1861/11/19 Turkey Shoot
Scene Turkey Shoot
Characters Andrew Ned
Place North of Grimwood
Date Early morning, 11/19/1861

The morning of Ned's proposed turkey shoot dawns cold and grey. The streets of Grimwood seem unusually still and quiet in the dim light and autumn damp, few of the town's residents up at this early hour. There is the warm light of kerosene lamps burning in the windows of the boarding house, however, and inside all is warm. Ned Atwater, one of the town's newest arrivals is within, waiting patiently, checking the gear he has prepared for the hunt, humming softly to himself as he finalizes his preparations.

Andrew Silverton is not much of a hunter. Sure he has shot his target plenty of times but that was war and people not excessively late in the season harvest fetes and turkeys, but what the hell, he and his wife had been staying here he would give it a go. He has traded in his more colourful clothing in for more drab earthy colours today. As he descends the stairs though his gear is minimal. He doesn't even own a rifle, though in theory he could shoot one with his pistol, but that doesn't seem too likely.

"Good Morning," Ned greets, as Andrew descends the stairs. His voice is warm and welcoming, with a decidedly Yankee dialect, probably New York. "Name's Ned Atwater. Looks like it is just going to be you and me, partner," he grins. "At least, if you are here to head out on the turkey hunt with me. I've arranged horses for getting where we need to go."

"Nice to meet you Mister Atwater. I am Andrew Silverton, I own the Black Star Saloon down the street." Andrew's own accent indicates his own origins from Scotland. "And I am indeed here for the turkey hunt, though to be honest I have never been particularly well practice at hunting. My shooting days were Russian in the Crimean. But hopefully I will not prove a liability in the endeavour."

"As my father was fond of saying, Mr. Silverton, 'a bullet doesn't discern'. I'm sure your skills will be quite sufficient. And if not, I will be grateful for the company. Ms. Hill managed to get an extra rifle for our hunt, if you would like to use it." He nods to the weapon, leaning in the corner, before patting his own rifle, strapped securely to a pack of provisions and supplies. "I think we'd best be taking off soon if we want to have our best shot at the toms."

Andrew takes the rifle mentioned, "Never been much of a rifle shot, but I suppose it will be of more use than my pistol. And I quite agree an early start is best." Looking over the rifle the Scotsman asks, "Are you much a hunter yourself Mister Atwater?"

Ned risks a smile and rolls his shoulders, before pulling the back onto his back and heading for the door. "I'm not a professional, by any means, but I've done a fair bit of sport hunting in my day." He leads the way outside where a group of horses have been tethered. Selecting one for himself, he checks the cinch, then straps his gear to the back of the saddle before swinging up with ease. "How long have you lived in town, Mr. Silverton?"

Heading to the other horse, Andrew does some math in his head before coming up with the answer, "About a month. Well perhaps about a week more than a month. How about you sir? I fear I have not been good at meeting all the people around town unless I see them in the saloon."

"I've been here about a week. Maybe less," Ned says, giving his horse a gentle kick to the sides that sets it to walking. He sways easily in the saddle as the animal picks its way down the street, heading northward. "Been putting out feelers for ranch work, but no nibbles so far. It's a shame. Seems like this might be a nice place to hang my hat for a while. Certainly beautiful," he adds, nodding to the mountains in the distance. "How is business at the saloon?"

Whatever lack of expertise Andrew possessed in hunting, riding was something the former dragoon excelled at. "Ranch work you say? Well I know we do have a couple ranches nearby. I know one of the ranchers Ben Campbell, but I am afraid I have not seen him in town in a while. The saloon business is going pretty well. It was in a sorry state when I bought it, but it has been coming along quite nicely."

"Glad to hear it," Ned says amicably. "If you happen to see that friend of yours, Ben, do you mind telling him that I'm in the market for some work?" he asks.
The ride takes the pair of men well outside of town toward a series of low ridges that descend from the northern foothills. Eventually, they reach a stream, that winds its way around those ridges until a line of trees can be seen across on open plain. The rancher nods toward the trees. "That's the roosting area. I scoped it out a few days ago. We'll set up here."

"I am happy to send him any ranch hands I could send his way." Problem with ranches though, they were unreliable saloon visitors, not like townsfolk. As the reach the roosting area, Andrew is impressed, "You really prepared for this haven't you."

"I don't know any other way to hunt a turkey," Ned says with a soft laugh. "They're cautious buggers. And they have good eyes." Swinging his leg, he dismounts and sets about tethering the horses. As he does, he nods to a small stand of scrubby trees a few hundred yards up-river, thrusting their roots into the life-giving water. "We'll make our stand there, backs to the trunks. Will make us harder to spot." He grabs his pack and rifle, then starts heading that way. "What's your impression of the town so far?"

Andrew follows Ned's lead as best he can. The man does seem to know what he is doing, certainly far more than he does. Grabbing his much smaller pack and rifle he replies, "Most of the people are pretty friendly. Seems like a good enough place to settle down, which is what me and the Missus aim to do here. Honestly things are a lot more quiet though than I expected. What do you think so far?"

"Quiet," Ned agrees softly, nodding. "Though, I can't say that is a bad thing. I always enjoy quiet more than the alternative. What brought you out in the first place? And," he adds, "if I'm being too nosy, just say 'Ned, mind your business', and I'll back off." He gives the fellow a wink.
Soon enough, they are in the spot he chosen for the blind, and the ranch hand takes a moment to load his rifle. "Shotgun would be better for this kind of hunting, but I'm a better shot with a rifle," he says, continuing to make easy conversation. Gun loaded, he places his back to the trunk of one of the trees, then sits, watching the line of trees in the distance.

Andrew loads his own rifle now too, he was at least that familiar with the weapon. Nevertheless he kept his pistol nearby, if one got close enough he might go with what he had more experience with. "Well Ned, Rosalee and I, that is my wife you see. We actually originally settled in Oregon, had a ranch there ourselves. But we got tired of being in one place. Took to horse trading on the road for a while….but with this war on being a traveler does not seem like a safe way of life. Better to set down roots again….and better to do it out here away from the fighting. Saw enough of that during the Crimean War. What about you what brings you out here?"

Ned listens to Andrew's story, though his eyes remain on the horizon. He nods as the other man finishes his explanation, then considers his own answer. "The West, I guess," he says slowly. "I used to be a boxer. Back east. But city life got…dangerous, so I worked my way south. Ended up taking some work at a place with cattle, and, God help me, I like the stupid beasts. Ever since then, I've been seeking ranches farther and farther west. Heard there might be ranch work here, so I came to check it out."

<FS3> Andrew rolls Awareness: Good Success.

"I guess we all have some past we are trying to move on from…." Spotting something in the distance, Andrew motions in the appropriate direction for Ned. Now with a whisper he says, "I think I see a couple….can't be too sure," Andrew was not a shoot first ask questions later sort. At least not with Turkey.

"Good eye, partner," Ned says appreciatively, squinting in the indicated direction. Looks like a couple of toms coming off the roost. Probably looking for a hen. Quickly, he rifles through the sack at his side and extracts a small wooden box. It has little ridges along one side and appears to be hollow. He also pulls out a small wooden dowel. Running the dowel over the ridges on the box produces a kind of gobbling, call, six or seven warbling notes magnified by the hollow interior. He listens for a bit, then makes the noise again. This time, there is a response from the toms. It sounds like they are approaching and will soon appear on a little rise ahead.

Andrew gets his rifle ready and asks, "Do you want me to take the first shot or do you want to? You are more likely to hit, but also more likely to get them on the run should I miss." As he asks the question he checks his pistol to make sure it is full loaded. If all else fails charge them like a lunatic.

"Take first shot," Ned says, bringing his rifle up and placing the butt against his shoulder. He squints down its length, watching the ridge. "But wait until I say shoot." He grows silent then, and the silence stretches Just when it seems maybe the toms are no longer approaching, they come over the ridge, heads bobbing as they seek the yelping hen they think they've heard. "Wait…wait…" Ned whispers. And closer they come. Closer. "Shoot!"

<FS3> Andrew rolls Rifle: Good Success.

<FS3> Ned rolls Rifle: Success.

Andrew takes aim with the borrowed rifle and hits the first turkey knocking him square to the ground. He looks a little dejected at first, expecting to miss he immediately dropped the rifle and picked up the pistol and almost started to say, "Don't let them….wait I got it. Guess I am not as rusty as I thought….or damn lucky."

Ned's shot rings out only a second after Andrew's, the smoke from the rifle acrid in the air. Like his partner's shot, Ned's hits true, but unlike Andrew's his does not kill the second turkey which, which a squawk and a shower of feathers starts running for the far side of the ridge. "Damnit," Ned curses, working quickly to reload.

<FS3> Andrew rolls Pistol: Good Success.

Andrew's expectation of failure served him in good stead here. While Ned works to reload, the Scotsman steps out from the blind and fires his pistol at the remaining bird putting it quickly out of its misery. An air of confidence returns to the barman, "Not bad for a morning's work. You selected and excellent position. A fine field of battle sir."

Ned blinks at the fancy pistol work, then slowly lowers his gun with a laugh. "It's a good thing you came along," he tells the other man with a grin. "Planning is all well and good, but it takes shots like that to bring the birds down. Let's go get 'em." So saying, he rises from the tree and starts to pick is way up the meadow toward the fowl. The birds are both dead, the second one a bit more chewed up by the bullets than the first, but still salvageable for a meal. The ranch hand takes one by the feet and hoists it up. "Mind grabbing the other?"

Grabbing the other bird as request, Andrew reflects will less excitement then before. "The rifle shot had to have been luck. Honestly I have little experience with them, too large for cavalry engagements. I am strictly a sabre and pistol man. I mean I have occasionally use a rifle out west….but only for the rare engagements like this one. You are more the hunter than I am Ned. I just happen to be good at killing I guess. Thankfully a talent which rarely needs to be employed."

"Thankfully indeed." Ned grins, and if there are any hard feelings about the man getting in a better shot than his own, he doesn't seem to be showing it. "C'mon. Let's get these birds back to the boarding house. There's lots of plucking to do." With a wink, he leads the way back to the horses, securing the birds, guns, and pack before climbing once more into the saddle. "Whatever else may come, at least we know we'll have turkey to be thankful for come Thursday."

"And at least we won't have to be the ones to cook them. At least I hope we won't. My talents at cooking really don't extend very far." Andrew chuckles a little, "Beyond this I reckon the best contribution I can make to such a dinner is providing some wine to go with it or beer….well there are a fair number of choices, but wine is usually best for such gatherings I have found."

"Don't drink, myself, but I'm sure Ms. Maggie would be happy to accept a bottle of wine with such a feast." Giving his horse the reign, the animal breaks into a trot, eager to return to its stables back in Grimwood. "My own cooking skills are best left to the campfire," he adds when they are on their way. "And that is something for which we should all be thankful."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License