~What’s Mined is Ores~
Daybreak. the Sun princess’s golden work streamed through the windows in his room. ‘goddess this bed is soft. im so comfy i don’t even want to MOVE, let alone get up. oh yeah. i could get used to this.’
Kovik finally rolls out of bed, ties his wig on, and greets the sun on the front deck. the warm sun filtering down from the blue sky feels incredible. Biiiiiig stretch. ahhhh. then he steps through the saloon back door, into the main lobby. vera is there to greet him.
“Mornin kovik! how was your sleep?”
“i haven’t slept that nicely in…. well longer than i can remember.”
“its gonna be a slow day today. i can tell.” she says, “i was hoping to give you a tour of the ol Ruby Gulch Gem Mine, just outside town. whadya say? you up for it?”
“sure,” he grins, “sounds lovely!”
a few minutes later, with Dancer watching the saloon, they head out to the reason the town first got started. similar to how Appleoosa is a rail town, built with the railroad at the epicenter, Ruby Gulch was built originally as housing for the miners of the huge Gem mine. eventually, with so many folk coming to work, the families set up shops in the area that eventually would become the town. soon, business was really booming, and the demand for better housing was rising. not long after, the town of Ruby Gulch was officially formed.
the mine was built into the side of a hill, with the cart tracks riding out of the dark mouth of the entrance, around and up a ramp past the gem inspection station, to waiting gem transport vehicles behind the hill. with Vera leading the way, they stepped into the dark maw of the entrance. like a gaping mouth, it swallowed them. it took a few moments for their eyes to adjust to the low light, but soon, they wouldn’t even need a torch or lantern to light the way. little gems by the dozens lined the walls, enchanted with some arcane magic to supply light. they followed the cart tracks, which looped in and round itself, until they reached a viewing area. essentially a hole in the tunnel wall, with a railing for safety, the two of them were able to look down into the end of the mine. hundreds and hundreds of gems grew from the walls. they were everywhere. and they were so bright! Kovik had never seen anything like it. the tour took all day, and night found Vera and Kovik sitting at the top of the hill, watching the fireflies in the night sky. like living stars, just inches away from you. he was fascinated. he had never seen such beauty. it was if the stars themselves had descended from the inky heavens. as if Luna herself was visiting him. they sat there all night, watching the sky.
the next morning, they headed back into town. but something was wrong. buildings were broken, there were screams in the distant, and the sound of glass shattering. they rush to the saloon to find out what was happenning, just in time to see Dancer, knocked unconscious, and tied to the front of some form of train. a trackless train, with a monstrous flaming engine. dazed at the sight of this, that was when they noticed the Bandit hoarde escaping from the saloon, one kicking open the gateway in the entrance, another jumping off the balcony, countless others running off into the distance, all laughing and jeering at the two of them, and the trackless train roaring away faster than a dragon can fly.
Kovik looked like he had seen a ghost. he had noticed the driver. recognized him, even. Vera was furious. screaming and yelling at kovik. smacking him to wake him from his stunned gaze. slowly, he returned to the world of the living. “Aces. it’s been a while.”
reassuring Vera, he runs to the local tinkerer. the time for action had come.
~End Chapter 3~
(Kovik standalone drawn by http://spittfireart.tumblr.com/)
pictures taken by me of the Brittania Mine in BC, Canada
last panel quick sketch by me