A Quiet Strength - Chapters 8 - 11

Aponi.jpgA Quiet Strength
by Anon Allsop

-Part One-

-Eight-

Each day the young female spent in her sanctuary, high in the hills, brought new changes to her young life. She had managed to create traps, kill and eat several types of the small creatures that dwell within close proximity to her shelter. As best as she could figure, it had almost been a full month since she was deposited on this planet by her body's former owner. Even though she was stuck with this form, she didn't have to like it. Unused to the small frame and appendages that seemed to just be in the way, she could only tolerate everything that seemed to come with being a female.

She cringed each time she had to respond with the call of nature, it was so degrading and hard to accomplish being that she had spent most of her young life with quite a different outlook. She wasn't naive, she knew that at some point she would have a monthly visitor, all females do, and now that she was one... she could expect it any day now.

It had become much warmer now, the heat of the day would build until it almost grew uncomfortable in the animal hide that she was wearing. Often she would remove it and slip into the water to bathe, but only when the moon was out and never in daylight.

Tonight was one such night, it was warm and she had just finished eating half of a small creature that she had caught. As the stars high overhead began to dot the sky, she slowly slipped down to the stream below her shelter. There, she carefully made her way to the edge of the stream staying within the shadows.

Pulling off the skins she slipped quietly into the refreshing water. She felt along the underside of her arm where the skin had begun to chafe her tender flesh. The cool water helped to take some of the soreness away. As she slowly swam, she heard several voices.

As silent as possible, staying in the darkened vegetation that lined the edge, she made her way toward the voices. There were three strange looking warriors, their hair was closely cropped to their heads save for one band that ran right down the center of their head. She could understand nothing of what they were saying although it was apparent that two of the warriors wanted to go in one direction and the third was arguing his point.

She slipped under a low hanging plant, yet stayed in the water. She quietly dug some earth from the bank and spread it on her face, knowing how pale she was, their fire would most surely reflect off the alabaster of her fair skin. For a half hour, she stayed hidden and listened to their strange tongue, it was only as one of the men came nearby to relieve himself that she felt she should beat a hasty retreat. She hesitated as he dropped his breech-cloth before her surprised eyes and exposed his naked physique.

She watched him with longing, envious of his being able to expel his bladder in such a convenient way...and sad for she no longer could. His stream carried out and into the water, until a chilly breeze began to blow it back onto his legs. He cursed or at least it sounded like it may have been one, and then scooped water into his hand and washed his leg off, then washed his hands.

His penis was long and thick, probably something he was very proud of. Heck, she would have been had she still been 'Park' as she once had been. She looked down to the breasts she possessed, it was probably her only asset of which she could now compare; something that a woman might feel pride in. Although, she truly would not know for certain. She held her hiding place silently as the warrior refastened his breech-cloth, thankfully covering himself from her now beautiful blue eyes.

As soon as he returned to the fire, she silently stole away into the night to retrieve her own clothing. She picked her way through the darkness and she once again returned to her shelter on the mountain. With no fire to warm her, so fearful she was that her fire would attract those warriors..she shivered herself to sleep. Before she drifted off in slumber, she made a point to remind herself to stay close to the high shelter for a few days and allow them time to leave the area.

***

Before daylight, the young blonde slipped down to check her closest traps. A rabbit had been caught in one and she quickly dispatched it. As it bled out, suspended from a rock nearby she began to get a queasy feeling within the pit of her stomach. Perhaps it was the smell of the blood, perhaps it was of her gruesome task. Deep down though, she knew it was that damnable visitor that would soon be welcoming her into womanhood. She frowned as she carried the small carcass back to the shelter, her rolling stomach was not something she needed right at this moment.

At the shelter, she gutted and removed the neck, peeling the hide off as if you were undressing a doll. It was then, once again, that the gamey smell from the creature began to work it's way into her senses. Throwing the meat aside she crawled several feet away and spewed the contents of her stomach over the edge of a rock. She wiped the sweat from her brow and again felt her stomach lurch its contents onto the ground.

Sinking beside her vomit, she leaned her head back and pushed the perspiration from her brow. For a third time she rolled to the side and lost what had once been yesterday's supper. After a few minutes of sitting, she began to feel better and again crawled back to where she had left the meat.

As soon as she saw it, her stomach began to roll, so fearful that its smell would again cause her to throw up, she tossed the carcass over the side as far as she could. Staggering to her feet, she stumbled back to the little water hole beside the shelter. There she washed her face and rinsed her mouth of the foul tasting bitterness that remained.

She gradually stood and returned to the shelter to lay down, fearing that her swim from last night may have brought on a illness. Rolling to her side she looked out through the tiny openings between the sticks, tears welling in those beautiful crystalline blue eyes, clinging to her long lashes. For in the back of her mind she recalled what that bitch Leigh had said, and if what she implied was really happening..it would not bode well for her!

She only prayed that she was wrong and it was actually the onset of a simple sickness, a sickness that would run its course in a matter of days.

-Nine-

Etu started his search at the very last place he lost the young spirit female- the water's edge. The current would have been too strong for her to swim upstream, so the natural place would be to search downstream.

Knowing your prey as a hunter is foremost to making a successful kill, and even though this hunt was nothing about a kill, he still must keep in mind his prey. A frightened animal would put as much distance between itself and a foe, always moving in a direction away from pursuit.

Within a matter of minutes he was standing on the opposite bank, using a natural bridge known to his people. Slowly and deliberately he began to follow the river, ever watchful for sign. Like all prey he had ever chased, she was headed somewhere to hide...but where?

Stopping for a drink, he crouched to cup cool water into his palms. As he sipped it, he noticed a mark in the mud. Shaking the water from his hands free, he took a closer look. A slow smile caressed his bronze face.

He stood and began to scan the horizon, deep brown eyes searching for a logical path she might have taken. There was none. Again he turned his attention back to the print, beginning from there he found another about the distance of a tall man away.

Further up ahead, he found what he was looking for, she had made egress from the river at this spot. He placed his foot at it and looked back toward where he had noticed the first smear. The two had been of her left hand as she tried to find a grip up the bank in the mud, the last, where he stood now was where she actually pulled herself from the water.

Her tracks were heading away, directly toward a small stand of trees. Etu followed them up the hill until he too stood among the trees. Here and there were other sign convincing him, that the Aponi spirit had passed this way.

All along the way he followed them, throughout the day and well into the afternoon. At first the sign were pretty prevalent, however it was toward dusk that he realized that he had lost her trail. With a heavy heart he bed down in tall grass, determined to backtrack if necessary be to pick up her trail once again.

For nearly a three changes of mother moon, Etu had searched in an ever expanding pattern for any sign of the spirit, it was as though she had vanished from the face of the planet. He knew that she was surely somewhere within a day or two, but which way?

Contemplating her whereabouts as he was picking his way through a small valley, he cautiously stopped at the edge of a wide meadow. Scanning the opposite distance he hesitated stepping into the open. The foreboding he was feeling caused him to falter.

Something was amiss, and that feeling was causing him concern. The warm sun shining through the leaves of the trees he was standing under, creating a false illusion that all was well. He crouched down and continued to study the tree line, almost like a wary animal he sensed... danger. He held his position for quite a great length of time, nothing was moving, not even the birds. Slowly removing a formidable war club from his breech cloth, he cautiously moved away from the treeline.

Gradually, as Etu closed the distance to the other side of the meadow, his sense of danger never left. He gripped the handle of the war club even tighter, raising it slightly in the ready. At the moment he raised it, a loud sound of something impacting against the heavy stone suspended at the end of his war-club, caused him to drop to his knee. A splintered arrow swung around and created a welt upon his arm, the club's shaft splitting in two.

Etu dropped the useless club and quickly pulled his knife, the antler of a deer held a long sharpened blade. He quickly spun in a circle as six Algonquin warriors rushed him from every side. The closest warrior, died almost instantly as his blade was forced between the ribs of the advancing warrior. As Etu attempted to retrieve his blade, it seemed to have become stuck in the bone of the dead man.

He pushed the lifeless body onto the next closest warrior and quickly raced across the final few feet of the meadow, Algonquin arrows began peppering the grass and trees as he ran through them. At the last moment, when he felt he just might possibly elude them, he was struck from behind by a heavy war-club thrown by one of his pursuer's that had been chasing him.

The force with which it struck Etu almost caused him to collapse, blood began to course from the wound in his head. Etu fell against a tree and struggled to regain his balance, it seemed the trees were moving and swaying before the wounded warrior's eyes.

A great roaring sound came to the injured man's ears, somewhere ahead was a river or waterfall... if he could just get to it before his Algonquin enemies closed in on him. Reaching back, he could feel a gaping wound on his head, as he brought his hand back around, he could see it was covered in blood.

Redoubling his efforts, Etu staggered through thick brush. Like a frightened creature, he was hoping it would slow his enemy down. As he ran, the ground suddenly gave way and he rolled down a hill for several feet. Quickly scrambling to his feet he hazarded a glance up to the top of the hill, there a warrior was taking aim with his bow. Etu raced toward the sound, he created a zig-zag pattern, attempting to keep the trees between he and the Algonquin who were chasing him.

Ahead, a stream opened up and Etu raced down a trail that ran parallel to the water. All the while, his pursuer's continued to shoot at him from above. One arrow buried itself into the thick bark of a tree, narrowly missing his head by inches. A second hissed past his ear and disappeared into the thick weeds that grew along the stream.

The sound of the waterfall grew until he could no longer hear the shouts of the Algonquin, just ahead he could see the water dropping over the edge...he would have to take his chances on surviving the landing. Deep down he knew that Grandfather had said his destiny and that of the Aponi was intertwined, he must survive for her!

Planting his foot at the edge of the fall, he suddenly felt a blistering pain in his back. He grasped wildly at the shaft of the penetrating arrow, yet he couldn't prevent himself from falling, the waterfall's mist swallowing the injured man whole.

-Ten-

Etu opened his eyes slowly, the brilliance of the sun caused him to blink several times. As he tried to sit up, a strong hand held him in place. Fearing that he had been captured by the Algonquin, he struggled until he heard a voice speak in a language he understood. "Lie still warrior."

Etu was laying on his chest, behind him someone was cleaning his wounds. The injured man turned his head toward the voice that had just spoken. "You are hurt bad, we are taking you back to our village."

Etu recognized the speaker as Mohawk, glancing to the side was another warrior making a paste and began to pack his wound with it. "Algonquin.."

"Grey Dog is watching them, they moved off after you fell from the the great place. That was two days ago." He pointed to the side of the waterfall. "We saw you jump." He smiled, "Did you think you were a bird?"

"The Algonquin were trying to kill me." He whispered through his pain.

"What would the Enemies of the Iroquois Nation want with a lone Oneida warrior?" He frowned and glanced toward his companion.

"We will soon know, here comes Grey Dog." The other indicated with his head as he continued to change the dressing on Etu's wound.

The one who seemed to be in charge stood up, he towered over the man they called Grey Dog. "The Algonquin are moving on, they want no part of a battle right here, with the Mohawk." The warrior said as he neared the small party.

"How many?" Grey Dog asked. The other warrior never verbally answered, he just held up four fingers.

Grinning, the young warrior finally responded, "There had been as many as the fingers on your hand, until one of them found my knife at his throat."

He crouched down next to Etu, examining his wounds he added, "This brave killed one before it all started."

"I am Etu of the Oneida. We are brothers of the Mohawk." He softly whispered aloud.

"I am Kutkutuk, This is Grey Dog and the one working on you is Truaxe." Etu looked at each and nodded as they were introduced. "You will return with us to our village until you are healed."

"I..I can not go with you. I am searching for an Aponi Spirit." He said trying to sit up but Kutkutuk gently guided him back down.

"Your journey will have to wait, Etu. If we left you here, you will die." He pointed to the injury to his head, "It grows harder for you to think the longer we remain here."

Etu struggled slightly and when the pain became too unbearable he fell back onto the ground. The big warrior sighed, "We will have to make a drag, take turns pulling him until we get back to our village."

The other two nodded and set about collecting the items they would need to create the drag.

-Eleven-

For nearly a month, the beautiful young woman dealt with the constant nausea and vomiting. With an increasing degree of certainty, she no longer held out hope that what ailed her was a simple illness. No, that bitch Leigh was correct and not only stole Parker's body...but left him in hers. She looked down to where the stretched hide harbored a small but defined 'paunch'.

Groaning, she realized that not only must she spend the remainder of her life as a female...but she was now pregnant. She sat on the edge of the mountain, where the water tumbled over the side and into the stream below. It would be so easy to simply throw herself over the edge, ending this strange life forced upon her once and for all.

Again she looked down to where her child was now growing and sighed. This young one knew nothing of either of its parents, nor would it care. She slowly crawled back from the edge and returned to the shelter. She couldn't take her own life, even if she could, she didn't feel it fair to cut short the child growing in her womb.

She gritted her teeth, she would be damned to let Leigh win. No, even though she didn't care for the mother prior to the change...the father...she had been quite fond of. She smiled at her own convoluted joke. Now in some sort of strange warped way, she was both the father AND the mother. Shaking her head she leaned back against the stone and gently rubbed her stomach.

She hummed softly a familiar lilting tune she remembered from her past. The strange feminine voice she would never get used to, yet humming the was one thing Leigh didn't take from her. She tested her ability to speak, still no utterances of any word would come from her voice. Shaking her head, she went back to humming the lullaby she had been attempting earlier. She picked up a piece of dried fish and began to chew it, humming her song through each bite.

She knew that at some point in the future, she would have to come down from that mountain and seek a better form of shelter. Once the weather would turn bad, it would be too late...and she will have more to think about than just herself soon enough.

To be continued...


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This story is 3237 words long.