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  1. 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?"
  2. Mackenzie leaned back a bit, his hands sliding out to each side on his desk and a smile broke across his features. "Madame, I cannot tell you how happy your invitation makes me..." MacKenzie spread his arms to indicate the entirety of the fort surrounding them. "...usually in most of the commands I have been in, we are treated like a camp full of convicts or barbarians. Oh, when there are Indians raiding or bandits, what have you, we are very popular, but any other time it's "pay up front" or "stop loitering in our streets." MacKenzie then crossed his arms before him on his desk. "I totally understand your concerns and I would be unable to authorize leave for more than a handful of my men at any one time, so you and the town have nothing to worry about there." MacKenzie rubbed his chin with one hand as he looked thoughtful. "Let's see...I can leave the married officers to man the post. That would be simple enough, and I would like to invite some of our more senior NCO's...oh, apologies...my older sergeants, whom I believe I can trust to behave in polite company..." The colonel did some counting in his head then looked back at Matilda. "Would a dozen men be too large a party?"
  3. MacKenzie could not help but stare for just a moment as he heard Miss Devereau's matter of fact explanation of her status. One part of his brain was trying to get his attention as he realized he was not quite gaping at his visitor. MacKenzie gave himself a mental shake and hoped the gesture was not external as well. "Well, I am always willing to listen to the local civilians when they come to my post with business to discuss. What invitation are you bringing my men and I...?" What sort of town is this?...MacKenzie thought to himself as he answered the saloon owner. If a seemingly upright woman like Miss Devereau did this, what other secrets might the rest of the town hold?...MacKenzie figured he might need to rethink this leave thing with the garrison...can't afford to lose men by just sending them to town...the colonel realized Matilda had resumed speaking...
  4. Mackenzie was already coming to his feet as the orderly waved the visitor into his office. "I have no desire to claim acres of moose and pasture in the name of the United States..." Mackenzie said as he took her offered hand and bent his head over it before releasing it. That whole gallant kiss thing was lost on MacKenzie. Wellington knew how to greet a lady but he in no way considered himself a swain. "...besides in the wisdom of the War Office I would then be forced to watch over all that new land with the same inadequate number of men I have to watch the territory I have now." The officer tugged out one of the two chairs before his desk for his visitor to have a seat before he moved back around to settle behind his desk. "And it's Colonel MacKenzie, not General, although I appreciate the compliment..." Mackenzie rested his elbows on his desk as he leaned forward a bit. "So what can I do for you, Mrs. or Miss...?"
  5. Quentin heard snow crunching and turned back from the telescope to see Shade climbing the small knoll to stop beside him. Quentin handed the telescope over to Shade and pointed. "There is the town rescue party. Looks like we timed it about right..." Quentin looked back at the Lost Lake group then to the town group. "I think our mounts are probably fresher. We should get ourselves in front to help clear a path for them to follow. What do you think?" Quentin swore softly and tugged his scarf up over his nose to protect his face from the biting cold. "I forgot how much I hate winter..." @Stormwolfe for Shade
  6. Quentin held the telescope in his gloved hands and squinted through the tube. He picked out the group of wagons and riders in the distance. A tight smile moved across his face as he lowered the telescope and turned in his saddle to look back behind him. A double column of Lost Lake riders were pushing along the road, their horses trudging along, clearing the snow with their legs and chests for the group of ranch wagons that followed. The children and a small skeleton crew had remained back at the ranch to deal with the aftermath of the snowstorm. Quentin watched the town party approaching as he sat Paladin on the small knoll and remembered the events that had transpired... The snow had finally blown itself out, leaving behind the typical painfully blue skies but icebox frigid temperatures. The snow had been too deep for the children to go out and play so the only outdoor activity had been the ranch chores that could not wait and to check on the ranch livestock. The hands had stayed in the bunkhouse when not doing the necessary work of the ranch. Everyone had shared food, making sure everyone got to enjoy some hot home cooked meals with the weather as opposed to the usual fare. The first indication to reach Lost Lake of what had befallen Whitefish had come one morning. The house was bustling with typical activity, enhanced by the cabin fever attached to being snowed in by the drifts outside. Quentin at that time was on his hands and knees in the living room, rubbing his chin as he looked over his array of toy soldiers set up before a low table that was currently serving as the fort garrisoned by the soldiers led by Cody, his nephew. "I am pretty sure I regret how much attention you paid to me when I was telling you how to play with your armies..." The boy grinned widely and then reached, fussing over some last minute positions of his cannon. Quentin's lips quirked up. He had seen that same look of concentration on the faces of young troopers...checking and rechecking tack on their mounts...checking everything from the angle of their hat to the edge on their saber during that time before the bugles blew and none of the details mattered anymore. Quentin's planning was interrupted by the sound of a horse outside as it galloped up and stopped outside. He was already getting to his feet and moving toward the front door when he heard the fist knocking hard on the wood. Quentin opened the door to see a bundled shape that bustled into the foyer, tugging off his hat as he stood steaming in the warmer air of the house. "Cup of coffee, please!" Quentin called toward the kitchen as he sensed movement at the doorway. He looked the rider over. "You look like you've been riding for hours...where the Hell have you been?" The rider's face did much to silence the rest of Quentin's question. "I got bored and decided to ride out to the main road...just to see the conditions and maybe...maybe see if the way was clear into town..." Quentin nodded. He knew this hand had recently met a girl in town and had been looking to get back to her as soon as possible. "...I got to the main road and...and...there's bodies, Boss..." Quentin's jaw dropped. "Bodies? What do you mean...who? How many?" The rider threw his arms out in anguish. "I don't know! I could see several from where I sat. They were scattered along the road from Whitefish and going towards town. I didn't...I didn't get too close..." Quentin heard footsteps behind him and watched as the hand took the cup of coffee and drained it quickly, savoring the heat and he handed the cup back for a refill. Quentin stood quietly for a minute before he looked back at the young hand. "I need you to go rouse the bunkhouse. I need you to have the Foreman come up here and you pick someone who can make their way to Kalispell. Make sure they pick a good horse and dress very warm. Tell them to get to town, find out what has happened, and get back as quickly as they can..." The hand turned and dashed back out the door. Quentin closed the door and turned back to the people who had gathered behind him. @Stormwolfe and anyone I missed (open tags and insert any other characters)
  7. Quentin looked back through the doorway to make sure Harriet was out of earshot before he turned back to Shade. "Oh, right...about that..." Quentin moved around and dropped into one of the chairs opposite Shade's desk. "...Let's see...after all the days on the trail where Harriet showed she isn't a half bad cowhand...not half good, either, but not bad." Quentin's hands batted at his vest until he found the leather holder for his cigarillos and he tugged one out and lit it with a match from the same pouch's holder. He puffed the cigarillo a few times then held it in two fingers while he relaxed in the chair. "Then there was the Indian attack..." Quentin watched Shade's face after that little nugget of information. "Indian attack!" Shade's head snapped up and he stared at Quentin. He frowned, "Is everyone okay? I mean, obviously you and Harriet are fine, but the other men with you?" What Shade wanted to ask about was the location of the attack. Poison was on a few miles north of where Chance, Regina, and the kids had been killed. He still suspected that their murders were not as simple and straight-up as the authorities wanted them to believe. "And you are sure they were Indians?" Shade had to question that too. Poison was roughly twenty-five miles south of Kalispell and they were not getting many reports of Indian troubles here in the northwest part of the territory. Quentin blew a gust of smoke at the ceiling then lifted his hand and moved it in a calming gesture. "Easy. Everyone made it. It was a scary situation. The Indians did not want the fort to get that meat. It seems Mackenzie...Colonel Mackenzie that is...has been trying to subdue the Indians in this area with varying degrees of success." Quentin then sat up a little straighter. "You're forgetting one thing, though...Harriet about got her scalp lifted helping you out. Once she's cleaned up she might consider lifting your scalp as repayment." Mike raised his eyebrow at Quentin's remark about Harriet. It sounded like the woman he had just met was a bit of a curmudgeon. Although she seemed pleasant enough when he met her, he wasn't really sure if that was an act or not. As for the rest of the conversation, it wasn't a good sign that the Indians were attacking as it meant that it could be the start of something bigger. "Did MacKenzie have any idea of why they have been so restless?" Quentin shrugged. "He had received orders to do more...I'm sure you have seen how the Government treats Indian tribes all over..." Quentin took another draw from his cigarillo. "...Mackenzie realized that the local tribes weren't going to just accept it...and really...do any of them? So he's going to do his part to make things smoother, and now that they're going to build a new Fort, Mackenzie will have more men to keep the peace, regardless of Indian or White man being the troublemakers." Quentin took another draw and looked at the small part remaining before he mashed it out on an ashtray nearby. "Now...I think that's enough storytelling. I'm going to clean up and go to bed." Quentin stood up with a grunt and nodded to Mike. "A pleasure once again and welcome aboard..." He then looked at Shade as he stopped at the door. "Good luck with Harriet." Quentin nodded and disappeared through the door. Shade watched the older man leave and leaned back, his mind now occupied with what a new fort might mean. He glanced over at Mike, "We need to consider expanding our contracts with the army. Depending on where they are putting the new fort, we could increase the frequency of our cattle deliveries to them - smaller drives. I can also see MacKenzie about doing more with our contract for supplying mounts." Shade enjoyed the job of wrangling cattle, but his heart lay with the ranch's equine operations. He was a natural horseman and really good with them. Tags for Mike @JulieS (maybe in a new reply?)
  8. Quentin followed Harriet into the house, his saddlebags hanging on one shoulder. He grinned as she yelled Shade's name. If she thinks Shade will show himself at the sound of her voice, then Harriet doesn't know Shade very well. Quentin batted at the trail dust on his clothes before finally giving up and hanging his hat on one of the row of hooks on the wall. A look at the hat reminded Quentin that he needed to go to town and buy a new one when he had the chance. Quentin stood, tugging his gloves off each hand in turn as he watched Harriet as she did the same. He found himself smiling to himself as he watched her and wandered how things had changed over the past months since he had first met her. One time he had heard or read "There is a thin line between Love and Hate." Quentin figured that maybe that intensity of dislike had contributed to the way the two of them were feeling about each other now. Quentin blinked and gave himself a mental shake as he looked around and did not see Shade. "Come on out, Shade!..." Quentin yelled finally. "...Don't make her come looking for you!" @Players
  9. Quentin reined around and swung his rifle back up, firing and levering steadily even as his brain screamed to fire as fast as he could. The dust from the cattle and the terrain masked a lot but he felt pretty confident about some hits on the shapes of mounted Indians. Quentin yanked the reins with his left hand to spin Paladin and he spurred him back into motion, holding the Winchester by the grip as he took off once more. He could see the fort ahead and now a few scattered puffs of white from among the buildings and he thought he could hear a faint bugle sound from that direction. The mass of cattle, riders, and wagon burst into the central parade ground of the open plan fort. Soldiers were coming out of every building. Some were armed, some were not but all were racing out in response to the bugle sounding "Assembly" over and over. Quentin kicked off the saddle as Paladin slid to a halt and he ran back to the corner of a building. As he reached the corner and looked along his rifle sights, Quentin was surprised to see the Indians had wheeled about and were racing the for the nearest terrain while being chased by random rounds from the soldiers that had been running out from the fort to form a makeshift skirmish line. Figuring the soldiers had everything well in hand, Quentin turned and walked over to Paladin, catching the reins and began leading him back toward the fort so he could rest. On the far side of the parade ground, he could see a man with a small group of troopers standing beside Harriet as she sat her horse. He was mostly listening to her as his men moved about, chasing down the last of the cattle and keeping an eye out from the fort for any new attacks. Harriet broke off in mid-sentence as an instinctive awareness made her turn in her saddle. Seeing Quentin leading Paladin prompted her to fling herself off Spirit's back and head at a run in his direction. She stopped just in front of him to peruse him critically searching for bullet holes and blood. Seeing nothing of that kind, she uttered a little cry and flung her arms around him, "Thank God you are safe. I couldn't have..." she buried her face in his shoulder rather than give voice to what she was feeling. Quentin blinked, rocking back on his heels as Harriet's sudden embrace almost put him on his back. He staggered a step and his hand dropped the reins to wrap around her. Quentin held her tight as he felt her trembling and he smiled as he felt the warm rush inside from the sensation of her concern. He dipped his head a bit to inhale her scent, enjoying it regardless of the trail dust and days without a bath. After what felt like a while but was probably only a handful of seconds, Quentin opened his eyes and saw several sets of boots. He tilted his head back to see the group of troopers standing behind Harriet on either side of a tall man with blonde hair and a sculpted beard. All were in various degrees of smiling or chuckling. Quentin felt himself flush and nodded. "Thank you for the assistance, Colonel..." Harriet looked up as Quentin spoke and turned her head to see the group of men gathered around them. She blushed, but only pulled slightly away from him, still keeping close, "Colonel MacKenzie, this is Quentin Cantrell, one of the owners," she explained, her voice sounding far calmer than she actually felt. "I explained that Mr. Thornton was injured and unable to travel," she told Quentin, "and what happened back there with the Indians." Harriet gestured toward the direction they had ridden in from. The officer smiled wider and extended a hand. "Lieutenant Colonel Wellington MacKenzie...I believe it should be I who is thanking you and your outfit. My men were about to stage an insurrection if they did not get some meat on the table soon..." He glanced past Quentin into the distance. "I will send out a patrol, but I doubt your new friends will stick around for long now that they have failed to take your cattle for themselves." MacKenzie turned his gaze back to the two. "Please allow me to offer you the hospitality of the fort before you have to head back. I suspect you both could use some rest and the chance to clean up." Harriet glanced up at Quentin and smiled before answering the fort's commander, "Yes, Colonel, thank you. It is far too late to start back for Kalispell today. We could use a chance to rest and let our mounts rest too." It was then that she realized just how incredibly bone-weary she felt. Even so, the hard physical labor of the last few days had felt good. Harriet had thought that doing the routines that Fang had taught her kept her in good shape. The drive had taught her different. Once they got back to Kalispell, she would ask Shade to let her spend some time on the range to stay in practice. Quentin turned long enough to slide his Winchester back into its saddle scabbard, then he nodded to MacKenzie. "That sounds fine to me, Colonel." He looked over at Harriet and genuinely smiled. MacKenzie clapped his hands together. "Excellent!..." He turned to an officer beside him. "Maxwell, please show these two to the Executive Officer's house. He and his family are back east visiting relatives. Then detail some men to settle in their riders and mounts so everyone can come to the mess hall tonight for a celebration." Men nodded and scattered in different directions as the young captain gestured to lead them across the parade ground toward a nondescript structure on one edge of the cleared area.
  10. Longshot

    A Long March

    Quentin's head reared back a bit and anyone who saw the motion might have imagined they could hear the warning rattle of a diamondback. Quentin was not expecting deference or anything from the Army. He had been a part of that organization and knew how it viewed civilians in general, but this officer was doing a pretty fair job of angering everyone not in a uniform in very short order. "Dinner sounds excellent, Major...I will be happy to accompany my friends this evening..." Quentin glanced at Addy and Harriet. "...I even brought a bottle with me on the trail drive to celebrate the end of the drive. I would be pleased to contribute it to the evening." @Glenn @Stormwolfe @Bongo
  11. Longshot

    A Long March

    Quentin heard some orders being given and turned to look over at the commander. He saw him detailing men to check the indians and then heading in the direction of where they had come from. He jogged back over to his horse and thanked Addy as he mounted again. He looked over at Harriet and the others. "We might be able to save something of this after all...HAHHHH!" He kicked Paladin into a gallop and raced up along the column to rein up next to the commander. "Sir! If I might make a request?" @Glenn @Stormwolfe @Bongo @Wayfarer
  12. Longshot

    A Long March

    Quentin kicked his leg over the saddle and dropped to the ground beside Paladin. "Much obliged..." He nodded to Addy then looked around at the others as they dismounted. "We'll stay here and defend the wagons...no need to wander around and get in the way of the troopers..." Quentin finished reloading his Winchester and moved over to one of the wagons that faced toward the approaching Indians. He rested the rifle on the corner of the wagon and aimed along the barrel, firing a few rounds at any Indians that seemed to be drifting their way. The volleys from the triple line drew Quentin's gaze and he gave a single head tilt. "Brave...not sure how smart he is, but definitely brave..." @Players
  13. Longshot

    A Long March

    Quentin looked around at the milling activity. Their group had circled around the end of the column and moved toward the wagons as they organized their circle. Quentin was thumbing more rounds into his Winchester as he cradled it while guiding Paladin. The small group reined up at the wagons and Quentin looked up to where an officer was forming a firing line, but it seemed very small from where they were. Quentin finished reloading and then looked around, seeing the others were safe and uninjured. Quentin's relief turned to puzzlement as his eyes stopped moving and settled on one of the wagons nearby "...Addy?" @Bongo @Stormwolfe
  14. Quentin heard the occasional snap as a round came near, but with him riding hard and the Indians also mounted and galloping, the chance of getting hit by a bullet was like getting hit by lightning...it might happen, but it wasn't something you could spend time worrying about. Quentin looked ahead and realized that Harriet and the hands were up to something, and as he drew still closer Quentin could see Weems working to get mounted. Realizing what was going on and knowing from his own experience that the Indians were bearing down far too quickly to give them the time they needed, Quentin reached down and yanked his Winchester from the saddle scabbard, flipping it up and into his hand in a better grip before he leaned up and back, left hand pulling rein to slow Paladin and turn him around to face the oncoming scatter of hostiles. Paladin reared then came back down, freezing as much as a horse could as Quentin's boot toe bumped his foreleg. Quentin worked the lever and brought the rifle to his shoulder. He aimed at the closest mass of horse and rider and his finger curled on the trigger. The rifle (Quentin carried a full 24 inch barrel unlike most with 20 inch carbines), barked and the horse in the distance reeled as the rider went flying from inertia. Quentin was already working the lever and aiming again, firing at another Indian, levering, then firing with an economy of motion as he took the leading riders under fire. Paladin shivered a few times and his muscles twitched in reaction to Quentin's firing and the oncoming attackers. Quentin himself would probably have been terrified if he took the moment to think about what he was doing, but he had a lot more on his mind. Once the Indians closed to under a hundred yards, Quentin reined Paladin around and let his horse run as it must have wanted to. He only caught a glimpse of three or four Indians down or on foot after losing horses, but that was better than he hoped for when he had stopped. @Players
  15. Quentin rode Paladin in a lazy back and forth path behind the herd, not hurrying the animals but keeping them moving. They had had to slow down a bit when they realized the cattle were losing weight. Forage for them was not as plentiful as they had hoped when they set out, and the last thing Quentin wanted was the army to start whining about how skinny their cows were. The only control they had was not to work them too hard on the trail. He angled his horse away from the herd and circled around the edge closest to Harriet. Quentin reached up and tugged his bandanna from his neck and used it to wipe at the sweat on his face. As he pulled the cloth down his eyes caught motion past Harriet in the brush on the other side of the creek. Normally he might have brushed it off as an animal, but most game animals and even predators tended to stay farther away from a herd on the move. Quentin saw no flashes of reflection so figured it was Indians instead of rustlers. He smiled and nodded to Harriet as ht wheeled Paladin around to sit his mount beside hers with their backs to the water. "Harriet..." Quentin said in a steady tone without changing his expression or looking back in the direction of the creek, "...Do not look or react, but we are being watched from the other side of the creek." Harriet was able to do as Quentin said. His quiet tone had been the first hint that something was not quite right. It was far different from the querulous one that both used to speak to one another. Her many years of training with Fang had taught her how to be still and not react automatically. This meant she was able to prevent herself from looking around. However, her heart did speed up. She had little experience with Indians beyond the members of the Crow nation that were both friends and blood kin to the Thorntons. "My guess would be Indians, because I think one picked the wrong moment to move or I still would not know they were there..." Quentin said as they slowly began to walk their horses back toward the herd. "You need to ride over and let them know what's going on, and tell Weems also..." Quentin suddenly reared upright in his saddle. "I don't CARE what you want, woman!..." He roared. "I told you to go let the others know when I plan to camp! Now do as I say!" This time Harriet could not prevent herself from reacting instinctively. Her usual indignation was sublimated by the rampant memories of her childhood and her father's frequent anger when she did something he disliked. It gave her time to gather her wits and although she glared at Quentin, promising retribution at some point, Harriet whirled Spirit around and sank spur. Quentin watched her ride off. He knew his little show was so she could get started back without the indians suspecting she was going to warn the others, but he also had seen her expression as she reacted to his words. As long as she had a chance to get back to some relative safety, Quentin figured he could live with some anger down the road. Quentin reined Paladin around in a leisurely fashion so he stood sideways to the river. Quentin reached into his jacket and tugged out the small leather holder and extracted one of his cigarillos. He bit off the end and stuck it in his mouth as he pulled one of the lucifers from the small tin he kept in the leather holder. Quentin struck it off his belt buckle and held it to the end of the cigarillo, puffing it a few times to make sure it was burning. He then shook the match out and let it fall. He lifted his head and blew out a cloud of smoke as he let his gaze drift along the far bank. Quentin hoped that his staying where he was would make them wait. After about two minutes had passed, Quentin let out a smoke tinged breath he did not realize he had been holding. Maybe this would work...Maybe... A puff of white smoke from the far bank cut off his musing and a bullet passed within a few feet...the hiss and snap was something you never forgot after the first time it happened. "Well, Hell..." Quentin muttered as he wheeled Paladin around and spurred him so the horse sprung into motion, galloping hard after Harriet in the distance as the rising sound of yelps and gunshots rose behind him.

About Sagas

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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