Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gauntlet - Episode 5.



Episode 5 – Redemption, a Fitting Name

Marshall roamed about the dirt pounded paths that served as the streets of Redemption as he considered what to do next. His original plan upon arrival was to secure himself a place to stay and set himself up while he settled into the new town. But now that wasn’t exactly a viable option. As he looked around him he noted only a handful of other people shuffling about town. A few merchants and shop-tenders peered out from their windows to watch him walking down the street. And a handful of townsfolk mulled about in hushed whispers scattered about.

Marshall had the distinct impression that the town of Redemption had perhaps grown too used to being robbed, mugged and terrorized on a regular basis. Nobody deserved to live in constant fear. And if the Sheriff wasn’t about to do something about it then he would. It’s part of the reason he had come all the way out here, a big part of why he was even on this little rock.

Redemption; it truly was a bit of irony that the town had been named so. He had made the choice to redeem himself and gone looking for the perfect place. A place where a hero was needed, somewhere he could make a difference. Here in Redemption all he saw was the need for someone to make a stand. This was as perfect a town to throw down a defiant challenge against those who would prey upon the weak or helpless as ever there could be. And the name alone was a fitting sign. He would make his start here and begin his career as a crime fighter. What better place to do that then a town ripe with criminals and in need of some hope?

Thoughts of the faces he had already encountered on the Titan Train drifted back to his mind every time he closed his eyes, even for a moment. They held the sorrowful emptiness of cattle in a way, void of a life that didn’t know helplessness. How had the people here lived this way for any time at all? And then Marshall pictured the old widow who nearly lost her only piece of luggage as a crewman attempted to recoup the lost ticket revenue taken by the robbers. This truly was a depressing place.

People still moved about up and down the street around him but no one approached or hailed him with greeting. Aside from the seemingly polite encounter with the Sheriff upon exiting the Titan Train he wondered if there was a single hospitable soul left here in Redemption. He couldn’t blame them though, if he was visited by violent villains on a regular basis he might be a bit over-cautious himself. Still, there had to be some kind hearted decent person somewhere in this town. Didn’t there?

Lost in contemplating the matter Marshall found himself absent-mindedly still wandering about the streets of Redemption. His thoughts drifting back and forth from present events to some older encounters he tried to push back down and out of mind. Looking to distract himself from such matters he once more began to scan his surroundings for someone who might be able to provide his some manner of charitable advice or insight. His eyes immediately settled on a single young lady exiting an establishment.

The placard above the door was a simple enough sign that he didn’t need to be spelled out to explain the type of business it dealt in. All anyone needed to see was the unmistakable image of a box and shovel to understand that this could only be the office of the local undertaker. What reasons this lady might have to visit such a merchant of morbid matters was beyond Marshall but something told him that perhaps he might have luck asking her for advice.

There was a sort of mysterious quality to this maiden, moving in slow precise movements with a relaxed and refined care. She was dressed smartly in a neat charcoal pinstriped top and trousers that was accented by a crisp black vest. A coal color topper sat tipped slightly askew upon her head with a flawless braided bun of russet resting to the rear. Everything down to the pristine knee-length buckle-top boots spoke of an almost obsessive attention to detail. If anyone might be able to point him in the appropriate direction it had to be this meticulous maiden.

“Lovely day, isn’t it Miss?” Marshall called to her before removing his hat to approach her with his head bowed slightly. “My name is Marshall Lawson and I find myself at the mercy of being new to Redemption. If you could be so kind as to remedy my ignorance and point in the direction of a charitable place where I might find shelter I would be ever so grateful.”

A pair of amethyst eyes answered Marshall by analyzing him with a scrutinizing stare in response to the request. The ladies lips pursed before pulling to the left in a curious expression that he couldn’t tell was meant to mean disdain at being interrupted or simply caught off guard. Considering where she had just left he hoped he hadn’t caught her at an unpleasant time.

“Apologies stranger, but were you addressing me by chance,” she asked awkwardly. There was a pleasant undertone of cheer in her voice that made Marshall smile briefly before he realized he should answer. “Yes, ma’am,” he confirmed with a nod. Something about his answer seemed to prompt a half-puzzled grin to form upon her face only to be shaken off with a muffled giggle.

“Well then,” she began and recomposed herself. “If that is the case then it would be quite unforgivable rude of me not to avail you of my familiarity of Redemption, or at the very least try to provide some manner of response. As the matter stands the best advice that I can offer is for you to make your way over to see Grandma Grael over at the General Good. You can find her down the street and around the bend. Just make sure to inform her that Miss Donovaen sends her regards. I am sure that will be more than sufficient to provide you enough to get her attention and your foot safely in the door. But let me just say it’ll be up to you to convince her to let you stay for any length. Likely Grandma is about the best bet for a new name come to town seeking hospitality.”

“You have my gratitude then,” Marshall offered before replacing his hat. “Best of luck to you Mr. Lawson, I must take my leave now. I have other matters to see to.” Respectfully Marshall made sure to wait for the lady to leave first before he himself went about finding this Grandma Grael. With any luck perhaps he would be fortunate enough to find himself a bed for a night or so while he got a better feel for the situation here in Redemption.