Nicotine and Dark Ale

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Iliana, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. nicotine.png

    For a big guy, all he owned was some dingy, run down horse feed shop.

    You'd think he'd be a bad ass salon master or gunslinger of some sort. They all thought Big Paul killed someone which may or may not have explained the stench that reeked of dirt, blood, and regret coming off of him. Someone in the town said he told him that he had a 'falling out' with a travel truck driver from the 'no-man's-land' known as the East. We get a lot of those people here. You know they're coming when you see dust clouds and smell the rotting fragrance of fish or some other decaying sea animal. I wouldn't be half surprised if Big Paul told that man in town the truth. A falling out among one of those Flounders is as common a piss contest on a Thursday morning. I don't think he killed the truck driving Flounder, though, but that man in town was spooked for some reason or another. He couldn't even chew his tobacco right after he explained to me that he saw the death in Big Paul's eyes.

    I've never seen the man's eyes up close and if I did, how in the hell am I supposed to know what death looks like in another man's eyes?

    I think the guy is harmless. He own's a horse feed shop, for the sake of it all. I go there all the time to feed Derby, possibly once every week or so, depending on the weather. If it's hot, I might go on a late Monday night. If it's hotter, i'll go in during mid-day. If it's really hot, I'll force myself to go regardless. I have choices.

    Big Paul's shop isn't big. It has a back ranch with nothing but rolling streams of some high plants or something, I don't know. I'm not a damned botanist. I know one thing, though: Big Paul is serious about that grass stuff. I do remember a day where I was listlessly strolling into the the shop after scraping Derby's shit off my boot once I got off of his back. It was a 'hotter' day, so noon had come and gone and the biscuits and disgustingly stale maple syrup partying around in my lower intestine softened over.

    I remember walking into the shop to hear him say, "Yer money ain' even worth cow shit in here. 'Least I can grow flowers with that." The guy with the money was a business Flounder, all the way from his top hat to his polished shoes. There wasn't a speck of sand on his black slacks and not even the slightest aroma of outside. He smelled like cologne and fish. He had a blonde beard that may or may not have been the funniest thing I've seen in my 34 years of ensuing death. It was the brightest thing in that store besides the sunlight that poured through a stained window. I decided to call him Sunshine in my head.

    Sunshine smugly twitched his golden mustache which pulled a string of hard giggles from my throat that remained unheard. It was like a mouse on one of those cartoons with nothing but cheesy music and cued sound effects whenever something funny happened. I heard the twint!twint!twint! sound when Sunshine twitched his mustache that hang above his smug grin.

    "Currency is currency, my good man." His voice was a river of silk and the finest milk. There was not one drop of twang, slang, or broken words, which I guess is rare if you're in Big Paul's horse shop. My accent isn't the most authentic, but I pick up on things when people come and go around these parts. Besides, I'm not from here. No. I'm just a tumbleweed with a cigar in hand.

    Big Paul rose to his full hight and a cloud of dust followed suit, puffing off of his tightened vest and chiseled arms like he was an antique that hadn't been moved in a long while. Could have been. I've never seen him outside of the store.

    "An' shit is shit, but ya' don' see me smellin' it, do ya? Get out. Feed yer' mares some wine n' dine meal with that Flounder money, 'cuz I don' wan' it." I remembered the boom in his voice and how Sunshine didn't even move a muscle. For a small store with run down planks and a distinct smell of horse piss, Big Paul knew how to make his words echo. Sunshine chuckled and if I looked hard enough, I might have seen him trying to twirl the end of his brush-mop mustache in contemplation. That guy must have crapped gold bricks.

    "You turn down $300 for that tiny slab of land there? Has the sun made you mad?" His voice didn't echo like Big Paul's did, but the damage was done when his beard reflected the pink of frustration in his cheeks. Now, I don't remember the rest, but it had something to do with a monologue of swear words and a rotatory spin of a revolver. I got pushed out of the way by Sunshine who flew passed me and outside the wooden revolving door with the distinct aroma of fear. Good ole Flounders.

    Now that was, what?, 5 days ago since I seen that. Yeah, until the point I heard that man in town string me that tall tale of Big Paul killing someone which is why he won't let anyone set a big toe on his land beyond the point of his horse feed. Me? I just thought it was horse feed. We all did. Well, most of us.

    The Flounders didn't. They knew exactly what was back there and they were willing to pay big for it. I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before, but Big Paul did get mighty defensive when Sunshine didn't take well to being denied over his 'Flounder money' when he offered it. I'm a financially good looking man, but 300 bones denied over some horse feed? Papa never raised no fool. Just cautious fool.

    That's where I am now. Cautiously watching as flames billow up around Big Paul's Hore Feed (the 'S' withered away). I'm not alone, though. About half of Dricker Town is standing around watching the man's shop cough and choke under smog, flames, and burning horse feed. It's one of those hot days, too, but now I guess it's a really hot one. I heard the same question come up over and over again. "Where's Big Paul?" "Did he do this?" "Where did he go?" I look just as confused as everyone else, but I see something they don't see. A man, huddling away from the fire and next to a knocked over barrel of Dark Ale, the sandy dirt caked with the stuff. A luxury lost, truly. After bravely pulling myself away from gypsy's tale the fire told, I managed to drag my ole' lead feet over to the sniffling mess.

    It was the same guy as before and he was sobbing like a little baby.

    "Lose somethin'?" I asked, not really caring one way or another. I'm not gonna help the kid. Finicially good looking is a trait earned, not a silver spoon given out of a baby's mouth. The kid hiccuped or threw up in his mouth, I'm not sure. I just heard the strange gargle sound and made a face.

    "Th-they...took Big Paul...a-and the maps...all 3 of the ma-ma-maps to where it...where it...where it wh-where it is." He drowned himself in a couple more of his pathetic wallowing while I did the 'A as in Apple' process. 'They' as in the Flounders. 'Took' as in kidnapped. 'Maps' as in potential money. My math seemed to work because, without even opening my mouth to ask, the kid broke his head out and snapped.

    "Paul knew the first one was in Dricker behind his place! They found the first one in the back! And they'll find it all! They'll find it all and we won't get any! We won't even get Big Paul back!" I don't have any ties to that kid or Paul, but money stolen out of Dricker Town by a couple of walking fish don't fly with me. Or swim, I assume. I looked back at the crowd of people wondering more about what happened than what was taken. Fair enough. The less to travel with me to the East, the best. I turned back towards the shaggy, brown headed kid and noticed something for the first time since I walked up to him.

    He pissed himself.

    Plot And Stuff

    Big Paul was a sneaky, sneaky man! 4 very crude maps where handed down to him since he first nestled his big burly arms into Dricker Town after finding out that it was the location of the first riches. He guarded it by building his house in front of it, forever keeping it well away from the Eastern men, or 'Flounders'. However, they've taken Big Paul and the last 3 maps after stealing the riches behind his shop, burning everything to the ground. You are either a spectator of the event or just a random person! Bottom line, you follow me, Jaxin Marshal, to the good old east, the 'City' of The States in order to find Big Paul and the maps! >:3

    Rules And Stuff

    • Respect the ideas, plot development, and actions of the GM, which is me. >:]
    • Respect your other players! There may be some New Members that join that may not be as fluid as others. Don't chide them with remarks of writing better or being their teacher. They come to play, not to sit during Writing Better 101.
    • Do NOT spam this rp with OOC comments. If you have any questions as of now, PM me and I will answer them to the best of my abilities. A post from you should be a post, not ((Omg im havin soooo much funnnn! XD)) >:[
    • If you make more than one character, make sure we know exactly who you are playing as by either changing color or adding a picture. No more than 2, guys. Don't over work yourself! XD
    • If you have a SUPER AWESOMESAUCE idea about the plot, don't hesistate to PM me about it! I'm always open for suggestions!
    • Lastly, have fun! Enjoy yourself and your partners!
  2. ((A Western? About time somebody put one up.))
    Dell Conagher was never a man that spoke much. Nobody really asked him anything. There are probably plenty of things you'd want to ask a man like him. But he doesn't say nothing. All that's known is that he strolled into town one day, smelling slightly of burnt coal, patches of it on his clothes, or on his skin. He just walked in, his head down, muttering something about locomotives, and how his was a lost cause. He got the various cuts and bruises cleaned and patched up, and right when he was able, he set out looking for a job. Of course, nobody really trusted him - in a place like that, where everyone knew everyone, a stranger just turning up out of the blue seems mighty suspicious. Even more so when you consider that he'd probably been in plenty enough contact with locomotives, or something that's blown on him. Regardless, though he didn't speak much, he made two rules when he first got in, and he made sure people stuck to them. One - don't ask questions about him, unless necessary. A man's past is his own, he reasoned, and is to be shared at his leisure, and his only. Two, don't touch the goggles. He says he wears the glove so his punches don't hurt people as much. Not that it works that well. Not that he intended it to. He seemed satisfied that people at least had the common courtesy to heed these rules - or maybe they just didn't disobey those rules, because nobody really interacted with him. But he didn't mind. That seemed to be how he liked it.

    Conagher had gained standing as a solver of practical problems. Or so he claimed. He went around, he fixed things up, he broke other things down. Buildings, furniture, you could be sure that his hands could craft - or uncraft - a lot of things. Some said he managed to take apart a six gun in a duel, but that rumour died out, when everybody realised he didn't duel. Not mentioning the fact that he himself said it was impossible for him to do. But, in all his years, he had never been sad to see something go. He never expected it to be that building, stinking of horse and horse crap. He supposed it was because he liked Big Paul - no, like actually implies he grew attached to the guy. No, he had some sort of respect for him, some sort of respect for his attitude, the one that didn't take any crap from anyone. Nobody said a word to him as he checked his faithful snub-nose, Snakebite. Nobody bothered him as he headed east. Seems some folks were happy to see him go. He wasn't the most trusted individual, nor was he the most well-liked. But that gave him all the more reason to go, company or no company.​
  3. Western Rp Girl.jpeg

    Emma Jean. Also rumored as the top slut around town. She always tried to tell everyone it wasn't true, all they did was give her disgusted looks and walk away thinking she was a lying whore. It never really disappeared, but fly through and ignored the ignorant people.

    She never cared what people thought of her any more, she would just usually stay up, sitting on her porch with one of her beers with the lantern hanging above.

    But some have been getting quite suspicious with her. Men would ask her for a "good time", and of course people would think she go along with it. They were right, because once she was somewhere private, she'd cut the disgusting man's throat, hide the body and take the money and keep it all for herself. She wasn't a bad person, she would always tell herself that. But for her it was life, she was happy and that's all that mattered.

  4. [​IMG][​IMG]

    Lesley Craw watched the inferno from her position just outside of town. She had just rode in, and was hoping to stop for a drink at the local saloon. Or more importantly try to get some work. Okay, more importantly to get a drink. Her mind could hardly settle on one or the other. She did need work though, if she were to have any hope of lessening the considerable weight of the debt she was currently in. Anything but whoring. Her mom always told her, whores were the devils mistress'. Same with witches, and all those other superstitious folk. Lesley no longer believed all that. Nevertheless, she avoided the profession many of the single women took up these days. She figured her hands were too calloused, her hips too wide, and her voice too loud. Not that every whore she'd seen was the picture of womanly perfection, but she figured she was already accustomed to hard work anyway.

    Lesley dismounted her Paint mare, Adda (Short for "'At'a girl", which was the most common phrase Lesley used when speaking to her), and took her by the lead. "Just my damn luck," She cursed. "I bet the Saloon's closed up, and everyone's out there Gawkin'. That is if that ain't what's burnin'." She reached up near her saddle bag where her canteen lay, tangled amongst haphazardly folded clothes and a thin blanket. Pretty much all she owned. It was nearly empty, and when she tipped it back to let the last of the water slide past slightly chapped lips, she was disappointed. It failed to refresh her the way cold liquor always did. If she could drink nothing but liquor, she would. She tossed the now emptied canteen back into her saddle bag before leading her mare, bought on credit of course, to the site of the fire. As they approached, Adda lifted her head and shuffled nervously. Understandable. So Lesley tied her loosely to a lone tree several yards away from the fire. Lesley then looked out on the crowd. It seemed that it consisted of most everybody in this run down old town. She sighed and kicked her heel with one foot, than the other, in an attempt to shake off some of the dirt from her ride over here. A fruitless endeavor, since everything from her riding chaps to her face had a layer of dirt. She turned her attention and the spectators, than strode in to find someone to ask what had gone on, and how long they'd think it would take this damned fire to die down.
  5. "Aw, get your shit together, kid. People are gonna come starin' at you pissin' on yourself than the fire." I hated to see the guy so down and out over the news about Big Paul, but that's no reason to go and soil yourself, is it? I mean, yeah, in reputation, Big Paul was a good, respectful guy. He stayed in his lane and you minded those lanes; that's just how he took life. So what if he got a little tight in his britches over what was in his back shop? Who doesn't get their nuts and other parts in a pinch if something of there's is tampered with? I know for a damned fact that if someone went near my butter churner, I'd slice them a new one. A disoriented one.

    The kid hiccuped and shifted in his boots, wallowing his ass around in his own release. I'm a man, but I had to look away on that one. I got all the information I needed but didn't want to know, so the kid wasn't any use to me anymore. He only brought in more questions that could only be answered by Big Paul and those walking fish who had taken him. Now, I'm not much of a traveler, but I do like the sound of getting away from Dricker. This place isn't my home, anyway. I dare not speak a syllable about where I'm from. These folks would be on me like flies on half a goat's penis. Besides, I think I got reason enough to leave this place; there's money involved. If you have to have a map to find the location of something, you gotta know that whatever is hidden is of some value, right? I think I kinda like the valuable look on me.

    The fire didn't go down since I left and it wasn't going to for another half of the sun's hour by my guess. I don't know what Big Paul's shop was made of, but horse feed burns slow. What? I was a kid once. I had hobbies. I turned my eye to see some cute little sassy looking my way from wells away from the fire. Her name fell on me along with that reputation she held. Good ole' 'Cock Riding Jean'. Half of Dricker called that woman some dark names from the mines up. I think her first name was Emma, but Jean was what I'd be calling her. I don't like to get personal. That's not my flavor of roast. You could tell, too, because I walked away from the kid without even helping him move a muscle.

    "Am I more interesting then them flames?"I called out to her, barely avoiding getting my foot trampled by some girl on a mare! "Woah there, Speed Racer! I have to use these two for a little thing called walkin', you know?" I'm still not quite sure why I snapped at that girl to this very second. People ride through and from the city all the time, but this one moment, I chewed her darling little head off about it. Either I caught her attention or the fire did, because that lass and her horse skidded right in their tracks. I quirked me a look at her and did the same to Jean. Then, it hit me.

    "M'am. Mighty fine horse you have there. Lovely breed. A shame the shop burned to the root or I'dda bought it a load of feed, that thing."I said, white teeth flashing. Charm is such a easy alchemy to use, is it not? I turned back towards Jean and flashed her the same grin. "And you, Miss Jean. Them legs been closed lately?" Okay, so maybe I'm not the best at charm, but I do what I gotta do to get where I wanna go and grab what I deserve to have. The girls both sent me sour glares and I shrugged them off. I was half way there, anyway. What's two black eyes gonna hurt?

    While I was talking to those dames, I failed to mention how one lonely ranger didn't seem to care in the least about what was happening to Big Paul's shop. He took one look at it, made a face, and walked his way towards the East, where me (and hopefully those two ladies) would be going as well. There wasn't much any of Dricker could say about Dell except that he was just plain weird. He was weirder than Big Paul and the kid who soiled himself. The man never said more than two words to anybody and he never took those goggles off. A few of us thought he was some spy sent from a foreign country, but you can't tell the nurses around here anything. If Satan had a cut, they'd bandage him up and send him off with a bottle of Ale.

    It never occurred to me that weird may be good in the East. Dunno. I'd have to see once I get these ladies to stop staring at me like I fondled them both.

    "If yall here me out, I have a proposition for yall, but I can't speak out of a broken jaw, so hold them punches for a minute, yeah?"

  6. Seeing the man come closer, she saw a young girl almost trample on the man. Emma smiled, but it went away hearing the man snap at her. She even heard it trying to be covered up, but it didn't really convince her.

    He continued on coming towards them both.

    "And you, Miss Jean. Them legs been closed lately?" The man says, greeting her with the charming grin.

    Emma glares at him, disgusted still by how men greet her. She was use to it all, the charming greeting, the perverts trying to touch her, especially the one that were drunk. At least they were no longer her problem, and maybe he could be the same like the rest of them.

    She decides to give her fake smile, like she always does the men, and flips her hair back. She then hears the man talking about some proposition.

    "Is that so? And how would you want to go?" She says, putting a hand on to the man shoulders and walks around behind him. She gets closer up behind him.


  7. Lesley cocked her eye at the man who almost stumbled into her mare. True, Lesley was paying more attention to the fire than what was under Adda's hooves, but she couldn't guess at how he couldn't see her coming. Obviously he was distracted by the other woman he was addressing, and wasn't watching where he was going either. The woman in question was rather pretty, Lesley imagined she had men chasing her skirts all the time, and she'd seen her first glimpse of day to day town life in this little place. Hopefully the fires weren't as day to day.

    Lesley was not as quick to excuse his chewing her out though. She turned on her heel, having already dismounted, and shot him a venomous look. Lesley caught herself warming up to toss back a retort spiteful enough to match her current expression. He changed his tune before the words could become anything more than hot breath, grown heavy in the heat of her temporary anger.

    His compliments only made her crack the barest of smiles. She wasn't sure how honest he was being. Of course she thought Adda pretty, but she didn't think the paint breed all that he was making it out to be.

    She was able to gather from the conversation that it was the feed store that was burnt down. A shame, since she should be giving Adda some real feed soon. Letting her graze would only satisfy her for so long, and it had been a little over a day's ride from the last town. At least it wasn't the saloon. Maybe soon everybody would get bored staring and she could head in for a drink. Even two? She also learned the woman's surname was Jean, and that she was a whore. She knew many from her own town, and many of the town's she'd been to from there to here. She wasn't one to pass judgement, at least not until someone gave her reason to think them a blithering dolt, like the man was very close to doing.

    "Well," she spoke at last. Her voice did not carry the anger it would have if she had spoken moments ago. She simply folded her arms over her chest as she watched the little lover's dance go on between the two. "If you are done courtin' my horse and this lady, I'm waitin' to hear what you'd like to say." If her situation wasn't so dire she doubted she'd be interested at all. However, she could tell by the look in his eye and the way he was just about itchin' to get moving that there was money to be had. If he wasn't planning on scamming them of course.

    Either way she wanted to distance herself from the fire now. The smell of smoke bothered her, and she thought she even smelled some traces of urine. Not that that was at all a surprise in a place like this, hell it could have even been Adda. The mare herself started prancing sideways away from the burning feed store. It seems she shared Lesley's sentiments.
  8. Both of the ladies had come from two different worlds, it seemed. Cock Riding Jean was just as quick to throw me her pretty little frown just as quick as this mystery rider was to snap at me for making a simple statement or two. Even after I complimented her horse, out of all things. I never understood women, anyway. I don't know if I was supposed to take what they said into some kind of offense or what. It made no matter to me. I was still going to Flounder Fish Land whether those two were coming with me or not. I've had my share of lonely travels and such. Not the best conversation Derby holds, let me tell you.

    Jean took her glare and swallowed it clean when she placed her slender fingers on my shoulder, circling around me. Her voice was a poison of perfume, but I heard the stories. I heard them crystal clear and wouldn't dare fall into this witch's trap. Not now, at least. I'd rather have the money first, then fall into her trap. I am some kind of organized.

    "For the two of you, Miss Jean. For the two. Names Jaxin Marshal, by the way. You see Big Paul's burnin' heep of horse food over there? It and the entire shop was burned to the root for a reason. A mighty fine reason, let me add." I had no other choice but to pull away from Jean and her fingers, not knowing where they may have slipped to. Besides, I believe my story had more leverage if I looked both of them dead in the eyes when I spoke. People in Dricker knew I had a way with words, that's why I'm not from here. My accent wasn't as tangy and the way I carried myself wasn't Billy the Kid enough for these people. I can only be who my Mama tossed me out to be. Sand or concrete meeting my feet, or not.

    "The man had riches. Still does, matteroffact, and only he knows where them riches are. You see, he had these maps..." And then I went on to tell them the entire story, or as much as I knew. About how Big Paul may have killed someone, about Sunshine and the 300 dollars, and about everything that bladder damned kid told me just a few ticks of the clock ago. I had to be sure to keep my voice down. Having someone listen into the conversation could have been bad and worse, if they already knew about it. Sometimes, I leaned close to the ladies and flashed them a smile, talking about what sort of riches may have been in store.

    Whether they were buying it or not, I had not the slightest of clues. I just knew they were still there listening to me, even when the sun got heavy in the sky and the last remnants of the orange fire grew auburn.

    "Y'all see? I could use a partner or two."
  9. "Then you'll need someone who speaks their language, slim."
    Dell had probably chosen a bad time to emerge from the shadows. He was already a member of society that people frowned at, and regarded with much disdain. In fact, even when he had been noticed leaving, nobody cared. They got suspicious when he was lurking in the shadows, eyeing the trio, that much could be ascertained - who wouldn't? And, considering the topic on hand, the self-proclaimed "solver of practical problems" would not have won a surprised expression, had a round been planted square between his eyes. Though, the fact that he had first walked into town with patches of coal over him, suggested something about his past. Maybe he knew how to operate the rich folk - maybe he didn't. Maybe he secretly had a fortune stored up back where he used to live - maybe he didn't. However, if you caught him when he'd had one too many, you could hear something about money-soaked morons - through the slurred speech and intermittent hiccups, of course. "I can say I'm well travelled, and have dealt with some... Interesting characters, shall we say. Point is, what you can't pay for in gold, you pay for with information. And you can substitute pay with blackmail, should you so wish. The right words can be worth more than any of them there whateveryacallems can afford."
  10. Lesley listened attentively once the man started talking money. She didn't know either of these two, and Marshal, as he proclaimed himself to be, seemed wary of Jean himself. It made her feel almost as uneasy as his story did. Was she really supposed to believe that she just happened to ride into the middle of this? That he knew where to go, and even if they DID find money, that he would let her walk away with any of it? Why would he ask for her help anyway? He seemed to know people here. She was a stranger. She could be a thief or a murderer or any combination of the two for all he knew.

    These thoughts were all kept to herself until he was finished. It did sound more tempting than trying to find work that probably wouldn't pay enough to put a dent in her debts. Her posture did relax once he introduced himself too, it was good to know with whom she was speaking, especially on a first name basis. She liked to be familiar with people she was going to be working with. She let her arms fall to rest on her hips. "Must be expectin' to find a lotta money if you plan on splittin' it three ways," She dug. Make that four, as another man appeared, seemingly from nowhere. Lesley turned to look at him, and Adda let out a startled whinny. She didn't like people who were gone one moment and there the next either.

    Lesley thought this man looked very strange now. Big, like his shoulders could have consisted two of her middles. Maybe even more. His outfit was all kinds of crazy too, Lesley didn't like the way he hid his eyes behind those goggles. She wasn't the one leading this campaign though. If things were just getting too crazy for her, she could just turn Adda around and run off. She'd just be back where she started anyway.
  11. Emma had gotten chills when hearing the strange man come out of the shadows. She yelp and back away, looking at him like he was crazy.

    "What in the hell were you lurking like that for sir? You nearly gave me a heart attack."

    After having that taken cared of she looked back at the man, know as Jaxin Marshal.

    "Well Mister... How were you planing on with this deal proposition?"

    All she wanted was the money and get away. She was getting low on money, and was trying harder to lure but some wouldn't budge. One time she actually had to kill a man when for money, she felt bad but she needed the money.

  12. It had gone from a tiny meeting to a party. Of course, I wasn't expecting anyone to eavesdrop on what I was telling the girls. My voice was low enough and they were close enough. I thought I was doing a pretty good job keeping it between the three of us. The misses seemed...interested, if anything. Good. The more the merrier. Halfway through the speech, a voice snaked through the gap between me and the girls and damn near killed us all. I was the first to holler, I think. If any of the other ladies did, I don't remember a peep of it.

    "Hey there! Watch what you're steppin' into, man! People are touchy 'round these parts!" I should have took a good look at our new guest before I said those words. I wasn't expecting Dell and the ladies weren't expecting a stranger. I guess we were all kind of spooked. I looked at the man with a cross expression, like I wasn't quite sure I wanted to know what he had to say. For one, his talking threw me all over the place. He could have been a Flounder with talking like that! I couldn't stop giving him that expression, though. My jaw dropped a slight and I started looking like an idiot gawking at a big busted lady with a beard. I don't know why, but what Dell made some sense. I wouldn't question his origin just like I wouldn't want anyone to question mine.

    But, man, is this guy weird.

    "Any help is welcome, Dell, my man. Welcome 'board." I told him, patting his large shoulder. My hand didn't even cover half of it. Scary. I couldn't help but smile when Speed Racer commented with that candy coated voice of hers. My lips pulled into one of those smirks that always come up when I'm amused.

    "300 dollars for just his backyard, lass? Think about what was in it and the 3 others. You bet your pink little cheeks it'll be a lot of money. You either in or you ain't. Your choice, lass." I had to take my hand off of Dell's shoulder. Didn't want him thinking I was going...another way. Jean was the next to speak and I winked a bit at her.

    "Easy. You all get to ride out with me. How's first thing at dawn sound for y'all? Meet me at Old Rocken's Pup at the dawn's first wink and we'll be a few steps closer to bathing in gold. Got me?"
  13. "I ain't got no complaints, boss-man."
    Without a further word or gesture, bar his customary sign-off - a polite tip of his ten-gallon, Dell walked off. He hadn't bothered to show disdain at being touched more than he felt necessary - if he had a problem, Righty and Lefty would have a talk with the victim's face. When he walked off, he didn't do so calmly, nor did he do so smugly. He just walked away, with no style or substance to his stride at all. He would've been disappointed in himself, if he had committed such an act - he had a reputation to keep up as somebody to keep a distance from. The less he revealed about how or what he felt, the less people knew about him. And when people don't know about something, they do one of two extremes, he theorised. You either left it well alone, or they investigate it. There wasn't a middle ground on this matter, to him - you didn't just take a mild interest in something, and then leave it at that. You either went deeper, or got out before you could be sucked in. Regardless of what he deemed to be useless philosophy, he trudged on without really giving much thought to where he was going. Nobody sold him more than the bare minimum, so he only took what he could carry easily. He'd have to be resourceful, when he couldn't take more than a three-quarter full canteen of water, a half-finished bottle of whisky, and assorted foodstuffs he'd put into a small satchel. He knew things, though - how to tickle a fish, how to cook a snake. Things like that. He was nor survival expert, but like anyone who travelled, he'd picked up a few tricks along the way. No doubt those weren't the only ones he'd be using.
  14. Lesley could only watch as the man walked off, without giving her so much as a chance to offer him her hand for a shake or even a single word. She did not let his strange behavior lead her to question how handy he could be on a campaign like this. She saw why Jaxin would be quick to ask him along, even though he was no doubt the town weirdo. No doubt they were going to run into some trouble on the road. Lesley could shoot a gun as well as most. She wasn't any kind of top shot, but she could hit a man in the chest and she supposed that's what counted. She wasn't any sort of brawler though. This man looked like he was. It was good to have all types on campaigns like this.

    Lesley's eyes and attention turned away from the backside of the retreating man and returned to those two remaining. Jaxin had a valid point. If there was that much to be had than most would be willing to split it. She could feel her heart racing at the opportunity that was being given to her. Luck, God's Graces, whatever it was that made some people more fortunate than others had not been on her side. Ever. She could feel her heart racing from the thought of REAL opportunity. Something that could change her life forever.

    "You got yourself least two partners, The name's Lesley Craw." She said, extending her hand to Jaxin and offering a handshake. If he accepted it, she made sure it was strong and quick. Then she would move on to Jean. "I look forward to workin' with you, too." She'd say, offering the same sort of handshake. After the deal had been struck she'd walk off to saddle up on Adda. "I'll be there before the birdies start singin'," She promised, before riding off. She needed to find a general store. The saloon too. She figured she was gonna be rich soon, might as well stop worrying about her debt. There was lots she needed to do to get ready.
  15. Emma saw the wink Jaxin had given her, and all she did was smirk at him. Then she started to see the strange man walk away, believing the man's name was Dell. She seen him around the town a few times, but she never bothered to talk or lure him in. She was a little afraid of him, and usually she was never afraid of anything.

    She caught the woman's name, Lesley Craw. Lesley held her hand out to her and Emma politely took it, smiling.

    Seeing her ride off on her horse, she found herself alone with Jaxin and smirk at her thought. But she will have to wait until the proposition was over. So she had to create an excuse to get out of this one.

    Putting her fingers to her mouth, she made a whistle calling her white horse to come. She didn't usually see horses like hers, so she guessed they weren't really common. But Emma felt lucky to ave one like it.

    "I guess I'll see you in the break of day, Mister Jaxin. Goodnight to you." The dark blonde says to the man, leaping onto her horse.
  16. Aurora glanced out the window at the fire and the crowd, specifically at the owner of the general store who had started swearing and run out when the blaze began, leaving her standing at the counter. Her dog Muffy whined at her from the floor.
    "I know, honey. Let's get out of here. Obviously this town is no better than the last. We'll leave in the morning."
    Seeing that the shopkeeper was thoroughly distracted by the flames, she slipped an extra apple into her bag and left the store with what she had come for. If he was going to keep her waiting to pay so he could gawk at a disaster, then he wasn't going to get paid. A lady caught Aurora's attention when she whistled, and a white horse trotted over to her.
    "What a beautiful animal," she said.
  17. Lil' Joe Turner

    None of them paid any attention to Lil' Joe. No one ever had except for his older sister Claire. But now even she was gone, leaving him the only surviving member of the Turner family. No, no one cared for Lil' Joe now except Lil' Joe. He'd out-survived his entire family and he wasn't about to stop living now. "Shit," he thought, "I could walk right up and rob any one of em' and the only thing different they'd notice about themselves is their pants feeling a little more snug as their pocket got mysteriously lighter." No, no one ever noticed Lil' Joe and that was just the way he liked it. Going unnoticed had its advantages. First of all, it made "acquiring" things he needed so much easier and Lil' Joe was excellent at "acquiring" things. He hadn't had to work for a meal or a drop of liquor in the year that he'd be alone. He wasn't well fed, or well drunk, in that time, but he ate...and he drank. By his reckoning, he was doing alright...for an orphan. Yes, going unnoticed had its advantages in that department but useful as that particular talent had been it wasn't the most useful by far.

    Lil' Joe had learned that when people don't notice you, whether by choice or by ignorance, then soon enough they started to discount you. This had bothered Lil' Joe at first, hurt even a little, until he discovered the usefulness of such a "gift." When people discounted you, you started to become more like a ghost than a real person. And Lil' Joe had learned that most folks don't account for something they can't see. And this had opened up a whole new world. Acquiring things was just the beginning. But Lil' Joe knew the real treasure was acquiring information. Information and secrets. Not being seen, Lil' Joe had begun seeing the things that other people missed. Nobody in this town knew Lil' Joe, but Lil' Joe knew everybody in this town.

    For instance, Lil' Joe knew there was more to Big Paul than most folks would have guessed. He watched the way he guarded his supposed "good for nothing horse feed land." There were only two things a man guarded that closely. The security of his daughter's under garments and his money and living in this town Lil' Joe had seen the lowering of the former for the right price of the latter but he never yet saw a man lower his guard on his money. Besides, Big Paul didn't have a daughter and while he never did have much education in math, he could subtract one from two easily enough. Or take the "town slut" Emma Jean. Everyone thought they had her pegged but Lil' Joe knew better. He'd spent a few nights outside of Emma's windows when she was supposedly "entertaining guests", but the grunts and groans he heard weren't the ones he had expected and they were never any of hers. Never mind the fact that her door apparently didn't always swing both ways. At least once he'd seen a guest go in that didn't come out. Or take old crazy Conagher. He's definitely not from around here with his goggles and his "punching glove." Apparently folks were too scared of getting punched to think that just maybe he was hiding something with that glove and with those old goggles of his. Yes, Lil' Joe knew things, things other people didn't seem to notice...just like they didn't notice him.

    So when this little group of characters began coalescing, Lil' Joe knew there would be secrets to be acquired...he would stay unnoticed, out of the way, until he discovered what they were. Last winter had been tough on him, and if they had a secret valuable enough he might just be able to turn it into a roof over his head, some meat in his belly, and a good supply of drink in his cup.
  18. Emma whipped the reins to make the horse start galloping before the man could say anything. Not really paying attention, she almost tramples on a woman, and quickly pulls on the reins making the white horse stop at it's tracks.

    "Whoa!" Emma says to her horse. "Please excuse me, I wasn't paying attention."

    Hearing the compliment of her horse from the woman, she smiles, still hoping the woman is alright.

    "Why thank you. It wasn't easy finding a horse like this. But are you alright."
  19. Muffy the dog begins yapping like mad at the horse.
    "Shush shush little one," says Aurora, sweeping up the dog in her arms and petting her until she calms down.
    "Yes, I'm fine, thank you." She swept her hair behind her ear, "Where are you goin' in such a hurry?"
  20. "Looks like you were right, Lil' Joe," he said to himself as he backed away from the edge of the roof he had shimmied up in order to spy on the odd group he watched take shape while the rest of the town gawked at the fire. The statement was more rhetorical than a self-complimentary. Surviving as he had, he had learned quickly to always trust his instincts. Always.

    He hadn't heard all of it but he heard enough. His keen sense of observation and ability to piece together information allowed his mind to quickly put together the pieces he had missed. From his eavesdropping he had learned that his suspicions about Big Paul's worth rang true. What's more he learned that the fire and sudden disappearance of Big Paul was anything but accidental. Anyone with half a brain, two eyes, and the most meager helping of common sense to know that there was no such thing as coincidence would have been able to do the math on that last bit. However, Lil' Joe knew all too well that most of the people in this town were far more fond of spectacle than common sense. Lil' Joe had also learned that Jaxin Marshal seemed to have a knack for information almost as strong as his own. He didn't know how Marshal had discovered the detail about he maps but he was impressed. A man like Big Paul wouldn't let a bit of information like that out easily. Lil' Joe didn't trust Marshal, he didn't really trust anyone and he had spent no small time observing the man, but he did feel the smallest hint of respect for him on account of that last bit. Moreover, he must have known how to deal with people to be able to bring such a mismatched group together in such a short span of time.

    By the end of his recon, Lil' Joe had learned all that he needed to know to make a decision. The proposition of maps and secret treasure, not to mention a chance to try his skill for "acquiring" on some rich Flounders, was one he couldn't pass up. "This town's become a little stale anyway," he told himself for the extra push he needed to override some of his more paranoid survival impulses. Leaning his back against the edge of the roof he nodded to himself in resolution. He would follow the group. He would be leaving in the morning and heading East. He would trail them out of sight and see what he could see. Worst case scenario he would find a way to get his hands on one of the maps and leave without anyone ever knowing to keep watch for a ghost.

    Only one thing remained. He needed to acquire a horse by morning.


    She was perfect.

    Lil' Joe slept in the alley outside of the town's established brothel. He had spent more than one night here in the past year and it was familiar to him. So too were the habits and patterns of the brothel's customers. Lil' Joe knew every regular both from the town itself and those who made the special trips to visit their favorite acquaintances. But it was something else he knew about those in the town that would help him tonight. He knew that nothing made men fill the desire for some good old fashioned company like a life threatening disaster or a thrilling spectacle. The incineration of Big Paul's shop would give them both and men would flock to the brothel for solace or high on excitement and looking for more. All Lil' Joe had to do was wait.

    He waited until the all too familiar sounds of the brothel's inhabitants turned from roaring and whoring to snoring and boring. He left his place in the alley's shadows and perused what might as well have been a shop that specialized in charitable equine donations to orphans who don't go bump in the night. He walked past three such possible donations before he came to her. She was a specimen of beauty. He had been the unseen spectator for many a horse sale and he knew enough to tell a good horse from a lame and worn out one. She was a good horse but that wasn't what drew his attention to her. Rather it was the way her coloring made her seem to be surrounded both my moonlight and by shadow. She reminded her of himself, she reminded him of a "Ghost," he said softly.

    From out his pocket he pulled the apple he had acquired earlier for just this purpose and led her away from the brothel turned lumber mill. She whinnied softly once and only once as he led her away. Staying in the shadows he walked east toward the edge town where he could keep his eyes on Old Rocken's Pup and wait for dawn.