There Comes a Reckoning
Striking and a bit scandalous.
At first glance most are taken in by the smirk and green eyes peering from a faintly tanned face and framed by her raven black hair. Her honeyed voice is made all the sweeter with her lilting British accent. She can be a social force or sit quietly for hours depending on what may serve her plans best.
She was born and raised in England and that is about the extent to what she ever shares about her childhood and formative years. She arrives on American shores in 1868 with little to her name looking to get lost in the vast continent of strangers.
In 1870 a beleaguered and frightened Eliza has found her way to the 20 year anniversary of the first National Women’s Rights Convention in Worcester Massachusetts. Her attendance is happenstance as she is fleeing Boston at the time. Despite having no interest in marriage she finds herself enraptured by a 3 hour speech from Lucy Stone regarding a women’s right to divorce. Being around other women, ones that had attended college and done all manner of things she thought where out of reach, Eliza leaves Massachusetts though no longer aiming west. She heads to New York to attempt to gain entrance to Vassar College.
She quickly realizes that while the cost is high, it is not her biggest barrier. She cannot produce the records needed for admittance as this could easily alert people to her whereabouts and that would be disastrous for her person. She does manage to secure employment for a short time on campus and is able to audit some classes where she befriends a few students. A few years of hard work and study group crashing ends when circumstances force her to flee again.
She spends the next couple of years bouncing around the Midwest finally arriving in Shady Gulch in 1877, where her quest for power finally meets with some tangible success.
She attends church every Sunday and starts a ladies bible study. She is no Annie Oakley, but she is competent enough with a pistol to be of use in a firefight. Which is how she finds herself taking up with a group of strangers that become a sort of posse. Her judgement screams that this will only lead to having a flee again and to cease, her curiosity leads her back to adventures. From prairie ticks, living scarecrows, a town haunted by the ghost of a witch (a mission that privately makes her very uneasy) and even rescuing a Chinese prostitute her thirst for adventure only grows instead of being slated. It isn’t until a preacher rides in and massacres a group of Indians that she is able to shake free from this, though it proves a temporary respite.
She briefly considered pursuing the town’s sheriff, but In the calm provided from her break in adventures, she has found herself pulled closer to saloon owner Jake Kilburn. He orchestrates a frame job for the indian massacre begun by the saber wielding preacher that helps seal her loyalty to him. Though this peace is ruined when a group of indians return to Shady Gulch no longer convinced those framed where responsible. He suggest Eliza leave for Deadwood immediately handing her a substantial bank roll and offering his horse. Eliza accepts, knowing she will pay this debt by assisting Gene Cereny’s expedition to the town to gain a telegraph connection between Deadwood and Shady Gulch.