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Scion: Legends of the Wild West - Part 1b: For A Few Scions More


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August 1875, Dodge City, Kansas

The sound coming from Hammersmith Foundry & Metalworks was enough to drive away anybody who didn't have reason to be there. Somewhere inside Chrysanthemum Hammersmith was no doubt tampering with some contraption that would either explode or tear another new hole in that workshop barn of hers. The thing that looked like a man but wasn't pumped the bellows as Chrys hammered away on ... something. The interlocking rings of iron did not have any obvious purpose to those who might have looked in. Even had Hephaestus himself looked in he may have been unsure of his daughter's intent.

Unfortunately for Hadicall Cerauno his horse needed a new shoe, and he'd been told, correctly so, that this was the shop of the finest blacksmith in all of Kansas. He led the beast into the barn and observed what was without a doubt the least likely blacksmith in all of Kansas working on whatever it was she was working on. After a moment Chry's attention was caught and she ceased hammering. The idiot pumping the bellows however kept right on pumping.

At the train depot a locomotive sat ticking and hissing as the passengers disembarked. Cora Magnolia Greene retrieved her horse from the beat's stall and headed toward the center of town. She had no particular rush and instead rode at an easy pace looking for an inn for a proper bed to sleep in and a hot meal for the night. She was here for a reason, unfortunately that reason wasn't immediately clear to her. There was time enough to find out. In the meantime a nice bath would be a relaxing counterpoint to the train ride here.

"Ian" Gallagher rode into town at a leisurely pace, that his horse moved as fast as a Mustang at full gallop was an issue of the creature's heritage. That it refused to move faster, and gave Ian attitude about being in a rush didn't help any. The young man was hungry, thirsty, "lonely", and trail weary. He'd just ridden in from St. Louis and his first priority was stabling his horse, the second was deciding which he needed more, food, drink, or companionship.

The woman known as Cherry rode into Dodge City without a bounty. Hard to collect one without a body or a prisoner. The last fella she'd been after had tumbled like so much dead weight into the river and lickety split her bounty had washed down stream like a fart in the wind. The exotic beauty rode with purpose toward the Sheriff's office. Another job, another piece of shit behind bars or dead and moved on to his next life, those things would make up for the wasted effort of the last ten days. Cherry passed an often patched building that echoed with the sounds of a smithy. The sound subsided and peering in from her saddle she saw the proprietor was a young woman, talking to an older man, judging by the gray in his hair anyways.

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Dodge City was nothing at all like St. Louis, the striking, dark-eyed young Scion lamented as she and Callie ambled quietly along Front Street. Dust, and wind, and an assemblage of odors never before commingled in any realm higher than Hades assailed her, and she wrinkled her nose unhappily. Unless he was particularly desperate, Cora didn't think she'd find her quarry here, among the buffalo hunters and soiled doves, and, yet, here she was, trying to hold her breath long enough to find a reasonable-looking hotel.

There was trouble on every side, leering at the well-dressed maiden and her mare, and every doorway seemed dark with secrets and vice. It was a horrible place for a lady, and thus it was almost inevitable that a Scion should find herself precisely there.

"Oh, fiddlesticks," she swore primly. "I don't suppose it would be too much to ask for a respectable establishment of any kind, would it?"

As if in answer to her request, a hand-painted sign came into view as a rider on horseback moved farther down the street. Dark green letters on whitewash declared that the large, twin-columned building to her right was the Great Western Hotel, and she murmured a quiet thank-you to whatever power had kindly intervened on her behalf.

A sigh of relief escaped her lips as she saw to her horse and made her way inside.

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Cherry's pace slowed a bit as she gazed curiously at the light and noise coming out of the metalworks shop, causing Chula, her blue roan, to nicker and toss her mane. Cherry figured the horse was just about played out and was ready for a stop. They'd been riding since daybreak, so she could understand. Cherry was ready to get off her horse and go bend an elbow in a cozy saloon somewheres for a few hours herself.

But first things first. Cherry needed a face to chase, or she just didn't feel like herself. And anyways, her purse wasn't as heavy as she liked it to be lately, and that needed resolving as well. And so; to the Sheriff's office it was.

She guided Chula to the hitching post outside of the Sheriff's place and slid off the saddle, her worn boots hitting the ground lightly but kicking up a small cloud of dust nonetheless. Cherry unslung the Vajrayudha - variously called Thunderbolt, the Lightning Gun, or simply 'the rifle of Alger Grant' by others - from her slender shoulders and tucked it into its holster hanging from Chula's saddle, and then tied the horse's reins off to the hitching post. She left her old Colt Dragoon in its holster at her hip and took the short steps up to the door of the Sheriff's office.

Cherry knocked once, opened the door and stuck her head in. "Sheriff?"

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Hadicall looked about the open air forge, glancing over his shoulder at E.C. Zimmerman's General Store, before turning his attention to the Dodge City's smith. He was tell and handsome in the same way every trail worn outlaw and law man might be, not fantastically so but certainly easy on the eyes. Although young his long hair was streaked white at his temples, pulled back and tied with thin leather thong. Faded Denim and long brown duster leather covered a sweat soaked shirt. At his hip was a gun, or more appropriately, a six-shot hand cannon that seemed to shimmer blue in the sunlight. He wore the badge of a lawman, a five pointed star that the blacksmith guessed was made from platinum or electrum. Instead of saying 'Sheriff' or some other some other title it just had Ω embossed largely in it's center.

He looked at the blacksmith. "Ma'am. Hadicall Cerauno, Son of Zeus, Prince of Olympus and kicker of aaaalllll kindsa ass." He smiled a bright white smile. "So if you know of any ass roun' here that needs kickin' you just gimme a call cuz I'm Hadicall Cer..." He paused for a second and looked around for a moment. "I already said that part, didn't I?"

With a shrug and a smile he followed up. "Horse threw a shoe, they said yer the lady to speak to, so here I am. Pleased to meetcha n' all that."

Click to reveal..
Yes, he actually introduces himself as 'The Son of Zeus, Prince of Olympus'. Some of the other Greek Gods would take offense, if they could stop laughing long enough to muster the ire to set him straight.
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Chrysanthemum paused in her incessant hammering when she saw the old...or, not so old?...man lead his horse in. She swung it up and let it rest over her left shoulder as she listened to him. She was a little tall for women of the day and age, but not by much. Her face was round and young and her cheerful smile was deeply etched into it, dimples and all, suggesting that she did a lot of it. It was also gleaming with sweat, and smudged with soot from the forge. The rest of her was pretty well hidden behind the leather smith's apron she wore, but she had to be of fair shape, since much girth would have poked out to either side of that garment. Her hair was dirty blonde, or maybe light brown...hard to tell with the dust and soot. She kept it back with a bandanna tied around her head.

The heat baked off the curved ceramic side of the forge in waves, like a miniature sun. The anvil she was banging a piece of metal against was actually starting to glow a dull cherry on the blunt tip of it, which was close to the forge's opening. That this smith had any hair left at all was a small wonder.

"Well," she said, a trifle too loud as if talking through a noise only she could hear, "I ken help ya with the second thing at least. Wuh?"

She looked around at the giant of a man behind her, working the forge bellows.

"Oh, now cut that out! Dang idjit... Ye'd think you could tell if I was needin' more heat or not...no, just stop for now, I'll tellya when to do it more."

The blacksmith looked back at Hadicall and came over, poking one grimy hand out to shake.

"Hammersmith. Folks call me Chrys, on account that it's shorter than my given, and probably suits me better in most folk's eyes."

She grinned, and her eyes sparkled like a child sharing a private joke. She also shifted the hammer to her other shoulder...that big, black-iron hammer that looked more like its head was chipped off of something bigger than then given a flat end, than that it had been milled or machined.

"So bring the poor guy over here and keep him calm while I look at his feet...what's his name?"

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"Alpha. An if you ask me he got a got a good deal. Momma 'hadicall' me something, so she did." He replied, grinning like a idiot as he leaned to one side to get a look at the rest of her. "Well, ain't you a pretty one from the snooter to the pooter..." He winked and smiled, again like an idiot, as he thumbed over his shoulder. "Lemme go get him."

He was about three steps away when he stopped. "Hey horse... c'mere." He walked off some more and as far as anyone could tell the horse liked him about as much cats enjoyed skinny dipping. "Knock it off..." He wrestled with the reins for a moment. "Look, I said I was sorry about the cliff jumpin'. Damn, would you let it go already?! We hit water... well, you did. Get over it!"

A few moments later the horse was in where Chrys could take a look at him. Surprisingly, for her he was quite calm and relaxed having spent most of the examination making what sounded like rude noises at Hadicall followed by an occasional snort (and maybe a laugh)...

Apparently the horse was as brain dead as the so-called 'Prince of Olympus', or maybe just smarter.

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As they trotted into town, he muttered under his breath to the stunning animal, his voice a cross between irritation and resignation.

"Y'damned fool beast, I oughtta tie you up outside the bar an' make ya' wait till I quench m'own damned thirst. We coulda been here a hella' lot earlier if ya' hadn't felt like meanderin' the whole way here."

The horse let out what Ian knew to be an amused whinny, and the handsome young Scion rolled his eyes.

"Glad you think it's funny. Dear old Dad gives me the fastest mortal horse on the whole damned planet, and it likes to slow down for the damned scenery."

This time the horse let out another amused snort, and - after a slight shake of his mane to glance around and make sure no other mortals were near, it muttered back to it's rider in an all-too-human voice.

"You know damned well I can move fast when there's need. Don't see no reason to hurry when we ain't got cause to, Killian."

"Yeah yeah. C'mon, ya' fool horse - there's the stables over yonder."

Together horse and rider trotted up to the stable, and Killian dismounted, holding onto the reins of the sleek, gorgeous looking chestnut mare. He knocked firmly on the doors, then pulled one open and peered in, looking for a stable hand.

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Chrysanthemum had not spent the time Hadicall's antics afforded her idly. Rather, she popped out the door in the back and ran over to her house to grab an apple from the kitchen; fresh from the tree. She darted back to the smithy just in time to see Hadicall leading his fine animal over.

"Awww, what a beautiful horse!" she exulted, showing the fawning adoration of a girl half her age. "C'mere Alpha, I got a treat for you if you behave." She cut the apple into four wedges with her belt knife and held one close to the horse's mouth by just the tip of her fingers to avoid a nip.

"First one's free. You get another if you don't give me any trouble whilst I check your hooves."

She bestowed a sunny smile on Hadicall as the horse eyed her warily, then chomped the apple slice down.

"So, Alpha and Omega, huh? I s'pose that figures, given who you say your pa is. I expect you get into all kinds of trouble just announcin' that outright like that. Folks in these parts don't much care for gods outside the little black book."

As she chatted, Chrys settled down beside Alpha...not behind him...and carefully reached down to put her fingers on the horse's left-hind hoof, letting the horse get used to the touch before trying to lift it up to get a look at the shoe. She then repeated the process with each hoof, taking her time to do so.

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Cora found the hotel better than she expected, though still less than what she'd have wanted. Still beggars can't be choosers, at least it was clean. The woman behind the counter had a fat motherly look to her. "Good afternoon! How can I help you today Miss? Will ya be wantin' a room?"

Cora nodded and they set to getting her name in the book and her money on the counter, but not in that order. Motherly or not the woman was business first. She led the young woman up the stairs to the second floor, a young lab carried Cora's saddlebags for her and she tipped him two pennies. Cora thanked the woman and walked to the window, looking out at Dodge City for a moment. She heard the door click shut behind her and then to her surprise the proprietress spoke up again. "Deary you really should let than weasel go. He's hardly worth your time or your effort you know?"

Cora turned, and the woman standing by the door was rather not fat, though motherly was still accurate. "My child, you have work to do, and chasing some damned fool mortal isn't part of it," Persephone said.

*****

Cherry heard a grunt of acknowledgment from inside and pushed the door open. The office was full of the sheriff, a corpulent man with a bushy mustache and eyes that were as beady as they were keen peering out from his pudgy face. "Holy sh-" he rose quickly, "I'ma sorry Miss, di'n't know t'was a lady coming to ..." His voice trailed off as he took her in. Cherry was plenty attractive, and dressed in man's clothing, dusty from the trail she presented a contradictory image to the rotund sheriff. "Umm..."

Click to reveal..
(09:24:27) ChatBot: (Ouroboros) rolls 3d10 and gets 1,6,9.

"... can I help you ... miss?" Cherry nodded and asked after his current bounties. The fat man gestured to the wall with sausage-like fingers. Tacked up were various wanted posters, some with photos most without, a few with pencil drawings. She perused while the sheriff seemed to have trouble locating a proper start to whatever question he was going to ask.

*****

At the smithy Chrys was working a fresh shoe onto the horse, followed by a proper check of the other three, just to be sure. The horses owner scowled at the beast and beamed at the smith. As they worked, a smell like a week old corpse washed over them for a moment, maybe a second at most. They both rankled their noses but were brought round by the knocking on the wooden wall of the barn. "Hello? I'm looking for- OH! You appear to be busy. Shall I wait or ...?" The man at the door was of middling height and whipcord thin with dark hair that hung limply from under the bowler hat he wore.

*****

Ian walked into the little hotel, his smarmy mount in the stables next door. The desk was unoccupied for a moment and so he rang the bell. A young lad came down from the stairs, "The mistress should be right with you sir. If you'd like a sit in our parlour ..." Ian shrugged, and allowed himself to be led into the sitting room and bar that took up a good portion of the rest of the first floor. There were few people within, and a bored looking bar tender brightened.

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"Y'know I have more people ask me who he is, and if he's related to a family up in Kentucky more than contest me on the black book part." He chuckled. "Not that anyone believes me, but what the hell, right? Ol' Alpha an I got butts to kick and public opinion ain't about to get in our way."

He grinned, tucking a strand of white hair behind his ear. He only appeared in his twenties or so, but the hair around his temples and all he way back seemed bleached white. "Wish I could say more, but I'm in one of those Holy Wars, like those Platonic Knight guys back in the day. Cept' y'know, I'm actually regulating the bad guys this time."

"Huh, never though bribing him with food." It was apparent that Hadicall would talk all day if given the opportunity. His lips hadn't ceased flapping since she started hew work. "I s'pose that's no-"

He looked to the wall where the knock echoed. "Hell, friend, ain't nothing out there but sun and dust. C'mon in friend, y'may as well enjoy the shade, pretty lady an I was just talkin'."

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Ian flashed the bartender a friendly grin, and slid onto one of the worn-out stools lining the bar. He pulled his wallet out of the inside of his leather duster, opened it up, and slipped a couple bills out, tossing them onto the bar.

"Whiskey, two fingers please."

"Yessir."

He glanced around the parlor, his gaze resting for a moment on a lovely young lady sitting at a nearby table, looking as if she were waiting on someone. He winked slyly at her, a flirtatious smile tugging at the corners of his lips as he picked up the glass the bartender sat down in front of him. Then he knocked back the drink, and sat the glass down with a contented sigh, looking around and taking his first real look at the quality of the place he would be staying at for a few days as he waited for the mistress of the hotel.

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After a moment, Cherry turned away from the wall to face the corpulent Sheriff again. She could tell that he was trying (and failing) to place her face, and in so doing, the name that went along with it. And she supposed she could understand why. She knew perfectly well that it wasn't often a woman stepped into the Sheriff's office alone - in men's clothing - and started asking about bounties.

Unlike most dance hall girls, Cherry had never really learned to (or even really had much of a knack at) using her physical charms to manipulate men, and she was very much aware of this limitation and was fine with it. What she wasn't entirely aware of (yet) was just how 'physically charming' most men found her. So she didn't really see any conflict in giving the Sheriff the very same smile that she used to give the men at Fat Ann's (rather slight, but sweet and very genuine, and given while her two golden eyes stared attentively into his own), nor did she see the connection between that smile and the look that spread over the man's face immediately afterwards. Cherry was not as attuned to the emotional states of others as she might've been.

The smile faded as quickly as it appeared, and she said, "Beggin' yer pardon, Sheriff, but I seem to've lost my manners on th'way here. Folks call me Cherry. Pleased to meetcha."

Cherry offered him one leather-gloved hand - in a suitably lady-like fashion, men's clothes or not - and let him take it and offer her his own name in return. Once she had it, she took a single step closer to him and said quietly, "I expect you figured this out already, but I collect bounties by trade, an' if you were willin' to point me t'the ones on yer wall that're still likely - and'd be worth my while - well, I certainly wouldn't mind the help..."

Then she looked in the Sheriff's eyes and smiled again. In her own mind, Cherry was simply laying the plain facts about herself and her objective out on the table for the man's perusal. The notion that he might read anything more than that into the situation never even entered her head.

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Chrys looked over from the new shoe she was hammering into place and waved the newcomer in.

"Shoot, come on in! I'm just finishin' up here. A few minutes off yer feet and I'll be ready to help you out. Should be a chair over there somewhere. I use it to prop the door open when it's windy."

If the work tired her, or the momentary smell bothered her, she didn't show a thing as she happily resumed getting the horseshoe on Alpha's hoof.

"What's your name, stranger, and what kinda smithin' you need done?"

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Originally Posted By: Ouroboros
Cora found the hotel better than she expected, though still less than what she'd have wanted. Still beggars can't be choosers, at least it was clean. The woman behind the counter had a fat motherly look to her. "Good afternoon! How can I help you today Miss? Will ya be wantin' a room?"

Cora nodded and they set to getting her name in the book and her money on the counter, but not in that order. Motherly or not the woman was business first. She led the young woman up the stairs to the second floor, a young lab carried Cora's saddlebags for her and she tipped him two pennies. Cora thanked the woman and walked to the window, looking out at Dodge City for a moment. She heard the door click shut behind her and then to her surprise the proprietress spoke up again. "Deary you really should let than weasel go. He's hardly worth your time or your effort you know?"

Cora turned, and the woman standing by the door was rather not fat, though motherly was still accurate. "My child, you have work to do, and chasing some damned fool mortal isn't part of it," Persephone said.


Something behind Cora's eyes tightened, but if the sudden upwelling of frustration was visible, it was only as a brief, angry flash in the dark eyes that were so like her mother's. If anyone could have understood, she'd thought it would be her.

She allowed a sudden commotion on the opposite side of the street to catch her attention for a moment, mentally counting to ten before replying.

"Well, if it isn't the lady herself," she finally drawled, bobbing her head in a brief curtsy. "You honah me with your presence, and so soon aftah the last visit, too! How can Ah be of service to you, Ma'am?"

The response was rather more curt than the refined, wayward daughter of the South would have liked.

"Your work for me, for us, is more important than this ridiculous, petty vengeance you pursue. Forget him, and devote yourself to higher matters. Things are moving more quickly than we anticipated."

This time, Cora couldn't keep the angry flush from her cheeks. Only two decades of cultured Georgian civility kept her voice at a reasonable, conversational level, rather than the infuriated and impassioned shriek a tantrum would have warranted.

"When you told me who Ah was, Ah had no choice in the mattah. 'Go forth and perform tasks befittin' a child o' the gods, and Ah'll call on you when somethin' biggah comes along.' Ah've done that, and Ah've done everythin' else you've asked. My home, my family, Ah left them all behind to come handle the business of my ancestahs. Ah'm doin' your work, and Ah'm doin' mine, and you could just as well ask me to walk to th' moon as let him go. I assure you, ma'am, there is nothin' petty about my vengeance."
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The sheriff seemed to puff up even more at Cherry's smile, any more and he might just blow down the road like tumbleweed. "Miss bounty hunting is dangerous work for any man. Doubly so for a filly such as yourself." He gave Cherry another appraising look, "... but if you're gonna." He pulled a notice down off the board and handed it to her, "This guy shouldn't be too much trou-"

"He's dead, body washed away." She'd lost $50 on that bad fall and it added a hard edge to her voice.

"Oh. Well," he started to pull others down from the board and one by one Cherry claimed them or discounted them as claimed by some other bounty hunter. In the end the board was bare. "Ah. Well ... ah..." the sheriff seemed to deflate some as he blustered with a mixture of awe and disappointment. "Ah'm sorry Miss," he finally voiced with a shrug. "We usually get new wires in on Monday. If ya stick 'round town 'till then, at any rate."

*****

"Sir? Are you perhaps Ian Gallagher?" The bartender was holding a small neat envelope.

"Sure am," Ian replied turning to face the man.

"This was left here for you, yesterday. We ... we didn't have any record of you but the man said you'd be by to pick it up today. He handed the envelope to Ian, who accepted with a word of thanks and a meager tip. His name was scrawled on the front and the back was sealed with dark green wax, and an embossed symbol of a wing. Thumbing the envelope open he found the inside was empty, the only contents to speak of was a name written on the inside.

Cora Magnolia Greene.

*****

Cora's mother looked nonplussed, "Come now dear, he's only a mortal." She sighed and waved her hand, "That's not really why I'm here, and I suppose I don't much care if you choose to race after that little man in your spare time. In the here and now however there is a matter which needs to be seen to. There is a," she paused and tsk'ed as though searching for the word. "Well he was a man, he's not really any more. He died, but it didn't take. He'd not be a problem for you to concern yourself with normally, but he's stirring up the dead, and that just will not do.

"Cora, darling, I'd like you to look into it for me. Go have a chat with the dead, they might be able to help you out. You're very resourceful, I trust you to do what is needed."

*****

The man came in and tipped his hat, "Thankee. Tis mighty hot out there." His voice had a thready, watery quality to it. With the sun no longer at his back Chrys and Hadicall saw that man wore a suit in the Northern style. It was well worn but otherwise still serviceable. He reached up over his shoulder and when his hand returned he held perhaps the strangest carbine either of the scions had ever seen.

The weapon had a standard rifle stock and grip but forward of the trigger was a circular array of five barrels arranged around a central axis. The entire assembly was half enclosed in an filigreed brass cage that allowed the user to hold the weapon. "I reckon I would like it if ya could service ma weapon. 'Summin' ya can, a course." He offered his hand to the pair, "Name's ... Morgan, it's a pleasure."

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Ian tucked the envelope into his wallet and slipped it back into his brown leather duster. It would seem further drink would have to wait till later, he'd best not indulge too much until he figured out why fate - or his father - had made sure he wound up in Dodge City.

An' here you were thinkin' it was just a casual stop in town. Ah well, shows what you know.

He glanced back towards the door that led back towards the front desk, looking to see if the hotel's mistress had made it back downstairs. Not seeing any sign of her, he glanced back at the bartender, and motioned for a glass of water this time.

"Don't suppose you've heard of a lady, goes by the name of Miz' Cora Green, have ya' friend?"

The bartender shook his head slightly, and shrugged apologetically.

"Afraid not, son. Sorry I can't be no help."

"Ah well, couldn't hurt to ask. Guess I'll just get settled in here 'fore I start lookin'."

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Originally Posted By: Ouroboros

Cora's mother looked nonplussed, "Come now dear, he's only a mortal." She sighed and waved her hand, "That's not really why I'm here, and I suppose I don't much care if you choose to race after that little man in your spare time. In the here and now however there is a matter which needs to be seen to. There is a," she paused and tsk'ed as though searching for the word. "Well he was a man, he's not really any more. He died, but it didn't take. He'd not be a problem for you to concern yourself with normally, but he's stirring up the dead, and that just will not do.

"Cora, darling, I'd like you to look into it for me. Go have a chat with the dead, they might be able to help you out. You're very resourceful, I trust you to do what is needed."


And there it was. She'd known, of course, there must be some reason she'd felt an urgent need to take a train all the way from St. Louis to this accursed stretch of plains, and now she knew why. That queer sensation of being pulled forward snapped taut abruptly, like an elastic band, and the tension that had been twisting up her spine since she'd crossed into Kansas finally wrenched itself free. She should have recognized it for what it was: the feeling of being drawn along by Fate toward some inexorable, inexplicable destination. Now that she was here, and knew where to begin, it all seemed so much clearer.

She wondered if it would always be that way.

"Ah'll look into it, surely. Somehow, Ah don't think Ah'll have much cause to worry about sightseein' and othah distractions while Ah'm heah," the young woman replied, a glint of wry humor in her dark eyes as she politely dipped her head to the matronly woman before her. "Ah don't suppose theah's anythin' else you might be willin' to impart about this unfortunate soul?" she asked, fanning herself idly in the stifling heat of the room and wishing she'd opened the window when she'd come in.
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"'Course not my dear, you don't need me holding your hand. You go and settle those ghosts down, send 'em to your step-father if you like, whatever works." Persephone turned and opened the door to the hall but was gone before the door swung to full open leaving her daughter alone.

Downstairs the proprietress bustled out of the kitchen yelling to somebody about messing up the stew. Ian, seeing his chance ambled to the front to secure himself a room. A few dollars and a scrawled signature later the woman was smiling and leading Ian upstairs. "Excuse me ma'am. You don't happen to have any custom by the name of Cora Greene do ya?" Ian asked hoping that Hermes was being less subtle than the last time he dropped Ian a hint.

"Actually young man, I do. Fine young lady, she came in just before you did." The woman smiled warmly, "She's got the room on the right, first door from the stairs. This young lady a friend of yours?" Ian was brought down to the opposite end of the upper floor. The room was clean and tidy, if also small. "If you need anything just let myself of the bellboy know." With that she left Ian to his own devices.

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After they'd gone through every poster and she was left staring forlornly at an empty wall, Cherry wanted to ask the pudgy man why they'd even been there at all. Didn't he pay any attention to which Wanted outlaws were still... well, wanted?

"Well don't that jus' beat all", she muttered.

"Well alright then", she said as she placed her beat-up straw hat back on her head and tried not to look too disappointed, "Sorry ta be a bother, officer."

"Oh, now don't you worry none, miss" the Sheriff said quickly in a placating tone, "It was my pleasure, ah assure ya."

Cherry nodded appreciatively, gave the man another of her unwittingly gorgeous smiles, and bid him farewell, saying that if she were still in town come Monday, then peradventure she might stop to call on him again and he could help her select a likely bounty then, and with that, she left. Once outside again, she untied Chula and, deciding to spare the tired creature any more labor, walked along beside the mare in the direction of the stables, and more importantly (in her own mind at least, if not the horse's) the hotel next door.

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He tipped his hat to her appreciatively as she excused herself and glanced approvingly around the room. No matter how much Ian loved his the time spent on the go, he was always appreciative of a roof over his head and a bed to rest himself on for a bit. He sat his pack down at the end of the bed - the only thing it really contained was clothes and the like, nothing many people would bother stealin' - an' if they did they needed it far worse than him. He kept all that was truly valuable on his person, so it bothered him none to leave the rest in the room he'd been rented.

He took a brief moment to fill the small wash basin with water, and used it and some soap to clean the dust of the road off of his hands and face. A quick glance in the small mirror on the wall and a brief run of his damp fingers through the untamed mane that was his hair, and Ian figured he was ready for polite company again. He stepped out of the room, closing the door behind him, and made his way down the the door that the proprietress had indicated. He lifted his knuckles and rapped sharply on the door, holding his hat in his hand in a gentlemanly sort of manner even if it didn't do much to make him look less the scoundrel.

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Cherry located a corral with attached stables and got Chula squared away before walking down the dusty boardwalk. Dodge City was aptly named, the main thoroughfare was lined with stores and hotels, saloons and outfitters. The scion heard the whistle of the train as it steamed out of the station headed west, toward California. Cherry located a likely looking place and found her way inside.

"Goodness me, but we're busy today! How do ya do ... Miss?" The kindly woman seemed rather surprised by Cherry's outfit. Or perhaps by her appearance her in her hotel rather than in one of the less reputable places elsewhere in the city.

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One of Cherry's pretty eyebrows arched sharply upwards at the 'kindly woman's' attitude, and the look on her face was certainly enough to give the woman pause. Growing up on the street and then living in Fat Ann's and working as a 'soiled dove', Cherry had never really had to deal much with the attitudes of 'proper' society towards 'her kind', and had only been peripherally aware of it before she'd struck out on her own. Her awareness of the phenomenon was well near complete now however, and from it she had gained a much fuller understanding of just why she had never liked 'proper' society in the first place.

But she kept her thoughts to herself, and instead said simply, "Well enough, I s'pose. I could do with a room though, if you've any open."

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If Chrysanthemum had fawned over Alpha, it was nothing compared to how she looked at Morgan's weapon. Her eyes lit up with a fierce, firey interest and she rushed over to very gingerly cradle the bizarre rifle in her free hand as she inspected its construction.

"I reckon I could take a look," she breathed softly as she eased it up and away from its owner's grip. "She's a real beaut...I never seen a gun like this before. Trigger must be a bitch if it has to turn all these barrels every time you squeeze it. Damn."

She very carefully set it down on the now-cooled anvil and leaned close to examine its' parts more closely and try to suss out how it worked, and why it wasn't working.

(Intelligence (no epic) + Arete (Crafts) roll:) 2 successes

http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2433843/

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The horse forgotten Chrys stared at the strange weapon and lost herself in the complex design. A design that proved itself more complex than Chrys was capable of following. She was a blacksmith more than a gunsmith, and while aspects of the craftsman's trades were interchangeable others were definitely not. Without time for proper study, and more importantly, disassembly, she wouldn't have a shot in heck of understanding the weapon. Still, she could appreciate that it was a true piece of work, something that had been designed and built by a genius, or a madman.

*****
Originally Posted By: Cherry
But she kept her thoughts to herself, and instead said simply, "Well enough, I s'pose. I could do with a room though, if you've any open."

"Oh certainly. We actually have one room left for the evening. Though, you don't mind sitting a spell in the parlour do you? The room still needs to be swept and made up. It shouldn't take long." The plump little woman came out from behind the little desk and moved to the window. A sign there in block printing declared "rooms" and "no rooms" on opposite sides. She looked to Cherry for a reply as she picked up the sign, obviously looking to turn it around if the young miss wanted the room.

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Cherry nodded at the woman in agreement and said, "That's fine, ma'am."

As the woman turned the sign around, Cherry strolled into the hotel's parlour and took a seat at the bar, ignoring the looks she got from the bartender. She ordered a drink and settled in to wait.

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Hadicall whistled in a long exhale to show how impressed he was with the weapon. "Now that is one fine weapon y'got there Mr. Morgan, sir. Damn fine. There's been times I wish I had a gun that big to bail my butt out of the fire." He laughed, but not too loud so he didn't disturb Chrys.

Alpha neighed and sighed, feeling neglected all of a sudden. "Oh hush," he said to him. "C'trary to popular belief y'ain't the only thing on the planet. Let the lady help her customers and mind yer manners." Despite the love/hate relationship Alpha and 'Omega' seemed to have the animal begrudgingly accepted a stroke of it's mane and a scratch on it's snout from the Scion.

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"Aye, she's a beaut' alright. Dangum thing keeps breakin' though. I'm guessin' tha' little four-eyes what made this contraption wasn't foolin' 'round when 'e said 'twas still needin' werk." Morgan looked Hadicall up and down, noting the oversize revolver, "Looks like ya' gut yersef a fine han' cannon there too. She fire twelve gauge?"

Morgan shrugged his shoulders eliciting a crackle out of each as the sockets rolled. "Any rate miss, if'n you ken fix 'er, I'd be much obliged. Gut plenny o' cash if tha's what it takes." He reached into his coat and Hadicall noted that the man wore a short Peacemaker in a shoulder holster. Withdrawing a long flat wallet he gestured to the weapon, "What's yer verdick miss?"

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"Imma quick study," Chrys sighed, "But I reckon you ain't aiming to hire someone who needs studyin'. I don't get much trade in guns here, so... If it were a regular gun, maybe, but this thing needs someone who knows what they're doin'. Sorry, Mister Morgan, your piece is outta my league, at least fer now."

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Clods of black, clay-rich soil flew in all directions as Callisto's hooves pounded the damp earth, the mare's breakneck pace leaving her rider just as breathless as she. The four of them raced through the fog, hurtling through the interminable grey half-light blanketing the plains: Cora, Callisto, her quarry, and his own pale mount. She could just see the beast's ivory haunches, fading in and out of view like a particularly agile ghost, and spurred Callie on even faster, leaning over the mare's neck and holding on for dear life.

He was too fast, she thought despairingly. They wouldn't be able to keep up this pace, and he'd slip away again, as always. Somehow, he was always faster, and Cora clenched her teeth against the biting wind and the damp chill of the evening.

Something flapped in the wind, just ahead of her. The hem of his coat waved madly behind him, its tailored edge scrawling a line of ink-black solidity in the mist that billowed around them. Stretching out her arm in desperation, she could almost feel the fabric against her fingers as it danced mockingly just out of reach... snapping sharply, crisply amid the muffled hoofbeats...

Cora sat up with a start, eyes wide as she glanced around the empty room. Her heart was racing, and her fingers ached from being knotted in the quilt. No Callie, no creeping chill, no fog, and no Hayden. Just... someone knocking at the door. She relaxed slightly, pushing disheveled curls back from her eyes and reorienting herself. She was in Dodge City, in the Great Western Hotel, looking for a man who should have been dead, but wasn't, and she was probably late for dinner.

Frowning as she got sleepily to her feet, she wondered how long she'd slept like that, sprawled fully-dressed on the bed. She must look a sight, she was sure, and checked her reflection in the small mirror near the wash basin. The frown deepened as she inspected the ruins of what had been a neat, upswept coiffure just a few hours earlier, and hastened to repair the damage with a few pins.

The slim heels of her boots tapped across the wooden floor, and a moment later, the door swung open a few inches- just enough to peek outside into the hallway. She blinked at the young man standing there, hat in his hand, and tried unsuccessfully to place his features and manner of dress.

Whoever he was, Cora had never met him before, and she didn't recall seeing him in the hotel when she'd arrived. It didn't seem likely he was part of the staff, but then again, it never hurt to ask.

"Ah don't suppose you've come to escort me to dinnah in the dinin' room?" she asked slowly, the young woman's expression clearly telegraphing her confusion.

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Originally Posted By: Ouroboros
"Aye, she's a beaut' alright. Dangum thing keeps breakin' though. I'm guessin' tha' little four-eyes what made this contraption wasn't foolin' 'round when 'e said 'twas still needin' werk." Morgan looked Hadicall up and down, noting the oversize revolver, "Looks like ya' gut yersef a fine han' cannon there too. She fire twelve gauge?"


With a prideful smirk Hadicall looked to his holster and patted the massive 'revolver' at his hip. "Something like that," He said softly. Although he was a fool fifty percent of the time, and a reckless idiot the other fifty, Hadicall believed that you only draw your gun if you intended to shoot someone. It wasn't a showpiece. Mr. Morgan's case, repair, was an obvious exemption; one can't fix a gun that never leaves the holster, but Hadicall kept his side arm at his side. "Ol' Betty here is a unique piece, Pa made her special for me. Fires pure 'Wrath O' God' kinda stuff if you get me Mr. Morgan. She, as much as I, am certainly thankful for the compliment however. Pa put a lot of work into her."

Respectfully Hadicall tipped his hat and offered Mr. Morgan a polite grin.
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The man himself was a nice-lookin' piece of work, handsome in his own casual, disheveled kind of way but not the best man she'd ever laid eyes on. When she opened the door he looked her over appraisingly (though not lewdly, like some men might). At her statement though, his carefully neutral expression became a charming grin, and his eyes sparkled mischievously at her in an adorably attractive manner.

"Well, that wasn't the original intention of my visit, but if yer lookin' for an' escort, Miz Greene, I'd be more'n happy to oblige ya."

His eyes flickered past her, surveying the room behind her briefly before his gaze returned to her face. There was no one else with her, and the hotel proprietress had told him he could find her here, but it was best to check before getting specific.

"You.. are Miz Cora Greene, I hope? Not that I wouldn't be happy to escort ya' regardless, o' course.. but I believe ah've got business to discuss with Miz Greene specifically."

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Morgan smiled knowingly, "I unnerstan' marshal. Indeedy I do." Turning to Chrys he took the weapon back from her, its bulk resting as easily in his hands as it had in hers. "Well miss Ah'd hoped, afta-all they say tha' Greek craftsmen are tha best. Absolutely dee-vine they say. Ah unnerstan' though, and thankee fo' yo' time." He flipped the weapon 'round and slung it back over his shoulder, the image of the man in a disheveled but nice suit with that cannon strapped to his back brought a quirk of amusement to the scions.

The man was at the door about to exit out into the red glare of the late afternoon sun when he turned, "Ifn ya' don' mind, ken ya reccamen' a place to stay tha night?"

Chrys, familiar with the city of her birth piped up immediately, "Try the Golden Mare Hotel."

"Thankee again Miss. Marshal," Morgan tipped his hat to the both of them and then turned out into the street, the sun casting him in silhouette as he walked away. The man had been gone for less than a minute before Alpha stomped on the floor and whinnied snapping the scions' attention to him once more.

*****

Cherry waited in the parlour for short time while the proprietress, one Mrs. Vandekamp, saw to the room. At least she had Cherry sign the registry and pay for the night before showing her upstairs. Informed that dinner would be in a little less than two hours Cherry set to ordering a bath and washing the past two weeks of trail dust, sweat, and blood from her clothes and body. In short order she was dressed and down to the dining room for the evening meal.

The dining room ran most of the length of the first floor opposite the parlour. One door exited into the tiny lobby and the other directly to the kitchen which apparently took up the entire rear of the first floor. There was but one long table around which the guests and their hostess would sit for the evening meal. Though somewhat plain the room was, like the rest of the hotel, clean, tidy, and in good repair if nothing that would be considered fancy.

OOC: We'll assume that Ian spent a little time getting himself cleaned up before knocking on Cora's door. Likewise if you could see yourself down to the dining room for dinner that would help to move things along smoothly.

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The man looked like a rake and a scoundrel she decided, with a pinch of rascal thrown in for good measure, and the fact that he was standing outside a lady's room wishing to discuss "business" didn't help, but at least there was very little pretense of being anything else. For Cora, who was well and tired of false chivalry, it was moderately charming. That didn't, of course, mean she intended to make things easy for him, whoever he was.

Adopting a rather more conspiratorial tone, she leaned against the door frame without opening it further. Her dark eyes narrowed slightly as she studied him, but there was an unmistakable undercurrent of amusement in her voice when she replied, "Well now, suh, I suppose Ah might be, and Ah might not. That would, as they say, depend lahgely on who happens to be doin' the askin' at the time."

After all, it would hardly do for a lady of good breeding to hold a conversation with a stranger, and it was simply unheard of for a young woman to give her name before getting that of any gentleman callers... Not, she reflected with a quirk of her lips, that this particular visitor fit that last category in any conventional sense.

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Ian's grin remained, but the corner of his lips twitched in faint amusement. He leaned against the other side of the door frame, placing himself in juxtaposition to her as his hand slipped inside his duster casually, and he pulled out an envelope from some pocket within.

"Deepest apologies, Miz Greene - or whoever it is I have the pleasure of speakin' with. The name's Killian - Killian Gallager, but I prefer Ian if ya' don't mind. Rolls off the tongue a mite smoother, I think."

The name gave it away and helped her place the faint Irish lilt in his voice, it was subtle enough to be easy to miss. He winked at her then as he opened the envelope and held it out to her. On the outside she caught a brief glimpse of his name and a green wax seal. But as she took it and glanced inside it, all she saw was her name written in the same curvy script as the name he'd given her was on the outside of the envelope. The only other identifying mark on on the envelope was the imprint of a wing in the green sealing wax.

"Wish I could give ya' more of the details as to our business, but as you can see I'm a bit vague on those m'self. So I was sort of hoping you might help me out in that regard. If not I imagine we'll figure it out soon enough though.. I find fate rarely strings me along without lettin' me know why awful quick."

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Chrysanthemum flexed her fingers...she imagined she could still feel their tips tingling as if she were still holding that gun. Her mind was whirling overtime as she tried to pick the secrets of that weapon apart. Why would anyone make the barrels spin? The only advantage that has over a revolver is the barrels wouldn't overheat, and you'd have to be a blazing fast loader to ever have that problem. And yet...and yet...if you had some way to load the barrels with a machine. Something faster than any human hand could be...

The horse's whinnying shook her from her thoughts, and she gave the 'son of Zeus' an apologetic smile as she returned to his steed.

"I can't believe I let him walk outta here," she confessed. "I shoulda told him I'd have it fixed no trouble. If I'd just had a chance to take it apart some...see its workings...I'm sure I coulda done something with it." The unlikely blacksmith sighed. "Now I'll probably never see it again."

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"Well," Hadicall was leaning up against a support for the forge. "Y'know where he went, go get him. Don't sit here regretting 'what could have been' when yer still standing in 'what will be'. Don't think about it, just do it. That's my motto."

He tipped his hat and pushed off the vertical beam. "I planned on staying here for the night before pushing on, ol' Alpha'll be alright for a bit. I'd not take offense to you handling your business with that Morgan guy first. In fact, I was considering going to get some supper, feel like takin' a break?"

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"Hm," was all she said, dark eyes unreadable through the narrow opening between door and frame. That gap was erased completely when the door closed a moment later, and the startled son of Hermes was left to wonder what he'd said or done to warrant such a rude dismissal.

He could hear movement within, however: the rustle of fabric, heels on wooden floorboards, and even a few muffled exclamations that might have been curses, followed by further muttering and, finally, the approach of footsteps again. The door swung wide, and the dark-haired young woman smiled apologetically, dipping a brief curtsy. She seemed to be wearing a different dress, probably- it was hard to tell, since he hadn't seen much of the first one- and her hair was coiffed a bit more neatly.

"Ah'm evah so sorry about that, Mistah Gallagher, but Ah must confess Ah looked quite the sight aftah bein' on that locahmotive. It makes the most awful noises! Ah'm not certain I slept a wink the whole trip!" Without any further hesitation, she took his arm and shut the door, chatting amiably about the trip from St. Louis as she led the rakish young Scion downstairs to the dining room.

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Cherry got herself seated as the other guests arrived in ones and twos. An older woman in black and a young man dressed likewise in black, a family resemblance suggested that they were in Dodge to see to a funeral. A middle aged man with round spectacles and a well worn, and well cared for, suit. He had the look of a man looking to seek his fortune, and had been doing so for some time. Another pair, the woman a southern belle, the man somewhat more roguish, with the look of a courier, or a former Pony Express rider. The last two were both men, young, and wearing simple clothing. As they sat one asked the other if he had a job lined up in San Francisco. The proprietress entered and with the help of the help the dinner was laid out. The meal was nothing fancy, some fresh baked bread, a hearty stew, and a local beer. Cherry ended up at the far end of the table with belle and rogue.

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Chrys went over to Alpha and fed him another couple of apple slices while stroking his nose. The horse nickered with evident satisfaction.

She nodded, then looked over at Hadicall.

"Supper sounds grand, actually. I feel like it's been days since I ate last. And don't worry none about that gun of his. If I see him again I'll ask him about it. If not, well, it's not like I don't have a half dozen other things that all need my attention." She smiled, then went over to the door to her smithy to hold it open for the good Mr Hadicall so she could lock up as she left.

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Luckily for Chrys and Hadicall Dodge City was large enough that there were more than just a single or small handful of saloons or restaurants. A local brew house was emitting a tantalizing odor of roasted fowl and they found their way inside following their noses and now grumbling stomachs. The place consisted of a single split level room full of long common tables with bench seats. Cowboys and miners, farmers and bounty hunters all sat shoulder to shoulder drinking beer and laughing or eating dinner, some even played cards, gambling in coin and the occasional low denomination bill.

The pair grabbed a duo of recently vacated seats at the end of a long table and soon had shallow bowls of stewed root vegetables with hunks of roasted chicken atop. Foamy ales sat nearby ready to wash down the dinner which was slightly greasy but otherwise more than serviceable. As they ate they overheard snippets of conversation around them. A a pair miners talking about the next great strike in the Rockies, a cowboy regaling a pair of his fellows with his latest conquest, it was hard to tell if he was talking about a woman or a broken horse, a group of bounty hunters discussing a woman who apparently had started working the plains and was incredibly skills despite her whorehouse looks, and a pair of dirt encrusted grave and ditch diggers who were telling a tall tale of seeing a corpse drag itself out of its fresh grave and walk away from the cemetery.

*****

At the boarding house the dinner was a touch fancier and the conversation a little more civilized but all in all the primary difference was the setting and the number of people involved. The table was alive with conversation and jokes from all comers broken into small groups with those to their immediate left or right, or the person across from them. Only the pair in apparent mourning were quiet. After some time they became conspicuous enough that the modestly respectful appearing middle aged man asked them, "Ifn ya pardon me, but Ah'd like ta offa my condo-lences to ya and yours for ya loss. Was it yer pappy sir?"

The young man looked up and seemed unsure as he nodded, "Yar, ma fadder, but ..."

He hesitated and in that silent his mother burst into mournful sobs, "Sumone stoled mah husban's body!" The woman was clear distraught and if her outburst was to be believed the reason was clear as rainwater.

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