Toledo, 1835

The fresh smell of lake air and the acrid stench of sulphurous, burning coal wrestles Doc's nostrils, overpowering the understated scent of drowned worms and horse shit lining the streets as the Operatives walk down Monroe St. towards the center of town. The houses are brick and wood. Many along Monroe are well built, expensive mansions. As they approach downtown, the family houses give way to simple apartments and shops. Butchers, bakers, apothecaries, general merchants, a bank, all tidy and neat brickwork with glass windows and hardwood floors.

The streets are filled with passers-by waving how-do at the curious pair. Most people here are well dressed, relatively middle class shop owners and service industry folk. A few are well-to-do factory and land owners dressed to the nines for a Saturday afternoon stroll through town, others are poor farmers or employees of those wealthy people. Most are friendly, a few heads turn, and Doc picks up bits of conversation as they pass.

"That's an odd pair, ain't it? Look at the size a' that galoot."

"Where, did he get those awful trousers? And that hat, my God!"

"Some people have no sense of decent fashion, my dear."

"Don't see that sort'a horse breed 'bout these parts, much. An' look at that bardin'. 'Taint right fer a horse like that to be carryin' such a load."

"More strangers, today. I wonder where they're all commin' from?"

"Must be part'a Lucas's crowd. Heard he's bringin' ten thousand men to take back the strip."

Thunderhorse remains silent. He seems to be experiencing an extreme case of culture shock. He is eying everyone with suspicion, and continually stares at trivialities. Women and men scoff when he stares to long at their dresses and shoes. Doc keeps leading him away from shops and barkers as he is continually drawn towards baubles and trinkets the likes of which he's never seen before.

"Uh, nahe zu mir," Doc attempts to tell Thunderhorse to stay close. Thunderhorse is at first confused, but understands.

As they turn down Ontario, they find themselves walking behind a dozen rag-tag militia men carrying rifles fixed with bayonets. They're being led by a man in a blue uniform with the stripes of a captain on his shoulder. Thunderhorse is startled by the sight.

"Bleiben Sie ruhig," Doc tells Thunderhorse to remain calm. They keep their distance and try not to attract attention. They don't seem to notice them. Eventually, the militamen turn towards the river.

They almost pass the "courthouse." It turns out to be a church with a sign out front that says "Monroe County Court and Episcopal Church, Honorable Judge Reverend Jacob Olden presiding." Below that is a smaller sign reading: "Court in session 9 am to noon, Monday through Friday. Church services Sundays 8 am to 11. Closed Saturdays."

"Aufenthalt hier," (Stay here) Doc instructs Thunderhorse. He approaches the church door. There's a post nailed to it.

"Special Trial tomorrow: Territory of Michigan vs. Steven Ritenrong for the Murder of Joseph Miller. 12 pm after regular Services. Fricassee potluck to follow."

The door is locked. Doc knocks, but there is no answer. "This can't be right," he mutters to himself. He secretly checks his I-Browse for more info. It turns out Toledo doesn't have an official courthouse until the 1850's. In fact, the first official business of Toledo as the seat of Lucas county takes place in a ramshackle wooden schoolhouse.

Doc checks his hand-held further. He asks it to find Dr. Ritenrong on the GPS map. A red dot blinks, pointing out a spot just a few meters from where he stands. Doc walks around to the side of the church. There's a small cellar window which Doc peers into, but it's too dark to see.

"Whadder you doin'?" A gruff voice yells, startling him. He's an older, gray haired, wiry bearded man in a leather hat and vest. He's carrying a rifle in one hand, and his free thumb is hooked into his belt. A tin star is pinned to his vest.

1 comment:

Doc said...


"Ah, just the man I wanted to see."

I'm assuming the badge make this guy the sheriff, or at least a deputy. I will introduce myself and try to befriend him. Offer him a chew. Size him up. Explain that I've come to find Dr. Ritenrong only to hear from a passing stranger that he has been arrested for murder. What are the particulars of the case? Does he have legal representation? Could I see Dr. Ritenrong? I am a blood relative. Where might I find Rev. Olden, or the Dr.'s lawyer if he has one.

If I can see the Dr., grill him for info. If I can get particulars of the case, look into that (see people, look for clues, ask about the dead guy, etc.) If I need to see the judge, do that. It all hinges on whether or not I can see the Dr. If I can't see him, head to the nearest stable after surveying the church, and make plans from there.

Bonus: Cha +4, Read emotions -1 chi, Empathy +1, Perform +1, knowledge +1, History 2 +4.

You write a mean story.