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 Let's Ride! Elfwest is back

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Libra Snake
Posts : 431
Join date : 2015-03-29
Age : 28

PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Tue Apr 12, 2016 2:03 pm

Okay, realize it's too long since I started this, couldn't manage to figure out the details, but here at last the next piece of Crescent's adventure in the magical Oz is finished.


All Good Things Are Three – Part 4

In a silent night, not a sound is to be heard, except from the crickets and the owl. The darkness covers everything like a mother put a warm blanket around a child. Somewhere an owl made it's sound, but it wasn't really anything disturbing in the night. Nothing could disturb this silence.

Then suddenly:

”AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!”

Crescent woke up in a rush of the sudden sound, and the first thing she thought was that they were attacked. The witch, she thought, and rose quickly, reaching out for Buddy, who were already awake and would have run off if she hadn't grabbed him. It was dark so she couldn’t see at first, but she heard Wolf’s loudly whimpering and Scarecrow and Tinman’s voices speak. She blinked and squinted to clear her eyesight both from sleep and to get a clear image in the darkness.

“Wolf, come down again. It’s alright. ” Scarwcrow said.

“He can’t. Wolves can’t climb.” Tinman explained to him.

“But how did he get up there then?” Scarecrow waved one arm up looking questioning up at ther companion.

Tinman touched his chin and puzzled. “That is a good question.”

Crescent’s eyes finally seemed to handle the darkness, and she saw the two of them standing under a tree. She got up and walked over to them. “What’s going on here?”

“Wolf got frightened by something.” Tinman said.

“Not again.” She moaned. “What was it this time? Another rabbit?”

“I don’t know, he just screamed out and before we knew it he was up there.” Tinman said pointing up to the tree they were standing under.

She rolled her eyes as she looked up at Wolf, who was to be spotted clenching his claws to the trunk in a tree high above them. How he had managed to get up there was unbelievable, but that wasn’t the problem now. “How are we supposed to get him down from there?”

“I know!” Scarecrow said, “Tinman can chop the tree down.”

Tinman placed his hands on his hips and looked at him seriously. “And risk that he gets hurt? By the great Oz, the faster you get that brain of yours the better.”

Scarecrow threw his arms out in the air. “Well at least I’m trying. Hey, how about he jumped down and we can catch him!”

Tinman’s metal eyebrow raced. “And exactly how are we supposed to make him jump? I don’t think he will dare it on his own.”

Scarecrow’s face turned into a sneaky smile. “Watch me.” He said and looked up on Wolf. “Hey Wolf, you shouldn’t be up there. You know that there are creatures in the trees too. Creapy bugs and spiders that bite you know?” Triumphing he turned to Tinman. “There. That should… BWOH!” Scarecrow didn’t get time to finish as his face suddenly got mashed on the ground when Wolf, without warning, suddenly landed on all three of them.

“Ah! Wolf, get of me please!” Tinman said.

“Ouch! All of you; GET OF ME!” Crescent screamed out. Only two feet away Buddy stood watching all of them as his tale waged back and forth while he panted with his tongue out, and seemed to find the whole situation amusing. Crescent looked at him. “What are you staring at?” she said. He barked in return and didn’t seem to have the intention of helping his mistress.

After they had managed to get themselves free they all sat around the out burned fireplace; Crescent tried to calm down the enthusiastic cub in her arms, Scarecrow poking parts of his head to check if it was normal, Tinman next to him looking at Wolf, who was lying ashamed on the ground trying to hide in his paws. After a while in silence Tinman spoke up.

“This can’t continue anymore, Wolf. This is the fourth time on only one day.”

“And a night.” Scarecrow proclaimed. The others looked at him and he looked back and forth to each of them like a question. “Whah?”

Only about a hundred feet away from Tinmans cottage Wolf had started screaming when a bird popped out of a tree. An hour later he had reacted the same way and even started crying when a mouse run over the path. Later that evening a rabbit popped out of a bush. His screaming had of course scared it off, but he didn’t see that as he was running the other way and they had to go look for him.

Wolf let out a sigh. “Yes. I know. But it was so scary. It was staring at me, and it sounded like a monster.” Wolf whimpered helplessly.

“What?” Crescent said. “What frightened you?”

“The frog. It’s stomach was blowing up like a balloon when it started roaring.”

They all went silent for a while before Crescent broke the silence.”Listen Wolf, you are a lot bigger than these animals. There’s no reason you should be afraid of them.”

“And you are a lot scarier to them then they are to you.” Tinman said.

“And” Scarecrow said, “You have teeth and claws that are really sharp, in fact so sharp that…”

“Scarecrow!” Crescent said.

“Wha?” Scarecrow answered scratching his head, but realized that he once again had opened his painted mouth once too much when he saw Wolf clenching down on the ground whimpering and sobbing.

“Oh oh OH! I didn’t know I was that scary.” He sniffled.
They all shocked their heads. There wasn’t anything they could do to help him right now. They had to take it from scratch, but not now at night. Crescent was tired to think and she had hard to keep her yawns back. “Let’s not think anymore of that now. I wanna sleep and tomorrow we have to keep going.”

“That might be a good idea.” Tinman said before turning to Wolf. “Wolf, don’t be afraid. I’ll stand guard tonight and keep my axe ready if something surprises us, alright?”

Wolf sniffed and wiped his snout with his paw and nodded. “Alright. Thanks Tinnman.”

Crescent lied down again, with Buddy finally asleep near her. She could hear his soft breath and stroke him gently over his head. It had been a long day and she was really tired, but she had a feeling that sleep wouldn’t come at first. If she hadn't been so tired from the day's experience, she wouldn't have managed to sleep at all, she thought at sudden, because she had so many things on her mind.

She looked at her new friends. They all had so many expectations to this great wizard; they really believed that he could help them all with anything. But Crescent had her doubts. She imagined that that she had to be quite far away from Two Moons now, and wasn't really certain it was as easy to get back. She wasn’t sure if he really could do that. And why would he even bother helping a contry girl getting home? And there was a feeling sneaking into her mind; did she really want to go home?

She knew that she should go home, but after all that had happened back in Two Moons it wasn’t going to be all pleasure of getting back. Back to her parents who only saw her as a straw of hay in the food; Nightfall who ignored her; Redlance…

Her thoughts were interrupted by a sudden voice. “Crescent?” she heard, and opened her eyes and saw Wolf over her. “I’m sorry I woke you up, I hope you’re not mad at me.”

Crescent completely melted at the sight of the tears in the eyes of her furry friend. “No problem, Wolf. Hey, what do you say keeping my company tonight? It’s kind of cold here.”

Soon she was lying tight to the warm furs of his, and he didn’t seem to mind after that scary happening. Crescent patted his head and scratched him behind his ear, and he seemed to enjoy himself, until he started snoring lightly. Somehow she found it calming. Cresent closed her eyes and hoped for a night without dreams.

#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#

The next morning she woke up finding that Wolf wasn’t there and neither was any of the others. For a moment the thought of being left alone passed her mind and made her panic, but a bark from Buddy made her smile. But it wasn't her he was barking at. She looked up and saw Tinman, with a bundle of wood in his arms.

“Good morning, Crescent! Scarecrow took Wolf with him to that river we found last night to see if they could catch anything. I thought I'd avoid the water, if you know what I mean," he looked at his body"...and rather prepare for their return. Did you sleep well?” he said when he laid down the wood piles on the ground preparing a fire. Buddy ran exited around him as the wood fell down and rolled. The puppy grabbed a small stick and started biting it. Tinman patted his little head.

Crescent yawned. “I slept yeah, but I’m not sure I’ll get used to wake up in a different place every morning.”

Tinman looked at her. “I suppose you will have a better time when the Wizard send you home. There's nowhere like home.”

Crescent looked away. “Maybe...” She half watched that Tinman let a slight drop of oil from his oil can on a little branch and started hitting a pair of rocks at eachother to make the fire. It didn't take too long, and with the help from the oil the fire were soon cracking.

"There! Now it will be ready when they return." He said and were silent a moment. "Is something the matter, Cresccent?"

She looked up and saw that Tinman looked at her. The whole metal man seemed allot softer than his body would have allowed him to be. His eyes were warm and kind, one wouldn't think at all that he was without a heart. "Do you want to talk about it?"

She felt a lump in her throat at the words. "Would you really mind?"

Tinman shook his head and came closer and kneeled before her." Not at all."

She sighed and placd herself a bit more comfortable. "Alright! Here's the matter."

#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#

Wolf was shivering all over by the sight of the fast water. The stream wasn’t strong, but enough to make a lot of sound and though it didn’t seem deep it looked cold and scary. He swallowed hard. “I’m not sure I can do this, Scarecrow.” He said in a small tone.

Scarecrow looked at him.“Of course you can. You are an animal, right? And animals knows how to hunt. And I figured out that since you don’t dare to go after rabbits and stuff like that, maybe a fish would be easier to catch for you.”

Wolf looked up at him with eyes of fear. “But there might be other things than fish in the water too, Scarecrow. What if they come and bite me?”

Scarecrow moaned. “Wolf, we’ll never catch any meal this way. Won’t you get hungry?”

“I’ll be fine, I manage without food for days.”

“Well you might, but Crescent won’t hold on that much. She’s going to be very hungry when she wakes up and she will need something to eat. I've seen she needs to eat several times during the day."

Wolf looked up at Scarecrow with a worried expression in his eyes. “Is she going to starve if I don’t get her something?”

Scarecrow flung out his arms. “Well, probably. So if you’re not gonna catch something for yourself, wouldn’t you do it for her? You like Crescent, don't you?”

"Well, yes."

"So?" Scarecrow said, looking from him to the water and then at him again.

Wolf turned to the icy cold water again. The last thing he wanted was for Crescent to suffer because of him. Besides he wanted to make up for waking them all up the last night. He closed his eyes a moment, and recalled how she had cuddled with him that night. Kind and good Crescent. She was allot braver than himself too. Oh how he wished he could be that brave. Then another picture came into his mind; Crescent lying there with an empty belly, crying in pain because she was hungry. The thought almost made him angry, angry at himself. Crescent would starve if he didn't do anything soon. With that thought in mind, he opened his eyes, lowered his body to the ground, and suddenly made a jump like he had never made before; under the water!

#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#

Back at the camp Crecent had just finished her story to Tinman, who sat silent and looked like he was in deep thoughts. At last he spoke up. “Crescent, I don't know what to say. I’m really sorry.”

She was moved by his compassion to her. “Don’t be, Tinman. It’s not your problem.”

“I’m sorry, but when I hear such sad stories I…” Tinman broke off and blinked with his metal eye lids.

Crescent could see tears in his eyes. The thought that he was actually crying for her sake was touching her heart and she went closer and gave him a warm hug. It felt odd to hug at hard metal, but she ignored the chill feeling she got on her skin. "Be careful now, or you'll know what will happen." she said as she found her handkerchief and wiped his eyes before they rusted.

“I’m sorry, Crescent. I just can’t imagine how anyone could be cruel to someone as kindhearted as you.”

Crescent looked down. “I was in the way for everyone that day. I bothered everyone, so I don't blame them. The fifth wheel on the wagon as they say.”

“But what about your own issues?” Tinman asked.

Crescent sighed and sat down again. “I guess they don’t count.”

Tinman placed his hand at her shoulder. “Crescent, listen to me. You are the most caring person I have ever met, and I know that we’re all going to miss you when you go home.”

Crescent smiled. “You know, there is actually a part of me that don’t want to go home. I don’t know what it is, but I’m not really sure that this is what I wish for.”

“You’re not sure if you want to go home?”

“I wanna go home, but I…” Crescent struggled to find the right words. “I don’t know if I should... waist my opportunity to have my greatest desire coming true.”

“Is there anything else you would like to ask the Wizard about?”

The question came like a bullet, even thought it was expected. It was true, there was something else she wanted, but knew it was impossible to have it come true. Not without a cost. It would be like taking something that belonged to someone else. "It's hard to put words on it, but..."

Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard someone behind her, and she turned around to see Wolf and Scarecrow coming out between the trees. She noticed the quite enormous fish that Wolf was carrying in his mouth, and her eyes widened.

“Wolf, did you really catch that?” Tinman said surprised.

Wolf carefully approached her and placed the fish in front of Crescent and looked up at her with scared eyes, like he was afraid she wouldn’t approve it. “Here, Crescent. I’m sorry Crescent, I really, really am. Please don’t be mad at me?”

Crescent smiled widely and looked at the gift, then back to Wolf and gave him a big hug. “Wolf, you’re the best furry beast I’ll ever know; and the kindest one too. Thank you so much, my dear friend. I’ll never forget this.” Wolf lightened up and made some growling sounds of happiness and gave Crescent a lick in her cheek as a thanks. He smelled of fish and wet dog, but she didn't mind.

It didn’t take long before they had the fish friedover the fire. Crescent and Buddy gladly shared it with Wolf, and while they ate Scarecrow told them with great enthusiasm of how Wolf had managed to catch the meal. Not that they were interested in a fish story, but Scarecrow made them all laugh with his way of telling the story.

“There it was, swimming his way through the water knowing nothing of what was expecting him… or her- I don’t know what it was? It’s a fish anyhow, no one care for the difference I guess at least I don’t. But there it was, and Wolf jumped a surprise jump on him, first he had him in his paws, then he gripped it in the tail. You should have seen how that fish was desperately trying to get free. But Wolf held it, and before they knew it, the fish and Wolf I mean, Wolf threw the fish up in the air so it landed on the ground jumping up and down.”

They all laughed out loud when he was waving his arms up and down really fast to imitate the jumping fish. All their problems seemed to be forgotten for a while. Soon they were off again with full bellies and a light mood, on their way to the Green Palace. They were walking cherry for quite a long while, but after a while Crescent started to hang behind and she called for them to stop. “You guys, I'm sorry but I can’t go any further, I need a break.”

“What's the matter, Crescent?” Scarecrow asked. “You aren’t tired already?”

“It’s these shoes; they’re killing me!” Crescent moaned and sat on a rock near the path. The crystal shoes weren’t comfortable at all, high heels weren’t made to walk on a forest ground. And they were hard, made of pure crystal. She raised her left foot and rubbed her ankle. "Or at least my feet does."

“Why can’t you take them off for a while?” Scarecrow asked. “I haven’t seen you take them off for one moment. And I may not be the one to judge since I don't know any pain myself, but I must say that they look most uncomfortable.”

“The Witch of the North said that they would protect me from the Wicked Witch of the West.” Crescent said rubbing the other ankle. "But I think I have to take them off a little."

Wolf yelped by the mentioning of the Witch and hid behind Tinman. “Oh oh, don’t take them off then, PLEEEASE, Crescent! The witch might come.”

"I don’t think it’s any danger to take them off for just a short while.” Scarecrow said. "As long as we keep them near."

“Anyway, ,y feet need to breathe." She said and went to the nearest rock and sat down on it. determined she bent down to take off the shoes. But when she tried she figured out that it wasn’t possible. When she started pulling the shoes wouldn’t come off. Her three companions looked at each other wondering what she was doing.

“Do you need help? Your feet might have swollen up.” Scarecrow said and walked over to help her. He took the shoe and started pulling but ended up with nothing more than Crescent had achieved. Instead, when he triad one last pull, he lost the grip on their smooth surface and fell backwards with a loud cry, waving his arms and legs as he landed before Tinman. "Stupid, dumb, slippery shoes!" he grumbled as he straightened on his right gloved hand.

She suddenly started to panic; the shoes were like glued to her feet, there was no way to get them off. “What’s the matter with these shoes? Why won’t they come off?”

Tinman Helped Scarecrow up on his feet again before he looked at Crescent. “Tell me, Crescent, where did you get those shoes from?”

“When I accidently killed the Wicked Witch of the East, her shoes somehow got on me. The Good Witch of the North told me that they would protect me from any dangers.” She looked back at the shoes. “But now I’m not so sure if that’s a fortune or not.”

“A-a-are there more witches?” Wolf stumbled.

“I think there might be one from the south, don’t you think?” Scarecrow said proudly that he had managed to think of something like that.

“I see.” Tinman said thoughtful and held his chin on one hand while looking down at the ground.

“What? There is?” Scarecrow asked him.

“Huh?” Tinman woke up from his thoughts.

“Is there a witch of the south as well?”

Tinman shook his head. “Yeah, I suppose there is. But now we gotta think of what to do. Crescent can’t walk with those feet all the way to the Green Palace.”

They were silent thinking for a while before Wolf stepped forward. “Uhm… If you want to, Crescent, you can ride on my back.”

Crescent widened her eyes. “But Wolf, I can’t let you carry me all the way. It’s too long.”

“Oh, I don’t mind.” Wolf said. “You can ride on me as long as you feet are like that.”

“Wolf, that’s very nice of you. And a good idea too.” Tinman said and placed a hand on his back. Wolf looked up at his friend and gave something that looked like a grin back.

Crescent hesitated for a moment, not wanting to use her friend like a riding animal. But Wolf obviously made it clear that he didn’t mind it. And her feet really were aching, so the truth was that the idea was really tempting. “Well… if you’re sure you don’t mind?”

“Oh no, not at all.” Wolf said.

Crescent smiled at him. “Alright, but only as long as I need. Thank you.” Then she climbed up at his back, and Scarecrow lifted up Buddy in her arms before they started walking again. And as they did, Crescent actually felt really comfortable to ride on the wolf. She couldn’t put her finger at what it was, but it was just like it came all naturally to her. And she had thought that the horse was the best way to ride? That was so wrong.

On the way, she noticed that Tinman had gotten very thoughtful. She realized that he was a sensitive being he really was. He looked out in the air and seemed worried somehow. Maybe he had doubts about the Wizard as well, just like her? He seemed really eager to get that heart, just like the Scarecrow and the Wolf were to have their brain and courage.

"Something the matter, Tinman?" she asked him.
The Tinman looked like he woke up from deep thoughts. “What?”

"You looked like you were far away for a moment."

"Oh I..." he started. "I don't know. I was thinking."

"About what?"

He looked down, rather sad. "I...I have trouble remembering." he said. "I was trying to think of something that could have been of use for us, and to you when it comes to those shoes."

"Is there more about these shoes that you can tell?" Crescent said. The Tinman looked a bit uncomfortable. She didn't want to push him, but she had to know if there was anything else that could give her an ansver to what was going on. "Please, Tinman. If there is anything you know about these shoes, I would be really be grateful." She touched his arm gently. It felt cold and solid to her skin.

“Well..." he started. he looked at her, and Crescent smiled to him. "I do remember something I have heard of those shoes. They…” he was obviously hesitating to telling them what was on his mind, but at long last, he gave a heavy sigh and looked down while he spoke. “ I do not mean to frighten you about this, Crescent, but I think it’s best that you get to know this. The shoes are not just magical; they’re bounded to the one who wear them.”

“What do you mean with bounded, Tinnman?” Crescent asked.

”How do you know?” Scarecrow asked as he rose. “Where did you hear that from?”

Tinman stopped and stood silent for a moment and seemed to hesitate a while before he answered. "The Wicked Witch of the West has always been jealous of her sister, The Wicked Witch of the East, because of her magical shoes and for years she has been desperately trying to get her hands on them by any chance.”

“But what has that got to do with that I can’t get them off?” Crescent said.

“Crescent; The Witch of the West haven’t managed to get them because the shoes were bounded with her, and when she died they went over to you accepting you as they’re new owner since you were... well not directly the one who killed her, but the one that caused her death in the first place. I don’t like to frighten you Crescent, but... I doubt those shoes won’t come off as long as you’re alive.”

They all went silent and wide eyed when Tinman was finished. Wolf was standing like rock completely unable to move and liked like he would fall into comatose anytime. Tinman looked down and seemed quite ashamed. Crescent didn’t know what to say. She knew that the witch would come after her sooner or later to get the shoes, but that she would have to get as far as killing her to get them was frightening her.

At long last Scarecrow was the one who broke the silence. “So... the shoes are stick on Crescent, but that only means that they will stay, right? I mean, when they are protecting her from the Witch, then there can’t be a chance that she will be able to hurt her, right?” The others looked at each other, and when no one answered at first Scarecrow lowered his head. “I know, it’s not making sense. I’m not getting good ideas because…”

“No, wait!” Tinman hurried to say. “You’re right, she is protected. There is no real threat as long as she wears them.”

Wolf slowly came out from behind Tinman. “Does that mean that we’re all safe from the witch? Tinman?”

“I suppose she will only be after Crescent if she showed up.” Tinman answered.

“So… I guess we’re safe then?” Scarecrow said.

“I think we are.” Tinman said and place his axe on his shoulder. “Shall we continue then? It’s still at least another twenty four hour till we reach the Green Palace.”

"Yup!" Crescent said. “The sooner we get there the faster we get rid of all our problems. Maybe the Wizard can figure out a way to get them off when I go home.” The thought hadn't reached her untill now. How on earth was she to explain that to her parents if she ever got home? A pair of magical shoes glued to her feet for life? It would surely give her mother a good reason to be more still like a lady. She sighed by the thought.

They started walking silent for a minute before Scarecrow suddenly bumped out with something. “You really are a smart fella, Tinman. How come you know so much about the witches and their magic? he asked.

Tinman stopped and seemed uncomfortable when he answered. “I could tell... but I hope you won't despise me if I told you."

Crescent hurried to grab his hard metal hand in hers. "Of course we won't! Right guys?"

"I see no reason, no!" Scarecrow said, and then arching an eyebrow. "I don't even know what a reason look like anyway."

Tinman smiled of his odd comment. "Well, I... I used to work for the Wicked Witch of the West once a time.”

"You were a slave?" Crescent said. "Like the preservers were to the Witch of the East?"

“Not exactly. It was voluntarily. I had no choice at that time. It was short time after the King of Oz died; there was chaos everywhere, and work were hard to find."

"Oh, I remember that time!" Wolf said. "It was such a scary time. It was darkness everywhere, and thunder almost every day."

"That wasn't thunder, Wolf. It was the four witches fighting in the sky." Tinman explained. "Anyway, the land were, with all the trouble, in a great economic disaster and jobs were hard to find. We had to grab what we got. And I became woodcutter for the Witch of the West. Of course that was before…” he paused, obviously sad, and pointed to himself. "...this!"

Crescent looked him all over a moment. “You mean you… haven’t always been like that?

The Tinnman bowed his head down and shook it. "She enchanted my axe, making me cut of parts of my body, almost on purpose."

"Ouch, what a terrible ,terrible awful thing to do to someone!" she said, covering her mouth at the thought.

"I couldn't control it anymore. At any moment, it would live a life on it's own and. And with every part removed..." he held up an arm. "...another part replaced it, made of tin."

"Rather special." the Scarecrow said.

Crescent chivered and got goosebumps all over her body. "That must have been painful." she looked at him with the deepest compassion.

"I don't know, exactly." The Tinman said.

"You don't know?" she asked.

"No, you see." he looked at her. "That's part of the issue. After my old head was... well..." Crescent couldn't help but feel cold all over her body when he gesticulated a hand across his throat. "I lost quite much memory as well. It's a wonder I recalled the part with the shoes, because much else is... just lot's of mess. I can't even remember my own name..." he touched his head, like he was having a headache.

"How awful!" Crescent said. "Those witches has to be mad!"

"Maybe the Great Wizard can bring your memories back as well?" Scarecrow said. "I'm quite certain he can do that if he can give brains."

"Well, I'm sorry you lost your memories..." Crescent said touching his arm. "...But I'm glad you don't remember the pain of being cut with your own axe."

He looked deeply moved and for a moment it seemed like he was going to cry again. "It's the first time in forever I have felt... not so ashamed."

#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/

They had walked for hours or so when Crescent suddenly got hungry again, and they had to stop. There was no river there so they couldn’t fish, but Scarecrow found berries all over the place and immediately took off his hat and started picking for her and gathered them in his hat. “Why don’t you and Wolf go and get some rest?”

“It’s alright, I…” Crescent started, but then she recalled Wolf had been carrying her quite long, and she felt sorry for him. "I'm quite alright, but I'll let Wolf rest a while. He's deserved it."

"Then Tinman and I will go and find more berries for you." Scarecrow said.

She climbed off and went with Wolf a bit into the forest again, where they found a flower filed. Small flowers, Crescent thought they were poppies, yellow and bright were shining in the sunlight. Crescent sat down and fell backwards in the grass, felling the cent of the flowers.

"Thank you again for carrying me, Wolf."

"Oh that was nothing. It's nice to be of use sometimes." he said and laid down. "How are your feet now? Still hurting?"

"They're better now, thanks." Crescent rubbed her left ankle. "I think it was good they got a brea..." she interrupted herself with a yawn. She suddenly felt overwhelmed by tiredness. She looked at Wolf. He too yawned, and she admitted to herself that she got a bit respect for him once she saw his giant mouth fully opened with all the sharp teeth. Poor thing, he was tired of carrying her, she thought, or from being awake the night before. She had a feeling she hadn't got enough sleep either.

Go to sleep. it was just like someone said.

"Huh? Did you say something, Wolf?"

"Wuuff?" Wolf muffled and looked at her with half closed eyes. "No I said nothing. I was too tiraaaahw." He yawned again, something that made her tempted to yawn too.

"So am I."

Go to sleep.

There it was again. Stronger this time.

It had to be her own mind talking to her, telling her she needed the rest.

Alright, then. she thought. I'll rest a while.

#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#

"Boy, sure, those shoes were some trouble, if you ask me!" Scarecrow said as he found another berry that he put in his hat.

"They sure did." Tinman said, looking down at his axe as he followed the Scarecrow. "I suppose... it's quite long ago, but the feeling of pain..." he became silent. "It's not something one forgets. Of any kind." he said with a hint of distance in his voice.

"I wonder what's it's like?" Scarecrow said, standing up, scratching his head.

Tinman looked at him, giving a short laugh. "Trust me, Scarecrow. If you're to explore feelings, I can trust that pain isn't one you would like to encounter!"

"Oh?" Scarerow asked. "Odd. Oh, more berries!" he said and hurried towards them.

As they picked what they could find, Scarecrow begun looking around. "You know, if that witch of West really want to try and get the shoes..." he said. "What if Wolf is right and that she will come?" he rose from the spot. "I've figured out this much: if she comes, she might not be able to hurt either Crescent or us as long as we're with Crescent, but what if she somehow tries to prevent us from going?"

"Hm..." Tinman rose. "I suppose the news will reach her sooner or later. But she lives in the West, and that means..." he thought. "Either, she might meet us by the Green Palace..." But the he shook his head. "No, that's not likely."

"Why not?" Scarecrow asked.

"Because all beings here in Oz, even the witches, are afraid of the Wizard. That's why he rules here."

"Aaah!" Scarecrow said. "I see. So that means we should be in a hurry to get there actually?"

"That would be a good idea." Tinman said. "Now, let's get back to Crescent and Wolf with these berries."

#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#/#

"That's odd" Tinman said as they approached their friends.

Scarecrow looked at him. "What? What's odd?"

Crescent and Wolf hadn't left the spot they laid down in, but they were deep in sleep. Little Buddy too were all knocked off, completely still and peaceful. And they found that a large cloud of yellow pollen were cowering them, like a fog, but only around them and not the era around.

"They decided to take a nap, so what?" Scarecrow said, waving at them. "But isn't it a bit early for that?"

"That's it!" Tinman said. "And that fog..." he walked closer, then knelt down in a hurry. "Oh no!"

Scarecrow approached him, and laughed. "Oh look! The flowers are dancing!" The flowers that they laid upon, actually did look like they were dancing, as they wagged slowly back and forth.

"These flowers are enchanted!" Tinman said shaking his head. "This isn't how flowers normally act."

"Really?" Scarecrow asked. But then he became silent as a sudden sound made them both look up. "What's that?"

Tinman froze and look around. "It means trouble!" he grabbed around Wolf's body with his arms. "Quickly! Get Crescent away from the flowers! We have to hurry!"

Scarecrow did his best to pull Crescent out on the road again, and then shook her to wake her. "Crescent? Helloooo? Won't you wake up?" Tinman did the same with Wolf, with no reply. The Wolf kept snoring like a boar. Then they became aware of an odd, sharp cry from above. As they looked up they saw some dark creature hovering above them.
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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: And we're back! Day Four - Part One   Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:11 pm

*comes walking in noting the old place doesn't look too bad, as little dusty but in good shape*

Hey there Rainflower, you did a nice job keeping the place in running order, thanks!

So, I'll guess we'll just go ahead and roll out the next piece, written by Caris Caeruleus


Day Four - Part One

Note: It takes places the morning after Moonshade's party.

He ran his fingers along the barrel, once again admiring the smoothness of the black metal. And the walnut stock felt right in his hand, almost as if the rifle had been made for him. A thrill ran through him at the thought of finally firing the Henry, as he planned to do today.

Behind him, Briersting snorted and, bumping the back of the farmer's hat with his nose, knocked the brim into the elf's face.

Strongbow sighed and pushed his headpiece back in place. Even his horse thought his fascination with the rifle bordered on obsession.

And maybe everyone was right.

High Ones knew that one look at the rifle sent him into wild speculations about its accuracy, how it felt to fire it, and why it had been modified in the first place.

Whinnying, the chestnut Quarter Horse threw back his head and shook his thick mane. He pawed the ground with a hoof, as if to say, "Let's go!" Strongbow turned, and rubbed his horse's neck.

Or maybe you don't care about silly things like rifles. You just want to run.

Briersting bobbed his head again, and then bent down to nip at the elf's vest pocket, where he kept the carrots of course.

And, a treat doesn't hurt either.

He gave the stallion a carrot with a grin, and moved to slide the Henry into the saddle holster. Then, grabbing the horn with his right hand, he put his left foot into a stirrup and hopped up into the seat of the saddle. Briersting nodded excitedly and took a few steps forward, as eager to run through the fields as his rider was to shoot this new rifle.

With a subtle change in knee pressure, the Quarter Horse sprang forward and headed towards the exercise pen at a brisk trot. Strongbow didn't really need the saddle. In fact, he preferred riding without it, as did Briersting. But riding bare back made carrying things, like a rifle or the carcass of a disruptive boar, rather difficult. So the two had amicably agreed on the bulky tack, because, for the horse, all that really mattered was running.

As they rounded the side of the building, the elf saw his two daughters in the pen working with Shyhider. Little Chitter held the lead rope and walked ahead of the elderly mare, which didn't surprise him given his youngest child's love for the sweet horse. Crescent watched carefully, but knew that, while her sister may be wild and uncontrolled about many things, she could be trusted with this task.

Guiding Briersting to the fence, Strongbow pulled up along side and slapped his thigh to get their attention.

"Going for a ride, Pa?" Crescent asked, as she approached. Her violet eyes took in the Henry sitting in his holster, and amusement pulled at her lips.

He grinned. "Wavelet wants ham."

"Finally tired of that boar stealing into her garden, huh?"

Shaking his head, he held up a hand, splaying thumb and fingers.

"Not just the big fella anymore, I take it," she answered. "Must have been the last straw."

Nodding, he let out a quiet exhalation that, for him, passed for laughter as he recalled how angry the elfin woman had been yesterday when she and her husband had arrived to join them for breakfast in town.

"I'm not sure I'll have enough squash for tonight!" she'd whispered to him at one point, before begging him to "deal with the beast."

"Well be careful, Pa," Crescent said. "He sounds like a mean one

Strongbow shrugged, not worried at all. Actually, he felt more relaxed and carefree then he had in days. All because of Moonshade's smile...

She had smiled all morning, still basking in wonder at his gift. Each time he felt the rays of her joy, a chip fell away from the wall of tension he'd built recently until, at last, it crumbled in ruins at his feet. He decided, then, that he'd leave it down. Together, they could work their way through any problems without the tight wariness that made life harder to bear.

Always count your blessings. Your wife. Your wonderful children. Your home. Even your life.

Just then, Chitter led Shyhider over to her father and sister, and Strongbow could see she was torn between asking to go along and staying with her favorite horse. Finally, she took a deep breath, her decision made.

"Don't be gone too long, Papa," she said. "You promised to give me a riding lesson today."

Holding onto the saddle horn, he gave her a reassuring smile and leaned over the fence with his other arm outstretched to her. She stood up on her toes and took his hand, her violet eyes glittering happily.

"I'll be home before Mama," he assured her. On Saturday's Moonshade kept her store open for a half-day, and he knew he'd take the boar down and be back before late morning.

"All right," Chitter answered with the serious air of a businessman striking an important deal. She released his hand, gave him a wave, and returned to Shyhider. Crescent leaned against the fence, a hint of concern playing around her lips.

"Anything you want me to attend to while you're gone?" she inquired. Unless something urgent came up, Saturdays always meant a lighter day. Even Luke and Billy would leave around noon, not returning again until Monday. He shook his head.

"Take care then," she answered, straightening and pushing away from the fence. He nodded, and, with a tip of his hat, gave Briesting a nudge that said, "Go!"

Horse and rider raced around the fence towards the wooded part of the property that bled into Bowman's Patch. Strongbow closed his eyes in exhilaration as wind swept over his face and whistled through his clothes. He didn't bother to direct the Quarter Horse's path, simply letting the animal run where he would. It was part of the implicit agreement the two had: Briersting would carry him anywhere so long as he let the horse really run from time to time.

And he did. Happily. The elf loved the feel of the chestnut running at top speed.  

Soon, they slowed to a trot when Briersting decided he'd had enough. The run hadn't winded the horse; he just seemed to know how to limit himself. The saddle creaked as Strongbow leaned forward to rub the chestnut's neck in approval.

Briersting tossed his head and gave a whinny. With a slight tug of the reins, the farmer turned them towards Bowman's Patch, the wooded area in which the sounder of wild boars made their home. The property line followed a stream that twisted up into the hills after it left his land, but the part of the Patch where boars generally roamed lay on the wrong side of the water. He knew the animals could actually be in the hills themselves, though.

Strongbow felt pretty certain that the boar raiding Wavelet's garden was a male, and he knew that males were usually solitary until mating season. However, the fact that more of the creatures recently joined the one suggested solitary boar had joined up with the sounder for breeding. This meant the hunter could potentially run into more than one of the wild boars.

Luckily, the animals were largely active at night.

Shortly, he pulled back on Briersting's reins and, when the horse stopped, the elf climbed down. Slipping the rifle out its holster, he patted the horse's flank and moved towards the brook. Knowing the chestnut would not stray far, Strongbow left him untied.

The elf cautiously approached the water, noting how the flora grew thicker here; more trees, more bushes, many more places for a wild creature to be hiding. He could see the signs of the animals' passage; not just tracks but uprooted plants and small holes dug out of the soil.

The rancher paused from time to time as he bent to look at hoof prints; nodding to himself as he saw the right set. Wavelet's thief had a large chip off of his left front hoof, which set his marks apart from the other prints.

There he is!

The tracks led to a shallow section of the stream, so he waded through the water to where they appeared again. Had the days been hotter, he might have found some of the animals here in the mud by the brook.

The undergrowth was thicker on this side, making the search more difficult and dangerous. However, he kept the trail in sight and moved quietly after it.

A sudden noise, a crack of a stick breaking, stopped the elf. He stood listening for additional movement, even looking back to see if Briersting had followed him to the quietly flowing water.

No, he couldn't see the horse near the stream, and decided that the animal had remained where the rancher left him.

Something snorted nearby and the elf settled into a crouch to wait behind some brush, resting the Henry on his knees. After a moment, about one hundred feet away, a large boar pushed through some bushes snuffling the ground with its nose. Long tusks curled on the sides of its head, and Strongbow knew he did not want to get hit by them.

He felt a surge of excitement as he caught sight of the creature's front left hoof.

That's him! He was a real beauty, too, with his large body and thick coat. Enough to feed both families for a week or more!
Strongbow carefully changed position, lowering one knee to brace himself and bringing the rifle up to his eye. His finger tightened on the trigger as he sighted, but he had to wait until the big boar turned so that the elf gained a clear shot of the animal's head. He disliked the idea of the thing charging him in anger after it had been only wounded.

A twig snapped loudly behind him at that instant, the sound sending a shiver of fear up his spine. There's another one!

The boar jerked his head up looking straight at his hunter. Giving a snort, it pawed the ground threateningly.

Dammit!

Seeing his only course of action, the elf pulled the trigger. The Henry fired with a thunderous blast, and despite his worry, Strongbow felt his entire body sing as the bullet hit the boar right between the eyes. Then, in one fluid motion he stood up, pulled the lever to load another bullet, and whirled counter clockwise to look for the other animal.

Something moved in the corner of his left eye. Before he could turn fully in that direction, pain flared at the back of his head and light flashed brilliantly before his eyes as something smashed into his skull.

And he was falling...

Falling...

Falling...

His last thought was of Moonshade's beautiful and loving eyes suddenly filling with mournful tears.

I am sorry.

*********

Crescent glanced up into the sky. Though it had been overcast for most of the morning, the clouds had cleared enough to see the sun's position. She guessed the time to be approaching eleven, and wondered again what took her father so long.

"Why isn't Papa here?" Chitter asked impatiently. The pair had already given poor Shyhider as much attention as the mare could take. They walked her. They combed her coat, mane and tail, even braiding the last two. And carrots, they gave her a good number of carrots.

Poor dear.

Now, Chitter wanted her father home to fulfill his promise, and clearly felt hurt that he hadn't returned.

The young elfin woman understood the girl's frustration, having looked forward to lessons with their father as deeply when she was the same age. He didn't tolerate stupid mistakes but he gave you great praise when you did well.

Crescent let out a sigh, "He is probably over at Mrs. Wavelet's house helping with the boar." The boar must have been harder to take down then he expected. "How about we begin the lesson now?"

"No!" Chitter cried out, tears forming in her eyes. "I want Papa to teach me

The older girl put her hands on her sister's shoulders. "Honey, Pa is running late. But you know what? If we practice a while before he gets here, you'll do even better for him."

Chitter thought for a moment, then nodded with a sniff. "All right. Can we ride Shyhider?"

"No, sweetie," Crescent answered softly. "You know Shyhider can't be ridden right now. Windchaser likes you, too." Shiloh was Crescent's horse, and a Quarter Horse like Briersting, only with a copper-red sorrel coat and not the dark chestnut that the other horse had.

"All right," the five year old agreed, kicking at a rock.

They saddled up Crescent's mare, going over the names of the different pieces of tack. Then, they led her out into the practice pen, and the young elfin woman helped her little sister up. Chitter held the reins, but, still, Crescent guided the horse by gently holding on the bridle.

Slowly the threesome began to make a circle around the pen, and the older girl thought she had things under control.

"Where's Papa?" Chitter asked suddenly, and her sister ground her teeth in frustration.

"I told you he'll be back when he can."

"But there's Briersting!" the child exclaimed.

"What?" Crescent asked, realizing instantly that the little girl's initial question had been more curious than plaintive. She looked up and saw Chitter pointing towards the southern fence. Ducking under Windchaser's head, the elfin woman slipped past her horse to look in that direction.

Sure enough, Pa's horse stood by the gate, pushing his nose at the latch as if asking to be let in.

Oh no!

"Time to get down," she announced, emotion pinching her voice and making it sound harsh.

"But -" Crescent held up her arms to her sister and, sighing, the child complied. Once Chitter's feet touched ground, the older girl sprinted towards the fence. She lifted the latch and let Briersting in, immediately looking him over.

"Hey boy," she whispered. "Where's Pa?" Her heart skipped a beat when she saw the empty rifle scabbard hanging from the side of the horse's saddle, her mind filled with visions of her father being gored by the boar he'd hunted.

"Maybe he's here somewhere," Chitter offered, as she led Shiloh over.

"Maybe." Crescent didn't have the heart to tell her sister that Pa wouldn't have left his horse by the fence like that, even if he'd been in a hurry. And he would have let them know he had returned. "Let's take the horses to the stable. I bet Briersting is thirsty."  

"He looks thirsty!" the child decided. "Don't worry, boy, we'll get you some water." The horse nudged Chitter with his nose, as if to show his thanks.

As they approached the building, Luke stepped out carrying a pail. He'd been cleaning stalls, she surmised.

"Miss Crescent. Miss Chitter," he said, raising a hand in greeting. Taking note of Briersting, the man added, "Guess your Pa's in the house?"

The elfin woman met his eyes, answering quietly, "No, he's not." She threw a pointed glance at her sister, then looked back at the farmhand. He stepped closer, allowing her to add in a whisper, "His horse came back alone."

Alarm pulled Luke's brows upwards. "I'll tell Billy," he announced, "We'll help."

"Thank you," she smiled gratefully.

"Anything for your family," the big man replied, bobbing his head with a respectful expression.

"I'll unsaddle Briersting and put him in his stall. Then, I'll take Chitter to Wavecatcher's place. Meet me there?"

"You got it." He stepped aside, throwing Chitter a grin. "Saw you ridin', Miss. You're doing well."

"Really?" The little girl looked up at him with a hopeful smile.

"You bet. You're Pa would be proud."

If he's all right, Crescent added silently as she removed Briersting's gear. She led the horse into his stall, then came back out and took Windchaser's reins from her sister. The young woman mounted her horse, and Luke passed Chitter up to her.

"Where are we going?" the child inquired, petting the sorrel mare's mane.

"Mrs. Wavelet's house," Crescent answered, pulling on the reins to turn Shiloh towards the gate. Luke went ahead and opened it for them, then they bounded off to the smaller house.

They found Wavelet, Wavecatcher, and the twins sitting on the porch shucking peas. "Morning!" the former called out as she saw the pair.

"Mrs. Wavelet," Crescent began. She felt her throat tighten with worry and paused. "CanŠcan Crescent stay here for a while?"

"Of course, dear," the female Wavedancer nodded, and, noting the girl's concern, she added, "What's wrong?"

Crescent hopped off Windchaser and helped her sister down. The child ran to sit by Brill and Krill. Brushing a strand of dark hair out of her eyes with a quite sigh, the elfin girl moved over and set on the steps next to the red headed woman. Wavecatcher leaned in, strands of his pale green locks falling into his face.

"Briersting came back without Pa. I need to go look for him."

Wavelet gasped then, glanced at the children. "He went to go after that boar today, didn't he?"

"Yes."

Wavecatcher got to his feet. "I'll come with you."

"Thank you both so much," Crescent said, taking both of their hands.

"We wouldn't dream of doing anything else," Wavelet stated.

The sound of hoof beats announced Luke and Billy's arrival. They stopped on the drive without dismounting. Both men wore serious expressions.
"Ready Miss Crescent?" Billy asked.

She nodded, and, standing up moved to get back onto Windchaser. She held out an arm to Wavecatcher and the elf climbed up behind her. Then, with a yell from Luke, the four headed for Bowman's Patch.

After a short while, the group arrived at their destination, stopping on the family's side of the stream. Crescent immediately saw Briersting's tracks as well as those of several boars and pointed them out.

"That's a boot print," Luke announced. Unfortunately, her father's careful tread made him harder to follow. Though his prints appeared again in the soft dirt at the edge of the brook, they disappeared again as he moved away from the water. "Looks like your Pa crossed the creek."

If we can't find him easily, we'll need someone who's better at tracking.

"Let's go over there and look around," she told the others. The searchers waded through the water, spreading out on the other side.

In a few minutes Wavecatcher called out, "Here's the boar!" They all ran to his position. He stood near the animal's carcass, waving away flies as they buzzed around it.

"Looks like it's been dead near two hours," Billy commented, kneeling next to the corpse. "Nice shot, too. Right between the eyes. Must've been your Pa."
"But where is Strongbow?" Wavecatcher asked, looking around the area.  

Crescent didn't answer, but moved behind the body as something occurred to her. It seemed like the boar fell right after the bullet hit it, collapsing in the direction it had been facing. She raised her head, staring beyond the creature.

"I think he fired from over there," she decided, pointing towards some undergrowth that sat about one hundred feet away. She stood up, and, walking towards the thick plants, circled around it. Wind blew through the branches above them causing sunlight to catch on something nestled in a nearby patch of twisting brush.

Crescent stepped over, pushing aside leaves of a bush to reveal Cutter's Henry rifle. She made a choking noise. Maybe the thing truly was cursed.
"Miss Crescent, I found Mr. Strongbow's hat," Luke said quietly from behind her.

"Here's his rifle," she said, pulling it free of the plant and standing up.

"Miss Crescent..." Luke's repeated, his voice quavering. She turned to face him. Wavecatcher and Billy stood next to the man. All three were pale as they looked over his shoulder at her father's hat, upside down in the human's hands.

"What... what is it?" she was afraid of his answer.

"There's blood on it

Tears filled her eyes, and she whirled around frantically. "But where is he?"

They searched the area for a while longer, but found no more signs of him. Finally, Wavecatcher placed his hand on Crescent's shoulder.

"Crescent," he began quietly, "I think we should bring in the Marshall. I think someone took your father."

She looked up at him, noting the sorrow in his eyes, and nodded slowly. Words died in her throat as distress overwhelmed her. And Ma needs to know, too.

*********

"Have a good day," Moonshade said, glancing at the clock on the counter. One o'clock. Dart would be here soon to ride home with her. She followed Mrs. Pritchard to the door.

"You too, m'dear," the elderly woman answered cheerfully. The bell jingled happily as she opened the door, and she turned to smile at the elfin woman again. "It's always so nice to work with you."

"Thank you." Moonshade bowed her head graciously.

"I'll be off now. My best to your family!" Mrs. Pritchard gave a little wave, and hobbled out of the store. As the door closed behind her, the seamstress bent and flipped the window sign over to read, "Closed."  

Her skirts rustled as she moved away, and started putting things away for the day. She passed before the display mirror, and the reflection caught her attention, as it had throughout the day. Moonshade paused to admire the brooch again, tracing the lines of the tiny moon maiden with her fingertips.
I will always cherish the light of your love...

She smiled at herself, thinking of her handsome husband with serene joy. You always find a way to surprise me.

The doorbell tinkled again, and she turned to tell Dart that that she was almost ready. She stopped, though, seeing both her oldest daughter and her son standing just inside the store. She felt a twinge of fear as she noted the youth's pallor, and the redness of the young woman's eyes.

"Mama," Crescent started, her voice cracking. Moonshade gasped quietly in shock as she recalled how long it had been since the girl had called her by that name.

"What is it?" Her own words sounded tight with emotion. "What's happened?"

"It's Pa," Dart answered, his left hand tightening reflexively at his side.

"He's gone," Crescent finished.

Moonshade twisted her fingers together at her waist in painful confusion. "What do you mean 'gone'?"

"He went to hunt Wavelet's boar," the girl answered with eyes so wide with emotion that she looked like a child again. "And Briersting came back without him. We - " She bowed her head, swallowing. "Luke, Billy and Mr. Wavecatcher went with me to Bowman's Patch. There's where he thought the sounder was." She looked up at her mother again.

"I know," the seamstress answered softly. "What happened? DidŠdid the boar --?" She fell silent, unwilling to finish the thought out loud.

"He shot the boar apparently," Crescent explained, "But... someone, or something, attacked him. We couldn't find him. Just the rifle and his hat."

Moonshade digested the news, then said, "You found nothing."

"Nothing," Crescent repeated. "If an animal had gotten to him there would have beenŠsomething."

"The Marshall's taking Redlance and some others back over there to continue looking," Dart commented, shuffling his boots on the floor. "They might be able to figure where Pa was taken. Though we already have a good idea who." Anger flared in his eyes, and his right hand drifted to the pistol at his hip.

The name hung unspoken between the three elves like a rotten fruit hanging from a tree, daring someone to pick it.

"He wouldn't really kidnap Strongbow..." Moonshade said doubtfully.  

"Ma!" Dart exclaimed. "His men have beaten people up before!"

"That's not the same as kidnapping!" Crescent interjected. "What about the rifle? Longbranch suggested that old Ben Thompson died because of that thing!" Her face took on a haunted look. "Maybe it is cursed."

"Crescent! That's just stupid!" the youth countered. "Things aren't cursed. There is no magic!" The siblings glared at each other, not noting their mother's sigh and her mournful caress of her cameo brooch.

Yes, Dart. There is magic in this world. And now it might be gone forever.

Moonshade slowly turned away and went to the counter, bracing herself against it.

"Besides," Dart continued behind her, "If it was about the rifle, why wasn't it taken?"

"I don't know!" Crescent answered sharply. "All I know is that the moment he went to use it, bad things happened!"

"And here's another thing," her brother added, his voice rising to a near shout. "Why did you let him go alone?"

The clock ticked quietly, marking the length of their angry silence. Moonshade brushed away tears from her cheek, but didn't speak to end their argument.
Finally, Crescent hissed, "Are you saying that this is my fault?"

"You could have gone with him!" Dart cried out, his tone deeply anguished.

"Dart," his sister sighed, "Do you really think he would have let me?" She added, "Would you have gone with him if he said no?"

A boot heel scraped against the floor as he shifted his weight. "No." Moonshade's heart broke as she heard her son wipe his face with his hand. "He's just so stubborn. He wouldn'tŢ The boy's voice cracked under the weight of his emotion. "If... we find him..."

"He's not dead," Moonshade whirled to face her children, eyeing them sternly. "Do not say that he is dead."

"Ma, we don't know-" Crescent began, but her mother cut her off.

"He is not dead!" She clutched his gift tightly, pulling at the cloth around her neck taut. "He is alive and we will find him." She held her chin up and met their doubting gazes with firm resolve. "I promise you this. Both to you and him. We will bring him back to us."

She stepped over to the two, holding out her hands. They each took one, and she drew her daughter and son into an embrace. She felt tears slide down her face as she repeated softly, "We will find him."

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Soreyes

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:24 pm

Damn It's good to see you back again.

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:17 am

You're alive!!

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:30 pm

Welcome back, Shaman! It's great to see you running with the pack again.

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PostSubject: The boys are back!   Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:15 pm

@Soreyes wrote:
Damn It's good to see you back again.

It feels good to be back!


@LunaKat wrote:
You're alive!!

Yes I am, amazing isn't it!


@Embala wrote:
Welcome back, Shaman! It's great to see you running with the pack again.

Thank you Embala, gald to be back with the pack running under the two moons!

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:47 pm

*tackle hugs Shaman*
Missed you! It's really bloody good to see you again, my friend.

*sits on Shaman* No leaving.
Hug cathat Hug

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Four - Part Two   Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:49 pm

*looks up to Nibblet and chuckles* Well, I haven't been asked this nicely to stay put in a while, guess I'll stick around...

And since I'm going nowhere I can put the next piece of Day Four, written by me, Wiseshaman

Day Four - Part Two

The same morning different part of town

The morning sun pouring through the doors from the patio to her bedroom woke Leetah causing her to stetch first, and then swing her legs out from under the covers of her bed. She yawned heavily as a small knock on her door caught her attention. She didn't have a chance to acknowledge the person at the portal before her sister Shenshen walked in.

"Good morning sister." Leetah said with another yawn.

Shenshen moved around the bed and sat next to Leetah with a worried look as she spoke. "Are you ever going to talk with Papa again?"

"Yes little sister, I will talk with Papa this morning." Leetah replied with a warm smile.

"Thank you Leetah, he has been so depressed these last two days. He loves you so much..." Shenshen said with a smile.

"I know Shenshen, but I was upset about Rayek...about all the secrets." Leetah whispered.

"And now?"

"A good friend told me that secrets have to be kept sometimes from loved ones and that the one who keeps the secret hurts the most sometimes. It is time to leave that behind us." Leetah said with a smile.

"A good friend? So is that who you have been sneaking off to see in the afternoon?" Shenshen asked finally smiling herself.

"I have been doing a few things in the afternoons sister." Leetah remarked going to her vanity with the large mirror. Shenshen followed her and picked up the brush off the top before Leetah could.

"I can see. How did you hurt your finger?" Shenshen asked starting to brush her sister's hair gently but firmly.

Leetah could have lied, covered it all up, but she didn't want to. Truth be told she had a bad taste for secrets now after the whole Rayek business. She didn't want anymore to do with keeping them or hearing them. So she told Shenshen the truth. "I cut my finger while helping to fix the meal for Mrs. Moonshade's birthday party." Leetah said proudly.

"A party for who? Don't they have a chef like Fernando to cook for them?"

"Mrs. Moonshade operates the dress shop and they had a birthday party for her last night. I helped make the carrots and beans because they do not have a Fernando. I doubt they would use a chef if they could have one." Leetah answered with a sigh.

"Why? I like Fernando's cooking." Shenshen remarked.

"Oh sister," Leetah said turning around on the small bench to face Shenshen, "these people do not wish to live like this, like we do. They do the work themselves without hesitation or the need for a servant. They build their homes and work their fields themselves with their hands. Anything else would be an insult to them."

"We work hard here at the hidalgo too?" Shenshen snapped.

"Sister, we work hard watching our servants work hard for us. When was the last time we cooked for ourselves or made our own pots from clay?" Leetah exclaimed.

"You sound like you want to leave?" Shenshen whispered with a touch of fear in her voice

"No dear sister," Leetah smiled excitedly standing up and taking Shenshen's hand in her's, "it is just I have seen the world outside of the ranch and it is so different. Yesterday I heard stories of what the Major and the tracker went through in the war and I wondered why would they do that? Why would they suffer so in a war? And then, when I was helping to make the meal, I saw it."

"Saw what sister?"

"To them, they are all a family, from Mrs. Brownberry and Mr. Longbranch to Mrs. Moonshade to the Major and his parents. They would do anything for each other, even die to keep the other safe if need be. And the tracker seems to hold a place in his heart for everyone. He even chased down a bandit who had stolen something from Cutter because he was asked to, braving gun fire from the human." Leetah whispered.

"It sounds exciting, it also sounds like you want to go live with them." Shenshen said low, her voice still tinged with fear.

"I only want to b a part of that family too sister. I would never want to leave Papa or Mama or you." Leetah stated shaking her head before kissing her sister's cheek.

Shenshen smiled with a sigh obviously relieved by the news, before her look turned mischievous. "So you will still play at being Rose?"

"Yes, I am not ready to give her up just yet." Leetah winked with her own grin.

"Well, you better get dressed quickly. Fernando is making pancakes for us!" Shenshen said with glee.

Leetah laughed wondering if Mrs. Brownberry could make a pancake as good as Fernando, and maybe if she could teach her. At the breakfast table, which was the usual long table in the formal dining room, Leetah sat next to Sun Toucher and hugged him assuring him that she wasn't angry or upset anymore. His eyes lit up at the news and suddenly he was joking and laughing with her like the confrontation from two days ago had never happened. Toorah smiled with relief thinking that maybe everything was getting back to normal for her family.


He kicked at the dirt in front of the Stage Coach office noting the time on his pocket watch again before slapping the lid closed. Skywise started pacing again while Cutter looked calm leaning up against the post, and so did the tracker who was sitting against the same hitching post with crossed arms.

"All right, am I the only one anxious to talk with this guy?" The captain asked.

"Yep," Cutter replied lazily.

"Even after all the things we've been through, from the visit to Ben's place to the picture to the Maquis, you two are not curious in the least bit?" Skywise asked in shock.

"Yep," Redlance said with a grin.

"Well, at least when I have a heart attack with this one of you can revive me." Skywise grumbled with a shake of his head.

"All depends," Redlance said suddenly.

"On what?" Skywise asked back.

"How much money you have on you? I don't save scoundrels for anything less than a sawbuck." The tracker grinned ruefully.

Cutter laughed as Skywise punched the tracker on the shoulder. He looked over and spotted the cloud of dust just down the road and knew the stage was coming. "Here's comes Jake with the stage."

Redlance and the Major waited calmly off to the side while Skywise tapped his foot rapidly to some internal clock as the stage pulled up and its occupants started to get out one by one. Two ladies and a man stepped out slowly making sure not to trip which drove the captain crazy. He just wanted to meet this man, get the info, and get an answer to all this mess. It was driving him crazy not knowing. Then a man who looked as round as he was tall slid out of the door of the stage coach and almost fell to the walkway. The only thing saving him from disaster was a quick grab of the coach by a fat hand. He gathered his wits though, looked around until he spotted Skywise, and then waddled over.

"You must be the captain." The man said with a snort.

"Yes sir, you the one Jobra sent?" Skywise asked back.

"Yeah, Jobra said to look for asn elf that would mostly likely sleep with your sister and never call her back breaking her heart and then ask you, her brother, for a favor." The man stated with a raised eyebrow.

"Yep, that's him." Cutter said with a shake of his head.

"Good, cause I busted my butt getting down here. Colonel Tibbet, formerly with Army Intelligence." The man stated again with a heavy gasp.

"I'm Major Cutter and this is Captain Skywise. We're rode with the 7th." Cutter said pointing out himself and Skywise.

"Yep, I heard of you Major, and you too captain, only it wasn't as good." Tibbet nodded with a shake.

The colonel turned to Redlance so the tracker held out his hand with a small smile. "You don't remember me do you Colonel?"

"I'll always remember you Sgt. Major. Phillip still talks about you when we have drink." Tibbet replied with a smile finally.

"How is Colonel Sheridan doing these days?" Redlance asked.

"He's staying busy. We all are with this shaky peace deal with Djunsland. Say, you boys have a quiet place to get a drink and talk? I hate doing this out in the open." Tibbet inquired turning to take a look at Two Moons.

"We have a saloon, will that do?" Cutter asked.

"That'll do, I haven't seen Maleen and Vuhdra for awhile too." Tibbet said with a wink heading toward the saloon.

As they were walking Cutter asked a quick question. "How do you know Red so well?"

"Oh it was a dark and stormy night when I met the Sgt. Major here. Let's just say he impressed a lot of old officers and convinced them that the scouts could work." The colonel huffed.

The Major raised an eyebrow and looked to the tracker who only looked at the walkway, like he was embarrassed by the remark. That was Red he thought, never one to seek glory or fame even when he deserved it. The group went into the Hammer and Tongs saloon taking a table all the way in the back far away from prying ears. After a bottle of whiskey with four glasses was left at the table, and Maleen and Vuhdra had dropped by for a quick kiss from Tibbet, they settled in for their meeting.

"So, where's the object?" Tibbet asked.

"It's with someone else for safekeeping." Cutter replied.

"That's not good boys. I came here to see the Henry, make sure your not running some game or your mistaken." Tibbet demanded suddenly.

Cutter caught the look in the colonel's eyes and felt the iron grip the grey irises had. Tibbet may have been a fat man who looked soft, but that was far from the truth. He was as hard as any of them, maybe harder; having made decisions that affected who knows how many lives. Cutter thought those eyes looked a lot like his father's.

"You can trust us colonel, what I told Jobra is true. This is no game and no mistake." Skywise said knocking back a shot of whiskey.

"Yes sir, the Henry is everything we said it was. It's a one-of-a-kind weapon." Cutter added.

Colonel Tibbet looked to all three with those hard grey eyes and found something in the three elves that he decided was trustworthy. He took a shot a whiskey then leaned back in the chair making it creak loudly. "What do boys know about the Djun, specifically his kids?" Tibbet asked.

"It was his son that took over after the old man had a small 'fall' they say." Skywise remarked with a wink.

"He was the one who decided to opt for the peace treaty. The son has the same principles with running the country, but he's not as publicly ruthless." Cutter offered to the tale of the Djun.

"But he's still making sure he's the only one who makes the last decision though." Redlance added finally.

"Yeah, he's all that and a damn good dancer. But did you know the Djun had a daughter too? The older sibling to the son" Tibbet asked.

The shocked expression the three elves showed pretty much gave Tibbet the okay to precede with the floor of the meeting. "Yep, a nice little blond haired girl who we think grew up into a beautiful woman. No one's seen her since she was five, no servants or military officers or even her father. We only know she exists now because of two paintings an artist did for someone in the Djun's house. One of the Maquis during the war passed the information about the daughter onto us before both the informer and the artist disappeared."

"Wait, how come you only found out about her now?" Cutter asked.

"We never went looking, in all the build up to and after the war started, no one had a clue to look for her. Then, after two years in, we began to hear about someone making a play for power, a take over. We assumed it was the son, until we get wind of the rumors of a daughter from a small group of the Maquis. Before I left the Army we tried to get any information on the girl but it was useless. She was a ghost. All we got were stories of her growing up all over the place, by different sets of foster parents. It was like chasing a fog." Tibbet explained.

"All right, we have another player, so what does she mean to the Henry?" Skywise asked.

"Ever hear of Rufus Hathcock?" Tibbet asked.

"He was a gun smith in Djunsland. He made a pistol and shot out the center of a target at five hundred yards." Redlance answered to the shock of Cutter and Skywise.

"Yep, and he also converted a rifle. What we heard was he got a request to take a Henry and turn it into something that could shoot a human sized target from a long way away. We tried to confirm the information, but before we could old Rufus was killed, shot by the same pistol he made that five hundred yard shot with we were told. The rifle disappeared and we assumed it was just a myth, a joke to make us in the intelligence group look stupid. And then someone took a shot at the son one afternoon while out riding, missed him by just a foot and knocked some advisor right off his horse. We knew then the rifle was real then. We tracked it as it changed from hand to hand over a year." Tibbet said knocking back another shot.

"Missed the son?" Redlance whispered.

"I'm with you Red. There's no way someone misses with the Henry." Cutter said with a nod.

"Oh I said the same thing, Rufus didn't waste his time or someone's money with tinkering, but the higher ups didn't want to listen. I think the Henry did exactly what it was supposed too." Tibbet said with a smile.

"Alright, but why kill some advisor?" Skywise asked not following.

"After that advisor was killed the son goes under ground and less than a year later takes over from his father in a coup. If you think about it, that shot was more like a nudge to get a ball rolling in a certain direction." Tibbet answered with a wink.

"Who do you think did it? Who took the shot?" Cutter asked.

"We never found out who did it, but I can make a guess. I think the daughter hired someone to shoot the advisor. It got her brother moving to do the dirty work of the coup, and if he failed, well then he would face a certain death sentence from the hands of his father. I mean why put you own neck on the line when someone else can do it for you, right?" Tibbet asked.

"So the daughter wants the country and has the brother get rid of dad, but why doesn't she get rid her brother?" Skywise asked.

"Not sure, but if I had to guess she's just waiting and bidding her time for something else to go down." Tibbet answered.

"Wait, you said the Henry changed hands a lot. How many times?" Redlance asked.

"We counted six on the Djun side. The last we heard a man rode out of Menno in a wagon with it hidden under a bunch of blankets. The Army, hell everyone, lost the Henry after that, until the captain here sent that telegram to Jobra. Now the message was in code so maybe no one knows you have the Henry, but then maybe they do." Tibbet proffered, the hidden meaning very clear. There were certain people in this world ready to take a life to get their hands on the Henry rifle.

"What happened to the people who had the rifle before?" Skywise asked.

"Dead and buried, I think. Most were shot but one was run over by a team of horses, white stallions the reports said." Tibbet told while pouring another round.

The table went silent, and then Cutter took a slug of whiskey and asked a question. "What kind of trouble are we looking at?"

Tibbet shrugged his shoulders before answering. "No one knows about the rifle except in legend so when and if it makes an appearance again you'll deal with the usual thief or outlaw trying to steal it. The son, he doesn't care about it from what I heard before leaving the Fort after the war. The daughter, now she's the wildcard. She may want the Henry back for sentimental reasons. I mean we are talking about a woman who robbed her own father of fifty bars of gold." Tibbet said with a smile.

"Robbed her father?" Redlance repeated.

"Fifty bars of gold?" Skywise asked with twinkling eyes.

"Yep, the Maquis told us that right before his demise the Djun was moving money around like a mad man. He probably knew something or someone was coming for his head and wanted to go into hiding, hell I'm not sure. He was moving it all in gold bars and a chest went missing, fifty big old bars inside. The Maquis told us they had a person on the inside who said it was the daughter, or they heard it was her, but no one ever saw the spy again to ask for a confirmation. It's all probably a myth anyway, like the Henry." Tibbet said with a smooth smile.

Cutter leaned back in the chair letting it all sink in. He had guessed what the Henry was for, as did Skywise and Redlance, long before Tibbet confirmed it. Yet, to hear it spoken was like having the coffin lid slam shut. Still, he wasn't about to get rid of the rifle for anything, real or rumor. He took control of the conversation guiding it away from the Henry and the gold and the Djun's daughter. He brought it into safer territory, old stories of Army life and growing up in Two-Moons. Tibbet didn't seem to mind either. Cutter thought the colonel was probably talked out on the Henry and the war. They sat sipping whiskey and laughing like old friends...

That was till Stump ran in yelling like a school girl about how Strongbow was missing and that they needed the tracker right away...

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Four - Part Three   Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:32 pm

And here's the next piece of Day Four, written by the outstanding Caris Caeruleus

Pathways and Portents

Part I

Treestump followed the human tracker along the bank of the stream and watched in silence as the man knelt at the water's edge looking into brook's shallow depths. From time to time, Jonas would wade in to get a better view, or to move silt around with his good hand. Then he would stand up and continue forward. He didn't say much, either self-conscious because of his companions, or not being a very communicative sort to begin with.

Thank the High Ones Redlance had suggested bringing the former scout with them on the search, though. The revelation that Strongbow's attackers split up, heading down both directions of the creek, had felt like a blow to the gut. The unknown men (four in all, both trackers confirmed) meant to cause the most confusion, the lawman realized; their diverging paths lengthening the search as any party would first follow one set of tracks and then the other.

Redlance, Cutter, and Skywise had gone downstream to follow the second set of tracks as the brook meandered towards Lake Holt. Treestump and Jonas, along with Scouter and Wavecatcher, had gone upstream towards the hills from which the creek sprang.

The Marshall noted that the path his group took already started to become rockier as they moved upwards into the foothills. Questions buzzed like maddened bees in his head.

Where are they going? Is Strongbow with them? Or are they just trying to mislead us? Am I going to find my friend's body lying in the rocks up here?

He took off his hat and wiped his brow on the back of his sleeve. Glancing over at Wavecatcher, he saw the elf's worried expression and guessed that similar thoughts passed through the other elf's mind as well.

Scouter, on the other hand, looked shocked. His short time as Two Moons junior deputy had not given him any experience with this kind of crime. He'd not been a deputy when old Ben Thompson died, so he'd been spared the sight of the scene. And even that event was unusual for the town. No, the youth had only dealt with drunks, brawlers, card cheats and thieves so far.

Or, perhaps the disappearance of Strongbow reminded the boy of the death of his own father, who been one of the farmer's best friends. The fact that One Eye's body had never been found may not have allowed the youth to gain the closure he needed.

I hope Strongbow's children won't go through that kind of painful uncertainty as well, Treestump thought. And poor Moonshade...

He'd felt the deep loss of his beloved wife, Rillfisher, years ago. He later watched Clearbrook go through the same anguish after the military declared her husband dead nearly five years ago. Only recently had the two of them found soothing comfort in each other. He couldn't see Moonshade ever looking to anyone else if Strongbow never returned.

Treestump could not guess at her response to the news. He had sent Dart, along with Crescent, to her in the hopes that the closeness of family would quell the promise of violence that the Marshall saw already growing in his senior deputy's eyes. And to block off the well of despair that Moonshade might throw herself into.

The increasing loudness of rushing water brought him out of his reverie, and the stocky elf realized they were approaching a waterfall. The source of the flow, possibly a small spring, sat somewhere high above them, and sent its life giving product careening down over small natural shelves that protruded from the cliff face, bypassing a larger terrace jutting out of the surface about halfway up. With the trees now scarce at the base of the hill, the sunlight danced freely, causing the water to sparkle and bits of quartz in the stone to shine brightly.

Jonas looked perplexed as he approached the stony wall. With the way the rocky facing curved back to follow the creek, forming a small box canyon, and how the rocks themselves seemed too unstable for climbing, Strongbow's kidnappers should have had to double back a ways. But, judging by the look on the former scout's face, that's not what they did. He knelt down and began to prod in the dirt at the roots of some bushes.

Just as Treestump stepped over towards the man, a loud crack shattered his ears, and shotgun pellets peppered the ground between the tracker and himself. He threw himself in front of Scouter and Wavecatcher, shoving the two elves backwards.

"Stay off my land!" the high-pitched voice of an old man rang out, echoing around them. "I told ya'll before, too!"

The Marshall peered upwards, and saw the shadowed outline of a man with a shotgun standing above them on the terrace with his back to the sun.

"Curly?" Treestump called out, blocking the sunlight in his eyes with one hand. "Curly Johnson, is that you?"

"You sound like Marshall Stump!" The old man lowered the gun a tad, leaning forward to get a better view.

"That's because I am Marshall Stump," the lawman replied with a sigh of frustrated relief.

"Well, why the hell didn't you announce yourself?" Curly complained. "I dang near shot ya!"

"You could have warned us before you shot at us, you know," Treestump commented.

"I thought you were those other folks that pestered me today, that's why!" the man answered grumpily.

"Other folks?"

"Sure! They came 'round here and acted like they owned the place, crashin' through my garden, climbin' over my fence, scarin' my sheep."

"How'd they get up there?" Scouter asked. "There doesn't seem to be a path."

Johnson laughed. "Sure there is! Your friend, there, is right by it!" He gestured towards Jonas. "It's behind the bushes. I come down there all the time for water."

Sure enough, when the tracker pushed aside the branches, he revealed that the scraggy plants growing out of the stony wall obscured a series of thin outcroppings that could serve as a staircase so long as one kept their back to the wall.

Treestump nodded to the others and they carefully began the climb. Though the wall wasn't very steep, a fall from the steps could earn a man a broken arm or leg, or even a cracked skull.

Within a few moments the group stood on the wide stone shelf where Curly Johnson met them with his shotgun cradled in the crook of his arm. A wide brimmed straw hat cast shadows on his wrinkled face, and he wore a flannel shirt with dungarees that had been stuffed into worn boots.

"I didn't know you lived back here," the Marshall stated, as he looked around the area. He saw that a small wooden cabin stood back from the cliff face. Nearby was a smaller shack with smoke lazily drifting out of a chimney: a smokehouse. A fence, which the group stood just outside, had been built to follow the shape of the rocky terrace, probably to keep the wandering sheep from escaping over the edge of the terrace.

"Well, Marshall, I don't advertise. I like my peace and quiet," the man replied. His gaze didn't quite meet the lawman's eyes as he spoke.

With a wide grin, Treestump asked, "Does the owner of this land know you're living here?"

"Owner?" Curly cawed. "Hell, Marshall, that's the government! And they ain't been out here in years! There ain't no silver or iron lodes here. It's just rock. And no one cares about rock!"

The elfin lawman crossed his arms over his chest. "Well then, Curly," he began, "I expect to see you in town soon to stop by the Land Administration Office and let them know you are here. I am sure they can set something up with you about you staying."

"Yes, Marshall," the old man said, and gave a long sigh.

"Now," Treestump continued, relaxing, "tell us about your visitors. How many were there

"Just two," Curly answered. "A human and a troll. But-"

"No elves?" Wavecatcher asked sharply. "Maybe carried by one of the others?"

The old man slid his eyes from Treestump to the green haired elf, with a frown. "There was a fella that could have an elf the first time. Not sure. Hat hid his ears and I couldn't see his face. But he was about your height. Thin as you, too!" He pointed at the Wavedancer, who looked back with confused despair.

"That doesn't sound like Strongbow," the elf said quietly. He bowed his head, running a shaking hand through his hair.

"The first time?" Treestump scowled at Johnson. "You mean they came through more than once?"

"That's why the tracks towards the wall were newer," Jonas commented, uttering the longest statement he had made in the better part of an hour.

Curly studied the tracker then, turned back to the lawman, his eyes narrowing. "What's this about Marshall? Why do you care who came through here?"

The burly elf let out a long sigh. "A man, an elf actually, was attacked down in Bowman's Patch, some of his attackers came this way. We were hoping, because we couldn't find aŢ He stopped, finding it suddenly difficult to discuss his friend's fate in such a matter of fact manner. He took a breath, and continued. "We didn't find a body, so we're pretty sure he was taken."

"Friend of yours, huh?" The old man chewed on his lip thoughtfully as he watched Treestump's response.

"Yes."

"That's too bad," Curly took his hat off respectfully, revealing a bald pate framed by wisps of white hair. Then he added. "No, they didn't have anyone else with them the second time. And the first time there were four. One troll, two humans and the fella I described earlier."

"That sounds like the men Dart described last night!" Wavecatcher exclaimed.

Treestump held up his hand to the other elf. "What time did they first come through?"

Johnson considered the question for a moment, and then answered, "Well, I'd say they came through just after sunrise. They came up the main path, I reckon." At Treestump's questioning look, he pointed past the cabin. "Yonder. Heads down the side of the mountain, eventually meets up with the road to Silver Springs.

"I yelled at 'em the first time they came through." Curly gave the lawman a grin. "Then, I shot at 'em when they came back. I thought you all were the rest. That's why I shot at you, too."

"So they just passed through both times?" Treestump inquired, thoughtfully. "They didn't take anything, do anything else?'

"Just scared my sheep is all," Johnson answered. "Odd, though, they knew to come through here. It ain't like I get a lot of folks calling. Hell, I was surprised when I first saw them. ThoughŢ He stopped, rubbing his chin.

"What is it?" The Marshall prompted softly.

"Well..." the old man looked back at the blond elf. "Come to think of it, a couple a nights ago there was a ruckus outside. My sheep were cryin' up a storm. But when I when I got my boots on and checked things out, I didn't see anything. But it was really late, and I figured it was a coyote or wolf or somethin'."

"Interesting," Treestump commented, rubbing his beard with one hand. He didn't like how things were shaping up. Strongbow's attack appeared to be more than a spur of the moment event.

But how did they know he would be out in Bowman's Patch this morning?

He shook his head, then met Johnson's gaze again. "Thanks for your help, Curly."

"Yessir, Marshall!" the man answered amiably. "Glad to help out!"

"Mind if we pass through and take a look at that path down the hill?"

"Go right ahead! Ain't no skin off my back."

Treestump grinned at the old man. "We'll most likely becoming back this way. Our horses are back down in the Patch."

"So you don't want me to shoot at you again, you're sayin'?"

"No, Curly, we'd rather you didn't."

Johnson cackled, his eyes twinkling merrily. Then, he led them to a gate in the fence and pointed to another fence across the terrace. "There's the path past the gate."

Treestump nodded and, tipping his hat, started in that direction. The old man's voice stopped him.

"Your friend," Curly called out, "The one they took. You think he's still alive?"

The Marshall took a deep breath, feeling Wavecatcher's questioning eyes watching him with concerned interest.

"I don't know," Treestump said at last. "I know he was hurt. He must've been alive when they took him. Else why take a dead man?"

"To hide what was done to him," Jonas answered softly. The lawman snapped his head around to look at the tracker, noting immediately how far away the man looked.

You've seen a lot of pain, the elf thought as he studied the former scout. No one should be treated like that. No elf, human or troll.

The human blinked rapidly, recalling where he stood, then bowed his head.

Looking at the others, Treestump noted that Wavecatcher's face had taken on a green cast, though not nearly as bright as his hair. Scouter absently scuffed the ground with one booted foot, and his eyes looking everywhere but at the people around him. Curly had removed his hat again, holding it against his chest.

"Well," the Marshall broke the silence, "we'd best be moving on. Thanks again, Curly."

The old man nodded in silence. Treestump turned and made his way to the gate.

******

Around a half hour later, the search party stood under a small group of trees where the tracks had led them. The former scout knelt in the nearby road, staring at the dirt.

"I think they went to Silver Springs, sir," Jonas announced quietly as he stood up and brushed his hands off on his trousers. "Hard to tell, though, what with the traffic that's been on the road since."

Treestump sighed. "The morning stage, miners coming in for goods... Damn." He took off his hat and wiped his brow. The human stepped over to them, kneeling in the grass.

"But that's what these tracks show," the man explained, gesturing towards the ground. "They took the fours horses they'd tied there," he pointed at a tree, "and swung out towards Silver Springs. Only two riders, though. The other two horses carried nothing but saddle. All four horses had riders when they arrived, though."

"So," the Marshall began, "All four came here early this morning and left the horses. They went up into the hills and followed the stream to Bowman's Patch. They waited for Strongbow-"

"How did they know he was going to be there this morning?" Scouter interrupted suddenly.

So, the boy had been paying attention, Treestump thought, then answered out loud, "I wondered that, too, son."

"Wavelet asked him yesterday to hunt that boar," Wavecatcher said in a near whisper. "She was fed up with that animal destroying our garden. We all, our family and Strongbow's, depend on those vegetables, and suddenly it wasn't just one boar but at least three!" He brushed a stray lock of hair out if his face. "She finally begged Strongbow to take care of it while we all were setting up for dinner."


"When was this?" The lawman asked, "Were you inside the house at the time?"

"Late afternoon, I guess. And no, the three of us were outside, unloading our cart."

"In front of the house, I take it?"

"Yes," the taller elf answered quietly.

"But I don't understand!" Scouter cut in sharply. "If those men were scouting out a path Curly Johnson to Bowman's Patch a few nights ago, and Mrs. Wavelet only asked yesterday, how could they know that Mr. Strongbow would hunt that boar today?"

The group stood in silence as they considered the question.

"Are you sure the extra damage was caused by boar?" Jonas asked softly.

"I don't know," Wavecatcher spread his hands. "Strongbow seemed to think it was. Why wouldn't it have been?" His eyes widened as he realized the implication of his words. He whirled to face Treestump, crying out wildly, "We sent him out there! This is our fault! And after all he did for us!"

The Marshall grabbed the elf by the shoulders. "Wavecatcher!" he exclaimed. "You said it yourself! Strongbow thought it was boars himself! Why would anyone think otherwise?" Treestump added gently, "This is not your fault." The taller elf met the lawman's stare, and his body relaxed somewhat.

"It seems to me," the stocky elf began, looking at each of his companions in turn, "these men knew how they would stage their attack, they just needed to know when. It could have been today, it could have been tomorrow. But they wanted him out in Bowman's Patch because, anywhere else, he had folks around him to help him out."

"The farm, both houses actually, are wide open," Jonas commented. "Easy to track. At least outside of the horse pens. Bowman's Patch has less eyes watching."

Treestump caught the human with a sharp stare.

"It's all right," Wavecatcher said to the lawman. "He's been there before. He brought Brill and the girls home the other day when Brill twisted her ankle."

"How'd you come to be in that area?" the Marshall inquired.

"I was just passing through, heading into town. I..." he looked down, watching his own foot as he toed the ground. "I don't like roads much."

"But towns? Those are all right?"

"I was looking for Red!" the human cried out. "I... needed to see him!"

"Why?"

"That's between him and me." The tracker's expression became stony. "I know how it looks, sir, but I had nothing to do with this."

Treestump studied Jonas in silence for a moment, recalling the look of absolute trust Redlance had held for the man. His own gut agreed. Whatever the man was involved in, and Treestump felt certain that the former scout was involved in something, he was not part of the group that kidnapped Strongbow.

"No," the Marshall said after a moment, "I don't think you did."

"Thank you, sir," the human bowed his head in gratitude.

"Think there might be something on the farm that shows these men were there?"

Jonas raised his head at the quiet trust the elf's voice. With bright eyes, he answered, "Only one way to find out, sir."

"All right," Treestump addressed the entire group, "Time to head back to Bowman's Patch and get our horses. Hopefully Redlance and the others will have better news."

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Tue Dec 13, 2016 6:51 pm

Yay! This is a bit rewritten-- isn't it? Or is it just the same as before?

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:09 pm

@Lunakat wrote:
Yay! This is a bit rewritten-- isn't it? Or is it just the same as before?

Nope, no rewrites here. For all the parts you guys wrote and put in (you, wordgazer, and others) I left just the way you posted, no changes.

Now, I do edit my stuff. I go back and try to clean up all the grammar mistakes and such. I was a rather messy poster it seems!  

lol!

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Four - Part Four   Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:24 pm

And here's the next piece of Day Four, Part FOur, written by the outstanding Caris Caeruleus

Pathways and Portents

Part II

He saw the boot prints leading out of the water first, and he moved towards them eyeing them curiously.

Why leave the water now? You've stayed in the stream all this way, but now you leave?

"What is it, Redlance?" he heard Cutter ask as the elf followed the tracks up the bank of the brook.

"They came up the shore," the tracker answered, and his braids whispered as he knelt to study the shape of a heel. The softness of the ground allowed the imprint to reveal significant details, and he recognized the mark as matching ones he saw back at the site of Strongbow's capture. His eyes widened as he realized only one of the men had left the stream.

Why?

"Actually, it looks likes only one of them went this way," Redlance announced, standing up, and started to walk along side the trail.

"They split up?" Skywise inquired as he clambered up the bank as well

"Yes," the scout responded to his friend thoughtfully, staring down at ground. He settled onto his haunches slowly, studying the new puzzle. "He stopped here," the tracker thought out loud, "knelt downŢ Grass made this new find harder to interpret but, as he pushed the blades aside and looked carefully at the impressions in the dirt, he knew what he looked at.

"He put Strongbow on the ground here," Redlance stated quietly. He felt rather than heard Skywise kneel beside him. Cutter, who remained in the creek studying the banks, stopped as well.

"Was Strongbow alive?" the major questioned in a matter of fact tone. The elf's training as a soldier had taken over. There was no time for emotions in battle

"Yes," the scout answered slowly as he deciphered the marks. "I think they had him bound hand and foot. But his foot marked the ground here after the man put him down." He pointed at a scrape in the dirt that, to him, had clearly been made by the heel of a smaller boot than the one he'd followed out of the water. Leaning to the side, he touched the dirt where the captured elf's head had rested, noting the darker color of the earth there. "He was still bleeding, too, it looks like."

That information didn't tell them anything conclusive, because they all knew that head wounds bled heavily, even when they weren't serious.

"Was he struggling?" Cutter called from the water.

"No."

"Then he either was too frightened to do so," the major commented, causing Skywise to snort in disbelief. Redlance took a deep breath, silently agreeing with the captain. Cutter continued solemnly, "Or, he wasn't really capable of fighting them."

The trio considered the soldier's words quietly. The peaceful sounds of the babbling brook and soft rustling of wind in the trees did nothing to assuage their worries.

"The man left him here, and went that way." The tracker announced after a moment had passed, and gestured towards a tree closer to the water. "He came back over here and picked up Strongbow again."

"So, what was over here?" Water splashed as Cutter moved in the direction Redlance had indicated. Skywise got to his feet to follow his friend. The scout, however, remained where he crouched, his mind suddenly filled with memories of the elf they sought.

He thought of those months, years back, when he'd worked as a hand on Strongbow's ranch. He was kind to me. And fair.

"They had a boat!" Skywise's shout brought him back to the present. He leapt to his feet and joined his friends.

"It was tied up here," Cutter explained, bending to run his hand over marks in the tree's bark.

"Seems like they hid with it branches," Skywise added, pushing at broken branch with a foot. A number of other limbs lay on the ground nearby.

"Then they were prepared beforehand." Redlance ran a hand through his hair. He looked past the tree to the stream. "The water was getting deeper here. They must have gone out to the lake."

"But where to from there?" the silver haired elf exclaimed? "We've lost them, haven't we?"

The tracker turned his gaze to Cutter, meeting the other elf's brilliant blue eyes with a steady stare. "We should follow the lake shore. They could have landed the boat anywhere. They've been trying to lose us all along. They probably expect us to give up here."

"I think we should report back to the Marshall," Skywise announced. "He can get a proper posse out to look around the lake."

The major studied them, clearly running all of the options through his mind. Finally, he answered authoritatively, "We'll follow the lake. We're better served to get as much information as we can before heading back."

The captain nodded. "All right. But we can stay on land now, right

Cutter grinned, "Yes, but it will take a bit to get the all of the water out of our boots." His expression turned serious again. "Let's hope we find them."

High Ones, help us find him.

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Thu Dec 15, 2016 2:54 pm

Ahh I forgot about the search. Nice to catch up. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Sun Dec 18, 2016 2:39 pm

@Wiseshaman wrote:
Hey there Rainflower, you did a nice job keeping the place in running order, thanks! "

*gently hugging WiseShaman* Hug No problem dear, although I'm glad you're back to share the updates. Been a little busy myself lately, but happy to catch up the stories. Welcome back by the way, really missed you Wink

I had forgotten about Curly. Darn funny guy. Really lookign forwards to read more of this again.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:04 am

@Rainflower wrote:
@Wiseshaman wrote:
Hey there Rainflower, you did a nice job keeping the place in running order, thanks! "

*gently hugging WiseShaman* Hug No problem dear, although I'm glad you're back to share the updates. Been a little busy myself lately, but happy to catch up the stories. Welcome back by the way, really missed you Wink

I had forgotten about Curly. Darn funny guy. Really lookign forwards to read more of this again.

And it feels good to be back Rain, missed the old place around here!

Hug

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Four - Part Five   Mon Dec 19, 2016 12:10 pm

And here's the next piece of Day Four, Part Five, written by the outstanding Caris Caeruleus


Pathways and Portents

Part IV


"Do you think the attack on Strongbow has any thing to do with the Henry?" Skywise asked quietly. A cool breeze blowing in from the water rustled the leaves above them and ruffled the elf's silver hair.

Redlance walked ahead of them, his own mane flowing with the airy breath. The trio had been following the bank of the lake for nearly an hour now. Intermittent rocky terrain and soft ground had slowed them in places, but they were almost halfway around, now.

Cutter absently brushed away an errant lock of his own hair that the light wind tossed into his face while he considered his response. The subject weighed heavily on his mind all afternoon as a strong sense of self-blame entwined itself in his thoughts. He kept seeing Crescent's face as she thrust the rifle at him, tears of despair running down her cheeks.

"Take the cursed thing! It does nothing but bring pain!" Crescent had yelled, her violet eyes wild.

And he did. He currently wore slung it on his back, and felt its presence like a living thing lurking behind him. Colonel Tibbet's revelation about the weapon, combined with its part in Strongbow's disappearance only added to the dark mystique swirling around Ben Thompson's old rifle.

He knew his feeling of guilt were irrational, but he couldn't free himself of it. What if lending the Henry to Strongbow had sent the elf to his doom?

"Cutter," Skywise said, drawing the soldier's attention back to the present.

Looking over at his friend, he answered, "If someone wanted the rifle, why did they take Strongbow and leave it behind?"

"I don't know," the captain replied. Stopping suddenly, he bent and, grabbing a small stone, skipped it across the water. "Maybe it just is cursed."

"That's crazy, Skywise," Cutter countered sharply. "Curses aren't real."

"I am sorry, Cutter," Redlance cut in, pausing in his tracks to face the two elves behind him. "But you are wrong."

"That would imply that there's magic, and everyone knows there isn't." Cutter leapt up on a fallen log, and turned to face the Native raised elf.

"Everyone?" The red-haired elf smiled. "Blackfeather told me that cursed objects were items that so imbued with such hatred that anyone who touched them fell prey to their blackness. This rifle is no different. It was created to destroy a man's life, and it has done that several times."

"All guns are made for killing," Cutter argued, spreading his hands for emphasis.

"Killing perhaps," the scout shrugged. "Hunting, self-defense most certainly, but murder? I know my tomahawk can kill," he patted the weapon, "but I did not make it for the sole purpose to murder a man, as the maker of that rifle did."

"But that's not a curse."

Redlance's lips curled in patient humor. "If a thing, even a person, were so molded to become a vessel of hatred and violence, how is that not a curse?"

Cutter stared in silence, unable to deny the other elf's point.

"So, it is cursed?" Skywise asked.

"Perhaps," Redlance shrugged again. "Still, I agree with Cutter that the rifle is only coincidently involved in Mr. Strongbow's attack." Flashing the major an amused glance, he turned, and began walking along the lake's edge again.

"Why didn't you say so, then," Cutter inquired, hopping off the log and stepping after his friend.

"Because it is important for you to understand that some people believe deeply in things like magic and curses."

Skywise laughed as he fell in step with the major. "And luck, too!"

Redlance came to an abrupt halt as he stared across the water to a point around a bend of the lake's bank. The other two elves stopped, as well.

"There!" the tracker exclaimed, pointing. "I see something! It looks like the back end of a boat."

"Does anyone live around here?" Skywise asked. "Perhaps it's someone's dock." They'd passed one small wooden dock earlier, though nothing had been moored to it.

"Don't know," Cutter asked. "Let's check it out."

Even sprinting, it took them another ten minutes to get to the spot because of the irregular terrain. Finally, they arrived at the spot, all three elves breathing heavily. Large bushes grew out into the water, enjoying the rich silt on the bank and in the lakebed. Nestled within the twisting growth sat a small boat.

While the other two elves watched, Redlance waded into the water, pushing aside branches to get at the dingy. Whoever left it hadn't bothered to tie it in place; the limbs of the shrubs kept it from being swept back out into the lake. He walked along its side, studying the lake floor. Something in the boat caught his eye, because he reached in and touched a spot thoughtfully. Then, straightening again, he moved up onto the shore, and knelt down to look at tracks in the sodden ground.

Cutter felt a pang of concern as he saw his friend's shoulder's sag.

"What is it?" he asked. "Is this the boat?"

"Yes," the tracker's soft answer wafted over to them.

The major fought his way through the brush to get to his friend's side. "You're sure?"

"These tracks match those we saw in Bowman's Patch and at the mouth of the stream," the red-haired elf responded, still staring at the ground. Water splashed as Skywise joined them.

"What aren't you telling me?" Cutter placed a hand on the scouts shoulder as his eyes followed the footprints up the bank. Only two sets: they still carried the wounded elf.

"They didn't carry Mr. Strongbow out of the boat," Redlance stated quietly. Cutter sucked in his next breath sharply.

"He walked, then," Skywise offered, though his tone suggested he didn't believe his own words.

"No, there's only two sets of tracks coming away from the boat," the tracker explained. "They drug the boat into the bushes and left it there. They didn't stop to take anything out of it." Braids clattering, the elf stood up, turning to face his companions. "And there's blood on the floor of the boat. It's only a few hours old."

The wind playfully blew through their hair again, unconcerned with the life and death of anyone, friend or not.

"They carried him again," Cutter said, hopefully.

The Native raised elf shook his head. "No, neither man was burdened. This ground is soft, but if one of them carried anything, he would have sunk in further. He would have had more trouble getting up the bank, too. There's no sign of that."

"Then, they went somewhere else before they came here!" Skywise exclaimed.

"How old are the tracks?" Cutter asked the scout.

"Hours."

"Newer than the blood?"

"A little bit, yes." Redlance's gaze drifted out over the water. "But not much. I think-" He closed his eyes, and his hand touched his necklace. "I think they threw him into the lake." With a flash of fiery green, the tracker snapped his head around to look at Cutter.

"We should follow the tracks, see where they went. They can tell us-"

"No," Cutter interrupted. "We need to get back and report what we've found. The Marshall can send a bigger posse over here to look around."

"No!" the tracker's green eyes blazed. "We have to find those men! We have to know what happened to Mr. Strongbow!"

Realizing what drove the other elf's emotion, the major set both hands on his friend's shoulders. He could feel the tension that pulled the scout's body taut. "Redlance, you are not to blame. You may think that you brought some curse down on Strongbow, but you did not. I did not. There are other things going on here."

"There was that business with Guttlecraw," Skywise added.

Cutter nodded. "We also have to consider that we aren't prepared for a prolonged hike. What if those men don't head into some nearby camp? What if they don't stay in the area?" He paused, noting that Redlance's body had relaxed somewhat, then continued, "Plus, what if they did drop off Strongbow somewhere else before coming here? We have to tell Marshall Treestump so he can get more men looking."

The red-haired elf blew out a sigh and dropped his gaze. "You're right. We should head back." He raised his eyes to meet Cutter's again. "I just hate feeling like we didn't do enough to help Mr. Strongbow."

"I know," Cutter answered quietly. "I hate it, too. I am sure other folk will be feeling the same thing." Like Bearclaw. If he'd pushed the issue of following those men last night, would this have happened today?

"Should we take the boat?" Skywise asked, leaning in and grabbing the oars.

"Might as well," Cutter said, and began to drag the craft out of the bushes. "It'll save us time getting back, and we can show it to the Marshall." Once they had the dingy free of the shrubs, the trio clambered into the boat, and Cutter took the oars.

As he rowed across the lake towards, the major found himself thinking of Crescent's expression as she thrust the rifle back at him. Despite his words to his friend, he couldn't shake his own feelings of guilt. What could he have done differently?

Would any of it have mattered?

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Five - Part One   Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:09 pm

And here we go folks, the start to one of the busiest days in Elfwest, and the funny part is, it starts at the end of the day before...part one written by me, Wiseshaman

Day Five - Part One

This starts the night after Strongbow's disappearance

She rode into Town with Windrider at a steady gate, in the dark, hoping it would hide her from being recognized. She saw Brownberry's restaurant up ahead and felt her spirits finally begin to lift. Crescent had to get out of the house, away from the gloom and anger and the confusion. Ma was with Clearbrook again, her closest friend, talking about her father and how he wasn't gone so there was no need for her to stay home and Dart was who knows where trying to get his head straight. After threatening to kill Greymung for no reason except some wild hunch, which didn't end up amounting to a hill of beans, and now he was in thick with Marshall Stump and the Judge. Hell, he might even end up in jail. But none of that compared to what he did in the restaurant, what he called Redlance. Pa going missing had brought out the worst in her brother, the steadfast devotion in her mother, and for her...she wasn't sure.

Crescent felt he wasn't dead, her heart said he wasn't, but her head said differently. No tracks, no signs, and no way to find him. It was like someone just reached down from a cloud and plucked Strongbow right off the land.

And on top of all that, he leaves for Silver Springs with the boys. Redlance, the one steadfast thing in a storm of craziness that she could hold onto, just saddled up on Firecoat and rode off for four, five, or however many damn days he would be gone. She could have so hit Cutter and Skywise and even him for leaving, but she didn't. She remembered the early morning sun and standing on the walkway by Brownberry's, waiting until Nightfall and Tyleet had hugged him before moving in with every intention of just giving Redlance a quick hug. What happened though was totally unplanned and out of her control. The second her arms were around him, the moment she felt his warmth, she didn't want to let go. Before Crescent knew it, she was letting the embrace linger. She felt his hand slide down to her lower back while the other stayed between her shoulders squeezing gently but firmly. It felt so right that before she knew it she had kissed the side of his neck sweetly, and the words were coming out of her mouth in a whisper.

"I need you back here so be safe my love."

And as soon as Crescent said it she felt wrong. She stepped back away from him and could see the confusion in his eyes. She looked over to see Nightfall with a worried look and Tyleet with a matching confused one like the tracker.

"I have to go...I have chores..." Crescent stammered stepping even farther back before running from the walkway to the dress shop. Mercifully no one was there at the moment as she ran to the back to gather herself.

The rest of the day was torture, pure and simple. She couldn't get her mind off her father, off of Redlance, and Nightfall. When Mrs. Clearbrook showed up to spend the night again it was the perfect excuse to say she was going to see her sister and spend the night at their place. Moonshade only gave her a nod and told her to be careful. Crescent nodded back mumbling she had already done enough damage. She put Windrider up at Two-Edge's before walking over to the restaurant, and through the door with her satchel. Brownberry looked up along with Longbranch and both walked over quickly to her. Nightfall's mother grabbed her in a hard hug, which felt great, as Longbranch patted her shoulder.

"How's your mother doing?" Brownberry asked.

"She's tough Mrs. Brownberry. She's doing as well as can be expected. You ought to go up and see her?" Crescent said with a smile.

"Oh no, your mother needs her friends right now Crescent." Brownberry said stepping back.

"You're her friend Mrs. Brownberry. You really are." Crescent added trying to say something that would show her the situation, that there was nothing wrong between her mother and her. Anything to make up for what her brother had done and said.

Brownberry just waved it off with a smile though, pushed whatever she was feeling away and spoke quickly while pointing at the satchel. "Are you planning on staying with us a day or two?"

"Yes Ma'am, that's if I can stay a day or two?" Crescent asked.

"Well of course you can. Your always welcomed here sweetie." Longbranch said giving her a quick squeeze.

"Thank you, is Nightfall upstairs?" She asked.

"Yep, she's with Tyleet. Go on up and we'll be along after we close and clean up." Brownberry said again with a wave.

Crescent knew better then to press anything with the two and opted to go on up to the rooms above the restaurant. She gave them both a quick wave and then went up the stairs from the kitchen, knocking on the door at the top of the stairs. When it opened Tyleet's face looked at her then beamed with a large smile. Crescent also noticed the girl was wearing one of Redlance's velveteen shirts.

"Crescent! Momma, Crescent's here!" She screamed out as Crescent stepped into the room.

Nightfall popped out from her bedroom to the cramped living room with a smile that looked surprised. "I wasn't expecting you sister, any word on your Pa?"

"No, nothing still, but I was hoping you two might let me stay with you for a little bit. I need the company of good friends." Crescent said with a forced smile.

"As long as Dart stays away." Tyleet said with a frown.

"Tyleet, what did we talk about?" Nightfall said forcefully with a raised eyebrow.

"It doesn't matter! He called Papa a 'breed' and he didn't even apologize!" Tyleet spat. Nightfall was about to give her daughter another stern lecture when Crescent broke in and smoothed everything over.

"He will Tyleet, I promise you if I have to drag him here I'll make him apologize." Crescent said with a whisper. The pain in her eyes communicated more than the words and Tyleet backed down. Nightfall saw it too and decided to move them along to a better area to talk.

"It's okay, let's get the last of the wash put up and then we can do something." Nightfall said taking Crescent's hand.

Tyleet walked in front going to her room while Nightfall and Crescent went into hers. Nightfall went to the stack of folded clothes and back to the task of putting them up while Crescent put her satchel bag down and sat on the edge of the bed. The room was quiet, an awkward silence the two had never experienced before. It was weird and unbearable for both, but more so for Crescent at the moment.

"I'm sorry for what Dart said." She whispered.

"You have nothing to be sorry for Crescent, but thank you just the same." Nightfall said with a warm smile that said they were still sisters. Crescent breathed a sigh of relief noting it was safe to move on to the next part.

"Did you hear what I said to him before he left?"

Nightfall stopped working with the clothes and moved over slowly sitting next to her on the bed. "Yeah, I heard every word."

"I'm sorry Nightfall. I didn't mean for it to happen."

"Please," Nightfall said taking Crescent's hand again, "there hasn't been a day that’s gone bye I haven't known what you felt for him. This thing with your father, the way he went missing, it just shook the feelings loose finally."

"It doesn't bother you then?" She asked.

"No, what bothers me is how bad this has you tied up inside. I'm worried about you sister, with your Pa and now this. If you need my help you don't have to ask." Nightfall whispered.

"Thank you, sister, but where do I go from here? He knows now.” She whispered.

"Let's worry about that later, after we find your father and they get back. Until then I suggest sleeping with one of his shirts." Nightfall said with a warm smile.

"Does that really help?" Crescent asked with a skeptical eye.

"Honest, it got me through the war." Nightfall said with a raised hand.

"I like it too!" Tyleet suddenly chimed in.

"Were you eaves dropping on us?" Nightfall said with a playful grin.

"No, you were just talking real loud," Tyleet said walking over and leaning up against Crescent, "and I know we’re going to find your Papa. I know they will."

"Thank you, little sister." Crescent said with a kiss.

"And I think its sweet you love Papa." Tyleet whispered.

Nightfall laughed while Crescent hugged Tyleet to her and whispered with a big smile. "Can we keep that between us for now, until we figure out what to do?"

"Yes ma'am, as long as you tell me what you plan to do." Tyleet remarked seriously.

"I promise." Crescent said.

The rest of the night passed with the three laughing and then playing an old card game with Brownberry in the living room. Redlance's shirt on Tyleet was precious as it went past her knees where she sat in Crescent's lap playing the card game. Later, sleeping in Nightfall's bed with an arm wrapped around her, Crescent felt so much better wearing the velveteen shirt. She could almost feel him holding her.


"You okay?"

Cutter's question brought Redlance out of his trance. He looked up from his spot, lying up against his saddle, by the campfire. A smile on his face he spoke with a laugh. "Yeah, I was just lost in a thought."

"Any problems with Trick Shot?" Cutter asked using his nickname for Nightfall.

"No," Redlance said shaking his head, "nothing’s wrong with us."

Cutter sat down by him leaning back on the saddle while Skywise snored under his hat lying on his bed roll, just across the fire. The Major looked up at the night sky before speaking. “I heard what happened with Dart. Is that's what got you bothered?"

"Yeah," Redlance said with a shrug, "just thought the ones close to me felt different is all."

"We do Red, don't go taking a mistake like that as cut into stone." Cutter replied.

Redlance shook his head before speaking. "I don't, never have. What bother's me is, I couldn't find Strongbow. I blame myself for not bringing him back”

Cutter gave him a quick nudge while pointing his finger. "Don't, you tracked him across that stream right up to the point where he just disappeared. If Dart can't handle that then it's his problem. Not a one of us blames you for not finding him. You did your best and that's all we, and Dart, can ask for."

"I know..." Redlance said quietly. The whole disappearance with Strongbow hit the tracker hard, especially with Dart saying what he said.

The two grew quiet before Cutter decided to move on to a different question. "Are you ready for Annie tomorrow?"

"Yeah, I got my coin and I know the handshake. I can get us past the introduction." Redlance said taking a sip of coffee.

"Good, I want to know what old Ben was into. Maybe she can help with the picture of the family as well?" Cutter thought out loud.

"Let's just be careful. Silver Springs isn't Two-Moons, a fight there, or step in the wrong direction, gets you shot. And I don't want to risk Annie in any way either." Redlance stated with a shake of his head.

"We won't tracker, promise." Cutter smiled.

The two sat in quiet until sleep caught Redlance and he dozed off. Cutter stood up and walked over to his bed roll pulling out the small necklace. He remembered Rose, or Leetah, galloping up on that show horse just before they left. How she had pulled him to the side and given him the necklace as a good luck charm.

"To keep you free of danger." She had said.

And then she had leaned in and kissed his cheek. He could still feel her lips there, smell her scent, and see her green eyes. He leaned back staring at the night sky and fell asleep as a lonesome coyote howled in the distance.

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Five - Part Two   Fri Dec 23, 2016 1:11 pm

And here's the next piece of Day Five, written by me, Wiseshaman


Day Five - Part Two

He took a deep breath, whispered a prayer this would go well, and walked into the restaurant with his hat in hand. The place was its usual, busy, with half the tables full and the counter the same. He recognized a third as towns people taking in a hot breakfast, but the rest were travelers or passer-troughs' who'd stopped by for a quick bite before getting on the stage, heading out of town. He scanned the counter and saw Foxfur, who spotted him and only stared back cold, like a winter’s breeze, before going back to her customers, and there was Rainsong who didn't give her usual wave or happy greeting. He only sighed. He knew it was going to be this way as he walked over to the counter to catch Foxfur and try to make some form of a civil exchange.

"Morning Foxfur, can I get a coffee?"

She looked back with that same cold stare for a minute, then took a cup form the stack on the counter behind her and set it down in front of him. She poured it full, quietly, not offering to say hello or a kind word.

"I guess you all are still pretty upset."

"What did you expect Stump, that it would just blow over." Foxfur finally said, with a fair bit of attitude.

"No, not at all." Marshall Stump replied, staring down at the cup of coffee, suddenly not wanting a drop of it.

"Then what are you asking?" Foxfur inquired, rather coldly.

He was about to answer her when he saw Brownberry step out of the kitchen for a second, lock eyes with him, and then turn around and head back the way she came. A minute later Longbranch stepped out dressed in his lawyer suit with a hard look on his face, a look meant for him Stump thought. The lawyer walked down the counter and through the leaf at the end without saying a word to the Marshall, which only made Stump regret his position even more. He put a silver dollar on the counter and turned to chase down his friend ignoring his usual manners of giving a goodbye to Foxfur and Rainsong. It didn't seem to matter this morning.

"Longbranch, hold up!" He called out running out the door.

The lawyer didn't stop, but he did slow enough to let the Marshall catch up. "What do you need this morning Marshall? Make it fast though. I have an appearance before Judge Timmain in her chambers about some motions."

"I was hoping we could talk, get past this thing that happened yesterday morning with Dart, at least until we find out more about Strongbow." Treestump offered.

"And just how are we supposed to get 'past' this thing Stump?" Longbranch asked just as cold as Foxfur after stopping dead in the center of the walkway. Now Stump was really regretting his position, choosing between two friends like this.

"I don't know yet Longbranch. All I'm asking is, give the boy the benefit for now. His father just went missing and it's got him all riled." Treestump explained.

If the Marshall was hoping for a reprieve for Dart it was dashed rather quickly. Longbranch stepped in close with a look of pain in his eyes.

"And what happens next time when someone else calls him a 'breed' Stump? What if its Scouter or Dewshine next time? Am I just supposed to let it blow over again because it's a family member of a friend? Am I supposed to forgive and forget so everyone can get along? Am I supposed to put my family second so we can keep the peace?" Longbranch countered.

"No, I would expect you to act just like you are right now. But Dart's my deputy, I watched him grow up. I took him under my wing. I have to take his side. I have to ask you to forgive an awful mistake." Treestump explained.  

"I had to tell my granddaughter, who was crying, why Dart would call her soon to be father that despicable name. I had to hold her while she got so angry she couldn't see straight because her friend, Marshall Stump, let Dart call her Papa that vile name." Longbranch said with a deep pain in his eyes.

Stump looked away then, down at the walkway, unable to look his friend in the eyes. There was no answer he could give that would help and this was obviously so far from over. And he couldn't get the picture of little Tyleet crying out of his head.

Longbranch spoke again leaving no doubt to where it all stood. "I know this, you'd never ask Strongbow to forgive and he would never ask this of us. When Aurek told us about a Sheridan Scout who had been captured and hung out like trophy during the war, it damn near killed Brownberry and Nightfall. But did any of you show an ounce of concern about my wife or daughter, what they were going through?

"Now that's not right Longbranch, and you know it." Stump said looking back up with a snap.

"Is it? Oh, you stopped by every morning asking for news with your coffee, but did Clearbrook ever offer to stay with her? Did Moonshade ever offer to come over and sit with her? Hell, did you or Strongbow come down and ask me if I wanted to talk? And now you want me to forgive a man who called my son 'a damn no-good breed'!" Longbranch spat.

It was evident now the remark was just the edge of a deeper wound, something Stump had missed seeing for too long. He also saw that there was no sense in going any farther with this now and that this wound would take time to heal. Stump sighed and took a step back before speaking.

"I'm sorry Longbranch...I had to ask...for Dart." Marshall Stump said finally.

There was no response from the lawyer, only cold silence as Longbranch turned and went down the walkway toward his office. Stump sighed again feeling so damn low his chin was dragging the ground. He walked down the walkway without thinking, knowing where he was going. It was all his legs deciding on where to go, and before he knew it, he was climbing the steps to the school as the kids played outside before class began.

Clearbrook looked up from her desk and immediately saw the look there. She could tell it didn't go good at all with Longbranch. "Was it that bad?" She asked.

"The bridge hasn't fallen yet, but it's damn near burnt all the way through." Treestump sighed heavily, rolling his hat hand as he sat down in the chair beside her.

"Maybe I should go and talk with Brownberry, try to explain." Clearbrook offered.

"And say what? 'I know you love Redlance, call him your son, but can you forgive my other friend's son for calling him a damn, no-good breed'. How do you choose one friend over the other sweetheart? How can I ever look Longbranch in the eye after making him feel less than Strongbow?" Treestump asked looking at the floor.

"Dart didn't know what he was saying Stump, it was out before he could stop it." Clearbrook offered, but she understood what he was feeling. She had chosen Moonshade over Brownberry, had done it without even realizing till the incident happened.

"A man has got to be held accountable for his actions and his words Clearbrook. I do it every day, and yet I gave a pass to Dart because he was my deputy while looking at Redlance and my friend in the eye. Now how the hell am I supposed to fix that?" Treestump said.

"I do not know sweetheart, I do not know." Clearbrook whispered taking his hand in hers with a sympathetic smile. How was she supposed to go back to Brownberry now?


"I will be on my ride this morning Thiro. Please tell Fernando after my family has eaten that I will not be eating. He might be disinclined to burn their food then." Sun Toucher said getting on his own Mangalarga Marchador called Sol.  

"I will Senor Sun Toucher." Thiro replied with a smile.

The Rancher rode out in the morning sun with a broad smile. He waved to Zhantee and gave a warm greeting as he passed by the small shack that served as the potter's shop. It had the potential to be a glorious day Sun Toucher thought

When he was far enough away, and he knew he was alone, Sun Toucher's smile faded to a straight line on his lips. He pulled out the note that was delivered yesterday and read it again noting the location it asked him to be at.

Hopefully the day would still be glorious.


"Just what are you getting at?" Olbar hissed.

"It is Just a question," Rayek responded to the oversized human, "what is the shack used for out in the, um, the north forty you called it I think? I saw some strange tracks and wondered if you knew anything about it."

"It sure didn't sound like you wanted my opinion. It sounded like you were accusing me of something." Olbar said with a snarl.

"I am  sorry amigo, it must be the accent. I sound like I am accusing when I am not." Rayek smiled back condescendingly.

"Right, that's it. I just 'misunderstood' you, huh?" Olbar shot back just as condescendingly.

He waited three days after coming back from the strange meeting with Khavi, where he found out that Olbar met with Dave the Rustler at said shack at the end of every month, before asking the foreman of the ranch about it. Rayek had hoped the conversation would be civil one, had hoped it would be pleasant, but figured it would be neither.

Rayek hated being right all the time.

"It is a common occurrence I am sad to say. Now, what is the purpose of the shack?"

"Hell, I don’t know," Olbar spat turning back to the paddock where some of the hands were busy branding the calves that had reached the age, "it's been out there since I was hired on years back. I have no idea what it was and I have no damn inclination to find out."

Rayek put a foot on the rail of the paddock and watched the men at work knowing full well it got under Olbar's skin. He was hoping he got the man riled up enough to let something slip, but guessed it wouldn't happen. Olbar was loyal enough to keep his mouth shut about what he knew. It was still worth a shot though Rayek decided.

"You know, I was only asking because one of the cowboys here told me that he watches you ride out in that direction at the end of the month, every month. I thought you may have seen someone out there on one of those trips." Rayek said turning to look at Olbar and noticing he had obviously gotten under the man's skin this time.

Olbar turned three shades of red as his teeth ground together before finally calming down and going back to a nice tan. "Some men should learn to keep their mouths shut. It'll keep em' from talking and asking too many damn questions."

"That would be nice yes, but maybe since we are such good friends, you could answer my question anyway." Rayek said with a small smile.  

"My business is my business accountant, and if you want to wander around in it, then you damn well better be ready to pay the price." Olbar snarled one final time before turning back to the paddock.

Well, that was that Rayek thought, stepping back away from the paddock. He turned and headed back to the house knowing Olbar was glaring at him, wanting to shoot him in the back with each and every step. One day there may be a reckoning with the foreman, but that day wasn't now. He crossed the large compound from the paddock passing the stable barn where he heard one of the horse’s call out. Rayek wandered in quietly to see to Leila. What he saw only added more questions to his already cramped mind.

He watched Winnowill hurriedly jump on one of her horses in her usual side saddle fashion and ride like hell out of the back-barn doors. Rayek looked on concerned, noting this was the first time he had seen the proprietress in three days. No one knew where she had gone to, or what she was up to, and frankly he didn't care at the moment. He was too busy being up to his own neck with Khavi and her revelation. Though, seeing Winnowill right now, gave him an uneasy feeling, and not for some sinister feeling.

She didn't look settled. Something had her worried...maybe scared.

Rayek walked back to the stall that held Leila to calm her down. He stepped in and nuzzled up against her head while patting her neck noting she didn't like this house as much as Ekuar. He smiled getting Leila under control when he spotted something pinned to the front wall of the stall itself. He reached over and pulled out the small knife that held a note to the wood. Rayek closed the knife with a snap and put it in his waist coat pocket while reading the note.

It was not what he was expecting.

I'll scratch yours if you scratch mine...

PW's at three today. 'll bring the blankets

K


Woodlock turned into the jail and saw Dart sitting at his desk, writing in a ledger that was the town's record log for the Marshall. He stood waiting until his friend looked up and called to him.

"Morning Woodlock, how are you?"

Woodlock gave a smile and stepped in to the room. "I'm good Dart, probably a whole lot better than you."

"I'll be fine. Marshall Stump's taking care of that thing with Greymung." Dart said going back to the ledger.

"I wasn't talking about that Dart." Woodlock stated moving over to sit down in the empty chair by the desk.

The deputy froze in mid-sentence for a second before continuing on with what he was writing. "It'll all blow over, just give it sometime."

"It's not going to blow over Dart, and hoping it will won't make it." Woodlock told the deputy matter-of-fact.

Dart looked up angry. and hurt, to Woodlock. "My pa is missing, probably dead, so if I offend someone I have more than my share of an excuse. I thought of anyone you'd understand that Woodlock, I mean we are friends."

"Yep, we're friends Dart, damn good ones. I'm also good friends with Red and what you called him yesterday was out of line."

Dart leaned back in his chair with the same stone look his father Strongbow wore, only on the younger elf that look came out when he knew he was wrong but didn't have the sense to own up to it. Dart was smart enough to do just that, the thing was, he was too damn stubborn to do just that.

"I'll apologize to Redlance when he gets back."

"Red's not the one you have to apologize too. He's already forgiven you, what he won't do is forgive himself. He went up into those hills looking to bring back your father, and when he didn't, it was like he failed everyone in town. You just added a whole bunch of weight to that feeling with calling him a 'breed' and all." Woodlock explained, hoped his friend understood.

The Deputy slowly caught on, and as the light went off in his head, his friend threw another stone to the ones on his back. "And to make it worse, think of all the people who took your side in this. Marshall Stump, Mrs. Clearbrook, your Mother and your sister. You pulled them into this mess, right along with you."

"What do you mean?" Dart spat.

"Didn't you see the look in Longbranch's eyes when you said it? And it only got worse when Marshall Stump stepped in for you, and Mrs. Clearbrook with him. In one fell swoop son, you managed to make one the best families in this town feel like mud, and then slung it all over your friends. How is Longbranch supposed to be friends with Treestump now, after being told to just let this simmer down? How's your mother and Clearbrook supposed to sit down with Brownberry now, after they took your side in calling her son that word?" Woodlock said standing up.

"It's not that big of a problem...I can fix this Woodlock...'ll figure something out." Dart stammered, finally beginning to realize he had to take responsibility for what he had done. He also realized how hard he'd been holding back the feeling of regret for saying the word, from the moment he said it.

Woodlock put his hat on at the door then turned back to his friend. "I can tell you this Dart, there’s no apology going to fix what you said overnight. A lot of trust was wrecked in this and it'll take walking a country mile to get it back straight. You and your mother, Treestump and Clearbrook, and a few others, it'll take time, but it'll be good at the end." Woodlock said turning leaving.

Dart watched him go while sitting there quietly, wondering just how much time it would take. He knew his father would have already walked in there to apologize for what had happened and lived with the punishment. Just the thought of his father made Dart's heart hurt and his mind wonder what had happened. Time, that's what it all came back to, they all needed time to let this thing die down.

And then he would start that walk, like any man would do...

___________________________________________________
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:00 pm

Good to have the days going. Now I can continue With something. Unfortunately, I cannot post the first ones of Dewshine and Tyldak, Hope you can put those up, WiseShaman, remember, those first ones weren't my stories, but here's what I came up with at least. A bit grammar fixed although. Cannot believe how I used to write.


The road was all muddy when Dewshine took Trollhammer for another ride early in the morning, and she had to be careful where she led him. The air was clear and fresh, and Dewshine breathed it in with large drowns. Despite the night, which had been stormy and rainy like nothing at long in time in Two Moons, there seemed to be sun for the rest of the day. She had decided she would go seeing Tyldak again. There was a while since she first met him, and she wondered how much he had worked on his metal bird.

As she rode, she thought of the dream she had had that night, which she thought must have been affected by last night’s storm.

It started out with herself standing in front of Tyldak. He had just stood there, and done nothing. The next moment he was gone, and Dewshine found herself in the rainy storm. She had been walking in the rain, in her bare clothes and got all wet and cold, feeling sad and all alone, but then there was a light at came from above. The clouds opened, and light flowed down at her. Up where the light came from, she could see a little creature that looked just like a child, dancing up in the sun light. She felt happy to see it, whatever it was, and suddenly all the sorrow disappeared.

Then she had woken up. She couldn’t really figure it out, but she had never paid much attention to dreams either. Besides, in the dream, she had felt more sad than happy, and she didn’t like to be sad, not for any reason.

She suddenly came to think of Scouter, who was leaving today. She could not help but being angry at him, not for leaving, but for his insult. Her cousin Cutter had gone to Silver Springs to look for Strongbow, who’s mysteriously disappearing had been the great subject. She didn’t really wanted Scouter to leave, but she didn’t want to see him after he had insulted her like he did.

She was angry at her father too, for taking side with Dart after he messed up with Redlance. Now she couldn’t go see Tyleet for what her father had done. He had also told her to pay more attention at school since she was soon going to finish. She was planning to join the Wild West Show of her aunt when finishing school and she had no use of the best school results for that.

She needed to get away for a while, away from her father. In protest to him, she was skipping school today. As for Scouter, she needed him of her back for a while, so leaving didn’t really bother her that much. Seeing Tyldak might help her get her thoughts of him for a while. And there was something about Tyldak. She knew she had to get to know him better before she could tell.

Besides, she was kind of exciting about the flying project herself.

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She was finely there. She could see him outside his house, kneeling under one of the wings quite busy with his work. She waved to him and called for him: “Hello Tyldak!”

He stood up quickly at the sound of her, but bumped his head in the wing as he did. She heard a “Damn hell”. She rode up to the fence.

“How’s it going?” she said.

“You again? Didn’t expect’ya again for a while, kid.” he said.

“I’ve been in town.” she said and jumped of her horse and to the other side of the fence. She went to get a closer look at the metal bird. “This looks better than last time.”

He gave it a gaze, and a light smile grew on his thin lips. “Yeah… been working on it." he said before turning back to her. "Shouldn’t you be in school?”

“No. Not today. Maybe tomorrow, but not now.” She said throwing her hat so it landed on a barrel and throwing her head back. “I thought I’d drop by you to see how you’re on with that” pointing at the bird. “Mind if I watch you?”

“Sure, what hell.” He said without any enthusiasm.

“Great." She begun examinating some parts. "What’s this for?”

“That’s for the wing… Hey hey. Be careful with that!”

“What is it?” she had picked up an odd stick and turned it around several times to figure out of it.

“A propel.”

“What does it do? Oh, you steer with it, right?”

Tyldak pulled the propel out of Dewshines hands: “Hell’ya kid, if you’re gonna stay, you sit right over there and shut up, okay? I don’t want any stupid chat from you while I work.”

Tyldak went back under the wing, and Dewshine sat on the fence and started grumping and watched for a while. He’s not much of a talker, she thought. The more she watched him, the stranger he seemed to her. Before she got to know that they shared the same passion of flying, she had found him quite boring. After being silent for about ten minutes, she asked:

“Where do’ya get parts from?”

“Two-Edge.” he answered.

“I haven’t seen you in town before. You don’t’ go there often, do’ya?”

“I like being alone.” he said.

Dewshine kept talking. “What about your friends?”

“Don’t have. Don’t need.”

“Need what?”

“Friends.”

“Why?”

It looked like Tyldak lost his patient, cause he suddenly screamed and rushed from his work and almost run to her and started shouting at her. “Listen kid, if you’re gonna hang around, you keep quiet, okay?” He was really angry now. Dewshine hadn’t expected that from him and fell back on the fence by his anger. He kept talking. “My doing is my business. So is my damn privacy and you got no reason digging in it, got it? So shut your damn mouth or get the hell out of here!”

Dewshine was so overwhelmed and got frightened by the sudden anger. She felt tears fill her eyes, and it didn’t help that her elbow had hit a stone in the fall and now was hurting. He looked down at her, angry in one moment, but then turned into confused, like he regretted his action. He was to go back before he leaned down to her and stretched his hand out to her. But she didn’t take it. Instead she blinked her tears away, stood up and gave him an icy look. “No wonder you don’t have any friends.” She said before she went back to Trollhammer. She didn’t see his reaction and didn’t care. She decided that she wouldn’t deal with him if he was going to be like that. She had just got in the saddle when she heard him call:

“WAIT!”

Dewshine turned back. His eyes had gone wide and his mouth was half open. He looked… sad. In a way that suddenly made Dewshine feel sorry for him and regretted what she had said. He’s all alone, she thought. Not weird when he acts like that.

“That… that was rude, I know.” He stood in silence for a moment before talking again. ”I… I’m not good with people around. That’s why I keep to myself. But you don’t… have to… leave ya’know.”

She stood silent a moment, before speaking. “Do you want me to leave?”

It took a moment before he answered, and hos voice was low. Calm. “I don’t mind’ya staying. Just… stop asking about me. Don’t like talking about myself.”

She climbed down from Trollhammer. “I didn’t mean to bother you. I just needed a break from everything. I’m mad at everyone. At my father, Mrs. Clearbrook the school mistress, everyone. There’s so much going on in town, and I don’t like it all to happen at once.”

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“Mr. Strongbow’s disappeared and everyone’s upside down because of it. Someone even say he disappeared because he had his hands on a cursed rifle. And I told my… friend, Scouter, about the idea of flying, and…”

For a moment it looked like he would go mad again. His eyes went wide and he looked almost desperate. “You told him about me?”

“Will you listen, Mister? I told him of the idea of flying, how wonderful it would be.” Her eyes became dreamful for a second before they went back to depress.” And he just laughed at me. He called me stupid, and then we started to argue. That’s why I’m mad at him too. He doesn’t understand.” Now he’ll accuse me for talking to much again, she thought, but surprisingly he didn’t.

“Would expect that.” Tyldak said. ”No one believes it’s possible to fly like this. They think it’s no use in doing it, that it have no intention. But I know it is posible! One day this will be finished.” he said pointing at the iron skeleton, and Dewshine thought his eyes sparkled as he talked, “and I will be able to get it up in the air. But no one believes I can. They don’t understand and make fun of it because I have an impossible dream I actually believe in!” his eyes looked sad when he talked.

“Have you been called stupid?” Dewshine asked calmly.

He turned away from her and kicked a little rock the ground. “Lot’s of times.”

Dewshine thought he looked like a fallen bird where he stood, and came to that it was not his fault that he acted like he did. “I’m sure you’ll make it, Tyldak.” She said.

He looked up at her with a face of surprise. “Why do’ya think that?” he asked.

“Don’t know, maybe because I wish it to happen to sometimes myself. Like today, I’d like to just fly away from everything and everyone.” Tyldak’s face slowly broke up in a smile before turning back again. Dewshine wondered if there was a tear that she saw in his eyes, but she could not be sure. Finely he turned back to her and asked.

“Do’ya wanna… help me finish, kid?” Dewshine’s face broke up in a big smile, and she was about to go give him a big hug when he said: “Alright, come on.”

“Thanks, but please don’t call me kid anymore. I have a name.”

“Oh, right. Eh… Dove… something.”

Dewshine laughed and blushed when she realized he had called her a bird. She liked it. “You can call me that if you like.”

Tyldak blushed and looked away.

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When Dewshine left later that day, she waved to him from the horse, and without thinking, Tyldak waved back. When he noticed, put his hand down in a hurry. He couldn’t explain the empty feeling that suddenly came. There was something about her. Something...

But she was just a kid.

She understood. No one had ever really understood his dream and encouraged him to continue; till now. Besides he had come to the fact that he had been lonely, and actually liked her company. Sure she talked too much and had this strange ability of being happy for nothing. But they had the same wish of something everyone else called impossible. Maybe it was, but Tyldak was too proud to give up. And now he had someone to share it with.

He actually smiled before he went in to make supper.

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As Dewshine entered the house, she met her father in the kitchen, but froze when she saw that Mrs. Clearbrook sitting with him. She’s here to confront me with my skipping, she thought. The Marshal rose from the chair by the sight of his daughter. “Well, finely arriving? Where have you been all day?”

She stood still, avoiding to look at him when she spoke. “I’ve… been riding.”

“Yes, but where?” His voice rose as he became angry.

She still didn't look at him. “Around!”

“Riding ‘around’ all day? While you should have been in school!”

“So?” she didn’t mean to answer like that, but she actually had no good explanation for skipping. I should have prepared for this.

Her father’s eyes grew smaller when he started talking again. “So? What is that for kind of talk? First you skip school, and now you don’t answer properly when I ask you why? What has gone in to you, Dewshine?” He placed his hand on his hips. “Are you expecting me to just accept this? I may have let you get away with much, but this I cannot look away from!”

She didn’t answer, just looked down at the floor.

“Well? Are you going to give me an explanation?”

Dewshine didn’t know what to say. “I… I’m sorry. I was not in the mood for school today.”

“Not in the mood?” the Marshal said.

“I’m going tomorrow, alright? She said and felt like she scrimped.

“How can I trust you at that?” Stump said.

Dewshine felt the anger return and it gave her strength to face her father. She met her father’s eyes, with a look that could shoot. The Marshal almost stepped back at her reaction. His normally cherry and happy daughter, showed a temper he had never expected from her.

“I was angry cause of you nagging about school, which you know isn’t not important to me since I’m going to join aunt Joyleaf at the show. And everyone is over their min about Strongbow and yes it is bad, but it’s unfair that you pull the younger of us in to this. Now you’ve sent Scouter to Silver Springs. And remember this?” She held up the necklace she had got from Tyleet at Moonshade’s birthday. “Tyleet called me her best friend when she gave me this. How am I supposed to even talk to her after you took side with Dart? I don’t understand how you could! You should have known better. How could you?!"

“So that’s the problem.” Stump said as he got caught by guilt once more. His actions had not only caused problems with his friends, but also his daughter. Dewshine quickly regretted what she had said, but it was too late to take it back. All the anger had gone out in one moment, and she acted before thinking. She realized that this was really something that bothered her father.

Clearbrook had been silent, not interrupting father and daughter, but now she rose from her chair hand went between them. “Dewshine. I don’t think the problems between us grown up people will cause your friendship with Tyleet. I have seen that Crescent still sees Nightfall after Dart’s mistake, and he is her brother. I believe you have nothing to worry about when it comes to Tyleet.”

“You think so?” Dewshine asked the school mistress. She had really worried about it without putting it to mind.

“Of course I do. You and Tyleet are such good friends and she is too good to throw you away like that”. The school mistress became serious and crossed her arms on the chest. ”As for your skipping on the other hand…”

“I’m sorry about that, ma’am. I promise I’ll be there tomorrow.” Dewshine said and blushed, suddenly embarrassed.

“Then I suppose my work here is done. I will not interrupt you and your father anymore.” The school mistress said good night and left. Treestump wasn’t sure what to say to his daughter. “I’m sorry, Dewshine. I never thought the situation with Dart would lead to this sort of trouble. But I’m glad to hear that you don’t want to stop seeing Tyleet because of it. The gap is big enough as it is, no need to dig deeper.”

Dewshine suddenly felt really bad for her father and regretted what she had said. “I’m sorry too father, I didn’t mean to yell like that. I’m really sorry.”

“Shall we not lay it off and try again tomorrow?”

“Yes! Thank you father, I love you.” she answered, and gave him a hug. Just like the Marshal couldn’t be angry at Dewshine for long, Dewshine felt that she couldn’t be angry at her father for long either.

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Clearbrook went home after dealing with Dewshine. As she walked, she came to think of Shouter, her son. She still had their kiss behind the school fresh in memory. Treestump had only smiled at it, but she had been quite worried. In fact she had worried about Dewshine for quite a long time, ever since her mother Rillfisher died.

Without a mother to guide her at a woman’s way and knowledge, Clearbrook feared that sooner or later, Dewshine would one day come to choose the wrong ways. Treestump could not be blamed; he loved his daughter above anything, but Clearbrook believed that he was too soft with her. That he gave his daughter too much freedom.

She actually had nothing to do with it, it was not her case. She was Dewshines teacher that was it.

Unless…

She didn’t finish the thought, but blushed, embarrass of her thoughts.
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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Five - Dewshine and Tyldak Part One   Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:04 am

Hey, yeah, the Dewshine and Tyldak backstory. Awesome addition there Rainflower, I missed their backstory...and yes, i have both pieces you referred too. I never throw out anything from trunk, which is why the blasted thing is so heavy!

Oh well, here's the first part of the Dewshine and Tlydak backstory, written by the awesome Kchaiya

Dewshine & Tyldak - Happen Chances

Part One

I'd like to jump in with an Elf West fic of my own, that anyone can add to. Let me know if I step on any story elements and get them wrong... if so I'll change them. I've only read the characters thread and not the whole discussion thread, so...

The first time she kissed Scouter it was just to see what it was like. They had been... what, ten? It was out back of the schoolhouse, during one of the breaks. Dewshine had been terrified that Miss Clearbrook would catch them, and it didn't help that she was Scouter's mother. Not that Dewshine was ever too worried about getting into trouble. Being the Marshall's daughter had its advantages. He might yell and bluster a bit when she did something bad, but he had a definite soft spot for her, and was always very quick to forgive. She grew up knowing that she was the one person in Two Moons who could do just about anything without ever landing in jail, and this made her bold. Very bold, in fact.

As she got older, she found she liked getting into a little bit of trouble. She liked pushing buttons, seeing just how far she could go before she got a reprimand. Kissing Scouter behind the schoolhouse became a weekly thing, if not more often. Sometimes they would play a game, to see just how out in the open or close to the schoolhouse they could get without being detected. Dewshine liked the game... Scouter didn't really care one way or the other, but he liked Dewshine, so he was willing to play.

Then one day, of course, they did get caught. After all, when you play to see how close you can get to the line, sometime you're going to cross it. Well, Miss Clearbrook was pretty shocked, but not particularly stern. They were very nearly ladies and gentlemen already, and when they assured her that it had gone no farther than kissing, she talked to Marshall Treestump, who blustered a bit, just for show, and then immediately gave them his blessing to step out. He already liked Scouter, anyway, who he had singled out as his next deputy-in-training. So that's how the snuck kisses on the sly turned into the perfectly innocent, out-in-the-open relationship they had now.

Dewshine was deliriously happy for a while. She really did like Scouter, and was happy to be his girl and walk down the street hand-and-hand with him in broad daylight. But the danger was gone. The adventure was gone. And, as she had discovered the day she decided to become a trick rider in Joyleaf's Wild West Show, she really liked adventure.

One day, Dewshine decided she couldn't stand the boredom. She had been to the ice cream parlor and back with Scouter and now he had to go work with her father, the Wild West show wasn't practicing, and she needed something to do. She went to the stables and started saddling up her horse, Trollhammer.

"Hey, Trollhammer, pretty boy, what shall we do today? You wanna practice some tricks

The horse gave a disgruntled snort

"Yeah, me neither. I'm bored of that. Let's go look for some adventure."

She opened up the door and let the saddled Trollhammer click out onto the hay-strewn floor. With one deft and graceful hop, she was on his back, the reigns in her hands.

"Come on boy, hup!"

They rode, and they rode FAST. Blissfully. Heading in one direction, no real sense of where they were going, but always in a straight line so they could just turn around and follow the straight line home again when they felt like it. They rode past store fronts and out of town, past brush and ranches, until they came to a rather shabby-looking little place with a chipped and falling-down white picket fence. Dewshine reared up her horse. The house was nothing to look at, but what was in the yard between the fence and the house, well, that was something! The ground was strewn with all kinds of scrap metals, huge leather skins, nuts, bolts, hammers, wrenches, knives, wheels, and tools Dewshine didn't even recognize. And sitting in the middle of all this junk was what looked like an enormous squat fat metal bird with leather wings.

It was the most bizarre thing Dewshine had ever seen. And what was more bizarre, it moved! One wing on the far side kept moving up and down, almost like the metal bird kept deciding it was going to get up and fly away and then changing its mind. She stared at it in disbelief a while before she realized that someone was under the wing, levering it. She moved Trollhammer around to a different part of the fence so she could get a better look at the person under the wing.

He was scrawny and sticklike, not very attractive at all. Pretty ugly, really. But there was something beautiful about the way he moved, graceful. He treated the awkward contraption he was working on with a great amount of tenderness, and Dewshine just sat there on her horse, unnoticed, mezmorized by the beautiful way he and the contraption moved together. Like the ugly bird somehow became beautiful when he was working on it.

Finally, the scrawny elf must have sensed someone staring at him, because he looked up and met Dewshine's eyes. He immediately jerked up and hit his head on the wing of the metal bird.

"OW! Stupid... Hey, kid! The hell you staring at

"Nothin'." Dewshine replied. "What's this here metal bird for

"That ain't none of your business. What you lurking around here for anyway?"

"Saw you working on your metal bird. You looked--It looked interestin'."

"Well git. I can't be spending my time watchin' after some fool kid."

"Who you callin' kid?" Dewshine shot back. "I'm nearly grown. I can sit here and watch you if I want to."

"The hell you can. That's my property you're on," the stick-elf replied

"I'm on the other side of the fence, ain't I?"

"Guess you're right," he admitted grudgingly. They just stood there staring at one another for a long time before Dewshine spoke up again.

"My name's Dewshine. What're you called

The stick-elf hesitated for a moment, seeming to debate whether to tell her his name or hurl a wrench at her to get her to go away. Finally he replied.

"Tyldak."

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Rainflower

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:21 pm

I've caught up With some stories. but now I have to catch up on the art as well.

Now I've been finished with Dewshine's outfits. Making clothes for her was fun, but it took some time before I was satisfied. Some dresses were quite eay to create, but some needed remaking and hard makeover before I was really satisfied.


The first pic shows something I've done before; used a dress I've made before as a base for an outdoor outfit. This is a quite elegant coat with a matching bonnet. I don't know why I ended up on indogo, but I liked the idea, thought it would fit her.
The next shows a dress I have described in earlier stories, namely the pink dress she hates. I guess you can understand why. I wrote that she hates the ribbons, well, I guess this can make anyone hate them except if you are that kind of cottoncandy-girl from the time. And let's face it; she's not!


Then we have another picture that shows a couple of dresses I'm going to use in later stories. First; a long, white dress with blue dots and ruffles. This was inspired by one of the dresses she wore in Sorrow's End, a long one she wore when waking up from wrapping.
I have gone Bonanza again with the next dress. I mean it, I did go to Bonanza for this dress, at least to get inspiration for it; this is inspired from a dress from the episode "First Love", with a few changes. I didn't want to give the same decor on the whole dress, as i would be too much. But I had to use orange since that's part of her first outfit in elfquest. She fit's plaid actually, and the strong autumn-colors and the black linings.


The next picture shows a light summer dress, white with orange stripes. I had originally thought if this to be blue stripes, but then I figured out I had too many blue dresses. Those stripes caught me allot of distress; MAN that was hard work, almost worse that the dots for Leetah's and Brownberry's gowns. But; I made it. And I love it. Hope you guys do too. I gave her a straw hat for summer wear just to let her have something light but in time.
The other one is a riding outfit. She uses turquoise on the belt she has on the purple outfit she gets, while traveling with Ember. I thought I would see how this would do on her. I had trouble making the hat for this one, so I had to redraw it a few times, but I got quite satisfied with it at last.


The last picture shows first of all a dress I made for the latest story I made for Dewshine and Tyldak: she wore a beige dress and a light orange sun bonnet. I had to give her a simple beige dress too, since she has so much beige clothes in the EQ.
Then we have a purple outfit. I figured out I would let her use purple for finer ocations, like christmas or thanksgiving, just to make a difference, and since we have a few elves using purple for daily, like Newstar. I gave her a hair band tied as a bow along with this, just to give her a little difference. I can't make hairdues for her, so it just fits to give her lot's of headwear instead, or what?
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:33 pm

Don't recall if I posted this, but here's Newstar


Along with Dewshine I have finished Newstar's wardrobe. I had an idea of how I was going to create stuff for her, but it took some time as well. Sometimes I just have to chew on my ideas, and spit them out again before I have another taste on them again to check if they taste better after some time (weirdest description I've ever given for a drawing, please bear over with me about that one). Since I based Rainsong on Caroline Ingles from "The Little House on the Prarie, I've largely based Newstars wardrobe on Laura Ingles ", with additions of myself.


Again, here I make an outdoor jacket over a dress I've already made. I thought a plain grey coat would be nice for Newstar. Not so elegant, but looks warm and solid. I ended up on grey since I coundn't deside any other color for it. As I said, I went for a little Laura Ingles look for Newstar, and gave her a bonnet similar to one Laura has in the series. I thought the old pink color with flowerpattern would be sweet for her.
The next dress is a fine dress for fine ocations. Since I let Dewshine have purple for such ocations, I let Newstar have torquise for that. She has a torquise when she leaves with "Dart in Seige at Blue Mountain". What was fun about making clothes for Newstar was that she has long hair. Long hair is fun because you can make lot's of hairdues with it. For the party dress I let her braid the two locks in front of her head and include them in a bigger braid on the back of her head, tied up with big bow. Like?


Next drawing is also a bit Laura Ingles inspired. Young girls in western often wore aprons over their dresses, probably to make sure they didn't get too dirty, not sure why else. I made a sweet light blue apron for Newstar that she could wear for a couple of her dresses. Since I have made light blue more or less Dewshine's main color I desided to let Newstars dresses be a bit different. The first one is dark blue with many many many tiny little dots made after the western patterned cotton dress style. For this I gave her Laura Ingles' long simple braids. I figured out it would be practical for her to have her hair gathered like this at times. The other one is a white dress with blue flowers, a sweet summer dress with a light look. The collar of this one is quite like one Mary Ingels wears in the same series, and I just loved it in Newstar. Therefore I let her hair be loose on this one so it can blow in the light summer breeze. Both dresses goes with the apron, but I gave it to the spotted dress so I didn't have to draw so many of those. Man, so many tiny dots!


Next pic shows me going practical again. I thought that since Newstars family isn't the ritches, she would have to be practical. It would be natural for her to wear several blouses for the same skirt, or what? Here is a green skirt based on the green dress she has as a teen in Sorrow's End in "Seige at Blue Mountain". About the yellow one; When the Snow elves atacks Sorrow's End in "New Blood nr. 12", she and Ahdri seems to have switched colors on their dresses; Ahdri wears blue and Newstar yellow. Weid twist, but I thought I could use it for a detail. So I gave her a yellow blouse. Here she also has her hair tied simply in a practical ponytail just to get it out of the way. She looks a bit like Belle from Disney in fact. I didn't realize that before I finished it.
The other blouse is patterned with light purple little flowers. I've used the same tecnique here as I did for Moonshade's party dress and Nightfall's orange blouse and green dress, just dotted with the brush. Here the two locks is braided again, but just like she would have it in Sorrow's End. Here she has the big bow on the back of her head again. That's a little Nellie Olson, also from "The Liittle House on the Prarie". The two girls couldn't be more different, but I guess mixing Laura and Nellie works on Newstar, right? A bit of Laura, a bit of Mary and a bit of Nellie; and you have Newstar!
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:34 pm

Since we have both Dewshine and Newstar here, I figured out I had to include little Tyleet as well. She gave me a challange in more than one way because I had a few dresses where I just couldn't deside. The only thing I ever heard of her wearing in EW was the pretty red prarie dress WiseShaman gave her. I also noticed that she makes a change of color during the comics. In the beginning she has green and orange like har parents, but later changes into purple and beige. Interessting change, and I thought in the beginning that maybe she were to have mostly green as a child and purple as grown. But I ended up giving her a quite waried wardrobe. Im also giving her that when she grows up. I already have the plans prepared. But for now, let's focus on her childish clothes.


The first drawing shows three dresses for daily use. First, since we mentioned green, a moss green dress with ruffles and, again, tiny little dots. I didn't want to make the color too bright or clean since it would be used for everyday. She had to have one in green. I have no particular model for this. All I know is she had a green poncho as a child.
The next is the red one Wise Shaman gave her. This is how I have imagined it to be. I think it is pretty as well as simple, without any special details that disturbs. The color is pretty enough.
The last is a dark brown dress that straightens the orange-red color of her hair. It's quite the same shape as the red, only no buttons on the front. I made her a beige apron for daily use that I imagine she could use for several other dresses, just like I did with Newstar. (I made no apron for Dewshine since I imagine that would be out of the question for her character)


The next drawing shows off a winter outfit. I made her the winter cap she has in "Kings of the Broken Weel", I love that hat, along with a green winter coat with fur. Something Redlance would have made specially for her, perhaps?
Then next dress; a burgundy dress with half long sleeves. As a baby when she and Venka sleeps with Timmain, she has a burgundy body, and I figured out I juat had to have that color on her. Here I have another apron, white with ruffle frames. This is also somehting to be used for other dresses, but not for playing outide.
For example it could be used along with the second dress in the middle. This is inspired by the same dress I made for Crescent as Dorothy, worn by Fairuza Balk, from the movie "Return to Oz". It seemed quite normal that the dresses could be white with pattern in the west, so I made her a white gown with burgundy flowers and green leaves, and some decorative lines. I think it straightned her "sweet litttle girl" look. I changed the pattern, but I kept the line details from Fairuza's dress.


The last drawing shows off two sweet dresses. The first one is a summer/sunday/party/party/picnic in summer dress, light lilac with white ruffles. I wanted to see how a bow would look in her hair, just a s a change in a while. I had trouble to deside if this dress were to be green or lilac, but in the end I landed on lilac because I thought it looked best on the dress.
The next is a dress fitted more for let's say thanksgiving or christmas. I re-drew this like a dosin times before I found the design I was looking for. I wanted this to be light green, and in the beginning it had white ruffles too, but I ended up letting it be all green, only white lines and buttons. Here too she has a white band for her hair, only not the bow.
The one in the middle shows another outdoor wearing, covering the dress I made for her at the drawing where Longbranch tries to snatch pie from Brownberry. I wasn't sure how to include her poncho in EW. I tried making the green party dress as a V, but I simply solved the problem by giving her a cape, along with a matching bonnet. She would be obediant enought wo wear that, huh?
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:38 pm

Have I showed Kahvi? Here again if not



And the girls


And since Tyldak has made an appearance, here he is as well.
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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Five - Dewshine and Tyldak Part Two   Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:25 am

Hey, awesome artwork Rainflower! I love all the looks for the elves, especially the girls, Leetah and Nightfall, and Crescent. I hope you can add more, and I think I have a few stuffed in the old trunk somewhere I think...

But, for now, here's the second part of the Dewshine and Tyldak backstory, written by me, Wiseshaman

Dewshine & Tyldak - Happen Chances

Part Two

"What kind of a name is Tyldak?" Dewshine asked.

"Well, what kind a name is Dewshine?" Tyldak fired back.

The two stared at each other for a minute, almost daring the other to answer, but neither wanted to give the other the satisfaction. So Tyldak turned back to his metal bird hoping the child would just take the hint and get. Dewshine though was just as stubborn as an old mule and stayed right there watching him work. He would look back every so often, see her still hanging around, and then turn red with anger while mumbling. Finally, Tyldak needed a certain tool and couldn't find the blasted thing. He turned around in three circles, searching and trying to find it on the ground, but couldn't find the damn thing anywhere and was so engrossed in the search he didn't hear Dewshine call from Trollhammer.

"It's right there."

"Okay, if I adjust the flap rotator..." Tyldak muttered to himself still looking for the tool, still ignoring Dewshine.

"No, mister, you just stepped...wait...go back..." Dewshine kept trying to redirect him back to get the tool, which was just to the side in the high grass.

"And tune the flux drive to..." Tyldak continued to mumble, stop, and then turn back in the other direction.

"You're standing over it..."Dewshine said watching the funny stick elf turn this way and that.

"What? Where?" Tyldak asked suddenly understanding what Dewshine was trying to do.

"To your left, no, your other left..." Dewshine said with a giggle.

"I did go left ya dern fool!" Tyldak said spinning in yet another tight circle.

She finally got tired of sitting there, watching the poor elf turn himself dizzy, so Dewshine jumped from the back of Trollhammer over the fence. She did a graceful flip with a twist, the same dismount she used in her shows, and landed perfectly on the other side of the fence. She walked over, picked up the tool, and handed it to him with a cocky smile and a raised eyebrow

"You're blind as a bat mister."

"Yeah...well...you’re on my property now so git!" Tyldak said turning back to his machine with a few chosen mumbled words.

Dewshine sneered and turned to walk away tired of dealing with the crazy elf. He wasn't worth the time or effort anymore. After four steps, though, she stopped dead cold. She wasn't sure why, couldn't tell you why she did what she did next, but she turned back and called out to Tyldak.

"You think you can get that thing to fly?" She asked calmly, with a kind tone.

Tyldak looked up, shocked by the sound, and was just unnerved by the look in the little female's eyes. "Yeah, I'll get it to fly."

"Why?" Dewshine asked taking two steps forward.

"Why....well there's a lot of scientific terms and-"Tyldak started before she cut him off.

"No," Dewshine said giggling, "why do you want to fly?"

Tyldak didn't like laughter, hated the very sound of it, because most of the time it was pointed at him for one reason or another. No one could understand how painful those moments were. Yet he didn't mind hers' one bit, it actually sounded really nice, and before he knew it he was smiling back.

"I dunno know. It's a freedom that can't be put in words. I've been up in balloons, but to actually fly and swoop like a bird. It’s a dream I'll work forever to see and feel come true."

"That's why I ride Trollhammer in the show. Some people think it's because of all the attention, but it's because I get to be free for those few minutes. I get to just let go and not worry about being what everyone wants me to be.” Dewshine said with a smile.

"Oh, you're in the show, that Wild West one in town?" Tyldak said turning back to his machine.

"Yep, I get to tour with them this spring." Dewshine said with a smile.

"Oh really...well...I'm gonna have to catch the show then sometime, if it's okay?" Tyldak asked turning back and hiding his face among the machinery of his contraption.

Dewshine blushed, why she didn't know, and smiled. "Yeah, it's okay, if you want to come and see me."

The two stayed together the rest of the afternoon, talking, until Dewshine noted the time and had to head back to town. She jumped onto Trollhammer's back with a graceful leap from the busted fence and rode off. Tyldak waved to her, maybe a little too excitedly, as she disappeared from sight.


Trollhammer was back in his stall, watered and fed, when Dewshine heard footsteps approach. She turned back hoping to see Scouter, but was surprised to see Tyleet.

"Hey Tyleet, how are you?" Dewshine called out happily.

"I'm good, where you been all afternoon?"

"Oh, I just went for a ride. I found this funny elf and his flying machine-"Dewshine said walking over. She stopped at the look Tyleet gave her. She never knew someone's eyes could open that far.

"You went to out to his place?"

"Yeah, so what?" Dewshine said with a shrug of her shoulders.

"They say he's not right in the head, that he's weird! You better stay away or Scouter might get mad." Tyleet whispered.

"Oh please, he's not weird! He's just different and there ain't nothing wrong with being different. Why do you judge people like that?!" Dewshine shot back with a sudden fire.

"Okay, I'm sorry." Tyleet apologized shocked by the tone in her friend's voice

"Nah, you didn't say anything no one else is saying. I'm sorry for snapping at you like some wolf." Dewshine said hugging her friend back, feeling ashamed for saying what she did.

"It's okay. Is he really...different?" Tyleet asked stepping back and holding her hand.

"He looks different...but then he's just like you and me on the inside. He just wants to fly like some old bird." Dewshine said with a smile.

The two walked outside of the barn the show used, heading back to town, when they saw Deputy Dart ride by on his Curly. He gave them a tip of his hat and a small smile as rode on making Tyleet smile.

"He sure is handsome." She said with a sigh.

"Do you still have a thing for him?" Dewshine asked.

"No...maybe..." Tyleet said with a giggle.

"Come on, before I left Brownberry said she was going to make an apple pie." Dewshine said anxiously.

"With some melted ice cream on top?" Tyleet said with a wide smile.

"Yeah!" Dewshine squealed.

The two ran back into town, hand in hand, laughing most of the way. And the next day, Dewshine made a trip out to see the funny elf and his flying machine once again.

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