The Outlaw and The Bounty Hunter

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  1. Why oh why did it have to be so god damn hot in the desert? Or perhaps, the more appropriate question was, why the hell was he out here in the first place? Nathaniel had been making wild snatches at the target he'd been half heartedly hunting for the past three years, and he'd actually decided to follow this latest lead. What was the point? He'd done this countless times before, and each time Rowan had slipped out of his grasp, as the outlaw was made for this life, unlike the man that had been pursuing him all this time.

    At the town that must be about fifty miles back, the innkeeper had had some suspiciously accurate information, stating that he'd seen a rather wolfish character talking to one of the regulars about heading out west. That road led to the open desert, a place rarely ventured into by anyone aside from the desperate or sly, and now by the gullible. Nathaniel sighed as his horse plodded dutifully through the arid dirt while her rider wondered if he ought to turn back before he got both of them killed. What if McCabe had lured him out here to die?

    "Hang on a minute..." Either he was seeing an oddly specific mirage, or ahead in the distance there really was a dark figure with distinctly canine features. Perhaps it was finally his lucky day! Nathaniel had long considered what would happen if he ever caught the outlaw, as he knew it would mean a change - but would it be for good or ill?

    On the one hand, he might be welcomed back with open arms, perhaps allowed to work on the sidelines in administration or sales - something he was actually good at. But then, his father might take this as a sign that his son had finally remembered his lineage. Would he then be partnered with his brother and be expected to keep up with his gunslinging ways? He just didn't know, but he wasn't a coward, and he intended to find out.

    "Come on Bluebell, let's get this bastard." He gently nudged his predictably blue roan mount into a brisk trot, determined to at least get within touching distance of Rowan, to perhaps come away with something to write home about. However, he first had to catch up to the outlaw, and he had the distinct disadvantage of caring for the mare he rode, and he would not push her beyond her limits. "Stop!" He yelled impotently, even as he was several yards behind, clearly in no position to be demanding anything of McCabe just yet.
  2. There were certain qualities of the outlaw life that never truly depicted in all the grand tales of the Wild West, and the fact that it was almost to the point where it seemed almost stupid not to mention it. Wearing dark clothes in the desert, complete with thick fur, was probably the worst thing about being an outlaw. That, and the long, ass-numbing rides here and there. Honestly, what was the fun in that? The somewhat older male furry sighed softly to himself as he continued on with the trek to his humble abode. "Swear to Christ if another rattler got in..." He growled softly, not at all worried about the price on his head.

    When he first heard that a Goodchild had finally got on his tail three years ago, he'd actually gotten a bit excited over it. But after the first few encounters, he figured out that the bad child of the Goodchild name had been sent out to either look stupid or die. And, quite frankly, Rowan was amused by the kid's half-hearted attempts. It at least gave him a few laughs afterwards at his friend's bar.

    He felt a slight change in his stallion's gait and frowned as he saw his horse's ears flick back. With narrowed eyes, Rowan glanced over his shoulder and let out a more aggressive growl as he realized just who was trailing behind him. "That son of a bitch..." He growled and urged his horse on to a full gallop. Losing this guy would be very difficult without any mountains or canyons to duck away in. Of course, the canyonlands!

    Call him an idiot, but Rowan had completely forgotten about the canyons that hid his home. Goes to show how often he really ventured back to his humble abode. But, he had to ignore these tedious facts. He couldn't lead the kid back to his place, which meant that he really had to lose that kid in the canyons.
  3. It seemed that the chase was on. "Damn it." Nathaniel muttered under his breath as he glanced over to the side, where the treacherous and winding canyons were lying in wait. He was at a clear disadvantage, as he didn't know these particular lands, and although he didn't know whether or not Rowan had any idea where he was going, it certainly seemed as though he was moving with purpose. If not, they would probably both end up getting lost and or killed in this hell for leather chase.

    "Let's go, Bell. We can catch this guy, can't we?" He was almost asking his horse for confirmation as he pushed her to maintain a speed just a smidge faster than that of the larger animal in front of them. He hoped that it would allow them to make steady progress towards drawing closer, and would discourage McCabe from making a reckless decision in trying to gallop through the canyons. It could certainly be done, but it was so risky in such a landscape that the inexperienced and slightly nervous Goodchild had no desire to risk himself or his horse in such a mad dash through a terrain that could crumble away at any moment.

    As they entered the canyons, Nathaniel felt a surge of adrenaline, something that encouraged him to bravery as he leaned forward in the saddle, considering drawing his pistol, though he was hardly keen on that idea. He felt that he might actually be able to wing the outlaw, and if he threw him off balance during a tight turn, then perhaps he'd unseat the bastard. Then it would just be a matter of restraining him, and at such close quarters it couldn't be too hard, right?

    Finally making a decision, Nathaniel did shoot, aiming for the left shoulderblade of the fleeing outlaw. He was unaware that they were being pursued, something that may have drastically changed this decision. The posse had actually lost the two horsemen, but the sound of the gunshot alerted them to the position of the two, allowing the six pursuers to make their way towards them, reaching a pass that would bring them out ahead of the outlaw and hunter, so long as they remained on their current path.
  4. Rowan was all too aware of the decreasing space between the kid and himself. His older horse simply wasn't what he used to be. It was extremely distressing as they entered the canyons. After all, he needed distance in order to ditch the kid, and it simply wasn't there. Gritting his sharp canine teeth, the outlaw was scrambling for a second plan.

    It was a fact that he didn't want to kill one of his few sources of entertainment, but he had to put himself first. Drawing one of his revolvers, Rowan pointed it back to shoot at the kid. He found his target on the kid's right shoulder and pulled the trigger. No sooner did he pull the trigger did he feel the sharp sting of a bullet in his shoulder, almost definately throwing off his shot.

    The events following that shot seemed to be in slow motion in the outlaw's mind. The trail that they were on narrowed around a sharp bend before coming into a wide opening where another trail joined in with it. And blocking the rest of the trail was a group of six riders. "Woah!" He growled, his horse skidding to a stop in the loose, sandy red and brown gravel.

    His expression changed from pained to angered in a millisecond upon relizing what the hell was going on here. His dark, ruddy brown gaze flashed to the kid, who stopped a few yards behind him. "You yellow son of a bitch! First you shoot me in the back, then you have your posse come to help you out?" He snarled, livid with anger. He raised his gun, steady despite his injury, and leveled it with the kid's head. "I'm done playing around."

    The sound of someone getting a shotgun ready back with the posse snapped him away from his murderous intentions. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but we ain't working with Goodchild. We need both of y'all alive to get our money. Course, if you make a wrong move, we won't hesitate to turn you into swiss cheese." One of the men spoke calmly, his eyes narrowing on Rowan in particular as he delivered his little threat. He wore a grin similar to a hognose's smile as it killed its prey. Rowan made a metal note that that guy was the one in charge, and that if this did turn into a firefight, he'd definitely kill the bastard first. No one was really concerned about Goodchild, it being common knowledge that the guy was a coward and melted like butter under pressure.
  5. With the gun aimed at him, Nathaniel was more than glad that he'd taken the initiative in shooting at the fleeing outlaw. There was little any gunman could have done to correct the shot as they were hit, and so the shot was sent wide, biting into the red rock of the canyon and sending a spray of soft stone and dust into the pursuers face, which was unpleasant but hardly life threatening.

    It wasn't long before the gang blocked the path of the two horses, Bluebell sliding to a halt as she responded to her riders rather desperate call to stop before she ended up colliding with the stallion ahead of them. The two at the rear breathed a shuddering sigh, clearly confused and just a little bit afraid, though he was also a tiny bit offended and started, "I don't..." He trailed off as he stared down the barrel of the gun, his face paling, and becoming white as a sheet, despite the tan the rider was sporting. How was he going to get out of this one? Maybe it was finally time to make peace with whatever God was out there.

    The shotgun and the leader of the posse saved him, at least clearing his name as far as this particular cowardice went. Unfortunately, it was paired with a nugget of information that was less than pleasing, not to mention shocking, to a man that had never broken a law in his life. Nathaniel stared at the six men, gauging their intent and their integrity, trying to find a peaceful resolution that might see him walk away free, preferably with Rowan restrained to boot.

    "Gentlemen, this must be a mistake. I'm no outlaw, surely you understand that?" He wondered if perhaps a man with a similar name or appearance was wanted, and that these men had simply jumped the gun a little bit. Surely it had to be something like that?

    "No. Nathaniel Goodchild is a wanted man, and you are he." Sound logic, and it was clear from the males tone that he would brook no argument. Any other man probably would have given up the moment he saw such a broad, sly grin, not to mention the gruff state of the other men. They were seasoned bounty hunters, and not the respectable kind. They were a hairs breadth away from being criminals, and they would not be reasoned with.

    As scared as he was, Nathaniel was aware that this situation left him with just one option. Luckily, it was something he was good at.

    Running away.

    Attempting to get the attention of the canine outlaw, the mild man that had been pushed into a corner tried to communicate what he was about to do, and hoped Rowan would follow suit. He glanced up to a ridge that was about halfway up the canyon, a convex shape that was hardly stable. Now he was going to have to find out how quick on the draw he was, knowing that if he fumbled at all with the shotgun at his back, then the gunman would make good on his promise and fill him with holes.

    Without further thought, Nathaniel tried to steady himself as he reached for his shotgun, shooting at the same moment he had it in front of him, aiming for the small outcrop, with the express desire to cause a little bit of chaos as the inevitable explosion of rubble and red dust fell on the heads of the men blocking the way forward. And even as the first bits of rock were falling, Nathaniel was spurring his horse, the beast turning on a sixpence as she responded to the uncharacteristically harsh treatment, taking to her heels as she shot forward into a hell for leather gallop. "McCabe, run!" He suggested, though his breathless words were less than commanding. He didn't know why he cared, but for whatever reason he really didn't want the outlaw to be caught by the six men.
  6. The odds were low, but Rowan could see them actually winning this fight if they worked together. Now, the kid, on the other hand, didn't have nearly enough optimism or pride to see things the way Rowan did, according to the rain of dust and rock that came raining down. His old stallion got spooked, rearing up and taking off like a bullet after Goodchild. The outlaw was just lucky that he stayed on his horse.

    "Now you know how to go fast... Couldn't have figured that out ten minutes ago, eh?" He growled softly at his old horse as he leaned forward in the saddle. "Oi, Goodchild, what's the plan? Run right back into those idiots at the mouth of the canyon?" He called out to the kid, hoping that he'd realize what he meant. "Those guys came down on Kinman Pass, and they'll head right back up it too. Meaning, they'll get out of the canyon before us and set up another ambush."

    While Rowan wasn't about to let go of the fact that the kid shot him in the back, he wasn't going to send the guy into a death trap. He spurred his horse lightly, urging him to pass the somewhat red headed man. There was another trail coming up that would take them deeper into the canyon. While the trail itself was rugged and mostly unused, it was better than running right back into the fight. He slowed down his horse considerably as he saw what could barely be called a trail coming up near a steep drop.

    Rowan's wolf ears flicked about, listening for any sign of trouble on the pass above them or below his horse's hooves. It wasn't a lie that heights weren't his thing, and the tenseness in his shoulders showed the slight anxiety he felt as they continued down the steep trail.
    #6 AshenAngel, Oct 9, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
  7. As terrified as he was, Nathaniel managed to keep astride his horse, and didn't freeze when he was faced with a split second decision. Rowan overtook the younger man, appearing to take the lead, rather than simply gallop into the distance. It was this that had the bounty hunter attempting to consider the best course of action as his horse dutifully ran beneath him, skittering on loose stones but never slowing.

    Within moments, McCabe called out to the human, proceeding to race down a diagonally set side passage that was barely even visible when coming from the other direction. As it was, their trajectory allowed them to proceed down the narrower track with relative ease, though Nathaniel wasn't entirely certain it was a good idea for him to be following this outlaw. However, swallowing his misgivings, he did follow the man he'd been chasing for years - albeit for entirely different reasons.

    What would happen when they deemed it safe to slow down and breathe a bit, Nathaniel really didn't know, but for now he was grateful for the help he had been given. Running on his own he probably would have got himself lost and caught, not to mention killed, so he pretty much owed the outlaw his life. Nathaniel was fairly certain that the man he steadily sped behind knew where he was going, but it remained to be seen where they would end up.

    It seemed like hours of riding, but it couldn't have been more than a few minutes, given that no horse could maintain that pace through the difficult terrain for much more than that. But, the two men eventually had to slow down, their horses labouring beneath them, lathered in sweat and obviously exhausted. They would recover, but they needed more than a moment to catch their breath, as did at least one of the riders.

    The path had widened enough to allow them to ride abreast, and so Nathaniel trotted to catch up, desperate to speak to the canid, to find out where he was going, and also to see if he could negotiate a way out of the debt he so obviously owed. Even as they rode beside one another, Nathaniel did not immediately speak up, actually a little embarrassed to speak so candidly to someone he'd spent years of his life being mocked by, a man that had come to symbolise all the failings that Nathaniel Goodchild had.

    "I'm sorry...I didn't know they were following me." He said, somewhat sheepishly. He knew that Rowan would never have allowed such a large gang to get on his tail, let alone remain there, so it stood to reason that it was Goodchild they'd been tracking. "I can help fix your wound, if you want. And then, I won't follow you for a month. Then we're even, right?" Maybe. But how could he possibly follow ever again, if he had that posse and God knew who else chasing the both of them?
  8. Rowan let out a small sigh as the kid rode next to him. "Well, this is a first. An apology from the guy who shot me. Real rich." He spoke flatly, not exactly keen on listening to the kid at this point. His ears pinned back slightly at the kid's offer of reparation. "That sounds fine and dandy, but... Why the hell would I trust you? You've been after my sorry ass for how many years now. And you just caused six more problems for me, and these guys are actual problems instead of nuisances." He spoke with an edge to his voice as he glared down at the kid.

    The outlaw couldn't keep his temper going for long, though. His shoulder was killing him, and after riding through half the night yesterday, he was exhausted. Probably more so than his old horse at the moment.

    The kid simply didn't know how to make it as an outlaw. After all, he played for the good guys. And even then, he wasn't that great of a player. Perhaps the outlaw had been a bit too generous with all the less than fatal encounters that he'd had with the kid up until now. The kid hadn't grown any metal after those events. He wasn't a threat and showed no signs of becoming one.

    And this was when Rowan had an epiphany. He could use this kid to his advantage. After all, the kid owed him. And maybe the kid could gain a bit from it anyways if he decided to go with it. And if not, then right here would be the end of the line. After all, if those idiots got a hold of him, then it would be easy enough to make him squeal what little information he had on where Rowan was heading next. And that was enough information to threaten both the outlaw and his allies. And Rowan wouldn't have any of that.

    A wolfish grin tugged at the corner of his mouth as he looked the kid over once more. "You want to make things even? Then ride with me until we get this mess sorted out and taken care of. Deal?" The canine extended a hand so they could shake on it. He winced slightly as his shoulder disagreed with the movement. The outlaw really hoped that the kid would take his deal.

    For some strange reason Rowan really didn't want to have to kill the kid. Probably because of the sentimentality that had built up over the years. It was fun to watch the him struggle. It gave him something to look forward to, almost. The life of an outlaw wasn't a glorious one, day in and day out stealing and killing just to do the same old shit another damn day. But getting chased across the West by some wannabe bounty hunter brought something different to the table. It was fun to feel the presence of someone who actually wanted to see him. Someone who was depending on him, and someone who couldn't tie him down because of it.
    #8 AshenAngel, Oct 10, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2015
  9. Okay. So, maybe he had a point there. Rowan had zero reasons to put even an ounce of trust into Nathaniel, and a long list of very good reasons to distrust his every move. However, these were somewhat extraordinary circumstances, and the naive man had dared to hope that the outlaw might allow him just a little leeway as far as previous conduct was concerned.

    The angered outburst was however more reassuring than what followed. Nathaniel could understand why an outlaw would be more than just slightly annoyed by the fact he was fleeing a posse and currently doing so at the side of a man that had been dogging him for the past three years. In all honesty, now that he thought about it, Nathaniel probably would have been concerned if that hadn't been the initial reaction of the outlaw. However, then there was that broad grin that was only intensified by the canine features that made the expression rather more threatening than a human could have managed.

    Thankfully, the bounty hunter did not immediately accept the terms, instead thinking it over. He was well aware that he needed help, but was this a person he could trust? Would Rowan simply wait for his guard to come down and proceed to slit his throat? He didn't think so, but it was a thought he couldn't quite shake.

    "I was actually..." Nathaniel allowed his words to trail off, his eyes downcast as his expression became one of deep thought. He wanted to say he was going to head back home, or to find his brother, wherever he was roaming at the moment, and seek their assistance. However, he couldn't honestly say that they would be willing or capable of helping him. His father was as likely to turn him in as to petition whomever had placed the bounty, and Jafeth was unlikely to have the time or resources to keep him free of bullet holes.

    With that slightly sad thought in mind, Nathaniel turned to the man, taking his somewhat odd feeling hand and sealing the deal, "For as long as it takes, I guess." Nathaniel muttered, clearly nervous of the decision he had made, not sure how this madness would play out. He wondered what he would do if they did manage to shake these dogged bounty hunters, and if they did get it sorted out, then would he be able to go back to hunting Rowan? He really didn't know, thanks to his far too soft heart.

    "Where do you plan to go? I'm assuming that left turn back there wasn't just for fun..." Nathaniel was attempting to hold himself together, but it was clear from his colouring, as well as the quiet words that he was struggling. The panic was starting to set in now, as he realised that he was stuck between a rock and a hard place, with no conceivable way out.
  10. The outlaw wore a satisfied smile on his face as the kid shook his hand. He'd actually gotten a bit nervous there, but he'd never admit it. His smile faded as he refocused on more important matters. Now that he had a whole list of problems, there were bigger things to think about than his feelings. Not to mention the kid looked like he was on the verge of a panic attack. "It was more of a necessity than fun. It was the only safe way out of that mess. We're heading to my niece's place, where I can get myself patched up." He spoke in a bit of a quieter voice.

    It was obvious that he was a bit uncomfortable sharing that bit of information with the kid. He was really hoping that he wouldn't regret it after things finally got back to normal. His gaze flicked back to the younger man riding beside him. "Believe me, I'm just as thrilled about this predicament as you are. Try thinking up a list of what you have to do in order to get this sorted out, or whatever. I ain't any kind of sympathetic idiot. I am not going to deal with any kind of over emotional partner." His words were somewhat cold as he delivered the only line of advice he could give at the moment.

    The canid remained silent after that. His gaze flicked down to the river slowly rolling a ways down below them. He was trying to think of any decent criminals that would have something to gain from getting Goodchild out of the picture. Unfortunately, none of his contacts saw the kid as a real threat. None of his enemies would have done him a favor like this either, considering that very few lived to see the end of the week once they got on his list.

    "So who would want you out of the picture?" Rowan asked the kid thoughtfully. Given the fact that the kid was a Goodchild, albeit not a very good one, it opened up a wide range of possibilities when it came to finding the guy at the root of this problem. "Were you after anyone else besides me?"

    It would probably be around sunset by the time they reached his niece's house, maybe a bit later than that if they kept going at this pace. At least the trails weren't all that awful through this part of the canyon. It would be smart to pick up the pace while it was still light out. After all, the sun sets fast in the canyons. While Rowan knew that he'd be able to make it down to Willow's place in the dark, he suspected that Goodchild would accidentally go riding off a cliff.

    A quicker pace would mean a rougher ride, though. And the outlaw's shoulder was already hurting enough to dissuade him from doing anything too quickly. Of course, he was also very aware of the fact that there were six people incredibly capable of ending their little ride long before they got remotely close to clearing Nathaniel's name. It was that little fact that finally got the outlaw to quicken his horse's pace to a light trot.
  11. Although he disputed that their flight had been entirely safe, but he wasn't going to quibble about it, as now was neither the time nor the place for semantics. Instead, he only considered the fact that they were apparently headed to a young woman's place of lodging, something Nathaniel was incredibly uncomfortable with. The man was almost pained by the idea of seeing a female person, as he just wasn't very good with girls. It was one of his many weaknesses.

    He was sure that part of the trouble was from the women themselves, as they all seemed to be of one extreme or another. Either they were the quiet, demure ladies that reminded him of his sweet mother, or they were the prickly, forward thinking women that made him wonder if he should treat them more like a man. With the changing world, etiquette was changing too, and Nathaniel just wasn't cut out for those sorts of intricacies.

    "Is that really going to be okay?" The worrisome man asked, just as they upped the pace, their horses now recovered enough to go at a brisk trot, "I she..." He was going to ask if she was married, as in his silly head that seemed to make it at least a little bit better. However, he decided that such questioning was probably less than prudent, and was more likely to get him shoved off his horse than given any answers. No, he had better just focus on the matter at hand.

    So, who could have put out this bounty? Who would want to? The slightly dreamy man gazed off into the distance, relying on Bluebell to remain on the trail as he thought back as far as he could, trying to find any names that might be likely suspects. Unfortunately, he came up blank with each person he briefly thought of. "I don't know." He finally admitted with a shake of the head, grumpily swatting a fly as he was visibly annoyed by this fact, for once showing at least a small hardness.

    "You're the only person I've gone after on my own, and anyone my father or brother chased are in jail or dead. I know I'm no good at this, and everyone else in the world does too, so what possible reason is there?" He became animated as he spoke, gesticulating wildly as he candidly admitted his own shortcomings without a shadow of embarrassment, as was perhaps to be expected from someone who had always known they were in the wrong line of work.

    "Either it's a case of mistaken identity, or they want to besmirch the family name." Either one of those was possible, but finding out which would be a difficult task. They would need to find out the detail behind the bounty order, and that would most likely help eliminate one of the options. In a way, Nathaniel hoped for the latter, as he knew of at least a couple of families of similar standing to his own that might stoop so low as to frame a rival. And obviously, Nathaniel was the easy target, if that was the case.
  12. "Look, I don't know if she'll be alright with you, the one appointed to bring me to damn near certain death, staying inside her house for the night." The faintest of growls had begun to work up in Rowan's throat, and he fixed one of his more fearsome glares on the kid when he dared to begin another question. Fortunately the kid was smart enough to give up on the topic.

    He listened in silence as the kid began to show a bit of frustration about this whole thing. Waiting for the kid to calm down, he watched with a frown. "There is not a single criminal running around here that looks like you, so mistaken identity ain't really a possibility." Rowan's words came out in a blunt and straight foreward way, basically shooting down the first idea.

    The second idea seemed all too possible, however. It was too easy to play out. But, it seemed like the only reasonable way to go about handling this mess. "I know how to get some information through the shadier circuits. I'm really hoping that you know how to work some information out of the bounty. If we can find a connection between one of the big bounty families, and one of the local framers, then we'll be able to get somewhere." The outlaw finally spoke, looking at this from his typical perspective. His mind was running around through all the more recent talk he'd heard from his contacts. There were plenty of specialized criminals that ran around the area. He was just trying to figure out which framers were around and operating.

    Rowan himself was a jack of all trades when it came to criminal diversity. Train robberies, jail breaks, assassinations, smuggling, even a little framing, he had experience in them all. And he'd never consider himself a lone wolf about it either. Small groups were the easiest way to make a job pay out right. Whether or not the groups played out right was another topic altogether.

    The outlaw pushed those thoughts from his head when he realized that he'd started thinking about a certain event in particular. Time had slipped by quite quickly while the canine had been thinking. The red, brown and yellow rock had taken on a shining glow as the sun drifted a bit lower in the sky.

    The trail ahead split between a rough path that wound its way all the way down to the river far below, and a somewhat steep trail that led up onto the rim of the canyon. It was time to start going back up the canyon again. No sign of the six bounty hunters anywhere nearby, at least from what Rowan could gather. Still, he felt uncomfortable about showing the kid the greatest weakness he had. It made the fur on the back of his neck bristle with anxiety.

    However, there wasn't any turning back now. If the kid thought of starting anything, this time the outlaw would be sure to pull the trigger first.
    #12 AshenAngel, Oct 14, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
  13. One might have assumed Rowan had just lunged at the man and tried to take a chunk out of his face, given the blanched skin and startled expression. He was terrified of this entire situation, all things told, and having to deal with not only McCabe himself, but also his niece and whatever other ne'er-do-wells he chose to consort with just had Nathaniel on the back foot and wishing he could imitate those ostriches he'd heard so much about. Yes, burying his head in the sand sounded like a wonderful idea just about now.

    As they rode in the rapidly approaching twilight, Nathaniel found it hard to enjoy the beauty of the rocky formations, something that he usually appreciated far more than many other travllers. He was a soft fellow, appreciative of the arts and would probably have been better suited to a genteel life, perhaps as the son of some rich gentleman, with no duties to speak of aside from remaining respectable and finding himself a suitable wife. That life was not one he necessarily desired, but he did sometimes wonder if his fate had been mixed up with someone elses at birth and so he had been inexplicably thrust onto this mad path.

    "How would you know that?" Nathaniel retorted, just a little annoyed by his own incompetence in the face of the cool and collected outlaw. He was fairly certain that Rowan would be at least abreast of the various ruffians running about these parts, but he disliked being put down so quickly, and so the man who was terribly far out of his depth responded before thought could keep him from making yet more of a fool of himself.

    No sooner had he spoken these words, and the man was backtracking, shaking his head as he knew he was just being needlessly difficult, "No, you're probably right. I can probably call on one of my contacts, I think he's trustworthy." The man was more loyal to his father than Nathaniel, but unless he was put at direct risk of retribution, he was reasonably sure that he'd help out and keep his mouth well shut.

    "So, I guess I'll have to head to the city. I'll leave by dawn, maybe sooner. The sooner this gets solved, the better." He was looking ahead as they began their ascent, not particularly wanting to look at Rowan, as he worried he'd offend the man somehow, something that he seemed rather prone to at the best of times.
  14. There were very few people who lived more than ten minutes after shooting the canine outlaw. Currently, there was only one. And he even had to balls to back talk Rowan after the criminal actually offered a helping hand in this whole exceedingly difficult scenario. Suppressing a growl and biting his tongue to prevent a stream of somewhat hurtful comments from flowing freely, Rowan's mind became the place where these things erupted.

    The silence that followed the kid's second outburst of this partnership was quite obviously Rowan's attempt at patience. It was probably a lot for the kid to take in. Being as straight laced as he was, it most likely was a bit of a struggle for the him to adjust. The canine was really trying to work on his patience and understanding, or just trying not to kill him for aggravating the old dog in the first place. So far it was leaving him with plenty of pent up anger without much to show for it.

    He was a man of his word, though, so he did feel slightly guilty as he thought about offing the kid. Though, to be fair, it was only a thought meant for more dire circumstances, if they were to occur. His ears flicked back as he deemed such thought unnecessary. It wasn't worth his time to think of those thoughts.

    His mind snapping back to the present from all of his scattered thoughts, he casted a glance back at the kid. "Traveling at night is a bit safer than during the day. Less people around to recognize you that way, which makes it a bit tougher for any bounty hunter to get any leads." The experienced outlaw advised in his typical gruff way. When his gaze turned forward once again, the trail began to level out.

    An older home slowly came into view, tucked away on a small flat shelf of land just below the lip of the canyon. As the duo approached the weathered down house, a young man came around the side of the house with an axe in hand. "And here's the hero's triumphant return!" The man spoke with a warm grin. He ran a free hand through his dirty blonde hair, his tanned skin glowing in the last light of the day.

    Rowan grunted softly as he dropped down from his big old black stallion. He managed to put on a tired smile. "I ain't exactly in the mood for any bullshitting today, Trace. Sorry." He sighed, leading his horse around to the back of the horse, where a small stable of slightly newer make stood. He put his horse in an empty stall and removed a few various items from the saddlebag.

    Trace fell silent once Rowan went to take care of his horse. He wore a suspicious frown on his face as he studied the kid. "So who's this guy?" He asked Rowan when he walked back around the house.

    "That is the kid I've told you about." The canine spoke though a yawn that just overtook him.

    "Wait, why the hell is he riding with you then?!" Trace really wasn't one to yell all that much, but this was a special occasion after all. Confusion shined brightly in his blue-green eyes, dismay sparking in the depths.

    "It's complicated." The outlaw sighed as he stepped up onto the front porch of the old home. Before he could open the door, it was flung open and he had to take a quick step back to avoid getting hit by it.

    "Rowan Nashoba McCabe!" The hardened outlaw flinched at the angry tone of voice used by his niece. "You can't even wait a month before you get hurt again! The only time you show up over here is when you're hurt, and I'm sick of it! Go take care of yourself, damnit!" The words that flew from the young woman's mouth were meant for a more private audience as her sharp brown gaze fell upon the red headed young man sitting atop his horse nearby. She bit her lip in embarrassment.

    "That's my temporary partner, Nathaniel Goodchild." Rowan explained simply, his gaze studying the shocked expression that gave some pallor to the naturally dark skin of her face. Her thick black hair fell around her face in gentle waves. Her fingers very gently traced the hem of the short, simple blue dress that she wore. Her bare feet shifted uncomfortably against the old wooden floorboards.

    A long, soft sigh finally rose up from the tall young woman. "You must be in some big trouble if you're willing to team up with anyone... Let alone that guy." She spoke in a more subdued voice, as if her seething anger only moments before had tired her out. "I'm going to guess that your next question is going to run somewhere along the lines of letting him come inside. And my answer is going to be a flat hell no. I almost feel tempted to make you sleep out here as well." She finally flashed Rowan a pointed glare. "Tell me why you two are working together. No bushbeating, no bullshitting, just the truth."

    Rowan casted a glance over his shoulder at the kid, wondering if he'd be willing to explain this predicament, considering how it was obvious that he was to blame for it.
    #14 AshenAngel, Oct 24, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015
  15. When they eventually made it to the extremely isolated house, the young man felt his anxiety rising in his belly, though it had settled briefly during their trek up here. His fear and uncertainty was only spurred on as a man with an axe appeared from behind the somewhat quaint building. Given his current situation any sight of weaponry in the hands of these people was not something he could find overly encouraging. However, he held his nerve, prudently bringing his horse to a halt a few feet behind Rowan, dismounting and minding his own business as the occupants of the house were informed of the current situation.

    The first just seemed incredulous, but the woman that soon appeared in the doorway was far less placid. She was too busy reprimanding the outlaw for his apparent habit of turning up to her door unannounced and wounded, which gave Nathaniel a good show of exactly what he was going to be faced with. At that moment, any hope of even a cool welcome fled from him, and the young man was all but ready to get his bed roll out and settle down for just one more night under the stars. Perhaps when all this was over he'd treat himself to a week in a warm and dry room at whatever establishment he could afford, something that seemed far off and rather luxurious to him right now.

    The reaction to his presence was to be expected, although perhaps given her violent entrance, Nathaniel might have expected the fine woman to have addressed him with a little more anger. Luckily for him, it seemed that she had been quite deflated by her original outburst, and so he was spared what he was sure could have been likened to being roasting on hot coals. However, despite her momentary lapse, she was soon back on form, quickly asking what was the obvious question, as of course these two really shouldn't be anywhere near one another without shackles and guns being involved. This was not only a bit of a blind side, but it was also just downright wrong.

    Although he was not keen to speak, Nathaniel gently rubbed his mare's neck, gaining some comfort from that act, as silly as that might have seemed. With a sigh, he turned his eyes up to meet the expectant gaze, knowing that putting this off would only make it stranger still, "Well, uh...I guess we were ambushed. I mean, we weren't together then...I was chasing him, obviously." He rubbed the back of his neck, visibly uncomfortable, which some people might have found endearing, although sadly none of that sappy set were here. "That kind of forced our hands, it was either partner up or get caught." He shrugged, not wanting to go into detail, mostly because he was currently thinking deeply about how much he had to lose compared to Rowan.

    "Come to think of it, McCabe, why are you helping me?" The old dog was an outlaw no matter what happened. Why help clear Nathaniel's name? Had he kept his mouth shut, he might have considered that maybe he wanted to continue having someone as incompetent as the young Goodchild chasing after him, rather than someone like his brother. In any event, keeping his mouth shut probably would have been sensible, but Nathaniel was nothing if not honest, and that niggling doubt was pressing on him.
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