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   Chapter 1 Let's not call it murder

A Royal Ryde By LadyRosabella Characters: 21332

Updated: 2017-12-20 15:47


A/N Hello all you lovely readers! If you're looking for a neat sci fi story you should check out Purge The Stars! By BlackbirdsTudios. It's very sci fi but really neat, I liked it. The descriptions are amazing. So if you have a few minutes check it out! And now on to chapter one! Enjoy!! ??

Prologue

Slowly, very slowly, the black leather chair swiveled to face the large man standing opposite the desk. The man, normally bulky and menacing to most seemed to shrink several inches at the glare the man sitting in the chair leveled on him. His adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed. It was sheer fear that kept him rooted to his spot. Fear of the powerful and lethal man who even now regarded him with cool, practiced eyes.

Dom knew what the man in the chair was doing. How many times had he watched his companion eye business associates. He was baiting him. He was purposely waiting, keeping him in suspense. The man in the chair would not speak until he was sure his opponent was cowed, frightened beyond reason. Until his opponent was almost insane with the desire to please him, the man in the chair would continue his silent torture. Even being familiar with the man's tactics, Dom couldn't help but feel fear. He knew this meeting would be different then most.

Dom had failed his companion. Sent out for a simple purpose and trophy, Dom returned empty handed. The man sitting in the chair was rich, powerful, privledged. He always got what he wanted. One way or another. This time, Dom feared, it would be another.

Dom had been working for his companion for twenty-two years. Since his companion had been a lad, Dom had been around. At first he had been a playmate and constant companion to the boy, in later years he had grown to be trusted confidant and friend. Now in most recent times, he was considered a persuading companion. Dom was the henchman so to speak. He carried out his companions orders without question and dealt with annoying people who bothered his master.

Never for a moment did Dom allow his long-time relationship with the man to cloud his thinking. He knew the truth. The man in the chair, Drake A. Ridry, was a very dangerous man with no outstanding qualities. Of all the qualities he lacked the most of was loyalty. Drake A. Ridry was loyal only unto himself. Nobody, nobody would stand in his way. Of this, Dom knew for certain. His recent assignment was proof enough of that.

Dom stood still under the cool gaze and did his best not to look inpatient or frightened. If his companion sensed any such emotions he would feel his kill and strike. The minutes continued to pass. The only sound in the room was the soft ticking of the clock on the mantle.

Finally, a pale hand extended. "Have a seat, Dominic." The carefully modulated voice pronounced each word with startling precision.

Dom stepped forward but did not sit. If he had any hope to live he must convince his companion of his worth. He must meet him head on. The little rat could sense fear and he played on it. Dom was a big man and he must play on that. Play on that and feel no fear. "I prefer to stand." He growled.

Dom flicked his hand toward the window. "Your brother is more conniving then you planned." He snorted and threw back his shoulders, trying for a confidence that he didn't really feel. "The road that-"

"I do not care about the road or my brother's mind set." Drake Ridry leaned forward in his chair, his long thin fingers were steepled in front of his chest. "What were your orders, Dominic?"

"You know as well as I." Dom hissed.

"For the walls sake, repeat them."

Dom barely held back the annoyed sigh. He was tired of his employers games and thrills. Tired of the man's evil desires. " I am to murder Stefon J. Ridry."

"Now, now Dominic." Drake clucked in disapproval. "Let's not call it murder. That sounds much too valgur."

"Maybe it does and maybe it doesn't. But let's not pussyfoot around, Mr. Ridry. We'll call things as they are." Dom's mind began to slowly count as his temper began to rise.

Suddenly, the chair flew back into the wall as the Drake jumped from the chair. He almost flew across the desk at Dom. Instead eyes flashing he pounded his fist on the desk. "We will call it what I want!" He shouted, an enraged pound accompanied each word.

Dom said not a word as he gazed with contempt at the man before him. "Murder is murder, Mr. Ridry. You wanted your inheritance, good-bye daddy. Now your older brother stands in your way. Good-bye brother. Is there nothing you will stop at?"

Drake Ridry's eyes narrowed to slits. He straightened to his full height and regarded Dom for a full minute before he spoke. "It is more then an inheritance. Much more. And I will not stop until I achieve my every goal." His head slowly tilted as he appraised Dominic. "On way or another."

CHAPTER ONE

Bliss Starett leaned closer to the inside wall of the stage coach and away from the sleeping drunk who kept taking more and more of her space. She turned her face away from the coach's occupant's and thus away from the oder emanating from the man's open mouth. Surely she didn't have much longer to be on the coach.

Though the day proved to be beautiful and mild compared to some summer days in Colorado, it also made it difficult to view such beauty from the inside of a stuffy overcrowded stage coach.

Bliss longed to jump from the coach and run in the wide open Colorado land. She would run until her legs refused to move, then she would lay in the tall grass and gaze at the blue skies until they turned black with night. The stars would come out then; beautiful twinkling diamonds adorning the velvet black firmament. Bliss sighed wistfully. Not much longer and she would be free of the coach.

'I need to do something, something to take my mind off of my aching backside and my traveling companions.' She thought.

The plump woman sitting across from Bliss snorted in her sleep. Wrinkling her nose in distaste, Bliss couldn't help but associate the sound with that of a hog. Tilting her head, Bliss studied the woman with renewed interest. Yes, she decided, the woman could be related to the hog family. If only she wasn't wearing that outlandishly pink dress. On a stage coach west, no less!

'Stop!' Bliss ordered her mind. ' You cannot be unkind to the poor lady. Who knows the life she has been put upon to live. Find something to do.' Shifting to gain a bit more elbow room, Bliss opened her journal, licked the tip of her pencil and prepared to write.

Dear Mama, This is my last day on the stage coach. I know it is difficult to read my writing but I had to find some way to occupy my fidgety hands. I cannot wait until my feet are on solid ground. I know Aunt Mary Belle is eager to see me. Her reply to my letter was very enthusiastic, to say the least. I know she loves her freedom and living out here but I believe she is lonely. It cannot be easy to have your mate of forty-seven years suddenly gone. I hope my visit is just what she needs to get back on her feet again, literally.

I still cannot fathom Aunt Mary Belle having a riding accident. She was always so confidant on her mounts. I know if you were here Mama you would be scolding Auntie for such an un-ladylike display. Even though a part of my mind recognizes your words of rebuke I can't help but to side with Auntie Belle. Out here in the wild (I know wild is a strong word to use, Mama. But this is such uncivilized territory compared to home.) the rules are different for ladies. Everything seems to be geared more towards survival rather then propriety. To be honest I cannot disagree, I would rather be alive then proper any day! Oh, I'm sorry, Mama. I shouldn't have said that. I didn't mean it like that, truly I didn't. But it is very important to survive out here. So many things with which to endanger ones life. Take stage coaches for instance. I'm only teasing about the stage coach; though right now my body is wondering whether it will ever want to sit again.

I suppose I never truly realized just how far away Aunt Belle lived until I decided to cover the distance by stagecoach. If I feel this way just imagine how the poor horses feel. True, they do switch teams several times but even so, how would you feel after running so many miles to Colorado?

All survival conduct aside, Colorado is a beautiful land. It is simply stunning, Mama. The skies are a shade of blue that I have never seen before. The word blue doesn't even begin to describe their depth and potency. Cerulean to Lazuline. Mama, the combination is breath-taking; I know you would love to make a quilt with the skies colors and patterns. Oh, if only the sky could be contained in such a quilt to have with me always! It is simply impossible to have a bad day with the sky and grass as beautiful as it is. Unless you get scalped by Indians. I shouldn't have teased in that way, Mama. I'm sorry.

I haven't see or heard of Indians yet but I have been told that they do live in the area. While I think it would be very interesting and wonderful to meet with some Indians, I don't think that will be something that I will be trying anytime soon. To put it bluntly, I like my hair on top or my head although a gentleman at the last station informed me that not all Indians are as bad as all that. I suppose it's the case of the tale growing an extra leg everything it's told. Who can know what is true concerning Indians? I suppose it all depends on who you talk to. Even so, if I have to meet up with Indians I can only hope to get on their good side and not anger them into doing any of the things that I have heard they do when riled. Auntie Belle has most likely found a successful- and knowing her- unique way to keep the Indians at bay. I'm sure if I ask her she will teach me all that I need to know to protect myself in this wonderful but frightening wild land.

In a way I almost wish I would have permitted Cullen to accompany me. He was quite upset when I persisted in going alone. To be honest, I am surprised he backed down and allowed me to journey all this way without him to look out for me and keep me safe. I love Cullen, really I do. But I worry that he is so busy playing papa and mama to me that he is missing his life. I am plenty old enough to look out for myself; and I told him so. But now, being in this breath-taking and scary land I want somebody to share it with. I want somebody to be able to see it and gasp and wonder about it with me.

It is so hard to capture something like scenery with only words. And even harder to put it down on paper for someone who will never read

it or know of it.

Your faithful daughter, Bliss

Bliss closed her journal and leaned her head against the side of the coach. Closing her eyes and relaxing her mind, Bliss tried to convince her tired, aching body to rest. A jab in the ribs quickly disturbed her attempted slumber. Straightening quickly into a ladylike stance she turned to he offender. "Ma'am?" She inquired, carefully keeping her voice polite though the lady's action had been anything but.

"Look there!" The woman ordered. "Out the window, we have arrived at long last!"

Bliss quickly turned, directing her gaze out the window. Sure as the lady had spoken, just out the window rested Bliss' destination. Pollor Hills, Colorado. Bliss leaned towards the window, resting her hands on it edge she gained a better look of the town.

Though in most respects it was a small, unconventional town it also had all the charms that a city would never possess. A smile curved Bliss' lips as she watched several school boys playing baseball near the schoolhouse. School girls stood on the sidelines cheering the boys on as a particularly dusty red-haired boy 'slid' to home base. Home base being one of the children's lunch pail.

Bliss turned away from the school house and watched as the blacksmith pounded on some sort of metal. She could feel the horse's slowing, could hear the commands. Then the coach stopped directly in front of Pollor Hills telegraph office. A man in a crisply pressed shirt and black trousers exited the building. His pocket watch was in hand as he greeted the stage coach driver. "Hello. Need a hand?"

"Nah. Just step back. I gotta get to Misty Vagues before sundown." The driver climbed to the roof of the coach and proceeded to untie the luggage.

The telegraph operator instead opened the coach's door. He stuck his head in. "Is anybody here bound for Pollor Hills?" He asked gazing at the dusty group occupying the coaches insides.

"I am!" The plump woman dressed in the scandalously pink dress declared. "Be a gentleman and help me down, alright laddie?"

The telegraph operator quickly offered his arm. "A privlege, ma'am."

Wrapping her fingers around his rather skinny arm, Miss Pink Dress descended from the carriage and gasped. "Oh my! Quick! My salts, I think I'm going to faint!"

The operator attempted to brace her up as she leaned heavily on him. "Wha- What seems- seems to be the problem, ma'am?" The operator grunted.

"It's dreadful! Simply scandalous!" Miss Pink Dress whimpered in a wounded puppy fashion.

"What is?" Bliss asked as she descended the coach unassisted. She looked around the town, looking for something amiss. Everything seemed to be in proper order for a town with a nature such as this. The shierff sat in a chair outside the jail, his chair tipped back on two legs, his boots propped on the upright beam before him. Horses tied to the rail outside the Doggone saloon. Faint music drifted out the doors. Woman with packages were exiting the mercantile. No, nothing seemed to be wrong.

" What is so dreadful?" Bliss repeated, entirely unable to discover what this thing might be.

"The dust." Miss Pink Dress groaned. "So much dust! It's an utter horror!"

Bliss quickly glanced at the lady to be sure that she was in earnest. "Surely you are jesting. This is the west, ma'am. It is well known to be dusty!" Bliss wanted so badly to laugh, laugh long and loud in a most un- ladylike fashion. To imagine this woman was upset over the dust. Dust! Hadn't Miss Pink Dress noticed it getting dustier and dustier as the journey via stage coach continued. The passengers themselves were coated in a fine layer of dust. Bliss' blue traveling dress was no longer as blue as it had been. The layer of dust covering it muted the color. Realizing they weren't about to receive any assistance, the other passengers exited the coach, seeming to find their surroundings satisfactory.

Bliss decided to ignore the lady and her uncalled for drama. Hurrying over to the luggage the driver had tossed down, she quickly picked out her carpet bag and hat box. Picking both up she hurried away from the coach and in search of her aunt's house.

Bliss stood gazing at the small white house before her. Her Aunt's house. This is where her beloved Auntie Belle had lived for so much of Bliss' childhood. It was charming. Bliss' mouth turned up in pure delight. The house was simply alluring. Once painted white it was now rather faded now, though it retained a lost sort of beauty that was often forgotten in the world. Blue moon wisteria covered the front and side of the house. Hanging down in beautiful, sweet smelling blossoms, the house looked like the proper home of a flower princess in a little girl's fantasy. Swept away in a magical world where all was right, Bliss at once fell in love with the little fairy-tale house.

" The only thing this house needs is a white fence and a pie cooling in the window." She murmured to herself as she stepped up the three steps that led to the wide front porch. Pausing at the door to inhale the sweet blossoms she turned to view the town from her flowery point of view. The town itself was exactly what you would expect from a small western town. It had everything needed to survive. But it still contained the wild quality that she had wrote her mother about. Maybe it was the dust that made it seem so untamed. Stifling a giggle, Bliss tested the door handle. It turned easily, so she wiped her boots carefully on the mat and then entered.

"I hear 'ya!" A female voice called from somewhere in the back of the house. "You best show yourself before I get my gun!"

Bliss grinned at her Aunt's threatening words even for being confined to her bed. Still, she didn't wish to frighten her dear aunt (if such a thing were possible), so Bliss called to her Aunt as she followed the direction her Aunt's voice had come from. "It's just me, Auntie dear. I know Doc said you are to stay in bed, so I let myself in." Bliss rapped softly on the closed bedroom door. "May I come in, Aunt Belle?"

"Child! Oh, child, your here! Course! Come on in. Come see your old bed-ridden aunt."

Bliss pushed open the door and entered her Auntie's room. "Aunt Belle, don't you even think of yourself as old. And you won't be bed-ridden forever." She walked over to her Aunt's bed and bent, placing a quick kiss on the sweet lady's check. Bliss knelt beside the bed so she could see her Aunt's face more easily. "I've missed you, Aunt Belle." She whispered, tears of loss gathering in her eyes as she looked at her mother's oldest sister.

Aunt Belle was one of the few who had eternal beauty. Her hair was a beautiful, a soft clean white. Bliss knew her Aunt's hair had once been auburn, like her mother's but time and experience had changed it to match the color of just fallen snow. Her brown eyes still sparkled and snapped with the same excitement and vigor that she had always had toward life. Her cheeks were still rosy, indicating good health despite her recent mishap with her horse. She wore a white nightgown tied at the neck with a small blue ribbon. "Now, now dear. Let's not have tears. Come, let your Auntie hold you for a bit. You can draw from my strength." Belle drew her niece into her arms holding her as the girl wept softly on her shoulder. Despite her words, the elderly lady let the girl cry. The poor child had been through so much the last few years. She knew that it hadn't been easy for her. The poor dear. "Now then." Her aunt said. "Tell me how Cullen is. Has he been behaving?"

Bliss drew away from her aunt wiping a few tears away with her hand. "He hasn't had time for misbehaving, Auntie. He's much to busy trying to raise me."

"Oh, fiddlesticks!" Her aunt declared. "You look plenty 'raised' to me. Just look at you girl! Pretty as a picture, you are! And full grown too. Cullen needs to get on with his own life now, he's gotta start seein' to his own dreams."

"I know. That's why I refused to let him come with me." Bliss sighed, thinking of the morning Cullen had seen her off. "He let me go, but he was not pleased."

Aunt Belle's eyes twinkled merrily. "I get the feeling that you have a stubborn streak a country mile when you have a mind to." She chuckled.

Bliss' solemn expression broke into a soft smile. "I do, Auntie. I know it's awful and I try to control it but when I make my mind up about something I get it."

"I'm surprised he didn't hire you an escort."

"He tried to."

Bliss said nothing more and Belle had the idea that she didn't want to discuss 'that' matter.

"How has business been since you fell off your horse."

Aunt Belle sat up straight. "Let's get one thing straight, young lady." She scolded shaking her finger at Bliss. " I did not 'fall' off my horse. I have never 'fallen' off a horse. He threw me."

Bliss giggled. "Is there a difference?" She teased.

"Sure! Spend some time on a horse and you'll learn. 'Falling' is cause you did something wrong. Now if a horse throws you it is his fault not yours."

"I see." Bliss managed around her giggles. Aunt Belle was just the same as always. Fiery to a fault and just as entertaining.

Belle settled back on her pillows. "You just go get yourself settled in and eat a bit if you have a mind to. Come back to me when you're finished and we'll take business and life."

Bliss nodded and rose gracefully from beside the bed. "Did you want anything?"

"I'm fine 'til supper. Don't believe in eating between meals, never did. So don't get in habit of snackin' cause I'll break 'ya of it fore too long. Now run off. I'll just do some knittin' and pretend you're not eating between dinner and supper."

---------------------

Bliss opened the door next to her aunt's room. It was decorated in soft pinks and yellows, with a window that overlooked the road leading to a mountain in the distance.

Bliss lost herself in the beauty that awaited her out her window. "Great Jehoshaphat! I've got a mountain outside my window." Great adventurer that she was, Bliss was already imagining what it would be like to climb that beautiful creation of God's.

--------------

Aunt Mary Belle sat in her bed wearing a smile like a cat that just stole the cream. Bliss was perfect. So young and pretty. Enthusiasm for life and people fairly floated about her like fairy dust. It lit up everything she said and did.

"She's perfect." Belle whispered to the empty room. "It'll take some doin' but that girl is gonna be a savin' grace." Sitting in her bed, Mary Belle felt very proud of herself. This accident couldn't have come at a better time!

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