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    • "Just when I was thinkin' this was a cake-walk!"  Justus' grin didn't show under the bandanna, but he was trying to take it all in stride.  But he did realize that either way, it was going to be miserable.  The wind stirring up the dust was annoying at best, but if it got bad enough, it could make vision next to impossible.  But if it started to rain...well, there was a whole mess its own issues, none of them pleasant.   Funny thing was, it sounded like the worse conditions got, and the harder they had to work, the more the chances of a good, hot meal and decent rest went down.   Not much to do about it but take it as it came, unless he just bugged out, but it would take something far worse than weather to get him to quit!   @Flip
    • "Or at least I hope he won't. I hear he's hell on wheels with a gun, and quick to anger. Maybe we best call this off."   "If you insist."  Emeline stuck out her bottom lip in a pout, but then laughed, kissed him and stood.  She was so happy that Barnabas was able to joke and tease with her, and didn't take every little thing seriously.  If you didn't have fun now and then, life could be pretty dull.   She glanced out the window, then followed him to the door, regretting that they were going to lose the luxury of the car, but looking forward to the next part of the journey.   As he helped her to the platform, she took the chance to look around, noting that Reno was much more what she was accustomed to, and it was a bit of a relief after the huge cities of Portland and San Francisco.    "This is nice, and I'm well-rested, ready for supper and that stroll."  She hooked her arm into her husband's.  "Lead on, and I will follow!"   @Flip
    • Reb Culverson had claimed a good sized chunk of land and one corner of it sat on the river, north of Alice Fletcher's land. the rest backed up to low tree covered hills. He was not the type to b;lock off water to any who needed it, it just wasn't who he was. He ran maybe six or seven hundred head on his range. He didn't like the fences any more than the next man but it was a necessity, and ranchers were more prone to fence off their range, it prevented the mixing of cattle, destruction of farmers property, and problems in general. But most had vulnerabilities that rustlers could exploit.   The circle C seldom had more than six to eight hands at any one time, which was far less than the size of the herd needs, but of course, that is on open range where they are able to spread out over many more acres. The other problem that had not been a problem for some time was the threat of rustlers.   Toole and six of his comrades sat in the trees watching. There was plenty of time. The day team of two hands had been relieved as the daylight faded, and were replace by a solitary rider. Just as Toole learned earlier. The law was laid down by Case, no killing, no unless it was absolutely necessary, which with one man it shouldn't be.   The day riders were more than a mile off, the evening man was at the south end of the herd. The plan, simple, four would go to the left, three would pinch in from the right and push the cattle into the trees and then drive them toward the dry creek bed and home. It should work like a charm.
    • Warbow now understood why the young woman was asking him to officiate a marriage between her and her beloved. What she was asking was taboo amongst the overwhelming majority of Anglos. He could see that even Shade was looking uncomfortable with the direction the conversation had gone although he did not wear the look of disgust that so many whites would have. Then again, Shade had grown up amongst the Diné.   "Child," Warbow said, his voice soft and kind although no pity showed in his eyes or on his face, "I am sorry to say that although I can perform a marriage ceremony for you and will be happy to do so if you wish, it will have no legal standing amongst your people. I do not know much about the legal systems of the Anglos, but perhaps you could make a legal document that indicates a desire to share your property?"   @Javia
    • Once they had all eaten, the four sat where there was cover, to the right, up against an outcropping of rock. There were stones so they set a ring and built a fair sized fire and even though there was whiskey, the set a pot to boil, that way they would have coffee, it could get chilly for whoever was on watch, and even if the others decided on a cup, there would still be  coffee for the men on watch.   Maybe the Lost Lake hands had found the body and hauled him off the mountain, it didn't seem like they were looking for any blood trail, and if Carson had managed to control his blood loss, and kept it off of the ground, then maybe they lost interest and just brought the man in. Chances Carson was able to that, were not real good, but he may had been able to manage the bleeding enough that there was no blood trail for quite a ways, and they lost interest.   That could have happened ad it seemed to be a good reason that the Lost Lake riders had not shown up at the fence line. The Evergreen riders would be happy to have that wire down, but until the framer was gone, and Lost Lake was taken, it would remain. It was just the way of it. Evergreen cattle would just keep heading in a southerly direction destroying crops as the moseyed along. but they'd not be looking for grass in the rocky terrain beyond, they would turn back and do more damage.   It didn't seem like Steelgrave was ready to wipe out the sod buster, so the fence needed to be watched and mended when necessary. All four believed their time on the fence would be short lived.    

Captives


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"Like our feet ain't gonna hurt noways," grumbled Addy even as she complied.

 

The boy didn't let that go though, "No talk. Just do what we say!"

 

Caroline glared up at the speaker but used all the self control within her not to say anything much as she wanted to curse out the whole bunch of 'em. She glanced then at what her fellow prisoner was now doing?

 

Sighing, Addy pulled the weapon from her boot and tossed it into the dirt in front of them.

 

That brought a reaction from the watching warriors, some of them saying...well, whatever the hell they saying. It was a mix of anger and even some laughter.

 

Teestou grunted and pointed to the blade, Houusoo stooped to pick it up and hand it to the older man who examined it with a half-grin. Caroline held her breath, would they do something awful to Addy for her revelation? God, she hoped not!

 

Indianforsagas.jpg

 

Teestou held it up for all to see then went on a bit, there were more laughs this time. Something apparently was amusing. But Caroline figured that was better than rage at least.

Teestou then spoke directly to the lad who nodded and grinned before handing the blade over to the youth.

 

Houusoo turned to look down at Addy, "Knife belong to me now. You not need it."

 

indianforsagas4.jpg

 

@Bongo

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Well, Addy figured it was better to just give the knife up, she wasn't going to be able to hide it anyway, and chances were better that they'd find it before she had a chance to use it.  Pity, it was a nice little blade.

 

"Knife belong to me now. You not need it."

 

Nodding, Addy scrambled to her feet.  "That's a right nice knife ya got there...real Damascus steel, all th' way from Scotland."  Not that he'd know what those were, but it sounded important, and maybe would help boost his ego.  As for speaking to him, she was expecting some sort of punishment, but then, he'd talked to her first.

 

Turning, she held her hand out to Caroline, as much to help her stand as to have the human contact.

 

@Wayfarer

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Nodding, Addy scrambled to her feet.  "That's a right nice knife ya got there...real Damascus steel, all th' way from Scotland." 

 

Houusoo understood the basic words of course but as the woman figured, Damascus and Scotland were meaningless. No matter, it seemed to him the woman was accepting that what was once hers was now his. The young Indian now slipped the blade under the buffalo hide strap on the side of his hip, holding up his breech clout.

 

Turning, she held her hand out to Caroline, as much to help her stand as to have the human contact. Caroline too half expected the Indians to object to Addy attempting actual conversation, though why that should bother them she did not get. They let her get away with it though.

 

Caroline risked just a real quick smile in Addy's direction but seems their captors were still not finished about all this. The same man who did most of the speaking and whose tone made the words sound like orders now started up again. The boy nodded then addressed her this time.

 

"You wear too much dress, you do not need so much. You take off dress," Houusoo now directed.

 

"No, I'll be fine, I'm used ta..." Caroline didn't even get to finish when their 'chief' snapped something else and another warrior put his one foot forward and slapped her along side of the head. She was getting real tired of getting knocked around like this but trying to fight back would probably mean death. Anything to stay alive, maybe they'd get a chance later to get out of this mess.

 

"You take dress off or we take it off for you," the boy now threatened.

 

The damn thing buttoned down in the back, Caroline was going to need help but she sure didn't want the Indians to 'assist'. She glanced at Addy.

 

"I better do what they say. It's an expensive dress too," she sighed, turning her back to Addy, "Can you help me?" 

 

@Bongo

 

 

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"Danged savages," Addy grumbled under her breath when they hit poor Caroline yet again.  It was unnecessary, but that was her opinion, and she knew that the Indians demanded compliance from women, particularly women.

 

"Don't fret none on it," she whispered as she started undoing all the tiny buttons down the back, "ain't like they gonna be oglin' ya, just don't understand all th' fluff."  At least she still had her bloomers, petticoat and camisole, so she wasn't going to be stark naked.  

 

"Just bide yer time."  That was all they could do right now, bide and survive...

 

@Wayfarer

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"Don't fret none on it," she whispered as she started undoing all the tiny buttons down the back, "ain't like they gonna be oglin' ya, just don't understand all th' fluff." 

 

Caroline wanted to reply it wasn't the ogling she was worried about, she'd been ogled at plenty in the saloon. But well, she would rather not think about the worst possibility. Make that second worst, death would be the worst.

 

"Just bide yer time," was Addy's whispered advice.

 

It was good advice too.

 

Once she had wiggled out of the dress, there was another consequence from it though. Her hidden derringer fell to the ground. One of the sharp eyed Indians noticed it amongst the piled dress and reached down. Some of the Indians made remarks, though exactly what was being said of course neither woman had a clue.

 

Caroline decided to risk another swatting, "Tell'em I don't have it for fightin' you folk. It fires one shot, not much use fighting a war party, right?"

 

The boy passed on her words (least she hoped so) to what appeared to be their chief or big dog of the bunch. He didn't seem to care much either way. It was true the Arapahoes were hoping to improve their armament and ammo supply too as one hopeful result of this raid but such a useless thing did not fit into their plans. Rifles, they wanted rifles.

 

But there was something else, slightly bigger, flatter, and shinier down amongst the dress too, Caroline bent down to retrieve it before they could. She held up her flask. She always carried on whatever trips she went on. An occasional slug of good Irish whisky was a balm for her.

 

"Tell your chief this is just something to drink, " she explained.

 

Now the Indians were curious about the flask. Teestou reached out and yanked it from her grasp, unscrewed the cap and tossed it away then too. He sniffed it then took a sip, his face lit up in a smile. His second sip was more of a gulp and the great warrior made a face, it was strong firewater alright. He shouted something to accompanied laughter.

 

Caroline looked on glumly as one by one the warriors took turns only to have it empty before it got halfway around the dozen plus. The boy was one of those who never got his chance and looked disappointed. As for the flask, it was tossed away then also.

 

Truth was Caroline was going to miss that flask far more than the damn gun. She did not like going without a drink for any long period of time.

 

@Bongo

 

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At least the Indians didn't seem to think that Caroline had been holding out on them, or they most certainly would have meted out severe punishment, although Addy had to admit, she was a little surprised and amused that Caroline carried a flask, and reckoned that it was a sorry shame that she hadn't hidden it better!

 

"Could'a used that," she whispered, flashing a slight grin.  Yes, the situation was grim, but if you dwelt on that, you just got lost in the despair, and gave up, and Addy Chappel wasn't going to give up so long as there was breath in her, and she was pretty sure that Caroline felt the same.

 

@Wayfarer                      

 

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Caroline frowned, "Damn right, now I ain't got any drinks." It had been a long time since she had been in that sort of situation and she had a feeling she was going to feel bad later about not having anything to drink.

 

Camp was made, the Indians pretty much left the two white women alone, though they were right in the middle of the campsite so no possibility of sneaking away. The pair sat down and waited.....for what exactly they weren't even sure. Caroline had some confidence the Indians did not plan to kill them otherwise they would have done it by now. Maybe...

 

As darkness fell the Indians made two small campfires - there were a bakers dozen of them  so one lone fire would have needed to be bigger than they probably wished. The bigger the easier to spot too though Caroline doubted any white folk were within literally miles up there in the hills. Neither woman tried to actually sit around one of the fire circles but curled up halfway between them. The Indian boy, Caroline figured he was seemingly going to be their guard, which made sense considering he spoke English and reasonably good too. She wondered how he learned it? Maybe a topic for later conversation? Maybe they could get the Indians to relax about their presence among them? Then, maybe there would come a time when they saw their chance to make a break for it and escape?

 

That was a lot of maybes.

 

When the war party started eating, buffalo or deer jerky most likely, the Indian boy tossed them a couple of slices of the meat, which sadly landed on the dirt before they could catch the pieces. No matter, it was eat this or go hungry. A little dirt never hurt nobody.

 

As Caroline chewed she glanced at both circles of warriors around their fires, none were paying them any attention at all.

 

"Think they're gonna take us back to their village?" she whispered.

 

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A little dirt never hurt no one, and food was food, and not doing just what Caroline had done would be seen as wasteful and an affront, so Addy wiped a portion of the jerky as well and started munching on it, surprised at how good it actually was, especially in light of the way the day had gone.  Besides, they had to keep their strength up.

 

"Might," Addy answered the question with a shrug.  "Show us off, might test us.  They'll be lookin' fer weakness, but too defiant an' they'll take offense."  It was a fine line to walk, and it was hard to tell from one time to the next what they might think of as brave and honorable, or cowardly and unworthy.

 

"Like as not, it ain't gonna be pleasant, but we'll watch fer our chance."

 

Hopefully, they would have one...

 

@Wayfarer

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They chewed and between bites they attempted a bit of whispered conversation.

 

"Might," Addy answered her question with a shrug.  "Show us off, might test us.  They'll be lookin' fer weakness, but too defiant an' they'll take offense."

 

"Yeah, I'd love to take a swing at 'em but I think the consequences would be very bad," Caroline sighed.

 

"Like as not, it ain't gonna be pleasant, but we'll watch fer our chance," Addy proved she was still not giving up yet. More likely she never would, Caroline was glad. If they could get out of here, they'd have a better chance doing it together.

 

"Right," Caroline nodded, sat thinking as she chewed a bit more, "Maybe tomorrow....I might just ask the boy if he knows what their plans are for us? I mean he's the only to ask, only one who knows English."

 

A few of the warriors were beginning to lie back to begin to go to sleep for the night. Were the Indians just going to trust them that they wouldn't dare try and make a break for it in the dark? They might just be right too, Caroline was utterly lost already and rushing about in the dark barefoot sounded horrible.

 

@Bongo

 

 

 

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"Reckon it can't hurt ta ask," Addy muttered, "'less they take a mind ta smack ya again."  Addy grinned.  Poor Caroline's face was bruised and swollen in a couple places, but she was handling it well.  "If ya can find a way ta boost his ego, make him feel important, might get more outta him."

 

After all, the kid was the youngest, so he was trying to prove himself, and boosting his little ego might be a help to them.

 

And Caroline was right about trying to escape at night, it was foolhardy, and would likely be unsuccessful, and they would only get one chance. 

 

"C'mon, now, we need ta rest, won't do ta be half-asleep when th' time comes."  Sighing, Addy wrapped her arms around Caroline's shoulders and urged her to lay down.  "Sorry ya hafta be in this, Miss Caroline, but I can't say as I don't mind not bein' alone."

 

@Wayfarer

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"Reckon it can't hurt ta ask," Addy muttered, "'less they take a mind ta smack ya again."

 

"Eh, I been smacked around worse, comes with my job on occasion. Gotten in a few good ones myself though too," Caroline smiled back.

 

"If ya can find a way ta boost his ego, make him feel important, might get more outta him," Addy suggested.

 

"Well now, then I'm the right gal for that. It's what I do to most of my customers," Caroline nodded.

 

"C'mon, now, we need ta rest, won't do ta be half-asleep when th' time comes."  Sighing, Addy wrapped her arms around Caroline's shoulders and urged her to lay down.  "Sorry ya hafta be in this, Miss Caroline, but I can't say as I don't mind not bein' alone."

 

"It's none of yer fault. And if we stick together, we can get out of this alive yet, I'm sure of it," Caroline appreciated the hug and reciprocated it too. Though truth be told, she certainly was NOT sure of it.

 

****

Caroline slept in and out. No surprise given their awful situation plus she was missing the alcohol something fierce already. But both of them were prodded up without ceremony when the war party decided to break camp at daybreak. Most of the warriors were talking amongst themselves but the young buck, he seemed to be assigned to them. Made sense too as he did speak their lingo.

 

"So...you gotta name then...what we can call you when we talk? Otherwise I'm gonna just call ya Handsome," Caroline smiled. Well, he wasn't bad looking at all for a murderous redskin besides the idea was to butter him up.

 

"Houusoo," the boy nodded, "is  Young Raven to you."

 

Caroline smiled, "Oh, I like it. Yeah, I can see that....that nice black hair of yers. Makes sense."

 

He did not ask them theirs though merely said, "We go now. We decide how you ride with us this time."

 

"Oh sure, whatever seems best. But we can stay on a horse, you don't have to throw us over one like we were a blanket," Caroline hoped this would not be a repeat of yesterday's experience.

 

He did not amplify though so Caroline asked, "You speak English real good. How did you learn it? Yer really a smart lad I think...doin' that."

 

Houusoo seemed willing to answer that one, "Missionary woman.......she teach me. She live with us for some time. She try to make us Christians."

 

Caroline glanced over to Addy, "Pretty impressive, ain't it. I like this one. Handsome and smart to boot."

indianforsagas4.jpg

 

@Bongo

 

 

 

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Addy had slept fitfully was well, ever alert to potential trouble, and cold as well, despite huddling with Caroline.  But at least they were still alive and relatively unscathed come morning.

 

Caroline hadn't lied about her sweet-talking skills, and it seemed that the young man was at least enjoying the flattery a bit.

 

"Shore is smart," Addy agreed.  "English ain't easy, heck, I been talkin' it all along, an' th' lad here's better'n me."

 

She grinned, then shrugged.  "It would be easier were we ta ride proper-like."  And, oh, dear god, it would make life much more pleasant, even if it meant riding double and being up-close and personal with one of the rather ripe men, be it in front or behind.

 

@Wayfarer

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Addy fell in and played along with the buttering up attempt.

 

"Shore is smart," Addy agreed.  "English ain't easy, heck, I been talkin' it all along, an' th' lad here's better'n me."

 

"Darn right he is," Caroline added.

 

"First time I practice since the last time we have white captive," Houusee nodded, he was indeed basking in the praise. Likely a novice brave did not get much of that being the low one on the totem pole so to speak with these older warriors.

 

Addy grinned, then shrugged.  "It would be easier were we ta ride proper-like."

 

"I tell them," the young man announced.

 

When the time for them all to mount up, whether the boy had convinced the others or they had their own reasons, this time the women were not to tossed over the horses backs like saddle bags. They were to ride with an Indian instead. But even that did not go without a hitch.

 

Not their seeming leader or chief or whatever they called the one in charge, but another warrior moved right up to Caroline, seized her by the arm, then slung her right to the ground taking the saloon girl completely by surprise. He was saying something in the most angry tones and then went down upon the white eyes female. There was a short struggle which was most one sided as he punched her in the face when she resisted his initial attempt to pull off her bloomers. That blow allowed him to complete the action and with a whoop he tossed it off to one side as other warriors laughed. It was all great fun except for Caroline.

 

However her worst fears were not realized, that had not been the prelude to something far worse, like the man assaulting her. Instead he stood up, pulled her up and yanked her over to his horse.  He mounted first then reached down and lifted her onto a position behind her. But it was at least riding.

 

Houusoo looked as amused as the rest of the war party until it was over then turned to Addy.

 

"You ride with me. Do not make trouble. I go up then you behind me. You hang on to me so you not fall off. Teestou be much angry if you do."

 

@Bongo

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As their captors went after Caroline, Addy tensed, but there was nothing she could do but close her eyes and hope for the best, and brace for her turn.  But it seemed that all they wanted were the poor girl's bloomers, which was going to make the ride very uncomfortable, not that there was anything to do for it.

 

Taking a breath, Addy nodded to Houusoo, staying silent, happy to still have her britches.  After the boy had mounted, she grasped his arm and swung up behind him, then rested her hands on her thighs.

 

"I'll stay on," she muttered, although it occurred to her to slip around a bit, so as not to let on that she was an excellent rider.  And she had to admit, even being this close to the delightful aromas of her captor, this beat being slung over the back of a horse!

 

@Wayfarer

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It had been so hard not to fight back, resist but all that would most likely happen is these savages would get angry at her lack of cooperation and just do all the worse to her. Maybe even rape or death.  Caroline had been raped once before and did not want to go thru that again if at all possible and well.........death....no, she still wanted to live.  So off went the bloomers and now she was mounted on a horse behind one of the warriors.

 

 Caroline wrapped both hands around his waist, not that she wanted to touch him, but she sure as hell didn't want to fall off either. Just bring more anger down on herself. Turning toward Addy the boy was taking her. She wondered if Addy might try and take advantage of that situation and suddenly down the trail shove him off the horse and ride off. She was a good rider, maybe not Injun good but she knew how to handle a horse.

 

No, she most likely wouldn't. It was doubtful she could escape their inevitable pursuit and them catching her would probably prove to be fatal for her. Also she just didn't think Addy was the sort to abandon her to this fate. No, they were in this together. And if they ever found the chance to make their break, two might just do better than one.

 

The war party was back to riding in the rough high ground parallel to the narrow road down below, no doubt they were looking for more folks to ambush. Or maybe they'd come upon an unsuspecting farm. At least it did not appear like they were taking the women to their village. For now.

 

Caroline finally decided to ask the boy something so she turned to face him and Addy.

 

"Hey, what are they gonna do with us? You must have kept us for some reason?"

 

Surprisingly the boy did not object to the question and replied, "We trade you. We give you back to your people, we get guns and bullets."

 

Caroline doubted that plan would work. But telling them that might not be a good idea either. So she might as well play it up.

 

"Smart. I have important person in town, my people will give you a lot for me. An' Addy there, why she happens to be the best employee in that company, she should be worth a whole lot of rifles. Right there, hon?"

@Bongo

 

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Traded for guns and bullets?  Not likely.  After all, their lives weren't worth the toll that arming a war party would cost, so that sort of negotiation wouldn't go far.

 

Still, it was a chance, and at least someone would know where they were.

 

"Derned right, reckon they'd be right glad ta get us back!"  Addy nodded, then added, "Got me a boy at home be happy ta see me, too, I reckon.  He's got them what's lookin' after him, but ain't th' same, what with losin' his real ma an' all."

 

Not that Weedy had any bearing on anything, but she surely did hope that he was all right, and that she got back to him, to make sure he grew up to be a fine man, and so he didn't have more loss.

 

@Wayfarer

 

 

 

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"Derned right, reckon they'd be right glad ta get us back!"  Addy nodded, then added, "Got me a boy at home be happy ta see me, too, I reckon.  He's got them what's lookin' after him, but ain't th' same, what with losin' his real ma an' all."

 

If the young Arapaho even listened to all that last part he made no response to it. But he did reply to the women's confidence the trade of guns for them would work.  He would tell Teestou what the white women had said, he would like to hear this for certain.

 

Caroline decided to take a risk at more bluntness, so far the boy had been quite responsive with answers and thus information the two ladies found useful or at least, illuminating.

 

"So, what if the trades don't work? What if our leaders refuse to give you guns and bullets for us? Since we wouldn't be worth anything to you anymore, would you let us go?"

 

The Arapaho seemed amused by that, Addy could even hear the small chuckle which escaped from him them being so close.

 

"Let go? That not happen. You might be given to one of our women to work then. Or you will be killed.  You should hope...trade happen."

 

"Swell," mumbled Caroline.

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Addy certainly did hope some sort of trade happened, although she doubted it.  If anything, it would be talk of a trade and then conflict, and she and Caroline would have to be ready for that, since they would have to save themselves at that point...the savages would rather kill them outright than letting them be recaptured.

 

"Pity any poor woman what gets me as a slave," she muttered, trying to keep up spirits.  As long as they were at least in the same camp, there would be hope.  It might be a while, weeks, maybe even months, but she was confident that they'd get out of this.

 

@Wayfarer

 

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It was hard to be accurate as to how long they rode, every once and awhile the women would catch a glimpse of the road down below for the war party stayed up in the hills and trees. But the sun was about as high as it was going to get in the cloudless sky when the group came to a halt.

 

Caroline watched the one she was now certain was leading this bunch, a rather handsome hard muscled buck  with seemingly a constant sense of anger, menace to him.  As some of the braves talked, it was obvious they all listened to what he had to say and usually agreed. After some period of palavering away, two of the warriors galloped away leaving the main party behind.

 

"Scouts?" asked Caroline mostly to Addy but their 'keeper' knew their language too and the lad spoke up.

 

"They go to find more waischus to kill. Or some place to ....how you say?  Talk...talk trade? You for guns.."

 

indianforsagas3.jpg

 

@Bongo

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"Ah, well, then shouldn't be long a'fore we're slumberin' comfy in proper feather beds!"  Addy chuckled, although the look she gave Caroline was one of worry.  If they actually contacted 'whites', things were going to accelerate quickly, and they might need to be ready for...

 

Well, she wasn't really sure for what, but there might come a time that they had to fight for their lives.  She knew she could handle the kid, heck, her brothers were all bigger than he was, and they'd taught her to wrestle, and especially sitting behind him, she'd do just fine.

 

But then there was Caroline...she wasn't going to leave her behind, and although she thought the young woman had a good deal of gumption, and likely could do sufficient damage to her escort as well, the question was whether she would act quickly enough when the time came.

 

Not only that, but if the ladies were able to eliminate the braves with them, there were still the others to worry about, and they surely weren't going to be able to either fight them or outrun them.

 

All-in-all, though, Addy had to allow as how she wanted to choose her own time and method to meet her maker!

 

@Wayfarer

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"I'd appreciate a nice bed right about now," Caroline sighed, catching Addy's expression and realizing the other woman was more alarmed than she let on.

 

"White people weak, no need beds," the young man now commented, he'd actually seen one once in a waischus house - it was big and made of wood and looked so heavy.  It made no sense but then his people wandered the land on a regular basis, setting up their tepees for a matter of days then moving on once more.

 

Caroline wanted to throw back a biting remark but held her tongue so she decided it best to agree with the boy, "Yes, we are. All millions of us."   Alright so just a slight barb, he probably wouldn't even get it. If Indians even knew what the word meant?

 

If he got it, he gave no indication as he yawned then while scratching under one armpit.

 

Two of them had rode off, but that still left far too many to deal with. Caroline just kept hoping they would get lucky enough to face more reasonable odds. For now though, two against eleven was suicide.

 

@Bongo

 

 

 

 

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"Sez th' man who ain't never slept on a nice feather bed!" Addy muttered with a chuckle.  "Once ya have a chance ta sink into that fluffy soft, there ain't nothin' like it.  I done my share'a sleepin' on th' ground, an' I gotta say, if I have a choice, gimme a feather bed!"

 

Heck, even a straw mattress on a rope-strung bed was an improvement over sleeping on rocks!  And maybe the Anglo folks were 'soft' in some ways, but what was the point of existing if it wasn't to make life better for yourself and your descendants?

 

Of course, it was a matter of balancing luxuries with morals and standards.

 

@Wayfarer

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"Sez th' man who ain't never slept on a nice feather bed!" Addy muttered with a chuckle.  "Once ya have a chance ta sink into that fluffy soft, there ain't nothin' like it.  I done my share'a sleepin' on th' ground, an' I gotta say, if I have a choice, gimme a feather bed!"

 

"Amen, amen to that!" Caroline had to grin.

 

The young novice brave looked puzzled suddenly, "She say no prayer."

 

"It was a fervent wish and I agreed. Why you know prayers? Like white folk's prayers?" Caroline was a bit surprised.

 

"Waischus try to teach me some. Too hard to remember. Did not want to pray to white man's god  no how," Houusoo responded with a shrug.

 

"Yeah, well we will say a prayer for you then," Caroline gave a very fake smile, leaving out her thought  'over your grave.'  Frankly she would doubt she would do even that.

 

@Bongo

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"What kinda prayers do ya gotta learn?" Addy asked, glancing at Caroline with a shrug.  "Ya just talk ta God, tell him what's on yer mind."  There was the, 'In Christ's name, Amen' part, but that wasn't so much to remember.

 

"Might could be this 'Waischus' was a Catholic, I think they got little prayer books, make things more complicated than they gotta be."

 

It wasn't exactly the time for a discussion of religion, but as a staunch Methodist, she had her notions, and praying to a cross or and idol didn't count, and having your prayers written in a book...well, since she couldn't read much, she preferred free-form!

 

Of course, there were times when it was hard to hold to faith, especially those times when all you had was faith, like when Weedy's Mama had been killed, or now...but she'd learned to be patient and not to question, it was all in God's hands.  Just, sometimes, it seemed like he was squeezing a little harder than he had to!

 

"I gotta say, it's easier havin' only th' one God ta worry on, but I reckon if ya grow up learnin; on all manner 'a bein's, ya know which is which without havin' ta think on it."

 

In fact, some of the Native legends were creative and fun, and made the Christian tales seem pretty dull!

 

@Wayfarer

 

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"What kinda prayers do ya gotta learn?" Addy asked, glancing at Caroline with a shrug.  "Ya just talk ta God, tell him what's on yer mind."

 

"Do not remember," the boy seemed disinclined to continue the topic, it plainly was of no real value to him.

 

Caroline sighed, "I never did try n' talk ta him once I got older but I did beg him to make my ma better when she was real sick.  Ma died."

 

Addy mentioned Catholics. Caroline observed, "A saloon girl I once worked with said she was Catholic. I know Joan of Arc was one of them too but the Church burned her as a witch or somethin'."

 

The young Indian seemed more enthusiastic then, "We burn Crow warrior once. Him very brave but he still screamed much loud."

 

Caroline rolled her eyes, "How good to hear."

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