« on: January 19, 2017, 04:52:52 PM »
He could have asked the same from her really, as Evan was clearly not a native of Rhy'Din - it was the accent, which resembled Sam's a little, though he couldn't quite place it. He drew comfort from her hug, but felt a little too shy to return it, knowing as how she belonged to another man, and yet, their relationship had always been a platonic one. "The second time?" he echoed, eyes widening in undisguised shock and horror. As if it wasn't bad enough that Rogier had threatened her children once already via Dobson.
She nodded, drawing her arm back before either one of them could get awkward about it. "Evan is from Earth, uh ... Texas, in the Wild West kind of era," she explained. "He lost his first wife to another man's pettiness, and he left his daughter, Maggie, to be raised by her mother's sister when he went to get revenge on the man who killed her mother. He was on the run for a long time before the Nexus dropped him in my lap, and for a long time after that, he wouldn't even talk about Maggie. He didn't want to disrupt her life. But I wrote letters, used the Nexus to send them, and made sure that Maggie's Aunt Emma had a portal stone just in case she ever needed it. A couple of years back, Maggie appeared out of nowhere, covered in soot, crying, yelling about a bad man who shot her uncle and set fire to her aunt's house until there was no way out. Emma got her safely to us, but she and her husband both died. Bill investigated, and it was Dobson who set that fire."
All the color drained from Sam's face at the news of that tragedy, knowing it was not only Dobson, but his own father who'd been responsible. "Gods," he muttered quietly under his breath. He had never imagined all the tragedy people had suffered all because of his father's greed. "I'm so sorry," he found himself apologizing again, though it wasn't his fault. At least, Dobson was dead now, and by his own hand, but that was only part of the problem. "You said something about running something past me," he added, after a moment spent trying to gather his composure.
"I didn't tell you to make you feel guilty about it, Sam," she said gently. "I told you because you need to know how angry we are, how angry Evan is, with Rogier. He wants to challenge Rogier to a duel. A shoot-out, one shot each. And I don't want my husband in prison for murder, so he's agreed that if you'll allow that, we'll make sure a watchman is there to witness it. But it's your choice whether it happens or not."
"A shoot out?" Sam echoed, furrowing his brows. It wasn't that Sam objected to the possibility of Rogier's death so much as he didn't want Marin's husband getting himself killed or put in prison. "He deserves everything he's got coming to him, but I ain't so sure that's a good idea. I mean, what if he wins?" he asked, unsure of Evan's skill with a firearm. Not only that, but somehow he almost felt as though Rogier was his problem and his responsibility, just as Dobson had been.
"He won't." It really was as simple as that. Marin had absolute faith in her husband. "Evan is from an era where being quick and accurate with a gun was the difference between dying bloody or getting away with your life. He thinks I don't know, but he practices every day. He's actually gotten better. These days, I don't see another hole in his habitual target, and that means he's hitting the same bullet hole every time. No, I'm not afraid of him losing the duel."
"If that's the case, I reckon he might have an unfair advantage," Sam pointed out, though that hardly bothered him. Dobson and Rogier had had an unfair advantage for years, and there would be no peace between the Brambles and Oakmount until Rogier was taken out of the equation. He'd hoped it could be done peacefully, maybe by having him arrested and thrown in prison, but he knew how slippery and devious Rogier could be. Blood or not, he couldn't trust him any farther than he could throw him. Too many people had suffered because of him, himself included. This had to end, and while he'd been hoping it didn't have to end bloody, maybe that was the only way to make sure it would end. "You realize he'll try to cheat," Sam pointed out, knowing Rogier well enough to know that.
"Just another reason to have the Watch there to witness it," she pointed out. "We're not planning on giving him much of a choice, really. We'll go with the Watch, with the intention of having him arrested for his part in the attempt to kidnap and murder our children, and we will make it extremely clear that when he goes to trial, every single thing he has ever done that is in any way underhanded or cruel or vicious will be aired. Knowing him the way you do, which do you think he'll choose - the guarantee of having his shady dealings aired before a public jury, or the possibility, however small, of getting away scot-free with just a single shot?"
"And you think he'll abide by the rules? You think he won't have his thugs there to protect him?" Sam just shook his head. "It's a good plan, but not good enough. It won't be a fair fight, unless the Watch can round up his thugs first and make sure the duel takes place on neutral ground."
"If we have to set a time and date, he'll run for it and destroy Oakham Mount on his way," Marin pointed out. "We should tell the Watch what we plan. They know he's trouble, they might just be waiting for a chance to deal with him in their own way."
"Agreed," Sam replied. He wasn't his father, and he wasn't going to do anything to put himself or those he cared about on the wrong side of the law. "If Dobson found his way through a portal, Rogier could do the same. We can't afford him escaping."
"The Watch don't go into someone's home when they go for them unless they're made to," Marin said thoughtfully. "Rogier will probably be asked to step outside, away from the house, before they make their intentions plain. With luck, that'll keep him from using a portal."
"I don't want you or Bridget anywhere near Rogier when that happens," he said, having a few stipulations of his own. He couldn't afford taking the chance of either of them getting hurt if things went south, not from stray bullets or otherwise.
"You sound like Evan," she sighed, but she didn't argue. "Fine. But you and Evan will take Bill and Daniel, at the very least. You're not going alone, either." She eyed him for a long moment. "This is going to take a couple of days to set up. We're not going to rush into this and muck it up with impatience, any of us."
"No, but we can't take too long either. I swear Rogier's got a nose for trouble, and if we wait too long, he'll either get complacent or come up with a new plan of his own. He wants the Brambles, Mare. I ain't sure why it's so important to him. He's got plenty of land of his own. Now that Dobson's dead, he's gonna want revenge." And if he found out that Sam was staying at the Brambles, that would mean even more salt in the wounds.
"Dobson has no family to inform of his death, and we already positively identified him for the Watch," she told him firmly. "There's no reason for his death to be reported to Rogier, and you said yourself that Dobson often doesn't go straight back to the Mount after doing a job for him. We have a couple of days, and we'll put those days to good use."
He considered a moment before nodding his head. He had to concede that she had a point and a good one. "You've thought about this a lot," he said, assuming that to be true, though whether she'd only started thinking about it since last night or if she'd been thinking about it for years, he wasn't sure. The bottom line was, they needed to get rid of Rogier once and for all - on that, they were agreed.
"We've been waiting for the other shoe to drop for years," she said quietly. "Yesterday, it did. I don't know why he wants our land, and to be honest, I don't care. He crossed the line when he tried to kill our children so blatantly, and if he had dared to come and do it himself, I would have happily beaten him to death with a washing dolly. As it is, I have to wait here while you and Evan do the job for me."