Deadlands - Emma Canton
Emma Canton was born in Odessa, Texas, and that's where she had figured to stay her life out, sweeping out the Golden Eagle Saloon that her cousins owned and slowly growing old. Of course, life has a way of changing when you're the sort of person that weird events seem to cling to like white cat hair on a black dress.
Just as she was starting to get it through her head around the age of 15 that perhaps one too many coincidences really was one too many coincidences, Sam Bass walked through the doors of the Golden Eagle. He wasn't conspicuous ... in fact, if he hadn't stuck his cane out for her to trip over, she might not have noticed him over at the poker table at all. But trip she did, bark her shin she did, and curse him out roundly she would have done had he not grabbed her chin, stared her in the eyes, and asked her what the hell she was doing in a place like this. Somehow, something in his gaze told her he wasn't trying some old line—he genuinely meant it.
And a little bit into chatting with the batty old geezer had her wondering what the hell he was doing here, either.
Sam had some grand ideas, to be sure—train her up in his huckstering ways, take her with him on his travels. What with her little powers being a little too hot, he said, it'd be a shame to leave her puttering around the Golden Eagle, if not downright dangerous. Emma just nodded and went home that night to pack. Leaving was one of those things that'd never quite worked its way into her mind before, but be damned if she was going to let a chance pass her by.
Of course, as the pair of them found out within a town or two, all the hexing power in the world doesn't help you at the poker table if you just don't have the touch. Beating a manitou at the game seemed to be one thing for Emma... beating a table full of gamblers seemed to be quite another. If she wasn't losing, then she was somehow managing to piss off the other players badly enough to cause her and Sam to hot-foot it out of town more than a couple times. After the fifth time that someone started shooting at them for no reason before the cards were even dealt, she wasn't too surprised that Sam ran a different way out of town than her. A note in her bag apologized, Sorry, dear—you're a tad more trouble to have around than it's worth for someone in my profession. You'll never make a huckster with that table jinx of yours; best if you head back to Odessa and keep yourself mum right into a quiet little non-poker playing life of your own. Regards, S.
Going home didn't sound all that palatable, but it was a destination, and so Emma meandered her way back. Only problem was, she didn't just meander... she played along the way. Or tried to; town after town ran her out with varying levels of hostility as her jinx persisted. Persist she did, though, fool girl that she was, little realizing how ill-advised a thing it is to leave a string of towns behind your back screaming "Witch!" to the authorities. It wasn't until she made it back to Odessa to find Pastor Grey waiting with an exorcism just for her (it didn't seem to bother him too much that she was his younger half-sister—a witch is a witch is a witch, and witches need their spotty souls sent on to Jesus no matter who their mothers were) that it began to sink in that perhaps this whole hexing thing wasn't the best thing to be wearing on your sleeve like a new ribbon.
Amazing the perspective that sleeping in ditches on the run from being strung up will give you.
Being as she'd already pretty much spread her face across the west of Texas, though, she wasn't too surprised when a trio of riders startled hustling up on her unfriendly fast about two weeks out of Odessa. By that time, perspective had been sacrificed to hunger and thirst, and with a sigh, she consigned her soul to whatever was listening, and sat down on a rock.
Two of the riders stopped a ways away, and trained a set of rifles on her. The third rode straight up, and as Emma looked up at him, he tipped his hat to her.
"Evenin', Miss. Ted Crowley, Texas Ranger. I think we need to have a conversation."