More Wild Western here: http://www.comicvine.com/profile/cbishop/blog/wild-western-roundup/103567/
15th February 1857, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Territory
Judge Horace Clemens stroked his beard as he gazed out the window as he listened to Jeremiah Hatton prattle on like Sunday morning preacher. When finally the bespectacled little man in green took a breath Horace held up a hand, wishing more it was actually a session in his court where he could’ve smacked his gavel and stopped his ramblings.
“That is quite a tale mister…”
“Hatton. Jeremiah Hatton.”
Clemens shrugged “And what does that have to do with me?”
Hatton fished a piece of paper from his jacket pocket and unfurled. “You issued this wanted notice for Morgan Fogg. I wish to add to the bounty on his head.”
“One hundred is a fair price for a red savage,” Clemens replied. “Almost too much.”
“But with an increased bounty means his capture will be imminent!” Hatton almost shouted, his finger shooting into the air.
“An increase in pric…”
“Splendid!” Hatton snapped joyfully as he vigorously took Clemens hand and shook it. “I shall send my black over with the additional sum once I have acquired proper lodging in your town.”
Clemens was confused at what had just happened before removing his hand. The little green weasel of man was a slippery character. “I’ll see what I can do, Mr Hatton.”
15th February 1857, Jefferson City, Missouri
Black Snake Betty looked at the newspaper. “Morgan Fogg gang?”
She skimmed the article as she read that a gang of three men robbed the Fulton Municipal Savings & Loans killing one man and injuring two others but getting away with less than three hundred dollars.
“Can I help you?” Sheriff Jonas Ross asked as he ambled into his office at the figure behind the newspaper. Betty lowered the paper and smiled, watching as the expression on Ross’ face went from annoyed to disgust.
“Betty,” he sneered as he spat into a spittoon on his desk.
“Jonas,” she smiled. “Looking for some information.”
“Always starts with information and then leads to trouble!” Ross grumbled. “Like last time you were here.”
Betty stood and tossed a wanted poster onto the desk. “Morgan Fogg.”
“The trouble making Injun!” Ross spat again. “Rounded up a posse a few days ago to head after him for killing Doc Jensen. Not all of them came back.”
Betty’s brow furrowed. “He killed them?”
Jonas shook his head in the negative. “No, three took off on their own way when the trail went cold.”
“You think maybe they went to Fulton?” She spread the newspaper out.
“He’s got a gang!” Ross said in disbelief.
“Are you really that stupid Jonas?” Betty asked. “How about you tell me what you know about Morgan Fogg and the three men who didn’t come back with the posse?”
Morgan Fogg was woken up with a splash of water over his head.
“What the!” he coughed as he saw his aunt Honiahaka standing over him.
<You are no longer welcome in my tent!> she said. <You are family but you pointed a gun at my son>
<He tried to kill me Little Wolf!>
<Whirlwind may be angry with the white man but he would not try to kill his family!> Honiahaka yelled back at her nephew. <You can stay until the full moon but not here>
<How about I just leave> Morgan snapped <Seems my welcome is worn out>
<Until you prove that you are not a child of Malsumis you must stay> she said.
<You know I once was bit by a horse, you worried I might turn into a horseman?> Morgan replied sarcastically.
Honiahaka thrust a hand into a bag and tossed a handful of powder over Morgan <There is a tepee at the far end for you to stay in.>
Morgan coughed as he inhaled the noxious cloud, the peyote and black powder burning his eyes and nose. It was unpleasant; Morgan could only imagine how much it would’ve hurt the monster that tried to kill him. He grabbed his gun and stormed out.
15th February 1857, Jefferson City, Missouri
Black Snake Betty looked at Sheriff Jonas Ross’ chubby jowls in disbelief. “You formed a posse based on the word of a one armed man and his two friends saying an axe wielding Indian killed your town doctor, when one of those men was carrying a hatchet? I’m surprised they didn’t say a black man did it and you strung up the nearest one.”
Jonas stammered and huffed as he tried to form an intelligent sentence. Betty placed a finger on his lips. “Don’t. You’ll only say something that will make me angry. Where is the doctor’s residence?”
Jonas grabbed his hat. “This way.”
Morgan Fogg tried to leave. Twice. And twice braves of the Cheyenne brought him back. After the second time he resigned himself to the odd imprisonment, and spent the month being shunned by the tribe. The only ones who would even acknowledge his presence were his cousin Hiamovi who scowled at him like an angry dog, and the chief Hō-hăn-ĭ-no-o who pointed his silver dagger at him as a warning every time their paths crossed. His aunt Honiahaka treated him as if he was dead. It was like when he visited his mother’s side of the family back east but worse.
Morgan once again was woken by a cold wet shower of unexpected water. He shot up to be greeted by Hō-hăn-ĭ-no-o and a dozen braves all pointing silver glinted spears at him.
<It is time Red Bear> said Hō-hăn-ĭ-no-o as he tossed a handful of powder into the air. Morgan wiped his face and got up, flexing his arm that was just about healed. It was still tender and slightly withered from lack of use. He gazed up at the full moon and barked like a dog making them all jump.
“Let’s get this over with,” Morgan grumbled. He followed the chief as he was escorted towards the sounds of drums, chanting and bright orange lights. A large flat circle had been cleared with several fires around to illuminate it. The air smelt of charcoal and wolfsbane. Hō-hăn-ĭ-no-o entered the circle and raised his hands, the noise suddenly stopped. All that could be heard was the crackling of the fire.
<We who are like this, give thanks to Maheo!> cried Hō-hăn-ĭ-no-o as he spoke to the tribe and the sky <We who are like this, give thanks to Mother Earth! We who are like this, see the bad blood between Whirlwind and Red Bear! Though time has passed the fire between them still rages! Red Bear, Whirlwind. Now is the time to end this! Without bloodshed!>
Hiamovi stood on the opposite side of the circle, dressed for combat and wearing war paint. He shook his head. Morgan nodded no as he stared down his kin.
<Then you shall fight!>
The tribe roared in approval. Hō-hăn-ĭ-no-o motioned for them both to enter the circle near him. The cousins advanced neither taking their eye off the other. Hō-hăn-ĭ-no-o unfurled a wrap onto the ground that contained two hatchets. One a traditional obsidian stone axe and the other a steel one.
<One from each world! Red Bear, choose your weapon>
Morgan looked at the two weapons. Each choice was a bad one. “I choose the steel one I’m white. Chose the stone one I’m red. If I win I lose and if I lose, I lose. If I shoot you I lose and if I don’t fight I lose. Bent over a goddam barrel!”
Hō-hăn-ĭ-no-o looked at him strangely as he spoke no English and pointed at the weapons again. Morgan grabbed the stone axe and held it aloft causing hushed whispers from the tribe. Hiamovi smiled as he grabbed the steel axe and held it up.
<I will kill you with the weapon of your people> laughed Hiamovi as he tossed it from hand to hand.
<No wonder white people call us savages> Morgan replied as he felt the weight of the stone axe.
To be continued...