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Hired Hand

by Cap'n Joe

"400 years old, hm?" "OVER 400 years old." Comes the reply.

" ...and you're sure we can't just destroy him?" " No way, Colin, you've seen it. He just keeps comin back. Rage, curse, he just gets right back up and starts tearing up the place 30 minutes later. And the way he ignored Jorge's marionette, I'm pretty sure any other kind of binding is too risky." "We've done the research, Colin. Trey's been pouring over every bit of information any of us could beg, borrow, or steal for. All he could find is his last anchor, and a safe way to do the fetter binding." I turn to Maria, aghast. " You found his last anchor? Thats fantastic! What is it?" Trey speaks up again "That old oak, out behind our mosoleum. I guess it grew up out of the hole he was originally buried in." Just then, literally out of thin air, steps a man. His hand is at his side, holstering a large, ornate pistol in a low slung, "cowboy duel at high noon" style holster on his right thigh. After it's secure he lets his duster cover it up once again. He looks like he hasn't shaved in weeks and he wears his wide brimmed hat low. Every thing about him says that this is a man with alot to hide. With every step, his spurs jingle, a sound that shakes the members of the krewe to their core. " Now I hear tell y'all gotcher selves a yellowbones, needs taken care of." He produces a thin cigar from somewhere and lights it as he speaks. " My name's Dom, may know me better as The Outlaw." Colette perks up a little at that news. " Yeah, I've heard of you. I take it you saw my request on the network?" The stranger smiles wryly as he takes two steps forward, looking her up and down before his eyes settle on a playboy tattoo on her exposed shoulder. "Indeed I did. You must be the one who speaks for The Red Bunny." "Indeed I am." She smiles back, extending her right hand for a handshake. He kisses it. She blushes. " So... I guess Trey here has been up for weeks working on a plan, Isn't that right, Trey?" She gestures to the resident librarian and makes noticeable effort to pry her eyes from the newcomer, no effort, however to extricate her hand from his. " any thoughts on how to involve our brave Outlaw here?" Trey stammers out the beginning of a reply, obviously still shaken by the sudden appearance of our new ally "Well, I uh, I hadn't honestly expected any-" "Neither had I." I butt in. "and before we make any plans, I wanna know what this is gonna cost us." "I see. Hm. It's Colin, right?" "How do you know that?" "I've been here for a minute. Anyway, Colin, I won't be needing any payment from you and your krewe. Nothing of monetary value anyway, I simply ask that I get safe passage through your avernian gate any time I please. And, uh, perhaps a nice dinner with miss Colette here." Colette chimes quickly in "That sounds fair." "Oh, and one more thing," He pauses to pull a flask from his pocket and take a swig before offering it to me. "I get to keep the fetter." "Good luck" scoffs Jorge. "Yeah... I don't know how you intend to carry a fifty foot oak tree around with you, mister stillness." Mocks Maria. " Stillness? No, I'm all about blood and iron, sugartits. did I forget to mention the bit about the mirror?" "Yea, you did." I take the flask and have a cautious sip. Then another. "Damn good rum. And I accept your terms." He smiles that wry smile again. " You can keep it. As for the fetter..." He produces a colonial era hand mirror form him coat. " This belonged to the wife of your yellowbones. We'll bind it as a new anchor, destroy the tree, and this is the fetter I'll go home with." "We can't destroy the tree. I thought you'd been listening for a while." Maria snaps. "Why so snappy? Was it the sugartits comment? You can't destroy the tree measure because the ghost is protecting it. Give him hits wifes mirror and he'll let his defenses down on the invading flora. Between Colin's fire and my iron, that tree won't last a minute, then you can leave the ghost to me and the binding to our librarian." "I like it. Trey? Jorge?" " Sounds solid, I'll get the reagents" " Whatever you think is best, boss. You pull the strings." "Alright, well, I think I already know the girls' opinions." (Maria groans and Colette giggles.) " You call the shots today, Outlaw."

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