"Here There Be Vampires" A Promise City, Arizona Story Hour
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  1. #1

    "Here There Be Vampires" A Promise City, Arizona Story Hour

    This story hour continues the campaign in "Wizards, Whiskey, and Wonderful Things."

    The first two modules are still being posted, and can be found at:
    Revenge, Renewal, and the Promise of a New Year
    Wizards, Whiskey, and Wonderful Things

    This story begins on Sunday, April 2nd 1882, in the American southwest of an alternative earth, a historically based world that is also populated with D&D races, magic, spells and deities.

    Primary Cast of Characters
    Jake Cook – “The Gambler”, male human rogue/fighter (Baradtgnome)
    Minerva Florencia - "The Priestess", female human cleric (moon dancer)
    Katherine Kale - “The Lady”, female human expert/wizard (orchid blossom)
    Chester Martin - “The Ex-Soldier”, male human fighter/ranger (SteveJung)
    Nanuet – “The Indian”, male high elf ranger/cleric (Dire Wolf)
    Ruby West - “The Singer”, female human bard/rogue (Queenie)

    Secondary Cast of Characters
    Sonoma – “The Senorita”, female wood elf druid/bard (Kriskrafts)
    Ginnie Flaherty - “The Kid”, female human rogue/wizard (Kriskrafts)

    Prelude: Afternoon, Sunday April 2nd, 1882. "Summoned"

    Niles Hoover, co-owner of the Lucky Lady Dance Hall and Saloon is still busy restocking his bar when is his business partner Jake Cook appears downstairs. Once Jake gets close enough Niles speaks softly to him. "Marshall Berg was in here earlier. They found a dead body out behind the Lady this morning. They don't suspect us but I guess there were some unusual circumstances surrounding the death. He wanted to talk to you and Chester when you had a moment. Just to see if you noticed anything."

    "Haven't we had enough dead bodies around this town?" Jake asks Niles rhetorically. Niles just shrugs imitating Jake's now famous response. Jake points an accusing finger at Niles and says, "Hey, watch that." Laughing he makes his way to Berg's office. On the way he puts his last two special rounds from his long barrel Colt at one end of the back of his gun belt and reloads it with normal rounds. Settling both pistols in their holsters he moves to button up the duster but stops. No, we are safe now. Aren't we?

    At the Marshall's office he knocks twice and lets himself in, "Marshall? Jake here."

    "Cmon in Jake, shut the door behind you if you don't mind. Guess Niles filled you in?" Berg says, from his seat at a large oak desk.

    "Told me to talk to you about a body behind my saloon if that is what you mean."

    The Marshall replies, "Yeah, a miner from out of town, Gus Thomas. Must have been here for the festival. Found him early this morning. We don't suspect anyone at your saloon, just wondered if you might have seen anyone strange. The cause of death is a bit unusual." Berg gets up from his chair and pushes the seat in slowly.

    "Strange? Stranger than all the other things that happened here this past weekend you mean? Besides that I haven't seen anything. Although I was only at the Lady for a few hours last night as most of it was spent either at the festival or out of town with the posse." Jake takes off his hat and runs a hand through his hair. "Unusual how?"

    Berg takes his hat off and fidgets with it, turning it around in both hands which are shaking slightly. "Unusual like I have never seen before. The body was strangely pale and Doc Eaton is confounded as to the cause." He pauses and shakes his head before continuing. "Look, I'm not going to talk about particulars at this point out of respect. We still have to get in touch with his family and sort some things out. Just wanted to let you know because it was close to your place and I figured you might have seen something. Just keep your eyes and ears open, still a lot of strangers in town with the festival going on."

    Jake watches Berg's hands while the man is talking. "Fine Marshall, we'll keep an eye out for anything strange. I'll talk to you later." Jake leaves the Marshall’s office thinking, He wants to know about strange, maybe he should look in the mirror. He didn't look that afraid when trouble was about and he should have. Silver Jake Cook whistles on his way back to the Lucky Lady, walking slowly and enjoying not having to be anywhere.

    Once back, he speaks with Niles and tells him what Berg said. "Make sure you let Jeff Mills and Deputy Chester Martin know what happened so they can keep their eyes open for I don't know what."
    Last edited by orchid blossom; Thursday, 15th September, 2005 at 12:18 PM.

  2. #2

    An Unwelcome Patron, Evening, Sunday April 2nd, 1882

    The town of Promise City is still bustling with strangers following the last events of the festival early Sunday afternoon. Inside the Lucky Lady Dance Hall and Saloon, partial owners Ruby West and Jake Cook are sitting with friends. Minerva is chatting rapidly, sitting close to Nanuet as Katherine, Chester, and Chester's girl Clarisse Townsend listen and eat.

    "I am going to run back home and freshen up. I am quite dirty from Nanuet dragging me across the finish line in the three legged race this afternoon,” Minerva laughs and brushes at her skirt. "I will be back shortly. In time for those cookies of yours Ruby. So be sure and save some for me.” She gives Nanuet a pointed look.

    "What? Why are you looking at me? I won't eat all the cookies," Nanuet grins.

    Minerva gives him a kiss and returns to the Comstock House to change into something a bit more special for the evening.

    "Don't worry," Ruby calls back after Minerva, "He can't eat all the cookies, there is 6 dozen!"

    "So, Kate, you going to the Long Branch to see Conrad tonight? It is Sunday night after all..." she winks.

    "And now Nanuet, you can start really getting to work on the addition. With the festival over the wood will be ready to go."

    "I am ready, I think I learned quite a bit when making the stage. Time to dismantle it I guess. Did you ever decide if we were going to be reusing that lumber? I can get started on that tomorrow."

    The man Kate and Ruby know as Colin Turner enters the Lucky Lady. He scans the crowd apparently looking for something or someone and then finds an empty table. Maria is serving some food but is quickly drawn to that table and appears to quickly become involved in a deep conversation with the man.

    Ruby suddenly looks distracted again.

    "Uh, yeah," she picks at her food with her fork, "Yes, we're using that wood. You can start that tomorrow."

    Ruby keeps her head down and tries not to look in the corner. She sits silently for some time before she finally looks up. Catching the glance of Mr. Turner she shivers, then stands and heads outside without excusing herself. She paces back and forth on the porch, the puppies gleefully trying to keep up.

    Minerva skips up the porch stairs of the Lucky Lady. "Hola Ruby! It is a beautiful night is it not?" she says cheerfully.

    Jake notices that Ruby's good mood suddenly turns, and then a few moments later she goes outside for some air. As Jake starts to rise to follow her, he notices a man talking to Maria. Wasn't that the same man who was watching Ruby a little too closely? He looks back to the door where Ruby and Minerva are now talking. Jake stays in his seat and relaxes.

    Ruby stops her pacing and looks up at the glowing Spanish Priestess.

    Suddenly Ruby grabs her arm and without getting in front of the door, she asks, "Can you see a guy in there? Handsome, blue eyes. He's sitting in the corner, he was talking to Maria. What is he doing?" she asks nervously.

    Minerva walks to the side of the door and peaks in. "Si, he is quite attractive. He is just sipping his drink. Is he a friend of yours?"

    "A friend?" Ruby falls back against the wall of the Lucky Lady. "I don't think I would call him that." She felt flush and she fans herself. "It's hot out here today, isn't it? Oh I need a drink."

    Minerva narrows her eyes as she studies Ruby. "Sooo who is this gentleman if he is not your friend. and no it is really rather cool out here this evening Ruby. What is going on? Are you hiding out here?" She leans back in and checks the blue eyed hunk out again. "He really is quite handsome," she says and notices Ruby's blush.

    "Hiding? No, not hiding." She looks at the hand that is fanning herself and instead puts it under her backside against the wall. "Yes, he is very handsome and dashing," she sighs. She peeks into the room and watches Turner slowly move his eyes around the room. She pulls herself back before he sees her. "He's a customer here. He's a good dancer... Dammit!" she swears. "What is Jake doing?"

    Minerva leans back in the door and peaks around quickly before ducking back against the building. "Looks like he's being his usually charming self. Oh, wait he's checking out Maria and that man you're all flustered over," she whispers. "Why are we hiding out here? are you in trouble?"

    Ruby smiles, "Trouble? Me? No, just wanted some air." She continues stubbornly, "I'm not flustered." She notices Minerva's eyebrows shoot up, "I'm NOT. I'll be in, in a minute. Go ahead, go in. Nanuet is waiting for you. You look beautiful by the way." Ruby stays up against the wall but gives Minerva a little push.

    Minerva resists the push. "But I wanted to tell you. Tonight is the night."

    "Oh! That's great!" Ruby is temporarily distracted from the saloon. "That's SO great.” She hugs her friend. "Good luck, remember what I told you, you'll be fine."

    "Gracias Ruby. Wish me luck." Minerva smiles brightly and enters the saloon.

    Maria leaves the table where Colin Turner is seated. He casually gets up and makes his way out the front door.

    Ruby continues to fan herself after Minerva walks into the saloon. She takes a breath in and is about to walk back inside when she suddenly bumps into Turner. Startled, she takes a step back.

    "Good evening Miss West, I was hoping you hadn't strayed too far. I see that you are recovering. I trust you received the flowers I sent for you."

    "Mr. Turner, uh... yes I got the flowers. They were, I mean, they are beautiful." She tries so hard not to look him in the eyes. "Yes, I am recovering." She eyes slowly start wandering up, drawn to his gaze.

    "Good, I am very pleased to hear that. I was genuinely concerned about your well being." He pauses and reaches out to touch her hair.

    "Have you given any further thought concerning the proposal I made at the ball?"

    Ruby wants to step back but finds her legs won't move. She watches Turner delicately lift some hair off her shoulder. "Well, I've been busy..." The words come out of her mouth and she hears them almost like they are coming from someone else. The surge of emotions welling up inside her breaks her trance. "No," she says sharply, "I mean," some of her confidence leaving, "No, I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying here."

    "That is a shame that you feel that way. I had hoped that you would make this easy on me and be reasonable. I will give you some more time to think about it. When is your next performance?"

    "Easy on you?" Ruby repeats nervously, "What do you mean?" Colin takes a step closer to her and she starts to tremble. "What do you want from me?" She steps away, backing into the space of the door, hitting up against the doorway.

    He steps forward and puts her long red hair to his nose, inhaling slowly and deeply. "Miss West, you are as smart as you are beautiful. You know I want you to allow me to take you away from this place and to treat you how a woman of your caliber should be treated."

    "Jake won't let you." Ruby says this with the most force and confidence she can muster.

    The man steps back, removing his hand from Ruby's hair and laughs a throaty, powerful laugh.

    "The part that you don't understand Miss West, is that he doesn't have to. I will return on Wednesday to hear your angelic voice. Perhaps our paths may cross again before that time but if not my heart will be heavy until I hear your voice again. Tell Mrs. Kale I said hello and your serving girl too, Maria, I believe her name was. Both such lovely women." With that being said Colin Turner turns slowly on his heel and begins to walk away slowly.
    Last edited by orchid blossom; Saturday, 24th September, 2005 at 02:12 PM.

  3. #3

    The Shadow of Colin Turner Falls

    Clarisse sits at the table demurely while everyone else talks around her.

    She delicately taps her napkin on her lip after she finishes.

    "Well, I for one am very pleased with how the festival turned out. So many new people here in our little town!" She places her hand gently on Chesters. "And Chet, Mr. Martin, was so brave the past week with all the outlaws running around. I'm just glad you are all alright." She looks at Chester adoringly. "Especially you." She blushes then looks away.

    Chester gently squeezes Clarisse's hand and kisses her. "I'm glad to be alright. But it was pretty close. I wasn't the only brave one. Everyone here played a major part in bringing down the Cowboy Gang. I hope this is the last we've seen of that lot."

    "Oh, I hope so too. Besides being dangerous they took up all your free time, always running off and leaving me!"

    "Well, now I can resume your courting." He winks at her.

    Clarisse blushes. and looks down to her lap. "I'd like that very much," she says softly.

    Nanuet smiles brightly when he sees Minerva enter the saloon in her eyecatching red gown. He thinks about his own state of dress in his plain clothes but his thoughts are quickly drawn back to Minerva. He stands up and makes his way over to her.

    "Well, I must say you cleaned up nicely. I didn't expect this fancy, but you look so beautiful." he says and gives her a quick kiss. "And smell so nice as well. I think I'm in love," he says with a wink.

    "I am glad that you find my attire pleasing, mi amor. I dressed special for you," she says giving a little spin. "I am in a festive mood and we have so much to celebrate. Come I would like to share my good news with our friends." she says and leads him over to the table.

    ”Buenas Tardes mi amigos!" She greets everyone around the table with a hug and a kiss on the cheek as Nanuet pulls out a chair for her.

    "Wait just a minute, I think Ruby is still outside, we should wait for everybody to be present. Let me see if I can find something to toast with."

    Nanuet makes sure Minerva is comfortable before heading to the bar to speak with Niles and arrange a celebratory toast.

    Jake partially listens to the conversation between the priestess and Nanuet. He finally notices that Ruby did not come back inside. He stands and sees Ruby outside and the man who was talking to Maria is walking off the porch. Jake walks to the door. "Are you well? Was there something wrong with Maria's cooking?"

    Ruby is startled into reality by Jake's voice. "That's the man," she whispers to him, staring off after Turner. "He's... he's..." Ruby stammers and then is silent.

    "That is the man who was making you uncomfortable?" Jake asks her while pointing at the man's back.

    Ruby looks at Jake with wide eyes and nods her head in response.

    Jake steps off the porch in the man's direction and says loudly, "Hey, you there!" He continues walking quickly towards him.

    The man stops walking and slowly turns back to face Jake. He stares at Jake with his intense light blue eyes. Without breaking his gaze, "Are you speaking to me, sir?"

    "Yes I am." Jake walks steadily up to the man and faces him.

    "Miss West finds your attentions uncomfortable and unwanted, you need to leave her alone. Do you understand me?" Jake meets his gaze with a firm expression.

    Jake quickly realizes the feeling of discomfort that Ruby had previously mentioned as he meets the mans steely gaze. A chill runs up and down his spine and he feels his own will, the ability to control his actions and movements being suppresssed.

    "Uncomfortable and unwanted you say? I don't believe she said unwanted, I believe those are your own words. I understand Miss West feelings of discomfort at this point in time and will check in on her at a later date, perhaps by then she will have grown comfortable with the offer I have made. Good day sir."

    The strange man turns around and continues walking away from the Lucky Lady. Jake finds himself rooted in place, unable to continue his pursuit of Colin Turner.

    Jake's fear of helplessness is quickly replaced by a consuming anger. Unable to get his legs to obey him, he quickly assesses what control he has, if any, of his body. I have had enough of people attempting to make me their puppet! You are threatening the wrong man's woman.

    Ruby runs up to Jake as Colin walks away. She can see the hate buring in his normally twinkling eyes.

    "Baby! What happened?" She places her hand on his arm, "I couldn't hear from up on the porch. Are you alright? What did he say? You look so angry..."

    With his left hand, Jake takes her firmly by the arm and turns her back towards the saloon. He says quietly through gritted teeth, "Did you see him cast a spell? Is that man another blasted wizard?" His right hand brushes his Colt. Ruby can feel Jake's hand shaking slightly as he holds her arm, but there is no fear in his eyes.

    Ruby shakes her head no. "I didn't see him do anything," she says quietly in return. "Are you alright?" Ruby lets Jake pull her to the Saloon. "Maybe he won't come back?" she adds feebly.

    "I'm fine. I don't think I am harmed." Jake stops her and says. "I couldn't move. The bastard did something so I couldn't move. Didn't you say there was a way to do that with a ..., you know...."

    "Yes," she whispers, "But I didn't see him do anything. I was watching." She throws her arms around Jake's neck and holds him tightly. "Maybe he won't come back. Or maybe next time I can tell him no with more conviction..."

    "What do you mean by that? What offer is he talking about?"

    Ruby releases her arms from around Jake's neck and takes a step away from him.

    The words come out of her mouth flat and without feeling. "He said he wanted to take me away and treat me how I should be treated."

    She pauses before continuing, then she starts to ramble, "Yesterday... at the ball.. I didn't know where you were... everyone was in costume... I danced with him... Red came and saved me... I didn't know where you were...he disappeared..."

    "Easy, easy, Ruby girl. It's alright, we need to figure out what in hades is going on here." Jake starts them moving again to the saloon. "Can you talk about it? Are you up to it? Perhaps we can ask the others as well, maybe they can help us understand what in blazes this guy is trying to pull on us."

    "I guess I can talk about it, why couldn't I? But why do the others have to know?" She looks in the saloon at her friends eating dinner at the table then back to Jake. "What can they do?" The haze is falling away from Ruby and her mood lightning a bit. "They might get scared."

    "I don't know what they can do. Do you know what we should do? I need to understand how he did that to me, and how to keep him from doing it again. I can't protect you if I can't move." Jake suddenly wishes he hadn't said that out loud. "He was talking to Maria. Go find out what he said to her." Jake nudges her along towards the kitchen. "I'll be sitting with the others. When you come back, decide if you want to say something. I would feel better if you did."

    Ruby nods and walks to the kitchen. Once inside she starts casually chatting with Maria. 10 minutes later she appears back at the table with her friends.

    She sits quietly for a moment, twirling her hair around her finger. Her voice soft she starts, "So did anyone notice the guy who was sitting in the corner earlier? There is something odd about him..." She tries not to look at the crazy stares she is getting from the group.

    "He was a customer here, a couple months ago. He was nice enough. He came back for the festival. He's been... I've been... uh... something odd..."

    Ruby starts more frantically twirling her hair on her finger. "He says he wants to take me away."

    "He is... unusual,” Katherine said. “He spent a great deal of time talking with me, and there is something about the way he looks at you that makes it hard to think clearly. We danced at the ball, and it's like you want to run away and you want to stay all at the same time. He never hid his interest in you, Ruby. Has he said why he wants you to go with him?"

    "No. That he wants to treat me like I should be treated. I told him no." Ruby pauses, very carefully considering if she should proceed. "When I said that he mentioned you and Maria, that you were lovely. Is he threatening me? Dammit!" She slams her hand on the table. "We just got over this crap." Ruby tugs on her hair a few times. "Where is the damn bourbon?"

    Meanwhile Clarisse sits in silence with her hands in her lap, wide eyed.

    Chester whispers to her, "Nothing like your school, is it?"

    Clarisse nods her head slowly. "No," she whispers back to him and takes his hand, "Not at all. It's a very strange story." Her gaze turns to Ruby as Ruby continues to tell her story. "Maybe she's had too much to drink? She does like to drink..."

    "I'd like to hear your story, when you're ready to tell it."

    Clarisse giggles. "Not my story, silly, the one Ruby is telling. You know, about this man making people feel strange and wanting to take her away. I think she's trying to make Mr. Cook jealous. Or make an excuse for not being faithful to him."

    Chester follows Clarisse's look. "When you've had as hard a life as she has, you need something to ease the pain. Do you disapprove?"

    Clarisse replies, "Overindulgance in anything is against the will of the gods, Chet, you know that.”

    While Chester and Clarisse whispered, the others continued discussing Mr. Turner. "I doubt he was threatening anyone, he seems the kind of man who makes it a habit to flatter and charm wherever he goes. It's something to keep in mind though,” Kate was saying.

    Ruby looks down and keeps her gaze off of Jake.

    "When I said Jake would never let him take me Mr. Turner said he didn't have to. That sounds like a threat to me. He said you were lovely. Are lovely. Not that you aren't... " Ruby shakes her head.

    Again she is quiet and she bites her lip. "When I am around him I can't think very straight. I'm... uh..." She doesn't finish her thought.

    Kate sighed. "That does sound a lot more like a threat. For now Ruby, I hate to say it but you shouldn't go around alone, and make sure you lock your doors at night. I'm not sure there's much else you can do."

    "We'll keep an eye out for him Ruby. Hopefully he realizes that you aren't interested and he'll stay away. Let's try and turn this mood back around, I believe Minerva has an announcement to make." Nanuet says trying to raise the spirits of the group again. He has a bottle of champagne in his hand and there are several glasses on the table. He begins filling them and passing them out to all his companions and Clarisse.

    Minerva puts her hand on Nanuet's arm. "Si I would like to make my announcement and then perhaps we could celebrate, but I am curious to hear what Ruby has to say first." She turns to him as if she is going to hug him and whispers. "She was acting quite strange out on the porch and she does not look well to me. Let us humor her." Minerva changed to her usual tone and said, "Por Favor, Ruby please tell us."

    Nanuet whispers back, "I am sorry, I did not realize there was more to be said, of course let them finish speaking."

    "Tell you what? I told you what I had to say, I think I remembered everything. It seems something about him makes me... forgetful. Jake just spoke with him outside, I think he has something to add..."

    Jake has been quiet while they are all talking but now they seem to be looking at him. "I told the man to leave Ruby alone, more eloquently though." Jake does not laugh at his little attempt at humor. "He basically refused my request and then he did something to me. I don't understand how but I was unable to move at all while he walked away." Jake pauses and then adds, "Ruby didn't notice him do anything if you understand me."

    "I didn't see him do anything," Ruby repeats, "I know I didn't, I was watching."

    "I don't know what to do."

    "Right now, I'm not sure either. And considering what I know of Cochise County, I wouldn't be surprised if he were talented. I have seen him, so has Ruby, Jake, and Maria. And probably some of the others as well. For now we keep our eyes open, and keep an eye on Ruby as well.

    And now I'm going to suggest a very "Ruby" solution. We have a drink and enjoy our night. For now we are all together, and Mr. Turner gone. Let's enjoy it."

    "Yes...drinks...good idea." Ruby pours herself another bourbon.

    She glances at Jake. "What I'd really like to do is get out of here."

    "Well, now that Ringo is gone it's much safter to travel. A little vacation might not be a bad thing."

    "Yes, a vacation," Ruby comments, "Tombstone was nice." Ruby looks a bit uncomfortable as she glances around the room. "Maybe soon we can go. But I meant tonight, maybe just a ride, you know, get some air."

    "Anyway, Minerva why don't you tell everyone your news."
    Last edited by orchid blossom; Sunday, 4th September, 2005 at 05:02 PM.

  4. #4

    An Announcement and a Request

    "I think that Katherine has an excellent suggestion and I have some news that I am very excited about that I would like to share with all of you. Nanuet has some champagne for the occasion but first I would like to toast to all of you. I know that I have not been in Promise City very long, but you have all become very special to me and I would like to thank you all for including me in your lives."

    She smiles all around and hold up her glass. "Before I came to Promise City I did not know what it was to have a home and a family that I could count on so whole-heartedly. If it were not for all of you I would not now be the Permanent Pastor of the Church of Olympus in Promise City. So I would like to toast my new family and my new home. May the gods watch over all of us!" she says, and spilling a bit of champagne on the floor to honor the gods she raises her glass in salute and drinks.

    But not too closely, Jake thinks. "Congratulations Senorita, you have earned your place here and the town is much richer for it. I am glad you count us among your friends."

    Ruby lifts her drink. "Glad you'll be sticking around, priestess," she says with a smile.

    Nanuet lifts his glass when the others do and waits for someone else to take a drink before he does, unfamiliar with the ceremony. He takes a sip then wrinkles his nose a bit and puts the glass on the table. He then claps his hands together loudly before giving Minerva a smothering hug.

    Minerva holds on tight. She smiles radiantly as she looks around at her friends. I am so blessed.

    Kate took a small sip and put the glass down. "Why don't you tell us how Mrs. King looked? Bishop Papandras seemed to take some pleasure in the idea of how wrong she was about the reason he was here."

    Minerva laughs loudly. "Oh it was priceless Katherine, you would have really enjoyed it! She looked like she was choking her face was so red!"

    "It's not often I take pleasure in the idea of someone being crossed, but Mrs. King gets under my skin. Let's hope her state of confusion lasts," Kate smiled and looked around the table to her gathered friends. It was good to see them all happy as Miss Florencia continued to recount her morning. Once the conversation died down Kate took a deep breath.

    "I have a request to make of all of you. I'm going to need some help in a few days. It's been too dangerous to go to Tombstone, but now.... I want to move Tom out to the ranch. I plan to go out there tomorrow and choose a spot for him, and I'll talk to Mr. Berg about what I need to do. I hope to bring him home by the end of the week, and I'll need your help."

    "You know you can count on me Miss Kate,” Nanuet offered. “Whatever you need, I'll be glad to help any way I can."

    "Need our help for what? I'm not sure I understand." Ruby sips at her drink but keeps looking nervously over her shoulder at the door.

    Nanuet senses Ruby's discomfort. "Miss Ruby, you need something to take your mind off that man, perhaps you can sing us a song, or someone can play piano and we can dance?"

    "A song? I don't know... I don't really feel like singing." Ruby smiles at Nanuet. "I'll be ok, I promise. I'll be good. We're celebrating after all." She takes another sip and makes a conscious effort to relax.

    "Just figured it might take your mind off of things, maybe cards perhaps or we can plan our trip to Tombstone. We should be celebrating!"

    "Of course I will help in anyway that I can, Katherine." Minerva pauses before continuing. "I do not want to make you uncomfortable by pushing myself on you, but you had mentioned that your husband attended services. If you would like me to I could perform a short memorial service for him."

    "When he's reinterred, yes, that would be nice. Thank you, Priestess." Kate looked over at Nanuet and said, "I knew I could count on you.

    I will need help because we will probably have to move him ourselves, which means.. ah... digging and..." She looked down and twisted her hands in her lap. "And I don't want to do it alone."

    Ruby nods. "I understand. You know we'll be there Kate. Although I'm not sure about the digging part..." she shivers. "Maybe we can leave that to the big burly men, you know, the ones who weren't shot this morning." She giggles at her own joke, her mood lightening.

    "Katherine," Jake finally speaks up after being unusually quiet, "You don't have to do anything alone. All you have to do is ask, and you have. I would be happy to accompany you. If you don't mind though, it would be my honor to provide the laborers to do the hard work while we accompany you and escort your late husband to his new resting place."

    "I don't mind, Jake," Katherine said with a warm smile through unshed tears. "Thank you all. It will be a relief to have him where he belongs. The service in Tombstone was rather a lonely thing, I've never felt right about it."

    "Well, you don't have to be lonely anymore, do you? You'll be wishing for some loneliness in the not too distant future."

    "Alright, no more sad stuff, ok? Let's drink and relax."

    Ruby raises her glass, "To no more Cowboys, the new permanent Priestess, and moving on with our lives!" Ruby finishes her beverage.

    "Yes, well I will definitly toast to that... and speaking of moving on... Nanuet and I have an appointment to keep!" she says turning to Nanuet with a smile.

    "You know, I'm kinda tired tonight too. I think I want to go to bed early. None of you mind, do you? We can finish celebrating another night."

    "An appointment? At this time of nig... oh yes an appointment!" he says, his face reddening. He drinks his drink down and repeats Ruby's toast. "So it's time then?" he says turning towards Minerva.

    “Si, It is time Mi Amor," she whispers into his ear. "Let us go now before the storm rolls in.” Minerva smiles a bit nervously.

    Nanuet’s eyes grow wide and his heart jumps to his throat. He can hear the pounding of the very physical entity so often associated with love in his ears as he looks at her timid smile and realizes what she is talking about.

    "I was planning on spending the night at the El Parador, actually,” Kate said. “I'll be moving in a few days, and I want to enjoy my last few days there. We can celebrate another night."

    "Alright then." Ruby stands from the table and hugs all her friends. "Thank goodess that is over with now. Everyone have a safe night, ok?"

    Ruby turns to Jake. "I'm going to head upstairs, ok baby?"

    Jake wishes all his friends a good night, but seems to stay unusually close to Ruby, even for Jake. "Let us go," he says simply.

  5. #5

    New Love, Old Love

    Once he sees that the group is definitely calling it a night Nanuet eagerly takes Minerva by the hand. Weary from the events of the last few days, he feels a reserve of strength surge into his body. He says a hurried goodnight to his friends and steers Minerva toward the door.

    When they step outside he effortlessly scoops her off her feet and into his arms. Smiling ever so slightly as he ponders his response… he says "You have already shown me the ways of love Minerva, but you are saying that 'now is the time' for me to take you to my bed, my love, I am honored to do so."

    When Nanuet picks Minerva up she wraps her arms around his neck, buries her face in his shoulder begins to giggle uncontrollably. “We must do this properly, mi Amor. It would not do to just run off into the woods. A tribute to Dionysus must be paid… A bottle of wine! We must have a bottle of wine!”

    Nanuet smiles widely in response to Minerva's giddy giggles. He sets the Spanish beauty down. “Stay put! Don’t move. NOT an inch! I’ll be right back!” he says giving her a quick kiss before he sprints back to the Lucky Lady.

    "Niles! I need your best bottle of wine, pronto!" he says, slightly winded. He throws a crumpled up $5 bill on the bar and grabs a bottle that Mr. Hoover is examining right from under his nose. "Thanks!” he says, rushing out the door.

    The flustered Indian stops in mid stride his features even redder than usual and almost falls down the porch steps as he reverses his tracks back into the Lucky Lady. Jeff meets him at the door, already holding the corkscrew. Nanuet grabs it from him and Jeff winks a knowing wink. Nanuet can hear him laughing as he runs back to the spot where he left his soon to be lover. Armed with his offering to Dionysus, he arrives out of breath but manages a huge grin as he proudly holds out his prize.

    "Where are the glasses mi Amor? She asks and then waves her hand in a dismissive gesture. “Ah, It does not matter. We will make do. Come!" She grabs his hand and they run down the street, laughing like a couple of naughty children.

    Shortly they arrive at the grove across the street from the El Parador. Nanuet hands the bottle and corkscrew to Minerva and then as he has done before, scoops her off her feet and into his arms. He breathes deeply of the air saturated with the scent of Minerva's perfumes and oils. He kisses her passionately for a long moment before stepping under the canopy of the grove.

    ”MMMM, Wait mi amor.” She responds with a throaty laugh, fighting the buzz of pleasure that threatens to envelope her senses. We must do this correctly if we are to acquire the blessing of the gods.” She dances her fingers through his hair and wiggles out of his arms to stand facing him.

    ”You said that you wished to learn how to pray to the gods of Rome. Si? Will you let me show you how? Now, before you show me the ways of love?”

    "I had other ideas on the timing,” he says, drawing her close to him. “But elves are supposed to be patient people, so I will be open to your teachings. It would not be wise of me to refuse the teachings of a messenger of any god now would it?"

    She nods delightedly and takes him by the hand as a bolt of Jupiter lights the sky. “First we must drink to the Glory of Dionysus, and then I will show you the proper way to make ourselves pleasing to the gods.”

    Nanuet opens the bottle and they toast.

    Minerva, ever the preacher, begins what seems to be a wordy speech and although Nanuet starts listening intently he soon becomes distracted by her lovely smell and begins nuzzling her neck, pausing now and again to drink from the bottle. She giggles softly as he does so and does her best to concentrate and finish her toast properly, but soon gives up.

    “Nanuet, you are not paying attention. Here let me help you with that.” She says pulling the bottle from him to take a long swallow. They continue to share the wine and enjoy one another’s playful touch until the bottle lies empty on the blanket beside them. Her breath quickens as he continues his explorations, “Now,” she says, the word ‘now’ sounding more like a moan of pleasure, “It is time to honor the gods.”

    She pushes herself from him and taking him by the hand pulls him up off the blanket. The preacher in her takes charge once again, “You have seen me perform the Moon Ceremony before, when we visited the Apache. This ceremony is quite similar, except that, tonight, there is no moon in the heavens," she says as another rumble of thunder rocks the distant hills, “and I will be anointing you with ceremonial oils, but first we must remove our clothes,” she says with a twinkle in her eye.

    The wine is already affecting the elf as he smiles widely at Minerva and rubs his hands together. "OK! I am starting to like this prayer ceremony more and more. First wine and now removing of the clothing." A broad smile comes across his face as he eagerly sheds his clothing.

    Minerva's laugh dies in her throat as he stands before her, looking very much like the wild savage that he is. Her eyes grow large and her mouth runs dry as she fights the sudden panic clawing it’s way up her throat, No, nothing at all like the sheep back in Spain. She shivers with apprehension as she works to steady her breathing.

    Nanuet, noticing the sudden fear on her face, waits patiently for her to decide what she will do. She turns her back to him momentarily so that he may help her with the buttons of her gown and when she turns to face him once more, he watches intently as she slowly and delicately removes her gown and reveals herself to the gods and to her man.

    To hide her nervousness she retrieves her bag and busies herself pulling out the vials of oil that she used earlier in the evening to anoint her own flesh. She turns back to Nanuet, once again the priestess of Olympus, and faces him unselfconsciously in her innocence. She steps close to him and removes the amulet that Kajika gave them to block the influence of Ahphrodite. “It is not right that we should remain deaf to the voice of love. We need not be afraid any longer since the balance of power has been restored.”

    Taking his hands in hers, she raises their joined arms to the heavens and prays in English in her clear, high Spanish accent. “Father Jupiter, Mother Minerva, Venus goddess of love, Dionysus and all the 12 powers of Olympus. May our union be pleasing to you in whose image we are created."

    The pair stands close together unmoving, and unaware of the outside world as the tension of the storm builds between, around and within them. The already frantic music of the wind picks up it’s tempo to whip about them as the god lights the sky with his thunderbolts revealing the beauty and splendor of his children.

    Her eyes remain on his as she watches them grow dark with a primitive hunger.
    He does not flinch, and enforces his iron will, determined to be patient and gentle with his uninitiated lover. He stands perfectly still while she dips her finger in the oil and places it on his brow- “for wisdom to keep your thoughts clear; she says in a soft voice. His heart -“to keep it open to the love you will give and receive this night;” she says with a slight tremble in her voice. When she anoints his body on other secret places, sacred to the gods – “as a sign of their blessing and to insure their favor,” he is no longer able to contain the raging passion within. He pulls her roughly to him and as they fall to the blanket, lightning strikes again causing several birds to take flight from the trees, the flash illuminating their writhing forms now melded together as one. Bonded in flesh as well as spirit, their sounds of pleasure are lost to the rolling thunder as the storm unleashes its power. He holds himself above her and looks into her eyes before his mouth closes over hers, muffling her startled cry and together they ride the storm.

    * * *

    Back in their room, Ruby plops on the bed and swings her legs back and forth like a schoolgirl. She speaks out suddenly, “Can we go for a ride? I’d like to get out of this city. I need some air, I really do Jake.”

    "Are you sure you are up to it?" Jake looks concerned but then, "Hades, what am I saying, there isn't anything that can stop you. Sure, we can go for a ride."

    Ruby pulls her hair back into a messy knot while she dresses in her thin white skirt and blouse. She doesn’t bother with shoes. She goes to her vanity and picks up her olive leaf pendant, wrapping it around her neck. She grabs two bottles of bourbon off their table and a blanket. She stops before she leaves the room and spots her red rose on her nightstand. She hurries back in and very carefully wraps the stem in a napkin, bringing it along.

    They make their way through the town over to the stables. Jake takes them quietly and stealthily across the town, being careful to avoid notice and watching for who is watching them. He tries to hide that from Ruby. Most of the people on the streets are cleaning up or packing up after the festival but there are still a good amount wandering around. Jake prepares Ruby's black stallion, putting the blanket and bottles in the saddlebags, then hops up. He reaches down and offers a hand to Ruby, pulling her up behind him. She wraps her arms around him tightly and leans herself up against him.

    Jake turns his head back to Ruby, "Where are we headed Princess?"

    Ruby answers, "That nice spot upstream of the mill," then grips him tighter. Jake is careful to look about when they leave and heads out in the wrong direction first and then turns out of town cutting across the desert to get to the proper trails. Ruby doesn't pay any attention to her lovers crazy directions.

    As they ride to their favorite quiet spot the cool of evening begins descend on them. The moon is just visible over the familiar fertile area of the stream surrounded by the broad leaf trees and thick bushes that do not grow away from the water in the harsh Arizona desert.

    Jake slides off the horse and helps Ruby down. He ties the horse to a nearby tree and tends to him while Ruby sets up the blanket on the soft grasses. She unpacks the two bottles of bourbon and unwraps the rose. Ruby takes a drink of the bourbon and offers some to Jake while he works.

    Ruby waits for Jake to sit on the blanket and she sits on his lap facing him. Pressing her full lips against Jake’s she kisses him passionately before pulling away only slightly and looking him in his twinkling brown eyes. “I wanted to come out here so we could thank Aphrodite together. This is what I had in mind all along, just you and I, the way it should always be.” She offers Jake another drink of bourbon and takes one of her own.

    "It is a relief that all the Cowboy nonsense is over, at least for now. I told you we'd come out fine. I will admit,” Jake says reluctantly, "That it didn't all go as well as I anticipated." All in a brief moment his thoughts go racing back to those seconds when he discovered Ringo, heard his thoughts, knew that Ringo was firing the round that would seek out Ruby. He relives the split second decision that came to Jake's mind; Do I try to kill Ringo with the knife and disarm him or do I take the bullet myself? I was wrong and I almost lost you. He suppresses a shudder. His lips just barely crack a smile. "Yes, yes I know, it never goes as well as I anticipated. No matter. You are whole and we are here together, that is all that is important."

    They are silent for some time, enjoying the bourbon, the quiet and the warmth of each other.

    Finally Ruby reaches across the blanket to the perfect red rose, holding it delicately in her hand. She takes Jake’s hand, opening his palm to the sky. First she runs her fingers lightly over his soft palm. Then she bends forward and kisses each finger and the center of his hand before holding up the rose before his face. She takes the stem and suddenly presses a large thorn into his palm, deep enough to draw a drop of blood.

    "Hey! Oww!" Jake looks at his palm and back to Ruby. "Why did you do that?"

    Ruby holds up her hand, palm up. She hands Jake the rose and waits expectantly.

    Hesitantly he pokes her with the thorn, but it does not draw blood. "Oh, Hades," he mutters and clumsily punctures her tender palm with the already blooded point.

    After they have matching bloodied palms Ruby pushes their palms flat, intertwining their fingers, mixing the drops together. “No matter what happens or where we are, we will always be a part of each other now. You’ll always be in me and I’ll always be in you.” They hear some rumbling in the distance and Ruby looks to the sky, still starry over them. She furrows her brows, “Is that thunder?”

    She goes back to gazing at Jake. “I meant what I said earlier, there is no Ruby without her Jake. At least I don’t ever want there to be.” She smiles at him, “I hope you feel the same.” She kisses his palm over the small wound.

    "It feels right, girl." Jake withholds his thought about hope. "We will just have to make certain that nothing gets in our way. I don't want to imagine not having you with me." He thoughtfully glances at his palm.

    “You won’t have to.” She reaches out and pushes some hair off his forehead. “Now, let’s thank the gods, shall we?”

    Ruby tries to be serious but giggles a couple of times before she calms down and a solemn expression comes to her face. She closes her eyes, then opens them and gently runs her fingers over Jake’s eyelids, closing them. “We’re praying,” she whispers, like he should know, and closes her eyes again. “Aphrodite… beautiful goddess of love… watching over us from your home above… we thank you for your favor towards us and ask you to please continue to send to us your blessings on our love and our lives.” She continues softly, “I especially ask that you look with favoring eyes on this man… protect him and keep him safe always but even more so when I can’t… because as you have planned it he is everything I could want or need… he is my world and my destiny.”

    “In return we offer you what we have… the only thing really real in our lives…our love for each other…certain, strong and true… and our desire for each other… also certain, strong and true.” Jake hears a little giggle escape from Ruby.

    “Oh and Hermes, we thank you too…for giving us the luck to find each other and making us wise enough to get your message.”

    Ruby is silent for a long moment. “Anything else you want to add baby?”

    "No, you have said it quite well."

    Ruby pulls her clothes off over her head slowly and drops them aside leaving her body naked to Jake and the moonlit sky. Her skin still shimmers from the costume she wore the night before and her curves are accentuated by the pale light. She helps Jake wiggle out of his too then slides herself back on his lap. His lean body, muscular yet smooth, welcomes her as if she was always meant to be right there. She feels her heart speeding up for what seemed like the thousandth time in the past couple of days as her body presses against his, her breathing quickens as she smells his musky scent, his strong deft hands moving over her sends shivers up and down her spine.

    She nuzzles Jake’s neck, her lips leisurely moving down his shoulder and to his chest, covering him with light pecks. Her eyes rise to meet his, her lips swollen with kisses. “How is it after all this time you still make me want you so badly?” she whispers breathlessly.

    "Were you reading my thoughts again?" he replies quietly.

    Ruby places both her hands on Jake’s smooth face and looks deep into his eyes before she presses her lips to him again.

    As they make love they hear the thunder claps growing closer and finally the rain comes, the cool drops washing the sweat from their bodies. Ruby turns her face to the sky and laughs as they get drenched. “I love the rain!” she giggles, dripping with water. “Surely it is a sign…” Her voice trails off as she turns her face back to Jake, water dripping off his nose, hair soaking wet, sweaty, tired from the long couple of days. She gives him the warmest and most adoring smile she has. “You really must love me a lot.”

    "Ruby, you are the air that I breathe and nourishment for my withered soul." He squeezes her a little and adds, "Plus the gratification and balm for my more human longings as well."

    “You always know the perfect thing to say and do to make me happy. I don’t know why I had to wait so long to find you but whatever the reason, it was well worth it.”

    They carry on thanking the goddess, the rain continuing to fall, the cool drops caressing their bodies. Their gasps, laughs and moans echo off the landscape and rise to the heavens unhindered.

    The rain stops just as they finish. The corner of Ruby’s lips turn upward and she says breathlessly, “I think the goddess is pleased, do you agree?”

    "I don't see how she couldn't be. I certainly am. I've nothing better to offer her."

    Ruby just continues smiling and kisses Jake again before falling back on the blanket. The sky clears above them and the bright stars come back out from their hiding place. As the light from the moon peeks through the clouds Jake lies next to Ruby and they lay silently, gazing at the stars.

    Without moving her gaze from the sky Ruby takes Jake's hand and whispers, "Forever, starry nights and certain love."

    Jake lays his other hand over their clasped hands and smiles up at the sky. "Forever…"

    After an undetermined amount of time Ruby snuggles up to Jake, wrapping herself around him. It isn't long before Jake hears her soft sighs of sleep.

    Jake stays awake for some time just watching her sleep, thought he tries to stay awake eventually he nods off as well.

  6. #6

    Ill Met at the El Parador

    Kate left the Lucky Lady and walked slowly back to the El Parador. It was still crowded in the town, but Kate was used to living in a big city. It felt rather homey to her to be surrounded by people.

    The sound of music pouring out of the El Parador quickened her step and she stepped lightly into the Cantina where Dorita was waiting in the common room for her. "Senorita Katherine, there is a man waiting for you," she says pointing to a table darkened by shadow. "He is a handsome, charming man, you should go, go say hello."

    "Dorita, the last time you told me a handsome man was waiting for me I had a very uncomfortable cup of tea with Johnny Ringo. And what would Mr. Booth say if he heard you telling me to go sit with a handsome man, hmm?"

    Katherine leaned over and kissed Dorita's cheek. She took a deep breath and walked over, already suspecting who she would find there.

    "Miss Kale, thank you for taking a moment out of your busy day to join me. I hope this conversation is not a nuisance. Please have a seat."

    These words come from the lips of the man Katherine surely expected, Mr. Colin Tucker.

    "I am afraid that I may have caused some trouble earlier today. I just wanted to assure you that was not my intention. From what I understand you and your friends have had your share of trouble in recent times. Sounds like it was quite an ordeal, perhaps you could entertain me with some of the tale? May I buy you a drink?" he says as he stands up and motions for her to sit.

    "I don't really drink anymore, Mr. Turner. It's a dangerous pastime for me, and as I have already had one glass of wine tonight I should not have another." Despite something in the back of her mind telling her to leave, she took the offered seat. "Our trouble is in the past now."

    "Well I am certainly glad to hear that!" the handsome fair haired man says. Kate is once again drawn to his eyes, their gaze capturing her attentions.

    "As much as I love this little town, I am afraid I have to be leaving soon, but there is something I must do before I go. Miss West is a good friend of yours, is she not?"

    "You already know that, I'm sure. And you are a fan."

    "Then I must call on you for a favor. It is a simple one. She has to this point refused all of my advances, yet she seems at least to have some interest in me, so not all is lost. Perhaps you could talk to her, let her know that I simply wish to give her the life that she deserves. One of fame and wealth; a life where she can have whatever she desires. In fact, the more I dwell on that the more I like the notion. Please, the next time that you have a private conversation with Miss West, be sure to do your best to convince her that I can give her all that she desires. I will be at the Lucky Lady on Wednesday to judge your work, I trust you will not fail me."

    With that the man finishes his drink and leaves Kate sitting alone to ponder.

    She sat for quite a while at the table with her mind foggy. It wasn't like Ruby to not at least consider an offer. She had even considered Mr. Eastman, even if it was only for a few seconds. Perhaps it was better if she at least considered the man. There was a nagging at the back of Kate's mind, as if she had forgotten something, but she couldn't get hold of it.

    After a while she got up and helped Dorita in the kitchen, then went upstairs to read in her room with the door open to the sounds of music from below. When Ginnie returned, the two took one of the new games Kate had bought downstairs and played before turning in early.

  7. #7


    Morning, Monday April 3rd, 1882

    Ruby opens her eyes slowly. She sees the blue sky above her as she opens her eyes. Nudging Jake sotfly she says, "Morning baby. You still love me today?"

    "Why, what day is it?" Jake quickly grabs her hand before she can hurt him. "Joking! I was joking. I love you more than ever."

    Ruby feigns being insulted and tries to pull her hand away before ending up on top of Jake, kissing him. "I love you too baby," she says running her hand over his starting to get stubbly face.

    "Ahhhh.. it's a bit chilly out here with no clothes on," she giggles. She takes a long breath in. "But, it's so nice here, I felt like I was getting smothered back in town. And I feel safe here, with you."

    Guilt and pride pelt Jake like the storm rains from last night. He maintains a warm smile inspite of that emotional assault. "That means the world to me."

    "It does?" Ruby lets her fingers lightly wander over Jake's chest. Ruby sighs, "I suppose we should get back, even though I feel like I could stay like this forver. We don't want anyone thinking we're not coming back." Even with her words, Ruby makes no attempt to move.

    "No one expects us up early anyway...." Jake snorts a small laugh at that, "...we can take our time. Not too long, girl, we didn't bring any food with us."

    Ruby laughs at Jake's astute obversation. "You're right." She continues drawing little hearts on Jake's chest. "I hope we can go to Tombstone. I had fun last time. And we have a little special spot like this there too," she smiles as her memories come rushing back. "And I told Jane we would visit her in Tuscon too. We have lots of trips to plan and fun to have."

    "Tuscon needs to wait a little while. I talked to Red, and he wants some time to setup his new operation. He does want to both of us to visit. We did talk about Jane a bit, though he was still cryptic about that. I don't think Jane is the object of his romantic affections, and yet I don't know what his relationship was with Jane's mother." Jake keeps his gaze skyward, scrutinizing the detailess blue sky. "He can have his secrets. At least he can have them for now."

    Ruby looks a bit disappointed. "Oh but I don't want to wait..." Her voice trails off. "Ok." She looks up into the sky following Jake's gaze. "Jane respects him for knowing her mother and wanting to help her. It's not easy for us girls to find someone who cares about us and wants to help us with good intentions." She pauses. "You DO think Red has good intentions, don't you?" Her fingers wander a little lower on Jake's chest, down to his tight belly.

    "Heh." Jake's little laugh is cryptic. "No harm will come from Patrick O'Brien to your friend Jane, as long as she is a friend to him. He will use her, but in the way she wants to be used. All in all I think Jane will get more from Red than he gets from her." A short pause. "No, I am certain of it." The expression on Jake's face turns to meloncholy. "Red is lonely. I should not be surprised, but I never thought about it before."

    Ruby is quiet, then suddenly pinches Jake's stomach, "Do you use me, Mr. Cook?" she giggles. "Lonely? What do you mean?"

    "Moving from town to town, with very few friends is tough. You know that. How much tougher is it when you must pretend EVERY DAY to be someone else? How much more alone could you be? Every day making sure no one really knows who you are...."

    Ruby is silent again. "You're right, poor Red. He must be so lonely. I was lonely before I found you. Even more reason to go and comfort him. When you think it's right anyway."

    Ruby sits up on the blanket and looks around the green landscape. "It's really nice here. I think we found the nicest spot in all of Arizona."

    "The best place in Arizona is the whatever ground you are standing on." Jake rolls to one side. "We won't wait too long for a trip to Tuscon. I'll send a note in a week or so to make him hurry and get ready." Jake gives Ruby a smirk.

    Ruby claps her hands. "Good!" She leans over and kisses her lover before standing. "Come on, I am getting hungry now. Let's get dressed and get back since you won't let us stay here all day and we're out of bourbon." Ruby takes him by the hands and pulls him up.

    Jake and Ruby dress and make their way back to town.

    Waiting for Wednesday

    With the exception of one small practice session with Jake, Ruby spends the next couple of days recouperating. More like basking in the glow of the attention, flowers, cookies, candy, and visitors who heard of her brush with death. When not entertaining the well wishers she stays close to Jake.

    Minerva spends the next couple of days proding and cajoling members of the Chruch Committee to finalize the plans necessary to complete the church and lets them know that she expects the building to be open for worship "Come Hades or high water, by June."

    She argues for the necessity of an addition of a private residence to the structure as well, pointing out that if she is going to be able to serve her flock effectively she will need a place to hold meetings and council her parishoners in private and without interruption. She maintains that, "It would be inappropriate to hold council in my bedroom at the Comstock House and the sitting room is a much too public setting." She also negotiates a stipend as compensation for her services.

    Nanuet spends Tuesday and Wednesday working as well, days on the additions and evenings at the saloon. He spends all the free time that he can with Minerva and calls on Ruby to ask advice on romance and to be blessed by her in Aphrodite's name.

    On Monday, Katherine rode out to the ranch, spending the day there with Ginnie and Sonoma. She worked with the horses and learned about the sheep from Sonoma, then took a leisurely ride around the property. It was while she was riding along the stream that she found the spot. A large tree spread it's branches over the water, creating an oasis of shade and beauty. It would be a good place for Tom to rest.

    Through Tuesday and Wednesday she helped with the moving of her furniture into the house in town, and made the order for her schooldesks. She worked at her curriculum and took her lessons with Mr. Gonzales, and generally enjoyed her freedom. Still, in the back of her mind she was bothered that she hadn't yet talked to Ruby.

    She spent some time with Conrad on Wednesday, just sitting in the Cantina which she was more and more aware would not be her home much longer.

    There is one thing of note however and that is that another body is discovered on Tuesday morning, one of the new "dancers" from the Palace, recruited during the festival. Her body, like that of the other was pale, unusually so. Chester is the one to deliver the news to the group and says that a full investigation is under way.

  8. #8


    Kate walked into the Lucky Lady around 5:00 and found Ruby nibbling at Maria's cooking in the kitchen.

    "Good afternoon, Maria. How are you, Ruby?" she asked, kissing her friend on the cheek. "Do you think we could go upstairs and have a little talk?"

    "I'm feeling much better, thank you. I think all the attention is doing me good," she smiles. "And you're looking well." Ruby grabs a piece of bread. "Sure. let's go upstairs." They head up to Jake and Ruby's room.

    Once they were settled Kate said. "I was just wondering about Mr. Turner. You said he offered you things. What kinds of things?"

    Ruby looks at her friend curiously. "Well, he said he wanted to take me away and treat me like someone of my caliber should be treated, whatever the hell that means." Ruby shrugs. "I hadn't thought of him since Monday. I'm hoping he doesn't come back, he made me a bit uncomfortable. Why?"

    "I don't think he means to make you uncomfortable. He's just a powerful man, not used to dealing with a woman like you. I don't doubt he could give you what he offered. Fame, wealth, an exciting life. Those are things you used to want. I was right the other day when I said you'd changed. Not long ago you would have seriously considered that offer."

    Ruby furrows her brows further. "But I'm madly in love with Jake, you know that. He makes me happy. I wouldn't leave him for anything."

    Kate twisted her hands together. "Happy. Yes, you've been happy here. But this is a small pond, there's so much world out there to explore. We've seen some of it. Wouldn't you like to go traveling? Stay in the finest hotels, eat the best food, bask in the adoration of your devoted fans?"

    "Yes," Ruby replies dreamily, slowly twisting her finger around her hair. With a far off look in her eyes she continues, "I want all those things." She snaps back to reality. "I do want all those things. Are you offering?" she laughs.

    She smiled gently. "No, but Colin Turner is."

    Ruby's eyes slowly narrow and her body tenses slightly. "Kate, what are you talking about? Did he talk to you? Or have you gone mad on your own time?" Ruby stands and walks over to the window. Jake had been closing it every time Ruby opened it. Opening it wide, she enjoys the warm breeze that drifts into the room. She turns back to face Kate and leaning on the window sill, crosses her arms, "What is going on Katherine Kale?"

    "He came to see me at the El Parador on Monday. Dorita seemed to like him quite a bit. He just told me what he offered you, and it sounded like what you've always wanted. He didn't understand why you would say no." Kate's speech was getting faster and faster. "He seems very sincere. He wants to give you whatever you desire, and he can do it."

    Ruby stares at Kate in silence for a long moment, than laughs. "You're so funny. Did Jake put you up to this? Did he? Ok, ok..." Ruby giggles again, "But I love Jake SOOOO much and I would NEEVVEERRR leave him, he means everything to me and I adore him and worship him...and he makes me feel sssooooo good and he's the best lover I ever had... should I go on?" Ruby has a huge silly smile on her face.

    Katherine began to pace around the room, wringing her hands. "I'm sure Mr. Turner is, ah, experienced," she countered with a hint of desperation in her voice. "He's rich, and not a love-sick puppy like George Eastman was. There's more to life than just adoration and worship."

    Ruby laughs again. "Oh yeah?" she says playing along. "What is there besides adoration and worship?" Kate is sure putting on a good show... but why?

    "Your dreams, of course. The ones you are putting aside to stay here. I've watched women do it for whatever reason. To please their families, to please a lover, or just because they think it's the right thing to do. They ususally regret it."

    Her light and cheerful mood starting to fade she drops her arms to her sides, "You think I'm putting aside my dreams to stay here? Is that what you're saying?" There is a slight edge in Ruby's voice but more concern anything else.

    "Only you can say for sure, but I've never known you to not even consider a good offer."

    "Kate, did he really come and see you? I thought you were joking with me, that maybe Jake set me up. You know him and his jokes... But did Mr. Turner really see you?" She crosses her arms tighter across her body. "There is nothing attractive about his offer."

    "What isn't attractive about his offer? What isn't attractive about him? Of course he came to see me, he was concerned about your refusals. He...." Kate ran out of words and stood twisting her hands. Finally she said very softly, "He said I wouldn't fail him."

    "What?" Ruby snapped as she jumped off the window ledge to a standing position. "You're being serious, aren't you? What did he say? Did he threaten you Kate?" Ruby strides over and takes her friend by the shoulders, "What does that mean, fail him?"

    "Of course he didn't threaten me, he wouldn't do that. He only said he would be back tonight to judge my work. He was certain I could convince you, that I wouldn't fail him. And with the inducements, how can you refuse? He's offering all the things you've told me you wanted."

    Ruby looks her friend in the eyes with a hard stare. "JAKE is all I've ever wanted." She considers going on but quickly reconsiders. "Tonight you said? I was hoping he wasn't being serious about coming back tonight." Ruby can see the nervousness behind Kate's eyes and she continues slowly. "You're right, it's all I ever wanted. I will consider it, alright Kate? I will. Tonight I will give him my answer myself and if he comes to you, you tell him that." She hugs her friend. "Try not to worry about it, ok? It'll be alright." She steps back and gives Kate a reassuraing smile.

    "He can do it, you know. Give you everything you've wanted. Please do consider it, Ruby. Don't just say you will."

    "How do you know what he can do or give me? I'm curious, you know. If I'm going to make a good decision I need to know all the facts."

    "Surely you can tell he's not the kind of man to lie. He didn't tell me all his business, I'm not the object of his desire. You'll have to ask him yourself."

    Ruby held back the comment that wanted to come flying out of her mouth. "Alright, Kate, I said I would think about it and I will ok? But I don't want you speaking to him without someone else around, ok? Will you do that for me?"

    Kate nodded. It was more than she had really expected to get from Ruby. Surely Mr. Turner would be satisfied with her efforts. "Alright Ruby."

    "Good. Now that it's settled I need to get ready for dinner and work tonight. You'll be back later to work, right?"

    "Of course. I'll go so you can get dressed. I'm sure you want to look your best. You always do. I'll see you in a little while."

    Ruby put on her best smile and nods. "You're right, I do. One of my weaknesses I suppose. I'll see you tonight." She watches Kate leave the room and once she is sure Kate is gone the smile falls off her face and she goes downstairs.

    Ruby couldn't immediately find Jake but she continued to look for him. She realized as she looked that Jake wasn't going to be able to do anything about the situation but worry.

    She heads back upstairs to her room and prepares for the evening. Once she is satisfied she looks her best she arrives back downstairs. She helps Niles prepare for the evening crowd, which he expects to be large for Ruby's first night singing after her injury.

    Her friends show up one by one, and she decides not to let any of them worry about the Turner situation. She argues with herself that she is the only one who can solve the problem anyway.

    She places a dazzling smile on her face and acts like nothing is wrong.


    Kate went back to the El Parador and changed her dress. She put on the pretty yellow dress with the square neckline and a pendant that nestled just above her breasts. Next she fixed her hair, pinning it up elaborately and leaving half of it down and curling over her shoulder.

    Her heart was fluttering with nerves. She had done her best, but Ruby could be stubborn once she got a thought in her head. So much had happened lately to show Ruby she belonged here; convincing her to leave just now was a herculean task. Surely she could convince Mr. Turner of that. She carefully stilled her shaking hands, said goodbye to Ginnie, and went to work.
    Last edited by orchid blossom; Sunday, 11th September, 2005 at 03:20 PM.

  9. #9

    Pulling the Strings

    Jake is downstairs chatting with customers when Ruby comes down. Dressed perfectly and brandishing a smile, she quickly drew the rooms attention. She seemed a bit nervous to Jake, but he attributed that to this being her first performance since the weekends events. He waves and waits until the she is not thronged with friends and admirers before approaching her.

    "Hi Baby," Ruby says before kissing Jake's cheek. "It's busy in here tonight, we're going to do well." Not wanting to start a discussion unless Jake was going to force it Ruby keeps it brief. "Don't forget to get all the money at the poker table tonight! We have lots of building to do and I have expensive taste," Ruby chirps. "I should start singing early since we're so busy." She looks to the stage and to Kate, scans the crowd again then back to Jake. "Good luck tonight."

    "Thanks. I'll do fine. Go ahead and sing, you always feel better when you are singing." Jake grins, "So do I."

    After Ruby goes off, Jake goes about talking the poker players as they arrive. He continues to watch Ruby out of the corner of his eye.

    A pair of eyes observed the common room of the Lucky Lady Saloon. Not yet, the time is not right. Perhaps I shall wait for the sound of her voice, for at that moment everyone will be enraptured by the beauty of it and will not focus on me. I know my minion did her task well, of that I am confident. I chose my servant well. I can't stay here much longer but I will not leave without my prize...

    Ruby finds Kate places her hand on her friends arm, "Are you ready to play Kate? If you're not feeling up to it we can ask Harry. I doubt tonight's crowd will care..."

    "I can play, why wouldn't I feel up to it? I certainly enjoy it more than serving drinks." She walked with Ruby over to the stage and sat down at the piano. "I'm ready whenever you are."

    "Oh, you just seem a little... off tonight. I was just checking, I'd rather have you play anyway." She squeezes Kate's arm before heading up to the stage to begin her first set. She decides to begin the show with a haunting love ballad which she sings with passion and grace.

    Come Live With Me

    Come live with me and be my love,
    And we will all the pleasures prove
    That hill and valley, dale and field,
    And all the craggy mountains yield.

    There we will sit upon the rocks,
    And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
    By shallow rivers to whose falls
    Melodious birds sing madrigals.

    There I will make thee beds of roses
    And a thousand fragrant posies,
    A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
    Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

    A gown made of the finest wool
    Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
    Fair lined slippers for the cold,
    With buckles of the purest gold;

    A belt of straw and ivy buds,
    With coral clasps and amber studs:
    And if these pleasures may thee move,
    Come live with me and be my love.

    Thy silver dishes for thy meat,
    As precious as the gods do eat,
    Shall on an ivory table be
    Prepared each day for thee and me.

    The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
    For thy delight each May morning:
    If these delights thy mind may move,
    Then live with me and be my love.

    If that the world and love were young
    And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
    These pretty pleasures might be move
    To live with thee and be thy love.

    As the words of the song float through the air they reach the ears of the man who was observing earlier. That was the sound that he was waiting for, the voice of an an angel. He can no longer resist the tempation.

    Colin Turner, dressed in tailored dark grey wool pants, a matching waistcoat complete with gold pocketwatch and chain, a snow white button down shirt, shoes shined to a high polish, and carrying a jacket of some sort folded over his arm; enters the Lucky Lady. He moves quickly over to the bar, avoiding eye contact with everyone. He sits down laying the jacket on his lap and orders a red wine.

    "The best red wine you have please, I'll take the bottle." He lays a $20 bill on the bar.

    Even though his piano playing is chaotic and undisciplined compared to Katherines, Jake's ear is still that of a piano player and he clearly hears the two notes that are incorrect in Katherine's piece. In a saloon that would seem normal, but not for someone of her ability and determined practice. Jake looks over, but sees nothing amiss with Katherine Kale. ’Still, that was odd,’ he thinks.

    Turner accepts the bottle and waits for it to be opened and the first glass to be poured. While waiting he turns towards the stage and focuses his attention first on Kate. He watches her fingers as they float above the piano keys. Once the wine is poured he samples it by taking a small sip. He smiles slightly and takes a full swallow before returning the glass to the polished bar. He turns back to the stage but this time focuses on Ruby West. He locks his eyes on her waiting for any sign of acknowledgement.

    As Ruby continues to sing she senses those eyes watching her, boring into her, searching her out. She looks to Kate, who seems to be playing less than perfectly. She glances at Jake, seemingly engrossed in his card game. Both couples of Minerva and Nanuet and Chester and Clarisse were wrapped up in each other.

    Ruby gathers all her courage and lifts her eyes to the spot she just knows he is waiting. She tries to keep her own wits about her as she locks eyes with him. She smiles confidently, hiding the fact that she is nervous, and keeps her gaze on Colin Turner.

    Colin smiles as Ruby's gaze meets his own. He waits until the song is wrapping up and then he stands, never losing eye contact with the object of his desires. As Ruby finshes the song she feels a strange compulsion come over her. 'This is how Jake must have felt when he said he couldn't move,' she thinks. She finds herself walking towards Mr. Turner, unable to change her direction or stop. His smile widens as he holds out his arm and Ruby loops her own in his. Together Ruby West and Colin Turner take a step towards the door.

    Ruby smiles up at Colin like he is the only person in the world. Calm and confident no one would suspect that anything was wrong.

    Inside her another story is being told. Ruby is screaming for help, trying to will her limbs to stop walking towards the handsome man. She calls out to Jake, hoping he can hear her but her lips don't move. She tries to catch the attention of her friends, the ones so wrapped up in each other, but they don't see her. Her vision stays fixed on one man.

    To the patrons of the Lucky Lady, singer Ruby West is just taking a regularly scheduled break. But to Ruby, she was turning her back on the life she loved and walking towards a new one; one not of her choosing.

  10. #10

    Leaving the Lady

    Nanuet snags some more of the cookies from Ruby's stash and brings them back to the table he shares with Minerva. "I suppose we will be leaving tomorrow or the next day for Tombstone to help Miss Kate. Perhaps we can stay for a few days, enjoy the change of scenery. Jake and Ruby have been paying me well enough, we can afford a few days, what do you think?"

    Minerva's eyes sparkle with delight, "That would be lovely, Nanuet. I have never been to Tombstone except to board the stagecoach to here. I would enjoy some time away from prying eyes. I feel as though Mrs. King and her friends are always watching me, waiting for me to make a misstep." She continues to sip her drink and listen to Ruby sing. "Perhaps we could take in a show."

    "That would be nice, of course I have never..." Nanuet's words are cut short. "What is Ruby doing? I thought something was funny when she stopped after one song." Nanuet sees Jake getting up from his card game and heading towards the door. Nanuet turns back to Minerva and in a quiet voice says "Be ready, I don't like the looks of this."

    Kate turned on the piano bench and saw Ruby starting to leave with Colin Turner. She took a couple steps toward Jake, but he was already getting up so Kate moved over to where Nanuet and Miss Florencia were sitting. "I think Jake might need some help," she said quietly. "That man with Ruby... he plays tricks with your mind."

    Nanuet tenses as he hears the confirmation of his thoughts from Kate.

    Minerva discreetly glances in the direction that Nanuet is looking. "That's the man that Ruby was hiding from on the porch earlier," she says as she slips her hand into the secret pocket of her gown to check her pistol.

    "I..." Kate turned bright red. "I don't think I'm going to be able to help. He... I spent part of the afternoon trying to convince Ruby to go with him, and I don't think it was my idea."

    "Gracias, Senora. We understand. I think that the crowd would appreciate another song." Minerva stands and smiles, "Come, Mi amor it is rather stuffy in here. Let us take some fresh air on the porch," she says loud enough to be heard by anyone who might be listening. She crosses to Nanuet and puts her arm in his.

    Nanuet puts his arm in Minerva's then turns to Kate and quietly asks "How do you feel now though? You seem OK."

    "I'm alright for now, I'll do what I can. I just don't know if he can make me... Don't hesitate to stop me if I seem strange. I'll go back to the piano and keep an eye open from there."

    Jake deals the final card of this hand and the betting goes around. He hears Ruby stop singing and watches her walk across the room. The betting comes around to him, he is holding a full house. Jake guesses that his is the best hand this round, and now figures how much to bet to get the others to call making him the most on this hand. Ruby puts her arm in the mans arm and they take a step towards the door. Jake puts his cards face down on the table, "Fold. Take a quick break after this hand and a round of drinks on me."

    Jake is up on his feet and heading for the doorway. He looks across at the front door and calls, "Jeff." Silver Jake Cook has a concerned expression as he looks from Jeff Mill to Ruby and the man who are headed Jeff's way.

    The well dressed man on Ruby's arm appears not to notice Jake's call for help and does not react. Jeff Mills however quickly answers Jake's call and heads to bar the door.

    Several of the patrons are now watching the unfolding scene. Colin looks Jeff Mills in the eye but then looks a bit flustered as Jeff stands his ground. Colin simply says "Step aside" but Jeff does not move.

    Jeff looks back at Jake and holds tight onto a shotgun.

    Throughout this series of actions Ruby stands as if mesmerized still arm in arm with the strange man.

    Nanuet turns to the door with Minerva but sees Jeff reacting and blocking the doorway. He gently pulls Minerva the other way and whispers, "Let's try the back, we can split up and each go around the side of the building and meet in the front."

    Minerva nods and continues to smile as she and Nanuet head for the back door.

    Minerva pauses. "I have an idea. Let us stroll out the front." Before Nanuet can respond Minerva calls to him. "Come Mi Amor, I would like some fresh air." She pauses to pray and heads for the front door. When she gets close she looks behind her as though she is going to say something to Nanuet and bumps into Ruby "Oh! Pardon me Ruby,I wasn't watching where I was going. Are you alright?" She apologizes as she places her arm on Ruby. Ruby looks at Minerva but makes no response.

    Jake approaches Ruby and the man from behind. "Where are you going Ruby? It is not time to leave."

    Ruby answers matter of factly, "It IS time to leave. I'm leaving."

    Kate suddenly started breathing harder as an unfamiliar thought seized her mind. Instead of moving to the piano she moved toward the door.

    "Jeff," she said in a deceptively light voice. "Surely there's no need for the shotgun. This man doesn't seem dangerous. He just wants to leave, why would we stop him?"

    Jake frowns when he hears Katherine speaking. What in Hades is going on?

    Ruby doesn't let go of Colin's arm, instead gripping him tighter. She looks to Jeff with a look of challenge in her eyes, "Please get out of our way Jeff."

    "No, Jeff, don't do that," Jake says firmly. Then just as firmly, "Katherine, mind your business and go to back to the piano. Harry, go find one of the marshalls, we are going to all have a talk."

    Jake comes around in front of Ruby and the man, "YOU! I told you to leave my woman be!"

    Katherine looked back at Jake with wide, hurt eyes but was unable to do what he asked. "Jeff, Ruby wants to go. She said so. We have no right to keep her."

    Jeff stood firm, bolstered by Jake’s order. "Sorry Mrs. Kale, I work for them and not you. I can't let Miss Ruby leave with this man, there is something not right here."

    Harry does as Jake asks and moves quickly out the back door and goes in search of the marhall.

    Colin Turner finally breaks. He lets Ruby's arm drop to her side and points his lean arm at Jake. "You sir, are a fool! You have no idea what you are dealing with! Now step aside, I command you!"

    Jake sees the man's eyes begin to glow red, his facial features seem to shift slightly and as he speaks the final words "I command you!" Jake notices that his canine teeth have elongated into dangerous fangs.

    "Jeff, just let them out. Please," Kate said desperately.

    Ruby senses a change in her new partner, an urgency and something more...primal... and powerful.

    The desperation is plain in her eyes and she begs Jake, "Baby, please let us go... just let us go...you'll find someone new, someone better... a couple of days you won't even think on me... it's time anyway, you'd soon grow bored of me, I know it. Please just let us out of here..." She is breathing hard and trembling as she speaks to her lover.

    Ruby attempts to take Colin by the arm and maneuver him around Jake and Jeff.

    "Hermes!" Jake cries out as he sees the change come over the man. Ruby is begging him to let them go and is momentarily confused but only for a second. He says loudly, "No!" Then he pushes Ruby away from the man, draws his Colt and points it at him.

    "What ARE you? Keep your foul hands off her or I will shoot you dead."

    Ruby falls to the floor. She is momentarily stunned but recovers as she feels her scraped palms start to burn. Her dress sprawled out around her, she looks up at Jake from the floor with wide panicky eyes and she says again, "You have to let us leave... don't be foolish baby..."

    "Yes, baby don't be foolish," Turner says mockingly. "Listen to your woman, if you think that gun will hurt me, think again. You mortals have no idea. I have absolute power, the power of undeath. So take your best shot," Turner goads Jake as he raises his arms.

    Jeff Mills appears somewhat shaken by the turn of events and the man's physical transformation. He yells at the onlookers to stay back. "Jake, do something!" he begs.

    "You can do something Jeff," Kate said. "Let them out, let him leave. The patrons will all be safe once he's gone. It's the best thing for everybody.”

    Jeff looks at Kate in awe. "Mrs. Kale, that thing is a monster, I can't let her go with him. What has gotten into you?"

    Ruby doesn't try to get up off the floor. Instead her gaze falls to Colin. From her new vantage point she could see the changes in him and it is like her heart stopped beating. She is absolutely petrified. She shudders and stammers, "W-what do you want with me?"

    "I want to make you immortal so that you can be by my side for all eternity. A beauty such as yours should be preserved for all time," he answers calmly. "Your beauty will never fade with the years, you shall remain forever young.”

    Ruby is momentarily in shock as she hears Mr. Turner's answer to her question. The sudden thought of the power he holds overwhelms her and Ruby almost can't comprehend what is being said as she tries to sort it out. She has no doubt of its truth.

    Minerva is holding Ruby's arm when she stumbles to the floor causing the priestess to fall back as well. She stares up in horror at the man's words and reaches into her soft leather boot for her silver dagger. She keeps it hidden as she prays, "Please goddess. Guide my hand” Pulling herself up off the floor she she attempts to stab the man.

    Ruby spots the glint of silver in Minerva's hand and she grabs the priestess tightly by the back of her skirt, holding her back before she can get anywhere near Colin. She stands quickly and continues to hold her. "No Minerva," she states with no explanation but without loosening her grip.

    Colin Turner notices the struggle on the floor and towers over Minerva bearing his fangs. He lunges forward and backhands her across the face sending her reeling backwards. The blow has tremendous power behind it and Minerva cries out in pain from his corrupted touch and feels an icy cold come over her. She can feel her energy start to wane as if it is being pulled from her but she summons the power of her goddess from within to fight off the effect.

    "Good girl Ruby, now let us be on our way. Or does anyone else object?" Turner says with a sneer.

    Ruby places herself in front of Minerva after she is slapped. She ignores all others and looks Colin Turner, or the creature who formerly was Colin Turner, in the eyes. "Yes, let's leave now." She begs him, "Please just leave my friends alone, don't hurt them."

    The monster's back is to Jake as he attacks Minerva. He reacts quickly and pulling out his magic dagger he stabs Turner.

    The priestess, in her fury that such evil should invade them, does not cower but instead pulls out her Olive leaf amulet and calls upon the godess Minerva and all the gods of Olympus. She points at the abomonation and commands "YOU WILL NOT HARM THESE GOOD PEOPLE. BEGONE EVIL ONE!"

    Turner looks at Minerva and gives a throaty laugh. "Put your token away priestess, you have much to learn before you can handle me."

    "All is fair in love my darling Ruby. Besides, I had no intentions of hurting them, yet they seem to have nothing on their mind other than causing me harm."

    Jake swipes at the man with his dagger but he easily moves aside.

    "Enough of this foolishness!" Turner bellows. He scoops Ruby up in his arms and moves quickly in the direction of the door.

    Ruby looks at Jake desperately over Turner's shoulder but is unable to resist.

    Turner has his back towards Jake as he rushes forward and tackles him thrusting his dagger at him as they fall.

    Where Jake should feel the warmth of the man's blood on his hand instead is only cold. The dagger must have done something though as Turner wimpers in pain. He tries to wriggle free from Jake but is unsuccessful.

    Ruby goes tumbling out onto the porch as Jake tackles Turner. She shakes her head to clear it and pulls herself onto her knees. Still petrified and unable to assist tears fill Ruby's eyes as she grasps the railing of the porch and prays that Jake can survive this battle.

    Jake struggles to hold him down and repeatedly stab him with the dagger in his hand. "Jeff, get Ruby inside!"

    Jeff does as Jake asks, still keeping an eye on the conflict, he helps Ruby up and brings her back inside the saloon and puts himself between her and the struggle taking place on the floor in front of him.

    Jake raises his arm to stab at the man again and appears to be a little quicker than Turner. He sinks the dagger deep into his flesh and Turner howls in pain.

    "You have not seen the last of me, this I swear. I will come back for you Ruby my love, you shall have eternal beauty as I promised."

    And just like that Jake is lying flat on the floor, Turner no longer beneath him. A small cloud can be seen floating past Jeff and Ruby and out the door.

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