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    • Barnabas listened, understanding the young mans desire to venture out, and also his hesitance to leave his sister behind. Life has those twists and turns that are possible blocks to what feels like their calling. "Well, you know, there are ways that you could manage that education, and there are ways that Lillian here could go with you." Then he cautioned, "I would certainly hesitate to travel to the Dakotas until the Indians are pacified. I'm sure they are filled with the power of their defeat of George Custer."   "Then again, should you attend the university, things could be settled before you graduated and ventured out. Education is a fine thing, Tom, whether you use it here, or the Dakotas, or wherever  you might venture forth. I only wished I had had the luxury of education beyond what I managed at my mothers knee and that one room school house in Texas." But fortune had smiled on him, the poker hand and what he had brought him, and then Em. His life was good, all things considered.
    • Their cab driver was waiting for them, he'd stayed close, alert to when they would return, and he was content, having had a wonderful lunch that Mrs. Pike had had packed for him.  Now, he helped get the remains of their picnic loaded, then made sure everyone was settled, with blankets in case they needed them, and started back for town.   "That was a wonderful outing!" Emeline declared, chuckling.  "Although I think I ended up with half the beach in my shoes!"  That had been something she hadn't thought about when going barefoot...putting the shoes and socks back on had been a challenge, especially with no way to keep the sand out!   She settled in, wrapping a blanket around her knees, since the hem of her skirt was damp, then rested her head against Barnabas' shoulder and was soon asleep.  Across from them, Lillian was also dozing.   "Thank you for letting us come with you, sir," Tom murmured quietly, "my sister works too hard and it's good for her to have some fun.  And I appreciate the advice.  College sounds like a good plan, if we can afford it.  I'd love to go to Montana or the Dakotas, but I don't want to leave Lillian."   @Flip
    • "Guess you're right about just showin' up at the ranch like that." He agree, and that is kind of you, but I've cash put by for this trip I've made. The hotel does sound good. And the local fare? Which is the best place to eat. Lookin' for big steak dinner I am. Been sometime since I was able to get somethin' like that. It was a trip to remember, long, hard, and with every temperature you could imagine."   It had been that and a bit more. There had been Molly McGuire, he was missing her, but Kalispell would not be the place for her if all that had been said came to fruition between Lost Lake and the Evergreen. He had waltzed in on what could be a real corpse and cartridge affair, and one that went on an on til they forgot what it was about, or who started it.   "I appreciate your offer, and your council about town and holdin' off till the ranch hands were in town. I'll do just that. @JulieS    
    • Benjamin gave up on the fruitless pursuit of the surviving war party, they were down a six or so anyhow and more than likely just heading back to their home village. If it was one thing the US cavalry learned about chasing Indians, you didn't catch 'em.  Best horsemen in the world maybe. So he ordered his scouts and troopers to turn back and then spent the better part of a few hours just getting back to the rest of his command. It being dark did not help at all but the scouts were up to the task.   Once back he found out that a lot had happened - almost all good too, well except another trooper had been killed. But Lt. Greene found (had lucked into it really but no criticism there - it was the great Napoleon who had said  'better a lucky general than a good one') the women and they were alive. Looking a bit worse for wear but no dangerous wounds, the saloon girl was already wearing trousers and a bluecoat lent her by eager troopers. And Greene had a face to face encounter with an Arapaho brave looking to kill the ladies. That Indian was dead. Barlow didn't press the young officer on the details, that he could read in the report Greene would have to write out later back in the fort, for the young man was wounded and in considerable discomfort. They didn't have a doctor with this detachment but one of the troopers who knew something about wound treatment assured Benjamin the boy would live and keep his leg. Well unless he didn't take care of it properly and get gangrene.   The stage driver was quite the tough gal too. She was sporting a large bruise from where the Arapaho had belted her with his gun butt but in good humor and even told him that the two women had killed their guard and escaped on their own.  Barlow was impressed.   "Well, it's a pity we don't allow women in the army, we could use a couple more like you and your friend," Benjamin remarked to Addy.   It was a tough call to make - normally traveling at night was not the wise thing to do but they had the wounded to think of and the sooner they got them back to better medical care at the fort or even town, the better. He decided darkness or not, they would head back and issued the appropriate orders.   They kept the pace deliberately slow but steady. He wasn't worried about Indian attack - Plains Indians did not attack at night and besides that war party was good as destroyed and definitely dispersed.  No, the bigger danger was loss of a horse or horses to prairie dog holes or god knows what else whilst traveling in the darkness.   Then there was a holler from ahead.   @MD  @Bongo @Flip @Javia
    • Both men had agreed, it had been a hell of a day. That Bannister came to them had been unexpected, but welcomed.  As they walked to the hotel after stabling their mounts they paused on the porch, taking up seats on the porch. Both men silent as they turned over the events of the day. Neither weary as they should be after a long hard ride back to Kalispell.   "This shapes up different than I was thinking it would. I mean hell, this is father against daughter." Cook said, "Seen a few that was father-son, never father-daughter."   "Odd one, that's fer shore. Now This Elias Steelgrave, you know much about him?" McNue asked, wonder what type of man is a threat to his own flesh and blood.   "Some, none of it good, and none of it arrestable, if that's even a word. The man skirts the law in a way he gets what he's after without consequence. Though I've heard there's a dark past with some bodies, but again, no real proof. Well, we'll check in with Guyer in the morning, see what we can do."   "Sounds to be a good idea, as dos gettin' our fair share 'o shuteye." McNue agreed. Both men got to their feet and entered the hotel. On this night their prospective of what was happening had changed.
Weedy

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Sniffling a bit and wiping his nose on his sleeve, Weedy nodded, taking Josh's hand as they went back into the kitchen.   Having his little cousin here gave him a chore, after all, he was so much older at ten, and had to be strong for the younger kid. 

 

"There's tater pie, too," Weedy muttered.  "Just, Miz Addy is late getting home."  He shot Arabella a look, challenging her to keep her mouth shut!  "We're going to play pirates later, aren't we, Arabella?  Maybe we should set the table for supper."

 

Not that he particularly cared about food right now, and he was hoping that Uncle Isiah and he could set out to find Addy themselves, but he wanted to keep Josh occupied.  "Arabella said we can tie her up and tickle her, that sounds like fun, doesn't it?"

 

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"There's tater pie, too," Weedy muttered. "Just, Miz Addy is late getting home."  He shot Arabella a look, challenging her to keep her mouth shut!  "We're going to play pirates later, aren't we, Arabella? Maybe we should set the table for supper."

 

Arabella shut the oven door, she was keeping an eye on that pie and hoping against hope that the newcomers might leave before it was divied up! Weedy was leading an even smaller boy in and, well, her heart just melted: he was just so like her poor little brother Johnny, she could almost imagine that he'd popped down from Heaven to visit with her in this hour of peril.

 

"Why sure we are Porter, and who is this young gentleman, pray tell?" she asked, crouching down a little to greet him, though at 5'3" she hardly towered over them.

 

"Arabella said we can tie her up and tickle her, that sounds like fun, doesn't it?"

 

"It ain't fun for me, boys!" she countered, trying to make it sound even more appealing "You don't know what a lady goes through when she has her bare feet tickled." she said coyly "But I put up with it because it adds vermicelli-tude to the game - that means it makes it seem more realistic - y'know them pirates was always devisin' fiendish tortures to make folks tell 'em where their buried treasure was hid."  she informed them in hushed tones, adding an arcane allure to the make-believe game.

 

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“Ms. Wigfall, with all due respect I have no desire for a stiff drink, but I do have a desire to go out and help the Calvary rescue my sister.” He spoke with urgency as he continued. “Please, don’t waste a moment with any other information you may have on her situation." 

 

Jemima nodded and, in her flat nasal voice, told what she knew as succinctly and as swiftly as possible.

 

"Well, all right. Seems the stage got hit sometime late this morning on the road to Helena. Friend of my brother called Jake Lutz found it, Addy's shotgun feller and two passengers killed and mutilated, Addy and Miss Mundee from the saloon missing..." she frowned at the thought of the beautiful and glamourous singer, who was everything that she was not "... she ain't a fit person for you to know!" she couldn't help informing the handsome Mr. Chappel "Anyway, a party went out from the Fort this afternoon under Captain Barlow: if anyone can find them, he can, he's an experienced man and he's got Indian scouts and everything."

 

She then pointedly added another fact. 

 

"Jake wanted to go with them but they wouldn't allow it: in fact they threatened to throw him in the stockade if he tried to follow the Troop, they said civilians just got in the way of Army operations." This was clearly aimed at Isiah's insistence on going along and helping. However she narrowed her piggy little back eyes at the restless and rugged looking widower.

 

"But, Mr Chappel, I don't think something like that would stop a man like you from trying to find his sister. I think I know the place where the attack must've happened from what Hector said, it'd take hours for you to find it in the dark." for indeed, the Sun was now setting in the Western sky "Sir, I've lived here all my life: I know a short cut through the pass, I can ride and I know how to use a gun: I can guide you there." she said simply. 

 

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Josh listened as Weedy explained to him that there was even more food and that the reason for all this ruckus was that his Aunt Addy was late getting back.  At 5 years old Josh didn't catch that cutting eye that Weedy gave Arabella daring her to say something more about Addy.  So he wasn't concerned at all.  Addy'd be back! He just tore off another piece of ham and listened as they talked about the game they'd get to play.  Pirates! That sounded fun.  His eyes widened as he pulled his knees underneath him to help him sit up taller in his chair.

 

"There's treasure?!" Now that sounded like something darn amazin'! And getting to hold Arabella hostage and tickle her 'til she told 'em where the treasure was, this was going to be great!  Josh had heard about pirates before... "My grandpappy told me 'bout a pirate named Black Beard.  Ya'll heard of him before?"  Now that he'd asked them if they heard of him, he realized he didn't much remember the story his pappy had told him so he didn't know if he could tell them about it or not.  Maybe he could just make somethin' up!

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Josh could feel himself nearly getting sick to his stomach as he listened to the scene that had been conveyed to Ms. Jemima.  Addy and a Miss Mundee both taken and not a part of the massacre, but what was happening to them?  What were those Indian men doing?  The thoughts repulsed him and he hoped that wild imaginative thoughts that were playing in his mind wasn't what was playing out for his sister.  If those Indians so much as laid a finger on her!  His blood was boiling.  Jemima was exactly right, there was no way that he was staying back here and just waiting.  He turned and rushed towards the living room where he'd  been sleeping and where he'd kept his belongings. He spoke in a rush...and that because he was in one.

"There ain't no way I can take you with me Ms. Jemima.  I need you here with those youngin's." He spoke over his shoulder as he got to his sleeping quarters and pulled out his revolver and starting checking it for ammunition.  As he did this he looked up at the woman. "You think you can give me directions on how ta get there?" He knew nothing about the area.  It was probably stupid on his part to go at it alone, but he knew he'd find a way.  He'd say extra prayers tonight, pray to God, whom he was angry with right now for many a reasons, to help him find his way and for Jemima to give him clear enough instructions to at least get headed in the right direction. 

 

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"There's treasure?!" Now that sounded like something darn amazin'! 

 

"Well, no, course there ain't no real treasure!" Arabella frowned. She jerked a thumb at Josh and looked at Weedy, "How old's he?" she asked. 

 

"My grandpappy told me 'bout a pirate named Black Beard.  Ya'll heard of him before?"  

 

"Oh sure!" Arabella waved her hand dismissively "Everybody knows him, he's the feller as used to set his own beard alight to scarify his enemies. Course my Pa did that once, too, but that was more by way of an accident. Had to throw a whole potty full of... well a whole potty at him to put it out or the whole shack'd 've gone up." she painted a vivid picture of life in the chaotic Mudd household before she was orphaned. 

 

Arabella leaned forward in her chair and waved the two boys in to her, conspiratorially, her eyes round, her voice low, as she told them: "Now, Blackbeard was bad, but did you two ever hear of... Purple Beard?!!!" She looked around, to make sure no censoring ears heard her and stopped her polluting young minds with tales of this notorious buccaneer of the West Indies. 

 

Before she could begin to tell them about the atrocities committed by her fictional Torturer of the Tortugas Jemima came stomping in with Isiah, her face even more unhappy, if not outright angry, than ever. She had offered to help the man find his sister but had been sent away with a flea in her ear. No doubt if she'd been pretty like Caroline Mundee or Anaesthesia Orr, he would have accepted her offer and taken her along. Well, he could go and get lost on the prairie in the dark as far as she was concerned: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. 

 

 

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"Purple?"  Weedy frowned, not sure that he believed that for a minute, nor that people set their own faces on fire, that didn't make any sense, but this was just tall-tale-telling anyway, right?  So the taller the tale, the better!  "Didn't he have birds in his..."

 

But then the adults came back in, and he looked at his Uncle.  Jemima seemed upset, but then, weren't they all? 

 

"Are you going to help Miz Addy?" he asked, although, even he knew the folly of going out this late.  "Maybe we should wait here?"  He could feel his heart starting to race in his chest.  "Just stay and let the cavalry bring her?"

 

His Ma, Jay, now Miz Addy...he didn't want to lose Uncle Isiah, too.

 

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Josh was on the edge of his seat as Arabella started telling them about Purple Beard.  Being so young his imagination was about as wild as it came and so young that his imagination could almost seem like real world stuff to him!  He could already see Purple Beard and Black Beard in a battle, and Josh wanted ta know all about it!!  He couldn't hide the twinge of disappointment he felt when Arabella told him there really wasn't no treasure.

 

But then his Pa and Jemima came storming back into the kitchen and Jemima was mad!  

 

Isiah followed Jemima back into the kitchen, walking and putting his gun belt into place around his waist at the same time.  What had happened?  Everything was just fine, Jemima was giving him all sorts of information, being a mighty big help ta him and then storming off angry???  Just like a woman!

 

"What's tha matter?!" Isiah asked as he glanced to Weedy and motioned for him to come towards him.  "There ain't no place out there for you. You need to stay back here, mind these children and let me go out and handle these Indian matters!  Now, please Ms. Jemima, some directions!" He demanded, feeling angry now for many reasons.  He knew he was behind the pack, that the Calvary was already headed towards her, to rescue her, but there won't no way he'd just sit back here.  Little did he know he was many many hours behind them and there was no way he'd catch up.

 

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"What's tha matter?!" Isiah asked as he glanced to Weedy and motioned for him to come towards him.  "There ain't no place out there for you. You need to stay back here, mind these children and let me go out and handle these Indian matters!  Now, please Ms. Jemima, some directions!" 

 

Arabella watched Mr Chappel get quite irate with Jemima, and she could guess why: her friend was always saying an doing the wrong thing with men, especially handsome ones. As for Addy's brother, well, he clearly wanted to be 'doing something', if only to assuage his manly pride. 

 

"Oh, just tell him!" she encouraged the frowsy girl.

 

"All right. well, a mile south of the muddy creek there's a draw and right of the sward there there's a tree with a bent branch and if you follow the direction the way that branch is pointing for half a mile there's this other tree that looks a bit like an old bent crooked man. Three yards to the left there's a big bush that conceals a narrow pass. You follow that and it comes out in the trees near the place where I reckon the savages must've hit the stage." she droned on in her monotonous voice. 

 

Arabella caught Isiah's eye "Well that's as clear as mud. I reckon she'd better go and you stay here." she opined, and not completely in jest. 

 

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Weedy's nose wrinkled up at his uncle's admonition, and the blunt delivery.  The man surely wouldn't be talking to him like that if he'd been older...but heck, he was almost eleven!  Not only that, but he and Miss Addy had been taking care of each other for a long time before Isiah showed up, and he took care of the horses when she was gone...Sure, he was only ten, but he was a man!

 

Still, he was a kid, and he had no choice but to do what grown-ups told him to do, even if it did rankle his hide.  But at least Uncle Isiah had given him the role of looking after the ladies, like a real man would do, even though the 'ladies' in question lived somewhere else and were the ones helping him to cope!

 

"Yes, sir," he muttered, but then he perked up at the convoluted directions that were given.  "Hey!  I know that tree!"

 

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Isiah waited with expectation as Jemima finally started to give him the directions he so desperately needed to at least try and find the search party that was out there finding his sister.  At first she had him hook, line, sinker, but then the more she went on he realized just what she was doing and it did make him mad!  He was about to speak the very words that Arabella said as he caught her eye.  

 

Arabella caught Isiah's eye "Well that's as clear as mud. I reckon she'd better go and you stay here." she opined, and not completely in jest. 

 

"You got that right." Isaiah muttered as he grabbed a chair from the kitchen table and pulled it out, slinking down into it, feeling a bit defeated, worried, angry....everything all at once.  He pat the seat for Weedy to come sit back down.  He won't going nowhere.  At least not at the moment. He realized he'd upset Jemima and that was not his intention. 

 

"Ms. Jemima, I didn't mean to speak so harshly.  I just want to find her.  And I don't want to go dragging anyone else out there that don't have ta be.  I've seen my fair share of blood shed and gore ..." because of the war... "and it ain't something you can un-see.  I don't want no one to have to through that, that don't have to."  Then quickly he realized that perhaps what he had said could elude that there may be blood shed and gore to be seen at the hands of Addy and anyone else that had been with her. "Not that I'm expectin' there ta be any for those that are rescued....but I do hate ta see what's going to happen to those Indians!" Because he knew had he been there and got his hands on any of those Indians that had gotten a hold of Addy .... well it wouldn't be pretty!

 

Isiah had no appetite but he could tell everyone was hungry. "Why don't ya'll eat and then maybe Weedy and I, and whoever else wants, can go into town and see if anyone there's gotten any news?" 

 

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"Ms. Jemima, I didn't mean to speak so harshly.  I just want to find her.  And I don't want to go dragging anyone else out there that don't have ta be.  I've seen my fair share of blood shed and gore ..." because of the war... "and it ain't something you can un-see.  I don't want no one to have to through that, that don't have to."

 

Arabella gave a little cough, the boys were still present during this gloomy monolog.

 

Then quickly he realized that perhaps what he had said could elude that there may be blood shed and gore to be seen at the hands of Addy and anyone else that had been with her. "Not that I'm expectin' there ta be any for those that are rescued....but I do hate ta see what's going to happen to those Indians!" Because he knew had he been there and got his hands on any of those Indians that had gotten a hold of Addy .... well it wouldn't be pretty!

 

"Wonder how that pie's doing?" asked Arabella, half-heartedly trying to change the subject. Isiah was clearly worried, Jemima was in a mood, the boys were probably worried, too. Arabella was certainly worried about Caroline, even more so now after Mr Chappel's speech: before then she had almost been able to pretend to herself it wasn't happening, that they were all just here for some fun sleepover. Now she sat with her chin on her steepled fingers, as depressed as everybody else. 

 

Isiah had no appetite but he could tell everyone was hungry. "Why don't ya'll eat and then maybe Weedy and I, and whoever else wants, can go into town and see if anyone there's gotten any news?" 

 

Jemima was about to point out that there was no point in doing that, her brother would come with news as soon as there was any, but, well, why deny the man the salve to his conscience? She nodded in sombre agreement instead. She opened her mouth to offer to take Isiah to the telegraph office, but remembering her previous rejection, closed it shut again, so that she resembled big ugly goldfish, opening and closing its mouth as it swam around its bowl.

 

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While Weedy was disappointed that no one had taken him up on his alleged knowledge of the area and Jemima's Southern directions, he was relieved that Uncle Isiah was staying here.  Well, he'd be even happier knowing Uncle Isiah was going after Miz Addy, but he realized it was too late now, and there was nothing to be done for that.  They'd have to rely on Marshal Guyer and the cavalry.

 

"It's going to be all right, Miz Addy'll give them enough trouble that they'll just let her go!"  He laughed a little, then hugged Isiah before hopping out of the chair.  "You all just sit, and Arabella and I will serve supper.  Come on, Josh, you can help."

 

Chin up, right?  Until you knew that it wasn't time for that!

 

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Isiah sure wished he knew that Weedy even had a inkling of an idea of where Jemima had described....but even if he did know would he drag the boy out there in that?  Nope.  He admired the boys positive nature, the optimism he brought to the table.  It sure helped to ease his nerves.  He managed to chuckle for all of them, smiling as he pat the boy on his back, even if it was hard to show any sort of happiness in this moment. "You got that right there, Weedy!  They gonna find out right quick that they poked the wrong bear." He winked at the boy as he got up and he and Arabella started to serve their dinner.

 

Josh sure was worried and he was staying quiet.  He didn't know what ta think about everything going on but he knew he didn't want nothing ta happen to his Aunt Addy like had happened to his Ma.  He jumped up and went to the cabinet and was thankful the plates were on the lower ones because he'd never be able to reach up high.  He grabbed 5 of them and brought them over to Jemima, since he couldn't reach the table real good.  

 

Isiah could tell that Jemima wanted to say something....or well he suspected.  "Well..." He motioned with his hand. "Go ahead, what's on yer mind?"  If she had something to share that could help them well, he'd like ta know. "I won't bite this time." He vowed as he raised his brows.

 

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Isiah could tell that Jemima wanted to say something....or well he suspected.  "Well..." He motioned with his hand. "Go ahead, what's on yer mind?"  If she had something to share that could help them well, he'd like ta know. "I won't bite this time." He vowed as he raised his brows.

 

Jemima hesitated. Her mouth opened, then she changed her mind. Then she opened it again. Arabella came to her rescue. "Oh don't mind her, Mr. C. that's just her face. She always looks like she's got something to say when she ain't, ain't that right 'Mimes?" she asked gaily. Jemima opened her mouth to answer and nothing came out.

 

"There y'are, told ya so!" nodded Arabella and took the plates off of Isiah and handed them to Jemima, who turned and put them out on the table. Arabella looked up at Addy's tall brother and shook her head a little, mouthing the words 'She's all right' which, she guessed, was a lie. But better a little white lie than try and get a mixed up complicated sort of girl like Jemima to try and shine a light on her own neuroses. 

 

Getting everything ready for supper was a welcome distraction from worry for one and all and soon the pie was steaming on the table and, kudos to Miss Wigfall, smelled delicious. They were just about to dig in when Arabella stopped them all with a cry of "A-A-A!" and she put her hands together in prayer. "Be present at our table Lord. Be here and everywhere adored. These mercies bless and grant that we may feast in fellowship with Thee. Amen." she rattled off the standard Methodist mealtime grace, but then added.

 

"Oh, and Lord, while you're here and listening: can you please bring our loved ones Miss Caroline Mundee and Miss Adelaide Chappel back to us real quick, cause we really miss 'em and well, we're all just about worried sick about 'em. Miss Chappel is a good woman, well 'part from that time she was livin' over the brush with that Mr Ryker feller, and her brother Mister Chappel and her nephew Josh and especially her beloved adopted son Porter James want and need her back with them real soon; and Miss Mundee, well, I know she ain't exactly angel material, but I just love her and miss her to bits so bringing her back safe'd mean everything to me and I'd never, never do anything bad ever again if you would grant this wish, our Lord, Amen."

 

While He was on the line, she decided to put in a request for Jemima, too, since she'd been left out so far.

 

"OH!" she shouted Him back "And Lord, if you could do something about that cyst on Jemima Wigfall's back, she'd be mighty grateful: I mean, Doctor Danforth's drained that thing like about a dozen times and it just fills right back up like a old water well. Anyhow, she don't like to talk about it, so I reckoned I'd mention it while you're here. Er, Amen." 

 

She opened her eyes and looked at all the faces around her at the table. They all looked like they'd never heard anyone say grace before! Heathens. 

 

"OK, tuck in folks!" she beamed. 

 

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When Arabella mouthed that Jemima was all right, he just nodded his head to her and decided not to press it anymore.  He went and  found his spot back at the table.  The food smelled delicious but he couldn't bring himself to eat, not with his sister and this Miss Mundee out there missing with those Indians.  He'd at least pretend to eat so the others would.  He wanted Weedy and Josh to not follow his lead so as he was reaching to serve the boys plates Arabella stopped him mid-move with the prayer.  He pulled his hand back and bowed his head.

 

Isiah wasn't all that pleased with the Lord right now.  So many bad things happening to him and his family.  He knew he had to get right with Him though and he s'pposed that would happen sooner rather than later.  With head bowed he listened to the prayer, muttered an Amen and went back for the serving spoon when she started up again.  Eyes wide for a moment he dropped his head again and listened, this time when he heard his sisters name he focused real hard on the words, hoping maybe that would take them to heaven just a little bit quicker.  His interest peaked though when she mentioned his sister living with some Mr. Ryker.  And that she was an angel except for when she lived with him?!  He lifted his head and opened his eyes for a moment as she looked at the girl, but she was deep in her prayer.  He'd ask her about that later when everything was settled down and everyone was home safely.  

 

And then again, he muttered his Amen reached for the spoon and was interrupted with yet another prayer request.  This time he leaned back in his chair, listening with his eyes open, feeling his stomach churn a little at the request, his face wrinkling up some at the description.  He made sure to clear it up though before anyone else had open eyes, but his eyes fell on Arabella as she finished.  Before he even made a move to try and grab that spoon he hesitated, but the boys were already digging into the delicious meal. "You sure?" 

 

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Weedy had had enough, now that the food was presented.  He hadn't thought he was that hungry, after all those cookies, but now that the food was laid out, he was ready to eat, and he tucked in, even if Miss Arabella decided to ramble on some more.  Heck, she was as bad as some of those tent-preachers, summoning the spirits to put the Fear of God into everyone!

 

Nope, it was time to eat, after all that work, and he wanted to keep up his strength, in case he needed to help out when Miss Addy was home.

 

"This is real good, Miz Jemima," he declared around a mouth-ful of food, something he knew Miss Addy wouldn't approve of, but she wasn't here, was she?

 

@Javia

@MD

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For a little while there was silence apart from the agreeable sounds of metal cutlery chinking on china and contented munching. Then Weedy piped up.

 

"This is real good, Miz Jemima," he declared around a mouth-ful of food, something he knew Miss Addy wouldn't approve of, but she wasn't here, was she?

 

Jemima just nodded her appreciation of the appreciation, as it were, but Arabella went so far to admonish him "You hadn't oughta speak with your mouth full." she said, or something like that, it was hard to tell with that half-masticated piece of tater pie in her own mouth.

 

The eating took her mind off Caroline's predicament, but once she'd had her fill she cast around for another topic of conversation to distract them all. Her choice wasn't really designed to enrapture the two boys there, though.

 

"Oh, Jemima, Miriam was showin' me that dress you just finished at Pettigrew's for Anæsthesia Orr, all covered in organza, she said it's the hardest thing in the world to work with." she looked over at Isiah. 

 

"You should meet Miss Orr, Mr Chappel, she's just about the prettiest girl in the whole territories!" gushed Arabella, who had a bit of a crush on the aloof blonde.

 

"She's a snob." muttered Jemima, under her breath. 

 

@MD @Bongo

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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Isiah pushed his food around his plate as he stared down at the round dish.  He was sure wishing he was out there doing something to help, instead of sitting here like a knot on a log.  He was miserable not staying busy and that allowed his mind to just play horrible scenes over in his head of what those Indians could be doing to his sister right now.  Was the Calvary there in time?  Even if they were how did they plan on rescuing those girls without them getting hurt?  So many questions played through his mind.  

 

He hadn't realized how deep in thought he was until he heard Arabella pipe up and he blinked out of his stupor.

 

"You should meet Miss Orr, Mr Chappel, she's just about the prettiest girl in the whole territories!" gushed Arabella, who had a bit of a crush on the aloof blonde.

 

"Oh I've had the pleasure." He said with a chuckle recalling the visit he got out to the barn from her and Addy and Weedy after their reading lesson.  This Miss Jemima sure didn't hold back.  He wasn't one to speak poorly of anyone if he could help it, but he was certain Jemima and Arabella must know her a lot better than he did. "She sure seems to have led a sheltered life." He admitted as he pushed his plate towards Weedy.  Weedy had cleaned his plate, so he offered his uneaten portion to the growing boy.

 

@Javia @Bongo

Edited by MD (see edit history)
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"You should meet Miss Orr, Mr Chappel, she's just about the prettiest girl in the whole territories!" gushed Arabella, who had a bit of a crush on the aloof blonde.

 

"Oh I've had the pleasure. She sure seems to have led a sheltered life." He admitted.

 

"You have?! Oh, isn't she wonderful?" gushed Arabella "I saw her with her glove off once, her hands were just marble white, like she'd never done a days work with them in her life!" This seemed to be an impressive feat to the mountain girl, but Jemima sneered.

 

"That's nothing to be proud of!" the frowsy girl grumped, examining her own calloused hands "And she ain't so ladylike. I remember one time at school, I caught her..." But then there was a thump at the door which made Arabella jump, if not the more stolid Jemima, and the end of the story was never heard. 

 

"Jemima? You in there?" a young man's voice could be heard without. Ignoring the strange looks it might garner from Mr Chappel, Weedy and young Josh, Arabella, who had known the twins for half a year now, deftly put her fingers in her ears. 

 

"COME IN!!! I TOLD YOU WE'D BE HERE!!!!" Jemima shouted with such hair raising volume that the very rafters in the roof seemed to shake. Arabella, looking smug, removed her fingers and smiled at Isiah. "You should be round at their house when the two of 'em are there with their Mother, the three of 'em shouting from three different rooms. I call it the Wigfall telegraph!"

 

Hector let himself in and popped his head round the corner, taking in the strangely cosy domestic scene. "Howdy Weedy." he nodded to the lad, then looked at Isiah. 

 

"You must be Mister Chappel" he nodded to Isiah "Good news, your sister's all right Sir. So's Caroline." he added quickly, looking over at Arabella, who suddenly burst into tears and collapsed face down onto the table sobbing with relief and joy. 

 

"Mrs Honeycutt and Bucky're dead." he went on, not that they were particular friends of anyone present: Hector just liked showing off that he got all the news first in in this town, thanks to his position in the telegraph office. "And old Ross Hampton bit the dust trying to defend them. Sorry Sis, looks like the wedding's off." 

 

Good old Hector Wigfall: no moment too sombre or too touching for him not to make an awful joke in the middle of it. Jemima scowled "I don't like him!! He's a horrible old man!!" while Hector tut tutted "No way to speak of the dead, Sis!"

 

Arabella raised her head from the table, half crying and half laughing. This was such a relief. 

 

@MD @Bongo

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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"Thank you, Uncle Isiah," Weedy said as he accepted the additional 'tater pie', truly distracted by the food -- it really was good, and he'd helped make it!

 

"What's organza?" he asked around bites.  "Miss Orr is all frilly and clean," he commented, wrinkling his nose.  Frilly and clean meant you were doing something wrong, because there was no way you could have fun and stay frilly or clean, much the less both!

 

"Miss Addy taught me how to sew on buttons and stitch tears, she says no man should not know how to do some sewing, just in case there's no lady around to do it."

 

Then the relatively somber quiet was shattered as Jemima and Hector started caterwalling at each other, and then the boy delivered his news, and Weedy jumped up, running to the door and staring anxiously into the growing darkness.  "Where are they? I don't see them...are they all right?"

 

It didn't occur to him that they were miles away, in the mountains, and probably weren't going to be home until the next morning.  And he was reluctant to believe anything until he actually saw Miss Addy.

 

@Javia

@MD

OOC:  My g-g-grandfather married into a family from Tennessee after they all moved to California in the early 1850's (he came out during the gold rush), and it was said of them (they lived around a small valley) that if there was news, one of them would go out on the porch and 'whisper' it to everyone else so the whole town could hear!  They sound like a wild bunch, one of the brothers committed the first murder in Napa county, and they broke him out of jail, they blew up a dam that was restricting water to the farmers, the sister (the one my g-g-grandfather married) ended up in an asylum after losing 3 children in a year's time, and g-g-granddad took the remaining kids and moved to the next county, where he met and married my g-g-grandmother, a widow of the Civil War with two boys.

 

In the long run, there was no record found of his first marriage, or a divorce, so there was a legal question of his and g-g-grandma's marriage when she applied for pension, because he wouldn't work, and she couldn't support them both by doing laundry!

 

And this is for you old people:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Once their dinner time talk was interrupted by the sound of someone at the door Isiah could hear nothing else.  He wanted to know who was here and if they had news.  He jumped up when the young man entered the room, not startled by it since everyone seemed to welcome him....well welcome might have been a stretch the way Jemima yelled at him.

 

But here he was and he had just what Isiah was wanting to hear.  News.  And good news at that!!!  

 

"You must be Mister Chappel" he nodded to Isiah "Good news, your sister's all right Sir. So's Caroline." he added quickly, looking over at Arabella, who suddenly burst into tears and collapsed face down onto the table sobbing with relief and joy. 

 

Extending his hand he let the man know that he was Chappel, but didn't take the time to exchange any pleasantries.  He had more important matters and that was to let them know that Addy and Caroline were OK!  A wide grin broke across Isiah's face and he whooped and hollered for a moment, that until he spoke of some whose lives had been taken during all this.  

 

But then Hector was making jokes and he figured out he was Jemima's brother...which he probably should have already figured out himself given their relation.  

 

If the news was just getting to them Isiah knew it would be a while before they got back to town.  He walked after Weedy who went to the door checking for them.  "They ain't here just yet, bud." Isiah spoke to him, putting a hand on Weedy's shoulder and looking back at Hector. "How close are they?  Do you know if they're injured?  Are they close enough I can go to them?" He'd do anything he could to help get his sister, Carolina, anyone else involved back here safely! 

 

@Bongo @Javia

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If the news was just getting to them Isiah knew it would be a while before they got back to town.  He walked after Weedy who went to the door checking for them.  "They ain't here just yet, bud." Isiah spoke to him, putting a hand on Weedy's shoulder and looking back at Hector.

 

Jemima had started to clean up the dinner things, un-noteworthy little drudge that she was. 

 

Arabella jumped up and started to do a little jig around the place with joy that Caroline was all right.

 

"How close are they?  Do you know if they're injured?  Are they close enough I can go to them?" He'd do anything he could to help get his sister, Carolina, anyone else involved back here safely! 

 

Hector could understand the man's impatience: despite their arguments and teasing and sometimes downright physical fights, which Jemima always won, deep down he loved his twin sister and, despite being somewhat allergic to danger, would wade through Hell or high water to rescue her. 

 

"I'm not sure, Mr. Chappel, but I reckon they'll take the two of them back to the Fort in the first instance: the trooper said that an officer and some of the men were wounded in the rescue so they'll take them there for treatment, they've got medical orderlies and such. He said the women were all right, I think he'd have mentioned if either were wounded or..." he frowned down at Weedy, not wanting to mention the notion of rape in front of the stripling "... anything."

 

"I bet Caroline fought them injuns off - she keeps a derringer in her knickers!" Arabella yelped. 

 

Hector just shook his head with a grin and rolled his eyes at Isiah. 

 

"I personally wouldn't approach that Fort 'til daybreak, Mr. Chappel, their sentries are kinda trigger happy. Friend of mine, Lutz, had to deliver a message there one night and some darn soldier boy nearly parted his hair for him." The telegraph operator warned. "Up to you, though." he shrugged. Unlike Jemima, who wanted to protect the handsome Mr. Chappel from harm, Hector knew that 'a man had to do what a man had to do' - as long as it was some other feller doin' the doin', he didn't care.

 

@MD

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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"I know where the fort is!" Weedy offered with a hopeful expression.  They could hitch up the team and leave right now, the roads weren't that  bad, and then they could...

 

Well, Hector had said the soldiers might take shots at them, but then, Indians didn't use wagons, so why would they be there in a wagon, making all kinds of noise if they were sneaking up?

 

He sighed and shrugged.  "First light, I can help you hitch up a team," he suggested, "or we can just ride the horses, that would be faster!"

 

'We', of course, being non-negotiable, at least to Weedy's thinking!

 

@MD

@Javia

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Isiah was just as anxious to head that way as Weedy was, but with Hector's warning he knew he had to heed it.  There was no way he could risk putting the boy in any kind of danger and now that his sister and this Caroline were safely with those soldiers Isiah could rest more easy.  

 

"Thank you, Hector." Isiah said to him of the news he'd brought to them and the warning.  He looked down at Weedy. "Unless we hear anything different between now and first light, then yes, we hitch up and ride out." He smiled warmly down at Weedy, so very happy for him that Addy was OK.  He was happy for himself too of course, but Weedy already had lost his parents.  He couldn't imagine him going through that again.

 

@Javia @Bongo

 

OOC: We can pause this scene whenever you guys are ready.  Pick back up whenever it's time to head towards Addy and Caroline or start/join a different scene.

 

That is so interesting about your family Bongo!  

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It wasn't long before Arabella parted, A) to get the glad tidings back to Caroline's 'family', her fellow saloon workers, and B) to avoid the washing up. Hector went back to the Telegraph Office and eventually, when Jemima had washed, dried and tidied away the supper things, she went, too. With Mr. Chappel there to look after Josh and Weedy, she was surplus to requirements, and bade her farewells.

 

"Well, night." 

 

Jemima wasn't long on impassioned speeches. 

 

[OOC: Yes, better wait and make sure they definitely are rescued OK before going to pick them up from the Fort! Maybe that should be a new thread?]

 

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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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