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Sagas of the Wild West
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Captives


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Benjamin had the same thoughts as some of his soldiers and his young officer. What were those young boys doing out here during a time like this? It was a real risk to come riding out in the direction of an Indian raid with kids. But it wasn't his place to be lecturing civilians. And at least the man seemed a decent sort, offering what aid he could to the troops.

 

"Sir we have some food, water, blankets.  We can take a few in the back of the  wagon too ."

 

"Good of you to offer. I was just about to tell you that I would be comandeering your wagon to transport our wounded. Now that you offered, I will accept," Barlow nodded.

 

The man moved on toward Addy and they had a quick greeting then conversation. Barlow felt good that this was the outcome of their expedition, a successful rescue of two women but that was tempered by the deaths of two of his troopers and a couple of others seriously wounded. It could have worse though.

 

Caroline had barely said a word on this slow journey back toward civilization and that was unusual for the normally outgoing chatty young woman. But she was not in her element, she was sore and exhausted just thankful that both she and Addy had survived. She also worried about young Lt. Greene, she knew enough about wounds to realize he still could die if his wound got infected.  Finally she was so damn thirsty for a drink - not water...the troopers had canteens and she drank from one but that wasn't liquor. No alcohol for some time and it was affecting her both mentally and physically.

 

She listened to Addy and her brother, heard the remark about sitting on a wagon seat instead of this horse (on a more mundane level, her butt was sore from all this riding, she was a city girl to the core).

 

"I'd like that but not if I have to take a seat away from somebody else," she commented but then let Addy converse.

 

 

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Riding out on either side of the column, looking for sign and finding none fresher than days ago, both MacIntosh and Ke-Ni-Tay kept to the task. There were more ways for a war party to shadow the column than up close, so each spread out further from the thine of blue coats and then doubled back, came in closer, and then farther out again.

 

Simply riding ahead to the column was what they would do on their way, but after contact with hostiles, they fanned out looking for ambushes. Perhaps they had beaten back their first encounter with the Arapaho, that was no guarantee that they could return unmolested! Both men saw the wagon approach, neither liked the idea much, but they would simply stick to their task.

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Greene heard the Captain's order and started organising the moving of the wounded to the wagon. He must have looked somewhat imperious doing so from horseback, not dismounting to oversee the operation, but his wound wouldn't allow any other course of action. If he'd gotten off of his horse at that juncture, he'd have had to join the other wounded in the wagon, and he still had some pride! Especially in front of the ruffled and dirty, but still beautiful, Miss Mundee.

 

In fact, he approached Caroline now. 

 

"Say, would you rather go in the wagon, Caroline?" he asked her. 

 

"I'd like that but not if I have to take a seat away from somebody else," she commented but then let Addy converse.

 

"You wouldn't, you'd be providing a welcome distraction for those men in pain." he smiled. "I don't know if you know anything about nursing, but just having their brows mopped by a beautiful woman will make the journey easier for them." 

 

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Once Isiah got his sister down off that horse he held her tightly as she hid her face in his shoulder.  He kissed the top of her head. "You're safe now." He promised her in a whisper and then started to help her to the wagon.  "Don't be cross with me, but I couldn't tell the boy no." He said as he motioned towards the wagon and an anxious Weedy that was waiting to greet her.  "I'da never brought him if I hadn't got word that you were safe and OK." He knew it wasn't the best decision he'd ever made to bring them on this trip, but there won't no way he could leave the boy behind knowing everyone was safe.  

 

He understood the Captain would need the wagon and anything on it that they could use and he was glad that he'd offered before Captain Barlow had to issue his order to take it.  Being in the war himself he knew how valuable the things they'd brought along with them were to these men, Addy and Caroline.  

 

As he helped Addy to the wagon he address the Captain again. "Whatever service I can be of, sir, just tell me what to do." He said to the man.  Once he would get Addy settled where she wanted to be he would go back for the other woman, Caroline he assumed, and help her to get on as well, not considering her riding the horse any longer or taking anyone else's seat.  The ladies would be first and then the wounded.  

 

@Javia @Wayfarer @Bongo @Flip

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"I'm going to get down and help with the supplies," Weedy told Josh.  He knew well enough to stay close to the wagon, and wasn't intimidated by the horses.  "You can pass the things down to me, all right?"  He knew Josh wanted to help, too, and it was better for him to stay in the wagon, out of the way.  "Just a minute."

 

First, he ran over and gave Miss Addy a huge hug, not for his own comfort, of course, but for her...she'd been through a lot, right? and needed reassurance.

 

"Me and Josh are getting food and water from the wagon," he explained, "I bet you're real hungry!"

 

"I am!"  Addy hugged the boy back, then glanced at her brother.  "I can ride th' Indian pony, just so long's I don't gotta walk too much until I got boots on!"  Ugg!  She hated having to break in new boots!  "Why don't ya hand around th' supplies from Weedy?"  Not that she didn't trust the kid to stay out of the way, but she'd feel better if he stayed right there by the wagon, and Isiah could pass out food and water.

 

"I'll help get th' wounded settled."  She hadn't yet let herself contemplate on the human toll that had been paid to rescue her and Caroline...there'd be time for that later.

 

@Javia @Wayfarer @Flip @MD

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"You wouldn't, you'd be providing a welcome distraction for those men in pain." the lieutenant smiled. "I don't know if you know anything about nursing, but just having their brows mopped by a beautiful woman will make the journey easier for them." 

 

"Fine, but I'm shit at any sort of medical help. Wasn't cut out to be a nurse. Honestly, anything so I don't have to sit on another horse....like forever,"  Caroline agreed.

 

***

"Whatever service I can be of, sir, just tell me what to do," the man once more was trying to do the right thing.

 

"Good, now git those boys off the wagon and my men will load our seriously wounded onto the back. You wouldn't want the boys to see these wounds I take it. We have horses for you and the boys or the two of em can ride double. Your call," Benjamin directed.

 

"One of my troopers will drive. As for the ladies, they can go on the wagon or stay on horses, I'll leave it to them. Oh, and you will be compensated for the food by the US government," he added.

 

@Bongo @MD @Javia @Flip

 

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"Fine, but I'm shit at any sort of medical help. Wasn't cut out to be a nurse. Honestly, anything so I don't have to sit on another horse....like forever,"  Caroline agreed.

 

Joseph laughed and winced and laughed and winced again. "Oooh, don't make me laugh, it hurts. Listen, I'd get of this horse and gallantly help you off but I think I'd just end up lying in the cart with all the other brave wounded." He could laugh at himself, despite the discomfort in his leg. 

 

"Say, Canderlinck, help Miss Mundee down from her horse and onto the wagon." he called to a trooper or whatever he was: he had some strange horseshoe insignia on his arm. Farrier Canderlinck dismounted and offered up his hand. "Say, you're that singin' lady from the saloon, I'm glad it's you we rescued!" he was going to ask her to give them all a tune right there and then, but even he wasn't that dense. She looked a little worse for wear to say the least. 

 

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ooc:  Ok, as per discussion, I'm gonna make a bit of a jump to move things along.

 

IC: 

 

The wagon now had the wounded in the back, Caroline listened to the young lieutenant's request about her doing what she could for them (which was damn little too). Addy's brother and the two young lads were mounted and the entire cavalcade continued it's slow but steady progress back. The scouts kept on the alert but fortunately the Indian menace was dispersed, most of them dead actually, their raid - so successful early - had ended up a disaster.

 

It was the fork toward the army fort that came up first so the expedition followed that until they arrived. The military preferred to take care of their own as policy and the fort had a doctor. Well Barlow had his reservations about just how much of one he was (the man was too fond of the bottle in Benjamin's opinion) but army policy was clear. The wounded would be treated inside and a civilian doctor from Kalispell only sent for if the army physician thought it prudent.

 

Once unloaded into the infirmary, the wagon was turned back over to Isiah Chappel. The civilians then proceeded the rest of the distance to Kalispell, fortunately not that far off. Benjamin thanked the man and reminded him he should submit a request for payment for the food that had been provided and the army would pay. Though given military red tape and bureaucratic incompetence, both legendary , it might be a few months.

 

Benjamin also spoke for just a short time with the worn out but otherwise very fortunate women. He told them how much he admired their pluck and determination and wished them a quick recovery and better luck in the future.

 

Caroline took a moment before leaving to bid goodbye to Lt. Greene too.

 

"I gotta go now but you take care. I'll keep in touch and expect to hear nothin' but good news on your recovery. Then maybe - if it's your wish of course - we can see each other again. Like dinner or somethin'. Or at the very least, come hear me at the saloon. I'd like that."

 

She squeezed his hand and flashed a tired smile, "Be good...hon." 

 

And with that, the Chappels and the saloon gal departed back onto the road for Kalispell.

 

@Bongo @Flip @Javia @MD

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Once inside the post MacIntosh and Ke-Ni-Tay rode to their quarters where they dismounted. Another mission, and both had survived, but then they both believed that they would from the beginning, like most men.

 

The rescue had been successful, the victims take hostage had been recovered pretty much unharmed, but haggard by the events. Both women had proved to be a lot tougher than most would have believed, so the two scouts felt good about hat had transpired. Of those killed or wounded, they felt bad, though both knew that those were the risks men took in the Army.

 

MacIntosh would go to see Lieutenant Green in the morning, but his thoughts now were of something to eat and some rest.

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Joseph managed to put a brave face on things while Caroline was still there, and was still upright when she gave him her fond goodbyes.

 

"I gotta go now but you take care. I'll keep in touch and expect to hear nothin' but good news on your recovery. Then maybe - if it's your wish of course - we can see each other again. Like dinner or somethin'. Or at the very least, come hear me at the saloon. I'd like that."

 

"Me too." he smiled. "I'm glad you're all right, for a while back there, I thought, well, I guess you realise how much you appreciate a girl, I mean, a person, when you think something bad's happened to..." he trailed off. He thought he might very possibly be saying something stupid, as his head was swimming. 

 

Then she was gone, and the pain and the dizziness seem to fill the vacuum. He made it halfway to the infirmary before he collapsed and had to be carried the rest of the way by a couple of burly troopers.

 

 

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