gay; there was something more solid and strangely purposeful about dancing with Captain Barlow: a feeling of great powerful reserves being carefully harnessed and repressed. This was dancing with a man, a serious man. Dancing with Brendan and Jay had been fun, dancing with Captain Barlow felt more important. And, whatever he said, she couldn't help the feeling that this man was never off duty.
"Oh excuse me, guess these things can happen sometime in a crowded situation like this," he shrugged and smiled at her.
She smiled back in her usual frank and ingenuous manner. She stepped up to whisper in his ear, raising herself slightly on her good foot.
“That lady made … the pies.” She informed him and pointed to Emeline and nodded in confirmation of what she’d just told him.
She followed this with a total non sequitur, telling the tough Army Captain “I can dance … slow ‘uns.” In his shell-like ear.
She liked this Army man with his exotic uniform clothes, his shiny shoulder straps and buttons and most of all his bristly black moustache and beard. Problem was with Bridget, when she found someone interesting or attractive in any way, she tended to just stare at them in a most unnerving way: wide eyed and sometimes open mouthed (although Mr. Crabbe often admonished her ‘If’n you gotta goggle at folks, at least keep your trap shut while you do it!’ which at least ameliorated her habit a little on this occasion).
So, the ginger haired girl just stood there staring, quite happily, at Captain B.T. Barlow, United states Cavalry, as he finished his slice of pie.
Bridget watched Jay go and talk to the lady who usually dressed like a man, but who was, strangely, dressed like a lady tonight. All very confusing. Then the two of them beetled off. She herself was now just standing in the middle of nowhere on the dance floor, so decided to head back to basecamp: which was where the cookies were.
The leg seemed all right! Mr. Ryker had done a good job on it, even if he hadn’t been fully satisfied with it himself. He was a very nice man, but a total perfectionist in his craft. Bridget was happy that she could walk and maybe even risk a slow dance. She looked down at her feet as she walked forward, slightly kicking with her false limb to test it. She wasn’t looking where she was going and crashed slightly into something big and blue. The ginger-haired girl gasped and stumbled back, looking up at a handsome man with a black moustache and napoleon.
Her blue eyes were as wide as saucers as they glanced from the imposing officer’s face to his nice shiny shoulder straps with their gold edging, yellow filling, (to Bridget's mind, they were very reminiscent of Ms. Em’s custard tarts), and the two silver bars catching the light of the lamps that were quickly becoming the main source of illumination in the barn as the evening Sun began to dip in the West behind the cold mountains that overlooked the town.
If Bridget had known what to say, she wouldn’t have been able to say it out loud anyway, so she did what she did best, just shrugged and smiled at the man in uniform.
Bridget wasn’t too sure what the fuss was all about; the old lady seemed slightly aggressive in her questioning, but Jay seemed defensive in the extreme, and she did what she could to weigh in on her friend’s side. Unfortunately, given her limitations, this only consisted of her pointing down to the offending article and nodding.
“You know she’s a cripple, don’t ya?” Wow, this old lady had no shame.
"I am aware, mam." Jay replied, ready to leave the dance floor, hopefully without being discovered.
He waved a quick bye-bye to her and she automatically returned it, but with a frown on her face which summed up her lack of comprehension and her concern that Jay was under attack of some sort by the curmudgeonly old battle-axe.
No such luck, though. While he said goodbye to Bridget, the old woman suddenly asked.
“Say … don’t I know you from someplace?”
Walking away backwards from someone was never a good look on anybody (although keeping company with someone like Lorenzo Crabbe, she had learned to do it quite deftly, despite her false limb) and Jay’s face bore all the faux-concentration and slight nod of someone who wasn’t comfortable with lying, someone who couldn’t do it glibly like Crabbe.
"I helped you after the storm. " He flat out lied, hoping that she would be just as easily fooled as most others.
Mrs Miggins’ eyes narrowed in disbelief: she had the eyes of a hawk and the memory of an elephant. She knew exactly who had been in that Church hall that night while she’d tended the injured, at the same time as admonishing the ones who were whimpering and carrying on. She recognized a great many people in this very barn from that makeshift hospital, and he wasn’t one of them.
Nellie Miggins raised an accusing finger.
“I don’t rememb…”
Bridget pretended to stumble forward and touched the old woman on the shoulder, which brought forth a howl of protest and an admonition to “Don’t go coming out here on that peg leg, girl, if’n ya can’t keep upright! Y’nearly had me over!” but at least it gave Jay a second to get in his goodbyes before the old girl got too nosey.
Then he tipped his hat to her and Bridget. "Have a nice evening."
The ginger haired girl deliberately stepped in front of the grandmother to wave him off and by the time she had rounded the obstacle, it was too late for her to interrogate the Englishman further. She peered at Bridget accusingly.
“Don’t bother sniffin’ around that feller, girl! Like most men, he’ll be wantin’ a woman with two arms and two legs!” she spat, before stomping off to look for Jacob. Bridget didn’t mind. Mr. Ryker was just a good friend, and one she got a warm feeling from helping, paying back a little the great favor he had done for her. But what the spiteful old woman had said hit her painfully in the heart when she thought of Brendan, whom she now turned to see laughing and chatting with the beautiful, clever, and four-limbed Clara Redmond.
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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