Writing The Lost Ranger: Beginnings

MisterBobbyPin

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Chapter 1: Beginnings
It began with a sunrise, as all things do.

It was the middle of the farming season, when the crops grew the best, few even saw them that day, but they would feel their presence for the rest of their lives.

There were six men and a woman. All seven of them sitting on a moldy table somewhere south of Casper City. They sat inside of an inn known as The Drunken Donkey, quietly discussing the new age upon them.

It was the year 15,068. King Macarthos Xax had just taken the throne, the Church Of Dilation had just declared bankruptcy yet again, and the Reapers Gang had just been destroyed.

In simple terms, it was a time of opportunity.

The most important name at this table was Calistoga Owensboro, also known as Old West. He was the oldest there, at around sixty.

Next oldest was Zeeland “Blackeye” Ray, who was thirty-five. Beside him was Finjo “Mortimer” Pirrup, who was thirty-four.

Then came the pair of demons. Vickery Igarashi Whitefish, also known as Bloodhound, and Piedmont Greenbush, also known as Bullethound. These two were both twenty-seven, and full of bloodlust.

The second youngest was the female of the group. Berrian Eastwood was twenty-three and made a name for herself robbing the Steamline No.57 and Steamline No.48, this alone made her richer and more powerful than half of the table.

Finally, there was the youngest. Dante Cottonwood, the unproven twenty-one year old who was only here because he was from a powerful family of lords. If it wasn't for the fact that he had robbed a bank not three days ago, he would have likely been thrown out.

Regardless, the seven people sitting at the table were all either wanted, or recently wanted. They were outlaws, plain and simple.

So why would they create the richest and most powerful gang to ever grace the kingdom of Vala?

In order to answer that, we must first learn of the conversation that took place.

Calistoga was the one to ignite it. He began with a simple statement, “I have a job for you all.”

“Okay, what is it?” Vickery asked.

“How good is the pay?” Berrian added.

“Three hundred each. I'm only telling people who will do it.” Calistoga said, as he made eye contact with everyone at the table.

“Just fucking tell us, no reason to try and keep it a secret.” Piedmont Greenbush stated.

“No one here is going to rat out your plans, Old West.” Zeeland proclaimed.

Calistoga sighed. “Fine, but I'll kill anyone who plans against me. I'm after Peterborough O'Halloran, the guy who killed my old gang.”

Vickery raised an eyebrow. “The brother of Stroudsburg O'Halloran?”

“Isn't he up at Trenton right now running some sort of gun store?” Piedmont asked.

“Yes, which is why I want to be surrounded by other outlaws.” Calistoga claimed.

“That's it?” Dante asked. “You bring us all to a table just to ask for protection while you go after a shopkeeper?”

“Listen kid, I'm paying for propaganda. If I go in alone, I look like any other outlaw. If I have people by my side, I'll suddenly look like a leader.”

“Yeah sure, how did Peterborough kill off your old crew anyhow?” Dante asked.

“He sent blankets used by pox victims, turning the entire camp into a plague. If I hadn't been exposed to it when I was young I'd be dead as well.”

“Wait, so you're doing this over pox blankets?”

“Yes.”

Berrian shook her head. “You act surprised Dante, do you need to go read up on a book on how things work here?”

“It just seems excessive. The Reapers got wiped out over less. How long before the law goes after you?”

Calistoga looked at Dante unpleasantly. “Who are you to suggest what happens?”

Dante looked directly into Calistoga's eyes. “The way I see it, you either die alone or survive together.”

Piedmont chuckled. “The power of friendship can't do shit here.”

Dante shook his head. “No, not friendship. Think of it like this, seven of the most dangerous outlaws are right here at this table. We have a chance to do something big.”

Vickery glanced at Dante. “Don't put yourself in our league, kid.”

“Point is, if anyone here wants to survive, they'll need more than money and bullets. You're gonna need some friends.”

“You're an ambitious motherfucker, aren't you?” Zeeland asked, chuckling.

“What makes you think that we can all work together?” Mortimer asked.

“For starters, half of you already know each other and the other half haven't tried to kill anyone here.”

Calistoga interrupted the conversation. “I'm the one making the plans here, Cottonwood.”

“What? Taking out a shopkeeper? That's the reason you brought some of the most legendary outlaws together?”

Calistoga learned back in his chair. “Alright, since you're so smart, let's see what you have planned then.”

Dante smirked. “For starters, there's an abandoned mining town in the mountains of South Zachary. It's close enough to Somerset, Trenton, and Bartholomew for it to be worthwhile. Secondly, the entire area is filled with bandits, making it a brilliant place to steal from. After all, if you steal from bandits, who's gonna report it?”

Berrian shook her head. “Stealing from bandits just causes those bandits to go after you.”

“Not if you kill enough of them.” Dante stated.

Calistoga rolled his eyes. “So instead of us killing a shopkeeper, you want us to go kill some bandits so we get stolen items without the bounty?”

“Yes.” Dante said. “After all, none of us here can exactly afford to have a massive bounty on our heads now can we?”

“Maybe you can't.” Vickery pointed out.

“The Reapers were wiped out just a month ago. Just think what could happen to any of us.”

“You sound desperate, Dante.” Berrian pointed out, looking at him with concern.

“Fine, I am desperate. I'm damned no matter what I do.”

“Damned?” Calistoga asked.

“My father…isn't so happy with my latest adventures, he sent men after me. Now I can handle myself but he won't relent.”

“So you come here to try and team up with us?”

“Yes, after all, everyone here is somewhat more trustworthy than the people who I can afford.”

Berrian sighed. “Listen, kid. Why don't you just go home? Leave this business to the real bullshitters of this world.”

“I can't do that. It's either the wilderness or the noose for me.”

“Who'd you kill?”

“No it's not that, I've been marked.”

Everyone but Dante raised an eyebrow at the table. It became quiet, the awkwardness at the table now in full effect.

Dante coughed, and began standing up. “I guess I should leave, you all didn't want to hear that.”

Berrian grabbed Dante's arm. “You sit the fuck back down.” She ordered.

Dante sat back down, and watched as Calistoga cleared his throat.

“You've been marked to who?” Calistoga suddenly asked, giving Dante a look of complete seriousness.

“Lady Telah Xawes.” Dante said. “She was a…friend of mine.”

“Did she get pregnant?” Calistoga asked.

“No, thankfully.” Dante said. “Her father just…wanted her married.”

“Alright, does she know then?”

“Most likely by now.”

“Okay…there's a guy in Somerset named Bradlerek Stasukelis. He can make you disappear. Why don't I take you there?”

“Alright.” Dante said, quickly glancing at everyone else.

“I'll come as well.” Zeeland announced, standing up from the table. Finjo stood up as well, and the two of them began to walk away.

Vickery sighed. “I can't sit by and let someone become a victim of the marking, me and Piedmont will be there.” The demon pair soon followed Zeeland and Finjo, and soon it was just Calistoga, Berrian, and Dante.

Berrian patted Dante on the shoulder. “Congrats, you're getting the team you wanted.”

Dante smirked. “I guess I did.”
 
Great first chapter :)
 
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