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Sheriff of Naughty-ham

Posted on Tue Dec 8th, 2020 @ 8:20pm by Kindra Graham & Alden Loxley & Whit

Mission: Six Days to Santo
Location: Caster
Timeline: Day 23 - after the brawl

Kindra crossed the street with Whit, matching her stride to the Shepherd's spry steps. They followed the Sheriff without closing the distance between them. No need to worry about losing them, folks were turning out of doors to watch the spectacle whilst the sheriff added to their entertainment with unnecessarily rough handling of his prisoner.

She considered Santo's reputation for certain clandestine trade. Kindra presumed that if Alden was found guilty of breaking the law and couldn't pay the fine, he was less likely to face prison or hanging, and more likely to be sold into servitude. For him, that might be worse. "Shepherd Whit, I suggest we start by finding out just how much trouble he's in this time and proceed from there. Unless you have another strategy?"

"No, seems right to check in with the law a'fore we start gettin' ahead of ourselves," Whit said with a nod. "After you, Miss Graham."

Despite the idiom, Whit kept to Kindra's side, neither leading nor following her. A pretty gal like her was a mighty fine lure that was best utilized by keeping just close enough and not too far away to be noticed. When they reached the sheriff's office, Whit rushed forward and opened the door.

"After you," he said with all the deference of a servant.

It was not often that Kindra found the need to enter a constabulary, before it had been in towns so small that every local bureaucracy operated out of the same office. The walls of the vestibule were covered in wanted posters, and opposite the door was a counter with a man standing behind it, facing away. Past him she could see an open area with three desks, and she could hear a commotion in the back.

The sheriff emerged from a doorway to where Kindra presumed the jail cells would be. The commotion continued, punctuated by two voices - a woman and Alden - too muffled to make out the words.

The sheriff stopped when he saw Kindra, narrowing his suspicious gaze on her. He strode forward and pushed his underling aside to greet her. "How can I help you, Miss... what is your name?"

"Kindra Graham, registered companion. The Shepherd and I are here to inquire about the man you just arrested."

Whit had been happy enough to quietly inspect the surroundings to see what he would see, but when Kindra referred to him, he made directly eye contact with the sheriff. "A pleasure, Sheriff." He extended a handshake with concerned eyes over a friendly smile.

Sheriff Clixby sighed and smiled in the way that folk destined to work with the general public did when they realised it was going to be another one of Those Days. Clearly not such a simple matter of a bar fight breaking out and some poor bastard getting his face torn to pieces. No, this particular drama apparently drew a classier crowd.

“Pleasure’s all mine,” Clixby returned evenly, and he shook Whit’s hand with a rough, but not showy, vigour. “So what has our latest miscreant done elsewhere to attract the immediate attention of both a Shepherd and a Registered Companion?” He asked, moving to the console on his desk, to type two words slowly on a chunky keyboard and frown his most serious frown.

Behind him, the muffled voices briefly stopped to be followed by a pained howl and the repetition of the word ‘okay’ in a male voice. The Sheriff didn’t miss a beat, but simply locked his gaze with first Whit and then Kindra.

Kindra regarded the Sheriff with her serene companion smile and considered how to approach him. A haughty entitled companion barking orders might drive a man like this to stubbornness. Flirtatious manipulation wouldn't work on him either. His ancient cortex console suggested his office was not well funded, so bribery might work, as a last resort.

"It is an honor to make the acquaintance of an upstanding man of the law, Sheriff." Kindra spoke respectfully. Despite the howl from the back, she kept her voice neutral, as though discussing a horse she'd purchased. "This man you arrested, Mr. Loxley, is obliged to provide contracted services to me. Service he will be unable to provide if he's incarcerated. What are the charges against him?"

Clixby frowned and mustered up a momentary fake smile in response to Kindra's own. He hadn't missed the mark on the Shepherd's wrist during that handshake, but for now he was biding his time while he digested their play.

"I ain't much of an honour to meet," the Sheriff noted, casually, but he didn't look away from those dark eyes as the young woman spoke as if she literally owned his latest arrest. "Neither am I concerned about any contract y'all might have with our mutual problem." He looked to Whit then, as if he expected a double-team move, and considered whether to answer Miss Graham's question.

"Aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon," Clixby said, impassively. "Causing a danger to public safety. GBH." He tapped the counter with his index finger and levelled his gaze with hers. "Might I suggest you find another servant?"

Whit's eyebrows arched pretty high at the rap sheet. "Begging the pardon of the good sheriff... I am but a lowly shepherd and unfamiliar with the in's and out's of the law business, but seein' as how those are mighty serious charges I'm sure there's commensurate evidence behind them." One side of his mouth ticked up in a knowing smile that courted favor from the sheriff. "Recovered weapon, ample witnesses, an accuser, seein' as how homicide ain't among the charges." His brow gave the sheriff a waggle as he fished for the line of pushback. "Perhaps I can offer some ministerial care and bring some solace and comfort to the victims while you conduct your investigation."

Considering the sheriff's reaction to mild flattery, it was a good thing she hadn't attempted flirtation. She decided to try a subtle hint in the direction of bribery. "I'm afraid it will be impossible to find a substitute for Mr. Loxley's unique talents. His loss would be quite costly." GBH… Kindra thought that meant grievous bodily harm. Surely, if Alden had done such a thing, he had good reason. Whilst Whit gathered information from the apparent victims, she wanted to get Alden's side of the story and make sure he was all right. "I wish to speak with the prisoner, please."

Dark eyes regarded Whit and Clixby rubbed the neat beard that hugged his chin as he considered the man. Not one, but two interested parties had already ruined his chances of vanishing his latest arrest into the usual exit strategy, yet he wasn't about to admit that. Besides, the harder he pushed back, the more the fancy lady finagled. He liked the direction that this conversation might be going in, was happy to play his hand in this card game.

He smiled a sardonic smile back at Whit and nodded. "Serious indeed, yes. Many witnesses, all of whom will no doubt back the poor, stricken fella who's in need of a new face about now," he continued. "I'm sure he'll be grateful for some solace and comfort," Clixby noted, gifting Kindra a look in the mix, but ending his sentence with eyes locked to the Shepherd. "I can furnish you with their details, with their permission, Shepherd, yes."

"Much obliged," Whit said. "I'll just wait right here."

Kindra's slight hint that she might not be averse to parting with credits to resolve this matter did not go unnoticed either. Curious to know what exactly this ship's captain was capable of, Clixby was far more interested in the words 'quite costly'.

"I'm mightily sorry to hear you might be inconvenienced, fair lady," the Sheriff said, mild sarcasm wrapped about his words. "And I can assure you, Mr Turner's medical care will be costly too. If you take a seat over there," he indicated a row of simple wooden chairs along the far wall. "I'll check when it might be possible for you to speak with the prisoner, ma'am."

She did not miss the glint of avarice in the Sheriff's eyes. Kindra guessed the man was hedging his bet and testing the limits of her tolerance by asserting his authority. "Mr. Loxley will be less valuable to me if he is injured," said Kindra, turning her head to look pointedly at back room door. She smiled sweetly at the Sheriff and stepped back from the counter. "Please don't keep me waiting longer than necessary."

The Sheriff shook his head slowly and let frown lines fade as he regarded both his unexpected visitors. "He was injured when he came in," he said, pointedly, though as his gaze followed Kindra's motion, he mused that near future conversation about value. "And don't worry, you'll have your chance for a private discussion, Miss." Clixby looked to Whit then, gauging if the man was a stay or a go in that regard.

"Whenever you're ready, Sheriff." Whit popped his hands into his trouser pockets and swayed on his heels.

"If'n you're wanting to comfort the wounded," Clixby told the Shepherd. "Y'all can head over to Saint Emma's. Otherwise take a seat next to the lady." He left a little extra cynicism drift into his drawl on that last word, but didn't push it, then he exited through to the back and out of their sight.

Kindra's hands clenched as the door closed behind the Sheriff. She didn't know if the heavy quiet from the back was a good or a bad thing. She tried to catch the eye of the younger man who'd been at the counter when they'd first arrived, but he was sitting at a desk, head down - ignoring them for the moment. In a low voice she said, "Well Shepherd Whit, now we know what kind of trouble Alden's in, we need a plan."

Looking around at the sheriff's office, the middle-aged shepherd was clearly turning gears in his mind. "The Lord works in mysterious ways, my dear," he said almost absently. "His thoughts and our thoughts and all that. You go ahead and check on our mutual friend while I make a mercy visit."

Half an hour later, Clixby re-entered the office space. He didn't stand on ceremony, but beckoned Kindra towards him and offered Whit a curt, but respectful nod.

"Miss Graham, you can go on through now," he said. "Deputy Myers will stay with you. Shepherd, I'll be coming along with you to Saint Emma's."

"Good enough," Whit said with a cordial nod. "Ready when you are, Sheriff."

Half an hour had been more than enough time for Kindra to imagine the worst possible scenarios, but she stepped forward outwardly relaxed and inclined her head politely. "Thank you, Sheriff."


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