How the…did they manage that!

The three Watch Dogs are sat within a tent amongst the Mountain Folk’s camp, and sat in front of them is the brother of Ambrose, Simon, laying his confession at their feet.  Joshua coughs and stands up, turning to Ambrose he tells him that he will leave him and his brother to discuss the matter.  He then turns and walks out of the tent.  Jesse turns to Ambrose and asks if he would prefer him to leave, or whether he should stay.  Ambrose thanks Jesse and suggests that it would be wise for him to stay as it will be a reminder of the faith.

Ambrose talks some more with his brother Simon, he checks with him as to when he found out about Flying eagle being with child.  Simon tells him that he was told this very morning as he was talking with her about how they were going to defend the encampment.  “They are good people.  They are all good people there.”  He also tells them that they are all ready to fight, and he just couldn’t bring himself to let Flying Eagle die with the child.  Why Simon had set this enclave up, sharing that he had come across other people that couldn’t fit in with their towns.  He confesses that things got out of control and strange, and that the fire in town was not what he wanted.  And the reason he gave false names was because he was worried that his name was becoming too well known.  Simon confesses that he has come before his brother and the Watch Dogs because he wishes to put things right, however he doesn’t know how which is why he came.  Ambrose reassures his brother that the Watch Dogs do not intend to kill people, unfortunately there is a dangerous world out there and you will always see killings.  He tells Simon that the enclave he set up is making things as dangerous, and that they need to be returned to the King of Life.  Simon believes that the camp will not be so willing, and they have nothing and are willing to fight to the death.  He wants to make sure to get Flying Eagle out as he doesn’t think he can convince them of another way.

Simon agrees to help the Watch Dogs with the enclave.  He volunteers to go with them and talk with the encampment first, to try and make them lay down their arms and talk peacefully.  Ambrose tells Simon that he will be able to live in the town with the mother and child, and hopefully the others will be able to go back to their towns, or if preferred to set up their own in the name of the King of Life.  Simon mentions concern for the woman Elliphal, the woman who had attacked Jesse.  She would not like having to choose between her two husbands, and that it would break her heart, “She has such a kind heart.”  Simon also suggests that he had better go on in to the camp first.  Otherwise if they see the Watch Dogs first then all hell will most likely break loose.

Meanwhile outside the tent, in the freezing cold wind and snow, Joshua stand nearby wondering if he made the correct choice and where he should go to get out of the cold.  As the cold sinks in he formulates an idea and walks on over to the women’s tent.  The tent is a very large construction, with a very thick heavy flap for an entrance, held down with big weighty stones.  Joshua knocks on the tent entrance, announcing himself and asking to know where he can find Sleeping Dog.

After a short while the tent flap is pulled back ever-so-slightly and a lined weathered face appears, her hair pulled tightly back on her head, and heavy black bags line under her eyes from lack of sleep.  She pulls a leather shawl tight across her to fight against the biting cold.  The elderly woman demands to know why he is there, asking whether he realises that he is in fact at the tent of the women folk.  Again Joshua states that he is looking for Sleeping Dog, and is aware that he seems to spend a lot of his time there.  “He is our shadow hunter, he walks where he wishes.”  When asked once more, she tells Joshua that he may be somewhere sheltering from the cold, or he could be listening to the wisdom of the women folk, “Who is to say where the shadow hunter hunts.”  She then asks whether she should telling Sleeping Dog when she sees him that he is looking for him.  Joshua rolls his eyes up ever so slightly and asks her to please pass the message on.  “You poor soul, you look ever so cold out there.  If this was not the women’s tent I would ask you in.”  Joshua turns and thanks her as he heads away from the tent.  His fingers are becoming numb from the cold.

Joshua heads back to the Watch Dog’s tent, and as he draws near he hears a laughing to his side.  “I hear you were looking for me?”  He turns to see Sleeping Dog beside him, his thick bearskin coat already covered in the snow.  “In the spirit of friendly relationships, I thought that we could have a chat and share a drink.”  A white flash of teeth is briefly visible through the snow as Sleeping Dog smiles at this.  He asks Joshua why he had really been looking for him, and is told that he only wished to learn more about him and his people.  Sleeping Dog states that if he heard that from anyone else he would have thought they were talking with forked tongue, but believes that Joshua is not one for lying.  He then wishes him a good journey and fades back in to the blizzard.

Joshua walks back in to the tent and settles himself down by the fire embers, warming himself up and asking how things progress there.  Ambrose informs him that they will be heading over to the encampment very soon, and suggests to get warm and have some food before they all head off.  He offers some of his food rations to his brother Simon.

Simon keeps himself huddled in one corner of the tent while waiting for them to depart, no words passing his lips as he sits there.  The Watch Dogs keep themselves warm by the fire and eat their rations.  Soon the tent flap opens and Sleeping Dog enters.  He throws off his bearskin on to the floor and sits upon it.  “He’s not dead yet then?  Were you waiting for an audience?”  Ambrose explains to Sleeping Dog that they are not going to be killing anyone, and that they are trying to settle this peacefully.  He tells him that they will be going back to the camp.  Sleeping Dog enquires if they will be needing Honora to lead them.  Jesse turns to Simon and asks whether they will need someone to take them, or will he be able to take them back.  After receiving Simon’s answer of him be able to take them, Jesse informs Sleeping dog that they will be not in need of Honora and she can stay and rest up for now.  Sleeping Dog raises an eyebrow to this response, “You trust her without your protection here in this den of thieves?”

“As you have said before, she has her knife.”  Jesse assures him.  Sleeping Dog nods at this agreeing, he even suggests that he is surprised her husband hasn’t ended up on the end of it.  “Or anyone else for that matter.”  Ambrose adds looking over at Sleeping Dog.

Sleeping Dog states that he is not one to interfering in their business, but is aware of there ways and suggests that a woman like Honora doesn’t deserve to be chained as she is.  Ambrose asks him what he is trying to get at.  Again Sleeping dog mentions Honora husband, and the fact she has kids to worry about and her husband isn’t doing enough.  Ambrose tells him that they have enough to worry about and can only deal with one thing at a time, and that being the big problem of the enclave.  Sleeping Dog then asks if things turned bad if they will be enough to handle it.  Ambrose asks him what he has in mind, and Sleeping Dog tells them that he is going to be serious.  He tells them that they are all in agreement that something is wrong and needs to be looked in to, and he states that if things turn out in his favour then all the better, but if not and they benefit her (Honora) then he would not have lost anything.  Ambrose again pushes him to spit it out.  Sleeping Dog offers them that they can have his bow and his pull, and all he asks is that there is a husband back in town that is not treating her (Honora) right.  He wants them to resolve it, preferably in his favour, he smiles.  Jesse turns and looks at Ambrose raising his eyebrow as if to say told you so.

Ambrose asks Sleeping Dog why he is called the shadow hunter, and is informed that it is because he looks out for people’s darker impulses.  Jesse suggests that it means he is like a Watch Dog then, to which Sleeping Dog replies that he had not insulted any of them, again he smiles at this.  He also adds that he is glad to see that the Watch Dogs have some humour, but finally asks them to what they have decided.  Ambrose agrees that they could do with all the strength that they can get in this situation.  Jesse adds that it would be helpful to have another person from the tribe to help deal with the one in the enclave.  Ambrose asks Sleeping Dog if he has told the chief Bad Horse about this action, to which Sleeping Dog tells him that he has not yet.  With that Sleeping Dog stands and informs them that he will go do that now, and Ambrose tells him that they will be ready to leave when he returns.

As they are ready to leave and Ambrose is talking with his brother Simon about things that had happened in Stubborn Mount, Sleeping Dog rushes in telling them that they had better leave, as they only have about five minutes before Bad Horse starts to shout at him.

The five travellers push their way through the mountain and snow, some of the way being very difficult where the ground has become hard and slippery, making the way slow and dangerous.  It takes them the rest of the day to make it through, Simon leading the way without any problems, and of course they have Sleeping Dog with them.

As they draw near to the cave encampment, Simon turns to the others and suggests that they had better wait there while he heads on, on his own.  He is worried that if they spot them before they speak to him, then they are all dead.  Ambrose asks him that the enclave are that ready, and is told that they believe the Dogs are going to becoming to wipe them all out.  Jesse asks him if he had told the group that he was going to speak with them, and to this Simon laughs and tells them a definite no, sharing that he had only told them that he had to go out.

It has been five minutes since Simon had headed off on his own in to the dark of the cave, and no sign or sound of anything from within.  Then ten minutes pass by without anything happening.  However after about fifteen minutes pass by the Watch Dogs decide it is about time that they head on in themselves.

The three Watch Dogs along with the native slowly make their way in through the darkness of the cave.  As they make their way in they begin to hear voices, and first they make out a voice of an elderly man, arguing about trusting the person he is talking with and complaining about being struck at the first opportunity and believing that it will happen again.  Next they can hear a deep voiced woman speaking, suggesting that she believes that after what they had done back in town for what had happened to Ebonisa, “We took a pound of flesh for what they did to him.  There are not going to forget, we have heard the tales.”  She carries on stating that they are not going to put down their arms so that they can be killed, or worse shackle them with their ‘kindness’.  She says that she would rather die then have that.  Another voice interrupts asking for them to just have a chance to listen to what has to be said.  That nothing can happen, not in here, and that they need to trust Simon.  “Why have you changed?  You were ready to fight until the end.  You……. No. Listen you are not doing this, for this.  I am not going back.  I am not going to live their way.  We made a decision here.”  This different female voice stops abruptly as they are all suddenly aware of the approaching party.

At about the same time Ambrose steps out of the shadows and around a corner shouting out that they are better off to listen to them.  All of a sudden a lot of weapons are quickly drawn from holsters and pointed in the direction of the Watch Dogs.  Elliphal, the woman who had attacked Jesse back in town, pulls a large machete and position herself in front of the sat elderly man Ebonisa.  The other person who attacked Jesse back in town, the large man called Gracy stands beside Elliphal with his large muzzled gun pointing.  A tanned woman knelt higher up on a rocky out crop stands and un-slings her bow, giving a little dance and all the flames seem to dance with her, making all the shadows flicker about.  Simon looks up and over at the Watch Dogs with a surprised disappointment.  And beyond this group of people towards the back is a large gathering of men and women with different guns and knifes drawn.

Simon quickly steps forward and turns to his friends, imploring them to just listen and not do anything silly.  To just let the Watch Dogs talk.  Flying Eagle speaks to Simon with a trace of venom in her voice, asking what had happened to him.  “I can’t do it again.  Not again!”  People among the gathered throng begin to look at each other and back to Simon and Flying Eagle, and then at the three Watch Dogs, a slight look of confusion on their faces.

The three Watch Dogs stand opposite the enclave head players, who stand gathered ahead of the old man sat in the chair and the mass behind that.  Ambrose steps forward and addresses the gathering, assuring them all that they do not need to turn to violence, and imploring that they only wish to talk peacefully with the main leaders.  Elliphal turns to her partner Gracy and states that she doesn’t trust the Watch Dogs, suggesting that they had managed to keep them busy before.  Gracy nods at her and mentions that they remember what had happened last time they had got one of theirs alone, he turns to Ambrose, “We don’t forget that so easily Watch Dogs.”  Flying Eagle doesn’t say anything more she just paces about glaring at each of the Watch Dogs in turn.

All three of the Watch Dogs exchange words of trust and understanding with the main players of the enclave, explaining to them that they wish for a peaceful discussion of the situation.  And when they mention the King of Life Flying Eagle jumps down and spits venom out at them, telling them not to mention his name to her.  As she paces and talks the three Watch Dogs feel a cold bite enter their bodies.  While she does this the other players say nothing but avoid her looks as they step back from her.  Flying eagle even accuses the Watch Dogs of turning the man she followed, the bright flame she found, and turned him in to a jabbering coward.  Every now and again the crowd behind the leaders seem to rouse them up.  Even Sleeping Dog joins in when Flying Eagle gets carried away, suggesting to her that she doesn’t call in the spirits, especially against a shadow hunter.  Informing her in no uncertain terms that if she doesn’t deal fairly then she will have to deal with him.

Gracy soon backs down from the arguments stepping to the side and saying no more.  Even Jesse steps to the side when things got very heated.  Elliphal tires to rouse everyone by telling her community that they can win, and that they have strength in numbers.  But Ambrose pushes the argument and stands the tallest amongst the rest, even going so far as to suggest to the enclave that if they want to turn to violence then they had better start now.  Soon the enclave eventually back down, agreeing to a peaceful talk.

With a mutual agreement, the leaders of the enclave, plus the three Watch Dogs and Sleeping Dog, along with a suddenly quiet Simon, all head off to a more private and quiet area to talk more peacefully about the situation they are all in.  “If I have to go there, then I am not going alone.”  Flying Eagle stops and tells Sleeping Dog quietly with a stern look on her face.  “You don’t want to do this girl.  You really don’t want to do this.”  Sleeping Dogs warns her.

“I am not having him taken from me.  You have got to understand that.”

“I understand it girl, I understand it a lot.  But I have got a duty to do here.  So if you do this then no matter how much I understand it, we are going to settle this after.”

“It doesn’t matter.  I call the spirits to me.”  Flying Eagle turns from Sleeping Dog with venom on her tongue once more.  And as she enters the room she carries on muttering about calling the storm outside to her.

The room they all enter turns very cold as Flying Eagle walks in, frost begins to form here and there.  She turns and stares at all the Watch Dogs, her eyes pale and a voice very distant comes from her lips calm and calculated, “Talk then Watch Dogs.”  Ambrose turns to Sleeping Dog and quietly asks what is happening.  He is told that Flying Eagle has called upon the spirits and warns him to be very careful.  Simon hangs at the back of the room looking fairly scared towards Flying Eagle.  The women seeming to take the lead in this once more.  Elliphal speaks up and demands that they get on with things, telling them that she is willing to listen for Simon’s sake.

Again Ambrose leads the debate, sharing the feelings of the faith and how demons are feeding on the activity of the enclave.  He also informs everyone how they don’t wish to change any relationships, nor cause problems for the unborn child as he turns to look at Flying Eagle.  Again both Joshua and Jesse join in with the discussion, helping Ambrose with his arguments.  The women both bring up if the Watch Dogs are fine with Elliphal having two husbands.  Flying Eagle also insinuates that the Watch Dogs have very cold hearts, compared to the cold that she brings in to herself from the outside.  Gracy and Elliphal both agree that they need to think more than just themselves, and to worry for the whole enclave.  Gracy has fired himself up with the thought of tying to do the good for the whole community of the enclave, and fights on with arguing what is best for the encampment.  Even Sleeping Dog steps in for the Watch Dogs side at one point, firing an arrow from his bow in to the middle of the group of people, and pinning a wriggling dark things to the floor.  “Not here! Not now!”

Soon Elliphal, unsure with how things are going, but believing and hoping that the Watch Dogs may allow what she desires, steps out of the social conflict and stays on the sidelines watching.  Ambrose assures them that they will not be leaving, but would like them to tell him and the Watch Dogs what it is that they can do to help.  Hearing this Gracy soon backs out turning to look at Elliphal, and implores Ambrose to allow the three of them, (Gracy, Elliphal, and Ebonisa) to stay together.  “Please at least think about it.”  Before Gracy backs out of the social conflict too.

Flying Eagle opens her mouth to say something then stops, a pained expression crosses her face and then she turns to Simon.  She pulls and holds Simon in her arms and presses her lips to his for a long time before letting him go.  “Please, please burn again.  Have the fire back.  I just need you back here again and I can hold forever.”  Simon just stands there looking back into Flying Eagles eyes.  Jesse reminds Simon that he had more than just lust on his mind, and telling him that he was concerned for the unborn child as well as Flying Eagle.  The ice in the room spreads and grows more as it moves over most of the walls and ceiling now, and Flying Eagle tells the Watch Dogs that Simon knows that he is a leader, ready to lead people in a new way.  And tells Simon that they need to be free for their unborn ‘son’, to be able to spread his wings without the oppression of the Watch Dogs.  Jesse feelings the pressure of his anger building with the situation and storms from the room, he forces and pushes his way out from the cave complex back out to the fresh air, knocking a couple of people to the side as he goes.  One the other hand poor Joshua, the youngest of the Watch Dogs, gets distracted by the blatant show of affection and blushes as he averts his eyes.

“A warrior is only there to defend peace.  And peace is what we are here today.”  Ambrose tells Flying Eagle.  She blinks looking at the people gathered around, and the frost suddenly melts and drips off the walls and ceiling. “Please don’t take him away.  I don’t want to hurt any of you, just don’t take him away.”  And then Flying Eagle backs down lowering her stance and stepping back.

As everyone walks back out to the rest of the people of the enclave waiting expectantly, the gathered people some in close groups holding each other looking towards their leaders and the Watch Dogs.  Some kissing each other as if it will be the last thing they do.

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