Chapter 1: Memories
The year was 1900. Elias Drago, a hard boiled Texas Ranger was out looking for a man. He was looking, specifically, for a moonshiner. He didn't want him for the liquor, rather, he wanted him for the 5 men he'd killed while making it. He and 2 other rangers walked quietly up to the hideout, in the wilderness outside of the town of Hearne. "Okay, boys, there's only 3 of 'em...dead or alive." He said. They mounted up on the door. Elias banged on it. Hard.
"Texas Rangers, come out with yer hands up!"
"We have a warrant to enter!"
"COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP!"
Gunshots through the door. The three men barged in, and immediately the one ahead of Elias went down. Elias ducked behind a sofa and shot above it, killing one of Slim's men. He went up to shoot again, after seeing his only remaining man fall to the ground, dead. He shot a few times, getting Slim once in the hand. Slim had another hand and another gun.
He shot. And Elias Drago was killed.
When his body was recovered, it had decayed quite a bit. He had been found at the base of a tree near Hearne by some unfortunate hunters. Elias was survived by his wife penelope and his only son, Dominic. Dominic had always wanted to work as a ranger; it was a scary sounding job, but one full of adventure and excitement.
Dominic came into the apartment, fresh from school. He was only 10 years old at the time. His mother was holding back tears as well as she could, but it was still pretty easy to see that she wasn't quite well. She was holding a letter and sitting at the table.
"What's wrong, mama?" Dom sat next to her. "Why're you sad?"
Penelope choked up and looked at her son, stroking his ear gently. "Dominic...you know about how dangerous it is to be a ranger?"
"Yes, mama...did pa get hurt?" Dom asked hushedly, as if he didn't want to know the answer but already had it.
"Dominic…" Penelope wiped her eyes, "Your father was shot and...and killed recently." She wasn't able to hold anything back.
"Dead, Dominic, your father's dead!" She held him close and cried loudly. She loved her husband, and she loved her child. She gripped him, leaving little indents in his fur and kissing his ears. She got her control back and looked at him. He was crying, too, tears wetting his cheeks. His eyes were red and puffy.
"Promise me you won't become a ranger. I don't...I can't lose you, too." Dominic gasped. Just give up on all his dreams? The one job he hoped for? How could he do that!? He'd always said to his father he'd be one someday, 'the best in the west' he'd say. His father would indulge him, taking him to meet the other rangers and even giving him a little toy badge. But he looked up into his mother's eyes and saw sadness there that even a 10 year old knew was impossibly painful. He weighed his options.
"Yes, mama." He spoke through more tears. "I promise."
Time passed. He'd been a detective for a few years, operating out of St. Louis, Missouri. He'd moved to St. Louis, at first, temporarily. He had a very distant cousin there who recommended that he work in the city. He showed up in 1914, and almost immediately started to get clients. Something about the way he dealt with things was popular. He was a very passionate man about his work; he had only ever let one case go cold, and that was his search for the man who killed his father, Cowpoke Slim. He didn't rest on it too much, though. It was a thing of the past. He did dwell, however, on the secretary he'd hired; a calico cat with gorgeous brown eyes and a heart of gold, miss Lorelei Baker. He was headed out of his office one day, fighting with an umbrella. Lorelei walked over to him. "You're heading home early, Mr. Drago." She said, smiling up at him. "Are you seeing someone for Valentine's Day?" She asked, winking and nudging his shoulder. He shook his head. "Afraid not, Lorelei, just done for the day. No new clients, cases are still running."
"You're telling me you haven't got a date for tonight?"
"Well, if I'm honest, it's impolite to ask someone on the day where I'm from, comes off as rushed." He winked. "Up here, though, I'm not s'sure." He buttoned up his jacket. The rain outside had reduced itself to a very slight drizzle, so his hat would be enough to keep it out. Lorelei furrowed a brow. "And how come you didn't ask this girl before today, hmm?"
Dom smiled warmly, and held his hat behind his back, leaning a little closer to Lorelei. "Cause you've been out of the office all week, Lorelei Baker." Lorelei blushed and looked down, smiling and hiding a giggle behind her hand. "Well, Mister Drago-"
"Dom will do, ma'am."
"I'd love to go anywhere with you. Well, anywhere that isn't outside?"
"I could make us some dinner? I'm sure every restaurant is booked, I cook better than most of them anyhow."
"Steaks?" She said, a smug look on her face. Dominic laughed. "It's the accent gives it away, ain't it?"
"Sure is." She held his hand and walked with him to his place. They ate, and it became a routine of theirs. Eventually, she would walk home from the office sporting a ring on her hand. That all changed when Dom decided to join the Revenuers.
When prohibition hit, Dom knew that there would be more money as a revenuer. He didn't want to do it, but he had a family to support now. He had a wife and 2 kids, twins, Elias and Lyla. He worked long, hard hours at a job he didn't quite like, and he wasn't even allowed to drink anymore. He hated it, and of course, things got strained. Lorelei and he would fight. He rarely even saw the kids. He felt like a deadbeat even though he worked 60 hour weeks. He needed a change. He wished things could be the way they used to be, back before all these changes, back to his favorite day of the year-the day he got Lorelei, the day he married her 2 years later, the day his children were born a year after that.
February the 14th. Valentine's day.