Hidden 11 mos ago 11 mos ago Post by Silentfeather
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Silentfeather Deciding to leave for a while.

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Kira said to Christina, trying to help the other vampire up. "I am trying to help him." She tried to help him up but he was too heavy for just him. "He is weak and he needed help so I ran back from the saloon to assist him." She said before aiming at and shooting down a few zombies who dared venture close to the three of them.

When the other vampire snapped back to reality Kira backed away a step as she was glared at by him, turning and walking away. "I was just trying to help." She muttered. She was not aware that she practically exposed the man's secret. She walked into the saloon, taking hold of a bottle of liquor. She sat down, drnking half a bottle of it before unsheathing her guns and breaking the glass of the window she was sitting beside, siming at a few of the undead.

She sighed softly, feeling as if something more wrong was in the air, something would happen in this seven days, she could sense it. She hummed softly to herself to cheer herself up, never thinking about the frightening, unsettling glare that the other vampire sent her way. She risked her life going to him and all she got was a glare. She hated helping if all she got was that.

She sighed once more, feeling as if she did something wrong by providing blood to the other vampire but she did not know. How was she to know. She was not a mind reader. She tried to forget the glare, it made her blood run cold as ice itself. She would not help anyone but her friend Jack from now on since it seemed as though he was the only nice one in the bunch. He was the first one that she made friend's with.

She wanted to escape from the town of Long Water before it was too late but it was not.
Hidden 11 mos ago Post by Red7VII
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“Cover me!”

The demand was simple and earnest. Jack did as he was told. Shot after shot, the revolver emptied itself. What he would tell people later is that he nearly single-handedly halted an undead uprising. What he had actually accomplished was adding a few peep holes to the wall of building across the street. Luckily Jack was not the only one shooting and gradually corpses began to fall to their natural states after a bloody, explosive display.

Christina, a woman of action, quickly pulled the living, maskless enigma inside. It was like a toggle has been switched. Christina was just 'on', directing assistance, taking charge of the care of those in need. Jack looked on in careful observation and perhaps a tinge of admiration.

His focus was soon split, though. As the battle died down, the townsfolk started coming out of the woodwork to investigate the aftermath. He watched as a badged lawman surveyed the dead before retreating to their sanctuary of an office. He witnessed surviving members of local families coming to dramatic terms with their losses. He was, for a brief moment, at a loss for words.

Jack forced himself to return to the here and now. His eyes darted back to Christina who was being force fed some tough guy routine from the formerly masked potential bandit. The line of sight then shifted back to Kira, who proclaimed her best of intentions in aiding the potential rogue.

"It ain't everyday you gotta send a man to hell twice," Jack stated simply. "I think we did pretty well for ourselves, all things considered." As he spoke, he utilized the time to begin reloading his revolver, chamber by chamber. "I think one thing is for sure, though. This place is fucked." Whether it stemmed from magic or mad science, Jack quickly convinced himself that this horror was not over. There was always the 'W' trail. 'W'hy did the dead rise from their eternal slumber? 'W'ho aided in such an event? 'W'hen would the supernatural make itself known once more?

"You're brazen," he declared toward the mysterious man as a matter of fact. "You're protective," he said with a nod toward the elegant woman who had moved with such liquidity to the man's aid. "And you are quite possibly the most assertive woman I have ever met," he noted to the self-proclaimed healer. He took hold of his swiped bottle of whisky and enjoyed a few successive gulps before allowing an enormous grin to grow on his face. "Come to Longwater, they said. Easy games, they said..." His grin turned into a huff of laughter. "a family town, they told me. And here I am like some sucker dealing with some jerks that don't want to stay dead." Jack's revolver was fully restocked. He twisted his hand abruptly, demanding his wheel to return to its chamber. "So what now?" he asked. "If this gets worse, we're going to need more people. And some answers... And a lot more hardware. Who's in charge, anyway?"
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Hidden 11 mos ago Post by Raylah
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(Addressing: @RedXIII, mentioning @DragonofTheWest's horse)


The man certainly didn’t seem fine, but he was not bleeding and he was right about others probably needing her help more. Christina headed back to the window to resume shooting, but the town gradually fell silent, only occasional shots coming from various places. She looked out to see the results of the apocalypse. Shaken people were peeking out of broken windows and various hideouts. Some of the men who held the line with the Sheriff before were walking amongst piles of bodies on the street, looking for survivors, checking whether the dead are truly dead, and finishing off any that weren’t.

She had heard stories from soldiers who fought in the war. About battlefields filled with corpses, the injured lying among the dead, distinguishable only by their moans and cries for help. Vultures circling above, patiently waiting for their time to begin feasting. Yes, those were stories that traumatized men with empty looks in their eyes told at the campfires or when they’ve had a bit too much whiskey. Christina never really thought she was going to see something like that with her own eyes.

Jack’s muttering returned her to reality. What now? How the hell was she supposed to know? “I have no idea who might have some answers, I don’t think we have any experts on the Devil in town. Normally, it would be the Mayor in charge of everything, but I think I saw him somewhere over there.” Her finger pointed towards the water tower, to the biggest pile of the dead. “So I guess it’s all on Sheriff Reilly now. He was just here, I think he headed towards his office. I do believe he keeps some weapons there, but I can’t really be sure. Oh, and there is a hardware store down the street, where you might find some useful stuff.”

Her ear caught a quiet sound from somewhere below the saloon porch. After carefully checking that the threat had indeed passed, she left the building and peeked under the construction. A dark-haired Asian woman was hiding there, sobbing. Christina didn’t know her, but there was a group of Chinese workers that came to the town a few weeks back, resting on their way west to work on some bridge construction. The woman was most likely part of that group.

“It’s okay,” Christina said quietly, reaching her hand towards her. “I think they are all gone.” The woman said a few words and shook her head. “Yeah, I’m sorry, but I don’t understand you. But everything is all right now, you can come out.” Knowing that she probably didn’t understand Christina either, the young healer tried to at least sound calm and reassuring. It must have worked, because the woman slowly crawled out and attempted to stand up, revealing a couple of deep cuts on her leg. “Whoa,” Christina jumped closer to support her. “Yea, that’s going to need some stitches. Hey you!” she yelled at a man who was walking among the corpses, checking each one. “Yes, you, Swanson. Get this woman somewhere safe, I’ll be with her in a minute.”

“There is nowhere safe now.” His voice was solemn, but he obliged and grabbed the woman into his arms.

“Oh shut up.” He was right though. Apparently, they were all doomed and marked for death. But for Christina, fighting the Death was daily bread, and this situation was no different. There were injured people who needed her help, period. There was no point in crying, lamenting, or sulking. “Get all injured to doctor Baum’s clinic. Kick the doors if you have to, I bet that sleazy bastard will refuse to help you.”

By a sheer miracle, all the horses tied in front of the saloon were still alive. They were frightened, desperately trying to tear the reins and run off, but alive. Carefully avoiding the dangerously looking black Breton horse she headed towards Betsie, quietly talking to her. The mare calmed down a bit, her huge eyes still rolling rapidly, ears pinned to the head, heart beating so hard it felt like it was going to jump out of her chest. “There, there. Everything is going to be alright.” Christina didn’t know whether she was talking to the horse or herself. She forbade herself from thinking about a waddling corpse with a bright yellow scarf. She couldn’t even look at the bodies in the street, fearing she would find that one face. That would be too much. She was barely even handling things as they were. “Okay, Betsie.” A few rapid blinks helped chase the tears out of her eyes. “We have injured people who need our help. So let’s get to work.”

She untied her mare from the railing and walked a bit away from other horses before jumping on her back. The others will have to wait for their own masters to return. If they are still alive.

“Hey, Jack!” she shouted loud enough so people inside could hear her. “Is this black beast yours? Someone should calm him down before he turns the whole porch into splinters. I’m heading to the clinic to help take care of the injured, you will have to find the Sheriff on your own, it’s just a bit east from here.”

The clinic was just a short ride from the saloon. The city itself wasn’t very big (if you don’t count the farms and ranches around it) so it was pretty much a short ride from any place to any other place. Apparently, her hastily given orders (not that she would have any authority to give any orders whatsoever) spread out, and bleeding people were walking, being walked, or being carried to the clinic, based on the severity of their injuries.

“Christina!” someone called her name and she looked around to see where it was coming from. “Here!” Now she noticed a young man waving at her and raised her eyebrow. Andy Newman was a son of the richest merchant in Longwater, and barely ever paid any attention to her or any other member of the ‘poor class’. Which to the Newmans was pretty much everyone in town. “You need to take a look at my father. Doctor Baum says he has to wait, but my father shouldn’t have to wait. That old quack has no idea how serious it is.”

Christina snorted. Doctor Baum refusing to provide care? What else was new? But as she entered the clinic, she had to change her mind rapidly. She expected to find Baum yelling at everyone to get out or demand money for treating them. Instead, he was elbow-deep in the stomach of some blonde woman, his once white apron covered in blood, and small round glasses slipping off his sweaty nose.

“Emerson!” he yelled at her just as he noticed her enter. “Grab that sewing kit and get over here! And Newman! What the fuck are you doing here again? I already told you your father has a shallow scratch, he will need two or three stitches at most. Anyone can do that. Now GET LOST!”

Christina was stunned. She had long thought all the worst about the old doctor, and most of it was justified, based on her experience. But it looked like that in a crisis he came through and did what was necessary.

“Don’t just stand there girl, hurry up!”

She quickly grabbed the kit and rushed towards him. How ironic, she had wished for this for years, asked him if she could help him out in the clinic several times, but he always refused. Apparently, all it took was an apocalypse from hell to get them on the same side.

“What are you staring at? Grab the needle and stitch that muscle. I bet you expected I wouldn’t help anyone, have you? Well, girl, unlike you I am a REAL doctor, I studied at a respected university, and I took an oath, which I intend to uphold. Of course, I do expect the town management to cover all my expenses. And that Swanson idiot told me you were the one who ordered him to kick out my door. You will be paying for that, miss.”

Christina gave him a sad smile. “If we survive this week, I’ll gladly pay for your door.”

“Yes, I heard. Apparently, the Devil is coming to our backwater town.” The doctor snorted and then cursed. “Stop it, dear. You are doing a surprisingly good job for a cowgirl with no education, but this girl is gone.”

Christina realized he was right. “Shit.” The girl was younger than her, a daughter of some rancher from the east, at least that’s what Christina thought. Part of her wanted to grieve for her, even though she didn’t know her personally, but there were more people that needed help. “Who’s next?”

The doctor nodded at her with respect. That was an expression she had never seen on his face when he looked at her before. He shouted at two men to bring a stretcher with another patient and the two of them got to work together. People’s wounds were all very similar, most of them had claw marks on various parts of their bodies, some of them also had bite marks. Those were especially bad, big chunks of tissue missing caused massive bleeding and most of them didn’t survive.

Christina was just in the middle of trying to stitch someone’s torn thigh, actually pulling two teeth out of the wound, when she heard her name being called again. “Just a minute!” she shouted back without raising her eyes from the patient’s leg.

“You’re alive! Stupid girl, why didn’t you come back home?” Her father burst into the clinic, followed by her younger brother Jared, both had rifles in their hands.

“Dad!” Christina was relieved. “You’re okay, thank God, I…”

He grabbed her shoulder, yanked her up, and pushed her towards the door. “You can tell me on the way. You are coming with us.”

“Coming where?” She shook his hand off. “I can’t leave, I have a lot of work here.”

“You don’t work for this greedy asshole,” he hissed at her, glancing at the doctor. “We are leaving. We are going to head back home, barricade ourselves there and wait it out.”

“I don’t work for anybody. But as long as there are people here who need my help, I will stay.” Christina stood tall, looking straight into his eyes. It pained her to fight him, but she was not some docile little girl to be ordered around. “And if you think you can make it out on your own, you are insane! You haven’t seen the hordes he sent to the town, and it’s only going to get worse! We need to stand united! The Sheriff…”

“The Sheriff is an incompetent idiot who did nothing to stop this from happening!” Her brother barged in to support her father against her, as usual.

“Jared, use your head for once. How the hell was he supposed to stop this from happening? He stood in the street when the waves of the dead arrived in town, covering other people’s escape, without wavering, without turning his back on anyone. He saved the town. WE saved the town.” She blinked a couple of times remembering all the shooting, the hordes of dead, the brave few standing tall against the menace from hell. “I am not going to crawl into a hole now.” She took a few steps back. “You go if you want, but I am staying.”

Her father stepped in front of her, anger clearly visible in his eyes. For a second she thought he was going to hit her, but he just spread his arms and held her in a tight bear hug. “Just be careful,” he whispered into her ear, turned, and left the clinic. “Just like her mother,” she could hear him mumble.

Christina watched as they mounted their horses and rode away. “They are going to be okay,” she said to no one in particular. “All the people working on the ranch are great with guns, the main building is sturdy and easy to fortify.”

“Unless something worse is coming our way.” Doctor Baum was standing behind her, patting her shoulder. “We are nearly done here, I can take care of the last few people myself. I overheard there was a gathering at the Sheriff’s office. You should probably be there to boss those idiots around.”

The young healer chuckled as she headed towards her horse. Was she bossy? Maybe, at times, with her patients. But she really couldn’t imagine being that way around the Sheriff. Still, she wanted to be there to know what the hell was going on.
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Hidden 11 mos ago Post by DragonofTheWest
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Achille had remained leaning against the saloon wall, twirling one of his revolvers between his fingers out of habit as he mentally went over recent events. The town was in trouble and the faster he left, the less likely he would have to deal with whatever what was to come. Yet in his moment of reflection the vampire knew that to abandon Longwater and those who aided him would go against his moral code and jeopardize why he had been travelling the Wild West for years. Whatever was coming, he was bound to run into again. It seemed his fate would be the same as the towns.

With the fighting over, Achille took a glance at Jack who despite all that had happened, remain rather composed in this entire ordeal. Perhaps this is why humans drank so much... it lessened their nerves in a way he could never comprehend. Still stuck in his thoughts, Achille heard Christina made a reference to Jack in regards to a 'black beast '. Recognizing the significance of this, Achille pushed himself off the wall, hoisting his revolver as he exited the saloon.

Emerging back outside, Achille squinted his eyes in focus as he surveyed the town... or what was left of it. The corpses littered the town and those who remained alive all had that nervous look in their eye. It was understandable but Achille took note that amidst the action there were those still pressed for action. Christina, the one who had helped him earlier was already out and about trying to help the other survivors. Her selfishness was admirable and her skills made her invaluable to the town. The bounty hunter privately mused that she might be the only one who can keep the town afloat after today and to think he almost subconsciously tried to take a bite. That thought alone was amusing though he knew internally that if he had, it's unlikely he would leave Longwater alive... not with all the armed survivors in the area. Walking towards the 'black beast' referenced earlier, Achille raised his gloved hand and gently pressed it against the creature's side, relived that his travelling companion was alive.

"Relax."
Achille commanded as the startled beast of a horse who strained against the hitching post gradually began to ease. "Relax." Achille said again as he inspected his horse for any injuries. To his relief, the horse remained injury free though there were a pair of bodies by the horse's rear whose torsos bore the imprint of the horse's hoof. In terms of speed, one could do better but when it came to stamina and power, Breton horses were excellent. Reaching into of one of the saddle's various bags, Achille grabbed a carrot and offered it to his mighty steed. "It seems old friend, we're not going anywhere for a while."

As Achille began to inspect his equipment, word had spread fast that the sheriff was calling for an emergency meeting at the office. Knowing that their survival was dependent on the cooperation of the surviving townsfolk, Achille proceeded on over towards where the rest of the survivors, curious on what approach the sheriff would take.
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Hidden 11 mos ago Post by Nobodyman123
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With the prospect of public speaking before him, Josh suddenly found himself wishing for the undead hordes to return. At least the zombies wouldn't care if he embarrassed himself. Still, this was what he signed up for, so he found a decently sized soapbox to stand on. Those who looked on were terrified, but they still looked to him for guidance.

"Alright, everyone." Joshua began simply enough. Best to look at least somewhat confident, even if he didn't feel it. "I'm sure you all heard, but the Devil himself is coming to town in seven days. The mayor is dead and running is pointless. I'm sure the telegraph lines are already cut, so we can't expect any help." A quiet murmur fell over the crowd, which Josh ended with a quick raise of his arms.

"That leave us with two choices. You can lock your doors and hide, which I won't judge you for. I, on the other hand, would rather die on my feet." At that, the cacophony of noise erupted from the crowd. The townsfolk yelled at the sheriff as well as each other. The sheriff raised his arms again, and the townsfolk took a little longer to get quiet.

"Like I said, if you want to hide under your bed and wait for this to be over, I won't blame you. However, anyone who wants to stand and fight, step forward and I'll deputize you."
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Hidden 11 mos ago 11 mos ago Post by Red7VII
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Location: Saloon | Interaction:@Raylah@DragonofTheWest@Nobodyman123


“Hey, Jack!” The young man snapped to, his diverted, spanning attention syncing in like a focused laser to the young woman who had also survived the hellish onslaught. “Is this black beast yours? Someone should calm him down before he turns the whole porch into splinters. I’m heading to the clinic to help take care of the injured, you will have to find the Sheriff on your own, it’s just a bit east from here.”

He gave an unseen nod as he watched the woman head out. Not the last time, he told himself, silently assuring that they'd meet again. With a calm demeanor that felt alien in the current situation, Jack made his way to the front of the saloon and stroked his horse's mane. It was a distracted effort as his eyes couldn't help but zero in on the double-dead, a phrase he decided was apt given the situation.

"Relax," came the forcefully calming words from the formerly masked gunslinger. "It seems old friend, we're not going anywhere for a while." Jack raised an eyebrow in the man and his ride's direction. The expression wasn't mean to paint disbelief as much as it was an awkward realization that they were in the same boat, so to speak. With a simple huff of laughter, Jack gave Pepper a hard pat marking a solid end to the loving pets.

"No kidding," he muttered under his breath. The surviving town moved like an aquatic organism, preferring to migrate in schools. The group of bipedal fish eventually found themselves congregating around Joshua, the predestined authority. After a short summary of the predicament, Joshua has left the town with an ultimatum; Hide or fight. Flee or be deputized.

"Oh my god..." Jack said, half defeated. "Outlaws get so much more tail than lawman," he explained to his horse. "This is going to hurt the reputation." Pepper looked back at him with no ounce of sympathy. She knew the stakes. She knew this was no joking matter. She knew what Jack had to do, or so he convinced himself. "Fine! G'dammit, fine!" he shouted in voluminous defeat. With agitation set on his face and a hand raised in the air, he called out to the sheriff. "Deputize me, I guess! But I want a shiny badge! It's gotta be shiny!"
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Raylah
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Christina rode through the eerily silent town. The dead laid in the streets in piles, nobody had time or energy to bury them. Again. Shivers ran down her spine as she guided Betsie towards the Sheriff's office. Whether they want it or not, somebody will have to take care of the corpses, if only to pile them up and burn them, otherwise they will attract rats and diseases will start to spread. Not talking about the horrendous smell that was already clouding the town.

“But it would be a classy way to greet the Devil when he arrives,” Christina whispered into Betsie’s ear. “I’m sure he would prefer streets lined with rotting dead instead of rose petals or red carpets.” It felt strangely rude to talk out loud, even though there was nobody listening.

There was a small crowd gathered in front of Sheriff Reilly. Too small. Have the people chosen to flee town? Or just locked themselves at home, hoping the upcoming disasters will somehow miss them? Or was this all that was left of the thriving lively town? Christina chose to ignore that option.

Listening to the Sheriff's speech felt so surreal. Were they really standing here in broad daylight, seriously talking about the Devil coming to the town? She got off her horse and moved closer, nervously playing with the reins in her hand, finding herself near Jack and the mysterious stranger. Apparently, the big black horse was his, which seemed very fitting.

She giggled when she noticed Jack mumbling something into his horse’s ear. Somehow that put him in a different light, she couldn’t just see him as a cocky pretentious womanizer anymore, the image of him talking to his very normal black and white speckled steed would always come to mind.

“I don’t think the Sheriff is going to give us actual badges,” she said after Jack asked for a shiny one. “Kinda hard to imagine he is storing dozens of those things in his office.” She scratched her forehead. What did she know, perhaps he did. “Anyway,” she turned to Sheriff Reilly, “I don’t really care for badges or titles, but I was born in this town, I spent my whole life in this town, and I’m willing to fight for it.” Especially when it seemed like they had no other choice. Nonetheless, her speech brought out some approving shouting from the gathered crowd. “But I have to ask. Fighting whatever sorcery brought the dead back to life is one thing. But the Devil? How exactly do we fight the actual Devil? I don’t think shooting him in the gut will do the trick,” she giggled nervously. Religion wasn’t really her thing, but she did go to Sunday school and remembered that Devil is not somebody you want to pick a fight with. Unless you are God.

“Also,” she frowned, suddenly remembering something the mysterious voice said, “what did he mean by ‘You only have yourselves to blame for this.’?” They weren’t the most lawful town in the West, but certainly not some lair of sin and depravity. The Devil surely would have some better places to go than Longwater.
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by DragonofTheWest
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Achille silently observed the understandably nervous crowd. While they debated their course of action, Achille just took mental notes, calculating their chances for the inevitable future attack. There were some decent marksmen and any individual who could remain composed when the undead was attempting to overwhelm the town deserved credit. Yet this Devil that was spoken off earlier maybe Achille uneasy. Just how worst could things get? Could there be something worse than an army of zombies? Admittingly he had seen his fair share of supernatural beings but this situation was beyond anything he knew.

As the town continued to converse, Achille focused his attention on the sheriff who had taken charge of the situation. Even in these dire circumstances, the people were willing to listen to the only authority figurehead in the town. That was at least somewhat good news... Achille would be lying to himself if he wasn't worried about the townsfolk potentially turning against each other in panic. With now some of the people speaking out to answer the sheriff's call, Achille took a small step forward to offer his piece...

"Deputy or not, I owe several people here for helping save my life. I'm thankful and I'll stay and fight considering the circumstances. Having said that sheriff, if there is something you aren't telling us or any of you folk know something... now is the time to speak up."
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Red7VII
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Location: Saloon | Interaction:@Raylah@DragonofTheWest@Nobodyman123


Everyone spoke their piece and waited on the sheriff to respond. In the meantime, Jack's thoughts ran spastic. No badges? Devil? We're to blame? Concealed information? NO BADGES?! He bit his lip as he pondered the various notions. He wasn't from this town and had no real ties to it. He was, however, a current occupant and he had a certain disdain for yellow bellied folk.

He removed his hat for but a moment to forcefully run his fingers through his hair, scraping his scalp with the tips of his fingernails out of nervous habit. Returning his hat to his crown, he finally asked aloud, "Just what in the fuck is really going on here?"

Jack was not the eponymous gunslinger, army of one. As much as he liked to fantasize about being one of those legends in the penny papers, he knew who he really was. The thought of taking on evil incarnate with a singular sidearm and some communal gumption was discomforting to say the least. Was the Devil even real? Was God even real? Those animated corpses were certainly real, which left Jack with thoughts that could only end in question marks.

"And while we're on the subject of the end of times, are we seriously going to keep charging for liquor or is it understood that those bottles are now a free-of-charge wartime necessity?"
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Nobodyman123
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Joshua nearly got a word in before Father Stone raised his voice over the din of the crowd. The preacher stood next to Joshua and raised his arms to be seen by everyone.

"Fighting is pointless, my children!" he said, as if this was another normal sermon. "We must put our faith in the Lord! Only his mercy can save us now!" A few of the weaker willed townsfolk nodded in agreement.

"Would you rather hide and wait for death?" Joshua said, trying to regain control of the crowd. "It doesn't matter why they are here. All we know is that they coming and we need to be ready for them! If you want to hide, then I won't stop you!" With that, Father Stone turned away, leading a few of the townsfolk away towards the church.

Damn Cowards. Josh thought to himself, shaking his head. At least they weren't his problem anymore. "Everyone else, come on up and get heeled." He said, stepping off his box and opening the door to the sheriff's office. Inside were a whole mess of guns and enough ammo to last til judgement day, Josh hoped.

"You three, come over here." the Sheriff said, pulling Christina, Jack and Achilles away from the rest of the group, letting the rest of the townsfolk to fend for themselves.

"I don't know about you, Christina, but you two look like you can handle yourselves. Either way, I might need your help. Can you all ride?"
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Raylah
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Christina peeked into the Sheriff's office, surprised to see a large selection of firearms of all kinds. But then again, he did confiscate weapons from all the criminals he arrested or shot, so it kind of made sense they would pile up like this. She picked up a fairly modern model of a Remington rifle, the same her father owned and used when he taught her to shoot. How ironic it was that she felt much better holding the heavy weapon in her arms. Normally she was not a fan of violence, mostly because she was the one who had to stitch up people who got in fights over and over. She also grabbed a few boxes of ammunition and put them into her satchel, praying to God it was the right kind. She was hardly an expert in that matter.

“I can handle myself as well as anyone in town, if not better,” she snorted a bit in response to Sheriff’s remark, even though she knew he probably meant well. The men were so overprotective sometimes. “It’s not like running and hiding would help me now.” ’And when your intestines are hanging out from your stomach, you will be glad I’m there to put them back inside,’ she thought, but didn’t say that out loud. Still, the Sheriff was an authority and she had respect for him, especially now after he bravely took the lead in this crisis.

She walked over to her horse and climbed up, which was slightly more complicated when holding the rifle. Wiggling a bit to make herself comfortable, she cradled the weapon carefully in her arms. “So, where are we going?”

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Hidden 10 mos ago 10 mos ago Post by Red7VII
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Jack looked at the sheriff's munitions and, instead of seeing guns, he initially saw dollar signs. We gonna be able to keep these, he wondered. Some of these pieces would have flipped for a pretty penny. But, then again, what good is a greenback in the midst of the apocalypse?

Jack pushed aside his greed and snapped back to the mission at hand. He already owned a revolver that carried a bit of sentimental value to him, but it was going to take more than six shots at a time to combat more of those living corpses or whatever else this impending evil had in mind to throw at them. As his hands gathered ammunition, his eyes grazed over a a shotgun that gave him pause. Well, ya ain't gotta be a great aim with that thunder stick, he mentally noted before snatching it up and gathering some shells.

Finally, he found himself gripping dirty Smith and Wesson side piece, a new companion to the handgun he already owned. As he gathered up his new wares, he caught sight of a harness hanging up along the wall with double holsters. Jack was quick to make the upgrade to his wardrobe before loading and saddling up.

“So, where are we going?" Christina had inquired, asking the question that had undoubtedly been on everyone's mind.

"Mad..." he muttered under his breath. "Insane. Absolutely fucking nuts," he continued in a volume just over a whisper. "But whatever. Let's just go ride off to hell and shoot the devil in the face, I guess..."
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by DragonofTheWest
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Achille followed the others inside the office and took a quick look around. As the others discussed what the following steps were, Achille immediately took up the sheriff's offer and worked his way towards the large cache of weapons and ammunition. Weapon wise, Achille had his own impressive arsenal befitting one of an esteemed bounty hunter though having said that, he wasn't one to turn down free ammunition considering the considerable amount he used in the fight against the zombies earlier on. As per routine Achille inspected each bullet as he was sure to fully stock up the duel bandoliers he wore across his body while double checking the status of his weapons to ensure everything was in order.

"You got a good cache here sheriff. Hopefully it all doesn't go to waste when the time comes." Achille stated aloud. It wasn't entirely meant to generate discussion though it was reassuring that when the so called Devil arrives, at least not having enough weapons or ammunition would be a problem. "As for needing another gun, I'll ride. Beats sitting around after all." And just like that Achille took whatever he needed and exited the office and prepped his beast of a horse to go who knows where.
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Red7VII
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"Oh, for fuck's sake," he shouted as the little boy's cries rang out into the night, blending in with the soft howls of wind blowing through the forest. Despite sitting relatively still, their silhouettes danced upon the trunks of the trees surrounding the campfire.

"John, you can't be upset with him! He's just a child! He's not old enough for those type 'o stories and you know that!" shouted the young woman holdering her weeping child close to her as they sat upon a log.

"It wasn't even that scary," John grumbled at his wife. "And even if it were a little scary, that's not how you react," he stated sternly with an accusatory index finger pointed at his son. After a moment, he put his hand down and sunk back, a little defeated. "Kid, it was just tale. Skeletons don't really move, and they definitely don't use swords."

The child rubbed his eyes and slowly pulled his wet face out of his mother's shoulder long enough to glance across the way at the man who had delivered such fright unto him. The father could only sigh before scratching at his beard in a fit of anxious frustration.

"Look, that story wasn't real, but there really are scary things out there," said the man with controlled sincerity. "There are animals that want to eat you, people that want to rob you or worse, lightening could strike me dead right now! What matters is how you react when you have to deal with something scary. You can't just cry to your mama until she makes it feel better," he said with a mock whine in his voice. "You've got to stand there and stand tall and deal with that scary thing. Think about it reasonably, logically and tactically. And don't you ever flinch. Do we have ourselves an understandin'?"

The little boy was quiet, staring at his father blankly, a million emotions swimming around in his mind.

"I said, do we gave ourselves an understandin'? You deaf, boy? Answer me, Jack!"

+ - + - + - +


"Just tell me what you want me to do!" The words escaped his mouth in a sharp panic to Jack's own surprise. The stakes were just as high as his blood pressure. He made a living by knowing what the next step was and knowing the next step after that and playing off of that knowledge to beat many a person our of their spending cash. But this situation was different. He didn't know the next step. He didn't know what was coming, which made it impossible to prepare, to be ready for the danger. Preparation helped mitigate fear, but Jack was a blind man in a strange land, figuratively speaking. He furrowed his brows to keep them from shaking, giving him the guise of a serious thinker. In reality, the familiar tingle was starting to crawl up his spine. He couldn't let it reach the top. If he gave in to the terror his imagination was creating, he would surely be a goner before too long.

"I m-mean," he stuttered, attempting to clarify. "What's the plan, Sheriff?"
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Hidden 10 mos ago 10 mos ago Post by Red7VII
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"Wait!" The call was hoarse, the voice gravelly. Emerging from within the gathered townsfolk was a man shrouded in white cloth, his face mostly hidden. As he moved, he did so with evident struggle. Each advancing limp looked like it was causing a great deal of pain.

"I may... not know where... the Devil is, but I know... where they are," he said through strain. Anyone could see that there was something strange about this person. His skin was wretched, with boils on his forearms and what little you could see of his cheek.

"They?" Jack asked.

"Yes... They. They commit all sorts of affronts... to God. They kill... experiment... torment. The dead rose from their graves today. They... might be responsible." The odd stranger traded gazes with each of those that were set out to ride. It was almost like he was sizing them up, deciding if they were up to the task he was about to beset upon them. "The whores... of Satan. The brides of dark...ness. The witches."

There was a beat of silence as his world marinated. Whispers and murmurs could be heard amongst the gathered few. It seems the women of whom the stranger spoke were owned a bit of infamy.

"I tell you from experience. They surely... do the work of... evil. It may have been them who brought the ghouls. I was once normal. Just passing through. I... made a campsite in those woods out yonder," he said with a gesture toward the west. "Had a bit too much to drink. Much too much. A woman approached the fire. She was beautiful with golden hair, pale... skin, and a voice of velvet. She brought some drink of her own. Shared it with me. Before I knew it, I was out. When I woke up again, there were more women, but each one looked more hideous than the last. They looked like that hadn't bathed in years or even seen the sun. Their features were... exaggerated. Gangly, crooked teeth, large noses, crooked backs... Their laughs. Those cackles. Just the memory of them makes my blood go cold. They did things to me... awful things. I barely escaped with my life."

"If you're looking for answers, head west, but do so with caution. You're going to need more than bullets and... shells."

"Who are you," Jack finally asked.

"I am nobody. Not anymore. But I used to be called Fenton. Pleasure to... meet you."

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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Raylah
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Christina turned her horse to face the mysterious stranger. The things he spoke of… Just a few hours ago, she would have dismissed them as nonsense, a drunk or deranged man’s blabbering. But now, the army of the dead had swept through the town, the corpses were piled up on the sides of the streets. It didn’t seem like such crazy talk anymore.

She leaned towards Fenton to get a closer look at him. His face or name wasn’t familiar to her, but then again, he didn’t claim to be a local. What little could be seen from his skin showed some serious and no doubt painful wounds, but their origin was not clear. His gaze was urgent, but Christina couldn’t tell for sure whether he was telling the truth.

“Jack,” she addressed him with hesitation. “I think I know what he speaks of.” Was she really going to talk about this in broad daylight, in front of the Sheriff and half the town? Apparently so. “There is a story that’s told around the campfires when the darkness falls. More of a legend, really. A tale to scare the kids.” Christina sighed. “There are multiple versions, but most of them speak of three sisters that came into the town decades ago. The oldest of them fell in love with a local merchant, a wealthy and powerful man. Some say that he had his way with her and then tossed her aside, some that he rejected her straight away. He fell ill and died shortly after that. The locals got suspicious, the sisters got arrested, accused of being witches, and condemned to death. With their last dying breath, they cast a curse on the town and its citizens.”

“The next night, the merchant rose from his grave and returned to the town. He killed those who spoke against the sisters the loudest and dragged the Sheriff away. The tracks led to the caves to the west, but those brave enough to enter were never seen or heard from again.” She shook her head. “Yesterday I would have told you it’s just a stupid story, but now… One thing I know for sure is that there are caves a few miles west of the town. And people who venture there usually don’t come back. I never believed in curses or witches. The caves are extensive and it’s easy to get lost there.”

But it wasn’t just that, was it? She went there once with her brother, a stupid dare. The cave entrance was in a narrow gorge where shadows played even at noon. The dark hole opened like a gaping maw of some gargantuan beast scared her even from a distance. And the wailing… The wind, of course, just the wind running through the canyon. Christina shivered from the memory, goosebumps sprang over her arms. She begged Jared not to go in there, a little girl whimpering resonating through the gorge. He reluctantly agreed to leave, laughing at her for still being a child, but even he looked a bit relieved when they returned home.

“I could,...” she hesitated, “show you the way if you want to go and check it out,” she said, turning also to the Sheriff and the masked man from the Saloon.

@RedXIII@DragonofTheWest@Nobodyman123
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Jack's eyes seldom let Fenton out of their sight as they darted between him and Christina. He listened to her with some intensity that made his feeling of dread rise exponentially. Nevertheless, he forced his poker face to remain on the surface. When she concluded, all he could do was shrug.

"Welp," he said to Christina as he scratched his neck a little nervously. "I don't s'pose we really have much choice, eh?" He then looked toward the eponymous man of few words. The mysterious stranger had handled himself well enough when dispatching the undead earlier. "Whatcha think, big fella? Scared of a couple of hags or are you in?" A sideways grin crept up on Jack's face as he issued the dare. In truth, Jack was hoping he would be coming along if only so the man and his massive horse could take point and be the first line of defense.

His eyes then shot back over to Fenton. My lord, I hope he's not going, Jack thought to himself. The sight of him was beginning to induce a squeamishness. Finally, his attention circled back around to Christina.

"Those damn ghouls were fairly resilient. These cave folk better be allergic to bullets."
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Hidden 9 mos ago Post by DragonofTheWest
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Achille eyed Fenton with the same quiet intensity he naturally displayed. The tale he spoke off would have easily been dismissed by those unfamiliar with the supernatural but such a tale held truths he was familiar with. There was an innocence to the sheriff and the others... a world that only existed in rumors and myths and slowly but surely they were being exposed to the cruel nightmares that existed. As his companions spoke of witches, Achille scanned his memories for anything that could potentially resemble a witch but even he had to privately acknowledge that his experience with such a being was non existent. As Christina offered to show the way to investigate the potential source of all that was going on, Achille nodded subtly to Jack knowing that despite his usual confident persona, even Jack was starting to show signs of uncertainty which was understandable. "Yeah, I'll ride."

While the crowd initially kept their distance, Achille took several steps towards Fenton and eyed the ragged man. "And you're coming with us. I'm sure you'll have your uses with a potential reward coming your way provided you speak the truth." The man took a pause, his eyes like a hawk searching for any potential bodily ticks that could help him read the individual before him. "However on the possibility you're leading us into a trap, we'll spare the majority of the townsfolk the sight of your demise. And I assure you, there will be nothing pretty about it." Achille's words came off as venom.
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Hidden 9 mos ago Post by Raylah
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Christina was glad that the masked stranger decided to join them, he seemed to be a very skilled fighter. She was considerably less happy about him inviting Fenton to come along. That man scared the hell out of her. The possibility of him leading them into a trap didn’t even occur to her, but wouldn’t it make more sense not to bring him along then? But what did she know about these things? Nothing. Perhaps it was better to leave these kinds of decisions to others.

“Hey, Leary!” she whistled at one of the men in the crowd, a big guy with a wide grin. Leary helped out around the Saloon, mostly doing the heavy lifting and taking care of the horses. He was as thick as a post but incredibly warm-hearted. “Go fetch a horse for our new friend Fenton so he doesn’t have to walk all the way. Look in the stables behind the Saloon, the owners are…,” dead, she swallowed the last word, “...not going to need them any time soon.”

“Aye, miss Emerson,” he smiled at her and ran off.

Christina admired Jack for looking so calm, although she suspected it might have been just a poker face. After all, any sane man would be at least concerned about what was going on. She turned to the masked man, who looked just like that - concerned, nothing more. Not scared, surprised, or angry, just a bit concerned. And the way he spoke to Fenton sent shivers down her spine. Sure, all who traveled the prairies solo had to look scary to deter potential trouble, but for him, it didn’t seem to be just a face he put on around strangers. He was scary. Nonetheless, he stayed to help, which meant there was a bit of good in his heart. Or maybe he just didn’t have anywhere else to go.

“I’m glad you are coming with us,” she told him, trying to be friendly. “We seem to be going to the gates of hell together and I don’t even know your name,” she chuckled nervously. “I’m Christina.”

“Miss Emerson!” Leary was a bit winded running down the street with two horses at his tail. “I didn’t know which one you would want, so I brought both.”

“Any of them would do, thank you.” She smiled at him. He was always so eager to please people and many took advantage of that. She always tried to avoid that, but maybe just this once? “Actually, since we have an extra horse now, why don’t you join us? We are going to the caves west of the town.”

His brows furrowed. “Bad place. You shouldn’t go there.”

Christina sighed. You are speaking my mind, man. “I know, but we kind of have to. We could use a strong man with us.”

Leary grinned. “I am a strong man. I will go and protect you then.” He jumped on a horse and moved next to Christina.

“So, I think we are ready to go unless there is something else?” Please, let there be something else, she prayed in her mind. She really didn’t want to go to the caves.

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