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Sonia Redwood

"There is no time to regret the past. You can only look forward, and strive to make a better future."

0 · 786 views · located in Dogs in God's Vineyard

a character in “Dogs in Almighty God's Vineyard”, as played by Magus1108

Description

Sonia Redwood

Image


Age: 49
Gender: Female
Ethnicity/Race: Caucasian
Level of Faith: Sonia is a woman of moderate faith. After years of soul searching, she’s found a cause to believe in...though she does not agree wholeheartedly with Faithian doctrine, or all its professed tenants. Still, she believes in the Lord God, and her long years have led to her seeing some strange things. So she is more inclined to believe in the supernatural than others.
Years of Service: Ten years as a Dog, twelve years as Sheriff of Prairie Falls, and two and a half years in the US Army
Weapons/Equipment: Her trusty shotgun, two revolvers, a rifle, a hidden knife in her boot, the Book of Life, and a small locket that has a picture inside of it, showing a younger Sonia, a young Mexican man, three young boys, and a little girl.

Personality

Sonia is a woman hardened by her years of violence and war, but beneath her more gruff and hard exterior, lies a passionate and proud woman. She takes pride in her work and her past accomplishments; even her past sex work, to a degree. While the road to the present hasn’t always been pleasant, there is little she regrets, and she takes that approach to her everyday life. There is no room for doubt or fear in her mind.

History

When Sonia was a young girl, she was always free-spirited. She often got into trouble with her parents, who disapproved of their rebellious ways. The only person she got along with during her childhood, truly, was her older brother Caleb. The two of them were close friends, and he was seemingly the only person who understood her and accepted her. Unlike their father and mother, Caleb accepted Sonia’s more rebellious nature, and even encouraged it at times. Together, they brought a great amount of grief to their parents, but Sonia didn’t care about that at all. She hated the way her parents, especially her father, tried to stifle her and make her into a ‘proper young woman’.

Sonia was fifteen when a life-changing event occurred: the War between the States. Her brother was seventeen at the time, and soon after the war started, he was drafted into the Union Army. It was a painful event, separating from her sibling...not helped at all by talk from her father Sherman of arranging a proper marriage for her, now that she was of age. Years of constant rebellion against her controlling father culminated in her decision to run away: she would marry whomever she wished to, not whatever businessman her father wanted to hitch her to in order to advance their social station.

After running away, Sonia was at first unsure of where to go...until she remembered where her brother was. With her boyish looks and still developing body, it was fairly easy to disguise herself as a young boy. The Union Army was desperate for more soldiers, so the recruiters accepted her quite easily when she presented herself; though she was unsuccessful in getting placed with Caleb’s unit. Despite that failure, Sonia hoped to reconnect with her brother in the army, and she was successful to that end. After claiming Caleb was her cousin, she found out what unit he was in, and started exchanging letters with her brother soon after. Through the rest of the war they kept in touch, both siblings managing to survive the War of Southern Secession.

The war against the South was a harsh affair, and one that would forever stick in Sonia’s mind. People around her died all the time, often more due to infection than actual bullet wounds. The conditions of war were hellish, with constant gunfire and cannonfire thundering around her. And then, the few times she had to fight hand to hand...thrusting her bayonet into the stomach of a Confederate soldier close to her own age was an experience Sonia would never forget. It changed her, hardened her, made her into a different person.

Then, too, came another inevitability: while she did her best to hide her gender, the men of her unit discovered her secret soon enough. And, distasteful as the notion was, Sonia bought their silence with her body. Sonia slept with her fellow soldiers to stay in the Army, as well as a few other people higher-up in the chain of command, who discovered her secret. It was unpleasant for the most part, but a necessity if she didn’t want to be outed, and forced back with her parents.

By August of 1863, the war was over. The South had won, and the Confederate States of America was now an independent nation. The result disheartened many Union soldiers, and Sonia herself felt a sense of bitterness in the aftermath. Still, fighting in the army had given her a sense of purpose, and it had taught her how to defend herself. If nothing else, her time as a Union soldier gave her valuable life skills that would serve her well in the future.

After the war, Sonia reunited with her brother Caleb, and after some discussion the two of them ventured out West, to seek a new life away from their parents. The trek West was hard, and often they had to resort to various unsavory means to provide for themselves and stay alive: with Sonia often letting men sleep with her in exchange for supplies or money. Her brother wasn’t happy with the arrangement at all, but Sonia did her best to soothe his worries. Even if it wasn’t pleasant, it was what was needed to survive.

In the fall of 1865, the two of them settled in a small frontier town known as Prairie Falls. At first it was just a general stop in their continued journey Westward (with the goal of maybe settling somewhere in California), but that changed as Sonia and Caleb formed connections in the town. The people there were welcoming, and after some discussion, the two siblings decided to settle there. They managed to settle in at the town well enough, and Sonia soon made the acquaintance of the town’s bartender: a former Mexican soldier by the name of Miguel Castillo. Miguel was a man like no other, far as Sonia was concerned: he was a kind, gentle soul, and their shared bitterness over their nation’s loss in war helped them to bond further. The two of them became quite close, and after two years of flirtation and courtship, they were married.

After several years of marriage, however, another unexpected development occurred. In 1871, the Sheriff of Prairie Falls was murdered by a group of outlaws who were harassing the townsfolk. Sonia and her brother helped lead the posse that hunted down the outlaws in response, and during the fight, Sonia proved herself very well. After justice was served, the town needed a new Sheriff...and who better than Sonia Redwood to serve that role?

Sonia was deeply surprised by this development, but went along with the decision. For the next twelve years, she served as the Sheriff of Prairie Falls. And during those twelve years, she started a family with Miguel. Her first son was born in 1872, followed by two more sons in 1874 and 1877. In 1880, she gave birth to her first daughter, and her last child overall. During that time, her brother married as well, and started his own family.

During her tenure as Sheriff, Sonia oversaw a relatively peaceful and eventful period of Prairie Falls history. During the mid 1870s, a connecting railroad was built along the town, which contributed to its subsequent rise in population. Slowly but surely, Prairie Falls was transitioning from a small frontier town to a more developed railroad city. The times were a-changing, and in 1883, Sonia ended up changing as well.

The ‘Miracle’ Sonia witnessed in the Summer of 1883 is ill-defined, largely because she does not like to talk about it in detail. Regardless, some sort of event happened in 1883 that gave Sonia a newfound belief in God, and of the Faithian religion. This new sense of belief inspired Sonia to give her talents to God to use...and what better way for her to accomplish that, then to become a Dog? So it was that, after a brief discussion with her family, Sonia resigned as Sheriff and left Prairie Falls, bound for New Life.

With her history as both a sheriff and a soldier, she breezed through the Dog training fairly well, and was ordained within four months. Since then, Sonia has been serving as an active Watchdog, ready to deliver God’s justice (or mercy) when need be. Sonia is not as dogmatic as some of her fellows though, and her downright liberal views on sexuality, race-mixing, and a woman’s place in the world would scandalize many a New Life socialite. She’s good at her job though, and has developed a reputation in the Dog community as a fair but firm soldier of God.

Goals

Sonia’s goals are to see God’s will and judgment carried out in Man’s World, to live to a ripe old age, and see to it that her children live happy and prosperous lives.

Likes

  • Her sons, Alejandro, Ethan, and Julio, and her daughter, Isabella.
  • Dogs (the animal, but also Watchdogs)
  • Her Husband and Brother
  • Snow; a rarity in the climate of the Deseret, admittedly
  • People of Strong Character

Dislikes

  • Her father Sherman
  • Holier-than-thou types
  • Confederates
  • Hypocrites
  • Thunderstorms

So begins...

Sonia Redwood's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Chapter 1: Abernathy's Folly

A week had come and gone since the events of Red Road, and much had changed during that time. Horatio had gotten a new lead on another of the bandits that had killed his family, and so Anna's family friend and mentor had left with great haste, promising to contact Anna as soon as possible. That had been a problem, considering that Anna and Horatio had received orders a few days ago to investigate the disappearance of two Dogs: one Justin Meyer, and Eliza Mayford. The two of them had been assigned to Horatio's Pack, but they had never arrived at Red Road, forcing the two of them to investigate on their own.

Now Anna knew why. Apparently, the two Dogs had gone missing in the city of Abernathy, about three hours ride away from Red Road itself. They had taken a train from New Life to get to the city, and while there were initial reports that they had reached Abernathy unharmed, everything after was uncertain. No word had been heard from either Dog since then, and now it was up to Anna to investigate the matter. And, while Horatio wouldn't be there to investigate with her, she wouldn't be alone.

With Horatio's departure, the higher ups at New Life had decided to assemble a new Pack to investigate the matter, giving Anna her first command. Two of her teammates she didn't know personally, but might know by reputation: Charles Carver and Sonia Redwood. And then there was an unexpected, but welcome, final addition to her team: Margaret Thorne. The two of them had joined the Watchdog Academy at the same time near eight years ago, and had become fast friends during their training and initiation. While they'd gone on to separate Packs afterward, they'd managed to keep in touch via letter over the years. And now, her friend would be joining in her new Pack.

It had been years since Anna had last seen Margaret. While it would be welcome to see an old friend, like it had been with Horatio, there was an underlying tragedy in Margaret's arrival. It wasn't often nearly an entire Pack was wiped out at once, so when that happened to Margaret, well, it passed through the grapevine. Anna could only imagine what she had gone through, losing her teammates all at once like that. Truly, it was an unfortunate tragedy.

At any rate, they all had their orders now. All four of them were in New Life, conveniently, once the Pack had been officially put together. Now Anna was just waiting at the train station of New Life: her teammates should show up at any moment. From there, they would board the train, and head to Abernathy. Lord knew what waited them there, but if they were lucky, perhaps they would find the missing Dogs alive and well. God willing, nothing unfortunate had happened to them.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Worry and a treacherous hint of doubt gnawed at Anna's heart. She waited under the awning over the train station's platform, slouched back against the wall, the brim of her hat tugged down as she stared intently at the ground. With her coat pulled up around her waist to hide her revolver, and her hat pulled down to hide part of her face, it was easy to go unnoticed, as just another vagabond of the West instead of the imposing Watchdog she expressed herself as, usually keeping her chin held high and daring anyone to comment on a woman so casually resting a hand upon her gun or whip.

But for the moment, Anna preferred to dwell on her own thoughts, taking the brief respite to indulge with a moment of brooding, for there was little else she could do. She had tried to move on from the bloodshed of Red Road, but there were too many questions, too many children whose fate remained unknown. But she was forced to admit the trail had gone cold and she could not simply charge eastwards on a whim, as much as it galled her to admit that her divine authority meant nothing in the corrupt East, even if she did have the slightest lead to follow. And she had her orders, orders from those who did have a divine authority that certainly superseded her own. She had written a detailed report and sent it with a courier to New Life, now the matter of Red Road was in their hands.

The disappearance of two other Dogs was certainly of an equal concern. There was no possibility of simple desertion, which meant they had been targeted. One Dog stumbling upon, if not being specifically hunted by, an old enemy was not impossible, but two missing Dogs suggested worse. It was certainly worth of a Pack's attention.

A Pack of her own. Part of her wished Horatio was still here instead. His own quest was just another worry, the thought of in riding off alone to return to his years long hunt. If it was anyone else, Anna might have tried to scold him away from it. But his duty to his murdered family was just as sacred as his oaths as a Dog. She only wished she could ride with him, if she didn't have her own duties here. It wasn't how Anna ever had imagine that she would come to lead a Pack, but it wasn't her place to question the Lord's will.

All she could do was look forward, and as Anna heard the sound of footsteps drawing near, she looked up to see the first of her Pack approach.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Heavy footsteps thumped against the platform as Charles approached, his broad build and sturdy boots certainly unable to keep him from any quiet approach, if he ever did have the foolish inclination to surprise a fellow Dog. He certainly couldn't blame a touch of jumpiness, when he himself flinched more often then he'd liked to admit at sudden noises on a dark night.

Charles peered at the two women as he approached, both young by his standards, each more than enough for him to have given them a double take in the past. It wasn't as if the women of Richmond wore trousers and carried revolvers, much less a black women. But he had grown wiser in his years, eventually, markedly so when it came to meeting the women of the Faith, and more so still among those that had joined the Dogs. And so he tipped his hat politely as he stepped up, refraining from grinning too widely in greeting. "Mornin', ladies." He drawled as his hand settled back to rest comfortably on the hilt of his old cavalry saber, the sword's sheath hidden under his longcoat, with his revolver on the opposite hip.

"Charles Carver. Honored to be workin' with you both." He said, before inclining his head politely. The last bits of his old ego smarted at the notion of being under the command of a woman his junior, but he stamped that torrid thought down. He had heard enough by reputation to give due respect to anyone who lived through the first few years as a Dog, much less the hardy women who grew up in the Faith, and recognized their calling as a Dog so early on. Charles had a feeling that in his aging body, it would be all he could do just to keep up with the two of them.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Not long after Charles made his introductions, Sonia Redwood sauntered up behind him. She'd make a striking figure, dressed in her old civil war uniform. The blue coloring was faded, the buttons were a mix-match of old and new, and different colored patches were sworn into the fabric where she'd ripped or torn it over the years. By all accounts, it wasn't technically her original uniform: she'd had it, and her other military jackets, tailored so many times over the years, with different things replaced or sown in, that there was likely very little of the original left. A certain parable about a wooden ship came to mind, in regards to her military jackets. But as far as Sonia was concerned, it was still her old uniform, even if a great majority of it was made up of new material.

By far, she was the one most peculiarly dressed in the whole group, and because of this, the older woman often had a lot of attention drawn to her. For her part, Sonia didn't mind this attention at all. More often than not, people who didn't know her assumed she was just wearing the uniform of a dead husband, brother, or father. She rarely corrected them of that notion, given how much time it'd take to explain the whole story.

Since she became a Dog, she'd taken to wearing her old uniform again. While she had mixed feelings of her time in the Union Army, it still had taught her most of the skills she'd used to thrive out here in the Deseret. At the very least, nowadays she was proud of the fact that she'd helped fight those rebel Southerners during the War itself. Sure, the South had won, but at least they'd paid for their unholy victory with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.

"Mornin', Boss." Sonia tipped her hat over at Anna, before glancing over at Margaret and Charles. She took note of the cavalry sword at the man's side, as well as the accent he'd spoken with. "Sonia Redwood, reporting for duty. Do believe that's all of us, least we got assigned another member or somethin'."

It felt...odd, being a subordinate to a young woman two decades her junior. She was likely the oldest here, with only Carver being the closest to her own age. No doubt she was also one of the more experienced fighters here, between her time in the army, as sheriff, and now her last ten years as a Dog. Still, she didn't mind too much at being just a member of the Pack. At the very least, she would do well as the Second-in-Command for the Pack: a more informal role, than a serious rank. But her experience with the Watchdogs taught her that they often liked to pair up inexperienced or first-time leaders with at least one veteran member in their Pack, so that said veteran could help mold them into a true and proper Leader. She'd served in that role once before during her tenure here, and perhaps now would be her second time doing so...

Sonia hadn't been given any exact reason why she'd been put up with this Pack, but seeing Anna now, she was fairly sure why she'd been chosen. Anna had a tough look to her, sure, and she had no doubt the younger woman could hold her own in a fight. But there was a clear difference between just being a good Dog, and being a good Pack Leader. And someone new to command would need a strong, firm hand to guide them along the way.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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As Margaret approached, Anna smiled widely, certainly a rare display of expression from her, but one offered readily to the rare few she was close to. "It's good to see you too, Margaret. It's been too long." She said as she held out her hand to shake Margaret's firmly. "I'm glad we have the chance to finally serve alongside each other." She peered at Margaret for another half moment, before she pulled her hand away, content to fall silent and not press her on the rumors she had heard, if only to assuage if she was still well. But it was hardly her place, especially if their superiors had deemed that she was ready.

She looked to Charles as the next Dog arrived, eyeing the tall man up and down, and nodding politely to him with her hand outstretched again. "It's good to have you on board, Charles."

Then Sonia arrived soon after, and Anna examined her all the more carefully, her second in command that the older woman was. She certainly stood out, in her old Union coat, an oddity to Anna, but not one worth pressing for the moment. "Sonia." She said as she shook her hand. "I look forward to working with you. It's good to have someone of your experience." She certainly didn't doubt that, by the weathering of her face. And she knew well enough why Sonia had been placed here, to help guide her, even if she could only wish that it had been Horatio in her place. But there was no time to dwell on such things.

All in all, it looked a well enough Pack to Anna, from what little she could surmise at first glance. But after all, they had been chosen by the elders far wiser than her. All Anna needed was for them to do their duty, and she had little doubt that they would fail in that regard. She could only pray now that she would live up to the trust that had been placed in her to lead them, but a steady calm remained through her, confident in the judgement of those elders, and in the Lord. She cleared her throat as she looked across the three Dogs, speaking up a bit louder. "Now then. Two Dogs have gone missing. Justin Meyer and Eliza Mayford. They were sent to help Horatio Morale and I form a new pack, and investigate the Red Road murders, but they never arrived. I'm told they went by travel from New Life to Abernathy, where they were last seen. We'll be following their route by train and see what the local sheriff and others will have for us once we arrive. The disappearance of two Dogs is a troubling occurrence and we will have to be especially vigilant, but I am confident we will root out whatever darkness might lie in Abernathy and determine their fates."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Margaret smiled at Anna in return, shaking her hand. She would have had more to say to her friend, but then Charles and Sonia arrived and introduced themselves. Margaret kept silent then, instead contenting herself with observing her new Packmates. Carver...there was something she didn't like about him. Be it the confident swagger he had, or his Southern origins. Well, actually, it was probably that last part that biased her against him. His Southern accent was easy to discern, though she had no idea where in particular from the Confederacy he came from.

To his credit, he hadn't made any disparaging remarks about her being a Negro, or a woman...so far, at least. Margaret had met more than a few ex-Confederates in her time in the Deseret, as well as other settlers with their general mindset. Even if they tried to be polite to her, it was almost inevitable that their biases would flair up and result in a clash of wills. If the higher-ups in New Life believed he'd be able to work alongside a Negro, then it was possible Carver might be different from other such men she'd interacted with in the past. Only time would tell if that was true or not, however. Either way, she'd best keep her eye on him.

And Sonia...well, she looked striking in her old Union coat, for sure. She'd heard some stories and rumors about the woman during her short tenure as a Dog, and Margaret wasn't sure what to make of all of them. She seemed very competent though, and having a more experienced agent among them would certainly be of use. At the very least, she seemed more likely to get along with the rest of them, as opposed to Carver.

"I see. We shall have our work cut out for us, then." Margaret commented, after Anna explained their mission. Two Dogs gone missing at the same time? Some sort of foul play definitely seemed to be at work. Now they just had to determine what sort, and what the fate of Meyer and Mayford was.

The young woman hoped the two of them were still alive, but the cynic in her couldn't help but scoff at that idea. More likely than not, the two were long dead. It was hard enough to capture two experienced Dogs, let alone do so for an extended period of time. If their kidnapper was smart, they'd both likely be dead by now. And that assumed they hadn't been killed outright in the first place, which seemed a more likely possibility.

The whistle of the train jostled her away from her thoughts, and slowly their train pulled up to the station, coming to a gradual halt not long after. Their ride was here now: all they had to do now was board the train, and prepare themselves for whatever awaited them in the city of Abernathy.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Missing Dogs, missing Dogs...not the mission Charles had expected, to be sure.

The others had fair reason to be concerned, Charles couldn't argue that. The Dogs were trained harder and longer than any Confederate soldier, and then blooded all the more against a harsh land and harsher people, as those who fled into the deepest wastes of the West inevitably were. But that didn't make them any less human. Charles wondered silently if the hot blooded belief of those raised in the Faith might have elevated the Dogs a little too high in their minds. Training meant nothing against a cannonade or a sharpshooter from dozens of feet away. Of course, such weapons were rarer, and easier to track down if that was the case. But even if not, ambushes by bandits and Natives were a unfortunate fact of life in the West, and not even the Dogs were above falling victim, as much as some might be unwilling to admit. And Dogs certainly had the habit of making enemies, enemies that could certainly have eluded their final justice.

Of course, he kept these thoughts to himself, for now, and just stepped up to the train as it came to a halt, opening the carriage door for the other Dogs, tipping his hat as they stepped up with another friendly grin to each of them, even as he couldn't help but eye Sonia's Union blue coat curiously. The oddities of his Pack aside, it wouldn't do any good to doubt the capabilities of the missing Dogs until there they had even the briefest piece of evidence as to what had befallen them. For the moment, there was little to do but enjoy the calming lull of the train as it went on its way to Abernathy.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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The train ride to Abernathy took three hours in total, and by and large it was an uneventful ride. The new Pack had a chance to chat among themselves, getting to know one another a little better and exchange pleasantries. But beyond that not much of note transpired, and it was with some relief that the train finally came to a stop at their scheduled destination.

As they all stepped out onto the train platform, a modest train station was what greeted them. The place was somewhat bustling, as people milled about, either just getting off the train or waiting for theirs to arrive. Considering that Abernathy was a main stopping line on the train from New Life, it wasn't all that surprising that the station itself was busy. Plenty of people had business going to and from the capital of the Faith: travelling missionaries, territorial officials, people visiting family. New Life itself was also a somewhat popular tourist destination among the Faithful. Many Faithful, those with the monetary means at least, made a yearly pilgrimage to New Life, visiting the Holy Sanctum of the Faithful (the official name of the first church built in New Life, more commonly called the Holy Sanctum), the Palace of the Prophets, and other locales of religious significance.

So it wasn't that much of a surprise when someone bumped into Anna, as she walked off the train. The person, a man of nondescript physical appearance and of an older age if his balding head was any indication, gave a quick murmur of apology to her, before boarding the train itself. Before the incident could cement any further in her mind though, their group was soon approached by an older woman with a sheriff's badge pinned to her shirt.

She was closer to Sonia's age, maybe ten or fifteen years older than her if the heavier wrinkles and clearer presence of grey and white hair was any indication. Still, the pistol at her side disarmed any notions that the woman was harmless. She radiated a sort of confidence that Anna often saw in older Dogs, and there was little doubt that if the older sheriff had to defend herself, she'd likely do a good job of it.

"Afternoon." the Sheriff tipped her hat to the group, eyes glancing over all of them. She hesitated a little, perhaps not quite knowing who the leader was, and who to address her question to in particular. "Ya'll are the Dogs from New Life, right? I was told you'd be coming in pretty soon. I'm Sheriff Jane Mills of Abernathy. This is about those Dogs that came here last week, right? I heard they've gone missin'."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Never one for idle chatter, Anna was mostly content to sit back and indulge in the rare luxury of a comfortable train ride, through she did catch up briefly with her friend Margaret, what little they could share in quiet tones. It was certainly better not to let herself grow soft from such laxity, eve for only a brief time, but the respite did at least leave her well rested and ready for the investigation ahead of them.

Anna stepped off the train the moment it came to a halt in the station, bounding onto the platform and working her way through the crowd. She let out an annoyed huff as someone jolted her, accustomed to people giving her a wide, respectful birth as soon as they recognized her as a Dog. But she could hardly fault the man, crowded as the platform was, and hurriedly tipped her hat politely to him without a second glance.

Tipping her hat again as the sheriff approached, Anna eyed her up and down, smiling contently at the outward appearance of an experience, Faithful woman, as was only likely for a woman to be able rise to such a position in West.

"Anna Ward. I'm leading this pack." She said, holding out her hand for a firm shake. "We are indeed here to find our missing comrades. I would appreciate you showing us your town and telling us what you know of the last signs of the Dogs. We'd that they had arrived safely here, so we will need to know every place they were seen, and who they spoke to while they were here."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Sheriff Mills shook Anna's offered hand, nodding as she spoke. "Of course. I can give you the full story, as I know it, back in my office. If you'll follow me?"

That said, the Sheriff turned, leading the Dogs out of the train station and into town proper. A bustling and growing city met them, with people moving to and fro as they went about their daily business. She led them down the street toward her office, pointing out various local businesses of interest and other such sights. Nothing too remarkable, though the Sheriff did mention three places that might be pertinent to their investigation:

There was, of course, the town church. Well, churches. Abernathy was an urban city, having close to 30,000 souls who lived there regularly, and so of course there were multiple churches, of different faiths, all over the city. Abernathy had been much smaller before the railroad came, hosting a tenth of that number. After the arrival of the railroad, however, its population boomed, leading to it becoming one of the premier cities in the Deseret. Of course, its population paled in comparison to the over 100,000 souls who lived in New Life, but for a city that had held less than 500 people during the sixties and seventies, it was an impressive number.

Regardless, the Sheriff had pointed out a few of the churches they passed their way. Overwhelmingly, most of the churches in Abernathy were of the Faith, but there was also a smattering of Protestant churches in town, and one Jewish synagogue, according to the Sheriff. One church in particular stood out though: the First Church of Abernathy, so named for being the oldest, and first, church founded in the city. The Head Abbot of Abernathy would likely be stationed there, which meant there was a good chance he had talked to, or perhaps seen, the missing Dogs. Even if he hadn't, the local head priest would no doubt be a good source of information to learn more about the town.

The second location of interest was the Hotel Lancaster, a hotel near the train station that typically catered to rich and wealthy visitors, as well as the local elite. According to the Sheriff, the two missing Dogs had been offered rooms there, free of charge. They had stayed there for at least three nights, it seemed, though the Sheriff didn't know more beyond that. After Meyer and Mayfield were reported missing, Sheriff Mills had her deputies lock down the hotel rooms they'd used, so the investigators from New Life could check them out. Searching their hotel rooms would certainly be a good first stop, or near it, after they talked with the Sheriff.

Finally, the last location of note...wasn't so much a building, but what remained of it. They passed through a block of buildings that had obviously been damaged by a recent fire: most of the buildings present in that block showed varying levels of smoke and fire damage, with the epicenter of the fire located square in the middle. The epicenter had the worst of it, with only scorched remains left from the burnt out building.

Sheriff Mills murmured darkly as they passed that block, remarking that a fire had popped up in the area three weeks prior. She said no more than that, however, and simply insisted she'd elaborate further in her office.

Finally, they reached it, stopping before a building simply marked, 'Sheriff'. Jane Mills stepped inside, gesturing for the Dogs to join her. Unlike more rural sheriff offices, her office did not double as a jail, and instead was just a small building that housed the police officers assigned to this district in Abernathy, as well as her own walled-off office.

Once they were inside her office, Sheriff Mills closed the door behind them. She took a seat behind the desk arranged in the center of the room, and gestured for the Dogs to take the seats displayed in front of the desk. "I imagine you must have quite a few questions for me, Miss Ward. Well, I'm not sure I have all the answers you're looking for. I had my boys do a preliminary investigation when we got word that the Dogs went missing, but we haven't been too successful. Where do you want to begin?"

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Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Abernathy was more than familiar to Charles, in a sense, despite not having been to the city himself before. He had passed through dozen of boom towns that had exploded in size thanks to the railroad, when he had been working for the railroads themselves. He was hardly surprised to hear the sheriff speak of the diverse number of people in the city, as much as he knew some of his fellows within the Faith might believe, or at least wish, otherwise. Of course, it was only likely a city brimming with the Faithful that would tolerate a woman being their sheriff. He had to give credit to Mills, given the number of other people in the city that surely could not be so open minded. As they walked through the city, he only listened silently, observing the city around them.

"Been no trouble otherwise, Sheriff?" He drawled, once they arrived in her office, peering at her. The missing Dogs had surely asked such a question, even if they were only intending to pass through Abernathy. It was a Dogs' duty to mete out justice, even in the smallest forms, and some times troubles were easily and swiftly solved, if only because a brothel keeper couldn't do much staring down the barrel of a Dogs' revolver. And there was that look Mills had given the blackened ruin they had passed."What about that fire?"

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Sheriff Mills glanced over at Charles, frowning a bit as she mulled over her response. Her eyes narrowed a bit at the mention of the fire: it seemed to be a sore subject for her.

"There's always trouble, but that's to be expected in a city as big as Abernathy. Mostly petty stuff though. We've got our town drunks, our roughhousers, and other sorts of trouble-makers. Nothing too serious, aside from the occasional robbery or murder. And those get solved...or they don't. All in all, nothing you wouldn't expect to see in a city this size. About the biggest problem I've had to date is a moving brothel in town. It's...come to my attention that some sinners are running a moving brothel, of sorts, through town. It switches its location every week, and the people working for it are pretty secretive. I've really only heard rumors, and my investigations into it haven't turned up much." Sheriff Mills elaborated. The older woman sounding a bit frustrated as she described that last part.

All in all, nothing too surprising, mobile brothel aside. With a city this close to New Life, it was actually pretty bold to host such an institution here. But if they kept themselves mobile, never staying in a particular house or building for too long, then it made sense why the owners and workers had evaded capture for so long. And of course the patrons of such a place would be secretive and quiet about it, least its latest location be leaked to the police.

The rest, though, sounded mundane and simple enough. Minor crimes, even the occasional big one like murder or robbery, weren't entirely unexpected in a city the size of Abernathy. And unless something really went wrong, it was usually a simple matter for the city police to handle such things themselves.

"As to the fire...that is a somewhat long and complicated story." the Sheriff continued, a troubled frown crossing her withered face. "The fire itself happened three weeks ago, or thereabouts. Started in the middle of the night, and spread to the entire block. Thank the King of Life that our fire brigade managed to contain it there, though. We were able to quell the flames from there, until the fire burned itself out. Most everyone in that block were able to make it out alive, though some suffered burns or inhaled too much smoke. The Watson family wasn't so lucky, though. We believe the fire started at their house...and far as we've been able to tell, everyone died. We never found the body of the youngest there, a girl of thirteen, but her older brother and parents were found dead.

"That's not the whole story, however. Like I said, this is...a complicated matter." she said. That troubled expression still on Sheriff Mills' face as she spoke. "It's not unusual for fires to start now and again. Either through peoples stupidity, or the forces of nature. But this...is different. I have reason to believe that fire was started intentionally."

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Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Anna wrinkled her nose as she listened to the sheriff's description of a mobile brothel. It was a remarkably clever scheme. It had to be, certainly, to persist in a city so populated by the Faithful. That persistence and cleverness make it all the more corruptive, to fester in the heart of such a city. Under better circumstances, she would have relished such a chase, but as necessary as it was, it hardly seemed something that her missing comrades would have become involved in, in a city they were only passing through under direct orders to meet herself and Horatio at Red Road. Anna certainly expected that those profiting from the brothel would kill to keep their ill gotten gains, but it seemed too unlikely that her comrades could have found a great revelation from the passing curiosity, as short as their time in the city seemed to have been.

She glanced off idly as the sheriff continued her report through crimes that seemed even less likely to have troubled the other Dogs, her gaze snapping back to Mills at the mention of the missing child. The gnawing ache from the thought of the Red Road children welled up in her chest, but she stamped down on those feelings, only letting out the faintest exhale of a tight breath. It was a flagrant leap of judgement to assume a connection, to be sure, brought upon only by her frustration from that tragedy. The reality was that it was regrettably easy for the small body of a child to be lost in such a large fire, after all.

"We will inquire with the abbot and then search the hotel rooms. Thank you for your help, Sheriff Mills." Anna said, once Mills had finished, tipping her hat to her before turning and stepping back outside. She looked to her comrades once they had left the sheriff to her business. "We will have to be cautious here. It is quite likely the others did not expect an ambush in such a settled city and that may have been their downfall. Lord willing, the abbot will be able to point us to their trail, and if some foul wretch tries to interfere, then we will have someone to question."

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"You said something about the fire being intentional?" Margaret questioned, before they left. "Mind explaining that?"

Sheriff Mills gave a nod. "Yes. I don't have any concrete proof...just a suspicion, really. But there are too many coincidences to ignore here. Four years ago, there was a terrible fire in Abernathy. A quarter of the city ended up being destroyed. We've managed to rebuild since then, but a lot of good people lost their lives. The year after that fire, on the exact anniversary...another fire sprouted up. We managed to contain it just to the block it originated in, however. At the time, I thought it was just a cruel coincidence. Then...the next year, on that same day, another fire. I was suspicious by that point, but there wasn't anything I could prove: if anything, people here were more inclined to believe it a curse from the Dark King. Then...just a few weeks ago, the 3rd anniversary came, and on that day, there was yet another fire.

"Like I said, I don't have any proof. But at this point, I'm confident we have a serial arsonist in town. I don't know why they're making fires on the anniversary of that awful day year after year, but I
know someone has to be behind it. Once is coincidence, twice is a cruel twist of fate, and three times is intentional. Someone in my city is setting fires the same day every year, but I have no idea who." the Sheriff declared.

Margaret pursed her lips at that, a troubled look overcoming her face as she heard the tale. One, even two times, she could buy it as coincidence. Three times, however, proved intent. Someone in this city had to be setting fires once every year: maybe they were even behind that original, devastating fire four years ago. Either way, it seemed a good chance that there was an arsonist running about.

...Well, maybe not. One other possibility crossed her mind. But Margaret truly hoped this was just the work of some cruel man, and not...something else. The last time she'd encountered 'something else', her entire Pack had been burned alive.

Once the group was assembled outside, Margaret turned her attention to Anna. She nodded at her words, finding them agreeable enough. "Do you want us to split up, then, Anna? One team could go question the Head Abbot, and the other investigate the hotel room. Of course...staying together for safety's sake might be best, too. If Meyer and Mayfield were ambushed in town, we have no idea what lengths their attackers will go to to cover up their crimes."

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Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Charles idly stroked his beard as he listened to the sheriff. More trouble than expected, for sure, but such was the nature of a city. At least, a city that wasn't the Faith's capital, but holy cities surely were the exception, not the norm. The sheriff's suspicion of an arsonist made sense to Charles, but if the anniversary had passed, the trail was certainly cold. His lips curled up in amusement at that wordplay, but he quickly pursed his lips back into a poker face, lest that rigid young woman of a Pack leader think he was finding some amusement from the dire straits of Abernathy. But clearly Anna didn't seem intending to pursue that trail either and Charles just tipped his hat to the sheriff with a friendly smile before following his comrades outside.

"Reckon we could split up, two's safe enough company. We sure know to be cautious. The poor souls we're tracking prolly didn't think to expect an ambush, in a place like that." He frowned solemnly at the thought, one he expected that other Dogs might not be so willing to entertain. The Dogs may have had training to match the most grizzled of gunslingers that he'd seen in his travels, and the Lord's blessings on top of that, but they were still ultimately only men, and the Faith certainly taught that only the King of Life was infallible among mankind.

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Sonia nodded in agreement, finding the idea sensible. Of course, Anna would be the ultimate say in the matter, but splitting up into teams, to cover more ground, made the most logical sense to her.

"If we're splitting up, how should we do it, and who'll cover what?" she inquired, looking over at their Pack Leader. "I don't mind teaming up with Charles, and checking out the hotel. We can leave the Head Abbott to you and Margaret, and meet back near here in say...an hour or so? That should give both teams enough time to do their business."

That seemed like enough time to her to follow these first two leads, and maybe check into any further ones that might spring forward from there. And once an hour had passed, they could reconvene here, or back at the sheriff's office proper, and compare notes. Once they had a good idea of the timeline here, of how long Meyer and Mayfield had stayed in-town and where they'd gone, it would hopefully be an easy matter to find out where and when they had disappeared.

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Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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"Indeed. It has been far too long since we last saw one another." Margaret replied, nodding slightly at Anna. A small smile tugging at her lips, as she walked alongside her old friend. Indeed, it had been too long since they'd last seen each other. Exchanging letters was fine and all, but it was nothing compared to physically being together with a loved one or friend.

"I will admit, though, I cannot help but feel slightly jealous. We graduated at the same time, but here you are: commanding your own Pack before I do. It must feel satisfying to some degree, no?" she continued on a moment later, her tone light and teasing as she playfully elbowed Anna.

"Alms? Alms for the poor?" came a distant voice, not long after Anna's reply.

They weren't far from the First Church of Abernathy now, but Margaret felt compelled to see where the voice had come from. She found it soon enough: it seemed to be the voice of a disheveled looking homeless woman. She was sitting against the wall of a butcher's shop, holding out a wide-brimmed hat as she begged for money on the street. The denizens of Abernathy passed her by without a second thought though, most walking by her without even looking at the poor woman.

And Margaret felt that same urge, some quiet voice in her mind urging her to pay the woman no heed, to go about her business and keep going to the church. To ignore her, like everyone else, and resume her duties. Her better sensibilities fought against that notion however: with the certainty that ignoring that poor woman's plight was morally wrong and a sin. Indeed, her training as a Dog, and her moral upbringing, made her certain of that. But then, where was that urge to ignore her coming from?

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Charles strolled down the street in the other direction alongside Sonia, whistling idly to himself and giving every impression of one casually as off-guard as anyone would be in a city that certainly wasn't rife with gunslingers and robbers anymore. But he was still carefully listening to and watching his surroundings, his eyes darting back and forth subtly as he glanced towards the corners of buildings as soon as the two of them were starting to pass by, before his gaze would then turn back to the crowds of city folk going about their day. That was the problem of such a large city that was not so safe as all those poor souls thought. Even if there was only the sherriff's problems to deal with, sinners and madmen all seeking to sate their dark urges, such things lurked under the pristine vision of even this Faithful city. He let out a low, amused breath to himself at the thought. At least on the frontier, the threats and the sins were all flagrantly apparent. Gunslingers settled their grudges at midday, at least usually. And the ones without such decency only had so many places to ambush from in the ramshackle mining towns that barely had a half dozen buildings to even call it a town.

But satisfied enough for the moment that an ambush wasn't immediately imminent, he let his gaze turn back to his compatriot, the Dog rugged and worn with age, even more than he was. He certainly hadn't met many Dogs that looked nearly so old, certainly to be expected in such a calling, but he was obliged to admit to himself that he was hardly a young blood himself. Instead, he just cracked a friendly grin as he spoke. "Reckon they even bunked the night at the hotel? I figured some of y'all ain't comfortable at the thought of fine living, even for a night."

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"Some might not, but I'd consider such a blessing from the Lord. Besides, if someone offers me free bed and board, who am I to say no?" Sonia countered, smiling lightly as she glanced over at Charles. "Of course, that's just how I'd view it. It's always possible Meyer and Mayfield were more frugal and uncomfortable with accepting such an offer. I suppose we'll find out soon enough, either way."

Had she been in Mayfield or Meyer's place, Sonia definitely would have accepted such an offer. Living piously was a good goal of course, but one could also agrue that a free stay at a first class hotel could be a gift from the Lord, and so they should accept such an offer based on that premise. That was how Sonia viewed the matter, at least. She knew plenty of Dogs might disagree with her...but, having lived as long as she had, she honestly wouldn't pass up a night at a free room in a hotel. She'd slept on the cold hard ground, on lice-infested beds, on hardwood floors, and everything inbetween. One night of creature comforts wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, and besides, it wasn't like anyone could say the Lord wouldn't approve of his Dogs taking up such an offer. The Book of Life certainly praised a humble lifestyle, but it also said to accept gifts at face-value, and to not spit on the generosity of others.

At any rate, it didn't take long to reach the Hotel Lancaster. Once they walked in, a rather impressive and stylized foyer would greet them. Between the plush red carpeting and the expensive-looking chairs and sofas, the hotel's lobby reeked of wealth and upper-class living. Definitely the sort of hotel a traveling businessman would stay at, and similar clientele. Interesting that the owner of the hotel offered two Dogs a free stay, then. Perhaps he or she was a Devout person?

Regardless, Sonia walked over to the front desk, nodding lightly at the clerk sitting behind it. It was an older gentleman, perhaps near Carver's age, dressed in a formal suit. The man couldn't help but look at the two of them with slight disdain, taking in their more gruff appearances, but one look at the guns holstered at their sides stayed any choice words the front desk manager had for them.

"Welcome to the Hotel Lancaster. How may I...help the two of you today?" he inquired, as he quickly adopted a pleasant and friendly smile.

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Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Anna smirked wryly in return, nudging Margaret back. "You'll have your own pack soon enough. I had the blessing of a good mentor for these last few years. It is satisfying, but..." She still would have gladly stepped back down for the chance to work with Horatio on another mission, especially one with such dark tidings. But all she could do was briefly pray once more that his own search would be successful, and return her focus to her own. "But I still would hope it would not be too soon that you are off with your own. I would like for us to be able to ride together for awhile longer." She said with another faint smile, before pausing as she followed Margaret's gaze to the beggar

She wrinkled her nose with distaste at the sight of the beggar. It was a blemish on the city's preacher, to leave one of his flock adrift, instead of guiding him towards honest labor. There were no beggars in New Life, after all. But chastising preachers for such a minor matter was far from her duties, even without such a vital mission as there was now. She would need the preacher's full focus on the missing Dogs when she questioned him. She simply took a coin from her coat pocket, giving the woman a cursory glance as she tossed the coin into her hat and continued onwards. There was too much work to be done already and Anna strode onwards up to the steps of the church.

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Margaret spared one last glance toward the beggar, before moving along with Anna. There was something odd about her, something that nagged at her mind, but she didn't have time to really dwell on the matter. Instead, she walked up the steps with her companion, getting up there first and opening the front door for the both of them.

"Worry not, Anna. I'm sure we'll be riding together for some time." she replied to her friend's last words, even as her eyes took in the sight of the church itself.

The front door opened to a wide and opulent looking chapel. Pews made up the majority of the space, at least on the first floor. Margaret spotted a door near the entrance that was closed, which she supposed might lead up to the second story of the building itself. To the back of the chapel there was a large podium, likely where the priest spoke from. And in the back, see could see more closed doors: either other entrances to the floors above, or they led into a different area, perhaps a kitchen or a room for prayer.

Thankfully, they wouldn't have to go about searching for the Father, as they spotted him near the back of the pews, sitting on one of the benches and reading the Book of Life. And as the Dogs approached, he looked up from his holy book, perhaps sensing their presence.

He stood up to greet them, smiling kindly at them. He seemed to be an older man, perhaps in his fifties or sixties. While he may not have been old enough to have been one of the town's founders, certainly he seemed old enough to have seen Abernathy change and develop these last few decades. Growing from a small frontier town, to one of the most populous cities in the Deseret, only behind New Life itself in terms of population and prestige. It made Margaret wonder how the old man had changed with the town, or if he was one of the stubborn few who refused to change with the times.

"Greetings, my dear sisters. I am Father Joseph Mycroft, Head Abbot of the First Church of Abernathy. How may I help you two today?" the older man sweetly inquired.

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Charles grinned wide, letting out a low chuckle. "Who are we to deny the gifts of the Almighty, even the temporary ones?" He said as he let open the door for Sonia, following her into the hotel. He promptly whistled quietly as he looked about the lavish opulence of the lobby. It was the sort of sight he hadn't seen since his youth in Richmond, aside from the meager attempts of luxuries that railroad bosses would furnish their sleeper cars with. The hotel most certainly was what could be called Eastern hedonism and waste, or so the preachers would say. All the more reason that a savvy hotel owner might offer such luxury to appease a wary Dog and belay any judgments. But the question remained if they might have reason to suspect him after all, for more than just his catering of the rich.

"Afternoon, sir." He said to the clerk as he sauntered up to the desk, smiling politely and tipping his hat. "We here are Watchdogs of the Lord. Charles Carver, and my partner Sonia Redwood. M'guessing you have a mite bit of an idea of why we are here." He would let the clerk run to his own conclusions, for the moment, and watch carefully for his first reaction.

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The clerk considered the both of them with renewed interest, though the sour grimace that briefly covered his face showed his unease. But, well, it wasn't too surprising. Even those who had nothing to had from the Watchdogs could grow uneasy and nervous around them. Most Dogs were an intimidating lot, and many found it hard to be kind or friendly to strangers, after years of seeing the worst of what the Deseret had to offer.

"Ah, yes. The owner said more of you would be arriving soon." the clerk began. "Mister Hershel, the hotel's owner, would like to extend the same offer to you, as he did the previous set of Dogs. You two, and any companions you may have, are guaranteed free room and board here at the Hotel Lancaster, if you wish."

"That's mighty gracious of Mister Hershel." Sonia replied, nodding her head. "But, we aren't here about getting ourselves rooms. What do you know about the 'previous set' of Dogs that came here? Did they stay here at all? If they did, when was the last time you saw them?"

The clerk covered his mouth with his hand briefly, closing his eyes as he considered his words carefully. "I work the main desk here during the day, so I saw...forgive me, I cannot recall their names, but I saw the gentleman and lady Dog check in here two weeks ago, when they first arrived. They stayed here two nights that I'm aware of, and they did not come back on the third night. We merely presumed they had concluded their business in Abernathy, and had gone their way. But, well, that doesn't seem to be the case now, from what the Sheriff has told us."

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Anna smiled widely to Margaret at that promise, nodding with a brief grin. "Of course we will." She said, the beggar most certainly already out of her mind as they continued down the street. Her quiet friendliness faded, however, back behind a rigidly calm expression once she followed Margaret into the church, ready as the stern Dog once more.

She pulled off her hat as she stepped inside, murmuring a prayer as she looked to the altar, and then to the preacher sitting nearby. "Anna Ward." She introduced herself with a polite smile to the old man before gesturing over to her friend. "Margaret Throne. We have been tasked with finding our missing comrades, Justin Meyer and Eliza Ford. Did they pass through here, a short time ago?"

Her gaze flicked back and forth between the old man and the interior of the church, carefully surveying her surroundings before she eyed him just as intently as she would anyone else in her investigations. She couldn't afford to be lax and make presumptions, even from a holy man, when two of her own had gone missing a place where they should have been safer than ever.

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"Ah, you are Watchdogs of the Lord then." Father Mycroft nodded at them, his face shifting into a more serious and grave expression. "I heard tale from the Sheriff that they had gone missing. I've been praying for their souls ever since. I am not sure what I can tell you that would help, however. Dogs Meyer and Ford did come to my church to pray and seek my counsel, though it was not for long on most occasions. I recall seeing them for perhaps...two days at the most, before they disappeared. I had assumed they'd gone on their way, and left things at that. I regret that now, however."

Margaret nodded lightly as she listened to the preacher's words. They didn't particularly surprise her, though there was always the hope someone they'd interview would offer clear, case-breaking details right off the bat. Alas, that didn't seem to be the case here.

"What did you counsel them on? Did they speak with you on anything in particular?" she inquired after a moment.

At that, Father Mycroft shook his head. "I held confession with Dog Ford twice, though I am unable to say what we spoke of. Breaking the seal of the confessional booth is a grave sin, I'm sure you understand. I could be excommunicated for even hinting at what was spoken in confidence. Outside of confession...Justin and Eliza did ask me to lead them in prayer, bless their weapons, and they asked me some general questions. How to get about town, where the best places to eat were, where to get horses for their journey to Red Road. General, mundane things such as that."

Margaret frowned at that. Not particularly helpful information, that. And of course Father Mycroft couldn't speak of anything said in the confessional. Hell, if he did, then she and Anna, as Dogs, had every right to take him into custody to face trial and potential excommunication from the Ministry of Social Order. Breaking the bond of Confession was one of the highest sins a priest could commit under the Faith. It just made Margaret hope that whatever Eliza Ford had discussed with Father Mycroft over Confession, wouldn't be important for their quest.

Still, he'd told them where to find horses? That would be a good lead to follow up on. It might be able to tell them whether or not Ford and Meyer had left town before they'd disappeared.

"Although..." Father Mycroft continued after a moment, a thoughtful look on his face. "There was one other thing. They also questioned me about the recent fire. Though, I'm sure I didn't tell them much the Sheriff hadn't already told them."