Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again.   Posted by The Stray.Group: 0
The Stray
 GM, 2330 posts
 The Marshal
 'round these parts
Thu 5 Dec 2013
at 03:37
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
((OOC: When you've filled your canteen and blessed it, you can make a Tracking roll to try and get a trail to follow to find Carl and Murphy's trail.))
Wildcat Hawkins
 player, 1174 posts
 Texas Ranger
 P5 T6 W0 F0 B1W3R5B Cha 2
Thu 5 Dec 2013
at 03:52
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
That's mostly for flavor, I'm not invoking a Miracle or anything.  Yet.

21:51, Today: Wildcat Hawkins rolled 11,4 using d6,d6, rerolling max with rolls of (6+5)11,4. 'cat trackin' - a new line dance?

All the trails.  Wildcat finds all of them.

The Stray
 GM, 2331 posts
 The Marshal
 'round these parts
Thu 5 Dec 2013
at 05:49
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
The moon was full, but the light had to reach Wildcat and her borrowed horse through the thick clouds in the sky. A wet, chill wind blew from the east, carrying the scent of rain and a hint of ozone. Out over the sea, clouds thickened, and jagged bolts of lightning sizzled into the water. The thunder was growing louder. Another storm was coming. It would be here soon. Any trails she'd follow would be long gone in a few hours.

She follows the trial of the two riders back towards that terrible hill where the Comanche had made their passion play. She follows the tracks down to where the Indian band split up. She'd notice Idjit's shy, nervous, meandering gait anywhere, and she'd let Carl borrow the horse because for some reason he'd assumed Idjit would be better for stealth. She had no idea why, but now it was working in her favor.

At the split trail, she tires to make sense of what had happened.

One group, about fifteen or sixteen strong, is headed toward town...that would be the group that had attacked and been captured.

The second group, about the same size, looks like it's heading deeper into the ranch lands. Possibly heading to attack the ranch.

And the third tail, the largest group of all, with about 20 distinct prints, is going along the creek. They must be heading to the mine she'd heard mentioned.

All the trails are several hours old...made before sundown.

Carl and Murphy's trail turns and follows the large group heading along the creek. It crossed the creek at one point, and Wildcat has to herd her mount over the waters to continue on. Across the creek, the trail suddenly vanishes...the Comanche must have started covering their tracks just after crossing the creek. But Idjit's trail is still easy as ever to follow, and she made good time up the hillside, down a low hollow running wet with the recent rains. The trail rises a little, turns rocky.

Finally, Wildcat spies a pair of horses (one of them definitely Idjit) hitched to a small honey mesquite tree. Someone has lit a fire nearby...she can see dense smoke from the wet wood rising into the cold air. A figure in what looks like a fur blanket sits by the fire, stirring it occasionally, sending sparks flying into the sky. The sparks seem to briefly take on fanciful shapes, if one squinted...a rising snake, a diving hawk, a stalking cougar, a whirling explosion, a pack of wolves, a stampede of longhorn cattle.

The figure doesn't seem to have noticed Wildcat's arrival.
Wildcat Hawkins
 player, 1176 posts
 Texas Ranger
 P5 T6 W0 F0 B1W3R6B Cha 2
Fri 6 Dec 2013
at 02:24
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
As much as she purportedly hated that unreliable animal, her heart leapt for joy to see him. But who was this?  A caretaker or a horse thief?

She wasn't one for stealth, Wildcat.

Slipping out of the saddle with a well drilled dismount, she tied the reins off.  If she fired a shot, she couldn't have all of the horses take off running.  She knew Idjit at least was like to do so, for no beast was less suited to life as a Ranger's mount.

With her Peacemaker at low ready* and the hammer thumbed back, she approached the fur clad fire-tender.  Her words were loud, but not shouted, and clear.

"Texas Ranger!"  Those words ought to ferret out some truth pretty quickly, surely an innocent man would just pause and wish to straighten this out, and a guilty one would bolt or mess with someone who really was in no mood for such.

"This here's an ohfishul 'vest'a'gash'un, ya'll aren't in no trouble yet but ah got ta know how ya'll come by them horses."

*low ready indicates the weapon is in hand, but the muzzle is pointed down at the ground at an angle.  It's a technique for being able to respond quickly without having to point a gun at someone who hasn't proven to be a threat yet.

Laughs At Darkness
 NPC, 29 posts
 Weird and Creepifyin'
 Coyote Shaman
Fri 6 Dec 2013
at 06:09
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
some mood music

The figure either did not hear or seems to be ignoring Wildcat's words. Either way, he calmly stretches out his brown, wizened arm and stirs something in a tin coffee pot sitting in the fire, something that smells absolutely nothing like coffee.

As she approaches the figure, she makes out more details. The old man isn't just wrapped in a fur blanket--it's an actual coyote skin, with the head serving as a hood. Pouches, feathers, beads and other things hang off of him. Next to him lie a flute, a carved stick decorated with feathers, a long pipe, and a stretched skin drum.

The silence stretches. It grows, widening into uncomfortableness, but just before Wildcat can break it by repeating her demand, as she is in fact drawing breath to say something, anything, to end the awful silence...

"Heh."

The old man chuckles.

""heh heh. heh heh heh. hehhehhehhehhehHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhahahahahaaaa!"

The sudden, bizarre cackle startles her, as indeed it startles the horses, who shift uncomfortable away from the man in the coyote skin. He continues cackling for quite some time, though Wildcat has precious little idea what he seems to find so funny. His chilling laugh echoes over the rocky draw, and seems to echo down into the depths of the earth.

Then, as suddenly as as he begins, the fur-clad stranger stops, his haoguh cutting off in mid-breath as if he would cough of hiccup or something. But the old man does not.

"Not smart, Texas Ranger." he says. "A red man sits next to horses. You come on them, and think the man claims possession. White man always assumes possession, and then, when the red man says, no, these horses are not his possession, white man locks red man up or shoots him as a thief, then claims possession for himself. The horses where here when I sat down and made my little fire, Texas Ranger. They will be here when I leave. There is only old Laughs at Darkness and two horses here. They do not have anything to do with each other, except that they are warmed by the same little fire for a time."

He turns a fraction of an inch. Light glitters off the eyes of the coyote pelt he wears, but his face is hidden in shadow, and Wildcat can only make out a silhouette of an old, weathered face. "Heh. And as for trouble? I am always in trouble. That is my nature." He motions to a spot next to the campfire. "Well?"
Wildcat Hawkins
 player, 1177 posts
 Texas Ranger
 P5 T6 W0 F0 B1W3R6B Cha 2
Fri 6 Dec 2013
at 13:15
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
She stopped herself.  Whoever this strange man was, she was wary of him and his eerie way of making her pause like that.  But at the same time, she wasn't afraid of him for some reason.

She carefully lowered the hammer, put it back on the loading position, and spun the cylinder to rest on the empty chamber.  Holstering the Colt, she walked to his fire.

"Look feller, it ain't really 'bout th' horses, but ah'm a lookin' fer some folks might be in a world o' hurt and ah just wann' know if'n you seen 'em or even had nothin' ta do with 'em.  Mister Injun, ah got ta inform ya'll 'tis ain't no place ta be right now.  Ah don't know if'n yer 'ware of it, but there's a whole mess o' trouble 'bout here."
Laughs At Darkness
 NPC, 30 posts
 Weird and Creepifyin'
 Coyote Shaman
Fri 6 Dec 2013
at 17:03
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
"heheheHEHEHEHAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAaaaaaa!" The old man cackles. "You think I don't know that? You think old Laughs At Darkness is sitting here above Mirror Serpent's den for his health? HAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA..."

He continues cackling.

"HAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA"

He's not even pausing for breath.

"HAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA"

 It's starting to get uncomfortable...

He stops abruptly. "Not smart, Ranger. Not smart at all. Only a great fool would not see the great trouble here. So you must ask the right question. The question is not, 'do you know there is trouble here?' The question IS!" He barks that last.

He seems to be waiting for a reply. But before she can actually respond, he snatches up his carved stick and smacks her across the thigh.

{thwack!}

"THE!"

{thwack!}

"QUESTION!"

{thwack!}

"IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS!!!!"

He lowers the stick. "The question you should be asking is, if there is great trouble here, which any fool can see, why is this man here, beside your horse, with a fire going as if to alert anyone coming this way where he was?"

He resume stirring the stuff in the pot, which smells like rabbit soup.
Wildcat Hawkins
 player, 1178 posts
 Texas Ranger
 P5 T6 W0 F0 B1W3R6B Cha 2
Sat 7 Dec 2013
at 05:59
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
Taken aback, Katrina Hawkins didn't know how on heaven or earth to react to, well... that.  She tried jumping back from the stick but it did no good.

She could have said anything better, but she went with the first thing that came out of her mouth.

"How'd ya'll reckon Idjit were mah horse?  Ain't never seen ya 'fore now."
Laughs At Darkness
 NPC, 31 posts
 Weird and Creepifyin'
 Coyote Shaman
Sat 7 Dec 2013
at 08:48
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
The old man cups his forehead with his hand, as if trying to massage away a headache. "Stupid. So, so stupid." he mutters "Why does Wakan Tanka never pick the smart whites to give his blessings to? No, all the smart ones are stupid in other ways, think they can play with the manitou all day long and not get burned."

The old Indian looks back up at Wildcat. He points to the Idjit horse in question, who is looking at Wildcat and whinnying at her for oats.

"Even if I knew nothing else about you, Ranger Hawkins, that would be something you would call a clue, yes?"
Wildcat Hawkins
 player, 1179 posts
 Texas Ranger
 P5 T6 W0 F0 B1W3R6B Cha 2
Sat 7 Dec 2013
at 18:15
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
"Ah reckon ah would... look mister injun whatever burrow milk yer a pourin', it ain't landin' in my canteen.  If'n ya know somethin's goin' on here, ah'd be much obliged ta hear it.  Ah got to find them fellers while they's still above snakes... ah hope they's above snakes."

She didn't dwell on it.  If she started thinking like that what was the point of any of this?
Laughs At Darkness
 NPC, 32 posts
 Weird and Creepifyin'
 Coyote Shaman
Sun 8 Dec 2013
at 06:17
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
"Burrow milk? HAhahahahahaha! I shall have to remember that one!" Laughs At Darkness cackles. "Yes, I know things. Many things. Wakan-Tanka has sent me to watch this situation, and advise. BUT! I find simply telling people things they need to hear is dull. And more often than not, if I just tell people something, they say, 'oh, that is nice,' then make complete asses of themselves doing something else. People are not smart. And you must be smart, if you are to be of any use to the people down below, in the serpent's belly."

He shakes his head. "No, they are not above. They wander in the serpent's belly, and are slowing being digested. Do you know the story of the snake as big as a valley? I will tell you. It was so large, it kept its mouth open all the time, and people went into its mouth without knowing. They wandered into the snake's stomach, and were slowly digested. But Fox and Coyote, they heard of this snake. They prepared. Fox brought with him two poles, and Coyote tied an arrow to his head. And then Fox and Coyote walked into the valley. When they came to the people who were dying, they knew they were in the right place, and so Fox set the poles near where the light was, to keep the snake's mouth open, and Coyote danced and leapt, and the arrow on his head pierced the snake's heart. The snake was thus defeated, and the two lead the people out to freedom. They were smart, Ranger Hawkins. Are you smart? So far, I am not impressed."

He leans back and points to the fire. "Take a seat, please. We shall have a contest. We will trade questions, you and I. I will see how smart you are. The smarter you are, the less likely I will be to lie. I will give you a name based on how smart you are. It will be a name you will bear for the rest of your life. All those who walk in the spirit ways, who touch the Hunting Grounds, will know you by this name. And you will have earned the things you wish to know, learned the things you need to know, and be less likely to forget or disregard either." he shrugs. "Or you can walk away. The entrance to the serpent's belly is over there."

He points to a crack in the ground about a hundred yards away. The crack in the ground has a faint breeze coming from it, rustling the bushes around the edge. The breeze seems to come from below the ground like a damp breath, and the faint wail of rushing air sends gooseflesh rising on Wildcat's arms. The stones poking around the gap resemble gnarled, broken teeth, like a giant maw ready to bite down on anything that enters it. A rope has been tied around a bush, and falls down into darkness.

"Your choice." The old man says. "No pressure."
Wildcat Hawkins
 player, 1181 posts
 Texas Ranger
 P5 T6 W0 F0 B1W3R6B Cha 2
Sun 8 Dec 2013
at 06:25
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
Some understanding came to her, after a fashion.  She remembered Th' Big Snake quite plainly.

"Reckon ah'll need me a pole an' not a polecat."  The Ranger could be cryptic too, and reared up and took the perch.

"No one never accused me of bein' smart mister.  If'n I were smart reckon ah wouldn't be here no how.  But if'n ya'll say ah got ta start, let's just hope ah ain't barkin' at a knot here.  Who's ol' Wonky Tonic enny how, is he in th' snake's belly too?"
Laughs At Darkness
 NPC, 33 posts
 Weird and Creepifyin'
 Coyote Shaman
Sun 8 Dec 2013
at 06:54
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
"HA! After a fashion, I suppose he would be. Wakan Tanka is everywhere. Wakan Tanka is the Great Mystery." Laughs at Darkness says, picking up the peace pipe and filing the bowl with pinches of tobacco. "The closest concept Christians have to Wakan Tanka is the Holy Ghost. The power you call on is Wakan Tanka's. You could at least try to get the name right."

He takes a puff from the pipe, and offers it to Wildcat.
Wildcat Hawkins
 player, 1182 posts
 Texas Ranger
 P5 T6 W0 F0 B1W3R6B Cha 2
Sun 8 Dec 2013
at 18:49
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
"Funny fern werds take a 'mite o' practice.  Holy Ghost is somethin ah got lot more practice jawin' on."

She accepted the pipe.  She'd spent a time learning that men loved to give her acrid and strong tobacco to smoke in cigar or pipe form, first to see if she'd flinch at the delivery method, and then they'd hope she'd cough and hack from a single inhalation.  She'd gotten very good at disappointing them on both fronts.

Of course who knew what this feller was smoking.  Nonetheless she took a good puff.
Laughs At Darkness
 NPC, 34 posts
 Weird and Creepifyin'
 Coyote Shaman
Sun 8 Dec 2013
at 19:14
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
Laughs at Darkness shrugs. As she puffs, the old man sprinkles a pinch of the tobacco on the ground.

The tobacco in the pipe is strong, but not overly so. There's a flavor in the mix that Wildcat is unfamiliar with, which gives the smoke a pleasant aroma.

"Well then." The old shaman says as he accepts the pipe back from her. "My first question: Why are the Rangers wrong?"
Wildcat Hawkins
 player, 1183 posts
 Texas Ranger
 P5 T6 W0 F0 B1W3R6B Cha 2
Sun 8 Dec 2013
at 20:45
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
Something in her rose up to argue, but a flood of recent memories stopped her.  Even Armstrong hadn't been what she'd thought... but that made him nothing less.

"They's wrong fer th' same reason ah am, er was, er might'n be 'gain."
Laughs At Darkness
 NPC, 35 posts
 Weird and Creepifyin'
 Coyote Shaman
Sun 8 Dec 2013
at 20:49
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
The old man waits. Either he's waiting for her to elaborate, or perhaps he'd just fallen asleep. It was hard to tell.
Wildcat Hawkins
 player, 1184 posts
 Texas Ranger
 P5 T6 W0 F0 B1W3R6B Cha 2
Sun 8 Dec 2013
at 20:51
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
Concerned, she got up and moved to touch him.  "Are ye all right there mister Injun?"
Laughs At Darkness
 NPC, 36 posts
 Weird and Creepifyin'
 Coyote Shaman
Sun 8 Dec 2013
at 20:55
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
"I am waiting for you to answer my question." The old shaman says. "You are only smart if you can explain in the way the stupid may understand."
Wildcat Hawkins
 player, 1185 posts
 Texas Ranger
 P5 T6 W0 F0 B1W3R6B Cha 2
Sun 8 Dec 2013
at 21:15
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
"Don't sit so still feller... it ain't right."  She went back to her perch.  "But... ah reckon every'un sometimes thinks they knows better'n they do."
Laughs At Darkness
 NPC, 37 posts
 Weird and Creepifyin'
 Coyote Shaman
Sun 8 Dec 2013
at 21:21
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
""hehhehhehhehhehHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhahahahahaaaa!" The old man cackles. "Interesting, but smart, yes. Very smart. Ask your second question."
Wildcat Hawkins
 player, 1186 posts
 Texas Ranger
 P5 T6 W0 F0 B1W3R6B Cha 2
Sun 8 Dec 2013
at 23:01
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
"Uh... all right... what'll stop th' Big Snake butt cold, so he can't do this mess ever'n 'gain?"
Laughs At Darkness
 NPC, 38 posts
 Weird and Creepifyin'
 Coyote Shaman
Sun 8 Dec 2013
at 23:57
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
The shaman thinks for a moment, tapping his stick against the ground. "That's probably the wrong question, as stopping him for good means killing him, which means either traveling in his lair in the Hunting Grounds or waiting until he is fully awakened. It is possible, but damn difficult. To have the best shot of killing him, you would have to hit him in the heart--his scales are hard enough to turn aside cannons. To stop him from healing himself back from death, you would need to harm him with his own poison, or the poison of one of his brood. The Karankawa, when they sealed him away, had weapons with them for just such a purpose, which are scattered about his lair. Far, far easier to stop the shaman who wants to wake him, then try to sing him back to sleep."

He reaches over the tin coffee pot, and picks up the ladle. He licks the end of it. he grimaces. "Feh. Needs something." He looks over at Wildcat. "Do you have something good to season rabbit stew with you, or with your Idjit?"
Wildcat Hawkins
 player, 1187 posts
 Texas Ranger
 P5 T6 W0 F0 B1W3R6B Cha 2
Mon 9 Dec 2013
at 00:18
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
"Eh, prob'ly."  She shook out the war bag.  She'd had to feed herself and the quiet Dust Adder with it, but that had just been a few fried corn johnny cakes she'd made because that was the easiest thing to give him in that bank vault, and it didn't require a fire or utensils.  There was always coffee and an array of odds and ends of food, and things that made scavenged food slightly less terrible, within it.

I assmume between the "Trail Rations" she probably at least has salt and pepper, which would help some.
The Stray
 GM, 2341 posts
 The Marshal
 'round these parts
Mon 9 Dec 2013
at 00:33
Re: Interlude: Wildcat Rides Again
((OOC: I'll let you have whatever is reasonable for Wildcat to have on her. Are you actually giving the stuff over to LaD?))