Oh, yeah, and just so you understand something else that I didn't maybe explain so well? And that's that the place here, it's kind of contested territory.

No, no one's trying to steal it, really... hey, lemme put it this way, the Legions might all be on the same side, but at the same time the seven ones who get to vote on stuff... they all got different ideas on how things ought to be run.

Perfect example that I should have touched on just a moment ago if I wasn't getting maudlin: just after the indian war was over, by our calling it quits anyway, the Overlord of the Skeletal Legion got this idea in his head that he's the most qualified person there and ought to be in charge of things. The Grims and the Skeletals weren't neck and
neck at the time, of course, but their numbers were still pretty close. It hadn't helped that a lot of the Grim's armies had been lost during the war, so the time was kind of right. See, this guy Stygia sent in, Overlord Fallon, he figured "Ah, no one else likes the Grims either, so as soon as I jump up and say 'I should be Imperial Governor! Follow
me' I'll have an instant fan club." Right?

Wrong. Double-dead wrong. Poor sucker hadn't even finished writing his acceptance speech before he found out that every other Legion in town, including the Legion of Fate, were not taken with the idea at all. It must have been a really rude wake-up, and I'm sure he'd have had something to say about it if he hadn't been caught breaking the big
DM and carted away home to get dealt with.

And yes, you're right, he probably hadn't done what they said he did, either, but that's what happens when you rock the boat. Everyone liked running their own show and wanted to keep it that way, and that's still the way it is.

Okay, 1900 rolls around and there's maybe thirty Quick living in the Valley, not including the natives. Business in the Shadowlands has slowed down to a crawl since there's hardly any Indians to smelt anymore, and the wagon trains are getting safer and less risky so there's less people dying in them. Right about then the Hierarchy's wondering what to do with all the folks hanging around here, and what to do with the tempest fortress - still not named, by the way -- and the cohorts stationed here. For a while it was looking like they were going to drag the thing back to Stygia and make the locals take everything up here down to the Citadel.

Just then, Las Vegas gets a reprieve of sorts. Seems there's these two railroad companies duking it out over how to get people from the Plains to the West Coast by train, and who's going to be the one to do it. 1901, while they're waiting for a court to decide who's got first dibs, they both send prospectors out to look at the lay of the land. Of course, a dumb fight breaks out and there's fists and shovels flying at ground zero. Charming, huh?

One thing that both companies can agree on, though, is that they want the line to go through Las Vegas. Same reasons the US Government wanted to put a road here and the same ones the Mormons had for setting up shop here: water. And, of course, you got the old fort, which, under Mrs. Stewart's ownership, is up to 2000 fenced acres of farmland.

Both companies wanted to buy her out, and one got the drop on the other but forfeited the rights for some weird reason. Later, the two companies got some common sense and made some deals, and the other company bought the ranch and the rights to put the railroad through. That was 1902, and by 1904 the railroad was crawling right through

Once that little deal hit Stygia's ears, they decided to keep the fortress right where it was and split up the cohorts. Some of 'em went back to wherever they'd come from in the first place, and some of 'em stayed in case the Dark Kingdom of Flint made a surprise visit. That never happened and still hasn't happened yet, but, like I said, you ask any of the old timers...

Ah, I'm gum-mashing. Jimmy?

Ah, thank you. 1904. As the rails were laid down a whole, moving tent city sprang up around them. This city would pick itself up and keep moving every so often as the rails got further and further along. That Summer, on the West side of town, a tent settlement - as opposed to a moving city - popped up and called itself Las Vegas. That tent
town was the property of one J.T. McWilliams. Helen Stewart had hired him to survey the boundaries of her ranch back in 1902 when she was fixing to sell it to the railroad, and McWilliams liked what he saw and decided to stick around. There were 80 acres on one side of where the railroad tracks were supposed to be and he filed on it as soon as he could.

The railroad ran by it later that year, 1904, and the rail kept going and going like two jackrabbits doin' the lie-down tango. The new settlement continued to thrive even without the railroaders right there to patronize it, though. This was because there was a new mining area called Bullfrog about 120 miles Northwest, and Las Vegas made a
great place to trade the freight from one wagon train onto another. Before long there were about a dozen gambling halls and saloons, a couple restaurants, even a meat market or two. No, not talking about the hookers... but I'm sure they were around.

By that time there were 150 buildings either up or going up, and plans for an icehouse, too. Everyone on the West side knew that the railroad was going to want to set up its own town, and no one knew for sure what they were going to call it since Las Vegas was already taken. But for the time being things were going great and, in January of 1905, the first honest-to-goodness, corporately-recognized train from LA to Las Vegas rumbled on through.

A little later, the railroad surveyors came along with stakes and started marking lots for the town the railroad wanted to set up on the other side of the tracks. This is about when McWilliams thought he was going to really strike it rich. You see, there'd been a slight mistake somewhere when the lines were being laid, and some of the property
McWilliams owned was cut through by the railroad. He didn't say anything at the time. Then, one morning he looked out and he saw that the surveyors are putting stakes that small corner of his property, not realizing who really owns it, and guess what they're getting ready to put there? The ice house!

So McWilliams saw this and, instead of doing what any sensible guy would do and telling them to stop, he let them continue. He figured he'd wait until they were almost done, and then go tell the railroad they'd screwed up and try to weasel some money out of them. After all, they wouldn't just stop work and abandon it, would they? By then
he was in a real neck and neck publicity race with the folks on the East side, trying to attract people to his side of the rails.

Around then, Las Vegas had a lot of firsts. The first newspapers, the first banks. They even get their first swimming pool at the Ranch, which had been turned into a "retreat" for Las Vegas folks who needed to relax. They`d dammed the creek up, you see. And there were all sorts of people showing up all the time, either taking advantage of what was on the West side of the tracks or getting ready to start buying the property on the East side that the railroad company was setting up.

Then the plans changed a little. Up until then the people had been paying money to lay claim to lots. It got to be May 8th, when the lots were supposed to be given out to the people who'd paid the money, but the railroad said it wasn't ready yet. Then some guy at the railroad decided to get nice and touchy-feely and figured an auction would be the fairest way to divy up the place. It could have caused a riot, but the folks who'd been waiting were so thirsty...

Ah, thanks, Jimmy, read my mind? So thirsty for any kind of movement that they thought it was going to be great fun. That was May 12th, and the auction itself got underway on May 15th. And that day is, more or less, the day that Las Vegas was founded as a town.

The lots went real quick and people paid through the nose for them, gladly too. The only real hitch was that except for a single block, Block 16, there was a no liquor clause in all the deeds, which meant the only legal saloons were the ones on block 16. The only other people who could have liquor sold on site were hotels and restaurants.

What that koo-koo idea was doing in a town West of the Mississippi I have no damned idea, but the railroad was pretty strict about it. If they caught you, the deed was reverted back to them and you were out of money and on your ass. The only way to get around it was to make a saloon and have one or two rentals and call it a hotel. I think
they only ever called one person on it and the trial was a misfire all around.

Okay, back to a funny story. Right about then Mr. McWilliams decided it was time to go play his get-rich-quick card. He waited for two weeks after the auction and then went to LA to meet with the railroad officials. He showed them the documents proving he had claim to the land and asked for $5000 for it.

You know what they did? First they hit the roof. They were just furious, both with their own surveyors for screwing up and with McWilliams for trying to screw them over. And then, after they'd sunk $10,000 into improvements on the place, they packed up their construction crews and started building a new one somewhere else in town. The
incomplete icehouse sat there and was cannibalized for parts by the new one.

So McWilliams was the one who got screwed, and that was sort of a inkling of treats to come. After the auction, a lot of businesses skipped over the train tracks to get to the "real" Las Vegas. The hotel, the surviving newspaper... I think the only really thriving business that stayed was the bakery because their ovens were too damn heavy to move! A couple fires took out some tents and the town theater, and by that time everyone was calling old Las Vegas "Ragtown." It still did a fair clip of business, of course, but nothing like it had.

That June there was a fire that wound up burning down four buildings and almost catching one of the banks, too. A volunteer fire department got in the running after that, and the buildings kept going up all over the place. There were also a lot of flea-infested bums all over the place who'd been led to believe you could find gold laying in the streets, and from how fast it was going up you'd think there was. Some people thought it was going to be bigger than near any town in the area, but others from outside knew that it was probably going to settle down and lose some of its spunk. I mean, there's a railroad here..., so what? You need something else to draw people in and a railroad ain't quite it for long.

Come the next month, the nay-sayers got proved right. Some businesses lost the ghost... pardon the phrase... and gave up. That and the roads between here and Bullfrog were so crappy, and wouldn't you know the railroads could take the freight up somewhere closer and unload there? So old Las Vegas got screwed again.

By Summer the railroad had made good on its word to make East Las Vegas' roads better than just wheel-ruts in the dirt. They made 'em all level and laid down gravel, put cement curbs in the business areas, and, more importantly, put pipes in under all the lots. So now they had water coming straight to them instead of having to go get it themselves. They also had fire hydrants on most corners, which was damned important.

And then, speaking of which, the street in old Las Vegas that ran right by the railroad - appropriately named "Railroad Street" - went up in flames. That was bad news for McWilliams, but it was good news for Block 16 because, after Railroad Street went up, Block 16 was the only real place to get lit up anymore. The red light district was about a block away, to answer your earlier question.

So, if you were coming into Las Vegas from the North you'd see all that and think "God Damn, this is a party town." But once you got past that you'd see that all was just a little island of good oldfashioned sin in a big sea of honest shopkeepers and sour-faced Yankees who tought dancing too close was right up there on the seven deadlies with murder and screwing your mom.

Ah, lesse... the first schoohouse was in 1905, can't forget that! 1906 they got power. 1907 they got an opera house that kept falling down when they were trying to build it, and then it went up in flames in 1912. Yeah... it's right across the street if you want to go catch a performance. Las Vegas went through the same panic everyone else did in 1907 when the nation's finances went a little weak in the knees, but the local banks didn't dry up so everything was just fine.

And, most important of all, by that time the town had grown from only thirty residents in 1900 to... damn, I think it was 1200 honest folks and a hundred vagrants and transients... ah, that's a fancy word for some asshole on a horse who's just passing through but decides to stay for a while longer than usual.

Whatever. Important thing is that, on this side of things, there was Juice for everybody and new recruits coming in. Buildings that got lost to fire were coming over, being disassembled down in the Shadowlands and then reassembled on the platform, so we were growing. Before too long every Legion had an actual building to hang their hat in instead of some big, moaning tent, and the foundries had something between them and the storms outside.

The platform was situated in such a way as to connect us up with the River of Death, outside, so we had river-based byway traffic coming through all the time. We made a good stopover point for ships coming to LA or other points thataway... I'd say West but directions aren't for shit in the Tempest, you know... and the same for ships going the other way. People would just show up, dock their boat, and leave the thralls in the hold while they went out of the Port to go out on the town and party.

Now, right about then was when a fairly stable land-based byway hooked up beside us. Byways are kind of weird: sometimes they float all over the place and you can never quite pin down where they'll mosey except that they start in one place and end at another, and sometimes they're as solid as a rock. It just so happened a caravan of relic wagons was going from Salt Lake City to LA and had been attacked by Spectres, and they were trying their darnest to shake them off but having no luck, and them half-way from one spot to the other they weren't going to get any help.

Just then one of them saw that our tempest platform was moving closer and closer on the left side, and somehow... I'm not sure how this was done or doable because I'm no Angel, if you get my drift... he made the byway shift its position right over to our backside and stay there. Someone on our side of things saw this happening and what was happening and called up one of the cohorts, and they flew out to go kick the Spectres back to shit central, or wherever they came from in the first place.

It turned out that the wagon train was escorting a few Chancellors from the LA Necropolis who'd been coming back from Stygia, and they were, of course, very grateful to all involved. No one would own up to moving the byway, of course, and some smart-ass made the comment it must have been the "reach of Dame Fortune Herself" that saved their asses.

"Luck's Reach," in other words. The name stuck like dogshit after that.