Uncompahgre

Uncompahgre, Book Three

 

 

Uncomp-revised tag

Uncompahgre - where water turns rock red”, the third book of the series, continues the adventure and romance of this award winning story of us. The vanguard of five richly complex generations, having reached Cherry Creek, find their lives conflicted by family honor, hidden ambitions, and magnetic attractions forged in the fires of love, loss, hope, and sorrow. Some face life decisions – return to Europe or settle in the untamed Uncompahgre Valley, abandoning torrid love affairs ignited during the dangerous journey across America. The elderly slave couple, and an Oglala Sioux family introduced in Book Two, set their life sails to the winds of freedom, and struggle to comprehend the assault on their lands and culture. New characters catapult into this fast paced, passionate ongoing historical epic.

The Adventure and Romance of America, her people, her spirit, and the West. This is our story.

 

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Excerpts

EXCERPTS FROM UNCOMPAHGRE – Book Three – Prior to upcoming release – the characters are whispering.  Hear that hum in the rails?


big_H54123C325-4“Don’t like this at all. Nope, not looking forward to it. Not one bit, Buck.”

The mustang’s ears pricked at the sound of Zebbariah Taylor’s raspy voice.  The tobiano gelding snorted agreement. The mountain man, holding his reins in one hand and a lead rope in the other, twisted in the saddle and glanced behind him at Red, the wagon master’s spirited sorrel mare.

The eastern front of the Rockies rose jagged in the early afternoon sun. Zeb slouched forward again and sighed, his eyes roving the horizon. Buck swiveled slightly back toward him, his sunlit head standing out in sharp contrast to the spring green of the grassy, rock strewn slope.  Patches of bitter brush and sage punctuated the soft plateaus as they descended toward the South Platte Valley.  Miles out, the blemish of a small settlement was visible, flanked by clusters of distant tipis.


GunReuben stood lazily, his Navy Colt in one hand, gunpowder smoke still rising several feet above the muzzle. One of the other men moved, and Rebecca heard the distinctive hammer-click of Johannes’ Sharps, which he had raised to his shoulder.

Reuben’s jaw clenched. He grimly cocked the hammer of the Colt. “I don’t push, mister. You got exactly two seconds.”

“You ain’t heard the last of this,” the man said through gritted teeth as his pistol hit the wood with thud.

“I think it is,” said Reuben quietly. “But if it’s not, you know my name.”

 

 


Sarah stood on the rough ground of a small rise, surveying the circle of prairie schooners and Conestogas that lay fifty feet east of her. Their once bright, canvas tops were muted and streaked with the rigors of a thousand miles of weather, river crossings, sun and dust. Many had bullet holes or patches where arrows from that horrible day back on Two Otters Creek had torn the rigging. The customary, small, cautious evening cook fires had been replaced by several large fires, thigh-high flames licking the cool clear air, clusters of pioneers excited to finally have arrived at Cherry Creek, trading stories, sharing plans, reviewing goals and saying goodbyes.

Sarah snuggled into her shawl, then laid a blanket on the ground and sat down, curling her legs under her until she was comfortable.  She hadn’t wanted to be part of the jubilant crowd. She had had little time to herself since leaving Liverpool and had much to think about. I am not the same woman who had eagerly embarked the Edinburgh in Portsmouth Harbor five months before.

Tears came to her eyes and the expanse before her blurred. She blinked them away and looked to the west. The sun hung suspended behind dark, silhouetted mountains, the thin layers of softly glowing clouds laced with silver and bold strokes of fiery orange-red. Underlying them, a deepening purple sifted down from the highest peaks and curled around the foothills, spreading like a fog of color across the rolling plains. This land, the people; I had no idea how it would call to me. Transfixed by the sheer power of the scene, Sarah felt tiny and insignificant yet empowered at the same time. So many choices.


Indians-Singing-Deeds-of-Valor-2Juan Reyes leaned toward the fire, his elbows on his knees, his bare shoulders warming in the morning sun. He spit on the honing stone, turned over the long thin blade of his knife and began sharpening it’s opposite edge.

With lowered head he watched the two riders approaching. One was medium build, square shouldered and moving easily with the big Palomino underneath him. The other was tall, very tall, with longer blonde hair. Something in his posture screamed military – or maybe law. Without moving other than the slightest turn of his head, Juan said in a low voice directed back at the tipi, “Woman, bring one of my pistols and the Smoothbore. Pronto.”

From inside the leather walls came a whiney, plaintive response, “Get them yourself, you lazy dog.”

Juan felt the muscles in his jaw clench. Worthless squaw. “Goose Feather, there’s two riders coming in. Might be law. Bring the weapons, ahora!”

The tipi flap snapped back and the round, pudgy, deep copper face of Goose Feather, her jet black hair hanging in greasy strings around her shoulders, poked partially into the sun. The squints of her eyes took in the riders. Muttering to herself she ducked back into tipi, emerging seconds later with one of his Onyx handled .36 caliber Colt Navy pistols, it’s silver barrel flashing in the morning light, and his .45 caliber Smoothbore Musketoon.

Juan stood slowly, wanting to appear nonchalant. He turned and watched Goose Feather waddling the last few feet toward him. Dirt smudged grease stained the leather which clung tightly to her ample form, the sagging layers of flesh squeezed into the doe skin imparting skin-filled folds to the material as her shoulders swung back and forth with each step. She puts on any more weight and she will have to add leather to that dress.

 


 

My Dearest Daughter,

You’ve been gone only weeks, but I miss you, as much as I miss your father, my dear Henry. I’ve always been proud of you. You have great courage and your father’s quick wit and strength. While I wish you were here, home with me, Adam, Sally and Eve—who miss you too—I realize our unfortunate predicament has left you no choice but to make this dangerous and difficult journey. It is, perhaps, the most brave I have ever seen you. Wherever this letter may find you, far from these shores, I hope that you are well

Adam has tried to tell me, very gently, that you will not return. I pretend to ignore him, but in my heart, I know he may be right. Henry always said Adam saw the future clearly. I am old. Perhaps I should have departed this earth with or shortly after my dear husband, but God has seen fit to keep me breathing. I feel, Rebecca, I may not last through the year. Adam feels it too. I can tell by how he looks at me and the gentleness with which he and his family treat and care for me. I write you this letter not to worry you, nor to beseech you to return quickly. Quite the contrary, I may not be here when you get back, if you come back. As my life draws to a close, yours spreads out before you. Do what you must. Follow your heart.

 


ranchhouse3They both froze at the distant downstream snap of a branch, and the muted whinny of a horse just audible above the gurgle of the creek. Sally’s ears, usually one back, one forward, pricked to attention, her eyes fastened downstream. She blew softly through her nose.

“Hush now, mule,” hissed Israel. “Sure wish I had me a gun. That’s the next thing we are going to get, Lucy. It’s downright crazy be out here without a weapon. Besides that, I could hunt. Most likely bring in more meat than them snares we’ve been setting when we stop.”

Another branch snapped, this time closer. The muscles in the mule’s neck tightened and Lucy grabbed Israel’s hand, squeezing it hard.


Philippe Reyes leaned toward the fire, his elbows on his knees, his bare shoulders warming in the morning sun. He spit on the honing stone, turned over the long thin blade of his knife and began sharpening it’s opposite edge.

With lowered head he watched the two riders approaching. One was medium build, square shouldered and moving easily with the big Palomino underneath him. The other was tall, very tall, with longer blonde hair. Something in his posture screamed military – or maybe law. Without moving other than the slightest turn of his head, Philippe said in a low voice directed back at the tipi, “Woman, bring one of my pistols and the Smoothbore. Pronto.”

From inside the leather walls came a whiney, plaintive response, “Get them yourself, you lazy dog.”

Philippe felt the muscles in his jaw clench. Worthless squaw. “Goose Feather, there’s two riders coming in. Might be law. Bring the weapons, ahora!”

The tipi flap snapped back and the round, pudgy, deep copper face of Goose Feather, her jet black hair hanging in greasy strings around her shoulders, poked partially into the sun. The squints of her eyes took in the riders. Muttering to herself she ducked back into tipi, emerging seconds later with one of his Onyx handled .36 caliber Colt Navy pistols, it’s silver barrel flashing in the morning light, and his .45 caliber Smoothbore Musketoon.

Philippe stood slowly, wanting to appear nonchalant. He turned and watched Goose Feather waddling the last few feet toward him. Dirt smudged grease stained the leather which clung tightly to her ample form, the sagging layers of flesh squeezed into the doe skin imparting skin-filled folds to the material as her shoulders swung back and forth with each step. She puts on any more weight and she will have to add leather to that dress.


123rf-download-7023146_m

Zeb felt the heat rise in his cheeks and knew it wasn’t the sun. He half grinned to himself. The soft curls of her red hair had faded to burnished auburn, and had grown longer over more than two months on the trail. The prairie schooners had ventured a thousand miles from St. Louis, triumphantly, yet tragically. They had arrived just hours before and the wagons were circled behind him now on the high ground, five miles northeast of Cherry Creek.

He smiled as he recalled Buck’s nuzzle to the back of his head as he watched the unintentional, provocative sway of her hips as she made her way back to her wagon and her glowering traveling companion. The mustang had cocked his head to the side, his big brown eyes staring directly into Zeb’s. “What the hell you lookin’ at, Buck?” he’d said.  “If I want to say more than five words to a woman once every ten years, that’s my business.” He smiled, thinking about his one-sided conversation with the horse.

 


 

8167195_-2lWalks with Moon stretched under the buffalo robe, lingering in that state of sleep just before waking, reaching one delicate bronze hand down to rest on the rounding of her belly, while extending the other to touch Eagle Talon.

Her eyes bolted open when fingertips failed to find his warmth and she realized he was no longer under the robes with her. Her surprise cleared her mind of slumber, and the unsettling events of the previous evening flooded her memory. She sat up suddenly, clenching the edge of the robe high to her chest to keep the morning chill from her square, delicate, brown shoulders. The sky beyond the smoke hole at the top of the tipi was still pre-dawn.  The hide walls of the tipi glowed softly from the last embers of the night fire, silhouetting her husband’s naked figure as he squatted, facing away from her.

Eagle Talon’s powerful back rose angular from his muscular buttocks. The ebb and flow of the embers lit the space between his long black braids and the taper of his neck where it met his shoulders, accentuating the rippled definition of strength in his arms.

She watched him poke and prod at the coals in the fire ring, throwing his prodding stick into the ring with a sigh, shaking his head and whispering to himself. A small flicker of flame sprang from one end of the piece of unburned wood, adding a tremble of light to the interior of the tipi. His shadow danced on the wall.

 


 

Reuben rode into the dusk in search of solitude. He needed time to think about the push over the mountains, and who might accompany him. The questions appeared more formidable than he had imagined. He grimaced at himself. The palomino moved surefooted in the moonlight, which cast a silver net across the land. Three large fires marked the wagon train, a half a mile out.

He leaned forward and patted the palomino’s neck. “You don’t have much to say, Lahn, and damn few answers, but I appreciate you listening.” The big horse’s muzzle seemed to nod up and down, and he blew softly through his nose.

Reuben shook his head. “The longest most difficult journey lies ahead of us, Lahn. Do you think we can find several hundred good head of cattle, within a weeks’ ride of where we are now camped?” He clicked off the time that would be needed. “Cattle. Hire three good men. Get supplies. Purchase additional wagon to haul building supplies. Perhaps a third wagon for provisions. Teams for the wagons.” The list seemed endless, and Lahn still seemed to have no answers.

Reuben fell silent. The scout hired by his father and uncle indicated on the map he drew that it would be a two or three-week journey to the Red Mountains to the valley of the Uncompahgre River, where he recommended the ranch be established. The scout had written the same words repeatedly in different areas on the map. Rugged. Steep. Uninhabited. Ute Indians. Some Navajo.  According to the scout’s letters, the first snows could blanket the Uncompahgre early September in some years. Would there be enough time to put up a decent shelter? If not, then what? The scout had written about winter temperatures well below zero, and snows over ten feet. He would have to acquire title or legal claim before building.


The farm is prospering. The cattle have had good weight gain with the early spring. Helmon and Isaac are the same; obstinate, overbearing, and resistant to new ideas. They will never change. There’s talk of war with Denmark. The Jews, as usual, are being blamed for the unrest by those who need to do so.

Helmon said to tell you hello. Isaac is still angry at you. I’m thinking seriously about coming to America. Helmon and Isaac will never leave the farm. I have been reading everything I can on the United States, and missing you. I believe Father was right that night in the kitchen when he selected you to go. You are the right choice. I keep hearing his words, “America is the future. Where there is land, there is opportunity.” I will write you soon again.

Love

Your Brother, Erik

Reuben looked at the date. Erik must have posted it soon after he and Johannes had arrived in St. Louis, maybe while they were still on the train between New York and Missouri.


“Are you in love with her?”

“Yes.”

“Then, my friend, a word to the wise. You need to tell her. Moments don’t come often. It is the one thing I have learned since first looking in Inga’s eyes, back there on the train to St. Louis.” He sighed and looked up at the sky. “Don’t let a moment slip by, my friend. You might not have it again.” Johannes reached a long arm over and slapped him on the back. “The worst she can say is ‘No.’”


 

216-cowboy_full_600Zeb held his eyes. “I ain’t never lied to you, and I never will. But I didn’t tell ya everything back there in St. Louis when you asked me to guide you…” Zeb cleared his throat.

“Oh?”

“I’m a mite more than a little familiar with that country you’re headed to. My trapping cabins are on the sides of them mountains, the Red Mountains.”

Reuben stood, absorbing the information. Zeb continued. “Know the country like the back of my hand. I know exactly where that ranch land is laid out on them maps of yours, and Rebecca’s gold map, too. Same place. Fact is, there’s some mistakes in ‘em. I aim to help you get set up. It’ll still be a strange, wild land to you. But through me, you won’t be a stranger. We have all been headed to the same Red Mountains, Las Montanas Rojas de la Uncompahgre, since the git go.”


 

10974106_sHe obliged, lowering his lips and kissing the top of her head. Her arms tightened and he began to repeat the gesture, but she raised her head and intercepted his kiss with her own—just a brush of parted lips at first, then an increased pressure tinged with passion.

She was standing just inches away, her brown eyes wide, teary, looking up into his, full of sorrow and something else he couldn’t quite fathom. She slowly let the blanket fall from her shoulders. She wore nothing but a sheer silk chemise, almost transparent, every curve of her lithe young body glowing in the low light, the pink of her nipples erect, clearly visible and straining against filmy material.

Despite his surprise, he could hear the sudden rush of blood in his ears. It became a roar when she reached out one small, delicate hand and firmly cupped the rapidly increasing thickness below his belt.

“I…”

His voice was stilled as she raised her other hand to his mouth, touching his lips with the tips of her fingers. “Don’t talk. Not a word.” Her fingers tugged at his belt and fumbled with the buttons of his breeches.


Reuben stood lazily, his Navy Colt in one hand, gunpowder smoke still rising several feet above the muzzle. One of the other men moved, and Rebecca heard the distinctive hammer-click of Johannes’ Sharps, which he had raised to his shoulder.

Reuben’s jaw clenched. He grimly cocked the hammer of the Colt. “I don’t push, mister. You got exactly two seconds.”

“You ain’t heard the last of this,” the man said through gritted teeth as his pistol hit the wood with thud.

“I think it is,” said Reuben quietly. “But if it’s not, you know my name.”


“We hope for a son, Walks with Moon, but this is the first time you’ve said ‘our son’ with certainty. Do you know something I do not?”

Walks with Moon cast her eyes down for a brief instant, her lips lightly compressed, one cheek quivering. Her gaze returned to his. “No, husband. I just think it will be a son because I believe Spirit will bless us with a son–but any child is a blessing from Wakan Tanka.

Eagle Talon regarded his wife in silence. There’s something she is not telling me. He decided not to press the matter. “It was a long and busy half moon. I and Brave Pony trailed the Pawnee warrior band. At various times there were at least forty, sometimes up to sixty braves. A large war party. Three Cougars, Turtle Shield, Pointed Lance, and Three Knives were a half sun’s ride from us and from each other, searching for tatanka and any alert to possible dangers.” He chuckled. “Those Pawnee have the eyesight of old women. They never spotted us. Twice we had to double-back to avoid Army patrols. One group of cavalry was perhaps twenty soldiers, the other was larger, perhaps forty. I assume they came from the white man’s Fort they call Kearney, a five or six-sun ride when we encountered them.”


 

slave couple-4Israel led the old, gray, stocky mule deeper into the shade of the leafing cottonwoods along the creek they had been following southwest. Sunlight, warm with the coming summer, seeped through the alleys in the trees, its bright rays dissipated by unfurling leaves and muted by the dark, course bark of the riparian forest. He paused before leaving the tree line they had been skirting, carefully searching the nearby creek bottom for any danger, now and again casting quick glances over both shoulders and behind the mule.

“Let me help you down off that mule, wife.”

“You are gonna have to, Israel, I think my bottom might be glued to this critter. I’m not sure what’s worse, walking or riding.” Hunching over the forequarters of the mule, Lucy reached down and rubbed her swollen left knee, barely visible below the hem of her skirt.

 


 

“That’s my rifle.” Rebecca squared his shoulders and drew herself to full height. “Return it immediately and tell your friend to take his hand off her.” Clenching her hands to mask the trembling in her fingers, she felt her cheeks redden. “Right now. This is not something gentlemen would do.”

The smaller man holding her rifle had pale blue eyes. Like those dingo dogs in Australia. His gaze swept up and down her body and his tongue darted over his upper lip. “I don’t never remember claimin’ to be no gentleman.” His hand darted out and grabbed Rebecca’s forearm. She tried to twist away but his grip was like a vice. “What say you and that pretty little red-haired thing go for a ride with us? There’s some nice country around here we could show you.”


 

Inside the lodge fire burned brightly. He let the robe drop from his shoulders, tied the flap and turned to his wife. He was surprised to see her still lying under the tatanka robe. Walks with Moon flashed a wide smile. Her eyelids lowered and lips pursed seductively, she threw the robe back from herself, revealing the splendor of her lithe, trim body. “You should give me your thanks properly, husband.” She raised one hand, crooked her forefinger and wagged it, inviting him back to the buffalo robe.

Eagle Talon lost himself in the comfort of her touch, her passion drawing the worry from his mind, her tenderness like a salve to his heart.


 

ngp_nd_military_01bJohannes rode up to him, smoothly slipping his Sharps .52 Caliber Carbine into a cradled position in one arm.

“Are you coming in tonight?”

“No, Reuben. As Zeb would say, this suits me just fine.”

Bente and Lahn were standing side-by-side, their noses pointed at the Rockies, a looming, forbidding mass of jagged dark silhouettes rising without texture in the night, blotting out a third of the western sky.

Johannes turned his head in the darkness, looking at the mountains. “It is an enormous, dangerous, wild, exciting, spectacular country, Reuben. Coming all this way we had the support and company of other wagons, more than a hundred brave, strong men and women. From here on, it’s just us. I have a feeling this next leg over that country up there is going to make what we’ve done thus far feel like a close column drill on a parade ground.”


01_Son of Geronimo-GOTG Relay Sta-3A slow grin spread across Randy’s face. “You’ve probably heard of Fort St. Vrain. Man by the name of William Bent started it. Bent’s Fort, too. Both are established trading posts, brought lots of folks out here and have outfitted maybe thousands, but what most don’t know is they also brought about two thousand head of them Texas Longhorns up through the Panhandle some years back. Most of them are on ranches down in the San Luis Valley round Walsenburg and Pueblo which are just a few buildings—maybe eight to ten folks.” He laughed. “Not like this big city,” he brandished a thick hand toward the window. “Ain’t been down there for years but I understand the herds have grown to a goodly number. A couple of them ranchers, Dawson and Christiansen, sometimes drive cattle east for meat for them city folks back there, and some for the army.”

Johannes moved over to the counter. Leaning against the top with one elbow and settling his hip against the edge of the top, he listened closely.

“I’ve heard those Longhorns are a hardy breed,” said Reuben.

“Hardy and ornery. They were originally called Criollo, or ‘cattle of the country’. Bred up with the Spanish Andalusia cattle that came from Spain in the early 1500’s, I hear. Started with six heifers and one bull, if you can imagine. By 1540 there were thousands. Then that Coronado fella lost about five hundred in Texas in a storm sometime mid 1500’s. When them Texans ran the Mexicans out in 1845 or so, there was tens of thousands of them wild critters. They started experimenting, breeding the Spanish wild blood with English cattle which some say drifted over from Louisiana. I’ve heard those cows are about three part wild and two part European. Shortens up the time it takes them to get them to full weight. Used to be six years, now I guess it’s around four. I heard tell of two year old steers almost one thousand pounds. Pretty hides too. Seems like most of ‘em are all big spots and color.


Indians-Singing-Deeds-of-Valor-2Far to the east, where Eagle Talon was deciding whether or not to release his arrow, across a body of water greater than Eagle Talon could imagine, Erik drummed his long, uncommonly delicate fingers against the rough planks of the kitchen table. He pushed back his thick, black spectacles until they were firmly over the bridge of his nose, close enough to his eyes that when he blinked his long eyelashes touched the glass. He looked down at the half-written letter. How do I properly phrase this?

He leaded over the water basin, peering out the wide, multi-paned kitchen window framed by dark oak slab cabinets. The glass faced east towards the farm’s main fields and the church spires of the little village of Villmar, four kilometers down the dirt thoroughfare from the farm gate. The languid waters of the Lahn River drifted lazily past the great white barn. The fields were separated by fences and hedgerows, the cultivated land between those barriers green with late May growth. The grass and row crops near the river where his brothers could get water to the land in the ditches his grandfather had dug, were green and almost ankle high. Two solid, heavily muscled Belgian draft horses were hitched to a plow between the house and the barn. From the corrals drifted the smell of manure and the bawling of sixty weaned calves. In a pen on the other side of the two-track farm road, their mothers bellowed equally anguished protests. They will find tomorrow far more upsetting. Tomorrow they would be branded and castrated. Neighbors from up and down the dirt thoroughfare that led from Villmar past a number of farms like theirs, would be on hand to help, as would Rabbi Bernhard Frank. He would bestow blessings on each procedure and calf, an all-important step to being able to market the meat, or live animals, as kosher.


BreakFromWind-5Before Sarah could say anything, Johannes nodded to Zeb. “Tell Reuben, would you?” Then he abruptly turned, leading Bente away from the wagons and toward the east, Zeb and Sarah watching them both disappear from the firelight.

Sarah looked down at the brush and turned it in her hands, remembering. The fire sheen on the silver of metal blurred. “Oh…” she said softly.

Zeb put his hand on her shoulder. “Let’s go,” he said quietly, leading her away. They stepped outside the curved line of rigs, the frontiersman’s right hand holding the .52 caliber Sharps, his left arm hanging loosely in the darkness next to her. In a few paces, he stopped and turned. “We can walk around the wagons, or we can walk out to that little rise yonder,” he pointed south to a raised portion of the shelf slightly more than one hundred yards from where they camped. “Your druthers, Sarah.”

“Let’s head up there, Zeb. I just have to make sure I don’t trip and fall in the dark with this dress.”

To her surprise, he took her hand. “I won’t let you fall, Sarah,” he said, shortening his steps. Her hand seemed lost in his warm, protective grip. She liked the rough and gentle feel of his touch.


 

123rf-download-7023146_mWithout turning around, Philippe responded, “My father imported a number of them from Spain.”

Philippe didn’t catch the look Reuben and Johannes exchanged. His groping hand found what he was looking for and turning, he triumphantly held up a small sack of Arbuckle’s Coffee. “Amigos, you’re right in time for the best cup of café this side of that range of mountains,” he swept his arm expansively down the vista of the Rockies.

Reuben laughed and dismounted. “We’ve been going since sunup, and a short break for the best kafee this side of the Rockies ought not to do any harm.”

Smiling, Philippe poured water from his water bag into a small pot, and efficiently built a fire with sagebrush, which reduced to coals quickly. He placed two flat-sided rocks inside the fire ring on either side of the coal bed he gathered into a smoldering heap. Placing the pot on the rocks, he grinned at Reuben and Johannes. “Keeps soot off the bottom. I hate soot in my saddlebags.”


 

emma-smith-my-story-original“London is like a book I read long, long ago. Not the place where I used to live.”

“I know, Rebecca, I know. My anticipation of America was the hustle, bustle and throngs of New York, working in my Aunt Stella’s shop, saving money to open my own. I really had no idea…”

“…that this,” Rebecca swept her arm grandly, “could exist.”

Sarah turned to her, surprised at how effortlessly Rebecca had finished her thoughts. She put her arm around the brunette’s shoulders. Rebecca did the same and they leaned their heads together.

“It changes you somehow,” whispered Rebecca.

Sarah nodded, feeling Rebecca’s hair brush her cheek as she moved her head. “Perhaps more than change, it alters you,” She paused for a moment. “Have you decided, Rebecca?”

Rebecca sighed. “There is so much to consider.” After several seconds of silence, she added, “It seems I have come a great distance, yet not arrived.”


 

TWopenHD-4-10“I’m gonna head down and camp maybe a third way toward those Arapaho tipis north of Cherry Creek. I probably know some of ‘em. I’ll head into their camp in the morning. Be back about midday and you can tell me what the plans are.”

Reuben nodded and turned to go.

“One more thing, son.”

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