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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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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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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



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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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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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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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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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Age : 29

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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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:41 pm

At last I've finished to part 3 of this little shortie. I hope it will be enjoyed.

Days at the Saloon - Part 3

She had been only seventeen when she discovered a more merry life than the one she had. Far from proper, far from perfect, but happy.

She recalled her life before. The merry days with her mother and father. Her mother would always jingle a tune enthusiastically when preparing food, which was always simple made, but tasted great. Her father would sometimes disturb her cooking and take a swirl with her at the floor, and they would laugh out loud in the imitated dance while singing a tune together. Vurdah had been a shy little girl and even though she loved the singing and dancing, she didn't dare to jump in. Her mother always had to include her, practically force her, to join them. She would always lead her steps and her twists as she jingled ahead. Only when she were singing loud enough, would Vurdah dare to join her.

Her mother made sure their home was colorful and merry. The kitchen was full of many colored towels and potholders in the brightest patchwork, and there were cheep china and pottery with flowers in all colors. She would also make sure she was brightly dressed. Often it seemed like she had sewn pieces of several dresses into one to make a new one. Colors and smile, that was the only way to describe her.

But that was before the fever caught her mother, and her father had asked his' sister to look after Vurdah in the meantime. They didn't see much of eachother, but this time there was no choice. And when her father got it too, and both her parents suddenly died, she had just been forced to stay there. And it was as if she had traveled to another world, because there it was such strict ways in everything. They wore practical, dark clothes, they almost never laughed, and they never played or danced. It was only the piano they were practicing on, and it was only for practicing professionally, and only classics.

Her aunt was her mother's radical opposite. Dark, strict and conservative. Vurdah couldn't recall ever to have seen her smile or laughing. Not one hair seemed to be out of place from her strict know on the back of her head and her mouth was a frown all the time. Vurdah's aunt seemed to already have made up her mind that she didn't like her. No matter what she tried it was never good enough. Her own daughter she preferred. Her uncle was similar, only he mostly pretended Vurdah was never there. In fact, he seemed to pretend no one was there at all. If he wasn't at work, he was having his nose in the news paper or in a book. He and his wife almost never seemed to speak to one other either, something that disturbed her.

And then there was Talla. Her cousin was only a year older, and always so dull and as serious as her mother. They had only met once before, and then she had almost seemed grumpy. When she had come to them, she tried to encourage Vurdah to follow her example of pleasing her mother, but it only seemed like she was trying to make herself look better in front of her.

They seemed to be ashamed of having here ther too, cause very often, especially when her aunt was having people over, Vurdah always ended up hidden away with housework or other duties. Vurdah often felt like she just used her a sa servant. To get her out of the house at times, her aunt would make her run errands while she practiced piano with Talla. Vurdah didn't mind as it gave her a chance to escape the house at times. It was everything from going to the baker and delivering things to friends.

It was on one of these trips that Vurdah had gotten lost. Going to an address she'd never been, she walked wrong in a corner and got herself twisted into a labyrinth of houses and stairs and narrow streets. In the end it had become dark, and because she heard frightening noises all over, she had been hiding in a corner where she almost gave into tears when someone approached her from behind.

"Are you lost, lass?"

Vurdah faced the tall man standing before her. It was an elf, and he was all dressed on the same kind of colorful clothes as she recalled from her mother's time. His long hair was dark and almost messy and all the patches and the golden tooth gave the impression of a pirate, but his eyes were nothing but kindness. "Poor thing, come let's get you warmed up, you look frozen."

She had been so frightened that she didn't realize how cold it had gotten, and she found she was better off with this stranger rather than being alone. She followed him to the edge of town and found he had other friends, both humans and elves, waiting for him. They were, she noticed, living in wagons and horses nearby eating grass, and a campfire where they made a meal. Gypsies, she realized. Her aunt would have been out of reach of reason if she knew, for these had the worst reputation in town, thieves and robbers and some things they didn't mention out loud.

But she was glad to get close to the fire. The elf's friends welcomed her and let her even share a meal with them. When it was so dark no-one could see the roofs of the town, they begun playing some merry tunes, and one begun singing in a language Vurdah had never heard of, and then the others soon followed. When they were all singing, it was like they were one. And some of them begun dancing as well, so sensually that she was shocked. The warm wine they had given her made her feel happy and she felt that she was included when one of the little girls asked her to join the dance. It was just like when her parents were alive.

If only the watchmen hadn't intruded and told them to leave out of disturbance. If only Vurdah hadn't given herself away and tried to tell them they meant no harm and that they had helped her get food and warmth. If only one of them hadn't been sent out to look for her by her aunt and uncle, understood it was her, and taken her home. Oh how much trouble she got once they realized where she had been.

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

At the Hammer and Tongs, there were more noise than usual, because Picknose had, to honor the news of his wife's pregnancy, ordered whisky on the house. Of course, what traveling cowboy or adventurous traveler or old militaries could resist that? The poker players had taken a break from their game and were singing on their own, which was quite alright, because if they could entertain themselves for a while, then the girls would get time to serve all the greedy customers. They yelled for more, and they were impatient. Thank goodness even Rose offered to help out. But Vurdah had gotten back to preferring not having her around, and used every chance to go out to the tables and serve the men out there.

She spotted the elves' table. She didn't see Marisol or the other two girls; apparently diagnosing  Oddbit had been too much for the poor thing and she had been walked home. Vurdah didn't blame her. But the guys were there, laughing and smiling, obviously making fun of Picky, but clearly enjoying free whisky. She saw even Skywise give the troll a pat on his arm when passing by, and the troll responded by giving him a pat back that made him cough up his drink and the two others laughing hard at this.

The girls had no further chance to discuss the matter with Oddbit, and that suited her fine. She was not at all in the mood for bringing it up, it only made her feel bitter. There was way too much to do now, and she devoted herself to satisfying the men. But she wasn't at all in a good mood, because she didn't smile at anyone. She was angry, and that was noticed when she placed out drinks, just putting them there and giving frowns at those who tried to talk to her.

"What the heck will you ladies do with a screaming baby in here?" a cowboy commented, making his comrades laugh.

"Put it head first down the outhouse!" Vurdah spat back, causing the laughter to end and the table to remain silent until she had gone. Then she went back to the bar to filled tree glasses of beer as Maleen came up from behind her. She got startled and spilt the beer over her skirt, and frowned. "You fool! Look what you did!" she cried and tried to wipe herself.

Maleen stepped back, and replied upset. "Relax, Vurdah! What's gotten into you?"

"Not of your concern!" she spat again, put the glasses on the board and pushed her aside. "Out of my way!" In a way she felt sorry for being so snappy at Maleen, but this wasn't the time to apologize. She was normally the quiet and unassuming one of them, and being so rude wasn't natural to her. But she couldn't help herself right now, she was boiling over with emotions. And that made her sensitive to anything. She put out the three beers and was about to fetch more when she passed Longrin.

"Come sit down, hun!" he mumbled and grabbed a hold on her arm. "You must be exhausted."

"Ah, let go!" she managed to get her wrist free from Longrin, but he  got up and tried to grab after her by her hips this time. Only this time, she made a twist and got away, causing something unexpected to happen.

"GOT'CHA!" Longrin cried out, and realized too late that making him rush and grab another man by the hips by the table beside instead.

The man got startled at first, but then he got furious. "Hey, what'cha mean with that?" Longrin got confused, probably wondering where Vurdah had gone, but he didn't get to react as the man he held took him by the shirt and gave him a good hit in the face, causing him to dash down on the floor and lay down for a moment. His comrades found the whole thing rather amusing.

"Now that Oddbit's out, Longrin's sooooo desperate he grabs a hold on anything!" one of them cried out, causing the rest of the table to laugh out loud, someone even banging the table. The grabbed man was angry though, and obviously drunk as well, and found it insulting.

"Shut up!" he yelled as he threw his fist in the table. "Or I'll give you one as well!"

Meanwhile, Longrin had gotten up on his feet again, and as the amount of alcohol had suddenly sunken into him and he realized he was being made a fool of, he got furious and walked over to the man. "Hey mister, you'll regret that!" People around him became silent and Vurdah gasped when she saw that Longrin suddenly had a knife in his hand.
But the drunk man wasn't easily frightened by this, and just laughed back. "Whatch'a gonna do with that tooth picker?"

"Wanna see?" Longrin said threatening.

The room suddenly became all quiet as the others realized what was going on. Some of them whispered about a fight, and someone wanted to get the Marshall. Either way, it was obvious what would happen and the feeling in the room became tense.

All of a sudden, Longrin and the drunkard flew on eachother. Longrin wasn't able to use the knife properly cause the drunkard was allot stronger and himself too drunk to give a stab, but he didn't give in so easily.

"Hey, let me through, I wanna see!" someone said behind, and suddenly more people started to push their way to get a glimpse of the situation, and suddenly she was surrounded by men pushing. By the sudden crowd, Vurdah was pushed forward. Stumbling into someone's leg, she fell forward towards the two.  

Her sudden appearance caused them to lose balance a moment, none of them aware of what happened in the rage, and then there were too many arms and movements  and Vurdah was too afraid  to catch what was going on herself, but at sudden she felt an intense, sharp pain took her.

She felt her own voice cry out loud. Vurdah grabbed her wrist hard and felt panic run through her body when she saw how much blood that came. She felt that she was chocked as she failed to inhale correctly, and she breathed faster and faster, until all of a sudden, everything went dark.

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

"Vurdah..."

The voice calling her name were weak, but she thought she could hear it repeating several times. She thought she recognized it, but it was impossible to figure out completely.

She felt so warm, not hot like in a midsummer day or when sitting near a baking oven. It was more as if someone was there keeping her warm. Like when her mother wrapped an extra blanket over her at cold nights. When she was sitting in between them, feeling their bodies near her, sharing their warmth. Like when they kissed her, either for good night or just at anytime. Their love...

That's what it was! Warmth of love! She felt it all through her body, like a warm ray of sunlight that suddenly springs though the clouds. Like she had stretched out her arm to reach it, and...

Her arm...

"Mother..." she whispered, suddenly afraid, and she tried to find her, but the warmth suddenly faded. She was more afraid than she had ever been she needed to have her near. "Mother, help me..."

But as she opened her eyes for full, it wasn't her mother she saw, but Rose, standing above her, wetting her forehead with a cloth. "At last, you are with us again." She smiled warmly at her as she stroke her face gently.

"How's she doing?" a male voice spoke.

Vurdah turned her head to her left, finding the Major standing near the door. And now she found that she wasn't laying down like she first had believed, but was sitting on a bench leaning to the wall, in the dressing room. Her left arm was all tied up with bandages around the wrist, and her dress was covered all with blood spots. She felt dizzy and fell to the side, but Rose caught her before she turned to the Major. "It looked worse than it was, but thank the High Ones. Una inch the other way, and that could have been fatally." she let her hands smoothly in a line do demonstrate the serious matter.

"But you'd handle that, wouldn't' you, dear?" Cutter replied smiling with half closed eyes.

Rose just gave a grin back to him.

Vurdah was confused. "How... when did I..."

"Redlance and Rose carried you out while the rest of us helped out giving the guys a real beat up." Cutter said as he stepped towards her. "I tell you, there hasn't been a group fight like that since..."

"Since out on the street, my love!" she arched an eyebrow at him, and he gave an embarrassed smile back. "How are we supposed to wed if I constantly catch you in a fight?"

"It's not like I can just stand and watch." the Major shrugged, causing Rose to sight.

"Red...lance?" Vurdah mumbled, feeling how the disappointment welled up in her, and her heart sink.

"Now my love...  shoo while I finish this up." Rose spat gently and waved him off with a long elegant wave.  

The Major he tipped his hat on his way out. "Alright. On my way, my love!"  

Rose sighed while she turned back to put away the remedies she had been using to mend her arm; bandages, a glass of alcohol and lots of compresses that had been lying on the floor, along with their washing pot and mug with wet, bloody towels beside it. But Vurdah didn't pay attention to Rose's movements. "My love..." she mumbled low, for a moment forgetting herself as tears filled her eyes.

"Hm?" Rose looked at her.

Vurdah sniffled and took a deep breath at the same time. "You're marrying him soon, aren't you?"

The question started Rose, but she smiled as she rose and tided up after herself. "I will, soon. As long as I can stop him behaving like a little niño" Rose gave her a deep, warm look of compassion as she replied with a deep sigh. "Would you prefer Skywise that way?"

Vurdah looked away. "What's the point? It won't happen anyway!" She pressed her lips to choke another sob.

"Is this what had bothered you lately?" Rose came and kneeled in front of her, wiping the new tears off her cheeks with both hands. "You haven't been your sweet, happy self lately, and your amigos and I have been worried about you. Do tell me, please? What troubles you?"

Vurdah let herself lie near Rose and cried a little before she finally dared to speak. "I ... Oh Rose! I have done something incredibly stupid!" she bursted out and broke into tears.

Rose grabbed one hand of hers while she held around her. "My dear, you're not... expecting too, are you?"

The question startled Vurdah, and she turned to her, seeing that Rose's worried look were honest.

"No I'm NOT!" she sobbed and covered her face in her hands. "If only..."

"What do you mean?" Rose sat beside her and held her arms around her.

Vurdah gasped sometimes before she spoke again. "I... I have a cousin."  

"Mhm?" Rose replied.

"We've never been that close, but... you know. She and her parents are all I have of relatives."

"Then why did you leave?" Rose asked.

"They were not the richest, but they liked to appear... respectable. They wanted a good reputation for her to marry well."

"Aha..." Rose said in an odd tune and looked out in the room a moment. "I see..."

"I know that my father married below that status. And therefore they always looked at me like... I wasn't good enough." She paused and drew her breath, as if to straighten herself up. "I finally had enough and... decided I wanted to prove to them they were wrong of me. I had so many plans when I left. I was going to show them! I was going to be a famous star and show them my way was better than theirs!" She sighed again.

"But you have contact with them?" Rose asked at last.

"I... have been writing to my cousin, letting her know... how I'm doing." she looked away.

Rose blinked. "And what have you told her?"

Vurdah hesitated to tell, but at last she gave in and told her. "That I am a successful singer at the Two Moon Operah House!"

She wasn't surprised to suddenly find Rose bursting into giggling. Rather embarrassing, Vurdah let Rose finish laughing before she too wiped her eyes and gasped. "I... I did not know we had that here..." she broke into another laughter.

"I know!" she blushed and actually found herself laughing at it. "That was my plan anyway. They hated such things, and I wanted to prove to them it was possible to make a name by it. So I left home when I became of age and gave it a try. They were gonna send me off anyhow." She sighed. "But once I got here, I... I found out making yourself something was harder than I thought. And I couldn't let them... know that." She paused.

Rose's smile faded, and she drew her breath to become serious again. "So... have they found out, or are you afraid they will?"

"In the last letter I got from Talla... she not only told me she's manage to marry a wealthy, respected elf.  They..." her voice broke, and she had to draw her breath deeply to continue. "They're coming! She and her husband!" When Rose didn't answer at first, she continued. "What am I gonna do? I can't let her know it was all a lie! She'll see that I failed and that my aunt was right all along! It's gonna be so humiliating! I know it was foolosh of me to lie, but I just couldn't help it. If you'd met them, you'd know!"

Rose grabbed both her hands and squeezed them gently. "I do not blame you, I understand." she said gently.

"But that's not the worst!"

"Hm?" Rose looked curiously at her.

"She wrote that she's... pregnant!" Now Vurdah coduln't hold herself anymore, and broke into another round of crying. "I've always wanted a family of my own. To hold a child of my own, if only you knew... and when Oddbit too... It's just not fair! She doesn't deserve it." Rose embraced her again and just let her finish. After a while, Rose wiped her face with her hand and spoke.

"And you were hoping Skywise would give you this?" she said at last.

"I know he's just a lady hunter and all, but... I just can't help it! I love him and I want him! But... he doesn't feel it that way. I'm just... one of them to him..."

"Oh mi amigo, I know it must have meant something. But it meant more to you than it did for him. He may not be for you, and he may not be made for what you dream." Rose smiled to her. "But who can tell? Someday, maybe? I did not dream of Cutter before he came to my sight. And now he is all I dream of. It happens like this!" she snapped her fingers in front of her, as if she was doing a magic trick. Then she rose up and became serious as she stepped towards the middle of the room. "And, I will tell you another thing, Vurdah. To be part of a respectable, wealthy family may sound wonderful. You have beautiful gowns, the best of food, wonderful parties, and you do not have to worry about a thing in life. I should know..." she turned back to Vurdah. "Because I was born into this myself. My real name is Leetah, and family owns the Ranco el Sol!"

This made Vurdah drop her jaw further down than what had ever been possible. Failing to believe what she heard, she kept staring at Rose. "You're... one of them? You're a..."

"A lady?" she tilted her head and smiled. "Si!"

"But... why...?"

"Why am I here?" Leetah shrugged. "I admit, I was not unfortunately with family members. We love and respect one other, but..." she paused. "I felt... trapped. In expectations. And illusions. They wanted me to be someone I am not. People like mine tends to pretend the outside world do not exist. They shut the world out and without knowing, they leave out  the most important thing a being need. You know what that is?"

"No! What?" Vurdah asked.

"Life itself! I wanted to be a part at this world, and actually live! Because it has so many things to explore and to love. And imagine; If I were to be caged at my home, how would I ever find the Major?"

"I suppose not." Vurdah looked down a moment and smiled.

"Your family, Vurdah. Do you think they were happy?"

"No!" she leaned back to the wall. "I can't recall they ever were!"

Leetah came towards her again and grabbed her hands, pulling her up."So maybe it's not your cousin, but you, who are the lucky one?" Vurdah didn't answer at first, so Leetah kept speaking. "You and your friends always seems so happy when it's only the tree of you. This is something no-one can take away from you. Happiness among others!"

Now Vurdah's smile faded and she let go of Leetah's hands. "If they'll forgive me for being so rude to them lately! They didn't deserve to be treated so... I didn't mean to yell at Maleen, or be rude to Ruffle..."

"Mi amigo." Leetah touched her shoulder. "That is nothing a slight little apology cannot solve. Besides..." she smile. "They were really worried about you. I have never seen anyone weep as hard as they did when it looked like we were going to lose you. I believe your behavior is long forgotten."

Vurdah noticed her eyes became misty again and her voice became husky when she spoke."You think so?"

Leetah chuckled. "I know! Good friendship cannot be destroyed by a little quarreling. I have experienced that sometimes, those you yell most at, is those you love the most! That be friends, family and husbands."

Vurdah had to bite her lips together to prevent herself from breaking into tears again, and Leetah pulled her into an embrace.  "There may be someone for you, Vurdah. But in the meantime, you shouldn't close your eyes to the wonders and pleasures this world of common man has to offer. Life is too short for not exploring them."

"I'll remember that." Vurdah said, with quaking voice.

"Now, shall we go see them?" She took her right hand Vurdah, with new strength in her heart, followed her through the door.


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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Five - Part Seventeen   Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:27 pm

Alright, let's see if we can get this ball rolling again...

First, as always, great work Rainflower, just exceptional

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


Day Five - Part Seventeen

Savah finds Winnowill, Black Feather fights Madcoil, and Red sees the posse ride out after the boys.


Her legs refused to move.

She told them to move, commanded them to move, even through the pain of the thinking the command with the sending slamming into her like thrown stones.

And yet it was all Winnowill could do to stumble, and half crawl, away from the beast that was coming for her. She stole a quick glance over her shoulder, back at the thing that kept sending, stabbing at her mind, as it pulled itself closer with a great heave. Paws that were larger than anything she had seen on any animal clawed at the ground, ripped up the dirt and grass, as the beast pulled itself it toward her. The black water followed it as well, or it seemed to, rise with every inch the beast moved closer to her. And a single word kept cutting into her mind, over and over.

MADCOIL...MADCOIL...

The pain was torture, a knife stabbing deep into her head with each send. Images dark and nightmarish came with each send too, pictures of a snake and black cat intertwined around each other, biting and clawing at the other. And there were other images, of elves like her and then not like her, and they were dying, withering and turning to dust. It was almost too much, all of it trying to tear her away from reality. Yet Winnowill fought, against the hurt of the sending, against the wind of the storm that buffeted her, and the disorientation of it all, just to get a few feet away. Then the beast topped the lip of the bowl with a great howl, the black water spilling over with it. The grass died where the water touched, the great claws tore into the ground, and the rain boiled still as the drops touched the skin of the beast.

Winnowill turned and watched in semi-horror as the thing made another great pull of its arms and closed in on her even more. I'll never outrun it she thought while trying to stand up, pushing back against the pain and maelstrom. Even through the agony Winnowill gathered her strength, herself, and fought. She sent back to the beast using every ounce of her power she could draw on, well up, and use. The force added to the pain that was already in her head but Winnowill somehow ignored it all.

STAY AWAY FROM ME! GO BACK TO WHERE EVER YOU CAME FROM!

The send was like a blast of TNT, an explosion in the head of the beast, and it looked like it worked, for just a second. The thing stopped crawling toward her and it actually rocked from the left and to the right, as if in pain. It shook its great cat head as if something had struck it and hurt it for that second. Then it gave a low moan of pain and the sight spurred Winnowill to reach deeper and strike back again.

STAY AWAY FROM ME! GO BA-

The beast rolled its head to the side as if the pain from Winnowill's repeated attack was hurting it more, and then all of the sudden it spun back and screamed, like an enraged human or elf. The howl was loud and angry and it gave force to the creature's retaliation. All at once a send so powerful it felt like a punch hit Winnowill driving her to the ground while her head felt like it would implode from the burst of pain. She screamed grabbing her temples, feeling as if her brain would shoot out one side or the other. Winnowill looked up to see the creature reach forward and pull it self closer, the black water inching closer, and there wasn't a thing she could do to stop it. A flash of the image from the creature's send, the one of the elf withering and dying, went through her mind in between the pulse of pain and the face on the elf, it was hers.


The rain was still falling hard, but had stopped coming down in sheets at least, which Redlance was thankful for. He squatted down in the dark by a stand of trees watching the trail out of town closely for anyone that might look suspicious. No one was leaving Silver Springs in this storm, none with common sense, and that made his job a little easier. Anyone riding out tonight was likely trailing after Cutter and Skywise, meaning to collect on the bounty that Boone had put on them for the shoot out at the shack earlier in the day. If the banker was willing to pay enough to have them hunted down then Redlance couldn't blame the Sheriff for sending them out of town. It wouldn't be worth the risk to the innocent in Silver Springs if another shoot out went down, better to be on the road so you could see the hunting party coming for you he thought.

And that's why he was here, in the pouring rain, watching his friends and brother's backs as they rode to Two-Moons. Redlance stood up and walked over to Firecoat's side and reached into the saddle bag as the Mustang looked around, already sensing the treat that was coming. The tracker pulled a large red apple from the bag and conveniently washed it off with the falling rain while pulling the large Bowie knife from its Elk hide scabbard at his side. He cut the apple in half as Firecoat shook his head, either to get rid of the rain or from anticipation of his half of the apple, with quick snap sending water flying. Redlance smiled broadly and took one half of the apple giving it to his faithful Mustang before looking back down to the road out of town.

He took a bite of his half as Firecoat crunched his enthusiastically behind the tracker. The Mustang finished the apple with a swallow as Redlance petted his side.

"You think anyone's gonna follow boy?" The tracker asked the horse point blank.

Firecoat nodded at the question. Redlance knew the Mustang understood him, every word of the question as he spoke. The two were bonded on this world, like his totem Buffalo in the 'Dream World'. The tracker didn't have to speak to Firecoat in a language or use words. He 'knew' when his friend needed something, water or food or a break. It was the same with Cutter and Nightrunner and with Skywise and Starjumper. The horse, no matter if it was a Mustang or an Appaloosa or a Morgan, was your brother out on the open frontier. You protected your brother and he protected you. So, Redlance rubbed his brother with one hand while taking the last bite of his apple.

The thought of Skywise made Redlance think of the Captain. He was happy as could be that the stargazer had found his parents, that he could begin to close that piece of his life. The tracker had no memory of his parents, no recollection at all. There was only Mary Starshower, her kind smile that gave him strength when it seemed no one wanted him in the tribe. Her gentle council that made the loneliness pass when the others in the tribe would run away from him. Redlance hoped now that Skywise would let someone beyond the fence he kept up around his heart, into the protected area.

Someone like his Nightfall...someone like his Crescent

The thought of the raven haired beauty brought back the fresh memories of the night before they rode out of Two-Moons. He had been in the boarding room, Tyleet was in her bed sound asleep in the apartment after he gently tucked her in, and it was time to talk to his beloved as he sat on the edge of their bed.

"Nightfall, we need to talk."

She had just finished changing into one of his velveteen shirts, one of the ones he brought back from the war he noticed, as she turned to look at him.

"Is it about Crescent? Do you love her?" She asked suddenly.

Redlance only smiled. That was they way of his little bird, never one to shirk away or hide what she felt. He stood up and took her hand in his while whispering.

"Yes, I have for a long time, but I didn't want to act on it. I was never sure how she felt, until now. It doesn't bother you?"

"I think she's been in love with you since she saw you that day when you first showed up in the restaurant, as long as I've loved you. And how could I be bothered by something I've wanted for so long, to have you two finally realize what I've been watching from the side for all these years." Nightfall offered putting her arms around him and hugging him hard.

"I don't want her to be alone anymore i'nakohtssi pi'kssii (Little Bird). There was a family in the tribe that lived as three. The Brave took in his brother's wife after he was killed and soon they were a family. She hasn't looked for another husband. Maybe we could do the same with Crescent?" Redlance said.

Nightfall smiled as a tear rolled down her cheek. That was her beloved, his heart so big and strong. His first thought always of those he cared for, loved, and never of himself. He could easily love her and Crescent, he had been doing it now for so long it was second nature, and it amazed her really. How someone could be so loving and compassionate, so warm and sweet, in these times. It was so strange that he went to war and fought, did who knows what, knowing it was against his very nature. Yet he did it, for them of course, her father and mother and her...and Crescent. That was her tracker, thinking of others before himself.

"Papa told me he met these elves passing through from Djunsland once, Wavedancers like Mr. Wavecatcher and Mrs. Wavelet, who lived in a marriage of three. They called it a 'three-mate', said it was an old word from back in the day. Is that what you're thinking about asking her to do?" Nightfall inquired softly.

"If it's okay with you my love, and only if it's okay with you?"

She stood up on her toes and whispered into his ear as another tear rolled down her cheek. "I can't think of a grander thing than to be with you two. You both make me so happy, for us all to be together, it'd be a dream come true."

"Then I'll talk with her when I get back from Silver Springs with Cutter. I'll ask her to, what, be my wife or mate?" He questioned with a raised eyebrow.

"I don't know," Nightfall said with a laugh, "but we don't have to decide now. We'll decide on it together, as a family."

"As a family," Redlance remarked with a warm smile.

"A family," The tracker whispered as the memory faded in his mind. Out on the road he spotted four figures leaving town, two large ones on Quarter horses and two smaller ones on Saddlebreds. He recognized both of the smaller shadows, the one on the left was Josie from the boarding house and the other one on the right was the whole reason he came to Silver Springs.

"Hello Annie," he whispered with a smile guessing she didn't leave as fast as the man at the mercantile had told him.

The two large figures were men, but who they were eluded Redlance? Maybe Annie had a husband and a son? That's probably why Josie decided it was time to get out of town, an armed escort making the decision easier, even in the storm. Firecoat gave him a nudge and he looked at the Mustang with a grin.

"Nah, they're okay, we'll let them go on, even keep an eye out for em'. I have a feeling we're going to see another group come out in a few."

The pair watched as the four riders moved on through the dark on the road out of town, watched them slip away slowly, and overtime until they were finally out of sight. A small pang of loneliness hit Redlance and with it the memories of the war and his time over in Djunsland. Marysville, images seeped into his mind before he could stop the pictures and sounds. It was all too vivid and he started to loose his sense of the here and now, his grasp of what he was doing. He looked down at the ground forcing the pain back with each drop of rain, locked it away again with each breath. There'd be a day to deal with the past, a whole load of compromising Mr. One-Eye would say, but that day wasn't now. Cutter and Skywise and the Captain's parents needed him to watch the road. Annie and Josie and those men, they needed him to watch the road.

So, Redlance took a deep breath and looked up into the night sky letting the rain pour down his already soaked face, letting it cleanse him just a bit before turning back to watching the road. He breathed deeply getting control of himself and patted Firecoat's neck.

An hour later, as the rain had slowed to nothing but a fine mist, another group rode out of Silver Springs, fifteen men, all on horse back, and all carrying rifles. This was it Redlance thought, the ones he had known would follow. He swung onto the back of Firecoat and the pair rode off after the group, paralleling them in the dark.


They heard the howl; even through the wind and rain they heard it. Savah turned toward it, and with Rain's help, headed in the direction of the noise, but there wasn't another howl or scream as they half-trotted along, and for a second Savah lost her direction and doubt started to speak up in her mind. What if she went in the wrong direction? What if she got turned around in the storm? What if...What if...

Yet she didn't stop going in the direction she was headed because something told her not to, something the doubt couldn't touch. And Savah pushed on, and when the second howl went up, louder and closer then the first, she picked up her pace trying to run toward the obvious spot where the loud scream came from. The group fought the wind and rain before out of the dark, just to the right, was Winnowill and what looked like a horrible large creature attacking her. Rain and Willowgreen both stopped at the sight of the beast, its cat's head snarling and snake body covered in thick scales, but Savah pulled them along, running to help her sister. The stranger with the green vines and flowers in her hair stayed at their side as they reached Winnowill. Savah dropped to her knees by her sister Seeker as the others surrounded them both.

What is that?" Rain screamed pointing to the beast.

"I do not know!" Winnowill gasped.

"We have to-AHHH!" Willowgreen started to order before the creature's sending cut into her head with a jolt of pain. She barely screamed out before Rain and the stranger yelped with her from the sudden shock.

Only Savah didn't make a sound from the attack. She was fighting back the sending, keeping the stabbing pain at bay for the moment, as she pulled Winnowill into her arms. The creature slid closer, its breathing could be heard now above the storm, and as Savah looked up she could see its eyes. There was madness there, two black wells of anger and hatred and pain. The orbs locked onto her and she felt her body chill along with her very soul it seemed. The stranger that had found her started to yell commands, but Savah knew better. There was only one who could help them now.

"Get her up! We need to run!" The stranger yelled at Rain.

But the doctor didn't move. His head hurt too much to command his legs to move. Rain just held both Savah and Willowgreen as the beast crept closer with another great pull of its massive arms.
"Black Feather..." Savah whispered so low no one heard her.

"We have to run!" The stranger screamed.

"We have to leave Matron!" Willowgreen yelled against the pain in her head as much as she ordered her Mother of Memory.

"We need you now Black Feather, we need you now!" Savah whispered again, so low no one heard her.

The creature pulled itself closer to its prey, and with one more heave it would have them all in its grasp. Rain leaned in covering Willowgreen but she pushed him away choosing to try and pull the group back by grabbing Winnowill with both hands and struggling to move her. The stranger joined in grabbing the elf's arm just below Willowgreen's hand, but Winnowill didn't try to help. She pushed away from them, and from Savah, refusing their help. If this was to be the end then she would meet it with open eyes.

Only the beast didn't attack.

It didn't make another move with its arms.

It didn't come closer.

The beast just held its spot just in front of the four elves, not paying them anymore attention, but staring at something approaching. The elves turned in unison to see a single human man walking up through the downpour, a strange glow surrounding him, emanating from him it seemed as strode toward them purposefully. His right hand pulsed with a blue light while the left shimmered with a bright white glow. Savah knew it was Black Feather coming to help them, just like he said he would, but Rain and Willowgreen had no clue about the shaman and gaped at him with wide open mouths. The shaman walked right up to stand in front of Savah and Winnowill putting himself squarely in between the beast and the elves.

"Aapaatuxtsi ihpokoomi makaa'pi (Back away Evil One!)" Black Feather screamed up at the beast while waving his left hand, motioning for the beast to leave.

"He's crazy! That thing will eat him alive!" Willowgreen yelled just as Rain touched her shoulder and pointed to her right.

She looked over to see a large husky white wolf, one of the largest she had even seen, trot up and pass by the group on it's way to the shaman's side. The same strange glow that emanated from the human was coming from the wolf, warm and inviting her to touch it.
And just after Willowgreen reached out stroking the fur of the wolf as it walked by, the words the shaman spoke suddenly became crystal clear.

"Away with you! You are not welcomed here!"

"Rain," Willowgreen stammered feeling lost at the moment, "can you understand him?"

"Yes, but I don't know how?" He answered with another question.

The beast roared again, loud and screeching, as the sends from it spiked drawing a grimace from Savah and the others. Black Father didn't move from his spot though as a look of determination went across his face.

"I cast you out makaa'pi! I send you away from this place!" The shaman commanded.

The beast roared back in defiance, as if it understood the shamans' words, but this time it wasn't as loud as before and the sending coming from it started to abate. The pain in Savah's head started to subside slowly as she watched Black Father continue to command the creature.

"You will not walk this world again! You will not destroy anymore!"

"Who is he?" The stranger with the flowers in her hair screamed.

"A friend who can help." Savah yelled back.

"What is he doing?" Willowgreen questioned while eying the shaman.

"I don't know what's he's doing," Rain said turning to his left to see a large grizzly shamble up just past his shoulder, "but if it sends that beast away I won't stop him."

The grizzly's fur glowed with the same emanation as the wolf's did as well as the shaman's skin. The bear stopped at the humans side and Rain noted the grizzly was almost shoulder high with the man. The trio stood as the creature that threatened them bellowed again, and again the roar seemed weaker. Now, Savah noticed, the rain was starting to slow and the winds die down, from a thrashing gale to barely a storm.

"You will not walk this world again! I am Black Feather, son of Red Mark, Bear Shaman to the Siksia. I call upon my totem and the power of the other animal spirits to cast you out makaa'pi! I call upon the power of my father's father and our spirits to send you back to the dark makaa'pi!" Black Feather commanded with a yell.

Winnowill watched as other glowing animals, a boar and a snake and a hawk that screeched from above, appear and flock to the shaman's side. She heard chanting in the still night now and looked over to see four ghostly shamans walk to the building group as Black Father continued to call upon his power in the 'Dream World'.

"You will not walk this world again! You will destroy no more!" He ordered again while reaching out with his left hand.

Savah noticed the hand started to glow more, or stronger, and pulsed as Black Feather pointed it at the beast, which was now backing away and screeching in pain. She didn't know what power or magic the shaman was using but it hurt the beast, so much so it tried to fight back howling loudly and pushing forward on its arms. The four ghostly humans started to chant, old words from another time that held a power that seemed to aid Black Feather as he fought the beast. Savah saw his leg begin to tremble, as if a great weight had been thrown over his back, and before she knew what she was doing The Mother of Memory reached up and put her hand on the shaman's back.

"Black Feather!" Savah cried suddenly as she felt her energy being drained.  

"You will not walk this word again!" The shaman screamed pushing his left hand up toward the chest of the large beast.

Rain looked on in shock as the light that was the shaman's hand grew brighter, and his Matron started to glow with the same emanation. She's helping him!  He realized what was happening as the chant from the ghosts was reaching another octave. She's giving him energy to fight. The beast screamed weakly falling back away from the light as the rain came to a complete stop and the wind shifted to a gentle breeze once more. Black Feather took a step forward pursuing the beast and Savah shifted with him, her hand still on the small of his back.

"I cast you out makaa'pi! I send you away from this place!" The shaman commanded in a voice that sent an abrupt rumble through the ground.

Willowgreen looked around scared as the ghostly shamans chant reached a crescendo, like the sound of a thousand voices. The light at the end of the shaman's hand was now a small sun it seemed, glowing so bright it hurt their eyes. They held up their own hands and squinted through half-shut eyes to block it out, but it wasn't enough and the elves finally had to totally shut out the scene. Only the sound of Black Feather's words gave them an idea as to what was happening.
"I CAST YOU OUT!" They heard the shaman shout as the ground rumbled again.

The bear suddenly roared so loud it was like thunder and the wolf howled so deep the air rolled around them like drums. The hawk over head screeched loudly adding its call, its power, to the growing cache that hummed around them. Rain felt the hair on his head start to stand on its own and somewhere inside his body he felt his power, his spirit, getting drawn into the conduit that the shaman had created. It was like noting he had ever experienced, like a raging river that rolled through him.

SAVAH!" Willowgreen yelled out for her Matron.

The power swelled in Rain, crashed into every part of his being giving him a feeling of invulnerability. He couldn't be hurt, not by this beast, not by anything! Rain wasn't sure why but he reached out and took his Matron's hand letting the power go. In an instant it left him, all the feeling of invulnerability and a raging river gone, and Savah responded with a squeeze while giving one last yell.

"BLACK FEATHER!"

"BACK TO THE DARK! AWAY WITH YOU!" Black Feather screamed one last time.

The chanting grew to a solid earsplitting wail.

The grizzly roared and the wolf howled and the hawk screeched.

The beast gave one last scream that sounded of pain and fear.

The power surged and exploded making the ground shake and roll. Rain felt Savah fall back into him and in turn into Winnowill. The Dream World might come apart at the seams with the rush, the force, of such power.

Or it felt like the world would end for a second.

Then, as soon as it felt like everything was all coming to a violent end, a still suddenly came over them, all four. A silence so deep and calm it was actually scarier than the fight with the beast. It was the 'ooh' from Savah that made the others finally opens their eyes. Rain opened his left eye and then his right, checking to make sure the bright light was gone for good, and what he saw took his breath away.

The outside 'Dream World' was gone. The grass was replaced by a crystal floor and the open plain was now a hallway, a crystal hallway. It was all crystal, the walls and floors and even a set of large doors just north of them. It all sparkled and blinked and had a life of its own. It was so beautiful it left the four speechless until Willowgreen whispered in a small reverent voice.
"Oh High Ones..."

"Is it them, the High Ones?" Rain whispered with the same reverence.

"It's the Palace. It's real." Winnowill added looking around.

"Yes, it is." Savah agreed craning her neck while taking in the sight like a thirsty elf would water.
"But how?" Rain asked.

"It was the shaman, he sent us here." The stranger remarked.

"Who are you?" Willowgreen asked suddenly, coldly in her usual manner.

"My name is Goodtree. I found Savah...out there." She answered pointing to the door.

It looked like Willowgreen was about to ask another question, and Savah was moving to stop her, when the Palace started to shake. The floor rumbled and the walls shook violently, yet the four elves sat calmly as if separated from what was happening around them. Then the voice of Black Feather sounded in their minds, like a send, only it wasn't a send at all. He spoke calmly, with a serenity that eased the four who sat and watched with stilled breath.

This is how your kind came to this world, in a strange bird that glowed. This is what you have looked for Pretty Bird.

The shaking only grew worse and suddenly they saw beings running past. Savah knew they were the High Ones, the first of the elves who came to the Abode so long ago it was now more fairy tale than truth. The stories, the half-rumor's, that the first ones were travelers from other worlds were true. She knew it now, could see it. The beings were tall, majestic, and unbelievably beautiful, so much so it took her breath away. They looked regal, perfect, not like the elves of today. They ran past, these High Ones, past their four relatives toward the crystal doors. Savah could see small beings that she recognized as Trolls and even smaller beings that looked like P.W.

But something was wrong and the bird fell from the sky, and your father's father was now trapped.

The walls and the floor suddenly came to a crashing stop. The High Ones and the trolls and the beings that looked like P.W. ran out of the door of the great crystal Palace, ran out into the sunlight. Savah gasped as she started to understand what was happening, what had happened.
"The Palace, it is gone isn't it Black Father?" She whispered as the last of the ones who had run by disappeared.

You know the answer Pretty Bird, but you need to sleep now. This walk has weakened all of you and must come to an end. When you are ready, come to me and I will help you.

And like before, a sleep so strong that it swept over her like wave, put the Matron to rest with her companions. She knew better then to fight. She was tired and ready to go back, but she stole one last glance at the magnificence of the Palace she had looked for her entire long life.

___________________________________________________
Dubbed Streaking ADD Cowboy of Awesome Sagas by KindredSoul and nibblet


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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Five - Part Eighteen   Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:20 am

And now, for the final piece of Day Five, written by me, Wiseshaman


Day Five - Part Eighteen

Winnowill has to lie to keep her secret, the posse riding after the boys runs into a problem, Savah and the others wake up thinking of the High Ones, and the Captain comes to a sudden but not so bad realization...


He was so happy to be back.

As a matter of fact, Rain had never been this happy to be back in the basement of the boarding house and away from the 'Dream World' before. Whatever had happened, from the creature to the cataclysmic storm, was the direct cause of Winnowill. He didn't need his Mother of Memory, Savah, to explain this.

The vision the shaman gave them though at the end of the walk, the moment of the High One's arrival on this world by the 'magical bird', now that was a different story. He needed, wanted, to hear Savah's opinion on that.

The doctor leaned back against the wall of the 'circle' and gathered his senses and his strength back. He let his eyes adjust to being open again and the low light of the space helped. The brazier had burned out almost, which meant they had been 'walking' longer then they planned, and the candles along the top level of the step-down had burned low in the holders. His head hurt and neck ached just a bit making him wince as he looked over to check on his companions. Willowgreen, just to his right, was waking up slowly with the obvious effects he was feeling. Rain rose from his blanket and almost fell feeling the blood flow back into his numb legs and feet. He reached the Veterinarian's side checking on her but also stealing a quick glance over to look at Savah. She was also waking now he thought with relief while turning back to Willowgreen and touching her shoulder.

"How are you doc?"

"I'll be okay. I just need a minute." Willowgreen said pushing his hand away.

Any other person would have taken the small rejection personal, an affront to someone's concern, but it didn't bother Rain a second. He had known Willowgreen for a long time, since her arrival in town, and over the years his affection for her had grown and with it the need for a thick skin. She held everyone at arms length, made sure everyone understood this from the outset of meeting her, and why she did this he didn't know and didn't have care to know. To Rain, for him and his heart, all he had to know was when she finally needed someone he would be there for her. Rain only smiled at the push and walked on using the wall of the step-down to lean on as he reached Savah.

"Don't move to fast, just take it easy Matron."

"I'll be okay Brother Rain. I just need to rest...and eat." Savah replied with her usual warm smile while patting his hand.

"Was it true Mother Memory, the vision we saw at the end? Were those our ancestors, the High Ones?"

The question from the doctor was so filled with earnest excitement, like a child seeing their parents after being gone for sometime, that it brought a pause to Savah. She smiled up at him not sure how to respond. Savah, and this was true for only for her heart, knew that what Black Feather had shown them was real. He had somehow, in his mastery of Dream World, shown them the past by literally taking them to the moment when her ancestors had come to this planet. Yet, if she told him this then he would take it as true too because she felt it so, she believed it to be so it had to be, and this was not the Seeker way. Rain, and only Rain, could answer his own question. He had to make that decision on his own. So Savah looked up at him and gave the only response she knew to give.

"What do you think Brother Rain? Do you think it was true?"

He paused too, looking into his heart, and for a moment Savah felt like she had betrayed him. She was their spiritual leader, their Matron, but she could only bring them to the well of knowledge and nothing more. It was up to Rain and Willowgreen and anyone else to drink the water. Then the doctor squeezed her hand back while smiling like a little boy who just received a piece of rock candy.

"I believe it was real Matron. I believe we just saw what we have been searching for."

Savah felt a deep relief at hearing the words from her fellow seeker, a new respect for him because of it. She looked over to Willowgreen wanting to ask her if she felt the same, only the vet was all ready one step a head of her Matron.

"I always wondered what I'd feel when we finally found something, anything, about the High Ones. I wondered if I would stop this seeking and never look back. Now my Mother of Memory, after seeing them in their beauty, I want to know more. I want to see more of them."  

"We will see them again my Sister Seeker, we will." Savah responded feeling her heart warm.

"But who was the shaman Mother? Where did he come from?" Rain asked looking back to Savah with concern.

"He's not the one that has my interest piqued." Willowgreen suddenly remarked.

Savah and Rain didn't respond obviously waiting and thinking about whom else was out there with them. The Vet took note of the silence and decided to go ahead and speak up after she took a breath.

"I'd like to know who this 'Goodtree' is. Where did she come from and how did she know we were in the 'Dream World'?"

Rain squinted and it was easy to see he was thinking hard, searching his memory for the name or face of the elf. Savah though didn't have such a look. She hoped the blank expression she was using hid the emotion behind the facade as Savah didn't know Goodtree personally, but knew of her, and who she was with. If they knew what Winnowill had done then the trouble was only starting.

"I don't know a Goodtree and I've never seen her before." Rain remarked sitting on the ledge.

"She is not important brother. We need to rest and in the morning be ready for Sister Winnowill when she arrives." Savah countered.

Willowgreen's eyes narrowed at the mention of the name and it was easy to see she was not about to forgive Winnowill. "How do you know she'll come and see us? Sister Winnowill seems to be following her own path these days."

"I know Sister Willowgreen," Savah explained trying to garner some sympathy for Winnowill while shaking her head, "but she is about to need our help and we must stand by her. When I asked you to help earlier tonight to find our sister, it was not just out on the 'walk', it was not just for tonight."

But Sister Willowgreen didn't say a word or even a syllable this time. No, this time it would be a harder sell to have the Vet's help Savah thought.


John Lee passed through the small lobby, past the dining room of the boarding house without disturbing anyone, and not even the dust seemed to move. He made his way up the stairs as silent as a mouse, the floorboards not daring to utter a squeak. He reached the second floor and went straight like a bee for the door to his room seeking the solace of the quiet empty space, the day, and the night's events weighing heavily on his mind. John Lee was still trying to ascertain just what Winnowill was up to, if the last words of the wretch Fats were correct. The elf was in over her head obviously, but determined enough to try and find a way out, of what though? Kidnapping, two times? It didn't make sense.

He reached for the knob ready to give it a quick turn when he felt it, a pair of eyes watching him. John Lee looked up from the door to the end of the hall by a set of stairs in the back that went up to a third floor and the last set of rooms. There, by the wall hiding just out of sight, was a string of brown hair and a familiar pair brown doe eyes.

"Good evening Miss Ahdri, your up late."

The small elf stepped out of the shadows and off the stairs, into the hall as a robe and night gown flowed around her, while speaking with a quiet voice. "I couldn't sleep. Did the storm give you any trouble?"

John Lee smiled at the concern. It was touching if not misplaced, and she wasn't lying about not being asleep. Her hair was still combed and the nightgown and robe looked too fresh to have been slept in.

"I had no trouble with the storm Miss Ahdri, except for the fact I got a little wet. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to rest my weary bones."

"Wait," Ahdri called out in a voice that touched off a warning in John Lee as the elf walked up, "I wanted to ask you something."

"Well, it must be very important if it's kept you up. Then ask away my lady and I will answer as best as I can" John Lee remarked with a grin, looking down at the girl as she approached.

Ahdri didn't turn away from the red eyes. She didn't step back as he towered over her small form, his 6'1 frame looking like a tall tree to her barely 5'1 lithe body. It impressed the albino, he only knew of one other elf that didn't flinch when she looked at him and there was no way she was any where near here. No, he was busy wondering what Ahdri was up to, what she was doing holding him here in the hall with an obvious ruse. Just what did little Ahdri want with him.

"Your pale skin, is it something you got back east from being sick?"

The question, as honest and sincere as John had ever heard, made him smile as he answered. "Back east? As if I caught the fever and this happened because of it? No Miss Ahdri, I was born this way, brought into this world as an omen my mother told me on several occasions."

"An omen?" Ahdri responded confused.

"Yes ma'am, my mother was a very proper woman who felt my condition was a sign that she was being punished for a transgression."

"For a what?"

The questions were quickly crossing into an area John Lee didn't want to talk about or relive in any fashion. Yet, with those large brown eyes staring at him he felt oddly obliged to at least give some explanation. "There are all kinds of errors and misdeeds in the world Miss Ahdri and my mother was fond of saying we all pay for the ones we commit in some form or another. Now, if there's nothing else."

But as he reached for the knob Ahdri reached out and touched his hand. It was an odd moment, but not awkward. John Lee froze at the touch as it brought back memories of the very few women who had touched him and not recoiled in horror. Of two in particular, one with tanned hands like Miss Ahdri and one with pale hands like his, pale Elvin hands like Miss Ahdri. He looked over to see her staring at his palm with the look of someone who had discovered the answer to a question they had wanted to ask for a long while.

"Miss Ahdri, are you okay?" John Lee asked slowly pulling his hand back.

"It doesn't feel any different," she whispered and he let her talk on without interruption, "I saw another one like you, pale skin but his eyes weren't red. They were different."

Another one...pale like him? "How was he different Miss Ahdri?"

"He was an elf, thin and small like me, only as pale as you. I just wondered if it was something you caught back east, like you said, a fever." Ahdri stated quietly.

"For me no, but for this elf, can't say. Is he staying here in the boarding house? I sure would like to meet him and exchange notes." John Lee asked and he saw a small bit of fear pop up in Ahdri's eyes. She swallowed hard and stepped back pulling her robe tightly around her causing a small pang of regret in John Lee's heart for asking the question, for driving her away.

Suddenly Ahdri realized she had said too much. It wasn't her place to speak of the other pale elf and she chided herself for being a gossip. "I'm sorry. I'll let you go to bed."

John Lee watched her walk away down the hall, the nightgown and robe swirling around her small feet like some billowing fog. The albino didn't say a word, he didn't want to stop the girl from leaving. He unlocked his door and entered his room with a quickness closing the portal without a sound, not even a click on the lock. The dark was a welcomed friend; it had always been the only one who gave him solace. All that time being locked away because of his mother, the times his father would strike him, the dark took him in and soothed him afterwards.

He put his hat on the edge of the bed and moved to the chair sitting down in it as silently as a cat, closing his eyes as soon as he made contact with the seat. John Lee touched the spot on his hand where Miss Ahdri had touched him thinking about that odd moment just a little more, enjoying it just a little more, before pushing it all way.

John Lee couldn't care for someone. That ability was taken from him long ago by his parents.

And this new albino, an elf, intrigued him.

Could it be an old friend had come to town?


Goodtree woke in the bed starring at the ceiling of the room. It looked the same as before, or maybe it different, her eyes and head hurt so much it didn't matter. She sat up slowly and rubbed the orbs trying to lessen the pain as a female voice called out.

"Did they unlock it?"

"Yes Miss Sefra, but it was only the one called Winnowill. She must have stumbled on a way to free it." Goodtree answered tuning to a sitting position on the edge of the mattress.

"We knew they would, Adya said he'd seen as much," another voice, male, responded curtly.

"Arrangements will have to be made." Sefra remarked with a sigh.

"Do the Twelve know Mr. Orolin?" Goodtree asked with fear of the male voice.

"Adya saw this before it happened, it is how we recruited you to help us. He's the eyes of the Twelve telling us where to go, which means Haken and the others will know soon enough. We don't, and won't, hide things from the others Goodtree." The voice of Orolin explained.

"I'm sorry...I tried to stop it...I wasn't strong enough." Goodtree apologized with a whisper.

She felt a hand touch her shoulder and looked up into the silver hair and eyes of an elegant and beautiful elf. "You did as we asked Goodtree and that is all we wanted or expected. Now, rest and when we receive word we will leave for Two-Moons."

"Yes Miss Sefra," Goodtree said laying back down and closing her eyes hoping the pain in them and her heart would go away.


The first thing Winnowill noticed was the fact she was in bed. She started to sit up and the pain in her head put a stop to that, as did the abrupt dizziness that threatened to make her stomach convulse. Winnowill put her head back on the pillow and fought against the wave of nausea just as she noticed the solemn figure sitting on the edge of the mattress staring at her intently.

"Husband?"

Voll didn't say anything at first, only handed her a glass of water that was in his left hand, a glass he had been holding for more than a few minutes. She drank from it and the piece of rug that was her tongue flailed against it. Winnowill gave a small cough before handing the glass back and trying to speak coherently

"What happened?"

"Your plan failed Winnowill," was all Voll offered.

Winnowill looked at him confused as the fog in her mind refused to let her remember anything except her name and the face of her husband. "I do not understand, what plan?"

The scowl on Voll's face caught her slightly off guard, and she scrambled through her clouded memories trying to discern what he was talking about. "Do not play me for a fool! I am not like the pair of dead idiots hanging in the barn outside like two sides of beef! They were supposed to take one of Sun Toucher's daughter's, which one I care not to know, and it was all on your order."

Then she remembered what she had started, all of it, and all in its sordid vivid detail. She remembered paying Fats and Slim to take the daughter of Sun Toucher, and worse yet, she remembered the reason why. It was the point of the spear she thought, the confrontation she had tried to avoid. It was time to choose, to die on the spear or to try and slip past it's point. Winnowill looked up to her husband as she tried to come up with something to say.

"What are you up to my precious wife?" Voll spoke with venom in his voice.

What was coming all took just a second to think up and Winnowill measured each and every word cautiously and carefully.

"His eldest daughter, Leetah, she can heal with her touch, like myself."

"You...can heal someone...with your touch?" Voll asked taken back by the revelation.

"Yes,"

"You never told me this. Why wouldn't you tell me this?"

"Because I have always been afraid if someone found out I would be ostracized from the social circles that we frequented back east. Because I was afraid you would not want me if I were...different, my love." Winnowill whispered.

She watched her husband's eyes narrow as he took in the last statements, weighed them against his own moral scales. When he spoke the venom was mostly, if not all, gone from his voice now.

"And why would you pay for those two fools to kidnap her?"

"I did not pay them to kidnap her. I asked them to pass a note to her, to start a friendship between the two of us. I did not ask them to harm her, I could never do that." Winnowill responded with vigor.

Voll stared at her even harder, his nostrils flaring slightly with each inhale. "They were to just pass a note, a note asking for friendship?"

"Yes my husband, I just wanted to converse with the girl. We are alike in some ways, shy and reclusive about our powers. Yet, maybe if we were to start a friendship we could begin to understand these powers. They may even be from our ancestors the High Ones. Maybe all of us, all the elves, have powers like these and we just don't know it."

The bedroom fell silent again as the two stared at each other. Voll eyes opened from the squint and softened a little, but just a little as he considered all that was said. Winnowill looked back hoping with all her will that her husband had bought the lie and hoping that he didn't know more and was just letting her fall into a trap. It was like crossing a stream on a line of old slippery moss covered rocks, one miss and you going in, so you kept all your muscles taught and ready.

Then, with a small smile, Voll eased his demeanor and spoke as the rancher Winnowill had actually fallen in love with. "I need to make sure Olbar has taken care of the problem in the barn. When I return I wish to climb into my bed and hold my wife close. I do not wish to talk of this anymore tonight."

"Yes my husband," She replied smiling back with what she hoped was a warm smile.

The rancher gave her hand a small pat and squeeze before rising and leaving the room. She watched him go silently, all the time thinking like a mad woman. Winnowill hated lying to him, but at this point the truth would only hurt more and not help in the least, especially for her desire to release the powers of the High Ones. No, right now she needed to make an action plan and follow it.

The first thing was to take care of the one she had hidden and was trying to nurse back to health. She didn't have the time anymore to fully restore him or his health so she would have to release him in his present condition. She hated doing this also; caring for him the last day had awakened a sympathy in her she didn't know existed. Of course, in the end, she would have to lock this compassion away as it would not help her or suit her in the future. Winnowill lay back on the bed staring at the glass of water on the night table by the oil lamp and closed her eyes.

The second thing she would have to do would be to visit Mother Savah and the other seekers tomorrow. She knew already, dreaded it was more to the liking, that she would have to endure Willowgreen's dislike and distrust of her. It would make the task of getting their help harder, but not impossible.

And she would need the Seekers help, and the mysterious shaman's. Winnowill had to admit that the beast, this Madcoil, only came about after she opened something, and if it was still out then putting it away would prove more then she was capable of.  


"I told you idgits, the wagon didn't come this way! Now look, we're so far off the damn road we'll take most of the night getting back on those damn elves trail!"

The group of fifteen riders sat on the back of their horses all clumped around a long pair of broken tree limbs that were trussed up together. Someone had obviously, and with a real good eye to detail, used the contraption to make a false trail for the miners to follow off the road. The rig was probably pulled by a horse seeing it looked to big to be pulled by a man and there were no foot prints anywhere, just hoof marks.

"Shut up Biscuit Head, I'm tired of hearing that hole in your face open and shut." A large man growled just to the right.

To say Amil Gentry was upset would be understating a lot, any hope of riding down those three varmints went out the window with the baby and the bath water because of Buckshot's tracking. Amil was the poor bastard in charge of this little posse, or a band of whatever in the hell you wanted to call it. They were all miners who agreed to ride after the three elves that broke Boone's shoulder and shot old Dreg and Stu. He stepped up to lead the men after the banker offered him an extra 2 dollars and ounce over what the others got on every ounce he brought in. Boone wasn't a fool, and he knew if the meanest S.O.B. in Silver Springs wasn't in charge then this ragged bunch of spineless bags would have turned back by now. Amil kept them all moving after those three elves, and it wasn't because of some sense of justice. Hell, he hated Boone just like everyone else in town did. This was strictly business son, and nothing but. He turned left to see the whole crew from the Deep Hole mine just north of Silver Springs with them, three humans and three trolls. Then to his right was Biscuit Head, named because his head was large and doughy like some big old biscuit, and the four men from his mine, the T-bone. And in front were old Buckshot and his partner, the hope of the posse, two men he didn't want or care to know of.

"Sorry Amil, the tracks looked just like the wagon's, with the dark and rain I got all turned backwards." Buckshot explained.

"Hell of a time to realize we went off trail." One of the men from the Deep Hole muttered under his breath.

"Shut yer' yap." The man with Buckshot exclaimed holding his old Spencer menacingly.

"All of you can shut up and ride back to town if you want to fight. If you stay with me, and this posse, then you do what I say. Anyone objectin'?" Amil challenged.

Of course no one spoke up, and since they were all ready off the trail and it was late, the decision to make camp and ride hard in the morning was an easy one. Amil and his men started the fire while the others tended the horses. The warmth of the fire was welcomed after riding through the rain, and it helped them try to keep somewhat dry as they fell off into sleep after eating a plate of beans and bacon. One man stayed up watching the fire and listening to a symphony of snoring, belching, and the occasional high pitched blast of passing of wind. The night rolled right along until the man on watch noticed the horses stopped making noises. He stepped out of the ring of light cast by the fire and just as his eyes adjusted to the black his heart sank.

"AMIL! THE HORSES ARE GONE!"

The scream roused the miners immediately, what the scream told them made them run like their rumps were on fire. Amil got to the spot where the horses should have been staked out only there were no horses now, just the stakes, not a single horse. His blood began to boil as he gave out an order with a loud bark.

"Well just don't stand there you damn fools, GET THE HORSES!"

The men, and three trolls, ran after to get the horses as ordered, and to get away from Amil who was rather scary when he was mad. The large miner huffed trying to get his anger under-control when Buckshot called to him from a spot where he was kneeling.

"Someone pulled up the stakes Amil."

"You find some tracks?" One of Biscuit Head's men asked as the camp fire cast a glow from behind him.

"Nope, but all the stakes are up. I'm sure the horses didn't pull them up so someone snuck in, didn't make a sound, and pulled them up." Buckshot retorted with a little attitude. He didn't like being second guessed.

"You know, now that you mention it, there's a bush missing." Biscuit Head exclaimed.

"There's a 'what' is missing?" Amil asked as if the man was daft.

"Yeah, your right. I came out here when nature called and I swear the damn thing was right here." Buckshot agreed.

"But it's gone now," Biscuit Head continued to talk.

Just then a loud splash sounded, like a giant bucket of water was thrown on something, and the camp fire went right out. The whole area went black with the clouded night, and most of the men froze at the sudden blindness.

"What the hell was that?" Biscuit Head whined.

"The camp fire went out you fool! Hell, I'll get it. Damn, you work in a mine and you're scared of the dark?" Buckshot spat heading back to the camp.

"I ain't scared of the dark you idgit!"

Amil wasn't listening to a word between Buckshot and Biscuit Head. His mind was turning over what Boone had said when he made them the offer to ride after these no-good elves. I want their ears boy, all three pair, even the injun! I really want the silver-hair'd one. You bring me all three sets and I'll give you each an extra five dollars an ounce on however much you bring me!

"Biscuit Head, didn't Boone say one of these boys is an injun?"

"Injun?" the man who rode with Biscuit Head whined like some five years old.

"Yeah, but I ain't never seen me no injun elf before. That damn Boone was probably just talking out the side of his neck." Biscuit Head answered.

But Amil was all ready adding it all up in his head. The rig that led them off the trail, the horses, a missing bush and now the campfire. It was all the same person. They were being played like a bunch of first timers right off the farm. And it wasn't over yet because Buckshot suddenly let out a yell loud enough to curl your hair, like he was being stabbed or something.

"Ahhhh!"

"What the hell is that?" Biscuit Head yelled racking the lever on his Spencer.

"A damn snake just crawled out of my bed roll!" Buckshot shouted back.

"What, where'd a snake come from?"

"It probably just crawled in when he ran over here." Biscuit Head's man stated, but not with much assurance.

"The snake didn't just appear out of the air you fool, and it didn't just crawl in. It's that injun elf. He's out here messing with us." Amil explained, looking around eagerly, hoping to spot this injun first because he had a nasty idea he wanted to try out.

"Wait a minute, you boys didn't say nothing bout no injuns. I ain't sure of this anymore." Biscuit Head's man said with a shaky voice.

"Then cut and run son," Amil shot back still looking around in the dark for the injun but seeing no sign of him, "we don't need you no how. You Hear Me Injun, we ain't scared of you! It's all gonna come to a head tomorrow and I'm gonna cut me some ears!"

"Amil, maybe you best not rile that injun elf too much, all right?" Biscuit Head tried to say hoping it would stop the human from taunting the night

"You Hear Me Injun, You No-Good Son-Of-A-Bitch! I'm Gonna Catch You And Cut Out Your Elf Liver And Eat It!" Amil screamed at the top of his lungs to the dark.

"Damn Amil," someone whispered.

"WHAT?" The larger Miner roared as he spun toward the men.

"Nothin, that just don't sound right is all."

"Biscuit Head..." Amil growled from somewhere deep in his chest.

"Yeah, I know, I'm shuttin' up now."

And off in the night Amil swore he could hear someone giggling.


The rain had stopped mercifully Skywise thought looking up at the flat black sky and catching just the glimpse of a twinkle. The night would pass and the morning would be a bright fireball, the sun was always at it brightest after a stormy night. He looked back through the flap and saw his parents laying there in the blankets sleeping, Shale pulling Eyes High in tight, and she obliging by holding him tighter. It was the perfect picture of love and devotion, better than any painting hanging in some house back east. And then, for some strange reason, Foxfur popped into his head.

The curly black hair falling around her beautiful face...

The way she didn't take any of his attitude and gave back as good as she got...

The way she knew when he needed to be held and needed his space...

Everything Vurdah and the girls were not.

And then he realized it, with a grin he realized it had him.

"Hello Mary," he whispered to no one while driving the wagon on.

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Six - Part One   Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:13 am

And now, for the start of a new day, Six, written by our favorite artist, Rainflower

Day Six - Part One


I've been given the next part of Dewshine and Tyldak. Sorry it took so long but now its here. This will be a kind of a parallel story to this Henry Rifle thing and Strongbow's disappearing. It became a little long, so sorry about that.

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

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

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

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

She suddenly came to think of Scouter, who was leaving soon. She could not help but being angry at him, not for leaving, but for his insult. Her cousin Cutter had gone to Silver Springs to look for Strongbow, who's mysteriously disappearing had been the great subject for the week. No one had heard from either her cousin or Strongbow. So her father was sending Dart to look after them, and was also sending Scouter with him. She didn't really wanted Scouter to leave, but she didn't want to see him after he had insulted her like he did.

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

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

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

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

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

"How's it going?" she said.

"You again? Didn't expect'ya again for a while, kid." he said.

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

"YeahŠbeen working on it. Shouldn't you be in school?"  

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

"Sure, what hell." He said without any enthusiasm.

"Great. What's this for?"

"That's for the wingŠHey hey. Be careful with that!"

"What is it?"

"A propel."

"What does it do? Oh, you steer with it, right?"

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

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

"Where do'ya get parts from?"

"Two-Edge" he answered.

"I haven't seen you in town before. You don't' go there often, do'ya?"

"I like being alone." he said.

Dewshine kept talking. "What about your friends?"

"Don't have. Don't need."

"Need what?"

"Friends."

"Why?"

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

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

"WAIT!"

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

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

"Do you want me to leave?"

"I don't mind'ya staying. Just... stop asking about me. Don't like talking about myself."

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

"What's going on?" he asked.

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

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

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

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

"Have you been called stupid?" Dewshine asked calmly.

He turned away from her and kicked a little rock the ground. "Lot's of times."

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

He looked up at her with a face of surprise. "Why do'ya think that?" he asked.

"Don't know, maybe because I wish it to happen to sometimes myself. Like today, I'd like to just fly away from everything and everyone." Tyldak's face slowly broke up in a smile before turning back again. Dewshine wondered if there was a tear that she saw in his eyes, but she could not be sure. Finely he turned back to her and asked.

"Do'ya wanna... help me finish, kid?" Dewshine's face broke up in a big smile, and she was about to go give him a big hug when he said: "Alright, come on."

"Thanks, but please don't call me kid anymore. I have a name."

"Oh, right. Eh, Dove... something."

Dewshine laughed and blushed when she realized he had called her a bird. She liked it. "You can call me that if you like."

Tyldak blushed and looked away.

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

When Dewshine left later that day, she waved to him from the horse, and without thinking, Tyldak waved back. When he noticed, put his hand down in a hurry. He couldn't explain the empty feeling that suddenly came. There was something about her. Something...

But she was just a kid.

She understood. No one had ever really understood his dream and encouraged him to continue; till now. Besides he had come to the fact that he had been lonely, and actually liked her company. Sure she talked too much and had this strange ability of being happy for nothing. But they had the same wish of something everyone else called impossible. Maybe it was, but Tyldak was too proud to give up. And now he had someone to share it with.

He actually smiled before he went in to make supper.

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

As Dewshine entered the house, she met her father in the kitchen, but froze when she saw that Mrs. Clearbrook sitting with him. She's here to confront me with my skipping, she thought. The Marshal rose from the chair by the sight of his daughter. "Well, finely arriving? Where have you been all day?"

"I've... been riding."

"Yes, but where?"

"Around."

"Riding 'around' all day? While you should have been in school!"

"So?" she didn't mean to answer like that, but she actually had no good explanation for skipping. I should have prepared for this.

Her father's eyes grew smaller when he started talking again. "So? What is that for kind of talk? First you skip school, and now you don't answer properly when I ask you why? What has gone in to you, Dewshine?" He placed his hand on his hips. "Are you expecting me to just accept this? I may have let you get away with much, but this it is!"

She didn't answer, just looked down at the floor.

"Well? Are you going to give me an explanation?"

Dewshine didn't know what to say. "I... I'm sorry. I was not in the mood for school today."

"Not in the mood?" the Marshal said.

"I'm going tomorrow, alright?" She said and felt like she scrimped.

"How can I trust you at that?" Stump said.  

Dewshine felt the anger return and it gave her straighten to face her father. She met her father's eyes, with a look that could shoot. The Marshal almost stepped back at her reaction.

His normally cherry and happy daughter, showed a temper he had never expected from her.

"I was angry cause of you nagging about school, which you know isn't not important to me since I'm going to join aunt Joyleaf at the show. And everyone is over their min about Strongbow and yes it is bad, but it's unfair that you pull the younger of us in to this. Now you've sent Scouter with Dart of to Silver Springs. And remember this?" She held up the necklace she had got from Tyleet at Moonshade's birthday. "Tyleet called me her best friend when she gave me this. How am I supposed to even talk to her after you took side with Dart? I don't understand how you could! You should have known better.

"So that's the problem." Stump said as he got caught by guilt once more. His actions had not only caused problems with his friends, but also his daughter. Dewshine quickly regretted what she had said, but it was too late to take it back. Al the anger had gone out in one moment, and she acted before thinking.

Clearbrook had been silent, not interrupting father and daughter, but now she rose from her chair hand went between them. "Dewshine. I don't think the problems between us grownup people will cause your friendship with Tyleet. I have seen that Crescent still sees Nightfall after Dart's miss, and he is her brother. I believe you have nothing to worry about when it comes to Tyleet."

"You think so?" Dewshine asked the school mistress.

"Of course I do. You and Tyleet are such good friends and she is too good to throw you away like that". The school mistress became serious and crossed her arms on the chest. "As for your skipping on the other hand..."

"I'm sorry about that, ma'am. I promise I'll be there tomorrow." Dewshine said and blushed, suddenly embarrassed.

"Then I suppose my work here is done. I will not interrupt you and your father anymore." The school mistress said good night and left. Treestump wasn't sure what to say to his daughter. "I'm sorry, Dewshine. I never thought the situation with Dart would lead to this sort of trouble. But I'm glad to hear that you don't want to stop seeing Tyleet because of it."

Dewshine suddenly felt really bad for her father. "I'm sorry too father, I didn't mean to yell like that. I'm really sorry."

"Shall we not lay it off and try again tomorrow?"

"Yes! Thank you father, I love you." she answered, and gave him a hug. Just like the Marshal couldn't be angry at Dewshine for long, Dewshine felt that she couldn't be angry at her father for long either.

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

Clearbrook went home after dealing with Dewshine. As she walked, she came to think of Shouter, her son. She still had their kiss behind the school fresh in memory. Treestump had only smiled at it, but she had been quite worried. In fact she had worried about Dewshine for quite a long time, ever since her mother Rillfisher died.

Without a mother to guide her at a woman's way and knowledge, Clearbrook feared that sooner or later, Dewshine would one day come to choose the wrong ways. Treestump could not be blamed; he loved his daughter above anything, but Clearbrook believed that he was too soft with her. That he gave his daughter too much freedom.

She actually had nothing to do with it, it was not her case. She was Dewshines teacher that was it.

Unless...

She didn't finish the thought, but blushed, embarrass of her thoughts.

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Six - Part Two   Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:50 am

And now, for the start of a new day, Six, written by our favorite artist, Rainflower


Day Six - Part Two

I've been given the next part of Dewshine and Tyldak. Sorry it took so long but now its here. This will be a kind of a parallel story to this Henry Rifle thing and Strongbows disappearing. It became a little long, so sorry about that.


The evening was silent and the street was almost empty as a young golden haired elf girl crossed it to get over to Brownberry's restaurant.

Dewshine had got permission from her father to visit Tyleet before she went on catching up the schoolwork she had missed for the day. She was not at all looking forward to read two whole chapters from their homework book, but since she missed today's class, she had no choice.

But Marshal Stump had really felt sorry for her when she mentioned Tyleet and him taking side with Dart, so he had let her go for a quick visit to Tyleet so she could talk with her. She just wanted her to make sure that she had nothing to do with her father's side-taking. He didn't mean to get her in this mess, though she hadn't noticed before today. Now she wanted to help her father and make up with Tyleet at once.

She remembered what he had said just before she left to see her. We grownup's may have a few things to clear off, but it will take a while before it happens. Maybe you younger once will manage to clear the air for the rest of us. She promised herself that she would.

She had reached the front door, but waited a little and prepared before going in. Maybe they would give her that unwelcomed look that her father said he had got a while ago. Would they do the same with her? Just look at her like an enemy?

This situation had more than ever before made she feel insecure, a feeling that normally never passed her way. What her father had got from Mr. Longbranch had really got into her and hurt like a knife, and she could understand how her father must have felt. But stubborn as she was, she was going to face this task. Nothing could stop her from trying.

She took a deep breath and opened the door. There was no one in the cafe. Not to wonder, half the people were out of town. She didn't know what to do. Should she go or...

She heard some sounds from the kitchen and carefully she stepped on her toes. The door was half open, and she tried to listen to what was going on. She could hear Tyleet, and she was crying. Probably of worry for bough her mother and for Redlance, who was to be her father. She stepped just a little closer so she could see into the kitchen. There was Brownberry sitting close to Tyeet, who wept into her chest, and Rainsong sitting next to them and Woodlock standing behind Rainsong.

"Try not to worry too much, Tyleet." Brownberry said patting her head.

"But...but..." Tyleet did a brake before continuing, "But what if it's true? What if she's also disappeared because of thatŠthat stupid, cursed rifle, grandma?" Her voice broke as she started to cry again.

Rainsong tried to comfort her. "Sweety, Newstar normally says things she doesn't mean, but it's never for harm. She probably didn't mean to frighten you."

"And the Henry is not cursed." Woodlock said from behind his wife's back. "Someone only made up that story to scare people off because it's of great value."

"But where is she then?" Tyleet sobbed out of Brownberry's chest. "Where is she grandma?"

"I can't tell that." Brownberry answered and kept patting her granddaughter's head.

Woodlock saw that he couldn't help and was leaving when he burst into Dewshine out the door. They bough stepped back of surprice, but then Woodlock smiled and turned back to the Kitchen.

"Tyleet! Come out and see whose here."

Tyleet sniffed and wiped away her tears before she looked up. At the sight of Dewshine her crying went to a big whine as she run into her and embraced her till Dewshine could nearly breathe. But Dewshine herself could do nothing but laugh from joy that she hadn't lost her friend.

"Oh, Dewshine! I'm so happy to see you."

Dewshine got her arms freed and returned the embrace while laughing. She had been worried for her. "I'm Sorry, Tyleet. My school-skipping was meant as a protest to my father and not to worry you."

Tyleet looked on her with a shocked look in her eyes. "You skipped school on purpose?"

Dewshine laughed again. "I'll explain."

"You better." Woodlock said with crossed arms. "You have scared off the rest of us all day."

Tyleet looked up. "Newstar said that you had disappeared because of that rifle."

"It'll take more than a stupid old rifle with an even more stupid name to get rid of me!" she said before betting serious. I had my reason for skipping; I did it as a protest against my father's action. And while I'm on it, I want you all to know that I've got nothing to do with my father taking side with Dart in the insult of Redlance. I won't stop seeing my best friend cause of this."

Tyleet hugged her once more, and Brownberry got up from the chair. "I'm so glad to hear that, Dewshine."

Dewshine looked down to Tyleet. "Can you forgive me for scaring you off like that, Tyleet?"

Tyleet answered with a new hug. "As long as you're all right, Dewshine."

Brownberry laid a hand on her shoulder. "I'll make dinner now, will you stay?"

"Thanks', but I can't. I have a bunch of homework to do for tomorrow."

"Can't you stay and we'll do it together. I haven't done mine yet either, and grandma has promised to help. And you have to tell me where you've been all day."

Tyleet was dragging Dewshine to the stairs when the Marshal stepped into the cafe. Dewshine turned to him. "I was to go back again, I promise!"

"Don't worry, Dewshine. I was gonna bring these over here. I had hoped to have a word with Brownberry."

"I'm here, Marshal." Brownberry said getting out from the kitchen. "Is there a problem?"

"Only that I have to be on work tonight and I don't like Dewshine to be alone at night, so I was wondering if she could stay here over night."

"Oh, please grandma. Can't she?" Tyleet said looking at Brownberry, who smiled back.

"Of course Dewshine can stay here for the night. She's as welcome as anyone."

"Thank you, grandma. Thank you." Tyleet said hugging her grandmother.

Before the two girls disappeared upstairs, the Marshal called out: "Make sure she's really doing her homework, Tyleet."

Woodlock turned to the Marshal. "Where has she been all day?"

"Have no idea. Has something happened?"

"Tyleet believed that she had disappeared because of the Henry."

The Marshal started laughing before saying. "You know, in a while I actually believed that to."

The grown elves all started laughing before talking serious.

Meanwhile, Dewshine told Tyleet about her visit to Tyldak. At first Tyleet looked worried, but then she felt sorry for Tyldak when Dewshine said that he was lonely.

"Oh. That poor elf. It must be really hard for him being all alone."

"That's why I'm gonna visit him sometimes, and help him with his machine."

Tyleet stared at her. "Do you really think he will make it fly?"

"I hope so. Maybe if I'm really nice to him and don't bother him much, he will let me have a ride." Dewshine closed her eyes, like she dreamt. "Imagine. Flying up in the air, for REAL!"

"I'm just worried for what people are going to say if they get to know what you're doing. It's for you sake I worry. I mean, what if SchouterŢ

"Schouter can have it like he want's. I don't care." Dewshine said and didn't notice that she had raced her voice.

Tyleet noticed and asked carefully: "Have you argued?"

Dewshine calmed down before answering. "Yes. We have."

"What happened?"

"He called me stupid."

Tyleet stared at her. "Is that why you are mad at him?"

Dewshine smiled. "No. there is more." She tried to recall what had happened the other day when they played in the stable. "For the last few days, Mr. Strongbow's disappearing is everything that's been talking about all around, and to Schouter that's everything that counts now. He talks of nothing but that, and when I tried to talk about something else, he got mad."

"What did you talk about?"

"I only talked about how wonderful it would be to fly, just to change the subject. And then he got mad because we ran away from his subject. He couldn't understand how I could talk about flying in such a serious situation." She let out a sigh. "And that's when he called me stupid. Like he thinks he's right all the time."

Tyleet looked down. "I don't think so, Dewshine. I think he is so taken by that because he thinks of his own father. Remember? One-Eye disappeared just the same way, without any clue."

Dewshine got silent a while before talking again. She hadn't thought about it like that., but it was true. One-Eye had disappeared like that five years ago. She could still remember everyone having panic and being worried, and then giving up all hope. She couldn't remember another time like that. Suddenly she felt sorry for Scouter, and more than ever, she wanted to apologize, but she couldn't now. "Maybe your're right, Tyleet."

"Don't you miss him?" Tyleet asked.

Dewshine looked down as she answered. "Maybe..." she buried her face in her hands to hide her tears. She recalled the nights happening had realized she really did miss him. Why had she arrived too late? Why?

Tyleet came over to her and hugged her. "I know, I miss my papa, and momma" she didn't manage to finish the sentence.

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Six - Part Three   Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:08 pm

And now, for the next piece of day, Six, written by our favorite, Cleopatra

Day Six - Part Three

Okay, and by the way. I writed a little scene, it's about Wing and Bethia. Just bored me some day. So I post it now and really hope you guys will like it. Here it is. It takes place the same morning as Day 6

"Wing, now you must wake up," said Rainsong impatient while she tried to get Wing to wake up for at least the third time.

"Mom, just five more minutes," asked Wing murmur in sleep.

"It is the third time I actually turns up," said Rainsong still impatient.

"So now you must stand up, otherwise you'll be late for school," she continued and went as the duvet of Wing. He woke up suddenly at the warmth of the duvet had disappeared and found that everything was so cool now. Sleepy he went to the outhouse, and mumble that he was so tired and did not sleep until late at night.

"Wing, now you must cut out to be so mad," said Newstar while they were on their way to school.

"I'm not mad," said Wing.

"Yes you are."

"No, I'm not."

"Yes you are."

"I am not," said Wing irritated. He mutter to himself that he was a little tired of school and all the things that had happened now on Thursday Moon. Mr. Strongbows disappearing major Cutter and captain Skywise and the tracker was at Silver Springs. He was tired of all the talk and discuss any that took place in the city, but he hoped the that Mr. Strongbow would come back soon, so could all be as before, again in the city. They approached the school, met all the other students. All this so easy for them, some of them seemed completely worry-free. He then Tyleet among them, and remembered what his mother had told about how Tyleet responded in what the deputy Dart called Redlance when Mr. Strongbow not was been found yet. He knew by some jolt hit him and turned so mad and was about to say something, but his mouth did not come with a sound. He just stared at the elfgirl that so apologetic for him.

"Oh, sorry. I didnt meant it, "she said while she added a smile on her mouth. Her eyes shined. Golden and soft light through the clear green trekrownes.

"It...it is all right," said Wing and smiled to her. She smiled back at him and went against to the scoolhouse and smiled for all she went past. Wing forgot that he had been grouchy this morning, now days so much more brighter because of the smile to the girl. He tried to think through, he had seen her before, for she was in class with him, but now he coulden't not remember what her name was. Now, he saw Mrs. Clearbook come and they had to go to the classrom. The little elfgirl went to the teacher.

"Good morning Mrs. Clearbook," she said and gave her a smile. The teacher returned the smile.

"Good morning, Miss Bethia," she said. Now Wing remembered it, her name was Bethia and she could always bring a smile to everybody. And today, she had given him a smile, a warm smile.

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Six - Part Four   Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:26 am

And now, for the next piece of Day Six, written by me, Wiseshaman


Day Six - Part Four

John has some breakfast at Brownberry's and finds out a few things while Rayek watches Winnie ride off the ranch and Vaya wakes up


The morning sun, usually something to hide from, was actually a rather nice greeting this morning for John Lee. He walked out of the Boarding house, thankful for not running into Miss Ahdri in the halls, and carefully navigated the muddy streets sparing his polished black boots a muddy demise. The albino stepped up onto the covered walkway, just as the sound of hooves came running up from behind. John Lee didn't turn to look at the oncoming rider, discerning from the sounds that this was no threat. He did look up in time to see a small elf, a girl with bright blond curly hair, pass him in a full gallop on the back of a big horse. She looked a little young to be riding out to some job, and a little too small to be riding a beast like that. One slip by the horse and it would have been all over for the pretty young thing. He pulled out his small leather notebook and opened it carefully to the second page, reading the fourth line.

Dewshine, elf with curly blond hair, daughter of Marshall Treestump, mother deceased.

John Lee noted the information and closed the leather notebook with a small grin. Its good to be informed, a down right necessity in his business he thought as the book disappeared into his inside coat pocket. With quiet strides he walked up to, and into, the restaurant eager for a little breakfast. The place wasn't packed, but there were a few patrons at the tables, one in particular catching his eye.

A troll, in the back, and he looked to be causing problems.

The blond female elf, the one who spoke freely about the map the other day, was walking away shaking her head in obvious anger while her husband exchanged some unpleasant words with the fat sack in the chair. John Lee didn't need his little book to tell him the troll was Greymung, owner of the local Mercantile and avid extortionist. He moved to the counter, keeping an eye on the scene while taking off his hat as manners dictated. John Lee took a seat as the brunette elf, he heard her called Foxfur the other day, walked up with a cup in hand. She didn't look much better, like she had been up most of the night with worry, but her eyes and face could still knock a man flat.

"Mornin' sir." She offered with a somewhat chipper tone that seemed a little forced. Maybe it was the look she gave him as she put the cup down, the kind he was used to getting.

"Morning ma'am, how are you?"

"I'm alright this morning." Foxfur replied pouring him some coffee.

"Well that's good," John Lee responded deciding to see if the hunch he had was right, "I guess it might be hard to get some sleep with all the commotion that was going on last night."

Foxfur looked at him curiously, maybe trying to figure out what he was getting at, and it told John Lee he was on the right trail as she answered. "Yep, there was a lot happening here last night. How did you hear about it?"

"I heard about it at the boarding house, almost like it was printed in the paper. A whole group rode out of here last night someone said." John Lee replied with a smile that made the elf blink.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw the exchange between the husband and the troll heat up, and then end with a pointed finger from across the table. The elf didn't look happy and only turned and headed to the counter where his wife was standing. It took a second, but John remembered the names from his book, Rainsong and Woodlock.

"Yes sir, they went out to help a friend who had run into some, trouble you might say."

The last from the waitress sounded worried and John could see it in her eyes. Foxfur had something deeply vested in the group riding out of here, maybe the one they were riding to meet, but he wasn't sure exactly. She was torn up with worry he thought, taking a sip from the cup and carefully watching Woodlock and Rainsong. The pair was having a quiet discussion at the end of the counter, thinking the whispers would hide the conversation, but John Lee could read their lips and body expression just like his little book. Another necessity in his line of work.

"Well I hope they make it in time."

"I'm sure they will sir, now what you'll you have?" Foxfur asked, changing the subject quickly John noticed.

"Oh, I'll have a steak with some eggs over medium and fried potatoes. I hear you serve some of the best coffee anywhere and I'd have to agree."

Foxfur smiled brightly, the first for the waitress since his arrival John thought, as she gave him a nod. "Thank you sir, I'll get the order in."

John Lee only smiled on, still watching Rainsong and Woodlock, but making sure Foxfur had no clue of his spying. The pair was obviously upset, and from what was being said, it looked like a debt was being called in by the fat sack at the table. Rainsong was worried about being forced off their land, losing their house, and the effect it would have on the little ones. The husband spoke up quickly with animated hands saying he would get the money, that there was no way he was going to let their family be thrown out in the street. She quieted down, to the point of being catatonic, and then mentioned some offer. A job the fat sack had said could get them money, a job in the saloon. The mere mention of the offer made Woodlock go stiff with anger and he said the job could rot, that he was going to get the money. Little Rainsong only nodded and kissed him before the elf crossed the restaurant to leave with an angry gait. He didn't even look to the troll while heading out.

The albino sipped his coffee noting the whole exchange, its reason, and who caused it. He sighed thinking all they had to do was use the map now. They broke the code, it was the reason he showed up in this burg, and now they just had to use it. Only everything that could stop them was popping up now, getting in the way, from Winnowill to this damn troll. It was rather disheartening. John Lee didn't show his discouragement on the outside though, just grinned as Foxfur brought him the plate with a steak, eggs, and friend potatoes. She refilled his coffee as he sat and ate in quiet, just as Greymung rose from his table and smugly walked toward the door seeming to ignore, but probably reveling on the inside, all the hated looks that came his way. He didn't notice John Lee, who finished of his steak and eggs, tracking the troll with his hearing as the fat sack left. The last scoop of fried potatoes went into his mouth leaving only the big round bone from the steak on the plate.

As John wiped the sides of his mouth clean, he looked over to see another customer, a rather rough looking ranch hand, had also finished his steak leaving nothing but a big round bone.

"Excuse me sir, but do you plan on just throwing that bone away?" He inquired.

The look the ranch hand shot John told him the man was unnerved by the question, or more to the point, the albino asking it. The man out-weighed John Lee by at a good thirty pounds and was probably an inch taller, but he was all ready cowering in his heart. The ranch hand looked down to his plate and then up before pushing it across the table.

"It's your friend, gristle and all."

"Thank you sir," John Lee said taking the bone from the plate and wrapping it with the other in the napkin he used to clean up with, "I saw a couple of hungry dogs outside and thought I'd feed them."

"Whatever friend," the man replied coldly signaling the conversation was at end.

John Lee only nodded and stood up off the stool while placing the bones in his jacket pocket with one hand. With the other he pulled out an ornate metal money clip and quickly pulled off two ten dollar bills, dropping them on the counter as he turned to leave. Yet, just as he reached the door John heard Foxfur call after him.

"Mister, this is too much for your breakfast."

"No ma'am., its what you deserve." John replied.

"But I only filled your coffee cup twice." Foxfur countered.

"Well, you did such a fine job I felt the only course of action left to me was to give you a sizable tip. I hope your friend is all right ma'am."

And with that, John Lee stepped out of the restaurant leaving a confused Foxfur holding twenty dollars and the ranch hand relieved.

"That man ain't right and I'm damn glad he's gone."

"Yes sir," Foxfur whispered tucking the bills away in her pocket before picking up the dirty dishes.

The albino walked across the street, again dodging the drying puddles, before stepping onto the walkway. He made his way to the Livery silently, all the while keeping his eyes peeled for anything that caught his attention. There was the usual early morning hustle and bustle of the town, people going about their business of getting to work. No one seemed to mind him as John walked up and into the Livery, where once inside he pulled out his riding gloves, slipping them on easily. He looked around, spotted the Mustang, and right off knew it belonged to her. It was the natural choice.

John walked up to the stall and started to peer inside just as two low growls, deep threatening rumbles, rose from the floor and he only grinned.

"I guess she's picked up a couple of new friends." He whispered while pulling the napkin with the both bones out of his pocket.

"I was going to use these in case Mr. Guttlekraw had a dog, but I think you boys might enjoy them more. Anyway, I'd hate to have hurt you."

With an easy toss he threw the bones in the stall, under the legs of the Mustang. John Lee listened intently while tucking away the napkin in his pocket, then saddling his horse. It took a bit, but just before he was done, the distinct sound of chewing and gnawing filled the air in the Livery causing the albino to smile. John Lee rode out ready for the day's work, heading to the small camp outside of town where Mr. Clayton stayed. Hopefully the large man would be ready to visit that fat sack Guttlekraw, just as ready and eager as he was.

Outside his store, Greymung looked over the work of the men who were finishing up the last of the repairs to it. From the looks all they needed to do was paint and the front would be back to normal, and it should be with what he had to pay out to fix it all. He didn't see the pale horse, or it's equally pale rider, pass by but the cold shiver that ran up his spine made the troll jerk and turn around looking to see who just walked across his grave.


Rayek came down from his room just in time to see the mistress of the house going to the barn. He watched intently through the screen of the backdoor as she went into the barn with a hurried step, but not so much that he didn't hear his friend walk up.

"Buenos dias Ekuar."

"Good morning to you too Brownskin. What are you watching?"

"I am noting the strange behavior of our proprietress. She rose very early to ride away from the ranch." Rayek answered, waiting for Winnowill to exit the barn.

"That is not so strange, unless her actions have something to do with last night."

The remark sparked the curiosity in Rayek instantly, but he never turned from the screen door or watching the entrance to the barn. The old hunter instinct was alive in him this morning, the stalk already starting.

"What happened last night?" He asked.

"There was something, or someone, in the house. It was a bad feeling; like that man you caught who had killed his wife and brother." Ekuar said looking around the kitchen for something to eat.

Rayek's companion was referring to a man named Charlie Broadwell, or as most called him, one ruthless son-of-a-bitch. Charlie shot his brother, 4 times, in what he claimed was self-defense to the locals of the town they had ridden into with his wife. It was after the escape when the townsfolk found Charlie's her, dead and stuffed into a trunk. Rayek chased old Charlie for a good piece across the prairie, and when he corned the human in some small barn in an equally small town, he asked the murderer how it could be self-defense when his brother was shot in the back. And the funny thing, Old Charlie didn't want to answer the question, or come peaceably for that matter, which meant little to the bounty hunter at the time. Rayek shot him twice, and hauled his dead body back to the nearest town to collect the bounty. The whole time he was chasing and running down Broadwell though, Ekuar complained about a 'bad' feeling, like some ill omen would happen when they found old Charlie. It was all silly non-sense to the bounty hunter.

"And this feeling, is it the same you had the other day?" Rayek asked with a grin.

"Ah, don't play with me like some mouse Brownskin! I know what I felt and it was not a good feeling." Ekuar shot back, sitting down on the stool.

Before Rayek could make another jab at his friend May the cook walked into the kitchen and the mood shifted. Ekuar's spirit lifted almost at once as he practically serenaded the human.

"Oh, thank the stars it's you May. I am famished for you and your beauty."

"Morning to you too Mr. Ekuar, and as for my beauty, well we both know that my cooking is what you really need."

"Si, I think that is the case." Rayek said over his shoulder causing Ekuar to hiss at him.

Not for a second did the bounty hunter's eyes leave the screen door, or the entrance to barn beyond, and his patience was rewarded as Winnowill suddenly appeared. She was on the back of the Arabian of hers, pushing it into a gallop, riding hard out of the courtyard. Rayek watched her leave, his brow furrowing hard with concentration, then turned to talk with his companion Ekuar and May.

Only he was a little stunned to see Mr. Voll standing in the doorway.

"I know my wife is very beautiful, but does she really illicit this much curiosity in you Mr. Rayek?"

The bounty hunter had never backed down from a fight or a challenge, not even when the odds were against him, so Rayek only smiled and answered. "I have never seen her rise so early which, beg my pardon, raised my curiosity. And to see her riding out so recklessly, I just wonder what has the proprietress so full of energy."

"She is attending to business that concerns the ranch, as you need to after breakfast Mr. Rayek. Now, let's eat, shall we." Voll responded calmy, coldly.

The bounty hunter smiled as the tone in the rancher's voice said the topic was over and would not be revisited. They carried on a small conversation that went no-where over the eggs and potatoes and steaks, but the whole thing was a fake, a smoke screen. The old bird knew something Rayek thought and it just might be that his companion was right in that feeling of his. He decided, against every fiber of his being that screamed no, that another meeting with Khavi was going to be necessary.


The blankets were warm and Vaya didn't want to wake, but she forced her eyes open anyway. At first, she wasn't sure where she was, but then it all came back in slow painting images in her mind's eye, the attack at Dave's shack, waking up in bed, and that moonshiner's compassion. She slowly rose up onto her elbows looking around carefully realizing the inside of the shack looked different in the light of day. There was the stove just to her left and across the room was the table with both chairs. The floor was still dirt and the roof was wood. It was still the same after the storm, just like before.

Then her stomach growled so loud it sounded like a wild animal was loose in the shack and the pain made her wince. Damn, but she was hungry Vaya thought, maybe that moonshiner could warm up some of the stew from last night.

Maybe he could take care of her again? And the thought made her heart skip and warm.

No, that wasn't possible. The thought was kooky and unbelievable. She couldn't be smitten with some old redneck out in the woods. And yet, the thought did make her feel kind of warm. He didn't take advantage of her when she was out cold. He cleaned the cuts on her and then put this ugly old nightshirt on her. He didn't do anything...perverted.

But no man, or elf, had ever treated her nicely. They all wanted the same damn thing, a roll in the blankets and then the quickest route to the door. Hell, most didn't make eye contact if her shirt wasn't unbuttoned and there were some you didn't dare close your eyes around, not even to blink.

But Pike, he was different. A little off his rocker probably, but maybe that was a good thing. And then the door opened and the morning sunlight flooded the shack causing Vaya's thoughts to scatter as she covered her eyes. The orbs flared with a little pain as she squinted to protect them.

"Whoa, you're up! Looks like I got back just in time."

The voice was Pike's, but Vaya wasn't sure it was him because the only thing she was seeing right now was green and blue blinking lights everywhere. Then the door closed and the dark took pity on her, clearing out all the flashing orbs as a single lantern lit the room. Pike was still dressed like he was yesterday, but in one hand he held a large burlap sack filled with who knows what.

"Where'd you go?" She asked sitting up and wincing.

"Well, I figured you might want something more for breakfast than just shine, so I did some tradin' with the fella down the hill." Pike answered with a smile.

"Tradin'?" Vaya whispered starting to smile herself.

"Yep, I got some eggs and some potatoes. I asked for a steak but he didn't have any. Are you hungry?"

"Yeah, starved."

"All right, I'll get to work then." Pike said with a chipper tone going to the small stove.

Vaya watched him, feeling a little warmer and little less confused. The redneck was still off his rocker she thought, but it was good a thing, a very good thing. She slid her legs out from under the blankets, intending not to let Pike do everything for her, but as she stood the room spun and the pain from the cuts on her stomach made her legs go weak. Vaya might have fallen straight to the dirt floor if not for Pike catching her hand and pulling her back up and into his arms.

"Hey! Not to fast..." He yelped holding her up.

"I'm good. You can let go." Vaya replied, asking him to let her go, but not wanting him to for one second.

"Why don't you lay down and I'll cook up the eggs and potatoes?"

"I ain't gonna let you take care of me like I'm some baby. Now get me some water so I can wash of the spuds unless you like eating dirt."

"Okay," Pike agreed to the order with a smile, letting her go with a look that was half reluctance and half discomfort.

She felt the same as he walked away, like she suddenly needed his touch. He grabbed a bucket and went outside to get the water as she took the sack he came in with and pulled out its contents, six large brown eggs and four plump potatoes. Vaya took a few deep breaths to get the pain, and her heart, under control while looking for something to cook the food in. There, just above the stove, on a nail set into the wall was a large round iron skillet, and when she pulled it off the wall it looked clean and cured. Well, at least Pike wasn't a total loss, he knew how to clean and cure an iron skillet

Then the door opened and Pike brought the bucket back in sloshing with water, but as he sat it down on a small table by the stove so she could work, Vaya wasn't so sure. She leaned over and sniffed the clear liquid just to convince herself it wasn't some of the redneck's 'second best'.

Pike laughed and shook his head. "It's just water."

"Damn, I guess the potatoes 'ill have to taste kind of bland then." Vaya stated with a playful smile. That was a first she thought, her flirtin' so damn obvious.

Yet Pike didn't respond to the remark, or try to flirt back, only laughed and moved to help her with the potatoes while asking a question.

"You like your potatoes with the skin on or naked?"

The question made her laugh suddenly, almost spit, as she looked at him. It was the first time anyone had asked her about naked potatoes and it took a second to answer. "I like my spuds dressed please. I think you like em' naked, am I right?" Vaya asked back with a raised eyebrow.

This time Pike got the flirtatious overture, and blushed so hard his cheeks looked like they might catch fire. He gave a laugh while washing off a potato.

"Um, I can take em' either way, but naked doesn't get caught in my teeth as much."

Vaya laughed again, taking the potato from him, and starting to cut it up with a large knife that was also by the stove, conveniently hung up on the same nail as the skillet. Pike slid over and started to wash off the second potato and his shoulder rubbed up against hers, gently but firm enough to know it was there. She didn't pull away, but leaned in just a little more letting him know it was okay.

They fixed the eggs in the half of the skillet that the potatoes didn't take up, and then scrambled it all into a big pie. Pike told her he had only one plate but two forks, so he'd eat out of the skillet. Vaya didn't take the offer though, as the two stood looking at each other, saying they both could eat from the skillet, which Pike said was a good idea. She walked over then and sat carefully, noting the shack was very warm, really warm, or it could have been her.


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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Six - Part Five   Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:46 am

And now, for the next piece of Day Six, written by our favorite writer, KRWordgazer

Day Six - Part Five

Strongbow sat in the dark and wondered how long he'd been there-- years, it felt like. He knew he was in the basement of one of the storage buildings that dotted Mr. Voll's huge ranch. His eyes had grown more and more accustomed to the lack of light; in fact, he was now seeing better in the dark than he would ever have thought possible. He now knew every corner of this empty room, with it's cold stone floor and walls, its heavy oak door at the top of four granite steps.

His head still ached, especially at the site of the wound on his forehead, and it made him dizzy to sit up for too long. It was a concussion, he knew, though it was gradually getting better. But what was bothering him most was the thought of his wife not knowing where he was. Not knowing whether he was alive or dead. And his children-- his little Chitter . .

"Moonshade," he whispered, and as he did so he felt he could almost reach across the distance and touch her, and she'd be there with him. But then the feeling faded, and he put his head in his hands, closing his eyes.

The first time he'd woken up, his head feeling like it was going to split in half, he hadn't been alone. A scared-looking human girl, 12 or 13 years old he thought-- a girl with straight, dark hair and a thin face, had set a tray with wine, bread and butter, fruit and cheese down by the light of a single candle on the floor. As he had looked up at her, dazed, from the floor, she'd given him a look filled with sympathy, and hurried up the steps. The big oak door had creaked shut behind her.

Strongbow realized that though his wrists and ankles were bound, he was lying on cushions, a soft pillow under his head. Whatever he was here for, he realized, they were not planning to kill him. At least, not yet. He twisted his head from side to side on the pillow, gasping a little at the pain it caused-- and became aware that there was a figure in the shadows in one of the room's corners, watching him.

"Welcome, Mr. Strongbow. I deeply regret the fashion in which you were brought here, but I assure you, it was absolutely necessary," a melodious female voice said. The voice was familiar.

Strongbow jerked his head towards the figure, making his forehead throb again. His lips formed her name.

"Yes, Mr. Strongbow, it is I. Mrs. Winnowill."

A growl came of its own accord, deep in his chest. "Now, now!" she said, sounding amused. "Do not judge me too harshly, Mr. Strongbow. After all, you owe me a favor, I think. I took care of that meddling troll, paid off your debts so that you could keep your farm."

He cleared his throat, trying to make his voice work. "I was going to break horses for you," he finally managed to say. "Not-- this." Whatever "this" was, he thought to himself.

But speaking had made his throat hurt as usual, and he said no more.

There was a rustle of satin cloth, and the lady was standing over him, looking down, her dress gleaming red in the low light. "I assure you, sir, I would not have taken this action if it were not absolutely necessary."

He moved his head. "They'll look for me," he managed to say.

Musical laughter cascaded down the scale. "Do not worry, Mr. Strongbow. You will be restored to your loved ones. But not until I choose. You see, it is absolutely impossible to track you here. A certain friend of mine owed me a favor-- and, well. . . " She paused, then went on, "Let me just say that a hot-air balloon leaves no trail."

He stared up at her, his eyebrows rising. There was only one inhabitant of the region who knew anything about air flight. "Mr. Tyldak."

She crouched down, then, her satin dress pooling around her on the floor, her long, black hair gleaming in the candlelight. "Why yes," she said. "Mr. Tyldak." She laughed again at his expression. "Mr. Strongbow, I am continually amazed by how much you can express without ever saying a word! Do not be angry at Mr. Tyldak. He did not know what I was going to use the balloon for until it was too late to stop what I had set in motion. But believe me, I mean only good-- for you, for myself-- for the entire elfin race."

His eyebrows rode up his forehead, making his wound sting. He had not expected this. "Our-- race?" he ground out.

She leaned in closer, her green eyes intense in her porcelain face. "I knew when I first saw you, my friend," she whispered. "I felt it-- felt the connection between us."

He shifted away from her on the cushions. "No," he whispered. "I won't--"

Annoyance swept across her face. "Do not be so utterly without imagination, sir! Did you think I had you brought here for an-- assignation?"

His face told her. That was exactly what he had thought.

She gazed at him, then suddenly she laughed again. "Your loyalty to your wife is-- dare I call it legendary, Mr. Strongbow? I know there are small-minded women who have been fascinated by your silence, your mystery. Women who have found you-- somewhat less than encouraging."

She was teasing him now, he thought. No one but Moonshade had ever thought about him that way before this, to his knowledge. He scowled at her, and her eyes widened. "Can it be that you have been completely oblivious? Oh, Mr. Strongbow--" She stopped, her eyes mocking, mischievous. Then all at once she became very serious.

"I am not one of those women, Mr. Strongbow. What I want from you is something else entirely. Something greater than either of ourselves, though we can be a part of it. Something-- visionary."

She was crazy, he thought. Mad as a loon. It must have shown in his face, because she became angry. "Mr. Strongbow! I can see that the only way to communicate my meaning is to show you!"

And then-- pain.

She was inside his head somehow, her voice echoing down the hallways of his mind. *Mr. Strongbow, you can hear me. I know you can hear me.*

"Stop-- stop it!' he choked. She didn't listen. *Answer me, Mr. Strongbow. Answer me with your mind! You are one of us-- one who has the old powers. I am sure of it! Answer me!*

He was weeping now, tears running silently from his squeezed-shut eyes. "No-- no!" he gasped.

Abruptly the pain ceased. He felt her stooping over him. With quick, hurried movements she untied his hands and feet. Her hand tugged at the bandages over the wound on his forehead, pulling them back a little. She touched him under the bandage, and all at once the pain there diminished a little, too.

"I-- am sorry," she said, her voice very low. "Perhaps it was too much, too quickly. I have some healing power in my hands-- I have tried to help you, a little. I will leave you now to eat and drink, and rest. But when you think upon what I have done, you will see why I did it. Good day, Mr. Strongbow. Enjoy the food Tolla brought."

The red satin dress swept up the stone steps, the door creaked-- and Winnowill was gone. Strongbow collapsed into the pillows, letting darkness take him once more.

He had fluttered in and out of consciousness then-- waking up in darkness to hungrily devour the food and drink left for him; blackness overcoming him again. Finally, he had woken once more to find her bending over him, his wrists and ankles re-tied while he lay unconscious.. "I have decided," she said, "that it is the concussion that is causing it to hurt when I mind-speak to you. I tried it once on Ray-- on someone else, and he did not appear to feel pain."

He closed his eyes as her hands came down, pulled back the bandages and stroked the skin around his wound. Warmth flowed from her fingers-- but after a little she gave a cry of frustration. "It is not working! I have the healing gift, I know it! Why can I not--"

She broke off, breathing a little, and Strongbow stared up at her. He wanted nothing more than to be free from her, and home again with his family-- but though he had tried in her absence to struggle up from his couch, to try to find a way to escape, he had found he could not.

She brushed long, black strands back from her face and gave him a grim smile. "Have you tried to escape yet?"

Had she read his thoughts, or was she just guessing? He stared back at her, keeping his face without expression. Mockingly she went on, "Perhaps if you could scream, cry out? Someone might hear you. But-- you cannot cry out, can you? Such a pity. . . "

He wanted to lunge up from his pillows and take her by the throat. But though he struggled, he could not even sit up with his hands tied like this.. Winnowill placed a hand on his chest and pushed him, not ungently, down into the cushions, holding him there without effort. "I think my efforts have done that head wound some good, anyway," she murmured. "I am afraid I really must try the mind-speech again, Mr. Strongbow."

He twitched. "Leave-- me-- alone," he whispered harshly.

She shook her head. "I cannot, sir. You see, I must do this. I must help our race regain its ancient power. I am certain that you are one of those for whom the gifts of the High Ones hover just beyond the edge of consciousness, waiting only for some tiny thing to give them a push. . . "

Pain.

He closed his eyes against it, shuddering. She was there in his mind, blundering clumsily, shoving and jerking at places he'd thought private only to himself. And he could not stop her. . .

*STOP!* his mind screamed, all at once, and she fell back from him, landing gasping on the floor beside him. She lay there breathing hard, her hair covering her face. Then slowly, her breathing slowed, her hand came up and pulled her hair into place. Her eyes were alight.

"You did it!" she whispered. A slow smile curved her lips. "We did it! We mind-spoke-- to one another!"

Strongbow turned his face into his pillows. "Go . . . away," he said into the cushions.

She left.

The next time consciousness had returned to him-- finding his limbs unbound again-- he had known he was stronger. He had crawled around the room, up the steps to the door and down again, trying to find a way out. It had not taken him long, though, before he collapsed in weakness, ate the food Tolla had brought, and slept again.

Yet a third time she had come to him, pierced his mind with her own while he lay bound-- but he had taken iron control over his own mind and had not lashed back at her. He would not give her that satisfaction again. She'd been frustrated and had left him earlier than usual that time.

She'd left his hands and feet tied the third time-- probably realizing he was growing stronger-- but when he'd slept after somehow managing to eat with his hands still bound, he had found that he was untied again. She certainly could be treating him worse, he thought-- but she had no right to be keeping him here at all. He had decided that maybe she was putting something in the food or drink to make him sleep, so that he would always find his limbs bound when she came to him again.

So this time, after she had left him, he had neither eaten nor drunk. This time, sleeping and waking again in the dark, he had pulled himself to a sitting position and sat as he sat now, head in his hands, waiting. He would not let her touch him this time. He would not let her invade him.

When he heard the handle of the door begin to turn, Strongbow picked up the white porcelain chamber pot which sat at the foot of his cushions, and which (since he had not eaten or drunk) was empty. He rose shakily to stand with his back against the wall, holding the chamber pot like a weapon.

It would not be Winnowill who would come through that door-- he knew that. It was going to be whoever had been tying his hands as he slept-- Tolla perhaps. The lady was not the sort to bother herself with such a menial task. Strongbow didn't know if he would be able to overcome the person who was about to come in, but by the High Ones, he was going to try. Somehow, some way-- he was going to get home.

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PostSubject: ElfWest Day Six - Part Six   Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:24 pm

And now, for the next piece of Day Six, written by me, Wiseshaman


Day Six - Part Six


Winnowill has a showdown with Savah's teacher, we learn more about the ancient one's powers, and Cutter comes to an understanding with Leetah...


Ahdri finally gave up the ghost and let the yawn out she had been fighting the last few minutes to hold in. She was unbelievably tired, and being up most of the night, constantly thinking about John Lee didn't help Ahdri thought. How had that pale human dug a thorn that deep into her she was asking herself when a flash of blue satin rushed in through the front door, and before Ahdri could say a word a voice with a cold tone was demanding information.

"Where is you're grandmother?"

Mrs. Winnowill was agitated or excited; it was hard to tell between the two when it came to her. Ahdri was still in the middle of her yawn and could only point toward the slightly hidden door that led to the basement. Winnowill gave a snort of exasperation then turned and marched right up to, and through the door, without a look back or a thank you.

Yep, she was agitated Ahdri thought finally closing her mouth.

Always mad about something it seemed

The door to the room where the Seekers met and 'walked' flew open as Winnowill charged in, mindful of the sudden step down, to see Savah and Willowgreen and Rain already there and waiting. Savah sat right across from the door in her usual spot, dressed in a long yellow skirt and white wing-tip shirt while Willowgreen and Rain were just to the right dressed as they always were, very 'Local'. Winnowill didn't see the fourth sitting on the step down just in the shadows, just out of sight, as if the ones already here had planned it that way.

"Was it true? The shaman, what he showed us, was it true Matron?" Winnowill asked excitedly, and with a tinge of impatience, of Savah.

The looks from Willowgreen and Rain though put a halt to the excited feelings and made Winnowill step back for a second. It was a strange cross between frustration and realization, like they were upset with the fact she would come to the meeting room to see them. Then the shadow spoke up, and it became very clear they were all just waiting for her, like a perfectly sprung trap.

"Well, I'm glad we did not have to wait long."

The proprietress of the Blue Mountain Ranch turned slowly to see the local Judge, one Timmain, staring back with the look a cat might have after it caught the mouse. She was leaning back on one arm, white hair spilling down to the floor over her shoulder, and small grin across those thin lips.

"What are you doing here?" Winnowill asked cautiously.

"I'm here for the same reason you are," Timmain answered with the grin disappearing. The thin lips turned inward, replaced with an angry glare. "Only I did not break a covenant to do so, I was politely called here by Savah, your Mother of Memory."

You brought her here? Winnowill sent turning to Savah with a look of betrayal.

I came because you have opened the door! Timmain sent to Winnowill with a snap.

The shock of the send, more powerful than she had ever felt, made Winnowill stumble and sit down on the step down.

"She can send sister, Timmain is like us. She is gifted with the ancient powers." Savah said with the warm tone that everyone had come to love about her.

"Like us?"

I have the use of the ancient powers Winnowill. I have since birth. Timmain sent with a raised eyebrow.

Then why do you hide? Why do you not seek with us? Winnowill sent back

"Hide?" Timmain gasped, but more in anger than surprise.

The judge stood up and crossed the sit down area in three strides to tower over a sitting Winnowill, her breaths coming in short burst. Rain started to move, ready to separate the two, but Willowgreen grabbed his arm stopping him. There would be no blood shed, this was just a show to make sure everyone knew who was in charge.

"Who do you think encourages Savah? Who do you think has guided her on her quest?"

The revelation, the truth, was more than a little shocking to everyone in the room. Rain and Willowgreen turned to their Matron while Winnowill tried to look past the angry form of Timmain. Savah only smiled and spoke with her motherly tone.

"All teachers were once, are students still, also."

"You know about us?" Willowgreen asked with a stammer to the judge, who turned her cold gaze on the veterinarian.

"I know everyone that Savah has brought into the Seekers. I need to know everyone she brings into this room. The society walks a path that can be dangerous." Timmain replied coldly.

"Why do you not seek with us? Do you not want to know about the Ancients powers?" Winnowill countered.

The judge turned back to her, and only shook her head putting forth a question to the proprietress's question with a raised eyebrow. "And just what exactly are you seeking Mrs. Winnowill?"

"What Matron Savah and Brother Rain search for, our past, our real past."

"No, not you," Timmain said with a shake of her head turning away from Winnowill and walking back across the step down, "you're looking for something else. I sense you're looking for some thing quite different."

Winnowill stood back up, her spine going ram-rod straight, and the cold aloofness sweeping around her like a coat. "I only want to restore our heritage to where it should be. I want to see the Ancient ones powers restored so the elves can be whole again, be the beings we were meant to be and not...this way."

Timmain's eyebrows, both, rose in surprise as Savah and the others looked on with gaping open mouths.

"You want to make us whole? Do you think we elves are in someway inferior to the humans and trolls of this world?" Timmain asked.

"We were more than we are now! I proved that last night with one who was not afraid to help me!" Winnowill shot back.

The room went quiet as Timmain's eyes narrowed to a slit. After a second of the awkward silence, where Winnowill had a chance to think on her last statement, Savah spoke up with a whisper.

"What have you done sister?"

"I did what was needed. Why are you so afraid of bringing forth the powers in all of us once again? We can restore ourselves, our birthright, and be what we were meant to be!" Winnowill answered not afraid to speak of her 'experiment'.

"And this elf, your subject, what happened to them? We're they 'happy' with the present you gave them?"

The question made Winnowill shiver, knowing the last moments of Strongbow's captivity were not well. Maybe, in the next few days, he would be okay with the new power, maybe.

"You think you have done some great service," Timmain continued on, putting both her hands behind her back while looking at Winnowill with contempt, "by opening the 'door', but you simply put yourself and all of us in danger. There are forces, people that are in play here, you do not know about. There is more then just the elves at stake here. The whole world can, and is, affected by this. There are others who think we should never look for these powers, who think any seeking into our past is dangerous."

"Who is in 'play'? What forces?" Rain asked quickly.

"People, humans likely, who wish to keep our ancient powers out of reach." Winnowill shot in with a venomous tone.

Timmain sighed while shaking her head, as if this whole confrontation was just a delay in her day and should have been avoided. "There are no humans trying to keep us under thumb Mrs. Winnowill, no trolls with evil intentions. We, the High Ones and First Comers, are the culprits of our own loss of the ancient powers."

This time the room didn't go silent at this sudden revaluation, there were too many gasps of shock. Timmain ignored them all, moving ahead with what she had started, knowing full well there was no turning back. "There are nine of us, all elves, who have been given the charge of protecting the very secret you stumbled on last night. Setting these powers free is not as simple as lighting a lantern and filling a room with light Mrs. Winnowill. These powers, what you seek, were locked away for a reason and by us, elves! That is what Savah and the others have been searching for, what they have been seeking. Why do these powers need to be locked away? What happened that caused the High Ones to lock them away?"

"How come no one told us about this 'Nine', about you and Matron?" Willowgreen asked with a shake of her head trying to take all the information in. It seemed she was bothered more by the news the Society wasn't as secret as she thought.

Winnowill on the other hand didn't take the news of the powers very well. She looked like someone had just punched her in the stomach, and she just kept mumbling the words "The High Ones" over and over again.

"I asked your Mother of Memory to keep my presence a secret because of what we, The Nine, are and what we do. There is a secret library back east, in a secret location, and on its shelves is the loosely chronicled history of our past on this world. Most is accurate, but the very beginnings are shady and incomplete. There are some things we do not know and some things we question. Savah and you here have helped us to answer some of those questions, while bringing more to bear."

Timmain stopped waiting for them to think about what she had said. Savah felt the fears of her students and moved to calm them. "I have worked with Timmain, closely, sharing what we have found and she has helped us with defining a direction to look in, using what she already knows. She has not once tried to stop us or asked the society to cease with our search. Please, Timmain is not trying to discourage or stop us in anything."

"Has she? Why is she here if not to stop us from releasing the ancient powers?" Winnowill retorted sharply.

"I came to see what the shaman showed you last night. As for what you created, the only reason you are not in the jail at the moment is the fact there would be incriminating answers, and I hate having to answer certain questions. Suffice to say, humans and elves are not ready for the ancient powers Winnowill, so I'll ask you not to recreate what you did last night, unless you wish to see the beast again in this world and not the one you 'walk' in." Timmain commented.

There was no answer from Winnowill, but her body language said enough. Her lips pressed into a thin line and eye brows furrowed as she fought to keep control. When it was obvious she wasn't going to answer Timmain held out her hand and spoke with a cold tone issuing a small but unequivocal order.

"Now, show me what the shaman showed you last night."

Winnowill stared at the hand for a second or two before reluctantly taking it in hers.


"Someone's coming!" Scouter called out.

Leetah, Nightfall, and Crescent jumped up from the camp fire while the others, including Longbranch, walked out to stand by the young deputy. The group who rode out of Two-Moons, heading north to Silver Springs, stopped at the halfway point, a small bend in the trail before it started northward again. They camped off the worn byway, in a clearing where they built a fire and bedded down in the rising sun. No one slept, and not because the ground was wet, there was just too much worry. If it was true that some banker was all-fired on getting even then there was no telling how many men would be riding after Cutter and Skywise? And the tracker with busted ribs, how hurt was he?

No, they didn't sleep, only kept warm by the fire and chewed on their nails. Scouter with his exceptional sight kept watch, and sure enough at the 10 o'clock hour he spotted the approaching rider.

"Who is it?" Joyleaf asked eagerly, needing to know like everyone else.

"Maybe it's Red?" Dart asked, his eagerness to see the tracker slipping through.

"It's Cutter on Nightrunner, and there's a wagon behind him."

Some in the group, most, sighed with relief. Crescent only shook her head and then felt Nightfall take her hand and squeeze it. She saw the look in her sister's eyes, the one that said Redlance was okay. It would be just a little while longer till they saw him. Crescent smiled and squeezed the hand back, happy that at the least her friends were safe. Everyone gathered by Scouter now, Joyleaf and Leetah stepping just a bit out in front. Soon Cutter rode up with Nightrunner and the pair came to a stop by the group.

"Why did all of you come out?"

"We worried about you! And how did you get into this mess in the first place?" Joyleaf said back.

"That's a long story! Did Rain come with you?" Cutter asked with concern hoping down from the saddle.

"Who's hurt?" Dart replied suddenly.

"Shale, Skywise's pa, was shot yesterday at the shack. Damn, we need Rain." Cutter spat.

"The Captain found his parents?" Nightfall asked with shock.

"We have Rose, she can do." Longbranch stated ignoring his own surprise.

Leetah looked up and nodded, if she was unsure she didn't show it, and Cutter nodded back with a confident stare. He remembered the outlaw outside of the store the night of the poker game, and better yet, how she healed him. The wagon came bouncing up a few minutes later, Skywise pulling it to a skidding stop.

"Where's the doc?" He yelled out.

"Rain didn't ride with us, but we got Rose!" Cutter answered heading for the back.

"She's not a doctor!" Skywise exclaimed setting the brake on the wagon with a quick jerk.

"We know that ya' fool!" Bearclaw yelled running right behind Cutter.

Inside the back of the wagon, Eyes High held her husband's head gently as his breathing was ragged and shaky. It had happened so fast, he was okay in the cell but sometime during the wet night ride, during the time she dozed, he just got worse. Damn them she thought, damn them all for making him leave the town still hurt. She was so worried about Shale she didn't feel the wagon stop, just heard the back gate pop open and a bunch of new faces come into view. There was Cutter jumping into the back then turning and helping another lady into the back, a beautiful brown skinned elf.

"Can you help him?" Skywise asked peeking in from the driver's seat.

"Si, I will do what I can." Leetah answered.

"Maybe we should ride like hell for Two-Moons."

"No brother," Cutter stated with a shake of his head, "the horses need rest and this old wagon won't hold up to the rough ride. Rose will do the job, no worries."

Leetah felt all the eyes on her as she knelt by Shale. He was as white as sheet now, his skin clammy, and each breath was a struggle. She moved the blanket off him and noticed the bloody spot on his shirt by his side, just above the hip. When she slowly opened his shirt she saw the wound had started bleeding again, but there was also the distinct smell of infection as she leaned in close to examine the damage. Then the fear set in with Leetah, this was more than she was used to treating. Sprains and cuts and bruises are what she was used to helping, nothing as drastic as this. The fear pressed on her heart as she swallowed hard, noting the fact that an elf's life was now squarely set in her hands. Leetah reached down intending to just see if the wound was hot and sore, another sign of infection, but something abruptly took over.

Something that she had no control over.

Almost at once, as soon as her fingertips touched the bare flesh of Shale's side, a strange fiery glow appeared. She felt something in her body, a extraordinary flow of energy that rolled out through her hands and fingers, right into Shale who immediately reacted to it. He gasped and bite down hard, gritting his teeth against the flare of the power. The wound suddenly became brighter than the glow, like a lit torch. All at once Leetah felt the fear in her heart jump up to her throat and turn to panic, just like the night of the poker game.

And she wasn't the only one.

Eyes High watched with terror filled eyes, and the second Shale reacted to the strange glow that the dark skinned elf was producing, well that was it. She started to reach across and grab the lady's hand, fully ready to break it off at her wrist.

"What the hell-"

Only Cutter stopped her, grabbing her wrist and holding it perfectly still in his grip.

"It's alright, I've seen this before. It'll be okay!"

"What in the name of Two-Moons?" Longbranch whispered watching from the tail gate with most everyone else.

"Ai, mi hermana!" Shenshen whispered feeling her own fear for Leetah.

"What's happening to Rose?" Crescent asked in fear for her friend.

"I think she's saving Skywise's father." Joyleaf remarked.

There was nothing Leetah could do to stop the glow or break free from the touch she had with Shale's skin. All she could do was watch as the wound magically stop bleeding, the infection disappear, and the ragged circle of flesh mend close. Shale groaned and tried to sit up, but Skywise reached down and put his hand on his father's chest holding him down, letting whatever was happening get to the end. Something told him that if Rose finished, or if 'it' finished, then Shale would be okay. Those standing at the tailgate watched in mixed fascination and fear, not understanding how it was happening but knowing the glow was helping the small elf.

And after a minute, or what felt like forever, the glow started to dim and Shale stopped thrashing. Whatever was flowing out of Leetah into him was stopping, slowing, and then it was over. Shale laid still in the blankets, not moving for a second as Leetah slowly pulled her hand back looking at the appendage, as if it were something new and strange to her. Cutter let go of Eyes High who finally was able to touch her husband, check to see if he were alive still.

"Is he-" Skywise began to ask before he was cut off.

Shale rolled his head back to look at Eyes High, a small smile on his face. "I'm okay. I'm gonna be okay."

"Really?" She asked with fresh tears rolling down her face.

"Yes ma'am,"

Leetah felt weak as a weariness washed over her, like she had just been up straight for three days and running the whole time. She leaned back expecting to hit the side of the wagon, but then felt Cutter catch her; pull her into his side with one arm.

"Whoa, it's okay. I got you."

"Gracias Major," Leetah whispered feeling his warmth through her clothes and savoring it like a fool starving for food.

"No, thank you for saving him," Eyes High added slowly massaging the side of Shale's head lovingly.

The look from Eyes High made Leetah feel better about what just happened and that she wasn't some pariah now. She smiled and nodded back as Eyes High looked down to Shale and kissed his forehead. For a moment she felt happy that she saved Shale, felt her pride stiffen with the accomplishment, then Scouter spoke up from the back.

"Well I guess it's a good thing whoever tried to take Rose and the girls didn't get away with it, huh?"

And that's when the happy feeling fell right through the bottom of the wagon. The look on Cutter's face scared Leetah for a moment. It was just like her father's when he was being over-protective. It drove Leetah crazy then and it was doing the same now.

"What happened?" He asked looking at her with that same expression.

"Please, can we talk outside?"

"No, what happened?" Cutter demanded.

"Outside, por favor?" Leetah hissed, the tired feeling now gone. It was the classic stand-off and it was obvious who was going to win.

The Major stood his ground for a second, two, and then three before finally turning and exiting the back of the wagon. Leetah went after him letting him help her down before speaking.

"Nothing bad happened Major, nothing." Shenshen tried to explain.

"It's okay son," Joyleaf started trying to calm the situation, "someone tried something funny on Rose and Nightfall but Dart found them. No one got hurt, or touched."

"Touched?" Cutter wailed with shock.

The thing might have blown sky high at that point, but the calm country lawyer stepped in and it was a relief to some as Longbranch took control. He chose his words carefully, not blaming the girls for getting slipped the mickey, but also not letting the danger of the situation be dismissed. In the end he simply stuck to the truth, taking no sides, and laid out what happened as if he were standing in front of Judge Timmain.

It didn't help Cutter who looked fit to be tied. "Damn, I should have been there!"

"There was nothing anyone could have done Cutter." Dart said hoping to keep the peace.

"Hell yes there was something someone, me, could have done!" He shot back.

"Major, please, can we talk in private?" Leetah suddenly asked.

Cutter looked to her, into those green eyes, and felt the resolve to fight slip away. He gave her a small nod, which made Leetah smile a little, and then followed her into the woods to talk as everyone watched, even Eyes High and Shale who had crawled to the back of the wagon to see what would happen.

"Are they going to be okay?" Shale asked scared.

"I think Cutter can take her if he draws that old Dragoon fast enough." Bearclaw offered with his usual grin.

"You Old Devil!" Joyleaf spat while slapping him on the arm.

The pair walked for a small distance, just enough to get out of ear shot of the others, before stopping. Cutter watched Leetah turn to face him and he got ready for a fight, down and dirty if it had to be. She couldn't deny or shrug off a kidnapping attempt, no possible way that would sit with well with him. But there was no fight, not at the start, only a concession from her.

"I want to say thank you first Cutter."

The move was unexpected and it took him off his guard right from the beginning. "For what?"

"For fighting in the war to keep us all safe from the Djun, for helping your amigos, and for being the protector of the town and the ones in it."

"Rose-"Cutter started before she cut him off.

"Please Cutter, use my real name."

"Leetah, I can't let this pass. Someone tried to hurt you, Trick Shot and Crescent too, in my town. My friends,my loved ones."

Leetah smiled warmly and wished she was back in his arms in the wagon. "All my life I have had people do things for me, from cooking to making clothes to even making a flower pot for a plant. The other day, while you were away, I made a pancake. It was so much fun!"

"Making a pancake, fun?" Cutter asked with an incredulous smile.

"Si, it was the first time I have ever cooked. I helped make the dinner for Mrs. Moonshade's birthday party, and she agreed to show me how to sew like she does. Nightfall's madre said she will show me how to make other things, even cakes. I am doing this, not someone for me because they are paid to, me. It is all me. Do you understand Major what I am saying?"

"Yeah, I think so Leetah. The caged bird is finally getting a chance to fly and she likes the feeling of the wind in her wings."

"Si, I want to live. I want to make mistakes so I can feel like my life is mine and not for someone else. I want to fall, but I may need someone to help me up." Leetah said with a small smile.

"All right, I can understand that, but you'll have to put up with me Leetah. Like you said, I watch over my loved ones, and as much as you'll hate it that means you too now." Cutter remarked with love, looking her right in the eyes.

Leetah smiled wider, feeling her heart fill to bursting. She stepped in close, enough to feel his body, and stood on her tip toes while whispering. "I think maybe it is time for you to be presumptuous Major."

"Oh, is it now?" Cutter asked with his own smile showing.

"Si, but just a little." Leetah answered kissing his cheek.

The Major slipped his arms around her and looked down into those green eyes, the same ones he would have drowned in, and done so gladly. He still didn't kiss her, the time wasn't right in his mind, but there was more than enough time when they got back to town. For some reason, and he wasn't sure why, Cutter had found his soul mate.

But once again, the moment was too short lived. They heard someone coming up, a single person, and as Cutter looked over his shoulder he saw Skywise walking up. He let go of Leetah reluctantly and turned to his friend, or amigo as Leetah said.

"Sorry to break in, but Scouter said he saw someone else approaching."

"Is it Red?" Cutter asked not trying to hide his concern for the tracker.

"Nope, Scouter says its four riders, two men and two women, all human."

"More Miners chasing us you think?"

"I don't know, but your pa's getting everyone ready." Skywise explained.

"Damn, come on then and we'll see who this is?"

The trio started to walk out when Skywise stopped Leetah and held out his hand to her.

"Thank you, for saving my father. I don't know what you did, and I don't care, but I'm in your debt Rose."

The remark was sincere and genuine as it tugged at Leetah's heart, and she felt her pride swell just a little more. She took the Captain's hand and shook it gently.

"De nada Captain, I am only too happy to help."

Skywise let her hand go and then offered her the path with a sweep of his arm in a gentlemanly gesture. Leetah nodded and ran off after Cutter closely followed by the Captain.


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