Thomas was a handsome man, once. A well-made jaw and knowing smile are what war and loss have not taken from him. His once soft, brown hair has been replaced with dark grey wisps, sea blue eyes made hooded and dark, and strong brow become furrowed in concentration. From his time as a Soldier he is still strong; with a tough torso and lungs from fighting and working, and capable arms and hands from experience in weapon use. From his time as a priest he is wise; with an uncanny sense of experience and knowledge. He is hampered by a scar in his left shoulder, suffered at the hands of a Mexican marksman, as well as a light scar along the side of his head, though this is nearly always hidden beneath his hair. Aside from these obvious markings, he has actually retained few of the abrasions from his life; leaving him with calloused and coarse skin but few reminders of his youth.
Clothing & Style
He has a sizable beard and mustache, with the messy hair atop his head coming to his forehead, then parted to the side. His brows are furrowed and thoughtful, giving him a sort of ruminatory appearance even when he is feeling lighthearted. In warmer weather he will wear a white dress shirt - sleeves often rolled to ensure he is ready for action - under a black clerical waistcoat, while on his legs he wears dark trousers and preacher boots. In the colder seasons, he dons a black wool greatcoat with a shoulder cloak; keeping him warm and secure, while on his head he wears a low, wool, flat-brim hat. He also has a set of black leather gloves, for when out on the trail or otherwise dirtying his hands. He still wears the white collar of the ordained, marking himself as a servant of God. He has long thrown out his US cavalry uniform and medals, preferring to forget that time and try to move forwards.
Weapons & Equipment
As a wanderer, Thomas was remiss not arm himself, so as to defend himself from bandits and hostile natives. These days, he has come to rely on his weapons less, but still keeps them in good condition, should he ever need to take up arms again. As such, he has kept a long-barreled Parker Brothers M1867 double-barrel shotgun, the weapon with which he slew that band of deputies at Fort Laramie. He also carries a blackened steel Colt Navy Model 1851 Cartridge Conversion and a cross-draw holster - to be used as a backup, or for a quicker draw. He has a simple leather belt with a set of bullet loops sewed on, the end of which is tied up when worn so as not to get in the way. He also has a collection of handmade slugs for the shotgun, and keeps them in the aforementioned loops alongside some plain lead rounds for his revolver. Around his right hand he keeps his rosaries often tied, a comforting reminder of the life he once lived. He also has a satchel for various useful bits and pieces that he may need to take with him, like matches, cigarettes, spare change, and the like. His more permanent possessions are kept in his little shack out the back of the Kalispell church, including but not limited to canned food, dishes, supplies for rolling cigarettes, a canteen, ramrod, cloth, hatchet, oil lantern, varying lengths of rope, fishing line & hook, a compass & map, and of course, his trusty bible.
He owns a dark bay mare he has named Myriam, fitted with serviceable horse tack, shoes of ample quality, a bedroll and a blanket in addition to an old saddle. Presently she is stabled at the Kalispell livery and stables.
Traits & Characteristics
(+) Veteran - Thomas has spent time in the military. He is skilled in handing firearms and knows his way through combat. His experience in the dragoons too has lent him good skills in horsemanship.
(+) Reverend - Thomas is a member of the ordained, and has experience comforting people who seek to repent. This makes him a voice of solace to anyone struggling with themselves, regardless of their beliefs.
(+) Literate - Nobody could become a priest without learning to read in some capacity. Thomas is no exception.
(-/+) Receptive - To the end of religion, Thomas is atypical in that he sees no benefit in the divide of sects in Christianity. He accepts all comers, should they be willing to listen, and though he considers himself an Evangelist, he has certainly borrowed his fair share of mannerisms from the Catholics
(-/+) Pious - Thomas holds onto his belief in god as some form of certainty and solace in a world of violence and chaos. It is comforting to him, and he enjoys his work as a reverend.
(-/+) Disturbed - Thomas has seen more than his fair share of horrors, leaving him remorseless and brutal when it comes to violence.
(-) Aged - For all his skill at arms, Thomas is an old man. He has lost the raw power of youth, though he keeps himself quite fit for his age.
(-) Marred - Thomas was shot in the shoulder at a young age. All that is left is a dull ache, but there is indeed still a bullet in him, making his left arm a little weaker than his right.
(-) Indulgent - Thomas is unorthodox in his approach to vice as a priest. He drinks and smokes, though would not commit adultery, even as a widower.
Thomas is an irrefutably troubled man. He knows the corruption and darkness of the human race, and he knows what one man can do to another. He has seen it in the eyes of those soldiers in Texas, and he has seen it in the eyes of the folk who came to him for salvation. During his time as a priest he comforted killers, rapists, and con men alike. That is not to say he never held contempt for them. He believed that God would forgive - than anyone who truly repented could be granted salvation, but that did not make their actions any less despicable. Since his family was torn from him, he has hardened his worldview somewhat. Now he believes that those who have performed such unforgivable actions should be punished, and should they die, it will be up to God to decide their fate. That said, Thomas is far from cold in regular conversation. He has a pleasant and welcoming demeanor, and is eloquent in his speech. He is acceptive of those he deems to be 'innocent', and considers his approach to spirituality as a more welcoming one; happy to give advice and friendship to people of all creeds and denominations.
Despite being a priest, Thomas is no pacifist. He believes that some people will only answer to violence, and though he will always try to talk someone down before blood is spilled, he is more than able to pull the trigger if needed. He is strongly critical of the authority and police, and does not trust them to do the right thing, considering that the men who killed his family were in fact deputies. As such, he will generally attempt to take matters into his own hands, before calling for a lawman.
(Former) US Continental Army - 12th Kentucky Regiment of Infantry (1841-1846)
(Former) US Continental Army - 2nd Regiment of Dragoons (1846-1848)
Mounted Carbine Rifleman
(Former) Pembina Evangelical Church (1849-1872)
(Former) Self-Employed (1873-1876)
Kalispell Methodist Church (1876-Present)
Thomas knows his way around his weapons. He would never get fancy, but has the experience necessary to quickly put down a target from either his pistol or shotgun at some 50 yards.
As a former dragoon, Thomas was trained to fight from horseback. He knows how to keep himself steady in the saddle and maintain control over a mount when the bullets start flying.
Thomas speaks some Spanish from his time in Texas, and Latin by way of studying the holy scriptures.
Thomas used to play the piano at his parish in Pembina, and still finds solace in music.
Thomas has had to comfort more than his fair share of sinners, and has become fairly good at it in the process. Though an Evangelist himself, he has no qualms about helping or facilitating those of other faith, going so far as to take on the name 'Father' for it's recognizability.
Aliases / Nicknames
Kalispell Methodist Church (1876)
Stardust Saloon (1876)
Fort Laramie, Wyoming (1873)
Pembina, Dakota (1850-72)
Fort Texas, Texas (1846-48)
Place of Birth
Harrodstown, Kentucky (1821-46)
Kith & Kin
Jacob Reed - Father, Deceased
Grace Dodds - Mother, Deceased
Harold Reed - Brother, Whereabouts unknown
Simon Reed -Brother, Whereabouts unknown
Jacob 'Jack' Reed Jr. - Brother, Whereabouts unknown
Louisa Clarke - Wife, Deceased
Mary Reed - Daughter, Deceased
Arabella Mudd - Helper I suppose?, Saloon girl in Kalispell
Pastor Gideon Evans - Colleague, Kalispell Methodist Pastor
Time as a Youth (1821-46, age 0-25):
Thomas was born in Harrodstown, Kentucky, 1821, as the youngest child of three boys. His parents were both American-born, with his grandfather having fought in the revolutionary war. Long gone were the family's days of military splendor however, as the urbane Jacob Reed made his meager living as a factory worker. Thomas grew up mostly in squalor - his father's pay pathetically low and the landlords demanding ever higher rent. He saw his brothers grow up to follow their father down this rabbit hole. They became dock-workers, laborers, all members of the lower working class. Even still their money did not last. Thomas hated that he had been born into this life, and did anything he could to find a new vocation. In his younger years he would roam the streets, searching for something to aspire to, and eventually he found it; in the form of those officers whom walked the wealthier parts of town on leave. Their gilded uniforms and sparkly medals caught his eye. He knew that he wanted to become a soldier of the Continental Army, following his grandfather's footsteps, and would rise through the ranks to become a great leader of men.
During this time he began to court a sweetheart by the name of Louisa, a young girl who lived across the street from him. He told her about his plans to become a soldier and she seemed enthused by the idea of being a wife to a war hero. His parents did not take kindly to his aspiration, but Thomas did not care. When his father demanded he found some way make the family some money or be kicked out of home, he took his things and left for the recruiting office, joining the infantry at 21 years of age.
As with all things, it quickly became apparent that the military was not all it was cracked up to be. Thomas had no money or social standing to warrant a commission, and so he was considered the lowest of the low. He bunked with the other cannon fodder in poor conditions. Still, it was a step up from his life at home and at least he was guaranteed three meals a day. He worked hard at his training, and pretty soon he was made a infantryman, and assigned to a foot regiment. He excelled at musket drill and pleased his officers greatly, showing great promise.
In the winter of 1846, the news swept the nation; Hostilities mounting with Mexico! Thomas' regiment was quickly pulled from reserve and given papers to be sent to Texas. Thomas spent one last night with his sweetheart and then joined a convoy, marching south.
Time as a Soldier (1846-48 age 25-27):
Any notion Thomas once had of the splendor of war was cut short by that first battle. Upon arrival at fort Texas, he would take part in the Battle of Palo Alto, where the relief force was intercepted by General Arista's Mexican army. He saw the horrors of blackpowder warfare firsthand, forced to stand in a straight line and volley in succession while the men around him were cut down in droves. Twice they were sent across the Rio Grande river, the first of which they were forced to retreat due to the overwhelming presence of enemy forces. Upon returning to their FOB, the commander ordered Thomas' officer dismissed for cowardice. Once more they were sent across the river, packs heavy on their backs, water coming up to their waists, when suddenly they were bombarded by artillery. The sky opened up and down thundered explosive shells. All around Thomas he saw his comrades torn to shreds, screaming, clutching at stumps where their limbs used to be, the water running red with blood. Their new officer was gone, torn to pieces by an explosion, and Thomas decided to take charge of the situation. Only forty men were left of an 150 man regiment, and Thomas called for them to fall back across the river. There they hunkered down behind rocks on the riverside, taking pot shots at the counterattacking Mexican soldiers between extensive reloads. They held out for three hours, and by the end Thomas' hands were blistered and covered with soot from pouring blackpowder down the barrel of his musket over and over again. Man by man, their numbers were whittled down, until finally, the American artillery opened up and the Mexicans were driven back. Upon returning to base, Thomas reported everything that had happened. The commander nodded along thoughtfully, before assigning him to a new sixty-man dragoon regiment, for 'meritorious combat performance.' He congratulated him for his bravery and gave him a medal.
Thomas felt sick in his stomach as the piece of metal was pinned to his uniform.
During the Spring of 1847, Thomas would receive a letter from home. Louisa, his sweetheart, announced that she was pregnant with Thomas's child. This bolstered Thomas' morale somewhat, and gave him incentive to survive for the rest of the war, so that he could see his child. The violence began to blend into itself. Thomas learned to become numb to the screams and suffering. Whenever new boys were sent to his regiment he made sure not to get too attached to them, in case they were killed. It was in January 1848 that Thomas' regiment was sent to aid in the assault on Mexico City. As they were riding through a dry canyon, however, musket fire began to rain down upon them. The Mexican army had set an ambush, and the men were cut down, screaming punctuated by their panicking horses. They routed, beginning to run every which way, and before Thomas could react, he was shot in the shoulder and blacked out. When he awoke he was lying among dozens of corpses, all his comrades, led to their deaths. Cut off from any allied forces, alone and behind enemy lines, Thomas dragged himself back to the base, spurred on by the thought of the child who would be waiting at home for him if he just made it through this. By miracle or sheer force of will, the wounded soldier managed to reach friendly territory and was rushed to a field hospital. The surgeon on hand was unable to remove the bullet without amputation of his arm, which Thomas refused to consent to, resulting in a simple stitch-job. He would survive, but with significant pain for some years to come. After a few days of recovery, he was given a set of papers from high command. He was to be granted an honorable discharge, but the overextended army would only grant him a minor pension. It was pitiful compensation for a campaign of service, but he had no other choice.
Back in Kentucky (1848-50, age 27-28):
He returned to Kentucky a changed man. That spark of joy and excitement that he has possessed was torn from him. He had seen such horrors, and survived, but it was worth it to see his young daughter - Mary - with his own eyes. He married Louisa in a happy ceremony, and bought a town house with his pension. They managed to eek out a living for a little while, but Thomas was plagued every night by dreams of war - screams reverberating through his head. Both Mary and Louisa could tell that he was suffering, even if he tried to be the best father he could. He began to seek solace in religion, and after a year of study, he decided to become a monk. Upon contacting the clergy, he was assessed for entry to the ordained, and approved to become a priest of the protestant church. Of course, during this time, those lands acquired by the US in the Louisiana purchase were being settled, and Thomas was offered a place as a priest in the fledgling town of Pembina, Dakota territory. It would be a long way to travel, but Thomas was determined, and so with his family in tow, he set out for Pembina, to start a new life.
He was young for a priest, but over the years he became wiser. The troubled townsfolk came to him with their worries and he advised them accordingly. He became a well-respected member of the community, and the horrors in his head began to fade. He was no conventional man of the cloth either. He enjoyed spending time in the tavern and was not above drinking and smoking. Louisa was happy to have the man she once loved back, and Thomas worked as hard as he could at being a good father to Mary. Happy to have a loving, proper father, Mary made him a set of unique rosaries as a gift, crafted to the Evangelical Lord's Prayer - the very set he wears to this day. Though of course, he would never pray upon them in vain repetition.
Time as a Parish Priest (1850-72, age 27-50)
Decades passed. Thomas grew older and wiser, and Mary grew into a young lady. He had had his fair share of bad men seeking advice. Some repentant criminals, some murderers seeking forgiveness. He always sought to treat all of his congregation fairly, and believed in second chances. As a frontier town, Pembina had a persistent population of native Sioux tribespeople, and Thomas too accepted them as part of his parish, should they wish to join his sermons. When the civil war broke out in 1861, Thomas found himself saying goodbye to many of his congregation, as they headed south to fight. For his part, he had seen enough of war to last him his lifetime, and so remained in Pembina, consoling the wives of husbands lost to the conflict. Some time after the close of the war, a posse of deputies from Milwaukee was sent up to Pembina, the leader of whom took a distinct interest in Mary. His intentions seemed harmless at first, but Thomas learned that Mary was not interested in him, and his continued attention was becoming a nuisance. One night, Thomas was approached in the chapel by the young deputy. He asked for Mary's hand in marriage, and Thomas said he could only consent if Mary agreed. The deputy seemed frustrated with this, and offered to buy Mary from him. Thomas refused, and sent him away. The deputy balked, promising that Thomas would regret his decision. That seemed to be the end of it for a time, and the attentions seemed to ease.
It was raining, that fateful night. Thomas had spent some time in the tavern after a day in the church, having a drink with some friends, before heading home. He opened the door to find his beloved Lousia dead on the floor, bleeding from a shot to the stomach. Venturing forward into the dimly lit house, he saw the deputy, with his posse, holding down his struggling daughter and undressing her. He ran at them, attempting to fight them, but he was nearly 50 years old, and there were many more of them than he. The deputy stepped forwards, punching him straight in the face, and he dropped, vision spinning. A pistol was raised to his head and he heard a bang, before the world went black.
He awoke in the Pembina surgeon's office, head bound in bandages. By some miracle the bullet had merely skimmed the side of his head, rather than penetrating his skull, and Thomas had been found in the morning by a passing townsman. Unfortunately, his wife and daughter were not so lucky.
The Hunt (1872-73, age 50-51)
The funeral was a solemn affair. Thomas prayed over the graves of Mary and Louisa, consecrating them in turn. All the while he knew in the back of his mind that he would have his revenge. The deputies had skipped town, though they were last seen heading west, into the newly-founded Wyoming territory, and that is where he would follow. Almost as soon as all the affairs were in order, he left Pembina, on the trail. He bought a horse, and as he traveled, he prepared himself; procuring a double-barrel hunting shotgun and crudely making a homemade set of slugs. He tracked his quarry to Fort Laramie, where he learned through various sources that the deputies were staying in a shed on the outskirts of town, under false names. With no time to waste and nothing to lose, he put his plan into motion. Clad all in black, with his greatcoat over his shoulders and hat on his head, Thomas watched through a window as the Deputy played cards with his friends. Possessed by wrath, he kicked down the door, training the shotgun on these men. One of them pulled a revolver and Thomas quickly dispatched him with a slug right through his head - blowing a hole through the top of his skull and painting the wall with gore and brain matter. He picked up the revolver and shot each of the men in turn, though he saved the leader for last. With his shotgun, Thomas put a slug between his legs, before pinning him down and furiously bashing his skull in with the butt of the weapon.
By this time, the gunfire had alerted those garrisoned soldiers of the fort, and they had begun to scour the town for the source of the commotion. Thomas left the building wordlessly, before mounting up and riding into the night.
Time as a Wandering Priest (1873-76, age 51-55)
With the soldiers of Fort Laramie seeking him, and nothing left for him in either Dakota or Kentucky, Thomas had little left to live for. Instead he headed ever further west, sleeping under the stars or in occasional roadside camps. It was in one of these camps that Thomas met a grieving mother, whom had lost a child to polio, and he comforted her with words of advice and faith. The event reminded him of why he became a priest in the first place, and in some strange way it made him feel more closure for the loss of his family than killing the deputies had.
Resolved to wander the frontier as a traveling priest, Thomas continued onward, up through Yellowstone and into Montana, advising and helping the citizens of the towns he passed along the way. Despite his original parish being of protestant faith, Thomas took up the all-use denomination of 'Father' - for it's recognizability in the until-recently-catholic territory of the Louisiana purchase. At this stage he considered the act of helping others with their faith to be more important than any minor religious disagreement, and his new label facilitated just that. His skill with a weapon was useful for both hunting and fending off any unsavory customers, which allowed him to feed those who needed feeding and defend those who could not defend themselves. Three years have passed since the killing at Fort Laramie, and Thomas now finds himself wandering along Bear Creek, in search of more souls to save.
Post-Arrival in Kalispell (1876, age 55)
A Man of God, and his Vices: In which Thomas arrived in Kalispell as a man in need of direction, and quickly found it by way of an encounter with the proprietors of the Stardust Saloon - Ralph Flandry and Mathilda Devereau. At their recollection of a rumor that Kalispell's present priest was due to step down, and suggestion that Thomas take up the role, it would seem that he would find some purpose in the frontier town after all. So too did he meet Arabella Mudd and Dutton Peabody, the saloon girl and drunken town lawyer respectively, though the former seemed far less taken with his rhetoric of 'universally acceptive Christianity' than the latter. After a wordy speech from Arabella, mostly admonishing the detestable 'Cath'licks' (to which Thomas refrained from commenting in the most part), it was decided he would stay in the saloon until such a time as the changeover with Pastor Evans could be properly secured.
Turn the Other Cheek: In which Thomas went to visit the good Pastor Evans along with Arabella, it was decided that he would assist the town's man of god in his duties maintaining the parish. After chatting at some length about local power and politic, it fell to Arabella to make things just that bit more difficult, with her insistence upon another display of her skill at the harmonium. Regardless, Thomas had secured work in Kalispell, and set about building a cabin for himself near the church, as well as settling into his new role. At this time, he left the moniker of 'father' behind, instead reverting to the universal 'reverend' for the sake of the Methodist congregation.
Miscellaneous reference images;
- Wide-Brim Hat
- Myriam (Mount, twelve years old)
- Waistcoat & Shirt (though the waistcoat would be darker)
- Colt Navy
- Double-Barrel Shotgun
I will likely play Thomas as a sort of 'good man with a sketchy background' - whereby it is clear that he isn't just a priest, but never explicitly says so. In this way he can operate in action, drama, and exposition scenes.
“Recite them from memory on the day! Unassisted!”
"Very well....we can memorize them. After all I have nothing to do prior to the wedding anyhow do I?"
Thomas nodded. "Very well. I'll uh, write these down..." he said, as he rifled through the papers atop the lectern for another spare sheet.
"Right, you will join hands before the altar, and Jacob, you will go first. The vow is as follows; 'In the name of God, I, Jacob Lutz, take you, Clara Redmond, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.'" Thomas said, copying out each word as he went.
"Clara, your response is the same, merely with the first line as; 'I, Clara Redmond, take you, Jacob Lutz, to be my husband,' of course."
He wrote out the vow once more on a separate sheet, though with said amendment.
"Just before the vows, you will both declare intent, and I will ask the greater family if they give their blessing, at which point, Mr. Redmond, you and others of the family present must reply unanimously with 'we do.'" he told Clara's father. "Once that is sorted, you may exchange rings, or items, and say a piece of your own, if you so desire. I will bless the items, then your marriage, and finally, you will be man and wife, given that we have signed the certificate, either before or during the ceremony."
The priest took the vows he'd written and moved down from the lectern to pass them to Jacob and Clara. "They aren't too long, so it shouldn't be all that difficult to memorize them."
“Reverend, er, everybody… would it be acceptable if I had a best woman instead of a best man?”
"It’s Arabella, see? I think she’s got her heart set on being your bridesmaid, dearest, and, well, I know you can barely just tolerate her."
"That is not true, Jacob,"
"But she’s been a real pal to me and well… ahem… she kinda got us two together and, well, she brought us all here together today, even you, Sir… somehow or other. It’ll stop her pestering you about being a bridesmaid, dearest, and, to be honest, why, I’d be happy to have her by my side to hand me the ring.”
Thomas frowned, struggling to recall exactly what the verdict was on this sort of thing. "I can't say that it's explicitly forbidden anywhere, but it would be highly unorthodox." he chimed in, though Clara seemed to have her own ideas. He got the inkling that this would be symptomatic of their relationship to come.
"Very well then, I will ask Arabella to be my bridesmaid but Emeline... Mrs. Blakesley is still going to be at the wedding."
"Mrs. Blakesley could act as Bridesmaid as well, or Maid of Honor, if you wanted." Thomas offered. "The procession would function much the same, simply with the Bridesmaid following the Maid of Honor in line." As things stood, Jacob's side of the wedding march lay awfully bare, but perhaps that would be remedied soon.
"Now then, Reverend, there will be absolutely no Mennonite service. Make it Presbyterian or Methodist and make it brief, to the point. Again, I wish to stress this will be a small simple service. Immediate family on both sides and just a few guests. Soon as the service is over we shall make our way to the farm. If that is acceptable?"
"Yes, it is, daughter.
"I will see to it there is food on the table. If your sister and your grandmother wish to bring some, that would be appreciated."
"Oh and as for rings, we cannot afford any rings. I do believe rings are not a necessity for a proper wedding."
"No, they are not." Thomas confirmed, as he quickly revised the notes sheet upon the lectern; scribbling out 'Mennonite(?)' and adding 'Arabella Mudd', 'Emeline Blakesley', and 'No ring exchange.'
"It is also possible to exchange some other item, if you so desire, but again, this is not necessary."
"Now, we can sort out attendants as we move forward. At the altar, I will give a... Methodist service..." he said slowly, to allow for any objections, "Followed by your vows. There are three ways we can go about the vows; first; I can read them to you in turn, and you will reply with 'I do' or 'I will.' Second; I can read each line one by one, and you can repeat them after me, or third; I can tell you the vows now, and you can recite them from memory on the day, unassisted."
It was a Friday, early, which meant that Thomas would be in town for the next few days to write and host the Sunday service. Situated in Pastor Evans' little nook out of the chancel, he sat, considering what he might present as the topic of discussion this week. Perhaps something on hypocrisy? Topical, considering the man locked up in the Marshall's office, and well... considering himself.
Matthew - he wrote, then quickly scribbled it out.
John 4:20 - If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
The old priest winced, the ache in his arm playing up a little. It had been causing trouble ever since this round of ranch visits, though he knew from experience that it would fade in a week or so. For now, he merely gave it a quick rotation, working the stiffness out, before getting back to the sermon.
"Padre? You here?"
A voice from the narthex, and an excuse to put this thing off. He could find his repentance later.
Thomas emerged from the side room, past the lectern and out by the pews. At the far end of the church, there stood Marshal Guyer, or Speed, as most folk seemed to call him. Authoritative and just, the Marshal was often here on Sundays, but to see him on a Friday was new ground.
"Marshal!" Thomas greeted, as he walked forward to meet the lawman. "You're not often here on a weekday, are you? To what do I owe the pleasure?"
“Well Father, I’m Reformed Mennonite but I’d even have a Baptist Wedding if it meant being with Clara for the rest of my life."
"Let's not carried away. First of all we do not want any fuss and unnecessary expense. We want it to be a simple service with a select few present. The sooner the better. If it can happen... tomorrow, I would be ecstatic."
"Very well, just a moment, please..." Thomas said, quickly moving back to the lectern to grab a spare note sheet and a pencil, upon which he wrote out; Mennonite(?), minimal expense, select few, sooner the better.
He looked up to the couple, pencil poised. He had begun to run through the marriage sequences in his head, and would need to sort them as he went. Typically Mennonite weddings would be hosted with the full congregation, but that seemed counterintuitive to the young couple's wishes, and Clara didn't seem all that enthused about Jacob's Mennonitic declaration anyway.
"Now, we'll likely open with the procession, in which Jacob, you and I enter first and come to the altar, followed by the best man and maid of honor on the left and right respectively, who will then be followed by Clara and Mr. Redmond, again on the left and right respectively. Once you two reach the altar, traditionally, Mr. Redmond, you will give Clara's hand to Jacob." he told them. "That is, if you intend to conduct the ceremony in the church. Do you have ideas as to your best man and maid of honor? Or even potential groomsmen and bridesmaids?"
A moment passed, maybe two, and the angry gaze of Clara's father finally seemed to renege.
"Very well then... alright boy... Jacob... you have my permission to marry Clara. As much as for the sake of the baby as the both of you."
Thomas could not help but smile at this outcome; really the best he could have hoped for. A family-supported couple were so much more likely to thrive than one without, and God knew that Jacob and Clara would need plenty of support in the years to come.
"Kindly pretend you didn't hear this next part." Mr. Redmond told Thomas, before addressing Jacob. "and just so you know, treat her right. And if you run out on her, you better keep on running because I will come looking for you. Just so you understand."
Thomas glanced between boy and man, before quickly cutting in to move the balance of conversation to a less unpleasant dynamic; "Right, well, now, I'd say there's a wedding to plan. Clara, Jacob, Mr. Redmond, might you three have any preferences as to how it should be conducted?"
"Pardon my possible blasphemy but I do not rightly care if they are repentant and forgiven by God. That's his call isn't it?"
Thomas frowned, but said nothing. It would probably be best to let Mr. Redmond get this out of his system, rather than pick at his words and potentially invoke greater anger. He needed to say his piece, and now was not the time to stop him.
"She and the boy have to deal with the consequences now whether they are sorry or not. Nothing changes. Their lives are going to be..."
"Our lives are going to be ours, father. We both know it's going to be difficult in so many ways but not being married is only going to make it that much harder. And the baby, it deserves a family, married parents. None of this is the baby's doing."
"I know that, Clara. I really don't need a sixteen year old explaining all this to me, thank you."
"Jacob, has your older sister been appraised of this? How did she take it?" Mr. Redmond asked with a sigh, and Thomas felt the tension lessen by just a touch. Granny Miggins had been alright with this, and maybe they could win Clara's father over with numbers yet.
(ooc: I know Thomas doesn't actually do much in this post, but I honestly didn't think he'd want to interrupt Raylan Aurelian)
Mr. Redmond was not pleased, that much was sure - but of course they had figured as much. All things considered, the couple were taking it well. Jacob seemed mostly uncowed, and Clara was just as stalwart, even jumping in to defend and connotate her lover's admission.
"If you want to take a swing at me or go home and get your shotgun and shoot me then I wouldn’t blame you and...”
"Oh, don't tempt me, boy!"
Thomas considered making a move to avoid any devolution of the situation, but Mr. Redmond seemed to take a breath and grow a little calmer after his initial shock, and the priest held his tongue.
"I believe you, boy. Or....at least you THINK you love her now. This is so not like you. What were you thinking? You are too young for this."
"We were not thinking. We got carried away, the both of us. It all happened so fast..."
"And are you sure? Are you positive you are with child?"
"Yes Father, I am. I am certain. And another thing, now that I am, I am happy and excited to have this baby. Jacob is too. It was not planned but we want the child. And like Jacob said, we want to get married."
He sighed again, and this time addressed Thomas, admittedly with the least scathing of accusations yet;
"And you are going to let this happen? Two ....kids ..get hitched because they want to or think they do? And what would you do if I, the father, refuse to give my permission? She is not a legal adult yet. You going to toss that aside?"
"Well, Jacob and Clara are repentant, and I believe the Lord will forgive them. Furthermore, they clearly care for each other, enough to risk the ire of their families and community. They might have kept this all a secret, and run off together - it speaks to their dedication to one another, and respect for you, that they would stay, seeking approval and a union in the eyes of the town and God." he said, keeping his voice level and inoffensive. "As for your refusal to acquiesce, I can only hope it will not come to that."
Thomas smiled and gave a little wave to Mr. Redmond in turn, though left the talking to the teenagers. Clearly it was not something that either of them wanted to air in the open though, and so it was raised that they return to whence from they had come.
Back into the church they marched, at Clara's suggestion. She was strong-willed, that girl, enough so that she commanded authority over her own father, who was certainly a large, strong sort of man.
"Fair enough but you got me nervous now, all of you."
"Oh, nothing to be nervous about, Mr. Redmond." Thomas reassured him as they passed back towards the side door of the chapel. "As Clara says, everyone is fine."
It would seem that Jacob needed no encouragement, though, for no sooner had they crossed the threshold than he spoke, calmly and authoritatively; “Mr Redmond. The plain fact is that Clara and I want to get married, in fact intend to get married, and as soon as possible. And before you say anything about being too young and waiting and … well, the plain fact is … we’re in the family way and I intend to make an honest woman of her and if you want to take it out on anybody then take it out on me, cause it was all my fault and I’ll defend Clara till my dying day and I know we’re in a church but if you want the take a swing at me or go home and get your shotgun and shoot me then I wouldn’t blame you and you two keep out of this, this is between me and Mr Redmond! I love her, Sir. I love her more than anything in the world.”
He'd hardly known the Lutz boy very long, nor could he claim to have really played a role in his surge of courage, but Thomas found himself proud of the strength that Jacob had displayed. It would no doubt be a defining moment, and hopefully one that Jacob too would come to reflect on with pride.
Exiting out onto the main road, Thomas accompanied the couple towards the blacksmith, though it only took a few steps for them to realize that the Redmond wagon was nowhere to be seen.
"I suppose we could take a walk and look around." Clara suggested, to which Thomas nodded, glancing around the main street. He'd hardly have to look long, though, when Jacob suddenly said; "Oh oh! I think he's found us!"
Thomas paused, standing back so that Jacob and Clara might take the lead. He was there for support, after all.
"You can do this, Jacob." he whispered, giving the boy an affirmative pat on the shoulder. If things turned sour, he would step in, but for now, it was up to the children.
"Mr. Redmond, Sir." Jacob politely managed, taking the hat from his head.
"So, when might you be available to go see my father? He is not at the farm now but... I wonder if he returned to your place to pick me up already? I hope your sister or your grandmother do not mention... our secret."
“Granny was dead against telling him, remember? And Lee’s probably locked in the fruit cellar by now.” Jacob replied. "She’s kinda highly strung, too.”
"Well, if the infamous Mrs. Miggins was agreeably disposed, I'd say that was half the battle." Thomas declared. He had in fact heard of Jacob's granny, though really, who hadn't?
"As for your father, Clara, I should be available most of the week, except Sundays of course." he told her. "I'd recommend getting it done sooner, rather than later, but so long as it is done..."
“We might still find him in town. He was going to see the blacksmith and boy is that feller a slow worker!” Jacob chimed in.
"Oh, well." Thomas said, giving the couple another heartening look. "If you both think you're ready, I propose we go and tie this up, as it were."
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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