The three Dogs are positioned outside the closed church, a very thin subtle blackness blankets over everything, every now and again a soot particle is noticed as it floats down to its comrades, the high noon sun catching the metal fragments within. The ground has a gritty texture that has people walk around, leave foot prints every where, and there are piles of it gathering up in corners and walls. As people walk by they look over at the Watch Dogs as they stand in front of the boarded up church, in their coats of office, guns by their sides, the townsfolk do not rest their eyes on them for too long, a quick glance then carry on with their day. Temperance stands down the alleyway with the Dog’s horses and the two young ruffians they met mere minutes earlier, themselves standing down by the orphanage. The young lad that had giving the Dogs a message about Archibald, after giving them the directions to the house, had left to go about his next duty.
After having a look over the church from the outside, seeing that it is securely locked and boarded up, the three Dogs decide to go and have a word with this Archibald guy. As they travel through the town towards Archibald’s residence, the townsfolk keep out of their way, stepping to one side letting them pass, avoiding any problems.
Archibald’s home is a rather clean kept place, especially compared to the rest of the town they have been walking through, with all the soot and grim that seems to coat everywhere. His residence has a fresh looking, white washed stone walls, with vines creeping up to the second floor, a bright chestnut door at the front, a hammer and pick mark hanging upon it. Brother Joshua knocks the door, and after a few moments the door is opened by a middle aged woman in her long black dress, she is looking a little tired and steps back a half step as she sees them. She greets the Dogs, realising who they are asking if they are there to meet with the master, Brother Ambrose confirms this, and she invites them in. The woman offers to take their coats, unsure whether she should or not, Ambrose informs her that they will not be staying long, and Joshua gives her a negative, while Jesse just stands there with his arms folded. Stairs can be seen on either side leading up to the second floor, clear wood panel with nothing on them, and in the center of the stairs leads an open door to an office, where a gentleman sits that can only be Archibald.
Archibald sits behind a lush wooden desk, a smile on his face of someone who’s life has been going well for them, and sat on the desk in front of him is an elaborate pearl-handled revolver, more showy than practical, but it can still do the job if called upon. His cheeks are of a rosy complexion, due from the rather too warm heating of the house, in his hand he has a pocket watch on a chain, which he is busy looking at as the Dogs enter, he flicks the cover closed and swings it back in to his pocket, stands and greets the Dogs inviting them in to his office. Brother Ambrose greets him back, asking if he would be Archibald. Archibald confirms this and offers his large damp hand. Ambrose shakes his hand, introducing the rest of the Dogs to him, Brother Jesse unfolding his arms and offers his own hand to him, and has Archibald shakes it Jesse applies a gentle pressure to his grip. After the formalities are over Archibald flexes his hand a few times getting life and blood back in to his fingers.
The Dogs are asked why they are there, and they share that they met a couple of outlaws on the outskirts of town. Archibald shares a little history of the town and the few problems they are having of late, he tells the Dogs of how young the town is and how quickly it grew. How he had to establish the seam before anyone else could, and not being able to get a steward in, but luckily a few stewards came in to help out from the surrounding towns, however the could not stay long and soon went back to their own flock. Brother Jesse inquires as to why he has problems getting a steward, and to why the church is locked up, Archibald tells of how there is no one near by that is trained up, and as for the church, he kept it locked to stop it from being vandalised. However Jesse insists on why it should be locked, not letting the towns people access to the church, has he not got anyone who could just keep an eye on the place, to make sure everything is okay within. Archibald thought it best, without a steward, to keep the church locked up, but he suggests that he can pull some men off the woman’s district to look after the place, he then asks the Dogs if they could help him get a new steward for the town. Archibald tells them of his concern for the town, that without a steward here things will get worse, the Dogs agree to helping out if they can, see if they can find someone to steward the flock. Brother Jesse tells him that they will do what they can, but they would like to have the keys to the church, to open it up for the town, and to make sure everything is in order within, hopefully ready for a new steward in the future. After this Archibald tells them about an accident in the mines that he is worried about, one of the lines collapsed in and they have tried several times to re-open it. It is said that the men that went down there were cursed, and the talk spread through the town, they believe that they will bring the demons in if they are not careful. Brother Ambrose asks him about the orphanage, Archibald winces slightly, telling him that he wished people would not call it that, it is not only for the children who during the day stay over in the woman’s district, but those who came to work the mine and have no money, whereas there are those who came with both money and skill that profit, and who built the other side. Archibald explains that there is nothing he can do about the divide at the moment. Ambrose asks him if it is possible for them to take a look in the mine, which Archibald agrees with, instruction them to find someone to accompany them as it is easy to get lost in there. Archibald finished by asking the Dogs if they can try not to ignite the tension between the two sides, and he has worked hard to keep the peace between the two sides.
After their meeting with Archibald, the Dogs head over to the church to take a look inside and open it up for the townsfolk. The key that Archibald gave them is attached to a large block of wood, making it impossible to fit in any pockets. As they draw near to the church they see a small crowd gathering just down further near the orphanage, a slight commotion in the air. A cold chill whips up and blows past the Dogs, the dust upon the wall forming a strange pattern that soon disappears before their eyes, then the sun comes back out from behind the clouds and a warmth settles.
As they draw closer to the commotion some shrill voices can be heard coming from the gathering, the Dogs can see their horses still there, whiney and stamp their hooves in unsettled movement. When the Dogs approach in a rush the crowd notice and start to separate, a susurrus going amongst the gathering as they part like the red seas.
“Listen, listen, there is no need to be like that,” a young familiar voice stands out, “we just thought it would be a good idea to, you know, give a horses a little, you know, a trot around. No need to get all touchy there missy!” As the Dogs get in close, the gathered crowd now parted enough out of the way, the Dogs can see Roland in his familiar straw hat pushed back with a piece of corn in his teeth, leaning back on one of the horses, Randle stood behind him holding on to Roland’s leather jacket, a big grin passes across his face as he sees the Dogs, “Hey you can’t call her off can you?”
Brother Ambrose walks straight up to them and pulls him hard off the horse, seeing now Temperance sat on a wooden stall from near a door, the gun belonging to Roland is now in her hand and pointing at the two youths, quickly she drops the gun and kicks it under the stall, getting lost within her long dress, she blushes and lowers her head.
“You were trying to steal our horses….am I wrong!?” Ambrose confronts the youths who are now rolling in the dirt yapping with pain.
Brother Jesse walks up next to Ambrose, folding his arms and heaving his chest out just staring at them.
“….ha, ha, haa, we were just, you know, kind of thinking about what you had said to the other guys, about what you would do to us, and we thought that it can’t really get any worse for us, I mean you said you were going to do worse things than hanging. If we left with the horses, you wouldn’t have to worry about us, and we would have to get killed. Thought it best for both sides.”
“May I suggest that you don’t think.” Jesse tells him.
“Umm, I’m proceeding to no think right now.” After a pause he carries on to argue that Temperance had taken his gun, and thought that stealing is a sin, and with this Ambrose asks him where he had got the gun. Roland goes on to state that it was his father’s, and Jesse checks whether it was his father’s or perhaps someone else’s father’s. Jesse unfolds his arms and flexes his hands and fingers, reminding the lad what had happened last time he had got close to him and his brother. Ambrose reassures him that killing is also a sin, unless it is to stop horse thieves and bandits.
Ambrose explains to Randle and Roland that the Dogs are going to open up the church, to allow the people access to the King of Life, and that they will be helping out, taking all the boarding off the windows and doors, and that there will be men around to keep an eye on them. Jesse however over hears them whisper, “See, see, I told you they were….” Roland quickly turns back to his brother and whispers back, “See now if I was to kill you right now, I would be the one to get in to trouble!” Interrupting Randle with his own whisper. Ambrose carries on explains that the Dogs will also be going in to investigate the problems in the mines, some more murmuring spreads through the crowd, still there watching what will unfold.
In the near distance can be seen an older man, a broken open shotgun nestled in his arms, some of the women standing in the doorway, children hanging on to their legs as they all peer out. One of the women appears to be looking a little furtive, her hat pulled low over her eyes, a slight blush to her checks emphasising her freckles. Jesse notices what appear to be black marks beneath her eyes, just before she lowers her hat. Like a lot of the women she wears a lot of black and blue, and upon seeing one of the Dogs notice her she steps back in to the shadows of the building. Jesse points this woman out subtly to Ambrose.
Slowly the crowd disperse after watching the entertainment for the day, but one man comes up to them and tells them that once they have sorted the problems out with the mines, then they can come with a pure heart, and tell the ones in there that they do no sin, then walks off.
Brother Jesse grabs the two brothers by the scruff of their necks and leads/pushes them off to the church. The crowd stop and watch again as the Dogs open once more the doors of the church, allowing the light to flood within finally, dust getting disturbed being sent this way and that. As they walk in the light doesn’t travel very far within, only dark shadows of the pews and altar can be made out, small deposits of soot near the doorway, and as they move around further deposits are found near the boarded up windows.
Ambrose has a little chat with Temperance suggesting that she keep an eye on the two youths, who will be helping her clean the place up, and open the windows, and perhaps encourage the townsfolk that are gathering to help join in. Meanwhile Jesse has a quiet word with the brothers, reminding them to be very careful as it is not their property but the King of Life’s, and that they will be keeping an eye on them. Also while talking with Temperance, Ambrose has a word about the gun she hid under her stall.
As they go about cleaning the church they discover a broken holy symbol, a tree of light with one of the branches broken off, the Dogs secure one of the many metal workers within the town to set to work fixing as best he can the symbol. Once this has been done the Dogs head off out and head towards the mines.
The Dogs head up a well-worn path winding up a steep hill, Ambrose finding it a little harder than the rest to climb. Once finally at the top they come to the entrance to the mine, it has simple rope and pulley system. There is no one around so the Dogs descend in to the depths of the mine, small clouds and pockets of soot rising out from the black maw they enter. As they breathe within this hole the soot can be felt on their lunges, as well as their eyes become gritty from all the soot. The journey down to the mine floor is a rough journey but they manage to survive it, not something they would want to do very often.
Very soon after arriving on the floor the Dogs hear footsteps approaching, then a shadowy figure looms out of the dark at them, eventually it walks out in to the light, a man with scars on his face, soot even manages to have got mixed up with the scars, his hand resting on his axe handle. The guy greets them polite enough, asking who they are. Ambrose introduces themselves as the Watch Dog, and the guy apologises but asks them to give him a chance for his eyes to adjust so he can have a better look at them before he approaches any closer. After a short moment he walks up to them apologising again and introducing himself as Ferris. He tells them that they probably shouldn’t be down there right now, and that they are working on a new seam.
The Dogs explain to Ferris that they have come down to take a look at the problem they have in the mine, however Ferris explains that he can’t allow them to do that, they have had a collapse, and he can’t guarantee their safety, but if they come back the following morning he should be able to help them out, he will get Cuthbert to show them around, being that he is the lightest stepper. Ambrose then asks Ferris if he knows of anything that has been happening, to which Ferris tells him that all he knows is the mine, spends most of his time working it, explaining that it is a tough life, the most precious thing in his life is his wife who lives in town, and he finds it difficult to protect her while at the same time having to look after the mine.
After having their talk with Ferris, the Dogs agree to come back in the morning, so head of back to the church to see how they all fair with sprucing the place up, finding the journey back not as bad as it was going to the mine. A guy stops them on the way informing them about demon liquid that seems to be selling on up in the mine, and some around town, and perhaps that it could be the cause of the problem in the mine. The Dogs thank him for his information, getting his name as Harem.
Once they finally arrive back at the church, they are greeted by a guilty looking Roland, exclaiming it wasn’t him, he just found it like it. Ambrose asks him what did he find, so Roland rushes off ask them to follow him. He leads them to a little alcove hidden right at the back of the church, and within they find a couple of bottle, one of which is smashed on the floor, Roland still insisting that he had not done it. There are also some small little tools that Jesse recognises as little lock picks, he quickly picks them all up and puts them in his pockets, away from curious minds. Also there seems to be some remains of someone having been here recently. The Dogs get the youths to clean up the mess in the alcove, gathering all the material, rubbish and bottle, the Dogs taking it to be burned.
As the night draws on, the fire now dying down, a single solitary figure walks down in to the town from the hill. The Dogs recognise him and decide to watch him, seeing and following where he may lead. The guy seems to look around, glancing as he goes, knowing exactly where he is going, walking through areas that are open and well light, heading more into the affluent part of town. Eventually leading them to a door, Ferris gives a knock and waits. After a long pause he mutters to himself, “Don’t say he is out again.” He bangs on the door twice more, with a little more force this time. Slowly the door opens, a big figure leans in to the door, his eyes all red. Quickly Ferris throws both his hands out to help stable the guy and lead him back in to the house.
The Dogs listen in and hear him mention about having to watch over the pit again, seeing as he is not fit again to do the job, walks back out muttering that he had better go see Ami-Loo and tell her he wont be able to see her again. He then heads off to the orphanage side of town.
A woman in a dark blue dress, a hat over her eyes comes out to greet Ferris as he approaches. Ferris puts his arms around her, gently touching her cheek beneath her eye with his finger, shaking his head. He then reluctantly tells her that he has to go back up to the mine, telling her that Presence isn’t in a fit state again, reassuring her that as soon as Presence is clean again he will down to see her. He then starts his slow walk back up the hill. As the door closes behind the woman, the Dogs hear a heavy bolt slide across, followed by a second, then the curtains are closed.