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All Nice and Legal (Part 1) [Moved]

Posted on Sun Dec 17th, 2017 @ 5:35pm by H.G. Mercer & Quentin Cantrell
Edited on on Sat Jan 6th, 2018 @ 7:20pm

Episode: The Legacy
Location: Lost Lake Ranch
Timeline: Monday, 07/12/1875

Breakfast had been a lively event. The twins had rebounded from the influx of strangers in their midst and had kept Kate Hale on alert. The conversation around the breakfast table had mainly consisted of everyone discussing the ranch's business and their plans for the day. There had been some consternation when Harriet announced that she was riding into town to deliver papers to the judge's office, especially since she declined all offers to accompany her. Harriet had pointed out with a slight touch of asperity that she had made the ride from the ranch to Kalispell and back quite often.

After changing from her morning dress into a practical gaucho-style riding skirt, Harriet made sure all of the documents that she needed were in order before slipping the attaché case into her saddlebags. Stepping out of the house, she took a deep breath of the mountain air and smiled. She had lived the majority of her working life in San Francisco. It did not hold a candle to the majestic beauty of Montana. Stepping out from under the covered portico in front of the lodge, she crossed the courtyard and walked the few yards to the barn.

Horses grazed in the large paddock next to the barn. Inside the barn, Harriet stopped by the stalls that held her Gypsy Vanners. Their coats shone from a recent brushing, and they looked to be rested and in good shape, even after the grueling drive from Missoula. She gave each gelding a carrot from the bunch she had carried down from the house. Walking the rest of the way down the barn, she found Shade grooming the dappled gray Arabian that had belonged to his sister-in-law, Regina Harper. The topic of which horse she should ride to town had also come up at the table that morning. The final decision was that she should have Regina's Arabian.

Shade looked up at her approach. He nodded toward her team, "I wasn't sure you'd want them turned out to pasture."

Harriet decided that there was no point in continuing the enmity with the younger man for now. Whatever his past, he was there and trying to do the right thing. She smiled, "Please do, Shade. They get very little time out of a stable ordinarily. They earned their rest."

"Yes, ma'am," Shade agreed, his deep voice rumbling pleasantly. "It'll be good for 'em. I'll have Stone ready to ride in a couple of minutes."

In a short time, Shade had the gelding bridled, saddled and led outside the barn. He gave Harriet a leg up, helped her adjust the stirrups, tied her saddlebags firmly behind the cantle of the saddle, then handed up a Winchester 1873 carbine. She took the weapon from him and slipped it into the saddle's rifle scabbard. "Just in case?" She asked with a slight smile.

"Just in case," Shade agreed. "You never know what kind of varmint you'll run into."

Harriet acknowledged the veracity of Shade's statement before setting her heels to the gelding's flanks to nudge him into a jog-trot. She was an expert driver but less skilled as a rider. Fortunately, the Arabian had smooth gaits, a good mouth, and an even disposition. It helped that he was familiar. Regina had often allowed her to ride the horse when she was visiting.

Continued in part 2.


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