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    • "We'll have to get on over to the dinning room them. Afraid it's liable to be a bit more like Kalispell than Frisco." He said. "But it'll be good food, just not what we've been used too. Will be up on the hill, for sure.  I was told this is the best hotel because it was a ways out across the river from town, and it was solid built."   "The wealth on the hill is such that all most everything around it is growing at a fast pace. You'll really see that when we visit the Capitol, Carson City. Supposedly discovered by Kit Carson and General John Freemont on their way to Sacramento in. At least Freemont named the river after him back in '43 or '44. Nothin' was there then."   "All that made me hungry too, let's go eat an then take us a walk across the river, or along it, which ever you want." @Bongo
    • That did not take long. Cookie rang the triangle and shouted his best but in the end he sent the kid to roust all but the closest to him. Rance joined young Wheeler in the line, a bit out of the wind, but mostly in it for the moment. It seemed calmer up by the wagon.   "That had ta be bad back there. The wind drivin' the dust an' the smell, but should this wind let up you'll be on flank, left flank, then right, then back to the drag. It'll be me, Dallas, an' Dixie. eatin' dust tomorrow. But at least we got hot grub, won't always be that'a way out here though, every trip is different."   And they moved up steadily. @Bongo
    • "Nothing to discuss? I am surprised, Jonah. Why, if we have time for breakfast, there will be much to discuss regarding the hospital as well as the start of the orphanage. Hopefully that the railroad will be completed, or close to it by then." She smiled brightly. "Things will be different by then."   "My hope is that we get through all of this without my fathers interference causing delays, or real problems with the builders. You know we could get well into October before the snow flies, but I'm not counting on that. The winter will stop construction until the thaw." She stated, but the smile was still there, "But it will be well underway!" @Bongo
    • "Pleased ta meet ya, Rance."  Justus gave the man a nod, then lined up with the others for grub.  Maybe he could get some sleep despite the wind.  He surely was tired enough, and until there was something that concerned him, he didn't need to be concerned.   First, though, a full belly!  As the line progressed, he he nodded to the kid who was the cook's help.  "Times like this, I bet yer glad ya don't have ta be on th' downwind end of a herd'a cows!"   @Flip
    • "It's good to know you'll have the best working on the project, you've come this far, you don't need to risk the quality with less than the best working on it."  Even though he had no doubt that the crew would be excellent, it was reassuring to know that the man hand picked for the job would actually be on site overseeing it.  That way, too, he'd be there if Leah needed to discuss anything with him, and Jonah had a good feeling that was going to happen!   He grinned and took a sip of coffee.  "Just think, this time next year it will all be over!  We'll have a fine hospital with the best equipment...and nothing to discuss over breakfast!"   @Flip  

Old Satan's Revenge


Ezra Hale
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With: Various characters.
Location: Blackbird Lodge, Lost Lake Ranch
When: Late August 1875
Time of Day: Afternoon - Evening

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The late August day was hot and very humid. At this time of year, the temperatures generally stayed in the mid-eighties, dropping as low as the mid-forties at night. Most days were bearable because the humidity stayed low. Today was the exception. The day was hot, and the humidity left everything and everyone feeling wilted. Clouds were building over the Chogun mountains, promising rain and maybe a storm before the day was out. Hopefully, the rain would dispel the stagnant feel to the weather that had prevailed for the last week.


Ezra Hale reined his horse to a stop and pulled off his bandana to mop his face. In the distance, he spotted his two outriders. The three men had been looking for strays most of the day. Something had frightened the herd and scattered it to the four winds. He suspected it was that huge Grizzly that had given chase to Shade, Clara Redmond, and the twins a few days earlier. There had been reports of other attacks too. In fact, Clara had told them when she came to work a couple of days ago that something had spooked the livestock at the Redmond's farm. Aurelian had shot at something huge, and it had disappeared into the night. Ezra actually hoped it was Old Satan because he did not want to consider that a second bear might be raiding ranches and farms.


There was also the reported attack on Addy Chappel and her freight wagon a few nights ago. That was another reason that Shade Thornton had decreed no one ride alone. A town meeting had been held with several ranches agreeing to put up a bounty for the animal. However, almost all of them also said they did not want random hunters swarming their property endangering life and livestock. Now, the Cattlemen's Association of Kalispell had to agree on how the hunt would be conducted and who could claim the proposed bounty. By the time it was all settled, the bear would likely be in its den for the winter.


The bandana had not done the job. Ezra freed his canteen, unscrewed the cap, and poured water over it, soaking it thoroughly. Again he mopped his brow and face. This time, he felt some relief from the heat. He wet it again before tying it back around his neck. As he shifted in the saddle, his leg hit the scabbard that held the new, larger caliber carbine that the ranch had bought. Not only had Shade and Quentin insist that the men ride in twos and threes, but they had also mandated they carry the heavier weapons. When one rider came off-duty for the day, he handed the rifle to the man that was about to ride out.


Ezra raised his hand and waved at his team, then pointed toward the ridge nearest him. It was next on the grid to be searched. Both riders turned their horses in his direction. Ezra decided not to wait. He really did not want to be in the lower meadow come nightfall. The trail he had chosen was a wide path worn into the ground by thousands of hooves as the ranch's herds of cattle and horses made their way over the ride and through the treeline to the vast lake which gave the ranch its name. As he neared a large rock outcrop, his horse jibbed at the bit and balked. At the same time, a foul odor reached his nostrils. Ezra had lived on the land long enough to recognize the smell of decomposition.


Dismounting, Ezra pulled his rifle free and looped the reins over the branch of a nearby bush. It would not really stop the horse if it decided to bolt, but it would dissuade it from taking to its heels for no reason. The horse twitched its ears nervously, flaring its nostrils as it tested the air. Ezra patted the horse's neck reassuringly and began making his way along the cattle trail on foot. He had just rounded a bend when he saw the reason for the foul odor. The remains of a young bull calf were scattered just on and across the trail. Massive claw marks showed in the remnants of the animal's hide.


Ezra continued onward and soon came to another carcass. This one was a large cow. Again, there was no sign of predation. The cow had been killed and left to rot. Ezra's lips tightened. It looked as if the bear was killing for sport, if such could be said of an animal, and not just to feed itself. Fearing that a small group of the ranch's livestock had been ambushed as it came back from the lake, Ezra continued along the trail.


Blood led Ezra on up the trail. He was about to turn back when and wait for the Lance and Randy when he spotted yet another downed cow. Ezra had just reached the carcass when a roar off to his right made him spin around. He raised the rifle and fired twice as a gigantic blur of fur filled his field of view. Instantly, he felt agony flash through his shoulder and then his side, and he nearly dropped the rifle. Somehow, with pain and fear interfering with his thought processes, he managed to fire three more shots. Then he was down, and the massive animal was on top of him. Consciousness faded amidst the sounds of the bear's growls, more gunshots, and the shouts of his men.


The bear stopped its attack as the other two men charged up the trail, firing their guns in its direction. There was a moment where it appeared that the animal was weighing its options. It was as if it was trying to decide whether to charge, stand its ground, or run. In the end, it let go of Ezra, turned and galloped up the trail, disappearing into the treeline.


Fearing the worst, Lance Canady dropped to his knees next to Ezra while Randy Flagg stood watch. Lance almost moaned at the sight of the older man's injuries. He wasn't sure how Ezra could still be alive, but the rise and fall of his chest and the ragged sound of his breathing said he was. Lance looked up at Randy, "We need the buckboard so's we can get Ezra back to the main house, and we need that new doc from town. But first, fetch the buckboard." It was almost as far into town as it was up to the main house. Far better to take Ezra home and bring the doc to him.


Randy nodded and whirled his horse around, sending it thundering back down the short trail. Keeping watch in case the bear returned, Lance did what he could for Ezra. "Hold on Ez, hold on." Lance muttered as he tried to stop some of the bleeding using his and the old man's bandanas and torn scraps of their shirts.

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Quentin leaned against a fence rail and watched as some hands were working on breaking some new horses that had been found on the ranch property. One thing they had decided on very quickly was to try and help any mustangs on the ranch. Ones young and healthy enough to become working horses would be made to do so, and any others would be kept and fed to prevent their grazing on the cattle grass or eating any feed put out for the cattle. He winced as one of the hands went flying as the horse he had been on bucked incredibly well. The man got to his feet, beating his hat on his chaps and raising as much dust as he caused when he hit the ground a minute ago.

 

Over the laughter of the other hands Quentin caught a faint sound. It was a growing constant sound...a rattling jingle amidst multiple sets of hooves. The sound grew quickly and did not fall off in tempo or intensity. He turned and his face dropped into a frown. Whoever was riding their wagon team that hard was about to get a few words from Quentin. He understood that sometimes horses had to be used, and used hard when the situation demanded it...no cavalryman was immune to reality. However, any other time you treated horses very carefully if you expected them to perform like that when it was needed.

 

Quentin moved around and leaped up to stand on a rail of the corral to see above some of the other items between himself and the main house. He saw a rider, then a ranch buckboard, speed into view, followed by more riders all galloping as hard as they could. Quentin recognized some of the men who had went out with Ezra earlier. His eyes moved along the riders looking for Ezra, then back from the last rider to the wagon. His eyes narrowed when he did not see Ezra among the mounted men. The wagon and the riders began to draw up in front of the main house. Quentin was already moving in that direction when he registered the demeanor and worry in the way they huddled around the wagon. Suddenly Quentin put together the reason for a wagon being driven like that plus the fact he had not seen Ezra among the riders. Before he realized it he was running full out, other hands trailing behind him as others saw the commotion and began heading for the house.

 

He came to a halt at the wagon and hands moved to each side. Quentin almost hit the side of the wagon as his arms stopped his run. His gaze moved down into the back of the wagon and he recoiled a bit. "Oh, God..." Quentin spit out at the sight of the blood on the blanket. He looked around at the shock and disbelief on the faces of the hands standing around and their sight helped cut through his own stunned reaction. "Come on! Some of you get in, on each side of the blanket!...we need to get Ezra into the house!..." Quentin watched the men get in and carefully move the blanket cradling Ezra off the buckboard and he ran up in front of them to throw open the front double doors. "HELP! Ezra's Hurt!"

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Laura Hale had just put the twins down for their afternoon nap when the clatter of the buckboard's wheels on the cobblestone courtyard had alerted her to the fact that someone was coming to the door.

On 3/3/2019 at 4:09 PM, Quentin Cantrell said:

Quentin watched the men get in and carefully move the blanket cradling Ezra off the buckboard and he ran up in front of them to throw open the front double doors. "HELP! Ezra's Hurt!"

The great double doors thudded against the walls as Quentin flung them open. Laura's face paled at his words. Then, if possible, she lost even more color as she saw the bloodied man being bundled in, cradled in a blanket that was also sodden with blood. "Take him to the room next to Shade's," Laura ordered, her voice calmer and more authoritative than she felt. "Mary! We need hot water and bandages. I also need the medical bag from the office."

 

Her need to know what had happened to her husband was second to the need to tend to him as best as she could. Laura knew the basics... stop the bleeding, try to clean the wounds ... You could not work on a ranch for thirty years and not know how to take care of injuries. "We need to send to town for the doctor," she said calmly as Mary handed off the medical bag while the men carefully shifted Ezra to the bed.

 

One of the hands, the one named Lance shook his head, "We met Miss Harriet on the ranch's main trail. She was in that fancy fast rig of hers. She lit out for town to get the doctor."

 

"Then all we can do is try to stop the worst of the bleeding and clean the wounds as best as we can," Laura said and took a deep breath, unsure if she had the mettle to do the job. 

 

Quentin swallowed once then began to unbutton and roll up his sleeves. He looked over at Laura's expression. "...I spent some time helping the regimental surgeon when we had a lot of casualties..." He looked down at Ezra as he finished the other sleeve. "...I've seen worse, but not much worse."

 

Laura cast a grateful look in Quentin's direction, "Ezra's strong and a fighter. We will come through this."

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  • 3 weeks later...

Harriet had been driving back from her new office in town when she met the buckboard heading at a hard pace toward the main house. She had hailed them to a stop, intending to read them the riot act for treating the team of horses in that manner. Lance Canady, one of the hands, had quickly told her why he was pushing the horses so hard and a glance into the back of the buckboard had confirmed the urgency. In an instant, Harriet had told them she would go for the doctor. She was already on the road plus she was not sure if Jonah yet owned a horse or carriage. If she fetched him, they would not have to wait for him to find transportation.


It was unusual for Harriet to make the drive and have the ranch's ruggedly beautiful landscape lost on her. Even the sight of the rampaging rapids and waterfalls in the river gorge below the pass known as Ishmael's Gate had failed to slow her down. All that mattered was getting the doctor safely to Ezra.


Harriet applied the whip judiciously to her buggy mare. She could move at a trot almost as fast as some horses could canter. The buggy itself was light-weight and well-sprung, making for a smooth ride despite the pace and gait. She cast an apologetic look at her passenger as she expertly veered the mare onto the last leg of the journey, the steep drive up to the main house.


Moments later, they clattered into the cobblestone courtyard of Blackbird Lodge, the main ranch house. Harriet had barely pulled her mare to a stop when the doors were flung open by Mary, the ranch's cook, and housekeeper. "They put Ezra in the spare room next to Mr. Shade's," Mary said, holding the heavy, carved oak doors open for Harriet and Jonah.


Harriet nodded as she dismounted from the buggy and tossed the reins to one of the waiting hands. "This way, Doctor," she said to Jonah and headed for the entrance. She gave the doctor very little time to view and appreciate the rustic splendor of Blackbird Lodge's interior as she led the way to the downstairs guest room.

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The clatter of hooves and wheels on the cobblestone courtyard alerted Laura to the arrival of Harriet. Hopefully, with the doctor in tow. She glanced across the bed where Ezra lay, his breathing rough and painful sounding. She and Quentin had done as much as they could for her husband, but his wounds were horrific. The skin and tissue had been laid open to the bone along his ribcage with the deep furrows running all the way around to his back.


Laura rose to her feet when she heard the sound of a knock on the bedroom's door. She looked over at Quentin as the door opened, "We need to find Shade," she said softly. "He should be here if...." Laura's voice trailed off. She could not bring herself to voice her fears or imagine her life without Ezra in it.

 

Quentin's eyes widened as he realized he had not thought about Shade in the middle of all the chaos. He nodded and looked up at the crowd of men standing in the hall and foyer. Quentin's eyes fell on a slim young man at the edge of the crowd. "Luis!..." the youth's gaze tore from the interior of the room and met Quentin's. "...Get the fastest horse out there and go get Shade...!" The man blinked and regained his senses after what he had seen and he turned and ran back out the  front doors, heading for the stable at a dead run.


Harriet proceeded the doctor into the room, offering an introduction as he entered, "Laura Hale, Quentin Cantrell, this is Doctor Jonah Danforth. It is Laura's husband, Ezra, that has been injured...bear attack."


Laura offered the doctor a faint smile and moved away from the bed, "The worst of his injuries are to his upper left arm, chest, and ribs."

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Hanging on for dear life, Jonah couldn't help but be impressed by Harriette's driving skills...he knew he couldn't have kept that up without causing a disaster, and he only barely managed to get a look at the magnificent building before he was rushed inside. 

 

As for what to expect, he wasn't exactly sure, Miz Harriette had said something about a bear attack, but she hadn't actually seen the victim so she couldn't tell him how bad it was.  he followed her through the building, barely glancing around, then nodded as he was introduced.

 

"Afternoon," he murmured, then listened to the woman's concerns.

 

"The worst of his injuries are to his upper left arm, chest, and ribs."

 

"Very well."  He gave a quick nod then crossed to the bed, alarmed at the amount of blood, but then, bear maulings could be brutal, and chances were this was the bear that had delayed the delivery of his goods.  "Strip him naked," he ordered as he started to wash his hands with the warm water that was in a pitcher on a stand by the bed, "plenty of clean towels."  There were already some there, but this was going to be messy...provided there was any more blood left in the man.

 

As he looked over the torn body, his mind was racing...where to start...there was so much damage.

 

"I need a hand here..."  He indicated a spot on the chest where the ribs were exposed and bubbles appeared with each ragged exhale.  "I need some oilcloth, too." 

 

First order of business was to tie off as many of the lacerated blood vessels as he could, to stop the bleeding, and so he could actually get a look at what he was dealing with.

 

Quentin had been standing nearby, conscious of his red covered arms, waiting for the doctor to decide what was needed to save Ezra's life. He could not begin to describe how relieved he had felt when Harriet had arrived with the physician. He reached into a pocket and pulled out his penknife, yanking the razor sharp blade open and going to work on Ezra's clothing, the fabric parting with the barest of tugs with the edge of the blade. Quentin worked fast but as gently as he could because he knew time was not something they had in excess.

 

@Stormwolfe @Bongo

 

 

 

 

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Normally, the sight of such severe injuries and so much blood would not be off-putting to Harriet. However, this was Ezra! He and Laura had taken her under their wing when she first came to work for Chance and Regina Thornton. In fact, Ezra had treated her more like a daughter than her own father had. The Hales were dear friends and dearly loved. So, while she would not flinch if her help was needed, she was delighted to have something to do to distract her.

 

Harriet ushered the onlookers out of the bedroom, "Perhaps you gentlemen could wash up in the privy down the hall and then help Mary cut some clean cloth for bandaging." The hands that had brought Ezra home nodded and headed off to do her bidding, seemingly relieved to have a job to do.

 

While Mary organized her helpers, Harriet tracked down additional clean towels and set more water on to heat. One thing she had learned from Fang was that one of the most important things to do when it came to open wounds was to keep everything as clean as possible. Harriet was allotting herself the task of keeping clean hot water on hand.

 

Returning to the bedroom, she set another stack of clean towels on the dresser, carefully keeping her eyes averted from Ezra's nude form. She emptied the used water from the wash basin into the bucket she had brought. Moments later, she was back with clean hot water and alcohol which she used to wipe out the basin before pouring the water in.

 

"I have asked Lance and Randy to clean up and help cut some cloth into strips for bandaging," Harriet told Jonah, Laura and Quentin. She did not ask what else she could do. Now, it was just a case of listening to the doctor and trying to anticipate what would be needed.

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Jonah was aware of the actions going on around him, although his attention was focused directly on the man laying so quietly on the bed.  There was a lot to do, and the doctor knew that the others were there supporting him, gathering what he needed and putting in an extra hand when needed.

 

Still, it was intense and by the time the worst of the lacerations had been cleaned and sewn up he had a horrible headache, but that was inconsequential to the pale patient who was, somehow, still breathing.  As he washed away the blood from his hands, he murmured, "Keep him warm, if he's able, feed him clear vegetable and chicken broth...his body will need the nutrition."  He let out a slow breath.  "That's all I can do for now.  Do you have any coffee?"  What he really wanted was a long drink.

 

@Stormwolfe

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Quentin lost track of the time he spent helping take care of Ezra. It was just like after any of the fights his regiment had been in during the war. Everything after was just a blur of work and sleep and being exhausted until all the men had been cared for. Quentin came back from the kitchen, feet shuffling from his tiredness. He had removed his shirt after working on Ezra, the bloody garment ending up with all the other clothing and bedclothes to be cleaned or burned as the case might be for saving the items. He had a few small spots on his undershirt but comparatively it was very clean. Quentin glanced into the bedroom and saw several people hovering around. Quentin figured another person crowding the room was not needed. He wandered along the hall and turned into the study. He walked over and dropped into what was one of his favorite overstuffed chairs for reading.

 

"I'll just relax for a few minutes and then I will check around the ranch to make sure everything is..." Quentin's thoughts trailed off as he was asleep within a minute of settling into the chair.

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Harriet nodded at Jonah, "We have coffee and something stronger if you like. I am sure Mary has also prepared dinner by now."  She glanced into the room where Laura was doing what she could to clean up and change out bedclothes without disturbing Ezra. 


She then gestured toward Jonah's patient, "Will you be staying here for the night?" Harriet hoped Jonah's answer was yes. For one thing, it would be dark soon so a journey back to town would be both dangerous and long. For another, she would just feel better if the doctor was on hand and not an hour or more distant.

 

"Coffee will do, thank you, Harriet," Jonah commented as he finished washing Ezra's wounds, then rinsed his own hands in the clear water that Harriet provided.  "And supper, I hadn't had a chance to eat yet."  And anything here would be better than what he had at home! 

 

Straightening, he dried his hands and arms.  "Then, perhaps a drink after, and yes, I'll stay the night, so I can keep an eye on the gentleman."  These first few hours were critical, especially to prevent the wounds from festering.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Harriet showed Jonah to the downstairs washroom so that he could clean up and gave him directions to the small dining room next to the kitchen. The family rarely used the larger formal dining area. It was reserved for special occasions such as holidays and when there were guests. While Mary put the finishing touches on dinner, Harriet set the table. She was about to help put dinner on the table when Mary handed her the teapot and shooed her out of the kitchen.

 

Having been admonished to go sit down, Harriet settled at the table and reached for the teapot. The smoky aroma of the tea made her sigh with anticipation. Mary was going to take a tray to the children's playroom and dine with them, leaving the adults free to discuss Ezra's condition without upsetting them. There would be upset enough when Shade arrived home. In fact, Harriet glanced at the long windows that showed the spectacular view of the Chogun mountains and Lost Lake...the shadows were lengthening toward night. Shade should be home soon.

 

She had only been seated for a moment or two when she realized that she had lost track of Quentin. Harriet told Mary where she was going in case Jonah came back from washing up. She had a good idea where Quentin was...the study had become his favorite refuge after a long day.

 

Harriet had been correct. Quentin sat slumped and sound asleep in the big easy chair. She hated to wake him but he would want to know how things stood. Reaching out, Harriet gently shook his shoulder, "Quentin," she said softly, "wake up. It is time for dinner."

 

Quentin gave a start and looked around as he sat up, his wide eyes relaxed after taking in the room and Harriet standing before him. He looked back to her. "Is Ezra alright? Did something happen?"

 

"No, Quentin. Ezra is holding his own for now," Harriet told him. "I came to find you for dinner." Her voice was devoid of the usual hostility that crept in when she was dealing with Shade or Quentin.

 

Quentin exhaled and rubbed his face before standing up. "Sorry for falling asleep..." He reached and picked up the shirt he had brought with him and buttoned it on then tucked it in as he followed Harriet to the dining room. He walked in and looked around, then breathed in deeply. "Smells delicious...I didn't realize I was hungry..."

 

"Mary made her famous chicken, dumplings, and biscuits. Do not apologize for falling asleep. Taking care of Ezra had to be exhausting." Harriet's voice trembled slightly, "He's so badly hurt." She did not point out another worry. Shade had yet to arrive at the house.

 

Harriet helped Mary finish setting the table and laying out supper. They had just finished when motion in the doorway alerted her to the doctor's return. "Jonah," she called out, "in here. We're just now ready."

 

@Bongo for Jonah

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  • 5 weeks later...

After washing up. Jonah slipped on a clean shirt that he kept in his bag for this purpose, and while it was pretty rumpled, it was at least clean and presentable.  As he headed to the dining room, he raked his fingers through his hair, then smiled at Harriet as she met him.

 

"It smells wonderful," he declared, just realizing how hungry he was now that the crisis was over.  Giving Mary a nod, he offered an arm to Harriet.  "Can I escort  you to the table...although I'm afraid you are going to have to point out who sits where."

 

The layout was nice, simple but neat and inviting, and he felt relaxed, and relieved that he didn't have to deal with crystal glassware and six forks with its own purpose!

 

@Stormwolfe

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  • 3 weeks later...

Harriet smiled and took Jonah's arm, "We do not stand on ceremony. Everyone sits where they please." She chose a seat where she could easily speak to both Jonah and Quentin.

 

Although manners dictated that discussing Ezra's injuries was not a proper dinner conversation, Harriet felt that since the twins were not present, she need to find out how he was faring. She glanced over at Quentin briefly and then turned her gaze back to Jonah. "How is Ezra, Jonah? Will he live?"

 

Tags @Bongo for Jonah

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Quentin watched Jonah and Harriet walk into the dining room arm and arm and refrained from rolling his eyes with great effort. He leaned over and dug into the food in front of him, maybe using his silverware a bit more than necessary as he attacked his food. Quentin told himself it was partly from hunger, but he also did not follow that train of thought too closely because he was damned if he could think of any other reason to be angry at what that woman did. He did straighten up and listen when Harriet asked about Ezra. For everything else he might be feeling at the moment, he did appreciate the effort the doctor had put into saving Ezra's life.

 

Tag @Stormwolfe or @Bongo

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Jonah sat at the table, relieved that the setting wasn't too formal, not that he couldn't handle six plates and ten forks, but that brought along with it formal conversation and manners that just about ruined even the best of food.  And right now, he was exhausted and frazzled, so he was glad for a relaxing meal.

 

"How is Ezra, Jonah? Will he live?"

 

As he buttered a roll, he looked over at Harriet, thinking that over, but there was no point in hedging.  "Right now, I can't really say," he answered honestly, "it depends on a number of factors...how much blood he lost, if any of the wounds putrefy, his health prior, and if he recovers quickly so he can start taking in nutrition."

 

He bit into the roll, savoring the flavor before adding, "We can impact some of those factors with good, aggressive care, but beyond that..."  He shrugged, then gave Harriet a smile.  "I'm certain he will have the best care anyone can get."

 

@Stormwolfe; @Longshot

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  • 2 weeks later...

"We will certainly do our best," Harriet agreed. She broke a biscuit in two and buttered it. "Ezra was in excellent health. In fact, in all my years of visiting here, I don't recall him being ill or missing a day of work. Certainly, he suffered the odd minor injury. You cannot work a spread this size without that happening."

 

Harriet spooned a portion of the chicken and dumplings into her bowl, added a light sprinkling of salt and pushed the dumplings around with her spoon. "As far as aggressive medical treatment - I am sure Laura will agree to anything likely to put the odds of Ezra's survival in his favor."

 

@Bongo  @Longshot

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Well, that's good to hear."  Jonah nodded as he took a bite of the meal, then smiled.  "Well, it's to his advantage to have good health and to be in good condition."  He took another bite, savoring the flavor, enjoying the meal.  "With cooking like this, he's sure to recover quickly!"

 

The wonderful meal only reminded him that he needed to hire a cook and housekeeper.  "I'm thinking that maybe we should try to steal away...Maria, is it?" he murmured softly with a grin.  "It would be wonderful if we could lure her to town!"

 

@Stormwolfe

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Harriet laughed, "It is Maria, although she goes by Mary. I am afraid that I would lose Laura Hale's friendship if I tried to lure her away from the ranch. But, I am sure she can recommend some ladies that need employment. Mary and Sage Miller have lived in the area and worked this ranch for many years."

 

She turned her eyes to Quentin, "Did I tell you that Jonah has been kind enough to offer me office space in his new building? I can use the ranch's leased rooms at the hotel for a couple of nights a week. I really do need to build up my clientele in the area and notify all of my regular clients regarding my relocation. I have no reason to return to San Francisco."

 

Quentin stopped in mid-bite and looked up at the doctor then over at Harriet. "That's...good to hear. I know I am glad you will be staying here even if it is in...town." He sat back and wiped his mouth with his napkin.

 

Harriet was momentarily flustered. That Quentin would express pleasure over the fact that she was remaining in Montana was surprising. Perhaps he was just really tired? "I will only be in town on days that I need to keep office hours." She glanced down at her napkin, "I am too attached to...this ranch...to abandon it completely."

 

Quentin looked over at Harriet. "The ranch would be sad to see you go...it would be happy that you will be staying on..."

 

"Well then, as long as the ranch is happy..." Harriet responded. It occurred to her that Quentin might be alluding to the ranch like she had. Neither of them wanted to come out and say that there was a growing liking between them.

 

Harriet glanced around, "I would feel much better if Shade would get home." Despite the fact that she felt she should dislike the man on principal, she was finding it harder and harder to do so. His record portrayed him as a hotheaded gunslinger. However, her dealings with him seemed to indicate he was anything but that. Maybe it was not too far over the line to admit that she was getting worried about Shade's continued absence. Of course, there was no telling how far the riders had to go to find him.

 

"Shade is no fool. If he or his horse get a whiff of bear they won't hang around to be introduced..." Quentin said as he finished cleaning his plate. "...he does have a habit of being hard to find, but he will be home soon enough, whether with one of our riders or on his own...he'll be here."

 

"I hope you are right, Quentin," Harriet said, glancing in the direction of the room where they had put Ezra.

Edited by Stormwolfe (see edit history)
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"Well, I can certainly understand why you'd want to be here," Jonah commented with a smile, "it's so peaceful here, and...uncluttered."  Even though the town was nothing like a big city, it still had people, animals, vehicles and the noise and commotions that went with that.  Of course, the drawback was that very isolation.  "Pity I need to be available for patients, or I'd find a place like this!" 

 

Of course, he was so accustomed to civilization that he'd likely quickly go crazy away from towns and his source of income.

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"When I first came out here to meet with Chance Thornton and his wife, Regina, I thought I would be longing for the bustle of San Francisco," Harriet said. "Then I saw the mountains and rivers, wild horses, just everything was so breathtaking. I sometimes miss the ocean but the majesty of this land soon puts paid to that." 

 

Harriet pushed her plate away and picked up her cup of tea. Leaning back in her chair, she smiled at Jonah. "Your new place is not right in middle of the town bustle so you should get some peace and quiet. It is not far to the river and plenty of places to go, sit and read a book, just listen to nature. Of course, not before that bear that mauled Ezra is dealt with."

 

@Bongo

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"Ah, that bear...I hadn't thought about it coming so close to town," Jonah observed, but she was right, a bear as crazy-sounding as this one probably wouldn't be too put off by the scant populations on the fringes of town...tasty morsels that were a bit more isolated, with plenty of opportunity to get away.  "I'll sleep with one eye open once I get back."  He chuckled, then grinned.  "Guess that's one advantage to being paid in chickens...any big predator like that comes around, I would think that they'd raise holy he...ck, give me warning.  I suppose I should invest in a shotgun."

 

His pistol was a decent weapon, but against a bear, it may as well be a pea-shooter.

 

@Stormwolfe; @Longshot

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"Perhaps we have a spare rifle or shotgun with suitable stopping power that we could loan you," Harriet answered and raised her eyebrows at Quentin.

 

She had found him very knowledgeable and for all their contentious behavior toward one another, he was also a very patient teacher. She now carried a rifle with her and, when dressed appropriately for riding, wore a sidearm as well. She supposed it was not very ladylike but it beat getting hurt or killed herself. Of course, since the bear had tried to attack Shade and the twins, she had an armed escort when she went riding or headed into town.

 

Quentin took a sip of coffee and looked over at the doctor. "I am sure we can arm the doctor so he could protect himself if he were to encounter our local monster..." He regarded the man levelly. "...Doctor, forgive my question, but have you ever had to use a firearm to shoot someone or something?"

 

Tag @Stormwolfe@Bongo

 

 

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"I've trained some, yes," Jonah replied, gauging his reply to be truthful, if not complete.   "I shot a couple rabbits, and a turkey."  He chuckled.  "Buckshot does awful damage to the meat...Of course, I carry a derringer, and I have a Le Mat, but I'd be grateful for the loan of a shotgun.  Even if not a bear, there are coyotes, badgers and such."  Not to mention Indians and bandits!

 

Quentin nodded even as the quiet bells went off in his head. He could count on one hand the number of doctors he had met with much familiarity with weapons, even during the war, and he would still have fingers to spare. The fact the doctor offhandedly mentioned a Le Mat and a derringer as his personal weapons also pointed to someone with a lot more knowledge of firearms than his answer indicated. "Well, I am sure we can let you have one of the coach guns from our arms room..." Quentin gave a smile to the physician. "...It's easy enough to carry on a horse and would have plenty of range and power for any accidental encounters with our bear."

 

"Once I get settled I can look into getting my own, but for now I want to put my resources into the clinic, and I need to hire a woman..." another chuckle, "if I can find one who can cook and act as a nurse, but I'm not terribly hopeful on that!"  It was a lot to ask of one person, but for now he couldn't (didn't want to) afford more.

 

Harriet finished her tea and rose to her feet, "Jonah, if you put a notice up at the general and maybe a help-wanted ad in the paper, you will probably get more interest than you expect. I need to clear up and go spell Laura so she can eat. Gentlemen," she smiled warmly at both men as she began gathering up the dishes.

 

@Longshot @Bongo

Edited by Stormwolfe (see edit history)
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