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Sagas of the Wild West

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Tidings of Comfort


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Mature Content: No

With: Jay, Weedy, Addy
Location: Millegan Stage Barn
When: December 24, 1875
Time of Day: Mid-day

 

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Chores had started early at the barn so that they could be done before noon and have the rest of Christmas Eve free, except for feeding in the evening.  Addy had plans for the free time leading up to the Holy Evening, and she could use some help.  Fortunately, for her plans, Weedy was off on some chore for Doctor Danforth, because what she wanted to do was for the boy.  After all, it was Christmas, and his mother hadn't been seen for several weeks, long, even, for that woman, and Addy wanted to make sure he had a good holiday.

 

"Jay!" she called as she led Arabesque from her stall before going to grab her saddle, "I gotta go on an errand, could use yer help, if you've a mind?  It's a surprise fer Weedy."  Yes, it was cold out, but at least the weather was clear.

 

@Jack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The whole morning he had been trying to fix a wooden drain on the side of the barn, that had been frozen and burst thanks to the ice inside. The water had gotten into the cracks and split the wood. By now he had made new piece with a large piece of timber and a chisel, cut out the broken piece and had installed the new piece with a lot of cursing and wet clothes because the snow was melting on the roof and small rivers were cascading towards him on this sunny day.

 

He heard Addy call his name. "Yeah, sure. Give me a minute to finish this."

 

He hammered in the last nails and then climbed down the ladder to meet the owner of the place around the corner.

His face was red from the effort, small pieces of wood clung to his wet clothes and beard but he smiled and explained.

"Ice cracked the water drain in the back. It's fixed now."

With both hands he brushed the dirt off his clothes with little to no success and asked. "What do you need? I'm glad to help."

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"Well, now, it bein' Christmas Eve an' all, I thought it might be nice fer Weedy ta have a proper Christmas tree, 'specially with his ma still bein' gone."  The boy was holding up well, but she couldn't recall a Christmas in the past that his mother hadn't at least made some small effort to give the lad a decent holiday.  "Just a small one, mind ya, nothin' grand, but I could use some help pickin' one out, if you've a mind."

 

At least the man was looking better than he had a couple days ago, he was still a bit weak and slow, but he had his wits about him, his color was good, and they had fallen into a comfortable companionship, and she enjoyed his company.

 

"If yer up to it?"

 

@Jack

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This was the first task around the place, which was somewhat pleasant. Of course, Jay had picked most of the unpleasant ones himself to repay all the favors, Addy was doing him. She had been a blessing without any disguise and Jay valued not only her company but her attitude.

"I'm up for it." He nodded and slowly trudge through the snow. He couldn't lift his right foot properly without too much discomfort so he shuffled forward with a bit of snow falling into his boots until he reached her.

"Could you grab me my jacket and hat, please? I'm pretty hot now but the weather is a little crazy around here. I'll grab a saw."

He knew where she kept all her tools and went to get it.

 

When he returned Jay asked. "So his mother hasn't even shown up for Christmas? Is she giving you anything in return for your favours? I'm guessing not..."

The boy definetly deserved a better home than his own.

"Poor bastard....what'd the deal with his family. I mean, which kid hangs around the neighbors for weeks at a time? What's wrong with these people? "

When he thought about Weedy's family he felt a strange urge to go looking for them and teach them a hard but valuable lesson.

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"Could you grab me my jacket and hat, please? I'm pretty hot now but the weather is a little crazy around here. I'll grab a saw."

 

"Yes, sir, an' I'll get yer horse saddled up, we're gonna hafta ride a bit outta town ta find somethin' we can chop without raisin' anyone's ire."  Even with a tree, folks in town were pretty particular about someone coming along and hacking them down.

 

"So his mother hasn't even shown up for Christmas? Is she giving you anything in return for your favours? I'm guessing not..."

 

Addy shrugged as she led the horses out of the barn, then handed Jay the reins to his paint.  "I get th' pleasure a' seein' th' boy happy, goin' ta school an' learnin'.  He'll be a good man."  She wasn't doing this for anything other than helping a fellow human who needed it, wasn't more to it than that, and it wasn't as if it was a hardship.  Weedy had his moments, but he was a good kid and helped when he could, most of the time, and she had little else to spend her money on.

 

"Poor bastard....what'd the deal with his family. I mean, which kid hangs around the neighbors for weeks at a time? What's wrong with these people? "

 

"I honestly don't know 'bout his pa, not even sure his ma knows what become of him, provided she even knows who it was."  She swung up into the saddle and turned Arabesque's head west out Main Street.  "Just some folks weren't meant ta be parents, don't have th' wisdom nor constitution fer it, but then they end up with a young'n, an'..." she shrugged.  "No sense th' boy sufferin'."

 

@Jack

 

 

 

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Jay reached for the reigns and gently petted the paint's neck while he listened to her. Then he fastened the saw in his saddle pocket and pulled himself up in the saddle.

Carefully he swung his leg over and let it slide down before he followed her.

"And you...you're cut out to be a parent?" He smiled a little to himself because she had taken in the role of mother twice....a little bit for him as well.

"Might as well have children of your own. What do you think? One day...when you find yourself a new husband?"

He was clearly sticki g his nose in things that were none of his business.

"Or are Weedy and me work enough?"

Jay let his gaze linger on her profile for a moment before his gaze wandered across the snow covered hills outside of town.

"Beautiful."

He remarked but didn't quite specify what he meant when he looked back at her with a sparkle in his eyes.

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"And you...you're cut out to be a parent?"

 

Addy laughed.  "'Bout as much as a cougar bein' mama to a bunny!"  Honestly, Addy had never really considered actually being a parent.  Yes, she was looking after Weedy, but there hadn't been the baby stage, and he was capable of looking after himself for a day or so if he had to.  But her own...

 

"Might as well have children of your own. What do you think? One day...when you find yourself a new husband?"

 

"Wouldn't object, I don't reckon."  She shrugged.  "Not that I'm lookin'...not in no hurry fer that kinda trouble, but if it finds me, don't reckon as there's much I can do fer it."

 

"Or are Weedy and me work enough?"

 

At that, Addy laughed.  "Ya keep me busy, but I don't mind, keeps me company, too, an' all th' help I truly do appreciate."  And she had her 'her time' when she was out on the road, altogether a comfortable arrangement, to her thinking, and it suited her.

 

"Beautiful."

 

"Yeah, it is, ain't it?"  Addy hadn't noticed the look, she was admiring the scenery, and likely wouldn't have thought anything of his glance had she seen it...she was accustomed to being around men, working with them, just being 'one of the guys', so her thoughts didn't even consider that she was attractive at all.

 

"I love th' mountains, even with all th' snow.  It's beauty that changes every time ya see it."  She glanced at her companion.  "They got anything like this in England?  I'd love ta seen an old castle.  If i believed in re-incarceration, I'd say I was a knight way back in them days of Ivanhoe an' Galahad." 

 

@Jack

 

 

 

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"Wouldn't object, I don't reckon."  She shrugged.  "Not that I'm lookin'...not in no hurry fer that kinda trouble, but if it finds me, don't reckon as there's much I can do fer it."

Jay silently smiled a little to himself. He was glad that she didn't rule that option out for her altogether. But why? He never stood a chance at a life like this. Was he simply hoping for her well being?

 

At that, Addy laughed.  "Ya keep me busy, but I don't mind, keeps me company, too, an' all th' help I truly do appreciate."  And she had her 'her time' when she was out on the road, altogether a comfortable arrangement, to her thinking, and it suited her.

 

"Good. I enjoy your company, too. Yours and Weddys." He admitted, being more open than he usually was. Addy had become a savior and a friend. Weedy had also grown on him and for now he was very comfortable and happy in their company. But Jay also knew that it might not last.

"Enjoy it while it lasts....I won't be fixing your drains forever. I'm pretty sure you'll get sick of feeding another mouth and give me the boot."

 

"I love th' mountains, even with all th' snow.  It's beauty that changes every time ya see it."  She glanced at her companion.  "They got anything like this in England?  I'd love ta seen an old castle.  If i believed in re-incarceration, I'd say I was a knight way back in them days of Ivanhoe an' Galahad." 

She had no idea that he had been referring to her as 'beautiful' and maybe it was better that way. Perhaps things would get really awkward.

"In fact there is an area in the North. It's called Scotland. People there speak with a strange accent. Maybe even stranger than yours. It's got many hills and lakes....lochs and some snow in the winter. Yes, and there are castles everywhere you go. England used to consist of many kingdoms and they all fought. Against each other...the vikings...So they built many castles."

 

Their path led over a hill and further down into a valley where a stream had been covered by snow but was still visible. They followed it to a small forest.

Jay turned in his saddle and looked around because he had spotted some tracks in the snow. "Deer?"

That would fill their bellies for days and make a feast for Christmas.

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"I heard'a Scotland, would truly love ta see that," Addy declared, "but I reckon fer now th' Cascades are gonna hafta do."

 

When he mentioned the tracks she stopped and looked down, nodding.  "Looks like...ya any good at trackin'?  I'm passin' fair.  'Course, should be fairly easy with th' snow."

 

She swung out of the saddle and waited for Jay.  "We can leave th' horses here so they don't spook it.  Leastways we don't gotta worry 'bout bears this time of year."  She'd had her fill of bears for a very long time already!

 

@Jack

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"What Cascades?" Jay asked her while his dismounted his horse, holding on to the horn and carefully lowering himself until his boots sank into the snow.

He wasn't familiar with the area, at least not the hills and fields. He knew his way around the banks in a hundred mile radius, perhaps even further.

 

"I'm not a good tracker...sorry. And I'm not very good at shooting either. But I'll try."

 

They bound the horses to a tree and followed the fresh deer tracks into the trees. "Maybe we can kill two birds with one stone. Shoot a deer and find a tree?" How they'd get both home, he wasn't sure though. Perhaps with one of the carriages.

 

The forest looked quite peaceful with the snow covered trees and not too many sounds around. There were eagles circling in the distance but most small birds had flown south and a lot of other animals were hybernating. The day was fairly warm and sunny and just above the freezing point. So Jay opened his jacket because he was starting to sweat.

 

"I can see a few good trees here...." He pointed a some smaller pines that had evenly spaced out branches.

 

About 15 minutes in the tracks lead to an even snow covered surface in an opening. Jay used his boot to shove some of the snow aside to see whether there was ice underneath. "A lake....they went right across."

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