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Jack Lake

"I world is closing in on me."

0 · 273 views · located in Modern Wild West

a character in “A Handful of Dust”, as played by supertoastgirl

Description

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theme songs

Never Tear Us ApartLive and Die



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Name: Jack Robert Lake
Role: Male 5
Age: Twenty-six
Occupation: Scrapper, has lived in the wilderness his entire life

Likes:
- Hannah, his wife and the love of his life
- His brother in-law
- The wilderness, he’s made a good life for himself out there
- Water, he could swim for hours
- The sound of coyotes howling in the distance, makes him very nostalgic
- Discovering things about the old world, he keeps a couple of history books with them
- Fairness and government, Jack is a strong believer in democracy and rules
- Cars, although rare he has a knack for those things
- Cold nights, he loves to hold his dear close to him
- Agriculture, he is also very good with growing things, especially in this desert terrain

Dislikes:
- People who are afraid of those who have lived in the wilderness, they’re always so narrowed minded
- Dust, he actually isn’t too keen on the idea of living in a town run by just a couple of people, there’s too much corruption and betrayal
- Horses, he will ride them and use them as a tool but when he was young he got bucked more than a few times
- Worrying, he tries to stay easy and calm at all times
- Marley, she’s too rash and energetic for him
- Disorder and chaos, Jack most always has everything under his cool control
- Causing any kind of harm, Jack is strong and demanding but never violent and spiteful


Fears: Jack wants nothing more than to getting the proper care for his wife and child. He seems so collected and calm in the town, but really he is tearing his hair out trying to save Hannah and their future family. Also, his maturity and stability outshines his true mental stance. Jack doesn’t believe he is ready to be a father, he is terrified of not being able to raise a child. Along with that, he has always had the fear of being unable to provide for those he loves. It’s a tough world out there.




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Personality: Jack is terrifying, in a subtle way. His strength and controlling persona are quiet. He rarely yells, and coolly deals with problems. He is always the first to put down his weapon, and is willing to debate and negotiate. He is a peacemaker, and a safeguard. He is a silent type; his words are worth more than most. Though contained he has a confidence that grabs everyone’s attention. Jack does not just walk, he leads a pathway of righteousness and trust. He has a moral compass made of gold, just like his heart. Though he may be all bright and full of light, he is not a force to be reckoned with. He lived in the wilderness his entire life, he has brutal skills and isn’t afraid to kill for good. He is passionate, and will do anything for what he belives to be right.

Background: Jack, like his brothers and sisters, lived in a cave in the wilderness. His parents were scrapper, as are he and his siblings. He comes from simple people, who grow and catch their own food. Though scrappers always get a bad name in these parts, his family was mostly fair and honest.

Like most of the adults in this day, Jack’s parents died when he was in his teens. He was sixteen and the eldest child of five. Jack took the role of the leader and made sure that he his family well fed and safe. After five years of providing for his family, Jack met Hannah. She was vision, and Jack wanted nothing more to spend the rest of his life with her. By this time Jack’s sister was old enough to provide and Jack left her to do just that. For a couple of years Jack roamed the wilderness, scrapped through towns and traveled with Hannah. After promising Hannah that he would marry her, they stumbled upon an old hut where a singular old man lived.

The man married them, saying that he had the power from God to bind them as one. Half convinced that the man was completely bonkers, Jack and Hannah did a traditional old world wedding ceremony. They even managed to exchange rings; Hannah’s a hand-me-down from Jack’s mother and Jack’s a gold ring found in the dust.

The rest of their life is history. Jack built them and Hannah’s brother a darling house under the shade of an desert willow tree, one of the only trees within a five mile radius. Upon deciding to have family, Hannah had experiences many complications. High heats and dry climates led to disaster. The house, that took 6 months to built, went down in ash just like the tree.

Unable to provide for his wife and good friend Jack and his small band have gone to drastic measures, asking for assistance from the well known town Dust.

So begins...

Jack Lake's Story

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Character Portrait: Hannah Lake Character Portrait: Jack Lake
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Years ago, but not distantly, the Delsis Disease spread through billions of people. Slowly, humanity was swamped into a depression of death. Friends and foes alike, mothers and fathers too. The symptoms were silent, the suffering brief, the long term condition fatal. The powerful disease took human lives by the ton, and at the end of the day little humanity was left.

America was shattered, most people moving to the isolated desert parts to avoid disease. The government was nearly nonexistent, only figureheads remained. Those able to afford it lived in the plush areas of the United States with electricity and the old world luxuries. As for the average man, they were left to build their own lives from the dirt. So, with time and dedication a collection of small towns rose from the hot sand, scattered across the Nevada deserts. Those who once lived in the safe, clean suburbs were now raising their children in a dangerous, dirty villages. But with the will to survive, the next generation is now thriving.

Our story follows those who have been born into this world. Men and women knowing nothing more than this hard life that they’ve pursued. Some will live and die in one town, doing the only thing they know; have a family and survive. Others will explore farther, travel into neighboring towns and places they’ve only heard of.

People are broken, having lost family members and friends, but a majority don’t even realize the trauma. Townsfolk are respected by most, having a permanent home and history. Scrappers are generally outcast, being unknown and mysterious.

The town Dust, like many settlements is in the secluded desert. It is full of tradition and rules, run by the people for the people, and generally untroubled. The town is small but sturdy. Quaint, but a force not to be reckoned with. Dust is undoubtedly the strongest town in the area, having both an abundance of resources and shelter.

Villages in the desert keep to themselves and do not welcome the unknown. Dust is not unlike the rest, newcomers are not trusted; strangers readily denied. But with new hands leading the town of Dust, persuasion and unsteady times are in forecast.






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Jack Lake stood at the edge of Dust, looking in, the sunrise slowly creating shadows on the wooden panels. A singular dirt road led through the middle of the little town and trailed off into the horizon; into the wilderness, into the unknown. Jack had lived out there his whole life; it was a mangy lifestyle, and a dangerous one, but it wasn’t impossible. It was a dog eat dog world out there.

The man was perfectly erect, a strong figure in the morning light. His stance was not unusual, Jack stood with a possessive confidence and walked in a prideful step. His mannerisms were very proper and unlike most of the people that lived in the wilderness. He was not dressed like a gentleman of the time, but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t. If anyone hadn’t known his part, or judged him by his clothes, Jack could have passed for a townsperson easily. He was self-educated and socially civilized. He seemed scholarly, maybe even princely in the way that he presented himself.

To the townsfolk, those who lived in the wilderness were scoundrels. Dirty thieves and brutal killers. But to the scrappers, those inside the town were selfish lovers and causeless beasts. Jack, however strong headed and opinionated as he might be, needed not to let these stereotypes foil his plans though. He needed these people. He needed their help, and he needed it soon.

He was willing to do anything to become part of their ‘society’. His dark blue eyes were shaded by their heavy lids, dark circles ran under his eyes making him look older. Jack was a reasonable age, twenty-six, but with the recent stress he could have passed for about thirty. He was worn down, but his ambitious personality and personal drive would never let him stop. Jack needed desperately to be accepted. If not for him than for Hannah.

In all honesty, if Jack had a choice he would rather be out in the wilderness; self sustaining, having only him and his family in the heat of the desert. He grew up that way, and he figured if he turned out alright, he should raise his children that way. He was perfectly capable of educating his own kin, and taking care of his own wife. Then again, here he was, waiting of the people of Dust to decide his fate.

In one weeks time, Jack and Hannah would have their answer. In Jack’s mind, it was either Hannah’s saving grace or her death sentence. Without the proper care, Jack knew that his wife would die in labor. With his head swimming in doomed thoughts, Jack guarded his face in his hands. How? How could he convince such superstitious people? And how, dear God, could they see someone suffering and not help? Not even want to?

Overthinking. Jack stepped back from his reflection, he needed not to let his mind wander, but to act. With a new found determination Jack went back to their temporary home. It was a shanty, with peeling paint the smell of rust in the walls. The three of them, Jack, Hannah and Peter barely fit in the main living space. It was small, unrealistically small, with just enough room for two twin beds shunned to the back of the room and a table at the front next to the woodstove. Jack had chosen to take the floor, letting his brother-in-law and wife sleep in the small beds.

Jack opened the door slowly, in order to avoid waking his slumbering beauty. Their nights had been long, and he wanted her to get as much sleep as possible. It was much more important than his own life that she was healthy. He wanted nothing more than for her to be well and to be happy. Her happiness was his happiness.

Gently, he made his way to his wife, and not help but smile at the sight of her, then he laid a couple of soft kisses on her neck before saying his ceremonious morning greet, “Good morning, wife.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hannah Lake Character Portrait: Jack Lake Character Portrait: Peter Cross
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Hannah’s green eyes flew wide open with a start. She’d been having a nightmare. They closer she became to consciousness, the hazier the finer details of it became. But she did remember one image. It was the same image she’d seen in her dreams for the last five nights since they’d been in this tiny house. Her husband had leant down over her and placed a tiny baby in her arms. She’d been delighted. She’d done it. They’d both survived, and she’d brought her child safely into this world. But, when she looked down, the baby was limp and cold and tinged with blue. He was as still as anything, and he wasn’t crying.

Instinctively, she reached out to her left for her husband, where he slept beside her, but found her hand tumbling through mid-air. As her mind dragged itself into consciousness, she remembered. She remembered, like she did every morning, when she reached out for Jack, expecting him to be lying beside her in their bed. But they couldn’t sleep side by side anymore. Their bed had gone up in flames with their beautiful house. And now they were here. In this tiny house, barely fit for one, waiting on a hostile town to decide their fate. And it frightened Hannah to death. Some of the town’s people had been friendly towards them, even taken pity on her, but others obviously couldn’t wait to see the back of them, and would stop at nothing to make sure they left Dust. Honestly? Hannah didn’t want to be here anymore than they wanted her here. If it was up to her, she’d still be safe, in her beautiful home that Jack built. She was so vulnerable at the moment, yet she was surrounding herself strangers who could easily have every intention to hurt her. She didn’t want to give birth around people who she didn’t know or trust. But she didn’t have a choice. Her situation was now so dire that this was their only option. There was no other way.

She pulled her hand back towards her body, slipping it under the thin sheet, where it came to rest idly on her swollen abdomen. She rubbed small, soothing, absentminded circles on her stomach. This situation may not be perfect, and she could easily think of a hundred things that could be better. But she was so close, too. She’d lost two babies in the past few years, and each had been a tragedy. She’d resigned herself to the idea that she’d never carry a chid to term, and she’d never get to meet them. But this baby was alive, and even if she went into labour right now, providing everything went as planned, it would survive. Jack and she would finally have the family they’d been dreaming of since they first set out traveling together. And that thought made Hannah smile. She might be terrified, and there were so many things that could go wrong. But there were also things that could go right. And, if they did, they’d make her so happy.

Suddenly, Hannah heard the door of the house open very slowly. She froze, shutting her eyes as she heard footsteps approach her. What if it was one of the town’s folk, coming to tell her they’d made their decision early and they had to leave right now. She couldn’t bear that thought. The journey here had exhausted her, and she still hadn’t recovered. If they had to set out again, she was sure she’d die. She opened her eyes as she felt a familiar presence stood over her. Hannah smiled at the sight of Jack, and he reciprocated. He bent down and pressed gentle kisses into her neck.

“Good morning, wife,” he said. His voice was sweet and caring, and it made her smile, despite her fears.

Hannah pulled herself into a sitting position and stretched up to kiss him on the lips. It was a simplistic gesture, only expected of a married couple. But, to Hannah, it meant the world. This new life was so dangerous and there were so many things that could take a person from you with little warning. She was so lucky to have him with her still.

“Good morning, husband,” she replied, pulling back and smiling.

Then, she glanced across the room, allowing her gaze to fall on her sleeping brother in the other bed. She turned back to Jack and pressed a finger to her lips and nodding towards Peter as an explanation. Using the bed to help her, Hannah stood up slowly, which wasn’t always an easy task, based on her current condition. She felt an ache in her lower back as she stood up, but ignored it. Hannah dropped a hand to her midriff as she felt her baby twist in response to her movement. Then, with her free hand, she reached out for Jack’s and took it, using it to lead him back through the house. She wound her way through the tiny house, avoiding the beds, the woodstove, the table and Jack’s makeshift bed on the floor, using a small blanket. She felt guilty that her poor husband had to sleep on the floor while she got a proper bed, but she knew it was unrealistic for her to sleep on the floor.

She shut the door behind them. The idea that there was no way of locking it scared Hannah. She’d been tempted to ask Jack and Peter to push the table up against in in the night, but didn’t want to scare them. She hated the idea that anyone could just walk in in the middle of the night while they were all asleep and hurt her family.

Hannah made her way round to the side of the house, so they couldn't be seen from the town. She leant against the peeling outside wall of their tiny, temporary home, gratefully allowing it to take her weight. Usually, she probably would’ve sat down against it, but she didn’t have the energy to try and get up again. She turned to look at Jack, and pressed herself into his arms, her body turned slightly sideways so she could be closer to him, without her unborn baby getting in the way. The embrace was loving, but it was also frightened, as if she were looking for protection in his arms. She didn’t know what today would hold, or the next day, or the day following that, and it scared her.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eleanor Isis Roden Character Portrait: Hannah Lake Character Portrait: Jack Lake
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Eleanor rolled over in her sleep, murmuring the unknown softly as she does so.
Whoa, I managed to sleep the whole night without Lily-Mae waking me up, She thinks, her mind still in a subconscious state.
That is, until she bolts up in bed.
"Wait, why did I manage to sleep the whole night?" She says out loud, standing up and rushing over to where her Lily's little, old, wooden cot was softly swinging - It had been hers and now it was her precious little bundles.
And yet, why was she not in there?
Maternal instincts taking over, Eleanor scans the whole room for traces of where the one year old toddler could have gotten to and finally turfed up her small little home, tears prickling at the back of her eyes.
"No," She whispers, clenching her eyes tightly shut.
Once again, she had ruined everything, once again she was a failure; she would never change.

But then, a faint gurgle is heard from just outside their small, only window and Eleanor rushes over, peering out.
Sure enough, her little child is sitting there, on the dirty ground, in only her nappy - Playing in the mud.
Eleanor's sigh of relief is quickly followed by a frown as she goes to retrieve her lost child.

"Lil!" She scolds, although her voice is still soft and sweet, never managing to be properly mad at the little girl, "look at you, you're filthy."
Just picking up Lily-Mae covered Eleanor in mud and she bit her lip as she walked inside their unlock-able door.
They had gained new neighbors, her and Lily, the new people in town. Well, they were new to Dust but not her, no, she new them fairly well and yet had not spoken to them at all, since they arrived.

She wasn't sure whether is was the shame that drove her away from their house - even smaller than her own - or possibly the fact that there was nothing she could do for them.
If it were possible, she would give them some money, help them on their way but as of now, she could barely feed and cloth herself and daughter, let alone give some of her precious money away.
And so, the best thing she could do was to bag some of the cloth Lily had quickly outgrown up and give it to them as she doubted they had time to get any, well, if the rumor that they had a massive fire were true, anyway.

Taking a deep breath, the young mother steps out of her house, a child strapped to her chest by a odd little contraption she had bought from the 'market' - if that's what you could call a couple old woman and strange young men selling all sorts of odds and ends - and knocks on her neighbor's door.
Was it bad that she hoped they wouldn't answer?
Was it bad for her to want to sell the babies clothes instead of giving them away to a family in dire need?
Probably but she couldn't help it, she desperately needed the money but nevertheless would go through with this, knowing what it's like to be a mother with nothing.
And even though Jack & Hannah were being threatened about being kicked out of down, sent to the shanty houses and made to live in almost isolation, they still had each other and for that, Eleanor was insanely jealous. She had, had no one. She will never have anyone, especially now that she is a single mother - Who would want her?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eleanor Isis Roden Character Portrait: Hannah Lake Character Portrait: Jack Lake Character Portrait: Peter Cross
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Peter was awake. He couldn't sleep, not since they're arrive in the small town. instead, he just laid there, facing his back to the rest of his room. The young man was deep in thought when Jack creeped in. He almost didn't notice the door open behind him if it wasn't for the slight squeak the hinges made.

Peter's muscles tensed up as he turned to grab bowie knife only to stop once he recognized the intruder as his sister's husband, Jack. He resisted the urge to roll his eyes as he laid back on the bed, staring at the ceiling. Peter has working on be more respectful to the man Hannah loved, but Jack could be so optimistic and naive sometimes. It was annoying. Still. Jack has his redeemable moments, though nothing specific could come the younger man at the moment.

It wasn't long before Jack was hovering over Hannah, and being all lovey-dovey. Nope. Peter thought as he grabbed his duster hat from the corner of the bed and covered his face. Peter didn't want to hear the two exchange sweet nothings, and lately it seems like Hannah has been easily irritated with her younger brother though it was probably just the pregnancy. Still The young man didn't want to upset his pregnant sister by storming off like a child.

Suddenly Hannah guided her husband out of the house to leave Peter alone. Peter looked at the door as it closed behind them. Every since his sister got married, Peter felt like he was not needed as much. Not that Jack and Hannah were trying to push him away, on the contrary, they went out of their way to make him feel welcomed in their new home; or rather, their old home before it was burned to the ground. Peter didn't want to think about the fire as a feeling of guilt began to tug at him. He needed something to distract him from his past.

Just then he heard a knocking at the door. What the hell. He thought as got up. It wasn't like they could lock themselves out of this pile of sticks. Peter walked over to the door, knocking over a few things and cussing as he arrived. The young man opened door, blinded for a split-second as the sunlight invaded his eyes. It didn't take long for Peter to realize who it was. "Elle." He glanced down at the baby she was holding. "It's been awhile." He looked behind the mother to see if Hanna and Jack were safe, a slight worry pulled on the young man before turning his attention back to the woman and baby in front of him. "What brings you here?" he asked, trying not to stare at the baby she was holding.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Marley Larson Character Portrait: Hannah Lake Character Portrait: Aaron "Sullivan" Character Portrait: Jack Lake
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Jack’s blue eyes scanned over his lovely wife as she rose out of bed. He wanted to help her, seeing that the weight of the baby was creating some trouble, but knew that if helped her in every small deed she would soon be offended. Jack knew Hannah, she was very much her own person and slightly stubborn in the ways of being helped. She wanted to know that she could do it herself, and Jack respected her for that. He certainly would have a hard time being married to woman who expected to be waited on.

A crooked smile lit his face as Hannah led him out of the small living space and into the open air. It was nostalgic feelings came over him as his arm was stretched outward and attached to his leading wife. Memories of Hannah leading him through long desert stretches to a secluded water hole, and memories of her leading him to their bedroom were alive in his mind. Though he was natural born leader, he could not help but be directed by the woman he adored most.

Outside was much cooler than in the house, mostly because a morning breeze still existed. Hannah was now leaned against the side of house, Jack cooed at her beauty. There was a certain light that radiated from her when she was pregnant. A mother’s glow, he supposed they called it. Even with all the complications they had experienced before, she was shining as brightly as ever.

Hannah into his arms in a fluid motion, and Jack responded the same. He stretched her arms around her, still able to the clasp his hands together even with the baby between. He prayed that in a few months time, they would be able to be as they were now. The two of the close together with their child between them. Jack’s stubble shuffled some of Hannah’s brown locks as he nestled against her.

“How are you feeling?” He asked simply. Honestly, Jack wanted to ask more than this, he wanted to ask her about the town, the child, and all of her thoughts. He knew she was on edge, but he didn’t want to make her more upset by asking her about her emotions.

A couple of people were now out. Marley being one of them. Just down the road a bit she was playfully attacking another young man that lived in the town. His eyes only stayed on her for a few moments. He was never sure of that girl. Sometimes she was just too much.

His attention was drawn back to his wife within seconds though, eager to know how she was dealing with things.

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Character Portrait: Hannah Lake Character Portrait: Jack Lake
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Hannah felt Jack’s arms come round her, like they had so many times before. In Jack’s arms, Hannah felt safe. No one could hurt her here, or ruin what they had. Everything she wanted was right there, and she wished she could stay like this forever. She knew it was simply a matter of days before she could lose all this. Due to the lack of technology around now, Hannah couldn’t be quite sure when she conceived. Earliest, she thought she could be at about eight and a half months, latest, full term. But either way, the birth of her baby was looming, like a shadow on the horizon. She only prayed that when it finally came, things would turn out okay. She wasn’t stupid. She was perfectly aware that the experience wasn’t going to be a pleasant one, no matter how it turned out. The second time she’d miscarried, she’d been four months along. And she still remembered the pain now. It felt as though she was being torn apart from the inside and there was nothing she could do. But she knew, whatever she’d felt then, actually giving birth was going to be a hundred times worse.

Jack shifted his chin against her head, causing some of her hair to move a little. She felt a gentle kick to her lower right side as she leant against him. It wasn’t hard enough to make her flinch or cry out, but it was comforting to know her baby was still alright. She was so close now. All she had to do was avoid complications for a little longer and they could finally complete the family she’d always so desperately wanted.

“How are you feeling?” Jack’s tone was honest and simple. There was concern behind it, of course, but he wasn’t prying or trying to force an admission out of her.

Hannah thought about the question for a few seconds, wanting to give an honest answer to her husband. She’d always seen honestly as one of the most important things in their relationship. Though Hannah wasn’t the type to whine about how she felt, she didn’t hide things from him either. If she thought there was something wrong, she’d tell Jack. Not because she wanted to frighten him, or keep him up at night worrying, but because she felt she owed him it. How could you ever expect to have an honest relationship if you spent most of it trying to lie to the other person?

“I’m okay,” she told him truthfully. Being this pregnant didn’t come without its pains and problems, but she did feel alright. “But… I am frightened…” she admitted softly, not wanting to hide what she was feeling from him.

She hoped her expression of emotions might encourage him to share some of his with her.

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Character Portrait: Hannah Lake Character Portrait: Jack Lake
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Jack nodded his head attentively. Whenever speaking with his wife he was extraordinarily careful and listened intently to every detail and concern. He would like to believe that he knew every inflection in her voice, and all the quirks that showed her deep emotions, but even now he was discovering her. Hannah was far too complex to just memorize. She wasn’t the type of person you could become so familiar with them that you could finish their sentences.

She was his wife, but he still had the pleasure of falling in love with her over and over again. Jack could never predict what she was going to do and that made her even more irresistible. There were parts of her unknown and he liked finding new and exciting sides of his dear Hannah.

He squeezed her in gentle love as a frown clouded his face, the fact that she openly admitted her fear made Jack uncomfortable. Not because he didn’t know how to comfort her, but because he didn’t know how to fix the problem they were in. After a moment of silence, he pulled back to look her in the eyes and held his hands on her shoulders.

“Everything will as it should be.” The confidence that was in his voice was reassuring, even if it was fake. Jack had no idea if everything was going to be okay. In a week he could be a proud father and husband. In a week he could be delivering the child that would kill his wife. In a week his whole life could be black, no family to speak of. If Hannah and the child both died Jack wasn’t even sure that’d he'd stay with Peter. He figured that he would just wander in the wilderness.

A burst of duty burned in his chest. “I will make everything right.” He said, thinking of the task ahead of him. What he really needed to do was to gain the townsfolks trust. Jack needed to befriend, or at least become friendly with the town leader. Then he needed to win the hearts of the people. Hannah too. If Hannah spoke her mind and maybe even spoke with the women in town they would gain sympathy.

“It’s merely political, dear.” He then looked toward the center of town. “Let’s head to town. Get to know some of the residents. Are you feeling up to that?” He then took her hands in his and smiled down at her. In order to survive they needed to gain trust.

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Character Portrait: Eleanor Isis Roden Character Portrait: Hannah Lake Character Portrait: Jack Lake
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Jack nodded his head while she spoke, to show he was listening to the reply and had not simply asked the question to give her something to talk about so he didn't have to, like some men she knew did, Hannah thought, casting her mind back to her brother. He pulled her closer to him gently, frowning a little.

“Everything will as it should be,” Jack promised confidently. But the words did nothing for Hannah. They were bland an emotionless, lacking the feeling and depth she so desperately needed from him. But Hannah didn't say anything. She knew a cocktail of hormones and physical exhaustion was probably causing her to be unreasonable and pushing him for something more was likely to lead to him shutting down even further.

Hannah sighed, dropping one of the hands she'd wrapped round Jack to her baby, altering her position slightly to make the extra weight sit a little more comfortably on her hips.

Thankfully, Jack's next words reassured Hannah slightly more than his last, and offered some of the depth she needed, “I will make everything right.” There was more emotion to this than his last statement, more of the Jack she'd come to love. “It’s merely political, dear,” he added, glancing towards town.

Hannah supposed he was probably right. Though she already knew Eleanor and Marley, and she hoped they would vote in her favour to help Hannah and her family stay, but she was unfamiliar with the rest of the townspeople. Though they'd arrived days ago, she and Jack had rarely ventured out of their little house. She'd spent most of the first three days in bed, trying to stay off her feet after the long, tiring journey. She hadn't wanted to, but she knew in her heart that it was what was best for her and her baby, especially if she didn't want to end up delivering early. But since then they'd only been into town a couple of times, and even then people hadn't really wanted to speak to them, preferring to regard them with suspicion from a distance. Any she's spoken with had been polite, but apprehensive. Hannah knew Jack was right though. They had to become a presence in town. Hannah had to speak with the women and share her story. Surely they couldn't help but feel sympathy for her, especially the ones with children of their own.

“Let’s head to town. Get to know some of the residents. Are you feeling up to that?” Jack said, echoing her own thoughts. She pulled back from his embrace so she could see his face, letting him take her hands. He smiled down at her.

She rolled her eyes playfully at him, sighing in a mock irate fashion. "Of course I'm 'up to that'," she told him, raising her eyebrows as her tone slowed and simpered to exaggeratedly mimic his when he said 'up to that'. "I'm not completely useless, Jack," she explained to him, tutting. "Let's go," she said, taking his hand in hers.

She carefully transferred her weight from the wall to her feet, making sure to take it slowly so she didn't stumble or become dizzy. In the past months, the changes in the way she did things were all very gradual and subtle, but crafted to make allowance for they way her body had changed. In the past few months, Hannah's whole outlook on life had changed. Suddenly it was no longer about her but about her baby. Whatever she chose to put herself through, whatever danger she got herself into, her baby would be forced to be part of it too. Though she didn't want to be treated like an invalid, her own view of herself changed, and with that, other's attitudes to her had changed too.

Hannah rested her hand in Jack's, walking with him to the front of the house, in order to reach town. It was there she saw Eleanor and Peter by the door, talking. In Eleanor's arms, she cradled her daughter, and for a second, Hannah's heart leapt. In just a week, that could be her. But the scene could also be very different too.

"Morning, Eleanor," Hannah smiled as the reached the front of the house. Then she looked at her brother. "Peter, Jack and I are just going into town. Send out a search party if we're not back before dark," she joking, making light of the town's hostility towards them.

With that, Hannah turned away to begin the short walk into town with Jack.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sophia Hope Character Portrait: Marley Larson Character Portrait: Eleanor Isis Roden Character Portrait: Hannah Lake Character Portrait: Aaron "Sullivan" Character Portrait: Jack Lake Character Portrait: Wesley Hodge Character Portrait: Peter Cross Character Portrait: William Hodge Character Portrait: Maisy Cartwright
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A soft chuckle came out of Jack when Hannah became playful with him. There was the girl he adored, he knew that sarcastic piece of her was still in there. Pregnancy couldn’t have changed her that much. Jack had her smooth hand in his as they walked around the house to inform peter of their plans. It was always safe to tell others where you were going in this world. It was too often that people got lost, or dehydrated, or mugged. The sight of Eleanor made Jack smile, she had been one of those ragtag travelers they'd taken in once, and unlike Marley, Jack actually liked Elle.

While Hannah spoke frankly with her brother, Jack nodded toward Eleanor, taking particular notice in the very young girl in her arms. It was almost as if Jack and Hannah’s minds worked in tandem. He immediately thought of how he and Hannah could be bundling a precious child of their own.

Feelings of frustration and excitement ran over him. Excitement for parenthood, for the life they could be living. Children were always something he wanted, and even more so with Hannah. Frustration for the way that the town was treating them. Dust was the only thing in the way of their dreams of a family.

With that, Jack and Hannah left toward the center of town. He had only been here once before, he was a child and his family was only passing through, and thankfully they were easily forgotten. He really knew nothing about the town, beside their private club attitude. He both envied and pitied the people who lived here.

Soon the two were in what one might call downtown. There were a small collection of shops, a cafe, and a saloon. Two strangers, a man and woman were heading away from the cafe as they were closing in on it. Outside there was a group of townsfolk sitting around a couple of tables, chowing on some pastries. Would it be too forward to just introduce themselves? Marley was there, he could see that much. That was comforting... Kind of. Will was also there, maybe he could get to talking to the man.

With a gentle squeeze Jack led his wife toward the cafe. They could kill two birds with one stone; they could both eat and socialize. Boldly, Jack approached the table and casually greeted the group. “Good morning.”

Hopefully no one would be offended, or find it awkward that they joined the people.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sophia Hope Character Portrait: Marley Larson Character Portrait: Hannah Lake Character Portrait: Aaron "Sullivan" Character Portrait: Jack Lake Character Portrait: William Hodge
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Marley was too caught up in her pastry to realize that the entirety of who was at the cafe changed. Instead of sitting with Wesley, making remarks about Maisy with Sophia, Aaron and Will were beside her. She wondered if Wes went after Maisy, that wasn’t unlike him. He would do nearly anything to get what he wanted. Even if that meant actually courting the most snob ridden girl in town. A sigh almost escaped her as she took another pastry, surely she would hear about it later in the saloon.

It was a much different feel with these two men in the area. It was no longer a light, flirtation that linger in the air. It was more like a protective, down to earth feel. Aaron and Will were good guys, putting the safety of Dust front of their own.

She had no hard feelings toward Will, in fact she thought he was a splendid leader. Anyone was better than Maisy, that was for sure. Otherwise this place would be buried in old traditional ways. The world was constantly changing and the old ways of Dust were no longer applicable. Don’t get her wrong, tradition was nice and all, but she couldn’t stand the strict rules and regulations. Marley watched as William and Sophia locked eyes and spoke in polite voices.

Quietly, she watched their body language toward each other. After another drink of her lemonade Marley watched as Sophia moved her attention to Aaron, almost dismissively. It was then that Marley decided to nod toward the leader of the town and say “Good morning, Willum.” Somehow, Marley had developed nicknames for a lot of the townspeople, even if they weren’t close friends.

“I see you left the town to vote on whether the Lakes should stay..” She said quietly, trying to make some kind of conversation, “are you sure that’s a good idea?” The majority of the town was of the first generation, growing old with tradition and security in mind. They were the kind of people who didn’t care if the newcomers were in real need. Marley was only petitioning with Will for Hannah and Jack’s sake. She could care less about what happened to Peter. Or at least that’s what she kept telling herself.

Almost as if on cue, the two love birds approached the cafe. Marley smiled toward the two of them, but had no way of welcoming them into the conversations that were taking place. Without another words she stuffed the rest of her pastry into her mouth. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to speak with them, she just knew that Jack thought her a fool. It was just better if she let Jack do his thing. If Marley tried to help he would probably just get frustrated. Jack liked to do things himself, and Marley assumed that they were here to speak with William.

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Character Portrait: Eleanor Isis Roden Character Portrait: Hannah Lake Character Portrait: Jack Lake Character Portrait: Peter Cross
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Eleanor smiles at Peter, she had known he'd be here, of course she had but still, it was like the ghost from her past coming back to haunt her - Maybe she should have come?
Shaking her head, she realizes that, that was out of the question, eventhough she couldn't give them much she had some things and hopefully they'd be grateful.

"Hello Peter," She smiles, looking at where he was staring at her baby, she almost burst out laughing at the next thing he says:
"It's been awhile."
Eleanor shrugs and smiles a little, patting her precious baby on the head "Yeah, it really has." She mutters, looking to see if there were any signs of Jack or Hannah.

Before she had the time to ask Peter if he knew where they were, Hannah appeared from around the corner and greeted her.
Eleanor allowed herself to take in the size of Hannah, she really was almost ready to have this baby.
"Whoa Hannah, you look fit to burst." She jokes and smiles at the girl, knowing that she must be so excited.

"Peter, Jack and I are just going into town. Send out a search party if we're not back before dark." Eleanor laughed, of only to make the fact that the place she lived in, was so cruel they wouldn't help a heavily pregnant woman.
She also smiles at Jack, he was a very kind husband and Elle wishes more than anything she'd had someone like him around when she was with child - Making it all OK and telling her she still looked beautiful even with fat beads of sweat and weighing twice her usual weight.

Suddenly Eleanor remembers why she came here, the baby clothes! but by that time, Hannah had already gotten to the road and Elle didn't want to have to call her back, especially not in the condition she is.
Instead, she turns back to Peter and holds up the bag "Baby clothes," She says, "It's not much but it's all I can give at this time." She tells him, knowing or hoping he'll understand.
Pulling Lily-Mae out of her holder, she passes her to Peter and laughs a little, "Don't worry - She won't bite." Eleanor says and then walks into the house so she can put the bag of clothes down.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sophia Hope Character Portrait: Marley Larson Character Portrait: Eleanor Isis Roden Character Portrait: Hannah Lake Character Portrait: Aaron "Sullivan" Character Portrait: Jack Lake Character Portrait: Wesley Hodge Character Portrait: William Hodge
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Hannah felt a small smile play on her lips as she thought about Eleanor's observance of her. As she and Jack made their way towards town, hand in hand, fingers laced together, her thoughts turned to the way Eleanor had cradled her baby in her arms. The gesture was easy and comfortable. Of course, it was loving and she clearly treasured her daughter, but there was no fear to it, and no concept that her child's life might be ripped from her at any moment. Eleanor had fallen pregnant young, and almost certainly by mistake. Yet it had happened for her instantly, while Hannah had struggled to conceive for months. And when it finally did happen, she'd lost two babies, one after the other. Two babies she'd desperately wanted. And now she felt brutally close to losing this one. How was it that Eleanor got to have a baby she didn't even want without any complications while Hannah struggled with heartbreak after heartbreak? The world was so unfair. The second the thought had crossed her mind though, Hannah felt a pang of guilt overwhelm her. Her own emotions, intensified by hormones and the physical and mental strain she was currently under caused tears to spring into her eyes. She turned her head away from Jack so he couldn't see in a clear indication that she didn't want to talk. She didn't feel like sharing this particular thought with him. Eleanor adored Lily-Mae and she would be devastated if anything happened to her. Hannah should be finding an affinity with the woman over her own struggles with motherhood, even if they were not of the same nature as Hannah's, rather than being jealous of her.

By the time they had nearly reached town, Hannah had composed herself and felt she could enter and present a good front, the way she needed to. Just as they reached town, Hannah saw a man and woman leaving the cafe, the man's arm slug loosely round the woman's shoulders. As they passed by them, Hannah saw the woman look both she and Jack up and down once with a particularly disdainful, hostile gaze. To which, Hannah offered a nervous smile, although she was unsure it had helped in any way. It took Hannah a couple of seconds to recognise the woman as the daughter of the founder, someone who'd show particular dislike for them since their arrival. From the back of her mind, Hannah recalled her name to be May-something. Maya? May? Macie? No... Maisy. That was it. The man beside her was the brother of the town leader, though Hannah wasn't sure she'd been formally introduced to him. He seemed too distracted with whatever he was saying to the woman to pay any real attention to them.

As they got closer to the scene, Hannah felt Jack gently squeeze her hand in a comforting gesture. She squeezed his back, to give reassurance that everything would be alright. She quickly took in the scene before her, noting the town leader, Will, sat talking with another man Hannah hadn't seen much of since she'd arrived, though she thought he was one of the people responsible for the security of the town. A blonde girl, who Hannah hadn't really spoken to, although thought seemed remarkably friendly for this town, was stood over them, collecting dishes. Hannah's eyes then fell on Marley, who was leant in, talking to William. Hannah gave her a friendly smile, glad to see someone familiar here.

Jack approached the table people were sat around, offering up a friendly, “Good morning.” Hannah stood close beside him, her grip on his hand tightening. She slipped her other hand to right underside of her swollen stomach, rubbing it gently in an effort to emphasise to everyone just why she needed to be there. Not that it wasn't instantly obvious, the moment they'd entered the cafe.

"Hi," Hannah added, her tone less bold than Jack's, holding more reservation and shyness, as if she was just testing the water. She knew she had to make a good impression on these people, and what she did and said now would be vital to the outcome of the situation. Although, frankly, based on how friendly most of the older members of this town had been to her so far, Hannah just prayed she delivered before the vote in a week, as she was certain they would throw her out. And though she didn't fancy their prospects out there with a newborn baby, she knew it was the actual birth she almost certainly wouldn't survive without this town.

Despite the fact that almost everyone else was sitting down, Hannah made no movement to do so. Though she desperately needed to sit down and take the weight of her slim frame, she didn't dare take a seat, for fear of offending the townspeople and making them feel as though she was intruding. She simply hoped someone would be kind enough to think she might be struggling and offer her one.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sophia Hope Character Portrait: Marley Larson Character Portrait: Eleanor Isis Roden Character Portrait: Hannah Lake Character Portrait: Aaron "Sullivan" Character Portrait: Jack Lake Character Portrait: Peter Cross Character Portrait: William Hodge
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Sophia gave him a wonderful smile back, which made Will feel warm inside. "Thank you, freshly backed as always!" she replied enthusiastically. Her warmth, openness, and positivity were contagious. She was always this way, and it was one of the reasons he had so easily fallen in love with her, and why he still loved being around her today Of course his love had never stopped, but that was besides the point. Every time he saw her, he had the urge to spill all of his feelings for her. He always held back, however, because he knew how much hurt the both of them had gone through the first time. And he had no doubt in his mind that she would reject him pursuing her again. She wouldn't want to risk getting hurt again. And he really couldn't blame her.

Will's thoughts got sidetracked - thankfully - by Aaron getting up to walk over and pick up the fallen chair Wes had toppled over. "What a nice guy," Aaron commented, fixing the chair upright once more. Will wished he could deny Aaron's claim, after all Wes was his brother, yet he wasn't particularly nice, so he couldn't say the comment was untrue.

"Good morning, Willum." He turned his eyes to look upon Marley, who had addressed him. Even though she had left the protection of Dust, there was something about her that was truly endearing, and Will couldn't dislike her. Not that he wanted to, of course. "I see you left the town to vote on whether the Lakes should stay..” she began, almost in a whisper. This is what he had been afraid of. Having to discuss the situation of the newcomers before he was ready. This was why he had wanted to walk and talk with Aaron before the rest of the town. But he had insisted on breakfast at this cafe first. Marley continued on. “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” He thought on the words, wanting to give the right answer.

"Well, Marley, I may be the leader, but this is everyone's town, so I figured the right decision wa-" His sentence was broken up by a new voice entering the conversation. "Good morning." That was Jack speaking, the so-called leader of the newcomers to town. He seemed to be the most in control and level headed of the group. Will was sure a conversation with Jack was going to happen at some point within the next week. He looked strong, and confident. His wife Hannah, however, didn't seem as comfortable. She held on to him with an iron grip and seemed to protect her swollen belly with her other hand. Just looking at her, and how close she was to giving birth, gave Will a pang of sympathy. "Hi," she muttered quietly, obviously not feeling as if she belonged in the group.

Will began to feel slightly overwhelmed. He had too many thoughts banging around inside his head. He really needed to sort through them all before this conversation took place. He stood up, moving away from the table. "Good morning to both of you," he said to the Lakes, a pleasant smile on his face. Even if he wasn't sure about the newcomers, he had to show them kindness and respect as the leader. "Hannah, you should sit down. You can have my chair, I need to be heading out anyway." He moved a little farther away, but gestured to the chair he had just left empty. "It's customary that I walk the perimeter of Dust every morning," he explained, not wanting them to think their presence had made him suddenly choose to depart.

He turned his attention to the beautiful Sophia once again. "Thank you so much for breakfast," he said quickly before turning and leaving the others. After he had gotten away from them, he felt it was easier to breathe. He hated not being prepared, and tended to always pre-think about every question he could be asked. He didn't like being caught off guard, and that was precisely why he took his perimeter walk every morning. He was able to think about the day, and sort every single thought in his head. Just seeing Hannah made him sad. If the vote didn't go the newcomers way, everyone who wanted them to stay would blame Will himself. They wold be upset he hadn't just made the decision for them to stay. And he honestly didn't know how he was going to live with the fact that he was possibly killing to human beings by sending the three back out into the desert. He was set into tradition, of course, but sending a young woman and her baby out to die didn't seem right to him either. Yet he couldn't find a middle ground either.

Will reached up to rub his temples. He could feel a headache beginning to form. He was just now reaching the tiny shack on the outskirts of Dust, where Jack, Hannah, and Peter were living. And strangely enough, there was Eleanor at their front door. Talking to Peter, the one William was most worried about. He seemed untrustworthy. The two seemed to be having a conversation, and Will made a mental note to ask her about it at a later time. For now, he walked past the shack to the perimeter of Dust. He began to walk parallel to it, attempting to organize all of his thoughts into something intelligible.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Marley Larson Character Portrait: Hannah Lake Character Portrait: Aaron "Sullivan" Character Portrait: Jack Lake Character Portrait: William Hodge
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Jack was not expected the townsfolk to be the least bit welcoming, when both he and his wife were offered seats at the cafe table a sudden feeling of ease came over him. However distant and dismissive William’s walk away was, Jack still appreciated it. Perhaps it was only the older folks they should be wary of. After all, most everyone that was at the cafe was young, full of life, and as far as he could tell, level headed.

A simple nod was thrown to Will before he marched away. Jack did not fully understand William’s responsibilities, but he had no doubt that they were stressful, especially now. Perhaps later he would catch up with the man to have a discussion. Not a discussion about his party’s staying, but something that would stir genuine interest and friendship. Jack supposed this was the best way to get what he wanted; become friends with or at least liked by as many people as he could.

“Thank you,” Jack said toward the guard, his name was escaping him. Jack slid a chair next to his wife then planted himself in it. His posture was neither proper or otherwise. He remained polite though, with erect posture and a pleasant facial expression. “Uh.. Aaron is it?”

Jack was charismatic is a television kind of way. He looked and acted presentable, he was charming without effort, and could answer questions with nice language and pose. He was exceptionally well trained for a scrapper. Or so he had been told. However, he lacked conversation starters, especially with people he knew nothing about. He had no idea what kind of lives they led here. What events were held in town, if any, and what the people were interested in.

He had only heard slight rumors about people when walking through town, but other than that his information was limited. Finally something came to him. “You don’t strike me as a townsman.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sophia Hope Character Portrait: Marley Larson Character Portrait: Hannah Lake Character Portrait: Aaron "Sullivan" Character Portrait: Jack Lake Character Portrait: William Hodge
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Suddenly, the leader of the town stood up and moved away from the table. "Good morning to both of you,” he greeted them, his smile genuine.

Hannah smiled back shyly, hand still firmly in her husband’s, where she felt safe.

"Hannah, you should sit down. You can have my chair, I need to be heading out anyway."

“I-“ Hannah began, instantly panicking that he was only leaving because of their arrival. If the leader of the town hated them so much that he couldn’t even bear to be in their presence for more than ten seconds, it did not bode well for the longevity of their stay in Dust.

But, almost as if he read her worries from her mind, William told her, "It's customary that I walk the perimeter of Dust every morning.” Then he turned to Sophia and thanked her before taking his leave. As he made his way away from the scene, Hannah saw her husband throw him a nod of thanks.

Hannah decided to take the town’s offer of hospitality and sit down in the now vacated seat. It was only polite. And, besides, between the walk to town, carrying much more weight than she was used to, and the way the baby was now moving inside her, she could no longer bear to stand.

"Why don't you pull up a chair too, Jack?" the town guard offered to her husband. At his suggestion, Hannah felt some of the tension she hadn’t even realised was in her body dissipate. "How did the town get to be so... wrong?" Aaron asked out loud.

”Thank you,” her husband told Aaron, taking a seat next to her. Hannah immediately reached for his hand under the table once more, that she’d been forced to let go of in order to sit down. Her grip wasn’t as tight as before, but she still wanted the physical reassurance that he was there.

“Uh… Aaron is it?” Jack asked. “You don’t strike me as a townsman.”

Hannah decided not to say anything. She didn’t want to interrupt Jack’s bid to achieve favour within the town. Instead, she turned to Marley, who she’d found herself sitting beside. The girl had just finished a pastry and had a glass of lemonade stood on the table in front of her. The sight of the food reminded Hannah she hadn’t had breakfast that morning. Although, strangely, she didn’t really feel hungry. In fact, she felt a bit sick; with nerves, she figured. Hannah hadn’t really spoken with Marley much since their arrival, and as one of the people she was already familiar with, Hannah was more than keen to make sure she had Marley’s support.

“Hey, Marley,” she greeted her friend with a smile, leaning against the table.