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    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

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When Caroline stumbled, she nearly pulled Addy down with her, and it was only by a quick hop that she didn't step on her friend, but rather, managed to jump over her.  Panting, Addy reached to drag Caroline back up...they couldn't afford to worry about minor problems, but then a shot rang out, startling her as she expected to drop dead.

 

But there was more noise, farther past where the Indian should be, and the whinny of a horse.  Someone else was out there.

 

"Stay here."  She gave Caroline a gentle push back down, then pulled out her small knife and and sprinted -- if the Indian was distracted, this was her only chance.  If he wasn't, there wasn't much hope anyway, and maybe Caroline could get away.

 

Either way, Addy charged, focused on the Human form in the waning light, her aim for high on the torso.

 

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As oft happened in these sudden death events, things moved fast and furious. The cavalry horse ridden by an inexperienced rider had managed to get into thick underbrush terrain both Addy and Bodawei, more experienced riders, had decided  against taking their animals into. It was fortunate the animal did not trip or injure itself. Fortunaely it did not have to charge in very far.

 

As the bluecoat soldier charged him,  Bodawei was trying to reload his single shot rifle and had not expected this threat being on him so fast. As the horse reared up, the warrior backed up but his troubles were coming at him from all sides now.

 

***

 

Addy  hissed, "Stay here."  She gave Caroline a gentle push back down, then pulled out her small knife and and sprinted  back toward the very man trying to find and kill them.

 

"What? Don't be a...." it was too late, Caroline couldn't stop her! Well, she wasn't about to stay put, if Addy got killed, then she had no chance out here anyhow. As she looked past the charging woman there was someone mounted by the Indian? Help or not, Caroline was determined to join Addy's fool attack. Still on her knees she felt around for a decent size rock to be a weapon...hell, that kind of thing worked for cavemen hadn't it? She was having no luck though.  Just figured!

 

***

Bodawei half saw, half sensed the woman charging her and brought up his rifle just at the last second to try to block Addy's stab attempt. She managed to stick him in the bicep though, very painful at the least. He then used the butt of the carbine to knock her backwards.

 

But he still didn't have the weapon loaded yet and had no choice now but to try and use it like a club against the waischu above him on the horse. Just maybe luck would be with him and the white man would freeze up or - as happened commonly enough - would forget he had to pull back the hammer of the Single Action revolver to fire the damn thing. It wasn't enough to just pull the trigger.

 

indianforsagas2.jpg

 

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Joseph could later recall very little detail of what happened in the next few seconds on his so-called rescue of the two white women. In fact, from another point of view it could be said that they rescued him. For a start, in his dizzy and weakened state, he had lost all control of the crazed horse beneath him who darting froth into the thick bush, nearly unhorsed him as branches and brambles pulled at him. He held on for dear life using both hands, no thought of his revolver.

 

Addy  hissed, "Stay here."  She gave Caroline a gentle push back down, then pulled out her small knife and and sprinted  back toward the very man trying to find and kill them.

 

He still hung on as a figure he presumed to be a man (was it one of their scouts?) grappled with the redskin in front of him in a whirl of knife play and gun stocks. It gave him the seconds he needed to paw at his unbuckled holster while his horse reared again and the warrior made his way past the flying hooves to get a blow in at himself. 

 

But he still didn't have the weapon loaded yet and had no choice now but to try and use it like a club against the waischu above him on the horse. Just maybe luck would be with him and the white man would freeze up or - as happened commonly enough - would forget he had to pull back the hammer of the Single Action revolver to fire the damn thing. It wasn't enough to just pull the trigger.

 

This was exactly what happened, Greene, barely able to grip the revolver in his palsied grip, the long-haired white scout writhing on the ground, pointed the barrel of his handgun at the Indian without pulling the hammer back first. Bodawei must have praised his heathen Gods as the Cavalry officer pulled the trigger... and the double action Chamelot-Delvigne fired with a deafening BANG! at point-blank range.

 

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It came as no surprise to Addy that Caroline was close on her heels, the singer had moxie in spades, and was lacking just enough in good sense to join in Addy's folly.

 

And now that she'd decided to act, there was no turning back, the next few seconds would determine everything.

 

She was actually pretty surprised that her blow landed, but there wasn't time to celebrate, or even push the attack, as she met the (fortunately) non-working end of the Indian's rifle too up close and personal.  The blow caught her in the face, immediately bringing her to her hands and knees, stunned and blinded with the pain.

 

Just for a few seconds, though, time to catch her breath, then she'd be back in the fray.

 

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Addy might have thought she had help directly behind her but Caroline was only there in spirit, in actuality she was still on her knees desperately feeling about on the ground for a decent sized rock to use as a weapon, however pathetic.

 

Addy had some luck her attack but paid the price for it when the big Arapaho warrior retaliated with a stock butt to the woman's face. Down she went. But her brave effort had helped for it took up precious time that did not then allow for the Indian to reload.

 

The cavalry horse reared, Bodawei sidestepped to try and use his carbine as a club on the rider. If he could knock the waischu off the horse he could draw his hunting knife and gut the man then turn on the women to finish them.

 

But that's when his luck ran out, he stared up at a revolver pointed down at him. There was a loud shot, the bullet struck him full in the face and he toppled backward, carbine falling from his dying hands. He was dead in seconds, giving one last twitch then lying there sprawled on his back. He had gone down fighting like a true warrior. Sadly none of his people were there to witness it, there would be no recounting the tale of his glory among his village.

 

Just as he breathed his last, Caroline rushed up, rock in one dirty hand, ready to fight. Only it wasn't necessary. Their enemy was down. Addy might be hurt but was at least alive and....

 

"Joseph? What the hell you doin' here?" Caroline stared as she dropped the now useless rock.

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Greene felt the kick of the revolver and only just stopped himself taking a another shot. But he saw very quickly that there was no need. He just hoped there weren't anymore redskins around.  He felt incredibly thirsty and pawed for the water canteen hanging from the horse furniture. He took a swig and looked down: he literally could not have dismounted the horse even if he'd tried. Fall off it, maybe, but not dismount. Not and get up again.

 

He looked down, his head swimming.  There was the dead Indian, of course, the fallen army scout, who was now a woman, of course, and Caroline with a pebble in her hand, of course (he would always later claim it was a pebble: 'bravest woman I ever met - took on an Arapahoe warrior armed with a pebble') .

 

"Hello, Caroline. Better give your friend some water." he said, leaning forward as much as he dared to hand her the canteen. 

 

"Joseph? What the hell you doin' here?" Caroline stared as she dropped the now useless rock.

 

"You know. Heroic things. Rescuing beautiful damsels... or being rescued by them. That sort of thing." It was all like a crazy dream. "I can't get off my horse" he told her a little woozily, pointing to his leg "I got shot." 

 

Addy seemed OK if a little dented. "Is that Miss Chappel?" he asked. Some more of his men were appearing nearby - they'd heard the pistol crack.

 

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"Beautiful damsels?"  Staggering to her feet, Addy shook her head, trying to clear her eyes of tears.  "I thought I was th' one that got hit on th' head."  She managed to grin, but it hurt a powerful lot!

 

Reaching up, she took the agitated horse by the bridle and stroked its nose.  "Easy there, it's all done...I hope."  Then she looked up at Joseph.  "Good ya stay up there, ya look like a Wednesday possum 'woke up on a Sunday."  Once he was dismounted, there was no way she and Caroline were going to get him back up there, and he didn't look like he could make it far.

 

"Good ta see yer pretty visage, gotta say that!"  Blinking, she looked around to see if the Indian's horse was still close by, so she and Caroline could have a ride, too.  The lieutenant's injuries would need to be tended to, but this wasn't the place, they'd need to find a place to set up camp for the night.

 

Well, unless there were more boys in pretty blue uniforms nearby.

 

"What'er yer orders, sir?"

 

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"Hello, Caroline. Better give your friend some water," the young officer, who she now noticed was wounded, now handed her a canteen which the saloon girl reached up for.

 

Addy was up on her feet and in good enough shape to make a quip though, she was tough alright. Caroline held out the canteen to the stage driver.

 

"Take some. When yer done, I'd like a few swigs. Less our dashing young general here happens to have some whisky on him?" Caroline figured he would not but - if by some miracle he did, she would avail herself of some. Addy noticed the same as Caroline that the officer might be best staying mounted.

 

A few more soldiers were closing in on them now, attracted by the shots fired. But it seemed to be all over, thank the Lord!

 

"Joseph....thank ya for findin' us. I thought we were goners," Caroline wanted to thank him.

 

"Oh, we heard a lot of shootin' earlier, did you run into the rest of the Indians? Hope you killed every last one of those bastards."

 

OOC:  We could jump a bit further now to get this group and the Barlow and his detachment along with Flip's scouts together again in one thread? Start heading back toward Kalispell then?

 

 

 

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SOMETIME LATER

 

The group of cavalry soldiers and the two rescued women were now heading back to the camp. The two seriously wounded men were on  travois. It was dark now and it was all anyone could do to stop their horses tripping in the dogholes as the small band traversed the seemingly limitless prairie. 

 

Then there was a holler from ahead.

 

@MD

 

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Benjamin gave up on the fruitless pursuit of the surviving war party, they were down a six or so anyhow and more than likely just heading back to their home village. If it was one thing the US cavalry learned about chasing Indians, you didn't catch 'em.  Best horsemen in the world maybe. So he ordered his scouts and troopers to turn back and then spent the better part of a few hours just getting back to the rest of his command. It being dark did not help at all but the scouts were up to the task.

 

Once back he found out that a lot had happened - almost all good too, well except another trooper had been killed. But Lt. Greene found (had lucked into it really but no criticism there - it was the great Napoleon who had said  'better a lucky general than a good one') the women and they were alive. Looking a bit worse for wear but no dangerous wounds, the saloon girl was already wearing trousers and a bluecoat lent her by eager troopers. And Greene had a face to face encounter with an Arapaho brave looking to kill the ladies. That Indian was dead. Barlow didn't press the young officer on the details, that he could read in the report Greene would have to write out later back in the fort, for the young man was wounded and in considerable discomfort. They didn't have a doctor with this detachment but one of the troopers who knew something about wound treatment assured Benjamin the boy would live and keep his leg. Well unless he didn't take care of it properly and get gangrene.

 

The stage driver was quite the tough gal too. She was sporting a large bruise from where the Arapaho had belted her with his gun butt but in good humor and even told him that the two women had killed their guard and escaped on their own.  Barlow was impressed.

 

"Well, it's a pity we don't allow women in the army, we could use a couple more like you and your friend," Benjamin remarked to Addy.

 

It was a tough call to make - normally traveling at night was not the wise thing to do but they had the wounded to think of and the sooner they got them back to better medical care at the fort or even town, the better. He decided darkness or not, they would head back and issued the appropriate orders.

 

They kept the pace deliberately slow but steady. He wasn't worried about Indian attack - Plains Indians did not attack at night and besides that war party was good as destroyed and definitely dispersed.  No, the bigger danger was loss of a horse or horses to prairie dog holes or god knows what else whilst traveling in the darkness.

 

Then there was a holler from ahead.

 

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Isiah had promised Weedy that they would leave at first light the next morning to go and meet up with Addy.  Well neither of them could sleep, maybe dozing off a time or two, but there was no use in sitting around here and pretending to rest!  They were both eager to get to her.  Isiah had no idea what time it was when he told the boy to come and help him get the wagon and horses ready.  Weedy eagerly agreed and in no time they were ready to hit the trail.  Isiah tucked his young son Josh in the back of the wagon and made Weedy ride back there too.  Isiah felt sure that everything would be fine, but felt they were better protected in the back.  

 

Isiah had no idea how long they'd been riding when the morning sun finally started to peak through.  He knew he'd be a stranger to most of the people he'd come in contact with whenever they met up with the group, since he was new to town, but hopefully they wouldn't see him as a threat.  He'd approach cautiously whenever he finally met up with them.  He hoped he'd taken the directions that Hector had given him correct and that he was headed in the right direction.  Just when he started to doubt himself he saw some folks up ahead. 

 

He slowed his horses. "Hello!" he called, raising his hand, hoping to show that he was here in peace.  He had been a soldier himself during the war so he knew those he was approaching, after everything they had been through, would be on edge about anyone approaching them. "I'm looking Addy Chappel." He announced, if they had her, then giving her name would hopefully show that he was a good guy.  He looked eagerly among the folks approaching looking for her familiar face.

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"Sir, wagon up ahead," the point trooper had pulled up on his reins then turned his head to inform his officer.

 

Captain Barlow nodded, that it was alright, a civilian wagon. One man driving it apparently. He's one lucky bastard that it was the cavalry he had run into and not that Arapaho war party.

 

The man slowed his horses. "Hello!" he called, raising his hand, "I'm looking Addy Chappel."

 

Benjamin sat back in his saddle, "We've got her right here."

 

Then he turned his head to look deeper into the column, "Miss Chappel! Seems you got company!" 

 

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When Uncle Isiah finally decided it was time to get on the road, Weedy was at the barn in a flash, easily finding his way around in the dim light of the lanterns, showing Isiah which horses to use, and which harness went with which horse, and while the team was getting hitched, the boys grabbed some blankets, filled canteens with water, and some cookies and sandwiches that Jemima had helped them make earlier.

 

Once they were on the road, he stood with Josh behind the seat, helping with directions until they were far enough from town that he just didn't know any more, and then he just peered anxiously at the road ahead of them.

 

"There!  There!" Weedy shouted excitedly, spotting the soldiers after Isiah had called out.

 

"We've got her right here."

 

"Miz Addy!"  As anxious as he was to make sure for himself that his friend was all right, Weedy had the good sense to stay put until he was told he could get out of the wagon.

 

____________

At first, Addy had insisted she was fine, and could ride the Indian horse bareback by herself, and she really was doing well to begin.  But as the night wore on, the events started to catch up with her, and she started dozing, so, to prevent a bad spill, she'd ended up sitting in front of a trooper and ponying the horse.

 

Even so, she never completely fell asleep, and the call from a familiar voice jerked her wide awake.  "Isiah?"  Blinking, she focused on the approaching wagon and the familiar faces looking back.

 

With a grin, she glanced at Caroline.  "We done made it," she muttered, too tired to get off the horse, and besides, she didn't want to be on her feet again until she had proper boots for them!

 

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Like a lot of the men, a dead beat and wounded Greene just wanted to get back to the fort. Ostensibly, his main concern was for the other wounded men and the rescued ladies but right now, much as he liked Caroline, if he could have been automatically transferred back to his bed at the fort with someone to attend to his leg, he would have snapped the offer up!

 

Therefore, the sight of the wagon was a mixed blessing: these people might have food, fresh water and even be able to carry the wounded fellows on the travois in more comfort; but they also represented an inevitable delay. His worst fears were confirmed when a happy family reunion commenced, complete with a couple of little brats in the wagon popped their head up.

 

He could only hope that Barlow would deal with these new civilians with the same brisk and no nonsense manner he reserved for the men in his command. 

 

"Oh shit, what now?! Some idiot's brought his kids out to see the Injuns!" breathed the trooper nearest to him.

 

"Steady, now, steady, ladies present!" the lieutenant admonished, but the man had actually voiced his own personal thoughts. 

 

 

@MD

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Benjamin sat back in his saddle, "We've got her right here."

 

Then he turned his head to look deeper into the column, "Miss Chappel! Seems you got company!" 

 

Those words were like music to Isiah's ears and Weedy's too!  He looked back at the boy with a large smile, but lost it quickly.  He could tell this was a wounded party coming towards him.  While their spirits were lifted he was sure at the rescue of his sister and Caroline, they were a wounded lot and hurting too.  He could only imagine how many men were lost in the battle to get to his sister.  He was so thankful that the boys and Jemima had loaded the wagon with food and water, blankets...while he had been making sure the horses and wagon were all hitched properly.

 

He followed the man's gaze down the column of men until they rested on his sister, sitting atop the horse, looking worse for the wear but alive! "Addy!" He said at almost the same time as Weedy.  He looked back at the Captain though as he rose from the seat.  He looked at Weedy, wanting him to stay in the wagon.  "Get the food and water!" He winked at the boy and then made his way down to go to Addy and get her on this wagon, resting in the back. 

 

"Sir we have some food, water, blankets.  We can take a few in the back of the  wagon too ." He offered to Captain Barlow.  He made his way down the men until he got to his sister and reached for her to help her down.  As he was up close to her now he could see the terrible blow she'd taken to her face.  He wanted to cringe at the pain she must be feeling but instead he smiled up to her. "You're a sight for sore eyes." He shook his head. "Come on now, let's get you on that wagon." 

 

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When her brother lifted her down from the horse, Addy found herself blinking tears, exhaustion, hunger, the strain of her and Caroline's ordeal catching up to her now that she didn't have to be 'strong' any more.  Holding Isiah tightly, she hid her face in his shoulder, breathing deeply, letting him take care of her for just a moment, before pulling back and wiping her eyes.

 

"He's right, we can put th' more gravely wounded in th' back of th' wagon, an' Miss Caroline can ride on th' seat."  She was pretty sure that the other young woman had had enough of sitting on a horse.  "Can head ta town, or to th' fort, don't matter none."  Just so long as they eventually got home, but it was important that the wounded be properly tended.  "Doc Jonah's in town, he can see ta them wounded if need be."

 

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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

Edited by MD (see edit history)
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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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