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Wiseshaman

Wiseshaman


Posts : 657
Join date : 2012-06-23

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PostSubject: Day Seven - Part Two   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptySun Mar 14, 2021 6:21 pm

@Lunakat wrote:
Well, look whose still riding on the Ponderosa!

Riding the plains is like sipping good whiskey, smooth and always enjoyable...I'll always ride on the Ponderosa

But now, onto the next piece of ElfWest, written nicely by KRWordgazer


Day Seven - Part Two

I believe the time is right for the next piece of: Homecomings Part 4


Strongbow stood with his back to the wall of his stone prison, clutching the empty chamber pot as his only available weapon. He did not know his son and his older daughter had been involved in a gunfight the night before; he didn't know his older daughter was now engaged to be married. He didn't know it was the morning of the third day since his kidnapping-- in the dark cellar, it was impossible to know how much time had passed, or if it was day or night. What he did know was that Chitter must be very scared about her Papa, and that Moonshade must be wild with worry and grief. He was going to get out of here, and back to his family. Today.

He was trembling with weakness and his head felt very strange, but that didn't matter. Someone was about to come through that door-- someone who would be thinking he was asleep, drugged by whatever she was having them add to his food. His lips curled in a silent snarl as he thought of her. How dare she keep him like this, just to play in her little power-fantasy about awakening elf power? Elves were fine the way they were. Natural.

He wanted no part of what Winnowill was doing.

He didn't want to think about the moment his mind had blazed inside hers, the way she'd reeled and fallen. . . . .

The doorknob was turning. A small hand holding a candle poked itself into the room, followed by Tolla's face. Strongbow realized his mistake then. Tolla would shine the candle into the room, see he was not lying on the mattress, and go to get help. He gritted his teeth in frustration at the muzzy way his mind was still working.

But the hand holding the candle didn't withdraw, and the door opened wider. "Mr. Strongbow?" Tolla whispered. She came slowly down the four steps and into the room. As she lifted the candle to shine on him, Strongbow raised the chamber pot over his head and heaved with all the strength in his weakened arms. Tolla cried out. She dropped the candle and fell into a heap on the floor. Behind her came the crash of china on stone as the chamber pot broke. The candle hit the floor and went out.

Trembling with weakness, with the pain that still ached in his head, Strongbow moved forward through the dark. He could hear the girl's ragged breathing, and guilt filled him. He hadn't wanted to hurt the kid. He eased forward to where her shadowy lump lay on the floor. He was still seeing better in the darkness than he'd ever thought he could.
Strongbow crouched, feeling the girl's forehead. There was a lump there, but no bleeding. He didn't think he'd hurt her bad. High Ones, in his state it was a wonder he'd been able to hurt her at all.

Her hand reached out and caught his wrist.

"Oh, Mr. Strongbow!" Tolla's voice came out of the dark. "I don't blame you. The mistress shouldn't have done this to you. I'm so sorry."

"Then let me go!" he hissed.

She sighed., letting go of his wrist. "You didn't have to hit me. When I saw you weren't asleep, I was going to help you get out." He stared through the darkness at her. "Hurry," she said. "Someone might come to check on me, and then you'll never get away. You can take my pony. She's tied outside. I'll tell Mrs. Winnowill you overpowered me."

Strongbow did not move for a minute. Then he gently brushed Tolla's hair back from her face in the darkness. "Thank you, kid," he whispered.

Still in a half-crouch, he moved towards the still-open door, picking his way carefully so as not to cut himself on the shards of broken china. He started up the steps--

And the bright light of a lantern blossomed in the door frame as Mrs. Winnowill stood gazing down at him.

She seemed taken aback for a minute, then she laughed. Strongbow, on the bottom step, drew himself shakily to his full height and glared at her, waiting for her to call her hired hands to subdue him again. He knew he was in no condition to fight them, but he didn't plan to let that make any difference.  

But instead, to his surprise, Winnowill pushed the door shut behind her and hastened down the steps, brushing past him. She glanced at Tolla, who at the moment her mistress had appeared, had let her head drop, pretending unconsciousness. "I trust you have not hurt my kitchen maid too grievously?" Winnowill asked. Her voice was amused.

Strongbow shook his head. "She'll wake up soon," he grated, covering for the girl.. "You know why I did it."

They were at a stalemate, he thought, and he couldn't figure out why. He could try to take the keys from her or from the girl. Winnowill could probably prevent him, weak as he was. But she couldn't get him back under her full control without help-- help he was sure she could have called on. Instead, she had locked herself in with him. What was she up to?

Winnowill, her amused look vanishing, nodded gravely. She stepped over to Tolla's still form and shook it a little. Tolla pretended to wake up, groaning.

"You are not needed here," Winnowill told her. "Pull yourself together and go back to the house."

Clearly confused, Tolla nodded. Holding her head, she slowly climbed the steps, unlocked the door with her own key, and went out. She gave Strongbow a last, sympathetic look as the door clanged shut behind her.

Strongbow, face to face with an enigma, waited.

"Sit down, Mr. Strongbow," the lady murmured. "You must have exhausted yourself. Please, let me try to complete the healing of that head injury again."

She was not wearing red silk today, only plain black merino. Her face was very white, and she looked as if she had hardly slept. She wore no makeup and no scent. Strongbow, after a moment's puzzled silence, allowed himself to sink to a sitting position on the floor. Whatever she was doing, she wasn't playing games any more. Not today.

She stepped forward, and her hand stroked the scab of his wound.. He felt the pain lessen, felt the tense muscles in his neck and face relax a little as some of the muzziness in his head cleared.. "That's better," she said, her voice slightly frustrated. "Still not healed, but better." Strongbow sighed and gave her a short nod of thanks.

Winnowill set the lantern down between the two of them, and sank gracefully into a sitting position on the floor in front of him, her legs to one side with the black dress swept over them. "Mr. Strongbow," she said. "I -- I may have made a mistake. I may have awakened-- things-- within you that still needed to sleep."

He nodded. Whatever she had done, she had definitely made a mistake. More than one, to his thinking.

"I still believe in the cause I spoke to you of earlier," Winnowill went on. "I still believe elves must regain their ancient powers, become all that they can be. But perhaps I was . . precipitate. . . in my methods."

"Precipitate?" he growled in response. Was that the only word she could come up with for methods that included kidnapping and coercion?

"I want to try to undo what I have done, Mr. Strongbow," Winnowill said softly. "Will you-- allow me?"

She sounded truly contrite. But all he wanted, all he cared about, was-- "Let me go home," he whispered harshly.

Her head dipped in acquiescence. "One of Voll's horses is tied outside," she said. "When we are done here, you may ride him home."

Strongbow's heart gave a wild leap, but he said nothing, only raised an eyebrow at her. She seemed to understand his meaning. "Let me touch minds with you one last time, Mr. Strongbow," she said. "To close the door which I opened. That is all I still want of you."

If it meant she would let him go. Strongbow gave a single, curt nod, and closed his eyes. The lady slid herself closer to him on the stone floor, and reached out for him once again.

Pain.

He jerked back, his breath loud in the echoey room. Winnowill pressed forward, her mind pushing at his, her hands still stretched to touch him. "No! Let me--"

"NO!"

His mind recoiled against hers, striking out in self-defense. He had no control over it. Winnowill's hands flew to her head as she gave a low cry. Then, without another sound, she crumpled to the floor.

Strongbow sat breathing hard, staring at her still form in the flickering lantern-light. His hand went out, touched her shoulder, shook her--

Her face turned up towards him, eyes closed, her face drawn with pain. "Go," she breathed. "The-- the men will not hinder you. Just-- go."

Strongbow wrenched himself to his feet. The keys, he saw, were hanging at the lady's belt. He bent, grasped them, twisted, and they came loose. Winnowill curled into herself, pressing both hands to her forehead. "Leave the keys-- in the door," she gasped. "I will be all right."

Still he stood, gazing down at her, wondering what he'd done to her and how. She shook her head a little, impatiently, without opening her eyes. "Tell the men outside to come in here and take me back to the house. Go home to your wife, Mr. Strongbow. Go!"

Strongbow turned, forced his weak legs to climb the four granite steps, and unlocked the door. He pulled himself up the stairs from the basement to the main room, where four human men were waiting, sitting around a card table stuffed into a space between boxes and bags.

"She wants you. Down there," he rasped. "She is-- ill." His voice gave out on the last word, and he didn't try to explain any more. Stumbling between the wooden crates to the outside door, Strongbow blinked at the first daylight he'd seen since the morning he'd gone out to hunt boar.

Three of the men had already started down the stairs. The fourth one turned and spoke. "She said to let you have the buckskin gelding," he said. "We'll come collect it later."

Strongbow saw a tan quarterhorse hitched slightly apart from a group of others which included Winnowill's Thoroughbred mare. He nodded his thanks to the man and pushed the door open. The gelding lowered his head to blow at the elf in greeting as Strongbow's practiced hands stroked his nose, patted his neck, then checked the girth. Mounting took all the strength Strongbow had left, and he sagged in the saddle as the horse carried him away. But it didn't matter.  

He was going home.

___________________________________________________
Dubbed Streaking ADD Cowboy of Awesome Sagas by KindredSoul and nibblet
Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Combo_1
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Cleopatra

Cleopatra


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Posts : 58
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Age : 30

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptySun Mar 21, 2021 11:53 am

So great to see ElfWest up again <3

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Skann012

I really have a weir sense of humor... but imagine Cutter in a drunken moment at the saloon xD
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Wiseshaman

Wiseshaman


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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptySat Apr 03, 2021 11:48 pm

Nice pic Cleo, great job capturing the moment!

now, onto the next piece of ElfWest, written nicely by Cleopatra


Day Seven - Part Three


Okey, my turn. My next piece of Wing and Bethia. I now my english is not so good, but I'll working on it.


Rainsong had just stood up and were on her way to waken Newstar and Wing while Woodlock maded breakfast. She knocked on the door to Newstar who mumble in sleep that she was awake and then wented to Wing's room and knocked on.

"Wing. Time to get up now, "Rainsong said.

This time, to her surprise, the door opened, Wing rinning out and Rainsong was left alone and blinket confused with her eyes. This was the first time Wing had been up so fast. Still a little confused, she went down to eat with the family.

"Someone who will go to town with me?" Rainsong asked while they eated. Today there was no school for the kids, so they could use their day to do what they wanted.

"I'll join," Wing answered. "I was going to be with my friends today."

"What about you, Newstar?" Rainsong asked.

"I dont know yet," she answered and yawned. Wing hided a little smile. Maybe he saw Bethia in town?

###############################################

"See you later mom. Bye, "said Wing and joined his friends when they came in the town. Wing and his friends had fun while they played unntil he saw her. Bethia. She was with her mother. She had her lovely smile as always.

"Wing?" One of his friends asked. "Wing?"

Friends looked confused to eachother. What was it that took the attention of Wing? But when they saw Bethia, they beginned two laugh a little.

"We see. Wing is in love. "

Wing came back to the world by his friends words.

"I not in love," he said, but he could not hide that he blushed.

"Aw, come on. You must admit she is very sweet. "

Wing blushed again.  

"Well, she is very pretty."

"Then do it."

"Do what?"

Wing did not understand.

"Ask her to play with us. We could play hide and seek. "

Wing did not know what he should do, his legs wouldn't move. His friends did something with it and pushed him a little off. He had to make sure that he not stumbled right in front of her and standed in front of her.

"Hi, Bethia."

What was he thinking? Surely she never would say yes to play with him and his friends.

"Hi, Wing," she answered and gave him a smile.

Come on you idiot, ask her, Wing thought and looked in her eyes.

"My friends and I are going to play, hide and seek. Will you play with us? "Wing asked. He could feel that he blushed again. Bethia looked up to her mother.

"Can I play with them mother?" Bethia asked. Her mother smiled.

"Of course you can. I'll meet you at the restaurant later. All right? "

"Okay, mother. Thanks, "Bethia said and walked with Wing to his friends. He could not belive it. She said yes to play with him. His friends were a little quiet when they came over to them, but not long after they beginned to play. Bethia was the first who should count.

"One ... two ... three. "

Wing and the others were hiding.

"Okay, Bethia. Come and find us. "

"She will never find us here," whispered one the friends while they were hiding behind some barrels.

"Why do you think so?" Wing asked.

"She is a girl.They are not so smart."

Wing didn't like to hear it. How could they say that to one of the kindest girls.

"Found you. My turn to hide, "said her sweet voice behind them.

"Wha ...?" said the friends and blushed. Did she hear what they said? Wing didn't care for now, he could not do anything exept to giggle of his friends. The faces was like tomatoes now.

"Are we going to playing or not?" Bethia asked. It did not look like she heard what his friends had said about her. They continued to play, it was all everyone in the town could hear, the boys had fun and Bethia's lovely lauhgter.

___________________________________________________
Dubbed Streaking ADD Cowboy of Awesome Sagas by KindredSoul and nibblet
Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Combo_1
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Wiseshaman

Wiseshaman


Posts : 657
Join date : 2012-06-23

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PostSubject: Day Seven - Part Four   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptySun May 09, 2021 9:50 pm

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mother's out there who keep the world turning, at least at home...

Now, here's the next piece of Day 7 written by me, WiseShaman

The strange elf gets a name...and a past...


Day Seven - Part Four

He barely caught her.

Her long black dress pooled around her on the dirty barn floor.

He barely caught her before she hit hard enough to bounce.

One second she was talking, in that arrogant air she used, like everyone was beneath her in thought and station...

And then she gasped suddenly before her knees buckled.

Her long black hair that she took such immaculate care of fell into the dirt, gathered in the mud.

Rayek barely caught Winnowill as she collapsed in the stable.

"Senora Winnowill!" He asked with concern, worry.

She stared back at him but her eyes seemed to see other things then the Bounty Hunter at the moment. Winnowill looked up the roof of the barn, gasping for breath, and Rayek could only hold her and wonder what was happening.

He had ridden into the stables and was giving Leila her feed and water when the proprietress of the Ranch arrived, somewhat disheveled and preoccupied, which wasn't too unusual for Winnowill these days. He greeted her after walking around Leila as manners dictated and she looked to him with eyes that seemed sad and happy at the same time. Rayek nodded as she greeted him then asked if he had a moment after lunch. There was a need to discuss Ranch business.

Rayek agreed.

She smiled...a truly genuine smile that he hadn't seen on Winnowill before. She turned to walk away but never took more that three steps.

Now he was kneeling on knee with her in his arms trying to understand what had happened. She clutched at his waistcoat gasping as something took control of her mind, something that she wasn't close to expecting.

"Senora?" Rayek whispered.

It had no affect.

Winnowill's head jerked as her eyes just looked ahead focused on something he couldn't see.  

"What in the name of the revered High Ones?"

The Bounty Hunter looked up to see the owner of the Blue Mountain Ranch looking in at him from the stable entrance...at his wife. And the look wasn't a nice one.

"What are you doing with my wife our humble 'Accountant'?" The elf growled.

Rayek didn't answer Voll. He didn't even begin to know what to say, to call this 'spell' that had taken down the proprietress.

And it wouldn't have helped to know that Winnowill wasn't the only one who had fallen under this 'spell'. In town, at that very moment, Willowgreen was flat on the floor of the kitchen in her small house just on the outskirts of town. She was putting up her breakfast dishes before heading into town when she felt it take her. Rain was in his office, just had walked in the door after dropping Mender off with Woodlock. He had been hoping the boy would listen to his son-in-law and stop being so damn inquisitive about everything when the 'spell' hit. He crumpled under its sudden weight.

Savah, their revered Mother of Memory, had just finished doing some work in the accounting ledge for the boarding house and was checking to make sure her hair was still up in the tight bun she always wore. She had been smiling, still thinking about going to visit with Black Feather, when a send so strong and powerful it hit her like a wall of water. In the blink of an eye she felt the room spin and she dropped to the floor on her hip as her nails dug into the parlor rug that sat on the floor. Savah used her power, her will, and all that she had learned over the long years to hold back the send.

Images of being in a deep dark cavern...

Eyes old and wise starring at her...

Emotion, deep and sad engulfed her...

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Vignette-orig


Seal the door Kurah

Her voice echoed in the cave. It was still small, sweet, but now it reverberated off the walls of stone. It filled his ears and if not for the cold of the door he was sure his head would burst from it all.

The decision to lock themselves away.

The magic eating them alive.

His loss of Alya.

Kurah...seal the door she said again.

No Izar. I cannot do this. I cannot lock them away like this.

Please Kurah...you have to seal the door a tall elegant female elf said from behind. She was Whetu, mate to Aranck, the eldest among them. Her yellow hair still shined like the sun even down in the dark. Even without the magic in her body. Her long blue gown still flowed as if blown by the wind even though the air was still as death.

There must be another way. I cannot...

There is no other way Kurah his brother Bardhyl said just to the other side. They both had long grey hair and a slim build that was hidden by the green robes they wore. His mate Tera stood next to him with her brown curly hair held back by a gold band.

Lesath and Saiph...they were our family...I cannot lock them away forever.

Then she was next to him. She took his wrist in her small soft hand and placed his hand on the stone. He could feel its energy as soon as he touched the rough surface. There was the imperfect line in it. The imperfect meeting of two pieces of stone. The door.

Izar...

You must seal the door Kurah she whispered gently in his ear. You are the youngest left and the only one who still has the magic. It fades even now from our bodies. Lesath has become the vessel to keep the magic at hold with his body thanks to the help of the shamans. He chose to save us and his mate Saiph will keep watch on him. The preservers have cocooned them. The decision was made. No one must disturb them or the magic will return. It is time to finish.

You will die without the magic…Bardhyl...Aranck…you will all die now if I seal the door.

Yes Kurah, we will no longer live forever. And yet if you do not seal the door then we will still die. The magic that was our friend is now our foe. It will kill us all soon. We must live on this world now. You must do this for us Kurah. You must do this for Alya your mate. You must do this so we can thrive here.

The name stings as hot tears roll. The sound of it hurts so much. They were not supposed to die these angels from the sky. They were not supposed to know death these gods from the stars as they were called during dances and rituals. Alya the mother of the trees was gone now too. The magic was eating them alive one by one.

I cannot watch you all die…I cannot be the one who lives

You must Kurah. One of us must keep the magic to seal the door. One of us must keep watch in case...

The words from Bardhyl faded. There is only Izar and her hand. There was only the words she spoke.

Seal the door Kurah. Let us live.

And the power to shape the rock came to life with little effort. The rock flowed like water as the imperfect line disappeared.


The cave became hot.

The air crackled with heat.

Kurah Izar spoke. Stop Kurah.

The heat grew and the power would not stop.

Kurah! STOP!

There was sudden searing pain along his head and side. Hot fiery pain.

Then blackness...

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Vignette-orig


It was done...over.

Winnowill snapped back to real world as the send came to a merciful end. She looked up to see her husband carrying her, cradling her in his arms as he walked through the back door to the house. She looked back to see Rayek looking at them with a scowl as they passed through the mud room. Winnowill didn't care what had transpired between her husband and the Bounty Hunter. She only wanted to lie down in her bed and rest, with her husband. The morning, letting Mr. Strongbow go, had weakened her. She wasn't sure if she had closed off what she opened in the horse whisperer, only that she had tried before he unleashed a send so strong it hurt her.

At least he was on his way home now.

"What happened Brown Skin?" Ekuar asked from his stool at the counter where he was talking to a now started May.

"She collapsed in the stable Amigo," was all Rayek offered.

"Is the mistress okay?" May questioned ladling some stew from a large cast iron pot on the stove into Ekuar's bowl.

Rayek only shrugged his shoulder not sure if Winnowill felt better. He wasn't sure of a lot he thought putting his hat on the coat rack in the mud room before going back to the kitchen and sitting down at the counter. May had barely finished pouring him a bowl full of her stew when Voll called out.

"May, please bring a glass of water to the bedroom!"

She was moving before the sound had a chance to die down. May disappeared after pouring the glass leaving the two elves at the counter silent.

"She just...collapsed?" Ekuar remarked looking at the empty doorway.

"Si, she just collapsed." Rayek answered before spooning some stew into his mouth.

In town, in Savah's room she was finally able to take a solid deep breath. Her faculties were returning slowly but surely. She wasn't sure what she had just seen, but it had to be a part of what Black Feather showed them in the dreamworld. It had to be the true High Ones.

She could feel it.

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Vignette-orig

They pulled into Strongbow's small ranch just after noon. The group came to a stop by the stockyard and the small pen where the horse whisperer worked his magic. In the fence an old brown horse with white spots walked around moving its old muscles. Cutter and Leetah jumped down from their horses as did the others. Shale pulled the wagon to a stop as Skywise sat on his horse looking around.

"It's Shyhider. I'll just stop in and check on Ma." Crescent said heading to the house with Dart falling in behind her.

"Okay, we can water the horses while your inside." Redlance said with a nod and a smile.

"Do you want us to wait for you?" Nightfall asked rubbing Apples nose.

"Yes," Crescent remarked with a playful look like she was offended, "I want to spend sometime with my fiancée if you please."

"Yes ma'am!" Redlance exclaimed leading Firecoat and the Waler and the grey App over to the trough.

The others laughed following the trackers lead. Soon all the horses were drinking as fast as Cutter pumped the water in from a small hand pump. They all stood by talking and watching the horses while waiting for Crescent and Dart's return. Eyes High was enjoying the moment of peace when a scream cut across the ranch.

It came from the house.  

All at once everyone, except for Longbranch and Joyleaf, broke for the house with a burst. Redlance, Cutter, and Skywise both ran and then jumped onto the porch by leaping the rail on the landing. Scouter and Nightfall used the steps getting to the porch just a step or two behind the other three.

"What is it? WHAT IS IT?" Joyleaf screamed as Bearclaw stood by the wagon and her with a pistol pulled and at the ready.

They all stepped into the house and stopped beside Dart and Crescent, just inside the door, and when they saw what had caused Crescent to scream it took all their breaths away too.

There, sitting in his old chair by the fireplace, was the one they didn't expect to see.

"Mr. Strong-"Redlance mumbled.

"bow." Nightfall finished.

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Vignette-orig


He wasn't sure how long he had he'd been daydreaming, getting lost in his long past.

He felt he had been sending, but to whom he couldn't tell.

The long piece of crystal was glowing warm in his left hand, humming like it did in the old days when the Palace flew through the dark between worlds. It was one of only three left he thought, the only pieces left of his old world.

"Are you okay brother?"

The musical language of the Blackfoot lifted his eyes from the crystal.

His name was Kurah, but it had been so long since he heard someone say it aloud or in a send. No, he was just the old one now. He was just 'Brother'.

"I am good Grizzly Bear."

"Were you having a vision?" The shaman asked sitting by him.

Kurah smiled and handed the crystal spike to Black Feather while speaking low. "I dream and walk there more these days Brother. I feel my age."

"You do not look it!"

The true High One laughed. "How is the one who came to me to get the crystal for you? Is he still here with the tribe?"

"Red hair lives with the settlers now. He will marry the pointed ear one he saved soon. I have also seen visions of a dark haired pointed ear one now with him too."

"He is strong that one. To climb that high into the mountains to find me…"

"Red Hair has the Buffalo spirit," Black Feather smiled, "and he has a strong touch of the Bear too."

"I could see it in him." Kurah nodded.

The two sat in a comfortable silence for a minute just enjoying the other's presence when the shaman spoke. "When will you go and see the one who let the spirit loose?"

"Soon Brother, There are still some to come."

The last was too cryptic for the shaman to understand. He only smiled noting it.

"You can stay here with me Brother. The tribe will not bother you while you rest."

Kurah smiled back and took the shaman's hand in his thinking Black Feather looked just like his father's father.

"Thank you Brother."

___________________________________________________
Dubbed Streaking ADD Cowboy of Awesome Sagas by KindredSoul and nibblet
Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Combo_1
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Cleopatra

Cleopatra


Virgo Goat
Posts : 58
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Age : 30

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptyWed May 26, 2021 9:51 am

Great chapter as always Wiseshaman Very Happy

Okay so new fanart and dolls up ^^

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Kaiya11

Kaiya

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Shuna11


Shuna in the future

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Rhiald10

And then Rhialdor and Kirith.
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Wiseshaman

Wiseshaman


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PostSubject: Day Seven - Part Five   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptyMon May 31, 2021 10:04 pm

Those are some great pics Cleopatra, and thank you for the nice words, always appreciated!

Now, here's the next piece of Day 7 written by me, WiseShaman


Day Seven - Part Five

WhiteRaven has a lunch guest and learns a few things...Rayek talks with his amigo...


The sun was just past its zenith WhiteRaven thought, probably just past 2 in the noon she guessed crossing the street. She slipped into her 'man' persona with the ease of a practiced thespian changing her gait to make the character perfect. Hell she even put a small hitch in her step. The street was rather busy this afternoon with people walking to and fro dodging horses that kicked up little dust devils that floated on the wind past White Raven on their way to who knows where. The elf stepped around a pile of dung that must have been dropped by a large work horse when her ears picked up the sounds of a preacher giving the brimstone a good thumping. It was only when WhiteRaven listened in, took notice of the words, than she realized it wasn't a preacher of any kind.

"Good people of Two-Moons, I am here to deliver you from the pains of your mundane life. I can say with a straight face, and a glib tongue, that I may well have come to your little town to save you!"

WhiteRaven walked up to the back of the crowd that surrounded the human who was dressed in a bright green waist coat and brown slacks. He wore a bowler, a bow tie, and a swarthy tone that screamed snake oil peddler. The grumblings from the crowd seemed to mimic her impression of the man.

"Why do you suffer from a sore back? Why do you deal with the pain of tired, over worked muscles that have slaved all day? If you could my friends would not take the opportunity, nay the once in a lifetime chance, of finding a way to reverse time?"

"Hell no, I like waking up to these old creaky bones mister!" A man said from the side sending the crowd into a fit of laughter, all except the lady next to WhiteRaven.

"Oh my friend, with Dr. Pitts Perfectly Prescribed Potion I can guarantee you those old creaky bones will perk right up. With a spoonful of my potion those bones will rejuvenate, regenerate, and reward you with a new vigor for life. An application this magic elixir to the skin will cure a cut and diminish bruises. Now who can turn down another chance at being young and full of vim and vigor again?"
The lady huffed in anger and turned to leave when she dropped her small handbag. The elf bent down and picked it up, like any gentlemen would do, and spoke with a small amount of bass in her voice.

"I take it you don't want to help those old creaky bones?"

"Thank you sir," the woman said with a small nod of thank you before continuing, "and no I do not need help with my bones. He's just a snake oil salesman from back east pushing laudanum in a bottle."

"Oh, I don't know, he seems to making a good bit of sense. I know these old bones of mine could use some rejuvenatin'. Wouldn't it be nice if you could have a second chance at life?"

"Sir, everyone's given an allotted amount of time on this world and nothing will give you any more. Everything will go the way of flesh my late husband was fond of saying, rest his soul. I just find it despicable he passed fighting the Djun while this man sat at a table back east thinking up this rubbish. I lost a damn good man who fought and died so that two-bit peddler can stand there and take advantage of us." She replied putting the handbag on her arm.

"I'm sorry to hear about your husband ma'am." WhiteRaven remarked.

"Thank you again sir, and please do not put one ounce of truth to this man's words. The frontier is a dangerous place and is not for the faint of heart or the foolish." She spoke one last time.

WhiteRaven gave a tip of her hat and whispered low as the lady walked away while her other hand felt for the handle of the tomahawk at her side. "Amen to that ma'am."

She was enjoying the fact her ruse was working so well that WhiteRaven almost missed the turn of events. The crowd's grumbling was starting to rise in volume as another man yelled out cutting off the speaker. "And just what's in this potion of yours mister? I bet its chock full of laudanum!"

"Just a bit my good sir," the speaker quickly jumped on the question. "Dr. Pitts Perfectly Prescribed Potion is made from of a cocktail of special juices, only the finset mountain water, and a variety of herbs. I can assure you the amount of Laudanum is no more than any other remedy."  

"Other Remedies? Mister, have you seen what that stuff will do to someone?" A lady objected angrily.
"They look a lot like someone hanging from a short rope and a tall tree, which is what I'm feeling right now for you mister." A third man glared.

For a second she was sure a fight may, or would, break out if someone didn't step and do something quick. WhiteRaven wasn't in the mood to stick up for some blowhard from back east, which is why she breathed a sigh of relief when Marshall Stump stepped in and got it under control. She turned and headed for Brownberry's while listening to the crowd threaten to run the speaker out of town on a rail, tarred and feathered of course. She only smiled holding back a laugh as she walked into the restaurant and noticed another crowd gathered there.

By the counter two young girls, both elves stood in an obvious state of distress. The owner and the sassy waitress stood by them, trying to keep them calm, while some ranch hand was talking with them. And then there was the schoolmarm, her hair in a long braid today, trying to keep those two calm. The conversation seemed to have something to do with the crew who rode out of here the other night…and the missing horse whisperer. WhiteRaven listened in taking a slow path to the table in the back.

"Scouter was shot!" The thin one with curly yellow hair exclaimed.

"Dewshine, calm, it'll be okay. How bad was my son shot Luke?" The schoolmarm inquired.

"It wasn't bad Mrs. Clearbrook and Mrs. Dewshine, he's okay now. I don't understand how, but all that's left is a hole in his shoulder." The tall ranch hand answered.

Dewshine just shook her head with eyes closed while Clearbrook rubbed her small shoulder trying to sooth her fears. The other small elf quickly stepped up and asked a question that sounded full of fear.

"Is Papa okay? Was he shot? What about Mama?"

"Just be calm Tyleet and let Luke speak." Brownberry ordered softly while putting both arms around her granddaughter from behind.

"Oh Mrs. Nightfall and Mr. Red are okay, except for the tracker's busted ribs. It's kind of amazing they didn't get shot with all the bullets that were flying around." Luke commented hoping the small joke would ease their worry.

It didn't. Hell, it wasn't that good of a joke Raven thought.

"What about Grandpa?" Tyleet asked ignoring the jest.

Luke took a second, to gather his words, before answering. If he was hoping to keep the girl calm it didn't work either. "He was shot in the leg Mrs.Tyleet, but it looks a lot worse than it is."

"Grandpa!" Tyleet exclaimed.

She might have dropped to the ground if not for the fact Brownberry held her. The wife of the lawyer closed her eyes and squeezed her granddaughter tight. WhiteRaven felt a small pang of sorrow for her, empathizing with the pretty lady for a second. She could see the worry in Brownberry's face recalling with too vivid a memory that night her uncle almost died, how her heart raced with panic as she ran through the streets for the doctor. She never wanted to feel that way again.

"Your grandfather's gonna be all right Tyleet. We'll just have to take care of him until he gets well." Brownberry said with a smile looking down into her granddaughter's eyes.

The restaurant owner pulled it together pretty fast WhiteRaven surmised as the schoolmarm added her own smile. "We'll even help out."

"Yes we will!" Dewshine added for her friend.

"Thank you ma'am," Tyleet whispered hugging her grandmother who hugged back just as hard.

"How is the captain?" The saucy waitress asked in turn.

"He's fine Mrs. Foxfur, just got a few scrapes on his face is all."

The front door busted open abruptly and the Marshall stepped in quickly going right up to the women at the counter. WhiteRaven moved over to her table deciding discretion was now the order of the day and wondering what happened to the snake oil peddler. She had barely sat down when she noticed the Marshall was asking about the young Deputy Scouter and when he heard the boy was safe he just smiled and hugged the schoolmarm. The two young girls asked if they could outside and wait for the riders, the two women nodded, and both bolted like a couple of scolded dogs out the front door. That's when the conversation turned serious...and moody.

"Is it true Luke...Strongbow's back?" The Marshall asked excitedly as soon as the two girls were out and gone.

The ranch hand looked like he was gonna be sick all of the sudden, like speaking the next few words were vile. "Yes sir...he rode in just before the others got there."

"What is it Luke? What's wrong?" Clearbrook asked worried.

"Oh nothing," the ranch hand started at first before taking back his words, "well...he's not the same ma'am. There's something...different. I mean he's the same on the outside...but..."

The rest was lost when Rainsong walked up and stood by the table with a bright smile and cheerful disposition. "Afternoon sir, you need a menu?"

WhiteRaven grinned on cue and looked up. "What's the special ma'am?"

"Oh we have some Chicken-n-dumplings Mrs. Brownberry made for lunch with her own special recipe and there's some doughnuts left over from breakfast you can have for desert."

"Do the doughnuts have lots of sugar?" Raven asked back with a whisper.  

"Oh yes...and even some brown sugar on top."

"Well then, dumplings and doughnuts it is, with a nice cup of coffee." Raven quipped.

"Yes sir, coming right up." Rainsong giggled heading to the back.

The conversation was over at the counter and it annoyed Raven just a bit. She wanted to know about this horse whisperer, what was so 'different' about him. This may be the trouble John was speaking about she was thinking as Rainsong brought a large bowl of thick chicken-n-dumplings and a plate of four large doughnuts to the table. The smell alone made her stomach grumble and Raven took a spoonful of the chunky meal noticing the chicken was in hunks and not shredded like the diners made bask east. This was so much better. She slipped her spoon in for a second bite when a shadow fell across the table causing her to look up. A pair of blue eyes looked back bordered by brown hair and a very pretty human face Raven had to admit.

"May I help you ma'am?"

"I was just wondering if you could use some company." The human remarked with a strange smile.

That small voice of reason, which angered Raven most of the time, popped up screaming like a gnat in her ear. There was something wrong here, something out of place. It perplexed Raven, and lit the fire of curiosity in her mind. She was a creature of curiosity, had always been attracted to danger, so when the voice of 'chance' yelled out she didn't ignore it.

"I wouldn't say no to it."

The lady sat down folding her long skirt under legs and crossing her legs demurely. It was a contrast to what Raven felt coming off the lady. There was something more to her, but once again Rainsong walked up interrupting them.

"Can I you get something ma'am?"

"Yes, I'll have a biscuit, a small cut of meat, and a cup of coffee." The lady responded with a smile, her eyes never leaving Ravens.

"Will ham be okay ma'am?" Rainsong asked.

"That will do fine thank you."

"All right then ma'am, I'll have it out in a moment." Rainsong offered walking off.

The two didn't say anything at first. Raven went back to her dumplings and had the spoonful in her mouth when the lady spoke up. "I know who you are Mrs. Raven and I know you're a very good actress."

The statement came out low in a whisper. The restaurant was busy, noisy, so it wasn't heard by anyone except the pair at the table, just as it was meant to be. That voice, the one screaming 'chance' started to bellow while jumping up and down like some crazed troll in her head as Rainsong brought the biscuit and coffee to the lady, and as soon as the waitress was out of sight Raven dropped the ruse of being a male. It didn't seem to be needed with the lady, and anyway it made the game they were playing that much more exciting now.

"I saw you in you're uncle's magic show back east. He was quite the gifted showmen, though I heard there were better illusionists back east at the time."

The remark from the lady was supposed to illicit a response Raven thought, maybe a snap or denial. It was a test, a quick jab to see how she would react. The albino just swallowed her food and spoke in her real voice with a small whimsical smartass smile. "We had enough repeat business at the theatre we never wanted for much and uncle did get invited to some of the nicest parties. He was quite the popular one at the salons."

The lady only raised an eyebrow at the statement noting the response she received then ate a small bite of her biscuit. Raven took a sip from her coffee noticing that since the husband of the owner left she didn't need to stab the brew to death with her knife to drink it. The silence gave Raven time to think, remember the times at the theater back east in an attempt recognize the lady's face. It wasn't working. Her memory for detail was excellent but she was drawing a blank as her 'company' spoke.

"I was sorry to hear about your uncle's 'accident'. I would like to offer my condolences."

"He's doing much better, resting safely thank you." Raven commented.

"I guess I can go ahead and say those four rotten scoundrels got what they deserved." The lady whispered sipping her coffee.

So that's it, this is what John was warning her about. The trouble had nothing to do with the horse whisperer. The elf was still alive so he surely didn't run into John. No, the 'trouble' was sitting right here in front of me Raven thought. Well, at least I can have some fun maybe she continued to think before speaking.

"Yes they did. Justice was swiftly dealt."

The lady looked at her a moment, sizing her up again the way a woman does Raven thought, with a blank expression. Then she smiled again and pointed at the plates of doughnuts.

"May I have one?"

"Please, by all means."

The lady picked up one of the golden friend pastry rings and broke it in half dunking one end into her coffee. "John rarely befriends anyone so when I heard about the four men and you, well I had to come and see for myself what had him so fascinated."

Raven just smiled going easily with the change in the conversation. If the lady knew her and the history of the four men then she knew about John. She only spoke calmly while digging out a nice sized dumpling.

"John Lee isn't one to be fascinated by me I can assure you Madame. I can safely say there is very little that can sway him."

"I use to think that," the lady countered with her smile leaning in on one elbow, "but then for some reason he comes to your aid knowing full well what that would incur. John Lee isn't one to make rash judgments. He knew 'helping' you like he did would put a price on his own head."  

Raven's spoon stopped halfway to her mouth, paused for a mere second, before finishing its trip to her mouth. The slight hesitation was picked up by the lady though and she used like a cudgel on Raven.

"You didn't hear? One of those scoundrels was the nephew of a prominent general that had my father's ear. Father sent a man named Kistner after John, a hired killer that wasn't up to our albino friend's ability, but good enough in his own right."

"Why are you telling me this? I've all ready said I hold no sway over John Lee and that's the truth Madame."

"Because Mrs. Raven, John is here on business and he needs to stay on business. I don't need him chasing after you. I don't need him to be a guardian angel at the moment."

The words dripped with jealousy and Raven thought maybe this went just a little deeper than 'business'. "John's a friend, nothing more. I never asked him to look out for me or my uncle. I never would."

"Well that's nice to know, we both have the same notion." The lady remarked.

"That we do." Raven replied pushing the bowl away and picking up a doughnut.

The lady unfurled herself from the chair in a slow fashion, reached into a pocket on the side of her skirt, and pulled out a large gold coin. She put it down on the table and spoke low. "This should pay for lunch, and the company."

Raven looked at the coin then back up to see the lady was walking away, but then stopped and turned back. "Kistner, ask John about him."

The lady only received a nod in return before leaving the restaurant. Raven ate the three doughnuts then left leaving the gold coin on the table, what was left could be a tip to Rainsong she decided. Before she had completed the walk to the livery Raven had also decided to visit with John Lee, make some time. She needed to know just what she was in for and who Kistner was.

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Vignette-orig

"Do you think Mrs. Winnowill will be okay?"

Rayek looked up from his desk and the ledger that sat on it. "I think her Marido (Husband) is taking good care of her Amigo."

Just the sound of the word Marido made Ekuar flinch. It was venomous coming from his friend's mouth, a curse word almost. The proprietor and owner of the ranch had gotten under Rayek's skin with the jealous attitude and scathing eye. Everyone who knew or took the time to know the Bounty Hunter knew he never went where he wasn't invited and he knew better than to venture forth onto Mrs. Winnowill's 'lands'. So the jealous stance from Voll just upset Rayek, nothing more.

"But to have her just collapse like that in the stable..."

Rayek unfortunately had stopped paying attention to Ekuar. He was still thinking of Zhantee and what role his dear friend had in this whole enigma that was his father's death. He could see the potter now, all covered in clay, handing over a bag of money to the rustler Dave. Why was Zhantee involved? How long had he been involved?

The sudden mention of his name snapped him out of the thought, back to looking right at Ekuar. "Hizole perdón, dice algo amigo (I am sorry, did you say something friend)"

"I asked why you why said Zhantee's name?"

"I did...I do not know why..." Rayek skipped past the question looking back down to the ledger.

"What does your old friend have to do with your mood Brownskin?" Ekuar inquired carefully with his usual gentle tone.

The Bounty Hunter stopped taking down umbers in the ledger. He leaned back in the leather chair and stared at his companion, his amigo. It was amazing he thought to himself, how the only two people he really cared for could bend him like a blade of grass when they wished. Leetah used her stubborn strong will to force his hand when she wanted him to talk while Ekuar was the opposite drawing him out with a gentle hand and a caring love he had never felt.

"He met with the man who killed my father, gave him money to keep him quiet." Rayek whispered.

Ekuar shook his head and offered advice with that same gentle tone. "Do not blame him so early Brownskin? You do not know his true role in Ingen's death."

"I know amigo," Rayek continued to whisper, "Zhantee did not have the nature to be a part of my father's death. He was probably used a messenger with no understanding what the money meant."

"Then what is it Brownskin, what has you so fearful?"

How do I tell him the Bounty Hunter thought? How do I tell him I'm afraid of what I will become, of what I've done? How do I say I'm afraid of what I might find?

How do I say I'm afraid of losing you like I lost Leetah?

"Everything amigo...everything."

The two sat in silence letting the confession sink in slowly.

"Then do not be afraid of my leaving Brownskin. I will be at your side, standing with you no matter where this crazy search takes you."

And there was the gentle caring love. The love that let him know he wouldn't have to be alone all the time with this, a love that eased Rayek's burden, took the weight from his heavy heart.

"Thank you amigo."

___________________________________________________
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Wiseshaman

Wiseshaman


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Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Empty
PostSubject: Day Seven - Part Six   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptyWed Jun 09, 2021 9:43 pm

And here's the next piece of Day 7 written by our favorite, KRWordgazer


Day Seven - Part Six

It begins about 9:00 a.m. on the morning of Day Seven and ends with the meeting at Strongbow's ranch a little while after noon: Homecomings Part 5

Moonshade woke late, surprised to find herself lying on blankets by the kitchen stove. It came back to her then, like a heaviness pressing down the air all around her. The empty kitchen. The loneliness. Strongbow still missing. She sat up, rubbing her eyes, and noticed a piece of paper lying on the blanket.

"Clearbrook asked me to take Chitter for you this morning, dear. I came in the other way and helped her dress to play with my girls.. Come get her whenever you want to. Your friend, Rainsong."

Tears filled Moonshade's eyes. Everyone was being so kind. It was as if. . .

Her mind shrank from the thought, but could not escape. As if she were a grieving widow.

Fighting the sense of darkness that seemed to be pinning her in place despite the brightness of the day outside, Moonshade struggled out of the blankets and stood, running her fingers through her hair. As she did every morning, she stepped over to the shelf to wind the clock. Then she sank down at the kitchen table. It was Saturday, and she wouldn't be going in to her shop today. Dart and Crescent should be back early this afternoon. She had been forcing her mind to stay away from thoughts of what they might face to bring Redlance, Cutter, and Skywise back safely, though that self-discipline had only seemed to make her pain over Strongbow worse. Now a jolt of worry shook her. Supposing they had run into real trouble? Bearclaw was a match for anyone he might meet, but that very fact sometimes made him rash. And no matter how skilled he was at gunplay, he couldn't keep her children safe.

Moonshade rose and began moving restlessly around the kitchen, putting away the dishes on the drainboard, wiping the counter, checking the supplies in the pantry. She picked up her egg basket and lined it with a towel. The hens were used to her coming much earlier than this.

But then the dark weight came down on her again, and she sagged back into her chair and put her head in her hands. She sat like that for almost half an hour by the kitchen clock, before shaking herself out of her melancholia and out to the chicken coop. She could hear several of the farm hands in the stables, but she didn't feel like talking to anyone, and she gathered the eggs in silence.

When she came back, she was starving. She shoved her blankets into a corner, put wood in the stove and lit it, then set a frying pan on top to heat. She cracked a few of the fresh eggs into a bowl, then put the rest away in the coolest part of the pantry. She buttered some bread, fried her eggs, and sat down to eat, only to find she had to force down the meal.

Perhaps she should go down to Rainsong's. Perhaps watching Chitter, Brill and Krill play would take her out of herself. . .

All at once she strode over to the pile of blankets on the floor, bundled them up, and carried them up to the bedroom. She folded them and put them in the airing-cupboard, then changed the sheets on the bed with fierce energy. She hurried downstairs for the broom, viciously swept the floors upstairs and down, then scrubbed them without mercy. Faintly, she heard the clock strike eleven, then noon, but she hardly noticed. As long as she was working, she wasn't thinking. Wasn't worrying. And that was all that mattered.

***

Strongbow sat under a tree where he'd been forced to stop and rest-- again. He figured, from the position of the sun when he left Winnowill's, that it had then been about nine in the morning. Now the sun was past its zenith. Frustration made him grit his teeth. One of Mr. Voll's hands, whom Strongbow had passed on the way off his land, had told him it was Saturday. Three days, he'd been gone. But at least he could avoid going into town in this condition. Moonshade would be at home today. And he didn't want anyone else to see him

He knew he must be pale, unshaven, the wound on his forehead still livid despite Mrs. Winnowill's attempts to use her strange power on it. He didn't want to have to endure concerned questions and pitying glances. Later, once he'd got home and had a chance to rest, he'd go see Marshall Treestump, and then Mr. Longbranch, about what she'd done to him. For now, all he wanted was to follow the back roads home.

But the back roads took extra time, and riding for more than twenty minutes at a time made his head throb. He wasn't sure how long it had been since he'd had anything to eat, either-- since he had refused to eat the last (presumably drugged) meal Mrs. Winnowill had provided. So he found himself having to stop and rest, over and over again, tying Mr. Voll's gelding to the nearest branch with hands shaking with weakness, and stretching out full-length on the ground till the pain and dizziness ebbed again. At one point a strange, dreamlike state had come over him as he lay there: almost like delirium. He didn't think his head wound was infected, but perhaps he was running a fever. It had been an odd fever-dream, though-- a cave, and sorrow, and tall elves in robes: not anything like his usual dreams.. He had no idea how long he'd dreamed that dream, but it had been only one of many delays. And all the while his impatience to see and hold his wife kept growing.

He would not let himself believe the dream had anything to do with reality. All of Winnowill's mind games had been only that-- mind games. And whatever strange illness had overtaken her when he'd left-- he had to have been mistaken. It couldn't have had anything to do with him. He would not believe it. . .

Then, at last, the familiar roof of his own home showed above the treetops. Strongbow's heart began to race. He didn't want Luke, or Billy, or anyone else to see him till after he'd seen Moonshade, so he slid off the buckskin's back one last time and gently drew its head down to his own. Winnowill's hired hands had said they would come back to get the horse-- but the last thing he wanted right now was any hireling of Mr. Voll's or Mrs. Winnowill's, coming anywhere near his home or barns.  

"Go home," he told the horse, letting his eyes, his hands, his breath, convey the message. "You know the way. Go home."

He gave the gelding a slap on the rump. With a low whinny it trotted off. Strongbow took a deep breath, and stumbled the last fifty yards to his own front door.

***

Moonshade, weary and disheveled, dropped into her rocking chair and wiped at her forehead. The house was sparkling, immaculate. She knew she'd run out of work to do, and that it was high time she went to get Chitter at Rainsong's. In fact, it was strange that Chitter, missing her, hadn't run home by herself by now. She was very good at getting away from those who were watching her. . .

The heaviness she'd been keeping at bay with all her scrubbing, was hovering over her, waiting. She didn't want it to descend again. A wild stab of longing pierced her. If only the door would open now, and her husband come walking through. If only he'd hang his hat on the rack and sniff to see what was for dinner--

Her breath caught in her throat, and tears sprang up in spite of her fierce effort to hold them down. Please, High Ones. Don't let me start crying again. Don't let me--

The door opened with a little creak. And Strongbow walked into the room.

Moonshade shrieked.

He staggered forward at the sound, his arms rising to catch her-- but it was she who had to catch him as he nearly fell. His face was very pale. Her breath was coming in short gasps; she thought her heart would burst. "Dearest! Husband! What's happened to you? Wh-where have you been?" she stammered, but even as she spoke she was guiding him across the room to his own chair by the fireplace. As he sank into it, she pulled a crocheted blanket off the back of another chair and tucked it around him. Her fingers hovered frantically over the half-healed wound on his brow. "What did they do to you?" she whispered.

His eyes-- those deep brown eyes she'd thought she might never look into again-- rose to meet hers. "Not now, my dear. Please," he rasped, giving her a faint smile.

"I'm sorry," Moonshade breathed. She found herself running into the kitchen, pouring a cup of water, racing back to him. "You look parched. Drink this," she commanded. Wordlessly he took the cup and slowly drained it, all in one long drink. While he was doing this she went back to the stove, poured hot water from the kettle that always sat there, onto a clean rag, and brought it back to lay it against his wound. He winced a little as the hot cloth touched his head, then relaxed and smiled. She didn't need him to speak. It feels good, he was saying. It feels good to be back home, with you.

Moonshade knelt by the side of her husband's chair and brought her lips to his.

*****

The kiss didn't last very long. It was interrupted by the sound of the kitchen door bursting open. "Ma!" called Chitter's high-pitched voice. "Ma?"

"In-- in here, Chitter!" Moonshade managed to call, but her voice shook. With an impatient bang, the door into the room was pushed open-- and Chitter stared, her eyes round

"Papa!" she squealed, and hurled herself into his arms.

*****

It was perhaps 15 or 20 minutes later, after Chitter had filled her Papa in (without pausing for breath) on all the games she had played and things she had done since he left ("and I prayed for you, too, Papa! Every night!")-- after she had scrambled off his lap and gone to the pantry to bring him some bread and cheese-- after he had eaten it solemnly and thanked her, and she had gone upstairs to play with her dolls-- that the sound of cheerful voices and horses' hoofs erupted outside.

"Dart and Crescent! They're back! And all is well!" exclaimed Moonshade with relief. Strongbow raised an eyebrow at her, and she quickly told him that Cutter, Redlance and Skywise's had gone to Silver Springs, that trouble had arisen and that Bearclaw and the others had ridden out to help.

She was not quite through speaking when the front door swung open, and Crescent and Dart were standing there. Their eyes widened. "P-Pa!" Dart said. Crescent simply screamed

And then people-- crowds of people-- were piling into the main room. Redlance, Nightall, Cutter-- a couple of lovely Spanish maidens, one of whom Moonshade recognized as Rose-- Bearclaw and Joyleaf, Longbranch, Scouter, and Skywise, followed by a couple of strangers, one of whom looked exactly like an older, sweeter version of Skywise--

They all stared. "Mr. Strong--" murmured Redlance.

"--bow," finished Nightfall.

"Where did you--?"

"How did you--?"

"We thought you were--"

"Are you all right?"

The cacophony of voices made Moonshade wince for her husband. His hands had gone to his temples, his eyes closed.

"Quiet!" she said sharply. "Can't you see he's hurt?"

Silence. Moonshade went on quickly. "He only just arrived. He hasn't even had time to tell me where he's been yet, or what happened to him. But he's not well."

Strongbow, opening his eyes, gestured to her for a pencil and paper. She rose and brought them to him, while everyone came in and found seats. Moonshade smiled at those she hadn't met. "Rose, is this your sister? I can see the resemblance.. . . Marisol? Very pleased to meet you. And Skywise, who are these-- what?! Your parents?"  

As Skywise introduced Shale and Eyes High, Strongbow scribbled a few short sentences on the paper. Moonshade took it from him, gazed at it in shock-- and at the clamor of requests to read it aloud, did so.

"Kidnapped by Mrs. Winnowill. Kept in a basement. She's got a crazy idea about ancient elf powers. Tried to make me have powers. Mind-talking kind of thing. Then all at once she got sorry, and let me go."

No one spoke for a moment. Then Bearclaw growled, "This raises more questions than it answers."

"She can't get away with that!" Longbranch said. "We can have the law on her."

"I know Mrs. Winnowill often meets wth Mrs. Savah and a few others. Some kind of club," Joyleaf said. "But I never thought she'd--"

"Do you think Mr. Voll knew about this?" Cutter asked.

Strongbow shook his head.

Dart and Crescent, who had both come to Strongbow's chair earlier to stoop and embrace their father, looked at each other. "Dr. Rain should see to that head wound," Dart said.

Crescent's eyes went to Leetah. "Maybe. . . that won't be necessary," she murmured.

"That's right!" Scouter said excitedly. "I was wounded in the gun fight--"

"Gun fight?!" Moonshade snapped.

"Yes, Ma, a gun fight," Dart answered. "But as you can see, we're all ok. We'll tell you the whole story later."

Moonshade frowned at him. Crescent moved to put her arm around Redlance, whose other arm encircled Nightfall.

Scouter opened his mouth to start again, but Strongbow was gazing at his elder daughter. "What is this?" he rasped, gesturing towards the threesome.

"Uh-- Pa," Crescent said. "Redlance has asked me to. . . "

"I asked her to marry me, sir," Redlance said. "To marry me and Nightfall."

"Oh!" Moonshade exclaimed. She looked at her daughter in shock. Redlance? That wasn't surprising. A threesome? That was. Not unheard of, of course, but still--

"Please, Pa-- Ma," Crescent said softly. "Give us your blessing."

Moonshade looked at her husband. He looked at her. His eyes were soft. She took a breath as a moment of pure understanding passed between them.

"You have it," Strongbow said to Crescent. Moonshade nodded.

"Oh, Pa!" Crescent rushed forward to hug him again, while Moonshade stepped over to take one of Redlance's hands and one of Nightfall's in each of hers. "You two have been one for as long as I can remember," she said. "Promise me Crescent will never be less to you."

A tear sprang up in Nightfall's eye. "Never!" she said fiercely. Redlance nodded solemnly. "I've always loved Crescent too!" he said. "I just never thought-- never thought I could get as lucky as this!"

Moonshade embraced them. "Welcome to the family," she said.

A cheer erupted from the onlookers, quickly stifled as everyone glanced in concern at Strongbow, for his reaction to the noise. He winced again, but managed a small smile as he looked around at them all.

Scouter spoke up again eagerly. "What I was going to say was, I got shot in the shoulder-- but Rose there healed me! I bet she could do the same for Mr. Strongbow!"

Moonshade saw Rose and Cutter glance at one another. She saw Marisol smile and nod at Rose. Rose, looking a little shy, began to walk towards Strongbow, her hands outstretched. If Moonshade had known it, it was in exactly the same way that Mrs. Winnowill had stretched out her hands to Strongbow, just before--

*NO!*

It wasn't a sound: it was a feeling of stabbing pressure. Everyone together cried out in pain. Moonshade, clutching her head, stared in horror at her husband. But Strongbow's eyes were on Rose, as she fell at his feet in a dead faint.

"Leetah!" Cutter was on his knees by her side, glaring at Strongbow. Strongbow slid out of his chair and onto his knees beside the still form, his face white. Marisol, at Rose's head, was gently slapping her cheeks with little murmurs of concern.

Just then the door burst open again, and Luke and Billy rushed into the room. "What's going on? We heard--" Billy yelled, breaking off with a start as he gazed.

Luke was frozen, his eyes on the group on the floor. "B-boss?" he said shakily.  

Strongbow's eyes rose. "Get. Out." he grated.

It was not the way he usually spoke to them.

They got out.

"Dearest, what-- what happened?" faltered Moonshade, her head still throbbing.

"I-- don't know," he whispered. "I don't know."

And everyone stood, or sat looking at one another, unable to think of anything to say.

Strongbow was back. But something was very wrong.

And no one knew what.

___________________________________________________
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Cleopatra

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptyThu Jun 10, 2021 2:01 pm

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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: Day Seven - Part Seven   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptyMon Jun 14, 2021 8:17 pm

And here's the next piece of Day 7 written by the mysterious WhiteGhost


Day Seven - Part Seven



The next piece of Day 7, WhiteRaven goes searching...


The WhiteRaven paused in the cool shadow of the stable, thinking hard. The initial curiosity that had driven her actions in the cafe was fading, replaced with a growing sense of alarm. Less then twelve hours after she discovered John Lee was in town, and he had warned her of 'Trouble from the East', here was a woman who was obviously involved in... well, whatever it was that was going on. So while 'Raven was indeed intriqued, she also didn't much like what it implied. Things- this 'Trouble' -were happening faster now, but there was a long way yet until 'it' hit it's peak.

The pale elf resumed walking and entered the stable, the warm smell of horses and the happy growled greeting from the two canines making her smile. She'd brought the Coyote and the Near-wolf some knackers meat earlier and nodded at them as she lifted her saddle from the storage rack. "Whaddya say boys- wanna go for a run out on the flats? There's a few things I want to check out." She grinned at them and quickly saddled the painted pony. He stirred under her hand and she stroked the long lean neck. "I know." She chuckled. "You want to be on the road again, even more then they do. And I don't blame you, cooped up in here. Still." She tightened a cinch. "You needed the rest."

She led the horse out into the bright street, the two canines following a few paces behind. "I'll be back in a few hours!" 'Raven called to the lurking stablehand.

A brief stop at the general store then another at the boarding house to change her town coat for the hardier duster and a touch of the medicated cream on eartips and nose. It was vile stuff but it did seem to help.

She hadn't gone near John's room. Some women might have gone up, tried the door hoping for an answer but not her- that was too obvious, too expected. Besides- she'd seen him leave earlier. No, she was going to go about her daily business as if the hundred and one questions the strange woman generated weren't there percolating in the back of her mind. She wasn't sure who exactly the woman was- she had an inkling- but she knew enough to realize that it was likely the woman figured on her to go right out and find John Lee, relate everything that happened and then... who knew? That might be enough to get her head on the not-so-figurative chopping block. Or John's. Or maybe one of the harmless shmucks who were just trying to make a good life in the town. No, no. 'Raven mused, smiling cheerfully at the random residents of Two Moons she passed, there was more then one way to skin a cat... and some didn't involve shedding a single drop of blood.

Then the albino elf was riding leasurely out of town, out onto the wide flowing vastness of the prairie, the low flat horizon. 'Raven gave an extra few miles on the road, more then most people would -watching to see if she was watched- before she broke to the side, into the low scrub along a intersecting deer-path. She used a good portion of the tricks she knew to avoid being back-trailed, from brushing her tracks away to riding down creeks and up over hard pebbley ground where tracks wouldn't show. She was no Indian tracker but she knew it would take a keen eye to find her way, even with the recent rain. She didn't want anyone to know where she was going- assuming of course someone had an intrest in such things. And considering the odd events at lunch... well, that seemed a lot less improbable now then it had after breakfast.

She was circling back, heading towards Two Moons.

'Raven knew John Lee had a partner and She also knew he wasn't staying in the town proper- a man like Mister Clayton you just couldn't miss. No, she was willing to put good money down they'd set up a small camp somewhere... somewhere they wouldn't be noticed but still close enough to the town for easy acess for whatever it was they had to do there. She'd taken a good long look at the area maps in the land office- with the big ranch on one side, the hacienda and it's land on the other, all the little farmsteads between and the mountains running in a long ridge behind them the available land was rather limited. It was still miles and miles of rolling hills and sun touched prairie... If she had to pick a camp she'd put it higher up in the boulders fallen from the ridges and cliffs in the foothills. Land that wasn't much good for anything other then hunting or ranching a few cows, or maybe siteing a small placer mine. Less people wandering there to stumble into you and ask questions. Lots of cover. And the smoke from a small fire might not be noticed up against the stone and tall trees. Thats why she was riding up there first.

John had said as much as he would on the topic of this "Trouble"- of that she was sure. She wondered- hoped- that his partner might be a bit more forthcoming. The long grass- already drying into its late summer bleached state shushed along the Paint's legs, the longest strands -heavy headed with clinging seeds- brushed the bottom of her booted feet. It was going to be hell getting it all out of Greedy and Yellow Eye's fur tonight. Pure hell.

The flatland changed to low hills, the low hills into respectable ones and behind them the true mountains, gray and white stone stark against the afternoon sky. But it was the lower hills that interested her as she scanned for the telltale smudege, checked possible gulleys, looked below rock-strewn cliffs and peered in runnoff-carved coulees.

There was a scuffle in the dry brush, a sudden high pitched shriek that was abruptly cut off. The elf tilted her head listening. She knew what was going on. There was a low snarl, a yip and she smiled: Greedy, older, bigger and grouchier had taken whatever it was Yellow Eyes had killed. In all probably it was a gopher or a ground squirrel- their holes and diggings dotted the meadow here the way trolls burrowed through a mine. There were plenty more gophers to catch: the pair of them would eat well today. A dazzle of brilliant scarlet caught her eye- a little flower surviving in the shade of a stone, red as fresh blood. 'Indian Paintbrush' she absently recalled. Seeing the real thing, the small illustration of it she had found in one of her Uncle's books did it no justice .

How had the woman known she was there, who she was- 'Raven hadn't known where she was until she got there! It gnawed at her and she turned the conversation and the questions raised over and over in her mind, as a dog might a bone. The albino mentally reviewed where she had visited in town, where the woman could have seen her, learned of her. The cafe? The saloon? The stables or perhaps the talkative little Ahdri at the boarding house. Someone like her or John rides into town, people were sure to talk. "That could be it." The albino muttered to the Paint. "Sure. She's from the East, in the middle of this...'Trouble', tries to keep me off balance, out of the picture until whatever's going on is finished- or close enough someone meddling can't mess it up." She reached out and patted the Paint's neck, smiling again. "I supose I should feel honoured -or something- that I'm considered enough of a hinderance to be warned off." She laughed then. "And I still have no idea what's going on!"  

***

<b>The WhiteRaven</b> looked up at Mister Clayton. He was a tall man- considerably taller then John Lee and solidly built. If you smooshed the two albinos together somehow they still wouldn't equal Mister Clayton's sheer bulk. He was a mountain of a man: no other term came close to describing him.

"Good afternoon Mister Clayton." 'Raven told him, standing at the edge of the little camp. "I hope I'm not intruding. I..." She paused, looking up at his broad scarred visage. John Lee she knew. This man was an unknown element: He could snap her neck with one meaty hand if he felt like it. "I wanted to talk to you. About John and what's going on in Two Moons."

The silent man simply looked at the slender elf then shrugged easily and turned away. 'Raven tied the paint to a scrawny tree nearby, the horse -ever opertunistic- fell to grazing. Greedy trotted behind the elf while the coyote dissapered into the underbrush.  

The big man had been cooking a skillet full of beans and bacon over the fire. He sat on a cut stump, lifted the pan and wordlesly offered it to the elf.

'Raven raised one hand in polite denial as she propped up another piece of firewood to sit on. "I ate in town -which is partially why I came out here." The big man shrugged again and began to eat as the elf gathered her thoughts.

"There was a woman in town today who joined me in the local cafe. I hadn't seen her before. Human, curly brown hair, bright blue eyes: like the summer sky. None of the locals seemed to notice her. I got the impression she's the kind of woman that blends with a crowd until she doesn't want to: You know what I mean."

Clayton grunted and stirred his beans.

"She... knew about John, about why you two are here. I don't want to- it's your business, I want to stay out of it if I can. I'm in town by sheer coincidence." The albino shook her head, long braids jiggling. "She knew who I was, about the show and my uncle and the men who hurt him. Funny thing- I don't recall ever seeing her in the theatre or meeting in the salons." 'Raven chuckled softly. "She said one of the men was related to a general back East, who had her father's ear. Told me about a man named 'Kistner' -told me to ask John about him. Now I don't like the way that sounds, Mister Clayton, what that implies. There's only a few people I can think of that would have that sort of... influence and I'd really rather none of them had anything to do with my kinfolk or me."

The abino broke off a stalk of grass and idly dragged it around in the dust. "I always figured John might have gotten in trouble if anyone found out what he did for me- for us." She corrected quickly. "All this time I thought it was all right- he never said anything." Another quick pause. "I supose he wouldn't. He's stubborn that way."

Clayton, across the fire gave a small amused snort into the frying pan. He scooped up the last bite, and set the pan on the ground beside him. Yellow Eyes appeared as if by magic and joyfully started to lick it clean.

"I know you're not that fond of elves Mister Clayton- it's understandable. A lot of people aren't: We're a strange lot. I... I don't mean any offense saying this- I know you both could could take that town out, easy. And if you wanted I wouldn't leave this camp alive." 'Raven scowled and tossed the wisp into the fire. It caught almost at once, a quick orange flare and was gone, a string of black ash all that remained. "Mister Clayton- this woman- call it a hunch but... she wants something from John I don't think he can give. And if she doesn't get it a whole lot of people are going to suffer for it- starting with the two of you."

The man-mountain sat silently, regarding her, an odd expression on his ruined face. For a long moment the only sounds were the snap-crack of the fire, the wind rustling in the trees nearby and the sloppy slurping of the coyote. Then he gave her a considering nod.

'Raven nodded back and stood. "Thank you Mister Clayton. I should be on my way- you enjoy the rest of the evening." She reached into the deep pocket of her duster and placed a small paper-wrapped bundle on the stump. "Just a little something sweet, in case you're a bit tired of your own home cookin'."

Greedy lurched to his feet and padded toward the Paint even as Yellow Eyes gave the pan one last lick. The pale elf mounted her horse and went back the way she had come, consious of the big man's eyes on her, even long after she was out of sight. She wondered idly about the bundle she'd left: with the peppermint stick candy inside, and what he'd do with it.

___________________________________________________
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Rainflower

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptyWed Jun 16, 2021 7:06 am

I am so glad to see this continueing. Makes me really happy🤗been a little busy but I'll try to repost something myself soon. Been a little behind cause of RL. Covid and stuff.

Confess I gotta re-read a bit as well...
Good to see you, @Wiseshaman
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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: Day Seven - Part Eight   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptySun Jun 27, 2021 11:19 am

Good to see you too Rainflower

And now on with the next piece written by me, Wiseshaman

Day Seven - Part Eight

John Lee has a private conversation and the group makes it home finally...


He kept covered and hidden between the boughs of a pine, out of sight of any passerby and the burning sun overhead. In his hand was the receiver/sender for the pocket telegraph unit with a thick wire running off of it to a small black disc clipped to his ear so he could easily hear each dit and dash. Two separate wires ran up the length of the pole he hid next to where they were clipped into the metal coils to the telegraph wires.

The small box that contained the pocket telegraph was still now as John Lee waited for a response from his counterpart back East, a Mr. Eckert. He could easily see Eckert in the study the Railroad men always used, sitting by the window with his own pocket unit with the same wires running out to a hidden connection in the wires that ran along the sides of the large mansion. He could picture him writing down each response from him, handing the paper to their employers and then waiting for their response. It was a simple game of pass the paper, but with the weight of the world on your shoulders. If anyone was listening in all they would pick-up were two old ladies trading apple pie recipes, unless they had the code to decipher the messages. John looked through his dark glasses scanning his small notebook, checking again to see how the conversation was going along.

His employers asked how the situation was.

He replied the map was still in town. The four female elves were separated now, but he knew where each was.

After a few minutes his employers wanted to know if the females knew of the gold.

He replied he was sure they knew what the code meant, but had made no move to go and retrieve it. He could only guess the four had some clue to what the map lead to.

Again it took a few minutes before his employer asked if the elves knew about the Maquis. Did the man back east who broke the code know it was Maquis?

He sent back that one of the females was involved with a Sheridan Scout, the red haired one, and that he might know about the Maquis. Again, he couldn't be sure without risking exposure as to what was known. It only remained to see if the elves would go and get the gold.

The albino looked out over the prairie, the shifting sea of grass as he waited. Soon enough the unit in his hand hummed and he deciphered the message. His employers wanted to know about the Djun's daughter, Kaiya.

John Lee took a minute to work this one out in his head. It was a delicate question, but he decided to be frank and truthful with the Railroad men. They knew about Kaiya, about how she was. He tapped out that she was just outside of town eagerly waiting for the elves to go and get the gold. She was trying to bed him, and she was interested in the WhiteRaven, who was also in town.

He could just imagine the looks on the four men's faces when the message came across and Mr. Eckert handed it to them. It didn't take long for them to respond, the telegraph receiver going crazy in his hand. They asked what she was in town for, did it have to do with their close past.

John Lee grinned and sent back no, the past was not part of this. She was in town for something else, moving out here to be exact. The Djun's daughter though might become a problem. She was impatient and greedy. She might try to force the situation, cause a problem.

And that's where it stood, just waiting for a response. The sun was starting its descent to the horizon and John Lee realized he'd been out all afternoon playing this game. He started to think, let his mind drift, and of its own accord he started to think about those four men he had killed because of Raven. Why he'd done it was no mystery. It was justice, the righting of the scales. They had damn near killed her uncle, and if she hadn't gone for that sword they would have defiled her. Men like that were lower then mongrel mutts, no place in this world for them. What they got they deserved, no less. The real question was why her, why Raven? John Lee had seen his share of those in need, those that could have used his 'specialties'. He'd seen thievery, extortion, and murder when it came to standing in the way of the Railroad. He'd passed on the chance to help others...passed them by without a second glance. He was no one's white knight, no one's hero.

So why her, the voice asked again.

The telegraph hummed to life and the dit's and dashes came through the headphone pulling John Lee out of his thoughts. He was to proceed as planned, they're plan, and if Miss Kaiya felt otherwise she can come to them. No one is to know why he is in town, secrecy above all.

Yes sir, understood, out.  

The unit went dead in his hand. John Lee pulled the phone off his ear and stepped out of the boughs heading for the pole. His mind went back to the questions as he climbed it with ease going to fetch the wires for his pocket telegraph.

So why her?

Raven was more than capable of defending herself, there were few men who could stand toe to toe with her. John wasn't sure about gunplay, what she'd do to get herself out of something like that. And he still wasn't sure why he got involved in the first place, something in him just reacted. When she told him what happened that night in the cafe over the coffee, when he heard the worry in her voice, something just made him do what he did best. It wasn't love, he wasn't capable of that. You have to love yourself first before you can love someone else, and John Lee only accepted his life. He only accepted what he was, what he did, because anything else would mean coming to terms with too many demons.

He unclipped his wires, climbed down, and meticulously put away his pocket telegraph in it's wood box. He made sure all the wires were neatly stowed before closing the lid. He put it in his saddle bag and turned his horse away from the spot heading toward the hills. He had sometime to go and do a little looking for a certain someone.

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They rode on in silence approaching the town. The wagon creaked and moaned as Shale drove it while keeping an eye out on the surroundings. His wife sat calmly, quietly, by his side and his son rode just off the side on his Morgan. No one said a word, not a murmur, and hadn't since leaving Mr. Strongbow's. Dart and Crescent stayed behind to see to their father, even though it looked like Miss Crescent wanted to leave with her new fianc饮 If you asked him no one wanted to stay after Rose, no wait, it was Leetah now, had fainted right as that strange pain hit them all no once.

Shale looked over to Skywise and felt a little sorry for him. As soon as Cutter had called Rose Leetah everyone's eyes went wide. Who was Leetah they all asked? The Major looked lost for a second, like a man who was trying to make a decision at a fork in the road and didn't have a map to show him the right direction to take. His son stepped in so quick everyone in the room jumped, stating that Rose was just a stage name, that all the working girls had a name to cover up their real names.

Skywise cringed before he was even done.

The Major looked at him hard enough to shoot him, and Leetah's sister, who was now Shenshen and not Marisol, might have slapped him had she been close. He apologized fast enough to keep his neck from being snapped, and the apology was partially accepted by Leetah once she woke up. Everyone forgave the tongue slip, all except Nightfall it seemed. She walked across the room and stood on the other side the whole time after that. She only talked to Crescent and Redlance while they were in the room at the ranch. She rode by the tracker's side well away from Leetah on the ride to Bearclaw's and Joyleaf's ranch house. She helped get Joyleaf inside without saying a word to anyone before going back out to her horse.

Now it was just the silence as they got closer to town, a silence that was as thick as a pond scum and just as nasty it seemed. Shale heard his son give his horse a small kick and watched Skywise ride over to the tracker and his fianc饮

"Are you planning on speaking again, or are you just not speaking to us?" The Captain said with a smile to Nightfall.

She turned to him with a small smile and spoke coldly. "I got nothing to say. If I did Captain, and it concerned you, then you'd be the first to hear it."

"Okay, I understand," Skywise replied with a nod brushing off the remark, "but why are you so upset with Leetah. She's just using a stage name, nothing more. Yeah, she may have lied to us about some things but I'm sure the reason out weighs whatever trespass happened. Isn't her friendship worth more than a little hurt to your pride?"

Nightfall whirled on him with a look of disbelief and shock, but the expression didn't extend to her lips. "What makes you think I'm mad at her? Just how in the name of Two-Moons did you get so many women in bed? It's sure not because you know anything about us that got you there!"

Now it was Skywise who looked shock and hurt, and just like Trick Shot it didn't stop his retort. "Well, I'd like to think it's my witty banter and stylish charm."

"It ain't, trust me!" Nightfall shot back with a laugh.

At least she was laughing Skywise thought when Redlance looked at him and whispered. "Did you see it when that strange pain hit?"

"See what?"

"The room," Nightfall whispered to him with worry in her eyes, "it went all grey and cold, like it had been abandoned."

"Abandoned?" Skywise said with a shake of his head.

"Yep, like no one had lived there for years. The walls were broken down, the furniture rotted to piles of scrap, and there was dust everywhere. It was like we had a vision or something" Redlance added.

"No, I didn't see anything, but I was in so much pain frankly I wouldn't have noticed if I had a good poker hand."

The three rode in silence, Skywise now chewing on what he had been told. It made perfect sense why Nightfall was so quiet now, and why she turned to Redlance. "I don't like leaving Crescent up there after that vision. I'd kill myself if something happened to her because we weren't there."

"She'll be okay. She needs to be with her father tonight, we'll be together soon enough." Redlance said with a wink.

Nightfall reached out took his hand as she settled that her fiancee was right. The conversation stopped as they entered town, the street getting crowded with people. Marshall Stump suddenly appeared riding up on his horse Treetop with a big smile.

"Damn good to see you people finally home, where's Cutter?"

"He hung back to make sure his mother was going to be okay. He'll ride in with Leetah and Shenshen later tonight." Redlance answered.

The Marshall looked at the tracker with a sideways glance. "Leetah?"

"It's Rose's real name. She was just trying to keep her privacy is all." Nightfall added rather shortly.

"Oh, well how is my sister?"

"She's okay, got rump full splinters, but nothing worse than that." Skywise spoke up.  

"Well that won't keep her down. How bout you Longbranch, you okay?"

"I'll be okay, just tell me Luke didn't say a word to Brownberry about my leg." The lawyer called out form the wagon.

"Okay, I won't tell you." The Marshall remarked with a laugh.

"Aw Damn!" Longbranch said with a sigh just as two small girls came running across the street dodging horses and people.

"PAPA! MAMA!"

"SCOUTER!"

Tyleet and Dewshine came running up out of breath. Both separating and going to the people they were calling for. Tyleet let Redlance pull her up onto Firecoat sitting in his lap while Dewshine did a small jump from a skip landing right behind Scouter with her arms wrapping around him.

"Are you okay Papa? They said you hurt your ribs?"

"Oh I'm okay, just a little bruise." Redlance said with a smile looking down with love and affection for his daughter.

"Did you really get shot Scouter?" Dewshine asked hugging him from behind.

"I'm fine Dewshine. I have too many things to do to get hurt badly." He responded.

"Yeah, like what?" Dewshine asked with a whisper.

"Tell you I'm sorry for acting like a fool before I left, for acting like what makes you happy doesn't matter when it should. I'm sorry Dewshine, sorry for not treating you right when I should have." Scouter answered just as low.

The two rode in silence after that, neither one needing to say a word. Tyleet on the other hand had plenty to ask. "Are you okay Grandpa?"

"I'm okay too little one, more importantly, how's your Grandma?" Longbranch asked.

"She's worried sick about you. Dr. Rain is waiting at the restaurant for you." Tyleet grinned making the Lawyer sigh.

"Let's head around back. We can get Papa up the stairs easier and no one has to see the blood." Nightfall said with a wink.

"Now don't you start!" Longbranch laughed.

Shale guided the wagon around the back of the business behind the riders. Scouter and Dewshine went on down to the Livery with the Waler and Grey Appaloosa in tow. The group didn't go far when they saw Brownberry and Clearbrook standing out on the small porch at the back of the restaurant. Longbranch turned and watched as his wife stepped down and ran over as the wagon came to a stop.

"How bad is it?" She asked pulling the tailgate gate down with a snap.

"Now just calm down mother, I'm okay." Longbranch said scooting down the bed of the wagon while trying to calm his wife.

Brownberry looked down and saw the bloody bandage and turned calling out for the town doctor. "Dr. Rain!"

"I'm coming, give an elf a second." He laughed stepping down the steps.

While the doctor looked over the wound Nightfall and the others hopped down from their horses and walked over. She walked over and put an arm around her mother's shoulders and whispered.

"You should have seen Papa. He was so brave standing up to those miners. I felt safe with him just being nearby."

Brownberry put her arm around her daughter's waist and smiled. "I know, he's always been my hero."

The doctor looked over the wound before turning back to the others. "It doesn't look that bad. Let's get him up the stairs to your room and I'll take the bandage off to have a better look at it."

"All right," Brownberry whispered moving out the way so Redlance could help get her husband out of the wagon.

With a half hobble and half jump Longbranch made it up the stairs leaning on Redlance with Brownberry and Nightfall and Tyleet right behind. Clearbrook turned to Skywise with a smile and quiet demeanor.

"Where is Scouter?"

"He went down to the Livery," Skywise responded, "with Dewshine and the horses. He's gonna get them settled for the night, which is what I have to do with Shale and Eyes High here."  

"Oh, I'm sorry I don't have time for a proper greeting. I need to go and check on my son." Clearbrook said giving the two elves a small nod before heading back into the restaurant.

"She seemed nice." Eyes High remarked as Skywise helped her down from the wagon.

"Looks can be deceiving!" He shot back with a wink making his mother laugh.

Inside the kitchen Foxfur was busy getting herself together for the Captain, running a hand through her hair and straightening her apron and dress as the crowd shuffled through. She had to giggle as Longbranch saw the platter of left over doughnuts on the counter and exclaimed with surprise.

"You made your sugar doughnuts for breakfast!"

"Yes I did, now get upstairs!" Brownberry ordered.

"Son, for the love of all you hold dear, steer us over to the counter so I can get at that platter." Longbranch whispered.

"If you take one step toward those doughnuts I'll skin the both of you!" Brownberry snapped with a raised eyebrow.

Redlance just laughed as Longbranch winced, and the tracker was pretty sure it wasn't from his leg. They did the same dance getting the lawyer up the stairs with Rain and Brownberry right behind them. Nightfall took Tyleet's hand and guided her over to the counter by the platter with an impish smile while taking down a plate.

"How many should we take to Grandpa?"

Tyleet smiled just like her mother and giggled. "At least half!"

"I was thinking the same thing!" Her mother whispered sliding half the stack right off the platter onto the plate.

Foxfur laughed and shook her head some more at the pair as they both waved to her heading upstairs. She was watching them disappear when the Captain walked in through the open backdoor with two other elves. She ran hands down the front of her dress one last time ready to greet him. She had played the scene through her mind all day of them meeting up, seeing it from all kinds of angles and each time with a different approach. She was ready for anything...except what actually happened.

Skywise smiled wide at her and she smiled back waiting to hear him talk when the door to the dining room burst open and in poured Maleen, Vurdah, and Ruffel. They were whining and screaming for their Captain, crying out in praise for his deliverance from the miners while their lips kissed his face and their hands ran all over him.

"Oh Captain, thank the High Ones you alive!" Ruffel wailed.

"Are you hurt? Let me take care of you!" Vurdah cried.

"Come, let's go back to our room at the Saloon! We'll take care of you extra-special Captain." Maleen demanded.

All three had him, pulled on him, and all Skywise could do was get dragged out the door into the dining room. "Ladies...wait...ahhh, watch the hands! Those weren't made for grabbing like that!"

Eyes High turned to Shale with a look of surprise and embarrassment, her cheeks turning red. He was speechless in turn only shrugging his shoulders in confusion. She looked back to Foxfur, whose eyes fumed and poured fire.

"Umm...I take it he knows them really well."

"If you call breaking a bed, with all three, then yes he knows them!" Foxfur spat turning back to the counter and starting to make a plate of food.

"Oh...well...I guess we need to find the boarding house. Umm...could-" Shale spoke edging toward the door.

"Big building across the street can't miss it!" Foxfur hissed slamming a spoonful of mashed potatoes on the plate.

"Right...is it okay if we leave the wagon in the back for now?" Eyes High asked slowly, carefully opening the door.

Foxfur grabbed a large pork shop out of the pan and slammed it on the plate with a loud smack before answering. "You can leave it any where you like, don't matter none to me!"

"Okay, thanks!" Shale exclaimed pushing his wife out the door, a successful escape.

The kitchen went silent...too quiet. It gave Foxfur the chance to think and that was the last thing she wanted to do right now. She shoved the plate away from her feeling her heart break, her dreams shatter, and it hurt so damn much. Why, she thought, would she assume that he'd ever feel anything for her? He was the Captain, Skywise, the great ladies elf! He didn't have time to love anyone but himself. He couldn't love anyone but himself. And if you though differently, well the joke was on you.

"I'm such a damn fool!" Foxfur whispered as the tears started to fall. They were heavy and hot burning her cheeks as they rolled down her face. She couldn't stop them; the pain that tore at her heart was too much to handle.

"You're no fool Foxfur. If there's a fool in here it's me."

Hearing his voice was like a sudden slap in the face. All at once the tears stopped and Foxfur gathered herself standing up straight and wiping her face. "What do you want now?"

"I came back to talk." Skywise spoke looking at her with sad eyes.

"Why, don't you want to run across the street and break another bed with your good time girls? I mean they were really worried about you." Foxfur said coldly pulling down another plate from the rack overhead.

"I don't think they were the only ones." Skywise offered leaning up against the counter.

"Oh please, the line is long enough around here of women who'll jump in your bed when you need it. I didn't worry one bit about you, hell I didn't even think about you while you were gone!" Foxfur shot back.

The kitchen went silent again as Skywise let Foxfur give him the business. He deserved it he figured before speaking. "Yeah, I've sowed my oats you could say. I was always one step ahead of staying together, one move ahead of getting tied down."

"Yeah, you've been really good at making us look like a bunch of fools." Foxfur agreed setting up the second plate.

"I know...and I have to pay for that." Skywise looking down at the ground.

Foxfur stopped what she was doing, making a massacre of a dinner plate, and stared at Skywise. She wasn't sure why, if it was his words or if it was his tone, but something told her this was real.

"It's got nothing to do with paying Skywise, nothing to do at all."

"Yes it does," he said pulling something from his vest pocket and laying it on the counter between them, "I can't make you forgive me for hurting you Foxfur, but I can show you that I want to be forgiven."

"Forgiven for what?" She asked with a low voice.

He took his hand back leaving a single key on the counter. "For taking advantage of the sweetest, most beautiful elf maiden this town has ever seen. I need to be strung up in the middle of town for doing what I've done."

She was having a hard time breathing all of the sudden and Foxfur had to fight for every scrap of air she could get. She looked at the key then back up to him. "What's that?"

"It's the key to my heart." Skywise said stepping away from the counter.

"It's what?" Foxfur gasped with a whisper.

"I've never given a woman anything of mine, not a card or a letter or even a flower. I left most with nothing but memories and dirty sheets. I don't want that for you Foxfur, but I know I can't make you forgive me. That's the spare key to my room across the street at the boarding house. Anytime you feel I've paid my debt and you can forgive me then I'll be waiting." Skywise explained.

The room was spinning and Foxfur was breathing so fast she couldn't get a decent amount of air into her lungs. "I...Skywise..."

He continued on, speaking calmly to her, right to her. "There's only you now Foxfur, your my 'Mary'. I don't want anyone else, not the good time girls or anyone else in that long line. I'll be alone in my room every night if you want to stop by and check on me."

"I don't know..." Foxfur whispered feeling torn between her heart and mind.

"It's okay Foxfur...whenever you're ready. I'm not going to force you into anything." He said one last time before heading to the door.

She watched him leave. She heard the door swing shut. And she couldn't move. It took all her power just to breathe. She looked down at the key, at its shiny surface, as her mind raced out of control. She reached out with a trembling hand, her shaky fingers finally grasping the edge of the metal. It slipped into her palm with ease, like it was meant to be there, and she felt a sudden rush at her heart. Suddenly she had to yell out, call out for him.

"Skywise!"

Before her voice died down in the kitchen the door swung back in and he was back in the kitchen with her, a look of hope on his face. "Yeah?"

Foxfur didn't say anything, just took two large steps and fell into his arms crying uncontrollably. He held her, let her cry, and even cried himself a little bit.

"Hello Mary."

"Who is 'Mary'?" Foxfur asked between breaths.

"It's a long story. I'll tell you later." He smiled as she put her head on his shoulder.

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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: Day Seven - Part Nine   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptyThu Jul 15, 2021 9:59 pm

And now on with the next piece written by me, Wiseshaman


Day Seven - Part Nine

Here's the next piece of Day 7, we see the group getting settled in and answering a few questions...


"So he proposed?"

Crescent only nodded for the tenth time at the question. Wavelet and Wavecatcher stood at the doorway to the living room from the dining room with Crescent watching the three girls sit and talk with Strongbow. You could tell he was hurting, and not just from his head, but he would never disappoint his little girls. He nodded at every word, grinned at each little laugh, while letting them sit in his lap and hold his hand. Chitter and Krill talked about how brave he was to face down Mrs. Winnowill, how strong he was to get away from those bad men while Brill looked at him scared. Moonshade sat nearby knitting, not even out of arm's reach from her husband, also listening carefully as the girls entertained him. She looked ready to pounce, like a she-wolf guarding her mate, if she was needed.

"Yep, right there after we met up on the trail." Crescent answered.

"To both of you, at the same time?" Wavecatcher asked.

"No, he had all ready asked for Nightfall's hand. He just wasn't sure till he left for Silver Springs that he wanted to marry me too. I wasn't sure until he left."

Why did it shock everyone Crescent thought? She loved Redlance and Nightfall with all her heart, all she had, and they returned it the same. There wasn't a doubt in her heart that she would left behind, not one single shred of it, and yet everyone seemed to think the opposite. She sighed reaching up to rub the bone necklace that Redlance had traded to Tyleet that she in turn gave to her, and just below that the small carved totem made out of bone strung on a worn piece of leather. It belonged to Red's mother, the last thing he had of Mary Starshower, a beautifully carved Bear. She remembered trembling as he took it off his neck and held it out for her.

"I don't have a ring Crescent, my tribe does it different when we ask for the hand of the one we love. This necklace was my mother's, given to her by Black Feather to protect her from the dark spirits. She gave it to me two days before she died, to protect me from the dark spirits, and now I want to give it to you because of how much I love you. To let everyone know I want to take you as my wife, as much as Nightfall. I love you both the same, not one more than the other."

When he held it out she could only nod slightly as tears started to fall. She felt Nightfall hold up her hair as he tied it in place, not too tight around her neck. Crescent looked up and shook her head while hugging them both.

"I'll never be this happy again, but if I can get just a touch of it every once in a while then I'll be satisfied."

"I think we'll be this happy for a long time Crescent and you'll just have to live with it." Nightfall replied with a smile kissing her.

She felt Redlance squeeze her close, kiss her, and then lean back with that shy smile and she realized her sister was right. "That's all I've ever dreamed of."

"I'm surprised Mr. Strongbow let his little girl go that easily. I'll have a hard enough time with Krill, but Brill will break my heart." Wavecatcher remarked leaning up against the door jam sipping some coffee.

"Where's the wedding gonna be Crescent?" Wavelet asked quickly.

"We're looking outdoors somewhere, maybe by the pond we own now. We want to include the tribe, their Redlance's family, so we need it to be outdoors." Crescent said with a smile still rubbing the totem.

Wavecatcher only nodded in agreement as he finished the coffee off. "Well, I'll get back to it. I need to see to some chores."

Crescent nodded getting ready to head out with him. "Okay, I'll go with you. I want to check on some things."  

He nodded again walking over to Strongbow patting his boss on the shoulder as he walked up and winking. "I'll take care of the horses. Hey, I saw Redlance had a nice Waler mare with him, maybe he'd like to let her visit some of the boys up here."

Strongbow's eyebrow shot up at the mention of the Waler mare, and he caught the secret code for having a stallion stud with her. Of course at the mention of boys all three little girls made sour faces sticking out their tongues. Wavelet laughed and even Moonshade couldn't hold back her smile. The horse whisperer was thinking about the Waler though. A horse that fine would make a pretty penny for the ranch he thought looking over to his daughter. Crescent only smiled, walked up, and kissed his forehead.

"The Waler is Tyleet's horse. Red said she has the final word on whether there's going to be any 'visiting'."

He only smiled taking her hand in his. "Are you happy?"

The question took Crescent by surprise, but she just smiled a little bigger and answered the question. "Yes Pa, I'm so very happy."

"That's all I've ever wanted for you." He added with his gravely voice.

She kissed his forehead again and turned going for the door. Moonshade kissed her cheek when Crescent leaned in. She felt her heart swell with love at her daughter, how she glowed it seemed. She went back to her knitting, but after a few chain crochets she looked up at her husband. The girls were so busy talking and playing at some guessing game they had forgotten about him and in that small respite he had turned to look at the fire that was steadily eating away at a log or two. His eyes were so distant she thought, so very far away and lost in some tangled trap. Oh he could hide his emotions,from everyone else but her, anyone but her. And she could see he was lost, hurting,not the whole elf she had fallen so in love with.

Well it didn't matter she thought going back to knitting. He was home, back with his family, and she'd ride through anything to make him whole again. There was no price she wouldn't pay to see him safe, even her own life was worth the price to see him well. Strongbow was her life, her soul, and she would readily give it over to know he would never hurt again.

Crescent walked out to the pen where two horses ran around Billy as he got ready to turn them on the walking lead. She climbed over the fence in her dungarees while calling out to her hand.

"I got em' Billy. Why don't you and Luke go check on the others? Make sure they got feed and water and Shyhider isn't too cold." She said picking up the lead.

"Yes ma'am." Billy said heading for the barn.

She was no horse whisperer like her father, but Crescent was no greenhorn when it came to them. She called one over with few tongue clicks and attached the lead to its bridle with a small knot. It took a minute to get the horse up to a quick trot as she spun the free end on the lead around snapping it at the ground. During the whole setup Crescent never thought about each step of getting the horse walking. Her mind was on her fiance and her sister. She wanted to sleep next to them again, under his arm while hold her hand and dreaming of small little girl with long black hair and a wild smile walking next to her as they visited town.

But she wouldn't leave her Pa, not in his state. Oh he could hide his emotions from everyone else but her, anyone but her. And Crescent could see he was hurting from something that Mrs. Winnowill did, and if it took all her life she'd find a way to set him straight. She'd find a way to stop his hurt.

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Vignette-orig

Redlance trotted across the street dodging a few people to get to the boarding house, heading over as soon as he got the message from Skywise. He found the Captain standing in the foyer next to his parents Eyes High and Shale by the desk where Ahdri was sitting. He looked fit to be tied Redlance noted stepping up drawing no attention himself.

"What's the problem Skywise?"

"Ah," Eyes High yelped suddenly startled, "how are you so silent?"

"It's the moccasins." Shale said with a laugh holding all they owned in his hands, two carpet bags.

Skywise smiled at his father's remark while talking to Red, "The boarding house is all filled up, no more rooms."

"It's true Redlance, grandmother told me to hold all the open rooms for some special guests that'll be arriving here tomorrow. I'm sorry, but we're all booked." Ahdri said with a sympathetic look.

"That is unless you give Eyes High and Shale your room." Skywise pointed out with a small grin.

"Oh no, we can't put Redlance out!" Eyes High objected shaking her head.

"No, we can stay at the saloon. You all ready have friends there-"Shale tried to add before Eyes High slapped his shoulder.

"It's no problem, actually you'll be doing me a favor. Tyleet has been asking for me to stay at home with them, begging really, so this will just make her happy. And I want to be around to help father with his leg."

"See we're all good, and trust me, my 'friends' at the saloon lost their love for me. I'll be lucky if one of them doesn't take a shot at me when I cross the street." The Captain laughed.

Redlance grinned at the statement not sure what the Captain was getting at. He thought about the proposition and turned to Ahdri. "Can we do that Ahdri, have them take my room since it's paid up till the end of the month?"

"I think so, the room's in your name. I can make a note in the ledger." Ahdri remarked shrugging her shoulders.

"Of course we can do that Granddaughter, just make the notation in the ledger." Savah said suddenly coming down the stairs.

Shale gasped a little at the sight of her, at the way she seemed to glow and shine with a light from inside. She would be cool drink to a thirty man someone had once said in Djunsland to him and he immediately thought the same about Savah dressed in her light green skirt and dusty yellow blouse. She walked down the hall to the kitchen and Shale followed her every step mesmerized it seemed.

"Yes Grandmother, I'll make the change. Do you want to get your things out of the room Redlance?" Ahdri asked.

"Yeah, just give me a few minutes to run up and get them." The tracker responded with a smile.  

"Thank you for doing this Red." Skywise said with a nod.

"My pleasure Skywise, can't have your parents sleeping in a broken bed at the saloon." He replied with a wink.

"No we can't." The Captain laughed with a shake of his head.

Shale's eyes narrows as he started to think hard. He turned to Ahdri and whispered causing her to look confused. "Do you have something wrong with the beds in town? They seem to keep braking a lot."

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Vignette-orig

"Am I gonna live Rain?" Longbranch asked with a laugh.

The doctor laughed with him checking the bullet hole in the lawyer's leg, which had now turned to an ugly purple. "Oh I think you'll be up and in the courtroom in no time Longbranch."

Brownberry stood nervously just behind the doctor eyeing the wound carefully, noting it was no laughing matter that her husband had been shot. The wound looked nasty to her, but if Rain said it was okay she had to trust him.

"What do you want me to do Rain?" She asked worried.

"Well, we'll just keep a small bandage on it for now, let it 'breath' you might say. If you just keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't start to get puffy from infection than you'll be in good shape. The bullet went all the way through so there's no chance for blood poisoning from the lead."

"All right, how long does he need to stay in bed?" Brownberry questioned him.

"I'd say the rest of the day, the wounds still a little wet. If he feels like it Longbranch can start walking around tomorrow, just keep an eye out for any bleeding or infection like I said, okay?"

"Yes, thank you Rain."

The doctor left the room laughing at the two as they nipped at each other in obvious love and devotion.

"Now wait, I got to sit around tonight doing nothing?" Longbranch cried.

"That's your punishment for getting shot you old codger!" Brownberry spat pushing her husband back into bed and covering him with a blanket.

"You want to stay with me?" Longbranch asked rubbing her side, the hint more than obvious.

"And just who will run the restaurant while I'm up here?" She exclaimed.

Before she could do anything Longbranch pulled her to him, encircling her in his strong arms. It felt so warm, so right as he rubbed his forehead to hers before kissing her deeply and strong. Brownberry felt her legs go weak at it, felt her body warm, and when they broke she was gasping for breath.

"I love you Brownberry. I want to lay with you and my leg be damned!" He whispered.

She only smiled running her hand through his beard. "Tonight my love. I am all yours tonight."

Rain was still laughing as he went to the small living room where a nervous Tyleet, with a plate full of doughnuts, sat waiting impatiently. She jumped up as quickly as she saw him, speaking just as quick.

"Is Grandpa going to be okay Mr. Rain?"

"Yes Miss. Tyleet, he's going to be just fine, sore, but fine. Now I know he'll be happy to see those doughnuts so go on back." The doctor said with a warm smile.

"Yes Sir Mr. Rain, thank you for helping him."

"My Pleasure," he laughed as the little girl ran back to the room before turning to look at Nightfall, "you need me to look at Redlance?"

"No, he's going to be fine. Leetah took care of his ribs."

"Who's Leetah?" Rain asked confused.

"It's a long story for another time doc, are you going up to see Mr. Strongbow?" Nightfall asked concerned.

"Yes, Moonshade had Luke drop off a message asking me to come up as soon as I could. I still can't believe it, kidnapped!"

"I know, but can you give a message to Crescent for me?"  

Rain nodded and smiled at her while speaking. "Yes ma'am, I guess I could do that."

Nightfall handed over the small folded paper and Rain stuck it in the pocket of his red vest before heading out the door. She closed it behind him in time to hear the laughter from the bedroom, Tyleet and Brownberry were enjoying something her father was doing. She went back to enjoy it too, High Ones knew she needed a good laugh to stop worrying about Crescent and Mr. Strongbow.

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Vignette-orig

Cutter washed off his neck and face from the water basin while Leetah and Shenshen sat on his bed waiting. He had taken off his old light blue work shirt leaving just the white thermal long sleeve on for the moment. Leetah was still silent, choosing not to talk after what happened at Strongbow's. Shenshen though had no problem with talking.

"Do you think Senora Nightfall is mad at mi hermana Major?"

The question brought Leetah's head around from where she was staring out the window aimlessly. Cutter took a minute before answering, a long minute to get his thoughts together. "Well, I think Trick Shot's hurt, but it's not anything that would stop her from forgiving Leetah if she were to just explain it."

"She did not seem to want to talk with me Cutter." Leetah pointed out.

The Major grabbed a shirt from his bureau, a red one and started to put it on while speaking. "That was something else entirely, trust me Nightfall isn't one for avoiding anyone or anything."

"Are you sure?" Shenshen asked.

Cutter tucked the shirt into his dark blue dungaree pants and pulled up the suspenders over each shoulder. "Are you afraid to go and talk with her Leetah?"

"No, but I do not want to make things worse. She is the one true friend I have here in Two-Moons beside you and I do not wish to lose her."

"And sitting back won't make it go away. Nightfall's the type to face whatever she has to, head on, just like you Leetah. If you just go and talk with her it'll all smooth over, I know it. And you have plenty of friends, there's Skywise and Red and Crescent and Rainsong and Dart, Hell the list could go on for a good five minutes!" Cutter joked finishing up.

Leetah only smiled as he walked over. He looked so unbelievably handsome in his red shirt, so brave and forthright, it made her warm instantly. After the shootout, after having him act like he did and come that close to death, it just made her love for him that much more. Shenshen stood suddenly from the bed speaking.

"Are we riding back to town?"

"Yeah, Leetah needs to see Picknose and get ready for tonight, right?" Cutter asked.

"Si, and I need to speak with mi hermana Nightfall."

"May I use the powder room before we leave?" Shenshen questioned.

Cutter looked at Leetah confused before speaking to Shenshen. "If you're asking about cleaning up we have a wash room down the hall. If you need the bathroom the outhouse is just out back."

"Usted tiene que ir a utilizar afuera el cuarto de bano? (You have to go outside to use the bathroom?)" Shenshen exclaimed as if someone had just slapped her mother.

"What?" Cutter asked back really lost all of the sudden.

"Utilice justo el cuarto de lavado, por favor! (Just use the wash room, please!)" Leetah said back with a laugh while standing up from the bed.

As soon as Shenshen was gone Leetah felt the Major's arms wrap around her waist and pull her close. She didn't resist and only put hers around his neck in return. They kissed deep and long breaking finally to catch their breath.

"I've been waiting all day to do that." He whispered.

"And I have been waiting for you to do it." Leetah said low with her eyes closed.

"I think its time to be a little presumptuous again."

"It is?" She asked feeling her heart skip.

"Yes ma'am. I want to court you Leetah, if you'll let me. I want to marry you when you see fit." Cutter asked looking deep into her green eyes.

Her heart skipped a beat again as the words echoed in her head and she smiled again while whispering. "Si Major, I would like that very much, but do not be very surprised if I do not wish to take long with courting."

"Oh really..." Cutter said with a smile.

"Si, realmente...( Yes, really...)" Leetah whispered just before standing up on her tip toes and kissing him again. They kept it up until Shenshen had to cough politely signaling it was time to break for air again.

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Lunakat

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptyFri Jul 16, 2021 6:18 am

Aw! Everyone ended up happy.
Weddings all around!

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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: Day Seven - Part Ten   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptyWed Jul 28, 2021 11:19 pm

Yes, LunaKat, they're happy...for now! *dramatic music plays in the background*

but now on with the next piece written by me, Wiseshaman


Day Seven - Part Ten


Winnowill and Rayek have interesting dreams while Spine and Skywise have realizations...


It was small, almost invisible, but she could feel it. She could sense it as she traveled the expanse of his mind, the essence of his being, the one called Strongbow. She saw images of his wife, his children, and his life. She felt love, fear, and shame. It was all here, laid bare for her as she walked along.

Then she saw it, buried away in his mind. There, just through the cobwebs and grey mist of long lost memories. There, hidden and lost to him, until now, until this very moment. It was so small, a dull globe, pale with no color in the dark. She reached out and touched it with her mind. She ran the long fingers of her consciousness over it and it pulsed with a light while shocking her pleasantly. She did it again and the same affect occurred. She knew the globe should glow, bright and strong, but it would not unless it was revived. This was it. The Ancient Powers! She had found them locked away in the horse whisperer's mind, kept dormant.

She touched it again, but this time she didn't pull away. No, she kept her consciousness touching the globe, caressing it, lending her energy to it so it could glow once again bright and strong.

But nothing was happening.

The globe didn't respond. It just sat there, refusing the energy she gave it freely.

And then she had to stop...for then. She came back again and again finding the globe easier each time, being drawn to it like a needle drawn north on a compass. She tried again to revive the globe, and again it did nothing. She felt anger suddenly. She felt betrayal. She would not be denied after being so close. She jammed her fingers into the globe, rammed her consciousness into it with fury. She forced her energy into it.

The globe would glow dammit! The Powers Would Not Be Denied! She Would Not Be Denied

And then...it did. It glowed...hummed...came to life shuddering and blinking at first.

But then it sprang awake with a pop flooding everything around in a harsh white light that burned, like a white star from the very sky itself. It was too much, too much! She stepped back; fell back as the light hurt he, burned her. There was a scream from somewhere, not from Strongbow, but from somewhere else, somewhere far away.

Then it all changed.

She was surrounded by nine figures. All wearing dark robes with their faces and heads hid behind the folds of the cowls. They were here for her...for what she did. They were here to lock her away, send her away. She screamed as the nine closed in. She screamed as loud as she could.

Winnowill woke from her nap with a snap. She was confused and disoriented at first before she recognized the things on her nightstand, realized she was in her bedroom at her house. It was a dream she thought happily, all a dream. Well, not all of it. The part with the horse whisperer was true and accurate. She had unleashed the globe in his mind, the powers, only to find it was hurting him, killing him from the inside out. You tried to heal him, Winnowill thought to herself, you tried to and the powers would not let you.

She sat up and noticed her clothes were drenched in sweat. The room didn't feel hot, yet Winnowill couldn't stop sweating. Maybe it was from all the stress? A nice hot bath would help she thought getting to her feet. The walk down the hall was a little unsteady, a little teetering, but Winnowill made it to the wash room and the tub. She called for May and when the maid showed the proprietress had her order one of the hands to bring in five large buckets of water. As each came they were heated on the small wood stove in the wash room and then poured into the large slipper clawfoot tub, so distinguished by its high end backs to support one in a sitting position. Her husband had it brought out here from back east, a small gift. The wash room was foggy with steam making her sweat more, but it also made her feel alive. Winnowill started to undress when the door opened and she turned to see her husband.

He closed the door to the room while looking at her the way he used too, back east when they had first met. A hungry look.

"Are you all right Winnowill?"

"Yes...I had a headache but it has passed. I just wanted to take a bath before dinner, be presentable." She offered.  

Voll looked so handsome, so striking standing there in his white wingtip shirt unbuttoned at the throat and tucked into black dress pants. His long white hair was pulled back in its usual ponytail she noted as he crossed the tiled floor, walked past, and stood behind her whispering from behind.

"May I help?"

She didn't answer him as he didn't wait for one. He reached around gently taking one wrist in his hands undoing the button on the cuff of her shirt. He turned to the other wrist undoing the button there slowly. The entire time he undressed her Winnowill felt out of place. It wasn't like her husband to show this much attention to her, to dote on her like this. And she wasn't one to need this, but for today she wouldn't turn it down. As she sat in the tub letting the heat from the water sink into her pale flesh she let him bathe her gently.

There was a sense of solace, and dread, in the quiet.

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"Have you heard anything yet?" Darshek asked Spine.

"No, not a thing." Spine replied from his barber's chair where he sat.

"It was stupid to contact them Spine, even for the Major." Snakeskin spat standing just a few feet away.

Darshek shook his head and spoke quickly. "If the Major and the tracker will help them then I say the contact, and any risk, was more than worth it."

"You would say that Darshek, but this is not something you just do. We have to think about what the others on the other side are going through, what they will go through if they are caught. We have to have a plan." Snakeskin countered.

"And while you sit here trying to think about what to do our people die at the hands of a dictator!" Darshek pleaded.

"Stop it will you two." Spine broke in with a snap. "I did what I did because of what I saw in those boys."

The barber shop fell quiet. Outside the window men and women and elves and the occasional troll walked past. Snakeskin chewed on his lip thinking while Darshek sat pumping his leg up and down impatiently. Finally, after a minute, Spine spoke up answering his friends and fellow Wavedancers.

"I contacted them through the old way. It'll be a few days before I hear anything even if I do. And I did it because of what I saw in Redlance's eyes, not any other reason but that."

"What did you see?" Snakeskin asked.

Spine shook his head before answering, as if the talk was overdone and he didn't want to rehash the old like this. "A sense of caring, like he truly wanted to help them, us. I haven't seen anyone look at me like that in a long time."

The shop went quiet again until Darshek spoke up. "Did you know anyone one in the picture?"

Again Spine shook his head. "The woman was our age and the girl maybe in her twenties with the young boy maybe ten or eleven. I've never seen them before, and I would've remembered the girl."

"Why's that?" Snakeskin asked shifting his weight and eyeing the barber closely now.

"One eye was green and the other reddish-brown...and she looked...content sort of."

"That would be strange. I mean her being content over there and all." Darshek joked.

Spine gave a laugh until he saw the look in Snakeskin's eyes, the gold pupils shrinking away in a squint. "You know her don't you?"

Snakeskin was a high ranking member of the Maquis, or was till he left. He was born into it with his father being one of the Elders and leaders, but Snakeskin never wanted that life and rebelled against it often. When his father Surge went missing, when he was young, the Maquis forced him into the role of a leader and it was apparent the young Wavedancer wanted none of it. It was also apparent he was a natural leader, much like the Major, having the Maquis flock to his side. It was only when his father returned, escaped from whatever prison he was kept in, did Snakeskin chose to leave. No one in town knew this of course, only Spine and Darshek knew who he really was. To the town of Two-Moons he was nothing more then the simple leather craftsmen making saddles and anything else needed, but one's past has a way of catching up to you.

"The girl, she had one green and one red eye, with dark grey hair that had red running all through it?"

"Yeah, that's it exactly." Spine agreed.

"Are you sure?" Snakeskin asked almost afraid to go any farther.

"Just tell us who she is?" Darshek spat.

"I don't know her real name, we never used them. She was called Hattie, part of the group who stayed around Menno." Snakeskin answered.

Spine and Darshek knew of that group. The Maquis was split into two factions, groups, and both held different ideals and philosophies. Both believed in ridding the world of the Djun, and both believed this could and would be achieved through rebellion. One side though was not content to wait forever, even a few years was too much, to have to wait for the Djun to be gone. They saw those aligned against the Maquis as the enemy and thus subject to attacks and destruction. They were combatants and as such deserved no mercy. The other, the ones Snakeskin and Spine and Darshek belonged too, felt the opposite. It was satisfactory to burn the Djun's buildings that housed the soldiers, to destroy the homes of the secret police, and ransack the ministry buildings. It was never worth the price to take a life, never. It was this dichotomy in the Maquis that led to many a fight between the leaders and the elders. Snakeskin was happy to be away from it.

"Menno...I thought they stopped working with us." Darshek whispered.

"No, they just shifted focus. Instead of burning down one of the Djun's buildings they started to send out pamphlets, recruit. The one who led them, he went by Davis, lost his taste for violence of any sort."  

"So...you still think it was a bad idea to contact them?" Spine asked seeing the shift in his friend's demeanor.

Snakeskin smiled and shook his head. "No, but that doesn't mean you can do it again without getting me involved."

"Stepping up and taking charge, eh ?" Darshek asked with a cocky smile.

"No," Snakeskin smiled, "but I want to know what's going on over in Djunsland and if we're involved in it somehow."

"Will do Snakeskin," Spine agreed with a nod.

Darshek laughed a little before looking to Spine. "So how much is a haircut going to cost me?"

"Six bits!" Spine spat.

"Six bits? Darshek exclaimed in shock.

"Hell yeah, for making me put up with old sour face here it's gonna cost you!" Spine explained.

"I do not have a sour face!" Snakeskin spat.

"Yeah, you kind of do." Darshek offered with a shrug of the shoulders.

"I've seen upset outlaws with happier faces." Spine added.

Snakeskin couldn't retort to that one because Darshek started to laugh out loud. Soon all three were laughing as the street and the people on it outside went about their business.

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He finished the work with the ledger and decided a small nap would be perfect for his tattered mind. As soon as Rayek's head hit the pillow on the bed he was asleep dreaming of nothing special...at the start.

Then he found himself on a road, a dirt one to be precise, with nothing but open fields on either side still dressed in his usual clothes and hat. A breeze was blowing to the east, one direction of the road, away from the growing clouds of the west. The tall dark thunderheads didn't look nice to the Bounty Hunter, not inviting at all, so he started walking east not expecting to run into something, anything. He didn't expect to outrun the storm. It looked to mean spirited to let him go without a good soaking. Yet it never got any closer, not one foot it seemed. Rayek walked backwards staring at the marvel of the never moving storm, of the perfectly still thunderheads. He stopped and looked to the north and south across the great expanse and found nothing in either direction.

Where was this place?

What was this place?

Rayek couldn't make sense enough to answer either question, but he had a sinking feeling and decided to try out an idea. He dug an arrow in the dirt of the road with the heel of his black boot pointing to the east and then he started off in that same direction. He walked looking again to the north and then the south, still nothing either way, not a sign of life. He looked down to the ground and noted it was bare, no mark. Well, at least that told him he was-

He looked down again and as if by magic the mark was back...his mark.

That sinking feeling went a few inches deeper in his gut.

The bounty hunter started walking east again. He watched the ground, every inch and every rock that passed by, as he moved along the road.

No mark.

He lost track of how far or how long he walked. Rayek was consumed by the want to find the mark, the sheer need to find it. And yet it never appeared. Not once. He stopped and looked both north and south again trying to force his eyes to see something. There was nothing still, just like the last time I looked Rayek thought peering down to the road.

The mark was there again...pointing east again...

He put his hand to his mouth wiping down the edges while thinking. Just what the-

"Brownskin? Its time to wake Brownskin."

"Que?" Rayek jumped awake startled all of the sudden.

Ekuar only smiled at him and nodded. "Its time for dinner Brownskin."

"Dinner? Ah maldita sea! Querd? (Oh Dammit! What did I miss?)" Rayek spat shaking his head.

"I'm sorry Brownskin...did I do something wrong?" Ekuar asked hurt.  

"No amigo," Rayek whispered sliding his feet off the bed and into his boot, "I am hungry. What has Senora May made for cena (dinner)?"

"Her famous roast!" Ekuar said with a large gleeful smile.

Rayek laughed at his companion's happiness about braised meat. He needed that laugh he thought. The dream still played in the back of his mind, still tugged at him. For some reason he knew he'd find himself on that road again.

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"Will it work?" Skywise asked.

Shale bounced on the edge of the bed noting the fact the mattress was thick, soft, and better than anything he had slept on in the last year. Eyes High was putting away what little they had in the bureau when she spoke up.

"Oh yes, it's so nice. I'll find a way to pay you back Redlance."

The tracker only waved off the offer with the usual shake of his head. "No need ma'am, like I said this will make Tyleet happy."

"Well, we're glad to help out." Shale laughed.

The Captain watched his parents and wondered just how fate had brought them along into his life at this very moment. Why would they show up? He was on the fast track to being a degenerate and he knew it, accepted it. Playing cards all night and day when he wasn't bedding some working girl, it was all mapped out. And the ending was probably on a slab down at P.W.'s dead from a bullet fired into his back by some sore loser at the poker table. He had seen other gamblers fall to the same fate.

Then along came his parents, and then realizing he loved Foxfur...

It all seemed too perfect, what you would read in some silly novel.

Yet here he was watching them fret about the room and bounce on a bed. It was just too surreal.

"I've got to go and help out with the dinner rush at the restaurant. I got everything from out of the room so enjoy." Redlance said heading for the door.

"Wait Redlance," Shale called out standing up, "do you think Mrs. Brownberry would like some help? I don't have anything to do and I'd like to start paying you back for all that you've done for us."

"We both would." Eyes High added.

The tracker smiled and nodded which put the pair at ease. "I know she won't turn you down if you're willing to give a hand."

"We'd be more than willing." Eyes High pointed out.

"Let's go on over then and see what she needs help with." Redlance said offering them the hall with a sweep of his hand.

Yep, it was too surreal Skywise thought as his parents walked out. He checked to make sure he had the key to the room before letting the door close.

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Cleopatra

Cleopatra


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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptyFri Jul 30, 2021 12:24 pm

Great chapters Smile And more of my old fanart

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Aroree11
Aroree

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Irrale10
One version of Irrale

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Irrale11
And another.
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Lunakat

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PostSubject: Re: Let's Ride! Elfwest is back   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptyFri Jul 30, 2021 4:01 pm

I’m highly enjoying this. And I’m looking forward to weddings all around. But “too perfect” seems like a set up, frankly. Especially if it feels surreal! Will it be a wedding palooza? Or will disaster strike... again? Stay tuned to the old west, and hone your pointed ears!

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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: Day Seven - Part Eleven   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptyMon Aug 16, 2021 10:08 pm

Glad you're enjoying the show there LunaKat, and we still have a good bit to go sooooo stick around!

but now on with the next piece written by our own Rainflower


Day Seven - Part Eleven

Next up is the next part of Dewshine and Scouter, now they were heading to the stable. Let's see what happens


It was quiet in the stable, no sound except from a horses snorting and scraping.

Dewshine was holding Scouter in her arms while he was relaxing absorbing her warmth. Her pink dress was lying aside in the hay together with Scouters pants and shirt. The two young elves were simply enjoying the moment and the fact that they were together again.

Dewshine could see the red scar of the place where he had been shot. Dewshine had a suspecios thought that it had been more serious than he had told her but that he didn't wanted to worry her. The wound should have been bleeding and swollen and he shouldn't even been able to walk, at least not to ride. What was it all about being healed by this Spanish elf? She couldn't get herself to believe that he had been healed by magic, that wasn't real. She took him for being too tired to speak sense there was no other way.

After Scouter's apology they hadn't talked about the fight, but the subject was stil bothering Dewshine. She had been stupid too. Mr. Strongbows disappearance had affected Scouter deeply she knew that, and she should have known.

"Scouter?"

No answer, only calm breathing.

"Scouter!"

"Huh? What?"

Scouter slowly opened his eyes. Deshine giggled. He looked really sily when he was tired and half awake. "Were you sleeping? Sorry; I didn't mean to wake you up."

"No no, that's aaaoooo!" he let out a yawn, "alright. Man, I haven't slept for it feels like a week."

"How boring."

"Yeah." He answered and shock his head to make himself awake. "What were you saying?"

"I..." she started, but stopped. She wasn't sure how to begin afraid for starting another fight. "Nothing."

Scouter looked up on her, seeing the insecure look on her face. "Dewshine, is something wrong?"

Dewshine took a deep breath before starting. "You already apologized Scouter, but I feel like I should too. I was really stupid not understanding how deeply these last few days must have affected you."

"Eh, what do you mean?" Scouter said racing his eyebrows.  

"Mr. Strongbow's disappearance." There. It was said, no turning backs.

For a moment Scouter went silent and sat up staring into nothing, and Dewshine feared that she had done something wrong. "Scouter, I..." She couldn't find the right words. Silly, you shouldn't have mentioned it. Now he'll be mad at you again.

He still didn't say anything and she felt tears welling up in her eyes. Determent not to cry she blinked them away and took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have mentioned it." still no answer. She looked down and closed her eyes stopping more tears from coming. "Scouter, say something. Anything, just please say something!"

"It's true. I was affected. It's better now that he's back, but for a while I remembered all about father. I didn't think it would, but... Hey, don't cry."

Surprised she looked up right into his face. A gentle smile covered his face and his eyes, his warm brown trusty eyes, looked at her with pure goodness. She started smiling herself, and this time she didn't stop her tears from falling as he leaned over and stroke them away with his fingers. "I just want you to know that I understand and care for you Scouter, I really do even if I sometimes act like a selfish fool."

"It's alright." he said as he came closer putting his arms around her and kissed her chin. She slowly laid down letting his body cover hers. "You don't need to tell me you care, you already showed me that. Now let me show you how much I care."

Dewshine giggled again. "Are you able to?"

"You bet I am. Are you?"

"Do'ya need to ask?" she said and got a kiss for an answer. She stroked her arms over his back and held him closely. "Shouter..." she whispered.

"Dewshi..." he whisperd back before he was interrupted by a kiss from her.

"Scouter?" someone called downstairs.

They both got realized from their kiss and stood up in shock. Scouter's face was all a panic mask. "Mother! What the-"

Dewshine laid a hand over his mouth. Then they quickly grabbed their clothes and started to dress as quiet as possible. The schoolmistress found them like this they knew they were in trouble.

"Hello? Scouter? Dewshine? Are you here?" the schoolmistress called out again. They could hear her footsteps across the stable. She was very close to the stage up to the hay loft and half dressed they didn't know either in or out. Then all of a sudden they heard another sound, a door opening. They could hear the schoolmistress walk away from the staircase and hurried to put their garments on before heading down.

"Mr. Two-Edge. I'm sorry to bother you but have you seen a couple of young elves around here? My son and a girl..."

They could hear Two-Edge answer with a deep annoyed voice that told that it didn't wanted to be disturbed. "List's ma'am, it's not my responsibility to watch over these damn kids hanging around here; and least of all lovebirds."

As they came down they spotted Two-Edge walking out of the stable with something, probably a saddle or something, over his shoulder. Now that they were dressed they walked over to meet Scouters mother.

"Mother."

The schoolmistress turned around and run over to them to hug her son long and hard. "Oh, my dear son. Are you alright? Did you really get shot? Tell me you didn't? Tell me you are alright?" she desperately cried out. Scouter wasn't able to answer as he could bearly breathe fromhis mothers embrace.

"Modr, hant weed." He mumbled out of her chest and Dewshine caught herself in laughing.

"Oh? I'm sorry, Scouter. Is it better now?" Mrs. Clearbrook let go of her son who took some breaths before giving his mother a big hug back.

"Hello, mother. I'm fine, really. I promise. I'm just really tired, that's all."

But Mrs. Clearbrook wouldn't stop. "But is it true? Were you shot?"

"Yes I was, but I'm fine. I'll tell you all about it when we get home."

Mrs. Clearbrook didn't let go of Scouter at the first when all three of them walked out of the stable. "I think I will have to talk to Marshal Treestump; I will not allow you to get hurt like that."

"I agree with you there, ma'am. I think I'll have a talk to him myself." Dewshine said.

They were outside when they heard a voice calling.

"Hey girl, wait."

Dewshine turned around to see Two-Edge standing by the stable doors. "Come here for a moment." Dewshine looked at Mrs. Clearbrook and Scouter before heading over to the strange troll.

"Yes, sir?"

The troll threw his thumb back into the stable. "Your horse has a shoe missing; you'll need to mention it to your father."  

Dewshine's eyes went wide. "He does? Oh, well thank you for telling me. I'll talk to father about it when I see him."

Then the troll started smiling tricky at her. "And just as a warning; you and your friend might be a little more careful next time. This will be the first place she'll come to look for you." Then he turned around and went back into the stable leaving Dewshine blushing.

"Stupid troll." she said to herself before she run back to Scouter and his mother following them home.

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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: Day Seven - Part Twelve   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptyMon Aug 23, 2021 10:33 pm

And now on with the next piece written by me, WiseShaman


Day Seven - Part Twelve

Rain sees Strongbow and discovers something...Tyleet learns the truth....and Kurah contemplates...


"How long has it been hurting?" Rain asked.

"Ever since..." Strongbow started to answer with a gravelly whisper, but then stopped abruptly not wanting to finish. He knew the words would only spark more questions and he didn't want to go over the whole story anymore. He was starting to get angry.

"What is it Mr. Strongbow?" Wavelet asked with worry standing close by.

The question, it was about the hundred and seventh time someone asked it, had passed annoying and slipped nicely into agitating. Strongbow only smiled though and shook his head as Moonshade stepped in.

"He's fine Wavelet. Let's get supper finished girls."

He watched both of them leave taking Crescent, who had been watching from the doorway to the kitchen, with them. As soon as they were out ear shot Rain turned his attention back to the horse whisperer.

"All right, they're gone, what's going on?"

"Nothing Doc Rain,"

"Don't 'nothing' me, I can tell there's something wrong you old wolf. Your heads fine, bruised, but it won't kill you anytime soon. Now what's got you hurting?"

"Nothing Doc...nothing." Strongbow winced as a spurt of pain rolled through his head.

"Listen son, you can either let me help you or I can go ahead and tell PW to get a box ready for you, understand?" Rain said with a serious tone.

Strongbow took the words, and the tone, for what it was meant and spoke. "My head's been hurting for the last two days."

"Better, now did Mrs. Winnowill hit you with anything?" Rain asked.

"Mrs.?" Strongbow spat with disgust, as if the word was acid on his tongue.

"I know, but just because she committed a heinous crime against you doesn't mean we have to be impolite, now did she hit you in the head with anything? You know something large that might have knocked a bit of sense into you?" Rain said with a wink.

"No...she just...reached into my head." Strongbow whispered, and not because his voice was tired.  

The doctor could tell the horse whisperer was scared. He leaned in and whispered low so as to keep the conversation secret. "Reached into your head?"

"Yeah...I don't know how...she just kept...reaching in."

Well, he had confirmed Winnowill's 'willing' subject. Rain was real sure the willing part was a lot of cow muffins too. Savah would want to know about this as soon as possible, like as soon as he hit town. And after that strange send this morning that flattened them all she would be all pointed ears to hear this. Still, he felt his curious nature starting to get the better of him and Rain decided he had to try one thing. With all the ease he could do Rain sent to Strongbow, no words just emotion and a gentle touch. Almost at once he saw the horse whisperer close his eyes as a pain ran through his head, and almost a second later that pain hit the doctor full on, right between the eyes. He held his body still, kept it from jerking away at the sudden intrusion, and that's all he could call it. All of the sudden something in Strongbow's mind, something out of control, leapt into the send forcing him out and away with pain. The doctor though pushed forward putting more of his power into the send, again he chose emotion and no words

The horse whisperer winced and groaned as the pain increased. It jumped notches in his too Rain thought still holding his body still.

It was useless to go any farther at this point. Rain pulled back and at once Strongbow's faced eased and showed relief. Now the doctor knew he had to get back to town and talk with Savah. He smiled and patted Strongbow on the leg.

"I'm gonna talk with Moonshade, give her some tips on getting rid of that headache of yours. Stay in bed, let Crescent run the ranch for a bit and you take it easy, all right."

"Thanks Doc." Strongbow whispered never looking back from the fire.

Rain stood and walked away from the horse whisperer running the last few minutes through his head as he met Moonshade and Crescent at the front door.

"Any word Doc?" Crescent asked quickly, scared.

"Crescent, calm down." Moonshade hissed.

The strain was showing on the dress maker's face. Rain felt sorry for her, no one should have to face this he thought as he spoke to her with a wink. "The head wound's not anything to worry about Moonshade. Just make sure he gets plenty of rest over the next few days, plenty of water, and a lot of love."

Crescent giggled as Moonshade blushed but held her voice low. "I'll do that doctor."

Rain gave them both a quick nod before stepping quick out the door and to the pen where his horse was tethered. Crescent thought he was moving awfully fast for no good reason while Moonshade only turned and walked back to the kitchen. They fixed supper, two chickens and vegetables from Wavelet's garden, but they didn't sit at the dining room table. Even though it was unheard of in Moonshade's house, not even considered, they all ate by the fire. The girls sat by Strongbow's feet eating while Wavelet and Crescent sat on the small lounge with Wavecatcher. And Moonshade sat right at her husband's side, her ever present vigil not even slowed with eating.

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Vignette-orig


The dinner rush was rough, but it could have been a lot worse. Thanks to Shale and Redlance working the kitchen and Eyes High and Nightfall working the room the restaurant kept on rolling along serving meals like nobody's business. It was just after the big swell had passed, when the sun had dropped below the horizon and dark was claiming the town. It was the time when everyone turned to their coal oil lamps for light and the saloon was gearing up for a grand Saturday night, only the star attraction was across the street at the moment.

Leetah walked in to Brownberry's hoping to catch Nightfall in the kitchen, some place private to have a conversation. It wasn't to be though as she saw her friend behind the counter working and wiping down the top. She started to walk over when some local called out from a table on the other side of the room.

"Hey Rose, you gonna be on stage tonight?"

Nightfall looked up at her as Leetah only smiled at the man and spoke. "Si senor, I will be onstage tonight."

Well, at least EVERYONE in town didn't know her real name yet she thought walking over to the counter where the reception was more then she expected.

"Evening Rose, you need some supper?"

"No gracias, but I would like to talk?

"About this morning?" Nightfall asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Si," Leetah nodded.

"All right, let's go out back where we can get some privacy." Nightfall offered.

"Gracias," Leetah smiled following her. She dodged Brownberry at the door and waved to Redlance and Shale as they passed through the kitchen. When they stepped out onto the back stoop and down the steps Nightfall turned still sporting her smile.

"I am sorry Nightfall if I hurt you with my secret." Leetah whispered quickly.

"Sorry about what?" She asked shocked.

Leetah smiled feeling better now that her friendship with Nightfall wasn't threatened by the name slip. Skywise on the other hand she mused. "I thought you were angry with me about my name, not telling you my real name or why I use Rose."

The smile only got a little bigger on Nightfall's face as she moved over and touched her friend's shoulder with hers. "I work in the show Leetah. I know all about using fake names. Bearclaw wanted to call me Delilah the Daring Shot. I'm just sorry it came out the way it did."

"No mi hermana, I should have told you everything. I know you felt hurt because Cutter knew and you did not." Leetah replied.

"I was hurt because of my own secret Leetah, not yours."  

"I know that too, you told me before you told Redlance. Ai, I am sorry Nightfall."

"No need crying over spilt milk," Nightfall remarked shaking her head, "and don't feel bad about Tyleet. She's going to be told tonight."

"Who's going to tell me what?" Tyleet suddenly asked from the door.

The mood changed instantly. Leetah gasped and Nightfall looked a little shocked. There was a plan to tell her daughter the truth about her father, a well thought out plan that was supposed to happen tonight upstairs, but now that was off the rail. She smiled trying to think of the best way to just break and tell Tyleet the truth when Redlance appeared behind her in the doorway with Cutter.

"I think we need to talk Little Bird."

"What is it Papa?" Tyleet asked nervously as Cutter walked down the steps to stand by Leetah so the family could talk.

"It's something important that your mother and I need to tell you." The tracker explained taking a seat on the top step by her. Tyleet followed suit as Nightfall moved up on her other side sitting down after tucking her dress under her legs.

The look of fear in the child's eyes only told the tracker to approach her slow. "You know I have always thought of you as my Little Bird, as pretty as your mother and as strong willed."

"Yes sir," she answered still scared.

"But I was also prepared to let you both go if I had to." Redlance whispered.

The remark drew an instant reaction. Nightfall and Leetah looked at him in shock while Tyleet shook her head hard denying what she had heard. "No, you can't leave now! You said you would stay! I want you to be my Papa! I don't want anyone else!"

"And I won't leave you two, ever. But I had to be ready in case your real father came back for you and your mother. I had to be willing to step aside so you could have your life Little Bird." Redlance explained.

No one noticed Brownberry or Foxfur or Rainsong or even Eyes High and Shale had stopped working and were listening from the doorway as Tyleet cried and clutched at the tracker's arm. "I don't want anyone else! I want you to be my Papa!"

"Well sweetie, that's a good thing, because there's no else but your tracker." Nightfall smiled taking over.

"What?" Tyleet asked with a whisper turning from one to the other quick.

"He's your father Tyleet. He's always been your real father." Nightfall whispered.

Tyleet stared at her mother for a minute as the stoop grew totally silent except for the night bugs that had started to come out. There was the loud chirp of some cricket and the shrill pop of something else. Then she turned back to Redlance with fresh tears rolling down her cheeks.

"Is...is it...true?" She stammered as the fear in her eyes transferred to her voice.

Redlance nodded feeling a small tear begin in his eyes and before he could do anything else Tyleet was hugging him crying. He hugged her back ignoring the pain in his ribs to make sure she was okay. When he looked up to see Nightfall he could see her tears, and behind those that same fear in her eyes from the day before. She must be so damn frightened Redlance thought, afraid of what someone so precious and so important might think of you, and yet never show it. He didn't say a word as Nightfall reached out and rubbed Tyleet's back and spoke low.

"Tyleet, are you mad at me?"

The little girl pulled back from Redlance and turned to her with red eyes and cheeks, but a smile that could have lit up a room. "No, I love you Mama!"

Nightfall smiled with a nod, cried herself, and then hugged her daughter and her fianc鮠Redlance hugged them both back hoping the embrace would never stop. The whole scene was too much for some and tears rolled down everyone's cheeks, even Brownberry was overcome and knelt down to hug the bunch sitting on the step. Leetah looked over her shoulder to Cutter and whispered lovingly.

"Will you be so gentle with our nino's my love?"

"You mean our kids, after we get married?" Cutter asked looking at her with devotion.

"Si,"

"I'll be as loving to them as my father was to me!" Cutter smiled turning back to Red and Trick Shot.

He totally missed the look that Leetah gave him, both of her eyes wide with fright as she could only imagine what kind of father Bearclaw was. The others on the stoop realized that no matter how touching the whole scene was, they still had work to do, Eyes High turned to her husband and noticed him wiping away a tear.

"Were you crying beloved?" She asked reaching out and touching his cheek.

"Will yeah-wait...did Cutter say 'kids' and 'married'?" Shale asked out loud.

Nightfall looked up from the embrace with a happy surprised look. "Did you ask Rose to marry you Cutter?"

"Yep, though I don't have some fancy bracelet or necklace to give her at the moment. I do plan on getting her one very soon." Cutter answered putting an arm around Leetah's shoulders.  

"I need no fancy ring to know you love me." Leetah responded.

She smiled at him until Nightfall stood and hugged them both laughing loud. "I knew it was love at first sight for you two! I could tell!"

"Like you and the tracker, and mi hermana Crescent!" Leetah pointed out.

"Well it's gonna be one big old wedding that's for sure!" Shale exclaimed putting an arm around his wife.

"Mama and Papa and the Major and Mrs. Rose, that will be a big wedding!" Tyleet laughed.

"I take it you haven't told her the other news." Cutter winked.

Tyleet's mouth fell open as she turned to her father while he spoke. "Um, it's not just your mother I'll be marrying Little Bird."

"Crescent?" She whispered almost afraid to ask.

The tracker only nodded once before his daughter was up and screaming with happiness while Brownberry clutched at her chest. "Oh my, does Moonshade know about it?"

"Yes Mama, Mrs. Moonshade knows, and we have hers and Mr. Strongbow's blessing." Nightfall remarked.

"Good, good, now we have so much to plan! We have to make a dinn-"Brownbery started to say before Cutter broke in laughing.

"Oh no," was all Nightfall could mumble as Leetah hugged her laughing too.

"You have yet to meet mis madre!"

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Kurah knelt at the edge the stream holding is burnt hand over the water watching the fish swim up to it, pop up to touch it, and then disappear back below the water. He smiled thinking of what his brother Siksika Black Feather would say about this. The shaman would say it was a sign, that the fish totem brought hidden knowledge and the ability to overcome all obstacles. Maybe it meant he and Black Feather could close the door. Maybe they could put the power back.

Maybe they could do what it took five others to do one bright morning. He let his mind wander, drift back to images so long ago yet so very fresh.

He saw Alya smiling and so beautiful with long red hair that gleamed. It was just after Alya passed, after the powers took her that they decided to shut away the very thing that made them special. The ones who were left, Bardhyl and Tara, Whetu and Aranck, and Izar all chose to give up the powers, though to do so was giving up their life. Lesath chose to be the vessel, the one to hold the power in check while Saiph would stay in the cave to keep watch. The magic made them eternal, immortal, and without it they were just like the humans who had for a time worshipped them. No more 'Birds from the Stars', no more 'Travelers'.

Yet it was the magic that had taken Mikah, had destroyed Homam and Heylel and Alya one after the other. The magic was their light, their power over the rock and the plant and fire. It let them take on other forms and fly, until it turned on them. When Mikah fell screaming from the pain in his head it was denial that kept them from understanding what was happening. The magic some whispered, the magic was the cause while the others yelled no; it had to be something else. When Homam and Heylel were engulfed in fire there was nothing left of the suspicions. It was the magic in them, turning on them as they lived on this strange world. It could no longer be denied. But how does one close off a piece of you, such a piece? And when Alya was taken by her shaping powers there was no longer a choice to talk about what might be done. There was only doing what had to be done. This world, it seemed, would not harbor a strange magic any more.

And that is what he had discovered after sealing the door, after having all these years to think and consider. This world, the Abode, it had a magic of its own. The Abode had a magic in the trees and the rock and the water and the animals and the air itself, the spirits, totems. And this magic conflicted with theirs, the Firstcomers. But where he, the elves, could all tap into the magic of the power and use it at will the humans could not except for a few. The shamans, having a special connection to this world's magic, could call upon the spirits and invoke them if they needed. They could do wondrous things in their 'dreamworld' and marvelous things here. It was five special ones who came when they were called, five shamans who saved the elves from themselves that morning. Kurah could remember the day when they completed the ritual, the morning sun rising as the shamans chanted around Lesath who became the vessel. They use to glow from the magic these elves, like the stars from the sky, but when it was all over he glow started to fade.

They were normal by the time the sun went below the horizon, Bardhyl and Tara, Whetu and Aranck, and Izar...all normal and mortal.

The only one with any magic, the only one left immortal, was he...Kurah.

He pulled his hand back as he did his thoughts.

Tomorrow he would need to begin...with the one who set this all in motion.

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Wiseshaman

Wiseshaman


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Join date : 2012-06-23

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PostSubject: Day Seven - Part Thirteen   Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 EmptySat Sep 11, 2021 11:11 am

And now on with the next piece written by me, WiseShaman


Day Seven - Part Thirteen


The meeting room, usually cool due to being underground, was cramped and humid tonight. It may have been due to the warm weather of late and the ground having been heated all day by the sun was just radiating it out into the circle. Or it could have been the news Rain had brought Savah and Willowgreen. The news of what he learned at Strongbow's, about how Winnowill 'reached' into his head, and the strange response to his send. It didn't set well with the Mother of Memory who paced the circle floor thinking over what the doctor had told them. She was unsure and unnerved by what she heard, but Savah knew not to make rash decisions. A decision that was ill prepared and not thought out would only lead to a worse state. What was needed now was calm.

"What happened on you're send again Brother Rain?" She asked after stopping.

The doctor took a breath and started to talk. "I sent to Strongbow as easy and as slow as I could Matron. If Winnowill had sent to him I assumed I could. When I reached out he felt a pain, and so did I, a stabbing in my head at the front between my eyes."

"Did the pain come from Mr. Strongbow? Did he fight you Brother Rain?"

"No Matron, it wasn't him who fought me. It was a strange force, something Strongbow had no control over, that attacked me." Rain explained.

"It only came at you when you tried to send to him?" Willowgreen asked stepping into the conversation.

"Yes, only when I tried to broach his mind, 'reach in' as he calls it."

"Did it stop hurting you when you stopped?" Savah spoke taking control back.

"Yes Matron, when I stopped he felt relief. He's has a headache and his wife Moonshade assumes it's from the hit on his head when he was taken. I think it's this force." Rain answered low.

Savah leaned her head to one side thinking, losing herself in a thought. The other two members of the seekers kept quiet and waited patiently for their beloved Mother of Memory to finish thinking before speaking. "This force, it may well be hurting him, changing him."

"Changing him Matron, how?" Willowgreen asked.

"I think I understand Sister," Rain said excitedly with wide eyes, "we the Seekers were born with the power to send. We have the ability to use the Ancient Powers somewhat, but Strongbow didn't up until a day ago. Maybe we have some physiological difference that lets us control the Powers."

"Do you really think Winnowill gave him the Powers Brother Rain? Maybe it was the hit on his head that's causing the pain?" Willowgreen countered with a shake of her head and disbelief in her voice.

"She's done something Sister Willowgreen. He's not the same elf who was taken just a few days ago. And something did push me away when I tried to send to him." Rain calmly spoke.

"And you are sure it was not the horse whisperer controlling the send? You are sure he has never had the Ancient Powers and just hidden then from us all this time?" Savah asked once again taking control.

"Yes Matron. It was this force, and Strongbow has never had the Ancient powers. I can't imagine him being able to hide them that well." Rain answered looking to Savah and then Willowgreen.  

The veterinarian took two steps away from the doctor, her green skirt sweeping over the floor with a whoosh. "He lives in the hills like a hermit, stays out of town except when he needs supplies, and is as hospitable as a porcupine. The horse whisperer could have had the Ancient Powers all this time and kept them a secret."

"I know Strongbow has a hard case, a raw piece of iron has more warmth sometimes, but that's only what he lets people here in town see. He's a damn good family man and a good elf. He has plenty of friends like Longbranch and Treestump and Bearclaw and me. We would have seen something." Rain spoke up, his voice tinged with frustration.

"Matron?" Willowgreen asked with condescension. It was obvious she was done having the conversation with Rain.

Savah though shook her head and spoke calmly to both. "No Sister Willowgreen, I am inclined to believe Brother Rain. We would have sensed his power, I would have sensed his power if he had them. I am not sure why Winnowill chose him, but for now we have to find out what this 'force' Brother Rain found is."

Willowgreen pouted slightly at the decision feeling she lost out to Rain, yet she only nodded and understood her role. It was to help the Seekers and Mother Memory uncover the secrets of the elves. And now that they were so close she wasn't about to do anything to jeopardize her chance to see the Firstcomers. The vision the shaman showed them just the other night was still fresh in her mind, it would never be anything but fresh to her. She only wanted to see more, see them again.

"What should we do Matron?" Rain spoke pulling Willowgreen out her reflection.

"We will need to meet tomorrow before lunch. I need to talk with Judge Timmain about her special visitors...and other things." Savah directed.

Rain and Willowgreen both nodded and left the circle room quietly leaving Savah to her thoughts and emotions. The Mother of Memory had all ready decided she was going to talk with one other person besides Timmain. The only thing was to choose the best way to communicate with him, in a dream or in person.

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Vignette-orig

"Her name is Leetah, but you want me to call her Rose?" Tyleet asked confused, with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes little one. We need to keep her secret. She's our friend and that's something we do for our friends, understand?" Nightfall explained.

"Yes ma'am. Are you and Papa staying here tonight?"

"Yes we are. As soon as we get the restaurant cleaned and closed we're going over to the saloon to watch Rose and then we'll be back." Nightfall explained again.

"Okay," Tyleet said happily before standing on her tip toes and kissing her mothers cheek. She went back to the kitchen to help her father wash dishes as Nightfall watched feeling warmth that was greater than the sun.

It cold only be equaled by having her Crescent here with her. She couldn't help but wonder if she got the message, if it would cheer her up. Nightfall shook he head and went back to wiping down the tables with Foxfur, who by the way was humming a merry tune and had been since the Captain got back. She looked up when the bell rang on the door and saw a human walk in, someone she had never seen before.

"Evening sir, you looking for some supper."

"Yes ma'am, you have anything left?" The human said removing a dusty hat with a wide sweat stain around the brim. She could see a large wide red bandana tied around his neck.

"Well, we're all out of the chops but we have some dumplings and a bit of roast beef. Which would fill you up?" She asked.

"I'll take the beef ma'am, and some beans and cup of coffee." The man smiled.

"I'll get it all for you, just pick a seat and take a rest." She smiled and headed back through the swinging doors.

Not a clue he thought, which was perfect. He could watch her, and the other three, with no problem. This was too easy, nothing like being a spy back in the war, which also suited him just fine. If Mrs. Kaiya wanted to now where a few skirts were in this burg then he was more than willing to oblige, and get paid for it. And it sure helped that the skirts were frilly and damn nice to look at. When Nightfall brought out the plate of roast beef and beans he smiled at her generously, even managed a nod when she brought over the coffee. The beef was good, nice and tender, and he enjoyed every bite as he kept watch.

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Vignette-orig

The book wasn't helping her mind tonight. It was all a jumbled mess to her as she slammed it closed. No matter how hard Winnowill tried to concentrate she couldn't get the dream out of her head, the robed figures descending on her, nine dark shadows coming for her. What did it mean? Was she under some kind of attack? Was it because of what she did to that horse whisperer? Well it wasn't because she felt sorry for him.

Wait, she thought, she did feel a little sorry for hurting him, but no one understood or could comprehend why she did it. This was for the greater good, the betterment of the elves. If one elf suffered a little to attain the Powers then it was more than worth the price. And she had tried to heal him, and would have gladly, if not for the fact he had attacked her viciously. She had decided during dinner it was the horse whisperer who had sent to her so strong it knocked her flat. Even though it felt completely different, like something else was behind it, she quickly dismissed that assumption. It was ludicrous to think it was anyone but Mr. Strongbow. He just didn't have control of his new ability was all, and when he learned how to control it all would be different.

No, she didn't feel that sorry for him. He was graced to have the Ancient Powers now and one day he would thank her for giving him this gift. And Savah and the Seekers would appreciate her for her courage and fortitude. Yes, that would thank her!

"Winnowill, may I come in."

The voice of her husband from the door of the library made her lookup. He was standing there still dressed in his usual white shirt and black pants, but with two wine glasses and a decanter now. She smiled and started to wonder now what game he was playing. All this attention, it was out of place for her husband.

"Yes, please."

Voll walked in and took the seat next to hers and placed one of the glasses on the small table between them. He smiled as he poured her glass and it was too much for the proprietress to let pass.

"What are you smiling about my husband?"

"I was just remembering the first time we spoke back East, that time in the salon of Mr. Maxwell. Do you remember it?" Voll inquired.  

Winnowill took a sip of the wine first before answering. "I do, you looked quite striking in your suit. It was hard to believe you were from the frontier, someone so refined. I made Mr. Maxwell tell me twice just to be certain."
Voll only nodded and took a sip of his wine still smiling. Meanwhile Winnowill's mind raced as she tried to figure all this out. What was his game? She took a small sip as he looked around the room with his smile and then it struck her just what her husband was up to. He knew...knew about Strongbow.

"You know, I think Miss Van Deburg was upset with me when I inquired about you. She gave me the gravest look." He said with a small laugh.

If he knew then she had to watch her step. Her husband was no idiot and he was probably trying to corner her into some confession. He wouldn't make a scene like this without some proof, but then again he wasn't the sort to just wait for a confession. He tamed this wild country with his hands, a gang of men, and a bunch of cattle. No, he would have come at her and demanded to know what was going on. This was something else.

"Miss Van Deburg wanted you for herself. Your inquiry obviously distressed her to the point of dread. I can only imagine what she felt when she learned of our impending nuptials."

"She promptly accepted the proposal of Mr. Whitaker, the man who owned the local steel mill." Voll replied.

"I never liked him. He always smelled of smoke." Winnowill remarked setting her glass in her lap.

Voll turned to her with a slight smile and asked a question that made suspicions skip a beat. "Why did you marry me my precious wife?"

"Why do you ask that?" She shot back.

"You've never been one for this land, this country Winnowill. You were made for the salons back East and the politics of High Society. Why did you accept my proposal?"

What was he getting at? Where was he going? She hated being in the dark.

"You won my heart my husband. I will not hide my disdain for this dusty town that would not equal a city park back East. I have no love for Two-Moons, if you were to sell this all and return East I would sing with joy." Winnowill said with a smile.

"You...sing? Now I would pay to see that." Voll laughed with a raised eyebrow.

The shot didn't bother Winnowill, she ignored it. She was still trying to figure out just what her husband was getting at. "I would, just as easily as I accepted your request for my hand in marriage. I have never looked back and I have never regretted coming out here with you for a minute my husband."

The Blue Mountain rancher only smiled and held out his glass, which she touched sending a small clink echoing through the library. "And I have never regretted having you as my wife Winnowill. My heart has wanted no other."

She smiled at the statement, it really touched her. But just what was he getting at.

Let's Ride! Elfwest is back - Page 9 Vignette-orig

He rubbed down Leila with quick hard strokes. Rayek was getting ready to put her in her stall for the night and as always he fed and watered and brushed her down. Leila wouldn't tolerate anyone else doing such things. It was the Arabian's nature and he used the time to think. The stables were empty and quiet which allowed him the opportunity to do that thinking and ponder the day's events. He used to go over the new information he had garnered about a bounty, some tidbit of news that would help him with the next phase of the hunt when he brushed Leila down. He gave a quick sweep of the brush and Leila neighed stomping her foot with enjoyment.

"Easy nina, I know how much you like it."

Tonight though his mind didn't chase down a bounty or go over the best way to approach an outlaw holed up in a hide out. Rayek wasn't even thinking about meeting with Zhantee in the morning. No, he was thinking about the dream. What did it mean? On a road that led to no-where? He had thought about the storms to the west and heading that way, but he didn't think that was right in the end. You stay away from storms on the open plains, the rain could drown and if there was lightning it could be an instant death. But going East seemed to get him, well, the same spot. It was like he didn't go anywhere, no matter how far or how long he walked. And there wasn't any sign of life other then his so asking someone for directions was out. He was asking what did it mean when he was interrupted.

A sudden footstep caught his attention and he looked around Leila to see Olbar walking in to check on his Painted Horse. She was beautiful with large white spots and brown patches mixed in. The large human looked over to Rayek with a little disgust then turned to his horse getting a bucket of oats ready. The bounty hunter just smiled and went back to rubbing his Leila. He hit the spot again and his Arabian neighed and stomped the floor hard startling the other horses in the stable.

"You need to calm your horse accountant!" Olbar remarked hanging the bucket of oats from the stable door so his horse could eat.

"I am sorry amigo, but my Leila is a feisty one and that upsets the timid mild nature of others." He smiled. /p>

The reply was meant to be a dig and it struck home with the foreman. Olbar tipped his hat back and smiled getting ready for an exchange. "Just remember, the feisty ones always end up with the bullet in their back."

"I see, and I would agree. I wonder, is the lady friend you see secretly a feisty one?" Rayek fired back.

He had hoped to catch Olbar off balance, and from the look on the large human's face it did just that. There was a moment of shock, barely a second and if you didn't know to look for it you would have missed it. Then anger, a rage born of intrusion, took over and Rayek was sure Olbar would come at him like the bear he was. But to the foreman's credit he didn't. Nope, Olbar just snarled and spat holding his ground.

"What would a heartless bounty hunter know about love? How many men begged for their lives and you shrugged it off? I wonder how many of them could have benefited from a little compassion only to get a face full of stone."

The questions had the same affect on him he assumed. All at once Rayek was cut, the memories of the shoot out in that small town hitting him. The reason he came back to Two-Moons echoing in his head. How many men would have benefited from a little compassion? How many were innocent? It was the same pain all over again.

"Si, amigo...I ask myself that everyday." Rayek whispered turning back to Leila.

The stable grew silent. The fight was over, the sparring done. Olbar knew he drew blood, and he knew the bounty hunter knew he had hurt him. In the end it was a draw, and on some male level that was all that was needed to go further.

"She's feisty, down right stubborn and mean, yet the sweetest softest thing I've ever held." Olbar offered turning back to his horse.  

"And she is the one who wishes to keep the relationship secret?"

The foreman turned and looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "How the hell did you know that? For that matter, how did you know I had a lady friend?"

Rayek only smiled before answering. "I am a hunter amigo. I smelled the perfume on you at dinner and I do not think you are the type who wears expensive scents from back East. And I also know you are not the type to hide anything, so it was easy to assume your lady friend was the one who wished to keep the relationship secret."

Olbar huffed putting a bucket of water on the door to the stall so his horse could get a drink to wash down the oats. "I guess you do know something of love."

"I knew it from a long time ago, but not since. Some of us are not meant to feel its bliss." Rayek replied low.

"My pa used to say some in this world have wings and are meant to fly while the others just to crawl in the mud, and the two never mix. We, he would say with a grin, we were in the mud up to our neck." Olbar offered.

"Sounds like a charming man." Rayek replied, nothing derogatory meant.

"Pa was charming all right. He was plumb charming right up to the day he died working in the fields." Olbar whispered.

The stable grew quiet again. Rayek moved Leila into her stall, gently nudging her in and then slipping a sugar cube from his waist coat to her. He rubbed her nose once more before turning to leave, but the Olbar's deep voice stopped him.

"You really think that, that some people will never know love?"

"Si amigo, I believe that very much." Rayek answered.

"I use to think the same thing, that hard boiled cases like you and me were good for nothing more than a hard day's work and a lonely bed."

"And what changed your mind?"

"One of those people with wings swooped down and took pity on a man up to his neck in the mud." Olbar grinned.

"Then I wish you the best Amigo." Rayek said with a nod before leaving the stable.

Olbar stayed and finished feeding and watering his horse. He thought of his day with Timmain, relished the feeling and sensations, and wondered if he'd end up in the mud again.

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