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Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 454/28
7883 Posts

The Continuing Adventures of Sam Dash (A Voyages of Rocinante spinoff)

Okay, so, Sam Dash from Alacrity's Voyages of Rocinante is probably one of the favorite characters I've ever had the opportunity to play... Unfortunately, due to one circumstance or the other at the time, I kind of had to walk away from that game (and a few others) and, as such, put Sam aside, too.

I never did stop wondering what might have become of the rude and crude pilot dude after he slipped off into the night all those months ago on Beaumonde, though, and, after a long break (and also inspired by Alacrity recently shooting me a PM asking me to whip up a letter from Sam), I decided to drag our errant pilot out of mothballs and, maybe, figure out just where he's been and what he's been doing since he sadly left his family in his wake. What follows, I hope, is just the beginning of those tales... Hope you enjoy it.

Oh, and as always, questions, comments, criticisms, spare change are all gladly accepted.

Posted on 2014-09-11 at 15:07:42.
Edited on 2014-09-11 at 15:21:22 by Eol Fefalas

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 454/28
7883 Posts

Prologue: Beaumonde

Eisley Moss Spaceport, Beaumonde
Aboard Rocinante

Despite the fact Rocinante was docked at one of Beaumonde's busier spaceports, it was relatively quiet on the Firefly's decks in the wee hours of the night. It never got to the hear-the-crickets-chirping level of quiet, of course - this is a spaceport, after all - but, quiet enough, at least, that Sam Dash knew that Wyatt and the rest were well into their respective good night's sleep, Something that he was pretty sure he hadn't had, himself, in a good three months, now, The last of them (Ma, by the sounds of it) had turned in a couple of hours ago and it wasn't long thereafter that the only sounds to be heard aboard the stalwart Firefly were those made by the various mechanicals and, occasionally, the rumble of a snore or the incoherent babble of sleep-speaking.

The pilot's whiskey-hued eyes drifted slowly, nostalgically, around the now bare walls of his cabin and finally, as he heaved a sigh and scratched at one whisker-stubbled cheek, fell to the over-stuffed duffel bag that was nestled between his feet.

"Reckon it's time," he mumbled half-heartedly and, at the same time, willing himself to move before he talked himself out of it again, Will aside, Sam didn't move at just that moment, leastways, not with the intention of climbing out of his cabin and slipping off into the night-cloaked port. He did, however, reach down and pluck a folded piece of paper out of the duffel's exterior pocket and, another puff of anxious air blowing past his lips, unfolded the thing and read the words he'd written there just a few moments earlier,

This isn't the easiest thing I've ever written - not that I write much, anyway - and, I thought more than once about writing it at all, Hell, it's been my way for a long time to just up and leave without a word spoke or even so much as a look back. Safer, quicker, and more painless that way, get me? Thing is, all them other times, all them other places and folk I set in my wake, I knew none of them was meant to last or to mean much, anyway, so it weren't a chore at all to just up and go, truth be told, puhn yoh, I conjure it was supposed to be that way with you, too. Supposed to just be Sam Dash, driving the boat til driving the boat weren't the thing to do anymore, then off Sam goes to, well, wherever. Thing is, you made a friend of me, Wyatt, A friend, honest and true. You know things about me that ain't but two or three other folk in the whole ruttin' Verse knows and, still yet, you and me come to an understanding that I ain't come to with none other, and, maybe brother's more fitting in this situation, Tah mah duh, I'm startin' to sound like Will with her flowery love poems and such! Anyway, I know as you know what I'm getting at, here, so I'll just let it go at that, kinda the way I always have, and say what I was aiming to say when I first started writing this mi tian gohn.

It's time for me to get off this boat, puhn yoh. I been here longer than's safe for any of us, puhn yoh, and the longer I stay, the worse it's bound to get. I ain't worried so much for myself, neither, as I am for you and yours (ain't that a kick in the nethers), I reckon it didn't really occur to me just how close things were getting til this last run, really, We brushed up against the Alliance some, and you know how I get with that - Made me a mite skittish and I should've knowed then as it was time to go. Friendly as we are and comfortable as I've got driving Rocinante for you these last couple years, though, I talked myself into brushing it off as my standard twitchiness - but, when that meh lien duh jyah jee (shameless hussy) Bridgette made like she knew more'n she should about me, that was the cincher, that's when I knowed better'n to have believed that I'd be driving Roc forever or that I could ever stop running from who and what I was, get me? Weren't never my aim to hurt you, Wyatt, or none of the rest as I've come to think of as my family on this boat, but, if I stay, I fear that's like to happen sooner more than later. Best way to keep all of you out of trouble that ain't yours, I cotton, is to put as much space between me and the rest of you as can be put. And, the easiest way to get that done without the chance of you talking me out of it is to slip out whilst the rest of you are sleeping. I'm sorry.

I'd consider it a kindness if you'd pass my warm fuzzies on to the rest. Tell Ma that I'll miss her cooking and I'll be thinking about her every time I hit the bunk and pull that blanket she knitted for me over my toes. Tell Asher that I'm right sorry I pilfered his guns - ain't like the Kid needed all of them anyway - and that, maybe, some day, I'll figure out a way to make up for it. Give Miss Will a kiss for me and let her know that I truly appreciate everything she ever done to keep me out of trouble, and for pretending not to notice when I was ogling her doing her yoga and s#!t. Ha Ha. See what you can do about keeping Wolf aboard as long as he'll cotton to it. Rutter's tough as nails and can sure take care of his own self, no doubt, but the big galoot's deserving of a proper home and folk like you to keep watch over him when that chip on his shoulder starts to tip one way or the other.

I reckon that's it, puhn yoh. I keep writing and somebody's like to wake up and keep me from sneaking out.

You got yourself a good crew, here, Cap, and I don't figure you'll have much problem finding someone to replace a wu ming shao jwu (nobody) like me. Hell, mebbe you'll even get to drive your own damn boat for a spell, huh?

Thanks, again, for everything, Wyungsung. Hope to meet up with you again someday when things ain't so tight in the sky. Til then, though, you keep flying, brother.


"Ya sound like a ruttin' girl," Dash smirked, considering for probably the twelfth time whether or not he should leave the letter at all or, like all the other times he'd had to do it over the years, would he be better off jut disappearing without so much as a nod to them as he'd come to fly with. He drew in a deep breath as his eyes skimmed over the letter once more and, as he let that breath out in the form of a third and final sigh, folded the thing back up and got to his feet.

"Didn't come to love none o' them others as family, I don't reckon," he told himself, hoisting the bag and slinging it over his shoulder, "but I had me a home here. Can't just up and leave these folk like I left them others." He took his last steps across the floor of his cabin and, as he reached the ladder, gave one last look over his shoulder before turning out the light and climbing up to the fore passage. Once there, he glanced towards the cockpit, talked himself out of flopping himself into the seat that was no longer his one more time, and, still fighting the urge to stay, forced himself in the opposite direction.

He stopped in the dining area just long enough to leave the letter on the table where someone was sure to find it and forced himself not to look around or reminisce in this part of the ship, at all. Sam knew that, if he did, he'd scare himself off of leaving again and, to his way of thinking, his staying wouldn't bode well for Wyatt and the rest in the long run,

Suck it up, Dash, he told himself, swallowing the lump in his throat, and making his way down the stairs to the cargo bay, Ain't an option, stickin' ‘round here. Ya care fer these folk the way ya say, then yer best ta put as much distance between you an' them as can be put, get me?

,Sam got it, of course, and knew that the voice telling him to run was the wiser of the two that'd been battling it out in his brainpain since that fiasco on Regina, but that wisdom didn't make him like it any better. As much as he outright hated the woman, now, he wondered if he ought not be thanking that guay toh guay nown, Bridgette, for throwing his twitchy into overdrive back in the guts of the Hornsilver Mine,

"Are you really gonna let him ruin your chance for a big score, Sam," she'd cooed at him that day, trying to get him to turn on Wyatt for a fortune in platinum, "This much cash and you'd be free,truly free. No more hiding? Aren't you tired of hiding?"

,Gorram right I'm tired o' runnin', he fumed inwardly as he slipped out the forward cargo-bay door and down the ramp into the fuel and smoke scented air of Eisley Moss, but, I reckon runnin's what I do. ‘Specially when it comes ta keepin' my skeletons outta the closets o' them as I consider family. That's where ya humped it up, ji nu, Figurin' as what I'm runnin' from's gonna be slowed er settled wit' any ruttin' amount o' money, Din't know me th' way ya conjured, did ya?
The now former pilot of the Firefly Class transport called Rocinante, realizing that his last few steps were of the angrily stomping sort and were causing his boot heels to clatter a might loudly on the paved and grated thoroughfares of the spaceport, stopped in his tracks, then, scowled, adjusted the shoulder-strap on his duffel, and turned to look back the way he'd come, But ya knew somethin' din't ya? He smiled sadly as he took in the ship's silhouette and felt his heartstrings tugged on by the sight of that ruttin' horse on her side. Knew somethin' ain't nobody else in th' Verse oughta know less'n I told ‘em m'self. Although he couldn't force himself to take his eyes off the ship, just yet, Sam managed to get himself back into his walkin' away again by taking a few steps backwards as he finished his thought. An' if you know, then who else knows, an' what kinda hell's all that knowin' gonna rain down, an' how many more folk're gonna get their ruttin' ears full o' it ‘fore yer done?

"Shoulda put one in yer brainpan, si san ba ," he growled softly through clenched teeth as he tore his gaze off of Rocinante, at last, and, turning on his heel, disappeared into the night-shrouded depths of Eisley Moss.

The Flying Firkin Bar On the outskirts of Eisley Moss; Two hours later

It should have taken him forty-five minutes or so to walk a direct route from where Rocinante was docked to this place but he'd circled back and around more than once and, counting the time he'd spent hovering in the shadows of a doorway across the street from the dilapidated little saloon so he could watch nothing happen, Sam finally made it to the waypoint that Tink's boy had passed him on the docks, yesterday, in just a little less than two hours. His gaze flitted nervously from one end of the street to the other and back again before he finally extricated himself from the shadows, spat in the dirt at his feet, and then strode across the road to rap out a quick but precise series of knocks on the Flying Firkin's steel-clad door. His eyes twitched back to the street - this end and that - as he waited,

Are them ruttin' shadows movin'? His hand fell to the butt of the pistol strapped to his hip and he squinted into the dark. C'mon! Answer th' gorram door!

,There was the sound of muffled footsteps behind the door, then, and the rasping sound of metal on metal as a narrow slit in the door opened and a pair of bleary eyes appeared on the other side. "Closed," a tired voice attached to the unfocused grumbled.

"Izzat right," Sam sneered in response, his fingers still dancing on the Avenger's grips, "gorram nice o' ya ta haul yer pi guh outta yer bunk so's ta tell me, What? I din't knock proper?"

"What the hell you want?"

"Li'l fairy tol' me this here was a hollow tree."

"One of them Lost Boys, are ya?"

"Well, go suh," Dash rolled his eyes and finally let his hand drift away from his pistol long enough to clap twice and sigh; "I do believe in ruttin' fairies."

The voice on the other side of the door snorted and the eyes blinked once before the panel slid shut. "Step back a minute," the man yawned over a series of thunks and clunks as various locks were disengaged, "an' keep your hands off the iron or, for sure, I'll put a hole in you."

Ya wouldn't be th' first ta try, The pilot scowled, rubbed at his whisker-stubbled chin, and, as the door opened, spit in the dust at his feet, once more, and, so as to keep from getting a hole put in him, kept his hands at shoulder height, palms out.

The door groaned on its hinges as the man on the other side hauled it open and Sam cringed, certain that the sound would draw the unwanted attention of whatever eyeballs might be lurking in the dark at his back. His first instinct, when the door had opened enough to allow it, was squeeze himself through and get himself out of the open, having dealt with Tink and her cronies more than once over the years, though, Sam knew better. Regardless of how twitchy he'd been described as over the years, Tink and her kind took Dash's level of paranoia and boosted it to the level where he figured they were ‘flying without containment,' so to speak, and any hint of strong-arming through that door would surely get him ventilated quicker than slapping leather would. Still, it took a considerable amount of anxious toe-tapping to hold that impulse at bay.

The Flying Firkin's proprietor grunted as he appeared from behind the door, becoming more than just a pair of eyes behind a peephole. He was a beefy kind of fellow, not fat but broad and solid for sure. One of his thick hands clutched Mare's Leg that Sam couldn't help but notice was aimed right at his gut and the other was holding shut the front of the worn flannel housecoat he wore. "A'right," he rumbled, gesturing with the cut-down rifle, after an overlong couple of seconds of squinting at Sam, "Get on in here."

"‘Preciate it," Dash nodded without taking his eyes off the man. He hitched the strap of his duffel to a more comfortable spot on his shoulder and, turning sideways to avoid brushing into the fire-plug of a proprietor or his gun, slipped through the door. He hadn't had a chance to turn around before the Firkin's boss had the door shut and bolted again.

"What's yer name, son," the man asked as they stood in the green neon tinged shadows of the entryway.

"Sam Dash," Sam answered, not failing to notice his host still had him at gunpoint, "You Firkin?"

The man snorted (maybe it was supposed to be a chuckle) and shook his head as the barrel of the Mare's Leg finally dipped. "Name's Von. Von Dutch. Place was called The Flyin' Firkin before I picked it up, Just too ruttin lazy to change the name.

Strange things afoot in Neverland for ya, Mr Dash?"

"It's just Dash, an' yeah, that's why I'm here an' not where I was, get me?"

"Yeah," Von nodded, "I get ya."

"She wave in, yet?"

"Nope. She knows yer here, though," Von replied as he skirted around the pilot, "I reckon you'll be hearin' from her soon enough.

This way," he added, clumping down a shot set of steps that served to disgorge patron from the Firkin's entry into the barroom.

The sweat on his palms had started to cool and, as Sam followed Von Dutch across the scuffed and stained plank floor of the place, he tried to rub the itch away on the worn denim that encased his legs. "Been doin' this kinda thing fer a minnit, have ya," he asked for no other reason than to break the silence.

"What's that," Von asked in return, squinting back over his shoulder as he led Sam behind the bar, "runnin' this place or squirrelin' away folk like you when the fairy says so?"

Whaddya mean "folk like me"? Sam wanted challenge the man's tone, just then, but, given the situation (not to mention the fact that, if he admitted it, Sam was the alluded to type of folk) he decided to force his drying throat to swallow that particular retort and, as Von toed a threadbare rug out of the way and stooped to lift open the trap-door it concealed, he simply shrugged and said; "Both, I reckon."

"Been runnin' this dump for about a year," Von answered, flipping a switch under the bar that lit up the corridor secreted beneath their feet and revealed the rough-hewn steps that descended to it, "Been on the hook with Tink for a mite longer but she didn't have much use for me," He gave a jerk of his head, then, indicating that Sam should go on down, and, when the pilot's feet hit the second tread, finished; ",up to now.

Wha'd you do to hump things up so bad for yerself, anyway?"

Sam kept walking. Having the man behind him (one of Tink's or not) in this tight space stood the hairs up on the back of his neck. Von asking that particular question didn't help, either, Sam had been wondering that same thing for months, now, When he reached the bottom of the steps, he quickly surveyed the short hallway ahead of him, and then flicked a glance back to keep an eye on his host as the man finished his descent. "Conjure I got too ruttin' cozy wit' what I thought were a good thing," he smirked after a second.

Von nodded once, then gestured down the hallway with the barrel of the Mare's Leg; "Room's down to the end on the left," he said, "Ain't much but a bunk and whatnot but it'll do for as long as you'll be here."

"Ku," Sam chuffed, his eyes flicking in the direction indicated.

"I'll bring ya down some food come breakfast time. Coffee, too. There's a little fridge in there I stocked with a couple o' beers and some water if you get thirsty ‘fore then. Reckon you'll need anything else? Once I go back up these steps, Mr Dash, you're down here as to such a time as she gets you figured, Can't have you popping your head up whenever you take a whim to do so, dohn mah? "

"It's shiny," Sam returned, already making his way to the end of the hall, "don't figger it'll take her long ta work her magic."

"Hope not," Von responded, already making his way back up the steps, "No offense, mister, but I don't need your trouble following you in here and, the sooner you're gone, the more peaceable I'll be with the idea you were ever here.

"Story o' my gorram life," Dash snorted just before the trapdoor banged shut and he opened the door to the tiny room where he'd be spending the next couple of days.

Posted on 2014-09-11 at 15:08:07.
Edited on 2017-05-29 at 10:31:39 by Eol Fefalas

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 454/28
7883 Posts

Interlude: A Talk With Tinkerbell

"Marked for demolition, I'm
Just a time-bomb ticking inside.
No hope for the hopeless
I can see the pieces, all laid out in front of me,"

Despite the relative spaciousness of the place as compared to his previous accommodations, Dash couldn't help but feel that these walls were pressing in on him and a ‘Verse's worth of problems would crash in on him as soon as the walls collapsed under the weight. The room in which Von Dutch had hidden Dash away was probably about three times the size that his cabin on Rocinante had been. There was the promised bunk, of course (really little more than a cot that Dutch had seen fit to throw a thin mattress on top of in an attempt to ‘class it up' a bit), as well as the smallish bar refrigerator which, as the Firkin's proprietor had mentioned, was stock-piled with half-a-dozen bottles of water, a few cans of Blue Sun lager, and a quart jar that contained some iffy-looking pickled eggs. On top of those pre-confirmed accoutrements, the room came equipped with a small table and a couple of rickety chairs, a cast off bureau with enough drawers in it for a body to store a few things but not enough to really "settle in," and, on top of that, what looked like a home-wired Cortex box tied into a small monitor. There was also something of a bathroom hidden behind one of those clackity beaded curtains that were all too common in border-moon brothels but, other than to give it more than a quick peek to verify there wasn't anyone in there waiting to deliver a bullet with his name on it, Dash didn't scrutinize that little en suite much. Instead, after tossing his gear unceremoniously onto the bunk, the pilot popped the top on one of the beers and proceeded to wear a rut into the floor whilst he waited for the cortex box to blip at him.

The scruffy pilot wasn't really sure how long (leastways in the strict, time-keeping sense) he'd waited for Tink's anticipated wave to come in but he did know that he'd put away a beer and a half before he got irritated with pacing the floor, playing the sip-look-sip game and, after flopping into one of the chairs, propping his feet up on the table, and trying to entertain himself by ‘playing' his battered harmonica, he'd downed that remaining half a beer and was well on his way to the bottom of a third can. Well enough on his way, in fact, that he'd almost forgotten that he was waiting for it to happen when the cortex box finally lit up and buzzed out a tone that sounded something like an elephant playing a kazoo,

"Tah mah duh," he cursed, as the harmonica jumped from his hand and clattered on the table.

"Gaoyang zhong duh guying," he added when, as he scrambled to get out of the chair and silence the squalling box, he upset that last can of beer and spilled it down the front of his shirt. He kicked the can into a corner rather than bending down to retrieve it and, in just a couple of steps, crossed the room to mash his hand down on the trumpeting machine.

The screen wired to the thing whined a little bit as it came on and the brief flurry of electronic snow resolved into a shadow-splashed image of a young, pale-skinned girl with blacker than black hair and way more blue eye makeup than was necessary for any one woman. "Who're you callin' a motherless goat, Sammy," Tink grinned wryly just a second after she'd appeared on the screen, "and what in seven hells are you doing humping up all my hard work and damaging my sparkly reputation as a result?"

Although he was actually glad to see the little cortex wiz, Sam gave the girl a sneer and grumbled; "Why don' you answer me that'n, yo chr! Yer th' one s'posed ta be all tian-ling-ling, di-ling-ling wit' this go suh; tell me I'm all ghosted an' sech then lemme find out I ain't so invisible as I figgered ta be,"

"Hey, hey, hey! Spool down, turbo," Tink snapped back, "As far as the Cortex is concerned, you're just as much a ghost as you were when I first made you disappear! It's not my fault that you went and flew in through the window of some jien huo and had her sew your shadow back on!"

Sam wanted to contest that, wanted to chew it up and spit it on the floor and then step on it, but, in the end, he couldn't and he knew it. Tink was right. Somehow all of the mi tian gohn he'd been stepping in of late was of his own doing, got too ruttin' cozy wit' what I thought were a good thing, he remembered himself saying to Von just a couple of hours ago, So, rather than offer up much more by way of reply than a snort and a decidedly uncomfortable glance away from the youthful (but still overly made-up) face that blinked back at him from the screen, Sam simply nodded. "Yeah, guess not."

"So," Tink sighed after a moment of silence that seemed longer than it actually was, "what is it you're looking for me to do for you this time, puhn yoh?"

Sam shrugged again, absently rubbing at the bristly whiskers along his jaw as his face did a screwball dance of ‘I'm-ponderin'-on-it' expressions. "I dunno, Tink," he grumbled after a few seconds, "Not sure what can be done, get me?" He turned his back on the monitor long enough to wander over to the cot and flop himself down. Elbows on knees, the pilot scowled at the floor, then rubbed wearily at his eyes before letting them flick back to the screen. "Why'nt ya start by tellin' me how truly good an' humped I am?"

Tink didn't hesitate for the span of a breath; "The ‘Verse is getting to be a mighty small place for you, Sam. As much as I hate to download this kinda stuff on you, I gotta go ahead and say, I'm leaning towards shoveling you off back to the Core and,"

"No ruttin' way! That's jus' askin' ta be tagged and bagged by th' Alliance an', if they din't take an' hang me straight off, I'd be sure ta rot away in some gorram gummint cell fer as many days's I got left!"

"Nien Mohn's the least of your problems, these days, Sam," the girl said from behind a smile that was sympathetic enough that Sam really didn't like it. "War's been over for a good while, now, long enough that the Purple Bellies are likely good and over wanting you for anything more than desertion and maybe theft of government property given you sold me that bomber of theirs to vanish you off to Neverland, and that's only if they haven't written you off as dead, already. Whiling away your years in a Fed Pen might be preferable to continuing skipping through the Black trying to outrun your past."

"Tzao gao," Dash groaned, cradling his hands in his head and blinking at the floor again, "Yer tellin' me that si san ba Bridgette got me in Phoenix's crosshairs, agin, ain't ya?"

"Well, her name isn't Bridgette, for one thing, but, yeah, Sam, that's what I'm telling you,"

"I knew I shoulda ruttin' shot that whore when I took th' notion, I, just, Damn!"


"So, what? Back to Londinum, back ta bein' Morgan Trent," his mouth had gone dry and the weight of the situation pressed down on him like the weight of all the planets in the Verse, "an' prison, huh?"

Tink smirked and offered a shrug; "I said I was leaning that way, safer for me if you were back on the cortex and not traipsing through fairyland kicking up clouds of pixie dust, you know, but, it definitely wouldn't be any safer for you, Sam. This Phoenix guy's got a long damn reach for just having the one arm, you see, and I don't figure that reach gets stopped much by Alliance detention cells. So, have another beer or three, tuck yourself in and get some rest while you can. I've got an idea or three as to what can be done to get you towards good,"

"Sheh sheh, mei mei."

The cortex slicer laughed; "Don't go thanking me just yet, Dash. I'll get you sorted out, sure, but I have a feeling that you're not gonna like the launch-pad any better than that prison you were just fretting over.

Now, like I said, while you're all safe and sound there in Dutch's care, get rested up. I'll have something worked up for you in a day or three and get back to you."

The screen went black, then, and Sam heaved an enormous sigh before flopping over, resting his head on the still unpacked duffel and propping his feet up on the metal frame at the foot of the cot. "Goh suh,"

"No point even asking why,
Couldn't help even if you tried
Step aside or you might just be
The next contestant to feel the brutality!
Devastation, obliteration,
All to the point of exacerbation.
No explaining my situation,
Now, why does this s#!t keep happening to me?"
- The Curse - Disturbed

Posted on 2014-09-16 at 19:16:01.
Edited on 2017-05-29 at 10:37:08 by Eol Fefalas

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 454/28
7883 Posts

Chapter One - Part One

Dash and The Deadman Gang: Chapter One - Not Exactly Civilization
Outside the town of Pinedale, Jiangyin

A cool breeze, carrying with it the promise of autumn not far off, blew out of the hills and over the rolling, overgrown pastures that skirted the remains of the Sung homestead; weaving through the charred skeletons of what used to be a house and maybe a barn before it snatched up lonesome, tinny notes of a tune being played on a harmonica and whisked them away into Jiangyin's deepening twilight. A short distance from the blackened and overgrown remnants of the house, crouched at the foot of a pair of graves marked by simple, rustic headstones, Sam Dash ended his tune and shivered a bit as that breeze wafted over the back of his neck and blew strands of his lengthening hair across his whisker-stubbled cheeks. He smiled something of a sad little smile and tapped the battered and tarnished mouth-harp on his knee before relegating it to a jacket pocket. Sam had gotten much better at playing the thing in the three months since Tinkerbelle's machinations to help him disappear (again) had, ironically, wound up with him becoming a ranch-hand not too far from Wyatt's former home.

"He mighta actual listened ta that'n without wincin' none," Sam murmured to the headstones, the wistful smile still playing on his lips, "Weren't much else ta do but practice in th' weeks I was onnat scow as brought me here an' ain't much else ta keep me occupied when I ain't workin', neither. I been tryin' ta keep ta myself o' late, get me? Fly under th' scanners an' sech, learned that if'n I don't, things tend ta get all tian fuhn di fu fer me an', worse, them as I come ta call puhn yoh, So, I been keepin' ta my own self, y'know? Tryin' not ta make no friends, keepin' myself holed up an' all that go suh,"

The former pilot winced as the curse word spilled past his lips, his eyes flicked to the marker that bore the name ‘Summer,' and he grinned apologetically. "Duibuqi, li'l miss, wo bushi guyi de," he said, "yer Pa'd've smacked my head fer usin' that kinda language in front o' ya."

Sam chuckled softly, then, and shook his head a little bit when he realized that he'd had more of a conversation with these headstones than he'd had with any livin' folk in months. The chuckle turned to a sigh and, after rubbing his eyes and scratching at his beard, he flicked a glance skyward where Jiangyin's three moons had begun chasing each other across the early night sky before turning his gaze on the grave markers once more.

",Tink had th' right o' it, I figger," he murmured, his eyes tracing the chiseled letters on Eden's stone, now, "This jus' might be worse'n if I'd've turned m'self over ta Nien Mohn. Leastwise in th' pokey I'd like ta have ta socialized more ‘afore some wang bah duhn shanked me er sumthin', wouldn' be goin' kuangzhe de an' talkin' ta ghosts.

Sorry ta trouble ya wit' my runnin' off a' th' mouth ladies," he said, rising out of his crouch and moving to brush any debris off the headstones that had accumulated since he'd first cleaned them off, "Weren't my intent ta burden ya wit' my problems. Jus' figgered it were long overdue as I stopped by here, paid my respects, an' let ya know as ya c'n be proud o' ol' Wyatt. Yer husband," Sam's whiskey-hued eyes drifted from Eden's marker to Summer's, "yer Pa, he's a right honor'ble man, an' was a good friend ta me, undeservin' as I was."

His gaze flicked skyward, again, and, after one last glance at the markers, he turned and strode for where he'd left his horse to graze while he visited with Wyatt's family. "I'll check in on ya from time ta time, I reckon," he promised them as he hoisted himself into the saddle, "leastwise as long's I'm hunkered down, here. Gotta go, now, though. Ol' man Card wants us ta run a few head ta Pinedale inna mornin' an', I figger, I may jus' see ‘bout finally gettin' ta know some o' the locals.

Zai jian, ladies," he added before wheeling the horse around and cantering toward the road, "It were good to've finally met ya."

Posted on 2014-10-02 at 16:47:43.
Edited on 2017-05-29 at 10:38:24 by Eol Fefalas

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