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Witches of the West (IC)

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Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States
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Witches of the West (IC)

Postby Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States » Fri May 07, 2021 12:45 pm

Witches of the West
Image


March 28th, 1890
Green River, Utah Territory, United States of America
19.33 hours


Almost an hour after sunset, the 2-8-0 ‘Consolidation’ eased its way into Green River Station. The train had slowed down to cross the Green River bridge, and continued at a steady pace to its final resting point for the day; the end of the Denver line. The next day, the Consolidation would be turned around at the range and make its way back to Denver, and beyond to the East Coast, from whence it had come.

Matthew J. Callahan sat by the window in one of the two cars, rented exclusively by the War Department for their comfortable transport to what remained of the western frontier, eagerly tapping his leg, willing the train to move faster. Spending 80 hours in cramped compartments together was enough to get to know any person; something special agent Callahan desperately wanted to avoid. He didn’t want the Department to consider him for another one of these assignments. Looking around the train car at his charge, Callahan would rather spend a year aboard a battleship than spend an hour longer than necessary with them.

“Just in time” Messiah Hahn said, taking the seat in front of him. The broad man, face set with a heavy grey beard and deep lines around his eyes, was a War Department veteran, and deeply knowledgeable about the superpowered. He was permanently attached to the Special War Bureau, the euphemistic designation for the division that dealt with the superpowered. Hahn looked perpetually tired, deep bags under his eyes, and was a chain smoker, leading Callahan to wonder whether he was actually old, or just looked like it.

“Half an hour later, and we’d have to find other lodgings” Hahn added, his voice muffled through his smoking pipe. The War Department veteran had made all necessary arrangements, including buying horses in advance and getting reservations for the most discreet hostel he could find; one next to a whorehouse, that specialised in anonymity.

“You’d think that traveling with these Extras is as bad as fucking a whore” Callahan quipped. Hahn cracked the most miniscule of smiles below his pipe, but then quickly shook his head.

“Tis worse around these parts. Knowing a whore will get you out of prison. Sharing a drink with an Extra will get you hanged” Hahn answered. Callahan, for the first time, realised that their arrival under the cover of darkness was no coincidence. Looking at the haggard face of Hahn, Callahan wondered how many hundreds of other eventualities the bearded civil servant was prepared for, and whether that kind of responsibility was worth the power it came with.

It was the only thing that drew Callahan to this assignment. The idea of holding these living weapons, worth whole divisions of troops, at his fingertips, and directing them towards the enemy. Looking sideways at some of the individuals at his mercy, he felt like a Napoleonic general, and wondered if there was anyone as powerful this side of the Rockies and the Mississippi.

“You got the names?” Hahn asked curtly. Callahan, awoken from his deliberations, noticed that the train had stopped. Slowly, the Extras that had been staying in the other car were filtering in, as instructed. They were to be briefed on their first target in the rail car, away from preying eyes of lookers-on. At least, as long as their presence was still unknown. Callahan looked at Cactus Jack, and wondered how long they could keep their presence a secret.

From his briefcase, Callahan procured three envelopes, each closed with a wax seal of the War Department. They had each been numbered with pen, a small circled number just below the seals. The identities of unsecured Extras were a state secret; not only to keep them from foreign enemies, but from domestic ones as well. The Civil War, 25 years earlier, was still remembered by veterans like Hahn, and while the politics of the nation had changed, nobody was eager to relive the assassination of president Garfield; murdered by an icicle which perforated his back.

“Gentlemen, I…” Callahan, began, before correcting himself. The idea of employing women for a task this dangerous was still uncomfortable to him, though Hahn seemed entirely unfazed.

“Oh, and ladies, of course, for this occasion. I will not bore you with some speech about why you are here, that’s between you and God. I have in this envelope the name and details of an individual currently wanted by the War Department. The Secretary impressed on me personally the need to acquire this person alive, and preferably willingly”

Callahan snapped the wax seal in two and opened the envelope, retrieving the paper inside. The file was very short indeed, and attached was only a single photograph.

Image
Wexler Terrence (middle)

No known aliases

W. Terrence was a captain in Confederate service during the civil war. During the chaos of reconstruction, he rode with the Klan in the first year after its founding, but soon vanished west. Last reported sighting in Hanksville, Utah Territory.

Wexler Terrence (W. Terrence) exhibits powers related to weather, although it is unknown if he can control it willingly, or whether it changes around him. It is also unknown whether he causes weather or whether he can locally influence the degree in which it occurs. Known dangers include lightning strikes and localised heavy winds. Military use cannot be understated; the Navy has indicated interest in acquiring this individual as a priority.

Under the confederate pardons, W. Terrence falls under the superpowered exception to the aforementioned pardons. The president is willing to pardon W. Terrence for his previous transgressions if he were to join United States service under the War Department.


“This information, gentlemen, is not… oh, ladies… is not to leave this company or this state until this individual is safely in my custody. If you bring him to Green River, the cavalry will take it from here”

It felt strange to Callahan that the 100 carbines of the US cavalry stationed at Green River, nominally to protect the railroad, paled in comparison to the handful of specials under his command.

“If there are no more questions, please follow mister Hahn to the hostel. We have two-person rooms, please divide the rooms among yourselves”
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Talchyon
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Postby Talchyon » Fri May 07, 2021 6:41 pm

The "executive" car where the briefing is taking place
Rooster Z. Morgan


Stretching his cramped legs, a thin brown haired man stood as the train slowed to a halt. Too early to sleep for his liking, the man had spent the last few hours with the lamps burning dimly trying to read one of the newspapers they had brought with them for the third time. Not that he cared much for the politics of the day, or even for reading newspapers in general, but it sure beat having a conversation in whisper so as not to wake up some of their companions who were getting some shut eye.

Rooster Z. Morgan had heard tales of the wilderness that was Utah. And for all purposes, those tales had forgotten to say exactly how dull and dreary the place actually was. He would be glad to ditch this job and get back to winning at cards.

Sauntering into the "executive" car where the War Department honchos were waiting, Rooster leaned up against one of the benches to listen. Agent Callahan began his spiel while Agent Hahn looked grim as ever. Rooster smiled broadly at the agents, hoping that his charming personality might throw the agents off their planned speeches. Not that he thought they'd be suckers for his charm. Federal agents tended to not trust gamblers in general, let alone specials like himself. Nonetheless, he'd amuse himself by trying to get them to second guess what he was doing. If his charming smile could disrupt Callahan's train of thought, then it was worth it. Not like he cared for whatever this mission seemed to be. Or working for the U.S. government.

Listening with half an ear to the tale of the Confederate weather controller, this Captain Terrence or whatever he was going by now, Rooster perked up at the mention of pardons. That would serve him well, too. He could just see President Harrison signing a pardon for a particular Rooster Z. Morgan, and his grin got, well, more genuine.

When it came time for questions, Rooster merely shrugged. Sounded like a simple case of find the man and con him into working for the good ol' U.S. of A. If the others could find this Terrence fellow, Rooster trusted his ability to con him.

Following Agent Hahn to the hostel, Rooster asked Wesly, "Hey. Figures that since you and I have a common way of seeing the world, we'd make ideal roommates. Sound like a deal?" Regardless, Rooster grabbed one of the rooms and put some of this things down, sitting down on the lumpy mattress that the hostel offered. Still, it was better than some places he had laid his head before.
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Madrinpoor
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Postby Madrinpoor » Sat May 08, 2021 6:56 am

Calavera spent the train ride half-sleeping. He had trained himself to sleep lightly, so if there was danger he'd wake up quickly to respond. Or if he noticed that Callahan person calling all the other witches to the executive car for their briefing.

Calavera rubbed his eyes and hobbled into the other car. Wexler Terrence. A confederate fighter—that made Calavera like him a little less. Confederates thought they were better than everyone else. No doubt this guy does. Eh. The more they estimate themselves to be, the easier Calavera can find their fears. The most pronounced flaws are found in those who don't believe they have any.

"When was this sighting in Hawksville?" Calavera rasped. Fools didn't think to include when. He could be on the other side of the continent if it was too long ago.

Calavera hobbled out of the train car and stopped in front of the hostel. "Which one's the hostel and which one's the whorehouse?" Calavera asked to Hahn. "They both look the same to me."
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Postby Voxija » Sat May 08, 2021 8:17 am

Isaac Berkowitz

In this strange train, after being briefed on the mission, Isaac Berkowitz stroked his beard. He had some moral reservations about this, about going after a man and coaxing him to join the army. But this was the best way Isaac could find to serve his new country. And Isaac had gleefully volunteered for this mission. It was nothing like how the Russian army conscripted Isaac when he was just an innocent nine-year-old. Surely not. The man was a confederate; Isaac abhorred slavery. Joining the army would be the best way for "Terrence" to redeem himself.

Isaac Berkowitz examined the picture of Wexler Terrence. His name was odd. "Wexler" seemed like a last name, and "Terrence" a first name. And he seemed like the type to cause a lot of chaos with his weather powers. Isaac wondered why the US Army wanted a man like this, but remembered that the US wasn't choosy in its superpowered personnel. After all, look at this group.

Isaac had a question about not being allowed to leave Utah, which followed up on Calavera's question. "What if this man fled the state? What then?" Isaac still retained some of his gruff accent, even after ten years in the US. That would have to be fixed.

After the answer was given, Isaac wondered who he would room with in this rinky-dink excuse for a hostel. He didn't trust anyone here enough to share a room with them. But he had to trust, for the sake of the mission. Isaac eyed a mulatto (?) man named Davis. Seemed like he could relate to Isaac's trauma. So could Swift Thunder, a very stoic Indian man. Isaac was less afraid of Cactus Jack than the rest of the crew was. Isaac's power, the ability to summon swarms of bugs, was quite Biblical and terrifying itself.
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Main Nation Ministry
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Postby Main Nation Ministry » Sat May 08, 2021 10:19 am

Cactus Jack

If there was one thing people feared, it was the unknown. Things of the incomprehensible that needed to be seen to be believed, yet could easily be dismissed as a hoax. Cactus Jack was no hoax. He was in one of the two train cars, kept in the back with some armed men from the War Department, eyeing daggers at him. The rifles were probably enough to take him down, but not kill him. He had the ability to regenerate himself. It was unheard of, for a "witch" to be deemed immortal. For many, the thought of immortality was similar to what the alchemists of the past longed for.

From the miracles that Cactus Jack was blessed with, or perhaps cursed.. he was something of a spectacle. A spectacle that will most likely kill and maim whoever looks at him funny, but still someone who shouldn't be messed up. He was forced to stand in the train, the pins and needles on his ass would just jab the insides of his bowels. He was chewing on some tobacco, staining his shark teeth black and brown, as he kept to himself, until he heard a strict voice enter his ears with the cocking of a gun. "Get moving! It's time.." one of the armed men said, as Jack groaned. He waited until the other Extras entered the other car, as he followed them. He was already a living pincushion. No one wanted to touch him.

Even after Jack was forced to stand in the back, there was still an unease at his presence. He already saw what appeared to be fear in some of their eyes. Callahan was giving him a peculiar look, but Hahn looked ready to blow a hole into Jack's head with a revolver. He was told the information. An ex-Confederate. Needed to be brought back alive. A damn shame. He would have wanted some blood as a reward. He might needed to improvise..

The train had already stopped in front of a station that was near a hostel and whorehouse. How was Jack supposed to satisfy himself with a whore, when he would end up tearing her up by accident. Hahn led them to the hostel. Jack kept his hat low and the bandana around his neck covering his mouth, as he walked inside. The rooms were for two people, but Jack managed to get into an empty room. Whoever was his roommate, god help their soul.
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Postby The Black Remnant » Sat May 08, 2021 10:10 pm

Wesly Johnson

Wesly had remained mostly quiet throughout the train ride. Asides from pamphlets about his companions, he didn't quite bother getting to know them just yet. That could wait until after they were off the rail and away from government ears-well, as away as possible. If anyone had been watching him during the ride, they'd see him occasionally wince as brief sparks of gold light surged up his arms-often coupled by a slight lurch in the train car-and he came off as a little fidgety when the train slowed to a halt.

He quietly slipped into the Executive Car and listened to the spiel laid out. Ex-Confederate, a weather manipulator. Some others had already laid out questions, the russian and the Calavera fellow, but held his own tongue. Idly drumming his fingers against his sides, he simply followed along, only letting off two small swirls of dust in his wake.

At Rooster's suggestion, he nodded in agreement.
"Truthfully, yer the closest to my view of things here, even if our preferred venues differ. Regardless, I'd prefer any of you lot to the walking cactus, so it's a plus either way."
With that, Wesly doffed his hat before flopping onto the other bed and pulling its blanket over him.

A few minutes later, Rooster would probably be startled by a sudden yelp followed by quiet cursing. Looking over, it appeared that Wesly's power had triggered and...very tightly wrapped him up in his own blanket. The residual sparks were still flying from it, even as the Extra was working his way out of the tight folds.

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Talchyon
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Postby Talchyon » Sun May 09, 2021 3:38 pm

A hostel room
Rooster Z. Morgan


After getting his boots off and resting his feet, Rooster stretched out on the lumpy bed in his hostel room and tried to ignore the sounds of the others tramping by and claiming their own rooms. Wesly, his like-minded gambling man, had chosen the sensible course and taken Rooster's offer. The only problem with rooming up with a gambling stranger was that you didn't know if he was the kind who would try to rob you blind while you slept. Rooster was willing to take that risk, though, seeing as how they both had to be on this mission and he'd know where his teammate would be at if he did try a little five finger discount with Rooster's money.

But when Wesly came to the room and got ready for bed, it became immediately apparent that they weren't going to be sleeping any time soon.

The Black Remnant wrote:Wesly Johnson

Wesly had remained mostly quiet throughout the train ride. Asides from pamphlets about his companions, he didn't quite bother getting to know them just yet. That could wait until after they were off the rail and away from government ears-well, as away as possible. If anyone had been watching him during the ride, they'd see him occasionally wince as brief sparks of gold light surged up his arms-often coupled by a slight lurch in the train car-and he came off as a little fidgety when the train slowed to a halt.

He quietly slipped into the Executive Car and listened to the spiel laid out. Ex-Confederate, a weather manipulator. Some others had already laid out questions, the russian and the Calavera fellow, but held his own tongue. Idly drumming his fingers against his sides, he simply followed along, only letting off two small swirls of dust in his wake.

At Rooster's suggestion, he nodded in agreement.
"Truthfully, yer the closest to my view of things here, even if our preferred venues differ. Regardless, I'd prefer any of you lot to the walking cactus, so it's a plus either way."
With that, Wesly doffed his hat before flopping onto the other bed and pulling its blanket over him.

A few minutes later, Rooster would probably be startled by a sudden yelp followed by quiet cursing. Looking over, it appeared that Wesly's power had triggered and...very tightly wrapped him up in his own blanket. The residual sparks were still flying from it, even as the Extra was working his way out of the tight folds.


Somehow, there were sparks, giving a brief glimpse at the confused face of Wesly as his bedsheets attacked him. Rooster's eyes locked on and his mouth opened in a curious reaction, before he got out of his bed and bolted to his new roommate's bed. Rooster tried to wrestle the unwieldy blanket off of Wesly as he said, "Let me guess. You have the remarkable ability to control and manipulate blankets. Well, that may not be the most helpful skill on this mission, but seein' as how you got yourself all tangled up, maybe you can put those sparks away before you catch yourself on fire."
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Countesia
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Postby Countesia » Mon May 10, 2021 4:13 am

Swift Thunder

It only took one glance at the dangy, run down hostel they had been dropped off at to know that no force on earth would make him sleep in that lice-ridden shithole.

"If any of you wish to sleep alone, I prefer to sleep outside." he said as he took off towards the side of the building.

He told no lies. Swift Thunder had always struggled to sleep with a roof over his head. Without the soothing ambience of the night breeze, the crickets and the nocturnal birds, he often found it hard to clear his mind enough to catch some shut-eye. Saloons and hotels did not offer that luxury, and the droning of drunken debauchery and whoring was enough to keep him awake through the night whilst his colleagues slept like newborns.

Finding a dry and tucked away niche behind the hostel, he unslung his knapsack from his back and laid it down onto the ground. He unbuckled his sleeping roll and unfurled it on the dirt. The night was cool so he needn't cocoon himself in the rubber coated canvas to retain any heat. Not yet tired, he procured a sharpening stone from his belongings and unsheathed one of his tomahawks. With nobody to disturb him, he ran the edge of his weapon along the stone with a satisfying swish.

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Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States
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Postby Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States » Sun May 16, 2021 2:09 pm

March 29th, 1890
Green River, Utah Territory, United States of America
05.44 hours


Callahan's hands were shaking so much he could hardly light his cigarette, the only medicine he knew worked. 5.30 would have been an early time to wake up under any circumstances, but after the night he had had, the thought of just throwing himself from his roof balcony to spend a few weeks in a hospital bed was incredibly alluring. The constant banging, as well as the anxiety of being found out, was enough to keep him wide awake. Down on street-lever he saw Hahn round a corner and walk towards the hostel, a fresh loaf of bread under his arm.

How the man did it, Callahan did not know, but as soon as Hahn had put on his pyjamas, he had gone straight to sleep. Not even so much as a debriefing after their long trip. Since Hahn was the more experienced agent by far, Callahan just rolled with it, improvising his own role in the duo as much as as he could. Early to bed and early to rise, Hahn was, because he had gotten up at 5 to take a tour around the town. He had slipped out silently, but even the slight rush of draught from the door opening was enough to get Callahan wide awake.

The town was a big nothing. It had been bigger before because of the construction crews, but after construction had moved west, the construction workers had moved with it. The town was one in waiting; the land surrounding it having been bought up by west coast top hats looking to buy land cheap and sell it at ten times their investment. There were about 200 people in the town in total; like the skeleton crew on a cruiser, Callahan thought to himself; keeping the place floating, waiting for action to come. And action had arrived; the question was whether they knew it.

"Up already?" Hahn asked as he entered their room, placing the bread on their small windowside table. Callahan got a sudden violent urge, but a quick inhallation of nicotine calmed him down. The smoke pricked his eyes, almost as much as the lack of sleep did.

"Apparently" he just answered. "Any word from the town?"

Hahn shook his head. "They definitely know a group of strangers arrived last night, but no clue why we are here, or that I am one of them. Prevailing theory is that we are prospectors of some sort, looking for gold. So, if you're about town, try to look at some dirt once in a while to help the impression"

"And Terrence?" Callahan asked, but Hahn put up his shoulders.

"Let the Extras deal with that" he simply answered, tearing a piece of bread off the loaf and stuffing a handful straight into his mouth. "They're... the dogs, we're the leash, and the Department is the handler. We just need to make sure the dogs stay where they are"

"And if they escape?" Callahan wondered allowed. Hahn, again, pulled up his shoulders, a tic that Callahan began to suspect resembled Hahn's whole life philosophy.

"Does the leash chase the dog if it gets loose?" he asked, and Callahan understood.

"I'll tell them to check out the postal office at least, and ask around town. If there's nothing here, they can probably head straight for Hanksville" he said, flicking his cigarette onto the deserted streets below. The sooner they were out of his sight, the better. Perhaps he would sleep better, although the thought of Cactus Jack riding around the West was enough to make him seriously doubt that.
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Talchyon
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Postby Talchyon » Wed Jun 02, 2021 7:04 am

Morning at the hostel
Rooster Z. Morgan


The events of last night made Rooster wake up with a smirk on his face. After helping his roommate fend off his attacking bedsheets, the man explained his power. Something to do with spinning. Supposedly controlling things that spin. Which made him supposedly great at games like craps or roulette, but after seeing his power go haywire the night before, Rooster was more than sure that Wesly would lose more than win at those games.

After shaving with his straight razor, Rooster put on some aftershave and combed his hair. He got dressed - something a little less flashy, though it annoyed him to have to do so. But no, they were supposed to be prospectors. Like he was going to dress like some old coot trying to strike it rich. Well, he'd stand out a little for all that was worth, but he'd do his bit.

Heading down the stairs, and gladly seeing that the front desk was empty since the War Department goons had paid their bill the night before, Rooster sauntered out into the town. Everyone knew Utah was the land of the religious pariahs, those odd Mormons who practiced bigamy and thought Indians were literally the offspring of the unholy union of some poor lady and the wicked one himself. Which, in Rooster's mind, made them a unique kind of mark. Religious fanatics were gullible in a sense, and incredibly hardened in another. Still, he could try to get some information from anyone in the town.

Seeing a few people out at this early hour, Rooster moseyed over to an old feller leaning back in a chair against one of the buildings. He was watching the sunrise. Rooster moved over and said nothing, watching the sun and waiting for the man to speak first. After a little while, the man said, "Well, sir, you got the decent sense to let me enjoy a sunrise. Lot of folks who are up at this hour want to just blabber on about whatever to me. Not everyone has that sense to keep their trap shut. So you got my respect, sir."

Rooster nodded. "Yessir, no use ruining a perfectly good sunrise."

The man smiled appreciatingly. "You got that right."

Rooster said, "Fact is, I'm hoping the whole day turns out this nice. Me and some others are in town to do some prospectin'. It's official. The surveyors always like good weather. They hate having to do things in the rain. But it don't look like it's gonna rain today."

The man scowled. "It may not look like rain right now, but in these parts? It can look like a great sunny day at one moment, and the next the weather's gone haywire. We even saw snow last July. Snow! As if it was Christmas day!"

Rooster smiled. "You can't be serious, old timer. There is no way on God's green earth that it can snow in July." He was baiting the man. How else to find out about unusual weather patterns and the man who was able to change them at the drop of a hat?

The man looked at Rooster with the same scowl. "Now look here, young man. Everyone in town can vouch for it. We all saw it. Hot as all blazes, and then the next moment, it was snowing and we was all cold. Besides, everyone knows why. It's that devil man."

Rooster tried to look surprised. The old timer was hooked. "Devil man, you say?"

The man looked even angrier. "That devil man is one of them witches. Evil people. Scares off the livestock, ruins the crops, makes it rain or not depending on his mood. All them witches should be shot on sight, they ain't natural."

Rooster feigned agreement, while inwardly laughing his head off at the man. "Damn straight. Well, I hope this devil man is taking a big long break today, so me and those other boys can get some work in."

The man nodded with a smile, warming up to Rooster even more, then said, "Maybe he's been on a break for awhile. Weather's been kinda normal for a while. It was really bad like 5 years ago or so. And still, on and off something abnormal happens weather-wise. But we only had a few random things since last summer. Nothing quite as extreme as snow in July, but not enough to advertise the devil man's presence. Maybe he's gone and left us all."

Rooster smiled appreciatingly. "Well, good riddance if he is. It will make my job a lot easier. Speakin' of which, I should probably get movin' on out. Got a good day's worth of work to get in before sundown."

The man nodded approvingly. "Well, sir, I hope you get your gold. You're a good sort, I can tell."

At which Rooster smiled his most charming smile, and then walked back to the hostel feeling amused at how he had gotten some information. So their target wasn't as active lately. Could have moved out of the area. Or maybe had died. Or maybe was learning to use his abilities better. Regardless, they didn't have as much as a real lead yet, but they'd find him. Rooster knew it.
Current RPs -
New Coddington PD - Police dramedy in a corrupt major city. When a mobster winds up dead in a river, with his throat cut and his gall bladder removed, can an investigation happen without a major mob war and the police in the middle?




Louisianan wrote:Talchyon has great comedic writing, that is true.


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