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Bailey

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Everything posted by Bailey

  1. Brendan flew over the crest of the rise on Fiona with the rest of the riders and tried to pick out the rustlers from where their gunshots were coming from. It was hard, with the intermittent flashes from the gunfire giving only a little clarity to their attacker's figures. He rode bent low on Fiona's neck and stretched his pistol out in front of him. Somewhere on the way to the paddocks he had lost track of José, but there was no time to worry about him now. A spattering of gunfire came from ahead and in the resulting light, he caught sight of a fellow on a horse across the paddock. He pointed his pistol and squeezed the trigger once. In the dark, with the motion of his horse, and the uncertainty of the whole situation, there was no way of knowing if his shot would even hit. He shot again in hopes that he would at least hit something. Shooting in the dark was a lot different than shooting at rattlesnakes or beer bottles in the daytime, and neither of those things he'd practiced on ever shot back. These men would shoot back.
  2. Brendan chuckled. "Dream? Nah, my dream is to lay around all day with nothin' to do. But this ain't so bad." Now that he thought about it, he didn't really have a dream. Besides being rich someday. There wasn't anything wrong with drifting, but it certainly wasn't the dream. He led the way into the stable and pointed to an empty stall. "That one can be hers. Oats are in the corner over there if she wants any." He pointed this time to a large sack labeled "oats" stacked on several others like it. Then he went over to his horse's stall. "This here's Fiona. She's mine." He patted her chestnut nose fondly and entered the stall to start putting her tack on. He was in no hurry to get out on the range, and José's horse needed some time to be fed and watered, so he took his time and even brushed Fiona's coat a bit before putting the saddle on. "You ever ridden for a place this big before?" he asked, glancing back at the Mexican. It was highly unlikely. Steelgrave had one of the biggest places in Montana and probably in the whole of the territories. Probably.
  3. Mature Content: Probably not With: Brendan and Caroline Location: Caroline's room When: July 25, 1875 (picking a random date that works time-wise) Time of Day: Night, after Caroline's shift ends Brendan adjusted his pillow under his head and turned on his side, feeling the floor beneath his hip. He made a face. It wasn't the first time he had slept rough - the beds in the Evergreen bunkhouse weren't exactly cushy - but sleeping on the floor started to wear on you after a while. He had been able to sell off Billy, Greer, and Black Jack's horses and tack, and with that money had bought himself two new shirts and a bedroll so he wasn't sleeping just on the hard floor. It wasn't so bad living above the saloon: there was always something going on, and he'd had the opportunity to win some money playing poker. It wasn't much, but it made him feel like he was doing something useful even if half the time he was just sat on his ass at a corner table. He was always around when Caroline sang. At first it had been out of hopes that she'd take a fancy to him and he wouldn't end up sleeping on the floor at least for a night, and then it had been out of their friendship that had grown and out of a wish to help keep Arabella from pestering her. Not that Caroline needed any help with that. She treated Arabella with extreme coldness, or at least she had. They seemed to have mended things recently, but he just couldn't let it go. He didn't normally hold grudges, but his one he held for Caroline's sake. He wasn't watching her tonight, however. He had too much on his mind. Bridget and Crabbe were at the forefront of his mind as the snatches of Arabella's piano playing, Caroline's singing, and the audience's applause drifted up through the floorboards. He turned and turned again but couldn't get comfortable and couldn't go anywhere with his thoughts. By the time he heard Caroline's step outside the door, he was fed up with thinking. When she opened the door and came into the room, he sat up. "Good crowd tonight," he said conversationally. "Could hear whoopin' and hollerin' all the way from up here." Not that that was different than any other night Caroline sang. He got up and lit the lamp on Caroline's bedside table, then went back to his bedroll and leaned against the wall, one leg straight out in front of him and the other bent so he could rest his elbow on it. He'd taken to sleeping in just his jeans rather than his long johns because...well...he would rather Caroline see his bare chest than see him in his long johns.
  4. Brendan slipped his plate into the pan of water and grabbed one more piece of bread, then followed José outside, gnawing on the bread as he walked. He noticed the new horse outside and squinted at it. It had been there when he first passed, but he hadn't been awake enough to pay attention. Now he looked the animal over as he chewed. It was a mare, with sturdy legs and a broad chest. She looked like she had stamina, which was good in a cowhorse. "That your mount?" He gestured at the mare and looked at José. It was a needless question because he knew the horses on Evergreen and she wasn't one of them. "She's a nice one. Bring'er along to the stable an' she can have some water'n oats if she wants 'em." He set off for the stable where his own horse waited. It would only take him a few minutes to get all his tack on his horse, but they were in no particular hurry today and it would give José's horse a while to rest if she needed it.
  5. OOC: Shall we end here, or play out José's inauguration on the ranch? I promise Brendan won't play any tricks on him!
  6. Brendan nodded complacently at the new hand's answer, seeing no reason to question it. "Cattle's all I know. Cattle and horses." He sopped up the rest of his gravy with the last bit of his bread and licked his fingers, then pushed his plate away with a faint scraping noise and stood, groaning and stretching his arms over his head. "Well. It ain't gettin' any cooler out there. You want to ride out with me, get the lay of the land?" It wasn't just an offer made out of friendship or nicety, but one that would make his job easier. If Martinez rode out with him today and learned the ropes, that was one more hand to spread the work around. In addition, the new hand seemed to be closer to his age than some of the other hands and he thought they might get along. He paused and rested one foot on the long bench. "That is, if Carson don't want you to be a night owl with him?" He directed this question at Carson himself, looking to the older man for direction. @Flip@boshmi
  7. Brendan felt a thrill of excitement as he urged his horse on to the paddocks, but it turned to horror and anger when he finally neared the paddocks and saw the last of the cattle heading off into the night. Holy hell, the cattle were getting away! This wasn't right. It wasn't fair. He spent every waking hour watching those cows and now some bastards thought they could just take what he and the other hands had worked so hard for? That was injustice right there. But what to do about it? Did he go after the cows or the rustlers? Obviously you couldn't stop cows in a stampede until they chose to stop, but you could stop rustlers. He clucked to his horse and urged it behind the rest of the hands up over the small rise to the paddock, pistol at the ready. And that's when he heard the first of the shots.
  8. Brendan grinned at the Mexican's question. "Here? Nah, we all do the same work. Only some of us are better at...how'd you say it...the herding...than others." There was a twinkle in his eye, but also a note of pride in his voice because he was good with the cattle. Better, he would like to think, than most of the "gun hands" which made up the majority of the Evergreen riders. He shoveled some more food into his mouth and looked over the new hand appraisingly. "How long you been workin' cattle?" he asked as he scraped his fork over the surface of the tin plate to get as much food as he could off of it.
  9. Brendan heard the shot in his sleep, but didn't fully awaken until all the hands in the bunkhouse started to get up and leave - they fussed almost as loud as that shot. He caught snatches of information and oaths in between the flurry of boots and belts being pulled on. There was Granger's voice, "They're after the herd!" That got him and any other lazybones moving. He flew down the ladder and pulled on his gun belt and boots as he headed for the door. He was one of the last ones out, but made up for lost time on the way to get his horse. As he swung into the saddle, he noticed José nearby. The other man must just have only arrived back at the bunkhouse. That was rotten luck for him. "Martinez!" He nudged his horse, which was prancing impatiently, closer to the Mexican. "You know who's after the herd?"
  10. "Connolly," Brendan supplied the answer to the man's unspoken question. Martínez was a Mexican name, there was no doubt about it, and the man's accent would have given him away even if his physical appearance didn't scream Mexican. He shoved some eggs onto his fork and into his mouth before continuing the conversation. "You new here?" Obviously he was, but asking such a simple question left room for the person answering to elaborate a bit. Not that Brendan knew any of that. He was just curious and that seemed like the best place to start. And there was another thing that he wanted to know. "You a gun hand or cow hand?" There wasn't much difference at Evergreen, but it was important enough to him that he asked about it. It wasn't that gun hands didn't make good cow hands, but lots of times they didn't. They didn't understand animals because animals didn't really obey guns, and that made them poor hands.
  11. Brendan stumbled into the cookhouse a few minutes later, sniffing the air hungrily. The morning air was still chilly and the scent of breakfast always seemed to carry further on chilly mornings. He had practically been able to smell the steak from the bunkhouse. He plopped some of everything on his plate and grabbed a cup of coffee before heading to the table where Carson and some other hands were eating. He ate like the other men: elbows on the table with forearms resting protectively around his plate, entirely engrossed in his food. It wasn't until he had drained his cup of coffee and gotten halfway through the foot on his plate that he realized the man he was sitting next to was a stranger. He eyed the stranger's darker complexion and wildly curly hair for a moment while he chewed, then set his tin cup down with a clank on the table. "Who're you?" he asked as he crumpled up the crust on his bread to cram it into his mouth. It wasn't all that friendly a greeting and his tone wasn't warm, but since it was morning, that was probably more conversation than the newcomer had gotten from the other men at the table.
  12. Lucinda laughed at Mrs. Wigfall's optimism about her chances of gentlemen callers, her cheeks flushing slightly. "I would welcome any input you have about any men in town," she said graciously. Or at least that was what she started to say. She had gotten as far as "I would welcome" when Jemima lost her temper. She winced and waited with her hand on the door during another mother-daughter altercation. How many of those did they have in a day? Finally the spat was over and she felt that she could leave without being rude. She left, calling behind her, "Thank you, Jemima!" to the teenager's advice. How many times had she thanked Jemima in the past ten minutes? Too many to count. Hopefully the advice was good. She headed back for the Lickskillet, the keys to her room and the Wigfall boarding house adding a welcome weight and security to the little bag at her wrist. Now she had a place to stay. OOC: Finis?
  13. It was just as she had suspected: widowhood out here was not a tragedy but a normality. And maybe that made it all the more tragic. If this wild land was so deadly to the men, what chance did the women have in it? Her thoughts were much less optimistic than the ones she had voiced to Jemima previously. And speaking of Jemima... Lucinda smiled again. "Thank you, Jemima." She wasn't sure if being called optimistic in this case was a compliment, but it never hurt to be polite. She politely ignored Jemima's aside about Hector and listened to Mrs. Wigfall's house rules, of which it sounded like there were few...for her, anyway. She took the keys from her new landlady and slipped them into her handbag. "Thank you, Mrs. Wigfall. I doubt that I will be receiving any gentleman callers, but I shall be sure to inform you if I do." She moved toward the door. "I hope you both have a pleasant evening. I am going back to the Lickskillet to help out Mrs. Pike, but I will not be out too extremely late. Please give my regards to Hector. I'm sorry he was unable to stay with us." She smiled again and put her hand on the door handle.
  14. Had Mrs. Wigfall not taught her children any manners? Young women of Jemima's age ought to know better than to use words like sweat. And sweating like a horse was even worse! Lucinda tried to keep from wrinkling her nose in distaste and tried not to show how unsettling Jemima's words were. Were there really people like that, who would go to a diner just to be unpleasant to the people who worked there? "Thank you, Jemima. I suppose widowhood doesn't count as a tragedy?" she asked with a glint of humor in her eyes. "I don't intend to 'dowdy down' at all, however. I would hope that tips would be based on the quality of my service, not the quality...or lack of quality...of my clothing." There was nothing wrong with her clothes, in her eyes. In fact, she felt dowdy in the clothes she had brought out west with her. They were nothing like what she would have worn back home. She watched the interaction between mother and daughter curiously. It was strange how...normal Mrs. Wigfall seemed and how...abnormal Jemima was. Hector was slightly abnormal, but maybe that was because she hadn't been around young men in a while. After Jemima's outburst, she finished her tea and rose from her chair, then cleared her throat to gently interrupt. "Mrs. Wigfall, are there any rules here I should be aware of? Do you have a curfew for your boarders?"
  15. Lucinda had been about to make a polite comment about how handsome Mrs. Wigfall's husband was, but that was before she saw the daguerreotype. After she saw it, she decided it would be better not to say anything at all. And it turned out she didn't need to, thanks to Jemima's return. "Thank you, Jemima," she said after the girl let her know that her trunk was up in her room. The stocky girl was so...so...mannish. She was almost worse than Hector, who was actually not uncouth, just very...boyish. The way Jemima talked about her brother was most demeaning. Whatever did she mean by "that thing?" It certainly couldn't be anything that should be talked about in polite society. She was taken aback by Jemima's question. It wasn't proper to discuss work at a time like this, and certainly not if it was referred to as "work." More properly, it should be "a situation." She glanced at Mrs. Wigfall and answered, "Why...ah...yes, Jemima, I am looking for 'work.' But I have been promised a place at the Lickskillet by Emeline...I mean Mrs. Pike...if I'm unable to find anything else."
  16. Lucinda was rather amused at Hector's behavior until his mother told him to stop drooling in her tea, which was enough to give anyone pause. It was figurative language, of course, but it was not pleasant to think about. Was Hector really figuratively drooling over her? He had seemed so polite. Maybe his politeness was meant to...well...woo her? Ugh. He was...well, maybe not that much younger than her, but she had been married before and he obviously had not. She tried not to make a disgusted face as Mrs. Wigfall listed the many cures she had tried for Hector's "condition," but couldn't help tightening her lips slightly as she sipped from her teacup and set it down. "I'm sure it is just a phase. He has no father to help you with his...troubles?"
  17. Caroline's response was not what he had hoped for. He had hoped for backup, but instead got a speech about not marrying. Well, that made doubly - or was it triply? - clear where Caroline stood on marriage. But it didn't help make Crabbe see the ridiculousness of marrying Bridget to a cowhand. "I know, I know," he grumbled. "I was tryin' to prove a point. Wasn't tryin' to propose or nothin.'" He stared at the floor as he listened to Crabbe speechify. The thought of breeding horses was appealing, as was looking for gold even though most gold around here was already gone, or going. Against his will he found himself enamored with visions of adventures funded by Crabbe's stipend. "I'll think on it," he said grudgingly. "I'll think on it, Crabbe. But I don't cotton to neither me or Bridget bein' roped into this if it ain't good for us." He noticed the rest of his whiskey in his glass and picked it up, drained it quickly, then jerked his head toward the door. "C'mon, Mundee," he said curtly, unconsciously picking up Crabbe's title for the singer.
  18. Lucinda couldn't imagine being newly-wed and running a diner. But both Emeline and her young waitress helper were going to do just that. "My goodness, that seems like a lot of responsibility for a young woman. But I'm sure she can manage if she has you to help her out." Emeline's suggestion to look for lodging now was a good one. "I will do that," she said decidedly, wiping her hands on her skirts. "And I will come back to help, and if I don't find lodging, the floor couldn't be any worse than the stagecoach seats!" She smiled and looked around the kitchen at the clean dishes and the one-eyed ginger cat. "Emeline, I think I was meant to come here. It just feels...right. Thank you." She went over to the other woman and embraced her in a quick display of grateful affection before pulling away and heading for the door. OOC: Good place to end? Lucinda has already found lodging with the Wigfalls...dun dun dun
  19. "Well, I'm sure all of them aren't as bad as they're made out to be." Lucinda was prepared to give the Irish nurse a chance, but her voice was dubious. There were some Irish families who had made good names for themselves back east, but they were few and far between. Most of them had reputations as drunks and brawlers. But Mrs. Wigfall obviously knew that already. The landlady seemed like she would be amenable, as long as Lucinda gave her advance notice of any changes to the rooming situation. "Of course. I should be glad to do that." "Lucinda Dietrich." She leaned forward to watch as the woman wrote her name down and then looked at the tea tray. "Might I pour you some tea, Mrs. Wigfall?"
  20. "Ah, I see. I'm sure you've gotten quite good at making breakfast foods, then!" Lucinda grinned and stacked a few dry plates on top of each other. She had forgotten how pleasant it could be to work and to converse with another woman at the same time. And Emeline's conversation was not just about the weather or useless things like that; it was helpful and interesting. Her ears pricked up as Emeline mentioned that they had some fine churches in town. "You do? I haven't been to church in a while. Francis and I lived quite far out from one and only went on special occasions. It'll be nice to be able to go again." Drying the dishes wasn't very helpful for their conversation because each plate clattered a bit as she stacked it after it was dry. "Now, do you think you could use my help during supper? I have nothing to do, and I certainly don't want to leave without help if you need it."
  21. Lucinda had not expected Hector to be so engaging...or so touchy. She was startled when he touched her arm and moved sideways slightly, but Mrs. Wigfall came to the rescue and sent the boy - he was closer to a man, really - to put the kettle on. She followed Mrs. Wigfall into the parlor and sank gratefully down into a chair. It felt wonderful to take a load off her feet. That wasn't a very proper expression, but it did the trick. She wiggled her toes in her boots and listened to Mrs. Wigfall. "Fortunately I am neither Irish nor foreign," she said with a small smile. She supposed she might be foreign, very distantly - after all, both her English ancestors the German-descended family she had married into hand been foreigners once. She took a moment to think over her plans and the options Mrs. Wigfall had given her. Finally she looked up, searching the older woman's face to see how shrewd she might be. "I am unsure how long I will need to stay. I do plan to stay in Kalispell for a time - a month, at least - but I am not sure if another living situation will present itself. Shall we say full board for the time being and then we can amend our agreement if need be after the first month?" That was a graceful way of not committing to a long stay, and of offering the landlady a sweetening of full board.
  22. Crabbe's words were not what Brendan wanted to hear, and the confrontational way that he had stood up was not what he wanted to see. And it didn't help that he didn't know what the word "incumbent" meant, but he had gotten the gist of the man's message. He didn't like the light Crabbe was painting him in, even if it was just theoretical. And maybe what got him so much is that it wasn't just theoretical. He was a cowboy, and up until this point had been a drifting one. Marriage for him didn't make sense because he would get tired of whoever he had married, regardless of whether she had one leg or not. But hearing Crabbe voice his tendencies - even if he was guessing - was uncomfortable. His frown deepened and he pointed his index finger at Crabbe. "Look here. I like Bridget, even though it don't make sense. An' I want what's best for her. But I can't just up an' marry her! I'm sleepin' on Caroline's floor, dammit, and that's no way for a gal to start married life. An' even if I did find another job somewhere, it wouldn't be a place fit to bring a wife!" It addition to all the logistics that would have to be figured out for this to work, he felt like he was being boxed in to this and didn't like it. He turned to Caroline, hoping she would back him up even though she seemed to be in shock at the news of Crabbe's impending death. "You wouldn't marry a ranch hand, would you?" he demanded. "No privacy even if there was somewhere besides a bunkhouse for you to sleep. It just don't make sense, even for you."
  23. Brendan was glad he had brought Caroline with him. Apparently Crabbe had told her some things he hadn't let him in on yet, and those things contradicted with what he had told Brendan so far. Caroline called Crabbe out on it, and Brendan folded his arms as he listened to the man's explanation, his expression skeptical but interested. All this money Crabbe was talking about was tempting, but it just didn't make sense. Even he knew that you couldn't just produce money out of thin air, but Crabbe seemed certain that his "irons in the fire" would pan out. He didn't really care that much about how long Crabbe had to live, but it did mean that Bridget wouldn't have anyone to care for her. And that made him want to take care of Bridget more than he already did. But there was another thing that stuck in his craw about this whole deal: Crabbe's attitude about his ward. Earlier he had been concerned with Bridget's welfare - the tears he had shed while showing Bridget off to them were evidence of that - but now he didn't seem to care about her at all. He took a step forward, arms still crossed, frowning. "Answer me this, Crabbe. If you care about Bridget so much, how come you're willin' to marry her off to someone and tell 'im he don't have to look at her again? Huh? "
  24. Lucinda smiled at Hector's "showing off" and quirked an eyebrow, impressed once again by Jemima's strength. "A pleasure to meet you, Hector," she called to the nearly-collapsing boy. Hopefully that bit of attention would satisfy him and he wouldn't follow her around like a puppy. "It's Mrs...technically, I suppose. I'm...newly widowed." That was something she didn't remember learning at school. Maybe she had learned it but had just forgotten it. After all, who would have thought that her husband would die so soon into their marriage? She shook her head once as if to clear the gloomy thoughts away and focused on Mrs. Wigfall again. "How far in advance must I pay for my room?"
  25. "I have hosted teas...maybe not to the scale that yours will be, but I think if we both worked together we could manage it quite nicely." Her entertaining had been mostly limited to the other girls at boarding school and a few small teas at her parent's house during her debutante season but she knew the ins and outs of hosting, of serving, and of preparing the food and the tea. She laughed at Emeline's comment about cucumber sandwiches. "Anything is boring if you have it enough times. So perhaps an alternating menu would be possible...with cucumber sandwiches very, very far off in the rotation!" She grinned and rinsed the last dish, then found a towel and began to dry the dishes. "How busy are Saturday nights here normally? Do lots of people come to eat?"

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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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