Now – I’m still working on the NanoWrimo novel here and when last I left you, Faithful Reader, Ronda and Danny were about to chase off after Black Bart (and to remind everyone, these are place names – I am going to have much better names for everyone before this goes to press). Danny asks how Ronda knows where Black Bart is and she says that one of her little talents that she got from her mother was that she can leave her body and look around. She uses that to find the people that she’s hunting for. Danny asks why she doesn’t have wraiths trying to get into her when she’s out. She unlaces the top of her shirt and shows another set of scars that trace the top of her chest. To Danny, they sparkle with rainbow light – after he realizes that if his eyes drop down a little lower, he’s going to get the full show, he blushes and looks away. Ronda laughs and says she doesn’t mind the looks – she used to fight in the circuit where all she wore was a bikini top and loin cloth. She tells him that the scars are an old spell that ‘locks’ her body away when she’s not in it. They ride along, with Danny asking some more questions about what he can do when he’s out and about without a body. She says that she can do the obvious and knock other people out of their bodies and take theirs. If he’s willing, he can learn to inhabit other things – making himself into a minor magical relic. The longer he’s out of his body, the more time he is going to have to learn how to do more… but Danny would much rather be back in his body chasing after Village Cutie.
With Danny in the horse, they can run it a lot farther – even through the night, which is what they do. Thanks to Ronda’s being Touched (she’s a lot hardier than the normal person – think of her having 1 dot in Potence and Fortitude for all you V:tM players out there), she doesn’t need sleep often. Thanks to Danny being in the horse he doesn’t need sleep at all. The horse itself? Well, someone had to draw the short end of the straw. They travel at a steady clip for a full day and night until Ronda tells him to slow down. They’re getting close to Black Bart’s camp. She tells Danny to stay in the horse until nightfall – their best time to grab him is when his guard is down. They hatch a plan: at night, Danny will sneak into Black Bart’s body, displacing him (but he’s a bad guy and deserves whatever he gets) and walking back to the nearest town to get the bounty. When all is said and done, Danny can step out of the body and rejoin Ronda out at the town limits. Danny asks why Black Bart should die. He’s a bad guy, sure – but they weren’t hired to be judge, jury and executioner. Ronda says that she’s not here to discuss the merits of rough-and-tumble justice versus the rule of law. She’s there to collect Black Bart and the money he’s going to pull down – he’s there to help get the cash they’re going to need until they can find whoever hijacked his body. He can either be a help or get out of the horse and take his chances. He agrees to help, but wants to give Black Bart a chance to tag along as a spirit so that when Danny pops out, Black Bart can still face the justice he richly deserves. Ronda agrees and tells him to stay in the horse until nightfall. She closes her eyes and falls asleep.
Night falls like and the pair gets ready to assault the camp. Danny makes the horse lie down and he steps out. Ronda (who can still see him) tells him to go to the camp and step inside. If there are any wraiths, give her a whistle and she can fight them off until he can get in. Danny runs for the camp – thankfully there are no wraiths nearby. He gets ready to jump into Black Bart… and skips off of him like a stone skipping off a pond. He shouts to Ronda that he can’t get in. Black Bart stirs and stands up – looking around for Danny who dove into a rock – yelling for whatever ghost is trying to take him on to show himself. Ronda approaches Black Bart and tells him that he’s now bound by the King’s justice. Black Bart refutes her claim by shooting. Ronda takes cover and Danny pops his head up to ask why he couldn’t step into him as easily as a horse. Ronda (in between blasts from her pistol) tells him that he must have some sort of ward on him – look for something sparkling on him like her scars. Danny rushes him, thinking that Black Bart can’t see him. Black Bart sees him and swats at him…and he makes contact, sending Danny sprawling to one side. Ronda curses and tells Danny to look at his wrists – he must have some clay on him. Danny looks at him and spies a pair of white bracelets on him. Ronda curses again and tells Danny that they have to get the bracelets off of him in order for their plan to work. Danny asks how he’s supposed to do that if Black Bart can see him and touch him. Ronda says for him to figure it out on his own – she’s busy dodging bullets. Danny looks around for something to use. He finds a rock and reaches for it. His hand passes through it – then he remembers that he can inhabit or affect inanimate objects. On a hunch, he waits until Black Bart is focused on Ronda. When that happens, he rushes at Black Bart from his flank and grabs one gun. He mentally makes a wish – I just wish you’d break.
Black Bart squeezes the trigger and the hammer makes a breaking sound and the gun fails to go off. Danny grins…and gets a fistful of Bart in his teeth. Ronda takes advantage of his distracted state to come in and hit him hard enough to knock him to the ground. Black Bart tries to swing his good gun up to shoot her, but Ronda breaks his arm with absolutely no mercy. While he’s writhing in pain, Ronda breaks both bracelets with stomps of her booted feet, and then gives him a kick in the stomach just out of principle. Ronda asks if Danny is OK. He says yes, and now he’s ready to take over Black Bart – and he steps into him. The Black Bart spirit popping out of him tries to get back in, but is stopped by Ronda, who tells Danny to pick up one of the larger clay shards and keep it on his person as it will keep him in Black Bart’s body if attacked. Black Bart says that he’s going to follow them and they’d better make sure that he isn’t anywhere around when Danny steps out because he knows how to hurt the both of them badly – and making an insinuation of rape. Danny says that they should get going, as they want to strike out of the town after sundown so that Black Bart has a chance to ‘ripen’ before the judge finds them. Ronda and Danny hop on Black Bart’s horse. They say their farewells and head off to the town to turn in Black Bart, get the money and let him expire with nary a twinge on their conscience.
With the pair riding off into the distance ends the second act. How is it so far? Let me know with a comment.
Thanks for reading.