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Author Topic: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)  (Read 2045 times)

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Offline AcidTopic starter

[Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« on: March 09, 2012, 01:44:29 PM »
Interest Check
Chapter 1: Birds of Passage

3 perspectives, separated by time and space and sand.

Quote
The Dual Pistol Dreamer

Carol Lynn has always dreamed of living the life of a Drifter. As a kid, she was in love with the idea of roaming the open plains and experiencing action and danger every step of the way. As her passion to be a Drifter grew, she decided to leave her comfortable nest to live out her dream.
            
            


Two weeks before the fateful encounter…



   A train barrels through the desert under a blanket of darkness. As the windows flash by, a girl in a dress looks out, yawning as she reads her book - Wasteland Compendium by Elliot Enduro. She has been en route to her destination, but she did not know where she was going. Carol Lynn wanted to go as far away as humanly possible and start off anew - a new persona, a new life. The train had been bustling along sluggishly, sweeping up a tail of dust continuously as it crossed the arid Wasteland. The slow pace of the train gave Carol time to recollect and rethink. Was this truly the course on which she was destined to go? Was the life of a Drifter truly for her?

She thought of her younger brother back at home, probably wondering where his big sister had gone. "I can't think about that right now," Carol Lynn retorted, almost apologetically. In her mind and spirit, Carol realized she was doing this for herself (and perhaps to herself) and this was the path she had chosen. 

Suddenly, the train jerks to a halt, launching her out of her seat.

"What the fuck? Who's operating this thing?"

Train Announcer: "Attention all passengers: we are currently decelerating from our normal speed and are arriving at our destination. Please remain seated for your safety."

The girl collects herself and sits back down on the red velvet seat within her cabin. She continues reading her book, absorbing as much information about Drifters and the Wasteland in as condensed period of time as possible. Like a child looking on with all the wonder and curiosity of the world, a small fire was lit in Carol's heart that grew with excitement and intrigue every minute. Carol Lynn remains seated and shortly after hears the door of her cabin compartment opening. A man dressed in a dark-green uniform looks at her curiously and asks:

"Are you Miss Schrödinger?"

"I might be, who wants to know?" she answered back hesitantly.The train employee looked exasperated and was clearly not in the mood for Carol's games. He handed her a white-enveloped letter. "I received a call to deliver this to you." Before she could thank him, the uniformed boy closed her cabin door and was swiftly gone. Carol fumbled around with the letter in her hands and surveyed the envelope. Plain white envelope, no return address and all that was written on the outside was her name: "Carol Lynn Schrödinger."

But directly under: "(Urgent)" She slowly opened the envelope and scanned the contents of the letter. A vague smile painted her face as her eyes lit up and looked out the window; the endless blur of rocks and dirt blended together along the speed of the moving train.

A sly twinkle in her eye implied something in the young woman's mind clicked into place. Gears shifted in her head as the train pulled into the station. Her hands went to her waist - assuring that her prized ARMs were there; two identical white pistols were sheathed in leather holsters sewn into her dress. Carol fanned herself with the letter and wondered if this was the opportunity she has been waiting for. "I guess I'm getting off a stop earlier than I planned to," she thought to herself.




A Drifter Sheriff's and his misfit entourage's last attempt at removing some of the waste in the Wasteland.

Quote
The Sheriff

The Sheriff paced back and forth across the creaky wooden floorboards of his station. A look, more anxious than nervous, appeared embedded into his eyes. His fingers instinctively traced his gun holster and then moved down the sleek barrel of his revolver.

His badge read “A. Williams” and was barely legible. The writing looked worn with age in addition to being dust-covered.
 
"6:30 already?..."

The man took a drag of his cigarette and looked out the small window towards the town of Happy Alex, his birthplace and the town which he protected. In this town, this man was both the law and the order.

“Where the hell are all of ‘em? Can’t trust youngsters with anythin’ these days. They better show their asses,” he muttered to himself.

He took a final pull of the cigarette and threw it on the wooden floor. The Sheriff stopped pacing around the Lone Star, a decrepit, small shack that doubled as both the town’s sheriff’s office and as his place of residence. The man picked up his mug and held the glass to his lips. The cool beer was beyond refreshing, but most of all it calmed the man’s nerves. He set the glass down and peered out of the small window once more. Overjoyed, he saw a large group of people advancing towards his “office,” traveling in what looked one wide mass.

The group was curiously diverse, some young, some old. Some appeared well-kempt, perhaps even exuding an aura of apparent affluence. Others wore run-down or tattered clothes. Most of these travelers were on horses, treading into the town slowly, although a select foolish few seemed to have made the journey on foot.

“Here it goes. Better meet ‘em out,” the Sheriff’s gaze broke from the mob and he went outside to greet them.

“Where the hell are all of ‘em? Can’t trust youngsters with anythin’ these days. They better show their asses,” he muttered to himself.

The group and the man walked steadily towards each other. The Sheriff stopped a few feet outside of the Lone Star and waited until the group started to gather in front. An air of concern and uncertainty made the mood tense. Some of the younger-looking ruffians gossiped and whispered amongst themselves, while the older generation within the group just smirked at them, knowing something revolutionary was about to take place right before their very eyes.

(“Pssst, is that the guy?)
(“Yeah, I think so. He’s supposed to be real famous around these parts or something. Heard one of the geezer Drifters talking about him.”)
(“Hey is that the guy who’s leading this?”)
("Apparently.")
("Seriously? Isn't this guy supposed to be 30 or something...? He looks ancient.")

“Shut your mouth, pup. This man is thrice the Drifter you can ever hope to be,” one of the older men on a sandy-colored, brown steed retorted acidly.

The Sheriff kept his composure cool and confident, and then scanned the group that had coalesced in front of him. Soon a voice screamed with glee, the origin seemed to resonate from the center of the crowd…


“AMOS! Amoooos!” The voice was clearly female and every head among the crowd turned to the source of the obnoxious holler.
 A young woman, barely out of adolescence, ran for the Sheriff and the ocean of people cleared to both sides to let the woman through.

She wore a corset-like, russet, midriff garment, which began just below her collar and fell to her navel. The garment indicated that this Drifter girl was probably older and more mature than she appeared. This was certainly not the apparel of a young girl.
A champagne-colored decorative bow was tied on the front of her top, in addition to a miniskirt, which only grazed her upper thighs. Her hair was sleek and straw-like of a goldenrod shade.

Noticeably beautiful, her come-hither looks were met with the prying and staring eyes of the men in the crowd. A few whistles and calls came from some of the adolescent guys (and a few of the older perverts) in the mob.
 
The woman nearly tackled the Sheriff, but ran to him with open arms and embraced him warmly.

“Easy there! Here, let me have a look at you.” The girl was considerably shorter than Amos, and he tilted her head up to face him.
“Carol Lynn! By the Guardians! Can it be you? Looks like someone grew up,” Amos embraced the girl sincerely, it was apparent their relationship was strictly platonic.

“I hope you mean me. It’s been too long Amos. Imagine my surprise when I learned my dear childhood friend was having this grand Drifter get-together and yet I received no invite,” Carol Lynn teased her friend then joined the crowd once more.

The orange sun harbored no mercy and shone down on the now increasingly impatient and hot crowd. The Sheriff wiped a bead of perspiration from his forehead and tilted his ten-gallon hat back, so as to get a better glimpse of the crowd, before clearing his throat to break the momentary silence.

“Ahem…erm…welcome to Happy Alex, my distinguished guests, friends, and fellow Drifters.” A few older men clapped for a short moment. The man who scolded the younger Drifters hopped off his horse which let out a soft neigh.

“To my friends, I welcome you back and to those of y’all who I’ve never met, I go by Sheriff Amos Williams. There’s a reason each and every one of you are here today and that’s because you made a name for yourself in this lawless Wasteland. Your keen ability to survive in Filgaia’s Wasteland does not go unnoticed and some of y’all may be even more popular than you’re aware,” this small ego boost seemed to pique the curiosity of the people and they listened more intently to this well-spoken orator.

“I may not look like much now, but I too was a Drifter a while back. I come to you my friends, and y’all youngins, under the gravest of circumstances. Filgaia is changin’, slowly but surely and I know y’all can feel it too.”
“Changing how ?” questioned one of the Drifters in the front.

“Changin’ for the worse. That’s how. This minimalistic, barren desert is getting’ hotter and drier day by day. Don’t tell me y’all can’t see the change happenin’ right before your very eyes. I ask those of you who have spread your wings, is this the same Filgaia you knew a year ago…Five years ago? Ten years ago? You can’t deny this; the land is growin’ stagnant. Everyone should be aski—
“Ain’t nobody disagreeing with ya, geezer. You’d have to be a novice Driftah, or live in a bubble, not to notice it,” another rude younger Drifter interrupted Amos’s speech.

“The question he meant to ask was: what does this have to do with us?” The older Drifter with the brown horse was growing weary of these younger pups, nipping them back as he redirected the conversation back to Amos. The Sherrif was grateful for the older man’s presence and authoritative scorn at the younger Drifters.

“Of course. I was gettin’ to that. How many of you have been to the village of Rabask, in the eastern plateaus?” Only a few hands in the crowd rose and the Drifters that had never been were immediately humbled and subdued, if only for the moment.

“The Rabaskian people tell of a Filgaia that is unlike the one today, a legend passed down among the priest lineage in their village. It tells of a land of green and blue, a planet that was bountiful with life, plants and water. Back when I spread my wings as a Drifter, I heard this legend once from a shaman in Rabask Village. It foretold of a Filgaia with 2 paths, one that led to the gradual decline and destruction of our planet…and the other of the people coming together to restore the planet. Now, for the reason I went to such lengths to gather all of you from all corners of the Wasteland. How would you guys like to see this dream become a reality? How would y’all like to restore this damned Wasteland to its former glory?”

Only a few hands in the crowd rose and the Drifters that had never been were immediately humbled and subdued, if only for the moment.Only a few hands in the crowd rose and the Drifters that had never been were immediately humbled and subdued, if only for the moment.Only a few hands in the crowd rose and the Drifters that had never been were immediately humbled and subdued, if only for the moment.

Everyone knew this was a rhetorical question and they simply listened intently. Amos knew what he wanted to say to this group long before they even answered his invitation.

“I’m probably way in over my head here and I’m clingin’ to a small glimmerin’ star of hope, but it’s worth tryin’. If the legends told to me by the Shaman are true, we can restore Filgaia. I don’t know about y’all, but I’d like to try.”
“You do realize some of us came from hundreds of miles away, just to answer your invitation? This is the so called ‘big news’ we were waiting for? Some half-assed altruistic attempt at saving the world?” one of the Drifters showed his disdain for the idea and its clear lack of a slightly more “measurable” reward. The cold whip of his disapproval stung Amos, but he continued on with his spiel.

Only a few of the Drifters were optimistic enough to believe there might be an alternative to the Filgaia they see before them and yet, for some strange reason, in the back of everyone's minds, they could vaguely envision a Filgaia that seemed to almost exist elsewhere outside of their heads. It seemed almost tangible; as if it existed at one point in time.
Would it really be possible to turn this dusty planet into a paradise?

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking you to do this for free. There’s some organization that’s hirin’ gunslingers from all over to go into some ruins they excavated. They’re willin’ to pay y’all guys well if y’all help out. I spoke with the organization’s leader and told him I may be able to provide him with some skilled Drifters that would further the organization’s goal…This is our chance. The fate of Filgaia lies in the hands and ARMs of y’all younger Drifters. Now is the time to lift our planet from the quicksands of decline.” His words trailed off towards the crowd pleadingly and for what seemed like a few minutes, nobody said anything. Then one lone man opened his mouth.

“If they’re paying, I’m your man. I’m in,” one of the Drifters stepped in. The band of Drifters laughed in agreement before erupting in rowdy applause and cheer. The gunslingers hooted.

"You know I'm in, Amos." Carol Lynn added.

"Then our path is clear guys, our next destination is the WEDO Base."

"We do?" one of the Drifters questioned.
"WEDO. It's the name of an organization that's hirin' Drifters. They'll explain everythin'. If y'all gunslingers still aren't fully sold on this idea, come along for the ride anyway and see if the bounty the organization offers you is worth your time."

With hope in Amos's heart, and curiosity in the Drifters', they set up camp in the dusty town of Happy Alex. They needed their rest and strength for tomorrow morning they would set course for the WEDO Base.




In some unknown ruins, jutting from the unwelcoming landscape, a trio of bandits seems to be looting and defiling. Perhaps, looking for something specific.

Quote
Change of Plans

"Hey Boss, what the hell are we doing over here again?" a brutish-looking man questioned.

"Roe? We shouldn't be here...What are we looking for anyway?" a second man wearing a red bandanna tied around his neck directed his question towards the third member of the trio.

"I'll know it when I see it. For once in your miserable lives, would you guys just do as I say and shut the hell up? Sheesh," clearly agitated, the leader of the trip, Roe Cassidy, began sifting through the central chamber of the ruins. On the northern wall, a pile of rubble and debris lay stacked.

"B-but Boss."

"NOW. Be. Quiet. And. Get. To. Searching," irately, Roe commanded his two pawns.
The two knew better than to trigger Roe's temper. They weren't sure what exactly to look for, but they knew they had better look busy doing something.

The two men worked in unison to lift rock and rubble from the ruins. What sort of natural trauma had befallen this dilapidated monument? It was long thought that disturbing places of great spiritual energy such as these ruins, would incur the wrath of the gods. This seemed to be nothing more than a myth of the Wasteland conjured up to benefit looters who didn't buy into the stories. Surely any competent god or gods would not let Filgaia deteriorate to such a sad state.

"Uggggh," the two men lifted piece by piece of the rubble from underneath a collapsed wall. They spotted something wedged between two rocks - something slightly lustrous and golden. They removed the remainder of the rock and held a piece of gold, in the shape of a trident.

"Boss! We found something!" the slim man with the bandana around his neck hollered as Roe came over.
"Good job, Diego and Murv! I told you guys there was treasure here." he inspected the golden object and, exasperated, put his hand to his forehead.

"This is just a damn candlestick, you idiots. How do you expect to get paid with a candle holder? I swear, this thing is almost as useless as you two," Roe's bark was equally as bad as his bite. Diego and Murv remained silent.

"Boss, let's go to be checking out the rest of this place. There ain't nothing over here in this place n'eways," suggested Murv.

"Hmm. Maybe you're right for once. All right, you two go exploring that way," Roe pointed to an area just beyond the collapsed wall from which the debris was removed. "I'll go on forward. We'll meet back here once we search every nook and cranny."

The duo of Diego and Murv did as ordered and climbed the small mound of concrete to access an adjacent hall. "This place be kinda pretty creepy, ain't'it?" Murv observed the torches on the walls. After several minutes of walking, the duo arrived at a moderately sized, circular, room. Shelves upon shelves of volumes, tomes, books, and manuscripts rested, all covered in more dust than Filgaia.

"You think there's anything worth our time in here, Murv?"

"Pro'ly not. Let's jus' look in here n'eways to make the Boss happy."

Dust and cobwebs filled the air as Diego and Murv wiped down the shelves with their hands, attempting to salvage anything of interest and potential profit. They came across a book, thicker than any other volume there - The Guardians of Filgaia. Murv, who was illiterate, passed the over-sized tome to Diego, who inspected it promptly. There was a long passage, which he simply skimmed:

"Oft did we Guardians attempt to salvage this Filgaia. This damned eternal desert from which we sought to free the denizens of Filgaia. In times long past, the Great Guardian Queen, Viras Silth, relinquished her power over the elements and humans and bestowed them unto us Guardians."

To a scholar, this historical account might have piqued interest and curiosity, but to Diego it registered as mindless drivel.
"I bet there's some sucker that gets a hard on for history textbooks. Maybe we can sell it. Let's find Roe." The duo walked back to the central chamber to alert their leader.   
   
After an hour or so of scouring the ruins, the trio arrived at a final chamber. They surveyed the room only to find nothing remarkable. "Looted. What a waste of time," said Roe.

"All this work and a lousy book? You think it's worth anything, Roe?"
 .......




Offline TheHangedMan

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Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2012, 03:32:46 PM »
Crimson moved along the periphery of the crowd of Drifters that had come to see the sheriff. He knew they all had their reasons for coming, but he wondered about some of the younger ones; especially those that were chattering. What was the point of speculating and gossiping when, just a few moments, they'd know the answer to those questions?

And the false assumptions that age is an indicator of anything beyond the fact that the person in question has had the tenacity or good fortune to live that long in this cruel world... ugh. He hopes that those chuckleheads will bugger off, and lose interest.

As for Crimson, he was content to remain silent, and scrutinize the sheriff. He seemed to genuinely believe what he was saying. He could feel it in the man's voice; could see it in his eyes. And why not? It's a nice story. It gives one hope, if one believes in it.

And maybe, just maybe, there's a gem of truth to it all. Maybe he'll be able to find something out, even if he doesn't believe that their world could possibly be saved.

He would wait for the procession to start moving along, before directing his horse to follow along. Just as he had come in at the tail end of the other Drifters, he would leave, bringing up the rear, where he apparently liked to be; not for the view, of course, but more so because he didn't like having people behind him.

As the horse moved along at a decent pace, Crimson would take the time to pull Infiltrator off of his back (it was held there by a strap), and just give it a once over; make sure the magazine was fully loaded,  that the ejection port and such were (relatively) dust free, so on, and so forth.

Offline flightzeit

Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2012, 02:10:48 AM »
Maude was admittedly surprised when she received the message that some sheriff in Happy Alex had not only heard of her but wanted to see her. Since leaving home and living a life of travel, gambling, and exploring the great expanse, never had anyone wanted to see Miss. Dresner for anything positive. Occasionally an angry man would go out of his way claiming that she had cheated him out of some money or that he wanted to challenge her to a fair game. Never had someone contacted her to tell her that the name she was making for herself piqued their interest.

Maude, not one to pass up such an opportunity, happily hit the road to Happy Alex. Her feelings of pride faded away upon arriving at the place of her destination. The town was filled with drifters. She was not one of few, she was one of many. Apparently, Maude Dresner was not the only name that struck a chord with the man in charge. The variety of the Drifters around her were interesting. Some of them appeared old – hardened with years of experience. While others seemed entirely too young to even be there. At twenty-five, Maude felt too childish to be considered a prominent name in Filgaia, but the crowd that gathered seemed to imply that people much younger than her had already created a legend of themselves.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a lady yelling out to the man standing before the crowd. The touching scene of friends reunited that unfolded was sweet. It was not, however, what Maude was in Happy Alex for. She wanted to hear about the loot that she would get. She wanted to hear about the adventure. The thoughts of such things made a joyful grin form on her face. Anything that would bring so many Drifters together in one place obviously promised some sort of reward that was beyond her comprehension.

Then, the man spoke. 'He wants us to save the world?' Maude thought with an eyebrow raised in skepticism. This was something entirely new. There were always requests to help catch a runaway bandit, find a missing child, look for some historical text or treasure, or help enact someone's long plotted revenge. Never had Maude heard someone so earnestly make a request for something so unattainable. Yet, the man's face, the man's posture, the man's everything gave the impression that he was entirely serious. He clearly believed it was possible for a group of money hungry Drifters to discover some previously undiscovered key to fix the wasteland that was Filgaia.

Maude's frontal lobe screamed at her, told her to turn around, told her this was a useless mission of a dreamer who had his hopes placed somewhere that was anywhere but reality. Being young and adventurous, she disregarded the warnings her brain heeded. She had already traveled the hundreds of miles it took to arrive in Happy Alex, what use would it be to turn around now? Raising her hand with other Drifters proclaiming joy at the prospect of being paid, Maude made her choice. She would be joining this mission.

Given that they would most likely be setting up camp before heading out, Maude found herself a building's porch to sit on. She observed the men and women around her and knew that they were all there for their own reasons, yet she wondered if any of them had a fraction of the blind hope for the future the Sheriff had displayed. If any of them really thought they could save the world as a hero would do in a child's tale.

Her hands felt empty without something to do, so Maude began to idly play with her whip. Her polished, pink fingernails traced the leather whip's length as she caught snippets of everyone's conversations. This was going to be an intriguing chapter of her life, if nothing else.

Offline AcidTopic starter

Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2012, 12:22:12 PM »
Standing on a barrel positioned outside of the general store, Amos made one final announcement to the roaming band of Drifters. Projecting his voice atop the barrel, he hollered to everyone in Happy Alex.

"Drifters! Listen up, y'all! In the morrow, at first break of sunrise, we make for the mercantile town of Port Rose to the Northeast. Our laborious journey commences first thin' in the morrow, so y'all better stock up on supplies now for the trek ahead. Get some grub in your belly, set up camp and go to sleep."

The sheriff couldn't recall the last time he felt such passion ignite within the confines of his soul. His spirit was boisterous and his mind was focused with aspiration and hope for the future of the Wasteland.

("I must be daffy and getting senile to put my hope in these ruffians, but if we manage to pull this off, even with a multitude of factors working against us, we'll be pulling off a miracle.") Amos pondered.

Surveying the sleepless, and somehow still sleepy, crowd, Amos's glimpse met with several familiar faces. Countless newspaper clippings detailing various Drifters' deeds (and misdeeds) have implanted miscellaneous trivia facts and accomplishments, into the sheriff's head. His eyes scanned the mostly unsightly crowd, about 50 in size. Most were refilling their canteens with water from the stingy well and packing various cured meats and stuffing nonperishable goods into their bags.

Eventually his gaze locked with 6 familiar faces standing, walking or sitting in the same general vicinity; Carol Lynn, a man with a horse, a woman wielding a bullwhip sitting on a porch, an older gentleman and two young female Drifters standing nearby were among the familiars. Amos recalled each of their accomplishments in the Wasteland and their obvious independence, as written in the papers.

"Hey! Carol Lynn and y'all 5 standing there. Get inside here and help me carry out firewood for the campfire!" beckoned Amos, who was now standing in the doorway of the Lone Star office.

Inside his home, Amos retrieved a few masculine essentials for the expedition to the Port; Amos needed few things, but he grabbed a shaving razor, a loaf of bread, some light clothes and a can of beans.

Removing a few crumbly and withered logs from a storage closet in the Lone Star, Amos took the firewood outside and retrieved a piece of flint from a satchel fastened around his belt. "Just lay everythin' in the town square and set up camp there," Amos pointed to where he had deposited his load.

"Do me a favor and get the fire goin'" Amos handed the flint to the older gentleman, who seemed trustworthy.

Although the Sheriff lived but a few feet away, tonight he would join his brothers and sisters and camp out under the stars, like he had done ages ago. With his back against the newly ignited flame, Amos laid down and peered upwards, rehearsing the various outcomes of his plan to "revive" the planet. He played and replayed every possible scenario, but quickly tossed aside such negative thoughts and focused on tomorrow. Had Amos gotten in over his head?

He cracked the can of beans against the face of a rock, spilling some of the contents in the process. Without any utensils, Amos slurped the beans directly out of the can. Comforted by the warmth of the campfire on his back and humid breeze stirring up dust, Amos began falling asleep.

The trek ahead would be perilous and mostly on foot. Thankfully, during the course of his "career" as a Drifter, Sheriff Williams managed to network with many living among the Dunes. These contacts would prove necessary and vital if this fledgling camping trip was to conclude with a happy ending. Amos knew of a particular soul in the moderately-populated Port Rose who may be of some use to the Drifters and would be instrumental in the success of this mission.

As the last bit of sun set and cast a veil of ashen dust and twilight over the town, Amos made a discreet gesture towards the stygian sky. He did not pray for success, prayers are not heart. He did not wish - wishes are wasted. Instead, Amos sent out an infinitesimally minuscule particle of hope into the universe. Somewhere overhead, stardust rained onto the weary heads of the Drifters, who were growing steadily anxious for the pilgrimage ahead.

Offline Loves

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Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2012, 07:59:18 PM »
Nicky sat tall upon her horse watching the scene play out before her, revealing nothing of her inner thoughts on the subject, as always playing her cards close to her chest. She ignored the chatter from some of the more aggressive Drifters, young and bucking, ready to prove themselves to the world, no matter how foolish the risk. Leaning down slightly at the waist, Nic reached out to stroke a comforting hand along the impressive beast’s chocolate brown coat, settling the animal as it whinnied in protest. The dramatics of one female in the crowd had stirred his displeasure, not to mention peeked Nicolette’s annoyance. Attempting to refrain from rolling her eyes, her full lips twitched into an amused smirk knowing how Galaxy despised remaining motionless for too long. They were similar in that respect as they were in many others, always yearning to be on the move, looking towards the horizon and dreaming of what adventures the next rising sun may provide.


The attractive brunette cut an impressive silhouette as she resumed her stance with a straight back, crossing her arms against her chest, with her firm backside molded to the saddle.  Try as she might, Nicky couldn’t hide her feminine attributes from the curious stares from some of her fellow Drifters. Dressed in black with her long sable hair held away from her pretty face with a complicated French braid, she needed not a lick of rouge to enhance her striking good looks. Her blue eyes, as crisp as the ocean and shielded from the sun with a weathered black straw Stetson, drew as much attention as did the fullness of her lips and the generous hourglass figure that was wrapped in the plain package of black denim jeans and body hugging t-shirt. Her long legs were decorated at the thigh with leather strap holding four deadly knives, each one lovingly sharpened each night before bed. A worn leather gun holster painted the either side of her torso, holding two impressive black iron pieces, each handle worn to her specific grip after countless hours of handling.  In her back pocket sat snuggly a crudely homemade sling shot, often used in hunting her next meal. 


Unlike many “ladies” of the day, Nicolette refused to ride side saddle, preferring the control of the traditional western stance.  The young woman sat proudly atop her horse, sitting squarely in the saddle with her weight evenly distributed on each seat bone.  Her back was kept as straight as an arrow, keeping her tummy tucked and her shoulders back, inadvertently thrusting her breast forward, making sure to keep her shoulders even in order to keep her balance.  Her hands held the reins firmly within her slim fingers; ready at a moment’s notice to signal her faithful friend into a gallop with a sharp snap of the leather strap and gentle dig with the heels of her black leather boots, should action be required. 


Amos caught her attention however, as he spoke of a plan to bring the former glory back to the planet and thus, back to her family farm. After all, that was her dearest wish, rebuilding the dilapidated structures she once called home and working the land now sitting barren and infertile, bringing life back to what was now nothing more than a graveyard of happy memories.  Her family’s heritage was important to the young warrior. She knew bringing it back to life would not restore her family completely, as the death of her mother and brother had taken a toll on all surviving members of the Austin Family. It was in their honor, that Nicolette had struck out to find some way to bring the former glory back to the Austin farm.


One step at a time Nicolette told herself, nodding at the man standing on the barrel instructing the crowd to set up camp. The opportunity to spend another night under the stars brought a soft smile to her lips as she gently guided Galaxy towards a nearby hitching post. Sliding from the well- worn saddle, Nicky found her footing upon the dry desert ground before tying the leather strap to the post and patting her friend on his majestic neck, nuzzling his soft coat with her dirt streaked cheek.


Whispering softly to the proud horse, promising a quick return, Nicky moved towards the house that the sheriff had disappeared into, quietly doing her part, transporting the requested fire wood to the make shift camp. She didn’t pause to make friends, discuss the weather or indicate how excited she might be for the adventure that had fallen into her lap. Keeping her eyes and her thoughts to herself, she set about the manual labour without complaint. 


Her hips swayed in time with the swish of her long dark braid as she moved,  stopping only briefly to allow the pile of dry wood to fall from her arms in a clatter, kicking a few logs into place as they attempted to escape their doom.  Without a glance of concern towards the others gathering around the fire, Nic moved back towards Galaxy, quickly removing the rucksack and battered sleeping bag she had tied to the end of her saddle. Her fingers tugged sharply at the straps, loosening its grip on the soft fabric, freeing it to fall into her hands.  After taking care of Galaxy’s needs, making sure he had his feed and water in the trough,  the weary young woman scanned the landscape, quickly choosing a spot to call her own, close enough to the fire yet far enough away not to invite conversation. Moving quickly and proficiently, Nicolette set up her camp, sitting cross legged in her makeshift bed, digging through her rucksack for a piece of jerky.

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Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2012, 08:47:00 PM »
Crimson quietly acquiesced to working alongside some of the other Drifters that Amos signaled out in making the fire. He carried his fair share of the wood. He'd arrange the pieces out carefully, knowing that smaller ones would be needed to get the fire going, and then larger ones could be added to it as the night went on.

The gun, Infiltrator, that rests upon his back may stick out to others; black as the night, their seemed to be eyes painted onto the gun, along the silencer. Some times, one might think that it was staring at them, as if alive; but surely, it must just be some trick of the light, or some strange or quirky design.

Every so often, he'd take a moment to watch one of the other Drifters. His eyes swept over them slowly, man and woman alike, gauging and judging. He looked at the build of their muscles, the roughness (or smoothness) of their hands, the look in their eyes, their stance, and a multitude of other facets and factors.

At no point, however, did he say anything to anyone. He was very much a 'speak only when spoken to' kind of person, apparently. Of course, whether he is truly like that or not remains to be seen; first impressions can be misleading.

Before it got too late, he made sure to do the smart thing, like most drifters, and refill his canteen, restock on some healing items and trail rations, as well as get some feed to give to his horse. The large, red stallion, with his somewhat ornate coverings, seemed to barely move from where it stood. Eyes constantly roamed, and watched, and every so often, when someone got a little too close, he would let out a loud huff. What some may take as a warning.

Once his provisions were all set and safely stored in his saddlebags, he got out his bedroll, and made camp much like Nicky had; close enough to the fire that he could benefit from its warmth and glow, but distanced from the others. He ate a modest meal of flat bread and jerky, and drank from a canteen that, judging by its scent, does not contain pure water, but something else.

Offline AcidTopic starter

Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2012, 10:11:04 PM »
[Daybreak.]

Waking up slowly to the forlorn screeching of the vultures overhead, the morning sun was remarkably bright today. A significant breeze stirred up fine particles of sand for miles, casting an ember haze over the horizon and blocking out the sun. The red fog deposited red sand in the sheriff’s cowboy boots, which had managed to find a way to come off during the night. Just then, a putrid scent jerked Amos awake.

“What the hell is that?!” he looked around in confusion as he tied his bandana around his mouth and nose so as to avoid inhaling any of the smell.

It was the stench of carcass. That was a smell Amos had not encountered in a while, during his hiatus as a Drifter. His duties as a sheriff were more in line with a night watchman and Amos faced far more illicit, illegal and lethal things in the wilderness of Filgaia than he did in his quaint one-inn town of Happy Alex.
The vultures, still circling overhead, began swooping downwards towards their prey on the ground. The birds of prey began feeding on some halfway fermented animal. Gored and mutilated, the animal was unidentifiable. Tearing sinew from bone, the birds violently threw bits of their fresh banquet around the campsite.

“Wait a second…somethin’s wrong here y’all,” Amos said to nobody in particular. Confused, he looked around the town square to survey the damage.

“Somethin’ is definitely wrong here.”

He paced a few steps and panic began to set in. What happened here last night? He had only been asleep for a few hours; surely there was some mistake or something Amos was not seeing. His eyesight, after all, was beginning to fade as age, stress and general fatigue took its toll on his worn body. Where last night there had been some 50 odd Drifters, this morning that number was cut by half. Perhaps two dozen Drifters remained, among them were Carol Lynn and the 5 memorable Drifters from the night prior who assisted him in making the campfire.

“Where could them youngins have gone?” Amos began speed walking around the town square. Drifters love drinking and therefore the sheriff speculated his party was simply preparing for the days event by getting sufficiently inebriated. He decided to check for his roaming Drifters in the most likely locales of the town. Popping into the saloon, Amos called out to the Drifters, but did not receive any notable reply besides one: “Urrrrrrrgggghhhhhhhh.”
The only ones inside the saloon were the drunkards from last night, passed out on the floor and propped up against the barstools. Amos had stirred one of them awake. Walking back outside and heading back towards the Lone Star drifter camp, Amos became noticeably upset.

“They left…” falling to the floor, Amos scratched the ground.

“Goddamn it! They left! Why would they leave?” Amos, perhaps still elevated from his oration and the positive reception from last night, was in disbelief that so many had changed their mind. However, Drifters are a flaky lot with a short attention span; in reality, the odds were stacked against Amos that the Drifters would stay the night. Perhaps Drifters are nothing more than just that – Drifters, delinquents and degenerates who are incapable of seeing anything through to the end. With bits of supplies and rations strewn about the town square, horse tracks leading towards the town entrance (and exit) were visible.  The sheriff’s suspicions were confirmed. Partially blaming himself, Amos wondered if he could have done anything to prevent the exodus of his Drifters during the night. He pondered over their potential justifications for leaving. Could they have been scared? Drifters often times don’t fear for their lives, but no Drifter has attempted a mission of such a scale and significance. Did they change their minds overnight and assume that “saving Filgaia” was a fruitless endeavor? Or did some of them simply become disinterested, which was also a probable explanation. “Cowards. All of them.”

As Amos sat down next to the still steaming pile of firewood and waited for the remaining or undecided-whether-they-want-to-continue Drifters to awake, he cracked another can of beans on the same rock from yesterday. Regardless of his failure to attract dedicated Drifters, Amos already knew he had to press on further. He was going to save Filgaia one way or another. In the meanwhile, as he impatiently waited for everyone to wake up from their slumber and begin the day-long trip to Port Rose, Amos continued slurping the beans from the can.

“Mmm. I don't remember the last time I had breakfast.”

Offline Loves

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Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2012, 11:14:07 PM »
Nicky groaned. It was a contemptuous sound that spoke of murder to those that felt it appropriate to start the day at such an ungodly hour. Attempting to dig further into her sleeping bag, she was determined to keep her eyes closed for a few minutes longer.  One toned arm snaked out from underneath the protective covering to pad around on the dry red earth, searching for the hat that had slipped from its placement upon her head at some point in the night.  Her full lips twitched in annoyance as the botched search failed miserably. Her attempt to block out the noise that assaulted her senses would have to be shelved, leaving her no choice but to awaken grumpy.


Slowly, her long dark lashed fluttering open, revealing the sleepy blue of her orbs as the struggled to focus on the day, or the beginnings of one. The sky was painted with the grey blue shades of the night giving way to the light of day, though the shadows of sleep still hung in the air as the moon refused to give up its hold completely. With a considerable amount of effort, Nicky pushed herself up into a sitting position.  Her long dark hair hanging messily in its braid, with strands of the raven silk dangling haphazardly around her pretty face.  Reaching to the sky, Nic stretched her upper body releasing a long and somewhat sultry moan as she cracked her neck, first to the right and then the left, loosening the tight muscles that had knotted uncomfortably in her sleep. 


Scrubbing at her eyes, Nicolette used the moisture from her eyes to wipe across her face, running her hands along the elegant column of her neck. She was a stunning young lady, or she held the potential to be. Her natural good looks longed to be pampered and treated as most young ladies enjoyed, however her more adventurous side won out, keeping her as solid and as dependable as any man ever could.  One last jaw dropping yawn ripped from her throat, loud yet oddly breathy, as her arms stretched out to the sides of her body, with her fingers forming tight fists.  ”You got anything to eat in this town?” Nicky asked bluntly, forgoing the normal morning greetings and preferring to stick to the facts. She was hungry and up earlier than she had expected, two facts that equaled into her growing bad mood.


The second the words were out of her mouth, so the smell of the rotting carcasses assaulted her senses, clinging to her tongue and making her gag. Twisting in her bed, Nicky searched in vein for her hat, becoming more and more annoyed with its disappearance.  Giving up the search for now, she reached for the bottom of her fitted shirt, pulling it up to cover her nose and mouth, groaning with disgust over the rancid smell that hung in the air. Her toned abdomen showed with the movement from her sleeping bag as the young woman rose to her feet. "No foolin' who ever took my hat had better return it before they meet with my foot up their ass! And what the hell is that smell? If its what passes as chow around here then I'm out! It smells worse than a a dead polecat, baked under the sun!"
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 11:31:41 PM by LovesReading2 »

Offline AcidTopic starter

Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2012, 02:47:35 PM »
Seeing the first signs of life rise and ramble in the morning brought joy to Amos and lifted the mist of despair that was looming overhead due to the events that transpired.

”You got anything to eat in this town?”
Nicky, the female Drifter who helped set up camp appeared hungry. Amos, pointing to the Lone Star, directed her towards the nearest source of nourishment. The Sheriff was more than willing to share his supplies and goods, provided his Drifter retinue stuck around until their goal was fulfilled.
"No foolin' who ever took my hat had better return it before they meet with my foot up their ass! And what the hell is that smell? If its what passes as chow around here then I'm out! It smells worse than a a dead polecat, baked under the sun!"

(“It probably WAS a polecat.”) Amos thought to himself. By now, he had gotten used to the decrepit stench of the animal and he began pacing eagerly around the perimeter of the convenience store. At that moment, Amos caught a whiff of something foul lingering in the air.
“That reeks even worse than…” catching a glimpse of a female figure, Amos spied a woman who was curiously stuffed into a barrel! Dismembered and pallid, the blood was drained from her body by some unnatural means as the woman had no visible bulletholes or bite marks, which would indicate this was not the work of a Drifter or beast, but something far more ferocious...

As Amos tipped the barrel over with his cowboy boots, the woman plopped out like a rag doll. It was another familiar Drifter who assisted in the camp setup just last night. It was Arisa Thornton! Looking on in horror, he took a step back to collect himself.  Who could have killed her? And if not who, what could have killed her?
“No matter. I don’t have time for this,” although somewhat crude, Amos realized that Arisa’s death would have to be put on hold for the time being, for today was the day that the Drifters set off for Port Rose and the beginning of a new Filgaia.

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Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2012, 04:18:22 PM »
"They weren't cowards, they just aren't heroes. They chose what was best for them, and to hell with everyone else. That's the Drifter way, though, isn't it?" Crimson, whom had been quiet all of yesterday, now deigned to speak. His voice was quiet, calm, and though cold, did not contain a harshness. He didn't seem to be belittling or chastising Amos, merely offering his own thoughts on why those that left had left. "And for the record, though I may be going along with you on this, I'm no hero, either."

Crimson spoke as he rose from his bedroll, and began to roll it back up. He seemed to have gone straight from being asleep to one hundred percent wakefulness, with no grogginess or sluggishness one might expect.

"Your hat probably blew away. It got windy. And if you want something good to eat, throw me a gella, and..." His voice drifted off as he would turn his attention to Amos, and what he was doing near a barrel.

"What's up, chief?" He'd ask as he began to walk over his way. Halfway there, he saw the contents of the barrel emptied out, and though he did actually recoil a bit, he seemed quick to recover himself. Without any apparent fear--or recognition of the other scent-- he approached the corpse, and started to look it over.

A few moments after Amos had said that he didn't have time for it, he would turn his attention to the older man. "If we end up finding another corpse like this come tomorrow morning, no matter where we are, then we need to make time to figure out what's going on." Because in Crimson's mind, that would mean that one of the Drifters they were traveling with was not what they seemed to be. And he didn't plan to end up a corpse any time soon.

Offline Headlights

Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2012, 05:16:05 PM »
Come daybreak, Caleb was eating from his pan – well, from a pan. The food was of indeterminate origin, cooked last night, reheated this morning, but it would serve him well enough for now. A mug with the initials “JT” carefully scratched on its side stood steaming by his foot.

He watched the others rise, join Amos, and start talking about the body. He watched, but did not join, his narrow eyes flitting side to side with each bundled body unfurling from sleep. His jaw continued moving, his nose seemingly impervious to the stench of human death: his calling demanded such resolution. So the scowl that screwed up his weathered features was more out of distaste for the fact the body had been found before he could get to it. It meant he would have to wait until the Sheriff's prying eyes had moved on.

He had helped reluctantly with the building of the fire the previous night, but now he was glad he had exerted himself so. Usually his way was to seek comfort in others' fires, but on this occasion helping had allowed him to get the measure of Amos, noting the man's keen senses and reserved manner. It meant, in all likelihood, Caleb would need to keep his wits sharp around the man. But it also meant he could probably be trusted, if they got into a tight spell. He'd heard the grumbles as he waited up late – that this was a fool's errand, even a decoy to clear out the drifters for good – and he didn't believe a whisper. The Sheriff had the hard expression of a man with a bit between his teeth.

But being denied a claim of salvage did not mean the death had no use for him. As he slurped his mug clean, he began approaching in his distinctive shuffling gait, making sure his satchel, “D O C” burned in the leather flat many years ago, still just visible under sand residue and scratches, hung clearly on the side facing the onlookers. He shuffled closer to the body, eyes quickly taking the absence of animal wounds: a human killing. Then he sidled back to the group.

“Nothing I can do for the poor girl now,” he said.

It was the kind of occasion where even his medical opinion could not be doubted.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2012, 05:17:54 PM by Headlights »

Offline Genbu83

Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2012, 09:05:45 PM »
The first and only passenger to step off the midnight coach greeted teh sun in the traditional way somebody who wished not to see it just yet. With his right hand he pulled down his his extended brim fidora. The collar of his jack lay unbuttoned and revealed his face. Stark and tanned, the toned by heated work near core machinery.

A light jingle sounded softly as the man stepped off the late night ride. His spurs and the buckles runing along his long coat chimed the air. Unmistakable as the blade on his hip was the eblazon emblem of a winged shark stitched into his fine leather coat. Moving from his hat with a casual drop, the man's hand dropped upon the stock of his unusal pistol...or was it a carbine? As the breezed teased a veif of his pants from underneather that long coat, those awake could see he wore nice trousers  made of denim and boots of equally well crafted leather. The Roman numeral "VI" was emblazoned upon each boot and his gunbelt.

"Hope that job's still good", Orean stated plainly. He wasn't really talking to the coachman or himself. Though he had a calm to his voice, where he got the job or not, he'd flow with the wind. The carriage being late could only prove to be either an oportunity or a venture gained. As he pondered aloud he pulled his duffle from the coach. The big whte canvas bag was slung over his left shoulder as the man began to collect his bearings.

Just after dawn the day the of the job. Orean had worse luck in his time. Still his ashen gaze looked for the Lone Star Office. If nothing else he could play catch up, and at the least he could convince the Drifter that another steady gun was better than one less.

Offline Loves

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Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2012, 01:15:39 AM »
Nicky’s eyebrow rose in a perfect arch as she glanced at the Lone Star. Shrugging she got to her feet in one graceful movement, bending to grab her gun belt and knifes that had been stored safely at the bottom of her sleep roll.  Still grumbling about her hat, she scoffed at the idea of it simply being blown away, though the idea held merit, her stubbornness wouldn’t allow for any other answer but for it having been stolen.  ”Need a place to wash up” she grumbled aloud to no one in particular.

Rummaging through her ruck sack Nicolette pulled another black top, similar to the one she had slept in, wrinkles and all, and shook it to air it some.  Glancing around the vicinity she spied a water barrel and headed in the opposite direction than the sheriff.  Dropping her weapons, Nic pulled her shirt from her body, uncaring that she had left herself visible to any who cared to watch. She pulled her hair free from the restraints of her braid, pulling her fingers through her the silky length. With her shape visual and her hair soft and flowing, Nicky looked every inch the sensual woman she hid behind her tough exterior.

Using the water collected in the barrel, she splashed it against her skin, rubbing as best as she could to freshen herself as she readied for the day. her fingers quickly pulled her hair back into the tight french braid that held it from her face, securing it with the elastic she kept in her pocket.  Using her night shirt as a towel, she dried her body and face before pulling on her other shirt, strapping on her guns around her torso as well as securing her precious throwing knives around her thigh.   Out of pure luck she happened to spy what looked to be a black article of clothing stuck between a wooden post and an old crate. Smirking she slapped her ass as she moved towards it, sweeping down in a smooth movement, she picked up her misplaced hat, placing upon her head.  ”Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle, aint it that missing hat gone a wanderin’ “ Stuffing her night shirt in her sack, she slung it over her shoulder and greeted the day with a smile.

Her mood now buoyant, Nicky moved towards the Lone Star to grab some grub stopping only to investigate the happening of the dead body now found and discarded by the towns Sheriff. Her eyebrow twitched into another arch, silently questioning his lack of concern.  ”Huh, well I guess that explains the smell.” Her words were tossed casually, as if spoken in a causal conversation having come across a dead body on a regular basis. Inside she shivered at the idea of the death, could she be next? Her instincts told her she had better not show fear, nor turn her back should she find a knife plunged deep into it.

Offline AcidTopic starter

Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2012, 05:14:18 AM »


Amos slouched over the large rock and makeshift can-opener, eating a can of beans, as he awaited the punishing sun to stir the remainder of his party from what seemed like a hibernation.

“I shoulda known better than to expect these gingerly dust-coated kids to get up by daybreak, but alas!” Amos chalked up the delay in movement, motivation and mobilization of the Drifter mass to a latent fear of the recondite circumstance. Was it fear? On the sheriff’s part it certainly was. Something in the air gave rise to the unspoken agreement that everyone was equally shitting their pants, in unison. The sheriff felt more anxious than fearful of the near future.  Thankfully, the Sheriff had those such as Caleb, who were slightly longer in the tooth.
“Alright Drifters! It’s time for this collective to skedaddle!” his authoritative voice put some pep in the groggy cowboys. “Get your shit now because we’re leavin’ in 1 minute. Embarking to Port Rose from this town is approximately a day’s long travel. You can rest when you’re dead!” Like shuffling schoolchildren gathering their stuff at the end of the school day, the Drifters lazily packed up the last of their supplies, put on their gear and dusted themselves of the adhesive desert sand.

As the Drifter team slowly but surely filtered out of the entrance of Happy Alex, Amos led the group out, some on horseback and others on foot. Doing a quick head count, the sheriff approximated twenty-something Drifters of varying degrees of sociability. In the Wasteland, learning to speak so that your victim lets their guard down is a useful ability, so the fact that the Drifters were busily chattering away for once did not surprise Amos. They were simply sizing up their competition. At least this journey wouldn’t be boring.
Heading the pack, Sheriff Williams and the band were now on the outskirts of the town atop a rocky hill. They were now entering Happy Alex, in reverse. The trek many of them went through to arrive in the town concluded here and yet simultaneously commenced here as well. Passing the milemarker San Pedro cactus standing atop the rocky formation leading into Happy Alex, Amos turned around once he reached the cactus and bid his town farewell, perhaps forever. He had spent his childhood there, left it for the call of the wasteland, on which he was tempered and developed. Then, as irony would have it, the need for stability overtook and Amos once more settled in his town, only to once more disembark today. 

“Everywhere is good, but home is the best, ain’t it? Sorry, Mr. Alex, but you’re going to have to fend for yourself for a little while, just like everyone else in Filgaia.” Sheriff Amos half-waved and bid farewell to the town over which he guarded. “Guess this here badge doesn’t mean anythin’ anymore outside here...” plucking the star badge from his lapel, Amos dropped it on the ground before him, stripping himself of any title besides Drifter.

Ahead of the tall cacti lay a rickety bridge, sprawled out like a wooden carpet -  the same bridge many crossed to enter the town proper. The bridge, barely wide enough for two people and lacking any guardrails, funneled everyone into a linear formation.

“Be careful, everyone.” Amos gave them a light warning.
“If you could not push me off, that would be just great.”
“Watch it!” Amos was already exasperated.

Had everyone perished on this bridge, Amos would have turned back towards his town and resumed his post as sheriff immediately, but somehow the congregation managed to cross the wooden platform without a single casualty. After the bridge obstacle was tackled, the Drifters were now officially in the Wasteland. Taking a deep breath of wilderness, the sand scratched against Amos’s lungs and brought further motivation.
“Just out of curiosity, how many of y’all have ever been to Port Rose?”

A figure in the distance began advancing towards the congregation.

“Better late than never” lightly taunting the somewhat imposing Drifter male heading towards them. Converging at a point equidistant between the man and the Happy Alex retinue, Amos shook the male Drifter’s hand once they reached each other, indicating that the ex-sheriff recalled the Drifter’s face or perhaps his D-list notoriety in the Wasteland.

“Orean, if I’m not mistaken?” Amos tried to clarify. “I’m Sher…I’m Amos Williams and we were just headed this way actually. Go on, introduce yourself guys,” he spoke at the Drifters.
“I hate to make you turn around. We’ll fill you in on everythin’, but as it stands right now, our short-term goal is to reach Port Rose. You ain’t injured, are ya? We got someone with medical experience if the need arises. I hope you got some rest before coming here, because it’s about a day’s trek Northeast from here. I have a contact there who may be of much use to us,” somewhat hurried, Amos adjusted Mjolnir’s strap and pointed in the general direction of “northeast.” His rifle was surprisingly lightweight, but it was often misbehaved and so Amos was required to strap it down, lest it wander off like Nicky’s hat. 
 
Removing a crumpled map of the desert, Amos observed it with some confusion and uncertainty.
“Aw shit, which way is up on this map?” He scratched his head. “Oh wait, nevermind. I think I figured it out.” He was accustomed to using the stars as navigation or simply wandering where the wind took him. This mechanical approach to travel was almost certainly more reliable than just “winging it” but in this case, Amos was not simply spreading his wings, but was soaring. Amos had others with him - others he had to protect. That’s how Amos assessed the situation in his head, anyway, although on some fundamental level he acknowledged the Drifters were fully capable of taking care of themselves.

With newfound gusto and a new ally, Amos adjusted his ten-gallon hat to shield his eyes from the eastern sun and his Drifters set off eagerly towards the horizon. 

Offline flightzeit

Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2012, 01:33:39 PM »
Miss. Dresner was displeased, to say the least, when she awoke in Happy Alex to see that almost every Drifter had hit the road. It was apparent that the other Drifters in the group had the foresight to know a bad idea when they saw it – Maude, on the other hand, was entirely too intrigued to not join Amos and his ragtag band of Drifters.

After a day of rest they were headed over some rickety bridge to WEDO, to do what exactly, Maude was still not entirely certain. There was the vague idea that this mission would restore the world to its former glory, but there were no details beyond that. Even Maude felt that the mission had a stupid, idealistic ring to it but she knew an opportunity such as this would not come up again. So, she went along with Amos and the others.

As if to add to the absurdity of everything that was happening to her, a lone man approached the party. Instinctively, Maude's body tightened. Being a single woman, wandering the expanses of Filgaia, led to many confrontations that she would have rather avoided. It had also led to a legacy of Maude being tensed to react to any aggression people brought with them. Strangers simply were not to be trusted.  However, the leader's cheerful greeting let Maude release a small amount of nervous tension and observe the newcomer.

He brought not outright aggression with him and his weapon was holstered. Though not entirely trustful of the stranger, Maude calmed down. After all, did she really trust any of these Drifters? No, of course not. Not all Drifters were bad people, but a pretty large handful were violent, rude, and at times acted like sociopaths. Something about the desert and the sand made people uninhibited. This lack of inhibitions was not always a good thing.

Maude introduced herself at Amos' request, “Hello, Stranger. I'm Maude Dresner,” she smirked, “Drifter Extraordinaire.”

In the back of her head, Maude thought con woman extraordinaire was a more accurate name. Yet, the last thing she wanted was for her party to think she was some sort of criminal. In her experience, she found that most people have an exceedingly difficult time realizing the though she's been known for stealing – it was always stealing from the wealthy. Rather, stealing seemed a inaccurate term, Maude viewed it more of a form of wealth redistribution.

Continuing to walk with the group as they introduced themselves, Maude realized that most of them had horses. She had nothing of that sort. Of course, Maude thought to herself bitterly, that she took the train assuming whatever needed to be done would be done in Happy Alex. That was not the case. Here she was, traveling, a day's travel by foot. Part of Maude regretted not challenging someone in the town to a game of cards or dice, but it was such a small town and the last thing she wanted to do was piss of the captain of this makeshift group of heroes by cheating someone in his town out of  a horse.

So, she walked, attempting to keep a smile planted on her face as everyone introduced themselves. The team seemed pleasant enough – perhaps, just perhaps, this wasn't the stupidest journey she had decided to embark on.

Offline TheHangedMan

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Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2012, 12:10:20 AM »
Crimson might have been one of the first to wake up, and to do so without any difficulty, but he was the last to leave. He apparently liked to be at the back at the group, perhaps finding it the safest location; or, maybe he simply didn't trust other people to be behind him.

As they moved along, and the sheriff deposited his badge on the ground, Crimson watched it. Nobody else seemed to give a damn, but as he rode by it, he actually dismounted to pick it up. He was, of course, quick to re-mount, and catch up; not that much of a gap had developed.

Quietly, while staying perfectly mounted on his beast of a steed, he would fiddle around with it and his vest. Their was a small hole in the chest of it, where it had been shot just one too many times, and he now used the sheriff's badge as a makeshift patch. Who knows, it might come in handy for him. And the badge itself is obscured by the red overcoat he wears.

When the sheriff asked if anybody had been to Port Rose before, Crimson would extend his arm up into the air, make the briefest of waves, then retract his hand. No need to go shouting out a 'yes', when he could just signal it. He seemed to like being quiet.

As he continued to mosey along, he would hear Maude's introduction, and roll his eyes. "Is that why you'll be good to go on foot?" He'd ask, dryly. In fact, dryly doesn't quite seem to do it. His voice makes it very difficult to tell if this is a rhetorical question, or if he is sincerely asking her.

Offline Headlights

Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2012, 12:19:04 AM »
Caleb lingered as Maude introduced herself to the new arrival, then stepped forward, tugging at the brim of his wide hat between blackened fingers.

“Call me Caleb,” he said.

It was a manner of introduction he'd learned from a callow young man he'd met many years ago in the wilderness, a researcher of some kind who kept saying fancy things he learned from books in a way that greatly endeared him to Caleb, at least until the vultures got him. It wasn't the only thing he had taken from him, either.

He made no direct indication that he was the 'medical experience' of which Amos had spoken, but as was his way, made sure his satchel hung in the stranger's view for a moment, enough for any keen eyed man to draw his own conclusions. His own pair of keen eyes settled on the new arrival's bag, a nice looking, hefty thing he wore slung over his shoulder. It bulged invitingly.

Then he turned towards Amos, who was studying some scrap without looking greatly confident. Caleb was good with the kinds of maps that had pictures for everything, less good with the kinds of maps that didn't, but he held off from offering assistance. It didn't matter, in any event: he'd been to Port Rose before, without the help of any map at all. It was the kind of place they'd just stumble across, sooner or later.

He walked on foot, keeping his pace even. The sun crept towards a zenith that would cause his skin to prickle under the layers of heavy clothing, but he was as indifferent as always; every two hundred paces he swept a small cloth across his brow, hinting at his being accustomed to such conditions by force of long habit. A very long habit.

Offline AcidTopic starter

Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2012, 09:45:13 PM »
“Unlike land, the open sky has no roads for you to follow.”


“How much longer is it? I can’t see a thing out here!” a voice in Amos’s entourage called out. Amos, who was ahead of the pack and guiding the ruffians towards Port Rose with the aid of his map, could not identify the voice. This was due in part to his keen concentration on the map and the fact that he was staring forward, but mostly due to the violent sandstorm. 

The eventide sunset cast a cloak of humidity on Filgaia. The land, scorched by the sunlight, created a lengthy shadow protruding from Amos’s boots; his shadow indicated that it was about 6PM. Nightfall would fall upon Amos and the Drifters soon.

“Fuck!” The desert wind tossed up a plume of auburn sand and blew it in his eyes. These periodic, but quite forceful desert storms were called Sandhail, probably in reference to the clouds of dust that the shrieking gale projected upwards and towards the Drifter team. Wincing, Amos tried to safeguard his eyes from the sandy onslaught. However, the sandhail was proving to be more of an obstacle than expected.

“We’ve been walking for hours!” another voice called out. They had been walking for hours and traversing through the (seemingly) endless sandy expanse. The day was almost up and the Drifters had not made substantial progress. Shortly after entering the Glass Desert, a title presented to the desert by Drifters, a desert storm stirred in the belly of the beast and impeded progress. Every step required tremendous energy and wherewithal – even Amos considered turning around.

The last bit of red was draining from the sky as the stars ignited. “Where is that passage? We’ll have to make camp soon if we don’t find it. This map is utterly useless,” Amos showed no hesitation as he pushed through the clouds of fine dust lingering in the air. The last thing he wanted the Drifters to know is that he was lost. Although rusty at reading schematics, he could always rely on navigation using the stars. The only problem was that the stars were not quite visible yet. Fumbling with the map, Amos attempted to keep the parchment flat as the wind succeeded in folding the paper erratically and making it flap in the wind.

As Amos adjusted the map to better view it, another plume shot up and blinded the Drifters. Small pebbles, sand and bits of plant matter pelted the gang like shrapnel and were directed at their path. The horses, trotting along slowly with their heads bowed, became distressed. Periodically they would neigh loudly and stomp their hooves in irritation.

“Ouch!” His eyes, salted with the earth, caused him to be temporarily blinded. As Amos was rubbing the fragments out from underneath his eyelids, the ravenous wind pushed on his chest.

“Night will be upon us soon!” Amos yelled over the howl of the wind. “We can’t keep advancin’ much longer. We’re gonna have to set up camp! This sandhail ain’t dyin’ down anytime soon!”

As Amos was rubbing the fragments out from underneath his eyelids, the ravenous wind pushed on his chest. The map, flapping wildly in the sandstorm’s wind, was snatched from Amos’s and proceeded to be thrust into the dusty abyss surrounding the Drifters.

“I think that’s our signal to set up camp.”

Offline Genbu83

Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2012, 06:31:33 PM »
"Orean it is", replied the tall leather clad drifter responded politelly, but there was a slight sound of sleepiness on his voice. Like a cool breeze, Orean's voice didn't seem to match his garb. No rasp, nor was there the sound of somebody choking on stand for a good chunk of their lives. A firm grip as expected was recieved by amos, though that was to be expected of any drifter, not just one with a background in working with his hands.

"You're the man I'm looking for Mr. Williams, it's good to see you got my post", a rare thing it was noted by the former sand pirate, mail reaching it's destination on time. There was no look or sign of dismay upon being told work was starting imediately. Looking to the rising sun, then back to Amos Orean checked his canteen and slung his duffle back over his shoulder. "Bright and early is the surest way to start, I can get breakfast later", he chimed, not going to be marked as a slacker amonst these folk.

"Pleasure to meet your aquantainces Ms. Dresner, Caleb", Orean politely tipped his hat, but kept eyes eyes upon those he met. Noting the apparent medical expertise suggested, Orean shrugged, "doc or not, hands can be made use of in all sort of jobs. We'll get by should that prove true, at the least I can sew and I'm sure we can find liquor in this bunch. It's not the best medicine, but fare's better than none."

Orean seemed to approach things with a positive realism. Not that it didn't add up considering his manner of dress, but still he did wear quite a shooting iron and seem as calm as could be on a job that hadn't mentioned pay to him yet.

***********************************************************************************************************************

As the sand hail kicked up, Orean's manner of dress made much more sense, the leather coverings, long hat, and now facecovering bandanna, kept him less misrable than the others. The experience sand runner aided a few of the more vocal drifters in there struggles to set up camp. Everyone was green once. Not really a father figure, but in a gunfight it was nice to know that somebody would be less inclined to think you a threat. As well as aide one an in venture to learn the follie of a future threat.

"Make sure you set watch, night raiders use this weather to our disadvantage", he called, speaking from experience.

Offline TheHangedMan

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Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2012, 08:22:22 PM »
Crimson maintained his relative quiet, occasionally only speaking up to put the kibosh on someone who said or did something idiotic.  Or egotistical. He could not abide those who shot their mouthes off faster than their guns.

When the inclement weather began to dawn on them, he would reach into one of his saddle bags, and take out some goggles; they're the kind of thing one might expect a motorcycle driver to use, if such an invention ever existed on Filgaia. It kept his eyes safe, though he was still pretty damn blinded.

Additionally, he covered the rest of his face with a bandanna, which protected his nose and mouth, so he did not have to worry about inhaling a lungful of dust.  He liked to think of himself as being pretty much prepared for just about anything, though there was surely something out there that he would be ill-prepared for.

As they began to set up camp, Crimson seemed only to care about his own needs, and protecting and feeding, and watering his horse This time, it was not just a mere sleeping bag he deployed, but a small tent, as well. His horse seemed to, quite wisely, position himself around the tent in such a way that the tent provided a decent amount of protection from the sand storm.

"I'll volunteer for first watch. I suggest their be four watchmen, in each of two shifts, Amos." He would say to the man once he was prepared. "Two watchin' the way forward, two watchin' the way we came."

Offline flightzeit

Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2012, 12:02:01 AM »
A wind storm started up – forcing the Drifters into camp. Not saying a word, Maude pursed her lips at the leader's loss of the map. She felt such behavior was a sign of incompetence. These opinions, if voiced, would not positively effect the journey, so not a word was said.

Instead, Maude quietly listened to the men make plans for the night. The group's plans for the evening were practical. Illustrating that all of them were used to travel and accustomed to Filgaia's many dangers. Given that the wind was picking up, causing the party to be almost overcome in a flurry of sand, Maude agreed with suggestion that it was better to have more than one person on watch. She didn't want to wake up robbed of all her belongings with one of her new companions gone.

Looking over to her travel companions, Maude spoke up, “I'll take first watch as well. When the storm settles down, I can look for edible plants and small or salvageable animals. I used to work at an inn . . . I'm a pretty good cook.” Her voice was pleasant and welcoming. For the briefest of moments Maude thought back to working at the inn with her family. She naturally fell into the role of caretaker of those wearied by travel, as much as it irked her to do so.

Following suit of the Drifter's around her, the young woman tied a scrap of fabric around the bottom half of her face – not wanting to ingest a large amount of sand. Though without goggles, Maude wasn't entirely worried. She'd seen worse.

The sandstorm was breathtaking. Though dangerous, there was a certain beauty in a desert's dangers. It submitted to no one. It was both a fatal and wonderful thing to observe. However, given their current situation, Maude felt an ever increasing discomfort at the sandstorm and her predicament.

Wanting her feelings of discomfort to be settled, Maude called out to the party, “So, we lost the map. I hope one of you knows how to make it to Port Rose. I'm unfamiliar with this area, sadly.” Realizing that her words could be taken as entirely too blunt, Maude attempted to shoot a sympathetic smile to Amos and his long gone map.

Offline Genbu83

Re: [Dust on the Dunes] (IC)
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2012, 02:36:56 PM »
"Map or not, we can't travel in this storm", Orean called out. He was busy making sure the buckles on his left sleave were tight. The leather clad drifter made sure his left gloave was set as well.

There was talk of eating and soup, which would be welcome considering how little he had today. However anyone who could cook in a sandstorm like this was a goddess. He expected to go hungry tonight. The sand made it hard to see and hear, but he was sure that Maude was one of the first volunteers for watch. He didn't catch the other's name.

As it stood, Orean was trying to tell who was staying, who was lying, and hhow many youngbloods were going to be dumb enough to try and run off.