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Sunday, 11 am | Oakpeak Post Office Church had raged on. Nothing would stop the panels of her dress from sticking ferociously to her legs or arms. The fan she held in her hand was of minimal help but her hand continued to move absently up and down. She was able to give up, but when a bead of sweat dripped down her forehead to the bridge of her nose, she tightened her grip on the fan and continued. All morning, she found herself unable to concentrate on the sermon. She knew it was one she'd heard a hundred times before but her mind had been thick and warm, much too foggy for any sort of contemplation. Following church, she'd walked the short distance to the post office and curse the humidity under breath hoping the Lord would forgive her. When she entered, to her happiness, the post office had stayed relatively cool and quiet. She closed the door behind her, turned the sign around indicating the post office was, indeed, open on this very hot day. She'd been here for one hour -- no more, no less -- as was customary. Esme knew she was good at keeping tradition and while her former boss was now on trial, she belie ed in keeping with the same hours and nuances as the townspeople had come to know and recognize under his hazardous leadership. She'd only drawn the window coverings back a few inches or so, for fear the harsh sunlight find the glass and seep in. She kept busy behind the large wall that separated the postage materials from the rest the main floor. Oatpeak had recently welcomed a few new residents and Sundays were generally quiet, Esme decided she would have the time today to revise the town registrar and update a few ledgers. She leaned dutifully against the post office wall, the glass tile partially obstructing her face from view. @Die Shize
NOTICE Music The year is 1881. For some, it is seen as the dawn of a decisive decade. This is a period in the history of the United States of America called the American Old West. Historians might settle for that latter term, the "Old West", and articulate the hardships and the hard-earned histories of the men and women who survived it. They'd be right. The more romantic, however, liked to gallop with a more familiar term: the "Wild West". This was no coincidence. West of the Mississippi River there was no settlement to compare quite with the eastern realm. Lawless lands, untamed territories and sprawling wilderness combined to form the eternal frontier. Yet, despite the desires of free folk and against the juggernauts of industry and technology, this time was just another reminder that most of what people called eternal did not last forever after all. The Old West was called the "Old West" for a reason. It was also called the "Wild West" for many reasons more. Perceived to run from 1865-1895, the Old and Wild West was littered with thirty years of war, crime, corruption, chaos, anarchy and the struggles of survival within a still strange and foreign world. To quote Robert Hine and John Mack Faragher: "Frontier history tells the story of the creation and defense of communities, the use of the land, the development of markets, and the formation of states . . . It is a tale of conquest, but also one of survival, persistence, and the merging of peoples and cultures that gave birth and continuing life to America." Native Americans would greet all kinds of foreign visitors and invaders, either by the hand or the weapon that it held. Settlers and adventurers, opportunists and idealists, would come from all over to make a new home or a new name for themselves. More often than not, they were already there, just trying to make a living. These were the infant stages of law and order, amid farms and ranches, towns and cities that would prelude the eventual and inevitable industrialization of America nationwide. The wild frontier would come to an end as surely as it had come to a beginning...but not yet. In 1881, the frontier line moved steadily westward, further and further from the Mississippi, the east further and further from the horizon. Then and there, a different kind of world was governed by a different kind of people. Native tribes, cowboys and cowgirls, lawmen and lawmakers, gunslingers and gunsmiths, pioneers and prospectors, gamblers and tricksters, scouts and soldiers, outlaws and gangs of them. Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, Annie Oakley and Pearl de Vere—men and women who made a name for themselves. But theirs were not the only names. Before the machines of industrialization were groaning, before the boon of technology and the boom of the economy, before the growth of population and the consolidation of the nation, the west was still wild. In 1881, just over a decade before the end of the American frontier, it still breathed in the dirt and the dust. In the southwestern state of New Mary, against a mountainous backdrop and amid a scrub desert, the town of Oatpeak was only months old in the making. Raised around cattle stockyards and the prospect of mining operations into the mountains, Oatpeak was as small as it was humble. With fundamental businesses and basic amenities, ranging from a sheriff's office and a stable to a gunsmith and a pharmacist, life was as slow as any other small settlement scattered about the west. However, that year, things were about to change. With a deal having been brokered among three chief sponsors and supporters—the Vanderbilt family just south of Oatpeak; a former city mayor named Geoffrey Sinclair; and the Western Union Railroad Company (WURC)—a railroad has just had its last spike hammered down two days ago. The new Blackberry & Oatpeak Railroad runs southwest to northeast, connecting the town of Oatpeak to the city of Blackberry, and further to the Western Union Railroad (WUR). In an age where railroads superseded the revolutionary limelight of roads themselves, connecting territories and states and delivering massive loads, little Oatpeak was now on the verge of making a mark on the map. With preparations having had no delay, the first delivery of various provisions and other goods has just left Blackberry and is bound for town. The steam engine locomotive commissioned by the WUR, called the Vanguard, is grinding the rails after leaving the city that very morning. Of course, against the opportunity of growth comes the opportunity to stunt it. This freight train has left that morning, not merely to deliver its payload as soon as possible, but to stand out easier for nearby help and to make any would be robbers stand out too. Contracted from the WURC itself, two security guards from the Pinkerton National Detective Agency are onboard to ensure that the goods get delivered without a hair or a hiccup. The only question is...will they? It is 1881 in the west...and the west was wild. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Music Ambience Images The Conductor It didn't take a pocket watch to tell that it was high noon, but Anthony Hughes had a habit of checking it at regular intervals. He was a train conductor. He was the chief person aboard the Vanguard who was responsible for making sure that it reached Oatpeak on time and delivered its freight right down to the straw. This train carried carts of cargo that weren't just scheduled to be delivered—they were promised. Anthony tucked the watch into his coat. Judging by its needles and the summer sun, everything was on schedule. Had he known the area, he would have had an even better gauge, but these barren lands, though not alien, ran in a direction that he had not yet ventured in. No one had by rail, not yet. I'm the first. Anthony Hughes, fresh on the dirt to forward freight. He wiped a bead of sweat from his brow, uncertain if it was out of nervousness, the heat of the day or the heat of the firebox in the cab compartment of the train that he dared to peek upon. Anthony was there to check up on the engineer, making sure all was well and swell as he made his rounds. Not much to report on that front, though it was nice to know that the Vanguard was holding up. She was as virgin as the track; a first time for both. Anthony left the cab and made his way over to the Pinkertons who were set up near the middle of the train. The pair made him nervous—an uncomfortable and ever present reminder of why their presence was needed—but, on that same note, he was glad that they were there. He felt safer. "Afternoon, fellers", he bid them with his hat. "How goes it?"
Licensed for free use, no attribution required | Use only as aesthetic reference and not for technical details of setting This is a realistic setting, which means no magic, meta-materials, or fantasy races. This has no bearing on the realism of plot contrivances or the natures or reactions of characters. The Wild West period is from 1865-1895. It's famous for gunslingers, pioneers, prospectors, gamblers, outlaws, and gangs. If you've seen Tombstone you've pretty much got it. If you haven't, think Wyatt Earp, Butch Cassidy, and Jesse James. Common plots in this genre can include: Construction of a railroad or telegraph line. Ranchers protecting their family ranch from rustlers or from large landowners or who want to build a ranching empire. The rise of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Revenge stories which feature a sprawling chase across the wilderness. Outlaw gang plots often involved in robberies of towns or trains and opposed by local or federal authority. Bounty hunters tracking bounties. Technology The steam engine exists. Railroads exists across the nation but are not common. In Oatpeak there is current construction on a track and station but it is not yet available. The telegraph and postal mail exist. There is one outpost for both in Oatpeak. Guns exist. The six-shot revolver is the most common, followed by five- and two-barrel variants. Knives, shotguns, and hunting rifles are also common. There are a few stagecoaches used by the few nobles in the small town of Oatpeak. The automobile gets invented in 1885 but, though it will exist at some point in Oatpeak's history, Oatpeak itself never builds infrastructure to support one prior to 1895. Horses for riding between towns, to range across the landscape, and to ranch on large plots of land are commonly used. Oxen and coaches sre used for moving families and materials. Attire Pricing not accurate | examples pending open source discoveries Legend Arms Store - Sells revolvers, shotguns, bows and arrows, hunting rifles and ammunition for all The average laborer or cowboy earned 1 USD a day - more, maybe 3 USD a day, if you were a miner or blacksmith / skilled laborer. Approximately 30-40 bullets costs a day's wages for a cowboy or laborer. An average gun might cost one to two weeks of wages. A good gun might cost a month's wages. Sheriff's Office Vanderbilt Estate - The map only represents the direction / entry point rather than the whole thing. The estate is not so much a part of Oatpeak as connected to it. The land that is part of the estate ranges into the mountains and is larger than Oatpeak though clearly most of it is untamed wilderness. This belongs to a minor Vanderbilt branch and the reason why Oatpeak is getting a railroad stop Saloon and Gambling Telegraph and Mail changelog 2018-01-13: added attire aesthetic images; thanks to Die Shize 2018-01-13: added aesthetic header 2018-01-13: added map