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Messiah

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Arthur, Dutch, Micah, Charles, Bill, Lenny, and Javier snuck through the streets of Saint Denis, dodging Pinkertons at every  turn. Arthur, Charles, Lenny, and Dutch hid behind some boxes, eyeing a group of Pinkertons waiting for them.

“I’ll deal with ‘em.” Charles stated.

“What? How?” Dutch asked.

“I can’t kill all of them silently so when they chase me, you go the other way.” Charles said.

“No.” Arthur said. “I’ll do it. I’ll take some of the gold and lead ‘em off. I’ll hide somewhere, gather everyone at camp and get out of there.” Arthur grabbed as much gold as he could and before Dutch, Lenny, or Charles could protest, he drew the attention of the Pinkertons and lead them off. Lenny rushed after him to make sure he didn’t get himself killed. They rounded a corner and hid, waiting for the Pinkertons to pass. After what felt like forever, Arthur and Lenny crept out of their hiding place and whistled for their horses. They rode back to Shady Belle and found everything in disarray. Sadie approached the pair to talk with Arthur. Lenny rode into camp to help organize everyone.

“Arthur what the hell happened at that bank?” Sadie asked.

“The Pinkertons showed up.” Arthur answered. “That bastard Milton killed Hosea. John got captured and the others are on a boat to Cuba or somewhere.”

“Damn.” Sadie responded. “So what do we do?”

“I kept some of the gold from the bank. We need to pack everyone up and head back west.”

“West?! Why the hell are we goin’ west? Ain’t that where our troubles are worst?”

“Not anymore. The Pinkertons are here and think we’re here too. We ride back out west into New Austin fast, and I mean FAST, we put a lot of distance between us and the Pinkertons, and get ourselves set up. And it’ll be a lot easier to blend in with everyone here and two bastards on wanted posters than with everyone here and ten bastards on wanted posters. Hell, who knows, maybe we dig around in Blackwater for the money we stashed.” Sadie nodded, understanding Arthur’s plan to get them to safety. Arthur sighed with relief and said, “Good. I need you by my side to rally everyone so we can get the hell outta here fast enough so we can go to New Austin. If I gotta be Dutch then you gotta be me.”

“Alright.” Sadie chuckled. “Then let’s go rally the troops and head out.” Arthur gathered everyone in and announced, “Alright we need to pack everything up quickly cause the Pinkertons are gonna be here soon.” Everyone did as they were bid, except for Susan and Abigail.

“What happened Arthur?” Susan asked. “Where’s Dutch and the rest?”

“Mrs. Adler would you give me a minute?” Arthur asked Sadie. She nodded and went over to help get the camp packed up so they could leave.

“Hosea was both shot.” Arthur grumbled. “Killed. Dutch, Javier, Charles, Bill, and Micah are probably on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico by now.”

“What about John?” Abigail demanded pleadingly.

“He was arrested.” Arthur said. “I didn’t see. I was already on the roof buy then.” Abigail doubled over sobbing and Susan helped her up. Susan asked, “What’s your plan Mr. Morgan?”

“We’re ridin’ to New Austin.” Arthur stated. “I know it sounds risky but it’s our best bet. This is where the Pinkertons are and where they think we are. They ain’t expectin’ us to turn around and ride towards back Blackwater. Lenny and I are the only ones here on wanted posters so my hope is we can get situated outside Armadillo and get outta here before they know we’ve gone anywhere. I got ‘round $10,000 worth of gold so we can set ourselves up easier.”

“What about John?” Abigail begged. “We gotta get him outta jail.”

“We will.” Arthur assured. “We wait a little bit, see where they’re holdin’ ‘im, and Sadie, Lenny, and I can go get him. John’ll be fine but right now we gotta go.” Abigail nodded and she and Ms. Grimshaw aided in packing up the rest of the camp.

---

Arthur and Sadie rode in the front of the wagon train as the gang made their way westward.

“Leadership seems to suit you well.” Sadie quipped. “You seem to know what you’re doin’.”

“You kiddin’ me?” Arthur chuckled. “I ain’t got a damn clue what I’m doin’. It was always Dutch and...Hosea that made the decisions. I ain’t sure how I’m supposed to take care of everyone.”

“Just do what you always do and everything’ll be fine.” Sadie repiled.

“Then I had Dutch and Hosea to support me, act as a safety net and back me up.” Arthur sighed. “Now I’m on my own and I’m second guessin’ every choice I make.”

“That’s bullshit Arthur you ain’t on your own.” Sadie said. “Hosea told me once how you havin’ his back all them years was how he was able to make the right decision. Now I got your back Arthur. We’re gonna get everyone to safety and then we’ll deal with whatever else comes our way.” Arthur nodded gratefully and said, “You’re a good friend Sadie. Probably the best I got.”

“I’m your best friend in the world even though I don’t actually know all too much about you.” Sadie chuckled. “Hell, I don’t even know how old you are.”

“30. Arthur answered. “Born April 15th. Anythin’ else you’d like to know?”

“What happened to your parents?”

“Ma died when I was six. As for my Pa, did you ever hear about that massacre in El Paso in 1880?”

“My parents read about it yeah. Horrific.”

“My Pa was the guy they were hangin’. Someone shot the rope and all hell broke loose. We tried to escape but he got killed. Dutch and Hosea pulled me out. Ran with ‘em ever since. Your turn.”

“Alright, I’m 30 in, actually ‘bout a week. July 5th. Ma and Pa both passed. Caused a rift between my sister and I. Met Jake in 1894 and married him in ’96.”

“Okay this question may be inappropriate and you can definitely choose not to answer but did you and him ever think about kids?”

“We’d talked about it some but hadn’t made any commitments. Guess that’s just one of the many things I’ll never get to do with him.” Sadie lowered her head in sorrow. Arthur was kicking himself for asking such a personal question. Sadie noticed and reassured him, “Arthur it’s fine. If we’re gettin’ to know each other then we should talk about some of the bad stuff. Jake believed that to truly know someone, you had to get to know all of someone, good and bad.” In an effort to lighten the mood, Sadie said, “You know details about my love life. You spill now. I’m interested in hearin’ about this Mary of yours.” Arthur told her about how they’d fallen for each other, how her father was, and how she’d married some businessman or something. He then told about his two recent encounters and how he’d helped her against his better judgement and how she’d left him at the trolley station. Sadie shook her head,“I’m sorry if this seems rude, but this Mary sounds like a stuck up bitch.”

“Yeah she is sometimes.” Arthur admitted. “We came from two different worlds. I was born and lived as an outlaw and she had everything handed to her on a silver platter.” Arthur and Sadie continued to talk as the wagon train drove past Blackwater and through West Elizabeth, being careful not to draw unwanted attention. After two days of driving, they’d arrived at Lake Don Julio. Pearson and Ms. Grimshaw set to work at setting up the camp immediately. After finishing Arthur gathered everyone around to give some kind of speech.

“Alright, we’ve made it past Blackwater so the Pinkertons probably haven’t a damn clue where to find us now. We’ve got money, ‘bout $10,000 worth of gold so I do not want anyone doin’ anything that might get the law on us until I say it’s okay. No scopin’ jobs, no breakin’ into people’s homes and stealin’ shit, and especially no shootin’ folks. Stauss, no loan sharkin’. Just keep our books up to date. Trelawny, find somewhere to sell this gold. For now, if you wanna bring in some money, find some legal work. Cleanin’ houses, huntin’, bounty huntin’, things like that. I do not want to get the law on us again so keep a low profile, especially in Armadillo, the town nearby. And remember to put some money in the box for supplies and the like. We’ll be fine here for now. We just can’t push our luck.” The group disbanded and Ms. Grimshaw led Arthur into the tent that was usually Dutch’s.

“Good job Mr. Morgan.” Susan said. “You’ll get us outta this. I got faith in you.”

“Thanks Mrs. Grimshaw.” Arthur replied. He sat down in Dutch’s tent and sighed before he lay down and went to sleep.