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Authors: D. Sallen

Grail Quest (28 page)

BOOK: Grail Quest
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I stood and looked around. An entourage of
Mandan had followed us. Panic stricken at the disappearance of Wakan Totem, they shouted a discordant wail. I couldn’t worry about them.

I looked back up at Coyote. His ghastly face and body stance showed he was as shocked as anyone. Seeing a route up the rocks, I climbed after him. Before I could reach the top, he recovered enough to whistle. I looked back at Leahna. “Sweetheart, he’s whistling again. Plug your ears.”

Leahna looked at me, then up at Coyote. She made no move to cover her ears. Had that scum already reached her with his power?

I resumed my climb. A boulder crashed down, missed my head, scrapped my left arm. Ready for the next one, I twisted out of the way. I moved up and to the side. A slight overhang deflected the next one. I heard the boom of my flintlock. I gained the top edge. Coyote was distracted but not hit.

I unsheathed my saber. Coyote loosed an arrow at my head…too anxious. I dodged… leapt on top of the tor. He was too far away for my saber. I flung my hatchet at him…Dodging it, his next arrow was wide. He threw his bow down. “Hah, mountain lion tear you to pieces!”

I ran at him. His face tore open in anguished scream. No lion appeared in his place. “So, Coyote, are you still a witch?”

No. He was still a strong man. He flipped a rock at my face… I dodged… He jumped…Grabbed my saber arm… We struggled… Lost our balance… Went down together… He jammed my wrist on a rock… I let go of my saber… He got to his knees… I jammed my feet into him… Neither of us could
reach my sword… I kicked his chin!… Both on our feet… Screaming wildly, he grabbed my throat!… I drove my fist under his rib cage! Gasping, he released my neck, and backed away. I charged with my head!…Drove him to the edge of the cliff! He clutched my head… and fought for his balance… He hung onto me… Both of us were going over! I slugged him in the crotch… He let go… I
pushed off on him…

Howling , Coyote fell to the rocks below.

I dropped precariously…my lower chest balanced over the rocky edge. To halt a slide into Coyote’s oblivion… I jammed my toes into the rocky surface. The right ones caught into a crack… They would hold for the moment… Long enough for my friends to reach me? Slippery with sweat and blood from opened
O-kee-pa wounds, I held my breath. Any movement could doom me. The edge where I lay was an overhang. With my arms I couldn’t reach any purchase downhill. Moving my right arm snail like, I brought it beside me. Yes! My fingers found a substantial crack in the surface. Not hesitating, I jerked my body to the right… onto safe rock.

Shortly, Bear called up. “He is dead, Squire. He won’t witch anyone again.”

Leahna and Moyock reached the top. She ran into my arms. “Oh Squire, oh Squire, you did it, you killed him! I’m so happy.” I held her close to me. Moyock patted my back and I wrapped him too, in our embrace.

After my trial ordeal I had second thoughts about becoming a Mandan. Aside from any one else, I said to Leahna and Moyock, “For us, I think things have gone sour here. I don’t want my sons to face demonic O-kee-pa. We should leave as soon as possible. I hear we face a very long cold harsh winter. We must prepare to travel, recover our canoe from Lynx and head south. You would like to stay with the Missouri, wouldn’t you?”

To my surprise both agreed. In a few days I went to the council and said, “It is a great honor for me to be a Mandan; however; I have a duty to return to my King Chief, and tell him I failed to find the Holy Grail. We must leave at once, before the river freezes.”

The only one sorry to see us go was Bear. He was a good friend. He offered to look after my four squaws until I came back, but if they had any sons while I was gone, he would claim them. During a harsh winter storm on the way south, Leahna aborted. She was unconscious from her ordeal. So without showing her,
I buried the oddly complete fetus out in the snow. I told her
would have had a son. I didn’t mention the nicked ear.






BOOK: Grail Quest
11.94Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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