Current Listening: Rains of Catamere – Break of Reality
Current Reading: (As far as I’m concerned, audiobooks count) Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands – Stephen King
So I’m a slacker, I admit it. Life shows up, book 5 revisions show up and this tends to go by the wayside. This first part of the year has been absolutely insane. Usually things settle down about late February but this year that just has not been the case. So far, early 2017 has been running from one fire to the next. At least, that’s how it feels.
At any rate, for those that don’t know, I have developed an avid interest in tabletop gaming. This started with my first D&D campaign last year at GenCon and has evolved into an every other Saturday online event. Well, for those unfamiliar with the genre, tabletop role play is basically a storyteller’s dream if you like to game. You create a character within a specific world and act within that world to build a story. This story can include combat and just about any scenario you can think of. The only real limit is the games mechanics and your imagination.
Lately, my Saturday adventures have been within the world of Deadlands. This game is a western type sci-fi and it challenged me in terms of my storytelling and character development because it’s just a smidge outside my normal comfort level. So I’m sharing the character I created for this world and her…introspection I guess. I hope you enjoy.
The doctor had come and gone. The morning, from what she could see, was clear and bright. Doctor Palmer, who had some sort of history with her charge, said she would be at least another week abed before she could expect any reasonable return to normalcy. Her bloodstained shirt and pants were long gone in favor of a loose shirt and pants that he could maneuver around her bandages with ease. What the doctor and her compatriots had seen during the course of his examination, Deandra gave little thought to. The time for southern modesty had long since passed.
Richard Speakman, for all his gruff sternness, had been a godsend. He saw to not only her needs but Kara’s and Rodrigo’s as well. Deandra suspected that there was a further motive to the man but she was in no position to investigate. As it stood now, Deandra owed him and one Sioux her life. In truth, she owed them all her life. After all, she knew quite well what it was to be left behind. Her lips thinned to a line. She had more or less been on her own since she was a teenager.
The first week had been a haze of drifting consciousness and pain. The only thing she really remembered clearly was that both Kara and Rodrigo had not left her. Kara might as well been stapled to her bedside while her own wounds healed. Everyone had taken a beating to get away from the Dusky Jewel. They lost Simon McCoy in the retreat too.
When she began to mend, she asked Speakman if he could procure a leather bound notebook and pen for her. Her own had been lost when the stagecoach up-ended the very first day she met Rodrigo and Kara. The man had complied with a smile. That smile had its own secrets but for now she would take what help she could get. Perhaps Kara’s distrust of people was rubbing off on her.
As of late most of her writing had been lent to case reports but often she used such endeavors to clear her head. Right now, matters were puzzling and her head was a mess of emotions that needed an outlet. With that in mind, Deandra pushed herself into a careful sitting position. If she moved quietly enough, she might avoid waking a still-slumbering Kara. At least, she could hope. Her dark hair was carefully plaited down her back. She did not ask who responsible for the messy plait as she was in no condition to do so herself without pulling at the doctor’s careful stitches.
She put a pen to paper. At times like this she missed her parents. Her father would have been both amazed and saddened at what the world had become. The concept of ghost rock and technological advancements would have astounded him but distinct lack of safety in the west would have dismayed him to say the least. In his memory, she did what she could to keep the innocent safe.
Dear Mama and Papa,
Missing you today hurts anew but I have found I am not alone anymore…
She tapped her pen on the page with a thoughtful smile before she continued. Deandra documented their journey and the success they had at discovering the Dusky Jewel. From what she had heard as she drifted in and out of sleep, Rodrigo had told Speakman who then informed the authorities of the camp’s existence. Her thoughts flickered back to Agent McCoy as she considered his sacrifice.
I still don’t know if I could have saved him but it came down to a choice between Simon McCoy and my friend. My friend…I haven’t used those words since I was a girl. I don’t regret the choice in the least but the child in me wishes I could have saved them both. Speakman says he sees no reason this success should not usher me into a full Agency position but, my god, at what cost?
Writing her parents often eased not only the ache of losing them but the loneliness that came from a girl displaced from her home. Her aunt and uncle, though very kind, served to educate her and put a roof over her head but, they were not parents. She had school acquaintances but she would never have suspected a single one of them cared enough to throw her unconscious, bloody, body on a horse and try to stabilize her in order to assure her survival.
At times, her aunt and uncle had no idea what to do with her. She suspected that they breathed a sigh of relief when she entered the Agency and headed west. New York was not home. Hell, from what she heard she suspected that the south might not be home anymore. Where did that leave her? A smile curled her lips as she thought about her assignment, which Speakman assured her, would remain part of her objective whether she was promoted or not.
The Mexican Blade is as deadly as his nickname but he ruffles people’s feathers over the mildest thing. He is outspoken and usually drunk but he means well. He went for the doctor that saved my life, from what Kara told me. Speakman also indicated he threatened to shoot the doctor if he did not come immediately. So, I suppose the cat is out of the bag about my affiliations but I do not believe he realizes my exact purpose here. Watch him, they said. Keep him alive, they said. They did not really indicate why but orders are orders. Why my superiors would want such a notorious outlaw kept alive is beyond me.
Deandra paused again to reflect on those orders and the impact they had on her life. Duty was duty, she decided as she glanced over at Kara. She suspected that her friend was just giving her the illusion of sleep to give her the perception of privacy. Kara was sometimes good like that. If she wanted to know, Deandra would tell her what was on her mind. Yes, duty was duty but friendship was another monster entirely.