Boot Hill

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Boot Hill

Post by Aesalon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:01 pm

AUGUST: 1888
The richly appointed parlor held four men – two were standing, both seemed agitated and alert. A third sat calmly sipping iced water. All three were paying rapt attention to the fourth as he began to speak through sun-cracked lips.

“The Last Stand was the worst saloon in Tombstone – and it was no secret that if something bad was going to happen in town, it was going to start right there. People were scared, and scared people are more n’ likely going to just shoot you for looking at them crossways.” The tattered man coughed lightly and winced. “That night the Stand was full up of strangers, miners, outlaws and people desperate for any kind of comfort … it was a wildfire, jus’ waiting to be set.”

The seated man poured a glass for the speaker and handed it to the taller of the two men standing who passed it on to the tattered man with an obvious look of distaste. The man in the seat flashed a look of annoyance at his compatriot before directing his attention to the near-broken shell of a man in front of him. “Tell me about these strangers – you know the ones I am interested in, begin with them.” His voice was pleasant and melodic, but laced with iron menace.

The tattered man shook himself and placed the untouched glass of water on the table beside him. “They all arrived around sundown…”
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Re: Boot Hill

Post by Digital Muse on Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:41 am

After receiving her instructions from her Mistress, Marina had traveled by train to La Rochelle, France. From there, she boarded a steamship across the Atlantic to the city of New York. After resting for two days and sending a telegram to her Mistress, Marina then boarded a train for the long trip to the city of Chicago. The sheer breadth of this country was stunning. She grew uneasy about the time that was wasted in simply getting to her destination. Even though she felt pressed for time, Marina took time in Chicago to transform herself into the role she had chosen. She purchased new clothes, began to study the books she’d brought from Hungary on geology and mining and spent what she considered to be an exorbitant sum of money for the supplies she’d need to make the trip to the West. It was the law of greed that dictated that where men demanded a thing, other men would provide it for inflated prices. And the gold and silver of the American West made more money for the merchants that it ever would for the miners.

Once Marina had her gear and felt comfortable in her new role, she had traveled by steam train from Chicago to St. Louis to pick up a wagon train headed to the gold fields of California. It had taken little effort to find one that would be taking the southern route to avoid the Rocky Mountain passes. While waiting for the wagon train to fill up, Marina had blended into crowd, though a woman traveling alone was often suspect, especially to the married women of the group. She wove a story of joining her Father in Tombstone to help open an Assayer’s office. It was enough to satisfy the bulk of the questions. Marina was secretly grateful for riding so much as a child on the island. She had not expected to be riding as much as she had been forced to do on this trip. The mule she had purchased in Chicago to carry all of her gear was an ugly beast, but fast and sure-footed. In a rare display of light-hearted humor, Marina had named the mule after the current Pope, Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci, better known as Pope Leo XIII. But, Marina simply called the mule “His Eminence”.

The trek across the massive plains of America had been a shocking experience to Marina. She had traveled the length and breadth of Europe with her Mistress, but it was all dwarfed by the distances that the caravan had to travel to get to Tombstone. The vast open prairie and endless horizons rattled most. Some turned back before reaching the desert. One poor woman went insane from the feeling of being so small. On average the caravan, or wagon train, managed 15 miles per day. Despite the dire warnings, they were only menaced by wild Indians once. Even that had been almost anticlimactic, if nerving. On the 42nd day of the trip, dawn had broken over a hill to the east to reveal an utterly silent and menacing army of several dozen dusky-skinned warriors on their ponies. They did not move from their vantage point on the hill above the caravan and the leader of the caravan managed to keep an iron hold on the more cowardly of the men and women under his care to prevent them from opening fire in a blind panic. The Indians simply watched the wagon train pack without having breakfast and move off down the valley and out of their territory.

It had taken an astounding 103 days to finally reach the boom town that was raw mix of ramshackle huts, opulent hotels and saloons on nearly every street corner. Rough miners rubbed shoulders with elegant ladies in the latest Paris fashions and freed black families owned businesses right along with Madams who ran brothels. Everywhere Marina looked, men went about openly armed. Frequent gunfire broke the calm of the air, but almost no one seemed to find it unusual. Marina split away from the wagon train as did a few others to get a hotel room. Walking His Eminence down the main street, Marina considered her options, she could easily afford one of the finer establishments, however, that would not suit her alias. Turning down a side street, the buildings became rougher and were built closer together. A two-story clapboard building announced itself as ‘The Wilson Arms’ looked suitable for her needs. As she approached, Marina could see a stable at the back of the hotel. She got a room, saw to His Eminence’s needs and returned to her room. She ordered a bath and spent the time while the tub down the hall was being filled subtly questioning the maid regarding the personalities of the town. Marina knew that it was probable that knowing who to trust and who to avoid would be crucial to her mission for her Mistress.

Once she had bathed, Marina promised herself a warm meal and a tour of the town so she could learn how it was laid out. From this point forward, she could finally begin her mission in earnest.

The maid returned twice to add more hot water into the tub, chatting away. Marina wasn’t ordinarily a social person, but, she had learned the value of putting on a friendly face when people started talking. The girl had proved to be a wealth of gossip and stories. Inevitably, the stories came around to the disappearances and mutilations of cattle around Tombstone. Marina only had to pretend disbelief once to get the girl to give Marina everything she knew. Marina filed the names, the events and the building tension away in her mind so she could enter it all into her journal later.

Feeling refreshed from the first bath she’d had in over 3 months, Marina dressed in fresh clothes, took a deep breath and headed out into the oppressive evening despite the maid’s warning against going out of doors at night.
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Re: Boot Hill

Post by Aesalon on Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:58 pm

“Mr. McKenna…” Began Sheriff Slaughter, through an obviously southern drawl. The man was of a height with Jonathan McKenna and carried himself as though he was more than capable with the weapon that sat holstered on his left hip.

“Marshall McKenna, sheriff.” The man sitting at the desk corrected him. “He’s a Marshall, that pretty badge says so.” The deputy was lounging on an old potato crate, with his boots propped up and his hands crossed behind his head.

“Marshall McKenna…” continued the sheriff. “Your man was here in July – he stayed on for about 2 weeks, then he left. We presumed that his investigation was complete and he had lit out for home.” The Sheriff’s brow furrowed. “Maybe he found a girl and ran off or maybe the wolves got to him, or the Indians – this is not a civilized place like Chicago or St. Louis, Marshall McKenna.”

Running off with a girl was unlikely, Davison Reeves could barely get up the nerve to talk to girl, much less abscond with one. Indians also seemed unlikely as the territory was mostly settled for a few years now. The wolves were a possibility, but until a body was found or some other evidence that Reeves was lost in the wild, McKenna would conduct the investigation, regardless of what ‘Texas’ John Slaughter thought that he should do.

McKenna didn’t like either of the men – Slaughter was a southerner and a Confederate, the mistrust there was natural and deep. Deputy Marcus was a different kind though, a lickspittle and an opportunist, he would fit just perfectly atop a barn, turning every which way that the wind blew. Jonathan could muster a grudging respect for Slaughter, but Marcus was barely more than an outlaw with a badge.

“Thank you for your time gentlemen.” The Marshall tipped his bowler politely to the sheriff and turned and left the stone building, simply marked “Jail”. The streets were beginning to empty in the frontier town of Tombstone; even the saloons and brothels were shuttering windows, leaving only the front doors open spilling light into the streets like beacons of safety. ‘My only chance is to retrace Reeves’ investigation; he would have begun interviewing miners in places like this,’ Jonathan thought. “…and any one is a good start” he continued aloud as he stepped into a two story establishment called The Last Stand a few hundred yards from the jail.
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Re: Boot Hill

Post by Gadreille on Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:33 pm

The rumble of the train was eerily familiar to Mister William Robinson. It wasn't that he rode trains often - in fact, he avoided them. The cramped quarters were pushing in, even as he stared through the window at the scenery as it changed from lush greens to waving yellows to brown nothingness. The sound of the wheels being forced to turn echoed of another machine he was in long ago. One that forever stained him with irrational fears of darkness closing in. He often had nightmares of the dark blue pushing in all around him, his head crushing from the pressure.

But William needed work, and work there was said to be out west. The train had finally reached Arizona, and Tombstone he knew must be close. William sighed, and pulled his faded white hat over his face to shield his blue eyes from the setting sun. The train hit yet another bump, making his hat fly off his head and clatter on the floor between his boots. William muttered while reaching down and picking up his precious hat. He wondered if his poor horse was faring any better. The god damn train was awful; he said it every time and yet there was always a need to use it again. People were moving faster than they used to. He wasn't used to it. He wasn't used to damn clocks telling people to be somewheres at a certain time, nor was he used to the fact that people could suddenly be somewhere in seven days with what used to take six months. God damn unnatural it was, and his weary bones were too old to keep up with it. Yet, keep up with it he had, the price that had to be paid to keep up with the new technologies that he did like - weaponry. Weapons were renovating faster than a train could get to California, and THAT, sir, that was worth being on board for. Being able to practically teleport from one side of the country to the other - yeah, that was weird. But being able to defend yourself from ten plus enemies with a flick of the hand and pull of a trigger? That, good friend, is bloody fucking useful.

Eventually William settled into troubled sleep where the blue dreams threatened to crush his skull again. His nightmare was darkness, and when he shuddered awake again, darkness awaited him. The train had stopped (about time, for only taking three days it was three days of misery) and night had fallen. The station read Tombstone, Arizona. His stop. His friends had told him there was some crazy stuff happening in Tombstone, and the fact is that where there was trouble, there was good honest folks willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money for protection. That's where William comes in.

William collected his horse and walked her into town. His legs needed stretching, but she was downright itchin' to run.

"In time, ol' girl. I promise." He rubbed her nuzzle as he walked down the dirt road. For it being night, the town was downright lively. A theatre was emptying, ladies in fancy dresses on the arms of men with fancy coats and tophats. William sniggered to himself. "Ain't got no time for that..."

A pretty lady in a not so pretty dress waved his way. She was on the porch of a questionable looking establishment, surrounded by other ladies not quite so pretty as herself. William shook his head, which earned him a pout from the lady. "Ain't got no money for that..." William told his horse, as he continued on.

"Well, ol' girl, there's a trough for you and a tap for me it seems," he told his horse as he stopped in front of a saloon called The Last Stand. "Good a place as any." He hitched Ol' Girl to a post and stepped inside.
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Re: Boot Hill

Post by Kathryn Lacey on Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:01 am

Jharna peered through the window of the train as it sped along the railway. It was so fast. She’d been on trains previously, but the change in scenery was so sudden that it made it seem faster. First they’d been in the mountainous regions of the east, followed by the flatlands of the Great Plains, and now they were in the desert, and it was all in a mere matter of days.

All speed aside, it reminded her of her homeland in some respects. India had lush forests and sandy deserts. There were times when she missed her homeland for all of its beauty, but she didn’t miss the inequalities of the classes or the stress of working for families who treated her poorly because her skin was darker than theirs.

The Baron had taken her away from all of that, had shown her that in his world, the colour of her skin was meaningless. Of course, as soon as she left the bubble of protection surrounding him, all veils of idealism withdrew, but it was nice, and it was safe, and it was somehow never boring.

What are you thinking, my lady?” The man next to her asked in his native Hungarian tongue.

The deserts here are different from India. They seem to be made of dust rather than sand.” She replied.

India is very far away.

Did you know they call the people native to this land ‘Injuns,’ Maks?

I heard them say something like that to me. They used it for you, though. What does it mean?

It means ‘Indian.’ The Americans cannot distinguish between their own Natives and true Indians, so they use the slur on anyone with light brown skin and dark hair as a means of debasement.

I will not let them speak ill of my lady.” Maks growled.

Jharna placed a gloved hand on her escort’s arm. “We do not want trouble. The Baron will not be happy if we are unsuccessful. I believe Marina is already in the country. She could be involved in her research as we speak, getting ahead of us. If they perceive us as a threat, we may never catch up.

Maks grinned. “Unless you find her research. Then we could gain honor for the Baron.

Jharna grinned at his teasing though there was truth to his words. She’d succeeded in her last mission by stealing the research of another Vassal. Theft had always been a beneficial skill for her. The Baron didn’t fault her for utilizing her gifts, either, to an extent.

“You aren’t upset that I stole notes that were rightfully collected by someone else?” Jharna had asked the older man.

“Information is collected in a variety of ways. Who’s to say Baron Jani’s Vassal chose the ‘rightful’ way? If that Vassal had wanted to keep his research to himself, he could have secured it better. As far as I’m concerned, you used your gifts to teach him a hard lesson about privacy, security, and secrecy. You brought honor to my house, and by successfully solving the case without bloodshed, you brought honor to the Order. Do not shy away from deeds done well as long as they are not done as betrayal.” He clapped his hands together. “It is time for some tea!”

How had a man of whom she’d been so distrustful become like a father figure to her?

The train halted, and Maks stood, extending his hand to her. She shook her head sharply, and he withdrew his hand. “I work for you, the head of Maks Jewelry. You do not work for me. We must maintain our cover.” They left the train together, stepping onto the dusty platform.

Acquiring a pair of horses wasn’t difficult per se, but there were some difficulties with the people gawking at the woman who was educated in more than one language, especially one who wasn’t white, helping her Hungarian boss. For a land made from a multitude of nationalities, people seemed unhappy with the idea of foreigners, even white ones. However, enough money quickly soothed their indignant attitudes, and they headed for the heart of Tombstone to find lodgings.

I don’t like the idea of separate bedrooms.” Maks admitted.

It’s the proper way. Baron Lorand wouldn’t like it. He wants me to always behave as a ‘proper’ lady now that I’m not a maid in India.

I’m more than just your cover, my lady. How will I protect you if we’re in separate rooms and you’re attacked?

Jharna gave him a blank look. “The day you can best me in a sparring match will be the day we can share a room while under cover.

Maks glowered at her. “Well, if I could get a hit in…

Exactly. Now stop whining. You’re hurting our cover. Even if they can’t understand Hungarian, they can tell I’m winning.

Maks scoffed and bowed lightly to the baffled looking tavern keeper while Jharna gave a deeper curtsy. “Master Maks and I need two rooms.” She repeated, casting a side-glance at her escort who, though he seemed stoic to outsiders, was actually pouting beneath his mask. She sighed inwardly. “My master also wonders if you have a set of rooms that are adjoined by a door? He worries for my safety but abhors the idea of women carrying weapons.”

“Of course!” The man announced, a sly grin appearing on his face as he looked from Maks to Jharna. “Right this way.” If the Baron had heard the tone in his voice, he would have beat the man over the head with his cane; to even imply that his Jharna Danveer was a liaison of their manservant was absolutely absurd!

Why did he look at us like that?” Maks asked.

I secured us connected rooms to appease your feelings about being a protector. He thinks I’m your whore, now.” Jharna admitted, nonchalantly.

Maks suppressed his laughter. “If only he knew…

Knew what?” Jharna asked, an edge to her voice.

That you avoid romance as if it carried plague with it.

A dark look passed over her face for a second, but she forced the shadow to recede a second later. “Who has time for romance when there are adventures to be had and supernatural beings to deter?

They stood across the street from the saloon two hours later, freshly washed and neatly clothed. Jharna had a small smile on her lips at the sight of the drunken commotion she could hear emanating from this place. “Of all of the public places you could have chosen, you choose the seediest bar in Tombstone?” Maks accused skeptically.

The richer the people, the more tight lipped they’re apt to be. The rich are boring and have no imagination. Thus, they refuse to accept the idea of anything strange occurring. They want to sit inside their nice little bubbles where nothing bad ever happens. They would never have enough information. These people, on the other hand, are rowdier, louder, drunker and a wealth of fanciful information.” Jharna explained.

The key word being ‘fanciful.’” He refuted.

No. The key word is ‘drunker.’ Interesting truths are revealed by those whose inhibitions are reduced.

They stepped into the street and headed toward the Last Stand saloon.

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Re: Boot Hill

Post by Syrena on Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:15 pm

Afternoon sunlight peeked into the deputy's bedroom. Glass windows kissed with miner's dust muted the golden light. The sparse furniture and the well-loved bed quilt looked dingy without the sun's full glare. But the filtered sunlight was strong enough to lure Scarlett Marie out of deep sleep.

She turned her face into the quilt. The dulled yellow light winked at her, reaching up to caresses her legs with warmth. Scarlett stretched and the sunlight caught her stomach in a heated, phantom touch. Half asleep she smiled lazily, relishing the puddle of golden sunlight.

The fingers of sunlight slowly moved off the bed and fanned out across the wooden floor. No longer bathed in warmth, Scarlett Marie picked at the quilt. The mismatched quilt didn't hold the sun's warmth, and any lingering traces of heat quickly evaporated.

Mostly awake Scarlett Marie rubbed the sandy remains of sleep out of her eyes. She stretched gracelessly, like an ill content cat, kicking the bed quilt to the floor. Propping herself up on her elbows, Scarlett stared at the other side of the bed.

The empty side of the bed.

Scarlett Marie sat up and tucked loose strands of her brown hair behind her ear. Waking up alone in Marcus’ cramped house wasn't new. He was almost always gone in the afternoon. Disappointment, though, still left a bad taste in her mouth.

And she shouldn't feel disappointment.

She picked the bed quilt off the floor. The mismatched fabrics stitched together were starting to fray. If the quilt had ever been pretty, it wasn't any more. Loose threads fluttered in the corners, and there was a hole floating somewhere in the mass of fabric.

Climbing out of bed Scarlett Marie wrapped the quilt around her chest. The quilt hung off her body in a lumpy, unattractive pattern. Impulsively, she spun in a slow circle. The bit of quilt dangling at her feet shot into the air before flopping around her feet.

The floor boards creaked as she padded into the main room. A pair of muddy leather boots leaned against the wall near the door, dirty dishes sat on a poorly finished table, a wrought iron stove sat in the far right corner by the sink, and a porcelain tub was near the stove.

Scarlett Marie studied the tub. The porcelain wasn't a smooth, brilliant white color. It was more of a creamy brown, and there were a few chips in the porcelain. Scarlett peered into the tub. The tub was half full of clean looking water. She licked her lips. Delight settled in the pit of her stomach, making her giddy with excitement, at the prospect of not sharing bath water with the other girls. She dipped her right hand into the water and smiled.

The water wasn't completely cold.

The Bird Cage Theater was eerily quiet. Two ranch hands sat at the bar, brooding over glasses of beer. None of the other girls were down. But Scarlett Marie could hear the floorboards upstairs creaking. In just a little while the bar would be full and the other girls would come down.

Scarlett rolled her shoulders and crept onto the porch. The two rocking chairs by the entrance were empty. She settled in the one closest to the door; flinging on slender leg over the armrest and using the other to rock the chair back and forth.

The dusty streets started to fill. She could even hear the train whistle somewhere in the distance. Soon, the train would pull into the station. All sorts of people, then, would linger on the streets, mixing with the regulars. Decidedly content, Scarlett watched the people shuffle into saloons and brothels as the sun dipped out of view.

The train rumbled into the station as pools of light started to dot the street. Scarlett watched as a couple of people started to shutter the windows. An uneasiness washed over her, and she shifted in her rocking chair. Nights weren't fun anymore. Bad things happened after sundown. Scarlett Marie frowned and wiggled out of the rocking chair.

It was best to go inside.

Cece's high giggle stopped Scarlett from slipping back into the theater. She hadn't heard Cece come out. Pinpointing the source of Cece's giggle, though, wasn't hard. Passengers from the train were coming down the dusty streets stopping at inns, theaters, and saloons.

Several passengers stepped into The Last Stand.

Cece's interest was just outside the saloon. Scarlett Marie smiled when Cece's interest turned and looked at her. He was handsome; better looking than a lot of men she knew. She waved and watched as the man's blue eyes swept over her—lingering for a second—and Cece before turning away. Scarlett couldn't stop the pout from pushing its way onto her pretty face.

Scarlett Marie stepped off the porch. Hands on her hips, she spun to face Cece, still pouting. “Five dollars I can get him to spend the night with me.”

“Right.” Cece laughed. Her southern drawl wasn't as pronounced as Scarlett's. But Cece's voice still sounded lazy and almost bored. “He didn't want you. No one wants you ‘cause you keep sleeping with Marcus.”

Scarlett shrugged. “That ain't true.”

“Seven, then.”

Scarlett Marie managed a grin. “Fine.”

She spun back toward The Last Stand. Rocking back on her heels, she wavered suddenly aware that hooking up with a stranger after sundown wasn't a good idea. Scarlett Marie took a deep breath just as Cece started to snicker.

“Screw you, Cece!” Scarlett called over her shoulder. She ran across the street and slipped into The Last Stand before she had a chance to think anything else through. If all else failed, she could always lie.

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Re: Boot Hill

Post by Knifey Keith on Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:00 pm

Ivan had been in Tombstone little more than a week, he had taken quite some time to ride there from Phoenix. The way had been excruciatingly hot, especially as Ivan was still dressed in a fur coat… He refused to adopt foreign clothing as he was generally an incorrigible person in many ways. To Ivan's disappointment his journey to Tombstone was uneventful, having very much wished to engage the Native's in battle and test his skills against their warriors- To see for himself how they fought. Everything he had heard of their way of life and approach to combat reminded him much of his own people and Central Asia. The only Arizona Natives he had encountered were "domesticated" individuals living in Phoenix, some half blood and others selling out to the Englishmen.

Ivan expected a wild, bizarre land full of wonders and adventure… So far he was severely disappointed. For all the stories, America seemed to be simply a land of dodgy merchants, thugs, drunkards and sinners. If he wanted to see decadence and immorality… He would of stayed in Europe.

Ivan's reasons for being in Tombstone were simple: Employment. Whilst in Phoenix he had become acquainted with a shady gentleman known by most as Miguel or "Gums", though Ivan knew not why Miguel possessed such a nickname. He was to understand that "Gums" was from Mexico, though not an unpleasant person… Miguel was polite and his English considerably adept, however he radiated a vibe of secrecy and suspicion. After several meetings with Miguel; it had been arranged that Ivan would go to Tombstone along with Miguel and pave the way for their employers arrival. The two had travelled on horseback to from Phoenix to Tombstone, so far Ivan and Miguel had set up in one of the town's lodge. They had been in Tombstone for the last 12 days, waiting. Miguel attempted to fend off boredom through gambling and light drinking. Ivan typically training, or staying close to Miguel any time he was playing poker or in a saloon… Ivan learned quickly that America's bars, pubs, taverns and saloons were dangerous places for less dangerous men like Miguel- Many seeking to to take advantage of or prey on non combatants.

Currently, this was that particular situation. Miguel sitting at the poker table with three other men, two of which were miners and the other mentioned nothing of his business. Rather spoke little at all, Ivan sat on a chair nearby the poker table- Not particularly in the mood for alcohol, he simply drank lemonade as he watched both the poker table and the entrance of the "Crows Nest". The nautical sounding name of the tavern sure to confuse almost anyone who read it. Ivan however was oblivious to this particular oddity, clouds of cigar smoke hung over the poker table; one of the miners and the mysterious and un-talkative gentleman were both quite drunk. Ivan still watching and listening, keeping awareness of all their surroundings- He kept his Shashka readied in the likely event that someone in or outside would lose their temper to decide to make a robbery. He'd come to expect it in this country.
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Re: Boot Hill

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