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    • Jonah couldn't help but wonder what she had left unsaid, but he wasn't going to push her on it, and he couldn't help but chuckle at her convictions.  If anyone could get this done, it was Leah Steelegrave!    "The paper can be a good ally, that's certain."  Jonah sipped his coffee, then added, "perhaps just a small story to start, but reserve anything major in case there's a great deal of resistance?"  If they did a big story on the dealings too soon, then, if her father started pushing too hard, they could use the paper as a means of fighting back.   "I can send for Dr. Boone, if you'd like?  Weedy is around here someplace..."   @Flip      
    • "You're too kind." He shook his head with a smile and set out to do hos business out there although there was no need for a newspaper but for a lantern because the sun had set. Jay trudged through the snow. When he returned he found a corner and announced. "The warm water is for washing myself. I don't want to dirty your nice blankets. After he had explained, he took his jacket and shirt off but kept his undershirt on. He didn't feel it was appropriate with a girl and boy in the house to loose more clothes. Then he washed his face and arms with the soap and water and gor dressed again before he got comfortable on the blankets. His wound had healed well and he was feeling much better thanks to Addy. "Do you know the coach driver...Adelaide?" He asked her father. "She's given me a roof over my head...in her barn....since the fire. "
    • Jay had a nice buzz going but he wasn't drunk enough to notbnotice the change in her attitude. That joyful tone went out the window when she saw how much he'd drunk. "I'm going to pay for it. Don't worry." He tried to calm.hercdown when she suddenky called for help that appeared out of the blue in the form of an older threats ing sounding man. Instinctively Jay slowly raised his hands away from his gunbelt. "Sir...I meant no harm. We were dancing because your daughter told me she's the best dancer in the state and she had encouraged me with some pretty music. A walz is all I wanted. I swear. There's no need for any shooting. Take my gun. " He was adressing the gun owner behind him but his eyes were fixed ob the girl, hoping she'd correct her mistake.
    • With a bit of hesitation he climbed onto the back of her horse. The saddle was very tight for both of them but if he sat further back he'd hurt the horses back with his weight. Sitting this close to Addy and feeling her body (even covered in many layers of clothing was getting Jays imagination very active. He had to concentrate not to let it show. "Yeah. .sounds good." He replied to both questions because his mind was elsewhere. "Won't people in town wonder why we're sitting this close if they see us. One might come riding out here...I don't want to ruin your reputation."
    • "I've no doubt on that!"  Emeline laughed as she sat, a laugh of pure joy.  "I can just imagine the mischief we'll get into wedded!  We've caused enough trouble as it is." “Mischief? The two of us? How kin thet be, Em? Why we’re , we’re...caused enough trouble you say? Was I not with you when this happened an’ you think I wuz?” He chimed in.   Although they had met just a few months ago, they had actually spent a good deal of time together, not just leisure time chatting, but actually working together, planning together, and just recently dealing with the carnage in Whitefish.  She had no doubt they would do well in marriage, and she had none of the girlish illusions she'd had the first time.   "Of course," she quipped as she moved the cheese blintzes from their serving platter to smaller plates, "I saved the dishes for you!" “I’ll have you know, ma’am I am a profess’nl pearl diver, if I do say so ma’ sef!” He stated proudly.   Laughing, she set a plate in front of Barnabas.  "This is blackberry preserves, and strawberry jam," she indicated the small jars.  "More dishes to wash...Oh, and I should teach you how to make preserves!" “Ma al’ays made up the best perserves, cain’t hardly wait’ll I try yers. Cuz up ta now, you make the best ever’thin’ I ever et!” Which was true, well since he was grown. “Ya know I don’t mind doin’ tem dishes. Keeps me close to ya.”   Tag @Bongo

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Mature Content: no

With: Jonah, Jack
Location: Whitefish Union Bank
When: October/  1875
Time of Day: Afternoon

 

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Jonah hadn't had cause to come to Whitefish since settling in Kalispell, but then, when he'd come through, he hadn't expected that he was going to just stay anywhere in the area.  But he had, and then the ladies, Harriet Mercer and Leah Steelegrave, had, at least for now, given him reason to stay, and to even make something of himself, so he had come to Whitefish to clear out the few things of value that he owned and had left there a few months prior for safe-keeping as he explored the territory.

 

Now, with his rented horse tied to the post outside, he was standing in line at the bank, wishing he was paid in more than chickens, eggs and preserves, so that he had something to actually deposit in a bank besides an old pocket watch and a gold ring.

 

Although it was mid-afternoon, the place wasn't overly busy, and Jonah was thinking about lunch when there was a soft but firm voice from behind him, near the door.

 

"No one move, keep yer hands where I can see 'em."

 

A few people were startled enough to turn, fortunately there was no immediate retaliation, for shooting would draw unwanted attention, but there was another command.

 

"Everyone move to the left."  There was some confusion  and shuffling, 'left' meant different things to each person, depending on how they were facing, but eventually all the patrons were on one side of the room and Jonah had a chance to see the robber...robbers...

 

There were three, masked, of course, and Jonah knew now that the derringer he carried wasn't going to be of use...yet.

 

@Jack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Holding up a bank had been a bad idea from the start. Jay never wanted to get that deep into crime. Taking the occassional thing, forcing farmers to give them some food or let them sleep in a barn for the night, cheating in a game of Black Jack...those were things, that he could handle. Jay had used force against other people but he hadn't killed anyone yet. And he didn't intend to. Growing up in England might have made him soft at heart and instilled too many reservations and a conscience in him, that just would not shut up.

When he had told the others how bad of an idea holding up a bank was, he had said. "The danger is too great. We will end up on Wanted posters...." Never once had he said 'I think it's wrong'. Because he was generally a bad shot, they had decided that making him the spotter was a good idea. If the sheriff came around he'd still have to shoot or get shot but right now the only ones in line were citizens.

Nervously Jays head turned left and right to check the street, which was empty right now.

 

Thomas, who generally acted as the leader of the gang, who liked to portray himself as a murderous bast*rd in his many stories was pointing a gun at the tellers head after her had rounded the counter and handed him a bag. "Fill that!"

 

Sweat was shining on the old mans forehead when started filling it but soon stopped.

"Keep goin!" Thomas commanded.

But the teller whispered. "I can't, the money has been picked up earlier today."

After checking for himself Thomas became angry and hit the man, who fell onto his knees.

 

An overweight red head approached the people in line. "Give me everything you've got...watches, money, rings....Hurry!"

@Bongo

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Tom found himself at something of a loose end at this exact moment in time. Red and Moe were stripping the Bank customers of their possessions, English was outside keeping Look-see, as he always called it. He was sweating almost as much as the bank teller, but with excitement rather than terror. Well, to be perfectly honest, he was pretty terrified, but that's what made it all the more exciting. 

 

English was supposed to be outside keeping Look-see, anyway. But English was nervous. Antsy. Some fellers were nervous before a job like this, others during, and still others afterwards, once it was all over. English was all three. Tom sort of basked in English. He couldn't get like that anymore, except for times like now. Right now, when he felt alive. This was real. The blood sang in his ears. His heart thumped like a jackhammer. Any second they might get blowed to bits by a sheriff or his posse. They were almost done. This was the really dangerous part, getting out alive. He was panting under his mask.

 

He picked a customer at random. A middle-aged man with an unpleasant sage green suit and a derby on his head, pince-nez perched on his nose. "You." he pointed his Tranter revolver at the man. If he was a man; they'd see. "Please come here and get on your knees." The man, his face crumpling,  looked at the other customers for help, but with three men aiming at them, there was nothing they could do. He shuffled forward and got down on his knees on the hard polished floor of the bank. Behind their masks, Red and Moe mouthed a silent 'what the..?'

 

The man giving the orders looked at the others. They were disappointingly terrified. All except one man.   The man with the Tranter looked Josiah Danforth straight in the eyes and pointed the gun directly at him.

 

"You, Sir." he declared in somewhat nasal and bookish tones "If I were order you to get down on your knees and crawl around like a cur, like this ... this low down fellow..." he took the gun off the Doctor for a second and used it to flip the derby off the quivering man's head. This had the unfortunate effect of making the trembling man release a gush of urine which darkened his unpleasant sage green trousers and caused a slowly expanding puddle to appear, floating over the polished and waxed floorboards and making its way toward the rest of the customers' footwear. 

 

He willed the standing man not to disappoint him.

 

"If I were to order you to do that... what would you say?"

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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The robbery had been going as you'd expect, folks cooperating because they had to, the bandits getting a minor haul, considering that they weren't getting the big dollars that were in the safe.  At least, Jonah mused, he didn't have more than a couple dollars on him at the moment...well, hell, he didn't have but a couple dollars at all, and the watch was a pawn that he'd gotten for twenty-five cents because the crystal was cracked.

 

As the robbery progressed, a young woman close to Jonah started sobbing, and while he didn't have much of a charitable bone in his body, he still felt sorry for her and sort of shuffled that way, moving so that he was between her and the men, for what it was worth.  If nastiness started, he knew full well that when it came to a .44 slug his body, however dashing, would only add debris to the lead as it passed through him and into the woman.

 

Still, it made him feel better, noble, for what that was worth!

 

Then 'Lanky-Man' started getting all mouthy and jiggy, forcing some hapless man to the floor, then addressing Jonah.

 

"You, Sir." he declared in somewhat nasal and bookish tones "If I were order you to get down on your knees and crawl around like a cur, like this ... this low down fellow..."

 

Jonah raised an eyebrow, about certain where this was heading and not liking it one bit.  But some people were bullies and blatant assholes, and here was one.

 

"If I were to order you to do that... what would you say?"

 

"I'd say I would do it if it made you feel more like a man," Jonah replied evenly, "I'd say that no one in this room would jeer me or feel sorry for me because you are insecure and need to intimidate people who have no choice but to do what you asked."

 

At that, he got down to his hands and knees and looked up.  "Do you prefer a dog or a cat?  Although you did specify 'cur'."

 

@Jack; @Javia

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Curly had been reaching into peoples pockets, checked their wrists and pouches. Everything, that seemed to be of worth, was now in his pockets. When Thomas forced people down to their knees for no apparent reason and got mocked in return by a well dressed man, he knew it could only be bad. He did not dare to speak up, though. Instead he motioned for the other two robbers to check whether they could get into the safe.

 

So they dragged the teller to the cast iron safe.

"It's a J & E Stephens." Both of them cheered loudly despite the danger because it was easy to open. All the needed was the ..... "Key!"

The olds tellers face was scrunched up as if he was crying any minute.

So they simply searched him and found it on a chain.

 

Outside there were three small dots visible in the distance but they quickly got bigger and took the shape of three men. Jay wasn't sure whether it was the local sheriff and his men or more customers but it surely made him nervous. So he whistled through his teeth and stepped to the door.

With his deep voice he hollered. "We've got company."

 

For a brief moment the Englishman looked at the two men on the wooden floorboards, gave them a somewhat sympathetic look at then focused on Thomas.

"They'll be here in in no time."

Edited by Jack (see edit history)

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"If I were to order you to do that... what would you say?"

"I'd say I would do it if it made you feel more like a man," Jonah replied evenly, "I'd say that no one in this room would jeer me or feel sorry for me because you are insecure and need to intimidate people who have no choice but to do what you asked."

 

The masked man nodded. “Well, to be quite honest with you, Mister. And I am a disarmingly honest man…” he said “I think they would. But, still and all, that was a very, very good answer.” He still motioned him downward, though, as the person who looked most capable of trying anything when they ran out of there.

 

At that, he got down to his hands and knees and looked up.  "Do you prefer a dog or a cat?  Although you did specify 'cur'."

 

“Oh, person is fine. Just… kneeling person.” He answered a little abstracted by Curly and Red’s doings.

“Safe.” He said and paid more attention to covering the crowd, including the two kneeling men, both of whom were in their positions for two quite different reasons.

 

So they dragged the teller to the cast iron safe.

 

"It's a J & E Stephens." Both of them cheered loudly despite the danger because it was easy to open. All the needed was the ..... "Key!"

 

The olds tellers face was scrunched up as if he was crying any minute.

So they simply searched him and found it on a chain.

 

Love regretted having to wear the mask. It was necessary, but he wanted to show them his face. He was, after all, enjoying looking at their faces. “Come on fellers, this is getting a little tedious for all these good folks.”

 

Outside there were three small dots visible in the distance but they quickly got bigger and took the shape of three men. Jay wasn't sure whether it was the local sheriff and his men or more customers, but it surely made him nervous. So he whistled through his teeth and stepped to the door.

 

With his deep voice he hollered. "We've got company."

 

For a brief moment the Englishman looked at the two men on the wooden floorboards, gave them a somewhat sympathetic look at then focused on Thomas.

 

"They'll be here in in no time."

 

Tom nodded, sweat stating to darken the top of the kerchief that formed his makeshift mask; the thing was reaching its thrilling denouement. He glanced over to Red and Curly, the professionals. It didn’t matter if they got everything, they just needed to get enough for the raid to be considered a success, a daring success. He tossed his head to indicate that the two of them should get out now, with as much as they could carry. He would cover their backs.

 

A professional would have made a slow backward walk out of the bank, calmly covering the cowering customers. Love instead, made a theatrical little speech. “Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Thomas Gage Love, I thank you for your kind co-operation this afternoon, God bless you all, and see you on your way.” At that, he tripped the priming trigger on the Tranter, then pulled the main trigger, and an earsplitting BANG!! blew off the top of the head of the man in the unpleasant sage green, brain matter grey and blood red suit.

 

The gore splattered outlaw stood back, panting; he drank in the scene for a short second, and then was gone.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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Jonah flinched as the shot rang out close to his ears, and completely unexpected.  Yes, there was no question that the man was a bully, but Jonah hadn't take him for completely insane, and counted himself lucky that he hadn't been the target.  But if the ass thought that Jonah would blame himself, that wasn't going to happen either, he wasn't the sort to take on the sins of others, he had enough of his own to worry about.

 

As for pursuing, there was no point, his little derringer was only good over a few feet, and the ass' shot was going to alert anyone close on the street that something was amiss.  In fact, there was a distinct danger that the outlaws would come back in the bank if they didn't get far enough away before the chaos started.

 

"Close that door!" he shouted, lurching to his feet.  At very least, 'Love' had done them all the favor of making sure that the man was most sincerely dead, so there was no use in worrying about him.

 

Of course, there was screaming and panic, someone shouting at him that he was a doctor and he should do something, even though to his thinking he was.

 

Rolling his eyes, he moved to bar the door himself, looking back at the tellers.  "Is there a back door?"  Best to get everyone to some sort of cover, just in case...

 

And who made him the hero?

 

@Jack; @Javia

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Curly and Red pushed past him while he was standing in the low wooden door frame of the small country bank. Both of them were on their horses in no time. "I see them...three!" Curly stated the obvious.

Jays head whipped around as he looked at the men, who had picked up their horses pace.

At the same moment Thomas left his 'business card' in the form of an announcement and blowing a guys head off.

Jay's jaw dropped behind the dark bandana at such useless violence. "Why did you do that? He didn't even have a gun!" He cried out as Thomas left the bank in a hurry.

His eyes were glued on victim for a very long moment, too shocked to move, until the man, who had also been on his knees, stepped towards him. For a second he thought he might throw a punch but then the door was shut on them.

 

Next thing he knew shots were being fired because the three men had gotten within shooting range.

So Jay flinched and then jumped into motion, leaped onto his horse from the front porch and gave him the spurs.

"Ha! Ha!" He called out over the sound of more shots, hoping desperately that the men were aiming at Thomas, not him.

Edited by Jack (see edit history)

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Jay's jaw dropped behind the dark bandana at such useless violence. "Why did you do that? He didn't even have a gun!" He cried out as Thomas left the bank in a hurry.

 

“I know!” nodded Love excitedly, his mask puffing in and out with his panting breath. “If that don’t make the newspapers, nothing will!” he added before dashing for his horse and unraveling the reins which were wrapped around the balustrade outside the bank to stop the stolen grey from wandering.

 

His eyes were glued on victim for a very long moment, too shocked to move, until the man, who had also been on his knees, stepped towards him. For a second he thought he might throw a punch but then the door was shut on them.

 

“See you, English!” shouted Tom Love from the high perch of his saddle. He put his unspurred boot gently to the horse’s flank and made a “Click click” noise with his tongue and the creature set off at a gentle lope after the careering, galloping forms of the more professional and swift-moving Red and Curly. Love eschewed the use of spurs, for they seemed a cruel and needless appendage to him, and he was, by and large, a friend to and soft-hearted toward all of God’s furry little critters. Except dogs. Dogs he hated with a passion, and if he saw one, large or small, he would take it as an opportunity to indulge in target practice with his Tranter. Ammunition supplies allowing, of course.

 

Next thing he knew shots were being fired because the three men had gotten within shooting range.

So Jay flinched and then jumped into motion, leaped onto his horse from the front porch and gave him the spurs.

 

"Ha! Ha!" He called out over the sound of more shots, hoping desperately that the men were aiming at Thomas, not him.

 

Truth to tell, the men had fired off most of their rounds at Red and Curly, whose speed had put off the posse’s aim and only one of their horses had felt the sting of their bullets. That particular animal was later found some miles out of town, bloated and covered in flies, a gaping hole in its head where it had been mercifully despatched by a tearful Curly.

 

By the time Love reached them, the three were desperately re-loading their antiquated weaponry, and approaching at a trot, the unbalanced man on the horse could scarcely believe his luck. He only wished that he had his gun in his hands; he could have shot one of them at his ease, even from horseback. As it was, he was at least able to raise his hat at them and give them a friendly “Mornin’ Gents” as he passed them by.

 

This bit of calculated, and excitingly nerve-wracking, bravado over, and hearing curses and the click of finally loaded guns being cocked, he “Click, clicked” a little harder and the white colored horse beneath him took to a canter and the first shot that sounded behind him didn’t even fan his brow.

 

A horse was approaching in the distance, but he didn’t even turn around. That would be Ryker approaching the posse. He would liked to have watched that little scene, but felt that pulling up and turning to watch would be, somehow, unbecoming to his image.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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The horse was running as fast as it could, all fours flying through the air with rhythmic touch downs of his hoofs.

Jay lifted himself out of the saddle and aimed his gun at the three approaching men. The others had already passed them, distracting them momentarily. Two were turning their horses around to follow Thomas, Curly and Red. But the third one lifted his gun and stared right at Jay, who was approaching at rapid speed.

The only way was past him and it would be a matter of who was the better shot and Jay was well away that he wasn't the best, especially not whilst on horseback.

 

The Englishman waited as long as he could before he fired at the man, who was sitting on his horse in the middle of the dusty road, framed by buildings on each side.

The bullet missed its target but it hit the horse instead and made him neigh and rear up. The rider got bucked off and landed in the muddy, half frozen dirt.

 

In the blink of an eye Jay shot past him and was soon followed by the other two.

@Javia

 

Edited by Jack (see edit history)

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Tom had long since composed his own funeral epithet, and had oft times imagined the glorious headlines in the far West newspapers that would report on his death and how “The Noted Road Agent, Bank Robber, Arsonist and Train Wrecker, Thomas Gage Love” has gone down in a “Hail of Shotgun Fire”. He reckoned that when they buried him, he would be so full of lead that they could sharpen his head and use it as a pencil.

 

This self-indulgent fantasy did not include the possibility of being shot in the back while fleeing. He pulled up his grey and dismounted the beautiful white colored animal with a quiet “Whooh, snowflake.” as she bucked against the excitement all around her. “Let’s get these fellers!” he barked at Red and Curly. Red was the important one, he was actually a good shot and toted a long Whitworth rifle along side his saddle, of the type that had scored a fair good few long distance kills during the war. It was thanks to a Whitworth that Union General Sedgwick, popping up his head over a trench at Spotsylvania, had been able to utter his famous last words: “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist...”

 

“Try not to hit the horses” Tom commanded as the other two dismounted, tied up their own animals, including Curly’s fast weakening mount, and took what cover they could as English and the pursuing two man posse approached at a fast gallop.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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The horse was panting heavily as it thunder down the open road closely followed by the men on their horses, who were firing shots at Jays back.

He could hear the bullets whizzing past him and hoped with all he had that their aim was just as bad as Thomas', who was by far the most uncapable outlaw with a gun, that he'd ever met.

 

One of the bullets got so close it tore a whole through the bandana around his neck.

Jay lowered his body down until it connected with his Paint's back, which threw him up with every jump. It was incredibly hard to stay in the saddle this way but falling was not an option.

 

In front of him he could see his gang firing back at the posse. For a second he worried he might get caught in their cross fire but then he flew past them and turned left down a path, that took him to a forest, where it would be easier to loose them.

 

Curly fired shot after shot but none of them actually did any damage. The one, that left Red's barell took one of the riders off his horse, the second one made number two loose his head and his cool, so he turned around and took cover.

"You owe me a steak." Red nudged his brother in crime.

 

The last of the riders was cleverer. He took a detour around a few houses and slowly came up from behind the group. He snuck up on them and raised his voice. "Put your hands up in the air if you want to see another day."

 

@javia

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This was where Tom Love's basic selfishness paid off. He had let Curly and Red fire off their ammunition while he kept his powder dry, just in case the posse broke through and he had to defend himself. If he hadn't already got the gun in his hand, he would have been a dead man, but he span now in a sort of blind instinctive panic, and pulling back both triggers of the Tranter at once let off, in rapid succession, three of his remaining four bullets in the general direction of the man's voice. 

 

God looked after Thomas Gage Love that day: His reasons we will never know, in this or any other life.

 

Wiping the sweat from his eyes, Love trudged over to the man, who was lying in the dust writhing and screaming in pain from the stomach wound that Tom had luckily got in. As Ryker rejoined them, he let up a call.

 

"Hey, English, come over here and finish this jessie off, I'm out of bullets" he lied. But Jay didn't move fast enough for the 'noted highwayman'.

 

"Come on, will ya, he's crying and carrying on like a little girl. This yowling's startin' to get my goat."

 

The man continued to combine screams of agony, with vain pleading for his life as Tom stood over him with a look of mild annoyance on his face. 

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Why he had returned and not stayed in the safety of the woods was hard to tell. It was probably due to an ill guided case of loyality or cameradery, that he could not just save himself when he heard the shots bei g fored in the distance.

Jay found Thomas standing over a wounded man, who was howling and clutching his belly.

That looked like some serious damage done. Possibly repairable, though.

Jay didn't see the need to kill him. There was no way he was still any danger to the four of them.

 

So he handed Thomas his gun.

 

"Doesn't look deadly to me. If you want to finish him off do it yourself."

Curly and Red had arrived in the meantime. Red's eyes narrowed at Jay as he hissed something that Jay couldn't hear.

Edited by Wayfarer (see edit history)

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"Doesn't look deadly to me. If you want to finish him off do it yourself."

 

Tom looked at Jay’s proffered gun. Instead of taking it, he just grinned a sardonic smile. “You disappoint me, Mr. Ryker, you disappoint me something powerful. And it sure breaks my heart every time you do.”  With that, he turned, raised his own gun and fired his remaining bullet into the injured man’s head at a close enough range for it to enter his forehead, pass through the cranium, and exit out the back of the skull in such a way that it made the man’s head jerk up in a way that tickled the executioner.

 

“He he, look at that, right between the eyes!” Tom laughed, as he holstered his now empty revolver.

Curly and Red had arrived in the meantime. Red's eyes narrowed at Jay as he hissed something that Jay couldn't hear.

 

Tom ignored this and turned his attention to Curly now. “Mr. Howard, will you please shoot your horse, that poor thing is suffering something awful.” Love couldn’t bear to see animals in distress.

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He could only shake his head at so much unnecessary violence. Within an hour Thomas had killed two men for his own enjoyment, which disgusted Jay.

 

He shook his head at the disgraceful lying leader of their pack. Not much longer would he endure his behavior. Jay wasn't particularly scared of him although he was sure that he would not hesitate to put a bullet between his eyes as well.

 

The Englisman was cleverer and the better shot and trusted that his skills woukd save him. "Lying son of a b#tch." He muttered under his breath before he rode off so he wouldn't have to share his horse with Curly, who would undoubtedly do as he was told.

The single shit gave it away and soon Red and Curly were sharing a horse.

They rode into the forest and through a creek to cover their tracksbefore they stopped to take a break.

Jay let his horse drink some water and the pulled off his bandana.

The sight of Thomas made his blood boil. He knew robbing banks wasn't right but killing people for pleasure was intolerable.

 

"You killed two men today without reason, you murderous bast@rd."

That was probably a  praise.

 

Next thing Jay grabbed Thomas, yanked him off his horse and punched him in the nose.

Edited by Jack (see edit history)
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Love was deep in thought about horses, more than anything. It was unfortunate that his plan to kill the pursuing posse and take their horses had proven fruitless. True to form, Red had dispatched the first two men neatly with his Whitworth, but the horses had run off back to Whitefish like a couple of homing pigeons. No way they were chasing them critters, the town was two hot for them now, and it would only be with some reluctance that the gang would hit the town two months later, on the day of the infamous 12th December Storm, in search of food and ready cash.

 

The Englishman stormed up to the mounted leader of the band, on foot, and looked to be in something of a passion.

 

"You killed two men today without reason, you murderous bast@rd."

 

Tom looked a little blank and shrugged “Only ‘cause you was too chicken to do it.”

 

Next thing Jay grabbed Thomas, yanked him off his horse and punched him in the nose.

 

The combination of the fall from the horse and the smashing blow to his face sent Tom’s thin consumptive figure flying and he blacked out but landing in the adjacent creek woke him up again pretty quickly. He looked a sorry figure sitting up in the water, blood streaming from his nose. Lifting a wan hand and touching his nose, he let out a pained shout. “Ow!”

 

He looked up at the furious Jay, standing at the thin stream’s edge. “What d’ya do that for?!” he asked, although, technically, Ryker had explained his reasons.

 

Red and Curly had managed to dismount – always tricky when you were piggybacking on the same horse. Curly looked bemused by it all and Red had his revolver out in case there was more trouble between the two of them. Still, if one of them had killed the other, at least there would be enough horses to go around.

 

Holding onto his nose to stop the bleeding, Tom used his other hand in the swift flowing water to help himself up onto his feet, steadying himself on the uneven bed of the creek. He looked down at his soaking wet trousers “Hey, Red, I look like that there feller in the bank!” he observed before looking at Jay and advising him “If you’re coming in here to try and hit me some more, I’d take yer boots off. We’re gonna have a devil of a time drying out these doin’s in this weather.”

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

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The way he fell of his horse and obviously hurt himself gave Jay a bit of satisfaction. Not enough though. Not even the freezing cold water soaking him was enough to calm Jay down.

The man's reaction, however, was unexpected. He had half expected him to draw his gun or at least storm at Jay with rage.

 

As he stood at the banks and stared at Thomas in the water, he felt nothing but hate. "Because you have no respect for life. No respect for people...only animals. And you behave like one, too!" Spit droplets flew through the air and were frozen by the time they hit the ground.

"You're a disgrace as a leader!"

 

He was aware of the others arriving behind him and also of the fact that one or two guns were now aimed at him because these two idiots had been loyal to Thomas for years.

 

Then he had the audacity to ridicule the man, he had scared to death. Jay was a robber due to circumstances but he had no joy in it. Thomas, however, had no morals.

 

Jays eyes narrowed at him when he suggested to come in the water as well.

"I'm not gettin' my boots wet for ya!" He shouted. "You either sit in there and freeze or face me like a man out here."

 

To the two behind him, who he didn't even look at, he said. "Put that gun away."

 

Crossing his arms he stood at the waters edge and waited for drowned rats' reaction.

Edited by Jack (see edit history)
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"I'm not gettin' my boots wet for ya!" He shouted. "You either sit in there and freeze or face me like a man out here." To the two behind him, who he didn't even look at, he said. "Put that gun away."

 

Tom Love bent forward and rested his hands on his knees for a second and then straightened up laughing gently to himself.

 

“They won’t put their guns away, English.” He shook his head, the feller just didn’t get it. “You said it yourself, I’m a disgrace as a leader. I’M A DISGRACE!” he shouted, spreading his arms wide to the heavens, his shout echoing in the trees.

 

“But I’m a leader.”

 

He started to trudge toward the bank.

 

"Red's a better shot; Curly's got the ... the gravitas. I'm just a clerk in a dry goods store who had to leave Boston because he strangled some low down filthy whore who tried to put her dirty, diseased hands on him. Boy, did I just say that out loud? Well, anyways. I'm almost as bad a shot as you, English. Not much account on a horse, run like a jackrabbit when the shooting starts; oh, I'm ... I'm just full o' holes."

 

He was almost there.

 

"But, still and all, when I took to this game I discovered one strange and immutable fact... I am a leader."

 

He snapped out a command. “Red, cover him; Curly, tie him up for now.” He started to scrabble up onto dry land gingerly touching his nose to see if it was still bleeding. “Just about broke my God damned nose!” he muttered as he grabbed for a tree branch that wilted down to the water’s edge.

 

’Face me like a man’! idiot’s been reading too many dime novels.”

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Toms speech was twisted and not very satisfying. On one hand he acknowledged that he was a disgrace but at the same time it sounded like he was proud of it. In all his years Jay had never met a more complicated, twisted individual and yet he had to admit that the man was right: He was a leader. Even to Jay, which angered him even more than what the guy had done. Why was he following the lead of such a poor individual when he had his wits together? Why? In that moment he realised that there were only two ways: Split from the gang or take over the leadership.

 

"Red's a better shot; Curly's got the ... the gravitas. I'm just a clerk in a dry goods store who had to leave Boston because he strangled some low down filthy whore who tried to put her dirty, diseased hands on him. Boy, did I just say that out loud? Well, anyways. I'm almost as bad a shot as you, English. Not much account on a horse, run like a jackrabbit when the shooting starts; oh, I'm ... I'm just full o' holes."

 

"Glad you are aware." Jay growled.

 

"But, still and all, when I took to this game I discovered one strange and immutable fact... I am a leader."

He snapped out a command. “Red, cover him; Curly, tie him up for now.”

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There was no doubt in his mind that the two would follow their 'leaders' command, even if it meant turning against one of their own.

Red might be a better shot and Curly have gravitas but Jay was the better fighter. Without looking he grabbed the hand that reached for his arm, yanked him forward while he sidestepped so Curly lost his footing on the frozen stones near the banks and stumbled into the water.

Red didn't even get the chance to reach for the rope on his saddle when Jay knocked the gun out of his hand, grabbed him with both fists and headbutted him so hard that he saw stars. Unfortunately the impact blinded Jay for a second as well.

 

Curly had made his way over, tackled him from behind in an attempt to strangle him but Jay bent over and threw him over his shoulder. Because his opponent didn't let go, he went down with him knocking his face against the frozen brush.

"Stop fighting for him. This is between me and Tom....let him fight his own fights!" He tried to make them understand.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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Love was just sad that he couldn’t just sit and enjoy the spectacle of the fight, Red and Curly’s attempts to tackle the Englishman were hilariously pathetic, and the limey was proving to be quite the rough and tumble man. It’s a pity that he hadn’t shown this much gumption when they were about their daily business of relieving decent society of their valuables.

 

But he was a busy man, he had things to do: get out of the stream, find his bullets, make sure they were dry, refill the five empty chambers in his gun, click it shut. He still had time to sit himself down on the ground and witness the lithe Jay deposit the rotund Curly into a bush, which was about the funniest thing he’d ever seen.

 

The battling Briton didn’t look too amused though.

 

"Stop fighting for him. This is between me and Tom....let him fight his own fights!" He tried to make them understand.”

 

“Fighting?!” Tom shook his head in mock amazement at the term “That was fighting? Why, I took it fer a circus act, the way you were tossing those boys around. Pretty nice performance, too, Ringling Brothers and Barnum ‘n’ Bailey are sure gonna be fighting over you fellers.” He laughed as he raised the Tranter at Jay and pulled back the cocking trigger.

 

“Now will you please, kindly put up your hands, Mr Ryker?”

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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With his face in the frozen grass and Curly struggling to get his hands around his throat, punching and clawing, Jay had a really hard time to regain his footing. Still he grabbed the other man's fingers to pry them open and threw his head back, which knock Curly off his back.

As he jumped to his feet, he had to face Red, who threw a left hook and then an upper cut, which Jay sidestepped and hit him so hard that he stumbled back, now also bleeding from his nose.

 

No other than Thomas had finally made his way out of the water, which was now streaming down his clothes and forming small pools at his feet. Not to fight though but to mock the Englishman.

When he then aimed his still soaking wet gun at Jay he literally felt like exploding.

He was sure that the thing would not fire. In an outburst of anger he stepped towards him, glared at Thomas and screamed. His chest was now pressed against the other man's gun.

"No, I won't! Put that gun away and fight me!"

His eyes were shooting daggers at the man, who liked to call himself a leader and was probably being challenged for the first time.

It was Curly, who was stupid enough to test the outraged bull and threw a rope around him from the back to quickly pull the knot tight.

Struggling against the tight rope, Jay kept yelling. "Fight me, you coward!"

thumb_1048.jpg

Edited by Jack (see edit history)

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Struggling against the tight rope, Jay kept yelling. "Fight me, you coward!"

 

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Tom sighed wearily. “Oh, all right.” He rolled his eyes and threw his gun down. He figured it wouldn’t fire anyway. “Just let me take m’ jacket off, ‘n’ do this proper, he offered “Marquis of Queensbury rules. You should know them, being an Englishman.”

 

It was something of a bizarre situation with the ponderous weight of Curly keeping the roped Jay from getting too close to Love, and the latter took his time: slipping off his jacket and deftly removing the evil looking knuckle dusters from the pocket and secretly slipped them onto his left hand, for in line with his sinister nature, the man was a southpaw.

 

“Right, you know the rules?” he asked blithely, and before Jay could reply, threw a metal capped left hook towards the Englishman’s head, swiftly followed by a well-aimed, pointy toed kick to the testicles.

 

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Of course he knew the Marquis of Queensbury rules. That Thomas would know them and box by them was the greater surprise.

 

Needless to say it was another one of his damn tricks. Neither did Curly let go of the rope, nor did Thomas play fair. Instead he swung his left fist at Jay, who couldn't evade the punch that was excentuated by something very hard, that split the skin under his eye and made his head whip back against Curly's. At least that had the effect that the rope wasn't held tight anymore.

Jay felt the slack around his arms and quickly pushed it further down to free his arms. Next thing he knew a soggy wet boot found its way into his nuts. He had no choice but double over and cry out. It was so much more painful than a punch in the face. There was no working through it for the next few seconds.

"Go for the balls...just like a gal." Jay mocked him through gritted teeth before he looked up and reached out with both hands to grab him by the throat and push him back with an angry scream. Needless to say he didn't get very far with the rope still around his waist.

 

In all of this Red was the only one, who stood back, secretly rooting for the Englishman.

 

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“Don’t you think that’s enough, Tom?”

 

The qualities that had made Red such an effective marksman when he’d served under Braxton Bragg in the Army of the Mississippi came to the fore now. He didn’t shoot often, but when he did, he always picked the right place, the right time, and the right ammunition.

 

Tom reeled. “Who the f**k asked you?!” but Red carried on steadfastly in his quiet way.

 

“Well, you said yerself, we need the Englsihman for the big job in Kalispell, come Spring” and then, to show he wasn’t completely taking Ryker’s side, even if he really was, he admonished him a little, too. “And Ryker, you threw yer punch and made yer feelin’s clear. No need fer more. All this fightin between us, it ain’t practical and it ain’t followin’ the code.”

 

The code of behavior between the members of an outlaw band was sort of unwritten, and really never spoken of, Red was embarrassed to have to do so now. But when that ethereal, unmentioned code broke down, like it was breaking down now, it usually spelled the demise of the gang, no matter how successful, and some of the members usually ended up killing each other or getting caught.

 

In one notable case, it ended with all of the members killing each other in a crazy standoff, but the melancholy tale of the Bruce–Partington gang is not ours.

 

“Well I ain’t ridin’ around with this skunk ready to take a pot shot at me whenever I look at him cross-eyed!” complained the eponymous leader of the Thomas Gage Love Gang.

 

“Well, you said yerself, Tom, that after this job we should split up for a couple of months and regroup around Christmas.”

 

“Tenth of December” corrected Tom, perhaps to show he was still in charge, although he did seem strangely inclined to listen to the veteran outlaw’s advice , rather than to carry on crushing Jay’s skull with the brass knuckles.

 

“Well, let’s split the money and do that now. And if any of us doesn’t turn up at the meeting place, well, no hard feelings.” He nodded at his own advice, while the slavish Curly looked to Tom as to how to proceed.

It was bizarre that the ruthless killer Love seemed willing to listen to this idea more than the furious looking Englishman.

 

“What do you say, English?” asked Red, evenly.

Edited by Javia (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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