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The Perils Of Eloise Clifton-Darbonne - Chapter 1: The worst happiest day of my life

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The Perils Of Eloise Clifton-Darbonne

 

Chapter 1 The worst happiest day of my life.

 

 

This is a Fiction/battle report For WWX . Its runs alongside My earlier piece "Wyatt Earp is My Friend By Doc Holliday Chapter 17" And gives alittle backstory on Henry's formidable wife Eloise.

again all constructive criticism is welcome. 

 

 

Please Note Words in Italics are translated from from French. I didn't want to use bad French translations nor did i want to do a Wild West 'Allo 'Allo and write phonetic "Frenchlish"

Eloise prefers to use French but mixes with english freely. Her family tend to use English. Henry uses French to talk to Eloise and English at all other times.

 

 

Today: July 5th 1880 Clifton Mine Arizona
“You never know when the next punch is coming from, But you can make sure you stand firm when it comes.” Wise words from her prizefighting father and very apt for the current situation. That is to say Eloise was running for her life across her husband’s mine being pursued by monsters. She had definitely not anticipated this particular situation. But she had a plan, if she could just make it across the ore processing works, she would get to her brothers truck and maybe get away. 

There was just the small matter of the two grey skinned guards…

 

2 years ago. New Orleans
“The west is no place for a delicate bloom Mon précieux” Antoine “Le Démon” Darbonne folded his massive arms, his face was set determined. However In his very soul he knew he had already lost this argument with his only daughter, but as in every challenge he faced  he was determined if he was he was going to lose, he would lose fighting. 

“I know Papa, which is why I’m going with Hugo to look after him” seeing the faintest crack of a smile at this joke Eloise put her arms around her father's massive chest.
Pleeeease Papa? Hugo says there will be lots of well to do families who want a tutor for their children. I am sure to be employed very quickly” 

“In large house with three children called Daniel Mary and Luke perhaps?” Antoine asked playing his trump card.“Your mother does talk to me Ellie, did you really she wouldn’t tell me that you’d gone behind my back and already got a position?”

Well, you are not shouting, so you’ve already agreed! Thank you Papa!” Eloise Jumped up to kiss her fathers cheek and ran out of the room to collect her already packed suitcase. 

“You could at least let me lose with a little dignity” Antoine muttered. He turned to his Son “Hugo, try and keep her out of trouble” 
Hugo looked incredulous “I am an accountant father, not a miracle worker, if there's any trouble I’ll be standing behind her!”

 


18 Months Ago. Tombstone
Eloise had take to frontier life like a bird to the air. As colourful as New Orleans could be, for her the stark beauty of the desert and the vibrancy of life here was far more exciting. Her days off were spent exploring the landscape around her finding delight and adventure in equal measure.  As she had predicted her teaching skills and knowledge of French were in high demand amongst the well-to-do of Tombstone. She now rented her own modest house, close to Hugo and his wife Lily. Hugo was doing very well for himself as well, for as he had said “A mining town always needs someone who can count without using their fingers.” And while the silver flowed from the ground of Tombstone, accountants like Hugo were there to count it all.  

Hugo had been right about another thing, Eloise didn’t need help if there was trouble. In her 1st month in Tombstone a drunken local dentist had made some VERY inappropriate comments, and she had put years of practise with her father and 5 elder brothers into a solid punch that had sent him flying across the saloon. Nobody bothered her again after that. 

 

10 Months ago.
“I am sorry Sir and Madam the supplier made a mistake and only sent one copy of that Julie Verney book you both asked for”

Eloise was in the Tombstone bookstore and after waiting for two months for her book to arrive she was both disappointed and surprised. Someone else had requested a book by Verne written in its original French? She turned to see a Man standing behind her, he was about 10 years older and quite short, no more than an inch taller than herself, but he had strong arms and shoulders, this and his clothes (although clean) clearly identified him as a Miner, but a French literate one was unusual, another Louisianais? Very few of her statesfolk had come out this far west.  

“Umm “Jules Verne” Mr Carter. Hmm Ladies 1st I believe, I will wait.Please could you ro-order as soon as possible Mr Carter?” He turned to her “After all Anticipation makes the thing all the more worthwhile n'est-ce pas vrai?  Enjoy the book Mamesoille.”

Even more interesting, his english accent was not clearly Louisiana it was more Eastern States  and his French accent sounded as if it came from Europe rather than here.

He nodded politely and walked past her to leave the shop. As he past she could clearly smell that he had bathed that morning. He stepped out onto the street replaced his hat. Even with his back to her she could clearly see him sigh before he walked on.

Taking the book from Mr Carter she quickly followed the Miner and caught  up with him.

Monsieur? You left before I could say thank you.” She used French to see if he would respond in kind, his accent intrigued her.

The gentleman Shrugged and smiled a little,”My pleasure Mammesoile” he seemed a little shy and awkward but when he responded in french he seemed to relax a little, the language flowed from his lips like a stream, natural and easy going.  


It will be quite some time before Mr Carter can get another copy, perhaps you would like to borrow mine when i am finished? I am a fast reader.
Now his smile widened immensely and it was a handsome smile she thought
 “Ah Oui that would be lovely. Umm Have you read Many of Monsieur Verne’s work? I have all of his writings so far, if you would care to borrow in return?” 
“Yes”
She thought to herself  “all in all, a very handsome man indeed.”.

9 Months ago
“Hey Clifton! you found any silver yet!?” The Old Man laughed as he threw out the Oft heard Jibe, Henry simply smiled and responded as he always did
“Just a couple more days, a big strikes coming you’ll see!” The old men laughed into their beers and shook their heads Over four months since Henry had brought the mine and they were still getting good use from the joke.
Henry was walking with Eloise down Freemont. They spent most of their spare time together now, mostly conversing in French (While His father was from Pennsylvania, His mother was from Lille)
 It was clear to anyone who looked that they were very much in love, although no one could understand what she saw in the clearly foolish miner who would be surely penniless in a few more weeks. 

Would you like to see my mine?” he asked This was a surprise, Henry rarely talked about his work other than things were proceeding well. Eloise had heard the talk around the town about his mine and had so far resisted the temptation to ask. But secretly she was worried that Henry was dreamer and would need brining back to Earth soon. But he never seemed worried and his affection for Fantastical Fiction aside he was one of the most Grounded and dependable people she had ever met.

Oui, Of course” and then teased him “you spend so much time there, i want to know what it is that keeps you from my side reading me poetry

“Bon! And of course you are invited as well Hugo!” Henry called to Eloise’s brother who as always was accompanying them a discrete few yards behind.

“That will be interesting I'm sure.” Hugo responded carefully. He liked the miner, Henry was well educated, courteous and had excellent humour, Eloise clearly adored him, but Hugo worried that the man's prospects were decidedly risky and as her brother he was duty bound to protect her future. Of course telling his sister “no” never went well, only Mother had any real control of her and she was hundreds of miles away. Hugo wished for everyone sake that Henry's mine had a River of silver the size of the Mississippi.

 

That Evening
“This isn't silver” Hugo stared at the lump of green and brass coloured ore Henry had just placed the rock in his hand and proudly told Eloise and Hugo this was what he had been mining.

Hugo dropped the rock, for Eloise’s sake he was trying to keep calm but Henry was standing there grinning like an idiot.  The mine was admittedly impressive. Large Automata mining machinery had dug out an complex series of caverns. But Hugo had yet to see an ounce of Silver. Even Eloise looked worried.

“Of course it's not silver Hugo, there was never silver up here. Let me ask you a question. How many Miners are working those big silver veins in Tombstone?”
“I don't know, Hundreds I suppose”
“And how many would you say are rich?”

“Very few?”

“Exactly” Henry stated triumphantly. “The rich ones were the 1st here, everyone else either works for them, or scratches an existence on their own claims. Months of toil for either a wage packet or a few meagre ounces of their own. There is no money in silver anymore, it all goes to the lucky few. Copper on the other hand, now that's different.”

Hugo scratched his head at this, there WAS money in silver, he knew this for a fact, after all his job was to account for it but Henry had a point. Considering all the silver he saw, Hugo also saw a lot of poor miners who could barely think past where the next whisky was coming from. 

“...but Copper? It is worthless no?”

“No Hugo, today pure copper is worth 83 cents for one pound” 

“very well, ALMOST worthless” Hugo retorted

“...And I have about 16 tons of it. Give or take” 

“Even so...pardon?” Hugo’s mouth hung open in shock.

“16 tons” Henry repeated

“But that’s..”The numbers in Hugo’s head were making him feel a little dizzy.”$26,560!”

Henry continued “of course the ore is a little variable in content but it's high grade, the smelters will take their 20% cut to extract it and there's transport costs but I think a healthy profit for this first few months.“

“But” he finally gasped “but everyone thinks you're a mad fool? That Hanratty conned you”

Henry laughed “Jonah Hanratty could sell you sand in the desert. But he didn't know a thing about mining. Me? I’m a fifth generation Miner practically born underground, I came here looking for a copper site. I knew there was copper here my time in the Army and I was not off the train more than 10 minutes when He starts his patter about his silver mine. I was ignoring him until he said where it was. Right where I wanted be. I knew he was trying to con me so i played the fool.”  He paused and smiled “ Come and see this.” 

Henry led Eloise and Hugo to a small cave near the entrance to the mine proper. A sign pinned to the rough door said “The Hanratty Vein” Inside  it was narrow but with a high ceiling. Henry shone a touch up the wall and near the mixed in with the Copper ore ceiling a thick line of silver sparkled beautifully.

“I thought you said..” Hugo began.

Henry chuckled “That isn't silver, its geologically impossible, I had to bite my hand to stop myself from laughing when he showed me. It’s nothing but Tin, Glass, Paint and Paper Mache. Isn't it pretty though? Must have took him days up a ladder to make. In a cave with easily $1000 worth of copper on the walls.  So He’s going on about this Rich strike but he’s going back to his mother and the claim will be lost is he goes. So if I could buy it from him for just a few hundred and a share of the silver...The idiot is handing me the copper mine of my dreams on a plate and he thinks i’m the one being conned.” 

Henry wiped a tear from his eye

 “I almost felt bad. So i paid a little more up front for him reducing his cut to 2% of the silver, and as soon as I find some silver, i’ll send him that share gladly!”

Late that night after taking Eloise home Henry and Hugo walked together and Henry asked the question that Hugo had been expecting for some time

“So Hugo, are my prospects good enough for your sister?”

“Oui my friend, I will write to father and recommend you. You will be able to propose in a few weeks, but one question? Why do you let this town think you are a fool?”

“Two simple reason, i don’t care much what folk think of me. But the other is more practical. I want to buy more stakes to widen the site, if the town knew why the cost will rise. I will sell this load and buy more land. After that the secret will probably be out, but i will have what i almost everything I need.”   

“Almost?”

“I’m going to need an accountant”


 

4 Months Ago.
The wedding was in the 1st warm days of Spring. Eloise and Henry could not have wished for a finer day. 

 Surprisingly the secret of the mine had kept. People still thought Henry was mad, but he didnt care, he had a beautiful wife and the mine was more productive than ever. 

 

Yesterday
“Congratulations Madame, you are with child, about 6 weeks or so, expect a baby in February.” The Doctor Smiled. This was everything Eloise had hoped for, she asked her brother and his wife Lily to Drive her to Henry’s mine early the next day “We are having a picnic!” She explained when asked. And so she would tell her husband her news, then her beloved brother and sister in law. It would be the happiest day of her life so far.


This Morning.
No sooner had Hugo, Lily and Eloise arrived it was clear  there was trouble. Parts of the mine were on fire, ragged holes had been blasted in the rock and aside from one of the security K9’s Still on standby in its shed not a soul to be seen. They quickly activated the K9 and ordered it to get help, it disappeared over a ridge faster than any real dog could ever run. Hugo Said they should turn back but Eloise would not abandon her Husband to his fate and was determined to find him. She set off into the mine complex leaving her brother behind to look after his wife. 

Then all Hell broke loose.

Dropping out of Thin air Several monsters surrounded Eloise. Pointing strange weapons the largest ordered her to follow them, his voice was horrible a mockery of English mixed with strange clicks and screeching whistles. 

Eloise could not see her brother and sister in law and could only hope they had got away. One of the creatures waved a device over her. When the device reached her stomach it vibrated and buzzed. The creature examined the device and passed it over her stomach again. When the device gave the same reaction it spoke, not in english but a voice language that seemed to set her teeth on edge and cause a pain at the base of her skull. Despite not understanding the words the meaning was all too clear. They knew. And they were VERY interested in her now. Elise had never been scared in her life, now she knew what fear felt like a cold sick feeling in her stomach seemed to turn her limbs to lead, that threatened to take away any chance of escape. She forced herself to breathe slowly, be calm and stay alert. She may only get one chance to escape she had to be ready. 

They led her to a cage with strange glowing bars inside she recognised some of her husbands employees but no Henry, Where was he? Escarped or dead? No Henry was Alive He HAD to be and she would see him again. A resolve like steel replaced to gnawing ice of fear. The cage was opened if she went in there she knew she wouldn’t get out. But they had made a mistake they’d opened the door too soon now their attention was diverted between her and the men in the cage. 

Now Or never. 


She Feigned a stumble and as one of her captors tried to catch her, She Lashed out, Her Blow caught the thing square in the Jaw it went down and she launched herself at the next nearest. This one took more hits but also fell. The men in the cage saw there chance and rushed out. The ensuing Brawl was short but satisfying, she almost wished her Father had been here to see her. They ran for the Truck.

 

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The Battle
[Anything is square brackets is the Game report outside will be the Narrative. The scenario is 5 Civilians Vs 2 Greys. The Human are trying to stay alive and/or get off the board, the Greys are trying to prevent this. This is Scott and I’s very 1st game of WWX so we thought we’d try out a mini fight 1st to get the hang of the rules without lots of abilities getting  in the way. Then play the main scenario with Wyatt and Doc Vs the Viridian’s 

 We are using angry mob stats for the humans (minus the frenzy rules which would be suicide) The Humans played by me (Sam) are split into two teams of 3 and 2 on the Right and left of the board. Eloise and two mine workers are on the Right of the board near a tall tower, Hugo and Lily are on the left.  The Greys are played by my mate Scott and my 8 Year old Son are spread over the board with Scott On my Right nearest Eloise and My Son on my left Nearest Hugo and Lily]

 

Turn 1
Eloise vaguely knew the miner workers, the tall blonde one was Sven, he a maintained the automata. The older man was Hank  he was in charge of blasting on the mine. Both looked terrified she told them her plan to escape and the both agreed readily clearly too scared to argue. They came out of he narrow passage leading to the processing area, high above the processing plant. From here they could see Hugo’s Truck, Hugo and Lily thankfully safe on the east of the plant but for now out of reach, and between them and safety two Grey skinned creatures were on patrol.
 
Hank pointed to the top of a tower nearest them. “Up there i got some equipment that might help, couple sticks of Dynamite would sure make a mess of them skinny runts”

“We’d have to be very quiet “ stated Sven “It’s Risky, better to sneak straight to the truck.”

“Non” Said Eloise, We won’t get far in the truck with them shooting at us we go for the tower. 

On the other side of the Processing Hugo and Lily could see one of the Grey creatures between them and the truck but were unaware of the other. 
“ we will cross the gantry to the other side if we are quiet the beast will not see us” hugo reassured has scared wife. 

They crept forward slowly making their way up the ramp keeping as low as possible,

Meanwhile Eloise, Hank and Seven carefully made it to the top of the tower. 

Hank opened the locker box but the hinged squealed as the door opened  startled he let go of the door anda gust of wind slammed the door back the nearest Creature definitely heard that . 
“Merde!” Swore Eloise
 Hank Started grabbing Dynamite “its ok no way can he hit us up…..” 
The Shot from the creatures rifle struch the underside of the grated floor at Hanks Feet, Red hot iron shards exploded upwards shredding Hank instantly. It’s a miracle the explosives dont kill them all.

[Despite being at long range and having lots of cover between the Grey and the Target Scott Lucks out with a 10 and 8, Hugo And Lily move and hunker My Son  moves his Grey into position] 


Turn 2
“MERDE! Down Down Down” Panic Stricken Eloise and Sven Slide down the ladders to ground level and hid amongst the machinery down there The monster tries a second shot taking the hat of Svens head but other than Spooked sven is unharmed. [a ten hit but a grit check is passed]

On the other side of the plant the second Grey has spotted Hugo and Lily unable to reach them it moves into a better firing position and waits. [Goes into standby]

 Lily see the horrific death on the other tower and doubles back jumping off the side of the ramp and running for the cover of a nearby rock formation Hugo See the danger and tries to stop his beloved wife but he cold heart of the Grey cares little for love it calmly pulls the trigger and Hugo and Lily die holding hands.. 

[after losing Hank i decided the gantries and towers were a death trap and tried to get into better cover on the ground unfortunately I ran the gauntlet of my sons Grey and once again the Dice fall very favourably for my opponents and they are dispatched] 

 

Turn 3
The Greys started to close on their quarry 
Eloise and Sven knew the were in dire peril the only option left  was to run and pray. Shots whistled around them as the broke cover. Eloise is front with Sven hot on her heel. A shot came within a few inches of Eloise's face the flash of the blast dazzling her, but she clearly heard the wet explosion and crunching this behind her as the shot buried itself in Sven chest. Her lungs bursting with effort She dived for a small rock outcrop. 
[Greys repeatedly shoot and succeed in killing Sven, Eloise runs and hunkers down]

 

 

Turn 4
Eloise was desperate, escape was now impossible, she'd be gunned down as soon as she tried it. Only one option left. She picked up a small rock and charged the nearest monster. The look of surprise and fear was unmistakable and gratifying. She drove the rock into it's unnatural face aiming or where a nose should be and was rewarded with a satisfying crunch of breaking bone. 

[Eloise fights the nearest gray and succeeds in beating him]

The thing went down, Eloise just had enough time to realise it was dead, before her left shoulder exposed in pain. The impact threw her to the ground.  She could see the other creature advancing slowly toward her rifle still aimed. A mixture of the pain, the oppressive heat, fear and her condition were too much for her, as she passed out her last sight was two enormous black eyes staring at her.

[Second grey (my son)  Shoots Eloise with a roll of 9 and 10 She fails grit and it’s Game over and total victory to the Cursed aliens]

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Conclusions
This was a hell of a lot of fun to play and a good way for Scott and I to learn the rules In hindsight, the odds were heavily against me not having a ranged weapon. If we ran this sort of scenario again we might even the odds up a little better by having one ranged weapon per unit or something (and i have plans for Eloise being held captive and escaping, so this is a possibility). 

My plan to try and survive the turns out, by hiding on the gantry’s and towers might have been believable from a narrative level, but was real dumb as a tactical one! On to the main event!

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