Part 2

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The old Indian healer mumbled prayers as he crouched over the wounded white man to gently crush roots of life above his wounds.

Crazy-Bear was proud of his almost daughter as it was clear the spirits now guided her as they had him in his youth.

Skin wrinkled and hair gone gray, the strength of his youth had become wisdom that was easily shared with her.

His almost daughter would become his true strength now.

Although women had never been taught many of the combat skills of men, he chose instead to defy the tribe and teach his almost daughter how to defend herself properly.

She'd quickly shown that her ability to learn his medicines was equal to that of her intensity while in training and had even managed to challenge him more than a few times during their lessons together.

She sat near the fire as she gently mixed mud that would cover and heal this man's injuries. From what he could see of his wounds, the horse must have run from something terrible to have dragged this man such a great distance.

Lines etched upon the man's face along with the dark tan of his skin easily revealed him to be someone who'd worked outdoors and carried much experience from his life.

Carefully, they removed what remained of his pants only to discover the wound to his leg, which may have been what had caused the horse to throw him in the first place.

It hadn't taken long for her to search the horse and saddle before she found something.

When shown the bullet that she'd found in the buckle of the saddle, Crazy-Bear realized someone had shot at this man and missed.

Perhaps it revealed yet another sign that the spirits wanted him to remain alive.

Just the night before, the spirits had come to him in a vision with sign of a quest for his almost daughter.

While he'd chanted and tossed spirit dust over the fire, he'd seen her as she led this man to a city of white people to watch over him as he rested and healed. They also showed visions of them remaining together for several seasons.

Sadness shaded the vision as there were to be no children destined for her with this man.

He told her of the visions as he took the mud and began to apply it. The language that they shared was a broken mix of her father's French and the healer's Sioux languages, to allow some privacy between them when others of the tribe were nearby.

"Father, this cannot be. I will not help a white man who has hurt our people." She sighed, having realized that arguments alone would be useless against any such wishes that the spirits may have had for her.

She simply could not understand why they'd chosen her for such punishment.

"Daughter that I have loved as my own; Speak not of what the spirits have given you but of how you can give them what they desire."

As she watched flames devour the wood, she thought of the white man that they'd found and wondered how the spirits might have used him to change her path in life.

That they were displeased in the first place saddened her greatly; perhaps for having avoided her turn to bring new life to their village; or for the many warriors that she'd ignored who may have otherwise chosen her as their mate, only to further angered them.

The white man had finally stopped groaning as Crazy-Bear applied medicine and the rich power of the spirits healed him so that he might yet live.

"Tonight ..." the healer whispered softly as he rubbed the palms of his hands over the wounds, "... we care for him and tomorrow we make a bed that you will pull with his horse."

"I am to go alone?" She offered sadly as she watched the only man who had ever cared for her after her parents had died so long ago now.

"The spirits teach us ... that we travel this road in life to meet again when they call for us. Fear not, for I will meet you again and share stories of our travels."

As she rubbed the dirt between her hands, she thought again about what the spirits had chosen for her and why they had put this white man in her path.

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