Chapter 6

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Lone Wolf's elk blade narrowly misses Gray Hawk's throat. The young warrior dodges and feels the swoosh of Lone Wolf's crimson elk blade.

Gray Hawk's confidence grows. He swings his war club.

Lone Wolf defensively ducks down and swipes low at his opponent. Gray Hawk blocks. They aggressively lock weapons. Gray Hawk smiles a devilish grin, taunting Lone Wolf.

In response, the seasoned Kiowa warrior tilts his handle and smashes Gray Hawk's black-painted nose. The young man stumbles back and struggles through teary eyes to block Lone Wolf's assault. He feels a powerful gust as Lone Wolf slashes at his head but misses. Severed feathers from his headdress tickle his naked shoulders. Gray Hawk blunders his opportunity to counterattack and feels blood trickling down his lips. He regains his composure, holds his weapon up, and gets back in the fight.

Lone Wolf is thrown off-balance when his weapon fails to make contact. He feels a surge of rage. The assault he unleashes in a counterattack comes from years of experience and countless battles. Gray Hawk's inexperience shows as Lone Wolf presses the attack by swinging his elk blade, wildly striking high and low, putting the young warrior on the defense.

Gray Hawk does a sufficient job of blocking and maneuvering. The speed of the fight is a magnificent tornado of feathers and bronze muscle.

Gray Hawk strikes, and his weapon locks with Lone Wolf's. He feels the bone-rattling impact of the dense elk blade against his inferior tomahawk. His confidence wanes, yielding to exhaustion. He compensates by flexing his legs and boldly stepping forward to press the attack.

Gray Hawk sees the flash of Lone Wolf's war bonnet. This is the first sign that pain is coming. Next Gray Hawk feels the crack of Lone Wolf's weapon against his exposed shin. Gray Hawk falls to the ground. He clings to his leg, which is unnaturally bent backward. He screams in excruciating pain as he feels his splintered bone protruding from his skin. Blood spurts from the wound and stands out against the white paint on his leg. His high-pitched screams mock his earlier war cry. All traces of his courage and bravery are erased.

Like a master warrior artist, Lone Wolf paints his war with two distinct emotions: love and regret.

Safely surrounded by the cheering ravens, Chief Black Bear immediately feels his lust for power drain. He watches his hands rise in a futile attempt to stop Gray Hawk's attacker. Sheer terror manifests in the pit of Black Bear's stomach. A painful emotional hurricane swells inside the raiding chief.

"Save my son!" Black Bear shouts, releasing the Cheyenne reserve.

The reserve force follows the trampled trail left by the warriors before them.

The Kiowa cheer when they see that they've drawn out the rest of the Cheyenne warriors.

Gray Hawk cowers like a withered weed. He refuses to look up and see his doom. When the death blow he anticipates doesn't come, he can't help himself. His curiosity forces him to look up.

Oh, how death hangs in his eyes. No spark of mercy lingers in those halos, Gray Hawk thinks as Lone Wolf glares down at him. Behind the brutal Kiowa warrior, Boulder Arms emerges. He swings his tomahawk over his head and brings Dog Warriors to their knees.

Please, Boulder Arms, Gray Hawk prays. He closes his eyes and feels a surge of hope.

As Boulder Arms closes in on the unsuspecting Kiowa war chief, Dog Warriors surround him. The Dog Warriors go to work. They violently slash and smash any Cheyenne who would dare approach their great chief.

Gray Hawk slowly opens his eyes as three Kiowa warriors taunt Boulder Arms with spears. Boulder Arms fights bravely and kills one of the spearmen, but the other two are fast upon him. They stab him with their spears and draw their tomahawks. Gray Hawk's hope is dashed to pieces when he sees a tomahawk connect to Boulder Arm's pelvis.

"ARRRGGGHHH," Boulder Arms screams as his pelvic bone splits in two. He falls to his knees and drops his weapon. When he looks up, he sees those same hollow halos Gray Hawk saw. Lone Wolf's elbows lift high above his head. Boulder Arms raises his muscular arms to block the blow, but it's not enough. The elk blade severs his arm and makes a hollow crack against his skull, spilling his brains out of the side of his head. For a moment Lone Wolf can hear his thoughts; somehow he knows this man wished he had never joined the fight or even listened to the words that got him here, but it's too late for all that regret now. This is why Boulder Arms is the first victim of Lone Wolf's war brush, regret.

"No! Boulder Arms!" Gray Hawk shouts as he reaches for the twitching body and wails in a new kind of pain when the Cheyennes' strongest warrior joins an increasing number of lifeless casualties.

"Show me LOVE!" Lone Wolf shouts, focusing on the reserve.

"No, Father!" Gray Hawk shouts, no longer concerned for his own life.

"Father?" Lone Wolf sneers, fixated on the determined Cheyenne chief.

Gray Hawk looks around at the mangled bodies. The distant whooping cries of his cavalry bring him no peace.

"Release my spirit quickly, I beg you."

Lone Wolf grins broadly, focusing on the fast-approaching Cheyenne.

"Not quickly. Slowly." He rips Gray Hawk's war bonnet off and removes his scalping knife.

Thoughts?: Terrifying isn't it? A live scalping. Probably one of the most horrific things I found in my research. As you run your fingers through your hair, do you hear the grass roots separating from the soil? Mr. William Thompson did. 

If you're like me and you haven't gotten around to Christmas shopping, do yourself a solid, bounce over to Amazon. Type in "Harvest Moon," by Zachary H. Lovelady, and buy the book/kindle. 

If you would like to see the characters come alive, check out Instagram: harvestmoonofficial

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