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It’s a cold December morning in the dying days of 1879 and it’s been several days on the Denver-Pacific rail heading towards California and all parts West. The train is quiet, at least when you get far enough away from the engine cart and the wailing screams of burning ghostrock. The wines and beers are good in the dining cart, along with the occasional game of poker or baccarat on the largest table at the back. 

A few minutes ago, though, an odd rattling began near the sleep cart. The staff of the Denver-Pacific must have noticed it as well, for the conductor in your car flipped a hidden switch and lowered armored shutters over your windows. He then flipped over a seat covering a secret compartment and pulled out a Gatling rifle. With a smile and a wink, he now takes up a position at the front of the car near a gunport you hadn’t noticed earlier.

As passengers peek out the narrow slits in the armored windows. Mounted figures stand along a rise to your right. Indians!

As you ready yourself for trouble you hear a deafening screech, like nothing you’ve ever heard before. There’s no doubt it’s the locomotive’s wheels grinding on the tracks—the brakes thrown so hard you smash into the seat in front of you.

There’s pain, a dizzy sensation, and then the whole world tumbles around you, slamming your body up and down like beans in a maraca. 

Everything goes dark.

Then, you hear screaming. 

Not the screaming of your fellow passengers though—more like the howls of the damned. Ghost rock - burning ghost rock. No one could mistake that sound after hearing it the first time.

As you try to clear your vision you feel the heat of the burning ore nearby. You force your eyes open and find yourself lying in the shattered debris of the rail car. In fact, you can see the entire train sprawled along the tracks like some infernal iron snake. 

Surrounding you are piles of burning ghost rock and the mangled corpses of your fellow passengers. Surely this is Hell.

A man runs by, screaming and blazing with flame. He stops in front of you and three arrows slam into him from the train’s right. The Indians are picking off the survivors!

What do you do?

 


You have your weapons; you’re allowed to be armed in the carts on this line. Go figure why. Anywhoo, you each have an Indian Brave on you and this Initiative:

Nina - Red Joker! (+2 to all rolls, go when you want)
Max - Ace of diamonds
Jer - 10 spades
Black Stick - 9 Hearts
Noir - 9 diamonds
Carver - 7 spades (surprise!)
Dave - 5 hearts 
Braves - 4 diamonds

Now, you don’t have to post in this order (in fact, lower initiative characters really should post first), but when I compile for a “what happened” post, this initiative order will guide me. Lucky for you guys, the one brave on each of you goes last. :D

Feel free to play around with this. The mechanics are there for the effects, but I also award Fate Chips for creative writing and funny OOC quips. Remind me if I haven’t for a while. Also, since passing a hat around with chips in it is impossible, everyone starts with a white, a red, and a blue Fate Chip. That’ll be the standard for each combat.

Last note: All OOC info and mechanics are to be in spoilers. If something is too long or you have a question, put it in our recruitment thread until I have an OOC board to have an OOC combat thread.

1


 

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As Samuel woke up, a hint of smoke made him cough, and he rose up from the wreckage shivering as the fading echoes of animal-headed things hunting him reverberated in his mind. So much like the homestead now. It always was like the homestead - the monstrous spirits would never let him sleep in peace again until he was in the grave.

The whipping sound of the arrow banished thoughts of the ethereal, the gambling festivities that had been his destination. Never had his hometown been attacked by Injun raiders, but everyone had heard stories, known someone who had.

In the end, the West wasn't big enough for the white men and the red men. Especially not right now, and Samuel intended to live on. Keeping low, but brushing off his vest, Samuel checked to make sure his speed-loaded cylinder was prepared and the Colt hogleg ready to go.

But just to be safe - Samuel closed his eyes, and when he opened them back up... the manitou stared at him. "Ready to play?" It suggested in a twisted tinny voice. The cards hovered over a manifesting table, and Samuel impatiently nodded.

As soon as his hand was shuffled and floated out to him, he slammed the set down. "Full house. Any better?" Naturally, the manitou looked surprised, and Samuel knew he had what he needed. "Good."

The void faded back into the train car's infernal internals, and with the buzzing magical energy, Samuel weaved a hex that would keep him untouched. A card briefly appeared, glittering in his left hand, but Samuel instinctively jerked it toward the ground, in case other passengers were alive.

More assured of security now, Samuel clambered out of a gaping hole in the car, gun and backpack held firmly.

Spoiler

Action: Casting Deflection hex.
Spellcasting d8: 1D8.OPEN(8) = [7] = 7
Wild Die: 1D6.OPEN(6) = [6, 6, 3] = 15

Welp, once again as with the last game, I get a raise!
Attackers must subtract -4 from any attack rolls directed against Samuel. This counts as Armor against area of effect attacks. Duration: 3 rounds, extendable by spending a power point each round thereafter.

Due to Bad Nightmares, Mala has ruled I don't get the Red chip each scene. So just White and Blue for moi.

Fate Chips: White x1, Blue x1
Power Points: 8/10

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Tabitha tried to get her legs back under her, one boot skidding out from under her and kicking a pile of ghost rock, releasing a small cloud of screaming cinders . She caught herself and found her footing, but it wasn't easy. Her head felt like an angry hornet nest and trying to shake away the the disorientation only served to piss them off more.

With a grimace, she blinked her eyes open to take in her surroundings and stumbled back a step when the fella on fire ran past her, only to be silenced and then fell to the ground after the Indians made him a pincushion. That quickly flushed most of the confusion from her head, or at least the back of her mind. This wasn't just picking up the pieces after a wreck. This was life or death, and the Indians had a distinct inclination.

"Anybody still alive?" she called out, though she was sure her voice would be difficult to hear over the screaming ghost rock.

She staggered a few steps to her saddle bags and cursed herself for having not buckled them closed again after she had rummaged through for her father's harmonica earlier. Now they where laying in a heap, half the contents spilled and thrown from them. She didn't have time to deal with the mess though. At least her Winchester was still beside them. What was left in the bags would have to do.

Tabitha hefted the saddle bags over her shoulder and grabbed her Winchester, slipping it from the boot and stuffing it in her saddle bags as she became aware of some motion behind her. She turned to help another passenger, only it was not passenger. It was an Indian brave swinging a tomahawk in a overhead arch right for her head!

Tabitha's eyes went wide and she reflexively lifted her rifle up high with both hands in a cross block, stopping the tomahawk. She then brought the barrel back over her left shoulder and drove the rifle butt forward into the brave's face. The steel buttplate dug into his face and nose, crunching cartilage and shattering bone, the force of the blow causing him to stumble away and then fall flat on back. He wasn't getting back up any time soon, if ever. 

The brave's falling body revealed another, larger brave with a knarled, black staff off in the distance. He locked eyes with Tabitha, his gaze full of anger and hate. Without even a thought, in one smooth motion Tabitha swung her Winchester down, braced the butt against her shoulder, operated the lever action to chamber a round, took aim and fired at him.

If they weren't taking prisoners, then neither was she, and Tabitha always gave at least as good as she got.

 

Spoiler

Tabitha is striking the Brave with her rifle butt and is gonna shoot too.
-2 to both actions for taking a second action.
-1 to fighting roll for Improv weapon

Fighting roll to hit Brave with rifle butt
1d8 (Fighting) + 1d6 (Wild) -1 (Improvised Weapon) -2 (Multi Action)
Dicepool: 1d8 + 1d6 -3
Roll: 1D8 =8 (ACE!), 1D6 = 2 
Re-roll Ace: 1D8 => 6
Final totals: 1d8 = 14, 1d6 = 2
Keeping the 14
14 - 3 = 11 (that's Raise!)

Damage
1d6 (Str) + 1d6 (Med. Improv Weapon) +1d6 (Raise)
Pool: 3d6    
Roll:3D6 => (6 +2 +6) = 14
14 Damage!


Shooting at large brave with knarled black staff.
1d8 (Shooting) + 1d6 (Wild) -0 (Short Range) -2 (Multi Action)
Dicepool: 1d8 + 1d6 -2
Roll: 1D8 = 7, 1D6 = 3 
Keeping the 7
6 -2 = 4 Hits!

Damage
2d8, AP 2 (Winchester '73)
2D8 => (3 +4) = 7
7 Damage

 

Ammo:
Winchester '73 - 14/15
Colt Frontier - 5/6
Spare .44-40 rounds x29

Fate Chips: White x1, Blue x1

 

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"Head out west Hadi... find yourself, Hadi..."  The half awake man muttered as he rolled swiftly to cover.  Arrows dotted the small piece of debris he'd ducked behind and for a moment he thanked whatever power might be listening... the next moment he realized it was probably their fault he was in this mess to begin with, so not behind one to play favorites, he cursed them too, just to be sure.  He unholstered his steel and listened.  "One little... two little... three little Indians..."  Bows took a moment, and he calmly waited for the pause in the arrow's whistling before he moved from cover and took a single shot.

The bullet tore into the brave's head, a single well placed shot twixt the eyes.  He ducked back behind cover.  "...Two little Indians."  He looked around to what few people were near him, all hiding for safety and their lives.  "How y'all doing this fine day?  First time this far out West?"  A woman screamed as an arrows found their home in her husband's chest and back.  "Yeah, me too... lovely country side!  And the job opportunities!?  Uh, don't get me started... I think you're gonna be very happy out here.  So... pretty lady like you... you seein' anybody or...?"

Spoiler

Shooting = 9, 1.  Kept the 9.  +1 Raise.

Damage = 6, 2, 2, +1 = 11 damage.

Ammo - (L) Jezebel 5/6, (R) Scarlet the Harlot 6/6 (Each gun has two additional reloads)

 

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Claire groggily lifted her head up and tried to focus. Though she'd been thrown roughly to the seat in front of her and her head was still ringing, she didn't find any bleeding and could still move her arms and legs without worse than soreness. Gratitude surged for a moment...God had not sent her here to die. Not like this.

She could hear sounds of panic though, and pain, and managed to get to her feet. Into what was left of the aisle down the center of the train cart...

...coming towards her through the curls of smoke though was a daunting figure. One of the savage Indians, barechested and adorned with feathers and paint. His eyes were flat, his face grim. In his hand, an axe that dripped dark fluid.

She stumbled back in a sudden panic, tripping and nearly falling over entirely. Her hand stole up to the cross hanging around her neck and gripped it tightly.

Have I not commanded thee?  Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

The words appeared in her memory as if they'd always been there, and she felt in response a sudden confidence that filled her like water would an empty vessel. She had work yet to do.

The Indian brave was nearly upon her, his pace unhurried, unworried. She was not armed, and hadn't been the first to pray or cry out to her god before being cut down.

"Thus sayeth the Lord," Claire said as she got back to her feet. The brave scowled and raised his axe. "When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt."

A gust of wind blew hard past them both, whipping her bonnet off and giving the brave pause as he covered his face against a spray of smoke and grit.

Sister Claire raised her voice, clutching her cross even more tightly. "And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people."

Sensing, perhaps, that something was wrong, the Indian whirled back to Claire...but had to again shield himself as the wind rose again, twining around him now; a dust devil whirling up out of nowhere!

By this time, Claire was shouting, and had lifted her cross on high. "And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you!"

 

Praying for Windstorm, centered a bit behind the attacking brave so it doesn't include Claire in the effect. It's a Medium Burst Template. Those caught in the area are Blinded, and must make a Vigor check or be Shaken. She can move the area on her turn at a Pace equal to her Spirit dice, but maintaining it requires her to use her action in concentration. Ranged attacks that must cross the windstorm are at -2.

Faith: 1d10 4 1d6 6

Faith ace: 1d6 6

Another faith ace: 1d6 5

Total Faith roll: 15 (including the -2 for a Novice power)

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Screamin, the sounds of the crash and explosion as well as gunfire ringing in her ears. Becca turned her head spit blood from a busted lip, the rail car was all wrong. She was looking up and saw sky out the window on the ceiling. No that ain't right there ain't no windows on the roof.

She wiped her nose, her hand came away bloody and she noticed that she had shackles on her wrists. Well sum'bitch, she though as she pulled her self up right, feeling something soft underneath her, something that groaned. Oh yeah that bounty hunter.

The car she was in was on it's side and everyone inside , but her was dead. Now.

She gathered up her things after losing the chains and climbed over the seats to the rear where she had to do a crouch crawl to get out of the sideways door.

Becca stayed crouched there in the shadows while whatever was going on went on. She strapped on her belt and check her colt and her daddies LeMatt. Both were loaded but she only had the spare .45 rounds in the belt. Her rifle was probably in the mail car with her saddle and the rest of her and the bounty hunters gear.

Becca stuck her head out to suss out the territory. The train was completely derailed and the cars were scattered she saw dead and dying all over. Goddamn injun's hacking and scalpin'. A few white men were putting up a fight but it didn't look good for her side. She located the mail car and started that way when she heard a woman's scream.

Not ten feet away was a filthy indian dragging a woman from where she'd been hiding his scalpin knife reflecting the light from the burning cars and the fading sun.

The brave saw her at the same time his arm reared back as he prepared to hurl the knife.

Becca's hands moved faster.

Her colt cleared leather and palm of her left fanned the hammer.

Flame and thunder.

Lead flew.

Spoiler

Fanning four shots at the Indian at -4 +2 so 4 shots at -2

repeat 4 1D10-2 => 7 ; 3 ; 4 ; 6

Wild Dice

1D6 => 5

take the wild dice in place of the 3

 

Damage rolls for four hits in order

repeat 4 2D6+4 => 8 ; 13 ; 10 ; 12

 

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Fang’s eyes fluttered open, the sunlight smashing into them like a fist. Groaning, she rolled over and put her hand over her eyes. The pain started to ease, but someone grabbed her arm. Startled, Fang jerked her head up, grabbing at the hands holding her. Rong’s pale face, creased with tears, stared at Fang while her mouth moved soundlessly.

“What?” Fang asked, but heard only a distant moan. 

Rong looked as if she were screaming, but all was silent saved a growing, high-pitched whine. Then an arrow plunged through Rong’s mouth, the arrowhead stopping inches short of Fang’s eye. Fang screamed reflexively, jerking back from Rong, who stared at her for a second. Her gaze slowly emptied of animation, and her maid slumped to the side. 

Fang crawled backwards, mindless of the debris tearing at her bare knees and legs. The whine had become the scream of the damned, familiar from burning ghost rock. The car of a train -- formerly her private car -- curled around her in pieces, twisted and bent. She saw another maid, twisted and crushed, and a guard pierced through with a brass rod. A high, horrible yelp tore her attention from the wreck and set it firmly on the horse and rider leaping over a half-wall. 

The spotted horse landed on Hong’s body, stumbled, and pitched the copper-skinned man off its back. As the horse picked itself up and limped away, the native man stood up, his hard eyes falling on her. He’d lost his bow, but his fletchings matched the one protruding from Rong’s neck. “You killed her,” Fang said stupidly, shock disappearing as adrenaline surged. The man’s painted face twisted with hate as he pulled out his axe and twirled it once. 

Fang rushed him before he could use the axe against her. Her feet slipped from under her, and she staggered to a stop in front of him without touching him. Jian would be ashamed of that attack, she thought stupidly, blinking at the Indian and hoping he was a worse fighter. 

Spoiler

: 1d8+1d6 1 & 3, nothing


 

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Sister Claire

Brave on Sister Claire:

Vigor Check:
Roll(1d8)+0:
7,+0
Total:7

Pass

Fighting:
Roll(1d8)+0:
3,+0
Total:3 - 4 for Blinded is -1

Fail

 

The Indian brave grimaced at the unnatural rise of the winds and attempted to swing his tomahawk down on the pale woman’s yammering mouth. The dustdevil heeded the command of God however, and turned the blade aside. It stuck in the metal of the railcar, now useless to the brave!

Samuel cleared the railcar just in time to feel an arrow’s fletching buzz by him as it embedded in the fabric of seat that had tumbled from the wreckage. The mounted brave pulled hard on his horse, turning them both before they came too close to the cursed metal boxes of the white invaders. Samuel could feel each strike of hoof to the ground as the brave resettled for another pass at the huckster. 
 

Black Stick vs. Tabitha

Black Stick vs. Tabitha

Spirit Roll to Unshake
Roll(1d8)+0:
6,+0
Total:6

Pass

Fightin’ with Improved Berserk
Roll(1d10)+0:
6,+0
Total:6

Roll(1d10)+0:
4,+0
Total:4


Roll(1d6)+0:
3,+0
Total:3

Vs. Parry 6 means one hit and one miss

Damage:  
Roll(1d6)+0:
6,+0
Total:6

Roll(1d10)+0:
2,+0
Total:2

Total: 8 vs Toughness 5, so Tabitha is Shaken

 

Black Stick snarled at the white woman with the temerity to attack him. No wonder the pale interlopers angered the spirits of the world so much! Not even their women knew their place! He set his horse on the righteous path and bore down on Tabitha with the fury of the Hunting Grounds behind him. His first strike tore through clothing and made the woman flinch, but the second flailed widely; he reared his horse in front of her ready for another attack!
 

Feng

Feng

Brave attack:
Roll(1d8)+0:
7,+0
Total:7

Vs. Parry 6, so hit

Roll(1d8)+0:
6,+0
Total:6

Roll(1d6)+0:
5,+0
Total:5

Ace Roll(1d8)+0:
8,+0
Total:8

Total: 19 Damage

Vs. Toughness 5, so Shaken and 3 wounds coming at you
 

 

The brave was a better fighter. With a malicious grimace he steps towards Feng and almost casually sinks a tomahawk into her chest!

For Rebecca Towne, lead flew. And flew. And flew. And flew. By the time the air cleared of the pellets, only an oozing mess of flesh was left at her feet. Unfortunately, the woman he’d been draggin’ had died of fright or injuries unseen before the brave had even gathered up her hair in the first place. Shovin’ down a shudder at the gruesome sight, Rebecca could still hear fightin’ in near every direction from her. 

The woman might have been shoutin’ a warning or just shoutin’ at Hadi’s mouth, but it didn’t matter: ‘afore any actual words could form, she joined her husband in the arrows department. Hopefully in Heaven, too, but Hadi was pretty certain he had little to say that St. Peter would pause hear out on matter. Either way, it was about to be one and two more little Injuns for Hadi to speak lead with, but a call rang out. The two braves opposite him holstered their bows in a clack of bone and wood and began to pick careful ways out of the debris, both metal and human. Whatever they were up to now, at least the natives weren’t shootin’ so directly at him anymore!

 

Spoiler

Next Round Initiative Order

Okay, guys, time for the first major rules revision for playing on a PBP. Doing initiative every turn is going to drive me batty and having the bad guys go before your posts is likewise just going to get silly trying to figure out stuff. SO! Since you are the pcs, you get to go first. I'll do pulls to see if either of the Jokers come up for their effects, but I'm not going to post an initiative order otherwise. I'll make a note at the end of my post each round like this if one of the jokers comes up and who it lands on. 

Post when you can, have fun, and we'll get through combat with as much fast and furious fun as we can. :D

2

 

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Becca calmly looks at the dead woman and the indian whose blood now splattered the ground as she pulls  rounds one by one from her belt and replaces the spent cartridges in her gun.

Loaded the gun slides back into it's place at her side then with a lingering look at the mail car she turns the other way and heads back toward the dwindling sounds of fighting.

There are more redskins to bleed.

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"Sumbitch..." he resigned himself to his new love's loss of life.  Was a shame too, she filled out the bodice mighty fine like.  He faced the two Indians, dreadfully hoping hey didn't prefer to be called something more proper.  He'd hate to offend two men he was about to kill, one should go to the other side at peace not fussin' over what the man who killed you just called ya.  "See, my morning was going well, til' you shit-dicks decided to go jackholeing it all up,"  he had a pistol in each hand and surplus of ill intend in each eye (with a smidgen of charm in his grin).  "So here we are... on the raggedy edge.  See, I don't like the edge... it's a complicated place."

Jezebel and Scarlet spat lead and their explosive screams echoed through out the horizon.  "...and I do so hate complicated."

Spoiler

Two-Fisted, one bullet for each of em'.

Roll(2d10): 7,1
Roll(2d6):5,5
Keeping the 7 and the 5

Roll(2d6)+1:6,6+1 (13 damage!)
Roll(2d6):2,5+1 (8 damage!)

 

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That pause was the last mistake the brave would make in his life. Samuel's secret may have been magic, but flinging around cards of arcane power was something he reserved for the monsters and abominations. In most cases, he'd learned to be effective with a gun, all the more so since he'd been in his share of life or death situations depending on it. The Irish youth raised up his Colt and fired a shot.

Mounted and slowed by his turn, the Indian was an easy target and tumbled off his horse. On the ground, lying on his back, his body displayed a clear wound ripped right through the chest. You didn't come back from that - well, at least with any power or knowledge that was purely mundane. After all, Sam had fought the walking dead before.

Spoiler

Shooting d6; Wild Die: 1D6.OPEN(6) = [6, 3] = 9
1D6.OPEN(6) = [2] = 2

That's a hit with a raise!

Damage: 3D6+1 = [4, 4, 4]+1 = 13

Shot Counter: 5/6
Ammo Total: 49/50

Fate Chips: White x1, Blue x1
Power Points: 8/10

 

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Her shot just passed right over Black Stick's shoulder. For a moment he looked surprised, but right quick his twisted mask of anger returned and he charged. Tabitha was ready for him, or so she thought, sidestepping his club as he swing it at her, but it was the recovery that she was not ready for. The club stuck her in the shoulder, causing her to to turn and flinch in pain, lowering her rifle for a moment. That was gonna leave a bruise.. and tore her shirt too!

"Why you...!" she exclaimed, stopping just short of cussin'. Tabitha was raised right, and tried not to cuss, but sometimes her blood was too hot and she could spew out a stream of obscenities and expletives that would make even the dirtiest old cowboy blush.

"This is my good shirt!" she snarled as she hefted her rifle butt back up to her bruised shoulder, operated the lever, took aim and fired.

She missed again! Her shot went wide, missing the mounted brave. Her shoulder was sore and she was breathing fast, both were affecting her aim.

Fine! She would just settle things the old fashioned way...

Tabitha's left hand slid down the barrel of her Winchester, soon joined by her other hand as she he brought the weapon back over her shoulder. Black Stick reared his horse around, unfazed by the gunshot, but surprised by her brutally simple tactic, which seemed to catch him off guard as he caught the rifle stock right in his bread basket, easily unhorsing him and knocking the wind right outta him with the mighty blow. 

 

Spoiler

Spirit roll to Unshake
2D6 => 5 , 2
Keeping the 5
5 vs TN 4 = Success

Taking a Shooting action and a Fighting action.

Shooting at Black Stick
Dicepool: 1d8 + 1d6 - 2
Roll: 1D8 = 7, 1d6 = 2
Keeping the 7
(7 - 2) = 5 = Miss!


Swinging rifle stock at Black Stick
Dicepool: 1d8 + 1d6 - 3
1d8 = 8 (ACE!), 1d6 = 4
Reroll the 1d8 = 5
Final totals: 1d8 = 13, 1d6 = 2
Keeping the 13
13 - 3 = 10 = Success!

Damage
Dicepool: 3d6
Roll: 2D6 => (6 +3) = 9
9 Damage!

Going to drop the damage to 0 and unhorse his ass!

 

Ammo:
Winchester '73 - 13/15
Colt Frontier - 5/6
Spare .44-40 rounds x29

Fate Chips: White x1, Blue x1

 

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The brave was a better fighter. With a malicious grimace he steps towards Feng and almost casually sinks a tomahawk into her chest!

Spoiler

[Spending a white chip to soak
Soak roll: 6 & 2, keeping the 6
Popping: 6(p) + 5 = 11 (2 soaked)


Spending a blue chip for an extra d6: 6 
Popping: 6(p) + 6(p) + 4
11 + 16 = 27 (Soaked, bitches!)


Or almost sinks the weapon into her chest.

Fang jumped forward, tucking her body into a ball and rolling through his legs. His tomahawk whistled through the air where she had just been, leaving the brave blinking. She came up in a crouch, her hands braced on the floor, and her fingers found and curled around the spear haft. 

With a savage grin, she rose into her feet, falling into the familiar spear form, the tip pointed low. The Indian turned to face a suddenly armed opponent, but he was one of the braves, and unafraid of his enemies. He stepped forward and she snapped the spear up, using it’s reach to stab at him safely. 

Spoiler

Attack (d8 + WD): 6 & 3, 6 total, hit
Damage (d8 + d6): 3 + 6(p) + 4 = 13, Dead 


The spear sliced into his chest, the small, sharp blade piercing skin easily. She pulled the spear back, stepping into another form for a second attack, and red blood rolled down his chest. Fang’s eager grin disappeared as the man collapsed, moving weakly. The spears for sparring in the wu kwan had been blunt practice tips, not lethal weapons. 

He was dying. She could see it in his eyes, in the lost horror, though even that was fading. He was dying, and she’d caused his death. 
Someone screamed nearby, and Fang ducked reflexively, her eyes wide. There was still fighting, still enemies waiting to kill her, but she glanced once more at the now-still body before she started to climb free of the wreckage. 
 

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Though Claire realized the gift she'd been given...the hand of her attacker turned aside...she also realized that just standing around gawking was not going to go well for her. Impulsively, she grabbed the axe that had been blown aside and hurried towards the first other person she saw of the non-Indian persuasion. Another woman who was beset by another man. This one carried a staff made of burned wood or something!

She had no idea how to use one of these tomahawk things, and even less will to do so. Even the Indians were men...even if they had yet to be brought to Jesus and the Lord God, that didn't put them beyond redemption. She'd taken it more to prevent them from doing more harm with it than with any thought of trying to do harm.

The wind followed her footsteps, rising up in a funnel of dust and smoke and debris that loomed behind her.

"Don't worry!" urged Claire to Tabitha. "He is with us."

The windstorm roared over the Indian with the black staff, engulfing him.

Move to Tabitha, grabbing the tomahawk her attacker missed with, then move the windstorm over so it affects Black Staff, but just at the edge, so Tabitha is not affected.

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Becca was making her way through the wreckage when two braves suddenly appeared before her. Before she - or they - could react, two shots rang out from behind. The two braves shuddered and then crumpled to the ground, leaving Hadicall grinning at Becca. Nearby, another survivor, a flame-haired son of Ireland, looked over the remains of his kill, taking a moment to savor the victory or just process the moment - from a look, one couldn't tell which. Feng pulled herself from the train car just a few feet from Samuel; they could all hear and see the clatter as the remaining braves rallied together and veered off from the crash site.

All of them save two: Black Stick would not let this day end with the uppity white woman killing his braves; the one after Claire was honestly just looking to get his tomahawk back before leaving when he ran smack into Black Stick's rearing steed. Black Stick snarled at the unnatural wind tunnel bearing down on him, but it seemed not to slow him any. He pulled himself up ran after Tabitha, war club raised for a killing blow, but the grit and dirt in his eyes from the wind has him whiffing the air next to her! 

Spoiler

Vigor Roll for Whirlwind:
Roll(1d8)+0:
5,+0
Total:5
Pass!

Attack Roll w/Improved Frenzy:
Roll(1d6)+0:
1,+0
Total:1
Roll(1d10)+0:
7,+0
Total:7
Roll(1d10)+0:
1,+0
Total:1
Total: 7 - 4 for blinded is 3 vs. Parry 6, miss!

Also, you are all within range of each other now. There are only the two Indians left, Black Stick and the slap stick brave behind him. 

 

 

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"Ma'am," Hadicall tilted his hat upwards with Jezebel's barrel.  "Hope the morning found you well n' good.  Hope them boys didn't have your name on em, on account of them trippin' and falling down a flight o' bullets.  Benn kinda... "one of those", if you smell what I'm steppin' in."  He turned about to face the finale of this whole bona fide soup sandwich and Scarlet scratched an itchy spot at his hairline right above his ear.  Her barrel was still warm, but she sure knew how to be tender.  He cocked his head at the slapstick brave trying his best to not end up coming back as a buffalo turd in his next life.  "Yeah... y'know ladies... not sure I can do it.  Seems more of a punishment to leave this boy alive..."

Hadicall walked over and picked up the Brave's tomahawk right around the same time the Brave had blindly approached Hadicall reaching for it.  The problem came to be when the Brave found himself weaponless while Hadicall had both a tomahawk in one hand and a gun pointed int the Brave's face in the other.  He cocked the hammer back.  "Here we are, Mr. Brave... on the raggedy edge."

The Brave stood tall, ready to face his death.  His look was a proud one, a noble man who came to terms with the spirits long ago.  If this was his fate, so be it.  "I reckon enough have died this day, don't you?  Now, I believe a warrior needs his weapon, an I ain't one to go shootin' unarmed men.  So, I'ma give this back to you and you're gonna go your way and we're gonna go ours, and maybe one day we'll see each other again.  Then, we can go on and start killin' one another like civilized folk."  His spun the tomahawk around and offered it to the Brave.  He offered it haft first, a sign that he trusted the Brave to have a weapon in his hand and at the ready to be used against Hadicall.  They were both risking their lives at the moment.  "Go home.  Drink to our fallen and I'll drink to yours.  We're both makin' out good on this deal, don't complicate it."

Spoiler

There's no point in killing everything for sake of killing everything.  Hadicall isn't stupid though, and Scarlet is ready to fire if this guy wants to go and complicate matters.

If there is an associated roll for this guy understanding Hadi, or convincing him to not be a dumb ass, I leave that in the hands of the Marshall.

 

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Tabitha heard over her shoulder the sound of a woman's voice, speaking English and offering reassurance. As she glanced back at the voice a rush of wind and dust swept right past her, engulfing the (somehow) even more enraged Black Stick. Good thing too, because with the way he was swingin that club, it would have clobbered Tabitha... if he could have hit her. The wind and dust proved too much though, cutting into his eyes, causing his first swing to miss wide, while his second was batted away by Tabitha's rifle stock.

Though she badly, oh so badly, wanted to beat this Indian to a bloody pulp with the butt of her rifle, she knew better. He had already proved to be quite a ferocious combatant and he needed to be put down, NOW. Bruised shoulder or no, at this range she couldn't miss. So Tabitha brought her rifle butt back to her shoulder and ejected the spent cartridge while chambering a new one.

The motion did not go unnoticed by Black Stick though. He knew the ways of the white man, and knew of their weapons all too well. The mighty brave reflexively leaned to the side and swung his club at her rifle, trying to knock it down and away from him as he tried to get out of her sights just as the barrel of her Winchester spit out a single round in a cloud of smoke and fire.

But he was a beat of a hummingbird's wings too slow...

The hunk of lead caught the brave right in the heart, as if it had been signed and delivered by the Grim Reaper himself. His eyes went wide in surprise as the bullet tore through his body. This was not an outcome he had even reckoned on happenin', but happen it did. Surrounded by wind and dust, among the twisted metal wreckage and burning ghost rock, Black Stick drew his last breath, dropped his club, and fell to the ground, adding to the dead, both braves and white men, littered all around them.

"Durn right He is!" Tabitha exclaimed, looking back over her shoulder at the woman who had offered her the reassurance, with a smile as wide as the Mississippi.

She then crouched down and picked up the gnarled, wooded club. One day, this club would spark this story for her kids of her time out west...

 

Spoiler

Shooting Black Stick
Dicepool: 1d8+1d6
Roll: 1D8 = 7, 1d6 = 1
Keeping the 7
7 vs 7 Parry = Success!

Damage
Dicepool: 2d8, AP 2
Roll: 2D8 => 8 (ACE!) + 5
Re-rolling the 8: 1D8 => 8 (ACE AGAIN!)
Re-rolling the 8: 1D8 => 7 
Totals: 23 + 5 = 28
28 Damage!

 

Ammo:
Winchester '73 - 12/15
Colt Frontier - 5/6
Spare .44-40 rounds x29

Fate Chips: White x1, Red x1, Blue x1

 

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Spoiler

You are all out of combat. There are the dead and dying all around, horses fleeing or still closed up, and ghost rock screaming around. I'm going to give you all a little to socialize and move on in a day or two. 

 

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Claire stared goggle-eyed as the brave was gunned down before her eyes. Abruptly everything that was happening slammed back into her as the windstorm dissipated. The sense of presence receded, and the realization that she'd been on a train that had crashed...and been attacked by Indians...and so many people had died...could no longer be ignored in the moment.

She frantically threw the tomahawk to the ground and crossed herself. Then she looked around and had to cover her mouth.

"I...I don't want to be impolite, but..." Claire's voice was faint now, but she was staying on her feet. A pretty lady with dark hair done up; her bonnet having been blown off her head, wearing a dark blue dress of conservative cut and style, her expression was one of dawning shock and horror. "...I need to help these people. I'm glad you're all right. Um, thank you." Her voice had a slight Yankee accent.

Managing a shaky smile for Tabitha, Claire turned and surveyed the wreckage for survivors. There would be Last Rites for the dead, but the first priority had to be preserving as many as possible from that grim necessity.

She thanked God for guiding her to take the nurse's training before leaving the convent. She, and many others, would be needing it today.

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Shoving the club into her saddlebags still resting on her shoulder, Tabitha shouldered her Winchester again and scanned the general area and then the ridge line as Claire spoke.

"I thank ya kindly for those words of inspiration, ma'am." she said, tugging on the brim of her stetson and lowering her her rifle.

"If we're gonna have a chance out here, then we need to check for horses. It could be days or weeks before another train comes..." she thought aloud.

Her gaze then shifted down to the bodies around her and she nodded.

"But you're right. People first. It's only right an' proper." she sighed reluctantly.

She had been so caught up in her own self preservation that she had not really stopped to take in her surroundings. It all happened to damn fast! One moment she was holding staggerin' to her feet, and the next she was fighting off Indian braves! She had no idea how many idea passengers were still alive, but from the looks of it, not many. What the crash hadn't killed the Indians mostly took care of.

"We hafta be quick though. We might've fought them off for now, but this is there territory. I reckon it won't be long til they come back with more ready to avenge their dead." she said as she walked over to Claire, swapped her rifle to her left hand, resting the buttplate on her hip and crouched down to pick up the tomahawk. She had lost her knife, and who knows what else, in the crash, so the tomahawk might come in handy.

"The name's Tabitha Charlene Whitman, but you can call me 'Charlie' if ya like. Pleased to make your acquaintance." she said, introducing herself as she rose back up and tucked the tomahawk in her belt. Slowly drew her six shooter, holding it out in her open palm and offering it to Claire.

"Here. In case they come back before we hit the trail. You know how to use a six gun?" she asked.

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Claire looked down at the gun with a moment of alarm, then gingerly took it by the barrel and replaced the weapon in Tabitha's hand with her own hand, and shook it.

"Claire Reynolds," she said. "And I really don't. Not even a little. Here?" She timidly offered the gun back. "I studied to be a nurse though. I may be able to help some of these people. I have to try."

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"Suit yer self." With a shrug, Tabitha took back her Colt and returned the revolver to its holster.

"Well Claire, you best get to yer nursin' an' such, and in a right hurry. I'll help, if I can. An' if anybody is beyond help, let me know, and I'll do the merciful thing an' put 'em outta their misery right quick. It'll be a damn sight better than what those savages will do to 'em." she offered as she began to slip cartridges from her gun belt and into her Winchester without even looking, as her eyes scanned the ridge again.

"I heard a mess a gunshots over yonder, so it appears we ain't the only survivors who managed to give'em hell." she said, motioning with he rifle.

"Y'all okay over there?" Tabitha called out toward where she heard the over half a dozen gunshots earlier. 

 

Spoiler

Ammo:
Winchester '73 - 15/15
Colt Frontier - 5/6
Spare .44-40 rounds x26

Fate Chips: White x1, Red x1, Blue x1

 

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20 hours ago, Hadicall Cerauno said:

 "Go home.  Drink to our fallen and I'll drink to yours.  We're both makin' out good on this deal, don't complicate it."

  Reveal hidden contents

 

Becca listened to the mouthy cowboy sweet talk the brave as her eyes took in the tablou before her. Before the braves hand closed on the shaft of the tomahawk her pistol clears the holster and she put two rounds through his head.

Hadicall  jumped and spun pointing his gun at the blonde woman "What the..."

" He twitched." Was all she said as she holstered her gun. She glanced around saw a few others standin and no more indians at least for the minute. "We better get horses and get gone before more come."

 

OOC : POSTING ON PHONE  NO ACCESS  TO DICE ROLLERS TOOK DRAMATIC LIBERTY

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"Man didn't twitch,"  Hadiacall said flatly.  "Yer as much a liar as y'are a right bastard.  If you're murder an unarmed man, at least have the gall and the gumption to do it honestly."  Didn't rightly matter to him, he didn't pull the trigger.  She had to walk with that ghost nippin' at her heels.

He looked to the survivors as people were crying over their loved ones and rummage through what was left their lives.  "Crazy bitch is right though, more'll come, if nothing more than for the lootn'.  Gather what you can, we need to go."

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Fang climbed on top of what was left of her private car, and stopped, staring. The train lay scattered on either side of the rail like discarded toys tossed by a giant. Ghost rock burned and screamed in little piles. Corpses were sprinkled around, some broken and burnt, but a number with arrows protruding. She’d not been the only one to take a life. 

A gunshot behind her marked the last of the Indians going down by the hand of a white woman. She was far from the only one bearing arms, and Fang took a longer look at the bodies around her car. 

Fan. Jianyu. Niu. Hong. Peng. Ai. Shan. Rong. Zixin. Gaoliang. One by one, she accounted for all of her companions among the dead. She was alone, in the desert, with a bunch of white savages.

She looked to the front of the train, trying to see the cause of the accident. A big hole opened into the earth, but the engine lay on its side next to the hole, so that hadn't been the cause. All she could figure is that something had made the ground rise and fall like a washboard, taking the tracks with them. The train had never had a chance to stay on the rails when they bucked like a bronco.

Her first instinct was to cry, to curl up into a ball until this nightmare ended. Tears welled as she started to give in, only to realize that course of action would end the nightmare rather effectively when she died. Choking her sobs into silent tears, she climbed back down into the wreckage and started to look for supplies. She’d need them.
 

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It all faded away rather quickly, Sam observed, the rush of battle as everything settled down. The Indians broke off, and so Samuel was left with what he had to carry, a wrecked trail, and a surrounding desert. He picked up that he wasn't alone, a Chinese woman, who looked like a barber's cat with all the carnage and destruction around her. Then he picked up the other yellow-skinned bodies.

Looked like her friends or family. All taken now. As a orphan of two years, Samuel understood her grief well. He followed her in the search for supplies - water, food, perhaps extra guns from the passengers. "I know what it's like to lose your loved ones." He told Wei Fang as he got to work beside her. "All the more when violence took them. There's a time when you can sob it out, but for them, right now you have to be strong and survive. And maybe get some revenge on the ones responsible. I'm still working on that one."

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"Because I'm sure a woman who just killed a man with her bare hands needs a lecture on when to sob.  She's alive and one hell of a fighter, so I'd say she's got strong and survivor down pretty well.  So, if you'r edone serenading the lady with today's lesson in how to be redundant... get'cher gear, and hers, and get ready to move out."  Hadicall walked among the survivors and didn't appear to impressed.  This many gunslingers among the train, and only the gunslingers made it.  Judging from the behavior he'd seen so far he was pretty sure a few of them had killed the people on the train for a chance at their goods.  As it stood he was of the mind that he'd just killed one group of savages and been let with another.

"Name's Hadicall Cerauno," he said loud enough for everyone to hear.  "When the cuss'in starts, as it inevitably will, I think y'all should know who exactly your cuss'in at.  Now... someone please tell me my horse ain't dead.  Dark brown, attitude, can't miss it..."

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Becca took a cigarillo from her pocket and struck a match against the hammer of her daddies pistol. She drew a lungful of the sweet smoke and blew the cloud toward Hadicall "You do like the sound of your voice dont ya. Mail cars this way, saddles will be there. Why don't you quit flappin yer lips and round up some horses." 

Not waiting for an answer Becca picks her way toward the mail car.

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"Well, shit," Hadi said, looking towards the mail car and beyond where the horses would be.  Chances are she was going to shoot him and dump the body, so he remained on alert.  "For the record, this woman is obviously crazy, so if I don't come back chances are she's raped and murdered me.  Please to it that this woman is properly hanged for my murder.  I'm willing to the let the rape thing go on account that she is a mite easy on the eyes... and probably needs it more than I do..."

He set about his task though, counting out the survivors and getting them their horses.  The horses seemed to have fared better than the passengers, after all the Indians had use for horses, white people... eh, not so much.  Those horses that didn't belong to them, he set free.  Giving them a slap and sending them on their way so they could take their owners souls to the after life.  Sure it was superstitious and a bit hokey, but the dead were rising from the grave, Hell's minions were all about the train was powered by infernal rocks.  He may as well hope that something in this world was still sacred.

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She was too late.

Claire realized it as soon as she started searching through the wreckage. The sobs and cries had disappeared. There was nothing but the unearthly noise of the burning 'ghost rock' and the crackling of flame and the pinging of hot metal.

Even so, she searched. Looked for an unconscious man or woman who's chest was still moving. For someone struggling to move under debris, or eyes that were open and focusing even if they couldn't make a noise.

Lord, thy will is hard.

There was so much fire and blood and death. Claire thought she'd reconciled herself to the idea of how a cruel world could reflect a loving God, but here and now her philosophizing in the convent seemed like such a small thing. One could imagine a larger context where this disaster was a small piece of a vast puzzle...but she was a human being.

When she returned to where Tabitha had been, tears were streaking her soot-stained cheeks.

Love could be cruel sometimes.

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Fang frowned at the white boy when he followed her, talking to her. His words were kind, but she knew white men. They came in two types, and sweet as honey was one. She managed a smile for him, hoping he would take that to mean she was non-threatening. It was a harder sell with the dead man at her feet, certainly.

Then the other man with the unpronounceable name spoke, and Fang realized she was stuck here with the other kind of white man, too. Sighing to herself, she found a shoulder bag and began to stuff her clothing inside it. She took the spear up again, then picked up the sword. She might not need them in the future, but she had to protect herself now. Think, think. What do you need to live? Clothing. Food. Water. Lianhua Xue… if she survived the crash. The thought that her horse might be dead brought new tears.

Someone mentioned the mail car, and Fang realized that was where she could find her pet. She picked up her heaviest boots and shoved them into the bag as well, then rose to leave. The boy offered to take some of her things, but Fang shook her head demurely and smiled. “No, thank you,” she all-but whispered, taking a firmer grip on her things. 

They hadn’t bought much in the way of survival gear, but when she stepped outside, she saw a few basics. Those aren’t yours. She hesitated only a moment before picking the canteen up and slinging it over her shoulder. They aren’t anyone’s anymore. She thought longer before picking up the pistol and ammo and tucking it into her sash. Then she joined the others in looking for horses.

Lianhua had not only survived unscratched, she allowed the loud man to catch her. “Lian!” Fang cried as she saw the horse and ran to her side. As Lianhua nosed in her hand looking for treats, the young woman smiled widely, petting her face. <“I am glad you survived,”> she told the horse, then realized she was being rude. She glanced shyly at Hadicall and murmured, “Thank you.”

Perhaps, she thought as she spotted her tack nearby and led her horse to it, she could survive this, and find her way home.

<...> indicates speaking in Mandarian
 

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Tabitha looked around at the wreckage and checked a couple of bodies while Claire did as well, and quickly she arrived at a conclusion.

What the wreck didn't kill, the Indian braves did. Frankly, she don't see nothing all that 'brave' about killing the wounded, women and children. From the looks of Claire, when she returned, it seems she had come to the same conclusion as well. Casually resting the butt of her rifle on her hip still, Tabitha walked toward Claire and put an arm around her, holding her close.

"It's tough. I know. But right now, as hard as it is, you need to save your tears for your pillow. We need to mount up and get out of here. We gave the Indians a whoopin, but it will not take long for them to get back their nerve and return to finish what they started here." she said to Clair as she llooked her in the eyes and wiped away a tear from her cheek with a gloved thumb.

"Think you can manage that?" she asked, trying to encourage her.

"Right now it looks like you an me, a couple of folks over yonder, and that lady chinaman are the only survivors." she said to Clair as she motioned to Fang, standing atop her topped car, with a nod of her head.

"Now let's be polite and make introductions." she said to Claire, urging her over to the other survivors.

Once they were close to the other, Tabitha nodded her head to them in greeting.

"Howdy." she said as she took stock of the other survivors.

From the sounds of the shooting, they mostly seem handy with a six gun, and if those braves come after them, more guns would come in handy. Judging by their holsters and gun belts, a couple of them looked like gun hands, the third was a young man. A boy anywhere else, to be honest, but the frontier had a way of maturin' the young. And then there was the lady chinman. Tabitha had seen a few before, but she looked different. More well to do.

"I'm Tabitha Charlene Whitman, but you can call me Charlie if ya like. And this here is Clarie... Reynolds?" she asked, making sure she had her name right.

"It looks like the six of us are the only survivors. I reckon it's best if we stick together skedaddle while the gettin's good. I don't know about any of you, but I know trackin' and navigatin' an' such, did it plenty on the range, so I think we call help each other out. It's the decent thing to do. But if any or all of you want to take your chances alone, well then, that's your right. But if those braves come back to finish what they started, or come after us, we'll be thankful for every gun we can have." she suggested.

Tabitha let them think it over and come to their own conclusions as Hadicall fetched the horses and she went seek out saddles.

It seemed most every had a horse, aside from the young man, and they looked no worse for rare. Being in the back of the line of cars minimized their injury. She saddled her horse, throwing her saddle bags on it and stuffing her Winchester back in its boot on the saddle. She then helped Clair saddle her horse as well, all the while she kept checking the ridge line for any signs of the Indians' return.

Finally mounted again, Tabitha felt a little more at ease, like she had a piece of home with her. She patted her horse on the neck and looked at the others.

 

Spoiler

 

Ammo:
Winchester '73 - 15/15
Colt Frontier - 5/6
Spare .44-40 rounds x26

Fate Chips: White x2, Red x1, Blue x1

 

 

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"Well, y'don't say?"  Hadicall said with obvious sarcasm in his tone.  Becca was still gathering the saddle and tack while he'd already begun leading the horses to where Becca was waiting.  "You being the third person to say that, and with her getting saddles ready and what with me collecting the horses up... my, it's a good thing you came along when you did, or I doubt the poor blonde and I coulda put two and two together.  Much obliged.  By all means don't stop on my account, shower me with more of your wisdom!  Perhaps once we saddle the horses... you reckon we should ride them?"

This was the problem with strangers, they all wanted to lead and not listen.  Hadi hated strangers, from his experience strangers meant that none of them could be trusted and before one of, or all of them knew it, they were gonna be back stabbed and left for dead in the dust.  His money was on Becca, she'd already had a scary kinda bloodlust in her eyes, the kind that made Scarlet all kinds of tingly.  Oh well, nothing left to do but get to the nearest civilized land and be rid of them... or what was left of them.

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Somehow hearing that man lash out at everyone in fear and anger helped Claire get a grip on herself even more than Tabitha's kindness had. It was a stern reminder that she had responsibilities to attend to. She couldn't help the dead, but there were still living here. Still men and women in need of healing...if not in body, then in soul.

"Mister," Claire said to Hadicall, stepping away from Tabitha and crossing some of the distance between him and her. "Things are going to be all right for us. You don't have to be afraid anymore. Our Lord walks with us. He has brought us together. I know it's hard to see past the...the horror of all this, believe me." Her eyes dropped for a moment, then returned to meet his. "We've got to try though, we've got to work together. I know there is a greater purpose being served here today. And with this terrible price being paid, what we are being gathered for must be something fierce important."

"We're all upset, and we're all afraid, mister. Lets not turn on each other."

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Becca took a cigarillo from her pocket and walked her horse,Pete, now saddled, over next to where Hadicall was being  comforted by what looked like a school marm.

She held the small cigar out to him "Smoke?"

He took it from her and she mounted up. 

"This is gonna be fun." 

She spun the horse to face Tabitha, "Well, you're the scout, which way we going?"

 

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"Well, ma'am, I appreciate what yer' trying to do, I do, but this ain't fear.  Since y'don't know me an all I'll say this once, and as polite as I can... you're welcome in my company.  God ain't."

At the offer of a cigarillo Hadicall sighed with relief.  "Oh, woman, you are an angel.  Much obliged."  He quickly lit it up and got to work saddling his horse which was a dark brown mustang that seemed to have as much attitude as he previously claimed.

"How it you lived through that?"  His horse neighed something sarcastic, possibly vulgar.  "Yeah, yeah, keep it up and I'll shoot you myself."

It neighed and whinnied in something that sounded like a laugh.

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"You're right." she said to Claire with a nod.

Hadicall was being a sarcastic horse's ass, but that was likely his way of coping with his own fear.

"Things are bad enough as they are. No need to let them degenerate further." she added as she shot Hadicall a sideways glance, over her shoulder.

"Well, that's the thing about the Lord. He's everywhere, and need not be obliged." she then said to Hadicall over her shoulder with a smile before looking to Becca.

The gunslinger was not particularly wordy, but Hadicall more than picked up the slack for her. She had a few words for him too, but she let them go. Claire was right, it wouldn't help right now. There would be time for settling scores eventually, if it came to that. After all, she did not have to like all the people she had been thrust together with, she just had to work with them for the time being, or at least try and keep them alive.

"Now I ain't never said I was no scout. I just know trackin' and navigatin' and huntin' and such. Had to,  roundin' up mavericks, trackin' down rustlers and doin' our cattle drives. But I can get us out of here in one piece, don't you worry 'bout that.." she clarified.

"As far as which way, that depends. I don't know about all of you, but I hopped that train to go out west. So if I had my druthers, we'd continue west. We could ride on down the track, but the Indians will probably reckon that is what we'll do. Since we don't know our whereabouts right now, we'd be damn fools not to use it for the time being though. So I say we head westerly, blazing our own trail for the time being, and keep the track in sight. Sooner or later it, or we, will cross a trail, river or somethin'. Then we can try to get our bearings an' go from there."  she explained.

"If that suits everybody, then I'll lead the way. The last stop was a day and a half ago an' the next one wasn't for another day, an' that's by train. We're a might bit slower on horseback, so we have some serious saddle time in front of us." she added, rearing her horse.

"Follow me." she said as she started leading any who would follow. 

They passed the wrecked rail cars along the track, the horses picking their way through the debris, bodies and ghost rock until they neared the engine and found a huge hole in the earth. 

"What in tarnation?" she asked, mostly to herself, at the sigh of the hole.

Tabitha hopped off her horse and crouched by the hole, lookin' and listenin' for a minute before she stood up and kicked a few small piece of ghost rock into it, only to look and listen again, picking up the echos. 

"Well, we might have gotten lucky." Tabitha said as she walked back over to her horse and hopped on.

"We're not all equipped for the desert sun and heat, nor do we have the water to tough it out. We were gonna have to take our chances on findin' more. And we're only as fast as our slowest horse or rider. But this here hole might be a blessin'. It angles down into some underground cave, or more likely, caves. Since we cannot wait till night to ride to avoid the heat, we're short on water and ill equipped to deal with it anyways, our best bet may be to follow this cave. I heads West, and it's natural, so should be safe. Looks wide enough that we can ride, two by two down 'em too. It keeps us out of the sun, we have a better chance of findin' water, and it's a damn sight cooler down there too. And if the Indians come after us, the narrow cave negates their numbers. We'll just need some light. Lanterns if you can find 'em. Or we can make torches." she explains as she rides to the edge of the hole letting it examine the debris-strewn incline as she hops off and begins to look for lanterns, or barring that, fashion torches.

"If it doesn't pan out, then at least we stayed out of the sun in a more defensible position and can come back out at dusk. And who knows, we might even find a gold or silver vein and strike it rich." she finished jokingly.

 

Spoiler

Ammo:
Winchester '73 - 15/15
Colt Frontier - 5/6
Spare .44-40 rounds x26

Fate Chips: White x2, Red x1, Blue x1

 

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"And you thought I loved the sound of my voice?"  Hadicall asked Becca jokingly, who he was riding along side of.

He spoke up so everyone could hear him.  "Darlin' I hate to interrupt the Tabitha Show, you got goin' on, but if you wanna ride your horse into a pitch black cave be my guest."  He dismounted and gave his steed a few pats on the cheek.  Despite how he talked, he seemed to care for the beast.  "I recommend we lead em', lest you want to tumble when they do, but, it's your show.  See, horses don't see like we do, directly in front of them, their vision is rather poor, especially in the dark.  In a cave, directly in front of them is their only option.  Not to mention leading the horse will prolly save it's life, considering the footing you might find underground.  Ride if you like, I'll walk and meet up with you later.  I ain't one to tell people their business."

"Well, what say y'folks?  We going underground?  It's a sound plan, prolly more comfortable underground than up here."  His vision panned around as he talked, keeping his eyes on the horizon for possible ambushes.  "But let's not take too long deciding..."

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Becca raised an eyebrow, shook her head slightly but said nothing. She climbed out of the saddle and walked up to the edge of the hole and peered in.

"Awfully goddamned convenient don'tcha think." She turns back and pulls he rifle from the saddle scabbard, checks that it's loaded and works the action to chamber a round. "But I ain't got no better idea."

"You want to take the front with ...uh..Charlie, here," She asks Hadical nodding at Tabitha, "or watch our trail?"

She waits for Hadicall's answer there at the edge and looks over the remainder of the survivors the good looking boy, the school marm, and the china-girl. Her eyes narrow as they linger on the celestial.

 

Spoiler

ooc - reminder Becca has told no one her name yet

 

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"I'll take the rear, I know what's behind us.  Rather one of you fall before me, after all, I know me.  You five?  Not so much."  Hadi said with a smirk.  "Dunno why you wanna explore it anyway, but I'd rather I have five chances of surviving being in the middle of nowhere 'stead o'one.  May as well put preacher girl back ere' with me too.  Like I said, we know what's behind us, it'll be easier to keep her safe considering she don't seem to have any meritable skills aside from letting everyone do everything for her."

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