Following my conversation with the local company man, I assembled my new team and headed out.
The first day on the trail proved frustratingly slow going, even the oxen have trouble over such terrain. I don’t envy the gang laying the rails! After talking with the lead teamster the night before, and arranging for him to follow on with the heavy kit, we rode on ahead so that I might start laying the groundwork in Sweetwater as soon as possible.
There was only one other passenger in our caravan, a young lady of questionable standards and morales. Although I fear she may be a bad influence on Sophia, I trust my daughter not to associate too closely with such a person, and brought her with us. At least if she’s traveling with us she cannot steal any of our effects. Of course I have no such fears about the teamsters, who are to a man professionals, and known to my company.
On the way I had time to catch up with Alexander. Whilst it’s good to see him again after so long, it seems he is having a little trouble taking orders from me after our years as peers in the regiment. He’ll get used to it I’m sure.
Shortly before we arrived at our destination, Lucas once more proved his worth, preventing us from unwittingly walking into an ambush by some Indian raiders, before playing an integral part in negating the threat they posed.
The two newcomers to my employ, a doctor and a demolitions expert who both come highly recommended by the company, both acquitted themselves well, although I am rather more used to a sawbones plying their trade after a battle than during it. The doctor especially seems very absorbed in his profession, although I have faith his skill will match his enthusiasm.
During the failed ambush, the one teamster who had ridden ahead with us so as to drive my coach was injured gravely. Despite his wound, he retained control and so avoided putting Sophia in more peril than she already was. Such bravery will not go unrewarded, I shall see to it that he is cared for. Upon his recovery I may well offer him a job, I have need of people I can trust in this town.
Sophia put a brave face on being put in such a situation, but I know her well enough to see how rattled it left her. I will have to make sure she is subjected to no hardships over the next few days as she recovers from her ordeal…