After many nights spent pondering a way to escape while bound in her blankets and now yet another day of trying to find a comfortable rhythm tied to a plodding horse, Yellow Moon closed her eyes and pretended the motion was the gentle rocking of a canoe as Ate fished for their dinner. She pictured the sky blue water, the sweet smell of the wildflowers wafting on the breeze, and her beloved ate, determination showing on his face as he searched for the biggest catch. Keeping the peaceful picture in her head proved difficult. Her entire body ached, her hands were numb, and her head hurt. Why was this happening to her? No answer came, but a dark void called to her and an exhaustive sleep claimed her.
Cheers and ululations woke her. The shrill noise the women made reminded her of welcomes she’d lent voice to, and tears blurred her eyes. She raised her face to see tepees and a crowd swarming the horses. Would the women stone her as she had heard happened to others? In all her moons, she’d never seen a captive mistreated by her tribe, but she wasn’t blind to the fact that torture happened, often out of sight of children. She chanted a prayer to Wankan Tanka to spare her life.
Conversations among the people were in a Siouan dialect, and most words were discernable. Her captors were Crow, known to be bitter enemies of the Sioux and Cheyenne over territorial disputes. In the light of day, the symbols painted on their horses were visible, and she learned the name of the man who abducted her...Plenty Coup.
He untied her and pulled her from the horse...one she recognized as belonging to Thunder Eyes. The Crow had not only stolen women, they’d taken the animals as well. Would her husband-to-be come after her? How could he without his stallion to carry him? Did he even know who took her and the others? She stared bravely into the face of Plenty Coup. “Why did you bring us here?”
“They...” he pointed to the other women, will become slaves and serve my people, but you...” He stood back and ran his gaze up and down her body. “You, I think I will take as my wife.”
She gasped. “You cannot. I am promised to Thunder Eyes of the Santee.
“That makes my plan even better. I cannot think of anything more vengeful than taking his woman...unless of course I....” Plenty Coup slashed his forefinger across his throat to emphasize his meaning.
Yellow Eyes lifted her chin skyward and let the sun wash over her face. Pretending she was back at the Sun Dance and dealing with the fear of becoming wife to another Sioux didn’t change a thing. She turned pleading eyes to her captor. “Please do not hurt Thunder Eyes. I will not resist you as long as you promise to let him live.”
“Then tomorrow, I will have my wife, Pretty Shield, ready you for the ceremony.”
“Your wife?” Yellow Moon’s jaw dropped open.
Yellow Moon is my current WIP and almost finished. Books We Love will be open to submissions again in January, and this will be one of the first emails they receive. It's been a long time in the works because I'm a pantser and Yellow Moon has been a spoiled brat to work with. She rarely talked to me...until recently. I hope you enjoy this teaser from somewhere in the story.