Close Calls & Relocation
Renate made her camp in the Heartlands. It was a lovely spot beside a small brook between Rhodes and the stables at Dewberry Creek. However, when Sanderson was injured in an explosion in Blackwater, she worried she had gotten too comfortable. She cautioned him none too gently about letting his guard down in public and then took off alone. For some time, she spoke to no one, and even considered leaving the territory entirely.
Deeply shaken as she was, she retreated into the wilderness and lost herself in hunting. After taking down two panthers with her bow, she became overconfident to the point of recklessness. Her disregard for her own safety caught up with her when a pack of wolves reminded her of her mortality in Big Valley. Luckily, Dr. Alex Edmerson found her and saved her life. He wanted nothing in return, which surprised her, and gave her a bit of faith in people. Realizing that the wild was just as dangerous as the cities, she returned to Rhodes and apologized to Sanderson.
Unfortunately, her return to Rhodes and the Heartlands was short-lived. Someone that Sanderson had considered a close friend put him and everyone he cared about in danger, by throwing their lot in with murderers and cannibals. When Sanderson discovered that the hideout for this group wasn’t far from Renate’s camp, he urged her to move across the territory as he planned to do. Dani offered to have her stay with her at her place in Big Valley. Renate very nearly accepted, but knew that Sanderson would be more comfortable with her closer. His plan was to move to Tumbleweed.
Renate in the Desert
With the assistance of Jac and one of his wagons, Renate packed up everything she owned and made the move. She took up residence in an abandoned shack Sanderson found to the south of the town, and called it her Scratching Post. Although she’d never imagined herself in the desert, she fell in love with the place almost instantly. She also expected that she’d dislike having a town so close. It was small, though, and she found that she liked the residents there.
Jac owned a mansion on the edge of town, which he shared with a number of friends. They called themselves the Sangria Family. Renate found herself looking forward to running into a number them. She formed friendships with the likes of Falina Mescal, Connor Rowan, and Kipp Reeves.
By this time, Sanderson was giving away the horses faster than she could train them with casual riding alone. While she’d never considered employment before, she realized the only way she could keep up was by becoming a real horse trainer. Escorted by Sanderson, she rode into Blackwater to get the necessary credentials. She had a knack for it.
Several times while in Tumbleweed’s training ring, she was mistaken for another trainer who wore a nearly identical braid. That’s when Renate made a friend in Katie Lockhart. Then, when people continued to mistake her, Renate would jump down from her horse and tell them “no, she is the tall one.”
Nothing Lasts Forever
She truly loved the easy rhythm she found living in the desert, bowfishing in the San Luis River, hunting pronghorns, and taming wild horses. Unfortunately, her comfortable routine wasn’t destined to be permanent. Crime was becoming more and more rampant throughout the county, and the criminals were becoming more brazen and reckless by the day. Even some of those whom Renate considered friends were succumbing to violent urges.
A day came where she realized that she was waking every morning full of fear. As isolated as her home was, she was always on edge wondering what ne’er-do-well might intrude on her peace and attempt to take it from her. Upon voicing her anxieties to Sanderson, she discovered that he felt similarly. He also revealed that his feelings for her were stronger than he’d previously admitted, and that wherever she chose to go was where he wanted to be.
Although it was a difficult decision for them to make, in the end, they decided it would be best to depart from the Dakota River Bend. They first visited Sanderson’s mother and brother out in California. Both were thrilled to be reacquainted with Renate and welcomed her back into the family. In 1901, they travelled to a county that called itself the Western Union (in The Gunslingers RP server) and felt as though it were the right time and place for them to settle down more permanently – together.
Chapter Three →