Seven, Cassius, Tara and Nicholas followed the trail into Eminence. Eminence was a decent sized town with a central business district surrounded by a hodge-podge of houses. The center of town boasted such businesses as a hardware store, grocery, blacksmith and hotel, among others.
The four of them entered the hotel and were amazed by the abundance of stylized wood and marble. They walked up to the front desk, got their rooms then went upstairs.
Seven laid down on a bed and put his hands behind his head. "So any idea when we're going to get to the next sign?" he asked.
"I don't know," Cassius began. "My visions about the next sign have become less and less clear. I'm seeing a tall building but its standing alone in a field. I also see flames and am hearing something to do with an elephant."
"An elephant?" Nicholas laughed. "Not going to see too many of those around here."
"But we are going the right way, right?" Seven asked.
"I know we are supposed to come to Eminence but after that things get...hard to see," Cassius explained.
"Well, I hope they become clearer because there are only two more signs until we get to Shmand and I can't wait to get there," Seven said.
Across the street from the hotel, in the town hall, Lucas Bond spoke to a roomful of angry citizens. "The title of county seat was ours up until yesterday. Ravanna only won by 32 votes, which makes this being a fair election highly unlikely. Eminence is more established, has more businesses and a larger population," Bond said. The crowd agreed. "While the state takes its time investigating voter fraud, Eminence is slowly being abandoned for Ravanna."
"What should we do?" someone in the crowd shouted.
"I say we go to Ravanna and take back what's rightfully ours!" Bond yelled. The crowd cheered and applauded.
"Eminence Vs. Ravanna, Part One"
Eminence was established several years ago along the Westward Trail and Sequoyah Trail and quickly became a powerful force in trail traffic as it was the only major town in a 50-mile radius, possibly more. Eminence was a shoo-in for county seat and a major railroad until Ravanna came in.
Ravanna, established five miles west of Eminence on the Westward Trail, immediately began usurping business from Eminence. In a show of defiance, Ravanna applied to the state for money to build a courthouse. The state approved and gave Ravanna free reign to construct a courthouse. One month and $3,000 later, a gorgeous three-story sandstone courthouse, complete with a three foot attic space and a cupola adorning the roof.
A week later, the county seat election was held and Ravanna won. The votes were recounted four times, all in Ravanna's favor. Eminence refused to turn over the court records so people from Ravanna just came in and took them. Almost a week had gone by and Eminence was ready to fight back. They appealed to the state but it could take months for someone to get out there.
The Eminence county commissioners, the town alderman and a small group of concerned businessmen and citizens met this night to decide what to do. When the moon was high in the night sky, they left the town hall and began heading toward Ravanna.
Seven's eyes slowly opened and he vaguely heard a commotion outside in the streets. He got out of bed and saw the group of people heading out of the town hall. He ran downstairs and outside and joined the group.
"What's going on?" he asked one of the men in the back of the crowd.
"We're going to Ravanna and we're going to take back what is ours," the man replied.
They reached Ravanna quicker than Seven thought they would. Ravanna was completely silent. The courthouse dominated the area as the rest of Ravanna was reminiscent of a shanty town.
The group was able to easily get into the courthouse and began busting down office doors and retrieving county records and files. Seven helped stack the boxes and was startled when some of the Ravanna townspeople suddenly appeared.
"What's going on?" one asked.
"We're taking back what's ours," Bond said, stepping up to the crowd.
"You're from Eminence," another said.
Bond nodded. Another man came up behind him and tapped Bond on the shoulder. "We got everything."
"Do it," Bond said.
Flames erupted inside the courthouse and some men from Eminence cheered. As the Ravanna citizens rushed to save their courthouse, the men from Eminence took the county files and headed back to Eminence.
Seven was in shock and lagged behind the rest of the group and he tried to watch as the townspeople of Ravanna tried to put out the fire.
When they got back to the Eminence town hall, Seven confronted Lucas Bond. "What the hell was that?" he yelled. "You already had the county papers. Why'd you set fire to their courthouse?" Seven demanded.
"To make sure their chance at regaining the county seat are destroyed. To guarantee Eminence's survival we had to burn down the Great White Elephant," Bond said.
"Someone could've gotten hurt," Seven said.
"But no one did. I made sure of it."
Seven angrily turned and walked out of the town hall and headed back across the street to the hotel. "Stop!" someone spoke. Seven stopped and looked where the voice came from. A boy, just slightly younger than Seven stood in the street, pointing a gun at Seven. "Any last words?"