“I can’t believe you almost killer her Deerhunter!” Lance screamed. Things seemed to have been put on hold while Lance took care of business. All of my friends had been untied and Jesse was now seated next to me with a rag and some hot water.
“Hey watch it! That’s hot!” I growled as he put the rag on my right leg.
“Sorry. It’s the only thing I can use to get the dried blood off your arms and legs,” he explained.
“You think I care?” I questioned. I was trying not to listen to Lance yell at his tribesman.
Catcher walked into the room. “How are you doing?” he asked, his eyes wide with concern.
“Not very good I’m afraid,” Jesse explained, “She shouldn’t move for a couple days.”
“I’ll ask Skywatcher if she’ll take care of Aleena while your group goes back to get your things,” Catcher said, “Lance will be in to see you when he’s finished with Deerhunter.”
“Yes. I suppose we do have some things to settle,” Jesse sighed thoughtfully.
“Catcher?” a tiny voice asked from the doorway.
“Lance wants to see Jesse and Aleena. Can we go check your traps?” the young, light-haired girl asked.
“Okay. I’ll be there in a second,” Catcher replied. He stepped up next to the pile of furs that I was lying on and gave me a pat on the arm. “While your friends are gone, I will keep you company.” And with that, he left the room.
“Why do you have to go with them?” I asked Jesse, taking his hands in mine.
“I need to protect the others. Plus help carry back everything,” he replied.
“Why don’t some of the Dark Ones go with them?” I questioned, lifting myself up to give Jesse a big hug, “I have the feeling that something bad will happen to you.”
“Nothing bad will happen to me. You just watch and see,” Jesse smiled.
“I agree with Jesse. Nothing will happen,” Lance replied as he came out of the shadows, “I may not like him very much but I promise you that he won’t get hurt.”
“What if Joe and Mike discover we’re out here?” I said.
Lance smiled weakly, “Don’t worry about that, Aleena.”
“Let me go with them,” I suggested, “I’m a go—“
“NO! I will not have you fighting in your condition,” he commanded, and then his tone softened a little, “I’ll have Troll-killer, Night, Kree, Brightwing, and Spearthrower go to protect them.”
“Why send your best warriors and probably get them killed when I can go and fight for what I should?” I pointed out. I refused to let the issue drop.
“NO! You are staying here. That’s the end of it,” Lance growled.
“Fine,” I sighed.
“I’m going to get the others ready to leave,” Jesse mumbled, walking out the door. I watched him walk before turning to Lance.
“You listen and listen good! Just because you are chief does not mean you have any right to tell me what I can or cannot do!”
“I’m sorry I have to do this. You are to stay in this room. That’s an order, Styr,” Lance gasped at the last word out of his mouth.
“Don’t ever call me that again!” I cried, getting out of bed.
“Please Aleena, get back into bed.” Lance rushed over to me and tried to get me to lie down.
“Don’t touch me! Don’t ever touch me again! It’s your fault that I’m like this! If you wouldn’t have attacked the camp, we wouldn’t be here!” I screamed at him. He stepped back, stunned. I sat back down on the bed because it was too painful to move.
“I’m sorry I had them attack your friends, Aleena. It shouldn’t have gone the way it did. The only reason we had them tied up was because we were afraid they would retaliate against us. You have your brother to thank for that fear,” Lance explained, “If he wouldn’t have attacked me and my sister, everything would have been fine. But that’s over and done with, and it’s been taken care of. It was just a misunderstanding.”
“Why did you attack the camp? What is your great reasoning behind that?” I demanded.
Lance sat down next to me. “It really wasn’t me. Some of the others didn’t want humans so close to our home so they decided to attack the camp. I let them do it so they could see that these humans weren’t here to hurt us.”
“I don’t suppose Deerhunter was one of those elves who didn’t want us here, was he?” I asked sarcastically.
Lance looked away. “Yes.”
“Figures. I should have stabbed him when I had the chance,” I grumbled. We were distracted by the sound of footsteps on the wooden stairs leading to the room we were in.
“Lance, I think it’s time Aleena got some sleep. Maybe you should go,” the motherly Skywatcher suggested.
“You’re right. Aleena needs her rest,” he replied, “I’ll talk to you later.” He left the room and Skywatcher came over to the bed.
“Come on now. You need to get some sleep so you can heal that wound,” she said, puffing up the furs I was using for a pillow. She was sweet and reminded me of my grandmother.
“Can you get Catcher for me?” I asked, lying down.
“No, wait until after your nap, dear,” Skywatcher replied. She pulled the fur blanket up around my body and tucked it in to make sure I couldn’t go anywhere.
“Skywatcher?” a voice asked from the doorway.
“Where’s Windy?” he asked, glancing at me thoughtfully. It was the warrior who had been staring at me earlier in the night. Our eyes met and he looked away. I felt that same strange sense of openness when our eyes met, like my soul had been bared to him. A few of the elves that were getting along with Jesse had told him Kree had been acting funny since he had seen me earlier. Now I could understand why.
“She’s helping your father get ready to leave,” Skywatcher answered as she went over to him, “Now let’s leave Aleena.”
“All right,” Kree sighed. He looked at me one last time before she shooed him out the door. I guess he was feeling the same thing that I was feeling after all.
I never did get any sleep. I was so busy thinking about what Lance had said that I didn’t hear what was going on outside. Suddenly I was pulled out of bed and onto the floor. Icewalker put his hand over my mouth and told me to use telepathy.
What’s going on?
We’re being attacked by humans. They say they are looking for two half-breeds. he answered.
“Uh-oh,” I whispered. I absently played with the crescent-shaped opal necklace around my tanned throat. Jesse was in terrible trouble! Mike had decided to come after us.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Icewalker whispered.
Jesse and I are the half-breeds they want. He’s in danger!
“Let’s go.” Icewalker stopped. “I know you’re wounded but you have to help Lance. Most of the warriors went with your friends and Deerhunter told me that you know what you’re doing when it comes to battle.”
“It’s all right, Icewalker. I’ll get whoever tries to hurt Lance,” I growled, grabbing my dagger and running out the door. I went down the stairs of the large tree and into the arms of Joe Stevens.
“Let me go!” I growled as I tried to get out of his grasp.
“Well, well. Look who we have here. Aleena Yellow Hawk, you look gorgeous in that tunic,” Joe laughed, “Let’s go to my place and have some fun.”
“What are you going to do? Rape me a few times and then throw me back into the forest to die?” I asked, “Sounds like a dumb idea. It won’t work. The elves will find out and come after you.”
“Is that so? You really think I’m afraid of a few miserable elves?” Joe asked.
“Yeah, that’s so,” I replied, acting like I wasn’t scared. In reality, I was afraid to death of him.
“Well, I think I’ll kill you right now then,” Joe laughed, “Say goodbye to your life.”
“HELP! PLEASE SOMEONE! HELP ME!” I screamed.
“Quit yelling. There is no one to help you,” Joe growled.
“Yes there is!” someone said from behind him. Joe threw me to the ground where I hit my head against a rock. He turned so fast I didn’t see who it was. Joe fell with a cry and Deerhunter came over to me.
“Thank you so much,” I cried, throwing my arms around his neck. I held on to him for a while. He didn’t say anything. He smelled so nice and I needed something to cuddle up to. He moved me over to the side by a tree and held onto me. I cried and told him I was sorry for all the things I had done to him.
“It’s all right,” he assured, “I really should be the one to apologize to you. I shouldn’t have cut you up so badly.”
“It’s okay,” I sighed. I giggled a little. “My head hurts.”
“Let me take you upstairs,” Deerhunter explained, picking me up in his strong arms.
“Please stay with me,” I mumbled, “I don’t want to be alone.”
The last thing I remember was falling asleep in his arms. The smell of his tunic filled my nostrils and I dreamed about racing through the forest, hunting deer with the rest of the tribe.