Chapter XV -- Cloak And Dagger

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Summer, 1878 / Goblin's Toe, Wyoming

The heat of day passed bringing with it the cool air of early evening.

Sheriff Augustus Poe sat alone in his office; the inked pages of his detailed report for the Generals Secret Service back at Fort Danna compiled neat and bundled ready for delivery upon his desk.

In the days since the caravan had left with Running-Deer, the town had seemingly settled back into whatever normal that it was going to enjoy or had become once the dust of recent events had settled as properly as they could have.

In one fell swoop of irony, both known local vampire and lycan populations had figuratively been removed en mass.

The lone remaining exception to the mass exodus had been the newly turned Pandora; a vampire minioness who would also be gone by the end of the week if her expectations held true.

Young and overconfident, he considered her fodder for whatever plans that she may have entertained, or was destined to fulfill for her new masters once she caught up with them.

Although, in a somewhat surprising set of developments, while she'd remained behind, she'd also been able to behave herself and actually proved thorough and competent as management of the brothel; perhaps even surprising herself and then again having know the young woman for as long as he had, perhaps not.

She'd probably just set her mind to doing whatever it was that was expected of her before she took her leave.

The fully loaded Conestoga wagon the others had made use of for Running Deer's care during transport was delivered by soldiers from Fort Danna courtesy of the doctor who'd simply thought ahead and asked for it.

Colonel Bonnet had also sent along his personal condolences and promise to help where and when they felt the need.

While the two of them had played a bit fast and loose with their oaths, Bracna had found little or no qualms in alerting those that he felt would need to know sooner than the two of them would have gotten around to doing so otherwise.

Not exactly something Poe could fault him for, Tombs either.

Among the other surprises that had arrived were freshly minted orders that transferred Franklin Tombs to head of her security detail starting with her upcoming transport.

Undoubtedly due to the fact that they would be covering some dangerous territory of which security would be paramount for all involved that might find themselves in need it and so that he could keep an eye on things for those at the fort and sneak word back to Poe as he was sure to do.

Even Tomb's family had been moved west to join him as part of his new assignment, something that smacked of a certain sound of permanency to it.

As he sat back in his chair, Poe reacquainted himself with a long lost bad habit; sweet, aromatic blended Cavendish tobacco tapped tight and lit in his pipe.

Slowly, he sucked in and exhaled as he contemplated the events of the last few weeks and everything that had been involved along the way.

He was being lied to, pure and simple.

The more he'd thought about it, the more he'd become sure of it as each little detail of things said or done began to stick out in bits and pieces that hadn't exactly fit where they should have.

The question wasn't exactly why.

As he thought back, it had probably started from the moment that they'd found his fallen Indian deputy in the woods and it most certainly had to do with the aftermath.

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