Bartholamuel Desperado Whaler
Desperado, oh, you ain't gettin' no younger:
Your pain and your hunger, they're drivin' you home.
And freedom, oh freedom,
Well, that's just some people talkin'
Your prison is walking,
Through this world all alone.
It is the miles, rather than the years, that ages a man. Barth, to his few acquaintances because he has no friends, is a man who has had a few miles. He is a man verging on middle years, who looks like he is deep in them. His skin is rough from years of sun, wind, and cold. His brown hair, slicked back and a bit long in the back in common style, is shot through with strong lines of grey. Even his long mustache is beginning to streak with grey. His scarred body is still hard though and he is still as strong as he ever was. Even if he weakens some, he will still be stronger than most.
These days trail dust hangs on his clothes. He does not go into town much any more if he can help it. He has trouble with the stares, the scurrying out of the way, and the occasionally kid trying to make a name for himself. He wears fairly standard range wear now, though he does still have some fancy dudes from his younger days.
Bartholamuel was raised in the Territory, though it was not a territory back then. Born before the Gold Rush west, he has lived the period that men will call "The West". Barth not only lived it, he exemplified it.
The law has not always reached out into the territories, so people made their own law by fear and force of irons. Bartholamuel had a natural talent of irons, and shooting in general. Few in The West could ever draw faster. Though most who were fast were not accurate, Barholamuel Whaler was both.
After he left home, he became a ranch hand and a hired gun. He did not start out as a hired gun. He began as a hand, moving cattle. He was good at Ranch work, and enjoys it still... even though he never admits it. He was always pulled for a posse or a hunt. He was good in a posse, having sense and skills. He was also good in a draw in the streets (or ambush). It was found that he had a knack for "solving problems". While Barth had no problem with killing, he would only kill in a fight, not in cold blood. He helped a few people out who needed helping (and the bastards deserved it). Once you have a reputation for such things, people come to you with their problems. He helped people solve their problems with gangs, rustlers, cheats, and other "problem folks". It wasn't always killing that was needed, but it often happened. He was no angel though, working for the occasional baron. A pay bag was a pay bag after all. He was often turned out because he would not drop innocent men without a fight.
His life was the thing of a dime novel. It was a parade of people and blood. The handle Desperado came early to him. It was because he rode like a crazy man, and would never give up.... no matter what the problems... to complete the job. (And because he was always poor for one reason or another, he would take any job only a desperate man would do.) The name stuck as his (local) legend grew.
It was early in his life that he met the two women that shaped his life: Elizabeth and Alexandra. He always danced around these ladies, coming close, but never close enough, if you catch my meaning. Elizabeth started as a Rancher's daughter for a rancher he worked for and "helped out". Lizzie is about The Land and the People on it. She has helped Barth out as often as he has helped her. She truly cares for Barth. (Now she is a widow running a good sized spread). Alexandra has always been town folk. She has always had a good sized house in a town, even though she and her family have owned large spreads. Alexandra has always been about money and power. Those are things that have always attracted Bartholamuel given his dirt poor upbringing. He wants them and is willing to court the Devil to get them, but never willing to sell himself for them. Alexandra has hired him a time or six. He has also helped her out for old times sake. She is also a widow (three times now) and seems to be in charge of the growing town. He seems to bounce between the two women in his life.
Bartholamuel is still doing "odd jobs" for Ranchers and Cattle Drives. He tries to stay out of towns and away from people who know The Desperado. He wants to earn enough money to settle down, but he never seems to be able to keep much of his money. It is not like he drinks, gambles, or does things overmuch. Things just come up.
None of his special equipment is all that special.
The quick draw holsters are simply well used and still well taken care of. His guns, including the one shot hooked to his boot, have seen more love and care than the man who wields them.
The locket he wears has an image of his mother and the images of the two other women in his life tucked underneath.
He has always been a proud man, who feld he never needed anyone. He keeps trying to live up to that ideal, even though he knows it is a shadow.
The Desperado is now at a cross roads of his life. His days as a hired gun, he is trying to put behind him. (Note: his eyes, hands, and skills are still sharp as they ever where). He is trying to live a quiet honest life but his old reputation and his own need to "see things right" keeps dragging him into things.
He looks like an old cowpoke, older than he really is. He keeps doing outrider jobs instead of being a ranch boss like he should be. He likes being alone with his own thoughts and demons. That way, nothing else happens.
The killing has tired him. He feels the weight of it. He has always had odd relations with padres and fathers. While he is a killer, he has always done good. And has asked forgiveness from God and occasionally the families. Every now and again he will spend a night talking with the town's padre.
He is always bouncing between his queen of Diamonds (Alexandra) and her life of wealth and power and his Queen of Hearts (Elizabeth). He has brought grief (and broken hearts) to both women, but he has always tried to make right by them. He should settle down with Elizabeth, but he has that unnatural attraction to Alexandra. Until he can screw his own head on straight, he hovers just outside their worlds.
He is a man at crossroads. He is locked in a lonely hell of his own making. He is hesitant about which way to go. He will try to think long and hard before he takes any course of action. Once he chooses he will go with that wind, riding that hurricane, just like The Desperado of old.
Note: If you need to fill in some element of his life, think melodramatic western novel series. If it seems like it would fit in a western soap opera, it is probably dead on.
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? Responses (11)-11
Updated: Blame Muro, his Songs of Fantasy!, and the new classic rock station in my area for this sub
wow, the Western sub I'm working on, is nothing like this in flavor. Its more of an ode to Cormac McCarthy's brutally brilliant, Blood Meridien, Bibles and Sodomy, oh my!
I love you for doing another song! I'm trying to finish up "The Trial" by Pink Floyd, featuring a Biblioklept! :)
I like him. He's believeable and useful in a game, and features a good background. Love the suit cards for his ladies! That seemingly minor (and delicious) detail, adds the proper 'Western' pinch to the character.
Another nicely done western sub. Perhaps Hotel California might be a good choice as well :)
"...Mirrors on the ceiling, pink champagne on ice" :)
I'd think he'd be working for the big cattlemen to deal with rustlers ect.
He has. He is not a good man all the time. Yet, he won't kill in cold blood, so he has scruples/ morals of sorts.
Well written and engaging, I like it even if I don't like the song in question. (damn you Eagles and your over-played rock ballads!)
It becomes a very different song when different people sing it. Cash's version is serious as a heartbeat and not romantic at all. Clint Black's version was pretty good, all told. Linda Ronstadt's is enough to make you never want to hear the song again.
Would I be right to say that the fear of poverty is his biggest motivation, one that sometimes succeeds in stifling his morals? Is this the cause of his misery?
Actually no. His biggest problem is his not having a motivation. He is just floating through his life, pulled this way and that, without really thinking about what he was doing.
People come to him, usually paying him somehow, and he deals with the issue at hand (usually this requires tracking down and killing someone). (Sometimes they just hire him for a regular job too, he is not always a hired gun.) This has led him to morally grey situations. Somewhere in his heart he knows all this killing is wrong. Yet, he is good at it and sometimes it just needed being done.
Until he can resolve his own desires and where he stands "in the eyes of the almighty" (morally), he is just a leaf in the storm... blown this way and that. Now he has withdrawn some as not to be so "caught up in things". This may give him the time he needs to resolve himself.