What the hand, dare seize the fire?
rating: +8+x

A dangerous outlaw by the name of Nathan Rivers has struck again, this time allegedly killing four men in the town of Riddle, Wyoming. The fight originated inside of a bar, where Rivers stole a bottle of alcohol and shot one man over it. Here is the Gaskell Observational Consortium's lead detective, Nicholas Doyle:

"We will ensure that the capture of the outlaw named Nathan Rivers will be conducted soon. He is nothing but scum, and we are very close to catching him. The families of the victims of Rivers will finally be rewarded with justice."

A brave speech by Doyle, but the question on everybody's mind is, why is the Consortium handling a lowly outlaw? And why haven't they caught him?

Clipping from a March 18, 1886 Newspaper by Iris Thompson


Tis not the first time he was thrown out of a saloon window, and it would likely not be the last. He had grown quite acquainted with mud at this point, but cared for it he did not. Nathan Rivers stuttered upwards, grabbing a bottle of liquor that came out with him on his way up, and brushed himself off before turning to the saloon doors expecting a fight. The large brother of the owner of Saloon No. 19 slammed the doors right open. Both men raised their hands for a proper fisticuffs.

"I'm gonna crack your skull open!" Screamed the owner's brother.

"It was a bottle of brandy!" He screamed back while swinging the bottle around mockingly.

"That bottle was the most expensive piece of liquor in Clockson's store, it's more valuable then all of the items in your satchel combined you hobo!"

"It's expensive yes, which is exactly why I stole it, but I have something even more valuable in my satchel."

"Oh really?" The brother took that as part threat and part bargain. At this point a crowd of about twenty surrounded the two men, some from the Saloon and others from the street. Rivers did not care.

"Yup." Rivers stated. "It's the most valuable thing any man could have." He then reached out slowly into his satchel. The crowd, the owner's brother, and the owner himself who finally came out to see what the commotion was about were all staring intently.

Rivers finally reached the bottom of the bag and latched onto something cool to the touch: his revolver, which he had kept there so no one in town would be suspicious. He knows how "civilized" folk react when they see a man with a gun who isn't a lawmen Before any of the towns folk could even say an "eep!" Nathan drew his gun from out of his satchel and fired a single shot. And that was enough. The owner's brother, now with a hole in his shirt as well as his heart, fell back into his brothers arm.

The townsfolk began to scream, which Rivers normally took as a sign that he was no longer welcomed. He jolted down the street, bowling over several people in the process, and towards his horse. He assumed the sherif and deputies would be out any minute. Normally in a chaotic situation, people just scream for the sake of chaos. Nathan knew the difference when someone screamed for another reason.

"You bastard!" It was the owner of the saloon. For the first time in six years, Nathan stopped in his tracks.

"He was unarmed!" The owner continued. "He was just gonna take the bottle back was all! That's nothing worth shooting about! No honor! No hon-" His voice broke, and the owner began to cry.

Despite everyone in town screaming, the owner cradling his dead brother, could be heard just fine and dandy by Nathan. He looked down at his pyrite pistol and considered throwing it to the ground just then and there.

BANG! BANG! BANG!

About three or four shots flew inches past his head. The lawmen had finally arrived, which means Rivers has to finally get out of Riddle.


March 27, '86

I had never stopped before. I normally keep on running and tune everything out, except of course gunshots, which I always keep an ear out for.

But today was different. That fella who worked at the saloon in town, the owner's brother, I always thought he was one of em real stuck-up types. In my head, when I was grabbing for my gun, I didn't see a probably for shooting that man.

I can't say the same now.

Excerpt from Nathan Rivers' Personal Diary


A small stick poked at the smoking charcoal of a dying campfire. Rivers, staring in his journal while fidgeting with the stick, was half asleep until that flimsy stick finally snapped. Rivers jolted up, due to the snap making a sound similar to a bang. He looked at his pocket watch and noted the time. 12:38

"Welp, I reckon, it's time we pack up so we can get to Colorado by tomorrow. Whaddya think Thomas?"

His horse, Thomas, didn't even react to the question, for he was half asleep too. Their camp was located on top of a shallow, wooded plateau. One could run down it in about three seconds. It wasn't the safest place to rest, however.

"Fine, I guess I'll pack up camp, like last time, and the time before that."

"Why the rush Mr. Rivers?"

Nathan immediately turned to the voice with his gun drawn and cocked. Now that he was back in the wild, he freely kept his revolver back in his holster.

Nathan saw three men who wore very nice suits, despite being in the middle of nowhere. The one in the front, an Irish lad, seemed to be unarmed. The other two behind him both had double-barreled shotguns. Neither one were aiming them at him though. Yet.

"So who are yaw supposed to be?" Rivers said. "You boys are way too classy to be from Riddle."

"In that respect you are correct." Said the Irish, who took a step forward. He had a lite cigar in one hand, which he waved around mockingly as he talked. "We are with the Gaskell Observational Consortium, in layman's terms, a detective agency."

"I know who you are."

"Oh apologies! I just assumed that words like "Observational" and "Consortium" are too big for your feeble mind." He then blew a puff or two of smoke. "I am Agent Nicholas Doyle. These two," He gestured to the men behind him, "Are my subordinates, Agent Holt and Agent Jackson."

Nathan didn't know which one was which, but frankly, he didn't care. He still aimed his gun firmly towards Doyle. Beads of sweat were bleeding down the outlaw's face. Not a single drop could be seen on the Agents'.

"I would love to continue the conversation Mr. Rivers, but we have a tight schedule. You're a wanted man."

"Well ain't that just impressive of me?"

"Don't flatter yourself. The price on your head isn't even above two-hundred. And frankly, small town outlaws are the least of our priorities."

On one hand, Rivers was relieved. On the other, he was offended. "If I'm so, "least of your priorities" or whatever, then why yaw coming after me in the first place?"

"How to explain this to a man turned idiot." He muttered to himself, loud enough for Nathan to hear. "Let's see. I got it. Let's say you see several parasites on that lovely horse of yours. Some big and obvious others small and pea sized. Of course being a fine caretaker of horses-which is most evident from the condition of said horse of yours-you'd make sure to get rid of any parasites you'd see. That's you, a parasite we can see."

"Despite that being insulting, that still doesn't make sense. Yaw's agency only goes after the big gangs, there's gotta be a reason you're so adamant on apprehending me."

Doyle puffed a few more clouds of smoke. He turned and whispered, this time not loud enough for Rivers to hear, to his subordinates. After about five seconds, he turned back. Rivers could've shot Doyle in that time, but he'd likely not been able to shoot the other two, and Nathan knew that. He was scared. He saw the pain a man felt when they just had two or three shotgun pellets in their leg. He didn't want to experience the pain of fifty-seven in his chest.

"You're correct, Mr. Rivers, we aren't just here to arrest you because you're some simple lowlife. We're here to question you because you're some simple lowlife who's been to Yellowstone and lived."

Everything went silent. Rivers immediately turned white. Now that makes much more sense. He thought to himself. Doyle was staring at him like he just got checkmate. Which in some respects, he had.

"Well, Mr. Rivers?" Doyle asked. "What do you have to-"

BANG!

Agent Jackson was down, shot clean in the head by Rivers. The gunshot woke up Thomas, who ran down the hill. Holt aimed and fired his shot gun, but Rivers had already tucked-an-rolled after Thomas.

At the bottom of the hill, Rivers was able to get onto his horse mid-trot, and began to rid faster then he ever had in his life. He reckoned they had their horses stowed away in the woods and would be on his tail any minute. Not to mention that they would likely be incredibly pissed.

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