blue sky wild!
We are a literate-advanced, mature, supernatural western roleplay staged in the heart of the American West in 1872 and exploring the tale of how the west was won! Our tale is set in the fictional land of the Northwind Basin, the land surrounding the two towns of Blackacre and Twin Gulch that sit on the border between New Mexico and Texas territories. As if gunslingers and bandits weren't enough to cause trouble for the Basin's folks, werewolves and vampires roam these parts at night raising hell for anyone they meet. With a war brewing between the werewolves and the vampire coven while the townsfolk remain unaware, whose side will you be on?
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Making Friends the Hard Way
Clementine had been able to catch a ride to Blackacre from a regular at the saloon after she had asked around for a bit. She wasn’t entirely certain that the man was aware that it was just a ride to town and back, but he hadn’t seemed inclined for anything else other than to be a gentleman and help her out. Perhaps he was too afraid of the Madame to even suggest anything beyond his kindness? Either way, Clementine was appreciative of the offer. He had business to attend to so he left her in the town square to attend to her own needs.
She had asked for help in making sure her hair was styled appropriately. After seeing the look on the Doctor’s face when she had her hair down, Clementine had become rather self-conscious to her habits when it came to anything she did outside of the Henbane, which, wasn’t much. She didn’t like leaving her home if she could help it. It was a safe place for her, although she was quite aware of what sort of things people not affiliated with the saloon thought about the women who lived there. It was a far better life that she had ever lived before and for that, she was grateful to Madame Louisiana for giving her a chance.
Despite her desire to remain in the shelter of the Henbane, there were some needs that Clementine had that required leaving. One of those things was requiring a new wallet and a set of gloves. The money she earned from her customers was rarely spent, so she had a nice set of savings to which she could purchase outfits or higher end alcohol if she wished. She didn’t bother much with either, but she was quite aware that the pouch she had for her funds (well, Clyde’s pouch) and her old gloves were becoming rather useless. She had heard about a leather shop in the next town over and after a few days of deliberation, she decided to just go and see what there was.
Now here she was, looking at the various items with her hair done nicely and wearing a blue blouse and grey skirt, she felt like she should have been invisible. She looked like everyone else. But she wasn’t and she knew it almost as soon as she was helped off the wagon. Two men recognized her. They weren’t people she associated with but she recognized them from the saloon. Not the best customers and often getting the boot. Clementine did her best to ignore them, but soon their stares turned into comments to each other though loud for her to hear. They mentioned her scars, her physique, what they wanted to do to her, all while laughing and following close behind her.
Feeling herself heat up in embarrassment and worry, Clementine quickly picked up a pair of gloves and a new pouch and made her way to the woman whom she thought was manning the shop, “I’d like to purchase these, please.”
It was a slow day which seemed to be dragging its’ heels all the way from dusk ‘til dawn, although given the stress of her first fortnight in the basin, Winifred Tucker welcomed the slower pace. Aside from the occasional grumbling about the heat, even O’Malley, the namesake of the leathercraft store she currently had the fortune of working at, seemed content to just take it easy. The two leatherworkers had previously worked tirelessly to achieve the strict deadline of a bulk shipping order, and although O’Malley swore that he’d never take on such a burden ever again, Winnie knew he was damn proud of the pair of them for surviving such a tall order. The extra cash would certainly be worth it but seeing the hint of a satisfied smile on her employer’s gruff features was the real reward. He was a tough nut to crack sometimes, but Winnie knew already that he had a heart of gold. She didn’t need idle gossip from the Blackacre townsfolk to tell her that much.
There was only one other customer in the shop, when the bell chimed over the door, forcing Winifred to glance up from behind the main counter. O’Malley was busy nattering away to an old friend intent on purchasing a new saddle, leaving the store’s she-wolf assistant to flash a curt smile in the direction of the new customer. Hazel green eyes tried not to stare, but they did linger long enough to take note of the young woman’s overall appearance and demeanour. It wasn’t clear whether she was a lady comparable to the likes of the infamous Miss Courtwright, or not, but she was certainly dressed very nicely. ‘Pretty’ would perhaps be an understatement, for she certainly had the looks to turn a young man’s head, or so Winnie concluded. An observation aided by the fact that, no sooner had the young woman entered the establishment with a rather sheepishly flustered expression on her face; Winnie’s ears pricked to the immature laughter carried not far behind her. Two men who should’ve known better, paused to loiter outside the shop windows and it didn’t take the she-wolf long to deduce that their crude, under the breath comments and lewd stares were aimed directly at the young woman.
‘Dirty, rotten, blue dicks.’ She cussed in her own mind, whilst she chewed on the corner of her lower lip. She’d had the misfortune of seeing their ilk before, hanging around outside the buckhorn saloon with far too much alcohol clouding their judgment. Then again, seems like they weren’t that much better sober either.
Although she discreetly lowered her gaze down to the purse she was adding a few final stitches to, Winnie kept her ears wide open. That is, until her senses pricked to the woman’s hastier steps coming closer, and her gaze shifted to the goods being dropped on the counter, then up to the flustered customer.
“Certainly,” came her rare, polite tone, reserved mostly for the store. Pausing briefly to thread the thick, long needle safely through the leather she’d been working on, she set the purse aside to clear the counter and pulled the customer’s choice of goods further. The bell above the door suddenly rang out then, as one pair of footsteps slowly echoed against the wooden floor, but for now, a perfectly aware Winnie seemingly ignored the distraction. She already knew that those footsteps belonged to one of the two rowdy men and she wasn’t about to pay them the attention they so clearly craved. Not yet anyhow.
“Have you tried these on?” The young she-wolf instead asked, as her gaze fixed on the female customer. A slight smile tickled at the corner of her pout. “Nothin’ worse than buyin’ a pair of gloves that don’t fit right. You’ll want ‘em nice an’ snug. Here – ” Pausing, she lifted the right hand glove, and held it out to the woman. “Go on an’ try it on, if you please.”
Aware that the man’s footsteps had stalled over by the belt rack, Winnie narrowed her hazel eyes and casually glanced over to O’Malley. He hadn’t noticed the commotion, but if needed, she could certainly make him more aware. Of course, it would be far more satisfying to deal with the annoyance herself. O'Malley would never forgive her though, if she caused such an obscene and unladylike commotion in the shop, and in broad daylight too. Still, didn't stop her wishful thinking. For now though, she tried to act like the annoying man didn’t even exist. Focus fixing wholly on the far more important customer.
“How’s that fit?”
Clementine kept her head down, only glancing up quickly to the woman in front of her when she addressed her. There would be no question that Clementine was someone who acted uncertain and anxious being there. She kept part of her attention on the men, hoping they would leave so that she could meet her ride without worry that they would continue to harass her and part of her attention on the woman, but it was clear that her anxiety over the men were winning out. When she heard the door open, her stomach dropped.
Her dark eyes looked up briefly, making only a moment of eye contact with the shopkeeper’s hazel ones before quickly returning to the counter where the items were sitting. Her body was tense and her heart was racing. ”Oh…I haven’t.” Clementine admitted. It hadn’t occurred to her to try them first. Her last pair had been given to her by one of Clyde’s men as a ‘gift’ for her time with him. Like she had much choice. Everything that Clyde allowed her to have was for a reason. She had been young then and though she hadn’t actually grown much since, they were very old and were a reminder of her life before.
At the woman’s words, Clementine heard the man snicker and say something regarding ‘fitting just right’, some low comment meant to poke fun of Clementine’s work. Feeling flustered, Clementine slipped her hand into the glove that was being held out to her by the woman and wiggled her fingers for a moment to get a feel of them. The gloves felt new and stiff, but otherwise felt perfectly made for her hand. ”It fits perfect.”, she stated, a pleased smile on her face and her eyes meeting the other woman’s once more, though this time keeping the contact longer.
”These are beautifully done.” She complimented, her voice soft and quiet. Having a chance to actually look at the other woman, Clementine took in her appearance. She was pretty, which surprised Clementine. For whatever reason, she expected someone more...homely looking. It was enough to distract her for a moment from the man, though he made himself known again rather quickly. ”’Cuse me, Miss, it’s Clementine, right?” He didn’t want for her to respond, ”Can you tell me which type of belt closely resembles the one that gave you those marks? I’d like to purchase it for you.”
Her face went pink and her hand went to rub her shoulder, a habit whenever she was self-conscious of her scars. ”Perhaps, I should come another time?” She suggested, her distress evident on her face. She wanted nothing more than to get back on the wagon and get back to the safety of the Henbane.
This post has been edited by Clementine Ramsay: Jul 2 2018, 11:02 PM
The more that Winifred studied the young woman, the more she started to see a mirror of her timid and damaged, younger self staring back. The result of man’s intervention rather than an accurate reflection of what her true nature had been, before circumstances tore away her self-confidence and worth. It wasn’t something she wished upon any other woman, but alas, sadly the times were ripe with far too much injustice and inequality. The fact that she had the power right now to tear the offending man a new one without breaking a sweat but couldn’t do so without risking a great deal more, was just another injustice to contend with. For now, the casual flicker of her gaze as she heard him mutter obscene innuendoes was her way of warning him whilst memorising each and every detail of his loathsome face. Not necessary a good thing, to be remembered so clearly by a lycan…
‘And I’ve got a fist fit just right for your jaw,’ she inwardly shot back behind narrowing eyes. Her hearing might have been more sensitive than humans, but the man was hardly being discreet about his mutterings. Winnie was certain that the young woman had heard him, but she was coping well in her flustered state. All she could offer her in return was moral support, starting with a warm smile as the woman declared that the gloves fit perfectly. It was always extra satisfying for Winnie to see that her hard word had paid off, especially when items weren’t specifically tailormade with precise measurements but still managed to find the right fit.
“Glad you like ‘em,” she remarked, trying not to let the compliment boost her ego too much. The young leatherworker took great pride in her work, after all, but her tradeswoman brain was also assessing the possibility of gaining a more regular customer, which wouldn’t be a bad ego boost either. “Them ones are made by yours truly,” she went on to admit, tucking a slightly sweat lined lock of hair behind her ear. “Leather tanned from the basin and thread all the way from Beaumont. They’re mighty fine alright, and sure do suit you too.”
Though she was genuine in the return of compliments, the opportunity was also short-lived, as Winnie’s gaze shifted to the sleaze ball cutting in. To interrupt a conversation was rude enough, let alone the fact that he was technically talking to an unchaperoned young woman in public. What followed, were words that brought attention to the fact that he’d been privy to the sight of something quite personal which he had no business sharing with anyone else. Thankfully, Winifred could already see in her peripheral vision that the extra custom had gained the attention of the shop owner and master leatherworker, which meant she needn’t raise her voice too loudly to get her point across. Not taking her frowning eyes off the man, it wasn’t that she ignored the young woman’s embarrassed protests, rather; she swiftly dealt with the root of the problem.
“S’cuse me, sir.” She echoed his words, but there was venom lacing her tongue, and irony in a title which he did not deserve. “As you can plainly see, I’m helping this young lady right now, but I’m sure O’Malley will be happy to personally assist you with whatever it is you need. Ain’t that right?” She directly her gaze at the man himself, who’d by now clocked on to the disturbance. The intruding man had one of those faces, after all, which half the town were privy to.
“Sure is…” Both the shopkeep and his other customer, turned their attention to the outnumbered rascal. Heavy steps echoed through the tension as O’Malley approached the counter. “What you lookin’ for?”
It was almost rhetorical, and certainly served with a hint of ‘I don’t like your sort around these parts’ in the gruff tone. Satisfied that her employer was more fit to discreetly handle the situation, Winifred finally turned her attention back to the young woman. Right now, her safety was paramount, even though she would’ve loved to have seen the annoying man get tossed out on his rear end, which was a high possibility. “The gloves are actually part of a set,” she half-lied, as she picked up the selected gloves and purse. “Care to see the matchin' boots? Reckon they’d look mighty fine with the purse too.”
Moving around the counter, Winnie moved a plain curtain aside, to reveal the doorway through to an additional section of the store reserved for more private appointments and fittings. It also conveniently led into the adjoining workroom, where there was a very handy back door.
This post has been edited by Winifred Tucker: Jul 9 2018, 08:49 PM
Clementine was horribly embarrassed by the antics of the man. She had not spent any time with him, but anyone who came into the Henbane would have recognized her as one of Madame Louisiana’s girls. It was just part of her life, she supposed. She would always be a harlot no matter where she lived and she would have to endure the reactions of the townsfolk who found a fault in that. At least with Madame, the money she earned was her own.
She tried to keep her attention on the woman and focus on the items in front of her. The gloves really were beautifully done and not such an unreasonable price. Since Clementine rarely spent her money, she could easily afford it. Life was vastly different in the basin than it had been with Clyde. She worked solely to provide him with the reward of it. And when she didn’t or couldn’t…he didn’t have the same kindness as Madame Louisiana had.
”Were they?” Clementine asked, impressed to learn that she had been the one to stitch and work the glove so well. It was quite the skill to have and with the right people, her work could really make it far. Though, here in the basin, Clementine wasn’t quite sure if that would be the case. Still it was hard work and the woman showed her talents. ”You are quite the craftsmen.” Clementine compliment, not knowing if her words really made much of a difference to the woman. But everyone deserved an honest moment of praise to make their day.
His words had cut into her. His mockery of the scars on her body made her face red with both humiliation and anger. He had never been her customer, that much she was sure, but she was aware that many found her disfigured back to be unpleasant and some men had turned her away once they learned of it. Rumors and gossip were quick and without mercy in a place like Henbane. It was easy to get tied to stories and casted names. She had heard plenty before and she was sure to hear plenty again. But inside the Henbane, she was protected from it most of the time. Out here, she was on her own.
Surprise registered on her youthful face when the woman called him out and sassed him on Clementine’s behalf. She had nearly forgotten that the women in these parts were of a different caliber than anywhere else that she had been across. Stronger and less demure. The master leatherman also took notice and involved himself to help distract the man from Clementine. The man seemed unperturbed though and simply went about asking about the various belts as though nothing had been wrong to begin with. The woman returned her attention to Clementine, ”Oh, alright.” Clementine answered quietly, following the woman to another area of the store and entering the fitting area.
After she was out of sight of the man, Clementine bowed her head slightly to the woman, ”I apologize for causing any issues.” she said with sincerity.
This post has been edited by Clementine Ramsay: Jul 13 2018, 05:04 PM
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