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@Saix@POOHEAD189, outstanding post! I really enjoyed it. @Zoldyck and I will have to up our game for the one we have coming up!
Coldwell Banker Realty

Brian Johnson

The office had to look perfect. His secretary, Linda, who also did the cleaning at the end of the day, had stayed late to make sure that the small space looked as immaculate as possible. The window listings had been refreshed, everything dusted, and even the bathroom had a fresh toilet paper roll in it.

The only thing that hadn't spiffed up much was Brian. He was staring at himself in the bathroom mirror and grimaced slightly. The paunch over his belt was partially covered by a leather jacket above blue jeans and a pair of newish cowboy boots. His thinning hair was hidden beneath a black cowboy hat and he shaved off his ridiculous moustache. There was no hiding his advancing age.

"You're fussing." Linda said from the front room. There were only five rooms after all, the main reception area and display board, the bathroom, and and three offices. Both his partners were away on a fishing trip and when the call had come in from Hall and Hall he had nearly dropped his cellphone into his coffee.

The man on the other end, Jason Perry, had informed Brian that he was coming up Sanctuary way in two days, that was two days ago, and he was bringing up a client who was interested in a number of properties. This wasn't the first person who had showed up in the last year looking for a piece of the quiet town, but it was the first such person who was bringing their own realtor.

Hall and Hall was well known for handling the sale of large properties, notably Ranches. There were three such places for sale in the area and he had pulled up the details on all three and printed them off, organizing them in neat folders on his desk.

The first was the KBO Ranch. Just over 310 acres of amazing countryside, pastures, river access, and unbeatable hunting. It came in at a cool $2,000,000 and was the closest to town. Most of the young folk who had grown up in Sanctuary had undoubtedly enjoyed their grad party on the property courtesy of the owner, Jake Baldry. The man had died recently and his kids, long moved away to the big city, were selling the property.

The second was the Eagle River Meadows Ranch, a stunning 3,300 acres about ten minute drive from town. Known locally for its delicious beef and pork products, it was currently owned by the Stevensons, all of whom wanted out of the business as uncertainty shook the market. Coming in at $8,500,000 it had recently been viewed a couple of times by developers looking to break it down into smaller acreages but nobody had bit yet.

The last property was, by far, his favourite. The Royal Antler Ranch, an epic 26,000 acres of mountains, rivers, lakes, fields, and thick forest, it was a property only a true rancher could love, but only a rich man could afford. It was a soft sale, meaning the owner had voiced interest but wasn't committed yet. The property was completely self sufficient, off the grid, and a 45 minute drive from town. John Williams, an old Texan, currently owned it, and like the KBO, his kids intended to sell it when he kicked off.

Brians thoughts were interrupted when the phone out front rang. He refused to run out and listen, instead waiting until Linda appeared in the doorway, a smile wreathing her handsome forty something face.

"I think your client has arrived!" She was fairly bursting to share the news.

"Outside?" He asked, still refusing to get up.

"No, no. Joyce from the market across from the Fox called and told me an incredibly expensive rental car just showed up. She had some choice things to say about how much she fancied the driver, but I don't think you need to hear those."

"No, thank you." He grimaced. "Did she recognize him?"

Linda gave him a pitying look. "Linda wouldn't recognize Joe Biden if he walked into her shop. No, she did not. Says he was a handsome enough fellow, late forties maybe. Well dressed, bald with a beard."

He nodded distractedly and she retired to the front room again. The news would fly through the older generation quickly enough and they would try to get a look at him. Maybe someone else would call with an update.

His cellphone buzzed and he started slightly, glancing down to see Jason Perrys name appear, the Hall and Hall man. He let it ring twice and then picked it up. He was trying to avoid seeming eager but the sale of any one of the ranches, with his ten precent commission, was going to make retiring a lot more appealing.

"Brian Johnson, Coldwell Realty."

"Yea, hi Brian, Jason Perry here." There was one heck of a noise in the background and he could barely hear the man.

"Hello Jason, I can barely hear you."

"My bad, sorry, forgot to call before I got in the helicopter. Where can we meet you?"

Helicopter!? Jesus Christ, who the fuck was this guy? He dug deep into his memory for a suitable spot and then recalled there was a seldom used sporting airstrip just on the edge of town; it served as an emergency field for the Federal Aviation Administration.

"The airport? It's more of a field, east side of town?"

"Great, I'll be there in fifteen. The client will meet us there. Hope that works?"

"Yes, of course." What else could he say? "I'll see you then."

"Great, thanks Brian." The line went dead and he rose quickly from his desk and walked into the front area, hurrying back to grab his car keys.

"You're going out?" Linda seemed incredulous.

"The client hired a helicopter, I have to go meet it at the airfield."

"A helicopter..." Whatever else she was about to say was lost as the door closed behind him. He climbed behind the wheel of his 2020 Ford F-150 and pulled out into the street.
Bocri Sauburc

Bocri moved to help Hirani without comment. He was feeling far less charitable toward their would be assassins than his partner but murder wasn't something he could square with at the moment, well, not killing the sleeping men with a blaster bolt to the head at any rate.

It took them several minutes to clear the bridge and he could hear the units from the lower decks continue to check in. They were becoming increasingly agitated with the lack of response from the bridge however and it was only a matter of time before they rushed back to check on their comrades.

The last clone was heaved out onto into the corridor and the two jedi retreated inside. They hadn't spoken at all. Bocri was wrestling with his anger at the presumed deaths of so many comrades and was trying hard to keep a lid on the rage that was threatening to spill out.

"Mind the door." He said as Hirani followed him back onto the bridge. It slammed shut as he triggered it, and then the blast doors closed a moment later.

He moved across to another console and pulled up a screen, glancing at his companion who was watching him carefully. "I am going to turn off the artificial gravity, stand by." He tapped several commands into the console and a moment later the artificial gravity in the ship, everywhere except the bridge, shut down. He could see clones begin to float in the corridors they were patrolling and soon every room he looked at was filled with floating debris.

"And now..." It took him but a moment to do what came next and it would stay with him for the rest of his life, however short it may be. He opened every blast door he could and shut down every magnetic field on the ship, save for the bridge. The whole process was meant to assist in fire fighting but at the moment it served just as well to vent the entirety of the remaining clones, including those in the corridor, into space.
Karl Müller-Hohenstein

Karl had not lingered long in the Capital. His position as Royal Archivist was, in theory, still valid but he had no doubt that he was far safer in the lands of his own people than in the serpents nest. He still maintained his connections, and the vast spy network that he had built under the former King still fed him continuous information. The Northern Alliance was no surprise to him when it was announced, he had ravens bearing the news come pouring in while the ink was still dry on the parchment.

"Bold to declare for the would be usurper..." He was in the Northern most city of Rhon in a tower that he had built for his own enjoyment, a single lonely spire connected to the main fortress by a long stone bridge. It was an incredible feat of engineering and one that served to highlight the skill of Stormlanders.

"Still it only makes sense. Their strength is in unity. It would be unthinkable for them to try and march on the south, but at least this way they prove themselves a force that needs watching."

As with most spaces in which he spent his time, the presence of other humans was limited here. The bridge was well guarded and the climb to the tower itself impossible; several would be assassins had fallen to their deaths before in an attempt to reach him.

Tap. The sound echoed through a single room that made up the mid-layer of the tower. Tall white columns supported the space and there was nary a stair to be seen. The whole spire had been built with ramps or ingenious lifts that allowed him to move about with something approaching comfort.

Click. He was quite alone here with his musings. The only sound other than his laboured breathing was a small waterfall that burbled down one wall, fed by pipes that had been built into the connecting bridge.

Drag. Couches and desks filled some of the space but it was in the very centre of the room that the true mastery of the spire could be found. A bath. It was deep enough he could sit and had a shelf in which he could lie down. Tile, made by unknown men from across the Starry Sea, was laid throughout and no matter how grumpy he was, it always served to cheer him up.

Similar such structures had been built in all the major cities he could be expected to spend his time in. Michaela was left to visit the rest. She was the sword to his shield and between the two of them the Stormlands had become second to none in the realm.

Tap. Click. Click.

"Fuck!" He squawked as his ankle chose that moment to give out and he toppled sideways with a crash, his cane rolling across the floor. He landed on his hip and fire shot through his lower back and then his shoulder hit; more fire. Small mercies allowed his head to go un-bonked but it jarred his neck nonetheless.

"Never a dull fucking moment around here." He wanted to kick something like petulant child but he hurt too much at the moment and settled for slapping the floor with one hand. It hurt, but only slightly. "The grace of the Archduke is legendary..." He mocked himself as he dragged his body into to a sitting position.

He was aware instantly of the sound of feet on the ramp and quickly finished dragging himself to his feet on the corner of a desk. No matter how much it hurt, he would not be found lying on the floor like a child.

Bartholomew appeared at the head of the ramp, took in the scene with a quick glance, and approached.

"My lord, Elise van Rossum is riding for the city," He knelt and picked up the cane, leaning it next to Karl. "I can only imagine she wishes to speak with you."

"Got an army behind her has she?" Karl was only half joking. The woman was not unlike his daughter, an iron fist that somehow jammed itself into a corset one minute and plate mail the next. Bartholomew smiled slightly but did not reply.

"Have a man find out what she wants. If it's me she seeks, send her along. No guards mind you, though I'll take a half dozen. That lady could kill me without flexing a muscle. If she's looking for the Duchess, send her along to Steinbach."

Bartholomew nodded and retreated without another word. Karl worked his way around to the other side of the desk and sat in the heavily cushioned chair. His ass was still throbbing from hitting the floor and sitting never did his body any favours. Still, he had to think and this was so much better than standing.

Leaning back as best he could he closed his eyes and dug deep into his memory. He might not be able to wield a sword anymore but his memory was nearly perfect and it proved to be his most dangerous weapon.

"Hertogin Elise van Rossum..." He muttered through missing teeth and chapped lips. "A damn fine commander in a world full of preening cocks in armour... Popular with her soldiers, no such much the common folk. Nothing wrong with a bit of fear but with the religious contagion spreading among the peasantry the heavy handed approach might not do so well..."

"Likes her liquor... Not quite certain on her sexual activities yet, she's kept that one surprisingly under wraps... Not a merchant but she keeps the rabble at bay so trade can thrive; she's what carries our peace beyond our border and into the north..."

"Desperate for recognition, no secret there." His eyes opened again. He often talked to himself and he glanced at the folded note on the desktop. The northern alliance. He was not foolish enough to dismiss them out of hand, they were fierce warriors but even united they were not a force that needed to be reckoned with, unless they combined with another larger organized army. They could be safely discounted for the present moment; spies would quickly inform him of any major movements.

"Yes, let us see what the Lady Van Rossum wants..."


Patrick Carson

"Welcome to the Fox Hole. How can I help?"

A young woman, probably about half his age, approached him with a smile so cheerful he was quite certain it could charm the birds out of trees in a Disney film. Behind her, coffees freshly refilled, a motley collection of happy looking customers suggested that Patrick had found a decent spot to stay.

His practised eye quickly took in the rest of the space. The building was old, post and beam by the looks of it, and had certainly seen better days. There was some signs of water damage, a leaky roof no doubt, and the wear and tear to the floor suggested many years of love with nary a new board in sight.

"Good Morning young lady. I'm just fine thank you." He offered his own smile. It wasn't as broad as hers, but certainly just as warm. Patrick was nothing if not a people person and he enjoyed anyone who wanted to have a pleasent engagement. "I'm hoping to engage a room, if you have one available, please."

The few vehicles in the parking lot suggested there were either a number of rooms available, or very few and they were full. "Just for two or three days I should think." He added quickly.

He felt his phone vibrate in his pocket and risked a quick glance at the door as the woman turned to lead him deeper into the building. No sign of the Denver realtor who was supposed to meet him yet. He wasn't going to waste much time. He'd one his research on Sanctuary and he intended to stay for a while.

@The Muse

@The Muse Are you alright with me creating some NPC’s? I’m thinking a realtor for one, not to mention some other local flavour Patrick is certain to run in to.
Patrick Carson

Patrick was not usually a fan of Audi but he had to admit that the Q7 was a nice piece of hardware. It was a tad flashier then he would have liked but with ski season in full swing, the only rental cars left for a last second rental were the expensive ones, and he sure as shit wasn't going to drive a Bentley.

As he had climbed out of Denver and into the mountains he had felt an almost instant sense of peace and tranquility. There was something special about the Rockies and had always loved it when work took him that way. This was his first time in the Denver area however and he had been glued to the window as his plane descended into the airport. Only when it had rolled up private side of the airfield had be pulled his gaze away.

He told the pilots to take a couple days in town, ordered his personal secretary to do some shopping, and then rented the car himself. He had a single travel bag and his camera bag; he had never given up on photography. He shifted slightly in the heated seat, rolled back his shoulders, and pushed the accelerator down.

Siri didn't steer him wrong as her dutifully loyal British accent guided him down the highway. He whipped through curves with ease, the countryside flashing past him, slowly fading away at the rain came down.

Rain? Likely a Chinook. Probably why my heads been hurting since I landed. He was also squinting despite the darkening sky and decided maybe now was the time to slow down.

The town came into view, nestled in a small bowl amid towering forested peaks and the first glance was enough for him to see the appeal, and opportunity, in such a place. He slowed at he approached the town and allowed Siri to navigate him toward the only real hotel(ish) place in town, the Foxhole Tavern.

The Audi purred into the parking lot and he paused to look around. The were a number of large trucks and a couple smaller vehicles, none of them even remotely as new as his rental. Nothing for it then.

He climbed from the car, locked the door, and took the stairs to the front door two at a time. The building was remarkably interesting, rambling a fair bit, and it reminded him of the main Ranch house where he had grown up. A bit of nostalgia crept into his head as he pushed open the door.

He was struck at once by warmth and the smell of good cooking; at least it smelled good. He brushed his muddy feet on the mat and walked into the main lobby, looking for a check in desk of some sort. If couldn't find a room here, he'd have to try an Airbnb.

@OddApproved, nah, you had a fair point. Got to get at least one Westerner into this Western town!
@OddApproved, damn, I'll change that... Stand by.

Edit: Stanford it is! And he just left LA
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