Well, at least Billy agreed with him. He had saved Clara's life (if Greer was as good a shot as he bragged) and probably his, too. Brendan gave the younger cowhand a short nod. Not quite an apology, but close enough to one for now.
Greer seemed confident that sooner or later - sooner, it seemed he thought - they would wind up killing the Redmonds. He was just "getting a jump on it," which seemed like an awful thing to think.
"Well, get a jump on it when I'm not down there too," he snapped. "I don't fancy bein' shot 'cause you decided to use me for bait."
He edged his horse closer to Greer, getting in his personal space and looking down at him.
"And I don't know what's good for me, I guess. But if Mr. Steelgrave thinks he c'n order me to shoot that gal down there, he's damn wrong. Now put that rifle away an' let's get out of here before her pa comes after us."
"We know that there's four of you who don't want go to the dance but there are still twelve that do. Since we need another four to stay behind the only way to do this fairly is by lottery."
Mike looked over at the hands gathered in the bunkhouse. The annual Spring Dance was a popular affair and most of the men were eager to go. He could see that they were all in agreement about whether or not they go would be a game of chance. He picked up the upturned hat that was on the table. "Inside this hat are twelve pieces of paper. Four of them will have a cross on it. If you get one of those you're staying behind."
Ben raised his hand, "You part of this too?"
"Yes, that includes me," Mike answered in a slightly sarcastic tone, "Afterwards if you want to negotiate with one another than that's up to you."
As the men made their pick from the hat, the reactions to what they got ranged from joy to displeasure. Charlie, who even though still doing chores around the main house had already started his training, smiled as he looked at his piece of paper. He glanced over at Sam, who had obviously drawn one of the pieces with a cross on it. Seeing that Charlie was going, Sam got up but before he even reached his brother, Charlie put a hand up, "I'll save you the trouble. There's no way I'm giving this one away."
Sam frowned before going over to Mike. "Well?"
Mike smiled, "Sorry, it's a no from me as well."
After a few minutes, Mike raised his voice, "All right, men. Now that we've got that sorted out, it's time for those of you on duty tonight to get out there. Don't want ole Sage thinking that we've gone and forgotten all about him. Remember, to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity."
The men who had been assigned night duty, left the bunkhouse with a few of them trying to wrangle a deal that would let them go to the dance. Those left behind spent the remainder of the evening catching up on their mending or socialising with the others.
"Checkers, then." Emeline nodded, a little surprised at how much she was looking forward to just a day of games, so reminiscent of Sunday afternoons growing up, when the family was all together. She had always enjoyed that time, and was looking forward to having it again.
As he set up the board, she poured them coffee then set on a fresh pot to brew. Back at the table, she shooed Frankie off her chair, then sat and picked the cat up again. "I call red!" She gave him a serious look. "Lucky for you I'm not a gambler, or you'd lose your shirt to me!"
For a moment, Addy let down her guard, accepting the comfort and support that Jay offered, and finding encouragement in his words. Finally pushing back, she smiled sadly and nodded.
"Yeah, yeah, he'll stay here, a'course." She wasn't exactly sure what the law might have to say about that, but she'd fight tooth and nail for him. "Yer right, we'll wait." She shoved the paper into her pocket, nodding. "No sense ruining Christmas for him, an' that'll give me time ta talk ta some folks before I go to th' marshal...if I have other folks in town aggreein' ta help look after him when I'm gone."
There was Dr. Danfort, Emeline over at the Lickskillet, Miz Mercer...the lad would be well seen after.
"Ya can't tell no one we found out taday, since I really should talk ta th' marshal taday...an' I ain't gonna do that."
MacKenzie blinked in surprise at the woman's statement. He could feel the creeping heat climbing up from his collar and he also knew there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it.
"Well, I would be honored if you would give me the privilege of a dance. Consider yourself asked right this minute, Miss Devereau." He returned her gaze steadily for several heartbeats then he coughed lightly and looked around. "Ahem...So...what else can I do for you, Madame?"
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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