Cassie felt like a rag doll when he released his hold. She slid from the horse and slumped to the ground. He half dragged and half carried her inside his lodge. Without a word, Wolfkeeper pushed her on to a pallet made of furs and blankets. He moved to the other side of the lodge. When he turned back to her, he squatted and placed a gourd serving as a cup filled with water to her lips.
‟Drink,” was all he said.
Cassie drank greedily. When it was empty, she asked for more. He ignored her request and pushed her forcing her to lie against the furs. With all her energy spent when she was separated from Timothy, all she could do was lay there. Wolfkeeper exited through the opening and left her alone. Too drained to do anything else, Cassie fell asleep almost instantly.
Cassie struggled through the nightmares of the past couple of days as they filled her dreams. Wolfkeeper’s return to the lodge went unnoticed. He watched her thrash about while captive in her nightmare. It surprised him to find the desire to comfort her crossing his mind. Wolfkeeper found himself inching towards her, but stopped short and returned to his seat. He knew the night tremors she fought were nothing compared to the heart-rending choices that lay ahead of her.
He gave no thought as to why he had the unprecedented impulse to keep offering comfort to one who he thought of only as an enemy. Wolfkeeper despised white people. He hardly ever went raiding anymore, because it took him too close to them. When younger, he had no qualms about raiding. But even then it was not like some of the young ones now. He had his fill of being bloodthirsty. The scalps that hung in his lodge were from his early years.
He had lost friends and relatives in battle. A couple of years ago, he had come to appreciate the importance of life, especially the beauty of a peaceful one. Now, he usually remained close to home and let the younger men build their own reputations. He wasn’t sure why he had agreed to this last trip. Looking at the woman across from him, enemy or not, Wolfkeeper decided this was his last raid.