[Blackbrush Meadows - DitV] Where the Dogs meet Br. Collins (Scene 1)

edited June 2009 in In-Game
Blackbrush Meadows


The first few seasons in Blackbrush Meadows were a struggle for the faithful. But, with proper irrigation and hard work, the small town of Blackbrush Meadow took root. Now, with silver found in the mountains to the East, the town is as lively as ever.

Though your assignment was to deliver mail and medicine to the town, Steward Weller quickly has you reviewing the plans for the new church building. What the folks in Blackbrush like to call a sand-squall damaged the old church’s east wall and removed the roof, filling most the pews with dirt and small stones. Rather than fix it, Stwd. Weller managed to contract with some Italian stone masons, to make a more lasting worship hall.

“A proper structure to protect God’s children from the relentless earth,” he says.

The sound of chisels against stone clamor as you talk with the Steward. The townsfolk are excited for the new church and hope it will be done by fall.

After all the niceties and greetings and prayer and fellowship Br. Collins approaches you. He is a tall man, with a commanding gaze and fleeting smiles. He runs several shops and a restaurant to the east near the mines. He serves the miners, all of whom are not of the faith.

Br. Collins runs the shops and restaurant for the Miners east of town.

“I think we have a ripe opportunity for you to preach to the miners at lunch time. I’ll set out a free spread; they can hear the words of the King of Life. Perhaps lead them in song. We can do a lot of good, many a good man down in those mines needs to know of the love offered from the King of Life,” he says.

You agree, and give a rousing and heartfelt talk to the miners. They live in a camp just to the east of town. You notice Br. Collins has a prospering mercantile and large, lavish restaurant in the camp.

Afterwords, a dusty young man, pulls Br. Rockwell specifically aside, but speaks to you all.
“Those were some interesting stories you told us, I thank you kindly. And I don’t want to be a bother or nothing, but I was a hoping you could put in a good word with Mr. Collins about my friend Lars. I’ve been saving a quarter of my earnings each week to try and get him even with Mr. Collins, but at this rate—with all them penalties he accounts each day -- it might well be another month before he lets him go.”

At which point, Br. Collins, overhearing, steps in.

“You know as well as I, Martin, that Lars owes me that money square and fair. If I bend the rules for him, I’d have to do it for everyone. That goes against justice as well as the King of Life.”

Then, turning to each of you;
“Can you see? This is just more proof that they need us to teach proper balance and equity. And I assure you Lars is comfortable and safe. What say we plan another event this Sunday, here, for the miners? “


  • edited June 2009
    Josephine eyes Br Collins. "The King also told us "If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury." So any fees he owes you fairly, should not be growing, right? I'd be right interested to know the 'rules' that you folks are doing business by."
  • Adrien simply smiles brightly at Josephine. He reaches into his satchel and pulls out a large, red apple. A spit shine ought to do. Then, Crunch! He bites into it and chews. His brow furrows; he's awaiting Brother Collins testimony.
  • Bro. Porter nods fiercely. "You speak rightly, Sister Josephine. Martin's story is worrying. Bro Collins, what about these 'daily penalties'?"
  • “Oh, Oh, no, no… you’re mistaken. I just, well…” Br. Collins takes a deep breath.
    “To keep the peace I run the games here for the miners, nothing too serious, no alcohol or women. It keeps them entertained and out of trouble. Well, mostly out of trouble. You see, I had some men running up a debt, losing at cards and not being good for their buy-in. Then, they’d jump town.

    To stop that I had to hold them, detain them, until they paid off what was owed. I’m no money lender, Lord no. But I do charge them for room and board. I’m not about to see an unwise man get a free meal. It is all about balance and equity, no?”

    You take a closer look at the restaurant, and sure enough, behind the large glass window you see a Roulette table spinning in the afternoon sun.

    “And with the extra funds I got coming in, well I’ve been offering double tithe. Did you see the plans for the new church? It’s going to be wonderful, and all because of balance and equity.”

    A smile ripples and leaves Br. Collins’ face as he looks to each of you.
  • Just want to check something.
    rugrsi said:
    [Collins' restaurant] serves the miners, all of whom are not of the faith.
    Does that mean none of the miners worship the King of Life?
    First time through I read it as 'not all of whom are of the faith'. Meaning, some of them are. So now I have confused myself and thought I'd better check.

    Collins has a nice little racket going.

    Porter looks around as Bro. Collins speaks, taking in the restaurant, the mercantile, the camp.

    "How many of these men, Brother, have converted to the Faith? Do you think the way they are treated here will attract them to join our community? Balance and equity seems to mean you receive all their wages back again after room and board and gambling debts, plus you get all the silver they dig from the ground. Instead of offering them gambling and usury, you should offer them help and assistance to bring their families, raise a house, settle here in this fine town and join the Faith."

    Porter waves his copy of the Book to emphasise his words, even though he's not quoting from it.

    "A fine stone church is worth nothing without people filling it."
  • Correct, all the miners are not of the faith.
  • Josephine looks more grim as she nods.

    "And the King tells us "Nor is my house built upon the suffering of the wretched but upon the faith of men."

    "It seems to me, Brother, that extending credit is part of the issue. How can your miners possibly be betting money they don't have? Are you allowing them to bet money they haven't earned yet? That would be a wicked snare to set for your fellow man."
  • Adrien finishes up his apple and tosses the core into the brush.

    As he's finishing up his chewing, he walks over and peers into the "restaurant" window.

    What do I see?
  • RusRus
    edited June 2009
    “I don’t know what more I can tell you Br. Rockwell.

    I think I’ve been a shining example for these young, hard working men. We both know they’ll gamble whether I offer it or not. And like I say, I’ve never charged on the money owed—but I do want to get what they owe me. They’d do far worse if some other scoundrel started up shop.”

    Br. Collins pulls a kerchief from his fine suit pocket and wipes the sweat from his brow.

    “And I do, I do want to convert them. It’s why I asked you here, don’t you see?”

    He looks to Josephine. Another quick smile darts across his face.

    “Sister, they get paid every Thursday, so sure, I may give them advance in tokens so they can play on Wednesday. It keeps them from fighting or getting into trouble. And usually they are good for it. And how I’ve got it set up now, they always are.

    And it is not credit, it is just an advance.”

    Adrien looks through the window to see a member of the faith dutifully sitting next to the basement door. He is older, with kind eyes. You seem to recall being introduced to him as Br. Franklin. He holds his copy of the Book of Life nervously.

    Br. Franklin

    “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some matters to attend to. Shall I see you tomorrow for services?”
    Br. Collins wipes his hands slowly down the front of his jacket.
  • Josephine steps towards Br.Collins a little and smiles at him.

    "Of course we are happy to minister to all who need it." There is a hardly detectable edge to her voice.

    "Br. Collins, it's a pity that Lars didn't get to join in our proceedings this afternoon. I hate to leave a soul without sustenance. I'd be grateful if you would show me where he is, that I might share the wisdom of the King of Life with him. Perhaps, with the King's guidance, he would learn to be a better steward of his share of the King's generous gifts."
  • Adrien finds his way inside and approaches Br. Franklin.

    With a bright smile he says, "How do, Brother Franklin? My name's Brother Adrien. I believe we've met before once or twice. You look as if something troubles you. Mind if I pull up a chair?"
  • Well, we got him sweating without pushing too hard. Something going on there for sure. No doubt we will be back!

    Bro. Porter says "Brother Collins, we shall definitely see you tomorrow." and turns to Martin.

    "Martin, what do you know of the King of Life?"
  • Br. Franklin looks to Adrien through dirty glasses.
    “Br. Silva is late. We were going to administer to Br. Paulson. He wants to rejoin the faith. Br. Silva was to bring the Sacred Earth. You wouldn’t happen to have some on you, would you?”

    Br. Collins looks at Sis. Josephine then points to the Restaurant.
    “He’s in the basement with the others. I’d be delighted if you could talk to him. Now, pardon me.”
    Br. Collins tips his hat and walks over to a wagon full of goods where he chats up the driver.

    Martin stares at Br. Rockwell’s coat with incredulity.
    “I think I’ve heard enough for today. Just, do what you can for Lars, please.” He wanders off toward the mines.

    As Jo heads to the basement, she passes Br. Franklin and Adrien.
    “Oh, if you’re heading downstairs, mind if I join you?” the old man asks.

    In the basement are three young men. Each has a bed, a chair and a copy of the Book of Life. The beds look comfortable, and it seems as though they are eating well.

    Br. Franklin approaches one of the prisoners, a lanky, tall man. His name is Br. Paulsen. You remember hearing talk that he quit the church last winter.
    “I’m not sure where Br. Silva is, but the King of Life has guided these young Watchdogs to your service. Do you still want back in the church? Are you ready to give up the whiskey and the games?”
    Br. Paulson

    Br. Paulson looks to Adrien. He looks doubtful.
    “I dunno. Um, maybe these Dogs could lend me some money. Just a few dollars. I’m sure I could win enough to get even with Collins.”

    A look of frustration descends on Br. Franklin’s face.
    It is clear Br. Paulsen has every intent to continue gambling.

    Karl, Porter can be either down in the basement with them if you want to follow up with Martin that is cool too.
  • "We're not here to lend you money Brother Paulson."

    Adrien turns to Franklin and pats his shoulder.

    "Brother Franklin, would you leave us alone with these men for a moment. We have some matters to discuss I do believe. We'll call for yah when we're ready."
  • Porter will follow the others down into the basement after Martin leaves.

    "Brother Paulson, my name is Brother Rockwell. How much do you owe Brother Collins?"
  • Br. Franklin looks at you with reverence. “Of course.”
    He slowly makes his way out the door and up the stairs.

    “I owe him close to two-hundred dollars, Brother Rockwell --and very nice to meet you.”
  • Jo looks around the small room at the men. "Which of you is Lars?" She nods at the man who raises his hand and pulls up the chair near him where he is sitting on his bed.

    " Hello Lars," She says as she sits down close to him and leans in a little, looking him over. "My name is Josephine McNabb. Your friend Martin out there mentioned you to me. He said you were having some trouble paying Mr. Collins. I'm hoping you can tell me a little more about it. Maybe I can find a way to help you."
  • Shutting the door behind Franklin as he leaves, Adrien's eyes go a little wide in shock. He's never even seen two hundred dollars before, let alone imagine owing someone two hundred dollars. Regaining his composure, he spins around and says, "That's quite the debt you have there. How long have you owed this debt to Brother Collins, Paulson? What are the terms of the debt?"
  • Obviously the following only stands if no one interrupts or calls for a conflict! Feel free to intervene or if not just add a reply.

    Porter shakes his head in sorrow.

    "That's a terrible thing, Paulsen. It disturbs me greatly. It speaks of all you men caught in a trap, a trap that you have struggled in ever since you came here. To my mind that is not something that a Dog can let stand. It must be stopped."

    "To deal specifically with your case, Paulsen, the Book says 'He that has pity on the poor shall lend to the King of Life'. "

    Brother Rockwell facing Paulsen, straightens his coat, stands tall, raises the Book high and invokes some Ceremony.

    "So I now declare that the King of Life has taken over your debt. You owe Brother Collins nothing, you can go free, and if you avoid gambling you shall remain so."

    "But the King shall demand of you his own repayment. I say to you, look honestly about, consider yourself and your circumstances, and consider how to repay the debt that you have to the King, not in money but in words and deeds."

    Porter stands silent for a moment and then turns to his fellow Dogs.

    "Sister Josephine, Brother Adrien, a knowledge has come upon me, that this should not continue. We should act, and act now."
  • Jo looks up from where she sits next to Lars. Annoyance in her eyes. In her voice too, when she speaks.

    "It's a pity the King did not give you time to consult with your fellow watchdogs before taking action, Brother Rockwell. He does after all remind us to "be patient and dig deeply, that thou might find the root of the weed, lest it return ten fold to choke the healthy vine."
  • Adrien looks nervously at the two, eyes moving slowly from Brother Rockwell to Sister Josephine.

    "Sister Josephine, let's not have this conversation here in the midst of these fellows. I agree with you, but I also think Brother Rockwell was acting within his right as a Dog. Let's not start jumping at each other's throat. There's definitely some sin going on in this town and that is the enemy of the King of Life - not fellow Dogs. We'll get what information we need from Brother Paulson, and perhaps have some dinner and discuss this matter of how we're going to work together as Dog's on a full belly. What'dya say to that? Brother Rockwell?"

    Adrien waits a moment to gauge Josephine's reaction. He can sense the fire of her spirit. It's roaring like a bonfire too close for comfort.

    Then, turning to Paulson again, "Since you've now been relinquished of your debts Brother Paulson, perhaps you can aid us if we need it. First though, I'd like you to explain exactly what you know of the debts Brother Collins has been collecting, and what kind of terms these debts are being handled with. For after all, he that marketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent in the eyes of the King of Life."
  • Lars looks to Jo. In a Swedish or Danish accent, you're not quite sure, he says, "I'd promised the good Mr. Collins my next week's wages, to get more gaming coins -yes. But, the cards quickly turned on me. And then the next week we had, how do you say, mine collapse, and I did not earn as much as I thought. Alred and Morgan, they too did this promise, and left town. Collins very mad and took me here."

    Br. Paulsen stands up.
    "Thank you," he says to Br. Rockwell. "I very much understand, you are wise."
    He shifts to the back of the room and begins to fill his bags.

    "I hope you don't mind, but I don't think I'll be joining you for dinner. Though the food here is good enough, I'd like to try different fare."

    He steps to the door. He looks to Adrien.

    "I can't speak too ill of Collins, he was fair. I got into too much whiskey and they say I owed the money, so I owed the money, and he took care of me. As for these types," he looks over Lars, "they are in and out of here, two or three each week. Better that then fighting, I suppose.

    They pay the debt in full, plus the cost of food and board-- usually they leave on good spirits... well, good spirits considering."

    He puts on his hat.

    "And last I heard he pays the double tithe, so the old Steward thinks its good for all. Started the preaching about equity." He says the last word with a drawl of mockery.

    "Well then, Good evening."

    He turns and goes up the stairs, outside and away.
  • Jo watched Paulsen go, frowning slightly as she considered the Lars' words.

    "Mine collapse?" Jo looked at her fellow dogs. "I don't remember anyone mentioning that before. And didn't Collins just tell us he wasn't giving credit?" Then to Lars, "Was anyone hurt?"
  • Adrien's smile transforms into a grimace and he takes his hat off, crinkling it in his fist.

    "Yes, Jo. I'm disturbed that we are just hearing of these mine collapses now also. It seems as if even more is wrong here than we originally suspected. Looks like dinner will have to be put on hold...

    Perhaps, we can all just make an agreement for now to counsel with each other before making any sudden, hasty judgements or actions if we can? I should think we go find Brother Collins and get some answers."
  • As you make your way up stairs, in comes Br. Collins, his left hand firmly wrapped around Br. Pauslon’s right arm.

    “Ok, ok!” he shouts. “Br. Paulson is not free to go. And you kids, I see this has got you thinking you can send this man away, but he is a drunk and he owes and he must stay.”

    Br. Collins barges ahead, past you, pulling Br. Paulson (perhaps, Mr. Paulson since he did not rejoin the faith) along.

    “Now, you all… I say you all just head back in town. I’m sure the families have some place for you to stay, and I’m sure they’ll want you to join in evening song with them. So you all, you all just git along. And maybe we can talk about this tomorrow.”

    With that he pushes Br. Paulsen back in the room and closes the door.
  • edited July 2009
    Adrien tightens the grip on his hat and gives Br. Collins an infuriated look. He takes a deep breath and tries to regain his calm.

    "Actually, Brother Collins, the King of Life has taken over Mr. Paulson's debt under Brother Rockwell's guidance, as witnessed by Sister Josephine and myself. You have no authority on the matter anymore, unless you have authority over the King of Life...? Now... You're going to open that door, and explain to Mr. Paulson that he's free to go."

    Adrien looks glances at the other two Dogs in his presence.

    "That is unless one of these two have anything else to say on the matter...?"

    Are we starting a Conflict now? :) I want Br. Collins to let Mr. Paulson to go - as Brother Rockwell has already relinquished him of his debt. I'm assuming Br. Collins doesn't want that to happen.
  • Sounds like a conflict to me! Busy holiday weekend looks to consume most my free time. Lets resume posts this Monday. That will give Karl a chance to get in on the action too. I'm going to assume all characters are in the conflict.

    Everyone agree to the stakes: Does Mr. Collins let Paulsen go?

    I'm thinking we should keep the conflict constrained to the location of the property and area of the mines.
    Maybe keep the time frame in the present evening. I'm not planning on advancing the time beyond this night.
  • Sounds good to me. :)
  • edited July 2009
    hey I'm back!
    The conflict and conditions sound ok to me.
    Also, I am happy to talk about my last actions for Porter, it sounds like we should talk about that.

    Edited for green-ness
  • Excellent. I'll roll my NPC's dice by Tuesday, but if you want to roll your talking dice now, have at it.
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