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  #1  
Old 05-29-2019, 10:57 PM
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Chapter 1 - Welcome to Town

Prologue
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Shadows of the West
Land west of Mississippi was a wild place where any man or woman was free to make their own future and could disappear from the expected and become the unexpected. Danger lurked around every corner, whether it be buffalo, flood, or man – there was always a danger, but that was the cost of the freedom of the wide-open land and sky. It was possible to travel for days without seeing another soul, and for some that desperation was too much to bear, but for other, it was exactly what they needed to find themselves.

Most people; in fact, all people, are just that - people. They are common and ordinary individuals who live unremarkable lives, striving to make ends meat in a young democracy who has yet to solidify its own borders. It was a tense and unknowing time in society but so too was it a time of grand adventure which would permeate the American spirit for centuries to come.

It should be noted, however, that there are brief periods of time which hold the delicate future in the sway, and which determine the future. These moments of time hold in solution the ingredients which will combine in any several or many ways, and then, in an instant, precipitate out a defining moment in history. This precipitate is free to grow, unless constrained by the vessel in which it is contained, and then the shape is determined not only by the ingredients but by external forces acting upon it.

This too, is how nations are shaped by the actions of men and these small decisive actions which shape those actions.

William Becknell, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Henry Leavenworth, Samuel Colt, Washakie, John L. O'Sullivan, Davey Crocket, Maȟpíya Lúta, and others would leave their mark on history which would resonate through time – that was the power of the American West.

This is the story of some people who went west.

Some emigrants, some soldiers, some refugees, some adventures, and some natives – all of them investigators. Some will become heroes, others villains, and others still bystanders and supernumeraries.

The tale told herein is one that begins on the trail to small town in New Mexico, where these investigators have the chance to shape history for all the world – or die trying.


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Stage Coach
The sound of the horses was a constant reminder of the journey to the town of Rosehill. To those unaccustomed to travel by stagecoach, the imaginative mind conjures images of prancing, fire-breathing steeds, picturesque and handsome, but this was highly imaginative and wishful in thinking. The horses employed in teams were practical in nature the long monotonous journeys leading to protruding and conspicuous ribs, pronounced backbones, and hardened hooves – all sings of arduous toil. The animals were hardened and tough – forced to be through their difficult hauls through heat and cold, leading to a subdued spirit and unusual patience for the heavy burdens placed upon them..

The same could be said about the stagecoach driver, and the passengers housed within. It had been a rough and tiring journey for each one along the way – some had seen Hell and others high water, and others still had seen both. The ride was quiet now, the sound of the horse’s hooves beating against the dirt trail. Suddenly there is a knock on the front of the Stage Coach as the driver shouts, Town’s in sight, we’ll be there within an hour! Each person in the coach had the same idea; the same plan. There were riches to be claimed in the town of Rosehill and the surrounding hills, but they also knew that the lands West of Mississippi were dangerous, and it was best to stick together. Meager bonds were better than no bonds at all – gangs, war parties, there were even rumors of religious cults and the occasional upstart rebels. They had traveled together for a few days now, and they were the closest thing to friends any of them were likely to find in Rosehill.

On the northern edge of the territory known as New Mexico, somewhere between the middle of nowhere and the boondocks, unmarked on any map, lies the small town of Rosehill. In many ways Rosehill is like any other western town out here: noisy, dirty, and full of people obsessed with striking it rich. The prize? Gold, cattle, or even ancient artifacts. Many came here for the riches they could claim, some stayed – some left, and some even died.

At Hawke’s tavern in Rosehill the coach topped the gentle hill as it approached the hostelry and rolled down the grade which permitted a gallant dash to the front door, the driver flourishing his long whip as he blew the horn, all ending in a masterly stop. A small hostler’s bell rang, and a young man appeared to horse the stables, collect the mail bags and offer assistance in the disembarkment.

You were finally here. The town of Rosehill. Not named for any flowers growing in the dusty area, but rather for the soft pink color many of the rocky outcrops possessed. The sun hung heavy in the sky, night would fall within a few hours – the saloon was only a few steps away, Hawke’s.
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Old 05-31-2019, 01:36 PM
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Bethany Anna Margrave
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Leaving the inside of the stage coach, which was beginning to smell distinctly of the sweat of people who had been trapped inside for several days, Bethany accepted the hand offered to her by the young man. She steadied herself on him as stepped down onto the dirt street, making sure to not step into anything untoward with her seemingly impractical shoes. Fashion was the same as function in her trade. "Thank you kindly," she said with a warm smile to the young man who had helped her down from the coach.

Bethany extended her parasol as protection against the brutal rays of afternoon sun and began looking around what was to be her new home. It seemed serendipitous that she should be deposited in front of Hawke's saloon, since she'd be working inside soon enough. However, it would be nice to get settled, take a bath, and get changed first. Maybe some actually rest to recuperate from being jostled around in the coach. "I could do with a bath and a bed," she said off-handedly to her fellow travelers. And perhaps a meal, she thought to herself. The sun was starting to dip lower in the sky. Sometimes her day would begin at a time like this, but she felt too road weary to jump straight into work. "I should at least check in with my employer soon, I suppose," she added with a gesture towards the saloon.
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Old 05-31-2019, 02:42 PM
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Harvey Hickman, Arriving in Rosehill
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Billy had often spoken of having some better than decent luck in an around Rosehill, nothing like a gold mine mind you but a few nuggets here and there which is more than he had been finding lately, so here he was in hopes that same luck would rub off on him. The stage coach had been pretty full and was tighter quarters than he was used, and he was thankful when the door opened and he could get a little bit of room to move around and stretch though he held off long enough to let the womenfolk out first. Moving around back he retrieved his pack and his owner possessions before finding himself back in front of Hawke’s tavern, a small looking place but that suited him well enough and was likely the best place to find out what was going on in these parts.

"A drink to wash away the dust couldn't hurt and hopefully some news about these parts and what is going on." He knew he had to make what money he had last for as long as he could so he wasn't sure about a bed but maybe if the price was right, and if not he was well used to sleeping on the ground or in some stables. The Barkeep was likely the one who could tell him about other prospectors in the area or maybe even their successes or failures as well, or maybe some other work to get a few more bills in hand before he started poking around.
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Old 06-01-2019, 04:36 PM
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Ahyoka arriving in town
Hour upon hour of dust, heat, boredom. Conversation here and there with some of the people in the Sagecoach, but even that seemed to peter out as time went by. No room to sleep, no room to really move her six foot frame. Her muscles cramped and memories of the past seemed inevitable. The smell of the other passengers didn’t help much with that either. So she was lost in her memories of the war. Blood, death, violence and the inevitable lesson that she had done much of it for the wrong cause.

By the time they arrived her muscles were even more cramped and her mood was dark and grim. She stepped out of the coach and began rubbing her hands on her back and legs. Then she checked her belt making sure her revolver was seated correctly. After that she rubbed a hand along the silver star on her left breast. Symbol of her authority and her hope to save her own spirit. She took in a few cleansing breaths of air and looked to the woman and man who had exited before her.

”I will check in with the local sheriff in the morning to see what he’ll need. Beyond that a drink would be good. A way to see just what we are in for in these parts.”
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Old 06-01-2019, 11:40 PM
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Danny refrained from taking notes on the stagecoach ride, though he did pay attention to his fellow passengers’ conversations. His relief was as great as anyone’s when they reached Rosehill and he could stretch his legs. After the bags were stowed and he had had a smoke, he felt the urge to drink, write, eat, and bathe. Roughly in that order. But he reminded himself of the need to stay in contact with the other passengers before they started drifting off. You never know when someone may be helpful. Besides, introducing myself to the bartender is worthwhile by itself.

"Yes indeed, a drink sounds like a fine idea."
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Old 06-02-2019, 04:36 PM
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Bethany Anna Margrave
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Bethany turned on her heels to address her (former) traveling companions. "It was a pleasure getting to know you'all in the last few days on the road. I'm sure we'll see each other around; this town isn't large enough to hide in," she said with a gentle grin. With the formalities over with for the time being, she proceeded up to the door of Hawke's Tavern where she was able to close her parasol once out of the sunlight. Pressing one of the doors open with her palm, Bethany stepped into the dim interior of the saloon to have a look around and hopefully locate her new employer. She trusted that her bag would be safe until she was ready to retrieve it. First, she needed to know where she would be staying long-term.

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Old 06-03-2019, 09:24 AM
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Ahyoka arriving in town
"Nice to have met you as well Miss Margrave. Look forward to seeing you again and hoping there is little trouble tonight." She watched the pretty woman walk in and found herself wondering just what Miss Margrave was looking to find out here? Then she realized that with the possibility of gold and other artifacts of value she was likely just looking to make her own piece of the fortune.

Ahyoka nodded to herself, but wasn't quite sure she had that right about Miss Margrave. There was something about her that suggested there was more to her than pretty face. The Cherokee woman shrugged to herself and she stepped into the bar area. Then she looked around hoping to find a good place to watch from. An absent hand stroked her silver star as she moved over. Usually that was enough to make anyone take notice and be on their best behavior.


 
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:44 AM
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LysanderStepping off the stage, he presses his palms against his lower back and stretches upwards, eyes turned to the sky. His joints popped as he worked the weariness out of them before turning back to the stage and claiming his bag from the top. A long canvas rucksack stuffed with a few articles of clothing and a rifle, plus the odds and ends one would need to keep living. Looking left down the main drag, he checks the other nearby buildings for signage. There would be a sheriff's office, for certain, and a general store. He'd want to visit one and avoid the other before he left in the morning. Setting the bag into the dust, he helps bring down any bags remaining while he's perched there, then hops back down and nods to the boy who'd come out to help them.

"This place have proper beds and baths?" Fishing a bit out of the money bag on his belt, he hands it to the kid once an answer is provided. Looking back to the gathered folks outside the stage, he nods and picks up his bag. "I'd say farewell but it seems we'll all be heading to the same place. Still, I've endured bad travel companions in my day and it was refreshing to find some good ones." Setting out for the tavern, he pauses once his feet find wood instead of dirt. Pulling a half-burned cigar from his hat band, he stands outside the place for a bit after touching a match to it. Framed by smoke, he looks to the east toward what might be his new home.

It was too far into evening to set out for the Perlman Ranch now. He didn't enjoy the idea of riding through unfamiliar territory in the dark of night and traveling in the stage had offered him little rest but plenty of aches. He would need to bed down in town for the night but despite that logic he found being so close to family he hadn't seen in so long made it difficult to accept a night here. And the presence of the woman with the star on her chest didn't make the prospect any easier. After a few pulls on the cigar he stubs it out again, replacing it in his hat band and stepping into the tavern later than the rest.
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Old 06-03-2019, 03:14 PM
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Samuel stood and stretched for a few moments, trying to coax blood back into limbs that had been far too long cramped into the crowded interior of the stagecoach. The heat from the afternoon sun was oppressive, but still better than the stifling confines in which he had spent most of the last several days.

He had tried to engage the others in conversation from time to time - he told himself that it would be advantageous to learn as much about his traveling companions as possible, though in truth is was simply an effort stave off boredom as much as anything else - but the crowded conditions and bumpy ride were not terribly conducive to discussion. Now, he looks up at Hawke's Tavern, rising up like an oasis in the high desert; its friendly confines seem to be just what they all need after days on the trail. He is already looking forward to a much-needed bath and sleeping in a real bed again, when he hears the others talk of drinks. "A drink sounds like just the thing right about now...and any place to sit that isn't moving!"

As he grabs his pack, he noticed the rifle sticking out of Lysander's bag. He is fairly certain that Harvey had a rifle as well, and surely both of the lawmen (er, law-woman? He wasn't sure how to address Ahyoka, to be honest) were armed with revolvers at least; he wonders now if he should have armed himself as well? He had once been a fair shot with a hunting rifle, though it had been years since he had touched one...he hoped that we wouldn't wind up wishing he had acquired one before setting out on this journey.

Well, what's done is done...or not done, as the case may be...just try to hid behind the folks with the guns, if it comes to that...

Samuel hoists his pack over his shoulder and follows the others into the main room of the saloon.
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Old 06-05-2019, 06:51 PM
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Hawke’s
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The saloon. The onIy major source entertainment in town like Rosehill. Many of the locals will be found here at night relaxing with a mug of local ale or triple x whiskey. Card players in the corner, dancing girls on the small stage, and an ol’ fella playing piano by the fire.

However, the sun still hung in the sky so the night life had yet to come alive. Instead there were just a few older men dressed in jeans and leathers, each with a pistol or two on their sides. Behind the bar stood a man in his mid 40s, brown hair, a strong jawline, and a handlebar moustache to make the other fella’s jealous. As you move in closer you notice the stubble on his face is flecked with gray and he smells of apple cider and cigarettes.

You must be the fine folk from the stage coach the boy was hollerin’ about. Make yerselves comfortable and let me know what your interested. We got coffee, spirits, standard fair, and it ain’t quite done yet, but Ma Cameron put one of her sows out to slaughter – there’ll be pork in evening time. The man smiles warmly and welcomingly – this must be the aforementioned Hawke.

The saloon itself was fairly clean and unusually quiet, probably due to the newcomers outnumbering the current patrons two to one. You can hear the swish of a broom on the wooden planks – the source a pretty young woman cleaning the floor. A smell lingered on the air, not altogether unpleasant, but stale – day old cigarettes and cigars mixed with spilled beer and whiskey. There was a nutty aroma as well, probably the coffee they were offered just a moment ago.

You notice an ad tacked to the wall, which had been pulled from a newspaper about a week ago.
Mica Mines Near Santa FeMessrs. Fitzmurice and Huffune arrived in Santa Fe yesterday from the Mica Mines near Tres Piedreas, about severny five miles North of Santa Fe. They brought with them fifty pounds of sheet mica, the product of three days labor for two men. At a low figure they will average $5.00 per pound.

The property is owned by the Kansas City Mica Mining Company which these gentlemen represent. It is the intention of the companies to work 200 men within a few weeks. The company is currently seeking fifty more able bodied men. Those who are interested should seek out the good Messrs, or correspond with the company.

You aren’t quite sure what you were expecting in Rosehill – but this, this seems to be about right.
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:11 AM
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Hawke's
Ahyoka orders herself a coffee not willing to drink the fire water. She knows far too much about fire water. How it has destroyed many of her own people and other tribes. It is an evil that she refuses to partake in. Once she has her coffee in hand she moves over to the newspaper clipping. She stares at it for a long time attempting to try and sound it out, but she fails. Whatever is written here is beyond her meagre skills.

She does her best to pretend as if she's actually read it. Then sits back down with her coffee and looks at Hawke. "Was told help was needed at the dig for Anasazi artifacts. Also some reports of bandits and horse rustlers. Figure you might know more before I look in on the Sheriff tomorrow."


 
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:40 PM
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Harvey Hickman, Arriving in Rosehill
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The saloon was everything Harvey expected it would be from the drinks being offered to the layout and contents, i mean truthfully there was little enough difference from one saloon to the next. While he was sure he would be hungry later, for the time being he was more interested in what was happening about these parts and getting a lay of the town and surrounding area.

"Coffee and some water." He replied as he moved on up to the bar, dropping his pack at his feet, he dug out a few coins which he was sure would more than cover things. When the coffee and water came he downed the water quickly letting it was away the dust of the road and the dryness of the air, and then took a slow sip of the coffee to get a better feel for what he was in for. "I take you must be Hawke?"

"If so I am hoping you might be able to tell me a bit about what is going on about these parts, what news have you?" Laying extra coin with the others appropriate for the service, he wanted to stay on Hawke's good side as he would likely see the man more often than not whenever he returned to town.
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Old 06-06-2019, 03:47 PM
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Samuel strides up to the bar and casually flips his pack off of his shoulder...then starts as it hits the floorboards with a much louder thump than he was expecting. He clears his throat, trying to once again find the cool composure that he was trying to exude. "I'll have a rye whiskey, and a couple sausages, if you have some. And how much would a room be for the night?"

Hearing Ahyoka ask about the dig site, he turns his head and leans in to try to overhear the remainder of the conversation.
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:48 PM
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Bethany Anna Margrave
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With the others occupying the attention of the barkeep and possible proprietor, Bethany made a decision to separate from the herd and walked boldly over to the young woman sweeping up. She offered a pleasant smile and introduced herself, "I'm Bethany - just arrived in town. What's your name? I do believe that we'll be working together soon, after a fashion. You're not exactly dressed as a dancer, although you certainly could pull it off, as lovely as you are. But I digress. I've been hired to work here; but I don't recall my letter telling me who to report to upon arrival. Should I be talking to Mr. Hawke himself, or is there another who handles the... talent? I'm curious to see my accommodations, and perhaps get cleaned up a little." She gestured herself, demonstrating that she wasn't exactly at her best - though all things were relative.

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Old 06-06-2019, 09:35 PM
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Danny ordered some whiskey and listened to the others asking questions of Mr. Hawke. It wasn’t particularly good whiskey, but it was likely the best that would be available to refill his flask. He refrained from questioning the saloon keeper, for now. He would need to know how to get out to the artifacts, how safe the area was, and more. But for now he was happy to ‘eavesdrop’ on the others.
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