[Asheron] Our Road West

Greater Ale Permars

RolePlay Moderator
Accompaniment: WEST!

Fort Dallas, Texas
July 10th, 2524
12:21 PM

The hot, summer sun beat down on Cassidy's lightly sunburnt brow as her horse trotted slowly towards the weathered, wooden fort. The compound looked out of place in the sprawling ruins of the old city of Dallas, it was roughshod and battle-scarred with bullet holes in its wood and scrap metal walls and craters in its perimeter. Cassidy's caravan had been trekking for almost two weeks along the Esper trail from Colorado to where they were now. Her family, the Devon's were mostly small-time cattle farmers back in Cheyenne wishing to take advantage of the rich opportunities of the southwest and beyond, they'd hitched a ride with this seven-family caravan and taken their chances.

Cassidy for her part wasn't particularly upset with the sudden albeit planned departure from her home, farming, in her mind was never her true calling, since she was a child Cassidy had always wanted to see and explore the world, which wasn't possible from behind the barbs of a wire fence. She was the tenth person in her caravan to pass through the wooden entrance of the fort, her grandfather sat ahorse ahead of her entreating with the federal soldiers posted at a small checkpoint ahead. From a distance, she could hear a part of their conversation.

"Sir, state your business." One of the soldiers said coming out from behind the checkpoint's sandbag barricade, he had tanned skin and a clean-shaven face, he wore a sand-dusted, khaki uniform, with brown boots and a tan, slouch hat which covered his hair.

Her grandfather replied with a raspy "Howdy", his voice was hoarse from years of homemade cigarettes and imported cigars. "We're here for a resupply."

"Where are you coming from?" The soldier squinted at her grandfather as the sun cascaded down its brilliant, white heat.

"From up Colorado, Cheyenne." Her grandfather had chosen to wear his nice shirt, and vest when heading to the fort, he had always talked about just how important it was to put your best foot forward, especially with Federals.

"And after you stock up here, where are you headin' to?" The wind started to pick up a little, and the soldier held his hat to his head.

"Trying to make it to the frontier, somewhere north of Phoenix hopefully. I'm cattle farmer see, so thought it might be good to get out of the crowded north." Her grandfather gave a little smile.

"I get what you mean, Sir. I have family up in Boulder and they've been writing me, saying the exact thing you did. It's just so crowded these days." He looked past her grandfather, down at the rest of the train of people, wagons and automobiles. "So how many people do you have here?"

"Well, we've got around five people in my family, those being me, my wife, my daughter, and then my two granddaughters. As for the rest of this group, I'd say there are about fortyish of us in the caravan I believe."

"And what are your names and ages for the camp registry?" The soldier asked pulling out a pencil and notepad from his left pocket.

"My name is Horace Devon, sixty-six, my wife is Geraldine, sixty-four, my daughter is Margaret Estere-Devon, forty, and her two daughters are Cassidy who's twenty-one and Evelyn Estere-Devon who's eighteen." Her grandfather looked back at her and waved her up to the checkpoint.

The soldier finished writing down the information on his notepad and looked up at Cassidy who was now sat alongside her grandfather. The soldier gave her a shy smile, and quickly turned his gaze back to her grandfather.

"And what's your name soldier?" Horace asked, looking down at him from atop his horse.

"Lance Corporal Samuel Bennett, I'm the commanding officer of this checkpoint." Closer now, Cassidy recognized the rank insignias on his lapels.

"Well son, feel free to drop by our camp once we're all settled here. We'd be happy to have some more company." Cassidy shot her grandfather a quick confused look.

"Thank you so much, Sir. I'll have to keep it in mind for when I get off duty." Sam glanced again to look at Cassidy, quietly hoping she didn't see the red flooding onto his cheeks.

Cassidy noticed, but saying nothing turned to her grandfather as he replied. "We'll save a seat for you, son."

Sam gave a quick nod and waved to the rest of the caravanners to come through the gate, moving quickly to get out of the way as the travellers began to pick up pace again and move into the fort.

Horace gestured to Cassidy to follow him as he squeezed his horse with his legs and moved forward into the center of the fort. Cassidy first noticed the large flag pole in the center of the courtyard, and at the top sat blowing sloppily in the wind a somewhat tattered flag, with red and white stripes and a blue canton decorated with a large white star encircled by a bunch of smaller stars.
Around the fort were what looked like the barracks and arsenals of the base, which were stretched out along the inside of defensive walls, with each corner set with a tower, from which you could see the federals gazing down at the surrounding shanty town in the city proper of Dallas.

"I think your mom and grandma are set up over there" He gestured to their autowagon, a pre-war ARVEE restored to fit their needs as they travelled the vast expanses of the Great Plains, its awning was pulled out and she could see her mom, sister and grandmother setting up a couple chairs out in front of the vehicle.

Trotting over to the ARVEE, Cassidy and Horace dismounted and walking together led their steeds to a hitching post nearby to the autowagon, before walking back to the now set up camp.

"I think we've got some company for dinner tonight, Geri!" Horace said, walking to an old rocking chair just beside the ARVEE door, and sitting down with a sigh. "The young corporal from the checkpoint."

"Oh how nice!" Geraldine said, pushing up her wire spectacles as she sat across from him. "I'll make sure to make something extra special then. Cass! How do you feel about my meatloaf tonight?" She leaned forward slightly in her chair to massage her knees.

"Sounds good." She shrugged off the suggestion of food. Cassidy had always loved her grandmother's cooking, her meatloaf especially, but she wasn't feeling all that hungry as her body was overcome with a feeling of butterflies and anxiousness.

"Great, I'll start cooking at three, and should be ready to eat by five-thirty." Geraldine leaned back in her chair and swiftly fell asleep, they had all had a long trip.

Cassidy went and sat beside her grandfather, who was quietly scanning the courtyard and watching as the rest of the caravan finished arriving and checking in.

"Pa," Cassidy said quietly. "Why did you invite that guy from the checkpoint to dinner?"

Horace gave her a look and smiled. "You've ridden along by yourself for too long, this whole trip you've barely talked to anyone in the camp. I just think it's about time you got some social interaction in."

Cassidy looked down, feeling slightly embarrassed.

"It's ok sweetie, this'll be fun. He seems like a nice young man and I bet you'll both get along great."

"I don't know Pa..." She was cut off.

"It'll all be fine, we'll be leaving soon anyway. I'm not expecting you to fall in love, or get married. I just want you to talk, this is that time of your life you know, where you should take those kinds of risks."

Deep down she understood what he meant, the move from Colorado was a big shift in her life and something that she felt oppressively loomed over her as she left behind her old life. He was right to want her to socialize, it just felt so meaningless as they drifted from town to town, fort to fort, place to place. With feeling satisfaction in her interactions being few and far between.