A Dinner Invitation

Doc's instincts kick in. He's a natural fast talker, and his abilities have gotten him out of many a jam with men and woman alike (mostly women).

"I was just explaining to Uncle Steve the predicament he has gotten himself into and he got mad and kicked the door. Listen sheriff, I need to look after my brother before he gets into more trouble, but I would like to buy you dinner and drinks later and discuss your findings about the murder. The trial is tomorrow and I don't have a lot of time to prepare his defence and you are the only person in town who could help me. I'm sure your job doesn't pay much, but if you could see your way clear to having dinner and a talk with me, I'm sure I could find another $50 to make it worth your while. Why don't I meet you here at the jail at 6pm and I'll bring a beefsteak as big as a barrelhead and all the trimmings, my treat, and we will shoot the bull for an hour. One hour and fifty dollars ain't much to ask when a man's life is at stake is it?"

Sheriff Jones scratches his head. He rubs his gut. He passes a bit of gas. "Well, I suppose that sounds reasonable enough. That's mighty nice of ya'. Throw in a steak fer my deputy and you got yerself a deal. Speak of the devil,"

"Sheriff, what is goin' on out there?" says a young man entering the office. He's only about 19, medium stature, wearing brown pants and a white shirt lightly stained with horse manure. He also wears a tin star, although smaller than the sheriff's. "Captain Daniel just about chewed my ear off about some fight or other."

"Just a little roughhousin', nothin' too severe. You know how them militia boys are, always welcomin' folk to the neighborhood," Sheriff Jones responds in a calming manner.

"They was draggin' Cody Mathews down to Dr. Hicks's place on a cot!" The deputy says in disbelief. "An' who's that strange feller gettin' drunk in the stables?"

"Don't mind him, matter'a fact don't bother him at all. That ol' boy throws a mean right hook."

"Sheriff, have you gone strange?" the Deputy asks.

"Now, Johnson, don't get yourself all stirred up. This here's Mr. Doc Shaw, and that feller in the stable's his brother- what's his name again?"

"Don. He's a bit touched in the head. It's his first time in town," Doc answers.

"Don. They's here for their uncle," Jones nods towards Dr. Ritenrong, who smiles back, worriedly. "Mr. Shaw here's buyin' his uncle a last meal, and said he'd share with us fer treatin' him so good." The Sheriff winks toward Doc. "Ain't that right?"

Doc blinks. "Yessir, thank you."

"Johnson, why don't you go out and get us some steaks. I think McDonald's has 'em fresh today. But get Wendy Thompson to cook 'em up for us. McDonald uses too much grease, and that don't sit right with me," the sheriff says as he rubs his gut, trying to ease the flow of gas into his seat.

Doc is momentarily confused at the apparent anachronism. Deputy Johnson extends his palm towards him. Doc snaps back to reality, such as it is, and drops twenty dollars into the outstretched hand. "Keep the change."

"Thank you, sir!" The deputy is ecstatic, and runs off in a hurry.

Doc drops another fifty on the sheriff's desk.

"Don't you tell that boy nothin' 'bout this here transaction. Kid's young and got some big ideas. He don't quite know how things work yet."

"Mum's the word. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some business to take care of before tonight. By the way, where can I buy some horses?"

"Ford's stables. He's got some mustangs for sale. Go down Water street along the ferry landin' until you get to Monroe. He's there at the corner."

"Of course. Well, I must get going. Don't worry about my brother, I'll make sure he stays out of trouble," Doc says as he walks towards the door.

"You do that," the sheriff replies, sternly.

Doc waves and steps outside. There's no sign of the Captain or his men. Doc goes to the stables, which are not much more than a wooden awning on the side of the sheriff's office. Thunderhorse is sitting next to Lighnting on some hay against the wall. His mug is empty but still in his hand, resting sideways on his lap. He's slumped over, but not passed out. Doc crouches down in front of him. He turns on the translator, but keeps the volume on minimal. He checks the time. It's 3:17.

"Get up, we've got work to do."

"No, I'm staying here. It's hay. I like hay."

"We've got to go. We can rest later, right now we've got to get another horse and get rid of this junk," he points to the overladen Lightning.

"Not the alcohol! What is this clear wine? It tastes like... sunshine," Thunderhorse lifts his mug up back towards the keg tap.

"It's rum and you can have more later," Doc says, carefully pushing the mug away. Thunderhorse pushes back, forcefully.

Doc gets pissed. "You want a chance to save your woman, you get off your ass and help me!"

Thunderhorse looks up. He works his way to his feet. He throws his mug across the street, nearly sending it through a window. "FOR JAZELLE!" he cries.

"Yes, for Jazelle. Now lets go. And no more fighting unless I tell you."

Doc and Thunderhorse lead Lightning once again down the streets of Toledo. The river is filled with small fishing boats, ferries, and barges running people and cargo to the other side of town. People they pass tend to steer clear of Thunderhorse. The news of the brawl has already spread throughout town.

"I heard he knocked out half the 21st in one blow!"

"That's a bunch of shit, Jed. Look at 'im. He can't hardly walk."

The ones that do approach make Thunderhorse nervous. "Hey, boy, how'd you like to fight for me on Tuesday? There's a whole dollar in it for ye if you win," says a round man in his thirties wearing a dusty business suit.

Doc steps in. "No thanks, we won't be in town that long. Please excuse us,"

"I'll make it two!" he shouts after them as they walk away. Doc ignores him.

They make their way the corner of Water and Monroe. There's a large wooden barn with the doors open and the unmistakable smell of horse shit wafting out of it. A sign over the doors reads "Ford's Stables." They enter.

A man approaches them. "Well, what can I do for you today? Need to put'cher horse up?"

"No, actually, we need to buy some horses. I need your two fastest," Doc replies.

"We-hell, you came to the right place. Ford's my name, James Ford. I got the finest fillies in Toledo. Take a look at this here," he points out a sable horse nearby. "Ain't she a beaut?"

Thunderhorse taps Docs shoulder. Doc turns to see him shaking his head. Doc flips the translator back on in his pocket and whispers. "Go pick out the two best, one for me and one for Ritenrong." Thunderhorse nods. Doc flips the translator off again and turns back to the salesman.

Thunderhorse pushes past the salesman into the stables. "He-hey, where's he goin'?"

"That's my brother. He doesn't say much, but he's an expert on horses."

"That so?" They watch as Thunderhorse inspects the lot. After pacing the whole place, he goes into a stall and begins grooming and inspecting a pair of gray stallions. He smiles and waves at Doc.

"I think we'll take those two," Doc tells the salesman.

"Well, now, your brother sure does have an eye for quality. Fact of the matter is, those two ain't exactly for sale. Those two are Judge Olden's prize race horses. You wanna buy 'em you gotta talk to-"

Doc produces a handful of bank notes worth $500 dollars.

"Well, I don't think he'll look to kindly on me if I just up and-"

Doc produces yet another handful of cash, now totaling $1000.

"Shit, son. I just don't know. If Judge Olden finds out I sold those horses out from under him he just might-"

Doc adds another thousand to the wad.

"Congratulations, sir, you just bought the two finest steeds in the city," Ford says, taking the money and shaking Doc's hand. "Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna pack my things and the the hell out'a town." Ford leaves in a hurry.

Doc and Thunderhorse get to work saddling up their two new horses. They take off Lightning's barding and pack it away in saddle bags.

Along the way Doc manages to sell off the bolts of cloth, the mojito mix and the barrels of alcohol to a general merchant. After some brief haggling, Doc manages to get $26 for the lot. Thunderhorse is pissed about the alcohol, but Doc promises to make it up to him later.

Doc checks the time. It's almost six o'clock. They make their way back to the Sheriff's office. Doc and Thunderhorse stable the three horses. There are three other horses already here. They tie theirs to the back post, hiding the judges race horses behind the rest.

Bracing themselves, they enter the sheriff's office. The sheriff's desk pushed aside into the corner and replaced with a proper table nicely set with silverware. There's a bottle of wine on the table, a plate of boiled potatoes, carrots, and turnips, a bowl of green salad, and a huge roast. It smells divine.

Around the table sit the Sheriff and two other men. The Deputy and a young woman are acting as waiters and are busy dishing out the meal.

"Here he is," says Sheriff Jones. "Mr. Shaw, this here's Marshal Mark Matthews and the Reverend Judge Jacob Olden. Judge, Marshal, this is Mr. Doc Shaw and his brother Don."


ERR said...

Doc uses Read Emotions, +4 Speechcraft

Doc Persuasion check 28 (20+8) vs. 25 Critical Success! XP+50

Doc spent $2120 total
Doc earned $26

ERR said...

Using read emotions boosts any persuasion, diplomacy, bluff, bribe, or other speechcraft roll by 4 vs. whoever you're targeting, so yes, you can use Chi to influence those rolls specifically

Doc said...


"Gentlemen, it is a pleasure to meet you. (shake hands.) Now I've come a long way to seek out Uncle Steve only to find him here in Toledo locked up and charged with murder. Everyone seems to think it is a foregone conclusion that he has commited this heinous crime. I'd like to hear the particulars so I might be better able to defend him in the morning. Perhaps you could clue me in."

I want to carefully grill them looking for some kind of clue as to what is going on, and kind of feel them out to see what kind of people they are.

Study 4 (+7)?

Please hurry with the next installment as I am on pins and needles.


Doc said...

Is Dr. Ritenrong charged with fraud or murder? If it is fraud, they can't hang him for that.


Doc said...

I noticed that Dr. Ritenrong has a Dexterity Focus skill. What is that? Is that the reason he has a chi of 9, and if so what does it do?