CHAPTER 52

1878-Winter Season

Chief Running Wolf sat in his empty Council Lodge on a cold February day in 1878 and his wife Little Bear would say he was brooding but in truth he was furious and the entire Village knew it and knew why he was waiting there and alone; he was waiting for his extremely like his mother in his stubbornness, son, Little Eagle. His wife, Little Bear had been trying for days, even weeks for her husband to be patient with their young son who had at not even fully six yet had a developed a very dangerous habit of late of disrespecting his Chief and father in front of any and in this last incident all in the Council Lodge and although Little Bear was the only one in the dark that Eagle knew exactly who his father was; he was Running Wolf and not Straight Arrow, Wolf explained to his wife it made little difference the child must learn respect and that included to his Chief and his father as father and son had been at odds over the almost fully constructed cabin Wolf was building for his family that Little Eagle had made clear to all he wanted no part of and this latest infraction occurred only the day before when in front of the entire Council he publically disrespected his father and Chief; an infraction Running Wolf could no longer be patient about or be patient with his very stubborn son.

As Wolf sat there he thought over the last few weeks since Sam and Meadow's joining ceremony. The older couple were very much in love and very happy and the entire Village was pleased in this especially White Deer who was even starting to look up to the Cheyenne Warrior but not quite yet ready to see him as his step father. The newlywed couple had remained for a very long week sheltered away in their lodge after the three day joining ceremony in what Sam referred to as a honeymoon which Emily and Bear explained was like the joining trip Deer wanted to take Emily on the winter before when they were wed. Deer and Emily were quite busy dealing with almost six month old twins who were just starting to walk and as Wolf and his brother's in the inner circle, including Sam and Travers, Emily's father, teased the young Warrior they would be talking soon as well. Deer could not wait to hear the twins call him Papa to which Wolf said that, that would get old quickly. Wolf sighed in the Council Lodge as he thought about Deer's adamant response that he would never get tired of hearing his children call him Papa and Wolf wished himself that he could feel that way with the necessary job he knew he had to do as soon as his son was relieved of sentry duty and reported on Deer and Wind's orders to the Council Lodge not knowing his father and Chief was waiting to discipline him for far to many infractions to the Village's laws and rules of the Chief as of late. Wolf sighed again and turned his thoughts back to Sam and Meadow whose own new cabin was to be completed shortly after Wolf's. It was decided that for now the Travers would live in the cabin hideaway Wolf made for Bear originally as now all but Wind were looking to have cabins built and Wolf only had so many Warriors with so many other responsibilities including the Security that only two could be made at a time. Sam had gotten, somehow, Deer on his side to be next in line for a cabin as Meadow was older and needed to stay healthy and would soon be needed to help with their grandchildren and Deer agreed he preferred his mother watching the twins in a cabin than a lodge. So Sam, who was working on both his cabin and Wolf's, would have his soon after Wolf.

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The snow storm expected the week of Sam and Meadow's joining came and delivered about six inches of snow and that was another reason the new couple enclosed themselves in their lodge for Sam's honeymoon period as he called it. White Deer was not upset by this at all and in fact seemed pleased his mother was so obviously happy and perhaps a bit different since marrying Sam. It was almost like the gentle woman was coming out of her shell and more energetic about life in general and for as long as Wolf had known the woman he had never seen her this much full of life and love and even Rock commented that marriage to Sam agreed with her even perhaps more than marriage to his brother as she was radiant lately and all knew she was too old to be expecting a child so it was genuine joy on Meadow's part and even Rock and Dove were pleased that Sam was so good for her as well as Great Elk who said that Meadow was not only coming out of her shell, so to speak, but becoming fully engaged in life and with life and the life of the Village and the Shaman himself was pleased that perhaps the past, the attack specifically, was finally being put behind her. No one, not even Deer, knew that Sam's loving of his wife was the primary reason for her extra happiness. Sam was teaching her how to love and in all of its forms and it was being seen by all even if the means, Sam's love making, was not visible to all. Wolf chuckled as he realized that White Deer and Sam's new bond was actually very close to a step father and step son relationship as both men hunted together, the rare occasions Sam was away from Meadow or not building cabins, and although Deer was reluctant to call the man father and Sam even more reluctant to call Deer son the bond between them was also seen by all. Wolf thought to himself if only he could get his own son to see sense as he finally got his Bear to see sense about the four solid walls of a cabin. But Eagle, even at barely six, was a whole new problem altogether. The child thought, at least to Wolf, that he was Chief as he was even attempting to order Tiger and the Cousins and although they would smile and nod at the young heir Wolf's War Chief and First Lieutenants were secretly laughing at the child for daring to out rank his own father and though they knew not that Wolf knew of their laughter at his son Wolf understood it for he himself, some days, had a good laugh at his son's attitude but that ended yesterday when Eagle not only disrespected him but unbeknownst to his Bear their son disrespected her as well. Little Bear, who could and would be apart of most Council meetings, because of the weather was in their lodge when Eagle had what Wolf and Rock along with Travers could only describe as a tantrum in front of Great Elk, the Elders and Wolf's Warriors including his inner circle and Wolf's Braves, which included Eagle himself, Owl and Thundering Horse and Red Fox. Wolf shook his head to clear the thoughts for the moment of yesterday's events, and the fight he and Bear had after the meeting over it from his mind, and Wolf turned his thoughts to more pleasant thoughts as he waited for his wayward son. Wolf knew he was not really interested when he was Eagle's age about all the responsibilities of being Chief but he never acted the way Eagle had been acting lately and even Rock and Flower and Tiger confirmed that for Wolf he was not as rebellious as his own son Eagle was being. But being Chief meant dealing with disciplinary measures for all his People and he could not, and told his Bear so, treat his son with any exception to his rules and the laws of the Village and the People. Wolf sighed again fighting to get the events of yesterday from his mind and turn his mind where it usually stayed; on his Little Bear. He took a deep breath and pictured her in his mind to clear his head and soon the memories of her birthday the night of Sam and Meadow's joining ceremony and the other gifts he had for her were coming to mind and he breathed easier; for the moment, as he let his mind go back a few weeks to the night he gave her the gown and the mirror and was chuckling to himself again at the memory of that night and her reaction to all that she saw.

1533

Winter Solstice 1877

Travers dropped a very quiet, compared to the night before, Little Bear and Running Wolf off at their cabin hideaway and Wolf again offered his own lodge to the Travers couple who this night graciously accepted as Travers did not think Catherine was up to the twenty minute ride in the cold night air and light snow falling both because of her migraine condition and the fact that she was exhausted. Wolf and Travers exchanged a wave then Running Wolf carried his own napping wife into the cabin and locked them in from what he knew was the onset of a snow storm and would over the course of a couple of days leave six inches on the ground but by no means would be the only or last snow of a season just beginning.

Wolf laid his Little Bear on the bed and wrapped a buffalo robe around her and facing her away from the fireplace built up the fire picturing himself doing this every day and night once they had their own cabin in the inner circle of the Village. He was just finishing and warming his own hands over the flames when two arms wrapped themselves around his waist and he felt her nuzzle her face against his back. He chuckled as he rubbed the arms that had encircled him even as he stood to turn to her and keep her hidden from the fire light.

"I thought you were asleep Little One." Wolf said softly burying her face in his chest now to keep the light from the fire from her. She wrapped her arms tighter around his waist and for a second he thought her still asleep.

"Hm. How can I sleep without you beside me? Besides, this is my birthday is it not and if memory serves, from last night even, I have surprises coming." Bear stated and Wolf laughed.

"And if memory serves, last night, you received two, the gift of a new cabin and me." Wolf said stroking her hair after kissing the top of her head. She laughed and looked up from his chest at him and he turned them to continue to shield her from the fire.

"Since I get you anytime I want I actually only got one present last night. Now where are the others?" Bear stated then turned from him and raced the short distance to the bed with a squeal as she saw his raised eyebrow at her words and both knew she was starting something, usually it was a fight or an argument or teasing or some play at words with the inner circle, but tonight if Wolf did not know any better he would say her play was at seduction and that was one thing his wife knew not of but he would play along for the moment to see where her mood would lead them. He was right behind her as she bounded on the bed and sat right where she sat the night before. He stood beside of the bed looking down on her smiling face.

"Oh and who wife told you that you get me anytime you want, not I that is for sure and what makes you think there are more gifts or surprises? Is not the cabin and me, last night, enough?" Wolf asked as he saw her stretch and yawn and when she stretched her arms went above her head and one hand encircled the other hand's wrist. Wolf, ever the predator, joined her then on the bed and pinned her entwined arms over her head where she was stretching and came down on top of her and kissed her hard and ravenously. He tortured her mouth with his tongue, teeth and lips for as long as he could stand as he did have other plans then broke the kiss.

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"See I told you and I was correct." Bear said grinning from ear to ear when he broke the kiss.

"Correct about what wife?" Wolf asked with raised eyebrow.

"You. I do get you anytime I want." Bear said smiling.

"Oh do you now? So you think wife, the Wolf conquers the Bear Little One not the other way around." Wolf said settling down on top of her for the moment but releasing her arms he pinned above her head and they came down around his neck softly.

"Conquers yes husband the Wolf always conquers the Bear but you see husband the Bear always makes sure the Wolf conquers her. So see I do get you anytime I want." Bear said and Wolf roared with laughter then captured her lips again in a brutal kiss.

"Keep it up wife and this Wolf will be asleep and this celebration of your birth will be over." Wolf said rolling off of her after breaking the kiss to see what her next move in her story, as he did not tolerate games and she knew it, would be. He did not have long to wait as he settled himself beside her against the headboard and pillows of the massive bed she was rolling over on his chest still smiling as he put his arms behind his head looking down at her.

"Ooh celebration? Tell me husband what do you have planned for me?" Bear asked and he released one arm from behind his head as he responded and gently stroked her nose.

"Sleep for one and no migraine for you for the other, we still have two days left for Sam and Meadow's joining ceremony and a fierce snow storm is brewing and if I am correct you and I could be buried in it out here for the for seeable future." Wolf said but hid his own smile thinking of exactly what was under the bed they lay on and what he really was planning for this night of her birthday. He saw her pout as she sat up away from him and wondered if this was still her 'story' she was telling or if she was hurt he had nothing else for her.

"Oh well happy birthday to me then. Goodnight husband." Little Bear said softly and Wolf could not tell whether she was really hurt by his words or just resigned to the fact that the cabin was the only gift she was getting this year. When she moved all the way to the bottom of the massive bed he was frowning as she had said no more.

"Going somewhere?" Wolf asked as he had not moved and replaced the arm he brought down to stroke her nose back up behind his head with the other arm.

"No, just the water pouch. Where can I go we have no Thunder or wagon besides our lodge is occupied tonight and too far to walk to." Bear said getting off of the bed and going to the end of the bed for the water pouch Wolf had yet to bring closer to them. He watched her from his perch as she did exactly as she said she was going to do. She did not see that he was grinning now and as she bent to put the water pouch back down his two arms were wrapping around her under her breasts and hauling her and the water pouch up and over the foot of the bed with its wooden foot board. He lifted her high enough off of the bed that only his arms she felt as he set her on his lap.

1535

"Wolf! I could have spilled the water." Bear groused when she was seated on his lap in the middle of the massive bed. He was laughing out loud at her squeal and protest.

"Impossible. I knew you closed the pouch before I, very Wolf like, captured my prey." Wolf said still laughing.

"Very Wolf like indeed!" Bear groused again and was kissed for it then he gently swatted her bottom that rested on his legs.

"Behave woman or we really do sleep tonight." Wolf countered.

"So I do have another gift." Bear said and it was not a question and as the pout was on her face again he did not have the heart to laugh at her but stroked her chin gently.

"Love did you really think I would not have something for My Lady? Wound me to the heart Love." Wolf said with a fake pout of his own and she lightly slapped him in the chest for it. He took the water pouch from her and making sure the pouch was securely closed set against the headboard until he could place it on the floor.

"Ouch." Wolf groused himself teasingly and she knew it too as he was grinning again.

"Baby." Bear countered and Wolf laughed again then pointed a finger in her face very close to her lips and now she grinned and slightly opened her mouth and he raised an eyebrow at her.

"Do not Bear! Love now calm yourself or I mean it Bear we sleep." Wolf said as he knew she was tempted to bite his finger.

"Can I not have fun it is my birthday?" Bear countered.

"Fun yes and we will Love I promise but acting like a spoiled child absolutely not, that I forbid." Wolf said but he was smiling as he said it so she knew he teased her.

"Who is a child? I did not cry out to a light, very light, slap now did I?" Bear stated still grinning.

"If you do not end this charade of some sort of game you are playing, which you know I will not tolerate, then you shall be spanked like a child. Tell do the whites also spank errant children I have always wondered?" Wolf asked settling her more comfortably for both of them on his lap or he would be home and she asleep and the gown and mirror not given to her.

"Spank me? You would never and yes if you must know they do and I know that for a fact." Little Bear said and the smile was gone but the pain of remembrance was in her eyes and Wolf knew too what she remembered.

"Love I am sorry I did not realize. You never told Great Elk that woman spanked you? How old?" Wolf inquired.

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"Which time and yes Great Elk and I have discussed it, I thought you knew." Bear stated as he was now stroking her back lightly.

"Time like multiple ah Love forgive me I did not realize and no I did not know but if Great Elk knows that is what is important and I know now. Bear we do spank errant children here but you and I have never had to, thank the Great Spirit, because outside of killing that mother bird and throwing rocks at the babies in the nest our son and nephews have never given any of us cause. But you my Precious Girl I would never spank, not in punishment anyway, playfully perhaps but never in anger. You do know this do you not?" Wolf stated now also stroking her cheek grateful she was not in tears.

"I guess I was being a little too much like a child so I too am sorry. Yes our Eagle is a good boy other than the birds that is. But he learned his lesson and has not given us any trouble since although most of the time husband he is with your sister so we should check with them." Bear said and Wolf laughed.

"I guess we have overused our family in that regard. But that ends the second we move into our new cabin. He will have his loft room and we will have ours and he will be with us always and we My Own, my Precious Girl can have our own room and close our own door and I can love you and the Wolf can conquer the Bear no matter if our son is in the home or not." Wolf stated.

"House." Bear corrected.

"What?" Wolf asked.

"It is our home Love, or will be, but when referring to it like that it the word whites use is house for the place not home which is the family living space." Bear said and Wolf frowned.

"I am not sure what you mean Love but leave it for now. Home or house it is the same as lodge correct?" Wolf asked and Bear nodded.

"Good that is solved now you need not apologize it is your birthday and you know me too well and got perhaps just a little over excited thinking I have other gifts than the new cabin and myself of course for you tonight." Wolf said with a hand over his heart for effect he knew what was coming next.

"Oh, so you do not well thank you for the cabin. It will be nice with four walls and from what I heard today as usual My Great Chief we have started a trend." Bear said squirming on his lap to get more comfortable until she saw the heated look on his face and his hands on her hips to hold her still.

"First my Warrior Woman stop moving or this night will be over sooner than either of us want and second I have no idea what new trend I have started." Wolf said and finished with a smile so she knew he knew exactly what 'trend' she was referring to. Little Bear rolled her eyes at his remark.

1537

"The cabins Wolf, the cabins. Now even Sam wants one for him and Meadow." Bear said and Wolf laughed.

"Oh yes that trend and Travers wants one and Rock and…." Wolf began and was cut off by Little Bear kissing him hard and he was so shocked that when her tongue grazed his lips he opened and she true to form followed his lead and sank her tongue in deep. He took over and soon his hands were tangled in her hair and her braids free and her hair tangled but flowing down her back and shoulders. After another moment Wolf broke them apart.

"Enough woman." Wolf growled to her giggles and he swatted her bottom again.

"You did not let me finish." Wolf stated.

"All you left out was Tiger which surprises me as does Wind not wanting a cabin with his brood and in laws in the same lodge and a child on the way of their own." Bear stated.

"Tiger being left out Little One is why I needed to finish and why I think he wants a cabin as well." Wolf said trying to detangle her hair he just entangled.

"Left out? But he and Sam and even he and Travers are getting along great now." Bear said wrapping her arms around his neck.

"Yes, yes they are My Own but we, you and I have been unintentionally excluding them, Tiger and Flower, from our lives since we became such close friends with Travers and Catherine." Wolf said alternating words as he was kissing her neck, first the right side then his favorite side her left, now that she was so close to him and finally sitting still.

"Yes I guess we have, unintentionally of course, but I have been trying to get Flower involved but she is not warming to Catherine well at least not as well as she is to Emily." Bear stated trying to concentrate with Wolf kissing her now and distracting her.

"Hm, try harder and Emily is her patient with the twins and all so perhaps that is why. We cannot lose our family My Love in being close to our friends." Wolf said losing himself in her neck but trying to keep the conversation going. He was trying to figure out how to get her in and out of that gown and show her, her mirror before he was so lost in her that he was home and she asleep and their night ruined because he knew if they stayed in here beyond tonight they really could be snowed in for a few days.

"Alright My Heart I will try harder. Ah Wolf." Bear said as she felt his hand now on her breast even with her doeskin dress still on. His answer was a non vocal response and knowing him as she did she knew that if he did not stop then he would be home, she asleep and whatever, if anything, he had planned other than loving each other tonight would be ruined. Bear too knew that Wolf meant it that beyond tonight the snows could leave them stranded in here for a couple of days. Finally Bear started pulling away and trying to move away from him and this got his attention and he looked at her with a frown; confused.

1538

"What?" Wolf asked feeling her pull from him and try to move away. His question and frown gave her the chance to scoot from his lap as she saw by his eyes he was not paying any attention to her words.

"Are you even listening to me?" Bear asked mostly to put some space between them unless he really had no other gifts for her and was only going to spend the rest of the night making love to her.

"I was listening you said you would try harder." Wolf said still frowning and reaching for her but she scooted off the bed entirely and he was right behind her.

"Are you angry with me for something?" Wolf asked turning her to face him as they stood beside the massive bed because of the fire light.

"Angry no, of course not. But we were talking then suddenly you were busy and not listening to me." Bear said putting her hands on her hips. He removed them and put them around his waist and pulled her to him.

"Yes I was busy now come here woman I must resume what I was doing." Wolf stated hoarsely.

"No." Bear said breaking free of his hold and moving to the foot of the bed. Again he was right behind her.

"No? No? Since when do you ever tell me no to anything?" Wolf asked wondering if she was back to whatever story she was telling him before as he refused to think she was playing a game with him as she knew he would forbid that and abhorred games.

"Since it is my birthday and if you recall I believe I said no last night too or last year. But Wolf we were talking." Bear said stomping her foot on the hard cabin floor. Wolf threw up his hands and leaned against the foot board of the bed and crossed his arms over his chest.

"So talk." Wolf stated. Bear just huffed at him and stomped her foot on the hard floor again.

"Stop that and if you do not want to talk I know of something else I would rather be doing; now come here woman." Wolf said and reached for her but she back away from him.

"Bear." Wolf growled as she was remaining out of his reach.

"No." Bear said again.

"Bear I am getting angry here what are telling me no for and you do realize it is freezing out there and you are too close to the door and the draft and you also realize that there is no place you can go that I will not find you?" Wolf stated resuming his leaning against the foot board and folding his arms again across his chest.

1539

"You cannot get angry with me husband it is my birthday, a day you decreed do not forget." Bear said wagging a finger at him. He did not move but smiled at her from ear to ear and laughed softly.

"It is and yes I and you, remember, decided that this would be the day we celebrate your birth, the day I was reborn if I recall correctly." Wolf said still unmoving he was slowly starting to figure out what she was up to but was waiting for her to say it.

"Well." Bear said with her hands on her hips again to her unmoving, still grinning, husband.

"Well, well what Love?" Wolf coaxed and teased.

"Ooh, men. Do I have to say it?" Bear asked stomping her foot again. Wolf chuckled.

"It would be helpful yes." Wolf replied nonchalantly.

"Ooh. Forget it, goodnight husband. I will see you in the morning for the second day of Sam and Meadow's joining ceremony." Bear said and sidestepped him and walked to the far side of the bed, away from the fire, and laid down on her left side facing the cabin wall. Wolf watched her departing form and when she laid down facing the wall he walked around his side of the bed, by the fire, bent down and reached for the box with the gown in it and pulled the long mirror still wrapped in brown paper by Travers out as well and set it against the wall by the fireplace then taking the box with the gown laid it on the foot of the bed and crawled in next to his wife. He was almost to her when he thought he heard her softly crying. Alarmed now that he had unintentionally hurt her by continuing their word play he touched her shoulder and she pulled away.

"No." Bear said quietly and Wolf smiled clearly hearing her tears and as he knew she could not stop him he reached over and after sitting himself firmly against the headboard with the many pillows lifted her in his arms and cradled her in his arms with her back to the fire and the box of the gown and lifted her chin to his eyes only to see her eyes were closed.

"I know you are not asleep Little One so look at me. Come on my Love, look at your Wolf." Wolf pleaded and a moment later she opened her eyes and saw his smiling face and he bent and kissed her lips lightly then brushed the tears away.

"Tell me why the tears Love? I am sorry if I hurt you all I want to do is love you." Wolf said softly stroking her chin with his hand.

"But you said we would celebrate my birthday and that you had a gift for me." Bear said quietly.

"We are My Love and who says I do not have a gift for you?" Wolf asked.

"Laying me down and loving me is not a gift Wolf you do that all the time." Bear said and Wolf laughed softly.

1540

"That may be Little One but since when did you start saying no to my laying you down and making love with you, Little One, with you not to you?" Wolf stated. She lowered her eyes again and at his Warrior command grunt and with the help of his finger raising her chin higher she looked at him again.

"It is my birthday Wolf, if that is all you have for me then just tell me." Bear said softly and Wolf was still smiling as he looked deep into her eyes and then lightly kissed her lips.

"Ah My Precious Girl I would Love but I have a lifetime of gifts to give you if I can and yes I happen to have a gift or perhaps two for My Lady tonight I thought I already told you that." Wolf said.

"But you started to make love to me when we were talking about the cabin and Tiger and Flower." Bear insisted. Wolf laughed.

"Was I? I was getting lost in you Love as I always do and will again soon but Bear when have you ever known me to make love with you Bear, with you not to you, and talk about Tiger or Flower or anyone; even Eagle?" Wolf asked and this time Little Bear laughed and placed her hand on his chest and stoked it absently.

"Oh so I guess I kind of well jumped to the wrong conclusion." Bear said laughing and Wolf was laughing now too.

"Yes I guess you kind of did Little One but all is forgiven My Precious Girl. Happy Birthday!" Wolf said then kissed her forehead and gestured with his hand to the box at the foot of the bed and her squeal of delight as she saw the box, she did not yet see what was standing next to the fireplace, and her bounding off of his lap had Wolf laughing until she sat at his feet facing the fire and he stopped laughing.

"Face me Love, the fire light remember." Wolf cautioned and she turned before opening the box and sat facing him and looked at him.

"Well Little One go on open it." Wolf coaxed and that was all the encouragement she needed as she ripped the brown paper from the box and threw it behind her away from the fireplace and opened the box and looked up at Wolf as she slowly pulled out the gown.

"Oh Wolf it is beautiful. Thank you. I hope it fits." Bear said and leaned up to kiss him lightly. When she sat back down and laid the gown against her Wolf laughed.

"You are welcome and it better fit. Is this the gown you chose Love?" Wolf asked now leaning toward her and stroking her cheek and resting his hand at her chin where he cupped it gently. She looked up at him.

"Yes, oh Wolf yes it is the one Catherine and I saw in her catalog book. Catherine got this for you to give me?" Bear asked similar to Emily's question to Deer the night before.

1541

Running Wolf pulled her and the gown back on his lap gently so as not to tear the gown it was paper thin and held her face with both of his hands gently.

"No Love I got you this beautiful gown, the gown you, yourself chose. Catherine only placed the order for me, that is all Little Bear, all." Wolf stated.

"How did you pay for it?" Bear asked looking back down at the gown. Wolf took her chin and raised her eyes to face him.

"I paid for it and that is all you need to know and all you will know. I have a job Little One, Head of Security for this Reservation if you remember." Wolf stated.

"A white man's job. A white man's job they will not pay a non-white man to do." Bear said and Wolf heard a hint of sadness in her voice.

"No Little Bear. I may not be a white man, and I am not, we established that fact already, nor do I want to be. But as Head of Security at Wind River I do get paid. Whether the white man, meaning their government or Army knows I am an Arapaho and a Chief or not matters little. I bought you this for your birthday Little One. Tell me do you not like it My Own?" Wolf stated and Bear looked at her husband back down at the gown and then threw herself in his arms to his laugher.

"I love it. Thank you Running Wolf. I love you." Bear said to more laughter from Wolf.

"I love you too my Little Bear and you are welcome. Now put it on, put it on I must see you in it and now." Wolf said sitting her beside him then rising from the bed and picking her up in his arms where he deposited her and the gown at the foot of the bed then stepped back and resumed his leaning against the foot board with his arms folded across his chest. She looked up then and saw something in the corner by the fireplace and when she started to walk to it Wolf moved in to stop her.

"Try it on, that is for later." Wolf stated then resumed his leaning stance as before.

"But what is it?" Bear asked. Wolf laughed and still smiling at her responded not moving this time.

"Later Love put on the gown." Wolf stated and she turned her back and removed her doeskin dress and slipped the gown over her head and let it fall to the floor and heard Wolf's intake of air and turned around. Wolf could see the firelight reflected off of it she could not.

"The floor is too cold to remove your moccasins so leave them on and we will pretend they are not there." Wolf offered as she turned to face him. She twirled in the gown and Wolf could not stop smiling both from the picture she made to him in the fire light and her excitement at her gown. Wolf remained where he was for the moment just watching her joy not to mention what only he could see of her in the gown and it was same as when she wore Catherine's gown.

1542

"So husband do I walk to you as I did the last time when I wore Catherine's gown?" Little Bear asked and Running Wolf was grinning again but still unmoving. He held up a hand and with his index finger motioned for her to come to him. She slowly to his ever growing smile walked to him.

When she was standing in front of him, as she was only a couple of steps away from him, she started to speak and he hauled her against him and crushed his mouth to hers. He ravaged her mouth for a long time, breaking the kiss then claiming her mouth again and pushing her against his lower body to show her the effect the gown and her was having on him. Her hair, that was tangled before was even more so now when he finally could stand no more and broke the kiss and stepped her back, slightly, away from him.

"Woman what you do to me." Wolf said hoarsely and Bear laughed.

"One of these days you will have to explain that in full husband as I have no idea what I do to you especially this far from you." Little Bear said smiling and lifting the gown at her sides and letting it fall back down to the floor. She was not looking at Wolf but what she was doing and not seeing that what she was doing was reflected in her husband's eyes even as she was reflected by the fire light to his eyes in the gown she wore.

"Hm that is my secret which I may share with you one day but I have something else to share first. Bear look at me My Love." Wolf stated pushing himself off of the foot board and walking to her this time which again was only a step or two away. Bear stopped lifting and letting her gown fall to the floor and looked at him when he was inches from her face.

"Precious Girl I promised you a while back that I would show you how beautiful you are to me and well to anyone that sees you although you belong to me." Wolf started.

"Yes I vaguely remember that conversation it was about mirrors and cameras that take pictures. Wolf! You did not get me a white mans camera did you?" Bear exclaimed and he laughed long and loud.

"Of course not, they take our souls remember." Wolf said after he stopped laughing and ended his words with a kiss.

"No Love something else but listen now remember when I showed you the cabin and asked you if I could cover your eyes so it would be a surprise?" Wolf asked.

"Yes. Why?" Bear asked and Wolf saw her hesitancy and reached out and again placed both hands gently on each side of her face.

"Relax My Love, I would never hurt you but you need to close your eyes for this gift and I know you, Little One, you would find a way to open them without me seeing." Wolf stated smiling.

1543

"How long?" Bear asked and Wolf turned his head slightly and raised his eyebrow at her knowing why she asked this.

"Do you trust your Wolf?" Wolf asked her and saw her swallow.

"Yes." Bear said hesitantly and again Wolf raised his eyebrow at her.

"Yes Wolf I trust you. But I do not understand." Bear stated.

"I know Love but can you trust me just a little for a moment or two with your eyes covered? Have I ever hurt or lied to you before?" Wolf asked.

"No but Wolf you know the dark…." Bear said and trailed off he hugged her to him.

"Love I am not going anywhere and you know as long as I am close you are not afraid of the dark and it is not dark in here Love the fire light remember." Wolf said stroking her back and feeling the softness of the gown under his hands; careful not to tear it.

"You know why." Bear said in a breath and Wolf leaned back and kissed her lightly.

"I know My Own, I know and that is why the cabin will only have closets if you say so not I. Now how about you turn and face the wall over there and I not cover your eyes? Can you promise not to turn around until I come back to you?" Wolf asked.

"Where are you going?" Bear asked.

"Nowhere at least not at the moment but we both need to go to the back of the cabin before we sleep for our private business or these what you call bed sheets will be soaked." Wolf said with a laugh and Bear laughed too and Wolf silently sighed she was relaxing now.

"So what say you to facing this wall until I come back to your side and I will still be in the cabin, I promise, and not turning around and spoiling my surprise for you?" Wolf asked with a finger in her face.

"I can do that but hurry." Bear said.

"Why?" Wolf asked with a raised eyebrow.

"The draft." Bear said and he felt her shiver and not from his touch. He sighed he had forgotten the gown was paper thin and that meant she would get cold. Without a word he turned around and grabbed a buffalo robe from their bed and wrapped it around her.

"Better My Love?" Wolf asked and she nodded.

1544

"No migraine My Own. Now I will be back do not turn around." Wolf said turning her to face the far wall away from the fire place and the mirror and when he was sure she was no longer shivering or going to turn back around he walked to the mirror and began removing the brown paper covering the mirror and was laughing as she was listening.

"Sounds like paper tearing." Bear commented and Wolf turned around in the process of removing the wrapping to be sure she was still facing the wall; she was.

"Hush Love I will be only a moment." Wolf stated then after the wrapping was off he stood back to see himself full length in a mirror for the first time. He wanted to be sure the mirror to the side of the fire place would have the right effect for him and his Bear and he could see the fire light dancing off the glass of the long mirror and looking down could see the same fire light dancing across his buckskin pants and thought to himself he would need to ask Travers how that worked then turned to his bride; who was still facing the wall and not shivering at least he could not tell from the few paces he was away from her.

Running Wolf walked up to her and stood in front of her but did not turn her around yet.

"Are you alright My Own?" Wolf asked.

"I am husband are you ready for me?" Bear asked and he groaned as she did not realize it had a double meaning; he did.

"Always woman, always but not yet for this. Are you cold?" Wolf asked.

"No not with the robe. What do you mean always?" Bear asked and Wolf groaned again then leaned in close; inches from her lips.

"I may regret saying this but you asked if I was ready for you Little One. You My Precious Girl I am always ready for; to come home that is." Wolf said then took her mouth quick in a slow kiss but not before he heard her nervous laugh; much like Meadow's with her giggles. He broke the kiss and stood back.

"Any more questions?" Wolf asked and knew he was stalling. He wanted her warm for as long as possible and the robe was doing that but he would remove it before turning her around.

"I guess not." Bear said softly and blushed in his arms.

"Never stop doing that either Little One." Wolf said against her lips and she felt his breath on her lips and shivered again but this time he felt it and knew it was him making her shiver not the draft. Little Bear raised an eyebrow at him and he knew a question was on her lips.

"Blushing in my arms, never stop doing that even when we are old and gray." Wolf said and took her lips again in a quick kiss and when he broke it she laughed and buried her head against his shoulder where he rubbed her back for a moment then pulled her back to face him.

1545

Running Wolf was looking her up and down in his arms bundled in a buffalo robe knowing the sheer paper thin gown lay beneath and he chuckled at what he had done to her hair and not wanting her to see herself in her new mirror with disheveled hair stood back from her and began the process of using his fingers to detangle her hair and fan it out over her shoulders; covered in the buffalo robe, and down her back also covered in the buffalo robe. She watched him but said nothing then he stood back placed a kiss on her nose and frowned as if examining his work; which he was.

"What?" Bear asked under his scrutiny. Wolf sighed.

"I do not suppose you brought your brush or comb with you?" Wolf asked.

"I look that bad?" Bear asked and Wolf laughed and kissed her nose again lightly.

"You My Own are beautiful as always but your hair Love is a bit tangled and although lying like I like some of the tangles are still there." Wolf stated still fanning her hair out carefully so as not to pull the tangles.

"Whose fault is that?" Bear asked with a smile and he looked from her hair to her eyes and smiled himself.

"I take full responsible My Own and am trying to fix that but you have not answered my question Bear, comb or brush did you bring them?" Wolf inquired a second time with a raised eyebrow.

"No Wolf I did not as I did not think I would need them. Why? What are you up to?" Bear asked.

"All in good time Love and I guess this will have to do. I want My Lady to look her best." Wolf said grinning and inches from her lips.

"Why? Are you expecting people over now that I have the gown on?" Bear asked and Wolf's eyes grew huge.

"Absolutely not wife, no one sees you in this but me; ever woman." Wolf stated confidently.

"Then why should my hair being tangled be a problem, if no one is to see me tonight." Bear said and it was not a question as she lightly pointed her finger in his chest and he took it and placed a kiss on her finger then held it to his heart. With his other hand he stroked her cheek softly.

"Who says no one will see my beautiful wife? I will see you and you my beloved will see you." Wolf said again inches from her lips and he removed the buffalo robe tossed it back on the bed to his right and then coming around on her left to block the draft her turned her around and heard and saw her intake of air as she was facing her own reflection in the standing length mirror then she turned in his arms and buried her face in his shoulder and hid her face. He lifted her chin and held it in his hands studying her eyes and the tears welling behind them.

1546

"Little One what?" Wolf pleaded as he saw she had her eyes lowered.

"No Wolf." Bear said in barely a whisper.

"No? Why no? What is so bad to cause tears, again? Look at me Love and tell me what is causing these tears I see in the eyes of my beautiful wife?" Wolf asked stroking her chin as she slowly raised her eyes.

"Not beautiful Running Wolf but ugly." Bear said quietly and Wolf frowned.

"Love who told you this? It is not true. You are beautiful." Wolf said already knowing what she would say.

"Them." Bear replied and surprising her Wolf moved behind her and gently but firmly turned her back to face the mirror. Again she lowered her eyes but he from behind her held her head where she could not turn it away.

"Little Bear open your eyes and see me in this mirror and that My Love is an order." Wolf said sternly in his 'chief in charge' voice and she obeyed.

"Them? If you are referring to who I think you are at the horrid Fort then stop right there woman and remember that they, her, are not your family. I am, we are here in this Village, and you wife are beautiful, beautiful to us, me, all of us and not ugly so I never want to hear that word from you ever again. Do I make myself clear wife of Running Wolf?" Wolf stated sternly and she lowered her eyes.

"Bear! Look at me!" Wolf shouted and felt her jump but obey.

"Answer me woman!" Wolf stated seeing not only her eyes boring into his but all of her luscious curves reflected through the gown in the firelight.

"I…..yes Running Wolf, I am sorry." Bear said but held his eyes even as tears streamed from hers. Using the back of his hands he gently brushed the tears that fell from her eyes even as she held his eye contact.

"Hush Love I am not angry, how could I be angry with my beautiful wife and on this her birthday?" Wolf stated and leaning forward with his eyes still holding hers he kissed her blonde head.

"Please stop saying that." Bear said quietly and Wolf still looking at her through the mirror smiled.

"What? Beautiful? You are My Love and I intend, right now, to show you just how. Ready?" Wolf stated still stroking her cheeks lightly.

1547

"No." Bear stated and Wolf chuckled.

"Bear now will you let me, your loving husband, do this for you?" Wolf asked and felt her sigh.

"If you must." Bear replied and kissing the top of her head again never losing her eye contact he pulled back and chuckled again.

"I must. Now order number one always look right here Love in my eyes through the mirror. Do not, and I mean this Bear, look down or close your eyes?" Wolf stated and pointed at finger at her toward the mirror as he stated 'I mean this'. He waited for her nod.

"Second order no back talk or stopping me or commenting negatively to anything, understand?" Wolf continued.

"But…." Bear began but he held up a finger now resting on her right shoulder and raised an eyebrow to their reflections in the mirror.

"No Bear this is an order." Wolf stated.

"Can I not say anything?" Bear asked and Wolf laughed.

"Later Love it is my turn to talk. Now look at me through the mirror and never stop looking into my eyes and you will see what I see and what everyone who loves you sees. Alright?" Wolf stated.

"In the mirror Wolf." Bear responded.

"What?" Wolf asked.

"Love it is in the mirror not through the mirror. We are looking at each other in the mirror. We are seeing our reflections in it." Bear said.

"In the mirror then it matters not Love the white phrase just keep looking into my eyes through…in the mirror, alright?" Wolf stated.

"Alright Wolf you know best." Bear said looking down at the gown and thinking she saw something but figured it was a reflection of the firelight and did not question it. Wolf's command Warrior grunt had her eyes back up to see his in the mirror.

"Sorry Wolf I was just looking at the gown." Bear said and Wolf chuckled.

"I will allow that Love but we will get to this beautiful gown soon. First My Lady I will begin with your beautiful blonde hair, I love so, and your so very, very beautiful face." Wolf said with both hands resting on her shoulders from behind. He heard and felt her audible sigh and knew it was frustration on her part; she really did not want to talk about this, too bad he thought.

1548

Very slowly and keeping her looking in his eyes reflected in the mirror he began fanning and running his fingers through her long blonde hair and letting his fingers run her hair down her shoulders over her lovely breasts and back to her shoulders and down her back.

"You know I love your hair Bear see your beautiful hair how it feels on my fingers. See my Bear, see what I do as I run my fingers through your hair and fan it out down around your face I love." Wolf said softly from her left shoulder as they watched each other through the reflection of the mirror.

Then Wolf taking both of his hands and softly ran the backs of his hands down the sides of her face.

"See this beautiful face Little Bear, my Little Bear. These beautiful blue eyes I get so lost in all the time and so quickly too. All you have to do Bear is look at your Wolf and I melt." Wolf said and Bear smiled; he was relaxing her as she saw herself in the mirror.

"You do not." Bear said a little breathless and Wolf chuckled.

"Do I not? Tell me Love how often do I just hold your eyes with mine and just gaze into them? Then there is your beautiful forehead, so soft, how I love to rest mine against yours and to look and gaze into these beautiful blue eyes. Ah your cheeks My Own how I love to run my fingers and hands over them and stroke the skin there. You are beautiful my Little Bear can you not see that?" Wolf stated.

"Stop it Wolf you are embarrassing me." Bear breathed against his still roaming fingers over her face.

"Hush. See these lips My Own?" Wolf began and was now running a finger over them and moving to her left side never breaking eye contact with her in the mirror.

"These lips I long to caress with my own and kiss often and long and deep. See my Love, see me as I kiss you." Wolf stated and slowly keeping their eyes locked in the mirror reached around in front of her and took her lips in a gentle kiss and saw by her eyes that this was new to her. She had never had her eyes open as they kissed in all their years of being together. He smiled as he broke the kiss thinking that when this mirror was in their own cabin room he would position it so she could watch them as they made love. Perhaps this would also help with the occasional memories of his now dead enemy and his attack on his beloved a few years back.

Still holding her eyes and when they drifted closed he grunted and she opened them and he knew that his talk and his actions were having a passionate affect on her and it was no longer her not wanting to see herself in the mirror but the feeling he was invoking in her drifting her eyes closed. He slowly ran both arms down hers as he held her eyes.

"Are you cold my Love?" Wolf asked feeling a slight draft himself.

1549

"Hm no not with you here…like this." Bear said and Wolf chuckled.

"Like what Little One?" Wolf coaxed and heard her groan as her eyes drifted closed again.

"Open your eyes My Love, see me." Wolf stated firmly and she did.

"Like what Little One?" Wolf asked again and although she did not close her eyes she groaned again as his hands kept moving up and down her arms.

"What are you doing to me?" Bear ask and Wolf chuckled again.

"Loving you Little One as always." Wolf said hoarsely.

"Different." Bear said on a groan and Wolf laughed softly.

"Watch Love just watch and feel, see and feel how beautiful you are to me mostly but to all. Although all do not see all of you as I do and only I do." Wolf said now holding her eyes as he was using his lips, tongue and teeth against the left side of her neck; his favorite place.

"Wolf." Bear cried and Wolf knew he had to hurry both because she was about to come apart in his hands as this was all new to her and because he soon would be overcome with his own need and need to come home. He took a hesitant step forward with her as he continued to torture her neck and speak his words slowly while never losing eye contact with her in the mirror's reflection.

"See My Own, see what you feel when I bury myself in your neck, my favorite side but I do love to kiss both sides of your neck, your beautiful neck and creamy white throat." Wolf said and with his right hand he ran it over the right side of her neck and over her throat to another groan from her and although her eyes still held his she was now leaning her neck back some.

"Your beautiful ears My Own. How I love to playfully bite them. Like this." Wolf stated and watched her watching him as he took her left ear lobe between his teeth and bite gently.

"Wolf, no more, please." Bear cried and for an answer Wolf pulled away and still on her left side decided it was time to bring the gown into this explanation of her beauty. He looked her up and down from her left side and caught her eyes still watching him in the mirror, without orders from him now.

"You are so beautiful my Little Bear and in this gown, Little One, even more so. You made a good choice, I love seeing you in this." Wolf said then leaned in close knowing what her reaction would be.

"As I will love seeing you without it." Wolf hissed in her left ear to her shiver. He smiled and resumed his place next to her and bending down as his right hand caressed the fabric of the gown at her stomach his face was close to the fabric of the gown at her breasts.

1550

"I love this scooped, Catherine called it, neckline of the gown Bear and Catherine calls these pleats across your beautiful breasts." Wolf said then blew across the fabric still watching her eyes in the mirror and as they both watched in the mirror his breath move the pleated sheer fabric and the pleats blew across her chest. He saw and knew she felt his breath harden her left nipple and his right hand that had been caressing the fabric of her stomach grazed up over her right breast and at her intake of air knew by both feel through the fabric and her groan the right nipple was also now hard at his touch all the while his eyes never left contact with hers in the mirror.

Running Wolf walked them a step closer to the mirror as his arms moved to her knees, as far as he could reach from his position on her left side, and gently glided along her skin and the gown up her legs, over her hips and up to her waist to continue to the sides of her breasts. The gown moved and billowed from the movement and what Little Bear thought she saw before back farther from the mirror she saw again and this time she walked away from Wolf closer to the mirror on her own but Wolf was right behind her so she would not get to close to the bright light of the fire. Wolf had no idea, that like Emily the night before, Little Bear had noticed something that until then only her husband knew or rather could see.

"Little One, mind the fire light. Stand back here with me and I will continue what we were doing unless you are getting cold." Wolf said still on her left side to block the draft from the cabin door.

"Do not worry My Heart I am not looking at the fire. Ah, Wolf?" Little Bear said now lifting and letting drop her gown again. She knew he was right beside her. Soon she felt his hand running up and down the back of her neck and her back.

"Yes Little One." Wolf answered watching her in the mirror lift and let fall her gown and was again nuzzling the left side of her neck never letting his eyes leave the mirror although she was watching the gown now then she looked him straight in the eye.

"Is there a particular reason you love this gown so much and love it so much on me?" Bear asked.

"It is a beautiful gown Love." Wolf replied and Bear smiled still watching him in the mirror.

"Yes it is My Heart but and I know you asked me to chose one I wanted and I did but was there another reason you wanted me to have one?" Bear asked and Wolf stopped his kissing her neck and stood behind her again with both hands on her shoulders.

"I asked if you wanted one My Own not quite the same thing and you said yes." Wolf replied.

"True, yes but ah Wolf?" Little Bear said and this time took one step forward and turned around to face him.

"Yes Love." Wolf replied.

1551

"First thank you for the mirror and the gown. If you see me as beautiful than I guess I am beautiful. I do feel beautiful seeing myself in this mirror in your arms and watching you love me as you do. That is new and helped me see how you see me as beautiful. So thank you husband for that." Bear began and Wolf frowned.

"Good then the mirror helped me to show you just how beautiful you really are to me and well everyone but as I said only I see all of your beauty." Wolf stated now leaning against the footboard again and reaching for her but she was eluding him for the moment.

"Yes I know that husband, only you see all of me. Tell me My Heart, My Own, my Running Wolf did you want me to have a gown like Catherine's, even one of my own choosing, for well other reasons than me wanting and having one?" Bear asked now with her hands under her breasts and feeling what Wolf clearly saw and was grinning at removed her arms as she felt her still hardened nipples and though she felt this through the fabric of the gown her crossed arms and his cat like grin confirmed what she knew now she had seen twice and would confirm in daylight; even if her predator husband was still asleep.

"Other reasons? Little One I am not sure what other reasons there would be." Wolf said and he made it a statement not a question.

"Huh? Well can I tell you why I think you wanted me to have a gown like this and it is beautiful and I do love it so and will cherish it?" Bear stated.

"You are welcome My Love for the mirror and the gown and I am glad you love it and will cherish it as I gave you both with all my heart and all my love but what makes you think I wanted you to have the gown other than that you wanted one when I asked you and you did look so beautiful that night you wore Catherine's and do not forget My Own you loved wearing it and wearing it for me." Wolf stated and had a feeling his little secret was out about the gown and unbeknownst to him Deer had the same realization the night before and Emily confirmed it and Emily knew now too. Now Little Bear was grinning like a cat and she knew Wolf knew what she saw and was trying to justify his own wanting her to have the gown.

"Hm. I see. Yes I will agree, you did give both the gown and the mirror to me with all your heart and all your love and the mirror to help me see how beautiful I am to you and as you say well everyone and yes only you see all of me and I will concede that I am beautiful to those who love me like you my husband and our family and our People." Bear began standing her ground and now tapping her foot still wearing their moccasins because of the cold cabin floor.

"Good because My Own, my Little One, it is all the truth you are beautiful and loved by all; especially me now come here woman, I must continue my loving you as I do not want you to get cold so close to the door and my arms must have you in them. Now come here." Wolf said and lunged for her but she backed up to his growl and he hung his head in mock defeat and she laughed.

1552

"So you admit it then?" Little Bear said a little too sternly and when Wolf looked at her she gasped.

"Sorry." Bear said quietly realizing she was too harsh in her question and Wolf smiled.

"No need to apologize Love but what am I supposed to admit here? That I love the gown, I do love it and you wearing it. You conceded that you are beautiful is that what you want me to admit, yes I got you the mirror both to have and it will go in our cabin room with our bed when it is built, but yes I also got it to show you how beautiful you are to me and to all who know and love you, truly love you Little Bear. Is this what I am supposed to admit?' Wolf said pushing off the footboard but not moving toward her. Bear stopped stomping her foot on the cold cabin floor and Wolf let out the breath he did not know he was holding worried she would hurt her foot on the hard floor but Little Bear did not reply.

"If you come over here My Own we can resume our loving in front of the mirror. Is that what you want me to admit that I love watching you in the mirror as I am holding and caressing you? I readily admit that and concede that point if you wish but do not lie either I could tell by your eyes and your face you love watching us love one another, me love you, as we watched each other in the mirror. If you return to my arms My Own you can caress me in the mirror and we will both enjoy watching that I know." Wolf stated sidestepping the gown for the moment. He knew she saw something she had to he was seeing her clearly and fully even from back where they started almost to the other side of the bed.

"The mirror and our watching each other as you caressed me is not what I am referring to Running Wolf but yes I will not lie I enjoyed that as well but that is beside the point." Bear stated as she let Running Wolf finally reach out and pull her to him. When she was in his arms again he buried his face in the left side of her neck and began torturing her there again.

"Then what is your point Little One because I want to face you toward the mirror and watch myself and your eyes as I take this beautiful gown off of you so I can see all of you in the mirror and reflected by the firelight. Then I can love you some more in front of the mirror and when we get it set up in our cabin home in our private what Travers called bedroom I will fix it so that you, we, can watch each other love each other all night long, how does this sound to you?" Wolf stated.

"Ah the gown My Heart. The gown is the point Running Wolf." Bear said becoming breathless with his torturing of her neck and he knew it and smiled against her neck.

"Yes the gown is beautiful but I need you out of the gown now My Own so I can come home." Wolf hissed in her ear. Little Bear pulled from his embrace to his groan and stood in front of the mirror a little too close because of the fire light and Wolf pulled her back but she had her hands on her hips and was looking at the gown; the full length of the gown.

"When did you plan on telling me that you can see all of me in this gown anyway husband?' Bear stated and Wolf threw back his head and howled with laughter.

1553

Still laughing Running Wolf picked her up, gown and all, and walking to the far side of the bed; away from the heat and light of the fire he gently deposited her on the bed still laughing and quickly removing his buckskin pants and shirt and remaining in his breechcloth for the moment he climbed in over and next to her in the big bed with himself closet to the fire, and then turned to face his wife who he left half sitting and half reclining against the pillows. For an answer to his laughter when he looked at her she had one of the pillows from behind her head and lobbed it at him. He caught it before it hit his face but his laughter died instantly.

"Bear do not tear that gown and that is an order and stop throwing things at me." Wolf growled holding the pillow against him.

"Stop laughing this is Not funny husband. To think you could see me, all of me, the last time and did not tell me. For shame Wolf, for shame. Tell me does Emily know, does Catherine?" Bear stated now folding her arms under her breasts.

Running Wolf put the pillow behind her head again after leaning over her and pulling her up to reach behind her then was facing her with his finger in her face after removing her folded arms from under her breasts.

"You will say nothing about this to anyone woman. This was my secret until now and as intelligent as my beautiful wife is I knew I would not keep this secret for long. But Emily does not know and will not unless and until Deer wishes her to; understand me? As for Catherine I do believe that was why she suggested it in the first place; a way to give me pleasure without breaking my lodge rules about such things if you recall and before I forget the other women, some of them anyway, maybe getting gowns of their own and no woman you will not spoil this for them or their husbands. Am I making myself clear?" Wolf stated sternly yet gently as he began with a finger in her face and by the time he was finished that finger was tracing the scoop neck of her thin gown before fingering the pleated fabric across her breasts. Little Bear was watching his hand although he did not know this until he looked up because she had not responded to him. When he saw her watching he smiled and lifted her chin to his smiling face.

"I trust you heard me with your…a…distraction?" Wolf asked and Little Bear smiled.

"You think me intelligent?" Little Bear asked when their eyes locked and Wolf chuckled.

"Of course my Love and I said beautiful as well as intelligent do not forget." Wolf said now stroking her bottom lip.

"No, no I believe we cover that over there." Bear stated and pointed to the mirror and Wolf chuckled again after following where she pointed.

"So why throw the pillow thing at me Love?" Wolf asked sliding up her sheer gown to be more above her and she shrugged.

"Because you laughed at me." Bear stated nonchalantly and Wolf laughed this time.

1554

"No Love not at you I was laughing because my beautiful and intelligent wife saw what only I was seeing before. I would never laugh at you." Wolf said softly.

"Still not funny husband." Bear said stubbornly and Wolf hung his head with a sigh then faced her with a smile.

"So no smile for me even on your birthday?" Wolf teased rolling off of her before he tore the gown.

"So no apology for laughing at me and for keeping this a secret and for making me get the gown?" Bear countered unmoving as she too did not want to tear the gown. Next to her Running Wolf just sighed but did not move either. Both could be stubborn but eventually one gave in and stopped the stubbornness for both of them. Each wondered who would this time.

Silence rang in the cabin for a moment or two then Running Wolf saw from the corner of his eye his Little Bear slowly moving up over him and looking down at him. He fought the urge to smile in triumph that she broke the silence first.

"Ah Wolf." Bear began begin very careful with the gown although even this close to the fire she was starting to get cold but that was not her primary concern at the moment.

"Where is my smile?" Wolf said putting both arms behind his head.

"You might get it after you help me." Bear said and Wolf removed one arm and stroked her cheek.

"With that beautiful and delicate Catherine called it gown of course My Own anything for you." Wolf said and it was not a question. Bear opened her mouth then closed it again and now Wolf was concerned and sat up pulling her with him and blocking the fire light.

"What? Migraine?" Wolf asked becoming concerned and he received his smile as she smiled at him and placed a hand on his chest as he was facing her having forced her to sit up when he moved himself.

"No Love but I could mess the gown and these sheets without your help." Bear said and Wolf frowned. Bear smiled brighter.

"Love you told me that before we slept we would need the private place. I must go now or we will have no time for anything else, if you have anything else planned that is." Bear stated. Wolf grinned getting her meaning and stroked her chin this time.

"Stay right there my Precious Girl our Deer and Emily left us something special and just for you." Wolf stated and bid her turn from the firelight as he rose from the bed and she raised an eyebrow at him.

1555

Little Bear watched Running Wolf bound off the bed and reach under the bed by the headboard and remove a large ceramic container that looked familiar to her and went to the foot of the bed away from the fire and Bear smiled thinking he wanted her no where near the fire.

"Wolf the mirror." Bear said and Wolf who sat the chamber pot down looked first at Bear then back behind him to the mirror and smiled realizing what she meant.

"Got it Bear. Now can you wait one minute?" Wolf asked.

"A quick minute Wolf." Bear said even as she watched him turn the mirror toward the cabin door and balancing it made sure it would not tip then met his wife at the foot of the bed.

"Is that a chamber pot?" Bear asked with both arms holding up the gown.

"It is at least that is what our Deer says Emily calls it." Wolf replied standing to block the draft from the door.

"Then it is if Emily says so I have never seen one like that before." Bear said coming up to it but looking at Wolf.

"Tell me later. It is quite cold here woman and I want no migraine. What?" Wolf began then seeing her unmoving but watching him. He realized what the problem was and came to her.

"Little One remember when you were carrying Eagle? I helped you then and I will help you now; especially with that gown. I would say remove it but it is too cold." Wolf said helping her hold the gown high enough off the floor and her legs for her do complete her use of the chamber pot. With a sigh Bear followed her husband who although holding her gown for her turned his head away to give her some privacy.

"Did Deer leave cloths?" Bear asked.

"One step a head of you Love here." Wolf said pulling one from his breechcloth.

"How convenient." Bear groused taking it and her husband wrinkled his nose at her.

"Funny wife I grabbed one when I picked up this thing as they left a small pile by the thing." Wolf stated.

"Did they leave a pouch for their cleaning later?" Bear asked.

"They did and I will take care of it when I empty the thing. Now wife if you are finished up with you and back under those robes." Wolf stated and helped her stand and let the gown fall to its full length after she stepped away from the chamber pot.

"Are you going to use it as well?" Bear asked and Wolf, inches from her face now, laughed.

1556

"No Little One you do not to need to witness my private time." Wolf said then kissed her nose.

"Why not you witness mine?" Bear said as he shooed her back to her side of the bed away from the draft.

"Give me some credit Love I help you but I do keep my eyes averted to give you some privacy and how often do I do this? When you were too heavy with Eagle to go alone and now. Not that often by my count." Wolf commented as she crawled into bed and he stood back and dressed again.

"Where are you going?" Bear asked when he was dressed.

"First nosy I have to empty that thing and second it is my turn because I want you to remain in this bed and I want to come home before this night is over." Wolf said and leaned over and kissed her lips lightly.

"It is cold out there and I do not want you ill either Wolf." Bear protested and Wolf smiled down at her.

"Love relax I will not be long and I will wrap up as I usually do. Now you rest and do not worry if you fall asleep I will wake you; perhaps our special way." Wolf stated grinning.

"So you do have more planned for tonight?" Bear asked sitting up.

"I do and do not tear that gown Love I may get paid for this job but I have other gifts I want to get for you and do not want to have to buy you a second gown because this one is ruined. Understand me Little One?" Wolf said wrapping a buffalo robe around him for his trip outside.

"Me? I would be more worried about you tearing it not me in your haste to come home." Bear laughed and then his face was inches from hers again in a second.

"No Love I would be most careful and I have seen it I know how to remove it without tearing it and why would I do that it holds the most precious thing in my life. Now be good and stay in this bed under the robes and watch the firelight." Wolf said then kissed her deeply then broke the kiss and stood to leave.

"Wolf the mirror, perhaps we should lay it down so it does not fall and break." Bear said and he leaned against the bedpost at the foot of the bed and smiled at her.

"So My Lady does like her mirror?" Wolf asked and saw her blush.

"Well?" Wolf asked again when she did not respond.

"I do Wolf but it too costs money to replace please lay it down until we can put it in the cabin you are building for us." Bear said quietly.

1557

"I will take care of it Love, rest. I am glad you like it." Wolf said and winked at her then picking up the chamber pot left the cabin carefully closing the door and locking it from the outside. Bear curled into a ball smiling and wrapping his pillow against her face to shield her from the light she thought about all that had happened earlier with the gown and the mirror while Wolf was away.

Little Bear heard the door unlock then open about five minutes later, by her time, and Wolf walked in and she peeked over his pillow to see him turn, close and lock the door then saw him shiver from the cold even with the robe on and walk to the fire to get warm. With his back to her and him blocking the fire she watched him not concerned with the fire light. After a moment or two of warming himself he went and picked up the mirror and seeing his wife with her face hidden in the thing he used as a pillow to hide her eyes from the firelight and not realizing that she was secretly watching him he replaced the mirror now without the brown paper back under the bed.

"Do we have some robes we can spare to cover the glass with under there?" Bear asked and Wolf' head popped up from the floor where he was placing the mirror under the bed.

"Little One I thought you were asleep and perhaps one or two. Do you think we need to?" Wolf asked.

"Unless you plan to bring it to the unfinished cabin now where it could get broken it may be best Wolf or turn it upside down. No one is in here now but us but it could get broken." Bear said as Wolf followed her lead and turned it over and then pulled two robes from his side of the bed and covered it anyway then stood and faced her as he removed his buckskin pants and shirt again and crawled into the massive bed beside her. As he loomed over her and blocked the fire light she laid back some from her curled up position but for the most part remained unmoving.

"Then My Own I will have to get another if it breaks." Wolf said softly lying on his right side to face her.

"But you just said not to ruin this gown because you do not want to buy another because your money is for other things; gifts for me you said." Bear stated and Wolf laughed.

"So I did and yes the gown yes but the mirror was not quite the amount as the gown and you my Precious Girl are more important than the mirror and it has served its purpose." Wolf said fingering the fabric of the gown as it rested against her stomach and waist. After a moment of no response from her he glanced up to find her just staring at him but with a strange look on her face.

"What?" Wolf asked and she gently pushed him on his back and he let her.

"Served its purpose huh? What purpose was that My Heart?" Bear stated coming up over him slowly and she felt his hand on her back and his cat like grin was back as he ran his hand lightly up and down the gown covering her back feeling its silk and her warmth from her back through the thin fabric.

1558

"Purpose was not quite the correct word Little One. It….well the mirror…" Wolf said laughing as she was looming over him.

"Well? Well what is the correct word? What was the mirror for? Showing me that you see me as beautiful?" Little Bear said now straddling his waist and surprised that he was letting her. He held up a finger to her.

"No Bear you are beautiful period and to everyone and not just as I see you. If you are going to repeat what I say Love at least repeat it correctly." Wolf countered.

"You seeing me as beautiful and me being beautiful to all including you it means the same." Bear countered herself.

"It most certainly does not. One is the truth that you are a beautiful woman Little Bear and you are no matter what that…that woman told you or her two just as horrible daughters or anyone else in that Fort or anyone else in the white world. Ask Sam or Travers they are white men they will say you are beautiful, would you finally believe me if they told you?" Wolf asked as Bear leaned forward slowly against his chest.

"And the second?" Bear asked smiling herself causing Wolf to laugh.

"The second Little One is that I was not showing you that I see you as beautiful but to show you, for you to see yourself, that you are beautiful." Wolf stated now putting his arms behind his head to see what was on her mind this time.

"Oh well I guess then it did serve its purpose." Bear stated looking down at him.

"Meaning?" Wolf asked.

"Meaning nothing. I believe you Wolf if you and all who love me tell me and believe me to be beautiful than I am beautiful and I have no need to ask our Travers or our Sam who share my skin color to confirm words I believe from my own husband." Bear stated. Wolf smiled.

"Believe it Little One for it is the truth. Since when do you refer to Sam or Travers for that matter as ours?" Wolf asked and Little Bear laughed.

"Well our Sam is now married to our Meadow the woman he has loved all of his life but walked away from out of respect and love for his brother and best friend Crossing Deer and Travers well Travers and Catherine are ours because they belong here too and are one of us as they have always been Lakota but now that our Deer married our Emily and she their daughter they are Arapaho now as well as your best friend and business partner and the man who gives you this job so you can buy me a gown and a mirror." Little Bear stated slowly still unmoving looming above him.

"Ah Little One is this leading somewhere or do you have a point to make here?" Wolf asked.

1559

"Ah yes I am leading somewhere My Heart." Little Bear said and was not looking up at Wolf but at her right hand slowly tracing circles on his shoulder. Wolf looked down to see this and chuckled. He knew her too well she was stalling about something and he figured it would be something he would not like to hear. He had a feeling what she would say and was not totally incorrect in his thinking.

"Alright but Little One let's lead there soon as I want to lead somewhere myself." Wolf said seeing her smile but still watching her hand slowly drawing circles on his shoulder. He chuckled again and waited to see how long she planned to keep this up. He knew he would not let her for too long.

"You were saying." Wolf coaxed when she was silent for a long moment.

"Ah yes leading somewhere, well you see my Running Wolf our Sam and our Travers are not exactly the best shall we say white men to verify this beauty in me." Little Bear stated still not looking at her husband.

"And why is that they are white men as well as men of the Nations?" Wolf asked raising an eyebrow at her but she did not see it still intent on her hand at his shoulder.

"Yes, yes they are and that My Heart is the problem here." Little Bear said sneaking a glance at Wolf then back to her hand.

"Problem? I see no problem My Lady. All of us here, your family, which now includes the Travers family and Sam all see this beauty that you are My Lady, of that have no doubt." Wolf stated with a smile.

"Do they?" Bear said sneaking another quick glance and when Wolf went to answer she cut him off.

"Of course….." Wolf began until she cut him off.

"That Running Wolf is the problem. Yes they see me as beautiful, of course they do was that not what you were going to say? Well I will concede that point husband that yes they, all of them, our family, the inner circle, the Village and especially you see me as beautiful. You my husband see me as beautiful correct?" Bear said again looking at him then back at her hand.

"Yes Bear I have been trying to tell you that." Wolf said smiling and Bear smiled then looked back at her hand.

"Yes you have and I will concede that you speak the truth." Bear began and when he went to speak she looked up sharply and continued before he could speak.

"But you see you love me and therefore see me as beautiful, no?" Bear asked not looking at him.

1560

"No." Wolf replied but Bear did not look up.

"Then this beauty you say I have is why you love me, no?" Bear asked.

"No." Wolf replied still Bear did not look up.

"No huh? Well if you love me not because I am beautiful and you do not see me as beautiful because you love me then that must be where the gown fits in." Bear stated and this time Wolf stopped her circling with her finger of his shoulder as her distraction and held the hand to his heart as he raised her chin to face him sitting himself up more fully on the bed and pulling her with him.

"Little Bear you are making no sense woman, how does this lovely gown fit into any of this? I love you and you are beautiful they are each true but separate." Wolf stated.

"Really." Bear stated and it was not a question.

"Really." Wolf answered.

"May I finish, I do have a point to get to here?" Bear asked and Wolf sighed.

"Hurry up woman and make your point." Wolf stated with both arms now back behind his head again.

"This gown that you are able to see me through…" Bear said and this time Wolf cut her off.

"In Bear not through, I can see you in the gown not through the gown. Now what are you trying to say?" Wolf stated.

"In the gown then, you see me in this gown and how do I say it, what is that word…." Bear started and Wolf cut her off again and raised her chin to face him.

"Be careful what you say Little One." Wolf cautioned and Bear smiled and Wolf resumed his stance with both arms behind his head.

"Yes of course I guess you could say when you see me in not through this gown you desire me, to make love to me I mean, no?" Bear stated and this time Wolf sat them both completely up and her on his lap and forced her to face him.

"Desire Little One is not a bad word no but one I prefer you not to use but to answer your question I desire you but the gown has nothing to do with it and neither Little Bear and I mean this does the fact that you are beautiful and you are." Running Wolf began slowly.

1561

"I desire you yes and that too has nothing, not really, to do with us making love with each other Bear, I do not make love to you, we make love with each other and we have discussed this before. But desire My Lady holds many meanings and I desire to hold you and kiss you and remain by your side all my days. Does this answer your questions?" Wolf stated.

"Some yes." Bear replied again absently placing circles on his left arm this time as he had her back to the fire and facing the other side of the cabin.

"Some you mean there is more?" Wolf asked.

"I have not gotten to my point yet Wolf, may I continue?" Bear asked and Wolf sigh then laughed.

"If you must." Wolf commented.

"I must. Now here is the problem. You say you that my being beautiful is not why you love or that your love and in your eyes because of your love does not make me beautiful…." Bear said till he cut her off again.

"Yes, yes I love you Little One all of you and not just because you are beautiful and you are and not just to me. Continue." Wolf said patiently waiting for her to make the point he had a feeling she would make.

"Alright I think I got that one but the problem that includes our Travers and our Sam is this Running Wolf, if they are the only two white men that can verify this beauty you say I have and they are ours, of our family and Village and People than they and our family and our inner circle and our Village and you, perhaps especially you, are seeing me as you wish to see me and therefore are and it is a white word; bias husband." Little Bear stated and Running Wolf howled with laughter. It took her awhile but she got to her point; the very point he knew she would make and now to unmake her point Wolf thought as he stopped laughing and forced her again to look at him.

"Yes Love I know that word and no Little Bear none of us are bias as you say. You are beautiful and woman if I have to drag you to every Village on this Reservation, and I will not take you to the white towns, to have each and every member of every Village tell you you are one beautiful woman I will just to prove it to you. But My Lady, My Own, My Love you are a beautiful woman and I knew as I knew the child was beautiful, that this beauty is not just your beautiful hair and face and your beautiful body that only I see but you Little Bear, you are beautiful inside too Little One. Beauty is not just your lovely white skin and golden blonde hair it is your heart Little One, the heart that has kept my heart beating since the day you came home to me, to us. Now how does this gown, that I will be removing soon, and that mirror fit into this argument and you are arguing or debating with me My Love about the Village, the inner circle, our family and me especially being biased when we tell you that you are beautiful. What have those women done to you to make you think you are not beautiful Bear?" Wolf stated then held up a hand to prevent her from responding.

1562

"Before you answer I have a question for you, several actually. Is Catherine beautiful, how about Emily, they are white are they beautiful? How about Flower or Sparrow or Dove or Meadow, are they beautiful? I mean Flower is my sister but she is beautiful and Sparrow is a sister also but she is beautiful and Dove is a bit older as is Meadow and she is happier than I have ever seen her lately and they are beautiful. So if all of them are beautiful why on Mother Earth do you think that you are not just as beautiful if not more so?' Running Wolf stated having her full attention now. Then to his surprise she hung her head and when he raised her chin was surprised he was but pleased not to see tears.

"Which question shall I answer first?" Bear asked and Wolf sighed. He knew her she could keep this up all night and if that is what it took he thought to rid her of these thoughts about not being beautiful then this is how her birthday would end with somehow her realization that she is beautiful, inside and out. Wolf resigned himself to a long night of talking and not loving.

"I did not realize I asked more than one." Wolf commented and she was back to drawing circles on his left arm again and this time he stopped her and held her hand in his.

"Stop Little One, just stop. Which question do you want to answer?" Wolf asked.

"Them is the answer." Bear said softly.

"Them? Them who? That woman and her horrible daughters? Did they tell you that you were not beautiful and do not say the other word I do not want that to ever leave these lovely lips again, understand?" Wolf said with his finger in her face, as he still held her hand with that very hand.

"Yes they told me I was….not pretty or beautiful but they also kept me dirty and would not let me bathe and said that trash did not need cleaning and when she…..when she took me to those…to where the soldiers were she said….she called me her dirty and the word you do not want me to say niece because I lived with savages which you are not." Bear said in one breath and Wolf smiled then kissed her lightly.

"That one is evil Love and we have discussed this before. No child should ever have to be paraded, and yes I know what it means Travers told me, around like that and the men love were not laughing at you but her and although dirty from not being allowed to wash those men did not see you the way she said. No they saw a child, a beautiful child but a child and Travers and Sam told me that themselves so is that proof enough for you that I say this not as I see you but as you truly are?" Wolf asked.

"Tomorrow in the daylight before we join the Village for the continuation of joining ceremony can we, can I, see myself in the mirror again?" Little Bear asked and Wolf rested his forehead against hers.

"Not in this gown but in your doeskin yes, yes we can and perhaps in daylight you will believe me; finally." Wolf said then kissed her again lightly when he broke the kiss she giggled.

1563

"Finally? I have been that bad?" Bear asked and Wolf growled.

"You my stubborn, stubborn Little Bear can be very trying yes." Wolf stated with a smile.

"You did name me My Heart." Bear replied smiling as well.

"Ooh woman what you do to me." Wolf growled then took her mouth in a heated kiss.

"What is that exactly?" Bear asked when he broke the kiss and he growled her name to her giggles.

"Yes I named you and believe me if I thought then that you would be this stubborn I would have chosen another name and perhaps Rock would not have to be breaking up so many public fights not to mention Great Elk." Wolf said laughing and soon found himself on his back again as she was pounding her fists playfully on his chest to his continued laughs. Of course he let her push him back with her pounding fists on his back.

"Bear stop, stop Bear." Wolf said and she was again straddling his waist and he raised his knees to a bent position to push her further up on his stomach.

"So answer me this husband." Bear stated.

"Oh here we go again." Wolf groused.

"No listen Wolf I have a question." Bear said.

"Go ahead Love." Wolf stated.

"So if I was huge, larger than when Emily was carrying the twins, and huge all the time and let us say that I had a crooked nose or a big mole here on the left side of my neck or my cheek and perhaps a few missing teeth like right in the front, you would still see me as beautiful and you would still love me and want me to be your wife?" Little Bear asked and Wolf laughing turned the tables on her and rolled her gently, not to tear the gown, on her back and came looming up over her to face her.

"Little Bear, wife of Running Wolf, you could be large as you say and be covered in moles or warts and yes we know of those and have no teeth and green skin and wrinkled skin; which we both will as I intend for us to grow old and gray together, and woman I would still love you and you would still be the most precious thing in my life and drive me to distraction and irritation too at times." Wolf began staring deep into her eyes.

1564

"Because woman I fell in love with your heart when you were four and I found you on the plains orphaned and woman I have been in love with your heart my entire life because Little Bear, My Own, My Precious Girl you are beautiful inside and out and your heart is one of the most beautiful parts about you and if you still do not believe me than Bear I am not sure what I can say or do to show you. Now can I give you one more birthday present before the dawn arrives? Because woman I have to come home and now." Running Wolf said and by the time he was finished she was laughing herself and trying to wriggle from his hold.

"Stop or the gown will be torn. In fact sit up Little One. Come on that is it." Wolf said and helped her sit up after sitting back on his heels to give her room. Without another word he reached behind her and undid the buttons, few as they were, of the gown and pulled it forward down her arms and over her breasts and down to her waist.

"Lay back Love so I can slide it the rest of the way off and put it back in the box to protect it." Wolf said and she followed his orders and soon was gown free and after covering her in a robe and reminding her about the firelight he went and put the gown he just folded back in the box and back under the bed until he could get it to their new cabin then removing his breechcloth joined her and removed the robe he just covered her with and although he was in no hurry here he was through talking and wanted to love the most precious thing in his life and he did and soon he was home.

February 1878

Running Wolf came out of his thoughts of the night of her birthday during Sam and Meadow's joining ceremony with a smile. Their loving did go to dawn and they did not join the inner circle or the celebration until late afternoon and Bear suffered no ill effects or migraines from their long night of gift giving, loving, talking and loving some more. The subject of her beauty never came up again and although she had yet to wear the gown again he had it ready for their new room once his almost completed cabin was finished and they moved in.

Hearing noises outside he figured his son had returned from sentry duty and was being sent in the direction of the Council Lodge and the meeting he did not know he was about to have with his father; his very angry and ready to discipline his son father, for the second time; for his disrespect of his parents and the Village and his attitude of late. Wolf's smile vanished and he took several deep breaths as Wind and Deer knocked on the Council Lodge door and he bid them enter and between them now being held by them was Little Eagle; a very angry himself Little Eagle at seeing his father and fighting mad trying to break free from the cousins hold; which he could not.

"Deer, Wind hold him and sit him down but do not let him go. I take it Wind your father and Tiger are out there?" Wolf said rising as they entered.

"They are my Chief." Wind replied and Wolf passed them and headed for the door.

1565

"Tiger, Rock." Wolf called and stood in the door so that Eagle could hear him give orders to his Warriors and War Chief.

"Tiger the prison lodges are they or at least one empty?" Wolf asked speaking in low tones but looking between his son and the cousins and his War Chief and Main Lieutenant.

"They are. The Crow who got a hold of the white mans fire water were released yesterday as Travers felt they were sober enough and he assigned them farmer duties as further punishment. Wait you are not thinking of…" Tiger said and trailed off and looking at his son again Wolf nodded.

"My brother, my Chief is that wise? My daughter, your wife will be beside herself if you do that the boy is barely six my Chief." Rock spoke up also speaking in low tones.

"I will handle Bear if I decide to go this way but my brothers he has to be taught that behavior like yesterday will not be tolerated by me and that he cannot and will not from now on give you two or the cousins or any Warrior or Brave orders and that my brothers is non negotiable and I am sure my Bear will agree at least on that point. His disrespect of this Council and in particular Great Elk will not be tolerated either. Tiger is Owl on sentry now?" Wolf stated.

"No he is off why do you want him on duty?" Tiger asked. Wolf turned to the cousins.

"Wind is Horse or Red Fox on sentry duty now?" Wolf asked.

"No my Chief do you need them?" Wind asked.

"Your father will take care of it I need you here with me. Rock bring me Owl, Horse and Red Fox and also please do me a favor and keep Bear out of here. If she hears yelling and she may as he is still fighting mad I want her no where near here until I find out what has gotten into that boy." Wolf said still looking between his son and his brothers he saw Wind nod his understanding that his father would take care of it.

"I know what has gotten into my nephew." Tiger offered and Wolf looked at him.

"Well?" Wolf asked in his 'chief in charge' voice after Tiger hesitated.

"He thinks he runs this Village that is what my Chief." Tiger stated.

"Yes I know and after I explained to him that there is only one Chief at a time too. But there has to be something else." Wolf stated glancing at Eagle who was staring holes in him from the center of the Lodge cabin floor between the cousins and firmly held by them too.

"Has he Bear's migraine condition?" Rock asked and Wolf looked horrified in a word.

"Travers said it is passed on, hold on, Deer can Wind hold him I need you?" Wolf called to Deer.

1566

A moment later Deer walked up to the three at the Council door as Wind had a fidgeting Eagle at the Council fire.

"Yes Wolf." Deer replied to the summons.

"Did Emily ever tell you how old she was when she started with the migraines?" Wolf asked.

"Fifteen why?" Deer answered easily.

"Damn." Wolf swore using a white swear word.

"My Chief your blood remember and how are you going to stay calm confronting him? Besides white swear words are beneath you or so my daughter tells us." Rock stated and Wolf smiled.

"They are huh and as for my blood you better stay close to me too as well as Bear in case Great Elk is needed." Wolf stated with a smile.

"Wolf what are you going to do? Have you decided?" Deer asked as the two had discussed it earlier with Wind as the cousins were the trainers of Warriors which Eagle was in the process of becoming one.

"I had thought to lock him in a holding lodge for a night or two. Give him a taste of what living alone with nothing, which is what I would give him if he did live in his own lodge at his age which is ridiculous to say the least. Tiger tell me the Warriors do we have enough guards to secure him and keep him safe incase the Crow lurk as they have been doing?" Wolf asked.

"We do but Bear Wolf?" Tiger inquired.

"I will handle my wife brother. Get your best guards and protection Warriors and have the closest holding lodge cleaned and emptied of everything but the water pouch in case I go that direction. I have got to get this boy to see sense here for his mother's sake if nothing else." Wolf stated.

"Brother maybe that is all this is?" Rock offered.

"Meaning?" Wolf asked.

"The cabin Wolf, he is adamant about not wanting to live in one maybe that's the root cause here." Rock explained.

"You know Uncle may be right Wolf, he has been talking at our fires about our ways and our old ways at that." Deer stated.

"Meaning?" Wolf asked.

1567

"Meaning our ways before we came here." Deer explained. Wolf looked back at his son to see him a bit calmer as Wind was talking to him quietly. He ran his hand over his face in thought and Rock knowing his brother and Chief so well knew something was brewing in his brother's mind.

"Interesting." Wolf commented not realizing he was speaking aloud.

"Mind sharing my brother, perhaps we can help." Rock replied.

"Hmm, oh yes. Rock you can help. Go to Great Elk's and get that parchment in my hand about naming Bear Chieftess and Tiger go have two of your best Warriors not on patrol or sentry and have them clean out one of the prison lodges and supply it with a water pouch only and then both of you come back and sit inside in case I need you to back me up here. Deer you and Wind stay back here with Tiger and your Uncle; just in case." Wolf stated still watching his calmer son even Tiger, Rock and Deer were watching Eagle and Wind. Then Wind turned to see Wolf and Wolf motioned for him to join the group at the door and after commenting something to Eagle and at Eagle's nod Wind rose and joined his Chief.

"What did you say to him? How is he calmer?" Wolf asked not addressing Rock who was trying to speak; Wolf knew what Rock was going to say.

"I told him, his, our Chief had a special job for him to do and to be patient and you will instruct him, us, soon." Wind said and Wolf smiled then slapped Wind on his back then turned to Tiger then to Rock.

"Brilliant! Why did I not think of it? See my brothers, I made another wise choice. First was naming Tiger my War Chief and now naming the cousins my Trainer of Braves and Warriors. Deer, Wind I do not know exactly what you have been teaching my son, all the Braves and Warriors but whatever it is keep it up. Deer you and Wind will have to tell me sometime about the talk of the old days but even that will help with what I am now thinking." Wolf stated still grinning.

"Ah my brother if what you are thinking involves that parchment than you will not only have your stubborn son on your hands but my stubborn daughter as well." Rock commented and Wolf looked at him then slapped him on the back surprising Rock.

"It is perfect Rock you will see. This disrespect and attitude has to cease and cease it will and the prison lodge will help reinforce this as well. Wind and Deer I know you have to be home tonight with your wives but if you could keep an ear out in case of trouble down there though Tiger I want him under heavy guard both for his safety from the Crow and in case he tries to bolt." Wolf stated.

"Running Wolf I hate to mention it again but your wife, the Chieftess, will not take kindly to that little detail as well as whatever else you have in mind. I know my daughter brother and she will be fighting mad herself." Rock stated to three nods from Tiger, Wind and Deer. Wolf waved him off.

1568

"Oh I know my brother and I will handle the Chieftess in my own way. Rock though I want you and Tiger with the cousins here while I deal out this disciple that is long over due to my wayward son Rock under no circumstances is Bear to get anywhere near this Lodge right now. Last I left her she was with Catherine but if she hears us in here she will be in here in seconds and any hope of steering that young boy in the right direction will be lost. Eagle may know me as Wolf but she does not know he knows this and if things get out of hand he could blurt it out and then it will not be the whites that will hear him but my beloved and that my brothers I will not allow. I will allow no one to hurt her including our son." Wolf stated to more nods.

"How about we have Travers and Sam who is still working on the cabins to join us and they can help not only Rock with Bear as she will only listen to her father in this matter and not necessarily Travers, and as part of the inner circle they are your Warriors too and take orders from you? Besides they can help us keep your blood cool, or as cool as possible." Tiger spoke up and all looked at him because none of them, Wolf included believed that the War Chief was the one to suggest this. Wolf smiled and realized that his brother really was back as before Sam and Meadow's joining ceremony the mention of Travers or Sam was enough to send his War Chief, almost, to another Village and away from his own People and family. Wolf put a hand on his shoulder.

"That my brother is a great idea. You now can I add that to your duties for the moment. I will have you ask them to join us, order them if Bear is around and they will listen. Perhaps if he sees 'my' inner circle he will realize I am Chief here and that he cannot just order my Warriors and Braves around." Wolf stated looking between his son, who was watching the group now but remaining quiet and where Wind left him, and his four brothers and Warriors in his inner circle. Wolf saw Eagle watching but did not acknowledge him; yet.

"Not a problem my brother I will go now, perhaps Sam can assist me in pulling Warriors off cabin building detail for this task but one question first my brother?" Tiger began and then at Wolf's nod continued.

"How will young Eagle handle the fact that not only does Sam and Travers sit at our inner circle family fire pit but are among your chief advisors of your inner circle for all matters of Warrior Council business?" Tiger asked and this time Wolf slapped him on the back laughing.

"We shall see my brother, we shall see, another test for the young heir do you not agree? See Rock I should have made Tiger War Chief as a young Brave myself it would have saved us all a lot of heartbreak; especially our beloveds huh Wind?" Wolf said.

"You know Wolf he does consider Owl his War Chief and Horse and Red Fox his First Lieutenants." Wind commented.

"He does, does he? Well thank you my brother, that too ends today. One Chief at a time and I intend on going nowhere for a mighty long time, not to mention that he still is far from the place of Chief with the Chieftess still by my side. Let me see how he handles that piece of news. Off with you two and keep her out of here Rock at all costs." Wolf stated and Tiger and Rock left.

1569

With a sigh Running Wolf, flanked by both Deer and Wind, turned his full attention to his son. Who remained seated in the presence of his Chief and father, which was not done when the Chief entered all stood. But Eagle did not move though he was watching all three closely.

"Eagle up you stand when the Chief enters." Deer ordered and Eagle slowly and forcefully, it was obvious to all, rose at Deer's command but at least Wolf thought he does listen to Deer and Wind as Wind had gotten him to calm down.

Wolf took his place at the head of the circle around the center fire as there was no fire place in the Council Lodge only the center fire and normally Eagle's place would be on one side of Wolf with Bear's place on the left now as that was her place now at his side always. Today however Deer and Wind steered the young chief to the place across from his father and Eagle for the first time in his young life, not even six until summer, for the very first time he was seated across from his Chief. His very displeased, very angry Chief and father Running Wolf. Little Eagle was about to learn the extent of his father's anger and that it had also to do with anger his father had over his son's words and disrespect for his mother, Little Bear, and though Eagle did not know he was being disrespectful to his mother he was also soon to learn that anyone who dared hurt or insult the wife of Running Wolf would meet the Chief's wrath and that included his own son; whether or not Eagle knew his father was Running Wolf or Straight Arrow, as Bear still thought her son saw Wolf as, mattered not to Running Wolf. His son would learn many lessons this day; the easy way or the hard way but one way or another.

"Little Eagle do you know why I summoned you here?" Wolf asked not addressing him as son as he wanted to do but could not or no lesson would be learned this day.

"No only that Wind said you had a job for me." Eagle stated coolly and Wolf raised an eyebrow at him and stood.

"Eagle address him properly we have talked of this. He is our and your Chief now address him as such." White Deer stated and Wolf actually heard his five and a half year old son grunt; he had never heard that before.

"The son of the Chief need not address him as such, he knows I am replying to his direct words." Eagle retorted looking at Deer. Wolf stood and watched his Trainers deal with his son as Tiger and Rock entered followed by Travers and Sam. Wolf was not expecting all four to enter so soon.

"Who told you that because it is not the truth Eagle." Wind spoke up.

"Owl." Eagle replied and Wolf thought at least he was being honest.

"Owl told you what nephew?" Tiger asked not having heard the entire exchange between Eagle and Deer and Wind. Deer turned to his War Chief to respond.

1570

"Apparently Owl told him that he did not have to address our Chief as Chief because Wolf is his father." Deer stated.

"Oh he did, did he. Eagle did he tell me now?" Tiger demanded and Wolf smiled as the boy was wide-eyed never having been ordered like this by Tiger before. Wolf saw Eagle look up at him.

"Answer him Eagle, that is your first order of the day from your Chief son and do not forget that." Wolf stated but remained standing. Eagle swallowed then looked at Tiger.

"Stand up to answer him. In this lodge we respect our leaders and Little Eagle Tiger Hunter is 'my' War Chief and is to be respected understand me?" Wolf added and Eagle stood.

"Yes Uncle Tiger…" Eagle began but Wolf was in front of him this time and turning him to face him.

"No son not Uncle Tiger not in here and not when being given an order. Now address him properly." Wolf stated. He saw Eagle hesitate but could not rescue him now or all would be lost in disciplining his son. Wind rescued the boy as a good Trainer would

"Eagle address him as War Chief, full title remember we discussed this." Wind commented.

"Yes War Chief he told me this, more or less." Eagle stated and before Wolf could reply Tiger was running from the lodge and Wolf suspected that his son inadvertently just got his cousin and friend in trouble not only with his War Chief but with his father. Wolf did not stop him and held up a hand to prevent Rock from stopping him. Wolf wondered how far this disrespect or attitude ran in his Village among his young ones and for how long. But he turned his son to face him once more.

"Explain this more or less Little Eagle and you will address me properly or you will add ten fold to the punishment you will be getting today." Wolf stated and his five and a half year old exploded at that.

"Punishment? I was told by the cousin, who I trusted, that I was to be given work by you today 'my Chief' not face punishment. For what anyway? I have done nothing wrong." Eagle screamed and all gasp at his disgust at saying 'my chief' and at him throwing his head back and straightening his shoulders and puffing out his chest when he said he had done nothing wrong. Running Wolf's anger knew no bounds either as he had only heard one before act this way and he was not going to have his son, his own son, act like this anymore. Rock and Travers were to his side in a second as they knew Wolf was about to explode and Sam was now putting his hands on young Eagle's shoulders to prevent him from bolting at what he suspected was coming and the cousins stood not having risen but waiting for permission they did not need it now. Eagle had more or less, to quote his own words from earlier, sealed his own fate or in this case punishment. Tiger was pulling a reluctant Owl behind him protesting all the way and Wolf heard his wife's cry from outside and knew what was coming. Bear either now knew or suspected what was going on. He turned to Rock knowing all in the lodge had heard her.

1571

"Rock, Bear now!" Wolf screamed himself.

"I have it my Chief." Rock said and flew from the lodge just in time to grab his daughter and haul her back to his lodge away from the firing line as Great Elk now emerged from is lodge and went to the Council Lodge. While Rock was stopping Little Bear's interference in her son's necessary discipline and Tiger was hauling a fighting Owl behind him and handing him over to Deer to hold fast while he took Rock's place and just in time too, Wind was leaning down to Eagle loud enough for all to hear.

"See Eagle even my father calls your father Chief. He is Chief Eagle, the only Chief in this Village." Wind stated and saw Wolf grin but his face was blood red with rage. Great Elk entered to see this and remembered seeing it on his chief one other time before; the day Wolf confronted Grey Fox in the prison lodge for his treachery and deceit in attempting to take first Tiger than Wolf's life at the two great battles; the attack on Bear would happen within a couple of days after that.

"All 'my' Warriors Little Eagle and if you wish to be one you too will learn this and learn it now, address me properly as Chief because boy I am your Chief as well as your father." Running Wolf shouted at his son only to hear the echoing cry from his wife who he could tell by the sound was being now led from the Council Lodge and looking up he saw Great Elk who confirmed it with a nod. Wolf hoped Rock kept her far away.

"I am a Warrior 'father' and as for you being Chief I make a better Chief now than you do." Eagle stated boldly and several things occurred at once. One was that all the men including Great Elk, Sam, Travers, Tiger and the cousins laughed; all but Wolf. Running Wolf's rage knew no bounds then and if it was not for Tiger's keen eye and knowing his brother so well and having been in a similar situation when Wolf's temper was this out of control he saw Wolf's arm move to strike his son and Tiger grabbed it even as Little Eagle cringed and turned back into Sam still holding him by the shoulders. Tiger met the full force of Wolf's rage by the look he was given but undeterred by his brother in law and Chief Tiger faced Wolf standing between him and his son as he also saw his son Owl cringe as Wolf was posed to strike Eagle.

"No my brother not this way and think of Bear she would be brokenhearted if you hit your own son; a son she does not know knows you for who you truly are the Great Chief Running Wolf." Tiger stated.

"He has to learn respect Tiger and that includes respecting my Little Bear, his own mother and the Chieftess of this Village." Running Wolf hollered back again hearing the echoing cry from Bear who he guessed now knew their son somehow disrespected her as well.

"No Wolf not this way!" Tiger countered.

1572

"I agree son, do not strike the boy. Yes he must pay for his crimes here of disrespect and if Owl is here I think other crimes as well but not this way. Tiger is right. Listen to your War Chief son, one of the best decisions you have ever made and one your own father would be proud of." Great Elk stated walking up on the Warriors and two Braves.

"I demand to know what I have done!" Eagle yelled again only to be restrained by both Sam and Wind now. Running Wolf being held by Travers and Tiger pointed at his son.

"You have no rights here Little Eagle! No rights I tell you! Sit down and keep your mouth closed until and unless you are spoken to and I would seriously pay attention to all that is said today and mark my words son or no boy you will learn what is expected of you or you will never be 'my' Warrior and hear me well son the line of Chiefs will not succeed to you." Wolf hollered at his son only to hear his Little Bear who although he could tell was not near the Council was hearing, as he feared, every word with her echoing cry. He hoped and prayed to the Great Spirit that all of this did not bring on a migraine.

"Son I think you too need to sit and remember your hot blood." Great Elk cautioned and to Tiger and Travers Running Wolf practically collapsed on the Council Lodge floor. Both flanked him now seated both to keep him from lunging in anger at Eagle and to make sure he was alright as Great Elk was watching him closely as he took his place at the head of the Council now. Running Wolf was holding his head in his hands and both Tiger and Travers heard him moan Bear's name as did Great Elk. Great Elk patted his arm reaching around Travers and Wolf looked up smiled weakly at him then hung his head again.

"Rock has her son, he will see she is fine." Great Elk stated.

"I know Great Elk but a migraine, this could bring one on. I should be with her." Wolf stated.

"You, my Chief, cannot be two places at once and you are needed here. Punishment and probably more than one are required here and that is the job and responsibility of the Chief not the Shaman." Great Elk said and the cousins knew that Eagle was paying rapt attention to it all.

"He can go, I am not going to be punished and by my own father at that. I can run this Village just fine without you. See to mother that is what you are best at." Eagle stated and this time Sam took his place between Eagle and Deer who had Owl in a near death grip as the boy or half grown teenager was strong.

"Little Eagle I am surprised at you." Sam began.

"I am not. He has been acting like this since….since we arrived at Wind River but then I was too busy to see it when it began but it is my fault my brother I let it get this far and now to disrespect my wife, his mother, I cannot handle it anymore. I cannot handle him anymore." Wolf stated.

"No one needs to 'handle' me father. I am fine. Go to mother it is what you do best." Eagle said.

1573

"Not another word Little Eagle and that boy is the second order of the day!" Wolf yelled only to have Travers put a hand on his shoulder.

"Calm down my brother this too is not helping you, him or your Bear." Travers said quietly.

"I know." Wolf replied to Travers quietly.

"My Chief if I may?" Tiger spoke up on Wolf's right and at Wolf's nod Tiger stood and faced his own son.

"Owl tell the Council of the inner circle what exactly did you tell Little Eagle in regards to how he addresses his Chief and father. Be careful how you address me Owl and what you say." Tiger asked.

"My War Chief I told Eagle….I told Little Eagle….I told him that as the heir if his father told him something or ask him something directly he was not required to respond to him by his status as Chief." Owl offered honestly. Tiger looked at Wolf who nodded at his War Chief to continue.

"Owl was this to be at all times?" Tiger asked and saw Owl look at Eagle.

"What did you do my brother?" Owl asked Eagle.

"Apparently I have been disrespectful to both my father 'the Chief' and my mother is apparently a Chieftess although I have no idea what that means or how I disrespected her. But 'my father' has no right to punish me, the next in line for Chief, for anything." Eagle responded shooting daggers at his father but answering Owl. All but Wolf saw Owl's expression of horror but Wolf was about to interrupt when Travers again put his hand on his shoulder and when Wolf looked at Travers he nodded to Owl and Wolf looked at Owl. Owl looked at his father.

"My War Chief may I?" Owl asked and Tiger looked at Wolf who nodded then Tiger nodded at his son. Owl stood and went to stand beside his father and looked down at the young Chief.

"Eagle how could you? You know what I meant and what I said was when you and your father are alone and not in this Council Lodge." Owl said then turned to his father and Uncle.

"My Chief, my War Chief I never told Little Eagle to ever be disrespectful of your status as Chief and War Chief and I never would. I told him my Chief that when you and he are alone and not here in this Council Lodge that he need not address you as Chief as you are his father unless you are giving him an order and if has disrespected you my War Chief and father than I apologize for that as well as I never and neither have our cousins Deer and Wind ever told any of us to not call you War Chief and you Chief, my Chief especially in this Lodge and when giving us orders or jobs to do." Owl began and Travers and Wolf exchanged a look and Wolf smiled at Travers; at least Owl knew or appeared to the meaning of what it was to be an honorable Warrior.

1574

"If he is to be punished than he must have misunderstood my words and I too should be punished as his future, future Little Eagle, War Chief I should and do have his back at all times and this time I failed him." Owl stated then looked from Eagle to Wolf to his father and Tiger knowing his son was confidant that Owl had more to say. Tiger looked at Wolf who nodded at him and Tiger stopped Owl from returning to Deer's side.

"Owl is there anything else?" Tiger asked his son as Tiger saw Great Elk smile and nod and knew that his son was holding something back. Wolf also saw Great Elk's reaction as did Sam and Travers and the cousins. Owl hesitated between looking at Wolf and Eagle.

"Owl please do not." Eagle pleaded and now Wolf was concerned and looked at Great Elk who nodded to him and Wolf rose but not before Travers caught his attention and Wolf leaned down to hear Travers.

"I get the feeling my brother that there is more to this than just disrespecting your status as Chief and perhaps young Owl here is the key. Perhaps too you and Eagle should discuss this privately. Just a suggestion my Chief, perhaps Great Elk has insight here that we shall I say old ones do not. I just get the feeling Wolf that your son is holding something back; something deep inside him perhaps." Travers stated and both Wolf and Tiger nodded as Tiger could also hear Travers.

"Yes I do believe you are correct? Tiger do you agree? Sam did you hear and agree?" Wolf asked knowing the cousins were too far from them to hear.

"Yes I think that would be my guess." Tiger stated and Sam rose and came closer to respond.

"My Chief if I heard our brother correctly something more and perhaps deeper lies here and yes we should get Great Elk's thoughts on the matter as well as the cousins. But I think Owl should be allowed to tell all including young Eagle what he knows." Sam said and Wolf nodded but held up a hand.

"First I have a question for my son as my son." Wolf asked and walking passed Owl winked at him and patted his shoulder and told him to stay next to his father for the moment and Wolf went and knelt in front of Little Eagle.

"Son, I know I have been angry and yes there are infractions to our laws and customs here that need addressing but what you just said has me concerned son and as your father, this once only, I give you permission to not address me as Chief but tell me son what is wrong?" Wolf asked and Little Eagle clearly saw his father's unshed tears and hung his head.

"Son are you ill? Migraines anything? You know your mother can pass them on and she would be heart sick to know you have them too; as would I. Eagle I may be your Chief and I am but I am also your father; your father who loves you." Wolf said and Little Eagle raised his head and looked at his father.

1575

"No father, my Chief, I am not ill and no no migraines and no I would not want mother to be whatever heart sick is but I do not want her sick at all; even this migraine bad headaches." Eagle stated.

"Then what is it son? Something has got to be wrong for you to act like this." Wolf stated.

"My Chief if I may?" Owl stated and was standing beside the kneeling Wolf and the still sitting Little Eagle. Wolf noticed Eagle's pleading eyes to his cousin, friend and future War Chief as Owl looked down at them.

"No Owl you promised." Eagle stated.

"I did Eagle and I will not break that promise but Eagle he is your father. Yes he is your and our Chief but my brother he is your father. Tell him." Owl stated.

"I cannot." Eagle said and hung his head again and with a sigh Running Wolf stood and returned next to Travers and leaned close to Great Elk.

"Grandfather can you see something here I am not seeing?" Wolf asked and Great Elk nodded.

"Perhaps. May I suggest having the full inner circle, Rock should be here son, speak of this before sentencing the boy for his crimes? But son the crimes should be named and I believe Tiger is having one of the prison lodges cleaned and to used for at least part of his punishment we can send him there but remember son it is winter he needs more than a water pouch and his guards will also need fires and robes to protect him from the Crow or his own inclinations to escape." Great Elk stated.

"You mean send him there now? Bear would have my head." Wolf stated.

"She may have your head anyway son as you two rule together and she is being left out of this and I understand why; the events of yesterday. Name the charges or have Tiger or Travers or Sam do so if they know them all and send him to the prisoner lodge and get Rock in here and we can discuss all this with Owl if necessary." Great Elk stated.

"Bear will remove him if she is not under guard herself that is why Rock has to keep her in his lodge." Wolf countered.

"Son I can handle my granddaughter and I am of the same mind as you but I do not think Eagle knew he insulted her yesterday at this very fire but we will address this one step at a time. Name the charges, send him to the prison lodge with all he needs in the cold and food as well and then I will speak with Bear and she will not interfere when I talk to her. Then we all, your inner circle, sit in here and discuss this more openly and with Owl present if Tiger agrees." Great Elk stated.

"Alright Grandfather we can try this but if Bear is not agreeable I may have no choice but to restrain her myself which I do not want to do." Wolf stated knowing Travers heard every word.

1576

Before Great Elk had a chance to respond to his Chief a scream rent the air and Wolf followed by his Warriors, except his son and Owl and Great Elk, tore from the lodge as all knew the scream was from Little Bear calling out at the top of her lungs for Running Wolf and screaming no. Only Great Elk who remained with the young Braves saw the effect that his mother's screams had on the child and how Owl moved in not only to shield the young Chief from the eyes of the Shaman but to attend to the boy.

"Running Wolf! Running Wolf NO!" Little Bear screamed over and over again as Wolf and his Warriors flew from the Council Lodge cabin and Wolf ran to her and pulled her against him. Neither parent knew that their son was a mess in the Council Lodge; but Owl and Great Elk knew and both heard his echoing cries to his mother's voice. But Little Eagle did not know either that his parents felt his cries even if they could not hear him.

"Mama no. Mama no." Eagle said softly over and over again and Great Elk frowned but paid close attention to the boy and to Owl who moved in front of Eagle and was talking to him quietly. Great Elk could not hear their talk but from the cries and the tears he saw on the boys face he knew that not only could Wolf and Bear feel and sense each others pain but their son could as well; he could sense and feel his mother was in pain and perhaps his father too Great Elk thought as he watched the pair he was left with in the Council Lodge.

"Hush my brother or your father will have greater cause to be angry and to worry." Owl was saying to Eagle who, so like his mother, was rocking back and forth at hearing his mother's voice over and over again screaming for his father; the very man she thought her son knew as Straight Arrow.

"Mama is hurt Owl the bad man is coming." Eagle said and once again Owl hushed him then glanced at the Shaman to see him watching them.

"Hush or Grandfather will hear." Owl stated but Eagle was still shaking his head back and forth.

"Only Papa can help Mama, only Papa can save her and only Papa can do this; it is what he does best." Eagle said and neither boy saw Great Elk frown having heard all of this as Eagle was talking a little louder. Great Elk wondered if yesterday and today and the last few weeks were built around the child's thought, perhaps only thought, that their Chief was best at taking care of his wife. True yes but he was also best at being Chief of the Village and Head of Security for the Reservation. Great Elk was going to follow the Warriors to tend to Bear but thought it more prudent to remain and see what he could learn of the young Chief's state of mind especially where his mother is concerned.

"He will my brother, he will. He always does Eagle now calm down before you too get ill. Your father is correct you can or may get migraines from your mother let us not start that today or your father will be in a much worse state than he is now. Now tell me my brother why do you not talk to your father? He loves you Eagle and your mother loves you they need to know this; they must know." Owl said now sitting in front of Little Eagle occasionally looking behind him at the Shaman who only smiled at Owl.

1577

Outside while Owl was trying to tend to Little Eagle Running Wolf was running into his wife's arms having broken free from Rock but not moving beyond the family fire pit. He grabbed her to him then pulled back searching her face frantically for what the trouble was.

"Little One, what? Are you alright?" Wolf asked and all heard his near hysterics at her scream and the reason for it. Rock started to speak but Wolf held up a hand seeing from the corner of his eye Rock approach them as was Meadow now and he knew Sam, Travers, Tiger and the Cousins were behind him as well. He did not know that Emily was now in Deer's arms herself at Bear's frantic screams and that Catherine was running to Travers wondering what was going on. Even Sparrow, who was supposed to be lying down resting was exiting her lodge and Wind seeing her held her too. Sam was beside Meadow even as Meadow was approaching, slowly, Wolf and Bear. Tiger was keeping an eye on the Council Lodge wondering if Great Elk was coming and to be sure his son and nephew did not bolt at this interruption; as he knew Wolf needed no more stress at the moment. Flower was at their lodge flaps and Dove joined her as the Villagers who were moving about on this cold February day stopped to see what was wrong with their beloved Little Bear. Wolf was about to find that out himself.

"He is just a little boy." Bear whispered and almost collapsed in Wolf's arms. Wolf picked her up and was smiling now to Rock.

"Sorry my brother but she can fight hard to get away." Rock stated.

"It is alright and I know she is a handful." Wolf said as Bear was still saying 'He is just a little boy.'

"Hush Love I have you. Eagle is fine Love really." Wolf stated.

"No Wolf he is in trouble I know he is and he is in pain." Bear said and Wolf looked down into her eyes.

"He is both my Love but have no fear Little One I will take care of it all; do I not always?" Wolf stated and Bear reached up and touched his face.

"He is just a little boy." Bear said then Wolf saw her tears starting to fall and held her more tightly to him.

"Come Little One let me get you inside our temporary lodge out of this cold air so a migraine does not come on." Wolf stated and saw Meadow with Sam next to her approach.

"My Chief I would be happy to sit with her, keep her company while you do what you must." Meadow stated and now Sam had her in his arms.

"Meadow Love I do not think it is a good idea." Sam cautioned and now Dove came to stand by Rock.

1578

"Actually my brother it is a good idea. Sam these two, Meadow and Bear, they share a special sisters bond. Part of the reason that Great Elk allowed Meadow and Bear to talk of Crossing Deer and Running Wolf together and aloud and anytime they wanted." Dover said now held by Rock.

"Remember Love I told you about the day Wolf broke his leg, the broken leg that actually healed him and not take him from us like Crossing Deer." Meadow stated up at Sam as Sam looked from Bear to Meadow.

"Wolf?" Sam asked and Wolf who had been intent on watching the woman in his arms looked at him.

"What? Oh Meadow certainly my sister but let me get her settled first. She and I need to have a talk about our son. I will come and get you when she is settled, how is that? With Sam's permission of course." Wolf stated.

"Sam?" Meadow asked from her husband's arms.

"If Dove and Wolf say it is fine than of course my Love but you come get us if you need us." Sam stated and Meadow nodded and Wolf looked at her again.

"Meadow if she starts squinting or shows signs of nausea or the onset of a migraine get me immediately, alright?" Wolf stated.

"Certainly Wolf. My sister I will come and sit with you soon and we will have tea and talk of our loves how is that?" Meadow said looking at her sister in her husband's arms. Bear smiled at her.

"That would be fine Meadow, see you soon. Wolf, he is just a little boy." Bear stated and Wolf smiled then looked behind him at the Council Lodge then back to the woman in his arms. He felt something too; he felt it in the Lodge earlier and now too; their son was hurting but from what or from who Wolf thought. First Wolf told himself he had to calm her down then tend to his son and get to the bottom of all this behavior from his five and a half year old who would be Chief.

"Meadow we shall see you soon. Rock thank you, Sam Dove thank you. Come Little One let us get you inside where it is warm." Wolf stated then carried her to their temporary lodge wedged between their almost built cabin and Tiger and Flower's. He passed his sister who smiled at him.

"If you or she needs me my brother come get me." Flower offered smiling at them both.

"We shall my sister. Thank you." Wolf said and placed a quick kiss on her cheek then carried his wife inside and laid her on the thick pile of robes in their temporary home and the additional robes kept her further off the hard lodge floor but not high enough but the cabin was almost complete and upon completion the bed that he, Travers and Sam made was waiting to be brought from the Agent's building and then his Lady would never sleep on or near the cold floor of a lodge or cabin again. He laid her down and she pulled him with her to his soft laugh saying the same since he ran to her at her scream. He pulled her arms free and faced her.

1579

"Hush Bear. That little boy is in trouble yes. That little boy of ours almost caused a full scale riot in my Lodge meeting yesterday and for that and more infractions he must be punished Bear." Wolf said leaning back on his heels as she sat up to face him now.

"No Wolf you cannot punish him." Bear cried.

"Can I not? Bear I cannot give my own son a pass on violating Council and Village rules just because he is my son, our son, the son of the Chief." Wolf stated and Bear touched his arm.

"Wolf something is wrong with him I agree but the child is in pain. I know he disrespected you and on more than one occasion and I hear he even disrespected me although I do not think he realized he did. But Wolf the boy is hurting. Something has happened that we, you and I know not." Bear said and Wolf ran a hand over his face; she was correct and he knew it.

"Perhaps he unintentionally disrespected you My Lady but I cannot stand by and let him get away with any of it. Yes I too sense or feel or perhaps know something is terribly wrong with him and perhaps he has been apart from us for too long and that ends as soon as this cabin is finished and I get him somehow to see reason like I did you to live here with us and he will one way or another; by force if necessary. But yes something is wrong and something we know not what has happened and I intend to find out but I have to do this my way Little One, my way." Wolf stated.

"How?" Bear asked and Wolf sighed.

"For starters he is being put in one of the prison lodges, Tiger is having it cleaned and furnished for our son in winter and he will be under heavy guard." Wolf said and now Bear was near panic again.

"Prison lodge no Wolf you cannot." Bear stated.

"I have to Love what will my, our, Warriors say if I let him off for infractions and rules they all know he broke? I would be the weak Chief one accused me of once and over my own son at that. No Bear not this time, I must do this my way Bear, my way or the child will never learn what is expected of him as a Warrior, a man, our son and the next Chief." Wolf stated.

"But he cannot stay there alone he is only a little boy Wolf and all night too and alone in the dead of winter." Bear stated and Wolf pulled her in his arms.

"No Little One not alone I would never. You forget we have enemies in this Village he will be well guarded and safe." Wolf stated.

"And alone." Bear said quietly from his arms.

"No Love not alone. I will be with him." Wolf said just then realizing Travers was right he needed to spend time alone with son to get to the bottom of all this. Bear pulled from his arms.

1580

"You would stay with him all night?" Bear asked as only a mother would.

Running Wolf ran a hand down the side of her face and laughed softly.

"No Love but Sam will stay the rest of the night. I must be here with my Precious Girl to keep her calm and migraine free and worry free, as best as I can. But I am sure Meadow will be fine with Sam staying with him the night and Sam will be agreeable I am sure. Besides perhaps a Warrior much like our son, of two heritages, will be able to help our son deal with his duel cultures a bit better as that too may be part of this." Wolf stated.

"What do you mean duel heritages and how can a Cheyenne Warrior help our son deal with duel cultures, Eagle is not Cheyenne." Bear stated and Wolf laughed and kissed her lightly.

"No Love but he is half white as is Sam and Sam though he hated it lived in both worlds and one day we will send Eagle back East to the white mans school and he will need to learn to live in both worlds too as part Arapaho and part white." Wolf stated and Bear huffed.

"You always told me I was Arapaho now I am white." Bear retorted and Wolf sighed.

"No Love you are Arapaho but you were born white our son has both of his parents blood in him. The blood of his mother's white family, parents only Love, and his mother and the blood of his Arapaho father and Chief, Running Wolf. Do you not see?" Wolf stated.

"I see. I see that you are still intent on punishing our son and sending him to stay in the dead of winter in the prison lodge." Bear stated and Wolf chuckled.

"The fully stocked for once prison lodge. Love he will not be cold or go hungry or be without water. He will have no pleasure in there but he will not become ill I would never do that and you know it. Besides did I not just say that I will be spending time with him there? Travers suggested and I agree that father and son need to be alone so I can discover what on mother earth has gotten into that boy but punished he must be Love now tell me while I go name the crimes and sentence him to the first part of his punishment, the prison lodge, will you remain here with Meadow who graciously offered to sit with you and Sam graciously agreed? I promise Little One he will not be alone, I would never allow that. Now can you trust your Running Wolf, just a little, to do what I must and no I would never hurt him, he is my son, our son and I love him as you. I feel his pain too Little One and sense it and I will l get the reason for it believe me. I will also somehow get him to see reason about our new cabin home as I remember doing with his mother, my beloved wife and the most precious thing in my life. Now do I get Meadow and you be good and stay with her and I will return before I join our son in his punishment confines?" Wolf asked and after a moment Bear smiled and he kissed her deeply.

"Just remember he is just a little boy." Bear said when he broke the kiss and he laughed.

"I will Love. Be back soon. Be good with Meadow woman." Wolf stated then left.

1581

Outside Wolf ran into Sam and Meadow. He smiled as he approached the newlyweds.

"Thank you Meadow for doing this. I know how hard this is on her. Are you sure you are alright with this Sam?" Wolf stated and Sam placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Meadow told me how you broke your leg and all about the three times Bear saw a rider less Thunder and what that did to her as well as that you almost did die from the leg wound from Big Horn. Wolf I too had no idea he was so evil. I am sorry about all of it. But if my Meadow can keep her distracted and not on thoughts of the punishment of your son than by all means she can help. Meadow, Love, just do not over tire yourself or Bear alright?" Sam stated and Meadow smiled and nodded.

"None of us knew about him my brother and yes Meadow helped my Bear a lot back then especially that day I went to pray and then ended up breaking my leg. Who would have thought that one leg break would have ended up healing me after all and all our fears of me dying were laid to rest for good and hopefully for a long, long time. Meadow remember if she squints or gets ill or becomes dizzy or shows any signs that she is unwell come immediately you can just come in the Lodge door and I will see you and know. Do not hesitate alright? Bear is stubborn we both know that but she is so stubborn she will not tell you if she is having one so be alert for one but try not to look like you are on alert for one. Do you understand?' Wolf stated and Meadow nodded.

"I believe I do yes. Do not worry about us my Chief just tend to this business quickly so you can tell her what happened so she will not worry so. I remember when Deer had to disciple our children, especially young Deer and his older brother, it was terrible for me their mother. So I understand what worries her but do not worry I will distract her." Meadow stated.

"Thank you Meadow, thank you and Bear thanks you too. I know she is in good hands with you." Wolf stated and Meadow laughed.

"And I know you are in good hands with my Sam and I will tell Bear so as he is good hands with you. Go to your son, see what all this is about. We will be fine." Meadow said and Sam kissed her goodbye smiling himself.

"You behave yourself woman understand me?" Sam stated and Meadow waved a hand at him that he caught and kissed then turned to Wolf.

"We will be back as soon as we can." Wolf stated then Meadow watched them walk back to the Council Lodge and she straightened her back and sighed and called out at Bear's lodge and when Bear bid her enter she entered and began the process of explaining how and why the men disciplined the children; especially the boys, and to distract her from what she herself was unsure was coming from the Council Lodge. Before they entered the Council Lodge Wolf halted Sam.

"I get the feeling that all is not right with my son and he too, like Bear now, is in great pain. Help me please to figure this out." Wolf pleaded and Sam nodded then Wolf opened the Lodge door.

1582

Running Wolf walked into the Council Lodge to see Great Elk still seated where he was before they left and Owl huddled in quiet conversation with Little Eagle. Wolf frowned at Great Elk who only held a finger to his lips and then Wolf frowned at Sam.

"Great Elk knows or suspects something my brother. Perhaps Owl knows of this pain in Eagle." Sam offered as Rock, Tiger, Travers and the cousins entered the Council Lodge behind them and all took their places with Rock now next to Wolf and Travers between Tiger and Sam.

"Owl we are assembled again please take your proper place." Tiger stated at a nod from Wolf. When Owl moved Wolf noticed his son was looking at the cabin floor and nodded to Sam who looked beside Wind to see the boy looking down. Running Wolf cleared his throat.

"Little Eagle." Wolf stated and got no response but the boys shoulder shook. Wind bent to talk to him as did Deer and Great Elk leaned over to talk with Wolf and now it was Rock who was able to hear.

"Son, the child has been in a state since Bear screamed for you. I take it she is alright." Great Elk stated.

"She is not happy about the prison lodge but I will tend to her later. Meadow is distracting her for the moment. What do you mean in a state? A tantrum like yesterday?" Wolf asked and the Shaman shook his head no.

"No son and now that I see him today I do not think yesterday was a tantrum of a child but a disturbed young boy who is afraid of something or is hurting greatly. Perhaps both. I heard Travers mention a suggestion of speaking to your son privately this I too agree with. If necessary I too can speak with Eagle after you of course." Great Elk stated. Wolf nodded.

"I intend to join him later in the prison lodge and talk with him if he will speak with me of course. With Eagle lately I can never be sure. We were so close once. When he learned I was not Arrow and we talked about that and why the ruse he and I developed a special bond. I was even helping him for the future set up his own inner circle and he even asked me if he could trust Horse with all that happened with Horse's birth father. Now though I do not know, he is changed. Something is wrong that much I know as does Bear." Wolf stated.

"Ah the reason she is not fighting mad at the moment and in here but with Meadow. I suspect you and your Bear feel his pain or at least sense it and it is only the reason for it that escapes you. Owl knows more I know that much but a promise son is a promise so I am not sure how much help Owl will be. Besides do we really want to cause a rift between the cousins and with Owl poised to be Eagle's own War Chief one day and as Owl himself said he even now sees himself as having Eagle's back, as Tiger has yours, and feels responsible for at least some of this." Great Elk stated again to Wolf's nod.

1583

"I know Grandfather and I too do not want a rift as you say between them. Eagle needs Owl for protection and guidance when he is Chief one day; if he is Chief one day. I like the loyalty and bond they have as well as the bond the two have with Horse and even Red Fox. They will make a good inner circle for him especially with Wind raising Horse and Red Fox and as honorable Warriors at that. But it is Eagle that worries me Grandfather. What could have caused this change? He has always been a good child although I must say with all of Bear's troubles from the attack to now with the migraines he has been more out of our lodge and home than with us and Tiger and Flower see more of him than Bear and I and perhaps that is the trouble. That will cease with the cabin which I cannot seem to get him to see sense about which I think is one of his problems with me at the moment. But this disrespect thing, that one just gets me. I do not understand where it is coming from." Wolf stated and now Rock was leaning over to join in their talk as both knew he could hear them as they were not speaking that softly.

"My brother, ask Tiger if he is different in their lodge." Rock commented and Wolf looked at him, smiled, then motioned for Tiger who rose and came behind his Chief and brother in law.

"Yes my Chief." Tiger stated.

"Stop that I expect it from the Braves and others but not my brothers. Rock has an idea and I wanted your thoughts on this. How is Eagle when in your lodge? Moody like this, throwing tantrums like yesterday; though Grandfather does not think yesterday was a child throwing a tantrum but a hurting and troubled or disturbed young boy who is hurting greatly. Have you seen anything like this?" Wolf asked and saw Tiger look at Eagle and followed his gaze to see his son unmoving.

"Yes I would agree with Grandfather's wisdom here my brother and I have seen the moodiness that is for sure but we suspected it was because he was not home with you and Bear." Tiger stated and Great Elk held up a hand.

"Has the child had bad dreams or nightmares?" Great Elk asked and Tiger looked at Eagle again.

"Now that you mention it yes but Owl is so attentive that Flower and I do not need to inquire as Owl being older and dealing with his brother and sister tells us he has it and we trust him perhaps we should have inquired." Tiger stated.

"No need to feel responsible my brother it is my fault I am so consumed with taking care of Bear and these migraines and before that her traumas both the attack and her life at the Fort that….that…" Wolf began than stopped and surprising all of them rose and went to sit in front of his still unmoving son. Wolf placed a hand on the boy's knee and a moment later Eagle slowly raised his head and looked at his father and Wolf could not be sure but thought he saw tears in the boy's eyes.

"Eagle, son, tell Papa what is troubling you. Mama and I are very worried about you." Wolf began.

1584

"Mama? Is Mama alright I heard it too." Eagle said and Wolf heard the clear emotion in his voice.

"Mama is fine son she is with Aunt Meadow." Wolf stated with a smile first at his son then at Owl beside Deer who sat on one side of Eagle with Wind on the other and finally he smiled at Sam and nodded as Sam sat next to Wind between Wind and Tiger.

"No migraine bad headache?" Eagle asked and for some reason Wolf touched the boy's hair as he replied. He wondered if Bear's health was causing all of this in Eagle but then dismissed that because Eagle was so young.

"No son no migraine and it is the same thing son. A migraine is a bad headache." Wolf said softly.

"Oh." Eagle stated then looked down again.

"Son, tell Papa what is wrong." Wolf coaxed and his head popped up again.

"I am glad Mama is alright. Papa you need to go to her, it is what you do best." Eagle stated and Wolf sighed and stood as Eagle lowered his head again.

"So we are back to this again are we? Eagle stand up now!" Wolf ordered loudly and sternly and sure enough the quiet but distinct echo of Bear's cry was heard by all in the Council Lodge. Wolf did not see Owl stand as well.

"Owl he did not tell you to stand, sit down." Tiger stated standing also as War Chief and to his son. The other Warriors followed suit all but Great Elk who remained seated. Running Wolf held up a hand to Tiger.

"Tiger wait. Owl can you tell me what is wrong with my son and why he is acting this way?" Wolf asked looking at Owl as Eagle now standing as ordered looked at his cousin.

"You promised Owl! You promised!" Eagle screamed himself only to find himself in Sam's hold.

"Eagle enough! You will be quiet and you will no longer disrespect me, my status as Chief or your mother's as Chieftess and you will let Owl answer his Chief which is me Little Eagle and not you!" Wolf shouted and all saw Eagle jump at every word.

"I am not disrespecting you Papa." Eagle said so quietly only Sam heard him but even he was unsure what he said.

"What was that Little Eagle? If you intend to defy me by speaking the least you can do is speak loud enough for all to hear!" Wolf yelled.

1585

"Son enough, calm yourself, or you will get nothing from either boy. Owl come here son." Great Elk stated and Owl looking at Eagle then at his father who nodded at him to go to Great Elk.

"I am sorry Eagle but I cannot disobey and it is Grandfather." Owl stated then as Little Eagle looked at the cabin floor again Owl went to the Shaman and sat next to him at Great Elk's nod to sit down.

"A promise is a promise Owl. I am sorry too." Little Eagle said but loud enough to be heard by all.

"Eagle I am not going to break my promise but I must obey." Owl said from beside Great Elk.

"I know." Little Eagle stated again loud enough for all to hear.

"You know huh? You are sorry huh? Well where was this yesterday or the day before or the week before that when I hear nothing from you but insults and disrespect or nothing at all when you remain silent. Little Eagle look at me now! I am your father and your Chief and obey me you will as Owl does, follow his example if you cannot follow my orders." Wolf shouted.

"Son I said calm down and why do you not sit down; your blood remember." Great Elk stated.

"Grandfather this boy has to be taught the proper way of being an honorable Warrior. Remember that Little Eagle? The day you told me you're Papa you wanted to be an honorable Warrior because cousin Deer and cousin Wind taught you to be one. Where is my honorable Warrior now huh?" Wolf yelled and found Rock and Travers flanking him.

"Great Elk said calm down and now I say it brother, calm; yourself. This is getting us nowhere." Rock stated.

"I agree my brother, calm heads are needed now and we can get some answers." Travers added.

With a disgusted wave of his hand Wolf walked back to where Great Elk sat his place at the head of the Council Fire and did not see what his other Warriors saw as he walked away; his son shaking with raking sobs and mumbling he was sorry and did not disrespect his Chief. Sam was kneeling to the boy now.

"Eagle, son, calm yourself now or he will be angrier. What has happened to cause this Eagle? If you are not disrespecting him as you say or your mother and are sorry why are you acting this way? I know you to be an honorable Warrior so please tell us." Sam stated and now Wind and Deer were huddled around Eagle too.

"Yes Eagle Wind and I know you are honorable. What is wrong? Tell us and we will help you tell your father." Deer pleaded.

1586

"Yes Eagle surely it cannot be that bad that you cannot tell us your Trainers, your favorite cousins." Wind stated but Eagle was shaking his head no.

"I am sorry but I cannot." Eagle said softly.

"Is it that horrible you cannot tell us; tell me; your friend Deer?" Deer asked wondering if Walking Thunder would ever be like this. Eagle looked at him and nodded yes it was horrible.

Great Elk was watching this exchange as was Wolf but Great Elk was seeing something Wolf was not. Wolf only saw a defiant Brave, so like his mother, but Great Elk saw a very troubled young man and knew the boy had either horrible nightmares or like his too prone to as well parents a vision. Great Elk suspected the latter but as the boy had yet to make a vision quest technically the Shaman could not be sure. Owl got his attention and he leaned down to the boy and at the boys words motioned for Tiger to come over to him. When Tiger arrived, Great Elk told Owl to tell his father what he just told him quietly and bending down Tiger listened to his son.

"Father I cannot break a promise but he is not disrespecting either Uncle Wolf or Aunt Bear or them as Chief and Chieftess." Owl began and Tiger looked at him wide eyed.

"How do you know this and how is he not?" Tiger asked then bent to hear his son again.

"Can you not hear father? He keeps reminding Uncle Wolf that he is best at helping Aunt Bear. It is not an insult it is the truth and he knows this. He knows his father is Running Wolf and only Running Wolf can take proper care of his mother and father only Uncle Wolf can protect her. That my father is all I can tell you without breaking a promise." Owl stated and Owl looked over at Eagle as Tiger stood to look at his nephew too.

"Owl what did you do?" Little Eagle screamed.

"Nothing my brother, just following Grandfather's orders." Owl stated honestly.

"You broke your promise! How could you?" Little Eagle screamed only to be held fast again by Sam.

"Enough all of you!" Running Wolf hollered standing again after not hearing anything lost in thoughts of what was wrong with his son.

"Ah my Chief wait you do not have all the facts here." Tiger stated coming up to him as did Rock and Travers.

"Facts? I will tell you what facts I have. This boy, my own son, constantly disrespects me as Chief, my title of Chief and then has the nerve to insult his own mother, my wife, and Chieftess. Now he fights with Owl in my Council Lodge about broken promises when he refuses to say a word except that I am best at taking care of Little Bear. I will not have it!" Wolf stated.

1587

All the Warriors and Great Elk who was being helped to his feet by Owl were wanting to speak and Wolf held up a hand to prevent them. The echoing cries from Little Bear still being heard by all and all but Wolf could see that these cries and Wolf's anger and whatever was wrong with Little Eagle were having a very bad and negative reaction on the boy who was shaking visibly and Sam felt he was holding the five and a half year old on his feet more than holding him in place.

"I will not have what happened yesterday in my Council meeting….." Wolf continued to be cut off.

"Son." Great Elk stated sternly and Wolf glanced at him waved an arm at him and continued.

"Our Council meeting, sorry Grandfather, and almost cause a riot in this very Council Lodge…" Wolf continued to be cut off again.

"I would not call it a riot my Chief, a lot of loud angry voices but not a riot." Rock stated and Wolf turned to him furious.

"Voices that carry my brother, carry to other Villages and other enemy Villages at that. No I will not put up with this….." Wolf stated to be cut off once again.

"Son." Great Elk stated more sternly and Wolf turned on him.

"What? What Grandfather, what?" Wolf shouted at the Shaman and this time Travers and Rock approached him but it was Travers who leaned in to be heard.

"My brother look. Look at your son. He is falling apart before our eyes. Something is wrong, Grandfather knows or suspects this and from what I just saw in the exchange of Tiger and his son and Great Elk Tiger now knows some facts here that you may not or at least not see yet." Travers said quickly before the angry Chief turned on him; he did not he just starred at his brother and friend and not at his son.

"Falling apart? I think that is going a bit far my brother." Wolf stated and from behind him Tiger left Great Elk and Owl even as Owl assisted Great Elk around the fire in the center of the lodge to where the rest of the Warrior were. Only Great Elk saw Little Eagle looking at Deer who was watching him then knelt in front of his best Brave.

"What cousin? Are you alright?" Deer asked softly sneaking glances at his Chief who was busy with Travers and Rock.

"No but can you ask if I may speak? I must calm Papa down or he will be ill too then Mama will be worse." Little Eagle stated and Deer put a hand on his arm as Sam had both hands on his shoulders. Deer looked at his step father as he knew Sam heard and both shared a smile even as Deer noticed Eagle's arm was ice cold and he was shaking.

1588

"The moment I can my cousin just relax my Best Brave everything will be alright. I promise." Deer stated with a smile still stealing glances and seeing Tiger taking over as he approached Wolf.

Tiger Hunter pulled Wolf and Travers apart and with a smile to Travers turned his brother in law toward his son even as Deer resumed his place next to Wind.

"Look at him Wolf! That boy is terrified!" Tiger stated and Wolf being turned by Tiger saw his son standing there shaking or shivering and the fire was hot and bright and right in front of him. Wolf looked at Sam.

"Sam is he?" Wolf asked all of his anger gone for the moment.

"Yes and freezing cold. Ask Deer." Sam stated and Deer stepped forward.

"My Chief may I speak?" Deer asked standing in front of Little Eagle now. Wolf nodded.

"My Chief the young Chief asks if he may speak? He knows he cannot just speak on his own as you commanded him to remain quiet but my Chief, my brother, Wolf he is more afraid, yes afraid, right now of your anger and wishes you to calm down and he is afraid if you do not his mother, Aunt Bear will be worse." Deer stated placing a hand on the boys head. Wolf stood there stunned then turned to Great Elk who was also coming up beside his Chief. Then Great Elk continued with Owl's assistance to stand in front of Little Eagle. He touched his arm and felt the cold then raised the boys chin to face him as Deer stepped to the side but did not leave his Brave and Wind also turned to stand by his cousin and support his Brave.

"He is afraid of me." Wolf said and it was not a question. Rock stepped up to respond as only he and Travers and Tiger heard Wolf.

"Not of you my Chief for you, for your hot blood I believe." Rock stated and Wolf looked from Rock to Tiger to Travers and finally at his son; being examined by Great Elk who then turned on his Chief.

"Running Wolf sit down and now I have a thing or two to add to your list of charges and they include a few charges of my own." Great Elk stated now putting his hand on young Eagle's head signaling to all that at least for the moment Little Eagle was under the Shaman's protection. Running Wolf however did not sit down but made a move to his son only to have Great Elk hold his walking stick out to stop him.

"I said sit down, son, now. You may sit here if you prefer to be near your son but sit down and listen to what I have seen and heard. I said now Running Wolf!" Great Elk shouted and felt Eagle jump and leaned into speak to him even as Running Wolf sat next to where Sam was standing holding his son up Wolf realized. It was a sobering thought for his own yelling and whatever was wrong with his son and the cries he could not help but hear from Little Bear.

1589

"See Grandson I can yell too and it is just noise son although between you and me only I can order your father to sit and he has to, see. He too can be stubborn son but relax and calm yourself or your father will not be the only one with hot blood in your family. Eagle can you look at Grandfather?" Great Elk stated and a moment later Eagle looked up from the cabin floor and Great Elk grunted at the sight of the boys tears; so like his father Great Elk thought. Great Elk using the back of his hand patted the boys cheek smiling and Eagle smiled back a weak smile.

"Are you cold son?" Great Elk asked and the boy nodded.

"Wind get a robe from the corner. Eagle son sit between Sam and Wind for the moment and rest easy. I may not be able to prevent punishment but I can ensure it is appropriate and you may speak to me anytime Grandson." Great Elk stated. Eagle who looked back down again looked up at the Shaman.

"What is appropriate mean?" Eagle asked slowly and Rock, Travers and Tiger all now seated around and behind Wolf heard him chuckle he was hearing everything; now.

"It means child that you are what five and a half and you will receive the punishment a five and half year old can handle and not the punishment a man as big and as old as your father can handle." Great Elk stated and wrinkled his nose for Eagle when he said old and Eagle chuckled the first smile on the boy all day. Then Eagle motioned for Great Elk to come closer.

"You are going to punish my Papa?" Eagle asked and Wolf laughed softly and all were smiling as Wind wrapped Eagle in a robe.

"I should, should I not?" Great Elk said smiling and Eagle shook his head no to which Wolf who was watching this exchange with interest raised an eyebrow at that.

"No, why Grandson, surely his behavior here today deserves a Shaman's punishment if for his hot blood if nothing else." Great Elk teased knowing Wolf was paying attention.

"If you punish him Grandfather who will look after mother and protect her." Eagle said and Wolf frowned he had not said 'protect' in his ravings before.

"Is this what worries you son?" Great Elk asked and once again Eagle hung his head.

"I cannot say Grandfather and I am sorry. But if my Chief would permit I would like to speak, would you, could you ask him for me again as Deer just did?" Little Eagle asked and Great Elk grunted and patted the boy on the head.

"Cannot, huh? I think I understand a promise and all. Relax Eagle, sit, get warm, and worry not Owl kept your promise and did not break it nor would I ask him too." Great Elk stated. Wolf looked at his son when he was seated and wrapped in the robe.

"Eagle if you wish to speak you may do so and you can sit." Wolf stated softly.

1590

"Thank you My Chief." Eagle said softly.

"Papa." Wolf replied and Little Eagle now huddled in a robe looked at his father to see a smile on his father's face.

"Thank you Papa." Eagle stated then looked down again and Wolf frowned.

"Son?" Wolf stated and Eagle did not look up again but at the cabin floor but all could hear him.

"My Chief, Papa, I am sorry if you think I disrespected you. I would never disrespect the Great Running Wolf, Chief Running Wolf or my Mama Little Bear though I do not know what a Chieftess is or how she is one but I love my Mama, Papa and you too. But…but…..Owl?" Eagle stated and then trailed off but did not look at Owl.

"Eagle you tell me so Owl does not break his promise." Great Elk stated.

"Grandfather this is hard." Little Eagle said looking only up at the Shaman.

"I know Grandson would it be better to tell your Papa, talk to your Papa away from all of us or with him and me perhaps?" Great Elk asked as Wolf was leaning over to see his son better and Sam at Great Elk's nod moved back but did not leave his own place at the Council fire.

"I am not sure I can talk about it Grandfather it is hard to think of and when I do it hurts." Little Eagle stated and only Wolf heard the murmurs of Tiger, Rock and Travers as they each breathed the word vision then glanced at each other even Sam was nodding as he overheard them and Wolf hoped Eagle did not as the boy had yet to learn of visions how to seek them or how to deal with them; even Wolf had trouble with that and Great Elk was always consulted when one thought they had one to determine if it was a vision and if so what it could mean as vision rarely told everything or with certainty as Wolf was learning from Great Elk himself. But Wolf was more concerned that his son was in pain than that he had had a vision.

"Eagle, son, are you in ill, in pain?" Wolf asked.

"Yes." Eagle stated softly and a little shakily. Wolf looked at Great Elk.

"Son does your head hurt?" Great Elk asked.

"Not a headache like Mama has but it hurts to think about it. But Papa will keep Mama safe and that is more important." Eagle said softly and then took a sharp breath as he realized what he said aloud and that his father heard him. Wolf noticed both his words and his realization he said it out loud and looked at Great Elk again and this time the Shaman nodded toward Eagle and Wolf moved quickly to his son's side.

1591

"Eagle Mama is fine son and yes Papa always keeps her safe but you as well Eagle. Papa keeps you safe as well." Wolf stated touching the boys wrist as he held the robe closed then drew back at the ice cold feel of his skin. As any father would he immediately checked him for fever and finding none sighed heavily. He thought perhaps the prison lodge was no longer a good idea but for the sake of the rest of the Council he had to do something. But right now all he wanted was to get his son alone and talk to him, make the boy talk to him with Great Elk if necessary.

"Mama is important My Chief not me." Eagle stated and all of them were on their feet now including Wolf who felt like he was just hit by a thousand arrows in the heart. His own son thought himself unimportant in the eyes of his father or at least not as important as Little Bear.

"Why would you think that Little Eagle, you are just as important to me." Wolf stated and Eagle did not answer but looked up at his father then back at the cabin floor.

"Eagle!" Wolf yelled and the echo of Bear was heard again and this time Great Elk held up a hand.

"Enough Wolf. This child has been interrogated enough for now. Tiger is that lodge prepared for winter for the child?" Great Elk asked as Wolf was now behind them pacing the cabin floor and motioned for Deer and Wind who came over to him.

"Yes Great Elk, food, water pouch, fire was being built by Pony and Antler when I left and the guards are being collected for a secure posting." Tiger responded to the Shaman.

"Plenty of robes?" Great Elk asked.

"Yes Grandfather." Tiger stated and Wolf turned to them as the cousins approached him.

"Two pallets and plenty of robes." Wolf stated.

"If I may My Chief, three pallets." Sam spoke up and Wolf smiled.

"Why?" Wolf asked knowing the Cheyenne Warrior would take point on this. Tiger had already told Wolf that he wanted Sam behind Wolf beside Tiger when they rode the Reservation in formation.

"Because My Chief you will not be unprotected with the Crow and Shoshoni out and about even in winter. The third will be outside the lodge." Sam stated.

"No it will not but thank you Sam." Wolf stated and Sam looked confused.

"My Chief I must insist. It is the Cheyenne way we do not leave our leader unprotected and yes Pony, Antler and the ones they are rounding up for the sentry there will help but I will not leave you unattended." Sam stated and Wolf held up a hand smiling.

1592

"You misunderstand my Lieutenant, inside with us." Wolf stated then turned to the cousins and noticed that Little Eagle was paying close attention and frowning himself.

"Deer, Wind I know that you are needed at home tonight but I must make arrangements for Bear to be with Catherine in the cabin as I will not leave her alone prone to migraines and I am not leaving my son; not now. That boy hates me and thinks he is not important." Wolf began.

"Hate is a strong word my brother." Wind spoke up.

"Dislike then but I need you both here for our talk with Eagle in the lodge but I need you two to make sure that he is warm and eating something and could you one or both of you stay with him after we finish here without him until I get Bear secure?" Wolf asked.

"You want us to escort him to the lodge, make sure he is warm and has food then return here for the rest of our meeting and then return to his side while you take Bear to my in laws?" Deer asked.

"Yes too much?" Wolf stated.

"No but could Sam take him or Travers and then return? I do need to check on Em and the twins." Deer stated.

"I need to check on Sparrow." Wind offered.

"Yes, yes of course. How about this I take him now then we all meet back here in an hour, Bear's time, and finish as I want all thoughts on this and that includes Sam and Travers and Grandfather and if Tiger is agreeable Owl's." Wolf stated.

"My brother Owl promised and we have taught them, strongly too, that no Warrior breaks a promise once given." Wind stated.

"Good and I am glad you are but Owl knows things here and things only he can supply and no I would not ask him to break his promise either but I need answers my brothers and I need them now before that child is so ill from all this stress he is under that…..that…..I cannot lose his mother and I cannot lose him either to anything; even his wanting to be away from me." Wolf stated as Travers and Tiger walked up to them.

"Calm down my brother your son is watching and yes I heard he is under great stress, a great stress we will get to the bottom of but first we have to get him someplace warm and secure and yes feed him and yes Catherine will be happy to have Bear for the night. First my brother the charges and the sentence. We cannot just send this boy to the prison lodge without explaining why. He is so confused right now I am not even sure he will understand them. He knows he is being talked about but not why. Caution my brother is in order as you are on a delicate slope here. No he does not hate you but something more I fear eats at him." Travers stated with a hand on Wolf's shoulder.

1593

"Thank you Travers I agree. This delicate slope is a bit slippery at the moment. What do you all think here, I should not level these charges perhaps Great Elk as he has a gentler touch than I?" Wolf asked the four around him.

"Gentler I am not sure about that my brother but ask him his thoughts." Deer stated smiling and Wolf returned the smile as all his Warriors knew that Wolf could be deadly serious in these matters, any matters, and the child needed no further stress but then Great Elk had his moments of strict harshness as well.

"Only one way to find out." Wolf said and left the four to join Great Elk still by his son.

"Eagle are you alright son? I need to borrow Great Elk for the moment." Wolf said as Great Elk was helping his son drink from the water pouch, leaving Wolf to think the child was so like his mother.

"I am sorry My Chief I know I am in bad trouble here. I will take whatever punishment I deserve." Eagle stated softly and it broke Wolf's heart to hear his son so resolved in the matter; Wolf certainly was not at the moment. Wolf bent to his son as Great Elk with Owl's help went back to his place at the head of the Council fire to wait for Wolf.

"Eagle, son, rest, relax. It is going to be alright Eagle, Papa promises. Not Chief Running Wolf son but Papa. Understand?" Wolf asked his son.

"I think so…..Papa." Eagle said as the cousins now came back to sit beside their Brave.

"Good boy. I will not be far son, never far." Wolf stated then nodded for the remaining Warriors to retake their places and Wolf went to sit again beside Great Elk.

"Grandfather under the circumstances I am thinking perhaps you should level these charges and the sentence instead of doing it myself. Even Travers seems to think it would only add to whatever rift has occurred, that I knew not of, between me and my son." Wolf said stating the point quickly.

"Perhaps you are correct. I will make the charges simple enough as I see no real infractions being broken here if what we both now suspect is true and Eagle is under a great deal of stress from and son I know you loathe to think it at his age but either a vision or just bad nightmares and his concern over you and Bear is genuine that much is true son." Great Elk stated.

"Vision Grandfather? He is too young." Wolf commented and Great Elk grunted.

"The Great Spirit holds no age for whom he imparts visions to son but perhaps it is this thing called night terrors which is a series of sometimes horrific nightmares and over many nights and you say this all started around the time of the winter solstice so it could explain a lot." Great Elk stated.

1594

"Yes his behavior began around then but what are night terrors and how horrible can a mere nightmare be Great Elk to cause this in the boy?" Wolf asked.

"We shall soon see. Owl can help here and not break his promise so have Tiger keep him here after Eagle is removed." Great Elk stated.

"The cousins and I have been discussing that and no I do not want the bond between Eagle and Owl to be damaged here but I will be taking my son to the prison lodge as the cousins must check on their wives and then after the rest of us talk about this I will be taking Bear to Catherine at the cabin and as you heard Sam and I will be staying the night with Eagle. I will not leave my son alone. I did not want to do it earlier because of our enemies here but now more than ever I must stay and get to the bottom of this and perhaps after we all discuss this further I will know what I am looking for here." Wolf stated and Great Elk nodded.

"I agree and you will know what you are looking for when you see it. How long is this break of the meeting are you thinking as I too will go if time back to my lodge and rest a bit?" Great Elk asked.

"By Bear's time an hour. Will that you give you enough time?" Wolf asked.

"For these old bones son there is never enough time but it will do now with your approval I will inform Eagle of the charges and sentence then we can get him swiftly to the lodge and feed him and get him warmed up I do not like the cold that is invading him." Great Elk stated and Wolf chuckled as he mentioned his old bones.

"The cousins are not sure with the stress he is under he will understand the charges but my stubborn son just told me he is ready to face punishment for crimes I do think he does not believe he committed. Grandfather swiftly as in I should carry him to the lodge?" Wolf asked.

"No carry no, but hurry there. You will know what to do and when I am sure. I agree as stressed as the child is he may not understand any of this but I will be as simple and distinct as I can be and I happen to agree with Little Eagle son he has done no crime here to our laws. The child is not even six how can he understand that his words hold consequences when heard by other ears; ears that do not understand his reasons for the words." Great Elk stated.

"You do understand them then?" Wolf asked looking at his son with a hint of a smile, Eagle saw him but did not return the smile causing Wolf to frown at him.

"I do yes but that is for later son. First the charges. Help me up Owl." Great Elk stated and Owl rose to help the Shaman stand and once standing Great Elk hit his walking stick three times on the floor to indicate he was to speak and all quieted their hushed talk and looked at the Shaman.

1595

"My brothers we all know why we are gathered here today. One of our own however unknowingly has caused quite a stir and uproar among the Council members and although it is perhaps due to inexperienced youth it is nonetheless a crime although not too serious that cannot be overlooked here. Little Eagle please rise." Great Elk began.

"Little Eagle you tell us son that you do not insult or disrespect your father, Chief Running Wolf or your mother, Chieftess Little Bear, and son I believe you as I believe now our Chief is beginning to see this as well and your father will explain what a Chieftess is son later. But Little Eagle yesterday especially you were with us in the presence of the entire Council of Elders and Warriors and I know you are young and are still learning and this is to be part now of your lessons this and the punishment of the sentence for these offenses. Eagle your bold words, and yes son they were bold, in front of the entire Council of Elders and Warriors was in a word son wrong and out of place and out of order; meaning it was not the time or the place to speak your thoughts and out of order in that you did not have the permission of your Chief or myself to speak your thoughts. You have been seen and heard in this very Lodge on a number of occasions as well as in the Village handing out orders to the Chief's Warriors, your father is Chief son you are not yet and when you are your son will not be able to do as you have done. I am sure your father has told you that there is only one Chief at a time and son Running Wolf is the Chief of this Village and now the Head of Security for this Reservation and a good one in both positions and I know that one day you too will be a great Chief, as is your father and your grandfather, for this Village. But this simply will not do son, you are not yet a Warrior and have no voice here unless given permission to have a voice as you know even a full Warrior must ask permission to speak before speaking. Now Eagle I know as I believe your father and all of us here know that you are young and still learning and in your enthusiasm to please your father, and you do son trust Grandfather on that one, you speak out of place when you should remain silent and listen and learn. Son that ends today. If your father agrees, as is his right son as Chief, then you will be banned from Council meetings until you are a full Warrior and that will somehow, if Travers and Sam can find a way, to include a vision quest and the necessary survival training as he is to be Chief one day if not for all of our Warriors. I am sure your father would agree that White Deer and Chases the Wind need to speed up your training as we need good Warriors in this Council to add to the ones the Great Spirit calls home and the ones we have including all who are in this Lodge now and are your father's trusted Warriors and advisors. Little Eagle normally a Brave does not make Warrior until twelve summers at the earliest but your father and your Trainers will see how soon that can be arranged before your twelfth year. Until then though you are still the heir to the line of Chief's and will continue your proper training with a decision to be made how quickly and how thoroughly you can be made a Warrior but you will not be able to attend Council meetings of Elders and Warriors. You are not banned from this Lodge at other times as many of your training exercises and teachings are done here and if your father or mother are here and not in a full Council meeting you can enter and if you are unsure ask someone Eagle before entering or this ban will be lengthened. Never fear asking questions son that is how we learn, even me at my age as old as I am, ask questions to gain knowledge and learn. You can ask anyone in the Village if a full Council meeting is underway before entering and they will tell you. No more ordering any Warriors or Braves for that matter. Orders come for Braves and Warriors in training from White Deer and Chases the Wind. Orders for full Warriors from your father or War Chief Tiger Hunter." Great Elk stated then paused for Eagle to digest his words.

1596

"As further punishment for these crimes of misguided disrespect and insult to the status and title of Chief and Chieftess you and those the Chief agrees to accompany you for one night only because of the weather and the cold will spend a night in one of the prison lodges with plenty of food, water, heat from the fire and pallets and robes for warmth but this is not a pleasure outing son it is a punishment so nothing extra or for amusement will be given you during your stay there. Think son, think long and hard about all I have said, and those who stay with you can remind you of my words, and all you have said and done, perhaps in youthful enthusiasm to please your father, and how inappropriate they are not only for a Brave but for a Brave who will one day rule this Village as Chief and Eagle…" Great Elk stated then paused again and with Owl's assistance walked over to the standing Little Eagle who had his head held high listening to Great Elk and looking at the Shaman as he read the charges. When Great Elk reached the boy he embraced him surprising everyone in the lodge as their Shaman never did this but there was a reason for it as Wind and Sam heard what Great Elk told the young heir privately.

"Eagle son, tell your father what troubles you so, so that he and you can fix this. You are going to cause yourself to become ill son from all this stress we can all see that you are under. No Owl would not and did not break his promise but I must extract a promise from you now son. Tell your father. If he or your mother have hurt you somehow tell him because son I know that you are the most precious thing in their lives and one day Grandfather will tell you how you almost did not make it into this world except for the will of your father over there who loves you greatly and your devoted mother who I know at your age is just a woman and I hear icky but she is your mother son and she too fought hard to bring you into this world. Now stay well because it really would break both your parents hearts if you became ill because of all of this." Great Elk stated then pulled back to see tears in the young boys eyes.

"Promise Grandfather son." Great Elk stated loud enough for all to hear these words though only Sam and Wind heard everything he said.

"Eagle promise me. Honorable Warriors make and keep promises Grandson so promise me." Great Elk insisted as Eagle hesitated both from what Great Elk told him in his ear and from his father's intense gaze at him and his own emotions.

"I promise Grandfather." Eagle said hoarse with emotion and Wolf smiled also seeing his tears and wondering what Great Elk told him that no one else could hear. He did not know Sam and Wind heard.

"Good boy. Now no more will we hear of this matter. If you need Grandfather you can always talk to me son, your mama does as does your father. You are always welcome to talk to me too. Now my Chief, if you agree sentence can begin immediately and first order of business there is to feed this child." Great Elk stated.

"I agree Grandfather. Eagle, son, come on I will take you to the lodge and we will both get some food. Everyone else I will see you back here in one hour, by Bear's time. Come son." Wolf said and put an arm around Eagle and walked him out and down to the prison lodges leaving all in the lodge behind him. Travers followed with Sam but at a distance to talk to the guards for the night.

1597