A Foreign World
November, 1862. A last battle is held in Lexington, Kentucky, cornering the Union army against the Appalachian Mountains. A surrender is filed and the Civil War ends. Now it is the middle of the month, and reconstruction has begun...
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SnowClaw of Windclan

Riley ignored him as he mounted, turning back to him once he was in the saddle. "She's a childhood friend." He stated, spurring his mare to a trot. The horse was not very smooth in her gaits; she was a mustang, like the White Face. Chewing his tobacco as he spoke, Riley added, "Need to take notes on the customs in Texas, too?"

2/19/2010 . Edited 2/19/2010 #91

Smiling, he looked at Riley. "No," he said, "That was my attempt to have a polite conversation. Childhood friend, you say. Very good. Very good indeed." Nodding, he rode his horse in silence for some time, watching the dust blow in the Texas air.

2/19/2010 #92
SnowClaw of Windclan

Riley snorted, rolling his eyes. "Should we talk about this star or that other one, General? Or perhaps you would rather like to practice your presentation to President Lee about how well you're doing 'commanding' in Texas." He rode with his reins in one hand, leaning back and glaring.

2/19/2010 #93

He looked forward, never moving his eyes toward Riley. "Sir... Riley, I have no idea what issues you have with the military is. However, I see no point in your need to attack me anymore then I would have a need to attack you. I am one man, no more, no less. I can only ask that you take me as such, and not someone or something that you seem to have a grudge against."

2/19/2010 #94
SnowClaw of Windclan

Riley snorted again at this. "Mr. Jackson, you're exactly what I hate and a member of that group, strutting around like the crow in peacock's feathers, covered in brass from head to toe." He stopped to glare at him, "The world isn't your set of blocks and I'm not a tin soldier for you to push off the top of the highest tower." Riley spat. "None of us are, General, and you can't ever persuade us to be. I see you for who you are, and I don't like it."

2/19/2010 #95

Jackson shook his head at this, didn't comment. This young man will never give up. I can never get him to take me as a human being, just this image he had stuck in his head. When they arrived back at the post, he got off his horse and walked over to the office, began to write to Mary. It made him feel better, to think of her. She wouldn't be leaving Virginia for another few weeks, had to be sure to everything was in order in Lexington. She was his shining star, the only thing he cared about more then his cause, more then everything that had brought him to this place. My loving wife.

2/19/2010 #96
SnowClaw of Windclan

Riley headed back towards the corrall after tying his mare, heading over the fence with a rope. After a few moments, the ranger was able to get it around the white-faced stallion's neck, fighting with him to get him to the tying post but finally succeeding. Withdrawing a brush, he set it on the animal's hindquarters, stroking twice.

2/19/2010 #97

After writing the letter to his wife, he began to think of the brigade that was following him. It was a longer journey for them, more men to move. We'll have to have them move out as soon as they arrive. We must get them to a city, this place can't supply that many men. Getting out a map of Texas, he began to plot the future campaign in Texas.

2/19/2010 #98
SnowClaw of Windclan

Riley continued to groom the horse, as it gave no complaint, fixated on something else. Suddenly, a loud war cry clapped through the red, dusty clearing, followed by the thunder of hoofbeats as a group of Indian riders, covered in mud and dust and war paints streamed into the camp, waving their weapons in the air.

Riley immediately ran for his horse, taking his gun from where it rested near the tree and mounting. He spurred the mare so hard that she squealed with protest, her mouth already starting to froth and her hooves pounding the dusty, hard ground as he led her straight into the chaos.

Cracks of guns and screams were heard throughout the camp as the group of rangers attacked, minus thirteen that had been with Sanchez. Wesley was beside him now, charging at a red-skinned man with blue lines on his face. Wesley's black hair was a flurry in his face and he gave a war cry just as alarming as theirs, stabbing him before he could fight back.

2/19/2010 #99

Jackson heard the gun shots, grabbed his pistol. Running outside, he mounted Little Sorrel and rode forward, moving toward where Riley and his rangers were. The fire was in his eyes now, everything was moving so fast. Aiming his pistol, he fired several shots before lowering his weapon, riding faster. He was only slightly behind Riley now, looked up toward the man. Jackson's blue eyes were filled with energy, his face was grimaced into a form that could be sayed was reserved for battle. Looking forward, he rode directly toward the Indian in front of him, listening to the screams as he did the Rebel yell.

2/19/2010 #100
SnowClaw of Windclan

Riley wasn't paying attention, brought his mare to a full gallop at one of the other natives and aimed his rifle, firing it with a crack and placing a minie ball in the red-skinned man's arm. He screamed, starting towards Riley, but the man moved before he could attack. Wesley had darted forward, then gasped in pain as an arrow was sent into his side, his hand still on the reins. His gelding reared, panicking, and galloped into the attack, leaving his rider. One of the men ran towards him, picking him up and setting him down away from the chaos.

2/19/2010 #101

Moving forward in full gallop as well, he fired his weapon until it was empty, then he quickly reloaded it. He looked up, fired into the chest of another man. He never thought of the enemy as men, never thought of them as God's children. They were the enemy, nothing more, nothing less. And I will kill them. Every last one. Firing again, he continued to follow and attack the Indians.

2/19/2010 #102
SnowClaw of Windclan

The Indians had begun to recede; Riley had not noticed that his friend had been badly injured. There were no orders from anyone; it was every man for himself in a whirlwind of blood and screams and gunsmoke and red sand. He took a shot, hit an Indian's head, and the man fell off of his horse. Eventually the last rode back into the woods, leaving the rangers and their wounded.

Riley turned, his heart pounding madly in his chest, and dismounted, letting his horse trot off tacked. She would stay around the camp, she always did. He stopped when he saw Wesley leaning against the wall of the building towards the edge of camp and quickly approached. "Is he alright?"

Wesley groaned quietly, shutting his eyes and resting his head on the other man's shoulder. His companion shook his head, making a gesture. "He was shot. We got the arrow out but he's in pain."

"Give him whiskey. We'll take him to Marilyn's house when everyone's accounted for." Riley turned, starting to make rounds, check on the others.

2/19/2010 #103

Jackson continued to follow them until they were too far to catch up to. The dust was in his eyes, making him blink it out. Slowly riding back, he looked over the men. It wasn't the first time he had seen wounded, of course, and it could be said that being in the military made him immune to caring. He had learned to accept it, seen too many friends die to allow himself to have any emotion toward it. Pulling his cap down, he lead his horse into the camp, tied it up, and went to do what he could to help the wounded.

2/19/2010 #104
SnowClaw of Windclan

Shannon Orloff--the closest thing to an unnofficial second in command to Riley, went around the camp checking wounds, seeing how deep they were. Wesley was taken to a bed that had been set up in the office without a word to Jackson, as Shannon did not care and would not as long as his comrades did not, and Riley's morale had rubbed off on most if not all of the others over their time working together on the range.

2/19/2010 #105

Jackson followed Wesley as he was carried into the office, not even thinking about anything other then Wesley. He grabbed took off the sash that covered his sword, something that he truly didn't care about but was merely part of his uniform. Wrapping it around his hand, he pressed it against the wound, trying to decrease the blood flow. "You're going to be fine, son. You're going to be fine."

2/19/2010 #106
SnowClaw of Windclan

Shannon watched him for a moment, unwilling to leave Wesley for a few more moments. He had noticed that Jackson had taken his sash and used that as something to mop up the young man's blood---and remembered that as he left the office wordlessly. Wesley's grimp on the side of the cot had tightened until his hands were red and white knuckled, his body locking into the fetal position in a vague but incorrect guess that it would ease the pain that the wound was causing him. He barely heard Jackson, had a minimal recognition of who it was. "Mama," he whispered quietly, tears spilling over, "Mama..."

2/19/2010 #107

"Shhh, son, shhh. You're going to be fine. Just rest." Jackson looked up, knowing that Wesley wouldn't live unless someone who knew what they were doing was here. He grabbed the whiskey and poured a little on the wound, ignoring the man's cries of pain. Then he moved the bottle up to his mouth, pouring it in. Any form of alcohol wasn't good for a man, Jackson knew, but in moments like this it would do.

2/19/2010 #108
SnowClaw of Windclan

The thing that was the most clear in the blur around him was the horrible burning in his side, followed by the sensation of drinking something, although he could barely recognize what. Wesley wailed in discomfort like a lost kitten, vocalizing as a means of expressing the fact that he was unwell, as he had since he was little.

His whimpers and cries eventually faded, though, with the second drink of whiskey he had taken since he had been shot; the young man's eyes slowly closed and he fell into a shallow, twitching sleep. He saw his hometown, he saw Delaware again, let the heavy weight over his entire body slowly drag him into a deep sleep. He was not dead, and realized this dimly, only stunned.

Riley entered the room when he was done with the others, saying nothing to Jackson and watching his friend with a concerned frown. He occasionally thrashed in his sleep, more violently than he usually did around the campfires, then would fall still again.

2/19/2010 #109

He wrapped the wound tightly with the sash, pouring a little more whiskey on the gash. Looking up to Riley, he nodded. "He'll live, as long as it doesn't get infected. Do you have any doctors in the area?" Jackson knew very little about medical issues, no more then was necessary to stop the bleeding and wrap a wound. A doctor was necessary in order to save this man, he knew that much.

2/19/2010 #110
SnowClaw of Windclan

"Shannon was trained for a few months by a physician, Mr. Jackson. He knows what he's doing, and as soon as he has time he'll be here to take care of Wesley." The ranger in question groaned at the sting above the point of his hip, closing his eyes tighter and moving onto his good side, his left. Riley, watching him, was still hostile towards Jackson but more absorbed in watching his friend and comrade.

2/19/2010 #111

Nodding, he turned back to the man. "Good, good. How many more are wounded?" He was concerned with the man in front of him now, but wanted to know how many others were waiting for help.

2/19/2010 #112
SnowClaw of Windclan

Riley glared. Jackson was speaking to him as if he were some aide, hanging on his every word. Hear this, he thought, I don't serve you, and I don't serve anybody but myself. "Five were wounded." He stated, his gaze moving back to Wesley. He observed the blood soaked sash wrapped above his hips, identified it as belonging to Jackson.

2/19/2010 #113

He calculated it all in his head, thinking everything through. "Alright. I'll stay here with Wesley, make sure he'll be alright. Why don't you go, see if you can help anyone." It wasn't something to insult Riley or even a order, simply a gesture to help the man not think about his friend. You need to get away from here, not think about Wesley. The more you think of Wesley the more you'll won't be able to think of anything else.

2/19/2010 #114
SnowClaw of Windclan

Riley snorted indignantly and raised both brows like a horse refusing a jump. "I will decide what I do on my own, Mr. Jackson, and not because you told me to." However, eventually he left, his sense of responsibility for the men taking over. Wesley was still in a shallow state of sleep; he woke up crying about thirty minutes later. "General Jackson..." He struggled to catch his breath, "More whiskey, please...?"

2/19/2010 #115

"Oh course, son, of course." He lifted the whiskey bottle up and poured it into the mouth of Wesley, thinking as he did so. After moving the whiskey bottle away, he set it down and raised his hand high above his head, closing his eyes and beginning to speak. "Dear heavenly Father," he began, "I ask Your to be with us here. You children here, Thomas Jackson and Wesley ask Your presence here. We know that all things are possible through You, Lord." He continued, now only in his mind. Lord, I ask You to be with this young man. Do not let him die here, Lord. Be with him, let Your power help him strive through this wound. Amen.

2/19/2010 #116
SnowClaw of Windclan

"Thank you..." Wesley shut his eyes again, staying still so that he didn't upset his wound. He reached for the blanket that Shannon had left him with eyes brimming with tears, now, and held it close to himself, clutching it like a doll against his chest. Any loud arrogance, laughter...It was gone now, and he was terrified and in pain.

2/19/2010 #117

"Of course, Wesley." He pressed unwrapped the wound now, ever so slightly. It had stopped bleeding, but there was still the possibility of being infected. He poured some of the whiskey on it again, hoping that the alcohol would clean it. One of the few things he knew of wounds was to be sure they weren't infected, an infection more likely to kill a man then a bullet or an arrow.

2/19/2010 #118
SnowClaw of Windclan

Wesley gasped through his teeth as the alcohol was poured onto his wound, feeling as if it was searing deep inside of him once it finished attacking his flesh. The pain slowly ebbed and he relaxed the slightest bit as his wound was wrapped back up. Had Wesley been feeling fine, he would have been humiliated to find that he was crying and had, in the process, wet himself, although Shannon and Riley hadn't mentioned it. He would change later, when he could get up. "General...tell me a story..." He was desperately seeking anything to take his mind off of the hurt, a primitive distraction mechanism.

2/19/2010 #119

Jackson was wide eyed now, wasn't sure what to say. What story do you tell a man who could be dying? A biblical story was all that he could think of, and began to speak. "Alright, son, alright. There was once a young man, the youngest of two. He was father was a rather wealthy man, owned a great deal of land. The young man didn't want to work on the farms, wanted to go out into the city. So, he asked his father for his inheritance so that he may go out into the world. Although his father did not wish his young son to go, he allowed it and the boy took his money into the big city. When he got to the city, he spent his inheritance freely, getting every luxury that he could. Several weeks later, he found that he was broke. The friends he had in the city no longer wanted to see him, only cared for his money. The young man began to beg, roam the countryside for work. But there was a great famine in the nation, and jobs were scarce. The man found a single job, feeding pigs. He became so hungry that he eat the food of the pigs. As he did, he realized that he father's servants were fed better then he was now. 'If I were to go back to my father's home and beg to be a servant, he may take me in', he thought. When he arrived at his father's home, the father ran out and gave his son a great hug. The young man begged for his father to take him as a servant, but instead his father welcomed him back as a son. 'My son was dead,' the father said, 'but now he is alive. He was lost, but now he is found.'"

2/19/2010 #120
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