Dragons 2: The Resurrection
Marshall Jefferson Tucker
Marshall (Marsh to his friends) Jefferson Tucker was born a 7th son to a 7th son. One of 11 children of Benjamin and Abagail Tucker. His father Benjamin was a hard man, prone to extreme mood swings. He was also an expert horse breeder and shrewd businessman. Abagail was a worldly and educated woman from Philadelphia whose presence kept the worst of Benjamin’s emotional issues at bay and away from the children.
Growing up on a farm in the rolling hills of northwestern Virginia, Marsh learned the value of hard work from his dad and the gifts of an educated mind from his mom. Young Marsh’s dream was to follow in the footsteps of his older brothers and soldier for his personal idol – General Robert E. Lee. Having grown up and learning from his mother that slavery was wrong, his dreams were shattered when General Lee sided with the Confederacy. Three of the four older brothers who went on to fight with the Confederates died. The fourth brother Charleton, two years his senior, came home minus a right arm.
On June 20, 1863 the new state of West Virginia was admitted to the Union. On the next day, against the expressed wishes of his father Marsh joined a group of over two dozen men who rode out to join the 1st Alabama Calvary Regiment. The 1st Alabama was a unit composed entirely of Southerners loyal to the Union. This regiment would become General Sherman’s personal escort on his infamous ‘March to the Sea’.
Marsh’s career as a soldier shone brightly. His bravery, leadership and luck caused his fellow soldiers to rally around his booming voice on the battlefield such that he and they would survive battles and injuries that would kill and cripple many a lesser man. Yet for all the battlefield glory and the solidarity of his fellow warriors the atrocities he witnessed on Sherman’s March to the Sea left deep scars on his psyche. By the end of the war, Marsh was a deeply conflicted man, unprepared for the return home.
Life at the farm had changed and not for the better. While out soldiering his mother had died during the birth of his fourth sister, Daisy. Upon his return, between his Father’s ever growing anger and his brother Charleton’s bitterness, Marsh found no welcome. And so on one late spring day he rode off seeking shelter for his troubled soul. Over the years he drifted further westward drawn by the expanding frontier.
The year of 1870 found Marsh working construction on the Denver Pacific railway link to the transcontinental railroad. By July of that year with the project completed he found himself at loose ends in Denver. It was here that he met and befriended Pei Mai Bao.
Pei was a young Chinese man from San Francisco who was in Denver in search of a man who had stolen from his family. As friendship and trust grew between them, Marsh learned the full story from Pei: the man he was looking for was one Sir Barton Finnerman, a very minor British noble, complete cad and all around scoundrel. He was also an evil sorcerer with an affinity for toad-like demons. Finnerman had stolen a small statuette that Pei’s family had been entrusted with – a 5 inch high carving, a Jade Monkey. Pei explained that the spirits of his ancestors told him that Finnerman would come to Denver. At first Marsh just brushed off Pei’s talk of magic and such. But in hanging around with him he saw some strange stuff and the night he watched Finnerman ride in to Denver he became a believer when a giant toad demon swallowed whole some poor sap that had a beef with the Brit. Finnerman settled into Denver quickly, taking over a gambling house and buying a gang of thugs. He quickly grew a reputation as bad man to mess around with. So naturally Marsh couldn’t let his friend go after this villian alone. When the dust settled Finnerman lay dying as his gambling house burnt down around him, his gang of toughs broken and running for the hills and Marsh and Pei high tailing it out of Denver bruised and bleeding from countless wounds with the Jade Monkey in hand enroute to San Francisco.
The City By the Bay seemed a perfect fit for Marsh’s new home: a vibrant and growing town, new and good friends – Pei’s family promised eternal gratitude for his help in returning the Jade Monkey to them – and love. Marsh fell hard for Lei Mei Bao, Pei’s beautiful sister and was shocked to find she felt the same for him. But their happiness was to be short lived, for unbeknownst to them vengeance stalked the streets of San Francisco – Sir Nigel Finnerman, Barton’s twin brother had come searching for his killers.
Sir Nigel was a much more capable and thoughtful villian. Upon tracking down his targets he reached out to Lo Pan, San Francisco’s sorcerous overlord and struck a deal with him before unleashing hell on his brother’s killers. Legions of demons stalked the streets that dark night. Lei’s family was destroyed but not before spiriting her away through a mystic portal to…
Marsh left for dead by Sir Nigel in the ruins of his adopted family’s home over hears Finnerman’s vow to track Lei down and make her and her unborn child pay…