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    • "Maybe, fer this special occasion," Addy suggested, "we can try a little'a each?  That way, we can get a taste'a everything, so next time, we know what our favorite is."  It was a plan that appealed to her, so she didn't have to decide which she wanted!   "Never turn down help," she declared, "but seems ta me yer th' one needs help brushin' them horses down."  She glanced at Weedy and Josh, considering for a moment if it was safe to let the boy go up into the loft, but then, his father could stop him, and, after all, he was a Chappel!  He'd grown up around horses, and was of hardy stock!   With them all working together, it wouldn't take too long to get the horses settled, and then they could be on the way to treats!   @MD
    • "We'll get on."  Addy was determined, and once she grabbed hold of the crude rope halter, she had control of the animal.  "Here..."  Cupping her hands, she made a step for Caroline, to give her a boost up.  "Just grab his mane."   TBC   @Wayfarer                    
    • Mature Content: Doubt it With: Tyrell Garret Thornton Location: Add specific location information here. When: Mid-July 1876 Time of Day: Encompasses a couple of days     Place holder
    • Anæsthesia wasn't exactly convinced by all these homilies about falling out of trees, breaking arms, and sleeping in the mud: she smiled politely, if a little tightly. Truth to tell, she felt a little bit 'got at' - the snobby girl was getting a taste of her own medicine in the form of the inverted-snobbery of these rough frontier folk.    She suddenly blurted, rather defensively "I have learned to shoot a gun!"   "I have a 1858 model Lefaucheux double action revolver, and really am rather a good shot with it." she said proudly. Now maybe they'd stop telling her that she needed to fall out of a tree to be able to claim that her life had any meaning.    Of course, the hypocrisy was that she was quite willing to tell others what they should be doing with their lives: like learning to read.      @Bongo @MD
    • Mr McVey was chattering away as Arabella grabbed her non-packable items: two dresses, spare bonnet, basket and three large round circles made of bamboo. These were very hard to carry and to manoeuvre through the doorway.    "You and I disagree on a number of things, yet, we agree on others. Mister Reeve is certainly one to keep an eye on. And I would say, he is dangerous in another way, to the political atmosphere in Kalispell. He is an odd fellow, yet, so is Mister Pettigrew. Perhaps the goal of him running is to slit the vote? I'm not exactly confident on that assumption."   "Now don't you be mean about Mr Pettigrew, Mr McVey, he's been right nice to me: teachin' me all about how to speak proper and act like a lady." she objected. Pettigrew had taught her something else, too, something more important than those surface embellishments, something at her very core.    He hoisted the trunk that was surprising lighter than he would have expected. "As time moves on, we'll have a better idea of Pettigrew's purpose in the grand scheme of the elections this fall." He added, then, "I'm following you, Arabella."   "Hold on, I'm all tangled up!" she yelped, the three bamboo circles seemed to have minds of their own and were doing their darndest to stop her getting through the doorway. "I'm takin' these hoops with me, in case crinolines come back in!" she informed him.    Eventually she got herself through the door and down the stairs, with a shout of "I'm goin' now, I'll be back at seven!" at Caroline's door. When the two of them reached the bar, there was a ragged cheer from some of the rounders who were regulars "Don't worry, I'll be back at seven, boys!" she assured them.   "Oh damn!" one of them joked.    "You movin' in with him?!" another joshed. Arabella laughed and didn't say yes and didn't say no: well, Phin had said he didn't care if people talked!   @Flip
Adelaide Chappel

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.

Edited by Jack (see edit history)

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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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Edited by Jack (see edit history)

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Addy walked alongside him, keeping an eye on the tracks that were easily followed.  "Yep, if we find that deer, we'll have our hands full."  They could work that out, they could use her horse as a pack animal and she could ride behind Jay, or, if the deer wasn't too big, she could carry that in front of her on Arabesque.

 

"Ain't much at huntin' myself, leastways not since I was a girl.  Done plenty back home, but that was a ways ago."  It had been a long time since she'd been in a situation where she needed to actually hunt for herself, but it had been a long time since she'd had venison.  Of course, if they actually did get the thing, there was the matter of skinning it and dressing it, then cooking it...

 

"Ya ever skin one?  I can do that, but cookin'..."  Well, they could build a big fire out back and use that.  She laughed.  "Well, we'll have plenty'a hay drenched in kerosene ta get a fire goin'!"  Of course, it was drowned in water now.

 

She gave him a playful nudge as they started onto the ice.  "Figure as how it's been cold enough long enough ta freeze this hard, but there's always a risk."  Honestly, she had no desire to take a freezing bath!

 

@Jack

 

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Abby wasn't a girl to shy away from anything it seemed. She'd cross a frozen lake with a stranger and then skin a deer. What a wonderful, fearless woman, Jay mused to himself.

"Yeah, I've skinned deer...I used to travel a lot, had to fend for myself under the stars." It sounded much more romantic than the harsh reality of it.

Jay would skin another animal, though. Unlike many Englishmen he wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty. "I can do it if we catch one."

 

"Well, we'll have plenty'a hay drenched in kerosene ta get a fire goin'!" 

 

"Yeah, funny..." He shook his head with a smile. "Wasn't like I did that on purpose."

 

Suddenly her hand was on his shoulder to nudge him. Addy wasn't a very touchy feely person, neither was Jay. The only time they'd touched in the past days was when he was feverish and one time when she handed him a crate.

Many touches would go unnoticed but this one made his head perk up.

Jay didn't say anything though. Instead he followed her lead across the lake. Every now and then the ice made a loud, long cracking sound and he froze in his tracks but then continued quicker as they crossed the middle.

"We should have gone around it.....I can't swim."

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Ice cracked, especially under the weight of people tramping over it, but this was getting to be too frequent, and Addy stopped.  "Don't like th' way th' ice sounds," she declared, "an' even if we get that deer, we'll hafta carry it back."  She shrugged.  "Don't know as th'  risk is worth th' benefit.  Would rather Weedy had his tree an' not us half-drowned in bed sick with fever."

 

They most assuredly would not starve, she could get them stew or steaks from one of the saloons in town, and she had some treats from Miz Emeline.  "'Sides, we need ta get back in time ta get th' tree decorated before Weedy's back."  After all, that was supposed to be a surprise for the boy.

 

@Jack

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Just when they hurried off the ice with careful steps, Jay spotted the animal.Standing nearby in the bushes looking at them like they were some wonderous animal as well.

He pointed at the deer as he reached for her arm and held her back whispering. "He's right there."

Obviously she had changed her mind about hunting it but this was too easy and would save her a fortune.

So Jay gave her a serious nod and then slowly advanced far enough that he could take aim. What a surreal situation, that he was out in the open...on the side of a lake while the deer was watching them from the bushes.

The animal did not move though when Jay lifted his gun. It would almost be a miracle if he hit him with a Colt but not impossible.

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When he alerted her to the presence of the deer, Addy smiled and nodded.  It was happy luck that they had actually spotted the creature, and so close, and there was no reason not to at least take a try.  Staying where she was so she didn't alarm the deer, she stood still, letting Jay do what he needed to.  It was a long shot, to fell a deer with a handgun, but nothing was impossible, and he had offered to clean it.

 

Wouldn't hurt to give it  a try!

 

@Jack

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Jay saw her nod and took that as the 'go ahead'. So he closed one eye, steadied his hand with the other and exhaled. A loud bang tore the air when he pulled the trigger and echoed across the lake twice as loud.

The deer jump and ran.

"Damn." Jay made a face and dropped his gun to the side when he suddenly saw that the deer was limping and then falling to the ground.

The man started towards him, now running the last distance across the frozen lake.

"I think I hit him." He hollered. "Come, Addy!"

Beneath his feet the ice cracked again so he evaded the sound to the left where he stayed closer to the banks.

 

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Addy stood quietly as he took his shot, then grinned as the deer fell.  "Good shootin'!"  She slapped him on the arm then trotted after him, mindful to stay a few paces behind him in case the ice gave, so they wouldn't both go through. 

 

The deer was struggling to get up, but she could tell that it was injured enough that it wasn't going anywhere, and they just needed to finish the job...and she'd leave that to Jay, since it was his kill.

 

As they got close, she noticed a mountain lion coming from their left, looking for an easy meal.  "Gonna chase him off," she declared, pulling her pistol and sending a shot at the big cat, her intention to make it think twice and run off.  If it persisted, then she would shoot it, but she hoped it didn't come to that.

 

@Jack

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The friendly slap on the arm was all the touch he'd get from her but it was something...a friendly gesture, interaction. Not as much as Jay was hoping for but it put a smile on his face nevertheless.

 

Abby chased a mountain lion away, who almost made Jay jump because he hadn't seen him and could have easily become his prey. "Thank you!" He said visibly startled.

Then he stepped closer to the deer whom he had shot in the hind quarters. The animal tried to get up a few times but only left blood all around him in the snow.

Jay looked at Abby to see whether she wanted to kill the animal. When she didn't he aimed his gun at the animals head and shot it.

There was no use in letting it suffer any longer.

"That'll make good meals for us for a long time. We can have some for Christmas and dry some of the meat."

Of course the deer would be a lot of work.

"Help me?"

He crouched down to reach for its legs and put it across his own shoulders. The animals was still small, probably aslo malnurished because of the long winter but the weight was enough to make Jay, who wasn't completely healed, stop and wonder whether he could actually carry it all the way back.

His gaze wandered back along the lake to the clearing where the horses were waiting as he wondered whether he could make it that far.

"Let's go. He's heavy."

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It would involve work, but Jay was right that the deer would provide food for a good time, and jerky would keep in the warmer weather and make for good trail food.  "We can cut some steaks off him fer supper, set th' rest'a th' carcass in th' snow, it's cold enough, it'll keep 'till we can get to it."

 

If it was Summer, they'd have to process the meat quickly, lest it go bad in the heat, but there was the luxury of the weather right now.

 

"I'll go fetch th' horses.  Don't go nowhere."  She gave him a grin, then ran as best she could through the snow, to where the horses were.  Swinging up on Arabesque, she grabbed Jay's mount's reins and trotted back to him.

 

"So, reckon we can get a tree close on ta here, then load up th' horses," she suggested, "do ya want ta split th' load, or ya want ta put it all on one horse an' ride back double?"

 

@Jack

 

 

 

 

 

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Jay patiently waited by the edge of the frozen lake. He found a fallen tree and cleaned off the snow to sit down. The snow was glistening on the surface in endless amounts of snow crystals.

For a moment there were no sounds but her footsteps far away.

 

Jay enjoyed this moment of solitude. He hadn't been alone in ages. First he was always with the gang, no those men had been replaced by the admittely much prettier Addy and her little friend.

 

When she returned he was very tempted to ride back double. Was that appropriate? Probably not...but perhaps necessary.

"What do you think is better?" He would have loved to sit that close to her rather than a dead deer but she had to make that call.

 

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Addy shrugged when he asked which he thought was the better of the options.  "Well. reckon that depends on yer horse.  Arabesque here, she's good with ridin' double or packin' th' deer, so if there's one yer horse prefers?"  Not all saddle horses liked the smell of blood, especially so close as when it was right on their back, and some didn't like riding double.  Arabesque, she knew, was easy-going and would put up with just about anything Addy asked of her.

 

"We gotta git some manner'a tree, too.  Don't have ta be too big, just somethin' fer Weedy."  And extra burden for whichever horse was going to be packing the deer...

 

@Jack

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"Give me a hand?" Jay took some rope out off his saddle bags to bind the animals legs together. "My horse can carry the deer." Then with Addys help hauled it up onto his horse. The fast motion jarred his side just a little too much making him hiss and hold on to the horn for a long moment until it subsided.

"Damn...takes longer than I thought. When I'm healed, I'll be on my way, promise." He'd be sad to leave this winderful woman but it was better this way for her and his sake.

 

 

The deer would leave a trail behind them. "I hope we won't attract any bears and bring em to your doorstep."

 

Jay decided to lead the horse to a tree, that they'd cut down instead if riding.

 

He found a small but straight one and looked at the brunette on her horse.

 

"What do you say?"

 

Edited by Bongo (see edit history)

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"Give me a hand?" Jay took some rope out off his saddle bags to bind the animals legs together. "My horse can carry the deer."

 

"Sure, all right."  Working with him, she helped get the deer trussed up and then onto the horse, although she could see that the work was hard for him, with that fresh wound.  "Ya okay?"

 

"Damn...takes longer than I thought. When I'm healed, I'll be on my way, promise."

 

"Don't worry about it, ain't that much an inconvenience, an' I know yer still gettin' over that infection."  The wound was bad enough alone, but it had been the infection that had really caused the damage.  "Whenever yer ready."  She shrugged.

 

"I hope we won't attract any bears and bring em to your doorstep."

 

"Nah, they won't come inta town," she assured him, "an' just a few months back we got that one that was causin' all th' trouble.  Kilt one'a my horses, it did, an' a few people, too."  She grinned.  "He made good meals fer th' tribe of Utes live near here."  That bear meat would have seen the tribe fed well into the winter!

 

"What do you say?"

 

"Looks perfect!  Not too big, I can just pull it behind Arabesque."  She swung to the ground, then went over to help him.  The trunk wasn't too big, so wasn't hard to cut.  "Weedy's gonna like this real good, I think."  She grinned.  "We're gonna give him a good Christmas.  I'm glad yer here ta help."

 

@Jack

 

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"Yeah...I'm glad, too."

Jay looked at her with a bit of sentiment. This would be the first time he spent Christmas with someone he cared about. "It'll be nice...we're like a small, strange family. I like that. Haven't really celebrated Christmas in years."

He babbled away to let some time pass and mask his weakness while she was cutting the tree down.

"You got ornaments and candles and all that pretty stuff, too?"

He would need to get both of them some sort of present, too.

With the deer on his horse, Jay wasn't sure where he.should sit so he took.her up her previous offer after the tree was tied to the horse.

"Double back....do you want me in the front of back?" Oh that would be awkward."

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"Back is fine."  Addy shrugged, swinging back into the saddle.  "Best we get back soon, so's we have time ta work on that deer."  Dressing and roasting it would take some time, and it was getting a little late.  "Reckon we can hack some meat off an' roast it in a pan on th' fire."  Which meant building a fire out back...

 

"Least th' weather's cold enough we can store th' carcass in th' snow 'till after Christmas."  Maybe Miz Emeline could help them with that, since she really didn't know much about cooking.  "Ya gonna keep th' hide fer somethin'?"  It could be stretched and dried, but that would take much longer this time of year.

 

@Jack

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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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