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    • "Just when I was thinkin' this was a cake-walk!"  Justus' grin didn't show under the bandanna, but he was trying to take it all in stride.  But he did realize that either way, it was going to be miserable.  The wind stirring up the dust was annoying at best, but if it got bad enough, it could make vision next to impossible.  But if it started to rain...well, there was a whole mess its own issues, none of them pleasant.   Funny thing was, it sounded like the worse conditions got, and the harder they had to work, the more the chances of a good, hot meal and decent rest went down.   Not much to do about it but take it as it came, unless he just bugged out, but it would take something far worse than weather to get him to quit!   @Flip
    • "Or at least I hope he won't. I hear he's hell on wheels with a gun, and quick to anger. Maybe we best call this off."   "If you insist."  Emeline stuck out her bottom lip in a pout, but then laughed, kissed him and stood.  She was so happy that Barnabas was able to joke and tease with her, and didn't take every little thing seriously.  If you didn't have fun now and then, life could be pretty dull.   She glanced out the window, then followed him to the door, regretting that they were going to lose the luxury of the car, but looking forward to the next part of the journey.   As he helped her to the platform, she took the chance to look around, noting that Reno was much more what she was accustomed to, and it was a bit of a relief after the huge cities of Portland and San Francisco.    "This is nice, and I'm well-rested, ready for supper and that stroll."  She hooked her arm into her husband's.  "Lead on, and I will follow!"   @Flip
    • Reb Culverson had claimed a good sized chunk of land and one corner of it sat on the river, north of Alice Fletcher's land. the rest backed up to low tree covered hills. He was not the type to b;lock off water to any who needed it, it just wasn't who he was. He ran maybe six or seven hundred head on his range. He didn't like the fences any more than the next man but it was a necessity, and ranchers were more prone to fence off their range, it prevented the mixing of cattle, destruction of farmers property, and problems in general. But most had vulnerabilities that rustlers could exploit.   The circle C seldom had more than six to eight hands at any one time, which was far less than the size of the herd needs, but of course, that is on open range where they are able to spread out over many more acres. The other problem that had not been a problem for some time was the threat of rustlers.   Toole and six of his comrades sat in the trees watching. There was plenty of time. The day team of two hands had been relieved as the daylight faded, and were replace by a solitary rider. Just as Toole learned earlier. The law was laid down by Case, no killing, no unless it was absolutely necessary, which with one man it shouldn't be.   The day riders were more than a mile off, the evening man was at the south end of the herd. The plan, simple, four would go to the left, three would pinch in from the right and push the cattle into the trees and then drive them toward the dry creek bed and home. It should work like a charm.
    • Warbow now understood why the young woman was asking him to officiate a marriage between her and her beloved. What she was asking was taboo amongst the overwhelming majority of Anglos. He could see that even Shade was looking uncomfortable with the direction the conversation had gone although he did not wear the look of disgust that so many whites would have. Then again, Shade had grown up amongst the Diné.   "Child," Warbow said, his voice soft and kind although no pity showed in his eyes or on his face, "I am sorry to say that although I can perform a marriage ceremony for you and will be happy to do so if you wish, it will have no legal standing amongst your people. I do not know much about the legal systems of the Anglos, but perhaps you could make a legal document that indicates a desire to share your property?"   @Javia
    • Once they had all eaten, the four sat where there was cover, to the right, up against an outcropping of rock. There were stones so they set a ring and built a fair sized fire and even though there was whiskey, the set a pot to boil, that way they would have coffee, it could get chilly for whoever was on watch, and even if the others decided on a cup, there would still be  coffee for the men on watch.   Maybe the Lost Lake hands had found the body and hauled him off the mountain, it didn't seem like they were looking for any blood trail, and if Carson had managed to control his blood loss, and kept it off of the ground, then maybe they lost interest and just brought the man in. Chances Carson was able to that, were not real good, but he may had been able to manage the bleeding enough that there was no blood trail for quite a ways, and they lost interest.   That could have happened ad it seemed to be a good reason that the Lost Lake riders had not shown up at the fence line. The Evergreen riders would be happy to have that wire down, but until the framer was gone, and Lost Lake was taken, it would remain. It was just the way of it. Evergreen cattle would just keep heading in a southerly direction destroying crops as the moseyed along. but they'd not be looking for grass in the rocky terrain beyond, they would turn back and do more damage.   It didn't seem like Steelgrave was ready to wipe out the sod buster, so the fence needed to be watched and mended when necessary. All four believed their time on the fence would be short lived.    

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Joseph managed to put a brave face on things while Caroline was still there, and was still upright when she gave him her fond goodbyes.

 

"I gotta go now but you take care. I'll keep in touch and expect to hear nothin' but good news on your recovery. Then maybe - if it's your wish of course - we can see each other again. Like dinner or somethin'. Or at the very least, come hear me at the saloon. I'd like that."

 

"Me too." he smiled. "I'm glad you're all right, for a while back there, I thought, well, I guess you realise how much you appreciate a girl, I mean, a person, when you think something bad's happened to..." he trailed off. He thought he might very possibly be saying something stupid, as his head was swimming. 

 

Then she was gone, and the pain and the dizziness seem to fill the vacuum. He made it halfway to the infirmary before he collapsed and had to be carried the rest of the way by a couple of burly troopers.

 

 

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