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 The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1

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PostSubject: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Sun Aug 28, 2011 10:45 pm

October 1836

"Mr President, I disagree with you," said Buck McDaniels. "I think you're dead wrong."

President Andrew Jackson averted his face so his visitor didn't see his grin, and stared out the window of the West wing of the White House. He stared at the snow coming down and reflected the seven and half years he spent as the President of the United States, few people had dared oppose him to his face. Buck McDaniels, of course, was afraid of no one and spoke his mind.

Composing himself, President Jackson turned back to the man he had summoned from the most distant frontier trading post in Missouri and studied him in the unexpectedly strong sunlight that had streamed into the Presidents' office. Buck were well, in spite of the graying hair, wrinkles on his skin, and the arthritic pain in his hip from a bullet wound he had suffered at New Orleans fighting the blue-coats, he looked older than his age. He spend time in the Rockies, in the Oregon Territory and had scars, he still bore after his torture by the Kiowa tribe. He was tough as Buffalo leather. Buck was close to forty now and at first glance, he looked like a city dweller in a dark suit, half boots and white shirt and stock. But his hands were those of a man who had known hard physical labor. His face was that of a man who had lived most of his life outdoors and his eyes told their own story. Clear and hazel, they were eyes of a fighter, a man who had tested life to the full, a man of many experiences who had been forced by necessity to pass judgment on his fellow humans in order to survive. The president thought remembering him as a seventeen year old scout back in the winter of 1814-15, when he contributed so much to Jackson's celebrated victory against the British at the Battle of New Orleans. Buck hadn't gained an ounce in all those years. His life as a hunter, trapper and a guide kept him fit.

"You're taking a short-sighted view Buck," trying to speak in gentle tones reserved for old and trusted friends.

"The Hell you say, Sir!" Buck said. "When I pulled into Indian Creek with the season's load of furs from the mountains and found your letter asking me to come to Washington in a hurry, I dropped everything. If I knew you were aiming to destroy the West I'd have taken my time."





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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:31 am

Jackson couldn't keep a straight face no more and burst out laughing. I'm sorry Buck, he shook his head.

"I'm damned if I'm joking Mr. President. You can go for days in the great Plains without seeing a soul and as well in the Rockies and, you're asking me to fill up the West with settlers?!"

"Not exactly Buck...I'm trying to organize my last major campaign before Martin Van Buren takes over this job in March. If I can get the financial backing of men who have vested interest in the West, and I believe I can...I'm asking you to lead a covered wagon train out to the Oregon territory on the Pacific. Or at least take it as far as you can and get somebody else as wagon master for the rest of the trip.

"Mr.President..You realize what is going to happen when the Indians get wind and see hundreds of strangers cross through their territory in wagons? And in covered wagons...

Jackson nodded, "I reckon. That’s why I need a man with your experience leading, in charge...Buck. Look you served with me against the Choctaw tribe in Tennessee and the Seminole in Florida when they were as ornery as some women we both know, and you helped me work out the treaties that were as fair to them as they were to us...and if you don't remember, we rescued your sorry ass when the Kiowa tribe had you. Look Buck...regardless I need you..your country needs you. You understand Indians."


"Maybe so, Mr President but I hate to see the west filled up with people."

"So do I." Said Andrew. "But there's no choice. Hundreds of immigrants are coming every day from the Old World faster than our cities and towns can absorb them. We're the only viable democracy in the world and there's only one way we can expand...by moving people westward.

Buck grumbled and sighed, realizing that like the President, he had to accept the inevitability of national growth. "I suppose so Sir."

"Buck there's still more behind all this and what I'm about to tell you is highly confidential."



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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:07 am


Moon Woman awoke to the sound of a voice softly calling to her from the outside of her lodge. Sitting up on her elbow, she glanced down to see the dark eyes of her husband looking at her and nodding silently. Calling out to the voice outside, she let them know she would be there soon. Looking back down at Ten Bears, she leaned down and kissed him softly. The feel of his arms wrapping protectively around her body drew a contended sigh from her. Reluctantly she slipped from the warmth of his body and their sleeping mat to dress and gather her pack. She looked down at her husband and smiled as she spoke in their native language.

”I will return soon after the sun rises. Miss me while I am gone.”

Ten Bears sat up on his elbow and grinned. His long, straight hair fell over his shoulder and covered the sleeping mat. His free hand rubbed the mat where she had been laying next to him.

”Already the mat grows cold and longs for your body to return to it. Just as I do. Be careful. I would go with you if I could, but I am to lead the hunt in the morning. Running Ox will make sure you get there and back safely. Try not to let your eyes stray to some handsome warrior and remember I pine for you.”

Moon Woman chuckled softly.

”My eyes see no other but you since the day we met. And the thought of you pining is rather unpleasant. I would rather remember you the way you were a few hours ago.”

The heated glance exchanged by both brought Moon Woman back one more time to kiss her husband and then she was out the flap of the lodge and walking quickly through the inky blackness of the moonless night with Running Ox to the horses. The seasoned warrior mounted his horse with just a shift of his weight. Moon Woman wasn’t quite as elegant in her mounting but she made out just fine on her own. She looked to her brother in law and smiled reassuringly. She hadn’t seen him this nervous since the day he married her sister.

”Relax, Running Ox. It is the first of many.”

Running Ox huffed slightly.

”You are not the one she is threatening to disable the ability to make more than just this one child.”

Moon Woman couldn’t help but laugh softly. Her sister was quite out spoken but even that caught her by surprise. Heeling the horses, they left the village quietly and once they were out of ear shot, they spurred the horses into a fast gallop.


**********


As Moon Woman and Running Ox left the village, several sets of eyes watched them leave from a distance. Once they were out of sight, movement from the thick trees was barely noticeable. The outer sentries had already been taken care of on that side of the village and now, the intruders were slowly making their way around to the other side of the village. The same side the two lone riders just left from.

As silent as ghosts, the figures moved around the perimeter of the village. The outer sentries fell one by one to a silent killer. So lethal, they weren’t able to send out any form of alarm before the life force left their eyes. Once the sentries were removed, the movement in the trees increased. The figures moved quietly but near as silent as the few figures had earlier. Still, quiet enough to keep any ears from hearing their presence from this distance.

The village was quiet. Thin lines of smoke from a few lodge fires rose upward from the top of the animal skins that enclosed the wooden structures. The horses could tell there was something moving about but the scent was similar to what they were used to so they didn’t give off any sort of sense there was something to worry about. The bodies moving about in the trees settled and grew quiet. Now they would wait until the time was right.

**********


Moon Woman was crouched down on the floor and talking to her sister as the woman pushed with all her strength.

”That’s it, Fawn. Keep pushing. Just like that. Do not give up now. We do not have long to go now.”

Her sister looked up at her and said something that made Moon Woman snap her eyes to Fawn. She didn’t say anything to her sister. In fact, it seemed as if Moon Woman changed. As another contraction began to hit Fawn, Moon Woman spoke again telling her the same thing.

Outside, Running Ox paced back and forth. His father White Arrow and his closest friend River had joined him and stood watching him pace. There was a bemused look on both of their usually stoic faces and White Arrow couldn’t help but comment.

”Will you be like this for each birth, son? Or do you pace because of the threat she leveled against you?”

Running Ox looked at his father and shot daggers at him. River clapped his friends shoulder and chuckled softly.

”The whole village heard it, my brother. How could we not. She screamed it loud enough. If I were you, I would make sure I slept with a raccoon skull between my legs for a while.”

Running Ox opened his mouth to say something when the sound of a wailing infant suddenly pierced the slowly lightening sky. His eyes grew wide and he looked at each of man standing there with him. His father smiled broadly and clapped him on the shoulder.

”Welcome to fatherhood, my son.”

The flap to the lodge opened and Moon Woman walked out carrying a tiny bundle in her arms. The child had quieted now and was making soft noises as it sucked its fist. She glanced up at Running Ox and handed him the bundle, smiling.

”Hold your son, Running Ox. It will be one of the few times you get to.”

Running Ox blinked and looked to both men again before looking at Moon Woman and swallowing hard.

”Are…you sure it is OK?”

River laughed heartily then looked at Running Ox.

”He is your son. Of COURSE it is OK. He is strong like his father and grandfather before him. Now take your son from Moon Woman. Her arms grow tired holding him.”

Running Ox reached his arms out and Moon Woman gently laid the child in his father’s arms. Running Ox looked down at the tiny face that looked so much like his own before he looked over at Moon Woman and smiled with moisture in his eyes he was quickly blinking away.

”Thank you, Moon Woman. I do not know what she would have done without you.”

Moon Woman smiled sadly as she looked at the way Running Ox looked at his son.

”She is waiting for you. Go see her before she falls asleep. She worked hard bringing your son into the world.”

Running Ox ducked into the lodge and Moon Woman watched him. Her eyes remained fixed on the entrance to the lodge for a moment before she heard White Arrow’s soft, deep voice beside her.

”He will be much like your own son, Moon Woman. I know Ten Bears will teach him as well as his own father does.”

Moon Woman turned to look at White Arrow and smiled sadly again.

”Our son would be helping to teach him as well.”

White Arrow merely nodded as Moon Woman turned and walked away. There was still a great deal to do inside before she could return to her own village. River and White Arrow shared glances with each other before turning and leaving the lodge of Running Ox and Fawn.


**********


A few hours later, the sun was climbing into the sky. River had decided to bring Moon Woman back to her village to let Running Ox stay with Fawn and his new son. The trip back to her village was not nearly as fast as the trip to Fawn’s. It was clear to see she was exhausted. River rode beside her and glanced at her from time to time. Finally Moon Woman spoke up.

”What is on your mind, River?”

The brave glanced over at her and smiled.

”You’re just as beautiful now as you were when we first met.”

Moon Woman smiled and glanced over at River.

”I am a married woman, River. And you are a married man.”

He laughed and nodded.

”Yes. So I know these things. And I am very happy. As I know you are. Ten Bears is an honorable and brave man. Had it been any other who captured your heart, I would have objected. But I still think you are beautiful. Just not as beautiful as Little Flower.”

Moon Woman laughed and nodded her head.

”As you should think that. How are you and Little Flower doing? I expect to hear any day now you are going to have another child.”

River grinned from ear to ear and nodded.

”We certainly try enough. But you are right. We are hoping to be able to tell others that soon as well.”

Moon Woman smiled and was getting ready to say something when River pulled his horse up quickly and made the sign for quiet. Moon Woman immediately stopped and looked around, listening as well. It was quiet. Too quiet and both River and Moon Woman picked up on it immediately.



It happened so fast Moon Woman nor River was able to react fast enough. A barrage of arrows came at them from what seemed like all sides. River was struck several times but he charged with a war cry all the same. Moon Woman’s horse was struck and the animal reared back throwing Moon off its back. She tumbled off the creatures back and landed onto the hard earth hitting her head on a rock but not before she felt the burning hot sensation in her left thigh.

The last thing she saw was River being overtaken by five Crow warriors. The last thing she heard before blackness overtook her was the sound of her dear friend screaming as his scalp was cut away from his head while he was still conscious.


**********


Blinding light greeted Moon Woman when she tried to open her eyes. Each time she tried to open them and the light hit her eyes, she felt a throbbing pain in her head causing her to groan softly. Where was she? What happened? Her thoughts were jumbled, like she couldn’t focus on anything and the more she tried to remember, the worse her head hurt.

Finally forcing herself to move, she was immediately brought to full wakefulness when she felt the searing pain in her left thigh. With a garbled scream her hands immediately reached for her thigh and felt the wooden shaft of an arrow protruding from her flesh.

Memories flooded her then and she remembered everything as it came back in such a rush she felt the air sucked from her lungs. No….please no. Let it be some sort of bad dream or something. Anything but the truth, she prayed. Finally she forced herself to move again and while the pain was extreme, she knew she had to figure out what to do next. And what she saw when she sat up and looked around confused her even more.

She was in the middle of open plains.

As she sat there looking around fear and panic began to invade her mind. Where was she? How did she get here? How was she going to defend herself? All she had was the knives she carried on her. Finally she forced herself to calm and start taking a closer look around to try and figure this mystery out.

Through the tall grass she could see the slightest impression of a trail that had been made by horses traveling over the ground. Blinking to clear her mind and try and focus her eyes on what she was seeing, she leaned over, grimacing at the feel of her thigh, and ran her fingers over the hoof marks. Right away she could tell they were made from Indians and not the white settlers that were increasingly seen throughout the territory. As the revelation it was Indians, more memories from what happened came to her and she was able to see, in her mind’s eye, the mean attacking River.

“Crow…”

The word choked out of her in an anguished sob. It was obvious they had brought her with them to possibly make her a slave but something happened to make them dump her here and lighten their load. But what?

As Moon Woman looked around even more, her eyes began to well up with tears. They were all dead. River. Ten Bears. Her mother and father. All of them….dead. Of that she was absolutely positive. How else would the Crow have been able to jump her and River when they did? Ten Bears especially would not have allowed anything to happen to her.

Uncontrollable sobs began to rack her body as the anguish of her loss overpowered her rational thinking. She HAD to get herself to some sort of protective outcropping of trees or something instead of sitting in the middle of the plains. But right now, all she could do was lift her face skyward and sing the song of mourning for her people and lift up praises for their safe passage into the next life.


**********


It was almost an hour later when Moon was able to force herself to her feet. The wound in her leg burned like a hot poker being touched to her skin. She knew it was getting infected and she had to get the arrow out before it got too bad. She had forced herself to break the long shaft off to a smaller one and that had sapped her of all of her energy. But now, she knew she had best move or she’d most likely be found by the Crow again.

There was an outcropping of trees about a quarter mile away and she focused her eyes on that. Hobbling across the plains Moon took one painful step at a time. The going was very slow and a few times she almost stumbled and fell but she clenched her jaw and forced herself to keep moving.

The sun was beating down on her making her thirst grow even more powerful and she licked her lips several times to try and wet her lips to prevent them from drying and cracking open. By the time she made it to the trees she was in pain so badly she was near delirium. She HAD to get this arrow out of her leg.

With her left leg stretched straight, Moon took hold of the blood stained buckskin and pulled with all her strength opening the hole the arrow made wider. Trembling fingers fumbled with her herb pouch hanging from her waist belt. Within the pouch were smaller pouches and she pulled a few out. Taking a fallen leaf from one of the trees, she carefully took some herbs from the smaller pouches and sprinkled them on the leaf. Using her own spittle, she worked the herbs together until they made a paste. Setting the leaf aside, she took out her knife she wore on her belt and cut a long strip of buckskin from her opposite legging.

Once she had everything ready, Moon reached down and grabbed a hold of the broken off shaft. Taking a deep breath, she grit her teeth and pulled, yelling out her pain through her gritted teeth. Thankfully the arrow wasn’t embedded in the bone and it pulled free of her leg with only a slightly bit of effort but it did begin to bleed again. Excruciating pain threatened to rob her of her senses but she forced herself to remain focused.

Picking up the leaf with the paste on it, she laid it over the wound, with the paste touching the hole left behind from the arrow, then carefully wrapped the strip of material around her leg, cinching it tight over the leaf to hold it in place. The pain of the wound throbbed with each heartbeat but slowly it began to fade.

Leaning back against the trunk of the tree, Moon listened to the leaves rustle softly in the air that constantly moved across the plains. She was losing the battle of consciousness. As she faded into blackness, Moon thought of Ten Bears and hoped he did not suffer long. As her head lulled to the side, Moon drifted into blissful blackness once more.


____________________________________________________________________________________
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Thu Nov 17, 2011 2:57 pm

The smoky equine picked its path like a song in its heart, jaunty and with measured patterings of well-trimmed hooves.
He wiped his face, the mutton-chops crusted in the dust of the road, and his posterior fairly beaten in the long ride. He would need a surgeon barber to tidy up the pride of London. Winter might better be a time to grow facial hair, but now, it felt more like a dirtied scrap affixed to his face.
The neck-reined nag moved to the edge of the path and in a smooth motion he dismounted and removed the cork upon the bottle in his long dusky jacket.
A swig later and the taste of the road was still not gone.
One more, and he felt he could almost smell the alehouses of White Chapel.

He had promised he would not travel again. Not since the Cape Frontier. But Lydia had gone to cholera and all hopes of leaving his name on the world remained with his last great love.
The Hawken bumped against the saddlebags, but he stroked it once, checking the condition. He had oiled it down like the disreputes of Shanghai might, with loving embrace and curved diligence.
But no farthing a sentiment sold here. The Hawken gave him the one true kick left in his life. Every time it sounded, he could feel in the course of the projectile, a life giving way.

Like the climactic fall of a lover, the sound of a body at a distance would fall neatly to eternity. Captain of the third, he had dallied with its power. As a soldier of fortune and promise in his own stead, it had captured his heart.

He considered the words of his current employer.

You hear tell of a Mister John Humphrey Noyes?, he asked.

Sully had shook his head at the inquiry. Sir Francis MacIntyre drew up riding boots on the comfort of his ottoman as he smoked the long cigar. Wreaths drew around his body in thick curls like the panting of a train engine uphill.

You soon will, he promised. Lord how that man might wander his thoughts about, but when he sticks to a point, there is not a knife that could dislodge a man from it. Have you heard of sitiriculture?

Again, Sully shook his head. Something about this man gave him reason to pause. Yet the money was good enough. Even if it was in Colonial bills. He shifted in the wooden chair, hearing it creak sharply.

Noyes has a notion that breeding with inferiors dampens the human spirit, and I would tend to hear him out, MacIntyre's bushy eyebrows raised to the point. And I fear for the continuancy of my own bloodline. Your reputation has placed me in touch with you. You have no compunction to killing, I regard.

Sully shook his head again, coughing at the acrid smoke.
I prefer the honesty of an end to all things, than the languish of life, he said.

MacIntyre leaned forward, ashes burning all the way to the floor like falling stars.
Then here is my charge for you... meet it with all speed and steel....
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:27 pm


She was standing in the field of long, sweet prairie grass. The sun was shining down on her dark head making her feel the warmth of the ground beneath her. Looking down at herself she saw she was wearing her wedding dress. A finely bleached buckskin dress adorned with colorful beads and the white moccasin’s Ten Bears had made for her to wear that day adorned her feet. What was she doing wearing this again?

She was alone, or so she thought, but the sound of movement to her left brought her dark eyes around and she saw the smiling face of her husband as he approached. His teeth were like white, river pebbles against his sun kissed skin when he smiled at her. And his dark hair flowed like a inky, black curtain around his shoulders.

His chest was bare, save for the simple vest of beads he wore and his shoulders broadened out from the vest. His large hands rested lazily at his sides as he walked. The muscles in his legs flexed with each step he took and Moon Woman found her breath caught in her throat as her eyes moved to his breechcloth. He could stir her blood like none other and she felt a shiver slide down her spine at that thought.

He finally reached where she stood and embraced her tenderly, like he did inside their lodge, and Moon Woman reached up letting her arms encircle his neck. She buried her face in the crook of his neck and inhaled his scent deeply into her nose. She HAD been dreaming. Ten Bears was just fine and the nightmare of what she experienced earlier was slowly washing away.

Ten Bears pulled back to look into her eyes and she lifted her face to look up into his. His eyes were still as dark as a moonless night but there was something else about them that made her pause. Why did they look so…..cold? Before she could get an answer, she heard his voice speaking to her. His lips weren’t moving but she heard him as though he were talking plainly to her.

”It is not time for you yet, my Moon. There is much yet you have to do before you can join me here. Return and know I will always be with you. Here.”

His hand covered her left breast and as she was reaching up to cover his hand with her own she saw him walking back away from her. Confusion filled her mind and she shook her head and tried to call for him but all she heard was a hoarse groan escape her lips. What was happening? What did he mean? Why was he leaving her here? She had to go with him! NOW!

Moon tried to take a step but when she did, she felt a searing pain in her left thigh and when she looked down, she saw the pristine white of her dress starting to stain red. What? Was? This? She reached down to touch the stain to see what was happening when she felt another stab of searing pain rip through her leg causing her to scream out.

She snapped her head up to see Ten Bears fading from sight and she cried calling for him as her arms reached out towards his fading figure. NO! You can’t leave me! Please! Come back! She heard her mind saying all of these things but again the only sound she heard was a garbled groan.

Pain forced her to the ground and she looked down to see her wedding dress stained even more now and when she pulled the dress up to see what had caused the blood, she saw nothing but maggots feasting on her leg and she screamed out in horror.

Moon Woman awoke with a start then as she heard her own voice groaning out a cry and looked around with bleary eyes. Where was she? What happened? How did she get here? Glancing down at her leg she saw the leaf still secure on the wound but she also saw the wound was starting to bleed a little again. She was going to need to dress the wound yet again. If there was only a way she could cauterize it to stop the bleeding and help prevent infection from getting in. But she couldn’t. She was alone, in the middle of nowhere with nothing more than her knives and her medicine pouch with her. And she wasn’t about to get up and go looking for firewood. Not that she could anyway.

Was this what Ten Bears was talking about? She was destined to sit here and die? Please….don’t let that be the case. There had to be SOMETHING she could do…..ANYTHING….

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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:36 am

Savage wiped his forehead once more, preemptively, and slipped back over the horn of the saddle with a groan. The sun was setting in the distance and he still had a while to go before the next town, at least that's what the old prospector told him miles back.

In less than a half hour he had cut the mare on to a run. "Move it, Paint" he said. He was beyond frustrated at this point. His hands ached to change lives. That's how he saw ever job, making a difference.

The ground ahead of him smelled wrong.
It was a term he had long since gotten used to.
It had nothing to do with smell, as far as he knew. He had heard of sailors who could "smell land". They knew when a ship in the fog would run ashore before lookout. He could smell death. The most ominous kind- oncoming. Death that was lingering in the air. But this time, it was like a cloud that had passed over.

With only a slight creak of the leather, he crouched and slid off the saddle and disappeared into the neighbouring underbrush. The Hawken unsheathed as he fell and rested along his chest. With both hands he felt the barrel strong and ready to alter destinies.
On one knee, he took a crooked position and looked down the rifle barrel for only a moment before the crack of thunder clicked as he pulled the rear trigger. A waft of smoke drew in his lungs, the smell of seared gunpowder like an opiate to the system.
More than a hundred yards away, the shot hit its target, just below the left eye. The native fell, like a dropped bundle of wood. Instantly passed to the other side.

His passing shook in the Hawken like a dowsing stick, and Savage tossed the rifle behind him, nabbing the reins of his horse and trotting both man and beast to the corpse.
He lifted the Indian's head. It moved as only dead things do. Drawing out his knife, he clipped off the right ear and folded it in his handkerchief. This ought to impress his employer.
The first catch of the day.

He sniffed the air. There was more... more to the smell of death.
Walking slowly through the branches, and down an unused path he came upon the sight of a massacre.
Arrows, like dead roots protruded from the ground. Bodies scattered. Surprised by the look of things. All native. He could have cut the ears off of all of them and claimed their bounty, but such a thing was for lesser men. Savage would earn his pay. His frown deepened. Such a waste....

If he had only been here earlier, they would have been his prizes.
He started to turn from the scene, exhaustion catching up with him when he thought he heard a sound. Was that? Was there life still in this cauldron of death?
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:13 pm


Moon Woman started to move and make herself rise to walk as best she could. The pain in her leg was returning with a vengeance and her head was thumping regularly with each beat of her hear. There was no one but her and she had to use every ounce of her training to save herself or she would surely die here. But was that such a bad thing? Yes. She knew the answer to that before the question was even asked. Life above all else was sacred. Even her own. And to think of leaving this world for the next before her natural time was up was frowned upon. She was given the gift of life and she had to live her life thankful for the gift given to her.

After some trying, she was able to turn herself and use the truck of the tree to help herself stand. The physical exertion on her body sapped a great deal of her energy. And she was thirsty like never before. Moon could feel the dryness of her lips and knew she was lacking the water necessary for her to sustain herself. If nothing else, she had to find some soon. And now with the small cuts on her hands from grasping the tree trunk to lift herself up, she was going to have to use even more of her medicinal herbs. She was going to have to replenish them somehow for she could feel the blood started to trickle down her leg once more.

Finally she was on her feet but each time she attempted to place pressure on her left leg, the pain was too much for her to bear down on. With some quick searching, she found a sturdy branch that could aid her in this task and now, with branch in hand, she began to walk, or limp, her way out of the trees. Her vision was not as focused as it should be and she didn’t recognize the area. At least, not at first.

When she got back out into the sunlight, the pain in her head increased and she squinted to try and stop it from being so bad. When she was about 20 yards from the trees, Moon Woman felt a familiarity about the area and she stopped to look around. Furrowing her brow, she was certain she’d been here before. Right? She walked on a few more yards when she stopped dead in her tracks. An arrow stuck out of the ground. She recognized the craftsmanship right away and she felt her heart drop to her feet.

Her eyes slowly followed the other arrows that seemed to be leading her line of sight in a direction. Her eyes blurred and she blinked several times to refocus them and when she did, what she saw made her stomach churn and her legs grow weak. She had been dumped just on the outskirts of her village. Her village that was now littered on the ground, all over the place.

Horses roamed freely, frightened of the blood they smelled yet so well trained, they couldn’t leave their home without some sort of direction to go in. Bodies of men, women, children, old, young and in between littered the ground. And the ground was stained a deep crimson color. Many of the women had been raped but everyone had been scalped. Moon lifted her hand to her face to try and block out the smells that assaulted her nose and stifle her cries as tears filled her eyes instantly at what she saw.

A loud CRACK caused her head to snap in the direction it came from. What was that? She'd never heard anything like that before. Her heart raced now and the blood began to flow even more freely down her leg as Moon turned to try and escape whatever it was that had caused the sound.

She hadn’t made it very far when she heard the familiar sound of horses hooves approaching. Daring a glance back over her shoulder, she barely caught sight of the horse when she stumbled and fell forward. The fall caused the pain in both her head and leg to increase tenfold. Trying her hardest to not make a sound, she couldn’t help the small whimpers that escaped her lips as she tried to half crawl, half drag herself away from whoever it was that had come to do more killing.

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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:38 pm


There smell of the blood on the ground was pungent. He had learned its distinct odour during the wars.
Savages destroying Savages.
The thought amused him and tugged at his lips as he pulled the arrow from one of the carcasses and looked at the obsidian tip. Crude, but a nasty wound, especially if it fractured. Not that it would help or hinder this particular fellow. He drew the drink to his lips again.
The murmur... the damned murmur. He hated that sound. It didn't mean finality. It meant suffering. It meant languish. It reminded him of his wife and his stomach broiled at the thoughts.

Replacing the flask to his holster, his coat spun and he looked around him glaringly.

Inch by inch, one of the fallen moved. It drew itself off the hewn field with a deliberateness of a farmer plowing through the cold earth in early Spring. A kind of futility was in those movements, but also an almost admirable quality of never surrendering. The sounds were of a different kind of mournfulness. A loss beyond that of herself... and it was a her.
He had established that as his boots picked a path through the carnage to stand over her.
He watched her for a moment struggling like that as if exploring the struggles of an ant colony.

His teeth gritted for some reason, clenched. And he did not know why.

The wound on her thigh was bad. Bad enough to bleed out soon.
He could walk away. Better yet. He could take aim and finish her and have at least one more ear to the tally.

But... there was another game worth playing here. A deeper possibility. And though he didn't want to admit it. There was something in her voice that gave him pause alone.

He pulled out strips of cloth he had torn for bandages on the field from his pack. The horse sniffed, whinnied at the death around it and stamped the blood spattered ground. He refastened the saddle bag and slid back to the place where this "squaw" was still dragging, almost insensate of the fact that he was around her.

He turned her over. She looked up at him, or the light of the sun dying in the sky. Something flickered across his face and with a quick movement, used the rifle butt to knock her unconscious.
He'd bandage the wound and place her across the horse. The hell with the town now. It was too bloody far. He'd have to make camp. And then he'd have to decide what to tell her when she awoke.
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:14 pm


Move. Keep moving. Don’t stop. It was all Moon kept telling herself over and over. Even as she heard the sound of footsteps approaching her and getting so close she could hear the steady breathing of the person. Still she kept moving, daring not to look back and see the death that surely was looking directly at her now.

The sun cast a long shadow over her and she trembled with fear as she still continued to drag herself away from the figure. She HAD to get away. Somehow, some way. Maybe they would just leave her to die. Yes! That’s what they were going to do! Especially when she heard the figure walking away from her.

But her elation was short lived as she heard the footsteps walking back towards her and while it hurt her terribly to move, she tried to move even faster. Moon could feel the closeness of the figure even before she was touched by them. She screamed out in her native language that was foreign to the figure and as she was rolled over, she lashed out with her hands the best she could

Blackness.

Moon Woman was the personification of what one would expect an “uncivilized” heathen to look like. Her face was smudged with dirt and dust. It was clear she had been crying at one point but the tears had dried a while ago. Her dress was filthy, the blood from her wound stained the left legging and her hair, normally black as coal and shining, was covered in dirt and dust as well as a few twigs and dead leaf pieces scattered throughout. Her braids were still intact, for the most part, but a few strands of her hair had come undone and were lying haphazardly across her face.

And now she was incapacitated.

************

Slowly she began to awaken. Her whole body hurt. She felt like she’d been dragged behind a horse. And she was terribly thirsty. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly as she tried to pull herself to more wakefulness, she shifted her weight and moved her left leg and was instantly brought to full wakefulness when she felt the stabbing pain jar her.

Moon cried out softly and sat up as she reached for her leg and felt her head spin. And start to throb. In two places now. What happened to her? She knew about her village, but something else happened to her. Sudden realization caused her heart to pound and the blood to rush through her veins and make her head pound even more.

The figure…..

Blinking as she swallowed hard and looked around, she saw the back of someone crouched at a fire. A camp fire. Looking around again she let her senses tell her where she was, or at least, try to. It was almost dark. She could tell by the coolness that began to slip around her. And this….stranger….didn’t know she was awake….yet.

Moon slowly reached down for the knife in her moccasin and felt panic rise up again. Along with fright. Her moccasin’s were gone. As were the leggings she wore beneath her dress. Her dress was still there, but that was it. And if her moccasins were gone, where was her knife? Her eyes darted around quickly looking for her things and she saw her moccasins on the far side of the makeshift encampment.

She was so focused in on seeing her moccasins that she didn’t realize the figure had turned to look at her and Moon instantly felt her heart start beating like a frightened bird even more. He looked ominous. Like he was going to kill her just by looking at her. He wore a scowl on his hairy face and his eyes bored into her. She needed her knife! At least she could defend herself against him then.

Swallowing hard, she tried to put on a brave face. Sitting up straight, she clutched the wool blanket he’d laid over her tight against her. She tried to glare at him, show she wasn’t afraid but deep down, she was utterly terrified.

Her leg pained her, her head throbbed and she was missing half her clothes. What had this…..man…done to her?

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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:49 pm

He drained the tea in the metal cup. There wasn't a proper pot for hundreds of miles, not since the Grand hotel, and he had to rescue it from between a whore and a Pharaoh gambler. The pot didn't do much but witness the transaction from unsavory characters, but he knew that they wouldn't have use nor appreciation for Britain's number one tool for a civilization.
Preparing tea was like settling into meditation. There was a procedure. There was timing. There was moments of peace and complete surrender to the moment. One could bruise the tea if the pot wasn't pre-heated just right. One could let it steep too long, or too little.
Perfection in a cup was a daily practice, and a constant progression.
The tin barely made the tea he prepared palatable to warm his stomach. It was bitter. He knew the leaves were picked before they were ready. The imbeciles from the "Beechers Tea Company" didn't know a tea leaf from a fig leaf for all he knew.
He strained the stewed bits between his teeth and spat the refuse to the side of the crackling fire.

When he turned his head, he saw her. She was sitting bolt upright. Tough little minx. He expected her to be out for hours, if not for the rifle butt to her face, but the wound to her thigh.

He had learned his own stitching in the war. Cat gut was a little hard to find on the trenches, and twine became the material of necessity. He had actually a spool of thick thread and after dousing it in alcohol as the leech of the 3rd had taught him. Something about staving off gangrene- and he was all for that.

He spilled the rest of the swill out of his cup and laid it on the log by the fire. He picked up the plate of food and fork and walked over to the native savage.

"No point in you starving to death," he said evenly and as interested as if buckling his boots. "You made it this far... I have plans for you, so you'd best behave yourself."
He held one hand to the butt of his knife on his belt.. the other held the metal plate with a mixture of curried pigeon and some roots and left over carrots from his pack. Nothing special, but the curry mixed it together nicely.
He waved it slightly out of reach from her arms.
"Eat. Food. Savvy?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:32 pm


Moon Woman’s eyes shot daggers at the man. The last thing she wanted him to do was draw closer to her and when he did just that, she instinctively reached behind her to grab a hold of the knife in her belt. Only to find it missing as well. How DARE this man take her property? Then again, she should expect nothing different. He was, after all, the interloper on her people’s land. A WASICU. A White person. They did nothing BUT invade her people’s lands and take things without asking. So now she was completely defenseless.

As he stood a few feet away holding out the plate of food towards her, dangling it before her as though she was some sort of wild animal, she glanced at the plate then back into his hairy face and his eyes that held a disdainful look within them. Matching her own, no doubt. When she saw the way his hand eased to the butt of his knife, her eyes left his face long enough to see the motion then looked back up at him. Those daggers her eyes shot at him now had poison on them.

His language was unfamiliar to her and mixed in with that mistrust, distain and anger was the unmistakable look of bewilderment in her eyes. He would have been better off to stand on his head and make animal noises at her for all the good it did him to talk to her. And what kind of accent was that in his voice?

She glanced at the plate of food again then back up into his eyes but uttered no words of her own. She wouldn’t give this white man the time of day, let alone seeing her eat at his pleasure. But what she would do for a long, cold drink right about now. Still, she wouldn’t accept it from him. At least, not all that happily.

As she sat there staring down this stranger, her left hand slid beneath the wool blanket to her left thigh and she felt the wound again. This time she took a little more time to actually feel her wound and what she felt caused her eyes to grow wide and she was forced to break her contact with her gaze.

Throwing the blanket to the right, she looked down at her leg. Her buckskin dress was cut indecently high and her left thigh was exposed. But it was the wound itself that had her attention. She had seen stitching of wounds before that was nothing new. But if her thigh was stitched like this…then that meant…..

Moon’s eyes slid over to the white man who was still standing there looking down at her. With no one else in the encampment, that meant he was the one that had to do this to and for her. Then realizing her leg was exposed, she felt her cheeks grow warm as she groped for the itchy wool blanket and threw it across her legs.

Her dark eyes once more bored into his very being as she glared across the short distance at him. She should be thankful for his aid but all she could think of was that he’d touched her. No one touched her there except Ten Bears. And now that he was dead, no one would touch her there again.

The anger and grief that washed over her was too much for her to bear. She lashed out at the man and his smelly food knocking the plate away and scattering the food across the ground. Her voice was full of the anguish she felt at what had happened to her family and to her village. Even as she railed at the man who had no idea what she was saying, there was no doubt where her outburst was coming from.

”Leave me alone! I do not WANT your food! I want to be left alone! Go away from here! You are not welcome! This is the People’s Land! Not yours!”

She wanted to run away from here but she was too weak to even think of moving yet. Instead, she had to swallow down her tears and her grief. She would NEVER let this white man see her cry. Not for all the flowers on the prairie. Instead, she sharply turned her head away from him and closed her eyes to force back the tears that threatened to spill from her eyes.

She was Moon Woman. She was the wife of a brave warrior. She was Sioux. No white man was going to see her anything other than proud.

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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:27 am

Sully blinked and stepped back as she struck out. She was fast and he'd have to remember that. The little minx had fight in her, he'd give her that too.
She chattered something that reminded him of an African dialect he had once heard, but couldn't pick up any actual words. He wondered what tribe she came from. Well, she'd die of dehydration before starvation. Without taking his eyes from her, he bent at the knees and scooped up the plate and licked the remnants clean with one finger.

Bloody savages. He thought he had his fill of them at the Capes. Thought he had his fill of even being somewhere he wasn't welcome, but fate had a strange way of sending him far from England... not that it was his home any more. Not after...

"Maybe you'd prefer something more gourmet" he chuckled. "Raw squirrel more in your cuisine?"

She never turned to look back at him. He saw her quiver slightly and wondered if it was fever setting in from the wound. He had thought he'd cleaned it up enough. God knows she was pretty enough. He had considered having his way with her when she was asleep. She wasn't unattractive to him, and Heaven knows enough of his countrymen took on savages in the wars, but there were two problems. Well three. She was wounded and she might just die while he was having his jollies, and that wouldn't be much fun.
She was needed for far more than a slap and tickle if he was going to get a payday.
And three... the truth was, he didn't have a desire even to plow virgin fields or any other since his wife passed.
There seemed no point in it. He knew that made him a coward in the face of his fellows, but his fellows weren't around one way or another. And when he would recall this story to his mates back in some pub in England, you can bet they'll fill in the blanks when he leaves them.. in the appropriate places.
For now, this heathen witch better stay alive. He had plans.

"You must be thirsty. Have some water..." His voice lowered unexpectedly. She still didn't face him. He looked down at the bladder of water in his hand and he shook it so she could hear the sound.

The fire behind him kicked up sparks that flew into the night sky. There was a whinny from his horse and the wind picked up.

"Stupid bitch, I'm trying to help you!"
She still didn't answer. He raised his hand to strike her across the face. The wind howled and he paused. There was a roar of thunderclaps in the distance, growing nearer. A storm. And here he was out in the open. He had no time for this.

"Drink you filthy savage!" he shouted and shook her by the shoulders open palm coming down to strike her face again.

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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:14 am


Moon Woman heard the man talking but since she had no idea what he was saying, she refused to even look at him. Why bother? There was nothing he had she wanted. But when she heard the water slosh in the bladder, she was tempted to turn and look.

Just as she thought about that she felt a gust of wind rush past them. She knew what that meant. A sudden storm was forming and with it the blessed rain that would both cool the heated ground and help wash away the stain of blood where her village once prospered.

Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard the man raise his voice and yell at her. She snapped her head around to look at him to see the hand raised to strike her and she couldn’t stop the momentary look of fear that leapt into her dark eyes. He would have struck her if the wind hadn’t gotten his attention followed by the sound of thunder in the not so far distance. When he paused, Moon was thankful he decided not to follow through.

But his reprieve was merely a pause in his intentions. He shouted at her yet again while he shook her like some rag doll and this time his hand came down fully onto the side of her face. Moon gasped and let a small cry escape her lips as her head jerked from the impact of his hit. Immediately her cheek stung and she tasted blood. Terror gripped her heart and she instantly reached up to touch her stinging cheek to ease the pain from his strike. Her terror was instantly followed by anger the likes she had never felt before.

Without thinking, Moon furrowed her brows and turned her face towards the man and spat. Her red tinted spittle, what little there was of it, peppered the man’s face. Satisfaction flowed from Moon’s head to her toes but it was short lived. The look that entered his eyes made Moon think he was going to kill her right then and there.

Growling like some badger, he reached out and grabbed her by the back of her hair. Instantly her eyes filled with tears and she reached back to try and release the grip he had on her hair, but he was far too strong for her weakened state. Moon felt some hair rip from her scalp while other strands were pulled from the braids she wore. His face was mere inches from her own and he said something to her again she didn’t understand but she got the meaning. The murderous look in his eyes and the fact he spoke through gritted teeth was enough of an interpretation for her to know exactly what he meant.

Roughly dragging her to her feet, Moon winced and gasped from the pain that riddled her body. Her head ached, even before he grabbed the back of her hair, her muscles protested and her left leg felt like it was on fire. As much as she tried not to, she couldn’t help the small whimpers that escaped her lips from his rough handling of her.

The wind began to pick up even more and the fire sparked and swirled as the air began to cool quickly. The smell of rain was heavy in the air and the lighting began to light the darkness that was growing around them. He moved about quickly gathering up his things. Thankfully he let go of her hair as he began to repack his belongings and gather her moccasins. Moon remained like a statue where she stood watching him, intently aware of where he placed her things. He actually thought he could somehow beat the rain and find adequate shelter somewhere.

A satisfied smile eased over her dirty features then. He was more of a fool than she first thought. There was no way he could beat the rain. Still, she watched as he grumbled as he kept gathering his things. He had just gotten everything on his horse when the first rain drops began to fall. He had placed his hat on his head and was just walking towards where she stood.

He paused and cast his face skyward for a moment then looked back at Moon with a cross look on his face. Moon couldn’t help but smirk. So….the wasicu didn’t like to get wet, did he? She would have to remember that. He must have seen the smirk on her face because he strode over to her in three strides and the look on his face was even madder than it had been before. Turning and thinking she could actually run for it, Moon felt the iron like grip of his hand on her upper arm.

The rain began to pour then and within a matter of seconds they were both soaked. Well, at least Moon was. The man was wearing some sort of coat that kept his clothes from getting wet. For the most part. He tried to turn her around and she struck out at him once more but he seemed to be ready for her this time and he grabbed her wrist in that iron like grip of his and squeezed painfully. Once again his face grew very close to hers and the message he gave her with his strange words was not missed. He turned and half dragged half pulled her towards his horse.

As Moon moved she felt a stabbing pain in her left thigh that caused stars to appear in her eyes. When they reached his horse, he motioned to her then to the horse and Moon merely stood there, glaring at him and defiant to do anything he wanted her to do. The next thing she knew he grabbed a hold of her and practically threw her up on the horse. As she struggled to get off the horse, he climbed on behind her and wrapped his arms around her own, holding them down in a tight grip as he urged the horse onward.

Moon struggled as best she could but his grip was too strong and she heard another threat leveled at her in her ear. While she didn’t know what he said, the fact he’d uttered it in a low growl told her it was nothing short of deadly. As the rain poured down around them, lightning lit up the sky all around them, the white man urged his horse onward. Moon sat slightly forward, refusing to lean against the man. It was bad enough her left leg was almost completely exposed. She wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of feeling her weaken even more.

With anger, fear and trepidation swirling through her very being, Moon sat rigid in silence and welcomed the rain as it pelted her. Tears slipped from her eyes only to be washed away with the rain. At least she could be thankful he wouldn’t know she was crying or the fact she was opening her mouth to get as much rain to her parched body as she possibly could. And when she could, she would escape this man.

This horrid…..animal of a man.

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PostSubject: Devil's Lobe   Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:00 pm

Sullivan rode hard through the driving rain. Each pelt sunk into his cheeks and his sheepshanks, giving his entire bulk a weight that clawed at him no less than he felt when he placed Alice in the ground. As the horse slurried through the muck of the trail, the rain slowly churning it into stew, he tried to dig into the beast's ribs to keep to higher ground and less precarious roads.

Each lightning stroke drew widened whites from the nag, head jerking at the thunderclap. The leather reins slid in his hands and he wrapped them soggily around his knuckles chaffing the neck and urging faster.
It would be hours before they would reach the stop called the Devil's Lobe.

They pitched down a hill at speedy gate, and Sullivan worried that if he slowed this speed, the horse would tumble and send them flying. But at the bottom, a solid road stretched out, and staying to the unmucked centre, the pounding of hoof prints matched each crack of thunder, din for din.

He felt the she-demon against him. She was lithe and strong, leaning slightly against him as the pain from the jostling sent her into a kind of dozed state. Attempting to heal, her body would take the throbbing of her leg and try in the gallop to have her pass out. But stubborn as an unbent trunk in a storm, she would rouse herself and sit straighter in the saddle again, and again. He heard the small sounds escape from her throat even as she tried not to let them, but soon even that stubborn streak would end and she leaned back senseless as they road well into the depths of the night.

It was just about an hour before dawn, Sully reckoned, that she had finally completely submitted to unconsciousness and the lights of Devil's Lobe flickered through the curtained fog of rain.
The Lobe was a small rest stop for the wicked, the downtrodden and the debauched. Long ago it had been the site of a gold mine... one who's greatest days remained only as a brief sunny reminder to the remaining inhabitants like the glow of moonlight just out of reach on the water- a shaft away.
The mine had been spent before the Briddlebain had been finished, and it remained in a half erected state, more hostel than hotel.

When the horse finally slowed, its wheezing sounded as if it would pass away on the spot from pneumonia. He'd pay the stableboy extra for medicine and extra care. Out here a horse was worth far more alive than dead, and a replacement would be beyond his means until he reached his stake from Carson City bank. Wiring the money would take some time, but he had hoped to make at least some of his bounty before that would be needed.
In this the little minx had better be to good purpose.

The puddle slapped water in all directions as he slid off the saddle and saw her slowly careen to the side in insensate to her fall. He caught her and her head lolled against his shoulder. Her small see-saw of her breath tickled at his neck uncomfortably and he frowned carrying her as bridegroom to the final destination, kicking open the back door to the Briddlebain Inn.

"Room" he said half harshly, half whispered. He told himself it was the cold and not in deference to the woman in his arms that he spoke in softer whispers.

The Night Manager, arms half caked with white flour, and no doubt in the midst of bread making for the day held up an ivory caked hand.
"Not for her." he said.

Sullivan would trust this she-devil by herself like he would trust a bank robber with an open safe. "Twice the rate, and less the questions." he said.

The Manager appeared to begin to open another complaint but looked at his hands, deciding he had more important things to complete and sighed, somewhat angrily.
"She's on your head. Say nothing about her, and if anyone asks she's your responsibility."

"Aye," Sullivan nodded and began up the steps where the man pointed.

"And your wife." the Manager said, with extra intent in the phrase.

Sully stopped halfway up the stairs and didn't look back at the man. Rain dripped steadily from his coat. He shook his head. Him? Married to this... savage? The thought wasn't decent.
He continued up the stairs without retort, kicked open the door and slid the woman on the bed for the moment.

He unfastened the blanket roll he had brought, and set them out. Then he redressed her wound and shackled her with the Queen's own cuffs to the post of the bed... placing her head facing the bed on the floor beside him.

He was struggling to removed the water logged boots before the Stableboy entered looking for instructions.

He gave them, as well as enough coin of the realm that the boy would have a bonus for the week.

As the light creased the drapes in the room, he felt himself finally settling against the lopsided mattress. Sleep welcomed him. Sun, Sand, and Alice with a picnic lunch, her hair a wild tussle in the happy wind.
He never wanted to leave that moment. Not again...
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:41 pm


Moon was delirious with pain. Between her thigh and the pounding in her head, she wasn’t sure which one would drive her to madness first. She wanted to scream out her pain but pride and fear kept her from making any more than the sounds that slipped unwanted from her lips. The rain was relentless; as most storms were in this area, and it pounded her exposed flesh making Moon think she was being pierced by the sharp quills of a porcupine.

She grabbed a hold of the saddle horn several times fearing the untrained horse would bolt at any moment with each flash of lightning and clap of thunder. How the white man was able to keep the horse under control was beyond her. But still the pain….always the pain. Please…make it stop.

Exhaustion and the need for relief and rest to heal finally overtook her frame after several unsuccessful attempts and she leaned back against her captor. Just before she slipped into darkness she couldn’t help but think of how warm he felt to her. Obviously she was colder than she realized from the rain. That was the only explanation she could find for being aware of his warmth.

Moon found herself plagued with dreams then. Dreams that made no sense to her. She would be with Ten Bears and form out of the blue she would feel pain someplace on her body only to have it leave and when she looked up, she was in her village. Another pain and when she looked again, she was in the village of her sister and Running Ox. Children played lively around her and she saw people milling about doing their everyday chores.

Pain once more followed by someone’s touch. She was once more feeling warmth against her and she snuggled into it whispering softly in her native language and she was certain she caught the unmistakable scent of a man. Ten Bears was with her again and a contented sigh escaped her then.

This time she felt the pain in her left thigh and she winced and cried out softly but it was soon replaced with a soothing feeling and then nothing but peacefulness and quietness. Moon drifted off into a dreamless, healing sleep then. And sleep she did.

It wasn’t until the sun was starting to dip into the horizon of the evening two days past when they had arrived that she began to stir and slowly awaken. She had been asleep for three days straight. The mat beneath her was rather hard compared to the mat she shared with Ten Bears and she frowned. Slowly blinking her eyes open, she furrowed her brows as she tried to figure out where she was. This….wasn’t….her….lodge….

Attempting to move her arms she grew even more puzzled and now the hint of fear seeped into her being as she realized they wouldn’t go as far as she wished them to. And there was something hard and cold against her wrists. Moving her head, she glanced up and saw her wrists were bound by metal bracelets and those metal bracelets were attached by a short metal chain that was around a wooden post of some sort. And that wooden post was attached to some sort of wooden frame with other things on it she didn’t recognize.

Again she attempted to wiggle out of the bracelets only to grow more frustrated and even more afraid. The sound of movement caused her to snap her head around and see the white man standing there looking at her. Moon wasn’t sure if that was contempt, pity or curiosity in his eyes and she didn’t care. So, the white devil had somehow secured her wrists to prevent her from escaping. He wasn’t THAT much of a fool, then.

His eyes moved from hers and she saw they took a decidedly lower venture and when she glanced down she saw how exposed her left leg was and she gasped instantly feeling her face grow very warm. It was humiliating enough to know he had taken her prisoner but to know he had touched her leg again, seeing the fresh bandage on her leg, and her leg was indecently exposed yet again to his eyes. And with the dirt and grime washed off her by the rain, she felt even more exposed to his wandering gaze for the only thing marring her features now was the faint bruise his hand left behind on her cheek and the small mark at the corner of her mouth where the skin had split open slightly.

Moon pulled her gaze away from the situation she found herself in and refreshed her struggles once again as she felt the sting of humiliated tears cause her vision to blur. Stop looking at me, she wanted to scream at him but she refused to say anything. She didn’t want him to strike her again but she didn’t want to be left here on display for him either.

Please, she prayed, please help me. Before he decides to do worse than strike me.

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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:01 pm

Sullivan's neck had a nasty cramp in it.
He didn't complain. Never did. But then, he could hardly ignore it. The cramp occurred when the weather turned sour. It was a reminder of his almost hanging back in the Capes.
There was a mutiny. There was a lynch mob. And there was Sullivan, stuck in the middle between God, Queen, Country, and a sack of mal-fed soldiers who wanted to make their way out of the swamps with gold and treasure and no ties to their honour.
What had it given him? A nearly fatally lengthened neck that hurt when it rained and a tiny pension that kept him operating in the Colonies as a soldier-for-hire.
He took the kerchief from his pocket, sogged it in the water basin on his dresser and placed the lump on the back right of his neck. His wife used to like to work on the knot between blade and chin. It gave her some comfort to be able to provide a relief from the wars.

He took a slow deep breath as he heard the knock on the door. The Keeper from downstairs pocked his head through the crack.

"Don't let my silence slow your passage," Sullivan said with more than a little acid.

"I interrupt som'thin'?" the man said and his eyes were wide with mischief. He looked around the corner at the red skin on the floor. "Now Mister... I don't care none what you do, but I wouldn't even treat my dog-"

"-You had a point?" Sullivan interrupted.

"Biscuits and eggs on the grill. You care for some?"

"Over easy, and whatever tea you can muster." Sullivan said. He took one look at the girl as the Innkeeper looked at her again. Her thigh visible for all asundry.

"And her?" the man said.

"Warm up some bread with gravy. She's probably thirsty enough, so a glass of water too."

The door began to creak close.

"No utensils!" Sullivan shouted out the port. "Not for her... But bring a napkin!"

He heard a mumble as the man limped down the stairs. No doubt his feebled imagination would be entertained many a night to come with the image of the Indian shackled in his room.
Would that his needs as simple as a tumble, although she was attractive... for a savage.

It reminded him again, as so many things did, of the Capes. But that memory would have to be pressed like so many back into the furthest corners.

He drew the wooden chair from the desk over to the woman and sat down staring at her. He wasn't even sure which tribe she was from or which dialect she spoke.
He let his eyes drift a little too long over her exposed flesh and felt her eyes bitterly turn towards his. Fire was there.

He grew in admiration. There wasn't an ounce of servitude in her demeanour. He leaned forward speaking in softer tones.

"So you've awakened at last. Given me time at least to update my journals," He felt for his pipe and matchbox, tapping his pockets before filling the tobacco. "A life worth living, and all that rot..."

He watched her eyes widen as he drew the pipe in his lips and took its first puff after striking the match to it.

"Now what will we call you?" He thought to himself and then breathing out a cloud of smoke he tapped the edge of the pipe to his chest. "Sullivan." He said definitively. "Sull-eee-vaun". He pointed the pipe back towards her looking for a response.

Outside there was the tell-take sound of the limp-legged taveneer mounting the steps; slowly this time; no doubt with a tray of food.
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:44 pm


Moon watched the man as he sat down in the wooden contraption and stared at her. The pipe was a surprise to her and while the smell of the smoke wasn’t unpleasant to her nose, it wasn’t the same thing her tribe and other tribes around the area smoked. And why was he smoking a pipe alone? It wasn’t like he was looking for enlightenment of offering peace to anyone. Certainly not her.

As he started speaking again in the softer tones, Moon blinked slowly and listened. Able to wiggle herself so she finally sat up, she swallowed hard and looked over at the man again. The elevation made her feel lightheaded and she swooned slightly before catching herself knowing it was due to a combination of things. Lack of food. Lack of water and lack of blood. Gingerly curling the lower half of her legs under her, she winced slightly as the pain of her thigh reminded her she still had some healing to do.

Glancing at the man then glancing down at her leg, she saw it was healing nicely now. Thanks to his ministrations. Unfortunately. Her eyes glanced over at him again as he continued to speak to her. When she saw him point the pipe at himself then say something then pointed yet again and this time spoke the word slower with emphasis.

At first Moon furrowed her brows but then realized what he was doing. He was actually telling her his name. Both brows rose as the realization hit home he wanted to know her name. There was a moment where she debated what she was going to do but the sound of another knock came to the door and interrupted her thoughts.

With a frown and grumble on his lips, the man got up and walked to the door to open it. Moon watched curiously to see another man standing there looking past her captor directly at her with a look in his eyes that made her skin crawl and her heart constrict in her chest. Was her captor going to give her to that man? Fear leapt into her gaze then and her dark eyes darted from the man outside the door to the man inside the room with her.

As she watched a brief exchange between the men and the door close abruptly, she felt a slight wave of relief. When this…..Sull-eee-vaun turned around and held a tray with food and water on it, her eyes fell to the contents of the tray and stayed there. Moon felt her moth water instantly and felt her stomach grumble knowing the sound carried throughout the room.

Her eyes raised to her captors then and she watched him come back over and sit on the wooden chair. Again he reiterated his name then pointed to her expectantly. She glanced over at the tray of food again and this time her captor looked over his shoulder to see what her attention was on. Knowing he had even more leverage on her, he repeated his name only this time; he retrieved the glass of water and held it very close to her.

Moon wanted to scratch his eyes out but she knew that was impossible right now. The look she gave him told him she was not happy at all with the way he was treating her but she was unable to rectify that situation right now. So she would have to play along if she was going to survive. Swallowing down her pride for the sake of survival, she licked her parched lips and swallowed hard to try and wet her dry throat.

”Han…Hanhep…Hanhepiwi Wiya….”

Her voice was more like a croaked whisper and she furrowed her brow, swallowed hard a few more times then spoke her name again with more authority as she attempted to point to herself with her shackled hands causing the soft chink of the chains to resonate in the room.

”Hanhepiwi Wiya”

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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:17 pm

Sullivan's eyebrows raised at her voice. It surprised him that it was so musical. Somehow in his head, he thought it would be more guttural, mono-syllabic. He wasn't sure why. The people's of Africa weren't exactly all stereotypically primitive either. What was it about civilization that tended to place all things different at the furthest end of the scale, as if there were little more than monkeys that could understand them..

"Hani... Han...." he sputtered. "Hannah," he said at last. "I'll... call.. you... Hannah." He pointed from himself to her again and again for emphasis. After all, he thought to himself, a rose by any other name, And he quite fancied his ingenuity in separating the language barrier. It would be much better for her if she had a proper name if she were to be doing his bidding.

He had paid the Innkeeper enough to take his leering eyes elsewhere and adjusted the items on the tray. First he removed the tea and the pot as well as his eggs and the kitchen utensils and placed them well out of reach on the desk. He took a quick sip of the tea and brought the tray with the day old bread loosened by gravy and the water. He placed it down just slightly out of her reach and crouched enough to remain still well taller than her. With one hand he lifted the water and held it out to her... temptingly.

"This is water, Hannah" He said and emphasized the word as he passed her the metal cup of cool liquid. "Water."
As she took it, almost in a daze, her slid the tray closer and within her grasping. He went back to his chair and relit the pipe watching her carefully.

Now he had a beginning. How he would have to train her from the simplicity of the English language to being his guide in this strange land. He would have many a trophy from her people by her hands.
She just didn't know it yet.

The pipe didn't bite his tongue quite the same way with the second lighting. The rings that pursed from his lips tasted better somehow. He wasn't alone. At least for the time being. He would make a powerful ally of this savage. An ally that would make him wealthy enough to return home at last.

There was a strange raucous outside. He went to the window and edging his way across to peer from the corner safely he looked.

Down on the street about a half dozen men road into town. They were more than mostly in the bag by the look of them. Barely able to be on their feet, wandering with rot gut whisky that looked like it had been made in such a poorly produced still it might have better been called a deathly still.
He smiled at his poor attempt at humour. He missed telling jokes to his wife. He missed a lot of things. Rubbing his cheeks he saw the men below firing off more guns and entering the Inn.
They were drunk and loud, and armed.
This would not go well.
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:49 pm


Moon listened as he attempted to say her name but found it too difficult to do so. When he called her Hannah she gave him a strange look. One that definitely spoke of the fact she didn’t care for it but again, there wasn’t anything she could do about it. And she didn’t care when he finally handed her the tim cup with the refreshing water in it. While it wasn’t as good as the water she collected at the village, it was wet and it would keep her from dying.

Once the water was carefully drained from the cup, she sat it down on the floor, and in the same fashion he slid the tray over to her, she slid the cup over in his direction. Moon made sure she didn’t gulp the water down for she knew her body would object to such a thing. Instead, she sipped it carefully and felt its healing touch almost instantly.

The food on the tray didn’t smell too bad and Moon carefully slid the tray closer. Picking up the plate with the gravy covered bread, she looked around the tray and moved a few things as though she was looking for something in particular. When she didn’t’ see what she was looking for, she glanced up at Sull-eee-vaun and saw he was using something to eat his food with.

Moon was just getting ready to gesture to him what she wanted when she heard the loudness and shooting from outside. With a small cry of fright, she tossed the bowl back down on the tray sloshing some of the contents over the side of the bowl and onto the tray.

Fear caused her to move as she tried to free herself from her metal bracelets. Whatever was happening outside didn’t sound good and she had to get away from here before it was too late. In fact, some of the yelling she heard sounded a great deal like a raiding party and she wanted no p arts of that. Not after what happened to her village. And the voices sounded as though they were right under her.

Moon tugged and pulled hard at the metal bracelets causing red ringed marks to appear on her wrists and at the base of her hands. The skin under the abrasive metal began to bleed slightly as she tried desperately to remove them so she could run away from the new threat. Without realizing it, she softly spoke to herself in her native language with a pleading voice as she tugged and pulled almost violently at the metal bracelets as she felt tears sting her eyes again.

”No….no…please….do not let me die chained up like an animal….please….”

She turned her fearful gaze to Sull-eee-vaun and saw the way he looked at her. There was clear confusion on his face and she finally tugged the metal bracelets in his direction while giving him a pleading look as she spoke directly to him, still using her native language. Except for one word….

”Please….Sull….Sull-eee….Sully…..please….release me. We have to leave before they find us and scalp us.”

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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:41 am

Sullivan frowned tightly. Something between rage and sympathy tugged at him and the hated that feeling. It weakened a man feeling either. It robbed one of his thoughtful intent. And without a mind, a man was little more than a beast.
"You stupid savage," he began shaking his head. "Stop struggling so.. you'll bleed yourself out to die!" Never once considering that in the same situation, he probably would be doing the same thing.
He considered knocking her unconscious again, but that wouldn't bode well for their relationship.
He needed there to be a kind of respect for his position in her life. He might have to discipline her but abject cruelty would have no place. With the wound on her leg, and the fools below.. he knew she wouldn't flee far.

"Come here," he said and placed his pistol in the back of his belt out of her reach behind him. He reached down with the key and unfastened the locks on her handcuffs. Using stern tones whenever she struggled in fear as he came with the key towards her. "Stop moving, curse you!" He said. And finally the clack of the cuffs catch opened and they fell down beside her.

He saw her rub the raw cuts on her wrists and he picked her up by her tunic and hair and dragged her to look out the window, pulling his revolver in his other hand.

"Look!" he half shouted/half whispered.
Down below the Innkeeper was pulled from indoors and the drunken louts were practicing William Tell. They placed the sweating, greasy man up against the wall, and balanced an empty whiskey bottle on his quivering head, waving the barrel of their guns to his nostril to make certain he realized absolute stillness was required.

Several paces back they took odds as to who would shoot the bottle off first. A man with scar like the outline of a beard around his chin took shaky aim and fired.
The puff of smoke barely rolled from the end of the pistol when the InnKeeper and the unbroken bottle fell to the dirt. A neat hole in his forehead, marred only by the trickling red that soaked the puddled ground giving a tell-tale sign of the accuracy.

Well, Sullivan thought. At least there's that to consider. They aren't good shots.

Hannah's eyes widened at the assassignation below. The men harranged and jeered at the man for his poor display. One was more than mildly annoyed. Apparently, he was interested in the sport, not in slaughter. He walked over to the body of the InnKeeper and gave the mound a hesitant nudge with his foot rolling the body over in a sloppy heap. He removed his hat and wiped his bald head.

Turning he went over to yell at the man some more, but the others were all ready for some mischief. They kicked open the door downstairs. Sullivan heard the clatter, and pushed back his sleeves. With a swift motion he drew one, and then the other pistols and inspected the barrels. All the chambers were full. He spun them in the fashion of western quick shooters and slammed them home again in the holsters. Bullets were a premium here on the frontier, and he'd rather not kill anyone who wasn't about to provide him bounty. But he'd be hanged if he were to allow them inside the room and after his property.

He heard thrashing and the tell-tale sounds of glass and metal as the hooligans made their way across the Inn looting, and starting to mount the stairs.

The rain may have stopped for now. He wasn't about to let them drive him from the room, especially when he wasnt' sure where he would go. He swallowed hard and waited for the footsteps to carry close to the door. Holding his hands slightly up from him in a non-threatrening gesture he waited for the gang to make their presence known.

He just hoped Hannah had enough sense to stay out of the path of the bullets.
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Sun Dec 11, 2011 5:51 pm


Moon forgot about the pain from her leg and the hair this Sull-eee was pulling when he grabbed a hold of her and dragged her to her feet and over to the window as she watched the horrific scene below play out. When the gun barked she flinched and when she saw the inn keeper fall to the ground, she gasped softly.

As the men below moved about, she saw the one who was clearly unhappy and the rest of them begin to move about. Casting her wide, fearful gaze to Sull-eee, Moon silently pleaded with him to protect her from them. There was no one else she could turn to right now as he held her entire life in his hands, quite literally at times.

As he pulled out both of the guns, her eyes drifted to the guns then back to his face and she saw the hard, determined, yet empty look in his eyes. AS the noise of the men began to get louder indicating they were getting closer, she snapped her gaze to the door then back to Sull-eee.

Something terrible was getting ready to happen and as her mind began to put two and two together, she knew those things Sull-eee held in his hands and the thing the man below had were one in the same. And remembering what happened to the poor inn keeper her eyes widened even more and her mouth gaped open slightly.

She heard wood splintering and the sounds of surprised people yelling followed by bellowing from the rabble rousers, more yelling or screaming from one woman and some more barking from the guns, Moon heard the shuffling of boots outside their door. There was a split second their was no noise and Moon knew this was the point of no return.

In the next instant, several things happened all at once. The door was kicked open, Moon dove to the floor close to where she had been chained and covered her head as she curled into a tight ball to help protect herself. She heard several loud cracks that deafened her hearing and she felt the hard thump on the floor and something made her open her eyes. When she did, Moon saw the lifeless eyes of a man lying on the floor on the opposite side of the bed.

Her dark eyes widened but she couldn’t think of anything because more loud cracks filled the air followed by the sound of men yelling and the sound of boots hitting the wooden floor rapidly. And then…..silence. Slowly Moon removed her hands from her ears and dared to move.

Cautiously she pulled her legs beneath her and dared to peek over the top of the bed to see if Sull-eee was still there or if he had fallen as well. She was filled with mixed emotions at her thoughts. If he was stil alive, she was still his prisoner. Of he was dead, she had absolutely no one to protect her from the men she saw below and who had obviously crashed into the room.

The air was filled with smoke and smelled of blood and something Moon had never smelled before. Her eyes burned as did her nose and she squinted as she peered around the room looking for her captor and savior all in one. Daring to draw attention to herself, she half whispered half called out to the man.

”S-Sull-eee?”

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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:12 pm

The door cracked open and the Native woman hit the ground with a speed that belied her injury. Sullivan took a half step towards her before the door swung the rest of the way open. Four men armed with pistols and rifles, and befouled by liquor entered the room. Sullivan's raised empty hands seemed to not slow them down, and before they took their first stride into the room, he pressed off with his left foot, side stepping to cut off their angle of the shot, all the time drawing both pistols and pulling back on the hammers in a swift, fluid motion. The first volley of bullets hammered against the bed and the window frame, smashing through the glass and sending fragments and withers of wood into the air just whizzing past his ear and left calf muscle. He took an extra half second to aim as the first men pushed through the door jamb. One bullet shattering through the left eye of a ranch hand looking man and the second hammering into the shoulder of one holding a rifle.

Drunkards don't know when they're dead. Sullivan said to himself as the shoulder wounded man fell in a heap only to raise on one knee and look with confusion and dismay at his shoulder wound, the other falling in a heap like cut wheat, and the final pair breaking through the threshold like eager bridegrooms.

It all happened as if in slow motion for Sullivan. The chambers whirred to their next destination, barrels heating as the twin hammers fell again. This time a bullet embedding in the rifle of a third man and into the chest of the fourth who, insensate, kept running, falling over the prostrate companion, arms outstretched as the fragments of window and frame failed to hold his charging gait back. He doubled over as he fell, the frame of the window spinning him over and over until he crashed below half in and half out of a water trough, his back broken.

The broken rifleman used the butt of his gun to hammer down on Sullivan's hands and the right pistol crashed to the wood floor. Sully ducked the backswing but spun the remaining gun so the butt of it remained like a club in his hand. He swung wide, as the main doubled him over with a kick to the vitals. Sullivan dropped the final pistol and saw stars trying to gain his breath. The fur on his face trembling like a bleating lamb.

The rifleman raised the gun high to drop the metal across his head, but Sullivan recovered enough to grab the barrel and the two man tussled knocking plates and cups flying, smashing cheap paintings from the wall, and kicking at each other. They grunted and spun like marionettes connected by the single metal bar and after a twist both went out the only unbroken window, spinning and cascading down a few short feet to the sloped roof below.
Sullivan's foot went through the cedar shingles and remained trapped. The other used the advantage to wrest the gun from his hands and club him once, twice, and almost three times before the pummelling had him flat against the roof. He watched for a moment considering how to spin away as the man held the rifle high in both hands.

Meanwhile, back in the room Moon had seen the final man grown and try to rise. She had noted in his boot a long skinning blade of balanced weight lay just within her reach. Could she get there before he saw her?
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:46 pm


As she heard the fighting taking place outside the window and saw Sull-eee nowhere to be found, she caught sight of movement out of the corner of her eye. As the man began to try and right himself, Moon noticed the light glint off the hilt of a blade he had stuffed in his boot. Her dark eyes darted to the shattered window and back to the barely conscious man.

Survival was something instinctual to all living creatures, great and small. And when it came to kill or be killed, you wanted to be on the former of the two. No one wanted to die before their time. Not even Moon. And while she was a woman who cherished life, she knew she had a split second to make a life altering decision, one way or the other.

With the quickness of rattle snake, Moon half dove half reached for the shining blade and pulled it free from the man’s boot. In the next instant, she Drew the blade up with both hands, the blade pointing down, and plunged it into the chest of the man who had just caught sight of what she was doing. His wide, shocked gaze remained on his face even after the life faded from his bleary eyes.

Heaving the long blade out of the man’s chest and hearing that sickening slushy, sucking sound as the blade was pulled free of muscle, bone and sinew, Moon stood and spun towards the window. She saw the man as he pummeled Sull-eee with the thing in his hand. Sull-eee’s foot was caught in the wood beneath him and unable to defend himself properly.

As the man standing over Sully raised his hand to deliver another blow he jerked and suddenly got a look of sheer disbelief and terror on his face. Blood gurgled from his throat and trickled down his chin, dark in color and slightly foamy indicating something had pierced his lungs. Slowly, like a tree that had been cut at the base of its trunk, the man fell forward and hit the roof so hard, it knocked a bigger hole where Sully’s foot was stuck as the man crashed right through it.

When Sully finally looked up he would see Moon standing there, panting softly, her hands stained with blood and looking at him with a mixture of fear and determination in her dark gaze. Finally she gingerly made her way to where Sully was and carefully helped him away from the hole to crawl back towards the broken window.

Moon knew they were in danger. Lots of it. Now they would have to try and make their way out of this situation. But exactly how they were going to do that, she had no idea. She had no idea where they were. Where to go. How she was going to leave or even if this Sull-eee could make it out of this horrific place.

She spoke to him in a soft but urgent tone even though she knew he couldn’t understand her.

”We need to leave, Sull-eee….if we do not, we will end up dead. I did not survive all of this so far just to wind up dead because you were too weak to survive this….”

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PostSubject: Thompson Mob   Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:55 pm

Words and fire have a tendency to set the world around them ablaze in short order.
Before Sullivan even knew what was happening, this savage woman was helping him out of the hole in the roof . She hobbled herself, the thigh making it hard for her to balance on the wet, slick shingles.
Together they made their way back to the window, just as Sullivans left eye began to swell shut. The pounding he took from the rancher was... There was another lightning crash, and he turned. No, not lightning. The storm had passed leaving only a strange still mist that folded in on the night.
The sound however when boomed again was unmistakable. Rifle fire.

He looked down. There were more men circled around the two bodies on the street. They traced their point of origin up the wall, beyond the broken glass and towards where Hannah and Sullivan stood.

"You there!" one ma shouted out. Several held torch light. "Wait!"

The murmur of the mob made it clear that they should do anything but. Sullivan guided Hannah by the elbow and brought both to safety on the other side of the window ledge. He didn't know how to express orders to her yet, but he did know that she understand things weren't safe.

Sullivan tossed his bag on the bed and hurriedly packed it and the saddle bag while Moon watched. Outside he heard another voice raise loudly.

"Thompson!" it yelled. Sullivan didn't bother to take a look while he packed.

A single voice struck out from the pack. "This ain't no part of yours Sheriff."

"Now, that's where you're wrong. I'm duly appointed to watch this town of ours and-"

"-And its my cow-hands that keep your damned town alive. And one of yours done killed two of my men."

"The story is they were doing their own peck of killing," the Sheriff said. "And you aren't the law."

"Now I admit that some of the boys get a right ways too inebriated on the whacky horse juice the serve here as liquor." Thompson said. "But that don't excuse no murder, and you ain't got no proof that Willy ain't been done in by the same man who killed my'ans."

"Now, I hadn't gone and said that it was Willy that was killed." The Sheriff spoke circumspectly. "Whatever gave you-"

"His body's right there Sheriff,. as fat as the day is long, and as white as the damned apron he always done wear, now you gonna help us hang us an undesirable or are you gonna head back to the relative safety of the find vitals that Miss Liza avails you of while no one's been lookin'?"

That drew a laugh that made the rounds across the mob which swiftly descended into a nasty silence. Sullivan reloaded the pistols and drew them back home in their holsters with a solid "thunk."

"Or is you planning to take us all in for disturbin' the pieces?" Thompson asked.

Sullivan imagined the Sheriff weighing his choices in the silence. But he didn't wait. He grabbed the woman's hand and drew her past the shattered door. "We're going out the back. Take our way past the kitchen and down to the livery stable to get our horses."
He didn't understand why he whispered the plan to her. She couldn't have understood it either way.

"You'll pay for this..." Sullivan heard in the distance the Sheriff calling out. "All of yous who take the law in your own hands. I'm tellin' ya now. Throw in with Thompson at your own peril!"

There was a pause before Thompson replied. "Quarter for the English fairy."
A cheer drew from the crowd before a strange voice asked, "And the Injun?"
"Oh... that one you can have for free!" Thompson said salaciously. The return cheer echoed in Sullivan's head as the two slunk down the back stairs trying not to creak the wood where they walked.
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Wed Dec 14, 2011 3:32 pm


No. There was no interpretation needed on Moon’s behalf. She knew things were tense. So tense Sully was doing his best to gather their things and pack. She knew exactly what he was planning on doing. She knew there was a time to stand and fight and a time when escape and survival were what was needed. This time, escape and survival were the clear winners in this game.

As Sully gathered up their things, Moon took the opportunity to put her moccasins back on her feet to prevent them from receiving any more damage from the broken glass and splintered wood. Her leg pained her terribly but she ignored it as she quickly began to help Sully gather up his things to make a hasty exit.

As the voices talked below, Moon had no idea what they were saying but she glanced at Sully a few times and knew whatever they were saying was not good. The furrow of his brow, the hard set line of his lips, the way he hurriedly yet effectively reloaded his guns and shoved them into the holsters. His body language practically screamed at her and Moon wasn’t about to try and escape right now. Not when she needed his help to escape these violent men who attacked them.

Rather Sully took notice or not, he would no doubt reflect back on this moment at some point and see just how quickly and efficiently Moon helped gather his things as well as hoist the bed roll up onto her back and carry another small bag that she figured rested on the back of the horse behind the saddle.

Moon startled slightly when Sully took hold of her free hand but his grip wasn’t painful in the least. In fact, he held her hand firmly yet gently. Without a glance back, Moon followed her captor, now protector, curling her fingers around his warm palm as they slithered down the stairs. Stealth movement was nothing new to the Sioux woman. From birth, all Sioux were taught how to be quiet and move without making a sound.

With each step, Moon prayed the wood made no sound. Taking Sully’s lead, she kept as close to the wall as she could making sure her feet stepped only where his had stepped previously. Keeping her breathing as even as she could, Moon glanced over her shoulder frequently to make sure they weren’t being attacked from the rear. As the jeering continued outside, the sound of the hollow beads of Moon’s tunic was drowned out as the sound of movement now coming into the place from the front.

Her feet had just touched the floor when Sully picked up the pace and darted out the back of the Inn. Now that the sun had finally set, the town was awash in shadows. The pale lamp light from the street out front did little to illuminate the back of the Inn which gave Sully and Moon a slight advantage. But how long that advantage would last was any ones guess.

The smell of straw and horse flesh greeted Moon’s nose when they entered another building and she realized this had to be the place the horses were kept. Unlike her village where they were tethered outside, the horses here had a building made of wood and the horses were in their own area, separated by wooden boards.

Crouching low and using the layout of the barn to move, Moon mimicked Sully’s moves perfectly. Finally they reached a place where he stopped and as he began to saddle his horse hurriedly, Moon kept a watchful eye out. She heard loud voices coming from the Inn and knew the men had to know they were missing now. Thankful she took the time to put her moccasins on her feet, she was certain they would have been able to follow them easily by the bloody foot prints she would have left behind.

As Sully was preoccupied with the horse, Moon took the opportunity to slip away from him and she began to open the stalls of the horses. She knew the horses would act as a natural barrier when the time came to leave. Quietly shooing each horse from its stall, she moved them around and spooked them just enough where they were beginning to get nervous and nicker ever so slightly at this new intruder in ther space. She just hoped they were able to get out of there soon.

She had just released her fifth horse when she was grabbed roughly by the shoulder and spun around. Her dark eyes were wide with fear as she looked into the angered face of Sully, swollen eyes and all. He shoved her towards the horse then felt his hands encircle her waist and hoist her into the saddle. Again she felt the pain in her thigh but she pushed it down and slid forward to allow room for Sully.

He lead them to the opening of the barn just as the men arrived. Several of the horses Moon had freeded from their stalls greeted the men and some of the horses reared back at being surprised by the men, flailng their front legs and whinnying loudly at the fright they had been given in an effort to protect themselves. They were the perfect defenders as the men instinctively raised their guns and shot into the air, some of them falling backwards and into the slippery mud. As the chaos ensued, many of the men attempted to gather up the horses due to the fact they wouldn't be able to go anywhere without them while others scrambled for cover. In the middle of all of this, Sully and Moon darted out of the barn and began racing away from the shouting, cursing and mayhem caused by the loose horses.

The next thing Moon knew, she was leaning low over the neck of Sully's horse with Sully leaning over with her, pressing his chest into her back as they galloped as fast as their horses would take them away from the men. Sully was raising up from time to time firing from the guns in his hands as he turned around and Moon could hear gun fire from behind them telling her the men had recovered enough to at least start firing back.

Never in all her life had Moon been so scared as she was right now. Her hands held the reins of the bridle in a death like grip and she dared not look back for fear of what she would see chasing after them. Instead, she placed her faith in Sully hoping he could get them out of this place and keep them safe.

Until she had the chance to escape him.





Or kill him.





Which ever came first.

____________________________________________________________________________________
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.


Last edited by RPMistress on Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:05 am; edited 1 time in total
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