Part 9

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Neither Bracna nor Clementine had let anyone inside the building once the extent of Running-Deer's injuries beneath the bloodied blankets had been fully revealed.

Poe paced back and forth just outside, at least as well as his brace allowed while Cat chose to explore the monastery grounds for distraction as they waited.

The Priest that they'd had come to know as Roylan shuttled water and fresh washrags to the doctor as water boiled within the kitchen area of the monastery.

With some reluctance Nadia and Mikhail filled Poe in on what appeared to have happened with Running-Deer before the hunter had found her as he had.

Apparent human charity from the man who worked for the pack Alpha probably explained how and why she'd had been safely moved far and away from the cabin disaster.

Poe did not want to think about what might have happened otherwise.

All three turned to face the doctor as Bracna joined them and closed the door behind him while he wiped his hands with a rag as he summoned courage before approaching the sheriff.

"She's definitely not in a good way, Poe. Not good at all." Bracna offered, as he'd found no other way to deliver the grim nature of his news.

"What can you say about the cause of her injuries, Doc?" Poe asked. "And where is the man that found her. I would like to have a word or two with him."

"Well, she appears to have taken several hard blows to her face which probably knocked her senseless, perhaps thankfully so in my opinion. As to the what, and how, I would like to defer for the moment until we've fully cleaned her up now that her bleeding appears under control."

"But will she live?" Poe asked pointedly, cool anger growing as the doctor kept using the word 'appear' to cover his bets.

Bracna looked awkwardly uncomfortable.

"She appears to have injuries consistent with the bite of a large animal to her neck and shoulder from something, which means there may be other far more ... complicated ..." Bracna looked from Nadia to Mikhail and then back to Poe, "... issues than usual. We will know better in a few days."

Nadia and Mikhail used the doctor's inference as an excuse to enter the building and check on Running-Deer themselves.

Bracna hesitated with some concern before he continued.

"The hunter who found her goes by the name Lovell and is camped up on the ridge. Go easy on him Poe, please. I sincerely doubt that he had anything to do with her injuries."

Poe nodded, as he looked down while in thought. "Nothing is going to be easy about this." He replied when he turned toward the arch and gate. "Just keep her well tended Doc, do us that favor and all may yet be better than as it first appeared."

Bracna stood alone, rolled his head back and forth to loosen neck muscles and then stretched his shoulders.

"Gonna give it one hell of a go as I can sheriff." He replied as Poe disappeared from sight.

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