Saturday, March 17, 2012

King Richard's Greatest Sin

Wow this is the last day!! it's over!  what ever shall I do now!
okay I'll put Scarlet O'Hara to sleep and get on with the goodies

We’re in Day Seven of the FanstRAvaganza 3  and I have switched from fanfic to Richard III  tagteam chain! If you missed  yesterday's post go back and check out
Or as in my case go back and start at the beginning as my rehearsal schedule and writing kept me from reading everything.

We will more than likely never know who was responsible for the princes in the tower butI have my theories.
Maybe it wasn't Richard's sin at all.

Richard Armitage’s fan base is wide and growing wider still but not just for his looks, We the hardcore RA Lovers know the deeper side of the man and he continues to provide glimpses into his mind and soul. That is what makes him so great.

When I was asked about contributing to FanstRAvaganza I wasn’t sure what I would come up with. After some thought I asked an acquaintance who had actually had the pleasure of working with Richard Armitage if she would talk about the experience but she wasn’t sure if she was free (legally) to do that and being in the midst of more than several projects I did not have the time to go looking into getting the permissions, I therefore went with my plan B.
Okay so I really didn't have a plan B but it sounded good.

All of us RA fandom know how deeply committed Richard is in the redemption of King Richard III’s reputation. The root of this image of a hideous, deformed and malicious King Richard clearly came about due to the immediate need for Henry Tudor (Henry VII) to secure his place on the throne. When I had received the invitation to provide a post for this event I had just recently watched on DVD an old series from 1972 called The Shadow of the Tower: Rise of the Tudor Dynasty, on the 4th disc, aside from the show itself, were a couple of special features one of which was a very interesting look into the details/mystery of the battle of Bosworth and the story of how Henry Tudor triumphed over Richard. Which prompted me to look deeper and over time will go deeper still.

Tudor propaganda indeed! Assuming that the show at least kept part of the script true to history, King Henry had quite a bit more than just a little motive to make Richard, or The Usurper as they called him, appear to be a great monster. Reason number one being that Richard’s claim to the throne was a lot more legitimate than his.

And what of the princes in the tower, Richard’s greatest sin? In the show this tragedy is mentioned several times however I got the feeling that if those boys had been alive when Richard died and Henry seized the crown, they would not have been around too much longer under Henry VII. I very much believe they would have been part of the same or a similar plan woven by Henry to rid himself of the Earl of Warwick, who was also a contender for the throne though the boys would have come first.

The Earl was taken to the tower as a child. Under pressure from the French (in regards to Catherine marrying Arthur) Henry was urged to destroy all possible threats to the throne. By this time the Earl was an adult so to avoid repercussion for killing an heir to the throne the King then arranged an elaborate escape plan so the Earl could then be caught and charged for treason. As escaping the King’s prison was treason. The boys would have died in the tower either way.

Under Richard’s rule, as shocking as it may have been, they were dealt with quickly. If they had made it to Henry’s rule they would have been prisoners for years with no hope of being freed. There of course is another prospect for the demise of the two princes that would render Glouster totally innocent of the crime. One that a couple of those professors on the DVD brought up. The idea that it was Henry, or at least one of his supporters, who saw to it that there was no one with a stronger, more immediate, claim to the throne once Richard was dead. The oldest of the boys would instantly be proclaimed king if Richard died and Henry would never see the crown on his head. Of course he would have to be rid of both boys as the younger could step up if the elder met with misfortune. With them out of the way there would be nothing to stop the Tudors from gaining the throne, even though the Earl, also a child of 9 or10 at the time, was in line behind the princes his claim would not have been as readily substantiated as the princes’.

Researching into Richard of Glouster’s past to find out who he real was has been very interesting, and can easily turn into an obsession,(kinda like RA himself.)but one also should look forward a few years after his death. Looking into the man, and his court, that usurped the usurper gives even more insight into Richard the man. Many of the things the first Tudor accomplished were built on the foundations that Richard’s reign provided. The more I discover about this supposedly monstrous king the more excited I get about some day, soon I hope, seeing our dear Richard Armitage bring this man to life. In the same manor those cute little Russian dolls Richard Armitage has a multitude of personalities stack up with himself and one of those, peeking playfully out through those big blue eyes, is a Richard of Glouster.

I recommend getting your hands on the series The Shadow of the Tower: Rise of the Tudor Dynasty,(found it on Netflix). Though it’s a little dated, listening to these Professor’s discuss this subject was absolutely fascinating. I only wish the extras had been longer I could have watched all day. Other books to read are “The White Queen” and “The Red Queen” both by Phillipa Gregory as well as “Sunne in Splendour” by Sharon Kay Penmen, which I know many of you have already read, and the Rose of York Series by Sandra Worth.

all this brings another question - Why didn't shakespeare write about Henry VII?
He skipped him - how come?

Thank you to all who wrote, read, posted, and pasted, ect. thanks to those who read my fanfic- Surrender My Heart- if you haven't yet drop back in another time cuz there are really cool pics of RA in the wild west..

Hope ya'll had a great time with FanstRAvaganza 3-
 but I am in a Shakespeare play that opens next week so busy busy I must be TTFN (TaTa for now)- as Tigger would say!!!!until next year  bye-bye

some really good reasons to be Irish!!!!!!

It's good to be Irish 

Enough said me darlin'


Friday, March 16, 2012

Surrender My Heart- part 3

  Almost over already! I feel a let down on the rise.
We’re in Day SIX of the FanstRAvaganza 3 in THE FANFIC tagteam chain! If you missed
Day Five , check out the posts at
Also in Day SIX my partner’s post

Okay ladies left ya hanging again- wow I could get really used to this soap opera writing- okay not funny-Declan's in big trouble but he has more a-comin' and there's a little surprise close to the end.
speaking of the end - as promised it was left for you to create- so read on and I'll give more details about the options on the flip side!!!!
Ya'll got your popcorn, ice cold drink and hanky right?
btw- please excuse typos I'm really tired.


As the sun rose over the horizon Jenna, who had spent the entire night sitting on the veranda, was awakened by the gentle touch of a hand on her cheek. “He’s made through the night.” Rose said as Jenna opened her eyes. “We’ve moved him into one of the bedrooms. He drifts in and out of consciousness but you can go see him.”

“Thank you,’ Jenna replied and darted into the house and up the stairs. She knocked lightly on the door then opened it, poking her head in first before going all the way in. The Captain was lying quietly beneath a faded patchwork quit. She tiptoed across the room and sat beside the bed and put her hand on his. He slowly opened his eyes. “Lie still,” she told him, “You’re badly hurt. You’ve been shot and Uncle Seamus pulled the arrow head from your side.” She struggled to keep the tears from falling. She did not want him to see her cry. “He said he had never seen an arrowhead like it before.”

Declan took a labored breath. “Not Indians,” he said then drifted into unconsciousness once more.

Jenna sat with both her hands clamped tightly around his. She wondered what he meant, not Indians? Who then, if they weren’t Natives? He was sweating heavily, a sign that his body was fighting an infection. She wiped his face with a cold wet cloth. “I’m very thankful you survived,” she whispered as she caressed his cheek. “Sleep now, you can tell us what happened later,” she leaned over him and kissed him ever so gently on his lips. Rose had mixed an herbal poultice to ward off infection and put it on the wounds which were now cleaned and bandaged. There was nothing more anyone could do but keep the patient comfortable. Rest and time were all that he needed now.

The two women went on with daily chores as normal, collecting the eggs from the henhouse, cleaning, dusting, washing, all had to be done as well as cooking for ten hungry ranch hands. Every so often one of them would go up and check on the Captain. Around noon the fever began to drop, much to Jenna’s delight.

Since arriving in Montana, Jenna had taken on the habit of going riding every afternoon. Today, though she was apprehensive about leaving the Captain, but had decided to put the activity to good use and try to follow the blood trail he left behind. Much to her disappointment once she reached the edge of her uncle’s land, where the tall prairie grass grew, it became difficult to tell where the trail was.

By evening the Captain was fully conscious and though the pain was excruciating he insisted on sitting up in the chair. “I have to get back on my feet as soon as I can. I have something I have to do,” he told Seamus in an agitated tone.

“What would that somethin’ be?” Seamus gave him suspicious glance as he poured a glass of whiskey for each of them. “It wouldn’t have somethin’ to do with that arrow I pulled out of you, would it?” Declan swallowed down the drink then just stared out the window. “Never seen one like that before, it definitely was not Lakota or Cheyenne. What’s happening out there?”

“I had almost convinced Red Cloud to stop the raids and voice his protests to the council without bloodshed.”

“Then what happened? I know Red Cloud well enough, if he wanted revenge on you he might’ve attacked your men but he would have kept you alive so you would have to live with the images of the dead in your memory. From the looks of the wounds I doctored somebody wanted to be sure you were dead. I’m surprised you made it back here at all.”

“So am I.”

“This wasn’t Red Cloud.” Seamus said more as a statement than a question.

“No. They were dressed like Lakota but they weren’t riding Indian horses.”

“Red Cloud keeps the horses of his dead enemies. Every one knows that.”

“But his warriors would never ride out without their own horses they rely on the animal’s spirit for strength.”

“So there’s a band of white men out there posing as Indians?”

“Not just Wasicun, but blue coats.” Declan sighed. “This band all had Calvary mounts. Every single one of them.”

“But why?” Seamus poured Declan another glass of whiskey.

“That’s what I intend to find out. I have a theory as to who is behind this. I need you to do two things for me.”


“Get word to Red Cloud, I need to speak with him.”

“And two?” Seamus swallowed his drink.

“Spread the word that I’m dead. Make sure it gets to every post.”

“If that’s what you want.” Seamus closed up the whiskey bottle and handed it to Declan.

“Ask Jenna to come up here, would you?” The Captain said as Seamus opened the door. “I have to tell her something.”

Seamus gave him a sideways glance then grinned. “If this is what I think it is, its been a long time coming, lad, should’ve asked her that weeks ago.”

“I know.” Declan nodded in agreement.


Red Cloud came to the ranch to see Declan several times over the next two months while the Captain recovered. What they discussed Jenna had no idea but she was sure it was something dangerous. Red Cloud’s warriors seized the petty raids on the settlers, but other Lakota tribes as well as the Cheyenne and Arapaho continued their violent protesting. The chief did not, however, stop the raids on the Army posts. Once he felt stronger Declan started to go along with Red Cloud and his warriors. He had even started dressing like them. “So you’ve made you choice?” she asked him one day as Red Cloud rode away.

“Yes,” he put his arm around her. “I know where I belong.”

“Does that make me a renegade too?” she leaned her head against his shoulder.

“Only if you want it to,” he answered. “Does this mean you’re changing sides now?”


“A Finnian heart and a Lakota’s strength.” Declan pressed his lips against the top of her head. “That’s strong medicine.”

Seamus, Declan, Red Cloud his chiefs would gather in the kitchen, till the wee hours of the morning, pouring over stolen or intercepted telegraph messages, maps, news papers and any other form of information they could get their hands on as they planned out various raids on the building sites of the new forts.

There were two problems the Army faced at this point. Though Carrington had command of two battalions chocked full of experienced fighting men, retainees from the Civil War, he himself had no combat experience. The other problem was that the men had never fought the Indians before and in light of that thought the Natives would be easily subdued. It didn’t take Carrington long before he realized the true strength of the People and came to respect the fighting capacity of his foes, their better knowledge of the terrain, and most importantly, their vastly superior numbers. Still, Colonel Carrington was determined to build the proposed forts inspite of Indian interference. Red Cloud and his warriors along with the Cheyenne hit Carrington’s troops as hard and as often as they could and he offered little resistance.

Many of the officers at Fort Laramie, as well as some the men, criticized Carrington's apparent unwillingness to fight Indians. In November, Captains William Fetterman and James Powell were sent out from fort Laramie to deal with the uprisings. Fetterman had extensive combat experience during the Civil War, however, he too lacked experience fighting the Indians and suffered many set backs at the hands of Red Cloud, Crazy Horse and Declan Gainey.

In early December Red Cloud and Declan planned a raid on a wagon train near Lodge Trail Ridge. This train, which carried the wood that was to be used as winter fuel for Fort Phil Kearney, was to be guarded by the 2nd Calvary and 2nd Lt. Horace Bingham, the commander, was once a good friend of Declan’s. Jenna did not approve, in the beginning the raids seemed justifiable but she was beginning to think that Declan was getting in too deep. “What if someone sees you, just because you no long wear the uniform doesn’t mean they won’t recognize you. Carrington never met you, Lt. Bingham knows you, if he sees you…” Jenna paused and let out a worried sigh, “You’ve had too many close calls already.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. No one is going to recognize me.” He said softly as he kissed her cheek and quickly mounted his horse. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

Red Cloud sent a small decoy party to attack the train but had the rest of the warriors waiting in the hills. The plan was that that attack party would lead the soldiers into the hills where they would ambush them. Bingham had only 30 men with him, an easy target for Red Cloud and his warriors.

The plan worked, however Jenna’s much feared scenario came to pass and even though Declan dressed like a warrior and had let his hair grow longer, Bingham recognized him immediately when they came face to face. “Gainey! I thought you were dead!” they circled around each looking for the perfect moment to pounce on the other.

“Captain Gainey is dead.” Declan growled. “Fetterman’s masquerade party killed him.” Declan swung at him with his knife. Out of ammunition the Lieutenant dropped his pistol on the ground and pulled his own knife from his belt.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Bingham said.

“I’m sure you had nothing to do with Fettermen’s sending men dressed like Sioux warriors out to attack his own soldiers.”

“I swear, Gainey, on my honor, I had no idea!” Bingham shouted as Declan came at him. Declan tackled him and they struggled on the ground. Bingham managed to pin Declan under him. “You turned traitor, Dec, why?” Declan struggled to get free but Bingham had him clamped down tight. “If you had come in you could have brought him up on charges.”

“I didn’t turn traitor he did. He turned on both sides. He talked peace at the council then set them up to die. I tried to be loyal to the Calvary but not when they do this. I will never again betray my people.”

“What do mean your people?” Bingham let down his guard for one second and Declan immediately overtook him, restraining him in a chock hold.

“I’m a half-breed, Cherokee. Did you never wonder how I could influence them when no one else could? You know I can’t risk being discovered, my friend, not yet. And I can’t let you lie for me, I’m sorry,” with those words Declan slit his friend’s throat and let out a loud war cry.

The entire company had been slaughtered, thirty men in all. Only two of the warriors were lost. Red Cloud’s men tried collect scalps but Declan refused to let the men be desecrated. “We’ve left enough of a message,” he told Red Cloud then headed back across the prairie to the ranch.

Jenna dropped the laundry basket full of wet bed sheets on the ground and ran up the road the second she saw Declan coming across the field. Declan leapt from his horse and lifted her in his arms. “You’re safe!” she said excitedly as she squeezed him with all his strength.

“You didn’t miss me did you?” he smiled and kissed her lips.

“I was so worried.”

“Well, I’m fine,” replied with slight apprehension.

“Is something wrong?

He glanced up at the sky and tightly clenched his jaw. “I had to kill a friend.” He shut his eyes and breathed deeply.

“Lt. Bingham?”

“Yeah,” he said as he removed the bridle for the horse.

“I’m sorry.” Jenna’s instinct was to comfort him with a hug but that was not his way, so she decided it would be best to leave him to his grief and went back to her chores.

A few days later a Sergeant Wilson and three other men showed up with orders for more horses to replace the ones lost in the raids. In addition, they brought a mandate that said anyone discovered assisting Red Cloud, Crazy Horse or any other renegade would be arrested and charged with treason. Declan stayed hidden while the soldiers were around but unfortunately his horse, which carried a Lakota mark on its hind quarter was noticed almost immediately. “Search everywhere,” the sergeant told the men.

“Look, Sergeant, I told you we found him wandering around the barn.” Seamus explained once more. “It was probably a lone ride that got himself killed or something. There are no renegades here.”

“Well, O’Reilly were just gonna take a look anyway.” Wilson stared him down.

Rose was watching from an upstairs window and rushed to Declan’s room. “There’s soldiers outside.” she said when Jenna stopped her at the top of the staircase. The two of them burst into his room. “Soldiers!” Jenna said in a panic.

He looked out his window. “I don’t know any of them,” he said as he watched them going from the barn to the bunkhouse. “Get my uniform.”

“Why? You’re not going out there are you?”

“You want them snooping around the house and find all the intelligence we have?” he said as he threw on his coat.

“Well, no, but what if the recognize your name?” Jenna pleaded.

“I‘ll use a different one.” He grabbed his hat and started for the door. Jenna stopped him.

“Please don’t do this, if it doesn’t work…” Declan cut her off.

“If it doesn’t work I’ll be arrested,”

“And charged with desertion!” she added.

“They have to prove it first.” He held her close and kissed the top of her head. “I love you.”

Declan stormed though the front door with the arrogance of an officer and walked straight up to the Sergeant, who saluted when he saw him coming. Declan returned the gesture. “What is this all about? Why are you tearing through this man’s private property?”

“Sir, we were charged with buying six horses from this man but we found a horse in the corral with an Indian brand painted in it. He claims it was found wandering around the barn but we have orders to arrest anyone who harbors any of the renegades.”

“Does it look like there are any Indians here, Sergeant?”

“No Sir.”

“Well the man’s story just happens to be true because I’m the one who found it early this morning. Now that you know I’m here and not any renegade natives you can stop searching.”

“If you’ll excuse me Sir, but just who are you?”

“Lt. James O’Reilly, 1st Calvary. I’m visiting with my cousin Seamus here. What’s your name?” Declan turned the tables on him.

“Sergeant Roy Wilson, Sir, 18th Calvary.”

“Well, Sergeant Wilson, you had best get your horses and get back to your post. Traveling along the trail these days isn’t very safe.”

“Yes Sir.”

“Seamus here is always happy to do business with Colonel Carrington.” Declan smile.

“Yea, happy to oblige the U.S. Calvary,” Seamus chuckled nervously, “Especially at these prices.”

The soldiers went on with their business. They inspected the herd and chose the six they wanted, the hands quickly branded them then Sergeant Wilson and his crew were on their way back to Fort Laramie.

Sometime in the night Sergeant Wilson woke suddenly from his sleep with the realization that if there was a Calvary officer visiting the ranch there should have been a horse in the corral wearing with the Calvary brand on it and did not see one. “Damn fool!” he scolded himself. “Why didn’t you notice that before?” He woke the Corporal. “Get the men up and get these animals on the move.”

“Now Sergeant? It’s the middle of the night…” The Corporal started to complain but Wilson cut him off. “Now! Corporal! That’s an order.”

Sergeant Wilson walked over to one of the other men and kicked him in order to wake him. “Pack it up, soldier. You’re coming with me.”

The soldier looked up groggily, “Where we going Sarge?”

“Back to that ranch.”

The boys were just beginning to trickle into the house for breakfast after doing the early morning chores. Rose and Jenna were dishing out grits and cornbread when Seamus and Declan came down. They had slept in because one of the newer horses had tried to jump the fence during the night and broke its leg. Seamus had no choice but to shoot it, then he and Declan drug it out onto the prairie and buried it. As they all congregated in the kitchen as they did every morning someone called out from outside. Rose peeked through the window. “It’s that sergeant, he’s come back.”

“What in the hell does he want now?” Seamus mumbled as he went out to meet him. “What can I do for you today Sergeant Wilson?” he said loudly as he stepped out on to the porch. “Did one of the horses have a problem?”

“No, Mr. O’Reilly, the horses are just fine. I want speak with the Lieutenant if you don’t mind.”

“He’s already left, packed up before dawn and headed back to his post.” Seamus didn’t know what else to say.

The Sergeant nodded to the other soldier and they both dismounted. “What post would that have been, O’Reilly?”

“Uh, Phil Kearney,” Seamus stuck his hands in his pocket, “I believe that’s what he said.”

“I see. I’ll tell you I may not know every soldier out here but my duties let me get around quite a bit and I know for a fact that no one from 1st Calvary has been assigned to Phil Kearney, they’re all at Fort Laramie. And if he were heading there I should have passed him on the trail on my way here. He was no Officer, Who is he?”

“Now hold on there, he most certainly is a Calvary Officer.” Seamus was trying to stall him so Declan could get away. “I’m just not sure what post he said he was going to. We were hitting whiskey last night and my memory’s not so steady this mornin’,”

“Maybe some hot coffee with help your memory.” The Sergeant start towards the house, “I’ll join you, I could really use some about now.”

Seamus couldn’t stall any longer.

“You have get out,” Jenna said to Declan when she saw that her uncle could not deter the soldier form coming inside.


“What!” she spewed, “Surely you’re not seriously goin’ to let him arrest you? They’ll charge you with desertion and treason? They hang you!”

“If I run, he’ll just take Seamus, and hold him until I surrender. I can’t let that happen.” Declan held her close. “Bingham was right, I should have gone back and charged Fettermen. But I’m not sorry for joining Red Cloud.” He explained just as the Sergeant entered behind Seamus.

“We meet again,” Wilson grinned. “I see you’ve change allegiance since yesterday.” The sergeant referred to the buckskin shirt Declan was wearing and the eagle feathers in his hair. “So, who are really?”

“Tashunke Ohitika.” Declan answered with the Sioux name Red Cloud had given him after their first raid, Brave Horse.

“Your real name, soldier,” the Sergeant ordered.

“Lieutenant Declan Gainey, U.S, 1st. Calvary.” Jenna spoke up as she knew Declan would not answer.

“Well Lieutenant Gainey, you seem to have gotten yourself into a heap of trouble,” Sergeant Wilson nodded toward his man, who tied Declan’s hands. “You are under arrest for conspiring with the enemy, desertion, murder and treason.”

“No!” Jenna gasped. She tried to reach out for Declan but Rose held her back. “Please let me say good-bye,” she begged the Sergeant with tears streaming down her cheeks. “Please?”

“Seeing as how he’s going hang I’ll give you one minute, ma’am,” Wilson smirked.

Jenna went to Declan and kissed him. “Why didn’t you just run?” she whispered as she cupped his cheek in her hand. “I once swore I would never love a soldier, but I never expected to find a man like you. I never dreamed I would surrender my heart so easily to such a brave warrior.”

Declan wiped the tears from her eyes and cradles her head in his hands. “I love you.” He kissed her again then put his hands against her stomach. “If it’s a girl her an Irish name, if it’s a boy give him a good strong Cherokee name.”

The Sergeant grabbed Declan by the arm and pulled him away. Seamus mumbled sarcastically under his breath but loud enough for the soldiers to hear, “A right soft heart there, that one.”

“You’re coming too, O’Reilly,” the sergeant looked at him. “for aiding and abetting a one of the renegades.”

“No,” Declan halted, “Let him go. You have who you’ve been looking for these past few months. Leave them all out of it.”

“And who, exactly do I have?”

“Red Cloud’s right hand,” Declan said firmly.


Declan was supposed to meet Red Cloud and Crazy Horse later that afternoon to make plans for a raid on another wagon train. Winter was in full swing by this time and the Army was running low on wood for fuel by now thanks to the last raid. Instead of Declan, Red Cloud was met by Jenna and Rose. The ladies explained what had happen that morning, Rose did most of the talking as Jenna had not learned enough of the Sioux language to hold a full conversation.

“We will bring him back.” Red Cloud told her. “You will go to our winter camp where we can protect you and your child.”

“But what about my uncle?” she asked, “He’s in trouble with the soldiers too. Someone has to look after him. I’ll stay here.”

“No, you go with us, you are a warrior’s wife, my people will keep you safe.”

The expression on Rose’s face told Jenna that there was no arguing with Red Cloud so she packed her things and went off with Rose and several warriors.

By noon the next day Red Cloud and his warriors had caught sight of Declan and the soldiers. Two soldiers, no matter how well armed are no match for twenty Sioux warriors. At the request of Brave Horse, they were allowed to return to Fort Laramie and warn Captain Fettermen that his days were numbered.

A week later another wagon train full of wood for fuel went out. With it went Captain Fettermen and 49 hand picked infantry men with orders from Colonel Carrington to maintain a defensive posture only. “Do not provoke an attack,” he was told. Following close behind was a second defense of twenty-seven calvarymen headed by Lieutenant Grummond with the same orders.

More than 1500 warriors lay in waiting, for the wagon to train to come by. Crazy Horse’s warriors circled around the entire line and Red Cloud and Brave Horse with their warriors blocked the road in both directions. They made no attempt to move, just a show of numbers, but Fettermen’s ego took control and against his orders, he instructed his men to attack. The smoke from the guns quickly created a small gray cloud above the wagons. But for the most part the Indians were out of range and they were just wasting their fire power. Two of Crazy Horse’s warriors shot flaming arrows into the wagons, including the one filled ammunition. The burning wood and the explosion from the ammunition filled the air with a smoke screen which concealed the renegades approach. Warriors rode down the hill screeching their war cries while the chiefs perched up on the hill watching. Brave Horse had only one target which he sought out with the deliberation of a wildcat hunting a rabbit. Amidst the smoke and cries for help from the soldiers he at last came face to face with William Fettermen.

At the sight of him Brave Horse’s need for justice turn in the deep seeded hunger for revenge that only the sight of this man’s scalp would satisfy. “It was bad enough that you tried to kill me,” he growled at Fettermen. “But you tried to make it look like the Sioux did it. You want a war that badly, I’ll give it to you,” he leapt at Fettermen. As he did the man’s pistol got off a shot. Brave Horse flew backwards to the ground. Fettermen stood over him ready to pull the trigger again when he lurked forward and then fell on top of Brave Horse. Quickly the soldier’s body was tossed aside and Brave Horse sat up to see Red Cloud standing over him. The chief gave him a hand up. Brave Horse, who had always expressed his dislike for the tradition of taking scalps took his first one, Fettermen’s.

In only a matter of minutes both companies, Fettermen’s infantry and Grummond’s calvarymen were wiped out.

“You have your justice?” Red Cloud asked.

“Not yet,” Brave Horse climbed up on his horse. “There’s something else I have to do. Look after them for me.”

“What do I tell her?” Red Cloud rode up beside him.

“If I’m not back by the next moon, I won’t be coming back.”

“I will come with you.” Red Cloud told him.

“No, I must do this alone.” He said and rode off towards Fort Laramie.

After two weeks of continuous pestering from Jenna, Red Cloud and a party of warriors rode out to Fort Laramie. Red Cloud said he wanted to talk peace. What he really wanted to do was find out what happened to Brave Horse. At the first meeting with Colonel Carrington he was told that the man he was looking for was in prison waiting to be court marshaled for treason. He was allowed to see him.

“How are they?” were the first words out of Declan lips.

“They are good.” Red Cloud told him. “We will help you escape.”

this is so my fav pic- he's just to die for
 “No.” Declan warned him, “It will just make things worse.”

“Do you want to see your wife and child?”

“Of course I do but this is not the way to peace.”

“This is the way of a warrior, I did not come to talk peace.” Red Cloud would not take no for an answer. “You will come with us.”

Okay fill in the the rest - Our hero can either continue to refuse to escape and face a court marshal with a happy ending or court marshal with a teary ending -they still did hang traitors and deserters back then.
or he can escape and join Red Cloud and Crazy Horse in continuing the war - and who knows what can happen then-or he and Jenna can do a Dances with Wolves and go off on thier own to hide in mountians until it's safe- which for a deserter means never- or pick a road of your own- but finish the story the way you like it then one day next week I'll post the ending I chose on my short story page

Have fun!


For more of THE FANFIC in FanstRA 3, see my partner’s post at

 Yesterday’s posts and

Tomorrow, THE HOBBIT tagteam continues at  and 

All F3 links can be found here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

FanstRAganza 3.5

Dyin' for that third piece of the pie?
We’re in Day five of the FanstRAvaganza 3 in THE FANFIC tagteam chain!
 And darn it!  I don't have a scheduled post  

If you missed Day four check out the posts at and

otherwise you'll have to wait until tomorow when I come back with the REAL goodies
in the meantime visit 

 TODAY for more stories revolving around  sexy Richard

All F3 links can be found here

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Surrender My Heart- part 2

We’re in Day Three of the FanstRAvaganza 3 in THE FANFIC tagteam chain! If you missed

Day Two, check out the posts at  
 Also in Day Two, see my partner’s post

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


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?”

“We really should be going, I have orders.” The Captain declined.

“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.

“Nothing,” Captain Gainey gave a worried glance up at the ridge. “Let’s get moving, they won’t bother us,” he told the men.

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  

Yesterday’s posts are at and http://cswinchester.blogspot/ 

Tomorrow, THE FANFIC tagteam continues at  and

All F3 links can be found here.

Hope ya'll's popcorn didn't get soggy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Not today

Came here looking for more didn't ya? Well today is not one of my post days SO---

For more of the FANFIC team in FanstRA 3,  You can go back where you came from in THE FANFIC CHAIN here  or
  or you can wait till tomorrow, when the chain will be continued

all F3 links can be found here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Surrender My Heart- part 1

We’re in Day Two of the FanstRAvaganza 3 in THE FANFIC tagteam chain! If you missed

Day One, check out the posts at
Also in Day Two, see my partner’s post at

Welcome to the PARTY-
 all this week, us diehard Armitage fans will be saluting - saluting?- who are we kidding? - we will all be hemming and hawing and drooling and dreaming about the most handsome, suave, talented man on the planet
All the party houses are linked together for optimal Armitage intoxication-
So grab something with ICE in it and come on into my room, put on the soft music and get ready to build a western in your head because this is the place where you will take the image of our handsome hero and insert it into the personna of handsome 'Captain Declan Gainey of the US CALVARY' as he is entangled in the history of  the Indian wars of the Montana Territory.
sort of a Dances with Wolves kinda thing- Gainey by the way is the name brought here to US from Ireland by my ancestors
 this story, originally written for another purposeand who's hero was inspired by you know who, will be posted in three parts,  on the 3rd post, in honor of all RA enthusiasts & St. Patty's Day  I will be leaving the story end open - those who wish, may add to it in the comment box -- you decide how it ends.

Surrender My Heart

Late February, 1866

Jennalyn Kennedy stood on the boarding platform nervously awaiting the early morning westbound train. She noticed that her hands began to shake as she reached for the small locket which hung around her neck. There was no mistaking the reality of her recent misfortune now. Her bags were packed and ticket bought, she had no choice now but to move forward. She flipped the gold trinket open to reveal the tiny clock hidden inside then sighed heavily then promptly clipped it shut. Five a.m. “The train should be coming by now,” she heard the words echo in her mind but she had not realized that she had also spoken them aloud.

“It’s always a bit late in the icy weather, Miss,” the old gray haired conductor clambered as he stepped up beside her, “and this morning is quite bitter.”

“Yes it is.” Jenna replied with a small shiver. Her old wool coat, which had once belonged to her mother, held great sentimental value and she swore never to let it go but it was worn thin and wasn’t very warm.

“We always have a few coats and shawls in the ticket office that have been left behind on the trains. Would you like the use of one, Miss?”

“Oh thank you sir,” she resounded with her soft Irish accent, “that would be wonderful.”

The man disappeared into the office and momentarily returned with a rather expensive looking wool shawl. “Here you go now,” he smile as he draped it over her shoulders, “This should be keeping you snug and warm.”

“Thank you again, sir,” Jenna nodded.

“You should have dressed warmer, Miss,” the old man smiled. “Philadelphia gets mighty cold too.”

“Oh I’m not staying in Philadelphia, I just have to switch trains there.”

“Well then, where are you going?”

“My final stop will be in Virginia City in the Montana Territory.”

“You must be a very brave young lady to head out into the wilderness alone.” The conductor said then turned his attention to the whistling sound and the lights coming down the tracks. “The train has arrived,” he announced, “well good luck to you Miss.”

“Thank you.”

The wilderness of Montana. The thought made her shiver even harder than the cold. This is not the first time her life had been uprooted because of financial difficulties, but it was the first time she would be on her own, a young woman alone in the world, at least until she reached her destination. She, her parents and her grandfather had traveled to Boston eight years earlier to escape the poverty and political disruption in Ireland. Her older brother had been involved with the Finnians, a group of Irish rebels protesting the English rule of their country. He was killed by the local English lord for his participation in the movement. Being under continuous watch by the authorities, due to her brother’s criminal status, her family fled their home to find a better life in America.

Her father and grandfather found work on a fishing boat while she and her mother found jobs at a nearby garment factory. After two years of working impossible hours and scrimping and saving the family was able to open a pub near the docks. Things looked up for them but then the War Between the States broke out and her father signed up with the Union Army. Having grown up in the political turmoil and hardships of a country such as Ireland, he felt it was his new found duty to defend the right to freedom, anyone’s freedom.

He died from a gunshot wound only a month after he enlisted and her mother, stricken with severe grief, died only four months later, leaving poor Jenna to manage the pub with her grandfather. Her grandfather it seemed, however, had no head for the details of running a business, that part had been her father’s job. He was a dandy behind the bar and keeping the customers happy but the books were left to Jenna. She tried her best to keep the accounts afloat but her grandfather, partially due to the senility and forgetfulness of age, was spending more than they were making and not always spending it on the proper things.

When her grandfather died three months ago she sold the pub and settled all their debts which left her with only one hundred dollars to her name. She turned to the only other family she had left, her uncle Seamus O’Reilly. He came to the United States several years earlier than she and her parents and had built himself a thriving horse ranch in the Montana Territory. “Who better to know horse raisin’ than an Irishman,” he wrote in one of his letters to his sister Elise, Jenna’s mother.

As she stepped onto the train she gave a brief thought to what her life would be like if she where back in Ireland. A young woman of her age would be married with a child or two to chase after or if not married, be working as a maid servant to some English lord or in the fields picking crops, or maybe in a textile mill. There were other kinds of jobs, none of which she would consider open to her or respectable. Instead of those things Jenna, at the ripe old age of nineteen, was headed out into the wilderness of Montana to raise horses with her uncle. This was to be a long trip, just over two weeks, this train was heading to Philadelphia where she would then change trains in St. Louis and then again in Omaha before reaching Laramie, Wyoming where she was to embark on the last leg of her journey by wagon.

The sudden jerk as the train slowly lurched forward startled her out of her daydream. With a huge sigh she rested her head against the glass while tears rolled down her freckled cheeks as she watched the crowded city gradually fade away into the less occupied countryside through the window. Before long the swaying of the car and the rhythmic sound of the wheels going thump-thump along the track had lulled her to sleep.

“Miss,” Jennalyn heard a male voice in the distance. She opened her eyes and found herself staring at a middle-aged man with wire rimed glasses. “Miss, we have arrived in Philadelphia.”

“Thank you, sir,” she said gathering her bag, straightening her bonnet. Once off the train she took a look around. From what she could see around the station Philadelphia didn’t seem any different than Boston, except that there were quite a few blue coat clad soldiers around. This, in turn, promptly reminded her of the day they had left Ireland and all the English soldiers patrolling the docks in Galloway. The Civil War had been over for nearly a year but there were still uprisings every now and again even in Boston. “There must still be a lot of rebels causing trouble if the Army is needed so heavily here.” She whispered to herself, approaching the ticket window. “How long until the train to St. Louis?”

“Not long Miss,” the man said, “expecting it any minute now.”

“Thank you.” Jenna turned away and sat down on the bench next to the other window to wait.

A few minutes later she was joined by a rather pretty girl about her own age. “Hi, name is Corrine LeDuc.” The girl held out her hand. Jenna smiled and shook it. “Are you going to St. Louis?”

“Only to switch trains again then I’ll be heading west.” Jenna told her.

“West! Is there anywhere further west then St .Louis?” The girl sniggered. Corrine’s attitude and mannerisms clearly told Jenna she was from money.

“The Montana Territory,” Jenna answered.

“Why on earth would a lady want to go to such a wild and dangerous place as that?” Corrine squealed. “You’re not running from the authorities are you?”

“No,” Jenna fought off the urge roll her eyes and make a comment she would regret later. “My uncle has a horse ranch there and I am going to stay there for a while. The rest of my family are dead and I am otherwise alone.”

“Oh dear, I’m so sorry.” Corrine added. “It must be horrid for you.”

“I’ll survive.”

“Would you mind if we kept each other company on the train? Truthfully, I don’t like traveling alone either.” Corrine placed her hand on Jenna’s as if she were an old friend.

“Why not,” Jenna replied, “At least we won’t be bored.” The girls promptly boarded the train when it arrived at the station. They found seats together at the rear of the car. Over the next few minutes other passengers, mostly men, trickled in until nearly every seat was filled. The conductor entered through the door beside their seats from the next car, the caboose.

“Good morning ladies,” he tipped his hat after he finished rubbing his hands together to warm them. “it’s a bit nippy this morning.”

“Yes, quite,” Corrine smiled up at him. He was young, perhaps in his mid-twenties and very handsome in his dark blue uniform, sandy brown hair and sparkling green eyes. “Do you know how the weather is in St. Louis?” she asked as she handed him her ticket.

“Much colder I imagine, heard they had a heavy snow a couple of days ago.” He returned Corrine’s ticket stub and took Jenna’s. “Spring won’t be coming any time soon I reckon. It’s hard to believe it’s already March.” He handed Jenna’s ticket back to her tipped his hat again and winked at Corrine. “You ladies enjoy your trip now,” he moved on to the next passenger.

With big wide eyes Corrine watched him as he moved through the car greeting everyone politely and stamping their tickets. “He is absolutely adorable,” Corrine whispered to Jenna, “don’t you think?”

“I hadn’t noticed.” Jenna replied quietly then turned to look out the window. She had come to the rapid conclusion that Corrine’s attention would be on the young conductor the whole way to St. Louis and was already dreading the frivolous, fawning conversation that would ensue. Corrine immediately began her mindless chatter while Jenna simply stared out at the people on the boarding platform only half listening.

Only minutes before the train was due to depart, a tall soldier in a Union Cavalry uniform approached one of the older conductors on the platform. Jenna watched as the two men talked then the conductor pointed to the young man who had stamped her ticket. The soldier shook his hand then followed him onto the train. As the two men came through the door at the front of the car the conductor point towards Jenna and Corrine. The soldier nodded and the conductor disappeared back out the door.

Jenna tried not to stare as the tall soldier made his way through the narrow isle to wher where she sat. He was a good head taller than the young conductor with long dark hair that stopped just below his jaw line and blue eyes, which seemed to shine exceptionally bright from under the white western-style calvary officer’s hat. His broad shoulders were made to look even more so by the epaulets on his jacket.

Corrine had been struck momentarily speechless when he came in but her voice quickly returned as she squeezed Jenna’s hand and exclaimed in a low voice, “Oh! Good Lord Jesus! He is coming toward our seats!”

“Calm yourself.” Jenna scolded her new friend.

“Miss Kennedy?” The soldier asked, removing his hat.

Jenna looked calmly at him though her insides were completely discombobulated by this outstanding visage. “Yes,” she said softly, “I’m Jennalyn Kennedy. How can I help you…uh?”

“Captain, “ he said switching his white riding gloves and hat to his left hand and holding out his right, “Captain Declan Gainey, 1st U.S. Calvary, ma’am. I’m a friend of your uncle Seamus. He sent a telegraph asking me to look after you during your trip since I was on my way back to Laramie myself." he took a deep breath and smiled, "He described you rather well, I had no trouble picking you out of the crowd.”

“Really? Well, that’s very kind of you but I don’t need an escort, Captain. I can take care of myself rather well thank you.”

“Oh, I see.” He turned his gaze to the floor for a second. “Then perhaps I can just keep you company, it is a long trip.” His eyes seemed soulful and sincere. Before Jenna could say another word Corrine joined in.

“Of course, Captain Gainey, we would adore your company,” she smiled and signaled for him to have a seat. “I’m sure you have plenty of stories with which you can entertain us. I’m only going as far as St. Louis but I would love to hear about your adventures in the wild and wooly Indian country.”

“I’m afraid I don’t have many adventurous stories to tell.” The Captain said as he sat down in the seat across from the girls.

“How do you know my uncle, Captain?” Jenna asked smugly.

“He supplies the Calvary with some mighty fine horses, ma’am.” He answered. “He is an excellent business man,”

“Seamus always did have a way with the animals,” she said as she stared out the window. Though it was difficult, she made a conscious effort not to look at the handsome Captain and even if there had been no refection in the glass she could have told he was staring at her, she felt his eyes on her every move.

Once in St. Louis, having left her mailing address with Jenna, Corrine disembarked the train. The young conductor, who had spent the whole two day trip dotting over her, accompanied her. They were to have dinner before he left on the next train back to Philadelphia. Corrine had kept the Captain busy with questions about the wilderness and the Indians for most of the trip so Jenna and he had barely said two words between them. She was thankful for that but from here on she would have no excuse for not making polite conversation with him.
Corrine had chattered on and on all through the trip to St. Louis. Normally this would have annoyed Jenna to no end, she was not terribly fond of chatty people, but for once she was glad for it as it kept the Captain somewhat occupied. Jenna occupied herself by watching the countryside passed by the window. She dropped off to sleep a few times and took a stroll through the cars to stretch her legs. She avoided looking at the man sitting across from her as much as possible but she could feel his eyes fixed on her. Whenever she glanced his way she would ultimately find herself staring into those bright blue orbs and she would quickly turn away, blushing.
It wasn’t that she didn’t like him. He seemed very charming but he was a soldier and she knew what kind of life soldiers led. She saw what happened to soldier’s wives both in Ireland and Boston and what happened to her mother when her father died fighting in Virginia and she was determined that she was not going to put herself through that kind of worry. If she fell in love with anyone at all it certainly would not be a soldier.

Jenna felt even more nervous when Corrine finally disembarked the train in St. Louis. She knew she had no other option but to socialize with the Captain.

“Your uncle is greatly looking forward to your arrival, Miss Kennedy.” The Captain said politely in his deep, smooth voice.

“I’m looking forward to it as well, Captain.” Jenna said as she looked down toward her hands. “I don’t particularly enjoy traveling. I’ll be glad to be over with it.”

The Captain smiled slightly, “I’m rather anxious to return as well. I don’t quite know what to do with myself when I’m not on duty.”

“My father always said that if one sits still for too long life will pass by and leave you behind.” Jenna added.

“My father had a similar phrase.” The Captain commented, “That’s why I signed up for the Calvary. We’re always on the move.”

Neither said another word for a long while. As the sun began to go down Captain Gainey broke the silence. “I would be happy to escort you to the dining car, ma’am if you would like something to eat.”

Jenna’s first instinct was to refuse his offer but her stomach had been growling for the past hour and she knew he heard this last rumble quite clearly. “Thank you, Captain. That would be very kind of you. Now that you mention it I am a bit famished.”

The Captain followed behind her as they made their way to the dining car in the center of the train, a chalk board hung on the wall with the dinner choices. The porter led them to an empty table and waited for their order. “I think I’ll just have some of the soup, thank you.” Jenna told the young man.

“And I’ll have a steak.” The Captain added then continued speaking to Jenna when the porter walked away, “I won’t get a meal like this for a while after we get back to Laramie. It’ll be beans and cornbread everyday I’m afraid.”

“In your line of work one must take the pleasures when one can get them and learn to make do I suppose.” Jenna had no idea what she was saying but she didn’t want to appear rude or despondent. “How long have you known my uncle Seamus?”

“Oh about, three years, ever since I went out west,” he removed his hat and put it on the seat beside him. “I love it out there.”

“What were you doing back east? Were you visiting family?”

“No, I had to retrieve some official papers from Washington for my Post Commander,” he explained.

“Official papers? Sounds intriguing.”

“Not really, just Indian affairs, everyday business to us.”

“What are the Indians like?” Jenna asked. “Is it dangerous to live there?”

“Well, ma’am, it’s not any more dangerous than a big city like Boston just different.” He smiled, “There are a few renegade troublemakers, which the Calvary deals with, but over all their pretty peaceful. There’s more wars between tribes then there are skirmishes with us. But they do happen.”

“Really? Have you fought in any?”

“A few,” he gave a crooked grin. “Your uncle has a pretty good standing with the tribal leaders, Miss Kennedy. Your uncle wouldn’t have sent for you if it weren’t safe.”

“Then why did he wire you to watch over me?” Jenna said sarcastically.

“He just figured you needed company I imagine.” He replied though he was not telling her the entire truth. Trouble was coming, that’s what he was doing in Washington, those documents were for changes in territory laws some of which would not be received well by the Natives. Seamus made sure she was traveling with the one person the Indains left alone.

After a little over a week of traveling on three different trains, Jenna, at last, came to the final leg of her journey. The next two nights were to be spent at Fort Laramie as the guest of Colonel Steed, where the handsome Captain promised she would be able to enjoy a hot bath and a soft bed. “Thank the Lord for small pieces of heaven,” she told the sergeant who helped her with her bags.

In addition to being her escort, Captain Gainey and his men were assigned to take a wagon to Virginia City to pick up the fort's payroll, though she would not be actually going all the way to town as the ranch where Jenna’s uncle lived was on the way. Her stop was to come an hour sooner than the others. The Captain and is men were to deliver the documents from Washington to the Magistrate’s office and bring back the the monthly wages for the troops. The word about the change in the laws had reached the territory long ahead of the train that carried the documents and the previously peaceful Indians were already preparing to fight for what little homeland and freedom they had left, especially one called Red Cloud.


“You’ll be safe and sound at your uncle’s place by tomorrow afternoon, Miss Kennedy.” Captain Gainey said as he politely tipped his hat before he helped Jenna into the covered wagon on the fouth day of the dusty but cold journey through the open plains .

“Thank you Captain,” she smiled back at him. His bright blue eyes, crooked smile and silky smooth voice were beginning to grow on her. He was completely different than the other soldiers she had come into contact with since she arrived, including the Colonel. The others had been either, rough and uneducated, some even done right disgusting or they were, as in the case of the Colonel, sophisticated but far too arrogant and boastful. Captain Gainey was sophisticated but not overbearingly so, yet, in his expressions and mannerisms he revealed a man who would probably have preferred a simple and quiet lifestyle. He was well liked by officers and enlisted alike and had a presence that commanded the respect of the men far more quickly than the Colonel or the other officers. “I will be very glad to finally bring all my travels to an end.”

“Seamus will be quite relieved to see you arrive safely.” Captain Gainey nodded, then climbed up on his horse and road out in front of the wagon. With a slight jerk the wagon began to roll forward. Jenna breathed a small sigh of relief and whispered a short pray for a safe and timely journey northwestward to the ranch.

The ride was relatively quiet but considerably rough. The road was rocky and the think layer of snow and ice made it more so, she was being tossed about in the back of the wagon with the cargo so she climbed out from under the arched canvas cover and sat next to the, rather smelly, driver on the buckboard seat. A warming breeze came from the east and considering the unsavory odor of the driver’s uniform she was glad it was blowing at her, even though it blew dust in her eyes. Ahead of the wagon were the Captain, who switched off from riding in the front to the back of the caravan often, and five mounted soldiers and behind were five more on horseback, all heavily armed and hyper-vigilante in their lookout duties. The wagon carried the chest for the money, plenty of ammunition for the rifles, a few dozen canteens full of water besides the one each of the men carried in their saddlebags, a slab of bacon, beans and cornmeal, as well as Jenna’s two bags containing all her worldly possessions. The important documents were not left inside the wagon but tucked safely into the Captain’s saddlebag where he could keep them close.

Later in the afternoon when the air began blow stronger and colder Jenna climbed back inside the wagon and covered up with a blanket. Dusk was approaching, she had begun to wonder how much longer it would be before they stopped to camp for the night. The temperature dropped suddenly and she could feel the dampness right through to her bones. She longed for the heat of a fire on her hands and feet and some hot tea in her stomach. Just as she had drifted off she heard the Captain calling her name.

“Miss Kennedy, we’re stopping for the night,” he called from outside the canvas. When she didn’t answer right away he poked his head in to see if she was alright. “Miss Kennedy, are you sleeping?”

“I was, Captain Gainey, but not anymore,” she pushed the covers off her head.

“We’ve stopped to camp for the night, ma’am. As soon as we have a strong fire going we’ll have some dinner.”

“Thank you, Captain. The warmth of some hot food will be most welcome.”

“I have no doubt it will. I might remind you ma’am not to wander off to far, we are in Indian Territory and you can never tell when one of them will pop up.” He explained as he helped her down.

“Thank you, Captain.” She smiled up at him as her feet hit the ground for the first time in almost twelve hours. “I'll keep that in mind.”

A very young soldier came running up and saluted. “Sir, the sergeant needs to see you.”

“I’ll be right there corporal,” he answered without even taking his eyes off Jenna’s face. The young man quickly ran away and Captain Gainey stood in silence, is eyes glued to Jenna’s.

“Hadn’t you go see what the sergeant needs.” She blinked and broke the bond.

“Yes,” he snapped out of his trance and turned to leave then paused. “I would look out for snakes as well if I were you. they'll be looking for heat.” He glanced back over his shoulder then walked off into the darkness.

Jenna stayed close to the wagon until the fire was lit then walked toward it. Two men had hauled out the provisions and started cooking. One of them cooked up enough bacon for each person to have a couple thick slices, while the other mixed the cornmeal with some water and fried it like pancakes in the grease from the bacon. There were two pots of coffee sitting on some of the hot coals. She poured herself a cup.

Closing her eyes she dreamily inhaled the steam, the warmth and the scent of fresh coffee made her feel less anxious. Her lips, chaffed from the wind, burned when she took the first sip but the sensation of the hot liquid flowing down her throat began to radiate throughout her body. “I don’t typically care for camp coffee, but when it’s this cold it’s like the taste of the summer sun.” She instantly recognized the smooth voice that came up behind her.

“I don’t generally like coffee at all but well put, Captain, it does seem like a dose of summer. I hadn’t realized how badly I needed it.” She watched him pour his own cup full then pull out a small flask. He unscrewed the top and poured a few drops into his coffee,

“Would you like a taste, Miss Kennedy?” He asked, holding the flask out to her. Jenna just stared at him for a moment then took it from his hand. She sniffed it then poured a small drop into her cup. “Irish whiskey? You surprise me, I would never have thought you to be a whiskey drinker, Captain Gainey.”

“Only Irish whiskey, Miss Kennedy,” he grinned and took a swig from the container.

“Well, then I must say, you have impeccable taste.” She raised her cup and smiled from ear to ear.

With the men fed and the horses tended to everyone sat around the fire to stay warm. Most everyone talked about the current attempt at a treaty with the tribal chiefs.

This was definitely a new subject for discussion to Jenna. She could tell you anything you wanted to know about the political state of Boston and Ireland, and was considered to be very political, but Indian affairs were new to her. She wasn’t oblivious to it, it’s just that she had no more of an inkling about the dealings with Indians than her grandfather had about running a business, just enough to get yourself into trouble.

“Captain Gainey,” she decide to jump into the conversation, “If this were Ireland I would be on the rebellious side as well. The Indians don’t want some strange immigrants from across the ocean to rule over them and take what was theirs first, anymore than the Irish want England to rule Ireland. I reverently sympathize with them.”

“I agree with you in that respect, ma’am but all we’re asking right now is that a road, this road your on now, be made safe for settlers who wish to travel through here.” the Captain tried to explain.

“But you want to put up forts along the way, if it were just a road for civilians I believe they would not feel so threatened. Believe me I understand them completely.”

“But Miss Kennedy you can’t compare this situation to the Finnian troubles in Ireland.” The sergeant disputed.

“Surely you can see, sergeant that in concept the two are the same.” She squabbled.

The Captain could see a very heated argument on the rise and so decided to call for everyone to retire. Three men at a time would stand two hour watch shifts. Jenna returned to the wagon to sleep. “Good night, Captain.” she said as she climbed up under the canvas canopy.

“Good night Miss Kennedy.” He replied and began to walk away but after a few steps he returned. “Miss Kennedy,” he leaned against the corner, “I agree with you about the overall position of the Natives. I don’t think we should be taking their land away either. But I'm in a very auspicious postion here, ma'am. I may be a Calvary officer but I'm also one of them.”

“Really? You look nothing like…”

The Captain quickly shushed her. “No one knows ma’am and around here no one can know. My grandmother on my father’s side was half Cherokee, from Georgia. That makes me an eighth Cherokee, the rest of me is Irish and German from Ohio. Half-breeds are treated worse than the black slaves were.  I would not be an officer if they knew and I have orders to follow, if they say fight, then I have to fight or be branded  a coward and then neither side would want me with them. Believe me Miss Kennedy, cowards are frowned upon, even more so in the Indian world than here in ours. So as you can see I have a difficult enough time with this assignment.”

Jenna squeezed his hand as he rested it on the back of the wagon. “I won’t say a word Captain, ever,” she whispered.


Come back Thursday  for an other installment of Surrender My Heart

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are at

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