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-blonde hair has been replaced with 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, even as she began to grow more independent with age. They disagreed often, as families do, especially on matters of religion, where Mary leaned into Catholicism more than her parents, but they would always reach a healthy conclusion - Thomas resolving to be open-minded about his daughter's faith. Happy to have a loving, understanding father, Mary made him a set of unique rosaries as a gift, crafted to the Evangelical Lord's Prayer, as a sort of go-between for their two faiths.
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, and as a sort of homage to his daughter's beliefs, now bringing tender memories rather than coexistent forgiveness. At this stage he considered the act of helping others with their woes 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, and perhaps to leave the more painful memories of his family behind.
Numbers may not be Enough III: Looking for Help: In which the town Marshal, one Henry 'Speed' Guyer, came by the Kalispell church to request Thomas' help in the protection of law and order during the presently-occurring court case, involving the Steelgrave son. Thomas agreed, feeling a sense of duty for the town he had come to find a home in, even if it meant breaking his until-now uninterrupted peaceful streak.
An Official Visit: In which the young couple Clara and Jacob came to visit Thomas, and request that he marry them. Under some minor duress, it was revealed that the circumstances of their union were motivated by a natal aspect, though the old priest agreed anyway. A minor conflict arose when Clara's father, Aurelian Redmond, showed up, but under Thomas' encouragement, the pair revealed their intentions and situation, and Aurelian seemed to take it rather well, all things considered. They proceeded to plan the wedding for the following day, with no small measure of disagreement, but eventually settled on an order of events, and a way in which to complete them.
With This Ring: In which the good Reverend did join Clara and Jacob in holy matrimony, with the attendance of their friends and relations, for a joyous, and (mostly) hitchless ceremony!
The Reception: In which Clara and Jacob hosted their wedding party, to which Thomas attended in good spirits, bringing whiskey and a certificate of marriage as presents for their union. After tossing some horseshoes with the boys and deputy Pike, much cheer was had by way of dancing, eating, and affection from the couple(s) present.
Cleaning the Slate: In which Thomas was visited by a young man with a drinking problem named Charlie Wentworth, seeking to atone and kick his sinful habit. Thomas agreed to retain a copy of a contract written by Mr. Wentworth, assuring his sobriety in a promise to God, and when they parted Thomas felt sure of Charlie's eventual success in his endeavor.
The Quick and the Dead: In which the three latest victims of Quentin Cantrell were brought out into the street for the townsfolk to ogle, and Thomas was enlisted to assist in consecrating and burying the bodies. During this time he came to meet an incredibly peculiar lady, by the name of Jemima Wigfall, who seemed enraptured by the vile and macabre. Thomas thought it best to cut their conversation short, lest she get any false ideas about his attitude towards such things.
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.
"I hope so and I hope I won't have to come here again with regards to this problem... If you don't mind could you pray for me as I am thinking of changing a few other things. All of this has gotten me thinking about where my life is headed and what I should be doing."
"I can, and I certainly will. These things take time, don't be discouraged if you don't immediately start feeling better. As I've said; beating addiction is an enduring struggle. If you end up finding a new calling to enjoy in your life, well, that's just a bonus."
He took Charlie's hand firmly in a shake, as the boy rose to leave.
"I'd like to thank you for your time, Reverend and if there's anything I can do for you or the church, just let me know."
"Oh, careful son, I just might hold you to that." Thomas said, with a twinkle of humor in his eye.
(OOC: End thread?
OOC: Yep )
"I wanted to take her dances and picnics... you know all the things a woman should do before she settles down. Her getting married all of a sudden like this... well I didn't expect her to do something this rash with someone she met only a couple of months ago. It seems so un-Clara like. Even though I lost this time, I don't intend to let it to happen again. My drinking was part of the problem and that's why I want to make this contract, so I'll never make the same mistake twice where a woman I care about is concerned."
"It can often be difficult to understand the Lord's intentions. Why he chooses to do what he does." Thomas said, sympathetically. "And in grief, we often forget that he does watch over us. I suppose what I'm getting at is that perhaps it was always meant to be - perhaps, he understood that you would need to endure this loss, before you could raise yourself up, and become a better man because of it."
"Now." he continued, as he looked back down to the contract. "If it's alright with you, I might seal this in an envelope... and I should hope that I won't need to break that seal anytime soon."
Thomas smiled at Charlie, rising from his seat in the pews and folding the contract in his hands. "This is the right choice, son. Remember, that nothing will impossible with God. Confide in him with your prayers, and hold his strength in yourself. You'll come through this, and better for it."
Thomas looked over Charlie's contract critically. As he'd said, it was literal and to-the-point; outlining the boy's intentions down to the very type of spirits he'd forego. He'd clearly thought this through in some detail, and put consideration into his goals. Too often had Thomas seen a man swear off drink altogether, only to find himself entirely incapable of performing such a feat.
"I've also put in something to remind me of the consequences like being tricked into signing contracts and losing Clara to someone else. Most of all I mention that if I break this promise, I owe God and any man of the cloth an apology and act of repentance."
Thomas looked up from the document, to Charlie's solemn face. Would that be newly-married Clara?
"Pardon my asking; were you and Mrs. Lutz... Clara... were you two very close?" He asked, before quickly adding that; "If it's a sore subject, I can leave it be."
"It's a long story, you see I've had a problem with hard liquor for some time and well... it's finally got me in to a situation where I have agreed to do something I wouldn't ordinarily have done if I was in control of my senses."
"I see." Thomas repeated. "I'm sorry to hear that, son. Drink can get hold of the best of us."
"My drinking has also caused me to miss out on something...someone, I would have liked to...well it's doesn't matter now as she's gone and chose somebody else." Charlie continued. "I don't want to be in position like this again if I can help it and the only way I can see it is to make a commitment...a promise to someone who will make it hard for me to break it. I'm a God-fearin' man and I try to get to church when I can so figure that if I make a contract with God and put it writing it will be a constant reminder."
Thomas gestured at the pews to their side. "Take a seat, if you'd like." he offered, lowering himself into one of the rows. "It's admirable of you to come to me, Charlie. Few have the self-awareness to recognize their problem, and fewer still have the conviction to do anything about it. The mere fact that you are willing to try your hardest in breaking this habit; that shows repentance, and I'm sure the Lord will lend you the strength to see this through."
He paused for a moment, considering the young man's request. He'd never had to draw up a physical contract in writing for a sinner's repentance; God tended to work on a more omnipotent level than that of bankers and clerks, but if an empirical obligation held more water than a spiritual one for young Mr. Wentworth, then far be it from Thomas to disagree. It had an air of the Catholic about it too; 'confession' in written form.
"Now, about this contract... I should think that putting pen to paper in the house of the Lord would be binding in His eyes, but if you'd like, I could bear witness, as a secondary confidant."
It had been busy month, what with both weddings one after the other on top of the prevalent Sunday congregation drawn on by summer weather. Thomas had precious little time to himself that month of June, and that which he did was mostly spent in reflection. He had married a young couple, children really, out of wedlock. It had all come out okay, but what if it hadn't? Further still, what outcomes might there be as yet unseen?
Thoughts of his own family would inevitably come too, a sort of morbid irony in such a time of happiness and peace. Fort Laramie lay a state and some years away, but would not leave him be.
He was in the little room off the chancel that afternoon, looking over a few bits of administrative paperwork come down from the state records office. 'Yes, Mr. King, both the guardians of bride and groom voiced consent before the ceremony. The speed of the occasion was at the couple's behest.'
He looked up from the letter, to the sound of muted footsteps on the church's floorboards. From out in the Atrium came a shuffling of shifted cloth, and then silence.
It was not uncommon for parishioners to come in for advice and assistance off the Day of Worship, but if one needed to see a priest on Saturday, implication being that they could not wait one more day, it would likely be an urgent matter indeed.
The old priest rose, pushed in his chair, and exited out into the church, to see a young man sat on one of the pews, a thoughtful look upon his face.
"Can I help you, son?" he asked.
Rings were exchanged, and a speech given at the declaration of intent. Thomas took up the bible which sat upon the lectern. "Let us pray." he said once the exchange had finished, he began the proceeding prayer.
"God of all peoples, you are the true light illumining everyone. You show us the way, the truth, and the life. You love us even when we are disobedient. You sustain us with your Holy Spirit. We rejoice in your life in the midst of our lives. We praise you for your presence with us, and especially in this act of solemn covenant; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
He glanced down at his bible, ribbon-marked and dog-eared several times over. "I will now read scripture from Isaiah 55, that we go out in joy. Feel free to, er... follow along, should you want."
Thomas cleared his throat, and began; "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it produce and sprout, and providing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will my word be which goes out of my mouth; it will not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the purpose for which I sent it. For you will go out with joy and be led in peace; the mountains and the hills will break into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush, the juniper will come up, and instead of the stinging nettle, the myrtle will come up; and it will be a memorial to the Lord, an everlasting sign which will not be eliminated."
He paused for a moment, then added; "Just as this marriage shall be; an everlasting sign, which will not be eliminated. Amen."
Finally, looking up, he waved a hand to Arabella, only hoping that this time she stuck to a more conventional tune.
"Now, we will render 'Come Christians, Join to Sing', Arabella, if you'll...?"
The cake was good, but of course, who ever baked a poor cake for a wedding? Thomas wolfed down his share, and set the plate to the side, for now that the formalities were done with, they could satisfy the administrative side of things.
He collected the bottle, and the certificate, then waded his way through the guests to where the couple now stood, holding hands and looking for all the world like they had been made for each other.
"Sorry to interrupt." he greeted them both humbly. "Now that things are dying down a little, there is the matter of signatures..."
The reverend placed the certificate on the table in front of them.
"...to confirm union in the eyes of the law."
Both parties declared their intent, unashamedly in love. That's how it went, at least; most of the time...
He raised his eyes to the audience, encompassing friends and relations, and not-so-friends and not-so-relations, and even Arabella on the harmonium over in the corner, who had seemed very eager to participate in the sermon. Of course, he had turned her down. Her showtune was already a tenuous proposition, and any other concessions might have been a bridge too far.
"The marriage of Barnabas and Emmeline unites their families and creates a new one. They ask for your blessing. Do you who represent their families rejoice in their union
and pray God's blessing upon them?" he asked.
All would agree, or so he hoped. Very rarely did anyone take issue with a predetermined marriage on the date itself.
Aurelian gave his speech, shortly followed by Jacob and the Wigfall boy, and while Thomas had spent the last few minutes engrossed by the wide assortment of quality foodstuffs at hand, even he had to lend an ear to the more impassioned moments of the newly-made Mr. Lutz's presentation.
He nodded humbly at the thanks he was given, and when the time came for the couple to cut their cake, he joined in on the cheering chorus, raising a glass to their prosperity and happiness.
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.
Connect With Us On
If you would like to join the Sagas' Discord server or are already a member, click the image to open the Discord web application.