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Billings - Helena - Kalispell

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Mature Content: Yes

With: Confidential.
Location: The Northern Hotel, Billings Montana
When: September 1875
Time of Day: Morning

 

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The Northern Hotel, Billings Montana
Governors Suite 4th Floor

 

She eased herself to a sitting position, pulling the thin silk robe over her nakedness, but not closing it completely, rather letting it hang from her shoulders as she stood and walked to the dresser with the water pitcher, pouring an amount that would suffice.

 

The man slipped from under the covers, making no attempt to hide himself. He stood looking at her for a long moment remembering the moments before, the passion exchanged between the two of them once more in the morning light.

 

“I always enjoy your visits, but they are too far apart.” He said as he moved to the table where h poured himself a drink. “Want one?”

 

“No.” She said as she used the damp cloth to go over her face. Slowly she washed herself in front of the mirror, seeing him standing behind her, watching.

 

“I’ll arrange the transfer this morning, should only take a few moments.” He advised her. “You’re sure he won’t notice?”

 

“Not from this account, no.” She replied, turning to face him.”And you’ll take your usual fee?”

 

“I will, but I must say, I do enjoy the bonus of spending time with you. I just wish it was more often.” was his response.

 

“As do I, however, it’s not that easy to get away, as much as I would like to.” She explained. “Being the wife of Elias Steelgrave puts up certain, ah, obstacles in my path.”

 

He began to reach for his clothing as he listened, then added, “Pity. Too bad we can’t alter the situation to our liking.”

 

“Well, for now there really isn’t a way, but a man that has raped his own daughter, his time will come. She said as she began to dress as well. “But it must be carefully orchestrated so that no one is held accountable.”

 

“Then you’ll be by the bank this morning?” Straightening his frock coat and adjusting his tie.

 

“Yes.” She answered as she adjusted her corset, a time consuming task.

 

“Until then.” He all but whispered, kissing her on he cheek and turning toward the door.

 

“Until then.” She echoed

 

“I will see you then, my love.” The man said, walking out the door.

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Possible Continuance

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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It had begun after Elinor discovered Elias’s assault on their daughter Leah as a way to make him pay, then there was Jonas Balenger of the First National Bank of Montana. It had been so easy to seduce a man some fifteen years her junior and to use him to move money from Elias’ accounts to her own private account under an alias.

 

The transfers were in large amounts as deposits from his holdings would be far more. Her plan, ensure she would be comfortable the rest of her live and one day, simply disappear. She would surface agin in Saint Louis, or New Orleans under a new name and forever leave the Steelgrave name behind. Sadly she would admit to herself, that ment her children, but such was to be the price of her freedom.

 

All that remained was to have her luggage sent to the rail road station, stop by the bank, where a packet of five hundred dollars would be waiting, a reciept for the transaction to her account and a fond farewell to Mister Balenger. The board the train for Helena, a few more days in civilization and then the long ride home.

 

TBC

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Billings to Bozeman to Butte to Helena.

 

Five days later, after the arduous three hundred and forty odd mile trip from Billings, she had arrived in Helena in the early evening. She had wired ahead and had a suite waiting at the Great Northern Hotel. That meant a bath, a meal, and a sumptuous bed.

 

She had reservations for the return trip to Kalispell and on to the Evergreen. The very next time she left, would be the last. Over the years she had secreted a fortune of one hundred thousand dollars, the last deposit was forwarded to her account under the name of Janis Glazer in Atlanta. A change from Saint Louis or even New Orleans. Jonas Balenger had objected at first, but acquiesced. For a woman in her early sixties, she was formidable, both as a lover and as a business woman.

 

She had long ago convinced Jonah that she would send for him as soon as she was settled. And for a time she had actually considered that option, but she changed her mind, realizing a woman with money could have any younger man she wanted, and Jonas was so intent on killing Ellias, something she had considered over the past eight years they had been involved.

 

She reached the hotel and was cordially greeted and pampered as a woman of her station should be. Taken to her room, where her luggage awaited and a bath would be drawn for her immediately. All of that made her smile, for ahead lie the overland trip to Kalispell and her return to the Evergreen.

 

TBC  

 

 

Edited by Flip (see edit history)

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1elinor-steelgrave.jpg.fc747785ebccdf13721ac6de4e04d4fb.jpgAfter her bath and a meal in her room, Elinor retired for the evening, dreading the stagecoach ride of the following day, but it was the only way home short of horseback, which was simply out of the question.

 

Morning found her having breakfast in the hotel dining room, something simple with coffee, she had managed to keep he figure over the years and the birth of her brood, six in all, not an easy task, but then Elias was wealthy, so life was pleasant and comfortable. It helped that she stayed fit in attracting men such as  Jonas Balenger who would do her bidding. The slow draining of funds, though that had only been since she learned of Leah's  rape. Before that, it had just been men who would treat her well.

 

A last bite of her toasted bread, a final sip of her coffee and she left for the stage station where her ticket would be waiting, Jonas was always so thoughtful.

 

Tag @JulieS

Edited by Flip (see edit history)

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Sarah watched as people came and went from the stage office.  Some were collecting parcels and others were asking about various destinations.  She had arrived in Helena a few days ago and was a bit miffed that she had to wait until today to continue her journey.  The stage to Kalispell ran only once a week at this time of year, so in a way she was lucky she didn't have to wait that long.  Helena was a nice place but she was anxious to be on her way.  The wait did give her enough time to send an article to the editor of the journal she wrote for in New York.  People on that side of the country were very hungry for stories about people and places out here.

 

While she was here, she also deposited most of the money she had been carrying in one of the banks.  The bank had a branch in Kalispell and were happy to give a draft which they said she could use to open an account there.  In a way it was good to be relieved of the burden of carrying that much cash into unknown territory.  At least the bank in Helena was on the train line, Kalispell on the other hand, according to most of the people she had talked to, was in the middle of nowhere.

 

An attendant approached her and advised her that the stage to Kalispell would be leaving shortly.  Her trunk had already been placed on the stage and all she had was her small carpet bag and reticule.  Thanking the man, she picked up her bag and started to make her way out to the stage.

 

@Flip

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1elinor-steelgrave.jpg.fc747785ebccdf13721ac6de4e04d4fb.jpgElinor arrived at the stage office to find her luggage was already aboard the coach an when she reached the ticket window she discovered that indeed, her passage was paid for as promised. Jonas though of most everything. In one respect, she hated leaving civilization for the Evergreen, but for the time being, it was a necessity.

 

Oh, there was a plan, of course. A plan that unfortunately did not include the Evergreen or Montana. She was sure that in the end, her sons would not be on her trail, no, they would not. Elias, on the other hand, would most assuredly have men searching the state for her. But, with a new identity, and across the country in the lavishness of the major eastern cities, she would be difficult to find, and that was her plan, to live her remaining years in style.

 

It was then she noticed another lady who seemed to be awaiting the departure of the coach, she walked over to her. "Excuse me, are you headed for Kalispell?" She asked.

 

Tag @JulieS

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Sarah, for a moment, was surprised that someone else was on their way to Kalispell as well.  From what she heard, not many people took the stage out there, as most preferred to make their own way there.  Looking at the older woman, she could see that she was elegantly dressed which made her feel slightly embarrassed.  She had been wearing the same travelling outfit for most of her trip.  It had been cleaned during her brief visit here by the hotel laundry but it was preferable to wearing out the limited amount of clothing she had bought with her.  Maybe while they were on their way, she could ask the woman if there were any good dressmakers in town.

 

Smiling, Sarah answered the lady's question, "Yes I am.  I'm going to be visiting some family I have there and probably stay for the winter at least.  I've heard that winters can be very harsh out here."

 

@Flip

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Elinor smiled, “Dear, you have no idea. And your plan to stay the winter will serve you well, as travel can be beyond difficult.” The woman wold be acquainted with heavy snow, no matter where in the east she might be from, but Kalispell that would be beyond what she was accustomed to. But, this would be pleasant to have a woman to share the trip with.

 

She extended a hand, “I am Elinor Steelgrave.”

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14 hours ago, Flip said:

Elinor smiled, “Dear, you have no idea. And your plan to stay the winter will serve you well, as travel can be beyond difficult.” The woman wold be acquainted with heavy snow, no matter where in the east she might be from, but Kalispell that would be beyond what she was accustomed to. But, this would be pleasant to have a woman to share the trip with

"It will be the first time I have seen snow in years.  The winters in San Francisco were cold but not enough to make it snow.  I guess it will take some time getting used to again."  She had one coat, gloves, a scarf and a couple of winter dresses packed in her trunk but probably wouldn't be enough to see the winter through.  Hopefully, there would be something in Kalispell that she could buy to wear.

14 hours ago, Flip said:

She extended a hand, “I am Elinor Steelgrave.”

Taking the offered hand, she shook it gently, "A pleasure to meet you Elinor.  My name is Sarah Thornton-Carlton."

 

@Flip

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large.1elinor-steelgrave.jpg.2578a739dffca5d8bf87523dc110b7fc.jpgTaking the offered hand, she shook it gently, "A pleasure to meet you Elinor.  My name is Sarah Thornton-Carlton."


The Thronton name was like a cut to her heart. Shade Thornton had killed her baby Cal. She fought for her composure, it was obviously not the woman’s fault Cal had died, even though Elinor knew deep down her son had gon looking for trouble, and found it. Even though she knew in her heart of hearts that her Calvin was spoiled and arrogant and had asked for what it got. She also knew if Thronton had not killed Calvin, Quinton Cantrell would have.

 

Regaining herself she forced a smile, “and what brings you to Kalispell?”

 

Tag @JulieS

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Before she could say something, Sarah and Elinor were interrupted by the stage driver asking them to board.

 

After she had made herself comfortable and the stage was well on its way, Sarah answered the earlier question, "My father has kept in contact with our family here over the years.  He didn't receive a reply to his last letter which he sent at the end of May."

 

She paused for a moment to take in some of the scenery.  Some of the trees were starting to change colour which made her remember her childhood in Philadelphia and playing in the leaves.

 

Turning her attention back to Elinor, she continued, "Father is afraid that something terrible might have happened and since I was on my way out here, he asked me if I could find out.  Personally, I am hoping his letter or the reply got lost somewhere along the line."

 

@Flip

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"My father has kept in contact with our family here over the years.  He didn't receive a reply to his last letter which he sent at the end of May."

 

Elinor smiled and said, “Unfortunately that is not an uncommon event out here. The mail is not what it would be in the cities. It may have fallen prey to outlaws or Indians or an accident along the way.” Not that robberies or attacks were common place, they did happen, and mishaps occurred.

 

Turning her attention back to Elinor, she continued, "Father is afraid that something terrible might have happened and since I was on my way out here, he asked me if I could find out.  Personally, I am hoping his letter or the reply got lost somewhere along the line."

 

“And to whom was the letter sent to, if I might inquire? I know of a great many people in the Kalispell area.” Elinor pried. Wondering if it was Shade Thornton. At the moment she was setting aside her hatred of all things Thornton as she realized the woman had no connection with the death of her Calvin.

 

Tag @JulieS

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"Since his brother died, my father has been keeping correspondence with my cousin Chance."  She paused for a moment before continuing, "I do hope nothing terrible has happened to him or his brother Shade.  I met them once about seventeen years ago when we were on our way to San Francisco. They were both very likeable and charming in their own ways.  In a way I am looking forward to seeing them again but whether or not they will be welcoming of a cousin they haven't seen in a long time is another thing."

 

While she waited to see if Elinor would say something about whether or not she was acquainted with her cousins, Sarah began to try and remember what she could about her cousins.  Her father had mentioned more about Chance than Shade.  He had said that Chance was married with children and was running the family ranch.  As for Shade, she would no doubt find out more about him when she got the ranch.

 

@Flip

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"Since his brother died, my father has been keeping correspondence with my cousin Chance."  She paused for a moment before continuing, "I do hope nothing terrible has happened to him or his brother Shade.  I met them once about seventeen years ago when we were on our way to San Francisco. They were both very likeable and charming in their own ways.  In a way I am looking forward to seeing them again but whether or not they will be welcoming of a cousin they haven't seen in a long time is another thing."

 

The mention of Shade Thompson made her blood run cold. Oh see had long ago admitted that Cal had most probably gotten what he deserved, and if it had not been Thornton, it would have been someone else. Cal was the bad seed, not that the other boys were much better.

 

But this woman had nothing to do with that event or anything to do with the Steelgrave-Thornton feud. And it wouldn’t be long until she would be far away from Elias, the Evergreen, and the rest of it. She took no pleasure in what she was about to say;

 

While she waited to see if Elinor would say something about whether or not she was acquainted with her cousins, Sarah began to try and remember what she could about her cousins.  Her father had mentioned more about Chance than Shade.  He had said that Chance was married with children and was running the family ranch.  As for Shade, she would no doubt find out more about him when she got the ranch.


“Your cousin, Chance Thronton and his family, were found dead this past June.”  Her voice somber as strangely, emotions welled up inside her as this revelation. “Other than those stark facts, I have no information as to the why or how of it. I’m terribly sorry.”

 

Tag @JulieS

 

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Sarah lowered her head when she heard the news about Chance and his family.  She hardly knew Chance and never met his wife, so even though it was sad to hear, it was not enough to make her cry.  Lifting up her head, she replied, "Thank you for letting me know.  I think this will affect my father more than me as he had a relationship with Chance.  I will have to write to him when I find out more."

 

There was so many questions she wanted ask who was looking after the ranch now that Chance was gone.  Elinor had said that she didn't know much, so maybe she would have to wait until she reached the town to find out more.

 

Deciding that she didn't want to dwell on such sad news, she decided to change the subject, "Perhaps you could tell me about Kalispell?  It would be useful to know what is like there and if I should get someone to escort me out to my cousin's ranch."

 

@Flip

 

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large.1elinor-steelgrave.jpg.2578a739dffca5d8bf87523dc110b7fc.jpgDeciding that she didn't want to dwell on such sad news, she decided to change the subject, "Perhaps you could tell me about Kalispell?  It would be useful to know what is like there and if I should get someone to escort me out to my cousin's ranch."

 

Fighting the urge to be nasty, nasty as only a woman can, she paused, reflecting on her lost son, the outlawry of the rest of her sons as well as her husband. Times were changing and soon there would be no escaping the hangman’s nose for they were all guilty of murder, rustling, arson and worse, if there were other things that could be considered worse.

 

“Kalispell is certainly a western town, and it’s as wild as the law will allow. But a woman is safe to walk the streets, unlike Whitefish to the north.” she paused, looked out as the land moved past while the coach rolled back and forth, to and fro. Suddenly faced Miss Thornton-Carlton. “There is a long standing feud between the Thornton’s and the Steelgrave’s. Shade killed my youngest and since then my husband and my other sons have vowed to avenge that death.” She paused again. “ But you should be safe enough in Kalispell, and there are reputable men in town you can rely on to escort you safely to the Lost Lake Ranch and your kin.”

 

Tag @JulieS

Edited by Flip (see edit history)

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As she listened to Elinor, Sarah was at first a little surprised at the news that there was a feud.  Her father had never mentioned anything about this and so finding out in such a manner from a stranger, was a bit awkward.  She had no idea on how to reply this revelation, especially since the woman was on the opposing side.

 

Since there was still some way to go on the trip and not wanting to do or say anything that might make things uncomfortable, she decided on a more diplomatic approach.  "I'm sorry, I didn't know anything about what happened between your son and my cousin.  Even though I am on the other side in this feud and by rights we are suppose to be enemies, I do not wish to make matters worst."

 

For the next few minutes, Sarah contemplated on what she do next.  The one thing she didn't want to do was to ignore Elinor.    Maybe the answer lay in letting Elinor talk about it.  Knowing both sides of the story would prove useful in the future.  "I understand if you do not want to talk about this.  You mentioned your husband and sons wanting revenge but I would like to know how you feel about this situation."

 

@Flip

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 "I'm sorry, I didn't know anything about what happened between your son and my cousin.  Even though I am on the other side in this feud and by rights we are suppose to be enemies, I do not wish to make matters worst."


Elinor smiled. “It is the way out here, men settle dispute with guns.” She said matter of factly.
 

For the next few minutes, Sarah contemplated on what she do next.  The one thing she didn't want to do was to ignore Elinor.    Maybe the answer lay in letting Elinor talk about it.  Knowing both sides of the story would prove useful in the future.  "I understand if you do not want to talk about this.  You mentioned your husband and sons wanting revenge but I would like to know how you feel about this situation."


“To be quite frank about it, Cal brought it on himself.” She looked at the woman as she spoke. “As I have learned, there was a fight over my sons attempt to assault Regina Cantrel. Thornton  heard the struggle and beat Calvin severely. Sometime later, Calvin lay in wait, intending to shoot Regina. Instead, Shade killed him. Thornton was arrested and tried, the shooting was ruled self-defense and Shade Thornton was not charged. Rightfully so, I might add.”

 

Tag  @JulieS

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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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