We’re in Day Three of the FanstRAvaganza 3 in THE FANFIC tagteam chain! If you missed
Day Two, check out the posts at
The first episode had The Captain telling Jenna the secret that can never be revealed to the ArmyI believe I left Ya'll hangin' so here's part two of
SURRENDER MY HEART
Uncle Seamus came running from the barn when the wagon and its entourage pulled up to a rather large ranch house. “Where is she?” He shouted as the captain hopped down from his horse. Captain Gainey nodded towards the covered wagon. Seamus went around to the back to help her out but she had already climbed down on her own. “Well I’ll be! Look at you, all grown up!” He wrapped his arms around Jenna and lifted her off the ground spinning her around until she was dizzy.
“You look well, Uncle.” She smiled as he set her back down on the solid ground.
“I’m as good as an old man can be I suppose. How was the trip?”
“Very long, Uncle, but the Captain here made it a bit more bearable.” She explained as Captain Gainey approached them.
“I hoped he would.” Seamus shook the Captain’s hand. “I thank you Declan, for helpin’ out.”
“My pleasure,” he glanced at Jenna. “She is a very intriguing woman.”
Jenna looked down at the ground to hide the blushing appearance on her face. Her cheeks were red from the cold but she was taking no chances on being seen as girlish.
“Declan,” Uncle Seamus gave a suspicious grin. “Why don’t you let your men and the horses have a rest for a while and you come join us inside for a drink?”
“Don’t be daft, an hour isn’t going to hurt, I insist.” Seamus stepped between Jenna and Captain Gainey grabbing each of them by the arm as he passed by and led them to the house. He had a way of being very convincing.
“Uncle,” Jenna said as the climbed the porch steps. “The Captain has important business to attend to we shouldn’t detain him.”
“Nonsense,” Seamus replied, opening the door. “One of the boys will get your things, Darlin’ and put them up in your room. Rose has had a pot of stew waitin’ all day.”
“Who’s Rose?” Jenna asked as she removed her bonnet. Her deep auburn hair was piled high up on her head in a bun. This was the first time he had seen Jenna with her head uncovered and the Captain found himself utterly mesmerized by the sight of it.
“My wife, Darlin’,” he smiled and called out. “Rose! We’ve got some starvin’ people out here.”
“When did you get married?” Jenna was surprised. “Why didn’t you write and tell us?”
Before the conversation could go any further an Indian woman dressed in an ordinary blue skirt, white blouse and an apron entered the room. She somewhat middle aged but still very beautiful. Her long black hair was set in braids that reached down to hips. Her eyes were dark with long lashes and her skin was not as tan as Jenna would have expected. “This is White Rose,” Seamus put his arm around her as introduced her.
“Welcome, I’m very pleased to meet you at last. Your uncle has been so excited about your arrival. He’s been driving me crazy.” Rose greeted her. Jenna was amazed at how well the woman spoke English.
“It’s nice to meet you as well. I only wish my Uncle had told me about you before now. I feel a bit awkward. I didn’t know I had an aunt.”
“I told him to write when we married, three years ago, but he is one to put things off.” Rose turned to Captain Gainey, “It’s good to see you again, Captain.”
“Likewise ma’am,” The Captain nodded, “How have you been?”
“Oh I’m fine.” She took him by the arm, “Come on into the kitchen and have something to eat. I’ve already sent some good and hot out to your men. And just for the special occasion, I made pie.”
“Pie?” The Captain raised his eyebrows.
“You always were my favorite girl, Miss Rose.” The Captain grinned and followed her into the next room.
“Shall we?” Uncle Seamus hand out his arm to Jenna.
“Well, I am a bit hungry.” She confessed and took his arm.
After they all finished off their dinner of buffalo stew, biscuits, and the blueberry pie Seamus leaned back in his chair. “Rose darlin’, that is by far the best stew in the territory.”
“I had never tasted buffalo before, it is very good, thank you Rose.”
“It was delicious, Miss Rose, thank you and thank you for feeding my men.” Captain Gainey wiped his mouth with the napkin. “But if you will excuse me, the men and I really must be getting on.” He pushed his chair away from the table and stood up.
“You travel safe, Declan, keep an eye out for renegades and bandits.” Seamus said, lighting his pipe. “Red Cloud has been pretty stirred up about the army coming through this way.”
“You just be careful.” White Rose kissed his cheek and returned to cleaning up the dishes.
“Red Cloud and I have an understanding. He won’t give me trouble.” The Captain reached out for the knob on the backdoor.
“That understanding won’t last forever, son, sooner or later you’ll have to choose whose side you’re on.”
“Let’s hope it won’t come to that.” The Captain opened the door to leave.
“I’ll walk you out.” Jenna jumped up and followed behind him. “What did he mean by that? That you’ll have to choose sides?”
“I have blood ties on either side, remember Miss Kennedy?” he reminded her as tied his horse from the fence post.
“Please call me Jenna, I think we’ve known each other quite long enough to do away with formality.” She lightly took hold of his arm. “I thought you already chose your loyalties? To the Army.”
“I have given my entire life to serving the Army, it’s all I know, but if this upcoming council doesn’t bear any fruit then I will be forced to fight and my people are on both sides. I’ve seen what a difference of opinion can do, in the recent war. I’ve seen brother go against brother in the worst ways, and it is not a choice I want to make.” He explained as he climbed up into the saddle.
“But you made a choice then.”
“This is not the same.”
“Then don’t choose any side,” she replied.
“Out here Miss Kennedy life is not that simple,” he said then rode over to where the men had gathered on the other side of the barn.
Jenna stood and watched as he commanded them to mount up so they could be on their way. Two men got up and started to hitch the packhorse back up to the wagon while the others packed up their gear. A twinge rushed through her chest and down to her stomach. She had just spent more than a week in this man’s company and she suddenly realized that the thought of him going away made her feel empty and lost. She missed him already, the sound of his voice, how his blue eyes twinkled when he smiled at her and the way he would fumble with his hat or gloves when he didn’t quite know how to say something or answer her question.
With his men and the wagon back on the road and heading west Captain stopped to say a final goodbye to Jenna. “It was nice meeting you, Jennalyn Kennedy. I hope you like it here.”
“You’ll be stopping by on your way back won’t you?” She glanced up at him.
“I can’t say, but it might be possible.”
“Please try,” she lifted her hand to her eyes to block out the sunlight. “I have really enjoyed your company and would look forward to seeing you again.”
“And I you,” he smiled and tipped his hat. “Give your uncle my regards.” He rode off to catch up with the wagon. Jenna watched them until they were completely out of sight. She was just about to go back inside when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
“He’s a catch worth keeping.” Rose’s voice whispered from behind. Jenna turned to look at her but gave no reply. She just pulled her shawl tighter around her and went back inside.
The soldier that had been sent to scout ahead of the company returned with unwished for news. “Captain, there’s a party of hostiles about a mile up the road.”
“Hostles?” Captain Gainey glared at him. “Are they attacking anyone?”
“No, sir, they’re just waiting up on the ridge.”
“Then they’re not hostiles, they’re Natives and they’re waiting for us.” The Captain ordered the sergeant and four men to stay with the wagon and took the rest of the men with him to meet with the Indians. “Keep the wagon on the road and moving. Do not fire on any approaching Natives.”
“But Captain what if they attack?”
“If you don’t shoot at them they won’t shoot at you,” he said firmly and rode off with the other men. About a mile down the road he saw a band the riders sitting up on the ridge above the trail. “Looks like Red Cloud, stand fast, I’ll talk o them.”
“Captain you can’t go alone,” A corporal spoke up, “regulations.”
“I gave you an order, corporal. I have it under control.” Captain Gainey commanded and rode out to meet the Indians.
“Declan,” the chief said as they approached each other.
“”Red Cloud,” The Captain nodded.
“You are back from your Washington. What do they say?”
“You’ll have to come to the council meeting and hear them out.” Captain Gainey explained. “and make them hear you.”
“It is said that they will build more forts along the road, Miners say General Carrington is already preparing men and supplies.”
“I cannot attest to that, I’ve heard nothing.” The Captain said hope his deceit coud not be heard in his tone.
“Declan Blue Coat has never lied to his people,” Red Cloud began to say and Captain Gainey interjected.
“And he’s not going to start now. But the Wasicun are my people too. Both bloods run through me and I must protect them as well.” The Captain told him.
“I understand but one day you must choose,” Red Cloud’s horse, anticipating the end of the meeting began to fuss, “and that choice will be your end.” Red Cloud spun his horse around and rode off, his warriors following. Captain Gainey returned to the road.
“What happened, Captain?” The corporal asked as his commander approached.
Declan Blue Coat is what the tribal elders called him. Red Cloud knew of Declan’s blood ties to the People and at first the leaders of the Lakota, Arapaho and Cheyenne were leery of this half-breed man who placed his allegiance with the blue coats rather than his native roots. But over the three years he had been assigned to the territories the Indians, especially Red Cloud, had come to trust his concern for their rights and welfare. He had never lied to Red Cloud before and was sure that the chief knew that Declan had not told him truth about General Carrington. But he was under orders, direct orders from the White House, to keep silent and not give the chiefs any advance information. The Captain feared what would inevitably ensue when Red Cloud finds out that the rumors are true. His heart was heavy because the chiefs would see him as a traitor to the People, something he tried to avoid since the first day he encountered them.
Late Spring 1866
All the chiefs of the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes came to the council meeting at Fort Laramie, Red cloud and Crazy Horse being the most prominent in attendance. The Government officials bargained for protected right-of-way for emigrant settlers through the Powder River country, and also to establish small military posts to protect the road. They also offered food relief to alleviate the meat shortage that would ensue by the destruction of valuable hunting grounds. Red Cloud was unsettled from the very start but as the council went on, word came to him that Colonel Henry B. Carrington and the 18th Calvary were arriving at Laramie with the two battalions of the regiment and construction supplies with orders to establish forts in the Powder River country using the 2nd Battalion of the 18th Infantry and Captain Gainey was the one who delivered those orders. Red Cloud became outraged. The Army had already begun the construction process before they had permission from the Tribal Leaders. He argued that U.S. Peace Commission bargained in bad faith by keeping secret the plan to build many huge forts, not just a few small lookout posts, along the road and for bringing in troops before the Lakota had agreed to a military road through the area. Without signing the treaty, Red Cloud and his warriors left the council in protest vowing full scale resistance. “Any white man who dares to ride through the Powder River territory will never see another sunrise.” He gave Captain Gainey a brief but fierce stare before he stormed out. “Wasicu Ohunko,” he mumbled under his breath. Lying white man, the words permeated the Captain’s soul, he had essentially been branded a traitor to the People.
“Surely, they can’t blame you for doing your duty? All you did was deliver some papers,” Jenna said. She and the Captain were sitting on the veranda. He had come to collect the herd of horses that the Army had bought from her uncle, and to see how she was doing. Seamus, a couple of his ranch hands, and the five soldiers who came with the Captain, were busy marking the horses with the Calvary’s brand in the corral behind the barn.
“Red Cloud and Crazy Horse and all the others don’t see it that way. In their eyes I was one of them and I’ve deceived my own people. I lied to them, that’s all that matters.”
“But you’re part white too, more so than Indian.” She set down her cup and sighed, “I’ve been here for almost three months and have seen nothing horrid about these people. It’s just an act of bullying, just like in Ireland. This land has belonged to them since the beginning of time. No one has the right to take it from them. The settlers should be respectful, as if they were visiting a white man’s home. One shouldn’t march in and toss your neighbor in the street just because you want what they have. Which is exactly what the English did to the Irish and President Johnson is doing to the poor Indians who are simply trying to protect their home. If I was forced to take a side, it would be theirs.”
“It’s much simpler for you Miss Kennedy. You don’t have a bond with either side. You are free to choose without the weight of disloyalty to one party or the other on your shoulders.” He placed his cup on the table and rose to his feet. “I had better go see how the branding is going.”
Jenna sprung to her feet. She picked up his hat from the empty chair beside her and handed it to him. “It is good to see you again,” he said softly, staring into her eyes.
Jenna instinctively lifted her hand up to his face and lightly touched his cheek. “I wish I could help you.” The Captain brought her hand to his lips and kissed her fingers. “You already have,” he smiled and put the hat on his head and went off towards the corral.
Jenna desperately wanted to run after him and wrap her arms tightly around him but propriety and her vow to never love a soldier tugged at her conscious and so she stood a watched as he disappeared behind the barn.
“Red Cloud’s trouble will spread and he will be gone off to fight.” Rose said as Jenna came into the kitchen.
“What?” Jenna wasn’t really listening.
“I said the Captain will be sent off to fight Red Cloud soon.”
“Do you really think he’ll go?”
“He has no choice. He lives in the Wasicu world and he must be as they are, no matter how much his Cherokee heart calls out to him.” White Rose explained. “You will understand his heart someday and that will be the day you accept him into yours. He won’t wait forever.”
“No, it won’t and he can stop waiting. I will never love a soldier. I watched as the pain of grief killed my mother and other women I knew. I won’t let it happen to me.” Jenna exclaimed as she began to vigorously peel a bowl of potatoes that had been set on the table.
“Your lips make strong talk but your eyes tell the truth. You already love him.” Rose patted Jenna’s shoulder then kissed her cheek. “I’m going to collect the eggs.”
As Rose slipped out Jenna sighed deeply. “I am not in love with him, I am not in love with him,” she repeated several times to herself.
Jenna’s mind was so preoccupied that she didn’t pay much attention to what she was doing, and when her uncle let the door slam behind him she realized that she had peeled enough potatoes to feed the ranch hands and the horses.
“You planning on a having the whole territory for dinner are you, darlin’?”
“I-I just wanted to make sure everyone had full bellies,” she stammered nervously.
“That they will and then some,” Seamus laughed.
“Are you finished branding the horses?” she asked trying to sound disinterested in whether the Captain was still around.
“All done,” he answered. “Declan and his men are just about ready to leave. I just came in to see if you were going to say good-bye.”
“No, I have to tend to dinner and we already said our farewells earlier.”
“Well, I’ll give him your regards, though I think he was very interested in saying good-bye to you.”
Her heart skipped a beat and she fought to hold in a gasp of excitement. “Well, tell him I’m sorry but I really have so much to do.”
“As you wish darlin’,” Seamus grinned and disappeared out the door.
She barely noticed the shouts of the hands that were going along to man the herd, once she heard Declan’s deep voice calling out commands. A twinge of fear made her shiver and a tear fell from her eye when she heard the horses being corralled off down the road. She dropped the knife and ran to the door, heading down the rode amidst the dust and the sound of thunder from the hooves of twenty horses was his wide-brimmed Calvary Officer’s hat moving further and further away. The tears flowed freely now. She missed him.
Red Cloud stayed true to his word and by mid-summer was organizing raiding parties along the Bozemen trail. Though the attacks at this point were small scale, only on settlers and miners, tensions were building. Small companies were sent to scout for renegade camps. Many returned with only two or three survivors and most never returned at all.
When word reached Seamus O’Reilly’s ranch that Captain Gainey’s company was three weeks late in returning to Fort Laramie Jenna became worried. She couldn’t eat or sleep. She moved around in a daze most of the time. She would sit on the veranda every night and stare out onto the road, watching, hoping he that would come riding up and say everything was just fine. Seamus and Rose were becoming concerned about her. Some nights she would go walking down the road and return just before dawn.
Then one night as Rose sat with her looking up at the stars they heard a noise coming from near the barn “It’s probably just an animal wandering around,” Rose said. “Like a skunk or a raccoon.” But a few moments later they heard it again only it was louder. “It sounds like someone’s walking from the barn.” Rose concluded and lit a lantern. “One of the boys are probably drunk again and can’t find his way back to the bunkhouse.”
She held it up in front of her and stepped down from the porch. A few yards out she could see someone crawling along the ground. She stood still just a second to focus her eyes. “Jenna! She shouted, “Get your uncle!”
“Must be Buford, Uncle Seamus is the only one who can get his drunken…” Jenna said jokingly until she saw who it was. She froze instantly, “No! Oh dear God! Declan!” she cried out, dropping to her knees she took his head and lifted it onto her lap. “He’s alive.”
“Just barely,” Seamus said after he got a good look at him. “Help me, Rose. We have to get him inside.” They carried Declan into the house and lifted him up on to the kitchen table. Jenna quickly lit all three lanterns in the room. “He’s lost a lot of blood, darlin’. He’s been shot twice one in the shoulder one in the leg both went clear through and here’s the tip of an arrow in his side.” He explained as he tore open the Captain’s blood soaked shirt. “Fetch a bottle of whiskey, darlin’,” he told Jenna, who immediately disappeared into the next room. “Rosie, we have to get this arrow head out. Get my bag from the barn.” Seamus had doctored enough of these kind of injuries, on both horses and men, to know things did not look good at all.
When Jenna came back with the whiskey he was building a fire in the stove to heat water and heat up the room. “Is he going to be alright?” she found herself whining like a child in order to hold in the fear, but her aunt and uncle could see it clearly in her face.
“I won’t be lyin’ to you darling’,” he drew her close and wrapped his arms around her. “He lost a lot of blood already and if he survives my digging out that arrow head there’s still a chance of bad infection. There’s no telling how long he’s traveled to get here. I do everything I can.”
“Thank you,” she sniffled.
Jenna sat in the corner of the kitchen while Rose and Seamus dug the arrow out of her soldier’s side. Rose sewed the wound up after Seamus finished then pour some of the whiskey on it and bandaged it up. Seamus washed the blood from his hands and the arrowhead. He handed it to Jenna, “It was pretty deep, I can’t make any promises but I’ll think he’ll survive.” Jenna handed the arrow back to him. “Funny thing about this is that I have never seen a tip like this before, it’s not Lakota or Cheyenne. It makes you wonder just who it was that attacked him.”
“He can tell us when he wakes up, in the meantime both of you get out of here and let him rest. I’ll watch over him.” Rose said and rubbed Jenna’s shoulders. “You best get some rest yourself. I’ll wake you when he wakes.”
“I’ll try but I doubt that I’ll be able to sleep.” Jenna replied.
As she predicted Jenna could not close her eyes without see Declan lying in the ground bleeding. Throwing her shawl over her shoulders she went out for a walk. The night sky was clear and the stars were as bright as she remembered them being in Ireland as a child. She searched for the largest star she could find and prayed. “Don’t take him, Lord. Surely you can spare one soul tonight. I can't bear to lose him before I can tell him how much I love him. Please, don’t take him from me. ”
For more of THE FANFIC TEAM in FanstRA 3, see my partner’s post at http://mrjthornton.blogspot.com/
Yesterday’s posts are at http://flyhigh-by-learnonline.blogspot.com/ and http://cswinchester.blogspot/
Tomorrow, THE FANFIC tagteam continues at http://flyhigh-by-learnonline.blogspot.com/ and http://memythoughtsandwhoknows.wordpress.com/
All F3 links can be found here.
Hope ya'll's popcorn didn't get soggy!