reposted from the The Road to Deadwood Forum -- and by the way, at this point, most of what is described is based on things that happened as I wandered from one Western-themed sim to another, and the names used are of people I actually encountered and interacted with in-world. And everything described below about Dio's first day in Deadwood are things that actually happened in the course of my first day of RP in the Deadwood 1876 sim:
Although Dio was working on staying sober, her Arizona land was not well suited for use as ranch land. She sold it to a railroad and used the money to travel for a while, and to invest in a cattle operation near Dodge City.
While in Dodge, Dio met Mahaila Bertrand, and started a friendship that meant more to her than any relationship had for years. When Mah's unfortunate situation in Dodge was reaching its climax, Dio happened by and responded by pulling a pistol and chasing after Mah's persecutor. It was also towards the end of this series of events that she uttered the immortal words, "ye goddam lil' tin-plated, cocksuckin' bluecoat, you ain't a quarter the hoss sojer my Jack was! Him an his pards used to shit better sojers than you after their morning cuppa coffee." In the ensuing gunplay, Dio suffered a wound that, while not fatal, left her incapacitated for some time.
In the course of her convalescence, Dio was unable to to look after the cattle business. The other investors pulled out, and she ultimately lost all her money as it fell apart. Dio was completely broke when she heard that a gold strike in the Black Hills was spawning new settlements.
In the late spring of 1876, just as the illegal town known as Deadwood was getting its start, a middle-aged, recovering alcoholic, down-on-her-luck confederate widow climbed off the freight wagon she had hitched a ride on to get there. With little more than the clothes on her back, a saddle bag with her old buckskin trail clothes, and her grandfather's fiddle, she was ready to start looking for work.
Her first interactions with the residents weren't encouraging. The people seemed preoccupied, stand-offish, even hostile. The only positive encounter was with a kindly, quiet young woman who ran a restaurant: the soft-spoken, gentle-eyed Estwee Vansant said she might need an assistant cook at some point, but couldn't afford to hire anyone just yet. Disappointed, Dio continued exploring the bustling little boom town.
As Dio passed a large rambling saloon, she heard a commotion. She rushed in to find a chaotic scene, at the center of which was a strikingly handsome, astonishingly voluptuous red-headed woman, bleeding from some wounds that were being dressed by a young woman in a revealing saloon girl's outfit.
Dio of course attempted to help, but her efforts were rather brusquely rejected by the young woman, who was as irascible as she was attractive.
In dwindling light, Dio went back into the street, to seek some place to settle in for the night. Wandering down an alley, lined with banners and signs marked in strange characters, and filled with braying donkeys and exotic smells, she came upon a shabby structure that seemed to be a laundry business. Perhaps they they could use hard worker, she thought.
Dio noted it was good location, right by the creek--plenty of water for washing purposes. Plus, it was next to a curiously busy place that seemed to be attracting a great deal of foot traffic. As she glanced at a window of that neighboring house, she saw a broad oriental-looking split-bamboo hat, and beneath that, a thin face graced with a snowy beard and long mustaches, peering at her through the well-cleaned window glass. For a moment, the man seemed impassive, inscrutable. Then, a wide grin broke out across the old gentleman's visage, as he made a slight bow in Dio's direction.
In spite of her circumstances, Dio couldn't help smiling back. She tried the door of the laundry shack, but it seemed to be locked. Then she noticed a small note tacked up to one of the porch posts. She looked closer at the tidy, carefully written words: "Business for Rent. Good Terms for the Right Individual. If Interested, kindly enquire at Dryke & Co., Provisioners, on Main Street."
Maybe her luck was about to start changing.