Hammer And Anvil


ohls_icon.jpg william_icon.jpg Abigail_icon.jpg


* None.

Summary: William Franklin visits the 'Smith on an investigation. They do not hit it off.

Date: 15 February, 1884

Hammer and Anvil

Blacksmith's Shop

It's late in the afternoon, and the smithy is quiet, the forge having been banked, one would hope, for the rest of the evening. But the shop isn't silent, and the sound of movement echoes from the rear of the shop, near the storage racks, as Arden works at organizing and cataloguing the last of the leftovers from the previous owner.

Click. Click. Click. Click. The unmistakable clicking of spurs against hardwood suddenly becomes very apparent. "Stay out here, gentlemen. No need to turn this into an affair." The bitterly cold voice of the infamous outlaw can be heard mere inches from the outside of the door. "Yes, of course. If you hear shooting, do what you do best." Though his tone is irritated, the manner in which he pushes open the door and enters the shop is clearly that of a gentleman. "Miss Ohls, I presume?"

Arden continues to work, despite the fact that she can hear the words being spoken on the other side of the door. Just as the door opens, she moves back from the shelves, wiping her hands on a clean rag and tucking it into the edge of her toolbelt, just at her left hip. "I'm Miss Ohls. What can I do for you?"

"Well, I've heard a rumor that a family came around here the other day mentioning me. Something about the government taking away their land. I was wondering if you could tell me where they had gone?" William smiles politely, his hands folding idly behind his remarkably straight back. His stance seemed always attentive. The fingerprints of a soldier. "Oh, and I'm William Franklin. I believe I saw you in the doctor's office the other day….Though the chance to introduce myself seemed to escape me."

"That is because you brought Lady Fitzgerald somewhere she ought not to have been." Arden's voice, accented, but smooth and calm and she goes to get her ledger, pulling a pencil out from the bun she's pulled her hair into, "As for that family, they did not say where they were going, only that they wanted their wagon repaired and then they would move on. Though I got the impression that they were homeless and wandering trying to find somewhere to put up. I never saw the father, but the mother and the six of her surviving children looked on the doorstep of the next life. Minister Young offered the man and the woman both employ at the church, she said she would talk it over with her husband. Marcus and I fixed her wagon, and she took her children and left, after they finished eating."

"Lady Franklin." William corrects with a patient smile, taking a single step closer and cocking an eyebrow slightly at the next name. "Marcus? Marcus Berry? He's under your employ now?" One of the man's gloved hands rises to stroke his chin, that smile all but disappearing. "I really do need to make a point to get into town more often. Tell me, though, Miss Ohls. What direction did they head? I might be able to catch up to them to get the details of this little 'Army' situation."

"That is not how she was introduced to me." A lift of her shoulders, a shrug, "He came to me asking to apprentice as a 'smith. I accepted him. Gets a bit distracted, but he does what he's told, so he might have a future in my employ." Arden opens the book, flipping to the last page with entries, adding a few before she looks back up, "I didn't have the time to look, once the work was done, but I believe the father was on his way to the brothel to deliver some letters given to them by the metis who saved them from the attack that befell them." Her expression darkens, at the last, "Leave them in peace. If the story they told was true, and they'd have no reason to lie, you did enough to them already. Let them find what peace they can with the life they have left."

"You know, for a person who I can imagine has gotten the shaft from the U.S. Government, you seem to have a rather fond appreciation for it." William's dark blue eyes seem transfixed on Ohls, quietly calculating her movements, breathing, and the manner in which she seems so intent to carry herself. That dark smile reappears, and he tilts his head to the side a bit. "Without laws our society is nothing, Miss Ohls. Anarchy is the enemy of civilized life, after all. But the circumstances of another are nothing to judge." He pauses, raising one of his eyebrows. "Just trust me when I say that I'm not your enemy. Did they say anything of who the letters were for? Or who this gentleman was who saved them?"

Abigail presses her fingertips upon the front entrance and steps into the room from the streets beyond, using her free hand to lift up the wide brim of a hat from her face as she does so. Aside from a winter coat, she doesn't look one way or another; though, when noting folk she slows and politely quiets down rather than further intrude upon things. The woman wrinkles her nose at a thought but declines to speak up, not yet.

"I have neither appreciation nor hate for the United States Government, Mr. Franklin. But if Missus Sackett's story is true, then the Army turned them out of their farm because they chose to help you. You, who, if rumours are correct, are a lifelong criminal. Now, I am not sure, exactly, what sort of training criminals receive, in order to become as notorious as you are, but I would imagine that you might have learned that once you touch someone's life, whatever innocence they had is lost. You should have known, that if they were discovered harbouring criminals, the government would view them as being just as guilty as you are. Now, while you are neither a dog, nor have fleas…I would imagine, I believe the old saying applies in this condition. You brought the wrath of the government down on them, and now they are paying the price for it."A beat, before she continues, "Strange that you would spout support of the laws, when from the rumour of your activities, you hold yourself above the laws, indeed, seeming to believe you are a law onto yourself."
Arden's posture remains calm, collected, as she sets aside the pencil, fully facing the man, "No, you are not my enemy, and you do not want to be mine." A hand rises, waving away the comment, "A metis, as I said, like myself. Burned along one side of his face, only one eye. Rather savage, if the boy's account is accurate. And the boy mentioned the name Madeline Broussard. But I've no idea who she might be." Although her attention doesn't shift from Marcus, her eyes briefly move in Abigail's direction, and there's a slight shake of her head. Her voice soon follows it, "Abigail, I'm glad you're back, we'll be leaving for the party soon. A delivery came for you, it's in the house."

"Madeline Broussard is my eldest daughter, Miss Olhs. And the metis you're talking about would be one named Christopher Marlowe. A fierce brave…And one of the best men I've ever known." Those dark blue eyes don't seem to waver, though as she steps away, a deep laugh emerges from the tall man's chest. "The strange thing of this is that you assume nearly everything you say. Yes, I'm a federal criminal. I'll openly admit that. In fact, I'll tell Durham that directly to his face if the need be. But everything I've done to get to this point, I've done for a reason. So you can either step from your pedestal or wait for some sensable people to begin throwing rocks." William simply turns, the click of his spurs bringing him nearly to the door. He does raise his hand to the brim of his hat at the sight of Abigal, smiling slightly. "Speak to either Evalyn or Meriah about me, Miss Ohls, and then make your judgements. But until then, I suggest you pray there'll be no wind. Because from where your standing, that'd be a hell of a fall."

Abigail inclines her head at her name being called and with a lift of the chin her gaze shifts towards Arden, awaiting the incoming words from the other woman. She clasps her hands together before her waist for a moment before lifting up her right and taking off her hat. "I'll," she hesitates for the briefest of moments with a glance spared to the two others within the room, lingering more so upon William than at Arden, "Go see about that package. Excuse me." She bows her head at William's greeting, nonetheless, and waits for the man to pass before moving through the building for the yard beyond.

"If my mistake is in judging you by seeing where the pieces fall in the wake of your feet, Mr. Franklin, then I think is in thinking that you know me at all, and in thinking that you can guess at what I do and don't believe about you. I spoke to facts, not to your personal character, or your reasoning behind them. You're right, I have had my own encounters with the government, enough to know that reason, and clear thinking have no place in their judgements. Only the facts and how they choose to interpret them. And in the case of someone like yourself…or someone like me, the interpretation never falls in our favour." As the man turns to leave, she continues, "Let Marcus know I expect him first thing tomorrow for work. We start with breakfast, and I always make more than enough for an extra seat at the table. So you'd be welcome." And then she leaves him to go, turning her attention back to Abigail, "I'll be in to clean up in a little while." But she remains where she is, guarding the blond woman's exit from the shop.


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