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Posted (edited)

With: Quentin Cantrell, Adelaide Chappel, Speed Guyer, Aurelian Redmond
Location: Lost Lake Ranch, Chogun Mountains, Starts at bunkhouse.
When: FridayAugust 27, 1875 - TBD
Time of Day: Just before dawn (starting), will vary in the thread.

 

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The predawn temperature was cold and crisp, but that would change once the sun was fully up. Montana nights were cold even in August, and especially in the mountains. That had made preparing for a hunt that might last several days required additional camping equipment. To complicate matters, it had rained the night before. That would make picking up the bear's tracks that much more difficult.


Shade stomped his feet on the mat outside the bunkhouse's common room to remove the mud before entering. Taking off his coat and hat, he headed straight for the coffee. Mary Miller was preparing breakfast and lunches so the hunters would not have to cook their midday meal. Right now, she was dishing up thick slices of bacon, ham, scrambled eggs, biscuits, gravy, and chunks of cheese. She was going to make sure that the men were well-fed before they hit the trail.


Thornton had spent Wednesday gathering up a small hunting party to accompany him and Quentin into the mountains. Along with the men, Addy Chappel, Millegan's senior driver, would be going along to manage the pack mules and the string of horses. There was also the matter of packing extra firearms and ammunition. It had been challenging as far as logistics were concerned. Shade himself was carrying one of the ranch's 1872 Sharps rifles in .50-90 caliber. It was a buffalo gun so it should bring down a bear, even a monster like Old Satan.


He had just gotten his coffee when Mary rang the bell sharply, "Food's up, come and get it!"

 

@Players

Edited by Stormwolfe (see edit history)

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Huddled into her coat, with her hat pulled over a scarf that covered her ears and wrapped around her neck for warmth, Addy glanced at Speed as he rode beside her.  They were both a bit worse for the wear...her ribs were still aching, and she knew that he was still hurting from their run-in with the huge bear.  It didn't really help that they had had to leave town well before sunrise, when the air was frigid and the trail concealed in darkness.

 

But now, as they arrived at the ranch, Addy perked up and glanced at the man.  "Ya smell that?"  The delightful aromas of bacon and biscuits greeted them, and she grinned, the smile hidden behind her scarf.  "Seems like we're gonna get a good meal before we all go to our execution!"  A hot meal would certainly be welcome, and would be a good start to what might be a long hunt.

 

@Flip

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Posted (edited)

Aurelian rode on in that fresh morning, Sharp's carbine  slung over his shoulder and a box of cartridges in his coat pocket. He had a revolver too but if it came down to pistol fire against the bear he would be in serious trouble. For the time being he tied his horse just outside the corral then headed for the bunkhouse and that fine aroma of breakfast. A pair of riders were just pulling up, he recognized the woman, a wagon driver (not like there were a lot of those around), as Miss Chappell. They looked like they were dressed for winter.

 

He smiled and waved, then teased, "Mornin! Landsakes, how are you people gonna manage come winter? This here is just plain invigorating. Last I checked it is August, right?"

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It didn't really help that they had had to leave town well before sunrise, when the air was frigid and the trail concealed in darkness.

 

There are things that one never parts with, his union greatcoat of heavy wool was certainly one, as were the gauntlet that covered his hands. They didn’t stop the war for weather or season

 

Addy perked up and glanced at the man.  "Ya smell that?"  The delightful aromas of bacon and biscuits greeted them, and she grinned, the smile hidden behind her scarf.  "Seems like we're gonna get a good meal before we all go to our execution!”

 

Speed laughed. “I don’t think so Addy, hopefully one of us’ll put ol’ Satan to rest once and for all, and there’ll be bear meat for everyone!” He had his Sharps fifty in his saddle scabbard, and a pocket full of cartridges. "In fact, I’m hoping this ordeal will be quick." Of course ol’ Satan’s likely got other plans for the day.

 

He saw the man ride up and hail;  "Mornin! Landsakes, how are you people gonna manage come winter? This here is just plain invigorating. Last I checked it is August, right?"

 

Tag @Bongo@Wayfarer

Edited by Stormwolfe (see edit history)
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Quentin yawned as he reined up outside the bunkhouse. He looped the reins around the post and stepped inside. He looked around and saw Shade and motioned to him.

 

Shade added more coffee to his cup and walked over to Quentin, "What's up?"

 

Quentin stood beside a buckboard as Shade walked up. "Several days ago, I took a trip to the fort. I figured we might need any advantage we can get..." He reached and flipped off a tarp and pushed the lid off the long crate under it. He reached in and lifted out a rifle. "The Commanding Officer was kind enough to allow me to buy a case of these Trapdoor rifles. There are four plus he let me buy a case of cartridges." Quentin reached under his coat and pulled a round from his bandolier and held it up. "It's .45-70. Not as powerful as some of the weapons we have for the hunt, but the Trapdoor can fire faster than some of those. It may come down to more rounds into that bear as opposed to one big one."

 

Shade uttered a low whistle. He leaned down and hefted one of the rifles, giving it an admiring look while he tested it for balance. He was impressed with the feel of the gun and with Quentin's effort in getting them. There was no doubt that they had probably cost a pretty penny, but in the end they were good additions to the ranch's arsenal. Shade had to admit, he wanted to be the fly on the wall when Quentin handed the receipts in to Harriet for payment. He almost grinned.

 

Quentin reached into the crate and tugged out a length of three sided steel. He held the spike bayonet near the end of the Trapdoor's barrel. "And if it's too close for comfort, you can always use this thing like a spear to protect yourself."

 

"Having seen that ornery critter, I plan on not getting that close," Shade said although the precaution made sense.

 

Quentin then made a sound and reached for a small bag beside the crate. "I got these made at the Gunsmith..." Quentin tugged out what looked like an oversized dueling pistol. "This is a Trapdoor conversion of an old style pistol. The system is the same and it uses the same ammunition. You lose some velocity with the shorter barrel, but it kicks harder than our revolvers ever could." Quentin handed the pistol toward Shade. "I want you to take this. You don't have to take the rifle if you want, but take the pistol..." Quentin glanced around then back to Shade. "This bear is something unusual. People might die today before it's dead, and I don't want it to be you or me...okay?"

 

"I don't want it to be any of us," Shade replied solemnly as he took the pistol. He lowered his voice, "Thanks for going the extra mile for us, Quentin. I will take one of the trapdoors. Need to make sure Addy has one of the Sharps or one of these." He paused and thought for a second, "Since she has the pack string, she might need one of the pistols?"

 

Quentin nodded. "She's welcome to one if she wants it. Might be easier to manage with the job she has."

Edited by Stormwolfe (see edit history)
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"Got my own pistol," Addy commented as she and Speed walked in on the conversation.  "Only good it'll do against that bear is ta put his victim outta their misery."  It would take a very well placed shot with a pistol to do much damage to a bear that size.  "Smells real good in here," she continued, taking off her hat and coat.  "Nice rifles," she added, looking over the weapons.  "That'll take down that demon, certain." Hopefully, when the time came, it would be more than one of them shooting at the beast, increasing their chances of killing it, and of surviving the encounter.

 

Quentin turned to the newcomers and nodded to the lady. "Not quite your typical handgun, ma'am..." He said as he opened the trapdoor action on the heavy pistol. "It fires the same round as these new rifles. A lot more kick in a package you can keep on you at all times." Quentin handed the weapon over for her to examine. "I hope no one gets that close to our bear, but if wishes were horses, no man would walk."

 

Tag @Bongo

Edited by Stormwolfe (see edit history)

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Aurelian had been kidding around and just trying to stir up a little good natured conversation but the woman and man just ignored him. Alright then. Fine! He decided to leave his Sharps on the horse, no sense dragging that inside and followed after them. He was hungry and it smelled damn good!

 

Entering the building he nodded toward both Shade and Quentin.

 

"Mornin'," he said then noticed the arsenal in front of him.

 

"Must say, your ranch sure is well stocked with weaponry. Those rifles are military issue, aren't they?" he went closer to examine them. Sure enough bayonet and everything. Impressive.

 

Quentin picked up one of the spares and handed it over for Aurelian to inspect. "I went to the Fort to look for some kind of advantage...they had these in and I was able to...persuade...the army to let me buy a case of four and ammunition. I hinted that otherwise they would have to send troops to help with the hunt...amazing what doors that opens."

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As they dismounted, Speed slipped the rifle from the scabbard to take along, being inside would keep it warm, at least for the first little bit. Though well greased and oiled, he would do whatever to keep it warm until the sun came up.

 

"Got my own pistol," Addy commented as she and Speed walked in on the conversation.  "Only good it'll do against that bear is ta put his victim outta their misery." 

 

"True enough, Addy" He said opening the door of the building.

 

"Smells real good in here," she continued, taking off her hat and coat.  "Nice rifles," she added, looking over the weapons.  "That'll take down that demon, certain."

 

Speed half smiled at the array of heavy rifles some he'd not seen since Kansas City, some since the war. The Buffalo craze spawned newer, heavier caliber weapons to slaughter the Bison to quench the thirst for coats in the east. No wonder the plains Indians were in a rage. And a waste of meat for both Indian and white-men alike. Such was "progress." He looked about the room at the men, there were enough, perhaps, if they didn't have to fan out too far.

 

Quentin looked at the newcomer as he stood silently looking over the weapons. "Quentin Cantrell..." He said by way of introduction as he held out his hand. "That's a nice weapon you have there also. You hunt?" Quentin left off the part where he inquired whether it was two or four legged quarry.

Edited by Stormwolfe (see edit history)

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"Guyer, Speed Guyer. I do hunt some as is necessary. New here from the east." He said grasping the man's hand, then looked at the rifle, "It is, actually has the power to knock down just about anything, though I'm some cautious about this Ol' Satan beast. Addy and I had a run in with him already that wasn't so pleasant."

 

He looked around admiring the room, eyeing the spread laid out before them, "Nice place. Yours?"

 

Quentin nodded and smiled with pride. "Lost Lake Ranch is the name. For the last short while it's mine and Shade and some others. His brother and my sister started it...He and I have the place now."

 

"Good of you boys to set up the feed before the hunt." Speed commended. "So, the beast been out this way much? The idea of where to start has me somewhat baffled."

 

Tag @Bongo@Wayfarer@Longshot@Stormwolfe@Flip

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20 hours ago, Henry S. Guyer II said:

"Good of you boys to set up the feed before the hunt." Speed commended. "So, the beast been out this way much? The idea of where to start has me somewhat baffled."

Shade nodded and greeted everyone as they arrived. He picked up on Speed's question, "Yeah. We've lost several cows and nearly lost our ranch's business manager. He was mauled pretty bad." Shade's voice held a note of steel in it as he mentioned Ezra. The man would live, but it had been a close call. There was still doubt that he would be able to return to work.

 

Nodding to the meal that Mary had laid out, Shade grinned, "Tuck in. Best to start out with full bellies. If we get a good track we won't stop for a midday meal." 

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23 hours ago, Shade Thornton said:

Shade nodded and greeted everyone as they arrived. He picked up on Speed's question, "Yeah. We've lost several cows and nearly lost our ranch's business manager. He was mauled pretty bad." Shade's voice held a note of steel in it as he mentioned Ezra. The man would live, but it had been a close call. There was still doubt that he would be able to return to work.

 

Nodding to the meal that Mary had laid out, Shade grinned, "Tuck in. Best to start out with full bellies. If we get a good track we won't stop for a midday meal." 

“Yes, that would be good, besides I’d figure most here would be use to hard tack, jerked beef and water.” He laughed lightly, not that rations in the field during the War of the Rebellion were anything to laugh about. Best get t this breakfast before it’s gone. Need to kill this beast and today’d be a good’a time as any.”

 

Tag: @Stormwolfe@Longshot@Wayfarer@Bongo

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"I'm all in!"  Grinning, Arnie settled at the table, knowing that they were likely in for a long day, and knowing what it was like to go for days without more than a few scraps gobbled down during brief breaks between battle, she was more than happy to start the day full of biscuits and gravy!  And even better, she knew that there would be food going along with them, so that their spirits would be bolstered for their grim task. 

 

Aurelian sat down with the rest of the party and there wasn't any food on that table he did not take a grand helping of, it was all so good too. He looked at the arsenal they had assembled and the assorted volunteers and was quite confident they could rid the county of this bear. Well, of course, the trick was finding him though.

 

Once she was done eating, she headed out to check over the harness and packs on the mules, then quickly looked over the remuda, assessing if there were any of the horses that might give her problems.  At least Arabesque was easy-going and didn't mind ponying the string of horses and mules.  The trick was controlling so many creatures if they got whiff of the bear

 

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...later in the day

 

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The main ranch and breakfast was long behind the team that had gathered for the hunt. As was normal for August, the day was already getting hot. Shade had long since shed his coat although he still wore his black leather gloves. The track had been steady which had kept them pushing forward. However, it was all uphill...literally. Lost Lake Ranch spanned a huge area, but most people forgot that the majority of it was mountainous as it encompassed most of the Choguns. Shade looked around, admiring the rugged beauty of the land while he let his big grullo gelding rest. He had been riding ahead, following the track but now it was time to let everyone catch up, maybe break to stretch their legs and get a bite to eat.

 

While waiting for the rest of the group to catch up, Shade walked the area to make sure that he had the direction of the bear's tracks set in his mind. He couldn't help but wish they had the help of one of his grandmother's younger Nez Perce nephews, John Warbow. The man could track over solid rock. He had taught Shade much of what he knew about hunting and tracking. Unfortunately, there had been no time to send word to him.

 

Those thoughts cleared from his mind as the sound of the other horses caught his attention. Shade rose to his feet and rested his rifle in the crook of his arm, carefully  pointing it down and away from unintended targets. As the first horse came into view, Shade called out, "Bear's still on this trail...such as it is. We should give the horses a few moments to rest."

 

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Quentin rode at the front. He nodded at Shade and turned to the next one in line. "Shade says we should rest the horses...pass it on." He eased his mount over to the side and looped his reins over a thick tree branch. He then walked toward Shade with his Trapdoor cradled in his arm so the barrel was pointed safe. He had a round in the chamber and the hammer down but ready to fire at a moment's notice. He had replaced his usual hideaway pistol with an Arkansas Toothpick he had had for years. The Trapdoor's bayonet hung beside it for ease of draw. Quentin's Schofield was still on his hip just because he felt naked without it. The Trapdoor pistol sat in a holster slung around his saddle horn.

 

Quentin walked up to stand behind Shade and to one side. "How long since it came by here?" He said quietly. Quentin knew it was foolish to speak low with a party this size and all these mounts, but his superstitious side still won out. Quentin wasn't one to tempt fate if he could help it.

 

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A good question from Quentin, Addy thought as she reined Arabesque to a stop then dismounted.  If they were getting close, now might be a good time for them to switch to fresh mounts, giving them a longer range.  In any event, she had her job, and that was the remuda.  After loosening Arabesque's cinch, she moved around the animals in her charge, checking for any sign of problems, then led them over to a shallow stream to let them drink.

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Aurelian dismounted with the rest, his horse was older and very reliable but this going uphill bearing the weight of a solid rider was more than the animal was used to, a short pause for the horses made perfect sense. It was hot out and Aurelian was in shirtsleeves rolled up to his elbows. He reached for his canteen near the saddle horn and then took a few swigs before capping it up again.

 

Cradling his rifle he then listened to Quentin and Shade discuss the tracking. That was one frontier skill he openly admitted he knew almost nothing about so he was happy to defer to those who did.

 

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Speed swung down, patting his horse on the neck as he dropped the reins, ground hitching his mount, something he took the time to train all his horses over the years. He slipped his canteen off of the horn and took a drink, the took off his hat and poured some in it for the animal.

 

He listened to Shade and Quentin giving thought to changing mounts, but his wasn't even lathered, yet. He barely heard the question about how long ago the beast had passed, that would not be something he was able to gauge, yet. It would take more time on the trail tracking before he could be certain of a time.

 

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On 8/22/2019 at 4:59 PM, Quentin Cantrell said:

Quentin walked up to stand behind Shade and to one side. "How long since it came by here?" He said quietly. Quentin knew it was foolish to speak low with a party this size and all these mounts, but his superstitious side still won out. Quentin wasn't one to tempt fate if he could help it.

Shade unhooked his canteen from the saddle and took a long drink before answering Quentin. At least there would be plenty of fresh water sources for refilling their canteens. The Chogun Mountains were riddled with creeks and streams. After hanging the canteen back on his saddle, Shade stepped slightly away from Quentin and kneeled beside the track.

 

His sharp blue eyes took in the details of the sign left by the bear. Even had he not seen the animal when it had pursued him, Clara, and the twins, it was easy to tell the size of it. The depth of the track indicated its massive weight. He studied the decay of the track wall and the debris in the track itself. Finally, he leaned forward, spread his hand flat next to the track and pressed it into the earth. Standing up, he compared the two.

 

'We're maybe four to six hours behind him. I know from experience that he will double back on his own track, so we need to be doubly cautious here on out, folks."

 

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8 hours ago, Shade Thornton said:

Shade unhooked his canteen from the saddle and took a long drink before answering Quentin. At least there would be plenty of fresh water sources for refilling their canteens. The Chogun Mountains were riddled with creeks and streams. After hanging the canteen back on his saddle, Shade stepped slightly away from Quentin and kneeled beside the track.

 

His sharp blue eyes took in the details of the sign left by the bear. Even had he not seen the animal when it had pursued him, Clara, and the twins, it was easy to tell the size of it. The depth of the track indicated its massive weight. He studied the decay of the track wall and the debris in the track itself. Finally, he leaned forward, spread his hand flat next to the track and pressed it into the earth. Standing up, he compared the two.

 

'We're maybe four to six hours behind him. I know from experience that he will double back on his own track, so we need to be doubly cautious here on out, folks."

 

@Players

Speed look at the track a long minute, a chill ran down his spine as he recalled the encounter with the beast on the road from Whitefish to Kalispel.  he stepped back to his horse and drew the Sharps out of the saddle scabbard. If in fact the bear had decided to double back, there was no real way to tell where he might be. If he got a whiff of the men and the horses, well, the beast could be just about anywhere and he wanted to be ready.

 

@Bongo @Longshot @Wayfarer

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Aurelian watched Shade analyze the track, interesting.  It was good to know someone at least had this sort of tracking and hunting experience. Also he blinked at the revelation the beast may well double back on it's path. He would not have known that, Aurelian conceded.

 

"Really? Wonder why they do that? Or is that pretty common with predators?" he asked even as he noticed one of the men extract his Sharps from it's scabbard. He could understand why the gent might be feeling a bit jumpy upon hearing that. He already had his own weapon in hand, loaded and it would only take one cock of the trigger for it to be ready for fire.

 

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Shade gathered up Lakota's reins and led the big smoky dun gelding to the stream so he could drink. He glanced back at Aurelian and smiled, "Not all predators will do it. Mostly, it's older animals that have experience at hunting and being hunted. Like humans learn to circle around to see who or what might be trackin' them, animals can figure it out too. I only know about this bear because we experienced it when he came after me, Clara, and the kids."

 

He ran a hand down Lakota's shoulder and legs, feeling for heat. The horse was still in good shape, not even breathing hard. Shade elected to keep riding him. If the bear did come after the hunting party, he'd rather be astride a mount that he knew well. "I think another two or three hours and if the sign doesn't get fresher, we should make camp. Don't want to be caught on the trail after dark if the creature attacks."

 

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Addy nodded as she gathered all the leads for her charges and then swung into Arabesque's saddle.  "Bear's pretty bold, seein' as he attacked us."  She nodded to Speed.  "Don't often take on four horses an' th' two'a us."  Settling into the saddle, she added, "In broad daylight, too.  No warnin'..."  This was truly a demon in animal form, and just because there were several of them didn't make them safe.

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Speed nodded as he listened to Addy retell the tale of their encounter. "Beast has no apparent fear, not of man or of gunshots, so we'd best be vigilant." He warned as he back stepped toward his horse. "I'd suggest we post to night sentries, but that's just me." 

 

In one smooth motion he stepped into leather and swung aboard, retaining his sharps which he rested across his saddle brows,still having a firm grip on it. "Pistols will be of no use, keep that in mind." Not that he was the leader by any means, he just wanted to relay what he had learned first hand.

 

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Shade allowed Lakota a good long drink before vaulting lightly back into the saddle. "Let's go, fella," he said to the horse as he patted the animal's neck and turned him back onto the faint trail.


Over the next two hours, Shade alternated riding and walking the trail to make sure he did not lose sight of the bear's tracks. He was also stopping frequently to compare the track to the other animals' signs in the area and debris so he could estimate their age. It was not an exact science, and the best anyone could do was make an educated guess. Fortunately, Shade had been taught by one of the best. The relationship was convoluted, but John Warbow was connected through his paternal grandmother's side of the family.


Those thoughts led Shade to think about how things stood with Montana's Indians. Incidents had been on the rise in the territory and all over the west. Good men and bad men on both sides were adding to the unrest. Right now, the Nez Perce were not caught up in the incidents. Shade hoped it remained that way. He did not want to be put in the position of taking up arms against his grandmother's people.


A rabbit shooting across the trail almost under Lakota's front hooves brought Shade's attention squarely back to the job at hand. The big horse snorted with annoyance but did not shy or try to bolt. Taking that as a sign that he should dismount again, Shade swung his leg over the saddle and dropped easily to the ground. Despite the hours in the saddle, he wasn't stiffening up. Riding came as easily as breathing to him. 


Tense, because he wondered what had spooked the rabbit out of the brush, Shade made sure his rifle was ready. The rabbit was long gone, but still, he felt uneasy. Leaving Lakota ground-tied, Shade walked slowly forward. Out of habit, he stepped carefully, making as little sound as possible. The warning signs were subtle. There was a sudden silence in the forest around them just as the breeze brought with it a strong, musky scent.


Shade whirled, bringing up his rifle. He managed to get a shot off, but it did not slow the animal down. Before he could fire again, agony flared in his leg as the massive bear's claws raked down his right thigh. Shade's leg did not quite buckle, and he pulled the pistol from his belt and fired. The shot went wide as a massive paw hit him again, sending him off his feet. Shade slammed down hard on a clump of small boulders next to the trail and lost consciousness as his head impacted one of the rocks....

 

@Players

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Speed sensed the quiet, felt the tenseness suddenly in the air similar to just before an attack during the war. Then he saw a flash of fur, the gunshot and then heard Shades horse scream followed by the collision of animals. He turned in his saddle to raise his Sharps when either Shade's horse or the bear rammed into his mount and sent Speed sprawling into the underbrush, the rifle flying out of his hand somewhere to his right. He was dazed but began scrambling in that direction.

 

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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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