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Rebecca Keatley

Quiet, compassionate store clerk with a heart made of gold.

0 · 841 views · located in Fort Trinity

a character in “The Ballad of Fort Trinity”, as played by Celedia

Description

Rebecca Keatley



Image

The Keatley siblings are as different as night and day and the only similarities that they seem to share are their lineage and their work ethic.



Name: Rebecca Keatley

Age: Twenty

Occupation: Clerk at the general store.

Physical Appearance: Tall and slender, Rebecca is a spitting image of her Mama. Her hair is a rich honey blond and her eyes are a bright, turquoise color. Fair skin, the color of polished ivory, is usually tinged red if she remains out of doors without a hat though she never seems to leave home without one. Her dress changes with her location or destination; if she’s working at the store she tries to look presentable, wearing fine linens in bright colors to advertise the cloth that they sell and if she is at home on the farm she wears cotton or muslin, which she wouldn’t be afraid to dirty.

Notable Equipment: Though Rebecca never carries a gun, she knows how to shoot one thanks to her father and brother. Her prized possessions are a woven bracelet that she received in a trade with a tribe of Indians on their way westward and a length of lace ribbon which she purchased with her first ‘paycheck’ and can be found tying her long hair back while she works.

Personality: Whereas Andrew is violent and brash, Rebecca is calm and peaceful. Almost overly caring, she tries her best to help others whether they actually wish for her assistance or not and she can often be found delivering care packages to those without friends or family. As many customers come into the General store to visit with Rebecca as they do to shop.

History: The Keatley family, headed by Lyndon and Ellacia Keatley, headed to Fort Trinity from the east about 15 years ago, looking for a fresh start and new opportunities. They had actually started their travels with a family unit consisting of two grandmothers, a grandfather, an uncle, two cousins and a younger sister but over time the group became drastically smaller.

Their younger sister, Emily, was bit by a rattler and succumbed quickly. The paternal grandmother passed from old age and the grandfather took on a fever and died suddenly. The remaining grandmother, uncle and cousins settled further east of Fort Trinity, tired of traveling and wishing to stay closer to the railroad in one of the larger cities.

The four remaining Keatley’s easily carved out a homestead near Fort Trinity and soon they had a prosperous farm which was at the mercy of mother nature but usually brought in at least enough for the family to make it through to the next season. Ellacia Keatley is quite ill, usually visited frequently by the Doc for one ailment or another while Lyndon is an older version of his son, working both the livestock and crops each and every day.

So begins...

Rebecca Keatley's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Keatley Character Portrait: Lydia McCallister Character Portrait: Andrew Keatley
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#, as written by Celedia
The morning started like any other. Siblings, separated by a scant few years, were up before the sun was and at opposite ends of the family farm. Even though acreage separated them, they could tell you in an instant what the other was doing. For everything was routine on the Keatley homestead.

Rebecca, dressed in a faded muslin gown with her honey blond hair tied back beneath a flap of cloth was holding an old wooden bucket against her hip, her hand dipping in to draw feed from its depths before using nimble fingers to scatter it across the ground by the chickens in a wide spread so that they all got their fair share. Her next step would be the goats then the dairy cows and pigs before her path would take her back inside their pueblo-style home which they shared with their aging parents. A quick clean up would be necessary before she was redressed and on her way into town.

Her brother, Andrew, would be taking a much wider arch around the farm seeing as how he would be working the land all day. Their meat stores were low so he’d probably butcher a hog. The crops needed tending and since they were one of the few self-sustaining farms in the area, everything they had relied on the well being of their land. Whatever excess they felt comfortable selling would be sold to either neighbors or at the last resort, to one of the shops in town. The General Store always had first crack at the produce that the family canned since Rebecca started working there a year or so back.

The Keatley family looked after those that lent them a helping hand.




Later in the afternoon, as the rain was beating steadily against anyone fool enough to be walking around in it, Andrew Keatley was strolling down Main with a mission in mind. It wasn’t a very thought out plan, mind you, but a mission nonetheless and words seemed to fail him the moment he stepped inside the Twister.

Keen eyes darted about the room, searching for the reason for his business before dropping sharply to the ground as his hand reached up to snatch the hat off his head. His other hand swept up to fix his hair and gaze lifted once more to scan the tavern. A few patrons had lingered, not bothering to head home during the rainstorm and they chatted idly amongst themselves. Word of a hanging hit Andrew’s ears and though he had been taught not to eavesdrop, he couldn’t help but pick up on the details anyway.

“….Lit up the night sky, it did. Heard the undertaker ‘ad to pry ‘is body from ‘er grasp. Wouldn’t let it go, like if she still clung to ‘im than ‘e’d still cling to life. Y’know?” The older man shook his head, kicking back another shot before continuing on. “S’not right. Not at all. Can’t nobody do nuthin’ though.” The gentleman’s head swiveled around as if making sure the coast was clear and his voice dipped lower, whispering conspiratorially.

“Ain’t nobody in their right mind mess with him.”

All of the men at the bar nodded their heads sagely and Andrew stepped up to a clear section of the counter, still gazing around for something in particular. Clearing his throat, he rested his hat upon the bar.




Further down Main Street, Rebecca Keatley was staring out the window at the fat raindrops as they splattered against the window. No one was in the General Store, which was no surprise considering the weather but it also meant that she had nothing to do but watch as the raindrops raced each other across the clear glass. Every time it was right versus left and for some reason, left always seemed to win. Or they’d merge as raindrops tended to do, ruining the race all together in some sort of tie.

Blowing out a sudden breath, her forced exhalation blew the hair out of her face as she turned; arms crossed, and studied the store. Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Edwards, it had started out as a trading post back when the town was first settled and steadily grown into the free for all general store that it was now. Quite larger than most of Trinity’s other stores, they had knocked out the walls of three adjoining storefronts to make room for their merchandise. The far side held more generalized goods- household items, tools, ropes, some clothing, etc while the area near the register counter held foodstuffs. Everything from canned and jarred goods to basic necessities and even a few ‘exotic’ items shipped in from out east.

Jack of all trades, Master of none. A good phrase to fit the mishmash of items available in the General Store but everything was neat and orderly. All the accounts and ledgers were up to date and that left….

Nothing.

Boredom found its way easily to the young clerk and it was all she could do to keep awake until suddenly, she recalled a task that she could complete. It wasn’t much but some of her customers pre-ordered items to be shipped to their house or picked up on a weekly basis. She’d just have to get those orders ready until something else attracted her attention.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Keatley Character Portrait: Hannah Southwick
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From across the room, the crack between the shutters yielded only a sliver of the world, as if someone had painted a ribbon of bruised grey merging indistinctly into dusty brown and pinned it from floor to ceiling. But if Hannah pressed her face up against it so her lips brushed smooth weather-worn wood, the ribbon opened up into a vista. From up here on the ridge that rutted up behind Fort Trinity like a blanket caught by an errant foot she could see everything; the squat buildings of the town below huddled together in pathetic defiance against the expanse of wild that lay beyond its toothpick fortifications, the sea of grass and shrub from which rose the spine of the Guadalupe Mountains to the west.

But most of all she could see the sky. The sky, like an up-turned bowl boiling storm clouds under the concealed heat of a blotted-out summer sun. The sky, which leaned heavily on the air, making it thick and sluggish with humidity and static. The sky, hiding the beating wings of the thunderbird that would soon disturb the unbearable and send a torrent of rain down onto the parched soil or strike the dust into glass with the lightning that leapt from its beak.

If she could turn her mind inside out and focus all her attention onto what she could see with her left eye that she could forget about the corset that made her breath tight in her chest and the smell of varnish and even about the blue lines needled down her chin-

“Hannah? What on earth are you doing sitting up here in the dark?” The door swung open and her aunt appeared silhouetted in the doorway.

“Aunt Roslyn. I- I was reading. I must have fallen asleep.”

Roslyn frowned, her dark brows coming together above darker eyes that squinted into the dimness to make out the figure sitting by the shuttered window. There was something about Hannah’s voice that had changed too, she had come to realise. Although her brother and Hannah’s father, had kept the accent that she, married into the family of a wealthy railroad investor, had strove to lose, it wasn’t just that drawl that tinged the words of her niece. No, it was something heavier and far more alien, a careful rounding of the vowels that made her inwardly shiver. She sounded as if she was speaking a foreign language.

“Close the shutters; there’s a storm brewing,” said Roslyn as Hannah carefully pushed the shutter to and walked across the room out into the light on the landing. “Dana’s gone home for the afternoon- some trouble with her grandmother again- but she’s left a cold spread for supper. It’s a pity I didn’t get her to pick up our order from the store before but I hadn’t the heart to ask her after she got the note-“

“I’ll go,” said Hannah, beginning to walk downstairs.

“Nonsense. It’s about to rain; you’ll get soaked through.” Her frown deepened and she hurried after her niece down the narrow stairway. The house was finely decorated (but not as large as some in Fort Trinity) and, though she could only afford to keep a cook as their sole servant, Roslyn Caplin had never felt wanting. Not even after her husband had died and she had been left with Hannah.

“I don’t mind. What is a little rain?” She already had her coat on and her ungloved hand (really, would she have to remind her again about going out without gloves) on the handle of the front door.

“Well, for God’s sake don’t forget your umbr-“

But Hannah was already gone and the door closed across her words.




The streets outside were almost empty, no doubt because of the storm clouds that gathered overhead, and as such there were few people to look at her in the way Hannah had grown so used to. It had been over a year since she had arrived in Fort Trinity and though she was no longer the novelty she had once been in the town, that didn’t stop people’s gaze drifting down to her chin when they spoke to her or prevent them from standing just a few inches further away from her than they would anyone else. This afternoon she was free to walk down the hill towards the centre of town, her skirts disturbing the dust that would soon be quenched by rain. And, though the air was thick and restless with the promise of the storm, it felt glorious to be outside and turn her face to the sky.

The rain was just beginning when the bell above the door to the General Store rang as Hannah pushed it open and stepped inside, shutting away the fat raindrops that spotted the wooden sidewalk. The shopgirl, whose first name escaped her (she was not very good with names these days) but whose surname she knew to be Keatley, was behind the counter.

“The Caplin order, please,” she said softly, not really turning to face the younger woman; a glint of gold had caught her eye and she reached up, unthinking, to take a tin of syrup from a nearby shelf and examine it. “For Caplin House on Indigo Street.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Keatley Character Portrait: Hannah Southwick
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#, as written by Celedia
Slender fingers tried to coax a bag of cornmeal from the top shelf without sending it hurtling down towards her face, or the ground. Either way, it would bust open leaving her with a mess to clean and a bit of explaining to do. One hand clutched to the skirt of her chocolate brown linen dress, trying to keep her feet from stumbling upon it as she made her way back down the ladder.

Bolt of muslin, twine, hammer, pack of sewing needles, cornmeal, sugar….

The bell chimed, signaling a new customer and Rebecca turned to face the counter, her eyes widening momentarily at the sight of Hannah. The woman had turned into a full blown Fort Trinity legend since she had come into town and this was the first chance that Rebecca had to actually cast a glance upon her in person and she had to admit that Hannah Southwick didn’t seem to match the tales. Then again, Becca didn’t place much stock in rumors anyway so after the brief shock, the clerk eased right back into her work.

“Caplin order? You must be Missus Roslyn’s niece.” The statement lacked judgment and Rebecca turned to the shelf behind her where she had filed away some of the finished orders, flipping through until she found the Caplin basket. One of her better customers, the Caplin house had prepaid the account so that there was a credit, even after today’s purchases and Rebecca spun around to set the filled basket upon the counter with a smile. “I half expected Dana to come pick up the order but I assume her grandma took sick again. Poor thing. Like my mama, never seems a day goes by without something happening with their health.”

It was then that she noticed the tin of syrup in Hannah’s hand and she smiled, nodding her head towards the product. “Best stuff this far south as you can get. You want me to be adding that to your order too?”

As with so many people, the Keatley girl caught her gaze dropping to the markings upon the other woman’s chin before lifting once more to meet her gaze. “Anyways, it’s good to finally meet ya. Name’s Rebecca Keatley. I work here for Mr. and Mrs. Edwards.” Her hands busied, tucking in a tea towel around the contents of the Caplin basket so that the contents wouldn’t get soaked out in the rain.