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 Let's Ride! Elfwest is back

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Wiseshaman

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Join date : 2012-06-23

PostSubject: Elfwest - Day One Part Twenty Three   Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:05 pm

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

Day One - Part Twenty Three

"What's the final count?" Crescent asked Longbranch.

While Leetah worked on cleaning the small graze wound on Redlance's back the others had opened the sack and started to go through the money and papers. The Wild West Show was put into one stack, the deed for the land in another, a slip of paper with the names of Blackfell and Nightrunner and Starjumper sat alone. Then there was the growing stack of cash that included paper and coins. Longbranch and Joyleaf had been working at getting it all counted and organized. Marshall Stump and Dart sat at the end of the counter sipping coffee amazed at the sight.

"Is that too tight senor?" Leetah asked.

"No ma'am, it's good." Redlance answered.

"This will do until it is healed. You may need to replace the bandage tomorrow?" Leetah said standing up.

"I can do that for him." Nightfall said quickly helping the tracker put his shirt back on.

Cutter sat and watched the tracker get dressed before turning to the Marshall. "So who were those yahoo's that robbed us?"

"No clue," Treestump responded shaking his head after taking a sip of coffee, "no one is talking except to say they shot back in self-defense or didn't see anything. Pete ain't talking; of course after he took that belt from the frying pan someone threw I'm amazed he can even remember his name."

"Did the robber with the sack say anything Redlance?" Cutter turned asking.

"Even after I said I would take his scalp he only said they paid Pete off to let them sneak the guns in." Redlance offered walking up and taking a seat next to Cutter.

"You wouldn't have scalped him...would you?" Dart asked with a worried tone.

"No," Redlance said with a small laugh, "but the human didn't know that. I don't even think I know how to scalp someone. What do you do with it afterwards?"

The others laughed a little as Tyleet took a seat right next to Redlance sitting as close as she could to him. Nightfall smiled at the sight wondering when the truth would come out and what it would do to everyone. All she wanted was to protect him and in the end it may backfire on her. She broke from her train of thought at the sound of Bearclaw's loud voice.

"So tracker, what's it going to cost me to get the show and my horse back?"

Before Redlance could answer though the door to the diner opened and Clearbrook the school teacher stepped through. Even with her hair slightly messy she looked every inch of the demure teacher. She walked over to the Marshall with a worried look.

"Are you okay?" Clearbrook said with a gasp.

"Yes ma'am, but you shouldn't be here." Marshall Stump said back.

"I heard all the shooting...and I most certainly have the right to be come down here and look in on you." She fired back with a little show of emotion.

Cutter and the others shook their heads as Treestump backed down from Clearbrook as fast as he could. "Okay, you have every right to be here. I'm happy you're here."

"Thank you," Clearbrook said pulling her shawl tighter around her shoulders then talking Stump's hand in hers, "now what happened?"

Dart gave her a quick run down, even the part where he and the Marshall had exchanged rounds with the outlaws, and how the tracker had brought back the sack and was now deciding what it was going to cost everyone to get their property back.

"Well, it has been an exciting evening." She said with a small smile.

"That it has, but it just got better." Marshall Stump said squeezing Clearbrook's hand.

"Okay, back to you tracker, what's the price for the show?" Bearclaw asked.

All eyes turned to Redlance who looked at the stack of papers on the bar for a minute before slowly putting the deed for the land on top of the papers for the show and then the paper with the three horses' names on top of that. He leaned over and whispered something in Tyleet's ear that made her smile. She nodded then hopped down taking the bundle from the tracker. She walked over to Joyleaf and handed it to her like she was giving over a note. For a second no one moved then the leader of the Wild West show took the bundle form Tyleet.

"It's yours, all of it. Redlance said to put it in a safe place this time so Bearclaw doesn't use it as a stake in a game again." The child said with a raised eyebrow.

"Thank you and I'll do just that!" Joyleaf said leaning over and kissing Tyleet on the forehead.

Everyone laughed as she walked back. Bearclaw even didn't mind being the butt of the joke. Leetah stood back watching it all with a little amazement. It was apparent the tracker had no intention of keeping the deeds to the land or the show. She saw Cutter reach over and clap the tracker on the back with a hearty laugh and the tracker smile back enjoying the simple friendship. That's all Redlance wanted, all he needed, the love of family and friends. She felt a pain in her heart, a bright stabbing one, for Rayek again. They should have had that, more maybe, but now it was gone. She held back a tear at the thought of it being over then some one called to her.

"Rose, are you okay?" Crescent asked.

"Si, I am fine." Leetah said with a smile.

"How much cash is there Longbranch?" Dart asked downing the last of his coffee.

"One thousand three hundred and eighty six dollars."

Dart whistled while Skywise looked longingly at the pile. Redlance saw it, took a glance at the cash on the counter, and then grabbed a stack and handed it over to Cutter.

"Here, give this to our captain."

"That's very honorable of you Redlance." Cutter said handing Skywise the stack of money. The captain counted it and noted it was three hundred dollars, not bad for a game that he had no stake in at the outset.

"Well he did win the game on the last hand and you can never count out the scoundrel Skywise!" Redlance said with a laugh.

"You hear that, I'm a scoundrel." Skywise said with a wink to Foxfur.

"Hmmm, yes you are." She said back with a purr.

Then Redlance took half of the stack of the remaining money and handed it over to Cutter who immediately put up his hands, "I'm not taking that."

"Take it Cutter, you deserve it. You kept Skywise from getting killed in that brawl and you helped get the bag back. You stood by your brother and your father when it meant the most." Redlance said.

A minute passed before Cutter took the money realizing the tracker was right, He folded it up and put it in his shirt pocket. "I'm only taking this because you're forcing me."

"Okay, I can live with that." Redlance said with a smile.

Everyone turned back to their coffee when Tyleet let out a yawn that caught Brownberry's and Nightfall's attention. Her mother walked over and put an arm around her shoulders. "Time to go back to bed girl."

"Aww, do I have to?"

"Yes, now come on and I'll tuck you in." Nightfall said guiding the child off of the stool. But before she stepped off Tyeet turned back to the tracker and kissed his cheek.

"Can you stop by tomorrow?"

"I'll make sure to." Redlance said with a smile.

Mother and daughter started to head back before Nightfall stopped at the door to the kitchen. She turned back to Redlance with a warm smile. "Will you wait for me?"

"All night if I have to," He said back.

Nightfall blushed a little at the remark then took Tyleet into the back and up the stairs to the rooms above that diner. He turned back to his coffee as Crescent stood up.

"Well it's time to head back home. Pa is going to be up early with the chores and I need to help ma in the shop."

"I'll go with you. We need to talk on the ride back." Dart said heading out with Crescent. They shook everyone's hand before leaving. She stopped by the tracker and gave him a hard hug.

"You be careful tracker."

"I will. I made you a promise." He said with a smile.

"You remember that too." Crescent said with a smile before walking away. She went out the door with Dart. Marshall Stump and Clearbrook both said their goodbye's before he walked her home for the night.

"I think I will be going to now. Thank you again senor Longbranch for your help." Leetah said walking for the door.

Cutter didn't move at first, didn't say a word as she said goodbye, and he still didn't do anything as she walked out the door. But then he jumped up at the last second dropping his cup onto the counter with a pop. "Aww damn, I'm going to be late ma."

"Okay son, be careful." She called out as he disappeared out the door.

"I think he's infatuated with our Rose." Brownberry said.

"Maybe," Bearclaw said with a smile, "are you ready to go back now wife?"

"That I am husband, but I'm not ready for sleep." She said with a raised eyebrow.

"Well, what the hell are we doing here?" He said jumping up from his stool. The pair said their good bye's then stopped by Redlance.

"I can't thank you enough son for doing what you did." Bearclaw said offering his hand.

"There's no need sir," Redlance said.

"Okay then, you have a good night." Joyleaf said kissing his cheek.

The pair gave a final wave and left the restaurant leaving only Skywise and Foxfur as the last of the group and they were still staring at each other and talking. Longbranch called out from Brownberry's side. "Okay, he's bought enough specials!"

"Oh be quiet you old codger!" Foxfur laughed throwing her towel at him.

Skywise gave a quick nod to the door and it only took Foxfur a second to decide he may not be mister right, but he was certainly mister right now. She giggled with a nod and slipped past the leaf of the counter.

Brownberry and Longbranch laughed as they went out the door wondering if they would see the waitress in the morning.

"What are you going to do with that money Redlance?" Brownberry asked.

"I don't know yet. I'm sure I'll find something to spend it on." Redlance answered.

Brownberry nodded then turned to Longbranch with a wink. "Are you ready to take me to bed now husband?"

"Why yes I am!" The lawyer said with a large smile.

"Can you have Nightfall lock up for us?" Brownberry asked handing over a set of keys to Redlance.

"Yes ma'am, I will."

The two started to head back for the rooms when Longbranch stopped remembering something. "Oh, I almost forgot to give you this."

"What is it?" Redlance asked curiously.

"It looks like a claim ticket for something at Two-Edge's. It was stuck in with the land deed, I guess Greymung messed up and put in the pot by accident." Longbranch said handing over the slip of paper.

Redlance read the writing on it before asking Longbranch a question. "Who is B. Thompson and what's a Henry?"

"That wouldn't be old Ben Thompson would it?" Brownberry asked.

"That's it! I couldn't remember old Ben's name for the life of me." Longbranch said.

"Who is Ben Thompson?" Redlance asked.

"He got here after you left for the war and died maybe six months ago. It was terrible murder they say. Didn't he have a Henry rifle?" Brownberry explained.

"Yep, it was a nice one too. Strongbow had a look at it once, said it was ramped up to shoot farther with a bigger cartridge. Old Ben probably put in for a fix at Two-Edge's and it's just been sitting there waiting to be picked up. It's yours now if you go pick it up." Longbranch stated.

Redlance was thinking about it when the door to the kitchen opened and Nightfall stepped back out. She had brushed her hair and washed her face to get rid of the dirt from the hard ride. Longbranch gave his wife a nudge and a knowing smile as the two walked toward the back leaving the two alone.

"Alone finally, huh?" Nightfall said with a smile walking over.

"Yep," Redlance said nervously.

"What you did tonight Redlance was the bravest thing I have ever seen." She said with a whisper.

"Oh, it was nothing." The tracker said with a wave of his hand.

The pair fell into an awkward silence and Nightfall started to panic. Maybe he didn't want her? Maybe he was trying to work up the nerve to tell her he was leaving? Maybe there was someone else? It all made her heart skip a beat, and it made her go into a defensive posture.

"Is there something wrong Redlance?" She asked calmly but with a forceful tone.

"I had this all worked out in my head before the game went to hell." He whispered.

"What did you have worked out? Are you trying to tell me something?" Nightfall asked with an air of fear and suspicion.

Redlance turned to her and his eyes looked full of fear. He wiped his mouth with his hand and spoke calmly. "I came back for you Nightfall. There were times when I was away that the very thought of you kept me going. And now that I'm back..."

"I waited for you Redlance. I will always wait for you." Nightfall whispered sliding in close to him.

"Would you come back to my room then?" He asked nervously.

She smiled knowing full well now that he wasn't about to leave her or Tyleet and he still wanted her as much as she wanted him. Nightfall chided herself for not seeing it from the start. He was the opposite of Skywise, shy and nervous when it came to things like this. It was amazing sort of, how earlier he had ridden after that outlaw without a thought and yet now asking her back to his room took an act of unbelievable courage. Nightfall slid close enough to touch him with her body and whispered.

"Yes, I will go back to your room with you my love."

He let out a smile of relief and reached for the pouch around his neck. He pulled a beautiful turquoise bracelet from it. It was four strands wide and sparkled in the light, but in the middle of it crossing all four strands was a large black opal. He spoke with that low whisper as he started to put it on her wrist.

"This was my mother's, or the woman who raised me. In the tribe we only give this to the woman we intend to marry, and I want to give it to you Nightfall."

Her breath caught in her lungs. She had dreamed of this moment with him, hoped for it for so long, and now that it was here she couldn't say a thing. He tied the two strings slowly and carefully then looked into her eyes.

"For me you are the only one Nightfall. There is no other I would take over you. If you will have me then I will give you all that I am. If there is someone else, like Tyleet's father, then I'll leave after this night and never darken your doorstep again." Redlance whispered.

Even the mention of him leaving scared her and it finally forced a response from Nightfall as grabbed him and held on like a she-wolf guarding her cub. "No, there is no one else for me Redlance. There is no other but you."

He looked into her eyes and then kissed her sweetly. Nightfall broke the kiss a second later, but only to catch her breath and steady her nerves. "I can't believe it finally happened. I've waited for so long it seems."

"I was a little busy trying to figure out what to say. I also kind of jumped the gun with asking to take you back to my room. I should have done the second part first I guess, sorry..." Redlance said with a laugh.

"I'll follow you anywhere tracker and this was just fine." Nightfall said with tears forming while kissing him.

"Will there be a problem with Tyleet? Do you think she'll accept me?" Redlance asked.

"No, no, she has wanted a father for so long...and when she finds out it will be you. Well that will just send her over the edge." Nightfall said with a laugh.

"Good, but...can we go ahead and lock up? I'm getting kind of antsy if you know what I mean." Redlance said with an embarrassed smile.

"Oh yes, I know what you mean." Nightfall said with a giggle. They both ran around the room blowing out the lights and then ran out the door locking it before heading across the street. Back behind the door to the kitchen Brownberry covered her mouth holding back a scream of joy while crying and Longbranch shook his head in wonder at what had happened, what he had so fervently for his daughter.


Leetah rode along quietly with the Major just to her side. There had been no words between them, not since he had charged out of the restaurant demanding that he was going to accompany her home. She had given in instantly not understanding why. She wanted to be alone, to deal with those emotions with Rayek. Yet before she could say no to him she said had said yes without thinking.

"Is everything okay Rose?"

The question brought her out of her thoughts. "Excuse me?"

"Is everything okay? You seem quiet, lost in your thoughts." Cutter replied.

"Yes, everything is quite fine." She said with a smile.

"It's the elf we saw earlier isn't it, the one you walked away with?" Cutter asked.

"No, no," Leetah said shaking her head, "it is not him. He was an old friend who I came to see tonight is all."

"The meeting must not have gone well, I'm sorry." Cutter offered.

Leetah looked at him and wondered if he knew, really understood what she was going through. "Thank you Major for your concern, but I will be fine."

"Is your house much father?" Cutter asked.

"It is still some distance, why?" Leetah asked back.

"I just like the company and I don't want the ride to end so soon." Cutter answered with a smile.

That feeling of belonging came back and Leetah smiled letting it ease the pain of losing her first and only love. She wasn't sure why but she asked a question without thinking. "Did you enjoy my singing Major?"

"Please Rose, its Cutter not Major." He said with a smile.

"Oh, so you are done with the Army and the life of a soldier?" She asked.

"For now, I just want to stay home and have a normal life." He said.

"Well, Cutter, did you enjoy my singing?" Leetah asked again.

"It was the second best sound to my ears ma'am." Cutter answered.

"Only the second? What is the first then?"

"When you called me by name just a second ago." Cutter said with a drop dead serious look on his face.

That feeling of the belonging suddenly jumped a notch or two and she felt something else but wasn't sure what it was yet. She turned away from him hoping the dark hid the rising red in her cheeks. She spoke trying to get herself under control. "You are presumptuous Cutter."

"I'm sorry ma'am," the Major said with a small laugh, "I guess between my pa and the Army I wasn't taught lot patience."

"Sometimes, in some ways, that is not such a bad thing." Leetah remarked.

"It isn't?" Cutter asked back not sure of what game they were playing now.

"No, but with this it is." Leetah said with a raised eyebrow.

"I'll keep that in mind ma'am." Cutter said with a tip of his hat understanding immediately what she was talking about.

"And please stop calling me ma'am, my name is Leetah." She said with a small smile.

"I'll remember that too...Leetah" Cutter said.

"May I ask a favor also, that you not use my real name anytime it is not you and I?" Leetah asked.

Cutter wasn't sure why she wanted to be secret, but it didn't bother him to be. "I'll do that for you Leetah"

The two talked the rest of the way to the Hidalgo. It was good conversation. Cutter showed patience while Leetah just enjoyed his company.


"Are you sure?" Crescent asked in a panic.

"Yep, Aroree told me everything. Greymung has all out debts and unless Pa gives over that land he's going to close the shop." Dart said riding next to her.

"What are we going to do?" She asked him quickly.

"I don't know, but Pa will have an idea." Dart said picking up the pace.

Crescent kept quiet trying to think of they were going to get past this. The worry and fear didn't help her come up with an idea. She pushed Shiloh ahead to catch up with Dart and his horse Alvar hoping her brother was right. She hoped like hell her Pa could come up with something.

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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: Elfwest - Day One Part Twenty Four   Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:12 pm

And here is the last piece of Day One, written by Caris Caeruleus

Day One - Part Twenty Four

Light from the small campfire sent shadows careening across stone and brush as flames danced, leaping towards the sky. Beyond the edge of the firelight, darkness claimed the land, though one could see some lights from the town below. The watcher sitting on the mountain terrace noted a chilly calm had fallen on the area as night deepened into those empty hours before dawn.

There had been quite a commotion earlier in the evening, though. Things got rowdy around Greymung's Trading Post sometime around midnight, gunfire, blurs of movement in the lamplight. He figured he'd missed some sweet action, which, already sore from not being free to join in on the gambling, made him angrier about being forced to wait in this place.

Sapphire Ridge, a rocky shelf that jutted out from the side of the mountains outside of Two Moons. Its position made it a popular spot for secretive lovers and businessmen alike.

With its view of the town from the cliff, and the long, narrow trail coming up the mountainside, one had a good vantage point to see (or hear) when company came calling. Plus, the wide terrace ran up to a flat wall in the mountain that went up nearly a hundred feet to the peak, so one wasn't likely to jumped from behind, either.

With renewed grumbling, he pushed at the kindling with a stick, sending sparks flying upwards. Dropping the piece of wood, he pulled out paper and his pouch of tobacco and rolled up a cigarette. Then, he struck a match and, leaning back against the rock, gave the smoke a puff. Looking up at the stars and noting their placement, he guessed the hour to be around two in the morning.

Soon, he heard the sound of hoof beats coming up the path.

" 'Bout time!" he muttered, standing up to meet his "guest". He flicked off ash from his cigarette as he watched the newcomer dismount, then tie the mare to a tree along side his gelding. He didn't move to assist in either task. Not what I'm paid for.

"Do you have the information I asked for?" his visitor asked, moving into the circle of light. The long, black riding cloak, with its hood hanging deep over the face, hid the features well, but he knew who it was, all the same.

"That I do," he said, taking another draw from his smoke.

"Tell me," came the silken reply. He hated that voice, how cultured, how upright it was. Better then everyone.

Someday, we'll see how much better you really are...

Right now, though, he didn't have much of a choice.

Flicking off another ember, he answered, "Got a few interesting names." He slipped a hand into his vest and, pulling out a slip of paper, placed it in a black-gloved hand. Long fingers deftly unfolded the list, turning it towards the light.

"The doctor...what are the rumors about him?"

He dropped the butt of his cigarette, and ground it under his boot. "Well, seems like people heal better when they see him. Though, to me, I'd think that's why they'd see a doctor." He laughed at his own joke.

"And the veterinarian?"

"Same sort of thing." He began to roll another cigarette. "Horses who should have been put down sometimes heal up just fine. People seem grateful to both of 'em, but there's a fair bit of amazement."

"How about families? Friends? Enemies?"

Light flared around his hands as he struck a match. "Both live alone, though the doctor has a son and daughter who live outside of town. The daughter and her family have a small plot of land in the woods. As for friends or enemies, everyone loves them when they've healed 'em. Everyone hates them if they fail." He eyed his employer for a moment, but shadows from the hood hid any expression.

"Still, they're pretty popular folks and they live above their practices in town. And town is where the jail is. And the Marshall is a watchful fellow." Bringing the new cigarette to his lips, he drew in the smoke, closing his eyes as he savored the flavor. Then, he exhaled, rounding his mouth to produce a smoke ring.

Cloth rustled as his visitor folded the list, then slipped it into the folds of the cloak. "The farmer. What are the rumors about him?"

"Him." The burning tip of his cigarette traced a bright line in the air as he waved a hand. "He's stays out of town generally, hasn't got much to say when he does come in. Folks say he can't talk well. Some are actually bothered by him."

"Why?"

"Some think it's unnatural how he can wave his hand and some people, his family mostly, seem to know exactly what that means. Plus, he's dead shot with his rifle. Then you add in his skill with horses, and some folk start whispering that he's doing some witchery. He's even got a nickname. 'Horse Whisperer.'" He laughed. "It always surprises me what people will say about a man behind his back."

Silence reigned as he took another drag from his cigarette. Then, his employer prompted quietly, "You said he has family."

"Sure," he held up one hand, waggling his fingers as he listed each one. "Wife. One son. Two daughters, one adult and the other a child. Son's the Marshall's deputy." He gave the cloaked figure a twisted grin. "And he's ticked off the Mayor. Won't sell some land to the Honorable, and word has it the Mayor doesn't like it when folks say 'no.'"

"I see." Cloth whispered as the visitor shifted stance. "What of the tracker?"

"He's hard to find, though he comes in to sell skins from time to time. Like today he showed up. Rumor has it he's got a knack with plants. Seem to grow like wildfire around his camps. Not that anyone saw such a thing first hand." He paused, taking a moment to enjoy his smoke. "Not sure if he has family or not. Also, seems to keep to himself."

"Interesting," came the reply. "Keep me informed if you find out anything else."

"There is more thing," he added. "A soldier rode in to town today. The son of the Wild West Show owners, I heard. I don't know anything about him, but I can find out if there's anything 'interesting' about him."

"You do that." The black cloak swirled around as his employer turned and moved to the horses. "Send me word in the usual way."

"Will do." He sat down and watched as horse and rider made their way back down the path. Then, after another cigarette, he kicked dirt on the fire and lay down on his bed roll to get a few hours of shut eye.

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Rainflower

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:49 pm

Wow Shocked Plot's getting thick, or... Neutral I had forgotten so much from this, and it was really good to catch up on this. Can't wait to read day 2.

And now since she has been mentioned, I want to present: The School Mistress!

Now, before I post her wardrobe, here's a sweet picture I made of her and her husband One-Eye. In EW she has been described with a red shawl wrapped around her. One of my first painted drawings. She has never worn coral, but I liked the idea of her with that. I didn't add Scouter to thos one because when I made it, I was at an early reading of EW and I had no idea of how old he was. Hehe




Now, the first drawing shows first the outfit she wears most commonly that was given her in the beginning; the white wingtip collar shirt with the pearl buttons at the cuffs (Sorry I made her four instead of three) and the plain grey skirt. I had actually planned this shirt for Moonshade, but figured out it would fit better for Clearbrook.

The next dress, eh... hehe wanna know where that got inspired from? Here's a funny story: when I first red elfquest I thought I saw that the belt she wears from Sorrows End in the Original Quest had a pattern that was magenta purple and ultra marine. Later I've figured out this was wrong, and please don't ask me how I got that in mind. Anyway, I had worked allot with the dress before I noticed, so I just went for it.


The first dress at drawing number two is inspired from the outfit she wears from Seige at Blue Mountain, green and yellow with fridges. I have done here the same as I did with Moonshade; showing the outfit with the jacket and headwear and without it to show the blouse. I had actually planned this to be grey and black, but I threw that idea aside. It's inspired from the outfit found on Edouard Manet's "At the Conservatory" with some details difference. I hope it works for you cause it works for me. The blouse she has under is a simple light yellow flowered blouse which was originally planned to be for the "teacher outfit" until I read about the wingtip collar.


Then we have the third drawing. Here is a black dress with simple, but marking details. A note first is that this dress is also inspired from somewhere else; a comic named "The Pheanix Requiem" by Sarah Ellerton, only some details have been changed so it's not completely a replica. The dress is also more or less alike the outfit she has after returning to the Father Tree, black, brown and grey fridges, only I skipped the brown in this. SO the dress is black with grey ruffles and I've given her a pair of earring just like with the green dress instead of the silver earrings she has with the outfit in the comic. I put them on the ''teacher outfit'' with the gray skirt.

The last dress is either a party/summer outfit. Light brown with coral ruffles, thought that would fit, and sleeves to the elbow. Along with the gold earrings a sweet gold bracelet decorated her fist. I was extremely satisfied with this one, I would gladly have worn this myself. And wouldn't this be just perfect along with her red shawl if she's getting cold?
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PostSubject: Elfwest - Day One Prelude Part One   Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:44 pm

Okay...so I TOTALLY dropped the ball when I was re-posting here and skipped over the two part awesome Prelude that ChristinaRaibert wrote for Elfwest...so, here it is, Part One.


Day One - Prelude Part One

One warm spring afternoon, just outside the frontier town of Two Moons, a five years old girl ran across the dusty roads, obviously in a fervor. She was the typical Djunslander - tall for her age, sleek of built, translucent-skinned, with scalloped ears and small fins decorating her legs and webbed hands and feet. Her long dark brown hair had been piled up carelessly into a knot, and her deep blue eyes were wide with wonder.

Holding up her skirts, she rushed past the ranch's entrance. Most unlikely for her, she did not even pause to greet the workers she passed by, engulfed as she was in a turmoil of excitement and fresh news. Finally she came in sight of a small muddy river, where two other girls were kneeling with their backs to her. Even though they seemed to be around her own age, they were much more disheveled in appearance.

"Krill! Chitter!" she called out when she caught up with them. "You'll never guess what I did see!"

One of the kids, with sienna colored hair, an impish face and laughing purple eyes, turned at once. Next to her, a Djunslander girl who could only be the newcomer's identical twin did not even look up.

"T's up, Brill? Shoot!" Forgetting what they had set out to do, the redhead leapt on her feet. She had the brightest smile.

The child with long hair, Brill, was panting slightly.

"On my way back..." she began, and then scoffed: "Krill! Are you listening?"

"Naw, shut yer yap" muttered Krill, whose hair was shorter but of the exact same shade of brown. Up until then, she had majorly ignored her sister's presence. She stared at the mud with fierce intensity, like a wolf stalking its prey; her hands were tightly clamped around a small, empty wooden box.

"So what? So what? What's up?" repeated Chitter, jumping up and down enthusiastically. She had always been a little ball of energy, this youngest daughter of Strongbow and Moonshade's - which was most surprising, because her parents were renowned for being two of the quietest and most reserved townsfolk. "C'mon, Brill, do tell! What did you see??"

Brill gave a reluctant glance toward Krill's back. She really wanted to tell her sister, too - but she knew that Krill wouldn't be swayed from her task until she was done with it. She could be so stubborn, sometimes.

"Well..." she sighed, a little put out by Krill's blatant disinterest. "I was on my way back from Dr. Rain's..."

"Dr. Rain? Hold on... she ain't comin' over, is she?" Chitter squealed, and suddenly she seemed terrified beyond measure. Brill tilted her head a little, glancing at her friend in askance. She still found it difficult to grasp that Chitter - their buddy Chitter, a true tomboy who handled spiders, lizards and dead mices with utmost ease, and who was unafraid to get into brawls with the older kids - could be so frightened by a flimsy woman doctor like Miss Willowgreen.

"Yes, she is. Remember? Your mama wants her to check on Shyhider."

Chitter's eyes clouded, because she wasn't going to believe for a second that Miss Willowgreen would do any good to Shyhider - her mother's old mare, and her own personal favorite.

"Say... how comes she scares you so, Chitter?" Brill asked, narrowing her eyes.

"She doesn't!" Chitter replied defensively.

"Will you just shut up?" hissed Krill, not looking up from the pond, and her own mirrored reflection in the muddy waters.

"She doesn't scare me. It's just that..." Chitter fidgeted nervously with the hem of her clothes, which Moonshade did her best to patch - but which were hopelessly ragged nonetheless. "Dart says she's a witch. She's always in that home of hers, with that black cat of hers, growing those... punkins of hers! Dart says that's what witches do!" Dart, Chitter's beloved older brother, was the town's resident Deputy. She couldn't see him as often as she'd have liked, but when he came over to visit, he was always sure to bring her candies and tell her stories before she went to sleep. He would never be able to lie to his adorable little sister, Chitter was sure of that. If he said that witches existed, that they kept black cats and grew pumpkins in their houses, then she believed him. It had to be true.

Brill shrugged doubtfully. She was always happy to follow Chitter and Krill's lead whenever they planned some new pranks on Miss Willowgreen, but she didn't know what to think of all this witch-business. Wavelet, her guardian, always told her such things weren't real. She told her, "don't believe in those things that scare you". Brill did not find Miss Willowgreen to be all that scary - but witches were supposed to be scary, right? They were witches. They did... scary things.

"I don't like her. She's evil!" Chitter insisted. Then, as if struck by a sudden inspiration, she added: "And my papa doesn't like her, either." In her childish logic that just about settled everything. Strongbow, her adored, perfect daddy, was always right.

"Whatever..." Brill replied, somewhat skeptically. "Well I was on my way from Dr. Rain's - she wasn't there, he said he'd let her know your mama wanted to see her - when I looked up and... guess what did I see?"

"An outlaw!" yelled Chitter, clapping her hands. Much to her dismay, she had never seen one. Moonshade and Wavelet had been very firm on that point; Chitter and the twins were not allowed to visit Dart at Marshall Treestump's office. At first, Chitter had hoped that her father would be more reasonable - that he would take them to see the outlaws, and Dart. Strongbow, however, had been even firmer than his wife.

Brill laughed at her friend's antics.

"No, you silly!... A soldier! Still in his uniform!"

"Aww" Chitter whined in disappointment. If you asked her, a soldier was nowhere as interesting as an outlaw. The town was littered with soldiers... they were so common. The same old, same old blah.

"But this one was not just any soldier! He was riding his horse..."

Chitter's interest immediately perked up. She loved horses.

"... and I kid you not, he didn't even need to speak! The horsie seemed to know exactly what was going through his mind! He didn't need orders to know where the soldier wanted to go... he knew it. It was amazing!" Brill concluded her little tale in a tone of absolute awe. Even Chitter was impressed. All their life they had met several people who were good with horses - Chitter's father, and Pike, who worked part time at the ranch, and Wild Bearclaw, a performer at Wild West Show whom they had glimpsed once or twice in town. But even their skills sounded nothing like what Brill was describing.

"What was the horsie like?"

"He looked a lot like Shyhider... dark coat with white spots 'n all. He was black, though... not brown. And there was something wilder about him... not like Shyhider, who is sweet and likes to play and nap all the time."

"Yes!" Chitter laughed at the mention of the much beloved mare. "My Shyhider's a darling!" Then, suddenly, the smile faded from her face, replaced by a much more serious look.

"What's up?" Brill asked. She could tell from miles ahead when Chitter was in a bad mood, which did not happen often.

"It's that woman... I don't want her near Shyhider. She's been fine these last few days, she has no need for some stupid doctor!" As if there had been any possible doubt on who Chitter was venting about. "Miss Willowgreen is always so mean with Shyhider! She hates her! She says that Shyhider's too old - well she is old, too! Not Shyhider! Shyhider's nice, she's the nicest horsie in the nation! My papa said so! She's not too old! Too old for what?" growling, Chitter balled her hands and looked at Brill for support. The Djunslander nodded in agreement.

There was no arguing that the famed vet, Miss Willowgreen, was not the friendliest woman in town. She had very little patience with animals, but according to grown ups, she was very competent in her job. Brill, on the other hand, had always thought that a doctor, any doctor, ought to be kind and patient - just like Dr. Rain. Little wonder he was so well-loved. If I were a horse, she thought, and if I were sick, I wouldn't want to be cured by her. I'd want to be cooed and petted and reassured. I'd want someone to tell me that everything will be allright.

"I'm sure your papa won't let her mistreat Shyhider" she said, patting Chitter's shoulder. "We'll tell him, okay? And he'll tell her that your brother is a Deputy so she better be careful what she does..."

"Yes!" Chitter beamed. "Dart will put her in jail if she says again that Shyhider's too old. He'll shoot the evil witch! D'you think..."

Krill, who had not paid heed to the discussion, now turned and shhhhed them sharply. "For the last time, shut up! Or you'll scare off all the frogs." She sounded hardly pleased, and Brill and Chitter hurried to obey.

"No luck yet?" Chitter inquired, as both girls knelt down next to Krill on the slimy riverbank. Brill had been careful to fold her skirt slightly; Chitter, on the other hand, did not seem the slightest bit worried by the eventuality that even more mud would end up on her already messy clothes.

Krill shook her head, her lips pursed in concentration. "We can play at something else" suggested Chitter. "Instead of trappers. We can be cowgirls."

"Or scholars" Brill was delighted. "Someday soon, we'll be for real! Let's play school!"

"We can pretend to be wolves!" Chitter threw her head back and howled like a wolf. This got Brill into a giggling fit, but Krill merely rolled her eyes.

"Can't you ever be serious?" she scowled. "We decided we'd play trappers! Not stupid wolves -- or some stupid school!"

"Wolves aren't stupid!!" cried Chitter. "Wolves are cool! Wolves howl!"

"But we decided we'd play trappers!" Krill protested. Her hands were balled in exasperation. "You two just keep spoiling the game! I told you, trappers are supposed to be silent when they near their prey..."

Brill shifted uncomfortably on her feet. She did not like arguments, neither at home, nor with her friends. Chitter, on the other hand, muttered something that sounded a lot like: ".. that's what wolves do too, we could pretend to be wolves instead..."

"No! We already settled on trappers!"

"So what? Wolves are cooler! Let's play wolves, Krill..."

"No! Trappers!"

"Pretty please?"

"We'll play trappers."

"Wolves!"

"Trappers!"

"Wolves!"

"Nuh-huh!"

"Yeah-huh!"

"Nu-huh!"

"Yea... oh! Look! Krill, look!" Glancing up from their discussion, Chitter caught a glimpse of large bulging eyes and warty bright green skin. "A frog!"

And suddenly there were no more arguments, as all three kids leapt to the attack. The frog managed to elude Brill and Chitter's outstretched hands, but Krill was way faster. She raised her wooden box into the air just as the frightened animal made a hop for freedom - and the frog landed right into it with a disappointed croak.

"Yeee-haw! Gotcha!" Krill cheered, closing the box before its occupant had a second chance out.

"We did it!" Brill, now every bit as dirty as the other two, flung her arms into the air and did a joyous back-flip.

"We're the greatest trappers in all Two Moons!" bellowed Chitter, beating her chest proudly with a fist.

"No, we're the greatest trappers in all the frontier!" Krill corrected her, laughing.

"No, no, we're the greatest trappers in all the nation!" Brill quipped.

"In all the world, you mean!" giggled Chitter. Smiling, all three girls looked at each other happily for a few seconds - before Chitter piped up: "So... what do we do now that we've caught our prey? Krill? What do trappers do, then?"

"No idea."

"But you said..."

"Well... they spot the prey..." Krill began to count on her fingers. "... near it in silence, trap it, and then..." She frowned, then shook her head in defeat. "That's all I know. I can't think of anything else."

"Perhaps... we can throw a party?" asked Brill tentatively.

"Naw! It's boring!" Krill cut her off. They sat there in the mud, looking dejectedly at each other, while their initial enthusiasm subsided and the frog continued to croak in outrage from within its wooden prison. Finally, Chitter leapt on her feet.

"C'mon! I say we play at something else!"

"Not wolves!" Krill snorted.

"No! Something better!" Chitter grinned wickedly.

The two Djunslander sisters turned to each other and exchanged a glance, as if to say, huh? They had already seen the look on her face before, and generally it meant fun. Chitter grinned like that only when she was up to no good.

"What do you have in mind?" Brill asked.

"Weeeeell.... you said it yourself that the witch's comin' over to check on Shyhider, right-huh?"

"Miss Willowgreen? Yes, why?"

Chitter's grin widened even more as she took each twin's hand. "You'll see. C'mon, it'll be fun! Let's go play miners!"

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PostSubject: Elfwest - Day One Prelude Part Two   Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:49 pm

And here is the second part of the Prelude written by ChristinaRaibert...enjoy!!


Day One - Prelude Part Two

Miss Willowgreen was not the kind of woman most would expect to run across in a rowdy frontier town like Two Moons. She wasn't a patient housewife, nor a sultry saloon dancer, nor a swashbuckling cow girl; she was a little bit of both.

The townsfolk of Two Moons knew very little about her. She never talked willingly of herself or her past - focusing, instead, on the job she was called to do. As far as everyone could tell she had no friends, and had never sought any. Even her relationship with Dr. Rain, the kind town doctor, could be only described as distant. Miss Willowgreen seemed to keep people at arms length no matter how well-meaning they were. She was curt, tight lipped, and had very little patience with both elves and animals - aside for Windwalker, her large black cat. When she wasn't tending some injured livestock, she could be found growing pumpkins in her garden, under her cat's watchful stare.

Word around the street was that Miss Willowgreen's bitterness came from her being an old maid. She looked to be in her middle age, at least, and surely wasn't getting any younger.

The earliest settlers all remembered the day of her arrival; she had descended from the train, with the looks and bearing of some wealthy and highly civilized lady. Then, as the dust settled, she had turned to bid farewell to the grizzled, wild looking, imposing bear of man who was carefully setting her suitcases down.

"Thanks you" she had whispered. She seemed on the verge of tears, as she regarded him with a blend of tenderness and compassion. "For everything."

The big man had shrugged.

"Ye'r welcome, doc. Are ye sure ye'll be all right?"

"Yes. Don't worry about me, Graywolf." For so much as a moment she'd seemed about to add something else - then she had backed away with a slight shake of her head.

"I won't be able to write, ye know" the man had continued, staring at her wistfully. Next to her white cotton shirt, the long gray skirt and the elegant knot of blonde hair, he seemed even more shabby.

"Don't. You already did enough for me... I owe you so much, Graywolf."

The man, Graywolf, had not left the train, even though that seemed to cost him a great deal. "Take care of yerself, doc."

"Farewell, Graywolf. I'll keep you in my prayers" Miss Willowgreen had replied, before turning her back to the railway, and to him.

He had been true to his word. Ever since, Miss Willowgreen hadn't received mails - neither from her hometown nor from anywhere else. Save for Windwalker, she seemed to have been left alone in the world.

And - if her snappish ways and withdrawn existence were any clue - that suited her perfectly fine.

She wasn't even attempting to smile as she strode toward Mr. Strongbow's farm. Their old mare again... should have guessed it. That horse's done for, they really ought to make up their mind and put it down. Miss Willowgreen saw no reason to sugar coat her verdicts or beat around the bush. She was blunt and less than sensitive, and that had eventually got under the skin of both Strongbow and his youngest child, who adored that old mare with a frail health. Well... too bad, 'cause Willowgreen had little to no sympathy for bratty kids and herdmasters who wore their hearts on the sleeve. They spoil her too much, anyway, she disdainfully told herself. They should have let me put down the horse when I first said so - and then the child would have come to terms with it, in time. But no... they just keep giving in to her whims, even though the mare is too old and falls sick every two days. My word, she'd not get around to be so undisciplined if she were mine...

Lost as she was in her thoughts, Miss Willowgreen did not see the freshly dug burrow - which Brill, Krill and Chitter had industriously concealed underneath a thick layer of moss, leaves and fallen branches - until it was too late.

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PostSubject: Elfwest - Day Two Part One    Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:31 pm

And on to Day Two people...Ride On!

Here is the first part of of the new day, written by Caris Caeruleus...enjoy!!


Day Two - Part One

Dart's revelation twisted its way through Crescent's brain for the rest of the night, and she tossed and turned under her bedcovers for a long while, until finally falling asleep just before the cock crowed.

As dawn lightened the sky, the elfin girl pushed herself into a sitting position, blearily wiping sleep out of her eyes. She heard the household moving around beyond her room. Chitter's cheerful voice and excited steps showed that the child had slept well, undisturbed by worries and doubts.

The sound of her parents' footsteps traveled into the kitchen; his forceful yet ordered and hers soft and almost delicate.

I have to tell them. I have to tell Pa, really.

She sat on her bed and played with the blanket absently, dreading the very notion. Dart told her how his attempt to intervene had panned out, and she guessed that telling Pa about Greymung's actions would not end any better.

Wonder if that's why Dart told me, she thought wryly, so he wouldn't get yelled at again.

Her father rapped on her door with his knuckles, startling Crescent into movement.

"I'm up!" she called out, pulling on a shirt, dungarees and tying a kerchief around her neck. Then, she ran a brush through her hair, and bound the thick mass behind her head with another piece of cloth.

Soon, she joined her father in the stables for the morning feed. He gave a quick nod of greeting, and Crescent noted that angry concern that pulled his lean face taut, and lent fire to his eyes.

Maybe he already knows.

Then she recalled why Dart and her father had clashed last night. Dart thought Guttlecraw had threatened Pa, both physically and monetarily. And when her brother offered to inform the Marshall, Pa got mad.

Pa never wanted or needed help from anyone. If there was something he couldn't puzzle or push his way through, then it wasn't worth doing anyhow. And it didn't matter how long it took or how hard the challenge was; he did it himself. No assistance.

This current situation wouldn't be any different.

"It's my land," she imagined him saying, "and I'll defend it! Let the Marshall protect those folks who can't or won't protect themselves!"

That's what fired him up this morning. Not Greymung's conniving with her parents bills, but the desire to keep a watchful eye over the family and the farm in preparation for an attack against their bodies.

But not against their livelihoods...

Crescent realized she had to make him listen to her. He needed to know about Greymung's ledgers.

But she didn't get the chance to tell him. Breakfast came and went, monopolized by Chitter's exuberantly explained plans for the day. She and her friends, Brill and Krill, would be deputies today, a notion which caused Pa to shake his head with a grin.

Afterwards, as Crescent and Chitter cleaned the dishes, Pa saddled Ma's horse and watched her head into town. Then he sent his daughters, each with a basket of food, over to Wavecatcher's house. The younger girl would stay there through the early part of the day under the watchful eye of Wavelet, Wavecatcher's wife.

It took about ten minutes to walk from the main house to the smaller house where Wavecatcher and his family lived. They used the house, rent free, in return for tending the large vegetable garden, and taking care of the chickens.

When Crescent and Chitter arrived, Wavelet traded the baskets of food for a pair laden with eggs and vegetables.

As Crescent followed the path back to her house, the sun climbed above the trees and into the sky. Soon, it would be time for Crescent and Billy to make the weekly trip into town for supplies, she noted. She wondered if Greymung would make his move then.

Pa needs to know, she told herself again.

To her surprise, the cart had already been prepared for the drive. A dappled gray gelding named Chester, stood with the vehicle near the stables. Crescent went up onto the front porch of the house and, pulling off her boots, took the baskets inside to the kitchen. Then, she moved into her room and slipped out of her work clothes and into a simple, cotton dress to wear into town. Finally, she retrieved her boots and went to find her father.

Making her way back to the horse corral, she saw him standing with Luke and Billy. The two hands watched him carefully, as he pointed and gestured. Like many folks, they initially found his method of communication hard to understand, but both had become fairly good at interpreting him over the past few years.

Luke, a tall and beefy human with bright red hair, waved at her. Billy, a smaller human with sandy blond hair, called out, "Mornin' Miss Crescent." While both men outweighed her father by many stone, she knew they deeply respected him, and would never raise a hand to harm him.

She stopped, waiting for them to finish.

"Yessir, Mr. Strongbow," the two farmhands said after a moment.

"We'll get that done," added Luke.

Pa nodded, and, turning, made his way towards her. He pointed towards the stables and jerked his head.

"Billy's not going into town with me today?" she asked as she walked with him.

Her father shook his head.

"I'm going by myself?" she exclaimed. "The grain bags are heavy, Pa."

He gave her a look that clearly questioned her sanity. Then he jabbed a thumb at his chest.

"You're going?" The news surprised her. He hated going into town. Not everyone made the same attempts to understand him that Luke and Billy did.

Pa nodded. He turned the corner of the stables and ducked inside, coming back out immediately with an object that made Crescent's blood run cold: his Winchester rifle. She knew instantly that if he carried it, that he had loaded it, as well.

He must have done so last night, she realized. I wonder what Ma thought of that.

"Pa, I need to talk to you," she said, her voice trembling with emotion.

Pa gestured towards the cart, and strode over to it himself. He paused briefly to rub Chester's neck and to feed the horse a carrot. Then, setting his rifle just behind the driver's seat, he climbed up into the cart and sat down. Crescent went around the vehicle and jumped in beside her father.

He gathered the reins and gave them a gentle but firm flick. Chester shook his head and started down the drive to the gates.

After a few moments, Crescent took a deep breath and announced, "I spoke with Dart last night."

Pa's jaw muscles tightened, but he made no other response, simply staring ahead at the road. Still, his daughter knew her remark had upset him, and she silently cursed her clumsy beginning.

"There's something you need to know," she added quickly, trying another tack.

He pulled on the reins, stopping the cart. He swiveled around in his seat, one hand draped over his knee holding the reins, while the other moved to rest on his opposite hip. His deep brown eyes glittered with fury as he dared her to continue.

Crescent stared back, feeling sudden anger well up at his obstinacy.

"I want-" she began but he cut her off.

"I'll tell you what I told your brother," he stated in a barely audible whisper. "This is not your problem."

"Why not?" she exclaimed. "I live here, too!" He opened his mouth to reply but she continued sharply, "I'm not a child, Pa! You must have some trust in my maturity, because you leave me in charge of the farm. Why don't you trust me now?"

His jaw worked for a moment, then he hissed back, "There are some things I don't want you to ever have to deal with."

"Is that why you brought your rifle today?" She knew she had bungled her effort, but the flame of her ire pushed her further along this new course. "I could have brought my rifle too, Pa. If you had trusted me enough to let me know I needed to, instead of chaperoning me around like a little girl!"

He eyed her a moment longer then faced forward, flicking the reins again. Chester whinnied and started forward again.

"You don't seem to mind if Dart 'deals' with such things!"

Pa flashed her a furious glare, but remained silent. His knuckles whitened as he tightened his grip on the reins.

"Is it because he's a boy?"

He twisted around to stare incredulously at her.

"You know that's not true." His voice failed on the last few words, causing him to grimace in frustration. Still, Crescent knew what he had said.

"No, Pa, I don't."

Blowing out a long sigh, Pa turned to watch the road again. "I would have let Treestump take you on as deputy, had he asked." He paused, then added, "Without argument. He asked for DartŢ He stopped, gritting his teeth as tears rolled down his cheeks.

"Because you said no," she answered, feeling her anger fade away.

He met her eyes again, "No. BecauseŢ Pa swallowed then forced the words out. "Because Dart was there." He returned his attention back to driving.

Crescent stared at her father, realizing what he implied.

"The Marshall would have asked me if I'd been there," she stated quietly. And I'd be Deputy now, not Dart.

Pa nodded, and wiped his cheek with a sleeve.

"I'm sorry, Pa," she whispered. Placing her hand on his shoulder, she added, "And thank you."

They rode the rest of the way into town in silence, each lost in their own thoughts. As the cart pulled up outside of Greymung's Trading Post, Crescent realized she'd managed to get her father angry without even telling him about the troll's recent actions.

Pa sat back in his seat, looking at the damaged storefront in bewildered amazement where several men (trolls and humans) had already begun repair work. Then, turning to face his daughter, Pa waved a hand in question.

"Robbers and angry gamblers, Pa," she answered with a grin. "The mess started in the gambling ring out back and ended up in the streets."

He snorted, amusement pulling at the corner of his lips. Then, he raised an eyebrow at her.

"I saw a lot of it, that's how I know," she answered, understanding exactly what he wanted to know. "So did Dart, of course." She grinned. "Neither of us got hurt." She decided to avoid telling him the part where she and Nightfall had chased after Redlance and the last robber. She didn't want him angry at her again.

He nodded quickly, then leapt out of the cart, waving her towards the door. He might have come along in a fit of overzealous protectiveness, but he would avoid talking with folk as much as he could.

Crescent stepped inside the store, wondering if the damage to his establishment would spur Greymung into cruel action.

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

Strongbow stood on the store's porch, leaning against one of the posts. He pulled a cinnamon stick out of his shirt pocket and began to chew on it. With amusement, he watched as a well dressed elfin lady attempted to navigate around the numerous horse droppings in the street. Her silvery-gray riding habit, made of fine velvet, shimmered in the sunlight. Light caught on tiny seed pearls sewn into the collar of her coat. Her long black hair, thickly plaited trailed down her back.

The farmer recognized her, though he'd never met her. The faces of both her and her husband frequently found their way onto the front page of the local newspaper, The Father Tree Press. Mrs. Winnowill, wife of Voll, the wealthiest cattle rancher in the area.

A cart slowed to let her pass, the driver tipping his hat politely. He watched her, as well. How could he not? For she was a beautiful woman and her cultured beauty stood out in the frontier town like a cow in a flock of chickens.

She stepped up onto the storefront porch, and the cart driver, now seeing the elf who stood in the shadow, called out a greeting.

"Howdy, Strongbow! Good to see you in town for a change!"

The farmer waved back, recalling that he'd sold the man some horses a few years back. Then, taking off his hat, he grabbed the door, holding it open for the woman. However, she stopped, peering at him with interest.

"Strongbow?" she repeated. "You are Strongbow?"

He nodded with a bemused frown, and replaced his hat. A tall and slender woman, she stood almost a head greater then him, so he had to look up to see her face properly.

"What a coincidence!" she exclaimed with a smile. "I have been intending to contact you! A friend of mine, James Trounton, suggested that I seek you out."

The name sounded vaguely familiar to him, so Strongbow nodded again and raised an eyebrow questioningly. She stepped away from the door and he let it close.

Winnowill studied him for a moment, then added, "Yes, he told me that you didn't speak well. So, I shall do all of the talking." She gave him a sweet smile.

He felt warmth rush to his cheek, and he dropped his gaze to his boots.

"Polite and shy," she commented. "How unusual in this day and age." He fiddled with the ring on his left hand with obvious movement, and she laughed. "Oh, I know you are married, and I am certain that you know I am as well.

"Anyway, that's not the reason I wanted to seek you out," she continued, a smile lingering in her voice. "I assure you, it's strictly business."

Strongbow looked up at her again, waiting for her to explain. "Mr. Trounton told me that you have a wonderful way with horses. Your stock is the finest in the region, he said. And," she crossed her hands in front of her, her silk gloves whispering against the velvet of her habit, "you train them with a gentle but firm hand."

The rancher wondered briefly why "Mr. Trounton" hadn't returned to buy more horses himself after such glowing praise. But he bowed his head humbly, placing a hand on his chest.

"You are welcome," Winnowill answered. "So, Strongbow how would you feel about breeding and training six horses for me? Is sixty-five dollars a head a fair price?"

Blinking in surprise, the farmer raised his hands holding up six fingers.

She laughed quietly. "Yes, six. Sixty-five dollars a head."

The suddenness of her offer, how out of the blue it came, made his head reel and he realized he needed to think it over. However, before he could answer, the door flew open and Crescent stuck her head around it.

"Pa, there's a problem." Her violet eyes, so like Moonshade's, flew from him to Winnowill. Her face, lean like his but still quite lovely, was flushed with emotion. "You need to speak to Greymung."

He looked back at the tall elfin woman, and, giving her a nod of farewell, stepped towards his daughter.

Winnowill caught his arm, drawing his attention again. "You will consider my offer won't you?" She held out a crisp, white calling card with elegant silvery lettering. "Please contact me and let me know your answer." He took the card, nodding again. Then, he followed Crescent into Greymung's Trading Post.

The inside had fared better then the exterior. Or it had already been straightened up. Strongbow made his way past shelves and piles of items towards the back of the store.

"Well, howdy Strongbow! Long time no see!" Greymung, the proprietor, perched on a high backed stool behind the counter. He leaned back comfortably with his meaty thumbs hooked inside the pockets of his gaudy waistcoat. His assistant, a tall and willowy elf girl named Aroree, worked nearby tallying up books.

The rancher stopped opposite the storeowner, placing his hands palm down on the surface of the counter. He raised his eyebrows expectantly. The troll, however, simply stared back in silence, and drummed his fingertips on his wide belly.

Frowning in frustration, the elf turned to Crescent. She met his look then dropped her gaze quickly.

"He said he won't sell us any supplies today," she answered quietly.

Strongbow turned back to Greymung, spreading his hands in a questioning gesture. The troll gave a melodramatic look of confusion, and shook his head with a shrug.

Drawing in his breath to control his anger, the rancher turned to his daughter again.

"Why?" she asked.

The troll raised his eyebrows. "You have your daughter talking for you now? You ought to bring in the little one next time. That'd be a hoot."

Strongbow ground his teeth together, and tapped the counter in irritation.

Greymung shifted his weight on the stool. "I'll tell you why I won't sell to you." He pulled out a cigar, and striking a match, began to smoke it. "You see, I have this policy. I won't sell to someone whose unpaid bill with me is over fifty dollars."

Surprised, the elf glanced over at his daughter for an answer. She stood with her hands stuffed into her pockets and her head bowed. Strongbow frowned with concern, then turned back to the storeowner.

"How much over?" he asked. Unfortunately, his voice gave out on his first word, and he grimaced with annoyance.

The troll leaned forward, and shook his head. "I didn't hear that," he said, and looked at Crescent. "What did he say?"

"He asked," she answered quietly, "How much do we owe?"

"Well," Greymung sat back in his chair, "I don't know the exact number, but let me check. Aroree, would you get the book with Strongbow's account, please?" The golden haired elf girl pulled a book out from under the counter and handed it to her employer.

"That's a pretty girl!" He threw her a smile.

"Let's see",the troll began to flip through the ledger. "Strongbow, Strongbow. Ah! There you are. Says here you oweŢ he tapped the page, " three hundred thirty-five dollars and sixteen cents."

The farmer rocked back in shock. "That's impossible!" he tried to exclaim, only his voice failed him again.

"Strongbow, man," Greymung shook his head with a grin, "you need to get yourself over to the saloon and wet your whistle! That is, if you can pay your bill!" He guffawed loudly. "Now, what did you say, again?"

"He said," Crescent answered with a trembling tone, "That amount has to be incorrect."

"My friend, that is where you would be wrong."

"How?" Strongbow managed to get the word out, though its sound was weak and raspy. He stared at the troll, feeling his heart pound roughly. He knew where this discussion headed, and he despaired at how quickly it slipped out of his hands.

"How did it get so high?" The troll asked. "It got that high because I have a keen interest in making money. This," he tapped the page again, "is the sum total of all your bills around town. Not including your wife's rent, of course."

The elf shook his head slowly, not really denying Greymung's words, but still reeling at how he'd been bested. He had not expected this.

The storeowner, took a pull off of his cigar, watching the rancher with glittering eyes. Then, leaning forward, he exhaled blowing smoke into Strongbow's face. The elf grimaced with distaste.

"Here's the deal," he began, "You have to pay up your account in full before I sell you anything else. And," he jabbed in the air with his stogie, "if you don't pay within three days, I'll close Moonshade's store and take all of her stock and equipment as partial payment towards your debt."

"You can't do that!" Crescent exclaimed.

The troll sat back, "Let me tell you something. Back East they have this thing called 'debter's prison.' If you don't pay your bills, you go to jail. Period." He eyed them both.

"Now, we don't have anything like that out here, mostly because we don't have prisons. But, do you really think that the Judge wouldn't agree with me, when I have a legal right to repayment?"

Strongbow clenched his fists in anger but remained silent.

"Well," Greymung drew on his cigar, and blew out the smoke, "what are you going to do?"

"I don't have that kind of money," Strongbow's throat burned terribly, but all he did was mouth the words. Tears of pain and humiliation rolled down his cheeks. He closed his eyes at the flash of gleeful amusement that appeared on the troll's face.

"What was that?" Greymung said with a laugh. "I didn't get any of it."

"He said," Crescent responded with a quavering voice, "we don't have that kind of money."

Strongbow looked over at her. She raised her eyes to meet his, her expression apologetic.

"Ah, well maybe I can help you there," the storeowner announced. "You see, my sometime partner is apparently interested in a couple acres of your land, Strongbow, as I am sure you are aware. He told me that he offered you, what? Five hundred dollars?"

Greymung flicked ash into a brass pan on the counter. "Now, by my reckoning, if you sell that land to him, you'll have enough to pay your bill with me AND to keep your bills current for a couple of months at least. You can go see him now. I'm sure he'd love to see you!"

Strongbow stared at the troll, fighting back a primal urge to punch the vile storeowner in the face. Greymung's grin widened around his cigar, as he read the expression in his customer's face. Try it, his eyes dared.

"How much is the bill?" a soft voice asked from behind the rancher. With a click of boot heel on wood, Winnowill stepped in next to Strongbow. She opened her purse and pulled out a money clip thick with bills.

"I have a policy of not giving out account information to anyone but the client," Greymung stated as he sat back in his seat.

"It's three hundred thirty-five dollars and sixteen cents," Aroree answered softly, earning a glare from her employer.

The wealthy rancher's wife separated a number of bills and pulled them free of the clip.

"I also don't take payments from anyone other then the customer," the troll announced tersely.

"Well, then he will pay it," Winnowill said, turning and holding out the money to Strongbow.

Filled with sudden anger, the elf threw up his hand to ward her off. Quickly, she pressed the currency against his palm, and placed her other hand over his, curling his fingers around the wad of bills.

"This is not charity, Strongbow," she explained with quiet compassion. "This is payment in full for services you will render for me, just as we discussed outside." Her gray eyes searched his face. "Six horses, trained for riding at sixty-five dollars a head. I'll round the amount up to four hundred dollars for ease of accounting."

His brow furrowed as he stared up at her.

"Take my offer," she continued softly, "there is no shame in honest money for honest work." She released his hand, leaving him with the cash.

His gaze drifted down to the currency. Four hundred dollars. A burning self-hatred twisted in his gut at his helplessness. He didn't like how quickly things spiraled out of his control, and now he didn't really have a choice. Not one that made him comfortable, at any rate.

If I pay this debt with her money, he thought, Guttlecraw will likely use more violent methods to 'convince' me to sell.

"That is true," Winnowill whispered, "but you were already prepared for that possibility."

Strongbow nodded slowly, clenching the currency into his fist. He looked over at Greymung and the troll's angry, even hateful, expression solidified the elf's decision.

Placing the cash on the counter, Strongbow took a deep breath and stated, "That should cover my bill, pay Moonshade's rent AND get my goods for this week." Despite the quiet hoarseness of his voice, his words echoed softly in the room. He pushed the money towards Greymung, watching with satisfaction as the troll growled and took the currency.

The storeowner stood up, waving at Aroree. "Finish this up," he grunted, and went into the back room.

Strongbow turned away from the counter, crossing his arms over his chest. He'd won this battle, but he certainly didn't feel triumphant.

Winnowill placed a gloved hand on his shoulder. "Let's work out the details, sayƮext Monday? I will come to your ranch and we can discuss this further."

The rancher glanced up at her, trying to push away his unease, then nodded.

She smiled softly, "Good, I look forward to it. Good day to you, Strongbow."

He nodded again, and tipped his hat to her.

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

It took another ten minutes for the cart to be loaded. As they were about to leave, Aroree came out the door, holding out a tiny brown paper package tied with twine.

"Mr. Strongbow," she exclaimed, "I almost forgot this!" He took the object with a grateful nod, and slipped it into his vest pocket. Then, he tipped his hat to her, and flicked Chester's reins.

Strongbow drove the cart away from the store. He noted Crescent's troubled expression, and her bowed head, as if she felt responsible for what happened in the store. Though he wanted to assure his daughter that she owned none of the blame, his own emotions remained in such turmoil that he could only sit in silence as he fought to control them.

He had intended to turn at the crossroad and head back home, but his eyes fixed on the sign for Moonshade's store just beyond the side street, and he continued forward. After a moment, he pulled on the reins, and Chester slowed, bringing the cart to a stop in front of her shop.

Placing a hand of Crescent's shoulder, he drew her attention to him, then pointed towards the jail front. She stared up into her father's eyes for a moment, then nodded slowly. She slipped off the cart, and headed across the street to see her brother.

Strongbow climbed down and went into his wife's store.

Moonshade looked up from her sewing as he came in, and, setting it aside, came over to him. She had taken one look at him and sensed his mood.

"Beloved, what happened?" she asked, gently tracing the dried tears on his face with concern. He slipped his arms around her in response, burying his face into her hair.

I have made things more complicated.

She gasped in his ear, but didn't press for details, simply sliding her hands around to hold him as well.

Something occurred to him, then. Moonshade often seemed to know his thoughts, even without his gestures or expressions that served to make things clearer for his children and friends.

Today, in the store the elfin woman did the same thing. She responded to one of his thoughts as if he had spoken aloud. The realization unnerved him, and he closed his eyes, holding his wife tighter.

What have I done?

___________________________________________________
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PostSubject: Elfwest - Day Two Part Two   Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:30 pm

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

Day Two - Part Two

She looked around the dark room carefully trying to find her canvas riding pants without waking him. She had found her unmentionables and her shirt and socks with little problem, but where the pants were was a mystery. She was about to make a third look when she heard the sound from the bed.

"Psst! You looking for these?" the voice whispered. Nightfall turned to see Redlance sitting on the edge of the bed holding her pants up in his hand with a small smile on his face.

"Aw shoot, I didn't want to wake you." She whispered walking over and kissing him while taking the pants. The kiss quickly went a little farther then expected and both broke with an interrupted smile.

"We better not start something we don't have time to finish." Nightfall said rubbing his cheek.

"That's for sure." Redlance said with a small yawn.

"See, that's why I didn't want to wake you up!"

"Don't worry, I wasn't asleep anyway." He said watching her sit next to him and slide on the pants.

"Why?"

"I was to busy listening to you sleep." Redlance answered.

"Okay, you don't plan on doing that for the rest of our lives together do you?" Nightfall asked blushing while reaching for her boots.

"Only the first ten years or so, who knows after that. Where are you off to?" Redlance asked with a raised eyebrow.

"I want to see Tyleet before she goes off to schoolƴell her about us." Nightfall said with a wink as she pulled on a boot.

"Oh yeah, wait, I have something for her too." Redlance said hopping out of bed.

"What more can you offer?" She said with a laugh pulling on her other boot.

"Well I gave you my mother's bracelet so I made a smaller one for her. It means I want to be her father now, her family." He said pulling out the money belt that hit the floor with an audible thud. Nightfall was wondering just how much might be in there when he pulled out another pouch.

He opened it and pulled a smaller version of the bracelet on Nightfall's wrist out of his bag. She looked at it and felt a sudden surge of love for him. Nightfall nodded her head while getting off the bed and walking over to him. "I think she'll love it."

"Good, I'm so worried I'll make a wrong step with her." Redlance whispered reaching for his buckskin pants.

"You need to stop worrying and just be your lovable huggable self. She all ready loves you." Nightfall said with a kiss.

"Why's that?" He asked with a suspicious smile.

"Momma and I have told her everything there is to know about you." Nightfall said with a raised eyebrow.

"Even the bad stuff?" Redlance asked with worry.

"Yep!" Nightfall said with a wink.


The morning came too early for Cutter as he stepped through the door the restaurant just behind his parents. He wasn't sure why they had to get him up, but they had dragged him from the warm bed saying it wasn't right to sleep all day. A grown elf should face the day head on or something like that. All he knew was Brownberry better have the coffee ready with lots of chicory. He was going to need all the help he could get. When he got inside the smell of a fresh pot hit his nose and Cutter all ready felt better, if not alive. He looked up to see Skywise at the counter with his head resting is hand which was propped up on an elbow half asleep.

"What are you doing up?" Cutter asked walking over.

There were no words, only one eye popping open and a pointed finger from his free hand at the happy little elf behind the counter. Foxfur walked over with two cups and that pot of coffee that Cutter suddenly wanted, needed, to jump into. He smiled as she hummed while pouring both cups full before giving the captain a playful wink that his closed eyes seemed to miss.

"Did she just wink at me?" Skywise asked taking the cup with his free hand.

"Yep," Cutter said taking his.

"I hate morning peopleŢ Skywise said talking a sip.

"You deserve thisƩt's all coming home to roost." The Major said with a laugh.

"Deserve what? Forced awake at dawn by a smiling uncontrollably happy waitress who demands that I come over for breakfast?" Skywise asked.

"It's all coming home to roost!" Cutter whispered again before sipping from his cup again.

"Bah, I'm going home to sleep here in a minute!" Skywise shot back.

The major looked up to see Tyleet come out form the back dressed in a pretty red Prairie dress and take a seat at the counter. Brownberry walked over to the child while Joyleaf and Berarclaw took a seat by her.

"What do you want for breakfast sweetie?" Brownberry asked.

"A bowl of porridge will be fine ma'am." She said back groggily.

"That sounds great; I'll have a bowl myself." Joyleaf said with a smile.

"Okay, what about you three?" Brownberry said to Cutter, Bearclaw, and Skywise, It was obviously too early for them as they only grunted no and pointed to the coffee pot. Foxfur gave a laugh setting them all up with a steaming cup as her boss went to the kitchen.

Brownberry walked back in with two bowls of steaming porridge just as the door to the restaurant opened. Nightfall and Redlance entered to the cry of 'Good Morning' from Joyleaf and Brownberry and three loud grunts from the others.

"Whoa, you two look like hell." The tracker said to Skywise and Cutter.

"Hey, that's step up from few minutes ago!" Skywise countered as Foxfur walked over with the coffee pot setting up Redlance with a mug.

"Must be the coffee." Cutter said with a smile sipping his.

"You want chicory honey?" Foxfur asked Redlance.

"Yes ma'am and lots of it!" The tracker answered with a smile.

"Good morning my love!" Nightfall said putting her arms around Tyleet with a hug.

"Good morning momma," Tyleet giggled before noticing the bracelet on Nightfall's wrist, "what's that?"

"Oh that," Nightfall said playfully poking at the turquoise beads, "Redlance gave it to me last night."

"It's beautiful Redlance." Tyleet said touching the bracelet carefully.

"Is it special in the tribe? I know most turquoise bracelets have a special meaning." Bearclaw said sipping his coffee.

Before Nightfall could say a word Brownberry blurted out the answer with a yelp. "It means their getting married!"

The room fell into a shocked silence for a second and then erupted in screams of happiness. Joyleaf grabbed Nightfall and Tyleet in a huge bear hug as Brownberry whooped. Foxfur screamed and spun so fast with the coffee pot in her hands she managed to splash some of the hot liquid on Skywise's hand, knock Cutter's cup off the counter almost in his lap, and hit Redlance with the hot pot itself.

"Owww!" Skywise yelped

"Ho!" Cutter called catching the cup and some of the coffee.

"Whoa that's hot!" Redlance yelled snatching his hand back from the hot pot with a shake.

"You're getting married?!" Foxfur screamed running over and grabbing Brownberry with the coffee pot still in hand.

Longbranch trotted out from the back getting a huge handshake from Bearclaw who was smiling broadly from ear to ear.

"You're getting a damn good son there lawyer!"

"Oh I know we've waited long enough!" Longbranch said back causing everyone to laugh.

"You want some more coffee you old devil?" Foxfur said starting to reach over with the pot.

"Not unless I can shoot back!" Bearclaw yelled defensively stepping back away from the counter causing Cutter, Redlance and Skywise to laugh.

"You mean I'll have a Papa? And it'll be the tracker?" Tyleet asked with a gasp.

"Yes you will!" Nightfall said as Tyleet hugged her.

Tyleet jumped off her stool and ran over to Redlance who had knelt to hug her yelling wildly. "Thank you, thank you!"

"Here, "Redlance said pulling the small bracelet from his pouch and placing it on Tyleet's wrist, "in the tribe when a daughter reaches the proper age her father makes her the first piece of family jewellery that she will wear. He gives it to her with the blessing of a long and happy life."

"Oh my..." Joyleaf whispered putting her hand on Bearclaw's back.

He rolled her small arm over while holding the bracelet in place then tied the small strong securing it in pace. As he rolled her hand back over he held it and looked into her tear filled eyes. "I wish you all the happiness and joy that your long life will bring you Tyleet my daughter, if you'll have me."

She stood perfectly still looking at the bracelet. Redlance started to panic thinking he had over-stepped his bounds when she took him by surprise flinging her arms around his neck and whispering. "I love you Redlance. I want you to be my Papa forever!"

There wasn't a dry eye in the room, even Cutter felt a tug at his heart and turned to look at Skywise who was wiping at his eye. "Are you crying?"

"What, "Skywise responded with a shake of his head and hand, "She burnt my hand and it hurts like hell!"

"Right!" Cutter said with a nod of his own head.

"Good, now go back and finish your breakfast before school." Redlance whispered back.

"Yes sir...papa" Tyleet said with a large smile.

She went back to her stool and ate her bowl of porridge with a huge smile listening to her mother and grandmother and Joyleaf talk. Pretty soon though the door opened again as the town came to life with the sun. Dewshine popped in with Newstar and her family. Everyone said hey. The children all ate breakfast in silence with the exception of the moment when they learned of the bracelet. The scream was loud and shrill making Bearclaw and Longbranch cringe. Then the first bell of the day sounded in town signaling the start of work and the school.

"Oh we have to go, come on!" Dewshine called out running for the door.

They all poured out in a stream waving back. Tyleet blew a kiss to her mother and then Redlance before disappearing down the walkway.

"Damn good job tracker. I'm happy for you." Cutter said clapping him on the shoulder.

"Thank you Cutter." Redlance said with a nod.

"What can we do for you Rainsong?" Brownberry asked sensing her and Woodlock needed something else besides breakfast. They had hung back after the children left.

"I hate to ask, but is there any chance you have a job I can do?" She asked quietly.

Brownberry smiled warmly knowing what kind of gumption it took to ask for a job, it was almost like asking for a hand out. "I think we can take on another waitress and someone to help out in the kitchen."

"Oh yeah, we can help out no problem. Do you want to start today?" Longbranch asked.

"If I could that would be great." Rainsong said with a sigh of relief.

"Can you get her an apron from the back Foxfur?" Brownberry asked.

"Sure thing, come on over here and I'll give you the two dollar tour." Foxfur said with a laugh. Rainsong gave Woodlock a quick kiss and headed for the kitchen through the door to the back.

"What are you boys going to do today?" Joyleaf asked the three at the end of the counter before sipping her coffee.

"I think I'm going to see about this claim ticket at Two-Edge's." Redlance answered.

When everyone looked at him sideways he explained that Longbranch found it in the poker winnings and the story with it. Bearclaw's eyes shot open wide as he turned back to the lawyer. "You mean old Ben's Henry is still here?"

"What's that story?" Skywise asked.

"Son," Bearclaw started with a dead serious tone, "every thing has a history and that goes for guns too. Some are good and some not so much. Old Ben's Henry Rifle had one I never liked at all."

"Ben Thompson moved here just after you three left for the war, like I said last night. One day he goes out for a ride and doesn't come back for six months. And then out of the blue like some ghost he shows up one morning. No one knows where he went to and he's not telling anyone where he's been. He doesn't have one provision on him or a saddle bag to mention." Longbranch said.

"Yep," Bearclaw said taking over the story, "all he's got is this Henry Rifle. I saw it along with Strongbow and I can tell you that elf nearly had a heart attack at the sight of the Henry. He might have give up his whole farm for it if Ben had wanted to put forth the offer. You see the rifle had been changed out, the barrel and the lever and the firing mechanism, it practically wasn't a Henry anymore, it was better. Ben said it was loud as hell and could shoot a country mile. I never liked it myself, didn't feel right when you touched it."

"So what's so special about it? I've seen rifles with the barrels and bolts changed out to fire bigger cartridges; it's nothing out of the ordinary." Skywise responded.

"This rifle, from what I heard, was more than changed out. It was like a piece of mechanical artwork. Ben was dead broke when he left Two-Moons, owed money all over town to some of the seedier element. We all thought he was running out on his debts and then the next thing you know he shows up with a rifle that nobody in their right mind is going to give up without a fight and he sure as hell didn't buy it. On top of that the people he owed money to here wanted the rifle in exchange for their debts, that Henry was the worst thing for old Ben." Longbranch said.

"Why's that?" Cutter asked.

"Some one stabbed him to death in his cabin in the hills. We asked Marshall Stump at the time to go up check on Ben because we hadn't seen him at the Hammer and Tongs for a couple of days and he found him dead inside with the front door swinging in the breeze. No one knows who did it or where the rifle wentƵntil now." Joyleaf said letting the last trail off to whisper.

"Dang I hate that story...it always gives me the chills." Brownberry said with a visible shake.

"Maybe you should just throw that piece of paper out beloved." Nightfall hinted.

"I'd stay away from that one boys, it doesn't feel good." Joyleaf added.

Redlance looked down at the ticket and then back to Cutter and Skywise. He was pretty sure they all had the same look. That kind of stare that said this was just too good to pass up. He turned back to the ticket and he swore it felt like it burned his fingers.

___________________________________________________
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PostSubject: Elfwest - Day Two Part Three    Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:44 pm

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

Day Two - Part Three


“Do you think he’s really kept it this whole time?” Skywise asked looking at the Major.

The trio of Cutter, Skywise, and Redlance finally got out of the restaurant with the promise if the Henry wasn’t at Two-Edge’s there would never be mention of it again and if it was there…well they’d cross that bridge when the time came. Not a soul in the restaurant dining room thought Two-Edge still had it except two. They all said troll was no fool. He’s had to have sold it to get the money by now they all told them. Redlance and Cutter thought differently though. Something that special and unique would never leave the troll’s side. They were figuring he’d tell them some story like it was lost or stolen and it might take a little extra effort to get the rifle away from the blacksmith. So they said they’re goodbyes and headed out with old Woodlock in tow. He had resisted at first claiming he had to get back and tend to the fields.

“Okay, we’ll see you around then.” Cutter replied with a tip of his Calvary hat before walking off down the walkway.

Woodlock watched them strut away knowing he had to get back to the fields. His wife just had to take a job to make ends meet because he couldn’t grow enough to sell. But the history of the infamous Henry Rifle was too strong and its allure won out over common sense in the end. Woodlock turned and trotted after the trio catching up and exclaiming. “Heck, I need a break from the fields anyway.”

“I guess you’ll want to shoot it too, that’s if it’s there.” Redlance said with a smile.

“If I’m missing a day in the field I might as well take it all the way to the end, right?” Woodlock chuckled with a shake of his head.

“So you think this troll still has the rifle?” Skywise asked again falling in beside Cutter as they walked down the walkway.

“I think he’s still got it.” Redlance answered rolling up the sleeves on his velveteen shirt to just below the elbow. Suddenly his markings were on view, drawings on his skin around each wrist and forearm, and those curious enough stole small looks and glances as he walked by.

“Why’s that?” Skywise asked back.

“Cause I’d sure still have that rifle if it were mine,” Cutter answered with a crooked grin.

Woodlock gave a small laugh before looking down at the tracker’s arms noticing he wore a bracelet just like Nightfall’s on his left wrist and on the right was another bracelet made of bone with glittering red beads that were attached each to a long tube of what looked like bone. Those strange markings underneath the bracelets though, that’s what caught the farmer’s attention quick-enough. The markings looked like pictures of animals drawn on the skin, or under it.

“What are those?” Woodlock asked pointing to the bracelet but really referring to the tattoos.

“It’s my totem, the Buffalo. It came to me in a vision and was drawn there with special dye by the medicine man of our tribe before I left for the war. He said its medicine would give me strength, would help me during the days and nights that were to come. I was also visited by the Coyote in the same vision and he gave me its totem to guide me in changing to the new world I was entering. I have it drawn under the skin on my chest over my heart.” Redlance explained pulling a deer skin strip that held a bone carved coyote free from his shirt to show Woodlock.

“I thought he would have given you the wolf? It seems like a better protector than the Buffalo.” Woodlock remarked.

Redlance shook his head while putting the necklace back in his shirt. “No, the wolf totem is a great teacher, coming to you in visions to show you what you need to know and to give you strength on meditations. The medicine of the wolf showed me that I had to leave the tribe, to fight for the ones I love…it’s why I went with Colonel Sheridan.”

“What do you think my totem animal is tracker? It has to be the wolf, right? Its power and beauty, just like me!” Skywise smiled wide, proudly.

“No, you’re more of a cricket.” Redlance pointed out calmly and aware of the ruckus her was about to unleash.

The remark stopped Cutter and Skywise dead in their tracks. For Cutter it set off a deep laughter that couldn’t be stropped while the captain looked stunned and shocked, right to the bone. The look on Skywise’s face caused Woodlock to laugh so hard he gasped for breath.


He watched them run and play from the safety of the tall grass. The three little pointed ears were busy as little bees pretending to be deputies in pursuit of fairly dangerous outlaws. He watched them yell and laugh as played they’re game running to and fro in youthful joy. It all brought back memories of his own daughter and he felt a pain in his heart and soul return, rising from that place he kept it buried in. Not again, not now he told himself and to take his mind off her he looked around the homestead. He noted the large family house and the smaller one just down a lane. There was a large vegetable garden in between the two and a barn with horses just out in front. As the distraction worked sending the memories of his Ellie away the three pointed ears started to run right toward him. He didn’t panic or run, just stayed perfectly still. All three ran by unawares, the one in worn overalls almost hit him, and kept going without a clue he was as close as he was. When the distance grew between them grew enough to satisfy him the children wouldn’t see him he stood up for a brief second. His tan shirt and canvas pants matched perfectly with the grass around him in the sunlight and the old worn hat wouldn’t have caught anyone’s eye. He came looking for an old friend from the Scouts, the special group of men who worked as spies during the war. He had every intention of saying hello to Redlance then riding out but that wasn’t the case now. An instinct bred from being a frontiers men and war told him he needed to keep an eye out on this place. This stead was of note, females everywhere with little to no protection during the day, two maybe three men who could put up no resistance if something came for them.

So he looked back watching the little ones for a moment more before silently disappearing from sight and slipping away through the grass passing only a few feet from the three small elf girls.


Two-Edge leaned up against the wall of the large barn that housed his smithy and livery eyeing the foursome with a little suspicion. He looked down at the ticket for a minute then back up to the group of elves. A small grin had formed on his face as he spoke, “how did you fella’s come up with this ticket here?”

“I won it in the poker game last night.” Skywise answered with his arms across his chest.

“Oh yeah, the one that got robbed and got old Greymung’s all shot up. The one where everyone said they won the ticket, right?” Two-Edge asked with a raised eyebrow.

“That’s the one…” Skywise mumbled still feeling a little raw from the night before.

“Well since you have no real right to-“Two-Edge started when Redlance spoke up.

“The ticket’s mine. Judge Timmain said everything in the bag was mine and I want to pick up what’s on the ticket.”

Two-Edge looked him down then up before speaking. “And why do you want it so bad? I hear you don’t like guns.”

So he still had it…just like Cutter and Redlance thought. The tracker swallowed hard with anticipation before answering. There was no need to play a game anymore. They all knew what the words on the front meant “I was thinking of trading it for something more useful.”

“Well that’s going to be a problem because once you see the rifle you won’t wanna give it up.” Two-Edge said eyeing them again for minute before turning back and heading into his shop.

Cutter let out a small sigh of relief. The whole game of getting the rifle was starting to wear on his patience, which seemed a little worn at the moment. He wanted to see the Rose tonight at the Hammer and Tongs and the day wasn’t going by fast enough. After a few more minutes Two-Edge appeared with a long buckskin rifle sheath, a beaded image of an Eagle on the front and complete with dangling leather strips all along the one edge. He gently laid the sheath on a table then turned to Redlance.

“I need you to sign the ticket saying it’s in the same shape now as it was when you dropped it off, so you won’t come looking for any money form me.” Two-Edge stated.

“How are we supposed to do that since we didn’t drop it off?” Skywise spoke up.

“Yeah, you think we can bring old Ben back from the grave to sign off?” Woodlock joked.

“Old Ben would be in the same quandary you find yourselves in at this particular juncture.” Two-Edge responded.

The group only looked back in silence trying to discern what the troll meant and finally it was Redlance who asked. “Why’s that?”

“That’s because old Ben didn’t drop the Henry off. It was a woman, elf, one of those Wavedancers I think. She hand the funny fingers and ears.” Two-Edge said with a sly smile.

The four stood looking at each other in silence again wondering this time if they really wanted to go any farther with this endeavor. It seemed like every step dropped them deeper into a rabbit hole. The tracker though broke the stalemate after getting a nod from his friend the Major and looked to the blacksmith and motioned to the sheath with his hand. “Can you show us the rifle? If it looks good I’ll sign off.”

Two-Edge looked at the elf suspiciously more deciding on how he wanted to answer when Cutter stepped up. “Come on Two-Edge, you’ve probably had that rifle dismantled fifty times while it’s been here. I bet you can give us a good tour of it.”

The troll stood still for another minute again deciding if he wanted to take the bait, and then he was moving around the table to the opposite side and opening the sheath. When the rifle came out all four elves gasped as Two-Edge put it butt first on the table letting it sit upright in his hand. It was a piece of artwork just like Bearclaw had told them. It was longer than a regular Henry with the black finished barrel and shroud sparkling down to the brass housing where the firing mechanism and shell ejection was polished to a high sheen. The walnut stock had been oiled regularly lending to the over all appearance of the rifle as just damn beautiful.

The blacksmith knew all at once he had a captive audience and he smiled as he turned on his snake-oil salesman like charm. “You see fella’s, it looks like a Henry 1860, but it’s only patterned after it. This is a one-of-a-kind rifle made by a master gunsmith built with certain specifications in mind. First off it’s a solid iron frame from top to end making it weigh in the range of twelve pounds, a little heavy for some to carry. The brass housing is actually a plate held on by ten small pin screws. The firing mechanism and ejector are brass on a regular Henry, but there all iron here and very precise.”

“Why is it all iron?” Skywise asked with a whisper.

“I asked the same thing, which is why I broke it down. The hexagon barrel and shroud-“Two-Edge was saying before Woodlock cut him off.

“What’s a shroud?”

“It’s the smaller round barrel under the hexagon rifle barrel. It gives the rifle barrel stability when shooting and a place to load the bullets. On a regular Henry you always loaded bullets from the top of the shroud looking down the barrel of the rifle which was slow and could get you killed in a gun fight if you had to reload.” Cutter explained.

“Ah, you know the true Henry, but not this one. The bullets don’t go through the top of the shroud on this rifle, but from the bottom like a Winchester. The hexagon barrel and shroud is a full eight inches longer on this one than a regular Henry, thirty two inches instead of twenty four inches total. The rifling groove on the inside of the rifle barrel is different also. A 1-18 twist instead of the usual 1-12.” Two-Edge explained still smiling from ear to ear.

Woodlock threw up a hand and shook his head. “Alright, what does that mean?”

“It means this gun can fire a heavy bullet with a large black powder load and stay accurate for a good bit of distance.” Cutter whispered.

Two-Edge winked at the Major as Skywise turned to Woodlock. “You see, almost every type of gun, from my black powder musket ball dragoon to a Henry that uses a round nose bullet has what’s called rifling in the barrel. The rifling is a set of lines cut into the metal of the barrel from the beginning to the end in a rolling pattern that makes the bullet or ball spin coming out. These grooves are what make guns accurate over long distances. The number means one complete turn for that number of inches, one turn of the bullet for 18 inches of barrel. The longer the groove the more it stabilizes a bullet and makes it more accurate, but also slows it down. A real Henry uses a twist of 1-12 for a .44 caliber bullet at about 200 yards. A 1-18 is used for…”

“A .45 caliber 125 grain black powder paper-patch center-fire round nose bullet,” Two-Edge called out and just like a good magician his hand produced a box of cartridges right on cue.

Redlance pulled one of the cartridges from the box with saucer round eyes examining the oval nose of the bullet and the brass casing. It was as almost as long as his middle finger and just as round. The casing felt cold to the touch and at the flat end was the usual spot where the primer was located, a small off color circle. He looked up as Cutter spoke to the troll.

“A 45-125? Damn that’s a big charge of powder!”

“It’ll probably break our arms when we you shoot it,” Redlance whispered.

“Oh, it’s got a kick I’m sure, but at 12 pounds it’ll hold true to your shoulder.” Two-Edge remarked with a laugh.

“How many rounds can it hold?” Cutter asked.

Two-Edge inhaled deeply and answered. “A real Henry can hold 25 rounds, this one can hold right at 15.”

“Why would you need that many rounds? If you hit someone or something with a bullet that sized it won’t take more than one.” Skywise interjected commenting on the obvious.

“I didn’t build it son so I don’t know, but if I did I would be pleased as punch. This rifle here just might shoot all the way to one of the two-moons.” Two-Edge said with a smile.

Redlance looked over to Cutter then to Skywise. It only took a second to read their looks before he turned back eagerly with a small smile. “I’ll take it, cartridges and all. I’ll even take a square piece of metal if you got it.”

“Target practice, eh? Well it’ll come to 18 dollars even for it all.” Two-Edge said setting the rifle down gently on the table as Redlance handed him the money.

Cutter picked up the rifle and instantly felt something, like a click in his head. He held it for a second ignoring the smiles from the other three just bonding with the rifle before putting it back into the sheath. As they were picking everything up a small elf walked over wearing the heavy apron of a smith but looking like she could barely swing the hammer of one. She handed Redlance a folded piece of paper while almost whispering too low to be heard. “This is yours too.”

“What is it?” Redlance asked leaning forward to hear and immediately the woman drew back the distance he had leaned in. She looked scared of the tracker, as if he might hurt her, and it was only when Redlance leaned away did the lady elf calm and add to her last words.

“It was in the barrel of the rifle. I found it while cleaning it one night”

Redlance didn’t answer or talk again to the elf. He was too busy looking at the frail creature wondering who could have hurt her so much she was afraid of everyone. If it wasn’t someone then it must have been something. Whatever it could have been she was still affected by it obviously.

The blacksmith saw the tracker meant no harm and called out to his assistant to help ease the situation. “Come Jarrah, leave the good elves alone.” She gave one final look to them all and then a simple nod before disappearing.

The tracker mindlessly tucked the paper into his belt and headed out of the large barn behind Cutter and Skywise, the rifle tucked across one arm with the barrel pointed at the ground. They made a quick trip to Snakeskin’s, a Wavedancer refugee with a knack for leather work. Redlance put down a quick two dollars on a leather scabbard to attach to his saddle for the rifle and put the Henry in so fast no one saw him even remove it from the sheath.

“Anyone see anything?” Skywise asked looking around.

“Nope,” Woodlock answered looking around as well.

Cutter grinned while mounting Nightrunner with a swift leap. “Good, I don’t want too many knowing we have the rifle for now.”

“If the Henry is as loud as I think it is the whole valley will know what we’re up to,” Redlance replied with a smile.

They all spun their horses and all four rode out of town toward the hills. Marshall Stump watched the group riding out noting the make. It was a bit unusual to see Woodlock with them on that gold Palomino, not the horse but the farmer with the soldiers. It wasn’t the usual crowd Woodlock hung with. And was that a rifle hanging from the saddle of the tracker’s Mustang? He thought Redlance hated guns? He wasn’t the only one wondering about the group. Crescent was riding into town with her father when she saw them ride by on their way out. She gave a small wave to them but the tracker didn’t acknowledge her as he rode into the hills. Maybe it was the sun that blocked his eyes? She hoped it was the sun that blocked his eyes and not some other reason for not waving to her.


The hammer locked back as he looked down the barrel through the Vernier site at the target all the way across the field, roughly 300 yards. It took only one shot to get the windage down and after that it was nothing to hit the target dead center almost every shot. Cutter imagined the path of the bullet from the second it left the muzzle till it struck the black piece of metal that looked no bigger than a small square at this range. The wind here where he knelt on one knee using the other one to balance the rifle with his elbow was low but in the middle of the field it picked up considerably. The grass swayed to the right pretty good all the way till about 50 yards in front of the target where it all went upright again, no wind. He noted it and adjusted his aim a little left to counter. He breathed easy, stopped halfway on his exhale, and squeezed the trigger gently but decisively.

All at once the roar of the Henry took over with a fiery explosion and a kicked hard into Cutter’s shoulder. The bullet flew straight on its path dropping little, pushed by the wind, right into the center of the target next to Redlance and Skywise’s mark. The fact that the bullet hit the target a full half a second before the sound of its arrival wasn’t missed either. The Major stood up marveling at the Henry’s accuracy with such a large load. The troll had been right, the rifle kicked like a mule, but its weight more than evened it out. Cutter turned to the others behind him who were just taking they’re fingers out of their ears with broad smiles. The rifle was loud no doubt and no one was prepared for it on the first shot leading to a very comical exchange.

“Whoa that was loud!” Redlance yelled shaking his head and screaming.

“I don’t see any clouds!” Woodlock screamed back looking up to the blue sky.

“That was sweet as sugar!” Cutter yelled with a laugh turning to look at others.

“Who’s Pete?” Skywise yelled back with a confused look.

“I think we may have hurt our ears!” Woodlock yelled to Redlance.

The tracker looked at him confused and turned to Cutter. “Who’s Burt?”

“Hurt? Who’s hurt?” Cutter yelled with shock looking to Skywise.

“Now who the heck is Burt, and who’s Pete?” Skywise asked exasperated.

From that point on they kept their ears closed with fingers to avoid going deaf. With half the box of shells gone they decided to quit and talk about the gun.

“Okay, Bearclaw was right. The gun was built to shoot a country mile, but why? What would you hunt at a distance like this?” Cutter asked standing by Nightrunner.

“Elk maybe, but it kind of takes the fun out of shooting one at that distance.” Skywise commented with a shrug of his shoulders.

“Why have a gun built like that for hunting Elk or Buffalo. If you hide well enough you can sneak up on either one easily enough. It would seem a waste of money to me.” Redlance added with a shake of his head.

“I agree. I don’t think it was made for hunting.” Cutter stated holding the rifle and looking at it.

Woodlock looked up and asked while standing by his Palomino. “What about a shooting contest, like the one they have at Silver Springs every two or three years? Someone could have made the rifle shoot at a contest?”

“Maybe, but a rifle gets a reputation just as fast as a history. The way that one shoots I’m sure no contest would let someone enter with it. And why hasn’t someone other than us come here looking for it if it became local legend? My guess is like most small towns nothing stays buried for long and word spreads like wild fire.” Skywise answered.

“Agreed, so it must have been made for some secret purpose, something it never got a chance to do.” Redlance said putting the rifle into the leather scabbard.

“Now that makes sense as to why old Ben was stabbed. I think he got himself into something sinister and didn’t know it. Whoever made the rifle came looking for it and Ben just happened to be in the way.” Cutter commented.

The group fell silent for a minute contemplating everything they had just said when Skywise spoke up. “Well, my brain is tired of thinking and shooting, what are we doing for the rest of the day boys?”

Cutter was about to say go back and take a nap when Redlance smiled. “I forgot about this.”

They all looked over to see the tracker pull out a piece of paper from his belt. Redlance unfolded the heavy parchment which was folded over four times. Cutter and Skywise took a shoulder while Woodlock stood over from the front. On the right side was a hand drawn sketch of an unknown coast and on the left were words written in a language no one could make out. On the drawing of the coast were marks and signs, but without a legend it made no sense at all.

“It’s a map,” Woodlock said.

“A map of what though?” Skywise asked.

“I think it’s Djunsland…” Cutter whispered.

“It’s the coast, middle to southern tip.” Redlance pointed out with his own whisper.

“How do you know that?” The Captain asked.

“I spent a year and a half scouting all over it. I’ll always remember it because I can’t forget what happened there.” The tracker answered without looking up to anyone.

Cutter thought he saw a flash of pain in the tracker’s eyes and he wondered what memory might have caused it before he asked his question. “What are the words on the sides?”

“I don’t know, never seen anything like it. Anyone else seen this before?” Redlance asked shrugging his shoulders.

“Nope,” Skywise said with a shake of his head.

“Uh-huh,” Woodlock added.

Cutter stepped away then turned back. “This is what Jarrah gave you at Two-Edge’s?”

“She slipped it to me after he walked away, said the paper was stuck in the barrel.” Redlance answered with a distant look remembering the female elf and the way she reacted to his closeness.

“Okay, we have a rifle made for a purpose we don’t know and whose owner was stabbed to death in his shack one afternoon. Now we have a map of the coast of Djunsland with marks and words we can’t decipher on it that was stuck in the barrel of the rifle, is that about it?” Cutter asked looking at the group after running down the particulars of the situation.

“You forgot the massive headache all this has brought on. I’m heading back to the boarding house, catch a nap, and get ready for the poker game at the saloon.” Skywise said cracking his back.

“Maybe that’s why old Ben was killed? For the map I mean?” Woodlock asked.

“Too many questions…too many paths to walk down…” Redlance whispered deep in thought while refolding the map.

“Agreed…we’ll get back to this again later.” Cutter ordered taking the lead like he used to the military, like he had done his whole life.

“Alright then, I’m heading home to the fields and try to make something grow.” Woodlock sighed making the others laugh.

“What are you going to do Redlance?” Cutter asked his friend.

“I’m going to see Iron Cloud and the tribe, try to get some information on this native-settler dust up. Maybe do some trading with Black Feather too.” Redlance answered.

“Mind if I tag along with you?” Cutter asked.

“You’re more than welcomed to come along, but why?” Redlance asked.

“I want to get the skinny on the native-settler problems too.” Cutter said getting ready to jump into the saddle. He stopped though before putting his foot in the stirrup when Redlance approached.

“You want to make a trade?” the tracker said holding up the rifle and the leather scabbard.

“What, you don’t want the Henry?” Cutter asked shocked.

“I hate guns, especially loud smelly ones. It’s yours for your Calvary saber and scabbard.” Redlance offered.

Cutter suddenly wasn’t sure what to do. It felt unnerving giving up a simple saber for a rifle like the Henry. Redlance saw the caution and knew his lifelong friend didn’t feel right with the trade. So he threw more temptation at the Major to seal the deal, to let him know it was fine with him to give up the rifle. “I saw how you looked after shooting the Henry; don’t tell me you don’t want it? I have no use for the rifle anyway Cutter and you deserve a weapon like this.”

“Alright,” Cutter agreed after thinking a moment and then taking his saber off Nightrunner and handing it over to Redlance while taking the rifle and scabbard from him, “but what are you going to do with my old saber?”

“You’ll see,” Redlance smiled jumping onto Firecoat’s back with a quick jump.

Cutter gave a laugh securing the Henry to his saddle before jumping on his friend’s back into the saddle. He turned to Woodlock and Skywise giving out one last order.

“What’s happened and been said goes no father then this field, gents. Until we have a few more answers let’s not talk about this to anyone, including wives and friends and lovers, understand?”

All three nodded and waved to each other before the foursome broke and started to head out. Cutter and Redlance went higher and deeper into the hills to visit with the tracker’s second family while Skywise and Woodlock rode back into town. The target was quickly forgotten about and sat alone against the tree as the clearing quieted down finally.


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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: Elfwest - Day Two Part Four   Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:55 pm

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


Day Two - Part Four


They rode for a little while in quiet until Cutter looked over to Redlance. “Is Black Feather the shaman of the tribe?”

“The tribe doesn’t call Black Feather a ‘Shaman’. We call him our ‘medicine man’, the one we follow who communes with the spirits.” The tracker said with a friendly smile meaning only to correct his friend.

And with a matching smile the major laughed never feeling an ounce of embarrassment, “I guess he’s pretty special to the tribe then?”

“Yes, he’s very special to us...in more ways than many will know” Redlance said with a warm smile that made the Major feel like the tracker was holding something back.

“What’s that mean?”

“When you see him you’ll find out.” Redlance said with a smile.

The pair rode on in silence enjoying the early afternoon sun and the sounds of the woods and the hills, but the major’s curiosity need a little more. Cutter looked over and asked remembering as much as he could of the tracker’s life story before they met. “Black Feather’s not the one who found you right?”

“No, but he’s the one who has kept me alive, twice.” Redlance answered.

“Twice?” Cutter responded a little confused.

“The first time was when my mother, Mary Starshower, found me in the woods and brought me back to Talltree, the chief then. No one knows what happened to my real parents, they were never found. The tribe didn’t want me. I was a bad sign to them. My pointed ears were marks of the darkness in my spirit some said. I would bring down the mountain on them and drive off the animals of the woods they screamed. Talltree knew this wasn’t true, but he couldn’t convince the other elders so he asked Black Feather for a vision, to see the ‘true’ me.”

“See you?” Cutter asked intrigued. He had never heard this much about Redlance’s past and the major wanted more.

“Black Feather has the power of sight beyond this world. He took one look at me and told the elders if I was cast out by the tribe then the medicine of the bear and the wolf would leave them forever. The tribe would suffer greatly at the hands of Shoshone and Nez Perce. If I stayed the tribe would live and learn from the wolf and the bear.” Redlance answered with a smile.

“So they kept you because Black Feather saw what would happen if they left you to die?” Cutter asked with a little surprise.

“Black Feather didn’t see a thing that night except a crying baby that needed a warm blanket, food, and a chance at life. He’s told me as much. The medicine man can see us for what we are, but he cannot see what tomorrow holds for us.” Redlance explained.

“When was the second time he saved you?” Cutter asked after a minute of contemplating the tracker’s words.

Redlance looked over and Cutter saw a glimpse of the pain, only this time it wasn’t very deep. “After I brought Nightfall back to you that morning when she was missing, when I had to return to the tribe after taking her away.”

Cutter watched the tracker turn back to the trail as his own memory of that cold morning came back. He remembered it vividly, like it was yesterday. How he had come upon them together on that hill among the trees.


Cutter wasn’t sure what made him ride away from the main search party and up this particular hill. There was just something inside of his heart pointing him this way as he guided his old horse Digger up the slope. Nightfall had been missing for two days now after riding up into the mountains to get away from him and her parents. It wasn’t until he passed the tree line and popped out into the small clearing that he saw them on the rise. There was the horse, an old bay just like Digger, with the Native riding in front and Nightfall hanging from his arm and waist, her feet dangling just a foot or so from the ground. She was still dressed in her red Prairie dress and black ankle boots, but her floppy hat and grey coat were gone replaced by the hide of a Buffalo. Cutter pulled the old Navy Dragoon his father Bearclaw had given him and fired it into the air as he had been told. If anyone spotted the girl they were to fire a single shot to bring the others, and if need be, use the other bullets to bring down the one who took their loved one.

“Nightfall!” Cutter screamed aiming Digger at them and spurring the horse hard.

The Native looked up, the long red braids on either side of his face swaying from side to side slowly. He didn’t look scared or worried at all, no sir, he looked sort of happy…relieved kind of Cutter thought as he approached them. That’s when he noticed Nightfall wasn’t trying to get away at all.

“No! No! NO!” She kept screaming over and over clinging to him, her fingers digging into his shirt.

“Please…you must go! Go home to your family!” The Native pleaded back the screaming girl.

“NO! YOU CAN’T GO BACK!” Nightfall wailed back refusing to let go.

“I will be okay…please go home and be safe!” The Native pleaded again

Digger came to a sliding stop and Cutter jumped from his back with a grace that belied his 14 years of age. He ran forward with the pistol pointed at the Native’s chest, finger on the trigger ready to fire off a round until Nightfall saw him. She suddenly let go of the Native and dropped to the ground, which made Cutter feel somewhat right for the first time since spotting the two, but then Nightfall hit his hand holding the Dragoon hard enough that he almost dropped the pistol.

“What the hell are you doing?” He yelled at her as she spit at him.

“STOP! DON’T SHOOT HIM!”

Cutter looked up expecting the Native to either shoot them or club them to death with his tomahawk, but he didn’t do a thing except look at them with a sad expression. That was also when noticed the Native was an elf catching sight of the pointed ears and high-cheek bones of the face. He grabbed Nightfall around the waist as the Native spun the horse around and started back from where he came.

“NO! NO! COME BACK PLEASE! DON’T GO PLEASE!” Nightfall started screaming again trying to break free of Cutter’s grasp.

“Stop it Nightfall! You Can Calm down! You’re safe now!” Cutter yelled back forcefully while trying to hold her.

It didn’t work. He couldn’t hold the sheer strength of the girl. She elbowed him hard in the chest driving the air from his lungs and for a second she sprung away racing up the hill toward the Native who was all ready a good distance away. Cutter leapt after Nightfall grabbing an arm stopping her with a snap and if it wasn’t for a quick duck her right hand would have knocked his chin clear off as it came around in vicious arc when she spun on him.

“LET ME GO DAMN YOU! I HAVE TO STOP HIM!” She screamed in anger trying to break free again.

But the haymaker spun Nightfall around and off balance enough for Cutter to get his arms around her in a hard bear hug. She still fought though and both ended up on the ground in a lump. Cutter held on for everything he was worth and after a minute the wild thing that was Nightfall broke into a hard sob.

“Let me go please…” She cried out.

“It’s okay Nightfall-“Cutter said before she cried out again.

“No,” She shook her head sending tears spinning off her cheeks, “no we have to stop him! They’re going to kill him! They’re going to kill him!”

“Who’s going to get killed Nightfall, the Native elf on that just rode off,” Cutter asked.

“He wasn’t supposed to bring me back…they’re going to kill him for it! They’re going to kill him…” Nightfall’s voice trailed off as she started to sob hard enough to shake.

“Who’s going to kill him?” Cutter asked with worry. She didn’t answer him as the sobs started to overtake her finally. She shook so hard and screamed so hard he wasn’t sure what to do except keep holding her. Then he looked up to see his father Bearclaw and Nightfall’s father Longbranch with Deputy Stump and Strongbow running at him. Before he could think she was out his arms and into her father’s still crying.

Nightfall didn’t say a word on the ride down to his father’s house. She didn’t say a word to anyone until they were back at the small restaurant Nightfall’s parents ran. Brownberry had asked if any of the Natives had touched her in a wrong way and without a stutter she spoke up.

“No ma’am…he wouldn’t let them. He brought me back when he wasn’t supposed to. He broke their law to bring me home...”

“Who wouldn’t let them touch you little one...that elf on the horse that brought you back to us?” Brownberry asked.

“Yes…” Nightfall whispered leaning over and putting her head on her mother’s shoulder for comfort. She didn’t say anything else. It finally struck Cutter what that look of relief meant on the Native’s face.

She was safely home which was all the Native elf wanted.


The ride down to town was quiet, the sun warming Skywise and Woodlock as the horses trotted at a median pace. The captain was thinking hard about the rifle, not about how old Ben got it, but what it was made for. Skywise didn’t want to say it and Cutter didn’t want to say it and he knew Redlance knew it, but they all knew the true purpose the Henry was made for. A rifle that could shoot that far within an inch of a bulls eye with a bullet that big was made for only one job. The question that bothered him was had it fulfilled that purpose.

And Skywise knew just who to ask.

Of course that meant breaking Cutter’s rule about not talking with anyone about the rifle. He considered the cost for a moment and Skywise chose the path of forgiveness. As in it was always better to beg for forgiveness then ask for permission. And if he got the info he was looking for it would help them and ease the anger of his brother in all but blood for going against him.

So as soon as they hit town Woodlock waved him goodbye and headed for the farm while Skywise pulled into the Telegraph Office. Twenty minutes later the telegraph wires carried a message to a friend at Fort Mantricker several days to the northwest. This Fort wasn’t your typical garrison for soldiers even though it did fulfill that requirement. It was also the headquarters of a special division that was responsible for gathering enemy intelligence and reconnaissance during the war and now in peace.

The fabled Sheridan Scouts.

The telegram would take three hours to arrive to that old friend from the days spent at the Officer’s Training Depot. He could still see Jobra’s face from those long days before they were exposed to the war, when they still had an innocent look in their eyes. He sure hoped Jobra had forgiven him for taking his sister to bed.


They dropped into a small depression that reminded Cutter of the valley that the town of Two-Moons sat in, only this valley was complete with a stream running through it. All along the base of the small valley teepee’s sat with smoke rising from some while others not and all around the Natives of the tribes moved among them and talked with each other. It was just like the town of Two-Moons only on a smaller scale. They directed their horses Firecoat and Nightrunner carefully down the slope and across the stream bed Redlance called out to the tribe with a greeting.

“Oki niisistowahsin áákiim! (Hello Brothers Sisters!)

The first thing Cutter noticed was the obvious split in the tribe. A small group called back with the Blackfoot language that sounded like music on the wind as it blew across the small valley while they ran to them. Another group smiled but didn’t move and only waved and called back their greetings from where they stood. And then a third looked indifferent, angry almost that the tracker had come back. They moved away into teepee’s or out of sight and Cutter wondered if it was the fact Redlance had gone to war with the settlers that did it? Had leaving the tribe to fight with the outsiders caused their anger? The group that ran to him was mostly children, young warriors and woman, and some that were his age. The group that called back but stayed where they were older but not by much and the ones who had no love for the tracker were older by some years.

Redlance dropped from Firecoat’s back into the throng hugging and clapping the hands of his well wishers. Cutter slipped off Nightrunner watching the group with a happy heart when one of the small ones noticed him.

“Maanííwa niisistowahsin?” The small one asked.

“Aa,” Redlance replied.

All at once the group ran to Cutter filing around him and greeting him with their usual hand claps and words. The Major shook his head with a smile and looked to Redlance for a little help.

“They asked if you were my new brother…friend.”

“What did you say?” Cutter asked looking all around with an even larger smile.

“Yes, now say ‘Oki’. It means Hello.” Redlance said with a laugh.

“Oki,” Cutter called out and it drew an immediate response. The group called back with the same word and patted him even harder. Cutter couldn’t help but laugh and clap the young warriors back. He was kind of amazed at being accepted on the word of the tracker, but then his family and Nightfall’s family accepted Redlance on his word when the young Native showed up two weeks after Nightfall’s return with her horse.

The tracker spoke to a young boy who nodded then took the reins for Firecoat and walked over taking the reins for Nightrunner. Cutter only smiled handing them over understanding the boy would gladly take care of water and feeding his mount. The Major’s horse though didn’t and whinnied pulling back for a second before he grabbed the bridle.

“Go with him, its okay. And no biting, kicking, and spitting!” Cutter whispered into Nightrunner’s ear. His horse whinnied again and let the boy lead him away.

The group started walking through the teepees with the major and the tracker in the lead until they reached the open center of the tribe’s camp. There was a large campfire ringed by large rocks and small cut out sections of trees arranged like seats. Cutter saw another small group and instantly knew this was the tribe’s chief and his council. The council, who stood back and fanned out behind the middle human, varied in age and importance to the tribe. And there in the center stood chief Iron Cloud, dressed in buckskins and almost a foot taller and just as broad chested as Cutter himself. His face was pocked marked giving Iron Cloud a rather grim visage when you first saw him up close. He was not someone you wanted as an enemy the major thought.

“Oki niisistowahsin (Hello Brother),” Redlance said bowing his head.

“Oki niisistowahsin (Hello Brother),” Iron Cloud said with a smile breaking on his face.

Redlance gave a small laugh then a hard handshake to his chief and followed down the line. Iron Cloud turned to Cutter and spoke to Redlance in their language. The tracker gave a response and for a second Iron Cloud looked at the major with hard grey eyes. They reminded Cutter of his father Bearclaw’s eyes, that same cold judgment that was being rendered in a heartbeat. Then Iron Cloud smiled again and spoke warmly.

“Oki niisistowahsin,”

“Oki nii-nii-“Cutter replied trying to say the last part but not quite getting it out.

Iron Cloud laughed and slapped Cutter on his shoulder hard enough to make him stagger a step to the side. The chief turned to his council and called out loudly making them call back with loud yells and whoops. Redlance helped Cutter get his balance back before giving his hand a shake and speaking.

“Welcome to the Siksiá fellow Blackfoot!”

“I’m in the tribe?” Cutter asked stunned and wide eyed.

“Well, we could make you walk over hot coals chanting an ancient prayer, but chief Iron Cloud took me at my word you were honorable.” Redlance answered with a smile.

“I’ll come back for the cook out later!” Cutter said with a laugh.

The tracker laughed with him then turned to Iron Cloud and spoke. All the happiness of the moment went away with a snap as Iron Cloud’s disposition took on his name. The smile faded into a thin line and his brow furrowed. The chief said something then turned and began to walk back into the teepees.

“What happened?” Cutter asked.

“I asked Iron Cloud about the problems between the settlers and the natives. I think it’s deeper than just what we had thought.” Redlance said walking to catch up. Cutter fell into step beside Redlance as the council filed in around them.


A stack of dresses laid on the bed as Nightfall went through everyone she owned…and hating each and every one. They were old, faded, torn, or just didn’t appeal to her anymore, not for what she needed. She wanted to look nice, special for him, and the riding pants from last night were no longer acceptable. This was her last dress and it was just as bad as the others, even worse. It made her look chunky…

Nightfall sighed and pulled up the skirt noting the petticoats were dingy and dirty. Her stockings looked just as bad and her boots were scuffed. This wasn’t going to work she decided. You can dress a pig up in a hundred dollar dress from back east with all the frills and perfumes…you’d still have a pig in a hundred dollar dress. There was no one to blame but yourself she thought. She had no use in trying to catch another because Redlance was the only one for her so all the money that would have been spent on looking pretty and available went to Tyleet, her costumes for the show, and momma and Papa. There just wasn’t enough money to be frivolous and in the end she didn’t want to be because there was no reason…until now.

She sighed feeling suddenly dejected and broken. All she wanted, what he deserved, was to dress and be a lady for him, to be her best, and she couldn’t even do that. If she only had just saved some-.

Then she remembered the money belt in his saddle bag. She vividly remembered the heavy thud it made when it hit the floor. Redlance had money and he wouldn’t mind lending her some to dress nice for him, he couldn’t mind that. Moonshade had new dresses, new stockings, new everything. And Nightfall would pay him back, every cent, before they wed so he couldn’t mind.

Nightfall only took a second to decide to do it. She grabbed the key he had given her to the room before leaving with Cutter and the others. She disappeared out of the small rooms above the restaurant heading for the boarding house leaving the stack of dresses on the bed.


“Oww...it hurts!” Brill cried falling back down.

“I know it hurts, but we can’t carry you.” Chitter explained.

“Well if you didn’t make us go out this far we might be able too.” Krill spoke up in frustration.

“Okay, okay, we have to get back. Let’s just think how to do that instead of blaming me for everything.” Chitter sighed putting her hands across her chest.

“It hurts real bad…” Brill mumbled rubbing the injured joint.

“All Right, we’ll get you back, don’t worry!” Chitter said getting frustrated. Their game was going great until Brill stepped into the rabbit hole and twisted her ankle ending all the fun. Just like Brill to go and get herself hurt and end all the fun Chitter thought.

“Ho little ones, is everything all right?” A deep voice called out.

“Ahhh!” Krill screamed with a start, but Chitter just turned to the source of the sound.

A man stood just a few feet away with a broad warm smile. He was dressed in dungarees with a large velveteen shirt like the injuns wore, or what Pa told them at story time Chitter thought. He also had a large floppy hat like Crescent wore sometimes working with Pa. On one hip he had a really big knife and some kind of an axe hung on a clip from the other. How he had walked up that close without them noticing scared Krill and Brill while it just made Chitter mad.

“Who are you? What do you want?” Strongbow’s youngest called out.

“We can’t talk to strangers…we’re not allowed!” Krill added.

“And that’s a very fine rule. My momma had the same one, and I remember she told me that if I shared my name with a person then they’re not a stranger anymore.” The man said.

Krill looked to Chitter and whispered. “Is that real? Is he still a stranger then?”

Chitter only shrugged not sure then put her fists up and yelled back at the man, who was slowly approaching without them noticing. “Don’t do anything funny mister, my Pa taught me how to fight!”

“And that’s a great thing your Pa did too. My name’s Jonas by the way.” He said calmly with that large warm smile.

“I’m Brill,” the little Wavedancer said still sitting on the ground.

Chitter was about to lay into her friend for giving out her name when Krill spoke up from her side. “I’m Krill. Brill is my sister and I think she hurt her leg.”

The look of utter dismay on Chitter’s face didn’t faze Jonas as he walked over to Brill. “Well, I got kind of a knack for taking care of that sort of thing, mind if I have a look?”

“Okay…” Brill whispered cautiously holding her leg up high for the human to examine, which in turn caused her skirt to slide down to her hips. White petticoats and bloomers came into full view but Brill didn’t seem to care at the moment.

“Brill, cover up!” Krill remarked with shock.

“Ahh!” She yelped grabbing her skirt and pushing it back up and between her legs.

“I didn’t see anything! I didn’t see anything!” Jonas cried out with a funny voice covering his eyes and looking away.

The girls laughed, even Chitter, and Jonas felt he finally had them at ease. He looked at Brill’s ankle gently touching it and making sure if she hissed in pain he let go. That’s when Krill and Chitter noticed the man’s left hand. It looked all broken and ugly.

“What happened to your hand?” Chitter whispered suddenly.

“That’s not nice Chitter!” Brill called out form the ground noticing the hand now to.

“Oh, it’s okay. I had an accident once…it never healed right.” Jonas said warmly.

After a few minutes he knew there were no broken bones in Brill’s ankle and nothing to worry about. He gently put the foot back on the ground and reached up to scratch at his beard with his good hand.

“Well, what we have here is nothing but a simple twisted ankle ladies. If you stay off it for a few days you’ll be right as rain Miss Brill.”

“So she can’t walk?” Chitter asked.

“Maybe she can ride a horse if we go get one?” Krill asked Jones.

“You know what,” Jonas said looking at Brill with a wink, “I would be honored Miss Brill if you would let me carry you back to safety.”

Brill blushed hard at the request and Krill grinned, but Chitter just shook her head in growing frustration. They were supposed to be all grown up and look at the way they were acting around the human.

“All right,” Brill whispered. She gave a little squeal as Jonas lifted her free from the ground and started walking back toward the houses in the distance.

“What’s that on your hip?” Krill asked pointing to the axe as she walked beside Jonas. Brill got comfortable in the man’s arms settling in cozily.

“It’s my trusty tomahawk. I use it to cut down small trees, hunt, and just about everything else.” Jonas said with a small laugh.

Brill’s eyes started to flutter as she tried to fight back the oncoming nap. She heard Chitter speak up excitedly. “Are you tracker, a trapper?”

“Yes ma’am, I was a trapper before the war and a tracker during.” Jonas answered.

“My brother said Redlance was back in town! They say he was a tracker in the war too!” Chitter said with an excited jump.

“When did you hear he was back in town?” Krill asked.

“When everyone thought I was asleep, I listened at the door.” Chitter smirked with a proud roll of her eyes. Krill’s brow furrowed at the remark knowing full well Chitter always got to break the rules.

“You know, I was looking for old Red Hair, and you say he’s in town?” Jonas asked.

“I think Crescent likes him...loves him maybe…” Brill said with a large yawn.

“She does not,” Chitter yelled stopping and putting her hands on her hips, “everyone knows Redlance loves Nightfall more than anything in the whole entire world!”

Jonas just laughed as the girls kept talking and walking with him. He looked own once to see the little one in his arms asleep. He could see his daughter again suddenly, before he left for the war and before the fever took her and her mother. He wasn’t good around people, not after what happened when he was captured by the Djun’s men, but at least he could help three little girls stuck out in a field.

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PostSubject: Elfwest - Day Two Part Five   Thu Aug 27, 2015 11:43 pm

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


Day Two - Part Five


They walked along talking in that musical language with Iron Cloud using hand signs to emphasize his point. Cutter might have felt left out if not for every break in the conversation Redlance would lean over and explain what was going on.

“Iron Cloud says the problem with settlers is two sided. The Shoshone have been scouting the valley, looking for homes and places to raid in preparation for a war with the Siksiá, our tribe. The northern end of the valley has been taken over by miners and people from Silver Springs which has pushed the Shoshone out of their lands and they are looking to move. The good thing is its only one or two tribes of Shoshone. Iron Cloud has managed to have the others lay down their weapons in exchange for peace and some land on the edge of our land.”

“That’s good, but what’s the other problem?” Cutter asked.

“The settlers don’t know the difference between a Blackfoot and a Shoshone. Sometimes the Shoshone dress like us so if they are spotted the blame will fall to us. Our tribe hasn’t made war on any settler in years.” Redlance explained turning back to Iron Cloud and talking.

Cutter used the break to think. This wasn’t good for anyone, neither the Blackfoot nor the settlers. A war could break out and the real enemy, the Shoshone, could sit back waiting for the settlers and the Blackfoot to finish each other off. Then they would just sweep in and take it all. Two-Moons could be in real trouble. His parents place could be gone in the blink of an eye.

Redlance leaned over and spoke with another break. “Iron Cloud wants us to council with the leader of the settlers, explain to them it is not the Blackfoot that is showing up on their on their lands.”

The Major nodded quickly answering. “We can talk with my parents, Nightfall’s, and Marshall Stump. They can get the word out, try to calm things down.”

Redlance nodded and turned back to Iron Cloud and told them the plan using his hands as an emphasis. Iron Cloud nodded quickly then turned to the council who also gave a nod to the plan. The chief then turned back to Cutter and with a grin he spoke something that made the council and Redlance nod. The tracker leaned over with a raised eyebrow. “Iron Cloud says that with you as chief of the settlers this all may be stopped. He feels you can be trusted.”

“And I feel the same about him. I can see his honor is as valuable to him as his tribe.” Cutter stated holding out his hand. He wasn’t sure about the whole ‘chief of the settlers’ thing, but he wasn’t going to argue if it kept Iron Cloud on his side.

The tracker smiled and conveyed the message. Iron Cloud’s grin grew a little as he gave his hand to Cutter and the pair shook. Redlance looked at Cutter and could see why he and everyone were drawn to the Major. He was a natural leader and the tracker would follow him through fire. A woman’s voice speaking Blackfoot called out and Cutter swore it would be hard to decide which was more magical, her voice or the words she spoke with such a melody.

“Oki máóhk mo'tokáán! (Hello Red Hair!)

The group turned to see the woman approach and Cutter somehow knew it was Iron Cloud’s wife. She had a regal air about her. Her long black hair flowed freely around a small face that held a warm bright smile. She gave Redlance a welcome hug speaking to him and he responded with a small laugh. Then he pointed to the bracelet on his wrist and spoke again sending the woman into a whoop. Cutter laughed when Iron Cloud’s eyebrows raised and he asked the tracker something. Redlance only nodded causing the chief to call out loudly and his wife to hug him again. The Major had a feeling the tribe just learned of the impending wedding and soon they were surrounded with everyone patting and whooping their joy. A few even hit Cutter who only laughed and patted them back before another called out above the din snatching everyone’s attention.

It was a lone Blackfoot by a lone teepee that looked a little large than the ones they had just walked through. The lone Native stood just out side the entrance to the teepee waving and calling, and then when he was sure he had they’re attention he ducked back inside in the entrance.

Redlance clapped Cutter on the shoulder and spoke with a little excitement. “Now we get to see Black Feather. He’s tired of waiting for us.

“Tired of waiting?” Cutter asked back.


“BRILL!” Wavelet screamed running out the door of the house she and Wavecatcher lived in exchange for working for Strongbow on his ranch.

She had seen the strange human approaching and thought little of it. He might have been someone looking to purchase some horses from the ranch. It wasn’t until she saw the two girls walking at his side and then Brill in his arms that she panicked. She dropped the plate she was cleaning and ran for the door bursting through it and up the small path to the group meeting them at the gate.

“What happened to Brill?” She screamed coming to a stop by the human.

Krill swallowed hard feeling a little scared as she explained. “She fell Wavelet and hurt her ankle. We were playing deputies and it was just an accident, I swear.”

“Yeah, and Jonas here found us and carried her all the way back. He’s a tracker like Redlance! He’s a good man, not a stranger so we didn’t break any rules.” Chitter added.

Wavelet looked from the girls to the sleeping Brill and then to the human Jonas and amazingly just felt the fear and panic slip away. She could see a sweet tenderness there in the man’s blue eyes, something that defied the wild look of his brown scraggily beard and eyebrows. She reached out and brushed Brill’s cheek tenderly whispering. “Is she okay?”

“Yes ma’am,” Jonas answered looking down at the sleeping Wavedancer, “she just twisted her ankle is all, nothing’s broken.”

Wavelet smiled with relief and looked back to Jonas. “Thank you Jonas for helping them when they needed it. Can you bring Brill inside; we’ll let her lay down?”

It was a simple request, nothing to it at all, except maybe it was too much for Jonas. Wavelet watched his face go white and he choked suddenly. The fear she had from before crept back just a little. “Are you okay Jonas? Do I need to take her?”

Jonas took one look down at Brill and from somewhere deep inside his soul got control of himself. “No ma’am, I can do it, just show me the way.”

She smiled and showed him into the house and over to a small lounge just a short distance away from the kitchen. Jonas laid Brill down as gentle as you please not disturbing her sleep and Wavelet pulled a blanket over her slowly tucking it around Brill so she wouldn’t be cold. As she stood up she noticed Jonas was already gone from the room and the house.

“Krill, Chitter, stay with Brill.” Wavelet ordered heading for the door.

“Yes ma’am.” They said standing next to the lounge.

Wavelet trotted up the path catching Jonas just at the gate. He heard her coming and turned to look at her letting her see the white face and sweat on his cheeks. “Is there something wrong Jonas?” Wavelet asked with worry.

“I don’t do real good inside rooms ma’am. I-I do better outside.” Jonas stammered.

“That’s okay Jonas, my name is Wavelet by the way.” She said with her warmest smile trying to calm him some and holding out her hand.

He drew back his left immediately and she wondered what was wrong with it. He reached out with his right and was overly gentle giving her hand a small shake.

“Nice to meet you ma’am, I was wondering if it would be okay to come back tomorrow and see the little ones. They asked if I could teach them to be trappers and I would hate to disappoint.” Jonas said with a smile.

Wavelet gave a small laugh before answering. “I think that would be fine. I’ll make sure everyone knows you’ll be coming.”

“Thank you ma’am” Jonas said with a tip of his hat walking away. Wavelet noticed his hand then, broken and misshapen. She also saw the hitch in his step, like his left foot didn’t move as well as the right. It all finally set in when she waved to him as he rode off. There were stories she had heard of the Djunn in her former homeland. Stories of torture of soldiers and trackers, of things no one should endure. What had they done to him she wondered as he disappeared over the horizon.


The inside of the teepee had a little more space then Cutter thought it would have. In the center was a small fire with ringed rocks while along the hide walls were wooden circles with intricate web designs in their centers. Feathers, peace pipes, and other things he wasn’t sure of hung from the walls also while one spot on the floor was covered with hides and furs for Black Feather’s bed obviously. More of the seats, like the ones by the center fire ring, were positioned around this smaller one. Redlance moved across the room waving to Black Feather with the usual greeting.

“Oki!”

“Oki!” Black Feather gave back while putting a hand around the tracker’s neck. He pulled Redlance’s head to his and spoke again, something that made the medicine man smile and laugh a little.

The two exchanged a few more words and then Black Feather looked over to Cutter. Like Iron Cloud the medicine man wasn’t that old, not what you would expect. He was middle aged with his black hair spilling in a cascade down over his shoulders and back. It was strange but the Major suddenly felt a warm feeling in his stomach, an out-of-place desire. Black Feather’s eyes locked with his and Cutter knew he was being looked over again, but unlike Iron Cloud’s hard stare, or his father’s, this one was like a teacher probing the depths ever so gently. Black Feather moved over speaking to Redlance knowing the tracker would convey his words to the Major.

“I see the rooster was strong in you once, but those youthful years have left and now stands a stronger pointed ear.”

The medicine man reached up and took Cutter’s neck in his hand like he did with Redlance still speaking and smiling. When Black Feather’s skin touched his a wave ran though Cutter, like something deep inside came to life. His breathing jumped up as the desire spread out from his stomach and his heart skipped a beat. He wanted to take a seat around that fire and just listen to Black Feather, to be at his side forever.

“You feel it inside you, the medicine and spirit that sleeps and waits. It was made to sleep long ago by the animal spirits and my father’s father’s tribe because the medicine would hurt you. You are not ready to have it back though. If it were to awaken it would drive you into the black dark. One day it will return, but not these days or nights.”

Then the desire broke, shut away, and his breathing slowed but not the connection to the medicine man. Black Feather walked around behind Cutter and suddenly something brushed the Major’s hand making it jerk. He felt rough hair on his palm, like a wild pig’s, and a charge that made the hair on his arm stand up. “The boar now walks with you I see. You feel its strength in your body and spirit. Its strong power has led you though many fights. It is why you feel such a connection to this world. The boar keeps your feet to the ground…but there is one more.”

Cutter felt something at his legs then, brush by them and then something wrap around one, like a large long tail. He heard the medicine man from behind make a sound like he recognized or suddenly understood what was happening. “And now I see the fox with you. He gives you power to think clearer, to see things as they are in this world. You are strong with the animal spirits Major. I will have to keep watch of you and my Red Hair.” Redlance finished.

Then Black Feather suddenly appeared walking past and Cutter didn’t know or understand just what to make of what had happened. The boar...the fox...the spirits inside of him? He needed time to think and get a grip on it all. Cutter watched Black Feather and Redlance start to talk again. It looked the trading had begun as Redlance told the medicine man of his saber. Cutter knew this by the hand motions the tracker made showing the length of the weapon. The shaman scratched his chin and then held up finger, like he knew exactly what the tracker wanted. Black Feather reached over by the wall and picked up a leather pouch that was beaded with a picture of a deer running. He opened the pouch and let Redlance look in. The tracker looked over the contents, then looked up and held out two fingers trying to increase the deal. Black Feather raised an eyebrow and held up one finger, which Redlance pondered for a second before agreeing to the deal with a hand shake. The medicine man whooped and then leaned in saying something that brought the feelings in the teepee to an end. The tracker nodded and then turned to Cutter.

“Black Feather has a gift for you, something all Blackfoot warriors carry.”

The medicine man held up a small pouch on a deer string necklace. Cutter could feel something, like a small rock, on the inside the pouch as Black Feather put it around his neck while speaking. “You are now blessed Blackfoot, may your path be straight and your heart strong.”

Black Feather gave another whoop that Cutter couldn’t help but follow with. Redlance joined in, and then the group moved out the entrance. They walked and talked some more over to where the boy from before tended to the horses. As they were getting ready to get into the saddles Iron Cloud’s wife ran over and hugged Redlance once more. She gave a few quick words and handed over another pouch and two sheaths for knives made of buckskin with small fringes. She gave one to the tracker with the beaded image of a Buffalo and the other to Cutter with the image of a new moon.

Cutter took the gift with a bow of his head then jumped onto Nightrunner landing in the saddle easily. He wondered why she gave it to him. He didn’t carry a Bowie knife like Redlance. But then, since he didn’t have his saber anymore he might get one. Two-Edge might have a nice one he could get. Redlance said his goodbye’s then jumped onto Firecoat and they began the ride back to town. They both gave one final wave at the top of the small depression and the Blackfoot waved back whooping.


He stepped out of the haberdashery feeling a hundred times better. Skywise had wanted to take a nap once he left the Telegraph Office and then decided against it. One look at the old Army clothes he still wore and that was it for the nap. There was money burning a hole in his pocket and a new set of duds were calling. So, after an hour, he had a new set of dark grey pants with suspenders, a white wingtip shirt, and a blue waist coat with black boots. He also had on a new hat, what Anshen called a Hickok, whatever that meant. Skywise liked the way it sat on his head so the name didn’t matter much. He started off across the street to see what was going on in the saloon when a boy ran up and shoved a note into his hand and took off.

“What’s this?” He called out.

“Read it…if you can!” The boy said with a laugh disappearing into the crowd.

Skywise made a funny mumbling something about if he caught the boy he’d show em’ how much he could read. He unfolded the note thinking it couldn’t be from Jobra all ready, it was too early. But what if it was? What if he had dug a little too deep and the note delivery was to point him out to some Army detail? A group of men ready to run out and drag him off for asking the wrong question? Skywise chided himself though noting paranoia was not pretty, just like desperation. He finished unfolding the note and saw the beautiful cursive handwriting. It was an address with the words stating to come around back and up the stairs.

He folded it back up and started off in the direction to get to the address. After a few minutes he reached the address. It was the courthouse, and just around back was a set of stairs leading up to a landing and a door. Skywise figured it out then, and the memory of the night before ignited his lust into a fire. He climbed the steps two at time and knocked on the door with three quick raps. And when it swung open it was just who he suspected.

Timmain was dressed in the long black dress and white shirt still, but the black waist coat was gone. She didn’t smile, only raised an eyebrow at him and spoke. “Good afternoon sir, I see you got my note.”

“Yes, I did. I take it you need help with you’re bustle.” The captain said with a scoundrel’s smile.

Her other eyebrow raised and a grin, ever so small, broke on her face as the right side of her mouth bent slightly upwards. “Well, I did say we could discuss it.”

She waved him into the office, which luckily had a large lounge and a decanter of whiskey with three glasses. He couldn’t think of a better way to kill two hours looking back at the judge, who closed the door and locked it.


“Redlance?” Cutter called out after the pair had made some distance from the Indian tribe.

“Yes,” He asked looking over.

“What did Black Feather mean by a spirit inside of me sleeping?”

“Our medicine man can see beyond our world, can see us differently. He told me once that elves have a spirit, a medicine, that he can see when he looks at us. This spirit is dormant in us, but he can awaken some of it. Did you feel that sudden need to be near him, to stay with him?” Redlance explained.

“Yeah,” Cutter whispered.

“That was the magic, the medicine inside the elves. He did the same for me before I left for the war.”

“And it was taken from us?” Cutter asked.

“Yes, because it was bad for us.” Redlance said.

The Major chewed on the information before asking another question. “What did he say before we left the teepee?”

“That he has seen someone on the dream walks.” Redlance answered.

“Dream walks?” Cutter asked confused.

“Black Feather meditates, goes on dream walks to the other world, and usually he is always by himself. Lately he has seen two others, women with pointed ears like us, who have been trying to walk there to. They have not found the way yet but he is worried if they do. There are things there that no one should see except an elder who knows how to walk in light.” Redlance explained.

“How can Black Feather see them?” Cutter asked.

“He is the son of a son of a son of a medicine man. His power has been passed from down for years. It showed in Black Feather at a young age, when he stopped a brave from killing Talltree. He saw the darkness in the brave and when he moved to kill Talltree Black Feather stopped him.” Redlance explained.

All the information bounced around in Cutter’s skull, the rifle, the map, now this spirit in them? It was a lot to take in. He looked up to see the tracker staring at him.

“What?”

“Whatever happens, wherever this leads us, I’m at your side Brother.” Redlance stated holding out his hand.

“And I’m at yours too Brother.” Cutter said taking the hand in a hard shake.

Cutter gave Nightrunner a kick spurring the horse on and Redlance followed as the two rode back to town.


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PostSubject: Elfwest - Day Two Part Six   Thu Aug 27, 2015 11:45 pm

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


Day Two - Part Six


I decided to bring Leetah along a little bit because...well I missed the Rose...and so did Cutter. This is her morning after the shoot out...

She sat on the edge of the bed in her room starring at her hands. Leetah was thinking, running what she was about to do over and over in her mind. She couldn’t understand, couldn’t believe that she didn’t see it before now. It took a talk with Zhantee to discover the deception and the appearance of Rayek to push her to look. Now it was all she wanted to do to finally hear the truth. She stood up and headed for the door as she thought back to the morning.

After talking with Rayek, and lying awake in bed for the rest of the night, Leetah decided there was no letting this alone. She couldn’t let it alone; her being wouldn’t let it go. So she rose from bed just before dawn, like the rest of the workers, and put on a simple dress. She knew before going to her father she needed information, something to bolster what she assumed. There was only one person she knew of, the one Rayek had named, to talk with. Leetah walked out of the house skipping the morning meal going straight across the large compound to a group of buildings that housed various operations for the ranch and sleeping quarters for the Gauchos. One building at the back was rather small to the rest, but it was the most important abode to her this morning. It belonged to Zhantee the pottery maker and sometimes ranch hand.

She knocked on the door gently and waited in the warm morning sun. When it opened she looked down into a brown chubby face with two small streaks of clay on the right cheek. He looked up at her and for a second Leetah thought her old friend was upset to see her, and then his expression snapped to a smile instantly.

“Leetah, come in!” He cheered stepping back to let her in.

“Good morning Zhantee.” She said in Spanish. She wasn’t sure if Zhantee could speak the local tongue, he didn’t leave the hidalgo much if at all.

“You look bothered Leetah, do you need to talk?” he asked responding in Spanish.

The small room was his home and workspace all rolled into one. In one corner was a small wood stove with a hot plate while the other was an old wooden bed. In the middle of the room was his potter’s wheel and shelves lined the back wall to hold his creations with a door that led to the oven outside that he cooked his pots with. She stopped just short of the wheel noticing a lump of crushed clay that might have been a pot if bot for the fist-sized hole in side. She smiled and turned to him speaking.

“Did my interruption cause this?”

“Oh no,” Zhantee said scrambling over and scraping the pile off into a bucket he used to keep clay, “I have been fighting a creative block. I just need some more time and I’ll be back to making beautiful pots again. Maybe you need one for a flower?”

“No, I am not here for a pot. I am here for a more earnest reason. You asked me if I needed to talk my friend, and I do.” Leetah said seriously.

The room went into an uneasy silence as Zhantee’s smile faded slowly from his chubby cheeks. “What is it Leetah?”

“I need to know the truth about Rayek.” She stated calmly.

The name made Zhantee start, his eyes blinked rapidly as he focused on breathing and speaking. “Why are you asking about Rayek?”

“Because I saw him last night, and I know he is in town.” Leetah answered.

“Why is he in town after all this time?” Zhantee asked quickly, but with a friendly tone. He could never talk to her in any other way.

“That is not what I came to talk about,” Leetah said shaking her head with a sad expression like what she was about to do was something she loathed, “I want to know about Rayek and why he left.”

The look in her eyes told Zhantee he was trapped. She wouldn’t stop until he had given her what she wanted. He had known her for such a long time, grown up as children on the hidalgo, so he knew her well enough to only try once to stop the questions.

“Please Leetah…do not ask me about this. You’re father swore us…” He whispered falling on the seat of the potter’s wheel with his head hung low.

“My father will not know you told me anything Zhantee. Please, you are my oldest and most loyal friend…I want to know.” She whispered squatting down to look up into his eyes

He looked into her big beautiful green orbs and knew she had no idea, not a clue as to how he felt. If she did she would have known there was nothing he could deny her, even a deceitful oath sworn to under duress. Zhantee loved her, lived for her it seemed. There wasn’t a pot or urn or jug his hands had made that was not inspired by her. He could walk the whole hidalgo and see each piece of pottery knowing instantly when he made it and what Leetah did to inspire it. She was his muse.

“What do you know about Ingen?”

“He was killed in an accident. A horse kicked him in a stable on the side of his head one night…or so my father told me.” Leetah answered.

“Do you know of the five white Stallions, Arabians, which we kept just before that happened?” Zhantee asked.

“No, I do not remember them.” Leetah confessed.

“It does not surprise me. We had a special section of the barn built just for them. Oh, they were so beautiful Leetah, not as beautiful as you, but they would take your breath away if you saw them. Your father put Ingen in charge of their care for their time here. He came and asked me to help him and Rayek.” Zhantee said.

“Time here?” Leetah asked not following.

“Yes Leetah, the stallions were not your father’s. He was boarding them for some important men back east. We were supposed to treat them with a delicate touch; no whips and only softened ropes were allowed. They were kept separate from the other horses and your familia’s personal ones. No one but Sun Toucher, Ingen, Rayek and I knew they were here at the ranch.”

“What happened the night Ingen died? Is that why Rayek fled? Did it have to do with the stallions?” Leetah asked anxiously feeling the tension build in her body.

Zhantee took breath before speaking recalling something he had long since pushed away from his memory. “Rayek came running to my door that night angry. He wanted to know if I had seen Ingen. His father had left to check on the stallions, worried for them, about an hour or so before and had not returned yet. When we arrived at the stables for the horses your father and Thiro were all ready there denying us access to the barn. There was a sheet covering a body…they had found Ingen dead in a stall for the stallions, he had been hit over the head with something heavy, and all five were gone.”

“Someone killed Ingen?! Who Zhantee? Who would hurt him? ” Leetah asked with a gasp thinking of all the time this information was hidden from her.

“We never found out, we never had the chance. I am not sure why, it was so confusing those days after it happened. Rayek demanded that we find the killer and at first your father was more than willing, but then suddenly he changed. Your father began to ask why Ingen would go to the stalls at night, what reason did he have for going to look in on the stallions? Rayek told Sun Toucher it was because his father was worried…but it did not matter. Everything began to point to Ingen being part of something nefarious. It was like Ingen’s past and loyalty did not matter. Your father even made me swear to not to tell anyone what I knew about the stallions and Ingen’s death” Zhantee said shaking his head.

“What are you saying? My father thought Ingen helped to steal the horses?” Leetah whispered.

“I do not know, anyone thinking Ingen would do such a thing, especially to a horse, never knew the elf. Your father and Ingen were close amigos and yet he did just that. Rayek left later that month angry at all of us and I think it was your father and his urging that did it.” Zhantee whispered.

“Why? My father would never…” Leetah said letting the last drop off.

“He did Leetah, and I think it was because of someone holding the theft over him. As much as I know Ingen would never hurt a horse I know your father would never willingly turn his back on Rayek or anyone. There was so much out of place like I said. It was too confusing to make sense of it all then and it is now.”

The room fell silent again as Leetah was thunderstruck from the information, the revelation. All these years…it was a lie.

“Thank you Zhantee. I need to go back and think.” Leetah said kissing her friends cheek before heading out the door to the outside. The Pottery maker sat his wheel wondering if what ever he had just set in motion was going to end up destroying more lives.


The jail was pretty quiet this morning, which was a good sign to Stump. After last night with the shoot out at Greymung’s he didn’t get enough sleep to keep a pig awake at the feeding trough, which explained why he almost fell when walking through the door. He quickly got it all under control though, pulled his pants up and looked around to make sure no one was watching. When he was sure no one had seen him Treestump took to his seat behind his desk in the old lean back chair with a yawn…and then saw the folded over paper on his blotter.

It was the same yellow colored form that Beans down at the Telegraph Office used. The old man had a thing for folding paper in half, as in the fold was exactly perfect every time. Beans didn’t look either, just a flip and a zip of the fingers. The paper was folded perfectly in half...every time. The Marshall picked up the yellow form slowly and carefully, like it was a loaded pistol and held it in his hand still unopened.

He wasn’t sure if he wanted to open the message. He started to remember, thinking back to sitting on the porch swing with Miss Clearbrook last night after everything at her small house. They sat huddled together close on the seat just swaying, talking and laughing, her worry eased by his presence and his heart filled with the sight of her warm smile. He had come to feel love again, that old need to be near her in his heart, even if it was his friend’s widow. If he opened that message and it said something to the affirmative what would he do? What would he feel then?

But he had to open the message; it was his duty as a friend and brother to One-Eye. Treestump didn’t believe for as second his friend, Clearbrook’s husband was dead in that raid just across the border in Djunsland. Something told him One-Eye was still alive somewhere out there. His friend kept up the search, kept the ear to the ground and all that while he stayed in Two-Moons.

So he flipped the two halves in different directions with thumb and forefinger looking only at the top piece. The initials B.G jumped out at him, it was his friend. He kept his eyes locked to the initials not wanting to see the bottom yet. He knew there would be four letters there, the standard code B.G. passed.

F.H.M.F. which meant he had found him and a message with location would follow.

N.Y.S.L. which meant there was nothing yet, still looking.

Treestump looked down at the bottom after a hard swallow, breathed a sigh, and crushed the paper up. The letters N.Y.S.L flashed in his mind.

He felt unbelievably guilty all of the sudden.


“Is Papa in?” Leetah asked her mother.

“I think so, maybe in his office. Is there a problem kitling?” Toorah inquired back seeing the look in her daughter’s eyes.

“I need to talk with him and clear up a misconception.” Leetah replied walking past her and toward the iron bound Oak door that was her father’s office.

Toorah was unable to say anything else as Leetah was by her and through the door before anything could be said.


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PostSubject: Elfwest - Day Two Part Seven   Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:53 am

And here is the next piece of Day Two, written by Caris Caeruleus

Day Two - Part Seven


A quiet, rhythmic drone filled the air for a moment as Moonshade pressed down on the foot pedal, and began to feed the cloth under the rapidly moving needle. Strongbow's long fingered hand came into her vision, touching the top of the machine with awe.

"Yes, it is amazing," she answered softly, keeping her eyes on her work. The cloth had a tendency to bunch up if she wasn't careful. "But it makes these long patches move so much faster." If she didn't have to pull the stitches afterwards, that is. But she did not intend to sell this garment; she just used it to understand the machine, which was still new to her.

Her husband settled back against the wall, and she felt his gaze still watching her and the machine with interest. After he had calmed down somewhat, she decided to show it to him, hoping the newness of it would distract him from his earlier frustration. She still didn't know what happened, but guessed that it had to do with Guttlecraw in some way.

Strongbow waved a questioning hand, and Moonshade, gently releasing her pressure on the treadle, stopped the shuttle's movement.

"Well, I told you a few weeks that I'd ordered it through Anshen, who works with a dealer in Silver Springs," she said, looking up at him. "It only arrived earlier this week." She smiled. "I haven't had a chance to play with it much."

He raised an eyebrow at her, then lightly patted the round wheel on the side.

"No, it's not really a toy," she answered, "It was definitely too expensive for that." She ran an admiring hand along its length, then added, "It cost sixty dollars, though I still owe Anshen for it. He's been rather kind about it."

"Kind," Strongbow's raspy voice, barely a whisper, cut through her heart as it always did. She turned to study his face, noting immediately that his brown eyes were dark with emotion.

"Beloved, what is it?" Moonshade asked quietly, realizing that somehow her new sewing machine was a part of whatever occurred earlier.

He studied her for a moment, then reached into his vest pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper. Unfolding it, he held it out to her.

She took the sheet, and read it with dismay. "Three hundred and thirty dollars at Greymung's? How is that possible?" Then she saw the red stamp. "And you paid it? How could we possibly do that?"

Strongbow offered her a smaller piece of paper, an elegant white calling card with silver lettering, smelling of rose petals.

"Winnowill, Two Moons Ranch," she read aloud. "DoŢ her emotion choked her briefly. "Do we owe her now?"

Her husband gave a non-committal shrug, his gaze wandering to some point over her shoulder. His jaw worked and Moonshade noticed the tension of his entire frame.

"That's the complication?" she placed her hand on his chest, and felt him begin to relax instantly. "What does she want?"

He blew out a sigh, then looked back at her. "Horses," he stated, holding up six fingers. He paused then, held up only four fingers.

"Four hundred for six horses?" she exclaimed. Strongbow nodded, and tapped the paper with another sigh.

"And it all went to this bill," Moonshade stated, and knew he shared the same sort of shock at having that kind of money fall right through their fingers as soon it touched them. She stared at the amount on the sheet with watering eyes.

"How did the bill at Greymung's get so high?" she asked finally.

Her husband took a deep breath, and waved a hand at the sewing machine, pointed at his boots, then spread his hands with a shake of his head.

"Anshen, Two-Edge, and all of our other debts around town," Moonshade said quietly. "Each one wasn't very big, but added to togetherŢ her voice trailed off. "And Greymung pointed you towards Guttlecraw, no doubt."

The sewing machine caught her eye, and she whispered, "I am sorry. I shouldn't have bought it." Boot heel scraped against wood as he stepped close to her, slipping one hand around her waist. Cupping her chin in his other, he tipped her face up to meet his gaze. He shook his head slowly, brushing away her sudden tears with his calloused thumb.

He didn't speak, but his eyes told her that she didn't need to apologize.

This isn't your fault.

She knew he thought those words, as surely as if he had spoken them aloud. It often happened this way with Strongbow; moments when she knew his mind without a single gesture for her to guess from. And she cherished those moments, realizing that this was something special that they shared, though she had no idea how.

Moonshade reached up to touch his face, seeing the change in his expression.

"It's not your fault, either," she insisted. The fire in his eyes told her that he disagreed. "It's your land. Guttlecraw has no right to try to force or to trick you into selling it." She brushed hair out of his eyes. "What does he want it for, anyway?"

Strongbow shrugged, shaking his head. His hands dropped to her shoulders as anger and concern played across his features. Moonshade recognized the implicit warning in his gaze.

"You think he will definitely try physical coercion, now?" she asked.

Her husband nodded, slowly but emphatically.

"It depends on how badly he wants the land," she added. He blew out his breath slowly, and his hand squeezed reflexively on her shoulders. Guttlecraw's actions, so far, already demonstrated how much the troll desired those two acres.

The tiny bell on hanging on the store's front door jingled lightly, cutting into their thoughts. She stared up at her husband a moment longer then turned away, heading into the outer room. His boot steps followed to her to the doorway that separated the back and front of the store.

As she moved in the main room she saw the elfin tailor, Anshen, standing by the counter. He wore a deep green coat and trousers with a finely brocaded golden waistcoat, all cut from expensive cloth. He had connections with big textile houses Back East, he'd told her before, and he managed to get great deals on excellent fabrics that he frequently shared with her.

"Ah, there you are, Moonshade!" he exclaimed as he saw her. His dark skin made the pale wood of her countertop look even lighter, as his hands rested against it. A small pile of periodicals and folded cloth sat between his hands. "I've brought some new swatches for you to..." he stopped, noticing Strongbow standing in the doorway behind her.

"These are new swatches that I think you will like," the tailor began again, his face coloring slightly. "And these..." he touched the magazines lightly, "have some wonderful dress designs that I think you should see.

"I..." he looked back up at Strongbow, a glimmer of distaste flashing in his eyes, then back to Moonshade. "I'd love to discuss them with you, but I have to catch the stagecoach to Silver Springs in a short while. I have business to attend to," he straightened up, pulling on his waistcoat slightly, and gave the other male elf a haughty look.

She heard her husband give a sharp exhale of amusement. She knew he found such self-aggrandizements foolish. She tended to ignore the tailor's obvious puffing up, however, because he had an extensive knowledge of fabrics that had been very helpful to her. And he had been kind.

Except for his selling her debt to Greymung...

"Thank you, Anshen," she replied, her throat suddenly tight. "Can I ask you a quick question?"

The dark skinned elf glanced at Strongbow again, slipping his hand into his vest pocket to pull out a gold pocket watch.

"I'm sorry, Moonshade," he said, noting the time, "I truly have to go. I will return to town early tomorrow, and I can stop by then?" He started backing toward the door.

"Of course," she answered. "Have a safe trip, Anshen."

"Good day, Moonshade." He smiled at her, and gave Strongbow a terse nod. The bell rang again, as the tailor opened the door and stepped outside.

"I wonder if he knows what kind of trouble he caused us?" Moonshade asked softly, as her husband stepped up to her side.

Strongbow shook his head, reaching out flip through the fabric swatches absently.

"He thinks too much of himself," his almost soundless words brushed her ears. She noted how his eyes watered, and his throat muscles tightened at his effort.

"You really shouldn't talk anymore, beloved," she said, throwing him a reproving look. Moonshade knew that her husband's pride pushed him into speaking when he didn't have to. His inability to hold a simple conversation caused him endless frustration, because, of all the challenges he had faced and will face, it was the one he would never be able to surmount.

He raised his deep brown eyes to meet her gaze.

Be careful, my love.

She blinked in surprise. "With Anshen?" Placing her hand over her husband's, she added, "He's harmless enough." The tailor's sale of her debt came to mind again, and she reconsidered the thought.

However, Strongbow shook his head, his eyes telling her Anshen didn't concern him right now. He waved a hand towards the door.

Moonshade took a breath as she recalled his earlier worries. "I will be careful."

"Dart will ride home with you tonight."

She sighed and nodded, deciding not to argue or even to chide him for talking again.

His mouth curled into a slight smile, then, cupping her face in one hand, he leaned forward to press his lips against her cheek. His warm breath caressed her skin as he lingered there for a moment, his eyes searching hers. Then, stepping backwards he released her, and turned away, moving around the counter towards the door.

"You be careful, too, Strongbow," Moonshade ordered. He paused, turning to look at her again, and nodded. With the bell jingling merrily, he left her store.

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PostSubject: Elfwest - Day Two Part Eight   Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:55 am

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

Day Two - Part Eight


When Sun Toucher looked up from the papers he was reading he noticed the sternness in his daughter’s eyes and knew instantly whatever this was coming, it was going to be a hard trail to ride. He wished he had some kind of an idea of what she was upset about, had a grasp as to what was upsetting her, but as usual he was just lost. So for now he could only smile broadly and stand up from behind his desk.

“Good morning kittling, we missed you at the morning meal?” He exclaimed with a smile. It soured a little with the reply.

“Good morning Papa.” Leetah said quickly walking up to the desk, her mouth a taut thin line.

“Fernando made you pancakes this morning and when you missed them he was rather upset. Thank the Sun he spared my steak and eggs from his wrath.” Sun Toucher chuckled with a laugh hoping the joke would ease the tension.

It didn’t as Leetah walked around to behind the desk to confront him. “I want the truth about Rayek and why he left?” She asked calmly and straight to the point, just as her father had taught her.

“Niña,” Sun Toucher gasped, “why would you bring this up after so long?”

“Because you will not and have not told me the truth,” Leetah responded again calmly, but more demanding, both in her eyes and tone.

“You know the truth Leetah. You have known it from the beginning.” Sun Toucher countered standing up out of his chair.

“No, I know what you have told me, which was a lie.” Leetah shot back.

“Are you saying you I lied to you?” Sun Toucher asked with the pain from his daughter’s last statement easily visible in his eyes.

“I know about the five white stallions. I know about Rayek’s father Ingen and how he was killed. I know what happened that night.” Leetah said quietly but with a steeled look that meant she would not be swayed.

The office went silent as Sun Toucher turned away from his daughter to look his desk. He knew instantly it was Zhantee that had told her about that night, the little potter was the only who could. Rayek wasn’t anywhere around to cause this and Thiro would never tell Leetah about it. No, it was Zhantee. The little pottery maker loved his daughter so much he couldn’t say no to her. It didn’t bother Sun Toucher he told; even he couldn’t say no to his precious daughter. He was still looking away when she closed on him and put her hand gently on his arm. “Please father, just tell me. What is there left to hide but the reason why?” She asked with a whisper.

“It is not that simple Niña. Things like this are not black and white.” Sun Toucher answered turning to look at her finally.

“Do you know the amount of pain you caused Rayek, to me?” Leetah asked.

“It can only be matched by the pain I have felt since he left Leetah. It was a tragedy for us all, no one escaped. I lost my dear friend with Ingen and someone I looked at like a son in Rayek. My heart was torn and it has been ever since that night.” Sun Toucher answered while shaking his head. T

The pain, still fresh after such a long time, was evident in his face and Leetah heard her father’s pain from his voice and felt it with the tremble in his arm. She could see from his eyes though that whatever he was holding back was not coming to the light this morning or anytime very soon. The secret here was deep and buried, maybe barred by some lock and key she still needed to find. Leetah stepped away and started around the desk heading for the door, but stopped halfway. There was one more chance, one more try to find the truth, to let her father explain. Yet something told her that was not going to happen with this.

“You will not tell me why you made Rayek leave, will you Papa?”

“I cannot Leetah. It was a choice neither he nor I should have had to make, but was done for the greater good of us all here at the Hidalgo.” Sun Toucher said quietly.

“I believe you father, but I do not understand you.” Leetah remarked before walking away leaving the office quietly.

He let her go, she needed to be away from him and this mess and he knew it. Sun Toucher also knew this day was coming. It was too long in waiting actually. When Toorah entered his office a minute later and asked what had happened he couldn’t answer, only look at his desk with a sad expression.

Leetah went to her room and packed a satchel with her dress for the night at the Hammer & Tongs. It was just after the mid-day meal and she could slip away without being seen by one of the hands or Gauchos. She went out her doors that led to the patio off her bedroom and across the compound. Leetah wasn’t sure where she would go for the rest of the day, she only knew she wanted to leave the ranch and think. She found Aliyana and saddled her as quickly as she could, even pulling with all she had on the belly strap to secure it in place. Leetah tied down the satchel and climb into the saddle. She rode Aliyana out of the paddock toward the town assuming no one had seen her…she was wrong. A pair of eyes watched from her bedroom, worried and filled with fear.

The ride in to Two-Moons didn’t soothe her pain and when the streets came into view she only knew of one place to go. Leetah already had assumed her role as Rose and had a story in place for showing up so early. She pulled Aliyana up to the hitching post outside of Longbranch and Brownberry’s and dropped down out the saddle with a skip. Leetah fastened the reins to the post and removed her satchel and entered the restaurant.

“Good afternoon Rose, you’re a might early?” Longbranch called out from behind the counter.

“Si, I wanted to look in the dress shop and I was wondering if Nightfall could come with me.” Leetah stated with a bright smile, which covered the pain in her heart.

“Oh I'm sure Nightfall would go along Rose. Moonshade is good with a needle and thread too. She'll do better that that fancy stuff you wear from back East, I can bet you.” Brownberry said with a wink and a smile.

“I am sure I can find something.” Leetah concurred with that cheerful smile while still hiding her inner turmoil. She had barely sat down when the door to the back swung open and Nightfall came running out.

“Oh Rose, you’re here, good. I need you right now!” She said with a gasp.

“Really, because I also wanted to talk with you, though not as badly,” Leetah said worried.

“I need a woman’s perspective and you’re the prettiest one around.” Nightfall stated taking Leetah’s hand and heading for the door. There was no asking, just a quick snatch of a hand and you were following.

“Thank you…I think.” Leetah said following behind because she really had no choice.

Brownberry and Longbranch watched the pair leave with a smile and a shake of their heads. He smiled to his wife and spoke warmly. “Where do you think Rose lives?”

“What does it matter? She’s sweet as punch and too cute to boot.” Brownberry replied with a wipe of the counter with her towel.

“Yeah, you’re right. Are the cookies in? I’m not going to be responsible for the little ones when they riot because there are no sweets for after school.” Longbranch commented with a chuckle.

“Oh be quiet you old codger!” Brownberry said giving her husband a quick hug as Rainsong gave a quick laugh.


Crescent walked back over to the wagon with her head down. The talk with Dart about Winnowill wasn’t good, and it only made her feel more nervous and anxious. Then she saw Nightfall and Rose go into her mother’s shop. For second she thought she saw her sister look to her but then Nightfall passed her father on the way in not even noticing her walking up. Crescent felt so alone suddenly as she climbed up into the wagon. Strongbow looked to her and wordlessly asked if she was okay, his eyes asking more than his voice ever could.

“I’ll be all right Pa. Can we just get home?” She whispered.

Strongbow gave old Chester a small whip of the reins sending the horse forward. On any other team it wouldn’t have been enough to even get the wagon to jerk, but it was all the horse whisperer needed to get his friend moving. Crescent sat quietly next to him as the wagon rolled on.


Tyleet straggled into the restaurant after school was done for the day, Newstar and her brother Wing following close. She needed one of her grandmother’s cookies after the day she had. Miss Clearbrook had started with a set of new arithmetic problems today and it hurt her head something fierce just trying to understand it all. And then the reading assignment was extra-long, not to mention the writing that was a lot. It was tough being eleven, even for an elf!

All the problems of the day though went away instantly when she stepped through the doors to the restaurant and saw Redlance standing by the counter with Cutter, his parents, and Grandparents.

“Papa!” She cried out running to him and wrapping her arms around the tracker.

“Good afternoon my beautiful pi'kssíí!” Redlance said with a big smile and even bigger hug for Tyleet.

“What’s that mean?” She asked with a giggle.

“It means bird. You’re my beautiful bird!” He said rubbing her back lovingly.

“Really? I'm your beautiful bird” Tyleet responded with a warm smile.

“Till the day I take my last breath.” Redlance whispered kissing her forehead.

Tyleet blushed giving him another harder hug. Then she jumped up onto a stool next to Newstar and Wing taking a cookie form the pile on a plate.

“How was your day sweetie?” Brownberry asked pouring her a glass of milk.

“It wasn’t good.” Tyleet sighed wearily dunking the cookie into the milk.

“No, it was not.” Newstar added taking a bite of her cookie.

“What was wrong?” Woodlock asked leaning up against the counter next to his daughter.

“Miss Clearbrook started a bunch of new things today.” Tyleet answered with a whine.

“It’s not fair, we just started getting use to the old things and she goes and gives us a bunch of new things to learn and remember.” Newstar said taking another cookie.

“Yeah,” Wing added this time with a mouth full of half-eaten cookie

“What have I told you about that young one?” Rainsong said with a mother’s evil eye.

Wing swallowed hard and then looked sheepishly at her while speaking. “Sorry.”

“Where’s momma?” Tyleet asked finishing her second cookie.

“She went to Moonshade’s and when she got back she ran upstairs with a big old bag!” Longbranch remarked with a raised eyebrow.

Tyleet gasped then jumped down from the stool. “It’s a new dress! I want to see!”

“Run on up, but your Papa stays here. She said if he tries to sneak up I have permission to use appropriate force to stop him,” Brownberry giggled while making a fist and shaking it at Redlance.

Tyleet gave a squeal running from the room while everyone laughed. Cutter and Redlance turned back to the door to see Skywise approaching from the street. They watched as he stopped a foot short of the portal and looked back at a boy who ran up to him. The Captain took a piece of paper from the lad, tipped him a coin, and then yelled something back that wasn’t nice probably as the boy ran off laughing. The Captain read the note and then walked in with Cutter who was smiling.

“What was that about?”

“Nothing, hey you know this vest is made for men too, right? I mean you can tell it’s a man’s waistcoat, right?” Skywise asked.

Bearclaw erupted with laughter as did everyone else. It took a minute but Cutter got himself under control and responded. “What’s the note say?”

“Something we can discuss later. Hey, let’s go see if the card games are going over at the Hammer & Tong.” Skywise smiled

Cutter caught the small wink and motioned for Redlance to follow. “All right, hey Red come on and keep an eye on us. After last night we need all the eyes we can get.”

“Sure,” Redlance said following the pair outside.

“What was that about?” Joyleaf asked looking to her husband.

“I don’t know, but I got to go pay that boy a saw buck for messing with the Captain.” Bearclaw laughed.


On the bed sat the brown paper bag that had held the dress, boots, hose, and all the other things Nightfall purchased from Moonshade’s just an hour before. She was busy trying on a new brown dress with a white wingtip shirt complete with pearl buttons and a tight fitting brown waist coat. She looked in her mother’s full length mirror then turned to Leetah with an anxious look. “What do you think?”

“It is beautiful, made even more so because you wear it.” Leetah said with a smile sitting on the edge of the bed.

“I don’t know…is it too…?” Nightfall asked turning sideways and running her hands over the waist coat smoothing it out.

“You look exceptional!” Leetah replied with a giggle. She spotted a shirt on the post of the bed, a velveteen one like Redlance wears only faded more and looked back to her friend. “Does Redlance stay here with you?”

Nightfall looked over to the shirt then back to Leetah with a smile. “No Rose, that’s just my sleep shirt.”

“You sleep in his shirt and not a nightgown?” Leetah asked curiously.

“I have for the whole five years he was away with the war. It was the only thing I had of Redlance, the only way to be with him after he left. I could lie at night and feel like he was holding me.” Nightfall admitted.

“Oh,” Leetah said standing up from the edge of the bed.

“I swear Rose sometimes I think you grew up in a church.” Nightfall laughed with a shake of her head.

“Why do you say that?”

“You’re so reserved and proper. It’s just different from the way I grew up around here is all.” Nightfall chuckled more.

“My family wanted to ensure I was raised as a proper lady and sheltered me…maybe too much…” Leetah sighed letting the last die away in a whisper.

“Your family's kept a secret from you, haven't they?” Nightfall asked quietly.

“A large one…” Leetah answered. She wasn't sure how her friend knew what was troubling her, only that talking about it seemed to help.

“You know Rose, sometimes you keep things from the ones you love because it’s not the right time for them to know what you’re hiding. Just remember secrets hurt the ones who don’t know, but it’s worse for the ones who have to keep them.” Nightfall explained with a sad expression.

Leetah had to suddenly fight to hold back a tear at the sight. Nightfall’s eyes looked just like her father’s, full of a pain from holding something inside, the duty of keeping a secret taking its toll like walking with a hundred pound sack of rocks across your heart. Leetah quickly wiped away the only tear and stood up from the bed wanting to change the conversation to keep Nightfall from hurting anymore. She wanted to say she was there for her, that talking and opening up would help her as well, but it wasn’t the right time just yet. Leetah knew she had to forge a stronger bond with Nightfall, a deeper friendship before trying to step in.

“I need to start getting ready for the night. Can you help me with my dress?” Leetah asked.

“Only if you help me with my bird’s nest of hair,” Nightfall laughed, the change in conversation helping to lift the mood quickly.

“Oh we can fix it Nightfall!” Leetah said with a smile undoing the small belt at her waist.

“If you say so, but I’ll wait to see it to believe it!” Nightfall replied.

Leetah slid out of her dress while Nightfall pulled the red one from the satchel along with the black sash. She laid the dress out on the bed then turned to Leetah noting the Rose’s knickers even looked expensive.

“What is the Major like? I’ve only heard the tales being passed around town and yet he seems nothing like the stories.” Leetah asked.

“Cutter, oh he’s just like the stories, has been since a young elf running wild through these hills. The stories about the battle at Belles Ferry and Round Top Mountain prove he’s a leader, that any of us would follow him anywhere. Now don’t get me wrong, Cutter has a temper and no patience, but he has never struck anyone who didn’t deserve it and never threatened a lady.” Nightfall smiled, talking about her friend helping the mood even more.

“I did not hear of those battles.” Leetah admitted.

“You were sheltered, weren't you Rose? You know, you might get Aurek down at the paper to dig up some information on the battles. I know he wrote a lot about the war.” Nightfall offered.

“So you and the Major grew up together…did you two ever…” Leetah asked straightening her chamois top.

“Step out? We tried, but it didn’t work out. Cutter’s the most loyal, lovable, best friend I have ever had besides Crescent. I don’t know what I would do without the two of them, especially Crescent.”

“What happened with you and the Major?”

“Redlance found me.” Nightfall answered and the response confused The Rose for just a moment.

“Your love for Cutter stopped because of Redlance?”

“No, I think I was more in love with the idea of being Cutter’s girl then in love with him. Redlance is my total opposite in everything, which means we probably shouldn’t be together but we are anyway. I had to threaten myself with a watery death to get him to kiss me for the first time. And I know my heart would stop if he went away. I just know I love him more than life itself.” Nightfall explained with a warm loving smile, the memories in her mind making her heart beat faster.

“I can see it in your eyes when you talk about him. Is that why you bought the new clothes, for him?” Leetah asked sliding into her dress.

“He deserves more than a tom-elf running around in riding pants. I’ll never be as pretty as you Rose, but I can at least make him feel proud to hold my hand.” Nightfall remarked with a shrug of her shoulders.

“Beauty is more than what is on the outside Nightfall and I know Redlance will be more than proud to hold your hand.” Leetah smiled getting her dress in place.

“Thank you Rose, thank you so much” Nightfall whispered with a tear in her eye.

Leetah turned so Nightfall could fasten the black buttons on the back of the dress and the turned back to her. She reached out and took Nightfall’s right hand in hers and spoke quietly. “Are we friends Nightfall, good friends like you and Crescent?”

“We’ve seen each other in our unmentionables Rose so I hope so!” Nightfall smiled giving the hand a squeeze.

“I was hoping for that. I need of a good friend like you, so much now.” Leetah sighed with a smile. Before she could react Nightfall hugged her hard and Leetah returned it feeling a small spark of warmth at the touch.

“I’m more than your friend Rose. I’m your sister if you need it to be.” Nightfall whispered.

“Thank you Nightfall…thank you so much.” Leetah whispered back.

The two stood like that until a large gasp and a small voice broke them apart. “Momma, you look beautiful!”

The two spun to see Tyleet standing in the doorway to the bedroom with eyes wide in surprise before Nightfall answered. “Do you really think so?”

“Yes,” Tyleet said with a smile walking over and hugging her mother.

“Do you think our tracker will like it?” Nightfall asked again.

“Papa will love it! I wish I was beautiful as you two.” Tyleet remarked with a frown.

“Oh you will be Nina, you will be more beautiful then we could ever be,” Leetah said rubbing Tyleet’s shoulder.

“I can only hope.” Tyleet said with a sigh making Nightfall and Leetah laugh.

After the two stopped Nightfall looked to them with raised eyebrows and growled with a low voice. “Now, help me get my hair done!”

The two laughed again uncontrollably.


After checking to make sure the Henry was still in its scabbard Cutter walked over to the alley with Redlance and Skywise. He took a quick look back before heading in to make sure he wasn’t being followed.

“Okay, what’s with the message?” Cutter asked walking up.

“Well, while you two were out visiting the Blackfoot I ran a question by my old friend Jobra at Fort Mantricker. He’s with the Intelligence Division.”

“You told somebody else about the Rifle when I said not to?” Cutter snapped suddenly.

“Not exactly, I used code to keep it all under the covers. And it was worth the chance; look at what he sent back.” Skywise said handing over the telegram.

Cutter looked at his brother with a curt glance, and then shifted to a small smile. The captain was only trying to help and this was the only lead they had. He opened the perfectly folded message wondering how Beans did that and read aloud in a whisper.

“Can’t talk on wire, stop. Man will arrive on the stage from Silver Springs in two days, stop. Have object ready to verify, stop.”

“I don’t think I like the sound of that.” Redlance spoke up.

“Why?” Skywise asked looking at the tracker with a raised eyebrow.

“It sounds like they want the rifle, and that’s sure not going to happen!” Cutter answered handing the note back over to the captain.

“They don’t want the rifle to keep Cutter, just to confirm we’re not lying about it. We can get some information from whoever shows up, maybe even an answer as to who or why it was made.” Skywise pointed out putting the slip of paper in his pocket.

“There’s also another problem, the Fort keeps track of all incoming and outgoing messages to the group for security reasons. Somewhere someone has a log of that telegram being sent and where it was from and going to.” Redlance spoke up.

“Really?” Cutter and Skywise said at the same time.

“Yep, Colonel Sheridan told us when we sent in our messages from the field. We had to use a special code so any response didn’t end up in the log and get traced back to us.” Redlance explained.

“Damn, I’m sorry. I really bushed it on this one…” Skywise spat kicking the dirt. He stopped when he felt Cutter’s hand on his shoulder.

“No you didn’t Skywise, you got us a step closer. Whoever comes in on the stage can answer for us if the rifle is what we think it is. You did well brother,” Cutter said with a nod.

“Thanks, but what do we do for the next two days?” Skywise asked looking at both.

“I’ve been thinking, we should go over and see if P.W has any of Ben’s personal things. We might find something?” Redlance offered.

“That’s a good idea, and then we’ll ride out to Ben’s place and see if we can find anything out there. I don’t think anyone’s bought it.” Cutter added.

“Who’s P.W.?” Skywise asked.

“He’s the mortician and in charge of the ‘Forbidden Grove’ cemetery.” Redlance explained with a smile.

“Wait,” Skywise laughed, “Forbidden Grove? I bet it’s got an old creaky gate and lamps go out suddenly from a strange wind that seems to blow in and there’s a fog just above the ground that clings to your feet, right?”

Cutter looked to Redlance and then back to the captain, “You been there all ready?”

The look from Skywise was somewhere between disbelief and shock, like he didn’t believe Cutter one bit…but then again maybe he wasn’t joking.

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PostSubject: Elfwest - Day Two Part Nine   Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:24 am

And here is the last piece for Day Two, written by me,Wiseshaman


Day Two - Part Eight

The first shock came when he walked into his room after leaving the restaurant to see to some business. Redlance noticed his saddle bag was just a little askew and he panicked because of what was in the leather duffle. He flipped open the flap and quickly spotted the fat money belt at the bottom under his spare folded clothes breathing a deep sigh of relief. He did notice one bill missing once he checked and with a little effort tried to remember if he had taken it with him, but Redlance knew he didn’t. He only had the money left over from the game in his pouch around his neck. He gave up on remembering what happened to the money and grabbed the belt putting it on under his shirt before heading out of the room. On his way past the desk he asked Ahdri if anyone had stopped by to see him and she said she thought she saw Nightfall and Rose heading up and then back down ten minutes later. He smiled warmly, said it was okay, and went through the door to make his next stop.

The second shock Redlance got was at the Land Administration office when he went to stake a claim on the fifteen acres of land up in the hills just outside of town, Nightfall and his favorite spot. It was just north of Strongbow’s piece and west of Joyleaf and Bearclaw’s land. There was a large pond fed by a mountain stream on the property and a flat that overlooked the town and the rising sun. Nightfall had once said whimsically this was the land she would build her house on, and one for her parents so they wouldn’t have to stay in that cramped apartment. The land was hers she said, vowed it was going to be as she sat in the saddle of her horse while they watched the sunset so many years ago, which is why he was in the Land Administrator's office getting knocked out of his moccasins.

The tracker did a double take at the Administrator’s quote. “Is that it?”

“Yes sir?” The nasally Administrator answered.

“Are you sure that's how much the land costs, all fifteen acres of it?” Redlance asked with wide eyes.

“Yes sir, six hundred and twenty five dollars for all of it, not excluding the processing fee and the claim fee and the taxes,” the Administrator quoted…for the third time.

The tracker squeezed the money belt with numb fingers as his mind tried to fight the whirlwind blowing through it. He leaned in and whispered. “Well, how much with all the fees?”

It had to be more now. He knew it had to be a lot, a good thousand and not a cent less.

“Six hundred and fifty two dollars and sixteen cents, sir,”

Now the room was spinning. The price couldn’t be right? He had calculated, added taxes and fees, even figured in the fact he had waited five years to buy it and the land would cost a whole lot more. He felt along the money belt again and wondered…what in the name of the High Ones was he going to do with all this extra money? “Are you sure? I thought land around town cost more?” Redlance asked.

“Sir,” The administrator spat exasperated by the elf, “what you want to buy is land in the hills which is considerably cheaper than the bottom land around town. Now, do you wish to stake a claim and put down the twenty percent to purchase the land or not?”

The tracker thought for a minute, which was one minute too long for the agitated administrator, and then leaned in speaking. “No, I’ll just buy it all outright, here and now.”

“Sir, do you have six hundred and fifty two dollars and sixteen cents?” The Administrator asked with an annoyed snort.  He didn't have the time to de-

The money belt thudded on the desk as Redlance looked at him with a smile. “I have it all right here. I’m just afraid you’re not telling me the right price is all!”

The Administrator's eyes went wide a second before he began to apologize profusely while drawing up the paperwork. Redlance kept telling him it was okay, but the man just kept on spouting. Finally the tracker signed the claim to the parcel and headed over to the bank. He had just enough time to slip in the doors before they closed, which didn’t excite the head man of the bank at all, until he laid the money up on his desk to purchase the land outright. Redlance made it back to the boarding house just as the sun was setting to put the money belt back in his saddle bag. He washed off quickly with some cold water, slipped on a clean shirt, and headed out to the saloon to meet Nightfall and Cutter.

That’s when he got the third and final shock of the day. She walked in with the Rose and it was like a punch right to the heart. Nightfall’s hair was pulled back at the ear and held in place by a clip with the top running free letting the bangs droop just to her eyes. She was dressed to the nines with a shawl over both shoulders, and a smile that might just kill an elf. Skywise stepped back from the bar and whistled loudly eyeing her up and down as she walked by.

“I’ll take that as a compliment.” Nightfall said with a smile.

“What if I meant something else?” Skywise winked.

“Then I’d have to hit you with my tracker’s tomahawk!” Nightfall shot back with a wink of her own.

“Be a hell-of-a-way to go!” Skywise replied holding up his mug of beer in a toast.

“You look so beautiful…” Redlance whispered as she walked up kissing him.

“I want every man, troll, and elf in this saloon jealous of you.” Nightfall whispered back with a smile.

“Oh we are…we are!” Cutter smiled with a tip of his hat.

“I told her she would drive you all wild!” Leetah added walking up.

“Good evening Rose. How are you?” Cutter asked.

“I am fine, have you come to hear me sing Major?” She asked with a raised eyebrow.

“I have my seat reserved.” Cutter chuckled.

“Well then, I will sing especially sweet for you then.” Leetah finished with a smile looking around the room at all the people.

She looked back to see Nightfall sitting on a stool leaning back against Redlance with a happy look on her face. She moved over next to her, almost in her lap her due to the cramped bar, and sat on a stool. Suddenly Cutter’s chest was touching her shoulder and his arm was around her back, almost cradling her, having been pushed there by a cowboy getting in to scream at the bar keep.

“I’m sorry Rose, give me a minute and I’ll be off of you.” He whispered.

“It is all right, it does not bother me.” Leetah whispered with a smile and slight giggle.

Redlance ordered two Sarsaparillas’ for the ladies and three more beers for the men and they shared some stories before Rose worked her first set. The place blew up practically, and Cutter sang the words to all her songs. She didn’t run from the stage this time, only smiled and sang every lyric with him. After the set she looked for Rayek quickly, but he wasn't in the crowd tonight. So Leetah went back to the bar and sat next to Cutter letting him get as close as before, enjoying his nearness. The conversation had turned though and for the first time she felt she saw the real Major and she enjoyed it.

“So what happened with the Judge?” Redlance asked with a broad smile.

Skywise mumbled something and Leetah turned to Cutter with a small laugh. “What did he say?”

“They talked…and only talked…for two hours!” The Major responded trying to hold back a laugh and failing miserably.

“Okay, okay, but it wasn’t ‘normal’ talking…some of it was quite…shocking.” Skywise said in his defense with a wave of his hand.

“I take it that does not happen to you much, being stopped at the door as they say.” Leetah asked with a raised eyebrow and a large smile.

“Oh I always talk for two hours then get sent on my way. I don’t consider it a good night unless I’ve talked myself stupid!” The captain growled gulping down a beer.

“In the judge’s defense she did say ‘discuss’…” Redlance countered.

“And sometimes we just want to be held and talked to…” Nightfall added batting her eyes with the others laughing.

“Is everyone taking her side?” Skywise asked with surprise.

“Oh no, we know you’ll get her brother, it just may take a little more chasing than your use to is all.” Cutter said with a smile and a laugh.

Skywise turned his attention to two saloon girls at the end of the bar presently un-escorted it seemed. “Is that Maleen and Vuhdra all alone?”

“Now watch it with those two, I’ve seen them turn the biggest human in the saloon inside out if you know what I mean. We had to call Rain in here just to get the man breathing again!” Picknose exclaimed in warning while pouring a beer.

“Please, I can’t let a challenge like that just sit there at the end of the bar. You four have fun this evening. I’m going to go have mine!” Skywise grinned with a tip of his new hat before moving through the crowd to Maleen and Vurdah’s side.

“Should we worry for him?” Leetah asked.

“Oh no Rose, the captain will be fine. He’ll take them to bed, half drunk, and then be at my side in the morning ready to go to work. I’d take my brother in all but blood over anyone in this saloon.” Cutter said.

“Oh, and the tracker and I, we’re just a couple of bumps on an old log I see.” Nightfall gasped feigning a look of sadness.

“Now don’t you start trick shot,” Cutter said with a laugh pointing at her, “you both know how I feel about you two.”

“Aww, my heart is all better now!” Nightfall countered patting her chest.

Leetah laughed as Cutter shook his head and laughed with her. There was a tense moment during the second and last set when a drunken drover yelled out to see the Rose alone in back. It took Redlance, Skywise, and Nightfall all to keep Cutter from braining the poor man into the floor. She finished and went back to her spot again calming the Major, but not before taking a look around one last time for Rayek. He wasn’t there, so she sat and enjoyed the company of the others until it was time to go.

They filed out of the saloon and headed across the street to Brownberry’s for a cup of coffee. As they reached the walkway a voice called out form the dark, a shadow standing away from the walkway and lights.

“Ho Red Hair!”

“Ho Jonas!” Redlance called back walking to the shadow that now stepped out into the street.

“Who is it?” Cutter asked.

“I don’t know, never heard of a Jonas before.” Nightfall replied.

“You look good old man!” Redlance chuckled hugging and clapping the tracker on the back.

“And you still don’t look old enough to be a Scout!” Jonas laughed grabbing Redlance by the shoulder with his right hand.

“How have you been Jonas?” Redlance whispered.

“Better, far from okay, but getting better every day.” Jonas admitted.

“That’s good. Did you want to meet my friends?” Redlance asked nodding to Cutter and the group.

“No…I don’t do good around people. I’m no good around people these days.” Jonas replied shaking his head and nervously hiding his left hand.

“It's all right, it's okay Jonas. We can stay right here if you need.” Redlance offered trying to calm the man.

“I was just going to blow through town and see you, but…I was thinking of staying a while now. I ran into some special…people I like.” Jonas said scratching his beard.

“That’s great, where are you staying?” Redlance asked.

“I got a camp just outside of town in the hills. I won’t tell you where though, you gotta find me!” Jonas cackled with a wink.

“All right old man, I’ll find your camp!” Redlance shot back.

“Alright…I’ll see you round then.” Jonas said giving his friend’s hand a shake.

“I’ll see you round Jonas.” The tracker finished with a nod and a hand shake. The two stood looking at each other for a minute before breaking.

Redlance went back to his group silently and thankfully no one asked him about his friend as they entered the restaurant. Leetah normally would have said her goodbyes, but there was her bag and dress to get from upstairs and when she came down she saw the group of friends still there talking. Something inside Leetah wasn’t ready to go home just yet so she sat down at the counter again, just like the saloon, and drank a cup of coffee enjoying the people and the company.

After the second cup though it was time to go Leetah decided and she said her goodbyes for the night. She kissed Nightfall on the cheek and Redlance as well before waving goodnight to Longbranch and Brownberry. And as she expected, and hoped for, Cutter was a step behind to escort back home. Nightfall went to check on Tyleet and kiss her daughter good night before heading back with Redlance to the room at the boarding house. They waved goodnight to her parents and started off across the street before she stopped them right in the middle to make a sudden confession.

“I need to tell you something before we go any further?”

“What?” Redlance asked worried.

“I took twenty dollars from your money belt this afternoon to buy this dress and the boots. I know I should have asked-“Nightfall said before he broke in.

“The money is yours too Nightfall.” He smiled.

“No, it's not. I haven’t done anything to earn it.” Nightfall countered.

“Nightfall…come with me.” Redlance said with a shake of his head taking her hand in his.  She thought he might actually be angry with her and for a moment Nightfall was a little scared.

They went back to their room at the boarding house where he sat her on the edge of the bed before pulling the money belt from the saddle bag. He pulled a second piece of folded paper from the saddle bag as well and then gently laid the money belt across her lap and handed the folded document to her. She looked him at curiously for a moment, confused, and then she opened the paper and read down the few paragraphs. It was all military jargon that went above her head until she came to a part that caught her eyes. She read it twice, slowly and carefully to make sure she understood it word for word.

Article (A)(1)(b) – At the aforementioned soldier’s request at any time he is designated as Killed-in-Action (KIA) or Missing-in-Action (MIA) all his Pay chits, money in the Fort safe, uniforms, and stated possessions will be transferred / shipped  and delivered to one Nightfall of the town of  Two-Moons. If said person is not available then all will be given to one Brownberry/Longbranch of same town. Approved this day by Phillip Sheridan, Colonel for one Redlance, SGT-Major, Sheridan Scout Corp.

She looked up from the paper with tears as he spoke quietly. “Before I crossed over the border when the war began I made sure that this money was yours, every penny, to take care of Tyleet and you and your parents. I had Colonel Sheridan take all my pay and put it in this belt and keep it for me. This money, what you took, has always been yours and your parents too Nightfall. It’s ours now, what we can use to start our life together.”

“But,” Nightfall swallowed hard still staggered from the paragraph on the paper, “what about the tribe? I thought they were you family?”

“No, you and your parents have been my family since I came down out of the hills to bring you back your horse that day. Black Feather told me this much and it’s been that way since that day. And what would the Blackfoot need with money, there’s nothing they could do with it. Money is meaningless to them.” Redlance explained.

She touched the belt finally understanding. She thought her love for him was deep, but it didn’t equal what he felt for her. Nightfall shook her head and asked a question to get a breath. “Why did you save all of it? You could have spent some of it on something for you.”

“I did spend some of it, just on us.” Redlance said getting up from beside her and back to the saddle bag pulling out brown leather document wallet with a small cord wrapped around it. He handed it to her while sitting next to her, one arm reaching around her waist to hold her.

Nightfall undid the cord and then unfolded the three panels revealing the parchment of the document and the writing. She caught the word ‘Land Deed’ in long cursive writing at the top and gasped, and the more she read the harder it was to breath until finally she found the line where the owner was named, or in this case, owners.

“My name…you put my name next to yours as the owner.”

“It’s our money that bought the land so your name has to be there too.” Redlance whispered looking at her.

“Our spot, up in the hills, with the pond and the overlook…we own it?” Nightfall whispered afraid if she said it too loud it would all disappear.

“Yep, all fifteen acres belongs to us. I thought we needed a place to put our house on, and the one you want for your parents, and start off right. We need somewhere to raise Tyleet…and our children to when they come.” Redlance said with a hopeful smile.

She smiled surprised by his last statement and turned to him sliding over and into his lap. “You want more children?”

“A house full, but only if you want them too.” Redlance whispered putting his forehead to hers and rubbing her leg.

“That’s a lot of work you know.” She said low rubbing his chest through his shirt.

“I figured we could start tonight, get ahead start you know…” Redlance nervously stated with a shaky voice.

And there it was again, that nervous look and tremble when it came to asking her to lay with him. She could break him of it, make him stop, but that was the one thing about Redlance Nightfall clung too, his gentle nature around her, her parents, and Tyleet. If he ever tried to stop it she just might have to hurt him for doing so. Nightfall took the hand rubbing her leg and moved it to the bottom button on her waistcoat.

“You may have to help me get undressed…” She whispered into his ear before kissing his neck.

“Oh…” Redlance whispered back popping the first button free.


They didn’t ride in silence this time like the night before. Leetah looked over with a large smile and spoke. “Would you have hit that poor gaucho over me?”

“He disrespected you Leetah, and I won’t have that.” Cutter replied from the saddle as Nightrunner walked along side Aliyana.

She had to admit he said her name well, and she liked it when he said it. The Major had kept her request to keep her real name a secret though and he used only ‘Rose’ when there were others around. Leetah tilted her head and spoke.

“I think your meaning of disrespect and mine are different Cutter. Do you plan on guarding me every night at the cantina, knocking unconscious every man or elf that makes a comment that is less then honorable about me?” Leetah asked with a raised eyebrow

“I plan on hearing you sing every night, if you don’t want me to help you Rose then just say so.” Cutter replied calmly, and maybe a little offended.

“It is not that I do not want your help Cutter, but more that I am capable of handling my own issues. Do you understand?” Leetah asked scared she just upset him

“Yes Leetah, I should keep my nose out of your business until asked to.” Cutter said with a large smile which easily took away her tension.

“Si, thank you Cutter,” Leetah said with her own smile.

They rode on a minute more before she moved Aliyana closer to Nightrunner and looked over making a small remark. “You are close with the Captain and Redlance and Nightfall. It is very obvious.”

“I’ve known the tracker and trick shot for most of my life and the Army forged a bond between me and Skywise. We’re all very close.” Cutter said wondering where the conversation was going.

“Could you see another in the group?” Leetah asked quickly.

Cutter gave a small laugh that in no way offended Leetah, it was just a reaction to a question one would never think of being asked. “We’d never hold our friendship back from someone who asks for it. We’d welcome them with open arms. Why, you have someone in mind?”

“Oh no, I was just thinking is all.” Leetah said with a small content smile.

They rode on for another piece in silence until they reached the stand of trees that acted as the point where Leetah rode on by herself. They stopped as Leetah angled Aliyana a little closer to Cutter. She looked over at him and smiled. The moon danced off her green eyes making the Major smile warmly.

“Will you come watch me sing tomorrow night Cutter?” Leetah asked.

“I’ll be in my reserved seat Leetah. Can I sing along with you?” He asked back.

“That would make me very happy.” She whispered.

They were only a few inches apart now and a heartbeat away from maybe taking a step in this emotional whirlwind they felt, if they wanted. If it had been another elf maiden Cutter would have taken his chance then and there, rolled the dice on love. But this was different. It was too important, too valuable to risk on a dumb miss-step, so he smiled and looked back at her.

“I’ll be waiting to see you tomorrow Leetah.”

“As will I Cutter.” She said back.

She moved Aliyana forward waving him goodbye as he slipped away in the dark. Leetah smiled feeling warm and secure. She had gambled also, taken a chance to see if the Major wanted this feeling between them to be serious. If he had leaned in and kissed her this early in their relationship it would have meant he just wanted to take her to bed, a quick roll in the covers. The fact that he held off meant he wanted to take the time to see where this all went, where it would end.

Leetah sighed and wondered if she could get one of the Major’s old shirt’s to sleep in.

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Soreyes

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Fri Sep 11, 2015 5:05 pm

This has always been one of my favorite parts of ElfWest.

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:14 am

Yes, it's so Nice to have htis stuff up againg. And here came the description of Nightfall's new dress. I hope I managed to picture it right.

Speaking of dresses... Wink

Since we have seen more of her now, here is Rainsong. She kind of reminded me of Caroline Ingals in a way, so I let her outfits from TLHOTP inspire me about her.

I made some of her outfits quite practical. I bet Woodlock and Rainsong are not the richest, so more blouses with the same skirt would be smart. This first drawing is resembling to her first EQ outfit. I gave her a brown skirt with one orange and one blue blouse, both looking comfortable but still sweet. There's an apron at one, I suppose she would go like this while waiting tables at the restaurant. The orange blouse reminds of one of Caroline's blouses.


Next I show another skirt, blue, from the dark blue skirt she wears while being pregnant with Mender, but also inspired by Caroline. I imagined this is for more cold weather. The pink and the white blue flowered blouse is to remind of the blue and pink shining top following the skirt. I decided to make it two blouses in different colors. She wears a warm woolen shawl for outdoor, plain but practical. The bonnet shall remind of her first EQ hat. I hate bonnets myself, but I've really started to like them on the elves. It gives another impression when they're showing of their ears.


Then the last drawing shows, at last, some dresses. I wasn't going to let her have only skirts. The first dress reminds of the orange outfit she wears after giving birth to Mender. I made it plain orange, sweet with ruffles at the sleeves and the skirt. I imagine either a warm summer day, or a Sunday. I've actually heard of something called a Sunday dress. The other dress, kind of also inspired from the blue skirt (it has an indigo board at the bottom), indigo with stripes and a wide white collar and cuffs. The hat, well you know she wears huge straw hats in Sorrow's End. This is fine enough to wear for many occasions, even parties.

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:21 am

And now I cannot hold myself any longer. I have more! A surprise!!!

Finally I have managed to take time to finish off the outfits of Leetah's sister. I desided that Shenshen wasn't going to have any second handed outfits just because she's a little sister. But I had to admit I had some trouble drawing certain things for her, not since her wardrobe is limited, but because I didn't know how to shape her clothes into western style. She's not exactly a cowgirl. I have drawn and redrawn her again and again untill I finally came up with a few things I got quite satisfied with.



First out, a light yellow summer dress. I think this just screams Shenshen. I let her hair be loose on this one, only having a head band, similar to the one she had in Sorrow's End. Beside this is an elegant moss green jacket  with a matching hat, a color that resambles the suit she wears while being with the wolf riders. This could be used for lot's of her outfits, but I choosed this one so one could see how the ruffles at the neck looks like above the jacket. The hat is quite top of it, with the funny flowers and the feathers. She seems like the kind to show off once in a while.



On next picture I have made her a professional outfit, a simple and practical beige dress to wear while being a midwife. The buttons on the wrists is easy to open if she needs to roll up her sleeves to get to work. I made her hair up in a typical spanish hairdue with a knot on the back that both looks practical and makes her keep her spanish elegance while being at duty. It fits her quite well in my opinion.
The other outfit is a more conventional dress, a going out on town/shopping/lunch dress, green with a white blouse and a matching hat with nothing more than the nice silk bow in a double knot. I borowed this dress from Bonanza (one of my best sources of inspiration), from the episode "Woman of Fire" where Elena Miguel, played by Susan Silo, wears a similar one in marine blue. She is by the way the little sister in the episode, so I thought it would fit for the little sister in Elfwest as well.



Then we have some other conventional outfits. You know how I said she wears pink in New Blood nr. 13? Well, even if it appears to be a, call it a mistake because at "About EQ" at the Elfquest site "Sun Folk" we see the same outfit and there it is green and red like her first one. It doens't matter, because I made an outfit out of it just to give her a difference in her wardrobe. The light pink top is belonging with the darker skirt. I don't know if she likes ruffles, but she appeared like someone who could at least wear them to please her mother. A lovely elegant inside lady wear. I made her pigtails into tails made from hair clips or coams.
In New Blood nr. 15 she has a travel outfit that has orange and red on it. Here is another daily use dress, orange with red pattern. I have been trying to figure out how I could give her something red on her clothes, but I just couldnt' find any separate outfit what would fit for it. She wears it so rarely, only in Sorrow's End and to be honest I think it's more Leetah's color. So I decided to add it as a pattern on the orange instead. Orange and red works every time. I made this one a little appropriate looking with white laces on the collar and the sleeves, since she is the good girl in the family. I had actually planned this to be strong green, but when I asked Trenderfoot for her opinion before I colored it, she said that it looked orange in her eyes, so it became orange. Thank you sis, now I got to use the red ;-)



Next picture shows a party dress, similar to another dress Susan Silo wears in "Woman of Fire". I made it light yellowish green with greenish yellow ruffles. Here she has the typical spanish hairdue again with her hair tied in a knot and a... I don't know the name of it, but the black thing on the back of her head is often worn by spanish woman as I have seen, at least in old movies and pictures. She has bigger patterned gold earrings on this one, a sweet little bracelet on her wrist and the yellow flower makes the final touch of the whole thing.
The last one is one of my suits for gong out, shopping/traveling, whatever you want it for. I had to make one of her outfits like the red and green she has in Sorrow's End, but I had to twist it a bit. That combination worked at the edge for Nightfalls travel outfit, but I couldn't use it twice. So I made the red her e a bit deeper. It is a kind of an outfit I have wanted to make for someone a long time, based on a Cymbidium-orchid of all things, the most beautiful orchit in the whole world. If you search for green Cymbidium, you'll see the likeness with the light green petals and the dark red lip. The bonnet is based on the Cymbidium lip upside down. This outfit also has a buckle on the belt shaped as a sun, like Leetah's blue outfit. What do you think? Is it too much? I just imagined that Shenshen would be the kind to wear such outfits, merry and playfull as she is.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Sat Sep 19, 2015 2:11 pm

Quick question; I have a feeling that humans in EW og to a kind of church, believing in Treshkent, at least in Djunsland, it would be natural, but what about elves? Do they have a kind of chuch for the High Ones?
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:27 pm

@Rainflower wrote:
Quick question; I have a feeling that humans in EW og to a kind of church, believing in Treshkent, at least in Djunsland, it would be natural, but what about elves? Do they have a kind of chuch for the High Ones?

Hmmm...that's a good question Rainflower. I think it was decided the elves think of the High Ones as a story and thus they don't really worship them like humans do by going to church...I may be wrong bvut I'm sure that's what we came up with...


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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Thu Sep 24, 2015 5:33 am

@Wiseshaman wrote:
Hmmm...that's a good question Rainflower.  I think it was decided the elves think of the High Ones as a story and thus they don't really worship them like humans do by going to church...I may be wrong bvut I'm sure that's what we came up with...


I guess you're right about the High Ones. Just thought it would be a good idea to bring it up. Recalling from many western movies and Bonanza episodes, and from a bit of reading, they do go to Church, and it's kind of a thing they all do. I'm wondering because I am thinking of a story, if I can include something like that or not Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:09 am

Another question; I'm thinking of adding some more dresses to some of the elf ladies I've already made clothes for, like I did With Leetah. But I'm sort of... not having enough ideas for everyone. Wondering if people could help me a bit With those I have in mind at least;

Would Moonshade suit a red dress with black details? or is it better with black with red details? I've already gven her a black skirt. Or should she have a gray one as well? Or brown? She wears brown at Search of Blue Mountain, Not really her thing if you ask me, but still...

Would Clearbrook suit a dark green dress? Or yellow? Or perhaps mustard colored? Or moss green?

Would Brownberry fit a short sleeved dress? Would she suit yellow?

What other colors would suit Crescent? What'cha think of tourqise blue for her?

Not sure about more... I'd apreciate if someone could say what they think
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:59 pm

Courige and Fright- part 3

Rayek had woken up at long last, discovering that he had a horrible headache and couldn’t move his right arm without pain rising through it. He remembered he was riding fast into the forest, but from there was more he could not recall. He was feeling too dizzy to even try to recall anything in the beginning.

He managed to get back in the saddle with Leetah’s help, but he had trouble understanding what was going on. It wasn't until they had been walking a while and they got out of the forest that he got a grip of his surroundings. He was sitting on his horse, with his arm tied up in his own jacket. In front of him, Leetah was leading the two horses, one in each hand. He was tempted to ask her what had been going on, but then his memories came back. He recalled the branch appearing out of no-where in front of him, and the panic when he realized he couldn't stop in time, just as he hit the tree. Then he recalled Leetah's tears in his face when he opened his eyes, and how she had held him tight and hard while her body was shaking from sobbing.

He believed it was the first time he had ever seen her cry. Then something had to be wrong; very wrong. Only some times as they were younger, she would break into tears whenever she didn't get her way with him. But that was different. That had been her childish way of getting her will. This was different. This was not crocodile tears. This was something serious. It was written all over Leetah’s face that something was wrong, but he thought it would be better not to ask. It looked like she was at the edge of another fit of tears any minute. Her face was so tense that she sometimes had trouble holding his horse steady. But right now he decided to let it pass. His head was still hurting, and he couldn’t possibly figure out what had happened.

Since they were far from Suntoucher’s land, Leetah decided that they would go to Mrs. Savah’s boarding house that lied closer. From there, they would get a doctor to check on Rayek.

They could see the boarding house closing in, but Leetah didn’t really see it. Like in trance, she leaded the horses to the stable and helped Rayek down from the saddle and let the stable men take care of their horses. Then they walked over to the boarding house to meet Mrs. Savah

She would get quite a shock, but she would understand.

They were met by Ahdri in the entrance. She looked up from the papers on the desk, ready for a good day for a next guest, but at the first sight at Rayek, she rolled her eyes and sigh.

“Listen señor I haven’t got time now and…” she gasped loud and her eyes went wide when she saw his arm, with his riding jacket wrapped around it, and the blood that had dried on his head. “In the name of the High Ones, what has happened?”

“Nothing, señorita. A branch just wanted my pretty head, that’s all.”

“I’ll go get grandma!” Ahdri said and disappeared into another room.

They had been lucky; for some reason, a doctor named Mr. Rain was visiting the boarding house shortly after, and Mrs. Savah let him use her office so he could check on Rayek. Leetah was left in the living room waiting. Ahdri had offered her a cup of tea, but she hadn’t touched it. She just sat in the sofa playing with the feathers in her hat to make the time pass. Her riding jacked laid in a mundle beside her, and the blouse felt like it as clinging to her body. Her hair was out of order, so she had simply taken out the buckle that held it on place and let her dark reddish brown curls fall free around her shoulders.

What had happened in the forest wouldn’t let go. By all she knew, it could all have been a dream, though at the same time she knew that was impossible. She had been so frightened and it had all happened so fast, she hadn’t been able to understand anything. The sunlight had disappeared so suddenly, and the sight of the sun, or what looked like it, had given her shivers deep into her bones, like someone with cold hands had touched her, or got right through her like a cold breeze.

And her hands; what had happened? Her hands had been glowing, felt so warm, like energy was flowing right through them but where had it come from?And Rayek? She had seen how the open wound had started to close itself by the touch of her hands, and moments later he was awake, alive…

She let go at the feathers.

Whatever had happened back in the forest, it had been real. When she thought back on it, she realized that whatever had happened, whatever she had done… it had saved Rayek’s life.

What had been so scary was that she had had any control over the situation at all. What happened had been beyond her knowing. Light and darkness, and then healing? Was this what they called… magic?

It couldn’t be. She couldn’t do magic. That was only fairytales and bedtime stories; this had been real. She had seen it happen.

No. NO!

Leetah threw her had away in shock of her own thoughts and started crying. It landed right in front of Mrs. Savah’s feet as she entered the room. She walked to comfort her. “There’s no need to worry. Dr. Rain is clever and Rayek is in good hands.”

Leetah didn’t stop crying, nor did she answer. She did not look up to face her. She had her eyes fixed on the teardrops that landed on the carped under her feet.

“Is something wrong, my dear?” she lifted the young elf girl’s cheek up to meet her eyes. They were filled with fright and all serious. “What is the matter? Dou you want to talk about it?”

“I… I… ” Leetah sniffed before speaking. She couldn’t tell, no one would believe her, she didn’t even believe it herself. “It’s my fault that Rayek almost… ” she took a breath before continuing. “If I only hadn’t been so… if I had taken it easy when we rode out… ”

“Mrs. Savah? “Oh. Am I interrupting something?”

Mrs. Savah looked up and walked to the elf that stood at the door. “Mrs. Winnowill, I am sorry we will be a little late today. It has been an accident. A young boy fell of his horse and hurt himself. Dr. Rain is looking after him and this girl here…”

“Leetah? Mr. Suntoucher’s daughter?” Mrs. Winnowill said surprised when she saw Leetah sitting in the sofa desperately crying.

Mrs. Savah looked surprised at Mrs. Winnowill. “Do you know her?”

“My husband knows her father and we have been introduced. She’s not hurt, is she?”

“No, but she’s had a large shock. I think she’s feeling guilty about Rayek being injured for some reason.”

“Does Mr. Suntoucher know?”

“No, not yet. I was going to send someone and tell what happened. I just don’t like to leave Leetah in this condition.”

Mrs. Winnowill got e determinant look in her eyes. “You must send someone immediately! Mr. Suntoucher needs to know. I’ll take care of Leetah.”

Mrs. Savah looked at Leetah, who was too busy crying to notice their talking. “All right, but be kind to her.”

“Don’t worry, I will.” She said when Mrs. Savah disappeared out of the living room, and when she had gone, Mrs. Winnowill smiled calmly. “Believe me, I will.”

Mrs. Winnowill picked up the hat from the floor and walked over to Leetah. “Ms. Leetah?”

Leetah tried to wipe away her tears before she looked up at a tall elf woman. She was very tall with long black hair she had a worried look on her face. She wore a riding suit similar to Leetah's, only gray, but her eyes were too blurred to notice any other details.

“I have been introduced to your parents and I don’t know if you remember me but I am Mrs. Winnowill from Blue Mountain Ranch… No please, don’t mind to get up, stay sitting. I heard about the accident of your friend, I am sorry. Here, I suppose this is yours.” she said before handling over the hat to Leetah who took it. but when she was to thank her, but voice faded and she buried her face in her hands again hiding the new tears welling up. “It’s my fault. All mine…” she managed to get through sobs.

Winnowill took place by her side and offered her a handkerchief. “My dear, anyone can make a mistake, and …” she paused when she touched Leetah’s hand and got quiet for a moment. “Just try to calm down, my dear.” she said, still holding Leetah’s hand. I can feel it. Her powers are strong, but not fully developed. Imagine what she could do in a couple of years.

Leetah was busy drying her eyes and didn’t notice the smile that grew on Mrs. Winnowill’s face. When she finished, the tall elf woman spoke up again. “Tell me Leetah, what happened to your friend Rayek?”

Leetah waited before she spoke. She told her that she had found Rayek lying on the ground with a wound in his head and his arm was broken and that they had had to get here instead of home.

“But he managed to make it here, then it cannot at all have been that bad.”

“That’s because…” her voice broke, and she swallowed.

“Yes?” Winnowill asked.

Leetah took a couple of deep breaths before speaking again. She didn’t know this woman; she couldn’t tell her what really happened. “You won’t believe me, Señora.”

Mrs. Winnowill took the handkerchief in Leetah’s hand and wiped away the new tears that was running down her face for her before she lifter her cheek up to meet her eyes. “Leetah, I promise you, no matter whatever happened, I will not tell anyone.”

Leetah looked at the tall elf woman. She couldn’t figure out if she could trust her or not, but somehow this woman knew of her actions. She didn’t even know much of her. But she didn’t seem mean, maybe a little cool, but… somehow, she had the feeling that she really would really believe her.

“The sun…” she started. “The sun disappeared and then something happened; something strange. Rayek could have died, but... he was saved. Like...” she couldn’t finish the sentence.

“Like magic?” Mrs. Winnowill said.

It was said. No turning backs. Leetah looked up on the elf woman and noticed to her surprise that she was smiling. She knew! Leetah started shivering; the same feeling that had been there when the sun disappeared. She felt how the panic was about to take over her again.

The tall elf woman took both her hands in hers before she talked again.

“Yes, I know. It is unbelievable, but there really is nothing to worry about. Magic really isn’t as dangerous as people say. It can actually be helpful. Even be used for saving.”Winnowill let her lean to her and she stroked her over the back like a mother that tried to comfort her daughter. It seemed to work; her sobbing slowly lowered. When Leetah finely calmed down, Winnowill took her hands once more and stared into her eyes. “Leetah!” she begun, “Are you saying that your friend was healed by magic?"

She sniffled, and nodded slowly.

“I do understand that it frightens you, but there is no need to be. You’re telling me that when this happened, your friend was badly hurt?”

She nodded again.

“And then, when it happened, he was saved?”

She nodded once more.

“Then why are you so frightened? If it didn’t do any harm but saved the life of your friend then it has to be a good thing.”

“But what about the sun?” Leetah broke off. “D-did I… did I make that happen?”

“Have you ever heard of a sun eclipse before, Leetah?”

“No. what is that?”

“It is something that happen sometimes with a couple of hundred years in between. It is when the sun and the moon meets and the moon covers the sun. Then everything goes dark and it looks like there is a hole in the sky where the sun has been. Is that what you saw?”

“Si, si! That’s what I saw! How did you know, Señora?”

“It is scientifically. What people has discovered by simply looking around us. What you saw was the moon covering the sun. And you see, there is also a myth about this evident. It is told that when it happened a long time ago, it was only one moon at the sky. One day when the sun and the moon met, it resulted in one smaller moon, a daughter moon. Someone says that every time this happens, there are preformed miracles; someone is getting success, someone gets lucky and keeps his life in a fight, and sometimes someone is, by a miracle, saved from death. This is, I believe, more than just a myth, but maybe there’s something in it?”

Leetah was all silent after the elf woman finished talking, and she felt her panic let go. What she had seen was really nothing more than a natural happening that had happened before. Then it hadn’t been her who caused it. On the other hand, could the sun eclipse have been what caused her hands to heal Rayek so miraculously? If the sun eclipse was the cause of miracles, then it hadn’t been her action at all!

Slowly, a small smile grew in Leetah’s face as she realized the fact. Maybe she had been so astonished by fear that she really had imagined herself everything. Then there was nothing to worry about.

“So, you mean that he was healed because of the sun eclipse?”

“I’m only guessing that it might have contributed it. The rest was…”

They were interrupted by Ahdri who entered the living room again. “Ms. Leetah? Grandmother have sent someone to your father to let him know what happened. And Rayek is asking for you.”

“I’ll be there.” she said. As she rose she turned to Mrs. Winnowill. “Muchas gracias, Señora. You really helped me a lot.”

“Only a pleasure, my dear.” she answered. Then Leetah disappeared out with Ahdri.

As they walked out to the office where Rayek was with the doctor, Leetah caught herself staring at Ahdri. She really was a pretty elf, with her golden curls against her brown skin, and her large hazel eyes in the round face. She reminded Leetah of a china doll, all pretty and sweet. If Rayek liked her, it wasn't surprising. She couldn’t help it, she had to ask.

“Con permiso (Excuse me), may I ask you something, Ahdri?”she said as they came to the office door.

The girl looked at her with a warm smile. “Of course, what is it?”

“Are you and Rayek going out?”

Ahdri's eyes went large by the question, then small and angry. “Has he said that?”

“He bragged about it the other day. He said that he and you… well…”

Ahdri must have understood at the moment, because far face got a grimace that could have made a candle blow out of its own. “You must be joking! Did he say that? That elf is getting on my NERVES! I swear if he hadn’t got a broken arm...”

And with those words she disappeared furiously just when the doctor appeared out of the office. He looked confused after Ahdri. “What happened?”

“Nothing at all, Señor.” she said and looked down. Maybe her Madre was right; maybe she should watch her mouth sometimes.

Rayek sat on the desk with his shirt unbuttoned and his arm out of its sleeve. It had blue marks all over, and the guilt went back to Leetah. Maybe she hadn't caused the healing after all, but she did cause the wounds. She should have been more careful while they rode.

“Dispensar Rayek (forgive me Rayek). It’s all my…”

He broke her off with a wave with his good arm. “No worries, niña, I’m fine.”

She smiled and turned to Dr. Rain. “Muchas gracias doctor, for helping him.”

Dr. Rain smiled back at her. “I’m only doing my job, ma’am. See, I’ll only splint his arm and bandage it, and he will be ready to leave. Let’s see…”he said looking at some sticks he had lying there. “I’m going to need some help here, and since Ahdri disappeared, why don’t you want to help me here Miss?”

Leetah looked confused from the doctor to Rayek. “?Que no tienen miedo de tocar mi piel desnuda, eres niña? (You’re not afraid of touching my naked skin, are you girl?)”

Leetah’s eyes went small and she smiled at him, the smile she got when she accepted a challenge from Rayek. “No estoy, que idiota (No I’m not, you moron).” Then she turned to the doctor. “I’ll help you, doctore.”

The doctor, who didn’t understand a word of Spanish, first got a confused look on his face before she turned to Leetah and told her what to do.

She was told to put the bandage around his arm while he held the splints. There was something about it she thought that made it feel so natural to take care of someone like this. This also was a way of healing, slower yes, but more natural. She discovered that she liked to do it, and she felt a little sad when they were done.

Dr. Rain turned to her. “You’ve got talent for this, Miss. It’s a pity that you come from such a fine family or I would have taken you as my student.”

Leetah could only smile at the compliment.

Not long after her parents appeared together with Rayek’s parents. His mother Jarrah was hysterical of worry, and his father was so worried he got angry at his son for not knowing better. Her own parents were the same, except it was her mother who blamed her for her foolishness and her father who was worried.

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

When Suntoucher and his folks had left, Winnowill was standing in the window watching. She felt quite content with herself. Her going out earlier had made its reward; she had found Leetah just as she used her powers to heal the young boy. The sun eclipe must have triggered her powers, or maybe it had been her won fear.

Anyhow she must have scared her with her presence; she hadn’t been able to return the sending, not even catch it. She was still too young to make full use of her powers.

Though they had been interrupted so she couldn’t finish what she came for, at least she had earned trust to Leetah. Thanks to her, she wasn’t scared anymore; she thought it all had been imagination, a dream.

But her powers would show up again sooner or later when she was ready and they were fully developed. And when they were, she would take action.

A smile grew at Winnowill’s lips. She would know.

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

“Have you learned now, Leetah, that you should be more careful?” Toorah reprimanded her daughter as they rode up to Ranco del Sol. “Wildly riding does not fit for a proper lady.”

Leetah knew her mother was right, there wasn’t to be discussed. “Si madre, I know.” She went quiet for a while before speaking up again. “I learned something more too.”

“Que (What)?”

“I learned what a sun eclipse is and how to splint a broken arm.” she proudly said. Her parents looked at each other, not knowing what to say. But she interrupted them with a question. “Padre? I know I am a daughter of high society, but still, can I take an education?”

Her father got a little astonish by the question and it took some time before she answered. “I do not think there is anything that stands in your way if you want one, niña. What kind of education are you thinking about?”

“I’m not sure yet. I just needed to know. But I have something in mind.” Leetah said as she thought back at the day. With both pleasures and shocks, she had got something to think through. As for Rayek; well, she still wasn’t quite sure about him. But there were one thing for certain; there had been a change in her life, and from now on, her life would take a turn. And he had a feeling she would end up at the spot she was somehow meant to be, one way or another.

¿Qué estás pensando, Leetah? (What are you thinking of, Leetah?)” he said. She turned to see him, with his splinted arm and bloody shirt, but still the same smile that she recognized as safe, and a tease.

She was about to confront him about lying to her about Ahdri, but decided not to; he wouldn’t care if she did.

“Nada, estupido!” she said before smiling.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Tue Oct 06, 2015 5:21 am

Dear Foxfur, I am so sorry I forgot about this picture of you. Hope you'll forgive me. The purple skirt, as we're on it, is the same as she is wearing an outdoor jacket with on my wardrobe drawing of her.


We've now seen a bit of the saloon girls in EW. Well, this is a drawing of them. Tried to work after their original garments


And... she hasn't been presented among the postings yet, but I cannot help msyelf. Love this pic I made of Oddbit. One of my favorites.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:32 pm

Shocked

Wow...nice additions Rain!! Your writing and artwork always amazes me...Please keep going!

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

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Join date : 2012-06-23

PostSubject: ElfWest - A Mating Unaware...   Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:25 am

OK, so RL finally slowed down enough for me to get back to the basics here. I caught a break in my second career and decided to get EW rolling again and then decided to start with the backstories...here's the first one I wrote and I'll let you guess who's in it, shouldn't be too hard to figure out...

A Mating Unaware

Her wrist hurt and her fingers felt numb. The leather ropes bit her skin and every time she squirmed to get herself free the cords seemed to bite just a little deeper. The ones who found her must have bound both hands together then the hands to her thighs just above the knee making the hem of her dress now sit in her lap showing her frilly undergarments. Her ankles were bound and a gag had been put in her mouth. She was a prisoner in a Natives tent somewhere in the hills above the town and now she was desperately wishing she had stayed put when told. Nightfall remembered ruefully the argument with her father and mother about going out on tour with the Wild West Show and how she had run out of the restaurant with her grey jacket and floppy hat. She took off on old Clover her horse riding into the hills just to get away from them…and Cutter as well. It was all falling apart, her chance with the Wild West Show because of her parents and her feelings for Cutter, but that was a world away now…now she was in some real trouble.

She sat helpless on the floor watching closely as two groups fought over her, or what she guessed the men were doing as best as she could. On one side was a mass of older Natives looking scared and frightened, pointing and gesturing to her with each word. On the other was a hand full of considerably younger Natives, and in front was a large one with a pocked mark face. He wasn’t as big as some of the older ones, but he was just as fierce. And in the middle was a Native man who looked like he wanted to be somewhere else, anywhere possible but in this tent at this moment. Nightfall took a heavy breath through her nose fighting the panic and fear in her heart as the groups continued to argue. She couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but the body language was easy to follow.

“We have to take her back!” The Native with the pocked mark face demanded in his own tongue.

“She was on our land, ours Iron Cloud! What was she doing there?” One of the older men in the group yelled back with concern.

“She must have fallen from a horse riding a trail. Red Mark found her and brought her here for help Swift Elk!” Iron Cloud yelled back.

“Iron Cloud! Respect! He is a Brave and you’re elder.” The man in charge hissed.

“It does not mean Swift Elk is wiser He Who Keeps Watch. You know my father Chief Talltree’s law, she must go back!” Iron Cloud demanded with a growl.

“You may be the next Chief Iron Cloud, but while your father is away I am Chief. I know the law Talltree has set down about the ones from outside, and I know our laws.” He Who Keeps Watch said looking nervously at a large Native in the older group, the biggest among them.

Iron Cloud looked at the man with a gasp of realization then back to He Who Keeps Watch with wide eyes. “You cannot give her to Wind Over The Trees, she is not our kind!”

“She will be if she stays.” He Who Keeps Watch replied coldly.

“Chief Talltree will never let that happen!” A voice called out from the tent entrance snapping everyone’s eyes to it.

Something had just happened Nightfall figured. The whole tent went quiet as the flap at the hole flipped back and another Native entered, his red hair and twin braids flapping wildly as he ran in. Then she noticed the ears, pointed like hers, and felt a sudden kinship in her heart. He would let he go, let her go back home. He looked over and his eyes were deep, kind, and gentle but his voice and actions at the moment belied all that. He pointed to her and screamed at the Native in charge in their language.

“Why is she tied? I did not tie her!”

“She might be dangerous…she is a pointed ear!” One of the older Natives in the back of the group called out.

“Red Mark is a pointed ear and he is not dangerous! How can she be?” A small Native female said standing next to Iron Cloud yelled.

“You are not to speak in a council New Moon, you know this!” The large Brave in the older group called Wind In The Trees hissed.

“She can speak when she wishes!” Iron Cloud spat back.

“Untie her now!” Red Mark yelled.

“No, she can call down her spirits on us if she is freed!” Swift Elk yelled in growing fear.

“She will stay tied. And she will be given to Wind In The Trees.” He Who Keeps Watch stated flatly.

“No! You would risk war with the outsiders over a girl? Why Wind In The Trees, why are you doing this?” Iron Cloud screamed in anger.

“It is decided!” He Who Keeps Watch yelled back looking over to Wind In The Trees.

“No, I take her! She is mine!” Red Mark called out suddenly, desperately. The move sent a ripple through both groups.

“You cannot do that! You are no Brave!” Wind In The Trees snarled.

“No, but he found her on the trail! He can take her in if he wishes or take her back! Our law says that!” New Moon cheered.

Wind In The Trees made a quick and overt move toward New Moon, his hands clenched into fists, and if not for the look or the motion for his knife that Iron Cloud made the large Native might have finished what he was thinking of doing. He Who Keeps Watch cried out breaking the tension immediately. “Stop it. There will be no blood spilt this night!”

“You cannot stop Red Mark’s claim He Who Keeps Watch. By our laws he can do as he wishes with the pointed ear girl!” Iron Cloud snarled with a smile.

He Who Keeps Watch knew the law of the tribe and he knew what Iron Cloud said was true, by claiming her Red Mark could do as he wanted. The Native felt a sense of relief; the decision was out of his hands now. Wind In The Tree’s threats were no good anymore…and then it changed with one sentence.

“I will take her, as is my right as a Brave. I ask for Talltree’s decision to settle.” Wind In The Trees spoke calmly and coldly.

The tent went silent again, but this time it was due to shock. Iron Cloud and Red Mark stepped back trying to figure out what the older brave was up to. They all knew what Talltree would say when he got back from the sit down with the Shoshone and Nez Perce tribes. His law was to send all outsiders back, to keep the people of the tribes and outsiders peaceful. So what was Wind in the Trees thinking?

“Then it is decided, the pointed ear’s fate will be up to Chief Talltree. Until then Red Mark will keep her in his teepee. He will be her guard. If she escapes she will be brought back and Red Mark will be punished in her place.” He Who Keeps Watch said solemnly.

Nightfall watched still scared as the men and women on both sides stopped shouting and actually calmed. She looked from one side to the other for a minute hoping they would let her go. Another minute went by slowly before the one with the pockmarked face spoke up and gave a push to the elf with the red hair. For a second the elf didn’t do anything except stare at the tall mean looking Native in the other group, and then he moved toward her drawing his knife from the scabbard on his sash. Nightfall panicked again and started to scream and pull at the bindings making them cut into her flesh even deeper. She didn’t want to die, not here trussed up like some pig, killed by some stranger with a knife, and then she heard him speak with a calming voice.

“No, it will fine. I will not harm you.” He said with her language. A sense of relief flooded Nightfall’s being. He had to let her go home. He was an elf like her, even talked like her. He had to let her go.

She stopped struggling staring into his eyes as he gently patted her numb hands. He took the knife and reached down to cut the bindings at her feet when He Who Keeps Watch yelled out something Nightfall couldn’t understand.

“She Stays Tied!”

“He is her guard! He can untie her if he wants!” New Moon shouted.

“Not here, let him release her in his teepee!” Swift Elk screamed.

Red Mark didn’t pay attention to the arguing tribe members though. He slid the knife blade side up carefully in between her ankles and pulled cutting the bindings. Then he reached up and took hold of the one tying her hands to her legs. Nightfall tried to roll away but his fingers grabbed on, touching her leg, quickly pulling the leather back away from her skin. He slid the knife in again and pulled hard. The leather cut easily and he pulled it off her as the feeling shot back into her feet and lower legs. She tried to say something but the gag muffled her voice to the point of a whisper as he pulled a large fur over her head and shoulders. Red Mark shifted the hide until it made a wrap around her and the only thing showing was her nose from the deep cowl. She tried to say something again but the gag stopped the words and it looked like he wasn’t listening to her anyway.

He put his arm around her back holding onto her hip lifting her off the ground slowly but steadily. Nightfall couldn’t stand well, the feeling wasn’t back in her legs yet, so he didn’t let go holding her body to his for support. Red Mark reached over and took her bound hands in his and started for the entrance moving her along easily to avoid hurting her, but with purpose to get her away from the others before something else could be said. He Who Keeps Watch shouted one last command for him as they left though.

“She is to stay with the tribe until Talltree’s return Red Mark! Until Talltree’s return!”

As the words died off Nightfall was only thankful for the fur covering her as they walked out of the teepee and headed quickly across the grounds. It was night and the only light was from a large fire in the center of the grouped teepees. She couldn’t see all the eyes staring at her, but she could feel them. Then someone, a human boy a little younger then the elf helping her, popped into view walking backwards to look at her. She gave a small yelp as he stared and spoke in the Native language.

“Is this her? She is very pretty with large brown eyes.”

“Stop Small Bear, she is scared! Go and open my teepee so I can get her inside!” Red Mark spoke back.

“Yes, I will do that!” Small Bear chuckled before turning and running away.

She watched the boy run forward past the group of the tents the Natives lived in to a single one set in the back away from the others. She took a quick look around noticing the others in the tribe were gone now, she was alone with this Red Haired one now. Then there was the boy again standing by hole that was the entrance to this lone teepee and as Nightfall ducked to go inside Red Mark spoke up to the boy in the Native tongue one more time.

“Stay outside Small Bear. I need to make sure she is okay first.”

“Yes,” Small Bear nodded back.

The inside of the teepee was small, but not cramped. In the center was a small fire warming the inside and one side was stacked with furs and blankets where a make-shift bed was setup. The other side was blank with a single seat by the fire, a lonely kind of setting Nightfall thought. He directed her to the bed of furs helping her sit and as soon as she did she was screaming through the gag. Red Mark removed it being careful not rip out any of her hair. The moment it was out Nightfall was speaking.

“Let me go! I want to go home!” She demanded.

“Calm, please…calm” Red Mark said holding up her hands to cut them free.

“No, No, I want to go home right now!” Nightfall yelled.

Red Mark took care not to hurt her as he cut the last leather binding away noting the welts it had made in her skin while speaking the awful truth. “You cannot leave…you must stay.”

“No! I want to go home!” Nightfall screamed. She lashed in anger and fear with both hands in clenched fist. She punched him as hard as she could, blow after blow, with both hands while screaming as loud as she could. “Let Me Go! Let Me Go! I Want To Go Home!”

He didn’t block the punches, didn’t try, only turned his head enough to let them deflect off the top or side of his head. She did get one or two in and his nose started to bleed, but after a minute or three the blows began to slow. He looked up to see her crying and now begging to go home. Those brown eyes filled with tears hurt him so much. A pain hurt his heart like someone had stabbed it with a knife. Then, before he could stop, Red Mark took her hands in his and spoke loud enough to make her stop begging.

“Please i'nákohtssi pi'kssíí, please stop. I will take you home when this is done! When Chief Talltree says you can leave in two days I will take you home. I will not let anyone hurt you.”

“I want to go home!” Nightfall cried again one last time before getting herself under control.

“I will take you home. I will take you back to your family and face them if that is what you want.” Red Mark said calmly, smiling just a touch.

“You will?” Nightfall asked fighting back the tears.

“It is a…a…” He stammered looking for the word.

“Promise?” Nightfall whispered.

“Yes, a promise!” Red Mark said with those deep kind eyes, that smile, and like before he calmed her.

“You’ll take me home to my Momma and Papa. You promise?” Nightfall asked in a tone that was demanding and strong.

“Yes i'nákohtssi pi'kssíí, I will take you home to your…Momma and Papa.” He said having some trouble with the last words.

She knew it wasn’t the words or the actual promise that calmed her enough to keep from passing out from fear. It wasn’t anything like that at all. It was his eyes, the calm gentle ones that conveyed a safe place for her to hide in, that everything would be okay.

“What did you call me?” She asked quietly wrapping her arms around herself.

“Little bird…it is what I thought when I saw you lying on the trail.” Red Mark answered.

A flash of memory came back then and Nightfall remembered ridingg up higher in the hills then she was allowed, along a trail that was more than Clover her mare could handle. She felt the horse slip, slide, and then just blackness. She wasn’t sure how long she was out, just coming too in the teepee tied up and gagged with all the Natives around.

“You found me?” Nightfall asked.

“Yes, I was tracking the Elk. We will follow them soon south through the hills.” Red Mark answered.

She swallowed hard and squeezed her arms tighter around her stomach, “did you tie me up?”

The reaction from him was swift and exactly what she had hoped, which was strange but so comforting. “No, I never would do that to you i'nákohtssi pi'kssíí. I brought you to Iron Cloud to help…only the others say you…and you were taken away.”

“So…what was going on in the tent back there?” Nightfall asked after a moment and small shiver running down her back from his touch.

“We were at council, about you, to see what we would do…” Red Mark said letting the last drop off.

Nightfall didn’t like the sound of the answer, that he didn’t finish it, which meant he was leaving something out to her. She spoke up quickly as the fear in her came out in the tone and words she chose. “What does that mean?”

“They,” Red Mark started before stopping again, “gave you to me until our Chief comes back from the sit down…”

“Gave me to you?” Nightfall exclaimed with a snap. That feeling of comfort was gone in a flash as a new worry set in.

“Only to- “Red Mark started before Nightfall broke in.

“I’m Not Something You Give To Someone! I swear, you try to touch me or do anything funny mister and I’ll hit you so damn hard you won’t wake up for a week!” She hissed clenching up both fist ignoring the sting in her wrist from where the leather had cut the flesh.

“Funny?” Red Mark asked confused more by the word than fazed by the sudden threat.

“You know…lay with me!” Nightfall exclaimed with a blush.

He still looked confused sliding back away from her while trying to understand what the words meant, and then all of the sudden it made sudden and embarrassing sense. His face went red, like a fresh coat of paint, and his eyes opened far enough for the orbs to fall right out. His mouth opened but nothing came out, it didn’t get the chance either. The flap to the teepee popped open and in stepped the pretty Native girl who had stood next to the one with a pock marked face. She had a smile on her face until she saw the blood from Red Mark’s nose.

The Native girl’s expression suddenly changed from a smile to a thin line and her brow furrowed. She started talking, spitting angry words it sounded like to Nightfall, with Red Mark who was trying to calm her down. Nightfall watched for a minute noting the conversation was about her. She could tell from all the pointing the Native girl was doing. And then she stopped, gave one last angry look at her then nodded. Nightfall watched scared as the red haired elf left leaving her alone with the girl who barely waited for the flap to close on the entrance before approaching and talking…in her language.

“Why did you hit him?”

“You can speak my language?” Nightfall asked surprised.

“Yes, Mary Starshower taught us your tongue and some of your ways. She found Red Mark and raised him until the sickness took her two snows ago.” The Native girl explained with a sneer.

“Why can’t I go home?” Nightfall asked defiantly.

“Red Mark is trying to take you back, our chief has said all outsiders must go back to keep the peace. But the Brave Wind In The Trees, the mean one, wants you for some reason.” The Native Girl responded.

“What? Why”

“We do not know, but Red Mark stopped him by claiming you as his. He is in much trouble for doing this, worse if you run away, and you hit him!” The Native girl whispered harshly.

“I’m scared! I didn’t know he was trying to help me!” Nightfall whispered back.

“I know you are scared, but Red Mark will protect you. He will keep you safe. He has sworn this.” The Native girl remarked.

“What?” Nightfall whispered stunned. Then they heard someone approaching, feet crunching

“The others, they do not know I speak your tongue. If they did it would be bad for Iron Cloud. Please do not tell them?” The Native girl asked before sliding back over to her spot before.

Nightfall was about to ask why it had to be a secret when the flap opened and the red haired elf, Red Mark, stepped back in with a bowl and leather square in his other hand. He walked over and squatted down by Nightfall putting the bowl down by her legs. He then unfolded the square leather showing her several cubes of dried meat. In the bowl was a thin looking mush that had berries and pieces of meat all through it.

“What is that?” She asked with a questioning eyebrow raise, looking up at him after examining at the bowl.

“It is pemmican, a food that is good. If you are hungry then please eat?” Red Mark offered waving to the bowl.

She stared at it as her stomach made a loud growl and cramped from being empty all day. Nightfall reached down and took the bowl scooping out a small bit of the pemmican in her fingers and tasting it first. It was sweet, and a little greasy, but it tasted so good. She took one of the cubes from the leather square, a bigger bite of the pemmican and swallowed it all with a great big gulp. Nightfall looked up to see both looking at her with small smiles.

“It’s good…” She said back with a small smile.

“I use it to make sticks stay together too.” Red Mark said putting his hands together to demonstrate two sticks held fast.

She laughed from the statement and the Native girl smiled at the sound before grabbing her wrist and speaking to Red Mark who responded with a nod and leaned in closer to Nightfall, who didn’t lean away this time. “We need to clean the cuts from the ropes. It’s to prevent…” He said getting stuck on another word.

“Infection?” Nightfall offered.

“Yes, that’s it, in-fet-chon. If you want New Moon can do it. I do not want to scare you.” He said with a smile.

Nightfall looked over to New Moon and remembered just a minute ago she was as angry as a mother-hen at her which didn’t make her feel easy. He wasn’t angry…and deep down she wanted him to do the task. It was strange, but she felt a stirring for him in her heart, even at fourteen. She licked the pemmican off her lips and spoke.

“You can do it.”

He smiled again and rose from his squat going to other side of the teepee. He came back with a small bowl filled with water and a piece of cloth. Nightfall saw small pieces of some plant floating in the water and it smelled like pine needles. She wanted to ask what it was, but then she didn’t. There was some strange feeling of trust running through her at this point, some kind of kinship again. He soaked the cloth then reached over and took her left hand in his. He wrapped the cloth around her wrist and there was a small sting, but it didn’t register due to the feel of his touch making her heart skip suddenly. She watched intently as he cleaned the cuts, his hands gingerly patting and rubbing the damaged skin. Once he was done with the left he let hee put the bowl down and leaned over to clean the right one. He was close now, close enough to feel the shirt he was wearing brush against her dress. Close enough to reach up and touch one of the braids, which she stopped herself from doing. He finished with that wrist, soaked the cloth again, and then spoke low to her, almost a whisper.

“I need to clean your face. Is it okay if I do?”

“Yes…” She whispered back a little too quick her mother would have told her.

He cupped her face gently with one hand, the fingers and palm holding her head softly as he washed away the dirt from the gag. Nightfall spoke before she realized she was doing it. “What’s your name?”

“Huh?” He said back obviously lost in his own special place.

“I would like to know the name of the elf who saved my life.” Nightfall said with a giggle.

“I am Red Mark, what do they call you?”

“Nightfall, my name is Nightfall.” She whispered back as he changed hands and sides of her face.

“That is…um…” He said getting stuck on the word again.

“Beautiful?” She offered.

“Yes, bet-a-full. You are very beautiful.” Red Mark said getting the word right on the second try while pulling his hand back.

She wasn’t sure why but Nightfall suddenly blushed and looked away while picking up the bowl of pemmican. She ate two quick bites, and two pieces of the dried meat, when the flap opened again and the pock marked face of Iron Cloud appeared. He gave a small wave to her then called to New Moon asking her to following him with a wave of his head. She gave a nod and left leaving them alone in the teepee.

“Where are they going?” Nightfall asked after swallowing the last bit of pemmican.

“Iron Cloud says to let you rest. You had a long day and to let you sleep.” Red Mark answered with a smile.

“Are you leaving me alone too?” She asked worried.

“Only for a moment if you wish for more food,” He replied waiting for an answer.

Nightfall weighed the fact she would be alone versus being really hungry all night for a solid minute before deciding. She handed him the bowl and whispered. “Come back as fast as you can.”

“I promise.” He said with a smile before running out of the entrance. She counted every minute, and there were eight of them, until he returned.

She was halfway through the second bowl when a shiver of cold ran up her back. For the first time she wanted her grey coat back as the small fire only held back the cold of the night so much. Red Mark saw the quiver and moved slowly to her covering her with the Buffalo hide and then a smaller one over her shoulders. “Are you warm now?” He asked

“Yes, thank you,” She whispered back before looking up to him, “have you eaten?”

“No, it is for you, better you eat then me.” Red Mark smiled.

“No it isn’t, you eat the rest.” Nightfall demanded.

Red Mark saw there was little chance of convincing her to eat the last half of the pemmican so he sat down and took the bowl with a reluctant look and ate as he was told. He finished the bowl and placed it to the side then looked at her with his usual smile and whispered. “Thank you, it was very good.”

She smiled and pulled the furs tighter around her shoulders and started to think. Nightfall thought about home, about her parents who were probably beside themselves with worry right now, and her friends Crescent and Cutter. They were probably going crazy looking for her with half the town, roaming the hills all day until the sun fell. All the problems she caused for pitching a stupid fit over whether she could go with the Wild West show at her age. She would give anything to see her mother and father again. Before she could stop it the tears came again and she wiped them away as fast as she could.

“I will get you home Nightfall. I promise I will.” She heard him whisper.

Nightfall turned to Red Mark looking into the safety of his eyes then leaned gently against him for some reason, she wasn’t sure why just that she didn’t want to lose him at that moment. She just felt right in doing it as her head rested gently on his shoulder. She heard him call out and a second later the boy who had first appeared when they were walking to the teepee after the council appeared. He must have been waiting outside the entrance this whole time. The boy gave her a wave, a big smile, and sat on the other side of the tent by himself.

“What’s he doing?” Nightfall asked.

“Small Bear is a…he plays the…” Red Mark stammered looking for a word.

“He’s a musician.” Nightfall offered with a smile guessing easily what he was trying to say.

“Yes, he plays the…flute!” Red Mark offered with a smile.

The boy produced a hand carved flute from a pouch on his side and after licking his lips put the end to his mouth. A second later a haunting tune began to lift and roll on the air filling the teepee with a melody that made Nightfall feel at ease.

“What is he playing?” She whispered.

“It is a song of…memory…for the ones we have left behind.” Red Mark whispered back warmly leaning into her.

The reciprocation made Nightfall lean even more against Red Mark as she listened to Small Bear play his flute forgetting for just a moment that she was a captive. She felt warm from the furs and the fire and Red MArk. She felt full from the pemmican and dried meat. There was no fight left in her when sleep finally came, the sound of the flute and the low fire dancing in her dreams. Sometime in the night she woke to find her head lying in Red Marks lap, her body covered in warm furs, and the fire stoked. Nightfall looked over sleepily to see Small Bear asleep on his side of the teepee then up to see Red Mark dozing. As soon as she moved his eyes popped open and looked down.

“Is something wrong?”

“No, I’m fine.” She whispered back feeling sleep steal over her again as she closed her eyes.


“There isn’t a sign of her up there, anywhere.” Deputy Stump said to Bearclaw and Rain. It was his first year on the job and it sure could have ended better.

Treestump looked over to see his friend One-Eye riding up as the sun was fading, Bearclaw’s son Cutter right behind.

“Did you find anything?” Bearclaw called out.

“No, we found some tracks but they went up a trail Nightfall wouldn’t have gone. It was too steep for Clover to climb.” One-Eye said shaking his head.

“We need a better tracker. Can we get one from Silver Springs?” Rain asked.

“If we were digging a mine I’d look at Silver Springs, this is something else. The problem is we don’t have a tracker at the moment.” Stump sighed. The only tracker the town had was a human named Joe and he had been missing for a month now, gone to who knows where.

“We’ll get back at it with first light. How’s Brownberry holding up?” One-Eye asked.

“She’s back at Strongbow’s with Clearbrook and Moonshade. She’s doing better then expected…until we have to tell her we didn’t find a damn thing.” Bearclaw answered gruffly.

“All right then, first light then we get out and hit it.” Deputy Stump said turning his Bay around and heading for the Horse Whisperer’s ranch.

Cutter held back for a few minutes looking up into the hills hoping his friend had found shelter. It bothered him that Nightfall was out in the cold at night probably hungry and alone sick with fear…all because of him. He spat on the ground and then turned Digger round and followed the others to Strongbow’s.

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