“Skylar was a mean-spirited son-of-a-bitch, but he’s also a legend,” said Renny. “If you’ve awakened anyone or anything, I’m not sure he’d be my first choice.”

“How exactly do you get to be both a mean-spirited son-of-a-bitch and a legend?”

“Well, he ran a big ranch that he carved out of Arapho lands even before they were officially opened up to settlement. He ran that place like a Swiss watch, and people made good money, but he was brutal to anybody that crossed him, whether it was an Indian trying to hunt on their own lands or a farmhand showing up to work drunk. Wasn’t afraid to dirty his own hands in running the ranch, too, which I think a bunch of folks respected even if they couldn’t stand him. Skylar ran into an Arapho warband during the big war with the Sioux, in ’76. He said they were on his land, they said they were just passing through. Band found itself slaughtered by Skylar and his boys, but he made a mistake: one of the Arapho boys survived a bullet in the back.”

“What happened next?”

“Well, ’76 was not the time to be pissing off the Arapho. This was around the time Custer was making the same mistake with the Sioux, you see. They decided they’d had just about enough of this mean old white boy on their land, so they sent about two hundred braves to kill him. Skylar’s boys abandoned him, so he fought them single-handedly from his ranch house. They got him, of course; no man stands up to two hundred, especially when they have repeaters. But he took damn near fifty of the Arapho with him, and they actually buried him and considered his scalp to be a high token. Skylar was a bastard, but he owned it and wasn’t afraid to put himself on the line for his bad decisions.”

“And that’s the spirit you think we’ve been seeing?”

“Like I said,” Renny shrugged. “I hope not. For your sake.”

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