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Mature Content: No

With: Clara Redmond, Cody and Nettie Thornton
Location: Lost Lake, water's edge (starts at the ranch house)
When: Early September 1875 (same day as The New Guys thread)
Time of Day: Afternoon




After the Wentworth brothers took their leave, Shade made his way back to the terrace where Clara was with the twins. He walked over and leaned against the terrace railing, looking out over his home's spectacular landscape. It was a legacy worth protecting for the sake of his niece and nephew. Chance had made sure that legacy also included him. Movement down near the lake's edge caught his attention, and he watched as a huge beaver took to the water.

Turning, he said to Clara, "Feel like a hike down to the lake's edge? It might be good for us all to stretch our legs a bit."



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Clara had quietly left the menfolk to discuss their affairs as was their wont. It was none of her business. A part of her thought she might not have hired that Charlie but, on the other hand, he had been drinking and her father had often pointed out inebriated folk sometimes behaved quite differently than they would of if sober. Clara liked to think she was Christian enough not to carry a grudge.  Even if the reality was she did. She hated Indians for what had happened to her mother. And those two hooligans from the Evergreen spread stealing her clothes and her father's pistol, that still rankled her.


Their business settled, Shade approached no doubt to check on the children who were being angels, Clara happily noted. They really were good kids though when Clara was around she kept a tight rein on them and was not one for tolerating nonsense. That said the trio got along fine.


"All settled then? You have three new employees?" Clara greeted the man with a smile.


"A walk is fine with me. However are you sure you should be up and around that much given your current state of health? I would not wish you to collapse in a heap and then the children and I have to drag you back to the ranch house," she pointed out.


Shade chuckled, "I assure you, Miss Redmond, my general health is just fine. I promise not to collapse but will take the walking stick...just in case," his answer was affable and partially teasing. Honestly, he did feel more wobbly than he liked which was why he wanted to get outside and get some exercise. It would not be long before going outside other than to do the most urgent chores would be near impossible. "Nettie, Cody - lets go for a walk." As the twins raced for the door, Shade held his arm out to Clara and winked, "Just in case I need to lean on someone a little bit."


Clara frowned, "Shade, I thought we had previously agreed that we should call each other by our Christian names....though I will admit Slade being a Christian name is up for debate."


She also took note he had not answered her question about the possible new employees. She could only conclude like most men, he took a dim view of including womenfolk in business discussions.  Well, it was not her ranch so she let it go.


On the other hand she was more than happy when he indicated he might well need her support for this walk. With no hesitation she moved closer to him, "Yes, best be prepared for anything my father always says. Do not fret though, I will not let you fall. I am stronger than I look I assure you."


Edited by Stormwolfe (see edit history)

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Shade smiled at the girl, "I have no doubt that you are far stronger than you look, Clara." Still, he only leaned a tiny fraction of his weight on her. 

With the threat of the bear gone, the slow amble from the house down the trail to the lake's edge was uneventful. They did not talk much since their time was spent watching where they stepped and keeping an eye on the rambunctious twins.

The trail ended at one of the few places that allowed direct access to the vast crater lake. Chance and Regina had bought and spread massive amounts of sand, forming a small beach. Shade remembered Regina as being fearless when it came to the water. She had been a strong swimmer, loved to sail, and spent quite a bit of time in and around the water. Right now, it was too cold to get in the water. Due to runoff from the mountains, the water was never really warm, but in mid-summer, the temperature in the shallows was comfortable for swimming. 

Once they reached the beach, the twins immediately pulled off their shoes and rolled up the legs of their pants, planning on wading. "Cody, Nettie," Shade warned in a true parental-sounding voice, "do not go further than dabbling your feet at the edge of the beach. I'll fix you up a couple of fishing lines." He had grabbed some twine as they left the house, so now he fished his knife from his pocket. In a few moments, he had found a couple of flexible branches and cut them, tied hooks onto the twine, and handed the fishing poles to the eager twins.

With Cody and Nettie settled, Shade eased himself down to sit on a flat-topped rock not far away. "So, our new hires...what are your thoughts?" Shade could not bring himself to think of Clara as a child. He valued her opinion even if he would not change his mind on hiring the Wentworths.



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Clara looked out at the calm waters of the lake rather ruefully. She liked to swim, probably almost as much as her part amphibian little brother. But since those two Evergreen hands had come upon her swimming in the lake by her homestead she had been reluctant to try it anymore. It was getting too cool now for swimming anyhow.  Not that a little thing like cold water would put off Wyatt but then he was.....a strange boy.  She watched rather envious as the twins dipped their feet into the water. A proper lady like herself could hardly do such a thing with Shade present.  What would he think of her? And by now it was very important to Clara what this man thought of her.


But above all she was still the usual Clara as she grinned at his fishing line antics, "You do know the fish are not going to bite on any line without bait attached to it? Wyatt and I used to fish...when I was a child."


Shade took a seat on a flat rock so Clara decided to plop down next to him, to facilitate easy conversation of course. He then brought up his new hires and wanted her opinion! Her eyes lit up alright. So he wanted her counsel?


"Well, of course you are the expert when it comes to ranching and hired hands so I would never second guess your decisions," she started, gave the shortest of pauses before continuing.


"I like the two older brothers, fine gentlemen, I can only venture their work habits are sound in addition. But since you asked and in the interest of fairness, I must tell you that Charlie, the youngest, and I had a random encounter in town the other day. To put it simply, we did not hit it off....as they say. But to be fair to the young man, he had been drinking, that much was obvious. So I try not to ascribe too much credence to what he said because of the likely influence of the alcohol."


She sighed, "Afterall none of us are saints are we? Not that you would ever catch me inebriated." 


Shade frowned a bit. The drinking did not bother him. As long as the boy was sober on the job, what he did in his off hours was his own business. What did bother him was the he might have said something untoward to Clara. Although the girl likely did not need a protector, Shade had rather cast himself in that role. "I am sure we wouldn't," he replied to her comment about being caught inebriated, "Did the boy say something to you that he shouldn't have?"


"I was looking into the hotel thru it's bay window and he criticized me for being nosy.  I stated I was merely curious. And then he kept after me so we engaged in a fairly heated  exchange of opinions. Of course when it dawned on me he had too much to drink, I let up then. Not much point engaging with such folk," she shrugged.


"I do not want you to take any action against him nor even say anything. It is water over the dam as the saying goes. I am not vindictive for that would be unChristian of me," she assured him.


Shade studied the girl's face for a moment, looking to see if she was simply trying to not be a cause of contention. Satisfied that she was being straight with him, he nodded, "I won't bring it up. Besides, I think the older brother is a straight shooter and probably has already taken the boy to task over it. If he gets out-of-line, let me know."


Leaning down, he brushed his hand over the smooth stones at the lake's edge, "Know how to skip rocks?"



Edited by Stormwolfe (see edit history)

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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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