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ElfWest Stories and Artwork - *Updated 9/26*

WiseShaman




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WiseShaman

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Rainflower

I've already commented that part, but it's still cool. I love the new banner of yours [b:dd8ec2b659]Shaman[/b:dd8ec2b659]

WiseShaman

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stargazer

This pic kind of goes with the last couple of installments of the Henry saga (up on the ElfWest site)...Foxfur waiting for news of Skywise...


[img:13dd2e4d59]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v245/gda63/news2.jpg[/img:13dd2e4d59]

Embala

Wonderful as everyone of yours. She looks really anxious ..
Now I remember how much I've missed your art!

nevaratoiel

Weee! You used my 'logo'! :D

8)

WiseShaman

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Tenderfoot

Newstar, sitting on a swing.

[img:65bed5f14c]http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn88/Green_Joy/Elf%20West/Newstar.jpg[/img:65bed5f14c]

Embala

So lovely :D - no longer a child, not yet a woman.

Tenderfoot

Thankies! Me glad you like. :P

stargazer

That's a really cute picture!

Tenderfoot

Thank you :D

To hear (or see, since you're writing it) that from you, a blessed artist with talent, that's an honor!

WiseShaman

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Tenderfoot

That's very kind of you to say. Made my day :D

stargazer

A quick sketch I did while the kids were getting ready for school...


[img:94b0883052]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v245/gda63/jpgJPG.jpg[/img:94b0883052]

WiseShaman

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stargazer

Well, you can't help but suspect he enjoyed running circles around those miners! Wink

Any news on the next installment Shaman? Wink

WiseShaman

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stargazer

Grin Ah well. I guess I'll just have to curb my impatience a little longer. Grin

WiseShaman

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stargazer

Aww...Shaman, I loved it, but you always leave me on the edge of my seat at the end! I swear you're turning my hair grey! Grin

WiseShaman

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stargazer

Soon? [img:d8238f35a1]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v245/gda63/Emoticons/evilgrin.gif[/img:d8238f35a1]

Yeah, I know I'm greedy. Take it as a compliment to your writing skills! Wink

WiseShaman

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bukittyan

Yea! More ElfWest!

WiseShaman, I really like how you wrote the battle magic scene in the Henry saga! The humans are going to help the elves out; a nice twist. I can't wait to see what happens!

And the Battle of Bells Ferry is so nerve-wracking! You really do a good job explaining military tactics so that a non-military person can understand. And the battle scenes are exciting and horrific at the same time. I keep sitting on the edge of my seat, even though I know Cutter and Skywise will turn out okay.

Can't wait for more! :D

WiseShaman

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lunakat

lose people... you mean by keeping them on the edge of their seats? Like... they might fall off or something? Wink

I'm really having fun tuning into this story. It's like an event horizon... I'm watching all the characters get closer and closer to the climax! But no matter how close they seem to get, and how much the action builds... they stay on the brink of it!

Now that's brilliant. I love it! :)

WiseShaman

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lunakat

it's actually very clear- not confusing at all!

[i:e3ede90859](yeah- i told you i was having those problems logging on! but it doesn't mean i wasn't coming by to read your stories! :P )[/i:e3ede90859]

WiseShaman

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krwordgazer

I love the new Belles Ferry segment, Shaman! The whole part about Cutter feeling guilty about Skywise in the battle was so reminiscent of the War for the Palace. The part about them watching the stars together after the battle was very touching, too.

I agree that your battle descriptions are excellent for a civilian reader. I can't always picture the troop movements in my head, but I can understand what's going on. I loved the quick-and-dirty promotion scene, too! Kudos for making the battles realistic without getting too graphically bloody!

WiseShaman

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WhiteGhost

Yay!

Also? Spiffy Banner! Smile

Cleopatra

Guess who's back?

Thank's to everyone who have helped me to get back here. I am so glad for it. :D

Thank you everyone. Thank you.

WiseShaman

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Cleopatra

That was awsome Shaman.

Btw Shaman, here's the parts of my small scene's with Wing and Bethia.


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

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

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

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


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

"I'm not mad," said Wing.

"Yes you are."

"No, I'm not."

"Yes you are."

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

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

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

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

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


Here's the second part.


Brownberry looked after that Tyleet and her friends did their homework. They always did homework together every day at Tyleet. And as a reward when all was finished, they were always allowed to get a piece of cake by Brownberry itself.

"Okay, you, there are now," said Brownberry as Rainsong came in and served a little cake and filled with milk in their glass.

"How was it at school today?" Rainsong asked as she filled the glass to Newstar.

"Mrs. Clearbook is so strict, "said Newstar. "Sometimes it seems that she thinks that we were created to do homework all the time."

"Sometimes it can look like that, but Mrs. Clearbook is not so strict all the time?"

"Oh, yes she is. She is the string all the time, "protested Newstar. "The only time she really smiles is when Miss Bethia smiles to her. Even today she managed to do it because Dewshine was not on the shcool today. "

Bethia. Wing felt warm inside, as her name was mentioned.

"Was Dewshine not in school today?" Asked Rainsong.

"Maybe she is just sick," said Tyleet careful.

"Or so she has disappeared because of the rifle, just like Mr. Strongbow," said Newstar just kidding. But it did not like that for Tyleet. She tried to hide the mind of the Newstar said and do not know that she was concerned. What if it was true?

"Newstar, that was not funny. She is probably just sick and could not go to school today, "said Rainsong strictly.

Wing was too busy to think about Bethia. He thought of the beauty her eyes, the long ginger hair, her warm smile and above all, her sweet laughter.

"Did you liked the cake everyone?" Asked Rainsong to dampen the mood that was about to be a fight.

"Yes," answered all together.

"Yes," said Wing, while he still dreamed of Bethia.

"But, Wing, you have not tasted the cake," said Rainsong. "Are you going to be sick?"

"No," said Wing still in their own world. Rainsong toutched for on the forehead of Wing had fever, but no fever.

"Is everything okay with you, Wing?"

"Yes."

"No problems at school?"

"No."

"He has only had a girlfriend, therefore," said Newstar quizzical. And now Wing was back to reality.

"I have not," he protested.

"Oh, yes. It has to, "said Newstar still quizzical.

"No, I have not."

"Oh, yes."

"Oh, no."

"Oh, yes."

"Oh, no."

"Oh, yes."

"Oh, no."

"It's enough you both," said Rainsong and interrupted their argument. "Playing the role of any one of you have been in love and will annoy the other?"

"But," said siblings in unison.

"No but. Now hold your peace, or is it house arrest for a week."

"Sorry mother."

stargazer

Awww, young love...so sweet! :D

Shaman, Pike is just too adorable for words! Grin John Lee...I'm still trying to figure out what his game is...excellent stuff as always!

krwordgazer

Cleo, I know I mentioned elsewhere how much I'm enjoying the Wing story so far. So cute!

WiseShaman, that was great! I was hankerin' for a little more Rayek, and I loved the interchange with Voll. . . he does well in the role of suspicious husband! Grin

Pike is so sweet with Vaya, I just want to cuddle them both! But this version of Pike probably smells of moonshine, and Vaya would just stab me in the ribs. . . Wink

Aaaanywaayyy. . . .

****

I'm taking up where Caris Caeruleus left off in the story of the abduction of Strongbow, which takes place on the 4th day of the present storyline (the Henry Rifle Saga). The events in Silver Springs happened on Day Five, and the events I describe are happening on Days Five and Six, catching up with the events in the most recent installment of the Henry Rifle Saga above.

Most of the plot was planned out by Caris and WiseShaman in collaboration. We are all sincerely hoping Caris comes back, but so as not to slow down the story, I am stepping in with:

HOMECOMINGS
PART 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Dart!" Brownberry said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

stargazer

Wow, what a case of 'open mouth, insert foot'! I hope Dart can make things right. Well done as always KR! And so good to finally pick up the Strongbow storyline again!

WiseShaman

Oh YESSSSSS!!

KR's writing for ElfWest again!! It feels so right, like a warm security blanket! :D

Awesome job, I loved it. Yes, Dart may have said something he didn't want to but he at least I think he'll own up to it and make amends. The only question, this was on the morning of Day 5 right because Dart rode out that night with the group to get Cutter and the others.

And yes KR, there will be more Rayek so the hankering will be fed.

And thanks for the kind words Stargazer!

nevaratoiel

Really off topic WiseShaman, but what is that Font you're using in your signature?

WiseShaman

Hey Nev,

It's called 'Bleeding Cowboy'

I got it at [url]http://www.urbanfonts.com[/url].

krwordgazer

Shaman, I love your banner! It's terrific!

But . . . oh, dear. I thought I'd read over all the relevant prior sections of the story. Apparently I missed one. :oops: Dart's back by the evening of Day 5 to ride out with the others.

That means he only has one day to search for Strongbow himself, and to think things over. Not a whole lot of time. . . but I can change it so he comes back on the evening of Day 5 instead of the morning of Day 6. I'll try to get the change done this evening.

WiseShaman

KR,

No rush and Noooooo problem! You're doing a great job with the story!

i can't wait to see what happens with Strongbow.

WhiteGhost

Quote:
He didn’t see the pale horse, or it’s equally pale rider, pass by but the cold shiver that ran up his spine made the troll jerk and turn around looking to see who just walked across his grave.


This? Made me laugh & I got kimchee broth up me nose. Darn you Shaman, it burns!



Also: MWAR!!

krwordgazer

Ok, I have changed the Dart story both here and on the Elf West forum. :D Hope it works now!

WiseShaman

Awesome job KR!

I really like the way you handled the blow up, perfect.

I'll have it up on the site tonight.

Cleopatra

KR, that was awsome work. I really liked it. Keep going. :)

Tenderfoot

[quote:1fec8786b0="Cleopatra"]KR, that was awsome work. I really liked it. Keep going. :)[/quote:1fec8786b0]

I second this! Understand why they were so angry with Dart, but I can only guess what he and Redlance felt. I've been called many things too, but nothing like "a damn no-good breed".

Stupid Dart! Hurry up now, or else it may be too late to say sorry!

Rainflower

Tender or Cleo, can you check your e-mail please?

Rainflower

[b:16b7d9a0a0]Shaman[/b:16b7d9a0a0], that was wonderful. I loved Pike and Vaya in the morning. Man those tho are so perfect for eachother.

[b:16b7d9a0a0]KR[/b:16b7d9a0a0], I loved the Strongbow story of yours to. Finely that one is back. I actually feel sorry for poor Dart.

Siwanll

[color=indigo:44e709dff6]Aah .. When I have a lot of free time I'll read all the stories again and those that I get images in my head of I'll sketch! I really wanna sketch something for Elfwest ^______^[/color:44e709dff6]

Rainflower

Here I have some new pics for Elf West
Western Newstar here's Newstar. I thought this kind of dress would be perfect for her.

And here's the Hidalgo Sisters...
Mexican Sisters

...and Kahvi
Kahvi Cowgirl

Embala

Great pics! I LOVE Kahvi!

bukittyan

@ WiseShaman

I'm still mystified by John Lee. What does he really want? And he's just sooo creepy! And I loooooove Pike. He's so cute with Vaya. I'll keep my fingers crossed for a happier ending for the two.

@ krwordgazer

That scene with Dart was beautifully written. I'm glad we got to see his blow up, and it makes me understand it a bit more. It sounds like he's going to do the right thing after all. Yea! :D

@Rainflower

Love the pics, especially the Hidalgo sisters. Shenshen's adorable!

krwordgazer

Thanks for the kind words, bukittyan! Rainflower, I love the pics! :D

And now, here is

HOMECOMINGS, PART 2

PART 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He cleared his throat, trying to make his voice work. "I was going to break horses for you," he finally managed to say. "Not-- this." Whatever "this" was, he thought to himself. But speaking had made his throat hurt as usual, and he said no more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then-- pain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pain.

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

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

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

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

She left.

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

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

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

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

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

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

WiseShaman

Awesome!!

Loved it!!!

Cleopatra

Really awsome. I was wondering about who had kidnapped Strongbow, and NOW I knew it. I hope they will find him soon so he can be with the family again.

stargazer

I've missed your stories KR! That was wonderful!

WhiteGhost

MORE!!!

lunakat

oooh! great story, krword! I can't wait to see how it ends! (thank goodness Strongbow is finally located-- he's languished for a really long time now!)

krwordgazer

Thanks, folks! I hope you liked the bit about Strongbow being oblivious to the ladies who all wish he wasn't quite so loyal to his wife! It was just a little bit of a nod to all his fangirls! Wink

There'll be "more" after WiseShaman catches us up with what's been going on with the other characters. . .

Cleopatra

I am hoping he next part will come soon. I'm going to be patiant to the next part and see how it is going.

bukittyan

I wouldn't have figured Winnowill as the captor; interesting twist! Krwordgazer this was brilliantly written! I like how Winnie seems less evil. She's thinking that this is best both for Strongbow and the elf tribe and she'll show him! I'm thinking this is going to blow up in her face. So more! :D

WiseShaman

Thanks bukittyan! We'll find out what old John is up to a little later. Let's just say he's keeping it all in line.

The next piece of the Henry is up, more of the morning of Day Six.

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


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

“Where is you’re grandmother?”

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

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

Always mad about something”¦

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

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

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

“Well I’m glad we did not have to wait long.”

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

“What are you doing here?” Winnowill asked cautiously.

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

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

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

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

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

“Like us?”

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

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

“Hide?” Timmain gasped, but more in anger than surprise.

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

“Who do you think encourages Savah? Who do you think has guided her on her quest?”

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

“All teachers are students also.”

“You know”¦about us?” Willowgreen asked with a stammer.

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

“Why do you not seek with us? Do you not want to know about the ancient one’s powers?” Winnowill countered.

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

“What Matron Savah and Brother Rain search for”¦our past, our real past.”

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

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

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

“Why do you want to make us whole? Do you think we elves are in someway inferior to the humans and trolls of this world?” Timmain asked.

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

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

“What have you done sister?”

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

“And this elf, your subject, what happened to them? We’re they ”˜happy’ with the present you gave them?”

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

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

“Who is in ”˜play’? What forces?” Rain asked quickly.

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

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

This time the room didn’t go silent at this sudden revaluation, there were too many gasps of shock. Timmain ignored them all moving ahead with what she had started knowing full well there was no turning back.

“There are twelve of us, all elves, who have been given the charge of protecting the very secret you stumbled on last night. Setting these powers free is not as simple as lighting a lantern and filling a room with light Mrs. Winnowill. These powers, what you seek, were locked away for a reason and by us”¦elves! That is what Savah and the others have been searching for, what they have been seeking. Why do these powers need to be locked away? What happened that caused the High Ones to lock them away?”

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

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

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

Timmain stopped waiting for them to think about what she had said. Savah felt the fears of her students and moved to calm them.

“I have worked with Timmain, closely, sharing what we have found and she has helped us with defining a direction to look in using what she all ready knows. She has not once tried to stop us or asked the society to cease with our search. Please, Timmain is not trying to discourage or stop us in anything.”

“Has she? Why is she here if not to stop us from releasing the ancient powers?” Winnowill shot back.

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

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

“Now, show me what the shaman showed you last night.”

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

!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!

“Someone’s coming!” Scouter called out.

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

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

“Who is it?” Joyleaf asked eagerly, needing to know like everyone else.

“Maybe it’s Red?” Dart asked, hgis eagerness to see the tracker slipping through.

“It’s Cutter on Nightrunner”¦and there’s a wagon behind him.”

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

“Why did all of you come out?”

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

“That’s a long story! Did Rain come with you?” Cutter asked with concern hoping down from the saddle.

“Who’s hurt?” Dart replied suddenly.

“Shale, Skywise’s pa, was shot yesterday at the shack. Damn, we need Rain.” Cutter spat.

“The Captain found his parents?” Nightfall asked with shock.

“We have Rose, she can do.” Longbranch stated ignoring his own surprise..

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

“Where’s the doc?” He yelled out.

“Rain didn’t ride with us, but we got Rose!” Cutter answered heading for the back.

“She’s not a doctor!” Skywise exclaimed setting the brake on the wagon with a quick jerk.

“We know that ya’ fool!” Bearclaw yelled running right behind Cutter.

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

“Can you help him?” Skywise asked peeking in from the driver’s seat.

“Si, I will do what I can.” Leetah answered.

“Maybe we should ride like hell for Two-Moons.”

“No brother,” Cutter stated with a shake of his head, “the horses need rest and this old wagon won’t hold up to the trip. Rose ill do the job, no worries.”

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

Something that she had no control over”¦

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

And she wasn’t the only one.

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

“What the hell-“

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

“It’s okay”¦I’ve seen this”¦it’ll be okay!”

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

“Ai, mi hermana!” Shenshen whispered feeling her own fear for Leetah.

“What’s happening to Rose?” Crescent asked in fear for her friend.

“I think she’s saving Skywise’s father.” Joyleaf remarked.

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

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

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

Shale rolled his head back to look at Eyes High, a small smile on his face. “I’m okay”¦I’m gonna be okay.”

“Really?” She asked with fresh tears forming on her face.

“Yes ma’am,”

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

“Whoa, it’s okay”¦I got you.”

“Gracias Major”¦” Leetah whispered feeling his warmth through her clothes and savoring it like a fool starving for food.

“No, thank you for saving him,” Eyes High added slowly massaging the side of Shale’s head lovingly.

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

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

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

“What happened?” He asked looking at her with that same expression.

“Please, can we talk outside?”

“No, what happened?” Cutter demanded.

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

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

“Nothing bad happened Major, nothing.” Shenshen tried to explain.

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

“Touched?” Cutter wailed with shock.

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

It didn’t help Cutter who looked fit to be tied. “Damn”¦I should have been there!”

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

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

“Major, please, can we talk in private?” Leetah suddenly asked.

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

“Are they going to be okay?” Shale asked scared.

“I think Cutter can take her if he draws that old Dragoon fast enough.” Bearclaw said with his patented grin.

“You Old Devil!” Joyleaf spat while slapping him on the arm.

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

“I want to say thank you first Cutter.”

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

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

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

“Please Cutter, use my real name.”

“Leetah”¦I can’t let this pass. Someone tried to hurt you, Trick Shot and Crescent too, in my town”¦my friends”¦my loved ones.”

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

“Making a pancake”¦fun?” Cutter asked with an incredulous smile.

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh, is it now?” Cutter asked with his own smile showing..

“Si, but just a little.” Leetah answered kissing his cheek.

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

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

“Sorry to break in, but Scouter said he saw someone else approaching.”

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

“Nope, Scouter says is four riders, two men and two women, all human.”

“More Miners chasing us you think?”

“I don’t know, but your pa’s getting everyone ready.” Skywise explained.

“Damn, come on and we’ll see who this is?”

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

“Thank you, for saving my father. I don’t know what you did, and I don’t care, but I’m in your debt Rose.”

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

“De nada Captain, I am only too happy to help.”

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

stargazer

Awww...Cutter and Leetah - finally!!! :D

lunakat

I really like how this wraps up. I've been waiting to see if Leetah's healing powers would come into play- and this was a perfect moment for that to happen. At last- Cutter and Leetah hook up! yay!

One thing that's bothered me however-- am I crazy, or did Cutter get shot sometime back? Doesn't it smart... even a little?

Tenderfoot

:love: *siiigh* Love is in the air... But, wait a minute. What are you all standing there for? Go get Red! We need some romantic setting in that direction too!

*pushes hearts over to Redlance, Nightfall and Crescent* Come on, you three. I'm waiting!

Plus, he may be in trouble.

Rainflower

Shaman, this thing is getting better and better. I loved the Leetah and Cutter private scene.

KR, I loved Strongbow's facing with Winnowill. Damn what she did to hom was bad

Cleopatra

Ditto sisters.

Now, how will it go? It must be a happy ending.

And more story's. Wink

WiseShaman

Thanks for the kind words guys! It means a lot to know you like the direction and stories.

Luna, yeah he took a wing back in the shack, but this is the Major we're talking about! He's way to strong to let a little wing take him down...

I mean did John Wayne die in 'Big Jake'? No way, and Cutter's just as tough! Grin

lunakat

This is so much fun!

WiseShaman

Oh that it is Luna!

It's been a lot more than I thought it would be! :D

WiseShaman

All right, here's the conclusion of the Bells Ferry battle. The end of the line for this little tale.

Cutter and Skywise Battle the Djun on Little Round Top one last time...


The Red Jackets were being picked off one by one, by the sharpshooters and the men from the ”˜wing’ together, but it didn’t slow the assault. Skywise was in trouble, it was the one thing the soldiers in his small squad couldn’t survive. An all out rush right at them. There was only one option, stand and fight, but the Captain didn’t settle on it because it was his only choice. He took it because it was what he had to do. To let the Djunslanders take the hill was to lose the battle, to lose the War, and that was death for the Abode. Skywise watched the humans come for him screaming as he took in one large breath and screamed out one last rallying cry for his ”˜wing’”¦for his men.

“HOLD EM!”

Then Skywise raised his Dragoon and fired at almost point blank killing the closest Red Jacket to him with a fiery burst. He saw the man drop and another face replace it, a mask of hatred, that he slashed at with his saber. In an instant he was overrun, the ”˜wing’ was buried, and Skywise disappeared in a sea of red. His saber swung in a hard arc and he heard the screams of men and felt contact along the blade. A rifle butt crashed into his shoulder and a bayonet slashed at his chest but it just cut the thick material of his dungaree shirt and suspender strap. He fired off a round from the Dragoon and another Djunslader screamed grabbing his chest collapsing in the melee. Skywise didn’t fall into the same battle lust as his brother, there was still something of ”˜him’ left and it kept control. The Captain held his feet firm against the mass that was now trying to push and knock him down. He held the spot like a tree and yelled out again rallying his men.

“HOLD EM’”

And the thirty-five men of the ”˜wing’ responded. They became a wall of blue stopping the assault, bunching the Djunslanders in a tangled mass in the improvised corner, but the soldiers couldn’t keep this up for long. It was like holding back the flood waters of a broken dam, and Skywise knew it too well. He had to have faith in Cutter, his brother, to break the assault. Then another rifle butt slammed into his shoulder again, only this time harder and the blow drove the captain down to one knee.

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“Wheel Right!”

Cutter yelled the command again trying to spur the east end of the line for the Abode to close in and start to circle around the Djunslanders. The Major watched in a mix of anger and horror as the third rank of Red Jackets slammed into the ”˜wing’, right into Skywise like a twenty pound hammer. He knew the thirty-five men could only hold out for a minute or more, if that, before the Djuns would circle them on the west end and break the Abode.

And that’s what the battle of Little Round Top would come down too”¦

Who could fight hard enough and get around the flank of the other.

Who could muster enough strength and grit and tenacity to drive the other off this damn forsaken hill?

At first the east end of the Abode’s line didn’t move, it was held fast by the Djun’s men unable to press the attack. Cutter felt his anger rise, his desperation grow, as he lashed out at a Red Jacket smashing him with his pistol. The ”˜wing’ was cut off probably, the whole line was going to be overrun, and his brother killed. The Major cut another Red Jacket with a swift stroke of his saber and poured all the desperation and fear for his brother into a single thought, a single invisible word.

SKYWISE!

It felt weird suddenly to Cutter, like his mind reached out and touched”¦his brother’s. As if some ”˜magical’ connection linked them suddenly.

And he felt something touch his mind back, words formed in his mind”¦from his brother.

Cutter...what’s happening?

Skywise?

We’re being overrun Cutter! We can’t hold out!

Then the connection stopped, broke, and the last from his brother was like a slap to the Major, a hot strike to his cheek. All that desperation and fear that opened whatever the connection was to his brother turned to anger and malice. Cutter bellowed his order for his men, screamed it as he struck another Red Jacket with his pistol, which was a bloody piece of iron by now.

“WHEEL RIGHT!”

Before the command died out on the afternoon air, before the words had echoed over the battle field, the men on the east flank for the Abode answered back to the Major’s command with a booming, piercing yell. In a reversal that would have amazed any General the men on the end of the line began to swing around, began to push the end of Djunslanders down the hill and encircle them. With each step forward the soldiers of the Abode pushed the Red Jackets back, and the move rippled down the line as the once stout Djuns were now crumbling. Continuing down the line just a few yards from Cutter stood the commanding officer of the Djun Army, watching as his Red Jackets tried to break this band of mismatched infantry and Calvary. For two days they had fought to push these Blue Bellies off this damn rock only to get tossed back down to the bottom, but not this afternoon. That ”˜wing’ formation, that small squad, would be the end for these bastards from the Abode.

Only those bastard Blue Bellies held”¦

The ”˜wing’ stalled the attack long enough for the left flank to start to fall. Those thirty five men kept an assault that numbered three times more than them from going around the end of the Abode’s line. His try at taking the ”˜wing’ at the angle was a disaster. His men were bunched now, defending in a mish mashed circle as the Abode crushed in on them from all sides except the rear.

There was no time to think, the attack was over. If the Djuns were encircled then it would be a rout”¦just like before. The commanding officer of the Red Jackets raised his saber and was ready to call out the order to retreat when his coat, right above the right breast pocket, exploded in a puff of red material”¦and blood. He didn’t feel his body go weak as the sharpshooter’s ball tore out most of his heart with the shot. The officer fell backward, dead before he knew it, rolling down the hill like a doll as his men fought on trying to take the hill.

Cutter saw the officer drop and knew the advantage was now the Abode’s. He knew it was now time to make one final push to shove the Djunslanders off the hill.

“FORWARD!”

And with the order given each man that could marched forward for the Abode, took one and then two steps forward pushing and knocking the Djuns down the hill. The ranks of Red Jackets finally broke leaving no semblance of fighting unit. Some officer or maybe some sergeant with enough battlefield experience decided there was no chance to take Little Round Top now and the field was not theirs. The call to retreat sounded loud over the din of the combatants, carried on the air, and then the Djuns were running back down the hill.

And as before the soldiers of the Abode screamed and taunted their enemy as they ran, but unlike the last time they knew this was the one retreat they had waited for, fought for sop hard. This stand was the one that broke the back of the Djunslanders. There might be another run up the hill at them, but no more all out attack or charge. No, those boys were whipped and now they realized it. The Abode had won Little Round Top and fate willing Bells Ferry.

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As they fled down the hill, running like a dog with its tail between its legs, the soldiers of the Abode all around yelled taunts and threw rocks, yet the only thing Cutter wanted was to see Skywise in one piece and breathing. The split second connection he shared with his brother, that ”˜magical’ touch was gone and he didn’t know how to bring it back. So the Major just ran down the line toward the end, to the ”˜wing’. He passed by men setting up positions to keep watch, some falling to the ground exhausted. The Major didn’t acknowledge a single one of them. They were just blurs to him as he ran.

Then he saw Skywise, kneeling on the ground.

He’s hurt! It was the first thought that came to Cutter. His brother was hurt, maybe shot or stabbed with a bayonet. The Major trotted up ready to scream for a medic”¦and then realized the order would have been in vain.

The Captain was kneeling by the side of a young human, a soldier in the ”˜wing’, and the boy was dying. There was a large bloody and in it’s middle was Skywise’s hand pressing, trying to save the boy’s life. It was over Cutter thought looking at a wound that was too much for the young life to fight. He walked up quietly as his brother talked to the boy, kept him company.

“Did we”¦hold em’”¦sir?”

“Yeah corporeal, we held em’” Skywise answered watching the human fight for each breath.

“Then”¦I did my job”¦we didn’t-“

“Stop talking, save you’re strength for the trip to the hospital.” Skywise ordered as Cutter knelt on one knee by him.

“I ain’t walkin’”¦off this hill sir”¦I ain’t goin’ home now.” The human said with a cough.

“Yes you are going home”¦just not the one back in the Abode.” Skywise offered.

“I broke”¦my mama’s”¦heart.” The boy spoke weakly with his eyes starting to fade.

Skywise looked up to Cutter with eyes filled full of hurt and pain as the boy spoke his last words.

“I”¦did”¦my job.”

Then there was nothing but silence, even in the midst of the chaos after the battle there was nothing but a silent that clawed at you. Cutter reached down and closed the boy’s eyes while whispering with reverence.

“You did more than that soldier”¦you did more than that.”

“His name was James,” Skywise whispered taking his hand off the human’s chest, “he promised his mother he would come home and take care of the farm.”

That silence gripped them again then Skywise stood up slowly, breathing deeply to keep himself under control. He refused to cry, there wasn’t time. He looked down his bloody hands wondering if they would ever come clean before looking up to Cutter.

“I need to check on my men”¦get them ready for this afternoon.”

“You do that Captain”¦then come to the meeting spot.” Cutter said with a nod.

“I’ll do that”¦” Skywise replied numbly while turning.

“Skywise!” Cutter called out abruptly.

“Cutter?”

“You did a damn good job today brother”¦better then me.” Cutter admitted.

Skywise shook his head looking down at the boy then back to his friend, his leader. “I think I understand now what that old timer was saying. Be proud of what I did”¦not what I had to do.”

The Major only nodded understanding there were no words that needed to be said. He watched the Captain nod back before turning and heading back to the top of the hill to meet with the other officers. He had a hill to hold, and as much as it hurt him to have to put that above his friendship, its what Cutter had to do. Skywise went about getting his bruised and battered men back into position. He lost four, including the boy James, in the assault, just four men.

It was amazing he thought, only four losses when he should have been wiped clean off the face of the world.

Later, after getting the men set back up and ready, the Captain walked up the hill and back to the spot by the trees where the officers all met. A couple of the junior officers whooped startling Skywise and wondered what the good news was. One of the young humans turned to him as he walked up with a smile.

“Damn, did you hear Captain?”

“No, what is it? No wait, let me guess. The Djun decided to marry a nice little girl and call this whole war off?” Skywise asked back.

“No sir,” The junior officer said with a look of disbelief and a little confusion, “the Red Jackets marched right into a massacre this morning. Nine brigades, 13,000 of them tried to cross a mile of open field and we stopped them. We thrashed all nine brigades!”

“Thrashed”¦nine brigades?” Skywise mumbled feeling dizzy over the numbers.

“There wasn’t a Djun left standing, except for the few hundred that retreated. This was it sir, Bells Ferry is ours!”

“Hold it Lieutenant,” Cutter called out to the young officer, “don’t go putting the word out this over. There’s been no order from General Tecumseh this battle’s done. We stay until the order to leave is given.”

Skywise barely heard any of the exchange. 13,000 men”¦13,000”¦so many it was too staggering to think about. It was like losing a whole town, or a city. One minute there were people wandering the streets going form shop window to shop window, and then they were gone, just like that. In the span of a few minutes no more town”¦no more city.

“Yes sir,” The young Lieutenant replied.

“Is it true Major? Nine brigades”¦gone?”

“Yeah, we just got word from the General’s staff. This morning while we were fighting for this hill the Djun made a major attack on a spot in the main line. They attacked just outside of town at this ridge where our line breaks at an angle like our ”˜wing’. The spot’s called Cemetery Ridge, name fits the field perfectly now. They’re saying almost all of the Djuns men fell, were wiped out by the artillery and rifle fire. A small group made the break, but we captured them, took them in.”

The group went silent and Skywise thought maybe they were all thinking about the number too, and then one of the officers spoke up. “We still run the same formation sir?”

“Yeah, the Captain has the ”˜wing’ and we’ll take the line. I want the lines at the ready just in case, ready for one last attack.” Cutter ordered.

“Yes sir,” the officer replied stiffly.

The officers dispersed with the last order, all except Skywise again. He stayed behind, having a plate full of ham and beans with the Major. He finished the last spoonful as Cutter asked a question.

“You okay?”

“Yeah, a few bruises and cuts, but I’m here.” Skywise said putting the plate down.

“No, I mean about the soldier”¦about what happened this morning?”

Skywise turned and looked at his brother feeling a deep love for him, and then he remembered what had happened just as the Red Jackets were ready to crush the small wing. He remembered feeling Cutter’s words form in his head, like his brother was there right in front of him.

“Did you feel-“

“Yeah, “Cutter stated putting his plate down and wiping his mouth with a bandana, “it happened. What I’m not sure of is how it happened, but I know why.”

“Because you were worried about me, admit it Major, you felt just a little bit of fear for me there.” Skywise jabbed.

“You’re lucky as hell I can put up with you!” Cutter exclaimed with a laugh pointing his finger at Skywise.

“I know”¦I know that better than you think brother.” Skywise said with a small voice, but one that was filled with love.

“When this ends we’ll be side by side again brother that I swear. We’ll ride with the 7th and won’t look back.”

“Until we hit the first saloon, where it’s whiskey for the men and beer for the horses!” Skywise added with a laugh.

Cutter joined him and the two sat there for a few minutes more enjoying a laugh before turning to the duties at hand. Cutter checked the men along the main line while Skywise did the same with his ”˜wing’. The morning shifted into the afternoon with everyone waiting for the next attack.

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The Battle for Bells Ferry effectively, and for all purposes, ended that morning after the failed charge at Cemetery Ridge. The loss of so many swung the tide enough to make the Djuns Army concede the field and town to the Abode. General Tecumseh didn’t pursue the retreating Djunslanders choosing to occupy the town and outlying areas to let his army rest and recoup. The last stand had taken its toll on the men and elves from the Abode, physically but not mentally. No, now they felt as if they could win this war, could stand with the Djuns Army.

Cutter Kinseeker, Major and commander of the 7th Calvary, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for Heroism for his actions and bravery at Little Round Top for the two days they fought. Captain Skywise was promoted to second in command of the 7th, but no award for his actions at the ”˜wing’. In the end he didn’t want an award for anything he did those three days. The fact thirty one men walked off the hill that he commanded was enough of a award, better that anything any General would pin on him in some room somewhere.

The 7th Calvary would ride onto the other missions and raids along the border. They would be distinguished again and again riding for the Abode and General Tecumseh.

Those stories became the stuff of legend and history books”¦

Cleopatra

That was awsome Shaman. I liked it.

stargazer

You know Shaman, I don't normally read war stories, but I've thoroughly enjoyed every single chapter of this one. I'm kind of sorry to see this story arc end... Wink

WiseShaman

Thanks Cleo, I'm really happy you enjoyed it.

And for you Mrs. Stargazer, the ride's not over yet. If you check on the Timeline I left a few 'strategic' events that will be mentioned in future stories...

Plus...wait till you see what our Captain has waiting for him in town! Wink

manga

Because Caris is gone, I couldn't find it on the ElfWest website, and it'd be SUCH a shame if this were lost!

This is the second of the "ElfWest" pictures. The first was one Bukittyan did but that I can't find. I'll have another look later.

WiseShaman

Yeah Manga,

That one isn't on the site because Caris said it wasn't part of ElfWest. It was just something she dreamed up. I asked her if she wanted it up and she said no...but since you found it I'll put it up.

manga

Well, since we pretty much wouldn't have "ElfWest" without this picture, I think it should be counted. :)

Besides, I have a twisted little story that goes with it that I shall share with everyone when I get a couple of other projects out of the way.

WiseShaman

Quote:
Manga

Well, since we pretty much wouldn't have "ElfWest" without this picture, I think it should be counted.



Oh I'm sorry. I didn't realize the picture was the 'Big Bang' that started ElfWest.

Maybe the picture would like a shot at writing for ELfWest instead of everyone else, you know, since it was the Alpha and Omega of ElfWest!

manga

Well, the way it went was I complained to Bukittyan about something-or-the-other making Rayek in to a mustache-twirling villain. She gave me a picture of Rayek twirling a handle-bar mustache, I shared it with the Forum, Caris came back with the train scene and everybody loved the idea so much that ElfWest just kinda exploded from there. :)

WiseShaman

:roll:

Oh, you know what, I should have known better. Manga knows ALL!

Like I said, let the picture write ElfWest.

It doesn't matter anyway, the drive that had everything looks dead so it's all gone anyway!

Xiu

Quote:
WiseShaman

:roll:

Oh, you know what, I should have known better. Manga knows ALL!

Like I said, let the picture write ElfWest.

It doesn't matter anyway, the drive that had everything looks dead so it's all gone anyway!

No it isn't!! my grandmother once told me, never give up. keep working at it, even when all else fails, keep working at it! Never once did I stop with my writing, and here I am running 15 games on a website (same one I can give you the link for), playing in several dozen others, and what's more, written three nanowrimo novellas!

Trust me WisShaman, get recoveryfix for windows, the demo for it is free and will find everything, and if you can manage it, pay the $70 and perchase the software. Once you do, you'll get pretty much everything back safe and sound, all in once piece too!

Rainflower

Shaman, I loved the last part of yours. :D

Manga, glad to hear from you again

WiseShaman

Crisis averted!

Issue was a USB cable and a port...but we're all fixed now.

krwordgazer

WiseShaman, I loved the two new installments!

Winnie getting her butt handed to her by Timmain was funny! I felt sorry for Winnowill, imagine that! Grin I also loved Leetah's healing scene. And the love scene with Cutter was fantastic! I've been thinking we needed to get that romance moving-- you did a great job with it!

The Belles Ferry scene was terrifically tense and exciting. I loved the sending moment between Cutter and Skywise. And the interaction between them at the end just brought tears to my eyes. "You're lucky I put up with you!" "Believe me, I know." Funny and moving at the same time.

WiseShaman

Rainflower,

Thanks, I tried to close out Bells Ferry with a little flare...


KR,

I'm glad you liked them my lady, but the real fun is about to happen.

WiseShaman

.

WhiteGhost

MOAR!!!

MOAR NOW!!!*impatient*

stargazer

I second that! Grin

Tenderfoot

Make us three!

Rainflower

Four :D :D :D

I especially liked Leetahs thought comparing Rayek and Cutter.

What the heck is John Lee up to :? He really cut op a whole troll?

Cleopatra

Five here.

It was awsome. I cant wait fore more. Ooohhh how will it go now?

Tenderfoot

[quote:351b35fd24="Rainflower"]He really cut op a whole troll?[/quote:351b35fd24]

Nope, he just hit his head. Itchback thought it was Guttlekraw. Didn't you read?

[quote:351b35fd24="WiseShaman"]A low moan preceded the entrance of Itchback as the troll ambled into the kitchen rubbing the back of his head and looking around confused.

“Why’d you hit me in the head uncle? I was making lunch-“

“It wasn’t me you idgit”¦now finish the stew while I try to calm down.” Guttlekraw snapped.

“Hey, why’d you stick a fork in the cabinet uncle?”[/quote:351b35fd24]

Rainflower

HEY :x Of corse I did :!:

[quote:539f4995a4="WiseShaman"]“Where’s my nephew?”

“Which piece?” John asked back with a cruel smile looking up from the knife.

“Oh hell”¦you cut him up”¦” Guttlekraw whispered.

John Lee may have heard the last but he paid it no attention holding the knife out still admiring its craftsmanship. “This is certainly a nice piece of silver Mr. Guttlekraw, so nice it makes me wonder just why a muck raking troll such as you has it.”[/quote:539f4995a4]

Cleopatra

Okey... I think we should contiune before it is a fighting here.

Tenderfoot

He lied to make Guttlekraw afraid of him. At least that's what I think.

WiseShaman

Tenderfoot's right girls...

John Lee left Itchback alive...he just wanted to scare old Guttlekraw...

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