"Nashua! You never told me one of your great, great, great grandmothers was Nez Perce!" Zella scolded her boyfriend one day as they sat side by side in the Arrow Heart Stable, taking a work break.
"I didn't think you'd care," Nashua laughed at her.
"I want to know all about it. Please, Nashua. Please?" Zella begged him like a little girl even though she was 16 now. It had been a few months since Wilson Mills had told them They could keep Cupid if they worked at Arrow Heart Rodeo for a while.
"Okay, okay! I'll tell you…but it's a really long story so don't expect to hear it in one day or in one work break," Nashua said with amusement.
"Oh trust me. I want to her it. Even if it takes a month to tell. I'm interested in your heritage," Zella incouraged him.
"Okay, here it goes….." Nashua smiled.
"Manzie Johlan daughter of Onacona, chief of the Nez Perce was disowned by her father. Shamed by everyone in the tribe especially by her father.
How she was I will tell you now…………
One day she was in the woods with her two year old brother Yana. Manzie decided she wanted to go for a little walk, but her father made her take Yana with her.
Manzie was impatient with Yana for she wanted some quiet time to think and instead had to chase him all around the woods.
Time alone wasn't something she got often being the chief's daughter and she wanted to get her advantage of being alone and going for a walk in the woods. Besides she needed to think about Rulon.
Manzie was to be married to him next full moon. She was lucky to be able to marry her best friend since childhood. Onacona had chose him over all the other young men who had their eye on Manzie.
Rulon was the warrior leader. Manzie's father trusted him with her.
Yana decided to run all over the wood to pick wild flowers and gape in awe at them.
Why? She did not know but instead of watching him she turned her back away from him toward the camp and watched everyone on their duties of the day. Manzie watched Rulon with a bunch of men and her father talking to one of the warriors.
Last words she heard from Yana were, "Be wight back, Mensie," he said in his toddler voice.
"No, wait Yana," Manzie turned, but he was already gone. "He'll be back soon," she told herself.
But she waited and waited and still no Yana. Manzie started to search the wood for him but didn't see him any where.
"Yana?!" she called after a hour of searching, starting to panic.
It was starting to get dark. That was when Manzie heard a screaming hiss of a wild cat.
"Oh no!" Panic stricken she ran toward the sound. As Manzie ran she heard Yana scream.
What Manzie saw froze her insides. The cougar had ran away but Yana lay dead slain by the cougar because of Manzie's ignorance of not watching him. She screamed in shock and panic.
Suddenly Rulon grabbed her, scaring her to death. He had ran when he heard Yana scream. "What happened?" he asked grimly, seeing Yana dead.
"I wasn't watching him. I was distracted. He told me he'd be right back but I waited instead of going ahead and following him. It's all my fault, Rulon," Manzie started to cry even though she was trying hard not to for it showed weakness.
Rulon tried to comfort her but nothing helped now.
The day went by in a daze. They buried Yana under a huge pine tree.
Onacona was bitter toward Manzie. He knew of her being unwatchful and that was why his only son who would've been chief one day was killed by a cougar. He was ashamed of her as was everyone else in the tribe except Rulon. Manzie didn't know why he wasn't but she was glad. She felt as bad as it was.
Everyone glared at her.
She ran to her teepee in shame not turning back when her father or Rulon called her.
She went to sleep after crying again….."
"Oh, please continue!" Zella was engrossed in the story.
Nashua gave her a grin, "You sure?"
"Yes!" Zella widened her eyes, "Does Manzie ever marry Rulon?"
"I'm not telling you. You'll find out soon enough," he said to her, then started to continue.
"Manzie? Wake up ," her father shook her awake.
"Yes?" Manzie asked, sleepily.
"I have to talk to you," he sounded grim as earlier.
"What is it?" She asked sitting up to look at him.
"I am very angry with you and I don't think I'll be able to forgive you at least for a while. The tribe decides with me that I should disown you as your punishment. That also means you don't have permission to marry Rulon anymore. I'm sorry Manzie. Gather your things, you can move in with Bena," Onacona said.
She wasn't surprised at all at what he said, "I understand," She got up and started packing.
Bena was Rulon's aunt. They were quit close friends.
Onacona left her to pack up her things. She packed everything in her Mother's pack. Manzie's Mother Tabla died in labor giving birth to Yana. She missed her horribly.
I wonder what she would think of me now, letting my little brother die, she thought to herself. She was as ashamed of herself as much as was everyone else. As far as she was concerned she wasn't considered a real Nez Perce girl less a Chief's daughter.
Tears spilled down her cheeks.
As she finished packing someone came in the teepee.
"Who is it?" Manzie wiped her eyes furiously to get rid of the evidence of crying.
"It's me Tanalie," her other best friend called to her.
Manzie turned to look at her carefully not to meet her eyes.
"I heard what happened and I'm sorry, Manzie," Tanalie sat down beside her, "Everyone knows well except Rulon."
"Rulon doesn't know?"Manzie asked, befuddled.
"No one wants to tell him. They're afraid they'll upset him and he'll get angry at them. He loves you a great deal. It's going to hurt him when he finds out," Tanalie said to Manzie in a different tone.
Manzie also had learned to love him when or her father or should I say Onacona now gave her the words she would or was to marry Rulon.
"I should go tell him my self then," Manzie sighed, slinging her pack and bedroll onto her back.
"Tanalie!" Tanalie's Mother called from across the camp.
"I have to go now," she got up and left swiftly.
Manzie could tell she was just as ashamed of her as the rest of the tribe was.
She went to dispose of her pack and bedroll in Bena's teepee.
Bena looked up at Manzie, her expression full of disappointment and disguist.
Manzie left without a word and went to find Rulon. He was talking to the warriors about something. She got behind a tree close enough to hear their conversation.
"Are you saying we are in danger?" one of the warriors asked Rulon who's name was Aquan.
"We may be. Parts of each of the 7 Cherokee clans have traveled from the east to get away from the white men who are trying to settle in their lands. The Wolf Clan aren't far from us. The Cherokee are trying to adapt to teepees instead of the wood structures they live in the east called cabins. Some still live in cabins. We are to watch close for them just in case they decide to be enemies. They are still foreign to us," Rulon told them all.
Cherokee? Manzie thought as they left. She ran toward Rulon once he was faraway from where she was so he couldn't see her leave the tree.
"Manzie," he greeted her as she ran up to him.
"I have something to tell you," she said slowly, looking at his smile that was about to wipe clear off from his handsome face.
"What's wrong?" he asked seeing her expression. His smile vanished.
"Onacona disowned me and I'm not allowed to marry you now," Manzie said, trying to sound casual instead of upset. I should probably runaway instead of staying here with everyone mad at me, she said in her thoughts but some how said out loud, "It's probably best if I runaway."
"No, Manzie! You can't run off at this time. It's dangerous out there right now," Rulon protested, his tone agonizing, "Besides I don't want you to leave me even if we can't get married. I don't think I could handle my life without you."
Manzie looked up at him. His tone was so wrenched with agony she couldn't stand it. She didn't say anything else. Manzie ran to Bena's teepee."
"Nashua, Zella?" Wilson called to them.
"Well I'll tell you more after work on the way home," Nashua promised Zella.
And they went back to work.
Zella was getting very impatient. She wanted to hear more pronto!
"Alrightie," Nashua said as they climbed in his truck.
"What happens now?" Zella asked.
"That night she waited until Bena and all the camp were asleep. She had secretly packed food, a knife, and other things she would need for traveling. She didn't know where she was going, maybe east. All she knew was she had to get away from this camp and it's people. Manzie was sad to hurt Rulon but she couldn't help it, she had to get away.
Manzie got up slowly to not wake Bena. She grabbed her pack and bedroll and tiptoed outside. She didn't own a horse of her own she realized as she walked. Manzie needed a horse if she was to make some progress. Without a horse she wouldn't get far.
Suddenly someone grabbed her and covered her mouth. Thinking it was an enemy about to kidnap her she reached for her knife in her pouch.
Manzie was about to scream but that's when her supposed kidnapper spoke to her.
"Manzie! What are you doing?" Rulon grabbed her flint knife out of her clutched fist which was clutching it in sheer panic.
She relaxed hearing his familiar voice cut threw her scream, "Ru-Rulon? Do not scare me like that, please. I thought you were an enemy the way you grabbed me so!" Manzie hissed at him .
He let go of her, holding her knife, "You did not answer my question yet. I asked you what you were doing?"
"Okay! I'm running away. I can't stand it here any more," Manzie crossed her arms and peered up at him.
"No you will not. I can't allow it. It's too dangerous right now," Rulon told her stubbornly. Underneath the stubborn stance he wore she could see sadness.
"Because the Cherokee?" Manzie said to him, seeing his eyes widen.
"How'd you know about them?" Rulon demanded Manzie.
"I have my ways," She said giving him a mysterious look. She snatched her knife from him then started toward the horses.
"If you mean by sneaking behind a tree easedropping on War-Talk," Rulon smirked, seeing her unprepared for that remark.
She didn't say anything only kept on going toward the horses.
"If you are actually leaving then you will need a good strong horse. I advise you to take Bow. He's one of the sturdiest in the bunch," Rulon said softly. He whistled and Bow came to him. He went and saddled Bow then came back and gave her the end of the reins. "Be careful," he barely whispers to Manzie.
"I will," she said to him, trying to keep back tears.
"I love you Manzie. Be safe," Rulon hugged her, gingerly.
"I love you too, Rulon," Manzie hugged him back.
"I pray fate lets our paths meet once more," he smiled gently at her then as if he couldn't resist any longer he did the unexpected. His lips met hers.
"Rulon!" She said sharply as the kiss ended. She had sometimes wondered what it would be like to kiss him but she hadn't thought she'd known until they were wedded.
"I'm sorry, Manzie if I scared you. I've been wanting to do that ever since you turned to womanhood," he apolygized.
"No, you didn't scare me. I was only surprised," Manzie said gently. Without giving him a warning him like he did her she kissed him back. He looked as surprised as she was when he had done that to her. "Take care Rulon. I'm sorry we were never to be husband and wife. I still love you," Manzie mounted Bow then was on her journey. As she galloped away she told herself she would not look back."
All too soon they were at Zella's house.
"This was getting good," Zella smiled at Nashua.
"Meet me tomorrow at my house and we can finish it maybe," Nashua kissed her, "Bye, Love you, Zellie."
"Bye, love you too," Zella got out the truck and went inside the house.
'I never knew about this before. Strange he never told me before,' she thought readying for bed.
This is redone I hope ya'll like it.