Announcements: Initiative: Promoting Forum Roleplay » Universe of the Month! » Finding Universes to Join (and making yours more visible!) » Guide To Universes On RPG » Starter Locations & Prompts for Newcomers » RPG Chat — the official app » USERNAME CHANGES » Suggestions & Requests: THE MASTER THREAD »

Latest Discussions: Satire & Comedy » Platonic numbers » No complaints (a little bit of rappin) » Any multi-player roleplay videogamers here? » Needing a woman's perspective on a concept » Gluts and Gaps » Universal Basic Income » Impending Pursuit Q&A » Eudaimonia » Loot! » Natural Kinds » I have a funny idea » Life in the 21st century. » Song of the Runes » Plato’s Beard » Clues » Nihilism » Strange Tales From Hadean » Art Gulag [ Come get this Commish! ] » Visibility of Private Universes & Profile Customisation »

Players Wanted: Kingdom come looking for roleplayers » The Last Dragon! » Roleplay Return for 1 x 1 » Players wanted for a science fiction adventure. » Players needed for Fantasy Romance reboot » One(1) male & Two(2) Female Roles OPEN <3 » Talmora: Kingdom of magic » Looking For A New Partner » Hellboy characters » 18+ Writing Partner [Fantasy, Romance, Etc.] » 18+, Multi-Para to Novella Writers please! » Looking for roleplayers » Fun tale full of angels, demons, and humans » Looking for roleplayers » A Fairytale World in Need of Heroes & Villains! » Are You a Crime Addict? » Wuxia RP » Looking for roleplayers » New Realistic Roleplay - Small World Life ٩( ´・ш・)و » Mentors Wanted »

Dogs in Almighty God's Vineyard

Dogs in God's Vineyard

0 INK

a part of Dogs in Almighty God's Vineyard, by Magus1108.

None

Magus1108 holds sovereignty over Dogs in God's Vineyard, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

3,424 readers have been here.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/dogs_in_the_vineyard

Setting

Default Location for Dogs in Almighty God's Vineyard
Create a Character Here »

Minimap

Dogs in God's Vineyard is a part of Dogs in Almighty God's Vineyard.

6 Characters Here

Anna Ward [236] "The wicked have no place in the vineyard we have wrought. So sayeth the King of Life."
Charles Carver [119] "Wise man once told me, 'If I save but one soul, then all my suffering has been justified.'"
Horatio Morale [116] "Sometimes all you can do is just live day by day."
Margaret Thorne [105] "I will avenge those who have fallen, no matter the cost!"
Sonia Redwood [104] "There is no time to regret the past. You can only look forward, and strive to make a better future."
Ira Murphy [15] "You will profess your love for the One True God, or die by the flame. It is your choice."

Start Character Here »


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Anna followed Joshua and Horatio out to the church, still feeling restless. Her thoughts were more on the posse and the upcoming battle, presuming that it would be to such a scale, rather than any lingering investigation in the town. If the poisoned whiskey could not be traced, than the best chance flushing out the entire conspiracy was to capture the culprits alive. A difficult task with a Pack of Dogs, much less a disorganized posse of townsfolk. Still, the children could likely help to identify any conspirators that were not present, if Anna and Horatio were able to led the posse to them in time. It all came down to the nagging thought in the back of Anna's head that they were running out of time.

"A humble life is a faithful life." Anna said idly in response to the preacher's comment. She noted Horatio's look, her restlessness compelling her to pace around the small office as she spoke. "Have you been preaching here long, Father? Noticed anyone acting oddly in the last few weeks, perhaps? Mrs. Cobbs told me that Nate Blake and the Sheriff had a family quarrel, but I've not seen much to suggest he is the murderer, but I imagine you would know of any tensions in your flock, yes?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

"I've been the pastor of Red Road the past ten years, Ma'am. Took over after my uncle, the previous parish leader, passed away." Father Joshua dutifully informed.

"Can't say I've seen anyone acting too oddly....lot of folk been afraid, of course, but that's to be expected. People are angry too, also to be expected. And you'd be right about that, Ma'am. I can confirm that Nate Blake and Sheriff Cobbs had a longstanding feud, that stretched back all the way to their daddies. In fact, Nate was leading a sort of insurrection against Jacob...tried to get the Mayor and other townsfolk on his side, so he could be appointed Sheriff instead. I remember him saying, and these are his words, you understand, that...'The nigger was too stupid to solve the case, and Cobbs was purposely dragging his heels'. He said that, and plenty of other inflammatory things to try and stir up the town on his side."

Father Joshua leaned back in his chair, a contemplative look on his face. "He almost succeeded, too. I'd heard rumblings from the Mayor that Jacob might soon lose his badge, if he didn't find those missing kids and stop the attacks. If Jacob hadn't been...slain, well, it's quite likely you'd be dealing with Sheriff Blake right now. As it stands now, no one'll support Nate anymore. Half the town is convinced he killed the Sheriff, and even if he is innocent, Cobbs was made a martyr. No one will listen to Nate Blake now, regardless of how things end up."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Anna looked back to Joshua as he spoke, taking care not to shrug indifferently to his response. Everything he said seemed to add little to what she already knew. Cobbs and Blake had inheirited a petty feud from their fathers, but there seemed to be no connection to the conspiracy. It was obvious that Cobbs was murdered because he had come too close to the truth. The timing was too precise for Blake to have struck at such a moment, even if he did think he could be a better sheriff. Blake may have been an ignorant malcontent, but that was nothing compared to the calculated, precise evil at work in Red Road.

"Could you tell me of the mayor, Father? I've yet to speak with him and no one's told me what sort of man he is. Was he facing the same pressure as Sheriff Cobbs, in regards to the missing children?" She eyed the preacher, then paused as she considered an important detail. "Do you know if the sheriff shared his findings with him? Or anyone else, for that matter?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

"Mayor Chesterfield is a relative newcomer to Red Road." Father Joshua reported, shrugging slightly.

"He was appointed Mayor of Red Road when the old one died...five years ago, I think. Richard was the nephew of the previous Mayor, though he spent most of his life in Baker City...he only came here to Red Road maybe two years before he became Mayor, when he married a local girl. As for what sort of man he is...a kind enough man, I suppose. He's mighty ambitious, though...if you ask me, he intends to seek higher office...or did, at least. I think he wants to impress his superiors in the Ministry of Social Order, and get a promotion to a more prestigious town. Or he did, like I said. Since this whole mess began...I'm quite sure his handlers at the Ministry of Social Order have disapproved of how he's handled things. Mayor Chesterfield shouldered the blame largely on Sheriff Cobbs in the town, but he's seen an equal amount of scrutiny from the Consul Archdeons."

At Anna other question, the priest paused, considering the matter. "Hmm...Sheriff Cobbs kept us all informed of the investigation's progress, of course. The specifics of it...I doubt he shared it with the Mayor, unless he had to. Sheriff Cobbs didn't take to how the Mayor was fostering all the blame on him for these continued attacks...the two had some shouting matches, now and again, from what I recall. He also didn't share much of his findings with me, I'll admit. He came to me for spiritual guidance more than once since this started, of course...but he kept a lot of the details to himself and his Deputy."

Father Joshua leaned back in his chair, frowning as he thought something over. "Wait...I do recall a conversation Jacob and I had, maybe a few days before he died. He asked me if I believed anyone in town was capable of being...culpable, in this grave matter. I protested the very idea, of course! To think one of my own flock could be complacent in all these murders and kidnappings...! But, he asked me to entertain the notion, all the same..."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Anna absently rubbed at her chin as she listened, still too restless to be still. If it had been a case of simple thefts or some such, she would certainly have suspected the mayor based off of the preacher's description. Political ambition was a terrible vice, as could easily be seen in the East. Yet it meant little on the frontier, even if Chesterfield could find a position in a larger town, it was not as if any settlement other than New Life was that much more impressive. And more importantly, there was no reasonable ties between politics and the missing children. And that was the issue at hand. It seemed impossible to find any logical reasoning behind the sheer scale and reach of the atrocities.

"I need to know precisely who Sheriff Cobbs gave his findings to." She eyed the preacher. "And did you entertain the notion? I understand to wish to see good in your townsfolk, Father, but truly, did no one at all come to mind? The sheriff was murdered by someone in this town, that much is clear. Someone who is still among us...and likely someone with ties to New Life."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Father Joshua rubbed his chin in consideration, sighing a bit as he closed his eyes. "To my knowledge, what findings Sheriff Cobbs did come across, he did not share with anyone else. Except maybe his Deputy, to keep Clarence in the loop. I'm sure he wrote down his findings in one of his journals, though...have you checked that out, yet? If you didn't already know, Jacob was quite the avid journal keeper."

The preacher leaned back against his chair, grimacing slightly in distaste. "After the Sheriff prodded me further...yes, I did consider the matter. I brought up the Mayor, of course. Political ambition is a sin, and while it's a stretch, I wouldn't put something this vile past Chesterfield. He's not a godly man. Other than him though, I struggled to find anyone else in town that could possibly be involved in such a matter. Most of the folk of Red Road are simple people...very few of them have the capacity for such great evil, in my opinion. Hmmm...someone with ties to New Life, you say? Hmph. The Mayor has such ties...his cousin is the Deputy Mayor there, if I recall. But like I said, the Mayor is a stretch...but..."

The older, balding man sighed, masking his face with his hand for a moment, as he rubbed at his temples. He was silent for a good minute, before moving on.

"You must understand, I do not engage in idle gossip...to talk up such lies is a sin, and I want no part in it. However...I have heard...rumors. Almost three years ago, the Mayor's wife suddenly....died. Quite suddenly, and unexpectedly. It was an accident, by all indications...the Mayor lives in a big house he inherited from his uncle, and apparently his wife tripped and fell down the stairs, breaking her neck. A terrible tragedy, really. She was so young..."

Father Joshua clasped his hands together, looking vaguely uncomfortable, and uncertain, before moving on. "I gave Mrs. Chesterfield her last rites, of course. We buried her out in the graveyard a little ways outside town. A terrible accident, like I said. By all appearances. Didn't give it much thought, of course...until the Mayor remarried, six months later. She too was a widow, formerly married to a banker out in New Life. She moved to Red Road with the Mayor, and they were happy enough, I suppose. Until she died. Almost a year later, she died as well. Another accident, by the look of things. She too took a terrible fall during the night...didn't die right away, though. The poor woman was paralyzed from the neck down due to her grievous fall...she died three days later from her injuries, apparently, despite the efforts of Doctor Cottle."

The Mayor looked up at Anna, giving her a pointed gaze. "The Mayor is a stretch, as I said, but I find it...interesting...that he was widowed twice, in the span of five years. Now, I do not engage in idle, sinful gossip, as I said...but, Sheriff Cobbs always found the matter...suspicious, himself. He confided to me that he believed the Mayor had murdered his wives, but the Sheriff could never prove it. Any evidence from the first wife was long gone, and Wilfred was unable to speak the three days she held onto life. I think that's also why the Sheriff never liked the Mayor....he suspected the man was guilty of grave, grave sins, but was unable to prove it. Hence, when Sheriff Cobbs asked me that question....there was no doubt in my mind that Mayor Chesterfield could be behind such an event, however a stretch it is. The man appears capable of committing evils already...at least, Sheriff Cobbs thought so."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

The preacher was right, it was a stretch. But on the other hand, those were far too many coincidences. Chesterfield was recently arrived to Red Road, he had ties to New Life, and the sin of ambition. Then there was the matter of of his wives. It would not have been the first time a man had tried to pass off the death of his wife. And if he had the cruelty and gall to murder two of his wives, than God only knew what else he could be capable of. It was likely enough that he could be involved in the murders and kidnappings.

But he was still a politician and it seemed unlikely that he could have murdered Cobbs himself. Still, it was clear that the conspiracy extended beyond one man. But all it would take was one man to break it open.

"Thank you, Father. We would greatly appreciate if you could maintain discretion in this matter, while we continue to investigate." Anna nodded politely to Joshua, then looked to Horatio and whispered to him.

"If Cobbs had suspected him, than I trust his judgement. We should question the mayor. He can't possibly hold up that long if pressed."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

"I agree. The Mayor seems like our best suspect, in lieu of anyone else." Horatio whispered back, nodding. He looked back over at the preacher, giving the holy man a slight nod. They definitely had to interview the mayor, as soon as possible. But, first, they had one last matter to take care of, before they left.

"Thanks for your help, Father. Before we go...we would like to talk to the boy. Jeremiah Daniels, I believe? The boy these kidnappers and murderers left behind." the older Dog declared. Father Joshua nodded, rising from his chair.

"Very well. I've taken in Jeremiah...have him in my room, out in the back. The poor boy hasn't said a word since he came under my care. Not that I blame him. But, perhaps talking to you Watchdogs will make the boy more...receptive. I suspect he'd be willing to talk to the people who'll track down his family's murderers." the balding priest stated, heading over to the door.

He opened it up, leaving his office with Anna and Horatio in tow. The pastor took them down another door in the back of the chapel, that lead to some sparse living areas; plays where the local Archdeon tended to live, in small-town churches like this. Father Joshua took the duo down the hall, before opening a door at the end. Inside was a simple, if spartan, bedroom....and a sullen little boy on top of the bed, staring down listlessly at the floor with vacant, unseeing eyes.

"Jeremiah? It's Father Joshua....I have two Dogs with me, who'd like to speak with you. You remember the Watchdogs, yes? I gave a sermon on them a few months back," the holy man introduced, making room for Anna and Horatio to step inside.

Jeremiah Daniels stirred slightly at that, looking over vaguely in their direction with clouded eyes. He still did not speak, however.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Anna followed Horatio's lead as they went to the boy's room. She was skeptical that a blind child could give much actual evidence in any normal investigation, much less a child who had witnessed such traumas without even having a true comprehension of what had happened. Still, she knew it was her duty to exhaust every lead. The boy had a witness, after all. There was still a chance he could give some piece of information.

The problem was that Anna hadn't the slightest idea of how to approach the boy. She had never given the slightest interest towards children, even if she had heard plenty of preachers say it was a holy task to raise them into the Faith. Briefly glancing towards Horatio, Anna wondered if he would be better suited, but it was just as likely he would be even less suited after what he had been through.

"Jeremiah, has anyone ever told you about the Lord's hounds?" She asked, attempting a gentle tone. "We are here to bring the Lord's justice, for your family and many others. Can you tell us what happened to them?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

"I'll go ahead and leave you three alone. Please, take your time." Father Joshua proclaimed, excusing himself as he closed the door behind him.

Jeremiah was silent for a good moment, staring aimlessly. Horatio feared that they wouldn't get through to the boy, but was proven wrong when Jeremiah finally spoke.

"...Dogs are good people, right?" he questioned, looking over in their general direction, with a blank stare. "And you punish bad people, right?"

"Yes son, we do." Horatio confirmed, speaking in a gentle tone to the blind child. "We're here to punish the wicked men who've plagued Red Road and its people these past few months. You can trust us, son. And if you have anything that might help us...we'd appreciate it. The Lord and the Prophet would appreciate it well, and reward you for your good and Faithful service to the Dogs."

Jeremiah nodded at that, apparently satisfied with the answer. He shifted around slightly, before speaking again. "You didn't come soon enough. To punish them."

Horatio sucked in a sharp breath of air, wincing at the jab. He couldn't blame the kid, though. Poor boy lost his family...most of them dead, and his sister taken to parts unknown. He'd blame anyone in that situation, himself. He...had, in a way, after his own loss...

"I know son...we should have come sooner." Horatio agreed, giving a sigh. "But...we're here now. And if you have anything to say, anything that could help us out...it might just help us find your sister..."

"I wasn't talking about the man who saved me." Jeremiah interjected, his eyes narrowed in the approximation of a glare.

Horatio blinked at that, surprised at the vehemence in his voice....and what was that about a savior? Was he talking about the men who had...? But...why would he....he should hate them, shouldn't he?!

As surprised and confused as Horatio was, though, he was wholly unprepared for what the boy said next.

"I was...talking about my parents. You didn't come in time to punish them....so someone else did."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Anna felt her heartbeat steadily begin to rise. Nothing in this matter was making sense and that only served to inspire further dread. Her first thought was that the boy had lost his senses from the tragedy, but he was too coherent and clearly spoken. The boy was withdrawn, presumably from the incident, and his blindness prevented several important details, but he seemed to know precisely what had happened.

"Jeremiah...we need you to tell us exactly what happened." Anna asked, her voice hoarse from her abruptly dry mouth rather than any attempt at sounding gentle to the boy. "Every detail you can remember is vitally important. We are doing the Lord's work and we need to know the truth of the matter. We are searching for your sister, and many other missing children whose families have been murdered."

It was disturbing, but certainly not unheard of, for a child to wish his parents punished for some manner of abuse. Anna herself had whipped more than one father who was a danger to his family in fits of whiskey and rage. But if the sheriff had not punished his parents, nor the Dogs, than who else could have done it? And how could the boy believe they were his saviors if they had taken his sister, much less killed so many others and taken their children as well?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Jeremiah was silent for a moment, before he began to speak once more. "I don't remember much...it's...fuzzy. Father, Uncle Martin, Aunt Mary, and Mother were all drinking whiskey after dinner...Lizzy and I didn't get any, 'cause we were too young. And then...well...I-I don't know what happened. They all started...choking and screaming and hollering before...they were quiet. Then He came in..."

Jeremiah trailed off after that, the boy staring down at the bed, gathering his thoughts. "I don't...remember much after that...there were loud noises...gunshots, I guess...and the Man spoke to me and Lizzy. Told us not to be afraid, that He was there to...keep us safe. Our family was dead because of their sins, and we were going to go to a better place now. He told me he'd come back for me...that he couldn't take me and Lizzy together because there wasn't enough room, or...something. I...didn't understand..."

Horatio gave a sigh, shaking his head as he rubbed his temples. He could...just what was going on here?! The more they learned about this mystery, the less it made sense! Though...well, he supposed the boy could have been lied to...maybe he and his sister were told that so they'd calm done, and go with him with little resistance.

It...made sense, to a degree...after all, a kidnapper would tell his victims anything to get them to be quiet, and go with them without much fuss. It still left the question of why the boy was left behind...though Horatio suspected more and more that Jeremiah being left behind had to do with his blindness. It was the only thing the child had that made him different from the other kids....what that meant though, he wasn't quite sure.

Still...why did Jeremiah hate his family? And how did the kidnapper know to use that to calm him down?

"Son..." Horatio gave a little cough clearing his throat. He had a feeling he wouldn't like what he was about to hear, but it had to be asked all the same. "Why do you hate your family?"

Jeremiah was silent at that, staring down morosely at his lap. He answered though...his voice barely above a whisper. "Every night, Father would go into our room, and get in Lizzy's bed...I don't know what they did, but it made her cry. I...I tried to stop him, more than once, but Father would just hit me, and keep...making Lizzy cry..."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

"Lord..." Anna whispered to herself. The father deserved his fate, clearly, but what of the family? It was not justice, it was blind murder. Worse still, someone else beyond the lawkeepers and Watchdogs was dispensing this 'justice'. It went against every law and rite that protected the Faithful. And even if they killed one sinner, they had killed so many. Likely far more than Sheriff Cobbs was ever able to identify. Anna could still barely comprehend the scale of butchery. Their apparent attempt to justify it as righteous justice made it even worse and her stomach felt twisted at the thought.

She swallowed dryly, trying to steady her voice before she spoke, "Did they say anything else? What they intended for your sister or what they had done to the other ranches?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

"I remember....he said that he'd take the both of us to a better place...someplace away from the Sin of the World." Jeremiah replied, furrowing his brow. "I think. And...He said nothin' about the other ranches...and I didn't ask."

The boy was silent a moment...his vacant eyes widening as he recalled something. "Oh! I remember...the other men with Him...they called him something. Azazel? Azrel? Something like that..."

"Azrael?" Horatio provided. The boy nodded at that, confirming the guess.

So, then...the ringleader, or at least one of the main leaders, behind this whole mess was named Azrael...or at least, people called him that. But who the hell would go by the name of an Archangel...especially when they were behind such a sinful thing like murder?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

"So he has a sense of drama." Anna spat quietly. If there was one man leading the system of murders, he was a madman. Even if it took all manner of careful planning and secrecy, intelligence and cunning, he was still mad. It didn't seem possible, but the only thing that made sense was that the man was both intelligent and insane. Only the greatest of delusions could convince a man that his series of murders was the work of the Lord, even if he happened upon one true sinner in the process.

"Thank you, Jeremiah. The Lord will surely bless you for your help." She said, taking care that her breath did not shake either from restlessness or dread at everything the child at had said.

Anna stepped back and leaned over to whisper to Horatio. "We should speak to the mayor and be done with this. If the children are near, we must go and find them before they are taken elsewhere." She knew she was being impatient again, that it was reckless to ride out when there was still possible leads to investigate, but she had to find real answers. Everything Cobbs had written and Jeremiah had said were only bare scrapings of the truth. Her hand slid down to the whip on her belt and she wrapped her fingers tightly around its grip. The only way to determine what truly happened was to find this 'Azrael' and pry the truth from him in the name of the Lord.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Horatio gave an agreeing nod. The Mayor was their next priority, for sure. Perhaps they might crack the case if they interviewed him, given what they knew about him, and what he was suspected to have done. Even if Chesterfield wasn't behind these attacks, or at least culpable in them, he still had to be punished for the murder of his wives. And afterwards, if Brother Samuel hadn't waken up yet, they might well interview Nate Blake. It seemed unlikely the scoundrel had any useful information at this point, but it might not hurt to check, anyway. Cover all their bases.

"Thank you, Jeremiah. You've been very helpful," Horatio kindly said to the boy.

He would have promised to get his sister back, but...well, he didn't want to make a promise he couldn't keep. Besides, the boy seemed confused enough about what sort of person this Azrael was...the boy was thankful the man had killed that bastard of a father of his, no doubt. But the poor kid had no idea Azrael was just lying to him. Honestly, though, he didn't have the heart to break it to the kid. It seemed...unnecessarily cruel, in a way. It wasn't necessary either...if they did get back Jeremiah's sister, it was likely his sister would set her brother straight.

Horatio and Anna left Jeremiah shortly thereafter, exiting the small church of Red Road a moment later. The Mayor's Office wasn't far off, Horatio could see...just a little ways up the street.

The older Dog turned to his partner, wanting to get her take on things. "How do you think we should approach this, Anna? The Mayor's guilty of something, that's for sure...but we have no way of knowing if he's culpable in these murders. He killed his wives, I have no doubt about that...but it may not be the case for these ranch murders. If we come at him too hard, he might clam up, and excessive...force might then be required to...persuade him to tell us the truth. If we come at him too soft though, he might not feel pressured enough to tell us something useful."

It was a dilemma Dogs faced all the time, when interviewing potential suspects. A dilemma Horatio had faced more than once in his career. Back in the day, he hadn't been above using force to get the information he needed...nowadays though, he didn't try to do that unless he saw no other option. In his experience, torture rarely gave good information...the person they were hurting was liable to say anything, to make the pain stop.

Still, he wanted to get Anna's opinion on the matter. He made a habit out of consulting his fellow Dogs during missions, and he wanted to challenge Anna a little, see how she'd handle this matter. She wasn't a Pup anymore, but she was still relatively new to the job. It was the first time they'd been partnered together too, so there was that, as well.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

"We will remind him quite clearly that he cannot evade the Lord's justice." Anna responded immediately. "Sheriff Cobbs had only told a few of his findings. And we have every reason to believe the mayor is already a murderer. We must press him as hard as need be until he confesses his sins. We do what we must."

She had lashed men for beating their wives before. But to confront a man who was suspected of murder, with the reliable suspicions of a preacher, and who also dared to hold a position of authority over the Faithful? It was an affront to everything that had been built in Desert. The mayor's comfort was irrelevant. Anna would press hard until he broke, be it with threats of what would await him in the Lord's grasp or what she could do to him while he still lived. He would speak and he would tell her who was behind the evil at work in Red Road.

Anna's pace increased as they neared the mayor's office. She wanted answers, finally, from the mouth of someone who was actually involved in the atrocities at hand. It was impatience as much as justice driving her, she knew, but every brief revelation had only left her more infuriated and horrified at what had occurred under the very noses of the people who were supposed to be enforcing the Lord's justice. There was a question of whether or not a politician had the skill to murder anyone so cleanly, but the truth would be revealed soon enough. She would make sure of it.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

The two Dogs walked up to the Mayor's office soon enough. The building, much like the rest of Red Road, was a simple and spartan affair. One story tall, and rather rustic, with a simple sign hanging above the front door proclaiming it to be the office of, "Mayor Chesterfield". The building itself also had remnants of faded paint peeling away at the walls...it had been brightly colored at one point, it seemed, but those colors had long since faded with the sands of time.

The front door was unlocked, and so it was easy to walk inside. The main room was wide and spacious, with a large wooden desk at the center of it. The room was also littered with various trinkets and flashy signs of power and wealth....from a very expensive rug near the fireplace, to the mounted heads of various slain animals, including the head of a bear, it seemed. It was doubtful Chesterfield had hunted any of the animals himself...or if he was the one who'd put them up in the first place, considering he inherited the office and all. Still, the animals heads were obviously supposed to be an awe-inspiring sight, meant to impress visitors.

It impressed Horatio little, of course. He'd seen many things worth much more praise, than a simple collection of stuffed animal heads.

There was, however, something worth actually awe in the office...and that was the presence of the gramophone.

The sound of classical music could be heard playing in the room, emanating from a gramophone on the far side of the room. Horatio was startled to hear the music, to say the least, and begrudgingly, had to admit he was impressed to see a gramophone here,of all places. They were a relatively new invention, created by a fellow named Edison ten years back or so. They were very popular back East, but for the most part, only the wealthy could afford such a fantastical device.

It made him wonder, then, how the Mayor of a backwater town got ahold of one...

Mayor Chesterfield was sitting at his desk, sorting through some papers when the Dogs arrived. Upon seeing them, the Mayor rose from his chair, grinning brightly at the duo. Mayor Chesterfield was an older man...maybe a decade younger than Horatio, give or take. And he'd lived a very fine life, by the look of things, given the slight bulge his belly had.

"Ah, Dog Horatio and Dog Anna...how good to see our town's saviors!" Chesterfield proclaimed, giving the two a wide, placating smile. "So glad you've finally come to visit me. I apologize for not meeting you both earlier when you came into town...I was quite busy with work, unfortunately. But I can make some time now to talk! So, how may I help the two of you? And, if I may ask, how goes the investigation? I hope you've made more progress than our dearly departed Sheriff has. Cobbs was a great man, but I fear this task was just...above his capabilities. I'm sure you can finish what he started, however!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Anna paid little mind to the gaudy decorations, she had seen such vain attempts of virility in a dozen small town offices and ranches over the years. It was the sound of the gramophone that almost broke her steadily calm visage into a scowl. Such a device was nothing more than a clear sign of the petty vanity of the East, something that had no place in Deseret. And it would have cost Chesterfield a small fortune to have had it delivered such a great distance. The wealth of such a small town mayor was suspicious enough, but the stain of his moral character by wasting money on such frivolities was even more damning.

She nodded stiffly as the mayor spoke, carefully examining his speech and actions. "The investigation is progressing. We had hoped to speak with you on what Sheriff Cobbs had last said to you. It is clear he was killed for something he had recently discovered during his own investigation, the question is what." She paused, staring hard at the mayor. "But, you are correct on what little failings he did have as an investigator. He was not a hound of the Lord. Nothing is hidden from us in the end."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

"Yes, yes, of course." Mayor Chesterfield gave an agreeable nod, smiling widely at Anna. "Let's see...well, last I recall, Cobbs did have a new lead. I'd been....well, I won't mince words. I'd been pressuring him to solve the case, of course. I'd been doing so before he decided to call the Dogs in, and kept doing so after, hoping he might have a good lead to present to you, once you both arrived. Looking back, perhaps I shouldn't have been so hard on him...Cobbs was doing his damned best, after all. The poor man was so...devastated, by his inability to stop all this murder and mayhem."

Chesterfield gave an elaborate sigh, looking rather remorseful for a moment, before continuing on. "As I said...Cobbs was tracking down a new lead, I believe. He didn't give me much information...he wanted to have all his ducks in a row, as it were, before telling me anything more. Perhaps chasing this lead was what even got him killed....ah, the poor man. At any rate...he did tell me something. I don't want to point fingers or anything, of course...but the Sheriff told me he was getting rather suspicious of Father Joshua."

Horatio raised an eyebrow at this, giving the Mayor an incredulous stare. Given what the holy man of Red Road had told them, he had expected some song and dance routine from the Mayor...basically, him saying anything that would shift suspicion off of him. But shifting the blame to Father Joshua? That was unexpected...

"Suspicious of Father Joshua, you say?" Horatio inquired, his skepticism leaking out from his tone. Chesterfield easily caught onto that, however.

"Now, I know that might be...hard to believe. After all, it is often our most pious and righteous that take up the Priesthood, no? But, even our own clergymen are not above the errs of Man. Sheriff Cobbs was looking into the background of just about everyone in town...he suspected that someone in town was involved in the ranch raids. A suspicion I'm inclined to agree with, at this point. The monsters responsible for the slaughter of so many of my citizens...they always seemed to be one step ahead of Cobbs. No doubt because someone in town is feeding them information.

"At any rate...Cobbs was looking up information on everyone in town, trying to ferret out our Benedict Arnold. And he came across some very...interesting information about Father Joshua. Nothing immediately incriminating, of course...if, say, Cobbs had found out that our dear pastor used to be part of a gang that went around attacking ranches and homesteads, you bet he would have put Joshua in jail faster than when we drove the British out of the Colonies. But still...it was information that shed some interesting facts about our dear Preacher."
Mayor Chesterfield proclaimed, an almost smug look on his face as he divulged this information.

"You see...Father Joshua used to serve a small community in New Life itself. But he got caught up in quite a scandal...a scandal so severe, he was practically exiled here to Red Road, to take up his recently departed Uncle's parish." Chesterfield drawled out, grinning slightly. He was taking great joy, it seemed, in slandering Father Joshua...perhaps the animosity Joshua had for Chesterfield went both ways.

Chesterfield leaned in close, drawing out this last tidbit of information for his apparently captive audience. "Our dear Father's crime? According to Cobbs...dear Father Joshua fathered a child out of wedlock...with another man's wife. And if that wasn't so outrageous...Father Joshua encouraged his lover to visit an abortion doctor, once he became aware of the pregnancy."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Anna eyed the mayor closely as he spoke. His speech was too clean, too prepared. It was a politician's speech. He had avoided the Dogs out of caution, but prepared himself with the expectation that they would inevitably visit him. After expressing his remorse at the terror that had befallen Red Road, he immediately accused the man who he clearly wished to see fall. And there was his slight, he was too eager to accuse another.

Even if what Chesterfield had to say was true, there was no connection to the attacks. Joshua had kept watch over the child who had witnessed everything. Such men who were willing to butcher so many would have had no qualms over killing a child. And yet the boy was alive and well to tell them what he had heard. There was nothing that could tie a disgraced preacher to such violence. Adultery and abortion were a sin, to be sure, but they were still a far cry from the planned murder of a wife, much less two of them. Chesterfield's wealth, his faux friendliness, and the suspicious nature of his wives' deaths were all signs of something far larger. And he of all people would have known what Cobbs had written in his journal.

She surveyed office, looking past the gaudy and vain displays of wealth. Suspicions were not enough. Chesterfield was too intelligent to slip up merely by the Dogs' presence, but Anna needed the slightest hint of evidence if she was going to push harder. She could not pull down Chesterfield's carefully crafted facade without anything to grab onto.

"A disturbing thought indeed. We will be sure to speak at length with the Father, in due time." Anna paused, turning back to the mayor. Eyeing the man again, she watched for the subtle clues of his demeanor. "I was wondering, sir, do you have any family in Red Road?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

The misdirection, the blame...it sounded all too easy to Horatio's ears. Chesterfield was far too eager to cast doubt and blame on Father Joshua. Granted, the crimes the priest was accused of were...disturbing. But the ones Chesterfield stood accused of were far more serious, and made him a far more suspicious character than whatever moral failings Father Joshua had.

"Not in Red Road, no. I have a brother, a niece, and a nephew in New Life....and, of course, my two dear, departed wives." Mayor Chesterfield gave a little sigh, his eyes closed in what appeared to be grief. "You may not have heard already, but I am a widower twice over. It's...been a struggle to come to terms with the deaths of my wives, of course. I still miss them fondly, in fact. They were wonderful women...and wonderful wives."

Horatio studied the man carefully as well...squaring his jaw as he frowned. The Mayor put on a show, certainly, but he didn't sound like a typical widower...sure, he acted sad, but Horatio was very much...familiar with that type of loss. When someone truly missed their wife, and grieved over their deaths, it showed in their speech and in their actions. Chesterfield...didn't appear to display that. His wives hadn't even been dead for five years, and yet he didn't seem to show that that recent loss had affected him.

Of course, people grieved in their own ways. Horatio wasn't one to judge how a person should properly display their grief, after all. He may have been an...expert in that area, as it were, but he didn't speak for everyone. Still...it aroused his suspicion, to say the least.

"I know the feeling," Horatio chimed up, eyeing the Mayor closely. "I've been widowed twice over myself. It...never gets any easier, does it?"

"It doesn't," Mayor Chesterfield readily agreed, giving the older Dog a new, considering look. "My wives haven't been dead more than a few years of course, so it still feels fresh...but I imagine it's a wound that will never quite heal."

Once again, all the right words. But the tone, the way he spoke...it didn't feel genuine at all. It was more like it felt manufactured. Not atypical of a politician, granted, but still. Indeed, it only helped to further raise Horatio's suspicions about the Mayor.

He was hiding something, all right. No doubt the fact he'd murdered his two wives, if what Father Joshua and Sheriff Cobbs had suspected was true. But was that where it ended? Was he involved in more ill deeds than that? Now that was the question he and Anna needed to determine...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

It wasn't enough. Chesterfield was too prepared to discuss the tragic tales of his wives, almost glad to speak of something that would encourage others to pity him. Such a noble man, to endure in his position despite so much loss. The thought made Anna seethe, but she forced herself to maintain a calm expression. But he was too composed. Too verbose. Too willing to speak of his loss. After all, Horatio mentioned his own losses in response, but Anna knew that was barest of information that he would be likely to give.

She had to throw him off guard. A carefully placed barb, no different from a well aimed shot from her pistol.

"A great tragedy, truly. Although...I have heard it said that your wives were murdered." Anna stared hared at the mayor, daring him to continue to facade, and waiting for the slightest slip in his mask. She knew he would quickly put on a show of outrage, but all she needed to see what the briefest flicker of fear in his eyes.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Chesterfield gave a gasp, staring at Anna wide-eyed as her words registered with him. Briefly, very briefly...the smallest expression of fear passed through his eyes. But that disappeared in an instant, as the Mayor's face contorted with fierce anger.

"That is outrageous!" the Mayor instantly thundered, his face turning red with rage as he glared quite fiercely at Anna. "Who told you that?! It's simply not true! My wives died in tragic accidents, yes...but in accidents only! They were not...why, this accusation is simply outrageous! I will not stand for such slander! I didn't murder my wives!"

Chesterfield certainly sounded furious, though given his 'remorse' earlier, his anger could just as easily have been manufactured. And Horatio had certainly caught that glimmer of fear in the man's eye, when Anna had made her accusation.

"She never said you did it," Horatio observed, giving the Mayor a slight smirk, as he stared down the seething figure. "All she said was that your wives may have been murdered. My partner never accused you of doing it, however."

Chesterfield went deathly silent at that, the apparent rage vanishing from his face. His facade began to crack, as the Mayor rapidly opened and closed his mouth, clearly searching for a response. He was off guard now, Chesterfield quickly stammering, "I-I merely assumed..."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Anna quietly exhaled the breath she had only just realized she had been holding. The shock in his eyes, the blustered denial of what had not even been a direct accusation, it was more than enough evidence to press him harder. She had to keep herself from grinning. Pride was a sin, to be sure, but there was nothing wrong in taking joy from seeing sinners tremble. But what Chesterfield needed to see now was the calm, resolute face of resolute justice.

She stepped closer to Chesterfield, resting her hands on her belt to bring attention to the whip and revolver kept there. "Is there a burden upon your soul that you wish to confess, Mr. Chesterfield? You do know that nothing can be hidden from the Lord's hounds, yes? We can always small a lie." Anna fixed him with a cold, hard stare as she waited for an answer. It would be a simple, straightforward manner from here, and he would break.