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Nathaniel Clay

Local businessman with a mysterious past.

0 · 170 views · located in Splitcreek, Arizona

a character in “Westward Bound”, as played by Magistrate

Description

Given Name: Nathaniel Clay

Gender: Male

Age: 47

Good Guy or Bad Guy: Good Guy. Nathaniel Clay is trying his best to support his surrogate family though honest means. He can be surprisingly chivalrous for such a simple brutish man and has a particularly interest in the upbringing of the still young Noah Greene who he wants to be a good role model for. There is however a darker side to the General Store Owner. A somewhat shady past with immoral chapters. Nathaniel also has a bit of a violent mean streak that he has been known to redirect on those that have deeply wronged him bordering on outright cruel. The Greenes have remained his moral compass, grounding him in right and wrong in these deeply troubled times.

Occupation: General Store Owner

Personality: Nathan is a man shrouded in mystery. He is a man of somber disposition and often remains very serious. A true stoic, Nathaniel is deeply stubborn and highly principled and once he has set his mind on a particular matter it rarely changes. The man has a weakness for fine clothes, often dressed dapper and keeps himself very clean when he can. Highly organized and some might even say proper, most are surprised to find that Nathaniel is not particularly well educated, something he is deeply insecure about.

Skills: Nathaniel is a remarkable pugilist and is equally skilled with a knife, qualities that make him dangerous to cross. Anyone who has made trouble for Nathaniel or his surrogate family have been known to be shadowed in the middle of the night and beaten to an inch of their life. In the most extreme cases with their throat sliced open. Despite little formal schooling, the man is an uncannily savvy but fair businessman about to make a good run of the both the general store and the horse ranch he owns.

History: Nathaniel Clay is the enigmatic owner of the Splitcreek General & Dry Goods located on Main Street. He is known to be a particularly hard but fair man. There has never been a deal he hasn’t welshed on, even if that deal has resulted in him not making a profit finding credibility to be worth far more down the line. The Store Owner lives on a homestead and horse ranch just a few miles outside of town. Living with him is a young widow woman and her teenage son. It remains the wild talk in town that the widow woman and Nathaniel share a bedroom in the household, the nature of their relationship remaining as mysterious as their arrival a few years back.

Nathaniel, Henrietta Greene and Noah Green arrived to Splitcreek by rail line three years back. What was so unusual about their arrival was that in their possession was a heavy bag filled with paper money and silver dollars some ranging into a small fortune of 5,000 dollars. The nature of their initial fortune remains as much a mystery as just about everything else about the Clays/Greenes before they arrived into Splitcreek. A popular story is that Clay was some famous Bank Robber gone into hiding with a payload of stolen bank money. Others stories involve the widow women Henrietta marrying some wealthy businessman somewhere in Nebraska before eloping with Nathaniel and hiding out west with him. What can be said, is that with the money they brought with them they were able to set up the store and ranch and have been getting a steady return off their investment for a few years now especially as the town has been growing.

Personal Relationships: Henrietta Greene: Nathaniel partner in many different ways, they first encountered one another when she was a destitute forlorn teenager with a newborn baby in her arms. What had started as Nathaniel protecting and providing for her grew where both provided strength for one another and deeply care for one another. Nathaniel trusts and depends on Henrietta and is his sole confidant in all matters. The two remain amorous towards one another and even though that amorous feeling has manifested in physical affection from time to time they remained in general very distant mostly stemming from Henrietta’s dubious marital status.

Noah Greene: A young lad of now sixteen, since his earliest days Nathaniel has been active in his upbringing. Noah privately believes that Nathaniel is secretly his actual father likes a vivid fantasy and dreams that one day he will acknowledge him as his son much to Nathaniel’s actual insistence. In everything but name, Nathaniel has been a father to this boy. He tries to educate him in the ways of the world and protect him from the much meaner elements. Still, he cannot protect the boy forever, and is already noticing he is beginning to grow as his own man. His highest aspiration is that Noah will travel east and learn law.

Appearance:
Image
Nathaniel is a man in his late forties, with a somewhat of a heavy sturdy figure. He has gaunt guarded dark eyes and neatly combed dark hair with thick well-trimmed whiskers. The man always has a strong stride in his walk, though there is a slight limb in his step suggesting the man has at one point in his life been grievously injured enough to something that has never fully healed.

Writing Sample: It was around two o’clock and that was usually the time when Noah started to sweep the floors of the store. There was a big clear window at the front of the building with the big painted letters of SPLITCREEK GENERAL & DRY SUNDRIES written across it in some big block font. The teenage help in the store swept around the few shelves set up and right up to the counter where he gave Mr. Clay an honest good looking at.

He was like he always was around this time, reading spectacles on his face reading the newspaper that come from Santa Fee. Of course Noah knew that Nathaniel didn’t know letters that well, always thought it was downright silly how he would read the big font off the ink stain penny sheets for a good hour like he was reading the whole thing. Then again, it was Mr. Clay himself that taught him to never call folks out on the little peculiarities they do.

“There seems to be a coal strike.” Nathaniel reported in his usual gruff simple words. Well obviously, because that was the headline plastered in big letters. “Suppose so Mr. Clay.” Noah expressed. The young man reaching for the jar of sweets next to the man. “Liquorish is for paying customers.” Nathaniel huffed up. Hm. “Can’t you take it out of my pay this week?” Clay quietly set the newspaper down and took out a book. He wasn’t kidding either. He could be a real miser sometimes that Mr. Clay. Still Noah supposed Nathaniel would always say a man squared off what he owed.

STRAWBERRY ICECREAM! PUMPKIN PIE!!!

So begins...

Nathaniel Clay's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Araminta 'Minty' Moses Character Portrait: Nathaniel Clay
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They morning at the Greene Ranch always ended in the same manner. After the horses that occupied their pen bordering on the small ranch house were fed and watered and cared for, Nathaniel Clay left to work at their store in town. Henrietta packed lunch in a small knapsack that sat between Nathaniel and the young Noah Greene as they left the ranch by buggy and horse. Nathaniel rarely said no more than two words on their rides into town. Noah would often try to get him to say something, otherwise all that occupied their time was the blistering heat and the unnerving quiet passing through the vacant dusty valley that not even a wind bothered to pick up on today. If Mr. Clay was in a good mood, he might get a huff single word response otherwise general silence. He supposed Mr. Clay used this time to his own thoughts or rather for a man who manages a store that works with a lot of folks every day he was no big fan of frivolous talking.

Still young Noah, balancing the flat cap currently on his head was just passing through the silence when he noticed a figure further up ahead lurching a little. Mr. Clay seemed to noticed it as well, the dapper bowler hat whiskered somber man quietly going for the rifle underneath the wagon seat resting it on his lap. “If I tell you to take the reins. You take them.” Noah immediately regretted wishing for some sort of excitement. He seemed scared, nervous. He would never guess that Nathaniel was feeling the same way at the moment. He couldn’t show it, the boy might lose his nerve entirely and do something foolish. The man’s beady eyes squinted, adjusting to the light. The figure up ahead was lurching her way forward in a long march.

Noah was almost surprised to see it was the wild witch woman who lived somewhere in the Bluffs! He had heard stories from all sorts of folks as he swept the shop. She could kill your crops if you crossed her. Make your babies still born! She danced with the devil every full moon and anyone who witness went insane! Mr. Clay stopped the horse. Noah couldn’t read his vacant expression as he looked at the woman further up ahead.

Nathaniel perhaps out of instinct put the firearm back into its place and without warning he gave the reins to Noah. “Wait here. Do nothing.” He told the young man. “And I don’t want you to say anything rude. You hear me?” He gruff up with an accusing finger. Wha-!? The lack of a response got Noah ‘the look’. Gah! “Yes sir!” he rung out. Good. Hm. Nathaniel chewed his cheek for a moment as he walked and attempted to approach the strangler looking woman wandering down the road looking like she lost the fight with Neptune show soaking wet she was and the look on her eyes registered something in Nathaniel.

“Excuse me ma’am.” He gruff up from behind. “You heading into town?” The General Store owner asked frankly and simply. He removed his hat off his aging head for a moment before he looked at the boy behind him. Noah looked confused for a moment before he shook the hat in his hand. OH! Uh! Noah did the same sort of shaking the mop of dark head growing on his head. That boy needed a haircut.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Araminta 'Minty' Moses Character Portrait: Nathaniel Clay
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The red dust rose from Minty's feet as she shambled along the river road to Splitcreek. The pain in the small of her back barked with every step. She fancied she could hear the sizzling as the harsh Arizona sun gradually evaporating the riverwater from her clothes and hair, rising as steam. She sucked on a sleeve to quench her thirst, then spat, remembering that she'd been soaked in the foul miasma of the mine river as well as the clear waters of her own.

The dust rose. The sun burned and the steam sizzled. Her back ached, her feet dragged, and the dust rose. Minty swallowed dryly. A cluster of cacti momentarily offered the prospect of something to drink, but Minty had left her knife far behind. Her breath came in ragged little gasps and her feet thudded in the dust. The repetitive sounds lulled her until she was walking almost automatically. The cry of a buzzard circling overhead split the silence.

'Go 'way, mean ol' crow,' Minty slurred, half asleep. 'Ah'm not for you today.'

A new sound filtered into her subconscious - the proud trot of a well-tended horse, the jangle and creak of a buggy. As she staggered on, the sound neared to within 10 yard of her, then stopped. Someone alighted.

"Excuse me, ma'am," came a male voice. Despite his authoritarian tone, Minty fancied she could detect the tremor of uncertainty she so often elicited in strangers. She turned and glared balefully at the well-built, well-presented man who had addressed her.

"You heading into town?" he continued, seemingly unfazed by her doleful look or scarecrow appearance. Nathaniel regarded the ragged, uneven trail of footprints. Any rancher, or anyone with experience of animals, could tell this woman was lame.

Minty glared at the man, backing up a step or two like a wild animal at bay, caught between fight and flight. Over the man's shoulder, she caught sight of a nervous-looking teen with a shock of dark hair. She hissed between her teeth at him, and grinned her crooked smile as he flinched.

Nathaniel failed to utter a single word. He stood there reserved, patient, giving her a cool stare. She seemed to be in some sort of shock. His eyes squinted in this ungodly heat. Despite being a well put together man, it was apparent as the two were staring at each other that Nathaniel was getting old. The man grinded the back of his teeth and there was a dull twitch and ache, probably one or two of them rotting on the inside. He waited for a simple no or a yes. He figured if he imposed far too much it only frighten her off.

Minty looked him up and down, recognizing him now as the owner of the general store in Splitcreek. Clay, the merchant was named, and aptly so; he was slow-moving, solid, unyielding. A man who held such a respectable role in the town would not approve of her ways, she knew. But the sheriff was another such man; perhaps arriving with one respectable man would make another more willing to listen to her. She indicated her assent with a small nod of her head.

Nathaniel helped her into the buggy, momentarily caught off-guard by how light and fragile the witch woman was. He was used to hauling sacks of grain; this woman's bones were like a bird's. Frowning at Noah's unconcealed fear of the woman sitting between them, Nathaniel cracked the reins and sent them on their way. As much to hide his annoyance at Noah's unmanliness as anything else, Nathaniel went against his ingrained instincts and attempted conversation.

"You’ve got business in town, ma'am?"

"Why you call me 'ma'am', Mr Shopkeeper?" came Minty's reply, in a sing-song, childlike voice. "That ain't what you think."

“You don’t know what I think.” Nathaniel bristled back, his heavy moustache shaking. He looked down into the witch woman's face, and the pock-marked burns on her cheeks and wild light in her eyes gave him pause enough for her to interject: "Ah must see the sheriff, sir."

The horse whickered as Nathaniel pulled hard on the reins. He didn’t question her business with the sheriff. She was entitled to her private affairs and she looked like she could use the help of the law just about this moment. He scooted so that Minty could sit in the nice cushions between the two. He returned the dapper bowler hat on his head and began to move. If there was awkward silence before, it was damn horrible now.

Noah sat there, flat cap returning his head as he shifted eyes back to the Witch Woman. Nathaniel seemed to returned to his own little comfort place of not speaking and driving. “Well… uh. I’m Noah and this is Mr. Clay… but you might have known that.” He expressed for a moment “What do they call you-??” He asked her realizing what he just said “By I mean. What’s your name?”

"They calls me what they wants, Noah," Minty replied, fixing the boy with a piercing stare, "an' my name is what Ah wants."

And then a silent reaction piece from Noah would be a nice way to finish. Something like:

Noah swallowed deeply, nodding his head even though he didn't fully understand the witch woman's reply and wishing he hadn't wished for the day to get more interesting.

The wheels of the buggy constantly turning and bumping on the dirt below was the only real sound, besides the horse continuingly pulling them forward with the small jingle of bells attached to the animal. It was starting to get real dry these last couple of days. Hopefully it would rain soon as the dust kicking up was so bad that Nathaniel rolled a neckerchief over his face and saw that Noah did about the same.

Nathaniel gave the reins to Noah at the moment untying the knapsack that was their lunch - a few sandwiches, peas, potatoes, and some mustard. Putting the assorted things further down, Nathaniel offered the rag to help cover Minty’s face during this really dusty ride into town. The witch woman flinched at his gesture, but then the wary stare was replaced by a nod of understanding. She spat, then tied the rag over her mouth and nose.

Close to an hour later, they began to ride down Main Street. All three were caked in dust and dirt.