A trader of pelts

 He sat there like something summoned by hasty orisons wept in the near darkness of the backwoods. The brute half reclined before a fireplace that he fished at with his bare fingers for an ember to light his pipe and kicked away a gutted bowl of acorn gruel. 

 He made not a move unbacked by the chinking of the countless rings and ornamental chains that hung off his neck and biceps on ropes of braided human hair and he polished a heavy-bore revolver with a grimy rag until it turned back images of himself in the glaring firelight. On the rough wooden floorboards aside his mismatched boots slept an oaken club with all manner of curious stains. The side of his mouth on which he clenched his pipe sagged at the point a knife had found him but failed to finish the job. 

 Furtive in the creeping fireglow another man, thin with worry, bent himself in a chair at a dining room table among the wet and cowering eyes of three children. A single seat on the far side of the setting stood prominent and empty. 

 “You can take the house and everything in it,” the father said to silence. “Just get us south.”

 The brute’s calloused hand sheathed the pistol into a shoulder holster sheared from a leg of old denim and plucked the pipe from his teeth. 

 “Ye just let me take freely from the ones gonna hunt yer,” he gravelled, spewing smoke. “I don’t have need for nothin else.”

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