The Lay Of The Land


moses_icon.jpg teagan_icon.jpg

Summary: How Moses is Fairing at Epona Ranch

Date: February 5, 1884

The Lay Of The Land

Epona Ranch, Stables

Teagan enters the stables, her expression pensive and contemplative. Walking towards Moses, she seeks a nearby barrel and uses her arms to lift herself atop it to watch her hand. Her head tilts to the side, her hands clasping in her lap. Her voice holds a trace of both Bostonian and a slight English accented hue to it. "Mister St. Cloud, I have a proposition for you, if you are amenable to such?" Vivid aquamarine eyes seek his own.

Moses was working on one of the other hands' Cattle horses quietly. Bent almost double, it seemed that he was manually stretching the animal's legs out one at a time. working slowly on a hind leg. The animal was an infamous one around the ranch. Given to random bout of wild bucking. at the moment though, it was calm and relaxed. Speaking softly to the animal as he works, his voice carries a soothing quality. "Now don' you be worryin' none mistuh Demon Ho'suh. We be gettin' you fixed up right good now, and they's be callin' youse der kitten. okey?" as he speaks, he gives a gentle tug and a loud pop emits from the animal's hips. letting the leg back down again after the demon horse lets out what could only be described as a groan of relief, Moses turns to Teagan with a slightly confused look. "Don' think Mosesever be tryin' to be 'men…amen…enemyablish to no one that weren't trying to be hurtin' him first Missus Teagan."

Teagan's smile is soft as she watches the machinations of dark hand manipulate the horse, her eyes widening as she hears that popping sound. Curiosity gets the better of her and she hops down from the barrel, her low-heeled boots bringing her nearer the large man. "Amenable, um, agreeable, biddable, open." Her gloved hand rests on the horse's flank, rubbing it gently, "I wish to breed with your horse." At the realization of what she said, her cheeks flare and she hastily amends, "To breed my /horses/ with your Ares.…" Her hand waves past her faux pas as she continues, "I will make you a fair offer for stud fees, Mister St. Cloud and not a penny less than you deserve."

Moses Nods quietly as he considers it for a moment. I don' be seein no issue wit' dat Missus Teagan. Be makin' a good Cow Ho'suh crossin muh Aries wit' one o' dem stout Qua'tuh ho'sus. You be havin' one in mind?"

Teagan clasps her hands together happily, she gestures to her own horse Lilith in her stall, a lovely golden quarter with a nearly whitish cream main and tail, "Lilith first when she is in season and Mister Reynolds told you I am receiving horses from back East soon, did he not? Why, I dare say we could easily satisfy Ares' male urgings quite sufficiently for a time with an additional five mares from that stock, yes?"

Moses nods and moves to look at the Palomino horse. Walking around her quietly, Moses nods after a moment or two. "You be wantin' me to be trainin' youse another Ridin' ho'suh then Missus Teagan? Mare ain't nevuh the same after a breedin. Still good, but it be takin' them a couple years to be gettin' they'se energy back."

Teagan listens to the tall gentleman intently, having never been privy..or rather having never /chosen/ to be privy to the breeding process growing up. "Yes, Mister St. Cloud, if you would. There are 32 horses coming to me and Mister Reynolds instructed me to wire the handler mama has sent with them to hold in St. Louis until we can ascertain the weather conditions and if it will be safe for them to continue on. When they arrive, if you would choose one for me from that stock?"

She slowly moves to the horse Moses was tending, placing her hands on either side of the long Cattle horse's face, rubbing her thumbs against the jowls before glancing back to Moses. "And how much shall I pay you for stud fees, Mister St. Cloud? Or shall I discuss that with Mister Reynolds? Oh! And you will randomly see Mister William Franklin board his horse here. A mustang, black with a lightning bolt on his brow. The horse, not Mister Franklin. And he'll stay for a time and then…depart." The last is said with a tinge of sadness.

Moses nods quietly and half smiles "I be knowin' the Cap'n's Ho'suh Missus Teagan. I be seein' to it that it be taken care of. As for Muh Aries, youse and Mistuh Colton can be talkin' on dat one. So long as He don' be gettin' penned wit' no fightuhs, I be fine."

"I will assure you that he will not be penned with any other horse, if that is your request, Mister St. Cloud." She pauses for a moment before asking, "You are happy here? Contented? Is there anything you require or need for the horses or for your comfort?" Teagan's questions are forthright and inquisitive, since this is her first time owning a ranch and having hired men to look after.

Moses shakes his head. "I be's fine Missus Teagan. Gots me a warm stall to be sleepin' in, An' work to do dat don' mean I gots to beat some Bohunk's haid in wit' muh fitses. Mistuh Dog bew gettin strong now an' he be makin a good Yoddle-dog huntuh when he be gettin a bit bigguh. Don' mind muh Aries bein penned with anothuh Ho'suh. but don' want him in with no fightuhs come season. Aries be gettin' pushed, he be killin anothuh Ho'suh. I just be keepin' him wit' Jeb fo' now." Jeb being the old Mammoth Jack mule he came riding in with.

Teagan listens carefully and at the conclusion which is albeit slower to translate in her head than she would admit, a smile of relief settles on her. "Wonderful, Mister St. Cloud. Should there be anything you need, please do not hesitate to speak with either myself or Mister Reynolds…" A delicate blush comes to her cheeks as she concludes, "Or Mister Franklin, either. It is my…our hope he will be here far more frequently than he currently is." Yes, that is her hope in a nutshell.

Moses chuckles quietly and nods. "Could alus come up wit' a reason to be keepin' him here if'n you be wantin' Missus Teagan. That Ho'suh o his. could be he gots all sorts o problems what need fixin, or maybe a bad set of shoes what done made him unsound and needin some correctin'"

Teagan's vibrant eyes lift to the colored's, stepping a single step nearer. "If, that…if you would not mind performing…such a service I would be most appreciative, Mister St. Cloud. I worry terribly about his…activities and what could happen to him. And now that Mister Reynolds has been made sheriff…"

Moses nods and tilts his head to the side for a moment. it was a ponderous movement. Reaching up to scratch his cheek, Moses finally says. "If it be happenin' here, I jus' be doin what I does wit' 2 knot-haided Ho'sus. Cain't be havin' them upsettin the stock."

Teagan's smile widens, a gracious light in her eyes. "Then I shall leave it to your discretion. I care for both of them Moses, wishing neither to harm the other…and I know that Colton has his job to perform, though I do not want William to fly in the face of Mister Reynold's responsibilities, either. It should not be so complicated to keep them away from one another, should it?"

Moses shrugs. "Moses Don' be knowin' 'bout none o' dat. But I's can be talkin' to der other boys an' we can be 'rrangin' it so's there ain't bein no doubt 'vout this here bein peaceable ground. Dey's got trouble wits each an anothuh, Dey be dealin' wit' it elsewhere. If it comes down to it, Ol' Moses, he be whuppin' the first one be causin' problems." Pausing for a moment, he gets an embarrassed look on his face. ""scusin' me. I guess I be talkin' outta my place."

Teagan laughs softly, "No, no, Mister St. Cloud. I appreciate your forthrightness. Please do not weigh your words with me and I am very happy to be able to…explain my dilemma to you regarding the men around me."

Moses shrugs and smiles. "I don' be mindin' Missus Teagan. Is Mistuh Colton still gon' be ramroddin' der outfit?"

You say, "I…do not know. There would be no way for him to leave presently in search of horses with his present responsibilities. It may be that will fall to someone else to perform. Honestly, until you mentioned it, that was a question I'd not thought of to ask. He remains my partner, but as for him being able to do the day to day functions," her eyes meet his once more, "I do not know."

Moses smiles. "Maybe youse should talk to the Cap'n. knowed more'n one man been turned right by a woman

Teagan's face lowers, another rush of color appearing beneath her porcelain skin, "When…he returns I shall. He is currently in Texas with…with his men." And there has been no word as to his return or if he even is able to. "I will probably see Mister - Sheriff Reynolds before Mister Franklin." Her hand unconsciously steals to rest upon her abdomen. "If you know or meet anyone in need of a job, Mister St. Cloud, please do not hesitate to point them here, if you feel they are of just character."

Teagan laughs delightedly, "Then I shall leave things in your capable hands. And if you need anything, please come to me." A thought comes to her and she sobers, "If you could take note if a certain Marcus Berry comes around to speak with William when he returns…please watch him?"

Moses chuckles and nods. "I be knowin' MArcus too. Boy be some High strung. you be thinkin' he might be causin' some trouble?"

You say, "He…has attempted to insinuate himself into Mister Franklin's group. He will go away for days…weeks at a time and suddenly appear. I do not trust him, nor I think does William with anything of import. I just do not want that man to play both ends against the middle for his own gain. He makes me very…uneasy. As though he would have no qualms about setting fire to a stables if he thinks it will help his cause."

Moses Nods quietly as he thinks about this. "I be thinkin' he just be a bit too high strung. But if'n he be trying to burn down the stables, he be havin' to do it wit'out me hearin as I sleeps in heres. You be hirin' me to be workin' here Missus Teagan. Moses ain't gon' let nothin be happenin to this here place wit'out bein' daid first."

Teagan reaches out, a gentle hand pressing briefly to the man's massive forearm. "You have calmed many of my fears, Mister St. Cloud."

Moses smiles and nods placing a massive, scarred hand on her shoulder. "You'se don't be worryin' none Missus Teagan. Ain't bein' good for babbies when the mother be worryin' too much. Ok? Moses got things under control an' you an' yours be safe. I fought inmjuns, white men an' men what weren't no met t'all when I's bein' a Hosuh So'dier, Even fought me a Grizzer bar once when I hads me to. Moses kept his boys safe and kept them comin' home. This here, it be an easy thing. ok?"

Teagan's lashes flutter, tears stinging her eyes and she nods, "You are a very kind soul Mister St. Cloud. I am very happy you are with us." She clears her throat and takes a bracing breath, a smile once more appearing, "I hope you will not mind that I shadow you as you tend to things here. I do wish to know more of the workings of this - my ranch, yes?"

Moses smiles. "You'se be suitin' youse'f Missus Teagan. I just be about to take dat dere Palomino Ho'suh out an' re-work her shoes. Theys be needin' refittin'."

You say, "I cannot wait until Mister Franklin returns. He has the most wonderful cook that I would like to hire for the ranch." She speaks quietly and then realizes Moses spoke of horses and shoeing. "There is someone Mister…Sheriff Reynolds told me about. A Miss Ohls in town. Blacksmith? Perhaps we could set up an account with her for providing our livestock with shoes and the like?"

Moses nods. "Might be a good idea when the rest of the Ho'sus be ettin' here, but for now I can be doin' it if'n you'se wantin. You be payin' me anyhow." At the mention of a cook, Moses smiles. "Be a fine thing when there be a good cook aroun'. Shot me a boar Yest'day when I be out riding fence, Gon' Barbecue it up fer th' boys t'night if'n youse want's be joinin us Missus Teagan."

Teagan smiles happily, "You would not mind, Mister St. Cloud? I would be quite honored to eat with you and the men."

Moses chuckles "Why would I be mindin'? th' biys be likin' youse, so do I. it be a big boar, so there be plenty to go 'round."

You say, "I could…" she ponders, "Make some pies. Or there are plenty of potatoes we could place in the fire, too. And we have a bag of some beans we could cook, yes? Why, we shall have a veritable feast!"

Moses smiles an nods. "Dat be soundin' like a plan Missus Teagan. Th' Boys they be gettin' excited. I ain't bein the best cook around, but I be the best amongst the hands. Probably 'cause I knows the secret to salt."

You say, "I have some spices in the house if you need them. I shall get to those pies and beans, Mister St. Cloud. Thank you! Thank you so much!"

Moses nods as he backs the Palomino from the stall and begins leading it out into better light. "Ok Missus Teagan. jus' follow yer nose. I'll start the cookin in an hour or so.

Teagan claps happily and makes her way through the snow into the house.


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