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    • Justus kept a close eye on the man as he approached, reassured by the fact that he was being allowed to approach, and that there was no sign of aggression.  He stopped a few feet away.   "Evenin', sir."  Justus nodded with an easy grin, relieved that it seemed this was a friendly bunch.  Most men on drives were, but Justus had learned young that it was best to assume the worst, then be happily surprised.   "Just what are you up too?" It was Dallas, and he was one to ask questions first, rather than just shoot a fellow. "You might oughtta ride on in like a man. There'll be plenty of grub, and you'll be welcome to it." He smiled.   "Thank ya, sir, I might do just that."  While he didn't want to seem too eager, there was no denying that he was grateful for the offer.   "You out here on yer own? Mount up an' I'll ride in with ya jest so's you don't get shot er nuthin'!" The he laughed.   "Yes, sir, I'm alone."  Swinging into the saddle, Justus patted Mule on the neck, then fell into pace beside the man.  "I do appreciate this, sir, I'll work for it, sir, help th' cookie with dishes or some'at."  A thankless job, but it wouldn't do him any harm, and he wouldn't feel so much like mooching.   "Oh, m' name's Justus Wheeler, sir.  I'm headed north, nowhere in particular."   @Flip
    • Mature Content:  Might well be violence.   With: Turk Flagg, Caroline, and who knows else Location: Star Dust Saloon When: Sept/ 1876 Time of Day: Early evening     Now Turk had never been to this part of Montana previously but  seemed like a nice enough quiet town. Actually peaceful towns were not exactly good for his sort of occupation but then he had not ridden in with any specific job in mind.  He was between jobs, just last week he'd delivered a prisoner to a small town south of Kalispell, the man had been a wanted rustler. Fellow whined the whole way back right up to jail that he was innocent. Turk then just pointed out he was neither judge nor jury, tell it to someone who cared. Least he had some cash in his pocket. And where better to spend a bit of it then in the town's only saloon apparently. Least only one he could spot.   Entering into the place thru the swinging bat doors, he took in the joint. Decent enough, he'd seen many worse, some better. On this weekday night it was not crowded but there were a few folks at the bar and some others gathered around tables, most tables holding card games. He didn't go for cards though and on those rare occasions when he had, he usually lost money. Nope, keep it simple, get a drink or two or four.   As he sidled up to the bar, the bartender was presently occupied with another customer so he paused to take a second scan of the place. And who should he see but...................   "Caroline?  Caroline Mundee," he made sure he said those words loud enough the woman could hear him as she  a good distance away, holding a tray of drinks.   Caroline not only picked up on her name but recognized the voice and turned to see just to make certain. The look on her face made it plain she knew the speaker alright as she broke out into a wide smile.   "Well, I'll be !  Gimme a minute," she called back then hurried to finish her on duty errand, duly placing the tray in front of four card players, "Here ya are, boys. Enjoy!"    Turk nodded and just leaned with his back against the bar, watching her every move. She sure was as pretty as the last time they'd seen each other. He never took his eyes off her as she then approached and in a few seconds the two embraced in a quick but heartfelt hug.   "Turk! I had heard rumors you were dead," Caroline declared when they broke it up.   "Nope, I can truly assure you that I am not. Yer lookin' fine as always," he grinned.   Caroline looked past him for a moment, "Ralph, break out one of the good bottles and pour us two shots, will ya, hon?"    "Shit! How much that gonna cost me now?"  Turk knew her routine alright, they'd become friends in Helena when she worked a saloon there.   "Nah! On the house! I'm real glad ta see you again," Caroline then leaned into the bar next to him, they had some catching up to do alright.              
    • Four good men was all he needed, and Granger knew just the men for the job. Men that would kill anyone that threatened the ranch in any way, shape, or form. Of course, that went doe any number of of the Evergreen hands, the men he wanted would be the worst, and most dangerous of the hands Elias Steelgrave employed   The first one he ran on to was the stocky built Dutch, the only name they knew him by, but that was enough. He rode up next to the man, "Dutch, Mister Steelgrave has a job for you."   Dutch looked to him, knowing if the old man wanted him for a job it wouldn't be nurse maiding no cows. "Sure Granger, what's he got in mind?"   "Might be some Lost Lake men trailing Carson, they need to be stopped." It was quick and blunt.   "Right up my alley, Granger. Start now?" Dutch asked.   "I'll Get Treach, Watts, and Deckerd. Mister Steelgrave wants you boys to be sure they start it."    "Easy as pie. If you want I'll go for 'em, know right where they are and well just head that way." Dutch offered with a grin that was far from friendly.   "Sure Dutch, go ahead. Anything happens, you hightail it back here." Granger  replied to which Dutch nodded and spurred his horse.           Dutch                                      Treach                             Watts                       Deckerd
    • The conversation with Misses Thornton-Carlton had been informative, though she had not said when these hands from the Lost Lake would be in town for supplies. In New Mexico Territory they generally went once a month, unless they were in need of something or they got word an order had come in, which was rare, the Apaches saw to that. No one was willing to take the chance . But this here might be different. The Lost Lake was not so far from town as the Lazy S was to Lordsburg, nor as dangerous.   So, the hotel looked to be the place he'd stay until these hands rode in, and it would certainly give him a chance to meet some folks, like she said, see who his allies were. And from, what he had learned so far, the trouble ran deep between the Lost Lake and this Evergreen Ranch, and then toss in the son and his pack of animals. Things could get terminal real quick. This was shaping up to be far more than he had bargained for when he left New Mexico. But he was there now, so he could run, or stay, and Tyrell Thornton was not much for running.
    • Speed took the time to let Alice and her father know where he was going, and why, then mounted up and started out for the fort. He'd not been there, he had seen it in passing, and it was a welcome sight with the Indians out. He understood that the Military had no jurisdiction in town, and likely they might not be willing to help, yet, then again, they might. Protecting citizens was their job. And just because the ones Speed was asking them to protect were in town with active lawmen, A large contingent of outlaws  posed a significant threat.   The outlaws, be it Cases' gang or Elias' riders, or both together, it would be more than a handful lawmen could handle, even with the townsfolk defending their town. True, most had served in the War Between the States, but that had been over ten years ago, and true they had fought Indians and outlaws, yet these men were settled down now and past getting into gun trouble. And maybe it wouldn't come. Maybe Neither Steelgrave wanted to tangle with the town and it's people. Yet going to talk with the Army made sense, even if they couldn't really help out right then.
Barnabas Pike

The Pike Family Excursion

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"A pleasure Tom, always eager to spread the words about the west and it's challenges and its rewards. Plenty of both ta be had." Barnabas said with a smile, because, it was true. The he looked to the others as the conversation shifted to the local wild life out in the bay.

 

Emeline's suggestion to begin packing up at the sight of the fog, still a ways off, rolling in made him smile. How he marveled at the grey mist that would engulf the water, then the sand and eventually the city. He remembered it well, the fact was, and is that it would terrify the unsuspecting when it rolled in and shrouded everything in its path. "Yep, best get to it.here lemme help with alla this stuff."

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"Always glad to spread the word about the perils and rewards of the west." He said to Tom. "A great place, the west, the settled and unsettled parts." He grinned, he much preferred the unsettled, or sparsely settled west.

 

As the conversation shifted back to talk of the seals, sea lions and ocean creatures he too noticed the gathering fog, and when Emeline suggested packing up he got to his feet. "Lemme give ya and hand with alla this." He offered.

 

Fog had startled him the first time he encountered it, that grey misty should threat actually covered everything, hiding the world from view as if by magic.

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Their cab driver was waiting for them, he'd stayed close, alert to when they would return, and he was content, having had a wonderful lunch that Mrs. Pike had had packed for him.  Now, he helped get the remains of their picnic loaded, then made sure everyone was settled, with blankets in case they needed them, and started back for town.

 

"That was a wonderful outing!" Emeline declared, chuckling.  "Although I think I ended up with half the beach in my shoes!"  That had been something she hadn't thought about when going barefoot...putting the shoes and socks back on had been a challenge, especially with no way to keep the sand out!

 

She settled in, wrapping a blanket around her knees, since the hem of her skirt was damp, then rested her head against Barnabas' shoulder and was soon asleep.  Across from them, Lillian was also dozing.

 

"Thank you for letting us come with you, sir," Tom murmured quietly, "my sister works too hard and it's good for her to have some fun.  And I appreciate the advice.  College sounds like a good plan, if we can afford it.  I'd love to go to Montana or the Dakotas, but I don't want to leave Lillian."

 

@Flip

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Barnabas listened, understanding the young mans desire to venture out, and also his hesitance to leave his sister behind. Life has those twists and turns that are possible blocks to what feels like their calling. "Well, you know, there are ways that you could manage that education, and there are ways that Lillian here could go with you." Then he cautioned, "I would certainly hesitate to travel to the Dakotas until the Indians are pacified. I'm sure they are filled with the power of their defeat of George Custer."

 

"Then again, should you attend the university, things could be settled before you graduated and ventured out. Education is a fine thing, Tom, whether you use it here, or the Dakotas, or wherever  you might venture forth. I only wished I had had the luxury of education beyond what I managed at my mothers knee and that one room school house in Texas." But fortune had smiled on him, the poker hand and what he had brought him, and then Em. His life was good, all things considered.

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"I'll keep that in mind, thank you, sir."  Good advice was only good if it was heeded, and Tom was smart enough to know that.  He was still young, and knew that he had a long time ahead of him, and despite being anxious to get on with it, he had to be patient and take the right steps along the way.

 

"Of course, there's no telling where my path leads," he observed, "I mean, I never thought I'd have a chance to have lunch with a real deputy, and hear first-hand tales.  It's given me a lot to think about."

 

The conversation turned to topics such as fishing and hunting, the time passed quickly, and before they knew it, the carriage was pulling into the breezeway at the hotel.

 

@Flip

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"Well now, here we are. Been a great day, a great time. Glad to have had the time with you two." Barnabas said appreciatively. It had been not just fun, but interesting and an opportunity to learn about the sea mammals  and to experience the beach. He had seen the ocean before when he had been to San Francisco, but had never had the opportunity to go on the beach.

 

He took Em by the arm to help her down from the carriage, as Tom helped his sister, Lillian, down on the opposite side. "Well love, what now?" He asked, his thoughts beginning to focus on the trip to Nevada to culminate business there, but open to whatever she wanted to do. It was not like they would be doing this sort of thing again any time soon.

@Bongo

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"What now?"  Smiling wistfully, she walked on his arm back to their room.  "Supper in the room, I'm tired, something simple, sandwiches?"  As if anything here was 'simple'!  Even sandwiches would be a rare feast, but she was content to go to the room, clean up and relax.

 

"I'd like to see Virginia City."  That was a way of indicating that this was fun, but as her pregnancy was progressing, it was taking a toll on her energy, and perhaps it was time to start heading back.  "I'd like to know if the stories are true!"

 

@Flip

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He turned sharply, as if caught off guard. "Stories? What stories?" He asked, then immediately broke into a big smile, "Mostly they're not true, or they're made up. Exaggerated, yeah, that's it. Can't believe everything you hear." He had no idea what stories she was talking about, other than his own and some of the things Bill had shared, so it would seem whatever she meant, was no more than those things she knew, not that he had anything to hide from her.

 

"Well, we can leave whenever you want, probably picked a poor time for this trip of ours, what with the pregnancy and all." He said as they reached the elevator, "We'll get you up to the room, then I'll come back down and get us something light, if they even have anything light. Then we can discuss what we'll do next."

@Bongo

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"Stories of the legend!"  Emeline laughed, then shrugged.  "We talked about coming, and I'm glad we did.  Once the baby comes, a trip like this wouldn't be possible, so whatever we can get out of it, the better." 

 

Giving his hand a squeeze, she added, "And I don't know how much the pregnancy is really the issue, so much as...homesickness?"  Sighing, she shook her head.  "I don't want you to be disappointed, or think I'm just a boring homebody.  I've loved every minute so far, and I look forward to the rest of the trip, but...well, I'd like to be home, too."

 

She hoped he wasn't disappointed, and maybe it was the pregnancy making her want to 'nest', and it wasn't as though she wanted to just rush home tomorrow...they could take their time and enjoy what lay ahead.

 

@Flip

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"And so my Princess, rest assured, we will be on our way home within a week of our arrival on the Comstock. It will take no time to deal with business, then sightseeing, and finally, the rails north toward Kalispell! How does that sound?" He explained, realizing how long that had already been away, it surprised him, but having her experience San Francisco, well, the entire trip, that was worth it's weight in gold, as the saying went.

 

Of course the rails only went so far into Montana, they would be traveling afterward by stage coach, or perhaps on something like they had left in. Actually, the stage would be in rush to keep to schedule, and that would make for a rough ride, so perhaps a buggy of some sort

 

"So, I can go on down and have a word with Bill about the charges we've accumulated and see about arrangements to Nevada from here I know that it's rails to Reno, then the V&T to the Comstock. Once that's settled, arrangements at the International Hotel. I think you'll like it up there, a bit different than here, and sometimes exciting. Like me."

@Bongo

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"Well, I suppose I can do with some excitement," she sighed, looking up at him, "it's all been so drool!"  Then she laughed and kissed the back of his hand.  "I don't mind excitement, so long as it's not too exciting.  Of course, I'm with the man who can keep me the safest, so I'm not worried on that account."

 

She knew conditions in Virginia City and the Comstock would be far different from here, probably something  between San Francisco and Kalispell.

 

"I really am excited to see it, and the mine.  It's so important to you, I have very high expectations!"

 

@Flip

 

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"I wouldn't exactly say that the mine is all that important to me, not so much as you. But, I do need to see about this corporation I'm a part of. This Consolidated Virginia, it's under control of the "Bonanza Firm" owned by Mackay, Fair, Flood, and O'Brien, so it's on the up and up for sure." He said with a smile.

 

"Now about this excitement, we'll likely see some, it's not near as wild and woolly as it was, even when I was there. But it's not tame neither. There's  likely still a hundred and ten saloons, but then too, there's the International Hotel where we'll be staying. A grand place, much like this but not near as big, five-six stories I believe, if memory serves. A lot to see up there, and quite a bit to do. But she sits on the side of a mountain, so it could be a bit much as well." He recalled the steep east-west side streets, Even north south streets were not flat.

@Bongo

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"I'm sure once they hear you're back in town, all the hooligans will high-tail it out!"  Emeline laughed.  "And if that alone doesn't work, all you have to do is let them know your feisty wife is pregnant, cranky and has a derringer!"

 

She was accustomed to rowdy, so that didn't bother her, and she knew that Barnabas would keep a close eye on her.  "And the International Hotel sounds grand, I can't wait to see it!  I've heard that Virginia City is built on the side of a hill."  Another aspect that should be different from a town like Kalispell. 

 

"And don't you worry, I think I'll find plenty if shopping to keep me busy while you are in your meetings!"

 

@Flip

 

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"I kind of doubt many would remember me that well, oh some of the mining men I had dealt with and maybe a bartender or two, a couple shop keepers, but hooligans? They come and the go, love." He said considering the transient population of worker and miners, as well as the run of the mill no accounts.

 

"Yes the International is the place to stay in town, and it certainly is built on the side of a hill, but for all the tunneling, and shafts under her, she's steady as the rock she sits on." He smiled at her mention of shopping while he attended to business.

 

"My advice to you is that things will be more expensive up there, but I figure you'll see for yourself, though there are dress makers, craftsmen of every description with things far sale. Things you may find no place else on earth. But I will make time for us, and we can see the sights together." He was there to make an appearance, to check on his assets, and to make permanent the transfer of his incoming funds to L.H. Hershfield & Brothers Banking House in Helena.

 

"But time I believe is of the essence with your condition, and heading north will actually be the priority now. So perhaps a week, but no more. Do you agree?" He asked as serious as he had ever been.

@Bongo

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"There's time...we can play it by ear."  She'd been through this before and knew what to expect, and besides the morning sickness, which should pass soon, she was sure she had a couple months before she really wanted to be home, and she didn't want to rush things.

 

"But a week in Virginia City should be fine, so long as you can get done what you need, and I get a proper tour of a mine!"  Getting home from there should only be a few days, and in an odd way, she regretted the honeymoon being over, even though she was looking forward to being in her own home!

 

@Flip

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"Not to worry love, I'll be sure to get you down the shaft and actually set foot in a drift."He grinned, "That's a horizontal underground opening that follows the length of the vein or rock formation. Now, that's providing 'they' let you go down, but it shouldn't be a problem."

 

"Now as to getting done what is needed, that should actually take no time at all, just papers which need to be signed  and then we're on our own, so I'll see to it that's done as quickly as possible. There should be a meeting of course, and it should go quickly, unless I miss my guess."I know that you'll say you won't mind, but the noise, from the constant working of the stamp mills, whistles at all hours day and night. Virginia City goes twenty-four hours a day with mining operations, and saloon business. You'll see."

@Bongo

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Some of the commotion likely wouldn't bother her too much, since she lived in town, but she hadn't considered the stamp mills.

 

"I've heard it said that those stamp mills can be heard for miles around, and they never stop."

 

She couldn't imagine how annoying that would be, and had to wonder how everyone didn't go mad!

 

"Do they at least pause for the Sabbath?  Surely they respect the Lord's Day, the Day of Rest?"

 

@Flip

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"A mining town, well, that's a different animal, Em." He began, "They work around the clock, three hundred sixty-five days a year. As far as the sabbath, they have churches, a number of them, and they have several services each Sunday." He smiled, "Truth is, after a while you don't really hear the stamp mills, it just becomes a part of the life on the hill. Whistles, bells, all of it, including gunfire on occasion, though that may have tapered off some."

 

"If it bothers you, and it might, we'll be there just long enough to take care of business and maybe a few other things, then get off Sun Mountain and head for home." He added, "How's that sound?"

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"It sounds perfect!  We've no specific time table, so we can do what we want, when we want, and I can stuff cotton balls in my ears if need be."  She gave him a teasing look.  "Practice for after we've been married for a while!"

 

It was true that the schedule was flexible, but she really did want to explore Virginia City, as much as she could, and she hoped they didn't have to cut their time short on her account.

 

"I guess I'd better start packing.  I think I can ship some things home, I don't think I need all these dresses."  Two or three would do her, in all honesty, but since she'd gathered quite a few in her shopping, bring a few more than that.  "Then I have an excuse to do more shopping!"  Well, maybe for more practical things, like linens and dishes!

 

@Flip

 

 

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"You know that thought that might be the case." Barnabas said, "It has been a grand time here in San Francisco, and I am glad we were able to come to share it together."

 

"Now, about Virginia city, shopping is going to be expensive, just so you're not taken by surprise, prices up there reflect the shipping costs, 'cuz they grow nothing but rocks up there."  He informed her, "So you pack accordingly, less of course, would be better for the eventual trip back to Kalispell. I'll head down and take care of things with Bill, or whoever is on duty should he not be available." He kissed her on the cheek  and smiled, be a hell of a good time, Missus Pike!"

@Bongo

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"Of course, I'll be there!"  Emeline laughed, returning his kiss.  "Don't be gone long, I'll miss you!"

 

Her packing plans started out well, as she made two piles of clothing -- take/send -- although she was occasionally distracted by the view out the window.  For long moments, she'd pause, gazing out at the roof-lines, the more distant ones getting lost in the fog, although she could easily imagine the ocean that lay beyond that.  It was all so beautiful, not that it could hold a candle to home.

 

Eventually, the 'to send' pike was neatly folded and set aside so that Lillian could take care of them in the morning, and all she had to do was pack her trunk.  She'd already taken off what she'd worn today, so that she was more comfortable in her chemise, and at some point she decided to lay across the bed to rest...just for a moment...

 

And that moment turned rapidly into deep sleep!

 

@Flip

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For Barnabas Pike, he all but skipped down the flights of stairs, the idea of being on the move again filling him with energy. It was next to the last leg of of the journey they were on. And as he bounded down the stairs he reflected on what a great trip it had been to that point, and the feeling of excitement about returning to Virginia City and some old haunts, this time though, he would be staying at the International Hotel, rather than the clapboard house he had lived in before.

 

William Sharon looked up as Barnabas was shown to his office. "I'd say this was a farewell visit, that the Pikes were ready to head east to the Comstock." He said with a smile.

 

"I'd say you was right on the money, Bill, that's exactly what we're planning." Pike said, also with a smile. "Time we was movin' on, anyway. Can't be letting Em get too used to this city living when we got a ranch to get back to."

 

"I'd say so. Look, I'll wire ahead to the International for you, and I'll have a man  sent to the railroad office and get you tickets for tomorrow, or whenever you plan to depart." Bill offered. "Now if you need to send any wires, well you use the hotel telegraph."

 

"Much abliged Bill, I do have a couple I need to send. Some business I need to take care of before I get to far along.  Got a herd to have moved, both cows and horses."

 

Bill smiled again, "Ever the cow hand, eh Pronto?"

 

"Nah, but the ranch has to have stock, and I've a man that will get the wranglers needed for the drive and the ranch." It seemed odd to hear his name spoken as Pronto again. He suddenly knew he needed to be home again. Even that had an odd ring to it. He had a home, in Kalispell, Montana.

 

"Have the counter man, Burns, take your wires. He'll see that they are sent, I doubt he'll have any questions about it." Bill directed. "You have a good trip, and who knows, I might just head up that way one of these days."

 

You do that Bill, door'll always be open." Pike said as he extended his hand. "Thanks my friend, for everything."

 

Bill gripped Pikes hand, "Nonsense! It was my pleasure. What the hell are friends for if not to take care of friends." He laughed. "Get the hell outta here and enjoy the rest of your trip!"

 

"Adios, partner. Take care." Pike said as their grasp released, he turned and walked out of the office to the front desk and dictated the messages.

(TBC)

 

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Dictating the messages was not that difficult, first was to Speed Guyer and the message was fairly straight forward. "Having the time of our lives, head for Virginia City, maybe a week, two at most , then on our way home. Pike"

 

The second was headed south to North Texas, a town named Hardeman. It went to Frank Teale. "Gather the boys and start the herd north. Pronto."

 

Frank Teale was the ramrod Pike had hired when he bought the herd, which was now in the stockyards in Hardeman. With them, a dozen dozen thoroughbred Morgan Horses for his wife. Frank had been tasked with hiring the best men he could find and counting him there were fourteen men awaiting the call to push the herds to Montana.

 

Lastly he dictated a wire to the International Hotel for a suite of rooms.

 

Stepping away from the desk, he missed the wight of his guns about his hips. They would be out of his luggage soon enough. The Comstock might not be the safest place on earth for him, then again, it might be just fine. He would have to see. He rode the elevator up.

 

"Em," He said opening the door of their room. "Bill's getting the train tickets, and I've sent a wire to the hotel for a suite of rooms. We're on our way!"

@Bongo

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"What?  Oh!"  Blinking sleep, Emeline sat up, groggy.  "Oh, I'm sorry, I must have dozed off."  Or flat-out fallen asleep!  "On our way where?"

 

She sat up, then chuckled.  "The day was wonderful, but I guess it took more out of me than I'd thought!  Did you say the tickets are ready?  I think I am, too, just about!"

 

Standing, she sighed.  "Just a bit more to pack, then..."  Gasping, she grasped her stomach, but then grinned.  "Goodness!  He's turning loops in there!  I think he wants to leave tonight!"

 

Going over to Barnabas, she took his hand and put it on her belly.  "Here, feel that!"

 

@Flip

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"What?  Oh!"  Blinking sleep, Emeline sat up, groggy.  "Oh, I'm sorry, I must have dozed off."  Or flat-out fallen asleep!  "On our way where?"

 

"Nevada darling, remember? Going up to Virginia City." He reminded her, a bit concerned about her condition, it was not like her to just fall asleep.

 

She sat up, then chuckled.  "The day was wonderful, but I guess it took more out of me than I'd thought!  Did you say the tickets are ready?  I think I am, too, just about!"

 

"Bill said he'd get the tickets for tomorrow or whenever, so I imagine they are available." Barnabas related to her. "At least as far as Reno, then we'll have to catch the V&T up to Virginia City."

 

Standing, she sighed.  "Just a bit more to pack, then..."  Gasping, she grasped her stomach, but then grinned.  "Goodness!  He's turning loops in there!  I think he wants to leave tonight!"

 

"Well, I doubt that's possible, but we'll high tail it outta here in morning. The sooner we get there the sooner we head for home." He paused a moment, "And I'll be glad to get there!"

 

Going over to Barnabas, she took his hand and put it on her belly.  "Here, feel that!"

 

Ain't that somethin', kickin' his Pa before he's born. Well, no problem little Pike, just go easy on your Ma til we get you home." Then he kissed her, "We'll make it quick on the Comstock, I promise."

@Bongo

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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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