Disclaimer. I don't own any of the seven, to my dismay. They belong to Mirish.MGM and Cbs I think and Trilogy. Not making any money off them so don't sue me.
Rating R M/F Sexual Situation
Authors Note.I want to thank Karen and Aletha my beta readers. This is my very first attempt at fic writing. Hope you enjoy it. Constructive criticism welcome. I want to thank Karen, Aletha, Karen and Kathy for talking me into trying to write a fic story. When I said I couldn't find any fic featuring Josiah they told me to write some. So here's my first attempt.
Chris and the boys were all sitting in the saloon when Vin came rushing in.
"Hey Vin! You're back early ain't ya?" JD asked.
Vin just nodded his head and walked up to Chris. "Chris, I need you and the fellas to take a little ride with me." he said.
"Trouble?" Chris asked.
"I can't be sure," Vin said.
"Alright boys lets ride." Chris spoke.
Once free of town Vin slowed to a stop. The others rode closer so they could hear what he had to say.
"On my rounds I came across a few indians, Kwiona. They were looking for us." Vin explained.
"What do they want us for?" Buck wanted to know.
"They wouldn't say. Just wanted me to bring ya'll to meet them." Vin said.
"Is it safe?" young JD asked.
"I reckon." Vin answered.
They rode for awhile, then found themselves surrounded by Indians.
None of the Seven pulled their guns, feeling that they were in no danger.
"We're here, what do you want?" Chris said.
"My name is Tall Bear. I understand you men help those in trouble," a tall older Indian spoke.
"We do what we can." Vin said.
"We wish you to find and return my sister to us." Tall Bear said.
"My sister is a gift to us and we know the man who took her will never return her to us. But to others like them, they may be willing to trade her for something." Tall Bear said.
"There's somthin' you ain't tellin'us." Vin spoke.
Tall Bear and his braves became uneasy and looked at one another, and then Tall Bear spoke, "My sister is white. The great spirit gave her to us many winters ago; we call her Akari. She had given us much over the years and is very special, Without her my people can not survive," he informed them.
"Woman Of Dreams," Vin whispered.
Tall Bear looked at Vin and seemed to know that Vin understood "Yes, she is woman of dreams," he told Vin.
"Let us think it over and we'll let you know by sunrise tomorrow," Chris told him.
"That is fair. We will meet you here at the sunrise." Tall Bear said, then he and his braves rode off.
"Now what the hell was all that about?" Buck asked out loud.
"Not sure," Chris said as he watched Vin, who was looking after the Indians with a far away look on his face.
They rode back into town and went into the saloon, taking a table in the back where they could talk in private but still keep an eye on things.
"Vin, you want to tell us what you know," Chris said.
"I been with other Kwiona, and they talked of a white woman whom the Great Spirit had given to the Kwiona tribe. She is said to grant dreams to the people of the tribe, but it ain't just that. It's also cause she is guarded by two white buffalo and a white wolf pack," Vin told the men.
"I reckon any one who spent time with Indians heard about her. What bout you Josiah?" Vin asked.
"Yep, a time or two when I was with the Cheyenne," Josiah answered.
"I heard Rain and her people mention someone by that name once," Nathan told them.
All of them listened while Vin told the tale of Akari...Woman of Dreams. "The Kwiona found a young girl some 21 years ago. She was alone except for two white buffalo and a pack of wolves. They took her to their village and the animals followed them there. Once she was there strange things begin to happen. First everyone in the village begin havin' dreams. Sometimes dreams that come true in a day or so. Plus, where once they could hardly feed themselves, when the girl arrived, food became abundant. She became the daughter of the shaman and sister to a second chief. They kept her safe and never told no one about her. Then a few trappers found out about her and they told tales of her. Soon folks wanted to find her and take her to a white family to take care of. The Kwiona took the girl and hide somewhere in the mountains. No one has heard of her or the tribe for about 6 years. If'n someone took her I don't think they did it for her sake. More like so's they could sell her or somehow make money with her. Hell the pelts from those buffalo and wolves would be worth someone's time to kidnap the girl," Vin explained.
For a short time none of them spoke after Vin finished his tale.
"Do you believe all this Vin?" Buck wanted to know.
"I done lived with Kwiona, I seen things I ain't thought possible while I was with them," Vin said.
Chris watched as all the others except Josiah begin to talk, about if they should help the Indians and if any of them believed any of the tales of the girl.
After a time had passed, Chris looked over at Josiah and decided to find out what the preacher thought about this whole thing.
"Preacher what do you think?" Chris asked.
Josiah rubbed his forehead, leaned back in his chair and then spoke.
"I traveled to many places with my father. Then on my own and I seen lots of things I couldn't explain. I try to be open minded about most things. I heard enough to know the Kwiona believe this girl brings them luck. And if'n we don't find her and return her they will allow themselves to die."
"Well then I reckon we should take this job on," Chris said.
As they were making plans, Judge Travis came looking for Chris. Chris walked over to him and the judge explained that he needed two of the fellas to ride along with a wagon to Yuma. Chris told the Judge he'd see to it.
Once back to the table, Chris explained to the others what was needed. He decided to send Buck and Ezra with the Yuma wagon while he and JD stayed in town to keep an eye on things. Vin, Josiah and Nathan would have to go find the girl and bring her back to town.
The next morning found them gathered outside the sheriff's office. A few of the fellas looked like they had spent too much time in the bottle last night. Then Buck spoke up.
"Damn boys I had one of those dreams last night, y'all know what kind I'm talking about. Me with some fine lady and we had ourselves a real wild time," he said with a laugh. He went on to say. " This lady was so fine! She had reddish brown hair clean down to her heels, her skin was as white as a glass of milk and eyes so pale green it was like they could see into my soul."
At this statement both JD and Nathan snapped their heads around to look at him.
"What?" he asked.
"Did you say pale green eyes?' Nathan wanted to know.
"Yep, pale green eyes. Why? You looking for a lady with green eyes," Buck joked.
"No, it's just that I was dreamin' bout Rain last night, then she tuned into a lady with pale green eyes is all," Nathan said with a blush.
"Oh God Nathan! The same thing happened to me last night. Only I was dreaming about Cassey," JD said with a frown.
Vin and Josiah looked at each other and both shook their heads.
"Seems like you boys been listening to tall tales and fables way too much," Chris joked.
They split up and soon were on their way to the jobs they needed to get done. Vin and Josiah along with Nathan rode out of town toward the spot where they had met Tall Bear the day before. Buck and Ezra went toward Eagle Bend and the wagon that awaited them there. JD went into the office to check out the new wanted poster that had arrived the day before. Chris decided to take a stroll around town and make sure all was well.
Vin and the others found the Indians waiting in the spot where they had met them the day before.
Tall Bear told them what he could about the men who had taken his sister and that one of his braves had tracked the men and girl to an old church some miles out in the desert. He then told Vin that he and his braves would have to return to their village, but they would return within a week to get the girl.
Vin told Tall Bear that they would find the girl and keep her in town until the braves returned for her.
As Tall Bear started to ride off he turned back to Vin, Josiah and Nathan and said, "She is special. If any man has touched her, I will have to find him and kill him."
"You don't need to worry bout us touching the girl. We ain't gotta hurt her none," Vin said.
Vin, Josiah and Nathan figured it would take them about 2 days to find the old church and get the girl out, then 2 more days to get her to town.
Late afternoon on the same day.
Chris had fallen asleep while sitting in the sun outside the saloon. He awoke with a start from a rather stunning dream. He shook his head to clear it and thought maybe he better find himself a lady soon so that he wouldn't be having those sort of dreams. Then he remembered Buck talking that morning and he shook his head again. The lady in his dream had pale green eyes. It was just all this talk about green eyes, he thought to himself. Chris wasn't one to believe in stuff like that, he tended to think that the Woman of Dreams tale was bullshit.
He decided he needed a drink and then he would go talk to JD. Maybe ride around the out skirts of town to check on things.
Meanwhile, Buck and Ezra made good time and were soon on the way to Yuma with the wagon and it's load of prisoners. Buck was keeping Ezra entertained with the retelling of his dream of the night before. Ezra was getting just a bit tired of hearing the explicit details. He finally told Buck to shut up.
"Mr. Wilmington would you please cease and desist with your tale," Ezra snapped.
"Sure, just thought you might be interested is all," Buck said.
"No! I am not. And why you would think I would care to hear about your sex dreams I can't imagine," Ezra informed him.
Vin had figured out where the girl was and he told Josiah and Nathan if they didn't mind some hard ridin' they could get to her by late afternoon of the next day. So the three of them were riding hell bent for leather toward the desert and the girl called Akari.
Late that night.
Vin and Josiah were sitting drinking coffee while Nathan slept.
Josiah, what you think of this tale?" Vin wanted to know.
"I can't rightly say Vin. When I was young, my father sort of insisted I don't pay much heed to all the tales and stories we heard from the Indians and other folks. Once when we was back east, we came across those Irish folks. Them folks had so many tales of spirits and demons and such they scared me and my sister half to death. But Father explained to us that none of those tales was true. Just things folks made up because they had no faith in the lord. He told us that if we had faith in the lord god, then we would know none of those demons and spirits could be real. But then I spent some time with the Cheyenne and found myself believing in things I never thought I would. I seen some things happen with them and with others I can't explain and don't rightly know if'n I want to even try," Josiah told Vin.
"Do you suppose this girl, well woman really, has some special power? Somethin' that lets her give dreams to other folks and maybe somethin' that allows her to provide food for the tribe?" Vin questioned.
"I just don't know Vin," Josiah answered.
"I reckon no one will ever know for sure," Vin said.
"Some folks believe in things a powerful lot I reckon. If those Kwiona truly believe this woman can give them dreams and dreams that come true to boot, then I reckon she can...for them any ways," Josiah said.
"We best be getting some sleep. I'll take first watch," Vin told Josiah.
Hours later Josiah was on watch, Vin had been sleeping for about 2 hours and dawn was fast approaching when Josiah heard Vin moan then cry out.
Just as Josiah reached Vin to wake him, Vin sat up and grabbed his chest.
"Vin, you are right?" Josiah asked.
For a second Vin seemed like he hadn't heard Josiah, then he shook his head and looked over at Josiah.
"Damn Josiah I never had a dream like that before. I was tracking somethin' and then this woman appeared. Well hell next thing I know the two of us was rolling around on the ground like a couple of animals," Vin explained.
"Well Vin, I reckon maybe it's been awhile since you been with any ladies, so it isn't so strange that any of us fellas would be having dreams of woman and sex," Josiah told him.
"Josiah, you don't understand. This woman was the same woman Buck, Nathan and JD were dreaming about...a woman with reddish brown hair and pale green eyes," Vin stated.
Since neither man knew what to say they let the subject drop for now.
An hour later found them once more headed into the desert.
On the road to Yuma early morning.
Ezra had been so silent all morning Buck was thinking he wished Chris had assigned JD this task with him.
"Ezra. You going to be this silent all day? Cause if'n you are I might as well talk to my horse," Buck joked to him.
"What? Sorry Buck, I just have something on my mind is all," Ezra replied.
They rode for a while then Ezra asked Buck. "This lady you dreamed about, did you say she had long reddish hair and pale green eyes?"
"Yep, that's what I said alright," Buck replied.
"I see," Ezra said.
"You dreamed about her too, didn't ya Ezra?" Buck wanted to know.
"If you must know. Then yes, last night the lady invaded my dreams," Ezra said
"It felt real, didn't Ezra. Not like a normal sex dream. More like it really happened," Buck asked.
"Yes in deed it did feel real," Ezra answered.
Later that day.
Vin, Josiah and Nathan had found the old church and were checking out the best way to get inside and get the girl out. There was no question the girl was there. Vin had spotted two white buffalo at the top of the hill on the other side of the church.
From the way things looked there were 2 maybe 3 people with the girl. They finally got close enough to see and hear what was going on inside.
"This girl will bring us lots of gold in the right town," they heard a male voice say.
"I don't like it. You said yourself there's something strange about this girl," a shrill female voice replied.
"I know, but the money we can get for her besides the money for those white buffalo! We'll be rich and she wouldn't be no problem once we sell her to some whore house."
A second deeper male voice said, "And what about that nightmares we both been having?"
" I for one don't want no wolves killing me," the woman yelled.
"It's just dreams. Nothin' more," the male voice answered.
Vin motioned for the other two to cover the windows, and then he went to the door and kicked it in.
"If'n y'all don't want to die today I suggest you drop your weapons," Vin ordered.
The man closest to Vin raised his gun to shoot; Nathan shot the gun out of his hand. The other man and the woman saw they were covered so they dropped their guns.
Nathan and Josiah rushed into the room.
"Where's the girl?!" Vin yelled.
"In the cellar," The woman said.
Nathan ran outside and found the door to the basement. It was dark and he had to light a match to find his way around. He found a lamp at the bottom of the three steps and used the match to light it.
The girl wasn't hard to fine; She was tied to a chair in the middle of the cellar. For a second Nathan was stunned to see the woman he had dreamed about a few nights ago. She didn't seem scared of him and when he untied her she hugged him. She spoke in Kwiona and spoke too fast for him to understand anything she said.
He led her to the others. Upon entering the church, Nathan found the two men and the woman tied up. Vin and Josiah both turned when Nathan and the girl entered the church.
Vin sucked in his breath at the sight of the girl, well woman he saw. It was the same woman he had dreamed about the other night. She smiled at him then turned her attention to Josiah.
"We're here to save you and return you to your people," he told her.
She spoke in Kwiona but Josiah couldn't understand but half of what she was saying.
"Vin, what's she saying? She's talking too fast for me to catch everything," Josiah said.
"She says she knew we was coming for her. That she and us have a destiny to fulfill. And something about waiting along time to find you. I think she mean you, but I can't be sure," Vin answered.
"Me! Why would she be wanting to find me?" Josiah wanted to know.
"She didn't say," Vin told him.
They gathered up the men and woman and headed out toward home. Akari insisted on riding with Josiah. As they began to move toward home they heard the thundering of hoofs behind them. They turned to see two white buffalo with a small herd of black buffalo heading toward them.
Their amazement turned to horror when Akari slid off Josiah's horse and ran toward the herd. Josiah went to rush after her when he heard Vin shout.
"No Josiah don't!"
They watched as the herd reached the woman and stopped within
a few feet of her. One of the white buffalo walked right up to her and
she reached out and laid a hand on its nose. She spoke to it in a tongue
none of them had ever heard before. She turned and asked Vin a question.
"No ma'am I don't think it would be wise for them to follow you where we're takin' you," he told her.
She again spoke to the animal and it turned, then with the rest of the herd ran off toward the far hills.
"Lord have mercy! I never saw anything like that before," Nathan said.
"Amen brother!' Josiah replied.
Akari climbed back onto the back of Josiah's horse and the group rode on.
Late that night.
As Nathan, Josiah and Vin sat around the fire they talked about what to do with Akari and their prisoners.
"Vin if'n we take those folks back and put them in jail it will just draw more attention to the girl. Then even more folks will be after her. It's them white buffalo that most folks would want. Their skins would be worth a whole lot to some folks," Nathan said.
"He's right, we all know that. But the question is what do we do with them? We can't just kill them," Josiah agreed with Nathan.
"I been thinkin' bout that. Why don't we let them go once we got their word they'll not try and take the girl from her home again. I figure we could scare them some and maybe the girl can help. Seems the woman is afraid of Akari and if'n she did some mumbo jumbo it might make the woman want to get as far away as possible from her," Vin explained.
"It might work," Josiah and Nathan both said.
Nathan began to speak when the sound of howling started.
"Now why ain't we heard wolves before tonight?" Vin questioned.
"The wolf you hear tonight is from my pack," Akari said slowly in Kwiona so all the men could understand her this time.
"Why are they howling now?" Nathan asked.
"They know someone will be dead before morning. And they have found me again and know I'm free once more," she explained.
"Who will be dead?" Josiah wanted to know.
"The woman and her man. This I know for I have dreamed it," Akari said.
"How? How will they die?" Vin asked her.
"I do not know this, only that they will die," she spoke, then turned and went to the bedroll Josiah had placed near the fire for her.
"You reckon she's right?" Vin wanted to know.
"From what, they seem perfectly healthy to me," Nathan stated.
"Perhaps from some unknown spirit or demon, we don't know or believe in, " Josiah said.
"Should we do something to make sure they don't die on us?" Nathan asked Vin and Josiah.
"I reckon no matter what we do they'd still be dead come mornin' and maybe us as well if'n its spirits that wanna kill em," Vin replied.
"You don't really believe that do ya Vin?" Nathan asked.
"I seen things, Nathan, when I lived with the Indians. Shit that had no reason for happenin'," Vin said.
"It's sometimes fear that makes people die. And if our prisoners get as scared as they was from being around the girl for those days they had her, then I reckon she might have scared them enough for them to truly believe spirits will kill them. Their hearts will give out from fright," Josiah explained to them what he thought.
Nathan got up and went over to check on the woman and her man. The man was fine but the woman wasn't breathing. Nathan checked her all over but could fine no reason for her death. The two man who were with her turned deadly pale when they realized she was dead.
"You got to let us go! It's that girl, she somehow got to my woman and killed her," the man yelled.
"Don't let her kill us too," the other man said.
"We been awake this whole time and Akari never went near this woman," Nathan informed them.
"You got to let us go mister, or both of us will be dead by morning, can you live with that if'n you don't give us our horse and let us ride out of here," one of the men said.
"Josiah, cut them loose. Give them enough water and food for a day or so and let them leave now," Vin said as he looked over at Akari sleeping.
Josiah did as Vin had asked. The two men rode out of camp as if the devil was after them. Josiah thought in a way perhaps he was.
"I'll take the first watch. You two get some sleep," Nathan said.
"Fine by me brother Nathan, this old body doesn't do too well with all the riding and late night stuff anymore," Josiah joked, hoping to ease the tension they were all feeling.
Josiah had no sooner lain down than he felt Akari lay down beside him. How she had gotten up and moved over to him without his hearing her he didn't know.
"Here now, what you doin' girl? Are you cold or something?" he asked her.
Again she spoke to fast for him to catch all she said. He looked over at Vin across the fire.
"She said, she would feel safe with you beside her," Vin translated.
"Ok, I suppose it's alright," Josiah said.
Some hours later when Nathan woke Vin up for his turn at watch, he looked over to see that Akari had wrapped her arms around Josiah and was almost buried under him.
"That's one way to keep warm I guess," Nathan whispered.
"Yep I reckon. I just wonder what Josiah is going to say in the morning bout the whole thing?" Vin whispered back.
As Vin watched the sun rise he thought of the woman who died in her sleep and wondered how much this Woman Of Dreams had to do with it all.
Josiah awoke to the feeling of a warm body under his. He opened his eyes to find Akari buried under him as if she had tried to seek his warmth by using him as a blanket. He eased himself away and joined Vin at the fire.
"Figured you'd be none to happy to wake thata way," Vin said to him.
"Well it's not that I mind, but I don't aim to have Tall Bear huntin' me down and killin' me if I can help it," Josiah explained.
"I reckon is wouldn't be none to pleasant, "Vin laughed
Before they left camp they buried the woman. Josiah said a prayer over her as Akari watched from a distance.
"Your prayers will not save her now, for she has angered the spirits. Her men too should be dead before the day is over," Akari told Josiah, who could only shake his head in wonder at her.
Once headed toward town they made plans about where to keep Akari while they waited for Tall Bear and his braves to return for her.
After a few hours, Akari laid her head against Josiah's back and began to softly hum. Josiah was shocked to realize she was humming a hymn.
"Where'd you learn that song at?" he asked her.
"I do not remember. I only know I have always known the song," she answered.
"Someone must have sang it to you when you were little and you remembered it all this time,"he said
"Perhaps, I do not know," Akari said.
Later in the day in town.
Chris was sitting outside the saloon when he saw Buck and Ezra ride into town.
"What are you boys doing back so soon? I didn't expect you back for a week," Chris said.
"Ran into a detail from the army. They were headed for the prison so they took over the wagon," Buck explained.
"Don't worry Mr. Larabee. I checked their credentials, and they were indeed from the army and had orders to report to Yuma prison," Ezra told Chris.
The three of them entered the saloon and took the table in the back. They hadn't been there very long when JD rushed into the place.
"Chris! We got trouble. Some fancy fellas from back east just come into town. He came right to the office looking for the law in town," JD said with excitement.
"What'd he want?" Chris asked.
"He said he had some men coming into town who work for him and wanted to let the local law know he would be responsible for any damage they might cause while they were here. And he did say they wouldn't be in town long," JD told Chris.
"Well, what else Mr.Dunn? I can see you are just bursting to inform us of some truly eventful happenings to come," Ezra teased him.
JD looked at Ezra as if he wasn't real sure what the heck he had just said.
"Never mind him kid, what else did this fancy fella have to say?" Buck wanted to know.
"He said he was waitin' on two men and a woman who have rescued his sister from some Indians that had captured her when she was just 7," JD said.
They all looked at Chris. He decided maybe the 4 of them better find a way to warn Vin and the others not to bring the girl into town, or at least not openly.
"Buck, you ride out and try and catch Vin and the boys. Warn them about this fella and tell Josiah to slip the girl into town at night, and keep her hidden in the church," he told Buck.
"What you want me to do Chris?" JD asked.
"Once his men get into town, you check them out, without them noticing' and see if'n any of them are wanted for anything,"Chris told him.
"Ezra, you might want to invite this fella for a drink and maybe some cards. Then see if you can get any more information outta em," Chris advised Ezra.
They each went off to do what they had to do. Chris himself went for a walk around town; he wanted to see those men who would be comin' into town. He had just walked past Mary's newspaper office when she stepped out.
"Chris! I think you should come in here for a minute, "she said softly.
"What is it Mary? Trouble?" Chris asked as he walked toward her.
"About an hour ago when I stepped outback, I found this old Indian out there. He asked me if I knew Vin. When I told him I did he asked if he could come inside," she told him.
"Damn Mary! You shouldn't be letting strange men into the building with you," Chris yelled.
"Chris, this is an old man. He can barley walk. I know he wouldn't hurt me," Mary explained to him.
She led Chris into the backroom and there they found an old man. By the looks of him he was at least a hundred.
"This man is Chris. He and Vin are good friends," Mary said by way of introduction.
"Why is it that you're lookin' for Vin?" Chris growled to the old man.
"Your anger is misplaced. I mean the buffalo hunter Tanner no harm," The old man said.
"Who are you, and how do you know Vin? "Chris insisted.
"They call me Old One, for I am many winters old. Tanner stayed with my people for a time and we know each other well," Old One explained.
"I have come to warn him. He will need help to save the sacred buffalo that protect the Woman of Dreams," Old One went on to say.
"What do you know of the Woman Of Dreams?" Chris asked him.
"I know all about her. For many winters before she came I was told of her coming. I know of her gifts and would see them continue for my people. But I have also foreseen that this might not be. Seven men are the only hope of her fulfilling her destiny and keeping her sacred buffalo and wolf pack alive. Also, they will give to Woman Of Dreams something they do not know they are giving," The Old One said.
"What the hell you talkin' about old man? We ain't going to give the girl nothing except a return home to her brother," Chris informed the Indian.
"So you think," was all the old man said.
No matter how hard Chris pressed the old man he would not say more.
"Mary, I'm going to take the old man to the church. If he has anything to do with the girl Vin went to find, I don't want anyone here in town to know about him. So could you keep what you know to yourself?" Chris asked.
"Sure Chris, I won't say anything to anyone. Is there anything I can do to help?" Mary offered.
"No, just keep quiet about this fella. Also if some fancy fella comes by, don't let on you ever heard a thing about this Woman Of Dreams." Chris informed her.
"Alright, but who is she and what's going on here?" Mary wanted to know.
"I'll explain it all to you later. Right now I have got to get this fella to the church," Chris said.
An hour later found Chris back at the saloon where he came across Ezra and the fancy fella playing cards.
"Mr. Larabee, let me introduce you to Mr. Michael Stevens from New York. Mr. Stevens, this is Chris Larabee, the law around this town," Ezra introduced the two to each other.
"Mr. Larabee it's a pleasure to meet you. I hope your young associate informed you of my arrival and the plans I made with him while my men and I are in town," Mr. Stevens said.
"Yep. JD told me. Are we to take it your men are a little rough on towns?" Chris questioned him.
"Well those men are rather rude and crud old buffalo hunters. Mountain men type. They don't spend much time in towns of any sort," Stevens said.
"I see. And those men work for you?" Chris asked.
"Oh, only for this one job, I assure you. I wouldn't normally have dealings with those sort of men, but I find myself in need of their type at this time," Stevens replied.
Chris spent a few more minutes with Ezra and Stevens. Then he excused himself and headed for the church.
Once inside he found the old Indian and asked him a few more questions.
"How'd you know there would be men heading here to hunt for them white buffalo? And don't give me none of the foreseen bullshit either cause I ain't buyin' it!"
"I can only tell you the truth. I did foresee all this in a dream many nights ago," Old One insisted.
"What do they want with the buffalo? Or is it really the girl they're after?" Chris wanted to know.
"One or both. It matters not to those men. They wish only harm to both. If you seven men do not help her and the animals, my people will die without them," Old One said in a low tone.
"How the hell did you know there were seven of us here?" Chris hissed.
"I have told you, I have known of you seven for many years. You have been a part of her destiny all along," Old One said.
"Old Man I got no time for this foolish talk. I need answers and I need to know how the hell we are suppose to save this girl and the animals," Chris said in a deadly tone.
"You will find out all in time," was the only answer the old man would give.
Meanwhile out on the trail.
"Vin, you noticed something strange since we rescued the girl?" Nathan asked.
"Shoot Nathan, this whole thing is strange! How the hell ya expect me to know what you're askin' bout?" Vin answered.
"Well I was just thinkin' is all. Seems like all of us been feeling allot better then we do must the time we are out ridin' and sleepin' outside. Like we haven't complained about aches and pains every morning' like we always did before." Nathan tried to explain.
"Now that you mention it, I don't remember ever feeling this good when I sleep on the ground," Josiah rode up beside them and said.
"Your dreams, have they been nice, sort of calmin' and restful?' Nathan asked both men.
"Yep," Vin said.
"Mine too," Josiah agreed.
"Well then that makes all of us," Nathan said.
"Akari, is it somein' you're doing?" Vin questioned the girl.
"I am giver of dreams. If I so wish it, you will no longer have bad dreams," she answered.
"Girl, you shouldn't go messin' with people dreams. It ain't right," Nathan said.
"Those dreams we had before we even found you, did you give them to the fellas?" Josiah wanted to know.
"It was not I. Only someone I know can I offer dreams to," she explained.
"You mean you gotta know a person before you can give them certain dreams?" Vin asked.
"It seems to be the way it works. When I was young, I did not understand what I could do. I would meet someone who was unkind to me and I would think of bad things to happen to him. It seemed as if the spirits heard my thoughts. For most of the time the bad things would happen. It was not until the shaman taught me of my gifts that I learned to control them," Akari explained to the three men.
"So why do you reckon some of us had dreams of you then?" Nathan wanted to know.
"I can not say. Perhaps it is the spirits that give you these dreams so that you might find me,"Akari said.
They rode on without speaking any more about dreams. Vin decided to scout ahead and rode away. Nathan let his horse fall behind and kept watch for any trouble that might come from behind them.
Josiah felt Akari weeping against his back and stopped his horse to find out what was wrong with her.
"Here now, what's wrong. You need to stop and get off this horse for a bit?" he asked her gently.
She would not look at him and he could tell she was blushing pretty bad. It wasn't hard to tell cause with her pale white skin the blush was turning her a bright red.
"Girl is they're somethin' bothering you?" Josiah insisted on knowing.
Akari buried her face into Josiah's back and would not allow him to see her face.
He heard her say something, but with her buried in his back he couldn't tell what it was.
"Now come on, you can tell me. I know it's a mite hard havin' to deal with three men, but even we understand sometimes that you got to stop along the trail," he told her.
"It is not that," Akari cried. "It is the dreams you spoke of."
"What about them? You done said you didn't cause them, so why worry about them?" Josiah told her.
"I feel shame,"Akari told him.
"For the dreams came to me also. I knew what Nathan and Vin looked like even before I met them," she explained while blushing even more.
"Oh I see," Josiah said and he did see. Akari must have had the same dreams as Vin, Nathan Buck and JD.
"There are 4 other who are with you, are there not?" Akari asked.
"Yes, there are. Are you saying you dreamed about them too?" Josiah questioned.
"Yes," she answered.
"The same dreams as before, or were these ones different," Josiah pressed for an answer.
"The same," she stated.
"Strange," Josiah replied.
They once more got the horse moving and headed toward where Vin waited along the trail. They hadn't gone far when Josiah noticed Vin riding toward them. Nathan quickly rode up beside Josiah.
"Boys, lets take another trail home," Vin informed them.
Not one to question Vin Tanner's reasons for doing something, the two agreed with his idea.
"If it is the men you do not wish me to see, it is already to late. I saw what happen to them in dreams last night,"Akari stated in a calm voice.
"Good God! You didn't make that happen, did ya?" Vin said with shock.
"It was not I. I did not wish them to suffer as they did. Once they were gone I did not even wish them dead," she answered.
"Vin?" Josiah questioned.
"Wolf pack must have ran them down and torn them to pieces," Vin explained.
"May God have mercy on their poor souls," Josiah said. He got off his horse and shouted at Akari, "Why! Why would you want any one to suffer like that?"
"It was not what I wanted," Akari tried to say.
But Josiah would not listen. He turned to Nathan and said, "You let her ride with you. I need to think."
Akari changed to Nathan's horse and the four of them set off once more. Josiah rode in the back and Nathan could feel Akari looking back at him.
"He is angry with me. What can I do to make him see I did not wish them dead nor did I cause them this suffering? Sometimes the spirits cause harm to those who wish harm to me. I can not control that,"Akari stated.
"He'll forgive you. It's just hard for him is all. bein' a man of God he has a hard time dealing with such things as spirits and this whole idea that you could cause people to dream," Nathan tried to explain to Akari.
"I do not wish him to hate me," she said in a sad voice.
"Josiah don't hate nobody. It ain't in his nature to hate people," Nathan told her.
Akari could only hope Nathan was right, for she had seen Josiah in her dreams many times and knew he was important to her future.
Late afternoon the next day.
Vin figured they would reach town in another hour so they were taking their time and watching for any sign of trouble as they neared town. Akari was riding with Nathan as Josiah was still a mite upset about the way those man had died.
Vin hoped Josiah would soon forgive the girl, because she was looking mighty unhappy about Josiah's treatment of her.
Vin heard a rider coming and told Nathan to take the girl and hide her in a grove of trees off to the right. Nathan had no more than hidden when a rider came around the bend just ahead of them.
"Vin, it's me Buck!" he heard Buck say.
They dismounted and Buck explained to Vin and Josiah what Chris wanted them to do. As they talked, Nathan and Akari come riding up to them. Buck, for once, was speechless when he laid eyes on Akari. She in turned blushed as if she were on fire when she looked at Buck.
"I done died and gone to heaven darlin' cause you sure do remind me of an angel I dreamed about," Buck finally found his voice to say.
This only caused Akari to hide her face in Nathan's back.
"Lay off Buck. She don't need you givin' her a hard time," Vin said.
"I wasn't givin' her a hard time, just tellin' the truth is all," Buck said with a laugh.
"Buck, someone should take your mind and wash it once in a while," Josiah growled.
Josiah then told Vin he'd ride on into town and get the church ready and make sure it would be safe for the girl to stay there.
"What's eatin' him?" Buck asked as soon as Josiah was out of sight.
"Nothin' you'd understand," Nathan said.
The three of them decided to wait until dark to bring the girl into town. Vin told Buck to go into town and help Chris and JD keep an eye on the fella from back east.
That morning, Chris watched as four dirty, smelly weathered men rode into town. He didn't liked what he saw. He had seen men like these before; they were troublemakers and men who didn't care how they got what they were after. He'd seen this type buffalo hunter too many times not to know that they would search for those white buffalo and the wolf pack until they found them and killed them. He finally went into the saloon to see if Ezra needed any help.
He found Ezra at a table holding his hanky up to his nose as he explained to the 4 hunters, "Gentlemen, I would really rather you find another table to sit at. One outside might be best."
The four men just laughed and offered to buy Ezra a drink.
"Thank you gentleman but I really must leave this establishment. I find myself most unwell," Ezra got up and almost ran to the doors of the saloon to escape the smell that had followed the hunters inside.
"You boys might consider taking a bath," Larabee drooled as he walked to the doors of the saloon and used a chair to prop them open. He then went around and opened every window in the place.
The men just seemed to find this funny and laughed even harder.
"Howdy!" a big red haired fella said. "Name's Red. The fellas with me are Bob (pointing to a short stocky fella with snow white hair), and those two over there are Smelly John and his partner One Eye Dan."
"Howdy fellas," Chris said as he gave a nod of his head. "I'm Larabee, the law around here. You fellas get out of line and Ya'll be dealing with me."
"Well now, me and those boys here won't be in town long. Just till we find what we been looking for," Smelly John said with a grin.
"And just what is it you are looking for?" Chris asked.
"Well first off, I could use myself a woman. But we were hired to track down and capture two white buffalo and a white wolf pack. The fella who hired use wants to put them in some kind of show back east," Smelly John answered.
"No saloon ladies in this town so I reckon ya'll out of luck. We don't got any woman in this town who ain't married or taking care of a family. And we sure ain't seen any buffalo or wolf around here," Chris said.
The buffalo hunters only laughed so Chris left them to their drinking and walked outside. He wondered, as he walked down the street, how the saloon owner would remove the smell that those fellas were sure to leave behind.
Ezra had, in the meantime, found JD and explained to the young man that it would be best if he stayed away from those buffalo hunters as they carried the smell of death and blood around with them. JD didn't seem to care what Ezra thought. He just told Ezra he'd check them out for himself.
Just as Chris reached the church, he saw Josiah riding into town. Chris waited for Josiah to dismount before he said anything to him. He could tell something was bothering the preacher, and he hoped it wouldn't interfere with what they had to do.
"Josiah, you find the girl?" Chris asked.
"Yep, we found her. She's with Vin, Nathan and Buck right now. They will bring her into town after dark," Josiah told Chris.
"Something bothering you preacher?" Chris asked.
"Nothing I can't deal with." Josiah replied.
Chris knew better then to try and get anything out of Josiah when he was in this kind of mood. So he explained about the old Indian in the church and then told Josiah he'd be outside the saloon keeping an eye on the buffalo hunters. Also, Ezra would no doubt be at the hotel taking all Mr. Stevens money he could win.
Josiah nodded and then took his horse to the stable. He made sure it was taken care of before he returned to the church. As he knew he would, he found an old Indian sittin' on the floor in the back of the church.
"Wouldn't think you'd care to stay in a house of God old man," he informed the Indian.
"I do not fear your God nor do I believe in him, so this is just a house to me," The old man replied.
"Hmm, so you say," Josiah replied back at him.
"You are angry with Woman Of Dreams. Why?" Old One asked Josiah.
"Now how would you know I was angry at someone? "Josiah answered with a question of his own.
"I can feel it and also I have seen it," the old one replied.
"I ain't in the mood right now for any of your tales. So could we just skip em? " Josiah snapped at the old man.
"You fear what you do not understand, but in time you will learn that the spirits are with you. For they have chosen you as the father of their greatest gift to my people," Old One told him.
"What in heavens name are you talkin' about old man? I ain't no father to nothing and don't plan on being for sometime," Josiah told him.
The Old One just chucked and did not speak again.
Night found Chris, Ezra, JD and Buck all keeping track of where Stevens and his men were. Once they knew it was safe they waved a hat at Josiah who was watching from the church. He in turned put a white hanky on a tree branch on the side of the church to let Vin know it was safe to bring the girl in.
Vin had no more then gotten the girl inside the church when the sound of howling wolves could be heard. The hunters rushed out of the saloon and ran for their horses. A few town folks came out to see what all the fuss was about. From where he was sitting, JD could hear them talkin' about how strange it was to hear wolves for they had seldom heard them so close to town.
Chris heard them also and he reassured them that he and his men would make sure the wolves didn't get anywhere near town.
"Damn why do they got to howl now?" Nathan said to Vin.
Once inside the church, the first person Akari looked for was Josiah. She found him sitting in front watching the door she had entered.
Later that night.
Chris and the boys joined Josiah, the old Indian and the girl in the church. Like Vin and Nathan before them, the boys' first sight of Akari was a shock.
Ezra and JD both couldn't get over the fact that she was indeed the woman of the dream they both had. Chris looked at her only once but he knew her image would remain in his head for years to come. Akari herself did not act as if she had seen them before, for she was still very ashamed that she could have had a dream such as she had shared with those 6 men.
They all began talking of ways to keep her safe, as well as how to save the wolves and buffalo that meant so much to the Kiowa and the girl. Akari sat under a window and listened to the wind and her pack as they howled.
"Ain't there some way to make them stop howling?" Buck asked.
"They howl for Akari. Only when she is where they can sense her will they stop," the Old One said.
"Well it's for dang sure those hunters will find them if they keep this up," JD said.
"We got to do somethin' to shut them up or them hunters will have them for sure. Maybe we can run them off somehow?" Vin suggested.
"Don't think that would work. They would only come back," Nathan answered.
"Those caves a few miles outside of town, what if we take the girl there?" Chris wanted to know.
"Exceptional idea Mr. Larabee. Perhaps this would make those animals stop that dreadful noise," Ezra said.
"Well, Old man, if we take her out to the caves will it make them stop?" Chris asked the old Indian.
"Yes, this would make them stop, for there they would be able to catch her sense," Old One answered.
"JD, go gather up some supplies and bring them here. Vin, Nathan, Ezra and Buck, go make sure Stevens isn't stooping around. Josiah, once JD gets back with the supplies I want you to take the girl and the old man and head for the caves. Stay there until one of us lets you know it's safe. Once y'all get out of town the rest of us will do what we can to keep Stevens and his man from finding the animals or the girl," Chris ordered the others.
"The buffalo will not be found," Akari informed them all.
"How can you be sure?" Nathan asked her.
"When Vin told me it was best they not come with us. I told them to return to the mountains and to keep out of sight," she answered.
Josiah wasn't sure he wanted to be with the girl in a cave. He wasn't sure how he felt about this whole dreams and spirits idea. And he was a little concerned with how the girl made him feel. He was a man after all, and she did things to him he hadn't felt for a long time. It wasn't only that he found her attractive, but he felt she touched him somewhere in his soul.
"I will help to keep the wolf pack from being found," Old One informed Chris and the others.
"Now hold on here! We don't need no old man out running around the country side getting himself hurt," Buck replied.
"I will do what I must. Do not worry, this old man has been traveling and taking' care of himself for many years," Old One said with a smile.
Before Buck could reply, Vin, who was watching for trouble at the door, turned to the others and said.
"Mary comin' toward the church. She's carryin' a bundle."
Nathan helped Akari to her feet and took her into the little room off the side of the main room. Mary knocked and waited until Vin opened the door to allow her in.
"I thought maybe the girl could use a few things and maybe would like to wash up a little after all she has been through," Mary informed the room at large.
"That's right kind of you Mary," Vin told her.
"Mary, while you help the girl, we fellas will go check on what Steven and his men are up too. She don't speak English so I don't reckon the two of you will understand each other," Chris said.
"Akari, speaks English. Not well, but this woman should be able to understand her," Old One told Chris.
At this Josiah looked at the door to the little room with a frown.
"Then why hasn't she spoken it to us?" he demanded to know.
"I do not know," said Old One.
"Chris, could we talk for a minute?" Josiah asked.
Chris sent the others off and him and Josiah walked to the back of the church.
"What is it Josiah? We don't have time to be wasting with one of your sermons," Chris said.
"Chris, maybe it would be best if'n you sent one of the others with the girl to the caves," Josiah informed him.
"Josiah unless you're about to die, I can't think of any reason why you aren't the best person to keep her safe," Chris said.
"Chris, I just got a bad feelin' bout her and me being together alone," Josiah admitted.
Chris looked at the preacher with a frown. He could see this was a worry for Josiah. But the best way for this all to work out was to have Josiah with the girl. Chris knew that all the boys would die to protect any woman, but Josiah was the one man other then Buck who really understood how a woman needed to be protected. And there was no way Chris would send Buck with Akari. Not that Buck wasn't trust worthy but he did tend to forget things when he had a woman in his sights. And since he'd already had a dream about this woman, Chris figured it was best to keep him away from her.
"Josiah, I would like to let you have your way with this one, but I think you're the girls best protector," Chris told the preacher.
"Alright Chris, we'll do it your way," Josiah said as he rubbed his head.
An hour later all the plans were set to be put in effect. Josiah, Akari and the Old One had slipped out of town and headed to the caves. Vin rode with them so that he could take the horses back to town.
Ezra had talked Stevens into a game of poker at the hotel; Meanwhile, Buck, Nathan and JD were in the saloon keeping their eyes on the now returned buffalo hunters. Chris had walked Mary back home and was now sitting outside the saloon.
It didn't take Josiah and the others long to reach the caves. Akari and the Old One went inside after gathering up wood for a fire.
"Josiah, it would be best I reckon for y'all go clean back to that last chamber we found awhile back. There you could have water since there is a spring and pool in there and a fire without anyone spottin' the smoke," Vin told Josiah.
"Yep, I reckon you're right, And Vin if'n ya need me send word somehow," Josiah explained to Vin.
"Ya watch your back Josiah. I reckon those hunters are mighty good at trackin'. I'll try and cover our tracks on my way out," Vin said.
Vin left so Josiah went inside to find that the Old man and Akari had figured out that the best place for them was in the back chamber of the caves.
The old man spoke to Akari then he told Josiah, "I will go and watch over the pack to be sure the hunters do not find them." For a second he looked between Josiah and Akari then he spoke again, "Do not deny the destiny the spirits have foretold for you." Old One then turned and silently slipped out of the cave.
"Now what the heck did he mean by that?" Josiah asked Akari.
"I do not know," Akari said but she spoke without looking Josiah in the eye.
He knew she did know but she wasn't about to share the information with him. He went and got the fire started then got the makings for coffee ready. It was late but he figured he would be awake all night so coffee would be needed.
Akari got busy with making a bed a short distance from the fire. She was afraid to look at Josiah. She wasn't sure whether he was still angry with her from the night before. All was silent for some time as the two of them settled in for their stay. Finally, Akari spoke.
"Are you still angry with Akari?" she whispered shyly.
"I wasn't mad at you. Just a mite upset with things is all," Josiah replied.
"Do you not like Akari. You have not spoken much to her since we met," Akari said softly.
"I like ya just fine. I just don't rightly know what to say to ya is all. I'm a man of God and don't know if I believe in all this spirit talk," Josiah tried to explain.
"Perhaps your god and my sprits are the same things. Or maybe they are working together to make things happen as they want them to," Akari said.
"Now, I don't know about that," Josiah replied.
Akari could tell she would not get Josiah to agree with her on this subject, so she went to her bedroll and lay down.
Hours later Josiah found himself watching the girl sleep and wondering just what the heck was going on with this woman and with him. He had been around woman all his life and none of them had affected him this way. Even Emma hadn't made him feel this way. And in some way he was a little upset that all the other boys had a dream about this woman while he did not. He wondered why. When Chris and Ezra had admitted to having their dream, the other fellas had looked at him as if they too wondered why he had been excluded. Josiah thought that maybe it was because he had such faith in his God that Akari's spirits weren't able to control his dreams.
Just as he was thinking maybe it was for the best that he hadn't been visited by this dream all the others had shared, Akari began to moan and rapidly speak in the Kiowa tongue. She tossed and turned for many long seconds before Josiah got up and walked over to wake her from whatever dreams she was having. As he stooped down and touched her, she shot up with a cry.
"Here now girl, it's alright, you're safe. Nothing will get pass me to get to you\," he reassured her.
"Josiah, you must not allow the hunters to harm your friends," Akari said.
"Don't you worry none bout them boys. They can take care of themselves," Josiah said.
"No Josiah, I saw it. The hunters will do what they must to stop them from protecting my pack and me," she cried.
"When?" Josiah asked.
"In two days. The hunters will grow tired of not finding the pack and will drink the white man's firewater. Then they will figure out that the 6 men who seem to always be watching them and their boss are why they can not find what they seek," she explained.
"Well the boys are pretty good at watching their backs, so don't you worry none about them," Josiah assured her.
Still Akari's tears fell and she shook with fear. Thinking to comfort her Josiah wrapped his strong arms around her and placed her head on his shoulder. They had sat that way for some time when Josiah felt Akari begin to rub his back. At the same time he realized he was feeling the effects of being so close to the girl. When Akari reached up and placed her hand to his cheek, he knew he should pull away. But he found himself unable to do so; Akari then brushed her lips across his cheek and then his lips. He tried his best to resist the pull he felt for her but he just wasn't strong enough.
When Akari once more brushed his lips with her own he responded. A gentle kiss was exchanged, then another. Josiah kissed her lips and then gently kissed his way down to her throat where he placed more kisses and gentle nips. Akari in return ran her hand through his curly hair. Josiah found the buttons on the front of her blouse and one by one he slowly unbuttoned them.
Like most Indian women, Akari wore only a blouse with no undergarments. As her full ripe breast fall into his hands, Josiah felt the heat rise inside his own body. Akari had found the buttons of his shirt as well and she made short work of getting the shirt open. They both sit back to look at what they had exposed. Akari saw a wide strong chest lightly covered in hair while Josiah's eyes beheld twin globes of pale white beauty. This temptation before him would have weakened even the strongest men to be able to partake of a sweet taste of heaven: Akari. Josiah gave a feather-light touch to each nipple, and then dipped his head to allow his lips access to the delights he saw. Akari, tossed her head back in order for Josiah to reach her breast better. When his lips began to gently suck upon her nipple, she could not hold back her sound of pleasure. Josiah spent many minutes in his feast upon her breast. First one, then the other was given his full attention.
He then kissed his way back up until he was once more at her lips. By the time he let them go they were swollen with passion; her lovely pale green eyes were glazed with passion also. For a second, Josiah truly believed he would be able to stop what was about to happen next.
"Akari, we can't do this. It ain't right. We have to stop now," he whispered.
"I do not wish to stop. Please Josiah," Akari pleaded.
Before he could stop her, she had risen to her feet and allowed her skirt to drop to the cavern floor. She stood before him in only the beauty God had given her, while the light of the fire behind her made a halo around her body.
As she stepped toward him, Josiah leaned forward and his lips touched her belly in a kiss. Akari wrapped her hands around his head and pressed him to her.
He in turn kissed his way to her womanhood; Akari opened to him like a flower to the sun. Josiah then kissed his way back up her body until he too was standing. After taking several more kisses from her passion swollen lips, he stepped back from her.
"Are you not afraid? Have you done this before?" he asked while thinking about Tall Bear and his threat.
"No, Only in dreams, I have done this many times with you in my dreams," she explained.
"Why did I never share those dreams?" Josiah asked.
"I do not know, I had always believed you did, until we met and you did not know me," Akari said with sadness.
"How long have you had those dreams?" Josiah asked as he ran his hands over her back in comfort.
"Since the summer I became a woman," Akari told his shyly.
Josiah knew this meant when she had first begun her woman's cycle.
Akari didn't give him time to ask anymore questions; she raised up on her toes and placed kisses all over Josiah's face and lips. She then kissed her way down his chest to his waist, where she slowly removed his gunbelt and unbuttoned his pants. Josiah reached for her arms and pulled her to her feet.
He then removed his pants to expose his swollen manhood to her glowing eyes.
"Are you afraid now?" he asked
"I do not fear you, nor anything you do to me. For I have known since I was a child that you would be the only man I would ever be with," Akari said.
Josiah was surprised to see a tear run down her cheek as she told him this. He placed a finger under the tear and wiped it away.
"Then why do you cry lovely maiden? If this is truly meant to be, why shed tears?" he questioned her.
"For our time together will be short and then we shall never met again," Akari said with sadness.
"We can't know that for certain. Our paths may cross many times in the future," Josiah said.
"I know what I know," was all Akari would say. Then she once more stepped into Josiah's arms. As she kissed him, Josiah knew he would get no more answers from her tonight. So he decided to enjoy this gift that the good lord had seen fit to grace him with. Seconds later found the two of them laying on her bedroll while exchanging kisses and little love bites. For a woman who had never been with a man before, Akari seemed to know exactly what would please Josiah the most. When she took his swollen member into her mouth he thought for sure he had died and gone to heaven. He took as much of this pleasure as he could then he rolled her over and used his mouth and tongue to give her the same type pleasure. When he knew she was ready for him, he carefully eased his member into her waiting depths. Upon reaching her barrier he stopped, afraid he might, in his haste, hurt this lovely woman more then she could handle. Akari sensed his fear and gave him no time to consider it. She opened his legs wider and pushed up with all her might. As the barrier broke and Akari cried out, Josiah heard the long loud howl of a wolf. For only a second did Akari seem to pause and then she again pushed up toward Josiah. He, knowing the deed was done, allowed himself to respond to her call. This pleasure was so much greater then any other Josiah had ever felt and soon he could not hold back the climax that shook him to his soul. Akari too found her release and at first was frightened by what was happening to her. But Josiah's soft words of encouragement and sweet kisses soon let her know there was nothing to fear.
Four times during the night Josiah and Akari shared their bodies and their passion. As the dawn began to awaken, the two lover slept. All the while, outside the cave the old Indian and a white wolf kept watch. Old One knew that Akari and Josiah had just fulfilled the destiny that the spirits had set for them long ago.
Late the next morning.
Josiah awoke to the smell of fresh coffee and something cooking. He cussed himself for forgetting his duty and letting his passion over come all he had learned. While he had been making love, he and Akari both could have been surprised by anyone. He would never have forgiven himself if Akari had been kidnapped again. He got up and without looking toward where he knew Akari was, he walked out of the cave. He found the Old One sitting at the entrance of the cave and he could have sworn that as he entered this chamber he saw a white dog run out the entrance.
"Once again I feel your anger. But this time it is for yourself," Old One said.
"Would you stop that!" Josiah snapped.
"Angry will do you no good. You could not have stopped your fate had you wanted too," the old man said with a smile.
"I don't believe my fate was to take that woman and use her the way I did," Josiah found himself saying.
"Akari will mate only once in her life, and the great spirit wanted her to have a kind, caring and giving man for her time," Old One said.
"If that's so then why did they allow her to share dreams with the other six men I ride with?" Josiah wondered aloud.
"For each of them possesses one trait the spirits wished her child to have. And so from each the spirits took what was needed and placed it inside her. But you were the one who allowed all of those traits to be used," Old One explained.
"Now that is just plain outrageous. I hope you don't expect me to believe all this," Josiah said angrily.
"You will believe only what you wish to believe," Old One said
"And if she is with child then she won't be going back with the Kiowa. I can tell you that much," Josiah growled.
"You can not stop the destiny that has been foretold," Old One calmly replied.
"Like hell I can't old man. If there is a possibility she carries my child then the two of us will be married," Josiah informed him.
"Even your God can not stop the spirits from getting what they want." Josiah was told.
Josiah walked off in anger. Old One shook his head in sadness. He liked this man the spirits had chosen. He was only sorry that Josiah would not share in the destiny that was planned for Akari and her special child.
Old One remembered back to when his father had told the tale of the white woman and her child, who would do much goodness for the Kiowa people. The special child would inherit traits from seven great white men. He would gain the knowledge of leadership from one; from another he would gain the knowledge to track and hide so well that no one would ever find him. From one he would also gain great knowledge of herbs and healing while yet another would give him the knowledge of caring for women and how to keep them happy. For even the great spirit knew that without woman the tribe would be no more. One man would give to the child a zest for life and adventure, while another would pass on a gift of words and a craftiness that would allow him to keep himself free always. From his blood father the child would gain the knowledge of great caring for his fellow man, both red and white, and great faith in not only the God of his blood father but also in the Kiowa people's Great Spirit. The Old One knew that none of the men would believe him if he told them this tale. Old One knew also that the destiny for the seven did not include Akari or her child, even if a foolish old man wished it otherwise.
The night before in town
Chris watched as the buffalo hunters drank more whiskey and talked among themselves. They were getting louder and drunker as the night went on. There would be trouble with those four, Chris was sure. Chris told Nathan he would be back, then he went to get Vin and Ezra. He hoped he wouldn't need them but two of those men looked mighty powerful and he didn't want to have to kill one of them if he didn't have to. He found Ezra just leaving the hotel, counting money as he walked toward the saloon.
"Mr. Larabee, I have made Mr. Stevens a little poorer tonight, in the hope that without sufficient funds he, along with those hideous creatures he hired, would be forced to vacate our lovely little town," Ezra told Chris with a smile.
'I hope it works, but I got a feelin' it won't stop those hunters from trying to track down those animals for their pelts anyway. You seen Vin?" Chris wanted to know.
"No, I have not. But knowing our Mr. Tanner, he is somewhere watching everything and everyone," Ezra said.
Just then, Vin came down the street from the livery.
Vin looked at Chris and knew something was about to happen.
"Chris, them hunters startin' trouble?" he asked.
"Yep, they been drinking pretty hard since they got back, I reckon we're in for a ruckus here shortly," Chris explained to the two men.
They walked on into the saloon, where they found the buffalo hunters yappin' bout the fact there was no woman in the town. The one called Smelly John was being crude about needing a poke while his friend One Eyed Dan was telling Buck that Smelly John got mighty randy when he was drinking. He said John would poke just bout anything if'n a woman wasn't around to give him some lovin'. As if to prove Dan right, Smelly John took one look at Ezra and started licking his lips. He walked up to Ezra and said in a voice slurred with drink, "Hey now you ain't a bad looking fella, and you smell real pretty too! How bout lettin' me give you a poke?" John roared with laughter as his friends joined in.
"My good sir, I believe you need glasses. Do I look like the sort of man who would ever allow my self anywhere near the likes of you?" Ezra said in a deadly tone of voice. When John reached to touch Ezra, Vin stepped in front of him and said, "Listen here fella, you don't want to lose somethin' you'll keep your hands to yourself."
"Why, what's a fella to do if'n there ain't no woman around here? I bet you fellas poke one another all the time. Seein' as how you got this fancy fella here and that young fella over there with y'all," Dan said.
At about this time, Mr. Stevens walked into the saloon. Seeing what was going on he ordered the buffalo hunters to get out of town and to start looking for the animals he had paid them to look for. The 4 hunters growled and cussed but did as they were told leaving the 6 lawman to wonder how safe anyone would be in town tonight.
"Boys, we best keep a close eye on things here in town tonight. And I don't want Ezra or JD left alone at anytime. I don't trust that fella John not to come back here looking for one of them," Chris said. Ezra assured Chris he could take care of himself as did JD, but Chris would take no chances and told the two in no uncertain terms what he expect of them.
Buck told Chris he would keep JD company at the jail since none of them were likely to get much sleep that night away. Vin was placed on watch on the outskirts of town while Nathan, Ezra and Chris would patrol the town every two hours.
Morning found the six men tired but glad that the night had passed without any trouble from the buffalo hunters. Vin told Chris and the others that the hunters had only stirred once during the night. "Around midnight there was a howl from a wolf and them fellas went riding in the direction of them hills west of town. They didn't find the caves, cause I followed them and them fellas ain't too good at trackin'," Vin explained over breakfast at the hotel.
Just as the six were leaving Stevens came down the stairs.
"Good morning gentleman," he said. The six returned his greeting then prepared to leave. "Gentleman, I believe today my men and I might be able to find those wolves and surely the 2 men and the woman who have my sister will arrive today. So, I hope to be out of your fair town by late tomorrow morning."
The six went out and Chris told the others that Stevens and his men were likely to become very unpleasant as the day wore on and neither of the things they expected arrived. "Watch your back, all of you. And Ezra, you and JD stay out of Smelly John's way as much as possible."
"Ya reckon I should let Josiah know what's goin' on?" Vin asked Chris.
"Josiah will be fine. He knows one of us will come tell him when it's safe to return," Chris answered.
The six walked on down the street, each thinking the next day or so just might prove deadly for someone. If not any of them then surely for Stevens or some of his men.
At the Caves
Josiah spent well over two hours away from the cave and Akari. He checked around to make sure none of the buffalo hunters were anywhere near the cave.
As he was scouting out the area around the cave, he saw the wolf pack only once. As he was returning to the entrance, he saw them all run off down over the hill. He found the old Indian sitting outside the entrance where he had been when Josiah had left the caves.
"Tomorrow the great spirit will punish those men who mean harm to Akari and the buffalo and wolf pack," Old One said by way of greeting.
"How?" Josiah asked.
"I do not know, only that you and your friends will witness this but will not be harmed," Old One answered.
"I reckon I'll just wait and see what happens tomorrow," Josiah said.
The old Indian only nodded his head, as if this was the answer he thought Josiah would give. He stood and turned to walk into the cave.
"I will greet Akari for the morning, then I will go and do what I must for the day. Will you not greet her this morning with more than anger? She is hurt by your actions this morning," Old One explained in a gentle voice.
Josiah knew better then to ask the old man how he knew what Akari felt. In a way, Josiah was beginning to think this old Indian knew everything about everything.
The two men walked into the back chamber to find Akari asleep on the bedroll she and Josiah had shared the night before. Beside her laid a large white wolf. As the men entered the wolf rose and walked over to them.
Josiah reached his hand toward his gun, thinking the wolf might be considering him for breakfast but Old One laughed and laid his hand upon Josiah's and shook his head.
"He means neither you nor I no harm. He knows your scent now and will not try to harm you," Old One explained.
"What's he want with me anyway?" Josiah questioned.
"I can not be sure, only that he will not hurt you in anyway," Old One answered.
Josiah relaxed and the wolf stepped close enough to sniff him, then he took another step closer and licked one of Josiah's hands. At the same time he let out a low whine. The wolf then turned and looked at Akari, looked back at Josiah and then walked out of the cave.
"Now what do you reckon that was all about?" Josiah wondered.
"Perhaps he was trying to tell you something," Old One said.
As they were speaking Akari began to awaken. Old One walked over and spoke to her for a few minutes before he too left the cave. Josiah stood at the entrance to the chamber and watched as Akari rose and poured a cup of coffee.
She carried it over to him and without a word handed him the cup. Josiah took it and thanked her in a low voice. He went and sat down near the fire to drank his coffee while Akari got busy putting a pot of water over the fire.
Josiah wondered what she was doing, until he saw her reach for a rabbit that was laying with his saddlebags.
"Where in heavens name did that come from?" he asked.
"Brother wolf brought it to me this morning," Akari said.
"You don't plan on eatin' that, do ya?" Josiah questioned her.
"Yes. It will make a fine stew," Akari said.
"I don't think I care to be eating nothin' no wolf carried around in its mouth," Josiah told her.
"Brother wolf is clean. Maybe cleaner then many people I have met," Akari said in a hurt tone.
Josiah figured he might as well let her do what she wanted, but damn he wasn't lookin' forward to supper. He reached into his saddlebag and took out a bunch of biscuits JD had packed for them. He handed some to Akari but she shook her head and went on with cleaning the rabbit. Once done with that she gathered up some things out of a pouch the old Indian had left in the cave.
Josiah watched as she added wild carrots and other things to the pot over the fire. It wasn't long before the smell of stew was filling the cave. Neither Josiah nor Akari had looked at each other since she had handed him the coffee.
"Akari, I'm sorry I rushed off like that this morning," Josiah said.
"Akari, knows you do not understand how you feel," Akari whispered.
"Are you alright? I didn't hurt you none last night did I? Josiah asked.
"No, I am well. Is Josiah sorry that he and Akari mated?" Akari wanted to know.
"NO. I should be but I can't find it in me to be sorry for somethin' that felt that right and that good," Josiah answered in a soft whispered.
At this Akari lifted her head and her eyes met Josiah 's. It took only that for them to find themselves in each other's arms. And once again Josiah found himself forgetting anything except for the woman in his arms. The kisses that had started out as light soon became full of passion. Akari soon moved over into Josiah's lap, where she could feel his desire for her rise with each kiss they exchanged. She reached between them and unbuttoned his pants, and then she slowly reached inside for his root. Josiah opened her blouse and ran his large hands over her full ripe breast. Soon both wanted more. Akari lifted herself up and allow Josiah to slip his pants down as far as he could, once done he pulled her back in his lap. She in turned lifted her skirt to allow their naked flesh to meet. Josiah used his hand to stroke the insides of Akari thighs and worked his way to the center of her womanhood. It did not take him long to realize that she was ready for him and eager also. Akari kept moving against his hand and placing kisses on his face and neck. As one they reached down and guided his root into the her waiting center. Soon the only sounds heard in the cave were those of passion and hissing of the stew cooking over the fire. They both found the fulfillment they sought in a short time, but stayed locked in an embrace, until Josiah felt eyes upon them.
He whipped Akari off him and reached for his guns, only to find the same white wolf from earlier watching them from the entrance of the chamber.
"Damn! I can't believe I done that again. We have got to stop or the next time if might be one of them hunter fellas who walks in on us," Josiah cussed.
"Brother wolf will not allow that. He and his sisters would warn us long before anyone got near," Akari said with a smile.
"How do ya know that for sure?" Josiah asked.
"They have always warned me of danger. The first thing I can remember are the wolves howling. I was frightened at first, then after two days the wolves came close enough for me to touch them. The next day they carried food to me. But I could not eat the rabbit so mother wolf helped me find berries. Then the buffalo came and they walked right up to me and I was not afraid of them or the wolves. For many days they were my only companions. When the Indians came, the buffalo and the wolves surrounded me and would not let them near me. Then the medicine man spoke to the buffalo and wolves. They then allow the Medicine Man to take me with him to his home. He gave me this medallion soon after that." As Akari spoke she showed Josiah the medallion she wore around her neck on a long leather strap. It had a buffalo on one side and a wolf on the other.
"Don't you remember anythin' before that time?" Josiah said.
"No, nothing," Akari answered.
"How old was you then?" Josiah asked.
"I do not know. The medicine man says I was about 6 or 7," Akari replied.
"That would make you 27 or 28 now I reckon. You don't look much older then young JD," Josiah said.
Josiah got dressed while Akari walked to the pond to wash up. He could see that Akari was tired, and he insisted she lay down and sleep for awhile. It only took her a few minutes to fall asleep and Josiah left to check outside the cave entrance. Once again he found the old Indian sitting there, keeping watch. Josiah sat beside him and the two of them kept watch together.
They had been sitting there for almost an hour when the old one began to speak.
"The great Spirit will protect Akari and her child. It is sad that you will not be with them but this is not the destiny the spirit has planned for you or your friends. The seven of you will be together for many winters and will save many people. Many, many winters from now as you wait for death you will see the child, for he will come to be with you in your last days. He will be a man you are proud of and he will remind you of the friends you shared many years with. And in the end you will be reunited with Akari for the Great Spirit has told me this," he explained. Josiah didn't know how to answer him or what to say at all. He wasn't sure he believed all this tale. One thing for sure, he knew he was going to miss Akari for a long time to come. As the sun began to set, Akari called to them that they should come and eat something. The two men entered the chamber and both realized Akari must have had some sort of dream for she was even paler then normal and she seemed very upset about something. But no matter how much they asked her she would only say it was nothing to worry about.
Late evening in town.
Chris Larabee watched as the buffalo hunters returned to town and went into the saloon. He and the other had done all they could to keep track of the hunters and Stevens all day. Vin had followed the hunters in their search and had reported to Chris that they hadn't gone near the caves and neither he nor they had seen hide or hair of a wolf or buffalo all day. JD and Buck had spent most of the day going through wanted poster, but had no luck finding any of the men in them. Ezra had kept Stevens entertained all day with drinking and poker. Nathan had kept a close eye on Mary, in case any of the hunters came back looking for a woman. Mary had sent a few telegrams, but so far hadn't gotten any replies. Chris joined the boys at the saloon for dinner and to keep an eye on the hunters. Stevens was in his room at the hotel, no doubt trying to recover from a headache and the loss of even more money.
As the evening wore on, Chris could tell the hunters were getting restless. With no woman to entertain them they had begun talking about what they would do once they found the girl and her animals. Their talk was enough to turn even the strongest stomach and Chris was just thinking he'd had enough when Vin spoke.
"It's fellas like them that made me stop hunting buffalo. Them type of men will kill everything they come across. Soon the buffalo will be no more. Already there are so few it's hard to find them."
"Vin, them fellas ain't like you. They is just plain mean and ugly," Buck said.
Smelly John wove his way over to them. "Hey boys, how bout joining us in a drink?" he asked.
"No thanks," Chris replied.
"Too good to drink with us are ya?" John shouted in a roar.
"Ain't that. Just we done already got a drink," Chris told him in that deadly calm voice he used when angry.
Smelly John's friends could see that this Larabee fella might not be someone they would want to rile. They called John back to them in the hope that he would leave well enough alone.
John walked back to his friends and the 4 of them talked more of killin' and hurting the girl and her animals. Then One Eyed Dan said he heard that just west of town was a few caves. He thought they should check them out the next day. At this Vin and Chris both sat up and then looked at the others.
Trouble was about to find Josiah and Akari but the seven men would do their best to protect her and her animals.
Late that night Josiah found himself once more wrapped in the arms of Akari sharing passion and talking softly. He spoke to her of his faith and how he had lost it for a short time.
"Guess it was all the evil and killin' that made me lose faith for a short while, but since meetin' Larabee and the others, I find myself gaining my faith stronger every day. All those boys have somethin' eatin' away at them, but still they risk their lives to help others. I stay cause I hope in some way I can help them to learn to have faith in themselves," he explained to Akari.
"They have learned much from you already and will learn more as each winter passes," Akari said in a whisper as she rubbed her head against his arm.
"They done taught me a lot too," Josiah said
Talk soon turned silent as the two kissed and stroked each other in passion. They spent this night as they had the night before, only this time there was no hesitation on Josiah's part. And Akari, knowing this would be her last night with this man, wanted only to spend as much of it as she could wrapped in his strong arms feeling his large body pressed into her own. Dawn again rose and the lovers slept. While outside their private chamber the world got ready for something no one knew was coming.
At dawn Vin Tanner made his way to the cave to warn Josiah of the hunters' arrival As he approached the caves he was surprised to see the wolf pack laying and sittin' around the entrance while the Old One watched him climb the hill.
"The time has come," Old One said.
Vin could only nod his head at the wish old man because he too had felt the building of something evil all night. Together the two walked in to find Josiah and Akari packing up the saddlebag.
"You two must go and join your friends. Old One and I will stay here and we will be safe. But you must protect the pack and allow them to live. Yesterday I saw what will happen to the buffalo hunters in a dream. You and your friends must not interfere, the great spirit has decided what to do to make them pay for their unkindness and hate toward his creatures, If you interfere you too may suffer this fate," Akari told them.
"Ma'am maybe we best take you on into town. Y'all be safe there," Vin explained.
"No, I will be safe here and we do not have time to get to town," Akari said.
About then, Vin heard the sound of howling as the wolf pack took off at a run down the hill from the cave. Josiah and Vin both rushed out to see what had spooked the wolf pack. Below them they saw the hunters giving chase to the pack as they ran toward the desert. Right behind them rode Chris, Buck JD, Nathan and Ezra. Vin and Josiah both headed for their horses. Josiah stopped and ran back to Akari.
"I'll be back, don't go no where. My friends and I will keep you safe," he kissed her gently then mounted up.
They soon joined their friends in pursuit of the buffalo hunters. The hunters had gotten into range and had begun to fire on the wolf pack. Chris and the men had to shoot to keep them off target. Gunfire seemed to explode from all directions along with the baying of the wolf pack in the morning hush.
Over all the noise Vin soon heard another sound. He motioned the others to stop. They did and soon heard the sound also. It was the thunder of many hooves. They watched as two white buffalo and their black herd thundered toward the wolf pack and the buffalo hunters. Behind the herd rode almost 30 Kiowa braves. The hunters realized they were out matched and turned to get away from the herd.
Afterwards none of the seven could explain what happened. They watched as the wolf pack and buffalo ran the 4 hunters down. The wolves made short work of tearing the men from their horses and the buffalo ran them over. Their screams could be heard for miles. Then the buffalo and wolf pack turned and ran off toward the desert. The braves and the seven met where the animals had killed the hunters. The sight before them was one none of them would ever forget.
Tall Bear rode toward Chris but his eyes were on Josiah. Once assured that Akari was safe, Tall Bear and his braves rode to the caves with the seven. As they dismounted, Akari stepped out of the entrance of the cave, only she wasn't alone. Stevens had her by the neck with a knife pressed against her temple.
"You folks just stay back. I been searchin' for this woman for 7 years, and I ain't planning on allowing you to stop me from taking her now," he growled at them.
"Stevens, you can't get out of here alive if'n you try and take the girl," Chris told him.
"Oh, but I can, because if you don't allow me to take her, then she dies right here," Stevens shouted.
Josiah and Tall Bear both let out a hiss at this statement. Both felt helpless to do anything to save Akari. Then a sound from Stevens' left and all anyone saw was a streak of white. All they heard was the sound of snaring and snapping as the white male wolf jumped Stevens and ripped half his arm off.
Stevens screamed and released Akari as the wolf tore into his arm again.
Tall Bear ran for Akari and took her far enough away to get her to safety.
All the men saw that the wolf would kill Stevens if they didn't do something. But they couldn't kill the wolf and even after Vin and Chris both begin to fire their guns in the air the wolf would not let Stevens go. Just when it begin to look like they might have to kill the wolf, they heard a howl from where Akari and Tall Bear stood. The male wolf let Steven go and ran toward Akari. He stopped only long enough to allow her to touch his head and then he disappeared. Nathan rushed to Stevens side, but it was plain Stevens was already dead. All turned to face Tall Bear and Akari. Josiah walked to them and took Akari into his arms. Tall Bear joined his braves and Vin went to find the Old One. He returned to the group and said he couldn't find him anywhere. They decided he must have gotten away when Stevens had entered the cave and would soon return, if not to them in town then to the Indians. As Vin pointed out, Old One came and went whenever he felt like it. No one worried about him much as this was how he was.
Akari spoke softly to Josiah. As much as she wanted to stay with him, she knew it was neither her fate nor his for them to be together. She kissed him several times clinging to him for a long time. Josiah's six friends could tell this was a painful parting for the preacher. And each of them knew that this woman had been special to him. They hoped that this parting would not cause him to forsake his faith again or cause him to leave them and the town that needed him so much. Tall Bear finally spoke sharply to Akari and she released Josiah and pulled from his embrace. She went to one of the braves and climbed onto his horse. As the braves rode away only Tall Bear remained behind. He watched Josiah as Josiah watched Akari leave. Josiah's friends were remembering the warning Vin had told them Tall Bear had given about Akari. But when Tall Bear turned and rode away, they were surprised. Josiah said not a word as he walked to his horse and mounted up and turned towards town. They had ridden only a few yards when the sound of a horse heading toward them made them turn. Tall Bear rode full speed and they could see he carried his lance, aimed at Josiah. Chris and the others made as if to stop him when they heard Josiah speak.
"No boys, let what happens happen, it's what I got commin'."
But Tall Bear did not throw his lance. Instead he held it out to Josiah and motioned for Josiah to take the leather strap and medallion that was hanging on it's tip.
"Akari wishes you to have this, and for you to know she is glad the great spirit picked you. And this I tell you from myself, she will be cared for and loved as long as she lives. Since it could not be I who mated with her then I must be happy that the spirits choose someone like you for her. For I have loved her since she was first brought to our village. But as her brother I could not take her as my wife. Now she will remain with me as she has been with a white man. It is seldom that any brave will take a woman to wife who has been with a white man. And soon it will be clear that she is with child. I will care for them both as if they were my own wife and son. I will make sure he knows what brave and kind men his fathers were," Tall Bear told Josiah.
As Josiah took the medallion and placed it around his neck, he took his own medallion and handed it to Tall Bear. He spoke not a word, only nodded his head then turned toward town. Tall Bear watched him with sadness, he understood how this man was feeling, for he himself had loved and had been unable to have Akari. Tall Bear then turned and rode back the way he had come.
"Didn't he mean Father?" JD asked.
"No he meant fathers," Vin replied as he watched Josiah ride toward town.
"What I don't understand," JD said.
"I'll explain it to you later kid," Vin told him.
The six men rode hard to catch up with their friend. He might need them now more then he ever had before.
On a hill above them an old Indian and one white wolf stood and watched them ride toward their destiny.
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