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    • "I plan to start nothing where women are concerned until I meet one that I like and one that acts her age," he replied in a slightly miffed tone.   “Well, let’s just hope the two of ‘em never meet!” chuckled Arabella, nudging Bridget, who laughed, despite not really getting the joke.   “Anyhow, I always act my age – nearly Sixteen!” declared the driver of the buggy. Indeed, in a mere 354 days, she would reach that august age.   “Back home in the Old Dominion, I’d ‘a’ probably been wed by now!” she added.   Despite her ironing board figure and girlish ways, ever since it had happened a few months ago, she had considered herself a young woman, rather than a mere girl.   "Besides, I thought we were on a trip so that Miss Monahan could attend mass and not some sort of confessional."   “Oh, don’t you know nuthin’?!” she tsked “Confessional’s exactly what we’re goin’ up there for. She’s gotta confess all her terrible sins to the priest feller before she's allowed to go to Mass and eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus.” Without Bridget seeing, she caught Charlie’s eye and, screwing up her face, gave a dismissive shake of her head, to show that she thought the whole thing was a bunch of nonsense, theologically speaking. Miss Arabella Sumpter Mudd was no friend to the foolish notion of transubstantiation.    “Course, I’m a Methodist m’self. Say, what’s your denomination, Charlie? You know that there priest is going to have a whole bunch of religious questions to ask you, don’t you?” she asked in a serious tone of voice.   @JulieS  
    • After hitching their horses, Mike and the rest of the Lost Lake hands surveyed their surroundings.  The crowd was starting to build up and a couple of the hands headed over towards the tent where the beer was being served.  A few of them headed over to where the food was.  Some of them went inside leaving only Mike, Charlie and Marty to decide what to do.   After a minute or two, Marty tapped Mike on the arm and pointed towards the barn entrance.  "Over there boss, a couple of the Evergreen crew.  Remember them from that fight last year at the fair."   Even though it happened before he had arrived in Kalispell, Mike had heard what had happened last summer.  He also knew the story behind the so-called feud between Evergreen and Lost Lake.  "Okay, just make sure you and the others stay clear of them."   "Oh, I plan to...otherwise all bets will be off and I intend to win this time," Marty replied before heading off to warn his friends.   Mike turned to Charlie, "Speaking of bets.  What time did you put down?"   Charlie, who was distracted by something over where the food was being served, quickly turned his attention back to his brother, "Nine thirty."   Mike smiled, "Isn't that a bit a optimistic?"   Shaking his head, Charlie answered, "From what I hear it isn't.  Besides Sam put down nine forty-five."   "I suppose you could be right but I'm hoping you're not.  Wouldn't mind winning that pot myself."  Taking one last good look at what was going on, Mike straightened his jacket, "I think I'll head inside and try my luck there. I'll see you later."   He patted Charlie on the back before walking towards the barn.
    • Brendan shifted his weight under Clara's scathing stare. He stuck his thumbs in his suspenders and met Clara's eyes, setting his mouth stubbornly. "Brendan Connolly.”   That name sounded Irish, like Bridget’s. Oh, well, he couldn’t help that, Arabella supposed. Maybe he was a Catholic and could take her and Bridget to the Catholic mission tomorrow. She was going to ask him, but for once she couldn’t get a word in edgeways.   “And I didn't set you up. The hands set me up."   “Sure, the hands set him up!” Arabella agreed, not having a clue what this was all about, but trying to pour oil on troubled waters. Considering that she was her ‘bosom friend’ Clara never actually did  tell her much about her life.   "Still wanna dance with me after hearin' that? I'll take a polka with you and a slow dance with Miss Ginger there, if she's 'con-struct-ed' for it."   “Hey don’t call her that!” Arabella corrected the man, for these were the days when having red hair was considered ugly in a woman. “You wouldn’t like it if we made fun of your bow legs, now would you?” He didn’t really have bow legs, unlike most cowboys, but he wouldn’t know that. Unlike women, men didn’t spend a lot of time examining their own bodies, looking for imperfections. “I mean, they ain’t too bad, but you still couldn’t stop a pig in an alley.”   Arabella caught Bridget’s eye and nodded toward Clara, as if to say, to the elective mute, ‘have a word with her’, while she grabbed hold of Brendan’s arm and dragged him away from the scene of conflict.   “Step over here a second, Mr. Cowboy Connelly, and I’ll show you where we got the beer tent set up” she offered brightly, and as soon as they were a few steps away, hissed “Well, what the Dickens was all that about? You two looked fit to start a range war back there, even before this shindig’s begun. Tell me what happened between you two.” she asked with frown on her youthful features.   Meanwhile, Bridget’s contribution to all this was to rustle up to the incandescently furious looking Clara, bustle to bustle, and whisper in her ear “Is that man bad?”
    • Harem?  While it was true he couldn't remember some parts of last night, he was pretty sure that there wasn't a lot of kissing involved.  Maybe the two girls were having a joke at his expense but he couldn't be one hundred percent sure.   "I plan to start nothing where women are concerned until I meet one that I like and one that acts her age," he replied in a slightly miffed tone.  "Besides, I thought we were on a trip so that Miss Monahan could attend mass and not some sort of confessional."   @Javia
    • "They'd hafta find us first," she grumbled, surprised but not that he knew what she was going to say.  "I'll give yer way a chance, an' I reckon if anyone could untangle this, it'd be Miz Mercer.  Ought we ta find her now, get this started?"  Then she'd have to find Weedy and finally talk to him, although she suspected he suspected, how could he not, what with his mother gone so long this time?   "Not lookin' forward ta talkin' ta Weedy, but best get that done before he hears from someone else."  Wouldn't take long for word to spread, and even though there might not be any malicious intent, someone might ask him questions that would be awkward, especially if he hadn't been told.   @Flip
Matilda Devereau

Invitation Extended

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Mature Content: No

Author: Matilda Devereau

With: Col. MacKenzie
Location: Fort Somers
When: April 15, 1876
Time of Day: Just past noon.

 

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This was a first for Matilda to be setting foot within an army fort, not that she was nervous about it. This was all about business, in this case not her own but the town's. As first time member of the Spring Dance committee, she had convinced the other committee members to reach out to the local military garrison, a goodwill gesture. After all it was these very men who protected the town and local farms and ranches from the Indians.

 

So it was that Matilda, clad in a fancy freshly shipped in from the East maroon dress, waltzed confidently into the office of the fort commandant after being ushered in by an orderly. Men were men, whether they had uniforms on or not, and one thing Matilda was comfortable around it was menfolk. They were the livelihood of her business.

 

"Good day, general, hope I'm not interrupting anything....like planning an invasion of Canada or something," she flashed a mix between a smirk and a grin.

 

Time to find it if this one had a sense of humor or not.

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Mackenzie was already coming to his feet as the orderly waved the visitor into his office. "I have no desire to claim acres of moose and pasture in the name of the United States..." Mackenzie said as he took her offered hand and bent his head over it before releasing it. That whole gallant kiss thing was lost on MacKenzie. Wellington knew how to greet a lady but he in no way considered himself a swain. "...besides in the wisdom of the War Office I would then be forced to watch over all that new land with the same inadequate number of men I have to watch the territory I have now." The officer tugged out one of the two chairs before his desk for his visitor to have a seat before he moved back around to settle behind his desk. "And it's Colonel MacKenzie, not General, although I appreciate the compliment..." Mackenzie rested his elbows on his desk as he leaned forward a bit. "So what can I do for you, Mrs. or Miss...?"

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The man's response was measured but delighted the woman as he showed himself to be amenable to light hearted banter and was not just some military martinet. He proved to be a gentleman too, presenting her with a seat before then taking one of his own.

 

"Ahh, so Canada is safe then, I am relieved," she quipped as she sat down facing him.

 

"Oh excuse me, Colonel, I am not familiar with the complexities of military ranks," she acknowledged her mistake first off then introduced herself.

 

"Name's Matilda Devereau, I own the saloon in town, the Stardust. I was once a Mrs. but my husband is dead. I shot him," she stated calmly enough, "All quite legal I assure you."

 

"And this isn't a social call I'm afraid but a business one. I've come with an invitation to present if you would hear me out."

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MacKenzie could not help but stare for just a moment as he heard Miss Devereau's matter of fact explanation of her status. One part of his brain was trying to get his attention as he realized he was not quite gaping at his visitor. MacKenzie gave himself a mental shake and hoped the gesture was not external as well.

 

"Well, I am always willing to listen to the local civilians when they come to my post with business to discuss. What invitation are you bringing my men and I...?"

 

What sort of town is this?...MacKenzie thought to himself as he answered the saloon owner. If a seemingly upright woman like Miss Devereau did this, what other secrets might the rest of the town hold?...MacKenzie figured he might need to rethink this leave thing with the garrison...can't afford to lose men by just sending them to town...the colonel realized Matilda had resumed speaking...

 

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Permission granted, Matilda began her spiel.

 

"Well, colonel, sadly it is not really as much for your men as for you and your officers. Kalispell is holding a spring dance, it's held in a barn just outside of town. There will be food and drinks of course in addition to music and dancing. I told the committee this would be a great opportunity to reach out to our gallant military and break the ice as it were. Get to mingle and know each other a bit. "

 

"But there is no way we can take in a whole garrison of soldiery, your fine fellows would pack the barn simply by themselves. I hope you understand?"

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Mackenzie leaned back a bit, his hands sliding out to each side on his desk and a smile broke across his features.

 

"Madame, I cannot tell you how happy your invitation makes me..." MacKenzie spread his arms to indicate the entirety of the fort surrounding them. "...usually in most of the commands I have been in, we are treated like a camp full of convicts or barbarians. Oh, when there are Indians raiding or bandits, what have you, we are very popular, but any other time it's "pay up front" or "stop loitering in our streets." MacKenzie then crossed his arms before him on his desk.

 

"I totally understand your concerns and I would be unable to authorize leave for more than a handful of my men at any one time, so you and the town have nothing to worry about there." MacKenzie rubbed his chin with one hand as he looked thoughtful. "Let's see...I can leave the married officers to man the post. That would be simple enough, and I would like to invite some of our more senior NCO's...oh, apologies...my older sergeants, whom I believe I can trust to behave in polite company..." The colonel did some counting in his head then looked back at Matilda. "Would a dozen men be too large a party?"

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The man was very pleased with the invitation, Matilda noted with satisfaction.

 

"I can assure I have never felt that way about our gallant men in blue.  Nor do I expect any trouble between the community and you soldier boys. We want this to be good time for all in attendance," she assured the man.

 

"Who you choose in the end is of course your call, Colonel. I do not intend to tell you how to run your army any more than I would like being told how to run my business. And I think a dozen is quite fair number.  Thank you for being so understanding," Matilda smiled graciously.

 

"One of the advantages of being a widow is I can dance with whoever I please. I hope you might give it some consideration to ask me for a dance, colonel," she was nothing if not bold, it came with her business.

 

 

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MacKenzie blinked in surprise at the woman's statement. He could feel the creeping heat climbing up from his collar and he also knew there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it.

 

"Well, I would be honored if you would give me the privilege of a dance. Consider yourself asked right this minute, Miss Devereau." He returned her gaze steadily for several heartbeats then he coughed lightly and looked around. "Ahem...So...what else can I do for you, Madame?"

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It seemed the man was taken a bit aback by her bold offer, Matilda had that effect on menfolk sometimes. It worked though, as she figured it would.

 

"Well, I would be honored if you would give me the privilege of a dance. Consider yourself asked right this minute, Miss Devereau."

 

"Consider it done then. I would put you down on my dance card but never used one of those," she smiled coyly, "But I have an excellent memory."

 

He returned her gaze steadily for several heartbeats then he coughed lightly and looked around. "Ahem...So...what else can I do for you, Madame?"

 

"Well.....nothing right now, nothing I can think of," she suddenly stood up, "I have done what I came here to do. And I met you also. I would call this 'mission accomplished' in your military parlance."

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MacKenzie was on his feet before he even realized she had stood herself...his reflexes bringing his manners to the fore without thought. He rounded the desk and moved to the door and opened it, standing beside the doorway as she swept around to stop before him. "Well, Miss Devereau, I would like to thank you for the invitation and the visit. Both are very welcome surprises and a lovely change of pace in our typical days here."

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He hurried to open the door for her which brought another smile to her face, "Such a gentleman, colonel."

 

"Well, Miss Devereau, I would like to thank you for the invitation and the visit. Both are very welcome surprises and a lovely change of pace in our typical days here."

 

"You're quite welcome, I'm delighted you find the upcoming event to your liking. Glad I could be that change of pace," she replied.

 

"Til the dance then. I bet you will cut quite the dashing figure in your full dress uniform, colonel. Good day!"

 

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MacKenzie shrugged a bit and nodded. "I hope enough for you, Madame..." He then watched her walk out of his office and then out of the building. His reverie continued for a few more moments before he blinked. His eyes widened a bit before he looked at his aide at the desk in the outer office. "Lieutenant! Officers Call in twenty minutes...!" The colonel then took a few steps back toward his desk before stopping and making a half turn back toward the door. "Who handles laundry here on the post?" MacKenzie realized his dress uniform had been packed into his trunk for...well, probably years...he would need to get it cleaned up so he was presentable for this dance...same for any of the other officers and NCO's who would be coming with him.

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MacKenzie shrugged a bit and nodded. "I hope enough for you, Madame..." He then watched her walk out of his office and then out of the building. His reverie continued for a few more moments before he blinked. His eyes widened a bit before he looked at his aide at the desk in the outer office. "Lieutenant! Officers Call in twenty minutes...!"

 

The sound of Lieutenant Greene fairly jumping to his feet could heard. “Yes Sir, Colonel Sir! Officer’s call in twenty minutes, Sir!” The darn fool of a tenderfoot was probably saluting out there right now, even though he was out of sight.

 

MacKenzie winced at all the bracing and crashing to attention going on in the outer office. He spun and strode back out of his office and over to his aide's desk. "Lieutenant, You seem like a...Good God, at ease, man, at ease..." MacKenzie watched as the young officer managed to unlock to Parade Rest at least. MacKenzie shook his head and took a breath.

 

"You seem like a good officer and your performance has been good so far, but you need to learn to relax before you have an apoplexy before you are 25..." The colonel waved a hand in front of the man's face as he kept staring at the wall. "Greene!...Relax!...take that ramrod out of your behind and store it with your rifle."

 

The colonel then took a few steps back toward his desk before stopping and making a half turn back toward the door. "Who handles laundry here on the post?" MacKenzie realized his dress uniform had been packed into his trunk for...well, probably years...he would need to get it cleaned up so he was presentable for this dance...same for any of the other officers and NCO's who would be coming with him.

 

Greene’s angelic head appeared around the door “Fat Fanny Sir!" he yelped "Er, begging your pardon Sir, er, that’s what the men call Miss Flusher, Sir, the Sutler’s daughter. She’s been washing their shirts for a while now, Sir.” There was no real need to elucidate, she was the only Fanny on the post, and the innocent Greene was probably the only feller in the U.S. Army who didn’t know that “washing a soldier’s shirt” was a euphemism for something a lot less sanitary than it sounded.

 

MacKenzie sighed and started to explain to the lieutenant, but then decided that for the sake of his own education he should learn about that detail on his own.

 

"Permission to ask a question, Sir?" he then stammered, a little red-faced "But who was that beautiful lady I just showed out?" Gosh, she had been pretty!

 

MacKenzie heard the lieutenant's question and hesitated a moment, then having decided to have a bit of fun he walked back out to lean on the edge of the young officer's desk.

 

"That, Lieutenant, was Matilda Devereau...proprietor of the Stardust Saloon in town. She was here to extend an invitation to a select group of men from the fort as a way of welcoming us to the area..." He enjoyed the way the young officer's face brightened at his answer. "And no, she is not married, Lieutenant. It turns out she shot and killed her husband..." MacKenzie nodded sagely at the suddenly wide eyes he saw. "...Oh yes, out here in the West, it's not uncommon for a woman to shoot her spouse or significant other if they do or say something they find offensive. It's perfectly legal and a much more efficient way for men and women to get along out here on the frontier..." MacKenzie straightened and started back to his office but paused at the doorway. "You should probably keep that in mind when you are at the dance..." MacKenzie raised a finger like a pistol and his thumb dropped as it was pointed at Greene before the colonel continued on into his office. "...don't forget Officer's Call!"

 

 

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Posted (edited)

"Lieutenant, You seem like a...Good God, at ease, man, at ease..." MacKenzie watched as the young officer managed to unlock to Parade Rest at least. MacKenzie shook his head and took a breath.

 

“Yes sir, sorry Sir.” Gulped the rookie officer.

 

"You seem like a good officer and your performance has been good so far, but you need to learn to relax before you have an apoplexy before you are 25..." The colonel waved a hand in front of the man's face as he kept staring at the wall. "Greene!...Relax!...take that ramrod out of your behind and store it with your rifle."

 

Jonah blinked and looked at the Colonel in the face for the first time. “Sorry Sir, it’s just … that’s how they drilled us at West Point, it’s kinda … hard to un-learn it!”

 

As good as his word, when he heard the Colonel wondering out loud about the source of his clean and pressed shirts, he dived over to the door and unconventionally offered the information. He hoped that this maneuver was ‘relaxed’ enough for the Fort’s commander. Then he even went one further. He was really on a roll with the whole relaxed thing: he asked MacKenzie about the wonderful Angel who had just descended from Heaven to visit them in their humble, wooden, oversized toy fort.

 

"That, Lieutenant, was Matilda Devereau...proprietor of the Stardust Saloon in town. She was here to extend an invitation to a select group of men from the fort as a way of welcoming us to the area..." He enjoyed the way the young officer's face brightened at his answer.

 

Matilda Devereau!” Jonah sighed, saying the name out loud both to make sure he remembered it and, well, just for the gosh-darn pleasure of saying it. “Sir, I don’t suppose if you happen know whether…”

 

"And no, she is not married, Lieutenant. It turns out she shot and killed her husband..." MacKenzie nodded sagely at the suddenly wide eyes he saw. "...Oh yes, out here in the West, it's not uncommon for a woman to shoot her spouse or significant other if they do or say something they find offensive.”

 

“What!? Really Sir?” queried the unbelieving aide.

 

“It's perfectly legal and a much more efficient way for men and women to get along out here on the frontier..." MacKenzie straightened and started back to his office but paused at the doorway. "You should probably keep that in mind when you are at the dance..." MacKenzie raised a finger like a pistol and his thumb dropped as it was pointed at Greene before the colonel continued on into his office. "...don't forget Officer's Call!"

 

“No Sir, Officer’s call, Sir!” he repeated in text book drill order, then remembering the injunction to relax more, and at the thrilling knowledge that he would be going to the dance, couldn’t help adding, with the dreamy eyed blindness of youth. “Colonel, Sir? It’s my opinion that some women might actually be worth getting shot for.

 

Then he saluted, and got out: quick.

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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