Part 8

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The young doctor helped him clean up and patiently explained what injuries that he'd suffered along the way.

From the sounds of it, the Indian woman had found him and hauled his carcass back for medical treatment just in time with what patchwork that their healer had applied beforehand.

Poe realized from what he'd just learned that he had probably met the old healer in passing on more than one occasion; but he'd seen neither hide nor hair of the woman who apparently lived with him.

Perhaps, he realized now, the old man had not wanted anyone outside the tribe to know about her while what education in the language of Sioux and others that he'd managed to pick up would now prove to have been well worth the effort that he'd put into such things.

He winced as each breath reminded him of his broken ribs.

From what the doc had explained to him, the bullet apparently had exited enough of his kneecap which in turn meant that he wouldn't lose his leg, but would have to wear a brace contraption that had fashioned for him to use from now on.

Leather straps above and below his knee held hinged metal rods that would help support his weight and bend with his knee.

Running-Deer, as he'd learned to call her, and Doc Bracna both helped him learn to walk with the brace, while they were very careful not to re-injure his ribs; tightly wrapped as they were.

It would still take several weeks or longer to heal properly before he could even begin to consider riding again.

There was plenty of serious consideration to be done as to what effect the injuries would have upon his career as a Marshal.

In short order, Colonel Alvin Bonnet from Fort Danna arrived to present himself; politely asking for the doctor to leave them while he spoke to Poe alone.

Bracna managed to convince Running-Deer to leave with him as well while he patiently explained in broken French and Sioux that the nature of the Colonel's visit was something of a more private matter and should not concern them.

With begrudged reluctance, she had gone with the Doc, while the look on her face as they left was clearly telling of what little that she'd thought of their visitor.

The Colonel from Fort Dana wasn't quite six feet tall, with close cropped dark hair, a clean face and tanned olive skin.

He also looked to have a backbone of steel even as he stood in the now empty room except for the two of them.

Poe quickly realized Bonnet was one of those rare individuals that he'd met who got complete respect even if they hadn't worn a uniform that clearly should have commanded it otherwise.

Steely blue eyes only served to match the dark blue of his uniform.

"If I did not know any better ..." Bonnet mused with an easy smile, "... she clearly gives an impression that she does not like army officers. As she and I have only just met, I highly doubt that it would have been me that made her draw such a disparaging opinion so soon."

Once he'd removed his hat to set it on a nearby chair, Bonnet moved to a dresser where he held up a bottle of whiskey that he'd found there, which Poe refused with a polite wave.

"Doc told me that it mixes badly with the laudanum and might hurt the healing process. But he promises that I can pick up where I left off after I'm back to being fit at some point yet to be determined."

Bonnet simply nodded, as he poured himself a glass and capped the bottle.

"I've broken many a rib myself having chased various marauding Indians over more than few battlefields; leg once as well."

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