Thanks to Wyrda's Ella, venus, ArgetFethrblaka, for character and plot ideas Thanks to anyone reading, thinking about reading, reviewing, thinking about reviewing, subscribing, or thinking about subscribing. I love you all forever.

Lou Ana watched as the cattle grazed contentedly on the plains. She felt very lucky to be able to be out here, all alone in the valley. Never being bothered by people and thier problems. All she worried about was the coyotes at night and the dust storms by day. She always found food to eat and she had her bed roll to sleep in. But most of all was her hardy mare Dixie and her field dog Hal. With Dixie and Hal, Lou felt like she could never want anything more. She was always protected by her beloved dog and Dixie was queen of the herd. She knew every cow and bull in there so well, she practically knew their birthdays.

The only thing lacking in Lou's life was a human element. Not surprisingly, there was barely ever anyone else out here. Though Lou didn't own the land, she was the only herder who put her cattle out here. Not that it was storm-prone or constantly plagued by bandits. Actually, not many people knew that this particular valley existed. It was flanked by two huge mountains and surrounded by a large river. The only way into the valley was by a shallow ford in the river, about a mile and a half east of where Lou was keeping her cattle.

While she watched the calves frisk in the early morning sun, a lonely figure was loping across the plain towards where Lou was up on a ridge, riding Dixie. Hal ran down to meet the horse and rider as they approched swiftly.

Emily had been riding almost all day now and ended up as usual, lost. She had rode through the woods, crossed a stream or two, and ended up in some kind of valley. She could'nt tell north from south or east from west. Her sturdy mustang mount, Starfire had been quite good through all her timest that she was lost, but this time even he looked confused. Starfire was her best mount. He was a sturdy, tall, chestnut, gelding that she had caputred from a wild band a couple years back. She was helpless lost when she stopped the cattle in the valley below and saw a rider galloping quickly toward them.

Lou loped up alongside the girl and her beautiful horse. "Hello, my name is Lou Ana and this is where i live. How can i help you?"

"That's a good question", Emliy replied, "I'm absoluty lost, I'm sure we've travled around a good 15 miles today. Starfire is beginning to tire and I was hoping maybe you could show us a good place to camp for the night. Oh, sorry by the way I'm Emily and this is Starfire, and it's nice to met you Lou Ana."

Billie had been ridin across the plains on his moterbike for hours as he took his year break from the band, "finally ah can get sume rest", he said to himself as he looked for a good spot to camp. As he rode along he saw two girls on some horses, "well I'll be, whoda thought ahd find two lasses out hare", he said, suddenly a cow came running past him and Billies lost control of his bike in suprise, "ohh nooo!", he yelled as he tumbled down a hill and would up at the feet of the girls, "Aye! Wheres me strings!", he exclaimed as he scrambled around for his fiddle.

"Oh here it is", he said as he picke it up right behind him.

Lou Ana smiled at Emily and said, "There's a perfect camping place further up on the ridge but i'm afraid i took it already. But i'd be perfectly willing to share if you wouldn't mind. Ane then tomorrow, if Hal is okay staying with the herd, i can bring you to the settlement if you want."

"Uhh excuse me lass but could you let another person stay at the site", Billie said to Lou Ana as he walked up to her with a slight limp, "I would be very much obliged if ye would and I could provide some musical entertainment", he added, motioning to his fiddle.

"I suppose so but don't be too loud or you'll stampede my cattle. And then you'll be in trouble." Lou smiled at the strange man and then turned to prepare a place for the two newcomers.

"The names Billie by the way, Billie Straw of Dublin", he said as he grabbed his bike and stuck his hand out at the girl, "and who might you be?".

Lou grasped his hand firmly but not too hard. "Name's Lou. And my mare is Dixie and doggie's Hal." She adressed the last part to both of the people in front of her.