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Authors: Cynthia Ward Weil

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By Way of the Rose

BOOK: By Way of the Rose
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By Way of the Rose
by Cynthia M. Ward
Historical Fiction/Mainstream

Copyright © 2010

First published in 2010

NOTICE: This ebook is copyrighted. It is licensed only for use by the original purchaser. Duplication of this ebook by beaming, email, network, disk, paper, or any other method is a violation of international copyright law and subjects the violator to severe fines and/or imprisonment.

* * * *
By Way of the Rose
* * * *
By Cynthia Ward Weil
* * * *

By Way of the Rose

This is a work of fiction. All concepts, characters and events portrayed in this book are used fictitiously and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.

Copyright (C) 2010 Cynthia Ward Weil.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except brief extracts for the purpose of review, without the permission of the publisher and copyright owner.

Twilight Times Books

P O Box 3340

Kingsport TN 37664

twilighttimesbooks.com/

* * * *

Credits

Book cover design ~ Ardy M. Scott

Managing Editor ~ Ardy M. Scott

Publisher ~ Lida E. Quillen

* * * *

Electronically published in the United States of America.

Introduction
* * * *

There was a time, not so long ago, when a people of great love and respect for Mother Earth lived freely and in harmony with nature. Then came seeming “gods” guided by huge billowing clouds over the waters and into the People's world. This changed their lives forever.

Between the years of 1817 to 1840, five of the major southeastern tribes were moved west to Oklahoma Indian Territory. Yet the Cherokee Nation stood their ground, ignoring orders from President Andrew Jackson to disband.

The Cherokee Nation had schools, banks, churches and even a constitution and government. They wanted to remain independent, but this Nation within a Nation would never be. Until the very last minute they refused to disband.

The Cherokee were forced out so suddenly that many had no time to gather even the basic necessities such as shoes, blankets or warm clothing. The 1838 trek became known as the Nunna daul Tsuny, the Trail Where They Cried.

It is said that these mournful tears gave birth to the tiny white flower with its golden center known as the Cherokee Rose which still flourishes along this long winding trail. This Mystical Rose, springing from tears, was said to be an answer to the Chief's prayers for a sign to their people. A sign to give them strength and hope in a renewed life. From great sorrow came the purest beauty.

Chapter One

It was the beginning of fall 1838 and the evenings were growing longer and more bitter. The wind's haunting moans signaled the coming winter as it echoed through the thick Tennessee pines. A chill ran down Marion's spine at their eerie sounds. They seemed to whisper a foreboding warning to her. Something seemed to be lurking in this unnatural wind. She shivered.

The DuVal cabin, nestled within this woodsy valley in Giles County, was usually protected from the harsher winds sweeping noisily over the high grounds. But this evening they rushed into the valley, invading Marion's very core with fear. Yet she brushed it aside as she glanced over the room and smiled warmly at the peacefulness around her.

A soft glow of lamplight shone from the cabin windows as twilight wrapped itself around the world. Marion's cooking and the warming fire in the huge fireplace had the house cozy, warm and smelling of delicious browned biscuits and fried deer steak.

Marion DuVal was a small Italian woman with dark hair and eyes that were so brown they looked black. She was somewhat plain and lacked physical beauty but she was what Daniel called a charming and strong woman. Her manner and willfulness captivated this six foot, bronzed skinned, native of Spain. They had met when they were only seven years old on the ship that was bringing them and their families to America. Daniel had liked her immediately.

They'd settled in the same area, grew up together as best friends and married when they were just fifteen years old. They had four children by the time they'd finally settled here in Giles County Tennessee. Daniel and Marion both fell in love with this bit of ground. It truly was their sanctuary among the wilds. The small cabin was situated in a large open clearing in these dense woodlands. A marching row of evenly spaced fence posts, like stiff wooden soldiers, paraded and disappeared into the thickets at the edge of the towering pines.

The DuVals had lived here four years now and had settled into their daily routines. Marion fussed over dinner with her dark hair twisted into a tight bun at the nape of her neck. A few unruly strands had broken lose and hung over a somberly-set face which revealed very little expression. Despite the severe look of authority this gave her, or her no nonsense attitude as she went about her work, Marion's stern exterior belied a loving and compassionate nature.

Eight year old John sat at his usual place at the end of the rough, hand-hewn table where he liked to read. He was fairly glued to his book as he absentmindedly twisted on a lock of his black, curly hair. These thick curls were a trademark of all the DuVal children.

Unlike the rest of the household he didn't seem to be concerned, even with the lighting of the lamp, that although it was past supper time, his poppa and older brother, Daniel Jr., weren't home from hunting yet. Marion knew Daniel didn't usually stay out past dark because black bears roamed around at night and were almost impossible to see. She walked over to the window and looked out as the bone chilling fear gripped at her again. “What's keeping them?” she muttered. By the lamp light streaming out the window she noticed a huge opossum combing through the autumn leaves, searching for a morsel to eat. He paused and stared back at her with his sharp, beady eyes shining in the dull light and then lumbered away. “I don't know why they had to go off hunting when we've got opossum meat right here in our own yard” she huffed. “Why they spare such as that, I'll never know. Opossums are pesky buggers at best, and that fat beady-eyed rascal would make a meal all by himself. Eleven year old Agnes giggled as she worked on her sampler. “I've noticed that fat one myself. He's the granddaddy of them all. I saw him in the musky-dine arbor gulping those things down like a boar hog. I ran him off but he was back by the time I got to the house. I could just picture him on a platter all surrounded with sweet potatoes. There's just something about opossum fat that makes sweet potatoes taste even better.” Cora, who'd not yet turned two, sat in her highchair playing with her spool ring and laughing at her five year old brother, Nathan, as he made funny faces at her.

Marion, with her apron protecting her calico dress and hiding her expectant belly, returned to the stove and anxiously stirred the gravy in the cast iron skillet.

She shoved a lock of hair off her face as she took up the gravy and poured it into a bowl. Supper had been delayed long enough. “Well, Agnes, go ahead and set the table, looks like we'll have to eat tonight without those two. Supper won't wait any longer.”

“Yes, ma'am.” The young girl went about doing as she was told. Agnes was most always perfectly good and obedient. She tried hard to keep order and peace in the house. She was driven by the thought that everything must be pleasant and calm, especially when her Momma was pregnant.

“Move, John.” Agnes nudged him as he sat there hardly noticing her. “John, I said move!” She shut the book he was reading.

“I can't see to read if I move,” he protested, flipping the book open again and continuing to read.

“John, stop your fussing and move.” Marion turned from the stove. “Agnes has to set the table. It's supper time.”

“But Poppa and D.J. aren't home yet. Can't it wait?”

“No, it's coming up on bed time anyway. They can eat when they get in.”

John snatched up his book and reluctantly put it away.

“Temper, John!” Agnes scolded.

“Oh, be quiet. I've put it away, aren't you satisfied?”

“Settle down, John.” Marion placed the bowl of gravy on the table.

“Yes, ma'am... I'm sorry.” John wanted badly to go to school but he knew his folks couldn't afford it. Marion had taught him and her other children to read, but John, a born scholar, was the only one who was enraptured by the written word. In this wondrous
world of words
he was the hero. Often he had been Daniel Boone out hunting bears or Paul Revere on his midnight ride yelling, “To arms, to arms, the British are coming!” or he was Captain John Smith being captured by the Indians and saved by the beautiful princess, Pocahontas.

Agnes fixed Cora's plate as Nathan fussed at her about his unbuttered biscuit. “I'll butter it for you in just a minute, Nathan. I'm fixing Cora May's plate right now.” She patiently explained.

“Why am I always last? I don't even want it now!” He threw his biscuit at her. Nathan was the attention-getter of the family, cursed with an all or nothing attitude. Either he got what he wanted when he wanted it or else he wanted none of it. Agnes was kept busy trying to keep him from tormenting Marion.

“Come on, Nathan. Be good now. I've got your butter right here.” Agnes retrieved the biscuit, buttered it, and laid it back on his plate.

“I'm not going to eat it!” He defiantly folded his arms over his chest.

“Please don't... ”

“Stop begging him, Aggie. You're just spoiling the boy. If he doesn't want to eat it he doesn't have to. He can sit there pouting and watch us enjoy ours.” Marion took her seat. “Now let's say the blessing.” They all bowed their heads.

Nathan pouted through Marion's simple grace and as they commenced eating. “Nobody cares about me,” he huffed as he snatched up his biscuit and rammed it in his mouth. “Why didn't I get any gravy?” His words came out muffled through his over-stuffed mouth.

“I didn't know you wanted any.” Agnes dipped some onto his plate.

“Nobody ever asks me nothing, ‘cause y'all don't care about me.”

“You know we all love you.” Marion humored him. “You're just acting up because your poppa isn't home, aren't you?”

“I don't like eating without Poppa and D.J. here.” He whined through his nose.

“They'll be in soon. Would you like to wait and eat when they get here?”

“No, I'm hungry, I'll try to eat now.”

John rolled his eyes and mumbled, “yeah, it's Agnes who spoils him.”

“What was that, John?” Marion cut her eyes at him.

“Nothing, Ma'am.”

Loud footsteps on the porch boards announced that someone was outside, and in a gust of cold wind, Daniel and D.J entered the warm, fire-lit cabin. Marion jumped up. “Oh Daniel, where on earth have you two been? I've been worried sick, you never stay out this late! What happened?”

“We got caught up in a ruckus and it got dark before I knew it, but everything came out fine.” Daniel hung his coat and hat. “Wish we had carried a lamp or something to see by. I swear I felt a bear breathing on my neck a few times.” He shuddered.

“Oh, I could have taken care of any ol’ black bear with this.” D.J. patted his rifle before hanging it on its peg.

“Sure, I could have shot him too, but only if I could clearly see the booger!” Daniel chuckled. “We don't just shoot randomly at figments now, do we?”

“Naw, sir. I guess we don't.” D.J. turned and walked to the wash basin.

“Y'all must be starved. I'm glad you're both safe and that y'all made it in while supper's still hot.” Marion served them up a plate each. “What was it that kept you two out till these late hours?”

“Nothing but some slave everyone was looking for and they asked me and D.J. to help. They said they'd pay us to help them.” Daniel sat at the head of the table. “They thought the slave had run away. It turned out that he'd gone down to the stream and fell asleep on the bank,” he shook his head. “I tell you the truth, sometimes I wouldn't mind being a slave myself. There he was just sleeping away with his fishing pole and a bag of half eaten grub beside him.”

BOOK: By Way of the Rose
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ads

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