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 Let's Ride! Elfwest is back

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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Five - Part Ten, Continuation...   Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:40 pm

And here is the second part of Day 5, written by our fabulous KRWordgazer

Day Five - Part Ten, Continuation...Homecomings

The events in Silver Springs happened on Day Five, and the events I describe are happening on Days Five and Six, catching up with the events in the most recent installment of the Henry Rifle Saga above.

Mid-morning on the day Cutter and Skywise left Silver Springs, Dart rode along the bluffs, through ponderosa pines and between chokecherry bushes, trying not to think. When he did, it hurt too damn much.

He'd been all around that lake where Redlance had lost the trail of Strongbow's abductors-- back and forth since dawn, on foot and on horseback, he'd gone over that ground till he could see it even now, behind his closed eyes. But the tracker had been right. It was as if whatever boat the varmints had taken, had just sprouted wings and flown off into the sky.

Dart cursed the scum who'd taken his father for the millionth time; cursed himself for the million-and-first. If he'd kept his head, he'd be with the townsfolk now-- be back at his job, doing what had to be done. With their help, maybe he'd even have found Strongbow by now. But how could he go home, how could he face any of them after the way he'd messed up? They'd never trust him again-- and he didn't blame them. Treestump could find a new deputy. Scouter was coming right along; he was nearly ready to fill Dart's boots anyway. The Marshall needed a deputy who could keep his head, not one who'd lash out at an innocent friend, who'd say unspeakable things just because the case was personal . . . . .

He could see Redlance now, coming wearily into Brownberry's that evening-- was it only yesterday? It seemed much longer. . . Dart had met him at the door, frantic with fear for his father. "Did you find him? Did you?"

Slowly the tracker had shaken his head. "We tracked him to the lake-- they'd hidden a boat there and carried him off in it. He was still living when they put him in the boat, we know that much." His eyes, gazing into Dart's as the others in the restaurant gathered around, were filled with regret. "We figured they'd have had to land the boat somewhere. But we searched all around the lake and found nothing. It's as if the boat just -- vanished. " He sighed, rubbing his forehead. "Cutter and Skywise went on to tell Bearclaw and Joyleaf. We already told Marshall Treestump; he will be along in a minute..."

Dart's fear was turning to panic. He'd felt so sure Redlance would find him-- he trusted the tracker like a member of his own family. What was he going to tell Mother? Disappointment so bitter it felt like betrayal, rose like gall in his throat.

"I should've gone myself!" he growled. "Should've known better than to trust anyone else to do it!"

The door swung behind him as Marshall Treestump entered the room. He took one look at Dart's face and put an arm around his shoulders. "Sorry son. We did the best we could. We'll start the search again in the morning."

Dart choked down bile. "Not-- good-- enough!" He glared at the faces around him-- Longbranch, Brownberry, Foxfur, their faces shocked and sympathetic. At Nightfall, her arms around little Tyleet, both their eyes open wide. At his sister Crescent, looking as if all the life had drained out of her with Redlance's words.

Greymung and a few of his cronies had been sitting at a table in the corner. Now the troll rose, sauntering over to the group, smirking. "Looks like the stubborn old fool finally got what's coming to him!" he sneered. "I always say, if an elf can't keep a civil tongue in his head--"

Dart wheeled on him. "You dirty, rotten piece of--"

"Hold hard there, son," Treetump said, a restraining hand on his deputy's arm. "Greymung, you old toad, what business is this of yours? Go sit down!"

Greymung laughed. "That piece of bottom land is my business, as you know right well, Marshall. That land is mine by right-- but as a troll of honor, I offered Strongbow a fair price for it. Now it looks like it'll be mine after all. His widow's going to have to sell to make ends meet, isn't she?"

"His widow!" Crescent burst out, outraged. "How dare you!" She took a step towards Greymung, but Nighfall held her back.

"You're the one behind this, troll! I knew it!" Dart shook off Treestump's hand and grabbed Greymung by the collar. Behind him, the trolls at Greymung's table rose to their feet. Dart didn't even look at them. "By alll the High Ones, I'll see you hang!"

"Greymung, laughing nerrvously, waved his hands in the air. "I had nothing to do with your pa's disappearance, boy, and I can prove it!" he said. "Now you just take your hands off my good clothes!"

"Let him go, Dart," Treestump warned. "We don't have any evidence against him."

Dart snarled at Treestump. "He just as good as admitted he's guilty!"

Greymung raised his hands higher. "I did no such thing! Just because I'm not going to cry over your father's loss--"

"Shut your mouth, troll, or I'll shut it for you-- permanently!" Dart shouted.

"Dart!" Brownberry said.

"Now, Dart--" Redlance's tired voice broke in, his tone conciliatory. "Maybe you should go home, lie down a while--"

"Don't talk to me, you-- you damn, no-good breed!" Dart yelled.

There was a sudden, shocked silence. Greymung, finding himself free of Dart's grip, slunk back to his table. Redlance, his eyes huge, stared at Dart. The wounded look there pierced Dart like a hot swordpoint, but he'd gone too far to turn back now.

"How dare you!" Longbranch said between clenched teeth. He moved over to Redlance and took his arm, glaring at Treestump. "Marshall, your deputy should be fired!"

Treestump's eyes moved to Dart, then to Redlance and Longbranch. Nightfall had begun to move towards Redlance, but had had to stop to comfort Tyleet, who was beginning to cry. With a venomous glance at Dart, she ushered the little girl from the room, followed by Crescent, whose eyes were filled with anger and confusion as turned them on her brother just before she left the room.

"Wait a minute, Longbranch. The boy's overwrought," Treestump said. "I'm sure he didn't mean--"

But Dart took no further time to hear Treestump defend him. He crashed through the door of the restaurant and out into the street, where he jumped into the saddle and galloped off, trying to shake from his mind the terrible words he'd just said. . .

But he hadn't been able to shake them. They'd haunted him since he left, a constant echo in his head no matter how hard he tried to focus on simply looking for his father's trail. At last he'd had to admit to himself that it hadn't been Redlance's fault. Not even if the tracker had been a High One, would he have been able to figure out what had become of the boat that had taken Strongbow away.

Dart rubbed the painted, curly-haired neck of his horse as he rode along the bluffs, back towards where he'd camped when he left Two Moons last night. The sky was heavy with threatening rain, and all the world was wrapped in silence. All at once a crack opened in the dark clouds, and shafts of brilliant light poured down. Dart caught his breath at the beauty of it, shining like spun gold on the edges of the bluffs.

Dart found himself letting go, losing himself in that sky. And as he did, he felt his perspective shift. He wasn't doing his mother or sister any good, sulking out here-- nor his father either, whether he lived or not. Dart knew all at once what Pa would have wanted-- no, would want-- him to do. It was time to face Treestump, to apologize to Redlance-- even though he'd surely lost both his job and the tracker's friendship, for good. It was time to see if he could make it up to his sister, and to give his mother what comfort he could.

Dart looked down at his horse's ears. They twitched back towards him as he spoke. "Time to go home, Alvar.. Time to go home."

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Rainflower

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:27 am

I suppose the Dewshine piece I came with belonged to Day six. Hehe... blurt. Embarassed
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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:24 pm

@Rainflower wrote:
I suppose the Dewshine piece I came with belonged to Day six. Hehe... blurt. Embarassed

lol!

No worries Rainflower, it fit just right. We're just getting all the old stuff back up is all...

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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Five - Part Eleven   Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:13 am

And here is the next part of Day, written by me, Wiseshaman

Day Five - Part Eleven

Moonshade makes a confession, the girls run into trouble, and Savah asks for help for Winnowill...

"Are we sure they know what to do Doric?" Winnowill asked pacing in the small library.

"Yes Madame, everything you wished to be done has been explained in detail to the men." The man servant answered from his usual spot.

She only nodded and continued to pace. Winnowill was agitated, frustrated, and all at once, and the cramped space of the library was not helping to calm her. The only place where she could go and have the assurance of being alone was no longer a choice. She may never visit that place ever again she thought, and as the images came to her mind one by one, a shiver ran down her back. The suffering, the pain she caused him, it was almost too much.

"It was not my fault." Winnowill hissed to the air in the room, making another turn, and starting back the way she came along the path she was pacing.

"Excuse me Madame?" Doric asked suddenly.

"It is nothing Doric. I was speaking out loud to no one!" Winnowill spat, feeling her anger rise, and trying to control it.

She had to control her emotions she thought. This ‘issue’ would only get worse if she let her emotions get out of control. Winnowill took a deep breath to calm herself, closing her eyes, and clearing her mind. The healer was the key, it was obvious, right? The healer was the key to fixing all of this.


The two sisters walked out the boarding house and right to the Hammer and Tongs, just as the night at the saloon started to kick off, and the rain started to come down. Shenshen was nervous and excited at the same time, but the latter was winning over the former with every step toward the cantina. She had never been in a place like this. She had heard about them from the gauchos at the Rancho, but had never set foot into one, until just now. The sight and sounds of all the cowboys, the saloon girls, and the rowdy atmosphere usually chased most people away. Shenshen just took it in with huge saucer like eyes. Leetah wondered if that's how she looked when she first stumbled into the saloon just a few months ago, but then she spotted Nightfall and Crescent by the bar. She grabbed her sister, Marisol she reminded herself one last time, and walked over.

"Evening Rose, it looks like you got a packed house tonight." Crescent said giving her friend a quick hug.

"Buenas noches my friends. It is packed, isn’t it?" Leetah replied.

"You're gonna have some fun tonight Rose." Nightfall chuckled giving her friend a hug also.

"I will if you two promise to watch mi hermana while I am performing. She does not have the ‘experience’ in this kind of place that we do." Leetah asked.

"Sure, we'll keep an eye on her for you." Nightfall answered with a friendly smile.

"We'll keep her safe, no need to worry." Crescent winked.

"Gracias my friends." Leetah said before turning to Shenshen, who was still looking around wild-eyed.  

"Now my dear sister, do not go losing yourself in here. Nightfall and Crescent will look after you while I am on stage." Leetah ordered with a raised eyebrow.

"Ai, yo no necesito para ser cuidado!( I do not need to be looked after)" Shenshen spat with a wrinkle of her nose.

"Aqui dentro usted hace!(In here you do!)" Leetah shot back with a look and tone that said this was not up for bargaining or discussion.

Shenshen pouted, but then nodded with a petulant eye, and went over to sit between Nightfall and Crescent as Leetah gave a nod to her friends. "I need to talk with Hoykar before I perform. I will come back when I finish."

"We'll all be here." Crescent smiled while patting Shenshen's shoulder.

Nightfall gave a wave to Picknose who brought over two shots and three sarsaparillas for the ladies. Shenshen looked at her drink then nodded to the shot glass in front of Crescent. "Is that Whiskey?"

"Yep," she responded with a smile.

"You drink whiskey?" Shenshen asked in shock. She had never seen anyone but men drink whiskey on the Rancho, even though she knew her mother would take a nip every now and then in secret.

"Yeah, but don't tell our Ma's. They think we're still good little girls." Nightfall said with a grin

"Oh, can I try some then?" Shenshen asked, still looking at the shot glass, but with a smile now.

"I don't know, Rose said we have to keep an eye on you, and I don't think she'd like the idea of you shootin' whiskey." Crescent reacted with an apprehensive look.

"Yeah Marisol, I don't think your sister Rose wants you getting into trouble." Nightfall said trying to soothe the elf.

"Mi hermana does not control me I am afraid." Shenshen replied with a snit, reaching and grabbing another shot glass that Picknose had placed on the bar for another customer.

Before Nightfall or Crescent could stop her, Shenshen shot the contents of the glass back, and in a split-second it was apparent what was in the glass was a little more than whiskey. Nightfall started to panic as she saw Marisol's eyes open so big the orbs threatened to pop right out of her skull. Crescent started to pat her on the back and yell at her. "Breath Marisol! Breath!"

"Damn, what was in that glass Picknose?" Nightfall screamed at the troll

"Pike's second best, which you owe me for now! Anyway, is she old enough to drink in here?" The troll asked with a squinted eye.

"It's a little late to worry about that now, isn’t it!" Crescent yelled while still patting Shenshen on the back and turning to Nightfall with a worried look.

"If she doesn't pass out she might live." Nightfall said starting to laugh. It was a little funny she thought, Rose's sister turning blue from the shot. Pike outdid himself on this batch.

"Breath Marisol! Breath!" Crescent went back to ordering Shenshen. She didn't sound to demanding though, as she started laughing with Nightfall.

And in the corner, in a shadowy pocket, he sat and watched through the dark glasses that protected his sensitive eyes. He still wore the leather gloves from this afternoon, and under his jacket the bandolier of knives was hidden but ready. He watched his three little 'birds' at the bar, two making sure the third would survive her drink. Some, if anyone noticed him, wouldn't like the fact he stared so intently at the trio. It might have actually scared them.

Then the piano on the stage suddenly started up and John Lee turned in time to see Rose come dancing out on the stage. There she is he thought, there was the other little 'bird' he had been waiting to see. And that same smile he had that afternoon, when he was wading through those rustlers in that old shack, just a hacking and a slashing, showed up.


Rain ducked inside the back door of the boarding house with Willowgreen, just a step-in front, both glad to be inside and away from the building storm outside. The flashes of lightning, and the rolling thunder, meant this one was going to be a toad strangler. They would have never have ventured out in the coming maelstrom if not for the frantic call from their beloved Mother of Memory. Rain left his house immediately, swinging by Willowgreen's place to get her, before heading to the boarding house. They made it in just as some of the biggest rain drops they had ever seen or felt started to fall. Rain let Willowgreen go first through the door, to the steps that led downstairs to the hidden cellar.

The pair made the door at the bottom of the stairs, and stepped through without a moment's hesitation or knocking, into the room beyond where Savah waited patiently, but working feverishly, for them. The room, which wasn't a cellar at all, was circular running from the door all the way around and back to the entrance. There was a step-down into the room, a lip really, just two steps inside, and if you weren't careful you could easily hurt yourself if you didn't know it was there. There were small vents cut into the ceiling that ran up to the house above for air, but not big enough to affect the small brazier that sat in the center of the room in the middle of the depression, or attract the attention of anyone above. Blankets of all colors covered the lip of the room, and on them sat Savah's collection of items and trinkets she had found on her search for the High One's past and their powers, along with candles of all shapes and sizes that were already burning. In the center brazier Savah had already deposited a small amount of sage and the room filled with its smell.

Willowgreen and Rain both stepped down into the 'circle' where more blankets had been arranged in a circular pattern on the floor around the brazier. Savah was dressed in her robes, long free flowing garments that she wore when they worked. Willowgreen started to worry. With the brazier, already lit, and the room set with candles and scent, it meant only one thing.

"Are we making the circle matron?" She asked.  

"Yes, and we must hurry, so do not bother changing into your robes. We do not have the time." Savah said quickly.

"Is Winnowill coming?" Willowgreen asked again.

"No, we have to go to her on the walk." Savah responded, checking the brazier one last time.

"How can we form the circle matron if we don't have the four?" Rain asked taking his jacket off.

"We will be fine Brother Rain. We will go to the 'Dream World' as three and find our sister, and a friend." Savah said taking a seat on her blanket pile, resting gently against the small wall that formed the wall of the lip.

"We will do as you see fit matron, but why are we going to find Sister Winnowill?" Willowgreen asked concerned, maybe a little suspicious.

Savah knew Willowgreen would be the one who questioned this walk. The Vet and Winnowill rarely shared a kind word let alone broke the bread of friendship, so convincing her would be hard, but necessary. Black Feather told her to bring the others and Savah sensed they would need their powers. Whatever sister Winnowill had done was wrong but not irreversible. So Savah had to look her friend and fellow seeker in the eye when she spoke and hoped the sincerity was enough to move her to action.

"Our Sister needs us and we cannot leave her alone. We must come together now Sister Willowgreen, we must act as one."

"She's in trouble, isn't she?" Rain asked noting the concern in the matron's voice.

"Yes," Savah answered truthfully knowing it would be enough for them, "she needs our help and without it I fear the worst for her."

Willowgreen looked to Rain who looked back and only smiled. The Vet then turned back to Savah, and with as much a smile as she ever mustered spoke, "I'll do what you ask of me matron."

"Thank you. Now please take your seats." Savah asked with a warm smile, pointing to their open blankets.

Rain and Willowgreen moved to their spots and prepared for the meditation as Savah did the same, clearing her mind. She pushed away all the distractions and centered herself, readied her mind for the 'the walk', to go and help Winnowill.


The bell above the door rang out as it opened catching Foxfur and Rainsong's attention immediately. They were right at closing, and the last patron had come and gone long ago, so they wondered who'd be trying to sneak in. Then they saw Moonshade step through and it set the waitresses minds running. Foxfur gave a small smile and her customary greeting. "Evening Moonshade, what can we do for you?"

"I stopped in for some dinner, and to talk with Brownberry. Is she here?" Moonshade asked with a smile.

"She's in back doing some dishes. It was her turn at the sink." Rainsong answered.

"Can I go back and see her?" Moonshade asked.

"Only if you want to help wash." Longbranch called out from the door that led back to kitchen. He was leaning against the jam with a small grin.

The look made the dressmaker feel a little better, like the tensions of the last couple of days were gone. Maybe the foul words Dart had said would be forgiven, because it would surely never be forgotten by the lawyer.

"I don't mind getting my hands a little wet." Moonshade said with a smile.

"Well then, you can come on back I guess." Longbranch replied holding the door open for her.

Moonshade shook her head and smiled even more at Longbranch's way as she passed him on the way into the back. Out of the whole town, the country lawyer was the one everyone knew, from being the owner of the restaurant, to being the one you went to for legal help, to just being the one who was there for you. How they, her and Strongbow, had let their friendship with them slip so far out of place was a mystery. She stepped into the kitchen and saw Brownberry by the sink, next to a large stack of dishes to be washed. Moonshade saw her friend look up and a small smile cross her face.

"Good evening Moonshade, can I get you some dinner?"

"Oh no, your husband says I have to work for my dinner, and that's what I'm here to do." She answered with a small laugh.

"Now you don't have to do anything in my place to get fed Moonshade-"Brownberry started before the dressmaker waved her off.

"Please, no more ‘kid gloves’ around me. I want to help, need to help." Moonshade broke in, her words and tone filled with a frankness that spoke more than any phrase.  

Brownberry didn't say a word, she more than understood that the time to had come to stop treating her dear friend like a china doll. Life had to go on. It was the same for Longbranch after One-Eye went missing and it was the same for Clearbrook. Brownberry felt that need for life to get back to normal for her friend, so she just motioned for Moonshade to take the spot next to her at the sink. Longbranch helped the dressmaker slip on an apron and then went back to putting up the dry utensils.

"I'll wash if you rinse, okay?" Moonshade offered.

"I can do that." Brownberry remarked.

The two went to work, and after a minute, Moonshade looked up and asked Brownberry something. "Do you think Redlance and the others will be back in a day or two?"

"Maybe, I hope so." Longbranch spoke up from across the room

"I do to, of course I don't know why I worry about him so much." Brownberry said sarcastically with a small laugh.

"Strongbow's said the same thing more than once." Moonshade added.

"Really now?" Brownberry asked.

"Oh yes, he's always thought of Redlance as a son. He thinks a lot of Cutter too, and Nightfall is like a daughter to us." Moonshade explained, scrubbing a plate clean before handing it to Brownberry.

"We've always thought of Crescent as a daughter too." Brownberry said, taking the plate from Moonshade.

"I know, and I can't thank you enough for that. She's always felt welcomed here." Moonshade remarked taking another plate off the stack.

"She's got a room here whenever she needs, same goes for you and Strongbow...even Dart" Brownberry said, almost not finishing the last part.

"You know Dart is torn up about what he said. He's still figuring out his place in this world, and he knows he has to make up for what was said and done." The dressmaker tried to explain, a small smile on her face while looking to the lawyer.

"I know Moonshade," Longbranch said with a shake of his head, "and one day he'll find that place and know what his purpose is."

"Thank you Longbranch. You know, if I could take back what was said, or how it all went, I would. I feel awful for Redlance, so awful." Moonshade said picking up another plate.

"You don't need to worry about what was said, Redlance forgave Dart the second it happened. Now, when he didn't find Strongbow, that hurt Redlance something fierce. That's where I worry." Brownberry sighed drying off her plate.

Moonshade only nodded handing the plate to her friend. "I still remember the day when Strongbow found out the Djun caught that poor Sheridan Scout, the one we all thought was Redlance. I remember him coming in from the paddock, his boots still on because he was so out if it, and just collapsing into that old chair by the fireplace."

Longbranch stopped putting up the spoons and forks, choosing to listen to what Moonshade was saying. Brownberry took the plate from her friend's hand and rinsed it off while paying attention to Moonshade. She sensed this was something her friend had been holding in and needed to tell them both, her and her husband.

"Then Crescent came running in, straight to her room, crying like she was eight years old again and someone had yelled at her. And then I thought the world was coming to an end when Dart stumbled in with a face as pale as a white bed sheet. I can still hear his voice when I asked him what was going on and all he could say was 'they caught him Ma. They caught Red and hung him up like some trophy.’ That's when I felt my stomach drop right to my feet. I had to grab the wall before asking Dart how he knew they caught Redlance and he said Aurek told you two that they caught a scout and he was pretty sure it was Red. " Moonshade struggled to speak, a shake of her head needed to finish.

"I remember it too. I remember Nightfall walking upstairs after handing Tyleet to Foxfur, each step more lifeless, more doll like. I was so upset I almost hit poor Aurek." Brownberry whispered.

Moonshade looked up and sighed, knowing exactly the feeling her friend was describing before continuing. "I looked over to Strongbow in that chair and when he looked back I could see the sadness and pain in his eyes, the loss that was dragging him under. I had never seen him act that way for anyone who wasn't family before, and it only scared me that much more. And when I asked him what he was thinking, feeling, it just piled on more worry."

"What did he say?" Brownberry asked. Her voice was still a whisper, but filled with anticipation. She needed to know what that stoic horse whisperer said, desperately.

"He wanted to know when the men from the Army came to give you the news he was dead, if they would have his body. It was only right Redlance got a proper burial at P.W.'s he said, it was only right for Longbranch and you, for us all. I could tell though, he just had wanted him home, back with the ones who loved him." Moonshade replied with a small tear rolling down her cheek.

"I don't know what I'd a done if they brought his body back, probably just dropped dead right where I stood." Brownberry whispered.

Moonshade reached over and took her friend's hand in hers and spoke softly and warmly to her, from her heart. "That's why we never came to the restaurant when we thought he was gone. After losing One-Eye, Strongbow couldn't hear of losing someone else he loved to that worthless war, couldn't stand losing someone else he had loved. He'll never admit it, but it drove him crazy not knowing about One-Eye and then Redlance. He could read about Cutter and Skywise in the papers, but there was never anything about the one he cared for, until that awful day."

The moment froze for Longbranch as the memory of that day came back. How, after Aurek had told them about the report of the Sheridan Scout being captured, every time the door would open to the restaurant he would jump. It got to where he was about to rip that damn bell off the door and throw it away. And then he remembered the image of the horse whisperer on the walkway by the door to Moonshade's shop the morning he saw Redlance, after the tracker had walked right back into town and right into the restaurant. They had all screamed like a bunch of fools, but as Red left to see Woodlock, he ran into Strongbow and, well the smile that broke across that hard rock of a face, and the look of utter shock, would have made a dead man laugh. It made him laugh still, which caused the two ladies at the sink to suddenly turn and look at him with their own surprised looks.

"What are you laughing at, you old codger?" Brownberry giggled.

"I just remembered the look on Strongbow's face when he saw Redlance on the walkway after he got back." Longbranch answered letting his laugh out finally.  

"Oh my gosh, he almost ripped the door off the shop trying to get me to come out and see him." Moonshade added, laughing hard herself now.

"It didn't beat Nightfall. When Redlance walked through the front door she dropped a full bowl of stew in Rain's lap! I didn't know an elf could howl that loud!" Brownberry laughed harder putting her hand on Moonshade's shoulder.

"Oh no," Moonshade countered putting her hand on Brownberry's shoulder while shaking her head and laughing, "when Crescent came riding up on that old Bay of ours and jumped off before the horse was even stopped. I swear she must have rolled over three times when she fell. That cloud of dust she kicked up-"

"Was like a stampede, and Crescent screaming 'REDLANCE! REDLANCE!' at the top of her lungs right in the middle of it all. Oh, I couldn't stop laughing!" Brownberry finished for Moonshade who was now laughing hard enough to cry.

"I thought we were going to have to get Rain to help my husband though. Strongbow couldn't get his breath he was laughing so hard at her." Moonshade gasped between laughs.

"And he wasn't making a sound!" Longbranch gasped as well before falling back into a guffaw that rang out in the kitchen.

"It didn't matter no how, Rain was too busy trying to keep his pants from bursting into flames." Brownberry cackled.

The trio was gone at this point, lost in a healing laughter that was deep and satisfying. They didn't even notice when Foxfur and Rainsong looked in, just as Moonshade and Brownberry got themselves under control and Longbranch forced his laughter to a stop.

"What is going on back here?" Foxfur asked with a smile.

"We're just having a good laugh." Brownberry said wiping her eyes.

"I hope Strongbow comes home soon for you Moonshade." Longbranch spoke up suddenly, looking at the dressmaker with a warm smile.

"He'll be home soon Longbranch. And I hope the same for One-Eye, I do every day for him." Moonshade said back.

"You know what," Brownberry decided putting an arm around Moonshade's shoulders with a smile, "these dishes can wait a while. Let's get you some dinner and a cup of coffee."

"That would be lovely miss." Moonshade said back putting an arm around Brownberry's waist.

As the two walked out of the kitchen Longbranch shook his head wondering where his friend Strongbow could be, and what he would say about what just happened. Another laugh slipped out as he got the plates down to make dinner for all the workers up front, even Moonshade.


Leetah moved through the crowd in the saloon with ease after her performance while wiping the sweat from her brow. Only one cowboy reached out to put an arm around her waist, and she quickly side stepped his attempt, sending the human sprawling to the floor. No doubt the alcohol he had consumed was a help to her she thought, walking up to the three at the bar. She noticed Shenshen had a crooked smile on her face as she stopped.

"Did you enjoy the show?" Leetah asked Shenshen with a raised eyebrow.

"Si, it was very nice!" Shenshen replied with a slight slur.

"Have you been drinking?" Leetah asked Shenshen with a shocked smile.

"Si, and it almost killed me." Shenshen spat.

"What did you drink?" Leetah asked with a laugh.

"Pike's second best." Nightfall answered patting Shenshen's back.

"It had the usual effect." Crescent added with a smile.

"Oh, my poor hermana, are you okay?" Leetah asked with a sympathetic look.

"Barely!" Shenshen replied with a small smile.

The four laughed as Nightfall handed over a glass of sarsaparilla for Leetah to drink. Not a one among them noticed the small, floating white stream, that drifted through the semi-brown liquid. The remnants of a special pill placed in the glass. Nightfall, Crescent, and Shenshen didn't notice the dissolved pieces in theirs either. All four never tasted the added substance to their drinks and they were unaware of the oncoming affects.

All but one who sat back in the shadows, the smile on his face long gone, replaced with a single angry snarl.

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Rainflower

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:43 pm

For artfans and others: I give you...
The Saloon Girls



Last edited by Rainflower on Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:23 pm

Wow Rainflower, that is just how I picture our Saloon girls. You have some exceptional art skills there, keep on getting better and you'll right beside ElfMom...

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:22 am

OMG, you make me go Embarassed I'm glad you like it, I've worked hard on that one.

I suppose it's time to release the story atached to this picture as well?

This is a little story about the trio at the saloon, Vurdah, Maleen and Ruffle, and of course a bit of Oddbit beside.
I guess most people know what's gonna happen quite anyway, but I still warn a bit of spoilers incoming. I just couldn't wait to post this anymore, and its' so fitting now with the picture up.


Days at the Saloon - Part 1

"Give me your gooooold
And I’ll give you my heart
Desire is booooold
But gives you a part
Of liiiiiife"

Oddbit's deep voice were floating through the room and out of the street like a deep drum late at the evening. A bunch of trolls was gathered at the Hammer and Tongs for the night. Many humans, and even a few elves, had also come this evening. Someone were smoking, especially the men by the poker table had a cloud of their own hanging above them. They had their hands on their cards, and kept their cigars in their mouths while blowing the smoke out from an opening in their mouth or through their noses. Everyone had a drink in front of them, and most of the trolls forgot that it was there at the moment. One of them had been drinking from an empty glass three times already.

The piano was playing a quite melancholic song. Along rang the sound of jewels in her wide belt rustling as Oddbit was shaking what she had in the breaks between the song. There were jewels sparkling in both hair and dress, around the arms and the fingers, even around the ankles and there were far too much make up in the face, which failed to hide the warts. All the trolls had their eyes on the large saloon girl dancing on stage. All elves were trying hard to either drink the sound away or concentrate very hard on finding something that could distract them from the sound that bothered their sensitive ears. With humans, it was a bit of both; some tried to focus on the poker game, while someone had nothing else to do but to just look at the singing mountain.

Oddbit was watched by the trolls as the most beautiful troll maiden in the town, though most humans and elves had their objections. The humans thought it was fun to just watch her dance her clumsy steps with a big silly smile on her filthy lips that showed that she adored herself. The elves could watch, but obviously not enjoy what they saw, when she turned around and her legs, and sometimes more than enough, were showing when the dress came up in the spin. But the one troll who couldn’t take his eyes from her, was Picknose. He stood like a statue and he drooled with his mouth wide open, unable to say anything, and very often, drawling.

His mother Maggoty on the other hand, was not enthusiastic about her. She knew that her son paid her too much and brought her gifts as often as he could, all from jewelry to gold, and Oddbit took anything she got and kept it, except if the gift was cheap. Then she had him make it up and by another, more expensive gift. “For those money we could have had a day off or build on this damn place and make it bigger. You’re gonna ruin us on that brat.” She said often to him, but it was like talking to a death troll. Her son was lost in that doll, and not at all a good subject for a wife. In her eyes, the worst mistake he had ever done - except to be born a moron - was to marry Oddbit.

The elves used to tease him about this, because they were not able to see her beauty, like the trolls did. Humans started laughing when she turned around and gave a loud tone at the end of the song when she started to shake her enormous booty and the hanging muscles at her arms. Many often made a bet to either how long into the song she would go before she lifted the skirt.

But there actually was a reason people were staying. Despite all her not charming clumsy and loud stumping acting, believe it or not, the show was worth watching, or at least stay to heard. Because beyond her ugly look and overweight, Oddbit actually had a quite lovely voice.

You little lovely maaaaaan
You have not come for nothing
You’ll stay if you waaaaaant
But only if yoooouuu
Stay with meeeeeeee

Give me you heart of gold
And IIIIIII’ll
Give you my LOOOOOOOVVEEE

That’s right. The great troll girl had a deep and a little husky voice that could sing of all kind of romantic ballads, and even the elves, if not enjoy it then a least hold out her voice – when they didn't watch her. She sang slowly and could hold the note for thirty seconds if she wanted to. At least that was her record. Strong it was if she got into the right tunes, and more than once she had mande them applause when breaking a glass.

Once finish singing, the applause was not to be stopped. The trolls screamed and jumped up from their chair and stomped the floor so the room vibrated. Oddbit bowed down a little too deep down before she waved to the public, giving a girlish giggle as she left the stage to join them for their admiring. One man at one of the tables with his legs crossed at another chair was bold enough to stroke her arm as he passed him.
"Oh Longrin, you naughty little lad. My husband is watching." she giggled.
"Oh please, my lady fair. I can't help it. If I wasn't so drunk, I would have rushed up and danced along with you. Please tell me you will sing again, a song just for me?"
She put her hand under his cheek, the poor man's head could have filled her whole hand. "Tomorrow night, sweetie. I have to let the other little girls play. They get so grumpy when they don't get to try their silly little numbers."

Longrin gave a little moan and a silly smile. "You're too kind, my flower. Remember me in the morning."

"I will, dear!" She blow a smacking kiss towards the human as she walked away.

His companions laughed at him when he was gone. "Longrin, you desperate idiot. Don't say you're so desperate for a free drink?" his buddy said beside him.

The man called Longrin leaned back and tipped his hat away from his head. "Hey, a broke man's gotta do what he has to do to get somehtin' out of life. "

Another hit him on his back. "It might be a good idea to be broke when you end up almost kissing Picky's gal! Then if you don't get yourself killed, you'd wish you were a dead man!"

Longrin drank his glass empty. " She has actually kissed me, once." The table went quiet after that was said, and Longrin kept on. "I swear, I didn't know where I was the next hours."

His companion whistled. "Then I wonder how it is to get any further."

"Better not to figure out! Then you don't know who to fear most; her body or her husband!" the other said. The comment gave a loud laugh around the table, and one of the laughed so hard he fall backwards on the chair.

From the bar desk, Vurdah was watching the flirtatious scene and the laughing men. She was leaning to the desk with her back, holding around a drink. She really hoped Picknose were so occupied with the next performance, that he never learned of the conversation on the table. Then it would mean trouble. It wouldn't have been the first time there would be a fight at the saloon. It wasn't the most behaved gentlemen that came to the Hammer and Tongs. One third part were often travelers who were on to some fun after a tiresome journey before going on a new one, cowboys and business men. The second part were people from town, either married men who were worn off their homely comfort and nagging of wives or young men looking for adventure, or elder men who preferred the life of fun rather than the establish. The third part were gamblers, tricksters and troublemakers, depending on the day. At the moment it seemed to be most of the gamblers, but who knew how much trouble they would cause if it got to a disagreement. She watched as Oddbit stepped beside her and turned towards her with a teasing look. "Aren't you suppose to be preparing, dear?"

Vurda shook her head. "It's Ruffle before me." She didn't even bother to look at the female troll when she answered and had another sip of the drink.

Oddbit just shrugged. "Suit yourself. Make sure not to get drunk before dancing. You're slow enough as it is!" she said before wagging away, with her body moving one way and her rear end the other as she walked.

"You're the one to speak." she mumbled and placed the glass back on the desk stroke a hand over the skirt of the dress. It was a lovely light green dress with a waistline that went far down on the hips and a heart shaped top framed with golden boards and strops hanging around her neck. The skirt was long, but it went shorter and shorter up to her thighs at the front. She was quite satisfied with it. It had been finished that same afternoon. The dressmaker in town didn't make dresses for the saloon girls; the elf woman was far too high nosed and proper for such customers, even if they were willing to pay. So Vurdah and the girls had another woman making them for them, a human widow named Daisy who made an extra living from making those dresses. Oddbit called Daisy her best friend, but only because she thought it would make her dresses better than the others. Daisy did so, only to make sure Oddbit paid her more than normally.

She looked across the room, her eyes moved from one table to the other; The poker table with the five men smoking; the trolls with Picknose appearing from back stage, appearently preparing for next number and speaking to Hoykar; The drunken man Longrin and his companions, and then a table with a group of loosers, among them the grumpy elf Chot who would throw a bad joke at anything coming past.
And then it was the table close to the middle of the stage; the table where it would be most elves. Among them was three elves that would be there like every single evening: the Major, the Tracker, and of course the Captain. The silver haired elf was being a bit commonly dressed tonight, wearing a light blue shirt with a dark blue jacket with fridges and pattern on the front, common to those the stone breakers from silver springs that had been there last week were wearing. Simply because it was one of those jackets; he had won it from one of the stone breakers in a poker game another evening, she recalled, and he had worn it since. It fitted him, she thought. The rough fabric only showed the softness of his hair a bit more. That lovely white hair.

She felt her heart skip a beat as she stared. She had taken a glass just to strengthen her courage, but now she regretted. She felt all woozy. No, she told herself, it's just you mind. Everything's fine. She took the glass, swallowed the last to the drink, and pushed herself away from the desk and over to the table.

Rose was there too, beside the Major. The Spanish looking elf had her hair tied back on the top on her head in a high knot and long copper red curls hung down on both sides of her shoulders. A red flower on one side were the only decor she had in her hair this evening. She too had gotten herself a new dress lately, a dark sea green one that matched her green eyes with low waistline and huge puffed sleeves below the shoulders. Vurdah had started to feel uncomfortable with her around. The Desert Rose seemed sometimes a bit more mature than the rest of them, even thought she had to be at their age. Vurda sometimes felt so clumsy compared to her. Everyone seemed clumsy compared to the perfect Desert Rose. Rose seemed so aristocratic and elegant in everything she did, a ceritan dignity. Vurdah was sometimes jealous of all the attention she got from the visitors at the saloon, and how well she handled them.

But she knew that very soon, she wouldn't have to worry about having Rose around. Because in less than a week, Rose was to get married with the Major. Major Cuttter was all she cared about. At least that meant she would be no threat to her when it came to the Captain. At the same time, Vurdah could not help but feel a sting of jealousy about Rose getting married. Oh how I wish it was me, only not with the Major...

As she closed in, she showed up beside Skywise and carefully leaned to the table as he had another sip of his drink. As he opened his eyes to place it back, she had her arm in the way and he looked up at her, his face broke up in a smile. "Vurda? Why, what would be the occasion of your presence this fine evening?"

"Nothing special." she said smiling as she sat at the table and put one knee above the other so the end of her stocking s became visible from under the skirt. "I gotta say hello whenever you come around. It's been a while since we saw you."

"Been a little busy, ya'know." he said with a smile. "Things poppin'up, and I have to fix'em. Nothing worse than that." The answer made Cutter and Redlance look at eachother and chuckle.

"Oh, I see..." She got disturbed by her hand bumping into something, and the moment after she heard the sound of glass touching ground. When she looked up, she found that she had tipped over Redlance's glass. "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it." she said, cursing herself for being so clumsy.

But the red haired elf just smiled, holding up a hand to calm her down. "Don't worry, Vurdah. It was empty." he said and picked it up again. "Is that a new dress?" he said then, eyeing her up and down. "It looked beautiful!"

Even though the dress was meant for the Captain to notice, she got a bit relieved that it made the Tracker switch subject. "Why, this old thing?" she said, holding up one of the folds in the skirt. "It's just something I fixed at recently." she said, leaning back. "It once used to be a ball gown." she said low as she turned back to the Captain, who gave a smirk at her.

"So you too have been occupied?"

"I had no choice." she moved closer to him, and started playing with the fridges on his jacket. "It's boring around here without you. I have to think of something to make time pass."

He laughed. "Oh come on, you ladies know how to keep the fun up." But then he heard something from behind, and looked back. When Vurda looked to her left, she saw that the Major and the Tracker had rose from their chairs and went to the door, where they greeted Nightfall and Crescent. "Ah! Can you please have me excused?" Suddenly he loosened from her grip and he went in their direction. Vurda felt puzzled where she sat, but her heart sank as she noticed that the two girls weren't alone.

"So they finally managed to bring you along?" the Major said.

"Well, I figured out it couldn't be that bad after all." said a giggling voice.

Along with them was another girl, in a light pink dress with tiny black dots and a shawl around her shoulders. Dark brown curls hanging in a mess around her hair, Vurdah thought. They were completely out of order. It was Foxfur, better known as just 'the waitress' among the saloon girls. But the Captain went straight towards her and let his hand make it's way around her waist, and she replied with a giggle and let her own arm fall around his neck. If he leaned to her face to whisper something to her or to give her a kiss, Vurda couldn't tell. Whatever it was, made her giggle loud and childishly. Vurdah didn't want to figure it out. She turned her head away, closing her eyes. When she opened them again she noticed Rose staring at her with sorry in her green eyes and a weak, kind smile on her deep red lips. She hurried to look away; she didn't want pity after that humiliating scene, so she hurried away so no-one would see her tears.

She had to force herself through other chairs and guests to get out. A moment she felt a hand trying to slide around her waist as she walked past the table of Longrin and his companions, and she noticed it belonged to a drunken Chot. But she wasn't in the mood for that now, so she slapped it hard to get loose. Chot gave a loud, girlish "Outch!" and she heard the others laugh at him for it, but she just hurried on to the door that led to backstage.

Behind the door, she was met by Ruffle, about to enter the stage in a tight pink creation and a feather in her hair, but when she spotted Vurdah, she stepped towards her. "Oh Vurdah, there you are. Is it alright if I borrow these earrings of yours for this number? I wanted to ask you earlier, but..."

"It's alright. You can have them if you want!" she said quickly, not even bothering to see which earrings she was talking about. She just walked past her with her head bowed down so she wasn't showing her tears.

"Uh... thanks?" Ruffle was left as a question looking after her with the earrings in her hands.

She went upstairs to her bedroom, without any further intention of going back, locked the door, and finally gave into the sob that had been threatening to escape all the way up. She covered her face with her hands, her shoulders shaking, sobbing without control as she sank down on her knees. There was no way she could go downstairs and dance now. Picky could get as angry as he could. She almost hoped Longrin downstairs would open his mouth just a bit too much and spill out what he had given a hint to about his dearest Oddbit. The place would be smashed in no time, and no one would bother to notice of she was there or not.

She wiped her tears and got up, looking around in her room. The Hammer and tongs had enough room on the top floor, and the smallest ones belonged to her, Maleen and Ruffle. Even though it was quite normal that the girls shared the beds, for more than one reason. Her own room weren't much to talk about. A bed placed up at the wall in the middle, or at least it had been a bed. Now there was just the mattress since the bed itself had broken the last time she, Maleen and the Captain had shared it. Picknose wasn't too eager to let her get it fixed. Vurdah blamed Oddbit's latest dress for that. The memory gave her a pain and new tears. A closet for ordinary clothes stood at one side and a chest of personal belongings on the other. Above it was a shelf and a mirror she had brought with her when she came to the new lands. One of the few things she had taken with her from the room she had once called her own.

She got up from the floor, looking at the teardrops that had landed on her skirt. What a moron she was. She had it made just for him, and he wasn't even the one noticing it. She meant nothing to him. He had chosen a descent, practically boring, respectable and plain girl above her.

The kind of girl her aunt always had wanted her to be.

Even though her mates had given up on him, she still found her heart clinging to him. It had been ever since he showed up at the Hammer and Tongs some years ago, during the war. Oh how smitten she had been. And how quick they all three had been to grab him upstairs, how much fun they had when they ripped off his clothes for sharing a bath. It didn't get half as much washing as playing.

She recalled another night at the saloon, when she had snuck him behind the scene when Rose was performing, and let him to whatever he wanted with her. It was the best memory she had, before that waitress caught him. She had him all by herself, and the world was nothing to that moment. She had lost track of time when she asked him.

"Skywise... Am I in your heart?"

"Huh?" he had muffled between breaths.

"You and I? It would be like a dream!" She sighed to him. "You'll find no woman..." She had bitten him in his ear. "...who'll love you more..." she had bitten his shoulder. "...than me!" And then she had kissed him, long and deep. "I want you... and your children. My life with you!"

He had laughed between the kisses."Not a chance in the world, little dreamberry of mine. You would find that I am... far to selfish..." he paused. "Or maybe too generous..."

She let a hand glide over the skirt. Instead of wasting money on remaking her old gown and stash it up with golden brims she could have bought a new bed for them, and for once have a good night sleep in her own bed. She had been sharing bed with Maleen ever since the accident, but now she had a need of being alone. She started walking to the rest of her bed, and noticed a tiny ball of curled paper lying there. She frowned at it, and kicked it. To her annoyance, it landed on the mattress, and she knelt down, grabbing it with an angry hand and throwing it as far as it was possible in the small room. But the ball jumped back and landed on the edge of the mattress. It was like a curse, as of it was forcing her to face the truth.

The letter was from back home, written by her cousin. Vurdah hadn't seen her in ages, not since she left. Why would she? There had never been any sort of affection between them, nothing like siblings love. And there were never more than one letter in the year, if she was that lucky. Why bother to write already? It was only dutiful expectations that made her do it.

Vurdah sank down into her pillow and gave into sobbing once more. Why did she have to get that letter? It had broken her up so much inside that she wasn't certain she could be fixed. Was she ever going to get what she yearned for? Was she forever doomed to dream?

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:39 am

Hehe, forgot to mention this happens after the Henry sags. Blooped again Razz
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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Five - Part Twelve   Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:01 pm

@Rainflower wrote:
Hehe, forgot to mention this happens after the Henry sags. Blooped again Razz

That was a really good piece Rainflower! I liked it even though it was a smidge ahead of the timeline. I can't wait to some more, ans speaking of waiting...

And here is the next part of Day Five, written by me, Wiseshaman

Day Five - Part Twelve

The boys get Eyes High and Shale ready to travel, Winnowill and Rayek have a talk, and Vaya wakes up...

Redlance carried the two bags, with little problem, from the small room that Shale and Eyes High had called home while in staying Silver Springs. The room had all the coziness and charm of the shack that was got blown up this afternoon, maybe a small step above, but the tracker had seen worse, slept in worse during the war. He walked behind the deputy and the girl who ran the boarding house. He and the deputy had come straight over from the livery, after getting the wagon and a nag from the farrier who ran it. The wagon was half the size of a full one settlers used to come out here, riding single file over the prairie, but it was covered and the blacksmith had tossed in a bunch of old blankets they could throw over Shale to keep him warm. The man was as big as Two-Edge back in Two-Moons, with probably half the skill, and he gave Redlance a hard slap on the arm that sent the tracker stumbling instead of a handshake to seal the deal. It seems Boone wasn't that popular at the livery, and the blacksmith gave the wagon and the horse to Redlance with a deep laugh, and a 'next time hit the bilk right between the damn eyes." The tracker only laughed weakly, rubbed the feeling back into his shoulder, and rode out with the wagon scrutinizing everyone around carefully. It seemed every eye lingered just a second longer then needed, a second longer then comfort would allow.

He had the Deputy stop next at a small eatery, to get some sandwiches sent over for the others, and for the trip back. Then Redlance had the Deputy take him over to the boarding house, so he could pack up what little Eyes High and Shale owned, so when it was time to get out of town there was nothing to worry about. When they got back to the front the girl, Josie the deputy had called her, stepped back behind the desk as he put the bags down. She was a pretty looking human Redlance thought, a petite face and body with gentle eyes that were accented by a set of dark brown bangs and hair that slightly curled at the ends all over. And she had a sweet smile that could warm a man's soul. It was easy to see why the Deputy, who was the Sheriff's son, was smitten with her.

"Thanks Josie." The Deputy said stopping with them.

"No problem at all Will," She said with that smile that turned apprehensive as she looked to Redlance, "but they do owe us for the room."

"I can catch that up," Redlance said, with small grimace of pain from his ribs, as he was pulling out the pouch from around his neck to get at his money, "what do they owe?"

"They owe twenty dollars for the last two months. I hate askin' for it, but I have no choice. The owner would kill me if I didn't get the money." Josie said with a look that was mixture of sadness and sympathy.

Redlance handed over the bills, that Josie took reluctantly, and then marked in the ledger that Shale and Eyes High were paid and checked out. She had just finished when Will the deputy spoke up with a come-hither grin. "You still doing those sketches and drawings Josie?"

"As often as I can." Josie replied with an impatient look, that Red picked up on and the deputy either missed or totally disregarded.

"Why don't you draw me sometime, after I take you out of course?" Will asked with his grin getting bigger.

Josie just shot an eyebrow up and fired back. "As soon as I see something on you I want to draw I'll do it, and it won't be your face probably."

The smirk she gave him just added to the laugh that Redlance let slip out. The Deputy must have been used to it, because he just smiled and winked at the lady, and she just shook her head back. The pair stopped the back-and-forth though when a flash of lightning went across the windows, and thunder barreled across the night sky that rumbled the walls.

"Are you sure you want to leave tonight?" Josie asked Redlance.

"We don't have a choice." Redlance answered, bending down to pick up the bags, again grimacing in pain from his ribs. The look didn't slip Josie's attention as she wondered how bad the elf was hurt, but it went flying by the deputy.

"Boone's probably already got a gang to go after them. It'll be a long ride back to Two-Moons." Will the deputy said with a shake of his head.

"You're going to take care of them, aren't you? They were always nice, just had a bit a bad luck all the time." Josie asked with a worried tone.  

The tracker knew she was asking about Eyes High and Shale. The two must have made an impression on the lady Redlance thought as spoke. "We'll make sure their safe."

The sounds of shooting suddenly split the air making Josie jump and Will reach for the gun on his hip. Redlance didn't move, gauging the gunfire was off in the street somewhere, probably some miner celebrating hitting a new vein. He took a quick look out the window, noting the people and where they stood out in the street, when Josie spoke up quietly catching his attention

"You're taking them to Two-Moons, right?"

"Yes ma'am, that's the plan." Redlance nodded without looking back to her.

"I hate this place more every day, maybe I'll stop by for a visit and stay?" She said with a whisper.

"I'm sure they'd like that, and you're always welcomed. I'll be seeing you around ma'am." Redlance said with a nod before slipping out the door.

The deputy followed and neither heard Josie whisper as they disappeared out the door and into the pouring rain. "You boys be careful, please."

Out on the walkway, Redlance tossed the satchels into the back of the wagon holding his ribs while looking around carefully, again noting all the eyes staring back. He knew Boone would have his cohorts come for them sometime tonight, make a play to get even for what went down at the shack, and it was going to happen soon. The tracker hopped up into the seat, ignoring the sheets of rain as the deputy did the same, thinking this was going to be a long night.

"You sure you're okay? The doc said you need to rest those ribs." Will the deputy asked, pointed out.

"I'll be okay. We need to get Skywise and his folks out of town as fast as possible." Redlance answered.

"That's your thing ain't it, caring for other people like this?" Will asked.

"Isn't yours?" Redlance asked back.

"Nah," Will said nodding to the west of town and the dark beyond, "I don't want to end up in a grave up there in cemetery for no damn reason."

"Yeah, will, we all end up there one day or another, so might as well be for a good reason instead of just sitting around I think." Redlance remarked giving the horses a quick snap of the reins.

The wagon jumped forward as the deputy pondered the Native's last.


She felt the large hand wrapped around her neck squeeze shutting off her air.

She felt the knife slice into her skin all over with a burning pain that made her scream.

And she heard the laughing...the crazy mean laughing.

A loud boom brought Vaya out of her nightmare, but the sudden movement hurt, so bad it made her yelp in pain. She clutched at her stomach and felt bandages underneath a shirt before she saw them both. In the low light of the room, she could barely make anything out, and then just out of sight she spotted movement. A door popped open and rain poured in along with a shadowy figure and a dog. The fresh images from the nightmare popped into her head, and a fear Vaya had never experienced closed around her heart. She tried to slide back in the bed, to get away, as the shadow approached.

"Hey you're up. It's okay, I'm not gonna hurt you."

"Where am I?" Vaya asked with a panic.

Pike stepped out of the shadows, and into the glow of the fire from a stove in the corner, smiling big while trying to show his guest he was safe. Homer even wagged his tail for her.

It didn't work as Vaya asked again with a harsher tone than the last. "Where am I?"

"You're in my cabin up in the hills above Two-Moons." Pike answered calmly trying, hoping, to keep his guests under control.

"How'd I get here?" Vaya asked with the same tone.

"Your horse wandered in, probably off the prairie." Pike answered. He heard Homer next to him start to growl and he shushed the dog.

Vaya slowly, and painfully, moved under the blankets and finally noticed she was wearing a nightshirt that wasn't hers. She looked up at Pike and spoke looking around.  "What happened to my clothes?"

"They're over there by the stove. There wasn't much left, and the shirt was covered in blood." Pike offered.

Vaya snarled, and spat, feeling a sudden burst of anger. "Did you have fun looking at me naked?"  

"No," Pike said with a worried look, "I've never seen anyone cut up like that in my life, and I don't care to again, but I'll look after you if it means you get to live."

"You expect me to believe you'd just help me, some stranger you never met?" Vaya spat with a grimace.

Homer let out a bark and a deep growl at Vaya's last, and she cringed from the dog. Pike just reached down and patted the mutt's head, admonishing his friend. "Homer, stop it! Go lie down and stop all that growling."

"You're dog sure as hell doesn't like me." Vaya said.

Pike smiled and nodded while speaking. "Well, I guess its good thing we're not dogs, or you'd still be tied to the back of your horse bleeding to death."

Vaya stared at the elf with a cynical look. She learned the hard way growing up there wasn't a man, or elf, that wouldn't take advantage of you if given the chance. Hell, her own momma had robbed her a few times. That's how she ended up in that shack with those monsters. It was how she ended up in this bed, cut up like a slab of beef and beat to with an inch of her life. Vaya looked up at Pike while wondering, fighting that urge to trust this hick up in the woods. How could she trust him?

"Where's Chance?" Vaya asked with a whisper.

"Who?" Pike asked back lost.

"My horse, Chance, where is he?"

"Oh," Pike said with a gasp, "I put him in the paddock with Tiptail. He didn't look hurt."

"Tiptail, you have a horse named Tiptail?" Vaya asked with incredulity.

"Yep," was all Pike said slowly walking over to the stove and checking a pot.

She was about to ask him just how did he come up with a stupid name like that, when the smell of a stew made her mouth water. Vaya licked her lips suddenly realizing she hadn't eaten in quite a long time.

"Think you might handle a bowl a stew?" Pike asked looking over his shoulder at her.

The untrusting side of Vaya took over as she sneered and shook her head while speaking. "You probably poisoned it or something."

Pike shrugged his shoulders, and then took a drag on the spoon purposefully slurping the stew loud enough to make Homer raise both ears. He looked to Vaya then with a big smile and a wink.

"Then what do you say we die together?"

Who was this hillbilly? Vaya shook her head and laughed before speaking with a sigh. "Hell, I might as well."

He poured her a bowl and passed it over with a spoon. Even though it hurt like hell, Vaya sat up and ate the stew while staring at Pike. Part of her said to hit him with the bowl, rob him, and then bolt like hell. But the other half, the half she was listening to at the moment, told her to stay and let her body heal. Maybe this hick was as nice as he seemed.


The rain was coming down too hard for Rayek to see now, but he made the out the shape of the barn for Voll's ranch, and said a silent prayer for his good luck. He guided Leila into her stall, dried her off after taking off the saddle and blanket, and then fed and watered her before running up to the main house. It was dark and quiet as usual, something that didn't bother him all that much, he thought as he walked through kitchen from the mud room. May, the cook, had left out a plate of those delicious cookies that Ekuar loved. Rayek smiled thinking about his traveling companion, and took a few of the treats of the plate, all for Ekuar of course he thought after taking a bite of one.

He walked through the house quietly, more of his bounty hunting days slipping through, as he only wanted to get into his bed and sleep, yet when Rayek got to the small library though, the lady of the house stopped him by the entrance with a quick request.

"Rayek, is that you?"

He looked in to see an agitated Winnowill standing, not sitting in, by her favorite chair in the corner. "Yes senora, how may I help you?"

"Where have you been all afternoon?"

"I was away on personal business senora." Rayek answered.

"You looked to personal business in place of Ranch business. That is not what I pay you for." Winnowill exclaimed with an agitated look.

"I understand senora, which is why I cleared my trip with Senor Voll before leaving." Rayek said with a smile that leaked just a little smugness.

"Well then, you are excused." Winnowill hissed coldly before turning away from him.

"Si senora," Rayek replied just as coldly as the thought of being dismissed angered him, no, it really, really angered him.

Then, before he could storm off, Winnowill called out to him again. "Rayek, wait."  

He stopped and turned back to her, but didn't speak choosing to keep his words, and they were some choice ones, in his head for the moment as Winnowill continued.

"You were a bounty hunter before coming to work here, before coming back to Two-Moons, were you not?"

"Si," Rayek answered wondering what game she was playing now. Winnowill knew his past. He had even shared some of it with her.

"When you found yourself in a situation that seemed, unattainable, what would you do?" She asked turning to look at him.

The first thought he had, was this was not Winnowill, at least not the same female that had taken him to that overlook of the town that first night he was back. This was not the one who had sounded so resolute about mystic Elvin powers. This was not the confident female that had played cat and mouse with him from the very beginning of their relationship. This was someone on the opposite end of the stick, at the other end of the bar. She looked nervous, unsure, and agitated about something. Rayek thought carefully about his answer before speaking.

"I never went into a room that I did not know the location of the nearest exit senora."

"I do not understand." Winnowill said flustered.

He was still lost as well, but Rayek was starting to understand what was going on. She needed his help, was asking in a way that didn't make her seem small or dependent. Again, he spoke carefully with selected words. "The first rule of bounty hunting is to never face your prey on their ground. I would never face my target where he was comfortable."

"No," Winnowill said shaking her head while speaking, "I think I have made a terrible mistake. I wanted to know...never mind."

"Senora Winnowill, if there is a problem that I can help with then you just need ask." Rayek offered calmly, sincerely. The proffer did not pass between the two without some thought.

"Would you risk all that you are for me?" She asked quickly.

Now it was back to being completely lost for the former bounty hunter. For a second, it looked like she was about to confess to something, something she regretted. Rayek had seen enough criminals beg and confess to their crimes as he took them to jail, and it was no different here now, looking into Winnowill's eyes. There were times, for some of those men he hunted, where he wanted to help them, and it was the same feeling here with Senora Winnowill. Then, with a single question, she had turned it all around and he wasn't so sure of where the conversation was going.

"I would gladly help you senora, but there are limits to everything, even help." Rayek answered.

"Would you, if given the chance, take the path of our elders? Would you accept the powers that our ancestors had lost so long ago?" Winnowill asked with a look that bordered on hope, like she was eager to hear his answer.

She was talking crazy again he thought. Old powers? Elders? Ancestors? Rayek decided with verve he didn't like where this was going and wanted to walk away.

"You look tired Senora, as I am, so I would suggest going to bed and resting. The sound of the rain will help you sleep." Rayek offered backing toward the door.

The look on Winnowill's face changed in an instant, from the hopeful look to one of hurt and anger. She turned away from him giving him just the view of her back, dismissing him once again

"You can leave now Rayek. I no longer wish to talk."

This time she didn't try to stop him, and even if she did, Rayek wouldn't have gone back to the library. The whole talk had him confused and swimming in a sea of raw emotions, something he didn't have much experience with. He was used to being in control, being in charge, and after talking with her he had no control of anything. And for some reason, the image of Savah popped into his head, and he felt an overwhelming need to go and talk with her.


Eyes High tore a piece off the onion and roast beef sandwich, and fed it to Shale slowly, making sure he wasn't going to get sick. He ate it with a smile enjoying the first meal both had tasted in a day. When money was low the choice of food was always the first to take the brunt of the cost cut. The bread was actually soft, and the meat not filled with grizzled fat. She swallowed her bite and looked to her son who was still sitting on the cot but now had his hand resting on Shale's foot. It was just an inch in the last hour, but she'd take it.

"How's the sandwich?" Skywise asked suddenly.

"It sure beats the stew we had to eat a couple of days ago." Shale said after swallowing the bite Eyes High gave him.

"It was mostly water just colored brown." Eyes High laughed.

"I think anything, even stale bread, can top Army food." Skywise said with a laugh.

"You were in the Army?" Eyes High asked and the Captain picked up on the sudden worry in her tone.

"Yeah, all three of us were in the war. I rode with Cutter in the Calvary, the fighting 7th." Skywise explained with a warm smile, hoping it gave his mother some comfort.

But he could see the fear was there still, the kind you can't control. Eyes High quickly wiped something off her check as Shale asked a question.

"Were you ever hurt?"

"Oh Shale!" Eyes High said with exasperation.

Skywise could sense the agitation in his mother and moved to head it off. "Yeah, I was shot in a small skirmish just across the border. My right leg took a clean hit on the thigh, the bullet just kept on going right into my horse. But I'm none the worse for it today. I can dance, ride, and play cards with the best of them."  

"Was it bad, the wound?" Eyes High asked with concern. The Captain could see the fear in her eyes was starting to diminish.

"Nah, Cutter got me out of there and to a doc. My leg was sore for a hell-of-a-long time though." Skywise said with a laugh.

"What about Redlance? Was he with you in the Calvary?" Shale asked just before eating another bite of the sandwich.

"No," Skywise said lowering his voice, "he was in the Sheridan Scouts. He doesn't talk much about what they did. Sometimes I wonder if he needs to talk about it though, let go of the ghosts and things. I do know if he wasn't up there at the shack I wouldn't be here talking with you two."

Eyes high only nodded, remembering on the ride down from the gun battle how she heard the tracker had saved her son. Boone had the drop on Skywise with a greener, a sawed-off double barrel shotgun filed with buckshot. If Boone had pulled the trigger her son would probably have been blown into two very distinct pieces, but Redlance had taken care of the banker with a toss of his tomahawk. She looked over and smiled at her son while speaking.

"I need to thank him for that, for keeping you in one piece when you should have been running from a fight and not into one."

"Yeah, I know, and maybe he'll take your thanks because he sure won't take mine." Skywise chuckled with a rakish grin.

Eyes High liked that grin. it was like a mix of her smile and Shale's. For a moment, her heart felt like it would burst, like her and her husband's life had turned a corner and she could be happy for the first time in a long while. Hell, she was so happy she was barely able to hold in her smile. Then a cough came from the cell entrance and she looked up to see Cutter standing there.

"I hate to break this up, but Red's got the wagon."

The Major stepped forward, and on silent feet, Eyes High watched the tracker walk up and take Cutter's spot at the cell door. If she hadn't seen it then she probably would have never known he was there he was so damn quiet. The only sound the elf made was the dripping water off his soaked clothes. She looked away when Cutter spoke up.

"The plan is to leave here in an hour, when the saloons start up. Hopefully, with enough whiskey in the miners, anyone with an idea of coming after us won't care to. We'll get you in the wagon, hunkered down, and simply slip off into the night and the storm."

"We can't leave, we owe money all around town." Shale said with a little shame.

"Already taken care of." Skywise said with a smile.

"You couldn't have paid them all off. What about the boarding house?" Eyes High asked.

"Paid, and your stuff is all packed and in the wagon." Redlance said with a smile.

"What about the mercantile?" Shale asked quickly

"You're all paid up and closed out." Cutter answered this time.

"And the eatery?" Eyes High whispered.

"Paid in full, and they even threw in some sandwiches for the ride out of here. You're free and clear all around town. There's nothing holding you two to this place, and everything waiting for you in Two-Moons." Skywise answered them with a wink.

Shale looked up to his wife and smiled, squeezing her hand. All those years when they were trapped in Djunsland, he had blamed himself for getting them stuck there, for taking her away from Skywise, but it seemed like a bad memory suddenly. Now he could make it up to her, because there was a new start in a new town that was just ready and waiting for them. And it was with their son. It was just too perfect and he felt the first tear roll down his cheek.

"Are you okay?" Eyes High asked with a smile, already sensing the answer.

"Yeah, I'm okay." He whispered back, getting control of himself. He looked up at his son who only smiled back and patted his foot as Cutter turned to the tracker.

"Did you get to talk with Annie?"

"No," Redlance said with a shake of his head, "she hit the trail right after getting back. The man at the mercantile said she got her last bit of pay and was gone in a flash."

"Can you blame her, after what happened this afternoon?" Skywise asked not expecting an answer.

"Damn, well at least it wasn't a wasted trip." Cutter said smiling at the ones on the cot

"No, it wasn't." Skywise said patting his father's knee and then leaving the hand there.

Eyes High smiled back amazed at how fast everything had changed. All those years of bad luck swept away by her son and two of the most honorable and forthright elves she had ever come across. She felt her hand being squeezed and looked down to see her sweet husband staring back. He whispered to her and she only nodded in response.

"I feel the same way about them."

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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Five - Part Thirteen   Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:22 am

And here is the next part of Day Five, written by me, Wiseshaman

Day Five - Part Thirteen


The girls get into A LOT of trouble while Black Feather readies for a fight...

Picknose stared at the group of female elves with a surprised look. The troll had run the Hammer and Tongs for a while now, since its opening really, keeping the whiskey flowing, the money coming in, and the cowboys under what some would call 'loose' control. And all from behind the bar where he had seen his share of inebriated, drunk, and downright soaked individuals.

And the four ladies in front of him had passed inebriated in a gallop, were running neck and neck with drunk, and soaked was just a few minutes away in the near future. Picknose couldn't recall seeing Nightfall or Crescent drunk and he didn't even know Rose drank at all, which included her sister who was presently making eyes with a human whose reputation was less than bang-up, if you understood. He watched his wife Oddbit shuffle over and quickly put herself between Marisol and 'Black' Jack Ketchum, reputed killer and thief. Old 'Black' once shot another man for calling his 'lady' a whore, and even though she was a working girl, Jack felt he was the only one who had earned the right of calling her that and shot the poor man right in the back.

"Oh sweetie, you don't want to play with him." Oddbit whispered.

"He looks dageroussss" Shenshen slurred with a drunken smile and drooping eyelids.

"He is dangerous honey, so much so we could't let him loose on such a sweet young thing as you." Oddbit said with a nervous look to Picknose.

Shenshen tried to put her hand on Oddbit's shoulder, but in her state the hand landed on the troll's ample cleavage with an obvious miss as she spoke with a defiant air. "I am not the think little hermana you good I am."

"What?" Oddbit asked confused.

But Shenshen paid little attention to the troll, shaking her finger in the air just an inch from Oddbit's face and smiling drunkenly. "I have kissed a boy you know, on the lips too!"

The wife of Picknose could only smile and watch as Shenshen leaned back, or fell depending on your definition, into her sister who was sitting next to her. Leetah looked over and asked her sister a question with an equal drunken slur.

"Who ha-have you kissed?"

"Zhanteeeeee" Shenshen said proudly with eye lids that were half closed

"Ah mi-mi her-her-mana! That is sca-scran-scandolous!" Leetah exclaimed after two tries

Oddbit looked to her husband again with the same smile as Leetah leaned into Crescent and tried to whisper but only talked as loud as everyone else. “MariShen has kissed a boy!"

"Who-who-who kissed a boy? It wasn't Redpants wa-wa-was it?" Crescent asked back with drunken concern.

"Has-has someone be-be-been kissing our soon-to-be hus-hus-married elf?" Nightfall asked Crescent, who gasped back at Nightfall and then suddenly started to cry.

"Wha-what is it mi hermana?" Leetah asked Crescent with a comical worried look.

"I am bueno!" Shenshen said trying to wave at Black Jack only to have her hand knocked down by Oddbit .

"No-no-not you Shenisol. Hablo con mi otra hermana Crescent y mi otra hermana Nightfall! (I am talking to my other sister Crescent and my other sister Nightfall.)" Leetah said hugging Crescent.

Nightfall leaned forward and fell off her stool right into Crescent's lap pushing her into Leetah while trying to ask what was causing her friend to cry. "Wha-wha-what is it my si-sis-sister?"

"You said 'our' husband with Redslant and that was so sweeeeet-"Crescent blurted, leaning forward and hitting her forehead against Nightfall's.

"You are go-goi-going to marry Redsands too!" Leetah gasped, cutting off her Crescent, before she started to cry herself.

"We love Ledrance so-so-a lot! He-he-he makes us so ha-ha-happy!" Nightfall whined hugging both Leetah and her sister while starting to cry.

"And then Rose said som-some-ething that was really sweet, I don't know what it was, but it was so sweeeeeeet. I just love you two so much!" Crescent blubbered hugging her friends while wobbling precariously on the stool.

All this happened as Picknose watched in dismay, his face buried in one hand while peeking through his fingers, Oddbit trying to keep from laughing while leaning against the bar, and the other barkeep watching with fear. Bull, as he was aptly named, stood a good foot or three above Picknose, and being a troll just like his employer that was quite an intimidating feature. Only his employer wasn't that easily intimidated, which made for some interesting conversations. At the moment, Bull nervously wiped the bar in a single spot while two humans, who looked like ranch hands in drovers and dirty jeans, stood on the other side looking at the four ladies with the same horrified stare. Bull turned to them and whispered harshly.

"What the hell happened?"

The fatter of the two looked over to his skinny friend and whined. "I don't know. Did you give him all the pills Fats?"

"Yeah Slim, I gave him the pills!" Fats, named so because he weighed all of hundred pounds wet, shot back to his overweight friend.

The fat one, aptly named Slim, looked back to Bull and whispered again. "Did you put one in each glass?"

"This ain't the first time I've slipped a girl a mickey for you two so I know what I'm doin'" Bull spat, still wiping down the same spot.

"Maybe we didn't use enough?" Slim whispered to his cohort.

"I don't know, I've never used it on an elf before." Fats whispered back.

"An elf can't by much different from us, right?" Slim asked Bull.

The raised eyebrow of Bull told the two clueless kidnappers they may have made a rather large mistake. The show at the bar kept rolling on as Leetah, Nightfall, and Crescent had started laughing at something and were now cackling loudly with uncontrollable laughter. Picknose took one look at the line of cowpokes with watering mouths that was forming by, and around, the elves and turned walking over to his other barkeep.

"Ah damn, here comes Picknose." Bull hissed just as the owner of the saloon stepped up. the two humans turning to look in another direction with a snap.

"Bull!" Picknose grumbled.

"Yeah," The troll responded nervously.

"I need you to make sure the four of them get home safe." Picknose said hooking a thumb over his shoulder at the laugh factory.

"Right now? It's raining like some one's getting murdered out there." Bull asked with surprise.

"Yeah, right now! I sure as hell don't mean next week!" Picknose fired back with equal surprise.

"Okay, but where's the old boy that usually takes Rose home?" Bull asked swallowing hard.

"I don't know and you're not doing a damn thing so you get the duty. You don't have to take them home, just across the street to the restaurant where the four can get some coffee and sober up. Leave it to Longbranch to get them home, got it?" Picknose said

"Yeah, I got it." Bull said with a nod of his head.

"Say, you all right Bull?" Picknose asked suddenly.

"Yep, I'm bully...you know, in apple pie order." Bull said with a small laugh, which was just a little too high pitched.

Picknose stared at his extra help sharply, for a moment, before making his next statement, or order, depending on how you looked at it. "Those four better get home in one-piece Bull, fine as cream gravy you understand? If I hear about a petticoat out of place or one tear in a pair of knickers and I'll pay someone to go heel on you, understand?"

"Damn, when did you start to care about elves?" Bull asked suspiciously back, after taking another moment to get his courage up.

"When one of them brings in a heap of business, now get moving!" Picknose spat before turning around and leaving.

Bull spun back to Slim and Fats whispering sinisterly. "You boys meet me outside in the alley across the street."

"Why?" Fats asked with his small frame shaking.

"To get the elves!" Bull whined.

"But they’re not passed out yet, and it's four and not one like we were told to get." Slim pointed out.

"I don't care. It's getting as hot as a whorehouse on nickel night in here and if you two don't do this now then the jig is up, understand?" Bull explained.

The two looked at each other, then back to Bull, and then finally nodded slowly, the pair realizing the situation finally. The troll gave them a wink and started off toward his employer while they just moved out of the saloon through the swinging doors. The three didn't notice the man in the shadowy corner, his fingers twitching and biting his lower lip in an obvious show of anger. The dark glasses hiding a scowl and burning red eyes.

"Rawr...I'm a bad hermana!" Shenshen slurred taking one last look Black Jack as Oddbit with Picknose and Bull moved the four toward the swing doors.


He stoked the small fire in the center of his teepee and readied himself for the night's work. In his hair were the five Eagle feathers given to him by his father when he became the medicine man for the tribe. Each feather represented one line of his family, one for each son who had taken the role of healer and spiritual leader for the tribe. Each tip was dipped blue, and when his time came to leave this world for the one beyond, he would pass on the feathers to his son with a new one added, the sixth medicine man. He wore his bone breastplate given to him by the Old Spirit woman of the hills as well as the choker at his neck and the bracelet at the wrist, all blessed and all to be used tonight.

Black Feather looked around for three special tools he would need for this walk. The black hair had made a terrible mistake and the shaman was unsure if he could turn back the tall dark which had returned. She had unknowingly waked the makpi, a black spirit, and now it was growing, feeding off the energy of everything and anything once again. The woods and land, all the animals that swam or crawled or flew, even the pointed ears themselves was nothing but food to the black spirit.

Black Feather found two pouches along the wall of his home, opened the first carefully, and slowly slid the contents out into his right palm as he took a seat by the fire. The first item was a large blue turquoise stone carved into the shape of a bear with a large black vein running along its back, like the marking of a particular old large Grizzly that roamed the forest around the tribe. It was his totem, his animal spirit, the great protector, the Bear. The second items were two long crystal shards that twinkled with a magic life of their own. The medicine man took the shards and moved them to his left knee while placing the totem on his right knee.

He turned to the second pouch from the same spot on the wall, a special one handed down through his family from father to son, awaiting a night just like this one. Black Feather could feel the small turtle shell and the power which resonated through the leather. The talisman was a thousand years old and held the power of Mother Abode herself. He took the talisman from the pouch and placed it around his neck with the leather strip the shell hung from. The small strip looked perfectly new, yet the shaman knew it was as old as the shell itself.

The third tool was easier to find as it was by his fire, kept in a special covered wooden bowl made by his mother's mother. Old designs depicting a scene from a dream adorned its sides as he opened the top and pulled out another small pouch. Out of its worn deerskin he produced a small bundle of leaves and grass, all tied with a string. He tossed the bundle into the fire and it started to smoke before it even hit the hot coals. The special mixture of sage and sweet grass was another well-kept secret passed down from son to son, from medicine man to medicine man. Black Feather picked up his totem in his right hand, and the shards in his left, while starting to chant, special power words passed from father to son used to evoke the land and its powers. Soon he felt the spirit of the great mystery rise around him, like a swirling wind, only nothing stirred in the teepee, not even the smoke as it floated out of the top of the tent. His voice rose and fell in a rhythm only he heard and followed as the bear totem began to warm in his right hand and the shards started to glow in his left. The turtle shell started to hum ever so lightly and Black Feather felt the call of the Dream World.

He gave one last chant, one last power word, and then slid from this world to the next.


"Oooo, it's raining!" Crescent yelled out.

"Oh no," Nightfall exclaimed with a sad expression, "that means Flutter and Dreadmance will get wet!"

"Oh no, you know, I think Stutter is infat-infat-likes me." Leetah said stammering over the big word.

The four stumbled off the walkway and into the pouring rain, still laughing and still quite drunk. They didn't mind getting wet obviously, what with Shenshen looking skyward into the falling rain until her sister mentioned Cutter's name. Picknose and Bull walked a foot behind ushering them like a herd of cats across the street.

"How, did he te-te-say something?" Nightfall asked.

"Did he kiss you?" Crescent gasped with surprise, reaching forward to put a finger on Leetah's chin and instead putting the digit on Shenshen's lips.

"Oh no, he di-di-did not and that is why he loves me!" Leetah said proudly, smiling wildly, before tripping in a wagon track and falling into Nightfall's arms.

"Whamp apot Flayek?" Shenshen asked through Crescent's finger.

"Who's Strayek?" Crescent asked taking her finger away from Shenshen's lips.

"I do not know, but I bet he does not have the muscles my Dutter has, or the soft arms of my sister Nightfall. They are so sooooft." Leetah said regaining her balance.

"Thank you, I-I-I wash a lot." Nightfall said taking an unsure step with a half proud-half drunken smile.

"I know she does be-be-because we do it together sometimes, like now!" Crescent said with a giggle.

"Why are we outside?" Shenshen asked.

"I do not know my dear sister, but feel these arms!" Leetah answered pulling Shenshen over into Crescent and Nightfall.

Picknose grumbled while shaking his head, slinging water everywhere. He was already mad that he had to play babysitter so when the four elves started cackling again it was the last straw. He turned to Bull and growled. "Get them home Bull, and remember what I said bout going heel

"Yeah, yeah, I'll get em' to the restaurant." Bull replied, ushering the four away as Picknose gave him one last glare.

But as soon as Picknose was gone Bull went to work to moving the mass of elves away from Brownberry's and toward the dark of an alley next to the now empty store space next door. As soon as the mass was close Slim and Fats ran out to get on each side and help get the job done.

Fats ran up next to Shenshen on the left, took her arm in his hand, and as soon as his hand touched her skin she smiled and growled. "I'm the bad hermana!"

"You the what?" Fats said back confused with water rolling off his hat.

"She does not kiss boys." Leetah said pulling Shenshen away from Fats.

"I kissed Zhantee...and I held his hand." Shenshen said smugly.

"They're drunk as a bunch of skunks Bull. What the hell are we gonna do with them?" Fats asked as Shenshen slapped his face hard with the intention of rubbing it seductively.

"You usually take advantage of them, don't ya? Hell, I don't care what you two do with em, just don't come by the saloon for a long while, a long while you hear!" Bull growled before leaving the two kidnappers with the four elves at the mouth of the alley

"Ah hell, what do we do now Slim?" Fats asked again, as his small frame tried to guide Shenshen

"They should you call yu-you fats ca-ca-you're fat." Crescent said to Slim with another giggle.

"What’d you say?!" Slim reacted angrily.

"And you smell like a horse." Nightfall added before laughing.

"And he looks like one too!" Leetah piled on before laughing as well.

Just like Picknose before, the insult was the last straw to old Slim and he drew his arm back across his chest with the full intent on slapping the taste, and a few teeth, right out Crescent's mouth. But then Nightfall suddenly pointed up at the dark sky and yelled as they walked into the alleyway.

"Lo-lo-look, it's a shooting star!"

"Wha-Where?" Leetah said swaying on unsteady legs.

"I don't see anything! I never see any-any-nothin'!" Crescent exclaimed throwing her fist out in a wide downward arc. She had meant to hit her thigh and instead struck Slim dead square between the legs with a loud whap.

All at once there were stars in Slims vision, some falling and some shooting, but most just screaming out in pure pain. He let go of Crescent's arm and bent at the waist trying to gasp for air and not throw up all, and all at the same time.

"Slim, are you okay?" Fats asked pushing Shenshen's hand out of the way as the appendage tried to play with his lips while she growled again, or what he assumed was playing. The girl was starting to hurt his gums a bit.

"Aww damn...she got me right in the sweet spot!" Slim hissed still trying not to throw up.

The skinny ranch hand let go of Shenshen, choosing to let the group of elves walk on down the alley a bit. He could check on his friend Slim and keep an eye on them with no problem.

He was wrong.

"Turn around for me boy!" A voice as cold as death itself commanded from the dark.

"Huh?" Fats said surprised, actually doing as the voice commanded, turning.

Out of the dark he came, a man dressed in black with fiery red eyes, going right for the skinny ranch hand. The man was lightning fast, moving like a snake, which meant Fats didn't stand much of a chance in the least. The small distance between them already put the kidnapper at a disadvantage, and with Fats that was more than enough. He had never been in a gun fight, didn't understand or know any of it principles, and even worse, this turned out to be a knife fight. The odds were all against him from the outset, and before the poor boy could react, the cold steel of the knife flashed six quick times, in and out of his belly as the man passed by silently. The blade cut and sliced his insides so fast it took a second for the pain and damage to register, but when it did it Fats looked down while whimpering for his mother to see his hands. They turned a light red at first with the blood flowing from the stab wounds mixing with the falling rain, but then the red got brighter and brighter with each passing second. He started to feel weird, cold and weak all at once as his legs gave out, and then he fell to the ground with a wet plop.

Slim didn't fare any better. He gained enough wind back into his sails to stand back up, just in time to see the man come after him, a long knife twirled in the air as it passed from one hand to the other with practiced ease. Slim noted the man was dressed in black from head to toe, all except for the face which was as white as a ghost and eyes as red as a fire pit. It was death the fat man thought in a panic, straight from the other world coming to get him. Slim could have gone for his gun, but the Schofield was under his wet raincoat and out of reach, and in the end, it didn't matter no how. He was too busy feeling scared stiff by the face and the eyes to defend himself properly. Poor Slim only got his hand up just before the final moment of his life passed by.

The man didn't slow, side-step, or even hesitate for one second. He slapped Slim's arm aside with a quick hit and wrapped it up in the same move, not letting the fat man step away from him. With a hard punch, and a solid step, the knife plunged right through Slim's chest with a sickening wet pop, cutting into his heart expeditiously. The man locked him in place, forcing Slim to look right into those burning eyes, the last thing the bungling ranch hand would see. A light, bright white and growing brighter, started to blot everything out for Slim. This was it. He was long gone from this world and moving on to the next. A growl filled with words sounded in his ear and it was the last thing Fats ever heard.

"You can die in the mud, you worthless son-of-a-bitch."

John Lee let the fat man go and watched with cold emotionless eyes as the body fell into the building, then hit the ground like a piece of discarded wood. His breathing was easy, not forced or labored, as he looked around. The rage and fury that propelled out him of the Hammer and Tongs, across the street, and now just down from the saloon, that red hot anger which gave him the viciousness to kill these two was now sated. The skinny ranch hand was laying just a few feet away, holding his stomach crying and out for his momma, as if she could help him now John Lee thought. Then he looked up with his fire red eyes, locking onto the four ladies stumbling down the alley, and all that rage and anger picked right up again. He started off after them, each step purposeful and silent, growling and clinching the handle of his knife. The distance wasn't much between them. The drugged elves couldn't make it far, even if they tied themselves to team of horses. John Lee was on them in a flash, knife in hand with those red eyes afire and the snarl on his face.

"Where are we going?" Nightfall asked with a slur.

"Let's go skinny dipping." Crescent said with a laugh.

"That would be fun, eh Shenisol?" Leetah asked with her own laugh.

"Only if you do no-no-stop to look at me." Shenshen stuttered as the others started to laugh and she joined in.

Crescent didn't see John Lee stalking up with a look akin to murder.

She didn't hear his breath pick up in pace, or the growl start from somewhere deep in his chest.

She didn't see his right-hand swing back, or before the arm started to go back, the knife spin and twirl from his right hand back to the left.

Crescent though did feel the impact as John Lee's right hand came down and slammed into her rump with a whip crack. Just as his hand hit it grabbed a load of flesh while the fiery pain from the hit cut through Crescent's drugged mind like a bolt of lightning. She froze in mid step, gasping, and went right to her tip-toes ready to scream out with bloody murder, but John Lee wasn't done and she never had the chance to utter a sound.

The spank and grab wasn't meant to be lewd, not in the least, as a matter of fact it did exactly as the albino had planned. In a split-second Crescent was off-balance, and by stopping suddenly, she put all four of the ladies in one perfect line. John Lee ended the attack with a lift of Crescent's body, and using his shoulder like a ram, he slammed her into the others stacking them up like cord wood. It was like a train running right into a wall as all four females crushed into each other, and then the building, with all of John Lee's strength. What the Mickey Finn had started in the saloon was now finished by the albino as the girls ended up lying on the muddy ground in a tangled heap, out cold.

John Lee stood over them, wiped his knife off on his handkerchief, and then sheathed the weapon with a spin, like some gun fighter, in its scabbard on his back. Then he reached out and put his hand on the building, all four fingers drumming on the wood, leaning over the four females with that same snarl from before. He could do anything he wanted, anything at all, because they were not waking up anytime soon. A few seconds passed as he continued to stare down at them when a pleading voice caught his attention. John Lee looked over to see Fats had rolled over onto his stomach and was now trying to crawl out of the alley.

"You girls have no idea what I just saved you from, or the trouble you have caused me!" The albino hissed, looking down at the women one more time before turning and walking over to Fats.

The skinny ranch hand had crawled a short distance, his right hand stretching for the street with all his will. All he needed to do was get to the street and someone would see him. Someone would get the doc and he'd be okay. Oh momma, please help me he started to cry, but then the boot stepped onto his hand and pressed down hard. He felt a hand grabbed a fistful of his hair and pull, just as hard, yanking his face up, forcing him to look into those red eyes again.

"I have to say, you're a tough one. Most men just would have gone ahead and died after getting stabbed that many times. You know though, this gives me a chance to ask just what were you planning on doing with these pretty little birds."

Fats mumbled something that made John Lee snarl and pull harder on the boy's hair, craning his neck to the point of breaking before speaking.

"And just who would ask you to do such a task as kidnapping, being that you lack the mind or smarts to complete such work. And be quick with your answer or I'll cut out both of your eyes." John Lee hissed.

Fats mumbled another answer that turned that snarl on John Lee's face upside down, right into a smile that would have made a babe cry in fear. His red gums contrasted like blood against his white lips as a small laugh escaped.

"Well, it's been awhile since I've seen Mr. Voll. I'll have to go and pay my respects to the man, and that exquisite wife of his. That's the kind of women who can put some steam in a man's step!"

"Please...help me." Fats begged with a whisper.

"Oh yeah," John Lee turning his attention back to the dying ranch hand, "let me take care of that for you."

Then John Lee pushed Fats head into the puddle and mud, leaned in making sure the man's face was buried deep down. Fats struggled for a minute, and just a minute, as the look on John Lee's face didn't change. He was smiling with a little anticipation, thinking of what was to come, and when John Lee looked down to see Fats as still as a log he only smiled more. The albino stood up with an expression of satisfaction across his face, then he looked over to see a new hulking shadow by the four elves, still laying in a group and still out cold. It stood menacingly over them for a second before the albino called to it.

"No, no Mr. Clayton, not those elves. Those four are needed for our little plan, it's why we're here, remember? Anyway, can you give me hand with the fat one? We need these two so I can leave a proper response to tonight's little show." John Lee said, reaching down and grabbing Fats by the belt.

Mr. Clayton stood eyeing the four a second more before walking down the alley and picking up Slim like he weighed no more than a sack of flour. He put the man over his shoulder then took the belt of Slim with his free hand. He waited a moment before John Lee led them back down the small path, past Nightfall and the others, and just before disappearing into the dark behind the stores the albino turned back.

"HELP! I HAVE BEEN TOUCHED INAPPROTIATELY BY A STRANGE MAN!"

The scream was four octaves higher than his speaking voice, and the choice of words made Mr. Clayton look at him like he was crazy.

"What," John Lee said turning to walk away with Mr. Clayton close behind, "it's what I'd say if I slapped myself on the posterior."

The pair melded into the dark stormy night just as Dart appeared at the entrance to the alley, hand on the butt of his Colt. He looked around suspiciously, trying to see who had just yelled out, but there was nothing. He thought about turning and walking away, dismissing it as some drunk or prankster, but then at the last minute he decided to go ahead and do a search just in case. Dart moved down the dark alley slowly with his hand on his Colt, ready to draw in a split second if something moved. But there was nothing sinister in the dark alley, nothing but what looked like a stack of people.

"Hey Dart, what is it?" someone from behind yelled out.

The deputy jerked and then turned to the new shadow spitting mad. "Damn Woodlock, I could have shot you."

"Sorry,' the elf said walking up cautiously, "I was just coming to walk Rainsong home and wondered who that was yelling."

"Well, what do you say, let's find out." Dart said with a raised eyebrow before turning.

As the deputy and his friend approached the mound of arms and legs, he made out his sister's dress, and Nightfalls, and Rose's, and then someone else who looked a lot like Rose.

"Crescent?" He asked walking up to the group of elves.

"I'm the bad hermana!" He heard someone say, in what sounded like a growl.

"She’s the what?" Dart asked looking over to Woodlock who only shrugged his shoulders.

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Lunakat

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:41 pm

haha-- so glad you are still writing.

I can't wait till the story catches up to itself. I've been waiting for a conclusion to this for ages!

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Five - Part Fourteen   Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:52 pm

@Lunakat wrote:
I can't wait till the story catches up to itself. I've been waiting for a conclusion to this for ages!

I don't know if thing called ElfWest will ever have an ending Luna, but we'll keep on working on it I assure you. Here's the next piece, written by me, Wiseshaman

And so, with that, we see Winnowill has a visitor, Rain and Willowgreen wake up to a strange new world, and we get to watch Pike helping Vaya...


Day Five - Part Fourteen


The crash of lightning made her jerk, sending a spasm of pain through her body, which made her jerk more and that sent another spasm of pain. Vaya wanted to scream out in anger, and frustration, at the pain. She wanted it all to stop, the sharp pain from the cuts and the dull pain from the bruises. She wanted that damn storm to stop causing all that damn noise so she could get some damn sleep. She wanted the memories of the shack, which were now flashing in and out of her dreams, to go away and leave her alone.

She just wanted to stop being scared.

The boom of thunder made her jerk again and the whole circle started again. It was driving Vaya crazy, so much so she was about to run out into the night screaming. Instead, though, she looked up and saw Pike all the way across the room sitting in a chair, leaning back against the wall whittling on a stick.

"What are you doing?" Vaya spat with anger at him. She wasn’t sure why the fury was flying toward him, good hearted Pike, it just had to come out and go somewhere.

"I'm just doin' some whittlin'." Pike said back

"Do you have to do it all the way over there?" Vaya yelled. Pike looked at her with a raised eyebrow, and for a second she thought he was about to give back as good as she was giving, but then Pike only lowered his eyebrow and smiled before speaking.

"I don't want to keep you up, but if you want me over there I can certainly move for you." He replied, standing up and smiling warmly as he grabbed his chair.

Oh, that just infuriated her even more. He didn't even try to fight back, and now she felt guilty and embarrassed for yelling at him. She chewed on her bottom lip in anger as he walked over just as a stroke of lightning lit up the semi-dark room. Vaya jumped again, and then shook off the pain as Pike put his chair on the wall with the bed, but over by the stove away from her.

"What are you doing way over there?" Vaya asked with a sharp tone.

"I was going to whittle some more, but I take it you don't want me to sit here either?" Pike asked.

"Well, you don't have to do it over there either! It's your place! You can sit right next to the bed if you want!" Vaya exclaimed.

"All right, I'll come sit over there." Pike said calmly.

Vaya sighed heavily in frustration as she watched him move the chair right up next to the bed. She lay back down, with her head on the pillow, wondering why it took so long for him to just move the damn chair. She looked up to see him put his hand on the bed before sitting down while speaking.

"You sure I won't keep you up?" Pike asked

"No," Vaya snapped with a whisper while reaching out and taking his hand in hers, "you ain't gonna keep me up, you big dumb hick."

A boom of thunder crashed against the cabin again shaking it a little, but Vaya didn't jump or jerk this time. She only squeezed his hand taking the warmth it provided. As soon as the echo of the thunder passed, she let up on her grip, but didn't let go of Pike's hand. She just closed her eyes and used that small connection to hold back the memories and the scenes of the shack at bay, long enough to fall asleep finally.

Pike stared at Vaya noting her face, which had been filled with fear and anger just a minute ago, was unbelievably beautiful when she was at peace. He watched each breath she took, mesmerized by them, wondering what could have scared her so bad she was afraid to be alone.


Her name was May and she was the cook for Mr. Voll and Mrs. Winnowill. She was a small woman of human stature, standing just at five feet with long brown straight hair that was now shot through with grey. She had come from back East at Mr. Voll's request, so many years ago, packing up all she owned to move out to his house in Two-Moons. She had secretly loved him from afar for just as long, even longer then her tenure at the house. It was why she had agreed to come out to the frontier. He was so regal, so virile and strong those days when the land around the town was still wild. But he had never shown an interest in her other than her daily chores and cooking. Yes, it was lonely at times, and maybe another woman would have moved on, but it was a good life to May. She saw him every day, and even if he didn't requite her love, Mr. Voll was still so important to her. It didn't matter to her he only thought of her in the light of a cook. If that was all she was too him then that is what she would be to him, for him.

She passed down the hall quietly, heading to the kitchen to check on the staples and food for the morning breakfast. Mr. Voll still requested his fried eggs and bacon in the mornings, the amount drastically diminishing with the years, but Olbar would still want that plus his biscuits and gravy, fried potatoes, strawberry preserves and steaming black coffee. The man could, and probably did somewhere in the past, eat a whole horse.

May was passing the library when a voice called out scaring her. "May, is that you?"

She jumped a bit at the question, and then looked in to see Mrs. Winnowill still up and a bit agitated. "Yes ma'am, it's me. Is there something you need?"

"Yes, I need some chamomile tea please. Would you bring it to me here in the library?" Winnowill asked.

"Yes ma'am. I'll make it as fast as I can." May said before walking to the kitchen.

"Thank you May." Winnowill replied with a tired smile.

The cook went straight the kitchen and stoked the fire on the stove, adding a new log to get the heat up. She put some water in the kettle from the kitchen pitcher and then placed it on the eye to heat. She went then to the pantry to find the jar of tea leaves. The Volls had they're tea shipped in from back East, two special types, a strong grey for Mr. Voll and a nice chamomile for Mrs. Winnowill. Only the jar that held the aromatic tea for the mistress was empty, and May chided herself for not filling it when it was emptied the other day. She would have to go to the cellar by the mud room to fetch another bag and she hated the root cellar. It was damp and just hard to get into, but Mrs. Winnowill was waiting for her tea and there was no excuse for that.

So, May took up a candle and went from the pantry to the mud room, straight to the east corner where the benches for people to sit on to remove their boots sat and next to those, where the floor dropped down into a set of stairs, was the door to the root cellar. May opened the knob easily and ducked inside, going down another set of stairs as the candle threw a long sinister looking shadow on the walls and out into the mud room. She noticed there was a small trail of water in the cellar but paid it no attention as she looked for the tea.

Suddenly, there was a thud from the cellar, and the light from the candle that was casting out into the mud room went out as the door creaked ever so slowly closed.


To 'walk' wasn't something you learned in a day, a month, or even a year. It took time to master the small details of the practice, to clear the mind and focus on nothingness and everything all at once. It took control to settle the body down, to control its energy and force, and then blend that same energy with the world around you. And it took a belief, an acceptance that one could 'walk', because only with that could one venture to other worlds, other planes. Some places one traveled to were like the 'Dream World', soft pleasant meadows where the breeze was constant and mild and filled with sweet smells. And there were places dark and treacherous one had to be careful of. To 'walk' was simply to see and experience more than what the material world offered, and it could be very dangerous.

Rain and Willowgreen took years to achieve this ability in the circle, and with Matron Savah's help, they did it. Sister Winnowill achieved it in shorter time, only half of what they took, which may have led to the cold feelings between her and Willowgreen. The circle always met in the cellar under the boarding house, and always went to the same place when 'walking', the field. They never ventured from it, mainly because they didn't know how. Savah encouraged them all to 'walk' when not in the circle, to practice, and all three had mastered it to the point they could do it with little effort. Winnowill did it by the tree holding a poetry book, letting everyone think she was reading, and Willowgreen had 'walked' once when she was helping a horse deliver a foal. There was no set rule to doing the 'walk', except you only traveled to the field and nowhere else.

Savah made that very clear, nowhere else.

And yet, the usual crystal blue sky and sweet gentle grass of the field didn't greet Rain or Willowgreen this time as they awoke. The peaceful and serene prairie he was used to seeing was gone. He was dressed in his robes, the ones he always wore when making the circle, but for a second Rain thought he might have woken up outside of the boarding house in a wild storm. Yet, he knew like he always knew, that this was the 'Dream World'. His body, and that of Willowgreen's, was back at the circle in the cellar they used when they took the 'walk', wearing their regular clothes by the fire.

Something was wrong, very wrong.

Rain sat up as gusting winds whipped the tall grass and pebbles into him, causing small stinging pains along his exposed skin. He held up his hand looking for Willowgreen, and spotted her quick enough, laying just a few feet away, but his Mother of Memory, Miss Savah, was nowhere to be found. Rain stumbled over to Willowgreen, putting his body between her and the wind, blocking the worse of its effect. She looked around holding her hair back while screaming at her protector for the moment.

"What's happening? Are we lost?"

"I don't know. I don't see Mother Savah anywhere." Rain yelled back.

"We have to go and find Mother Savah, or we may never know where we are, we may never get back." Willowgreen answered, screaming against the wind.

The doctor, and dream walker, only nodded and helped his fellow seeker and love from the ground as the wind amazingly picked up. He held her to him, to give her some support, as a heavy rain started to fall, each drop hitting them like rocks. They had to find Savah Rain thought. They couldn't stay here long. The pair stumbled along in the growing storm, yelling out for Savah, hoping she could hear them.


The spraying and whistling of the kettle was maddening to an already upset Winnowill. She walked quickly into the kitchen, ready to skin May, only the cook was wasn’t by the stove, or anywhere near for that matter.

"May! Where are you?" Winnowill called out looking for her cook. When it was evident that the lady wasn't within shouting distance, the mistress of the house took things into her own hands.

Winnowill grabbed a cloth towel holder off the counter, grabbed the screaming kettle off the stove, and dropped it onto the large island in the center of the kitchen. She threw the holder down beside the still hot kettle, ignoring the small burn in her fingers as the kettle mercifully cooled down and stopped all its caterwauling.

"May, where are you?" Winnowill asked again, looking around the semi-dark kitchen, noticing for the first time how low the light was.

The mistress of the house crossed her arms over her chest thinking that if her cook had hurt herself working in this dungeon, without taking the proper steps in providing the necessary amount of lighting, then she would not be getting her wages. Winnowill sighed heavily, wanting her tea even more now, when she saw a small light coming from the mud room, the glow of a single candle. The cellar, that's where May had gone Winnowill thought shaking her head and walking out of kitchen.

"May, you could have burned the house down with the kettle." She said out loud approaching the open door.

But there was no May, only the small candle and its holder lying on the floor by the stairs to the cellar. Winnowill stood perfectly still staring at the candle in curiosity. Her arms were still wrapped over her chest as she wondered just what was going on.

From behind, out of the dark of the shadows, he came grabbing and trapping Winnowill in a hard as steel hug. All at once she was off her feet, and before she could scream, a cloth dripping with some liquid slapped over her mouth and nose. The arms squeezed in hard forcing the air in her lungs out with a gasp, and as she fought to get it back, the odor from the cloth started to take hold. The world grew hazy, the dark began to close around her vision, and out of desperation she did the only thing her fear filled mind could, would do.

She fell back letting go of this world for the 'walk'.


"That's it, take it all in, every bit of your own medicine."

It wasn't much of fight and John Lee didn't expect one. Winnowill was out cold in his arms as he removed the handkerchief from her face. He gently, like a lover, rotated her body around in his arms until she was facing him, her head flopping onto his shoulder.

"Oh, it has been too long since I have seen your beauty, maybe too long." John Lee whispered, cradling Winnowill in one arm and rubbing her neck and ear with the other.

Then John Lee put out the candle by knocking it over and stepping on the wick. There was no sense in burning down the house, he thought. He carried Winnowill then, through the kitchen, but before exiting he reached down and pulled off one of her boots dropping it in the doorway, right in the very middle.

"I hope that old bird takes a few minutes to notice you've gone missing. We need time to catch up you and me." John Lee said with a small evil laugh.


Rain and Willowgreen had been walking forever it felt like when they saw Savah and someone else with her. The rain was coming down in sheets now, being driven by the wind that had knocked Willowgreen down more than once. If it wasn't for Rain holding her upright the elf might have been blown away at any moment. They were lucky to see their Mother of Memory too as visibility wasn't much past the end of an outstretched arm and hand. As the two pairs met up, Rain took hold of Savah's arm, helping her fight the storm and stay upright. He also couldn't help but stare at the new arrival, another elf with long flowing white hair that was presently flattened against her head by the driving rain, and what looked like leaves growing out of a circlet on her head.

"Matron, are you all right?" Willowgreen screamed loudly.

"Yes, but we have to find Winnowill!" Savah screamed back.

"We haven't seen her, are you sure she'll come?" Willowgreen asked back with a scream

"Yes," The stranger answered with her own yell trying to carry over the wind, "she has not entered the 'walk', but she will. We need to keep looking."

"Yes, we need to keep moving." Savah yelled, nodding her head while wiping her face.

"We need to go back, to the circle, if we can." Rain shouted countering the choice

"No," the stranger said with a shake of her head sling water off the leaves, "we cannot leave until we find her and bring her back."

Willowgreen turned to Rain and only nodded, her voice unable carry over the howling winds now. The vet had seen a tornado once, watched it lift a house right up and throw it like a stack of toothpicks across a field.

This wind was starting to get worse.

Rain nodded back, and the group of four now walked on slowly as the doctor fought to keep the other three upright in the storm, and moving also. He couldn't help but think staying was a bad idea, Winnowill be damned.


The storm was keeping him up, or he'd like to blame his lack of sleep on it. In truth worry was making Voll amble slowly through the halls of his house. He wore no shoes and his white wingtip shirt was un-tucked as he passed the door into the kitchen. He looked around the counters and large table for the plate of cookies and saw it on the edge of the island station. He smiled thinking about May and her shortbread cookies. Voll picked a cookie up, thinking he would need to talk with May more, be friendlier now as the years were going by, but then his thought stopped. The cookie was maybe two inches from his lips as his eyes locked onto the small object in the doorway.

He found the first shoe, which made him wonder just what was going on, and then its matching twin just a few feet away. Voll picked up both of his wife's boots with a shocked look. It wasn't like Winnowill to take off her shoes and just drop them in the hall, like a used strip of leather. He followed the trail up the hall, saw something black lying on the floor, and as he approached it, the small bundle was her skirt with the buttons missing on the side where she fastened it in place. And up ahead, in the doorway of library, was her shirt, also lying in a pile. Voll looked around, making sure he was in the right house still and not somewhere else, before stalking forward and calling out while he reached down and grabbed the white bundle on the floor.

"Winnowill, what are you do-"

His words froze in his mouth in horror as the sight in the library stopped him cold.

Doric was in the center of the room, face down on the rug and not moving.

Winnowill was in her chair, a blanket covering up her state of undress, and against the side of her white neck was a very long sharp knife.

It all would have shocked him, the old bird, but the white hand that held the knife sent fear into Voll's heart and mind. The red-hot eyes stared at him, locked onto him, and a vulgar smile broke across the white face showing red gums that looked like blood. And when the man spoke it made his heart skip.

"Good evening Mr. Voll. You remember me, don't you?"

Oh, by the Abode yes, how could he ever forget John Lee Pettimore.


The water poured over her face as Winnowill held up her hand trying to hold back the driving rain, but it was obviously not working. She sat up off the ground and noticed she was wearing her robes, the ones she wore when she worked with Mother Savah. So, that had to mean she went out of her body, 'walked', but how? She hadn't made the circle with the others. She didn't clear her mind or try to focus on taking a 'walk'. It all just happened.

But why? And what was happening to the 'Dream World'?

Winnowill gained her feet and was promptly knocked down again by the wind. She fought the gale, and was finally able to stand up, in a semi-hunched over way, and took a step or two before noticing the large pool that had gathered in a small depression where she had woken. She had turned to look away from the rain and saw the pool, which was swirling and popping like mad. And this should be expected, with the storm and all, only the water churned in the wrong direction she thought.

And the popping, it wasn't from the falling rain. The popping was going too slow

No, there was something odd about this pool of water, as if it wasn’t water at all.

Something told her to get away and to do it now.

Winnowill decided to listen to that feeling and get out of this 'bowl' in the land, make for higher ground and try to find out what was going on. It took three hard steps but she did it. She reached the lip of the depression, still in that semi-hunched over walking form.

And that's when the pool erupted behind her.

She spun in fear and shock to see something crawling out, a great beast with scales and the lower body like a snake with the head and upper body of a giant black cat. It hissed with a large fork tongue, and as the rain struck its massive tree sized body, the drops sizzled, as if the beast was hot beyond the touch. And then Winnowill felt it, a send so strong and powerful it hurt, like a hundred knives stabbing all at once into her head.

And it was just one word, over and over and over again...

MADCOIL...MADCOIL...MADCOIL




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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Five - Part Fifteen   Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:35 pm

And here's the next piece of our grand story, written by me, Wiseshaman

Day Five - Part Fifteen

The boys pack to leave Silver Springs and everyone from Two-Moons rides to help em'!

The time had come to leave.

Even with the storm right over the town of Silver Springs, raging full tilt through the night, letting loose sheets of rain, it was time to go. The saloons filled with miners still dirty form digging, and towns folks hoping to get some of the money out of those dirty miners. There was a group who had hit a nice vein earlier in the day, whooping it up with some of the local girls, and the best whiskey the house could, would, provide. Another small group tired of one spot, walked drunkenly along the half-built walkway toward another saloon, where the girls and the whiskey might be a mite better. But there was one group who stayed out of the festivities, choosing to go and see the banker Boone about a proposition the man was offering. A job where a posse of men with the necessary fortitude and lack of morals could make a nice payday.

From the doorway of the jail, the Sheriff checked his pocket watch noting it was time, and turned to Cutter giving the elf a single nod. There were no words, didn't need any as they had gone over the plan so many times it was burned into their brains. The only thing left was just to ride, and it was time to do just that.

Cutter nodded back and turned, walking down the hall to the back cell where Skywise was sitting and talking with his parents, getting reacquainted after so many years of being apart. Redlance was standing by the door like a silent sentry and spoke up as the Major approached.

"Time?" was all he asked.

"Yep, is the wagon ready?" Cutter asked back.

"Yeah, it's just out back there." Redlance answered with a shake of his head in the direction of the backdoor.

"Good," was all Cutter said stepping into the cell.

"Time?" Skywise questioned.

"Yep, everyone's in the saloon drunk, or well on their way to it." Cutter replied walking over.

"Are you sure it's a good idea to ride at night like this?" Shale inquired with concern.

"The three of us have some experience riding at night, and it's not like we have the choice of staying." Cutter said with a warm smile.

"Yeah, your right." Shale whispered looking to his wife.

Redlance handed over something wrapped in a brown cloth to Skywise as he asked his parents a quick question. "Do you two know how to shoot a gun?"

"Yeah, we both have." Eyes High answered, watching her son unwrap the cloth to reveal a Schofield six shooter. He broke the breach, took note the gun was loaded, and then slammed it shut before handing the weapon to his mother with the barrel pointing to the ground.

"Good, if something happens, and someone comes at the wagon you've never seen before then shoot, understand?" Skywise asked holding onto the gun for a second more.

Eyes High looked back to her son, and realized it was her husband was staring back at her, those same eyes filled with an unending energy. She nodded taking the Schofield and putting the large gun in her dress pocket. Shale reached and took her hand as the five got ready to ride out.

"Red, give Skywise a hand with Shale. I'll help Eyes High." Cutter ordered as the tracker nodded and walked over.

Shale sat up with a grunt, biting against the pain in his side, as Skywise moved his right side and Redlance his left. The two formed a quick basket with their arms and carried the injured elf from the cell, out the back door to the waiting wagon. Eyes High stood up, meaning to follow right behind her husband, when the pain in her rump shot down her leg like a hot knife. She hissed and grabbed for the wall to keep from falling, but it was Cutter who caught her and held her up.

"Whoa ma'am," the Major said catching her as Eyes High let out a small blush feeling the strong arms hold her, "if you don't mind, I think I'll carry you to the wagon, might help to avoid other injuries."

The smile was warm and the joke not meant to hurt making her giggle and only nod that it was okay. Cutter gave a nod back and with an easy swing, he swept her right off the floor and into his arms. Eyes High innocently slipped her arm around his back and spoke softly as the Major walked out of the cell.

"Thank you for everything."

"No need, we kind of got you in this mess ma'am so it's our responsibility to get you out." Cutter chuckled heading for the backdoor.

"No, thank you Cutter, for keeping my son alive during the war and for being his friend." Eyes High added.

"He's my brother, side by side through anything."

"And what about Redlance?" Eyes High asked.

"Oh, we’re brothers too, guess we're a band of brothers you could say. The wild bunch sort of." Cutter replied with a laugh, quickly stepping out the door and to back of the wagon.

Eyes High had just enough time to hold up her hand to cover her face from the pouring rain as she was handed to Skywise and Redlance, who helped her to the back of the wagon. The whole bed of the wooden cart had been covered with blankets Redlance had found, borrowed, or bought in an attempt to make the trip somewhat comfortable. As she settled in next to Shale, Redlance covered her with a blanket before turning to go.

"Thank you Redlance, for everything." She called to him.

He turned back for a second and smiled while speaking. "No need for thanks ma'am."

She watched him crawl down before turning to pull the blankets up high, around Shale, and move the saddle for Starjumper behind his head to give him some more support. It was then, right there in the back of the wagon, she decided she was going to pay these boys back for giving her and Shale all this help. She was going to pay them back no matter what.

The tracker touched down with a skip as Skywise and Cutter were slipping on long coats getting ready for the wet ride. As the Major handed one over for him, Redlance just shook his head and waved off the offer. Cutter frowned and spoke with concern still holding the coat out. "I don't need you catching a fever and dying on the trail Red."

"I won't. Anyways, the coat will just weight me down." The tracker answered

Reluctantly, Cutter took the coat back turning to Skywise giving out the plan for the ride out of town. "I'll stay just out of sight on your right. Keep the wagon on the road so we don't it stuck in the mud too damn bad."

"Got it," Skywise shot back with a sharp nod pulling up the collar on his coat.

Cutter turned to Redlance and sighed hating what he was about to say. "I need you stay behind and keep an eye out for us Red. Anyone comes out of town, on our trail, take note of how many and then get back to us. If no one shows, just follow on our back trail and keep an eye out till noon tomorrow and meet up with us."

"I'll do it." Redlance responded with a small shake of his head.

The Major turned to go to Nightrunner when the Sheriff stepped out of the back door with a greener in one hand and a box shells in the other. He handed the shotgun to Skywise along with the box of shells while offering an explanation. "Thought you might need this on the trip, I'll get the town to replace it for me, serves em' right for all this trouble."

Cutter reached out and offered his hand to the human who took it with a hearty shake. "Thanks for everything Sheriff."

"You boys be careful, and keep an eye out if you can in this deluge." The Sheriff added breaking the shake.

"We will." Skywise said nodding due to his hands being full.

"Be careful yourself Sheriff." Redlance offered the large man.

"I will son." The Sheriff said with a small grin before stepping back inside the jail.

Cutter gave the Captain the raincoat while issuing one last order. "Here, keep the greener dry and at the ready."

Skywise smiled back sliding two large shells into the barrels before closing the breech with a loud click. "You don't have to tell me that brother."

"All right, let's ride. We'll see you noon tomorrow Red." Cutter offered with a handshake to Redlance.

The tracker didn't say anything, just nodded and returned the handshake. The pair broke as Redlance turned to get on Firecoat when Skywise grabbed his shoulder and spoke.

"Be careful Red. We may not have served together, but we're still brothers and I expect to see you tomorrow."

"I'll be careful Skywise," Redlance said then nodded toward the wagon, "take care of your folks and yourself."

The Captain gave a small laugh before clapping the tracker on the shoulder and going back to the driver's seat of the wagon. He climbed up into the rig, setting the covered shotgun at his side, making sure the coat covered the greener. He looked back into the bed of the wagon through the opening in the cover. There was his mother and father looking back with worry filled eyes, and for the first time that night, Skywise thought he just might be able to say what they wanted to hear. Then a loud bang filled the wagon bed as they looked up to see Cutter closing the bed gate and checking on the reins for Starjumper, ensuring the horse would follow.

Eyes High felt so much worry she was sick to her stomach, watching the Major walk over to his black and white Appaloosa. She looked back to see Skywise closing the flap on the wagon and a sudden feeling of being separated shot into her throat.

"Wait," She called out stopping her son in mid close, "leave it open. I want to keep an eye out for you."

"I'll be okay, and you need to keep dry." He countered.

"I need to see you!" Eyes High said earnestly.

"Okay, I'll leave it open for you. Now get down and keep your eyes open." Skywise ordered with a wink before turning back in the seat.

The Captain pulled his collar up again, keeping the water out as he gave the horses a swift smack of the reins. The two started the wagon forward with a lurch as Skywise looked to his right to see Cutter just out on the edge of his sight. It was going to be a long night, but he trusted his brother to be there on his right. If anyone came for them he would call out and then the greener would call out.

The tracker drifted from sight little by little, the lights of Silver Spring throwing his shadow a long way. Still, it wasn't enough for Shale or Eyes High, as they watched Redlance suddenly disappear from sight riding off on Firecoat. That feeling of separation went into her heart now, as Eyes High worried for the tracker, felt a good bit of fear for him as he stayed behind watching their backtrail.


The kitchen was lit, but deserted, as Dewshine came in the back door with the key she knew was hidden by that old rock by the stoop. She wasn't sure what she was doing, or what she was going to say to Tyleet. All day long she had worried about her friend, about their friendship, after her father took Dart's side in the whole mess the deputy created. How could her father take his side? And that fight with Scouter sure didn't help a thing.

Dewshine walked over to the door that led to the dining room, fully expecting to find Nightfall and her mother with the others cleaning up. What she got was totally unexpected. The dining room was full of people, and they seemed a little upset about something. She made out Joyleaf and Bearclaw and Dart and Clearbrook. She even heard Tyleet talking.

"Mama, are you sure you okay?"

Nightfall sat on a stool, as did Crescent and Leetah and Shenshen, dripping from their wet clothes and smarting from their headaches. A large cup of coffee sat in front of each, and Longbranch filled the cups with strong black coffee. It was bad enough when the four came stumbling through the front door in what seemed a mild state of being drunk, but when Dart started laying out what he thought happened it scared the mothers, Brownberry and Moonshade, half-to-death.

"I'll be okay little one. I just need some of your grandpa's coffee." Nightfall replied with a pain filled smile.

"You need a swift kick in the rump is what you need." Brownberry hissed putting a blanket over each wet woman to get them warm.

"Now Brownberry, settle down. Nothing happened, right ladies?" Clearbrook asked the women. She had followed Treestump down after learning about what had taken place, offering her help and concern.

"Si, nothing happened, I do not think." Leetah replied before taking a sip of the coffee that made her warm instantly but curled her lip. It was strong enough to get up and walk on its own, right out the front door she thought.

"I hope not. I don't remember a thing." Crescent said as Moonshade dried her long black hair.

"What is your father going to say once he finds out about this Crescent?" She remarked, handing the cup of coffee to her daughter.

The room fell silent at the mention of the missing horse whisper, and thankfully it was the elf's own son who spoke up and broke it. "The effects of the mickey should wear off soon. The headaches will be here for a while though."

"And, where were you? If you knew about this mickey why didn't you stop it?" Moonshade demanded.

"Now Moonshade, don't go and blame the deputy here. At least he found them." Joyleaf said trying to calm the dress maker.

"Yeah Ma, I had no clue these fellas were in town, the Marshall and I only heard about em' from the Sheriff in Silver Springs last week. They've run the same thing up there, and he asked us to keep an eye out. If I had known I sure would have arrested them before they tried to get frisky with my sister." Dart shot back. He looked over to see the daggers coming from Tyleet and averted his eyes back to his mother.

"Thanks Dart." Crescent mumbled, sipping the coffee, and having the same effect as Leetah. Her top lip practically danced from the taste of the Chicory.

"I don't care, that's it, do you hear me. No more shooting whiskey and no more going into the Hammer and Tongs!" Brownberry spit.

"Honey, you can't tell Nightfall what to do." Longbranch said pouring Shenshen another cup of coffee. She was the only one who seemed to like it, gulping down her first cup with two or three swallows.

"I can too!" Brownberry retorted with a snap.

"No, you can't. Nightfall is a grown woman with a child. What happened tonight was an unfortunate incident, but thankfully nothing bad came out of it. I mean, this could have been so much worse." Longbranch said with a shake of his head.

"Oh, you may be right." Brownberry sighed with a shake of her head, realizing her husband was right. This could have been a hundred times worse.

"Did anyone see anything?" Bearclaw asked.

"Nope, but the Marshall went over to talk with Picknose. He's gonna find something out hopefully." Dart answered.

"Good." Tyleet said drying off her mother's hair. The deputy couldn't miss the anger in the voice or demeanor of the girl, and it hurt.

The front door swung open with a blast of wind and rain as the Marshall stepped through and into the restaurant, a wet long coat dripping water. He took off his hat and walked over to the counter as Longbranch spoke up.

"What did you find out Stump?"

"Nothing new," he said with a look that everyone knew was pure concern, and they thought it was for the girls, but it was something else entirely. "We got another problem though."

"What?" Nightfall asked sensing it was about her betrothed.

"Cutter and the boys ran into a whole mess of trouble in Silver Springs, the worse kind it seems." Stump returned with a sigh.

"What happened to my son?" Joyleaf inquired with fear.

"It seems they got into the middle of some bank robbery and shoot out, the facts all too fuzzy right now, and the Sheriff didn't go into it." The Marshall reported.

The whole room gasped, even Dewshine did it from her hiding spot. Foxfur, who had been hanging back, stepped up with a question and a look of worry. "Are they okay? How is Skywise?"

The Marshall just shook his head and continued on. "All three are alive, and only Redlance was hurt with some busted ribs."

"No, Papa!" Tyleet yelped causing Nightfall to take her hand.

"Now wait a minute, their alive and coming home tonight." Stump explained.

"Tonight, in this storm! They are insane!" Shenshen remarked with a squeal, which drew an instant hiss form Leetah.

"They don't have a choice. It seems the man they got into the shootout with, he’s the banker in town and he put a bounty on their heads. The Sheriff said half the town might join in a posse, go looking for a chance to try and make a quick dollar." Stump calmly stated.

Bearclaw shook his head and spoke up. "Nothing to worry about people, the boys will lead those hunters on a merry chase. Those three on horseback are a match for any posse."

"That would have been the normal case, but the boys are bringing two injured elves with them in a wagon pulled by a pair of old nags. They won't be outrunning anyone." Treestump finished with a shake of his head.

Bearclaw slammed his hand down on the counter as Nightfall jumped up, speaking with a serious, demanding tone. "I'm going after them. We can meet in the middle, on the road."

"You're damn straight Trick Shot!" Joyleaf exclaimed jumping up from her seat.

"Hold on-"The Marshall started before a low growl from Bearclaw stopped him in his tracks.

"If you think I'm leaving my son out there in the night, being chased by a bunch of trigger happy miners, you're as crazy as a two-dollar whore Stump!"

"No, I don't expect you to sit on your hands Bearclaw, but ‘m not letting you go without a good-sized backup. I have to stay here and find out what went down tonight, but Dart, Scouter, and Longbranch will ride with you to meet up with them in the middle, like Nightfall said." Treestump offered.

"I'm going with them!" Nightfall demanded in a tone that said there was no negotiating with her.

"I am going too!" Leetah exclaimed suddenly, standing up with a shaky bolt.

"You are going? Then I am going to!" Shenshen added.

"Are you ladies sure? This isn’t going to be a dinner party, someone may have to shoot someone else before it's all over." The Marshall explained.

"I'm going to help my tracker." Nightfall said coldly, assuredly.

"And I am going to help the Major." Leetah remarked with the same tone.

The Marshall held up his hands and spoke calmly. "I got no problem with you going as long as you understand what's at stake."

Nightfall only nodded as Longbranch took over. "Okay, Bearclaw and Joyleaf, you ride to your place and get ready, we'll be by in thirty to get you. Girls, you have ten minutes to get changed and get ready to ride. Scouter, go and get the horses out of livery at Two-Edge's."

"I'll make some sandwiches for everyone." Brownberry called out, ignoring her husband who was busy getting the Spencer out from under the counter. The thought of him having to use that rifle scared her like nothing else.

"Are you sure about Scouter?" Clearbrook turned to Treestump concerned for her son.

"He'll be okay Clearbrook. Dart and the others will keep an eye out for him, and they need him right now." The Marshall said.

The school teacher only nodded, and then headed to the back to help make sandwiches for the others as Leetah and Shenshen ran from the restaurant. As she walked past Moonshade and Crescent, she didn't see the look of anguish in the dress maker's daughter's eyes as everyone ran around.

Crescent was confused, awash in her own emotions. She wanted to run up the stairs and get changed, follow her sister and help the elf she loved. But she couldn't move because of that old fear of destroying it all for Nightfall. It stopped her from going up those stairs. What if she caused something to happen between Nightfall and Redlance? What if she caused them to break apart? Oh, it was so damn confusing. Then a steady hand touched her shoulder and she looked up to see her mother's violet eyes afire, just like her father Strongbow’s would be when something serious needed saying.

"Go, go and get the man that you love."

"Mama-"Crescent tried to explain, tell her it wasn't that simple, before getting cut off.

"Don't you wait another day young lady. You love him, and he loves you, and Nightfall loves you both. Don't lose another day, and don't wait any more. Go and get him!"

"Really?"

"Yes ma'am, now go while I help make sandwiches."

Crescent kissed the cheek of her mother with a smile as wide as her face would let it go before running from the dining room. She ran up the stairs, failing to notice the door to the closet under the stairs was just slightly ajar, caused when Dewshine took to it, hiding from everyone. She reached Nightfall's room just as Tyleet was filling her father's saddle bag with extra clothes for him.

"Are you going?" Nightfall asked, stripping off the wet dress.

"Yeah, and I'm going to tell him...how I feel." Crescent huffed, starting to get out of her dress.

If Crescent was waiting for a fight it never happened as Nightfall only smiled and then reached over helping her sister unbutton the back. "It's about time you did."

"Please, tell me I won't mess things up for you two. Please tell me we'll be a family, that I won't feel alone anymore." Crescent whispered, suddenly struggling with the buttons of the dress on her wrist.

A small, but strong, pair of arms wrapped around her from behind as Nightfall hugged her and whispered warmly in her ear. "I won't let you be alone again, and nether will he. I promise you that my sweet one."

Crescent leaned her head over, touching Nightfall's, as a small tear rolled down her cheek, and then a second pair of smaller arms hugged her at her waist and Crescent looked down to see Tyleet smiling lovingly at her.

"We're going to be a family, all of us. I promise."

"Thanks, you two. I feel better." Crescent said with a sigh just as Longbranch's voice shouted through the door.

"You got five minutes and this train is leaving!"

"You better not leave us!" Crescent shouted back as Tyleet helped her get undressed and Nightfall laughed.

In less than three minutes, Nightfall and Crescent had changed and were running back downstairs where Leetah and Shenshen had also changed into riding pants, expensive looking ones. Nightfall gave them a pair of old wide brimmed hats to keep the rain off, and Longbranch provided a pair of thick long coats to keep them dry. Brownberry and the others loaded sandwiches of all types into a saddle bag and as she handed it to her husband she whispered to him.

"Bring our boy back to us."

"We'll take care of him." Longbranch replied giving her a kiss.

"Longbranch," Foxfur asked abruptly.

"Yeah,"

"If possible, can you take care of the Captain too? I'd kind of like to see him again, alive and not down at P.W.'s, if you know what I mean." She added with a smile that was nothing but worry.

"I'll bring him back to you, I promise."

Foxfur didn't say a word, only leaned in and kissed his cheek. The group sat in the dining room, all there was to do now was to wait for Scouter to bring the horses.


The Livery was dark and quiet as Scouter got all the horses together. He made sure everything was ready as Jarrah put the final touches on, cinching down saddle belts and getting bridles in place. She didn't notice how the apprentice Deputy kept looking up at the hayloft overhead. She didn't know that earlier that same day, Scouter and Dewshine were busy kissing and loving up there, old Jarrah or Two-Edge never knew. It was a game to him and Dewshine, a 'love' game. Only this time, instead of ending with them holding each other and talking about their future together, it ended with a fight.

Dewshine was upset about something, but what about Scouter wasn't sure. Hell, he was clueless most of the time with her. But this afternoon, she was especially confusing to him, as perplexing as one of those puzzles Aurek put in the paper or Mrs. Clearbrook put up on the board in school. This was the last year she would be around for the spring, Dewshine was turning 17 after school got out, and Joyleaf had agreed to take her on the tour. She was supposed to be spending her time thinking of them, wanting to be around him, and not that crazy stick elf Tyldak. All he did was mention the thing with Strongbow and how it bothered him, reminded him of his father and the fact he was missing. It was too close to home.

But all she wanted to do was talk about flying. All she wanted to do was 'fly'.

Yeah, he called 'flying' a dumb idea. If we were supposed to fly we'd be like birds he had shouted. And of course, she screamed back that he didn't understand and never would before running from the loft.

Maybe he never would understand her Scouter thought, taking the reins of some of the horses while Jarrah took the rest and started out of the barn. But he sure would like to try he thought, one last time, before turning his mind back to the task at hand.

A few minutes later Dewshine scrambled into the barn from the rain, soaked to the bone looking for him, searching for Scouter.

All the screaming this afternoon between them, it was so damn petty...so useless.

And now he was gone, riding off into some dangerous thing because of Cutter and Redlance and Skywise. Why did they have to start problems? Why did her father have to send him off like this?

Why did she get caught in that closet? If she had only slipped out a minute earlier, they could have said goodbye.

A bale of hay provided a safe place to land as she dropped onto it hugging herself tightly trying to hold back the tears, and failing.


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Wiseshaman

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Join date : 2012-06-23

PostSubject: ElfWest Day Five - Part Sixteen   Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:12 am

And here's the next piece of our grand story, written by me, Wiseshaman

Day Five - Part Sixteen

Voll talks with John Lee and we find out why the albino is in town...


Joyleaf stood on the porch of her house, watching the rain come down in sheets and wondered, more like worried, about her son and the others. She tried to keep the thought of how many men would actually take up this banker's offer of hunting Cutter, Skywise, and Redlance out of her head, but it was impossible, senseless to even try. To think, her son had survived the war, and the battle of Belles Ferry, only to be hunted down by some damn miner looking to make an extra dollar for some damn bounty.

Well, not her boy, Joyleaf thought touching her hip where the Colt peacemaker rested in its holster, underneath her long coat.

Not her boy!

Then, out of the dark and rain, she saw the group riding up and felt her heart speed up with anticipation, of the prospect of finally riding out, of finally doing something. She turned back to the house in time to see her husband Bearclaw coming out the front door finally with the Henry Rifle in his hand. He closed the door, locked it, before turning to her, his long coat swinging with his movement. For a second Joyleaf thought he looked like that old devil she had fallen so helplessly in love with, the wild pistoleer who feared no man or elf. He heart swelled with love as she waited for her man to walk over.

"You ready to ride beautiful?" He asked.

"To keep our boy alive, hell yes!" She answered.

"That's my wife!" He smiled as the group of riders stopped by the front steps.

The water poured off Longbranch's hat as he yelled up at the pair on the porch from the back of his horse. "Are you ready to go?"

"Yep, but where's Rain? You know, we might need a doctor." Joyleaf questioned scanning the group for the town doc.

"We couldn't find him. We got Rose and Marisol though. They're pretty good with a doctor's bag I hear. We'll make due with them." Longbranch explained.

"All right then, we'll get the horses and head out." Bearclaw agreed, holding Joyleaf's hand with his free one as the pair ran for the barn.

Then, less then ten minutes, later Blackfell and Shadowsheen rode away from house with the other horses staying in step with the group. Bearclaw and Joyleaf and the others kept their heads down riding in what quiet they could, each thinking, concentrating, on what they were riding for and who they were riding to meet.


The rain beating against the colored glass of the library was the only sound in the room, besides the heavy nervous breathing that flooded Voll's ears. It was his breathing, and his run away heartbeat, that seemed to drown out everything around him. The low-light of the single candle on Winnowill's small writing desk threw shadows all around the room and hindered his eye sight, just enough to keep the corners of  the room in the black depths of the night. The light from the candle had no issue illuminating the large chair his wife liked to sit in to read though, or her covered body at the moment as she lay in it, or the menacing figure of the albino sitting on the arm of the chair with one leg drawn up on the cushion while he held a large knife at her neck.

His name was John Lee Pettimore, a man of some taste, minor refinement, and from all accounts and rumors a remorseless killer. Voll knew of John Lee by an introduction actually, when he went east to meet the men of the Railroad and plead his case to save the town of Two-Moons. The meeting was in a large personal study filled with the smoke from expensive cigars and heat from an ornate fireplace that the business men, who held the fate of his ranch and the town in their greedy hands, sat around discussing matters as men with power do. There was one to his left behind a desk, one in front sitting on a large leather couch, and one standing by the fireplace to his right. He was sitting in a rather large leather chair that was extremely comfortable with a glass of brandy in hand, talking amiably with these men, feeling rather like the doomed prisoner conversing with the hangmen when John Lee walked in. Almost at once Voll felt his blood chill as the white face and red eyes turned to him. He had never seen someone so pale before in all his life, and the black suit and white shirt seemed to make it all worse, like some portrayal of death itself.

"Ah, good evening Mr. Pettimore. Have you met Mr. Voll from Two-Moons?" The man who owned the house the study was built in said with a smile, which was pure mean, from behind the large Oak handcrafted desk.

"No sir, I have not had the pleasure." The albino replied with a small smile.

"Good evening sir," Voll offered with a nod as politeness required. He sure as hell wanted nothing to do with the man so everything was just protocol to him.

"Good evening to you sir, I must ask if it's not too bothersome, do you have problems with your hair? I only inquire because I see yours is white and long, like mine, and I hope to find some solution to the brittleness of my locks. It's a drawback from my condition I'm afraid." John Lee questioned.

Voll reached back to where his hair was pulled back into a pony tail, unconsciously checking to make sure it was still there for some reason. He smiled at the new man and spoke cautiously.

"I do nothing special. I must confess my wife sometimes helps me with it, being a lady she has knowledge of certain things in that arena that I do not. I could ask her if you wish." Voll tried to state politely and not sound too taken back.

"Oh there's no need to bother Mrs. Winnowill sir." Pettimore replied with a refined air as the Railroad men coughed from a long leather couch.

How did he know of Winnowill? Voll thought with a snap.

"How did the trip go Mr. Pettimore? Were you able to acquire that parcel of land for us at the requested price?" The same Railroad man who just coughed asked.

"Oh yes, the man who previously owned it was quite accommodating once our proposal was laid out to him in a less formal manner." The albino said with a wicked smile.

"Ah, well done Mr. Pettimore. You are quite the facilitator of our fortune." The man added from his spot by the fireplace.

"I am a simple servant sir, now I must depart as I have a previous engagement I have to attend. Nice meeting you Mr. Voll." John Lee stated with a graceful bow before disappearing form the room.

The men waited a minute before speaking, as if to give the albino time to leave the nearby area, and not hear what was about to be said. The man on the couch looked to the one by the fireplace with a rueful smile while speaking. "I believe I know where our Mr. Pettimore is heading."

"It's not that hard to guess." The man at the fireplace remarked with a laugh.

After the jocular moment had passed Voll ventured with a question hoping not to sound too lost. "Where is he going if I may ask?"

"To see the White Raven." The man at the fireplace remarked with a wink.

"The who?" Voll spoke up.

"She's an albino just like Mr. Pettimore," The man on the couch offered, turning to the man at the desk, "works for that magician chap, Maoriarty. Yet, and here's the best part, she's an elf like you Voll."

"An albino elf." Voll whispered thinking of an elf with the looks of Pettimore. It was more than a little frightening, and it showed on his face as the man at the desk offered him a little description of the women.

"Oh, she's nothing like our Mr. Pettimore, Mr. Voll. The Raven is as exquisite creature with skin like alabaster, long white silk hair, and eyes that could melt a man. Its two different sides of the same coin, we just got the mean side is all."

"Yes we did," the man at the fireplace remarked once again capturing Voll's attention, "but who knows, maybe Mr. Pettimore could 'persuade' her to make a visit to Two-Moons for you."

They all laughed, except for Voll,  who realized abruptly what Mr. Pettimore did for the men of the Railroad, his 'job' you might say. People back east called them 'Persuaders' while ranchers like himself called them 'Regulators'. There was no mistaking it, no hiding the truth among associates. Mr. Pettimore was the man you called to handle the dirty side of business, the jobs that you did not want to soil your hands with. He was no gun for hire or assassin you met in a smoky room, no sir, far from that. He was no thug you hired out of a bar on some city wharf and he was certainly no amateur at his work. He acted cold and methodical because that's what John Lee was, a cold and methodical being whose work was cold and methodical.

And when he came to your house in the dark of night, it was not for a social call.

"Why are you here Mr. Pettimore?" Voll stammered as a boom of thunder echoed outside.

"You know," John Lee started, ignoring the question while looking at Winnowill, "I remember her from the salons and balls back east. I would to have to watch everything from the dark corners of the rooms, from behind half-shut doors and curtains, can't have someone looking like me ruining your party now, can we? Oh, but she was captivating with this long black hair and huge eyes that would measure you in an instant. All the women were jealous of the attention, they couldn't stand the competition. They said she was a witch, that she clouded men's minds, and befuddled their hearts. They whispered hatefully she had lovers in various back rooms, all over the city, but it was all petty bitching and lies. We know different, don't we Mr. Voll?"

"Yes, we do." Voll whispered trying to figure out why Pettimore was here, now.

"The day she left the men wrung their hands and cried while the women, well, they all just sighed with relief. Some back east wondered why she chose to marry an old bird like you, so far out here in the middle of no-where. I think it was mostly for love, with a little something else thrown in on the side, a little like sugar for your tea you could say." Pettimore offered with raised eyebrows.

Voll felt his ire rise at the senseless conversation. He felt his anger rise at the sight of his wife with the knife at her neck. And he had had enough of John Lee suddenly. Voll stepped forward, his foot peeling up from the floor with a small rip sound, as his voice went down an octave with anger. "If you're here about Rayek's return, I have all ready taken care of the problem. There is no need to threaten my wife!"

"Mr. Voll, I'm not threatening your wife at all. I couldn't hurt such an exotic creature as she, but if you don't take that puff out of your chest and the bass from your voice, this conversation will take a turn you'll wish it had not." Pettimore growled back, and the look he gave the rancher reminded him of a nightmare he once had, a wolf attacking him.

The tension was as strong as steel, but Voll reined in his emotions. He forced his breathing to slow while holding up his hands to show he meant no harm. "I have the situation with Rayek under control. There is no threat to anyone from him, I promise."

"Mr. Voll, please, do you really think I would come all the way out here for a Hidalgo boy trying to find his father's killer? That matter is of no concern to us, and now that the weak link has been taken care of, it is none of you're concern either." Pettimore sneered.

It made sense Voll thought. He didn't buy into the fear Sun Toucher felt, or the paranoia Guttlekraw dreamed up. No, he knew better, Rayek's return would be like a flea to a stray dog for the men of the Railroad. No, this was something else entirely, something he hadn't seen coming, and it left him stupefied for a moment. Voll couldn't concentrate as watched John Lee switch the knife from one hand to the other then stroke the side of Winnowill's neck, as if he were a lover. His breathing was starting to speed up again at sight of the touch, yet, before Voll could react to it, Pettimore simply pulled the blanket covering her up and over Winnowill's shoulder, tucking it in. The 'Persuader' brushed a few strands of hair out her face before sitting up so fast it caught Voll by surprise.

"You, Mr. Voll, have the look of someone who is lost, and I can sympathize with a man who's feeling that way. So, I'm going take pity on you, and tell you why I'm here." John Lee explained taking a long silent step forward.

Yes, please, tell me just what is going on here Voll thought to himself as the albino suddenly twirled the knife from his left to his right hand in mid-air. Then the blade spun in circle, small spots of light danced off the gleaming blade as it tumbled, and the show mesmerized Voll. He was so intrigued by it that when the knife disappeared into the scabbard on John Lee's back he regained his senses. The rancher shook his head to clear it, but stopped once he saw the albino was almost nose to nose with him. Voll had to look up as Pettimore stood at least 6'1 or 2 and had about 6 inches on him

"Mr. Voll, I'm only going to explain this once, and because I know you're a learned elf, a great thinker, I know you'll only need to hear it once." John Lee explained with a look that confused Voll.

It actually looked like sympathy, actual worry, but that was impossible with John Lee.

"I work for someone else who sent me here to Two-Moons, someone who makes the men who run the Railroad look like a couple silly bakers. This employer has set into motion certain plans that cannot be altered or delayed, not by anyone, including your wife." John Lee continued on.

"Excuse me, I don't understand." Voll stammered still lost.

John Lee sighed and then stepped in a little closer, so close Voll could smell a sweetness coming off his skin. "There are four little elf women who found a map, a very special map, tucked inside a very special rifle found by four little elf men. These eight elves are going to carry out a plan my employer put into motion sometime ago, much to their chagrin, and to have that plan go awry after waiting for so long would cause undue pain to my employer, and in turn, she will pass along this pain to the one who got in the way, understand?"

Voll only nodded as John Lee held up his index finger, not menacingly, but as if to make a point to the rancher. "Your wife almost became the one who got in the way tonight. She tried to have one of the little elf women kidnapped, a special Spanish one. She paid two fools to do the job, who now hang in your barn by the way. You see, if it wasn't for my stepping in to keep this kidnapping from happening, I would be here for a very different reason and purpose, understand? I'm here to make sure nothing stops these elves from completing what they need to complete."

"Kidnapping?" Voll whispered in disbelief, stunned to the bone.

"Yes, taking one by force. I think she's done it before, the plan was too well thought out for the idiots in the barn to dream up." John Lee stated coldly.

"This," Voll said waving his hand out in an arc as if showing off the room to a perspective buyer, "all of this, was to protect us?"

"It was meant to make a point Mr. Voll. You need to impress upon her, the way I have impressed upon you tonight, what is important. That whatever plan she's knee deep in, whatever scheme she has dreamed of, stops. If anything happens to those elves, and they don't finish what they have started, then a lot of people will be upset and I'll become upset. And think about that Mr. Voll, do you want me upset? Do you want me to come back to your house, upset?" John Lee stated more than asked.

"No, not at all." Voll answered calmly as the faint spark of a realization started to shine through his mind.

"I have no morals or conscience Mr. Voll. My father and mother broke that in me long ago, stripped it away as clean as a mop will a dirty floor. Do not get the idea that this tonight was anything more than a dress rehearsal. If I have to, I will come back, tie your wife to that chair and set it on fire. I will make you watch every agonizing second and not bat an eye, am I clear Mr. Voll?" John Lee said walking for the door.

"Yes, I understand." Voll sputtered quickly, making eye contact with the albino, feeling the red eyes bore into him.  

"Good, now I'll be in town for a couple of days so we'll need to keep my presence out little secret. I need to visit Mr. Guttlekraw, and I don't need that fat troll ready for me, oh, and you can forgo the payment you've been making to the man who helped you with those pretty White Stallions. He has no need for the money anymore."  

The last from John Lee just echoed in the room as Voll tried to make sense of everything, and it was a lot to take in, while watching the albino leave. He turned to see Winnowill still unconscious in her chair, thinking all the while just what had she been up to. What could she have been doing to bring this down on them, to bring John Lee here? What were Sun Toucher's daughters into that brought this monster to town? Voll turned back to the doorway, starting for it to make sure what just happened actually happened, expecting to see the back of John Lee Pettimore walking away. When he made the door and looked left, the sight of Olbar walking toward him, helping his cook May, who seemed hard pressed to keep her feet, didn't really shock him. Not much else could tonight he thought stepping out to the pair.

"Is May all right?" He inquired with concern taking the cook from his foreman. She leaned up against him, her head on his chest, as he held her tightly to him to steady her shaky stance.

"I found her trying to crawl out of the root cellar. Someone may have attacked her." Olbar whispered.

"It will be all right Olbar. I need you to go to the barn now, and take care of something out there before anyone sees it." Voll ordered quickly, gaining his senses, stepping back into his role as ranch owner.

"Is this 'something' going to get us in trouble with the local constabulary?" Olbar asked.

"Yes, which is why I need you to take it from the barn before anyone happens on it old friend." Voll remarked with a raised eyebrow.

The foreman had worked enough for Mr. Voll to know when it was time to not ask questions, and this was one of them. Olbar nodded and turned to head back out of mud room and toward the barn when he heard his employer call out to him.

"Olbar, be careful, this is a dangerous matter."

"I will sir," The large man said with a hint of his hand toward the Colt on his hip, "never leave home without it."

"Thank you old friend," Voll finished as Olbar walked off before looking down at May in his arm and speaking softly, "Are you okay May?"

"I will be sir if you let me stand here and you hold me up." May answered groggily, but happily.

Voll chuckled with a small smile and gave his cook a small squeeze. "You may have to hold both of us up my dear May. You just might have to."


"Does it fit okay?"  Brownberry called out to Moonshade.

The dressmaker stepped out of the spare bedroom slowly, wearing the nightgown that fit for the most part, with the exception of being a little short for her taste. She smiled and sighed while answering the question.

"For the most part, yes."

"It looks fine." Clearbrook offered.

With Longbranch off to meet up with Redlance and the others, and Treestump having to keep watch over the town, it was the perfect time to stay over. Brownberry offered Moonshade and Clearbrook the chance to sit down in their gowns and talk over a cup of coffee and laugh about the old times. It's what they needed after these last few days, with all the tension of Strongbow's disappearance and Dart's outburst, the three friends needed just that, to feel like friends again. So, with all three now dressed in their night clothes, and coffee poured, they sat down on the old couch in Brownberry's apartment over the restaurant ready to talk, but before a syllable could be said a small voice called to them from the corner.

"Grandma, can I stay up? I can't sleep."

"Are you worried about your mama and papa sweetie?" Moonshade asked Tyleet with a warm smile.

The girl nodded as her grandmother only smiled and waved her over. "You can stay up with us sweetie. Come over here and sit with us."

Tyleet jumped at the offer, trotting over to the couch with a big smile, and promptly plopping down in between her grandmother and Moonshade. The girl felt the dressmaker put an arm around her as Brownberry picked up a big photo book off the coffee table in front of them. As she got the leather bound tome into place, in her lap, Tyleet turned to Moonshade and spoke softly.

"I'm sorry Mrs. Moonshade for being mean to Dart."

Brownberry smiled even more as Moonshade hugged the girl and thanked her. "I'm sure Dart will feel better knowing that sweetie. He's awfully upset for saying what he did. You know, he loves Redlance like a brother, right?"

"Yes ma'am," She said with a smile, "I know he does. He wouldn't have gone after Papa if he didn't. I understand that now"

"That's right." Clearbrook spoke up.

"Well, with that disaster taken care of let's have some fun." Brownberry said popping open her book.

The first page opened to an old picture of a young Brownberry and Longbranch, he stood tall and straight as she sat on a bench, from long ago. The second they saw it the women laughed heartily, as did Tyleet, at the site of it.

"Oh my, how old were you when this was taken?" Clearbrook inquired.

"I was 16 and Longbranch was 18. He wanted a keepsake of us while away at college back east. I told him I don't take a good picture." Brownberry said shaking her head.

"Your beautiful grandma!" Tyleet exclaimed.

"I was wasn't I?" Brownberry giggled.

"You still are!" Moonshade exclaimed.

"Yes she is!" Clearbrook laughed.

They laughed more as Brownberry flipped the page, and came across some old drawings she had done when younger, and one picture. The old picture was taken of the front of the restaurant as it was being built, and in the grainy surface you could see One-Eye and Longbranch sawing on a board as Clearbrook and Brownberry painted on the outside walls.

"I remember that. It was just before I got the money for the shop." Moonshade recalled fondly.

"That was such a hot day. I thought poor Longbranch was going to pass-out." Clearbrook added quietly, the form of her husband looking back at her bringing back memories.

"Do you remember Rain coming over?" Brownberry quizzed them.

"He asked how things were going just as One-Eye was nailing up that board. Oh, poor One-eye, he already had bad aim so he didn't need any help when he hit his his thumb!" Clearbrook laughed.  

The three women laughed even more as Tyleet looked on confused. "What happened to Uncle One-Eye?"

"He hit his thumb with the hammer when Doc Rain called out, and then stuck it in your grandfather's glass of cold lemonade to numb it down." Brownberry laughed.

"Poor Grandpa!" Tyleet gasped before laughing. She could pictures her uncle dancing around and then plunging his thumb into the glass of cold lemonade as her grandfather looked on in dismay.

"I poured him another one and Rain took care of Uncle One-Eye, but it had to be the funniest thing I have ever seen." Brownberry finished getting herself under control.

The three women went through each and every page of the photo book, even talking in low whispers so as not to disturb Tyleet when she fell asleep against Brownberry's shoulder. Moonshade put a blanket around the girl's shoulder then took to gently scratching her back as they talked.

As old friends became new ones again.


A stroke of lightning crossed the sky, smaller then the last thank the High Ones, Skywise thought as the wagon kept trudging along. It bounced less now, but the wheels kept making that sucking sound, like they were about to get stuck, and that scared him a little. If this old rickety bucket got stuck it may not survive the jerk to get it out. The Captain looked around for any sign of approaching men or beasts. The only thing though was on his right still, just in close enough to make out a dim shape, his brother in all but blood, Cutter. The Major kept Nightrunner ambling along at the same speed as the wagon, keeping just ahead of them, watching just as intently as he was.

Skywise smiled thinking how lucky he was to have Cutter, to come across him in the military of all places, and how he almost screwed it all up in their first meeting. He also thought about Red, back there just outside of Silver Springs, all by himself. Skywise had heard Cutter tell Eyes High they were a band of brothers, and he had to admit this damn Henry Rifle mystery had made them just that. He looked back toward Silver Springs knowing full well he wouldn't see him, but hoping that by some miracle his eyes could look through all the rain and dark to see Red. There was nothing but the dark and rain though, and Skywise looked down, slightly dejected when he saw his mother.

Her head rested on Shale's chest as he held her closely under the blankets, as the gold tresses of hair spilled all around. Skywise grinned and reached in gently, grabbing the blanket, and pulling it up over her shoulders. Eyes High murmured something and snuggled in closer to her husband while pulling the blanket in tighter.

"Rest easy mother, I'll get you to Two-Moons." He whispered as he closed the flap to the back of the wagon.

There, he finally said it he thought as the grin morphed into a smile.

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Join date : 2015-03-29
Age : 28

PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:09 pm

Soo nice, I had forgotten so much. Now I remember why John Lee was there.

Since I struggle to hold myself back on this story, I've decided to just release the second part of the saloon girls story. I'll wait a little before posting more of Dewshine and Tyldak since this happens next 'day'. Let's see how the saloon goes on backstage.

Days at the Saloon - Part 2

"You must do better, Vurdah!"

The sound of her aunt's strict voice would often ring in her ears for hours.

She stopped playing the piano. "I am doing my best, I promise!" Vurdah had answered.

"Are you answering now?" her aunt raised an eyebrow and small eyes.

Vurdah lowered her head humbly. "I didn't mean to..." she whispered.

Her aunt sighed. "Rise! Let Talla show you how it is done."

Vurdah had trouble keeping her shoulders straight when she rose and stepped away when her cousin made a move for the piano. She sat down and begun playing the number, even faster than Vurdah had done. This made her heart sink. Her aunt gave her a short applause, and Talla rose and kneeled without saying a word.

"There. Did you catch that, child?"

Vurdah nodded slightly. "Yes, ma'am!" she said low.

Talla stood aside her to sit again. She was always so strict, like her mother, and normally never showed any sign of emotion. Her black hair was strictly tied in a pin behind her head, only her front bangs were loose, and they were hanging straight and flat down in perfect position. There never seemed to be anything out of order with her. In another time, Vurdah would have described her as dull. But after her parents died and she had been forced to move in with her father's family, such a description didn't dare to enter her mind. She was terrified they would send her away, because they obviously didn't like having her there, for reasons Vurdah never understood. So she had to be humble.

"So now you understand you have to try harder!"

She sighed as she went for the piano again. "Yes, ma'am!"

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

"Harder! You have to pull harder!"

Oddbit's voice was quite different when she got away from the cheering crowd, or right before she entered it. She might act charmingly sweet, for a troll to be, to her so called 'admirers', and she would do anything to please the visitors at the Hammer and Tongs. But behind the curtains of the stage she was horrible, bossing, self-obsessed and insulting, not to mention humiliating when a chance came for it. She lived in the illution that she was the most beautiful being on the Abode and that they all came for her.

She was normally at her worst when she was getting dressed. The other saloon girls hated this part, because she always demanded their help to prepare. She would command them to help her put up her hair, hold the little mirror behind so she would see if it was rightly done on the back of her hair, and of course help her get into the dress. Without the corset she had no chance in life to get into the tight dresses she had made for herself. Why Daisy never took a hint about that, Vurdah could not tell.

Unlike the elf girls, whom all had to share a room for changing clothes and getting ready, Oddbit had her own personal dressing room with a beauty mirror and a closet that took up a whole wall. Ruffle told them she suspected it was partly because she wouldn't have to compare her own dresses with the small ones of the elves. But with the image the gigantic troll had about herself, Vurdah had her doubts. And with her size, she actually did need some extra space to store away her clothes.

The girls would always, during her dressing, suffer the dread struggle of pulling the corset on the large female troll. They stood behind each other, each with a hand on the threads and leaned back while pulling so their hands got sore. Only Maleen had reached the level of actually getting dressed and ready. Vurdah had only gotten dressed without chance of fixing her hair while Ruffle were still in her undergarment.

"I said HARDER! You've GOT TO!" the troll yelled while she held the dresser, sticking out her rear end and her chest ahead.

"I don't think we can, Oddbit." Marleen moaned between her teeth.

"We're already pulling our hands off." Vurdah hissed.

"No you're NOT! You're being lazy, that's what you are. You tiny little things got no muscles in your arms."

"Like... you're the right one to... speak." Marleen half hissed, half whispered so the troll wouldn't hear her.

The girls had pulled the corset at the same spot for about ten minutes now without any further result. They were tired and sore handed and this were visible as Ruffle suddenly slid on the floor. "This isn't working." the light haired saloon girl said and pushed herself up in sitting position.

"Then try whatever you can to make it work!" Oddbit yelled. "I am to be on in half an hour, so do what you have to do to get it tied!"

"Alright!" Ruffle said with a determinant mind while she got herself up from the floor by Marleen's help. "As you wish!" The little elf girl kicked her shoes off and gathered her underskirt and made a knot of it behind her back. Then she took a new grip in the lines and placed first one foot on the enormous troll's rump, then counted out loud: "Ladies! One... two... NOW!" she said and then placed the other foot up on the rump as she pulled the lines back while her feet pressed the opposite way. She halfly had to lean on Vurdah and Maleen, but suddenly it seemed to have effect: when Vurdah opened her eyes t look at the troll back, she could see that the corset actually were tightening in just a bit more than earlier. Ruffle's idea seemed to work.

"It's working!" she got out of herself.

Maybe they finally would manage it and they would be done with this, and then she would finally have some time to finish her own hair for once?

She had barely finished thinking the thought before the girls heard an alarming sound that made all four of them freeze:

Rii-riip!

Before the girls managed to react the corset line broke and all three girls fall backwards with such a force they almost rolled around on their heads. Vurdah and Maleen landed beside each other while Ruffle landed on top of them, just as the door to the dressing room suddenly opened. For a moment Vurdah feared it was Picknose, or worse, old Maggoty, about to complain that Oddbit wasn't ready yet. But when Vurdah looked up, she saw that it was Rose standing in the open door. Vurdah had tried to avoid Rose after the embarrassing event with Skywise the other evening, but right now she was glad it was her, and not Picknose or Old Maggoty in the door. Her mouth was halfway open in confusion and her eyes were nothing but a pair of green, large questions when they stared back at Vurdah and the girls, and she thought that had to be a sight. "Pardon a me, what in the High Ones is going on here?"

"What does it look like?" Ruffle asked sarcastically back as she crawled up on Vurdah and Marleen to face Rose.

Marleen moaned as she tried to rise. "You're on my stomack, get off!" she complained and pushed her off. Ruffle cried and rolled clumsy off on the floor with her legs spread and her under skirt falling around her. She looked all confused when she rose into sitting position.

Rose reached out a hand to Vurdah, and she gladly accepted it to help her up. When she felt her behind ache, and rubbed herself as Rose let her lean on her. "Thanks. Oh High Ones, I can't sit for a week." she moaned.

"Pathetic morons!" a loud voice cried above the girls, followed by a huge fist being banged on the dressing table and a bottle of either cream or perfume jumping off and on the floor, breaking in the fall. "You did that on purpose! Now I'll never get ready!" Oddbit sank down on the dresser and hid her head in her huge arms, starting to sob loud and howl like a pack of prairie wolves.

Ruffle rolled her eyes and moaned. "Oh great, now we've got it going." "She's going on stage soon, what now?"

Rose stepped in beside them and whispered: "I am next out before her. If one of you step in for me, I will try to talk to her."

"I'll do it." Maleen said.

"Gracias." Rose whispered to her before Marleen disappeared out of the room, obviously glad to get away.

"Will you señoritas stay on guard if Señore Picknose will be on his way?" she asked.

Vurdah hurried to nod and took Ruffle's hand to lead her out. Vurdah pulled the door after her, intending to close it, as she started looking right at the corridor to spot Picknose if he came. But Ruffle had intention to listen to whatever it was that Rose would manage with Oddbit, so she stopped Vurdah's hand just as the door would have closed. She had more fun listening through the almost closed door to hear what was said. Vurdah got annoyed by her friend's childish behavior, but as she heard Oddbit scream out again, she found herself a bit curious on how Rose would handle this. Without really meaning it, she found herself listening with a half ear.

"They're after me! I know they are! They're rotting together to make me a fail!"

"No-no, dear Señora." Rose's soft voice replied. "It was all just an accident. It could have happened anyone. Please do not cry."

There were a few more sobs, followed by a couple of loud, snorting sniffles that made both Vurdah and Ruffle shiver and half cover their ears. "I don't understand. Daisy had made it especially for me.... She knows my numbers... how could she possibly..." she wailed before breaking into more sobbing. "I...I can't possibly have put on weight. I have barely eaten anything the last two weeks!"

"Have you washed the dress then?" Rose asked gently.

"Of course not!" Oddbit replied harshly. "I never wash my own clothes. I let Maggoty do it." then she gave a gasp, and another wail. "She's probably done it on purpose! She doesn't like meeeeaaiii..."

"No no, I am certain that..." Rose suddenly stopped. "Señora? Tell me, how have you felt lately?"

"What do you mean?" Oddbit sobbed.

"I mean, have you felt... ill lately?"

"Ill? What do you mean with ill?"

"I wouldn't say there's something wrong, but..." Rose didn't get to finish her sentance before Oddbit cried out.

"D-do you think... Is there something wrong with me? But then you must tell me! Am I going to die?"

"No no, Señora, not at all, but... one momento, please. I am going to need help for this. Now dry your eyes, Señora." The girls stepped aside when Rose suddenly opened the door and came out. The corridors suddenly started to vibrate as the huge troll blew her nose with a hoot that made Vurdah and Ruffle shiver and Rose's lips tightened while she closed the doors and rubbed her ears before she spoke. "Pardon me, señoritas, but I must ask of you one thing. My sister is in here this evening, and I need her assistance at the moment. She sits with the Mayor and his amigos..." Rose had a short look at Vurdah, and for a moment she seemed to regret her request. She hasn't forgotten the embarrassing evening, Vurdah realized.

At sudden, Vurdah felt humiliated. She understood that Rose wanted to be kind, but Vurdah felt it like a punch in her belly. And she didn't want to seem weak, so she spoke up before Ruffle could answer. "I have seen her. I can go!"

Rose seemed quite surprised that she offered to go. "Are you certain?"

"Mhm!" Vurdah nodded. She might have seemed a bit cross as she nodded, because Rose got a strange look on her face when she looked back at her. "Ruffle isn't dressed."

That wouldn't have stopped Ruffle, Vurdah thought, but she knew that if Ruffle went out there in only her undergarments, she would not return by first.

Rose seemed to find this reasonable, and nodded. "Well, alright. Tell her I need her assistance in a diagnose. Her name is Marisol."

Vurdah didn't answer in that, but went off for her task.

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

It wasn't as much alarm as the other evening a few days ago. The gang with Chot and Longrin were absent, probably banned for a while after their joking last night, and the poker game were only containing two men this time, each with a following group watching. She spotted the group with the Major, the Captain and the Tracker, and the two cowgirls. Luckly, the wench with the messy hair wasn't there that evening, but between Nightfall and Crescent sat another female elf. The poor thing looked embarrassed and ashamed by what she saw on stage, but still she couldn't help but have one look after the other. And as Vurdah looked up at stage herself, she understood why she was blushing.

As Hoykar played a merry song, Maleen were performing a seducing dance with some feathers on the stage, wearing an indigo colored garment that only covered her upper part and left her arms and legs free. Vurdah had seen her practice to this on their room in front of her mirror, and it seemed like she had passed the part where she slowly and mysteriously dropped her skirt from behind the feathers. She had been clever with it, because even Vurdah felt warm when she saw her on stage.

She hurried to look away from Maleen and back to the group of elves. She felt her heart skip a beat with she saw the Captain, but she had decided that she would be hard now and now show off her weak spot. Not even to him! She walked over to the group with fast steps. She cleared her throat to call for their attention. She froze a moment as the girls turned around to face her. Shortly after, it seemed like the boys became aware of her presence as well, and she looked away when the Captain looked at her.

"Yes, Vurdah?" Nightfall asked.

Vurdah had to take a breath in order to speak. "M-Marisol? Is... is that you?" She didn't sound as certain as she wanted to.

"Si? That is me!" the dark skinned elf between Nightfall and Crescent replied with the same Spanish accent as Rose.

"Your sister is asking for your... assistance back stage." She cursed herself for not remembering the other difficult word Rose had used.

The spanish girl seemed startled. "Que? Is someone giving birth?" The whole group of elves became shocked by this, and even the Captain lowered his glass.

Now it was Vurdah's turn to become startled. That was a question she had not expected. "Why? No! Why would it be?"

"She-eh... Marisol's a midwife." Crescent hurried to explain.

"Oh?" Vurdah was brought out of place a moment, and it didn't help that the Captain had put his eyes on her now as well. But nevertheless she was determinant to finish with what she came for; and leave his sight as fast as possible. "Well, she did not say what the matter was, but she needed your help to... I don't know. Would you just please follow me to meet her?"

"Ah... I see." Marisol got up from her chair.

"Rose is behind here. Follow me." Vurdah said.

This was a crowded evening, and Vurdah had to shuffle and push at times to get through. Rose's sister looked uncomfortable without her companions and were so close up to Vurdah that she found it disturbing.

It didn't get better that once they passed the gambler table, someone dropped right in betwen them, blocking the way for Marisol to go on. "Hello there, tuts!" Chot said, half drunk but clearly attracted to her, and his intention as his face closed into hers was not to question.

"Ah! Bastardo!" she cried and gave him a slap in the face so hard that he almost fell back on the poker table. Vurdah hurried to grab Marisol's arm before he tried one more time, but he gave a loud whistle behind them.

"Don't worry about him, he's all talk!" she explained, but Marisol frowned behind her.

As they walked to the door back stage, she had a closer look at Rose's sister, remembering she had seen her once before a while ago. She did have the same features as Rose, with the dark skin, green eyes and the copper curls, although hers were more of a brown tone than Rose's reddish, and her face were rounder than Rose's. Marisol were shorter than Rose as well. Honestly, Vurdah thought she reminded her more of Ruffle in her body and face than her sister. And despite the fine, proper dress she wore, she didn't have the same elegance as Rose either. It was something childish by her ways, she thought, and this made her even more alike Ruffle. As they were entering the door, Maleen ended her performance, and the room applauded and asked for one more dance. "Do you always dance... like that?" Marisol asked insecurely.

Vurdah couldn't help but chuckle a bit of the question. "Well, most of times, yes, but not always. We often sing as well. You should have seen what she did last year. That really made them yell!"

"What did she do?" Marisol asked.

"She... performed a song, laying on the piano, only wearing a curtain."

Poor Marisol looked like a confused child as Vurdah led her thought the door.

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

They were met by Rose and Ruffle, still in her undergarment. Rose greeted her sister with a smile in Spanish, but, Marisol had her eyes glued on Ruffle, who smirked back at her.

"Wow, your sister is sweet, Rose!"

Ruffle's comment made Marisol blush, but Rose distracted her with a gentle touch on her shoulder. "Would you please come with me, my dear? Someone here needs a state check."

"Eh... Si!" Marisol said before hurrying to look away from Ruffle and followed her sister into Oddbit's dressing room, while she Rose spoke to her in spanish.

Ruffle giggled. "I bet she's not so innocent as she pretended."

"Hush, Ruffle!" Vurdah said harshly as she was trying to listen to what was said inside.

"Weren't you against listening by the doors?" Ruffle said with an arched eyebrow.

"I wanna hear this! They said she was a midwife."

"A what?" Ruffle asked.

"You know, the one who helps woman getting birth."

"I know what a midwife is!" Ruffle rolled her eyes. "But awfully pretty for one if you ask me."

"Hush!" Vurdah said short.

Ruffle looked at her with half closed eyes and a sly smile. "Jealous, Vurdah?"

That made Vurdah angry. "Quiet!"

Ruffle reacted on her harsh tone. "Wha... You are jealous?"

"Of course not! Now shut up!" she shouted.

She hadn't really meant to shout, but Ruffle were close to the truth as she could possibly be. And that was a truth Vurdah refused to allow seen. Although, Ruffle reacted on this, and became angry herself. "What is the matter with you? You've been so odd and grumpy lately."

"Well, if I am, it's none of your concern!" Vurdah said, now unable to control her feelings.

"Well, fine!" Ruffle said. "Just be like that!"

Vurdah was about to give a spitting answer back to her, but her words got stuck on her tongue when they heard a loud cry from the dressing room.

"I AM WHAAAT?"

The sound of something breaking made the girls forget the quarrel and hold right around eachother out of fright. Whatever had upset Oddbit in there, why would soon find out, because the door opened and Marisol hurried through it, followed by Rose, who at the moment were just as shaken as her sister and not her normal calm self. The flower patterned vase that had stood on the dressing table flew through the air above Rose's head and crashed on the wall near Vurdah and Ruffle. "GET OUT OF HERE, BOT OF YOU! I SWEAR, ROSE, YOU'LL NEVER SET A FOOT ON MY HUSBANDS SALOON AGAIN! OOOOOOOUUT!!!!!"

Somehow, Rose managed to get a grip of the door knob and swing it to shut itself, and as she did, something, probably made of china or glass, hit it and broke loudly. And then followed the sound of Oddbit's loud, howling crying. The two spanish elves panted with hands on their chest and leaned against the wall. "!Esté loca!" Marisol gasped to Rose, who nodded panic, giving a slightly excusing grin back.

"What was that all abo...?" Ruffle asked as she let go of Vurdah, but Rose held up a hand for her to lower her down, and then she grabbed her sister's hand and led her around the next corner by the stairs, signalizing to the two other girls to follow. Safely away from the door, Rose spoke up.

"My sister helped me confirm what I suspected. And when we told her, she went... like that."

"Told her what?" Ruffle was getting impatient.

No, it cannot be! Vurdah thought as she realized the truth. Why else bring a midwife?

"Oddbit is expecting." Marisol said.

"Huh?" Ruffle said. "That means?"

"Pregnant!" Rose said. "She's having a baby."

"IIIIIIII!" Ruffle started to jump up and down while clapping her hands. "Oh High Ones, how fun!"

"Apparently..." Rose continued, "the Señora did not find the news very... good news."

Ruffle broke into laughter. "That's because she's gonna grow bigger!" She held her arms around her belly, laughing hard. "No wonder we had trouble with the corset! Wait till Maleen hears this."

Vurdah felt how her face tightened. She swallowed and turned around in a swirl.

"Vurdah, where are you going?" Ruffle said from behind her.

"We can't let people wait out there!" she almost shouted back. "Picky will wonder where we are, and shouldn't you get dressed?"

Ruffle got angry by her remark and gave her a frown. "No need of going on like that! You sound like Oddbit now!"

"Owh, you're hopeless!" Vurdah spat back, and turned around again to leave, but as she passed the courner, she bumped into a huge black beard and almost fell back.

"Will somebody tell me what the keck in the mines of Silver Springs is going on here?" he shouted so they all four felt his whisky breath blow hair from their faces. "Why haven't you made my wife ready for performance? Why is she wailing in her wardrobe like some crying school girl? WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? And who's she?" he yelled, pointing at Marisol, who hid behind her sister.

But Rose gently pulled her objecting sister along when she stepped forwards. "Ahem, Señor. This is my sister, and she is a midwife. I had her here to examine your wife. Señora Oddbit appears to be pregnant!"

Picknose's angry face suddenly turned into something that was beyond describable. His mouth fell open and his eyes threatened to fall out. "What?"

Rose pushed at her sister, who swallowed hard before stammering. "T-That is-ss true, Señor. You are to be a father." she gave a huge smile, obviously not real. "And-and there is completely normal women to have huge crying fits when being pregnant, so that explains why she's... still... there..."

Rose stepped aside her, nodding and smiling as much as Marisol. "Congratulations, Señor!"

"I'll be a father?" For half a minute Picknose stood still, like he had frozen. But then at last he shook his head, and started walking away. Several times he kept whispering "I'll be a father" while he disappeared in the corridors. For a moment, the girls stood silent, waiting for him to disappear completely. Then, moments later they hears him scream out in the saloon, followed by the whole croud cheering and yelling. Then Rose sighed and took her sister and lead her out. "They're all loco in here!" Marisol said, twisting her finger to her head. But she got silent when they met Maleen in the entrance, only wearing half her outfit, her skirt hanging from one arm and the feather in her hand.

"What's going on?"

Vurdah walked past her, letting Ruffle tell her the news and not wanting to hear it herself once again, so she hurried out to the crowd.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:14 pm

I know it's been a while since I made the outfits for Crescent, but as I've rered the stories, I couldn't help but notice that I missed some details. On day three, Crescent got herself some new dresses. I have tried to make descriptions on every dress I read about, but I just failed on this one. So like I did for Leetah, I did this for Crescent. The white summer dress with blue flowers and the dark blue one.



I decided to give it a little character and make the blossom dress a collar with linings on it and the sleeves and skirt. Oh those blossoms were a drag to draw, but I loved the result. The blue one I gave a shining impression, like velvet, to give it something extra.  I blurted with the skin tones compared with the other one I see now, heheeh.....

And while I was working with Crescent, I just felt for giving something more to Nightfall, shince she too was shopping that day. So I took the liberty and gave her a couple of extra gowns.



I don't know if I was clever or not when I made the red one with rose patterned upper part and the brown everyday dress. Was I out of inspiration? Not certain, but at least she's not missing clothes now.

And while I was on it, I made new dresses for Moonshade and Brownberry as well.





Here's something I've been thinking of for a long time, but needed time to get on the paper. It's an addition for the black skrit I've given her, with another plain blouse I wanted to make a better version of her black top with red linnings. It was mostly the hat I had trouble figuring out, but I made it... somehow. And a gray scarf to complete the outfit.

The brown one is just a working gown for house cleaning and other things. Made an apron so I wouldn't have to do the dots again. Puh. And the other is a party dress I got ispired to make after reading a bit of Final Quest. I lived this outfit, and it was just perfect for this.





And for Brownberry? I wanted to give her something of summer. I played with orange at this one. Autumn collors are so Brownberry. And I wanted to see what coral could do for her.

I figured out she already suited red so I gave her another red one. Party? Everyday? I guess she would figure out. And the dark brown one just seemed to be her thing. Darker than her hair, it gives out her figure.
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