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Authors: D. Sallen

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BOOK: Grail Quest
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Since the cave would provide some shelter from the wind, I asked her if we could stay in the cave too.

Leahna looked back and forth at the two of us. Then, “You can do. Place over there.”

We brought our own blankets in and made beds of sorts on the other side of the room from hers. We kept an eye on her to see if she had second thoughts about our being in there. She seemed to accept our action as reasonable. Before total darkness, Moyock and I took to our blankets. Some little light remained until the fire went out. After that some moonlight filtering through the canopy was the only source of light. On a cloudy or moonless night it would be black as a witch’s heart in here.

I slept well at first, and then sometime during the night I awoke to the sound of “
coming from Leahna’s direction. She was being ravished! I felt for my knife. But who could be raping her? Before I could do anything dumb, it was apparent from her music of
pleasure, “
” that she was willing. But who on earth could her lover be? I couldn’t see enough to make out who was on the pallet with her. Probably just as well. To take any action without sight was stupid. Was his presence any danger to Moyock and I?

Very carefully I reached over to nudge Moyock. Instead I felt his finger over my lips for quiet. He already was aware of the intruder. We stayed awake until, in the moon glow at the entrance, we saw a man leave the cave. Whispering we agreed to take turns staying awake. I was so jealous of her lover it was difficult for me to sleep anyway.

A small seep near the cave entrance provided some drinking water for Leahna. There wasn’t enough volume for a bath so Moyock and I took a quick dip in the O-Hi-O. “We can’t ignore that there is a strange man nearby. What do you think of our situation, Moyock?”

“He not harm us. Maybe not enemy.”

“Maybe. But more’n likely he clubbed me rather than Coyote. Before we learn he is an enemy for sure, I’d like to know who he is. We must ask Leahna about him.”

“Yes. She must tell us. I ask her.”

Back at the cave Leahna acted calm as though nothing unusual had occurred. After we drank some tea and munched on hardtack, Moyock began signing to her again. They had developed some common words between them but not any that would cover this inquiry. They palavered for some time with Moyock appearing confused and distraught. “I not understand. I think she say man is Coyote.”

“Her dog is named after her mysterious consort?”

Moyock palavered some more. His expression screwed up his face. “No, I think she say man is Coyote. Coyote is man.”

What on earth did she mean? Watching us, the dog sat beside her. Whenever his name was mentioned, his tongue lolled out like he was laughing. I felt like killing it. “She doesn’t make any sense to me.”

I lingered in the cave until my eyes became accustomed to the gloom. Maybe she didn’t know what the Grail was. Or perhaps it was a difference of terminology. To make sure it wasn’t in the cave, I prowled around poking into crevices, and fumbling through her hanging things. She didn’t pay any attention to me. Moyock hung around outside looking for Coyote.

Almost through with my search I spied a small shelf well over my head. I stood on tiptoe to reach it, and now got Leahna’s attention. She hurried over to watch what I was doing. As my hand clutched an object on the shelf Leahna screamed, “No, no, no, mine!” She rushed up to take a small silver crucifix away from me. I didn’t resist and she clasped it to her heart. Hearing her voice Moyock entered.

“She is guarding a cross,” I made a peace sign to calm her down. “Ask her about it.”

“My uncle, last to die, give it to me. Last thing from my people.”

“Ask her if she is a Christian.”

“My uncle say, long time ago, people worshiped God in sky. I don’t know why man is on cross. Mean something to Coyote.”

“What do you mean?”

“Coyote tremble when he see it. I not know why. He afraid, so I use
to control him. Must do what I say when he see it.”

“Coyote is gone a long time.” I said. “Where does he go?”

She mumbled something, and Moyock said, “she thinks maybe hunting rabbits. I don’t think she knows were he is.”

“When will he be back?”

She just shrugged and waved her hand around like she didn’t know. She resumed working on a deer hide, scrapping the fat and flesh off the inside with a flint blade.

I told Moyock we should pull our canoes farther up on the shore, around the wall out of sight of anyone on the river. Our location may not be a fearsome sight to everyone in the neighborhood. We were too late. The canoes were gone. I cursed unknown thieves loud and long.
“Good thing we’d carried our other belongings up to the cave. We may be stuck here.”

“Yes, now we have another mystery. Who would take them?”

“Until we find out, we’ll have to keep Leahna and Coyote company longer than I intended.”

Moyock asked Leahna who could the thieves be?

“Many people go up and down river in canoes. I watch them from on mound. Anyone
bold enough could take them. Someone not afraid our ghosts.”

Now what? I came looking for the Grail. The Welsh had it. Except for one survivor descendent, the Welsh were gone. I doubt that she had it. Didn’t even know what it was. If it was here, it would be in the cave, and I knew it wasn’t. “Moyock, we’ve got to sit down and think on a course of action. See if you can get any more details from Leahna about the flight of the Mandan, as she called them. Also, we need to know more of her language, and she of English.”

For the next few days, in between living chores, the three of us sat and exchanged words.
Leahna said, “Uncle told me word drifted back Mandan crossed a great river. Now live in peace beside another great river.”

“Do you know how far away they are?”

“Don’t know. Maybe many moons.”

When Moyock and I were alone, I said, “Have you seen anything of Coyote?”

“Not for several days. I haven’t missed him.”

“Me neither. Considering the way he hung around at first, and obviously followed her instructions, his absence seems strange. I’m still puzzled why she called her lover Coyote.”

Moyock mumbled and grumbled to himself, then, “I think he is a

Moyock’s insight stunned me. I began shivering as though a cold wind was blowing up my back. “Do you think she knows?”

“If man and dog are same…she must know.”

“We need to talk to her again.” Language was still a problem and I didn’t know if she was touchy about her lover. Figuring that women were pretty much the same regardless of tribe, we proceeded cautiously. “Coyote dog is still gone,” I ventured.


“Do you expect him back?”

She Shrugged. “Yes. Sometime…”

“You also call your lover Coyote.”

She frowned and sighed. “Same, same.”

“Lover Coyote gone long time too. Will he come back?”

“Yes. All time come back.”

“Do you know where he is, and when he’ll come back?”

“Come back when he want to. Now he with other girl. Leahna only one girl. He have many girl.”

“Hold on! There are other girls around here?”

“Many places. Other tribes up and down river. Coyote can have all girls.”

“Huh? What do you mean.”

“All girl like him. He give great pleasure. Not give baby.”

“How can he do this? Do not men want to kill him?”

“Yes. Men mad if they see him. Can’t see him. Can’t kill him. Coyote change shape. Can be man, can be Coyote, can be bird, maybe snake.”

Moyock and I looked at each other. I blurted, “Zounds! He is a witch! A shape-shifter! That’s why he is frightened by the crucifix!”

Both of us sat stunned. Recovering first, Moyock said, “Tell us more about Coyote. How he do these things?”

“He magic person. Do many things. Play jokes, do silly things, sometimes he fooled by girls, find game, teach people to plant corn, pleasure girls, sometimes make it rain.”

“Is he a god?”

Leahna thought about this question. “He like God. Cannot be killed. No one worship him. Sometime he foolish.”

“Does he ever cause harm? Hurt anyone? Since we are different could he harm us?”

“Not harm people. Some time make mistake, cause hurt. Not on purpose.”

“He’s certainly a different kind of witch, if he is one,” I said to Moyock. “Now that we know what he is like, I’m going to be very uneasy when he is around.”

“Yes. Always first time for trouble. Who knows with witch?”

“Getting to know her the last few days, I’ve ignored our greater problem. What do we do now? Do we go back to Jamestown? Do we stay here, or do we push on to find the Mandan?
We lost our canoes,” I said. “If we want to go west, to find the Holy Grail, we have to get them back…or ones like them.”

“Leahna. The people you see in canoes. Are there villages near here?”

“Some people near. I not go there. They kill my people. Maybe they kill me. Maybe they think I witch. Not true.”

“A day and a half back we stayed one night at a large village of Cinsy Tribe. We didn’t see any others on the way down here. Are the other villages down river?”

“Not far is falls. Coyote say many people live by falls.”

“Too bad we’re not on speaking terms with Coyote. We could learn a lot from him.”

Leahna said. “When he come back I ask him to talk to you.”

“Can he change back to man anytime he likes?”

“I think so. He change back when he want to pleasure me again. Maybe only Coyote-Man at night. Maybe only Coyote-Dog when sun up.”

“I was struck from behind during the day. Dog could not do. Must have been Coyote-Man. Did you not see him then?”

“No. Not see him hit you.” She blushed and hesitated. “He not hit you. You not see me in woods. You might be bad for me. I hit you.”

Thanks for the headache, I thought. “That’s a relief. I didn’t want to think a dog could do it. Can you get Coyote to talk to us…before…or after…he wants you?”

“I hold charm. He must wait. Do what I want. Charm scare him. I not know why. After pleasures me he not stay around to talk.”

To Moyock, “I want to find the Holy Grail, so we need to hunt for the Mandan. But we’ve got no canoes. Without them, we couldn’t carry our trade goods and supplies. Before we make any definite plans we need to talk to Coyote.”

“He might not want to help us.”

“You go to Mandan. Take Leahna with you. I can help. Not want to stay here…alone.”

stared at me. “I think she can help. I wonder how you will treat her.”

Pretty cool for a fifteen year old kid.
“Why do you say that?”

“You always look at her. You maybe jealous of Coyote. If you don’t mind self, could be big trouble.”

“Admittedly, I don’t intend to play second-fiddle to a phantom.”

“Hah. How you outwit witch?”

I felt like smacking him one. “When I need to, I will.”


After two nights when Coyote had not returned, I began to hope he wouldn’t. In the meantime, I might as well take over his pleasure duties. When I was sure that Moyock was asleep, I slipped out of my bedroll and crept over to where I thought Leahna was laying. Feeling around in the dark my hand found the edge of her pallet. I lifted her cover enough for me to slip in with her.

“Hanhh? Squire? Squire? What you

I slipped my left arm under her shoulder. I slid my right hand up to cup her glorious breast. “Coyote not come back. I pleasure you now.”

“You pleasure me? No! No! You not do!”

Now I let go of her breast and slid my hand down to part her legs. When I got between them and she could feel my stallion she screamed, “

At the same time she twisted partially out from under me and slammed her knee into my testicles!
Now it was my turn to scream! In excruciating pain I doubled over. With her feet and hands she pushed me off of her pallet.

Moyock hollered, “Squire, Squire, What happened? Are you hurt?”

He couldn’t see the action in the dark. I grunted for him to stay where he was. When the pain subsided enough, I crept back to my bedroll. I knew I wouldn’t get to sleep for a while, and doubted if anyone else could.
“I’ll recover,” I whispered to Moyock. All I could do. When I thought I had control of my voice again, I said, “Why you hurt me, Leahna? Coyote gone. I pleasure you.”

BOOK: Grail Quest
11.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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