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Private Investigators

Date: 08-31-06
Poster: Mercy LaCorte
Post # 21

The Sentencing

Mercy couldn't understand a thing the old woman was saying but she could see the twins growing angry as well as other men of the Bear Clan. She glanced at Clark and Jacob then looked at the War Chief of the Horse. He shook his head and spoke low to the three PI's. "She is of the Clan of the Snake. It seems the tales were true and there is bad blood between them due to something the young braves were involved in." Her attention went back to the old woman, once again wondering what she had said. It couldn't be good! 
She had to fight an urge to stick her tongue at her when the old woman glared their way.

Yas frowned and took one step forward, his face dark with anger. "What we did should not have turned into a blood bath. We have counted coup for years between us. What we are has nothing to do with the anger of the spirits." Why did these white men have to come around now, bringing word of a man they had no wish to know? He fell into silence again, glowering when Dekanawida glared at him for speaking out.

Jacob met Mercy's look as he mumbled under his breath. "Just great, like father like sons." But there was a gleam in his eyes for he didn't know a McDonough that couldn't get out of a scrape he was in.

Matoskah only gave a nod as his brother spoke up this time as obviously they were his feelings and for now he would bide his tongue.

Adsila glowered at the two braves but even more she didn't like these white men here. They were no more than dirty mongrel dogs and the twins had their blood. She had her say on the matter but they knew well her feelings. "I await the decision according to the old ways." She wanted their deaths but she would have to accept what the Shaman and medicine woman here determined.

Clark's circuit of survey brought him back to Mercy and Jay, just in time to hear their guide's comment as well as Jacob's. "Best way to deal with boys in trouble is send them away for a while." He muttered under his breath, knowing how he had been handled as a youngster. He took a lean up against an obliging tree and fell silent, curious and wary of the upcoming events.

Patwin stepped just behind the brothers, placing a hand on Yas' back to silence and steady him. The time for words had come and gone. The time for action had arrived and had been completed. Now, it was the time for silence and patience. All would come too quickly from this point on. They would await the decision of their wise leaders. The vengeful spirit and spiteful words of the Snake meant nothing to Patwin or to those he cared for.

When the silence fell heavy on the gathered ones, Milap and Kirima could be seen returning. The Elder leaned heavily on the Shaman, weary with the weight of what she had seen. Milap's expression was unreadable but for those that knew him well, there was something different in his walk. As they neared, he looked at the two he had called sons and their blood brother then looked toward the others, chin lifting stubbornly. He would not allow strangers to see his sorrow. Kirima squinted at the whites, then at the warriors of the Horse. "We thank you for your aid, our Brothers. We know there is anger in the Clan of the Snake." She spoke in their native tongue while the War Chief of the Horse translated for the three. "All will be addressed. We assemble in the Council Tent." Without another word, she made her way to the tent, still leaning heavily on Milap.

Mercy bit her lip when Jacob spoke, trying not to smile. The gravity of the situation was far to serious. With a look to her companions, she followed after the leaders of the Horse.

Yas placed his hand briefly on Patwin's then watched as the two Elders returned. He felt as if he had swallowed a ball of mud, his stomach feeling the effects of his nervousness and anger. Waiting for the Elders, the Clan leaders, and the whites to move to the tent, he then followed.

He went where he was suppose to and this was under the guide of the Horse Chief. They were with them as guests even if some of the looks given them were far less than approving. Some didn't seem to really care but that evil eye of the Snake charmer twisted medicine woman was enough to have him take a step back. Who knew what was in her bag of tricks. They might all be turned into toads.

Mat's focus stayed steadfast on their own Shaman and medicine woman. Here were his people, his heart, what was to come would come from them after the council meeting determination. A silent look was given Patwin in appreciation of his support, now they had to wait. That was the devil to pay more than anything, the sentencing yet to come. His breathing was even but shallow. He stood proud no matter.

Adsila stayed with her warriors as they escorted her to the tent, here they were left outside as the Chiefs, shaman, two medicine women met with the others for the verdict.

Clark was like a shadow. A spirit in the darkness. A ghost of ages gone. A shape-shifter, one moment a man, the next...a mere mist. That was until the first step when he pushed up from his lean. From that he stumbled twice on uplifted roots hidden from his view, whapped his head on a low hanging limb, bumped into Mercy's backside and back stepped from that into the brave walking close behind him.  He hissed a sorry which the man didn't seem to understand and with a cringe, quickened his pace to catch back up to his companions.

Patwin's trek from there to here continued more in Clark's original course. Light of foot though heavy of heart, his steps nearly floated him over the earth which was his home. He dipped his head to the Snake's wise woman in passing, regardless of her station, it was but by the grace of the spirit gods that she was of the Snake and he the Bear. But he was Bear. And that was the only respect he paid her for the loss of her tribal family as he followed his own to their intended fates. He stepped to the side of the entrance once he had joined them within only a moment's hesitation of the sureness he exhibited as he breathed in deeply.

Kirima took her place and sat heavily on the piles of furs. She was the only one who would sit, save for Adsila who was allowed for her age. "We spoke to the Spirits for many long hours and they, in their wisdom, gave us the course that must be followed." She paused briefly. "Both Milap and I saw the same. There will be no argument, no discussion. The Spirits have spoken and we will obey. Yaskitchi, Matoskah, Patwin. Come and stand before me."  She stood again, using her staff to help her as she waited.

Mercy had nearly yelped when Clark bumped into her but managed to keep from doing so. She adjusted her hat before following Jacob inside and now she watched with great interest how judgement would be passed on the three young men.

Yas lifted his chin as he moved around the council fire and stood before Kirima. He kept his eyes on her, not even glancing at his father. Whatever happened, Yas would accept it without protest just as he knew his twin and brother would do.

Jacob stayed close to Mercy and Clark as they headed for the tent to converge. Clark would have felt a strong hand at his elbow more than once as he stumbled until they were all securely within. He waited in silence, any decisions made would be to what transpired.

Adsila sat for it was hard for her to stand unless supported and in this she had a right few others had so took advantage of it. It made her important as she waited. At this point she ignored the braves in  question as focus was fully on Kirima and Milap.

Mat move silently by brother and blood brother. Whatever their fate they would see it together as they had through coup and battles. He came before Milap and Kirima and here his focus remained until the verdict would be passed upon them.

Kirima studied the three boys a long moment before she began to speak. "This is what the Bear has decreed. Your deaths will serve no purpose, yet punishment must be made. Times are dangerous and changing and we must learn and adapt or perish. What you did was wrong, and yet, it had not started out to be so. Therefore, you must learn both sides of yourselves. You are of the People, but you are also of the White Man. You must go from our land, travel across the Great Water, and learn of the other half of your blood. In doing this, you will find your way. It may not lead back to the People but that is hidden in the mists of the future. Patwin. You will accompany them and learn as well. The White Man will be a force to be reckoned with and only by knowing them will we survive. Again. It was not shown to us what would happen, if you would return. But this is what was decreed. Is that satisfactory, Adsila of the Snake? They are as exiled." She looked back at the boys. "You must not return for three winters, if you are to return at all."

Adsila may have wanted blood for blood but she would not go against the Spirits. They would be gone for three winters, three winters they would be dead. She was appeased enough as she stood. "As the Spirits see fit." She didn't look at the braves, they were dead in her eyes as her two warriors escorted her out to head back to their clan. Her time was done here.

Patwin, though he was braced for the outcome, felt his hand seek behind him for the solid surface of the tent's covering. His knees, all of a sudden felt weak. His legs, for an instant, did not feel as if they could support him. To be exiled. And not only from the land of his people, but to lands unknown beyond the Great Water into the lands of the White Man. He would do as commanded by the spirits but for three winters, if ever, he would not be returning. All that he knew. All that he was. Was here. Although his birth family had all gone on to the Spirit World, Kaliska was here...and without Delsey. He forced himself to put her from his mind. To put all those he would be leaving...from his mind. To put what he would be heading into...from his mind. A moment of numbing uncertainty, something he had rarely, if ever, felt before.

Kirima watched as Adsila left then looked at the three braves again. "It is with sorrow that I see you go. I have been told by the Bear that I will not see you again in this life. Remember who you are and where you come from. No one can take your roots away from you. Go. Prepare for your journey, say your farewells." She looked at the three PI's and spoke in their tongue. "They will return with you to the land of their father. So it is decreed. " She moved close to each brave after speaking, giving them her blessing before turning and walking out of the tent. She did pause though to look at Jacob, Mercy and Clark. "You will stay the night and travel come dawn." An invitation was given to the Horse warriors but they left the three with the Bear and returned to their home. No one would defy the spirits though the young braves of the Snake might be tempted to try an ambush.

Mercy watched this all while the War Chief of the Horse translated. Now that the argument was more or less over, she let out a soft sigh of relief. It looked as if Xan was gaining three boys instead of two. Now wouldn't that be a surprise?

Yas felt his heart rise into his throat and it took all he could do to not protest. They had no choice now but to leave, to meet the man who was their father. He softened when Kirima approached and whispered her farewells. Squaring his shoulders, he looked forward, waiting until all left the tent before making his exit. All except his twin and his blood brother.

Jacob felt bad for the three of them but knew in his heart they had no idea. In time they would find out their father's love and could only hope they were open to it. They would stay the night in the tent allotted the three and at dawn set out with the  braves back to Port Royal. The whole ordeal was taking its toll and he felt it as he headed out. Sleep would not elude him tonight.

Mat felt like he couldn't breathe. A stone statue standing there and his heart as cold presently. It was only Kirima's approached that penetrated the exterior to touch his heart. "We have died and not in the glory of a warrior's death." He sucked in a breath as the only comforting thought he clung to slipped passed his lips. "The Great Spirit has other plans for us and this I must trust. My heart goes with you Kirima. Father." Looking to Milap who'd been the only father he knew. He waited with his brother until all the others left but had wanted to leave early. "We cannot give up hope if this is destined by the Great Spirit."

They would be staying the night? Excellent! Clark followed the others out of the tent, hurrying after one brave with an "Excuse me, excuse me, Sir...a moment if you would? About the construction of these dwellings..." Clark left his traveling partners behind to chase after the fellow whether he could be understood or not. There was much here to learn, too much, but he meant to get as much in as he could.

Patwin, even as the Wise Mother passed on her words of farewell to him, kept his head bowed. When all had cleared the tent but the three of them, his knees buckled and he dropped to the earthen floor in a kneel, his hands resting on his thighs, his chin against his chest. "I am, as ever, at your side, Brothers, but a large part of me dies this night, on these grounds. My flesh is of this soil, my blood of these waters. The roots that the Wise Mother speaks of will dangle and thirst until they sink deeply, once again, within this land." He looked up to them then, blew out a breath he had sucked deeply in and pushed up to stand slowly. "I will prepare to travel with you...come the call of  the mourning dove."

The news moved through the camp quickly and some began mourning the loss of the three, though they were being sent away. Milap would speak to the twins before long but he needed time to take it all in.

Mercy stepped outside and took a deep breath of air. She was sorry it had happened this way, but time had a way of healing. While Clark chased after another, a woman of the tribe came to Mercy and Jacob to guide them to the tent where they would sleep.

Yas went over to Patwin and placed his hand on his brother's shoulder. "We have known no other life, no other home. Like you, I will wait for the day we can return, but until then, though I am sorry you must leave with us, I'm also glad. We will speak to Father and the others and tell them our fears for Kuwan and Kaliska. Now, we must face our people and say our farewells." He didn't have to say that he felt as if his heart had been torn from his chest. They knew.

A glance over his shoulder as he watched Clark move off after the man and shook his head. "I'm sure whatever tent he ends up in they'll let him sleep there if he doesn't find this one." Unless he got lucky and the woman sought him out and brought him back where he was suppose to be. He would sleep in his clothes this night, something he was not totally unuse to.

Mat joined Yas with Patwin. "We can be of service in learning the white man's way and come back with the information at the end of three winters. They grow in numbers and as we are in example, mix with our people As more come, more will mix. We must find a way to live side by side and not lose sight of our ways and the old ways as the Snake braves have forgotten."

Who knew where Clark would find himself by morning. Would he find the tent assigned to them? Or another tent? Who would he end up sleeping with? Or no tent at all? Would he even sleep? This night, only one thing was certain. The sun would rise in the morning. And come morning, more sureties - they would be on their way back to Heathfield. Another case ... solved.

Date: 09-01-06
Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 22

Port Town

The trip to Port Royal went without incident. The whole while Ice kept an eye on his brother for all that had to be going on in his head. Ice blue eyes flashed as they lifted skyward after setting foot on the docks. He watched a moment reading the pattern the flock of geese flying by made. There then over the milling crowed and beyond to the constructed homes of a few years and counting. A growing frontier. Once Xander caught up they continued onward  to the Boar and Hammer where the private investigators had been staying.

Kuwan had not been paying much attention for the flock of geese overhead had drawn her attention even though she continued walking, half turning around as she spoke to Kaliska. "The geese were in the dreams. These are them." When they had been moved to the protection of the caves before the battle broke out, she had been plagued by visions while awake. She stole away with her sister of heart for the urgings. They were not to stay there no matter the fate of their friends. They were to go to the port town and look for signs. At that point, as she turned back to look where she was going, she crashed into a wall. Except it wasn't a wall at all but a very large man. Largest man she ever saw, so much so, her jaw dropped as she stepped back, staring. The words of apology lost somewhere in that astonished void.

Jacob awoke long before any songs of birds lifted in the air and was waiting outside the tent ready to be on their way. He watched the steaks of golds turn into blues as day broke. There were others up seeing to the everyday duties as he awaited the braves and his comrades alike.


Mat said little to nothing to anyone. He need not with
his brother and friend. Weapons, clothing, furs , his few worldly possessions were packed onto his horse. Both brothers had seen Milap late last night before what little restless sleep was found. He knew the one that had been the only father they knew would not watch them leave. In his heart, as he told them, they would always be here. His one wish was to live at least three more years so when they returned, whether to stay or not, he would see them again in this life. All they spoke on was going through his head as he gathered up the reins and led Fox, name given his stallion, to the tent where the white men slept. He noticed one up as eyes narrowed. He said nothing but greeted him with the outward sweep of his hand and back as he waited about ten feet from their tent. His brother would be along soon, this he knew.

Xan had barely slept these past few days. His emotions were running from guilt to fear to nervousness and a tumble of others. The questions kept rolling through his head until finally, he pushed them aside. What would be, would be and all he could do was take one step at a time. He gave Ice a grin to assure him that he was fine as they started for the Inn. The geese were barely made note of, but the crowd of people certainly were. As the young Native woman bumped into Ice, he chuckled then studied her. Maybe she was of the same tribe as his sons.

Kaliksa was overwhelmed by all the people but she managed to ignore the looks, whispers and outright comments while she and Kuwan made their way to the docks. Kaliska's visions had been of the ships with tall tree like masts and of one in particular with a figurehead of a woman dressed in blue. She felt something disquieting and knew something was wrong back home but had only briefly mentioned it to her heart sister. When she looked up at the sky, she nodded then turned in time to see Kuwan crash into a very tall white man. The blue eyes of the other looked very familiar, but like  Kuwan, she found herself unable to say a word.

The farewells of the night before had been bittersweet. Yas and Mat had talked long with Milap before trying to find sleep. It had not come easily. He knew Mat was up already and after a few moments, followed him out. His possessions, few as they were, were placed on his horse before he made his way to the tent of the whites. As silent as Mat, he stood there, watching, his face like a stone.

Mercy woke with a start and sat up quickly before realizing where she was. With a soft chuckle, she grabbed her hat, tucked her hair under and headed out to find Jacob. They'd find pemmican and flat bread to break their fast waiting for them, but the camp was strangely silent.

Patwin had not sought sleep, instead, he wandered out into the silence of the surrounding wood which had been his home. There he waited for the first glow of morning sun to paint the sky, returning to his horse where he had strapped his bow and tribal fletched arrows. The vest of bone and bead he wore. His booted moccasins, he wore. His coat of rabbit and fox fur was rolled and tied to his back. His dagger...had not been another of less value to him hung from his side. He would take nothing more. Everything else that belonged to ... this land ... would remain in ... this land except his body. He rode up silently alongside the twins, ignoring the outlanders' presence as if they did not exist. To him, for now, he preferred it that way.

Clark wandered toward the small gathering of men on horseback and his companions by way of..who knows where? But he carried with him a native-made basket and in that basket was all sorts of paraphernalia that was pertinent to this particular stay, covered, as it was, with a deer-leather cloth of dyed hues. From the looks of his hair, he hadn't even attempted to smooth out the riotous curls and he possessed an unshaven shadow that further gave proof to his  inability, or probably more likely lack of thought, to any sort of morning toiletries. He munched on a piece of rabbit jerky as he approached, throwing up that hand to the twins and their friend before looking through a squinted eye to Jacob and Mercy. "Air is so fresh it could make the ribs ache." Because it was mentioned, he drew in a deep, deep breath of it through his mouth and nostrils, choking as he did on the bite of jerky that he hadn't yet swallowed.

Maurice was quick to steady the lass so she didn't fall but just as quick to let her go when balance was assured with her step back. Ice blue eyes once more flashed over the two as russet brows lifted. "You are all right lass?" Hoping maybe they spoke some English as most around the port town learned enough. "Maybe you can help us. We are looking for two braves, their father McDonough." Pronouncing it precisely and slow enough to be understood. "There are three as us that are looking for them too."

The eyes of the man was one of the strange colors she had seen as her mouth snapped shut. She understood him enough to give a nod and point in the general direction of where their tribe was located. "We are of the Bear, we can show you. Come now. Quickly." Figuring that was why she saw these visions, they were to come here and lead these two white men back to their home to help in some way.

Jacob watched Clark in disbelief but certainly was a tension reliever as a chuckle broke free. He had his horse ready as he mounted up. He nudged the stallion closer to the twins and friend. "I am sorry for the circumstances around this but it is best to be on our way. The sooner we go, the sooner you three can come back." That said as the rest had mounted up, he turned the steed into a gallop that would take him and them into the port town. Of course he slowed down once they were within the town's outer limits. "Mercy, Clark." Turning the reins to one hand as he pointed a distance ahead. "There's Xander and Maurice is with them." Noting they were talking to two native women that seemed in some kind of hurry.

Matoskah was up and onto the back of his stallion. No saddle but there was a blanket strapped in place, a bridle and reins. This was how he'd ride in. He wore buckskin pants and moccasin boots, no shirt but a beaded pectoral that laid flat against his chest. A number of necklaces and bands on his biceps of material, beads and copper, some inlaid with silver. Certain feathers worn in his braids, typical style of the Bear Tribe. When the man Jacob pointed to these two men, something in his stomach coiled but he attributed it to being he recognized the two women talking to them. He spurred his stallion on ahead of Jacob to come to a dust stirring halt as he slid off his back, immediately approaching Kuwan and Kaliska. Speaking in their language. "You are not hurt, wounded?" Barely noticing the two men but his hand rested on the hilt of his knife in case they would try and harm them.

Xan couldn't believe their luck when the young woman spoke of being of the Bear Clan, and she spoke English. He was more than a little concerned at the urgency in her voice. No sooner had she mentioned going, when the young brave appeared ready for a fight it seemed. Xan's heart seemed to stop briefly when he looked at the brave. Somehow he was certain it was one of the twins but he said nothing, not because he was being cautious but because he found himself tongue-tied. What could he say?

Kaliska smiled at the two men, feeling they could be trusted though she would not be able to explain why. "It is not far by horse." She added to Kuwan's words, turning at the sound of a horse. "White Bear! We are both fine. We had to leave, come here to find these two men who are searching for others. Why are you here? Is your brother here? Patwin and Delsey as well?" She stood on tiptoe to try to see.

Mercy grinned outright when she saw Clark. He had managed to do more than rest it seemed. Patting his back when he choked, she made sure he was all right before mounting her horse. Once they reached the city, there was no need for the hat and as Jacob pointed out Xander and Ice, and Mat rode toward them, she removed the hat, shaking out her hair. "We better follow." She looked at Jacob and Clark before urging her own horse forward.

Yas frowned when he saw the two young women with two whites. Hadn't they listened to the tales told? When Mat rode toward them, he followed, dismounting quickly. He too was ready to take on the men though he paused to study them. Especially the taller of the two, then he stared at the other. There was challenge in his look. Had they harmed the women, they would pay.

Date: 09-01-06
Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 23

Clark's horse side-danced as he reined in to a stop to look in the direction of Xander and Maurice. Was this perfect timing or what? But his smile faded as the braves took off in the brothers McDonough's direction and he nodded in agreement with Mercy. His heel found the heavy side of his mount, starting him off quickly in their direction.

Patwin seemed to be of a similar mind with the twins, sliding from the back of his pony only inches from the group. No sooner had his weight left the animal then it skidded/hopped to a stop. Fingers tightened around Kaliska's upper arm, a grip of concern, a grip of command as he eased her back. A brief shake of his head was a silent communication that Delsey was not with them but the why of it would wait until later to explain. He eyed the strangers, moving the woman that he had claimed for safety purposes further behind him, well trained horse on one side of her, warrior on the other. There was no reason he wished to hear 'why' they were with these men, the truth was that they were. And that would change as of this very moment!

Ice was about to start off with the native lassies when three came charging in like they were accosting them. Hands raised showing no weapons, not that Ice needed such weapons for what he was. "We have no intentions of harming. We were.." Except his words trailed off. "You are Xander sons." Hands were already down as he motioned between the first two braves. He noticed the third dragged off the one woman. A hint of a roguish grin as the lad acted like some jealous suitor. "I am your uncle Maurice." Maybe they would recognize part of their white name given. "Let me introduce you to your father, Xander." Figuring that Xander might not have a voice presently.

Kuwan made a motion of her hands in quick succession along with talking in their language explaining they followed the visions, and now.. with the tall man explaining she stopped and stepped away, arms folding at her waist as Kaliska had been dragged away already by Patwin. Only a glance spared there before back to watch between father, uncle and sons.

Jacob was quick to continue forward then dismounting as the group was reached. He noted Xander's ship in port before moving off to the side by the two older McDonough brothers. "They are the sons." Just to make sure they knew for a fact. Other than that he went silent and waited for any further instructions.

Mat's hand eased from the handle of his knife as he first stared at the mountain of a man with unusual eyes to the one that was pointed out being his father. He had mixed emotions that rushed in at that moment. He cleared his throat as his bearing was of pride for his upbringing and tribe. "It is the Spirit's wish we get to know you and go back to your lands for three years before we can come back again." All said in a sort of detached way as he spared a glance between Kuwan and Kaliska and spoke briefly in their language. "Delsey has moved on to the Spirit lands. He died bravely as a warrior." He was back to the one that was his father, studying him in an intense way as he began to wonder if he was at least a brave warrior.

Xan felt as if he had been holding his breath and nodded as Ice spoke. When Mat did, he nodded slowly. "I honor the Spirits for their decision and wisdom." He answered in their own tongue, though he was a little rusty after all this time. "You hold much of your mother in you. I was told the names you were given at birth -- Alexander Gage for the oldest, Maurice Joseph the younger, but I would like to know your Clan names if you will allow." He wanted to hug them both but knew it was far too soon. Instead he offered his hand to Mat first since he was closest.

Kaliska blinked in surprise when Patwin pulled her away. "They are not going to harm us, Patwin." And there was the reason why. When she heard of her brother's death, dark eyes filled with tears but she did not cry though she leaned heavily against Patwin. She would sing the Song of Passing as soon as she had the chance.

Mercy dismounted and joined Jacob, leaning slightly to study the reaction of the braves. So far there was no sign they were going to attack Ice and Xan.  She let out a soft sigh of relief, glad this was nearly over though she felt sorry for both the young men and Xander.  The two women were studied with interest.

While Mat spoke, Yas went over to Kuwan and pulled her closer to him in a protective manner. He studied the man who was their uncle then looked at their father. Stoned face, he nodded at him. "I am called Yaskitchi. Snow Brave in your tongue. I would be Alexander." He stumbled over the name. "My brother is Matoskah. White Bear. Our blood brother is Patwin and he is to join us on this journey. Kuwan and Kaliska will return to the Clan." He looked down at Kuwan, then at Kaliska before looking back to Xander. There was nothing more he had to say.

Patwin spun when he heard Mat's explanation of Delsey's absence, catching Kaliska up by the chin so she would look into his eyes. There, he swept his thumb across his gaze, the silent order for her to control those tears until such time as she could honor her brother's passing with tears and song. But, he should have realized she would do so, and she did, which made him nod in respect to her, taking her to his side for support as he looked back to the two  strangers. Had Yas not collected Kuwan, Patwin would have now too. It was because of the news to come that he had gone directly to Kaliska. Still, the brave said nothing. His was a journey of kinship, but not with the white men, but those he had called brother his entire life.

Clark eased from his horse as well when he got close, walking on past with a nod to Xander and Maurice. God protects children and fools. And that was probably the sole reason Clark Davis had lived so long - as he passed on by the warriors, he slapped a hand to Mat's back as if they were the longest and best of friends. "Fine looking men, Xander. Brave and honorable." And on he went, heading toward his room. His work for now was done. And God...continued to watch over him, whether Clark realized it or not.

"I Mauricccceee. Joooseeph" Hissing through the last part of the name as he stared at the hand offered. He was indecisive but so much went on bad he didn't care to have more by making the wrong move. He stepped forward as he met the hand in a strong vice like grip, one hard shake up, down, done and released as he stepped back. Could he take a guess who might be the problem child? That slap on the back had him shoving into his brother as he gave the man a look. "He is not related?" Hoping! He studied his uncle next, one he had his namesake. He would let his brother take his turn as dark eyes found Kaliska as he fisted a hand to his chest in respect of her fallen brother. The pain held there in his eyes for her and them who would miss him.

Maurice watched the lads and ladies. The over protectiveness told him volumes. A rough frontier and from gestures and words he knew one close had recently died. He took all in silently as was his ways at times. This was the part where Xander was on his own in making or breaking it with his sons. "I will see the horses on the ship while you get acquainted. We can sail as soon as everyone is ready who is going." With that said he went to see about the task. He also got names of certain ones here in the port area to use as contacts later.

Jacob had been watching and listening and once Maurice offered up about preparing to depart. "I will see to my things being brought from the Boar and Hammer and put on the ship while helping you in what way I can." Getting the horses on board and seeing to them being stabled. He was anxious to get back home.

Kuwan listened intently and the action by Yas made her feel more welcome and not a shadow as she had felt these past couple of days. The small gesture in protectiveness went a long way. Her hand found Kaliska in a squeeze. "I will sing the song with you." Quietly in their language for she would morn a lost friend too. One that may have been more if the Great Spirit had not taken him away. She had noticed a look from him once or twice but now it would never be known. Perhaps she was even wrong.

Xan knew things were going to be very tentative for a while. He did not react to the way Mat shook his hand but he did chuckle at his question. "No, Mr. Davis is not related." He then turned to Yas and did the same with him and finally turned to Patwin. "I welcome the brother of my sons, and hope you will honor me by staying in my lodge. All of you." Wait. Did Yas say the women had to return to their camp? He bit back a smile thinking that if the young women thought otherwise, the braves would have a rebellion on their hands. He offered his hand to Patwin as well.

Yas gripped Xander's hand and did the same as his brother. He wasn't sure if Mat asked because he wanted to go after the curly-haired man or out of a sense of fear but he'd ask later. Stepping back, he looked at Kaliska and touched his fist to his chest. They would all miss their fallen brother but he had died well.

Mercy didn't say a word, though she did offer a brief smile to the two young women.  She just turned to follow Jacob to the Boar and Hammer to retrieve her things, taking her hair out of the coiled braid as she did. . She'd be glad to return to Heathfield and see what happened next!

Kaliska nodded to the others as they showed their respect and squeezed Kuwan's hand in return then she looked at Yas. "We are coming. The Spirits have told Kuwan and myself that we are to accompany you to this land." She motioned to where their own horses rested. "We have brought what we need." Her chin lifted slightly, just daring the braves to argue.

Patwin had been around the white man enough to know what the offer of hand was for. The grip was returned briefly and a nod for the offer but it was Kaliska's words that had him looking away from Xander. His words were low, but were for both women, in their native tongue. His hand motioned between them. "We know not what this new land over the water holds except more ..." His gaze drifted toward where Clark had walked away. "unknown. You have misinterpreted the Guides." He didn't mean it as an insult. He would never insult either of these females. The tension of late had been high. It was possible, very possible, that what the women had seen was not how they now believed it to be.

Kuwan stared at Patwin. Stared hard. From him to Yas as she had been in a transit state with those very Spirits. She held back her tears all right and she had held back her tongue, she could not hold back her emotions nor the guide of her totem and Spirits. "I have nothing left here but death and heartache. This is not for me to be an old woman long before such an age arrives and probably would never for I would not wish to live any longer." Such were the ways. "I am to help see how women fit in a white man's world so that I can tell the others when I return with you in three winters. This will make my life useful." Said and done as she was quick to duck away from any of their reach and headed for her steed. Fingers curled around the bridle as she started off to the ship. The wall of a man would direct her from there.

"I care not to fight. If you wish to come.." but Kuwan had already spoken her mind. He blinked for she was not the subdue kind as he had thought. He knew her attachment to her guides spoke a lot of it. "We shall all come who wants, you have a large enough lodge or a field we can build our tents upon? There are forests and hunting grounds?" He preferred sleeping in his own tent like both he and Yas were given when they became of age. It was part the symbolism they were counted amongst the men.

Xan was almost as good as the braves at hiding his emotions. Almost. He was impressed with the young woman.  Kuwan reminded Xan of Chantal with her determination. "I have a large lodge, yes, and there are forests and hunting grounds." He would have to speak to the Royals and see if  they would be allowed to hunt, knowing they wouldn't kill more than necessary. He was also praying Maggie had everything ready back in Heathfield. He looked at Patwin and Yas. "I know you are concerned on what is ahead, but there seems to be no stopping them.  And they will be welcome."

Yas stared after Kuwan after she slipped out of reach. He looked at Patwin and rolled his shoulders. Never would he understand women! He looked back at the man who was their father and wondered why their mother had fallen in love with him. That he couldn't understand either, but perhaps in time. Frustrated, he just grunted and made for his own horse to lead him to the tall ship. Bah! 

"No. We have not, Patwin. Both of us were told we must go. I will study their ways of healing and bring these back to our people." She lowered her voice slightly. "And I will not go against my Guides. Nor should you demand it. I know you fear for us, but we will be fine." She turned to join Kuwan in waiting to embark on this adventure, nodding at Xander to show she heard his words.

The sound that escaped from between Patwin's teeth was nothing short of a hiss. No, he would not demand that either of them turn a deaf ear to their Spirit Guides but the way ahead would be difficult enough without the added concern of the females. This was to be his burden then, his penance for deeds done. He spoke not another word, looked to the white men, then turned and took up the rope of his pony to lead him to the overly large canoe that would transport them across the Great Water. He would do what proved necessary for three years, one year for each of them. Whether the women appreciated it or not. He was of the Bear. He could do nothing less.

White Bear remained quiet as the other spoke. He did not profess to know women but he did know the Spirits, fledgling Shaman he was in the least. He studied Patwin as a slow smile surfaced. "We will just have to guard them more carefully as we too learn the ways." In short, they had their work cut out for them if they were going to demonstrate traits that spoke on fierce convictions. "They would have a hard time finding a brave who would take them for wife." A roll of his shoulders in acceptance it would be this way. Neither were docile spirits. He was studying Xander with the last. "Good, this makes it one step better that there are forests." Not much for any more words as actions were his forte. This was conveyed to his twin in meeting his eyes briefly then led his horse down to the great beast they sailed the sea in, joining the others already down there.

Xan nodded at Mat then started for the ship. He acted as Captain when he was on board and needed to speak to the Harbor Master to let him know they would be setting sail on the tide. He stopped suddenly and turned to watch those boarding the ship with a quiet groan. Somehow he had gone from two sons to a whole group of young men and women and still in their teens. Running his hand through his hair, he shook his head and continued into the building. Oh, the next three years were going to be very interesting. He only hoped he survived.



Date: 09-08-06
Poster: Clark Davis
Post # 24

Aboard the China Star

Maurice was as a lion caged while sailing. There wasn't enough room on the ship for one use to moving over the expanse of land. He helped out when above and went over inventories and possible new contracts that could be established in Port Royal. It would be logical to keep contacts there being it was indirectly related now. He had acquired information, names to contact while the others were boarding before they set sail. Weather was cooperating. The nephews, friend and two lassies not overly open at this point but such was to be expected. They were gaining a rapport. It would be a slow process. He could tell they were already feeling the confinement aboard a ship with only water to surround.

Matoskah was restless, he spent a lot of time below with his stallion wishing he could ride him. He was tempted to do just that around the ship above but there were so many ropes, crates, and sailors about it would be too dangerous for the horse. Frustrated he went above and after a few moments was climbing the ropes with the agility of a monkey.

Kuwan busied herself with helping the cook. Peeling potatoes, husking the corn and so on although the man didn't allow her to cook. She was satisfied to help so didn't mind. She had finished shucking the peas and placing them in the pot to boil when she came out from the cooking area only to see Mat climbing the ropes. Her heart leaped in her throat and when she found her voice she yelled at the top of her lungs, luckily in their language. "White Bear you are going to get yourself killed! You think you are a squirrel?" Her fears for her friend, more a brother, could be heard in her voice. The tone higher pitched and fear laden.

Jacob was enjoying a vanilla flavored cigarillo. A lean against the rail as he watched the goings on. He had helped earlier taking care of the livestock below, dirty work that it was, and now was enjoying a reprieve. He awaited any of his comrades joining him.

Clark would be joining no one! Knowing his own luck, he had tied himself to several of the barrels at the bow of the ship. He had several journals with him, one opened, the others tucked under his bent knee where he sat. The sun beat down on them all, but Clark barely noticed the heat upon the back of his neck. He sketched with great detail all that he had seen while in the Port and the wilds of that area. In the back of his mind, he heard the call and talk of the sailors, the raised voice of Indian tongue, and all of that blended in with his thoughts, the water lapping at the wood, and the scritch of his leaded pencil upon the parchment. Names and locations were written beneath each rendition as well as approximate dates when the actual ones were not known. Though Clark had a great mind for detail, he would leave nothing to chance.

Life-long rituals were difficult, if not impossible, to alter. Patwin of the Bear stood, braced against the motion of the ship, with his arms crossed, looking out over the water. The sea breeze caused the sails to flap and the flags to snap. It also lifted and toyed with the long strands of loose or braided hair, at times whipping the length across his view. His thoughts were his own but none that knew him would wonder on his mind set. He heard Kuwan's frightened call and turned his head to look back to her, then followed her gaze up the branchless tree trunk. He shook his head, a soft snort of amusement escaping, before he turned his gaze once more to the Great Water. There was no connection to Mother Earth but Father Sky still watched over them. At least this was some consolation to Patwin's concerns.

Mercy was glad to be heading back to Heathfield but unlike some, she enjoyed sailing. She talked to the sailors, to Xan, and finally wandered over to join Jacob. "Where's Clark?" She had yet to see him hunched down in his little area of the ship. Blonde hair had been allowed to flow free in the breeze, tickling against her cheeks.

Xan stood beside the wheel of the ship, legs slightly apart as his First Mate handled the sailing. First Mate only when Xan was aboard, otherwise he was the Captain. He watched as Mat climbed up the mast then chuckled when he heard Kuwan. It was interesting to watch how each of them interacted with one another and the crew. He wasn't pushing himself on any of them but made sure to talk to them when he could. He'd get to know them at their pace.

Yas had explored every part of the ship, talking to some of the sailors, pausing to watch Kuwan with the cook, checking on the horses and now, pausing to watch Mat climb. He didn't follow his twin or join his brother watching the ocean. Instead he climbed up the steps to stand on the upper deck near Xander. It wasn't long before his natural curiosity took over and he began asking questions about the ship.

Kaliska had been ill for the first part of the journey, the motion of the ship not agreeing with her. But soon, her body adjusting and she rejoined the others just in time to hear Kuwan calling out to White Bear. She shielded her eyes against the sun and watched him climb then smiled. Teasing her sister, she started for the ropes as if she were going to climb.

Jacob was amused as his arm slid around Mercy's shoulders as she joined him at the rail. He gave an up lift of his chin towards the bow of the ship. "He has himself all tied up in case there is a storm and is swept away. Only thing is he doesn't know the barrels hare filled with lead bullets and he'll sink like concrete shoes. He's happy though and not getting caught up and entangled in the ropes." Which had him looking up to where one of the twins was climbing such. "White bear seems to be restless."

Mat paid no heed to Kuwan as he was on his own driven mission. He got hold of a rope that was not attached and swung out with this lever that extended down, swinging him out over the ocean as feet worked in a run. He let out a ear shattering war cry that would be so on land. Here it pierced enough but was swallowed up by the fact he was swinging into the wind which then shoved him back just missing Patwin where stood like some kind of wooden Indian outside a trading post. He had slid down and ran out of rope as he hit the deck in a roll before springing to his feet.

Kuwan threw up her hands. "Go ahead and kill yourselves," aimed at Mat and Kaliska. The cook came out with tin plates to hand off to her motioning for her to help start passing them out. She handed one off to Patwin before she was over to the man that had himself tied up to the barrels. Not many came near the man she surmised for he was local in the head. Even the savage amongst the tribes didn't go near such a one for they were not responsible for their actions, a bad omen to harm them. She silently eased closer before crouching down and slowly pushing the plate towards the man. She looked like she was ready to bolt with any quick movement by the one. "You eat," said quietly in their language, dark eyes in an intense study even if wary.

Maurice had joined his brother at the helm. Ice blue eyes flashed under the bright light of day. He studied Yas as he spoke to his father in an unobtrusive way. They were as curious as they were. Something that ran in the family.

As youths, the boys had swung from vine-ropes at each other too often for Patwin to be taken by surprise. He ducked beneath Mat's course, still crouched as he turned to look back and watched the twin roll over the boards. "You are no squirrel, Matoskah, you are a 'possum - no! A frog!" He started to laugh but that laughter ceased as Kuwan approached with the plate. He stood to greet her and then offered his thanks with a nod. Returning to a squat he began to eat, one foot slightly extended to keep his balance.

Clark, of course, didn't even notice the young woman's approach at first. What he did notice was that a shadow fell on his page briefly so he shifted, then frowned as a full shadow of the ship's railing crossed over his page. How could the sun be hampered in two places? He looked up to the rail, then over to where the original light was blocked only to find the young Indian lass pushing that plate toward him as if he was sure to bite the hand that fed him. "Oh! Why...thank you, Kuwan, isn't it? Kuwan." He repeated her name, a frown touching his brow as he tried to remember writing her name beneath the sketch he had made of her. But of course he had, he would just check later. "Will you not be joining me?" Tied to the barrels? Surely not. He meant in eating. He started to lean forward to take up the plate only to have the rope tighten to his midsection and he grunted with surprise. "Looks as if I'm  thwarted here, hold on..." And he started to undo his bindings. Hopefully the lass didn't think he had been tied up for their safety rather than his own because he was setting himself free!

Mercy nodded once she saw where Clark was, relaxing somewhat since he hadn't fallen overboard. She watched Mat and Patwin and chuckled softly. "They aren't so different than the lads at home, are they?" She was going to talk to the two women later, in the hopes of easing any fears or concerns.

Once Yas was satisfied with the questions, he bowed his head slightly to Xan, then slid down the railing and was quick to join Patwin and Mat. "I will be glad to see land again." He said in their own tongue, then watched Kuwan with Clark, just in case the crazy one did anything he shouldn't. He narrowed his eyes slightly -- not always a good sign and moves just a little closer so he could watch.

Xan explained the workings of wheel and rudder in a way Yas could understand then, when he was finished, paused to see if his son had more. He looked at the Mate, who was grinning and growled. "Not one word." He had enough teasing about being an old man! Crossing his arms over his chest, he looked at Ice and smiled slightly. "Not so bad so far, but once we reach Heathfield, I fear there's going to be culture shock."  All around.

Kaliska was quick to hug her friend, smiling. "I would not climb so high or quickly. I will help too." Though she wasn't going to try to eat yet, she was more than willing to pass around food. First to the twins since they were  closest, then to others of the crew. She was a little intimidated by the father and uncle of the twin and had yet to approach them.

"I am like the raccoon but I am none but me. This gives me exercise." He liked the challenge in death defying moves to prove his skill. "You try when done with your meal." He motioned to Yas to join them as he took the plate Kaliska offered and squatted down near Patwin. "I wish for land over sea," lifting to smell the food first to make sure it was edible as he spoke. It was prepared differently but he was hungry and soon devouring all that it contained. The utensils passed over as he used his hands. One to hold the plate and the other to lift the food. Tongue would easily clean anything left on his fingers.

"I am Kuwan, Kuwanyauma. It means," fluttering her hands in a dancing pass up towards the sky, eyes lifting then dipping back down to the man. "butterfly wings." She smiled for he had remembered her name that didn't lend to him being insane at least. She was still uncertain; finding it odd he was tied up and not sure who had tied him but there was no one watching over the man as if a prisoner. She stalked a little closer as she helped him with the rope, then quickly back away in case it was a faux pas. "I eat when all others have their food first." It was their custom and their ways. Women ate last. She pulled out a small polished apple that had been given her for helping, she held it out like one offering a peace treaty. It was good to make a friend of one local in the head, the Spirits would be happy with her and good luck to follow.

Fingers traced down along her arm before his arm fell away from around her shoulders. Soon they were offered plates and he found that he was hungry. "No, they are not so different at all except for their customs might not go over too well in some places." In point with a look over the twin's way eating with his hands. "Xander has his work cut out for him as a father, ten fold for their age. Possibly a hundred fold. Each of them seems to be very different in personality." A chuckle followed as he pictured the lot of them all under the same roof, just one would be a tough enough to manage.

Maurice had gone down with his brother. He was taking it all in as he headed for the cooking area, a plate piled higher than the rest was handed off to the large man, a normal portion would not sate a healthy large man's appetite. Moments later he was in a lean against the rail and devouring the food. He was keeping an eye on the nephews and friend.



Date: 09-08-06
Poster: Clark Davis
Post # 25

"Kuwanyauma." Clark repeated, quite amazingly, in perfect diction. "It's as delicate as the meaning." He smiled, taking up his plate and then settling back to the barrel behind him to eat. That was, until she held out the apple. Both eyebrows shot up and he looked from the offer to the woman. "That would be the perfect addition to my meal, thank you, Kuwanyauma." He figured she was frightened of him, just because. So he reached to her slowly, gently taking the fruit from her grip.

Patwin chuckled to himself as he began to eat because of Matoskah, but his smile faded slightly when he saw the interaction between Kuwan and the Touched One. He grunted out a nod for Mat to look in that direction, continuing to eat as his protective watch remained on the Daughter of the Bear.

"He's getting more than expected, certainly." Mercy smiled though she felt sympathy for the man. She too was hungry and settled onto one of the crates to eat. She was watching the interaction between Clark and one of the young women. "She's not afraid at least, or is willing to hide her fear." She hadn't noticed the others watching him but only because they weren't quite in view.

Yas made a slight noise under his breath as he watched Kuwan. "She was always the one to find the hurt animals and bring them back to camp. She'll make friends easier than any of us." He sat and started eating, blowing on his fingers when the food proved to be hot. "So we should call you Raccoon now?" He added as a tease to his brother.

Xan was already dealing with some of the things he needed and wanted to change. He was trying to explain to Kaliska that she could eat with the rest of them, his expression one of amusement for now. Chantal had followed the ways of her father at the dinner table. He couldn't imagine anything else.

Kaliska wasn't having any of it. She answered Xan respectfully, but insisted this was how it was to be. With a smile, she hurried off to hand out more plates though she didn't speak with anyone else. She wasn't ready. Once she was sure everyone was served, she waited with a plate for Kuwan, though she was watching Mercy with some curiosity.

She was frightened of him but she wasn't scared. There was a difference. She was testing new grounds and he was also a white man. Her smile was one of her best attributes and it was there when he took the apple. It meant she was accepted and a tentative friendship. "You are welcome. You are the one they call Clark?" Managing his name correctly too. "I will go to get my meal," she was hungry but she was use to waiting until last. "Do you wish drink? The bitter yellow liquid?" She had been crouched down being he was sitting on the deck so stood as she took a step back in respect.

Mat's face went to stone as he watched Kuwan, dark blue eyes narrowed on what he could see of the man as he came to a decision. "He is like the wounded animals they collect." Touching a finger to his temple. "He is harmless and she is a healer although there is no cure for what is lacking in the mind. He is protected by the Spirits, they will protect her." All in their language in case anyone else was around and might take offense.

Jacob's words came low as he stood close to Mercy, "contrary to how they are reacting around Clark, he is highly intelligent. It is said there is a fine line between genius and insanity. The fact he is eccentric attests more to the higher intelligence. At least he is making friends with the lovely Native woman." Plate in hand he took up a crate near hers and soon was devouring his food although he used the utensils. He was keeping an eye on them all.

Once Maurice had finished his meal and washed it down with ale, he was over to his brother in sharing an idea or few. Words came low as they were enough of a distance away the others would not hear. "You might want to consider hiring a few ladies to teach the lads enough manners and the ladies what they will need to know. They will need to make it clear it is not to replace their own customs but to use when amongst the whites in all due respect as they would like whites to do when amongst their people."

Clark nodded with her first question. "Clark Davis." He amended but that nod quickly switched to a negative motion. "and thank you, but no, I have fresh spring water right here..." He started to turn to reach for the water but the plate began to tip. In order to save his food, he left his tankard of water where it was, turning back with a grin to the Natural. "Please, don't linger here with me, go and find your ease, Butterfly Wings." A quick smile followed that and he dipped his gaze to his meal so that she wouldn't feel like she had to stay around for him. Although the fare on Xan's ship was rather good for most sea bound vessels, Clark still looked forward to returning to Heathfield and the fine cuisine found there.

To answer both of the comments by the twins, Patwin dipped his head in a nod. Still, from beneath his brow, he didn't take his attention from Kuwan's close position to the man. "He is no injured animal, Brothers." A bite of food, a narrowing of gaze, then he pulled his notice from them to look to Mat and Yas. "I doubt three winters will ever last as long as ours to come."

Mercy nodded slowly, eyes sparkling. "We know he is but they don't. Yet. They'll come to realize he's crazy as a fox in time." She glanced at the three braves wondering what their reactions would be once they realized it. She was also still surprised that none had reacted to her removal of her disguise but they were taught to hide their emotions. She remained quiet through the rest of the meal. The sea air seemed to have increased her appetite.

"No, he is not." Yas agreed reluctantly with Patwin's words about Clark. Still, the others here seem to find him harmless. We will just have to watch." He especially intended to watch the man closely when he was around Kuwan. Finished with his meal, he licked his fingers clean then looked around. "I think you are right, Brother. And the time on this ship will be endless." He wanted to see land again and knew they felt the same.

Kaliska still wasn't very hungry though, once she had sat near the three braves, she managed to eat some of the food. When she had enough, she looked away from her plate and toward the railing. Back that way was home. Though they accompanied their friends, she knew she would be homesick at times. But this was right and she would handle it as it came.

"I was thinking the same. Maggie can do some but they're going to need more than one person." He looked at Ice, frowning slightly. "I think the lasses will adjust quickly but it's going to be a fight with those three. Who would you suggest could handle such a task?" He did allow a smile to show. "Someone strong willed but patient?"

"It is a good name, this Clark Davis." A hand reached out when he nearly dumped his plate on his lap but he caught it. He was a stranger and she would not stay unless he asked her to bring her food there and sit with him. As it were he politely dismissed her as she gave the respectful bow and was quickly away to help give out the last of the plates until it was finally her turn. She was starving as she tried not to eat too quickly and even attempted using the fork provided.

Mat gave Yas a look first. "If you start calling me names then I shall find one like small chipmunk for you." Laugher sprung to dark eye before quickly doused with Patwin's comments. "We shall keep watch." All of them would over both Kaliska and Kuwan. It was their duty. It was the last that brought the furrow of brow. "I think we should all keep notes of the days to pass in three winters and give them the account when we return. This way we will not miss anything and from three points of view." It was an idea and also might make it bearable. A constant reminder.

"Crazy as a fox is about right and although I admit I had to get use to his unorthodox methods he has become a fine addition to the mission." He fell to that comfortable silence with her, wind in his hair and the sun to warm beating down over them. A very good day out at sea. Once he was done and he noticed she was, he collected her plate along with his and headed over to where the cook was stationed to place them in the wash tub.

"I will suggest also you hire a few burly men as handymen but there in case needed. Hopefully not but they were raised differently than we have been and use to fighting. Time will tell and these men trustworthy. I will be willing to lend you a few of my hired men, tried, true and loyal. They will not speak a word of any indiscretions."

"Dung Beetle" Patwin laughed softly, finishing off the food on his plate with a swipe of finger along the edge then a pass of tongue along his finger. Dark eyes turned back to the horizon and he grew quiet. His thoughts drifting back to those he left behind.

Clark lifted his eyes when Kuwan started away, watching her departure with a slight smile touching his lips. These people of the Bear were an interesting lot. With that in mind, he set his plate aside, taking up his journal again, and from there he wrote some, ate some, sketched some, drank some.

Mercy thanked Jacob as he took her plate, then turned to watch the sea ahead. She tipped her head up, closing her eyes as the sun kissed her cheeks. It would be good to be back in Heathfield and though she hoped there would be time to sit and relax when they got there, she also didn't want to be idle for long.

He laughed, making a face at him then he stood. Watching Jacob carrying both his and the woman's plate, he looked confused a moment but with a roll of his shoulders, carried his own over to place in the wash tub. When he had completed that, he stepped away then, shielded his eyes to look up at the crow's nest. Only a moment hesitation and he was climbing up the ropes to have a look.

Kaliska smiled at her heart sister when she finally settled to eat. "You have made a friend of the questioning one. What is his name?" It wouldn't hurt to learn them all. She didn't want to speak of her brother yet, not until the time came to sing. Her mourning was done alone when no one could see.

"I'd appreciate that, Ice." He rubbed at his chin thoughtfully. "I don't think they'll spend many nights inside, at least not at first. Maybe not at all, but that will be offered to them. I have a feeling, if the women are anything like most, they'll be fascinated with the clothing." He wouldn't force anything on any of them, and couldn't help but hold some hope that they would agree to spend time in both places once their three winters were up.

"His name is respectable, Clark Davis and he seems different but maybe not loco in the head. He is nice." That summed up the brief meeting as she smiled upon her heart sister. Once she was done she helped the cook clean up. She did the dishes for him and made sure everything was clean. At this rate he might ask for her hand just to keep the sailors from complaining the utensils and plates were too dirty, like they should care and the man would remind them too. She hummed as she worked and felt good she could help out in such a way. Her lot in life, not belonging to anyone, was simple -- she made herself useful so in that way she would not be ostracized and left to die. She had only known of one that possibly could have been interested and now he was dead. It was one of the reasons she wanted to leave. She wanted to live and the fear was real she might be turned out by her tribe if she went back and could not get a man to take her in. Her father, Running Deer, had been one of the ones to die in battle. She spoke not on it.

"See, now he is the squirrel!" Laughing, but Mat was not to be outdone as he was soon scampering up those ropes like an old pro. One of the sailors got an idea and motioned him over to where he was checking the roping along the masts and poles that held them. That drew Mat's attention as he was over and with more hand signals he started showing him how to do a square and slip knot. Mat gave it a try but in his enthusiasm he undid another which had one of the extra sails open up and the ship started to take a right turn on a curve for the way the wind took hold of it at an odd angle.

Jacob was back over with Mercy and stopping a barrel from rolling down the deck, a few things needed to be caught and then catching the rail with the sharp turn. He grabbed onto her forearm to draw her where she could get a good grip too. A few seasoned sailors were up to undo the mishap.

"They will need to learn to do both and then make a decision." Stopping a large crate with his foot before it slid into the rail and took it out possible for how heavy and momentum combined. "You will have to take one day at a time but know I will be there as needed when I can along with the rest of your family, we are family as well the two lads even if in their mind they have not accepted that yet. Sarah might be a good one for them to meet for she is their cousin and around the same age, close enough. Rory also if we can pry him away from Kia. Well, we'll get Kia involved too."

"More like lizards." Patwin chuckled beneath his breath as he watched the two brothers scamper up as if the ropes were vines. He stood, his arms reaching above his head in a stretch against the sea breeze when the ship made that sudden turn. The unexpected careen to the right pitched the brave right over the railing. The spirit guides had not forsaken him. He landed with a solid thud within one of the smaller boats attached below. The dingy banged against the body of the ship and the native held on tight while on his back looking up to the sky. The ship righted, and slowly he sat up, eyeing the side of the ship. It seemed this was where he was supposed to be for now. Safe as it were, he just let go of his tight hold and relaxed back onto the tarp that he had landed on.

A rather unwanted mark of pencil marred Clark's page when the boat tipped to the side, his plate slid away, his other journals scooted from under his uplifted leg. What ....? He heard the commotion above and stuck out a foot to keep a thick bundle of rope from slamming into him, raising his gaze. Ah...and a smile. Wasn't that a sight now? And immediately, with his foot still extended to that rope, he set to work to document the 'helpful' contributions from the twins.

Mercy was still sitting on the crate when the ship made the turn and felt it sliding. She jumped off then grinned when Jacob helped her over to the rail. Another crate slid into the first but neither went far. She looked up at the sails and chuckled. "This is going to be an interesting voyage."

Yas had reached the crow's nest, and was looking through a telescope offered by the sailor that was already occupying it when the ship took that sudden turn. He grabbed hold of the sailor's shirt with one hand keeping the youth from flipping over and falling and the side of the crow's nest with the other until the ship was set to rights. After glancing down and letting out a whoop, he went back to studying the horizon. Just as if nothing had happened. The sailor grinned and pointed out an island to the west.

Kaliska was walking to join Kuwan when the ship moved sharply. She felt her feet going out from beneath her. Sliding several feet, she grabbed hold of a rope and held on for dear life until the ship stopped moving. Standing shakily, she put a hand to her stomach and suddenly ran to the rail. So much for eating!

Xan stepped over to take the wheel from the Mate while he went to help with the sail He calmly turned the Star back toward Heathfield and nodded. "I know you all will be, Ice. And one day at a time is the only way I can take it." He did grin at mention of Sarah and Rory, then chuckled. "Maybe Collin will help out too." 

As other sailors joined them and the one trying hard to undo what had been done. It was motioned for Mat to move out of the way so they could do what they did best. Mat had grabbed onto the rope from before and swung out, so with the tipped angling it was more out over the ocean than before. The spray of water from the cut of the bow had his hands slipped from the rope as he fell. Except he landed on canvas and much like a trampoline would bounce the prone Patwin. Same spirits were watching over him as he grabbed for the ropes that held the dinghy in place.


Date: 09-21-06
Poster: Kuwanyauma
Post # 26

Battle at Sea

Kuwan blinked as Patwin went over the side and was dashing to the rail in the next moment yelling. "Man in ocean." Not knowing the other word or expression. Words barely out before she was ducking as something swung by her head leaving her in a crouch to see Mat sailing through the air and down onto the tarp Patwin was on. At least the ship had been straightened.

Maurice burst out laughing. "They're your sons all right." He was in a position where he could see where Patwin landed and the one twin on his way over the side to follow.

Jacob was over once Mercy was steady on her feet to grab up one of the journals that was sliding down the deck. A few collected on the way before they were lost for good, although he figured all that information was probably still locked away in Clark's head. A strong hand to help him up and get his things together before he was tangled up in the ropes that had come undone and laid about around his feet like some kind of snare about to trap.

Patwin let loose an "oomph" of breath when Mat jarred his safe landing. "The Great Water holds many wonders!" He laughed, pounding a fisted hand to the leather tarp which had caught him. He had found many amazing things while on this giant canoe. The use of the sails for direction and speed, the weapons tucked beneath the deck, the layers of wood that made walking possible even beneath the surface of water. A quick look made sure no one else was coming over the edge before he relaxed again to his new perch. "I will meditate on them all now." A grin shot to Mat, whether the twin saw it or not, and he did as he said he was. Closed his eyes, his arms coming up behind his head. A perfect 'meditation' position when aboard a ship and soaking up the warmth of the sun.

"Good catch there, Jay, thanks." Clark still reached and tucked and scrambled while in that sitting position to collect all his things to him. "A fine day for navigational detours, is it not?" The final journal was once more secured beneath his leg and he settled back in to documentation. A man's life was only as remembered as the things he accomplished. In lieu of that...document everything else

Kali was leaning on the rail, watching it all while letting her stomach settle. She managed to chuckle as she watched Patwin bounce and Mat land. "They are fine, Kuwan. I think I will go lay down now." She was feeling a little wobbly yet. With a weak smile for her friend, she headed below deck. She wouldn't stay there at night, preferring to sleep under the stars. But during the day, she needed to be out of the way.

Yas let out another whoop as he watched his brothers down below. As the ship was righted, he looked through the spyglass again. He lowered it, squinting against the sun then raised it again. "I see a ship." He handed the glass back to the sailor who swung it in the direction the brave was pointing. Too far to see it's colors, but he'd keep an eye on it. Yas leaned his arms on the railing and watched everyone below. He liked it up here!

Mercy let out a low whistle once everything was back to normal. She checked on the boys, then gave a shake of her head. They were still a few days out but so far, the voyage was proving to be as eventful as their time on land.  She crossed her arms over her chest and stayed out of the way while the sailors put the cargo to rights.

Xan watched this all with a 'dear lord, what have I gotten into' expression. He looked at Ice and laughed. "Is this the way things go all the time?" He meant with teenagers. He had not been around his niece and nephew as much as he would have liked, but he didn't recall things being this ... insane.

She was over, once the males were fine and not hurt, to help Kali. "I will help you and get some drink made once we get you on the cot." Fussing over her friend as the men could take care of themselves at this point. She would see her below then back up to make the herbs mixed in water and warmed before was back down like a mother hen. She was good at fussing as such and once more gave her the feel she belonged, was needed.

Insane? Pray...but surely you mean this ... intriguing!

Mat bounced on the tarp a couple times as he waved to any and all watching them. Huge grin so white against bronze as if the accomplished a coup. "You meditate your naval." Spoken in their tongue. "We can hope the Spirits come and plug it up so your brains don't leak out." Laughing as he tapped a finger to his temple and was scurrying up the ropes taking him back onboard before Patwin retaliated. The laugher taunting in his wake.

Maurice gave Xan one of those looks. "This might be tame." Forewarning on teens especially ones thrown out of their culture and into another. He noted the ship the one twin spotted as ice blue eyes narrowed in like a hawk's on the object. "You might want to check out that ship, I don't recognize the flags flying. Dark colors, blue or black." Something about it didn't sit right. A hand going to Xan's shoulder before moving to the rail to see if he could get a better look, even with his kind of sight it was at a distance to keep it on the fringes.

Once Clark was settled and had all his journals. "Sometime I'd like to look those over if you don't mind?" Jacob was curious as well as interested in what kind of information Clark felt important enough to make sure they were written down. By the looks of it he had a lot of notes taken over the years. It would also give him some insight of their new found friend and comrade. A glance over his shoulder had him sending a wink Mercy's way, amused look on his features for noting her watching the ongoing events. There and back as he heard Yas then Maurice heading for the rail, had him looking out in the direction everyone seemed to be noting.

Patwin had bolted to a sitting position before Mat was out of his reach. A quiet laugh and a shake of his head followed before he lowered back to closer to the Spirits through quiet time. Unaware of the concern aboard, he just lounged, once again with his arms as a natural pillow where he was.

What was this now? Clark came to his feet, scooping up his stack of books but left his plate where it was on the deck to look out in the direction everyone else was peering in. Was there a problem with another ship on the sea?  Was the ensign questionable? What did he need to write down? Since Clark was more than willing to share his journals with Jay, he didn't even think to answer him. After all, with Clark's attention span, there was something new afloat. Literally!

Kaliska was grateful for the fussing and for the help that her heart sister gave. Kuwan was the only one she trusted to not tease. She curled up on the blankets she had placed on the floor and sighed. This was not what she had thought a voyage on the Great Water would be like.

Yas frowned when the sailor explained different colors meant different things. He leaned slightly to see if he could see better then shook his head. When the sailor handed him the spyglass again, he took it up. "It has turned in our direction!" He shouted down to the others in common. "The flag is black but I cannot tell the marks."

Mercy turned to look in the same direction as the others, eyes narrowing slightly. She looked at Jacob to see his reaction, then Clark and finally looked back out over the water, suddenly feeling very tense.

Xan cursed softly as he took up his own spyglass and turned it on the ship. "Look lively, lads!" The First Mate yelled out to the crew as he took over the wheel again. "Prepare for battle." Xan added. "I can't see the colors yet but best to be prepared." He studied the ship a moment more then shouted. "Jolly Roger. Be ready to fight!"

Kuwan had gotten a basin of water and towel and so washed up Kali's face and neck to make her feel better. Luckily she had not gotten any mess on her outfit but she checked to make sure and washed any spots. She paused in her administrations as the sounds above took on rushing ones. Sailors on the move but the yells were muffled. Something else as her hand touched upon Kali's. "I think it is best that we both stay below. Something in the air and better we are not underfoot." A slight shrug of a shoulder was more in the notion she was only going by her instincts. Something she had come to trust.

Mat was over to join his twin and in turn noticing this ship everyone was starting to get excited over. "What is Jolly Roger?" Thinking it must be some ship lingo, brows were dipping in a furrow as he spoke. A whipping glance given to the one that was their father then back as his hand came to rest against the hilt of his hunting knife. He was ready to fight having no concept of what fighting would be on a ship.

Maurice was right with his brother as Xan took over and confirmed what he picked up on. "Mat, Yas, stay with your father and protect him if needed." He would rather tell them to go below but he knew first of all they were too old and secondly would not obey such from one they did not really know. He knew it was best they were given some direction and even if they had not the rapport of heart for their father at this point, they had the sense of honor and duty.

Jacob was over to Mercy for he would protect her if it came down to fighting or at least cover her back. "It might do well to look more the lad again and maybe we should check on the two native women to make sure they are all right and should stay below." Words quiet between them in suggestion as he didn't want to just walk in on the two being a male.

Before Mercy could argue, Clark piped in. "It would probably be best, Mercy, if you stay below with the Naturals. To stand with them as well as inform them. Yes?" He nodded his head as if that action would make his point all the more clear to her. A coil of thick rope was used as his storage hole for his journals for now as he made ready to stand as may be needed for the upcoming confrontation. Might they get lucky enough not to have to resort to arms? At times like this it was a shame that the sword was mightier than the pen.

With all the hubbub above, Patwin rolled to his feet, bracing against the sway of the ship and the light bump of the boat against the side to look out where everyone else was. A ship cloaked in blackness which boasted no tribal colors or symbols other than that of death could not be good. Even to one who knew nothing about emblems. Strong hands gripped to the rope which suspended the boat and he pulled himself once more on deck, walking over to join the men who had come to their village. "This is not a good thing, this other boat." His words seemed to be a statement, but it was more a question to either Jacob or Clark as he pointed with arm straight toward the fast approaching vessel.

Yas had climbed back down and looked at Mat as he joined him. "Ben says it is what they call Pirates. Raiders." He answered then looked up when their uncle spoke about protecting their father. Without hesitating, he ran up the steps and stood on one side of Xan, his hand on the hilt of his knife. He watched the ship as it came closer.



Date: 09-21-06
Poster: Kuwanyauma
Post # 27

Kaliska nodded with Kuwan's words, though she sat up, tipping her head slightly to try to listen. She could hear the men running about, some moving down into the area where the big metal barrels were. Dark eyes wide, she looked at Kuwan. "Is it a battle?"

Mercy looked at Jacob then Clark and nodded to both. She could and would fight well enough but she knew if she was below, the others wouldn't worry about her. Darting down the steps, she opened the door where the two women were.  "We may be under attack soon. We'll stay down here though we'll be needed after to help the wounded." She moved over to her own cabin grabbing a pistol and her sword, as well as the jacket she had worn. Hair tucked back up under the hat she joined them again.

Xan was shouting orders all the while, his men moving into position automatically. He had the sails unfurled in the hopes they could outrun the faster ship but as it grew nearer, he shouted for the cannons to be made ready. The first volley came from the pirate ship, a warning shot most likely since it didn't hit. "Looks like we're going to have to stand and fight." He looked over at Ice then at his sons. This fight would be for more than just protecting the Star.

She sat on the edge of her cot as her arm went around her heart sister's shoulders. There was that known fear in her eyes too that had widened. "I think it is so." Something she would never get use to and since the last taking two very dear to her, there was this possibility to face again. "We have to trust this battle on water to Yas and Mat's father. We have to trust he is a great leader." Looking up to see the woman and only hugging Kali more to her as she gave a nod. Speaking in careful English. "We do as you say." Accepting her guidance, they knew how to fight too.

Jacob watched as Mercy addressed the two. "You should stay with them in case there is contact fighting. Or if .." A rub of a hand to her shoulder as she knew nothing else needed to be said and possibly scare the girls more. "You're needed here so I will go back above and help as I can." She knew well how he could fight and he was needed there. "Everything will be all right." Trying to reassure the two as he poked his head in to Mercy's one side from the door then disappeared again as he was in a fast pace back up and joining Xan, Clark and the others. "We will face what we need to Patwin, you, Yas and Mat are all brave warriors. They will not stand a chance against us." A quirk of a smile hinted but the look in his eyes was deadly serious. He was ready to fight.

Maurice would help his brother, nephews, friend and private eyes in what ways he did best. Ways that might not seem like he was doing much although only if needed. Never act hastily but to act timely. He wasn't one to say much under certain circumstances but he was taking everything in and the flash in blue eyes showed a very active mind behind what outwardly was complacent.

Mat was quick at his brother's side as their position in this matter was directed. Protect their father who was also the chief of the vessel. Both fitted in place as tribal ways they would first protect their chief then loved ones secondly. "Patwin, you are not afraid of the giant shadows of Looming Forest you are not afraid of a ship which is dwarfed in comparison." Said in jest yet at the same time as warriors three they would face in battle anything that came their way, fearlessly.

"I fear not the ship, Matoskah, but the odd men who set these men..." He swept his hand out over the rush and ready of the crew of hearty seamen. "in a swarm of preparation like the ants dug loose by a rooting boar." He looked once more to the ship which sent out a warning by way of that large boom and splash. He flinched only slightly, but shook his head. Evil was evil, no matter the form in which it took. And at present, it seemed, that evil was upon them. Patwin, as he always had, would continue to stand by his native brothers and stand their ground. Even if their ground was not of earth, but of well worn wood and salty sea water.

Clark chewed at the inside corner of his cheek, taking up the sword which was brought to him by one of the younger crew members. "Odd as they may seem, Patwin, they are still only men of flesh. As you and I. I don't know about you, but I'm not quite ready to be shaking hands with my maker. I tend to test the longevity of their flesh should they board us." Having said that, Clark set a steady course to the door which would lead below. To get to the women the enemy would have to fend through the other crew and then Clark. A feat indeed.

Yas grinned at the teasing, then looked toward the ship. He steadied himself as the Star turned to port. He yelled out a war cry in reply to the taunts coming from the pirate's then squinted. "They have fire." He warned as he glanced at Xan then Ice. Fire would be a danger to the wooden ship.

Kaliska nodded to both Mercy and Jacob as she leaned against Kuwan. The medicine Kuwan had given her was helping and so was the anticipation that gripped her. She wasn't quite ready to stand but she glanced at the opening in the ship. "We are turning. Perhaps to face the enemy."

Mercy jumped when Jacob spoke, then grinned at him. She was as nervous as anyone but wouldn't show it. "We have many brave men on board." She turned to the two women. "But we'll hold our own, won't we?" She stepped out and she looked upward, toward the door. "Likely to fire the big guns. It will make a lot of noise." She gave a warning to the two women.

Xan's sword was drawn and he grinned when Yas yelled out. It silenced the pirates briefly. "Fire when ready." His orders were relayed to the gunnery crew and within a few minutes, the guns were firing. Several missed but more hit the other ship. As soon as the guns fired, the First Mate turned the ship sharply to keep the Star from taking any fire. The pirates fired in return, one cannonball putting a hole in the main sail, another taking out a portion of the rail. The pirate's ship was fast and closing the gap quickly.

"We have to be wary of the trees for the forest." Which they had been taught to see more than the forest before them. A fisted hand came in a thump against a broad chest and going out in a taunting obscene gesture to the ship throwing something at them from fire that fell into the ocean. His war cry then added to his brother's that brought it to full volume. One that would reach out over the distance and probably have the pirates confused if anything. "Great Spirit!" Exclaimed as the wood beneath their feet jolted each time a cannonball was sent.

Kuwan was listening to the white woman but when the cannons went off and the vibrations ripped through the vessel, she was down to her knees with her hands over her ears in a protective crouch. She prayed to the Spirits in her language to give the men strength of arm to win over their enemy.

Protective shields against cannonballs was one spell thought and it had many of the pirate ship's missing. Only two got through. Ice drew his sword but his mind was working on another level in concentration. It had been along time since he used such druid powers. He concentrated on the sea in whipping up the water just around the enemy ship and something hard to protrude in bringing up a mass of reef to hopefully have its bow crash into. It would certainly test the skill of who captained it.

Jacob passed Clark giving the man's shoulder a thump before he was quick to join the other men drawing his sword as he moved. Dark eyes narrowed in on the scene before them as he was waiting, willing and very capable to plunge into battle with the rest of them. Easier with the women tucked away below and hoping no hit was near where they were.

Patwin added the shrill of his cry to his brothers, shaking his dagger above his head in threat. Their ship shook beneath his footing, the other sent a foray of response. It was when Maurice set about his 'magic' that Patwin  quieted, immediately! A tucked roll took him further from the man of magic and he crouched there, a wary watching of the large man, even as he awaited the impending attack of the boar. How did Patwin know who was responsible? At the moment did it matter? He did ... and he was now as focused on the men aboard this ship as he was anticipating the men aboard that other ship.

The attacking ship turned at the last moment, scraping it's hull against the reef that suddenly appeared. The Captain was cursing roundly but it was his crew that would help make his decision. They fired another round at the ship before turning toward it. For a moment it seemed as if they were intending to ram the Star but instead turned. Those aboard the Star would be able to see the attackers now and it seemed they were preparing to board, in spite of their superstitions and fear.

Yas was wishing he had his bow and arrows instead of a knife but it didn't matter. He would fight hand to hand if necessary. Yelling, he brandished his knife and taunted the men that were preparing to attack. The Star shook as more cannons were fired at the pirates, the hits sending several to a watery grave.

Kaliska didn't yell out when the ship shook and the cannons roared but she covered her ears and closed her eyes tightly. She peeked at Kuwan then did the same with the second volley. She couldn't tell if the ship had been hit or not and the smoke beyond the porthole was growing thick. Were they on fire?

Mercy yelped when the ship shook and she bumped into the wall. Cursing softly to herself, she darted up the steps to peek out and see what was happening. Peering around Clark, she studied the ship then went down below to reassure  Kuwan and Kaliska that the battle seemed to be on the side of the Star. So far.

Xan chuckled when he saw Patwin moving away from Ice but his attention went quickly back to the battle. He nodded with satisfaction as the ship was hit, then yelled out. "Prepare to repel boarders." A few of the pirates were swinging over to engage in hand to hand. Others preparing to follow. The Captain himself stood at the wheel, firing his pistols more for noise than to hit. Smoke from his ship was making it hard to see.

The question was, how did Patwin know when Maurice showed no outward sign of what he was doing? Man had the perceptions then. Only other would be Xan and now he could wonder if possibly his sons too. Since the captain was adept he played on the superstitions of the other crew. Shadows rose to loom of hideous forms, creatures and human combined that waited to devour. He made sure they were only seen from their side and not the Star's side. It would seem to the Star crew the others were in fear of them even if the captain pushed them forward in threat of their lives.

Mat stared at his uncle for only a few moments and a sly smile hinted before focus was back where it belonged. They had shaman amongst the white people or at least his father's. He could feel the magic around him. He was in action, knife between his teeth as he scurried up the ropes to engaged in battle. As one swung he reached swung out enough, one hand in a good grip of the rope while the knife was taken from between his teeth and severed the rope the man clung to before he could reach the ropes to hold onto. He fell as Mat was once more climbing to an advantageous spot to keep ones from gaining any advantage. The one tried gripping onto the ropes on his way down but to no avail and soon hit with a fatal thud for the angle over crates and metal.

Kuwan was up to hold Kali close. This was not like any battle she was use to nor prepared for. She could see the other ship through the porthole and some of the weathered faces of the other crew. They were hardened ones and fear in their eyes. It was something right out of a nightmare she was awake for.

Jacob was up on the rail, one hand steadied by ropes as his sword was swinging for any that dared to try and board by means of the rails. The clash of steel came in slicing motions before he cleaved off the man's sword hand as it and the man fell between the two ships to the water below. He was right onto the next that would take the other's place.

Patwin's crouch concealed his location, but when one of the pirates jumped aboard right in front of him, he shouted out a war cry and jerked the man back by the hair. Thus ended the life of this one Evil by way of a blade sliced across his throat. Before he could drop before the warrior, Patwin sliced off that hunk of hair and shook it in the air, inviting any others over to him. Patwin then passed the flat of his blade along his cheek to his ear, marking his own flesh with the blood of this victim. War paint when there was none other to be used. The native brave threw himself between two others who attempted to board, and his fighting began anew.

Clark stood guard at the door, turning with a leap right, then left, then right again, eager for any to make it his way. His sword was raised, as was his adrenaline, but it only sliced air as he waited ... and hopped side to side.



Date: 10-05-06
Poster: Mercy LaCorte
Post # 28

Fighting Pirates

The Captain was cursing his men roundly trying to push those who wouldn't attack onto the Star. A few obeyed and were engaged with the crew and passengers but others turned on the man himself. Within minutes chaos enveloped both ships. Xan took notice and shouted out "They're divided! Board the ship and bring them down." Why not eliminate one threat to the ships that sailed this route.  Xan swung over from deck to deck, followed by his men.

Kaliska was staring upward as if she could see what was going on. It was noisier than any fight she had ever heard and she was certain those great guns were inhabited by some kind of monster spirits that made them spite fire. She clung to Kuwan, dark eyes impossibly wide.

Yas let out a whoop as he charged one of the braver crew members. He used a board from a destroyed crate to swing at the startled man. They hadn't expected Indians on board the ship. Within minutes, Yas possessed a fine sword and swinging the sword like a madman and yelling just as loudly. He had no finesse, no technique but he was sending men running from the flashing blade. One of the enemy was cut down then another before several threw down their swords in surrender. Blood spattered and wild-eyed, Yas grinned and looked around for his brothers.

Mercy still stood at the door but it sounded as if the course of battle was changing. The fight was growing less above deck. "Stay here." She told the two lasses. "I'm going to see what's happening and I'll be back." And up the steps she headed.

Kuwan was also looking to the ceiling of their cabin, knowing very well not far above them men were fighting and dying. It didn't still the prayers upon her lips that flowed continually under her breath. Ancient tribal words of protection, strength and blessings to keep their warriors safe. Her arms still around Kaliska as if it would protect them both. The disturbance in the hall came as some were fighting with each other down the steps. She stood and grabbed her knife from the folds of her skirt, ready to fight too if she had to.

Mat was already swinging from the ropes, Tarzan style onto the other ship. The crew there had fear written on their faces for something he had not seen but he could smell it. He gave out a great war cry that only had more of them scatter yelling about savages. Well, not in Mat's eyes, they were the savages as he bared his teeth clenched over the hunting knife.

Maurice let up on the illusion now that it had the effect he wanted and he into the fray of fighting. His height alone he was slashing his way right alongside his brother to where they had ropes being tied to the other ship and able to board it. "Lay down your weapons if you want to live." Booming voice which had many throwing them down no matter the threats of their captain.

Jacob was already on the other ship fighting this one and that, ducking between two that overshot and got each other instead. Next he knew they were backing off, weapons thrown down and hands up. There were some more stubborn such as the captain who was heading for Xander with rage in his eyes.

Clark stumbled backwards down the steps, fighting off those who pressed inward. His feet sought out the steps blindly, at times sliding more than stepping but he continued to swing and swat and ward off and fight back. When Mercy came up from behind the dagger in his left hand nearly found her throat but he jerked it back just in time, his battle returning to the men who were determined to make their way down. "Mercy!" He yelled as he parried yet another blow. "Get yourself back, set up your defenses in that room!" A jab of dagger as he distracted with his sword and continued backward to prevent his own demise.  If they made it as far as the ladies' room, then it would mean Clark would be no use to them and they'd be left to their own defense.

Patwin joined his brothers in their tribal cry, the ships so close now one to the other that he leapt to the railing and then sailed to the other vessel. Rolling as he landed, he came up with shout. Any close enough to the native were dispatched to their maker. As if connected by some invisible force, he knew where the twins were, what they were doing, even as his own life was placed up as a sacrifice to the gods should it be necessary. The expertise of a life based solely on survival cleared a path of scattering or collapsing pirates. His was not an act of defense, his was an outright attack. He offered his own life, and in the process, took all the more of them.

Xan saw the Captain coming for him and charge forward to meet his attack. There was a mighty clanging of swords as the two men faced off, the Captain's attack careless in his attempt to kill the man. The fight was so intense neither was aware of others around them. Xan pressed his advantage until the other was forced up against the rail and with a final swing, he sent the man overboard.

Yas was over the rail not far behind the others, swinging the sword like a madman and yelling just as loudly. He had no finesse, no technique but he was sending men running from the flashing blade. One of the enemy was cut down then another before several threw down their swords in surrender. Blood spattered and wild-eyed, Yas grinned and looked around for his brothers.

Mercy danced backward with the flash of Clark's blade. The hall was too narrow for her to help and she turned at his shout, retreating to the cabin. "Get ready to fight!" She warned the two women before turning and taking a stance close to the door. Anyone who came through was going to be surprised at what they'd face.

Kaliska pushed aside her fear and the weakness of being sick as she drew the knife she always carried. She looked at Kuwan, not saying a word. There was no need. They would fight just as the men were above and had even more reason to protect themselves. They had been told how white men would treat them if they took them prisoner.

Maurice made sure none of the others that still followed their captain interfered with this battle between the two, one life he took and the other held at sword point as he made note of where the sons were too. Most of the crew had backed off, a few escaping over the side to awaiting dinghies if they could manage them.

Mat came down from the ropes in a swing to land next to his brother, not far from Patwin. Knees bending with the impact as the knife was taken from the hold of his teeth and flashed at any still willing to fight. He too wore the blood of those lives he took and a slash or two of an open wound. Ones he paid no mind to at all.

Seeing all was under control here, Jacob was swinging back over to the ship and heading to find his comrades, he came in down behind the attackers that managed down the steps, his sword making short work of the one behind the three others.

Kuwan was made of sterner stuff than even she realized as she pushed past Mercy and with a wicked aim threw her knife at the one charging Clark. The blade whizzed by Clark's ear, possibly taking a few strands of hair for it was that kind of sharp, before embedding to the hilt in the man's eye. The one close enough that Clark got the spurt of blood that shot out. Spit in your eye kind.

The attack, at first, seemed to be coming from all sides, causing Clark to cringe. It was the visual that followed that had him standing, dumbfounded, until the skewered man fell backwards onto the pirates following him. The heat of the man's blood coated the right side of his face and still he stood, motionless. Had the others not been as surprised, Clark would have been history. "Christ Almighty damn..." He whispered to himself, lifting his dagger hand to wipe the back of it, unconsciously, against the spray on his flesh. Ho boy! Back to business! "Do you yield?" He shouted to the two remaining, jabbing out the tip of his sword in their direction.  Since they now realized they were trapped between Clark and Jacob ...not to mention the unexpected skill of the females! Both immediately dropped their weapons, and their fallen comrade, in the same instant. There would be no mistaking their intent.

The roar of battle eased. Externally. Internally. Patwin slowly emerged from the haze of fury to find the brothers near. His gaze swept over them, finding them whole, even if marked by the battle, and he nodded. There would be none who could claim possession of their sanity and still come up against the three of them (the five of them!)

Xan was now in possession of another ship. The Jolly Roger was struck and the flag of Heathfield hoisted as the rest of the men surrendered. The Captain had disappeared beneath the waves, likely shark bait. Moving back onto the Star, he looked for the others to make sure they were all well, and kept moving to see how the lasses had fared. All the while he was giving orders to get them on course again. Ice was flashed a grin. The fight had been quick but gave an opportunity for all to see how each handled themselves.

Yas grinned at Patwin and Mat, before he sat down hard on the deck of the ship. There was a deep slash across his thigh, bleeding heavily. He ripped off the shirt of one of the dead pirates and used it to bind the wound until it could be tended to.

Good lord. Mercy stared at Kuwan, then grinned. She stepped out into the hallway and looked at the two pirates, then Clark. "Are you all right, Clark.? Kuwan?" The fight seemed to be over from the sounds coming above deck. "We're going to be needed to tend to any wounded." She knew the women were healers. Now they just need to get up there.

Kaliska beamed as she looked at her heart sister. She defended the ship just as the men had but with Mercy's words, she turned and went back into the cabin to retrieve the things they would need to help take care of the wounded.

Yas would feel his brother's hand on his shoulder as he bound the wound. He knew Kali and Kuwan would make a salve for it. He would guard his brother in case of any last minute renegade should attack but in the meantime he spoke low in their language. "Our father is a brave chief." There was a newfound pride in his voice based on respect. A hand fisted to his chest with an outward swing in honor of Patwin in turn. It was his way of congratulating his brother of heart.

"I'll see to getting this ship back." In short he would take over the spot of Captain for the duration. "Yas, Mat, Patwin, you are welcome to stay with me to keep the men in order if you wish." Otherwise a few of Xander's crew would help him see to it. He was already giving them orders to clean up the dead off the deck and into the water before preparing to sail.

Kuwan was over with a piece of cloth ripped from her skirt that she started to wipe Clark's face to rid of the blood. She was talking in her language on how he was a brave warrior even if he was pale of skin. This was probably the closet she got to a white man as she muttered about how he smelled of perfume compared to the men of her tribe who were far more rich in scent. Once she was certain he had not gotten cut she backed off respectively.

Jacob was around to kick away the weapon of the two left. "Report above deck," which had them scampering away to clear the hall as he approached both Clark and Mercy. "None of you are hurt?" Eyeing Kuwan as she took care of Clark. For all he knew, not being able to see, Clark had taken down the man.

"Agh!" Mercy's call past Kuwan caused Clark to jerk around in surprise, his boot catching the extended foot of the felled pirate and causing Clark to pitch to the side. He took up a nonchalant lean against the wooden wall of the corridor (more likely that's where he landed) with a thud, his arm with dagger above his head, the other with sword extended before him for balance as if it were a walking stick. "Well, yes...yes..actually.." He answered both Mercy and Jay as the Natural cleaned his skin. Clark was rather quick to pick up certain things, and the woman's language was one he was getting better at. He smiled as he caught her words but said nothing, just offered her a nod of thanks for her bravery. During battle...and now. "I mean, I am well enough and good." He pulled his gaze from Kuwan to redirect it to Jacob. "I'll go above to check the status there." A clearing of throat and he spun on a heel to be about it, carefully placing his steps to avoid the dead man on the floor lest he go down with him.


Patwin offered the twins a like fist to chest, looking past them to the white men who claimed the honor of having the same blood as his brothers. "I wish to know more of the Mighty Oak." And as that man spoke, offering them passage aboard this ship, Patwin shook his head. "I will remain with our women." But soon, Patwin meant to find out what powers the Mighty Oak possessed beyond those he had witnessed this day. A final glance offered to the brothers before he vaulted back to the other ship, his strides, though not as swift, carried him with determination to seek out the females.

Xan had reached the top of the stairs as the two men came out. They were sent back to their ship to aid Ice and then he leaned to look. "Are you all right down there?" A step back allowed Clark to come onto the deck as he waited for an answer. He was proud of them all and would be sure to tell them once things were settled. "Yaskitchi will need your aid." He spoke to Kuwan in their tongue. Around him the ship was getting back to normal. Yas would be helped onto the Star by his brother or one of the men and by dawn tomorrow they would see the shores of Heathfield. Xan could only hope that Heathfield, and Maggie, would be ready for them!



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