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  1. "I'd like to see the finished product. That'll give me a better idea." “Why sure!” beamed Lorenzo “My thoughts exactly!” "I'll take 15 cents a piece for the first batch. Then 30% of whatever you sell. You provide the raw materials." His arms were crossed in front of his chest to signal that there was no room for negotiation. The bespectacled man laughed in a good-natured way and slapped Jay on one of his crossed arms. “Ha, ha! I like you Mr Ryker – you’ve got a sense of humor!” he exclaimed. He looked around the place, the lengthening shadows of the late afternoon were making it difficult to work at ease in the place, and yet it was still light enough to make the use of lamplight ineffective. “Say, are you ‘bout finished for the day here?” he asked “Why not come down the street to ours right now: we can have a nice little drink and discuss this 30% of yours.” He offered “An’ you can meet Charlie, he’s the brains of this mining equipment side of the business. And Bridget’ll be there too, she’d like to meet you, I’m sure. Oh, she’s a pretty young thing all right: handy, too - got her stitchin’ canvas under the riffles.”
  2. "Outlaws are scum," was Clara's abrupt assessment on the girl's silly affectation for such men. However the child came from the south, what could one expect from such folk. “Hmph!” hmphed Arabella “I suppose you think Robin Hood and The Black Arrow are ‘Scum’ then, and Dick Turpentine!” She meant the folklaw hero-highwayman Dick Turpin. “Tom Love’s a gentleman, listen…” she fished out the latest newspaper clipping he had on the exploits of the man who had robbed the town’s bank last year from her apron pocket. She read the apposite part of the clipping out in her slow, methodical, frown-browed way: “… blah blah blah, Mr Love, in his letter, further explained that the man he shot in Kalispell last year had deserved it as he had been rude to a lady in the bank and begged one of the robbers to shoot her instead of him. Mr Love had then declared ‘For that ungentlemanly conduct, you shall die like the dog you are, you d___d coward’ and thereupon had plugged him one right between the eyes. Mr Love further el-lu-ci-date-ed” she pronounced the unfamiliar word syllable by syllable “… that the rougher element of his outlaw gang, a notorious and brutal killer identified by witnesses as ‘English Rodger’ had been expelled, as Love would not stand mere wanton murderers in his company.” Arabella looked at Clara triumphantly “And that’s in the newspaper, so it must be true!” she crowed. Then back to business about the dance, but Clara was being obstinate, and her reply to Arabella’s question about who the prim pie-maker was pie-eyed about at the moment just made the little Reb’s own eyes roll. "Besides I do not have my eye on anyone. All the boys....young men I know are louts and/or ruffians. I have better things to do with my life," she declared. “Ugghh!” Arabella grunted, waving her hand around the kitchen “What, like making pies for Ms Blakesly all day long?! That ain’t livin’ that’s just makin’ a livin’! Livin’ … why, that’s falling in love and having your heart broken and running all about the place and dancing and laughing and crying and kissing boys and praying and bein' mischievous and getting forgiven by Jesus and, oh, I don’t know … all things you can do goin’ to a dance and you can’t do sitting at home reading a book about Jonah Vark!” She took a deep breath after that little lot. “Besides” she added, mentioning the mysterious new friend whom Clara had yet to meet. “I can’t go with Bridget any more, we broke her leg practicing the Polka – so you see, you GOTTA come with me!”
  3. "We brought Mr. Crabbe out here because of what he knows so we'd be fools not to follow his advice...least for now. Sounds like we got a long ride ahead of us but so be it," Benjamin conceded. Lorenzo nodded sagely at the sound of his own name and mention of his self-proclaimed expertise in this matter. To be fair, he was not so much worried about not finding the gun runner, Calvin de Lancey, as what would happen when they did. "Alright, we head east then. Mr. MacIntosh, you and your man take the lead. For now it sounds like we are just trying to find the Two Kettles band." Crabbe grinned a little self-satisfied grin at the situation: on the one hand he was, to all intents and purposes, a prisoner; an unwilling hostage being taken into hostile Indian territory against his will. But to Eagle Woman’s people, or to Grandfather, would he be something else? Would they see his jailers more as an armed military escort, allowing him to travel where he needed to go without fear of molestation? Yep, every silver dollar had two sides to it, he reckoned, even the counterfeit ones. "Oh and I get nervous about ridgelines and high ground, make it a point to check those out lest there be hostiles waiting to spring an ambush on the opposite side," he requested. The Captain was directing these instructions to MacIntosh, of course: he would no more give instructions direct to Ke-Ni-Tay than he would to the scout’s horse. But the Apache was the one that interested Crabbe. MacIntosh was a good scout, with a good reputation, even fame in some quarters: he was more in the stamp of the resourceful Charley Reynolds, rather than that puffed up windbag ‘Buffalo Bill’ (whose shortcomings as an actual scout in the field were soon to be highlighted in the upcoming Little Bighorn campaign). But still, it was the impassive looking savage that Lorenzo would look to in any upcoming trouble. "And last but not least, we do not fire the first shot. See any trouble, get back fast. I want to be the one who makes the decision to engage or not." Lorenzo took his opportunity, seeing as the conversation had drifted that way, and casually asked “Say, Cap, don’t you think you should give me a shootin’ iron to tote, 'case trouble does break out? I ain’t the greatest shot in the world, but ‘every little helps’, as they say.”
  4. "He was trying to get in for the past hour and now magically he got his wish. You carried him in," Clara pointed out. “Oh, Frankie, Frankie, Frankie!” cooed Arabella, cuddling the tom, who blinked his eyes in sure indication of relaxation. “I call him Frank, after my third favorite outlaw, Mr Frank Younger. The was another brown tabby one, Cole, but I think he’s been run over by a wagon cause I ain’t seen him lately. Anyway, Mr Cole Younger is my second favorite outlaw, but my favorite outlaw is Mr Tom Love, he’s the most romantical outlaw there is! And even though he’s a ‘Tom’ I ain’t named a pussy cat after him yet. Hey, ain’t it funny when you say a word a whole lot of times? Outlaw, outlaw, outlaw. Huh! Anyways, talking about romantical, how ‘bout this here dance?” “What we going to wear? Who d’ya wanna dance with? We need to plan it all out and practice dancing! I ain’t been to a dance in ages, my legs is all rusty!” "Glad to see you are all aflutter about the dance," Clara sighed, "As for me, I have no plans to attend. It is a foolish waste of time and I cannot be bothered with it." Arabella frowned at this display of non-logic by the usually cerebral Clara. “Sure it’s a waste of time, that’s why I wanna go! I wanna waste my time that way, being waltzed and polka’d and Schottisched about the dance floor by a whole succession o’ handsome men, an’ all the time Mr Wentworth standin’ there in the corner, in a jealous fury, an eventually he comes stompin’ across the dance floor an tears me from some handsome swain’s embrace and says ‘out the way sonny, this is MAN’S work!’, and sweeps me right off o’ my feet. An .. an … an you don’t wanna go?!!” she shook her head, uncomprehendingly. "Besides no boy has asked me. And I am certain no one will." Arabella looked at her supposed intellectual superior with sad, sad sympathy. “Oh Clara, Clara, Clara. Don’t you know that the only boys as ever asks a girl to a dance are the ones who you don’t want to ask you? The one you want never does. You just gotta be there and ready to bushwack the one you DO want. Now, who’ve you got your eye on right now?” she asked, serious faced. She needed this essential piece of information to start to plan the campaign on a grand strategic level. Individual battle tactics could be dealt with later, but in general, when dealing with romance, she followed the cast iron rule of General Nathan Bedford Forrest – ‘Git thar fustest with the most mostest.’
  5. As Arabella started to poke her nose in the kitchen door, she felt something rub against her boots and the bottom of her skirts. Looking down she noticed a familiar man-about-town who was regularly voted the town’s second most annoying personage by those who didn't appreciate the beauty of the feline form. “Frank'!” Arabella frowned, looking down at the fluffy cat, “You know you ain’t allowed in here!” she admonished the feline, even though it was a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Arabella would stop and pet just about any critter alive: cats, rabbits, turtles, hairy caterpillars, even small dogs, although anything bigger than a dachshund would usually set her running away in terror. She decided that the best way to stop the curious tomcat getting into the kitchen was to pick the incorrigible scavenger up. So, after first giving Frankie a tickle just bellow and behind the ears, to lull her victim into a false sense of security, she hefted him up with a grunt. Fluffy didn’t necessarily mean light: it had clearly been a successful morning's scrounging for the pot bellied furry piggy. “Hush now! If Miss Em catches us, we’ll both be chopped up and put in a pie!” she warned the mewing cat. “Clara? Clara?” "Arabella, why are you here?" she sighed. The girl jumped and the cat took fright too, trying to crawl over Arabella’s shoulder and down her back, with a good set of claws dug in through the material of her dress and into her skin for traction, but Arabella gave Frankie another few deft tickles behind the ear, and he calmed and even emitted a few throaty purrs. “I come to talk to ya about the dance!” whispered Arabella excitedly “And Frank was trying to get in!” she explained about the fluffy article lolled over her shoulder, who was even now sniffing the air for signs of meaty pie fillings. “What we going to wear? Who d’ya wanna dance with? We need to plan it all out and practice dancing! I ain’t been to a dance in ages, my legs is all rusty!”
  6. Mr Flandry didn’t even comment on the dance! She hadn’t expected him to get that excited about the event, but still, he could have said something. What she didn’t realize was that the thing would probably just mean more work for the barman of the saloon: supplying the booze and selling out the hard stuff; and it never even occurred to her that she herself might be required to work as well: she just saw, in her mind’s eye, a night of glittering romance, heady music, and fun, and mischief, and showing off how good she was at dancing. She scrambled to her feet and ran past Cookie, shrieking “I gotta tell Clara!!” Pretty soon she was creaking open the back door of the Lick Skillet. It wasn’t usually locked, even if Clara and Ms Emeline were both out front for some reason. She poked a nose in. By some misunderstanding, Arabella had become convinced that Ms Em was something of an ogress and, having never spoken to the woman, had never been disabused of the notion. So it was that she crept into the wonderful workshop where perfect pies were prepared, belly-filling buns baked, and marvelous muffins manufactured. The smell rivaled that of the kitchen of her very own, very dear Mammy Cookie. Unlike that cuddly lady, though, Ms Blakesley would probably give her a clip round the ear if she caught her here. “Clara?” she whispered as she crept into the kitchen, virtually on tiptoe, “Clara! I got somethin’ to tell ya!”
  7. When Arabella ran, screaming and yelling and waving her hands, through the back kitchen door of the saloon and into the barroom at the front (an extreme display, even for her) Messalina, the Stardust Saloon’s cook, could only assume that: a) the town was under Indian attack, b) Thomas Gage Love and his band of outlaws had returned to re-rob the town’s bank, or c) the whole cotton-picking town was on fire and about to go up in a puff of smoke, just like Whitefish. With a cry of “Mercy alive, child, what is it now?!” she waddled after the girl and found her dancing around in front of Mr Flandry breathlessly singing a song, the lyrics of which seemed to consist of a monotonous recitative of “Can you do the polka? I can do the polka! Can you do the polka? Yes, I can do the polka!” and when this had been repeated enough times, along with the accompanying capering, to convince any poor onlooker that Arabella could indeed ‘do the polka’ she span round and round with a high pitched cry of “Weeeeeeeeee!!!” before collapsing on the floor in a dizzy heap and somehow catching enough breath to shout “THERE’S GONNA BE A DANCE!!” and give out a rebel yell that was probably louder, and given with more gusto, than any that Mr Flandry had heard during the late War.
  8. "No, I don't advertise. My work is my advertising." His chest was in the air when he said that because he knew he was a good black smith. “I like that! Ohh, I like that!” grinned Lorenzo and fished out a little notebook and a stubby pencil to make a note of the phrase, just altering it to suit Crabbe and Co. “We do not advertise our wares. Our wares are our advertising!" he muttered to himself as he wrote it, before glancing back up at Jay “Lord, that’ll look pretty slick on one of our advertisements!” He held up one of the pieces to look at himself. “So, how long do you reckon it’d take to churn out these here doo-dads?” he asked. "I can have these done by the beginning of next week for you. How many do you need?" “Well, oh I don’t know, let’s start with a dozen. We’ll have to see how they sell: I mean, these rockers’ll be our most expensive product. Say, why don’t you drop round to our place and my technical adviser can show you the finished product, might help to get your head around how all these here bits and bobs fit together in the wooden frame? He didn’t come himself on account of being a Chinese. Chinese ain’t popular round these parts.” Then, of course, there was the question of financial remuneration on the work. “Now, in terms of payment, I can give you 10 cents on the piece, dollar a unit, or you can come in on the deal on shares. You might not want to decide on that until you see the layout of the whole operation.” This was an important factor – either get paid a low rate of pay quickly, or take a gamble on the products selling well and getting a bigger profit in the long run.
  9. Turning back to the other girl, Mike saw that she had extended her hand as she thanked him. Shaking her hand was a more safer option than the one she had presented him earlier, he took and gave it a slight shake before letting it go. Arabella grinned like a goon when her hero shook her hand, and she deliberately tried to imprint the feeling of it on her memory, so that she would be able to moon over it later on. He was about to say goodbye, when his brother Sam came out, "Mike, Mr. Wilson's finished putting the last of that order together." "Thanks," he replied, feeling a bit relieved that he could now depart with a more plausible reason. Smiling, he turned to Arabella, "It's been a pleasure to make your acquaintance and once again I'm glad to see that you have recovered from your ordeal." “Oh, it’s mutual, I’m sure!” she beamed, knocking out one last mini-curtsy, just for good measure. She actually considered standing there and waiting until they’d loaded the last of the goods onto the wagon, just so she could wave him off, but she didn’t want to make it too obvious that she was obsessed with him: that could put a feller off. Instead she walked backwards into the store, grinning at Mike and giving another little wave as she crashed into Granny Miggins who gave a yelp and aimed several words at her that weren’t to be found in Webster's Dictionary. “Why don’t y’watch where you’re going, girl!?” the old lady complained as she exited the place “What’s so gosh darned interestin’ out here to look at anyway?” Then she clocked the two handsome Wentworth men loading the wagon up. “Oh, I seen it! I seen it!” she shouted back to Arabella, who was now inside “No, you ignore me, child, you just carry on walkin’ backward! I was young m’self oncst, you know!” she cackled, shaking her head and muttering as she moved on: something along the lines of “Why, if I was only fifty years younger myself…he he he.”
  10. MacIntosh didn’t remember Crabbe, despite his singular appearance. “Can’t say as I do, but you “Sooners” did your damage. I ‘spose you could say you’re a lucky man then, that you’re brains aren’t in the Black Hills.” Lorenzo shrugged. Damage? Progress? The inevitable Manifest Destiny of the White Man? Call it what you will. His attempts to communicated with the Apache scout met with an equally chilly reception. “Wrong dialect. I speak in your tongue, no need to try to speak in mine.” Ke-Ni-Tay was not quite sure which language the man was using, not that it mattered, he would kill him, if it came to that. If this was their ‘friendly’ Indian, Lorenzo wondered, what the hostiles would be like! “Oh handy, mighty handy.” he smiled, keeping cheerful looking against the scowling savage by sheer force of will. Benjamin smirked, "Yes, Mr. Crabbe, it seems you impressed these two as much as you did me." Crabbe smiled a wide closed-mouth smile which, along with the thick glasses magnifying his eyes, made him look like a satisfied toad who’s just eaten a dirty great fly. He shook his head. “Shucks Cap, I ain’t here to be liked, I suppose. But at the end of the day, you’ll be able to say I did for you what I promised.” he stated. These three were hard to melt, and might not even be worth the effort. The feller he really needed to butter up was the most important man in the outfit. The feller in charge of the food. "Alright then, you said something about the Tongue River, following that. And a Two Kettles village. So is it your recommendation we head that way?" Crabbe pulled a face that indicated deep thought. “Well, Cap, last I heard, Eagle Woman’s people were heading North West from the Tongue, and they’ve probably crossed the Yellowstone by now. If we head due East to Grand Falls, we can cross the Missouri just below there with ease, and then cut down to the South East. We’ll either run into them, or someone who knows their whereabouts, or maybe even Granddaddy Longlegs himself.” he thought it through logically. “Unless we run into hostiles first, of course.” He looked at Ke-Ni-Tay and MacIntosh “What’d’ya think fellers?” @Flip
  11. Barlow felt he might as well get the introductions out of the way, "Mr. Crabbe, these two gentlemen are civilian scouts Mr. MacIntosh and Ke Ni-Tay. And this fellow is Lorenzo Crabbe, who has been dragooned into finding this so-called Grandfather.” Crabbe sat easily atop an ugly, fat bellied pibald mare he had chosen from the Company’s spares: she was all black at the front and all white at the back and was a somewhat queer looking creature to behold. Crabbe himself didn’t look much better, wearing riding boots, a civilian suit and a wide brimmed straw hat which, along with as many tobacco based products as he had in stock, and a good slicker, the civilian had purchased from the Fort’s sutler with the ready cash he had in his money belt. He looked strangely happy as he was introduced to the scouts. “Hell, Cap, the Mr John MacIntosh, the famous Army Scout, needs no introduction to me. How d’ya do, Mr MacIntosh, you probably don’t remember me, but we have met before: I was one of the ‘Would be Sooners’ you chased out the Black Hills with Colonel Potter’s command back in ’72. In fact, I think the last time I saw you, I was on the wrong end of a stock-mounted colt Army you were pointing in the general direction of my head.” He ruffled the mane of his lazy looking horse, who seemed baffled by the whole proceedings “Still, all’s fair in love, war and gold mining, no hard feelings on my part.” He beamed, touching the brim of his hat. As for the Indian, in his smock like shirt, he looked like he hailed from one of the south western tribes. “Well, this feller looks a little off of his range” he grunted before holding up a hand in greeting and, bereft of any knowledge of the native’s language, tried him with a little Spanish, which some Apaches were conversant in. “Urm… buen día, Ke-Ni-Tay. Me llaman demasiados ojos!” which in good old-fashioned English meant Good day, Ke-Ni-Tay, they call me ‘Too Many Eyes’ which was, in fact, what the Indians he had dealings with did call him. He didn’t know at this point that the brave spoke the white man’s tongue. Crabbe looked again at the Captain and indicated the trio of civilians. “Well, what with us three musketeers leading the way, backed up by your little army and those vicious looking mules, I reckon we’re a force to be reckoned with, Cap.” “It is my hope we can all work together amiably enough however I am the one responsible for this expedition and all final decisions will be mine to make. That doesn't mean I won't appreciate any input you provide." Crabbe indicated his compliance by giving another touch of his hat, as his horse trotted along unhappily, eyeing many a tasty looking clump of green grass that she was not allowed to stop and nibble.
  12. "Is this hand made? Looks very difficult to do with ordinary tools. I don't know if anyone can be this precise...." Crabbe frowned, he was hoping this man was going to say that manufacturing the parts would be as easy as shelling peas. He remembered what Fa had said about the components. “Well, my technical adviser, Mr. Fa, he reckons that these were cast back East, but as long as you can come up with pieces roughly the same shape and size and durability, that’ll do nicely. They don’t have to be a work of art!” he assured him. He then studied the sheet of metal and raised his brows. "What is it for?" The well dressed man looked around, as if he suspected that spies were hiding in every shadow of the house that Jay was renovating. He leaned forward and spoke in a conspiratorial whisper. “Can you keep a secret?” his pale blue eyes, magnified by the thick spectacles that dominated his otherwise bland face, darted around again “We’re making mining equipment. The parts are for constructing rockers, for placer miners. We’re also going in for portable sluices, as well as the usual picks and pans and shovels and what not. In a month’s time, there’ll be a stampede of greenhorn gold-mad speculators coming through this town from Canada, and I’m fixin’ to sell ‘em every last piece of equipment they’ll need.” He gave the Englishman a knowing nod. “Now, you reckon you could take a shot at making these things, if we get you the tools and metal you’d need?" he asked with an air of excitement and expectation in his voice. "I think I could but it'd take me a while." “Ha ha! Good man!” beamed the fancy dude and clapped him on the shoulder “That’s the spirit!” "Who pointed you my way? I mean...I usually do doors, fittings....even horse shoes or tools... This is new." Lorenzo shrugged and tried to remember. “Well, I asked the Blacksmith on Main first, and the thing was well beyond him. So I went to the Saloon for a wet, and brought the subject up amongst the crowd there, surreptitious like: you know, bemoaned the state of modern metalworking, not like in the ‘good old days’ and saying that things had generally gone downhill since the days of Tubal Cain, that sort of banter. I knew that’d elicit the name of anyone who had any skill in the business.” He repeated the words he’d heard. “The finest metal worker in Kalispell is an Englishman called Ryker, and he’s working right now in the old Jones House.” He pondered the voice in his head and remembered the face that went with it. “Well, ‘pon my soul, that’s right, it was that little girl that plays with Bridget! Don't know why she was in the saloon of all places, and who’d have reckoned a young girl knowing a thing like that? You advertise around here?” he asked, wondering if he’d perhaps walked past a dozen billboards proclaiming Jay’s skill in the ironmonger’s art.
  13. "No, Miss Mudd, I think you have an unique way of saying things." Oh Clara so wanted to jump in with a crack but Christian forebearance won over. Arabella giggled and waved a hand at him “Well, fan my brow, Mr Wentworth, you’re making me blush. ‘Though it has been said I do have a way with words, some have even opined that I could one day become a novelist, after they read some of the stuff what I have wrote.” She informed him. The man smiled graciously, "Well, I hate to cut our time short, Miss Clara and Miss Mudd, but I do have to get the rest of the supplies loaded." “How selfish of us to hold you up, but it has been such a delight! I was only just…” but Clara cut her off. Arabella could understand why she might be in a hurry to move on, if she was late back to the diner with whatever it was she’d been sent out for, that ogress Ms Blakesley, she imagined, would probably whip her, or chide her, at least. Her Mammy Cookie, on the other hand, would just give her a big hug and tell her that she’d been worried about her coming back late. "Oh yes, I do too, I need to get back to work soon at the diner. Nice talking to you, Mr. Wentworth. Please give my regards to those at the ranch, I do miss them. Most of them," Clara now seized on the opening to make her own strategic retreat. “I, too, must tear myself away, I’m afraid” Arabella sighed, realizing that this first meeting was drawing to a close. “May I just say, thank you once again.” she pushed out her hand more manfully this time, like a gentleman might: surely he could not refuse to take it. She just wanted to touch his hand again, that hand that had lifted her from the grasp of death.
  14. Taking the nails out of his mouth he lowered his hammer and said. "I am...who's asking?" “My name’s Crabbe, Lorenzo Crabbe, of Crabbe & Company!” the other man shouted up. The ‘Company’ part was true in some sense, in that the disused store at the end of the street, which he was renting as his headquarters, did contain two other people. That is, if you counted a Chinese man and a crippled teenage girl as people which, to an extent, the laws an statutes governing the Territories did not. But Crabbe counted them as people, and useful ones at that. The man now climbing down the ladder was a foreigner, so maybe he was in the same class: something of an outsider, but with a great deal to offer. Then he stepped down from his ladder, wiped his sleeve across his sweaty forehead, his hand on his pants and offered it to shake. "Good morning...can I be of service, sir?" Lorenzo shook the man’s hand and the sweat on it, despite the wipe, made it slip a little in his. “Oh, I do admire a man who can work so hard as to lather up a good sweat, Sir, indeed I do. Used to do a lot of that myself at one time. If your skill can match your admirable application to business, Mr Ryker, then I might well have an interesting and profitable proposition for you, if you will hear me out.” By way of illustration, he fished out some small metal components from his pockets and dumped them into Jay’s hand. “Think you could rustle up something like those?” he asked, and then stepping to where he had leaned it against a wall, he fetched up a sheet of metal, about a foot square, with holes punched in it in an even pattern, so the whole thing looked like it had been used for some extremely accurate target practice. “And this?” he held it up for the metalworker to examine, without explaining its purpose.

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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