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Elmer Stroud

Ain't Struck it Rich Yet

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Mature Content: unlikely

With: Elmer Stroud, Robert Cullen
Location: Somewhere along the Flathead River
When: October 1875
Time of Day: morning

 

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Elmer Stroud sat atop his buckskin gelding as he followed the river south toward Kalispell.  A pack mule trailed lazily behind.  Despite a rather disappointing gold prospecting season overall, Elmer was in a good mood this morning.  He’d found at least some gold flakes and two teeny nuggets over the past couple weeks which were stored in a little pouch in a pocket inside his coat.  Hopefully enough to let him buy some supplies for winter, which would be here sooner than he’d like.  It gave him hope that the big score was close.

 

It was a frosty morning, but quite lovely, with some low fog rolling along the water.  The old prospector hummed and sang a silly song he’d picked up somewhere last year.  His singing voice was pleasant enough… not that the equines and the birds would mind much one way or t’other.   It just helped pass the time.

 

"Ten little Indians standin' in a line, One toddled home and then there were nine.

Nine little Indians swingin' on a gate, One tumbled off and then there were eight.

Eight little Indians gayest under heav'n, One went to sleep and then there were seven.

Seven little Indians cuttin' up their tricks, One broke his neck and then there were six.

Six little Indians all alive, One kicked the bucket and then there were five.

Five little Injuns on a cellar door, One tumbled in and then there were four.

Four little Injuns up on a spree, One got fuddled and then there were three.

Three little Injuns out on a canoe, One tumbled overboard and then there were two.

Two little Injuns foolin' with a gun, One shot t'other and then there was one.

One little Injun livin' all alone, He got married and then there were none."

 

 

“Well, look’it there, Lucky…. I do believe that’s ah …. Oh, shoot, what was his name again?  I reckon it’ll come to me in a minute,” Elmer raised his hand in a friendly wave toward Bobby.  He’d only met the young man briefly a few months before… on his last trip into Kalispell.  “Best we be neighborly, huh?” he said to the horse, then dismounted to walk the rest of the way.  He walked with an uneven gait, the result of an injury several decades ago that had never healed quite right, but it didn’t phase him too much now.  

 

“Doin’ alright?” he asked as he came closer, reaching out to shake Robert’s hand in greeting.

 

 

@Wayfarer

 

(Open to other characters that might be in the area!)

Edited by Juls (see edit history)

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A cool envigorating, some folks might say, morning had Robert up and already engaged in his usual routine. He started by leading his mule to the river and letting the animal drink. That finished, he tied it to a long line which allowed the beast to do some grazing while he then went about preparing for his day. Not that it would be anything exciting he figured, just another day of expected frustration. And chores of course, such as they were.

 

When he had first woke up, he renewed the fire in the cabin fireplace so he could prepare a breakfast. But at the moment he was still outside after seeing to the mule when he heard something....someone approach. Turning to locate the sound, he spotted a single rider with a second beast behind the fellow. His momentary worry it might be Indians immediately vanished, in fact he even recognized the individual. Old man Stroud. They'd run into each other on rare occasions, both of them being engaged in the same career....if you could dignify it with that title. The man must have recognized him right at the same time for he waved. Bobby waved right back and let him draw closer.

 

"Hey there! See the Indians haven't gotten your hair yet!" he called out, his Irish accent quite noticeable.  (ooc: Sorry, I don't really do accents well dialog wise.)

 

"Doin' alright," Stroud responded then when they were close enough reached down for a handshake which was eagerly accepted by the younger man.

 

Bobby liked people...make that most people and was a friendly fellow by inclination. Not to mention it was a lonely life out here in the wilderness by oneself. He kept telling himself he needed to get into the closest bit of civilization out here, Kalispell, more often but that often meant spending money and that was something in short supply.

 

"That be a good thing, same here," Bobby grinned as they shook, "You ate yet? Ye be right welcome to share mine....nothin' fancy ya know."

@Juls

 

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"Hey there! See the Indians haven't gotten your hair yet!"

 

Elmer grinned, pulling his hat off for a moment and ran a hand through his shaggy gray hair.  “Not yet.  Guess they figure my gray scruff ain’t worth nuthin,” he said, putting the hat back in place.  It reminded him that he was well overdue for a hair cut.  Maybe he’d add that to his list of things to accomplish while he was in town.

 

"You ate yet? Ye be right welcome to share mine....nothin' fancy ya know."

 

“I sure appreciate that…” The young man’s name finally came back to him and he added, “…Rob.”  Then held up a hand to decline the offer.  “But I already ate.”

 

“You got any coffee, though?  I been skimpin’ on mine till it weren’t nuthin’ more than belly wash.  But run out a week ago.  I’m hopin’ I can get some today in town.”

 

 

@Wayfarer

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"Well, says well for ye that you've lived long enough to have that gray hair," teased Robert.

 

The young prospector then invited the man to join in for some breakfast. Turned out he had already eaten but he was willing to partake in a cup of coffee should it be offered.

 

"I got coffee, ye be more than welcome to sit and drink a cup while I eat," Bobby then waved him on to follow him to his cabin.

 

"So you had any luck as of late? I've been findin' way too much fools gold and not enough of the good stuff," the youthful Irishman inquired even as he admitted his own panning frustrations.

 

@Juls

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Elmer quickly found a spot to tie the horse and mule and followed Bobby to the cabin, carrying his own tin cup along.   "That sure is nice of ya," he said, pleased at the idea of a decent cup of coffee.  

 

"Found a little... I'll pro-bly spend it all today getting supplies for the winter ..." he said.  Then he fiddled with the flap on the bag he carried with him.  "Found sumthin' though..." he added, with a mix of sheepishness and eagerness.  Elmer had never been one for keeping secrets and he'd been thinking about this for nearly two whole days now.  

 

"You know that bend in the river up yonder?  One with the big twisted spruce ... kinda right up 'gainst the hillside?  Well, I thought that'd be a mighty fine place ta dig a cellar.  Know what I found there?"

 

Not waiting for Bobby to try to guess, Elmer pulled a book that looked like it was about ready to fall apart out of his bag and set it on the table. 

 

lafitte_1_web.jpg

 

 

"A whole damn person!  Fella...  well I'm assumin' it was a fella, couldn't really tell ... been there a long time.   Think the side of the hill gave way on him on or something.  I gave him a good and proper burial...  but couldn't quite bring myself to bury this with him again."  

 

He tapped the book, clearly curious to see what the young man thought of it.

 

@Wayfarer

 

 

(ooc disclaimer: translation done with google translate, so it's likely far from perfect.) 

Edited by Juls
added book picture (see edit history)

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Turned out the older man had found about enough gold to spend on supplies which was fairly typical sadly enough, Robert nodded sympathetically as that was his typical success too if even that. But Elmer seemed excited about something else he had found and soon showed it to the young Irishman. It was a book, a book in really bad shape too.

 

"Aye, I know where ye mean," he nodded as to the location described by the other prospector, "Found that there then?"

 

Elmer had discovered a corpse and with the body apparently this book, nature had done it's worst on the item though. He had buried the corpse properly but kept the book. Nothing wrong with that in Robert's opinion, not like the jasper was ever gonna read it anymore.

 

"So did ye open it and read some of it? See what it's about?" he was curious.

 

He hoped Elmer could read because frankly he was barely literate, he could read some common signs in town and he had learned to sign his name though that was barely legible. But read a book, way beyond him.

 

@Juls

 

 

Edited by Wayfarer (see edit history)

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"Course I opened it!  Can't barely make heads nor tails of it, though..." Elmer admitted.  "Ain't in English.  But it's got dates... 18 'oh' 4.  Older than I am!"  

 

Very carefully, he opened the book to where a folded piece of parchment had been tucked into the pages.  "Gonna see if I might find someone in Kalispell that can tell me what it says..." he continued as he carefully unfolded the parchment to reveal a map:

 

The Map

 

"Ya see this X?  Gotta be sumthin' important!  Don't know why a fella would mark a spot like that if it weren't sumethin' important!" 

 

 

Edited by Juls (see edit history)

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Robert stepped closer to Elmer's side so he could better look over his shoulder as the man answered.

 

"Is that so? I didn't think anything could be older than you," he grinned after teasing the veteran prospector, figuring the man was good natured enough to take a little joshing.

 

The words meant nothing to him - English or no English. If Elmer thought he would be a help, sadly wasn't going to happen.

 

"Sorry old timer, but I never learnt to read any," he figured he might as well admit the truth.

 

But Elmer had a plan, take it into town and find someone there who could.

 

"Aye, that sounds smart, it does," the young man nodded.

 

But - there was more, Elmer unfolded what was some kind of map too, tucked inside the volume. Elmer pointed to a very specific part of it, up in one corner and was convinced that mark meant something important.

 

"Could well be. So....are you be sayin' like something he buried then marked it?" Robert immediately thought 'money' or something valuable like that.

 

@Juls

Edited by Wayfarer (see edit history)

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Elmer couldn't help but grin at Robert's speculation about the mark,  which was in line with his.  That only served to get Elmer a little more excited about the whole thing, as if he were already a millionaire just by holding the old paper in his hands.  "That's zactly what I'm thinkin'."

 

He drained the cup of coffee quickly.  "Ya need a run into Kalispell?" he offered.  As early in the day as it was and as much as he enjoyed visiting, he knew didn't have much daylight to spare this time of year, so he'd better get moving again.   "Or need anythin' whiles I'm goin'?" 

 

 

@Wayfarer

 

 

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Apparently the older man's thoughts were same as his. This could be something valuable alright. And finding a treasure was a hell of a lot less work than trying to pan it out of these mountains tiny granule and nugget at a time, as the young Irishman could attest to. Old Elmer may have gotten really lucky here?

 

"I suppose I could go with ye inta town then if ye want me to," Robert nodded, the other prospector's excitement was becoming contagious by now.

 

"I mean....well, I don' be wanna hornin' in on somethin' that's yer find after all," he pointed out, not wanting to be pushy or anything of the sort. He liked and respected Elmer.

 

@Juls

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Elmer waved off Robert's concern.  "Well, still gotta find it," he admitted.  Where exactly the X was... he was hopin' he could find someone to tell him.   "And I'd be glad fer the company!  Iffn you can spare the lost day's work, that is."

 

While Bobby was getting ready, the old prospector took another long look at the map, as if staring at it long enough would somehow make it reveal more information.  But then he slowly folded it up and very carefully tucked it back into the book, which he then put back into his satchel.  All the while lowly humming the tune he'd been singing on the way here.

 

"Either on the way there or the way back, I wanna make a stop at the Carter farm too.  See if I can get a bottle or two a the good stuff."

 

@Wayfarer

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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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