Things Become Heated

Ambrose drags his brother Simon back down the mountain to the town.  Honora is keeping to herself, occasionally looking in bewilderment at the guy formally known as Elijah as he is forced on, not being slowed down even when his footing slips or gives way.  Joshua just walks on heading back to town following Honora, and every now and again looking back for any signs of trouble.  And Jesse is doing pretty much the same, except he is keeping an eye on Honora as she seems to be out of sorts since their time in the Mountain Folk’s camp.  Every now and again they hear an odd noise behind them, but when looking nothing can be seen.  The weather conditions are not helping either, as there is a heavy mist creeping down through the mountains.

By the time they make it to the outskirts of the town, near to the sacred tree, grown from a sapling from the Tree of Life, Simon is looking very bruised and battered from all the scrapes, trips and whips of his journey down the mountain.  The building up off snow beginning to weigh heavy on the young tree, and pinpoints of light can be seen here and there from the town.  Smoke is still issuing from the smithy’s building.

Finally they make it back to the chapel and swing the doors open, Ambrose dragging his brother inside.  There is no sign of steward Cresse at this time.  The place is cold, dark and empty.  Simon collapses to the ground, suffering from the cold conditions of his journey he was ill prepared for, his skin going a pale blue and chaps becoming visible.  He feebly pulls himself up on to one of the wooden chairs, his body shaking as it fights against the loss in body temperature.  He then turns and looks defiantly up at the three Watch Dogs stood there before him.  Honora left them once they got back to the centre of town, not saying much but Jesse thanked her for her assistance and she only nodded in response.

When nothing has been said, Simon climbs to his feet finding it difficult to stand as he must have hurt one of his legs and cannot put his full weight upon it.  He looks to one and then to another amongst the Watch Dogs, his mouth trying to form words but his voice struggling to make any sounds, only a faint horse sound comes from the back of his throat.  Simon braces himself and forces and loud cough to emerge clearing his throat.  “So what now?  Sham trial?”  Jesse ignores this and turns to Ambrose, asking that if it is alright he will leave and go over to Wayne’s to see if he knows where Cresse is.  Ambrose agrees with this, sharing that he could do with him there.  So Jesse leaves the chapel heading out in to the bad weather.  Joshua soon follows him out leaving Ambrose alone with his brother in the chapel.  Joshua takes up a position outside the door to the chapel, making sure that no except for Jesse or Cresse enters.  The visibility is very poor outside as the mist has become thicker as it followed the Dogs back down in to town.  Joshua catches a glimpse of a broad shadow in the mist, moving away from the chapel towards Wayne’s.  The wind has started to pick up too causing Joshua to pull his coat about him, and he assumes that the shadow must be Jesse heading to the smithy’s.

“Isn’t that nice, they have given us some space.”  Ambrose directs at his brother.  Simon pulls his clothes around himself, his teeth chattering involuntarily.  “Strange, I didn’t know they needn’t see you put a bullet in my head.”

“I don’t intend to do that…..Unless you make it necessarily. How’s your foot?”  Simon looks slightly taken with this remark, almost as if he was ready to spit but then thinks on it for a moment, he then shrugs and tells him that he has had worse.  Ambrose tells him that he has been causing problems in every town he visits.  “Whatever you think of the faith, the faith you turned your back on, I can’t let you cause further problems for any more people.”  With this Simon asks if he can let him set up his own town, stating that he is alright with the Mountain Folk and out of the way, he could also have the two wonderful young ladies from Stubborn Mount join him, along with his children and they can become a family.  Ambrose argues with him that he hasn’t got the makings for an independent settlement.  But Simon argues back that he may not yet but they will just need to get through the winter first.

Ambrose tries to convince his brother Simon that there would be no way that he and his settlement could ever survive, arguing that he has no idea or skill that would come close to the Mountain Folk.  However Simon of course throws his arguments back, saying that he has had to survive without a lot to eat, scrabbling through the sand or dirt for any scraps of food.  And Ambrose tells him that fending for himself is different to fending for a community.  They argue about what would happen if the food became scarce in the mountains, and about leading people from their families and the faith.  Simon assures Ambrose that even without him there is a community in the mountains that will continue.

Tired of going around in circles and banging his head against the metaphorical wall, Ambrose shakes his fist at Simon informing him that not one of there family will lead people in to sin.  Ambrose then goes to punch him.  However Simon quickly drops to his knees throwing his arms over his head to protect himself.  As Simon tries to place one of the chairs between him and Ambrose, Ambrose pulls his gun and tries to pistol whip him, “Do you want to bring more shame to the family?”  Simon just cowers there trying to keep himself covered by his arms, looking for an opening to make a break for the door out.  However there isn’t a chance as Ambrose stands between him and the door, so Simon dashes to another room slamming the door behind him.  Ambrose can hear him panting just behind the door, “You can kill me if you want,” pant, “but it will still live on.”

Jesse fights his way through the increasing bad weather, making his way to Wayne’s.  He hears the chapel door open and close again behind him nut pays it no attention aware that he needs to pay attention to where he is heading in this poor visibility.  The lights barely emanating from Wayne’s is all that Jesse has to guide him, but he eventually makes it safely to the door.  Wayne quickly opens the door and hurries Jesse in, closing the door with a rush so as to stop the cold from chasing the heat away.

Wayne is shocked to see Jesse out in the bad weather, trying to hurry his coat from him with all the snow that has built up from the short trip.  However Jesse assures him that it is all okay and that he will not be staying long.  He asks Wayne if he knows the whereabouts of the steward Cresse.  Wayne explains that everyone has been staying in their houses since the storm has closed in, but he is sure that Cresse was going to be over at Emmett’s, to check up on how he and Kisiah are doing.  He believes that it would have been earlier in the day, not being sure if he would still be there now.  Jesse thanks him for the information and asks him to pass on a message if he sees him, to tell him that the Watch Dogs are looking for him back at the chapel.  Wayne wishes him luck in his search, and with being out in the storm.  Jesse leaves and heads back out in the weather to head on over to Emmett’s.

On the roof tops amongst the shadows of the dark, and using the bad weather as an extra shield against being spotted. Two figures make their way carefully and quietly following a lone bulky figure, making its way through the street below.  Finding an appropriate opportunity, the two figures make their move and jump down upon the lone figure below them, knocking him in to the alley.

Standing outside the chapel, keeping a look out for any unwanted visitors, Joshua catches a sound through the thick air of the storm, a sound like something or someone being slammed against a wall.  Also as he has been scanning the surroundings he spots a fire break out near or in the harvest store.  Joshua quickly begins to shout out an alarm of ‘FIRE!’ and begins to knock on doors.

Within the chapel, just as Ambrose raises his hand to open the door to the room his brother went in to, he hears cries of ‘FIRE!’ coming from Joshua outside.  He pauses there for a mere moment his hand hovering over the handle, a curse on his lips.  Quickly Ambrose turns and rushes out the door of the chapel to see what is happening outside.  He spots Joshua running off shouting ‘FIRE!’, and can see the cause in the opposite direction, a fire that is quickly getting a hold and growing.  Ambrose runs towards the fire, leaving the chapel and his brother behind him.

Joshua becomes aware that people are getting the message and rushing out from their houses, so he carries on in this direction to investigate the odd sound he heard prior to spotting the fire.  As he draws near the location he can make out two figures taking on a lone Watch Dog.  One of them has Jesse’s arm locked behind him, while the other is waiting for an opening to throw a punch at his abdomen.

In the blur of the moment Jesse briefly recognises the two figures that are assaulting him.  One is the muscular woman that rushed for the old man in the cave.  The other figure is the muscular man that had rushed passed them, as they left the old man and woman behind, walking down the passageway.  The tall muscular man, with scars down one of his arms, is struggling to twist and hold Jesse’s arm behind his back.  However the muscular woman with robes burns round part of her neck, is waiting to make a move at an opening in Jesse’s guard.  As she lunges forward, getting close to Jesse’s face and punching him on the chin, she spits venomous words at him.  “How’s it feel like, being punched while ya helpless then.  How’s it feel like, someone taking advantage of ya when ya can’t fight back?  YA PIECE OF SHIT!”

Jesse using his brawling skills, from back when he used to live on the streets when he was young, turns his head with the impact of her punch, taking the force away from the punch so as not to do any damage.  He then turns back to face her eye to eye, “Is that all you got, Bitch?”  He then quickly lifts his knee with force, trying to catch her in the groan, giving her his full attention for now.  Aware of his movement, the woman quickly moves herself so that Jesse catches her on her leg bone instead.  She then notices a man running up to them with a large gun in his hands. “To hell with it.” She exclaims.

Joshua takes aim with his rifle, steadying it upon the woman as she staggers back from Jesse.  He pulls the trigger letting his gun do the talking.  However the woman was ready and quickly drops to the ground, doing the splits and disappearing from view.  And just as quick the man behind Jesse disappears from view, leaving Joshua looking down the barrel of his gun at Jesse only.

The hulking man doesn’t give either of the Watch Dogs time to think, and just as quick he reappears as he grabs a hold of Jesse, lifting him up and attempts to throw him at Joshua.  Joshua seeing this ducks and rolls forward, under the airborne Dog, coming up in front of the man and bringing his gun up under the man’s chin.  Jesse relaxes his body in the hope that he will make it hard for the man to grab and throw him.  However it doesn’t quite work and is still thrown, landing blinded by the poor weather condition and hurting from hitting something in the snow.

The woman seeing Joshua with the gun against her lover rushes forward, trying to slam the heel of her foot against the back of his knee, and knocking him forward against the wall.  Unfortunately it took him by surprise and he couldn’t avoid the full impact.  As she does this however, Jesse takes her by surprise barrelling in to her with his full body weight, lunging his shoulder in to her midsection and taking her down.  Her head bounces against the floor as she goes down.  As Joshua gains his balance once more, he quickly swings his gun around towards the man and pulls the trigger.  Again Joshua lucks out as the man quickly catches the barrel of his gun, and pushes it against Joshua’s face as the hammer hit home on the gun, white lightning streaking through his skull from the explosion so close.  Changing his grip on Joshua’s gun, the man uses the barrel under Joshua’s chin to try and pick him up.  Thinking quickly Joshua pushes himself up and off the wall, avoiding the barrel digging under his chin, and then swings himself to one side, using the momentum to break the gip the guy has on his gun.

Shaking her head to try and clear the fog setting in, she raises herself in to a crouch and sweeps her leg out to hit Jesse over.  But he is quick to notice and jumps up avoiding her swing, kicking his leg out at her head whilst in the air.  The hit makes her stagger back, moving like someone very drunk.  However she disappears in to the poor visibility of the weather once more.

As he gets himself back to his feet, Joshua pulls his knife aiming for the lower abdomen of the guy.  The man quickly turns to the side, the knife catching his coat and luckily avoiding his body.  The guy then tries to lock Joshua’s knife arm in his own, to attempt to swing him in to Jesse.  But Joshua and Jesse easily avoid this, Jesse stepping to the side, while Joshua twists his arm from the guy’s grip.  Taking advantage of splitting the guy’s attention between him and Joshua, Jesse throws a clenched fist at the side of his head.  The punch hits hard and true staggering the guy in to Joshua.  Quickly he regains composure and pushes away at Joshua and rushes off in the direction the woman had headed, disappearing in to the storm too.

Ambrose has run through the snow covered ground to find a large hay bail coated in flame, and is threatening to engulf food store in fire.  He could feel the heat as he got closer, the snow gradually melting further away from the building as the heat intensifies.  A lot of the people have and are rushing from their houses to help put the fire out.  The fire keeps licking out, reaching for the still damp wooden wall of the building, the wood drying out quickly with the heat reaching out for it.  Every now and again some of the hay gets caught in a breeze and escapes the bail, drifting across to the wall still on fire, landing on the ground and eventually going out.  But each time it takes longer to fizzle out.  Ambrose gathers a few of the villagers together and they take the barn door, using it to begin to push against the burning hay.  Ambrose grits his teeth against the heat the licks around the edges, reaching for his fingers.  Luckily with their quick initiative Ambrose and the towns folk manage to cut of the burning bail from the barn, and eventually put out the fire.

The crowd cheer and turn to applause Ambrose, Malakai who hasn’t been seen since their return claps him on the shoulder.  “Thanks we needed you there.  What the heck set that off?”  Jesse and Joshua rush up to find the crowd gathered around an ashen Ambrose, and Malakai stood behind him.  Ambrose tells Malakai that it is good to see him again, and he then nods to his fellow Watch Dogs who approach.  Jesse asks if everything is alright now, and Ambrose asks Joshua about the smell of gun powder about him.  However Malakai suggests that they should go back to his forge to talk, “As it will be warmer in there than out here.”  The Watch Dogs tell him that it is a good idead and thank him for the suggestion.

They head back to Malakai’s forge, seeing no sign of the steward Cresse amongst the crowd.  They do spot Wayne and a guy they briefly met before called Cyrus.  Cyrus sets about putting a watch up for the rest of the night.

When they get to the forge they see Adaliah sat within, her hair slightly greyer than before but a smile on her face still, and no sign of a child born or on its way.  “Pleasure to see you Watch Dogs again.  I never thanked you properly for helping Malakai before.”  Malakai leads the Dogs through to the workshop, the forge still burning and a half finished horse shop resting on the anvil.  “I’ll leave you be.  I wouldn’t want to get in your way.”  Before he leaves them Jesse asks him if he had seen the steward Cresse recently.  He tells them that he hadn’t seen him today, not that he had been out much at all today what with the weather like it is.  Jesse thanks him and lets him leave, waiting until he is gone before talking with the others.

Jesse shares with the others that it appears the steward Cresse has disappeared, and with Ambrose the help Joshua gave him with the two assailants, telling him that it was the two people from his brother’s encampment in the mountains.  Joshua adds that it was because of that which is why Ambrose could smell the gun fire.  Ambrose apologises for his initial thought of Joshua, and Jesse adds that this time he was not to blame, however he does turn to look at Joshua finishing with ‘this time.’  They all agree that they can not let those two thugs go with the action they took against a Watch Dog.  Jesse suggests that Ambrose’s brother would more than likely know the name of the two attackers.  Joshua and Jesse agree that the fire must have been started by someone other than those two people.  Jesse thinks that it would be best to see if they can locate where Cresse has disappeared to.  This they can do before it becomes too late, and leave finding the two attackers and dealing with the encampment until the following day.

The Watch Dogs begin to walk around the town asking people and knocking on doors, trying to find the missing steward Cresse.  Eventually they arrive at Emmett’s house, and the door is opened by Honora.  She looks surprised to see them again so soon, and asks them if everything is alright, wondering if they need to head back to the Mountain Folk’s or the encampment.  Jesse assures her that everything is fine and that they would like a quick word with her husband Emmett.  She heads of with a smile, and soon Emmett greets them.

Emmett invites them in asking how he can help them.  Jesse tells him that they will not be staying long, and that they only wish to know if he saw Cresse today.  He confirms that Cresse had indeed been there recently, and that they had been talking while having a small bite to eat and drink while waiting for the storm to pass.  “Upon hearing the cries of FIRE! He rushed out, just as I did.  I lost track of him after that.”  Jesse checks if the steward had been with him all day, and is told that it was most of the afternoon as he had duties in the morning.  He wasn’t sure which way the steward ran once he left, but Emmett believes it was towards the chapel.  Jesse thanks him for his information.  And Emmett shares that he was surprised not to see Cresse out side helping with the fire.  And before they leave Emmett tells them one other thing that has been on his mind.  He tells them about he look towards where the tree is, to give him some hope before dealing with the fire.  And in the distance he thought he could see what looked like Sleeping Dog, and shares that he has seen him hanging about a lot recently.  He keeps getting the feeling that Sleeping Dog is watching him or the house.  Ambrose assures him that it is nothing to worry him about.

As they walk away from Emmett’s house, Jesse turns to Ambrose and points out there seems to be more happening which point to something between Honora and Sleeping Dog.  Joshua agrees with this saying that Sleeping Dogs appears to be watching her more than the house.  Ambrose agrees saying no more.  They all agree that they need to head back to the chapel.  Jesse asks Ambrose whether his brother is still okay back at the chapel.  Ambrose pauses before he responds as if a sudden thought crosses his mind.  He tells them that he didn’t lock him in, but is sure that he has stayed put.

As they arrive outside the chapel, Joshua bringing up the rear as usual.  Jesse stops and leaves it for Ambrose to open the door.  Ambrose realises what is happening and steps forward boldly, pushing open the doors with confidents.  The door that Ambrose had left his brother Simon behind is still closed, in fact more firmly than before.  A big thick plank has been wedged across the door.  And about two inches above that is a blue feathered arrow imbedded in the wall.

“I swear in the name of the King of Life, if you don’t let me out of here I will hunt you down, and inflict such terror upon you that you will welcome it when the pit takes you.”  Comes cries from behind the door, cries that sound an awful lot like the steward.  Jesse turns to the other two Dogs and points that he would like the honours of opening the door.  “Open up damn you woman, open up!”  Jesse opens the door and the steward spills out from behind the door falling to his knees.  “Well its about…”   He then stutters and stops himself before saying something more.  Cresse realises who is stood before him, and thanks him for his assistance.  Jesse asks him what had happened.

The steward Cresse explains that he had rushed to the chapel when hearing the cries of fire.  No one was inside so he closed the door.  That was when he realised there was a woman inside, a Mountain Folk woman.  Cresse tells them that he went to confront her as to why she was there, but the next thing he knows is waking up in that room and couldn’t open the door.  Ambrose explains that he was probably his brother that had knocked him out, and more than likely the woman who had locked him in.  He shows Cresse the arrow telling him that she had left it as a calling card.  Ambrose apologises for what had happened to him.  Cresse begins to get worked up and start to say they should have, he then turns to Jesse and concludes, talk with them thoroughly, referring to the Mountain Folk.  Ambrose keeps eye contact with the steward Cresse as he explains that his brother is the cause of this, and appears to have gone by several names.  Cresse doesn’t keep the eye contact for long before turning away, asking if they will be burning down the encampment.  Ambrose assures him that they will be dealing with the problem tomorrow, to put an end to it once and for all.

And that is where the night ends as the storm carries on outside, unaffected by the troubles within the town.

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