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    • Clara dismissed the other girl's arguments with a simple, "I enjoy working here. And I am being paid for it."   Then the child mentioned somebody named Bridget whom Clara did not recognize.   Her employer now made her appearance, Clara smiled right back. It was amazing really and doubtful Clara even realized it but she actually was doing more smiling as they grew accustomed to each other. The young lady loved her time spent with Emeline.   "Some girl who was dancing with Arabella. How one could break their leg doing such a simple thing is beyond me..." Clara left it at that but shrugged.   Emeline did not know Arabella so it seemed appropriate for a quick introduction.   "Oh this is Arabella Mudd, she stayed with this for a short time after the Whitefish tragedy. And this is Mrs. Emeline Blakesley."  Frankie was already known to both parties now.
    • "Who broke their leg?" Emeline asked as she came in from the root cellar, where she'd been collecting some onions and dried herbs.  She smiled at Clare, then glanced at the young woman.  "Looks like Frankie has taken a shine to you, young lady.  Now, I know he can't dance a polka, but he is pretty talented."   As she set the things on the table, she looked the girl over, than asked Clara, "Who is your friend?  Is she helping, or just keeping Frankie out of the way?"   @Wayfarer; @Javia
    • Well, at least Billy agreed with him. He had saved Clara's life (if Greer was as good a shot as he bragged) and probably his, too. Brendan gave the younger cowhand a short nod. Not quite an apology, but close enough to one for now.   Greer seemed confident that sooner or later - sooner, it seemed he thought - they would wind up killing the Redmonds. He was just "getting a jump on it," which seemed like an awful thing to think.   "Well, get a jump on it when I'm not down there too," he snapped. "I don't fancy bein' shot 'cause you decided to use me for bait."   He edged his horse closer to Greer, getting in his personal space and looking down at him.   "And I don't know what's good for me, I guess. But if Mr. Steelgrave thinks he c'n order me to shoot that gal down there, he's damn wrong. Now put that rifle away an' let's get out of here before her pa comes after us."
    • "We know that there's four of you who don't want go to the dance but there are still twelve that do.  Since we need another four to stay behind the only way to do this fairly is by lottery."   Mike looked over at the hands gathered in the bunkhouse.  The annual Spring Dance was a popular affair and most of the men were eager to go.  He could see that they were all in agreement about whether or not they go would be a game of chance.  He picked up the upturned hat that was on the table.  "Inside this hat are twelve pieces of paper.  Four of them have a cross on it.  If you get one of those you're staying behind."   Ben raised his hand, "You part of this too?"   "Yes, me included," Mike answered in a slightly sarcastic tone, "Afterwards if you want to negotiate with one another than that's up to you."   As the men made their pick from the hat, the reactions to what they got ranged from joy to displeasure.  Charlie, who even though still doing chores around the main house had already started his training, smiled as he looked at his piece of paper.  He glanced over at Sam, who had obviously drawn one of the pieces with a cross on it. Seeing that Charlie was going, Sam got up but before he even reached his brother, Charlie put a hand up, "I'll save you the trouble.  There's no way I'm giving this one away."   Sam frowned before going over to Mike.  "Well?"   Mike smiled, "Sorry, it's a no from me as well."   After a few minutes, Mike raised his voice, "All right, men.  Now that we've got that sorted out, it's time for those of you on duty tonight to get out there. Don't want ole Sage thinking that we've gone and forgotten all about him.  Remember, to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity."   The men who had been assigned night duty, left the bunkhouse with a few of them trying to wrangle a deal that would let them go to the dance.  Those left behind spent the remainder of the evening catching up on their mending or socialising with the others.
    • "Checkers, then."  Emeline nodded, a little surprised at how much she was looking forward to just a day of games, so reminiscent of Sunday afternoons growing up, when the family was all together.  She had always enjoyed that time, and was looking forward to having it again.   As he set up the board, she poured them coffee then set on a fresh pot to brew.  Back at the table, she shooed Frankie off her chair, then sat and picked the cat up again. "I call red!"  She gave him a serious look.  "Lucky for you I'm not a gambler, or you'd lose your shirt to me!"   @Flip
Aurelian Redmond

Work for Food and Board

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Mature Content: No

Author: Wayfarer

With: Aurelian and Wyatt Redmond, Jay Ryker
Location: Kalispell Main Street
When: Early Jan. 1876
Time of Day: Late morning

 

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Aurelian had brought both his riding horse and the old plow horse into town on this brisk but sunny day. The roads weren't clear enough of snow yet to bring his buckboard into town from the farm - he certainly wouldn't want it to get stuck.  So he and Wyatt shared his horse and the plow horse was an addition to help carry supplies and such. His excursion into town had started with a trip to the General Store where he purchased a few needed foodstuffs like flour and beans. That reminded him next growing season he should plant beans of his own. 

 

Now it wasn't exactly a purchase in the usual money sort of way but instead he had bartered with the storekeep by providing him with some of his farm products, preserved in jars so the merchant could sell those to other customers.  He did use some of his scant cash though to buy some nails for a necessary repair project. He was not looking forward to it but it could not wait til spring. Last of all he purchased a pair of horseshoes, reluctantly passing on having the blacksmith handle the issue with his mount. He thought he could remove the old shoes and put on the new ones and save himself the expense.

 

As he and Wyatt were attending to the last minute adjusting of the packs on the plow horse, one of the horse shoes fell out of the canvas sack and clanked onto the boardwalk. He glanced at his son.

 

"Kindly pick that up, will ya?" he politely requested.

 

"Sure, Pa," Wyatt started to pull off his mittens so he could better grasp the horse shoe once he bent over.

 

westrpgson.jpg

 

@Jack

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Addy had been very kind to him and given him a roof and food while he couldn't really work. Jay knew that he'd better make himself useful if he ever wanted to get a foot on the ground as an honest man. Today he was walking around town to get to know the place and its people better.

The collar of his old woolen jacket was pulled up high. The air was still fresh but clean and smelled a little sweet from the small bakery. His mouth was watering but there was a smile tugging on his lips. Jay liked this little town.

 

When one of the men nearby dropped a horseshoe on the sidewalk next to him, the Englisman was quick to pick it up and hand it to the boy after briefly looking at it. "Did you make that?"

It surely didn't look very professional.

Edited by Jack (see edit history)

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Before the boy could bend down to pick it up, a passer by beat him to it. Wyatt looked up at the tall bearded man who then promptly handed him the shoe.

 

"Did you make that?"

 

Wyatt didn't know if the man was actually serious? Him make a horseshoe? Why his Pa couldn't even make one!

 

"No sir," he shook his head.

 

Aurelian had no idea who the man was - certainly no local he had seen before though there were quite a few ex-Whitefish folk now in Kalispell. Besides, he didn't know everyone in the town, him spending most of his time on his farm.

 

"We bought that from the blacksmith shop. Reasonable price too," he answered the man with a smile.

 

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Behind the kid was a man of perhaps 40 years, not much older than Jay himself, who answered for the boy.

Jay couldn't believe that the local blacksmith actually sold work like this. He scratched his beard and briefly remarked. "I hope you didn't pay too much, it's too thick." His British accent instantly came through no matter how much he tried to hide it.

As soon as the words left his mouth he regretted saying something. He shouldn't talk bad about a man, he didn't know. Perhaps he was old or had lost a finger.

"For this horse?" He looked down to see the bare hoof. If they put it on now, the animal would only go sliding on the icy ground right now.

"Is the local black smith good?" He tried his best to mask his error. "Maybe he needs some help. I'm looking for work."

 

 

Edited by Jack (see edit history)

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The man suddenly set forth his opinion about the horseshoe and it's relative worth. As if he was some sort of expert? Aurelian noticed the accent but that had nothing to do with the issue at hand.

 

"Too thick?" he examined the object himself, it's not like he had not dealt with such things before, why he had been in cavalry during the war. But that said, it still didn't make him an authority on their making and specifications. Looked alright to him though.

 

"For this horse?"

 

"Yes," Aurelian was beginning to get a bit defensive about all this but it took a lot to rile him up.

 

Now the man was asking about the blacksmith and his work including whether there might be a possibility of him being hired, it seemed he was looking for work.

 

"Well, I think you had better take it up with the blacksmith himself on that matter? I can hardly make such decisions for him. However it might be good for you to know that he has a son in his early twenties I believe who is his assistant and will probably end up inheriting the business," Aurelian smiled, he was confident about what he said because the smith told him all this himself in casual conversation.

 

"Pa, he could put on our shoes though, right?" Wyatt suddenly blurted out, meaning the stranger of course.

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Judging by the look on his face the stranger wasn't pleased with Jay's comments about the horse shoe. His voice was firm when he replied about the local blacksmith telling jay that he probably had been rude to criticize the mans work.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be rude to your local blacksmith. I'm a blacksmith as well. Therefore I have a very trained eye. Forgive me."

He was trying to remember his British upbringing and good manours.

 

"Pa, he could put on our shoes though, right?" Wyatt suddenly blurted out, meaning the stranger of course.

 

"If you wanted me to, I could." Jay  nodded hoping to please the farmer. "No charge, of course."

this was a stretch for him because he didn't really have much himself. Getting on the locals good side was more important though.

"I've come here with all the people from Whitefish and don't have a lot to do right now."

@Wayfarer

Edited by Jack (see edit history)

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"Ahh, blacksmith from Whitefish, huh? Sorry for you folks, that was quite a disaster," Aurelian softened immediately.

 

"Does everyone in Whitefish speak like you?" Wyatt was suddenly curious.

 

Aurelian frowned, "Wyatt, do not be rude. Sorry, he normally knows better."

 

Wyatt also had blurted out an idea of his for the newcomer to shoe the horse and before Aurelian could assure the man the boy was again out of place, he answered.

 

"If you wanted me to, I could." Jay  nodded hoping to please the farmer. "No charge, of course."

 

Wyatt grinned, "See, Pa!"

 

Aurelian paused before speaking, "Well, if I do agree, I do believe your work should be compensated somehow afterall. How about if you do the job, we feed you a nice dinner. I have a good cook, I assure you."

 

"Yeah, not me!" Wyatt added with amusement.

 

@Jack

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Of course the man had assumed that Jay was from Whitefish, which was incorrect. However convenient that assumption might be, he needed to correct it.

"I was just looking for my uncle there. I'm originally from a land called the United Kingdom of Great Britain. I doubt anyone else in Whitefish would speak like me."

Now that he had put his own 'half fake' history on the table, he thought about the offer, that was presented to him.

A bit of work in return for a nice meal didn't sound so bad. Then he would not have to rely on Addys good will and wouldn't eat the food, she needed herself.

The man obviously didn't have a lot of money if he offered food for work and bought cheap horseshoes.

"That sounds like a fair offer to me, sir." Jay accepted.

"I'll go get my own horse and follow you. I assume you have the right tools at your homestead?"

It had been ages since he had actually done decent work instead of simply taking things with the gang and Jay had no tools with him.

 

Edited by Jack (see edit history)

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Wyatt listened to the man's place of origin then piped out eager to show his grasp of history (Clara pounded that kind of thing into him enough afterall), "Oh sure, the British. We beat you guys in the Revolution then in the ....umm, oh yeah, War of 1812."

 

"It was a bit more complicated than that, son," Aurelian tutted.

 

The man accepted the offer though which delighted Wyatt, who grinned, "Bully for you!"

 

Anything new at the farm was exciting in his opinion. The man just need to get his horse and ask about tools.

 

"Yes, I have some farrier's tools but no forge or bellows, nothing to make horseshoes, as you well know that's a lot more complicated," Aurelian answered.

 

"You know we really should do introductions before we go any further. I'm Aurelian Redmond and I have a farm a few miles outside of town. This here is my son, Wyatt. And I also have a daughter back home, she is the cook I mentioned."

 

He held out his hand for a shake then too.

 

@Jack

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Wyatt listened to the man's place of origin then piped out eager to show his grasp of history (Clara pounded that kind of thing into him enough afterall), "Oh sure, the British. We beat you guys in the Revolution then in the ....umm, oh yeah, War of 1812."

 

"It was a bit more complicated than that, son," Aurelian tutted.

 

He pressed his lips together at the reminder how his countrymen had been defeated. Not a pleasant thought. "Your pa is right. There's more to it. Every war has a lot of different stories and ideas behind it."

 

"Yes, I have some farrier's tools but no forge or bellows, nothing to make horseshoes, as you well know that's a lot more complicated," Aurelian answered.

 

"You know we really should do introductions before we go any further. I'm Aurelian Redmond and I have a farm a few miles outside of town. This here is my son, Wyatt. And I also have a daughter back home, she is the cook I mentioned."

 

He held out his hand for a shake then too.

"Pleased to make your acquaintance. My name is Jay...Ryker." he hesitated only for a second whilst considering whether to give him his real name. Since his name had never been printed in any papers, unlike Thomas Love's, and noone knew who he really was, he decided to be honest.

Jay shook the man's hand first, then his son's.

"I'll get my horse from the general store. Give me a moment."

With that he hurried away as quickly as his healing wound allowed it and grabbed the horses' reigns from the ground. The animal had been trained not to move from it's spot whenever the leather reigns were falling onto the ground, which was a general technique but also very handy to get away fast. This way Jay didn't have to untie the Paint before he rode off.

 

He returned in the saddle, that also had two large pockets with his belongings and a blanket rolled up behind it. Like so many men he wore a gun belt on his hip and a thick woolen coat, that Addy had given him to fend off the cold and snow.

 

"I'll follow you!"

 

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"Glad to make your acquaintance, Mr. Ryker," Aurelian smiled, "Yep, we can wait."

 

It didn't take long and the man was back ready to go. Aurelian mounted first then helped the boy clamber up with a one arm lift. It would be Wyatt's task to hold the reins on their plow horse, now temporary pack horse, following behind.

 

"Very well, I can guarantee you we won't be setting much of a pace what with the snow and ol' Jimmy here, the farm plowhorse," Aurelian declared and the trio of riders headed out of town.

 

***

 

They had ridden silently, Aurelian figuring conversation would be much easier once they were all inside the farmhouse. The party made good time really and soon enough they were in sight of the Redmond farm. It wasn't all that impressive to look at first glance but Aurelian was proud enough of it, it was his. He had had it a less than a year and while it still needed work, they had survived that first growing season and harvest, learned a lot about the local climate - what would work and what not so much. He was both confident and determined they'd do better this next growing season.

 

There was a farmhouse, a cabin really tall enough that it had an attic if not a full size second floor. There was a barn too and if Jay looked carefully he could probably tell part of the roof had collapsed. That would need fixing. There was a well not that far from the house, always a good thing. There was also a creek about a couple of hundred yards back which they passed, but it was frozen over. On one side of the farm there was a good start to a rail fence. Though covered up by snowfall, no doubt the farm had fields on all sides of it. Just off the barn was a small shed of some sort, it wasn't that old and lacked a first coat of paint even.  On one side of the house there were two clothes lines leading to a pole stuck in the ground. Be it ever so humble, there was no place like home.

 

"Well, Mr. Ryker, here we are. If you want, I can have Wyatt take care of the horses, he's quite capable of it, and we can go inside, maybe have a cup of coffee to take the chill off," Aurelian offered.

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Jay followed the man and his son on the horse quietly. As they rode out of town he noticed a few people turning their heads and acknowldeged them with a quick nod.

He tried to memorize the way to the farm, especially when they turned off the main road and onto a smaller single track path in the snow.

In front of him lay a small house and barn much like the one he had inherited but the land seemed to be more furtile with enough trees and water around.

 

Once there he dismounted and handed the boy the reigns. He knew that a lot of boys that age were quite capable of taking care of the animals and also themselves.

 

Kicking off the snow outside and briefly brushing it off his shoulders he entered the small home. The fire in the fire place had died but he could tell it had been going by the gleaming charcoal in the bottom. There was still a comfortable warmth inside, so he took off his gloves, hat and jacket. His blonde hair and beard still hadn't been cut, which made him look quite untidy and wild.

Jay looked around and then placed his clothing on a small wooden bench near the door.

"Nice play, you have here, sir. Quaint and solid....that barn outside needs some fixing though. Heavy snowfall?"

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Clara was in her room, sewing... well patching up one of her brother's pants where there had a hole at the knee. Wyatt was so hard on clothing, a combination of his endless activity and annoying clumsiness. New trousers ,or any clothing for that matter, were an unwanted expense so it was up to her to extend the life of their wardrobe. She heard the front door open of course, her father and brother were expected home so that was her assumption.

 

  "Nice place, you have here, sir. Quaint and solid....that barn outside needs some fixing though. Heavy snowfall?"

 

A man's voice and totally unfamiliar too?  She stood up regretting instantly she had no firearm in the room. Then she heard her father's voice though and relaxed.

 

"We think so, but yes, the people who had this farm before us had done a poor job on the roof and we got that confirmed when part of it fell in from too much snow. At least the whole roof didn't crash in on top of our stock. Besides the two horses, we got us a milk cow in the barn," Aurelian explained.

 

Clara now emerged from her room to take a gander at this newcomer. No, she did not recognize the man at all. Not likely a local in her mind. And what was he here for?

 

"Father," she greeted them.

 

Aurelian grinned, "Daughter of mine."

 

He turned to Jay, "Mr. Ryker, this is my daughter, Clara. And Clara, this here is Mr. Jay Ryker."

 

"Good day, sir," Clara nodded without a hint of a smile but eyed him with a measure of suspicion.

 

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The girl, who emerged from a the back of the home was probably no older than twelve years of age but her expression was that of the lady of the house. She wasn't you typical girl, Jay could tell right away. There was no shyness in her look nor was there any fear of this strangers. Jays first assumption was that their mother had long been missing and the girl had taken on that role.

 

"Good afternoon, Clara." Jay briefly said and then turned his attention back on her father. "I offered your father my help with the horseshoes."

"How long have you been living here?"

 

It sounded like it hadn't been very long and that they didn't really have a lot either. For some reason his criminal mind also calculated that stealing from them would not be worth the trouble. Jay quickly silenced that thought. It was a habit he had picked up over the past two years with the gang. Now he needed to think like a normal person again. It would be wrong to steal from such poor folks.

 

He looked at the chairs around the table. "May I sit?"

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"Hello, Mr. Ryker," Clara nodded, still studying him.

 

"I offered your father my help with the horseshoes."

 

"Oh, you did?" Clara glanced at her father hoping for some detail on that.

 

"I bought two horseshoes and Mr. Ryker is a blacksmith so he offered to shoe the horse, free of charge. A kindly offer," Aurelian smiled.

 

"Yes yes it is," Clara immediately was suspicious, she was not the most trusting soul.

 

And sure enough...

 

"So I made him a deal. He shoes the horse, we feed him a hot supper, only fair," Aurelian explained.

 

"If you say so, Father," Clara sighed, more work for her and more food out of their stock. But it was so like her father and she did not fault him for it.

 

"How long have you been living here?"

 

Clara so wanted to answer the man that it was none of his business but her father was too quick.

 

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"Going on a year. We got a good deal on the place as the couple who had it before us had decided frontier life was not for them and were heading back East. They just wanted to get rid of it," Aurelian answered.

 

"I felt bad for 'em. They were overwhelmed with the task at hand," he added.

 

"I thought them lazy," Clara chimed in then moved past the man to begin working on tonight's meal with guest.

 

Their guest asked if he could sit and naturally Aurelian consented, "Of course. Relax, we can have a nice talk."

 

Aurelian pulled up another chair then and sat too.

 

 

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"Thank you." Jay said before he sat down and let the information sink in. A small place like this with a piece of land would be his dream. 

"I inherited a piece of land but it's not worth a dime. Too dry, no water supply, not chance of farming it. Why my great uncle bought it, I don't know. I guess he was fooled."

This story was actually the sad truth. 

It had driven Jay to crime. 

If he owned land, that could come to an end though.

"How much do you pay for a small farm around here?"

He gave the girl a quick look while she was working around the kitchen and wondered what had happened to their mother. 

Then he looked out of the window where the snow was still blowing. 

"Mind if I ask how you earn your dollars?"

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"I inherited a piece of land but it's not worth a dime. Too dry, no water supply, not chance of farming it. Why my great uncle bought it, I don't know. I guess he was fooled."

 

Aurelian frowned, "Oh that is bad luck. It happens though, I've heard of folks buying land sight unseen, never a smart thing to do. Least it didn't cost you anything. Also you might be able to dump it for dirt cheap and it's still a little profit."

 

Clara was listening even as she had begun the meal preparations and mumbled, "There is always one idiot who will buy it. Your uncle proved that."

 

Aurelian barely heard that but could only hope their guest hadn't caught it. His daughter did not varnish her opinions.

 

"How much do you pay for a small farm around here?"

 

(ooc: You would ask a question like that, lol, I have no idea.)

 

Aurelian told the man what he paid for it then added, "But I have no idea what the going price for small farms is in general. Needless to say I stopped looking around after I bought this place."

 

"Mind if I ask how you earn your dollars?"

 

Again Clara muttered, "Sure asks a lot of questions."

 

"Well, we grew corn and a whole mix of garden stuff - tomatoes, beans, squash, turnips, carrots, potatoes," Aurelian explained, "We sell or trade 'em in town. Also we do canning. Keep some for long term, sell some of that too. We are always on the lookout for jars it seems."  He smiled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"There is always one idiot who will buy it. Your uncle proved that."

Jays eyes darted to the girl, who just called his uncle an idiot.

"Sharp tongue for such a young girl." He commented.

 

Kay listened to her fathers explanations about crops with interest when she made another comment.

 

It was obvious to him that she did not like him nor did she have good manors. Jay would have to be extra careful around her.

 

"Living on harvest alone must be tough."

He studied the cabin some more, then added. "After dinner I can get to work on your horses if you have one or two lamp in your barn. "

The sun was already very low and would dissapeare behind the trees soon

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"Sharp tongue for such a young girl."

 

Aurelian now realized she had voiced her view loud enough for him to catch it. He winced but let the conversation continue. Later he realized he would have to have yet another conversation with Clara about that habit of hers. Teenagers.

 

"Living on harvest alone must be tough."

 

"Well, we don't ... not completely. We trade for other things we need or want. On occasion we pay in cash though that is tight right now. Which is why I offered the meal for your much appreciated services," Aurelian pointed out.

 

He studied the cabin some more, then added. "After dinner I can get to work on your horses if you have one or two lamps in your barn. "

 

Clare huffed at that but held her tongue this time. Once he had stuffed himself what was to prevent the man from simply leaving without doing the work agreed upon? Her father was far too trusting.

 

"Yes of course, we have a couple lamps. I will help you too, just have to give me instructions as to what to do," Aurelian  nodded.

 

Just then the front door opened and in came young Wyatt who flashed one of his genuine smiles at the group.

 

"Horses done, Pa. Mister. You got a nice one," he declared.

 

He moved past the menfolk to where Clara was busy, "We gonna have bacon tonight?"

 

"No, you had bacon this morning. Once is enough," Clara made that perfectly clear.

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thumb_0542.jpg

 

 

Jay would have loved a slice of bacon because meat had been a rare thing lately except for the dried one that Addy had offered him a few times. He greeted Wyatt with a nod and smiled. "Thanks, she's a good girl." Jay had only had the horse for about 6 months but she had become very close to his heart. Like a friend, almost. The horse was the only valuable thing he really owned.

"Did she talk to you?" He grinned a little because the paint had a habit of making approving noises when she was being fed or brushed.

"She neighs a lot."

 

Jay leaned back and watched the family interact for a little bit, secretly envying them. He had become very lonely and the gang was security but no family. He did not love or even appreciate a single one of the fellows. A friend or a love would be much appreciated. For now acquaintances would have to do, even if they came in the form of teenagers.

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"Oh yeah, she was real friendly, couldn't understand a thing she said but she sure tried to get it across to me," Wyatt grinned.

 

"Some horses are like that, then some not. Take our plowhorse, never much of anything outta him. He is a calm old citizen but he can pull that plow, it's a sight to see," added Aurelian.

 

While the menfolk  (OK, generous if you include her brother) conversed, Clara went about her work. She was a good cook and she was conscientious about it. Maybe that was why it tasted so good. At first after her mother died, she depended on the classic cook book her mother had been gifted upon her marriage but now Clara seldom needed to consult it. As it neared time to eat, she asked Wyatt to put out the plates and silverware. None of it was fancy but it served the purpose.

 

****

 

Finally the meal was served, Clara going round and dishing it out onto the plates. It was some sort of hash with a mix of venison sausage pieces, chopped up potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, onions and beans. These were cooked soft in a cast iron frying pan, flavored with a good dose of salt and pepper, then at the very end, Clara cracked four good size eggs on top of the mixture.  It was both hearty and filling. She followed that up a plateful of sour dough biscuits, these had already been baked in the morning so they were not hot. Finally she poured coffee into tin cups for Aurelian, Mr. Ryker, and herself. Wyatt got milk.

 

"Trust me, Mr. Ryker, this stuff is good. My wife first made this when we lived back in Pennsylvania only she used pork rather than venison. Clara's take on this recipe is just as good," Aurelian assured the man as Clara then took her seat.

 

"Wyatt would you care to lead us in prayer, son?" Aurelian requested softly.

 

The boy nodded and gave a sincere if rather hasty and basic thank you to the Lord above but he was really hungry. Aurelian and Clara answered simply,  "Amen!"

 

 

 

 

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Patiently he waited for the girl to serve the dish that her father was praising her for. Obviously her mother hadn't been around for a while. It wasn't his place to ask why though. 

Jays mouth was watering but he waited for Wyatt to say the prayer and lowered his gaze but it made him feel unworthy of their company and the meal.

 

When it was time to eat he didn't hesitate to dig in. The potatoes and sweet potatoes tasted hearty in combination with the gravy that melted in his mouth and gave him an all around good feeling. Jay took a moment to savor the taste in his mouth, then looked at the other man in awe.

Finally he adressed the teenager, who obviously knew how to cook a good meal.

"That's the best dish I've had in days. Very well done. You're a great cook."

He then busied himself to finish the food like a hungry lion.

Finally he had some bread, which tasted different to the one he was used to.

"What's in this?"

Edited by Jack (see edit history)

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Clara was just waiting for their house guest to find something wrong with the meal, she knew he didn't like her much.  And to be honest, she didn't much care for him. He was far too nosey and asked too many questions though her father gladly supplied answers, polite host that he was. She however suspected the man was just here for a free meal and might well not deliver on his end of the bargain.

 

"That's the best dish I've had in days. Very well done. You're a great cook." 

 

Clara glanced at him then and the first sign of a smile showed itself,  well, who didn't like a compliment. Hmm ...... just maybe he wasn't so bad.

 

"Thank you, Mr. Ryker. Glad you like it. Please, if you still feel hungry, help yourself to seconds. I made plenty," she responded.

 

When he tasted a biscuit he seemed surprised? Then asked what was in it?

 

"Nothing special. They are sour dough biscuits. My mother taught me how to make them," she answered.

 

"Ma said that her special ingredient was love," grinned Wyatt, between bites.

 

"She was just saying that, there is no such ingredient," Clara declared, ever the practical one.

 

 

 

 

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And suddenly the atmosphere changed when he made Clara a compliment on her cooking skills and she offered seconds and talked about her mother.

That the ingredient would be love made him smile. "Sounds lovely. That ingredient." He wish sometimes that there was anyone in his life who would say such things, who would love him. Jay was lonely, even though he wasn't fully aware of it because he met girls on the run every now and then, who didn't mind sharing their beds for a night or two. That wasn't love though.

"And your mother." He added but didn't ask any questions.

The meal tasted great and was eaten with care and respect for the folks, who provided it. Jay was still a little hungry after his first plate full but he assumed that whatever wasn't eaten would serve as a meal the next day, so he only took more bread to wipe his plate clean and then leaned back.

"Lovely."

He waited for the others to finish, then he asked. "So I'd better hold up my end of the bargain and see to your horses before it gets too dark.

Is there a stove out there? I need some hot coal, to get the horse shoes right. But I'd also like to advise you that it's too early to put them on. You horse will slide around on the frozen ground. I'd wait a little longer till the sun softens the ground. What I could offer you, though, is to fit them properly to your horses hoofs and take care of the hoof for now, then come back in a month or so and put them on."

 

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The man sided with Wyatt about the ingredient, Clara had already voiced her own more common sense opinion on the matter and remained silent. The man also added a few words, "And your mother."

But offered no further details. Again Clara let it go. It was plain he enjoyed the meal though, he ate heartily then when finished closed with a simple, "Lovely."

 

"Glad you enjoyed it, Mr. Ryker," Clara  nodded.

 

Soon everyone was done so Clara began to clear the table of the dishes and cups, their guest now talked about doing his part in this bargain. Aurelian listened.

 

"No stove, for the animals being indoors in the barn suffices for warmth enough.  We burn firewood and occasionally buffalo chips for fuel here. Sorry no coal either," Aurelian had to deliver him the disappointing news.

 

"But I'd also like to advise you that it's too early to put them on. You horse will slide around on the frozen ground. I'd wait a little longer till the sun softens the ground. What I could offer you, though, is to fit them properly to your horses hoofs and take care of the hoof for now, then come back in a month or so and put them on."

 

Aurelian nodded, "You know that does make sense I reckon. So I guess do what you can now, leastwise look over the animal and the shoes I bought."

 

Clara's suspicions had circled around and were right back, "So how do we know you'll even be still around Kalispell a month from now?"

 

 

 

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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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