|Codename||The Six Shooter|
|First Appearance||PDSH, 2009|
Phoenix Summerdale, A.K.A. The Six Shooter and The Six-Shot Kid, is an open source character created by Simon Kirby for the Landmark RPG, a tribute to the "masked gunslinger" genre of the 1950s. Initially depicted as a devil-may-care outlaw in search of adventure, he eventually made his way east to Chamberlain City, where his narrative took on a considerably darker tone. In his penultimate story arc, Phoenix joined forces with The Night Raiders to combat demonic forces stalking the back streets of Radcliffe.
Little is known of Phoenix Summerdale's early childhood, though his family was said to hail from New England. At some point, the Summerdales relocated to a sleepy little town called Sundown Creek, where Phoenix found work as stockhand at The Long Forty. The youngest of three brothers, he was already an accomplished wrangler by the age of fourteen. Under the tutelage of ranch manager Deke "Shamus" Reckland, he excelled with the use of various firearms, particularly the repeating rifle and the single-action revolver. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, the Summerdale boys ran off to join the Union Army; all three were immediately transferred to the cavalry due to their advanced equestrian skills. All three served with distinction for nearly four years, by which time Phoenix had risen to the rank of commander due to his innate leadership qualities. He was granted a compassionate discharge after his brothers went missing in action during Wilson's Raid.
With peace finally restored, Phoenix eventually returned to Sundown Creek, only to discover that the community was being terrorized by a gang of ex-confederate outlaws. Outraged by the threat to his family - but unwilling to risk their lives - Phoenix donned a red mask and a blue cavalry uniform, riding off alone to confront the bushwhackers. Driving them over the border with his trusty colt revolvers, he earned local fame as the "six shot kid", a nickname he accepted with a considerable degree of pride.
Growing bored in Sundown Creek, Phoenix packed his saddle bags and drifted slowly across the territory in search of gold and excitement. Operating under the name "Six Shooter", he made his living from horse back, hunting thieves, rustlers and desperadoes for the reward money. Garnering an impressive reputation as both a gunslinger and a trick shot, he roamed from town to town, occasionally working outside the law when the rules needed bending. Making his way across the Mississippi, he ran afoul of several US Marshal and found himself wanted in four different states. Around this point, Phoenix decided it might be a good time to turn East and head towards Chamberlain City.
Touching down on the west side of Chamberlain, Phoenix joined the Pandemonium Circus and Traveling Theatre, exploiting his prowess as a stunt-rider. It was during this time he first encountered Ezra Slade Jr, aka The Chamberlain Kid, who had joined the show some months earlier. The two hit it off almost immediately due to their shared enthusiasm for pistols, poker and "purdy ladies." Within a few weeks, the two had fought side by side during the shoot-out at The Longhorn Tavern, forging a friendship which would literally change history. As time went by, Phoenix tried to clean up his act, repressing his hair-trigger impulses and allowing his easy-going 'pardner' to keep him out of trouble.
Despite his best efforts in this regard, Phoenix soon came to the attention of Sheriff John Faraway (The Pistoleer) who considered him little more than a hot-tempered trouble-maker. The two almost came to blows after Faraway confronted him outside the Longhorn Tavern. Fortunately, Ezra stepped in to smooth things over, narrowly avoiding a conflict which might have ended with either antagonist dead in the street. Impressed by The Kid's disarming manner, Faraway later offered him a job as Chief Deputy in the Radcliffe District Sheriff's Department. After some smoothly-worded negotiations, Phoenix was also granted the position of Assistant Lawman, thereby founding the earliest incarnation of The Night Raiders. Despite some initial friction between Faraway and Summerdale, all three dedicated themselves to cleaning out the Docklands, driving the criminal element into hiding almost overnight. As Phoenix gradually matured, he began to respect Faraway for his toughness and integrity, eventually pledging his loyalty to the older man, come "hell or high water."
As later events hastened to prove, Phoenix received considerably more than he'd bargained for.
With the re-emergence of The Deathspeaker in 1868, Senator Earl Makepeace petitioned Sheriff John Faraway to track down and apprehend the elusive vigilante. Although Faraway considered the Deathspeaker little more than an old wives' tale, he nonetheless decided to investigate rumors of skullduggery out on The Westside. According to his informants, women and children had been disappearing off the streets, suggesting the presence of a major kidnapping ring. Suspecting he'd need back up for this particular mission, Faraway called on his two most trusted lieutenants, and The Night Raiders rode for Gallows Hill.
Their investigation led to Willowgrove Cemetery, where they were suddenly ambushed by a gang of maverick veterans - twenty-three gaunt figures in tattered grey uniforms. Despite clearly overwhelming odds, the Raiders opened fire on the advancing mob, and were astonished to discover that their weapons had absolutely no effect. In the ensuing struggle, The Kid suffered critical injuries and The Shooter was crippled by a slug through the thigh. Realizing they were now in serious trouble, Faraway ordered retreat to a ruined mausoleum, where they found themselves surrounded by hostiles on all sides. With their backs literally against the wall, the Raiders prepared to go out with all barrels blazing.
At that moment, The Deathspeaker materialized out of the darkness, twin flintlocks thundering in the night.
As Phoenix watched in mute disbelief, the Speaker cut down the enemy with fire and steel, leaving their bullet-riddled corpses scattered throughout the tombstones. The man they'd been ordered to capture had just saved their lives, then - without even a glance in their direction - vanished back into the shadows. For one of the few times in his life, Phoenix Summerdale was struck speechless - everything he'd just witnessed defied all credibility, and if not for the painful wound in his leg, he would've believed he was in the grip of some deranged nightmare.
It seemed absolutely crazy, but these "mercenaries" had been revenants - animated corpses returned from the grave. Phoenix recognized some of them from the shootout at The Longhorn Tavern a few months back. Hell, he'd even sent their filthy, ex-confederate souls to hell himself. Somehow, they'd come back, risen from the dead to stalk the living. That was utterly impossible, yet the evidence was right there before his eyes.
As Phoenix desperately tried to staunch The Kid's injuries, a single thought crossed his mind, over and over again: I don't care how much they're payin' me: I never signed up for this!
While Phoenix recovered from his leg wound, he seriously considered turning in his badge and getting the hell out of Chamberlain. He weren't no coward; he'd faced horror upon horror during the Civil War and stood his ground against some of the most overwhelming odds known to man. But squaring off against walking cadavers was way out of his league. The only reason he hadn't skipped town already was that his best friend was fighting for his life out at Chamberlain City Mission - The Kid was still in critical condition, and no one was really sure whether he was going to pull through or not, not even the eternally optimistic Father Byrne. Yeah, The Padre was a good man, tending The Kid's needs literally round the clock, but not even he could say when - or if - Ezra would come out of his coma. Given the circumstances, Phoenix decided he had to wait until Ezra was out of the woods...he owed him that much at the very least.