Warrior, Sailor, Soldier, Spy~ As a tribute to the men who star so outstandingly in my stories of ‘Romance charged with danger from Ages Past,’ I’ve put together a glimpse into each one.
Shades of Wicomechee, the Shawnee warrior/hero from Red Bird’s Song:
“Wicomechee was undeniably attractive. She’d never expected that in a warrior. His eyes reminded her of dark pools where the deep-woods fern grow. His nose, neither too large nor too small, complimented his smooth brow, high cheekbones and strong chin. Nor could she fault his gleaming hair, or muscular chest partly revealed beneath the cream-colored hunting shirt open at the neck.
But his intimacy in the night left her bewildered, as did her disquieting response.”~
****“Wicomechee’s chest pounded beneath his shirt from his race down the ridge. Charity’s anguished shrieks had sent cold dread knifing through his heart, unlike anything he’d ever imagined. She must be in dire peril to call out to him. Her name for him swelled in his ears.”~
~“You are paca, beautiful.” Closing his arms around her, he drew her gently against him. He combed his fingers through her hair. “Like fire, your hair, and your eyes…never have I seen such a color. You are the sun, the trees, come to life.”~
****“How do you guess my thoughts? You’ve done this before.”
“A warrior must see in the face what lies in the heart. This is why we are careful to guard our thoughts.”
“Why don’t you want others to know?”
A hawk shrilled overhead as he answered. “Much danger lies in this.”
“I don’t know how to hide mine.”
“No. Like clouds making shadows over the earth, your face changes to show what you think.”
“It’s just as well I haven’t any secrets, then.”
His eyes looked deeply into hers. “None?”
“Perhaps I’ve a few.” Suddenly self-conscious, she squirmed under his forceful gaze.~
****“I am the man in your dream, but you will not say.” Without waiting for her stammered reply, he continued. “You grow cold. I will take you from here.”
“Wait. Before you do, where is my home?”
He pointed to the east. “There.”
She searched the rippling ocean of ridges for a final glimpse of the lush green valley called Shenandoah, Daughter of the Stars.
“Will I ever see the valley again?”
A sweep of his arm encompassed the western sky. Lavender and rose streaked the golden rim of the ruggedly beautiful Alleghenies. “Your home lies that way, beyond the mountains. You belong to Shawnee now.”~
****Wicomechee sought shelter in the fast descending darkness. These ridges would be cold tonight and Charity was especially vulnerable to the chill. A wolf loosed a long thin howl above the wind crying through the trees.
She jostled against him. “Mechee—a wolf.”
“Brother Wolf will not harm you.”
“How can you call that beast your brother?”
“He is clever. Shawnee respect him.”
Wicomechee guided her through the dusky light to the cluster of evergreens. A rocky mound on the windward side of the trees offered additional cover.
He paused before the dim outline of the thickly branched evergreen. “Go under.”
She crawled beneath the sweeping boughs and hunched on the layer of needles. He slid in beside her. The force of the wind instantly lessened and he kept her in the innermost recess of their hideaway.
He laid his musket down and slipped the shot pouch and powder horn from his shoulder, barely discerning their shapes in the gloom. His tomahawk joined the others at arm’s length. The knife remained at his waist. Like trusted friends, he kept his weapons close.~
****He untied her cloak and pressed his lips over the curve of her neck…like swans’ down. “You feel some fondness for me? Before, you said I am only your enemy.”
“You are. I’m just—having difficulty remembering.”~
****In one lithe movement, Wicomechee was out of the water. With three short strides he stood over her, his black hair streaming. “You attacked Chaka first?”
She stared up at him, shivering in her wet clothes. “He provoked me,” she faltered. “ I only tried to knock him down.”
Disbelief mixed with the potent censure in Wicomechee’s eyes. “Is this a fight you thought to win?”~
****With a howl of deepest anguish and blackest rage, Wicomechee flung down his musket and grabbed his tomahawk Before the big Long Knife could reload, he sprang at him.~
****“Can a heart be taken, like a horse? Even horses remember their masters. A man cannot force a woman’s heart as he can her body…her heart is mine. She seeks my love in return. Not yours. When she wakes with fear, she holds to me, not to you. Her tears wet my shirt, not yours. When she is glad I hear her laughter. For me she sings.”