Chapter I - How the West was Killed
It had been years now. The Civil war had come and gone, making those people with a cache of weapons in their knowledge very rich men. However, slowly one by one these men, hardly in their mid-thirties, began to die of a major case of lead poisoning. And not due to lead in the water or in household items. The poisoning came rushing several hundred kilometers per hour from a tight cramped barrel of an old Smith & Wesson.But for some reason the lead poisoning did not come before the crumbling of the target's life, but rather much after, as if some vengeful angel had first destroyed the once rich men one by one and then Death himself had collected upon the ruins of a once great cowboy. This applied by the beginning of our story to all but one; Angelface. The richest and most powerful of the group that had once killed US Marshal Jack Walshey.
After The Civil War Angelface had moved on to the rocky planes of Texas, where he ran a town as a mayor and also owned one of the largest cattle ranches in United States. Heck, he even had stock investments in the railroads. That's probably why he was so powerful too. Nobody wanted to go against a railroad boss in the end, since they usually had the power to send a whole army of mercenaries and gunslingers after you if you did. But one day someone would try...
The sun was hot over the arid planes around the town of Melée(tm) and the dusty and dry wind blew from the deserts to the west of the town. A stagecoach approached the town, several bags and suitcases tied to the top and two men sitting on the front of the coach. Inside a suited man wiped sweat off his forehead with a handkerchief and his wife sat back straight and with a parasol open, despite it being near impossible inside the cramped stagecoach. Opposite them was a man sitting with a dark green hat, which seemed like a short top hat, tilted slightly forwards and covering his face. He also had a long, again dark green, duster coat, beneath it seemingly a worn cowboy gear. What was odd in this cowboy was that he had a priest's collar on his neck.
As the stagecoach stopped speck in the middle of the town of Melée(tm), the preacher stepped up without tilting his hat up and calmly stepped out of the coach once the door was opened. He tugged his duster coat closed before being handed his gear from the top of the stagecoach. It seemed he was traveling on horse, but it either died or had to be left somewhere just before he got on the stagecoach. In any case, the man carried the gear with him to the nearest INN and rented himself a room. It wasn't a nice room by any standard, but livable still. The gear was dropped on the floor by the door as the man made his way inside and the owner followed him in.
"Anything else, sir?" the owner asked and the preacher turned. He was about a head taller than the innkeeper and so the innkeeper could see under the man's hat and into the eyes of the stranger. The sight beneath the hat was something terrible to the man, despite being an innkeeper and seeing much of what can be seen, to the extent that the owner let out a squeal like a little pig being slaughtered. The preacher slowly shook his head and the owner ran out of the room, closing the door behind him. The small puddle on the floor where the owner had stood was a good indicator on the amount of horror that the owner had faced when looking into the eyes of the preacher.
As the stranger to this town stepped out to the balcony of the inn, he took a careful look around the town to familiarize it swiftly. A small group of men, all armed and without a star on their chest, walked down the middle of the street, obviously being the real order in town instead of the law. They were some of Angelface's men. One of so many groups traveling around town keeping order and terrorizing people into obeying. The sheriff and his deputies had no power. It was lucky they even got out of the jail house without several bullet wounds on their bodies.
A sort of grumble escaped the preacher's lips as he watched the group laugh and torture an elderly man. His expression was neutral, but the grumble was a clear indication he would change how things were handled around the town.
"Our posturings, our imagined self-importance,
the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe,
are challenged by this point of pale light.
Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.
In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves."
- Carl Sagan