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 The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1

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PostSubject: Whitewater Terror   Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:43 am

"Damnit all!" Thompson was shouting and cursing a blue streak.

The hired hands scrambled all around. The released horses unnerving the farm hands own mounts and some bolted. A wagon started rolling off kilter down the street knocking over a water trough and a hitching post.

Sullivan hunkered down across Hannah keeping her protected as the din and whistles of bullets flew through the foggy night air.

He knew the horse laden with two bodies wouldn't be as fast as pursuers. He needed to do something. He cut the horse hard to the right past one of the buttes and down a trail that he knew had to lead to the river that wore between the hills.
They heard the rush of the water first before they got close to the bank. It drowned out the sounds of the pursuers, and Sullivan was worried he wouldn't hear their approach, but they needed to lose all tracks and hopefully slow both parties down to something that could be manageable.
The edges of the banks were too narrow for horses to ride alongside and the muddied waters and stone river bottom kept the horse to a fast-paced walk as the raging whitewater raised just above the knees. The water grew deeper and he felt the cold flow above his boots, and wetting the thighs of Hannah. He knew it would both help with her swelling on her leg, but also begin the chill they escaped last time from the rain.
He looked behind but couldn't see their pursuers. They couldn't slow their progress though. It was too soon to imagine that they had lost the mob.

The water grew more fierce and the biggest danger yet didn't strike Sullivan until they were nearly up to their waists in the rushing water, the horse have swimming, half kicking through the rapid currents.
Ahead about a hundred yards, a large tell-tale mist hung like a crown over the waters.

"Falls!" Sullivan shouted. He didn't know who to. Hannah wouldn't have understood the word, but she could tell the danger he was certain. He tried to edge the horse towards the banks to find stronger purchase and get away from the danger. Turn around if they needed too. But the currents grew ever stronger, and the horse was pushed sideways against the water.. compelled ever closer to the precipice.
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:26 am


The cold water hit Moon like a kick to the gut as she gasped as her breath was stolen away from her. What was Sull-eee thinking? Didn’t he know the waters would be dangerous after the torrential rains they had in this area? Moon knew it had rained quite a bit from the ground water she saw, the wetness on the roof and the mud she had to walk through behind the inn. That sort of mud didn’t happen with just a passing storm.

But as Sully dove the horse into the water, Moon struggled to turn around and ask him what he was doing only to have him shove her back around and face forward. Didn’t he hear the sound of the rushing water letting them know they were not in a good situation here?

The further the horse went into the rushing water, the more concerned Moon became. Obviously Sully was oblivious to the dangers they now found themselves in. Even with the moonless sky, Moon could see the misty fog indicating the falling water that created it. To add to the danger, now that they were this far into the water and the horse was swimming desperately to get to the other side, if they got off the animals back now, they would be kicked and injured by the flailing hooves beneath the water’s surface. But they HAD to get off the horses back to give them all a fighting chance.

Finally, in desperation, Moon used all of the strength she had and twisted herself around, bringing her left elbow around with her. With Sully’s condition and swollen eye, he wouldn’t have seen the movement and she hit her captor square in the ribs. The rushing water aided her in tossing the man out of the saddle and into the water.

As Sully cursed at her, Moon launched herself off the horse as best she could to avoid the horses kicking hooves in the same direction Sully had fallen into the water and again felt her breath escape her as the cold rushed over her whole body. Grabbing a hold of the horses reins in her hand; she began to swim as fast as the current would allow her to the opposite shore. And with the weight of the two riders off the horses back, the horse now gained momentum in swimming in the direction it needed to go.

Daring not to look at either the angry Sully, who now swam beside her, or in the direction of the rushing water that was growing louder, Moon focused on one thing and one thing only: swimming to the shore line ahead of her.

Again she prayed they would reach it before the horse went tumbling over the falls that were now deafening. It all depended on their forward motion and the blessings of the Great Spirit.

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PostSubject: Why Did She Not Let Him Fall?   Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:37 pm

The roar of the waterfall was like a constant thunder in their ears and the frothing waves as white as churned milk. His fingers went numb as he struggled against the waters. He was never a strong swimmer and now he took one hand in the stirrups and used it to balance himself as Hannah and the horse worked towards the shore.
Sullivan felt spent. His face plunged below the surface again and again, dragged under, and he just wanted to let the current pull him to the other side. Would he see Lydia as he fell one last time? Would she show him the child? He hoped he would feel the fall like a soft tumble into her arms in the bed they had so seldom a chance to use. He head bobbed on the surface. He was barely conscious now, barely able to even care whether he was drawing water into his lungs or air. It all burned. He just kept moving his arms.
It felt like he was moving through clouds, wafting on the air. He couldn't feel the water. His hand let go of the stirrup, and the horse started trailing away from him. Leaving him in a sky of white and the relentless pull of eternity drawing him onward.
He could almost smile. Was it the cloud's moisture on his face? It was dark now, but soon if he just kept flying in the clouds, the sun would come up. Maybe... maybe if that one cloud in the distance. He wondered if he just went with the currents and let it bounce him, he'd see the sunrise and the warmth would carry him to Lydia. She must be wondering what was taking him so long. It was just a little distance now. Only...

His revery broke as he felt Hannah's arm around him. She held tightly to a root by the shore. The horse was already struggling out of the water, and up against a tiny crevice between the rocks, a natural hiding place that broke the light wind and almost nestled against the shore.
He moved his legs, although he couldn't feel his feet. To his right when he stepped awkwardly out of the water he could see the long cliff down from the waterfall, the edge so precarious that it looked more like a sprinkling of water cascading to the rocks than a blanket of white cream.
He almost went down. Almost went completely over to his death. His body was soaked, and he began to shiver uncontrollably. There was no place to go though, and no place to be ambushed in at least. The rocks on either side of the crevice went straight up as grandly and finally as the waterfall's pitch downwards. They could light a fire.. and sleep what was left of the night. They could...

As Sullivan hit the ground he was already unconscious. The last moment before failing into blackness, he asked "Why didn't she let him fall?" and then, there was nothing else.
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:29 pm


Moon could see Sully struggling in the rushing, churning, angry water and knew she could easily let him go to find his death at the bottom of the water fall. But then she was stuck in a strange place without proper protection. So as much as it pained her to do so, she had no choice but to reach for the man who had been nothing but mean to her since they crossed paths.

As she grabbed a hold of his waist with her right arm, she grabbed a hold of the horse’s tail with her left hand and let the horse pull them both up out of the frigid waters and onto the shore. The horse was none too happy to have its tail used as a lifeline but in the end, it stopped a few feet away and chomped at the bit in its mouth looking over at Moon with wide, frightened eyes.

She was winded, to say the least and for a few moments, she didn’t move. Not even as Sully leaned against her heavily. Moon knew he was out cold and she was glad for it. At least he wouldn’t strike her for her actions.

As she lay there in the darkness of the night, she looked over at him and saw nothing but a dark shadow where his face was. She furrowed her brows as she felt the unmistakable shiver from his body knowing he was in the throes of hypothermia. And if she didn’t do something quick, she would be in similar shape.

Forcing herself up, Moon heaved herself to her feet and winced as she felt the pain in her thigh as she began to move around the small, protected area they now found themselves in. It wasn’t very big but it wasn’t all that small either. In fact, it was big enough she could set up a small camp a few feet away to let them dry out and get some much needed rest after that excursion.

Walking over to the horse, she spoke softly to the flighty animal, holding out her hand and letting the horse get her smell. The horse nickered nervously a couple of times but by the time Moon stood next to it, she placed her hand on the velvety muzzle and stroked reassuringly.

She didn’t know how to get the saddle off so she left it on for now. Instead, she went to the rear of the horse and started gathering the things she would need; the blanket roll, the tin cup he carried with him, some food she found as she rummaged through is belongings. And she found her knives. Both of them. Glancing over at the unconscious Sully, she lifted the knife from her moccasin out and studied it closely. Moon felt the familiar hilt as her fingers closed around it. Glancing back at Sully again, she tucked the weapon in her moccasin again. Then started digging again.

She found her medicine pouch, her belt and several other of her belongings. But she never did find the leggings she wore under her long dress like tunic. Disappointed, she figured she would have to make do with whatever she could find. In the meantime, she had to get Sully stripped of his clothes and a fire going.

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

Almost two hours later, Moon sat huddled beneath one of Sully’s blankets, the blanket coming up over her shoulders and closed around her like a bulky robe of some sort. Her tunic draped across her lap and her hands busy at repairing the long slit that Sully had made to care for her thigh. A small fire flickered from within a small fire pit and the horse stood nearby in a dozing like rest. The saddle had been removed and placed near the fire to dry and apparently the horse was quite appreciative of the gesture.

Sully lay across the fire from Moon, his prone form was stretched out on a blanket while another covered his body, tucked in around him as though he were being mummified in them. Beneath the blankets, he wore no clothing. Not even his union suit. There was a pot sitting on a rock at the edge of the fire and a cup sitting a little further away. Sitting near Sully was another cup that contained a salve Moon had made from the contents of her pouch that covered the bruise around Sully’s swollen eye. And the swelling had gone down considerably as well. Moon had unbraided her hair so it could dry quickly and her inky black tresses fell over her shoulder like a black, silk curtain.

Her dark eyes were concentrating on the task at hand as she worked to repair the damage his knife had done to her clothing. Scattered around on the few plants that inhabited the area, Sully’s clothes were draped over the small branches drying in the night air.

The sky was still pitch black but the clouds had disbursed just enough to show twinkling stars dotting the blackness overhead. An occasional gust of night air drifted through the camp but not enough to stir up the fire. In fact, there seemed to be a barrier around the fire made up of stones piled strategically together to allow just enough air to get to the fire without being too much.

The air was filled with the sound of the rushing water as it moved hurriedly past the shore not too far away and the constant roar of the water as it cascaded over the edge and hit the rocks below. They were alive and they were safe.

For now.

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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:54 am

The acrid smell of the dying fire smoke woke Sullivan. He blinked twice, feeling the sore eye socket of the fight the night before. He reached up to touch it. It had gone down in the night some. Something pasted his cheek and eyelids smelling almost like bear grease. He blinked away the pain again and rolled quietly to stand and stopped aware of his clothing. Or rather, the lack there of...
He felt around and noted he was trussed into a bedroll. Hannah was asleep across from him in another and he saw that her hair was rich and ebon, shining in the sunlight like... like hers.

He slowly moved out of the blanket, but it didn't take much. The thunder of the waters, while not as loud as the night before, still raced on in the morning. He could dance a jig and not wake Hannah up. This is not worried him. What worried him was how he made it alive and in this state of undress. His mind simply couldn't conceive of Hannah having the strength last night, with a wounded leg, and after everything to buoy him up, make a fire, and have the presence of mind to stretch his clothes out to dry.
His clothes!
It just struck him that by mid-morning the outfit that remained just tantalizingly out of his reach would be dry. He snuck out, naked as the day he was born past the fire and began dressing. The next order of business was to discover who had helped them last night. After all, while they weren't an obvious threat, they still may have their own designs .Hannah didn't look abused at least. A rape at this juncture would most likely make her useless for his purposes.

After hopping several steps to get the last boot on, he poked and prodded the fire until he could get another sputtering flame from it. Some of the wood that was set beside the camp had dried out from last night's fire enough to create perhaps a smouldering, but still warmed fire. He noted that Hannah was still dressed. This was strange.
Even worse, he couldn't see any footprints beyond his own and the smooth indentations her moccasins made. He rounded the fire quietly and began looking through all the equipment, taking inventory.
He noted that a knife was missing from the rest of the pack.

Gnawing on his lip, Sullivan scratched the roughness of his beard and shanks and wiped his brow. He couldn't see how it would have fallen out. He slid cautiously down to where Hannah slept. Her bow-shaped lips, thick and a rich dark red-brown opened and closed slightly with the rhythm of her breath. He carefully peeled back the blankets and began to look for the missing knife. Did she put it somewhere she might use on him? Why?
He went so delicately. He couldn't imagine she would wake from such a deep, exhaustive sleep. Especially if she had impossibly been the one who saved him.
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:47 pm


Just before the sky began to turn from pitch dark to the slightest shade of bluish gray, Moon drifted off to sleep. She had taken to time to repair her long tunic with the needle and thread she found in Sully’s things. While she didn’t like the way it looked on her clothes, it was a far cry better than having her leg exposed for the whole world to see. She knew the morning was just on the horizon and with any luck, Sully would be waking up before long. With a couple of extra logs on the fire, she finally laid down and drifted off the sleep.

Once more her dreams were difficult to interpret. She knew they meant SOMETHING, but they seemed to be as chaotic as her world right now. None of them made sense and yet, she knew she should be able to understand the message they were sending her.

Moon was just entering another strange dream when she felt the slightest pressure at her shoulder, then at her side, then at her hip, then on her thigh. Her dark eyes snapped open then and she saw Sully bent over her, the blanket half off her body and his hand touching…..

With the speed of a coyote, Moon scrambled up, pushing him away from her. The musical sound of the hollow beads of her tunic mingled with the sound of the rushing water as she moved. Reaching down into the shaft of her knee high moccasin and withdrawing her knife, Moon held it menacingly before her as her dark, fear filled eyes looked up at Sully.

”Don’t touch me! You have touched me enough wasicu! Especially there…..I can take care of that myself now.”

She sat, her back against the hard stone behind her, looking at Sully as she panted softly. It was obvious she was terrified of what Sully had been doing to her more than the man himself. As she sat there, defending herself, Sully would see her dress like tunic had been repaired and she now wore her belt and the pouch he took form her was back in place draped across her body from left shoulder to right hip. And that she had possession of her knife.




And apparently knew how to use it.

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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:09 pm

Sullivan's startled look gave way to a slight relief bemusement, although he wasn't quite sure why. He decided that it must have been that if Hannah had intended to employ the knife upon him, she would have by now.
"So that's where it went," he said, pointing to the sharp weapon. She didn't move for a moment and he spoke in quiet tones.

"Thank you for helping me last night," he said. He placed his hand to his lips like blowing a kiss. "Thank you," he said again and bowed his head slightly in the action.
"We must have lost our pursuers. We'll have to make our way to the Marshall's Office in Sweetwater and report what happened last night."

Hannah didn't move. Did he see... what was it? Uncertainty in her eyes?
Sullivan held out his hand. "Here..."

There was a soft breeze that blew through her hair, shifting it from one side to another. The waters subsided just slightly as the runoff from last night began to slow.
Sullivan's eyes never left hers as his palm lay out flat.
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:36 pm


Moon furrowed her brows as she saw Sull-eee make the strange motion with his hand and incline his head but it was the quiet tones he spoke to her in that had her wondering. Whenever he spoke to her before now, he used curt, harsh tomes and looked angry he had to deal with her. Of course he would have never thought that if he had left her alone he wouldn’t have to bother with her in the least.

Her dark eyes darted from his opened palm to the general vicinity then back to his face and her eyes settled on his. The usual coldness she saw in his blue depths had subsided slightly. Was this a new trick he was playing on her? No doubt, she thought.

It seemed like he knelt there with his hand held out to her for an eternity before Moon finally moved. Her thigh reminded her it wasn’t exactly healed yet and while she’d taken the opportunity to put some much needed salve on it, the pain was starting to get too much and she didn’t want to take her own mobility away from her.

Slowly and ever so cautiously, and without taking her eyes from his, Moon slipped the deadly blade back into her moccasin then slowly slide her back up the rock to stand. Her hands rested, palm flat, against the rough surface of the stone but her thigh pained her greatly and she found herself losing her balance and tipping forward.

Natural reaction was to put her hands out in front of her to catch herself and the next thing she knew, Sully caught her against him and helped her regain her balance. Moon quickly righted herself and pushed off him gently placing a little distance between them as she looked up into his face again. She didn’t want him touching her and the more she made that apparent to him, perhaps he would be more inclined to do keep his distance.

Rather he was being gracious at the moment or caught by surprise himself, she didn’t know and she wasn’t about to press her luck. Quickly brushing past him, she limped towards the fire pit and knelt down, sitting on her lower legs. It was clearly painful for her to do so, but she wasn’t about to show this man any more weakness.

Without looking to see what he was doing, she proceeded to add something to the fire then leaned down, holding her hair back at her shoulders, and blowing gently on the smoldering coals. In no time at all, she had the fire going again and had the pot sitting on the fire to heat the water within.

Reaching over and picking up a pouch of something, she pulled out his rations and started breaking them apart into a single serving for both of them, sitting her small amount in her lap and setting his on another stone next to the fire. If she was going to have to share this man’s company, she was going to make sure she got the food and water she would need to sustain herself and regain her energy and health. Once she had both of those then she would escape this madness. Until then, she would endure.

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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:13 am

Sullivan's jaw set testily.
He wasn't used to subordinate races of any stripe being so damned defiant to someone of his rank and position- even when they were as blissfully unaware of the British empire as this woman was.
He paused for a moment before shaking his head and corrected the last address- Indian.
If he took the time to consider Hannah as a woman he might have second thoughts about what was to befall her, and weakness like that would cost him. Here. In the field. He wasn't about to "go native" like so many others before him.
Hell, the family Savage had its own black root in the family tree. His own brother Jonathan had taken up with a nubian sorceress from the deepest jungles of Africa. The witch had the eyes as black as burned out fire pits and he had to give check to his own desires when he looked into them. Exotic. Wild. Untamed. Something about those in a woman reminded him of looking at Hannah sometimes, and thinking of his own brother's weakness gave anger inside him.
But he pushed it deep down and stumbled tiredly towards the fire where Hannah began preparing food. He could hardly fault her taking care of him. That softened his mood. He hated being the hunted, and not the hunter. But he knew Thompson's men would not be satisfied until they were found.
He sat down by the fire. Deep in his own thoughts, watching the flickering flames grow from Hannah's gentle ministrations.
If they went for the nearest town, Thompson's men would be waiting to bushwhack them. If they went back to the Devil's Lobe that would certainly spell the same fate.

There was a wagon trail and a train of covered wagons heading from the East. It seemed almost a steady trail of them. At least it would be a place to go and get some help. Provisions to weather out the storm and leave the area at worst, men and guns to take care of the issues at best.

He looked at Hannah. If she was going to earn her keep and continue with his original plans, he'd best start teaching her the Queen's English. He started with some simple words. Taking a cup of water he showed it to her and mouthed the word "Water".
He'd try "Fire", "Sit", "Eat"... as many as he could reasonably cram that heathen head with.
And tomorrow they'd make their way along towards the trail and try to catch up with the settlers heading west.
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:41 am


It was obvious the man was still exhausted from his ordeal. Good, Moon thought. The more exhausted he was, the less likely he was to do anything to her. So for now, she was safe. Well, as safe as she could be considering the fact she was in strange territory she was very unfamiliar with, away from everything and everyone she knew, injured and relying on a white man to help her. Her dark eyes drifted to where he sat staring at the fire and she furrowed her brows.

Why did he look so angry all the time? Even now as he sat staring into the fire thinking of the next move (or so she assumed), he looked as though he was as angry at the world as he was at her when his eyes settled upon her. What had she done to make him so mad at her? Didn’t he realize HE was the one that had taken HER against HER will? And it was because of him they now found themselves lucky to be alive after his disastrous idea of finding shelter in that awful place they had escaped from only to nearly drown due to his bad decision to try and swim a swollen river? Surely he had to see what his rash, anger filled thinking had dome to them both?

But when Moon saw the man lift his gaze to her she saw the contempt in his eyes and knew that no matter what, he would forever be angry at her and no doubt blame her for everything that had happened to them. Good but especially bad. That unspoken knowledge sent a chill down her spine. She knew men could be cruel to women they found fault with. While none of the men in her village (at least that she knew of) had never done that to the women captives they took from raids but she knew other villages that allowed such practices to take place. And as she sat across from Sull-eee and saw the look he gave her, she feared he would be one of those type of men.

Her brows furrowed even more as he began to point to certain things and speak a word. Obviously he was attempting to teach her his language. Why should she learn his? Why could he not learn hers? It was only fair. Right? But Moon knew this Sull-eee was not about fair. He was about Sull-eee. It was what he needed her to do. And the sheer pride and stubbornness in Moon refused to let her bow to his need.

As she sat watching and listening to him as he pointed and spoke the word, she sat a little straighter and the set of her chin seemed to take on a more firm line. She never spoke a word, of any language, as she sat there and ate her food. Finally, when she was done with her meal, she brushed off her tunic and repeated the process he had just done, only when she spoke the word, it wasn’t his word. It was her own.

Her finger pointed to the cup of water

”Mni.”

Her finger pointed to the fire.

”Peta.”

Her finger pointed to Sully as he sat there glaring at her.

”Iyotake.”

She motioned like she was eating.

”Wote.”

Finally she pointed at Sully with the same cross look on her face as he was giving her.

”Conze Wicasa”

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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:44 am

Maddening! This woman was maddening!
He had thought the words before he even tried to correct himself as to how he thought of her.

How could a savage be so ignorant as to not want to better herself? Here he was, offering keys to the larger world.
The--Queens-Own-Blessed-Language.
And here she was teaching him, her barbaric little grunts and mutterings as if it had any import beyond the rocks and trees of this godforsaken wilderness.

His head hurt too much to argue, not that it would do any good. Nor did he even have the energy to backhand the vixen and teach her, her place. He just sat heavily on a stone by the fire, and groaned even more. His own anger had bruised his tail bone in the sitting.
He reached behind and rubbed his posterior just as she said "Wote".

He groaned and said, "Oh, eat your own ass..." He rubbed his whiskers and felt a tightness in his chest.
This was going so badly. It hadn't gone this badly in a long time, and he wondered where he went wrong. Should he just have killed her when he saw her and taken her lobe for bounty like everyone else he planned.

She wouldn't be so uppity if she knew that he planned to use her to scope out her people and any other tribe in the area for harvesting.
He had a job to do, and he wasn't about to shirk his responsibilities.
That being said he wasn't as pleased about it either. At one time his mind was only on the gold such a transaction would provide him, and the satisfaction that he was making room in the west for progress... civilization.
These people had their time on the Earth and if they were going to fight the reign of Industry and modern times, they had no one to fault but themselves.
After all, with such depths of knowledge of the land and her riches, they could have gotten in the ground floor and sold interests to gold and coal mines and other precious minerals. They could have done their own mass hunting for pelts and furs to transfer to the Old Country.
They didn't. The very CONCEPT of Industry was lost on these scrabby vagabonds who seemed more interested in dusting the surface of the Earth on meaningless pursuits than increasing the holdings of their family and community.
They were insects in the way of the destiny of Mankind, and while he had nothing particular against their skin, or this series of noises they called language, that they were ignorant of knowledge and society was almost a sin too egregious to bear.

Sullivan crossed his arms and turned very pointedly so that she was out of his sight. He was not about to be cowed by this she-devil. Nor was he going to press the point this day. He took a slow breath, and then placed his hands on his temples and rubbed them. The pain was almost blinding. He had been thrashed around the rocks last night in the water and felt much like a pinata must have felt before spilling open.
One more night of rest, and then they would make their way to the Wagon Train. The roads would be more clear then. Perhaps Thompson's men would be further off.. or given up some of the chase.
He sighed softly, listening to an howl of wolves in the distance. He really knew better. There would be no such respite.
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:13 pm


As Moon watched Sully she began to make her own conclusion about him. He seemed to be acting more like a child who was not getting what he wanted instead of a grown man and trying to come to some sort of understanding. Perhaps there was something wrong with him and he wasn’t fully developed in the teaching part of his understandings. It would explain a lot of his actions. Whatever the reason, she wasn’t going to try and spend a lot of time figuring it out. After all, it wasn’t like she was going to be spending a great deal of time with him. Oh no. When the time presented itself, Moon would escape him and find her way back to her people. And then she could put this terrible piece of her life behind her and mourn Ten Bears the way she should.

With the thought of Ten Bears she felt a constricting in her chest. He was gone. Forever. Never again would she feel his arms around her. Never again hear his soft words when he spoke to her. Never again would she see his bright smile when he looked upon her. Never. Again. Moon felt sorrow surfacing again and she blinked a few times then stood up and walked away from where she sat. Her footsteps led her to the tethered horse and she let her trembling hands slide effortlessly over the horse’s smooth coat of hair.

Tears stung her eyes and she tried to blink them away but she couldn’t. Turning her back to Sully, she proceeded to stroke the horse gently as she let this wave of sorrow wash over her. There were some things she simply couldn’t help or control and this was one of them. In time she would be able to control her outbursts, but not right now. Even though right now was not the best time to allow it to happen.

For several minutes Moon paid the horse attention and the horse seemed very pleased by it. The usual wild look in the horse’s eyes faded and in its place was a contented look mixed with curiosity. As Moon finally felt the wave subside, she swallowed hard several times and blinked the last of her tears away. Turning around to face Sully, she made her way back to the fire and knelt down again.

Picking up the other cup, she pulled her pouch around and opened it picking a few things out of it. There were some dried herbs of some sort, or at least that’s what they looked like, and she sprinkled a small amount into the bottom of the cup. Taking the pot that now had steaming water in it; she poured the water into the cup over the herbs. Using the spoon that lay nearby, she stirred the water and herbs together until she was satisfied the mix was good. Handing the cup over to Sully, she let her gaze settle on his. The aroma from the cup wasn’t unpleasant in the least. In fact, it smelled very close to tea but there was a hint of something more to it.

When he stared at her then glanced at the cup then settled his gaze back on her without accepting the cup, Moon sighed heavily and brought the cup to her lips and took a small drink then handed it back to Sully. When he still didn’t take it, she sighed once more and explained with both words he didn’t understand but gestures she hoped he would understand. As she spoke, she rubbed her temples with her free hand like he had earlier then pointed to the cup then pointed to him.

”You have a pain in your head from being in the cold water so long. This will help take the pain away. I promise it is not poison.”

When he still didn’t reach for it, she furrowed her brows and set the cup down by his foot and stood up, walking over to where she had neatly placed her belongings (much of it she had retrieved back from him while he was unconscious.).

”You are as stubborn as a buffalo. And as pleasant as a rattle snake. It is no wonder your head hurts the way it does. If I frowned as much as you do all day, my head would hurt too.”

She walked back over to the fire and sat down gingerly, crossing her legs in front of her, then proceeded to separate her hair and begin braiding it. She never bothered to look at him as she worked, instead, she found other things to focus on. Anything but him. When she was done, her hair was braided in two, equally divided plaits, wrapped with the red sash and the beaded, leather ties at both the top and bottom of the braids. When Moon was done with that, she got up and went about picking things up and keeping the minimal things out. All the while, she ignored Sully refusing to even look in his direction most of the time.

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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Sat Dec 24, 2011 6:19 am

Savage as the lands that birthed her.
Sullivan sighed and ground his teeth as he saw Hannah move back to her own side of the encampment, brushing her hair. At least she groomed. He'd give her that. He looked down at the swill she had put in a cup for him. His head boomed like echoes of last night's gunfire. He lifted the cup and looked at it.
It didn't smell too badly.
He raised it slowly to his lips and let the heated liquid slip between cautiously.
Well... it didn't taste horrible either. He admitted with grave reluctancy.
One more night's sleep. That's all he needed and everything would be clearer in the morning. He'd be able to consider the lay of the land with a head that didn't feel like the inside of a drum.
He drained the rest of the mug and pulled himself painfully up to go for some relief on the other side of the stream. The waters had run shallow, now that the torrential rains had ceased, and it was little problem for him to pick his path along exposed rocks to make it to the other side.
As he waited by a bush, humming God Save the Queen while performing a less than higher yet more urgent calling. He paused mid-stream. The tickle on the back of his neck gave him the distinct impression of being watched. He looked behind him to the camp, but Hannah was well engrossed in combing her mane. Hmm.

He finished up, Washed his hands by water's edge, and hopped, jumped and padded his way back to the campsite, settling in for a nap.
This native savage may have a great deal to learn about the civilized world, but she did know how to make something that had helped. Whether it was just having a hot drink on a cool night, or there was something medicinally effective in the tea, he felt a great deal better. He smoothed out the blanket, and lay down, looking at her, perched on one elbow.
The firelight played off her skin as almost a kind of bronze. And he only averted his eyes once when he saw her turn and look back at him. In the distance another wolf cried lonely for its mate.


The wolf howl set off another in response and Fox-in-the-Bushes raised up only slightly His shock of hair, only less impressive compared to the darkened warpaint that dappled his face and body. He looked at Morning-Stag and made the hand signal asking if they attack. The older scout responded with a clear cut "Not yet" hand signal. The Pawnee would discover more about this strange couple of whte and Sioux medicine woman before going further. Lightning-in-the-Sky would come shortly, and he was the greatest warrior of the tribe. He would know whether to kill them now, or to take them back and find out what they were doing wandering the land alone.
Soon... all the lands would belong to the Pawnee. Of that, Fox-in-the-Bushes was certain. He held tightly to the warclub. It ached for white blood. He could feel it almost wrest from his grip seeking the skull. But Fox-in-the-Bushes knew that stealth and secret would bring them closer to their goal. Lightning-in-the-Sky had taught him this.
For now, they would wait.
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:01 pm


Moon was patient if nothing else. Especially when her stubborn streak was involved. Her mind made up to not bend to this mans needs or wants, she would do what she needed to do to insure her survival but she refused to bow to his demands. Period. She was a woman and he was a man. Regardless of what brought them together, one was no less important than the other. She had her skills to guide her and she had aid very close attention to he way things were done in her village. Just because she wasn’t a man didn’t mean she wasn’t taught how to use weapons. Her knives weren’t the only thing she was quite versed in the use of and given the opportunity, she’d surprise him with that knowledge when the time was right.

While Sully lounged on his bed roll, Moon went about keeping herself busy as though he wasn’t there. The only indication she acknowledged his presence was when she gave a wide birth when she walked around him. She gathered up the cup that had the pain medicine in it, which he drained, she did so with a long reach. Taking the cup and the other eating and drinking utensils to the waters edge, she washed them up then set them back near the fire for drying.

Next came her bed roll. She gathered it up neatly and rolled it up then set it aside. Once that was done, she looked around for other things that needed to be done but found nothing. She glanced at Sully then glanced at the horse then back to Suly and sighed heavily before she gathered up some small branches for the fire then went about looking for larger limbs to use for the fire later on.

As she moved around, Moon thought she heard something out of the ordinary and she stood up straight and looked around slowly. Her brows furrowed as she turned in a very slow, tight circle. The wind gently rustled the bushes around her but there was something else. Something Moon couldn’t put a word to yet she had a feeling something was not right.

For some reason, the attack on her village came rushing to the forefront of her mind and the horrid visions she saw when she made her way back onto the blood stained ground. Moon felt panic welling up inside of her and she swallowed hard several times and took several deep breaths to calm herself. Slowly she took the few limbs she had gathered back to the encampment and knelt down next to the fire.

Sully was dozing but she knew he wasn’t completely asleep and for some reason that brought some sense of relief to her. As Moon stacked the limbs neatly near the fire, her hands trembled slightly with her rising panic she struggled to keep from engulfing her. When the limbs were stacked, she sat back on her heels and closed her eyes, taking several more deep breaths to calm herself and think of anything but those horrid visions she was left with. When she slowly opened her eyes, her heart was starting to beat calmer and the trembling in her body was subsiding. And she noticed Sully frowning at her. For some reason her cheeks colored as though she’d been caught doing something she shouldn’t’ have been.

Once more she pushed her pride forward, squared her shoulders and stuck her chin out almost haughtily then let her gaze settle on Sully’s and stay there. Two can play this game, she thought.

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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:04 pm

Lightning-in-The-Sky slid into view among the other Pawnee like a shadow at twilight. The warrior held tightly to the tomahawk. The feathers that adorned it spoke to the value he gave it. The number of kills. The number of ambushes. The number of one-to-one challenges. Each line and groove had special meaning to Lightning-in-the-Sky. As meaningful as the zigzag scar across his face that he got from a knife slash when he was just a young brave.
There was power in the naming. He knew the wise woman who had named him... told his mother what his name was to be. She knew the power of his spirit. He flowed across the depressions of the plains like water seeking the sea.
He was upon Morning-Stag before the warrior knew it, and he could smell a fox a hundred paces away upwind.
Lightning-in-the-Sky slid his supple frame behind the craggy rock, looking across the waters.

"Just two?" He gestured with his hand.

"Just two" Morning-Stag agreed.

Fox-in-the-Bushes cut in with a jab. "They've been there all night."

Lightning-in-the-Sky came alone. He would send for more braves, if needed. He weighed the possibilities. If he killed the two now, he could brag about their fighting skill to the tribe. But if he brought them back, he would have more sport, and perhaps more information about the Sioux.

He thumbed the hard edge of his weapon and made a decision.
"We take them alive." His hand moved across his chest gesturing the meaning.

The others nodded and waited for the wind to pick up enough to help hide their movements in the water.

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

Sullivan was having a fitful dream. He was feeling the world around him blossom and open up. It was as if he was no longer separate from the forest or the grasses or the waters. He could touch, taste, feel, see, and hear with a kind of full awareness he couldn't explain. He kept seeing eyes in the nature around him where he moved. There was a flash of them in the knots of the trees, or a curve of an eyebrow with timeless curls of eyes from a well-placed rock in a stream. He felt the heated breath of the world come close, thick with a honeyed perfume and then shifted him. Moved him like the wind and breeze.. as gentle as...

His eyes flew open. Hannah was there.
Her face was stark, almost ashen. Hair down in a long yard of black silk.
She pushed him and he began to protest. She put her hand on his mouth and forced his gaze away from hers.

Turning his head level with the ground, he saw leathered skin leggings through the mist along the water's edge. Coming as silently as a floating otter.
Just one pair coming across, and not far. Where did they come from?
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PostSubject: Re: The Beginning, Future Growth of the United States CHAPTER 1   Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:49 pm


As Sully went back to dozing again seemingly forgetting about his charge, Moon sat near him and listened to the world around her once more. There wasn’t a whole lot for her to do right now, which made it difficult for her. She was used to being busy with tasks and chores that needed to be done. Her day was filled with activity from the time she rose in the morning to the time she and Ten Bears turned the flap down on their lodge at night. And to sit idle like this was so unlike her. Then again, it was giving her thigh time to heal which could be a good thing.

Pulling her pouch to her lap, Moon took stock of her herbs and furrowed her brows slightly. She was getting low on a few things she would need to replenish soon. Especially if Sull-eee kept having head pain. Taking a deep breath and letting it out agitated, she glanced across the water again. They were fairly hidden away from anything on the other side but there was a small bit of space where she could see across the now slow moving water.

That’s when she saw it. At first she didn’t think she saw anything but then she saw the movement and she felt fear leap into her being again. Moon was certain if it had been Sully he wouldn’t have seen the movement or pay attention to the fact it was a burnt orange color. But Moon saw it and right away she knew they were being watched.

Slowly getting to her feet, she moved away from the place she sat near Sully and out of direct view of the eyes on the other side of the water. She quickly looked around for something – anything – she could use to her advantage but she was at a huge disadvantage here. She had her knives but she knew nothing about the loud instruments Sull-eee used and feared she would do more harm to herself than others if she tried to use them.

Panic filled her and she dared to peer over the edge of a large rock and saw something that made her grow cold and felt the blood drain from her face. The bold colors, the strange looking hair, the minimal clothing adorning his body pointed to one thing; Pawnee warrior. If she thought the Crow were bad, they had nothing on the Pawnee. Not when the Pawnee practiced human sacrifice.

And Sully was about to be caught completely unaware. Moon couldn’t let that happen. While she knew this warrior wasn’t alone, in fact, she was certain there were at least five or six more still hidden. There was no way she and Sully could win a fight with them. But what were they going to do?

As quiet as a mouse, Moon slipped back to where Sully was resting. She could tell the dream he was having was a disturbing one by the way his eyes moved behind the lids and the deep frown on his face. Practically laying herself atop him, Moon gently shook him and whispered his name.

”Sull-eee……Sull-eee…”

He was still in the throes of his dream and when Moon glanced up she saw the warrior had made considerable headway in the water that gently rushed by. Finally she shook Sully a little harder and her whisper was a bit harsher. Finally his eyes sprung open and he looked at her confused for a moment. As he began to struggle, Moon used all her strength and clamped her hand gently but firmly over his mouth just as she glanced at the advancing warrior that was almost there.

Quickly she looked back at Sully and while she knew he didn’t understand her words, he would see the fear and desperation in her eyes and voice as she whispered to her captor.

”Sul-eee…..Pawnee…..they will kill us….Please…do not let me suffer…..”

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